Sunday, December 14, 2008
I have had business meetings in every restaurant, meeting room and even the lobbies of the Oberoi and the Trident.
I have been to several luncheons, parties and conferences at the Taj.
I have also been lucky that none of those days was 26 November 2008.
I have anger at what happened. But that anger has not led to action. Instead, the needs of daily life, the struggle for survival, the mortgage, the deposits into the pension fund, worries about inflation et al have taken over. That is my shame.
I will not rave and rant against the system, the politicians, the bureaucrats etc., who were in a position of power to do something about it. I will not, for I have done nothing about it. I could have applied for ICS, I could have contested the local elections (panchayat at least?). But I did not. I have therefore, no right to sit in my comfortable armchair and demand ten things from the Government. But there is one thing that I will do. I will vote in the elections.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Looking back, the trip as such was not great. However, overcoming the intense fatigue was a personal victory: at two junctures, we almost decided to give it up and turn back. Had we given in, the guilt of defeat would have forever rankled. After reaching the top, I silently rewarded myself two small pats on the back.
PS: I don’t think the trek itself is too difficult: on our way, we encountered several women in sarees and salwars, struggling though they were, make it to the top. The combined exhaustion of riding through three hours of traffic and pollution, lack of fitness and an abrupt, physically intense trek was what made it difficult. Nevertheless, for future trekkers, I suggest that you start the trek early and carry enough fluids – two litres per person and high energy snacks. Oh, and yes, exercise regularly and stay in shape!
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
What a journey it has been, from the day I set foot at Chhatrapati Shivaji Domestic Terminal, with two bags of luggage! I remember walking along Marine Drive one of those early days, flinching at the unmistakable stench emanating from the sea. Not surprising, considering the waste of over twenty million and more humans pours into it! And yet, not more than a year later, I remember walking along the same path, enjoying the cool breeze blowing over the sea. That particular moment, I did not feel a stranger in the city any longer.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Te book itself is a beauty. Simple in style and language, Munshi de-mystifies Krishna the God and presents the miracle worker in an almost human form. In a split second, Krishna becomes one of us, humans, bringing him that much closer, that much more accessible.
Consider this: the working of Krishna's divine weapon, the Sudarshana Chakra, is laid out to be a cleverly forged discus, that operates much on the same principle as a boomerang does: it flies out, hits the target, and returns to the thrower. Its sharp, serrated edges added to the lethal impact! Munshi goes on to explain that Krishna was such an expert at using it that with just one flick of the forefinger, he could whirl it and throw at the intended target with absolute accuracy. And it never failed to return to his forefinger!
The work is also a masterpiece in that it lays out the elaborate plot of the Mahabharata in a simpler fashion: it is now far simpler to look through the machinations and motives of the various key characters. The skill of Krishna as a master strategist who foresaw every situation and event as a result of his logical judgement and pre-empted them with political acumen that would put present day politicians to shame is excellently prtrayed.
There is a certain degree of divergence from other popular versions of the Mahabharata; however, I guess it is a matter of individual judgement and . Having not studied Vyasa's original, I am in no position to comment on that.
The series is however commendable in the way it puts the story of Krishna, why, Krishna himself, within the reach of the commonest of people. You don't need to be a learned scholar to understand Him here.
Munshi intended to write the story of Krishna upto the point when He reveals Himself in all His Cosmic Vishwarupa glory; however, he passed away while the eighth volume was still in progress - the story had not even reached the game of dice that the Pandavas and Kauravas played. Who knows, what other mysteries Munshi would have unravelled in those unwritten volumes!
The seven series volume (the publishers decided to add the unfinished eighth volume as an appendix to the seventh) is available at all Bhavan's book stores (that's how the bookstores of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan are popularly known) and are very economically priced. There is a Bhavan's book store in Mumbai near Chowpatty, in the lane that runs adjacent to Wilson College. The shop assistant here is a fabulous guy and will guide you to the book you want - he knows all the books stocked there, and probably a synopsis of each, by heart!
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
ಸುಮ್ಮನೆ ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲಿ ಬರೆಯುವ ಹಂಬಲ, ಏನು ಮಾಡಲಿ, ನಾಲ್ಕು ವರ್ಷಗಳಿಂದ ನಮ್ಮ ಭಾಷೆಯನ್ನೂ ಓದಿಲ್ಲ, ಬರೆದನ್ತು ಹಲವರು ವರ್ಷಗಳೇ ಕಳೆದಿವೆ! ಎಂಥ ಆನಂದ, ಎಂಥ ಆನಂದ! ಕನ್ನಡ ಭಾಷೆಯ ಲಿಪಿ ಎಷ್ಟು ಸುಂದರ! ನೋಡಿದರೆ, ನೋಡುತ್ತಲೇ ಇರೋಣವೆನಿಸುತ್ತದೆ! ಇಂದು ಆನಂದ ನಾ ತಾಳಲಾರೆ.
My earliest memory of Heston is of Moses in The Ten Commandments. Such was his screen presence that even today, many many moons after I first saw the movie, the mention of Moses evokes the face of Charlton Heston. Though personally, I believe he did a better job (of acting) in Ben Hur. Another memorable movie is The Planet of the Apes, in which he essays the role of Taylor, a spacecarft-wrecked astronaut who crashlands on earth in the distant future to find that apes are the dominant species and humans, primitive and mute. "Take your stinking paws off me, you damn ape" - a line delivered by Heston to the shock of a couple of ape scientists, is immortalised in movie lore, and memory. Heston has such a towering presence in the movie that a 2001 re-make faded in comparison, and in the box office too.
Active till the very end, Heston appeared in several cameo roles and lent his voice: the last I recall of him is in the role of Spencer Trilby, Arnold Schwarzenegger's boss with an eye patch in the 1994 action flick True Lies and as a narrator in Armageddon. Here's a tribute to the actor who brought mythological figures to life on the big screen.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
The registration process was extremely slow and inefficient, the people manning the desk sloppy and indifferent. Once inside, it was different though. There were rows and rows of stalls displaying everything from camera spare parts to developing chemicals. The crowds seemed to prefer the stalls selling photo albums and photo frames. We were here for specific items:
- black and white film roll: yes, even in this digital day and age, not only will you find arcane people who shoot pictures on film, you will occasionally run into eccentric bums like me who want to shoot on vintage silver nitride film and have it developed on paper of the same family, in a traditional dark room (oh, the joy that hearing the clickety-clack of the shutter and the satisfaction derived from manually advancing the film after each shot on an SLR is undescribable. But thats another post in itself)
- carry case for my 24" tripod
- zoom and focus lenses for my SLR
Looking for these was easier said than done. There were very few stalls that stocked carry cases and none stocked a tripod carry case; some were even bewildered that such a thing existed. Hope came in the form of a Case Logic stall, but that was not to be. They did indeed have a range of tripod carry cases - of all sizes. However, these were not yet launched and were only on display. The kind hearted guy manning the stall let me inspect the case, which was as is the case with Case Logic products, quite good. The pricing was not steep either. The only hitch being that it would hit the stores a couple of months hence. He refused to be convinced with my arguments that since there was hardly an hour left for the exhibition to come to end, he could part with it. With a heavy heart,I handed the case back to him. On that front, we come away empty handed.
We were not very lucky in the analog lens department either. The shops that stocked lenses could be counted on the fingertips of one hand. Among these, all except one stocked only DSLR compatible lenses. Finally, we found the shop that stocked Tamaron lenses. Though they had a good range, the lenses were all both DSLR and SLR compatible. Not a bad bargain, but untile I graduate to a DSLR, thats of no value to me. And if I am going to pay through my nose, might as well go in for a Canon lens. I think I will hit Chor Bazaar for second hand lenses.
It was tougher going on the black and white film department. There were hardly any stalls that seemed to stock film at all. After much looking around, spotted a Kodak stall. Hope soared as I knew that Kodak still manufactured those vintage rolls, though only the high end range. On approaching the stall, it turned out that it belonged to a wholesaler who, fortunately, had what I wanted! Though from a local manufacturer, a name i had never heard before, I picked up a dozen of those - time will tell how good they are! The wholesaler also gave me several photo labs where I could get black and white film developed the traditional way! This was good!
Ha, now to the exhibition. The most crowded corner was the one where a fashion show was in progress. The next most crowded area was the snacks counter. There were hardly any takers for the photographs on exhibit - some of which were simply breathtaking. There was one picture of Ladakh and a few of the Taj that were astounding: brilliant shot composition, technically excellent and flawless execution. The camera manufacturers stalls were overly stocked with the regular point and shoots and were disappointing. Found a few interesting stalls though. There was one that displayed a digital camera that could shoot on film as well! Now that is interesting. However, it was quite steeply priced. Storage media was also available at throwaway prices: a couple of thousands for a 16 GB pen drive! Wow!
Came back wishing I had carried my trusty SLR - at least, could have checked out a few lenses. All in all, an evening well spent.