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Aaditya and Me by Aditya Joshi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License

Sunday, August 22, 2010

'Peepli [Live]' - Review

Coming from the Aamir Khan stable, one expects an outstanding movie. The movie is entertaining, not outstanding.

Placed in a rustic Bundelkhand that the movie calls 'Mukhya Pradesh', the movie is the story of a farmer who decides to commit suicide so that his family would get the lakh rupee compensation that the government has promised.

The movie does not make you go rolling in laughter: it is subtle and intelligent. However, the sarcasm tickles you AND pinches you at the right spots. The movie overall only entertains without making any point as such.

Nasiruddin Shah and the actress who plays the female news reporter are memorable. Raghubir Yadav is the best among the cast as Budhia. Though the story is about Natha, the character is hardly visible. It is, in fact, the point of the movie - in the pursuit of news-making, the actual victim/story is left aside.

The song 'Des mera angrez hai babu' is very good - the only one that I remember, in fact. The dialogues are slightly difficult to understand and I must admit that I did not understand the dialect in parts. Some of them are, however, hilarious. The locations chosen look perfect for the setting of the movie. The pre-interval portions of the movie are fast-paced and crisp; the climax surprises you to some extent.

Overall, I could have done without watching the movie. However, don't regret watching it either. It's a movie for the 'cultured/intelligent' audience. Maybe I am away from that as of now.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rainforest - Review

R City mall

Average meal for two: Rs. 700

You enter a dark place with the sound of the rain and you know that this is a place with a difference. There are trees and tigers in here. The place gets full points for the unique ambience. The call button at the tables are something unique for the places in the mall.

The loud commentary from a match certainly spoiled the 'foresty' feel of the place.

The menu is typical and offers Punjabi, Chinese and Italian cuisine. The Bruschettes were quite good. The Chinese soups are quite ordinary. The Indian cuisine on offer is decently good. The place had the worst Masala Papad I have had ever.

The waiters come only when the calling button is pressed. This did not quite fit into my definition of hospitality but may appeal to some of their guests.

It is surprising that this place does not have a washroom of its own.

Overall, the ambience rocks. The food is ordinary, not worth the price and the service needs to improve a lot.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Parting

Note: Loosely based on a scene in a Hindi film. An original imaginary expression of thoughts.

The horn blew and I heard the train move. I did not blink. I did not move from the entrance of the train.

I stood still. Still looking at you. Dressed in blue, you looked as beautiful as ever.

I did not want to miss even one glance from you that would suggest that you wanted me to get off the train. You took only one step towards the train but it was enough to make me believe that you wanted to stop me. I seriously thought for a moment that you wanted me to stay... For a moment, I thought you had felt what I had felt for you too. For a moment, I thought the dreams that I was running away from, were coming true....

And in a moment, you were a blue speck on the platform. The train had picked up speed.

I tried hard to haze my vision with a drop of water in my eyes.

The tear did not help.

I had to face it.

I had to see you turning your back to the train, to me and walking out of the station..

(Image: 'Claire Walking away')

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Why should I celebrate Independence day?

Note: The 'I' in the post is not specifically me in all instances.

Why should I get up at 8:00 am for the flag hoisting in the hostel when it is only a symbolism? I don't go to a temple every week - yet I believe in God.

Why should I celebrate Independence day when all it takes to make me feel patriotic is to play a few songs from Hindi movies?

Why should I celebrate Independence day when I feel restless yet helpless to see the outcome of the Jessica et al. murder cases and the Bhopal gas incident?

Why should I celebrate Independence day when I use American and international benchmarks and weigh everything in India with everything non-Indian (which means western to many.)?

Why should I celebrate Independence day when international brands of clothing make me feel nicer than what a shirt from something like 'Kirodimal dressers' would?

Why should I celebrate Independence day when all India today is about is corrupt politicians manipulating facts, situations and sentiment of a crowd which has no sentiment of its own?

Why should I celebrate Independence day when I do nothing that makes me feel like an Indian and a responsible one all year?

Born in the generation of cynics and 'rational' question-askers, I have forgotten the fact that the day 63 years ago was the answer to a country of people.

Independence day is the anniversary of the freedom of India. Independence day is the birthday of a free India.

The way I would like to be wished on my birthday, I wish India a very happy birthday!

Starting today, I vow to celebrate an Independence year. Doing one thing every day that makes me feel like an Indian.. a responsible Indian.

One 'Indian' deed every day from me and all of us will make India a better country, I am sure..

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Language matters #2: Using appliances in Hindi

Note: The post is in Hinglish. Thodi sachai, thoda masala. That's how life should be. Got the idea of the blogpost while talking to Ramesh G.

There are some really strange words that we use in Indian languages to suggest the action of turning appliances on and off. The way English has the word usage 'switching it on', the Indian languages that I speak (Marathi and Hindi primarily), do not seem to have any corresponding phrase. What we actually say to denote these actions in Indian languages are all approximations of the action - maybe the languages weren't made to talk about operating appliances.

Ramesh, a friend had once said, "Fan daal".('Place the fan'?) While I stared at him with a zero on my face, he said, "Are, turn the fan on!" I said, in return, "So, 'fan lagaa' bol na... 'fan daal' kya hota hai?!"

I must agree that both 'fan lagaa' and 'fan daal' don't make much sense if we consider the actual meaning of 'lagaa' and 'daal'. But the usage 'fan lagaa/daal' made perfect sense to both of us. Another variant is 'Fan chalaa'('Walk the fan') where the fan walks nowhere. (A friend obsessed with 'perfect choice of words' actually says, "Fan ke switch ko dabaake fan ka power supply on kar.") In fact, I have actually heard people say "Fan ghuma" ('Turn the fan') and imagined myself setting the fan into motion with a stick in my hand going round and round.

To me, 'chaalu kar' goes closest to the actual action.

On the other hand, switching appliances off also has a wide variety of phrases for it. Summing up, in our colloqial usage, we make do with a wide variety of approximating terms. The funny part of it is that a person who uses one such term finds all other terms misfit and funny.

"TV nikaal de"('Remove the TV'), said my neighbour to the TV repairman. The TV repairman began lifting the TV to takeit away. I knew what to do. I turned the TV off for my neighbour.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Language matters #1 : Look, see and watch

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. As long as the post entertains, I am fine.

Balamurali said, "I watched the movie." I retorted, (like always, half-attentive to the content of the message and concentrating on the surface words instead.) "Bala, what is the difference between 'look', 'see' and 'watch'?" We pulled out some examples one after the other.

The three words have eyes as the instrument. The sentences 'God is watching', 'God is looking', 'God is watching' (..... (1) )may make one feel that the three are almost synonymous. The sense here is of 'observing'. Is it because of the tense of the sentence which is present continuous? (To continuously see/watch/look at something means observing)

However there is a difference. One can 'watch' a movie or 'see' a movie but one rarely 'looks at' a movie. So are 'watch' and 'see' synonyms? Think again. One would say 'I saw you at the theatre' but one would rarely substitute 'saw' say 'I watched you at the theatre'. (.......... (2) ) ('I see the watch'/'I look at the watch' are fine - though the latter looks better. But 'I watch the watch' does not sound good.)

So maybe now we get the picture. 'Look at' is similar to 'glance'. 'Watch' is in the sense of 'observe'. Where does 'see' fit in? 'I saw you there' may or may not be a 'glance' per se. 'I was seeing you there' does have a sense of 'observe' for sure though.

That brings the point though.

A word does not have exactly one meaning. It can mean something different in different situations. THIS more than one meaning is what they call 'senses of a word'. SOME meanings of 'look', 'see' and 'watch' overlap and hence, one gets confused. 'Look', 'see' and 'watch' have many more meanings individually which are not the same.

Extrapolating, one may say that there is no one (common) 'sense'. There are multiple (common) 'senses' that coexist. What is my common sense need not be yours.

If you like this post, you may also like: http://aadityaandme.blogspot.com/2009/02/cognition-of-numbers-in-languages.html

Language Matters #0

Credit to Pramod Balakrishnan for the title

When you wish to communicate, language matters! And when you wish to communicate well, language matters matter!!

The best time I have had at IIT has been when I have thought about language and stumbled over some interesting phenomena. One of the posts in this regard is: http://aadityaandme.blogspot.com/2009/02/cognition-of-numbers-in-languages.html

Needless to say, the fact that my studies in IIT have been in natural language processing.

'Language matters' is a series of posts that I aim to come up with (in addition to the other currently running series : 'Mothers' .. and of course the infinite movie/food places reviews that I write) about my observations about some language phenomena.

I do not claim to be the first to have noticed. As long as the posts entertain, I am ok.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Octopus Paul & Baba Bengalis

Disclaimer: The term 'Baba Bengali' does not aim at any regional community. It is used for the people who practise black magic and other related 'arts'.

"This is how you cook a live octopus" said the voiceover in a video on youtube. People around the world were mad at Octopus Paul, an octopus who had predicted the loss of a country in the Football world cup.

They wanted to kill him, sell him, eat him, beat him.

I wanted to kill myself for the frenzy about a creature was maddening.

Did he even know what he was doing when he picked a flag?

We as a generation of young Indians laugh and mock the Baba Bengalis who seem to cure everything from 'vivah mein pareshaani' to 'vyavasaay mein ghaata'... and don't mind downing this story of a sea creature who is hailed as an oracle predictor.