Books, Personal, Technology

I read. What do you do?

Somewhere in John le Carre masterpiece ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’, someone tells a child, “Everyone has a talent”.

My talent is reading.

That’s it. I read. I understood this in a training session a couple of months ago when the instructor asked me what I like to read.

I read novels, books, newspapers, tweets, facebook posts, signboards, labels anything. Once I even tried to read an EULA. Of course it helps if the text is not something I’m “supposed” to read, like something academic or official.

Yeah I know. It’s not a particularly useful talent, unless you can remember everything you read. Which I can’t. But them we all have to play with the cards we’ve been dealt with. So, no complaints.

That’s why I don’t understand the hue and cry people who love reading make over ‘books’, the dead tree type, being replaced by ebook readers and their ilk like tabs, phones etc. I do understand the fact that ebooks and the like don’t give you a feeling of possession like an actual physical book can, but isn’t a book much more than the medium it is printed on?

A ‘book’ may be an idea or a set of ideas when it is non-fiction, or it may be something less serious like a story or poem when it is fiction. The paper or the electronic device on which it is read is just the channel/medium to bring the idea/story to you. To put it in crude terms, it’s function is similar to that of a middleman or a tout like the ones you see hanging outside RTO offices in India. You pay them for the convenience of getting a driver’s license license (even though you may not know how to drive). The paper or the device provides you a similar convenience by making it easier to get access to the thoughts of the author.

Would you be disappointed if the touts outside the RTO get replaced by someone/something more convenient? Then, if you like to read, why romanticise dead trees?

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Movies, Personal, Reviews

Must watch movies – The Good Shepherd

It’s been a long time since I created the #movies tag on this blog. Too long, in fact. I intended it to link my posts about the movies I watch. Specially those I go back to again and again. Those movies, like some books, that have the potential to insulate me from the outside world and relax. They’re like your favorite blanket or an old pair of jeans. You know exactly what to expect from them. There are no surprises that you need to be aware of, no ghosts in the doorway that you need to clear from your mind as you step into it. You can just put your feet up and let it all come to you. You don’t need to be attentive. After all, you have seen it before and will see it again. If you want, you can try and look at the finer details because they make the experience just the more rewarding. Though there is no compulsion.

One such movie is the 2006 spy drama, The Good Shepherd. The movie has a star cast that is guaranteed to get it a second look. Though if you just watch it for the big names, you are guaranteed to be disappointed. Robert DeNiro as the director brings a host of actors to the table who are as precise in their acting as he is in his direction.

It is loosely based on real events and looks into the birth of the CIA through the deeply personal story of one of it’s founding fathers. The role Damon plays is based on the man who goes on to create the Counterintelligence wing of the agency. And he is good, very good in fact, as the spook who almost doesn’t have any emotions. Except for his love for his son. Come to think of it, this is more of a family drama than a spy thriller. The wars, the espionage, the spying are merely props around the actual story that is the story of one man and his family.

The movie is long by conventional Hollywood standards. At 2 hours 45 minutes, it almost encroaches into Bollywood territory. And it is slow too. A spy thriller without fast cars and gun fights is something that you don’t see made too often. It is more of a John le Carre novel than an Ian Fleming creation. In fact, some of the interactions between Damon’s character and his Russian counterpart are reminiscent of le Carre’s spymaster George Smiley and his bete noir, Karla.

Each scene is crafted with a delicateness that makes it necessary for the viewer to watch the movie again if he intends to make out the brilliance in it. On first watch, the movie has the potential to overwhelm you a bit. Due to which repeat viewings are a must.

The camera angles, the lighting, the dialogues and the performances are all top class. But special mention has to be made of the editing. Going back and forth in time, it manages to hold your attention beautifully.

Do watch this gem of a movie if you haven’t. A personal recommendation.

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Personal

Kneeling at the altar of Odyne

Pain. Everyone knows it. You, me everyone.

It comes in different flavours. Each one of which tastes and feels different to the one feeling it. It is like a big giant tub of Swirls. You are the one responsible for what goes in it and you will be the one who will have to bear it.

It can be purely physical. Like a mosquito bite. Or like the pain a 7 year old suffering from Meningitis feels when an entire team of medical personnel is trying to pin him down to reach a needle down to his bone marrow.

Or it can be purely mental. Like the one you feel on the death of a loved one. Or the pain which you cause – to a parent, a lover, a friend. That is the kind you feverishly hope will some how miss its target and turn around towards yourself. It does.

But it also hits its target.

After some time, with a little help, you start forgetting about the pain. Or you THINK you’ve forgotten.

But it never really goes away. It is always there. Always lurking in the shadows, ready to leap at you at the slightest mis-step from your side. It can make this leap at anytime it fancies, hours/days after you felt it for the first time. Or years, even decades, after you felt its presence. And everytime it does the same thing to you – leave you semi-conscious, bloodied and desperately trying to hold your guts from flowing out from the view of the external world.

Each one of us is walking around in a spotlight of sorts. With all the ‘pains’ you’ve felt or caused moving with you, hiding in the bushes of your path.

You never know when one of them will leap at you.

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Personal

R.I.P.


Rest in Peace, old friend… well, part of you anyways.

A part of this tree fell on the roof of my home yesterday. It managed to wreck a wall of the 150 year old house. Thankfully, the wall was of the outer most room of the house, which was being used as a dressing room. The wall will be rebuilt, but the tree will never be whole again. Tragic, for the tree should be a century old at least. 😦

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Personal

How you doin?

(a version of this post also appears on the old blog)

It is with a great amount of sadness that I inform you that I will not be updating this blog from now on. Yes, you read correctly, I am hanging up my blogging shoes.

And wearing new ones. 😀

Did you seriously think that I will let you live peacefully without giving you any of my gyaan? That may happen someday… but for now, there is no respite for you (yes, for all 4-5 of you 😉 )

So for now on this is where you will find me.
The RSS feed links are given on the top left side of the page.

The move had been in the making for a long time now. Problems with uploading images, the inability to comment without logging on, the complete absence of tags etc. combined with the awesome range of themes and options available on wordpress made it a no-brainer.

Also, the fact that I could move all my previous posts to the new blog clinched the deal. The move was effected with the help of the easy instructions given here.

Hope to see you again! 🙂

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