January 21, 2011

Kill Bill: Tarantino Effect

Always wanted to see what made Tarantino so famous, and finally saw both volumes of Kill Bill. It was simply brilliant - in all aspects starting from casting to background music. I'm still in awe of the movie. It was a simple storyline - a typical Bollywood revenge saga, but filmed with so much style and craft, made it a classic. 

Uma Thurman did justice to the role, and much more. Sadly, she didn't get many more plum projects later, she was simply brilliant as the Bride. May be its destiny - you only get to play once a role for which you are known all your lifetime. 

Corruption in India

When people abroad think of India, corruption immediately comes to mind. Thanks to a mismanaged Commonwealth Games, our best kept secret is out before everyone. 

Never before was the world aware of this deep rooted malaise in our society - where everyone who is in any way related to government is corrupt (well, at least 99% are). A country which hasn't issued a single passport till date without innumerable bribes at various levels, really can't expect to be a superpower. To remove corruption, one has to start with the guardian of the public - the police system. I was reading an article on how Hong Kong changed its corrupt systems completely and is now the freest economy in the world. There was rampant corruption in HK in 70s and 80s, but they started the change with police department. And within two decades most of the systems got cleaned. I guess we need something similar in India as well. 

Another layer which needs to be cleaned are the politicians - at least the nexus between them and the under world. I do not expect them to get clean anytime over the next few decades, but at least they can stop supporting the illegal activities. Presently, we have the rulers supporting the terrorists - and its the public which suffers. Most of the goons have political backing and support. Worse, in some cases those goons are themselves elected representatives. 

None of the other countries in the ASEAN region are so corrupt. They have other issues, but they do not plunder nation's wealth. They do not have the level of poverty we have in India. I had great hopes from Manmohan Singh when he was sworn as the PM in his first tenure. But I now firmly believe he also supports the corrupt leaders, if not corrupt himself. Coalition politics is no excuse for looting the nation - which is surprisingly the excuse given by Congress time and again for all its wrong decisions. Sadly, we do not have good alternatives as well - almost all the parties are on similar footings. 

January 15, 2011

Decade That Just Passed By

I just realized that this new year has brought in a new decade as well. And thinking back, a lot has changed over the past 10 years around the world. 

Back in 2000, Google was the cool thing, and ardent followers used to wait for April 1 to be fooled (this was the day when Gmail was launched). I regularly checked the official Google blog for new products coming out of their stable, and they kept the world guessing. First with the email, and then the Gtalk messenger. Google has almost killed Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Messenger - and the buzzing sound of a messenger window that used to come from almost every room on the hostel floor. So, chats became silent, and you could never tell what the guy in the other room was doing. 

After a decade, Google has lost its 'cool' tag, and its no longer the 'IT' company. Page and Brin are no longer the new wonder boys from silicon valley, and don't feature on the Times Magazine cover anymore. They are now busy defending their empires, and look much more similar to Microsoft than they have ever looked in their life time. 

Now we have two companies which are the apple of everyone's eye - Apple and Facebook. One is an old hand, the Phoenix in the technology world (which is a rarity), and other is a new born baby (which is a norm) in the industry. 

Everyone waits for Apple's annual events, and people line up for new i-xxx (which ever product they launch). There is a whole industry dedicated to guessing what its next product would be, and how they can gain from it. Facebook on the other hand is the baby which is loved by all, and everyone wants a piece of it. Half of the world is waiting for the email invite from Facebook, and check if its really the game changer people fear it to be. However, this is 2011, and things may very change in 2021 or even 2015. Five years is a long time in this industry, and there are also new whiz kids waiting for steal the thunder. 

P.S. - I own an iPhone, and in spite of all its restrictions, find it as a great phone. Ultra Sleek, and miles ahead in beauty from all other phones in the market, this is a no-brainer. At least for now!

January 13, 2011

Shock and After Effects

The year hasn't had a great start for me, but the good thing about hitting a low is that things can mostly go better from there. There are possibilities of life worsening, but with very little probability. So, as things stand, I'm hopeful about what the rest of 2011 has in store for me. I will more about the shock and my feelings when things settle down. 

Otherwise life is moving slowly now, and have watched the first 3 installment of the Harry Potter series. The movies are nice and grand, but a little lengthy with too many unnecessary diversions (at least this is what I think at this moment). May be, they all converge towards the end, or may be not. Hopefully shall be done with the other 3 as well by the end of this week. 

Another movie which I watched recently was 'Hyderabad Blues' - a movie which released some 15 years ago. It was one of the first 'different' movies, and gave instant recognition to its maker Nagesh Kukunoor. It was a nice movie, but with patchy acting. In fact, apart from the subject and the whole situation, I don't think it was a great movie. But again, it was 15 years ago, and a lot has changed since then. So may be I'm unable to go back in time enough to appreciate it. 

January 9, 2011

Harry Potter: Finally

Its been pending for a long long time, and I finally started watching my long list of 'must watch' movies. And prominent amongst them are the two series - Harry Potter and LOTR. 

Just saw the first movie in the Harry Potter series yesterday, and loved it. Its been amazing that all these years I have somehow postponed watching them. I always wanted to read the books first, and somehow never got down to doing it. Now, may be the realization has dawned on me that may be I would never be reading the books - so at least I better watch the movies at least. And if I watch them soon enough, I would get the see the last of the movies on the big screen. Would be watching the 2nd and 3rd installment tonight. 

January 6, 2011

Winters in HK

Winters are an awesome time to be in Hong Kong - it looks really beautiful around that time. Its not all that cold, and has a nice chilly breeze blowing for almost whole of the day. There are days when the sun comes out as well - making it all the more awesome. People are dressed in black coats and over-coats, its really quite different than the scene back in India. Foreign locations are very clean, and hence look great. The otherwise very colorful dressings are replaced by black mostly, but it looks awesome nonetheless. 

On a different note, was thinking about the sundry things you miss about India when you are abroad. And its an irony that I miss Indian Chinese, and Indian Pizza more than pure Indian cuisines. One can find Indian cuisines at foreign locations, but am yet to locate Indian style foreign cuisine. May be, I would need to be back in India to get my hands on them. That makes me someone who eats Indian here in HK, and Chinese/Italian in India - such is life!

January 2, 2011

New Life, New Ways

The title of the post is misleading, and nothing great has changed in my life. Its just that I couldn't think of any better name, and hence named it with the first word that came to my mind. And this being the New Year, 'New' is always the first thing that comes up. Anyways, at least now I know that I'm not the only one who find giving subject lines and titles cumbersome (with FB mail doing away with subject line completely). 

I was catching up on some of the recent hindi movies which I had missed due to marriage preparations, and some of them turned out to be interesting. I wouldn't say nice, but they were quite different than the typical stuff our movie industry dishes out. 

First of these movie was 'We Are Family', a typical enter-hall-with-tissue-bags movie. However, all its shortcomings apart, the movie wasn't preachy. Never did once the characters blamed each other for infidelity or lack of commitment. Never did they try to patch up things, and neither did they show the past events again and again. It was a mature movie, focussing on 'what is to be done next', rather than harping on what went wrong and how it could be corrected. Finally, we are coming out of black and white images, and our characters are real life people with shades of grey. 

Another movie was 'Anjaana Anjaani', and I so wish they had taken someone else for PC's part. For one, she looks older than RK, and never looked like the age she was playing. And secondly, her acting talents are quite limited in these kind of roles - someone younger might have played the part much better. Coming back to the movie (which certainly isn't an original, still), it was a nice change from usual rom-coms. Here was a movie with tremendous potential, and RK did his part well. I don't know what was wrong, but something was missing in the movie - the story, the editing, the pace. The characters weren't well developed, and were not believable. The thing I liked about the movie was again the characters in it didn't try too hard trying to explain/justify themselves. They have a life, and they want to move on with it. It was an attempt to recreate 'Hangover' kind of movie. This time they failed, however we may soon see better versions. 

Tomorrow is the first day of new year in office. Though nothing has changed, and it would be just like any other day, but still. Another year has passed, and I have been working for over 3 and a half years now. In June, our batch shall be celebrating 4 years of work life. Its indeed been a long journey, and years later we can safely tell the stories - we were there at the trading floor when the world almost collapsed during the crisis. We were there when Bear Sterns Collapsed, and when Lehman went belly up. More on this later - its an interesting phase we are in. 

January 1, 2011

First Post: 2011

The New Year is here, and hopefully it brings joy and happiness to everyone. 2010 was a milestone year for me, and a lot of things happened - I got my first car (Honda City), bought my first DSLR (D90), moved to HK, got Married, and got an iPhone and MacBook.  

As expected, 2010 was a busy year and all things would settle down slowly. All the big changes are a step towards stability, and I guess 2011 would be a relatively quieter year in terms of events planned. Also, this year I won't have punitive resolutions, but only wishful ones:

Firstly, I would be reducing the time spend on Facebook. Its a place where you can interact with everyone whom you don't want to meet in real life. For real friends, try to meet them or at least call them. So, this year, I would call my friends on their birthdays/marriages to wish them, instead of sending a message on Facebook. 

Secondly, I need to hit the gym - the food in HK is bland from Indian standards, and hence I end up eating a lot of snacks. I need to start walking 30 minutes a day, or better still hit the gym 2-3 times a week. Lets see how this one pans out. 

Thirdly, I plan to visit at least one completely new country this year - by completely new country I mean one which is not very similar to ones I have already visited - like some Asian countries are similar, and so are some European ones. I guess I might go to New Zealand or Japan this year (or may be both :P).

And finally, I plan to learn a new language this year. I enrolled for French classes in my MBA program, but never took it seriously. In fact, didn't even attend more than a couple of classes. I'm yet to decide on the language, but it would be either French or Mandarin - it might also depend on availability option. 

Thats all for this years wishes. And of course I plan to watch innumerable number of movies and TV serials.