Sunday, July 31, 2005

Harry Potter and the half-hearted review

The title suggests, I am not impressed at all. But I have to write it for the sake of completeness. So, here comes the ubiquitous review: Harry Potter and Half Blood Prince. Will make it brief.

When the book first came out, it was meant for young adults. Now, over a period of seven years, those people must have grown up. But still, that doesn't necessisate the tone of the book to change. It will still be read by other young adults. But it, looks like JKR forgot the above equation, and wrote a book devoid of "charming" humor (puns intended!). I wonder what would have happened if Enid Blyton had done the same with Malory Towers. Harry Potter & HBP is as dark and depressing as it could be. In certain parts, its slightly too dramatic.

Storywise, its a book where she has put the premise straight, parts of stories from the previous parts are re-told. Ron, Hermione and Harry seem to behaving as adolescents. There is some inconsequential icky-wicky romance. A character is killed. Another character is killed. The book doesn't finish with the usual face-off, but goes into a lot of detail about what happened in the past. In short, all the loose strings are tied up, and the stage is set for the seventh part.

It will be a long wait!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Chutzpah and study of the Social Networking Romeo

Many years ago, eons ago, there was no internet. Letters were written using Pen and Paper... Words were weighed, and expression was thought of. Love, Crushes, Obsession existed then too. There was Valentine's day, cards with red hearts and blue arrows. And there were perfumed letters, tied on stones... chucked onto the window by wannabe romeos.

Now things have changed, there is SMS, and email, and the mother of all wannabe-generators: Social Networking. That place is a cheese-factory. With unlimited access, every Tom-Dick-Harry swears that a life long friend sheep (sic) is possible. But, what really infuriates me is the way they murder the language. For the love of English, if it wasn't for the distance, I swear, I wouldn't regret weilding my Hattori Hanzo.

Received this on my scrapbook a few days back:
hi ,
u don know me i at dis point soi m nt goin 2 ask u 2 b my frm ur profile i know what kind of gal u r....
realy interestin info abt u... if u mentiond abt u true den we r realy going to b frnd in future as l im of same type person as u r....... if u want me to describe me n u in a single word den the word is................ diversified.. isnt it.......
waitin for ur reply......
this cud b d begining of an never ending frndship.........
n i hope u believe in dat....

Jokes aside, it took me a good thirty seconds to figure out the written words. I pity the guy: his SMS-ing thumbs have spread the disease to the other fingers, and now he cannot type straight.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Nothing to say...

I suffer from the need to say something deep and profound.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

True Champions...

.. are indeed born, they are never made. They are known not by the endorsement deals, or how they are the poster-boy(s) of media... but by their sheer grit and survival spirit.

Mr. Lance Armstrong, I salute you!

Good Sports, are there any better "sport"s you are looking for?

Monday, July 25, 2005


I went to an Art shop. Crazy place, with all kinds of supplies one can ever imagine. Like a kid in a candy shop, I walked around, bewildered, hopelessly lost, for half an hour. And afterwards overwhelmed, and overcome by this sudden desire to sketch, I bought myself a piece of charcoal.

I sketched all evening, creating black and white "imperfect" impressions of everything within eye-range. My hands were black and grubby, and a few stray fingerprints adorned all my sketches: looked like a criminal had left his mark, but I felt happy.

The last sketch I did was a self portrait, without a mirror. Now, I don't particularly like looking into mirrors. So I sketched this big mass of hair for starters, and did some pulling pushing this side- that side: used my fingers for the shadow effect. Made a face. And voila, it was done.

Now, every budding artist needs an admirer. So, here comes A, who looks at my evenings effort, and appreciates the last sketch: Hey! Nice! That looks so much like Michael Jackson? Especially, the hair!


1) Charcoal is not my medium
2) Need to change my hairstyle.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Lory Land

On a recent trip to the bird Park, I discovered these lovely lorys at the Lory Loft [Lorys? Lories? I have no idea how to spell it! ] . I couldn't resist putting up the picture here. They are pretty and colourful, and very very noisy.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Memories of a convoluted past

Old piece, originally written in longhand, found it lying around... Cutpasting it, unedited:

Some days I bear the burden of a thousand suns, and the words flee away, for fear of being charred to dust.
Memories… they cloud my mind… Raindrops wash them away?
Memories of hot summer afternoons in a haunting town, now dead. Even ghosts wouldn’t live there anymore.
I remember, the mirror on the parapet, and my uncle looking into it, as he lathered his cheeks and neck.
Three wheels being pushed around in circles and the screams in the courtyard. “Wheeeee”.
My old grandmother, watching over us. So old that she didn’t seem to get any older. She squatted with a hunch, singing her favourite song in her concerned voice. Dirt inside a Beautiful box. And a beautiful cover on top. What’s the point of this?
Two birds, thankfully distant, singing slightly off key.
Krichikoo, krichikoo” – the hand pump’s worthless attempt at melody.
The distant elongated groan of the em-powered pump from the neighbour’s wall. That was our wall too. And so was the well with the algae on the inside walls. Half this side, half that side. And the mango tree which grew on that side, but dropped fruits on this side.

I remember the summers, so hot that the breaths would burn our nostrils, and the “cool” stories that never ended for days. Stories of devils, and daredevils, drowning men, and happy children. The dolls got married, human beings too. And left. What’s left? Nothing!… Only the rusty memories of a childhood long lost. A winding river. A convoluted past.

Of course you know who You-Know-Who is...

And of course, you don't want to miss the bus, or train in this case... the one leaving from the Platform 9-and-3/4.

The new Harry Potter is out. Excitement surrounding the launch of the new book had already reached fever pitch. >And now, we, the lesser mortals, or Muggles, as they refer to us, are back to being exactly that: Lesser Mortals. Manipulated by a web of words and a web of Worlds, we predictably rush to acquire this intricately designed story which reveals only bits and pieces. I wonder if JKR has performed the Imperius curse on us.

I picked mine up yesterday in KL. Buying of the book involved Curiosity, Truth, Betrayal, Peer pressure (from my 12 year old niece) , few of the deadly sins and a twisted ankle... It also involved a careful selection of love potions 1, and few charms2 and a remote book store where the copies would still be available3. I had to convince people I needed the book, and I needed it now: I made a sad face, asked 'em to enjoy a cuppa coffee while I rushed to the book store.

Obviously, I started reading it right away. Faced an initial hitch with some characters I had forgotten, but now I am in the groove. Currently, I am somewhere on page 260 out of the 600-odd. No reviews yet, but I would be benchmarking it against "Prisoner of Azkaban". Frankly, the fatter sequels didnt please me as much. Hope this one is not as disappointing, though it seems a little dark at this stage.

My niece just mailed saying she knows who is going to die next. I think I-know-who. But seriously, after "Serious" Black died, no-one else seems as important any more.

For now, the lines between reality and fantasy are vanishing.

Reviews later.

1. Coffee
2. Girl Charms
3. Like Chacha Choudhary, Mera dimag computer se bhi tej chalta hai

Monday, July 11, 2005

Conspiracy theories..

... I love them! Revolting ideas, only remotely possible, but the kinds which invoke the slightest doubts in our subconcious minds, you actually spend a few good seconds thinking about it. And yeah, these have to be described effectively with enough technical jargon interspersed, and voila, you have Perfect stuff for a Masala Hollywood Movie.

Read this one, if you have lots of time to waste. I read the title, and that was enough for the day :) Now I am waiting for the movie to come out... I can almost see Tom Cruise successfully hamming his way to the Best Oscar for the Actor in a Leading role.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

There's treasure everywhere

In this world, truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. Wierd things happen, coincidences, surprises, treasures...You look for something, and land up finding something else that you never expected.

As I was shamelessly ego-surfing yesterday, I chanced upon this. Imagine the state of my mind. First I thought there was another person with the same name. Then I realised its impossible: with a first name which sounds deceptively Arabic, and a family name which rhymes with Caeser's wife's name, it is just not possible. I carefully looked, and from what I remember it was: shock, surprise, joy, amusement...

These were a set of paintings done by me when I was ten. My drawing teacher told me that he will send it to Japan and I should tell the kids there about my life. I was excited at the prospect. I thought for a long time, before deciding what I wanted to paint. And when I did decide, I painted these snapshots of my life, then, at ten. Growing up in a small town, these were things that mattered. They are not an exact replica of my surroundings, but these are pretty accurate impressions.

With the help of my father, I scrawled small descriptions to help the Japanese kids understand whats going on, which now seems very strange!

The puppet painting was my favourite. The saree the "girl puppet" is wearing is called Panchali Saree, since you have 5 colours in it. And there is a rangoli on the floor where the women are dancing. I guess, even then, I paid attention to details.

After all the effort, I was curious whether they saw it and/or appreciated it. But, I never heard from them again. I dreamt of my puppets on and off. Probably happy in an alien land. And the shepherd, my mother's favourite, was duly replicated, and still adorns her bedroom wall. Then I grew up and it didnt matter. Till yesterday. Things came full circle yesterday. I am a different person now!

Well, for one, I am proud. I won the first prize (special award). *Pat on my back*. And also, I am grateful, I'm planning to mail them later today, and thank them.

***Edit: Did I ever mention that my favourite word is serendipity?

..and it ended in a whimper

On dit, c'est pour "L'amour des Jeux"...
Translated into now suddenly a-la-mode English...
One says, it is for the "love of games."

So Paris lost. Now gin, no more gin for you, only stout. And as you would have liked it, no sin for you either (with spanish chicks). For me, for now, I will stick to the language we all speak well...

After the euphoria, we have now come to the part I like the best... Conspiracy theories.... Its 9:30 in the morning, and we just started. Work, I mean. My boss thinks the Panel is headed by americans who hate the french, and they are all primarily Anglo-saxons.

Will keep you updated.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Tempest in a Teacup

Singapore is hosting the IOC session where it will bi decided which city: Paris, NYC, London Madrid or Moscow, will get to host 2012 Olympics. All celebrities, big and small, have found their way to the island. Beckham has arrived, to be joined by Queen Sophia from Spain, Senator Hillary, Jaques Chirac among others.

I am rooting for Paris. Now the transformation is complete. I work for a french firm, root for the french car, the french city, speak the language. Yikes!!!

I am excited. As usual. As in my nature. My colleague doesn't have an opinion. I find it strange. How can one not have an opinion in a competition! When I am watching sports, even though I dont know any of the players in the game, I still make up a preference on the spot. Thats how it is, isn't it?

BTW, the flower in the logo on top right, is Vanda Ms Joaquim, Singapore's National Flower.

Monday, July 04, 2005

War of the worlds

In other uneventful happenings around town, I watched War of the Worlds, Starring Tom Cruise, who seems to be under the influence of the moon these days.

The movie is good, with a crisp narrative, and Spielberg's signature special effects. In addition, there are no doomsday-movie cliches-- there are no politicians pointing on the map, no people from India praying in front of Taj Mahal. But I find the end a little too abrupt. Almost as if some movie-auditors said, "Ok dude, you are over your time-limit. Now cut the crap!". Whoosh, they all lived happily ever after.

Actingwise, Tom cruise is good. Dakota Fanning is about as annoying as a ten year old can get.

Live 8

An event to remember... where the who's who of Rock-Roll-Pop-Funk-Grunge paraded the stage one after the other... like it was Strawberry Fields or something... After a while, I couldn't keep track.
But the concert certainly had its share of "moments"...Not one, but many... In any case, sleep beckoned, and I couldn't watch the whole thing. From what I saw:

*Notable lines-- An awkward Bill Gates speaking the same awkward lines on stage as Brad Pitt who said it like he had them memorized for a Sanskrit Exam.

* Notable modesty and the lack of it: Respectively, A very modest The Edge from U2 saying "We may go down in history as a band which murdered Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club band", and the punk-y Greenday guy saying "If there are fans of Greenday out there who don't know anything about Africa, they will get to know because WE played here". Hello Mister, do you having any clue who you shared the stage with.

*Notable "Show(wo)manship": Madonna! She had like a whole bunch of Chorus singers, and stage performers. I mean, ooh!

*Notable Haunting voice: Dido-- "White Flag" and "Thank you!"

*Notable Non-haunting voice, which would make even Happy birthday to You sound like a dream: Bono. (Is it ok to admit I nurture a tiny crush on the guy?)

*Notable bad-hairstyle of the century- Bob Geldof.

Any others?

Caught the "Floyd" performance on the re-run. Yes, the guitar sounds the same, but the voices are lost. Slightly