Friday, December 02, 2005
Le Coupe de Feu...Perils lay ahead of you, Harry Potter
As the huge stadium comes into focus, and the magical creatures, witches and wizards cheer the seekers, beaters, and players of the teams of Ireland and Bulgaria, we dive headlong into The Goblet of Fire.
The next instant, however, you almost feel sorry for having pardoned the director for taking liberty with the book's actual beginning and bringing Harry directly into the Weasley's house and completely missing out on the excitement of the World Cup (they didn't even seem to know where they were being led to). This happens because even before you come close to realizing and appreciating the grandeur of the Quidditch World Cup and the stature of the competing teams, you are led as far away from the entire thing as anybody could have thought possible.
The match is over in a jiffy and before you can say Snitch, the dark mark appears in the sky but even before you get to say Death-Eaters, the scene changes to one inside Hogwarts with Dumbledore welcoming the teams from two other schools of magic to participate in the Tri-Wizard tournament. If not anything else, the tournament lives up to its promise, but for the rather step-motherly treatment of the character of Victor Krum who deserved much more in terms of covergae (negative or positive) if one goes by the book.
Going by the book, however applicable the quote might have been in this case, was not easy at all for Mike Newell. Not only is this edition of the Potter saga the longest ever to have been filmed, it was also fraught with many firsts. This book, in a way, has been the turning point of the entire Harry Potter story. This is where the friends, Ron, Harry, and Hermione enter into their adolescence. This is where they have their first crushes and ball. This is also where the Quidditch World Cup and the Tri-Wizard Tournament happen. Most importantly, this is where the story becomes dark with the rise of Voldemort, leading up to the next book, probably the darkest in the series so far (even more than "Half Blood Prince", the latest, in my humble opinion).
For Potter fans, the story has its own relevance and more than anything, they would love to see justice being done to the entirety of the story. For such viewers, the movie's screenplay and rather awkward editing would have been a let-down. However, unlike other movies-taken-from-books, this one has a screenplay that scores in the sense that it does not leave behind those viewers who have never even read the Harry Potter books. This, probably, is the biggest strength of this edition, scoring even higher than the previous Harry Potter movies, which, though successful in depicting the story correctly, did not put proper emphasis on understanding and bringing out the finer points.
The director here, however, succeeds in doing just that. The kind of treatment given to the character formation is just adequate. All that he missed out on (probably intentionally) was to reflect the dark mood of the climax. The rise of Voldemort was treated very properly by Rowling and it actually built a lot of anticipation about the next edition (which lived up to it, by the way) and this anticipation was as full of foreboding of something dark and evil as it was exciting about the kiddy saga itself.
In terms of acting, the actors seem to have fitted into their characters almost perfectly. It is impossible to imagine Danielle Radcliffe doing anything else and even Emma Watson seems in it for long. With new characters and actors portraying the competitors of Tri-Wizard Tournament, the beautiful and bewitching French witch Fleur and the sturdy stud Bulgarian, Victor, not to mention Mad eye Moody and of course, Voldemort, the scope has been widened for the movie industry to treat the rest of Potter movies with more respect and probably more high-flying a cast than the ones so far have been.
The fantasy of Harry Potter, despite what the latest movie is or is not able to achieve, shall live on because of the books and the legend that Potter has become (right from the merchandise to the rumour-mills to the web sites). The Goblet of Fire, however, is Newell's attempt to pay a tribute to the legend and contribute to its making, at the same time. It may not be time yet to say whether he succeeded in it or not, but one thing is for sure...you better have your seatbelt on and mouth gagged if you are a fan like me and are on the verge of seeing, after having visulaized the scene umpteen times, Harry defeat the dragon or plunge into the sea or fall from his broom, and you can say that again and again...and again.
Posted at 10:18 pm by Nitai
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Pranay tagged me on this one but he never even informed me of it. However, the jobless vella that I am, I went to his blog during my daily blog scan (all right, it is more like thrice or four times a week now) and saw that my name figured in golden letters on his latest post.
Under normal circumstances, I would have just ignored the damn thing but the comment that Pranay made about the probability of my having already done such a thing, set me thinking. And given the egoist, self-important fool that I am, it made absolute sense to go for a tag that wanted me to list down 20 random things about MYself. I thought, "here is the chance to impress all the girls who read my blog, let me just mention that I actually am the Indian Superman in disguise" but then, not many girls read my blog and of those who do, not many are THAT stupid and finally, I am not really interested, right now (why not, will be another story, which, incidentally, does not figure in the following list of 20).
- I am sentimental with the word spelt in capital, like S-E-N-T-I-M-E-N-T-A-L. I get touchy over small things and then make life hell for my self and friends.
- My mood swings need no rhyme nor reason. They come and go of their own free will and till date, I have not been able to figure out one single, unifying, substantial cause.
- I am really close to my family and good friends and ever since I saw death up close for the first time, some two years ago, I have realized how everything else pales away in comparison.
- Unlike earlier, when I could not sleep without my dose of reading, I no longer need any sleep-inducers and can fall asleep at the drop of a hat.
- I am pretty conscious about my physical appearance and tend to imagine more than others say or hint at, when it comes to the hair, fat, eyes, color, et al.
- I feel that I am good at a lot of things but not exceptional in anything. It is even reflected in my academic, professional, and personal life so far.
- Even though I am a right hander, I feel more in control through my left hand...use the left hand to balance and right hand for the job when I need to use one of my hands while riding a bike, cycle, etc.
- In addition to my moodiness, I suffer from pangs of introspection where I am even open to berating myself aloud for things I did or did not do.
- My toes are exceptionally long, compared to the other fingers, which is remarkable enough to be called an abnormality, in a doctor's words.
- Out of all experiences with the specimens of the opposite sex that I have come to interact with, I have had uncountable crushes, four infatuations (including one for a higher secondary teacher), and one experience of what I can only call love.
- As always, I still believe myself to be a romantic at heart but have grown into being absolutely cynical about falling in love, life-long relationships, made for each other stories and the like.
- I crave for society, banter, and gaiety and often go over board in trying to make the most of a social occasion.
- More often than not, I sleep with my mouth wide open, and body lying flat in the death posture, arms folded on the chest and no movement taking place at all.
- I tend to remember names but forget faces and as such, have been into many embarassing situations where people recognize me on the streets but I am unable to place them.
- In ranked order, my passions (I am passionate about a lot of things) would include event management, movies (read Hindi, read Amitabh), comics, friendship, women, sleeping, music, reading, and cooking.
- I tend to walk with my left hand quite close to the central rest position and the right arm making lot of to-and-fro movements about the shoulder pivot.
- I am absolutely unafraid of looking down from great heights but when it comes to looking up to something at a great height (like the top of a multistorey or just the star studded sky), I get the jitters and feel as if I will fall, even though I may be safely moored to the ground. I am also a bit claustrophobic.
- I am given to gadgets a lot. My future home has plasma screens in every room, GPS giving the current location of occupants (somewhat like the Weasleys' clock in Harry Potter), clap sensitive or even better, voice recognition switching mechanisms, automated cleaning and maintenance, and artificially intelligent support and security system.
- The single longest stretch I have gone without sleep has been for about 76 hours and I believe that I can do even more if I am sufficiently passionate (refer point 15) about something.
- I am a very good liar and it comes very easily to me, sometimes even without any pangs of regret. Unless I want to, the other person can never figure out that I am lying to him/her.
People who want to follow up on this tag can do so with pleasure. For others, you need to be thankful that I am not in one of my spiteful moods today :D
Posted at 08:52 pm by Nitai
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
It was just another day for Anjali, a day that was not much different from the one that just passed and more or less the same as what could be expected of the coming one. As she stepped into the last tube that would take her home, Anjali prepared herself for the flood of memories and thoughts that always accompanied her on such journeys, which she otherwise was quite lonely on.
Ever since Anjali joined her first job, she had been independent and on her feet. When her company asked her to go on-site, the repressed software engineer in her found the opening that was so much required. She never thought twice about leaving India as she was not leaving behind any one of any import. She was quite alone...but never a loner. Popular amongst friends and foes alike, right through school and college, Anjali was feeling left out, after quite some time.
The journey begins
It always started with this, the Mela of thoughts, from the first day on foreign soil for Anjali. As she waited for her luggage at the squeaky clean airport terminal that she could never have seen in India, Anjali's eyes looked up to the monitor near her. They were showing the news and it was about India, about Delhi, the city she had just left. The reporter, Shrikanth
, was talking about the blasts in Delhi and public's indifference
to the same. Anjali, too, was indifferent...but then, she was not from Delhi anyway and neither did she know anyone who lived in Delhi.
A couple next to her was looking at the news, too. They were Indian like Anjali, probably on vacation or their honeymoon, for all Anjali cared. As they started discussing the news item and noticing Anjali, they began trying to include her in the coffee table conversation which Anjali studiously avoided. She did not have to try too hard and as Arzan points out
, she just needed to avoid eye contact which Indians tend to do anyways when they meet each other outside the country.
She could not succeed however for Anjali was, by nature, quite polite and it was just not possible to avoid the couple who, like Cynical Nerd
, kept talking about how this sort of an event should wake up the media elite
and lead to a change in attitude about handling terror amongst the Indian intelligentsia. Karan was, in fact, an officer in the Indian Army and Anamika, his wife, had just joined the Tatas as a manager whose duty included overseeing the latest low cost car that Tata is going to come up with.
Like Anjali, Anamika seemed relieved when Karan changed the topic of conversation from a bleeding Delhi to her company, Tata and how, as Parsi Khabar says
, they were one of the few companies deemed to take India to the next stage where modernity and concern for things will go hand in hand instead of the situation today where in the never ending quest for money, people have become indifferent to the very meaning of life.
But, Anjali had thought at that time, like Sunil
did, what was the point of being good
, of thinking more than one is strictly required to. She always believed that it is not going to be that her thoughts or actions would be capable of changing anything or making any difference to the ocean of mismanagement and lack of logic that the news item and others like it spoke of.
And then, of course, there were so many different kinds of terror that Anjali had already seen in her past life. The most horrific of them to Anjali was the quasi-fanatic religious fervor
, which has always been a part of India but as Sooraj
would have said, which does not probably pose as much danger to the fabric of India and its democracy as some might think.
Anjali had long since buried herself in her own little alcove, coding away in her claustrophobic cubicle, sweating it out to be miles ahead of others in geekiness. Like Vulturo
, she laughed when technology was misunderstood
by novices and silently said a prayer when her umpteenth attempt at optimizing her code resulted in a page load time of one second less than the benchmark.
It was not enough, however, and the couple, who had by now taken quite well to Anjali, were making it clear to Anjali in no few words. Right from terrorism to cricket, they were talking about everything under the sun and kept waiting for Anjali's inputs every once in a while. As Karan talked enthusiastically about Dhoni's latest knock, just as Gaurav
does, he rated it as the best ODI knock ever
..."the best ever?", Anjali thought. She was surprised at the use of superlatives but not unduly so for it had been only one day that she had been away from her colleagues back in India who never ceased to amaze her with their own superlative usage.
Anjali was above these superlatives and she had reasons to be so. She had faced so much in her life that she had stopped believing in superlatives...the negatives were there as much as were the positives and whenever someone talked about the best and the worst, she knew that there were higher degress still waiting for her. It was always like this for Anjali, like the wedding Ravi talks about
, a riot of things unrelated, good and bad, without any logic and yet happening...truly happening.
She has always bounced back, she tries to make Anamika understand, and so would Delhi and the people affected by the news they had been discussing. Karan does not agree and talks about what Dhiraj
says about the things never having affected Delhi
at all, and how there is no question of surviving or bouncing back for the junta.
Anjali nods her head and as if in a daze, says good bye to the couple as she sees her luggage arrive after an atypical delay of nearly an hour. As she walked out of the airport building, Karan's enthusiasm and Anamika's quiet confidence kept her company as she looked at the back of the head of the taxi driver. Remembering Karan talk about Saurav with as much passion
, or thinking about Anamika rather passionately discussing the merits of coffee and in Govar's
words, of outlets like Cafe Coffee Day
Trying to make herself comfortable against the hard chair of the subway train, Anjali closed her eyes as she realized that she was close the worst part of her memories, the part when she reached home and swtiched her TV set on. The first thing she watched on TV after the news item at the airport was another news item and this time, like once much earlier, she was not indifferent. It was about a couple who got mugged and killed on the street, a couple that Anjali had just left behind, hale and hearty.
It was as if history was repeating herself. It was as if she was Munni once again, watching from the corner of the dingy room that her own Postman Unlce had locked her in before selling her off at the Meena Bazaar (which is another story, of course). Once again, she was watching her brother Pappu being fed the lies about her being lost in the Mela at The Truth Laid Bear's UberCarnival
She could not even cry out to Pappu that she was being held against her will by Postman Uncle for she did not know about it herself. It was a game to her, as was the hour she had passed with Karan and Anamika at the airport, never realizing on either time that a lifetime of hatred, filth, and despondency awaited her on both occasions...but Anjali remained hopeful, of the next time, of the next tidal change in her life, the next Mela
when she will meet Pappu and perhaps pray together for the souls of Karan and Anamika.
Posted at 09:04 am by Nitai
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Blog Mela delayed due to unavoidable circumstances.
The Mela will be up by the night of the 7th of November India Time. Sorry for inconvenience, if any.
Posted at 01:32 am by Nitai
Thursday, October 27, 2005
In the normal course of events (even those related to summer placements) at IIMK, I would not have written such a post but the occasion is a little out of the way and deserves more than just the mere thought and a silent word or two. I have never really been able to appreciate the secrecy associated with the placements activities on campus (any campus, not just IIM Kozhikode) and have been one of the most ardent (though not as much vocal) critic of the entire exclusivity associated with the placement process. So when I get mails from the placements committee (directed to the entire batch, of course) that I should not put on a yahoo status message, or a blog post about placements till the official report is out, I say "what the heck! Who was going to put status messages and blog posts on the freaking placements anyways". But I was wrong and gladly enough, they (the placements committee, that is) proved me wrong!
Not that I don't understand the reason for restricting such a move or that I don't know that shouting one's mouth off even before something has been achieved has never been a good idea and in the extremely competitive arena of B-school placements, where students try every trick in the book to be one up on the others, it doesn't make any sense at all. However, all that holding fort, I am still compelled to write this post...not because I am allowed to do so now or because as a student of IIMK, it is my duty to do so now but because this is something I want to write about. This is because I am really happy about the professionalism showed by the people involved and the efficacy of the result generated.
All right, so there has been something seen by the campus this season that has never happened earlier. A batch of 160 people placed for summer internships in hardly five days is as amazing a news item that anyone associated with an Indian B-school would have ever heard of. What makes the entire thing more special, however, is the fact that it is always easy to place the first 50% of the class in perhaps even one day but what takes the toll is to put through the last person. I can say that because I know how difficult it had been for some people last year in so many campuses (including the very best in the country).
To know that IIMK has placed even the last guy/girl within such a short span is an awesome feeling even though I know that it might be an overkill to say that I am extremely proud of what IIMK has achieved and therefore, saying that it is only IIMK that has such talent would certainly be a blasphemy. I know that the economy is booming and that this year, the top 50% of the batch at any B-school worth its salt would be placed on the first day itself. I also know, at the same time, that not many of them would have had people in the placements committee devoted so much and working so hard to ensure that the last guy is placed for summers in the first five days of the process having started. Even if it is just for that, I am proud of the achievement (even though I may be guilty of using a cliche here).
To read the mails of juniors congratulating and thanking the placecom and the senior batch for the help and the seniors, in turn, congratulating them for the great batch they have been in achieving such laurels, is, for lack of a better word, heartening. What this brings forward in a more subtle manner, however, is the way in which the placements committee and the placements process at IIMK has contributed to the family feeling back in campus. I know that a lot of people might rubbish this idea as sentimental tomfoolery, but then they are welcome to their own opinions and have not been invited anyways (not by me, at least) to read this blog and tear their hair out in frustration (if at all, they don't have anything better to do).
Oh by the by, if you want to know more about what happened at IIMK's Summer Placements 2006, just click here.
Posted at 06:53 am by Nitai