Wednesday, January 27, 2016

H for Hello World


I opened my eyes from my little nap and tried to stretch my limbs a little only to find it hitting a netted ceiling. WHOA. This was not there when i went to sleep!!?? I got scared a bit and a cry formed on my throat. Before i could belt out a full blown version, i saw that familiar face rushing towards me. Its my favourite face of the few i get to see everyday. This character is very sweet and attends to me whenever i am in need. I just have to raise my voice a little and that giant form will immediately appear before me.

I was still in a half cry mode when that character lifted me off from my bed and started saying funny things at me. Though i couldn't make anything out of it, it still felt soothing and calmed me down. I was carried to a bright place where the other familiar faces were present. That place was a lot brighter and i had to blink my eyes many time before i could adjust. They all started shouting in chorus looking at me. Somehow i could sense their feeling of joy and smiled back at them. My second favourite face of the lot said something and the one who was carrying me, dropped me on that persons lap. Though they looked different, they were both similar in almost all aspects. The second character had difficulty in lifting me and kept me on the lap. I started looking around and was astonished to see that huge thing which spins slow in my sleeping place has followed me to this place as well. Only that it was not spinning.

As i was wondering how come its still, the third familiar face went somewhere and did something and all of a sudden the giant thing started spinning. It became breezy and felt nice. There were some bright colored things that made funny sounds and were loud. I felt like licking them and when i was about to take them to my mouth, they were plucked from my hands by the third giant. I felt angry and confused, having been denied to taste them.The third giant looked no way similar to the other two but i've to admit, i feel way too comfortable when i am lifted up and rest on those shoulders. I can see the giant spinning thing lot closer and all those bright things up so close that i had to squint my eyes. I turned away and rested my head. Since i was denied my "chew" at those bright things, i started chewing my hands. I like doing that. I like to feel the taste of each of my finger while i stare all around in rapt attention.


I feel hungry. It makes me restless. Let me have my food now and take a nap. Will catch up with you later.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Breaking Bad - review

If at all there is a drama series that i've mentioned repeatedly on this blog that would be FRIENDS, followed closely by 24 and How i met your mother with a few passing references and a dedicated post review. Apt to the title, breaking the tradition for Breaking Bad drama series with a second post dedication.

As mentioned in my prior post which was a result of the impact of watching season one of that series, had decided then itself that this is going to take more than a couple of posts to cover. With only the final season left, after a binge watching across 40 episodes back to back, mind is literally reeling with after effects. Considering that there are only 13 episodes per season, with the story running in linear from a start to finish mode, wonder if the production house shot the whole 5 seasons in one shot and teased the audience with a bakers dozen per year!! Every season finale is nothing short of a blockbuster festival release movie of its own with pulsating finishes. If season 1 saw the rise of Heisenberg, season 2 ends with an atrociously original plane crash, dumping debris throughout, season 3 has the nail biter of all finishes with a did-he or didnt-he pull the trigger ending and season 4 having the mother of all ending in a suicide bomb blast of a revenge attack, conveniently removing the villain and an evil twist on the lead character.

Like any eager kid, saving the last bite of their favourite chocolate bar, resisting the urge to finish it, just to prolong the taste and enjoy its presence as much as possible, i've left the final season on the back burner. The series is an unapologetic take on human errors and on every deadly sin possible. What appears as a last ditch effort on season one by an under achiever on brink of death, taking on to the dark side of drugs, to protect the future of his family, which slowly grows into an death grip on himself. The murders he commit appear so natural and needed and are justified as neck of moment acts done out of fear, becomes more regular and gruesome when greed slowly takes over necessity. The junkie side kick, who was an aberration of a being initially blossoms into a caring human, of course the care is restricted only to those he love and true to the nature of the story, he doesn't give a damn about the society he is spoiling, for he himself is a by-product of the dysfunctional system. There are lot of dad characters in the series with the best of lot being the dad of the junkie girlfriend. His painstaking efforts to rehabilitate his over independent daughter, only to be dashed down by the junkie hero, who falls for her needle over syringe in love. Her untimely death due to drug overdose hurts him so much that, he messes up at work, causing the disastrous air crash one could ever imagine. On a side track it brings to light the stressful life of air traffic controllers and the enormous pressure they are always under. Again, a small..sorry..single.. human error causing significant damages to the society. The wife of the chief protagonist (or should i say antagonist??) is another glorious example of good going bad. To take revenge on her faltering husband, she sleeps around with her boss, only to realize he is no saint either, when she realizes he is fudging his accounts. It slowly pushes her onto the dark side and looking at the tonnes of money made by him, she becomes an willing accomplice. Not that the story is full of bad characters. There is this, police office, who is more honest than vijaykanth married to the sister of the lead character's wife, who incidentally is a kleptomaniac. Except of the encounter killing, that he had to undertake in self defence, which troubles his psyche causing anxiety disorders, he is the only law abiding character in the whole movie. And interestingly his spouse is a nurse beleaguered by small time thieving as an illness.

The thread of fallen humans is intact throughout the series in every single character. No one is perfect and no one is pious. Every single character worth their salt, has some or other shady skeleton on their closet. With the series moving from one episode to other in the most convincing manner possible, it looks more like a candid set up of a true character in a real society and not like a story at all.

Gils verdict:  Watching Breaking bad is the 8th deadly sin. Not watching is a deadlier one.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Bone Labyrinth - Book review

Back to back book review :) the happy.

Me a big time pulp fiction masala adventure thriller novels fan. In other words, i like James Rollins and Matthew Reilley books. Both are good at combining impossible fantastic premises as story base and are amazingly good in crapping the essence out of them. They weave wonderful thread of fiction with facts and almost all of their novels have blockbuster openings only to go mega mokkai in between and a predictable horrific ending for the villains. My favourite portions of their novels are usually the prologue and epilogue sections followed by the author speak. They would explain about how they stumbled on the idea for the story and what were their reference books and links. Now, that would be an amazing section to read and follow, for everything would be so real and awesome that the information would stump anyone. Other than the premise and the source, there is nothing much to their stories. Anyways, here is another review of another blockbuster premised James Rollins novel.

Bone Labyrinth begins in an era when there were no humans. More like, when humans were not humans yet. But something, somewhere down the line, caused men to invent like crazy, as if overnight some one got a bucketful of mentos candy and everyone's dimag ka batti started burning bright. Naturists or should i say anthropologists call this as a "great big leap" where in from a mere nomadic hunter tribe, our species evolved into a mature being, there by pushing the rest of living things into submission. What was the reason that lead to that sudden spurt in brain activity? what caused them to develop cognitive thinking is the premise of the book. It goes on the line that, cross breeding between Neanderthals and fellow Homo sapien forefathers was a reason and to add to this mix there was a third clan whose role is the missing x factor that resulted in the species that we are now. An oft quoted example of Tibetian people and how their DNA has a special structure genetically designed to aid them in surviving at such an high altitude is used to support the claim of a third species. Throw in the mysterious number 37, the divine prime, which can be felt everywhere from earth to sun to moon to bible to right in our genome structure plus the creation of moon and the mysteries about it, like how its exactly at 366% of something from earth and how everything is just perfect for life forms to survive, basically the whole lot of divine coincidence scenario is played out throughout as the surprise element in the book. Add to this mix the Chinese, who are the latest fad amongst American authors as new breed of monster villains out rivalling Russians, who would go to any length to steal things from American scientists, funded by American tax payer money and are so monstrous in their deeds that, the same scalpel which will result in an outpouring of love when used to dissect animal specimens, will cause blood to gush out in their evil hands and the mandatory super species that would be some giant gorillaish brute which would've been tortured to submission by the villain, only to tear the very same antagonist in the end prodded by the good American group. The name of the American group is Sigma and the entire series of a dozen or more books so fat is more or less on same set up.

Ivlo kaari thupara mathiri comment poatutu enda dogay antha booka padikaranu kekaravangaluku, as i said, the plots and premises are fantastic. The story is just a bonus. How did we become what we are is an interesting premise that is worth following. Probably would love to follow up some of the links that the author had shared in the end sections and would read through more on that topic. Also, he has raised my intrigue about the moon. With maths and numbers and divine constants and holy primes, its all the more interesting to find out other relevant materials on the topic. And the fact that there is a reference of Neil Armstrong leading an expedition to Ecuador in search of a hidden cave, linking it to his trip on moon when NASA reported a two minute loss of contact, adds to the mystery and amazing conspiracy stories.

Gils verdict: More than the story, as always, the premise of the book make it a lovable read. Needless to say, the story goes at breakneck speed and is easily a one sit read. Good read for conspiracy buffs.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

300 - book curtain raiser

This is not a review about that Spartan soldiers movie. 

Its about an yet to be released book, a love child of my friend and blog mate. An effort that materialized after a near penance like trance and a rigour which matched "Rambo" on his preparation spree before any boxing bout. I wouldnt be sharing any spoilers about the book but would provide a back link to this post when it is published. This avasara kudukkai of a post is due to my unbridled admiration for his writing and the impact created by the story.

There are few book review posts that i've shared on this blog. Usually, its just the happiness or the thrill factor that the book creates or its theme. This is the first time its a double shot happiness with not just the book but the author also being a reason for the happiness. I pestered him to share the book even before its fully edited just out of curiosity for the story. He cribbed that his editor had mercilessly chopped over 40,000 words from the story. That's right. 40,000 were chopped off. And yet in pdf format it was 357 pages in size. Later he clarified that it was still in editing table and because of my nuisance nachhu he shared the copy. 

15 pages into the book i rushed to the ending to check if it was a sad or happy one. Its a love story told in predominantly a conversational tone between the lead characters. I read it three hour straight in one sitting and another 3 hour straight the second day. In between time, the story and the characters, their situations, conversations, their love, pain, joy and sorrow, it haunted non stop and made the waiting time a painfully joyous experience. I can't put a finger on the reason - be it the conversational tone that gives it a personal diary-ish feel throughout, the first person account of narration that projects the hero as my friend himself, tone set in a blog like mode making it a easier read, the language that goes easy on the vocabulary, be it the characterisation being such that there is too much overlap on his own real self making it an even interesting read for his friends or the concept of love being an eternal favourite amongst everyone.

I am eagerly awaiting the launch of the book so that i share more details and spoilers on the book and post more in details. This guy is surely set in the league of Chetan bagath with only similarity being the personal experience related storyline but is bound to go places beyond the famed one. Knowing his varied exposure to different language movies and his relish of modern authors be it tamil or European one can expect more varied themes from him down the line. He is already working on his next novel and the one liner that was shared make it even more an interesting premise. Watch out for more. Coming soon :)

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Rudhra Veenai

Took binge watching to a whole new level and completed Rudhra Veenai series in a week's time :) The best part of the lot being, i didnt see the last episode to know the ending, despite the craving urge right from midway onto the series. Yay to that :)

 The story by Indira Soundrarajan, made into drama series by Radaan have been on my radar for few years now and thanks to my blog mate and good friend Brags, managed to get hold of the series. For long my complaint against tamil series is that they are in no league to match the thrill element of the english drama series. There are some handful of good comedy series like Flight 171, Ramany vs Ramany but none to match a good suspense thriller till i stumbled on the Marmadesam series. Read in some survey that they've been voted as the best ever tamil series of the 90's. Not sure on the authenticity, but they would definitely worth any such accolades. Marmadesam series where way too ahead of their time for any drama series is my opinion. The way the story line was structured in "Vidaathu karuppu" was awesome to say the least. Split personality as a concept might've been brought to limelight through "Anniyan" movie. But "Vidaathu karuppu" did it much earlier. No wonder the family audience couldn't quite grasp the significance at that time and the series ending was considered half baked by many. Later with more understanding on the subject, the story became a rage. Same goes for "Ragasiyam" series. If i am not mistaken that is the one with Delhi Ganesh and the Shiva Lingams. The cryptic clues and the search and the mystery would keep one glued to seats. I would love to read the books sometime to feel if they are any match for the performances on screen by the actors, every single one of whom have gone on to become leading performers of their own merit. The cast and crew of the Marmadesam series are anyone's envy as they contain the current who-is-who of the tinsel town in their nascent stage.

Coming back to Rudra Veenai. I am not sure if it just the series that i am familiar with that are like that or in general does the author have this as his favorite theme, almost all of them have Shiva and the mysticism around the lord as a recurring theme. Be it Sivamayam or Rudra veenai or Ragasiyam everything has an underlying current of Shiva and siddhargal abound. Rudhra veenai has so many interwoven concepts about it. Like the other series, each episode has two parts. The first half being a running storyline of the past incidents and second half happening in present. At some stage, both the sections begin to mirror each other only to culminate in a grand finale. In between, the life style of the ancient era, with its flaws and fantasies are shown in a beautiful manner. Even the supposedly present day setup of the second half is set in 2002 which itself is more than a decade and a half old. There is an episode in which one of the character excitedly talk about internet and computer and some are seen carrying Nokia bricks (mobile phones). On top of all this is a quest for the elusive and mystical Rudra veena, an instrument, supposedly made by Lord Shiva himself which depicts lady Parvati. There are lot of contradictions within the storyline on whether ladies can play it or not. Since its made by Shiva with the veena representing Parvati, its introduced as something that only males can play. But many of the ladies are shown to be playing it only to be introduced as the blessed ones.

The first half takes places 300 plus years back with one old yatri carrying the veenai across several villages to reach Thodipuram his final destination. Enroute, he uses the magical power of the veenai to cure many illness and even manages to bring back the almost dead. Its this section thats a musician's delight as they mention the raga and its qualities and even have a backstory that has representation of the raga. Its a tribute to our rich heritage and our forgotten past which proudly stamps the knowledge of our creative ancestors and how they were in synch with nature. The reason why the yatri wants to go to Thodipuram, what is there in store of him and what happens 300 years after his visit is told on the second half of each episode. Y.G Mahendiran has the role of his lifetime in this series. With him occupying the majority of storyline till the introduction of the villain element almost three fourths into the series, he is more or less the hero. His magical powers, the all powerful ego and his inherent attitude almost throws doubt on his character whether he could be the villain of the story. Later he does an about turn and becomes all humble once the goddess makes an appearance. The storyline involves rebirths, recurring situations across centuries, traditions that have to be upheld to across lineage and promises made, god s and demi gods fighting against asuras and evil forces, buildings with hidden passages, mysterious wells that transmit the veenai sound all throughout the village and pristine village which depict what was typical village lifestyle till few decades back. You name it you got it.

The best part about the storyline is that it keeps you hooked to it for majority of the series. Except for the end portions which could've been trimmed by a few episodes, probably an attempt at milking TRP's, the pace overall was consistently engaging. Its a storyline that is very relatable to us as localites as against the dishum dishum and boom boom of the english drama series which how much ever may thrill us will never be our story. Rudra veenai as a series showcases our stength in storytelling and proves that we still have so many mysteries and fantasies and action oriented fast paced stories in our own setup which are no lesser than any hollywood studio inspired series. Wish some production company invests in making more such series, especially from our local urban legends and folk lore which are rich in story content. And a request to the production house (Radaan?) which holds the distribution rights for this series. Please do come out with a DVD cut for them. They are bound to be blockbuster hits.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Happy new year folks

Hope you all had a great beginning to 2016. This year having an additional day to it, will be sure a notable one for many of friends who are in the crux of many things. I am sure in few months time atleast one of them will fly abroad, few onto their own houses, few would be married within first half of the year and few hopefully would find their love by end of the year. Barring the last wish, rest are not predictions but mere facts which are lined up to happen. 2015 wasn't kind to many of them with floods and other mishaps. They braved through them all and came up trumps. So its only expected for them to reap the rewards for their efforts and prayers.

Mine already started on expected lines. Will be more positive going into the year. Have tonnes of trainings and certifications to complete within next few months. It all marks for a new beginning that i've been wishing for quite a while now.

To quote Star Wars, its a New Hope with the Force Awakening.

May the force be with you, all through the year and in times to come.

Appalika catch you all.