Ente Gramam

March 6, 2009

originally uploaded by colorseek.

Taken long back. I remember that I was playing with my DSLR (new then) and stumbled on to Black and White mode.

A typical “Agraharam” in Palakkad, hasn’t changed much over years. We used to play cricket on the roads, since traffic was almost non existent. The road leads to a beautiful temple and a river (Ambala kadavu).

Pothundi Dam

March 3, 2009


Pothundi Dam, Panorama, originally uploaded by colorseek.

An extremely windy place. It’s on the route to Nelliyampathi from Palakkad.

Ages ago when I used to be too much left-brainy to notice things, my best friend posted ย a ย picture of my ancestral home’s long corridor, looking into it with a stranger’s eyes. I was so much used to the place to notice the simple beauty of the view. ย Here’s my salute to your spirit my friend, in celebrating the beauty of the mundane! This shot is taken from the same place you stood that day admiring, but where you looked in, I am now looking out into the street.

The original for reference without permission ๐Ÿ˜‰ And time to ย wake up, man!


February 28, 2009

Glow, originally uploaded by colorseek.

Guru, I am going to try out your suggestion. This is the view from my apartment rooftop at night. I warn you, I am not a very good photographer.

What will I write?

February 25, 2009

I have been away for so much time now, that I have no clue what to post here. I am marginally active with my google reader notes, a bit more active at twitter, but not enough. What would actually get me to talk? Any old friends around who can advice?

I keep thinking about this quote:

when you don’t create things, you become defined by your tastes rather than ability. your tastes only narrow & exclude people. so create.” – Why the Lucky Stiff

I have got to do something. Anybody out there, listening?

8 Boring Things about me

October 22, 2007

This is a reply to a tag. Neither scifi, books, movies. Though, I think I am getting back into more expressive phases of life again. So turn back if you are not interested in an very ordinary life and comeback later for newer posts.

Here it goes. I thought today would be a great day to restart since it’s Vidyarambam. (Actually, I missed today by a minute or so..) Lekha tagged me, and hell; here it goes (She has forbid me from mentioning science fiction. ๐Ÿ˜ฆย  )

1. I am an incredibly insane critic of myself. Ever worried about embarrassing myself, of committing a mistake. Not in _that sense, I am OK with a couple of silly moments every now and then, nobody’s perfect. Because, only those damn things are etched into memory like hell. 10 years from now, I would be remembering only how I made a mistake, rather than the blasting time we had last weekend when Abdul was in town. Which is sad. I’ve heard this is true for a lot of us. Which is why I am getting a camera to balance it. Real soon.

2. My thought process is weird. Anyone close would tell. I think up extreme scenarios, and worry about them. Every damn semi-serious “situation” becomes a high-adrenaline photo finish. The last couple of months, though, I have surprised myself in this regard.

3. I am complete TV addict. Movies too, and even casual channel browsing can keep me on for hours.

4. I am unbelievably lazy. Think of doing the bare minimum required to exist. Like disliking traveling, though would love to see new places. That sort of lazy.. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope someone cracks teleportation in my lifetime.

5. I do not sleep much. Infact I hate it. My day always ends with the feeling of not having enjoyed to the full. Getting up in the morning is a different issue altogether ๐Ÿ˜‰

6. I hate being alone. And ya, I am a bit shy and reserved. (this is taking enormous effort).

7. I hope to live forever, because someone might find a way to, in our lifetime ๐Ÿ™‚ย  I am getting extremely bored writing this. I am probably going to mention the “word”.

8. I am fond of ideas presented in convoluted/alternate ways. Which is probably I like scifi (Oops).ย  In the end, something should “strike” to the mind. It need not be clever, but it needs to be beautiful and carefully done. Just that, there should be several layers to it, just as in how we see things around us.

OK. So that’s over.

I don’t think I will tag anyone, though, I would like a lot of people to come out of hibernation. Especially CT and Fatz. ๐Ÿ™‚ And Subbu, don’t go into the silent mode, please.

I read a couple of very interesting books. Kurt Vonnegut’s Time Quake, etc. Will write my opinion later, though you can pick it up without waiting for it.

ok, let’s do this.

July 8, 2007

Hey. I am back. Sort of. But probably not for long. I have stopped being the guy who can choose to post regularly. Take a cue from this post that from now on, I will update only when I feel it is really needed. I am struck down by heavy load of work, or disinterest.

Anyways, lots of life passed through these months. And a lot of prose too. Mostly the kind I like. Science fiction and fantasy.ย  I discovered Neil Gaiman. Finished two books, Anansi boys, Smoke and Mirrors and am eagerly waiting to get my hands on his masterpiece the American Gods. His writing is sort of fairy tale-ish for adults and I found it very interesting. Very calming in a sense. Anansi boys is a good fantasy story in which the hero, after his father’s funeral, discovers that he was really a God. Called Anansi. (The west African spider god, the internet says.) And he was a trickster God too, very clever. I will not spoil it one bit by explaining any further. It is beautifully written, is funny and interesting to read. If you liked the stories your grandmother once told you when you were a kid, you will probably like it. If you were not that lucky enough, you could start by trying the other book, Smoke and mirrors. It is a very nice short story collection which contains a lot of such fairy tales as well as other fantasy stories. I liked the were-wolf/Cthulhu ones a lot and by the way, I also happened to read H.P. Lovecraft. (Just before this one..) You could read the online version of his new story How to talk to girls at parties too. But it’s sort of more scifi than usual. But good and funny.

Lovecraft stories are a must read, as any respectable weird fiction/horror fan will tell you. He also reminded me of the poetic Ray Bradbury whose Martian chronicles is a huge hit in my tiny collection of books. I am yet to read the Dunwich Horror or others by H.P.L, though the one I read, “The doom that came to Sarnath and other stories” has some lovely stories like the one in the title, and his prose poems “Memory” and “Ex Oblivione” are price catches. Most of his stories are available on the net at wikisource. He is really a true genius at what he does. Bring out that deep fear of the unknown ancient. (I have read this a long time back, my previous posts talk about this..) Though not really nightmare material for today’s kids, there is an elegance in the way he puts out his ideas. Some paragraphs have a special lyrical quality to them like Ray Bradbury’s writing. Where as the most Bradbury I have read evoke a sense of loneliness and sadness, Lovecraft’s word invoke eeriness and insane irrational fear. Helplessness. The magnificence of the enemy.

Happened to stumble upon another author called China Mieville.ย  The book is titled The Iron Council. Terrific use of fantasy worlds and races. Imagine the worlds like those of LOTR used up cleverly to write more interesting stories. Economics. How would things run on the middle earth? what kind of relationships do the races have with each other? The sort of worlds that make other normal fantasy ones look silly. There is sciences, economics, politics, racism, revolution,ย  his world is amazingly rich and real. And the descriptions, they are the real catch here. They are really beautiful and easily slow down your otherwise furious pace of reading. The story revolves around the city-nation called New Crobuzon where plenty of races like humans, the cactus men, the remade (sort of steam punk cyborgs), vodyanoi (frogmen) and countless others live in a state of uneasy equilibrium for having to interact with each other. It is not a normal fantasy story at all. Infact the author almost hates Tolkien’s definition of what fantasy is. It is not a world where you escape to. It is a very clever and crafted version of our own, spiced up magnificently with loads of creativity and imagination. It is at least not about saving the world. Again, you have to read it on your own. I found it very interesting and have bought another one called The Scar. (His first book Perdido Street Station, I just can’t find it anywhere in B’lore. Do give me an indication if you found it somewhere..)

Then comes the true classic which I finished in just four days. (This rarely happens, I am a slow reader and usually take my time with books.) Ender series always have fascinated me, just because the stories are extremely cleverly crafted by the author Orson Scott Card and he usually enjoys throwing good morally conflicting questions at the reader. You can easily read through this delicious higher level ideas because the underlying stories are usually fantastic. I liked the Ender’s Game very much. I read Xenocide later (3rd book) and it was even more impressive. I read the in-between book The Speaker for the Dead earlier this week. It is the in-between book in the series, and is truly fantastic. Ender’s Saga remains amongst my favourite trilogies closer to Asimov’s foundation, Clarke’s Space Odyssey. I usually hype some of my favourites amongst my close friends. And they usually ignore it till the books somehow manage to reach them through some other channel ๐Ÿ™‚ And then they go nuts about them ๐Ÿ˜‰ Terry Pratchett, Foundation series they all come under this list. Guess this is one of the series they have most endured me about, with out reading. So I will patiently wait till someone else asks them to read it. Because it isn’t fun to not to be able to discuss how cool something really is. I mean, the enjoyment is not complete for me, unless I see someone else also enjoying it as much.

I am currently reading The Martian Timeslip by PKD. A small number on the back of it says it is number 13 in the list of SF Masterworks. I usually enjoy PKD, though let’s see how it holds up.

These are some of the ideas which I collected after some thinking and looking around, about the movie Babel. If you have not watched it, you are advised to not read further. I am writing this mainly for the group of friends I went along to watch the movie. By the way, it is both a baffling and beautiful movie at the same time.

1. The three threads in the movie, are all brilliant human stories touching us with delicate moments. The Japanese storyline is infact the one I liked most. The disco scene was wonderful. Note that all three storylines have different color palettes and background sounds. The camerawork is brilliant, many scenes manage to stay in the memory (esp. the Tokyo ones, younger brother shouting at the cops hands raised, the maid breaking down and crying before the indifferent cop, etc). It is also a notable point that the moroccan and the Mexican stories end bitterly, the American ends almost happily and the Japanese one in an indeterminate state. This makes them more life-like stories. (Yes, the Mexican one is a little bit stretched, but who knows what happens to border crossers.)

2. Babel means confusion. (It is also refers to an old Christian story which everyone knows about.) As the name suggests, the movie is about failure to understand and the failure to convey ourselves clearly to another. The deaf-mute being the most straight forward example. Having lost an infant son to SIDS, the American couple are probably struggling with their guilt and grief. (SIDS according to wikipedia, can cause parents to feel a lot of guilt). Failure to convey and understand each other’s mental state was the possible reason of their strained relationship. The Japanese girl and father are similarly not able to help each other. Also, the girl is in more trouble because everyone except the kind policeman have trouble realizing what her actions mean (esp. the dentist). The Americans and Mexicans have their own version of misunderstanding each other because of the filters of intolerance, distrust.

3. Are you wondering that problems of miscommunication are not mainly due to language barriers in this movie? Husband and wife, father and children are the ones having trouble conveying each other. The arid desert in Morocco understood the call of distress immediately. Modern Tokyo is still having trouble understanding the distress signals of its deaf-mute daughter (because of her inability to convey it properly?). Strangers from different worlds tend to understand each other when their own are not (Remember rest of the Americans leaving the couple to fate).

4. Apart from all this, what did Chieko’s note say in the final scenes? I still have no clear idea, but these are the general ideas floating around: a) The note says that she killed her mother b) A suicide note c) a confession about the truth of her mother’s death and apology. I personally thought that the note was a suicide note. (In which she would jump out of the window as she explained). The cop’s kindness has probably made her not do it. I cannot really see the reason for (a). Anyway since the director thinks the contents are immaterial, I would consider it as her final attempt at conveying herself to someone, after all her earlier utter failed ventures.

5. Is all this instantly clear from the movie? No, that is why I wrote the movie is baffling. Its left to our intrepretation. There are lots of other small themes which I omitted (Like everyone lost someone to death in the story arcs, the butterfly effect: one small act of kindness resulted in so much loss and chaos.) This is also why analysis makes no sense. It spoils the fun too. Well, the movie’s name is Babel for no reason. But hey, it sure was fun to write this much. One thing is for sure though, I enjoyed the movie very well. But certainly not more than 21 grams. Some notable reviews are listed below which I came across:

NyTimes: Faces are better understood than words. (And goes into the details of the shots and camera angles)

Slate: Globalization is God’s weapon against the tower of Babel (Or how an American weapon destroys lives across the globe…ugh, but its a point of view.)

DenverPost: Interesting. Butterfly effect and the cynical world. And they like it better than 21 grams!

Rolling Stone : They are stunned by the movies complexity. After all, the story spans 4 countries, a number of languages, and races and still works. And look at the sheer quality brought about by its truely international cast.

Books again!

January 2, 2007

1. Happy new year to all.

2. 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 Its already an interesting start!

3.ย  A glorious Horror streak, as I read the legendary “The Call of the Cthulhu” over the weekend. This short story is regarded as a genre defining creation. While I was not overwhelmed by horrible nightmares during nights, I immensely liked the language and the narration style. The story will invoke in the reader the ancient fear that is probably inscribed in our racial memories. What happened on Earth before humanity rose? Were there any other beings who ruled over like we do now? Is there any of it left which is waiting anxiously to take over the territory once lost? Were we once so dumb to be their slaves? In our hectic race to mastery on Earth’s resources did we forget that we were once slaves?

Most of H.P Lovecraft stories evoke such fear in the reader’s mind. Cthulhu, or the great old one as he/it is known became so popular that it became a pop-culture phenomenon in itself.

So if you are ready for some horror, maybe you can start with this masterpiece. And hey, I have something else for you, if you cannot find a book. The Horla which is an old short story (originally in French) which is said to have inspired Cthulhu.ย  And then, when you come back from reading the Call, you can maybe visit this interesting short called I, Cthulhu, written by Neil Gaiman. *

And I am relieved to be back among some books.

4. 6 ! by the time I was writing this post. Awesome Max!

5. Bob Dylan! I am finally starting to like his songs. ๐Ÿ™‚ Starting with “Like a rolling stone” and “Desolation row”.ย  Really strong lyrics for the former. But Desolation row, now, that is a very interesting song. The song forms an interesting mental picture, involving a number of interesting characters (some of which I don’t know about) and interesting situations in a place called Desolation row. If anyone finds out what exactly the song is about, please tell me. ๐Ÿ™‚

6. Had a remarkable time with friends on the first day of the year.ย  It will be cherished for a long time.

* These are horror stories. Except maybe for the Gaiman short story. Approach them if you are comfortable with the genre. ๐Ÿ™‚ (In other words, you are warned)

Happy Christmas

December 25, 2006

to you all.

My thoughts as usual.

1. Phillips SHP 805 headphones. Alexy’s. Since I discovered them, the poor guy had to literally fight with me each time to actually listen to something. So I got out this weekend and with some support from my roommates I finally bought them. (finding them was tough). 1150 bucks of pure blissful sound*. So my friend, here is my unplanned christmas gift to you, your right to listen to music on your headphones any time you wish ๐Ÿ™‚

2. Another great christmas gift that I saw presented: Gifting each other a chance to actually meet each other in person. After a year or so. Top that!

3. So why does VH1 show all that reality bullsh*t? They are so good when they actually play music. Whatever happened to storytellers? Infact, VH1 Classic is the best that TV offers nowadays imo. Why do they need “Pimp my Ride”?

4. Tina Turner discovered! ๐Ÿ™‚ “What’s love got to do with it?” and especially “We don’t need another hero”. My incredible ignorance in music is only matched by the happiness I feel when I think about the infinitely large musicscape left for me to explore. ๐Ÿ™‚

5. Motorcycle diaries is a great movie. Watch it somehow. Please.

6. This whole, numbered list thing is working so well**. Why ever did I not think of it earlier? And yes, I am trying to hold that story in my mind, while trying to get to sit still with a pen and paper in hand.

*If any audiophiles are around, suggest me good headphones below 2k (If you think SHP805 is not the best one available) and I will be eternally grateful. I am not into ear/canal phones,Too risky for hearing according to a good friend. And ya, sennheizers at Apple showroom are a bit too hot to handle.

**No chalams about whole numbers please.