Every post in the blog is an original piece of work by the blogger. Do not use the pictures, posts on the blog without the consent of the blogger.

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by CopyscapeCreative Commons License
Aaditya and Me by Aditya Joshi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Eerie #1

Note: My first attempt at writing an eerie post! Plan to write a Part 2 and 3.

"This locality is amazing!", Shrikant said as he walked down the stairs of the building where he was purchasing his flat. He shook hands with the estate agent and continued on his way out of the compound.

Bang opposite the compound, he saw a bungalow - a very Portugese construction. It was a singlex bungalow, not too big. He imagined that there would hardly be three to four rooms inside. There was a small wooden gate with the words 'Merriam Villa'. He noticed something very strange with the first R in the name. It was shaped like the Cross.

The gate creaked as he pushed it with his hand. The region inside the compound was darker for it was covered with a single oak tree - a tree that seemed to cover the complete area of the porch. The leaves of the tree were all dry, the tree looked like an old woman who had wrinkles on her skin and grey falling hair.

His jaws opened wider as he saw the house. The white walls were now stained with mud and dust. The graffiti on the wall near the main door was huge and clear. It read 'Witch!' He kept staring at the letters.

The house had tall windows with wooden shutters. The glass panes to these shutters used to be beautifully painted - now they were only cracked and broken. The door was exactly opposite the gate where he was standing right now - the door was nearly ten meters away.

As he stepped inside, he noticed a weird thing. There was a small footpath from the gate to the entrance of the house. It could have been a straight path -but this path was weird. You had to go left first which was totally away from the direction of the house and then take a right and go straight. He wondered why the footpath was made that way.

He walked slowly towards the house following the path that was laid. He first went straight and then took a right. He was now on the path that led directly to the house.

He took steady footsteps towards the house. He could hear a crackling sound. He stopped. The crackling sound seemed to be only amplified. The sound was if someone was tearing something open. He stood still.He thought he was sinking deeper into the road he was walking on. He looked around.

In a fraction of a second, the courtyard had sunked deeper. He looked at the gate, the road to the gate and the entire area of the courtyard from the gate had cracks on the land.

From one of the cracks, jetted out a long branch of the roots of the oak tree. Through the cracks of the land, he thought it only looked like the Devil's tongue coming towards him...

Dilli 6 - Movie Review

To Swati. She encouraged me to watch the movie.

Before the Movie:

I knew that ‘Dilli 6’ would be hard-hitting for sure. Hard-hitting either in the sense of ‘RDB’ which achieved a never-before status among the youth or in the sense of ‘Ramgopal Verma ki Aag’. Just that the latter hit me hard in the brain. The Mumbaiya term for such a ‘hit hard in the brain’ is.. ‘dimag ko shot’ by the way. :)

After the Movie:
‘RDB’ compared a historical story with a story of today. ‘D-6’ compares a mythological story with a story of today. The general premise is, hence, identical. The path taken this time is different.

In one line, however, the movie is AMAZING!!

What’s bad:
  • Abhishek Bachhan jumps from a terrace and lands perfectly on the terrace of the adjacent, closely-located building! I could almost hear AB saying, “I had taken this training for Drona. You didn’t watch Drona, hai na! Ab bhugto!!” and he jumps again.
  • Abhishek Bachhan fakes the ‘Amarikhen’ accent. Boo!
  • Why on earth does Amitabh Bachhan appear at the end? Though must say that the NDE (Near-death experience) is a first in a Hindi movie.
  • The dream song, though cutely picturised, looks utterly out of place and needless. Dream songs forced into a film is Karan Johar’s prerogative, Mr. Mehra!! Originality rakho yaar!
And what’s good:

  • The Masakkali girl Sonam Kapoor looks absolutely gorgeous. Most women and some men (*wink*) in the cinema hall wish they looked like her. She is an able performer too.
  • All the songs have a different flavor altogether. There is an Amba-maata bhajan and there is a light romantic number ‘Masakalli’. There is a ‘Rehna Tu’ and there is a ‘Kaala Bandar’ song! A nice mix of songs!
  • Atul Kulkarni and Divya Dutta shine among the ensemble of actors the film boasts of. The two get into the skin of their characters with the accent and the body language perfectly chiseled. (And Darling Katrina Kaif, you always thought getting into the skin of the character for a film meant colouring your hair and hiring a new fashion designer, didn’t you?!)
  • The film captures on reel amazing visuals of Dilli 6 – a section of the Indian capital which is, in a way, very reflective of the diversity that one sees in India.
  • The star of the film is its story and the screenplay. The film uses several metaphors to make its point – the ‘Kala bandar’ is only the most obvious of them all. For example, the untouchable girl who helps the resident of the city at the end isn’t an untouchable girl at all. She stands for the potential untapped talent of the society. What I mean to say is that every character is a metaphor for a set of values, beliefs and energies that reside within the Indian society. Above all, all the characters have the strong ‘Dilli’ flavour.
What one notices is that the movie sticks to being a hardcore satire rather than being preachy (except at the tail end which is only fair enough.). The movie exactly knows where it is going.As the ‘Kala bandar’ mystery builds up, you keep hoping that the climax is as good. The best part of it is that it is so.

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (I hope I’ve got the spelling right.) does it again, in a different setup, in a different form and in a different style!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

If Slumdog makes it...

If 'A R Rahman' wins the Oscar today, it would be the achievement of a distinguished music prodigy. If any of the actors from 'Slumdog Millionaire' who have been nominated make it, it would be their achievement as actors.

However, if 'Slumdog' wins the Oscar for the Best Feature Film today, it would mean the reaffirmation of the image that India has before the world - the image of a third world country infested by poverty and religious intolerance.

If 'Slumdog' wins the Oscar today, it would be the victory of the sadistic humanism that a section of the world likes to experience by taking snaps with the beggars feeding each other on the railway platforms.

Yes, 'Slumdog...' emerges from that feeling alone, the feeling of 'feeling blessed; look how the other countries are' that seems to have caught on.

And if 'Slumdog' wins the Oscar today, I would be among the sections of Indians who would feel sad.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Unparalleled Parallels

'To draw parallels' is a phrase that means 'to come up with analogies', 'to point out the similarities' and 'to highlight what connects things'. When I call someone an angel, I am drawing parallels between the angel and the person. And if I am not pulling the person's leg by calling her an angel, it means that I see certain properties of an angel in her. In other words, I see something that associates her with the image that I have of an angel.

If 'parallel' lines never meet, why does 'parallels' mean finding connections and similarities between things?

Is it because things that are parallel never meet - but are always together?


Things and people who unite, like lines that intersect, have to move apart as they move further.

However, there is something unparalleled that keeps these parallels with each other...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Hamre Billu Bhayankar

Movie Review of Red Chillies Entertainment's 'Billu'

'Hamre Billu Bhayankar' is what Rajpal Yadav, a poet in Irfan Khan's village writes for him. This is after the village gets to know that Billu is friends with superstar Sahir Khan.

'Billu' (It used to be 'Billu Barber' until two weeks ago.) created a good pre-release hawa thanks to the presence of SRK and Irfan Khan's reputation as an actor. I went to the theater and asked for a ticket for 'Billu barber'. The ticket I got read 'Billu'. I wanted to ask the multiplex wallah, "e burbak, aadha hi ticket diye ho kaa? Ya hum interbal tak hi picture dekhein kaa?"

The movie is entertaining on the whole. Billu's sad life in the beginning and how things take a turn has been handled in a funny way. Rasika Joshi, as the school principal is amazing. Atul Parchure, as the guesthouse manager, brings the house down. Lara Dutta looks like a beautiful village ki aurat - that's precisely what she is reduced to. Om Puri is good too. Shahrukh Khan and Irfan Khan both stand out as powerful characters.

When Billu claims to be Sahir Khan's friend, you wonder if he's bluffing to get attention. By the end of the movie you are almost sure of it.

The climax reminds one of the 'Krishna-Sudama' story. But why would a superstar, at the annual function of a village school, tell a story of his best friend and how he lost him and break down? This looks slightly filmy.

Nevertheless, the film is nice and a good one-time watch!

Friday, February 13, 2009

They're getting married!

Note: Partially imaginary. Original work of expression, like all my blogposts.

She is a painter. Whose emotions flow from her brush on the paper. She is painting today. Her strokes on the canvas are firm and the colours bright.

She looks at the painting she has drawn. The lower half of the canvas is white. The upper half is in red and orange, there is a hand and a brush in the hand on the canvas.

The hand is completing the picture.

She was married briefly. After the divorce, she thought she would never be happy. She thought she would never be in love again.

And then they met. He is a TV actor. They met in person and Cupid cast its magic. They met again and again and again.

One evening, he looked into her eyes. She felt restless, her eyes seemed to be locked with his. She was scared, she tried to move her eyes but they wouldn't. Her palms became wet. He held her wet hand in his and asked her, "Will you be mine forever?"

The words echoed through her ears like a thousand-piece orchestra playing in full glory. She did not realize that she was smiling and she had a tear in her eye. She had frozen in time. He had got his reply in the affirmative. They hugged.

Next week, they are getting married. Her life is complete again.

The hand she has drawn is hers. She is completing the painting of her life now...

Happy Valentine's day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Valentine's Day Politics

'Valentine's day' has always been the 'big-bad-thing-there-out-to-sabotage-our-Indian-culture-and-why-don't-we-celebrate-Dushyant-Shakuntala-diwas-instead' for several years now.

As the day approaches this year, a group of men and women are forced out of a pub in Mangalore. A bunch of 'party workers' run after the women hitting them. Two women are casually walking out of the place when this herd of men start attacking them. One of them slips and falls on the floor. Two men continue battering her while she is struggling on the floor.

Then comes the 'declaration' of sorts from the leader of the party - "Couples dating in Karnataka will be forced to get married on Valentine's day."


If someone or some party does not like Valentine's day, it has all the right to protest. I am all for processions and marches. If someone had to protest against the Valentine's day, they could have gone this way. Or maybe been innovative and thought of some other intelligent way of protesting.

But sadly, beating women (and men, we should be talking about the attacks on them too!) mercilessly or breaking down shops that sell Valentine's day cards is on their agenda.


All the political parties, sadly, can't do much about the whole thing. All of them have self-alloted for themselves certain topics - one party safeguards equality (by providing reservations to the minorities. Reservations are in a majority now, but that's another issue.) while another party stands up for Indian culture (by throwing things around and causing damage to public property).

Now that this party has chosen this 'issue' of 'Valentine's day' for themselves, they have to follow it up and keep doing this year after year, don't they?!

Happy Valentine's day to all of you!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cognition of Numbers in Languages

Disclaimer: I do not claim that this is an original idea. This pattern perhaps must have been explored at some point in time in the past. As far as I am concerned, this is a self-made observation.

Note: I hold the Creative commons copyright for this blogpost.

I know at least thirty people (All of them Indians) who have this problem. (I am counting myself in this thirty.) The problem is being able to read numerals. Someone who did his / her schooling in the English medium finds it difficult to read the numbers in Hindi/Marathi and vice-versa. Here I explore why...

This is a subtle yet important difference in cognition of numbers in English and in Indian languages (Hindi / Marathi particularly). The difference may look very small but it is where lies the root of the problem I mentioned. I am sticking to two-digit numbers only since that is where the confusion generally lies.

Read this number in Hindi:

I would be happy if you read it as 'Ekyaasi' (Why happy? Because that is what it is supposed to read as. :-) )

Now read this in English ofcourse:

This is read as 'Eighty-one'.

Here's the difference, when you read 'Ekyaasi', your brain involuntarily reads 'Ek' (one - which is in the units place) first and then 'assi' (eight - in the tens place).

On the contrary, when you read 'Eighty-one', your brain identifies the 'eight' (of eighty - tens place) first and then one (units place).

So, if you are used to reading numbers in English, you will read the number intuitively from left-to-right (81 is 8 and 1 i.e. Eighty one). If you are used to reading numbers in Hindi, you will read it from right-to-left (81 is 1 and 8 i.e. ek-assi i.e. ekyaasi)

This left-to-right or right-to-left habit somewhere gets 'hard-wired' in our brain that we find it difficult to use an inverted technique to read numbers. Small habits can cause tiny problems, can't they?!

Ownership of thoughts

How often do you start your sentence with "But I've heard that...", "People generally believe..." or "My mom/wife says so."?

It is surprising that we always have to quote someone else for our own beliefs. If your parent asked you not to do something and if you are convinced that you shouldn't, why can't you simply say, "I feel I don't want to do it", or even better, "I don't want to do it."

Why can't we own our thoughts? Why do they need to be referenced to someone else? Why is it that 'What's in a name' wouldn't have been popular if the name 'Shakespeare' wouldn't be associated with it? When I say "people say that...", am I not trying to convince myself that what I am believing in is correct?

Let's own our thoughts and let's assert them.

Once we accept our thoughts, we'll accept our deeds and their outcome - all of which primarily emerge from our thoughts and our beliefs.

It is acceptance that makes way for peace and harmony.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Are all adjectives opinionated?

A second standard English teacher must right now be telling her class, "An adjective is a word that describes a noun. There are four types of..." and she goes on.

'Sentiment Analysis' (as an earlier post of mine says) is a computer technique (a very layman way of calling it, actually) which tries to predict whether a sentence has a good opinion of something or bad. 

So, my question is, do adjectives describe, just as the English teachers of our country say? Or are adjectives opinionated?

When I say the film is good or bad, the adjectives 'good' or 'bad' are more opinionated than descriptive. What about 'the film is long'? Is 'long' an opinion or a description?

Intriguing. A description always tries hard not to be an opinion. When I describe something I don't like, more often than not, I will be projecting the negative side of that thing. So, a description at  the end becomes an opinion.

So, on the word level, it is very difficult to distinguish whether an adjective is opinionated or merely descriptive. 

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Spell on Me

Note: Utterly VAGUE

I looked at the symbol on the wall. My eyes followed the curved lines that formed the symbol. They were done up in bright red. I was concentrating on them.

I kept looking at the symbol. It seemed to have been fixed to the wall - and my eyes were fixed to the symbol. The eyelashes only shook slightly due to the ceiling fan above me. Nothing else moved.

The eyes seemed to have become lifeless. Or perhaps sprung to life like never before.

A line of energy connected me to the symbol now like a ray of light that originated from the symbol upto the tiny hole on the surface of my eye. The line of energy is pulling me out of myself. I am being pushed out. 

It is casting its spell on me. My devotion to this symbol in the fullest way will only help me. But something seems to make me want to stop.

It is casting its spell on me... I think I don't mind letting it do that. Perhaps, I don't want to... Please stop it...