Jan 21, 2011

The Return of the King

             It's been a thousand years since he walked on this earth - a young prince who loved and lost ;a brave warrior who tasted victories and defeats alike;a just ruler whose epaulets were aplenty as much as in people's hearts as on his shoulders. It took the genius of a pen to resurrect this epic hero, in all his glory and splendor. He has inspired generations of readers,young and old alike, to travel back to that ageless time of our past, full of valor, intrigue and justice. But unfortunately, he  spoke the tongue of the few and was not heard much beyond his boundaries ....
            Well, this is the closest to the "poetical" that you can catch me out on. For those of you who are wondering what it's all about, here's a wonderful piece of news. “Ponniyin Selvan” finally comes alive in silver screen with Mani Ratnam at its helm.This news has renewed a  good deal of interest in the novel, which augurs well for the book as well as the world of Tamil literature.
           For a little background , "Ponniyin Selvan" is a Tamil historical novel by Kalki written in 5 parts. It's set in the late "Chozha" Period and gives an insight into Raja Raja Chozha's early history.A fine thread of historical events interwoven by an intricate plot, a strong characterization,a dash of adventure held together by a beautiful language,makes this a most delightful read.I've always felt deeply for my friends who lost out on this book because of the language barrier and a barrier for reading in general.(an English translation does exist, but I heard that it’s not close to the original though it stays true to the plot). Hopefully, with the making of this movie,the barriers shall break down.
          The filming of this novel poses quite a number of challenges in terms of screen play, casting ,historical sets, dialogues etc.(It’s as tough as directing LOTR , but only twice as harder). Let’s leave it to an expert like Mani to deal with the interesting hurdles and sit back to see how much of the original magic he can re-create.
Far is not the day when the King shall return and rule :)

Jan 14, 2011

A different dimension...

                A silent river flowing in the backyard. Stepping lightly on a half-submerged rock, I reach the middle of the river with the water rushing all around me. Flash. An emergency storm warning. The quiet river turns into a raging monster with huge waves, as I stand watching from my window. Bang, a huge sail boat tossed mercilessly by the waves. (Wait a sec, how does a huge sail boat fit in the river?!) A jet ski suddenly pops out of the sea (!!!) and lands, colliding with the parked vehicles on the beach and I stand wondering who is mad enough to ride a jet-ski in the storm...
               Before you start questioning my probable sanity, let me assure you that I have not lost it all. This is one of my recent dreams that I have finally managed to put down in words.
               Experts say that a dream indicates a restless sleep. While that may be medically true, for me, dreams are indicators of my state of mind.  When I am too stressed out, my dreams are mostly colorless and convoluted. But when my mind is in a blissful state or in a creative-high, it spews forth an array of vivid and colorful dreams. For instance, when I was slogging day and night in the early days of my job, I mostly re-created the stressful day in my dreams and ended up being twice as tired. I even got one where I was stuck in an infinite loop (Imagine that!).
                Since I love to observe the paths that my wild imagination takes, it's often a delight to look back in the mornings and try to re-construct a dream with all its details. But, dreams start fading out as soon as you start explaining them to others; the colors are not so vibrant, the scenes not clearly defined and the effect is not quite the same. The more you try to grasp it, the more it slips away.
Surprisingly though, some dreams have come with me a long way…
Imagine a city with pulsating (yes, pulsating!), tantalizingly painted buildings and suddenly they start transforming in and out of odd shapes at random intervals.(Yeah, that was the day I read about Transfiguration :))
There was this other one where three rainbows were intersecting with each other.  (Intersection of arcs!)
I even managed to conjure up a whole chapter in Mechanical systems but promptly forgot all those wonderful theories that I had formulated, in broad daylight. (The world will never know what it has lost, sigh)
Location: SFO, Time: Early Evening. Point out to my sis, the distant view of Niagara. (Quite a stretch of imagination, I should say)           
            Well, there are some more dreams clambering for this space. But I would say my readers have had quite enough of my dream space by now.(Shared dream space? Well that's another post :))
            With all due respect to Freud and others who have studied the psychology of dreams, I would say that dreams provide a parallel universe of infinite possibilities, unhindered by rational, well-worn thought processes and hence may provide a much needed vent to our creative thoughts and even hold the key to some unanswered questions. 
             Thus said, dreams are also quite fun to reflect upon and might even contribute to a blog post when you are desperate for one. So, dream on ... :)

Jan 11, 2011

How true...

... Loneliness is a state of mind. (quote source unknown to me :))

Dec 30, 2010

A natural flow ...

      One of my friends pointed out that something about my previous post was not natural and it looked like as if I had just written for the sake of writing.Well, though these were things that I wanted to write about , I could see that there was the essentially something missing.
       Looking back at the post, it does look somewhat soulless, probably because I was groping for even simple adjectives and words even though the topic was dear to my heart. Also, the cobwebs of writing infrequently added to the stunted flow of sentences. And after reading the comments, I knew I missed out some of the more interesting patterns. The other thing that was persistently on the back of my mind was "Don't write such long sentences and useless information!". 
           My natural flow of writing is usually haphazard and random . I need to write , prune , cut and re-arrange my ideas and sentences in such a way it looks readable to me to begin with. Also , I had to constantly fight the lethargy of not writing :) So many interesting things float around in your thoughts, but when you try to put it in a blog , disperses away into vague , meaningless, half dead sentences. It's not about the infamous writer's block I am talking about, but rather about my own style of writing blogs. Also, reading a lot doesn't help me when I sit down to write blogs. I am so saturated with the words and ideas of others, I often think I only repeat what I have already read.
            Sometimes interestingly , few ideas do escape this mesh of confusion and land up in a logical format. There were some interesting topics I started with , but they never saw the light of blog-sphere.
Let's see if I can at least put a one-liner for those (for now)
1) The realm of mind - How Inception, Shutter Island and other such movies brought the world of psychology so successfully into movies.
2) The world of HP
3) The art of criticism or rather world of critics:)
4) Toy Story - how a simple story can make your day
              With this post (and incidentally the previous post), I have tried to take of the cynical edge off my posts. Hope I will start writing in my natural way, as I have tried in this post :)

Dec 23, 2010

Two years and some...

Since it's customary to write the experience after a visit away from home , here's a post on my two years of stay in the US.
It's usually the small and the seemingly insignificant things that leaves behind lasting impressions on me.Nevertheless,here they are... 

Dallas skyOne might argue that the sky looks the same everywhere. But in my eyes, Dallas sky had the most to offer. It brings forth such an array of hues, tints, shades, colors and shapes ,one can but wonder at such a marvelous display.The soft pinks , the steely grays , the stormy purples , the golden yellows with an occasional rainbow had that unique personal flavor which never failed to touch me even in my darkest moments.

License plates License plates?? Come on, really... Well , these were the first things that I noticed in the States. Most car license plates carry the state name and the state's nickname . What better way to show off the specialty of  your state ?
Just to name a few , 
Florida - "The Sunshine state " 
Texas -"The Lone star state"
New York - "The Empire state" 
California  - "The Golden state" 
          Doesn't these lines take you,even if just for a few seconds, to an afternoon on a sunny beach ; to a starry night in a wild western desert ; to the soaring skylines of Manhattan; to the golden palms of Cal ? It  does for me every time.I wish that this trend starts in India also. (A Porsche with "Enchanting Tamilnadu" on it.Perfect.)

Refrigerator magnets - these make truly delightful souvenirs !!! The beauty of these magnets is that they depict the attractions of the place in a very concise and creative way.  A simple piece of rock which spells Colorado , a map of California with the its attractions marked, a dried up Cacti in a pot for Arizona, a doodle of Disney characters in "Disney World" might be all that you need to remember the memorable trips u took :)

A solitary  walk, a park and a wooden swing  ... 
                One way to realize the true meaning of a solitary walk is just by venturing out on a cold November night... Though these were by no means nature walks , there is something quite comforting in the thought of walking in the midst of brightly lit ,cheerful homes and not having to meet a living soul for miles around. Though one might question the prudence of walking alone in the night , these walks provided me with the perfect refuge to sort out my jumble of thoughts.
                 In one of my such rambles , i found this quaint neighborhood park. Anonymity is a gift,rarely appreciated . I could sit for hours together just watching (not staring at) the people as they walked their health walks , exercised their pets ,  played a game of football without having to join in ,nod a occasional smile with a perfectly blissful feeling towards the entire world.
                My apartment complex boasted a small creek(if you can call it that) running through its entire length. A few wooden swings are placed along its embankments at discrete distances. To my great surprise , I was the only one who took advantage of these lovely spots. One wooden swing came to be my personal favorite, as it offered a shaded spot dappled by the rays of the setting sun with the additional thrill of swinging away to your heart's content.

A bus 

               ... all for myself!!! Can you believe it ? As an unlicensed car driver , i chose to travel by bus to office. One evening , as I got on the bus , to my great astonishment, I realized that I was the only passenger in the bus.I sincerely believed that the driver would ask me to step down and not waste his precious time. However no such thing happened and I settled down for an exclusive and enjoyable ride back home. Probably , you can appreciate this more, only if you have traveled in the foot board of a Chennai city bus hanging on for dear life ... (it does have its own beauty though.)
                   Though I seem to have picked up a few precious shells in this land of pearls,  they do have some interesting patterns. Don't you think so? :)

Jul 8, 2010

The spectator

          I feel a slowdown in my thoughts , a poison of lethargy passing through my veins , an inertia to break out of the infinite loop of my day-to-day existence.
          I am neither a monk nor a cynic.I locked myself inside a glass cube and life just rushes around in a whirlwind of emotions and colors. I see all the wonder and the beauty in every second of it, but feel no urge to join the fray. There are moments when the drama moves me, but the deeper it moves, the more  I retreat into my glass cage.
          There are quite a few times when I did venture out to learn if I could add a little to the scene , but I end up being in the wrong role or just fumbling through my lines. As I drop out of the scene, the drama settles down into its natural rhythm. Time and again , Destiny patiently sets me in my place ... out in the spectator box. :)
          So has been my life. When people ask me , why is that I am content to watch rather than do , I have no rational answer to the question. Why do I feel that the people out there are already a doing better job and I satisfy myself with a glance at it? Why is it that I am content to just wet my feet , but never let myself swim through the currents? Why doesn't my mind think of competing against someone or doing better or even doing something? Is it plain laziness, a lack of confidence/motivation or a fear of failure? Whether it's a simple video game or a complex algorithm , I love watch it being played or solved rather than play or solve it :). It's probably because I grew up with words swirling through me , that I am not able to relate to actions.
        What would you call someone who loves to see and learn , not to participate , who has too much of data but not enough logic to judge (a dumb system ,eh? ), who weeps and laughs along with the things around her but not exert herself too much to change it for fear of tipping the balance, who realises her faults and others' in the bargain ? (I can hear you people crying mad hatter !! ). 
I would simply call her "a spectator".

Jun 11, 2010

"I am not gonna fall"

                    These truly inspiring words were spoken by none other than a spunky 4 year old, balancing herself on top of a seat in a precariously driven bus with nothing else to hold on to, other than a thin rod and her mother's loving arms.

                       This set me thinking. As we grow up, there are so many things that we gain , but there are some precious little things that we lose as well. What does a child have that which I have lost?
                       A clear eyed perception of the world where even the smallest thing is fascinating and and so refreshingly new...
                       An implicit faith that people are there not to hurt you but be there ready to hold you...
                       A simplistically selfish world with no consciousness of other's opinions or feelings...
                       A world of whites and blacks and no grays, a story of lessons learnt but of neither victories nor defeats, a dimension of infinite space and no limitations.

                       As we grow up,fears manifest, doubts creep through and a consciousness of being accepted, recognized and liked , starts guiding our actions and thoughts. The world starts shrinking to adapt to the limits of the mind.The child in us waits patiently for those lucid moments when a new thought breaks through, when there is an wonderful awareness of the world around us and  for the precious few days when we live for ourselves and as ourselves. 

                        Even today,I can't resist being fascinated by kids for the simple reason that they represent a delightful picture of how we all started out in this quest of life, without guiles , vices  with an eagerness to face all that was offered and learn the biggest lesson of all called 'Life'.

P.S. This post shows only the downside of growing up and has taken the honor of completely digressing from the title :)