Showing posts with label fun. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fun. Show all posts

Sunday, July 8, 2018

The 21st Football-Acting Games





The Football-acting games is slowly and thankfully winding to its end. And what a spectacular show it was. Some of the best actors from international football teams have put up show a show, they leave actual actors in the dust ! As some might have expected, the top teams, the sure-shot winners have all been knocked out. And out there playing is a new breed of younger actors at the height of their games.

And I still don't get what the fuss is all about. For decades now, its not about how many goals a team can score. But how easily they can convince the referee of a foul play by the opposing team. How easily they can get a free-kick. Or a penalty strike. I am not a fan of the sport, but it has been hard ignoring it since 1997, when Roberto Carlos took that so-famous and un-expected goal from a free kick, 35 metres away from the post. Players have since figured out that with the newer , rounder and lighter footballs, it is better to just control it from a free kick and guide it into the box, then actually sweating it out on the field. Its a game of physics. And acting.



And while India is known for its movie industry, there seems to be a severe lack of actors on the field. While some actors have started playing cricket in the ICL, that is still cricket. India can only have a real shot at FIFA if they decide to take the acting games seriously, and focus on their craft (of acting), instead of actual sports. Or somehow come up with the money to host the games. You see, the host nation continue to receive and automatic berth.

Learn tumble diving from Neymar. Cry like Messi. And look good like that other Portugal player.

It was funny reading all the football analysis in leading Indian dailies. Young reporters giving sound advice like, this guy should have taken that side. The manager of that team chose the wrong midfielder. For a country which has never qualified for a FIFA cup, India sure has a lot of opinion about how masters should play their game.

But the games occasionally bring back memories. I was in college during the 2002 world cup. And got to observe the symptoms of football fever from close distance. The whole college was divided. Mainly into Argentina and Brazil fans. But also the occasional Portugal, or Germany fan. And as every evening, students would descend, without invitation, into homes of those who had television sets. Again, everybody had loud opinions. And it was the actors who won matches.  The dramatic dives would be laughed at during slow motion replays. How could the referee not call out that acting ?




We used to watch the match on grainy CRT televisions. It was summer, and hot and humid. And being Kerala, there were frequent power cuts. These usually resulted in a train of curses to the KSEB. There were no smart phones, so goals and movements were transmitted via short text messages to those who where travelling. I think there was some betting going on too, but I didn't see anyone losing money. After the matches, there were frequent replays, and excited news readers would relive the games through diction. And the next day, boy the next day, the newspaper would have a second round of explanation. With extra sheets for the games, football-watching-experts would dissect the match carefully, mansplaining how the match could not have ended any other way. Boys would get hold of different newspapers, and be sure to read every article essaying the matches. Sigh.

Now with only a few more games remaining, only the best actors/players are left in the game. The top contenders all being knocked out, it will be fun to watch rookies running the show. We Indians continue to watch it from the sidelines, as the greatest masters of the sport act it out.





I predict an England vs France final. :)




Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The BSBs are all grown up


Youtube just suggested me a new trending video, thought I would like it.

And I did. It was Jimmy Fallon and BSB performing 'I Want it that Way' with classroom toys.

I was instantly transported to the nineties again.

Over two decades later, the Backstreet Boys keep coming back. They are probably the only pop-artists from that era still releasing music and performing together, from what I hear, to sold out audiences. All grown up, with kids of their own, they can no longer be called a boy-band. It was a little painful for me watching the average 42 year olds dancing on stage. Still crying "babe, babe" into the mike like some teenager would do. But on the other hand, rock bands from the 70s are still peforming their best songs, so why not them.

In wise hindsight, its clear that they were more a product of rigorous marketing, than guys with actual talent. They could sing ,for sure. But they didn't have anything special in their voices. Somebody else wrote their songs. And somebody else produced the music. They just sang. What they had for them, was their looks. And that was what was marketed to the teenage audience of the time. I am sure everything from their costumes to make-up was planned and executed in advance. Each of the boys had a persona, a character they constantly played. Some of them played cute, while AJ and Kevin played and looked like mature ,bad guys. All the hats , and goggle and accessories, they were all part of that persona. Listening to their music, it was impossible to say who sang which part, because they all sounded the same. They played the characters of young boys in love, and that was the product.

But still, their songs have aged well, IMHO. Compared to the awful crap being released nowadays, BSB's music was slower and cleaner. It was designed for repeated radio play. This was before the internet hit us so strong, so people used to still buy music on CDs or listened to FM radio. Their music was also heavily pirated. I lost the pirated audio tape I had from their hit album Millenium. I used to wonder who in India would be sane enough to pay 125 rupees for an original disc of 7 songs, when music produced in India was selling for 30 to 50 rupees.

Over the years, I kept hearing of the band breaking up, someone going solo, but in the end they all stayed together. Some of their recent music has had a change of style ,and cannot compete with contemporary artists. A decade ago I had assumed they would disband in a few years and retire for good. And I think its high time they did retire, because again, they are  no longer boys. But it seems they still have an audience. We have aged along with them. And for us , who cannot digest conteporary hip-hop and dance music, BSB is the brand to follow.

I like it that way.


Sunday, June 10, 2018

Trip to Phillip Island

 

Man, I’ve been busy. With all the work in office, calls and meetings and gym and yoga and what not, how many hours does one get for oneself ? I wonder how these Auzzies manage to do it. Now one of the reasons we had considered and decided to move here to Australia is to have fun. Enough of this ‘work yourself to death’ mentality they spread in India.  Have fun. See the world. Have some time for oneself.

So thanks to the Queen’s birthday, we got a long weekend to indulge in this time. Went on trip to Phillip island. Its a small part of the country, isolated in the sea, but now connected via bridge to Melbourne. The whole place is one big reservation basically.  Like a huge national park, for birds, animals. And maybe even trees. Theres hundreds of miles of coastline, beautifully preserved , clean of all those rubbish and eyesore usually seen on (Indian) beaches.  And the weather , don’t get me started on the weather. Even in the winter, the place gets a lot of sun, and its perfect for hiking ! Or in our case, lazily dragging feat through the sand.

The place is about 140 kms away from Melbourne, so under 2 hours of driving time. Tour operators run day services to the place, so no worries if you can’t drive. There are some hotels, but I think most people just stay on Airbnb if one needs to stay overnight. For some reason, there are huge surf shops, everyone is driving huge cars into the beach. There is a Koala reservation centre half way through, but all the one we saw were sleeping high in the trees. Also, they don’t let you hold and cuddle these creatures like they do in the zoo. The southern and western coasts of the island lie within the Phillip Island Important Bird Area, so identified by BirdLife International because of its importance in supporting significant populations of fairy penguins, short-tailed shearwaters and Pacific gulls. In addition, there is a wildlife park where wallabies and kangaroos roam freely amongst the visitors and can be fed by hand. Seal Rocks, at the western end of the island, hosts the largest colony of fur seals in Australia (up to 16,000). In recent years, other than local population of critically endangered endemic Burrunan dolphins or migratory killer whales, southern right whales and humpback whales are starting to show recoveries in the area long after commercial and illegal hunts by the Soviet Union with the help of Japan in 1970s, and the numbers using the area as nursery are growing rapidly, allowing a rise in hopes to establish commercial whale watching activities in the vicinity of the island.

But the real highlight of the place is the penguin parade. Every evening, a bunch of ~1000 penguins waddle up from the deep blue ocean, into their burrows on the island. They have been continusly studied since the sixties, so by now, they are used to being stared at. Again, they can’t be watched from close quarters, due to it being in the evening, and because the burrow area is restricted to visitors. It is amazing how the staff have taken care not to disturb these gentle creatures in any way, opting to let them enjoy life in the wide open.

We also went trekking to Pinnacles, its a 2 hour return hike at the southern most tip of the island. Blue, pristine waters. High in the air on the cliffs. The feeling cannot be easily explained.

Again, the way these sites have been preserved it astonishing. Auzzies really know mother nature, and have steps in place to preservce ancient sites like these. And visitors happily comply. Most of the hiking areas and beaches are free, and see millions of tourists annually. But there was no litter to be seen on the beach. Neither in the water. With only a few sign boards asking visitors to keep the place clean, they have managed to enforce a cleanliness lockdown.

 

Happy to have moved here. And there are still more places to explore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

New Lounges at Melbourne T2 !

 

For a long time, the tourist city of Melbourne was notorius for not having a general access lounge in its international terminal (or even domestic, for that matter.) except those for business class travellers. Well starting April 2018, they have opened multiple new lounges, and one by Plaza Premium. Looks to me they actually rearranged the ones they actually had, the AMEX lounge in T2 is now Plaza Premium.

Its a little watered down than what is generally expected from PP. But theres also another AMEX, apart from Etihad and Emirates lounges. They are all conveniently housed one level down from the international departure gates. With a selected range of foods, an open bar, and juices, they are visibly focussing on larger population of travellers. There were four dishes on offer, apart from the salad and cold cuts, and coffee and snacks. But if you walk through the path to the restrooms, you enter another section equally spacious, and with an identical buffet.

There are enough charging pods and wifi for everyone !

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Happy Journey !

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Reading the Martian, and book experiments

 

I’ve been travelling in Sydney trains for a few months now. I spend about 40 mins travelling one way, so its more than an hour of commute each day. Though the distances covered is larger than those I covered in Bangalore in the same time, or any Indian city, I would venture. And good thing about my commute, there are always seats ! Even during the rush hour, you could find seats to slid into. So I figured the best way to spend time on these commutes would be to listen to podcasts, or just read a plain old book when the batteries die down.

I’ve been also running a crazy experiment of sorts. After I finish reading a book, I leave it on the seat. There. Abandoned. For the next commuter on that seat. You see, the building I live in has a library of abandoned books. Books which their owners throw out when its too much cargo when they move out. So its a free library ! I’ve read and left about four books on the trains so far. Just finished reading Andy Weir’s The Martian. This novel was turned into the hit 2015 movie by Ridley Scott. The movie was Ridley’s best work in this decade, in between all those Alien duds.

I could see why the book was a hit, its a story of survival in the harshest conditions. Its a fight against nature, and the cosmos itself. Its a story of the whole earth uniting to save one man stranded on a distant planet. But I also could not see why the book was such a hit. Its nerdy. Its full of long jargon, longer, meticulus calculations, and technological exposition. Engineers and scientists would love this kind of thing, but anybody else would find it..hmm…boring. Repititive.

I didn’t !

I loved it. Most of it. But then even I got bored of all those calculations, error variance, and best estimates. There is a lot more of the story happening in the book, which got cut out of the movie. And that was good, because there is no way a 2 hour movie could capture this much techno-babble.

We all know what happened to the stranded fictional astronaut Mark Watney. He is eventually rescured after 500 days alone on planet Mars. But the book goes into great detail to explain all the problems he and the NASA team faced along the way. There is a journal entry for most of the 561 sols he spend on the planet. There are other subplots not discussed in the movie.

Like the incident during the drilling of the second rover’s rood. Mark accidently shorts out the electronics on the pathfinder, and loses his ability to communicate with earth.  This is not shown in the movie. But in the book, Mark has no choice but communicate one way using stones arranged in morse code on the route he follows across Mars.

Or when the rover tumbles into the crater.

But I still had questions, which I hoped would be answere in the books, but was left disspointed.

For starters, Mark is extermely optimistic. Like, he is the most optimistic literary character I have read till date. He beats Robinson Crusoe hands down. Its unnatural , the guy simply does not give up. He does talk to himself a lot, but he voices his optimism clearly. I wanted to know the why he was so. Wanted to know about his childhood, his college days. Was he in the forces ? Does he belive in a god ? What pulls him to earth ? Was it his family ? Speaking of family, neither the book nor the movie tries to shed light, what kind of family did he grow up in ? Does he have siblings ? A girlfriend ? His best friend ?

Another question, this is more of a tease. The story mentions that Mark travels more than 3oo days travelling across Mars in rovers. He was carrying all the equipment to keep him alive, but he was not carryin a porta-toilet or something. So, where did he poop ? How ? And how did he cook the food he brought along ?

But what I find most astonishing is the passage of time. 500 days is almost 2 years. He spends a lof of that time travelling, and completing all sorts of tasks. Its easy to say 100 days of travel. But Mars has a barren crust, its the same shade of red everywhere. 100 days of travelling through it is not at all easy, with no one to talk to, and having to be alert all the time. At some point, one will at least think of giving it all up. But not Mark.

Anyway, despite all of this, the book is still a good read. The epilogue in the movie is missing in the book. It ends with Mark’s rescue from the planet. Science, technology, humany ingenuity and persistence, this is what the story is about.

Now that I finished reading it, I am going to leave it on the train tomorrow. For someone else to enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Winter in the city



Brrr…Chilling out there. Today the whole city was covered in a thick layer of mist. Only the bottom few storeys of each high-rise was visible. Checked the temperature; 5 degrees! Haven't seen these temperatures outside for the last...well..many years. That was when I was in Europe, where it went below zero in the winter. 5 degrees is what they call spring time. I started recalling the tricks we used to use during those frigid European winters, heaters on, warm fluids. Even the fill-the-warm-water-bottle-under-bed hack.


It is good to be away from the heat, though we still do get some sun, but its not that harsh. That was really missing in Europe, the winters there are long and dark. Even at peak noon, the sky just turns a little light blue. And for the rest of the day, it remains dark. Street lights are on all day. In office all the blinds were down, otherwise you just wouldn't feel like working. I used to carry a torch to use near my apartments back then.


So this is what a Melbourne winter feels like. I think I am going to enjoy the next few months.


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

All roads lead the the Gym !

 

It has happened. The annual casual visitors to our building gymnasium. Since new year’s eve I have been seeing a lot of totally new faces. People I have never seen in the facility in the last few months. Suddenly I feel the gym is now crowded, there is someone always waiting at every machine, and most of the dumbbells are missing. There is only possible explanation for this new found fascination for the gym : new year’s resolutions.

Its a powerful thing, resolution. And its fascinating how everyone resolves to take exactly the same decision every year. Interesting to see how synced up we all are. I wonder if the whole world thinks like this.

Curios, I checked it out on google trends.

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Yep. Verified. Interest in these topics have definitely peaked globally in the last one week,  on New Year’s eve.

Now if you will excuse me, I have to ask this gentleman to get off the bench press.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Predictable Mr Dan Brown

 

I finally finished reading Dan Brown’s new novel. Yes, he is still writing, and he still has got a few tricks up this harris tweed sleeve. I remember the first time I read his novel, it was the DaVinci code, which I read more than 10 years ago. My dear friend Tomci loaned me his original copy. Back then, I was gripped by the narrative, transported instantly to Paris, and London, the setting of the story. This was before the internet had penetrated our lives like it has today. There was no way to verify the claims mentioned in the book, and one simply had to take it at face value. Being  non-christian, I was not offended by the book, but was smiling mischeviously with a I-knew-it smirk. An author with the guts to write, I remember thinking to myself.

Not anymore. Since the day he found his style, he has stuck to it. Religiously, for the lack of a better term. His latest book is equal parts boring and interesting. Boring because it is completely predictable. The settings, the characters, some of the lousy dialogues, and excrucitating detail. And interesting because the book again talks of the rivalry between science and religion. Most of the ideas presented in his latest books are not original, he has taken some ideas and theories presented by others and neatly packaged it. But man of man, it is so boring. Brown needs to find a new characther, or a new genre.

Just a few chapters into the book, I grew suspiciuos of the charachter Winston, and suspected him to be the mastermind orchestratin the crimes about to be committed in the story. There is another, young female companion for Robert Langdon to talk to, who is again a subject matter expert from science, complimenting Langdon’s own expertise in symbols. The whole story takes place over a few hours, less than a day. But the mastermind has planned it all for weeks , or even months. And in the end, predictably, Robert Langdon saves the day, and reveals the secret. He will live for his next adventure. Something about an ancient cult trying to prove aliens exist on earth among us…..

Again the latest book has attracted negativity from religious circles. I find it fascinating that even in this day and age religious evangelists use technology to criticize…well, science ! The question of where we came from is the oldest question mankind has asked. Brown has distilled some long standing ideas into a quick two day read, there is no need to question his faith because the ideas itself are not his original. Until the real truth is revealed, I think the dialogue should be kept open.

And comging back to Origin, well, nothing in it is original. Its a merge of all this previous charachters and style in a new setting and facing a graver threat.

 

In a 2006 interview, Brown stated that he had ideas for about 12 future books featuring Robert Langdon. Oh no….

 

 

PS: I lied, This time, I did not ‘read’ the book. I listened to it. On audiobook. Some chaps have uploaded the audiobook version directly on to youtube, and it can be accessed for free.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Kozhikode trip

 

Two weeks back we travelled to Kozhikode, to attend a wedding of a friend, and to catch up with others too. Kozhikode is a city in north Kerala, situated right on the west coast in Malabar. I was not looking forward to this trip, partially because I knew how the weather there would be like at this time of the year. But also because I have my own history with the place. The last time I was here was...what..11 years ago ? For my undergraduation I went to an aided college in this district, and had to travel frequently via private buses on this route. There was no direct bus to my college, I had to switch buses at Kozhikode private bus stand, with those half ring curves for its roof. While there, I have had snacks and tea between buses, and very rarely, lunch. And I hated college. Really hated. So when I finally I secured my degree and certificate , I had decided I will never have to come back to this place again.

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Well after 11 years I can proudly say the city has not changed much at all. I remember the traffic was always this bad. Specially around the bus stand, those roads are the arteries of the city traffic. And the weather was always this hot. Being so close to the beach, the humidity is always high. The city has this strange habit of clinging on to its past, modernization comes so slowly. Even in this day and age, most of the establishments do not accept credit card or e-wallets for payment. Except only the high end ones. And people still stare at couples walking together in the big city.

And the hotels, they still cling on to their 12-pm-checkin time rule from last century. We had to pay extra on OYO to ensure we could check in at 7 in the morning. Maybe they take up the entire morning to clean up, thus mandating that checkins are only after 12 noon. But what about early morning travellers ?

It is a similiar irony at the city's most well known shopping mall, the 'Focus' mall. Surprisingly, this is just opposite the private bus stand I used to travel through as a student. There are a few other malls too, but this one seems to be the most well equipped. Puttakke puttakke karimeen puttakke. All the youngsters are there, and even a lot of families. Kozhikode has a majority muslim population, and they dress conservatively. I still cannot understand how they wear those long black burqas under such a blazing heat. So it was ironical that the branded readymade showrooms in the mall were advertizing and displaying a lot of western wear, things which no body in this city would dare to wear. All those shorts and tights and straps, anybody wearing these would turn heads of the 'traditional' population. Neverthless, people were still checking those clothes out.

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The autorikshaw drivers in the city maybe charge the lowest fares in the country. I hope that stays like that for a long long time. We travelled 8 times in autos and paid a total of only 200 rupees ! We would have had to pay about 500 had it been in Bangalore. There is really no need to own a car here, these autos are dependable enough to get around , and they know every nook and cranny and all the secret roads of the city, some I could not even find on google maps !

As always, the city still serves up the best food. Wether it is vegetarian fare, or their cuisines borrowed from Arabia, or their famous biriyanis, the food is lip smacking ! Do visit on an empty stomach. Also one has to visit those famous halwa stands to sample all those colorful halwas, now available in modern flavors of mango and grape !

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And another thing which is thankfully still the same, is the cleanliness. It is still the cleanest cities I have visited in my country. Even the beach area is clean and well maintained. The rest of this country and learn something from it.

 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Too many wallets, not enough money.

 

The problem is cost

Looks like latest technology  startups are interested in are online money-wallets. You know, the system which allows you to keep some money in an online account, and use it for online payments. I guess, they identified something banks were totally unaware of , and built up a system to fill that up. But then, other startups too woke up, and started copying each other.  I only realized how crazy it had gotten when today I was trying to make an online payment, and got this screen.

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Thats 10 different wallets !  Some I had not even heard of. So I got curious and searched for ALL the online wallet systems available in India. And I got this:

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Yup. There are a lot of them. Even some mobile network companies (Airtel,Jio) have joined the race. Some banks have also released their apps. But I am not sure if they are solving the existign problems, or adding to users’ woes.

There has to now be some sort of regulation for these wallet guys. For one, there is now way to transfer money between these wallets, without first transferring to a bank. And some of them charge for those transfers. More on that later.

Second, money in the wallets do not accrue interest, like it does in your bank. That is one advantage the bank apps have.

Third, I am sure all these apps have security problems, specially on their andriod versions. Its only a matter of time before some or all of them get hacked. And the lack of IT security laws in this country means there is no proper protection to the end users.

And fourth, the ultimate problem is cost. These are all private players (except SBI). And they need to make their own profit. Which means sooner or later, they are gonna have to charge the customers for their service. What some online sites call “convenience charge”. Being in the IT business, guys like me know there are huge mulitlayered systems which power these online behemoths.  Even if they use open source, they will still need skilled programmers and support guys to power their frameworks. And all these are going to cost.

This is one advantage traditional cash transactions still have. There are no hidden charges. Unless they figure out a way to charge nominal to the customers, most of these apps are not going to survive.

 

 

 

PS: By they way, I have a PayTM account, the only wallet I used. Because they accept these at my company cafetaria.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

FullTextRssFeed is back . Again.

 

Today morning when I opened my RSS feed reader, I was intrigued by the higher number of articles to read. Then I noticed the new entries were coming from the dead feeds from FullTextRssFeed.com. Its  a free service which converts short summary RSS feeds to fulltext feeds, so you can read entire articles without visiting the feed site. This is specially useful to me, as I frequently try to read these from my company network, where my employer has blocked many good sites under other asuumptions.

Fulltextrssfeed feeds were not working for a very long time now, but its good to know they are back, and I can go back to my reading.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Happy Jurassic June !

 

Today, June 11, marks the 23rd anniversary of Jurassic Park’s theatrical release. This week also marks one year since Jurassic World was released.

 

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Jurassic Park fans are celebrating the anniversaries once again with Jurassic June, a month long celebration of all things Jurassic!

Join Jurassic Park artist Shannon Shea in drawing a dinosaur every day this month with his30 Days of Dinosaurs challenge on Twitter.

 

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JurassicJune.com, with Tiny Dev Studio, has launched an incredibly addicting and insanely challenging new mobile game app this month called Jurassic Jump for Android and iOS.

And, since the beginning of this month, the original three Jurassic Park movies are available on Netflix 

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Kapoor and Sons

 

Have you ever went to watch a movie expecting something, and got something else completely ? I mean, there are lot of movies marketted and adverstised  with extreme hype, and then the movie does not live up. It would turn out to be dissapointment, or just your average movie, just marketted for the multiplex. Countless times ? Well I recently had this experience again, but completely in the other direction.

I am talking of the 2016 bollywood movie Kapoor and Sons. Lately all bollywood movies staring young actors are being marketted as young, party kind of movies, with lof of drinking, pubbing, synchronized dancing, bedroom scenes and filthy double meaning dialogues. This movie too has young actors playing the leads, and two party songs, and all the marketting was targetted at them. The stupid sounding club song, and a love triangle was the focus of all the ads. Due to this, I never felt like watching it when it came out. But watching it now on DVD, I am blown away.

I watched this movie without reading its reviews.This is actually a very good family drama. Of an Indian family living today, circa 2016. Not a privileged family living in a metropolitan city. But a middle class family living in the beautiful hills of Coonor , TN. Rishi Kapoor plays the fantastic patriachal grandfather. There is a father and mother, and they have two sons, born during the eighties. The eldest is a successful writer, the younger one is still struggling, but he’s almost there. They live in a beautiful bungalow in the hills, snuggled between hills, embracing the local culture. This is the kind of family everyone wants to have. A picture perfect family.

Except, its not. Like every family out there, this one too has problems. Family problems. Within the first 15 minues of the movie, we see cracks. The grandpa does not act his age, and always pretends to fall down dead ! The parents marriage is in choppy waters, he might be having an affair. There is friction between the sibling brothers. The elder , more successful son (Rahul, played by Fawad Khan) is the favourite of the parents. The younger (Arjun, played by Siddharth Malhotra), seems jealous of Rahul’s success, and of the extra love and care Rahul gets. There is some financial turmoil in the family. They all see each other very rarely. To the world outside, they seem like the perfect family, but personally, they would rather live separately.

And the story of the movie is of they learn to resolve their differences, iron out the issues, and come together again.

Grandpa Kapoor knows he is at the verge of death, and he wants to take a family picture with this family. This is the breakdown scene. Here, secrets are revealed, all wounds open, and some new truths are uncovered. The biggest plot point is that the successful elder son may have stolen the novel of his kid brother , and gained success after that. The presence of Tia (Alia) creates a new rift between the brothers. Harsh, the father, might be having an affair. And the mother is furious that his perfect elder son is in fact, gay. That breakdown scene is the centerpiece of this movie. It is setup, shot and closed fantastically. It starts to rain just after the whole family breaks down.

The story moves smoothly, the cinematography and background music complement each other beautifully. There is some melodrama, but nothing over the top. There are only a few scenes , about 7-8 in total, scenes at the home, some at the hospital, and some others in the hills. But they tell a wonderful story.

This is a really nice, relevant movie for India in today’s world. I would not call it a family movie, because some of the dialogues might make children uncomfortable. But its a must watch. Kudos to the director Shakun Batra, and the team for creating something relevant out of all that mess in bollywood today.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Primary Function Of Water Towers Is…..to pump Water !

 

I didn’t know this. All these years I used to look up at water towers and say “Why did they have to build them that tall ?” Here in India, water towers are used primarily as…landmarks ! The Koramangala water tank is well known, then there is the Sankey water tank. But today I learned that the reason of building the water reservoir on a tower is to let gravity act on it, and the water pressure thus created will let the water rise up into higher floors in buildings. Look at the diagram:

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At first glance, it would be easy to assume that water towers exist to store water. They are, after all, giant above ground vessels filled with anywhere from tens of thousands to millions of gallons of water.

But whether you’re talking about a modest little water tower perched atop an apartment building in New York City or a giant municipal water tower, water storage is not the primary function of the tower (if water storage was the only goal, it would be significantly cheaper to build a reservoir). The primary function of water towers is to pressurize water for distribution. Elevating the water high above the pipes that distribute it throughout the surrounding building or community ensures that hydrostatic pressure, driven by gravity, forces the water down and through the system.

The design helps keep the cost of water distribution lower for two reasons. First, it allows for centralization of pumping and pressurization, and decreases the number of pumping stations needed in the vicinity of the water tower. Second, it allows the water company to pump water up to the tower during off-peak energy times to decrease the expense of running the pumps.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Drumpfinator

 

John Oliver focused on Donald Trump this time, and brought forward various issues and problems with the candidate. But the best was when he unveiled that his team had put together a new browser extension, which would convert all the ‘Trump’ on websites to ‘Driumpf’. And it works !

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Friday, February 26, 2016

Throwback: Magazine CD Days

 

I was back in my home town some time back, and was going through some old ‘garbage’. You know, the stuff you are sure are useless, but you keep around anyway. And I ran into some old magazine CDs I had purchased more than 10 years ago.IMG_20160221_125806755

They are from a computer magazine called CHIP, which they later renamed to DIGIT. The came out in monthly issues, and each issue had two CDs, one with business/work software, and the other had fun/games/videos stuff like that. During the mid nineties these magazines where very popular and sought after by computer enthusiasts. Because the internet had just hit India, but the usage rates were awefully high. Downloading a CD worth of content from the internet would take hours ,and it cost about 60 rupees per hour. So getting two CDs of downloaded stuff for 100 rupees was like a good deal, all the content was nicely documented and arranged in a searachable menu. And the CDs still work till this day !

 

 

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The 2nd fun CD usually came with trial/shareware versions of computer games, and most of us got to play US titles in this way, without having to download them ourselves. I als digged the computer/programmer softwares they used to ship. The CDs I have are dated July 2001, and November 2002.

 

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Digit still gives out discs, though now they consist of DVDs.Today of course the internet has become a lot more affordable, so one can stay online all day without having to empty one’s pockets for all those downloads. But its fun to think how far we have gone since then.