Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Not Titanic....

'Weekend Box office records broken', 'Avatar grossed $1 billion worldwide' was the news delivered by Yahoo today. For a film, whose budget far exceeded anyone's imagination (including, I'm sure, the director's), and which opened on a snow-storm weekend in the United States, it has done rather well. Another contributing factor could be attributed to my dragging my entire family of six, at 9, on a foggy (visibility 20 meters) Sunday morning to watch this movie. I have to admit, although my contribution of $ 5.50 total (for 6 people), was a drop in the ocean, the fact that I was party to a group of people earning disgusting amounts of money makes me want to cry.

The movie, as with all James Cameron's movies, is a story of love, hate, greed, creed, fight for survival and ultimately winning. The story is based in the future, as opposed to his best known film; Titanic, on a distant planet named Pandora. Seriously, who would name their planet Pandora? It sure as hell weren't the natives! Only humans are capable of coming up with completely unimaginative names for things they think they can explain. Every element of the story, the action, the emotion, the picturization are all human, which is weird, since the movie deals with 'aliens'. 

The aliens of Pandora are depicted as unsophisticated, backward, nature-loving tribes, very similar to those of sub-Saharan Africa, Native American or Australian Aboriginal tribes. Which begs the question: does all life evolve the same on all planets, considering the aliens looked nearly the same as humans? This could have been easily explained by the 'Panspermia Theory', which suggests that all life on Earth was seeded from distant planets, thus life on Earth would be relatively similar to that on 'alien' planets. But the two and half hour story was too busy explaining other things. 

Overall, the movie was brilliant. The story was the same-old, same-old, with a twist. Humans were the bad guys, which seems very plausible. But the fact that the alien clans needed a human-turned-alien (aka Avatar) to lead them into battle and eventually win was a little to self-righteous. I personally liked the way Cameron managed to make nearly all aspects of the alien world look human, yet give it a 'je ne sais quoi' feel to it. The movie has plenty of messages for those paying attention, and many of them were not subtle, like humans are total gun-totting, egotistical, unrelenting morons. And those of us who aren't gun-totting are in an infinitesimal way capable of emotion and achievement for the greater good. But the one thing that really hit home was the connect between nature and being, human or alien. The green message was very well delivered, which will make environmental activists all around our world very happy. Shame, acting on it will cost us many times more than the income of this movie.

Avatar is not Titanic, in that, it is not of the same epic movie proportion. But what it is, is an idea of epic proportions, which if even a handful of people get, would make us more....human.

Monday, December 21, 2009

When Pigs Fly

It's the season to get warm, feed well and proliferate. I'm definetly one for the feed well and proliferate, but it seems I've got enemies. I thought it was going to be easier, as the temperatures dropped, to spread my wonderful warmth and humor, but it doesn't seem like everyone's inviting. It's hard being a virus, especially me ... H1N1.

It's wierd. I've been called a lot of things, and none of them too nice. I suppose that shouldn't surprise anyone since I've been known to jump from pigs to the human, like there's a difference. But seriously, why does everyone treat me like I'm a murderer? Some of my friends, like the seasonal flu guy, are 10 times more potent than I am. But no, let's all just blame the Swine flu! Come on people, there is a big differnce between him and me. I just last a few days longer and may just give you a lung infection, but who wouldn't.

Let's also discuss the testing theory. Humans are a crazy lot. They think if they figure out what virus they have it will reduce their suffering. That's the dumbest thing I've heard! Yes, you'll know what you have, but it doesn't change the fact that you've already got it. But the best is, when they test positive for me, people assume it's the worst thing in the world to have. Haven't they heard of HIV? I'm no where near the same damn thing!! I'll give you a cold, cough, headache and fever for a few days. If you're dumb enough to have been sick or have an underlying medical condition, then I'll make it slightly worse. But hey, what's the worse that could happen? Oh yeah, death!
When it comes to death, let me tell you the statistics. The seasonal fellow ends up killing about 10-15 thousand every year, but everyone's fine with him being around. I've barely touched that number. It's because I'm new isn't it? I'm the newcomer and everyone treats me like shit! Not fair! I could even go as far as calling this racism! I'm not that bad...really!

The craziest thing is that people think they can get rid of me if they take vitamins or prophylactic treatment of antibiotics. Hello! I'm a virus not a bacteria! There is no way in hell you're going to avoid me. You may be more resistant to me, all those stupid WBCs  in your blood. But the fact is, the only way anyone can keep me at bay is by washing their hands as often as they can, and how many humans actually do that? I'm going to have a party!! Schools, malls, public transportation systems, anywhere there's more than one person is my playground. I can't believe humans are naive  enough to think they can get rid of me.
You'd need a world full of clean people, or atleast people with clean habits. Yeah, that'll happen, When Pigs Fly!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The saga continues...

I've just climbed up a notch on the stupidity scale. I know, how is that possible when I'm already up there? I have to admit I have succumbed to hype. This is quite unlike me. But the tempation of knowing for myself was too much. What am talking about? The much publicized movie New Moon. I spent a good portion of my day and half price of the ticket to watch this movie, based on the book of the same name. Why didn't someone stop me?

I had previously written about Twilight, the first in the series of this saga, and of the sheer disappointment I'd felt upon watching the movie (read Guilty). Well, the disappointment hasn't changed. The story is that of Romeo and Juliet with a sanguine twist. The main character performers, I refuse to call them actors, are a year older and twice as boring. The protagonist, a young girl in love with a vampire, was just as unimpressive as she had been in the previous movie, except she had nice shiny hair. The person playing the vampire, whom the girl is in love with, looked just as lost as in the first movie, and had a body to go with the sickly face. No, he is not the hottest thing since sliced bread, as declared by many publications.

The highlight, however, was the wolf guy. This guy, can't get myself to call him boy though he is only 17, has developed in physique that would far exceed any teenage girl's fantasy. He also cuts off his long locks to look like the embodiment of one of the mythological Greek gods. I'm usually not swayed by superficial aspects of a person, but I got to tell you, it was really hard to ignore this guy's screen presence. The worst part is that there were five other semi-clad, bronzed, hard-muscled teenage boys in the wolf pack (you can't just have one wolf), that just seemed to bring the cougar out in me. His acting wasn't bad I suppose, not that I was paying much attention, but it was much better than the love-lorn pair for sure.

I have to be honest, the one thing I did like, apart from the hot teenage Native American guy, was the special effects. The sequences of the wolf transformations were superb. It actually managed to stay true to the story and believability factor. Some of the chase scenes too were well done, but after a while I started to get dizzy spells, I'm not much of a runner. The fight scene between the vampires near the end of the movie was very weird. I clearly saw the vampire boy start it, but by the end he was the one lying on the broken floor, being beaten to a hard pulp. What transpired in between, I am still clueless about. The movie also had an amazing assortment of contact lenses, colors ranging from jaundice yellow to blood rich red, which I suppose was to enhance the color coding of the vampires according to their varied diets.

The seasoned actors (the other vampire characters played in the movie) actually managed to pull off the depiction of human blood drinking vampires very well, especially the leader of the brotherhood. His portrayal of a vampire leader, trying very hard to resist drinking the lead character's blood made me down right thirsty. Alas, to be one kiss away.
The end of the movie is as terrible as the book, but hey, if I read the whole saga, I'm sure as hell going to watch the damn series of movies too, at least to satisfy my craving for a little more than blood.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Knock on Woods!!

There's no denying it, sex is one of the better pleasures in life. Especially consensual sex. Whether in a relationship or out, sex has been known to have a therapeutic effect for those indulging. But when this therapy gets out of hand, namely, in the form of under or over indulgence, the repercussions can be no less than devastating. Those who can't find the happy medium are often seen in a different light. Under indulgence is looked at as sad problem that needs medical attention. Over indulgence, on the other hand, is scorned regardless of the sex...I mean, gender of the person.

 Promiscuous behavior in the human race has been long documented. Ancient cultures like the Romans and some Island tribes encouraged it, and some still do. So, what is it about promiscuity that we, prudish, new age people take offence to? Is it the fact that sexual encounters, of the casual kind, make us realize what we are missing? Or is it a problem we associate with only the rich and famous, and since most of  us will neither be stinking rich or famous, we hold different moral standards for them verses us? Or is the premise in which most of the publicized promiscuity occurs?

I am, and most probably will always be, an ardent fan of Tiger Woods. He has epitomized the character of genius in a sport, I had long associated with old guys with nothing better to do. He was one of the reasons I learned how to play golf. And yes, he made the game cool! The first ever billionaire sports figure, he has carved his niche in the golf arena, business and endorsement worlds, by just being a formidable character on and off the field. Every one of his opponents measures his ability not with the golf course but with his ability to play and survive Woods. That was until now.

The recent weeks have been a topsy-turvy mesh of Tiger's performance on the golf course and in the bedroom. No fewer than 9 women have come out of the wood works to allege a sexual relationship with him. Now the point isn't that he, like most men (and some women), indulged, multiple times. The fact that he did it within the realms of a relationship like marriage, while his wife was pregnant, that has splinters flying in all directions. Tiger isn't the first man, famous or not, to go through the effects of his indulgence, nor will he be the  last. But like they say, the bigger they are, the harder they get stuck.

The questions about his ability as a professional, father, and a husband are enough to keep the Woods worms at work. But the practical question is, does his status, money and genius absolve him of his behavior? Don't we all have moral and ethical standards to live up to? According to psychologists, persons, particularly men, at a genius level actually tend to be more promiscuous than the average male, something to do with proliferation of genetic material to the next generation. But, that's just physiology. Does that mean, just because I'm a genius I can sleep around with anyone, anytime, with complete disregard to the social and moral fabric of a relationship like marriage? I think not. Let's say the tables were turned on Tiger, I personally don't think he would have taken this lying down. I think the blatant and obsessiveness of his actions/addictions have put him a place that any person with similar tendency finds themselves, regardless of their status, credentials, power or money. Being adulterous has repercussion, and being oblivious to that fact just makes a stupid person dumber.

Hopefully his new sabbatical from his infamous recent past won't affect the reason he is still undoubtedly numero uno in one of the greatest games ever played, because that would be like being lost in the Woods!
So the next time you want to get a hole in one at every turn, just make sure your woods are covered, and all your irons are in different bags, because once your tiger is on the prowl, there's not telling what it will maul before being put to sleep or castrated.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Ever had the feeling you've done something worth remembering for the rest of your life? That everything you'd planned had gone exactly the way you wanted it...if not better? That's exactly the euphoric feeling I'm flying on right now. Remember, a few weeks ago I had been trying disparately to contain a secret, nay, a surprise I'd been planning for my children, in cohorts with my husband? Well, it finally came into fruition.

The surprise was an elaborately planned event that none of my three children had a clue about, and believe me when I tell you, it's near impossible, for me, to keep anything from them. The sequence I'm about to recite is as witnessed by me. I shall try not to exaggerate.

The day of the surprise was a flurry of activity, starting with a parent-teacher meeting followed by a last minute doctor's visit to make sure we had an "all systems go". The physician, unknowingly, blurted out the crux of the secret to my eldest...could have strangled the ******, but it just seemed to add to the child's already fever pitched excitement. So I'll let that one slide. The whole journey back home was a cascade of questions, the likes of which I'd never seen before (this coming from a child who I have to ask to shut-up to get a word in edge-wise, on a normal day). The other two joined in the interrogation as the day progressed.

Lunch was a hurried affair...we had a taxi waiting. The entire taxi ride could have passed for a scene from the movie "Are we there yet?" I must confess, by this time I was so excited, that I momentarily forgot that the worst was yet to come. We got to the airport in midst of shouts of jubilation. A plane ride! But to where? By this time my eldest couldn't keep the destination to herself, thank you doctor! Goa, here we come!
From take off to landing, the flight was filled with "we're going to Goa!" aimed at anyone who'd listen. And a lot of people listened. Why is it that flights to beach holiday destinations don't serve alcohol? I could have done with a couple of stiff drinks then.
Landed and armed with our one suitcase ( we travel light), I made arrangements to be picked up. Upon listening to my conversation with our ride, my eldest quizzed why I was talking to a taxi driver in Goa in Marathi (our mother tongue). Because Goa is right next to Mumbai...so everyone speaks Marathi here too. She looked totally unconvinced, but her hyper-stimulated brain let me have that point. Our ride pulled in a few minutes later, and out of the car stepped the grandparents. Each one of my children did a double take, unable to understand how granddad was the cab driver. My youngest was still unsure until my dad stood right in front of her, at which point she leaped at him as if he was the biggest teddy bear in the world (which he is).

Our ride to the resort seemed to take an eternity, especially with dad's navigation and mom's driving skills (my dad was driving and mom was in the back with us girls, so you can imagine). Finally with the destination underfoot, we (the adults) stood back, while the three children rand the bell to the condo we were in for the next seven days. Out of nowhere came the looming figures of my brother and his wife and that surprise hit the nail home.

In all there were 17 surprises that my children counted, most of which I've forgotten. But the seven days in the sun, sand, and water in Goa, surrounded by my family I will never forget. And the kids? They've told every single person at school and where we live, exactly what their surprises were, without forgetting a single detail. So I know, I've made a great memory for them too.