Thursday, August 16, 2007

Chak De India ... !!

You would to yell out that slogan in order to get people going to see this movie. Yeah, its precisely that good. This being said by a person who hates SRK top to bottom. For the time being, I need to keep my reservations against SRK aside. Only the 2nd SRK movie that I have liked so far. Of course, there have been some that I haven't seen yet. But lets talk about the movie.

From the opening sequence till the time the team lands in India with the World Cup, the movie is rivetting. Though the onus shifts to the actual matches in the 2nd half, it doesnt make you lousy. I must say this is an intense performance by SRK. He is especially good in the scenes where he is displaying the plight of facing the wrath of the entire nation after he misses the penalty stroke against Pakistan. His sense of accomplishment after winning the World Cup makes you admire his expressions.

But the movie belongs to the interactions between SRK and his team. And what a team. No wonder we use the phrase "Unity in Diversity" so often. Even though unity will always fall short of diversity, it still makes for inspirational viewing. There are some highlight reel scenes when SRK takes the entire team out for lunch and when the team loses against the men's team of India.

In hindsight, you always know what is going to happen but the journey is quite fulfilling. I would seriously recommend this movie to every Indian. However, the movie doesnt make me feel that I will now watch all SRK movies :).

Cheers ... !!

Monday, July 30, 2007

New Arrivals ... !!

Well, don't read that title as an extension of my married life ... ;). Its just that our home has been blessed with the arrival of new electronic goods as well some other stuff. Its quite obvious that my wife has been the catalyst for more than a few of these new attractions.

Since I am quite a laid back organism, I seldom buy new stuff for me (read: clothes, footwear, bags, etc). My wife had been coaxing me to pay a visit to Camp or Laxmi Road (I'm sure these 2 hot spots are not the only 2 options anymore on Pune's shopping map) to get me a new look. On a lazy Sunday evening, we hit Laxmi Road in our endeavor to shrug off my ragged look. We had received a Gift Voucher from my company of Rs. 3500, the reason being that I got married while I was in AirTight. Keep them coming folks !!

In an hour's time, I had doubled (or maybe tripled) my clothes count of the last 5 years. 4 trousers, 4 shirts, 3 t shirts and a belt. I have never had to strip so many times in an hour before. I am sure I lost at least 2 kgs in the process. We went on to buy a raincoat and a bag for me (I had to bid adieu to the Persistent bag after using it for 2 and a half years).

We moved from Laxmi Road to FC Road. My cell had been troubling me for some time now. We got a new Sony cell in exchange for my old Sony cell. After hopping across to JM Road, we got a new wristwatch for my wife. Aah. so much for one day ... !!

Back home, our TV was also showing signs of being on its last legs. My Dad had been talking about a Plasma LCD TV for a long time. Last Thursday, when I went back home after office, I could hear nearly all the members of my family in unison as I made my way towards our apartment. No wonder the hue and cry was coz of the new Plasma TV that has just arrived and what a beauty it is. 32 inches of Black Beauty. Ahem .. mind your imagination ... ;).

What a coincidence it was when I came to office the next day and saw a Digicam on my desk. It was the one that I had asked my colleague to get from the States. He had just returned a day back and I was overjoyed to finally get my hands on my own camera.

I had picked up some photography nuances from my dear friend Amit Gupte just 2 weekends ago. I was looking forward to put them in practice and I feel I have done a decent job.

So its like me and my family have been upgraded to the next version with so many new arrivals ... it would be tough replicating this sequence .... Cheers ... !!

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Wishing syndrome .... !!

Wishing ... Aaah, nowdays its like an achievement if you wish someone on time, given the so called hectic schedule that drives people nuts. Over the years, I have stumbled upon an interesting, yet weird, pattern about wishing people. Instead of classifying your friends as good, bad, best, bitch (ahem .. !!), you can group them according to the way you wish them.

There are many sophisticated ways to wish people in the modern era. So what exactly are the categories ? To sample a few, there is the good old fashioned greeting card (hard copy of course) which can be used to wish a friend who is marginally better than another friend for whom the soft copy version of the card may suffice. Mind you, BETTER over here is in terms of friendship ... ;)

Then you have electronic mail, a telephone call, an SMS or Orkut that can double up as a birthday alarm too. What a pity that you need a birthday alarm to remind you about the special days of your friends. In this case, not wishing someone can mean lots of things too ... ;)

Of course, meeting the person in person (confusing ?) takes the cake as well as the bakery it seems. There is no better feeling than to wish a person by meeting him/her. FEELING over here means the feeling of the person being wished ... ;)

Here is my prioroty list for wishing, in descending order of FRIENDSHIP.

Wish in person
Post a greeting card
Call the person
Email a greeting card
Plain simple Email
Orkut scrap
Dont wish

So how do you categorize the friendship (or the lack of it) of your friends ?

Cheers .... !!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Cows and Bulls .... !!

You never know what would make you nostalgic. During the week, I experienced one instance of NOSTALGIA when I drove my friend's scooter for a while. Memories of Wadias came storming back when I used to have immense pride in going to college on my Dad's Bajaj Super every Saturday. The pride originated from the fact that on other days I had to be content in driving my sister's Sunny which isnt the most "pridey" bike you can ever ride. But after reminiscing about this piece of History, I thought I wont feel nostalgic for quite some time but I was pleasantly mistaken. After a hectic schedule at office for over 5 months, I found myself idle. Coinciding with my leisure was another interesting occurence. My wife found a way to be online on Yahoo which hadn't happened for the last 3 years. Since she was also idle, we decided to play a game. The game goes by the weird name of COWS AND BULLS.

I remember playing this game in all the periods (since I am talking about School, I am calling it periods instead of lectures) in School that were either boring or I was occupying one of the last 2 benches. The primary pre requisite of the game is that you should have an equally enthusiastic opponent. Here are the rules.

Its predominantly a 2 player game though nothing stops you from making it 1 vs n. Lets assume that its a 1 vs 1 game. Lets call them Player 1 and Player 2. Now Player 1 thinks of a 4 digit number. There are some constraints on this number. Firstly, it should not start with a zero. Secondly, no digit in the number should repeat.

Now, Player 2 starts guessing the number. Suppose Player 1 thought of 2758 and Player 2 guessed 1786 in his first attempt. Player 1 would compare the guessed number (1786) with his own number (2758). Player 1 will find that 7 and 8 are the digits that are present in his number (2758) whereas 1 and 6 aren't. Now he will compare the positions of 7 and 8 in his number. 7 is the second digit in the guessed number as well as his own number. All such digits that are present and also in the correct position are called BULLS. But 8 is not at the correct position since it is the 3rd digit in the guessed number as 4th in the actual number thought of by Player 1. All such digits that are present but at the wrong position are called COWS.

So Player 1's response to the guess of 1786 by Player 2 would be 1 BULL and 1 COW. Player 2 will then know that out of 1786, two digits are correct and 2 are wrong. Out of the 2 correct, 1 is at the correct position and 1 is at the wrong position. Of course, Player 1 doesnt mention which 2 digits are BULLS AND COWS. Player 2 takes note of this and proceeds with his second guess and so on until Player 2 guesses the number correctly. Both players keep track of the number of attempts to guess the number.

Now, Player 2 thinks of a number and Player 1 guesses. If Player 1 guesses the number in lesser attempts as compared to Player 2, Player 1 wins and vice-versa.

I find it tough to imagine this as a game since it can be an extremely challenging exercise to hone your Logical Reasoning skills.

Its interesting thinking that I spent 3 years (Grade 8 to Grade 10) playing this game in school but only hit upon it 9 years later.

Happy Playing .... !!

Cheers .. !!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Half baked movies .... !!

It feels great to return to Blogging. The last six months have been the most gruelling in my life. Getting my house in order post marriage, running errands on weekends, meeting up with my millions of in-laws and top it all, the work schedule at office are some of the things that have kept me busy. The inspiration to write again arose from one of the movies I caught up on TV over the weekend.

The movie made me think about the number of movies having contrasting halves. Either the movie is great before the interval or picks up in the second half. The movie in question is Hera Pheri. Yes, I know most of the people rave about it a lot but personally I feel it loses its charm in the second half.

Other such first half masterpieces according to me (I am sorry I have to use "according to me" to avoid being blasted) are Ishq, Satte pe Satta, Aankhen, Ram Lakhan, DDLJ, Khuda Gawah, Khalnayak etc. Of late, Cheeni Kum is being criticised to follow the same trend but I feel it is a bit harsh. Even the legendary Sholay wanes in the second half.

There are movies that follow an opposite trend of a lacklustre first half brightening up post interval like Satya, Company, Mr. India, Karma, etc.

But there are some that keep you hooked for their entire length like Trishul, DON (old one), Maqbool, Sarfarosh, Andaz Apna Apna, Ardh Satya, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, Amar Akbar Anthony, Bheja Fry, Sarkar, etc.

I wont go into the details of movies that are pathetic in all respects.

Happy patchy viewing.

Cheers ... !!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Black Friday .... !!

Well, a prelude to begin with. We (my wife and I) had tickes booked for the 10 30 pm show. But we had run some errands around the city the entire day and were dead tired by the time we reached home at 7 pm. Hadnt boozed for a while. So we dug deep into our coffers and got 180 ml of manna, more commonly called Vodka. 2 bottoms up each down the line, we were entrenched into oblivion. The movie had evaporated from our minds. Fortunately, we fell short of Chakna and I had to visit my wallet again and my fingers hit something shiny, white and smooth in texture. Those were the tickets. The time was 10 05 pm. The next thing we knew was that we were at Inox at 10 25 pm, well in time. But we had forgotten to change. I was still in my pyjamas while my wife was in her Bermudas. Of course we had clothes on top ... :). Im sure we were the laughing stock of the crowd. But kya karein .... hota hai.

So about the movie ... hhhhmmm. Goodish movie. Actually that would be an under exaggeration. It was quite good. The best I have seen in the last cycle of the year. Anurag Kashyap has had a problem with the release of his movies in the past. And I can see why.

For much of the movie, you feel as if you are seeing a documentary or a news channel. But it doesnt bore you. Rather, you get hooked onto the screen like stamp to a letter. The intrigue is generated from the fact that the blasts happened at a time when I was a kid, so I was double interested in the presentation of the movie. The maligning of Babri Masjid and the subsequent turmoil of the Muslims are the highlight. It again underlines the fact that India is perhaps the country where people fight within themselves more than against others.

Pavan Malhotra as Tiger Memon is sublime. He is calm throughout except when his office is burned down by some Hindus. Kay Kay stamps his authority with another elegant essay. He is great in the interrogation scenes. The bits and pieces actors also shine throughout the movie. There is actual footage from 1993 that stick out like a sore thumb on democracy.

To conclude, a movie worth a watch.

Cheers ... !!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Addy .....

Addy .... Adu ... Adyaa ... Aditya Prabhakar Kamble. My best friend. He left for heaven yesterday morning leaving behind a sea of tears and his impeccable personality.

I know people would be thinking why is Pratik writing about such a sad event. But Addy was such an influence that I cant keep it back. We knew each other since we were 3 years old. Went to the same pre nursery school. Took it forward with the same school. We used to go home in the same PMT bus everyday (8006). He got down at Netaji Nagar. Initially I used to get down at Wanorie and after some time I went till the last stop of Kondhwa. Someway down the line we got fed up and started taking a lift home. We always urged the person giving us a lift to take us both else we wouldnt come. And finally we ended up going home together on our bicycles. We went to Alaka talkies for 3 consecutive days on our bicycles to book the tickets of Titanic way back in 1998. But since it was a very popular movie we never got tickets. Finally, one day we went there at 6 am itself .. :).

I always took him with me for shopping since his sense of clothes was light years ahead of me. We were extension of each others' families. No wonder my family was weeping like hell yesterday. We both (only the 2 of us mind u) went to Tirupati and Chennai in 9th standard for a good 8 days. People called us mad men and we were proud to be mad. We even went shit scared to see porn movies at Alpana. Gosh .. those were the days.

He taught me how to drive a geared bike using his mother's M-80. When I bought my Yamaha, I rode to his place and I was so proud that he was the first person after me to drive the bike. The tie that I wore for my reception was chosen by him. When I met with an accident in 12th standard, he bought me home and then took me to the hospital. Whenever we were bored, he would come to my place and we played video games the entire day. From losing 6-0, 6-0 in a game of Tennis at Level 1, we went on to win 6-0,6-0 at Level 5. He played at the net and I played from the baseline.

In my hour of despair 2 years back, Addy and his family were at the forefront of solving our misery. The first person who came to my mind in any kind of problem was Addy. If I would have had a Christian wedding, he would have been my Best Man. He was scheduled to go to London on Feb 6th to pursue a course in Tourism. An avid chef, he always asked me to come with him for some drinks. Drinks was just a reason ... we ended up talking about our problems. Whenever either of us felt like having a beer, we went to an isolated military area in Lulla Nagar from where we could see the entire city.

I even proposed to Amruta from Addy's place using his telephone when there were 6 digit telephone numbers. 672554 ... that was his number. In school, we were in the same house. He always defeated me in short distance races while I held the upper hand in long distance races. He used to put newspapers in his pants to avoid getting hurt while being caned by teachers .... :)

He was a year junior to me academically. I remember he was applying for admission for 11th standard in Wadias and he met me at a place called "The Theatre" in Wadias and he asked, "Pratik, Commerce lu yaa Science lu ?". Knowing his academic acumen, I asked him to apply for Commerce. But I had to face the wrath of his parents later that evening since they wanted him to take up Science. He applied for Science at SP college later.

One of the weirdest things we did was that we went to Lonavla one fine day coz we were getting bored. We walked from Lonavla station to Bushy Dam and decided to trek a bit on a hilly area just next to Bushy Dam. Since it was December, it was reltively hot in the afternoon. The next thing we knew was that we were trekking in our underwears to get rid of the heat. We walked from Bushy dam back to the station in underwears. Phew ... !!

He always feared of being a virgin all his life. I'm so gutted that his fear came true. I dont know if stuff like this and porn should be mentioned but we hardly care. He always said ... "Pratik, ek din traffic ruk jaayega mere liye". And yes Sir, you did cause a traffic jam yesterday ... !!

I have cried enough. Addy, you didnt have a right to do this to us. My Orkut testimonial for you would never be fulfilled .... Dude I will MISS U. LOVE U TONS MAN ... Cant say Cheers ... though you liked that word a lot.

Adieu ....

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Tune into Advertising .... !!

There is an Ad doing the rounds in which a teenaged boy is praising some instances where the Indian cricket team has performed extremely well. While it makes very good viewing for a cricket fan like me, it does expose the frailities of Advertisement. Every walk of life should be well tuned to the happenings especially something like Advertising.

The first clip of video shows India defeating England in the Natwest series final at Lords in 2002. Who can forget that ? But the catalysts of that victory namely Yuvraj and Kaif are both out of the team. Kaif for his poor run of scores while Yuvraj for his injury hassles. While the state of Yuvraj can still be forgiven, that of Kaif makes you feel whether that video should still be shown. I wonder when I will be able to see Yuvraj, Kaif and Raina bully the batsmen by acting like a wall in the circle.

The next video shows Virender Sehwag hitting a six off Saqlain Mushtaq to go from 295 to 301 at Multan in 2004. As sublime as that moment was, in today's context it should go off the air since Viru is going through a bad phase. This does not undermine his capability as a match winner. But with a technique like his, this was bound to happen. I am still an ardent admirer of this man and would like to see him back sooner than later.

The next video shows Irfan Pathan taking a hat trick in the first over of the test match at Karachi in January 2006. I remember watching it live on the hospital bed at Jehangir Hospital last year. No one has ever taken a hat trick in the first over of a test match. But then, even Irfan transformed from a wicket taking genie to gift-a-boundary laggard.

So what exactly goes into advertising. I know that all these 3 videos are landmarks in Indian cricketing history but there has to be some thought process that goes into catching the fancy of the people at the right time ....

Cheers ... !!