Wednesday, March 05, 2014

The Book Thief

While the news channels proclaimed (in their own sensationalist way) that we are at the brink of World War III, I happened upon "The Book Thief" the movie. Set in Germany swallowed by propaganda during the years of WWII, it tells the inspirational story of a young Liesel; a girl adopted by a quaint German middle-aged couple and her passion for knowledge. But it isn't the story itself that captures your imagination, but the telling of it. The portrayal of the characters;. Papa, the cheerful old man, with a spring in his step, and a soul as light as a feather. Mama, who contrasts him so perfectly as the typical barking house-wife, who is later revealed to have a twinkle in her eye. Then there is the best friend and love-interest, Rudy, the embodiment of innocence and courage. Throw all these characters into a war-torn Germany, and watch the magic happen. 

However, what really got to me was the importance people gave to the written word back then. Max, a Jew elaborates how each of us live because of the Word spoken into us. Words are life. 
Reclining on my bean-bag typing on my laptop with my eyes closed, I think about how many books I could access with the swipe of my finger. How many do we actually read everyday? While we have 'life' itself at our fingertips, we tend to take it for granted and rather scroll down our facebook feeds. 

And then I think; if Liesel were in our shoes, what would she have done? Wouldn't she have read and read chapters upon chapters every single day, and then written them down? Wouldn't she have taken complete advantage over the multitude of information at her finger-tips and put them to the best use possible?
Unlike her, we were born into plentiful. We never lack a book to read, or a movie to watch. All the information in the world is at the tip of our fingers whether we own a smart phone or a desktop with internet connection. Liesel's eyes, on the other hand, would widen with amazement at such information. She would not waste any time, but spend each day filling her head with wisdom from sages past, and the shrewdness of today. 

We are a really blessed generation in a blessed part of the world. There is no plague, famine, or war to threaten our very existence. Our political structure is democratic, and encourages Human Rights, leaving us nothing huge to fight for, save the relatively luxurious existence we take for granted. This movie, and the time that I watched it told me one thing. The life we have is fleeting. We should make the best of it. 

Tuesday, January 08, 2013


If only making a video was as simple as typing down a blog-post. apparently, when making a video, writing only is 10% of the effort. While blogging, once you've finished writing, the only thing remaining is to find that 'publish' button. 

But my new profession requires that I learn this amazing art of expression; and through experience and intensive youtube diy sessions, I've begun to observe movies and tele-serials not for their entertainment, but to see how the director decided to use the 3 point lighting set-up. And slowly I'm beginning to really appreciate the amount of work that's put into a movie. Producing a movie is like running a 300 million dollar company under a dead-line. 

But whatever we produce, be it text or a fancy video, what's more important is the ability of the artist/writer/script-writer to convey the message through whatever media he chooses. At the end, what we says matters more than how we say it. 

(This was a lame post, but it'll get better, I promise)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Be kind...

... For everyone you meet is fighting a great battle. 

This particular quote by Philo of Alexandria is just one of those awesome set of words that turn your whole perspective upside down. Sometimes situations push us down so hard that in our own reflex to get back out there and continue our fight with life, we tend to push other people down, or out of the way to do so. We say things we don't mean and hurt people unintentionally. 

I personally have a gift (is it really one?) for sarcasm. It spikes when I'm on my way to the bottom of the negative emotional spiral. For example, take the average ride in the autor-rickshaw (how I cringe at their presence!). Because of some weird conditioning, I tend magnet for cheating auto-drivers, and though I try my best and avoid being cheated, I end up being cheated... And what's worse? I always know when I am being cheated, but I can do nothing about it. Sometimes I imagine me reverse-conning the rickshaw guy. But I digress...

After the average rickshaw ride, it is not advisable for anyone to talk to me for the next 10 minutes, while I mutter away in frustration and anger. Because any remark/comment/question/statement no matter how innocent or sweet is hammered by some untasteful sarcasm followed by an even more untasteful smirk. 

And then that poor soul who got the brunt of my bitter humor reels with hurt and frustration and takes it out on someone else, and i have started a beautiful chain reaction the devil would be proud of!

Why this kolaveri? Why can't we just "Be kind, 'cause everyone we meet is fighting a great battle?" You see, it's no point realizing that the person I'm gonna be sarcastic to is "fighting a great battle," What I should realize is, is that the rickshaw walla is fighting the battle, and I need to be kind to him; hopefully I become less angry then. 

Thought I'd just put it out there...

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Ode to a great friend

This is definitely not the first time I've used this platform to appreciate the best things that have happened to my life. Not that putting a friend's name here launches him on to the Hollywood walk of Fame. Guess, this is a way to remind myself (and said friend) years later how special he is. 

Okay, so here's to you, birthday boy, you messy half-crippled, pot-bellied you! Thanks for adding that extra dose of sunshine into my life, (and into the lives of many more, I'm sure). First of all, your amazing resourcefulness when it comes to all things Bangalore, food, first-aid, food, medicine and cooking... Oh, and did I mention, food! Pretty awesome indeed. And now, you're on your way to become an OT scholar too! Not very often you find friends like that.

That said, I've also been really blessed by your extreme concern and helpfulness.
Well, we all know that this helpfulness lies underneath a layers and layers of loud talking, leg pulling, mind-games (they are deep man, but not profound) extremely loud laughter and who can forget the religious protection of the rules of the game, (Pictionary). Well, but still, it's an honor, man, to have gotten to know that helpful, warm-hearted side of you; that love that reveals itself in action more than words. One of the said actions,is making sure I stuff my face every time I go to his place, I guess in an attempt to make sure I left heavier than I came. And of course, there's that brusque honesty that really gives me the perspective I need sometimes. You know what I'm talking about! And then there's the loyalty... Truly, truly a virtue I hope to one day learn from you. 

We have collected quite a few great memories, over the past 2 1/2 years, haven't we? Rides around the city, watching movies on the lappy, downloading loads of ebooks, bleach, hunting for subtitles that just don't work, an awesome trip to Nagaland, with a crazy trek to the mountains that left us both almost in need of stretchers; making, what I think is the longest power-point show ever made, posters, logos, more logos, videos... we really have had some great times. 

But hey, it's your birthday,
and as I said a prayer for you
thanking God for a friend like you, 
I thought I'd write this down for you
So umm... Have an awesome year ahead!


Man, I suck at poetry!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Back to the kitchen

After two years of living in the hostel, eating whatever was put on my plate, I finally have once again started cooking for myself, and thankfully the my new kitchen is not something I cannot stretch my hands in, and I don't have an excuse of a gas-cylinder, either. 
I have a nice, stylish looking induction cook-top, (which works marvels, btw. Totally recommend it for the bachelor cook with a hatred for lpg/rationcard hassles) 

It's been a while since I ate my mashed potatoes cooked 'my' way, with a bit of butter, milk, cheese and basil. with scrambled egg, tomatoes and boiled beans on side. It's actually a 30min cook-job, but having one stove-top really slows you down. Can't wait until my rice cooker gets here!

I hope to put on weight eating boiled food, and I really want to start experimenting with meat; But am just wary of the extra hard washing up that comes before, during and time! Ultra-simple quick-cooking recipes without fancy ingredients anyone? 

Either way, am glad of my new place of stay. It's the biggest place I've ever lived in by myself, and it's quite well furnished! Am just grabbing those blessings as they come! 

More to come, fosho!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Floating Leaf at peace

If you ever read my blog archive, you'd find that there are three or four posts with the same title, mostly wrestling with whether I need to live in the present or plan with the future in mind. The wrestling has always been taking place in the back of my mind, even when I don't write about it, but for the past 3-4 months, it has settled a lot toward focusing on the present. Wise words from a kurta-clad friend helped me feel at peace with this new development. 

If you've read/watched the "The Way of the Peaceful Warrior", (and if you haven't, I strongly suggest you do) you'd remember the philosophy of 'staying in the present'. Everything that matters is right now. Obviously, I fell in love with the philosophy when I heard it and some of you who know me would say that I tend to go overkill this one. I have always felt an existential ease with the process, and I have been the most productive when I am at peace with the uncertainty of the future, and even now, I feel that I may not have many regrets, if I get the chance to grow old and look back at my life. 

But even when I make it my purpose to work one day at a time, there are times I tend to get thrown off this philosophical horse. Mostly it's because of the overflowing emotions that I am learning to control. The first one is obviously panic. When I suddenly lift my eyes toward the future and have the swirling mist blind me and the well-meant yet discourgaging voices of those I trust and respect, I tend to lose focus on the present and begin to worry about the tomorrow, and at the end of the day, get frustrated with how I've handled the past, leading to this horrible vicious cycle that throws me into this rut making me unproductive and useless. 

The second, and more subtle (and therefore more vicious) way I lose control is to count chickens. When everything is going right with the present, I guess it's human nature to project the graph toward the future and imagine the future. The future; what was once a misty void now seems to be a paradise. The danger with this thinking that comes so naturally to us is the amount of happy hormones wishful thinking releases, making us not want to get out of that happy world. The moment we begin to count chickens, however, we tend stop working toward the goal we projected so beautifully. (To be clear, this is different for those of you who work with a dream in hand. Who work toward something you desire and overcome the odds to achieve the utopia in your head.) It does take intense effort on my part to stay focussed on being as useful as possible in the present. 

Well, just an update on the floating leaf: more to come :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Focus outward

Like I mentioned in floating leaf 3, it does get unsettling when people all around tend to wonder 'what you're going to do after graduation', and more often than not, I was tempted to put this meme up on facebook!

The last few months have been quite difficult for me in this regard, filled with this gnawing question; what am I supposed to do with my life? Where is that hole in the world that I'm supposed to fit in? Where is my niche? I have looked at many possibilities, and have turned most of them down. I have spent sleepless nights pondering and praying as to whether I say 'yes' to this offer, or is that one better. 

While I went through this, there were so many friends who were there to support me emotionally and spiritually, and sometimes give me sound advise. This is also a shout-out of thanks to you all. 

Two years in a cloistered environment like a Theological Institute makes you soft in the head. You tend to somehow close your eyes to things that happen around you, and that lack of looking outward makes you focus on yourself more than anything else. And that's how you become self-pitying and pathetic, and that pushes you into depression and frustration. Three weeks at home, and I begin to look outward again; at people with difficult life-styles, friends who work things out the hard, but right way; I look at life in general, with all its bright colours and highlighted by rough jaded patches, and the moment I take your eyes off myself, everything falls into focus.

And once again, everything is clear. I've been asking the wrong questions. It's not "what should my career be like?" but "what should I do right now that will make a difference right now?". He will take care of the rest.