Sunday, August 14, 2016

Jon Stewart on Crossfire

I recall watching the Crossfire on CNN during the late 90's and early 2000s. There were some good moments and it served a purpose. But you have to agree with Jon Stewart, when he describes the show as a mockery of journalism.

Crossfire, and later MSNBC, and then FoxNews all took to the concept of "show", and slowly but steadily left "news" way behind. Today this has eroded TV News Journalism across the board everywhere in the world.

In India, TimesNow and a boat load of Hindi news channels have adopted the concept of "debate" shows, where less news is produced or talked about, but more noise is created to dumb down the viewer.

You see, news was and is always boring, and without of drama and punchlines would be unbearable to watch. And so enjoy the news.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I Love My Country ...

India is my country. 
All Indians are my brothers and sisters. 
I love my country, and I am proud of its rich and varied heritage. 
I shall always strive to be worthy of it. 
I shall give my parents, teachers and all elders respect and treat everyone with courtesy. 
To my country and all my people, I pledge my devotion. 
In their well being and prosperity alone lies my happiness.

These words still ring true in my ears. But when i see what is happening now in the country. I am saddened. Deeply saddened. I wonder if the government yesterday and today realizes what they are doing to the fabric of the nation.
I have hope that we will outcome all this.
One day. Soon!

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Somethings you learn at school, you never forget. I am not talking basic arithmetic or science. We all know that 2 times 2 is 4, and the world is not flat etc. I am talking some serious poetry. Poetry for a person who is otherwise not enamored by poetry.

This is one that struck me, the very first day, i read it, and has stayed in my head. I liked the way it was constructed and the story it bared. The last few lines were favorited by many, and has been quoted repeatedly.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
- Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.
What struck me the most was how the verses rhymed. The poem itself was simple to read and understand. While many have associated philosophical theories to these simple lines. I see only something simple, that is also beautiful. Kind of like, a Steve Jobs inspired design.

To talk a few words on the rhyme and structure. The poem uses a interesting rhyming scheme. The last word of the second last line in the four line verse, rhymes with the words of the next verse. So the third line of the first verse, "He will not see me stopping here", rhymes with the lines from the next verse. And "Between the woods and frozen lake", from the second verse will rhyme with lines in the next.

Much before i had seen snow in my life, i visualized it. The rider on the horse, and the winding path leading out of the woods. I saw it all. The words made it so easy to imagine it all.

Simple, Beautiful or simply beautiful. You pick your adjective. 

Sometimes, I wonder though. I had seen a movie, Telefon. A spy thriller, starring Charles Bronson. Would this poem have had the same impact, if i had not seen the movie soon after first reading the poem in my school.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Parding your beggon, Kister Monductor !!

These two lines i recalled from my days at school. But didnt remember much else. All i remember was that the poem we learnt, rather say we read, was very funny. And "Kister Monductor", was a phrase thrown about for sometime.

Thanks to the WWW, all of the world's library is available to you at the click of a few buttons on the keyboard. And lo and behold, i stumble upon "The Muddlehead".

The Muddlehead - ( Ogden Nash )
I knew a man from Petushkee
As muddleheaded as could be.
He always got mixed up with clothes;
He wore his mittens on his toes,
Forgot his collar in his haste,
And tied his tie around his waist.
What a muddle head was he,
That man who lived in Petushkee!
They told him as he went about:
"You've got u'r coat on inside out!"
And when they saw his hat, they said:
"You've put a saucepan on your head!"
What a muddle head was he,
That man who lived in Petushkee!
At lunch he scratched a piece of bread,
And spread some butter on his head.
He put his walking stick to bed,
And he stood in the rack instead.
What a muddle head was he,
That man who lived in Petushkee!
He walked upto a tram one day
And climbed in very sprightly;
Conductor thought that he would pay,
Instead he said politely:
"Parding your beggon,
Kister Monductor,
I'm off for a week's vacation;
I stop you to beg your cramway tar
As soon as we reach the station."
Conductor got a fright
And didn't sleep that nite.
What a muddle head was he,
That man who lived in Petushkee!
He rushed into the first café:
"A railway ticket please, One way."
And at the ticket office said:
"A slice of tea and a cup of bread."
What a muddle head was he,
That man who lived in Petushkee!
He passed the man collecting the fares,
And entered a carriage awaiting repairs,
That stood on a siding, all by itself.
Half of his luggage, he put on a shelf,
The rest on the floor, his coat on his lap
And settled himself for a bit of a nap.
All at once he raised his head,
"I must have been asleep"- he said.
"Hey, what stop is this?" he cried
"Petushkee," a voice replied.
Once again he closed his eyes
And dreamt he was in Paradise.
When he woke, he looked about,
Raised the window and leaned out.
"I've seen this place before, I believe,
Is it Kharkov or is it Kiev?
Tell me where I am," he cried.
"In Petushkee", a voice replied.
And so again he settled down
And dreamt the world was upside down
When he woke, he looked about,
Raised the window and looked out.
"I seem to know this station too,
Is it Nalchik or Baku?
Tell me what its called," he cried.
"Petushkee' a voice replied.
Up he jumped: "It's a crime!
I've been riding all this time,
And here I am where I began!
That's no way to treat a man!'
What a muddle head was he,
That man who lived in Petushkee!
These words, now are more accessible to me. And i can come back here to check the lines of one of the more likable poems i have read.

Sunday, July 19, 2015


Bāhubali, the one with strong arms, is the latest movie from director, Rajamouli. I have been tracking this director and his movies, ever since i heard of Magadheera. That superlative experience, was followed up by another astounding storytelling, this time about a fly, Eega (or Naan-E, in tamil). After these two i was thirsting for more.

Bāhubali, proves that Rajamouli is a master storyteller. A story, that we have heard variations off, a million times, or another interpretation of the epics Mahabharata and Ramayana, had to meet this craftsman and turn into this grandeur. He carved out characters, and their portrayal by actors who have managed to breathe life into them. In the first part, that i have seen twice till date, Sivagami and Kattappa stood out.

Sivagami was essayed by Ramya Krishnan. The queen Sivagami, her grit, her love and her justness all showcased so beautifully. Subtlety matters most, to make the greatest impacts. And Ramya Krishnan and her director, showcase that in their execution of this character.

Kattappa, the faithful slave, was breathed into life by Sathyaraj. Sathyaraj is no lightweight when it comes to acting. However, with a lesser director, he would have played out a very usual and often seen impersonation. This time however, he picked and chose his dramatics well, effectively using them to show us a Kattappa we have never seen before.  

Every other character in the story played their part well too. When you watch the movie, you saw the story, you saw Shivu or Mahendra Baahubali, you saw Bhallala Deva, Avanthika, Devasena and the rummaging barbarian king. There was no Prabhas, no Rana, no Tamanna, and no Anushka.

The star of the show, was none other than Rajamouli.

Waiting eagerly for the next .....

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Swamy vs Arnab - Calling Names

I clipped this video from NewLaundry's Clothesline program. Its a sad commentary of what news reporting has come to in India. Today the proliferation of 24x7 TV News Channels, has resulted in a dearth of quality news to report. I mean, think about, there isnt enough news in the world to keep one 24x7 channel going for a full day, and then how can it feed 20 or 100 more channels.

Well, then you begin calling each other names. Or as a shameless TV host, you let others call you names on a nationally broadcast news.

Arnab Goswami is known to make a fool of himself, and given his self-indulgent attitude, he probably practices this looking into a mirror. So, it is not unusual to find him making loud mouthed statements and drawing flak on TV. But this is new territory for Arnab himself.

You laugh, but one part of you must seriously think that this sad. Really Sad !


Sunday, January 18, 2015

One napkin too many ?

How many napkins (paper tissue) should one take? I know how many to use, but how do I know how many I would need when I am pulling them from the dispenser?
I usually take one too many and then I am in a conundrum - to return or throw the perfectly clean and unused paper. 
I wish there was an app for that !?