in deep existential crisis..

A Journal by Sara

Hurry up !! Find out Zimbabwe’s country code !!

Those, who are increasingly been pestered by their wives to take them out for a shopping free, seldom you should be worried about, if you happen to have a relative or two in Zimbabwe. Well, it is a dream place for every money conscious man to shop at …. And while you drop in there, don’t forget to get a glimpse of great Robert Mugabe [Zim’s President]!!

Widescreen HD TVs which could cost lakhs in India would be at your lap if you care to spend 15 Euros, and to add more delight to you…. with a hope you won’t have a second thought to buy a car for 30 Euros, which is otherwise 300 times higher in the rest of the world.

Just for fun, the Zimbabwe’s inflation has shot up to 20, 000%, a record of its sorts.

If you still don’t believe, have a look here.

Link via Prem.

July 18, 2007 Posted by | Economics, Issues, Living | Leave a comment

Life time free credit card…. finds innovative ways to reduce your lifetime!!!

A stare at the piece of crappy code I’ve written, and lose myself in thought how to make it over and send across for testing, would mostly be the bustle of my day. Walking through the action, it’s unfair if I ignore the dozen of regular callers who dial every day with the sole intent of gunning my patience down.

Caller:   Sir, First of all, Congratulations, you are the winner of our lucky draw!

Our firm is proud to announce you as the winner! [Grave]

Me:        [With the history of 0.0001% of winning any contests since childhood, its natural I get excited with an announcement like this]

Thanks a lot! May I know how much cash I have won!

Caller:        Sir, it’s not cash, but a prestigious credit card that we issue to select few!

If you don’t mind, I would send my Exec to your Office by afternoon!

I don’t have to elaborate more, as you all walk through the torment everyday at least half a dozen times.

At times, I prolong the conversation asking whether it is free if I walk up to the nearby mall and shop items worth 10 or 20K. Now, he would settle in teaching you, what the free buzz is about and that they exempt you the annual charge of Rs. 250 for holding the card and not actually the swiping you carry out at shops. Few, would even let me know I am too ignorant!

Thanks Prem for the links, in the outside world, people who face more than a frustrating phone call from these credit card sponsors!

One bank kidnapped an 18-year old boy who defaulted on a payment due by a week and was released after his father paid it through a cheque.

Worse, a man from Mumbai jumped out of a window after being humiliated by eunuchs, for not paying-up credit card debts, a strong tactic adopted by the bank. Inspired by the tactic, an Indian city followed the same path, as Municipal Authorities hired eunuchs to collect taxes. The Authority further said they are planning to send eunuchs to home to collect more taxes.

It has also caught the attention of police constables who have an additional income to feed their mouth. Dressed in plain clothes police threatens the card defaulters along with gang members.

To round off with a hilarious piece, one American Citizen got a credit card courier addressing him as “Dear Palestinian Bomber”.

Habbas was even more shocked when, on several occasions, he said he called an 800-number for JP Morgan Chase and spoke to operators in an effort to complain. Each time, he says the operators called up his information on a computer but apparently didn’t catch on. According to Habbas, “The operators always said, ‘Yes, Mr. Palestinian Bomber, how can we help you?’ “

The incident comes on the heels of last week’s announcement by Comcast that two customer service representatives in Chicago were fired after they changed a woman’s name to “Bitch Dog” on her bill. She had repeatedly complained about bad service.

I am seriously wondering how to shed off the allure to hold these plastic cards.

July 18, 2007 Posted by | Changing Trends, Crime/Violence, Issues, Regional | Leave a comment

Now… You got the answer for Kashmir!!!!

Sipping a cup of tea, our eyes gaze through the newspaper daily and a quick look of worry passes through our face. Later, we switch mood and continue on with the day’s chores. There aren’t too many choices to guess what it is, none other than the violence in Kashmir since many decades…..

If you care to ask, why? Check it out here ……

Pamela is not naïve as she doubts herself and has answered one of the riddle which was left unsolved in our nation for years…..

(The interview will be broadcast by CNN-IBN on Sunday July 22 at 8:30 p.m.)

July 18, 2007 Posted by | India, Policy/Strategies, Politics | Leave a comment

Sivaji – Perception Differs !

In fact, I never wanted to blog on this, but as a victim of Murphy’s Law, I am forced to.

IBN Blogger has got this to say about Rajnikant and the Dravidians in his own juvenile sense of humor and on account of his worthless idea, Aryan’s superiority over Dravidians.

If you think it is one-off incident and could be pardoned despite the fact that it is published on a renowned news site, you are caught wrong. Here comes another fellow mate of this blogger, who has painted the same picture in fact worse than expected.

Certainly, it doesn’t leave one in good taste to see a criticism on racial themes by humans with an incorrect perception on the topic under debate.

The blogger with his sarcasm conveys the poor language skills of Rajnikant and considers bollywood celebrities as Shakespeares and Marlowes of earth.

Seldom I have seen south Indian news hitting headlines in any of touted Indian media and was bored to death looking at the pieces of news they throw about Aishwarya Rai’s daily chores. I have, at times, wondered how do thoughtful journalists on earth spy celebrity’s life for any piece of write-up to close out the day at work.

Given this shade of media quality, I was taken aback when I saw the coverage of the south Indian movie taking people by storm. Guess you would accept, the movie earned sufficient recognition and was a household name till date. Before I throw some light on this issue, I want to make one of my opinions clear, I was never or would be a Rajni fan or not even Kamalhassan/ Mamooty/ Mohanlal/ Amitab/Aamir, to sum up none.

When the Sivaji news was doing rounds in the media checking the run of any other movies in India, it was no surprise that it drew heavy criticism by many of so-called purists.  Few of the charges are

1)      Rajnikant looks old and senile and doesn’t possess the comely grace of hero anymore.

2)      He is not even worth to deserve a comparison with Amitabh, let alone bettering him. Top of all, Amitabh is incomparable.

3)      Shankar has again touched the same old social themes and bores us to death.

4)      It was ridiculous to see the action parts of the movie, defying each and every law of gravity.

5)      A script which lacks quality and depth doesn’t deserve even a rating of an average movie.

6)       Highly illogical story and lacks depth of concept.

7)      Black Money concept was presented million times in the Indian movies and this is no big difference.

8.)     We can never reach the standards of Hollywood and not even worth giving a try.

Rajnikant looks old and senile. Period.  You don’t even have to say this as we regularly have a look of him in his public appearances.  Enjoying, or should I say regretting, fan base across nations and people from all walks of life, a rickshaw puller to a IIT/M student, who energetically awaits the release of their favorite hero’s  movie, he was naturally bent to continue his acting profession despite his interests. It was believed AVM; a legendary Tamil cinema production house had run into financial crisis, producing movies with much touted youth heroes. AVM was looking out for rescue only to find Rajnikant. In fact, even I remember, as news spread Rajnikant pairs up with AVM for his next movie later a week the director was decided which then followed by rest of the crew. Ultimately, for this act of rescue, the Sivaji was born. You might now see whether the purpose is solved. And still don’t ask me why is he acting?

If you have heard through your Tamil friends, Rajnikant has done a dozen of movies to help out producers who were hit by financial crisis. Needless to compare with one who bought farm lands in Maharashtra and UP against the law, and claims that he is a farmer.

Of course, Shankar bores us to death with the same topic over and again. But if you pay heed to what the topic is, and could attribute to the impious reality we live in, you might notice after all this is the primary job of politicians which is well played up to the applause by a film director; In fact, living in India, you cannot opine it is fallacious to have social-message conveyed in many films, for all intents and purposes it is the genuine need of the hour!

Any good reform which could benefit the ordinary citizens cannot be achieved successfully by a common man; the reason being lack of popularity among people to elucidate his ideas.  Hence, it is mandatory to have a huge wave of popularity to do any reforms that benefits masses. As Tamilnadu proved history that cinema could effectively be the medium to convey political messages, it is natural to confer that we have majority of population [when I say majority, even 51% is suffice, as India Electoral vote count is even lesser than that] who takes cinema serious than life.

Hence, we could assert that a medium like Tamil cinema with an actor like Rajnikant, who has attracted people all over the earth with his grand persona, is the ideal launch pad to express political messages which is better understood by people from all walks of life. That’s exactly what the movie Sivaji has done today.

Many perfectionists would jump on to the stage, to talk about the script style and screenplay of the movies and would rant on faults in the movie. I accept this is not a movie which has outdone Godfathers and Matrixes of the Hollywood not even the Indian and Gentleman [MoviesJ] of Kollywood; but a movie with its unmatched popularity which has reached out to people from every sects of life and made few of them to accept and appreciate the message conveyed.

Shankar has reasonably directed few excellent scenes in his socio-plot movies perfectly in tune with the local flavor. Be it Court Scene of Arjun in the movie ‘Gentleman’ or the Q-TV telecast scene of Kamalhassan-Nizhalgal Ravi in the movie ‘Indian’ or the completion of one-day stint at CM office in the movie ‘Mudhalvan’  or Black-Money discussion scene between Rajni-Vivek at roof-top in this movie ‘Sivaji’ is no less equivalent portrayal of the shoddy politics in today’s India. If you could dissect Shankar’s movie scenes which depict political India on screen, it would touch upon vibrant themes accompanied by excellent retrospection.

His subtlety in movie direction is one which I have always enjoyed watching and was amazed looking at his ability to deal with intricate issues of the nation.

I have watched headlines which stated Indians abroad drove more than 100 miles to get a first glimpse of their hero’s movie. I watched TV news, where a fan from Dubai was screaming at a journalist mic’ that he could well grasp the message his hero conveyed that NRI owes something back to the nation and vowed he would do his possible part to empower India. That’s when it hit me more impressively, that even 10 people among the millions who watched this movie could take this message to heart, there lays the success of this movie contributing awareness to this mislead society.

Looking at, bollywood these days delving deeper into themes such as lesbian, gay acts, wife swapping, fiancée swapping and other western values to impress NRI audiences, I would not even stress on the importance of making a movie like Sivaji and its theme which touches the hearts of many souls abroad.

Despite the message carried, the movie is also a feast of striking visuals and songs. Also have used special grafting technique to change skin color of the actor, which is a first of its effort in cinemas, though the achievement is minor, it was an opportunity for a graphic/visuals company of India to take up the challenge and it is heartening to note the success on screen.  Even Hollywood touched zenith only after exploring each and every bit of ideas conceived like the former.

True, the message could have been illustrated in more depths but the movie should also connect to Kandhaswamis and Ramaswamis of India. If it had been Matrix class of reasoning, the movie would have got confined to esteemed film historians table waiting for their approval to be labeled as a classic. In such case, sure it would join the league of satyajit ray’s documentaries in a dark room rather than reaching to the minds of average film-goers in our society. Thus, it is evident why the latter was preferred.

I would rather suggest every nit-picker to appreciate the hard-work gone into making this movie and its role as a contributor to the empowerment of society than cry hoarse. I have no doubt it has raised political awareness of citizens from every league, which in turn is a seed sown.

July 17, 2007 Posted by | Cinemas, Issues | 6 Comments

A Stroll has never been this costly !!!

I was reminded of a Kamal Hassan’s movie, while driving a car he engages in a conversation with the female lead, Madhavi on the topic of men’s versatility over women. Drawn incensed, Madhavi goes on record protesting that women can do anything men could. Kamal wins over the argument with an expected tricky question, Guess you got it? Yes, challenging her whether she dares to walk shirtless in the street, while he could do it easily! She surrenders blushingly.

Well, it was not a triumph for men to have got a versatility of this kind; this particular plot described the man’s immoral way of depicting a woman! Now, if you are inclined with my line of thought and ready to agree with me, hey hold on ……you are wrong…. here walks in our guest, Ms. Jill Coccaro (a) Phoenix Feeley;

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A New York artist arrested by police when she went on a topless stroll two years ago has accepted a $29,000 settlement from the city, her lawyer says.Jill Coccaro, 27, was charged briefly with indecent exposure despite a 1992 state appeals court ruling that concluded women had the right to be topless if men were allowed to take off their shirts.

Coccaro, who now goes by the name Phoenix Feeley, bared her breasts on August 4, 2005.Feeley remained in custody for 12 hours before she was told prosecutors were not going to pursue charges.Her attorney, Jeffrey Rothman, told the Daily News for its Sunday editions that his client won the civil rights settlement from the city, which did not admit or deny wrongdoing.

We hope the police learn a lesson and respect the rights of women to go topless,” Rothman said. Feeley told the New York Post for its Sunday editions that she was not treated well after her arrest. She claimed in an October lawsuit that a police officer yanked her out of a patrol car by her hair and police took her to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

She told the newspaper she had gone bare-breasted after running the 2004 New York marathon without police bothering her.”I’ve always just felt that was something natural,” Feeley said of going topless.

“I’ve kind of always done it out of practicality,” she added.The city settled on June 4.

“I felt like I deserved it,” Feeley said.

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If you could note the lines where her attorney Mr. Rothman asserts that he hoped the police learnt a lesson and starts respecting the rights of women to go topless in the future. I am left puzzled which country’s women he refers to?

July 9, 2007 Posted by | Modern Trendss | Leave a comment

Surprise…. It’s actually greener !

One might have got used to the shrilling voices of ‘Make World Green’ rendered by environmentalists in the recent past. We were told of the ruining nature and how we would face reactions to the hole we drilled on the nature’s cover, with due credit to the idle fiction writers who in fact overhyped the horror story.

But, Bjorn Lomborg has a different insight into the environmental problems and its impact on humanity in the near future.

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The book’s longest, most detailed chapter is on global warming and the Kyoto Treaty. Lomborg agrees that a warming trend is real but says that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change exaggerates the possible threats and present-day proportions of global warming, while neglecting the benefits of more carbon dioxide in the air and warmer nighttime temperatures. These changes would improve agricultural output in the U.S. and China, and make for vast increases in crop production for Canada and Russia. In any event, Lomborg is promoter of solar energy, which he believes will take over from oil as our major energy source in the next 50 years.

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Of course, not denying that the natural cycle is degenerated, and its worsening impact on global warming, but much has been written and spread that we are in lose-lose situation.

July 9, 2007 Posted by | Books/Reviews, Issues, Living, Nature/Environment | Leave a comment

Take Mild! Walk Mile!

I never had a clue even at dusk on last Friday, that I would walk more than a mile before jumping to bed. After having to ride my awful motorbike back home, I thought the first thing I would do was switch on the AC and turn off the senses.

You don’t know how on earth would you start topics on Carnatic Music even in an uncanny state of mind, and then switch gears to technology and later to spiritualism then to pants to trousers to gays to lesbians to Indians to economics to sex to cricket to school to blonde and walk miles unknowingly.

By the time I figured out WTF …. I found myself waking up to the breakfast next day!

The second and third paragraph might look out of sequence! Well, it makes sense if I let you know one word…. Whisky!

July 9, 2007 Posted by | No Disclaimers | Leave a comment

Fedex Claims! Rafa shines!

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Federer, at the key moment in the fifth set, won the game of his opponent’s serve and with that the championship, denying the muscular Spaniard his first grand slam title in Wimbledon.

Sunday afternoon, witnessed one of an incredible game in Grand Slam history, as Nadal almost went on to break Federer’s march towards the fifth straight crown. Nadal was outstanding winning three games in trot to move from 0-3 down to 3-3 level in the first set. It was a breath-taking set, where Federer met Nadal in a tie-breaker, only to elegantly hit the backhand shot and close out the set in his favor.

Both settled in, adding a tally, only on their own serves in the second and third set, second won by Nadal and third set, again fighting in a tie breaker. But the champion clinched the tie-breaker one more time to lead the sets 2-1.

Not losing out, Nadal staged a cameo in the third and fourth set leaving the spectators awestruck. It was purely a magic to see Nadal conquer four straight games breaking two of Federer’s serve and earning a set point, and didn’t let go the set he deserved.

Yes, Nadal in full steam, unbelievably squared level [2-2] to enter the fifth set and ultimately to the clash for championship with his contemporary, Federer.  But much to his disbelief, the champion Federer chipped in with his elegant crosscourt passes to break serve of Nadal for the first time since the first set and fought-off three break points to shut any chances of Nadal, a Victory. With 4-2 in the fifth set, Federer hit 3 straight aces (to his tally of 24-1 against Nadal), cruising to victory and clearly stamping his authority in this argument of who-over-who? Though, there were few unforced errors hit by both players, but Nadal’s at the crucial moment, cost him dear. While closing out the fourth set, Nadal reversed odds and entered the fifth set, but only to be squirmed in agony, as Federer rose like a hungry lion to have his share.

Yet, this was a rare threat to Federer’s legacy on grass where he has won over 50 matches in a row.

It wasn’t a Nadal win though, but clearly he gave Federer a run for his championship and conveyed there are tough times ahead in the upcoming grass court encounters too!

July 9, 2007 Posted by | Tennis | 1 Comment

SARA – Sevenified

On the spiritual note ……

This thought struck me when I was driving few days back…… as my favorite number is 7. Not because I was born on 7th, a Saturday. In spiritual context, the number 7 is attributed to the god VISHNU and also has strong connection to the day, Saturday. More interesting fact, I was named after this God.  This co-incidence had me do a bit of research over the issue and led to more startling revelations.

Continuing the magical note ….

I was named by an old woman who herself was named after the spouse of the same God and was born on 7th which again was a Saturday too [May 7, 1927], the year 1927 which has Saturday as its first day of the year. Now it starts gripping, the lady passed away on a Saturday too in the year 1997.

Add to it, my dad was born on 7th May too. The birth year of my mom is 1949 also has Saturday as its first day of the year much like the 1927 discussed above.

On the educational front …

Significant moments/milestones in my life also followed suit with the same magic. 7 had always been in light throughout the chapters of my life, few of the intriguing stats, the first important examination of my career, the Senior Secondary School Exam was in the academic year 1997, also had too many seven’s in my registration no. and at last I scored 377/500 which again is a percentage of 75. The journey continued on and could you guess what next? Yes, my Higher Secondary examination also had two seven’s in the registration number and of course, my mark was 1117 which had a majors aggregate of 97.37% and engineering cut off mark was 277.77. I completed my college course with 70.7% with most of the 64 papers, in the course curriculum, scores in 70’s.  With due apologies to a friend, of course, I still remember the road accident, in which me and my friend were victimized, while waiting on the platform for bus during the vacation of 7th semester  which confined me to the hospital  bed for 7 days.

On the assets front …

After the completion of college, from the start of the year 2004, I attended recruitment event of 6 companies, only to end up on losing side every time. The 7th one was successful and I worked there for 2.7 years. Decided to hop, I attended 6 company’s teleinterviews with few of them successful, but I rejected them for other reasons. I attempted one more, which I thought would be my last try and would be off the hunt for a while, but surprise the 7th company clicked. Of course, all this 7 attempts are in this year, 2007. Not to forget, my employee ID in both the companies carried the number 7. My bank account carries couple of 7’s and my credit card carried three 7’s. My PAN card carries a 7. My bike number starts with 7, of course I am not talking about the seven which is in TN-07 – Chennai Registration.

Although in life, seven wives or seven lakhs overdue amount or seven attempts for any important activity are not desirable, as seven intervenes frequently.

On the astrological front

Last year, I visited an astrologer who was peculiar in many a ways, was straight asking me the chapters of life I am curious to know about. The discussion then carried on for the next few hours where to my horror he was correct saying that I had a sister who died as an infant born in 1977, then on reaching a specific chapter, he requested me to visit a temple on every Saturday for the next 2 years, anyway which I was doing even before. Also, when I sought answers for my life expectancy, I was told my life would end on a 7th which would be a Saturday and the year also had a 7 to it. Now don’t get into the integrity of the facts presented by the astrologer/astrology, I added this piece of news for a mere relevance to 7.

Not mere the fetish of 7 …….

Looks… I am hooked to this number, but can’t stop comparing the striking similarities, as the number is also in sync with the notion of Saturday and God Vishnu. However, most striking, is the fact that I am born and brought up all these years (except for the absence of 2 years) in the place called Triplicane which is revered as one among the 64 Dhivya Dheshams [Sacred Places] of Vaishnavites [Worshippers of Vishnu]with the presence of Parthasarathi Temple built in 8th century.  Starting with the birth on 7th Saturday, seems to connect too many similarities on its way to the presaged death on 7th Saturday, although strongly not desired.

07-07-07 à the day tomorrow

For me, the dawn of tomorrow is not just marked by the allure 07-07-07 or its rare occurrence, but for the fascinating/worrying fact that the triple 7 would shake hands again with a

SATURDAY.

Ideally, I would like 7 be reserved to bring pleasant visuals in my living than being a poignant image in my mind. As there are few combos of them which had accompanied distasteful moments in my life earlier, I don’t know whether I should smile towards the east or towards the west, the day tomorrow.

July 6, 2007 Posted by | No Disclaimers | 3 Comments