Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Journalists don’t matter! :Blog # 311

Journalists don’t matter!


It is said that Arnab Goswami has lied. Worse, he has been caught doing so. Arnab spoke about an incident that happened during Gujarat Riots. Rajdeep Sardesai said that it happened with himself and not with Arnab.

What importance does this have for common people like you and I? Is it a revelation that people in media lie? Didn’t we know this earlier? People in media, politics, business and everywhere else lie. What is so shocking about this? There are very few humans who don’t lie.

Now Rahul Kanwal has decided to go ahead and do a panel discussion about this on prime time television! This is exactly what is wrong with media these days. 

A couple of questions to those in media:

1.      How is Arnab’s lie going to affect the common man?

2.      Is Arnab’s lying something of national importance? Outside the newsrooms and media huddles, what credible impact does this event have?

3.      What is with people in media that they accord so much of importance to themselves? No one regards journalists as super humans. They are doing their work and earning their salary just like anyone else. Only people who consider people from media as Gods are those in the newsroom. I respect journalists for the good work that they do. The same way I respect an IT engineer or a Traffic Policeman or a School teacher. But beyond that, Journalists don’t matter to us. It is News that matters.

4.      What is this discussion trying to convey?

a.      Is it the fact that journalists lie? – We, the people know that already.

b.      Are you saying that if journalists lie, the fourth estate will lose its credibility and thus will weaken democracy? – We, the people have seen this over the last couple of years. Remember Neera Radia?

c.      Are you trying to make a dent in the TRP of Arab’s show? – Be creative. Do hard hitting stories. And add a bit of Arnab-ness to it. Some drama, some screaming, some emotion will help. Do not go overboard like him and silence all the panelists (Then you and him will be the same.)

5.      People deserve to know the truth. Is that your argument? We know the truth already. We have an internet connection. If you are hell bent on letting people know, add it as a one liner on your ticker. There is no need for a panel discussion.

I am no expert on media. But my humble request to those in media is to discuss the below topics:

1.       Humanitarian crises across the world (Rohingya issue)
2.      Issues with our education system
3.      Employment concerns
4.      Business environment
5.      Need for infrastructure development
6.      National politics
       Climate Change
7.      International relationships between nations
8.      Sports, Arts & Entertainment and so on.

Did you see ‘Media & Journalists’ in the above list? No. That can be discussed in your own gatherings and awards. At best, on YouTube channels – Not on prime time television please!


Monday, 18 September 2017

Blog on Dulquer Salman’s Filmography #6 : Blog # 310

Blog on Dulquer Salman’s Filmography #6


Ever heard of the phrase, 'spoilt for choice'?. That's exactly how Dulquer should be feeling now. There are a slew of really interesting projects lined up for DQ. To begin with, 'Solo' looks quite intriguing. It is a bilingual which is being made simultaneously in Tamil and Malayalam. It is an anthology which describes the story of 4 different people. From the little what we could see, each of the 4 characters look clearly etched out, attended to and carefully nurtured. Here are some posters. Is it just me? Or do you also see the depth in this poster? The character who is about to pull the trigger is facing a dilemma. He does not want to shoot the other person. There is a lot of pain there. Each of the other posters that are unveiled tell the tale of a similar intrigue. I so love the fact that each character is introduced in a very unique way – “World of Shiva”, “World of Shekhar” et al. One can see that this is a film made with so much of heart!


Next up is my personal favorite, Mahanati! Imagine being able to play Gemini Ganesan. What more could an actor ask for? I have felt that Tamil movie stars are stars in the true sense of the word. Me being from Kerala know that we Malayalees love our movie stars. There is no doubt about it. We respect them for the talent that they have. But the devotion that Tamil movie stars get, the demigod status that they enjoy might be missing in Kerala. That is exactly why actors like Gemini Ganesan and Sivaji Ganesan enjoyed such stratospherically high stardom and reverence. Imagine the high of playing such a character! Here is a poster of the same.


We got a glimpse worth the bat of an eyelid from the below poster that was shared on DQ’s twitter handle. The eternally elusive Sukumara Kuruppu!. He is one recluse that the Kerala police have not been able to capture in a time span of the very filmy 24 hours! J


Coming to the one we can all look forward to for now – Parava. I couldn’t find much info about the movie online. But it looks very promising. I somehow feel it will be a sort of movie that leaves our hearts uplifted and crushed all at once. Here is wishing all the best for this film. May the Parava soar far and wide. 



Here is a very minimalist tribute to some of Dulquer's best films:



Earlier blogs on Dulquer’s Filmography:


Blog 1 : The rise of a new star


Blog 2: Bangalore days and more

Blog 3 : The grand entrance to Tamil film industry

Blog 4 : Charlie all the way

Blog 5 : Comrade in America 

Friday, 15 September 2017

Shocking story of Jimikki Kammal : Blog# 309

Shocking story of Jimikki Kammal

Wonder what the lyrics of the song, Jimikki Kammal mean? Read the below story and find out J. Click here to see the lyrics of the song. Go through the lyrics quickly and then read the below story.

It was an early morning at the beautiful town of Thrissur in Kerala. Milu was having her morning tea. She suddenly heard her mother shriek. She was startled and she spilled her tea on the Mathrubhumi newspaper she was reading. Theirs was an old Kerala house with a vast compound. She thought of running to the open well first. Then she realized that the sound came from the courtyard inside the house. When she reached there, she saw her mother bawling with tears pouring. 

Worried, she asked her mother “What happened, Amma? Tell me!”. Her mother struggled for words and said “Your father…”. Milu couldn’t believe her ears. She asked “What happened to my dad? Tell me Amma! Tell me!”. Her mother angrily said “Your father is fine! But he stole my Jimikki Kammal!!!” Milu couldn’t believe her ears. She had planned to wear it for the Onam celebration at her college. She had already posted a couple of pics on her Instagram handle with hashtags #jimikkigirl #jimmikkimybestie and of course, #daddysprincess!
 
She told her mother. “Amma! There is no use crying. You should steal something which is equally valuable to dad!”. Both of them started thinking. Suddenly, an idea struck both of them! The brandy bottle that his friend gifted him! Without wasting a second, the mother went inside the bedroom and finished the bottle of brandy! Milu watched in shock. “Amma! I never knew you are such an accomplished drunkard!”. 

Intoxicated, Amma started talking to Milu. “Milu, Years before, there was a time when Chakara (Fisherman’s festival) and Vallamkali (boat race) happened together near our shores. During that time, many people lost their towels. It was at that time that I realized waves should not try to befriend the wind. Also, the warlord of the time was a womanizer.” Milu asked “What are you saying Amma? You are not making any sense!You please keep quiet and take rest!”

Amma continued “No! I want to talk. I need to give you some life lessons today. Do you know that prawns have the ability to jump only till the knees? At best, it will jump in to a pan. Not beyond that. I don’t want you to be prawns. I want you to be a Salmon who jumps across rivers and travels through the world, my dear”

 “You shouldn’t waste time playing board games. Please know that those who trouble you will never find their own life easy. Karma is a bitch!” Milu was shocked to hear her mother using the B-word.

“There are times in life when you so want to see a ray of sunshine but you shy away from stepping in to the sun. But if you don’t allow the Sun to shine on you, how will you ever see the ray? ” Milu wondered if her mother has always been this smart!

“Dear child, we take on many roles in our life. It is time you changed the current one you are donning now and faced life for what it is. Be more responsible. Be a grown up!”

“Once, your dad and I went to Malayattoor church for the festival. Something which we thought will have devastating consequences in our lives turned out to be nothing. We were so relieved. When we stepped out of the church, there was a mid-summer rain which reflected our state of minds!”

p.s. If you haven’t got it already, this is a satirical take on the lyrics of the song “Jimikki Kammal” which is taking the world by storm :). You may watch the song in the below video.



Here is an equally popular version by Sheril and her friends from Indian School of Commerce:




Monday, 26 June 2017

Best Religion in the World ~ Eid Mubarak ~ Blog #305

Best Religion in the World


Do you ever wonder which is the best religion in the world? Is it yours? Is it mine? Watch this video to see my take on it. Let us pass on a hug and spread some love :). Eid Mubarak :)

For more videos,please subscribe to the YouTube channel, #PinkLungy 





Monday, 19 June 2017

Let us Save English: Blog # 304

Let’s save English!


It is time we saved English, one word at a time! Please watch and share the below video :)



 

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

A Pretentious Letter from the Principal’s desk: Blog # 303

A Pretentious Letter from the Principal’s desk


Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication is a quote attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. Some of us writers just don’t appreciate the essence of that quote. There is a tendency for many writers to flaunt our seemingly endless vocabulary even in the smallest of articles we write. Below is the most pretentious of all letters that I have seen so far. It is from a School Principal’s desk, no less. I wonder what kind of exasperating farrago of distortions those poor kids face! ;)

Let me try to summarize the below letter in simple words:

Paragraph 1 – The world around us is changing.
Paragraph 2 – We need to teach our children good values.
Paragraph 3- Our world is in trouble.
Paragraph 4 – The generation of today need to take charge of our tomorrow.
Paragraph 5 – Our school journal ‘Beacon’ aspires to make people think, reflect and thus develop a fresh perspective towards the world. 




Arun Babu

Friday, 2 June 2017

The problem with House of Cards: Blog # 302

The problem with House of Cards


Although a little late into the ‘seasons’, I have begun watching the series, House of Cards. I am in love with the story, the plot, the drama et al. Ofcourse, it goes without saying that the cast and their acting prowess is beyond excellence. Like millions around the globe, House of cards, the sitcom has left me too, sleep deprived and addicted.

House of Cards, Series, Sitcom, Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright
Now, what in my view is the problem with this brilliant series? My issue is with the protagonists and the lead characters. They are conniving, ungrateful, materialistic, lacking in morals and human decency. I tried looking at them as characters with shades of gray. NO! Most of them all dark - beyond doubt.

I was discussing this with a friend of mine today. She said that she is happy with the emergence of this new concept in entertainment wherein the lead characters are purely negative. I agree with her. It is a bold and different move. Easier, tried and tested approach is to portray likable characters. This is giving rise to a new way of projection of characters. The difference in approach is always a delight, more so when it is in the field of creativity.

But, what about the impact this kind of portrayal causes on the audience? Is it sending out a message that being ruthless, crude, mean and throwing away values to the wind is acceptable? Does it glorify the approach of achieving one’s goals with no regard at all to the means?

One can argue that a series should be taken as just that – a work of fiction leading to entertainment. One shouldn’t expect it to serve a greater cause. But isn’t that the purpose of art- to serve a greater cause? This series is immensely popular. There are a lot of youngsters watching it. They can buy into the approaches taken by the protagonists. They might as well start approaching their lives just the way the lead characters in this series do. Are you thinking that this is similar to the argument of blaming films for all the heinous acts that people do in real life? No. There is a difference. Whatever we have seen so far doesn’t usually inspire a thinking, educated, well-read person, to turn evil. It is largely, the gullible ones who fall prey to such blind imitations. The reason why the brighter minds did not have those inclinations is because the lead characters were never completely dark. There were gray ones for sure. But I haven’t seen glorification and justification of darkness like what we see in this series.

I am not naïve to hope for only characters with divine qualities in series and films. I understand that people aren’t black and white. All of us have elements of gray in us. But we all make a conscious effort to fight the darkness within. We try to avoid entering the dark zone, however grave the need for realizing our ambitions may be. Stories like House of Cards weaken such efforts and intentions. That is where my concern lies.

Arun Babu 

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Pictories #4 ~ Of Pictures & their Stories : Blog #301

Pictories #4 ~ Of Pictures & their Stories



I feel photographs were way ahead of their times, a bit like some people. Photos were around since we were kids. But they are getting their due only now. Earlier, we used to take pictures, look at them, admire them and then lock them away in plastic albums. They never got their due. But now, they are liked, commented on and reacted to at multiple platforms. This is the era of Photography! Here are a few of my clicks and the crazy thoughts that were passing through my mind when I was clicking those pics. 

Chocolates, Candy, Childhood, Fun, Food, Sugar

I don’t know what is with me and chocolates/candies. I LOVE them, so much so that any friend/relative returning from abroad know what to get me (I keep reminding them shamelessly ;) ). But this one was from Namma Bengaluru. My friends Partha, John and I were hanging out at a mall and happened to see this candy store. We bought these. I was delighted, to say the least, to have them. I think it is some happy memory from childhood that I associate with them which makes me want to have them again, again and again!


Thrissur, Thrissur Pooram, Kerala, Gods own country, Festival


There is a 200-year-old temple festival called “Thrissur Pooram” in my hometown, Thrissur in Kerala. This moment captured here is when the Lord comes out of the temple to participate in one of the most significant ceremonies of the festival. What you see here are the symbols of the Lord announcing his arrival. I was drenched in the Kerala summer surrounded by the cacophony of thousands of people. Yet, I distinctly remember that there was a solace about this moment. 

Lillies, White Lillies, Flowers, Nature, Garden


Those little things that look like tiny little stars in a galaxy are lilies. I was walking through my office from one building to another and there they were, bright, beautiful and buoyant. It’s wonderful as to how a sight can lift your spirits, isn’t it? These flowers were such a sight to behold. I just wanted to sit there and wait for them to bloom. But then, life comes in the way of such beautiful things J


Anklets, Accessories, Kerala

I was home for Vishu, the Kerala Newyear. My little cousin was wearing those anklets. How so beautiful, arent they? I made her remove them and then help me make this pattern. It isn’t as easy as you think. We easily spend about 20 minutes to make them stay like that. But then, look at that color! Who wouldn’t want to click a picture?

Chairs, Power, Corporate, Games


I was at my B-school for alumni meet. A bunch of spirited juniors made us play this little game wherein we had to stack one chair over the other. I couldn’t stop wondering about how these little things – Chairs, have become symbols of power. People fight for them everywhere – Offices, Governments, Kingdoms and everywhere else. Symbols do matter!

Water, Vodka, Kerala, Fun, Life, Cafe


Nope, that’s not what you think. I was at the Dyu art café in Bangalore along with my friends from work. That bottle and glasses were used to serve water at the café. I knew if I put up a pic like this, everyone would want to think of it as anything but water. It was that mischief about it that made me click this J

Festival, Kerala, Thrissur, Thrissur Pooram


Look at that picture! It has all the colors in the world – well almost! It is a common sighting in the festival grounds of Kerala. We call it ‘Kattadi’ in Malayalam. It is an ornate toy fan. This stood like a bright spot of childhood in the crowded festival ground that is life. How beautifully creative is the human mind, isn’t it?

Like the above pics? Want to be bombarded with such images on a regular basis? ;). Please follow me on Instagram. My Insta handle is roamdworld .

Check out the earlier Pictories:

Find Pictory#1 here
Find Pictory#2 here
Find Pictory#3 here

Friday, 19 May 2017

Indian National Anthem: Blog # 300

Indian National Anthem


Every single time I hear our national anthem, I get goose bumps. It reminds me ever so gently, the greatness of our fascinating country.  There was an ongoing debate if we should play the national anthem at the movie theaters or not. I saw some merit in those arguments. Where I did not see a merit was when some people were wondering if we should stand up for the national anthem at all. What is there to debate in respecting one’s national anthem? Do we debate if we should respect our elders? Anyway, the decision of playing the national anthem is already made. So there is no point going back to that debate again. The reason I am writing this blog is the way in which the National Anthem is played in the theaters these days.

I am a movie buff. I watch at least 3 movies a week. In all the theaters that I go to, all we get to hear is a usual rendition of the national anthem - nothing awe inspiring! It is a movie theater and the moments when the anthem is played can be made MAGICAL, to say the least. We have so many beautiful renditions of the anthem as below:



Have a look at another beautiful rendition of the anthem by a set of some incredibly gifted children.Watch this video from BIG Cinemas and I assure you that you will be moved. It is such a breathtakingly beautiful depiction that it will leave you a lasting memory. At a time when there is a lot of debate about the need for unity among people from different walks of our country and world at large, imagine what such a beautiful message on National integration can do!

  

Imagine watching your national anthem beautifully depicted on the vast expanse of the silver screen. What a beautiful moment that will be! This is a humble petition to the theater chains to include the depiction of our national anthem in a way that lives up to its greatness.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Mother's Love: Blog #299

Mother’s Love


From


The first breath to the last sigh… 
Mother, Motherhood, Children, Mothers love
The first cry to the last laugh…
The first step to the last stumbling…
The first word to the last verse…

Sunrise to moonshine, all day and everyday…
A mother’s love fills our lives like

A twilight ray,
A monsoon shower,
An ending tide.

Be Grateful, Be Humbled. 

Not teary eyed yet? Read this one :) ~ Amma


Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Whatsapp Groups! : Blog #298

Whatsapp Groups! 


Apart from climate change, imminent nuclear war and changing leadership patterns across the world, one of the significant agonies of the modern world is Whatsapp groups! If you are part of some specific groups, you have already understood what is being talked about and is wiping a tear away.
Whatsapp, Whatsapp Groups, Groups, Social Media, Technology, Life


To begin with, there are the Big fat Indian family groups. Yes, the ones where we wake up to 127 good morning messages (with flowers and quotes in place) followed by devotional messages and fun forwards that are presented as latest which were, in fact, doing the rounds on the internet a good 10 years back. God save you if there is anyone’s birthday. 127 birthday wishes will follow with divine pictures and messages intact. Please note that all the social rules apply in this group too. The 2nd uncle who fights with the 4th uncle will not ping/talk about him in the group. Same goes with the aunties from Delhi & Mumbai. Adding to the flavor are the in-law dynamics.

Now comes the school friends’ group. There will be some friends who aren’t working. But why should they care about those who have a 9-5 job. They begin their day with pictures of their babies, food that is prepared, parenting tips, TV serial reviews and calls it a day with their baby wishing Goodnight! And dare you forget to reply/respond, you are labeled as heartless/pretentious corporate sell out.

The most vibrant are the college groups. They play by the rules. No divine/good morning/birthday forwards. But, there will be unabashed self-promotion – requests for endorsements on FB/Twitter/Instagram of their spectacular persona. It can be in the form of pictures, blogs, short films, songs and so on. If it is a B-school group, then there are the incessant surveys that are pushed your way. The interesting thing here are the subgroups. If there are 50 people in a group, there will be 50! subgroups. People who talk to each other, people who don’t talk to each other, friends, enemies, frenemies, crushes, lovers, brothers, sisters, batch mates, project mates, lab mates, we love/hate Ms./Mr. Lecturer and on and on and on.  

To name a few other groups, there are society/flat groups, PTA (Parents groups – One can no longer lie about the results not being out), College alumni groups, bikers, theater enthusiasts, pretentious intellectuals, tech gurus that exist too.

One that is worthy of mention are the work groups. It is a microcosm of the office itself. There are bosses who send the most boring jokes and there are boss’ favorites who give 5 laughter–with-tears- smiley to those jokes. There are those who maintain dead silence. Even if their life depended on pinging on this group, they will choose martyrdom instead. There are those who send inappropriate forwards. There are those who delegate work and more importantly talk about work at 11:36 PM. There are false praises, there are smart reactions (smiley with shades on) and there are forced applauses too.


THANK GOD for the mute option on WhatsApp groups. Taking that away will be the most unkindest cut of all. That will be nothing less than an act of Terror against Humanity!

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Was the Snapchat CEO wrong?: Blog # 297

Was the Snapchat CEO wrong?

India is the largest democracy there is. It is the seventh largest country in the world with 29 states and 7 Union territories, each with strong cultural identities. Some of our states are so big that they are larger than some of the European nations. India is one of the fastest growing economies of the world with a GDP of more than 2 Trillion US Dollars. Our population is more than 1.3 Billion, home to the world’s largest young population and an average age of just about 29. We produce more than a million engineers every year.

BUT

India is also home to largest number of people living below the World Bank’s international poverty line. One-third of our children under the age of 5 are underweight. More than 1/10th of our population is undernourished. We also have the largest number of child laborers under the age of 14.

We have made considerable progress in the last 70 years and there is much to be proud of. But there is a lot more than needs to be done. A significant population of our country still needs support and help. People who read this blog have access to all the basic needs of life and most of the ‘wants’ too. But that does not mean all is well with our country.

Snapchat, Snap, Nature, Ocean, LifeRather than getting offended by some CEO of an app that looks like a Notodoris minor, maybe we should do some soul searching.  All of us glued to our smartphones and laptops are turning a blind eye to the dual realities of India. We must take cognizance of the great divide that exists in this great nation of ours. Just because we don’t venture out of the comforts of our offices and gated community apartments, we don’t see poverty in its rawness.

Also, is poverty something to be ashamed of? Should it be brushed under the carpet? Why do we get so offended by the word ‘poor’? Had he described us as a ‘rich country’, will we all be very proud?


If we all took as much time to talk to our maid/security guard/driver/newspaper boy and found out how we could help them in as minuscule a way possible than mindlessly herding towards down rating the app, our country will be a much better place. 

Friday, 7 April 2017

Amul Cartoons: Blog #296

Amul Cartoons


Who doesn’t love Amul Cartoons and the polka dotted- blue haired girl? In 2017, this adorable girl is turning 50! All of us agree that the creativity behind these cartoons is beyond excellence. To keep a cartoon alive with the creativity and more importantly, the nation’s love for it intact is nothing short of  brilliance.

These cartoons; for most of us, is a brisk walk through childhood. For many from the yesteryears, these pictures will be a memoir of their youth.  For those who identify themselves as X and Y, it can be an enriching lesson in history.

The creators of this cartoon are much revered Sylvester da Cunha & Eustace Fernandez.  The enviably gifted, artistic minds who keep it alive and thriving are Rahul daCunhaManish Jhaveri and Jayant Rane.

I was doing some research around these cartoons. Apart from the obvious creative abundance, what surprised me was the fact that how we haven’t changed much as a society and as a country. Most of the popular cartoons were about corruption, sexism and communal tensions. They were true 50 years before and they continue to be so.

The cartoons must be lauded for the candour and bravery about them. There have been, are and will be - brands much larger and popular than Amul. But none of them ever takes a side on public issues. One of the brand consultants once said “Brands are like olden days Hindi film heroes/heroines. They do not see, hear or speak any evil.” Brands are pristine and more diplomatic than the weakest diplomat in the world when it comes to reacting to social issues. But Amul is a pleasant change. They have and continue to express a strong opinion. At the same time, not even an ounce of dignity is lost. It is indeed an art to put across one’s point of view without being brash and that’s something these cartoons have perfected.


Almost mirroring the nation, the cartoons can be divided into 3 popular segments – Movies, Cricket & World Affairs. There are issues other than these 3 which the cartoons have indeed addressed. But these 3 are a recurring theme. Here are some selected cartoons from over the years - a walk down the memory lane. 


World Affairs:






        Cinema:



        Cricket: