Summer Days - III

Predictions of monsoon looming in. May 29th is what the wise men say. Lets see! In this post we will witness Rockus, the budding business man and entrepreneur.

Monopoly is a very popular game. If you haven't played it, well, words fail me. When I was around 6 or 7, I got a monopoly like game called "Business" on my birthday*. It was totally unlike your run of the mill monopoly. Squares upto 100, you had throw dice and reach 100. The twist was that you had money, and had squares where you gained or lost money. Never really read the rules anyway. I always played it the way I wanted to.

After a couple of years, the real clone of Monopoly surfaced. This was also called "Business". The game was entirely like Monopoly, except for the fact the names were all Indianised. Instead on Connecticut, you had Calcutta. Instead of Illinois, you had Indore. This one spread like a wildfire. We all got it, and we played it from dawn to dusk on several days. At that time, we had an unexpected death in the family and in that summer vacation, nearly all of us cousins were in the same house. Business was our main vocation during that period. May be it helped us kids to forego the tragic times.

Years later...

I go to the big bazaar just to roam around and buy something that catches my eye. What usually catches my eye are books, movies, and game cds**. But I make it a point to go to the kids toys section. There are so many board games. I wished I had several of those when I saw the ads on TV as a kid. We couldn't afford it then. I can afford to buy 3-4 of those every month without putting much strain on myself. But buying is one thing, playing is another. May be...may be the day when I have my own kids, I would be able to experience the joy. Nah...most probably they will say, "Go read a book old man!"

*Note to my dear friend to whom I said I don't recall getting birthday gifts, this was a birthday gift!

**None of them fucking CDs work! Just when I thought I would be an honest samaritan!

***This "star" stuff blatantly copied from Shrutz.

Summer Days-II

Yesterday we ended with a promise about the tales about wheels and business. Young boys are fascinated by cars and bikes. Older boys too! Being young lets you dream about a lot of stuff uninhibited. You can dream about the cars you are going to get, boast about without getting the "huh" stares.

Anyways back to our tale. I used to live near a slum. (Near would be an understatement since the distance was like 3 meters!) Temple pond (a large one at that!) converted into a slum over a period of several years. Without any doubt, I was forbidden from playing with the slum kids. I was still fascinated by their games. One of them was wheeling. I don't know the exact term for it, but it involves running along with a tyre, guiding it with a stick and making "beep beep" noises. Couple of kids with whom I used to play, were also fascinated by this. So, without getting close to the "bad" kids, I also got to play the game.

We started of with cycle tyres as we could get them pretty easily. Cycle tyre riding was a not an easy task, given its flimsy nature. Somehow I obtained a scooter tyre. It was far easier and faster. I got myself a sturdy stick and I was good to go. Won several races! To be frank it was real fun beating on a tyre and running with it. One day, I rummaged through some old junk and discovered an old tyre from my dad's ancient Jawa bike. It was bloody cool. Big and Strong. Jawa became my primary tyre from then on.

In the meanwile, the slum kids discovered a new wheel. Small, rubber rings guided using a steel wire. They were zippy and moved beautifully. They were like the F1 cars of the tyre riders. Finally, I discovered that the rubber rings where the ones used inside a pressure cooker! Stole a ring from the kitchen and I had my own F1!

Don't exactly remember when I stopped tyre riding. I can still feel the joy of the careless tyre riders running around beating tyres, screaming "beep beep". Don't see them anymore. Or is it that I don't notice them?

Rockus is too tired to continue about "Business", so we will see that next time around.

P.S: Eventhough I was forbidden from befriending the slum kids, I was cordial to them. My folks where afraid that I would learn the swear words from them. I didn't. I learnt them from the top school in the city! :-D

Summer Days...

Have been telling myself to write this post since the beginning of April. Like so many important and unimportant things, I have been putting this off as well.

I live near the court complex. May be a good 40 meters. On weekdays its a mad rush. Traffic is hectic and court premises are teeming with hordes of people, bat (wo)men, and khaki (wo)men. Sundays are wholly different matter. Hardly anyone on the road or the court complex. On these deserted days, the grounds inside court are taken over by kids of all ages. Several groups of kids play cricket all day. If I happen to pass by, I watch them play for sometime from afar. Its always fun to watch them play. The concentration on their faces, the dejections, the elations, the nasty schemes etc. Above all, I feel nostalgic about my own summer days.

My childhood was spent in a rather sizeable family. In addition to it, lots of other relatives lived closed by. So, as kids we always had company. During the beginning of my boyhood, my best friend was a distant uncle who was just 3 years elder to me. I tagged behind him all the time.

When I finished KG, my family decided I was ready to play cricket with the big boys. Got myself a cricket bat, Kidmate. It had a blue sticker! Armed with it, I tagged along with Kunji Maaman to play with his friends. Several kids there of all ages. Almost all of them elder to me by 2-4 years. I was not very comfortable there mainly due to the fact that I sucked at the game. Batting was poor, Bowling was...well lets say I barely managed to land the ball anywhere the crease, fielding was pathetic. So, invariably I was the last man and I fielded at deep 3rd man, far away from the action. They used to call it "bye". May be that 3rd man position just crept into my life as well and turned me into an outsider!

Life wasn't very pleasing to say the least. One day, my cousin, who lived nearby came to our house. He said he had a bat and ball too. We could play. That kickstarted a long standing friendship and brotherhood. Both us used to play on all the weekends. One day at his home, the next day at mine. Just the two of us.

Our match format was like this:

We pick a team each and play test cricket or one day cricket as we feel like doing. We will bat and bowl as each team member and write scores as seen on TV! This meant that we had to bat and bowl with both hands. It was great fun and to add to the fun we made the obstacles to score the runs as fielders. Srilankan names sounded really funny then (still do!), so we named them all srilankan. The wall which blocked the on drives was known as Mathilaanda Varnaweera (it was a patchy, colour faded wall) and the Kalyanasoungadhikam tree (the flowers smell real good!) was called Puspakumara.

I came up with innovative ideas to spruce up our games. We played with specialised elevens, like Spinners XI, Lefthander XI, etc. We had several stadia as well. At my house, we used to play in the short stairs with a big tyre as the wicket, in the corridor inside the house, and a deserted piece of land just nearby. At his home, we played in house yard. During summer vacation, this became a dialy affair. Playing all day from morning till evening, taking a break for lunch and rest.

My cousin used to go to his fathers place once in a while. During that time, my main hobby was to go his house and read all the back issues of Poompata. I had Balarama at home and read Poompaata from his home, but I had a backlog to cover and I did it during his absence.

A major gripe with vacation was that my vacations started on April 20 and ended on June 20. I was the only kid from my area to my school. All the other kids had their vacation from April 1st to May 31st. This meant that I lost around 40 days! Now that I am thinking about this, I really wonder how I did all the things that I did!

Better stop now...feeling sleepy...will continue this!

in the next post: Rockus describes about his exploits with wheels and business!

Some Folks Call it a Sling Blade

Some Folks Call it a Sling Blade is a short film directed by George Hickenlooper, starring Billy Bob Thornton. Really great short movie. Its about a killer being released from an asylum after 25 years. He is interviewed by a reporter on the day of his release. He delivers a monologue in which he says how he murdered his mother and his lover. Fantastic performance by Billy Bob. His performance as a mentally disturbed person who has not talked to a woman for 25 years, someone who hates people looking at him, some one who believes he is the ugliest person in the word; is very impacting without going overboard.

Really makes you ponder about fundamentalist values and their effects on young minds, and how insane criminals are to be treated by the society. At the end of the monologue, the reporter woman blurts out a chilling question, "Will you kill again?", to which he responds, "I ain't got anything against anybody to kill." Must watch!

This short film formed the basis of Billy Bob Thornton's ground breaking movie Sling Blade. Will have to get it soon.

I watched it on Jaman, which is fast becoming a big part of my movie watching life. :-)

Effervescent Elephant

I took this pic while commuting to office. It came out pretty well considering the crappy phone camera and the fact that our van was moving.

If only the Pachyderm held his trunk closer, it would have been perfect! :-)

An effervescing elephant
with tiny eyes, and great big trunk
once whispered to the tiny ears
the ears of one inferior
that by next june he'd die, oh yeah!
because the tiger would roam
and the little one said oh my goodness I must stay at home
and everytime I hear a growl
I'll know the tiger's on the prowl
and I'll be really safe you know
The elephant he told me so
And everyone was nervvy, oh yeah!
and the message was spread
to zebra, mongoose, and the dirty hippopotamus
who wollowed in the mud and chewed
his spicy hippoplancton food
and tended to ignore the word
prefering to survey a herd
of stupid water bison, oh yeah!
and the jungle took fright
and ran around for all the day and the night
but all in vain because you see
the tiger came and said to me,
"You know I wouldn't hurt not one of you
I much prefer something to chew
you're all too scant, oh yeah!"
He ate the elephant...

Effervescing Elephant, a song By Syd Barrett

AIDS Jaago

Came across a set of short films by four of the celebrated Indian film makers on AIDS. Conceptualized by Mira Nair, this venture is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to increase awareness of AIDS. The four short films are by Mira Nair, Vishal Bharadwaj, Santosh Sivan, and Farhan Akhtar. These are available from the movie download service Jaman (more on the site on my tech blog.) as part of their AIDS Jaago section. They are available for download, or as streaming video (pretty nice quality).

Just finished the first one, Migration by Mira Nair. Pretty nice short, focusing on how AIDS is a disease beyond the societal class. Decent acting by all the actors. Shiney Ahuja is a little bit too urban looking to pull off a villager though. Still its a very decent performance from him. Mira Nair's craft is very much evident albeit this being a short film.

Will update the rest after watching each of the movies.

Finished watching Blood Brothers by Vishal Bharadwaj. An absolutely fabulous short film. Gripping. Great performances from Sidharth and Pankaj Kapoor, and an outstanding performance from Pawan Malhotra. This ones about how lives are altered with the onset of HIV.

Onto the next movie. Blood Brothers is highly recommended.

Prarambha, the Kannada short by Santosh Sivan deals with the subject of the impact ofHIV on children. A really moving film, reminded me of the plight of two HIV positive children who were outcasted in their school sometime back in Kerala. The child actor has done a great job and Prabhudeva has excelled as the smart truck driver.

One more left now. This time by Farhan Akhtar. Lets see if he hold his own with the others.

Farhan Akhtar does hold his own against others with Positive. The movie starts of a little peppy and settles in nicely.Yet another good short. Its about how a family copes with AIDS. Awesome performance from Boman Irani and Shabana Azmi. Easily the best acting in this series.

Seems there is an issue with showing more than one film at a time in the same post/page. Go to the site to watch the movies. The one I liked the most will be displayed here.

All the four shorts are extremely good. Must Watch!

Ranking according to me

4. Migration: Mira Nair has been eclipsed by the others here.

3. Positive: Farhan Akhtar does have a lot of talent. Hope that he will put it to good use.

2. Prarambha: I was hard pressed whether to give this the 1st place. A very strong contender. Santosh Sivan has done a brilliant job here. Boy in the movie is simply wonderful. If you are too lazy to watch it by registering in Jaman, just go here.

1. Blood Brothers: Gritty and good. May not rank that high in others lists, but this was the one which impacted me mostly. Vishal Bharadwaj takes the first spot. Watch the movie below!

Blood Brothers

Status Updates

I hate updating status every now and then. Period. Now, I don't have to update my work status every 3 hour or every day like some unfortunate souls. I am supposed to sent a weekly report every week and update while doing some project.

The last time sent a weekly report update was...*drum rolls* last June! Even then, I sent a report which was pending for around 6 months. Hmmm...I have been working for say 20 months now...which would mean atleast 80 weeks. 80 weekly status reports due and I have sent around 3! Fucking unbelievable! Hope I won't get caught for this! :-D

Anyhoo, why do we need to update? After all, life is full of surprises! I want my lead to get his fair share of good and bad surprises. Good, when I actually do complete work on schedule and bad, when I don't! Bloody bureaucracy is hindering my strive for human touch in a corporate house!

P.S: This is applicable to me! Only me! People who report to me/will be reporting to me *must* update daily to prevent me from snooping on you publicly! (I will be snooping privately anyway, if you were wondering Sherlock!)

May Day!

Lazy May Day...
Hope to make some Hay...
Feed it to my donkey Bray...
Yeah, for this stupid poem I shall Pay!