December 31, 2006

End of an era...

Its the end of the year... for many reasons, its the end of an era...

Well, this post is the last one of the year... I have mixed feelings about this year... while some moments I cherish and can never exchange for anything else, overall I felt that this year for me was a year in wait... literally for many many reasons... I have been waiting for many things to end. And nothing has.. So, for selfish reasons, I can't help but push this year behind and look forward to a more fulfilling 2007. However on the bright side, I have matured as a person, learned more about people, maybe lost a lot of my innate innocence in not-so-pleasant ways, gained new perspectives on things and people - so maybe it involved a lot of pesonal development. But I am not sure it was necessary for me at a stage in life where I am looking forward to many important things, a Masters Degree amongst many.

It was the end of an era of pure bliss with my dear Nokia 3100 which I still cherish. With the technological advancements, it was but natural for me to go savvy and choose a more loaded phone like the Samsung T629 which I have now had for just over 24 hours.

It was the end of life for Saddam Hussein. He was the first political leader I knew when at the time I was 8, he (read Iraq) invaded my then home country, Kuwait. The only positive I attach to the whole traumatic episode that me and my entire family were very lucky to have been on vacation in India at the time it happened - 2nd August 1990. So we didnt have horror stories like all our neighbours and friends who went hungry for days as they evacuated the country. It wasn't easy as a 8-year old to understand why we'd been uprooted from one place to an alien country - my good old India was alien to me having lived most my life till then in Kuwait. My bro's this post gives a better perspective of things. However, the point being, no matter what a cruel ruthless man he may have been, I couldnt but help feel pity at the way his "illustrious" life ended... at the gallows with media coverage and people dancing over his remains.

This year...

People use me... England wins the Ashes

My jobsearch's kickstarted... Saddam Hussein is executed abruptly and people dance over his remains

My advisor won't look into my thesis... Google buys Youtube

I have papers published and more invitations for technical writing... Italy beat France at the World Cup

My bro drops in for a surprise visit... The biggest hurricane in 50 years strikes Australia

I have a tizzzzzzy vacation... Aiswarya Rai marries a tree to rid her "Manglik" stamp

I have developed truckloads of patience... Movies like KANK are called BoxOffice Superhits!

I did most of the work for my Masters... And the temparature on Dec 31st in Cincinnati is 56 F

I could keeeeeep rattling n rambling.. But the bottom line is

Bye Bye 2006! Happy New Year 2007!!!!

December 29, 2006

New Look

After getting inspired from Bala, I got this new template for my blog... But well, thing is, I was working on modifying this other template I really liked. I tried making it 2 column from 3 column format and I am having a hell of a time doing it. Meanwhile, this is my blog for now.. Enjoy it!

December 27, 2006

~Toll-free calls~

Ever haggled with the CSRs of any organization? Most likely, it took you an hour to get through to a human voice after making the multiple choices to a computer and listening to umpteen music notes and promotions that they keep running you through. I have dealt with a whole bunch of CSRs and most of the electronic companies route your call, right to guess where? Good Old India... the flourishing BPOs.. The Padmanabhans become Paddys, the Thirunavukarasis - Tinys, the Margabandhus - Marks (ok- u get the point!)

So when I spoke to the HP guys, it was an Indian dude who promptly started with "Hi I am John" and the second he realized I was an Indian (and a southie at that), said"Actually Janardhanan.." and started flirting! Gosh! But well, he did help me out.. The reason all this came to me was my tryst with T-Mobile yesterday. I wanted to switch the whole account from Ali's name to mine and so I haggled on and on and on (I also wanted a phone upgrade) and was put on multiple holds which disconnected twice! And each time I called back I had to explain everything again. On the third occasion I really snapped. Spelling 'Jayalakshmi Parasuraman' is no cup of tea! And not a holiday for certain!! I couldnt blame the new CSR who picked up and however, an hour after I started, I was done! Whooooooooooooooooooosh! Actually that reminded me of the funny time I called the "No more offers" number to stop the whole lot oof junk credit card offers I was getting. After painstakingly spelling out my 22 letter name, and my address, the computer said, "Please say your name and spell out any words that could be difficult." I was dumbfounded. One attempt later, it said "Please confirm, you address is: 5-0-6, 112363597503, Wrightman Road." I hung up.

But then I remembered the time Time-Warner had overcharged me and I rang them up on a weekend thankfully and from my cell-phone thankfuller-ly (for those who don't know, we can make free calls from our cell phones on weekends). So, I tapped it on Speaker and did my work as I kept hearing the buzz of advertisements, and music for precisely 47 minutes before the call dropped! My roommate was telling me recently that she had called the Reliance people recently for some problem and had ended up spending an hour with a rude woman who refused to understand ehr problem or help her out and transferred her to multiple people with no avail! Whats with these people? I mean, why are they in the business if they don't wanna help? And why have these toll-free numbers at all if they are going to spew their domestic temper on us? From the customer's point of view, he's first been cheated (or overcharged or some thing) and then he has to put up with some random person's vile temper! (I must accept that many people are sweet.. it just rattles your brains when some aren't!!)

In retrospect, we all have troubles with something or the other and at some point will resort to calling these guys for some help. It just makes sense to not have wait times of more than 10 minutes or atleast have a queue information system that tells you you would have to hold for another 6 minutes (like out phone information system in Chennai) and keep up its electronic word! Most times like this, I wanna be in a wizarding world, where a Reparo or something would probably accomplish in ridding my woes!

PS: All you Harry Potter fans, await my post on the latest book/movie or both.. Coming sooN!

December 22, 2006

~Vivah Reloaded!~

Ok ok... Of late, I have been writing soo many movie reviews, I have been thinking of either renaming this blog to "Random Reels" or making a new blog, possibly by that name. (Any other suggestions will be welcome as well) So, I thought I should spice up this review. This will no longer be a simple review of the movie. Many people have done that. So, before scooting to the other part of this blog, my vivid imagination, lemme quickly summarize what I thought about this movie.

Old fashioned romance rocks!! For the life of me, I can't picture me or any of my girl friends ever pull off the Poonam character E-V-E-R! I can't imagine being intrigued by a mere brush of fingers (even from the guy I am to marry) or the half-glances, etc. And thats why I thought it was sweet. So out of place in the contemporary society of miniskirts and Mallika Sherawats. Subtle.. sweet... surreal and feel-good. Ofcourse, the movie had a storyline, and its exactly that, a line - the caption of the movie: A journey from engagement to marriage. True to their word, or line if you like, there wasn't anything else. The people's characters are all unbelievably good. And there are hardly hassles or hurdles till a very predictable climax. And ofcourse, all's well that ends well. And you knew that the second you saw the Rajshri banner and not after 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Ok.. so what would happen if you (if you're a girl) or your girlfriend/fiancee (if you're a guy) were like Poonam? That head-bowed, tow-staring, hardly uttering a word, a-perfect-advertisement-for-a-lapel-mic kind of girl? Someone who's heart flutters at every touch, whisper, glance? Someone who would burn from one glance of your beau's? Simple, beautiful, salwar-kameez clad? Well, on some level, its probably every man's dream.. But the minute he realises he has all the reins on this relationship and he is not just going to have to come up with great ideas to keep the romance flowing but also to hear a few golden words from those forbidden lips, he's gonna lose it pretty soon (unless he is a male chauvanist who wants every iota of control on his woman). I tried imagining me as a submissive (Ok, I am not implying that Poonam is submissive in the movie, but there was no evidence that she was not!), docile woman who nodded to every khwahish of her man and it cracked me up. Me never looking up at the guy, never voicing my opinion, wow! It will be a totally new perspective and probably worth a try (on a day I wanna get someone to LAUGH!) And I'd like to hear all your views (not on me, DUH!, but on the girl u're with - or would like to be with, or just yourself-should you be a girl) Will be an interesting analysis...

Go Post!

December 15, 2006

Woh Lamhe

Disclaimer: This blog has spoilers

And I am back to movie reviews... I have been busy over the past few weeks with multiple paper submissions, etc but I did take time out to watch this movie, something I wanted to see since I read its first promos.. For those of you who don't know already, this is a movie based closely on famous erstwhile late actress, Parveen Babi and her torrid romance with Mahesh Bhatt. What makes it "authentic" is that Bhatt is the producer of this movie.

The basic starcast is Shiney Ahuja (of Hazaar Khwahishen Aisi fame), Kangana Ranaut (hadn't heard of her before this one) and Shaad Randhawa. So, the story is something we've heard of (even if not in retrospect of Babi's life). Famous actress, Sana Azim (Kangana), struggling director, Aditya Garewal (Shiney) and pimp-cum-boyfriend, Nikhil (Shaad). The actress, though beautiful, talented, immensely rich does not control her life. She is instead controlled entirely by her creepy, all empowering, multiple-timing, no-good boyfriend. Contrary to a boot-licking director, Aditya is a man of attitude who not just thinks Sana is ugly, having covered her natural beauty under layers of make-up, and also covering her real persona under the wraps of stardom, all controlled by a jerk of a boyfriend, but also choosing to voice this very vocally in a party with Sana as the guest-of-honour! She doesn't take this easily and as with most women (I wonder why!!), with her ego challenged, can't resist Adi as a director and agrees to tone-down her artificiality and act for him in his movie. Shiney has some very good dialogues in the movie at this stage and doesn't lose them and my respect for him as an actor is still on a high shelf after I first saw HKA...

As the story progresses, you would think that Sana who'd broken free from her boyfriend's shackles would blossom in the obvious love that Adi showered her with. Instead, though the love is on either side, she falls prey to Schizophrenia, with her personalized mental element being a woman who follows her around threatening to ruin her. Admitted in a hospital and helpless, Sana is forced under the mercy of her greedy mom who is willing to subject her daughter to multiple shock treatments if that means that she can be on her feet soon and keep the money minting going. Adi, unable to see this kidnaps her away from the hospital to his sister's in Goa where he nurtures her to health.

And so it progresses... before ofcourse she neglects her medicines, attacks Adi, runs away, disappears for 3 years before attempting suicide and turning up in a hospital before well, dying.
The whole movie has this poignant feel about it and though its downright not moving to tears and stuff, it makes you actually relate it to the life of a real person and how sad and wasted it was. With stardom, the money, and everything that an ordinary woman would dream of, this one woman was reduced to her shadow before she caved in to death.

Ofcourse, though the movie was based on a real-life scenario, the end and some parts of it are fictitious. And towards the end, Shiney does overact! :)

A good movie... no extra add-ons... very down-to-earth.. worth a watch.

December 4, 2006

The good launderers~

Dig for quarters... pile up the clothes... take the detergent and the fabric softener and importantly, check if the machines were free... Sounds familiar? It was laundry day again! But luckily for me n my roomies, the laundry is right next door! And so, I waded across to find it empty and then dragged my basket across the carpet next door and dumped the clothes into one of the free machines and chugged up the machine. I placed the basket under the counter and let out a sigh of relief... 12:16PM...No hassles for the next hour atleast! Phew!

I came home and chilled with my thesis and almost forgot about my clothes churning next door. Almost! I glanced at the clock on the microwave. 1:26PM. I remembered the bunch of times I had gone to the laundry in the past to find water trickling out as the machine drained the last time. It was boring. I thought I'd give it another 10 minutes before checking. 10 minutes melded into 30 and it was 2:00PM when I realized. When I got there, I saw this note atop the next machine (the one I hadn't used) - We came down twice. You had'nt taken out your clothes. We've put it in the dryer for you. Surely, they didnt mean me? I opened the machine in which my clothes were supposed to be. Sure enough some unfamiliar clothes sprung out at me. I opened the dryer. And sure enough, my clothes were all sitting in. Blessing the soul who did it, and scribbling a Thanks so much :-) at the bottom of their note, I put in the quarters and cracked up the dryer. 2:05PM. No worries for atleast the next 75 min.

Or so I thought! It was 3:45PM when I looked at the clock next and hurried over next door. Another note - We came down thrice. You hadn't taken your clothes out from the dryer. We put them in your basket for you. We found your credit card and left it lying on top of your clothes. I tilted the lid up and there it was, right on top. Another Thank you note later, I left with clean clothes and I sent out a little prayer...

If it weren't for the good samaritans!