Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Crash is an incredibly beautiful movie on racism told in simple characters and simple incidents that connect them together sometimes as the culprit, other times as the victim.

What begins as stereotyping looks like ruthless racism turns out to be just another human quality. It works to show how racism works for and against people and how some take advantage of it and the other just fall victims.

I thought I must write down one or two scenes from the movie as the most touching ones, but I really can't stick to one or two. Every single scene is shot with a purpose, with intent and with beauty. But I will jot down one which might touch your heart and turn you to watch the movie.

A Hispanic man gives his 5 year old daughter an 'invisible impenetrable cloak' to comfort her after the sound of a bullet shot scares. Much later in the film when a racially victimized Persian shoots at this Hispanic man just to find someone to blame, the little girl races to protect her father as he gave away his cloak to her. The Persian fires and yet, the little girl miraculously lives. I scene is shot so beautifully, I am almost grateful that I got to watch this movie!

(How she lives you would know a couple of scenes later if you watch carefully)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Clap 5 Times !

Happy Birthday Slisha Crazy ! It's been good 5 years !!!

CELEBRATE: To celebrate I have a new theme, with a new background and a new header.

The header image is the set of the play that I directed. I believe it was photographed by a cast member is also the head of the photography club!

SHARE: I also added the "share" button and now you can share on whatever social networking sites you use. A comment had once suggested I do that but I never got around.

COMMENT: I have also put in a word verification for the comments. I did not want to but then I do not want to unlock iPhone 4 or visit a spooky language I doesn't know.

Thank you for all the support!

Joy of Reading: Pratham Books

It's Friday, friday! And time for the weekly dose of BSR. Today I bring to you a wonderful organization whos main aim is to ensure that all kids can read and actually read. It's absolutely delightful to just browse through their books.

Activity: Pratham Books was set up in 2004, as part of the Read India movement, a nation- wide campaign to promote reading among children. Pratham Books is a not-for-profit organization that publishes quality books for children in multiple Indian languages. The mission is to see "a book in every child's hand" and democratize the joy of reading.

In the last 6 years they have published over 200 titles in upto 11 languages and have spread the joy of reading to over 12 million children!

Details: Read about our why they use Creative Commons here.

Support: reading, literacy, education, kidlit, children's literature, publishing

Note: They have put a lot of our content under the Creative Commons framework and have begun to see success with this. Which means that they make their stories and illustrations available under an open license model and the larger community can then repurpose our content to create something completely new and thus contribute to the cause of a book in every child's hand. Their books have been adapted by our community into a range of new creations from audio and Braille books for the print-impaired, to iPad and iPhone applications - all to reach every child in India.

They hope that many more people can come forward and help translate/remix/re-purpose/distribute our Creative Commons licensed content. So go ahead and see what you can do.

| This post is a part of BlogAdda's Bloggers Social Responsibility (BSR) initiative. |

| I am exercising my BSR. You can too with three simple steps. Visit http://www.blogadda.com/bsr/ and support the NGO's. |

Assamese Women

I recently read yet another book of short stories about (not all by) Assamese women. It was titled "Woman: a collection of Assamese short stories". I am sorry that I can't even provide you with a reasonable link. The only one I could find was this. But it is not very helpful.

It had about 20 odd short stories. All about the sorry state of women and their fate. Not many about the happiness or courage or survival. Of course there are some who stood against the whole world and succeeded and some who was trampled on by the evilness of fate. It had some good writing and some bad writing. May be translations have their way of killing the spirit of the story. I wouldn't know. I can't read Assamese. It wasn't very different from the Iranian collection. It's all the same. The plight of women in this world. I found a sample online. It was one of the stories in this collection. I thought it was OK. Better than Amrita Pritam's work.

I think I m done with all these short stories on women and from authors I know not. I should pick up a novel by a writer I have read and liked before. And I should do it soon before I lose faith in the art of writing that I very much love and enjoy.

If I ever write a collection of short stories, I would prefer to write about the beauty, the riches, legends and little lives. I would like to write about the wonderful world that we may have or I will write about a short story which has a moral in it. I would not want to write about a story that is sad or a story that asks for pity or a story that requires you to feel like crying and call myself successful if you cry. I would rather want to make you smile. Smile for now, once.

image courtesy: www.indianart.in

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ding Dong! Bell Bajao !

Activity: Bell Bajao is a high profile national campaign using innovative media outreach throughout India. With the support of the Ministry of Women and Child Development and campaign ambassador and popular film star Boman Irani, the campaign was launched in August 2008. Bell Bajao! was created pro bono by Ogilvy & Mather.

In all its 360 degree media campaigns, Breakthrough uses innovative tools to engage youth and create a culture of human rights. Here are a few ways that Breakthrough spreads the Bell Bajao! message throughout the country:

Television, Radio and Press: Thirty two million people have seen and heard the message of Bell Bajao! through television, radio and press. Television advertisements depict men and boys who hear domestic violence and take a minute out their everyday lives to intervene and stop the violence.

Video Vans: Mobile vans have been on the road for 150 days, traveling 80,000 kilometers across six districts in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra and have exposed 2.7 million people to this burning issue. Innovative and interactive, the van built audience-participation through games, street theater, audio visual tools and quizzes.

Interactive, dedicated website: Breakthrough's ground-breaking blog on www.bellbajao.org provides a platform previously nonexistent in India to dialogue about domestic violence. To date, witnesses, victims and advocates have all had an open space for personal testimony and reflection.

Leadership Training: Our Rights Advocates program embodies on-the-ground youth and community leadership training to reaffirm the message of Bell Bajao! and help Indian youth recognize and fight domestic violence in their own communities. The trainings develop the capacity and life skills of the trainers on a variety of complex like human rights, gender based violence and reproductive health. In 2008, the program trained over 100,000 people and aims to double its reach in 2009.

Support: Human rights; violence against women

Note: Breakthrough is always looking out for delightful opportunities to partner with organizations, both media and grassroots, on cross sectional interest areas of human rights, women's issues, sexuality, HIV/AIDS, gender issues, issues of race/minority etc. for public advocacy, media campaigns, trainings, community level work and pop culture/art events.

As a non-profit, they also engage donors/funders from various sections of society, whether UN bodies, corporate agencies or key individuals, in our causes, campaigns and community work. The contributions never fail to positively impact their campaigns and deliver measurable changes.

Check out award winning ads:

| This post is a part of BlogAdda's Bloggers Social Responsibility (BSR) initiative. |

| I am exercising my BSR. You can too with three simple steps. Visit http://www.blogadda.com/bsr/ and support the NGO's. |

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mayrig's Paradis

I usually do not like watching old color films that have this old-ish feeling and people dress funny, even though it might be a great movie. And not very fond of non English films that look like that when I haven't heard of the name of the movie. So I usually avoid MGM as a channel.

Yet, one day I found myself randomly browsing past the channel when I paused for a second. A handsome man grayed at the temples was deep in thought. He remembered a small incident in his childhood when he was invited to a tea party at his friend Alexander's house. Alexander was not his friend, and was very rich, while this little boy was not very well to do. He did not know though why he was invited. When the day arrived when he should be taken to the palace of a house, his family struggles hard to make him presentable. His mother waits outside the house while he goes in and gets humiliated before coming back to her. Never did he let her know that he was humiliated.

The scene was played out so beautifully that I went on to see the rest of the movie without missing a scene after. It's a French film by the name of 588 rue Paradis. Since the wiki page does not have any detail I shall give a brief of the plot.

This little boy was Armenian and his family migrated to Marseille, France to escape the genocide. His mother or Mayrig struggled very hard as a seamstress to bring him. He grew up to be a famous playwright but not before he moved to Paris and changed his name from Azad Zacharian to Pierre Zacharia to sound more French. He married a French publisher and lived a rich lavish life with his daughter and son whose second name was Zacharia. The movie is about bringing to him to terms with the fact that he is indeed an Armenian. He remembers little events from his childhood, meets his father who suffers an attack due to the distance between his son and the family making Azad feel accountable. He then dedicates himself to providing his mother with a wonderful life. He changes his name back. His children begin to identify themselves as being Armenian and his French wife leaves him. He then dedicates more of himself to Armenian culture and fulfilling Mayrig's dream of restoring the family to the their prior glory Turkey before they fled Turkey. Hence, he buys her a place of a house on the same street and bigger than that of Alexander's. The address of the house is 588 Rue Paradis.

The character Mayrig and her husband acted so beautifully, I think that made all the difference. Sadly though, I felt that his French wife was shown in bad light unfairly. She reacted how almost any wife would have reacted when her husband paid more attention to his mother. It did not seem that she had much of a problem with the Armenian culture. or may be it was just bad direction/acting of the character. Nevertheless, a beautiful beautiful movie.

Apparently, this movie is a sequel to Mayrig which talks about the migration and the struggle. Also, both the films are semi-autobiographical in nature, Azad Zacharian being Ashod Malakian which was later changed to Henri Verneuil to sound French.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Protsahan: Encouragement

The Protsahan India Foundation has a unique idea bringing out colors and using story telling to bring about a change and help underprivileged children.

Activity: "Encouraging Creative Arts & Functional Literacy as a Medium of Expression to help the underprivileged create opportunities for a better future"

A few young Indians have got together and built this initiative of social change in Delhi. They use youtube, colors, art of stories to bring tremendous change in the lives of marginalized. Check out their work on the Facebook page or read about it on their blog. Even better, visit the site.

Support: girl child education, women empowerment

Note: Funds, Volunteers, Furniture in the school

| This post is a part of BlogAdda's Bloggers Social Responsibility (BSR) initiative. |

| I am exercising my BSR. You can too with three simple steps. Visit http://www.blogadda.com/bsr/ and support the NGO's.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Weekend Hyd Out

Last week was World Environment Day and India played global host.
Read all about it here, here and here.

The weekend before that was when a good friend of mine, Qurious Quester came over to Hyderabad to meet me, Dee another friend from IIT days and see the city!

I picked her up from the airport and headed to my house and spent a while chilling out in air conditioned environment (yes, Hyd is hot). Then we headed out to Lumbini Park where we met Dee and went up to the statue in Hussain Sagar, spent some lazy time and returned home.
On Saturday we saw Charminar, shopped for bangles, walked along Laad Bazar to Chowmahalla Palace.

The palace was vast and beautiful. We admired it for a while, then settled down under a tree for a picnic lunch. After lunch we realized we actually did not complete our tour. It was much bigger than we imagined. We caught sight of a few vintage vehicles as well. By now we were tired. Though the sun was not beating down on us it was still dehydrating. So what best up a CCD from where we could see Charminar. We spent a good couple of hours there before we decided to leave old city.

We directly went to Prasadz and the first stop was the 4D show. After that we went to Scary House. Now there is a little background to remember. Qurious Quester and I had been to a scare house in Pittsburgh when I visited her last September. That day we got really scared. Like shit scared! And she was almost in tears (see, I didn't say she cried)! So today when the three of us walked in, the two of us were already scared with anticipation. But it was dark, almost pitch black! Sort of no reason to get scared. Once I realized we were being followed and suddenly it occurred to me that it's been a while but the darkness stopped us from figuring out. But we screamed nevertheless, for fun! We came out screaming and laughing and out of breathe. When we recovered, our throats hurt with all the screaming and our stomachs with the laughter. Then we went into Mirror Maze. Sadly we were too smart and figured it out too quickly, finding our way out!

We went over to Dee's house to watch two chick flicks back to back while I put mehendi (designs from the web) for all of us. We then crashed off peacefully. Next morning we woke up and it was dun to cook by ourselves from coffee to breakfast to lunch. And then push off to the airport.

After a send off to Qurious Quester, Dee and I headed over to Abids for the Sunday Book Bazaar. We spent a lot of time in the hot sun and the only thing I finally got was The Witch of Portobello. Mom is reading it. Will give a review after I am done.

Finally, a great weekend in Hyderabad!

post feels like it's out of wiki.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Capt Jack Sparrow on the Big Screen

This is a post long due!

I watched the Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides nearly 10 days ago.
And some how everytime I wanted to write this post I had something to do or my laptop gave up on me.

So I'll make it brief.

I liked the movie. I love Jack Sparrow. I do not remember the earlier pictures. This one did not have any grossness (really black beard looked human). I loved the mermaids that kill you :P

It was my first Imax 3D experience and that is why I liked the movie. It really seemed like the mermaids were jumping all over :)

So that's it.