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Monday, March 27, 2017

Ripples

Fallen heroes make me think; heroes who haven't lived to their prime and yet have left a mark on this world. With my neo-realistic thinking I have been wondering lately if the dead and gone are worth talking about and if we just bide our time and divert focus from issues that need thinking about by idle reminiscing.

The world has seen so many weirdos, so many net-loss makers and yet has been seeing people with substance and people who are tirelessly trying to tip the balance back. Just as it needn't be a zero-sum game in economies so need it not be with goodness. The pie of goodness can indeed expand wiping out the bad in the process. I never believe it more than I do today.

Not many of people worth talking about are being talked about. Some never bothered for media attention and the media did not consider them worth covering. And yet, oblivious to everything they had been going about their business as they would have liked. And that's what makes them fascinating.

We definitely do need role models. So remember this next time you feel useless, our very existence can be a beacon to someone somewhere now or tomorrow. So, please express yourself, just in case you get hit by a bus tonight.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Totem

I climb up mountains,
I wade through turbulent rivers,
I roll down deep valleys,
In search of a better tomorrow,
Which always remains a tomorrow

Running keeps me alive,
Movement keeps me alert,
I can’t stop now, not when I have come so far,
I wonder if I will lose my new self if I sit back and relax

Escape routes are many,
Some take alleys, some take highways,
But when it is you you are running away from,
You can't get away with a clever disguise

When I am walking in a limbo, chasing a dream,
The present is persistent in its wake up call,
Do I want to take it?


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Labeling and its side-effects

We need answers.We need finality. Some settlement to the anguish and unfamiliarity of many things of everyday life. We create names and words to categorize what we see, hear, touch, taste and smell. And feel.

Our language has only so many words. So many definitions. The human mind is ever-changing and constantly evolving. How can we explain something that hasn't existed before with something that is not equipped to handle it . And why does not being able to put something into words and labels disturb us so much ?

Fascinated as I am with cognitive biases I tried to find answers to this phenomenon there again. I came across something called the Zeigarnik effect . This talks about the human tendency to not close the threads in our minds as long as tasks or questions are left uncompleted and unanswered. While this lets us finish stuff and clear up space in our minds for other neuron activity, it also compels us to close things that are better left open. Open for further thought, discussion and development.

This becomes limiting in many ways. Exactly why religion, tradition and sometimes science too are so closed to imagination. In the realm of human relations, we sometimes feel the urge to do, express something to one another. Classification stops us. We think about the various buckets we have in our heads - family, close family, friends, good friends, best friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, husband, wife etc. and if someone doesn't fall into one of these, there's our justification to reject the urge to reach out. Reasoning trumps giving in to natural instincts. And successfully we have become civilized adults.

While living with ambiguity doesn't give us peace, it also doesn't make us restless enough to become something we aren't today. But, isn't that surprise worth being comfortable with loose ends and open questions ? I want to think about that.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The written word


In this age of almost continual tweeting and text forwards, how many times have you received a phrase in quotation marks given by sometimes some-random-named guy or worse not at all, or a quote given with the backdrop of an image (sometimes just a color) and actually thought about it and not taken it for granted.

Try this -

" It is surprising that we don't pause to breathe often" - Jyiksy Wilgder

Or what about this ?















And how many times have we wondered, okay I am reading this, but is this right? Does it make sense to me? Or was it 'oh it is so profound that I am not getting it'. Let me tell you, quotes worth quoting are understood easily.

We take so much at face value. We are either too lazy to dig deeper or too gullible and impressionable. I am s****ing with you here, but did you trust me when I said all good quotes are the ones understood easily ? Think about it. My answer is no.

It is taking a dangerous turn as people are relying so much on the web. One Verity Lenn, for example, learned of breatharianism on the web, and decided to go into a complete fast while on a camping trip. Her body was found two weeks later. This is one example where people were better off using their critical thinking.

It is a cognitive bias that we take things that are written for granted. (Read Authority bias) At least here in India, where text books or any books for that matter are considered holy, it is an unconscious proclivity we have developed. Let's be aware of that. With information scattered wildly over the web and our media, let's bring back mindfulness into the picture and THINK!

P.S. I just made up that quote and the Jyiksy guy and the picture quote. Yeah, I am exaggerating to make a point.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Live luv

Smile like a doll but also laugh sometimes,
Weep like a princess but also cry out loud a few times,
Look at people and also see them,
Look at yourself and also see them

Hear trendy music but also listen to your song,
Say congratulations and feel happy too,
Talk to a sister and pour your heart out,
Talk to yourself and let the truth be let out

The quest for meaning keeps us going
Few say it is in belonging
The truth we all know is in the game
That we play one moment at a time

Treat yourself today,
Embrace your body, soul and replay
Imperfect is the new perfect,
Treat yourself with some self-respect
Oh woman, you are only but human

Say ' I love you' coz you are beautiful when you do,
Not first waiting for your lover to,
By all means do love your husband blind,
But please also say a prayer for all of your kind

Happy Women's Day!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Movie reviews

Finding Forrester

There is something about Sean Connery's accent that is immensely attractive.The way he says 'sh' specifically.In the movie, he plays the role of a reclusive one-book author who is holed up in his apartment in Bronx,NY. An unusual friendship is struck between him and a local black boy. It soon turns into a mentor-student relationship and a bond that defies the difference in their ages.

The boy shows an unexpected aptitude for writing and being a voracious reader becomes quite knowledgeable. Sean guides, corrects, admonishes and fights with the boy to make him a better writer. In turn the boy gives Sean a new perspective at life and both grow in the relationship. The movie also brings out the deep-seated prejudices that people still harbor but don't let out.

The taking of the movie is steady and Connery is at his best.All in all a very good watch.

The Great Train Robbery

The more old hollywood movies I watch, the more I realize that Ram Gopal Varma has brazenly lifted whole scenes, concepts and music from them and pasted them into telugu movies. But he is not to blame. Otherwise how would we common folk have been exposed to some thrilling ideas ?

Another Sean Connery classic. It inspired 'Kshana Kshanam' (RGV). The plot is about how a few thieves get together, strategise and ultimately steal several bricks of gold from a moving train.

The movie is to be judged in the backdrop of its time. But, even today it remains to be a masterpiece. The clever ruses, diligent planning and practice for achieving this feat are still awe-inspiring. It is slow and steady again (my type :P). A MUST WATCH!

Bicentennial man

This movie is not about robots, it is about humans. About the basic need that we have about wanting to be acknowledged for what we are and what we want to be.

Andrew,the robot, is brought home as a household appliance. But by a mutation(bug) he is found to be capable of creativity and emotion. It is about how he learns, grows and wants love - the usual predictable cycle. I have a theory. What makes a movie tick is not surprise but predictability. You want a scene to pan out in some way, and when it does, it gives the audience joy.

One of my favorite scenes is where he shows up at Portia's place and asks for her friendship. As simple as that. Wonder where we humans have lost that simplicity. Notwithstanding my love for robots, you have to admit that we can re-learn a lot of honesty from them.

Guess who's coming to dinner

Love. Written, splashed and painted all over the movie. It has easily become one of my all time favorites.

The movie came out in 1967. It is about a black man and white woman in love. Joanna returns from a holiday with Dr. Wade (Sidney Poitier) - the most eligible bachelor ( only he is black). She takes it for granted that her parents would accept the match and so decides to marry Wade whether they approve it or not. Dr.Wade on the other hand tells Joanna's father (Spencer Tracy - coming to him in a bit) that there will not be a marriage if he doesn't approve. And the couple give the parents less than a day to decide.The story happens in all of one day - from morning to evening.

Joanna's mother (Katherine Hepburn) is won over quickly after an understandable initial shock. The dad, although he is impressed with Dr.Wade, is skeptical about the alliance. As any responsible father, he thinks that there will be very many problems that they will have to face. Spencer Tracy,....woow what an actor! He is the hollywood equivalent of S.V. Ranga Rao - a tad bit better if I may say so.

I found out that Spencer Tracy was in poor health at the time due to which no company came forward to insure the film. So, the filmmaker- Stanley Kramer and Katherine had let go off their salaries to make the movie happen. And boy, did it come out well! I love this movie. Sadly, ten days after the release, the ailing Spencer Tracy had passed away.

The characters are limited but symbolic of different sections of the then society. The dialogue is natural and very sweet. The ideas and the characters are extremely charming. One scene stands out for me - where Joanna tells her mother about Dr.Wade- about how she had fallen in love and gotten totally smitten by him, for which her mother joins in with an enthusiasm so pure that is worthy only of a mother. This scene captures some of the finest and loveliest emotions.

The Birds

Alfred Hitchcock is known for his steady style of narration. You are transported into the small and gentle town of Bagota Bay which is the setting for this movie and you feel you are literally there. This movie which has taken 3 years for completion due to its technical complexity at the time, is a job very well done even by today's standards. The horror in the plot is portrayed quite realistically and the characters are scripted perfectly. An edge-of-the-seat experience!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Past , present and future !

Two old friends catching up is a beautiful sight.One of them recognizes the other and the other one doesn't. And finally when that recognition dawns on that face..you wouldn't want to miss it.It's so heartening.

Recently my mother caught up with a three decade old friend and they haven't met in all this time. How much more fitting is it to catch her at her old college where they studied together and where her friend is presently working as a lecturer!She couldn't recognize my mother but my mom did. And the next 30 minutes were pure delight to the eyes.

That day my entire family(my parents and me,that's it) went to my engineering college to collect my memos and my transfer certificate. I had just passed out of college. It is the same university where my mom studied too. Whenever we go together to the campus, it is not without at least a glimpse of her old building that we turn back.This time with nobody to stop us we went straight into her old classrooms and that's where she met her friend.

At that time, since I was just out of college and being apprehensive about work and colleagues, I was wondering if things were going to remain the same with my engineering friends.What with everybody so focused on their careers and seeing how constantly we remain in touch with our school friends, I was suddenly not prepared to face it all again.First school,then intermediate and now engineering! Although I wanted it to end,when the moment came, I was all wistful.I have learned not to get attached to college or anybody...but I am gonna miss all the fighting, the sulking,the quarrels, the pulling of legs and even the people I hated.At least there was someone close enough to hate.

Now when I look at the future, all I can imagine are formal conversations..where a bug is called an issue and not a local slang word...when you have to be conscious about what you are going to talk as there are chances that it can violate the etiquette..where you can no longer swear with the f word at the top of your voice..
But still it should be fun with monotony setting in a couple of years and you would be left thinking 'what if's...

Coming back, we found out a lot of things about my mother. And that lecturer was a very dear friend too. We came to know that she was the one to pet name my mom 'Jaggi'( Jagadamba is her name...thoda scary haa?) and later on, till today everybody calls my mom with that name. It was a great discovery,..something which none of us thought about all this time.And they talked about the linkups in their class and all the stuff I talked today with my friends.

It is sometimes inexplicable how such an incident should fill you up with inspiration and optimism,but suddenly I was ready for all that I have been worried about till then. Someday I might just meet a classmate of mine like that and we both would be meeting each others' families just like my family and my mom's friend's. We would again talk about the link-ups of our time and just slip into conversation like no time has passed just as my mother did with her friend. And I was smiling with the thought that maybe separations are necessary in life only to make the reunion so much more exciting and full of surprise.

I must admit that I loved only few people in college,hated a few and wasn't bothered about many though I was friendly with all. But whoever it is,when I meet them again I know it will be only as friends that I once loved.:)Sometimes familiarity itself is enough to love again, isn't it?