Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Beauty & The Beast

23 December 2009

Tomorrow would be the best day of my life. It was going to be my Graduation Convocation. I was so happy. I also had to look my best. What with all the cameras clicking around, I could not afford to look dull. I had to be at my shining best! The thing about convocation is, even after 40 years of your life, people will still look at these photographs. 

Accordingly I went to the best parlor in town. Got a bunch of their most expensive facials, manicure and pedicure. Advised some other customers on the precariousness of using beauty parlor products and how they should stick to herbal products only. The assistants in the parlor gave me a look. 

“But I’m not doing business, I thought. I’m just advising lost souls about skincare- which is as elementary as hygiene.” 

With this in mind, I went on and on about skin care and how the customer should buy herbal products and not that chemical trash they feed your skin at the parlor. ‘I know, it works. And it will work for you too’. Followed by that perfect white smile that you see on fairness cream ads. Or Colgate. Whatever.

And finally my beauty sleep ended. The assistants were still looking at me as if they would roast me alive if possible. But they were relieved to let me go. So was I. As I proceeded to the counter with my tower high nose, I looked carelessly for the 500 rupee note lying at the corner of my purse. It eluded me. “Naughty girl,” I smiled to myself. “Now don’t play hide and seek with me, Mummy needs you”. I searched and searched but there was no 500 rupee note! Only a worn out 50 rupee note.

A cold drop of sweat passed down my forehead. Panic. Blackout. My immediate reaction was aggression.  What! Those cranky assistants stole my money to get back at me! There I went to the parlor manager (who had already heard about my illustrious expertise as the next Shahnaz Hussein) complaining to her that I could not find my money. I had kept it there, yes in her parlor, and now it was gone! She was calm as she told me that none of her employees were thieves and I could go check anywhere I wanted to. 

Ears burning hot, I went and searched inside but could not find anything. As if they would keep MY money here after stealing it!

I was intent on foul play. However my paranoia was not going to get me out of there. Think think. I went back up to the counter again.

“Here ma’am I’d also like to trim my hair. It should be perfect. I have a function tomorrow.”

The lady nonchalantly pointed me to the hair stylist who spent the next half an hour styling my hair. After I saw it, I raised a fuss. “Nah, I didn’t want it that way. What have you done? It’s ruined!”

The stylist took a look and said, “But it’s perfect!”

“This is perfect? From what angle is this perfect? I look like a rabbit with a lion’s mane. How am I going to show my face tomorrow?”

I looked intently at the mirror and then picked up a spot in my cheek, “Oh no… It’s red. What did you put in my skin?”

The assistant looked at my skin intently and said, “Where? I can’t see anything?”

“Of course you can’t. I can feel it. I am having skin irritation.”

At this, the counter lady (who was also the owner) hurriedly came up to me. She looked at my face intently and said, “Look ma’am, I can’t see anything, everything is perfectly alright.”

I glared at her. Other customers were coming in and to add an element of authenticity, I started shrieking loudly. “This, this is what you call world class parlor? My skin irritation is getting the better of me. I will never come here again! Never.”

The other customers were equally surprised and looked at each other. The counter lady went to tackle them. I looked at them and said, “See what they did to my face. I’d run if I were you.”

The lady then came up to me and said, “Ma’am what is the problem?”

“Problem, problem you ask me? Tomorrow’s the biggest day of my life and you spoilt it all! Why will I pay thousands of rupees if I don’t get value for money? On top of that, you people have harmed my skin!”

“Ma’am, listen to us..”

“No you listen to me. I am never coming back again. I am horrified. God knows what your assistants will do to my face if I stay here any longer. Thank you so much for your time. And thanks for wasting my time. Have a good night.” 

With this I stormed out of the parlor, heaved a sigh of relief and promised myself to triple check my purse from now on. Even now when I go to a parlor, I pay the money in advance. That was an embarrassing moment that I’ll never forget. But as it is, good sense can rescue you from any situation!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Have the Courage to Follow Your Heart

This is the "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish" address delivered by Steve Jobs in 2005 at Stanford University:

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. 
 I never graduated from college.Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots. 

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?
It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.
And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.
It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:
Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.
None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.
Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
My second story is about love and loss.
I was lucky - I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation - the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.
I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me - I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.
I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.
My third story is about death.
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.
I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.
This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.
Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.
Thank you all very much.

PS: RIP Steve Jobs. Today is Bijoya Dashami, a time for celebration of the killing of evil demon Ravana by Goddess Durga. But today is not a happy day. We are sad. Deeply so. The world lost a great innovator, a great mastermind and extremely positive person. Nothing will ever fill your void.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Silly Girly Blah!

Enrique should be sued for spoiling girls; filling their heads with all sorts of romantic crap. Otherwise how can you explain them going gaga over him whenever he whines in front of the screen with hands outstretched, mouth wide open and shouting some insensible word? Sometimes you don't even have to see him behave like a maniac; his voice is enough. Such whining, God! Such screaming. Such panting. Such passion. Such love.

Making a girl feel really wanted, that's what these stupid girls probably like in Enrique. The way he makes them feel as if they are the most important things in the world to him. No one, nothing else matters. No matter how imperfect you are; he is there to love you. No matter how tormented you are, he is there for you. No matter how boring, how insecure you are, he is there for you.

But look at his albums. All his videos deal with lust more than love. Right from Hero to Tired of Being Sorry; all he seems bothered about is sex. Look at the kind of girls he falls for. Supermodels. All of them. Killer cats. 

Look at the kind of girls in love stories. Most love stories which are from the guy's perspective make him fall for the supermodel. Spiderman (which is not really a love story) makes Peter Parker fall in love with the beautiful Mary Jane. I have lost count of how many films implore the hot women to look for the character (more than looks) in guys! 

The underdog, is not good-looking, he might not even be bright. But he almost always has a good heart. He falls in love with the school or college heartthrob. The girl is too blind to see his love but often at the end of the story, she comes around. She sees him for his real beauty

Now the guy might or might not find love with his childhood sweetheart (who is usually opposite in character to the heartthrob but equally hot). But c'mon, who does not like being squashed between two hot ladies, one completely different from the other?

So while occasionally you might get a Steven Carell 40 Year old virgin story or a typical Jack Black fat guy story, such stories are extremely rare in case of women. Never Been Kissed and Bridget Jones' Diary come to mind. The girl gets her first kiss when she is thirty working in an office. And Glee. Nice program. But such cases are rare. 

And now let's divert to real life. Does the fat girl get the hot guy? Does the lonely girl get the popular guy? Does the introverted girl get the charming guy? I have not heard of any such cases. But these girls listen to Enrique, John Mayer and those typically whiny male singers. Dream of love. Not just anyone who will accept them the way they are. But someone they genuinely want. Does dreaming repeatedly make it come true?

Not necessarily.

But then, who doesn't try? ;)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Ailing Man

The ailing man by the bedside
Trying to reach for a glass of water
By the table.

The glass falls down
A loud sonorous noise
A thousand little pieces.

Standing by his doorway
She watches. 
Eyes cold, hands folded
She watches the man ail
For a little glass of water.

The ailing man is naked on the bed
He wears transparent tubes
His eyes are blind; his ears deaf
All he pines for is a little water.

Thirst, so humble, so basic
Yet so vital.
A glass of water- cool still water
Flowing down the throat.
Lips relish the drops
Tongue eagerly kisses the shy water.
The more you try to grasp her,
The more she slips away. 

The water slipping away
Life slipping away...
Standing by his doorway
She silently waits.

The cries, his cries become intense
Thirst of an ailing man
Thirst of a dying man.
Not a muscle in her face flinches.

A sudden cool breeze blows
From the window on the left.
The intimate smell 
Of bygone Bougainvilleas
Suddenly drives her to the past.

Hands holding the flowers
Strewing them in the air
Strewing them upon her
Her mother.

The fresh starch of her cotton sari.
The fragrance of her hair
The thousand lights of her laugh
The merry twinkle in her eye
And her cries.
And her tears.
And her pain.
Till one day she cut herself.

And the stone cold expression on her face since that day.

It's been a decade.

The wounds have healed
But the marks remained. 
Now he is on the same bed.
The perpetrator, the tyrant
Her father.

And down the doorway she stands
With folded hands.
And waits.

Doctors come, as do relatives.
Nurses come
Tone of sympathy
Fake concern.
Telling her not to lose hope.
Applauding her courage
Worrying over her health

In awe of her austerity.

She simply stands by the door
And watches the ailing man
Surrounded by well wishers.
The dying old man,

The blind weak man
The man on the bed
The murderer of her mother.
Her father.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Divided We Fall

There is something about films made about the Nazi reign that attracts me. Divided We Fall is one such film. It is a 2000 Czech film by Jan Hřebejk. Not a usual critical Nazi movie, Divided We Fall, presents the comic side of things. Josef and Mari save their boss's son, the Jew David Wiener even though their neighbor Franta refuses to help him and calls the Nazi authorities. This same Franta spits on the wall when he sees Josef make merry with Nazi officials so as to avoid suspicion. He ironically becomes the representative of the Resistance when Soviet forces invade Czechoslovakia. It is he who calls Josef a traitor when he arrives to a Soviet official to get hold of a doctor for his pregnant wife. 

Horst, a Czech who has collaborated with the Germans, brings gifts to the house. He is interested in Marie and even tries to force her once, but in the end, he is the one who becomes her doctor. The Soviets have captured all the Germans and their supporters. Even the doctor is dead. So Josef saves Horst among all those captured, saying he is the only doctor there. The wife is extremely horrified when she sees Horst becoming her doctor even though he tried to rape her once. But it happens, the husband pleads with the wife to keep shut. Horst is saved because he protects the family from the Nazis by not giving away the fact that they are in fact hiding a Jew in their house.                                           

Tense situations are also brought out in the end when the stupidity of power changes are shown. A change of power only necessitates a change of the master and not the system. This is why, while in the first half of the movie, Josef had to hide David to save his family, in the later half too, he is about to be killed because he cannot produce David to prove his "hatred" of the Nazis. Truly comic. As a viewer you are left wondering whether an innocent and kind man as Josef will be shot because of some idiot despot, who is too engaged in bureaucracies to even judge the worth of a life. 

Like the Nazi official who proudly showed that the value of one Nazi is equal to a 100 Jew lives, the Soviet official, takes out his gun, because "anybody could have been branded a Jew to escape the proceedings against Nazism". Director Jan Hřebejk shows the irrationality behind war through this master stroke.

The film is full of grey shades. The husband cannot have a child. But the wife says she is pregnant to keep a Nazi officer from taking shelter in their house (Courtesy: Horst). The husband realizes the gravity of the problem and decides that the wife has to become pregnant somehow. Devout Marie refuses to sleep with another man, and Jew David is all too awestruck to sleep with Marie. He even tries to leave the room but Josef, the husband forces both of them into the same room and shuts it behind him. As the lights go dark behind him, one sees the pain in his eyes. Truly, desperate times call for desperate measures. 

As is the case with wartime movies, the camera plays as important a role as the script. Unity is the motto of the film. Throughout the movie we see, Nazi forces use the saying, "United We Stand". It's corollary, "Divided We Fall" then stands to unite the oppressed at a time of crisis. It is especially symbolic when at the end, Horst delivers the baby and every one, Nazi, Russian, Jew, Slav, Czech crowd the room and Horst says, "Our baby has been born". This in short, is the message of the film. 

Life thrives in the midst of all death and destruction. The final scene in the movie is that of Josef with his new born baby in a cradle walking amidst the ruins of his city. The Nazi official who lost his youngest son (the child had tried to run from battlefield and was shot by German officers themselves. This is why the Nazi official wanted to stay in Josef-Marie's house unknowing of the fact that they were hiding a Jew) is seen injured. On the paths of the destruction, Josef sees the faces of all those who died, right from the young boy to the many Jews. 

The name Josef-Marie is also symbolic. Joseph and Mary brought Jesus Christ into this world when death and destruction was prevailing everywhere. Jesus was not Joseph's son by blood but he was brought up by him. Similarly here, the baby girl is not Josef's daughter by blood, but she is connected with the whole community by a much deeper bond. 

She symbolizes life, hope, optimism; she is the light at the end of a dark tunnel. May be sometimes, your race is not important. May be sometimes, punishing the guilty is not important. May be sometimes, the name of the father is not important. May be, sometimes what you need is Forgiveness. A little respite, a little letting go... is all you need to stay united.. and to dream of a better future. 

For civilizations tormented by violent deaths, only revenge is not a solution. You need something to look forward too. The baby brings in this hope in  Jan Hřebejk's Divided We Fall

PS: This film is extremely contemporary in our present strife ridden scenario. The film shows how extremes nullify each other only to leave pout moderation. The "You are with us, or against us" philosophy can only bring death and destruction; we can only move forward if we understand the importance of really being together

PPS- Happy 64TH Independence Day.

Sunday, August 07, 2011


Name: Sumana Chattopadhyay
Age: 29 years
Designation: PhD Student
Paper: Proliferation of Oral Cancer in Kolkata

Sumana Chattopadhyay is just like any other ordinary girl chasing her dreams. She dreams to do research in the field of cancer. She dreams of going abroad. Her house is filled with the latest articles in international journals on cancer. In fact, she has also written for some of these journals. Stephen Hawking is her inspiration. Sumana Chattopadhyay is suffering from cancer.

The realization hit her one afternoon as a lot of saliva began pouring out of her mouth. "I have to complete my paper fast. What if.. I don't get the chance to complete it later?" And that was it. While most research scholars take years to complete their thesis, Sumana completed it within three years. She submitted her paper in April, 2010. 

Her family has a history of cancer. Her grandfathers, father and even aunt have passed away due to this vicious incurable disease. This is mainly why she wanted to find a cure to this deadly disease. 

Her condition started getting worse. She went through several operations and chemotherapy. She started feeling a little better. But 7-8 months back, her condition started getting worse. She puked anything she ate and so had to be helped with a tube. Now that tube has been removed, but she still can't eat anything. She can't lie down or sit. But before her conditioned worsened, she regularly went to the library and her college for research. When she couldn't, she emailed her work to her Guide. She still dreams of going abroad if she gets a chance. And you know what? She loves eating Hilsa. In rainy days- the queen of fish adorns the plates of most foodie Bengalis. Sumana just stares at the rain, the waters perhaps bring a little moisture and life in her numbered days.

These are the facts.

I have a colleague who stays in Bangal, a relatively primitive place in Bengal. Every morning he travels for about twenty minutes to get the Santraganchi local. From there he travels for an hour or so to reach another station. From thereon he travels to get the Metro. After he gets down to the last stoppage from the Metro, he walks for twenty minutes to reach office. It takes him three hours give or take for the journey. 

I asked him, "So if you wake up at 7, you will be able to reach office by 10?"

He said, "Yes that's true. But I don't feel like getting up so early in the morning. I feel so sleepy." He gives me an innocent smile. I look down.

So does being a hero necessarily require you to be a flying alien in red shorts? Or do you have to be bitten by a spider to be extraordinary? Are Sumana and my colleague heroes? 

I think they are. Heroes are not extraordinary people, they are just ordinary beings from among us, who show the spirit to fight the most demanding wars of life. They are just ordinary people with a zest to achieve their dreams, and in doing so, they light our paths with a ray of hope. When you watch a hero, you are filled with a sudden burst of energy, you feel "I can do this too!" 

The people I have just mentioned, exist in real life. These are real stories. When I hear about them, I am filled with awe. I think they are true heroes.

What about you?

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Men Will Be Men

So I was browsing through a social networking site just now and saw a girl younger to me (I'm 22 years old btw), who has probably also worked in some recent acting productions, married. I'm not judging.

She was tagged in a photo that had the picture of a girl smoking (it was NOT her picture). There were some comments on that picture. One of them was from a lady and went like this: What a shameless girl! chi!. The other comment from a man, was a bit more specific: Girl der choritroi ata.mayra sob e pare.ader choritror kono level nai.. . . . . . . ("This is the character of girls, they can do anything. They have no level at all......." ). I am not judging. 

By virtue of interest, I clicked on the man's profile. His favorite singers include Shakira, Eminem and Avril Lavigne. His favorite movies include Tomb Raider, Transformers and The Dark Knight. I also clicked on the lady's profile. I did not find any 'interests' mentioned on her profile except that in the part of Favorite Quotations was written this: "Don't ask for my phone number. I'll not give it to you." Interesting.

I learnt that she was in her first year of graduation and was already engaged. The man, I don't know whether he is married or not, but he had a profile pic with a little girl. I wouldn't be too surprised if he turned out married as well.

Now gentle readers might ask me what's the point of all this.

Truth is I don't know. I have half a mind to put the links here so that you can drop by and send the man and woman in question, a short message, asking what it is that they truly believe in. The woman's case seems to be pretty simple. She has conservative values, which explains why she is already engaged in the first year of college.

The man's scenario, I find amusing. One wonders what his values are when he sees Angelina Jolie smoking onscreen. And not to mention the steamy Megan Fox in Transformers. Let's just be honest, Megan Fox is the best thing to happen in Transformers

But I'm pretty sure, the man does not watch those movies to see the seductive Angelina Jolie or the steamy Megan Fox. He watches those movies purely because of the "Good Vs Evil" wars they portray. After all, that's why he even likes Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil..Oops, he does not like her, he just likes her "action".


Critics will always say a lot of things; they will always be cynical towards his good intentions. And even if he (like a lot of other men) likes to watch those beautiful scantily clad girls throwing their shapely limbs up and down, what's wrong with it? They are foreigners; they can do anything. In fact, the less clad they are, the better. ;)

But that does not mean that girls of our homes will go on and start doing those things! Oh No! That would be a sacrilege! I mean a girl smoking, how atrocious is that?! And not because smoking is a harmful habit which is dangerous to both men and women and all those who inhale the smoke. It is atrocious because it is a girl who is smoking! I mean, can you imagine that?? It's alright for a man to smoke, it's alright for a man to pass lewd comments about women on the street even if she is covered from head to toe, it is alright for a man to beat up his women; he's a MAN. He can do anything. God Almighty has given him the full right to do as he pleases, with women, with children, with even other species. 

A fellow trainee likes to smoke. She has about 5-6 cigarettes everyday. She hears quite a bit of lecture for her unhealthy habit from me. Everyday during break, we go out to search for relevant shops in the area and she takes this time to smoke. I can't stand the fumes, so I stand away, while she smokes to her heart's content. The area is a predominantly official area with a lot of office-goers (read: men) around. All shapes and sizes of men ranging from your average rickshawallah to the elderly businessman pass by. They look at her; I look at them. Desire, a rowdy oppressiveness characterized by a sly smile adorn them as they pass by. Some of them even take their time to stop by and gaze at her as if she's a new species at the zoo. I mean, what kind of girls smoke? The 'bad' girls right? If a girl can smoke, then she can do anything. Yes, that's right. Anything

If a girl smokes, it means she is cheap and easily available. She is ready to sleep with anyone, be it a roadside rickshawallah or a sex starved 50 something elderly businessman. She is very 'open', you know. 

But what if a girl is not smoking? What if let's say, she's wearing full length clothes? I see 70 year old rich men pass by and give her a quick glance of desire. Lust. There is nothing fatherly or even the least conservative about their glance. And I am shocked. Because these are rich men, well one assumes they are educated, experienced in the ways of the world, one assumes that since they are old and on their way to the grave, they will treat girls of their grand daughters' age as such. 

But silly me. It's always the girl's fault, didn't you know? 

It's raining heavily. I am fully wet by the time I reach the bus station from my home. On my way to office. Water dripping, there is nothing attractive about me. At least I don't feel so. I am like a waterfall. I feel like a cartoon. Irritated. I hate rains. And I notice a man beside me, an old man, but this time, from the lower sections of the society, staring at me, as if he would gulp me down, if he could. 

And frankly, I don't know what to make of it. I mean I am used to lewd comments, unabashed gazes on streets but when it's a calamity, the least you would expect of everyone is to mind their business. But c'mon, how could that stop him from gazing at me, at my body, more specifically? I could be even more specific but then my gentle readers would not be able to take it. Some of those gentle readers include well educated men who talk idealistically of equality between sexes. :)

I never get over it. Always mind my surroundings. What to wear, where I am going. After dark hours. Scares me. I also have a cause of suffocation, which means that I cannot be huddled in crowded spaces.But crowded buses, shuttles, often a tired traveler sits close to me, with hands dangerously close and nowhere to escape. I gasp for a breath of air. 

But c'mon men do this. Don't they do hard work everyday just for the sake of their family, this economy? If they are a bit comfortable with their hands on you, let them do it. After all, they are not raping you. Always remember, you are a woman. You have to mind your surroundings. Men will be men. They are biologically programmed this way. 

And this is the crux of all education. No matter how educated you are, no matter how many degrees you have, somewhere down the line, you will find these degrees fail. Which line is that? The line of sex.Your MBA degree is not going to save you from getting raped at night. It doesn't matter how compassionate a social worker you are, it is not going to stop lewd comments from getting at you.

At this rate, my highly educated idealistic friends would scream up, 'But.. but there are women too...'. Yes there are women who have been molded by this overwhelming suffocating obnoxious system of patriarchy. Women who think it's the girl's fault if the man touches her. But who's fault is that?

And now my intellectual friends will give examples from Raja Rammohun Roy and Vidyasagar who were the first ones to campaign for women's rights in India. I don't contest that. All Good.

But strangely, I don't get to see many Rammohuns and Vidyasagars every day that I travel. Or even generally. May be it's my fault. I've got a girl's brains you see. Girls are by nature a bit stupid and irrational. Hope you will excuse me for that. :)

And how many of these high flying scholars have been teased by the lustful glances of men? Er..Okay, Women? 

At least 1 woman?

Then Shut Up. :)

P.S: Like the pictures? ;)

P.P.S: Here's a raunchy link I found on hot female cartoons. The best part? The writer is kind enough to offer his expert opinion on what women/gay men would like as well :

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

X Men:First Class- Truly First Class?

If nowadays girls are never satisfied with their boyfriends, it is because of superhero films like X Men: First Class.How can you, I repeat, how can you positively be happy with one meager boyfriend when Hollywood productions present delicious crispy freshly baked men on your plate every morning? 

I have never been a fan of the X-Men movie series; I liked the cartoons more. In spite of these, I have ended up watching every single of the X-Men movies. I had no particular intention of watching this particular movie but I had heard much furor regarding it. So this morning, I picked up an umbrella (coz it's heavy rain here) and went to watch it on thirty minutes' notice. 

As I reclined on a comfortable sofa seat, I had no idea what I was getting into. The film begins with a snap shot of 1944 Poland, where the "mutative" powers of boy Eric Lensherr aka Magneto are first discovered. Then the film goes to another snapshot of boy Charles Xavier catching Raven stealing food in the night from their house. And you know, that a love story is about to progress soon. 

But then you are disappointed. Kevin Bacon, my favorite bad man makes an appearance as Sebastian Shaw. If you are a Bacon fan, it is bound to remind you of the same name he had in his super hit "superhero" movie, Hollow Man ( Good that I finally learned the secret to Kevin's eternal youth, and no it is not the Fountain of Youth as Capn' Jack Sparrow might have thought, but his ability to control energy that has kept him young all these years! 

The movie quickly proceeds to a handsome Eric Lensherr now played by Michael Fassbender and a witty Charles played by James McAvoy. And it is from this point onward, that the whole story changes.

The story needless to say is fast paced, exactly as a superhero movie should be. Typical commercial Hollywood superhero movie for the kids. I don't understand the need for a U/A rating. Frankly a PG rating was enough. For my part, I expected to see at least some romantic scenes between Charles and Raven and was sorely disappointed. 

The movie takes a swift turn when the boys grow up, because all you can actually notice is how hot they are. Michael Fassbender is roughly handsome; his story works in his favor. The whole drama about "My Mommy was killed by the Nazis and I am here to kill the bad guys blah blah" will force you to have sympathy towards this lonely sad ruggedly handsome mutant!

Charles Xavier on the other hand played by James McAvoy is relatively the underdog, what with all the riches and the girls. Let's face it, audience sympathy towards the have not is always more as compared to the all-haves. You can't help but justify Eric's position. He respects women, quite unlike the highly revered Prof. Xavier who asks Raven to cover herself up when she shows up in her natural blue form. These are small instances in the film but they surely underline the way the viewer favors one character over another.

On top of that, Michael Fassbender is gorgeous. I mean how can someone so gorgeous and so lonely not get the sympathy, right, people? And well James Mc Avoy is tiny when compared to Eric's aura, stature or even physical appearance. 

I remember when I returned home from watching the movie, my mother asked me how it was. My reply was, "The guys are very good looking."

And frankly that's all I have to say about the movie. The action sequences are spectacular. Eric's background scenes and his and Charles's friendship would make you cry. As will Darwin's death. Rights from Hans to Alex, the young mutants are all extremely cute. The movie has got all the ingredients in the right amounts to make it a blockbuster. A particular action scene where Eric pulls a submarine off the depths of the ocean to the level of their flying plane is in particular most enthralling. 

But now let me come to what I liked in the movie the most. The one, the only: James McAvoy. He was the only one star I knew who was in the movie. The other stars are relatively unknown. It is because of James that I did not want to go for the movie. When his films are shown on TV, I change the channels. 

The character of Charles Xavier in this movie will take you by storm. He is nothing of the fatherly kind that we see in the other X men movies. Here Charles is a flirty smart-ass genius who loves to spend his free time going to parties and dating sexy women. A genius who can touch your hair and say exactly how mutated your genes are. Cheesy? Yes. But brilliant too. Not to mention Charles Exavier's sexy British accent. 

A witty guy like that, you would expect him to have at least a few love scenes, at least with his sexy childhood friend Raven played by Jennifer Lawrence. But of course, Prof. Xavier is too busy helping hot dudes like Eric Lensherr achieve their vengeance. Like you and I, he too is overcome by Michael's raw masculinity.

Enough words have been spared on the hotness of the X-Girls to deserve further mention. Jennifer Lawrence clearly steals the limelight because of her innocent yet seductive looks. I have no idea how any guy would be able to resist her unless, of course he was utterly gay. 

Moira MacTaggert, a CIA agent played by Rose Byrne shows great promise but of course Charles is too busy with his hot male friends to even notice her. He even erases her memory at the end (much like Men In Black style) so that she cannot say anything about him to the CIA officers. (Or was it to erase her memory of Charles's rendezvous with the other naive young mutants?) January Jones does her bit. I did not find her as scintillating as promised but she is okay. 

Music is great. In many portions even if the actions do not hold your fancy, you will flow on the high-flying wings of music. 

At any rate, there is no doubt to the fact that James McAvoy plays a Charles Xavier who you will love to hate. His cockiness, his intelligence is bound to sweep you off your feet. You are bound to ask yourself the question, How can anyone be so smart? How can anyone be so witty? How can anyone be so confident, so reassuring? Throughout the movie, he is the only positive force driving through. 

He is always trying to help everyone; be it the common people, Raven, Moira, the CIA or Eric. He is soft as compared to Eric; he cannot shoot him during a practice session even when Eric repeatedly asks him to. Raven is too confused and Eric is too hell bent on revenge to see the larger picture. James McAvoy takes the fatherly Charles Xavier and turns him into the neighboring popular genius kid. 

And his eyes. Those eyes that I love to hate. Mind you he is not conventionally good looking. He does not have the rough cut of his friend, Eric. He is not beautiful as Johnny Depp. But there is a softness, a warmth. There is also a tinge of something else. You know just by looking that this guy is not innocent. He is a charming boy next door, who probably kills small animals by night.

In a film, one of the characters once described chocolate as "Positively sinful". That is exactly what comes to my mind while writing about James's eyes. Positively Sinful. Like Chocolate. Something that you know you shouldn't have. Something which you know is wrong. Uncertainty. Unknown. The Path of Sin. Yes, those eyes can lead you to the path of sin. Yes, that is exactly why I hated him. I still do. I find his confidence, his impertinence utterly rude. His eyes, the same ones which made me change the channel after the first half of Atonement, invite you to danger. They are almost controlling, like that of Xavier's. Which is why James is the perfect guy to play this role. Nobody else could have done it. 

And when he looks at you with those deep blue eyes of his, there is no need for any telepathic powers. He owns you.Controls you, as if. So some like me feel it safer to steer clear of danger and avoid his intoxicating eyes. Eyes that can intoxicate you, eyes which are intoxicated, by you don't know what. 

Passion perhaps?

I was still thinking of James McAvoy and his deep blue eyes; wondering, wandering... What if? 

As I reached my house, I heard an unknown pungent smell. James. His name echoed my mind. I raced up the steps. What did I expect? 

I reached the landing slowly. There he was, standing in a filthy white worn out shirt, a guy of roughly seventeen-eighteen years, lean and shriveled, with an out-of-place thin mustache, who had come to deliver food. The pungent smell was of mutton along with sweat. 

"You have a funny sense of humor, God", I mused as I went inside.