Saturday, December 14, 2013

Thank you Lord!

To my Saviour, my Lord, Jesus Christ……

There’s more than just love
An everlasting bond
I promise never to break the vow
Nor make myself a vagabond.
I am blind, oh Lord
Truly blind in the bleary world of mine
You touch my eyes and I finally see
How illuminated the path is
You’ve laid out ahead of me.               
Will a simple “Thank you” suffice?
Pardon me, Lord
You’ve forgiven me enough already.
Your abiding comfort renews and comforts
This, at times, meek and disobliging soul
Help me, Lord
To defy turbulence and remain steady.

My saviour, you have been
My friend, you have been
My mentor, you have been
My healer, you have been
My father, you have been
You still are..
And will be..
You are what I call my strength, my hope and faith
I thank you,
And remain grateful for all eternity

PS- Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas…..May the good Lord bless you all!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Book review -The White Tiger

 The White Tiger By Aravind Adiga

        2008 was a year reminiscent to most Indian book lovers.  Chennai born Aravind Adiga and Delhi bred Amitav Ghosh were the Indian names among those shortlisted for the 2008 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. It was the then 34 year old Adiga who walked away with the £50,000 award for his ambitious debut novel ‘the White Tiger’ , a book whose complex take on the whimsical  notions of Indian modernity were marvelled yet criticized by literary figures and readers alike.

     Adiga’s protagonist Balram Halwai, a self-confessed scoundrel cum “successful” entrepreneur, writes a letter to the visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in which he narrates his rags-to-riches story, a tale devoid of all traits bearing resemblance to honesty, loyalty or kindness and where greed unashamedly greets you in its entirety.

     Balram, son of a rickshaw puller, is drawn out of his rural life in Laxmangarh and forced to work at various places by money-hungry relatives. He eventually ends up as a driver to an insensitive yet filthily rich son of a landlord. His sojourn in Delhi is marked with painful descriptions of how an uncouth villager perceives city life.(The conversations he has with fellow drivers on crime and urban women for example)

     There is greed all around him in the form of politicians, officials and the wealthy and soon enough Balram, kindled by all that avarice, murders his master and runs away with the money. The fruits of his sin help him abandon his past and he flees to Bangalore where he assumes a whole new identity as a taxi-cab runner.

   Adiga’s social commentary is intense, dark, verbose and most of the times, bitter to swallow. His intrepid and unassuming observations of the caste system and his theory of how all Indians are part of ‘the rooster coop’ are brilliant both in prose and idea. Though the excess of superficial characters and lack of ‘the silver lining’ slightly mar the flow of the story, Adiga doesn’t make an effort to appease us and lets us go through what he calls as “self-examination”. “The White Tiger” is a book that is rich in detail and hard on thought. The Indian inside us may not exactly find the book scintillating but the reader part of us would definitely find it splendid enough to fetch a Booker!

***The reason why this review comes 5 years late is that I wrote this piece for my department magazine 'Magbyte'. I read this book when I was 15 years old and didn't like it back then. Now having re-read it, it's not a bad book after all...!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Thank God I watched these movies !

There are quite a handful of movies that bored me the first time I watched them. Later on, I kept thinking about them, reminiscing their scenes  which made me realize how bad a movie buff I've been. Here is a pick of such movies (in no particular order) that have enthralled me every time I watch them(pity not the first time..)

Apur Sansar (1959)
                      -Satyajit Ray

Satyajit Ray’s genius unfolds in each scene like poetry. The final part of “the Apu Trilogy” shows us a struggling, aspiring writer Apu (Soumitra Chatterjee) tricked by fate into loving and losing a charm of a wife like Aparna (a rather young Sharmila Tagore) to childbirth after which he abandons both his manuscript and his son, Kajal . Apu’s subsequent acceptance of his son and therefore his life ends the movie on a poignant note.


 A Separation (2011)
     - Asghar Farhadi

    A harsh divorce and a set of convoluted half truths set the tone for this emotionally charged Iranian drama.  A masterpiece of a movie with strong religious overtones, its biggest asset lies in an insightful screenplay backed by some of the most powerful and moving performances I’ve ever watched


Virumaandi (2004)

                      -Kamal Haasan

           Controversies apart, this movie employs the ‘Rashomon effect’ effectively to give a convincing portrayal of vendetta and its consequences, replete with a social message on abolishing the death penalty. An impressive cast and Ilaiyaraja’s lilting music does more than justice to this ambitious magnum opus of Kamal Haasan.


The Perks Of Being a Wallflower (2012)
                                                 -Stephen Chbosky

            One of the most loveable coming-of-age movies in recent times. Chbosky adapted his 1999 novel of the same name to screen, casting a lanky Logan Lerman as the traumatized teen Charlie and Brit wit Emma Watson as his crush (though in a less nerdy avatar). A group of seniors at high school act as apt replacement to drugs and therapy, helping Charlie forget his bullied past and embrace life. With perky dialogues and lively scenes to boast of, this movie captures the best moments of both Charlie’s life and the 90s .


Taken (2008)                                               
                - Pierre Morel

            Liam Neeson is the best thing about Taken.  In this international smash-hit, Neeson essays the role of an ex-CIA agent/estranged father who embarks on a mission to rescue his kidnapped daughter from human traffickers. Taken is a no-brainer of a movie when it comes to the plot but it has enough adrenaline pumping sequences to make it one of the most successful man-on-a-mission movies ever made. 


**Was published in The Hindu Metroplus "Myfive" column on 27 Dec! 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Rasam and Randomness..

It has been a long time since I posted something.. I know. There was no lack of events, movies or books all this while but I've been feeling a lot less inspired lately. Third year at college is slightly a glimpse of what the IT sector has in store for me after one year. All I can do is hope for the best.
 So what was I doing all this while...?

       Read a little, watched a lot of movies, dabbled in a songwriting course in coursera (one more week to finish it!) and most of the time, sitting on my couch eating Rasam saadam..thinking absolutely nothing! If I'd only closed my eyes while shutting off my thoughts I'd have done something close to meditation.

       My copy of Orhan Pamuk's "My Name is Red" is gathering dust. So is Rolf Dobelli's "The art of thinking clearly" and Nassim Nicholas Taleb's "Black Swan". This 'dragging-of-heels' act of mine has actually helped me discover something. I don't read if I don't write. So I've resolved to read as much as I can and as much as I can write. The worry over the comments and the blog views can wait. I'll definitely overcome this blogger's block (in my case it's a wall, but hey I'm no Vikram Seth and I needn't return any advance over a Suitable book deal.

     My mind is quite working the opposite of how I want it to work these days. Last week, the sir handling 'General Human Excellence' had given us feedback forms to fill asking how the classes were for the month of July. He kept repeating the question "How was July?" that prompted me to write this answer in Tamil..

"It kept raining intermittently during the month of July with occassional accompaniment of thunder and lightening. In most ways, this year's July was similar to that of last year's. The tamil months of Aani-Aadi fall during this month"

And yes, the writer chose to withhold her name for obvious reasons.

And one more thing! It's been overtly overwhelming (I mean it!) to read the newspapers.

The fuss over the royal baby, the separation of a state that used to be "Andhra", the agitation that's back at Tahrir Square, Uncle Sam's warning to Syrria, Princess Di's supposed murder, the question of why "Chennai Express" raked in 200 crores while "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag" didn't, Ashton Kutcher as "Steve Jobs" (?!), India's accusation on Pakistan of breach of border (and vice versa), the haste behind passing the National Food Security Bill and moreover the startling revelation that a woman is raped every 20 minutes in India...meant more than just hard-hitting headlines.

Here..I find it fitting to end my this post. I'm in no mood to stop and will continue my musings as upcoming blog posts (insert <evil laughter>)

So long people, Carpe Diem!

PS-Noticed only now.This is my 50th blog post??!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The uprising...and the hope

        I do not endorse the method LTTE chief Prabhakaran chose to protest against the crimes against his people. Neither did the Srilankan military. That’s how the 2009 Eelam war came about where several thousands of innocent Tamils were killed. A war, of course, claims lives. But nothing explains the photos released by channel 4. Death by accident is clearly not what killed Balachander. The eyes of the 12 year old sitting in the bunker having a snack, only to be killed in cold blood in less than 2 hours, haunted us more than we could bear (I couldn’t help but cry for 2 hours straight) and have caused this uprising in Tamil Nadu by students and public alike, though three years too late.

      The indifference to Srilankan Tamils is what formed the radical group LTTE in the first place. If this issue was sorted earlier, we wouldn’t have lost Rajiv Gandhi. When Salman Khurshid says we can’t act as big brother to any other country, I can’t help but say WHAT A BIG FAT LIE it is. India has always kept a tab on what happens in its neighbouring countries! 

In fact, India has

-fought with Pakistan to help Bangladesh in what was a full-fledged war,
-recognised sovereignty of far off countries,
-given refuge to politicians and artists of neighbouring states (think of Maldives president Nasheed, writer Taslima Nasreen)
-sent peace keeping forces and deployed its army to countries at war including Bangladesh.

But its indifference to Srilanka is quite disturbing since whatever India has done in the past (deployment of its army, peace keeping forces, peace talks to declare ceasefire) have all failed.

      Mahinda Rajapaksa is a war criminal and so is his defence secretary brother Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. But they’re given a heroes’ welcome whenever they visit India. Ours is a nation that hanged the likes of Afzal Guru and Ajmal Kasab. I can’t fathom why Rajapaksa is treated differently. Is it because those horrid crimes against humanity happened in another man’s land and not ours?

      India is the biggest country in the South- west Asian region. When a country like Srilanka is able to get away with so many killings of Tamil fishermen (by its navy), it makes us question whether India is really as powerful as it is shown to be. A valid point’s made in the Tamil movie ‘Neerparavai. 

'Whenever a fisherman off the coast of Tamil Nadu is killed by the Srilankan navy for breaching its borderline, the news is treated as death of a Tamil fisherman and not of an Indian fisherman thus depriving the news of national attention and the death is localised.'

     If India had intervened earlier, several lives could have been saved. Now it’s hesitating to even second the resolution America has brought up in Geneva. Politicians in TN, with a few exceptions are all hypocrites wanting to make use of the commotion to up their vote banks. The DMK has pulled out of UPA out of no reason. If it was for the cause, they could’ve pulled all strings when they were in power but they didn’t. As far the ruling party, the CM wants to blame the centre. Announcing holidays for Colleges was a move to limit the agitation but why are the students involved in such protests warned that there won’t be passports and government jobs for them?

     Students have come to the streets for a cause and it’s not about making changes in the proposed resolution. They want votes to be taken to form a separate Eelam and demand rehabilitation for what remains of the Tamils in Srilanka.

      What happened in Srilanka was absolute genocide. You needn’t be a Tamil to see that. Why did a certain Muthukumar immolate himself? Why did Prabhakaran turn to arms to seek justice? Why do Nalini, Murugan and co. rot in Indian prison? Why did we have to lose a prime minister? Why did 2 lakh innocent people lose their lives? What is to become of the remaining Tamil population in Sri Lanka and the refugees in coastal towns of TN?  Hope the ongoing upsurge helps to find answers and ease the pain off the unhealed and bereaved souls, by giving them what is rightfully theirs – their lives.