Saturday, May 28, 2005

Marty Friedman

Marty Friedman
Originally uploaded by Mo.
Joe Sat was in India, and noone has updated me on that. In any case, we hoped he would come here but he didn't. The difference between Bangalore and Singapore is that the scale of events here is much smaller, unless it is someone very very popular like Eagles or Kylie. This time around, Marty was in Singapore for some sort of a guitar Workshop. Dude attended it, clicked lots of pics, got autograph on his guitar, and did a lot of things. I am posting it here since he doesn't have a blog, and I am not willing to not share such a beautiful pic (where everything gels so well), of such a cute looking rock-star. The other reason for writing it is because he gave some damn controversial statements. And, as you all know, I love controversy.

Well from what I heard from the fan, Marty is currently in Japan, speaks fluent Japanese, and is trying to make it big in Japanese Pop. Though he is absolutely unknown in Sushi-land, he supposedly left Megadeth to pursue his long time goal of doing Japanese Pop, and World Music. Shocked? Me too...
To add to the shock value, he is a big fan of Jay Chou (the Taiwanese Pop star), and thinks that guy is a genius. (I really really beg to differ!). Also he claimed to derive his musical influences "at times" from Britney Spears. I think by this time, the devoted fans in the audience must have had a cardiac arrest. But it seems they didn't bat an eyelid, since they were too much in awe of him to even register the statements he made...

I think what he said was true and honest, what he must be believing in, and it takes a lot of guts for a rock-er to say so. Or maybe not! He is the man on the stage after all :)

Monday, May 23, 2005

All TIME 100 movies

Creating all-TIME lists is the pasTIME for TIME.

Ok, that was a futile attempt at being funny, but the list is worth a quick scan. In any case, I haven't seen most of the movies on the list: maybe because many of them seem to be strictly arthouse cinema, or because most of them were made a zillion years before I was born.

Predictably Present: Godfather, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, Casablanca, ET, Pulp Fiction, Star Wars, Schindler's list and Psycho.
Pleasant to Find: Drunken Master, Lord of the Rings.
Plain unpleasant to find: Nemo. ('Tis gud alrite, but all-time greatest? I beg to differ!)
Surprisingly Missing for me: Life is Beautiful, Braveheart, [few others...]
Surprisingly Missing for critics of the critics writing the list: Gone with the Wind ( Reuters )
Our Pride: Apu Triology, Nayakan and Pyaasa.

Update: While looking for the country of Origin of Kandahar (also in the 100), I found another list of Best and Worst movies. This is a list of more recent releases, and ratings are supposedly based on critic's scores. Quite predictably, Godfather tops this one.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

The truth about earning in dollars!

I flicked this one off the ginsoaked blog, and this well written article puts into perspective a lot of things that I wanted to write. I wonder if, being one of the lot who decided to "escape" sometime back, chasing the "60-cent" dreams (1 US$ = 1.67 S$), do I consider myself only 60% guilty?

For one, the whole dollar dream concept is full of contradictions from the very beginning.
We used to have this English lesson in 10th, on Brain Drain. My mother being the english teacher taught me the same. But in the same breath, she never stopped short of praising/feeling proud of her ex-students who were "doing-oh-so-well" in the US. I still don't know what any of them were doing, what their job profiles were.... but they were doing well by the sole virtue of the geographical location. And then there were these uncles and aunts who came back from abroad, full of nice smelling soaps and shampoos and deodorants... Somehow, any attempts by the people writing textbooks were not as convincing. Now, my teacher is having a tough time teaching the same lesson to her impressionable kids (nothing changes in India?). With her daughter chasing the supposed good life, its not easy at all. Needless to say, my mother is very happy that her only daughter is doing well.

Hopefully, there won't be any Freudian explanations to this one: nobody told me to come, I was convinced by this idea we all seem to be born with, I came myself. I couldn't be different, I couldn't risk being left out. The only thing "different" I did was: despite an admit in the US, I came to Singapore. While most people were supportive or neutral to my decision, few came up with ideas that stumped me. One person (close to me then) laughed at me, and said I must be nuts - Singapore is for second rung students, people who run out of choices, for losers. Few others of a similar opinon were thankfully a little more euphemistic. It was strange seeing the pride in them, on prophesizing my not-so-shining-future on the basis of physical coordinates. This was clearly no land-of-opportunity. Clearly, for them, the vivid dollar dream is very monochromatic: it excludes the dollars of any other colour except green.

I did come here full of dreams. The university, in theory, taught me a lot more than RV ever did. (Experiences are another tangent!) I did research on something that I always wanted to do, wrote a few papers, and travelled a good bit of the world presenting them. I don't deny that the opportunity here is tremendous, more than what is available to an average student in India. I am grateful for them. Things which were beyond my league seemed possible and in course of time, happened. I am not sure whether I still look like an underachiever to my friends in the land of opportunity. I know that one person transiting in Singapore (US-India trip), within 15 minutes of being here, told my friend-- "Dude, get a life!! What the hell are you doing in a place like this!!". I also remember that on my trip to US, a friend pointed at Starbucks and said, "That's a coffeeshop, you know". I don't have the heart to tell him that there is one inside the Forbidden City (in Beijing) too. Another person spent some time charting out my life since "Eventually, you have to be there", the statement padded with the very American "you know what I mean". No, actually not, what do you mean?? I don't seem to know how come the people "there", bound by limits of that one country have seen everything, and me in this small island-country, despite having so many stamps on my passport ain't seen nothing? Why must we all lust for the land-of-opportunity?

The PPP is true, it exists, but People in India refuse to believe it. People (Auntijis and Unclejis) consider people living abroad successful since we earn big money in Indian currency. But we pay 3$++ for a coffee, as against 30 rupees in Coffee day. The practical Fx conversion rate is roughly around 1S$ = 10Rs. You also cannot afford the services here, meaning: no dhobi/cook for the bachelors. What I pay for my room, will fetch you a whole furnished apartment in India. The 6 figure salary comes with a hefty tax. My cup of coffee comes with a tax. I will probably never own a "dream" house with a huge garden. It took me 9 months to get my dream job. Its not like in India, that companies are lined up at your door waiting to take you in. You need the precious something called "Work-ex" which I lacked. In India, an MBA with no work-ex is still paid a premium salary!! Medical bills? I still lug my yearly supply of medicines from India. Its wrong to say we, the people abroad, have it easy. The people here are not the same, society is non-existent. And I miss my family and friends! Holi, Diwali, Janmashtami, Ganesh Puja, Ugadi all come and go, and I sit and wait for Chinese New Year. I don't know what kind of comforts I am seeking! Is this the reality of my dream...?

At times, I feel terribly guilty. But I cannot go back, because I like my job, and with the huge number of applicants in India, I have no chance of getting a similar one in India. I do not feel safe there either. Yes, in my own country I don't. (Have you read the papers off late?) Feminist ideas aside, the competition & the comparision kills me, "He was a worse student in class, but is doing better now", "Oh, you know he has bought a house/bike/car", "Oh he just got his H1B stamped" .

People still in India, working in the ubiquitous software companies are weighed down by peer pressure. They are depressed because their friends are in the US... they don't want to be left out, and are willing to let go of opportunities for it. A few are waiting for the H1B stamped, waiting for the salvation, the good life. When they go, they won't ever come back. If they do, they will be even more full of comparisions and the desire to go back. Whats the biggest contradiction here is that, while abroad many of them wouldn't even live the good life they wanted. They will crave for desi food, look for desi people, and ensure their children go to desi Schools and learn enough desi stuff. They will complain: "The dal here doesn't taste as good as the one in that dhaba in Indiranagar". Then, the chase for the green card will start. You have heard it all before, it is just the same old story, this is no different...

It is not a hamlet-ian dilemma of whether to get into this or not! The question is very direct-- Is this really a dollar dream?

(This is an unfinished piece, rather a work in progress... got too emotional to finish it)

(Disclaimers & Clarifications: Friends, It may not necessarily be you I am talking about or quoting, apologies for any "controversial" statements: it was totally unintentional. Also that, I am not trying to make a point or stir up controversy, I am just describing a thought process, based on bitter-sweet experiences. It's not to judge anyone, but more to discuss my internal contradictions and dilemmas....)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

KL, StarWars and other random thoughts

I was away to KL on work for two days. Few things that tickled the thought process:

Meetings are a waste of time. You spend much more time sending minutes of the meeting generally being nice to each other, and using all kinds of ambiguity to compensate for the lack of knowledge. The meetings were held in a small room with no windows and 20 people. I think my brain wasn't getting enough oxygen, so I "forever" had this terrible urge to yawn.

I also thought about the fact that to keep up with conversation, you have to hoard up a lot of useless trivia in your minds. It varies from the make of cars to make-up. And then there are these whole load of people from Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and the très-à-la-mode Star Wars. Kill me if you want, but I didn't watch Episode I and II, (for reasons unknown). So I have no idea why Anakin Skywalker chose to become Darth Vader. Sometimes I wonder if for him, it was a simpler choice than me choosing not to keep up.

I discovered the blog of Darth Vader: It should make an interesting read for the fans of both blogging and starwars alike.

Also, during an intent tea break discussion with people in KL, I discovered that people in Malaysia are fluent in Hindi Movies, and know/like the Miss-World-lady-in-movies-very-pretty-one-ah (aka Aishwarya Rai) and of course, Shahrukh Khan (GodBless!)

PS: I am not too happy with my writing style, where i spend too much time detailing every little thing I can remember and getting back to the "original point" again and again. I am wondering where this influence comes from.

Lo and behold, no sooner than I had posted this blog, rediff came up with this one

Friday, May 13, 2005

xXx 2 - The Next Level

Sometimes a movie is worth watching, and truly enjoyable only because you have absolutely no expectations. I can go on to a philosophical plane here but would stick to story-telling instead.

xXx 1 was in its own league. A set of visually stunning stunts, joined together by a non-existent storyline. During training at CTS (Whites Road Office), after a tiring day of learning soft skills, we watched it in Satyam Cineplex (Bang opposite the office). 40 minutes through the movie, everyone was sitting there, doing those fake laughters at the jokes, trying to feign understanding of the storyline. Alas, there was none. And so this guy goes, "Does anyone have the faintest idea of whats going on...?". That was when it became fun. Few people left-- maybe frustrated by the movie, maybe by us. But, that was one memorable evening in oft-cursed-for-lack-of-fun Chennai.

In any case, the second time around I watched it for a friend, for complete lack of occupation, and it was a riot (again).

I went for XXX2 with NO expectations, only to waste some time... Well it was worth it... I haven't laughed harder in weeks. Its a new triple-X (I resort to writing it this way for known reasons)- the new guy supposedly has more attitude- and slightly better storyline (In the sense that there is a storyline).

As far as characters go, there is one chick who hands him fancy cars at the drop of a hat, and he comfortably goes and totals them up. There are a set of brothers, who talk in their lingo- and its straight from metal to rap as soon as they come on screen. It also is full of ridiculous dialogues like "Don't do it for the red-white and blue, do it for yourself", and "Else brotha, freedom won't be free", and the my favourite, "triple-X, what sort of a name is that? It sounds like a p*rno-star" :))

Its not a weekend movie, the one you would queue for. Only if a break is needed, the money will feel worthwhile. People may have apprehensions about wasting money on this one, but, a good timepass movie never harmed anyone.

PS: Ice-cube is cool...

If the French were really intelligent...

...they'd speak English. (Wilfred Sheed)

Bliss is...

Waking up to realize that you are slightly late.... looking out of the window to see its raining... saying "Screw it!"... and sleeping for another half hour!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Black Rock Down

I find blogging fun, thanks. Xanga also can!!!

Our pal karakoram has taken to philosophical meanderings, left the tribal community for the elitist... and decided to pull his xanga site down. I wonder why someone who was an avid admirer of xanga, who swore by it (still does) , would do something like this. Or will he?

Update: May 10th, 3:48 pm.
He did!! God Bless!

On growing up

Growing up is not easy. Whatever!

My little nieces have grown up. When I saw them first, they were small and I could carry them around. One of them had just learnt how to speak. And she used to spend her time looking at melting ice, not able to understand how miraculously, it turned to water.

Now, they email me regularly, but, much to my exasperation... one says "COOL IT!", and other after having shortened her name to something incomprehensible, wants me to create an email ID for her called "littleangel_scorpio".

Generation gap? I think, I have some growing up to do here! Whatever!

The state I live in

Click on this, please!
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Well, I am back

I am back, to the familiar place, familiar language, familiar weather, familiar seat, familiar keyboard and of course familiar blogger. Needless to say, I am happy!
  • I had fun in Paris, lots of it. But, I don't miss Paris at all. AT ALL! The excitement in life comes out of adventure, yes, but I had enough!
  • The gruelling 13 hour flight was further ruined by this li'l girl who was suffering- her ears hurt. It didn't help that her parents were sitting across the aisle from each other, and decided to spend the night whispering to each other in french. Given the strong "s" in french, it was not exactly worth the whisper, since It was like a snake with a bad accent or something.. to top it all, the guy bumped into me, and stepped on my glasses. But I kept my cool. Beemar bachche ke mata-pita ka saat khoon maaf. In any case, now I am sleepy and without glasses, both of which don't help the overall situation of being blur.
  • On board I watched:
    • "Finding Neverland" (good!). I like Johnny Depp.
    • I love Huckabees, (I heart huckabees) which may be good, but its one of those stimulating movies about *Why do we exist*, a little abstract! Can someone tell me something about it, please? And Yeah, I like Mark Wahlberg!
    • Bits and pieces of Meet the Fockers: a movie which I was trying to avoid. I am through with Ben Stiller brand of humor. Though, I like Robert De Niro.
    • Tom and Jerry, and some OOOOLD Disney animations, eg. one about how to play golf [which I remember watching on a Sunday morning on DD]
  • In the real world, I am still confused about what to do, how to do, and what I was doing before I left.
  • K, I prefer blogger!
  • Why is it that my blogs are written with this *negative energy* thing around it? Meaning, I haven't said anything nice about anything!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


In case you find me missing, and are bothered by it, I have a few posts on my alter-ego, and some pictures too...

Watch out for the next post will be here on blogger!

*Am I advertising for myself??*