Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Can You Find the Place?

Here is a challenge for you; Find the place. Your time starts now!

 
Image Courtesy: Google
Where in summer they always tell you there is no water left in the dams to produce enough electricity;

Where they urge you to control your electricity usage, due to the above mentioned reason;

Where they show ads with film stars and sportsmen, before and after the national news broadcast, about the necessity of saving electricity and controlling population growth;

Where the bureaucracy that controls electricity has no limitation in using and misusing it;

Where every individual pays more than he earns, on food;

Where after every rain, the roads disappear into ponds and puddles, and every sewage overflows;

Where every government employee is part of one or another political party and work for the benefit only of the members of the party;

Where every politician holds the reputation of doing nothing remarkable to the development of the country, but tightening his or her own wallets with bundles of cash;

Where every government addresses the question of reducing the price of cell phones and cars, but forgets about the poor and destitute;

Where strikes are reality shows; and schools and colleges are breeding grounds of political goons;

Where every boy or girl dreams of becoming doctors and engineers;

Where art means political adjustment and drinking toddy and wandering the frontiers;

Where during summer time, water comes in tanker-trucks, but the government plans to arrange laser shows for tourists;

The name of which is derived from the name of a tree;

Where cutting trees and cleaning up the remaining greenery is the ultimate meaning of development;

Find the place; you win nothing!

Image Courtesy: Google

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Ranjini Haridas Phenomenon

Ranjini
Image Courtesy: Google
Miss. Ranjini Haridas, you are not alone.
No, you are not, any more.

There has been serious gossip mongering against Raniji Haridas, the TV anchor in Kerala. Although, media is a major culprit in bring about cultural changes, positive and negative, some symbols, or icons keep our minds engaged and give us food for talk. Always, a talk is positive act. The more we spend our time to talk during the power-cut time, the more our minds grow. By the way, did I mention to my international readers that in Kerala we have a standard power-cut half an hour each night and one hour during daytime? Almost like the District 12 in The Hunger Games.

In this turmoil of lacks and shortcomings, Ranjini Haridas rose into conversations as a television anchor. She was the witch of Portobello in Kerala and many a cultural dictators fancies of burning her on a stake. Reason? She is ‘arrogant’.

If someone says, Oprah Winfrey is arrogant on TV; one can only suppose that the person who made that comment is a naïve. The show demands you to appear in one way or the other and people misunderstand you to be that very person you see on the picture box.

Never before, had such a mass hysteria about an anchor in Kerala come to my notice. Perhaps, the society is growing back into naivety or intolerance is the latest currency of regionalism. Either way, it sounds dangerous. If you can criticize Ranjini Haridas, you can earn your prominence in cultural meetings and local teashops. Ranjini stands as a stalwart threat to the native culture. In some people’s eyes, she is a comet that appeared in the sky to ravish their Garden of Eden. When Ranjini wears a sari, it becomes a controversy. Her laughter is controversial. Her language is too provocative, because according some people; she does not know much Malayalam and resorts to English during her shows, which flies across the globe to the households of NRIs and people of other nationalities.

The list of Ranjini Haridas’ 'sins' is long. However, here is a thought provoking comment made by one of my readers, here in The Indian Commentator. Perhaps the person does not want to reveal name on a widely circulated platform like this blog. So let us call the person Mr. Anonymous.

Mr. Anonymous made this comment on the sports article titled “S. Sreesanth will come out?” The comment touches many issues of national and local merit and is remarkable in its brevity as well, considering how much in depth analysis the writer has done with the limited space.

Below are his words. You can also read it here. "Anonymous Said..."
Image Courtesy: Moddb.com

I may agree with the conclusion and enjoyed the bitter satire also. But I have some differences with some ideas expressed, and also how Malayalies responded. Except Shashi Tharoor, and Srishanth's family, nobody openely or indirectly supported him during his bad days, because it is in the blood of malayalies to feel jealous in the success of others. We never encourage individual success, whether it is Srisanth, or Prithviraj or Ranjini Haridas. These are the common targets of the virtual malayali, see FB posts about them. What they did wrong? They know what they are, what they want, how they can get it and that they have the ability to get it. It means Confidence, but Mallus( of course not Malayalis) consider it arrogance. I didn't react to the arrest od Sreesanth in the beginning time, but had doubt. Still I had doubt. I don't know whether he is engaged in the crime. If yes, hang him, no objection. But criticising him for conducting Thulabhara in Guruvayour, for wearing some "sacred threads" in the hand, and criticising his mother for conducting poojas when he played in the matches are irrelevant things to be talked about. As if, none of the Malayalis go to Guruvayur and do Thulabhara. Those who come to Guruvayur are from other planets. As if those who visit Shabari Mala are not at all Mallus. As is the one who conduct Poomoodal is not a Progressive Politician, as if the Mosque which is built for honouring the hair of the prophet is not in Kerala. If these things are done by the virtual Mallu alone, it can be forgiven, but the so called "revamped" police also doing the same thing. Evidences given to the press: Condom( as if having safe sex is bad), Ladies were with him ( as if it is a punishable crime to be with ladies), laptop ( as if only Sreesanth is having it), Smartphone( as if he is the one who invented it), money( he is a beggar arrested from the street), and hotel rooms allegedly booked in metros( oh my god) and he is said to have connections with the all powerful Davood (The Maharastrian Messiah of Indian cricket Almighty Sarath Pawar haven't even heard of Davood), and that too without evidence. So, Sreesanth is arrested, and then "evidences" are found, not in the other way, that too the POlice have been observing Sreesanth and his company from the beginning of the IPL( and now they got condoms, so what, you may say). And tell me, if I feel Sreesanth is a scapegoat, is it wrong?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Anonymous said…

Image Courtesy: Google

Enabling anonymous comments in my blog was an attempt to bring people to talk about issues they feel near to them without disclosing their names and identities. Of course, it included the threat of spomments and spiteful bites. I realized lately that initiating a talk was worth the effort. So is the change. 

Here is the result of this attempt. I received a wonderful comment, anonymously. Mr. Anonymous made this comment on the sports article titled “S. Sreesanth will come out?

Mr. Anonymous, you finally spared me the blame of commenting at my own posts anonymously.

Here is the comment; don’t forget to put yours too.

"I may agree with the conclusion and enjoyed the bitter satire also. But I have some differences with some ideas expressed, and also how Malayalies responded. Except Shashi Tharoor, and Srishanth's family, nobody openely or indirectly supported him during his bad days, because it is in the blood of malayalies to feel jealous in the success of others. We never encourage individual success, whether it is Srisanth, or Prithviraj or Ranjini Haridas. These are the common targets of the virtual malayali, see FB posts about them. What they did wrong? They know what they are, what they want, how they can get it and that they have the ability to get it. It means Confidence, but Mallus (of course not Malayalis) consider it arrogance. I didn't react to the arrest od Sreesanth in the beginning time, but had doubt. Still I had doubt. I don't know whether he is engaged in the crime. If yes, hang him, no objection. But criticising him for conducting Thulabhara in Guruvayour, for wearing some "sacred threads" in the hand, and criticising his mother for conducting poojas when he played in the matches are irrelevant things to be talked about. As if, none of the Malayalis go to Guruvayur and do Thulabhara. Those who come to Guruvayur are from other planets. As if those who visit Shabari Mala are not at all Mallus. As is the one who conduct Poomoodal is not a Progressive Politician, as if the Mosque which is built for honouring the hair of the prophet is not in Kerala. If these things are done by the virtual Mallu alone, it can be forgiven, but the so called "revamped" police also doing the same thing. Evidences given to the press: Condom (as if having safe sex is bad), Ladies were with him (as if it is a punishable crime to be with ladies), laptop ( as if only Sreesanth is having it), Smartphone (as if he is the one who invented it), money (he is a beggar arrested from the street), and hotel rooms allegedly booked in metros (oh my god) and he is said to have connections with the all powerful Davood (The Maharastrian Messiah of Indian cricket Almighty Sarath Pawar haven't even heard of Davood), and that too without evidence. So, Sreesanth is arrested, and then "evidences" are found, not in the other way, that too the Police have been observing Sreesanth and his company from the beginning of the IPL (and now they got condoms, so what, you may say). And tell me, if I feel Sreesanth is a scapegoat, is it wrong?" 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sreesanth; Is He the Guy?

Image Courtesy: Google
Yeshe is the one, who did the below mentioned.

S. Sreesanth had undeniably inflamed my curiosity in news channels and the print media. I do not entertain browsing much through the internet merely because it is one large sea of fake information, well mostly. If you see a title like “Sreesanth; Is He the Guy?” you might expect a shrewd piece of investigative journalism on the screen, but apparently, what you find is only a below average, pathetic blog post. I am not talking about prejudices about news heading lines here. When such a matter is under scrutiny, as spot fixing in cricket, undoubtedly, this question comes alive, though. Who prejudiced you and me towards headlines? Such and such headline must be some sort of an investigation. Such and such headline would mean the person in the news has damned himself. Who did this to our semi-hypocritical sense of judgment?

I have the answer. Satan.

In fact, it is time for me to confess that I digressed from the topic and pushed you over the rails into the chaos of “intellectual conundrum.” Let me be more practical, here. Confessions are the best way to be practical in front of the law enforcement as well as the social system. So I confess; I never paid much attention to the mass media. I was, well, I am, internet savvy. Nevertheless, I kept my distance with news channels and print media, mostly on the grounds of lack of trust and concern for my own healthy psychological environment.

Murder.
Rape.
Murder.
Election.
Rape again, this time, a child of three years of age.
Murder again.

No, I am not completely out of my sanity, yet. The above-mentioned list is how our lives ‘are governed’, if we believe in spending much of our time with mass media. I am not playing Craig Fergusson. I swear. I am not saying the world is much better without any of the media out there. A certain sense of normalcy still reins my system. My disagreement springs from the fact that when I do not want to hear bad stuff, or when I am actually depressed and want to hear some good ‘news’, they stuff my ears with some creepy gruesome news of murder or rape or both. Yeah, I know these are not the only bad things out there.

Being the softhearted person, I have already proven myself to be; I would jump off from my sofa and go to my room for some silent contemplation, whenever they switched to news channels at home. I never had much to ‘know’. There was always the same thing, but in different details and colours, each time.

Suddenly, one day, Sreesanth came.

He came, I saw, and he conquered.

I felt bad about Sreesanth’s current situation. That very reason made me watch more and more TV. Surveying every news channel, I made mental notes of every new turn and twist in Sreesanth issue. Rather than spot fixing and the future of Indian cricket, I was interested in the tragedy of the young man, a Keralite. Come on, you must admit. See, I am not the only one here with a voyeuristic gene. Everyone likes to peep into the neighbor’s miseries, don’t they? I am a Keralite too and that is the allusion here.

Vindu Dara Singh
Image Courtesy: CNN IBN
Sreesanth is the one; I can say who brought me back to watching news on TV. The paradox still stands like the stumps of masculinity on the cricket ground—how can an already corrupted system incarcerate and judge another corrupted man, provided whatever the police are saying is true? Again paradox!

Did you see how Vindu Dara Singh was taken to custody, yesterday? No black face-covers like how they took Sreesanth and other players the previous week! What does this mean?

Anyway, there is something we all should give some attention to—handkerchiefs. Desdemona dropped it, Sreesanth held it. Both were guilty of something (jealously, may be) and made to suffer mortally.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

S. Sreesanth will come out?

Image Courtesy: Guardian.co.uk
Is it publicity that follow people of people follow publicity? In both cases, it seems publicity is a hard pet to keep. The latest controversy regarding betting in Indian cricket validates this assumption. Heavy betting!

It is shocking how some of the unsuspecting faces appeared on the scene as quite unsuspecting souls and trapped themselves. The labyrinth of law is tightening its grip around their necks. This controversy is unsettling for most of the Keralites, because of the involvement of the fast bowler S. Sreesanth.

Santakumaran Srisant, is born on 6th February, 1983 in Kothamangalam, Kerala, South India. Even though, Sreesanth was involved in cases of emotional outbursts in the field, including showing aggressive gestures to senior players, for every Keralite, he was a next-door young man, with a slightly twisted mentality. Prodigal sons do return home, don’t they?

However, when the noose of the law tightened, we felt it was impossible for our boy to come back home again. We thought it be better to blame the North Indian lobby for all the trouble Sreesanth was facing, and did the same. Nevertheless, it did not work, as each day new evidences popped up. It seemed the police system in India had a sudden revamp and the law had a revelation. Let a thousand criminals escape, not a single innocent should be punished.

If you don’t feel the pun, show me your back. Here! Take the kick!

Finally, the police had found clues about the involvement of the underworld and each day is witnessing surprising arrests. There are those in Kerala, though, who always had a bad opinion about the prodigal son. They could not stand his hairstyle, or dance, or gestures, or that pair of prominent openings just above his mouth. They celebrated the arrest and are in euphoria about his not coming back.

Image Courtesy: Mid-day.com
We, ordinary Keralites, though hopeless of the situation, often look at whether our prodigal son’s advocates are able to pull some strings. We often forget to ask if he is actually involved in the underhand dealings or not. Never mind the simpleton manner with which we hope for the best. We still could not determine, for whom we should keep our hopes high, for Indian cricket or for our dear prodigal son.

We are content in some ways though; everywhere, our lad known, now, though he is having a bad time with fame.   

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Fire from Within

Image Courtesy: Google
Much like a woodpecker, I was on my incessant attempt to penetrate the outer bark of reality and to reach into the soul of the Cosmos. It was a sunny day and I was in the city. Something in the mind and a tickling sensation on my skin was undoubtedly the signs indicating the presence of a portal opening into the world of Awareness.

The usual process to tackle such a sensation is to walk aimlessly, which in turn is the best way to locate the portal to Awareness as well.

As I was taking the left turn on the road to the Beach of Solace, a familiar face greeted me. On the right side of the road, there was a shawarma shop. He was standing in front of it. Not eating, of course, but having a chat with someone in the shop. Subhashin, has a lot of friends in the city, both cooks and eaters.

It is not always that I meet Subhashin on the road. Perhaps, the opening of the portal and the psychomotor impulses I felt had some relation with the appearance of Subhashin, an old friend of mine, and in fact a guru.

“We must talk about this!” He stated off as I went near him, as if it was part of what he had been talking about to the cook in the shawarma shop. Confused, I stood there for a second, silent. Comprehending from the lack of acknowledgement to his suggestion, he delivered one more sentence; “You know, the situation, the unholy relationship between the politicians and writers, in India?”

I shook my head as if I knew everything he meant by that question whereas actually, I was clueless. We started walking towards the city. “Could you please fill me in on the discourse that you were about to begin?” I asked.

After this prodding, he was silent. Then after a moment, which I failed to measure in seconds or in minutes and so let us simply call, a moment, he said; “I was thinking about these contemporary Indian English writers. Some of them are eager for politicians to endorse their books. Nevertheless, think about those old writers in India. They never maintained a cover for their book with a politician’s quote on it, but always secretly, supported and at the same time admired by political parties and ideologies.”

The topic seemed to catch fire at any moment, so I tried to dissuade him from pursuing the topic further. Because it was politics and because politics was a very sensitive issue around here, I thought it best to cool the conversation off. He continued, though; “some of those old writers wrote for political parties and ideologies, in an attempt to populate literature with enough propaganda literature. They never had an existence of the true artiste.”

“You should not forget there are others who always stood by art.” I said intervening.

He conceded.

Subhashin was a short person, about five feet, two, but had enough fat to balance his figure and to give him the moderate shape. His neck was short, but thick and he kept his hairs trimmed to spikes. Perhaps, due to these features, his head always gave me an impression of being round, like a football. He shook his head, on that thick, small neck of his, wildly, conceding to my point. “There were writers, cherished by both the capitalists and the proletarians, disregarding the mortal differences. Great writers!”

Subhashin had a great point there, I thought. On the left side of the road, I found the board of the city library. That the library was about three kilometers away from the sea, and I was about two kilometers away from this place, when I met Subhashin, instilled wonder in me. How did I reach here in such a short span of time?

Perhaps, the reason for this amazing slippage in time was the pull of the contents of the conversation Subhashin delivered. Suddenly, I felt that I should go into the library and check some books out. I turned to look at Subhashin. He was not there. He did not say good-bye; neither did I hear him talk about anything else, while I was pondering over the slippage in time. They say time is a fabric. I did not know what made the fabric of my life.

Subhashin seemed capable of creating magnificent warps in time and dimensions. I always felt this way about this young man. He must have appeared from the portal that felt opening somewhere in the city, bridging different worlds.  

I went inside the library. After spending about one hour, found Carols Castaneda’s The Fire from Within. The book started speaking to me, then. Glued to the spot where I was, inside the library hall, among the bookshelves, I listened. It said, “Seeing is a peculiar feeling of knowing, of knowing something without a shadow of doubt.”
Image Courtesy: Google

For me, the book’s words were hard to grasp, mostly because in order to understand something we need two poles of sensation: the feet and the head. Our feet should be on the ground and head should be in the sky or vice versa. If you bring both together, that is, if you are aware of only one side of knowing, you know nothing. I thought I should ask Subhashin next time when I meet him. But when? The truth is I did not know where Subhashin came from or where he went.  

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Snow White and the Huntsman

Kristen Stewart
Image Courtesy: Google

Which one the new queen Snow White would choose as her groom, William or Eric, the huntsman? Snow White and the Huntsman ends and I ask this question myself.

Eric and Snow White
Image Courtesy: Google
Beautiful people, beautiful story, beautiful graphics, beautiful screenplay and beautiful performance. This is an entertaining movie. Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, and Hossein Amini worked in the writing department.

They do not experiment too much with anything, but a slight twist in the Snow White’s story by making her a warrior queen. Released in 2012, the movie shows the Snow White story, in the Brothers Grimm collection, for the younger generation, with our very own Bella Swan, Kristen Stewart as Snow White, the daughter of King Magnus.
Charlize Theron
Image Courtesy: Google

Charlize Theron adorns the negative role of Queen Ravenna, with her beauty and skills. Chris Hemsworth is Eric the Huntsman, a resurrection for the Thor star. I do not think Avengers gave him much space on the stage. Tony Stark stole much of the gleam from anyone else in Avengers. However, in Snow White and the Huntsman, Chris is remarkable.

Rupert Sanders is the director and his job is evident in how much the movie reminds and connects us with the tradition and invokes nostalgia. There are areas in the movie in which if you find yourself at the end of your seats holding tightly onto the hand rest, do not blame anyone. It is just that the movie is powerful. No wonder this movie won awards for best costume design and best visual effects.
 
The Queen
Image Courtesy: Google
A special notice for those who reside near the Dark Forest and the Kingdom of Snow White, Queen Ravenna, just before the pure Snow White stabbed her, had mentioned something like, she had unfathomable powers that “were given” to her. The questions remain; who gave it to her? What were those powers?

So be careful folks. The Dark Force might be out there, looking for a right opportunity to barge in; serving us horror, much like in that scene where the queen’s rider shoots the magical white deer.

As usual, you may find no stars here fellow traveler. So clip your own. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Magus

Image Courtesy: Paulo Coelho
The Fifth Mountain was the first book that came to me from a local library, written by Paulo Coelho. I do believe that we do not choose books, but they choose us. The Fifth Mountain came to me with a purpose—it told me that it is not a shameful thing to be afraid of something. Fear is just a part of life, like courage and laughter.

The preface of the book had a quote from Paulo Coelho’s legendary work, The Alchemist. It said, “If you want something, the whole universe conspires in helping you to achieve your desire.” I was awestruck by the possibility of this statement and it was so authentic that believing in it came naturally. It was a new world, I invented through Paulo Coelho. I did not know until then, that writing could be so simple and direct. Magic was another world that opened its doors in front of me, through Paulo’s works.

His books opened me to the possibility of how a human being can communicate with the entire universe and learn from it. Athena in The Witch of Portobello dances and through this dance realizes her connection with the mysterious and the sacred. Brida came to me at a time when I was pondering connections beyond the physical realm. Later, in my life, I found a person above whose shoulder I found the light of the soul mate.  

The Zahir was about the obsession that one should overcome. I learnt that the mountains could speak to you in a language that you must learn through your journeys. The Devil and Miss Prym was a story that taught me even if I have a good story that looks like a traditional folktale, I can tell it well and successfully, if I believe in it. The atmosphere of this story is remarkable and brings out Coelho’s craftsmanship in full potential. Eleven Minutes and By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, brought forth two different faces of love. Eleven Minutes took me to ecstasy and By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept brought tears of the sacred soul bound with love.    

I must confess that I could not read The Pilgrimage and Veronika Decides to Die, yet. These books must yet find me. Perhaps the time has not come. All these days, while I was reading all these books, The Alchemist, kept its distance. I knew I should be reading this one. However, the time came through one of my friends. A friend of mine loaned me a pirated copy of the paperback. It was during my student days and I could not support buying an original copy of the book.

When I got a job and that was months later, I bought an original paperback copy of The Alchemist and kept it in my home library. I still remember thinking; I could pass on this book to my next generation. Later, I bought a copy of The Aleph too and found that the spring of words has deeper wisdom that one has ever thought.  

This post is a thanksgiving to Paulo Coelho, who I consider my guru, for writing these wonderful books and for following his dream. I just found a wonderful post in his blog—fifty books that changed the world. Along with many stalwarts like The republic, and The Bible, you can also see The Alchemist.  

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Odd Man Out

Image Courtesy: Google

Blogging might be a very personal and individual affair. However, with its impact, it is not. Every word one writes and sends out to the world to judge, caress, feel and hope from, holds an unavoidable energy, a spirit, be these words in the form of blog posts or Facebook comments or a printed book. A writer’s first duty is to be respectful towards this state of being. The cosmos works the way.

I consider myself fortunate for having you here, reading with your eyes and mind, these words I typed down so affectionately and carefully. This holds me responsible for the impact of each word I write about, by default.

Whenever, I cross my path across an irresponsible blog post or comment, I think about this stand I myself took and consider myself lucky of being able to keep it in mind, all the way here. Where is the threshold of responsibility?

A lie is not relative, unlike what they teach in Universities. Holding on to a position that the writer knows untrue, but only for the comfort of someone else, is what I call an irresponsible stand. For example, if you write a sponsored review about a brand of alcohol and say that it is a very good health drink for people of every age, in order to boost the sales, you are not being responsible. As a result, your credibility as a writer is doubtful. Of course, if such a review happens to appear in a blog and people bought the alcohol brand, they would not come back to your page again. There are chances that you will receive some caustic comments. The worst is that you will forever lose your readers by telling lies and marketing products using lies. This is because your readers trusted you and you betrayed them.

Image Courtesy: Google
It is easy to be flowed away by the deluge of illusions. Still, I should say that there is a risk in shouting the truth aloud from the top of your terrace. The immensity of this risk, sometimes, keeps some people at bay from engaging themselves in the movement with truth. In order to satisfy some invisible gains, they often hold hands with lies and keep their façade foppish.

After all, writing is all about courage and going beyond inhibitions. I could see a major meltdown in such blogs and magazines in India that spread only fake truths and lies.

What did you say? What do I think about books?

I know there are many quasi-artistic writers rising in India. However, as the saying goes, not all that glitters is gold.      

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Seven uses for an Airport in Kerala

Image Courtesy: Google
The ‘Kerala Model of Development’ was a very famous example of development in India, but this was before Narendra Modi hired his public relations company. The contemporary model is the ‘Gujarat Model’. At present, the old Kerala model, contests hopelessly with this new model—one hypocrisy in its endless duel with another. 

In Kerala, recently a new airport plan is commissioned. It means, the people in power decided to build an airport. The land acquisition is in contestable grounds, because the chosen the place is rich with diverse flora and fauna, as usual. Who knows if it is not purposeful that each time a development project pops us, it is dumped in some delicate landscape just to ravish the nature, so that some multi-national billionaire can build swimming pools there?

Thus, the context of assessment of the important uses of the airport has been triangulated.

What??

Plainly, due to the above mentioned reasons, we must look into the main uses of an airport in Kerala. And we have a just cause to do so.    

The Seven uses of an Airport in Kerala

1. The government can invite tenders and finally, place the tender for the lowest paying construction company once the pockets of the khadi sleeves of the ministers are brimming with bank currency.

2. The land acquisition will help the poor villagers earn a lot of  money without spending a drop of their perspiration. This in return would create a bunch of consumers who do not have any idea about the value of the money they are spending. Obviously, a spending spree from the poor folks who, waking up on a fine morning found their wallets full of currency would result in a sudden increase in the price of land, food and gold.

3. The acquisition of land gives a tremendous opportunity for the government and bureaucracy to cut down the trees and scratch out the last root of grass from the soil.

4. A magnanimous airport and its sleek construction would give an impression that the State is undergoing a tremendous period of development, even though power cuts and food and medicinal shortages are part of the daily life.

5. Some minister or MLA would boast of his or her role in bringing the airport to the State. This will garner some votes in the next assembly election, as the population is both blind and deaf.

6. By virtue of its very nature, a lazy and corrupt bureaucracy would maintain the balance of its corruption cycles from the money and comfort the airport project would bring them.

7. If there are more airports and consequently more treeless desert-like landscapes, Kerala would look much like Gulf countries, and especially UAE. The concept of development being constantly loaned from the UAE, the government would much appreciate any resemblance with the Gulf countries, at least in looks.     

Thus we can sum up the seven uses for an airport in Kerala.
 
Aranmula
Image Courtesy: Google
People of Aranmula, the place of the proposed airport, are in protest against the airport. All of them are requested to go through the above mentioned important points and cure themselves of their pitiful ignorance about how the system works. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Iron Man 3

Image Courtesy: Google
Tony Stark has a story to tell. Unlike the two previous installments of Iron Man, the 3rd one is narrated by a character in the movie. And we instantly recognize the narrator from his voice. It’s Mr. Stark Junior, the narcissistic, individualistic American zillionaire scientist, who believes that development and creativity can truly help shape the world into a better one. Of course, he is considerate of the ‘future’, not just his own, but of the whole world’s too. This does seem a paradox from a self centered man of Tony Stark’s reputation. But it is evident in the ending of the movie that he is indeed looking forward into the future.

The Mandarin becomes an imminent threat to the world and in the US powerful people are thinking and plotting against this baddie. Ben Kingsley performs as Mandarin. Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) is a scientist who is the founder of Advanced Idea Mechanics. He turns out to be the real problem for Iron Man and the US, later. Even Mandarin’s identity is reversed and surprisingly, comes to rest at the end, on an unsuspecting man. If I tell you who that person is, the story is over, it will spoil the fun. For those who watch movies before reading reviews or Wikipedia or IMDb, Iron Man 3 is a gala feat. Well, the best way to watch a movie, it seems is just to go and watch it without reading any reviews and filling your mind with prejudices. If you are so obsessed with checking the IMDb before any movie, then check only for the ‘behind the screen’ people. Kevin Feige of Marvel Studios produced Iron Man 3 and Shane Black directed it.
Robert Downy Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man
Image Courtesy: Google
Tony Stark, performed by Robert Downey, Jr with all the ingredients perfect, realizes that the one thing he cannot live without is his beloved Virginia "Pepper" Potts. Gwyneth Paltrow is one of my favourite actors and she is, as always, stunning in this movie. In the beginning of the movie, Tony Stark is busy with a hobby in an underground section of his lab cum home. Only towards the end of the movie, we realize what his hobby was.
Gwyneth PaltrowImage Courtesy: Google

Mandarin’s attack ruins Tony Stark’s lab and home. He barely scrambles out of death and destruction, and inside his Iron Man suit, lands somewhere in the northern part of America, in an icy cold place. There he meets a young boy, who helps him get back on his feet. The Tony Stark you encounter in Iron Man 3 is the man who saved the earth from the attack of the aliens, you might have seen in Avengers. He suffers from anxiety attacks from the past ruffle with the aliens.

As always, funny and energetic, Robert Downy Jr. is fun to watch in Iron Man 3. A special mention should go to the always faithful, "Rhodey" or Col. James Rhodes, whose Iron Man costume, as we see in this movie, is named Iron Patriot. Don Cheadle  is wonderful as Rhodey.  

Finally, the individual survives and rises from the ashes, like the mythical phoenix. Probably the number of Iron Man fans would outnumber people in Kerala. And in that very comparison lies the true essence of what makes Iron Man so special a character, among all the other Avengers or from any other comic universe. It is his individualismthe triumph of the individual over his surroundings. Tony Stark is particularly conscious about himself, every time. In an instance when attacked by one of the ‘amber men’ he gives this advice to the boy—never to show your weakness when you are defeated, always be cool. [Words may not be accurate].
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Just like every time, no ratings and no stars. Please rate this movie yourself. And, dear friend, happy movie-going. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

People Kafka Screwed Up

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Of course, read The Castle and you know that you are in a similar place, much like Joseph K; wherever your geographical location is. And you face a similar fate or feeling of such a fate approaching, the moment you enter in a law enforcement office. This is not just true about Kerala or India, or about Texas or the US. Power, with its octopus hands is squeezing individuals out of their shits everywhere. Look at my language, people; got a bit street-type. I blame the System that leaves no options for people like us, poor, ordinary fellas whose medical bills exceed ten times their earnings, but to express our discontentment and frustration in the basest of languages. One thing is true; with this article we are not trying to bring in balance to what is already a mess of injustice, murder, treachery and treason. We are just mourning or so to speak, humouring ourselves.
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John Grisham’s latest bestselling novel The Racketeer, reminded me of The Castle written by the Deutsche writer Franz Kafka, where an innocent man was one day faced by the agents of the government. In The Racketeer, Malcolm Bannister was arrested for money laundering and sent away for ten years. He gives his bank account number to one of his clients and the client uses this account as a safe place for the sacks of money made from real estate business and illegal mining.

Think about this situation for a moment. If you work online, for example, of you were a writer working online, it would surely be a worrying idea to imagine yourself in Malcolm Bannister’s place. Imagine, you were supposed to be paid by your client INR 1000 or USD 1000, but the amount you received was four more zeroes extra with the amount you asked for. What would you do with the excess money dumped into your bank account? What if some agent from the government knocked on your door, the next morning?

The thought that somewhere there might be such a fate waiting, is surely unsettling. But the tension about such an event is mostly due to this reckless system of justice we lamely cater as our sign of civilization. The word justice itself has been deeply corrupted and means only a court’s jurisdiction based on a set of defined parameters, and defined indeed, by some self-proclaimed ‘law expert’, and nothing else.

Image Courtesy: Google
What if the court’s jurisdiction goes wrong? Isn’t that funny; you stand in front of the judge, asking for mercy and nothing, absolutely nothing else, to substantiate your innocence in order to get you out of there? But why wouldn’t you argue in the court, disproving the allegations and all? Because the pressure of being looked up at as the culprit or the label criminal is very heavy. You are flown away by your own emotions, fears, and concerns over loved ones.  

Isn’t that funny?

No.

Funny is not the word. It is surely a matter of grave concern. But as a matter of fact, let John Grisham write about it and the Americans fret over it. As a person living in India, I have my limitations. One of my friends asks; “Why are there no legal thrillers written in India?”

I say; “Because we are a bit ‘uneasy’ about the right to freedom of speech.”

If you feel insecure, confused or afraid, about this—about all this; the games of the hunter and the hunted—instead blaspheming against the System, try to say out loud; Kafka screwed us up

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Racketeer—A Review of John Grisham’s Novel

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“Helluva job.” (366)

The Racketeer (published in 2012) can be hailed in a one-liner. But this work of fiction is more than conclusive in a single line of exclamatory phrase. John Grisham, in his latest novel pulled off a smart job as a writer of thrillers. The Racketeer is an ideal suspense thriller, with none in elegance and ingenuity to follow. In Grisham’s own words, which he notes at the ‘Author’s Note’ section of the book; “This is a work of fiction and more so than usual…Almost nothing in the previous 340 pages is based on reality….Long paragraphs of fiction were used to avoid looking up facts.” As controversial and audacious a statement this is, this attitude of the author invites criticisms as well.

The Racketeer received mixed reviews and most of the negative ones are tending to whack the author on the wrist for either supplying an entirely fictional background for the story, or shying away from painstaking research, which is, as some readers may feel, meant by “long paragraphs of fiction were used to avoid looking up facts.” I remember from somewhere, fiction is the truth in the lie we live in. However, above all criticisms, The Racketeer shins as the peak of a writerly success in two ways—one; the imaginary landscape of Grisham spreads beyond the limitations and dominating structures of facts and the so-called ‘researched writing’. Two—Malcolm Bannister aka Max Reed Baldwin is a remarkable character, who could win a space in the line with Holden Caulfield and David Copperfield, though much farther in the line.
 
John Grisham
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The Racketeer narrates the story of Malcolm Bannister in first person. A black, small town lawyer, Malcolm Bannister, got arrested under the RICO—Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, “an often flexible and famously flexible federal law.”

He is in prison and decides to help the Federal Bureau of Investigation in solving the murder of a federal judge—Judge Raymond Fawcett. “It’s payback time,” says the front cover, but you might not get the slightest idea what or when this is going to happen. The climax is awaited, eagerly, with the turn of each page. And the reader knows that the narrator is taking him or her into a journey of intriguing suspense, with the promise of catharsis at the end. If TheConfession and The Racketeer are to be read as one long novel, with the two books being two parts of the large one book, with different characters connected with similar backgrounds, then The Racketeer could rightly be called one long cathartic moment, from the beginning of the story to its ending. The Federal Government is avenged for the murder of Donte Drumm.  
 
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Though some areas in The Racketeer’s plot, especially the scenes related to the airport, international travel and the FBI, seem foggy and shallow, the skilled Grisham keeps his control and never fails his craft. The very statement “long paragraphs of fiction were used to avoid looking up facts” shows the risk in writing this book. Grisham overcomes this risk elegantly. The story is in total control of the writer. Readers must wait and watch the ‘reality show’ the Malcolm Bannister (or John Grisham) puts up.

The Racketeer is also about the fight of the individual in a world run by corrupted agencies and systems, where “it didn’t matter if a couple of us might be innocent, nor did it matter that our version of truth would be distorted by the government.” (63) In order to subjugate the Power Clouds and the structures of dominance, resorting ‘facts’ or accepted norms would be the last of the measures to succeed. The Racketeer is a writerly response toward such a world system that never negotiates terms with the ordinary individual. Malcolm Bannister’s fight is against the modern dictatorship of the United States of America, very much similar in its response to justice to every other so-called sovereign nation across the world.   
 

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The message of hope in The Racketeer is very much similar to Wall of Colours. This message awaits each and every reader going through its pages; it silently whispers to us that you don’t always need to be on the receiving end.  

This book review is sponsored by Mysmartprice.com/books

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