Revelations and Aamir

It has been an interesting weekend at SAIFF. Saw few more movies and short films. Will not go into details of each of them but did learn some interesting facts.

1 - There is a full fledged Caucasion (whites) Sikh Community in Española, New Mexico. Its founder Yogi Bhajan runs a 3HO foundation (link) - which stands for Healthy Happy Holy Foundation. It was intriguing to see them personify the Sikhs - dress, beard, religion and ofcourse Bhangra.
(Short film - Healthy.Happy.Holy by Adithya Sambamurthy )

2 - State of Haryana predominantly farming community has a surplus of male population and Kerela has a surplus of female population. So the result is that grooms from Haryana marry brides from Kerela. There are social, cultural, ethnic and still predominant class barriers that are dissolved here. (here is the link to the Times of India artical "Jat Groom Seeks Bride" that inspired this short film)
(Short film - Kerela Brides by Sonia Narang)

3 - What if tommorow you had a prepaid card that you accessed to get water? What if you were not able to pay for it and that was your only source - a metered water supply. There are countries around the world that already have this system in place. This concept and its dire consequences was portrayed by giving example of Kutch in the state of Gujarat.
(Short film - A Drop of Life by Shalini Kantayya)

4 - Fashion - Saw its world premier on Friday. Will refrain from getting into fine details - its a one time watch movie. Madhur Bhandarkar is true to his name - Madhur means sweet and Bhandar means store. So in short this like his previous films is a "Glamorous Documentary" of what goes on in the fashion world in India. He touches on subjects of Couch Casting, favoritism, drug abuse, prevalence of gay men in the industry, plagarism of clothes... etc etc. One thing that disappointed me was the ramp music - there was no variety. Both Priyanka Chopra and Kangana Raut have done a good job. All in all an Ok movie.
Finally much awaited Ghajini - again Mr. Perfectionist Aamir has postponed his film release to December as he wants to reshoot some scenes that he did not like. Here is the detailed news on about the movie Ghajini on the blog Bollywood Buzz. This movie is a remake of Memento (2000)

Waiting anxiously....

I am still busy at the fest till Tuesday - will catch up with all your blogs.


Firaaq - Updated w/video

Today was the opening night for SAIFF (South Asian International Film Festival) in New York. Just came back from the opening night and todays feature was a directorial debut feature film by Nandita Das - Firaaq....In Such Times.

"An urdu word meaning both separation and quest, Firaaq - is a movie set during the aftermath of the Gujarat Province riots in 2002, when Hindus and Muslims clashed: women were raped, and families slaughtered in a stunning replay of the partition. The film was made in Urdu, Gujarati and English. The director brings intensity to her characters’ plight, with sharp instinct for rooting out their hidden fears." - Source for the above statement

The movie left many speechless and introspective. Even though the movie is set post the Gujarat riots - it still has an international appeal as it talks more about the apathy of sufferers after the incident and not much about the incident itself. Infused with light comedic parts, on the whole it is a film about human relations, agony, separation and anguish caused by the stereotypical division between Hindus and Muslims.

Questions that were raised in the movie that makes one ponder deep and hard :
1) How tough is it to be a Muslim living among Hindu majority?
2) What is the fault as an innocent child - just that he is born in certain religion?
3) Can best friends from different religions still be friends after such a horrific incident? Do they think before inflicting terror on each other or does the mass hysteria take over their kinship?
4) How should a woman react - side with the males of her family even though she knows they have been part of the horrific incident inflicting trauma and physical abuse to other women of other religion or side with that affected women.
and many more such little questions brilliantly intertwined into the movie.
Am not going to reveal much as I do recommend all of you to see it. It is going to be released in early 2009.

After the movie there was a question and answer session with Nandita Das and Deepti Naval one of the actors in the movie. Some of the other starcast of the movie included veteran actors -Naseruddin Shah, Paresh Rawal, Sanjay Suri, Raghuvir Yadav and Tisca Chopra. Also the most compelling face of the movie is of the child artist - Shehmat Khan.
Answering to one of the questions from the audience -
Being that there is such deep rooted stereotyping in our society based on religion, will such riots ever stop?
Nandita gave a very interesting response. Paraphrasing from memory.
We are born with some givens - man/woman, nationality, religion - things that we dont have a choice of. These are identifiers that characterize our being and define our behaviour and general outlook to life. These cannot change.
But when these very basic identifiers are questioned or sometimes triggered we try to retaliate in order to gain back our self identity. This is the basis of why we love/hate a person and that cannot change or will not till we respect that others too can coexist.
Here is another blog link with a more detailed description of the movie - Lotus Reads

Next up is the world premier of Madhur Bhandarkars (Page3 and Traffic Signal fame) Fashion. Will write about it if I find it interesting.

Due to everyones positive comments - I did a bit more search and found this video. Will reply to the comments later in the day. - Thanks


Padhaku Tag

Thank you all for your concern in my last post. There is no news yet so will reply to your comments in the coming days.
Meanwhile a tag by Prats on my reading habits, likings and interests.

Do you remember how you developed a love for reading?

My moms dad (miss him) influenced by love for reading when I was a kid. The only gifts I got from him and my close family was books.

What are some books you read as a child?

I had the entire series of European fairy tale books - all the characters in Shrek 3 were once on my shelf. Cant remember the exact names but used to be voracious reader of Hardy Boys, Famous Five, Archie Comics, Richie Rich, all of Marvel Comics, Tinkle, Chandamama......

What is your favourite genre?

As a child I loved comics - and specially sarcastic read - my favorite being the MAD Magazines.
Then for a period of studies and research and teaching it was all about Architecture/Urban Design.
Nowadays I do read some Architecture but also love to read on World Economics.

Do you have a favourite novel?

Three on my list -
- The Little Prince by a French Aviator Antoine de Saint Exupéry. It is about 80 pages and very simple - it talks about how to think outside the box and how as an adult we loose our innocence. The most interesting line from the book that I love - "Grown Ups Are Mad" (For those who are interested here is an online link to the Pdf version -let me know if you like it - it a very fast read)


- Calvin and Hobbes - I have mentioned this before that I have the entire 10 years of Bill Wattersons work in three huge boud volume and it weighs only 23 pounds)

- The Fountainhead - Any RandWhere do you usually read?Mostly lying down near a window.When do you usually read?Evenings mostly after dinner (I dont like watching TV much - so its movies or books)

Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time?

Yes - sometimes 5 - pick one depending on the mood.

Do you read nonfiction in a different way or place than you read fiction?

Yes have to - most of my non fiction books - specially on design are huge and heavy so have to sit at a table.

Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out of the library?

Depends on the material - there are times when I borrow them and then buy them. Luckily all my "expensive" books on History of Architecture - I got them free as I was a Teaching Assistant here in college.

Do you keep most of the books you buy?If not, what do you do with them?

This is my biggest problem. When I move the boxes containg books are twice of other stuff that I have. I cherish them and one day for sure will have my own little library.

If you have children, what are some of the favorite books you have shared with them?Were they some of the same ones you read as a child?

Not kiddos yet.

What are you reading now?

E=MC2 David Bodanis
Interpretor Of Maladies - Jhumpa Lahiri
Urban Economics

Do you keep a TBR (to be read) list?

Nope - just pick one on the go.

What books would you like to reread?

Dunno - never thought about it as there is so much to read.

Who are your favourite authors?

Enid Blyton, Any Rand, Umberto Eco, Frank Kafka - some of Osho's work.

To tag - anyone who likes to read and share can take it up.

And that the picture of my latest crush - Kimaya - you can read my post MY CRUSH posted a while back to know more about her.


Penny Gets Pounded

All these years Penny was wise and Pound was foolish. Penny I guess could not take it any more and needed a good solid bareback Pounding - and so it has happened.

The American Economy is in doldrums and it is taking everyone along people all around the world with it for a new "joy" ride.

Sometimes I feel in some situations a mere "Fuck off" said right in beginning than keeping quiet is better than taking crap. Saves the person taking crap all the aggravation and the one giving crap humiliation when things burgeon into something unnecessary.

This is what I feel people should have done when Bush took office and made his first blunders. Would have saved all of us this aggravation. But in his case though - he is no way humiliated like most of us are.

Anyways the gist of this post is - going into the weekend with a loud and clear message looming over me - that I might/might not have a job in the coming days.

Ahhh what can one do -...I am getting Pounded in the process too and feel sorry for Penny.


Twenty Q's

Tagged by Carolinagal.

RULE #1 People who have been tagged must write their answers on their blogs and replace any question that they dislike with a new question formulated by themselves.
RULE #2 Tag 6 people to do this quiz and those who are tagged cannot refuse. These people must state who they were tagged by and cannot tag the person whom they were tagged by continue this game by sending it to other people.
Note: 15 is the one I introduced.

1. If your lover betrayed you, what will your reaction be?
Feel dejected for a while but the very reason that she needed to betray means that her needs/wishes were not being fulfilled. So if she finds someone who can make her more happy so be it - its better that way for both.

2. If you can have a dream come true, what would it be?
Travel to the moon.

3. Whose butt would you like to kick?
Currently - everybody involved in screwing up the American Economy and in turn jeopardizing the future of all for their selfish motives.

4. Why do you blog?
Due to certain circumstances I have lot of time on my hand right now. So can say its a temporary situation.

5. Will you fall in love with your best friend?
Nope. You need a lover and a best friend - at times to be two different people.

6. Which is more blessed: loving someone or being loved by someone?
I can only say about me - it is good - dont know whether its a blessing that I can love someone - but being loved by someone - again something that is not in my control I dont dwell on it much.

7. How long do you intend to wait for someone you love?
I dont intend to wait - life is too short - will focus my energy onto something different and creative as soon as I am able to. If till then it has to happen it will.

8. If the person you secretly like is attached, what will you do?
Past experience - will not even remotely venture into such a situation.

9. If you could root for one social cause, what would it be?
Fight Against AIDS

10. What takes you down the fastest?
People who dont respond and keep you hanging.

11. What resurrects you the fastest?
Anything funny - person, advert, joke, comedy bit.....

12. What’s your fear?
I will die without making any difference to the world.

13. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?
Down to earth, cheerful and full of life and loves animals (but makes them wait to pee :))

14. Would you rather be single and rich or married and poor?
If I am Single and Rich how will I become Poor after Marraige unless I marry a GoldDigger? and thats why they have prenup agreements- right?

15. Whats the purpose of such Tags?
Wonder why we need to know about people -When most of the times we are apprehensive of meeting someone who we know/met only online.

16. If you fall in love with two people simultaneously who will you pick?
Will not allow this to ever happen again - once is enough.

17. Would you give all in a relationship?
Nope. Aren't relationships supposed to be Symbiotic?

18. Would you forgive and forget someone no matter how horrible a thing he has done?
Honestly till now there is no one who has done such a horrible thing to me yet as I tend to avoid people who may "fuck" me up in some way. So have not had to forgive someone.

19. Do you prefer being single or in a relationship?
Its a grass is greener on the other side of a question - but I dont mind being in a relationship if that special someone agrees to be with a nutcase like me - but have learnt one thing - will only let the person know a couple of times - if not interested - will not allow myself to be sad over it - and in that case I will still be single.

20. Tag 6 people.
Daydreamer, Joy, Satish Bolla, Rakesh, Raaji, M.Flowerr.


Weapons of Mass Destruction

Nah! This post is not about the global fight fest it is about the local Dandiya Weapons of Mass Destruction (refered to as DWMD's in the post) found in every Dandiya/Rass Garba or Navratri fest.

You may wonder how these simple looking sticks can wield so much power. Well its not them in isolation that are powerful - it is the nonchalan folks who are armed with these that are DWMD's.
Let me define the DWMD's - People attending a dandiya or a rass/garba (for detailed info on what rass/garda is all about - Wikilink) function who really should not be there and are armed with two dandiya sticks out to destroy the happy moments of Gujjus. Folks no offense to anyone else but this is a fact. Like Bhangra and all its BIG steps are designed for Punjabis - Garba is a Gujju trait. It is intelligent dance designed as a means of social interaction with minimal effort on part of the participant- something that comes to Gujjus naturally - making money intelligently with minimal efforts.

Globalization has penetrated the Gujju garbas and the situation is getting grimmer. Let me explain my worry. Sincedandiya is a big social dance festival, it so happens that everyone from anywhere who really dont know why they are there except to see others dance away want to be there.

Confused already. Well that is what happens when you have friends from different parts of India or nowadays from different parts of the world - who want to enjoy this festival. But they screw up every Gujjus annual dream of dancing the night away and losing the extra pounds gained by gorging sweets, fried foods and loads of ghee (clarified butter) the entire year.
Let me explain the different DWMD's that I have observed and am scared of -

- Fuzzy DWMD's : These are people with absolute no hand-eye-leg coordination - natural breakdancers so to say. Come on people, like not everyone can shake that ass like Shakira - non gujjus you seriously cant dance garbas. The sexiness of tango/salsa can only be portrayed by the latin folks - so are the smooth steps of garba can only be portrayed by Gujjus.

- Little DWMD's : The little kids armed with the sticks - man they can hit you in the wrong place. It dangerous out there. They are on a mission to incapcitate the opponents - how can one explain that this is not thier freaking video game.

- Adamant WMD's : When dandiya is played in a group there are two circles - one on the inside going anti clockwise and the other on the outside going clockwise. A normal step required exchange of 5 taps of dandiyas following the musical beats. The important part is not the tap - but to simply dance that moment and move on (lifes lesson learnt here - enjoy the moment and move on - remember intelligent Gujju with minimal efforts). But these folks HAVE to HAVE the five taps. If one is missed they will wait for a response and be adamant. Meanwhile it breaks the rhythm of all others dancing and there there are mass crashes.

-Shivaji/Ranapratap Emulating DWMD's : These folks hold the dandiya stick as if it is a sword. Tight on their first at the lowest point and for some godforsaken reason they pick the thickest of the Bamboo sticks. Now two things happen - they do partially belong to the Adamant cult - so they have to have a tap - and because of the fulcrum and some sort of vengeance - man it is one helluva heavy tap leaving a tingling sensation on the receivers hand and the other they really dont know how to play - so they are free wielding it with glory knocking of knuckles - hitting you on the head. This is all about enjoyment and it turns out you end up being bruised - just like the men in combat.

- Stomp Anything on its Way WMD's : These are folks who basically are overexcited sonomabithes jumping jacks who jump and basically annihilate any poor feet that come in their path.

- Lastly the Dormant WMD's - Folks who stand around and are gawking at girls and basically a hindrance to all those dancing. They do join in the fun once in a while and again make a mess of the ongoing freeflowing fun.
Just to give you a glimpse of a battlefield in a Navatri fest in New Jersey. You are in harms way in about 3'-0" diameter and dont really know who/when the next attack is going to come from.

So folks summarizing the above talk I was lucky to find this video that shows what I am talking about. It is in gujarati - but as they say action speaks louder than words -

So wish me luck as I managed to scrape unhurt yesterday in a smaller event but next week will be attending Falguni Pathak's Big fest which attrats crowds upwards of 1200 people and am sure to find these DWMD's and damn if one of them has read this post.
So I have decided to dress up like this.
or resort to the other meaning of acronym - RAAS : Runway Awareness and Advisory System, an airplane avionics system to improve flight crew situational awareness when operating at airports