startling banals

29 March 2006

3 'O clock walk

Used to go from hostel to main gate at night with my fellow insomniacs to have cigarette and cutting chai. It was a 2 - 3 km walk and the road used to be deserted with koyals, some water- birds and miscelleneous birds calling each other. We used to stay up all night watching movies or just talking randomly :D. Tonight I went with TD to a gas station some 15 min walk from our home at around 3.30 to buy un paquete de cigarillos. Boston is quite safe at nights and we live very much in the city like VT in Bombay. Some birds were making a god melody. The nights are not as chilly as they used to be still hovering about zero but thankfully not negative. Seems spring is on her way. Thought of a silly haiku.
No cigarettes at home
Night walk to the gas station
Spring birds awake too
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27 March 2006

Creative businesses

This is a good collection of business ideas around the globe. I am interested in opening a decent affordable eating place with nice ambience and good music(& food too), with varying moods for different days of the week.
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24 March 2006

Out of the straitjacket into the pocket

Santosh and I had made plans of meeting Yashpal the guy who wrote the "Yashpal Committee Report on Educational reform (1992)" - the guy who used to answer people's questions in "Turning Point". He is one of India's greatest creative thinkers on a liberal education and he was the Chairman of the University Grants Commission (he was sidelined by the NDA govt. and made the Chancellor of Nagaland University for his "secular" views).
His report which was written in 1992 talked about the need for reducing he unnecessary and unproductive pressures on a child in the school system in India and the unhealthy encouragement given to rote learning. (I remember once I was passing time bunking lectures in 10th standard reading books in my school library and some kid's father came there and asked for some past years' question papers for his kid. The librarian asked him what std his son is in, he said, "1st standard" :-o)
In this interview, he is both humble and bold enough to say,
We emphasise a lot in certification and degrees and, in the process, destroy a lot of people.
While going through the websites of European Universities, we had come across some universities where the students were given a free go at choosing what courses they want to take in the first two years after which they can decide which stream they would like to pursue. This was something we could only dream of. To which people give the argument that a developing country like India cannot afford to have such luxuries. But is a free choice too much to ask for? Nehru could have said that developing IITs and other national institutes is something that can be deferred till the day India becomes "developed". Although he had many faults (who doesn't) but the man had a vision of a free and modern India. In today's postmodern age we laugh at people for being too idealistic.
But on the other hand even the IITs are ultimately trying to fit each student into categories of a particular engineer/scientist. Like so and so is a Mechanical or Civil or say Electrical Engineer.
And this can be very bad for students who think and care about what their true interests are, especially in an authoritarian and vindictive system that some people have turned it into. If he/she doesn't comply to its requirements, he is thrown out and labelled as a misfit. No one is allowed to make any choices, once you have entered a particular branch, the choice has been made and it is final. There is no scope for discovering your potentials and developing as a human being. It is not a continuous process but just a discrete yes/no.
We wanted to talk to Yash Pal about the possibility of an alternative. If not disturb the status quo at least why not start a new place for real learning in the spirit of a true university where the aim is not just satisfying the market's need for software or call center professionals. Or else we will just continue to be launched "out of the straitjacket into the pocket".
Just came across a speech given by Yash Pal.
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Pride & Prejudice(2005)

Keira Knightly - Ayesha Takia of the West!
plays the part of Elizabeth Bennet. Her acting style is fresh and spontaneous. She has a spark in her eyes - remember her as Jess Bhamra's friend in Bend it like Beckham and the Celt warrior in King Arthur and Pirates of the Carribean of course.
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23 March 2006

Two film reviews

Sophie Scholl - About the trial and execution of Sophie Scholl - member of the "White Rose" - a group of anti-Nazi youth.

No more tears sister - About a Tamil professor - Rajani Thiranagama from Sri Lanka assassinated by the LTTE for writing a book on the excesses commited by both sides in the long-drawn ethnic conflict.

Will try to watch these movies asap.
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the fool

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22 March 2006


Titli - Bong movie(of course with subtitles!) by Rituparna Ghosh - set in Darjeeling(God scenery) starring Aparna Sen and Konkona Sen( a 11-12th types girl Titli) as a mother-daughter duo on their way to airport to pick up Titli's dad who is returning from a business trip to Bombay. They give a lift to a Bollywood actor whose car has broken down (Rohit Roy - played by Mithun) - Titli is a huge fan of his and is very excited to meet him. But she is unaware that he was her mom's lover. The story unfolds in a very natural and smooth way without any unnecessary and fancy gimmicks. The characters seem real-life and non-artificial and un-caricatured. A very good movie, watch it.
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21 March 2006

Good sci-fi movies

Gattaca (Ethan Hawke)
Code 46 (Tim Robbins)
Can't help noticing how much George Orwell's "1984" has influenced this genre (Big Brother is watching) in much the same way as Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" has inspired "Star Wars". Some books are truly eternal. Orwell was really really much ahead of his time about the State spying, thought control and propaganda.
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the film, sooraj ka satva ghoda, bluffmaster, brokeback mountain, dansh, crash, corpse bride, ong bak, memoirs of a geisha, koi aapsa, 15 park avenue, ramji londonwale, frida, in july, pride and prejudice (new), kolya, fight club, messengers(1999), world without thieves, infernal affairs (I & II), chunking express, 2046, oldboy, my sassy girl, love letter(japanese), the road home, kung fu hustle, y tu mama tambien, amores perros, cinderella man, Munich, four rooms, Ju Dou
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18 March 2006

Sleep all day n drink all night

Tanqueray gin, tonic water and lemon juice

Infinite chicken

TD and Mal with infi chcken

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Justify war

This is a doctor who saved many soldiers' lives in Iraq. I read the article in Newsweek. While talking in detail about the great risks he took in doing his duty, it is completely silent about the many Iraqis who are being killed by the same soldiers and the horrible reality of civil war between Shia and Sunni Iraqis who had been living as neighbours till the american invasion. I feel that this story is being used to justify the occupation and illegal invasion of another country by the US and innocent Iraqis and US soldiers are dying for the greed of a few people.
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16 March 2006

Child in a park

I used to go to meet a friend who was studying in Pune University. One day I was lying down on a bench in "Alice Garden" (Who is Alice Richman?)in the university campus. Her grave reads - "BORN MELROSE SOUTH AUSTRALIA NOVEMBER 13 1856 AND DIED AT THIS SPOT OF CHOLERA AT THIS VERY SPOT JANUARY 1886". It was around 3 in the afternoon and i came across a quaint littlle girl. After coming back to Bombay, just for fun I wrote a small poem on her. It was 2002. Can't believe it was such a long time back. "Time" Pink Floyd.

i read lying on a park bench
a play - the emperor jones by eugene o'neil
in the afternoon shade of the great rain tree,
my head resting on a travelling bag.
a young child in rather old dirty clothes
playing all alone
on a slide and sand box
her tiny chappals and big water bottle
kept on the bench near my head.
she comes up from behind once in a while
for a sip or two
tired in the long afternoon
but happy all alone
i ask, "girl,what's your name?"
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By Constantine Cavafy

The City(1910)

You said, "I will go to another land, I will go to another sea.
Another city will be found, better than this.
Every effort of mine is condemned by fate;
and my heart is -- like a corpse -- buried.
How long in this wasteland will my mind remain.
Wherever I turn my eyes, wherever I may look
I see the black ruins of my life here,
where I spent so many years, and ruined and wasted."

New lands you will not find, you will not find other seas.
The city will follow you. You will roam the same
streets. And you will age in the same neighborhoods;
in these same houses you will grow gray.
Always you will arrive in this city. To another land -- do not hope --
there is no ship for you, there is no road.
As you have ruined your life here
in this little corner, you have destroyed it in the whole world.
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14 March 2006

Una poema simple por un gran hombre

There is a language never heard
That only soul can speak to soul
Without the use of any word
The truth is passed, unbroken, whole.

Mere words cannot convey the truth
They always miss it, pass it by
Distort it just enough to change
A perfect truth to partial lie.

But souls can tune themselves to truth
Can find a wavelength that is free
Of all the damage done to words
In all their strife-torn history.

Beauty can help find the wave
Wonder discern the frequency
That lets two souls be tuned in love
And know the truth in unity.

-Everett Reimer (Author of "School is Dead")
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13 March 2006


Your Personality Profile

You are elegant, withdrawn, and brilliant.
Your mind is a weapon, able to solve any puzzle.
You are also great at poking holes in arguments and common beliefs.

For you, comfort and calm are very important.
You tend to thrive on your own and shrug off most affection.
You prefer to protect your emotions and stay strong.
The World's Shortest Personality Test
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12 March 2006

Aglaa shikaar

Koshish for Haribhai Jariwala - Sanjeev Kr of course :D!
L' Auberge espagnole another French comedy
Szerelmesfilm (Love film) Hungarian movie comes highly recommended by a friend
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10 March 2006

Blog templates

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Perverse Love

This is a theme of Spectrum - a literary arts magazine brought out by kids in my university. Its really good. Go on what u looking at. Read it you Perve!
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07 March 2006


Les Poupees Russes
It happened one night
La lengua de las mariposas
Memoirs of a Geisha
Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors
Cinderella man
Four for Venice (saw it 2 years back in Gem - chota bhai of Gaeity Gemini Galaxy
Infernal Affairs (I & II)
A world without thieves
Chunking Express
Have to make a separate blog for movies.
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02 March 2006

The parrot's training - Tagore

Mere words cannot convey the truth
They always miss it, pass it by
Distort it just enough to change
A perfect truth to partial lie.

- "Power For All or For None (1998)" - Everett Reimer

Today I read a story by Tagore - "The parrot's training"
It reflects Tagore's views on "education" and his disdain for structured schooling.

To quote from wikipedia's article on Tagore,

Writing of the rote-oriented education system introduced in India under the British Raj, he once said:
"We pass examinations, and shrivel up into clerks, lawyers and police inspectors, and we die young .... Once upon a time we were in possession of such a thing as our mind in India. It was living. It thought, it felt, it expressed itself. But it has been thrust aside, and we are made to tread the mill of passing examinations, not for learning anything, but for notifying that we are qualified for employment under organizations conducted in English. Our educated community is not a cultured community, but a community of qualified candidates."

I sent the parrot story to my friend tanmoy, who said he had read it in school as a child. They had to write the "moral of the story" for this tale. Ironic! :D
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