Fire in Babylon – Caribbean Carnage

June 13, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Posted in Movie Review, Politics | 2 Comments
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If you follow cricket even remotely, unless you have  been living in a cave ( the ones that come without cable and an Internet connection) for the past few months, I assume you’d have come across much fanfare and hoopla around this movie, ” Fire in Babylon”.

Fire in Babylon

The resurgence of West Indies Cricket by adopting a vicious pace strategy in demonic fashion, is the stuff that legends are made of. And rightly so, many of them figure in this slightly offbeat masalafied  documentary, backed by much awe-inspiring videos, anecdotes, and of course Bob Marley and the Wailers.  The movie, as a testimonial to the mojo of the 70s and 80s team was very much overdue, and is really enjoyable to watch as well.

If you were around back in them days, ( or are a cricket tragic like me, and have peered at footage in xyz sports channels and the internet), you damn well know that the West Indies Pace quartet did deliver some sweet chin music, reducing batsmen to miserable lumps in the middle of the pitch ( which by then would’ve acquired a shade of red ). Yum Yum. And to think that we currently ban pitches and stadiums which are even slightly threatening under the arbitrary “awkward bounce” category. I WANT TO SEE  BLOOD ON THE PITCH, DAMNIT.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso

These deliveries were regular sights back then. The one that whizzes past your face, the one that was directed at your head, A quick fiery jab at the sternum, One at the unmentionables if you were being careless and duck-footed. And finally, when they were visibly bored of this playful waltzing – a lethal yorker to finish off the business.

Does this movie  deserve all the lavish praises thrown at it? Is this a sign of well-made cricket documentaries to come? Was the screenplay/story right in choosing to make this an overtly political movie including distinct tones of blackpower struggles, Rastafarian movement and anti-apartheid observations?

No. Hopefully. Not so much.

Michael Holding and Colin Croft have this to say. [ source ].

“What the film does well,” reckons Holding, “is show how what happened on the field affected what happened off it.” What he and the other players are less comfortable with is Fire in Babylon’s suggestion that the reverse was true as well. “The film is political,” says Croft, “but I don’t think any of us were playing political cricket. We were just playing to win.”

—————–

Read that whole article, to get an assessment of the cricketers’ opinions about this movie, and views from recent cricketers like Chris Gayle.

—————–

This in itself is an astute, but simple observation. A motif that is seen even when the Windies players supported Kerry Packer’s initiative. There was an inner drive, mostly motivated by Clive Lloyd, to take the sport more professionally. This coupled by the fact that they were being paid peanuts by their own cricket board ( rings a bell? ) was indeed one of the factors behind them pulling up their socks. This is not to reduce the romanticism and the devilish zeal behind the resurgence. If anything, it adds the concept of the working man’s struggle into the mix.

Racism is a tricky beast to handle. Many changes were happening in the Caribbean political climate around this time. The film makers, in an act of sensational overkill, decided to attribute almost all those factors to the cricket regime, and with a healthy dose of feel-good feedback to the political struggle delivered by the resounding victories.

I believe that the words that were exchanged by Aussies ( fans and players alike) could’ve been of racist nature, and smacks of arrogance . But what seemed irrational was portrayal of the bowling acts of Lillee and one of my personal favourites Thommo as wicked colonial oppression, white man’s violence yada yada, while the very same strategy being picked up by the west Indies was proclaimed as a Blackman’s victory ( with a proud inflection), by one of the loony old men narrating along.

To put it in an laymanish manner, You can’t use the race-card twice. And more importantly, when you discussed cricketing strategies, bringing political bias into it was just plain ignorance.

I’ve read on numerous sites, that some of the footage used was inaccurate/ wrongly timed. This again isn’t acceptable from a documentary point of view. It speaks for itself that the moviemakers paid more attention to the “Fire” outside the cricketing field, and didn’t get the basics of the sport right. A large audience for this movie would be the cricket-savvy folks, and this doesn’t go down well with us.

Now, to my last and a critical objection with this movie. Apart from Marley and the Wailers, and some key BGM tracks, most of the musicians chosen for this film were of the “so bad it’s good” category, selected mostly for upping the #kvltness of the movie, and for gratuitous usage of cricketing lingo in the lyrics. Horrible selection, and severly offputting in the context of the movie.

To sum it up, What the movie lacks in overall common-sense and bad choice of sensational matter, it more than makes up for by including delicious ( if i may say so) video snippets of raw and awesome fast bowling *.

Also for multiple reasons like the ominous Moustache of Clive Lloyd ( wah wah ), The camraderie between Bob Marley and Viv ( which increased my respect for both of them), Vivian Richards’ casual swagger along with the incessant chewing of gum, girls swooning over him, the rhythm and enjoyment on the field that was shown by that team knowing very well that they were invincible , and that terrible desire to win by any means necessary while still honouring the rule books.

Clive Lloyd

[*  not Agarkar fast, not sissy fast, not medium fast, but something that the batsmen feared to face for the tiny annoying reason to not have their heads knocked off ]

The present west indies team is in a sorry state, it’d do them well to draw inspiration from this movie. Sure, the joint of the Rastafarian movement has long since died down, the blackpower struggle isn’t a big motivator anymore, Aussies aren’t the champions they used to be, but that’s still no excuse to not get your sorry asses moving and reclaim the honour and pride of the idols you look upto.

Some random Bible passage has this to say, almost prophetically,

“and Babylon will become a heap of ruins, haunted by jackals. She will be an object of horror and contempt, a place where no one lives. ” .

May there be a revival of Caribbean Carnage. Some of us still love fast bowling the way it should be. Merciless.

——————

P.S : I was terribly disappointed that the movie talked about Malcolm Marshall for only around 5 mins. Terrible injustice, but I’ve been informed that in the context of the movie this was necessary.

The man’s a legend, a bowling stud beyond description, and provided hope for aspiring short-in-height bowlers ( relatively speaking) worldwide 🙂 .

Here is a better documentary about him, which I thought was more inspirational than this movie itself.

Be there, or Be Squared?

June 4, 2009 at 11:51 pm | Posted in arbit, criticism, fakereviews, humour, Internet, Linux, Microsoft, narcissism, Politics, sarcasm, Technical | 6 Comments
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In a desperate attempt to bridge the gap between WolfRam Alpha and itself, Google released something known as Google Squared. [ The service ] [ The official Post].
My conspiracy theory is that this is a majorly quadratic statement by Google in the light of the Tiananmen Square Incident Anniversary, which happens to be on June 4th[ i.e, Today ].

To all those crazy lunatics over there, let me fuel it further by saying that June is the 6th Month, and 4 is the date.  Oh . Holy Moly, that’s 6 and 4.  => 64? Get it? That’s a perfect square…

Go ahead, I’ve made your day. Send all those crazy forwards, and troll in all possible forums out there, because deep within your stupid hearts, you know it to be true.

With all due respects to Google, Wolfram Alpha still continues to totally arouse Geeky researchers ( and trivia hunters), with the same feeling that people used to [ and still get ], when randomly bouncing off wikipedia pages.

And in keeping up with my holy tradition of keeping the kernel of the post in the very end, and most often than not, missing it entirely, here’s them goodies…

google squared

[ Open the image in a different tab, if you wish ]
Well, there has been no editing absolutely. There in lies my integrity [ as well as differentiability, from other arbit meme creators out there ]. Don’t believe me, check it out.

http://www.google.com/squared/table/ageTYAeHzVe5UFezJFN2MFtg

Now, let me expertly dissect this information, as a certain annoying Arnab ComeSwami would.

Some Salient Features:

  • Vajpayee proves why he’s still the best out there. He’s a DLF maximum, and a citi moment of success all rolled into one smooth package.
  • Karat’s priced at 2 Dollars. he he. Take that you pseudo-communisty bleddy red-chaddis. No Marx for you this time. For all that dirty Lenin that you washed in public, serves you right.
  • Advani’s priced slightly higher than Mr.Singh. That’s just the added value of viral marketing, and internet flash ads. And him being the Iron Man of India, to boot.
  • Lalu foxes even Google. Even the mighty know-it-all search engine cannot figure out how much stash the Bihari-Bond is hiding.
  • Sonia Gandhi –  well, I refrain from commenting, in accordance with previously maintained policies. Respect mam, or as they say in fluent Italian, ‘KThnxBai‘.

In other search engine news : Microsofty released their new polished search service, which they call Bing.
which apparently stands for ” But It’s Not Google”.
Several scapegoats have confirmed this fact to be true, and have unanimously bleated out that a search engine so lousy, cannot definitely be a clone of Google.
But, do not shoo off this Bingy thingy so soon. If history has taught us anything, [ other than about one crazy dude pillaging through other another crazy dude’s city, and general voyeuristic/hedonistic activities of folks with lots of cash ] , it is this.
Services/Movements/ Tools/ Softwares with recursive names might not be successful commercially, but will definitely end up being a major pain-in-the-ass of the opposite party concerned. ”
off the cuff examples being, GNU, LAME, WiNe.
So, watch out. Microsoft hopes for some Bing Bling soon…

Oh, and by the way. This happens to be my 50th post.[ Hurrah, yippee yay. Saavdhaan, Vishraam.]
Muchas Gracias to all of you for all this nice readership thing that’s happening so far.
Keep up the good work 🙂
If there was an award for the highest blogging throughput, an award for the most prolific and active blogger out there, you know, the person with all the witty regular posts, and amazing rapport with the readers…..

I wouldn’t have got it.

BAD, Very BAD…

September 14, 2008 at 2:20 pm | Posted in criticism, Politics, protocol, Technical | 1 Comment
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      A standard procedure when the comment to a post grows longer than the post and is mostly disconnected to it, is to write a new one. Hence drawing from this, I continue.

      The Monty analogy fits the situation perfectly. Resilience at its stupid best.

      And now there is this new thread that Narendra Modi had pre-warned the PM, and M.K.Narayanan – the N.S.A , regarding a clear threat to Delhi. Several people might wonder why Modi didn’t bring this out to the public.

      The idea of any intelligence/security related pre-warnings is that the government/authority is to be made aware of it before a public disclosure. Standard protocol.

       As an analogy it is something followed even by white-hat hackers/ exploit researchers as well. The 30-90 day disclosure rule. So that the vendor [ in this case , the Government of India ] can act on it much in advance, without tipping off the adversaries.

       So, this brings an interesting situation. Why, even in the face of an imminent threat, was there no clear cut action taken? Why are bombs defused only after some go off?.. and so on.

I would completely understand if this is just the Home ministry going lax, on what is just a tiny issue of National Security. But if this is childish cross-party obstinate behaviour, something that we are all to used to by now, it raises some serious concerns.

        Especially since the PM wants to create a Federal Agency to tackle terror. A federal agency is built on the premise of state-centre co-operation pertaining to every aspect regarding the security of the nation. Now, if this isn’t a major example of a BAD game of Chinese Whispers, I’m not sure what else to call it.

        Now, to the newly cropped up development of hacking Wi-Fi Networks, and then using that to send terror emails to media organizations.

        Wi-Fi networks are not safe. Lets face it. For chrissakes, there have even been comic strips about it.

For a government that is so obsessed with getting a backdoor entry into the 256-AES encryption algorithms used by RIM-Blackberry , isn’t this a bigger and more feasible a threat to ignore?

         I mean, an absconding tech-trained terrorist would find it a piece-of-nilgiri-cake work to hack into some fat-american’s un-protected wifi network, than strut around with a neat Blackberry sending Indian Mujahiddeen mails on the fly.

          Then, there is the issue of security pepped up all around the major cities as soon as an attack is done. Previously, there used to be a large time-frame between two attacks. So, it was almost passable that the security didn’t know it was coming.

           Now, that attacks are happening just weeks apart, one wonders, what exactly this pepping up is all about.

           For an honourable minister of India ( Kapil Sibal @ War of Words to Arun Jaitley ) to tell that these attacks are a result of the BJP’s antics in Gujarat 2002, is nothing short of a lame excuse. These do nothing other than incite a political flame-war, doing more harm than good. What any party at the centre needs to realize is that the situation has changed drastically since 2002.

           For the major worry, in the recent set of attacks, is the choice of soft-targets. Be it local trains, or busy markets; hospitals, or bus stops. As one Mr.Das of the TOI puts it, prior to POTA being removed, most attacks were by so-called Pakistani para-troopers, militants born, brought-up, and trained in Pakistan. Post-POTA has seen an influx of home-grown terrorism.

           I’m not stupid to believe that Correlation implies Causation . That is the job for conspiracy theorists. All I say, is that current mechanisms are not adequate. If the POTA was a draconian law, improve upon it. We don’t need something as uncivilised as the U.S. Patriot act, but we sure need something effective and soon.

          India has seen different methods of attack over its resplendent history. It has survived through each of them, and in most cases, has emerged out stronger.Unfortunately, that opinion is being shattered in the wake of these recent developments.

          In dark and troubled times such as these, the country should stay united and focussed, sense should prevail, and actions be taken at the earliest, lest these insane acts crumble the beautiful ethos of the nation, that is India.

 

——————————————

As of writing this post, there have been two major updates:- (September 22, 2008)

Update 1: Indian Government successfully installs Deep Packet Inspection. This means better sniffing of all your emails in realtime. Yay. Read here.

 

Update 2: IB has successfully cracked the BlackBerry Code. Without help from RIM of course. Yay Yay.

Read here.

 

Both of these developments happened after yours truly wrote this post.

But as I said before, I am not implying  that “correlation implies causation”. 🙂 🙂

The Life and Works of Sir Takal…

August 24, 2008 at 2:08 pm | Posted in arbit, Bengaluru, chappar, criticism, Ethics, fakereviews, humour, literary, news wagon, nitk, poetry, Politics, sarcasm, Technical, travel, Visions | Leave a comment
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Drawing on this extensive article; the sole biography of Sir Takal in existence, I choose to limit myself, and write only about his magnificent works, with particular emphasis on some of his recent views about everything of consequence to the neo-modern chinese cult-societies in Bangalore.

Takal doesn’t read my blog, so I presume I am safe. [ Sincere apologies in advance ].

Inspirations: [ with the equivalent deft delicateness of Anu Malik ]

  • Appar’s exhilarating review of his best friend’s literary masterpiece.
  • A superb book review of “The 2007-2012 Outlook for Tufted Washable Scatter Rugs, Bathmats, and Sets That Measure 6-Feet by 9-Feet or Smaller in India” – the most scholarly book ever written in this field.

There are two kinds of literary critics in this world, one who totally adore Sir Takal’s succinct analogies, and metaphorical embellishments at times, and the others who haven’t read him yet. I proudly say that I belong to the first variety.

You see, when you read Takal ( a metonymic reference to something written by him ), you not only get the perception that the author is trying to convey an issue of importance, but also the subtle realization of the deeper meaning that this exalted mind offers.

Through innumerous surreal examples, chiefly drawn from the author’s experience with life, and his in-depth knowledge of the Bengalurean city-life, as well as his profound insights on global politics[ with a categorical expertise centered around topics related to the Chinese and Tibetan domain ], Takal clearly convinces of a dark and shady conspiracy that the system[ The Indian Government ], is running in the background of a hazy “India Shining” campaign.

Some Excerpts, and a Detailed as well as a Figurative analysis :-

  • I don’t know why I wrote this post. It is bad. Or may be not . I am not sure. “  Never since The Tale of Two Cities, has a enantiosis, the figure of contraries, of this nature ever been displayed in English Literature.  Walking on both lines of the  paradoxical line, he gently prepares the reader for a tumultuous article ahead. He continues….
  • It was Friday. It was when I went to piss at 4 o’clock that day, that I saw that it was a haze of grey outside . Well, with only work in my mind, I went back and hardly gave a thought to the heavy rain. ” – Metaphors be damned. This is God himself writing. When was the last time you had such a phantasmagoric visual treat lined up for you[ In the most literary, straightest sense possible ].
  • “Well, when I came back home, another shitty thing happened. Power went off.” – A powerful, yet hidden message to the Yeddy government.
  • “ And it is the engineer’s duty to do everything at the last moment. So, thinking I had all the time in the world, I disregarded the increasingly heavy rain, and started to play candle-lit carrom with Kela.” – Inspirational substance, and a brief hint at an on-going romance.
  • “I went and saw to my horror that there were only girlie umbrellas available. But, when I searched properly I did find some black umbrellas. So, I decided to buy it. But wait, I saw the label, and here it was for 667 rupees only. Well, with no time, and having more than a goat’s brain, I decided to adjust with a girlie umbrella for a day( which was available for 220 rupees), I got the umbrella.” – Sir Takal is a champion of the woman’s liberation movement, and he breaks all stereotypes, and urges the reader to do the same. Notice how he assigns a higher price to the “Black Umbrella”. Yes, you guessed it. Sir Takal loves the Afro-American Community as well. He is a maestro in the field of Zulu Dancing, though he is very coy about it.
  • “Thus, it should be clear that a torturer is a torturer, whatever language he speaks, and whatever country he belongs to. The driver was talking to people in singular whatever, I don’t remember the word. It was as if he thought he was the lord. It was as if he was enjoying the overcrowding of the bus. I realized what sadists felt like. He was feeling comfortable in his chair looking at the crowded bus. I felt what a concentration camp felt like, and I for the first time sympathized with the Jews, Borat notwithstanding.” – Just two words :- Drawing parallels between a BMTC ride and the Holocaust, Sir Takal takes the reader to an epochal period and drops him there. Also of importance are the tyrannical analogies of the bus-driver, who here is being compared to Adolf Hitler himself.   Did I say two words?.. Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

And this is just one of his works. Imagine the greatness of a man who has managed to put so many critical issues in such an eloquent manner.

I could go on an on, but I do not wish that the reader misses out on exploring Sir Takal all on their own. A chance that everyone must take.

Takal is a genre in itself. Kafkaesque creations seem pale in front of this divine force of literary grandeur.

Some blurbs from some more reputed sources:

  • “This is the 98956’th Indian Origin author that I have been asked to review. Please give me a break. God Damn it.” – Shashi Tharoor.
  • “To reduce such a richly diverse book to a couple of main themes is a disservice, for there is much here to reward the careful reader (notably two startlingly educative essays on the ancient roots of relations between India and China). Particularly pleasurable is Sir Takal’s masterly reclaiming of Rabindranath Tagore’s reputation from the unjust misjudgment of him in the West as a mediocre mystic poet rather than the rationalist and humanist genius and polymath Takal convincingly depicts. But — disservice aside — two principal arguments emerge from this collection: an affirmation of India’s political and cultural heterogeneity, and of the ‘reach of reason’ in India’s intellectual traditions.” – Shashi Tharoor on cannabis.
  • “I think of the glorious Tiananmen square days, when I read Sir Takal’s works.” – Long Dong, The Times of China. he continues, “Actually, I always think of those days.” ,he clarifies.
  • “I so adore Takal because he posts his articles mostly at the break of dawn. I love to wake up and read Takal, with the cup of coffee in my hand. WoW, Sir Takal. You’re totally on my favorites list. ” – Chetan Bhagat.
  • “Pardon me for this infantile indulgence, but pray allow me to savour the poetic mastery of Sir Takal. I fear that if I don’t quantify it into my already vast intellectual cache, I shall miss out on something very special, the stuff that mortals are faintly aware of.” – Noam Chomsky, not on cannabis.
  • “TB rules. TB is my hero. TB is GoD .” – Hashish, The Arizona Daily Star .
  • “Ashish to Ashes, Dust to Dust” – Sir Takal, The Davangere  Daily.

Normally I don’t recommend authors, but in his case, I doubly do so.

Venture into the unknown,

for there is where true beauty lies,

Do not miss this literary Oasis, O’ pensive traveller,

Not a shadow of doubt, I premise.

This n That…

April 9, 2008 at 11:35 pm | Posted in criticism, Ethics, humour, literary, nitk, Politics | Leave a comment

The SPCB called me yesterday. So here is a round up of some oddities that happened in the past week.

A tiny confession. I’m pretty nonchalant about the Indian political scenario. However, when I was glancing through the online edition of the Times of India[ I’m not keeping well these days 🙂 ], I couldn’t but help notice this.[1]
” Rahul Gandhi washes himself with soap and incense after visiting Dalits”.
Scrolling down to check out the audacious person who could come up with such a statement, I was kinda perturbed to see Ms.Mayawati Naina Kumari’s name.[2]
Ok. Lets analyse this profound political conundrum using the now famous cheapness rating[TM].

The contenders would be
1. Rahul Gandhi[3]: who has allegedly performed ablutions with the choicest of soaps and all the perfumes of Arabia[ An exaggerated Macbeth joke. Pray pardon, and continue reading], in order to sanctify himself from the visit to dalit homes. thereby rendering useless,all the election mileage that he was supposed to get from such random visits, as leader of the youth congress, and general secretary of Indian National Congress, and as Rajiv Gandhi Part II etc.

2. The ever charming Lady, Ms.Maya, a.k.a Pachydermus Proliferatus[4] : For having supposedly found out about innocent Rahul’s bathing rituals,items in his bathroom, and other issues privy to all. Being on the spying side of a phone-tapping controversy seems to have given her some experience. Do we call this tap-tapping now[ for lack of a better pun]?….

A word of advice to Madam Maya. Please do take a bath once in a while. We the electorate are sensible enough not to attribute it to such inane stuff.
Ok, the previous suggestion was a bit hypocritical of me, since I don’t follow the practice of regular bathing myself.
But then, I’m not a dirty politician, am I?….

3. Me: For having dwelled on this bulldung for two whole paragraphs, when the solution was so evident. Mayawati feared losing her prized possession. The dalit votes. Her recent policy, simbly great by any modern politicians standards, seems to be

Brahmin- Harijan Bhai Bhai,
Everyone drinks together Chai.
Swalpa Lingayat and Swalpa Vokkaliga for extra high,
Whaatai, Whaatai..
[5]
Now,lets see.. Where did Rahul go wrong?.This chap is one of the most honest politicians[an oxy moron, sorry] in recent times. Honest maybe not in deeds, but in words at least. The Doon school’s charm is still visible when he speaks. For those are not statements masked with fear of the supreme Holy Mother of congress. He points out critical mistakes in Indian political history, most of them committed by the Nehruvian clan themselves. Pity Kapil Sibal had to bear the brunt of the ever-wicked Karan Thapar, trying to justify such wise thoughts as coming from a kiddish nansy-pansy person.

But, alas. Soon he will be one of them. Already getting diluted, delving deep into election dirt, propagating nonsense, touring every vote-hotspot of India. India has lost one more Leader….

Now, the results.
Its obvious,isn’t it?.. Its my blog;I win…I am the cheapest of them all….

Politics and economics are quite the sapphic pair.So how could I leave her out?
One more news headline…[6] [7]
” Researchers at Wharton Business School have carried out the study and found that inhabitants of richer nations are happier than those of poorer countries”.
or in Noob terms, “Money can Buy you happiness”.
My, My. And it took buggers from Wharton to figure that out?. Wtf.
I’m a pretty fiscally challenged person myself. I would have suggested this much earlier. Damn,
if only I weren’t so frigging busy…

In local news, but of much more value, We the Batch of 2008, were presented with nitk logo-ed silver rings. A symbol to connect us all, the brethren, the sistren, and the couplen.
So after all the possible jokes spanning from Captain Planet, The Ring horror movies, Semi-lewd wedding fundae, Nursery rhymes, Suffe-“ring”[ Sir, You’re the best. We now know where the Nitkian gets his/her Pj’ing spirit from] etc, we set out as blazoned warriors, all ready to face the world in all its glory, or as one friend points out, “To come out in Flying colours”.
Oh.. wait.. There are still some more days left before I spew that…

And, for the outsiders, and the juniors who dint know. EnC Don Ajay the Great, went on to win both the golden medal, and the golden ring. The best outgoing student of our batch. Tronix rocks macchi…

Cheerio…

P.S: Zippidee Doo dah…

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