Wednesday, December 30

Movie Review : Avatar, 2012, Paa, 3 Idiots

It’s been long since I did my last movie review. I am no critique but thought of hunting 4 movies this Christmas and reviewing them.

Johannesburg’s nerve-jangling climate and 22 deg. Celsius temperature prompted me to stay back this Christmas. But I guess, the fever wasn’t outside but inside me to watch the best of all the movies hitting screen this December, especially when it was Aamir Khan’s “3 Idiots” round the corner. I could not even dare to let pass this flick.

3 days prior to Ak’s release, I planned to wrap up the already running houseful movies. So, today I’ll review not only 3 Idiots, but also, Avatar, Paa and 2012 in the same chronological sequence as I watched them on screen.

Avatar: 3D animation, cool graphics, captivating story and James Cameroon’s direction. What else can one expect from this complete package entertainer? A movie – a life’s experience.

A movie very close to what future cinema is going to be like; James Cameroon has nailed all his experience in this classic animation once again.

Setup in the year 2154 the animated virtual characters seated in the mind of real actors trying to establish a frail connection between the real and the virtual worlds, attesting a morale to the real minds, no matter how scientific we are, there’s always a universal unimaginable, invincible and invisible force, a force that unites every creature in this world, a supreme power, Avatar, that commands our will and prepare all to survive and retaliate against the nature destroyers.

A must watch, altogether a different 3D experience, contemporary music by James Horner (must listen I SEE YOU by LEONA LEWIS), exceptional acting, my rating 10/10. A big contender for this year’s Oscars.

2012: Year 2012, the world is coming to an end, an Indian scientist’s premonition; the world begins its preparation to fight back against the nature’s disorder about to happen. The fiascos, the rippling effects of earth’s crust movement, the world encounters before 21-12-2012 and the way to survive, is what 2012 is all about.

The movie loses its gleam in few scenes wherein John Cussack and Amanda Peet’s conduct was way too comical irrespective of the scene demanded some serious acting. A serious matter about the world coming to an end, gets an easy walk away in the middle.

A nail biting story, that keeps the viewers hinged to the corner of their seat. Cool sound effects, impressive visuals has already left a pretty good impression. 2012 is one movie you cannot think of trashing.

On the whole, excellent A/V, imaging and camera representation, A must watch movie.

My rating 8.5/10.

Paa: The movie is all about a 12 year old boy AURO, played by Amitabh Bachchan.
He suffers from Progeria, a rare disease wherein the age growth is normal but the development happen at multiplying rate. Let’s say, a 5 year boy will be 5 year old in mind but physically will be around 40 years old.

Amitabh Bachchan is one actor in Indian cinema today who has the capability to make impossible possible. Brilliant performer, a protagonist actor in his 70s in real life has played a character of a 12 year old boy suffering from Progeria on reel (onscreen).

A must watch movie; Amitabh Bachchan will definitely win the best critic award for the kind of life he’s put in this role.

R. Balki’s direction and Illyaraja’s music is an add-on feature in this movie.

My rating 9/10.

3 Idiots: Inspired from “5 point someone” novel, movie is about 3 college students, set out to follow their passion in the rat race the world is in today.

The movie is reflection of each of our’s past that we had when we were in college. A comical movie sending a very serious impression to follow your heart, to believe in yourself, live happily forever and help all. And still, if you fall and hit the ground, never give up, put your hand on heart and say AAL-IZZ-WELL!!!

Aamir khan has done it again. AK today is one brilliant actor who got this amazing ability to turn sand into gold. He’s definitely a trend-setter. It’s hard to believe, he’s 40+ whereas onscreen he looks 25. some very cool peppy numbers in the movie.

Exceptional performance by the 3 idiots with tremendous background score.

Of all the movies Aamir has done, I would rate this as Aamir's best performance.
My rating 10/10.

Monday, December 28

...


दिन  का  उजाला  हो  या ,
रात  का  अँधेरा ,
हर  पल , हर  वक्त ,
नज़र  आया  तोह  बस ,
आया , चेहरा  तेरा .

हर  पल  को  जोड़ा ,
तोह  बना  सपना  तेरा ,
सपना  जब  सच  करने  चले ,
तोह , ना  रहे  तुम , और ,
ना  रहा  कोई  पल  मेरा .

जब  तुम्हारा  था  साथ ,
किसी  के  लिए ,
वक्त  न  था  हमारे  पास ,
आज  जब  रह  गया  तुम्हारा  ख्वाब ,
हर  वक्त , हर  लम्हा  दिल  जले ,
जैसे  जले ,
पत्ते  में  तेज़ाब .

पास  जब  तुम  थे ,
बातों  बातों  में ,
निकलती  थी  एक  और  बात .
आज  जब  तुम  नहीं ,
अब  बस  वोही  बातें  याद  आये ,
बनकर  एक  गीत  हर  रात .

दिल  पे  लिखा  नाम ,
दिखा  था  कभी ,
हाथ  की  लकीरों  में ,
दिल  टूट  गए ,
लकीरें  मिट  गयी ,
बस , रह  गए  हम  तुम ,
फिर  इन्ही  कुछ  तस्वीरों  में .

आज  भी  तड़पता  है  दिल ,
हर  दम , बस , तुम्हारा  है  ख्याल ,
कैसे  पूरी  होगी  यह  ज़िन्दगी  अब  तुम्हारे  बिन ,
हर  राह , हर  मोड़ , हर  शुन ,
अब  बस  यही  है  सवाल .

Thursday, December 17

The Magical Fountain


Naina, 10 year old, stationed near the water fountain at Newgate Square, overheard a voice, “if you make a wish with closed eyes and throw a 2 rupee coin in the pond there, the wish is always rewarded if made with a pure heart”.

She pinned her ears and heart to the statement so well that she went near the magical fountain pool and gave all her attention to let the fact sink into her. She was not surprised anymore to see abundant 2 rupee coins dazzling in the artificial water pond. She tried believing the fact that many kids like her must have come by this pool to make a wish and threw the coins into the pool.

Today, Naina accompanied her father to do routine shopping. She was too young to carry money in her pockets. The only valued stuff she carried in her frock was a half eaten lollypop and a brown bear covered in handkerchief.

With innocence on her face, lollypop in mouth and bear in one hand, she looked around to search for a 2 rupee coin somewhere on the ground but all in vain. Her father was also indispensible. She looked around but could not find him in vicinity to where she was standing. She prayed for her father to appear soon so she can ask for a coin as she has already decided as to what she’ll ask the Water-God once the coin is into the pond.

It’s been long since she has had chocolates. So she desperately wished for the same today. After waiting there for a while, she started searching for her dad in shops round the corner.

While she was walking by, she observed a poor boy of her age, pale, sitting in a torn shirt and with head margined to the shape of skull, appeared as if he had his last meal years ago. He was sitting there alone sobbing the fact, “The pond is fake, it consumed the last 2 rupee coin I had. I wished food and it left me with nothing.”
Naina was baffled seeing his plight and murmurs that she left the place without troubling the boy.

Very soon she found dad purchasing stuff for mom. She ran very close to him and asked daddy naively with all the worldly charm for a two rupee coin. Daddy was so absorbed in shopping; he left the kid with a two rupee coin in the fist. She was elated as if she won her first battle and scuttled erratically to the magical place where the fountain was.

Her eyes met the boy for the second time only to find the boy slept on the floor, after crying, all curled up in the cold weather. She felt sad for the situation and gave him her bear and leftover lollypop while he was sleeping.

As she reached the water pond, she closed her eyes, made a wish and was about to throw the coin in the pool when her consciousness stopped her to do so. She turned back and ran to the bakery shop to buy a bun and a glass of milk for two rupees.
She ran to the place where the boy was sleeping with bun in the pocket and milk clutched in both the hands. She placed her handkerchief on the floor and divested the eatables on to the handkerchief and disappeared.

The boy woke up after an hour to discover food in front of him. He gazed around for a second to see if anyone is in possession. But, the second seemed too long for him to be patient; he soon broke his hunger and started eating posthumously with both hands. As he raised his head, he saw the water fountain showering at the same place where he dropped the coin. He lifted the handkerchief to find a bear and lollypop hiding below it. He always knew with the same 2 rupee coin he dropped in the pond, he could have never afforded to buy so much of stuff. He thanked the magical pond for granting his wish and went back to sleep.

Naina’s dad bought a chocolate pack when she was not around and placed it nicely in his coat’s upper pocket. He saw Naina coming bare-handed and without bear. His first reaction was Naina must have been robbed by some mischievous boys. He ran across her as to confirm nothing went wrong with her. She told him the entire story. He was taken aback and felt contented to hear his daughter’s matured behaviour.

He took her to the magical fountain place and asked her to make the same wish again as he plummeted a two rupee coin on her palm. Immediately the chocolate fell on to her hands and she told daddy that the magical fountain does work and grant all what so ever you wish with a pure heart.

P.S: This work is purely fictional and imaginative and is written with pure content of writing my first short story. Hope you like it and I welcome all thoughts and reflections for this blog. I would like to thank my brother Raghav for taking out time and reviewing, editing my concept.

Thanks a ton Raghav!!!

Monday, October 5

Kaminey : Hum Dono Judwa Hai!!!

No this isn’t the review of the movie, KAMINEY. Neither am writing this blog to appreciate how well Vishal Bhardwaj directed it nor to mention anything about the brilliant performance of protagonist Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra.

The title may sound confusing but honestly it’s about me and my twin brother (RG), how we were during school, me always being a nemesis of his goodwill nature, his characteristics and how he would always cover up for all my mistakes. We are identical twins who never use to stutter or say ‘F’ for ‘S’ as Guddu or Charlie from the movie, but, the only thing that was common between us was...if one of us falls sick, the other will follow after few days.

Through this blog, I’ll publish few instances of kaminapan each of us played in our childhood. Fo (So), Fit (Sit) back and enjoy the blog. No pun intended in thif (this) article.

Kaminey 1: It once happened in school when our Maths teacher asked each student to recite the tables. My twin RG was always very good in reciting tables and I was complete opposite to him. He was known for his behaviour and intelligence whereas I was famous for my lethargic, dumb nature. When he stood first in class, I stood nowhere.

We were so similar in looks that my mother bought different colour jerkins so the teachers and students in school do not face any difficulties in distinguishing as to who’s who in the class. RG’s id was always before me in the class. Teachers would never call us by names instead by roll numbers. After RG successfully delivered the table for 14 (I knew only till table 5), very soon, I realised it was my turn. RG would always sit with me (the Back Benchers) when it sounded trouble.

RG while moving back to his seat observed I was apprehensive and that’s when he decided to sit right next to me. I knew he’ll help me out from this mess somehow. As we were sitting together, we exchanged the pullovers (the sweater) and he went in for me and recited the table of 19. 19, good lord, if he wasn’t there, I knew I was dead.

The teacher except students, never ever came to know that it was always RG, who recited the tables for both of us.So as the dialogue from the movie goes, "Life ko jeene ke 2 tarike hai - fortkut (shortcut) aur chota fortkut (shortkut)"

Kaminey 2: Making girl friend in school was an in thing those days. It was a prestige issue and a thing to brag about. RG was always very studious so he never invested time or money on girls. He was so unlike me. I remember I had a very nice girl as friend when I was in 9th standard.

It was a weekend when me and my gal decided to meet coming Sunday. She called me on Saturday to confirm about the venue and timings. Mobiles were not very popular those days. So, she gave a buzz on my landline and RG lifted the phone in my absence. She wanted to talk to me when my twin hung up for a second or so and answered the call speaking as if I was on the call. She fixed the venue details with RG and he never bothered to tell me about that.

Now when Sunday came, she waited for 2 hours and returned back all very frustrated. Next day in school, she confronted and asked why I didn’t show up when we fixed the plan for Sunday. I asked confusingly, “now when did I fix a plan with you, instead, I was waiting whole day for your call and you never turned up???” that’s when I figured out it was RG who intentionally didn’t tell me about the call and screwed up things for both of us.

That’s when my first crush soon turned as my last girl friend, thanks to my very supportive twin.

P.S : Do read my bro Rg's reply to the same blog here!!!

Wednesday, September 23

Fibonacci Series


Life, sometimes, is funny. Well, for me, it was quite opposite; life was sometimes serious but was never very serious.

Today, I’ll share a very interesting incident happened during college. It may not sound hilarious now but from the day I experienced it, till date, I do laugh whenever it comes in mind.

It was my first year of college and Computer Science practical exam was going on at 3 in afternoon. The practical session would not last for more than an hour.

Computer’s was one subject I loved to hate and would always run for covers. It was my final practical exam before I could move into the next semester. The invigilator was an old guy like a service class employee, very lethargic in his movements and with wrinkles all over the face.

Soon after the verbal (oral) evaluation, the last half hour in the torture room was given for performing the practical. It was more of an execution room where the innocent was made to sit in an electric chair and was given shocks until dead.

On the teacher’s desk was the Pandora’s Box which had the entire C program name chits written on it and each one of us was suppose to build code on whatever chit was picked from the box in last half hour. Only half hour, I knew I was already screwed. I almost gave up.

C reminded me of Yashwant Kanitkar’s “LET US C”. Whenever I had a thought about the book, I always believed there was lot of sarcasm, wickedness involved in the way Yashwant titled it ‘let us C’ and true as everything sounded Greek to me.

Anyways those chits in the box were like evil about to unleash. My hands were trembling and water running down the spine with round circles whirling around my eyes as I lifted one paper bit out of the god-dam box.

As I was tried to figure out exactly what was mentioned in the slip, a heavy voice like that of YAMRAAJ came from behind. Soon I realized lords' from hell has come to take me away with them. As I turned, it was my invigilator asking for what program was mentioned in my slip. I slowly read Fibonacci series followed by a loud uproar from the teacher saying, ‘’Go to your desk and start writing the code on F series’’. Without lifting my head and eyes stuck on to the paper, I stumbled upon my desk. It’s not I was mentally engrossed in thinking the logic for the program, in fact, was actually trying to figure out the meaning of the word FIBONACCI.

The guy sitting next to me, Rajesh, was a quiet guy who knew computers more than me, at least.

I thought he’ll be my saviour and I slowly whispered to him, “Dude, any idea what does Fibonacci series mean?” Rajesh took more than expected time in replying, “Dude! Fibonacci was a Chinese who discovered geometric progression series: 2, 4,8,16...” My immediate response was, “Discovered???” Rajesh exasperated, “u want to know or not”. But was he sure, even Rajesh didn’t knew. Anyways, his reply came as a signal of relief for me but for a short span.

I again glanced at my slip and found some random numbers written at the bottom with OUTPUT as the word describing those numbers. I showed it to Rajesh and his immediate response was, “dude, u r screwed...”

I started cribbing some stdio input output codes on the blue screen.

It was the last ten minutes of the session when the invigilator decided to visit each student’s desk and evaluate him/her on the basis of code written. When I and Rajesh were left for the final evaluation, suddenly, the bell rang stating the end of session. The teacher announced, “Please show me the final outputs now as your output will determine your logic’s design.” Soon after Rajesh’s brutal evaluation (as his output was all blank black screen, unfortunately), the teacher paced his steps towards me and observed me pressing the compiler and debug controls on the screen. As he came across, the black output screen popped and Fibonacci series was generated. The teacher was enthralled to see the outcome and prompted, “Son, you’ve learned your concepts very well, am proud of students like you!!!”

But how did I manage to print that output. Well am writing the same code I used in exam and now, will surely never forget for the rest of my life.

The Fibonacci code:

#include
#include
void main(void)
{
int i,j,k,l,m,n,o,p,q,r,s;
clrscr();
i=0;
j=1;
k=1;
l=2;
m=3;
n=5;
o=8;
p=13;
q=21;
r=34;
s=55;
t=89;
printf("%d\t%d\t%d\t%d\t%d\t%d\t%d\t%d\t% d\t%d\t%d\t%d\t",i,j,k,l,m,n,o,p,q,r,s,t);
}
getch();
}
So was the corresponding output.

Wednesday, September 9

A Drunken Soul

This poem is dedicated to all the Respected "drunkards" of the world!!!

It was a Friday night,
kept all office work aside,
Went to a pub & tapped "red wine".

Got drunk midnight,
And the bartender escorted me to my car, parked on the right.

When i was saturated with wine,
Rolled the empty bottle down the parking line.

As i started my drive,
a loud noise and the pole hit my van,
An old fella' cried, “he's a DEAD MAN!!!”

Saddle of alcohol in my eyes, made the whole world look blind.
Reached 100 on the highway and I realized, I was out of my mind.

Reached home at morning 3,
unable to open the garage,
Hid my van under the tree.

Slipped into the room and slammed my door,
and my mobile banged on the floor.

Mobile buzzed late when I almost slept tight,
A friend invited for the party early morning tonight.

30 minutes later,
i was with him.

After few beers,
I could not walk,
I could not talk,
I slept at Drinker's Den!!!”,
Hell, the club closed after 10.

Next day,
Had puked on my shirt,
My eyes were red and head was engaged in the hangover fight,
That’s when the cop pulled over and tried to figure out,
What the f*** happened to him last night???

Monday, August 17

A Night To Remember


Soon after the FIFA confederation cup 2009, William and family decided to come and visit Raj’s place for dinner. Raj spoke to William in morning and confirmed the party starts at 6 in evening. Sophie (5 yrs.), the youngest daughter was desperately waiting for daddy’s return from work.

William phoned at 6 to apologize as he was held up at work. Raj had no plans to postpone the dinner as most of the preparation was done for the kids, so he decided to wait.

William arrived at half past 9 in evening. Not only Raj but Sophie, Anna (8 yrs.) and William Jr. (6 yrs.) were annoyed with him for delaying the festivity by three hours. Mrs. William told Raj, Sophie slept near the window waiting for daddy’s car till it was dark.

As soon as Sophie got out of the car, she looked around and came running towards Raj with open arms. He lifted her and gave a warm welcoming hug. She whispered in his ear, “I am sorry, daddy came home very late.” Raj replied, “Its ok baby. Sorry to keep you waiting but we’ll enjoy every minute now at my place and I’ll scold daddy for being late and he won’t get the supper tonight.” Sophie was smiling once again while she cuddled in Raj’s arms.

In short span of time, the living room was with smiles and cheers. Sophie looked up and asked Raj to sit next to her. Mrs. William responded immediately, “aaw, Raj, she likes you a lot.” He replied, “Yeah, now she’s my baby, right Sophie?” She nodded affirmatively. Each one in the room was pleased. Raj got chocolates, muffins, cake, pastries and ice cream ready for the kids. But before all this, he wanted everyone to taste the Indian tea. All of them, including the little ones, had tea twice. William agreed, “This Indian tea is an addiction, nirvana, but unfortunately am not blessed with an Indian wife who can make such a nice cup every day for me.” Before Mrs. William could reply to Mr. William’s statement, Raj offered 1 more cup of tea and the method of making such a tea to Mrs. Williams.

Anna, William Jr. and Sophie wanted to see the apartment. Sophie was tired, so Raj picked her up and showed the rooms. Raj and kids were so engrossed in chatting and playing, that they lost track of time before Mr. William tartan at his watch and it was half past 11. The kids were tired and their belly was full. So Raj served Indian cuisine for Mr. & Mrs William. Sophie came in kitchen rasping an eye and said, “I want to sleep Raj.” He apologised Mr. William and asked him to serve himself until back. He picked her up, she crossed her arms around Raj’s neck and asked him to carry her to the bedroom. There was an angelic innocence in Sophie that Raj could not resist in pampering the adorable beauty. She asked Raj to be there with her till she’s slept.

As Raj rested, Sophie slept on him. He covered her with the duvet and slowly rolled her on the bed but her hands were in his jacket pockets. She was a little angel who just didn’t want to leave Raj. He kissed her on forehead and blessed her with a good night sleep.

Meanwhile, William and other kids were enjoying the desert in the living room. At around half past 12, William decided to leave. Raj gave chocolates, cake and stuff to kids and Indian tea powder and recipe to Mrs. William. Mr. William took Sophie and dropped her in the car. As she woke up, she asked her dad, “Why are we leaving right now? I want to stay here for some more time.” William promised Sophie that they’ll come here again someday as he also wants to taste the Indian tea again.

Raj went across the car and gave hug to all three angels. As they were about to depart, he observed a tiny tear formation in Sophie’s eyes. As she winked, the drop trickled on Raj’s hand. He doesn’t know what was happening but she offered her arms and he lifted her from the car into his arms. She put her hands around Raj’s neck, head on the chest and legs around the waist and hugged him tightly. She kissed and said, “Raj, I’ll wait for you to invite me once again to your place.” Raj kissed and promised her that he’ll meet his darling baby very soon again. As the car started moving, Sophie took her head out of the car and cried in soft tender voice, “I’ll MISS YOU Raj.”

He waved till the car disappeared in street’s light.
Next day afternoon, Raj got a call from Anna saying thanks for the dinner last night and now they are waiting for the next visit. Sophie came online to wish Raj and whispered “I LOVE YOU, Raj.”

P.S: The real names of the characters are unacknowledged and hidden in this story. it's a real incident that happened with me couple of days back!!!

Wednesday, July 15

Agneepath To be Remade With Hrithik Roshan


1990, Movie: Agneepath, Casting: Amitabh Bachchan.
Scene: Inside Police Station:
Inspector Gaikonde: Naam kya hai tumhaara?
VDC: Vijay Dinanath Chauhan.
Inspector Gaikonde: Baap ka naam?
VDC: Master Dinanath Chauhan. Umar 36 saal…12van ghanta chaalu hai….

This powerful dialogue is not only popular among Sachin Tendulkar or Vinod Kambli, these hard hitting words were quite a legend in itself when said by "The Legend" and were quite common on every kid’s lips since 1990 till date. Agneepath went on to become a smashing hit HALL OF FAME entertainment picture. A protagonist did Godfather, Don Vito Corleone’s role with utter brilliance. AB overshadowed all and sundry in film industry by this deadly appearance, looks, style and hoarse voice in this entertainer. AB was no less then Marlon Brando of Indian film industry. As the saying goes, “a masterpiece can be made only once and that gets termed as CLASSIC.” It happened like this with Agneepath.

It was truly a masterpiece from the trio of Tinnu Anand, Mukul Anand and Amitabh Bachchan.

Now, the rumors are, Karan Johar is planning to remake Agneepath under Dharma Productions banner with Hrithik Roshan as Vijay Dinanath Chauhan. Now this news excites not only me but also every man who was kid in 90's and today's generation. But with excitement there's lot of apprehension as to what the movie gonna be like and will it be as good as the original or will it prove to be another blunder like DON.

No doubt, Hrithik is a protagonist in himself, a complete package with an unmatching acting talent, but will he be able to emulate the style, the persona, the charisma, the anger which AB had in his eyes then in the newer version? Will it be another mastery perfection or will it be a clutter? Shahrukh fell on his face when he tried his hands to remake DON but the bottomline till date is, none can beat the real DON of indian cinema, the invincible Amitabh Bachchan. Later, SRK agreed for vain effort he made in re-doing the movie.

Will Hrithik Roshan be able to bring the same huskiness as AB had in Agneepath.

Has Karan Johar got at par direction talent as Mukul/Tinnu Anand? Will he be able to give a bootleg hit or will it run for covers?

Will the new Agneepath prove to be the mother of all remakes and a turning point in Hrithik's career or will it bring doomsday for Dharma productions?

Agneepath (as movie) but particularly “Vijay Dinanath Chauhan” as a name, as a character, became a brand since then. Will Hrithik Roshan be able to recreate the same magic and rebrand and continue the saga?

What will happen if Agneepath is remade with AB Junior as Vijay Dinanath Chauhan?

Dialogues from the movie had its admirer all over, today it becomes a fad, a thing of ridicule when the same dialogues will be delivered by the new age Macho Hrithik Roshan?

Who will play the role of Danny, Mithun, Madhvi, Inspector Gaikonde and Rohini for the new Agneepath.

Well, the doubts are unending, I am frantically waiting for the launch of this movie next year after Kites.

I sincerely hope that Hrithik does an archetypal performance as always and live up to the expectations of not only THE LEGEND-Agneepth and Amitabh Bachchan but also of all the crazy aficionados all over the world.

Thursday, April 2

Why...?

Why is the dead today alive?
Why the colour changed to black from white?
Why did “my land” became “my country”?
Why have I become my own enemy?
Why is the heart full of hate?
Why do I kill my very own mate?
Why every time seen become unseen?
And injustice there’s ever been.
Is it an end of the beginning, or
Is it the beginning of the end?
Whatsoever may be?
This is definitely the “DAWN OF THE DEAD”.

Casino Royale : 007 to 700

The licence to kill, 007, turned out to be a lethal, self destructive, self killer permit last Saturday night when I lost 700 Rands (close to 3500 INR) playing on roulette table in Montecasino that ugly night.

The night picked up slowly for me. After 5 pegs of BARTRAMS brandy at friend’s place, I, Vijay, Rama, Bala and Ramesh decided to hit the royal montecasino to dig some luck. I was preoccupied with something else besides just trying my luck on the game of numbers v/s luck v/s money. I wanted to eject out all the agitation, anger I had within me past few days. And, the only way I could abstain myself from the self inflicting frustration was by spinning the ball on the roulette table.

Rama left an open caveat in the house that none should gamble with anything less than 200 bucks in pocket. Anyways, I had plans to play with more than what he demanded. So the ball spun for the very first time for all of us in the house. Suddenly, Ramesh backed out as he had no plans to drain away his money trying to play with numbers where the probability of getting a number is 1 out of 36. Fair enough.

I exchanged 200 rands for 2 black chips and invested each of them on the black box and 18-36 range. Well, that was it; the adrenaline shot with some guzzle noise once the ball started rolling and till it freezed on some number. My eyes were revolving around the white ball, till it didn’t come to a halt. Imagine one could see the white ball’s reflection in my eyes. It stopped on some black number other than what I predicted. But, you call it half luck or psyche; I won an extra black chip out of it. So my 200 became 300 in a jiffy. I was already in love with this game. I kept 1 chip in my pocket and banked the remaining 2 chips on black and 3rd section boxes each. No surprises, it fetched me another 100 as gain. I was in air. I felt like I’ve mastered the game. In less than 20 minutes, out of 200 rands I made an extra 200 bucks. Ramesh asked me to stop here otherwise I gonna lose all my money this time. But for me the buck didn’t stop here. With 2 chips in my pocket, I invested the remaining 2 in the next game. Wished if Ramesh would have been so good in predicting what numbers gonna come this time other than predicting my “FATE” this time, because, I lost all my 200 rands in the third game. It looked as if the ball snatched away my money stealthily. Within myself, I was cursing Ramesh with best of both the worlds’ abusive stuff for the wrong forecasting. So I was back to square one situation. The big white ball’s reflection in my eyes was washed away with bigger water droplets. But I didn’t lose the hope. I took out the remaining 2 chips I had and tapped it on the same numbers I played in the last game. To my surprise, the floor felt like slipping beneath my feet. I lost the last 200 I had with me. The final 200 Rands was burnt to flames in no time.

Before I could play another game, I decided to change the table and my accomplice. I sent Ramesh far-off, nowhere in my vicinity.

It’s so confusing sometime, you see people playing, putting their money on a number out of fluke, mathematic calculations or out of luck, whatever, but still winning the game in the end. I played all the games counting on my luck and based on the pattern of numbers obtained in last few games. Finally I decided to invest another 300 for 3 black chips on range of numbers. I had no idea what mathematical formulas I developed in my already numb brain, but it was definitely a mixture of probability, luck factor, flukiness and maths with continuous liquor feeding to all the veins in my body, I actually developed an equation in the brain itself which can go through any kind of flame test as I was pretty sure it’ll always give a profitable results end of the day. So a little bit of thinking, setting all the numbers in this so called hypothetical equation, I invested my 3 chips, this time again on a range of numbers. The ball started rolling. Every round covered by the ball started lengthening my heartbeat. And the moment the ball slowed down and started looking for a number to house itself, my heart was pounding like wanted to come out of the body and my balls stuck right in my throat. The formula back fired and I lost everything. The ball stopped at a number which was no way near my predicted ranges. I was DEAD silent like a dead dead. I decided to quit. I went out and grabbed a seat. The waitress came and served me with complimentary beer. Then she got 1 more beer for me. Before she could flood me with the third one, I squirted myself inside the royal casino to check out how my friends are doing.
The scene there was more painful and sad, as if we've come to a demise. Bala, after losing 500 left for home with Ramesh. Vijay and Rama had lost 1000 and 2500 respectively. So my 500 loss was very meagre in front of their losses. This boasted my morale and I decided to invest 200 more for the last time. I guess I was foolish enough to invest again this time.

No more calculations or thinking, I randomly picked up 2 ranges and invested 2 black chips on it. The ball rolled for the last time. My eyes were popping out of the shell to keep a close watch on what number the ball stops. But to my dismay, I lost this time too. I lost the last penny I had, which I gambled for pursuit of my ultimate happiness. Remembering the thought that I lost 700 rands felt like as a truck ran over me. I decided to keep silent and bury this secret within my heart.
I left from their as a loser and promised myself, I gonna hit this place again very soon and will recover all the losses I made tonight.

Good night.

Caution: Playing in CASINO is injurious to the health of your wallet!!!

Wednesday, February 11

The Journey Begins

Day 2

Sunday, Morning 09:30, 9th feb 2009

MORNING SIDE VILLAGE, JOHANNESBURG

09:30 hours was actually 13:00 hours back in India. Least expected, my mobile buzzed off as my colleague tried reaching me for 5th time continuous. I lifted my head and stretched my hands to grab the watch. The intersecting hands, struck afternoon’s 1 on my analogue watch, just in time to send sinusoidal waves in my head. But, soon I realized my first jet-lag was set in. But, instead, the pleasant South African morning did away all my time trail.

I got ready in no minute as my bosses were waiting for me to go for the site seeing. We were on the road once again. I saw the best of 2 and 4 wheelers guzzling on highways and roads with minimum average velocity of 120 kmph. Man that was stealthy. the best of car brands were in the house. You name it, SA has it. Every second car in South Africa is Volkswagen and every third car is either BMW or Nissan or the mini coopers and Renaults or the Mercedes. I won’t be surprised if someone says me that South Africa is the biggest importer of IVY LEAGUE cars in the world. Ducati, BMW bikes were the hot favorites after the Hondas and the ninjas. Well, the startling fact was India’s rich class car, Volkswagen, was actually the common man’s vehicle and the only indian brand running on African roads is TATA. Anyway, moving ahead both in car and in the post, we reached MACKRO supermarket. I did some window shopping and moved to SPA grocery store, a big big store on M1 high downtown. Once done, we moved to 1 of my colleague’s (Bala’s) apartments in MORNINGSIDE VILLAGE. Chicken was prepared at home on the grills with rice and dal. Pre-lunch, offcourse, a unanimous “hi 5” decision was made to wet our throats with “VAT 69” whiskey. Post lunch, I checked my mail at Bala’s place. My eyes went on a mail from a friend back home which made me miss that person the most. I immediately replied back and went numb with a feel of missing someone. I relaxed my ass for some time in the room and tried “Absolute Stock” beer.

Evening everybody planned to go to a casino but my roommate Krishna insisted me to stay back. I met his friend Praxi a.k.a Prakashni (a durbanite) and 3 of us got on to the road for a long drive in the windy weather. We moved across the Sandton city driving at 140 kmph, crossing Gordon road on M1 national highway in Jo’burg and dropped in at YoSushi to catch something for dinner. To my surprise, the meals were supposed to be eaten by chopsticks. I felt awkward as well as humiliated with the fact of creating a fool out of my ass among other guys. But they were supportive enough to teach me how to eat with sticks and ordered a “Black Cobra” beer for me. I enjoyed eating yo’s sushis. We circled around the city for some more time before night’s 11.

Finally, I dropped into my apartments and zoomed right into the bed, i was thinking about my second day's progress report when suddenly something hit me. Did I miss anything? Well, yeah, not the places but I did miss someone tonight…

good night!!!
C ya tomo..

Monday, February 9

The Emirates

Day 1:

Feb 7th, Saturday, Morning 3 AM

I am sitting in a not so isolated Chennai airport @3, waiting for the first call for passengers traveling to Dubai in an Emirates flight EK 543. No doubt, I was pretty excited about my first international trip to Johannesburg via Dubai, but on the other side, I felt far too sleepy, and, icing on the cake was, I could see most of the passengers half slept in a manner, as if, performing some roadside gymnastics, truly, a “statue” moment.

Anyways, the first call was made to board the flight. I along with the bunch started off our journey on a very exciting note. I was more content not with the fact of boarding an international flight but for making it till here (P.S. Luck off course played a crucial role in my selection). The Emirates flight to Dubai from Chennai was all set to depart. Truly speaking, Boeing 347-700 turned out to be a helluva experience for me. You need to see it to believe it. Three parallel rows with monitors on each seat, the ambiance, the comfort level just left me baffled in a pleasant way. There were loads of movies, games, radio channels, TV and you won’t believe this, a phone to make calls from the flight to your loved ones back on earth. Truly, unimaginable. Last I saw this was in Face off movie, when Bruce Makes a call to his wife traveling in the plane hijacked at around 40k above ground.

The flight took off at quarter to 4 and in an hour, the staff served me with, I may call it as either my Friday night’s dinner or Saturday’s breakfast. Channa masala with boiled eggs and “Jacob Creek” red wine. WOW!!! That was my first reaction. But, I knew there’s more to come, after all, Emirates is known for their service. Fact: In Emirates, they serve you every 2 hours, to keep you up and comfortable on long journeys. I plucked in my ear phones and watched “Death race” movie for around an hour and a half, till the hostess came in and asked for anything to drink. I hesitated initially, like any normal Indian would do, but, then, I finally asked for a beer (only if it’s complimentary). Well, next thing was, there was a Heineken beer right on my turning meal stand and water in my mouth and passion in my eyes as it never occurred in my life history when I get to experience the taste of Heineken. As soon as this not-so-sugary nectar touched my lips, I felt salvaged. Carrying on ahead, I was fed with my second breakfast with snacks and chocolates as add-ons. The transient journey died as soon I landed in Dubai at 10 IST. Well, the 6 hour journey turned out to be a definite roller coaster for me.

Waited at the terminal for 2 hours before boarding into a new Emirates flight EK 743, hitting Johannesburg this time. The similar ambiance as I experienced in the first half, I was flooded with more beer and more wine. I decided to watch two and a half movies back to back (half because I have already seen the movie back in India). I started with “the bank job”, followed by “High School Musical 3” and finally “Singh is king” and in the meantime, I experienced the best of Dubai’s non veg in the flight along with JC wine. I would say, I was tired eating but they were not tired serving. So, we landed in Johannesburg at around 4 in the evening (7:30 IST). The worst part was, jet lag was set in. time on my wrist was nowhere in sync with the timings in SA. I got uncle SAM’s dollars exchanged in rands (SA currency) and purchased a Vodacom mobile connection in the airport itself. Frank was there to do the pickup and I settled myself in BMW 320d front seat. My second WOW experience. He offered me to drive it but I depressingly backed out. we made our way to the guest apartments where I met many Indians and got accustomed to their climate and habitat and style of living. People who were already staying in were very supportive and cordial. I met Krishna and Kiran, and these were the guys who shared their apartment with me. I had my very own personal room in SA now. No jokes!!! Late in the evening, krish and I, went to an ISCON temple which was a very enchanting experience for me. There were too many Indians there which gave an impression of being in India again. Thanks to Mahatma Gandhi, there was 1 more india but not in india. I was too tired and about to call it off for the day when a welcome party came as a surprise to me. I had “johnie walker” whisky along with butter chicken and rice. Well, this was one day in my life where I had more alcohol than water. I came back to my room and slept tight to seal the day with my first international south African blog diaries.

More to follow…

Thursday, January 15

Thank You for : "No Smoking"


No Smoking:
A movie about a rich, arrogant chain smoker whose well wisher advises him in vain to stop smoking but not before his girl friend decides to leave him if he does not give up smoking. He decides to go to “THE LABORATORY(prayogshaala)” (a rehab centre for salvation from smoking).

The rehab centre has 3 main rules for smoke addicts as a “QUID PRO QUO” to their puffing. If you smoke, the centre will:

1. Almost kill your loved ones.
2. Will cut your finger. And finally, if you still don’t quit;
3. Kill your loved ones.

Now, if K(John Ibrahim) takes even one puff of cigarette again, not only he’ll be charged the rehab fees but will also have to face the consequences of the 3 golden rules.

The movie takes a u turn when K finds it hard to quit smoking. Every cigarette of his will act as an unsaid “yes” to rule 1 followed by 2 and 3. He tries to smoke when none’s watching but to no avail. He’s being followed everywhere. His life no longer remains his own. A labyrinth of life puzzles surrounds him like the unstoppable rehabilitation from which there’s no escape.

Guys, If you wanna know more about as to what happens next, better say “No to smoking but not to movie

A critically acclaimed movie but didn’t do well at the box office. Anurag Kashyp’s made a pure Hollywood branded stuff with shots taken in Indian slums and Russia. A slow, serious movie with exceptional performances from Paresh Rawal and John Ibrahim.

A movie definitely for the nerds, for the psychos, who’ll start smoking instead of quitting after watching it. I’ll give 10/10 to anurag for the script and for the screenplay.

P.S.: Watch ”Pan’s Labyrinth” to understand how life maze works.


Thank you for Smoking:
A comedy drama about a lobbyist whose main job is to encourage smoking among youngsters by convincing them about its harmless effects. His idea is ask oneself, to judge as to what is harmful, harmless for you. What may be wrong for the society may not be wrong for you. “ if your mamma says, chocolates are bad, will you take it up??”, ask Nick (the lobbyist) to school children. Similarly one cannot abstain from smoking till you find out its pros and cons. “So, the future of America, bend the rules and start smoking”.

Nick turns out to be a hero in his son’s eyes, but on the job, he finds many including the US senator who envies him and his message to encourage smoking among kids. When asked as to why he spreads the wrong message, he’s got one answer for all, “everything is mortgaged!!!”.

A critically acclaimed movie again which got mixed response commercially. A must watch for all the youngsters, who wants to learn, how can cigarettes save someone from dying.

A dialogue from the movie, when doc says to Nick, “smoking cigarette just saved you, otherwise you would have been a dead man today”

My take 9/10.

Thursday, January 8

Transform Together

DISCLAIMER:
The poem is written with intentions to support and motivate every member of Satyam family and to hope, one day, the company will again rise to newer heights and the show will continue with the same magnanimity as it has continued in the past for 20 years.

A dialogue from the movie 300, "They were 300 men, against a million!". Here we are 50k against the entire world. Let's re-write history to create another feat of Spartans on the Persians.

No matter how deep we fall,
No matter how great was the wall.
No matter how high the pain,
But, a true leader, one day will rise again.

Let’s hope against hope,
Not dither away from scope.
Everyone makes mistakes,
But not everyone’s a pope.

Be the captain to save the ship,
No matter how high is the tide,
Let’s save the boat from the mightiest flip,

The morale is down, but not the SPIRIT,
Let’s TRANSFORM TOGETHER, not separately, but with IT.
What was yesterday, it won’t be the same tomorrow,
So focus today, focus now, to cease future’s sorrow.

I, take a pledge, I won’t quit,
What so may come, I will not let the wall split,
I promise not much, but I promise this a bit!


P.S: All thoughts and reflections are welcome!!!

Tuesday, January 6

Chandigarh to Chennai


It was a month of December when I started my journey from my native place, Chandigarh to my working place, Chennai. No wonder, the five inch difference between the two places on the map will actually take 12 hours of traveling for me. I started from Chandigarh at 10 in the evening on third-last day of the year when it was freezing zero degrees Celsius outside. The only thing missing to prove the icing temperatures was...it wasn’t snowing! Searching for a rickshaw puller at an hour when the probability of seeing a stray dog even is bleak, I walked, alone, with the bag on my shoulder, hoping against the hope to find someone to deport me to the bus stand. A walk further, I saw a locked tricycle on the stands’ with the owner sleeping next to it, all cuddled up in a trampled shawl with the half slept stray dog on a night watch duty. I decided to move ahead without disturbing either of theirs naked sleep. Few yards ahead, I saw a rickshaw puller, riding, on the opposite side of the two way road. I waved to get noticed and shouted with a shrill voice as if someone’s kept ice cubes in my throat. That must have been the only sound that must have traveled to his ears other then the guzzling of the winds through the leaves. He halted, charged me the heftiest amount a rickshaw puller can extract (thanks to the condensing temperatures) and couriered me to the bus stand in no time.

I seated myself to the comforts of a semi deluxe bus, scheduled to depart for ISBT, Delhi at 11. The non stop conduit started the journey once every seat was sold. Doom prevailed all over. The only thing visible was the streaky traffic tubes flashing an ambush from the opposite side. The fog got so thick that except the driver none could figure out even an iota difference on what lane the bus was moving.

By the time I reached Delhi, dusk made way for the dawn. Delhi, least expected, but, proved to be cooler then Chandigarh. Miniscule water drops created a white blanket on the wild grass. I took out the last-minute shawl mom gave and covered myself from top till toe. Guzzling winds urged me to look for a tea stall nearby. Hot cup of tea proved as a blessing for the hard hit soul. I soon remembered a quote from Oscar Wilde, “What seems to us bitter trials are often blessings in disguise”. I finally took a CNG local bus from the stands to IG Airport. It took another one hour to reach the destined point.

At 7, when the sun was out and pouring its light yellow streaks on my part of earth, I felt a sigh of relief. After a brief check-in bustle at the air-station, I gathered my exhausted body covered in winter wear and got into the plane. The artificial bird took a detour via Hyderabad to Chennai. I compensated three hours of the journey with last night’s lost sleep. The moment I landed in Chennai, the desirable and wanted, yet-so-likely sun in Delhi turned out to be an unwanted, undesirable, not-so-likely ball of hot fire in Chennai. I, without any thoughts, threw away the winter wear before someone gets a chance to ridicule me.

A 12 hour journey came as a soul stirring experience as I moved from the freezing climates to the blistering temperatures. An inch’s difference on the map turned out to be a thousand miles journey from shivers to heat strokes.

Definitely, un voyage pour se rappeler!!! (a journey to remember!!!)

Saturday, January 3

An Unfinished Life

The best thing after watching a movie, reading a novel or doing anything creative is is to write about it on the blog. It rarely so happens when I write movie reviews twice in a row but let’s hope that the next blog do not turn out to be a hat trick for me.

Sometimes it makes me wonder why do we miss movies during their time of release and watch them later once they are archived in the history. And sometimes it so happen, classics fizz away unnoticed.

Well, 2009 is slowing proving for me as the year to watch the best of the reel stories on the virtual screen and publish my reviews about the same here on my online public dairy. So, hold on guys, tonight I bring you my viewpoint about the classic movie “An Unfinished life”.

Seeing the heavy star cast itself prompted me to declare this movie as NUMERO UNO among all 2005 released flicks. What more you demand from the movie which has veteran actor Robert Redford along with Morgan Freeman and JLO together under one roof. Am sure, the first day of the movie release would have definitely raised critic’s eyebrows and made viewers go gaga.

Directed by a Swedish, Lasse Hallstrom, movie says a lot about unfinished lives of almost all the main lead roles of the movie. Robert Redford plays a role of a father who lives alone in a ranch who lost his son in a car accident thanks to his daughter in law’s reckless car driving and now he misses all the fun time that he could have had with his son if he would have been alive today. JLO along with her daughter comes back to stay with Redford in his ranch without his approval. Robert finds his son in his granddaughter while JLO does everything to convince her father in law about her innocence in the accident. Morgan Freeman has his own story as a bed ridden neighbour of Robert who was attacked by a wild bear while trying to save a calf from the clutches of the wild bear. The tomb of Robert’s son has embarked “An Unfinished Life” which gets completed when everything resonates synchronously with Robert accepting JLO’s innocence and forgiving her and Morgan Freeman freeing the wild beast from the zoo.

A must watch movie. I’ll give nothing less than 9 out of 10 for the movie.

Friday, January 2

The Cinderella Man

“Hey, wassup, any plans of what next as you’ve almost run out of work at home as well like in office?,” came a sarcastic question from my roommate. I, gasping for words from the mouth, thought of one good thing I did in 2K8 to save my ass in future from these kind of annoying questions. And, the good thing was, I bought a laptop to not only to safeguard myself but to kill time when am completely jobless or idle-ohlic.

Sitting idle for too long and waiting for someone to bail me out of this situation, I questioned myself and remembered the very infamous statement that says, “god help those who help themselves”. I took out the laptop from the bag and started exploring the folders I last created. It came off as a surprise when I found a treasure of around dozen unwatched Hollywood movies I missed out previously. I felt elated as my laptop came as a rescuer for me in my bad times.

To pick one from the best was a tough job but I settled on to the fact that no matter what I pick, one day I would have watched all of them. So tonight I review a movie which once again proved as a virtual retreat for me at the start of the year.

Cinderella Man:

Mae Braddock: “Maybe I understand, some, about having to fight. So you just remember who you are... you're the Bulldog of Bergen, and the Pride of New Jersey, you're everybody's hope, and the kids' hero, and you are the champion of my heart, James J. Braddock.”

Listen to these hard hitting dialogues said by Mae (Renee Zellweger) to Jim (Russell Crowe) before the final boxing match. It sounded so powerful when she says this, with trust as well as fear in the eyes for her husband as she might not see him alive after this.

Based on a true story of the legendary heavyweight boxing champion, Jim Braddock, Russell and Renee did a onetime classic role in this drama movie together. Both out performed each other. No matter whatsoever roles comes this gladiator’s way, he gonna prove it to his audience, that he’s best among the best. After a long time, I watched a classic flick like this.

Story of a boxer, a family man, a humble father, an honest guy, who breaks his hand in one of the boxing match and decides to retire from the arena during the great depression of the late 30’s. He does menial job to earn bread for the family and then decides to come back and put on the gloves to knockout every contender he faces. And he does it in style. And soon, the Americans as well as I, finds in him, a benchmark example to come out of the great depression America has ever faced in the same way as he does in his comeback by winning all the matches irrespective of the broken hand and injuries.

The second half of the movie definitely raised my heart beat from normal to frenzy. Every punch shot, in the movie, raised me from the seat as if some spring was kept beneath it which automatically pounces once Jim raises a punch to hit his opponent, Max Baer (played by Craig Bierko) in the movie. It was as if I was watching a live boxing match with full support for Jim to win it not only for himself but for the family and every common man in New Jersey. Truly, this classic deserved to be titled as a “Cinderella Man”.

A must watch masterpiece which deserves nothing less than 10/10.
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