Monday, August 13, 2018

Movie watch

Mission impossible – Fallout

Somehow, unlike any other franchise movie, I always manage to turn up for a MI release, on theater. The latest installment, MI 6 – Fallout, is very special for it’s the first and only movie that I’ve seen on IMAX, accompanied by the gang of usual suspects, at Forum Mall. The most ground breaking, earth shattering thing that happened even before the movie started was, I was the first one to make it to the venue!!!! Punctuality and me are two sides of two different coins. Probably the Ethan Hunt spirit (!!!) in me pushed myself to take up this impossible activity. Story wise its nothing new. There are some nuke warheads on loose and MI team has to disarm them and save the world. Stunt wise also its nothing new. Tom Cruise, seems to be on repeat mode when it comes to MI movies. He dangles from famous high rises, runaway planes, mountain tops on every single one of them. There would be an jaw dropping bike chase scene and whether his movies run or not, he would be seen running across every single form of terra firma. At times, it resembles high budget Ajith movies except for the fact that, the effort put in by Tom Cruise, really shows. For a guy who is pushing the wrong side of 50 age wise, seems to have only grown stronger since the last MI installment. All said and done, the last half hour is paisa vasool. Especially the helicopter fight, that literally makes you feel like watching you are watching a 3D movie and not 2D, is so realistic one can’t help but wonder was it really crashed or simulated. Had lot of high expectations about the IMAX screen and if not for the climax stunts, would’ve been hugely disappointed. There are lot of dialog portions in the movie, that makes it dull to watch on IMAX. How big and for how long can one watch a couple of characters talking on screen!!!

Tamizh padam 2.0

My most expected movie of the year since it was launched. With every FB update about the posters for the movie, the expectation kept raising and the trailer was the crowning glory, sending everyone a quest as to how many movies were being spoofed within that 2 minute time. The previous part of the movie, that literally made everyone rolling on the floor laughing, had set the bar pretty high for the sequel and the trailer raised the hype stratospherically. If it had been an inkling funny would’ve got consoled. But in the entire 2 plus hour running time, there is not one single instance or a joke that even make you smirk, rather smile. More than Kaala this was the most anticipated release for several people like me and the movie turned out to be such a bad dud. It makes one wonder where things went wrong when the director had dutifully stuck to the winning formula of first part – making LOL spoof out of famous movies. Probably the charm and fanciness of the first attempt which was unique to tamil cinema, was lost and the lack of witty dialogue to add strength to the screenplay was sorely missing. Such a huge letdown and such a waste of datapack.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Life and times

At times junior makes a mockery of the proud parent in us.

I have been through many such scenes when my over eager newly became parent friends, would show case their kids talent, making them say the alphabets or rhymes. At times it would annoy the kid and most of the times they would go silent and shy. I am one among those annoying parents club parading their kids talent with pride. But junior has his own way of getting out of such situations.

Once while going on a walk,  was word coaching him as usual, telling him new words about those things that we saw on the way. When we came near a Sabha there were few people standing outside who were watching junior identify things near that place. There was a huge statue of goddess saraswati in all her splendor and junior immediately called out her name which drew the attention of that group. Needless to say I was beaming with pride. I pointed to her hand and asked him what was she holding. He named it as book and chain much to my own amazement as chain was supposedly a new word for him. One old man from the group, who was clearly impressed,  pointed to the instrument on her hand and asked what was it. Junior promptly replied "GUITAR"!!! The look that old man gave me had so many interpretations least of which being how callously I was teaching him about the goddess of learning!!! While walking back home I was wondering where he learnt that word guitar and the answer was staring right at me on the rhymes he was watching. 

You may be thinking that I would have learnt my lesson. Obviously the answer is no. Next incident was around coaching him for interview about himself. We had taught him to tell his name, mine, his mom, grandma and aunty. When questioned back, this was his response.

"What is your name"
Answer: "What is your name"
" kutty. What is 'pointing at him' your name"
Answer: exact replay with same action.
"Ok..what is your father's name"
"Oh...ipdi onnu irukko. What is your dad's name"
"Adapaavi..what is mommy's name"
The response was Ulta for the other way of posting the same query.
Thought we should try in Tamil and asked 
"Aththai per enna"
"Aunty" was the prompt response!!!!


Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Chumma oru try - 6



காமம் ஈன்ற குழந்தை
அவள் வாழ்விலோ பல விந்தை
விஸ்வாமித்திரன் அவள் தந்தை
ஆனால் அப்பிள்ளையின் மேல் இல்லை அவன் சிந்தை
மேனகை அவள் அன்னை
தன் சேய் மறந்து அடைந்தாள் விண்ணை

உறவுகள் மறந்த
உத்தம உள்ளம்
செவ்வனே வளர்ந்தாள்
கன்வரின் இல்லம்

காலம் வரைந்த
அற்புத கோலம்
அவள் அழகை போல்
முன் கண்டதில்லை இஞ்ஞாலம்

மானும் மயிலும்
மரமும் மண்ணும்
பூவும் வண்டும்
புல்லும் செடியும்
போற்றி வளர்த்த பெண்டு

அவள் பெருமை கூற
வார்த்தை தேடியது நிகண்டு

சுழன்றது காலம்

ஒரு நாள் –
நிசப்தம் நிரவி
நிதம் நித்திரையில்
இருக்கும் அவ் வனம்
முரசு கொட்டும்
சத்தத்தில் முழித்து எழுந்தது

அவ்வொலியின் அதிர்வில்
பூக்கள் பல உதிர்ந்தது

வேட்டை ஆரம்பம் என
மிருகங்கள் உணர்ந்தன
உயிர் பிழைக்க மறைவிடம்
நோக்கி விரைந்தன

அலைபாயும் மனதை விட வேகமாய்
விரைந்து வந்த தேரில்
வலைந்த வில்லும்
வலையாத நோக்குமாய்
குறிபார்த்து அம்பு எரிந்தான்
அவனே துஷ்யந்தன்

சூறாவலியாய்  சுழலும் தேரில்
சுற்றி வந்தோர் வழி மறைய
தன்னன்தனியே தொடர்ந்தான் வேட்டையை
காலம் தொடங்கியது தன் சேட்டையை

Monday, August 06, 2018

As i see IT - 1

Few years back, I had pondered in a post, on how my batch had never seen anyone retiring from IT and would probably be the first to witness it. The reason being, even a decade back, there was so much of chopping and churning happening, with companies big time into consolidation mode and new software were blooming in every single day. To put it in context, the software that was hot cake in the market, which was the product of my very first project, became obsolete within an year, to such an extent that, those developers almost became redundant, with their skillset amounting to nothing. Technically, It didn’t entirely go waste as the coding skills got remapped to another product but they did have to put in effort to learn the semantics and syntax. Those who were senior managers at that time, had worked on Pascal and Cobol and punch card related systems that were long obsolete. I often used to wonder, would the managers be continuously learning new products, for a) their skill set were long redundant and b) how can they manage someone when they have no clue as to what the resource was doing?

To (mis)quote Gandhi, my life is my answer to my own queries raised above. I saw my COE head retire and as I moved onto a different role to what I was doing before and encountered the very same situation described above. Now that I can visualize in person, on how these situations are handled, unless there is a better way that I am not aware of, I am not too thrilled on neither the process nor the result. All throughout my career I had always gone after those products, that were niche yet more aligned to business. In short, it would be a rare skill set (and would be rarely needed as well !!) but would be closely aligned with business needs. Every 30 months I was switching between tech, by choice and by design. Each time, I could actually see how my work was helping the business. I am a big time fan of support projects, for they are the very foundation of service industry. When you  solve a ticket and receive a thank you  note, it gives a sense of immense satisfaction that you have actually helped someone.

My “developer” friends used to contradict by asking, how many lines of codes that I developed for that day. For them, developing something from the scratch, based on a few lines of requirement, gave them their thrills. Production support was looked down upon as a menial activity, which ate up your personal space and time over weekends. Batch job monitoring was seen more as a punishment. Despite all this, there was a sense of wonderment and fulfillment at the end of the day, when you receive a thank you note and that of bewilderment and anger if there were any escalation mails, questioning our commitment. Mental stress, was a word that got included in everyone’s vocabulary and “workaholic” was a tag that was worn around with pride.

Why is that sense of belonging to the industry suddenly missing? What are the reasons for the disillusionment? Is it all imaginary or real and how much is ageing related to these thought processes? It is going to be a real long thread of posts!!!

Friday, August 03, 2018

Life of a song

I’ve long been wondering about the, choice of songs on super singer competitions, that are being conducted across any TV channel worth its salt. Season after season, be it junior, senior or super senior category, any contestant who participates, never ever chooses any song that are recent and even possible chartbusters. Only logical reason could be the proprietary rights issue. Else, not sure whether it’s a rule or choice, but invariably, majority of the contestants stick to songs that are from movies which are minimum 50 years old.

Across all channels, when it comes to season finale, the contestants while choosing songs that exhibits their skill, always chooses song from either MS Visvanathan or KV Mahadevan. Very rarely do we get to witness even an Ilayaraja musical winning the title and till now I’vent seen an ARR song rendition winning one. The reasons could be multifold. Probably those songs are avoided because of the orchestra limitations, rights issue, due to scoring suggestions by their mentors, but whatever the reason may be, no super singer season finale is complete without someone singing “Neeye unakku endrum nigaraanavan” from Bale Pandiya with mandatory standing ovation reserved for the “maama maapley” portions, “Singaravelene” from Konjum salangai is another sure shot winner, Any song from “Thiruvilaiyadal” and offlate “Isai arasi” song. Contestant after contestant, season after season, across channels, take to these songs as a success route. Nowhere I am saying these are simple songs and can be easily rendered. The fact that people realize the challenges around it, often is displayed openly on the admiration that is adorned and on the accolades shared. Fact is, these amazing songs with those classic lyrics, written and tuned almost 60 years back, is still winning competitions, speaks volumes of the caliber of the team involved in the mix at those times. It has become like an assembly line, where, year after year, people sing the same song and win titles, only to be disappearing from the scene post a few playback songs. The demand against supply is way too much skewed for singers and the cases like SPB, Mano, Chithra who all had uninhibited run across thousands of songs are virtually impossible in present day. We hardly get to hear the same voice for more than a few songs and even in single song, multiple tracks come into play.

I really doubt, if another 30 years down the line, would we still be having such shows or to what extent they would’ve morphed into. But whatever the format be, would a finalist belt out a “Gaana Bala” number or any other song post 2000 year mark begs an opinion. Be it ARR or Anirudh or any cine musician for that matter, have long been addicted to the complexity of the technical arrangements of the song and very rarely has the focus been on the lyrics or on the voice quality of the singer. The more techno it becomes, it is just a synthesized arrangement of frequencies and the soul of the song is lost. Any of those title winning songs, have one common factor. The voice of the singer is predominant and the lyrical quality is in synch with the composition. For that matter, no one calls themselves music composers nowadays, but more of technicians. Rather than being an art, music has become more artificial and mechanical. Many of Ilayaraja’s chartbusters, would carry a story within themselves. You can get the feel of the scene or the situation for which it has been composed, just by the audio. It’s a cause for lament that techno portions have taken over every aesthetic aspect of a song and has almost wiped out the tribe of good lyricists, with Muthukumar being the last glorious exception.

Sometimes, I wonder if Junior would take up singing. I would love him to take up some art form related to music, be it singing or playing any instrument. With so much churning and changing happening across music field, not sure what shape it would’ve taken in coming years. But for the sake of simple pleasures of life, I do hope it retains some of its natural flavor, residual from the footsteps of those giants who have ruled that space.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Of rhymes and reasons

The fact, that Junior had taken to rhymes in a big way, dawned on me close to midnight, when he was chanting “Johnny Johnny yes papa” in his sleep. I was so surprised that he had picked up his first rhyme I woke up wifey immediately so that she doesn’t miss out on that momentous occasion. She looked at me with eyes full of sleep and anger and said that he has been singing that rhyme for almost a week and went back to sleep!!! Nevertheless it was exciting that he had picked his first rhyme and I was so happy. Nowadays, it is his signature call for addressing anyone and everyone.
One day when I was reading something he came to me and called “Appa Appa”
“uhumm..Yes Johnny sollu”
“er…yes Johnny?”
“reading paper?”
“uhumm..Yes johnny sollu”
“Yes Johnny” (I got the drift only now)
“telling lies”
“no johnny”
“Open your mouth”
I actually did open my mouth and got corrected again that I should say “ha ha ha” instead (apparently the drift drifted over)

The other favorite rhyme of his is “Finger family”. He would call out for his mom or me by singing “daddy finger/mommy finger where are you”. The correct passcode of a response is “here I I am.. how do you do”. Anything to the contrary would be rejected and would be deemed as “User Id or password invalid”.

I could already see AI playing a big part in education system down the line. Junior is big time into YouTube video watching and despite all restrictions he would be immersed into it. He knows more slokas and bajans than me and wifey put together (me contributing a mighty zero to the score with a measly few dozen from her). He started watching one chant and the AI setup kept throwing bajan after bajan on similar lines across all gods and he keeps singing them even in school. ABCD recital would’ve Sai Baba aarathi intervening and the alphabets would culminate with Ganapati bappa moriya!! He has a tap dance kind of step for Shasti kavasam and uses this pretext to put maska for his paati getting allowance to watch his cartoons over the net.

Even in office, for some of the sessions, instead of CBT’s we’ve been provided with YouTube videos for reference, that are even editable to the point of being made interactive. Watching videos to learn may be the way to go and pretty soon even the schools have to start adopting, if not already. Right from infrastructure setup to proper counselling and guide for adopting such approach needs lot of planning. Do we’ve the right set of people, both at policy maker level and at implementation level, begs a query. As for anything and everything, only time will tell.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Thamizhachi Aandaal

If anyone can read the title correctly at first go, well, you do know your way around tanglish for sure. When the Aandal controversy, kindled by the pompous and arrogant ass of the movie song lyricist Vairamuthu, was at its peak, probably that was the trigger point for this series or maybe it was initially on the pipeline and its release was a mere co-incidence, I would never know. But this story about Aandal starting from the time of her birth and events preceding it has been progressing beautifully in the tamil weekly magazine Kumudham. Every week, I eagerly watch out for this particular piece, written by Priya Kalyanaraman, on that magazine. I’ve been a big time fan of this author for his previous work about temples and stories associated with them. Not sure if it had come out in book format, but it would serve as a fantastic guide to know about south Indian, especially Temples of TamilNadu, for any casual tourist, or those on pilgrimage, as it tells the story of origin for each of those temples in a simple and casual format along with the deities, way of worship along with route map for the location as well.

Coming back to the series, “Thamizhachi Aandal”, is a pleasant read for the sheer casualness associated with it. It encompasses not just the devotional aspect but solely from a girl child’s point of view. The conversations that happen between Aandal and her dad and the story telling sessions between her and her mom has driven the story till now. Such is the beauty of the word play that, in many a places, it would be really heartwarming and touching. The dialogues written as spoken by baby Aandal are so sweet and yet profound that, it brings out a genial yet gentle kid, querying her parents and the sweetness with which the proud parents respond has been brought out beautifully. You could sense the glee with which the kid cross questions them and cross references across previous stories and it takes you right into the setup. Plus the “Paasuram” in chaste yet simple to follow tamil. It’s such a delight to read through the series and hope that it comes out as a book sometime pretty soon.