Tuesday, April 28, 2009

100 Word Story - A new sport is being added to the Olympics ....

(Story topic from 100wordstories.com)

2044 – 8 year old Sal watches “Superman” Todd Ryder, his father, do a spectacular backside720 to clinch the Gold in the Men’s Half Pipe (Snowboard) at the Winter Olympics …

2068 – Sal is vegetating in his run-down trailer. Within the last decade, the planet has become a dusty oven. Polar Ice caps have almost melted and snow is … as extinct as a dodo.

But Sal is hopeful … almost ecstatic. Now he has a chance to reclaim the lost family honor and fame. The next Olympic Games, to be held in Mojave Desert, have a new sport – Men’s Freestyle Dirt Boarding.

100 word story - Why did the Monkey have a gun?

I saw a website that posts 100 word stories. I wrote one on the topic posted yesterday but was late to submit it (they have a new one everyday).


Why did the Monkey have a gun?

Superintendent Pawar says “Saab, I’m very sorry for your loss. If you want, we can take care of that animal.”

Raghavan replies “You know, I found Johnny when I was with the Kerala forest department. He really liked us. Especially Sandhya.” His voice fades. He abruptly gets up and says “Sir, I’ll take your leave.”

They shake hands and Raghavan walks out. Pawar sighs and mutters “Motherfuck, what is this world coming to? Pet monkey shoots the wife. What next, god?”

Raghavan walks to his car. His lips reveal hint of a smile. Damn – the hours spent training that little monkey paid off.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Indian Currency Survey by the Economic Times

About time we had a fancy currency symbol. It will soon replace the $ sign (Alt Num 4) on keyboards around the world.


Monday, April 13, 2009

The death of teamwork in basketball caused by the NBA

I have been playing basketball for over 15 years and for this reason, I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about the sport.

This weekend, I went for a pickup game with someone that I had recently met. Out of the 8 people there, I was the oldest by a good 5 years. The youngest person of the lot was actually half my age!

All the guys had good basketball and athletic skills and I had to rely totally on experience rather than strength and athleticism while playing the game.

It soon became obvious to me that most of these guys in the other team (the kids picked out a strong team for themselves - or atleast that's what they thought) looked to shoot rather than pass. They would only pass if they could make a fancy pass. Eventually their plays became predictable and my team was able to beat them easily.

Moral of the story - most of these guys have never had formal coaching. They have learned the game by watching the NBA on TV. In an effort to emulate Kobe and Iverson, they have become ball-hogs.

Is the NBA responsible for creating "showtime" players and promote individual showmanship rather than teamwork. Is the game suffering? After this weekend, I am seriously looking at my life-long idol, Michael Jordan, in a new light. Is he the one responsible for the death of teamwork in basketball?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Movie Review - "Watchmen"


I was looking forward to "Watchmen". Personally, I am a huge fan of sci-fi and fantasy movies (my dog is named Obi-wan). So I eventually land up watching most sci-fi movies and liking many which others absolutely detest (Waterworld, Alien vs Predator to name a few).

I read "Watchmen" last year and was amazed by the creativity, blown away by the plot and, quite frankly, a little bored by the speed at which the story moved. Even to a naive film critic like me, it was apparent that capturing the essense of such a progressive, creative and complex story on screen would be tremendously difficult.

Director Zack Snyder manages to do that, to a large extent. Through his signature semi-slow motion fight sequences and the camera technique that were present in "300", he creates the fantasy world of 1980's USA with President Nixon still in power after winning the Vietnam War with the help of the Watchmen. It's easy to draw similarities between Christopher Nolan and him despite their distinct styles.

But the sets, photography and special effects are the not the 'meat and potatoes' of this super hero flick. The characters and the story is the most important part of this movie. I suspect that this is one of the main reasons for a lukewarm response by audiences that expected to be wowed away by action sequences, special effects and invincible superheroes.

Let's get to the crux of the movie - the characters. The acting of Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschach) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Comedian) is exceptional. Haley, in particular, was outstanding.

Crudup (Dr. Manhattan), Ackerman (Silk Spectre) and Wilson (Nite Owl) are ok - with some good moments and some bad moments. According to me, all three of them were miscast. I am certain there are other actors who would have portrayed these characters better.

I have always liked Carla Gugino in all the little roles she does (and she rarely does anything of consequence). Goode as Ozymandias is the weakest link of the movie. It would be unfair to call his acting terrible but he fails to deliver the critical punch that the movie requires to attract more people to the theatres.

All in all, I came out of the theatre entertained. The movie was not exceptional but contrary to what others have said, I think it is much better than "300".

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

India's Shoegate

Today as an expression of rage and disgust, Delhi based journalist Jarnail Singh hurled his shoe at the Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram. Jarnail Singh was obviously p***ed off that Jagdish Tytler, a Congress candidate, was exonerated by the CBI for the charges of inciting a riot against Sikhs following Indira Gandhi's assasination.

Here is a Youtube video of the incident.


Quite frankly, the incident was amusing more than anything else. Copying something that has already been done twice before made this whole situation comical.

Chidambaram joins the elite club of George "Dubya" Bush and Chinese Premier Wen Jianbao. Wonder who's next. Any guesses?

Bombay Extra HOT

The last week in Bombay has been excruciatingly hot. I believe that the temperature touched 42 Celcius on one of the days.

Isn’t this evidence enough that Global Warming is truly affecting our planet? Bombay has never had this kind of temperature in early April.

I am flabbergasted that educated Republicans in the United States believe that global warming does not exist and that this cycle of extreme climate is repititional. To even suggest something like that is insulting human intelligence. I am glad Palin/McCain lost - with them at the helm, the environment would have taken a backseat. That being said, I am curious to see what Obama does about the environment. His actions regarding this issue will speak a lot about his character as the environment is an issue that is easy and convenient to overlook.

In India, I would love to see some more awareness about this too. I mean, I watched a fair bit of the news this week. Saw a lot of coverage about elections, cricket, movies but none whatsoever about the heat in Bombay. Personally, I would like some national coverage that spoon feeds our junta about the ills of global warming, over and over. I think that would help.

Movie review - “Firaaq”


I went to watch Firaaq not knowing anything about the film and therefore not expecting much from it either. The fact that Naseeruddin Shah was in the movie was reason enough to pay the 300 Rupees to go watch it.

As someone deeply interested in politics and having been involved in several psuedo-intellectual conversations and debates about the Godhra riots, I was immediately interested and was keen to see what the director/writer’s take was on the Godhra incident. But as the movie went on, I realized that this movie was not about wrong or right, the writer did not take sides. There was no moral of the story and the movie was despair-inducing without showing any real desperate scene.

Did I find this frustrating? A little … It might have been nice to see a tighter script with some definite conclusions but I was glad that the movie was original, creative, emotionally complex and realistic - characteristics that are not present in most Bollywood movies.

Most of the characters were really well developed. The casting was spot on as most of the actors did a great job. There were 5 intertwined stories.

In the first, Paresh Rawal and Deepti Naval were exceptionally stellar. Their characters, their acting, their presence, their story was brilliant. I was always a fan of Paresh Rawal. Deepti Naval, where have you been? It would be nice to see you in more movies. Without these 2 and their episode, the movie would have been below par.

Naseer is wasted in the movie. His story starts off promisingly and he almost pulls off a weak story but it falls short. Towards the end, I was just hoping that the movie would not focus on his story but on Rawal/Naval or Suri/Chopra.

The Sameer story (with Sanjay Suri and Tisca Chopra) was decent. Sanjay Suri does a fairly good job of portraying the responsible guy who’s been f***ed over because of no fault of his. He did a similar character in “Sorry Bhai” (which was a terrible movie). Tisca is very good. I have to say that she did not make too much of an impression on me in “Taare Zameen Par” but her portrayal in this movie was very believable and likable.

The Mehndi girl story was ok; it could have been so much better … in terms of story, acting and the final outcome.

The last storyof the 5 guys running around for the gun - now, that was the disastrous part about the movie. I kept on thinking aloud - “Now what are these 5 morons doing? Would someone please shoot them?” That whole episode should have been re-written or omitted.

I came out of the movie feeling a little disappointed but that does not take away from the fact that the direction was excellent, the idea was original and creative, the acting was great and that the movie was subtle and emotionally complex. A great directorial debut for Nandita Das (I only found out that she was the director after the movie). I will see her next film.

Welcome to my blog!

It’s my first blog on this site. Like many bloggers, I believe I have a lot to say. Most of it is and will be random nonsense. But I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining.