February 23, 2010

Strikes the right chords

Carrom. yawn...
That's how we shrug off a game that was once considered equal to other biggies like chess and table tennis. We're all too busy with playstation controllers and wiimotes these days. In 1994 kalpakkam, Dad would take me to the library where I used to slip off into the adjoining rooms to watch the click-clack of Carrom. It didn't make much sense but I enjoyed it anyway.

Striker revisits the good old days of carrom and seamlessly mixes it with another issue from the other end of the spectrum- violence, the riots, the communal tension.

The story is set in Malvani- a ghetto like suburb in Mumbai...wait Bombay. The non-linear story shows the protaganist Siddharth(as Surya) as a grown up 20-something as well as his troubled childhood days. What's striking(pun not intended) is the use of very real locations and environments and the 80s feel is spot on.

Siddharth's character loses his hard earned money in a Dubai scam and is unwillingly forced into the dark world of carrom betting thanks to his friend Zayed played by 'Maman' Ankur Vikal. Ankur has earned rave reviews for his performance and truly... he is remarkable.

The riots are shown in a passive way which implies the focus is on Carrom, right? Wrong. The director chooses to show us human emotions and tension and nothing of the real game is shown. Carrom has it's moves and tricks; Showing one or two wouldn't have hurt.

Then there is this underwhelming love story involving Nicolette "Noorie" Bird that ends all too abruptly. The next one- more of a sub plot, is about a fisherwoman played by Padma Priya. It has been compared with an Anil Kapoor movie of the early nineties. Not very useful here, in the context.

Vidya Malvade plays Siddharth's sister and her retorts in fluent Marathi kinda make up for Siddharth's
no-ledge of the language. I don't know the other characters...wait...there's Aditya Panscholi! This movie must be like Saturday Night Fever for our desi John Travolta. He looks good.

This movie is dark, visceral and fun. No duets, no crazy stunts, no emo overdose.
Just what I like.

(Image source: santabanta.com)

February 21, 2010

For bookworms: Abids on Sunday

Yet another lazy sunday I thought as I rolled around in bed trying to get some more precious sleep. Then it hit me that I was to go to the Abids book market to get some books for my little cousins. I had my own magazine shopping to do not to mention few odd novels too. Sunday being sunday, I dozed off again and woke to the shrill of a nearby generator at 12:00 P.M
All was not lost and I was off with Razzu in half an hour; the auto journey was a breeze.

The book market is spread along the whole stretch of Abids road from Chermas upto MPM mall(Big Bazaar). All kinds of books, from children's study books, guides, travelogues to novels are available here. The best sellers like Twilight and the Harry Potter books are sold like hot cakes. Though low on cost, they compromise on quality and one might end up with a totally ruined copy if not careful.

Costs range from Rs 5 to outright 5000! A thumb rule I follow- I never buy anythng above 150. There are other ways to get good books ;-)
Novels are sold depending on the author. A Frederick Forsyth or Ludlum novel costs no less than 100. Same with other writers like Robin Cook or Crichton. Crime thrillers can be had for Rs50 to Rs70 Magazines can be bought for Rs20 max. Some design magazines may cost more. It is important to check the release date of the mag. Since I buy computer mags, anything older than one year is useless.

The complex with the Hollywood footwear store is the place to go for exotic titles. Design books and other titles such as watercolor painting, interior decoration are sold here at outrageous(atleast for me) prices here. I saw one guy paying 1k for a very slim book. Ebay dude!!!

One thing to remember while going book hunting is to get it done before noon. the afternoon sun can be very harsh and there is nothing overhead for protection. Evening shopping is good too, but the good titles would be gone by then...

One more thing is to keep one's cool when dealing with rude shopkeepers. As I said before, Hyderabad was never good at hospitality, It's all bluff.

At the end of the book market is a nice little 'bandi' offering Nimbu paani; A choice of a 'normal' glass or 'disposable' glass is offered. The juice helps restore all lost salts.
I never give it a miss.

February 16, 2010

Handheld-tablet crossover

I'd brought in my cousin's Fujitu mini tablet a few days ago to fix a minor software glitch. It's pretty slick and compact and is powered by an Atom processor and has a small(5 inch I guess) touch screen for display. It is an attempt by Fujitsu to make a device that'd make heads turn. The small keyboard is unsuitable for both hands and too big for thumb typing(and hence one PITA).

Howewer it is great for sketching as is evident from the below pics. Other uses include showing off and using it as a photo frame(with a webcam to capture video!)


Tantrix by TasteXperience from ASOT 443. great track

February 10, 2010

in ink...

Some of my works in felt tip ink. I'm new to this too.... and hence the uneven borders.

February 9, 2010

I'm free now!

Exam : Software testing and methodologies

I had more than 6 months to study for this exam. I missed the first attempt due to an illness which frankly was not that bad at all. I was exhausted by the previous five exams and a day at the hospital killed any interest I had in the already stale subject. Preparation was pathetic as ever, but a couple of revisions gave me confidence today. I started at 10:30 by RTC. I was there at about 12:30, had a 5 star
crunchy for lunch, and slipped back into study mode.

Sitting in a 'supplimentary' hall was all new for me. I scanned through the question paper and started writing, relieved it was easy. A good 20 minutes into the exam, I heard our invigilator slowly whisper "now", what I saw next baffled me totally. There was activity everywhere. One guy pulled out a micro xerox from his socks. One dude used and promptly chewed up his. I counted the the ones that didn't have chits on
them. There were just three. So much for my efforts!

I wrote 5 out of 5 without any help. I was out by 4:40

February 6, 2010

First photoshop uploads

My last 'peace, if you can keep it' T-shirt was designed by Sayeed bhaiya and I got a far bit compliments for it. He's designed some more for bulk printing and suggested I do some too!

I've done some rough, colorful stuff on Microsoft Paint any kid could replicate. So I tried my hand at Photoshop. I've used it for photo manipulation before but never for graphic art.

The theme is Islam actually, and how it preaches non-violence and brotherhood(and I don't speak of those  radical nitwits who're hell bent on proving otherwise). I was really apprehensive about doing stuff that might raise eyebrows but hell, this is my blog, right? Here are some of my designs. I'm still getting a hang of things so they're pretty amateur.

February 5, 2010

First Aid first

A typical indian scenario. A guy's just had an accident, he's lying injured bleeding to death. There are people
all around him. They watch in "horror" as life drains out of him. As if the whole ordeal weren't tragic
enough, the dying man now has an audience!
Let's face it, we're pathetic when it comes to helping others, we're too 'busy' with our own problems.But
basic first aid is something that needs acute focus because, apart from being really liberal when it comes to
safety(read construction sites); our society is also blessed with an almost inhuman indifference. Help and
then expect help, people!

First Aid is no rocket science. A basic knowledge of human anatomy and some common sense goes a long
way. Dad has been pushing me to attend a first aid certification course somewhere near Koti, which I
conveniently ignored- until now. I'm going soon. And heads up IT geeks who think they're clear- A
certification looks good in a resume too!

Some basics
The most basic and fundamental premise of first aid is to preserve life, Secondary objectives include
preventing further harm and promoting recovery.
The mnemonic ABC can be used as a first step in the process.

Airway - check the airway for any obstructing particles. During unconsciousness the tongue usually slips
back into the throat causing asphyxia. This can be restored by tilting the head backwards while keeping the
body horizontal.

Breathing - Adequacy of breathing is checked. CPR(Cardiopulmonary resuscitation ) maybe be given in case of no breathing. A pointer- adequate training is required for this procedure and as shown in movies, it's not always the cheeky hero-on-heroine CPR.

Circulation - This involves cuts and bruises and gauging the level of emergency by the nature of the cut. A
wound that bleeds for more then 10 minutes requires immediate medical attention.

If a full fledged training is still a long shot, one reading of a basic FA book is good enough.
Accidents are part of life. they can happen anywhere and anytime. the presence of a well trained or atleast
sensible person can help save precious lives. Dad once saved a guy from eloctrocution by an exposed wire
by throwing a haysack at him, the force knocking him down, breaking contact with the fatal wire!

One may be no pro in first aid but there is no harm in taking necessary precautions to avoid such a situation
in the first place.

- A list of emergency numbers in wallet. As I said, anything can happen to anyone and it pays to have a list
  of important numbers in pocket.

- Some essential meds in bag. A strip of Vertin helped me through an exam one day when an extreme bout
  of vertigo took over me.

- I know this may sound funny but one should usually try and avoid the first few rows in a bus. Statistics
   have proven most casualties in bus accidents happen to be from the first rows. It helps to be careful, isn't it?

- Touch wet switches with the back of the hand. By reflex, fingers tend to clasp in during a sudden
   electrocution. In case of an electrical wire or switch, this is a really bad thing to happen. Hence by using the
   back of the hand, the reflex is directed away from point of contact.

- I think I was in 9th class when Dad taught me a simple way to remember the types of fire extinguishers.


OLD - Class A - for Ordinary fires including combustible things like wood, paper etc

LADY- Class B - for Liquid fires including gasoline, kerosene and the like.

GENERAL- Class C - G here stands for non-conductive(maybe gas) substances. It is used for electrical fires.

MANAGER- Class D - M for metals. This type is usually used in chemical laboratories for fires invloving
combustible metals.

- Heights: A student at my brother's college slipped off the railing and fell three floors to his death. He was
  leaning on the edge when his leg slipped on a small puddle of water. Common sense and a sense of safety is
  important for self preservation. One guy got his head chopped off at a leth machine because he'd miscalculated it's height from ground. gross!

Common sense and a fair bit of luck(sometimes even first aid is of no use) can get us through life.




February 1, 2010

My first Blog-it post!

Writing full details of day to day events has now become boring!(and I'm not into twitter).What better way to say it short and simple than with Post-it notes? Post-its are intended for planning for the future. Now let's use it post events and stuff.

Couple of days ago my uncle collapsed due to high blood pressure and was hospitalised at Yashoda Malakpet. By the grace of god, he is recovering now and his condition is stable.