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Nuclear films (atozchallenge) – Vikram


So, Tossing it out really made me rack my memory for a regional movie under nuclear films  –  the atozchallenge is getting tougher!!

For whatever reason, only one movie came near this nuclear theme at all  (i did take help from one of my confidante to firm this movie up) Vikram(1986) is a regional movie where the plot is about the Indian intelligence officer going in search of a stolen nuclear capable Intercontinental Ballistic Missile  –  the movie was one of those sensational movies which introduced a different theme, new technology to the otherwise conservative south Indian movie world in 1980s.  The best part was that this movie’s story was coming every week in a tamil weekly magazine (kumudham) with nice movie stills. I still remember those days where I use to wait at the gate  for the paper vendor to come and deliver that week’s magazine and all the time acting as though I am seriously involved in my school text books  :)

Nuclear disaster became more of a reality when the recent fiasco happened in the Japan nuclear power plants after the Tsunami.  While that was still induced by nature, in the last couple of days I was really disturbed by the trend of bomb blasts across the globe.  Just on this monday late night IST, I was shocked to see the tweet on Boston blasts at the Boston marathon –  and today (Wednesday IST) there is the follow-up news of blasts in Bangalore.

While it is awful feeling to think of the bomb blasts and the innocent public getting targeted for someone’s criminal attitude, there is also that anger in me  –  what are our intelligence agencies doing?  how much does it take to make stern decisions against these mindless terrorism?  Be it Boston or Bangalore, the world around us need not only pure compassion, but that courageous decisions and actions from everyone!  Let the light lead us in the right path of global peace!

 

Moneyball


Category –  Drama-Sports ;  Rating –  4  ;  Comment  – Heroic  pursuit of success using a non conventional route!

Another incident to remind me about my limited memory cells and the strong subconscious memory ….   (am actually not complaining, this piece of my senile decay brings in lot of fun into life!)

I probably watched MoneyBall almost an year ago  –  skipped to record my review and just continued with my life (I thought zero impact to anyone including me!).  Couple of days back, I had the opportunity to laugh again at the corporate vagaries with a colleague  –  someone who has similar traits like mine –  the rare ability (ok, call it “strain of crankiness”)  to see the humorous side of the corporate vagaries.  What i found over years is that this ability (ok, the strain of crankiness!) is considered as a taboo at the higher echelons of the corporate society and people who have this ability actually are living like the disguised aliens of Men in BlackScott adams was  probably one courageous individual who came out in the open and was smart enough to monetize his ability by kicking off his Dilbert series.  So, when I discover someone like this (a fellow alien)  I thoroughly enjoy it!  The talk was about how skewed the opinions of managers about their teams  –   in that context, I was asked if i had watched the movie Moneyball and I bluntly said a big NO (senile decay!).

And my colleague went on explain the Moneyball theory  –  the rational to select winning teams which is very different than the traditional one and recommended me to watch the movie.  Having the day off at Bangalore (aarrgh…another embarassing strike day called out by trade unions impacting crores of productivity!!), I decided to look for this movie and bang, when i saw the google throwing  up Brad Pitt images in his baseball cap, it just hit me that I have watched Moneyball already and liked it!!  I remember relating to the fact that how we make heroes out of those managers who mess up things initially, get the projects into RED and then with support of many folks bring the project into Green.   In parallel, we miss to notice those managers who keep their projects in good shape all through the year.

Coming to the movie review, ofcourse it was a good movie  –  good enough to even make it as a mandatory movie in a leadership training workshop!   Brad Pitt was sometimes overshadowed by the bubbly bespectacled Jonah Hill, but that is fine….!!!

Good watch!

City of Gods


It has been a long time since i picked a fiction to read –  I have been reading lot of non-fiction books  – I have not completed reading even one single non-fiction book in the last few  months (Reason why the last couple of my book reviews are fiction books),  have been jumping from one to another!.  So,  I surprised myself when I picked up this fiction and completed over a weekend in-between my busy weekend house chores!   Obviously, the motivation is to make sure that I read the two short stories written by AM is also published in that ….and the feather on the cap is that the collection is named after one of her short stories heading “City of Gods”

This collection of short stories from various Indian authors (was it dominated by south Indian authors?) had a mix of all genre of stories – love, horror, humor, humanity …..all 22 had different flavors –  some of them were very impactful, few were very flowery –  lot of descriptions and less of story.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed the read  –  here is a short review of few samples as I looked at it

1.Stranger Anxiety by Vrindha Baliga :  Very realistic and emotional.  I can relate to the father daughter relationship and the father granddaughter chemistry…..and the advent of facebook into the lives of older generation!

2. The pullover by Thomas K Abraham:  A short episode clearly brings out the feelings of children who are in boarding school –  will dosa tree grow from a dosa?  though it was laced with slight humor, this story left me remembering my childhood  –  to discipline my brother and I, my father use to threaten that he will put us in a boarding school if we miss to behave well  –  we truly believed he will do so and were terrorized at times! :)

3.The Death of a Martyr by Dhiraj Kumar Deka:  Sad story of a father losing his son on the India border while he was saving our India.  The story made me think of the many jawans who laid their life saving our mother India.  Inspiring and also emotional!

4. The Holiday by Anitha Murthy:  A very pragmatic approach  –  what kind of adjustments every individual makes to go with the choice of brain Vs the choice of your heart??   Anitha is indeed a captivating story teller.

5. The Betrayl by Vibha Batra:  Story set in pre independence period and captures the interpersonal challenges in the bigger picture of country and politics  –   what is saddening is that even today, (65 years post independence) these challenges exist all over.

6.Maya by Tripta Roy – A very touching emotional story  –  how much does an individual need to comprise if they have to prioritize the joys of motherhood…. I am sure there are crores of women/men around the world who make these comprises to be a good parent  –   whether it is a good decision or a bad decision is something which is always debatable  –  it may sometimes be better to stick to reality and let the children understand it?

7. Rage by Shiva Viswanathan:  Very convincing justification on why a teenager ends up as a destroyer  –  RAGE captures it all.

8. The Master  by Shalim M Hussain  –   A story on North East India’s struggle  –  For some reason, I could not make myself read this story –  do not know if the current NE exodus episode in India had made me get an overdose of NE struggles.IMG-20130202-161

9. The Fix by Saritha Roa Rayachoti –  Finally a romantic story  –   a story which gives the positive changes brought in by discovering one own self.  Coffee was just a reason though!

10.  The strings by Nandini Rao  –  Another story which I could not read beyond couple of paragraphs  –   there were more and more of descriptions and me being a non scholastic English reader, just had to skip it. Not my cup of tea.

11. The writer by Revathi Siva Kumar –  A very depressing story line.  the short fiction itself was very well written and delivered and the characters were in front of my eyes .  I felt it was a seasoned writer’s creative writing  –  it was author’s victory to make the reader feel for the characters in the story.  Good work.

12.Role Play by Aruna Shenoy –  Very pragmatic theme and well written  –  every day dilemma of young Indian working women  and how they conquer it  –   Role play is A grade!

…….a good collection for the intelligent readers…. and thank you Anitha!

Bangalore Traffic Police


Wishes from Bangalore Traffic Police

Wishes from Bangalore Traffic Police

What a pleasant way to start 2013 –  I really felt that our police services are making genuine effort to be more people friendly….

This is what happened today evening  –  we were in the Cauvery circle near Sadhashiva nager and suddenly a traffic police pops up and gives a card  –   my first thought was it is some safety advisory …, but when i opened it  –  BINGO!!   NEW YEAR WISHES !!

I felt so thrilled about the whole experience  –   “Honge kamyab hum Honge Kamyab”

Great start for 2013!!!

 

Women and Literature


When I saw the invite for the book publishing event in my mail box from Anitha, I wanted to go.  Two reasons  –  Anitha is one of the persons whom I can just sit for hours together without even talking much and feel completely at ease;   two of Anitha’s prize-winning short stories are part of the book which was published that day.

While I had never been to this kind of event before, I thoroughly enjoyed the evening.  I reached the event little late  (they had already published the book which Anitha said is the main event!), I think I was present for the best part of it  –  reading the extracts from the stories which were published in that book.

I was mesmerized when one of the women rendered a paragraph from Anitha’s story  –  I could not believe that such a voice modulation, clarity and emotion can all be brought in by anyone  –  especially a frail looking women. I just wanted to sit there and listen to her reading all the stories from that book for ever.

Anitha updated me that it was Jyoti Makhija, one of the famous theatre personalities in Bangalore.  It also stuck me later that majority of the participants  (including the audience) were women  –  women who gave a feeling that they are intellectual, who are matured and mostly over 50.  It again reiterated the fact that women have more interests in life as a group and still want to believe in fiction.

ps-I was highlighting that I was impressed that lot of women are interested in english literature.  I got an immediate response “Women do all the running round.  Men sit and write”  I liked the intended pun from Anitha on this!!   :) :)

Related Post:  Congratulations

Koyambedu Bus Stop (CMBT) – Chennai


Last weekend, I was in Chennai Koyambedu Bus Stop (Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus).  It is more than a decade since I travelled long distances in buses  –   most of the time we end up in trains or air.  Obviously I never had the opportunity to see the Koyambedu Bus Stop so far, though I have heard about it many times in the past.   It was an unplanned trip to Chennai (to support my relatives in their sudden bereavement) and I was returning to Bangalore and  the state transport bus seem to be the most viable option for unplanned travel.

My first impression when I stepped into the Koyambedu bus stop was “WOW, it is huge”.  I was even more impressed when I saw a nice central welcome hall which gave lot of space for passengers and public to wait.  I was completely sold on the CMBT when I saw the excellent direction boards which clearly listed the platforms and the corresponding places where buses ply.   I saw few wandering foreigners who were looking at the direction boards and making notes.

I was thrilled that I  got easy directions from sign boards and started walking towards the platform bay where Bangalore buses start.  I was so relaxed that I spent good time on the way in a small shop getting magazines and newspapers.   When I reached the bay, I was in for a shock  –  as I saw buses travelling to some Tamilnadu cities were in the bay.   I again went and checked on the sign board which clearly said –  platform 5, bay 23.  I enquired with couple of bus drivers who were standing and chatting –  they were very helpful.  Here is the conversation

me:  sir, where is Bangalore bus?

conductor 1 : Bangalore busa?  antha pakkam sutthi ponga (Bangalore bus? go around to the other side)

me (confused!): board said 5th platform…this is 5th platform

conductor 2 (looking at me as though I am from another planet): idatha mathidanga –  board appidiye irruku!  (changed the place, but the direction board is not changed!).

Now, I just ran around to find the right platform ……..God, you made my happiness short-lived!!  And if you think that the story stops here……it continues  ………….

Having used to making advance bookings on trains and air using net (especially, I have mastered the Tatkal booking scheme of Indian railways!!),  I fell into the prey of booking the bus travel ticket over net (www.tnstc.in).  As it was a hurried trip and it was a sunday morning, I did not get a print out assuming that the handheld I carry can display the ticket to the conductor.  I also had my ID card listed in the ticket and thought it should suffice.

When I found the right place of Bangalore buses, I was into the second shock. There was no unique number for the bus which I was supposed to go (may be, I am still not very sure if I have missed it).  There were three buses waiting to start to Bangalore and all the three had the same route number.  Again, I reach out to the conductor standing near one of the buses

me: I have  booking for the bus which starts at 10.45.  which bus is that?

conductor 3 (looks very vaguely at me – again it is the look of  “which planet did you come from?”): “intha busu pathinoru manniku pogum.  eeri seatla okkarunga (this bus will go at 11. get in and sit).

me: (puzzled!): I do not have a print out of the ticket, it is in this phone and you can see it in this. is it ok?”

conductor 3 (completely convinced that I am in no way a passenger who can go by bus): “illa illa, print out venum. (no-no, need print out)”

me (not lost confidence yet!):   I have my id card –  voters card (with too much of a confidence!) also.  you can compare it with your list.

conductor 3 (irritated now!):   “print irrunthathan vandilla eeralam (only if you have print out, you can get into the bus)”

me (bit tensed now!):   Is there any office where they can print out here?

conductor 3 (totally lost interest):   poi keetu paarunga anga  – (go and ask in office)

Now, considering I have less time, I run into the office and ask them if they can print the tickets out (as there were no shops inside the entire CMBT bus stop which can print).  While there were two computers and two folks operating it, they were least interested to even hear about my problem.  I came back to the bus again and this time there was another conductor 4 who felt it was ok to get into the bus. I just got in and sat  –  yes, I did come to Bangalore.

So, if you are a first timer in CMBT,  remember two basic lessons  –  ensure you validate the platform numbers with conductors and not just go by those direction boards. And avoid net booking and get the tickets directly from the conductors  – considering there are so many buses plying it should be ok to just go and get the tickets on a normal day (may be, the reservation may help on some holidays or festival days where the crowd is too high).

Koyambedu  –   I know how to handle you now!   :) :) :)

Rappelling, Zip line and Trekking


I was in two minds till the previous evening  –  but then, considering i was yet to try Rappelling I decided to go for the one day adventure trip………..and I was the first one in the start point the next morning!!   :)

The place of choice was Ramagiri(Ramadeverabetta) in Ramanagaram, around 5o km and the plan was a day long session of trekking, rappelling and zip line.  Ramanagaram is famous from the film industry perspective also  –   Hindi movie “Sholay”  and English movie “A passage to India”  was filmed in this location.   We were guided by Adventureworx, a professional company specializing on outdoor adventures.

The rocks are visible from the Bangalore-Mysore road on the right side (when you drive from Bangalore), beyond Ramanagaram town. We had a leisurely breakfast and chose the tough route (interesting route as per the guide!).  It was a tough climb, though we made it in couple of hours.  We reached the top and then came around to the Ram temple. The water from the small water body near the temple was so fresh and refreshingly cool. From the temple, we took the steps downs.  As always, the trek was refreshing, stretching the muscles and made my day.   It was very unique experience to have a dog from the village following us and making sure that the last person of the group has crossed the tough stretch of the climb.  The guide said that the dog always ensures that the climbers are escorted  –  it was some sort of a spiritual experience to look at the dog’s eyes and see that determination to accompany the trekkers.  With beautiful sights on the way (it was very unique to see the tree growing on the rock top), it was a well spent morning.

Post lunch, we tried zip line and rappelling.  It was first time experience.   While zip line was more of a fun, rappelling was a test of one’s mental strength, confidence and focus.   The trick was -breaking away from the mental fear and taking the first step in rappelling  –   believe that you are completely protected (ofcourse, the critical thing for any rock climbing is the high quality safety gears –  these were provided by adventureworx to us, I saw all of them were imported gears, mostly from Italy).

Rock climbing

Ramanagara Rock climbing

It was well spent day and it was worth the decision to go!!

Ramanagaram is recognized as an international rock climbing site and we spotted many foreigners trying their rock climbing skills here.  Grades here are between 5.8-5.11 American is what I learnt later (you can read about rock climbing grades here).

How to get from Rome to Rio


How to get from Rome to Rio  is an interesting site  –  try it as an alternate for google map and you will see multiple options for the mode of transport and it makes it very interesting……

Whenever I try to track the train track between Bangalore and Chennai in Google Maps, the option does not come up………Rome2Rio gives the train route also!!!

This site is established by a technology startup based out of Melbourne, Australia.  The current version searches worldwide flight schedules, European, North American, Indian and Chinese trains, North American inter-city buses, driving and ferry routes.  The public beta version was launched in April 2011.

TRY IT….

My Place – Always the best!!


Couple of days back, I happened to listen to my relative who said that they plan to settle down in Bangalore (that is a ten year plan from now!).    As always, I was rambling and listing down the good things about Bangalore  –  ofcourse, the recent post I did was on top my mind  –  http://ireach.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/bangalore-the-best/

When I finished my ramblings, I saw my cousin giving me a condescending funny look….I felt it meant ” so, what happened to the morning ramblings about the place you spent your childhood ……..you seem to be liking all places….”….

That made me think…..looks like  MY PLACE  – whichever corner of the world it is in –  IS ALWAYS  THE BEST!   –  It definitely is a wise saying  “East or West, Home is Best!”

Here is a list of what all I relished about my place where I spent my initial years of life  (If you have lived or visited interior TamilNadu in India, you will nod in agreement!)

1. Early morning aroma of filter coffee with the background of MS Subbulakshmi’s “Suprapatham”  –  (Narsus coffee, it was always!!)
2.  When you come out , the blasting sounds of Madurai Somu /LR  Eshwari’s devotional songs from a neighbourhood temple’s conical speaker  –  if it is the month of Margazhi, you will hear the audio of movies like “Thiruvilayadal”  –  especially Nagesh‘s Dharumi/Nakeeran dialogues
3. “The Hindu” newspaper –  If it is Friday, then you wait for “Ananda Vikatan
4. Saroj narayanaswamy’s news in All India radio  (” aal indhiya radio, dhilli vanoli nilayam, cheithigal vasipathu, saroj narayana swamy”)
5. Rajnikanth’s  movie posters  (“Udal mannuku, Uyir Thalaivanukku”)
6. Milkman milking the cow  at the doorstep
7.  The ringing bell from the temple  (“koil mani osai”)
8. Idly and chutney breakfast
9. Mom’s continuous tracking about being on time (“Time aachu –  kilambu, kilambu”)
10. Bicycle’s  bell and the loud screaming of classmate calling your name from the road
11. Mom’s consistent advice to be careful on the road and to come back home straight (‘Jaggrathaiya patthu po, school vitta neera inga vaa’ )
12. Had your breakfast?(“Saapaddu aacha?” ) enquiries from neighbours
13.  Smells of  jasmine and mixed flowers (Malligai, kadambathin manam)
14. Lovely girls with turmeric glitter on their face and the traditional half saree (“Manjal poosiya thavani mugangal”)
15.  Climbing the mango tree in neighbours house and  eating fresh raw mangoes sitting on the tree (got to keep a watch for elders!!)
16. Cattle on the roads  (need to balance the bicycle between them!)
17.  Taking the neighbour’s kid in the bicycle  doubles (“Supera irrundhu indha cycle roundu’ )
18.  Friendly postman who makes a conversation while delivering the post and knows who has sent the letter – ” this letter is from grandmom? how is she?” (letter enna pattiammava? Nalla irukangagala?’)
19.  temple diety’s procession on the road and the nice “maakolam” on everyone’s house
20. temple elephant

and many more…………………   How does your list look??

Bangalore – the Best!


It was a pleasant surprise when I read the news about Bangalore being ranked as the best city to live in India……it actually surpassed all the four  Indian metros  –  Delhi, Kolkatta, Mumbai and Chennai!!!…….The news article can be read here

While I know the traffic and infrastructure needs more improvement, the upcoming metro train transport in Bangalore should address it is my sincere hope.  Ofcourse, it goes without saying that the state governance should be focussed and committed on this  – the live streaming of CM’s office which started with a big bang is facing technical snag and I hope the metro train plans are reviewed for any such snag….

Here is my list of top seven reasons on why I like Bangalore…………..

  1. Weather………lovely all through the year
  2. Greenery………you will be surprised by the small green patches in between densely crowded residential and commercial areas – don’t forget Cubbon park and Lal bagh
  3. People……….Bangaloreans are the best when it comes to making everyone feel at home  –  they are so polite and love peace
  4. Cosmopoliton……..the city itself is so mixed that it has its own cosmopolitan culture..From Malleshwaram to Koramangala it has the Mysore Iyengars to the MTV personalities
  5. IT companies……….gives loads of opportunities
  6. Darshinis………..the ‘stand-and-eat’ restaurants at every other street with their hot ‘idly-vada’, ‘masala dosa’, ‘chow-chow bath’, ‘rave idly’,etc with the fresh coconut ‘chutney’ and hot ‘sambar’
  7. Style……………..

No wonder, the silicon valley of India is the winner of the year!!   Bangalore, the best!!!

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