I love, you hate..

Today, even though was a holiday for Labour day, I had to wake up early as the electrician was supposed to check my ceiling fan. The last few days have been getting hotter and hotter, but were manageable under the comfort of the office air conditioning. But my fan at home broke down at the worst possible time; the last couple of nights would have been hell if not for Ananth's table fan! The electrician said that the problem was with the motor, and that he had to take it for a day for fixing it. I was a little sleepy when he left as I had slept quite late, but I chose not to go back to bed. Later however, after a really heavy lunch, my mattress turned into a powerful magnet and pulled me with all the iron in my body. I've no idea when I slept off. But I woke up around an hour later feeling I was being baked in an oven. I was forced to get up and throw some water on my face and wash the sweat off.

Half an hour later the curtains in the room started flying like superman's cape and within 5 minutes it was raining heavy outside! I went straight to the balcony; I could find people in most of the other balconies too.

The FB page was also pouring with posts about the first rain
From the balcony I was watching the kids play in the rain, people walking happily. When the rain got lighter, I couldn't help but get out and take a stroll myself. I walked to a restaurant nearby, and had a nice hot filter coffee there.

Kids in the society playing in the rain
Just as I was thinking that everyone must be just loving this rain because of the scorching heat that it washed away, I noticed a pizza delivery guy from Dominos. He was carrying a bag, but wasn't rushing for cover. He was walking slowly and dejected. I was pretty sure then that he wasn't able to protect the pizza from the rain, and he also wasn't going to deliver it within their 30 minute delivery deadline. He must have definitely been upset with the rain gods.

Also the roads are most slippery after the first rain; and therefore risky especially for the bikers. I have fallen prey to that myself! First rains come when people are least expecting them. So almost none of the guys on two wheelers would be carrying any raincoats. then Inorder to avoid getting drenched, they now hurry to their respective destinations; which along with the slippery roads, increases the chances of accidents. I hope nobody got injured today.

I wonder if there is something that makes everyone happy! Does anything come to your mind?

Remembering Harsh

A year ago on this day I lost a very dear friend of mine! Harsh Pande, one of the most liveliest persons I have ever come across succumbed to cardiac arrest. All of us were totally shocked to hear the news! He was one guy who just couldn't leave like that; he was destined to achieve a lot more. Perhaps that's why they say, the god acts in mysterious ways!

For those who do not know him, the video below might tell you a little about him (mostly related to academic and professional achievements). But he was a lot more than that. No video/movie could do total justice to describing him! You had to know him!

Few weeks before his untimely demise, he had finished writing his first book, Hiccups, which is now being published by Jaico Books! Reading the book will surely ignite memories and remind of some good times; but will always miss him!

One hell of a guy!

Harsh's Website
Hiccups on Flipkart
Harsh's Blog
Jaico Books

11th Pune International Film Festival

I always look forward to film festivals. Every January we have the Pune International Film Festival here. I know it's a bit late to post about it; but it has been lying as a draft for a long time, and I thought I should hit the 'Publish' button.

I had gone for the film festival couple of years back, and for some reason wasn't able to make it last year. I like to go for film festivals for many reasons:
 - They introduce you to wide variety of movies
 - As mentioned in a post earlier (random is good), I like watching movies in Foreign languages
 - You get to watch a lot of movies for just Rs.700. ;-) 700 is not a very small amount; but when you watch 12 movies using the pass, it comes to less than 60 per movie, which is very cheap. Many festivals at the NFAI are free of charge too.
 - Most of the movies are critically acclaimed ones

This year I caught the following movies:

11th, Friday
After finishing our work at the office quickly, we went to PVR Cinemas where Asmaa was supposed to be played. The IMDB rating of the movie was pretty good, and would have been an ideal start to the movie spree for the film festival. At PVR Nivedita, Ashok, Vriddhi, Amit, Karthik and I had reached on time, but after getting there we came to know that the movie screening had been cancelled! We didn't have enough time to get to another theater which was screening the PIFF movies.
IMDB Rating: 8.0         My Rating: NA

12th Jan, Saturday
L'avventura (The Adventure) - Italy
I had reserved the weekend for PIFF. Reached RDeccan City Pride early by 9AM to catch the first movie. The movie, directed by Michelangelo Antonioni, started a bit late because they were facing few technical problems. The movie was playing very slow and the subtitles weren't showing too. After sometime they could fix the subtitles, but not the speed at which it was playing. Due to this, they had to stop the screening of the movie halfway as it was eating up the screening time of the following movies. Not a good start at the PIFF this year for us; a cancelled movie last night and an incomplete screening today!
IMDB Rating: 7.9         My Rating: NA

Inspecteur Lavardin - France
A comedy/drama involving a murder investigation. Inspector Lavardin is left in a tricky situation stuck between his duty and his values.
IMDB Rating: 6.6         My Rating: 7

Byeolbit Soguro (For Eternal Hearts) - South Korea
One of those movies which leaves most of the people thinking after the movie "What just happened?!" :-) This was just after the lunch. Some people perhaps were sleepy too. An experimental movie.
IMDB Rating: 5.8         My Rating: 5

Material - South Africa
A refreshing movie about a guy in his 20s who works with his father in their textile store, but wishes to be a stand-up comedian. The best movie of the day for me and for many others who watched the movie with me.
IMDB Rating: 8.8         My Rating: 9

Blow up - Italy
Another famous movie by Michelangelo Antonioni, also receiving Oscar and Golden Globe nominations.  It is about a photographer who clicks few pictures in a park, which accidentally turns out to be clues to a murder.
IMDB Rating: 7.6         My Rating: 7

13th Jan, Sunday
Pele Akhir (The Last Step) - Iran
Another movie about afterlife, where a husband looks for answers after his death. A much better movie than 'For Eternal Hearts' which is also deals with afterlife.
IMDB Rating: 7.8         My Rating: 7

Asmaa - Egypt
Asmaa, the movie we missed on the opening day, was playing again at ESquare. After the Pele Akhir we headed there to catch the movie. The movie is about Asmaa who is suffering from AIDS; and how more than the disease the society is killing her! She is given some hope when a TV channel approaches her asking her to tell her story to the world, but it isn't easy to declare on television, especially in the Middle East, about a disease like AIDS.
IMDB Rating: 8.0         My Rating: 8

Noor - Pakistan
Noor, a Khusra(transgender) in Pakistan who wants to be treated as a man, is in love with a girl but her family doesn't approve of it. The movie is about the difficulties he faces in the society because of his gender and his quest for a girl in his life.
IMDB Rating: 7.1         My Rating: 6

I.D. - India
A guy who comes to paint Charu's house faints and dies the next day. Charu doesn't know any detail about the person, but tries to find out who the guy was. Academy award winner Resul Pookutty, producer of the film, was present at the theatre and spoke for a couple of minutes before the movie.
IMDB Rating: 8.0         My Rating: 6

15th Jan, Tuesday
My Father's Bike -
Got to PVR Cinemas in the morning at 9 to watch the movie with Karthik and Nivedita. It was an 88minute movie, so I thought I could get back in time for the 11.30 meeting I had on my calendar. A Polish movie about differences between men of three generations: a grandad, dad and the son. The movie was nicely made and I feel it is a bit underrated on IMDB.
IMDB Rating: 6.8         My Rating: 8

16th Jan, Wednesday
B.P. (Balak Palak) - India
I think BP was the movie with the best IMDB rating screened at PIFF. I went for the movie with KM. We reached just in time, at 7.15 but had to sit on the steps as all the seats were already occupied. I was  very much satisfied with that, as I feared not getting to watch it. Anyways, the movie is about a group of 4 kids in the age group of 10-13, who have lot of questions regarding sex popping up in their mind.When they do not get the answers from their parents or the other elders, they set out to find the answers on their own.
IMDB Rating: 9.4         My Rating: 8

This edition of the Pune International Film Festival wasn't organized in the best manner possible. There were power cuts, movie being cancelled, technical issues like subtitles not playing, movie having no audio or playing at a slow speed etc. But if when it gets back with the 12th edition of PIFF, if I am in town, I will definitely catch it! Why? Did I not mention all the reasons in the beginning? :-P

New Year, New Resolution

 And it is here; another new year. People try to stick with different resolutions at the beginning of the year. And it is very very common to drop the resolution after a few weeks.

But what is the reason for this? Is it that people choose resolutions they don't like to do? Or is it because they get bored doing the same thing again and again? I feel it is a little bit of both. Then I thought of this resolution which could handle both the problems.

The resolution is simple:
Every month do something for the first time in your life.*
* Conditions apply
- You cannot choose similar things more than twice in the year. Eg. You can't keep cooking different dishes each month or only visit places. The chosen items should be different.
- It is a new year resolution. It shouldn't be something that causes harm to your body. Do not take up smoking if you run out of ideas!

That should push me into trying different and new things. There are innumerable things out there to try; so running out of ideas should not be an option. Oh, that gives me the idea for January: running my first marathon! :)

The resolution sounds interesting to me, and if it goes well I would want to try it longer than a year. You could travel to a new city, try a new game or an adventure sport, cook something for the first time, join some workshop/classes, start a new hobby; and many more (suggestions welcome in the comments section). It definitely cannot be as simple as going to the neighbor's house for the first time or watching a new movie (making a movie could count ;-) ), or going to a restaurant!

 So who is joining me? Watch this space for the progress on the resolution.

(Cartoon source: xkcd)

Other posts you may be interested in:

Random is Good!

One of the most beneficial and valuable gifts we can give to ourselves in this life: is allowing ourselves to be surprised! It is okay if life surprises you. Its a good thing!
- C. JoyBell C.

Life brings surprises because of its random nature. Randomness is one of the best attributes of life, so live it that way! If you knew what is going to happen next, you could perhaps control the situation better; but it would definitely be monotonous and dull. I am not asking you to take it to the extreme, as The Dice Man, but sensibly.

Random Act I:  Read a random article on Wikipedia
You may have noticed a link on the left pane of Wikipedia which leads to a 'random article'. It would lead you to one of the 4.1 million English articles. I visit few random pages every day; and even have this link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random) bookmarked on my browser. You come across different and interesting articles from the huge collection of the free encyclopedia.
Random Wiki Page

Display a random:
Article Talk User Talk Wikipedia Talk File Talk MediaWiki Talk Template Talk Help Talk Category Talk Portal Talk Book Talk
Unpredictability, too, can become monotonous. 
- Eric Hoffer

Ofcourse, if you keep doing the same random act, it gets monotonous even if the outcome is not known to you. So you need to keep shuffling it up. Try different things each time. I have listed few more things you could try. 

Random Act II: Random trip
Pay a visit to a random place. For it to be random, the only condition is that you do not pick it. You may have to use public transport for this one, so that "you are taken" somewhere. So go to a bus/railway station and get into a bus or train without knowing the destination and get off say the 10th stop. Every city/town has a history, has a story to tell, has places to visit. This is something I have wanted to do for a few months now and I plan to do when I get a long weekend. The first two days could be spent boarding different buses and getting to unknown places and then the last day travelling back. You will find it on my white list soon. :-)

Random Act III: Listen to random songs: 
 Stop listening to the same old playlist. Explore! Tune into any of your favourite radio stations, that you have never visited before, or listen to any new artist. Try listening to songs in a different language! You may still have not found your favorite genre!

Random Act IV: Watch movies in different languages: 
 Watch dubbed movies, or movies with subtitles. There are wonderful movies made in every language, so don't be biased by few movies you may have heard about. People who arent from the southern states of India think that the South Indian movies are all about a fat hero in lungi singing with a pretty damsel and fighting a hundred fatter and uglier guys alone. But they forget the actors and filmmakers from the south who have made beautiful and sensible movies which have been critically acclaimed. Many people rate the Academy award winning movie, The Departed as one of the best crime thrillers they have watched. I too liked the movie; but I found the original film Cantonese film, Infernal Affairs far better. The prequel to the movie, Infernal Affairs II is also equally good. To make it random pick the language first, then search for good movies made in that language. Sites like films101 could help you.

Random Act V: Sites bringing you random pages:
 Of course you have sites like StumbleUpon, which introduces you to different web pages. Most of these sites allow you to mark your preferences, and then show you pages related to the ones you have "liked", given "thumbs up", "digged" etc. This is a good feature, but at the same time you may lose many interesting things out there. So it is good to keep checking pages outside the "Recommended for you" section. Reddit even has a link for showing you a list of articles on a random topic (http://www.reddit.com/r/random/).

Other Random Acts: 
The above mentioned are just a few things I could think of. There are innumerable things for you to pick from. Eg. Pick a random letter and then choose an author or a book starting with that letter for reading. Or pick an adventure sport starting with the letter for your next trip. Options are limitless; you just need to play the game. 
Explore, Explore, Explore, Learn!
- Unknown.

The Dice Man
Biscuit Tin
Random Good Stuff
Wikipedia: Random
StumbleUpon, Digg, Technorati, Reddit, Delicious

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