Tuesday, October 27, 2009

50 Not Out

A few questions for you.

1. How many stars does the US flag have?
2. How many chapters are there in Genesis in the Old Testament?
3. Which is the smallest number that can be sum of 2 square numbers in 2 ways
4. How many names were listed in the first telephone book, (a 1-page list of subscribers), published by the New Haven District Telephone Company, New Haven, Connecticut, in February 21, 1878 ?
5. How many points do you earn if you hit the bull's eye in a game of darts?
6. Leaving this post that you are reading, how many posts have i written on this blog?

The answer to the above questions is 50.

With the last post, i turn 50 posts old. It has been a little less than 2 years since i started blogging on this blog. Before i used to blog on conflicting-anonymity which i deleted because i didn't like the name and because only 7 people knew i blogged on it! It really feels good to have completed 50 posts - something i never thought i would.

It all started as a curiosity to explore what then was a buzzword - 'blog'. I didn't, personally, know anyone who blogged. I found the media flooded with articles on 'blogs'. So, i thought of exploring blogs. It was in the winter of 2007 that i started the blog conflicting-anonymity. I don't really know why i named it 'conflicting-anonymity'. Perhaps, i thought i would write about conflicts. Perhaps, i thought people wanted to be anonymous on the web. Perhaps, i couldn't think of a better name. Perhaps, i didn't take it seriously.

But once i found how blogs work, i stopped writing. Then, this very interesting incident happened with me. And i thought i should write on it. This is when i started Mundane Journey - my second blog. When i started, i didn't know what i would write on. So, i thought of having a name which would be generic enough to cover all future posts. I decided on 'life' - as anything and everything is related to life - even movies like Ghajini are. But i couldn't get 'life' and those 'common' names. It was then i released that i am very late into it. Anyway, the name Mundane Journey struck me and was available. As you must have realized - i wasn't aware of the 'random-thoughts' series of blog-names.

A lot of people have asked me that thought your posts are pretty interesting and lively why do you have such a dull/depressing name. I tell them that the answer is precisely what you said. We keep complaining that life is pretty mundane and there is nothing much interesting. On the other hand, we have these amazing things happening around us - TV's being distributed, Rakhi getting engaged, the whole nation taking CAT, political turmoils, Slumdog winning Oscar, Delhi-6 not doing well despite being an amazing movie, etc. There are tons of happenings happening around us. And, still, we call life - mundane. So, the title was basically to say that what we call Mundane Journey is not necessarily Mundane.

So, there i am. 50 posts. A lot of comments - flattering and candid. But it hasn't been a rosy journey. Google doesn't seem to like me. My Adsense requests keep getting rejected. On the official forum no one has any clue why it got rejected. It went to such an extent the one of the coordinators said that Google's Adsense policy are random! Again, Google didn't bother to give me a page rank. My page rank just recently became 0 [It was N/A till then!]. Bing is worse. It has not even indexed me! [The above is true as of 10/27/09 21:00 pm IST]. I'll keep tweaking to make sure Google is satisfied.

It's been long since i wrote on my personal experiences. I had a lot of things to write about - mine moving to Bangalore, mine starting Vriddhi - our social initiative, some thefts, etc. But i thought there are too many 'i-had-Kopi-Luak-coffee-today' blogs. And i don't particularly find them interesting. So, i have stuck to general topics which a larger section of readers would be interested in - not just my mother. However, i thought on my completion of 50 posts, i should write my experience with Mundane Journey.

And hence the torturous article :)


Friday, October 23, 2009

Your Pet Peeves

[This is a follow-up post to My Pet Peeves. I know this was long due, but i was waiting for some more comments before posting them]

vigneshjvn: You might also mention the replacement of every punctuation mark with an ellipsis. Part of the SMS-ese lingo. It runs thus, "m gr8...hw bt u...." Sad pligh

I share this pet peeve. It makes sense to write lyk dis in SMS as you save characters, but why ryt it dat way in email or IM or in a formal piece?

Krishna: Also people use Ki instead of 'that'.

Krishna ji - A lot of other people also told me ki 'ki' is commonly (mis)used work mostly among the Hindi speaking people.

Lavanya: "Seriously" - as a substitute for 'yes, of course' or rather any exclamation.

My pet peeves (from the rest of the world,including me)
a) "like" : used as a filler word, after every two words uttered!
b) "na,re,ya"
c) "No problem" : for the reasons you suggested. Unfortunately, I picked this up overtime .

Imagine Lavanya taking a job interview!

Lavanya: Tell me something about yourself.
Interviewee: Seriously! OK. Myself Intrvwie. I have one father like i have one mother. I like to sing songs. And that also only David Dhawan movies'. Like. I also like to put make up and wear new dresses.
Lavanya: Do you know C?
Interviewee: ya. Seriously. all programs start with 'void main()' na.
Lavanya: [Gosh, this girl doesn't even know the signature of main()] Anyway, tell me - what is a static variable?
Interviewee: Na re. There is nothing like a static variable. Like see. It's simple. Either something is static or it is variable. Like, it can either change (variable) or remain the same (static). ya. there is nothing like a static variable
Lavanya: [Completely pissed off] Thank You. We'll inform you whether you are selected through email
Interviewee: No problem.

Lalit Vashishta: This was fulltu fun to read. yr writing is fundu re. total tp.
'You know' this is the typical style all have picked up you know. cum on yaar, you are taking this too far, na.

deicider: We are waiting for you,cum here immediately"."Come" has been replaced by "cum"

Alpesh: By the way, apart from "re" ther's another one that i use quite often this days and it's "common yar"

This perhaps is because, people think the four lettered word, like a few other four lettered words, is offensive. They prefer the more politically correct and socially accepted three lettered word, you know? This is common yaar!


Friday, October 16, 2009

MJ-LOTD: Hush a Bye Baby

Wondering what all things your computer can do? Look at the below video:

A simple shell script which opens and closes the CD drive tray is used to rock the baby! Add a smooth lullaby to your media player for more effect.

BTW, from almost a year now, i am using Ubuntu (used above). And I must say - 'I am loving it'. Its User Interface is awesome. And the best part is - it is virus proof. I would recommend it to anyone who is fed up of formatting his/her computer due to virus attacks.

Source - Amit Agarwal

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tri-Dev: Movies Mirror Society

Movies, like other art-forms, mirror the society. We’ve had movies like Do Bigha Zameen which mirrors the famine ridden and zamindars dominated Bengal of the early 1950s, A Wednesday, which depicts the terror ridden common man of the 2000s and his fantasies. The plot of these Bollywood movies mirrored the then society. This is one way to get a glimpse of the society the movie is depicting.

The treatment and the acceptance of a movie also throw light on the society. So, essentially, there are two variables - a. the supply side variable, which is the plot of the movie and b. the demand side variable, which is the treatment of the plot. I recently caught up with Bimal Roy’s Devdas. Having seen Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas and Anurag Kashyap’s DevD, I could see the difference in the way the films were treated. I take the example of the three portrayals of Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s Devdas to describe how the treatment of the film mirrors the society. Here, the basic plot, more or less, remaining the same, we can see the way the portrayals of Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s Devdas vary with the audiences they are targeted to.

Devdas, the novel, was based in the early 1900s. Devdas, the son of a rich zamindar, was sent to Calcutta to study. In Bimal Roy’s version, which was released in 1955, Dilip Kumar was also sent to Calcutta. In 1950s, perhaps, studying in Calcutta was a ‘big’ thing which only the privileged few could afford. However, in the 2000s, when the city had long become Kolkata, studying there would no longer be considered by the audience as ‘privilege’. So, both Shahrukh Khan and Abhay Deol are sent to England. In the story, sending Devdas off to a distant land to study is used to hint at the financial and social differences between Paro’s and Devdas’ family. Obviously, going to England would underline the difference to an audience of the 2000s than going to Kolkata (or Calcutta) which would have satisfied an audience of the 1950s.

In the Chattopadhyay’s and Roy’s depiction, Paro’s family ‘silently’ decided to get her married to someone richer than Devdas. In the 50s, perhaps, it was not acceptable for the ‘lower class’ to go overtly against the zamindars. But to the audience of 2002, it made sense that Kirron Kher openly and loudly announce in the big gathering that she would get Paro married to a richer family. However, for the 2009 DevD, the multiplex audience wanted Paro’s faithfulness to be an issue rather than her financial condition.

Year 2000 saw a major change in the tastes of the audience with the outburst of saas-bahu saga – Kyunki Saas bhi kabhi Bahu Thi being a major contributor. The 2002 Devdas saw Devdas’ sister-in-law ‘brainwashing’ his mother against Paro. [Now, this may sound similar to Manthara and Kaikai episode in Ramayana – I would, however, attribute this sequence in the 2002 Devdas to the saas-bahu effect. And also, I never claimed that the saas bahu saga is original. Did I?] 1955 audience being unaware of the 5 generations of ’ Kyunki’ did not demand such a sequence. A class difference was enough for them. However, 2009 DevD did away with the saas-bahu thing – showing the decline in its ‘demand’. The hearsay about Paro’s faithfulness was enough.

The portrayal of the courtesan, Chandramukhi, was also different. In Roy’s, Chandramukhi never got a chance to ‘enter’ the mainstream. In Bhansali’s, Chandramukhi gets to dance with Paro during Durga Puja and she gets to speak about her profession, her helplessness and her exploitations by ‘zamindars of good families’ amidst a big gathering of ‘respectable people’. Kashyap’s Chanda [Chandramukhi, being too long for a 2009 audience] studies in ‘mainstream’ college. So, while 1955’s Chandramukhi didn’t have a voice, 2002’s Chandramukhu was vocal and 2009’s didn’t bother – she was part of the mainstream anyway.

There are other differences which are common across the board between movies made in different times – like costumes, dialogues, songs, etc. I admit that quite a lot of how a movie is presented depends on the director. Bimal Roy didn’t deviate much from the original novel. Sanjay Leela Bhansali has this huge expansive (and expensive) canvas. Anurag Kashyap has his realistic and crude strokes. Despite the difference in styles, we can clearly see the impact of the eras in which the films were made.

MJ-LOTD: Party, eh?

If you want to attend a party you are not invited to, the below link would be helpful.

Matthew's Party

In case you are planning to host a party and want to inform your neighbours about the possible increase in decibel level, do make it 'sober' so the David Thorne in them is not too excited to mess your party.

BTW, David Thorne, the writer of the above website, is an amazing humorist. I browsed the entire website and found real humour there - something which wouldn't command you to laugh but would compel you. This one, on debt recovery, is also amazing

Saturday, October 3, 2009

MJ-LOTD: Waheeda Rehman and the Snake Dance

To quote from Wiki - Dance (from French danser, perhaps from Frankish) is a sport and art form that generally refers to movement of the body, usually rhythmic and to music, used as a form of expression, social interaction or presented in a spiritual or performance setting.

Seeing at a lot of dance sequence in contemporary bollywood movies, if feel that dance has become more about costumes and uncalled-for body parts movements than about expressions. The 'expression' part in dance is lost. Recently, i watched Guide and came across this not-so-popular dance sequence by Waheeda Rehman:

Now this is what i call expression! In the movie, Waheeda Rehman is crazy about dancing. She get married to a person who thinks dancing is not something a wife of a 'decent family' should do. Waheeda Rehman and her husband are on a trip to a village. Waheeda Rehman asks the guide to take her to a place where snake charmers perform the snake dance while her husband goes on his errand. While in the snake charmers' place, she couldn't control herself from indulging into her passion. Her gestures and her movements expresses the above story - through dance. Each and every beat in the song is utilized to the fullest to express the emotions. Amazing. I think this is one of the best dance sequences in Bollywood.

Friday, October 2, 2009

MJ-LOTD: Toilet Paper Wedding Gowns

From paper cups to paper bags. Paper seems to be the 'in' thing. It is so much in vogue that there are wedding gowns being made out of toilet paper! Isn't that amazing? You can use it in case you get an 'unscheduled' nature's call. After the marriage, you can fold and cut parts of it to make it your reception gown. And when you get bored wearing it, you can use it for what it was 'originally' made for. Now, that is what i call creativity! Just beware of one thing - rain and champagne pops. You surely wouldn't want to look like Eve!

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