Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Listening to Grandpa’s favorite songs today…

February 3, 2013

One of those is this gem. One of my favorites too. Not had to see why he used to go crazy while listening this song…

Obama’s Victory and U.S. Elections — Something for Everyone

November 10, 2012

US Presidential elections is a big deal. It not only involves this country, but the whole world. For this country, it is about which candidate will make them even stronger; for the rest of the world it is more about which candidate is better or worse for them. This is even more important for India given the rate at which jobs are outsourced here and the number of people trying to get to the States every year (as an example, the entire quota for H1B  finished in just one month in 2012, as compared to eight months it took last year).

As a by product of staying in the US, I also got to experience the election fever in this country, follow the live coverage, and interact with a few people (both on the Obama and the Romney side). In general, I loved the way elections are conducted in the US, and here are a few things I liked.

Presidential Debates:

It is one of the best things about elections here. A total of four debates took place (three between the presidential candidates, one between the vice presidential ones) on different topics, but mainly focused on domestic and foreign policy. In my opinion, this is something that every democracy should hold. Narrating speeches during a campaign is an easier job. The masses accumulated in the campaigns are invariably the supporters, and the campaigns are staged and practiced. The candidate knows what he’s going to say, and he has a team to support him.

Debate is an entirely different matter. The candidate is pitched against his opponent, and questions are asked by a moderator. It is the maximum level to which a potential leader of a country can be exposed to the public, and this is usually where all the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate are exposed (in this case, it was how Romney backed off by saying the complete opposite of what he did during his campaign. And his lack of vision of how to achieve anything that he promised). I would love to see this in action in India. However, it is easier to conduct it in the US with only two major political parties. In India, it is a different ball game with so many parties involved, but I strongly believe that such an event SHOULD take place here. It is an absolute minimum of how people can be informed about the candidates.

Enthusiasm of the public:

During the course of the election day, I met my colleague who was worried about the result. He was worried, “what if Romney wins somehow?” There were the same emotions on the Romney camp. We need to develop such enthusiasm about our own elections (I am guilty of the same). Whether we support Congress or BJP or Mayawati, we should know why we support them, and should be worried about the outcome. Thats how we can (start to) make a change. I loved the way people over here would do small things to support their candidate. Even by putting a sticker on the back of their car saying “Obama” or “Romney”. And once they cast their vote in the ballot, by wearing a sticker on their shirt saying, “I voted.” It shows they care. We should too.

Obama’s victory speech:

The first thing that he pointed out during the speech was “I am *your* president.” Yes, president of the people. He followed up by using his great oratory skills to highlight many different things:
– The first thing he said was making the people realize about their responsibilities. That their responsibility does not end by casting their vote. That it is *you* who move the country forward. A country is made by the people, and not the government. Just like a captain is as good as a team. It is high time that to change this approach in our country. It is high time we stop seeing the government as the “ruling” party, and see them just as a “leading” party (the media should take the blame here).

By the way, if you happen to get a chance to listen to Kejriwal’s hangout today, he also believes the same. And while his hangout had the unpolished feel with not a lot of things sorted out (as should be the case with a party in its infancy), it shows a lot of promise.

– I loved his sentence that while we pursue our individual dreams, we rise and fall as one nation.

– US is not just a collection of red (republicans) and blue (democrats) pins, but is the “united” states.

– Whether you carried a Obama flag or a Romney flag, the important thing is you made your voice heard.

– Him stating why the elections matter.

Overall, there are a lot of things to learn from the elections, from Obama’s acceptance speech. It sounds romantic, but even if it achieves 5 percent of what it was originally intended, the speech would be deemed successful. There is something to learn here at every level — for a country, for a government, for an individual.

Obama’s victory speech

Narendra Modi Hangout

Arvind Kejriwal Hangout

The Dark Knight Rises — A Fan’s Review

July 24, 2012

I am a big fan of Christopher Nolan. Prestige still remains one of my favorite movies of all time, and The Dark Knight is the only movie which I have watched on back to back days in a cinema hall. Its ending is such that even today it makes my eyes moist. The genius director in Nolan is justiably complimented by the genius of Hans Zimmer.

There was a justifiable hype about The Dark Knight Rises. After the earlier epic, the wait was just way too long for this movie, even though everybody was realistic in assuming that it was almost impossible to match The Dark Knight, and Bane could never come close to The Joker. Yet, this is Christopher Nolan that we are talking about. An average director could not even dream about making a sequel to The Dark Knight leave alone making a very good — if not a great — film.

I watched the movie on Friday, and while I liked the movie, I left the hall unsatisfied. I thought I was satisfied, I wanted to believe that I was, but I knew I was not. Partly, it was about my high expectations. I knew I should have not compared this movie to the earlier one, and I knew I would not enjoy it if I started comparing, but that comparison was present in the subconscious.

I liked the movie a lot, and would still give it a much higher rating than many other superhero movies (Avengers). The next part of this post is not a carefully written movie review where professionals watch a movie with the sole purpose of ripping it apart in the review, but rather the casual observings of a Nolan (and Batman) fan.

The Good:

– Hans Zimmer: If there is something which was better in this movie than the past, it was Zimmer’s soundtrack. Zimmer did the impossible — by creating an even more riveting soundtrack than what he did in TDK. The chant, “Deshi Deshi Basara Basara” still rings in my ears time and again. Listen to “Imagine the fire” and I’m sure you’ll get goosebumps.

– The story and the twists: I was surprised by the plot twists, where an obvious villain turned out to be a subordinate to a hidden and a harmless character. In an era where we are used to having numerous plots and twists in movies and are always looking for hidden plots, Nolan did a great job of hiding the obvious.

– The connection to Batman Begins: I am fond of this movie. And so it was to my utmost pleasure that there were so many connections to the movie. It gave this movie a great, presentable ending.

– Batman’s struggle to climb up the deep prison. The way the child did it. Without the rope.

– Catwoman’s maneuvering skills with the Bat Pod. Thoroughly entertaining.

– Bale’s performance: One of his best performance to date. From the crippling billionaire to his resurrection as the feared Batman was amazing. But the best part was during the resurrection where he was living in denial — if Bane is the pupil of the very master whom I defeated twice, I can take him. Even though I have out of practice for eight years, and he is not. Even though I will not use guns and would never kill people and he is an animal. It was great direction, and great acting. Typical Nolan.

– “So this is how it feels like.” Batman’s reaction when Catwoman disappears in front of him.

The Bad:

– Nuclear bomb. City under threat. Last minute — second — escape. Cliches galore.

– “The Bat” was nowhere as cool as Bat mobile or Bat Pod. When Bat Mobile first appeared racing away between traffic, or when it self destructed to become the extremely cool Bat Pod, it was jaw dropping. It made me WANT these devices. Or even that Lamborghini which Bale so heartlessly crashed to save an insignificant reporter. The Bat flying in between the city? Not so much.

– Miranda Tate. ‘Nuff said.

– Too many things going on. Character development of Bane, the role of Catwoman, conencting the pieces with Batman Begins, an insignificant romance in between, Blake …. there were so many subplots, that none was ably developed. It felt too hurried — even though the pace of the movie was slow. Compared to the simplicity of Batman Begins, or the fast paced, focused direction in The Dark Knight, I couldn’t connect myself emotionally to this film, the way I was able to do in the first two movies. And mind you, I saw the first movie after watching the epic second one, and still loved it!

– The first two movies had something special. Here, once Bane took control of the city, there were several Bat Mobiles roaming around the streets. Suddenly “The Bat” was fighting against an army and it felt like just another sci-fi movie. Was there a scene which made be stupified like the one where Joker burned a mountain of dollars? No. Was there a scene as moving as the one when Batman reveals his identity to Rachel while diving into a probable death? No. As I said before, I should not compare, but I cannot help it.

– Hans Zimmer. Because I feel the movie wouldn’t have felt 10 percent as good as it felt today if it were not for Zimmer’s soundtrack. In the Dark Knight, Zimmer’s brilliant soundtrack was a great compliment to the movie. In Rises, Zimmer’s soundtrack was the heart and soul of the film.

But most importantly what disappointed me was the ending. Recall the ending of The Dark Knight, where Batman becomes the villain for the greater good of the city despite being the hero. Here the Batman does something heroic — no doubt. But in the end, he becomes a martyr only for us to realize that he in fact faked his death and goes on to lead a normal life. It is totally fine to want to lead a normal life after what he had suffered. But by faking his own death while saving the city? From someone who did a heroic sacrifice years back? I would have preferred if he had saved the city, took the credit and faded away. But then it would not have been dramatic. Clearly Nolan had a challenge.

If Dark Knight was 9.5/10 for me, and Batman Begins was 9.0, this movie was only about 8.5. Only 8.5. Of course, you get what I mean here. It is Nolan we are talking about. Where 8.5 is just not good enough for his standards. Something similar to the feeling one gets when Sachin “only” scores a 90 in a match. Or when Roger Federer “only” reaches the final of a Grand Slam.

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August 12, 2009

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