Next stop, insanity

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A Black day

I don't take watching Hindi movies lightly. To me, it's like Russian Roulette, except that you have 1 in 100 chance of survival. That is the reason it was not until several of my trusted friends recommended me the Hindi movie "Black" I didn't dare face the Black-death like movie.

Let's first get the good things out of the way. The cinematography is one of the best I have seen recently. It's on par with the current international big-budget movies. And the movie has no songs, thank heavens!

Ok, now the bad things. In the first 15 minutes of the movie, I was disappointed to realize that this movie is a shameless and a very poorly executed rip-off of "The Miracle Worker," which tells the story of Helen Keller. It was never mentioned in the movie's promotions or anywhere else. Did the producers think nobody would notice? One must be blind not to see the connection (no pun intended).

If I have to summarize the tone of the movie in one word, it would be "melodrama." Since I don't have to, I will elaborate. Every actor, in every scene, played his/her part with as much exaggeration as possible. A character couldn't sneeze without over-acting it! I am surprised the movie didn't come with a disclaimer, "Any resemblances this movie has to reality are purely unintentional."

Amitabh Bachchan's action was mediocre, you would expect better from such an experienced actor. Calling what Rani Mukherjee did in the movie "action" is an insult to every person who ever acted. It is more like clueless waving of hands, twitching of face and shouting at the top of her lungs. She played the part of a blind girl. Far from researching for her role, I doubt if she ever saw a blind person. You ask why? For one, blind people don't go about running into walls and furniture in their own homes on a daily basis. She seemed to have convinced herself that sporting sun-glasses is sufficient to play the part.

About the screenplay, I don't know where to begin. Apparently, nor did the screenplay writer.

The movie had one of the happiest endings. I mean, I was very happy, ecstatic, that the movie finally ended.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Adaptation prohibited

I am an Indian living in the USA. Whenever we meet a bunch of Indians at a party or a gathering, the topic inevitably turns to talking about advantages and disadvantages of living in the US. It's amazing to see that almost everybody I meet hates to live in the US. If they had a chance, they would go and live in India. But, alas, they constrained by uncontrollable forces. I never understand what it is that's really stopping them.

When my turn comes to speak, I generally simply say "I am quite adapted to this country. I can see myself settling down in the US." But people looks at me like, "And..?" Basically, they want to me say, "But someday I will return to the loving bosom of mother India." But I won't say it. At the moment I don't have any plans to move out of the US. Most people find it hard to believe that an Indian can live happily in the US. They start to look uncomfortable. They reiterate what's bad about US and why India is a better place to live. If I don't budge even then, they label me as "americanized," an anathema for any Indian, and/or a traitor who disrespects his motherland.

Most of the times, I give up and say, "But I do miss my family back in India. I can't get my relatives here, can I?". It's kind of a lie because I do visit my relatives often, almost as often as other relatives, who live in big cities, visit them. But by saying so I am admitted back into the clan. Order in the world would be restored.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Perpetually youthful Avatar

A long time ago, I was short-sighted enough to play with Yahoo! Avatars. Yahoo! Avatars are kind of an image you create that represents yourself. You can choose hair color, eye color, apparel, accessories and so on.

What Yahoo! failed to mention at that time was that creating an Avatar is like sticking chewing-gum in your own hair. You can pull your hair out, you can't get rid of it.

The Avatar is very annoying. To start with, it doesn't look anything like me. I haven't looked like that in 15 years. And I never had such circus-freak hair, even in my dreams. To top it all, this stupid guy, who claims to be me, sticks the tongue out and winks at me each time I log in into email!

I have been searching for a way to disconnect myself from that ghastly image. No way! I couldn't find a way to delete an Avatar.

So I looked for a way to at least change the Avatar so it looks like me and, for pete's sake, keeps the tongue in its pie hole. Then I realized. You can only create an Avatar that looks like a high-school drop-out all ready to work in McDonalds. There is no way to represent an older person. So I am stuck with this teenie-bopper image for now.

What's more is, these Avatars are very popular in Yahoo! Chat and it is so unfair to majority of chat population that there is no way to create an image of themselves. Yahoo! should allow the following options to be added to an Avatar, so people, who, I am sure, are dying to be honest with their representation of themselves, can use them for their Avatar.

- Balding hair
- Dark-circles under eyes
- Drool
- White-trash look
- While they are at #5, missing teeth
- Pot-belly
- Dont-worry-i-am-a-nice-uncle smile (for people preying on pre-teen girls)
- Women's clothes for men (for posing as women)
- Accessory: Porn tape collection
- Accessory: Divorce papers

Monday, May 01, 2006

Hot Button

Did you ever notice these fake buttons in cars? They are not really buttons but just plastic placeholders indicating that, in higher-end models, there would actually be a real button with a real function. Do you know why the manufacturers put these fake buttons? Just you remind you that you have been a cheap bastard when the time came to write the check. Just out of grudge that you have been smart enough not to buy the higher-end model with unreasonable and inexplicable pricing.

You know what's worse? Any time you are giving a ride to a friend and trying to show off the ultra-modern navigation system, which does everything short of actually teleporting you to your destination, the friend asks, "What does this button do?"

You: Nothing. It's just a piece of plastic
Friend: But it looks like a button
You: (Gee, did you figure all that by yourself?) Ya, but it does nothing
Friend: How come?

Here you have two choices. You could tell the friend you didn't want to pay exorbitant amount for the high-end model. Or, you can just say you don't know and be done with it. Of course, if you are a man, you would probably die before you admit you didn't know.

You: It does whiz-bang in a higher-end model.
Friend: Really? How much more would that model cost?
You: 4k
Friend: So if you paid 4k you could've got the whiz-bang?

Some people just love to state the obvious inferences. It's not that they don't know the answer. These are the kind of people who, if they ever stumble on a dead horse, would beat the hell out of it.

Madam President

I was watching some random TV the other day and stopped at a channel that showed Geena Davis in an impeccable suit. It was apparent that it was some presidential drama and she was playing the president.

Then a guy enters the screen and calls Ms. Davis's attention by saying “Madam President.” I just cracked up. I never really thought about what the opposite of “Mr. President” is but "Madam president" sounds very funny.

Man! this has got to be the best fantasy show since “Xena, the warrior princess.” I got nothing against woman presidents. I think woman are as capable as men to lead the country. But the land-of-opportunties, land-of-equality, most-advanced-country-in-the-world USA will probably be the last country to allow a woman to be the president.

Anyway, I don't know what the name of the show I was watching. I am hoping it's not “West Wings

Deadly humor

I read a joke in one of the recent Readers Digests. It was under the “Life in United States” section, which, purportedly, prints humorous situations that happened in real life.

Here is the joke (I am paraphrasing):

I was getting operated for a cataract. A nurse came in and asked, “What eye are we operating on today?”. I said “Right eye is the wrong eye, left eye is the right eye.”

Huh? Anybody with half a brain and any desire to have their ocular senses intact wouldn't try their hand at such deadly humor. We keep hearing horror stories about doctors operating on the wrong kidney or men receiving mastectomies. I wouldn't try such humor.

Think about the nurses too. They already have a very demanding job. They can live without people trying to joke about important things. If I were the nurse, I would say, “Ha, ha, very funny.” and write “vasectomy” on the charts.