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Well...I had to be back! But obstinate as I am, I did keep this blog shut and moved to a new place close-by. Here's the link.

Woven by amon, 04:43 pm
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Wanna Say Something?  

Arigato... Sayonara!!

Just to make it formal and official, though I am sure it was apparent anyway, this blog is being shut down now. I am not going to delete any of my posts as I spent too much time writing them, and I can't bear to see all that go waste.

I enjoyed blogging a lot and might get back to it again someday (not very soon), but not at the same address. So unlike the past, this goodbye is for good.

Woven by amon, 02:41 pm
Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Your Favorite Film Critic's Back

My list of movies to be watched has come down to 22 now. I watched Yojimbo and Chinatown in succession this week. I liked Yojimbo better than A Fistful of Dollars by Sergio Leone, which is a remake of the former. In fact, I found Yojimbo better than Rashomon and Seven Samurai too (the other Kurosawa movies that I have watched), in terms of technical finesse at least. The camera angles in Yojimbo, which means Bodyguard in Japanese, are to die for, and the use of music is fantastic. In fact, I have realised over the years how important background music is in enhancing the mood of a scene. All great film-makers (great in my diary, that is) - David Lynch, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Polanski, Kurosawa, and many others, have always relied on a variety of combinations to get that precise sound to accompany the scene. The result, no need to mention, is spell-binding.

Chinatown is one of the best detective thrillers, if not the very best, that Hollywood has ever produced. And to think that it's been made by the Hollywood outcast, Roman Polanski. The movie has Polanski written all over it, and has a haunting quality, something that I had talked about while reviewing The Ninth Gate too. Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway are at their peak here. In fact, the movie scores very high on all counts, and I feel is next only to The Godfather when it comes to cinematic perfection. I might be being unjust to a whole lot of other greats, but this movie is really good The ending is shocking and sad, and I would have preferred a happier one.

I also watched Fire yesterday. I had missed it when it came out almost a decade back. Deepa Mehta has her own distinct style of film-making, which I find patchy at times, but beautiful nevertheless. A certain softness permeates her frames. And of course, it's always heartening to see Indian actors getting to do meaty roles. 1947:Earth was the better film in the trilogy, which I believe will get completed finally, despite all those controversies, as I got to know from IMDB that Water has been made as River Moon now with Lisa Ray and Seema Biswas replacing the originally planned pair of Azmi-Das. Coming back to Fire, it is a 'bold' film, and still keeps from turning into the obscene and cheap skin-shows that today's 'bold' Hindi films are. When you have actors of the calibre of Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das, competent performances are naturally expected and, thankfully, delivered. Azmi's facial expressions to show sadness (and sexual deprivation) are perfect. The story, or rather the situations are funny at times, especially the antics of Mundu (played by Ranjit Chowdhury, who always seems to get weird roles), which despite being really shocking (you have got to see the movie to understand what I mean) only made me smile. The use of English in decidedly Indian situations also adds to the comic aspect, but probably unintentionally.

And finally, I reread Jonathan Livingston Seagull after a gap of five years yesterday. I had almost forgotten how beautiful, yet simple, the book is.

Woven by amon, 01:16 pm
Friday, April 08, 2005
These many dared (4)  


Before I write anything else let me clarify that inter-hostel sharing on our LAN has been disabled these days (since over a month back actually), because of which my access to new movies and TV series has been seriously affected.

With that excuse I hope no one would crucify me for saying what I am going to right now. I have been watching episodes of Koffee With Karan for some time now, whenever someone on my hostel LAN is gracious enough to share new episodes. I watched the first episode in a condition of absolute boredom (which isn't altogether rare for me these days) a few weeks back, and found it better than what I had expected (which was essentially zilch). When I had read about this new series in the newspaper I had imagined an effeminate Karan Johar trying to do another holier-than-thou sugary sweet Simi Garewal show where the guests try their best to smile through idiotic questions. But the show's not that bad. And having been bred on a wholesome and unadulterated diet of Hindi films, it's not as difficult for me to enjoy a Hindi movie-related show as many of my friends.

Anyway, I was saying that the show isn't really as bad as I had expected it to be. In fact, with time, I have begun enjoying it a lot. The first episode that I saw had Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan. Karan Johar, despite his really irritating mannerisms, is a good anchor and doesn't bat an eyelid raking up controversial issues. Being a film-maker that most of the Hindi film industry (or 'fraternity' as Johar puts himself) is dying to work with doesn't hinder his bravado either.

I have this habit of judging how intelligent a public figure is based on his/her TV interview depending on how he/she answers the question, the language he/she uses, and a lot else. Here's what I think of some of the guests that I have seen on Koffee With Karan:
Very intelligent - Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Lara Dutta, Saif Ali Khan
Moderately intelligent - Arjun Rampal, Hrithik Roshan, Kajol, Bipashsa Basu, Priyanka Chopra, Rani Mukherjee
Trying to appear intelligent, and might actually be so, but I couldn't decide as they were very artificial - Aishwarya Rai, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Shobhaa De
Dumb - Preity Zinta, Kareena Kapoor, Uday Chopra

I read yesterday that the finale of the first season will have Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan, along with Jaya Bachchan, Kajol, Farhan Akhtar and Farah Khan (there was another director whose name I can't recall) joining them.

And KBC is coming back too this summer.

Woven by amon, 11:52 am
Thursday, April 07, 2005
These many dared (9)  

Breaking News!

I got a final call from IIM Ahmedabad!

Immediate feeling after I got the result on phone (as the website was clogged): Is this man joking?
I did not expect this call. My interview was really good, probably even better than what I thought, but this conversion makes me the guy with the lowest GPA at IIT Delhi to convert an IIMA call in the last FOUR years! I am happy, OBVIOUSLY.

Woven by amon, 06:18 pm
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
These many dared (16)  


I have meant to talk about this for long, but used to forget everytime I did get down to post something. I don't know if this thing happens with you (and in that case might sound very funny), but it does happen to me very frequently, in fact it happened thrice yesterday itself. And it's kinda spooky.

When I am out, mostly walking down a road, there are times I mistake a person for someone else when I see him/her from a distance. Say I see a person A from about 100 metres and mistake him for another person B, and then when I get closer I realise it was A and not B. This happens at times even when there's almost no resemblance between A and B. Now what is funny is that after I have moved a little further ahead, a few minutes later, I actually come across the person B! This happens most often when I am walking to or from my institute. Of course it used to happen quite frequently earlier, before coming to college, too. After I began noticing these odd coincidences, at times I would expect to come across the person B, but in the cases where I consciously expected B, he wouldn't turn up.
It's curious that I mistake one person for another so often despite a perfectly fine eyesight, but what is even more curious is that the person that I mistake the actual person for almost invariably turns up later. Psychic or psychotic?

Woven by amon, 10:52 am
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
These many dared (4)  

Didja know this?

According to this article, suicide is NOT a crime! I wasn't aware of it. Is it really true? I have always held the view that it is really stupid to punish a person who tries to kill himself, partly because you can punish him only if he fails to commit the crime, and partly because it's his choice whether he wants to live or not, but most importantly because it is really inhuman to add to the miseries of a person who was already so much in the pits that dying seemed the only respite, but I didn't know the judiciary subscribed to this view too.

Woven by amon, 01:57 pm
Monday, April 04, 2005
These many dared (3)  

Another Recommendation!

I Am David is a really nice movie! The movie has been panned universally by critics but has been praised a lot by 'lay' viewers. So it seems I have a long way to go before I become a discerning film-critic. The movie is set in post WWII Europe, and moves from Bulgaria to Italy and then Switzerland finishing up in Denmark. It's about a boy (called David, what else?) escaping from a labor camp in Bulgaria who's been asked to go to Denmark, and the adventures he goes through on his journey. Technically the movie is very strong. The cinematography is, for the want of a better word, awesome. But then you don't need much skill to make a movie shot in Italy and Switzerland look beautiful. The story is based on a best-seller by Anne Holm, and so I think the critics were unfair in criticising the film-makers for unbelievable story-line. I did find the ending too convenient for a truly great movie, but the story's still pretty good. And I am partial to period dramas, and especially the ones based in mid 20th century Europe. There's one surprise towards the end that I didn't see coming though it wasn't that unexpected in hindsight. Lucky to have found it on the LAN.

Woven by amon, 10:54 pm
Sunday, April 03, 2005
These many dared (1)  

In which I crib some more

I returned a while back from a one-day symposium organised by CHES (CHemical Engineering Society), IIT Delhi. It's probably the first time something like it is being organised by our department, and while initially the students wanted to organise a tech-cum-cultural fest, because of shortage of funds and time we had to make do with a small one-day affair. It'll hopefully grow. After seeing the poster a few days back (I have stopped interacting with almost any other student from my department nowadays, so I couldn't have got to know from any other source), I decided that I'll be attending it for the entire day, especially if the seminar and paper presentations were good. But I lost the little interest I had for attending this event when a day later a notice was put up mentioning that it was compulsory for all students (UG and PG) to attend the event, and strict action would be taken against those who don't. I hate this autocratic manner of functioning that our profs seem to enjoy so much. And even though I did go for the inauguration in the morning and listened to a few speeches (the one by IITB's Chem Engg HOD was really nice), I left the venue soon afterwards. Anyway, most people in our department don't know how to make a presentation, and could turn the most thrilling topic into a morose affair. Most other Dual Degree students and many BTech students hadn't bothered to turn up either. The Seminar Hall was fairly filled up though and I hope they don't actually create a fuss about it.

I finished reading Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis yesterday night. It's Ellis' first book, and though I liked his American Psycho better, this one's a good read too. A couple of blurbs at the back of the book:

'Bret Easton Ellis is undoubtedly the new master of youth alienation. With spare, seamless writing he tells us a tale of collegiate Christmas in LA that makes Jack Kerouac and his Beat Generation seem like pussies.'

'This is the novel your mother warned you about. Jim Morrison would be proud.'

This novel is similar to American Psycho in many ways, mainly in the manner in which it is written (first person, short lines), but also in the complete disregard it shows to a person's identity and also to political correctness. Everyone sleeps with everyone else, drugs are more common than food, life is an endless stream of parties, family members are persons you meet incidentally on your short trips to home. There isn't any gore as in American Psycho (AP), but there is a strong undercurrent of dissatisfaction that threatens to turn violent any time. Probably AP could be termed a sequel to this book. Do try and read it, if it doesn't put you off.

I began reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in the morning during a particularly boring lecture being made by the Chief Guest at the inauguration. I have read parts of it before, and of course have seen the movie. The author Hunter S Thompson was a colorful man, who shot himself recently. I had heard the term 'gonzo' in relation to him so often but I wasn't sure what it meant exactly. As usual, Wikipedia came to my rescue.

And lastly, I have realised that there are far too many people who know me personally who read this blog. It gets embarassing when they discuss stuff from the blog when we meet. But I'll try to let that not affect whatever I write here. I have written a whole lot of rubbish here earlier, and will continue to do that, a lot of which people who know me personally won't expect from me. Meanwhile, I have also come across a few nice blogs by some interesting people. I'll be updating the blog-roll soon. But two that I can think of off the cuff are blogs by Anjul and kAy (I came across this one through Anjul's blog).

Woven by amon, 05:53 pm
Sunday, April 03, 2005
These many dared (4)  

Elections - Second Day

After writing yesterday's post I had gone to my lab and didn't care to find out what was happening with the external negotiations as I was fairly sure things would work out as smoothly as they did the previous day. I intended to go directly to the Students' Activitiy Center, the venue for the external elections, later in the evening, to see our alliance win. As it turned out it wasn't as smooth sailing as I had expected. A lot of interesting things happened, which I only came to know late in the night after the elections, and my juniors involved in the trading had a nerve-wrecking time to keep the alliance going strong.

The good news is that we did get what we were supposed to. And that is BRCA General Secretary. Amit Sethi, the outgoing secretary for the Dance and Dramatics Club and who belongs to my hostel, is the new G Sec of BRCA. So our hostel gets to organise Rendezvous this year. If any of you need passes, start getting friendly with people from Jwalamukhi Hostel. Of course I won't be around then, so being friendly with me doesn't count. Well, that is the lighter aspect of getting BRCA GSec in your hostel. The actual reason why it's a nice thing is that it sort of unites everyone in the hostel, even if temporarily. All factions join in the revelry (unless there are some really serious problems), and later to oranise the fest. The same thing happened yesterday night in my hostel. Almost all groups in the first three years assembled at SAC for cheering and then outside our hostel for a short party. There aren't many things that can parallel the happiness you feel when you see freshers and second-yearites dancing at midnight at the hostel entrance to loud music with unbridled joy.

We had been part of the winning alliance last year too (when I had been involved much more directly and actively) and had won two GSecs (including the highest students' post - G Sec of the Students' Affairs Council), but BRCA G Sec beats everything because of the goodies it promises. Of course, the freshers don't realise that they'll have to try hard for passes even now in most cases , or that they'll have to work extremely hard at menial jobs, with all benefits, considering there are any, going to the G Sec's coterie and other senior students.

Coming back to yesterday's elections, the results did end up one-sided despite the scare earlier in the day when a hostel that had been a part of the alliance for long decided to shift sides because their incoming House Secretary saw better prospects in the other alliance. Then our alliance offered posts to a different hostel that hadn't been with us earlier to join us. Later part of the hostel that had moved out returned also. So, finally we had all the hostels in the insitute in our alliance, either in bits or completely, except one Girls' Hostel. And to think that when this alliance was formed initially that Girls' Hostel was one of the first to be approached. The House Secretary of that hostel kept on dilly-dallying for long and didn't confirm if she wanted to join. Interestingly enough, I had a role to play here too. When after a long wait this hostel did not state clearly if they wanted to come in, I was called one night by the four hostels who were in the alliance then to suggest further course of action (because I was the only one around who had been involved last year and so slightly more 'experienced'). I offered to try and pursuade the House Secretary of this Girls' Hostel on phone. I had a very long conversation with her, in which she made it very clear, without ever explicitly stating so, that she would rather form her own alliance than come into one which already had four strong hostels (which would lessen the possibility to dictate terms). I even told her that we'll ask other hostels to join us if she didn't give a final answer soon enough, which she didn't consider seriously as traditionally alliances haven't worked without the girls' hostels being part of them, and this time, like last year, both the girls' hostels had decided to be together. After the phone conversation I asked the guys in the alliance to look at other hostels and leave the girls, or rather try to get the other girls' hostel, which till that time they had assumed wouldn't break away and join us alone. It did actually.
That was probably my only direct involvement this year.

Anyway, after the brief celebrations in their respective hostels after the elections were over the alliance members got together at the Gurgaon border for a daaru party. I was going out in a friend's car for dinner at Green Park, and called up B (from the previous post), our new House Secy, to join us. He, with a couple of guys from another alliance hostel, came and sat in the car, and then told us after we had gone half-way that they had thought we were going to the border. By then there were no other cars left, and we had to take them to the border, and so I ended up joining the whole gang at the party. Which was a nice thing as the best time to celebrate is immediately after the occasion and it was fun listening to the exploits of these neo-poltu-studs and some of the incoming office-bearers over large chunks of Tandoori chicken. Of course, there were the usual scenes expected at a daaru party too - the emotional outbursts, the slogans against leading lights from the losing alliance, antakshari with everyone chipping in with their favorite oldies, promises of continuing the alliance for next years' elections, and even some failed attempts at dancing. And I, as usual, was spending my time downing copious quantities of Royal Stag, watching people doing things they wouldn't normally do, and helping the ones who were already out to the nearest chair/car. Nice time. And there are more parties in the immediate future.

Woven by amon, 11:06 am
Saturday, April 02, 2005
These many dared (1)  

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