Wednesday, May 31, 2006

All reals!

Yesterday I was so amazingly bored that I stood outside and stared at the street adjacent to my house for quite a few minutes. The street was completely empty but so many memories came flooding back. It was like in those films where the protagonist looks at a street which is empty, begins to reminisce and there's the flashback. The street is suddenly filled with people. Pretty cool, eh. Well anyway, I started thinking about the days when my friends and I used to play cricket on this very same street every day of the week a few years ago.

The tree would be the stump and the Onyx dustbin would be the boundary line. Those were such wonderful times and our lives were so simple back then. We would go to school, play cricket on the street, finish scribbling our homework at 8 am the next day and then rush to school. Street Cricket was our only past-time and so we took it seriously, very seriously. Like in any movie which involves a flashback, there was this guy who used to cheat all the time. He would get bowled and say that he was bowled of a wide and so he was not-out. It was sort of like the Obi Wan Kenobi-Anakin Skywalker story. This guy was the first person to call me to play on that street, he was sort of like a mentor. Soon more people started to join us and we cut him off because no one could stand this guy's cheating. So the mentor and his so called ‘student’ became enemies, except in this case the student was not the evil one.

Like I said, we took our hobby very seriously and anyone playing havoc with the rules passed down to us by our fore-fathers needed a wake-up call. So, to make sure that there were no more discrepancies in our cricketing laws, we created a Street Cricket Bible with all the rules explained in our own words (e.g. If you are called by your mother to drink milk while you are batting and you leave the crease without taking the permission of the bowler and if you get run out, you must not cry.) and we also planned events like charity matches every Independence day. Unfortunately no one sponsored any of our matches and so we couldn't make any contributions for charity.

It was now that our lives became a lot less simple. We had unknowingly created a Street Cricket Council (SCC) and we were too young to be dabbling in petty politics. But that's what happened and before you knew it, there were two separate factions fighting with each other for the possession of the street at 4 pm after we had drunk our milk. We fought, we made up and we fought and made up an this continued until one faithful day when Douglas Marillier of Zimbabwe defeated India single-handedly by playing shots that could not be found in any Cricketing book, not even in our Street Cricket Bible. Young minds can be very impressionable and one of my friends, going for Cricketing glory played a 'Marillier scoop'. The ball hit a lamp in the Colony President's (you might remember him from this post) house and unfortunately, the lamp broke. With that, our cricket playing days in that street were over.

No other street was good enough and soon we went our separate ways. Yesterday, like so many days in the recent past, the street was empty. But I realized that one broad strip of tar had meant so much to me. It was like a pensieve for me, filled with memories, good and bad, but luckily most of them were alright.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Monitory troubles

A week ago, I realised that I was wasting my post-twelfth standard holidays, doing nothing of use to myself or to the human community. I would get up, sit in front of the computer, eat, sit in front of the computer, have a bath somewhere in the middle, sit in front of the computer and then sleep. I felt really guilty whiling away my time looking at a monitor all the time. So, I joined java classes. Yea I know, it was a great relief from my otherwise mundane routine.

The problem with my classes was that my teacher did not know how to teach. Yea she knew a gazillion different programming languages but what’s the use if you cannot impart that wisdom to young minds that are eager to learn. Isn't that why we are born? To share knowledge with our fellow beings and make money out of it. So, I tried teaching myself but that didn't work because my teacher had taken my textbook to teach herself. Yea, very professional. Anyway, I tried asking her to explain the programs that she had asked me to copy but she just went, "I'll tell you tomorrow". Unfortunately she is the only teacher in this institute and she has to teach around 6 kids at a time and all of us are learning different languages.

Today was sadly, no different. Well slightly more entertaining, but teaching wise not so different. She started the class saying that she was getting ‘mischievous’ calls from an anonymous person in the night. The anonymous caller had apparently commended her nightingale-like voice and had asked her to be his ‘garl’ friend. Now, why she thought that I, a disgruntled student, would want to hear about her mysterious lover baffled me. So I started laughing. She thankfully did not take offence but continued talking about her anonymous admirer, telling me how she was going to take revenge on him for disturbing her sleep. I would have rather gone to an opera than listen to her. At least the seats would have been comfier.

Luckily, I do not have to go for java classes until Wednesday, because I am getting my Board Exam results on Monday (Yay! Finally some excitement in my life!) and I have to write my BITSAT on Tuesday. I'm not planning on going to BITS even if by some unforeseen chance I do get in. The only reason I am writing the test is because I want some change in my daily routine. How long can one stare at a monitor!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Poseidon-Movie Review

Poseidon is a remake of the 1972 film, "The Poseidon Adventure'. It was a short movie (I went in at 4.30 and came out at 6) and this I think helped make the movie quite absorbing. The only similarities between this movie and Titanic (which it has been likened to) are water (lots of it) and a huge ship. Apart from that, this movie is pretty different in every other respect. The movie is about the escape attempts of a group of people after the ship, 'Poseidon', is hit by a humongous wave. The scene where the ship turns over after having been smacked by the tidal wave is quite brilliant. There is no dilly-dallying as the ship is rocked within 20 minutes of the opening scene. From then on, the movie concentrates on eight people- a gambler, an ex-mayor, his daughter and her fiancé, a single mother and her son, an old rich gay guy whose partner has left him and a woman who has entered the ship illegally with hopes of reaching her brother in New York. Since the ship is turned upside down, the only way for these people to escape is to go to the top of the ship which is actually the bottom because of all the topsy turvy conditions. Anyway, whether all of them escape is the climax of the film.

I really enjoyed the movie because it was never boring at any stage. The pace was quick and it was maintained till the end. There were some very good performances, notably Kurt Russell as Robert Ramsey and Josh Lucas as Dylan Johns. The underwater sequences were quite breathtaking (must have been breath-taking for the actors too I think) and the graphics were top notch. A well directed movie with good acting and lots and lots of water makes Poseidon a good see.

My Verdict: 7/10

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The things people do to get a life....

I'm guessing that most of you would have heard about the plagiarism scandal involving Chennai born Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan. If you haven't, then you must not have been watching NDTV 24x7, which makes it a point to put 'Kaavya Cheated' in big, bold letters quite frequently at the bottom of the screen in their news bar. Very subtle. Anyway, there appears to be at least 40 instances of plagiarism in this book of 300 pages. That's a lot by any standard and when I heard that her publishers were pulling out the book from the shelves, I got a weird idea (not necessarily a smart one, I might add). I decided to buy this book now so that 10 years down the road I could like sell it on eBay for 3 times its current market value if not more. I mean, nothing sells like a plagiarised book.

So I went to Landmark in Citi Center (Wow, its huge!) wondering whether they would have removed the books already. On expected lines, it was displayed as their featured book. Hmmm, bad publicity is not always that bad if you are a new writer who can't write. So, I bought the book with my Machiavellian intentions and I finished reading it overnight. I personally found the book to be quite a bore, filled with the same stuff that appears in all these so called 'chic-lit' novels. Yep, it was recycled rubbish. I really do not think it would have been so hard for Kaavya to come up with original stuff. I mean writing about characters wearing clothes with playboy bunnies on them, c’mon! If you are gonna plagiarise stuff like that, God help you! So if you’re planning on buying this book for non-investment reasons (considering Landmark is still selling it), I seriously dissuade you from doing that. Buying an ice cream would be money well spent, I feel. Has Chennai always been this hot!!

P.S: My 100th post! A nice moment. As I always say, “Life isn't a matter of milestones, but of moments.” Ok fine, I didn’t say it. I may have just internalized Ms. Rose Kennedy’s words ; )