Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rainy days and Indoor Fun

On a rainy day when we were forced to sit indoors, we decided to play anthakshari.

It was my cousin’s turn to sing with ‘Ka’ as the staring letter (It was Malayalam)

He sang in tune with no second thoughts

Karutha penne… karinkuzhalee
Ninakoruthan…

And then he forgot what the next word was, and started repeating the earlier lines all the while thinking hard for the next word was so as to complete the line

He went on

Karutha penne… karinkuzhalee
Ninakoruthan…

After a pause, he sang with the same tone and with a straight face..

‘Muttayittu’

We were stunned.. after a couple of seconds, we were rolling on the floor laughing.

Oh my!

Karutha penne… karinkuzhalee
Ninakoruthan…muttayittu

(Rough translation : O Black beauty, your beloved has laid egg for you !! “)

The same cousin and another rainy day; this time it was not Anthakshari. We decided to play an intelligent game. “Name, Place Thing”, as we called it.

It was like, we select an English alphabet, by lot, and then write down a name, a place , an animal, and a thing (object) beginning with the chosen alphabet as the first letter. We made an inclusion to it, and decided, we will write down a cinema name also. To illustrate: incase the alphabet selected is say B, then we need to write down a name (Benny), a place (Barcelona) a thing (Bat), an animal (Bat) and a cinema (Boeing Boeing) using the letter B. The participants are expected to read out the words they have written, and the catch is the words need to be unique and if any two of them have written a similar word, that gets 5 points, else 10 points.

So we were participating in full swing and the chosen alphabet was ‘H’. We started reading aloud and we were waiting for my cousin to read out his set of words. He read ‘Harikrishnan, Haridwar, Hammer, Human Being and Hente Kaanakuyil’

Needless to say, we bursted out laughing again.

Wondering why? Not because he mentioned ‘Human Being’ to be an animal which was OK, but the movie he meant was ‘Ente kaanakuyil’. He added the special emphasis to suit the ‘H’ and made it ‘Hente kaanakuyil’ !

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Of thesis and reports

How many of you really read a thesis or an academic project report? I have attempted few out of sheer interest in the topic, but frankly, I couldn’t read anything more than a couple of pages. Don’t you think it is so every irritating to read them, with all those superscript asterisks and numbers and all sort of funny notations which silently says “ Hey there, now stop reading this and bring your eyes to the bottom of this page, if you ever want to make heads and tails out of what follows”. Now we take a detour to the bottom of the page, printed in the finest of the prints or worse to the end of the chapter or even worse to the so called Appendix, get that clarified and get back to where we left.
By the time we get back we lose track of what ever we read and we might need to start from the previous paragraph.
This continues more or less like a cycle (like the infinite IF..THEN loop), until we finally get what the author means with the help of those references. These footnotes occupy about one fourth (if not more) of the page. When we proceed to the next page, after an hours struggle with the current one, there will be a reference to the Fig 2.1.4 (a). Now we will have to halt there and search for that horrible figure which might be in any of the pages. Same with the Table 1.34.4 and Illustration 17(w). The next sentence says ‘ As already mentioned in Chapter 2, Page 3, Sentence 14..’, which takes us to the said sentence and make us get back. Incase if the reader is still awake, there comes another reference in form of a superscript numeral, which makes us sift few pages to the end of the section.

By the time you finish the first few chapters, you would not be wondering how did you manage to pull out few strands of your own hair.

Seriously, if the real intention behind a research is sharing the newly found knowledge and for the benefit of he majority of the society, why on earth can’t it be in simple language? Why do academicians want to insist on following the above fashion? Mostly because, “Well, it has been always done this way”.
On second thought, may be those reports are made in such a way that only the deeply dedicated and genuinely interested people go through it completely, and still be sane.

Don’t you think this need some refinement and make it more readable?

With the advent of putting up research papers on the Internet as web pages, this could be reduced to a great extend. Those horrendous detour symbols can be replaced by hyperlinks, which could also have some pop-up (like a tool tip) on hovering the mouse over the link. Long live www.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The career fixation crisis

“A drastic shift appears in everyone’s career somewhere between 5 and 15 years of tenure (let’s say X)- a shift which forces her to toss away her (mostly well paying) job and look out for a career which offers better satisfaction. Some follows their heart and be successful in their own way, while others who decide to continue with their line of job, would most certainly leave by the time they reach double the tenure (2X) or will be sacked by then”

- her to be replaced with his wherever necessary. I am not responsible for difference of opinions regarding the gender differences in the above hypothesis.
- the figures are on an average. This could as well range between 2-12 or 4-14 for that matter

Wow! Did I just speak my mind?

Remember : You read it here first. Now don’t blame me if you have to teach this to your kids when this gets printed in one of those management books. :-p

My experiments with theatre

I was reading this blog and tripped over the mention of Dr. Faustus. I quickly fell down a cozy velvet cushion called memory and it took me back to my school days. There was a reason. I enacted Dr. Faustus in the drama for our school day. Little did I knew about the character or the storyline then, but today wiki says Dr.Faustus is (was) a significant character in the world of drama.

Well at the na├»ve high school level enacting a drama means bunking classes with permission and off to rehearsals. It feels so good when some odd person come and asks for me for drama practice. And all eyes would fall on me and I would royally walk out from the class, amidst the envious looks of my classmates. Well, it was very few in our class who regularly got summoned for drama rehearsals during the class. The directors of the drama (the teachers in respective languages – English, Hindi and Tamil. No we never had a Malayalam drama for the School day), considers me to be a good actor and I would totally enjoy when teachers would bargain and fight for some of the people (including the humble me) for their drama. It would typically go like this

English Teacher : Hey, this time we need Albi
Hindi Teacher : No way, I have made a role keeping him in mind.
Tamil Teacher : Hello.. Albi was there in English drama last year, remember. He will be with me this time.

And the argument continues. Well as far as I was concerned, first come first serve.

The first time I got into drama was while at 4th grade. That was by accident though. I was this super thrilled to be in drama and went on to witness a drama (Tamil) rehearsal during one of the holidays. A guy who was enacting a small role couldn’t do it as the teacher (director) expected it to be. Not sure how, but somehow I stepped in and said ‘ Hey, I will show you how to do that’ and I did it. Teacher was expressively happy and she suggested me to take up the role. No, that guy wasn’t abandoned – he was given another role which he played well (His role had no dialogues nor enactment, just to be on the sides with his spear :-p). Ok, so that was my first ‘drama’tic moment. Before becoming an actor, I had written a script too. The first script I had written for a drama was when I was at 4th grade again. That was something about Gandhiji’s salt satyagraha. But that never appeared in the limelight. Some other scripts I wrote was enacted not in school. But in my neighbourhood, with some of my friends. We used to have regular rehearsals and costumes, although there were no audience.

Later when at 5th (or so I think) I along with 2 other friends directed and enacted a 10 minute comedy mime. That went on to be a big hit. On a sidenote we were the second most seniors in the school, and while we were at 5th grade the maximum our school had was 6, and when we were at 6th, the maximum was 7 and so on. So most of the audience were junior kids who laughed their guts out seeing our silly mute shows (slapstick comedy). We (me and 2 friends) almost were a brand, that we were approached by representatives of various literary associations of our school to perform shows. Some of which we did (I could recollect and Doordarshan Show, News reading and some other miscellaneous comedies, which were mostly modified version of something we had seen in some movies or so). What more I was even asked to create a script for a comedy show for some other school !. I was just flying.

Lots more dramas, mimes, declamations, flower-arrangements, fancy dresses and elocutions later, it was time for my final drama at school. That was the most enjoyable and saddening one. Enjoyable because we got some of the ‘best actors’ of the school in that drama and being with them was a great experience; sad because that was my last play at that school (They admitted no boys for 11th and 12th grade). I was all thrilled for the drama because I played the main role. And that was Dr. Faustus. Oh my! we had so great moments of our life during the rehearsals.

I would cry aloud when teachers (directors) wanted Dr. Faustus to cry that once our ayah came running wondering what happened. We had to memorise dialogues (not only ours, but others' also). Mine were the lengthiest, and I remember me memorizing the dialogues for nights together. My parents were very supportive and never asked me to concentrate on studies (although it was my public exams that year). I had monologues which went on for 5-6 minutes. It was real fun learning it by heart and expressing it with the right emotions. I also remember one of my friends who was playing a significant role in the drama got affected by chicken pox a week before our final play, and we had to run around to find a replacement and teach the person all the dialogues. Boy, it was fun.
Oh how much I enjoyed.

Given the right push, would I have seen my name written on the silver screen?
Alas! creativity has taken a back seat in this big money-chasing world. Sigh!.. some day.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Only Abuse

In this part of the geographic area where I am currently, people use almost all sentences ending with ‘only’. Wonder if ‘only’ has a different meaning in here.

“ I missed my bus yaar, I came by auto only”

Err.. ok, but why do you want an ‘only’ to support the above sentence?.

“ That is nice, you need not have to worry about rain only”, told my colleague, when I told her I have an umbrella, just in case if it rains.

“ Oh yeah, I knew about her engagement through facebook only”

Am I missing something or growing too old?

Anyways, I am posting this only.

Friday, July 2, 2010

When else do I?

When I was 3, when I talked aloud and laughed and played, all said, ‘Stop that now, once you go to school, you will have lots of friends to play. Now don’t shout’

When I was 5, when I talked aloud and laughed and played, all said, ‘Stop that now, once you go back home in the evening, you can play’

When I was 7, when I talked aloud and laughed and played, all said, ‘Stop that now, did you finish your homework?’

When I was 9, when I talked aloud and laughed and played, all said, ‘Stop that now, can’t you see we are watching news’

When I was 11, when I talked aloud and laughed and played, all said, ‘Stop that now, look at your brother, see how quiet he is’

When I was 13, when I talked aloud and laughed and played, all said, ‘Stop that now, you’re now grown up, and don’t fool around’

When I was 15, when I talked aloud and laughed and played, all said, ‘Stop that now, did you learn for your board exams?’

When I was 17, when I talked aloud and laughed and played, all said, ‘Stop that now, you people need to be role models for the juniors’

When I was 19, when I talked aloud and laughed and played, all said, ‘Stop that now, is this the age to play around, when you’re in the college?’

When I was 21, when I talked aloud and laughed and played, all said, ‘Stop that now, Now that you have got the offer from that MNC, behave responsibly’

When I was 23, when I talked aloud and laughed and played, all said, ‘Ah ! he was such a nice boy. Pity, that his happened to him’

Then I did not talk aloud, laugh or play.

But people, please tell me, when do I talk aloud, laugh and play?