Monthly Archives: February 2007

ennui

Honestly speaking, I have nothing to do. Am bugged and bored.

But that made me wonder, isn’t it good to have nothing to do once in a while? No tight deadlines, no rushing over jobs, no fawning over unpleasant people, no office politics to deal with, just you, your computer, and peace. And yet, when we do have it, why do I keep cribbing?

Which led me to another question, what do those filthy rich people with nothing to do the whole day actually do? How do they spend their time? I decided to do some research in this matter.

For the purpose of the research, I concentrated on one particular group of the exclusively rich. The group residing in UK and who have been born rich not made money themselves.

The reason for the first condition was simple; Google gave me the most result for the rich of Europe, and the most from UK. Thus there is some data to sieve through. The second criterion is a bit more complicated.

I figured that people who came up on their own hard work would always have something to do, be it expanding their empires, or concentrating on the other stuff they are interested in, e.g. charity. These are the people who have the vision, the passion and the determination to achieve something, and they are not lacking in the courage and conviction to go about doing it. Thus they would always have something to do.

The born-rich however, have, for the most part, led an easy life. They have had everything they wanted since infancy and do not know the meaning of working for it. These are the people who will spend all their time in pleasures and since am interested in the pleasure activities of the exclusive rich, I guess this is the best group to scrutinize. Of course, there are exceptions, but the exceptions are jus that, exceptions, rather than rules.

One of the most popular things these people, let’s call them FR, do in UK is to attend gambling sessions. And gambling means horse racing. UK folks love horse racing, and this is one sport for the exclusively rich, due to the sheer amount of money betted.

Another favourite pastime is playing golf, or polo, something they do for hours and hours and never seem to get bored. These, along with partying all night long, at different places, make up most of the FR’s time.

However, the older a FR gets, the more he does. A lot of the middle aged FR’s do charity work, and a lot of it. Am unable to find out if the charity work is merely a facade to present to the world or some genuine effort is made, but charity it is in the form of either a charity ball or a charity concert, or an acting spokesperson for a cause they believe in.

However, the older a FR becomes, the more sober he becomes. Although there are some FRs who still love party and women even in their later years, the majority of the people we are concentrating on (FR’s in the UK who are born rich), turn to some other form of entertainment.

A pleasant surprise was that most of the FR’s; once they reached a certain mature age; revealed a depth of knowledge and perception which makes one wonder where they acquired it from. A lot of them went on to publish books on various historical figures, travelogues, philosophies, theatrese and tonnes of other things.

It so happens that other than gambling and partying, the FR’s had one other main passion; talking. They talked about anything and everything, debating hours on end on some topic which catches their fancy. And since they do not have work, responsibility etc, they could actually go back and research in depth about the topics discussed to clarify facts. Thus results in a lot of knowledge gained in a myriad of subjects.

Disclaimer: This is not an in-depth study in any way whatsoever; it’s just a blog post. Though the details have been retrieved, no effort has been made to justify the facts with statistics and evidence for pure lack of industry to do a good job 🙂

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Salaam-E-Ishq

Watched salaam-e-ishq recently Here is my conspectus on the movie.

The movie is based on six independent stories. There are six couples at the various stages of couple hood, love and marriage.

One couple (Anil Kapoor and Juhi Chawla), lets call them couple A, have been married for fifteen years and have two kids.

The second couple (John Abraham and Divya Balan), couple B, and have been married for two years. Theirs is a love marriage and they are living a very happy and passionate life.

Another couple, couple C (Sohail Khan and Isha Kippokar) , have just gotten married.

The fourth couple (Akshay Khanna and Ayesha Takia), Couple D, have been attached for a while and have just gotten engaged.

The fifth couple (Salman Khan and Priyanka Chopra), Couple E, are not attached nor engaged nor married but Salman Kahn is trying to woo Priyanka Chopra.

The last pair is Govinda with Shannon Esra, couple F.

The story goes something like this:

Anil Kapoor is in a safe but boring marriage where he goes to work every morning, works, comes back every evening, eats and sleeps. He longs for a more entertaining life where something happens out of routine. He lives in London and one day meets a very attractive girl in the tube. She flirts with him and he gets infatuated with her. The rest of couple A’s story is about how Anil almost gets into a relationship with the tube girl, gets caught by Juhi, realises his mistake and makes up.

Couples B, John Abraham and Divya Balan have been happily married for two years. Theirs is a cross religion love marriage with Divya being a Muslim and john, a Hindu. They do not have kids and both of them work in the reporting field. Divya is given an assignment to cover the story of the inauguration of the Bombay-Goa train. Unfortunately the train derails and Divya ends up with a brain injury whereby she loses some of her memory, which conveniently happens to be of John. The story goes of how John tries his best to help Divya remember but all in vain. In the end, John proposes to Divya again and they start life all over.

Couples C have the perpendicular storyline. Sohail Khan and Isha Kippokar just get married.Sohail boy manages to burn the house down on their first night. Thereafter some comedy or another occurs and Sohail is unable to consummate his marriage with his wife, no matter how much he tries. Their story ends with them consummating the marriage on a train during the time the train travels in the tunnel.

Couple D, Akshay Khanna and Ayesha Takia are in the engaged-and-to-be-married stage. However, Akshay has a commitment phobia and tries his best to cancel of the engagement, in which he succeeds with the help of his good-minded but blur friend. In the end, Akshay realises his folly and the two lovers make up and live happily ever after.

Couple E is that of Priyanka Chopra and Salman Khan. Priyanka happens to be an item queen who dreams of landing a role as a girl-next-door heroine in a Karan Johar movie. She thus draws up a publicity stunt to change her image to a comely and homely girl. Thus she invents a guy named Rahul and admits her love for him during an interview. Her plan unfortunately gets backfired when a real guy named Rahul (Salman Khan) comes into her life and pretends to be the Rahul she loves. Unable to expose Rahul without compromising herself, Priyanka plays along with him. In the process, she ends up really falling in love with him and also ends up being offered a role in a Karan Johar movie. Priyanka rejects the movie offer and opts to live with Rahul happily ever after.

The last couplet is between Govinda and Shannon Esra. Shannon is an American who comes to India in search of her Indian boyfriend whom she loves a lot. Govinda is a taxi driver who dreams of meeting a pretty girl and getting married. As you might by now have guessed, Shannon Esra gets into Govinda’s taxi and they end up traveling across half of India in search of her boyfriend. Govinda in the process falls in love with her but Shannon is too besotted with her boyfriend to notice. This story ends with him finding Shannon’s boyfriend on his wedding day. He refuses to get married to her due to the fact that she is not an Indian. Govinda then professes his love to Shannon who replicates it.

As you see, there are six disjoint stories connected by love and marriage at different stages. It’s a full four hour movie excluding the interval. The movie on the whole is entertaining in parts and as can be expected from a four hour movie, extremely boring and draggy in some places. It’s a nice entertainment to watch once, but it’s not worth remembering it. The music is not that great either, making this movie a very average and forgettable one.

The futality of presence

An excerpt of an article taken from the BBC News series; “Green Room”. I have just extrated those sections which conincided with what I wanted to say but did not have the linguisitc capability to do so:

People are failing to wake up to the fact that if the planet suffers, we all suffer, argues Fazlun Khalid. In this week’s Green Room, he says we must respect the delicate nature of the Earth or risk leaving a toxic legacy for future generations.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has spoken, the politicians have uttered their platitudes, environmental activists call for action, the flat earthers remain in denial and the rest of us go shopping.

The IPCC has unequivocally confirmed for us what we have been feeling for years. Climate change is here to stay and will “continue for centuries”, thus increasing the probability that the curse of future generations will hang forever on this marauding civilisation of ours.

It had been said that the human species is an “environmental abnormality”. We rationalise the destruction of the planet as if we live somewhere else – the Moon, perhaps?

It has not entered our consciousness that if the planet suffers, we suffer, and that we have nowhere else to go. We have lost sight of ourselves as being a part of nature and that destroying the natural world means we destroy ourselves. We have reduced nature, and by extension ourselves, to an exploitable resource.

Our global civilisation looks artificial, resting on industrial and financial systems in the singular pursuit of profit.

Buy now, pay later

Despite what was outlined in the IPCC report, industry will continue to expand; banks will continue to lend the money they create out of nothing; “under-developed” countries will strive to emulate the rampant Chinese and Indian economies; developed nations, particularly in the West, will continue to covet the world’s resources, even at the expense of going to war for them.

Politicians will continue to promise us higher and higher standards of living, talking all the time about sustainable development, and we will continue to give the best education to our children so that they can chase after the best jobs, which will, in turn, cause more pollution.

This state of affairs has ensured the collapse of our human ecology. The wisdom of the ages is spurned and is now replaced by an iconic modernity based on the slavehood of man to machine.

People who are unable to cope with changes in society, which are taking place at lightning speed, see a continuing decline of control in their own lives, the tendency towards gigantism, the remoteness of the ruled from those who rule.

‘Soulless’

The outward signs of this are the growing cities and their anthill-like nature; rural depopulation that sucks the soul out of the land to feed the soulless cities with its human flotsam and jetsam; the destruction of cohesive communities; the emergence of the nuclear family as a poor substitute; the seductive tendencies of the cult of the individual and the increasing number of atomised people it appears to produce; alienation sedated by rampant consumerism.

In our eagerness to “progress” and “develop”, we have lost sight of the finite and delicate nature of Earth and humanity’s place in it.

Pursuit of progress and prosperity, it seems, are based on creating discontent; consumers seduced to vie with each other in the ownership of the latest gadgetry; television and advertising hoardings constantly making one feel inadequate; the media exploited as an instrument of manipulation.

Until quite recently, the human race functioned unconsciously within natural, unwritten boundaries. They had an intuitive disposition to live within the natural state (fitra), though this was achieved by a conscious recognition of the existence of a superior force, the divine. This was an existential reality, neither idyllic nor utopian.

Breaking the limits

We are clearly no longer functioning within these limits. Two events in the 16th and 17th Century Europe allowed the human species to break free of the natural patterning of which it had always been a part.

The first of these was the appearance of the Cartesian world view, from which point onwards the human began to worship itself. We now have reason to support us in our acts of predation.

The second event was when the early bankers developed a system whereby they can lend money to others which they have created out of nothing. In Islamic terms, this sabotaged the balance (mizan) of the natural world.

This explosion of artificial wealth provides the illusion of economic dynamism but, in reality, it is parasitic – endless credit devours the finite fitra. If kept up, this would eventually result in the Earth looking like the surface of the Moon, as it is already doing in some places.

People who lived in the pre-Cartesian dimension, before we were told that nature was there to be plundered, were basically no different from us. They had the same positive and negative human attributes, but the results of human profligacy were contained by the natural order of things, which transcended technological and political sophistication and even religious disposition.

Excess in the natural order was contained because it was biodegradable. When old civilizations, however opulent, profligate, greedy, or brutal, died, the forests just grew over them or the sands covered their traces. They left no pollutants, damaging poisons or nuclear waste.

By contrast, and assuming we survive as a species, archaeologists excavating our present rampant civilisation are going to have wear radiation protection suits.

Fazlun Khalid is the founder of the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences

The Green Room is a series of opinion pieces on environmental topics running weekly on the BBC News website

Comments Screwed up

Just realised my comment system was utterly screwed up. Even now, after the comment is published, the page goes blank and a browser referesh is necessary. Sorry for the inconvenience..

The comment system is working fine now. Just that you need to physically refresh the page to view back the post. Will try and rectify it asap!

Guru

Watched Guru recently; a movie based on the life of Dirubhai Ambani, the former head of Reliance Group of Companies, India’s biggest company.

The movie cast Abishek Bachan and Aishwarya Rai as the leading roles and for a change, both of them, especially Rai, did full credit to their roles.

The movie starts with the young Guru (Abishek Bachan) getting his father’s permission to go to Turkey and informing him of his failure in the board exams. His father, being a math teacher, is furious at this son’s failure and bids him to get lost.

The happy Guru makes his way to Turkey where he works as petrol can drop boy with Shell. He works his way up to the supervisor position and then decides to come back home and set up his own business.

Guru comes back to India. He then marries a girl from his village (Aishwarya Rai), primarily for her dowry money of 25,000 Rupees. Along with the 15,000 he had saved during is overseas trip, he makes his way to Bombay with wife and brother-in-law to start a textile business.

Once in Bombay, he tries to get the permit necessary to get into textile stock. Unfortunately, he is repeatedly spurned. After four months, furious, he meets the owner of a famous secular daily in Bombay who fights his cause for him. Guru ends up getting his permit and starts his business.

Guru soon becomes extremely successful. However, his success is partly due to the fact that he cut a lot of corners along the way. He paid bribes to officials to get things done, newspapermen to get positive coverage. He also sealed empty cartons as exports to trick customs officials.

The owner of the newspaper, who has become a father figure to Guru, dislikes this and decides to teach him a lesson. He asks his top reporter to expose Guru.

Thus begins a long battle between the newspaper and Guru. Guru refrains from doing any harm to the newspaper as he considers the owner has his father. He instead lets his company’s growth do the talking.

However, matters soon reach a proportion that lawsuits are filed against Guru and confidence in the company flags. Unable to take the stress, Guru ends up with a stroke which makes his left hand useless.

With the help of his devoted wife, he soon recovers, wins the lawsuit and makes his company (Shakthi Enterprises), the biggest company in India.

A good movie to watch, the songs are decent, the acting is very good from everyone. The movie fundamentally is a tribute to Dirubhai Ambani and displays his life story. A very motivational movie showing the courage and self-confidence of a young man who knew he could conquer the world and not only dreams but goes about achieving it.

King of Masks

Watched a Chinese movie called The King of Masks. Here is a brief synopsis of the movie based on the marketing brochure:

Having lost his son in the war, the artiste adopts a boy as his grandson and hoping he may inherit his art. Unfortunately, he was cheated by a peddler as the child turns out to be a girl. He tries to get rid of her, but without success. Yearning for a home, she clings desperately to the old man for a livelihood. Thus the grandfather and the grandchild, though without blood relationship, lead a wandering life riddled with a series of witty but heartrending adventures.

The movie was really good. It was raw, realistic, fantasy, touching and annoying at the same time; a trait not achieved by may movies in me.

The synopsis does not give justice to the actual story however as it leaves out the crucial bits and makes the movie sound more like a comedy than a real-life story.

The story goes that there is an old man who happens to be a street actor. His expertise is in changing his masks with lightning fast movements while inventing stories about them.

One fateful day, the old man’s performance is noticed by a great opera actor living in the vicinity. The opera actor advices the old man to pass on his trade-secret to someone instead of letting it die with him.

Having lost his only son, the old man contemplates on how he could follow the opera actor’s advice when he comes upon an alehouse whereby the victims of the recent flood were selling off their girl-children. The old man refuses to buy any as he is obstinate about only having a son.

As he was about to leave, a young lad catches his attention. The old man is mesmerized by the lad and agrees to buy him for a princely sum.

A few happy days passed where lad and grandfather enjoy themselves as they live together.

One fine day, the old man was passing by a performance whereby passerbies were showing off their dexterity skills. The old man takes over from a young boy and shows off all his skills using a knife and a bamboo pole. The young boy gets jealous and from a distance, strikes the old man with a stone from a catapult just as the old man was about to cut the bamboo with the knife. Predictably, the bamboo moved and the knife fell on the old man’s feet instead, wounding him.

Wine was brought to the old man. He asked the lad to urinate on the wine so as to act as a disinfectant for his wound. At this point, the old man comes to know that the lad is not a boy but a girl, she is actually a lass!

The old man is furious with the girl for cheating him as he had made his intentions clear and repeatedly called him a boy. The lass was grief stuck and tries to reason with the old man. The girl has been sold seven times and has been repeatedly abused. She took to the old man’s kindness and decided to hide her gender from him.

However, the old man was not pacified and the two of them agree to a relationship of master and servant; with the lass calling the old man ‘boss’ instead of ‘grandfather’.

A tragedy soon follows: The old man is out one day and the girl, in her curiosity decides to play with his masks. In her play, she puts a mask too close to the fire and sets it alight. Soon the whole residence (which was a boat) is on fire. The girl saves the old man’s precious masks and hides behind an oak tree; fearing the old man’s wrath.

The old man comes back to find his house burnt to the ground and the girl missing. He has involuntarily taken to the girl and thinks she got burnt in the fire. He is grief stricken but follows on his work.

The girl decides to leave the old man and tries to erk out a living on the street. At this point she is kidnapped to look after a young boy of about four who has in turn been kidnapped from a wealthy family.

The girl helps the kid escape and drops him at the old man’s boat. The old man is overjoyed that his prayers for a grandson are finally heard and takes to the kid immediately.

However, there is a massive search on for the kid and the old man is soon arrested. He is tortured into confessing that he is the kidnapper and sent to death.

The girl gets wind of this fact and approaches the opera singer. She pleads with him to help her grandfather. Moved to pity by the girl’s filially; the opera singer agrees to do this best. However, the matter seems to be out of his hand and the opera singer is unable to help the girl.

Undaunted, the girl approaches the regional general. The general declines to interfere in a local matter consents to step in after the girl attempts to take her life in protest.

The old man is released and he is enlightened on the kindness of the girl. He at last accepts her as his granddaughter and teaches her his art.

A truly moving movie which one must watch.