Posted by: digirak | August 29, 2010

My first fortnight in the US

Funny 2 weeks this has been, coming to the US has never enthralled me, really speaking what was exciting about the US was the refreshing work that I kept seeing getting churned out of this place. I always wondered how the people kept consistently churning out so much of research which we barely even heard of in India.

What was the first thing that struck me when I came to the US? Well what really struck me when I stared out of the airport at chicago was that the roads were just ordinary. They were similar to the roads I had seen back home, the same kind of tar composition etc. of course these were much wider and the traffic seemed much much better disciplined and the lane system looked neat. Apart from that the other big thing was the total lack of any kind of vegetarian food at the airport. Amazed me totally everything was just pepperoni and beef, it really stunned me when I paid nearly a dollar and 30 cents for a “cheese” burger, which was just some onion, tomato, ketchup and cheese.

Oh well I told myself, welcome to the USA. Senselessly in Grand Forks, I figured out that I was going to hit another wall of non vegetarian food, it was steak, beef and well some uncooked vegetables. So there it went the first week was mostly grazing on cabbage, tomato and some broccoli. It must have been really funny to the locals to see a guy skip all the food have the salad and the desert :D. Well I can tell you it was not funny to me.

Next in the line of jolts was the fact that all shops necessarily have to be at least 5 miles from home, ok, you cannot travel in the local busses because they shut down after 4, well then whats the option. My friend looks at me stunned, come on bro, drive down he says non chalantly. Duh, I feel, this is not good. Over to the department store for the next shock, the rice costs more than the soap. Misplaced priorities anyone? No public distribution system I am told, well what does the backward class guy do? I ask? what backward they shoot back. Uh well third world hangovers I think.

Cooking is fun here, they have all the essentials in the rooms, right from the gas to the microwave. Funnily they forget the stuff in between, the vessels, the spoons, the plates etc. Its just got the heavy artillery. The houses have air conditioners but no beds. They are fully equipped with fire alarms but no fans. They have awesome doors with no stoppers. Windows are beautifully designed with no locks!!! They have plug points and no switches, phones with no one calling, people just mail here LoL. Funny place really. They have awesome bus stops and no busses. They have nice traffic signals and hardly any cars. The soda here is cheaper than the water.

All in all I am feeling a little tizzy, so until my next post let me figure out this wierd country

Advertisements
Posted by: digirak | August 1, 2010

Inception

Well After a long time I did get down to watching inception, heavily hyped that it was, I must say it was a bit disappointing. Come to think of it the last 1 and half hours were just regular hollywood masala, starting from when they actually enter Ficher’s mind, i thought it completely lost the plot in the last half hour or so. The needless battle with Mal and the personal’s struggles between Mal and Dom just ended up making more drama than plot.

Coming to the main plot, I really thought it was a cool exercise to have a regular movie based on the Freudian alternate reality of Dreams. Of course this does not guarantee that the movie based on this will be awesome, I think this is where the director falters. Having really conceived a use for the freudian alternate reality in the movie he misses the subtle points which made Freud a refreshing usage in the field of psycho analysis, critically the projections, this is what Freud uses to draw out the psychological insight of the person, do not seem to have any persona at all, save that of Mal. This also seems heavily contrived for the sake of a love interest. Again coming to the concept of cascaded dreams, I have no idea why this can even work, it is purely like gravitational acceleration that Enterprise starship uses, again lacks any sort of depth. How does this alternate reality reflect out of the psyche when the psyche is already projected in one reality? Leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Another thing is the use of somatic stimuli, example the kick, heavily overhyped, rarely does somatics have such a direct connection to the dream, but has more roundabout effects. For instance if a person dreams of swimming and he is thirsty, he will envision himself trying to dunk in all pool water or some such thing depending on his psyche at that point.

Dream sharing also remains vague, how does the consciousness, which knows itself presumably not know it has an invader until the invader starts doing weird things. Also where is the split personality from Mal coming out of? Here again the film fails in a lot of technical details. All said and done, there was a lot of scope to explore this facet, yet the director seems to be more content with giving matrix like stunts.

On the positive side, I feel the director has included amazing concepts purely because this is a new unexplored territory, typically he seems sketchy, however a laudable effort worth watching once if not again and again.

Posted by: digirak | February 2, 2010

Mahabharata fascination

Its been a bit of fascination from my child hood to actually keep watching the Mahabharata and it still continues, even today the BR chopra epic seizes me like nothing else has.It amazes me that a serial made nearly 20 years back continues to fascinate me.

The selection of characters obviously is inimitable, Nitish bharadwaj as Krishna is possibly the best ever his charisma is almost all encompassing though i never picture krishna as such an emotional character it still suffices because he has the right chutzpah to pull off those punch lines befitting an highly shrewd individual at the same time does not come across as a cruel and cunning gamester like shakuni.

When i talk of Krishna i must talk of Gufi Paintal as Shakuni, exceptional is the word that comes across, truly magnificent as he simply coldly and cunningly denies the pandavas their kingdom and rips the royal household apart to take what he wants and at each stage keeping a tight leash on his nephew duryodhana, constantly at tenterhooks with the idealistic and ascerbic Karna. He ingratiates to Krishna, spews venom at the pandavas, mocks Duryodhana, cunningly manipulates his sister Gandhari and weeps for Gandhara. Yet his motives are clear and his mind is set.

Karna is another interesting character, he has the subtle persona reflected off a socially outcaste person with all the attributes of ruling society, truly speaking he has the brilliance which Karna has to portray. The flaming indignant eyes and the ascerbic tongue all characterised beautifully by dheeraj kumar, the epic itself does not talk much of Karna but one can glean much from the character sketch that is offered by the general persona. It certainly gives a lot of weightage to the confrontation between shakuni and Karna but it does not tell us of his character inherently except a glimpse in his confrontation with Krishna. Of course one needs to reconstruct most of it, Chopra does a good job picking it up and executing it with elan

I have loved Arjun as Arjuna, he is possibly the most apt character in the epic, the portrayal of the emotionally charged Arjuna yet highly war like in nature. Not the cool thinker but the fighter and the exceptionally talented archer, which is what possibly arjuna was. In reterospect one does not lend the credence of thought to any of the sons of Kunti with the exception of yudhistira and karna, they were mostly, at least as the epic portrays splendid warriors and good administrators. We dont see evidence of BhimA for instance silencing his elder brother’s historonics or attempting to see through Shakuni’s ploys.
Panchali Draupadi Krishna is possibly the most willful character played brilliantly by roopa ganguly to be honest i dont really respect Draupadi, i find her repungant in terms of the fact that she caused the blood lust by slowly letting the anger sink into her husbands. I obviously do not support many of her claims in avenging an insult but i must say i was quite a bit mistaken, not only are her claims justified in many respects but they even have subtle characterisations of her forceful personality, but obviously we cannot but miss her amazing zeal

Posted by: digirak | January 16, 2010

Reflections of an heathen

I am truly amazed that i was part of a chrisitian institution for nearly 10 years and yet never was I ever besought to be converted but then I hadnt read shourie as well. The point which i very nearly missed was as subtle as the words that i sought to forget, we were never truly secular either, we were always fed on the lord and his glorious blessing on mankind. When i now reflect i think i was more of a heathen begging and grovelling in front of the almighty to forgive me my sins of not believing in him which becomes an oxymoron in itself but nevertheless we will need to start somewhere.

The church services never ceased the constant reminders of jesus and his miracles did not either, even at the tender age of 10 or 12 we were sincerely called heathens and the christians were taught religion, its another matter that schools have ample freedom to teach what they thought was right why then were we stopped from wearing religious symbols in school when the religion class was possibly the greatest religious symbol that one could tout around. Why was it that a hindu festival, holi, recieved such scorn from teachers because children, were colored, when they shamelessly called all catholics to come and recieve the holy communion! Wasnt it, if not directly, a means of indirect conversion. Weren’t we told subtlely that your religions are superstitious while ours is based firmly on the word of the Lord! Again as I reflect the houses we had, as in 4 different classifications, were named after saints. Strange when you consider secularism as an environment. When one looks closer, one finds subtle discrepancies, why was it that students classes for retreats? Why does it matter if they do not take up the retreat? Why was it necessary that the church needed to be appeased for students to stay in school?

Many questions i am sure as a heathen all people would have thought of and asked but never had the courage to take forward

Posted by: digirak | December 31, 2009

Avatariyiti mahodaya james cameroon

At first glance one just sees the effects weaving and bobbing ducking and being floored. Missiles flying and blue colored aliens attacking the incoming invaders, yet one sees in it a subtle shade of warning, a subtle warning to mankind to not take the forces of nature for granted and even more subtle intent to not to belittle the unknown.

The state of the art graphics were brilliant, flamboyant in appeal and scientific in application. Ingenious to say the least, banyan trees become interconnected nodes and the fibrous roots become the neurons, frilled lizard become bio-luminiscent flying lizards, Rhinos become stegasaurus type beasts, bio luminscence is the key to light in the night here. Every step by the heavy being results in a reactive bio lumiscent glow in the organisms lighting the way!! Such fine illustrations. Amazing tails which have neuron connects to other organisms and every animal is said to have a conciousness.Amazing when one sees the background in which Cameron comes from; a redundant semetic teaching where all things are created for man’s benefit. Consider that and consider this distinct state where every creature connects to every other in a state of conciousness.

It certainly is a stroke of filmy genius to have a mechanism for the hero to come back after being cast away by his chosen people on a rousing note riding on the back of a fiery red giant bird venerated by the local people, also to device a way to exchange his lame human body for a powerful alien’s. One cannot but see the commonality of the indian traditions with this. Also the veneration of trees and animals, the strange humanity and high degree of sympathy rings the familiar bell of buddhism.

What also made me really excited was the reaction of the earthlings who seek to belittle the customs of natives as mere superstitions, strange that the missionaries who entered an early india were having a similar conception of Indians, also the frequent reference of the locals as blue monkeys remeniscent of the subhuman way in which indians were treated at apartheid cannot but be noted. The powerful mating conspiracies and the high value natives attach to the virginity again leads one to make a comparison. The emotional quotient of a local is suprisingly high for a native, ah but then i get ahead of myself.

All in all i dont think James Cameroon had so much of an original idea in terms of concept but surely the way it was applied is brilliant and its obvious references to his disgust with missionary activity in colonies is but obvious

I dont intend this as a review nor do i call myself one but i intend this to go

Posted by: digirak | December 20, 2009

The pack of lies that Ambedkar managed to proffer

Shourie aptly titles his book on Ambedkar as worshipping false gods, one really is at pains to understand the true statement of the events which lead to the government conferring a bharat ratna on a man of such twisted conduct. Moreover what troubles me is the fact that such a person’s twisted writings pass off as the highest class of intellectual work. His critique on the purusha suktas makes one wonder if it is possible to twist something so abominably, it also further goes miles to say that a person of Ambedkar’s learning which he evidently seems to be scarcely seems to have the humitility to see how one can change the system rather intends to create a system of his own. Much that i have critiqued his work i also profoundly understand the power which philosophers like SankarA and nimbArkA who wove such powerful concepts around the Vedas truly carried, I commence this work bowing to such great masters and with the Swami in mind.

Let me commence by talking of the books which ambedkar refers in his work “Who were the shudras”, this blog which i write is certainly not for the object of the book as the object contained therewith scarcely cares to even understand what ambedkar ostenibly has written however the object of the blog is that huge population of this country which believes that intellectuals like ambedkar were so apt in criticising which he certainly was not.To start with let me briefly outline Ambedkar’s stand on the issue, BR claims that the key to the shudras being subjugated is the very essence of hinduism. Hinduism needs to impose on the shudras the rule of the rod purely out of economic necessity and the essence of this is the shudras having absolutely no economic rights and no social priveleges, this being such a key factor of the economic structure cannot be done away with ever by the caste hindus as this will undermine their high economic gallantary. The texts therefore are to be taken into aspect only with this in mind, now certainly this is true because the texts are so effusive in adoring the brahmins and keen to put down the sudra. It certainly seems preponderous to suggest that texts compsed ages back had this need to systematically subjugate a class of people however large or unlearned they might have been to such economic apartheid. It is also equally ridiculous to say that such systematic subjugation existed even before the texts existed and that the texts also seem to prove that such a subjugation existed. We shall see that such brilliant conceptions of twisted economy can exist only in one mind that of Ambedkars and certainly not that of the authors of the texts, however i anticipate the texts first.

The first point I intend to refute is the point about the cosmologies. For folks who are not familiar with this book it is available here http://www.ambedkar.org/ambcd/38B1.%20Who%20were%20the%20Shudras%20PART%20I.htm. Ambedkar claims very ambivalently that the cosmology mentioned in the rig veda and the one mentioned in the purusha suktas is so diagonally opposite, ambedkar here however misses more than a point. It may be true that the comogonies mentioned in each case is diagonally opposite; however what we miss is the fact that neither the vedas nor the suktas are to be taken literally in any sense of the term, if one is looking at the karma kanda form of interpretation one fails miserably purely because these texts are meant ins the philosophical context as stated by saNkarA; we will henceforth procede only to argue on this format, ambedkar claim in a sentence The two cosmologies are fundamentally different in principle as well as in detail. The former explains creation ex nihilo ‘being was born of non-being’. The latter ascribes creation to a being which it calls Purusha. Why in one and the same book two such opposite cosmologies should have come to be propounded? Why did the author of the Purusha Sukta think it necessary to posit a Purusha and make all creation emanate from’ him?

Now the point is if ambedkar is talking very much of a physical being purusha what then is the characteristic of this purusha; is it the same as the hiranyagarbha and do the texts answer it, ambedkar does not bother to ask these questions, however sankara asks and answers these questions in his adhyAsa bhASya, the word purusha does not mean the being purusha but the supreme brahman, for that statement that this is an ex nihilio being born of non being this is absolute hogwash because such a position is untenable by the vedas, as the concept of sUkSma swarOpA is but well known so how exactly does ambedkar claim that such creation is being said? It is also to be noted that not a word is said here either of sankarA or any of the other philosophers. If ambedkar were to be assumed to be such an intellectual to be able to interpret these independently then he needs to prove that all interpretations before his were wrong, obviously such points miss his scrutiny.

The next point i would seek to refute is ambedkar’s theory that the shudras were given the lowest possible position as they were designated to originate from the feet however there are sections which go to state that certain vedas originate from certain parts of the face alone and not any other part. Fine argument until one notices the fact that person we are talking of is the purusha who in ambedkar’s terms is the absolute entity of the cosmos, how then does ambedkar assume that the leg is the least holy part of the Person of the purusha, or is it that he needs necessarily to have to achieve such pre eminent position to prove that the shudras were indeed downgraded. Now let us try to understand why this argument is untenable, it may be that the feet are the least holy, how does ambedkar prove it , simple he says The situation becomes completely intriguing when one compares the levity with which the Shudras are treated in the Purusha Sukta with the respect with which the Brahmins are treated in the Hari-varnsa in the matter of their respective origins. Is it because of malice that the Purusha Sukta did not hesitate to say that the Shudra was born from the feet of the Purusha and that his duty was to serve? If so what is the cause of this malice? Amazing if one is born from the feet one needs to serve, so by the theory brahma is born out of vishnu’s navel doesnt it become imperative that his job is to feed others. What are ambedkar’s standpoints by which he justifies his position on this?

The next and last concept i intend to refute is ambedkar’s theory that the class idea is concieved as an ideal in the purusha suktas which universally are not regarded as an ideal, but are a natural state of humanity. This i must say at first blush appears fairly accurate but again here it amazes me to think that this is not anywhere near what it seems. The point is if we are so to assume that this ideal was concieved even before it was applied as it should be the case if we say that the puranas and suktas want to assert this ideal then the concept of caste should not predate it, however at the same time one needs to understand that if it does seek to affirm it as an ideal wont it also make it uncumbent for shudras necessary to follow it at all costs however we see statements such as shudras are bereft of the caste system, an intelligent system will first strive drive it into the mindset of people it seeks to enslave.

Also we must observe that the system which prevented shudras which prevented the shudras from entering the temples cannot be the same one which subjugated them purely out of the factor that the shudras were now prevented from doing the only thing that created the system as ambedkar claimed, praying to god, so what was ambedkar trying to fight.

Lastly id like to say that such assertions as made by ambedkar in his write up need to be taken in the light of social context and what is non relevant to the present social context has to be rejected and this is what hinduism has been doing for ages

Posted by: digirak | December 13, 2009

The cholas were quite barbaric

Now it so happens that i dabble in history it also happens that i am a fanatic follower of the cholas
Now it so happens that when i read history its rarely dispassionate, thats because i mostly associate it to reality as i see it now this might be a frawleyian narrative with a lot me personal touch nevertheless let me attempt it
It all started with me reading shastri pretty balanced historian and one of the few who wrote to enthrall and not bias folk. The history of south india is filled with conquests and is politically resoundingly rich.

It all started with KAN’s The History of South India book, it had posessed me in the last 3 months or so, an avid reader nevertheless it took me sometime to digest the matter written therein by KAN. Let me espouse a brief background here, i am a little emotionally attached to the cholas, the major reasons seem to elude my grasp and the minor reasons are too personal for me to discuss in a public forum but as we shall see it is the result which matters. The voyage started with Kalki krishnamurthy with my father reading out the partiban kanavu when i was much younger, the embeliishments stayed in my mind till much later.

With this in mind i am passionately attached to the history of the tamil country. Now coincidentally i found friends back at work who could be as passionate about and we use to discuss the chola campaigns right till kalinga(modern orrissa). However i was still a n00b those days to truly understand the implications  of the 12 century combats. KAN however objectively states thus”…. rajaraja desecrrated the countryside on his invasion into the pandyan kingdom” Now Rajaraja represents to me the pinnacle of success and kingly genius, to be more verbose if there are 3 kings i really hero worship in india it would be Chatrapathi Shivaji, Narasimhavarman pallavan and Rajaraja chozha.This seemed to me the first sign of blasphemy. Bulstering in contempt i read on.

Of course KAN could not have been wrong he provides solid indisputable evidence that the wars indeed were followed by most of the countryside by laid to waste by the victors. It also happened to be modus operandi for the pandyas and the chalukyas as well as thehoysalas.However if you think thats the law, well it so happens that the local sentiment for the chozhas is fairly strong and loyalty to the king was something th locals really valued(read k krishnamurthy/sandilyan etc).

With this as the background i think it is simple to arrive at the conclusion that i was pretty much put off at acts of barbarity . Now what really amazes me is the fact that despite such barbarities the cholas dont come across as the kalabhras kinds they certainly seemed to benevolent rulers who would bestow their subjects with goodness when it suited them, however what continues to amaze me is that despite the so called barbarities the cholas continue to enchant and enthrall people with their governance but the fact remains that where they struck they will remembered as barbarians

Posted by: digirak | November 7, 2008

And he came Kumbleing after

T’was a champion who left Kotla grounds the eugolic smile, the enigmatic eyes will remain in everyone’s minds. Team mates were most definitely touched and moved at his departure and the suddenness with which it came from the gentle Jumbo.

Through his career Kumble has been the toiler and most of his efforts have been those of a lesser child, always the silent worker, it was sad to see him go thus unplanned. Personally I believe Kumble could have still done lot more service to Indian cricket thanks to the media and critics he possibly believed he was done with cricket, saddening to see the champion walking out like a humbled elephant

Remeniscent is the 10 wickets he took at the same stadium where he brought to foot a resurgent pakistan and his prodigious bounce and skid turned the best turtle.  A broken jawed kumble surreptiously getting Lara out in a crucial test when the result could have gone either way.

The media has been most ridiculously cruel to this gentle giant eliciting an angry response from him after the first test, it seems so prudent for the man to leave cricket which has barely been fair to Kumble. I believe his retirement is an expression of disgust at how India treats its heroes nay a toiling hard hero, a far cry from the sehwags and the Harbhajans who are the natural talents. This man is the toiler.

To me Kumble has been the model human being a mixture of grit and aggression with a genial smile off the field, this endearing man has been a heart stealer. Its sad that he should leave in so abrupt a fashion that too when he was hitting a bad patch.

Good bye jumbo we will miss you 🙂

Posted by: digirak | October 29, 2008

The Laloo circus

Laloo is defienitely a good joker, he even has his accomplices in Nitish Kumar and Ram vilas Paswan. It was nicely hilarious to see the trio putting up a tough stand for Rahul raj, if you are still wondering what I am talking about, you need to catch up on the latest news of how the evil Maharashtra police put to death a poor little Bihari carrying a gun in a crowded bus.

Ah the poor little darling actually never shot a mosquito, he was just playing a little joke, obviously the police did not find it all that funny after the poor dear had had a nip at the conductor. What really amazes me is the fact that the three of them saw the plethora of political coverage that the North Indian crisis was generating and did not even bother to think of their ethics in doing what they did

May the great Laloo circus continue

Posted by: digirak | June 16, 2008

What an Avataram!!!

An effective way of spoiling one’s weekend is to take a bucket of popcorn and sit through kamal’s magnum opus,a disastrous megalomaniac creation of pure self indulgence. Starts off predictably in a big time warp to Chidambaram and Rengaraja nambi, the bulstering young priest who takes on the might of the chola empire in order to safeguard his Narayanan, Lord Vishnu. The start is self indulgent and devoid of content so as to set the tone for the movie, as kamal had it he assumes all the audience is as knowledgable as himself and sets off to the incident where the vishnu idol is ripped from its place and Renga is assaulted and ostracized from society and life. Well I am not sure about the historic authenticity of the character, but in almost certianity the depiction was falling short of being called tardy, the obvious contradictions of another vedic kicking the statue make no sense by any means. The shaiviite-vaishnaviite duels were in lieu of all the ossible indications a simple case of clashing philosophies and not a fight between two personal gods, please; was kamal thinking that this was as petty as a clash between rajni fans and kamal fans, he definitely needs to understand that it was a much more cerebral struggle and not a blind bash up as he has most certainly try to portray.

The rest of the movie pans to 2004 and a Bio weapon being created in a controlled environment where kamal is the erstwhile genius who designs the weapon, a lab accident causes him to rethink his morals and detract from handing the weapon over to the officials, again Kamal plays the goody man in a bad bad world, and hes chased by a contract killer, kamal again. Flight chases and car chases later he lands up in chidambaram where the weapon is slipped into the idol of the govindaraja peruman by a senile old woman(kamal again.

Kamal now takes posession of the idol and intends to tagging along is the girl who has an obsessive craving for the peruman. So it goes through more skulduggery as kamal and Aandal(asin) are chased across the length and breadth of the southern half by the Caucasian kamal. In the process we bang into a comic relief telugu speaking CBI officer(avatar number 4, there is a glimpse of Bush, aka kamal with a white leather skin) The jokes fall flat and Crazy seems strangely tainted possibly because of the pace of the movie.

The movie carries on with two more dreary characters introduced a social worker and an overgrown pathan, then comes the melodrama with the Sardarji singer Avtar Singh who is afflicted with throat cancer and is even cured by a bullet crashing into his heart(burp! burp!). Again no character having either weight or role. The movie meanders on, the rest is too tardy and tiring to recount besides it has a kamal overdose. His acting abilities are neither done justice nor is the story or the music or the scenario either. Basically a hotchpotch where kamal does 10 different roles and the viewer is left blinking as to whom he should hate more.

There is very little to talk about the rest of the characters except Mallika showing her bod and cleavage, Asin comes up with a fair performance and Kamal most certainly disappoints!

Older Posts »

Categories