I just got done with Enthiran. Not on the big screen, sadly, but the awesomeness still shines through.
It is simply Perfect. Rather well-made product.
Ash is not irritating , she seems so totally back to her ’90s aura of wonderfulness, the science is not (atleast on the surface and a little deeper) screwed up, the music is actually good when you fit it with the rest of the movie, there is no chummangaati sentiment-putting, the gimmickry totally fits in with the plot, Danny Dengzongpa is scary, the references to past Rajini films and punch dialogues is just right. Then there’s also the total #win Asimov reference, and robots-building-more-new-robots dystopia.
And Rajini is Rajini.
It does have its downsides…. Karunas and Santhanam are wasted – that subplot is one of the worst I’ve seen, while it could have been used for such a lot more. The middle bits are a tad draggy. There’s too much carnage, though that fits in with the scale of the plot. And, well, the whole scientist-working-alone thing should totally not be allowed.
Plus, Rajini’s age is totally totally justified in the movie – he did a PhD and a postdoc, so he’s allowed to be Ancient most people on the verge of graduation are.
But you know what I liked best? They got the universities right – Rajinikanth is supposed to be a PhD from CMU’s Robotics department, and postdoc at Stanford. Yes, not your standard ‘Harward University’ or ‘University of California’. Such attention to detail…. all that was remaining was to add an ‘Advisor: Dr. Raj Reddy’, and ‘Member: STAIR Project’ at the end
You know what I would have liked better? To have Chitti do robot soccer
Dear Mr. Purie,
You quite obviously don’t know me. And while I know you (well, you head India Today), I didn’t much care. Your rag always lost out to The Week in my house, God alone knew why my father subscribed to you…. to me, you were inherently unreadable. I didn’t pay much attention to your antics. Until this morning.
I happened to come across this post not twenty minutes after I woke up. Normally, it takes the better part of an hour for me to ungrog. But Mr. Purie, your scandalous behaviour and the brush-it-off-gently apology got me all fired up in not more than three minutes. While my teammate was happy I showed up early to his meeting for once, I don’t much share his joy. I’m livid, pissed, wild, mad, cross, fuming, steaming at the ears.
Why, you ask? I’ll tell you why.
Firstly, plagiarism sucks. Secondly, plagiarism by a huge media house, especially one of the ‘India Today Conclave’ fame, totally totally sucks. Thirdly, a top editor like you not knowing about Thalaivar is BLASPHEMY. And fourthly, WTF excuse was that? Jet-lag?
I was jetlagged three weeks back. Not just your ordinary jetlag. I was coming from eight-regular-hours-of-sleep-IST to Pacific time. Twelve hours away. Twelve whole hours. Total reversal of night and day. Add to this, I had deadlines from my three classes, AND from two bosses, one of who was on Pacific time, and the other on Indian Standard Time. And that apart, Mr. Purie, I flew Economy. Nearly twenty-four hours. Not much legspace. Folks eating smelly food around me. Middle seat. Two stops. Baggage that weighed twice of what I weigh. Which I had to lug over three floors when I got home, no elevator. Not your first-class flight where you’d be served champagne and have ample leg-room, and have Ram Singh carry the luggage when you landed, for the short distance from the terminal to your airconditioned car.
I blogged when I was jetlagged. And blogged when I was both jetlagged and sleep-deprived. Did I plagiarise? NO. A big NO. Why didn’t I? Because I love my blog too much to post unoriginal content here, and pass it off as mine. This place is hallowed, and such injustice will be met with Hara-Kiri.
Also, I have been plagiarized. By Bangalore Mirror. Old story. I vilified them quite some on this blog. But you know what, Mr. Purie, you make them look like Sathya Harishchandra. Because, they posted my stuff without permission, but they did put my blog URL there. And when I complained, they responded. And apologized (though frankly, I’d say that was an apology for an apology). Quite unlike what you’ve done to my fellow blogger Niranjana.
My colleagues were to submit something for review and publication. And by publication, I mean in the proceeds of a conference, not a piddling rag like yours. New results and changes at the last moment made it such that they didn’t have all their references in place. Did they submit it and say ‘Hah, let’s see who finds out’? No, they did not. You might say yours is a mag that touches millions of life, and just HAS to be out by the deadline, but you know what, they had more at stake. They get this opportunity ONCE a year, mind you. And yet did not compromise on principles.
What were you thinking when you blatantly plagiarized? Doesn’t your conscience prick you? When I put my friend’s joke as a status message on gTalk, I add a “(Credit: Abhi/Tuna/Ego/Whoever)” bit towards the end, because it doesn’t feel fair when people ping me and say “Heh, you crack good jokes!”. We all do that. Even on Twitter, where no one would worry where a joke came from, people say “@jokerman says” or “(credit: @jokerman)”. Even the most mundane stuff, like a new word coined – like Kosubat (the electrified racquet used to kill mosquitos) or Homour (jokes about homosexuality).
Why do we do this? It’s our culture. Our honour code. ‘Stupid gits’, you might think. But no, Mr. Purie. It’s not just our morality that has resulted in this culture.We know what it’s like to have our friends copy from us and get higher marks. We know the resentment it breeds. We know what it’s like to pull an all-nighter and then have the folks who were lolling about get higher marks and skew the whole grading curve because they cheated. There’s no end to how much you can cheat. There are plenty of us who can keep coming up with better and better techniques to steal credit, not that the world needs it. We don’t want every sphere of our life descending into that sort of an abyss. Hence this culture and honour code. And you know what? We like this sort of an environment darned very much. We don’t have to worry about our jokes being stolen, so we let ‘er rip. We know our ideas will be attributed, so we put them out there for others to play with. We like this setup very much on the Net.
It might seem very old-fashioned to you, this moral posturing of mine. But you know what, Mr. Purie, you’re the fossil here. Did you really think you could get away with ripping off such a widely circulated article from the Net? Especially at the peak of Thalaivar-craziness? Especially in this age of Facebook and Twitter and gTalk status messages? Heck, it was the title of this Churumuri article, for godsake. For context, more people have read that article than your titchy Letter From The Editor. For context, Mr. Purie, that’s like ripping off Jai Ho and mega-releasing it as your own in the weeks following the Oscar nomination.
And when you say “Not being an acknowledged expert on the delightful southern superstar, I asked Delhi for some inputs.”, I can only say WTF. Any piddling two-bit journo knows enough to write about Rajnikanth, heck even Manu Joseph does. Or they pretend to, which is fine because we Thalaivar-fans don’t expect any insights into the method acting in Netrikan from anyone in the mainstream media. That you, yes YOU of the India Today Conclave fame, and YOU who edits ‘India’s Biggest Newsmagazine’ had no frickin’ clue on what to write about Thalaivar really gets my goat. If you had said this about Amitabh or SRK, there would have been blood on the streets. Blood. Yours. And the rest of your staff’s.
And I don’t get why you asked Delhi for input, especially given that a reasonably well-travelled Amit_123 like you itself had no clue about Thalaivar (No, he’s not just a ‘Southern Superstar’… he’s a South-East Asian Sensation as you would have realized if you had travelled through Japan, Singapore and Malaysia even once), what do you expect from the rest of the Amit_123s and Isha_123s there? I’d've thought the first logical reaction would have been to call Chennai. As we say on the Internet, #FAIL.
And how DARE you change it from SUPERSTAR to Superstar? All the Caps are merited. And we forgave the original author for not putting it in Bold, Underline and Fontsize 42 only because he was not Indian. You on the other hand…. bah!
You know why I’m pissed, Mr. Purie? It’s not just because you ripped something off. It’s your impunity in shrugging it off that gets my blood pressure rising. AND that no one is being fired over this. Or even getting a rap on the knuckle. Not just the Slate thing…. I’m more pissed about Niranjana’s situation. What sort of low-quality mediocre staff you have who can’t even have a few original ideas? And why are you still keeping them? And no rap? What sort of a message are you sending out? That it is okay to lie and cheat?
No remorse? No nothing? Atleast pretend you’re sorry about the whole deal, suspend someone for eyewashing…. do something! Even the smallest political scandal makes sure that atleast one person gets the axe! The fact that you’re not even pretending to be outraged outrages me.
I know Mr. Purie, that this letter might not even reach you, and even if it does, you wouldn’t read it (And if you do, you might plagiarize it… no worries, I now know I can issue a cease-and-desist notice if something like that happens). But I just have to write this because I feel quite outraged on knowing about your heinous act…. If Ponzi mated with Kaavya Viswanathan, and their Indian-Italian spawn then hooked up with Bangalore Mirror AND the folks from here and here, the offspring would be you.
After a rather good summer, which began getting on my nerves as it drew in to a close, it’s been valorous attempts to get back into the groove.
While I was definitely putting slog throughout the summer, that sort of life was one with a lot of structure and purpose, and one where you didn’t have to plan… things just happened. It felt like I just had to go through the motions and things would happen, and happen quite well. Quite unlike my life in school where nothing moves unless I move it. The frame of mind needs to undergo so much change that it scares me quite some.
Like in Bangalore, social life was not something I actively sought… there were too many people in the frame, and it was rare to even get some time to myself. Here however, even a coffee needs lots of planning and scheduling and syncing. And work life… it feels like code wrote itself, literature read itself, whiteboards filled up by themselves… now however, there’s no green fairy or leprechaun, which means my overloaded harddisk isn’t going to organize itself, and nor are my new list of addictions going to update themselves on Leechblock.
It’s not entirely a bad thing… heck, it’s not at all a bad thing. I’m more active, I feel more in control. I plan my day, I organize my schedule. There are no external factors messing plans up, not much. Yeah, which means, insert reference to power and hence responsibility.
It becomes easy to lose perspective when your environment is structured for you. Really easy. So when you move into an unstructured place, it makes it that much harder for you to regain perspective, especially when it’s so easy to just remain lost in your own world. Small things seem colossal, big things seem too far away. The works.
I seem to have lost my NITK-gained street-smartness, edginess, sharp-tonguedness, desperation and general ability to make arbit small talk. Not all of it is a bad thing… I’m less rebel-without-a-cause and more mellow… which definitely can’t be a bad thing… but there’s no more raging fire in me that makes me do the unthinkable, the impossible, the never-been-done-before, the politically incorrect.
And in the midst of all this, there are decisions to be taken, not all of which can be taken in cold blood and not all of which can be whiteboarded or decisionTree’d, and none of which can be procrastinated on, because they are mostly blink-and-someone-else-has-snagged-the-spot sorts.
I’ve been rather lucky that I can sedately write about these things, not live in denial about things going out of balance. ‘Balance’ is a state of flux. I wouldn’t be happy living in a ‘balance’, and I don’t suppose you would be, either. It’s only this desire and attempt to bring back the ‘balance’, whatever that means, that pushes us harder, to achieve greater heights, to try new things, to meet new people, to go out of our comfort zones. It would be very easy for me to just say that I go living from deadline to deadline or unhappiness to unhappiness, but I won’t… because I see myself grow from one deadline to the next… in terms of a new book read, or a new concept learned, or a new dish attempted, or a new person befriended, or a new perspective gained.While it’s important to target happiness, that shouldn’t be our ultimate goal in life, because that totally discounts all the time we spend frustrated, misunderstood, failed… as if these experiences don’t help us gain anything. It’s just this mindless pursuit of things that you think will make you ‘happy’ that causes unhappiness…. just the ‘knowledge’ that you aren’t in that extremely ideal state you’ve marked for yourself… either your caviar is too salty or your diamond too bright.
It’s easy to envy your neighbours, peers, friends, enemies, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but that envy only makes sense if you really want what they have. In most cases, you don’t. And heck, in a lot of cases, they don’t either. Not many buy their new shiny red car or get that new job to be the cynosure of all eyes. No one plans on these things. ‘Happiness’ just happens. It’s a side-effect of your pursuit of loftier, more tangible goals like career, wealth and family. Happiness is not a mine-is-bigger-than-yours game.
I don’t think the question ‘Will this make me happy?’ should prominently figure when you’re making a decision. Because you have no way of knowing whether something will make you ‘happy’… your perceptions of life and definitions of happiness keep changing. As they should. Because you’re constantly growing as a person.
I don’t think happiness is the natural, mean state of the mind either. If we were all happy all the time, if we found some way to keep the pleasure centers of the brain constantly activated, we’d be living in Huxley’s A Brave New World. Which is why I’m very suspicious of people who are always happy, always perfect, always enthusiastic, and couples who are ‘very much in love’, even thirty years down.
All I’ll say in conclusion is that states of mind are volatile, and happiness surveys are not indicative of anything substantial. It’s important to keep on moving, keep on learning, keep on making money, or introspecting, or acquiring material possessions, so that when you have sufficient data points to go by, you can look back and see you’ve lived a full life. Until that day, let’s keep trying to lose those five pounds, complete more than 50% of our daily TODO lists, diss or praise the Ayodhya judgements, worry about the sad state of folk art today, whine about not being paid enough, drink like fish, watch birds, dream pipe dreams, learn kickboxing, watch lame movies, create the perfect masala dosa, and take that cute colleague out to coffee.
About the title: Here. I don’t care enough to watch the Qatsi trilogy, and it doesn’t sound remotely exciting to me. A word meaning ‘Life Out Of Balance’ sort of appealed to me, and hence it makes it to the title. I came across it while watching this really nice tourism video for Mexico City. It’s a good video, but it seems to be shot for Southeast Asian audiences. I would have preferred more focus on the touristy locations in the city, the food, and it would have not been out of place to have a few people in the video exhibiting general joie de vivre.
I’ve not quite been myself the past couple of weeks, it’s been near-surreal, especially when it’s combined with lack of sleep and wild fluctuations in the weather. But anyway, I just feel like blogging at the moment, after reading this post. And I’d better do it before the enthu runs out.
Everyone, nearly everyone I know remembers (their) childhood as being pristine, pure and innocent. And they enforce the same on any kid they have the power to enforce it on. I’m not an exception, take this post for example, and this one. Partly because the younger sibling is much younger, and I find a streak of protective older-sisterliness creep up, to protect her from the evil, evil world, to tell her what would be right, and what would be wrong, just to protect her from making the same mistakes I made.
But given that she’s got a mind of her own, and a personality to match, and is not a kid anymore, I am forced to rethink my own stance on things like this, and thank god I didn’t have much power over her when we were growing up, and my more sensible parents let her do whatever.
My parents, like most other parents, go the whole spectrum from unreasonably strict to shockingly lenient. But thinking back, they didn’t quite mollycoddle me, and more or less let me do what I wanted [Except of course pursue my love of fire and matches at age 8 and my fascination with lizards at age 6].
And for a kid, I did read a lot. And not all of it was age-certified. In fact, most of it wasn’t. An aunt’s Cosmo collection, another’s subscription of Women’s Era, and various Health magazines… apart from India Today, The Week, Outlook, Readers’ Digest…. well, yeah, I used to read much more than I read now anyway.
What surprises me now is the amount of content about sex, sexuality, human reproduction, menstruation, adolescence there was, in these family-friendly publications. And an awful lot about drugs and violence, too…. in fact, I think it was the articles about the Mumbai Underworld, and the ones about drug trafficking I read with earnest pleasure and genuine interest in the subject. I have a sneaking feeling I knew more about hemp and marijuana back then than I do now. And oh, how many people used to write about homosexuality back then.
And I’m none the worse for it. Better, possibly.
I’m wondering if that’s because there’s no harm in children being exposed to information about sex, violence, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, or is it because of other reasons.
My extended family and social circle wasn’t very appreciative of promiscuity or intoxication or violence, so even in my most rebel-teen years, even if it did occur to me to do something crazy or creepy, it was unthinkable (and given the circle of friends I had, impossible) to carry those ideas out.
And all the information I gleaned was from these respectable sources, which meant it was just Information, boring and dry, which wasn’t susceptible to give you racy ideas about how to roll your own weed or some such. And removing the aura of intrigue around anything related to sex (which these health magazines did rather well) and instilling the fear of STDs in anyone who bothered to open an issue of My Doctor meant I was able to view anything related to sex and sexuality with a detached air, not one of fascination or one of shock and scandal, rather early on. And my formative years coincided with the AIDS scare years, where the importance of monogamy and a morbid fear of incurable diseases that killed you slowly, but surely, and painfully, impressed itself rather deeply in my mind.
Plus, it’s just text I was exposed to. Not movies or graphic images which leave a larger impact on the psyche. Or for that matter, anyone lecturing.
I think one of the reasons I was so easily able to consider so many different religious ideologies and not get all obsessive about even one, or do anything to show my extreme devotion if any, was because I explored by reading. If I were to attend discourses or visit different places of worship, I don’t think I would have been able to make a detached decision on anything related to religion. Even if you’re reading the most gripping book there is, your mind is still active and thinking, and there is a distance, a wall between yourself and the idea you are perusing. You manage to absorb what there is without being involved.
Movies or images or talking to people or experiencing things for yourself make a deeper impact. The experience becomes so personal that it is near-impossible to be detached about it. Maybe this is why I give more positive reviews to movies I’ve watched on the big screen than what I watch on my laptop.
And, if you read extensively, you can find opposing sides of each viewpoint. That gives you a better-rounded view of the whole situation, which is hard to replicate with people telling you stuff. You also don’t have to have the additional constraint of weighting a point of view based on the person it came from… Vir Sanghvi is as distant to me as R. Madhavan, so in such a case, it’s all about which point of view on its own merit.
Which is why I totally don’t get these parents (in the article linked in the first paragraph) scandalized by what their kids are reading. If anything, all the reading I did about sex and sexuality made me reasonably well-informed about possibilities of abuse, forms of abuse, and more open to the LGBT cause, which point of view I don’t think I would have held if I wasn’t that into reading in my childhood and early teens. And better off than just having an adult explain things to you – while it lends legitimacy and a sense of security to whatever you know, adults have a propensity to sugarcoat the ugly truth, and to pass their own prejudices on.
And what on earth is so shocking about children coming across swearwords? They are not going to be scarred for life, children are more resilient than that. If you’re that worried, you should just probably put it across kindly, or even not-so-kindly that there is language which is acceptable, and then there is language which is uncouth, uncivilized and unacceptable.
I think what is needed is not censoring, but having a role in shaping your child’s perception of right and wrong. Children are not passive consumers of information, and things are not going to be any better when the whole world constantly insults children’s ability to learn to tell right and wrong apart themselves.