Cheeni Kum...

Bottom line: Not totally worth all the ravishing reviews - but definitely refreshing and bold!
Worth the watch: Amitabh, Tabu,Zohra Segal,Swini Khara
Wasted: Paresh Rawal
Storyline: A 34 year old woman, with a 58 year old father, finds her man in the gruff, egoistic 64 year old London chef, who has a wonderful 99 year old mother and a 'sexy' girlfriend in his 8 year old neighbour who suffers from leukaemia.

Definitely a different movie for the typical Bollywood lapping average fan. With a bold story portrayed by the charismatic Amitabh Bachan and the graceful Tabu, this movie was bound to create ripples at the box office. While the first half of the movie was really amazing - what with the unexpected boldness displayed in Tabu's character, the beautiful nuances and expressions of the 64 year old character beautifully painted by Amitabh and the subtle and good-taste humour of the debutant director - Balki - creeping in, the second half was really disappointing. Paresh Rawal's character was totally wasted on repetitive humour which after a while, got onto the nerves, just when one was beginning to believe that this was a really classy movie. Thankfully, the petite and charming Zohra Segal, saved the show, while the 8-year old 'girlfriend'- Swini Khara - stole away the viewer's hearts with her beautiful performance. Worth a one-time watch - for the brilliant performers, the scenic London setting, the title tune (originally from Mouna Ragam ) and the bold storyline - which was presented awesomely well in the first half.

Jana Gana Mana or Vande Mataram?

An issue that has rocked the Indian intellectual community - since the popular email forward - "Vande Mataram" for National Anthem - tunneled its way into our mail boxes. Though many people accept the popular notion that Tagore the wrote the poem in praise of the Almighty, there are many who still feel that the poem, written just before the coronation of King George V, is not 'indigenous' enough to be recognized as our National Anthem.
Here's a quote from the Indian Express (1968): "He (Tagore) got up very early in the morning and wrote a very beautiful poem.... When he came down, he said to one of us, 'Here is a poem which I have written. It is addressed to God, but give it to Congress people. It will please them."
Personally, I'm biased in favour of Vande Mataram. Here, I feel it is important for me to state my stand on Jana Gana Mana, before I start my ramblings. It is a very beautiful song as well. I'm recently into Rabindranath Tagore's works (and that's how this blog came about) and I realized the beauty of this song while studying an English translation (how ironic!) of this poem. It is our National Anthem, and I will always take the words with the respect it deserves. I will always sing it, in praise of India.
In short, I love Jana Gana Mana too, but somehow, 'Vande Mataram' gives me a very simple way to relate to my country - the one which I know and love! From when I was a III std kid, I've heard Vande Mataram every morning on DD Metro!! And yes, it being one of the first ever poems I've read and appreciated (because of Anandmath - the book in which this poem was first published - being one of my all time favourites) I'm inclined to be a little emotional about this issue!
Most importantly though, Vande Mataram was, has and will always be sung in praise of India and India alone. No imprints of a colonial rule. The 2 words that will always remind us that we are a free and proud country. A song that hails our Motherland's beauty and bounty!
Our Country has recognized Vande Mataram as our National song. Infact, I think we are one of the very few countries in the world to make a distinction between 'national song' and 'national anthem'
What I'm advocating is for Vande Mataram also to be sung at our National festivals - for it to be recognized on par with Jana Gana Mana.

Visual DNA

I was just going through my friend's blog (The Avenger) and I saw an interesting title - which said "Visual DNA". I liked it and so I tried it out too!! Here are my results!

A lesson learnt from my younger sister!

Just yesterday, I was talking to my sister. It was just when she was saying that CBSE still hadn't announced the dates for the release of relults when I saw a flash illuminate my LCD monitor on the CBSE results webpage! We were both elated to learn that her Board Exam results would be released this Wednesday! The sudden excitement discharge into the atmosphere (extending over several hundrend kilometers from Chennai to Singapore - thanks to Gtalk :-D) got my heart thudding at a racy pace! (Its really wonderful how you really conncect with people through common experiences!)
Anyways, what really amazed me was what she did immediately after! She called up her Physics teacher and informed him that the results would be released on 23rd May at 8 am - and where would he be at that time? In school or at home?! (so that she could personally convey her results to him)
The thing is - I had the same Physics teacher - Sunderesan sir! And he is, very frankly speaking, the best teacher I've ever had! Despite the enormous regard I had/have for him, I could never connect with him very well on a personal level. Maybe that's just me - really awkward on all fronts! With me, it always has to be you, who must initiate the conversation! I remember how much I wanted to go and tell him my results and thank him very much for the strong physics basis (on which I'm currently pursing my Engineering degree) - but how I was really hesistant to be one of the first to go - or to be the only one to be gawked at by several juniors - or to even make a phone call...and, well several other reasons! Anyways, I did finally tell him what I wanted to, but I did it with my friends - as they say - 'kumbal ooda Govinda!'
Yeah..It was good enough for me, then, - but I realized that the least a teacher, who puts his heart and soul into making you understand, what is very trivial to him, expects, is for you to be upfront in acknowledging his contribution. And that made me very proud of my sister. No pretence. Just plain, straightforward gratitude.
Perhaps, to you, this is just another lame post - but that's beacause you are already a straightforward person with no 'complexity' or 'shyness' issues. Yesterday's incident has however, made my resolve stronger - to be courageous enough to tackle and face challenges instead of hiding behind a facade of 'I'll get hurt' attitude - in short to be able someday, to do what my sister did spontaneously yesterday!

Ab Hindi mein!!

बहुत ख़ूब!! अरे वाह! अब से हिंदी में भी पोस्ट कर सकती हूँ! धन्यावाध ब्लॉगर!
मेरा पहला वाक्य- जैसे राकेश शर्मा ने पहली बार स्पस जाके कहा था - सारे जहाँ से अच्चा , हिन्दुस्तान हमारा!

"The Gardener"

In the morning I cast my net into the sea.
I dragged up from the dark abyss things of strange aspect and strange beauty - some shone like a smile, and some glistened like tears, and some were flushed like the cheeks of a bride.
When with the day's burden I went home, my love was sitting in the garden, idly tearing the leaves of a flower.
I hesitated for a moment, and then placed at her feet all that I had dragged up, and stood silent.
She glanced at them and said, 'What strange things are these? I know not of what use they are!'
I bowed my head in shame and thought, 'I have not fought for these, I did not buy them in the market; they are not fit gifts for her.'
Then the whole night through I flung them one by one into the street.
In the morning travelers came; they picked them up and carried them into far countries.

- Quoted from "The Gardener" by Rabindranath Tagore

A really beautiful piece don't you think?! Very craftily stating that ever so often, we give away 'opportunities' that are within our grasp! Somehow, ever so often, we are so influenced by the people around us that we rarely stop and wonder if we should at all be doubting our intuitions!

Pasi konda neram....Thalikum Oosai
Santhosha sangeetham...
Eloooo Ppl! :-D yep...that's two of my favourite lines from the song - poo pookum oosai ! Was feeling really hungry just before lunch - thus the 'quote'!! Enjoy the song!!

Postman Uncle!

You know how we talk about freedom fighters, the 1857 revolt and the like. Things that were great, things that we are proud of, but things that belong to the past.With the advent of emails/SMS we no longer use what is now popularly known as 'snail mail.' And so, it seems that POs and Postmen have slipped into that category - at least in our minds.
A postman - Whenever I hear that word, the one thing that comes to my mind is an R.K.Narayan story - a lesson in my English text book from high school (Sorry! Unfortunately I don't remember the title..Please help me out here if you know it - leave me a comment! To be of some help,I remember that the girl's name was Kamakshi...) It described the postman as a friendly tatha (grandfather) who was loved and respected by all in the village. It was so obviously a fictional potrayal. Born and brought up in a city, the postman was never held in very high esteem in my neighbourhood.
Though, one postman uncle will always hold a special place in my heart. Back in those days (at the dawn of the new century .. :-P) I used to be this cute, chubby 8th Standard girl who used to write cute little verses for a magazine called 'Gokulam.' You see, the thing was that whenever your piece got 'published' you would receive a 'money order' (of Rs 20) in your name!! And everytime the doorbell rang and the postman uncle came - he'd give me a smile and say -"Ms Archana yar ma? Avangaluku money order vandiruku" and I'd give him a huge smile and proudly ask him "Enga sign pannanum uncle?" Even a thousand dollar paycheck today doesn't give me the pleasure and joy that those 2 tattered Rs 10 notes, which the postman gave me, gave.
Anyways, there are always beautiful memories from the past to reminisence from. So let's get back to why I suddenly wrote this blog! I was,as usual, just browsing through the newspaper when I came across this article about what POs are doing today - in a world where its been ages since you received a letter via normal mail. And it made a great reading. And so I wanted you guys to read it too! It just shows how much you can do when you want to - The only other direction where efforts must be put in, I think, is advertising and publicity. What do you think?

Here's that article which appeared in The MetroPlus supplement of The Hindu (on 15th
May, Chennai edition) The link to the actual article is below as well. Enjoy!

Dekho ek dakiya aaya
Thaila ek haath mein laya
Pehna hai woh khaki kapde
Hath mein dheron chitti pakde
Add to the description a rickety bicycle and you resurrect a childhood memory of a postman. Naturally then, a recent promo on TV of a private telecom operator featuring village kids making paper boats out of inland letter cards (signifying their red undancy) infuriates your sense of a precious past. So much so it prods you to find out whether in the age of ‘e-volution’, the postal department and the postman, part of our daily life those days, have really gone out of work. But quite interestingly, you find that the little red mailbox just got bigger, not long after you penned your last letter. And quite silently so.
As the number of personal letters began to decline heavily (50-60 per cent currently, according to the Department of Posts’ Book of Information 2004-2005) due to the advent of technology (read SMS, e-mails), our postal service looked inwards for a way out and came up with a bank of new services. And none seems to be anywhere near the term ‘snail mail’. Citizen service centre
Rather, the day is perhaps not far when you would use your area post office as a full-fledged tech-savvy citizen service centre. For already, you can use your PO to pay electricity bills, mobile bills, traffic chalans, property and income tax, electronically transfer money not just to the last village but also to 185 other countries, dispatch e-mails and e-greetings to places with no Internet access, apply for a passport, post letters through the PC, send bulk mails to your clients and even paste ads on postal stationery. Also, you can now buy stamps with fragrances and might be able to use your photo as a stamp one day!
A senior postal official says, “Every year, we deliver prasadam from Tirupati in bulk to many places in the North and the Ganga water to the South. All you have to do is place your order at the nearest post office.” Talk ing about possibilities of moving anything movable, the official talks of a popular Japanese pickle brand ordered only through post. “Just the other day, a company asked us to despatch shirts in bulk. We not only delivered them but did the packing too. There is a lot of possibility,” he says. But the biggest hitch for the department seems its long-established image of a letter pusher.
“Perception is reality and that has not changed, sadly,” admits another senior official from the department. The department had invested in six advertisements but has not been able to make much of a dent.
“But what has worked for us is the trust people have in the system. Private courier services don’t have the reliability of an established network like ours. When it comes to doing the last mile, our postmen are dependable,” he says.Long serving record
Yet another point to note is the long-serving record of its employees. And because of these pluses, the officials emphasise, many courier companies worldwide have now been sold to postal departments. Take TNT, now owned by Netherlands Post, or say, Deutsche Post, which has huge shares in DHL.
Some courier companies are in touch with the Department of Posts to work together, particularly in the rural areas. That all its software is being developed in-house adds to its cost-effectiveness.
“We are continuously training people at our training centres. Our software is world class. Take Meghdoot. It is used in 40 countries.”
Even as you add this to your list, you hear that soon, railway tickets can also be bought at the PO.
And, talks are on with airline companies to sell tickets at the PO.

Have a sporty attitude!

I recently read a post on Arthy's blog [Check out my blog roll to visit her blog]. It was about indulging in sports.
I could relate very much to that particular post - Maybe because I'm obssesed with being overweight and am looking for ways to shed a few (no actually several) pounds - Or Maybe because I'm usually this reserved, self-keeping person and its when I play that I unconsciously become normal with an ability to communicate healthily ( infact I've made nearly all my friends during the course of a friendly chat over a game badminton!)- Or Maybe because I feel really fresh after I enjoy a good game of tennis/badminton. After an hour of relaxation, I am , you may say, ready to take on the world! - Or maybe because its just something that I really enjoy doing!
Well whatever the reasons may be I'm also saying the same thing - If you aren't playing, you are missing out on something major in life!

A crackdown on music piracy

A recent article on the web caught my attention – “Music piracy crackdown nets college kids.”1
The article recounts the music downloading experiences of Sarah Barg, an advertising major in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She was one of the many students who was caught illegally downloading music by the Recording Industry Association of America and was required to pay an exorbitant fine of USD 3000 (USD 750 as fines and USD 7.5 for each song she downloaded using the school’s computer from a p2p sharing platform called Ares) to escape being sued.
Today, with high bandwidth connectivity and an even larger range of piracy websites and file sharing programs, illegal downloads are commonplace enough. Especially among statistically shrewd youngsters, who estimate that the probability of their being caught illegally downloading songs/videos is extremely low. So instead of rightfully investing in mp3s/CDs/DVDs they risk the chance of being caught; ignoring the small sized disclaimers which appear in almost every piracy website/file sharing program.
When caught however, they learn their lesson – in an expensive way. To quote Sarah Barg, “Technically, I'm guilty. I just think it's ridiculous, the way they're going about it.”Most would agree that such steps, however harsh they may seem, are required. The fines that are imposed more than anything else advertise the fact that illegal downloading is indeed against the law and is punishable. Despite this, many students still have a lax attitude. To quote the article again, Johnson, a freshman, doesn't think the threats from the recording industry group are going to solve the problem. His friends who got into trouble still share music online. "People are still going to do it until they get caught, and they can't catch everyone," Johnson said.
So what can be done to solve this problem? The online iTunes store introduced by Apple, which sold songs online – allowing individual songs to be sold instead of the entire package, did reduce online music piracy – but its hard to resist the temptation when these songs are available for free elsewhere on the web. So should there be a change in the legal policy to accommodate this new technology? Or is this an opportunity for a technopreneur to design a meter to keep record of when and how many files of the mp3/wma/rm… formats have been downloaded by the system? Only time will tell.

1) Music piracy crackdown nets college kids - By Anna Jo Bratton (Associated Press), ET May 13, 2007

I'm a proud Indian today!

The opinion page article which appeared in "The Hindu" (A leading national daily in India) today made me feel very proud (more than usual) to say that I'm an Indian! [scroll down to read it]
You know how some stories catch your eye - well, this was one of them. I had been following the happenings in UP over nearly a week and yes, I must say, I was given a pleasant jolt when the ECI cleverly asked the BJP to openly condemn the contents of the controversial CD. Playing well within its legal and unofficially accepted lines, the ECI strategized in a manner which ensured fairness while at the same time settling the controversial issue without any riots breaking out - And yes, that is indeed a laudable effort!
Turkey, marching and rallying for secularism, should indeed be an example to all of us. In a culturally rich and economically booming India, religious harmony would indeed propel us further onto the world stage, faster.
Just on a side note - India is going places!! Am I one of the last to realize it? Anyways, as they say :- better late than never! I was just looking through Wikipedia and one article that caught my eye was Dr. Manmohan Singh [on a side,side note :-D its literal translation is Charming! I knew that but never thought of the name in that manner!] Anyways, the line that really made me smile wide was "He is the most educated prime minister in Indian history!" I knew that too, but what I realized when reading the article was that the world is increasingly looking up to us!! And what can we do? As a first step, I have decided to follow our country's motto - Satyameva Jayate (Truth alone triumphs)
Okay, here's the editorial from the the Hindu that inspired me to write this blog - Its from (May 14th,2007)
Well done, Election Commission
The Election Commission of India's strategy on the Bharatiya Janata Party's defiant communal ism has succeeded brilliantly. The ECI needed to pick up the gauntlet when the saffron party challenged it and the electoral law with a venomous CD at the start of the campaign for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. In asking the party to condemn the contents of the production while reserving the right to derecognise the party, it acted with firmness and reasonableness. In the end, the BJP, whose leaders quibbled and equivocated about the CD's contents and status right through the election campaign, was left with no choice but to come out with an unequivocal condemnation. The Commission did the sensible thing in turning down the plea that its powers should be used to derecognise the BJP as a national party. Invoking Paragraph 16(A) of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order 1968 — which empowers the Commission to "suspend or withdraw recognition of a recognised political party for its failure to observe [the] Model Code of Conduct" — would have set a dubious precedent with uncertain legal and risky political implications. As the Commission itself has conceded, its power to derecognise a party has not yet been judicially tested.
The condemnation wrested from the BJP has come on the back of defeat in an Assembly election that was fair and wondrously free from the predicted violence and anarchy. This was a tremendous achievement in a State that has a voter base of more than 110 million, 113,000 polling stations, 403 Assembly constituencies, and an unenviable history of bogus voting. It was accomplished by a thorough verification and cleaning up of the voter list, tight control of the polling process, and 100 per cent coverage of the polling stations with central paramilitary forces. Such an achievement would not have been possible without a cohesive, well-knit, and independent ECI. There is nothing wrong in criticising the Commission, for example, when it overdoes campaigning restrictions or seeks to `ban' opinion and exit polls. But what must be deplored is the attempt by the BJP to undermine the institutional integrity of the body through a self-damaging campaign against Election Commissioner Navin Chawla for alleged bias towards the Congress. For the sake of even-handedness, it needs to be pointed out that before N. Gopalaswami — L. K. Advani's chosen Home Secretary who was appointed Election Commissioner by the National Democratic Alliance government — took over as Chief Election Commissioner, there was a whispering campaign about his political inclinations. In both cases, the branding has been shown to be baseless and irresponsible. The elections of the past two years — in Bihar, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Punjab, and now U.P. — have borne no evidence of any refereeing bias. It is ironic that during the campaign Mulayam Singh accused the Commission of being an agent of both the Congress and the BJP, and post-election he has blamed the ECI for his defeat. For argument's sake, it must also be pointed out that constitutional functionaries — be they judges, speakers, governors, or presidents — may come from different social and even political backgrounds and have their firm ideas and connections. The critical thing is that they must function with integrity, independence, and impartiality in high office. The three members of the ECI have certainly done that to the acclaim of democratic India.

You are the indulgence I'd love to have in every moment of my life

-Dedicated to my loving mother,caring father and my beautiful sister!

This being my first weekend after a long first week at my first ever internship, I was on the lookout for the perfect quote to describe my feelings - and I realized that this fit the bill perfectly!
Moment's Indulgence 
I ask for a moment's indulgence to sit by thy side. The works
that I have in hand I will finish afterwards.
Away from the sight of thy face my heart knows no rest nor respite,
and my work becomes an endless toil in a shoreless sea of toil.
Today the summer has come at my window with its sighs and murmurs; and
the bees are plying their minstrelsy at the court of the flowering grove.
Now it is time to sit quite, face to face with thee, and to sing
dedication of life in this silent and overflowing leisure.

- Quoted from Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore

Its called ture love when you wish that your someone special were at your side to share such precious little moments of joy that make life worth living.