Thursday, February 14, 2019

Timeline challenge

There is a buzz going around in FB about sharing your decade old photo, comparing it with present day ones. Interestingly, with facial recognition tools up on the rise, there is a controversial thought process as well going viral that, this is a ploy by WD to shore up their AI tool. A while back had wondered out loud in this space, why the fuss around data and what could anyone do with all those worthless mokkais I may share in FB. Apparently it seems quite a few things can take place even from those useless mokkais which has woken me up to a scary reality!! To be honest, off late I am plagued with more doubts and queries about the future that, at times I forget about living in the present. News items relating to shrinking waterbodies, oceans turning to garbage dumps, thinning permafrost (incidentally all these were part of the 10 year challenge pics as well) rising rate of irrational behavior, mob mentality, boldness with which crimes are being committed and the callousness with which they are being punished and above all the impunity with which educational institutions deal with syllabus, teaching and the students, it seems to be getting more and more chaotic. Irrespective of any country of your pick, there seems to be widespread coterie culture, which seems only take care of itself at institution level. You are expected to have opinion for each and everything and be vocal about it as well.

In this background, I am clueless in wonderment as to what should and what would I be leaving behind for my kid. Everything is in such a state of turmoil that, there is no clear direction for me on what are good values, what is a good education and what should be the most essential skill for him to survive. Some of the conversations that I am listening to during lunch hours from team members having school going kids are nothing short of alarming. 2nd standard kids are getting pulled up in school for passing love letters, watching adult content and are being penalized for using filthy swear words. The casualness with which the subject was being discussed was chilling. They were mentioning about the extended role which parents have in making sure they are not smothering the kids in the name of micromanagement at the same time nor leaving them totally on their own as well. Simply said. In situations like this, I often think about how my parents handled me and similar situations. Obviously the scenario of present day can never be compared with decades back. But as little exposure towards the vice for the kids, even the concept of what were vice where much different from the present. The challenges would’ve nevertheless been same. I would love to hear back from my dad what went through his mind during such times when I was stepping into school or into college. He would’ve been much busy in making sure we’ve the finances in line to meet our expenses. But still personally, his thought processes, his doubts, his fears and how he overcame them, would’ve loved to understand. Not that I am capable of having such open conversations, but it’s a theory that I fantasize about.

When in need...cheat

Last few weeks have been nothing short of nightmare with Junior falling sick. It’s heart breaking to see him suffer and with literally zero food intake he has grown unrecognizably thin.
As your kid grows, it presents many dimensional situations for the parent and for people like me, who have always been the Siddhartha for their parents, when it’s time to get into the real world, not everyone is capable of turning into a Buddha. Starting with chasing around references and recommendations for school admissions, there are several eye-popping-opener scenarios which I never thought my parents had to undergo, at all!!! Except for the one time when my mom was adamant that I have to get into CBSE and start speaking English like other kids, it was never a case of opting for recommendations from higher-up’s or influencers. Awkward was the least of emotions that went through mind when encountered with such situation. For someone who is used to get things done without asking, courtesy his parents, it was a scenario that I was totally unprepared for. It may make you wonder on what’s the big deal. But I believe there are several pampered kids like me, out there, who are in for some serious shock, when such situation present itself down the line. Personally, I take pride in being a meritocrat and I strongly believe one should deserve before desiring. But when you are in a free fall race, trying to hold on to any support is the basic survival instinct and the situations that lead up to the rat race begins right at this step of school admission. Every parent is insecure in getting a dream school for their kid. This insecurity breeds corruption and has made educational institutes, the money spinning monster they’ve become now and have created a whole new dirty world, that feeds and thrives around this nasty business of “selling” education. These are not new and not that I wasn’t aware of them before. It’s one thing to read about them, see them and a whole new thing to encounter. I would still make an honest attempt to get my kid enrolled solely based on the merit, but not sure how long such a vain approach will hold against the onslaught and cut throat competition arising out of impatience and insecurity of fellow parents. The urge to get things done early, the hurry to finish things first, the casualness with which process and regulations are treated with disdain and the utmost disregard for others who are fellow travelers on the same path, are fast creating a mutant set of an organism called “parent” who would go to any extent, breaking all rules and regulations to get things done for their kid. The same set of people iterate into other domains, which ends up creating unmanageable set of situations for those who are not influential enough. For all this rant, any one could wonder, why not opt for a government aided school and why should one hog private schools. The very fact that, the structure there has already collapsed beyond repair is the reason that people are flooding towards these mafia. Even before my kid enters schools, I think it would be me who would be getting lot of learnings, though unpleasant.

Mandatory Valentines day post

Certain people, you never realize, when they become part of your life, especially
Those whose presence are very much enjoyable and make you happy
Those whose antics and actions make you tear your hair or roll on the floor laughing
Those who, with their very smile, can wipe of your entire day of stress
Those whose kicks and beatings also make you happy
Those whose tears melt your heart and make you do unimaginable things to bring the smile back on their face
Those for whom you would be willing to let go and break any rules of yours
and when they become the evidence of your existence.
For all the reasons above and more, kutty paiyan would always remain the inspiration for any and many posts on this topic and wifey being the reason behind the post.

Monday, January 28, 2019

It's all in the genes

It was sports day at junior’s play school and the management, in all its intelligence, prohibited parents from watching, for they felt, it may discourage the kids from participating!!! Semma kadups actually. But they shared tonnes of photos of the event.

Junior participated in frog race and when I saw the winner’s board his name was not there. Didn’t want to push it but was curious to know what he did. But before I could check with his class miss, she was off for other work. On the way back, I was posting questions in all possible combinations to understand about the race. He was simply singing his favorite Ganapati song and as usual never minded me. When in auto, his full focus will be on sight-seeing and anyone accompanying him be damned. Every kid from the class were given a medal and when my mom saw the medal she was so happy that he had actually won. Before she could go overboard I told her the story and started checking the school’s social media page for photos.

His group’s pic where the first to be loaded and to my surprise, he had never left the starting area at all !! I showed him the photo and asked why he didn’t run in frog race. He simply said, the floor was dirty (“aai” “naatham” “hmmmpf” in his terms) and that’s why he didn’t participate in frog race. He did a full lap of it at home and did a ballet like bow after completing it and asked us to clap.

Finally, when I saw the group photo, I was even more surprised to see the way he had posed for the pics. He was squinting with a semi clenched jaw, more like Heath ledger minus the makeup. I asked him about it and he said, that was his smiley face!!! He even went on to show his happy, sad, cry, angry faces as well. Photoku pose kudukrathu parambaikkay varaathu pola!!! Avvvvvvvvvv..

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Visvasam - movie review

First of all, it takes real guts to release your movie alongside a Rajini starrer, that too on a festival window. But surprisingly, the news is other way round. Seemingly, this Ajith starrer has garnered more theaters than Petta (pronounced pettai). Probably due to the heavy violent content family audiences are may be more leaning towards Visvasam, which is a mish-mash of emotions and sentiments alongside the mandatory hero worship.
If Petta was a potpourri of scenes from yesteryear Rajini hits, with a running time well near 3 hours, Visvasam was its polar opposite. Especially, the first half was a rehash of all those movies, which were absolute duds for Ajith and god knows why the entire first half was wasted on them. Surprising that the movie watchers sat till the second half and made it a hit, because the second half more than make up for the former. Till interval, the story never takes off, crawling at snail’s pace over the non-existent chemistry between Ajith and Nayantara. Post the interval block, the story shifts to city, where the action picks pace, literally and figuratively. Ajith is blessed with great screen presence and his macho image vibes even on regular tv screen. His emotional connect with his daughter looks real and those scenes and situations have come out neat, with the girl playing his daughter a potential big prospect for movie industry. The dad-daughter bonding, even though it is heavily inspired from his other movies as well, clicks well and the positive message with which the movie ends, leaves a happy feeling at completion. Probably, these factors made it stand up against the well-oiled machinery of Rajinism. With so many comedians abound, one would’ve expected at least a few chuckles, but no. Nayan looks more wooden and probably decided that either way it’s a win for her as people are already sold out on her. Except for one song, rest are fast forward worthy.

Gils verdict – Surprisingly, with nothing to do on a Sunday evening, as I sat through the full movie, I kind of liked it. Would definitely watch it on tv again during upcoming festival releases as well. Surely worth an one- time watch.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Petta - movie review

When the first song that launched the movie went by “Maranam maasu maranam” as starting line, it was pretty much a given as to how the movie was going to take shape. But there were lingering doubts around some of the recent attempts to bring back the glory days of Rajini and their success, with Linga being case in study. It was such a stupendous flop that it made Rajini venture into movies like Kabali and kaala, which again didn’t set the screen on fire. Against this background, came in Petta, riding on the “2.0” wave, which again was a hard sell like Saravana stores. They simply blocked every single screen across all theaters and movie watching public were left with little option. Even in that scenario, surprisingly, the crowd pull of Akshay kumar on the hindi belt was touted as the major reason for success and Rajini’s connect with audience were murmured to be on the wane.
In short, to me it felt as if, Petta is a highlights reel of yesteryear blockbuster hits of Rajini. If you think of Rajini, despite all the crowing by his cronies about his acting chops, there are only a handful of scenes that comes to mind for any general public, devoid of fanaticism. Be it the “Basha” scene with school correspondent, puffing out smoke scene and the escalator scene from Annamalai, to quote a few. Take the essence out of all such scenes, add some screenplay around a revenge story, there goes Petta for you. I was talking about it with some hard core Rajini fans and even they felt the violence in the movie to be on higher side and another interesting view point was, how villains in Rajini’s previous hits were all pardoned off by him as against the gory ending for Petta’s villain. The thing fans notice about their matinee idol will never make sense to a casual watcher, ever, I guess!!!
The movie had plenty of trigger points, to send the fans into frenzy and god save those who dared to brave first days shows. Would’ve been surprised, if they would’ve heard any of the dialogues or retained their ability to speak post the movie, after all those shout outs to their demi-god on screen. Petta would make an excellent case study for mob mentality and its effect on general psyche of people. Even otherwise normal movie watcher wants to join the shouting fans and have their share of “fun”. There is obviously no logic in the movie which has been prepared to dish out full meals for the fans. But its paisa vasool for sure with all its mass moments. If simran’s role is blink and miss, Trisha doesn’t even have blinking time for herself in the movie. Not that heroines have ever been the usp of Rajini’s movies. Even then it’s a new record for less screen space. Comedy is virtually non-existent, except for couple of antics of Rajini himself, reminiscent of his preivous roles. It’s a celebration of sorts with so many major artists, sharing screen space, even though it is for a very short duration, for their few minutes of fame with Rajini. Never in their lives, they would ever get such adulation, even if they are part of Oscar winners.

Gils verdict – pakka mass, festival season movie. The movie rides high on the "visvasam" Of his fans. Rajini and his charisma, were the original media created Frankenstein’s monster, which has mutated for any movie hero with a hit or two, at present. With his supposed entry into politics, the expectations around his movies have gone manifold and so is the distinguishing factor between a party person and a common fan. For a matinee idol, who is well into the night show of his movie career, this could be his potentially last mass movie. Not sure how feasible it would be to replicate a Petta-2, unless his upcoming movies have show-stealers of their own.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Jest junior

At times junior really stumps you for an answer.
His aunt and himself were playing with balloons. He is fascinated by balloons and gets amazed at those floating things. Would beat the hell out of them if it is in his swinging arc is a different story.
Knowing his penchant of them, my sister had bought a couple of colored ones and was trying to blow them into funny shapes.
Watching her curiously he asked “Athhai..sudratha?”
She was confused and asked “enna sudratha kekkara”
He replied “Illa balloona ipdi oothindu irukiye..balloon sudratha? Naan aathi tharatuma”
We were laughing like anything at the sutta pazham analogy.
For those who couldn’t get the context do watch “Avvaiyar” movie and the interaction between KBS as avvaiyar and bala Murugan.