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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gulzaar

Yoon toh humari kabhi mulakat nahin hui
kabhi haath mila ke handshake nahin kiya
Na kabhi hi hello ki
aur na hi kabhi telephone pe baat kari


Magar, akeli shaant raaton mein
baith kar saath coffee zaroor pi hai
sagar kinare kai bar,
suraj ko doobte hue dekha hai
train ki khidki se,
pahad, pedon ko guzarte hue dekha hai
ek baar,
dentist ke waiting room mein samay bhii bitaya

exam ke dinon mein, kitaab se hatkar
aapke saath man halka kiya hai
ghar se door, kabhi kabhi
aapse guftagu kar ghar pahunche
is daudti hui zindagi mein
chote se break diye aapne

Footpath pe chalte hue,
Chand ko dekhte hue
long drive mein baithe hue
doston ke saath thass marte hue
kitne hi baar aapko yaad kiya

gulzaar sahab, khoob padhi humne aapki rachnaein.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Hot Coffee

Hot Coffee the Movie
Official Site : http://hotcoffeethemovie.com/
A documentary by Susan Saladoff

Blocking the courthouse door
By Stephanie Mencimer
Amazon link :http://www.amazon.com/Blocking-Courthouse-Door-Republican-Corporate/dp/0743277007



I saw Hot Coffee in this year's San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF). When i came to know about SFIFF, i decided to watch atleast one movie. While i was browsing the movies, since most of them are indie movies and firs time premiers, it was difficult to decide which one to watch. None of the other ones were convincing enough to watch them (and i knew that later one of these movies will be a cult film and i had failed to recognize them when i had a chance). But HotCoffee was something that caught my attention. A documentary on US civil justice system, case studies on old cases. A movie about law, civil law, this is my area of interest, so i decided to go for this one.

Hot Coffee simply put is a great movie, a very eye opening movie. Thanks a lot to Susan for making this movie. It is so good that if anybody wants to see it, i will buy the ticket and will even buy dinner to discuss the movie. I am serious about this offer BTW. Hot coffee starts with the notorious case when a old woman sued McDonalds because she spilled hot coffee on her lap and for which she won 3 million $. Everybody has made fun of this case, including Seinfeld. This is the example cited on frivolous law suits that are crippling this nation. But very few people know about the facts. The facts are that she suffered third degree burns because of that coffee and if you look at those burn images, they are shocking. McDonalds serve their coffee at 90 degree C and there have already been 75 previous cases before this one regarding coffee being too hot. It is also little known that before suing, she normally wrote to McD to reduce temperature and pay 100K$ for medical treatment which McD declined.

The movie then goes beyond this single case and highlights how the judiciary is in such a bad state in US. It explains tort reform (tort means injury) and how corporates are trying hard to prevent people from filing "frivolous lawsuits" and in the procedure, they are actually covering up a lot of malpractices. It also goes into how supreme court elections are also plagued by money and how there are more conservative judges in SC than before. The movie shows a case study to highlight its point.

Stephanie Mincer is interviewed in the movie and thats how i got to know about the book - Blocking the courthouse doors. The book takes a more anti-republican stand and is quite biased in its writing. The book covers the topics in movie and few more. The book covers more cases and can substantiate its claims with more points. But frankly, after watching the movie, the book for the most part is covered and its so much biased writing is a turn off. We need a balanced view here. I am confident that there are definitely frivolous law suits and most of them are thrown directly away but somebody should come clean and write with transparency.

At SFIFF, the director was present for a QnA. Americans where so ashamed of themselves after watching the movie. They were frustrated and CA being a liberal state, the angst against Repub was clearly felt. On what we can do here, Susan, the director, had a very clear answer. (a) Spread the knowledge, bring out the facts. You have been brain washed, it is time to clear our heads. (b) Poke your senators to remove the cap on these tort cases. (c) Fight against these bad practices.


Wow, it certainly is quite terrifying seeing how things are going here. The money gap is increasing in US as well, same as it is in India and it is going to be a big concern here.

Nickel and Dimed

The jinx has been broken. I have finished a book - Nickel and Dimed: On (not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich (Amazon link)

Over last 4 months, i have started atleast 4 books and not finished a single one of them. But this time, as part of this month's Politically inspired book club, i have finished this one. Although it was a very small book and that helped a lot.

Barbara got curious once that how people who earn the minimum wage in America, how do they live, what is their lifestyle and how it is to be them. She decided to answer these questions by going to three different cities and living their life - meaning taking a job which pays close to minimum wage, trying to live with that much money and surviving using none of her previous knowledge. Her journey is eye opening and quite shocking.

Middle class is totally unaware of how lower class work and high class even have lesser idea. But whenever someone like Barbara does the class jump, so many assumptions are broken. And there is one feeling which just lingers on my head - the feeling of gratefulness, the feeling of thankfulness, to whom? may be destiny. And the very next feeling is frustration, helplessness. We all should do something.

Somehow this is all more relevant now that i am part of Wmart, it is interesting to compare the internal opinion, the corporate side and the public side :). Barbara's third job is in Walmart which makes the story more interesting to read. When i joined Trilogy, my common idea of life was "Escaping Corporatization", it is all coming back again. The rebel in me is kicking me everywhere. But leaving my ego for the moment, i think it is screwed up here, yes even in the most developed nation of the world, it is screwed up. And the middle/upper class has very little idea about it.

About Barbara's writing - it is very interesting. Since she knows that it is only her temp job, she knows that after a month she will be away from here, she has the luxury of having a detached attitude when she wants, she can easily cover the third person perspective. But at the same time she is also able to give first hand knowledge by living their lives. Workwise, she is very professional and gives her 100%. The ability to mix both these narratives makes the reading definitely a light one because the contents in its true seriousness are very heavy.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Scala & Kolacny Brothers

If i give you a song and ask you to listen to it and now compose it differently, what would you do?
Have you ever tried? I have and have found it to be very difficult.

Recently i stumbled on Scala and Kolacny Brothers (Thanks to a link shared by Vishal Srivastav on Facebook). Wiki page - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scala_%26_Kolacny_Brothers

From the songs that i have heard, they have a uniq genre of their own, a very classic genre that is lost now a days - they take songs and compose them in an operatic manner. Scala and Kolcany bothers is a Beligian girls choir. Their music yet has not touched deeply but this post is just to remember their style, a very creative approach and it takes time to understand true creativity.

It is so great to listen to these artists, bands from different countries. Last post was about Bjork who is from Iceland, this band is from Belgium. Enjoy the song Creep by them. Lyrics and video is below. The song was originally composed by Radiohead, you can see the difference.


When you were here before
Couldn't look you in the eye
You're just like an angel
Your skin makes me cry
You float like a feather
In a beautiful world
I wish I was special
You're so fucking special

But I'm a creep
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here

I don't care if it hurts
I want to have control
I want a perfect body
I want a perfect soul
I want you to notice when I'm not around
You're so fucking special
I wish I was special

But I'm a creep
I'm a weirdo
What the hell I'm doing here?
I don't belong here

She's running out the door
She's running out
She runs runs runs

Whatever makes you happy
Whatever you want
You're so fucking special
I wish I was special

But I'm a creep
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here
I don't belong here






Other songs to try out
Bitter Sweet symphony - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulqsjl1wfDE&feature=related
California Dreamin' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXdqqCegZ-A&feature=related
Every breath you take (Very nicely done) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZICJ2ZPh63Y&feature=related
Smells like teen spirit (Interesting take) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ui2a2KTx60s&feature=related

I've seen it all

Music, after a long time a post about music. There has been a lot of music in last month, i am going to write 3-4 posts about some of the music that has got me hooked.

It starts with I've seen it all. Got to know after watching the trailer of Dancer in the Dark, have not seen the movie yet but soon i will see it. My best source of music has been movie OSTs . Movies is such an amazing artform that can combine both visual and audio.

I've seen is sung my Bjork. I have not heard her other songs but i am going to soon. She has a very unique style of singing the song, quite creative. She makes the words stand out and the lyrics are very very good. Lyrics that make you hear the song again and again. Here is the video and lyrics :

"I've Seen It All"

I've seen it all, I have seen the trees,
I've seen the willow leaves dancing in the breeze
I've seen a man killed by his best friend,
And lives that were over before they were spent.
I've seen what I was - I know what I'll be
I've seen it all - there is no more to see!

You haven't seen elephants, kings or Peru!
I'm happy to say I had better to do
What about China? Have you seen the Great Wall?
All walls are great, if the roof doesn't fall!

And the man you will marry?
The home you will share?
To be honest, I really don't care...

You've never been to Niagara Falls?
I have seen water, its water, that's all...
The Eiffel Tower, the Empire State?
My pulse was as high on my very first date!
Your grandson's hand as he plays with your hair?
To be honest, I really don't care...

I've seen it all, I've seen the dark
I've seen the brightness in one little spark.
I've seen what I chose and I've seen what I need,
And that is enough, to want more would be greed.
I've seen what I was and I know what I'll be
I've seen it all - there is no more to see!

You've seen it all and all you have seen
You can always review on your own little screen
The light and the dark, the big and the small
Just keep in mind - you need no more at all
You've seen what you were and know what you'll be
You've seen it all - there is no more to see!







There are multiple renditions of this song by Bjork but i find the one used in the movie to be the best.

Battlestar Gallactica

I have finished watching reimagined BSG (2003 series) and have also finished watching The Plan.
And i liked it a lot.

BSG started after i played the board game couple of times at office (Thanks Maneesh!) Curious about the series, i started it. I am not a big fan of sci-fi genre, i find it too escapist for my taste :) (The elitist in me laughs)

But BSG is different, it is a political drama done inside a sci-fi genre. And what a wonderful premise - Humans are attacked by cylons (robot machines) and are wiped out, there are about 50K survivors on the run to look for a planet Earth to survive. It is at the question of extinction of race are bigger issues discussed - what is the meaning of justice, idealism, is it ok to loose some for greater good, what is God in all this. Things like destiny, why we survive, why we exist, purpose etc and GOD are discussed under the umbrella of this series. Also, what is the difference between a machine and a human, what is soul, what is a child, there are many questions. Many satirical references to our society, many string comments, strong suggestions along the way.

BSG in addition has very cleverly managed to solve some of the problems commonly faced by television series. For example, since fuck cannot be used, they use the word frak. If you remember the tv show Heroes, the villian was never killed, they always brought him back under some pretext, here cylons can have multiple copies, so even if you kill one, there are more, this allows them to have some great battle sequences to keep the action going yet they can keep the main cast. Also, there is no effort to explain some of the scientific tools used, they go by some assumptions and always stick to them.

Performances are also very good except the president and the Admiral. A bunch of newbies but they deliver very well. Multiple roles are very nicely handled by Grace Park and Tricia Helfer.

There are some episodes in season 2 and 3, when they are added just to maintain continuity, with very little information added but there are only few. At the end, things make sense (not all) and there is a very nice ending (unlike other series when there is no ending)

The music plays a very important role and it is very good. It is very diverse and has elements of minimalism, western classical, classic rock. Title credits include the Gayantri Mantra which is awesome. One of my fav track is Shape of Things to come. You can hear it at Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tII1DSHPU80

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0407362/

I have sold my own soul

I have sold my own soul

I know i have done it .... lost that mattered the most
I have sold myself .... i have sold my own soul
It is not any secret .... i did it for the money
i do not how this happened .... my pocket has a hole.


What about your principles .... what about your morals?
And what about those aspirations .... all those ideals you once swore
What can i say .... What do you want me to say?
Yes i know i have failed .... i feel like a whore


I-N-J-U-S-T-I-C-E .... C-O-M-P-L-I-C-I-T-Y
To all who suffered .... you have my pity
Why did you give to those .... to those who didn't deserve
I have received money .... for actions that i didn't serve
To nature, to planet Earth .... you owe to the child yet to come
I will pay my debts .... pay it forward in years to come


What do you think will happen .... 25 years later when you look back
when you had the option to keep it .... but you sold it anyway
I do not know .... that is left for time to tell
But do not judge everything about me .... based just on today


Life is a drama .... i wanted me to be perfect
But the script was flawed .... and i just did my role
I know i have done it .... lost that mattered the most
I have sold myself .... i have sold my own soul



---------------------


The above poem was inspired by the song "I've done it all" sung by Bjork and written by Lars Von Trier and Sjon for the movie Dancer in the dark. Here are some links -
Wiki : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I've_Seen_It_All
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9zFt6M_GLo

The poem is written in a way to be sung in the same manner that the song is sung. If it is not clear, the idea is to make it like a dialogue with some confessions.