Thursday, October 28, 2004


Saw Collateral this Tuesday. At Cineplanet. Wednesday was holiday on account of Elections. First about Cineplanet. I dont understand the reason, these multiplexes charge so much just for decent air-conditioning, seats and dolby sound. And these multiplexes even get a tax holiday from the govertment. So essentially, they are just ripping off the aam junta. I paid 95 and got a neck breaking 2nd row seat. The sound system was just about better than my home theater system and the print was scratched at many places by the theater cat. Chennai theatres give far better VFM, with an unbeatbale audio system. I wonder, if we should really allow these guys to run riot with ticket rates or just boycott them and watch pirated movies instead?

Anyway, about Collateral. Heard lot about this action thriller and it lived quite well upto its reputation. For the uninitiated, the movie is about a hired hitman Vincent (Smooth Cruise) who hires a cabbie (Jamie Foxx) for a night to carry out his 5 hits for the night - these are guys who are witnesses on a drug tracfficking case. Things dont quite work to plan so Cruise moves into adapt, improvise, Darwin mode and gets Jamie entangled more and more in his crimes for the day. The action moves at a break-neck (not coz of my seating) speed and hurtles towards a nail-biting climax. Cruise turns into a horror movie physopathic killer, totally inconsiderate for his life and others, who cross his path, in the sole pursuit of his goal - the last hit.

The punches (of the cinematic kind) come at the right time and right panache. You are at once, feeling for Jaime for the quagmire he is in, but Cruise, being Cruise, you want him to go through with all his hits successfully (I did... perversely). He just has you by the fuzz of his high cheek bone. He is cool, menacing, fast and calculated. When he runs, he so much reminds you of the Robert Patrick's T-1000. Except, you will have women swooning for Vincent.

Yes, the film exposes the underbelly of LA, of being such a rich, hip, hyper yet a disjoint, lonely city - where your trouble is your trouble alone and possibly, someone else spoils.
Yet, there are many things that stop it from being a classic. I expected a successful hitman, to be reticent, not giving too much away to strangers. But Vincent, right from word go, starts to get too friendly with the cabbie, asking him personal questions, giving opinions and then justifying his killings, with insignifance of human life vis a vis the universe. Also, couldnt Vincent just do the job with a hired car, rather than making another person (that too, a so very traceable guy as a taxi driver) a witness of his crimes. Also, Vincent get into too many dangerous (dangerous for a hitman of repute, I mean) situations too easily. He kills rampantly and inefficiently. He could easily have floored the two muggers without a sound instead of shooting indiscriminately-causing a sonic boom noise which richochets through the block. Lucky no one notices. And, even though coming from me, I find that the plot doesnt get too celebral, though clearly the director (Michael Mann - Heat, The Insider) aims it to instill a deeper meaning into the murkiness of the on-killings. Or did it go above my head?( Blame the seats!!)

Basically, the falliablity of the plot is based on its premise of cabbie-hitman interaction and that makes it a bit difficult to work around with for the script writers. Still must agree, money spent on the movie is money well spent (yes yes, inspite of the seat)

Less Work and More Play

I have noticed that I work better under pressure. Atleast, I am more productive. The days, when I am not completely swamped by work, I idle away - reading blogs, visting mp3 blogs and downloading loads of mp3s, reading news, tech news, all kinds of news. When I would be busy, I would visit tech. forums, even when I was not looking for answers to techie questions. I think, I even though care of some personal stuff better. May be, less work makes me more lethargic.

Anyway, a few good things atleast have emerged. Ever since I left my prev org, where I was just overwhelmed by work - esp managing resources and projects, I was in the pits with regards to my mental well-being. Even when I would turn up for bed early, I would not get any sleep and would be caught in dreary project details. It was just terrible. Now, I get such sound sleep, I love it. Also, I get time to go jogging in the evening. This I really needed, just to put a break on the cycle of sedentariness (sedentation doesnt sound bad.) I have started slow, but now run almost 2-3 kms a day. We have a huge car-park and jog along the length of it. No an ideal place, but will do for now. Only thing I am worried about is not hurting my legs irreversibly. Jogging is high impact and needs to be done carefully on cement surfaces. Might move to shoes better suited for this activity.
I also need to start taking and imparting some training in this free time. I just spoke to my Career Counsellor and he (I concurred :-) was of the opinion that I should take some tech ( INformatica, BO) and soft skills training. Well, anything to break to monotony.
On another note, I am trying to get my photo added to my profile at blogger, but I am lost. Or has the absence of serious work dimmed my mental faculties. TOo bad

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The Ultimate question

As I mentioned some time back about the trainer for Team Working course and what an overachiever he was. And just completed "The Alchemist". The book speaks passionately about destiny and how the whole world conspires to fulfill our destinies, if we set out to achieve them. The two-The Trainer and The Alchemist, set me thinking if I was born to live a life that I am living now or if I am destined to do something bigger. I dont see myself as a bearer of a revolution, having impact on millions or even a thousand lives. So, whatever, I do as an ultimate goal in life, may be special, but in a small way. I have some strong beliefs about a few things and one of these, I would like to espouse, take it up as a means of livelihood, even if its just survival. Right now, I am happy with this job, this life. Just for now.

Anyway, back to the book. Though, it took the fable route to talk about the lessons of life - pursuit of destiny, the journey to achieve it, adaptablity along the journey, ability to listen to your heart and then on, to the soul of the world- it didnt completely enthrall me. Looking at the reviews and the recommendations on the top and inner cover, I was expecting to be enthralled. At some places, I thought Paulo Coelho was just trying desperately to fatten the simple story line. Also, though the story is literally magical, it remains far from so, figuratively. It could be because it was not originally written in English and some essense or mysticism is lost in
translation from Portugese to English. Anyway, it remains a great book, from which one can truly learn many truths that would make our lives immensely worthwhile. I would also recommend, the extremely popular and powerful "Who moved my cheese" by Spencer Johnson for lessons on adaptability and change-readiness.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Been there, done that

Had an argument with a collegue on Thurs. It was really something trivial and should have been taken care of easily with calm and tact. I was stressed and lost my patience for the day and so, wasnt prepared for either. Moreover, I have this notion that the colleague is not amenable to suggestions given by others and that made me more agressive in my argument. Now its Monday and we still havent talked, though no work related stuff has come up that needed discussion with her. Anyway, its awkward. And I realise how patient and sensitive I should be. Anyway, have this session on about Team Working. The trainer is a bloody over achiever. Was an army captain, fought battles, shot at thrice, toured Europe and climbed all its peaks, owns his soft-skills training (highly paid) business, takes care of 31 special kids, and on a frivolous note, stays next to John Abraham. Wow. Made me wonder if its all true, coz he looks so young. Or may be, its just coz he all makes me so ordinary. What I have done as yet, that people should take note of me?

There IS that niggling want to do something special. Not just simply to stand out, but because I feel genuinely about it. But its so out of line with my work, that I have to chuck all this and devote full time to that goal. But I know I should make up my mind and just do it.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

What the stars foretell?

Just the other day, had an astrologer at our place. Apparently, his prediction about my dad buying an office came true and since then folks are converts (of him). Already my mom believes in it and has in fact studied it. She knows the moon being in the 7th house and Neptune being in the 10th, signifies longevity (of life, what did you think?) and that when Jupiter is in my house (astrological), you better get hold of some rings of Saturn to protect yourself. I am just making light of it, but really, the way, the astrologer went about methodically deducting what happened (we didnt tell me earlier) and predicting, what might happen, I was impressed. There are some rules that apply fundamentally depending on the placement of the planets and no one escapes these. So, its better to understand your stars and make your decisions based on them. Possibly, you would want to put off your marriage (or divorce). You might want to continue your education or make that investment now! Things like that. This was what the guru had us and me convinced. Am I a believer? Well, 70% yes.

It has also happened in the past, that other knowers of this science ( or art of deception, as you may prefer) have predicted things correctly. Though not all have come true. But even something that beats the law of averages, slightly, is good enough for me, to start developing faith in astrology. I find rather than just fishing around in the future, not knowing what it is, astrology provides a direction to it and a broad one at that. The gurus keep it broad for the sake of all I-told-you-so possibilities. No matter. Some knowledge of the future cannot be bad. Moreover, negative things are ignored in the prescience, as you dont pay to be told "You are gonna die in 20 days!!". That helps you focus on the positive possibilities. Now, whats the harm in knowing something, good about the future. Going by the past record, these may possibly come true. Lets hope.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

The first post

A belated Happy Dasra to all. I wish the blog had broken into the world yesterday. No problem. Its still dasra today in some part of the world.

I am not sure if this one has to be special. Coz it wont be.

Was meaning to put a decent blog entry (with some analysis about a personality, but more of that in future), but didnt happen. Anyway, its good to enter gingerly in the blog world, without anyone noticing you, rather than all the flashbulbs blinding you, with an oh-so warm welcome. I prefer quiet. Let no one know that I am here.

I hope to emulate some of my esteemed bloggers, who do such a great job at recording their daily memoirs, with profound insights now and then, into so many things. I wish to just be able to hold my own, atleast.

That apart, I have lots of free time and know the power of ( an almost) daily dairy. I used to keep one (well, not exactly, but may be, if I get comfortable with you, my blog, will let you into that), and know how one changes over time and things that you recognize and stand for today, mean nothing a few years down the life. It has happened so many times, that I went back to my writings and was surprised that I, me, wrote that stuff. Surely, I didnt write that.

So, possibly, having this perspective, of your past, which your brain conspires to erase from itself, would, I hope in some way, help me, partially, understand myself. The incidents that make me who I am. The reasons that make me who I am. The thoughts that make me who I am.