The ‘Slumdog’ Debate

I had to stop my Kudremukha Travelogue Part 2 midway to write this post. I finally watched Slumdog Millionaire today, on the big screen.Most people have already seen the movie. So this is not a full-fledged review. And thank god I didn’t heed those numerous advices from people (Download it and watch it. Not worth watching in theatre. Its normal masala movie). But therein lies the movie’s strength. This movie is entertaining cinematic experience at its best. Yes, it is a masala entertainer.

‘Tu Mere Saath Daance Karegi Na…’

My idea of judging how great a movie is simple – images from the movies still come to your mind , you are humming the songs from the movie & you think about the characters from the movie long after you left the movie hall. There are such sequences galore in this movie. All the actors do their job very well – nice chemistry between the lead pair, the kid Jamal, a wicked Anil Kapoor’s superlative performance etc.And Rahman’s background score pitches in with perfect timing, everytime. All the little song sequences in the movie are highly entertaining.(Particularly O Saaya in the opening minutes, which sets the tone for the rest of the movie) And the movie as a whole is,to quote a cliche, a visual treat. Overall, loved it. All I can say is either be an intelligent movie goer and know what to expect from the movie and enjoy it or keep cribbing how you’ve know idea how this ‘average masala’ movie is garnering awards in bucketfuls all round the world.

‘Shut up! The Man With The Colt 45 says shut up!’

Now to the big debate. The ‘award worthiness’ of the movie and protests from obscure organizations about Indians being called slumdogs in the movie.By this time, it should be amply evident what kind of Indian movies win recognition in the West – the other side of the world where the Oscars are distributed. A peek into the past to look for the Indian movies that won oscar nominations will make the picture clear- Lagaan,Salaam Bombay,Mother India. My thinking is they see it as artistic cinema – this depiction of the underbelly of rural & slum-ridden India in all its pathos. For instance,even the first glimpse of Taj Mahal in the movie is shown with some filthy water body in the foreground (Or is it the Yamuna???). And when the movie has entertainment value with colorful Bollywood song-and-dance thrown in, its icing on the cake.And to extend this observation to another medium, consider another recent award-winning piece – The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. Every sentence in the Man-Booker prize winning literary work drips with not-so-subtle hints about the malodorousness prevalent in the Indian society,veering towards plain yuckiness regularly in its 300-page story. Many people have the same opinion as Slumdog about this book too. The message should be clear by now.

Slumdog Millionaire is now a frontrunnner for the Oscars. So lets root for it. I sure hope Rahman wins an Oscar (yeah yeah, I know he’s given much better movies in the past.Now stop whining :P)

‘It is written’

Kudremukh Trip – Part 1

The news is WE, Somarigalu(lazy bones :P) have completed another trip successfully. Here’s a ‘short’ travelogue of the trip, narrated through pictures. Lets go through the planning and the preparation quickly. Our first choice was Brahmagiri (we didn’t get permission);Second choice Sakleshpur(not sure about trains plying on the trek track). Couple of other choices and a 100+ mail chain later, we zeroed in on Kudremukha and Manju spared no time to make sure there is no further debate by swiftly booking the tickets :P. Praveen’s uncle and aunt stay in Kalasa (20 kms from Kudremukh). So we even had vehicle arrangements ready once we reach there.

Jan 23rd: We got on the Sugama Travels bus.Manju almost manhandled and got slapped by some gals sitting in front (thinking it was one of us) but for Praveen’s ‘timely’ last second intervention. I was meeting Sharath after a long time. So he narrated to me his Germany experiences (beer kudi-pizza tinnu -movies nodu-malgu-office hogu).

Jan 24th: We reached Karkala at 7:00 AM.Checked into a nearby hotel for 2 hours,freshened up. The vehicle was already waiting. Finished breakfast, and ready for the trip!!!Our first destination was Hanumanagundi falls.We reached the place pretty soon only stopping at a viewpoint on the way.Hanumanagundi falls is splendid! The falls were not gushing with water. This allowed me to get some real cool ‘silky effect’ pics and we could actually go very near to the falls.

The water was icy cold.After spending some time there and clicking some SO-LOW pics, we started for our next point:Lakya Dam.This dam was previously used to collect waste materials from mining operations when KIOCL(Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Limited) was still under operation.
We reached Kudremukha next. There was a park nearby. And while I was clicking the usual flowers and birds pics, Manju posed for the most infamous pic of the trip! I shall decide whether to post the pic here based on public demand :D

It was time for lunch.The driver suggested a place on the way where we can get home food. The food was actually good there and we had a sumptuous lunch. This was the place from where our breakfast and lunch for the next day also will be coming. (Pic on the right below. Yes yes, don’t be too surprised ;))After the lunch, the plan was to go to the tea factory nearby via the tea estates en route. One generous employee in the factory explained us all the stages of tea preparation while showing us the equipment. Next we reached Kalasa and directly went to Praveen’s uncle and aunt place.We can’t say enough about the royal treatment we got from them for the next one and half days or so. Very warm and caring people. Praveen’s uncle has some contacts so we always had a vehicle when needed (the two days) . Uncle himself came with us the next day to see us off at the trek starting point and wish us good luck :D. Back to the present,we spent sometime at their home conversing on various topics. It was around 4 pm when we left for Horanadu temple.

A visit to the temple and we were off for the last spot of the day.A viewpoint from the tea estate. Sadly by the time we reached there,the sun had raced down on the west already.(To the right is a pic here in fading light).Next we reached Kudremukh again,this time for our night stay at the guest house.After the dinner, we went around the Kudremukh township. The place conjures up an eerie and deserted look with houses,shops everywhere but no people to be seen (Most of them have moved out after KIOCL closed down its operations due to protests from environmentalists). Soon it was time to sleep. We had to wake up early for the big day tomorrow. I was slightly shocked when Praveen & Girisha insisted on setting their alarms to 5:30 in the morning!!! I blankly told them to wake me up only when both of them are ready and pulled the blankets on…

Seems like this post has gone pretty long already. I am wary of the attention span of my readers. So the remaining part will appear in the next post. I shall leave you guys with these amazing pics ;) (And before Karthik screams injustice, a special mention to my dear friend for suggesting this pic :D)

(To be Continued)
Part – 2 : The ‘Trek’ day, My new Trek group, Highlights of the Trip And More Pics!!!…..

Not-so-Random Happenings…

Last month of 2008 running upto the new year was very eventful ,queer and mundane things alike.Quite of few of these threatened to be blogworthy; I just thought I’ll spare anyone reading this the trauma by cramming it all in a single post. And timeline it.

Dec 3 : Last day at Sasken. A classic case of bittersweet. Reached office very early, clicked pics of our favorite hangout places in the campus (usually frolicking with people but today cheerlessly empty ), went through the usual last day routine and by the end of the day was left feeling quite empty(Is this all?Shouldn’t I feel different?). It was a Third Floor Tarles reunion in the evening (Ash substituting for Vim :D) .We had dinner and after the bye-byes, it seemed like routine. Tomorrow morning I will meet some of these people anyway for coffee. Tomorrow came. There was no office to go.No more coffee. (I seldom actually had coffee,BTW)

Dec 6 : Holiday mood has set in.Getting my hands dirty in the kitchen. Made Gulab Jamuns and carried them to office, a visitor of course. Soaked more oil than they should’ve but still tasted yummy,or that’s what everyone said. The unfortunate lot,here, the jamuns, on the left.

Dec 8 : Left for Hyderabad. My ticket story happened. Please stop drooling now. The Jamuns are history.

Dec 9
: Went to Shilparamam, a crafts village situated few kms from Hyderabad. A charming visit .Traditional souvenirs, handicrafts, exhibitions of art and dance forms are what you will find here. Pics here.

Dec 12 : First day First show of Rab Ne….A moderate achievement I will say(Justification for adding it here). Read the review.

Dec 14: Cousin’s engagement in Gulbarga. Even my 12-year old nephew didn’t deprive himself of the joy of pulling my leg (You next,you next). Very eagerly awaiting the wedding :P My cousin’s wedding of course, you <swear word of your choice HERE>!

Dec 19: Back in Bangalore. 2 day trip to Chikmagalur .Aka The Chiks Trip .The hills were fascinating. Dangerous liaisons during the return journey. Check out the pics here, the trip pics…

Dec 25: Guess Santa Claus was short of cash this Christmas. I got pickpocketed while on the infamous No.201 Bus. Wallet with some cash and all cards. The cop said an FIR can’t be raised because my jeans rear pocket was not torn.When asked what I study, I committed the unatonable sin of telling him I am Software-u. Gita Parayana followed,Kannada-cop-style. No pics,not here,not anywhere.

Dec 29: Long holiday gets over. Joined new Software-u .The environment is cool.People are nice. And evening snacks are free.

Dec 31/Jan 1st : Welcomed the new year with a party involving the only all-teetotaler new year party in town.Dancing was strictly prohibited. Instead as the new year dawned, we were trying to decipher why the evil Italian doctor cut the Italian zombie’s hand and if the Italian cannibals are really evil or they just plain bored.Movie in question : Zombi Holocaust – The Cult Italian Movie. Watch it for the laughs. And some stomach-curdling gore action while munching popcorn.(Seriously,don’t watch). Then we discussed forthcoming trips, watched youtube videos and Argh…Golmaal Returns. We are not demented.We choose stupid movies on purpose,for laughs. Amazing new year party! And then it was the first morning of the new year…. I slept.

Wow! Now that I have finished writing, even I am amazed. And you guys have too many links to follow up :D .Will keep you posted on any new developments ;)

Sheeshe ke khwab leke,
Raaton mein chal raha hu,
Takra naa jaun kahin…

Aasha ki lau hai roshan,
Phir bhi toofan ka darr hai,
Lau bujh naa jaaye kahin…

Bas Ek haan Kiiii Guzarish….

Kickstart 2009!

Sigh!!! Another year comes to an end…And what an year it has been!The most enlightening year of my life should be a compact and proper way to put it. So much happened in the world around me,and more inside my head. A most ‘thought-provoking’ year indeed :D Thought about myself, my career,family,friends, country… .And as life passed by, strangers turned acquaintances, acquaintances turned friends and friends to best friends :)…Thank you for all the wishes and for just being there :) (Too cheesy,cant help)

Coming to this year, a huge to-do list awaits! I have a lot planned on the ‘myself’ front this year.Naysayers who went about saying I have changed and all for the worse….Lemme tell you…U ain’t seen anything yet ( I haven’t changed!:P I just didn’t wanna miss out on a chance to say that :D) . In 2009,I ‘aspire’ to be/do all these : a lil less lazy and a lil more disciplined…. a lil more diet conscious and a lil less gluttonous…a lil more time with books and a lil less time in front of my PC ….A lil more friends and a lil less enemies(No enemies please, this was added just to continue the flow)…. a lil more practical (you are free to make your own interpretations of ‘practical’ ) and a lil less emotional..A lil more Secret Resolution 1 & a lil less Secret Resolution 2 ;) ;)…. I understand there will be slight trepidation amongst a few best wishers ( “Pavan, if you are not gluttonous,you will lose your identity” and things like that :P ) but I assure everyone I will be as recognizable as ever. An assurance to myself :). Last 23 years of my life, not a single new year passed by with me having resolutions and suddenly this year there are so manyWaves of change already….And I give this freedom to all my friends(I meant the minuscule proportion of them going thru this rant) to pick on me or mock me on these resolutions right until Dec 31st,2009 :D And if ppl have suggestions for any other resolutions I ought to have,please feel free to suggest :PHere’s wishing you all an absolutely delightful 2009! Keep smiling! :)

As a passing note, I wish & hope India has a great year too. 2008 has been a rough year. Lessons learnt; 2009 better be good!

( Hehe resolutions need to be quantified,eh? Well, this ‘bit less’ ,’bit more’ suits me perfectly well. Infact, I will go ahead and say I have already achieved most of my resolutions today itself,Jan 1st :D :D. Genius, aint it???)

And one last thing… How can I end this post without a tribute to the most popular(read bugging) topic of 2008 in our circles??? A few quotes from the AMAZING show that is Naruto :

“I am not going to give up…I am not taking back my words… Ore wa ninjo da (This is my way of the ninja)
…. Rasengan!!!

Here,another quote: (:D)
There probably isn’t any meaning in life. Perhaps you can find something interesting to do while you are alive” – Orochimaru

Okay,last one:
…..
I guess people will stop visiting the blog if I continue with this…. :D

See you all around :)