My thoughts run free here...

Saturday, October 5, 2013

First job, well into 3 months :)

It's official! I'm not a regular blogger anymore. And yet, I felt like blogging today. Because I want to remember this moment in my life. It's been an interesting journey in life and right now, I'm at the best place in my life. 

I finally have a job that I absolutely love! That too, in my first job itself! I'm lucky to have gotten such great bosses and colleagues :) They have my back and I'm glad to support them as well. It's been a long wait, but the wait was worth it. Somehow, destiny had a plan for me regarding my job and finally she has rewarded me for all the times I suffered without a proper standing in life. This is a small start in life, but I'm sure it'll lead on to more successes. 

One stepping stone at a time... I wish I had the future scribled under my purview. But it is nowhere to be seen. This is the only support system I have that is driving my life and making it meaningful. I only wish I had another special soul to share it with and make that soul a part of my life too.
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Thursday, February 14, 2013

'Kadal' - Movie Review

The movie 'Kadal' was an unparalleled beauty that, in my humble opinion, the Tamil Cinema Industry has ever seen. Just like certain new inventions that would first be rejected and pushed aside by the large public, and then finally accepted as a norm, 'Kadal' is one such movie that surpasses its time and maturity of the audience! Therefore, I am not sure if the Cinema Industry deserves such a genius movie maker like Mani Ratnam.

For those of you out there who are yet to watch this movie, the story of 'Kadal' is about the goodness in humanity and its evolution. It is sad when people simply classify it as another typical film that portrays the fight between the 'good' and the 'evil', and fail to understand the subtle message delivered by MR through this beautiful masterpiece called 'Kadal'. 

The casting was amazing. MR has brought back Arvind Swamy from his long "hiatus"! Many of you might have seen a picture of Arvind going bald and fat. But here he is, back to acting and he looks great in this movie, just like where he left off in his last movie! Arjun fits the role of a 'satan' perfectly, acting as a villain after a long time. This time we see him in a role that is quite different from all other roles he has done till now as a mass hero! Gautam and Thulasi were each also perfect for their debut roles as Thomas and Beatrice. Throughout the movie, we can actually see both the characters growing and evolving, so too our understanding of the characters in this movie.

Apart from casting, we also have to look at the excellent cinematography by Rajiv Menon. He has did it again and it's something that you have to see in the big screens to appreciate its beauty! 

Then there is ARR's music to accompany the genius cinematography! Many reviews have claimed the music to be not of ARR's usual quality. But I think it has surpassed his usual quality. I've always felt that ARR's music is an acquired taste and once acquired, you will never let go of it. His songs will be constantly be on repeat mode in your iPod for several days. That's the beauty of his music! 

What captures you the most at first is "Moongil Thottam" and then "Nenjukulle". Then comes "Magudi" to thrill you and make your hairs stand. After a few times listening, you will similarly be encaptured by "Elay Keechan" and "Adiye". And then as a grand finale, you will be mesmerised by "Anbin Vaasale"... I simply don't understand why some people would call this music as being not up to the usual standards of ARR! 

MR has captured the beautiful accent of the Tamil fishermen and their lifestyle. I really love the open-ended scenes in the movie, where much is left to your imagination and understanding, than just stating the obvious! In other movies, we often see dummy characters placed within a movie just so to praise the protagonist and claim that he is the strongest! But in 'Kadal', such messages reach the audience automatically without verbal declarations. This is what I like in this movie.

Ok, now coming to the downside of 'Kadal'. There are parts of this movie where it seems to not make much sense. For example, why should Father Sam care for Berchmans in hiding? Why didn't he call his "Church assistant" for help instead of calling the village woman? These are certainly a few loopholes, less obviously manipulated to twist the storyline in MR's favour! 

I certainly thought that the filming of the "Adiye" song could have been better. The whole sequence of the song seemed to have been filmed as if it were a stage performance. If Beatrice was to be portrayed as a child-like character, why did she look so serious in this song sequence, I fail to understand this!

Other than these two points, I fail to find any other faults in this movie. I would defintely give it 4 out 5 stars. I praise MR for his courage and perseverence, when it comes to making movies like 'Raavan' and 'Kadal'. People often tend to criticise him for lifting stories from ancient epics like Ramayanam, Mahabharatha and this time, from the Bible. But just think about it carefully. In Hollywood, films are made based on comics, fairytales, and gospel stories too. One example was Avatar, the story of which resembled Pocahontas. 

'Kadal' is a film that doesn't insult the intelligence of the audience. It was taken with the intention to convey a message greater than just a story sequence of the "good versus the evil, good triumphs over evil". It is a story about the goodness as guided by God and of the goodness guided by humanity. This message is conveyed at the climax, where even Father Sam succumbs to give up in his quest for goodness, while Thomas triumphs in finding the goodness in humanity and saving Berchmans, simply because his daughter was the sole reason for showing him that there is goodness in humanity.

I am not an avid MR fan. But I feel that he is a key person responsible for bringing the Tamil Film Industry to another whole new level! There are no cocky love scenes in this movie. There are no kuthu songs in this movie. There is "hero" or "heroine" in this movie as all characters play important roles. There is no obscenity in this movie. In total, it is a movie that doesn't taint your mind, but leaves you feeling more human at the end of this movie!

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Indra Vizha a.k.a. St. Valentine's Day!

Is there really such a thing called 'love'? Or is it just another human construct? Well, let's just put aside these intellectual arguments about the existence of 'love' and just celebrate it shall we? :)

The 14th of February of every year is celebrated as St. Valentine's Day, as he was the sole proponent of 'love' and 'marriage' in an empire, which banned marital relations and unions of couples. He conducted marriages of many couples underground without the knowledge of the ruling empire, who then later sentenced him to death on the 14th of February! After the fall of the empire, all was forgotten except the deeds of Saint Valentine, whose death day was forever commemorated as St. Valentine's Day! 

Despite the religious background of the Saint, we can find similar festivals celebrating the unions of lovers in other cultures too, especially in Hinduism! 

Too often in India amongst the so-called saintly "gurus", accusations are thrown at "St. Valentine's Day" as being the propellent for erosion of Indian tradition. But very few people are aware of the fact that in our same Indian tradition, there were many festivals that celebrated love.

One such festival was called "Indra Vizha", also referred to as Vasantha Vizha (i.e. Spring Festival). It was a time of the year where many youngsters, both men and women, held competitions, danced, sang, and celebrated the festival by expressing their love and feelings to their lovers! Many young men and women courted each other during this festival, which was celebrated for 28 days!!

There are references to such festivals during the Chola period and even way back! One can find such references in Tamil literature treatises, maybe even in the Puranas. 

The Indian culture has never been against 'love' and 'marriage'. In fact, it has celebrated the sacred union of two souls! Otherwise, why would we have such elaborate marriage ceremonies that last for days?! Why would we have such festivals like the Indra Vizha?!

This year, I am going to make it a point not to wish anyone Happy Valentine's Day... Because it is not a day we are celebrating Valentine the Saint. But it is the day we celebrate 'love' that is the main ingredient for the survival of the species called Homo Sapiens!

How so, you ask? Amongst all the species in this world, humans and certain species of birds are the only ones who are capable of 'loving' each other. The feeling of attachment, care for the other and togetherness is what makes the "husband" and the "wife" of the species to stick together till they raise their offspring to maturity! So this feeling, which we have chosen to call 'love', is fundamental to the continued survival of our species. Without love, there will be no mankind. 

In Hinduism, the importance and joy of 'love' is illustrated in our ancient scriptures called 'Puranas'. Be it the way Sati courted Lord Shiva, or the way Lord Shiva courted the re-born Sati as Parvati, or the way Krishna eloped with Rukmini...

Our Gods did show us the feats they performed to win the hearts and hands their loved ones! So to summarise, 'love' is actually rampant in our culture! :) So it's time to celebrate 'love' and express your feelings to your loved ones!! :) 

So why did I decide not to wish anyone "Happy Valentine"? Well, I want it to be a special day that will only be celebrated with my soulmate. If I go around wishing it to everyone whom I care and love as a dear friend, then it wouldn't be a special day anymore. But that doesn't mean I wouldn't accept wishes of Valentine's Day from my friends. :) I only want to emphasize that if I were to wish Happy Valentine's Day to someone, then that person would definitely have a special place in my heart. 

P.S.: So let's just be clear here. In this post, I wasn't writing about the 'love' you have for your mum, dad, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin, nephew, friend, best friend, BFF, boy who is a friend, or a girl who is a friend!!  
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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Young Criminals of India...

In Mumbai, a 16-year-old boy, together with his childhood friend, suffocates and kills his grandmother in order to get their hands on the money and gold  kept in their household, worth about Rs. 5.14 lakhs.

In Solapur of Maharashtra, a teenage construction worker rapes a 13-month-old baby.

In the Dahar village of the Panipat district, a young 14-year-old boy of Class VII, lures a 4-year-old girl to his house and rapes her. 

What happened to these juvenile delinquents of India after their conviction? Were they sent to correctional rehabs for character reform and psychiatric treatments? Were they reprimanded and punished rightfully? 

The answer is simply, NO!

Clearly, there needs to be a reform in the system and laws governing the conviction of juvenile delinquents in India. 

So why all of a sudden are we talking about juvenile delinquency in India?  Simply because the number of crimes committed by people as young as 16 to 18 years old have been increasing for the past few years.

There is also this false notion of blaming the society for turning such wonderful, innocent children into hardened criminals! Well, guess what? Only less than 10% of the total number of juvenile criminals are homeless and lack parental guidance. The rest? They are normal students/young workers like everybody else, who have families and friends. The case examples I gave in the beginning of this post prove this point. 

So what is the need for a reform now? At the moment, a person below 18 years of age is considered a minor. Therefore, if a person under 18 commits a crime, he/she can go scot free, without spending any jail term. They will be sent to correctional centres for rehabilitation and any psychiatric attention needed. 

This is what will happen to the juvenile in Nirbhaya's case as well. Sources say that this minor is the person who has committed the most heinous acts to the 23-year-old girl. So even if the 5 accused are sentenced to death, this 6th accused may only get 3-years of rehab! 

So is it time to change the law and make the age of criminal responsibility, 16? Or should the current system be further improved and sustained to ensure that juvenile delinquents get the maximum attention they need, so as to return to society, fully reformed? Or is it time to impose more severe punishment for juvenile delinquents, so that it would serve to be an effective deterrent?

In my opinion, I believe that 16-year-olds are capable of making their own decisions. In today's world, a 16-year-old knows as much as a 21-year-old (probably!) of yesterday's world! So it is definitely time to change the law. I hope that the Indian government takes appropriate steps to bring about this change of law. 

Easier said than done!

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Vishwaroopam - Advitiiya Anubhavam

© Wikipedia
Since the day I heard about Vishwaroopam, I wasn't that keen in watching this movie, to be honest! I found Kamal too obnoxious a person, and so I didn't find the interest in me to go watch this movie in the theatres. At the most, I just wanted to watch it when it came online in a clear, dvd print. 

Oh boy, was I wrong! Not about Kamal being obnoxious! He always is a show-off, know-it-all! But that is what's interesting about him. If he wasn't like that, then he wouldn't be Kamal Haasan, right? 

I was wrong about the movie, though. Obviously, there is something about this movie that made such a big hoo-ha amongst the people of Tamil Nadu, especially the Muslim community. Not only did it become a law and order problem, but it also became an issue in which politics stepped in as well! 

Does a work of art need to suffer so much just because it "hurts" the sentiments of a certain group of people? All the movie did was show what was happening in reality! And that too not some incident happening in Tamil Nadu, but in Afghanistan!! 

How could people come to the conclusion that they have the power to ban a movie, that too, a work of art? There are so many things that are worth banning! How about banning human trafficking? Drug trafficking? Pollution? Nobody comes forward to protest for banning such things. Nobody lodges a petition in the High Court for banning such things. But they do for a mere movie! 

Are these people ashamed of their faith? What is the need to get on the defensive, if they are true Muslims? The movie was screened in Canada, nothing happened there. The movie was screened in Kerala, nothing there either. When the movie screened in Hyderabad, which has a significant amount of Muslim population, but nothing happened there either!!

The Hindi movie, Kurbaan (Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor, 2009 film), also contained similar references to the Muslim faith, terrorism, suicide bombing, etc. Although it was a flop, the movie did not face any opposition from the Muslim community except for the fact that a Muslim petitioned in the High Court of Bombay for obscenity in two of the songs in Kurbaan. 

Thuppaki was another movie that had its throat under the knife! The Muslim community didn't like the idea of having Muslims portrayed as terrorist and traitors. But isn't that already happening around the globe, with a very small percentage of the Muslims? Why do they have to take it personally?

I have now seen Vishwaroopam. Although they have censored a few scenes from the movie, I still think that people, especially the Muslims, haven't really understood the message of the movie. The people have failed to take a good look at the protagonist of the movie, who is also of a Muslim descent but from India, risking his life to save countless innocent people of America! 

Kamal has shown that a true Indian Muslim is a person who is true to his faith and also true to his country, through this movie. 

All religions in this world have two faces. One that we are all proud of. Another that we all either refuse to accept or deny its existence. In Hinduism, we are proud of everything except the age-old practice of casteism, and any other practices that deny the equality between a man and a woman. In Islam, although the scripture says a lot of good things that the Muslims are proud of, terrorism and killing innocent people in the name of God is something they have to be ashamed of. 

I neither like this movie, nor do I dislike it. I simply wanted to contribute my share of $15 to watch this work of art, instead of choosing to watch it online. This is my form of silent protest against the Muslim protestors and the Amma's TN government who are against this movie being released.

(PS: The word advitiiya means 'unique' and anubhavam means 'experience'. I used Sanskrit words just because the title of this film is also a Sanskrit word.)
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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Dedicated to Nirbhaya - Delhi Gang-Rape

Amanat... Daamini... Nirbhaya... 

Everyone is talking about the braveheart of India...

She is not the only Nirbhaya. There are millions of Nirbhayas living in India and all over the world, whose voices were not heard or not at all made available to those of us who read the news and have access to social media sites. My heart goes out to all the girls and young children who have suffered at the hands of barbarians. As a woman, I am proud and as a human being, I am utterly ashamed.

Women are continuously told to behave properly. They are always criticised for wearing inappropriate outfits. Curfews are imposed on women for their "safety". But NOBODY disciplines and punishes the men for their inappropriate behaviour. Instead, they are given all the freedom that has been denied for women. Half the population of this world roam freely and yet the other half of the population live in fear.

(This image is not owned by me.)

There is no point in blaming the society, the system, the men, the women, and what not! Everybody is at fault here. Yes, even the mothers who blindly support their dear sons and for having raised them in such a manner, instilling no respect for women in them... Yes, even mothers are to be blamed. 

I have no words to describe the hurt and disgust I feel after this event. Many events have occurred, which have been even more brutal than this one! It took me a long time to get over this event and now although I feel alright, I hope that more can be done to ensure women's safety in India. It's high time we wake up and put a stop to this. No matter whoever you are who is reading this, I beg you to please treat both men and women equally! We are all humans! Just because we women look different from the men doesn't mean we are from a totally different planet! 

I am utterly crushed by this event, and yet I also have never felt more rebellious in my feministic views!
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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

First post of 2013 :)

My first post for the new year as usual. Whether I am regular or not in keeping my blog updates coming along. But I surely post something on every new year! This new year has begun very well for me. 

On the eve, I paid a visit to Sri Sivan Temple in Geylang East Ave 2. It was a beautiful darshan on a rainy and cold day. But I was satisfied like never before. My wishes of going to India and especially Thiruvannamalai Temple have been fulfilled. I wanted to thank God for that and also to pray for a prosperous 2013. 

New Year was spent at home this year. But I had a good time talking with my mum and sis. Nothing equals the joy of talking to both of them. My life would be empty without my mum and sis. Dad, of course, is a person who isn't very close to any of us. But he surely loves us, his family. We too love him and want him to be happy. But he doesn't spend time with us everyday. Most of the times, it is not the amount of time you spend with each other but the quality of time is what matters. I wish this year, he does spend some quality time with us, despite whatever distance that falls between us. 

This will be an important year for me, I think. Not only will I get my first job this year, but there is a slight possibility that other things may happen. Yes, I am talking about the prospect of a marriage. But it wouldn't happen so fast and I wouldn't let it happen too fast. I have still not gained enough clarity in my mind to think about marriage. I would, once I get a good job and start planning my future. I hope everything goes well this year. I've prayed to Lord Shiva to show me the right way and I will tread along with His guidance :) 

Be it solar rays or polar shifts, I pray that this Earth be healed and remain peaceful. The prospect of such events happening really does make us feel that life is short and that it is no use worrying about petty things. Let's enjoy life and do good for others. In this way, life will be peaceful and satisfied.

Happy New Year 2013!! :)
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