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:: Friday, August 31, 2007 ::

Movie Review: Mathad Mathad Mallige

Director: Nagathihalli Chandrashekhar
Cast: Vishnuvardhan, Suhasini, Sudeep

To summarize, the movie has a drab story, excellent screenplay, poor cinematography and good performance by Vishnu.

It is a winner, and is worth watching because there aren't many movies(yet) with the story line, and the good screen play makes up for other shortfalls of the movie.

At some point of time, I started wondering if Mathad Mathad Mallige is trying to induce an effect a la Bangarada Manushya with its viewers. There is plenty of talk to praise the farmers and the worthiness and holiness of the land he tills, mixed with bashing of the rich multinational companies which are projected as exploiters of the poor in the movie. A lot of things have been taken from the recent political scenario like the Naxal problem spreading to Karnataka, Singur SEZ episode and mining issues in North Karnata. Some of the ideals are valid and thought provoking though there is a lot of prejudice that goes with the script.

The story starts with a multinational mining company looking to acquire some land in a fertile village, eventually resulting in conflict between villagers and the government, with Naxalism and Gandhi's principles working against the forces of governance. There are a few sidelines to the story which don't add much to the movie but was probably needed to make the movie a little more interesting.

Nagathihalli has done an excellent job with the movie which has been packaged and presented well to ensure that there are no dull moments anywhere in the movie. Go watch it!


:: Wednesday, August 29, 2007 ::

Career Ponderings..

It has been sufficiently long time for me in the software industry to get bored. Or may be the correct way to put it is - since I got bored, it feels like sufficiently long time!

I have considered alternate careers many a times. Infact thinking of alternate careers was a hobby for me until recently! Photography was something I thought of a few years ago but no one recognized this photography genius! :D Travel Writing was the next plan that is still alive. If all went as I wanted, I would have quit my deskjob by the end of this year. But the guy up there always throws in surprises. He introduced a life changing, catastrophic event in my life which busted the quitting plans.

So now that I am stuck here in my deskjob, lemme look at all good things, funny things, nice things, lovely things that come with my job and make myself feel like a king! Well, to cut all that crap, I have no work today and trying to find ways to kill time. :D

1. Funny Managers. The folks who want to call meetings, and then have another meeting to review what was discussed in the first meeting. After many days of running around meetings, they will also call a meeting to check if all the meetings were effective.
2. Endless cups of cofee and endless banter with colleagues about funny managers, only to get back to office and meekly end up in the latest meeting called by the same fella..
3. Long calls with overseas counterparts to discuss stuff that are not really problems but are made to look like problem, and then not arriving at a solution, but pretending as though some productive hours were spent brainstorming! Finally arriving at an action plan to ignore the non-problem for now!
4. Long lunches and long walks following it. How I used to hate walking after lunch. I relish it now, thanks to good company.
5. Long commute to work in public transport that seems to be specially designed to carry techie folks, and watching faces of peole - tense faces, boring faces, dull faces.. And every day listening to someone or the other taking a call and answering - "I am on my way.. I will be there in <insert some time<.. ok?"
6. Traffic Jams in the long commute. I love them so much because extended commute time means more sleep in the bus! :D
7. Free internet, some blogging time, twittering, flickring and exchanging personal mails full of silly nonsense..
8. Being asked by funny managers to provide some funny data that would be used by no one, and the kind of data that everyone knows that no body will have; telling the funny manager that no one has that data and listening to him saying he needs it anyway; cooking up that data from nowhere and keeping everyone happy - the funny manager, his funnier manager who initially asked for the data and poor us who initially told the truth.
9. Gasping when we get to know that funny manager got some quarterly performance award for submitting the cooked up data that incidentally turned out to be as ideal as it should be!

There would be much more to add surely, but I have to get to doing somethings very unimportant right now.. What are your amusements at work?

:: Tuesday, August 28, 2007 ::

The Salman Gate!

Warning: Really long post, worthy of Salman Khan! If you don't have enough time, I have marked the juicy stuff in bold, just for you!

Entire media was talking about it all the time and they tracked it much much better than Hyderabda story. I might as well follow the trend. Actually, let me admit the truth, I never switched on any news channels after the bombs blasted.

Infact it was many months since I had seen any news channels at all. I haven't managed to master the art of staring at the tube yet, and of late it had mostly remained switched off for many months. By fate's design or accident, I turned on the tube on that fine Saturday morning. I know Salman Khan would say Saturday morning was not fine, but anyway..! Fate's devious schemes lead me to tune to Times Now and they were doing a great job in enlightening the nation with every detail about the front gates of Salman's apartment. I got curious; how can I not? Afterall, all news channels have been working so hard to stimulate the nation's curiosity, and it is our duty to respond to it. The news that the channels knew - Salman is taking 11:30 Jet Airways flight from Mumbai with his family and lawyers to Jodhpur and is going to surrender at the Jodhpur court.

So here is the minute by minute update on what happened on Times Now.

Saturday morning 9:55AM: Unlike the usual me who wakes up early on weekends, I got up only around 9, and have been slowly starting my day. I had heard Indians had made a big score yesterday for a change and wanted to figure if they had won. I switch on the tv and search for some news channels; I stumble upon Times Now.

10:00AM. News begins with headlines. The first headlines is about their dear Salman, followed by some political nonsense and lastly India's win.

10:01AM The Salman's Gate coverage is live now. Yes, they are showing the gates of his house live! And how pretty it is!

They have posted a reporter with a camera there to see what's going on. To their bad luck, all tv channels also have done the same thing! So we get to see the gate once in a while in a big crowd of media persons. And don't forget - it is a very pretty gate!

One of the clever guys in some tv company plays smart - he get's a ladder - the kind of aluminium ladder you see in hardware shops and has installed it in front of the gate, so he can have a top view of the gate! To his bad luck, folks from other tv channels accompany him to the top. Whoever said it is lonely at the top was not correct!

The lady in the newsroom hammers the reporters at the gate with questions. They talk a lot between them, but for the convenience of the reader, I summarize the converstion. It goes like this:

Lady at the Newsroom(LN): What is going on there?[Note: Let's call this Question One]
Reporter at the pretty gate(RPG): umm.. not much really, we are all confused. I wish I knew what is going on.
LN: Is Salman inside his house?
RPG: Seems like that. There are lot of cars inside. I think Salman is inside.

A few cars come in/out of the gate. There is some traffic on the road in front of the gate - buses, rickshaws, etc.. The channel makes sure that nothing is left uncovered.

LN: So tell us, what is going on there?
RPG: umm.. I will ask the cameraman to show it all to you.

She tells the cameraman who was focussing on her face - "show the gate", and the cameraman is delighted to focus again on the pretty gate.

LN: What do you think is Salman's mood out there?
RPG: Umm.. I am not sure, but let's have a look at the gate.

Once in a while, they show a small 10 second clipping of a video with Salman, which they claim is previous day's. They keep repeating it again and again but never for long because they wanted to focus more on the pretty gate.

Question One is repeated continuously and now I am admiring the girl reporting from the gate. She has the consistency of a lawyer with her answers and never once made a different statement. She also manages to answer patiently even though LN keeps disturbing her from peacefully admiring the pretty gate.

10:16AM. Suddenly there is a change. Times Now guys move on to airport where they have stationed another girl to await Salman. We get to see the approach to airport live! How lucky we are! Occasionally, we are also shown live another reporter who is waiting at Jodhpur for Salman. But there are no pretty gates at airport or in Jodhpur, so we return to the good old gate which we love so much.

Meanwhile, yours truly is impressed. I did not expect the gate to be covered in such a detail, and did not know how much more is yet to come. But now I am no longer gawking at the gate now, since I am yet to learn the art of gawking at the tube properly. Instead, I go make myself a coffee, get hold of the newspaper and settle down comfily while everyone else was staring at the pretty gate.

10:36AM. Coverage of the gate continues non-stop. I am all excited to be able to see the gate for so long. Who cares about silly things like the nuclear deals when we have such lovely gate to stare at? I feel blessed. Suddenly there is some commotion beyond the gate! We spot Salman Khan walking towards the gate. Apparently he loves that gate too. But since it is the gate that we were covering, we could not see him properly while he speaks to the media! After a few minutes, the folks at Times Now somehow manage to get a footage of his speach, probably from a neighbouring reporter.

We also notice that Salman is wearing a shirt, which was unexpected. On his lawyer's advice, I presume.

Salman Speaks: As a responsible citizen of India I am going to Jodhpur to surrender, though I don't have the court order with me.

Now, this is why I love Salman. Anyone else would have said, "I am going to Jodhpur to surrender". Who would have thought of prepending that with so much responsibility? Afterall, Salman takes his responsibility seriously. Do you remember once he took responsibility for India's growing population and mowed down a few sleepy folks at the footpath?

His lawyer added in legalese longo: As a reposnsible person... And with the rights that can be exercised by any citizen of the country, we will file an appeal with the higher court...

And then they drove for airport. Suddenly the gate did not look as pretty as it did. So the live coverage switched in rapid successions between airport, pretty gate and Jodhpur. In the meanwhile, Times Now spoke with some one who they told us is Salman's Lawyer, and the lawyer repeated his words a few more times before pretending loss of contact.

While the airport premise was being covered live, I left the tv on and went for a bath. I made sure it is a long bath with full faith in our tv channel to continue the coverage when I am back. And they did not disappoint me. Salman had arrived at the airport and had gone inside, and the tv crew continued to cover the airport premise while he was inside. It was 10:55 by then.

I was completely impressed by the magnanimity of the coverage that Times Now managed and was keen to continue watching till Salman would reach Jodhpur, and then surrender at the court, and then being lead to the Jail. After that, I am sure we could have got to see the Jail Gate in plenty. But I was missing the pretty gate that we started with, and was not too keen about seeing anything else. So I decided to switch off and move on, thanking Times Now for all their hard work to show the us the pretty gate.


:: Friday, August 24, 2007 ::

Becoming Bengalooru..

It is now official. What was once called Bangalore is now officially declared as Bengalooru. There will be some battle of spellings between Bengaluru and Bengalooru until the official name sinks in the minds of people properly. In the occasion of name change, this long time Bangalorean(from now on a Bengaloorean!) looks at other things that have been changing in Bengalooru, along with its name.

The most evident change is in construction activity. There are flyovers all over the place and a new Metro work has taken over most of MG Road. Needless to talk about hundreds of buildings all over the place - on lake beds, government land, other people lands, and sometimes even their legally owned land! And tree felling comes naturally with all this. Trees gone on Kanakapura road, Vanivilas road, Malleswaram, MG Road... So the erstwhile Garden City can now be called a Baldened City! If the same thing continues forever, after some time we can call it a barren city.

Then they called it air conditioned city. Lets admit that things haven't changed very much and the climate is still pleasent and much cooler than the boiling summers we see in rest of the country. But there is some change in the air. Haven't you noticed it getting more black and smelly over time? There is some chance that your eyes and nose have adapted to the slow change and you may not have realized that change at all. I would call this getting conditioned to the air in the once air conditioned city! So if you haven't realized the 'change in air', take a break, go out somewhere for a few days and come back and you will know.

What was then a pensioner's paradise has now taken more accepted and well known names like IT/BT city, silicon city, etc. Those people who have given all these names have conveniently forgotten to add a few more adjectives like garbage city, traffic jam city, chaocity, etc. But I am confident that all these names will come sooner or later, and changing the official name of the city is just the beginning of it. Let's wait and watch!

Last Word: With the kind of fast growth that Bangalore has seen, and with sudden widening of Bangalore's periphery in the form of Brihat Bangalore, it would not be wrong to name the city as ObeCity


:: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 ::

Nokia Batteries..

So Nokia is recalling batteries that were getting hot and posing a risk. Most of you who own Nokias would have checked your batteries hoping that your's doesn't need a replacement. I for one also checked my battery anxiously, but with a hope that it needed a replacement. The battery was getting old, and is lasting only half the duration of what it once used to. I could have definitely done with a free replacement! :D

Bad news: Looks like my phone has a good battery in it. Now I want to sue Nokia for that. Anyone offering legal help? I can let you in on a generous 50% of claim money!

:: Tuesday, August 21, 2007 ::

Mungaru Maleye..

Five years ago when I looked down from the cliffs of Jog Falls, there were just us out there. Last week when I returned, the place was full of people. Mungaru Male effect has conquered Jog.

Jog Falls, Mungaru Male
An image from last week's trip

I missed the quietness we had at the cliff the last time around. The crowd caught my eye more than the falls did. The highlights:

1. People leaning over the rocks to see the water falling down.
2. People leaning over people who were leaning over the rocks!
3. People unwilling to get to the edge, but were just getting edgy!
4. People trying to act daring but pretty bad at the act!
5. People who wanted to be photogrpahed.
6. People who photographed the people who wanted to be photographed.
7. Photographers(commercial) who were seeking people who wanted their photographs!
8. People who wanted to see the photographs I shot!
9. People who controlled their kids
10. Kids who tried to escape their people's contorl!
11. People who wanted their people to see what they saw!


:: Sunday, August 19, 2007 ::

Strumming the Guitar

I have now set a new world record! And never really expected that it would happen. It has been three months since I have started learning guitar, and I haven't given up yet. Yes, three months is a real long time for me when it comes to sticking to something.

There is another kind of record that I have carefully hidden from rest of the world. The secret is becoming harder to keep within me and longing to come out, so I might as well share it. It is about the keyboard classes a few years back. I enrolled for weekend classes, went to first class, and was all excited about it. Next weekend I was out of town. The weekend after that I wasn't well and was again out of town the weekend after that. After that I felt too ashamed to get back to the class and show my face, and found solace in hiding myself from the teacher and then hiding the keyboard from me! I even gave away the keyboard to a friend, lest its memory would haunt me!

A slightly better performance was with the Spanish classes. I was all enthu about learning Espanol and proudly declared to my teacher in my first class - "I would like to learn Spanish, so I can travel to Latin America". She was impressed. But the impression did not last long when I started missing classes. Two months is as long I went to the class, and to be honest, I am surprised that I lasted that long!

Now, my guitar class thing had a few advantages. First, the classes happen right behind my house, and there is some level of flexibility with timings. That wasn't really enough, what worked is the persistence of the guy who conducts the classes. Each time I am missing in the class, he would call me to remind. I would politely say I can't make it due to a million excuses, and he would call me back again for the next class with the persistence of a monitor lizard. So after missing classes for a month, I gave in again and started going back.

I have been more regular now, and there is some confidence that I can really make it through this one. Wish me!


:: Tuesday, August 14, 2007 ::

A Short Conversation...

The walk from my office to BMTC bus stop is a little longer than I would want it, and takes a good 10 minutes. Yesterday evening when I was about to leave, I saw my boss also was on his way out, and decided to ask to drop me at the bus-stop. Here went our conversation.

Me: You headed home..?

Boss: Me, no. Am going out for a dinner.

I wondered why did I get so much of details instead of a Yes or No. And I further wondered about his early dinner plans because it was still 6.15. Anyway I carried on.

Me: ok, can you drop me at the bus stop?

Boss: Ya sure, come over.

As I packed my stuff and got ready to get out, he continued.

Boss: So otherwise how do you go?

I was not sure what exactly he wanted to ask. Ofcourse I would walk to the bus stop, what else?

Me: Walk, naturally!

Boss: No, not that.. from the bus stop how do you go?

Now this was a question I was least expecting. I almost wanted to ask him to take a wild guess and come up with an answer. But a boss is a boss. So hiding any possibility of funny looks on my face and trying to sound normal, I responded -

Me: I take the bus from bus stop.

Boss: oh.. ok!!

And thus ended the conversation.

:: Thursday, August 09, 2007 ::

Plant Trees...

Reproduced from Bangalore Metblogs

This is about a lady called Janet who plants trees.

You can have a tree planted on someone's behalf to commemorate a birthday, anniversary, ceremony, or just another day you're glad to be alive. So far she's planted over 650 trees...She's looking for people who can become members of her charitable trust and contribute 100 rupees per month.

She's also trying to get in touch with companies to see if the corporates can accommodate her mission - The Rajanet Yegneshwaran Charitable Trust.

She plants trees anywhere and everywhere - sidewalks, schools, churches, company compounds, houses... If you know any place where there's place for a tree, get in touch with Janet on 9845449703.

Spread the word. The rest will follow...


Conversation with a Dentist..

My sister in law happens to be a dentist, the kind of professional I prefer to stay away from. Anyway, who likes the people who push weapons of mass destruction into your mouth and let them have a free run?

Last time I had gone to a dentist, the dentist had warned me about the deteriorating condition of one of my teeth - the one in extreme left bottom. I was telling this to sis-in-law and she decided to inspect herself.

SIL: Open your mouth..

I reluctantly opened, recollecting my dentistophobia.

SIL inspected the teeth in question and exclaimed - "oh.. this is a wisdom tooth, needs to be removed."

I replied instantly - "you are a bad dentist!"

She peeped into my mouth again and said "see, this is not properly aligned. We will have to pull it out".

me: surely you are a very bad doctor.

SIL: Do you have any pain?

me: No, just that the person who inspected my teeth said there can be problems in future.

At that moment, SIL did not have her equipment to diagnose properly and gave a verdict. So she just said - "fine, no problem then. If there is no pain, don't worry right now. Once you get the pain, let's pull that tooth out.."

me: I don't trust you any more. Get away. Are you sure you are a dentist? Show me your certificate..!

And we agreed to change topics while I convinced myself to ignore the problem!

:: Wednesday, August 01, 2007 ::

India Needs no emission norms?

Government of India thinks developing countries should not be restricted with emission norms, as it affects their development.

I wish we had a vision further into future. We are fast on our way to becoming growth hungry, consumerist nation following the footsteps of the west. If we continue the trend of double digit growth in the economy(which is not bad) and start gulping every available resource in the already resource crunched country(which is bad), it is not hard to see what happens in next 15 years. If the nation of one billion starts running behind growth and if every Indian start consuming as much as the Americans, this earth will be empty in no time and what follows will be nothing short of catastrophe.

Sure, we need our people to come out of poverty and live better life. But there are better way to approach better living. We need to tax cars and subsidize buses. We need to promote local marketing against packaged foods. We need to tax polluting products to subsidize eco-friendly products. We need to encourage green ways of doing things. We have to find ways to uplift farmers as a priority than creating more billionaires. There are plenty of things we are now doing the wrong way, for which we need to think long term.

And to add finally, yes, the governments must take steps in these directions but there is a lot that we all can contribute as individuals.


Bangalorean, Love travelling and photography
email:  arunchs at yahoo dot com 




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