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Missing Maz

Memories may be but yet
Of my heart clutched within the pages
In a black sweat and brown pants, she was

Of the guest house on the lake the steps
To forget we simply choose
For the future live, moving on we are

To those times what happened, hmm?
Of Dagobah walking the streets
With undomesticated excitement like a child

Because always moving on, you are
Rather stay here than go but you know not, would I
Tumbling down everything comes

Agony terrible
Each teardrop that bleeds stifle I
Of our time together fading I think

On the second floor landing
Your almond eyes your pigtails and
Like an arrow time flies

Metaphors and similes
Like the beach on the seashore
Our reminiscences I treasure

It is like, invisible, am I
To hear we need no promises
So near but still orbits away, you are

Time stands already still between us
Eight days a week in heaven seventh
But still afraid to let it flow, am I.  Herh herh herh.


Dhanak – a little girl’s journey of faith about Rainbows in the Night

Most of you know the famous poem ‘Footprints in the Sand‘ where as the poet’s life flashes in front of him, every scene had two set of footprints, one set belonging to him and another to his Lord. During the darkest times, he is troubled that there is only one set of footprints, it of course being that way because in those times the Lord carried him.

Filmed in the desert of Rajasthan, Director Nagesh Kukunoor;s Dhanak is such a beautiful representation of a 10 year old girl’s faith, as she seeks the cure for her 8 year old brother’s blindness. You will see the beauty, color, simplicity and kindness of rural Rajasthan weaved with it’s ugliness, darkness, complexity and cruelty.

Hetal Gada as the 10 year old steals the show and keeps it together while the rest of the actors do an awesome job too. The songs are either hummable or have a good beat; I liked the mashup of the hippy “Let’s Give Love a Chance”  with the classic  “Dum-A-Dum Mast Qalandar”

May be you will come back believing that if you truly believe you can see Rainbows in the Night.

An equation for me has no meaning unless it represents a thought of God

Srinivasa Ramanujan’s life story is well made in the recently released “The man who knew Infinity”, depicting all of his mathematical brilliance and obsession, humble spirituality and egotistical arrogance,  along with his physical and emotional vulnerability. I believe they have done a great job of recreating early 20th century Cambridge with its backdrop of the First World War, but then again my idea of what it was like at that time has only come from other movies.

Where the movie misses its mark is in the initial scenes in India where the conversations with his mother and wife as well as between his mother and wife happen in English; they should have been in Tamil with subtitles and it would have given the movie a more authentic feel.  Nevertheless, both Devika Bhise and Arundhati Nag play the wife’s and mother’s character well.

Ramanujan was often known to say “An equation for me has no meaning unless it represents a thought of Godessentially implying that mathematics is simply a way to discover the formulas that a Creator has designed. Almost every true scientist who has advanced our understanding of the world has believed in God including Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Pascal, Newton, Boyle, Faraday, Planck and Einstein, unlike today’s so called scientists who apply the scientific method blindly without any understanding of first principles having sold their souls to either their corporate employer’s whims and fancies, or the entities funding their University Grants.

I will leave you with this exchange with his guide Prof. Hardy.When Hardy says “I don’t believe in God; I am an atheist“, Ramanujan is quick to retort “It’s not that you do not believe in God, but you have convinced yourself that God does not like you.”

Ich Bin ein Berliner

Amalgamating the beautiful and ancient with the modern and ugly seems to be a favorite pastime of the artistic powers that be in Berlin. Besides the incongruity alluded to regarding the Reichstag earlier, the Pergamon had an exhibition of Afghan artist Aatifi going on and they had on display an unequivocally hideous mass of black and blue paint on a large canvas apparently created with broad brush strokes by this gentleman.

Read more in India Current Magazine

Strong performance by Sonam Kapoor in Neerja

Half of the movies I watch, I go see them on the first day or weekend as I do not want to be biased with everyone’s opinions, and so I watched Neerja yesterday.  I only glanced through the reviews this morning and whole heartedly agree that this movie is a must watch. Sonam Kapoor makes you believe that she is Neerja and that Neerja was actually the 23 year old brave flight attendant that was portrayed by her. She has been slowly growing up since her days in Delhi 6 and Raanjhanaa; I guess I have not paid attention to her and may have missed seeing  her Khubsoorat and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. Note to self – consider watching her future movies seriously.

The story of Neerja is well known and you even know how it is all going to end but there is never a dull moment with superb performances by even the minor-est of  characters on the flight, and the director manages to maintain the nervous tension throughout. If the speech at the end by her mother played by Shabana Azmi does not make you cry then you are missing a few emotional genes.

While at this, also want to recommend that you watch AirLift; If you have never  faced a gun barrel, both of these  movies will give you a feel for what it is like to be at the other end of it.

Chapter 1, Para 1

[looking for feedback to see if you would want to read the novel that started this way]

The red Dupatta* slipped off her shoulders for the third time as Sowmya answered “He stays in Sunnyvale”. The tall heavyset immigration officer stopped himself from correcting her as after a decade in this job, he understood that she had used the word stays to mean lives. He thought she was pretty despite her oiled long hair had been tied tight into a pair of braids. Possibly it was the way she had put the braids in front of her bosoms to take attention away from them. Nonetheless his eyes were always drawn to the vermilion the girls from India applied at the parting of their hair. She was more than a few inches taller than the average Indian girls who had passed by his booth; 175 cms he noted on her Indian passport.

His next question took her by surprise. …

*Dupatta – long multipurpose scarf


Tamasha is good theatre for the storyteller’s tale

“Great Storytelling” said Sharath and  “Loved it….. Sublime… Artists will love it” chimed in Juuhi, whence Gurjeev concluded “Kadak!”

Armed with these recommendations from my friends, but with low expectations based on reviews published elsewhere that expounded only on the presence of Deepika Padukone saving the 1st half  while calling the 2nd half a drag, I went to see this movie.

Well, I was not disappointed. In fact I was pleasantly surprised at the accuracy of the phraseology used by my friends, and chalk it up to fact that I am in good company with them and hope they in mine.

The name Tamasha itself is multi layered as it is mean to imply a stage performance but can also mean life is “what a tamasha” in itself. The movie itself is a tamasha within a tamasha, as it is the Storyteller’s tale, which has been weaved in with some great acting by the protagonist Ranbir Kapoor and his muse,  along with awesome lyrics set to a good music score by AR Rehman.

Director Imtiaz Ali does a fantastic job of keeping us engaged through all the flashbacks and location changes as the real and fictional characters play their parts with each other seamlessly while staying away from the eastern philosophical trap of painting life itself as an illusion.

All the world’s a stage And all the men and women merely players, but you can either choose to play the part that was written for you (lakir ka fakir) or create your own story. Don’t know if that is the point the writer of Tamasha wanted to make, but that is what I took away from it.

Drishyam is different and worth watching

I am no fan of Ajay Devgan, but despite of him, I would rate the movie ‘Drishyam’ (which means ‘Visuals’) a must see if you enjoy Bollywood movies that are not the usual commercial formula ones with stars rather than actors at the helm.

Although the movie starts out on an uncertain footing once it settles down to the central story of the crime, it keeps you on edge as to when the culprit will slip up. As the movie twists and turns and moves from flashbacks to flash-forwards nested inside of each other, it manages to tie up almost every lose end and has an explanation for everything that you thought was flawed or bizarre when it was unfolding. And as I have said this somewhere before, anyone can make a movie, but it is that last 30 seconds of a powerful ending that makes a movie great and this one falls into that category.

The performances from the 2 child actors and Tabu as well as Inspector Gaitonde  are fairly powerful adding to the appeal of the movie.

Strategy in Practice

This was the title of  a short course which I was invited to enroll in from an esteemed university that consistently ranks in Top 25. It purported to answer five questions on predicting a the outcome of a strategy and my brain immediately retrieved a quote by Yogi Berra: :

“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

My answers to the 5 questions that the course purports to answer …

  •    Can the outcome of a strategy be predicted before hand?

Ø  No! As Yogi Berra put it aptly, “it is tough to make predictions, especially about the future”; just make peace with uncertainty, randomness and volatility

  • How does one articulate the tradeoffs between strategies?

Ø  If you cannot explain the strategies and their tradeoffs on a napkin or the back of an envelope, your explanation is too complex or you have reached analysis paralysis with too many strategies to choose from

  • Why does a strategy that has worked well for so long stop working?

Ø  Because high-profile, hard-to-predict, and rare events that are beyond the realm of normal expectations have a  disproportionate impact

  • Why is a strategy that has worked well for one company not effective for another company?

Ø  Because of individual and collective psychological biases of the key players involved, all other things being equal (which they  invariably never are!)

  • How does one formulate a strategy to undermine the strategy of established companies?

Ø  With the benefit of hindsight which is always 20/20 as in it’s easy for those who succeeded to go back and explain that they had a strategy but history is littered with failures with ones that did not

#fail Detective Byomkesh Bakshi

Although the movie  ‘Detective Byomkesh Bakshi’ gets “A” for its attempt to recreate period Calcutta and tying up all the loose ends and leaving no questons unanswered and living up to being dark all around even in its humor (with classic lines like “just forget the blood and make tea … with ginger”), it gets a “C-“ for luring the audience with its trailer into thinking its a whodunit when it is really a whydunit and howdunit, and also shortchanging them by only playing the songs they released as background music as opposed to actually choreographing them (especially how could they not do ‘Calcutta Kiss’).

Nevertheless, it gets an “F” for butchering the ending. It could have simply ended when the why and how was revealed and there was no need for all that extra violence after that nor was it necessary to make a feeble attempt to conclude the saga of the beautiful woman who falls in love with the criminal master mind as we are all smart enough to know what happens to pawns who falsely believe that they are the vazir (queen).