29 Jul 2006

Ambivalence

Posted by Oblivion in General | 8:01pm


It didn't matter anymore, but Meursault noticed he felt expansiveness and disgust at the same time. At that faint moment, when a thick veil of vaguness fell between him and all ambition, reason and aimless gaiety, he wanted to offer everyone a hug, then lock himself up in his unkempt room and pull the trigger, aiming the mouth of the gun right at his temple.

Presently he looked into the distance and the ceaseless, undulating waters of the sea, shimmering in the light of the unrelenting sun, appeared at once strikingly beautiful and banally ugly.



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29 Jul 2006

Life!

Posted by Oblivion in General | 7:29pm


A series of blind dates, good and bad
That ends when you meet the beloved - Death

An unscripted comedy while it lasts
Enriched by the intensity of a drama
Tinged with the uncertainty of a thriller
Its denouement is always a tragedy
That leaves behind only tears and mystery



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20 Jul 2006

Chartbusters

Posted by Oblivion in General | 8:58pm


Too much information is forced on one these days. Before you finish contemplating an issue, the next one demands your attention. An ad has to be flashed more number of times to make a good impress. Whether this is good or bad has been a vital issue among experts from various fields. My concern is rather a trivial one - how to preserve favorites in memory amid such exposure to plethora of information. I don't have an answer. But it occurred to me that one can copy and paste the list of favorites to a secondary memory.

My favorites (the ones I remember) from the recent past:

1."Elangaathu Veesudhae..." number by Ilaiyaraja (movie Pithamagan)
2."Do Pal..." by Madan Mohan for the movie Veer Zaara
3.Hutch ad campaign (specially the ad for Group Talk feature)
4.Airtel signature tune by Rahman
5.Munich by Spielberg
6.Youth by Coetzee
7.Tata Safari Dicor ad and tune
8.AIDS ad campaign (print) by JWT
9.My Country, My Country (Iraq documentary) by Laura Poitras
10.The Economist ad campaign by O&M 



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17 Jul 2006

Morals of Selling

Posted by Oblivion in General | 11:01pm


Last week, it was on the idiot box. Not for the first time. A few models, alleged to have indulged in 'flesh trade', were taken into police custody. While it appears for most as a responsible action by the police, it appears, to me, as interference by the men in khaki. That apart, it prompted me to look at few interesting comparisons.

- A chap needs sex, and has money. The girl sells herself. It happens with mutual consent. The chap gets what he wants, and the girl gets what she wants. It's a win-win game.

- A company needs manpower, and has money. I sell myself. It happens with mutual consent. The company gets what it wants, and I get what I want. It's a win-win game.

Now, there isn't, technically, any difference between what she does and what I do. So, why is her way of selling illegal and mine is not? Do we have - as John ponders in Youth - gradations in selling? If she was selling drugs or guns, the equation would've been different.

How is it different from what actors do for movies? How is it, for that matter, different from the act between a married couple? All these are incentive-driven actions. Only, the incentives are intangible if it's with a spouse or girl/boyfriend. They are commonly referred to as companionship and love (whatever fuck that means). But, grand as they sound, they are incentives nonetheless. I fail to see how incentives become respectable because of some silly exercise called marriage.

For actors, however, the incentive is money - the same as that for a girl taking to one-night stands. But actors are rewarded with awards and become role-models too while this girl is considered a taboo for society! The world considers it loyalty if a chap sleeps, albeit compulsively, only with his spouse who also does it just for the sake of it. Let the chap do it with a girl (who offers the service for money) outside marriage, and the world slaps on him, even if he and the girl immensely enjoyed it. It beats me.

Selling is a big game in the world. Smart chaps spend two precious years at premier institutes to understand and, possibly, master the art. Millions of bucks go into selling of products. Senior management persuade the juniors to sell themselves more effectively. Any marketing expert would agree that "if you don't sell yourself, you are not smart". The more an employee sells himself, the faster he moves up the corporate ladder. Then why is a girl who sells herself condemned and looked down upon? Is she killing someone? Is she intruding someone's space? Is she propagating anti-social policies?

The only answer they come up with is, "it is immoral". And I, for one, never understand this goddamn concept of morality. To hell with theories that she is a threat to the moral fabric of society and the institution of marriage. They are totally devoid of any understanding of man and are wholly illogical. Not that I justify what she does. Just that I find the world's classification of selling ridiculous.



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13 Jul 2006

Terror, my foot!

Posted by Oblivion in General | 7:50pm


Today's Mid-Day edit begins by saying that you don't need to be a rocket scientist to understand that the chain of events starting from the Bhiwandi riots to the desecration of Meenatai's statue and what happened as an aftermath, to the serial blasts on the trains yesterday, means somebody somewhere wants Mumbaikar's to spill out on the streets and grab each other by the throats.

Incidentally, these same somebody-- the faceless outcasts that they still are-- have at least succeeded in one part of their plan. Mumbaikars have actually spilled out on to the streets.

The catch here is that they have failed to succeed in the second and most important part of their plan: that of getting Mumbaikars to grab each other by the throats. Mumbaikars spilled onto the streets-- in a collective show of the middle finger to those who proposed otherwise.

I know very well that you are already aware of how Mumbai stormed onto the streets to help the injured, the stranded and soothe the injuries that were still gaping along its life line.

There were capsules and capsules of streaming video that showed them offering water and refreshments to people stranded on SV Road and the Eastern and Western Express Highways.

There were captures of students of Sydenham and SNDT college, who camped at Churchgate station with the sole purpose of offering a bed to those stranded at the starting node of the life line.

And there was also that memorable grab of people standing patiently in front of KEM Hospital-- all in a serpentine queue, to donate blood. A result of which has been a no-shortage syndrome, when it comes to blood at all the hospitals where the injured are being treated or are recuperating.

But this is not about all that. And yet, it is about all that and more. It is about the sights I saw and the people I met with, while travelling along the Western Express Highway to Kandivali yesterday, between 7 in the evening and one in the morning.

It is about that little kid and his grandfather near Dadar, who, perhaps in the absence of anybody else in the household, took to the streets with bottles of water and packets of biscuits to contribute in whatever way possible in managing the crisis. "Uncle, you must be thirsty," the kid told me while offering the bottle. A parched me drank gratefully. And I saw in those eyes no fear. So what did those terrorists think while planting the bomb? That was at least the silent way of making one statement-- "Terror, my foot.!"

It is also about those housewives in front of a housing society near Santa Cruz, who were standing with pots of piping tea, water and God only knows what else to help those passing by. And they had this board beside them which read "Beyond Borivli, Can Stay'. I was lucky to get a cab, but there were people who were trying to make it on foot. And they needed succor. Rest. Shelter. It was raining.

It is about the autorickshaw driver, who finally reached me home in the interiors of Kandivali at 1 in the morning. And refused to take the night fare, despite being legally empowered to charge extra. "Nehi saab, aaj ki baat alag hai. Aap thik thak ghar pohuj gaye, yeh hi kafi hai," he bade me goodbye at my doorstep.

It is also about the dabbawala who provides me with my dinner everyday. His shop is near the Borivli station, where there was one of the biggest blasts at 6:34 in the evening. Yet, at one o clock in the morning, the dabba was there waiting at my doorstp to be picked up. It didn't need a note. The piping hot food at such an unearthly hour said it all.

The terrorists succeeded in synchronising a series of blasts that stopped the Mumbai lifeline for somewhere around seven hours. That was all that they achieved on 7/11. The trains were back on track by 1:30 in the morning and they plied all through the night. I wonder if the masterminds will consider this before planning their next attack. I would urge them to-- if this reaches any one of them-- to rethink. After all, what did a year of planning, six months of smuggling dangerous explosives, extensive netwroking and crores achieve at the end-- arond 200 lives and just seven hours of disruption? Bus! I won't budge for that. In the deal they united more than they dreamt to rip apart.

And by the way, I did not spot any member of the celebrated Readers' Digest survey team yesterday on the roads. Or perhaps they were there-- reconsidering their statement.

- Sudip Ghosh, Deputy Editor, Medianet, The Times of India, Mumbai

Cheers to Mumbai! Cheers, Sudip da!



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5 Jul 2006

Methinks...

Posted by Oblivion in General | 7:03pm


...I am back to blogging. For the past few months, discussion groups overtook blog on the list. Interestingly, it also happened with a few friends whose blogs I regularly follow. While I add more junk to my blog, it's a matter of interest to note how the crest-and-trough pattern works with those blogs.

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4 Jul 2006

Disappointing But Casual

Posted by Oblivion in General | 8:58pm


Dirty But Clean Pierre disappoints with his second novel Ludmila's Broken English. I was damn impressed with Vernon God Little, touted, fittingly, as one of the most remarkable novels of the past decade, and I didn't think twice to buy when I chanced upon Ludmila's Broken English. I believed it would make my weekend. Few pages into it, it was clear that this isn't quite up there where Vernon God Little belongs.

When you make it to the Man Booker prize with your first work, it's quite a task to even match up to it with your second work. But Pierre showed that promise. Only, it didn't work out quite. He cannot be dismissed on that account nonetheless. Liz Jensen puts it good - "For fans of Pierre's first novel, and I am one of them, the result cannot be anything but dismaying. Perhaps this failure was pre-programmed: the second novel is a notoriously difficult beast. How much more so it must be for a writer who has hit the jackpot of the Man Booker on his first attempt."

When I finish with Ludmila's Broken English, I think I'll put it up on eBay.



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