Sunday, August 19, 2012

82 and Young

Photo courtesy:  and

When I picked up today's Times Life to read, a usual Sunday morning practice that I relish to do, I was surprised at the variety and insight into some very interesting pieces. Last week there was an interesting article on a practice in the British Raj called 'Fishing Fleets' and this week what got my attention was the article about China (pronounced as Chee-na) Machado, model at the age of 82! Unashamed to show her face wrinkled and old, she poses for the camera just as she would have when she was in her 20s.
One statement that she made caught my eye particularly. She said "In our time, models were proud of the clothes they wore...models these days don't know anything beyond themselves. Maybe that's why they are so insecure and fall prey to vices, surgeries etc. " As soon as I read this I found it true in some sorts. I don't completely agree to the point that women in the previous century were not proud of their beauty(Marilyn Monroe herself an example), however it is true that now whenever I see a fashion show or anything written on it, a lot of importance is given to the model's looks and clothes that accentuate her features rather than a model adding to the beauty of the dress that she is wearing. Now, there has to be a reason why models today have become so narcissistic as compared to previous ones could be attributed to the changing trends of society demanding women to be 'perfect' and selling products by 'looks' rather than using it to promote the product. When I say this, I am reminded of a line from the book 'The Winner Stands Alone' by Paulo Coelho in which Gabriela, an actress, who is almost 25 is horrified because a career in this field would actually start crumbling after 25. What an antithesis would China's life be then to a world that makes a hypocrisy of the proverb 'beauty is not skin deep'.
When you have dozens of creams advertising 'anti-ageing', 'look young', 'anti-wrinkles' for people above the age of 35, one ad even endorsing women in their 20s to start applying to maintain their face, you have China who says that "life is beautiful at any age". I think it all depends on how you view beauty and fashion to be. Whether you dress to impress or dress for yourself, though, when you start getting attention, it's hard to focus on just keeping yourself happy. Oh and don't forget 'beauty pageants' that promote the idea of 'beauty with a cause'. China's won Miss World 2012 and then you have China modeling at 82 in 2012. Oh the irony.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Gangs of Wasseypur I- A Movie Review

With Tulsi welcoming you to her home in the first scene of the movie, you will be thrown into a fit of laughter but within seconds, the actual goons take over and the shooting starts which goes on mercilessly for quite a few minutes giving you the first thrill of the movie. With a narrative by Anurag Kashyap that explains the history of Wasseypur and Dhanbad before and after independence, the movie spans a complete 3 generations of families for 3 hours. Opening with the pre-independence era with the rivalry between the Qureshi and the Pathan clans in which Shahid Khan is ousted from his village Wasseypur by the Qureshi but later on killed by Ramadhir Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia) who had employed him, it turns to a ploy to seek revenge for his father by Sardar Singh (Manoj Bajpai).
Sardar Singh takes a vow as "Marunga nahi saale ko, keh ke lunga" regarding Ramadhir Singh and thereafter you see attempts after attempts where Sardar succeeds in what he says.  On the sidelines, there are the indulgences of Sardar Singh after marrying Nagma (Richa Chadda) in other women, specially a Hindu woman called Durga (Reemma Sen) which add drama and fun to the otherwise serious movie. Nagma comes to know about Durga but she still remains faithful to her husband, being the only staunch woman in the movie which has very few female characters. 
Sardar's children are brought up without their father being there most of the times, but they still grow up in the same environment as their father. With one of his son, Danish marrying a Qureshi, their arch-rival, they hope to put and end to the years of angst, also because even Faizal, his other son seems smitten by a Qureshi girl whom he recognizes from his childhood.
However, though the movie has its positives which are balanced by the sultry scenes of Durga as well as the amazing humor in the script as against the bullets that are shot endlessly by the characters, there are parts where you feel the movie could have had a better edit. A part in the middle where you seen nothing but the life of Sardar and Durga, you wish the movie would just go ahead with its story. The songs however add the lighter tone to the seriousness to it with its Hinglish lyrics and a mix of soundtracks by composer Sneha Khanwalkar.
If you can't stand the sight of blood or violence and serious history along with tons and tons of abusive language, this is certainly not the movie for you. Though the film has its humor, most of them have sexual connotations. All eyes and ears need to be alert in the movie for all 3 hours if you want to get the crux of the movie well.
Out of a 5 star I would give the movie a 3 and a half stars. It would have been a 4 had the editing been crisp. It's a movie that you surely cannot miss.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Hungry Tide did Gulp

So I finally finished reading 'The Hungry Tide' by Amitav Ghosh a couple of days back and I'm still reliving the memories of the book. Not my memories, but the memories of the characters, because that is what Ghosh did, he made me believe that they were real, that what they felt was something that could truly be procured in real life, that it could have been one of us in the situation and that is how we would have reacted.

I must say, the start of the book is a drag which led me to shove it back in the library for a few days, after which my guilt picked on me to force myself to read it and to my surprise, though the book did not pick up the pace, it did pick up my senses with it's to and fro narration between two totally different lives and circumstances. One one hand you see Piya, the Indian American trying to find out ways for her dolphin research and Kanai, the translator, stuck with a diary written by his uncle about one of his visits to an island and his relation with the people and the place.

Amitav Ghosh transforms your view of Bengal, by giving stunning descriptions of the land and most importantly the emotions that play throughout the whole book. Love, is the reigning emotion/feeling in the book in different forms and different times and between different kinds of people. Though many of them don't work out, it's the expression of the love that kept me bound to the book, wanting to know more. By the end of the book, I actually began to believe it as a real-made-fiction story. 
The weaving of the different years that he talks about has been done with such a classy grasp that at no point did I lose thread of what the story was about, though there are several sub-stories in the story too. (Also I can't help if you have a bad memory because there are quite some details to remember)
Ultimately, it was the bond that Piya shared with Fokir, the crab-catcher rather than the one between Piya and Kanai (which Piya kept dodging) or even the seeming love that Nirmal (Kanai's Uncle) had for Kusum, that had me by my tenterhooks. It showed that you don't need a language to communicate when you make a bond with someone. You just need to feel it the other person shall know. This was what Piya and Fokir shared, an unspeakable (literally!) bond which kept them connected even through the roughest of times and Fokir's sacrifice for Piya. In the end, the book doesn't reveal whether he loved her or vice versa but as a reader it gave me enough to formulate my own opinion. For me it was the kind of unattainable love that they shared that was the winning stroke of the book which Kanai's story, though interesting, didn't mount to the same height.
The book ends on a happy, or rather a revitalizing note having gone through a turbulent time. The play of emotions that Ghosh did was something astonishing as he weaved love, fear, bitterness, pain, agony, sorrow, happiness, relief and passion all in 400 pages, without the slightest hint of boredom or out of the point situation.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Metal Crazy after Metallica

After Metallica literally did an ‘I Disappear’ act in Delhi, it was obvious that Bangalore would be ecstatic to be the first to see the Metallica concert in India. Fans from Delhi who couldn’t see the concert were hoping to grab the last few tickets, hours before the concert. It was with much apprehension that I went for the concert praying for it to happen.
From 1pm in the afternoon on 30th October, the road to Palace Ground was teeming with Metallica fans pouring in from all over the country. I remember reading a tweet which said if you’re at the Metallica gig look out for me, I’m in a black tee. Separate lines for girls and guys were to ensure thorough checking but there are always ways to sneak stuff in. Though I couldn’t make it in time to hear Inner Sanctum, I did hear Biffy Clyro open for Metallica. The crowd did get a little irritated with their set up time but they played very well and the crowd started jumping to the music as rain started to drizzle on Bangalore. This however did not deter people from enjoying the music, screaming and pushing forward to get a better view of the stage even before Metallica was in the ground. Security tried to keep in control the number of people jumping the barrier but it didn’t succeed very well as the four feet barrier seemed to be too low for some. The crowd still behaved themselves knowing very well the consequences.
After a long wait listening to announcements made by the management and several rains spells, Metallica finally arrived on stage at around 8.10pm greeted by a roar of cheering, screaming, whistles and other noises. Without wasting much time James started off by thanking the city of Bangalore and the crowd yelled its lungs out on hearing the start of ‘Creeping Death’. As the headbanging of thousands of spectators began and the hand signs came up in the air it was obvious that everyone had forgotten about the hours of waiting that they had to do. The energy at the ground was supersonic! ‘Creeping Death’ was followed by ‘Fuel’ which put the crowd in an even higher state of mind as they took over the entire stage as well as the minds of the people when flames erupted from various points on the stage giving visual effects to the song. Every flame eruption was followed by a scream from the audience, many of whom had started the intake of various things that were supposedly not allowed in the grounds.
These were followed by ‘Ride the Lightning’ and ‘Fade to Black’. Just as soon as the first tune of Fade to Black was heard, the crowd went into another burst of screams and shouts making it apparent that everyone had been waiting for this song. When James asked the crowd if they’d want to hear something from their latest album Death Magnetic, the crowd gave a kind of half hearted yes which was reciprocated with ‘Cyanide’ followed by ‘Welcome Home (Sanitarium)’ and ‘Sad But True’. By now the crowd had gone into frenzy with mosh pits being formed of people high on various substances.
It could be seen that Metallica had reserved the best songs for the last. With some of the songs James Hetfield and Robert Trujillo started covering the right and left podiums as fans screamed out on hearing Kirk’s guitar riffs take over their senses. Now was when Metallica unleashed their best songs which were ‘One’ and ‘Master of Puppets’ as choruses of ‘Master, Master’ ripped through the ground with everyone singing to the lyrics. Metallica had now been performing for a good 1 hr 40 mins without any break and the crowd wasn’t losing its enthusiasm either. With the start of the next song as James requested everyone to sing along, it sounded like a rally with everyone singing along to ‘Nothing Else Matters’. As the crowd went into a trance-like state, the headbanging resumed when ‘Battery’ and ‘Enter Sandman’ rocked the grounds. After almost two hours of nonstop Metallica it was clear that the fans still wanted more of Metallica. For a good 3-4mins they waited until James said “You’re not gonna let us leave, are you?” which was replied by a chorus of “NO!” by 25,000 people. As he took his guitar again, but a black one this time and spoke into the mic “This one’s heavier” everyone knew which song he meant to play.  As ‘Seek and Destroy’, blasted on the gigantic speakers everyone’s true colours came out including a 50 year old man who’d come to see his favourite band.
After two hours of non-stop Metallica it was evident Seek and Destroy was their last performance. With James concluding that Bangalore was an awesome experience and thanking all the fans as well as promising to return to India, they made sure that they made up for the Delhi goof up and kept their fans happy. Some fans managed to grab the plectrums that they threw out to the audience. Lucky people I must say! Thoroughly satisfied, 25000+ fans poured into the streets of Palace Ground as onlookers who didn’t know about the gig wondered where the crowd was coming from. Metallica had made sure that their first concert in India was something that will be remembered always.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

How I got through my short Vacation

At the Metallica gig
It's been more than a year since I've written anything in this blog and I thought I owe it at least a bit for everything good that it did for me that I should return back to my writing episodes here. Diwali vacations are just going to end soon and a new semester shall begin, before which I think I should do the routine how-much-did-i-do-this-vacation check and ends up that this time there has been a lot of activity as compared to my previous vacations, which kind of surprises me because it doesn't feel like a lot of time went by for me to have done anything of importance. First week goes in Diwali preparation and a friend's birthday while in the second week I get a call from my Boss, where I intern that I've won tickets to the Metallica concert in Bangalore. I'm not exactly elated when I hear it but with a lot of nods and \m/ from my friends I decide to give it a try and here my sudden trip to Mysore and Bangalore forms, covering a week again. Another reason why I decided to go was because Mysore is my native place so I wouldn't have been an alien there and it was worth an experience to go to a Metal concert, free of cost while others would kill to get my ticket. To be honest, the concert blew my minds and showed me a different side of metal ultimately leading me into more metal songs!
The week after that saw meetings with fellow classmates, a computer delayed project that had to be submitted that literally drew blood from my eyes as I stayed up the whole night working on it and a very dismal performance in the practical which only makes me scared about passing the paper which faded away the next day when the alluring thought of meeting my friends in the last few days started clutching my senses and the thought of making the most of the last few days of vacation grips again.
Writing's been a part of me this vacation even though reading and watching movies may not have been. Maybe that's the only thing I regret not having got out of this vacation, catching up on some books and movies as bad as I missed going to the Literature Live fest which when I read a review in the newspaper, turned out to be something that I shouldn't have missed but well maybe next time.
So ends my post because that's all I've got to share. I'm still waiting for my paycheck on my internship which comes through soon I hope and while I sign out I leave you with one of my favourite Metallica songs. Even if you don't like Metal you'll still like this song :)
Peace!Fade To Black - Metallica

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Not-so-Wasteful Afternoon

     So, today we friends decided to meet in college for a 'study session' and that we might as well bring something to  eat while we 'study'. Thankfully it was not raining today as it has been pouring since the last two days but i still decided to carry my umbrella lest the rain gods/goddess starts crying again. I really feel that actually. Whenever they are angry on what we are doing they cry and that is the rain that we get in torrents which is unlike the usual ones. Since Mumbai has had a muddy, filthy, rainy three days it was very relieving to finally see some sun.
     So I made my way to the station and taking the trains i reached college. I met my friend and then we went to the classroom and she switched on her laptop and made me jealous and i did not have one and won't be having one at least for another year. We starting working (actually she started working) on the corel project that we had been given while i went to the library to get a new book since i did not find Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, interesting enough to read it more than 5 pages. I walked the whole length of the library and went to the fiction section to find some nice book to read.
     Again my mind started boggling looking at the numerous volumes of books that were there to search from. I took my time to search the shelves as I came across familiar ones like Animal Farm and Jude the Obscure. There were many that i had not read but i was not really in the mood for reading classics so I picked up some random books. Then as if by gravity (or maybe the fact that it was a shiny new book while the rest looked like they had been stuffed in an attic for years) my eyes wandered to a big book and my hands reached out to pick it from the horde of books.
     I read the title The Museum Of Innocence by Orhan Pamuck. Not a familiar name. I flipped the heavy book to read the back page and till I was at the end i was so engrossed that i thought that it's about time i started reading books that are not 'World Famous' because good books can be anywhere. I registered the book and took it to read at home.
     As one would very much suspect i went back to the class and did nothing of studying that we had planned. So in order that i don't feel stupid for travelling so long and doing nothing i thought i'd write a story and i asked my friend for her laptop, since she wasn't using it, and i typed out a few pages of my story. Then when she was done with her work we were taking pictures of each other from her cam and making all sorts of faces. Some of the pics didn't come nice and i decided that i'd let Photoshop do it's magic!
     After having our 'study' day we left for home but very happy that we had fun. I was actually more excited to read my new book! By the time i reached home i was having a headache because i realized my lenses had expired and i was still wearing them. I have to buy a new one this Sunday. My friend messaged me that he was really bored at the trip that my college department had gone for and i called him up to make him feel better because i was not there to chat with him.
     Then after all that i decided to read the book and i have to say 30 pages into the book i am still thirsting for more! I will be posting more on how the book goes and what i feel about it.
     For now this is me Vishaka signing off!