Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The koward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!"
                     oscar wilde , the ballad of reading gaol

When was the last that I thought of you...I know not...but am I the one who goes alone on this path...and should I but care only a little for the souls that follow or those as march ahead?

Mode C is a way of life, perhaps my way of life: C for Cool, C for Cold, C for Chaos, C for Calvin. Ultimately, all of it boils down to the way you look at things. Are they not how they are but just how they appear?? No...and yes...Almost all the seriously critical fundamental concepts of life...aren't they just the bogies under Calvin's bed that he is afraid of? Miss Wormwood, Susie, Mom and Dad, and of course above all, Hobbes...aren't they all merely the means that he uses to attack these bogies?

Reflecting on 'living the Calvin way', I have started to believe that life and our reaction to it can only be explained by a number of Calvin and Hobbes strips combined together. The philosophy, as I like to call it, is to know that you are not alone. It is not just my perspective alone that is going to help me fight my bogies. I will be able to inch towards the Calvin way only when I perceive the other perspectives on my way.

<< May 2004 >>
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My Past
Loyola High School Patna
Delhi Public School RK Puram
Institute of Technology BHU
Infosys Technologies Ltd
IIM Kozhikode

My Present
Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd.

My Future
My Life

Project Nanhi Kali for the girl child

Movie Reviews at Mode C

Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna
Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire
Batman Begins
War of the Worlds
Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Bunty aur Babli
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
Veer Zaara
Phir Milenge
Kyun! Ho Gaya Na
Mujhse Shaadi Karogi
Spider Man 2
Main Hoon Na

Book Reviews at Mode C

Stay Hungry Stay Foolish
The Inscrutable Americans
Harry Potter - Half-Blood Prince
The Monk who sold his Ferrari
Angels and Demons
Life of Pi
The Da Vinci Code
The Tristan Betrayal

IIM Kozhikode Bloggers

Abhinav (Class of '05)
Aditya (Class of '06)
Alok (Class of '05)
Alok (Class of '09)
Ananya (Class of '08)
Andromeda (Class of '08)
Amit G (Class of '07)
Beena (Class of '08)
Chirantan (Class of '08)
DAR (Class of '07)
Deepak (Class of '05)
Dhananjay (Class of '05)
Divya (Class of '05)
Divyabhanu (Class of '07)
Firdaus (Class of '07)
Harsh (Class of '08)
Hemant (Class of '05)
Hitesh (Class of '08)
IIMK Photo Blog
Jayesh (Class of '08)
Kanav (Class of '06)
Karan (Class of '05)
Narayanan (Class of '07)
Manandeep (Class of '08)
Meren (Class of '06)
Nilanjan (Class of '06)
Paromita (Class of '07)
Pragna (Class of '03)
Pranay (Class of '06)
Prashant D (Class of '05)
Prashant JK (Class of '06)
Pratik (Class of '07)
Priya (Class of '06)
Rahul (Class of '08)
Ramesh (Class of '06)
Ridhi (Class of '07)
Ronald (Class of '05)
Saurabh (Class of '08)
Sheeba (Class of '07)
Shrikanth (Class of '08)
Sriram (Class of '07)
Suma (Class of '07)
Sumit (Class of '06)
Surabhi (Class of '06)
Surya (Class of '08)
Tity (Class of '05)
Vivek (Class of '09)
Yash (Class of '06)

Other B-school Bloggers

Chandoo (IIM Indore, Class of '06)
Nishith (IIM Lucknow, Class of '06)
Ravi (IIM Ahmedabad, Class of '06)
Shashank (IIM Calcutta, Class of '05)
Sidin (IIM Ahmedabad, Class of '05)

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A walk in the clouds
Bollywood Blog
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Sepia Mutiny
The Movie Blog
Youth Curry

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All pictures and names concerning Calvin and Hobbes are copyright Bill Watterson

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Sunday, May 09, 2004
Main Hoon Entertainer...hoon na?

In a race between a manually driven Rickshaw and a Toyota Qualis, how is it humanly possible for the Rickshaw puller to win? Are matters of national security dependent on the whims of the daughter (in saying that she does not want any security for herself) of the Chief of Army Staff? In a hostage operation masterminded by a terrorist who has been able to develop a sizable army of his own, how can the hostages be rescued by killing/over-powering just three or four of the kidnappers?

If you are not bothered by the above questions and like me, think that these are issues for those with more sophistication up there in the grey cells, Main Hoon Na is just the movie for you. The movie is every bit an entertainer that it has been touted as. Right from the action scenes (with some good stunts and effects) to the comic relief (the campus scenes, especially the initial rivalry between the two heroes) and not to forget the excellent romantic chemistry between the lead players (by the way, Sushmita Sen essays the role of an amazingly good looking and distractive chemistry teacher) are simply too good.

Contrary to reports, however, Shah Rukh Khan is not much of a revelation. Having heard that he has come out of the Mohabbatein type mould for this movie, the movie viewer may expect something new and refreshing but unfortunately, that is not the case. Just by making the 'King' Khan jump and hit the villain a few kicks in the butt, does not really change the complexion of his character. He is still the same old Khan, suave and self-important, confident and yet a bundle of nerves: overall yet another decent representation of what he has grown into, as an actor, over the past few years.

As for the other actors, in my personal opinion, they are not wasted, as is the case in so many of other SRK movies. The frames do have something more than SRK at times, even though he does occupy center stage for most of the movie. Zayed Khan is good, and so is Amrita Rao, coming across as a girl full of pep. She does look good, especially in the scene where she has taken beauty tips from Sushmita. And believe me guys, Sushmita Sen does look ravishing. In fact, I had to look at her with a new eye for this movie (not that my two eyes were not sufficient but you know what I mean, don't you?) Rest of the cast has small but good cameos in which they have all entertained, to some extent or the other. The role of Boman Iraani could have been a little more detailed to add to the fun. Hey, did I forget to mention Sunil Shetty? Oof, how I wish that this guy had a little more of a really amazes me no end how a voice like that can gel with the body that he has..but perhaps, people would have wondered years ago how a body like Amitabh's could gel with the voice like his.

Story wise, Main Hoon Na comes across as nothing different from the run-of-the-mill stuff. Archie's Riverdale School is brought alive in St.Paul's, Darjeeling, but that is not all. There is a parallel thread that talks about the Project Milaap, a friendly gesture of the Indian Government towards Pakistan which is being opposed by some terrorists, Raghavan (Suniel Shetty) being one of them. To stop the project, he plans to abduct Sanjana (Amrita Rao), the daughter of the Chief of Army Staff (Kabir Bedi). Major Ram (SRK) is sent back to college to complete his graduation (actually to protect The General's Daughter :-) ). If you are ready to believe that the army can not force security upon one citizen just because she (read Sanjana) hates her daddy and can not stand the sight of Army people around her, you may as well believe the rest of the story. SRK enters college, woos everyone (including the new Chemistry teacher who looks like a million bucks..oops, there I go again), and also, is able to find and placate his estranged step mother and step brother. Manmohan Desai rekindled, what? Add to that the climax where the Major just leaves his post (yeah, just like that, without informing any senior officers) because he is kicked out of his home by his step mom and bro. This gives free way to the villain who now kidnaps not just the General's daughter but the entire college (surprising to see so few people in the college, though). But truth triumphs, finally and everybody lives happily ever after.

After viewing the movie in one of Chennai's multiplexes (renovated recently), my personal feeling was that it is a value for money kind of a thing. If you don't have too many expectations with the movie, it will be a treat but if you go in thinking too much, you will be in for a rude shock. But I guess that is true for any Hindi movie and I should know, considering that I come to like any flick any time any where and there are hardly a score of movies which I have seen and yet did not finally come to like :-).

And last but not the least, one of the best things about Main Hoon Na was its end credits. I have never seen such credits on the Hindi Cinema Screen. Well, a lot of movies end with songs but hardly have any attempted to give recognition to the technical staff, that go behind a good movie, in such a beautiful way. Accept it or not, when we watch a movie, the names and faces that linger even after the movie, are not those of the director or the choreographer (despite high profile names like Ram Gopal Verma and Farah Khan, herself). What we see on screen is what we recognize and really appreciate and the way Farah Khan has got everyone on her team on stage, in the lime light, is truly commendable and hopefully, a trend setter.

Posted at 02:11 pm by Nitai

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Friday, May 07, 2004 I Come

What a day, what a day, and even if I repeat myself yet again, what a day...because it has been exactly that...what a day. I got through IIM Kozhikode first list and am all set to join the hallowed portals of an IIM in about two months from now. It is a strange feeling, refusing to sink in even now, though it has already been hours after the result came on the net today morning. I guess the best part was the surprise package that the IIMS threw. Only the results of IIMs Bangalore and Lucknow were expected to be released today but surprisingly, all the IIMs came out with their results and it was a riot. With results pouring in every half an hour, I had a hard time waiting. And then I got a call from my room-mate, Puneet, telling me that K results have come. (He made it to L though he missed out on B and K) I was so apprehensive that I almost stopped myself from opening the site but with all my colleagues looking from their desks in the cubicle, I finally dared to enter my registration number on the results page. And lo and behold! there it was. Congratulations! and that was all I needed. I almost whooped up ..well not almost..did really whoop up with joy and in a matter of seconds, half of my wing knew that there was something good that had happened with somebody in the corner cubicle.

Ravi, one of the people in my project, got through IIMs A,B, L and K and missed only C (which he could not convert) and I (for which he did not have a call). Well, that's what I call quality, but no, I am not cribbing. I am happy and satisfied with what has been given to me and I am sure that I have it in me to make the most of this and not only have a blast at IIMK but also make my stay there very, very fruitful. High hopes, eh? What say, seniors???

Posted at 05:35 pm by Nitai

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Thursday, May 06, 2004
Responsibility to what? To whom?

With great power comes great responsibility...that's what Peter Parker's Uncle Ben told him hours before he was shot by a robber. It did not take long for Peter to ask the obvious question: Responsibility to what? To whom? I guess he got the answer, too. He transformed into the messiah of the downtrodden and avenger of the common man, a character we all know as SpiderMan. I was just wondering, however, if it is all related to comics and the world of make-believe alone. Can we really try to ignore such things in our practical life and still be able to live with it? I learnt the hard way that we can not.

Infosys is certainly a strange place to work in. Perhaps it is not just Infosys (to be fair), but all other software (or even other) companies as well. Regardless, the amount of power wielding and the yielding to power that you see in Infosys is surely something that has opened my eyes and opened them wide. There is a hierarchy at the work place that is invisible and yet very potent. You can go into your boss's cabin any time of the day but you can not really say something first and think later. Your boss can come and say something to you and even though you want to protest and say 'No' to him in an assertive way (as taught in so many of those mundane HR Lectures), you can not really do so. At the back of your mind, you know that his demand of your time is reasonably fair, considering that you are hardly doing anything for the project for which you are currently being billed. But after you have said the 'Yes' to him and come back to your desk, all defeated and pensive, you seem to realize that you have just agreed to work for free!

I guess that this is what they call life and its compromises. I know I sound a little too melodramatic but that's the way I am feeling right now. The fact that the new project, to which I do not belong and yet have to 'help', is a documentation project does not help either..

Posted at 04:27 pm by Nitai

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Wednesday, May 05, 2004
Lord of the Rings vis-a-vis Harry Potter

If some people told you that Harry Potter is in the same league as, or even close to, Lord of the Rings, they could not have been more wrong. The above two books belong to two completely different genres. While Harry Potter novels by JK Rowling are modern and cater to the taste of the kids with a 'taste', Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien speaks more about the origin of civilization itself and is more for people who are grown up and yet retain the child in them.

The exploits of Potter, Ron and Hermione take the readers through to the lands where things are still imaginable and, agree to me or not, somewhat believable. You may not have seen a wizard but you may still have heard stories about them. Your grand mother may have told you all about the witches that you ever need to know. The nursery rhyme book may have had a poem or two about the magic wands and the magic potions. The point is that though the treatment of the subject in Harry Potter novels is different, the subject itself is not new, not at least to any of the kids of this generation or to our parents' generation either (which is why Harry Potter is a hit not only amongst kids). In the Potter stories, if you have the Hogwarts School of Wizardry where the protagonist Potter goes to study with his friends Hermione and Ron, you also have the Charing Cross station of London. If you have Voldemort, the dark lord and villain of Potter novels, you also have Dudley, Potter's muggle (non-magical) cousin. The point again is that Harry Potter works are still within the grasp of even the intellectually less endowed ones.

Lord of the Rings, is different, even if subtly so. The characters are such that you may have never heard of. In fact, the story deals little with the history and nature of wizards, despite the story revolving around Gandalf, one of the five wizards that the book gives credence to. Similarly, the characters that are the most important to the story line, Frodo, Bilbo et al belong to a race (can I call them a race, I think not...they are more of an entity) called Hobbits. I bet you don't know a thing about hobbits if you haven't read the book or not seen any of the three movies. As I said, they are a different entity and very, very old...well not as old as elves perhaps :-). If you really want to know their history or background, you have to read the entire 50 page prologue before you actually start reading the 1100 page epic. Not only is this race new, they have a different calendar of their own. As if this was not enough to prove the extent of imagination that Tolkien has tried to create in the reader's mind, there are also the elves, dwarfs and orcs (another new entity you may be unaware of). Tolkein provides the readers a platform on which they can choose to go ahead and develop further on their idea of an elf or a dwarf, or even an orc or hobbit for that matter. The reader, however, must have the intelligence and the patience to go along with Tolkien's story at a pre-decided pace and not jump the gun. The characters and their natures are revealed as and when the reader encounters them. You get to know that elves are fond of singing songs, and when you go ahead, you are also told that they are the friends of trees. There is a concept of heaven which is so much different from what we think. Heaven, for the characters of Lord of the Rings, is not beyond the sky, It is beyond the sea, and yes, you can sail to the heavens in your ship...but only if you have the necessary permissions.

The four novels featuring Harry Potter have a distinctly homogenous line which the author seems to religiously follow. There is Harry, the orphan and hero, and there is Voldemort, the villain, who killed Harry's parents when Harry was just a kid. There are people at both the sides aplenty. The dark side is amply provided with villains who want the dark Lord, Voldemort to rise again and vanquish the enemies of darkness. At Harry' side however is Professor Dumbledore, the greatest wizard of the age and Voldemort's sworn enemy (also his teacher, when Voldemort was at school). Harry goes to study at Hogwarts School of Wizardry with his friends, Ron and Hermione (a muggle or non-magical person). All the days of Harry are full of some adventure or other at the school. This adventure may be a game of Quidditch (this one takes Harry Potter close to the Lord of the Rings for its utter innovation and freshness), a special game that wizards play which is quite similar to and yet different from rugby, if played in the air. The adventure may as well be trying to beat the evil designs of the Malfoys, father and son, who are always plotting against Harry and Dumbledore. However, all these breaks from the story notwithstanding, the author does keep track of the main theme, which is to show the fight between good and evil, something as simple as that and something that can be digested by old and young alike. When Voldemort tried to kill Harry even before the first novel, when he had actually killed Harry's parents, he had been reduced to nothingness (I hope I am using the correct word) while Harry escaped with just a scar. But the truth is that like evil, Voldemort never goes away. He keeps on coming back in all Potter novels in different forms and in the latest, Order of the Phoenix, he has returned to power yet again. But as expected, Harry and his team are able to beat Voldemort every time...just to encounter him yet again a little later.

Lord of the Rings, on the other hand does go in for a different approach. It is not that the book does not have a central theme. The struggle between good and evil is a theme here, too. But the story offers much more than the childish pranks and thrills of Quidditch. The story goes into the lives of elves and dwarfs and kings every now and then. As if the story line was not enough, the author has also provided a brief history of the different entities in the appendix. The story begins with Bilbo Baggins' adventures where he comes across and possesses a ring, among other treasures. This ring is special and makes the person who wears it invisible. But this is not all about the ring. The ring is a ring of power and forged by the Dark Lord Sauron himself (yes, there is a dark Lord here, too). There are 9 other rings that are already in control of the dark Lord. There are three rings of power that are held and protected against the dark Lord by the elves but this one ring, which was lost in a battle long long ago and has now come under the possession of Bilbo and Frodo, his heir, is the one ring that can be used to control all of the other rings and make Sauron invincible. The wizard, Gandalf, and his friends (including the King Aragorn, who is all slated to regain the throne of Gondor) are those who are on the white side. A team is formed and called the nine walkers that comprises of elves, men, dwarves and of course hobbits. The walkers' plan is to throw the ring in the fire at the mountain of doom where it was originally forged. Frodo, Bilbo's heir and the current possessor of the ring, is chosen as the ring bearer. The walkers, fighting against various odds, singing songs, meeting elves and orcs alike, dying, getting separated and re-united, are finally able to finish their quest and the darkness falls…truth prevails.

Good triumphs over the evil in both these creations, but in ways that are so different in treatment and yet fundamentally alike in concept. The third part of Lord of the Rings, which is also the most successful of the movies (Lord of the Rings: Return of the King), probably comes closest to the Harry Potter novels in its treatment. The kind of thrills that this book provides, though more glossy and rich in action, is quite close to the thrill factor in the Harry Potter Quidditch games and the cat and mouse wars between the Potter company and the Voldemort gang.

Given all above and much more that many have said and many more might still talk about, both the writers have done a remarkably good job and have really let the readers' imagination run wild. The reader is actually transported into the land of wizardry, into the battles of the hobbits and the Ringwraiths, into the sky on a broom along side Potter as he searches for the gold Snitch in the game of Quidditch, and into the dark towers of Mordor where Sauron resides, scheming and spreading the darkness. And no, this is not just another gas bag...I am reeling under the effect of Lord of the Rings myself, ever since I completed the book this Sunday (one whole week after I started it)...

Posted at 03:24 pm by Nitai

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Rain Rain go away

The sun baked and water starved streets of Chennai have been receiving more water than they could have ever hoped for in the month of May. It has been raining cats and dogs for the past three days in Chennai and if weather reports are anything to go by, this will continue for another few days. Personally, the rain caught me yet again in the full. So there I was reaching office, fully wet from head to toe one more time.

I have started on the Spiderman novel and believe me, it is interesting. The only minus is that I am reading this after I saw the movie. It does take the fun out of reading, somewhat. The reader is not really able to identify with the events as they are told in the book. In fact, his mind wanders once too many to the events that are yet to come in the book but those that he has already seen in the movie. And that was how I was thinking of the Green Goblin even though I was reading the introductory scene of Harry and Norman Osborne. Pretty disturbing, eh?

Today is my Grand Father's birthday. He turns 79 today. I really am fortunate to have him by my side. He is my idol and even at this age, he is better than most people half his age. He is fit, is an active lawyer, tends his gardens himself and really good when it comes to talking to people. Whether it is the small farmer in the village or the highly qualified doctor from the nearby town, he has both of them interested with his conversation. Not only can he talk to them in their respective dialects, he can also talk sense to them. He knows what interests the doctor and at the same time, he can freely talk to the farmer about his problems. I just wish that I will have this ability myself some day. After all, I do carry his genes...

Posted at 10:38 am by Nitai

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