Saturday, July 27, 2019

2591 : River (The Series)

Finished watching River Series - Season 1 - 2017.

In one word. Its satisfying.

A taut, extremely well written series. Very well written and the lead played by Stellan Skarsgard is just so real. So awesome.

I crave for great British writing and this one ticks every single box.

Loved the series.

Images from NYT and IMDB

Overall on my favorite list

The Kominsky Method
Tabula Rasa
Orange Mittai

2590 : Super Deluxe (Tamil)

I did not like this movie. There I said it.
I thought this is an overhyped piece of weirdness.

Actors are good, but is the acting good?

At 2.45 hours is quite a saga.

Good for a person like me to test how much Tamil I still know?
For a person looking for art or real

Especially the last 60 minutes is preachy, badly acted (read hamming) and over the top.

Overall skip this overhyped nonsense. Except for probably the 20 minutes which Bagavati Perumal occupies the screen. His potrayal of a corrupt sex obsessed police cop is outstanding. He is menacing when he is just smiling. Just got his 20 minute act I will catch Super Deluxe again.

Image from Wikipedia

2589 : Reading list 2019 : #26 : Leila by Prayaag Akbar

I was reading the book as I was watching the series. The book and the series diverge quite a bit. And I must honestly say, the screenplay and onscreen writing are much more taut.

The book ambles along - never hooks you in. Writing is great, but you never fully feel the dystopia - as in you never take a recoil.

So the plot's inner conscience is lost somewhere. Maybe the Hindi version pulls the punches, and bloody blimey, I cannot read or comprehend Hindi as well as I do with English.

Overall a good read.

On a scale of 10, this is a 7.

Image from Allen and Unwin. & Livemint

At 272 pages brings my 2019 total to 4573 pages.

Friday, July 26, 2019

2588 : A pugilist's dream

A jab and then a hook. Left, right and then center.
Punch the beast. Snuff him out.

Anger my friend, is a strange vitriol within a pugilist's head.
Stay away.

2587: Digital vs analog watches

In one endearing scene from The Same Sky, episode 6 of the first season....Father and Son are sitting talking.

The Father works for the Stasi in East German, and the son works as an undercover agent. And this is socialist East German.

The son has been working undercover @ West German (but has told the dad - that he is a professor at Moscow), and then by happenstance, they both notice that he (the son) is now wearing a Casio digital watch. Over the meeting, his dad admires it, and the son offers it as a gift to the dad. And the dad says something to this effect

"Thanks...its a great would raise questions (presumably from the stasi).....Besides, I would rather stick to my (analog) watch. My watch can show the past (as in an analog watch you see the hours which have gone by) and the future (as in the hours which are coming up....but in a digital watch, all you can see is the present (as in a state in time)."

I found this extremely poetic and marvelous piece of writing. Just poetry with a hint of melancholy.

2586 : The Same Sky (Series)

I started watching The Same Sky, on Netflix, and I liked it.
Of course very difficult to judge a series, especially when it's an incomplete season. As in Season 1 - ends very abruptly and leaves everyone kind of in suspended animation.

I have never seen East Germany, and the series gives such a realistic sense of socialism in the erstwhile East. It also shows East in the 1970s as it might have been in the 1970s.

The series is visually stunning. Just simply stunning.
I almost feel as if I have seen parts of East Germany.

On my overall rating list.
The Kominsky Method
Tabula Rasa
Orange Mittai

2585 : I Love to Love by Tina Charles

So picture this. I am watching the first episode of "River", and more on that later....but out of the blue in the first few mins....I hear a song, which I have not heard for at least 15 years. And for a minute instead of the right singer, I thought it was a Donna Summer song (I got the genre right, and almost the voice too).

The song is "I Love to Love" by Tina Charles....and for the past few days, that's all I have been humming. The earworm is back.

I love the song :-)

Saturday, July 20, 2019

2584 : Stillness

The stillness of someone who is dead, is quite disconcerting at first (to look at). But if continue to gaze and focus (like I recently did), the person's personality grows beyond what he/she was ("was" in your eyes I mean), to something he actually was (which means what he actually was instead of what you thought he was).

Minutes pass, and he evolves, or more so his face evolves. You see aspects of his face (in the stillness) which you had never once observed in 40 years. You see the fingers and you see the movement in the stillness. The movement of practiced years. You see the toes and it occurs to you, that he so much like you, both genetically and physiologically.

As time flows by, you merge with him (who is technically no longer him, because whatever "he" was is deemed gone). You also wonder what was it to be "him" and what is it that is left of "him" in front of you. Almost philosophically you wonder, does taking one thing (though undefinably called "soul", "life force" or whatever chemistry calls it) change the whole being....and you know the answer. YES. The being is irrevocably changed. He is not "him". He looks like "him", but he is not "him".

I see him for what he was. I see him for what he was not. I see him for what he did not want to be. I see him for what he had finally become. I see him for whats eventually left of him. I see me in him. I see the multitudes that all of us channel into the "I".

2583 : What is sopho (sophisticated)?

I was reading about Linus Travolds (here below).

And I had mixed feelings. On one hand, I am all for compassion and conscious leadership.  And yet I could relate to parts of what Linus is saying. Clip below.

Until this weekend, Torvalds had not only defended his aggressive behavior but insisted that it contributed to Linux’s runaway success. “If you want me to ‘act professional,’ I can tell you that I’m not interested,” he wrote in 2013, in response to a prominent Linux contributor, Sage Sharp, who demanded on a public e-mail list that Torvalds stop using “physical intimidation, verbal threats or verbal abuse” in his e-mails. “I’m sitting in my home office wearign [sic] a bathrobe,” Torvalds wrote. “The same way I’m not going to start wearing ties, I’m also not going to buy into the fake politeness, the lying, the office politics and backstabbing, the passive aggressiveness, and the buzzwords. Because THAT is what ‘acting professionally’ results in: people resort to all kinds of really nasty things because they are forced to act out their normal urges in unnatural ways.”

I somehow relate to what he saying above as well.
Which means I both want to promote goodness and the arsedness he is suggesting here.
The real world is exactly as he says it is above.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

2582 : May the FORCE be with you

Watching Leila, the series from Netflix which I loved to death was quite interesting. Its set in 2040s and what caught my attention is the "Shram Kendra" vehicle is a Force Trax.

And no...I don't mean to say...attention to detail is missing. Infact expect for the Front Logo, everything else is customized to suit the series. At some point we also see a Chevy Cruze, but thats for another post.

I am happy the Force Trax still works in 2040s. I am delighted actually.

Why? You ask? Lets respond with another picture. Image from overdrive.
Have fun :-)

2581: The art of growing old

I am growing old everyday. I am losing steam everyday.

And today as I saw a bunch of folks who are my age (from amongst my family) I realized what aging feels like. Most folks looked old, worn and battle weary.

I almost felt guilty as if I was judging them. I wondered whether I look similar too.

What does it take to age with class, to age with dignity.

What does it take for a person who is 35+ to look just that - instead of looking like he/she was instead tired and almost ready to give up (on his/her entire life).

(Wondering again) do I look like that too?

I want to grow old, but with the dignity and grace of the Dalai Lama who at 80+ is a doyen of compassion, grace, life and curiosity.

I definitely want to die a Buddhist, but more importantly I want to live like a Buddhist.

Om mani padme hum.

2580 : Saat Samundar Par from Vishwatma

I am an avowed Pet Shop Boys fan. Yes I am old :-)

And Pet Shop Boys' Heart became Saat Samundar Paar from the movie Vishawatma, music by Viju Shah, picturized on Divya Bharti and sung by Sadhna Sargam.

And yes.. I like this song. No idea why. I think the lyrics, though simple...make a lot of sense. Sadhna's vocals are truly memorable. And Viju Shah is Viju Shah....complete electronica.

The song is an earworm.

How I wish I was 15 again. I really do. Yearn for my life from back then.

2579 : Reading list 2019: #25 : Frederic Dard's The Wicked goto Hell

I am beginning to totally fall in love with Frederic Dard.

The Wicked goto Hell is almost as close as it gets to a last minute twist. Its only in the last 2-3 pages, does the author reveal who the real protagonist is.

Till then all you do through the book is switch between the two characters - protagonist vs antagonist.

Loved the book. Also the easy writing. Its simple prose, and yet sublime at places.

On a scale of 10, its a 10.

At 160 pages brings my 2019 total to 4301 pages.

2578 : Whats transient and whats ephemeral?

Enough has been written about the World Cup Final (last Sunday) and Federer vs Djokovic (same day). Folks are writing paens about it.

And they should. Because individuals demonstrated that heroes exist in our everyday world.

What bothers me is that this whole thing will be soon forgotten. Transience is a way of our modern life.

When I look back into my head....a lot of things stand out as days when heroes "stalled" the world.

Does anyone remember Michael Bevan in this match 

or Sunny Gavaskar, playing an innings of 96 in his last match against Pakistan......

Or the "unnamed" person halting a tank at Tiananmen square.

The world is better off for "our heroes" (which means it is better off because of our heroes)....and yet our heroes have begun to have lifespans of today, gone tomorrow.

"We could be heroes for just one day".....David Bowie you saw it coming....

2577 : Everyday viciousness

I am surprised when I see viciousness between couples (or lovers, or dear friends, or siblings). Anger....I can rationalize, so can I do with "loathe"....but viciousness....

To me being "vicious" is essentially being mean or acerbic with the intent to hurt. Thats the one singular purpose of this emotion. To hurt, to debilitate.

If this was a war, I would think of this as an attempt to "pommel" your opponent. Just make him/her totter. Thats the intent. Get the drift.

I encounter this at the strangest of places, with the strangest of people (lets say my lover or sibling) and it makes me this how my life was designed to be ? Is this what modern relationships have become?

More importantly....why? and how long?

2576 : If I am not back again this time tomo, carry on.....

Death is a very strange companion. Someone close in my family has died. As only an atheist can, I pray (and prayed) for his peace, clarity and liberation.

And yet.....I see(saw) the ones closest to him treat this whole experience as a trauma. Which no doubt, it emotionally is.


Unfortunately thats the only thing "death" has become. A trauma.

Death is also liberation, clarity and a summary. Like a period. Like a large "full stop".

When our friend dies, and we watch Republic TV (for those from US, replace this with Fox, get the drift?) not to "fire gaze" which is understandable.....but when one is genuinely interested in the debate on the tv than the "friend"........

Then....we are using the tv as an a "numbing" tool. As a gauze that not protects a wound, but abstracts it out.

Something feels wrong. And maybe thats what (nor not) what Freddie meant when he said "I am not back again this time tomo, carry on...."

Friday, July 12, 2019

2575 : Reading list 2019: #24 : Frederic Dard's The Executioner Weeps

Easily one of the best books I have read in the year. Not for the language, its quite simple and straight forward, but for the plot. It just sucks you in. Completely addictive.

The imagery is vivid, and the story awesome :-).

Its a crime thriller with a twist, and was written in 1957.

I have told myself that I will finish most Frederic Dard books soon :-).

Go for it. On a scale of 10, almost a perfect 10.

Images from Amazon and Pushkin Press

Brings my 2019 total to 4141 pages.

2574 : Movie : Leila By Prayaag Akbar and Deepa Mehta

Stunning. Thats the only word which comes to mind for this series.
The movie - 10/10
The writing - 10/10
The acting - 10/10
and the meditation that you are forced to, upon your own life, by little gestures in the movie, are just mind altering.

Loved the series. Yes I am believer in dystopia, I think its already around us.

This one is the dark vision I shudder to see.

On a scale of 10/12 :-). Go for it.

On a overall scale debuts right near the top.

Images from

The Kominsky Method
Tabula Rasa
Orange Mittai

2573: Movies: Disappearance

Saw the long egyptian series "disappearance". Quite liked it.

Whats striking about the series is the way Egypt is rendered, also whats more striking is - the way almost until episode 27 (of a 30 episode series) you are not really sure who is the protagonist, and who is the antagonist, you keep switching - very deftly done.

The last 3 episodes are predictable and drab, thats where the series loses steam...but till then its very well don.

On a scale of 10, I would rate this 7. A definite watch if you can afford the time.

On an overall scale

The Kominsky Method
Tabula Rasa
Orange Mittai

Saturday, July 06, 2019

2572 : Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits

I have heard this song for the past 32 years. Beat that :-).
I first heard this in 1988, and since then its always been a favorite with me. This might be the song that made me fall in love with (Mark) Knopfler.

For me this will always remind me of an age and time of war, and yet of simplicity. And I can never tire of the lyrics. My standard vocabulary includes the phrase "we live in different worlds" because of this song.

These mist covered mountains
Are a home now for me
But my home is the lowlands
And always will be
Someday you'll return to
Your valleys and your farms
And you'll no longer burn to be
Brothers in arms
Through these fields of destruction
Baptisms of fire
I've witnessed your suffering
As the battle raged higher
And though they did hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers in arms
There's so many different worlds
So many different suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones

2571: Somebody to love by Queen

I must have heard this song about 1000 times or some number around that figure. The lyrics are plebeian.

And yet...everytime I hear this song, I find myself incessantly humming it for the rest of the day. Something in this song just gets my goat every time.

Is it the Freddie Magic?
Is it the marvelous orchestration?

I especially love the chorus as it sings in a perfect harmony "somebody to love me, find me".....

and as Queen would say "the show must go on"!!

2570: The art of watching the world go by

Picture this.

I am in the restaurant of an upscale 4-star property at Delhi. They serve some scrumptious breakfast, but I don't fancy an early meal - so I am sitting with a cup of black steaming coffee and a small meal in front of me.

My back is against the restaurant and my table is facing the wall (a glass one opening into the garden). I like it that way, the silence and the isolation works for me.

And then I see a person arrive at the table next to me. He must be around 40-50, slightly pot-bellied. He has arrived as breakfast is about to close and the servers are pressurizing us to (re)fill our plates faster.

He is in a black t-shirt and a pair of denims. He has thin-rimmed, but thick aperture glasses. And the hair is wiry, like the hair of someone who is losing it, and  is thinning in quite an accelerated manner.

He is not at all perturbed by the race and the buzz around us. He orders a coffee, just like me - and then rests against the back of his chair.

And then it begins.......

He slowly picks up the towel (napkin) and drapes it around his thighs. Very slowly, almost a good 2 minutes for just this. He looks up to see his coffee arriving. Does not appear grumpy, but is very silent, almost as if he does not belong to this room. He stares intently at the coffee as it is being placed near him, instead of the server's face or gait.

He then picks up the eating spoon. And kid you not, he stares into it intently almost using it like a mini mirror. He stares and stares, a good 1-2 minutes at least.

Then, finally, he stirs his coffee. Remember he has neither added milk nor sugar. Is he stirring to cool it down? Can only guess.

He gingerly removes the spoon, places it on the plate.....and then rests against the chair again. He has not had a sip yet. This resting goes on for a good 1-2 minutes.

He picks his coffee and stares into it. A peaceful Buddha-like stare - of a person who has seen it all, and knows everything he needs to know about life. He probably knows that a cup of coffee is the simplest and the easiest way to temporal nirvana.

Eventually, he has a sip. Savors it. Then another. Again savors it.
As he is sipping coffee, he looks intently at the skin of his hand. He has freckles. Is he counting them?

I was mesmerized by this dance. I usually finish my coffee cup in about 5-7 minutes, but this time I stretched into a good 15 minutes. I am spellbound by this show in front of me.

Is this mindfulness? Is this the wisdom of a defeated man? Is this the calmness of a man who knows eventually everything goes? Is this the kink of a man who knows the only way to enlightenment is through a cup of coffee? Is he thanking the beans? Is he thanking the producers? Is he just savoring life when it offers him a few minutes of silence?

I felt as if I had seen the Buddha. I really did. This is what the world looks like when you slow it down. Just one graceful amalgamation of a black liquid and the slow dance of death around it.

2569: Reading List 2019:#23: Skin in the Game by Nissim Nicholas Taleb

Taleb (Nissim Nicholas) produces only two polarised reactions in people. Hate or Love. And I absolutely love him. He is one of those who has shaped on how I view my life and the world around me. This is my second read of the book.

To put it mildly, I would love to meet him one day.

Images from gaurdian and pengiun

An absolute riot of a book. Read it and be mesmerized.

A 10/10 on every scale. At 304 pages brings my 2019 count to 3949 pages.

2568 : Reading List 2019: #22 : Food rules by Michael Pollan

A short simple book about how to approach food. In one simple sentence, I like this book because it beautifully agrees with my own philosophy of food.

You can finish this book in 30 minutes.

Though on paper this is 156, you must count this as a 40 page book. An absolute recommended read.

Images from

At 40 pages brings my 2019 total to 3645 pages