Thursday, 30 December 2010

God of Cookery (1997) [* * * * *]

I'm in love with Stephen Chow.:) There's something incredibly attractive about chinese features, especially one with laughing eyes, and coupled with a lean muscled body ... irresistable. What's more he's talented - writes, directs, acts in all his movies and the stories are creative and sensitive (like in Shaolin Soccer when he tastes a salty steamed bun by the girl he just rejected, he realises that the salt is from her tears - very touching moment. I've watched it a hundred times just to watch his eyes soften:).

This one is about an arrogant chef who loses his job to a plot and works with a street vendor to build up an empire again. There are gods that appear - very Indian themed movies.

I'll just mention another which is very indian (I watched it in chinese so didn't quite follow the nuances), the one called A Chinese Odyssey which has a bunch of gods and mortals interacting like the old tamil movies.:)

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

If fine is fine why refine?

These are times when something has to be refined to win the market, gone are the days when original is best from nature.

The public is being duped with words of natural, yet refined and double refined.

Let us clarify things.

Those that are got from nature,are safe, edible,with no complications to the body, the impurities that folks say which are present can be removed with simple maneuvers, if one remembers the chemistry class,where the difference between mixtures and compounds was so well explained and differentiated.

Cleaning stones, sand and dust do not need chemical refineries, beware of what we get as refined products.

Think of all the refined products we get from rice, flour,the list is long,the things that are removed are sold, the remaining stuff is good for a long shelf life,devoid of good things which will not get spoil t as there is nothing to be spoil t, let us select what we want and find a person who will get them for us.

There are folks, who know nature and love to keep her and her secrets safe for the welfare of mankind. You will find them when u understand the theory.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

A pick of the pickles

I was pulled from within the home, with a call of " ooruga ooruga".

The vendor was a man who had a long pole across his shoulders, and balanced well at their ends were two bamboo baskets hanging like the lady of justice with the balancing pans.

It was a sight to behold in these days of vending, he had a variety of tupperware boxes, and when asked to show his wares, the collection of goose berries, mango and lime and bitter gourd and ginger pickles in the plastic containers were a sight of color.

We picked the ginger, as we already had mango and lime; we have planned to try the goose berries the next time.

We shall see if this new pickles man will get the blessings of the lady of the home, to get tried for his other assortments of pickles.

Lost in the loo, to discover hidden truths

We have heard of Albert playing with soap bubbles, and Archimedes running out from the bath to announce his discovery.

Many a hidden truth is discovered in this place which seems to have invisible antenna to the scientific world, in its relaxed state of easiness.

May be it won’t be long when ' do not disturb ' sign hangs on them as inventory laboratories, to bring on things to demystify the world for the benefit of mankind and not for its destruction.

Despicable Me (2010) [* * * * *]

Again, Disney, and again, really good. When I first heard the name, I thought it would be a very average movie with very average humour. But it had a Saki-like quality which was fantastic - exploring how children accept the most unsavory characters without question and usually change them for the better. The reason most people grow mellow after having kids.

A villain adopts 3 orphans to get into his rivals home and finds himself enjoying their company more than being villainous. The adventures that follow, as he goes to steal the moon to be considered the criminal of the century, make them closer as a family.

Tangled (2010) [* * * * *]

This is the story of Rapunzel, one of my favorite scary fairy tales. As with all Disney productions, a very polished piece. The only really annoying thing about American movies is american flippancy that's crept into movies - the put-downs, the droll expressions - I don't think I liked it even as a child.

But seeing as they can't help apologizing for making naive, tender adventures for children, even out of the dark Hans Christian Anderson tales, one can appreciate Disney for not slacking on the work that goes into it.

There's the usual adorable pair of animal companions - a chameleon and a horse detective and an unusual take on why Rapunzel is locked in the tower. That's one more of the 'why's of childhood answered to my satisfaction.:)

Friday, 24 December 2010

Santa comes to town

It was nearing 7 in the evening and the mosquitoes had started attacking the unprotected ones with their stings.

A faint sweet music was in the air, like being in a church and the choir voices were in the darkness, getting ones out of the seats to look who was around .
Far away a group was on the move and slowly focused into Santa Claus and his admirers from around the village.

They were with the instruments of music and voices of sweetness singing Christmas carols, and warming the chillness of the December air, distributing sweets to the children on the road, who had collected to share the happiness.

There was Santa all red with white trimmings on his simple robe, he was all smiles in the mask and held out a hand that i shook with genuine pride.
they passed the street reminding us of the time to share our happiness with others to make the whole world a joyous home of togetherness.

Merry Christmas to u all, and all of u have a wonderful time all thro' the year end and the coming year.

( when i read this to Mrs Gardner , she said she missed Santa Claus, i told her he is going to get her a saree from kangeepuram for her, she is still on the look out for him)

Tron Legacy (2010) [* * * * * *]

Its hard to describe how awesome a 3D movie can be unless you have seen it - this one was particularly superb. I didn't expect much when I went to the theatre (expect to spend a lot of money, which we did:) but thanks to St_Lightstorm, we got those 3D glasses!

I'd say this movie is a must-see for the visual, if you're watching it with those headachy 3D glasses - then its a spectacular treat.

The story is a different only because 2 software guys get trapped in their software world and have to race against time and fantastic bikes to get out.

The Chronicles of Narnia Trilogy [* * * * *]

It is rare that film-makers get to make trilogies in fantasy - there are few but they're brilliant - like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, X-men, Harry Potter, etc.

This is based on 7 books by C.S. Lewis, a friend and contemporary of J.R.R. Tolkien, to teach children christian values (yes, I almost hate it for that reason too- but atleast it is honest about a religious aim, unlike most stories:).

The first, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, introduces us to the 3 children displaced by war and sent to a distant uncle for protection. There they struggle to find themselves as a family when they come across a land called Narnia hidden in the back of a wardrobe. The whole adventure is a lesson to them to stick together as family, not to betray each other and to trust even in the littlest voice for truth as they try to save the world of Narnia from the Witch.

The second is about Prince Caspian which I found far more interesting. They return to Narnia after a thousand years to save it from destruction again. In the Voyage of the Dawn Treader only two of them return to learn a few lessons in courage and self-acceptance for imminent adulthood.

The Iron Giant (1999) [* * * * * *]

This is a terrific story about a friendship between a boy and an iron alien and how their relationship changes both of them (and saves the world).

I think adults have children only to relive their own childhood differently, with more control, like a reeducation. I've believed that since my parents have enjoyed childrens movies and comics more than we kids have, and now that I'm older, I've got the same urge to understand my values through my inner child's eyes.

The boy saves the giant as he was getting electrocuted and they become friends. All children overcome their fear of animals or other humans only by doing something extraordinarily good in a very difficult situation, earning a trust that lasts a lifetime. Without that extra effort the two remain monsters to each other - if only more children (inside adults too) got the education of movies like this to learn some kindness, our streets would be safer for animals and our skies for aliens.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Every one to their own speed

nHasty Harry and slow poky Tortoise are extremes,Man is the balanced middle, the right pace.

The haste makes a waste,slow and steady wins the race, story has been repeatedly told,and many a man has been slowed to a pace of a tortoise, man has a speed of his own and when he finds that i am sure he is off to not only win races, but also reap honors of the intelligent kind, when he takes rests and bring on inventions of the latest needs.

The creative talents of man is being explored more than the discoveries of the natural world, may more encouragements be made to tap them, than slacken the speed and dampen the spirits with races of the animal kind.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Pinched Ears

Many an ear has been pinched and turned in school ,to do better in class.

The actions of the teachers have been misunderstood as a punishment then , but now science has unfolded truths that says centers in the ear have got correlating parts with the brain, that makes one more bright and sharp and enhances learning.

Many of us have a remembrance of those days, and the famous topukaranams ( squats with crossed arms pinching ones own ear lobes).

Now that we realize the truths of those punishments, may we pardon the teachers for their kind corrections .

These words are in memory of them.

( caning with well oiled bamboo sticks do not come under this category, and memories are still afresh of them, on the butts and palms.)

Monday, 20 December 2010

Geography answers for History questions

How would our answer sheets get a correction for a mistake of answering a wrong subject material, it gets to be thrown out.

Let us compare the congress passing a bill for cash for clunkers which helps in getting a new car, fuel efficient ,in exchange for old ones, and slipping a bill which destroys our rights to our own food, called Food safety bill.

With this bill we will not be able to get fresh produce from the village markets, only factory farming from now on and worse things to follow.

The elders teach us rules, no cheating, honesty is the best policy, and conveniently forget to live by them, when it comes to ruling.

The ones who have been elected are either playing safe or are ignorant to a level of stupidity.
It may seem like ,'why should we be bothered with the Congress of America'.!

A bill passed there gets passed across the world next, this is what happened with artificial sweeteners called aspartame with Donald Rumsfeld then, and now the whole world is affected with it to a state of shameness and illness "we cant do any thing now"is the echo heard all across the globe, most not even aware that aspartame is a poison, willingly consumed by the mass.

The Americans have forgotten to ask questions of their rulers, and have become silent acceptors of their masters, which means they are slaves, and if we do not,your guess is as good as mine.

Parker with Quink

I had a nice Parker pen as a gift for my words that my dad thought i drew, his encouragement for the importance of words meant much to me, he could see some thing which i felt was only an expression of the mind in art.

It was an importance to use it for my village fingers, the Royal Blue of Quink the recommended ink for the status of Parkers.

The simple exercises that we were given to follow, for the easy flow of words were so cute, that i do them at this age with thankfulness for its expressions, whose practice does not make us sweat, but brings on fluency of breath to the fingers, and the hand as a whole.

The handwriting that is so termed has been forgotten that if we notice, it is the fingers that are writing, and the hand as a full component is forgotten, the flow of the hand is not there, the movements missing, all things are stiff and the scribble is only at the fingers.

How lucky it was some one did notice these small things for us to change,adapt, difficult and painful, but worth a revolution to bring on, and continue the letters of beauty and grace, to the English Language.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Yoga Nidra

An invitation into yoga for the lazy and bed affectionate and "no time" tellers, it sounded just right for our kind.
(The world knows yoga as only gymnastic postures for the body bending activists, it is a state of oneness, in which body postures help to attain.)

We enrolled and were asked to get into loose sleepy clothes and a warm bed, on the day of the class, we took it for fun those words, but were surprised when we were asked on arrival where was the simple bed and pillow.( with laughter)

The master talked about nidra (sleep) and how it could be made to a state of yoga, (oneness) making use of the disturbances during sleep to our advantage.

There is a temple in Srirangam in Trichy and in Tirupathy foot hills, where the deity is in an asleep posture on a bed of snake on the waves of the sea, may be the elders then had a class in their times,like it is for us to explain things in ritual form and worship.

The class has a few meditations techniques, each one let a few of us even snore, all the techniques were to make us aware even during our sleep, and yet have a deep sleep, we have been given schedules to practice them on a monthly basis to last us a full year, we are practicing yoga nidra,for a sound sleep and a full day of activity.

So here we are snoring away with awareness to attain what comes with it in time.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Ear Blasters

The whole world has given up the bull horn speakers, but not us ,we are importing all the throw always for the brain washing of the general public with them, and with it the palpitating heart, the ear pain and more that go along with the incredible sound pollution .

There is an area of empty space at the village bus stop, that is always kept so for the dais that gets pulled up at a days notice for the election campaign of the various parties.

In preparation for the evenings speech, a day long play of songs and speeches of parties are played up with the help of players and recording hi fi, the bull horn speakers are tied up to the telephone post and other line ups and taken up to a distance of a few hundred yards, there they are for the full day noisily spelling the dos and do nots and won and lost ideas of the future days to come.

The finale is at the evening when there is a darshan of the chiefs and local representatives and more ideas, heart thumping of their credits and booing s of the other parties.

Not all are in this trade, yet many are offered the mike so u can imagine the results, there is this yell into the mike, at odd times of the day and night for the benefit of the whole place,

Some checking on the strength of the mike material ,with a tap, some calling for that distant cousin at the far end if he can hear him, with a blow of a breeze, that would sound like a storm.

Well what ever the bull horn is sure to stay high up in the post, where it has reached .

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Sprouted oats sandwich

The paper cone makes a great package, accidentally brought on by the ice cream vendor at a carnival, when his cups got over for the creams of ice.

The village market attracts the early morning gossipers to tea shops to warm the heels and palms and glance at the news papers and hear the village hum drums, parking on wooden planks as benches.

Many a bun relish- er has switched over to the sprouted oats, thanks to the constipated ones, who are promoting this change for the betterment of the lucky ones, for a small token of 3 rupees a cone.

Those who have been addicted to the British styled bread eating, the local bakeries have been cajoled to try the wheat bread with willing customers, so here we have in this village a novelty for a try,sprouted oats, green gram and mung dal a blend, they go great with the wheat bread to make a sandwich fit for an English man or a nutrition conscious dietitian.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Louis - we did not hear u

Louis Pasteur’s last words were" it is not the germs that cause the disease, but the terrain where the germs are found that are the cause of the disease".

These words were buried along with him, and they remain in the pages of history, quietly tucked away within books safely nestled in libraries, which rarely get disturbed until folks get to read them again.

In 2006 there was a scare of spinach, it was framed for having E Coli found among them and whole packs of them discarded, though it was only from a few ranches, the scare was for all and it was caused by wild pigs trampling on them, the bugs are commonly found in cattle manure, E. coli do not grow on plants.( so we can realize , some one played intermediate)

Until we get to understand that the bacteria by them selves cannot harm us, unless they have been tampered with and our system softened up, we are foot ball to the kickers of this scram.

Natural food is being destroyed and people scared to avoid them,for reasons of safety.

But junk eats which do not get spoilt even after years are allowed to be eaten!!!(did u notice I did not use the word food - food will get to be acted upon by organisms)

Plastic eatables are avoided by organisms that get things back to nature.

Let us have a quiz, set your own timers.

Which large eating joint offers buns and pizzas and all the fillings which can be saved and found to be same after years?

Yes, yours is the right answer.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010


I love mother nature, and if there is a moment to express it i would not hesitate.

Sea water has all the ingredients that are there in the periodic table, many in trace amounts unpronounceable and difficult for those who are not used to the chemical words.

Sea salt and any thing that is natural and organic seems to be a bad word for the government agencies and for their coffer fillers or spenders.

I have made inquiries how some thing that is natural can be considered bad and an artificial salt good for health, advertised all day and night long as memory boosters.

Many have asked how can u promote a product , other than what the government and scientific white coated doctors say is best.

A pity i belong to the minority, but i have managed to convince myself first for its benefits and scientific data and now there is a grocery man who managed to get one sack of sea salt and has it outside his shop and, due to its hygroscopic nature it collects water and there it lies seeking attention for its benefits for mankind on our village roadside.

Shaolin Soccer (2001) [* * * * * *]

This is another brilliant movie by Stephen Chow. If we compare this to what has been produced previously or since 2001, you'll see there are very few Hong Kong and Hollywood movies that match up.

The story is of a group of shaolin kung fu students who're leading miserable lives in the real world despite being masters of their craft. One of them is a rag picker, Stephen Chow, who meets a soccer coach by accident and kicks a can into outer space. They round up the rest and begn training them into a team which goes on to win every game they play. In the finals though, they're pitted against an evil coach's team who has them taking super-drugs and the struggle is epic.

Its highly entertaining, very well-made and a neat storyline. Its fun to see the usual wire air stunts in a different context than choreographed fighting.:)

Thursday, 9 December 2010

If u see some thing say some thing

I see the rays of the morning sun shining through the clouds and forming a band of golden path lightening up the sky.

I see the bright and lucky kids going to school waving their lunch boxes and back packed book bag, i also see them sharing their lunches sitting in the shade of the peepal tree, happy and giggling.

I see the beautiful women of home doing the marketing, their clothes as colorful as the fruits and vegetables on trade.

I see the rushes of the work force, off for their job to catch the timely buses at their stations.
The flower vendors and their way of calculating the length of the flowers weaved with the pith cuttings of the bananas, on their forearms is a sight to behold.

I still see that rare bullock cart on the road with the truck tires, the oxen chewing the cud with satisfaction

There are so much more things to say of what i see, but i do not think this is what the ones who coined this phrase want us to say of what we saw.

Do u have words to say of what u saw?

Kung Fu Hustle (2004) [* * * * * *]

I've always thought kung fu movies could have been more comic for relief from the endless choreographed fights, but until I saw Stephen Chow's movie, I didn't think they had it in them.

This movie had scenes that reduced me to helpless laughter. It had great action, terrific humour and a little romance. Well worth watching for a relaxed Sunday!

The story is of a young guy who can't succeed at anything and goes from being a petty thief to wanted to be a member of the Axe Gang. He gets injured in a fight with a kung fu master which sets his chi flowing freely and ends up a master fighter himself, for the good side.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

An exhibition at the school

It was another day of school,but with a difference, an exhibition was organized and the kids were the organizers with the help of the teachers, and the parents were the participants of the show, trying out games and listening to the children say their projects and themes.

The primary kids were showing us the zoo with the Britannia animals we got with the tooth paste those days, pointing the animals, sweet it was, others showed us the traffic signals and emergency ambulance services, and environmental friendly factories with gardens around them with thermocol cut outs, and many uses of Palmyra tree, wonderful work of exhibits for the kids.

The middle school kids showed their skill with maths puzzle teasers which made us feel jealous, we never had such exhibits of maths to make it feel like a game to study, the 9th table exhibited with pencil stand was a wonder.

Fruits, vegetables and herbs were at display with the kids explaining the contents and their benefits.

I suddenly had a child at my side, " i can tell u the day of your birth and how old u are" i willed and out came the right answer with his maths skill, and one child who could not make me understand her questions shifted the language to my level of understanding and got me worked up on her maths puzzle to bring out the right answer.

The English department brought out words of skill to dust our cobwebbed mind to surface action,the other departments had equally sharp skilled work i am sure, but i ran away as i had a prior appointment , missing all the more lovely exhibits of teaching and the taught, to make the parents proud and the teachers feel what they do when the kids do well to their satisfaction.

Cheers to the teachers for surfacing the skill of kids to explain what they know. communicating what u know is more important, than just knowing.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Bugsy Malone (1976) [* * * *]

This is a gangster movie - but all the gangsters are children. It was quite a lot of fun to watch, though I must admit, like most mafia movies, I hardly understood what it was about. (It took me 3 viewings and reading the book to 'get' Godfather. And I still can't explain what its about if asked. This would probably need the same. Some worlds are too male to comprehend, gang violence on the streets would be one of them.:)

Anyway, great music and a startling parody, since these kids do mobs and mafia so well, it makes adults at the same game look retarded.:)

Saturday, 4 December 2010

A Tweet for a date on the wings

Sitting high on the cable between two small pylons was this birdie i will call as Robin.
His calls could be heard within my home, i wanted to see the one who was so shrill and yet not hurting to the ears, but a call to my heart.

I found him searching this way and that seeking sharply among the bushes , the calls continuous as if to say it is getting bright and where are u ?

I could literally decipher his calls as ,"come let me show u the sun rise from that height, the tasty organic corn i have found at that distant farm, the thorny hide out from that scoundrel hawk and more."

His search was so sincere that he missed not an inch on the ground, around the plants and across the sky.

He was very sure he had seen his mate to be, at this spot earlier, that he wanted to make it sure he found her here.before she was wooed by another charmer like himself and equally sonorous.

For one last time he made his call for a date on the wings, before he flew away to look for her at another green spot of beauty, sure he would find her for his warm heart of sharing.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Grey Misty Morning

With the coming of December it was another morning of chillness, but one could not believe the misty nature,many of us would have gone back to see if we have awoken from our own bed in our native land, or up in a hill station.

We quickly went up to the terrace to have a look at the houses and distant hills around our place.
Visibility was up to 50 meters or a bit more,the hills and beauty of the beyond was all grey.

I quickly got my bathing gear and was off to the mountain spring for the bath, the journey of a few kms was lovely and the mist was thicker and one could feel the wetness in the air.

The water was warm from the spring well and the bathers were few, except for the ayyapa devotees.

The laundry and bath was done with chillness and warmth.

I returned home and with in an hour or so and the arrival of the morning sun with lateness the mist cleared and all things were back to work with ease, a remembrance that the morning was grey and misty and beautiful.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Breach of Trust

Every one has a secret, a sweet heart in the caves or a sour head on the mountain top, a nincompoop ally who has a cherry nose of a Saggittarian clown, but who is made to think he looks cute with it.

In this diplomatic world of politics such things are kept close to the heart, and that is what makes an ally, but such things when brought to the open can make a friendship bond bitter.

Diplomatic messages when brought to the open is blackmail to a degree and there is a gap of leak to the outside world, when such a condition exists, it needs to be blocked for the welfare of relationships and trade agreements.

The recent wikileaks messages are a shame to the world of politics as things are washed in the open, of course we all have our dirt, but exposing each other only makes things garbage.

America is being targeted by its own allies, it need to find out who is leaking and put a halt, as only an ally can get into such details and know the ins and out, and the timing is to side track issues of the moment.

Find and be safe AMERICA for your own good and for the welfare of the rest of the world, who look to you as the Land of plenty and Home of the brave.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

An Inconvenient Truth (2006) [* * * * * *]

This is a terrific must-see documentary about the struggle of Al Gore to put global warming on the forefront of politics.

All his work as Vice-President to get the US to sign the Kyoto agreement was wiped out when the Bush administration decided it wasn't 'fair' for the developed world to reduce carbon emissions while countries like India and China didn't have to do as much work. (Duh, Bush Jr., that was because the first world countries have 5 times the emissions of ours and the US has 15 times higher emissions than any other country in the world! Grow up!)

Anyway, the world slapped Bush in the face for it by giving Al Gore the Nobel Peace Prize 2007 for his work to save the environment and he won an Oscar for this video! This movie is about that struggle and Al Gore's dogged determination - I never realised he was such a likeable guy until I saw it!

Here's a good place to view An Inconvenient Truth

Fanny & Alexander (1982) [* * * * * *]

This is a fabulous movie about 2 children and their mother after the husband dies. The children are born to a theatrical family and he led a free and creative existence with little or no discipline, having fun in a huge family full of love and joy and freedom.

After her husband's death, the actress catches the bishop's eye and he begins to woo her in the form of episcopal emotional support. Alexander is growing out of childhood and into a psychically sensitive teen who sees ghosts as easily as he sees hidden motives.

He takes an instant dislike to the bishop, but his mother falls in love. The bishop takes them home to a life of hardship and punishments for the smallest offenses. Alexander is repeatedly subject to humiliation and required to apologize to his tormentor. His one wish is to see the bishop dead.

The mother is unable to protect her children as the bishop threatens to use the marriage laws of Sweden to take away the children. Finally her former husband's family is forced to intervene to rescue the children.

During this act, we're made aware of how much of a rascal the Bishop really is, for all his hypocritical talk. The penury of the house is due to his financial excesses and his womanizing. The theatrical family turn to a Jewish merchant to abduct the children from the prison of their new home so that the mother is free to act. She puts bromides in her nightly broth to help her sleep and the suspicious bishop asks to drink it and is helpless to stop her from leaving him. The jewish merchant has a psychically talented son who sees the rage in the boy and channels it to set the bishop's house on fire, in which the Bishop dies.

Finally we see the theatrical family reunited and happy again. But Alexander is pushed down by the ghost of the Bishop who tells him that now he'll never escape him again.

I have never seen a catholic filmmaker's that I haven't identified with. Having been in catholic schools and colleges, I am deeply aware of their hypocrisy, the special humiliations and torment they reserve for children and the gilded cage they weave with words - whether the movie is about sexually abusive priests or punitive relationships between natives and missionaries, I identify with the rage and pain that goes into the telling of those stories.

Prizzi's Honour (1985) [* * * *]

A very entertaining gangster movie with a twist.

Jack Nicholson is a slow but deadly mafia man, brought up by the Prizzi family. He falls in love with Kathleen Turner, who's a specialist killer hired by the family, but he marries her anyway because he's in love with her. Anjelica Huston is a former lover who's been dishonoured because she cheated on him in a jealous fit.

It's a movie about family honour and its crazy mafioso implications. One mistake by Kathleen leads to very unfortunate consequences for his marriage by which Anjelica manages to get him back.

Well worth watching.

About Schmidt (2002)[* * * *]

This is an interesting movie for any middle aged person to see. Its a change-of-life story.

Schmidt is newly retired from his job as vice-president in a company who sees his life with new eyes.

One day watching a tv ad for a charity, he begins to write to an african boy with a cheque to support his education. His letters are about his new retired life.

He comes from a typical US married man background of having nothing to live for except his work. His wife seems like a stranger to him, but by the time he realises it, she dies.

Now he realises he can't take care of himself and his home, and his daughter won't stay to help because she has her own commitments. He decides to move up to join her but she doesn't want him to come until the day before her wedding.

Having time on his hands, he decides to sightsee. The trip to see his daughter married to a nincompoop in a weird, though very average american, family is hilarious and very real. His daughter wants him to pay for the wedding, her husband wants him to invest in some scheme - he realises everyone only saw him as a provider but didn't want to know him. His attempts to stop the wedding, and finally, his acceptance that it is beyond his ability as a marginal figure in their lives is quite moving.

The one thing I admire about these rare american filmmakers is their ability to see their own culture as being ... strange, if poignant, and laughing at it visually. He returns home thinking about what he'd achieved in his life and realises it was meaningless - until he receives a letter from his african charity with a picture drawn by the 6 yr old child, Ndugu. In his entire life, the only thing that makes his life meaningful is a whimsical charity of 22 dollars/month where someone returns affection when he gave willingly.

It touched me because looking at the man as a provider often goes hand in hand with manipulating him by withholding affection. A very common affliction in arranged marriages.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Honey honey honey - it is money

There are many a tribal folk coming down from the Kolli hills carrying honey from the wild mountain side,it is precious to them and they are made to sell it for a price at market value.

Those who have been trading, have got to know the rules and side paths to the market that they have started to find ways to make money too.

It was at such a time that i got to meet a local man, at my work station asking me if i wanted honey,he said he got it from a coconut tree and wanted some money so he is selling his gift of nature.

Seeing my confusion to want it or not he said it was genuine and if allowed till no moon day it would have been more,but he wanted money so he raided the hive for the treasure.

He knew i was not convinced, so he asked for a glass of water and poured the honey to show that it was immiscible, he poured the water away and asked for matches, which i got from a smoker around, he dipped into the remaining honey to show it was not having water in it and struck to bring on the fire.

Well i was not convinced, but i said OK i will trust, and was awarded a gift of rich honey, for a price.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

One evening at a maternity ward

This was during the 80s when Chennai was still called as Madras - nalla Madras.

The bay was affected with the cyclone, the walls were being battered, and the water could still flow through the drains,the middle aged cycle rickshaw man pulled up against the steps of the R S R M government hospital,the young pregnant lady was helped to climb down by her smart well built husband, who quickly pulled up his shirt to pay the rickshaw walla from his inner pant pocket, to be brushed away by the gestures of the rickshaw man to help his lady in pains.

Words were passed and quickly a wheel chair for the lady was made available and the 100 meters to the labour ward was passed in a run of a minute and half, careful with the treasure of the pregnant lady.

The ayaas and the nurses were ready to recieve the case,the girl was quickly sized and a maroon robe of petti coat was offered for a change of dress.

The anxious husband was made to wait outside, he found other equally anxious men,but men rarely make idle chatter to strangers so it was quietness in a place of many men.

The ward was a mixture of ayaas , nurses, new terrified students,a post graduate doctor and full term pregnant women .

The new patient was a lucky one to have found a bright student, an encouraging ayaaa, and an understanding doctor, who led her to a place and with the help of existence and so much we do not know, a baby girl was delivered naturally and a smiling mother was born.

Hot Tub Time Machine(2010)[* *]

I'm always surprised people would spend money making bad movies. Really, when you're putting millions into something, a lot of work storyboarding and paying 30 - 40 people's work hours, wouldn't you pick a meaningful script or at least a quality one? Its life-hours you're wasting. Give the money to charity and do the world a favour.:)

This is the first low-budget nonsensical movie of 2010 I've seen. Not worth the2.5 hours of watching unless you're a Cusack fan. He's gotten himself top-billed on really bad movies of late.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Onion peeling - a guide to nothingness

There are many ways one could help at the kitchen, in the hurry burry hours of the morning.

Sitting cross legged on the mat of the cold tile on the Spartex floor, a plate of small onions (the specialty of the region,) at the side, a small blunt round ended knife for safety, and a small basket to drop the peelings, such simple requirements can start the chore to turn it into a play to soothe the mind and relax the body.

The blunt knife is the best for learners who can get the outer most layer off the onions, cutting the nose and the tail, ( like my lady says) gets the skin off the onion, later to be chopped into smaller pieces, these onions are getting to be anemic these days,blanched,unlike the pink ones of those days, these do not even make us weep and clear our eyes, may be these onions of the day are loosing their values, and their flavor.

Many a story is told of the onion among the spiritual seekers, that life is like an onion, or pick any problem and if u go deep and deep eventually it comes to nothing,sounds so philosophical, but for now we peel onions for the preparations of the tasty nutritious dishes.

This morning it was for the tomato sambar, which went wonderfully with the dosais and cereal powders and coconut oil.

For those who are yet to break their overnight fast, may it give u an idea of preparation.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Adoption of America as a new homeland

I have many a country cousin of mine who have taken up citizenship of America, I am tempted too,but i have heard things are not that easy as early times.

Seeing the Dream act, i have many ideas cropping up in my mind, and the goverment of America seems to have such a kind heart for the illegal aliens, that they dont mind spending their own money, for the sake of the cross border folks.

Development, relief and education of alien minors( below 35 is a minor according to this DREAM act) the kids can get free education, they can bring on their families once they are settled,( chain migration) ohhh things are too good to be true, how kind hearted the Americans are , at least for this sake i can get to learn the "yankeee doodle went to town a riding on a pony..." song.

On second thoughts i will stay where i am, let things settle down and see if the DREAM act gets to be passed.

Then America will be the Dream land for those illegals, and Hell for those who are already living there paying the taxes.

Puffed rice and peanuts

There are many ways to fill the tummy at tea times with no tea.
one such filler is called as puffed rice, (pori in the tamil vernacular) and lots of water.

Normally the chit chatters on the home steps have this with peanuts mixed with the rice,while they gossip the local news, now it is the muncher at TV times.

I have heard this is a simple preparation, where large pans are heated with sand and then raw rice is added , the rice gets heated and puffs,it is then collected , salted stored and sent to the market.

The shop owners keep them in gunny bags or in plastic sheets to prevent them from becoming damp.

We prefer to have them roasted again at home with addiction of curry leaves,chillies, turmeric powder and at times peanuts.

For many a home in the village it is the snack of the family.where the tuck box is filled during the weekly shanty date, only to get a refill at the next shanty day.

Once this was the traditional snack,now things are changing with the arrival of the bakeries and the royal chips shop.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

A tingle on the senses

We seem to have normal rains only when there is a cyclone in the bay, we are placed so in the middle of nowhere.

Nowadays the afternoons are privileged for the gardens, so difficult to maintain a routine,how well we used to follow the time table during the school days and college days, to forget them fully when we get to be free and lazy.

I was caught one afternoon with the passing clouds bringing in a shower,while digging in the garden pulling out the weeds and making pathways around the plant for the water to stay.

Rain drops falling can be a theme for any art,
For me it was a slow realization of the different effects, that i was able to separate them into lines

First it was the feel of those drops on the skin, one after the other,picking a different place,so close yet another spot and a new sensor.

Then the sight of them hitting the ground, making water marks on the sand and gravel, also when a leaf of a plant learns to dance with the drop making the steps for the movements,giving space and time for the leaf to balance.

Next came the smell of the wet mud, a sense i seem to be loosing fast, those days i could smell the new mown hay and the distant rain with the smell of a different ground.

The audio with the drops hitting the leaves and the far away asbestos sheets, and the tinned roof of an air conditioned covering, was a pleasure not wanting to make any changes with the volume.

The only sense left was the taste , i could have had that too if i continued to walk in the rain, to let those drops bring on the taste of the high atmosphere, on my tongue.

If one could bring on the best of the senses, am sure it would be an orchestra, moving and flowing, with the maestro hidden behind the clouds, deciding where and when to shower for the gathering, irrespective of the applause she receives or not.

( oh god, i remembered something, this addition was at the time of checking the lines
atheist writing on the wall - god is nowhere,
Theist writing on the same wall - God is now, here)

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Mother by law

She was a Mother by law, she passed on her greatest treasure at the wedding, Her Daughter.
She gave a lot of material accessories , but they were immaterial in comparison.
She was a kind compassionate lady who did proud to her daughter, in her care and concern, for folks around her.

She attended most functions at her daughters school, to encourage,
she never missed the family get together s either,
Most of all she never created hurdles for all the nonsensical freedoms that i adored.

She had accompanied us to Poona for our meditation programmes and took part
in them at our village.

She had special moments for our son as all grand mas do.

She made her last pilgrimage to Varnasi, and passed away helping her fellow travellers, who met with an accident between Gaya and Varnasi.
She was cremated by those who went on the pilgrimage.

She was a Mother by law, but like my own in freedom.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Crotch bomber to Love pats

I had written earlier about the full body scanner, at the airpots and was whisked away as something of a breeze.

Ever since the Christmas bomber was caught on a flight, the full body scanner was hurriedly installed in the airports, as if they knew before hand they were coming, and told that they were harmless and could not save pictures and more lies,since shah ruk khan was coming back from united kingdom,autographing on his scanned pictures.

Now it seems that many are noticing that the scanner waves breaks or untwists the Dna strands, and many are opting out of the scanner,for fear of irradiation,only to be led to patting, and hands into pockets search, or worse indignity.

Reading these material and seeing videos of small kids, elders, and handicapped folks being frisked is nauseating.

Well if such measures are a necessity for safe air travel, i guess we have to go with the authorities, or choose another mode of travel or not travel at all, or are such measures being taken to restrict movement and humiliate the society, keeping them cornered, and under control?

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The Other Guys (* * *) [2010]

 Another actor who is interesting but never lives up to expectations is Mark Wahlberg. I've seen quite a few movies with him in it, and he always looks uncomfortable with acting. Which is probably part of the charm that makes me want to see another.

This was a surprisingly funny movie - two cops who're bumblers who're trying to get respect from the other cops by solving a case. They're pretty clueless about how to go about it even though they've stumbled on a huge scam. Worth a watch.

Wolf (* *) 1994

I almost always regret watching Jack Nicholson movies. Though I really like him and Michelle Pfeiffer, they haven't done a good movie in years (well, Bucket List is more of a good script than a good movie).
This is really one of the many b-grade horrors with top-notch actors.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Paprika (2007)[* * * * *]

Japanese animation varies from the very traditional to very avant garde, and Santoshi Kon's Paprika falls in the latter category with a bang. An amazing adventure about dream analysis set inside dreams.

The first time I downloaded it, it was without english subs, and made no sense at all. When I got it with english subs, it blew my mind. This is the one time I've really regretted not being very good at languages - what a profound difference it made to be able to understand what was being said!

The DC mini is a new psychoanalytic tool to understand dreams and record them, to help people. But the machines get stolen and as more peoples dreams merge, reality begins to alter to become dreamlike. Paprika is the alter ego of a researcher who is trying to save the world from a crazed nightmare.

Anyone interested in pyschotherapy would find it a fascinating film. This is where sci fi breaks new ground for science and medicine by predicting possibilities.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Qualitative Encashment - instead of Quantitative Easing

The world has just been told that the American cash printers are going to print, a sum of 600 billion from thin air, and it is called as quantitative easing, wonderful terminology to soothe the nerves, and calm the mind, but crash the money markets across the world.

It has always been the policy to print money when the government needs it, but there must be a backing of solid gold in the reserves for it, with out it the printed money looses face value, one does not need to be an economist to understand this.

If one creates more jobs, gets international market for the products, increase tourism and ease in the mind to travel around the land for the tourists, and all the other things with in the government, then there would be another kind of QE 2 called as Qualitative Encashment, where the quality of the American money gets boosted and gets more standardized, and with it the American dollar stays at its place at the podium.

Will it be possible? or may be the banking folks have decided to dump the Dollars.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Sita sings the Blues (2008)[* * * *]

The only reason I watched it because Nina Paley sounded familiar (I later realised I had seen her videos on VHEMT) and of course, because it was the Ramayana from Sita's perspective. (It didn't go far enough if you ask me, Sita's perspective would need a radical feminist approach.:)

The style does come across as flip, even though Nina protests it isn't, but I liked the whole comparison to her own story of male rejection. The songs were lovely and the narration very contemporary (meaning most indians only know bits and pieces well and that comes across). Very colourful and indianized, from an american's point of view. As an indian woman who knows the story, it wasn't very outrageous or even groundbreaking or insightful, excusable as it was made for a wider audience, but the songs were nice and scenes well-packaged. Good job, Nina! I felt very much for your parallel.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Astroboy (2009)[* * * *]

Here's another very entertaining movie - just that I didn't quite get the point of it, so no 5stars.:)
The story is of a distraught scientist father creating a robot in the image of his son, Toby, who he loses by accident. The robot doesn't know it isn't Toby until the father discards him.

Toby is then imprisoned in robot games of death, hunted by the government for his core and shunned by humans.

The part that really put me off was that the humans were hardly human to all the robots in the movie, treating them to sneering, sniggering manipulation, and the robots were all far more human than the humans. I mean, what were they trying to say to the kids they made this movie for? That slavery will be alive and well in the future - and that it doesn't matter because robots will replace blacks/ethnic folk? Or that humans needn't respect bots because they're their creation? I didn't like the overall repulsion I felt to what was a well-made, if cold, movie.

Monsters vs. Aliens (2009) [* * * *]

I really enjoyed this comedy sci fi. Its cute and very thoughtful monsters, so there's nothing very scary for kids.

A girl is hit by a meteorite and finds herself a 40 ft monster secreted away by the US govt. She meets 3 other monsters there - created by radiation, experiment or discovery. They're let out of the secret facility to battle aliens who want to take over the world, which they do remarkably well at.

Very, very watchable.:)

An orchestra on a sunday morning

It started like any other morning, but today was one with plans for the afternoon and evening, so some things were musical, let me explain to u.

This sunday afternoon we had plans to go to salem after lunch, so the breakfast and lunch and other chores of the day are arranged with speed and time adjustments.

The grinder has started its spin earlier and the chutney for breakfast was reciped and the hissing of the cooker was on, the occasional slipping down of the plates and saucers of unbreakable material added to the music of the kitchen, and i had requested to show my skill at the hand making chutney that allowed me to also be a part of the orchestra, the maestro was costumed with colorful drapes and the wand was the ladle or the change to another of those utensils with long handles.

Things moved with speed and sounds and the finish was the kids arrival,after a bath,with a stylish hair do and our breakfast of chilliless chutney, honey and dosais was served , we applauded and a shy courtesy was made.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Love is Stomatitis together

I had wondered what could have brought on the stomatitis (mouth ulcers) for me and my lady together, we were thinking of many reasons from Honey, to sleeplessness at wedding functions, getting things organized at post weddings, gardening, food at restaurants, the thulasi leaves.

Guess what we finally came to pin point, our using of tooth powder and at the same time discussing some serious topic that we forgot the time and we finally landed up with this erosive bombardment of the mouth.

It has been a long time since we made this switch to the Ayurvedic tooth powder, but we were always careful to use just a pinch and not more than a minute in brushing, but some things could make us loose ourselves, and this was one such time.

There i was sitting up late at night , hungry and sipping water with difficulty, the burning was too much, and this morning the breakfast was a temptation of idly and sambar, but my inability was too noticeable that i had to accept oil as a buffering agent for the b' fast.

Things are better now, and now i realize how it must be for the patients who come up with this problem.
it is not just enough to get a great meal, but we must be in a state to relish it, physically.

May we get fully well soon, meanwhile all of u enjoy your food with every bite.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Vaccine Awareness Week

We are in the National Vaccine Awareness Week. November 1-7 2010

We celebrate a variety of weeks and days during the whole year.

How proper it would be if we have time for this vaccine awareness, which seems to be growing more in the general public than in the professionals of medicine.

We could start with the simple question, does the immunity that develops in the administration of the vaccine offer what occurs when the body acquires immunity from a disease?

We could also build on it with asking questions to the ones who promote the vaccine, what are the ingredients in the vaccine, and search the effects of them on our children, as the ones who promote do not know the effects of the ingredients. (if you do not believe me try it on the next vaccine promoter at the clinic, ask.)

Let us ask ourselves, Is the immune system of our children mature or immature for the vaccines?

Start again from the beginning than just continue with what we have been told, that “vaccines are good, and they work, they cannot be questioned.”

Ask questions and search, now that the internet is available.

Do not trust the government for our healthcare, or will u trust them? I DONT.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: Lightning Thief [2010] (* *)

I notice my list of ** and *** is sparse, but this is purely because I hate to review the bad films and just delete them.:) But I'll make an attempt to keep it even.

This movie is a monumental waste of time. I mean, for 2010 and fine actors like Uma Thurman, Pierce Brosnan and Sean Bean to work on such tasteless, B-grade films ... what's going on??

The story is a quest for Zeus's lightning bolt stolen by a demi-god in urban america. Greek gods come down and mate with humans once in a while and abandon their kids. Percy Jackson is accused of stealing it, and returns it to save his mother.

Duh! I'm sure that will appeal to the unprecedented number of absentee-parent kids of divorce. But its as b-grade as a movie can get in the fantasy realm. I always thought it would be interesting to do something similar with the Indian pantheon of gods, but this story was so boring, I hope no one attempts it.:)

9 [2009] (* * * *)

A wonderful animation with a bizarre, almost incomprehensible, story. This is a world destroyed by man-made machines which turned to war against them. A bunch of rag dolls survive by hiding, created as No..1, 2, 3, ... 9 but are hunted by the machines.

Its quite an adventure, but leaves you with more questions than it answers. The ending was very much about setting the souls of the dead free - which didn't really end it for me. Still, for a fine new kind of sci fi anime, its worth a watch. Don't expect to understand it though!:)

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

'End of Liberty' (in the US)

For all those indians who want to live in the US - watch. This is the police-state I saw when I lived there. How they've turned even a convenience like air travel into a humiliating experience for the average citizen.

Did you know that you could have a mental disease called 'Healthy Eating Disorder'?:) Psychiatic docs are pushing to get it recognised, so that they can medicate for it. lol!

Gardening - a play with the plants

Ever since i can remember i always loved to dig and play in the mud, and if there was any one building a house, i was always around playing, and digging up in the mound of sand and stones.

I have heard folks say they are at the garden, working,for me it is always an outdoor play at the garden, with no referee and no rules and complete freedom, but with it comes the responsibility that is is nature's home and we should be careful with her territory, for her to show her beauty.

Now that we have the monsoon, the occasional showers are like a head bath for the plants having a complete clean up of all the muck acquired during the past few months.

It is such a pleasure to just dig up and pull off the weeds and clean up the mess, that it would make the goddess going to the temple, pass our garden street for a check up and admiration of her style.

The colourful crotons, jasmines, hibiscus, oleanders, and the herbs of the kitchen, make the simple street a pantheon of green gods home.

Monday, 1 November 2010

On the banks of the Thirumani Mutharoo

Thirumani Mutharoo is a stream that gets its waters from yercaud from the Killiyur falls which drains the lake of Yercaud town, but now the flow is more of the garbage and stink of Salem being polluted into its waters.

It was a Sunday evening and the occasion was a get together of like minded folks with one who is like all of us but who has had a taste of a cruise of the cosmic kind.

Me and my lady were early so we were watching the bird formations in the sky, the white winged ones showing us innumerable formations with their large numbers, to be suddenly mingled by the crows, it was a blend of the black and the white, then the crows found their own group and perched on a water tank to also watch the white winged ones drift and move to the horizon.

The evening darshan was a sharing of ideas and expressions and music.
many points had been touched, but the one that i found most interesting is mental constipation.

when the creative spirit in us is suppressed, it goes in for a constipated feeling, and the result can be a stagnation, which will eventually get expressed as ill stinky hated outburst of anger and sarcasm.

A movement from suppression to expression which leads on to celebration, a cruise of the inner kind was shown to be the way.

I had a chance to sing, " when i was a little boy, quay sera sera.."
and " anndavan ullagathin muthalali.. avanukku naan oru tholilali.."
My lady sang " thelivu guruvin thiru meni kaanal..'

It was an evening of quick flow of time with oneness of self, nature also celebrated with us with thunder,lightening and a shower of the soft drizzly kind.

we reached home catching the 9.30 pm bus modeling on the way under the shroud of the umbrella.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The Secret Dairies of Anne Lister (2010) [* * * * * *]

I downloaded this movie by mistake because it was under 'Toy Story 3', but I'm so glad I did. I've always been terrified of lesbians, because women tend to get quite close as friends. When they hit on you, its a violation of your privacy and gross manipulation. I'm sure hetero men would feel the same when confronted with a secretive gay man - probably why there's so much fear of it. I'd say lesbians are more pushy and domineering than even men at getting their own way with you.

This is a story of a lesbian in England (1791 - 1840), a rich orphan, who seduces several women in her lifetime, though she's madly in love with one, Marianna, who betrays her to get married to a man (for social approval). But you see a love as deep and true as in any forever-romance, from Anne Lister's side anyway.

She kept a secret diary, 1/6th in code (greek and algebra), with enormous output - 4 million words written at 2000 words a day(!) about her life and relationships. You see none of the usual tiptoeing around the truth that women do to protect tthe male, the social 'niceties' that conceal deep lying to oneself - just the raw woman and her clear comprehension. Fantastic, unusual even today, but in Jane Austen's contemporary ... unbelievable!

The movie is, barring a few racy scenes, a fabulous reminder of how hard women have struggled to come this far, 150 yrs of internal struggle - to reject marriage, which suits few, for security and social acceptance; to withstand patriarchal mockery when they take to industry or managing finances; above all, to put their own thinking mind as equal to a man's, and their own passions first. Women of substance and character.

Its a herstory of feminism: a woman's struggle to be who she truly is - written by a woman, about women and for the women she loved. Hats off and many thanks to the Anne Listers for freeing themselves, so that my choices and freedom aren't a struggle today!
Trailer of 'The Secret Dairies ...'

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

A frienly visit by the seasonal flu

That Tuesday was like any other day, the only difference was an odd sneeze at lunch time.
The custard apple which i had got a day earlier was beckoning me , as there were three in number.
dad got his friend that afternoon at the garden, and the magic number 3 seemed just right for sharing.
so there we were the three custard apples between ourselves, every thing seemed ok till dinner, when things started with an ache, and a raise in temperature.

Ohhhh la la la, the nose started to drip and the head started to feel heavy, the body pain was a horror, and all the adjectives the patients used to offer to express themselves was flowing in front to bear readings to the fever.

The mental faculties were expressing themselves with all the mail, commands, the flow of words on the screen, the downloading of lessons and the blogging all seemed to want the attention at the same time, this seemed like a new finding, which was not expressed by the patients.

I seemed to groan and moan and make all sorts of noises calling folks , present and those who had left, if only there was a passage, am sure they would have all come seeing my state i guess.

My lady made a brew of coriander seeds and country Jaggery and leaves of tulsi, the concoction did soothe my throat and must have had some internal effect as my fever was going down and the body aches bearable.

I took off from work and munched neem leaves when i could manage the bitterness, my appetite was down, the feeling of floating in the air very much present.

I had avoided all synthetic preparations for the episode, I had decided not to cut my bath, so the bath timings had been scheduled to the passing of the sun over head, and westernising movements.

All seemed well and the fever i guess took off faster than it would normally stay.

I was back to work and type and seek out those who needed what i had to share.
others noticed the loss of weight, but my attire of dhoti could not notice the change in the waist.

It was another of those fear mongering fevers, that left as a friend, whose statistical data's i could not add to their numbers.

The flues fly away if we do not hamper them to stay longer,our system gets stronger, and we get to feel all the parts of us, both physical and mental.

May be it is the help of the climate and family that takes the credit for the quick recovery, but our own system can manage most such troubles with out external influence.

The original face

It was another day spent, with the face changing innumerable times to suit the person in front, and changed according to the situation that i lost myself.

I was going to bed, with a thought how it would be to keep myself same, inspite of all the changes and folks who come on during the whole day.

It must have been just a few moments before i dozed away only to find myself in front of a happy go lucky face, asking if i was willing to come to see my original face, "good lord what an offer" i yelled.

I was getting a water bottle ready, when he said it was not a long journey, but only of depth, so i went along with him, he took me to one of my own home rooms, and dished out a mirror i had kept behind a cupboard.

He said it was a simple magic mirror which will show my original face, i told him i had used it before, but got nervous when i saw one with a large cut on the face in the mirror.

He smiled and vanished.

There i was with my own mirror of long standing, unused, i wiped it clean and sat down in front, times have passed and so has my patience.

After a few minutes of quietness, i saw a simple villager and turbaned and wiping away the sweat on his brow, his was a face of simpleness and silent happiness, fresh as the morning leaf on a plant in the garden.

I was back in bed, with thoughts of that person, and how that could be the original face, when i had the guest of the evening come back and say that " our original face is that which surfaces when we forget ourself in our doings."

Monday, 25 October 2010

Flash Gordon [1980] (* * *)

I remember seeing this movie in the late 1980s and being embarrassed for the actors, and for all of us watching them in x-rated outfits..:) I saw it again now and, after all the crap Hollywood has thrown at us and knowing how easily the west shed their clothes, it didn't look quite as bad.

Still, it doesn't compare against the backdrop of fabulous comic books movies in the last 20 yrs - Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Phantom, Tarzan, Incredible Hulk, etc. So I don't recommend it. The Flash Gordon comics are superb - this was just very very average in script, acting and set design.

I gave it 3 stars for Queen's fantastic score for the film.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Food Inc. (2008)(* * * * * *)

The total control of the food industry over the US is amazing. Its a painful video for a vegan to watch, but if you're eating meat and dairy, its a must-watch.

For a doctor, it would be interesting to see how salmonella and e.coli were created by the meat and dairy industry practices in the US, early onset diabetes and a resistance to antibiotics.

In terms of agriculture, the story is quite as bad with Monsanto monopolizing the seed production. They've developed a similar hold in India as well - virtually every seed bought in agricultural shops is Monsanto and genetically modified. Saving and selling your own seeds will push your shop out of business.

I'd like to see a similar story of the milk dairy industry in India which is far larger than any other single industry with very similar lobbying practices as the US.
Watch 'Food Inc.' in 11 parts here..

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The Last Airbender (2010) [* * * * *]

At last! I've been such a mad fan of the cartoon series, I'd been hunting for this movie all over the net. So well worth a watch for any fan!

The movie was thoroughly trashed by its critics, a lot of it justified, but from me it gets top-rating. I couldn't believe how real the special effects were! The story came to life for me in my mind like never before. I can imagine how thrilled kids would be to see this amazing spiritual, martial arts movie bringing their heroes to life. If only I was in the 5 to 13 age group again, it would change my life.:)

But, being older, I have developed judgement: Night Shyamalan made a huge mistake casting an all-white set for Aang, Katara and Sokka - that's one of the glaring drawbacks from the very beginning. The 'why' gnaws at you. I so looked forward to a dark-skinned Katara and a Tibetan Aang!!:( Besides that, the dialogue didn't have much zing for an adult and the music too sober for kids... the movie though fabulous in capturing the feel, seems to have a beat missing - oh well, no Oscar, so what.

It was wonderful to see so many Indians on screen (yay, we were the Fire Nation!) and Shyamalan promises more multiculturalism to follow. It is meant to be a trilogy, I hope they make them all.

The story is of an Avatar, a child trapped in ice for a 100 yrs, who wakes up to a world where Water, Earth and Air Nations are being enslaved by the Fire Nation. Its up to him to save it. Fabulous story!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

The Last Starfighter (1984) (* * *)

A very corny story about a video player who becomes the last starfighter to save two galaxies, but enjoyable nonetheless.

The thing about science fiction is that it can't help but be good, because it carries in it a projection of the future. That takes imagination rooted in reality. That's why so many sci fi stories have led innovation in science. Every single person has an impression of where we're going based on one's own experiences so these stories are like listening to someone else's experience.

In this story, for example, the young boy is stuck in a trailer park with only a video game for amusement. He beats the highest score just because he's so frustrated with his life and he finds that he's been chosen by a galactic talent scout to be a starfighter, based on the computer simulation of the game. How amazing of the writer to think up a deeper reason for video games - 20 yrs later the US Army is using similar techniques to train its army.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Armegeddon [1998] (* *)

Bruce Willis has been growing dull since the late 80s. I think his peak performance was in the tv serial Moonlighting [1985] (* * * * *) with Cybill Sheperd. Anyway, its another end-of-the-world sci fi.

But just because he's charming when he smiles, I watched a bunch of his movies that I'll review all at once today. I had a massive crush on him in the 80s, before he revealed himself to be a musclehead by marrying the horrible Demi Moore and being Republican.:)

The Whole Nine Yards [2000] (* * * *) was quite a lot of fun - didn't expect Bruce to do a good comedy after his tv days.

He followed this up with The Whole Ten Yards [2004] (* *) which was less funny and interesting but did add to the storyline. I suspect Mathew Perry had a lot to do with the humour - he's a great fallguy.

His Blind Date [1987] (* * * *) with Kim Basinger was quite comic too but not nearly as romantic as it should have been. Perfect Stranger [2007] (* *) with Halle Berry was bad on all counts except twist. Unlike all his other attempts, he really seemed to have a thing for Cybill Sheperd - the kind of magic that made his first his best!

Night Shyamalan brought out the best in him in Sixth Sense and the Fifth Element couldn't have gone wrong - both amazing stories of the paranormal. Perhaps Death Becomes Her can be added to the list of a worth-watching, but not because of him. Then there's the Die Hard 1, 2 and 3, Mercury Rising, etc. all fairly good for the genre of superviolent action movies. But that's it. What went wrong, Bruce?

Monday, 11 October 2010

Cooking up results

Ever since the physics practical exams I was prone to cook up results, I never could do them with in the stipulated time and get the correct answers, so I would give the mugged up answers and get away with it.

It was the same way with chemistry salt analysis.I felt those were only school studying ways and one got to forget them in matters of life and business.

I am getting to know that they are being followed the same way by big companies even dealing with medicines and food supplements.

How erroneous it would be when scientist are forced to cook up results to the tune of managements to suit their answers and findings and raise profits for their firms, at the expense of the public which trusts the testing scientists and their qualifications.

One such product is aspartame about which I have talked and written and read much, to many a deaf and blind public, which is the cause of many a blind mans illness.

The origin and continuous use of this product around the world is a sham and a shame.

The cooked up results are getting burnt and they are bound to be noticed soon, may our awareness grow to find them, for our benefit and for the benefit of those who trust us in deciphering things.

From a Boxers alphabet tapping corner

I happened to sneak a peek at the screen that showed an Indian and an Irish boxer, making a bout in the commonwealth ring,it brought back memories of my school days when we had a tap dancer heavyweight teacher of African origin called Mr Nat Terry.

He had us sweat it out at shadow boxing with iron holds and taught us all the ways of ducking and blocking a punch with guards, and feigning moves, and how to offer an upper cut when the opponent went in for a head down position.

The boxers were matched according to the weight and their arms reach, and houses.

We were given an afternoon rest before the evening bout and allowed to get into the ring ,with a sash around the waist and gloves and shorts and a vest,to the cheers of all the school mates sitting on the parapet wall and the sounding of the gong.

The red and blue corners had the massagers who gave us hints and allowed us to gargle out a bleeding cut during the time outs.

Many a best boxer and a best looser were made in these rings, and who even fought again to exchange titles.

The last time I had my nose bleeding was when we had the then chief minister of Tamil Naduperunthalaivar”(great leader) kamarajar hand out the certificates to the young pugilists, hoping that the kids would stop fighting and finish all this during school itself, and grow up into friendly relationships in the future world of adults.

He was a soft spoken Tamilian who had a way of prophesying every future plan with “parkalam”.

He must have been the only chief guest to ever speak in tamil in an English medium school, to the clapping and thunderous applause of the kids who did not know what he was speaking.