Monday, 29 March 2010

Formula One - Who said it's boring?!

The Formula 1 season is well underway. Two Grand Prix weekends later, the same people who went blowing their trumpets saying F1's boring and no overtakes and the rule changes suck and this year's going to be the worst year and there's no water in my tap, so F1 is boring, have now found their bottle of glue.

Bahrain GP was monumentally boring. That particular GP has been boring ever since its inception. The camera angles are mostly long, so that makes it look like someone's pulling the cars towards the camera with strings. The static desert on both sides of the track made the whole race look ultimately stagnant. And worst of all, there weren't as many apex cameras as there usually are, so there was no chance the TV Audience could listen to the beautiful orchestra those whirring V8 engines created. Boring!!

This year was no exception. As if the above mentioned reasons weren't enough, the drivers were making it agonisingly boring to watch by being very very careful. I don't blame them though.

The whole ban on refuelling was new for the drivers. No matter how experienced they are, driving a car that has its butt loaded with five times the usual amount of fuel is no child's play. It takes a lot to handle a car that heavy. You have so many things to consider as a driver. There's tire degradation (varies since the rear tires are being pushed down, thanks to the heavy fuel tank being right above them, while nothing of that sort happens to the front tires), fuel consumption, tire temperature, engine balance etc etc!!

It was their first time, that's my point. Bahrain GP was when best drivers in the world were foxed. If you need any proof as to what makes them the best drivers in the world, you only had to watch the Australian GP this past weekend.

The race was ultimately awesome. Brilliant strategies (esp from Jenson Button and Robert Kubica) on tire usage, so many overtakes, spins and crashes. The rain only made it better. The race proved that it was just a matter of time till they all adjusted to the radical changes in the rules.

Reliability issues have bogged down Vettel so far. But I have a strong feeling it's only a matter of time till the folks in Red Bull figure out what's happening and fix it.

And the way I see it, it isn't an eight way battle for the title. Going by the hints so far, Mercedes hasn't got the pace to compete for the title. Mercedes is that team which looms behind the leaders constantly, waiting to grab that one off chance when the leaders make a mistake. They are someone to be worried about, but not championship material, at least not so far.

Monday, 22 March 2010

No, I don't want to be a Child again..

I hate the people who say "I wish I could be a child again". I loathe them. And I try to stay as far away from them as possibly. These are people who are mad enough to admit that they have no hope in life and that they'd rather be a soft cuddly bunch of flesh than a thinking, articulating, deliberating and rationalising human being. You definitely can't do that when the only thought that's occupying your mind is which finger to suck on.
What about the innocence? The fact that nobody bothers you? And the biggest argument of all, the no baggage thing.
Innocence: How lame is this for a reason? So you've had a tough time being a teenager, did a thing or two and got into a wat load of trouble. Isn't that what being a teenager all about? Would you rather be the one with a sad teenage, or the cool grandpa on the rocking chair telling those wide-eyed kids about the way you had to wait a mammoth ten minutes before your browser decided to sign you into yahoo mail. Which one would you rather be?
I hate being the innocent one. I'd rather be guilty of doing something (and getting to know something in the process) than an innocent one in the corner of the room with the puppy face. I'm not saying I want to know everything. Nobody knows everything. But should that stop you from trying to know as many things as possible? Our brain's supposed to have a finite amount of space for memories and trivia. Why not fill it up? Even better, overflow it?
Being a kid is like being a white board. It's got nothing in it. It gives you so much potential, so much to do. And not doing anything is probably the worst decision you can make in your terribly insignificant life. I'd happily be the bloke shouting out the wrong answers, than the dunce who's stitched his mouth up.
It's fun being lonely. Solitary confinement would do me a lot of good, as opposed to what many people might think. I like being lonely and left alone. But to give up the wonderful friends I have been blessed with, for some moments with my self is not what I'd do. I still manage to find some time for myself, just the voices in my head and me, despite all the friends and people surrounding me. Besides, loneliness can never be permanent (at least that's the lie I tell myself).
Everybody has baggage. George Clooney would agree, or at least the character he played in Up In The Air would agree. Whatever you say and do, you just can't have a clean slate. You can shift cities, go to a place where nobody knows you or has even heard of you, but there, you are your biggest enemy. Your mind, with all the stories, memories and strands of connections, will keep bringing back your heaviest moments.
I don't want to be a Child again.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Of construction and deconstruction..

The other day, don't ask me which day, I was walking down the road near my room with a plate of momos in hand and ARR's blissful music in my ears, heading to the local construction site nearby to watch them do their work. Before you re-read that sentence, let me tell you that I like watching construction. It is one of those things that takes my mind off whenever I trouble it with many a thought.

I remember this 14 floor apartment near my house back in Chennai which was under construction while I was in school. It took them three years to complete it. Many an evening of the three years of my forgettable teenage was spent watching the men and women who came from afar, mix cement, sift sand and bend iron rods. Watching construction gives me a sense of satisfaction. It tells me that things once started, however slow they proceed, do come to an end. It gives me optimism when in the back of my mind, I know that this particular building has come up here surviving the wrath of the Indian Bureaucracy. That is a revelation and a relief. When you can construct something in India, crossing all the corruption, the delays and the sheer laziness of the government employees, life's but a joke.

There are times that this quirk of mine took me places. Once, back in the days when a motorbike mocked my height, I was stuck with the trusty rusty cycle. Obsessed with watching anything that was being constructed, I cycled a good 8 kms to sit and watch the construction of a flyover. I remember that evening pretty well for two reasons. One being the above and the second being the fact that I went all the way there to watch a huge yellow crane place a portion of the flyover between two pillars. Weirdly, it was very satisfying to watch this. I bought myself a pack of chips and stationed myself on a huge rock that was lying on the ground.

With chips in hand and the cycle in my eye-sight, I sat there watching the crane, the man in the crane, the men outside the crane and the two men on a ladder on each of the two pillars, shouting constant instructions to the crane handler. For three hours, long after my chips pack travelled through my large intestines, the men successfully placed the connecting piece of road between the two pillars. I didn't realise it was done until the men climbed down their ladders and the crane man switched it off and the growling thing came to a stand still.

And this wasn't just a one off incident. Whenever I reached the playground earlier than my friends, or when I aimlessly roamed around an area just because I didn't feel like going back home, I used to look for construction sites and spent time there.

Here in Delhi, my room's window opens to a construction site. A big small stadium being constructed for the Commonwealth Games. Even though it brings in loads of dust, even though there are drilling and hammering sounds 24X7, I love watching the action of construction.

PS: Why do we call a building a building, even after it's built?!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya

Tragedy. You know it's tragic when someone like Gautham Menon runs out of ideas and chooses to go by the formula. Boy meets girl, love at first sight, even the religious reason is used to object the love, threatening father, elder brother who gives the hero a chance to fight, and saying that he knows boxing is a lame way of justifying the gravity defying falls that the villain's minions take thanks to a single punch.

Split the movie into two halves. The first half is purely amateurish. The dialogues are natural. The use of Tamil and English in the same sentence is, for the lack of a better word, realistic. Deny it how you may, but that is how many of us speak and think. But the 'love at first sight' thing is now boring. The Director has taken the pain to pen dialogues that are in daily parlance. But those lines haven't been put out well by Simbu. It is painful to see him attempt acting.

The first half, frankly, looks like it has been directed by the guy who makes documentaries in college festivals. Yes, it has a style, yes it has substance, but it looks completely different to the second half. It looks like Gautham gave the mantle to someone and sat in the corner sipping coffee. And seeing that the amateur screwed up his job, Gautham seems to have taken the bull by the horn and made a second half to the movie which looks more like course correction than path setting.

The last 20 odd minutes of the movie made me wonder where the person who weaved this wonderful poetry disappeared for the rest of the film. The creative genius of Gautham is proven in those minutes. That was powerful and effective. But if he's chosen to give that kind of a monumental ending, why in all that's holy did he make us go through everything before that.

As for the expectations that at least Gautham would do justice to ARR's songs and give a proper visual, I was disappointed. Aaromale was well done. Anbil Avan had an expected video. But the other songs, especially Kannukkul Kannai was a pain to watch. It was a beautiful song of pain and agony filled with images of tall monkeys in white hats.

VTV did have some good points. It was a change to watch Simbu being docile and attempting to 'act'. Trisha's acting and characterization shows Gautham's will to give the heroine a strong role. The cameraman acting as a comedian with simple funny lines was a relief. The background score was well used. The scenes were carefully set in places in Chennai which are rarely seen.

If only Gautham had taken the pain to direct the whole movie and not just taken over from the ass who directed the first half, this would've gone down as a classic in Tamil Cinema.

Sitting alone and reminiscing.

The usually crowded and chaotic market in model town bore a desolate look last night. Typically bustling shops had either pulled down their shutters or had one or two customers. Even the street lights were switched off barring a few. I had finished with my dinner and was walking down the pavement all alone, with a large cup of sprite in my hand. I couldn’t help but notice the calm atmosphere of the otherwise noisy market place.

I looked around a bit. I was in no rush to get back to my room. I sat down on the steps of one of the shops and was just humming some random song when it hit me. I was lonely. That thought wasn’t new to me. But somehow, last night, it brought back memories. Memories that were associated with the moon and it was pretty hard to ignore that white disc hanging in the sky, I think it was full moon last night.

The moon has played a rather pivotal role in my life. First there were those days during school when I spent time on my terrace star gazing just before dinner, dirtying the back of my t-shirt quite considerably. Then there were those days when the terrace of my friends played host to my moon gazing, along with a companion, more often than not. And more recently, in Delhi, when I go up to the terrace and sit on the parapet wall and simply gaping at the most beautiful thing in the whole universe.

Gone are those days, without doubt. As I sat alone on the pavement, my thoughts taking me from memory to memory, world to world, I reminisced. The recollections filled my head and I had a burst of emotions. I was happy for those times, those memories that have, in their own little ways, shaped my life. I was sad because I knew that those days had come to an end.