Wednesday, 29 September 2010

When Worlds Collide (1951)[* * * * *]

I've been watching sci-fi with a vengence, these last few weeks.:) Funny how we always feel like we missed out because we were born before the computer and tv revolution. I think I promised myself during those years of visual starvation that I'd get caught up, and here I am watching a movie a day for all that I might have missed out.

Turns out that I haven't missed much actually - I've seen some terrible movies that make me glad I didn't waste my youth on this medium and used my imagination with books instead! Let me name a few just to put them behind me:
The Lost Island of Hydra [2009] (*)
Never waste your eyes on this.
Here is the tragedy of tv: in 2009, people are still churning out very dreary 'adventures' to fill hours in other very dreary lives. A bunch of american kids find an island with a living hydra which they probably kill (I didn't watch it through the end). I saw two other End of the World adventures that were slightly less boring but nonetheless unnecessary to make. While I've always wanted to write, I think these third rate stories are the source of my writers block - I am afraid to write anything remotely as tired as these. If we don't have a story to tell, its better we don't commit ourselves to words.:)

Back to When Worlds Collide, this would be one of the better sci fi I've seen of the lot. Much as I love sci fi, I must say the entire crop of them runs along the same boring theme of the earth coming to an end.  This version is slightly better only because there are moral references to sacrifice that make it interesting. It makes depressing viewing and triggers a bleak view of the future. I'd advice kids to avoid these and instead see brighter visions like Star Wars.

Pyrexiophobia-the fear of fever

There are many fears that bring on a palpity heart and a tremble to the fingers, ranging from the fear of a height to the fear of putting on weights, fear of depth to fear of death, a fear of cats and of a mouse, a recent addition to that long list of fears is the fear of fever,Pyrexiophobia.

There is this scarlet fever, the violent fever,(the adjectives are used to frighten a person more than the fever itself) killing fever, poisonous fever, deadly fever, viral fever, chilling fever and brain fever and if one escapes that the laboratory diagnosed typhoid fever.(which surprisingly gets diagnosed even with a 4 day fever)

There were times when whatever the origin was, it was accepted as a self sustaining fever, a shock fever or a love fever or a film fever or a journey fever and a simple concoction of herbs and strong tea was brewed and one gets well in a day or two.

Those were times when ones immune system was the chief, the armor to fight what ever the disease that was invading the body.

Now one is more dependent on outside help to fight individual germs, hence the need for special medicines and a developing drug industry.

The growing pharmaceuticals has got the support of the media, to flare the fears and spread the temperature, where the public gets to diagnose, and prescribe for itself with OTC medicines.

This is when a fever gets to be assessed as a friend, who fights against the invading germs, starts with the raise in the body temperature, better circulation,activation of all systems,or a foe who gets to be silenced for beeping the signal of attack.

The decision lies in the hands of the updated physician, who is free from the shackles and bonds of the influential drug industry, to win the friendship back of fever, or to keep it at bay as an enemy.

The whistler in the kitchen

There is no home with out this whistler, and none who does not go green at hearing this whistle at ones beauty in the kitchen.

It is the aluminium pressure cooker.

Ever since this came into invention, the cooking time has been reduced, and the fuel has been saved.If not for the metal that gets leeched by the food that we cook in it , much can be of use, in this method of heat to cook food.

The modern world is much worried of aluminum and its deleterious effects on the human body and mind, and yet there is not much we can do, till we find an alternative to it, whether in medicines or in composite materials of use.

There is so much talk on Alzheimer’s disease that there is much to read, linking that with aluminium,it is present in the antacids, that many keep switching for the sake of colour and flavour. it is present in other medicines and also in the refined free flowing table salt.

May we get to find alternatives to this metal soon, with no deleterious effects to us.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

A cluster of custard apples

There is a faint memory of my grand old mother, who used to sit on the stone slab outside our ancestral home and call us kids to offer us these custard apples, she used to hide them in the folds of her saree,and only when her grand kids( she had about 40 of us ) passed she would invite us for a treat, each was offered as the only one who was special to receive that gift.

We never knew this until later in life long after she had passed away, we shared this secret did we realize we were the jewel of hers, each one as precious as the other.

It is the season of custard apples now, the vendors bring them in bamboo baskets, and lay them in clusters selling them for 10 rupees.

We can pick the unripe ones and they will ripen in a day or two.

This is one fruit which is still unaffected by the industrial farming methods, no pesticides or fertilizers are used, most grow wild at a farm.

For most the satiety is at two fruit stage. Unless u have the tv on to watch and forget your fruit, so sit under the tree and relish with a spoon.

It is a village kids puzzle, where the question is “what fruit is so tempting for Ram?”-

Seetha. ( it is the vernacular name of the fruit)

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

A cow among the herd

It was a breezy morning and I had decided to go for a bath to the mountain spring,after a gap of a month of drizzle and rains.

The last part of the journey is a foot path walk near the stream,I was taking along, the towel and change of clothes in a mesh basket of plastic in my hand, chewing a neem twig to brush my teeth.

It was at this time a herd of cows shooed by a cow boy were slowly coming behind, they were about 15 in number along with the calves, they normally go up the mountains to graze and return in the evenings and some times the next day.

At one moment I was in the centre of the cowherd, not a coward to the cows, I became one among them, that period it was an animal time, lost was my human nature, but just walking along with them, it was like I was keeping time with their step of hooves.

They over took me and made their way to the stream for a sip of water and up the mountain path.

I was back to my individual nature, and on my way to a bath, with a residual of that animalness for a few moments longer which is blank and inexpressible.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Thulasi - the medicinal herb (holy basil)

If there was a restriction to have just one herb in the garden, the selection would be for thulasi.

There are a few varieties of this herb, I have seen three, one is the regular light shaded leaf and the other is the darker leaf and the third is the sweet leafed thulasi called stevia.

I have got to read on stevia, and chanced to see it at yercaud at a herbatorial nursery, called as seeni thulasi in the vernacular, it is getting world wide attention now, and even by the cola industries who want to substitute it for the poisonous aspartame that is being used in their drinks.

The leaves are soo sweet it can be used as an alternative for sugar, with no calorie or bad effects on the body


The garden in our street has a few of these dark and light coloured thulasi plants, and we get to see the dasans(sanyasins) offer it to the devotees during this puratasi month, when families fast and avoid meat during this whole month. ( well any thing to start on the way to turning vegetarianism)

There was even an article how this helps in leeching out mercury from our body, which has been absorbed from a variety of chemical foods and medicines. (let your imaginations wander as where all it is there, in the products we use)

Very soon such herbal preparations which find their way to western and European markets are going to get stopped, with the recent trade acts stopping herbs and herbal preparations as medicines, I hope such acts don’t get passed in India.

Till then we will continue to keep ourselves healthy with this herb, and many more like this in our natural garden streets.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Ankled beauty

The beauty of a lady starts at the ankles.

The monsoon rains exposed the ankles and the anklets

of the village maidens.

The face covered under the cupola of the umbrella,

The lady took the steps carefully to avoid the muddy puddles,

the saree was pulled up

Preventing the laces from getting soiled

Exposing the beauty silvery jewel and the sculptured ankles.

Many announce their gait through the bells attached to the anklets

other prefer the laces of multitudes hanging in tresses.

What ever the design,

The sight of them makes a man melt at a distance

To imagine the person wearing it,

he gets dumb stuck at the roadside

Forgetting his list of groceries

and his direction of going.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Milk maids from the farm

(I saw a video where police enter an organic farm store guns drawn, to harass organic farmers.I hope it never happens in our country ever.)

Milk is for the calf and not for humans, but for those who are still addicted to this infant habit, the village milk from the farms is the choice, if one does not like the industrialized factory milk.

In this age of pasteurized milk and melamine added to milk products, the village farm milk is a raw chemical less liquid with no added urea or thickening factors.

Our village is surrounded by many small time farmers, so the milk produce is marketed by milk maids who carry them in small clay pots or cans, in a bamboo basket inlaid with hay, on their heads dressed in white sarees.

There are regular spots they halt, or door deliver, they offer curd, milk, ghee and butter and butter milk, there are many who drink butter milk offered for 3 rupees a large tumbler.

A thick blessing of curd for 6 rupees is what my home needs.

Cows milk is also a rarity,in this area most of the farmers have buffalo milk for sale.

For those who are deep into scientific microbiological hygiene this is not for them, for them Aavin and Nandha pall , "farm fresh” they advertise ,suit yourself.

For the vegans who use no animal products, this is a flip over page.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Natures design on wings - BUTTERFLY

It was mid after noon and I had just got up from my siesta, went to the garden tap for a wash, a middle size black beautifully decorated butterfly flew into vision and was checking up the flowers, with his inbuilt straw.

My heart got tuned to his flappy wings, and began to beat to its pace and palpitate.

My mind got lost and I was literally flying with him checking the flowers for the nectar which I could not smell or see, how pygmyish I was with my senses, but at least I could see him.

His stature was smaller,but many things were greater, his fluttering wings, such energy in them, the carefree spirit, ease of movements, anti gravity weight and what a vision!

He was followed by his partner, she was as beautiful and identical, finding her own flowers and not coaxing him to follow, they danced around the flowers in the air and seemed to fill their nectar bags for the day, they fluttered around the garden some more and then flew away to another stage to make another show of existential beauty flying, mersmerising others who noticed them.

Happy Birthday - VINAYAGA

The village celebrates the occasion of Vinayagar Chatruthi .

The tractor pulled the trailer which had the cart carrying the large vinayagar, the cosmic secret, in form state which explains things in expressive words., behind the trailer was the mobile generator for the lights and serial decorations.

The floral arrangements were simple aided by the banana piths, and the poojaris topless, large bellied, and decked with sacred ash and marks on forhead, the procession was led by the musicans, all costumed in silk and barefooted, this went around, encircling the village road.

Vinayagars birthday celebration is usually simple, but these days every other street seems to outdo the neighbors in offerings of prasadam and loud speakers all bellowing their noisy songs, in showing their affection to vinayagar.

These days even the cops were called to keep the crowd from getting too rowdy, and not to create any unwanted religious tantrums,but that is sure there,we notice, when we suddenly hear the crowd yelling and whistling when they had gone to get their vinayagar doll at the market for a price, all painted and made up in bright colors, later to be begged and cajoled for bargains in business and other gifts.

Many street folks make a temporary thatched temple to house the painted dolls, and make a game of spiritual poojas, with the focus lights and all the village women well adorned for the occasion.

The speakers and poojas will carry on for a few more days till the idols get immersed in the closest water ways like Cauvery, then the form less poojas will carry on for a long time.

All these games will continue to be played till we have some one explain the significance of them all, and when we do, may be they will all stop to know that they have an inner meaning, for the understanding of existence.

Till then, Vinaaayagapaaa…ohh ohh Vinaaayagappaaa….and the tune goes on.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Another Anniversary

Another September 11 has come and will go, but the happenings of the September 11 of 2001 will remain a mystery for generations to come, the truth will get deeper and deeper with the laying on of more falsity and unnecessary material, to hide the facts of the doings of that fateful day to thousands and more after its continuity in war and search.

For those who have lost their kith and kin to those who have lost a country cousin, and others who felt their fellow earthling has been killed for no apparent reason, their blood will continue to boil for eternity for no excuse than hatred for such things made to happen for sheer control of power and greed of comforts.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Tea shop bench

It is a small tea shop opposite our home.

It has a six foot, six footed wooden bench, which may park about a few hundred by the end of the day.

The tea shop man and his wife start work, early at 4 .30 am lighting the fire wood stove, and waiting for the milk man and gets his glass tumblers ready for the first tea sippers.

Some prefer to have the maida bun along with the tea, an introduction from the English, our men found similarities and pronounce tiffin as tea bun.

The shop owner gets the copies of the news papers and the usual gossip starts, from the political to the cinemas and in between the local market trends in business and family affairs.

There is a continuous flow of clients who have a tea before a meal to others who have it after, the workers arrive to have a relaxation, and wait at the side if they find their boss in the same shop.

In the mid mornings the lady makes murukkus and vadais, a local catch up, and can be a festival crowd at the monsoons times when a hot tea and vadai can be a welcome warmth

One could still find the smokers puffing, as no one seems to make objections yet to their pollutions.

There are other tea shops, and which even offer tempting combinations of the brew, but those who are addicted to this shop stay religiously affectionate to it to come back again and again for a sip and gossip.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Miss Austen Regrets (2008) [* * *]

(I'm reviewing this next because I think I echo her sentiments completely when she says in the movie, "The only way you can get a man like Darcy is to make him up.":)

The movie is about the last few years of Jane Austen's life, before she dies at 41. You're introduced to a quick and witty mind in a shy woman who takes on the responsibility of financially supporting her mother and sister at a time when women only had value if they were someone's wife (England 1802 = India 2010).

You meet her as a confident and happy single woman whose niece asks her to help choose a husband. This makes her look back on her own choices. And, when financial troubles hit their family, regrets not marrying for money. Because, as her mother rages at her, love is a choice, money is a necessity.

The movie is based on the surviving Jane Austen letters, though most of them were burnt by her sister, Cassandra, after her death to preserve privacy. Much as I liked the story, I felt my usual irritation at the british accent that swallows words in breathy unpredictability. Too many of their actors/esses have the problem makng their movies seem insular.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Persuasion (BBC, 2007) [* * * *]

After Austen's Pride and Prejudice, perhaps even Sense and Sensibility, I found Persuasion (2007 film version) to be one of her most interesting stories.

Here is an older woman, 27, who has to come to terms with having rejected a man she loved 8 yrs back, because she was persuaded by her family. She realises that she'd made a mistake and wounded his pride but can't correct the situation. As they're thrown together repeatedly they discover a new respect and love, even greater than before, which is so very Austen.:)

Persuasion (1995)
For something done in 1995, not so very long ago, I'm astonished at how poor the version is visually. As far back as 1965, Walt Disney was churning out classics like Lady and the Tramp ... why was this one so bad? I think it suffers from poor actors, poor sets (though some scenes are copied by the 2007) and though the dialogue is more authentically Austen, it lacks continuity.

Btw, I discovered another reviewer who's doing all the Austen movies I am with more formality at R-views - check it out.:)

Monday, 6 September 2010

Marriage to the unknown - to know and live

It was the day of betrothal, and the bride was all decked with flowers and jewels and other accessories to her usual silk and embroideries, her palms are done with henna, and she has a shy lip stick on, a newly picked up fashion to this village.

A wedding auditorium has been arranged for the function,the local residents arrive according to their times with friends to sit and gossip, a rare balloon vendor sits to sell his loons of colorful balls to the kids.

The grooms relatives arrive with the cultural band of musicals the nadaswarams and thavil, they bring in colorful sweets and fruits and cakes and dates and a new saree and a jewel to win and take away the bride with them.

The village headmen are the ones who solemnize the function, and every one blesses the bride for a happy understanding life with her Man.

The guests are served sandal paste and flowers and eats(mixture and a jilebee) and drinks. (from butter milk to the adulterated pepsi)

The bride is then sent with the grooms’ family for more rituals at their home, before the marriage proper at another destination.

This has been the tradition and it is dying as folks are getting to realize, that one needs to know who we are going to spend the rest of our lives with, before getting committed to love and live.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Snake gourd

The snake gourds are not allowed to reach to the full maturity to the looks of a snake these days, they are harvested much earlier more to the likes of a cucumber itself.

This creeper vegetable is not a grand vegetable,and almost unknown to the family, I blame it on the kitchen beauties.

Like all creepers, it is one of the most medicinal vegetable and helps in alkalizing the body and healing it of its diseased state, and maintain a healthy system

Like all vegetables they must be thoroughly washed before cutting and then not put into water as the minerals will get dissolved in the water and they will get sent to the sink.

We can cut into thin pieces like match sticks, and many a variety of dishes prepared, a simple one is with split green gram and small onions, made in a clay pot, goes great with rice or chappatis.

For the non-vegetarians, these vegetables are cut horizontally, and fried in oil, they offer looks similar to fishes, easy to cheat elders,but not the kids.

Are u the one u are

There I was casually walking to work this morning, when I had a cyclist chugging along at my pace.

He got into words if I was the one who was practicing at my location.

Having confirmed my profession and my reality,he wanted to know if one should take medicines for high blood pressure for life long, longevity.

Here I was given a chance to offer a solicit, I enquired details of his quest, and who told him so.

He had been to another doctor and wanted second opinion from me, and wanted to become my patient.

If making or breaking a patient of his mind made fear, was allowed!!!! I would elect to break his fear.

That I did and told him to stick to his doctor as he has showed him lots of concern and care.

The villager got what he wanted and I have saved him a necessary visit to my work station.

I offered prayers at a way side pyramid temple and was gaily walking to my work shop, to do what I already did, but for others who will get it under the breeze of my fan.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Becoming Jane (2007) [* * *]

I didn't particularly like this movie because it flies in the face of evidence that Jane Austen chose to stay single. Yes, even if she was beautiful and brilliant. Too many would like to perpetuate the myth that beng ONE isn't good enough!

Anyway, for so many Austen fans, I'm sure digging up a historical, obscure but intelligent, lawyer Tom Lefroy for her passions is far better than the real suitor, Harris Bigg-Wither, who later went on to say that she was 'temperamentally unsuited to marriage'. What a jerk!

Becoming Jane though is too sentimental and speculative, the reasons for giving each other up too pious and I think I prefer the more real choices women make with economic independence - to remain single. Jane Austen died within 15 yrs of that decision and seems never to have regretted it.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Unification of opposites

Nature has a biological drive for the propagation of species, and man seems to have different ideas.

He has been stunned to see the growth of mankind beyond sustainability, and wants to find ways to destroy it with his short cut ways.

He is promoting homosexuality and chemicals to stop or stunt male drives and anatomical disruptive methods, to destroy family and culture.

Nature has always found ways to balance things and why should man take on the chair of management is such affairs, against natural physical laws, of ball and socket attractive magnetic actions.

Men and women are unique, made for each other for the happiness of a family and for the promotion of satisfaction, but if one finds it cool to stay alone for the understanding of oneself and avoidance of the other, good but that is no reason to find one of the own gender for togetherness, and unnatural sexual relationships and with it the spreading of diseases.

May the genders mix and dance to the tunes of nature than build up questionnaires to accept homosexuality in modern living.

Marriage between two men, and the state and religion accepting it?if there was a god somewhere, whether a SHE or a HE I love to see the face when they get to know this.

No other species in the whole world has fallen for this trap.

Is like poles of a magnet repelling not enough of a visible reason to understand this !

Down with Homosexuality and its promoters with evil intentions.

May we see the beauty of the opposites and its unification for the continuation of the artistic relationships.