Dec 4, 2007

Life in Sine - Film

Best Director: ICE 2008, Poona
Competition: SIGNS 2007, Trivandrum.
Competition : DigitAll Movement Poona
Film Camp, Banglore
Ala Short Film Festival, Calicut
Competition: Chicago Short Film Fest 08
Click here if you prefer watching in YouTube

Nov 8, 2007

poster, brands and some jagada

GCDA (jagada) gang
dudu: janis joplin, poison. Now in Advertising
neo: doors, romeo. Now in Automobiles
red: allan parsons project, weed. Now in : s/w

Forwarded conversation
Subject: nice poster on the roof

this is a poster on the roof of the smoking room of infosys bangalore.. thats dosent concern the 2 any wayz......

way to go guyzz............

From: Dudu


fcuk infosys. this is the smoking room of everest advertising, mumbai.

u think IT guys can think like this :-)

red - no offence bcoz i haven't considered u as one IT guy.




From: red

well........absolutely not ...... i don't consider myself as a part of any group let alone IT... but there indeed is a lot of crap sitting in there as creative czars in advertising as if they were chosen by god almighty......

i am starting to think that there is a big ethical question in advertising in pushing stuff people don't need. You probably have heard about Naomi Klien


From: Neo

I fully agree with u both u guys. According to the practical skeptic like me i feel that a person views himself or herself through others' perceptions in society and in turn he or she gains identity and is the result of the concept in which we learn to see ourselves as others do . ( no offense dude)

This begins at an early age when we are young (gcda days) and continues throughout the entirety of a person's life.

One might never stop modifying their self unless all social interactions are ceased . They might then put forward an influential summary of their perspective.

so for me IT is only learning some abrevations and jargons

and Branding is selling the art of learning how to sell stuff not required to layman.




From: red

Great Neo........I bet middle east has turned you into a philosopher ....that is Sartre and Existentialism at its best ...........see the excerpts from

The Gaze
Sartre believed that beings possess the power to look at themselves and at another or an object, which is to use one's mind to look at the person in static. This concept of "looking" and the power to look, is referred to as The Gaze. This destroys an object's subjectivity. The thing becomes an "in itself" or an object. Sartre stated that this form of consciousness was used quite often in inter-personal relationships. People place meaning onto what other people think of them rather than what they think of themselves. This process of radically re-aligning this meaning from The Gaze onto one's own being is what leads to periods of so-called "existential angst".

Being for others
Sartre believed that people who cannot embrace their freedom seek to be "looked at," that is, to be made an object of another's subjectivity. This creates a clash of freedoms whereby person A's being (or sense of identity) is controlled by what person B's thoughts about him are.


From: Dudu

i don't agree with red neither agree with naomi klein and the no logo.

it is just another publicity stunt by a journalist.

what has she become after that. she becomes a brand. don't forget that.

forget ad agencies and corporates. we are just pure mortals.

brands go as dated as olympics began and even cleopatra, shakespeare. they were all brands of their own age and era.

on the ethical question of pushing stuff people don't need. if not today it will be required tomorrow. some markets may be immature to accept a product or an offering. period.

and to sign off - consumer is not a moron, he is your wife.

and if advertising people are chosen by god almighty, yes definitely yes. we all are. even IT guys ;-)

cheers dudu


From: red

this is a debate that will never lead to a consensus ......coz is it very tied to each indvidulals politics, economics and a host of other things... and the debate is not just about advertising alone.......however it is important to see the other side rather being cocooned ....

cleopatra, shakespeare..... they all have different identities.. looking them as a brand is only one way .....tomorrow there might be another construct like a "brand" and you could ascribe them to that too. like the liberation theologists who say that Jesus Christ is the first Marxist which is very true coz he fought for the downtrodden. it is all different points of view as they say


In this context suggest you to watch this interesting documentary when you get time .pretty long one ..but a must watch i would say

< > THE CORPORATION explores the nature and spectacular rise of the dominant institution of our time. Footage from pop culture, advertising, TV news, and corporate propaganda, illuminates the corporation's grip on our lives. Taking its legal status as a "person" to its logical conclusion, the film puts the corporation on the psychiatrist's couch to ask "What kind of person is it?" Provoking, witty, sweepingly informative, The Corporation includes forty interviews with corporate insiders and critics - including Milton Friedman, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, and Michael Moore - plus true confessions, case studies and strategies for change.



From: neo


when i took that picture and attached it on to my mail and made up my tale

i wasnt quite in my senses but now i feel i am good in BRANDING as well as IT.(INFOSYS)

bye neo

From: dudu

in the context of people becoming brands, brand is what masses know. they can easily relate to it. have they ever read shakespeare - NO.

for eg let's take david beckham - the masses know he is a big brand. he is the one face of english football. his wife is victoris of spice girls. his sons name is romeo and something.

he is now even the face of american soccer. and that too for an obscene amount transfer. when did america started playing soccer? puzzles me.

masses are interested in page 3. accept it. and it is aspirational too. will they ever get to see them in real life. they might not. but they will know everything from his birth. this is not meant for soccer fans alone or beckham fans. everyone knows. and why everyone knows.

bcoz he is a brand. he is a good marketing guy. he has stupendopus spin doctors. he is a great PR guy. but he is not the greatest talented english footballer who was born on that part of the world. i wud say he is one of the least talented minus the dead ball spot kicks.

cheers dudu

From: neo


branding is done in a different way here in the middle east... no one looks for beckhan and his

' victoria 's secret ' here. no one cares abt the money and not necessarily has his "american dream".

for the cause of Arab resistance to the zionist program in palestine branding zionism as colonialism, thereby denying recognition of any Jewish national needs and entitlement to palestine as the Land of Israel has became a constitutive myth of the Arab discourse against the Jews.

The answer is that branding has become one of the world's most potent defamatory code-words. Hence those who seek fatally to stigmatize creed / products / humans grasp it with alacrity as a weapon in the struggle to end the existence of such.

precisely your question dudu " what is the connection between america and soccer?" who lost out ? soccer hungry fans in europe? soccer itself? england? imagine baseball which started when cricket was already there for decades and rugby ( american football ) when soccer existed years before........ helooooo now i hear some branding happening.....

they even have a world series baseball competition every year but the only teams playing are from the usa only.

now my conclusion

brandingl serves as a litmus test for distinguishing people - those who are hostile to every fuking thing other than their own perception and those who are conscientious critics of the policies and actions of everything other thing in this universe.


Would like to take on one line from Dudu .... Masses are interested in page 3

that sort of sums up the entire argument that marketers have for the current state of affairs or degeneration if i could say so...we follow where the market is...if for that Times of India has to show nude women on its sports page so be it ( I am not being a moralist here ) ..we are being led by the least common factor in all aspects of our existence. but classical marketing theory also can create a market when there is none. how did Coke become such a behemoth when for all of our existence we lived without something like that. Its like a . chicken or egg situation or brands..... leading to a gradual dilution of all values and making us pathetically homogenous... kellogs for breakfast, colorplus for attire, gucci for leather and mcdonalds for dinner ..... think capitalism is creating the communist utopia.

a friend form uttranchal was telling me a while back that Women sing the latest Hindi tunes in the sangeet ceremony that they have at night while till a year back it used to be traditional songs.. a generation later those songs would never be there ..power of the Bollywood brand ???? killing all our indigenous music... I wouldn't be surprised if our kids consider putto and kadala as an exotic dish while they would be feed on cereals, bacon and chips..

there are examples of active intervention too where consumers are taught. how did Kerala come to have a better film culture than the rest of India except Bengal.. the film clubs, chitralekha studio and a host of filmmakers painstakingly exposed us to and idiom different than the mainstream. why even our commercial cinema is refreshingly different in plot and execution than the rest - reason why priyadarshan keep remaking them in other languages.

Masses can be taught

Aug 2, 2007

Mahua Memoirs

The reality of everyday life is so consuming that we fail to see anything beyond our immediate travails. The corporatized media is not interested in anything other than the daily dose of ticklish gossip that goes on as news. It is here that Mahau Memoirs a film by Vinod Raja arouses us from the apathy and opens to a struggle that we are comfortably oblivious of and in which we have high-stakes.

The documentary opens with a solemn scene of an Adivasi lighting a fire. The act of churning twigs stuffed in cut bamboo shoot and blowing it as it smokes in both hands is so magical and gracious that lighting a fire becomes a prayer. In fact it is. The stark contrast is so evident, that I was trying to recollect when I lit a matchbox in the most crass way. The film is replete with such imagery and messages that it prompted a gentleman in the audience to wonder whether we really deserve to be called civilized in comparison to the Tribals depicted in the film. It took five hundred years of industrial activity, research and colossal damage to the environment for us to realize how entwined we are with this planet and now we really do not have a clue as to how to untangle this mess.

Mahua Memoirs portrays the struggle of indigenous people against big money and the powers that be who destroy their natural habitat and way of life for centuries by granting mining leases. The region around Orissa, Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand
is rich in bauxite, iron ore, chromite and other mineral deposits that national and international corporations are scrambling to secure mining leases and create plants to process them into aluminum, iron or other metals. At a cost benefit ratio of 1:100 odd this is big money for the global conglomerates with the Indian government getting only a miniscule portion of the proceeds. The original dwellers of the land are hustled out of their natural habitats and shoved into settlements and an existence that they are absolutely not tuned to.

The divergent approach to land use by the Tribals and the mining companies paints a picture of contrast and proves how uncivilized the civilized really can be. While the Advasi’s have a rotation based agricultural pattern where they farm the land for three years and then leave it untouched for a couple of years to rejuvenate, the company digs the land from its heart making it infecund for generations to come.

Such naked plundering and huge factories, which process this ore into metal, affects the immediate and long-term well being of India's environment and leads to mass dispossession. Jhorias, Konds, Dongria Konds and many such tribes lived at peace with the nature for centuries and have evolved a system that sustains and nurtured the terrain. The theoretical framework of anthropology was always evolutionist, promoting the idea that tribal society represents a primitive stage of development. Modern anthropology however rejects this view, and looks on tribal societies as no less sophisticated than mainstream society: more developed than us in many areas, less developed in others. The areas where tribal societies are more highly developed than us include a huge sensitivity and knowledge relating to nature - in effect, the art of living sustainably. Despite this the greed and voracity that dominate life in the modern society, inflicts the most naked and starkest form of brutality on the tribal people in the name of development.

It is very difficult to qualify such a work as just a good film. The emotions it evoked was all but good:- helplessness at being so impotent, rage at living in society where such injustice go without a whimper, absolute hatred at the mainstream media for not bringing out such stories. And that is where Mahua Memoirs succeeds as a film. It evokes extreme emotions with what eminent cinematographer Bhaskarji remarked as a subdued tone for a documentary. Never preachy, goading to think and slowly shaking from the comfort zone. Vinod’s succeeds as an artist in prodding us into a trajectory, which we fail to see or choose to not see. In this age of instants success and page 3 chatter it is rare to see a filmmaker who remains true to the medium and constantly strives to make an impact on our collective conscience. His earlier film The Bee, The Bear, And The Kuruba which I haven’t seen captures how eco-tourism projects and the forest department are stifling the native Kuraba community out of their habitats. It is high time that we start celebrating filmmakers like Vinod Raja who tread the road less traveled.

It is impossible to remain aloof from all that is happening in the heartland. The wisdom of ages, a balanced worldview that Guru Nitya calls Samyukaaya oru jeevitha veekshanam gets trampled by cars and supermarket chains - the most obvious symbols of over-development in the urban landscape The choice of models and brands, tell a story which links our material prosperity to the poverty and exploitation of the indigenous tribes. Our own lifestyle here is not separate from the resistance of tribal people against the imposed industrialization of their own land. The sooner we wake up to it, the better.

References: Anthropology Of A Genocide: Tribal Movements In Central India Against Over-Industrialisation By Felix Padel And Samarendra Das

Apr 22, 2007

Life In Sine

First cut of a short movie script. Story credited to Sachin who blogs at Meri Kahani


Cancer hospital board

An old hospital room….. Large windows … slightly faded white paint .. clean…

A 70’s fan with a large protruding center whirrs.

Large metal bed in the center with a similar bed table on which there is newspaper-wrapped partially opened pack of oranges.

Karthik : Late 20’s , 2 day stub

Tina: Late 20’s, Hospital councilor

Karthik is leaning on the wall with his face towards the wall and hands folded above ….

Walks towards the bed ..crashes with a thud …spreads out his hand and leg in an X position and casts a forlorn look to the fan

Cuts to the fan and close-up of Karthik’s face few times

Tina’s energetic footsteps

Tina knocks and enters the room . Karthik has a pillow over his eyes

Good morning Karthik .. did you sleep well . I hope you had the medicines given by Annie sister yesterday night

No Response

Are you awake Karthik


ohfoooo. Karthik you are in one of those bad trips gain…

Tina is active during the conversation

Tell me Councilor how long do I have

Karthik don’t be such a kid ….. Being a medical professional you should know that cancer is not an incurable disease these days. There is so much of technology available. I am sure Dr. Gowda would have explained you all the possibilities

Why me of all the people..I am not even thirty…

It is important though to not to loose your heart.. Show me a good face and I will get you out of this ….

Would you have these medicines

Tina slowly helps him sit on the bed , gives the pills and a glass of water….

Tina caringly rubs Karthik’s face and exits


Evening. Tina knocks and enters in denims and sweatshirt with a white collar

Hi Karthik Just thought I will say bye. How was the biriyani ???

She goes and opens a round steel lunch box

Makes out that it hasn’t been touched

Not even a spoon. Could have given it to somebody else if you were not having. You told you liked malabari biriyani. Had to wake-up at 4 today to cook it.

Why are you doing this Councilor ?

I got a name

I even don’t have a life ahead of me

Not everything has to be done with express intentions

I didn’t mean it. I am sorry. My state doesn’t leave me with many options.

That is because you choose not to.

You know this is not the real me

I too was wondering whatever happened to that glamorous, firebrand communist at college. Seriously you were the hero of all of us first years and had quite a fan following in the ladies hostel.

Those were the best years

Hey look… I got to go. Take care and have your medicines on-time. I can ask Annie to give a sedative if you are not getting sleep

Looks at Tina’s eyes and says in a soft moist voice

I just can’t thank you enough

Don’t bother. I will see you tomorrow

Tina Exits


Bright day

Karthik is by the window ardently looking outside …..

Cuts to a close-up of a small plant on the window ledge. Morning dew on the leaves, a little bud or flower, swaying against the wind.

Karthik paces up and down the room . humming a tune from a recent movie ( allah ke bande) … . exited .

Tina knocks and walks towards Karthik

Good Morning Tina.

Good Morning. What in the world has happened. Was that you humming the tune

Why not …….. I got a beauty as a neighbor

Surprised. I thought you room was cut away from the other rooms

Senorita won't you come to the window and greet my dear friend

Tina walks to the window, stand close to Karthik and looks out through the window

Smiles. She looks kind of cute. Not a classical beauty but definitely has some mystery

Karthik comes and sits on the hospital bed

So there goes the inspiration. You already had the medicines. Looks like your muse is working wonders on you. Making you disciplined so quick ??

Karthik smiles and looks( sparks) at Tina


Another Day

What about my babe’s food

What ??

Tina don’t tell me you forgot it. I had asked you get organic manure from the supermarket near your home

Sorry Karthik. Totally slipped me. But anyways as a saying goes “ what is born in fire doesn’t wither in the heat” your muse is too wild to shrink so easily

Both laugh

Tina and Karthik comes to the window and looks at the plant.

Cuts to plant

No Tina seriously please get it tomorrow

hmm didn’t know you could be so caring

If I choose to

And how does my lord make such choices

Both laugh


Close-up shot of the plant mutilated and broken down. . The frame moves in a sort of drunken, surreal way

Cuts to Karthik’s face from outside. The window railings form the foreground.

Karthik leans against the window and look lost. Signs of unhappiness and being lost. Droopy eyes are a little moist

Tina walks waving a hospital file.

Karthik shows an eye movement to look through the window

Tina looks out and shows an expression of surprise

But you have to see this ..

She waves the file in her hand

The second biopsy report. Your tumor is localized and can be easily cured with radiation or worst case a surgery

Karthik shows an expression of disbelief

Are you serious ??

Do things change with such rapidity always

Turns slowly and looks at the plant

The plant

Karthik’s face . Tears trickle down

Karthik walks to Tina and holds her hand. Eyes locked.

Apr 12, 2007

Known Stranger

a known stranger
a tilana of words
in this faceless ether
creating a space
across the globe
things ring
of seth
of music
of a lost world
known stranger
don't stop the flow

Mar 14, 2007

Outsourced - Must Watch

Have heard so much about how India becomes an experience for Westerners. The movie Outsourced screened at Mumbai film festival captures it all without taking sides. Directed by John Jeffcoat, it is a refreshing change from the ABCD movies and captures India from an outside eye. Have a feeling that this could be a hit with outsourcing being a raging debate. Will try to do a detailed review later. The film hits screens by April or May as per the Director. Don’t miss this movie. And oh Ayesha Dharker looks cute.Amazing talent too

Movie Blog
Movie Trailer
Movie Clip "Rubber"
IMDB Reviews

Feb 27, 2007

The New Untouchables

I did not wash dishes and toil my whole life for this" Lisie shouted furiously "I can’t let thirty years of my struggle go like that. How could you forget all our dreams and bring a buyer for our home"

Biju stood there dumb as ever. He had gulped two pegs of "tusker rum" from the local wine shop, on the way back for some courage. Not that those two would suddenly induce that in him. Even with a bottle of rum inside during his heydays he could never face Lisie. There was always this feeling that he failed her.

Think over it. This is the best price that we could get and Govindankutty chettan will pay immediately on registration. His son Madhav is coming next week from Dubai and we could get all of seven lakhs in no time"

"As if he is doing a favor" retorted Lisie as she walked into the kitchen. "With Varkey's fifty cents with him everybody knows that Madhav is eyeing our three cents that covers his plot to build the shopping complex for that aatakari menothi.” Somehow she couldn't accept Madhav Menon's acclaimed dancer wife who reminded her of the bitchy Shobha in shreejanmam her dose of daily soap.

Lisie heated the fish curry and took some pappad to fry. "Did you have something from the brandy shop " she shouted.

"I will have some kanji" he replied while changing into a kalliMundu.

Lisie cooked kanji and left in the dining room of their modest dwelling with the curry. To think that the place for which she had strived all her life would be someone else's - how fatuously erroneous were her father’s maxims. “Good things always comes to good people” he always used to say. Andrew her father was a man to reckon with in the fishing hamlet Chellanam where she grew up. His knowledge of the sea and passion for work were unparalleled. Andrew had an uncanny sense of the weather and sea and it was rare that his fishing group came with an empty boat. Shranks – the middlemen and boat owners would wrestle for Andrew’s skills. Not for him the drunken singing and brawls at the local toddy shop or gambling under coconut palms that had destroyed many fishermen families. His life revolved around Lisie, her mother and the local drama troupe. But when Lisie was fifteen her dad’s life ended in a freak accident in the sea. There were quite a few rumors about the actual cause of the accident but her father’s bosom pal and partner married her mom six months later. It was difficult for her to stay in the island after that and she moved to the city.

“It is not an easy choice, nevertheless you have to do something” ThankamaChechi replied on hearing Lisie’s woes. A decision had to be made on the marriage proposal for Beatrice, Lisie’s daughter. The prospective bridegroom had a decent job in a private company and Beatrice liked him. His parents had subtly suggested that their second daughter is of marriageable age and required money.

“You cant dilly-dally on Beatrice’s marriage now. She is past her prime and it will be difficult to get such a good alliance for her.” something Lisie never wanted to acknowledge, though she knew it was late. All of Beatrice’s friends were wedded with kids. She thought things would fall into place, though the dynamics of the matrimony with its nerve-racking requirements would put the Pollachi cattle market to shame.

“Chechi but you know how I had wanted this house and how much I slogged for it. Did I go to gulf, accrue rupee by rupee and construct the home to finally sell ? I too finally wanted to die in a place of my own. I deserve atleast that amidst all dicey games that life has played on me. Why is God so bent on shredding things into pieces every time I put it back”. she broke down.

When she came to city she did not have anything except a strong will to survive. She found employment as a cook in a government officer’s house. Her excellent culinary skills with a unique blend of coastal flavors made her popular and soon she was sought after by working families in the area. She would take one or two-hour assignments at each of the homes while they went to offices and rented a small home. It was a beautiful period. There were colors that exploded in multiple dimensions and alluring sounds, but Lisie had her feet on the ground. Amidst the swirls and the storm she created a borough of her own. A cute, exquisite one, where she wanted to invite someone special.

That is when Biju came into her life. He was an electrician and they met at a place where Lisie worked. He came from a town down south and earned pretty well as construction activity was booming in the city. It was that tinge of rebelliousness and defiance to order that fascinated her, besides he was the first man who looked into her eyes and asked her hand. The rest were all lecherous, prying eyes that wandered all over except her face. After a whirlwind romance Lisie married Biju.

“If only he Biju had taken a little of my responsibility, we wouldn’t have come to this”

Lisie was referring to her husbands compulsive alcoholism. After the unruffled days of their matrimony when Beatrice was born, the villain showed up as hootch. The monotony that sets in after a turbulent romance coupled with a ridiculous mainstream stereotype that men ought to drink and beat up their wives to retain their machismo made an addict of him though he never physically harmed Lisie. By the time Beatrice was five he had wrecked their future. He quit work and would chase out anybody who offered anything remotely of a job, forcibly empty Lisie of all her money without indignity and borrow from all and sundry. It came to a point where strangers would walk into their home in the middle of the night carrying Biju, pickled in Rum and demand money and at times even more.

“With all that money he guzzled away we could have bought a mansion at Panampallinagar” – a swanky neighborhood in the city

“What is the point of cribbing about the past Lisie. Let bygones be bygones” Thankamachcehi replied.

Chechi was her alter ego whom she would embrace at times of crisis. Their bonds went back to a time when Lisie came to the city and was more equal than the normal employee-employer relationship. She helped her get a Visa for the job as a maid in Oman and would be local guardian to Beatrice while Lisie was away.

While at the Middle East Lisie’s life slowly started to get back on track. Mortal fear after being diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver, along with divine intervention at Potta prayer center finally cornered Biju. He reduced to a peg or two as if he were doing a favor. Lisie being away also didn’t help much in bullying her for money. She worked for five years and saved enough money to buy a home at a city suburb. It was not easy, but her indomitable spirit, helped to carry through the pain inside and heat outside.

“With one-third of the money from Madhav why don’t you buy five cents at Kizhakekara? That way you can easily marry off Beatrice and probably have a little bank balance after building a house”

Stagnant earnings and frequent requirements in the form of children’s education, marriage, hospital expenses, had made the poor and lower middleclass cash-in their meager land holdings in the real-estate boom. They were moving to places like Kizhakekara about hundred kilometers from the city were prices were low. It was almost a reverse of the urban migration phenomenon that economists were trying to fight elsewhere.

“ Would we need special passes to enter the city after few years” Lisie was sarcastic

“Like the lowborn’s shunted into small ghettos outside the town not so long ago, are we the new untouchables?

Thankama looked the other way. She couldn’t think of a better way.

Feb 7, 2007

Football Shootball Hai Rabba

This was the earliest that I had reached home in quite a while. 5:15 PM to be exact. The Cauvery water tribunal's final order was far below Karnataka's expectation and there were rumors of build-up or possible violence. Most organizations of the old and new economies closed pretty early, so that employees could reach home before dark. With Rajakumar riots in the background nobody could afford risks. In the Sadashivnagar area, establishments become resourceful and tied huge fishing nets over the glass facade. At the frequency b'lore is getting volatile and profusion of glass in offices the fishing net manufactures could find a good market here. The case of a product finding a totally orthogonal market.

My best plan for the evening was to catch up on Gunter Grass, finish some pending work and end it with somarasam and a movie. As I turned into the apartment compound the usual pack of boys were on their way to a game of football. There is vast expanse of land, possibly owned by a land shark, right next to the gated community that the children have converted into a football ground. Lest you have any illusions, the goal posts are 2 stones kept a few feet away and an implicit horizontal bar in thin year air based on how much the goalkeeper can jump was the upper limit. But compared to the Deshabhimani road by lane where we kicked of our dream of being Pele and Paulo Rossi this ground was very generous. I used to see the crowd at the game on weekends, but could never join them since weekends are tightly packed. At home, changing into a shorts and T-shirt I was a little edgy as to how the kids would receive me. Would the Reebok football that I recently bid and won for Paru while traveling Air Deccan entice them. However the Reebok football had diminished into a half-moon and there was no way I could impress them with that.

I put on my sneakers and walked quickly to the field. Wearing the intense look of a talent scout on a mission to recruit for the national team I parked outside the field. Didn’t have to wait much long before a call came in to play. Before I could get a hold of my teammates the ball was passed to me. Shouted out and found Vivek who called me in and passed it to him. He passed it back to me in the midfield. Couple of dribbles later I was in the penalty area and kicked it to the young boy who was calling "Uncle Uncle" he was deft with the ball and just connected it. Goal... 30 seconds into the game I had proved. I put on the nonchalant demeanor and congratulated Adhil ( the young boy) and Vivek. That detachment to success and a failure is a relic from the hockey days with Shenoy Sir – our favorite coach. There was strict diktat against expressionism of any form after striking. After all we just doing our karma. Can’t remember a better practitioner of the Gita than him. We would have looked from another planet in these days of somersaults, knee skating, and practiced seagull runs. I had made a mark as a play-maker and the opposing team started to sneer as if Zidane himself had been come in. Score 1-1

Now it was time to know the team. There were no formal introductions. There was Perry the tall slip chap who would have done better in basketball court. Sanjana reminded me of Jess from Gurindher Chada's cult movie Bend It Like Beckham about a traditional Sikh girl in London aspiring to be a professional footballer. Sanjana's smart little sister whose name I forget would tow her sister whenever she went near the ball. Vivek and Adhil were the other two. I realized early on in the game that the way to the kids hearts were to pass the ball as soon as I get it. More so because they were shouting "uncle uncle" every time the ball landed on my foot. Should say it fitted well with my overall grounding in team sports, at times perilously collaborative.

Breezing across the ground we made some excellent moves and passes, which were lauded. Nevertheless couldn’t convert any. Even relinquished the ball once to an unsuspecting Adhil when it was an easy goal for me, just that I don't appear selfish and be on right side of my teammates. But the end was near. I was fizzling out. We were playing without positions unlike the hockey and football I was used to and everybody was running everywhere. Ten minutes into the game panting like a mad dog I moved into the sidelines. The kids with their agile metabolism could take it. But my hulk that hasn’t set foot on a playground since college except for random bouts in the apartment Gym had given up. Years of desk job had taken its toll. If not for the last bit of pride, I would have left the ground.

It was time to hibernate, which meant - waiting for the ball to come to me, passing it as soon as it comes if not to my team atleast to the opponent, cheering the gang with amplified “well played”s even when they struck bad or good etc. Just anything that would let me stand and play the game. Alas this is football and it doesn’t remain frozen like the computer. The opposition struck 5 times in succession. Should say they had an excellent striker in Srikanth who could make into a club team if he pursued Football. Score 6-1

Suffice to say the initial aura had vaporized. They could see through me. Statements about being out of touch to anybody who would listen went unregistered. It came to point when my teammates were ready to trade me for Kaushik - the cool dude who landed up in bike near the playground. Me who captained the school hockey team, me who missed the Calicut university hockey team because my college never had a history of participating in the inter-university matches, me who with Mathai ruled the Deshabhimani bylane football for as long as it has been there. How could they ? I turned dumb and looked the other side as they were riveted in transfer negotiations. Luckily the opposing band didn't have any better appraisal than mine. “At best he could be stone pillar struck diagonally across the goalpost” someone remarked. They let Kaushik play in our team, without trading me. Thank God.

The strategy required a revamp and I fount one in the goalpost. Perry was supposed to be our goalkeeper. Being a Higuta himself, the opposing team's goalpost was where he colonized mostly. He would hire Sanjana's sister on temporary assignments to guard the post while he went on his expeditions far and wide. I smelled the opportunity and immediately opted to be the goalkeeper to Kaushik who had taken in the reins of the team by then. Kaushik showed sparks of brilliance along with Vivek and Adhil make some brilliant maneuvers.

The goalpost was also not cent percent stand zone. On one such occasion while I had gone little forward to kick, the ball came behind me . Srikant just hade to glide it slowly into the post while I watched sheepishly. I shouted excellent to register my infallibility. By then Kaushik developed a sudden sprain or he probably had the same problem as me and took over the goalpost. Back into the trenches after fifteen minutes of bliss. Score 6-1

It was time to play positions. If not the junta, a sensible game with little running, weighing my bodies compulsions was the need of the hour. The right flank was less occupied and I camped there, though the left extreme was were I aced in Hockey. I could take time to look around and get a sense of my buddies before I kick, since the competing boys were reluctant to tackle me due to the larger frame. Size and aggression always helps in amateur game. When I saw the ball flying slowly I almost tried a scissor cut. Some excellent teamwork later we scored the second goal. I scored the third for my team. This time I decided to be less of a socialist and kicked the ball to the post when there wasn’t a soul between the keeper and me. Srikant an co. struck again. But we had found our rhythm. The match ended at 6:30 when it was time for Sanjana and her sister to get back home. Score 8-3

On my way back I made small talk with the group. They were and interesting bunch. Most were between the 5th and 10th standard and went to Delhi Public school or Baldwins. However F*** as an adjective with every phrase was revolting even to my liberal self. At home in the shower, I was reminded of community baths at Rajagiri, conversations with a girlfriend coming back from the library as dusk set into Rajpath, hoping for a good piece of Chicken along with ghee rice at the hostel mess. All after a tiring game. It took only a good game and a little more to be happy those days

How much have we changed, how little is our life changed – Premchand

Jan 21, 2007

Cartoon Camp

Jimmy was wondering why the Manager selected this of all the places for the office get-together. It was pretty far form the city where they worked. Tucked in the deep south of the subcontinent all the employees had to be flown in by a charted flight. Some had already made other plans for the weekend and he had to use all his persuasive power to get them in. Nobody wanted it to miss it really though. They had worked like crazy for last 6 months. But the announcement was so sudden. Anyways except for a few almost everybody made it to the party.

As he tucked into the third glass of champagne he was swept by a sense of loss. The park they were having the getto was opposite to the college that he so loved. It’s imposing medieval structure had corners that would open at every turn with their own little secrets. of love lost and love made, of silly fights for the great ideology, of half done busts that looked full. Jimmy had just spend 2 years in that institution. But this was the place where he belonged. On evenings they would walk to the park and sit by the backwaters. Sun setting in the background with a poet breaking into Neruda.

Meanwhile the group was drinking into the beauty around. Everybody moved towards a corner and were getting boisterous. They had become a little unruly and were close to the ridge . He couldn’t help shouting aloud about a friend who fell into those waters and never returned. A pack of friends were so precariously poised against the stone walls by the backwater and he was jammed inside . A mortal fear gripped Jim as he saw Rekha coming near. She just touched and they fell like a pack of cards into the murky waters below. thud... thud ... thud they splashed rapidly into the sludge below. Plunging deep into the water body below all he could see around was cocktail of crude, hay and water. It was like an endless tunnel to eternity. He flapped like crazy ... he had to. Cannot surrender so fast. Finally a hand came in from nowhere as he broke into air. It was an arduous climb up the slippery moss filed walls back into the park. There were a couple of hands clamoring be rescued from below. He wanted to help them. But someone told they were all taken care of. Rekha was looking back as she walked out of the main gate. Of all the people why she ??

He rushed to the shower nearby and washed all the dirt. Didn’t really care whether somebody was looking. Felt like there was accumulated dirt of centuries. Coming out of the shower the park had transformed. Beastly carton characters with large heads had taken control. They romped freely on the pavements whipping everybody who came near. The park had turned into a cartoon farm while he was reborn. Don’t know how they had taken over. But they were absolutely in command trampling anything that came on their way. They showed no mercy to women or kids. Everybody was bought into meek submission in the labor camp and was never let out. The beastly toons walked, metals whips in their hand swirling it on any being that they took a fancy.

Years passed…. everybody had settled to their fate. The winds of change were blowing slowly. Over the years the cartoon masters were growing week and old. Or probably it was futile for them to keep a talented populace under submission. They allowed small concessions. The new generation were allowed out of the camp. But they there was tough exam to clear. Jimmy sat by the steps of his modest dwelling as he trained his beautiful grand daughter for the exam.

Jan 4, 2007

Collective Chaos - Provisional Obituary

First day of January 2007 came with an email announcing surprise from Collective Chaos*. As I clicked the hyperlink the only thing that wouldn't amaze me was the end. Somehow there was a premonition that CC was nearing it end. There was too much chaos on ethereal that it would have burst if it had not been put to death. So the surprise wasn't a surprise after all. As I sit down to write the obituary, Saddam Hussein hanged the day before was on the airwaves

Collective Chaos was my first foray into a different kind of cinema. Coming from a place with an active film culture, some how I missed the boat during college. Adoor or T.V. Chandran movies that came and went like a whirlwind on the screens, were my only exposure at that time. Maybe the film society movement that was very active in the 70's and 80's went dormant during the early 90's. Maybe I didn't actively seek. From my first Yesterday festival to the last Luis Bunuel movie, the screening were an enriching experience. Dogvillie through Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring, the range of emotion was varied and spiritual in its impact and convinced me why Cinema is the most predominant art form of our times.

The well designed mails announcing the screenings would arrive in advance with reminders as they get close. That helped to plan my travel in advance so that I don't miss the movies I wanted to watch. The website always had a synopsis with details about the director. Screenings were orderly and always started in time. Organizers always remained discreet. There were no animated introductions or analysis in the end. It was just cinema in it elements. The chaos was all inside. The format worked like wine that swirled in your head till it hit you. Like how Saddam of Baathist days created a sense of pride among the Arabs, CC made me gratified of being in Blore

But on the other side the collective was getting into a police state. I used to like the posters they put up snubbing mobile usage during screening, But when it came to actually shoving people of the hall I started to detest. It did irritate terribly when a mobile beeped, but there is always a dignified way of making people understand how obstructive and idiotic they are. And the purveyors always had a sadistic streak in sending them out. In most cases the culprits would have been a new member.

And the tone and tenor of some the emails. Instead of serious debate it became into a mud-slinging session. Some emails looked like they were written to provoke and would pass the moderator. The whole idea of monitoring the emails seems irrelevant. We live a world were we have fast growing encyclopedia maintained by a self-moderated community. Was it a Goebbels watching over our shoulders. Like Saddam the tyrant, CC started to take itself too seriously.

Saddam had to die but Dubaya made him a martyr. Collective Chaos has to be around but the contradictions let it end.

* A Film Society in Blore