Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Another (Damn) Birthday

Please Sing : (In Chorus) It's another Birthday, Just Another Birthday. Now Rap : I am, What I am, What I'll always be, A worker bee....
But seriously that's the limit of my poetical talents. Let the verses cease - the rest of the post shall be in normal engelese.....
I just completed another chronological year of my existence and as I now stand here and look back over the last year or so - I find quite a few changes I have willingly made. To confess a few :
1) A trip alone to Goa - vacationed alone last year for the first time and it turned out to be not a bad experience at all. I kept my own timings, went to wherever my fancy took me and was eternally vigilant throughout the trip to avoid being ripped off in strange places/by strangers who prey on lone travellers. Result - I realized that travelling alone through life reuires the same courage and foresight and I'm upto it (though its damn hard- you only play with the cards you have been dealt with by life).
2) Ran a Marathon (Chennai Marathon)- Again I ran my first marathon last year- alone, unprepared and out of sheer bloody-minded will-power. Running kilometer after kilometer with nobody but your thoughts to accompany you forces you to take a good hard look at yourself and all your misgivings and shortcomings. You measure up yourself as a man and pass judgement on yourself - so that if you collapse on the end of the run with a cardiac arrest (a posssibilty - if you are not fit enough) you atleast have the satisfaction of knowing that you are a Man (In Rajnikant's diaogue- Ambala!!!)
3) Went Swimming - This is another of the foolhardy things i did last year - I went to the pool at a time when there would be no one around to watch my exposed body (which I'm still ashamed to exhibit in public) and jumped in to try and learn swimming (all by myself)- and fortunately am still around to tell the tale. luckinly for me - the depth of the pol wasn't much - just comes upto my nose - so i could breathe with my face tilted up. And Oh, I now go swimming regularly every sunday and I've progressed enuough to do both breaststoke, backstroke and simply lying on my back in the water - floating calmly - no more panic at the sight of water. And achieved all by my self.
4) A few minor things like - going to dance class, learning kick-boxing etc were also attempted over last year with minor success.
MY Failures - The one major regret I have for the past year was when I abandoned my quest for that elusive "Six Pack Abs" halfway. It really took too much effort and time and halfway through I despaired of ever achieving it given all my professional and personal commitments -when time became a constraint and I felt I really could not do my normal/routine work half-starved daily.
A few other less noteworthy incidents like trying to chat up a few girls and getting snubbed too happened - not worth talking about.
And Finally - The Resolution for this year - THAT DAMN NOVEL- always on the tip of my tongue/touch of my fingers - this year I am definitely going to write it and complete it - its been waiting too long. Bye Cheeerio.............

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Apocalypse Now

I have been hearing a lot of Dire predictions of Doomsday scenarious in recent times. And just thought I'd like to share a few scary thoughts for you to chew on.....
1) The Large Hadron Collider - The brainchild of CERN - the European paricle physics reseach institute's newest particle accelerator - what used to be in the good old days (when I was in high school studying physics) called a Cyclotron, is a behemoth of unimaginable proportions and when it is switched on in a couple of weeks - a lot of people have said that it will result in a Singularity/Event Horizon - in simpler terms - a blackhole - something which can swallow our planet and end our civilization. Though this may sound far fetched - if you know (personally) any particle physicist and ask them what do they hope to see when two interesting sub-atomic particles collide - The answer is "Something interesting" but meaning "No Idea". Yes, these people crash two things together and see what the leftover pieces are made of. And you shouldn't (atleast they wont) be surprised if we end up with a blackhole in Switzerland. Now if you dont call that irresponsible... I don't know what is.
2) A.I. - Aw shucks I hear you crib- Not The old Terminator Movie/Skynet artificial intelligence thing again. But please stop and think a minute. The only thing stopping us from developing Artificial Intelligence right now is not the software- its the Hardware -which is failing to measure up - Moore's Law, Anyone? Come to think of it- with all its inherent hardware deficiences and glitches - we already have a highly diversified, planet-wide, distributed network with Quasi-(self) awareness available to us - Called the Internet. We are just a step away folks....
3)Robots - Again something from Sci-fi stories, you think- but stop a minute to think about your latest handheld mobile communicator with so much computing spare power, impressive isn't it? and Mobile phones only took off in the last 10 years. Think what Nokia could do or God Forbid, Apple could do in say another 20/30 years if Robots really took off as a best selling consumer technology?
4) Finally - The Loser Climate Change - Seriously I don't think climate change is going to pose much of a challenge to humanity as Al Gore thinks - we have/will have most of the technology we require (in the near future) to beat climate change easily and restore our planet to equilibrium- regardless of the pessimists.
Anything else I left out? please feel free to comment....

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Kuselan - The Review

This can be the shortest review I have ever written - if I could just plagiarize myself from my previous post on the Dark Knight- when I went to see waht I thought was a Batman Movie and couldn't find Batman in it. Similarly, I went to watch Kuselan under the mistaken view that it was a Rajni movie - but it was not. Its a low-brow comedy movie, of obvious malayalam origins, filled with a group of has-been comedians chanting Rajni's name every now and then - just to amke you think it was a Super Star Film. But Fool Me - They did not.

I rest my Case, Ladies & Gentleman.


Yesterday - I popped into Satyam Theatre, Chennai - for a look at the new Batman movie - hoping that I might enjoy myself for a couple of hours on a good old tale of kick-ass and good triumphing over evil. What followed , was an anti-climax.

First of all, let me state on record that this is a fan's review- not a snot nosed, hard-ass critic's review. I have been a long term fan of the Batman franchise- paying out good (hard-arned) money at the movie halls for a dekko, everytime the studio's put out a new instalment. The one, I enjoyed most was the very first one - starring Micheal Keaton as The One. It was a very impressionistic movie on a youngster brought up on a diet of comic-readings. Micheal Keaton and Tim Burton, the director re-defined super-hero movies for me. Batman was as I had always imagined him to be - strong and silent and going about his work without too many angst-filled flash-back moments. There was a job to be done - and he went out and got it done- and can the motivation psycho-babbles. And Micheal Keaton had "the Presence" - that all important quality you require in a Super-hero.

So, to come back to "the Dark Knight" which I viewed with a lot of anticipation and not quite a little trepidation- first impressions are "OK" but great? Hold on a second. The movie's good in parts but somehow the whole doesn't gel together. For one thing - for a batman movie, you get to see the batman a lot less than the other characters on screen - which is quite a turn-off to an average fan. Believe me, I did like Heath Ledger's interpretation of a over-the top joker in the promos and stills - but in the actual movie it was more like it was Heath Ledgers interpretation of Osama Bin Laden. I mean for all his supposed villianous activities the joker is supposed to be a fun character. This joker was definitely not. And neither was the whole Harvey Dent duty/romance/revenge angle -which literally made me go sleepy (after all I was watching a noon-show on an empty stomach). After "Batman Begins" I felt Christian Bale doesnt have the charisma to be a batman and now he doesn't even have screen time. I mean, whats a Batman Movie without Batman in it?

To conclude, in the immortal words of the Riddler (Jim Carrey) when you compare the Dark Knight to the Original Batman - Your entrance was Good, But his was Better- the diffference- Showmanship. So next time - cut all the superflous crap and give us a good ole super hero movie.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Oru Sada Dosai Masala Dosai Agiratu- To paraphrase - A Plain Jack turns into Jack the Giant killer

Wow, what a lengthy title for a blog- but its been a long time and you just have to bear with me. To come back to the matter at hand- my last post was about my weight loss methods. I am happy to treport that not only have they worked out better than expected - I am actually finally turning from the "Ugly Duckling" to the "Golden Goose". Ok, Maybe thats a bit of an exaggertion. But what happened is this. All the hard work at the Gym is finally paying off .

Last evening, I happened to run into an old acquaintance - shall we call her S- who i used to date in the bad old days of early 2000's - specifically 2004. She was , to put it mildly astounded and hang mouthed by my new body- she literally couldn't recognize the "New Me" - And I swear I'm not exaggerating. She (Drooling from one corner of the mouth) Told me she wouldn't have recognized me, would have simply passed me by- if I hadn't made the first move by stopping her for old Reminices. And this from a girl who after having eaten three large-sized Popcorns (bought by me) at the premiere of Spiderman (the Original-part 1, circa 2004, - noon show @ Satyam Theatre) had dropped me the next week for a A****. And now she was clearly lusting for me again- And to top it all - all that free food smooched out of various dudes had finally had its effect on her- she had a posterior extending 3-feet away- something resembling the hanging gardens of Babylon. The Wheel - Gentleman and Ladies- Had turned full circle- Now I was the home-coming Queen at the Prom- while she was an also-ran. After a short talk, she had an unusual request for me- she had an enemy at her new office - a colleague who was a bit of a hit with the boys- and she wanted me take down this femme-fatale for her. S. was willing to provide all the dope- all the obvoius pressure points to work on her friend turned competitor for me to have an easygo in the matter. I Respectfully Declined. I'm already having too much fun - hunting down all my old girlfriends to show them what they missed - "the New ME".

And as for a final thought - I'd like to a share a home-truth. For those who say getting a make-over from Fat To Thin- can be a life-altering experience- I beg to differ. Nothing has really changed in my life - except maybe a few of the ladies checking me out discreetly at the Gym- that might be due to pure envy (or to confirm whether its the same guy they saw 6 months back). Life goes on at the same even speed- or maybe its just me- I was cool enough to begin with- you can't make me any cooler...It's Attitude, Dude. Right?

Monday, April 28, 2008

How to lose weight on a diet of Pizza's & Samosa's....My Fitness woes...

Ok, Here is the Good News First... Those Thirty Kilo's I lost over the better part of last year are still not back.. They are keeping their distance staring like hungry wolves itching to get back at me.. But I have not lost anything in recent times- maybe because I am finally indulging my craving for all my self-denial last year?... I must have hit a "Plateau" the size of Tibet as the Weighing Scales resolutely refuse to go down any further - and every little bit of my fat is hanging onto me like needy blood relatives - which in a sense they probably are..

To start from the beginning - for those who came in late and missed the first half:- The hospital where I report for work (occasionally) had bought a new machine - to check whats called the cardio-vascular status - and when I had gone to chat with my friend who was in charge of the ward - he playfully suggested that I inaugrate the machine by getting hooked-up to it first- unofficially, of course. In a rare unguarded moment of weakness I assented and when the results showed on the monitor - I (and my friend), had a nasty shock- my insides were labouring under overloading conditions. Before my friend could offer his expert analysis (and unwanted advice) - I tactfully escaped and went away to brood over it alone like a modern Hamlet - To Do or not to Do?. The conclusions were inescapable - I needed more exercise - my weekly quota of self adminstered hand jobs -did not suffice.

So, over the next few days I started a crash- diet program and went & joined a Gym - Fitness One in Kilpauk - to which I made the customary weekly visit - to console my conscience (still losing sleep over the steep membership fee) that I was in fact exercising... But the semi- starvation diet - water, water and more water - whenever I felt hungry (with occasional gorging on Pizza or Samosa - whenever I relapsed)- seemed to have worked wonders - I was losing the equivalent of 3-4 kilos a month without any heavy physical activity (except using the TV remote). After a few months my gym trainer who attributed all my rapid weight loss to his exceptional training methods - entered my name (without consulting me) into a Triathlon race- involving 3 different events -running, cycling, and cross-trainer - to be done continously on the same day....What? Do I look like a fool?- was my first reaction - but on being assured that I could drop out anytime-I agreed to grace the event with my presence.....

Oh!, If only I had known - the extreme fatigue and pain involved - I wouldnt have gone near the gym even if they had arranged naked cheer-girls for the event. But unfortunately I presented myself for the event - and I was put on a treadmill and told to run. After 3 minutes I was just about ready to give up and go home and take rest for a week - when on the treadmill beside me an old man (40? 45)?) started his run and he gave me a look full of pity at my panting. Now - if there is one thing I hate - it is being patronized - and my blood boiling with rage- I decided to finish the triathlon if it killed me - and it very nearly did too - for in the last event when I felt a twinge near my chest - I imagined having a heart -attack and very nearly fell of the machine. Suffice it to say - that by the time I had finished all three events - I was in a zone of my own - it was like taking half a dozen shots of vodka in one swig. The thing that i had always fantazised about -whenever I read about it - no, not the big "O"- The "Endorphin" thing - thats what had hit me - my brain felt clearer than in years - there were multicoloured lights floating in front of my eyes and I felt like - I was 12 feet tall..

So, like every addict - I kept trying to re-experience that incredible first effect again and again. I ran and ran - joined aerobics classes, then joined dance classes, then did both classes continuosly till I was a walking cripple on my way back home from the gym - to try and experience that endorphin high again. But sorry to say - except for that near-death experience my first time - I have not experienced that Agony & Exstasy again. Meanwhile - my weight kept dropping down until - on New Years Day this Year - I was 30 Kilos lighter compared to last year. And now starts part Two - The Tragedy.

The current rage being " Fab Abs" - I reasoned - now that I was back looking like a member of the human race - why not go the whole hog? and get a, what they call, "A Body to Die For?" So for the past 3 months I have being slogging my butt out in the Gym - lifting big and bigger (impossibly looking) weights- trying to get well proportioned muscles and a chiseled body . I have even joined a kick boxing class to try and lose all my aggro in a non-injurious way - but to no avail. The muscles have not developed - my weight is stubbornly clinging on at current levels- and kicking others in the face is not exactly my idea of fun - I am more the sarcastic remark type. So - I figure my body has at last called a halt to the whole fitness issue and taken a break - maybe I should do so too.......

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I am LEGEND - The Barack Obama Story Or Why I would Vote Hillary Clinton in '08

First let me do or give an outright declaration of where my loyalties lie (get the pun?) before assorted loonies of the Far-right (read SS,MNS,BJP etal) or the ridicuolus Left-wing (CPM, CPM-ML, CPI, Arundathi Roy etal) start throwing stones at my house and question my patriotism (Dude, you just can't speak your mind in India nowadays- the country's going to dogs..) I AM INDIAN, I LOVE INDIA, I own an Indian Passport and even though I try to avoid remembering -P.P. (Pratiba Patil ) is my president. Well with that out of the way - let me get back to my post.

Like all educated (and propah) Indians I have been watching the US Presidential Elections with considerable interest from the land of far, far away, viz. India. And the whole Primary thing looks a lot like something scripted in Hollywood land - remember the recent screen-writers strike?- where do you think they went?. The candidates are not only interesting - they are even articulate ( welcome change from Indian politicos). The Bill, Sorry Hillary Clinton Vs. Barack Obama match-up is sure something you can sit down to watch with assorted snacks and pop-corn.

The most recent match-up between the proxy general Bill Clinton and the defender of the hopeful - Obama brought to mind instantly two cult movie characters. Barack Obama - like Will Smith in the movie "I am Legend"- is the eternal optimist; offering himself up (to be eaten) as a sacrifice to all the (ev) ills of society - but I am not sure that it would work against these set of zombies. The Neo-conservatives- read the new mutants- of America are going to be hapy to just gobble him up with no cure being effected. The Republican prty machine would digest him and just go on as if nothing significant occured- America would still remain the land of the walking dead. Instead if you really needed a guy to defend you against flesh eating monsters are you gonna feel happy getting a wise-crackin, hope-spewing nice-guy scientist like Will Smith? Damn you dont.....

You and I would need ( feel a lot safer) - that tough guy, Cigar-chomping, ass-kicker Col.Dutch of the Movie "Predator" ( remeber Arnie Schwarznegger?). That's a MAN you can trust to beat the shit outta Predators, Aliens, Mutants, and assorted evil-doers. BUT, Arnie's not running this time (Run Arnie, Run..) . And thankfully there is a look-alike in the Democractic Party - Senator Hillary Clinton- with the same steely-eyed glint, the "I Know it all" trust me baby confidence, the been there seen it all experience and a truted wise side-kick to boot- the Yoda like Bill Clinton. Ther's a Candidate who can take all that the conservative establishment can dish out and not cry at what could have been. If it all goes wrong- as it sometimes is bound to happen- the free world would be happy to know that the keys of the nuclear briefcase are in the hands of someone who uses more than just intuition to make her/his decisions.

And her's the clincher - the elctability issue. If a woman can survive 30 something years of being married to Bill Clinton - well, she can run rings around, Russia, Iran, Bin Laden and all the rest. And if she feels even half-way exhausted and feels like slacking off - the sight of Bill Clinton hovering over the breakfast table should be enough to fuel all that rage into doing something for the legacy. The USA made a big mistake in '92- electing the wrong Clinton and now its time to correct it.
Especially, when the Republicans have finally turned smart enough to offer up someone like Sen.John McCain - a Detective John McClain (Bruce Willis in Die-Hard) like Character - who keeps fighting and re-inventing himself- every time he runs for President - which is just about every time the elections come or every 4 years -whichever is earlier.

To come back to Obama - he looks a genuinely nice guy, something like a beauty pageant contestant accidentally pitch-forked into a martial-arts tourney. But if he is so touchy -sensy-feely like his wife Michelle says he is (supposed to have threatened that he'd run only this one time) - then he wouldn't last the distance. Voters expect a John Rambo type of Politician - who just takes the time to lick his wounds before coming back again and again. They should want it, really want it -before they get it. After all - it is the top job in a demo-crazy......

Saturday, February 16, 2008

3 Interviews in one day and assorted stuff....

The other day I was pleasantly surprised to be interviewed on-camera, and again and again - in fact thrice within the space of one hour. It all started when I had a couple of hours to kill on Friday due to the fact that an official meeting was postponed to 2pm and I was set loose at 12 noon. I had to amuse myself all alone for the next coupla hours- so to pass the time - I took off to one of my favorite haunts- Richie Street- to hunt for mp3 cd's and assorted junk. As I was passing the Konica studio opposite the MLA hostel on Wallaja Road - I felt a sudden urge to have my picture taken. So I parked there and went in a for a photo shoot - for a passport pic. When I came out and was approaching my car - I happened to glance (give the usuaal once-over) at a couple of pretty girls who were doing something bang in the middle of the busy junction. They happened to notice my checking them out too and they rushed upto me with cries of "Sir, Sir, One minute" Ok - I told myself- this is your lucky day. And stopped to enquire "Wassup Ladies?" One of them Set-up a video-cam on a tripod ; another thrust a Mic onto my face and a third one appeared from somewhere to adjust a light-meter and sound a clapper before they turned on the Video-cam and asked me " Sir, we are students from the Asian College of Journalism. We are doing a public survey for a class project. Would you care to comment on the traffic problem in Chennai?" "Of course" I said "how can I refuse to help you out (three pretty girls..). Am I not a public spirited citizen?" So for the next three minutes I spouted all sorts of drivel into the mic- whatever came first into my head. Finishing the interview successfully and wishing them better luck in the future - as they had complained that no one was willing to stop by to talk to them and as this interview was supposed to be part of their final exam presentation - I accepted their heartfelt and gushing "Thank you's" and departed cheerfully to Richie Street.

Out there on Richie Street I was in for another surprise - I spied another bunch of girls with a camera-tripod set-up runing after the busy shoppers with a "Sir, Sir, Excuse me, Sir". Having gone through one such experience recently - I slowed down my walk in their vicinity ( to help them out) and Bang - the Mic was in my Face with a request to help them out in their final exam project. The topic this time was "The role of Public Transport in Chennai" and I consider myself eminently qualified to comment on it - so I let loose my thoughts on running (boarding a moving bus), foot-boarding, bus-day celebrations and most important of all - the vital role public transport corporation buses, especially on some routes like 45B - play in the development of romance among chennai youth....

Moving on from there I crossed onto Mount Road and was passing along near Devi Theatre when I was again accosted by a group of three wtih mic and video in toto. Was it something on my face which marked me out as a great public speaker?- I was tempted to ask them. This time the topic for my talk was on the changing face of Chennai over the past few years. Again a topic I am eminently qualified to talk about. So I let rip.

That was three interviews in the space of one hour (and 9 intro's and mobile no's). But I would love to be there in the Asian College of Jounalism on Exam Day - as the students start showing their final project video's and the same face keeps popping up in presentation after presentation.......These things keep happening to me, I can't guess why...My apologies to you ladies - if you get into any trouble on my behalf- but you asked for it....

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

My 2007 MEM's - A Round-up - for introspection and correction

Before we proceed to commit our share of gaffe's and screw-up's in the New year, I think we should try to take a little time to reflect on some of the pile-up's and near misses of the dear departed year gone by. I though long and heard over my THREE MOST EMBARASSING MOMENTS of 2007 and how I dealt with them and hope to avoid getting caught in such again.

1. Encouter at OK Corral aka. Satyam Theatre

This was an incident which involved me only margially. Yet, unaccountably I slinked out of the theatre where I had gone to watch a movie with P- like I had been surprised doing something I shouldn't have done - just because we had happened to run into (quite accidentally) my good acquitances SK and GP who had accompanied their Chief M**** Ma'm to watch Kamalhasan's movie- Vettaiyadu Vellaidu (Hunt&Play) which is what they seem to have done in the darkened theatre sitting on either side of M... Ma'm. I and P- who had gone to watch the movie stayed huddled in our seats throughout the interval hoping they wouldn't notice us - and sneaking out after lights off to relieve ourselves - which looks pretty stupid now - considering we two guys werent doing anything wrong .But why , oh, why did we feel so embarassed then? and Patted ourselves on not being observed By Them?. I hope those poor guys dont get into any trouble with the college authorities-if this news leaks upwards that they have been fraternizing socially, too socially, with the faculty. And besides it isn't worth the risk. I, personally, wouldn't be caught dead in a theatre with a 50 yr old female even if she happens to be the arbiter of my fate and my thesis guide (one and the same?)- M will most probably get away with it; but these two guys are dead meat if one of the other HOD's gets to know- which is bound to happen eventually - given the abundance of spies and sneaks in the college.

2. Thrice I say Nay and refuse the Crown- Caesar style

This was a totally ridiculous situation compounded by my own dilemna. In 2006 like everyone else, I had made a pass at the new hottie of the college and not getting far - dropped the idea and moved on. Consider my surprise, when in 2007 -at the fag end of my academic career- she gets back to me with a counter proposal. I just wasn't prepared for this. I had all but cleansed college and all its inmates from my mind and was looking forward to living it up on the outside -post college life. So, I politely turned her down -offering as a reason my up-coming exams and the necessity of not being diverted from my studies with unncessary complications. So consider my surprise when over the coming few weeks the girl continued to pester me with new offers- unable or unwilling to take a hint - forcing me into embarassing denials and refusals -when I knew that any other guy on campus would give an arm and a leg to have my sweet problem...But I had made up my mind to move on from college life and I didn't want any extra baggage to remind me of it. Hence I kept turning down the crown- a la Caesar.

3. Horses for Courses - A good trainer ought to know that before everything else

The final embarassing moment worthy of introspection is having been invited to a totally grooving party - I had made the mistake of taking along a friend of - shall we say restricted up-bringing and conservative mindset who had expressed an ardent desire to see how the the other half of the world lives and enjoys. This friend was like fish out of the water in the party neither enjoying nor allowing me to enjoy the atmosphere - so much so that we had to make an early exit as I just coud'nt get into the zone with such constant interruptions. Lesson learnt for the future - get rid of the holier than thou types when heading out to enjoy the evening...

These three qualify for the three most embarassing moments of a long drawn , successful and pleasurable year 2007. On my three most successful moments (or conquests) - more in my next blog...