Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Innate Beauty

Despite being incredibly busy over the past few days, I have managed to find time for many of my favourite activities, which  includes photography (here I go again!). My subjects off late have been varied and mostly natural. And in all I have noticed one common thread - they look more beautiful when they are where they truly belong.

A monkey jumping from one branch to another in a dense forest...another scratching his friend's back to relieve him from his itchiness...flowers that wear colours with textures that only enhance their splendour...a lake that provides a mirror to the sky above and the forest surrounding it...a shoe print in the sand, burying a leaf with ruthless perfection...the lack of sophistication of villagers, that you so want but can't have...or the sun taking  time off from it's boredom of watching over many lives it has brightened in one part, only to see some more in another.

Harder Baby..

Textured

The Sky is Falling!

Embossed

Shy Boy

Saying "c u l8r"

They are sights which give me contentment, put me at peace with myself. They give me company when I want to be alone, help me forget the damage and worries engendered by man on his world. Inspiration comes from the most unlikeliest of things, living or eternal! The least I can do is not overlook it. 

To see more of what I saw and loved, click here.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Slumdog Debate


After having won four Golden Globes, Slumdog Millionaire has made its way to the headlines of the newspapers. Brickbats and praise, both have come in plenty. Brickbats because of the apparent one-sided portrayal of the country as a religiously torn, poverty stricken economy where the second name for life is struggle. Praise because of it's fluent story telling, cinematographic brilliance, and most of all the fact that it is a masala movie made with technical perfection. A.R.Rehman is particularly brilliant with the background score, ensuring that the Indian touch is not lost while making a international film.

As most people know by now, the films tells the story of Jamal Malik through the questions of the game show "Who wants to be a Millionaire?" The fact a slum dweller could answer questions which leave even the most prepared puzzled cannot be digested by the arrogant host of the show. He calls for a police investigation. The story is told by the protagonist in the course of his interrogation, in the form of how he knows all the answers. There is joy, struggle, pain, honesty, romance, hope and simplicity in the narrative, a complete entertainer beautifully woven with the technical prowess which the combined Western and Indian crew brings to the movie.

I am writing not to review the film but to question the arguments of the brickbat throwers. Yes, it shows the negatives of our country, but it never says there is no upside to our country. If the movie shows the plight of child beggars, it is bringing to the forefront their troubles, which sadly not many Hindi movies have done in the past. It shows religious intolerance, which has been an ugly but living reality of our supposedly secular democracy. The movie may not portray the India of the 21st century, but it does portray the reality of a forgotten but existent part of our country. Moreover it embodies the survival spirit of every Indian, the struggle which we face in our life, the dreams which we see with open eyes. As exaggerated as it may seem, we can connect with it.

It is not the 'awesomest' movie ever. I have seen better movies than this.But it is an awesome movie in it's own right. One must see it with no prejudices. I don't guarantee you will like it, but you will surely say it's different.

Friday, January 09, 2009

It doesn't even matter

Life has more twists and turns than the most exciting of movies. And not one of us can gainsay that. Whether it is fair, is a different question. But if it was always fair, then the world would have more happiness than it could handle. Life would have become boring in utopia. The irony today is that it is this boredom which we all seek. And we are all right in doing so. Just that some times, we get the cake, other times we get the cherry.

Like today morning, I knew I had done well. My belief was further strengthened by the official results. I was one of the top 2700 from a set of 270000 who took an exam. I thought I deserved a call. But they did not. I thought I will sail through, but the script was written differently.

I was happy when I saw my CAT score card. 95.1, 97.37 and 96.67 percentile in the three sections and 98.91 overall. In my opinion the score was good enough for a call. But the happiness was short-lived. As I scrolled down the sheet, I had not one call from any of the seven IIMs.

I cleared all the preliminary cut off criteria of at least four out of the seven institutes.How could I have missed all seven then? I was hopeful there will be a mistake somewhere, some undetected bug in the system, some problem with my machine. But nothing. It remained what it originally was.

After taking the better half of the day off from work due to my completely distracted frame of mind, I realized that I was not alone. There were others who had shared a similar fate. The exam was just one of the many factors. It always was, but not until people were given a chance to prove themselves in an one-on-one interaction. Now they had taken that opportunity away from us. We were going to be judged on the performance in our 10th,12th and graduation only on the basis of our marks, notwithstanding the fact that they are not the truest indicators of intelligence. Work experience would be measured in terms of quantity, and not quality. We would not get a chance to showcase many other skills that could have proven us to be better managers than many others who did.

All the faith I had before CAT, all the celebration after CAT, all the expectations from the result, nothing matters today. You either have a call or you don't, and I am on the latter side. It hurts more when you are at striking distance.

A tiger can go hungry for days, if he miscalculates a hunt, but that doesn't stop him from hunting again. I will be back too, hungrier than ever before, after I have overcome the tiredness of the hunt. And that will be soon, with a better strategy for the elusive prey.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Recognized

I have just been given my first blog award by the ever smiling Vishesh for reasons mentioned on his blog. From whatever Jane's blog tells me,  Premio Dardos means ‘prize darts’ in Italian and that it is given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing on this blog. I am honoured. This is my first award and I am naturally feeling great about it. Thank you. 

As the tradition of the award goes, we must share the appreciation we receive. So I am going to give it to the following bloggers whose writings, according to me, have stood true to the essence of this award.

Vishy: For the most sincere and subtle writings about the thoughts of a desi in America and his attitude of a believer. More so, for being passionate about his photoblog, though it technically doesn't meet the preconditions of this award. 

Astrodominie: For her clever and thought provoking writing and grammatical perfection.

Anshul:For making wit the flavour of his Brain-Stuck, which is completely based on illustration through comics.

Priya: For priceless crap she comes up with on her day-to-day life, which surprisingly is a lot of fun to read. (Priya is currently on a sabbatacial and I am hoping that this gets her back to writing soon)

Neilina: For taking you on a journey through her poems and scribblings.  I have just recently started following her blog and I have taken a liking to it. 

That will be it from my side. Please don't forget to spread the love if you have got some from my side. Do recognize the blogs which you think are good.

PS: Copy paste the picture wherever you want in your blog with links to my blog and the people who you pass it on too. In case, I have made an error in linking your name to your blog, let me know. I hope Vishesh has read this. Hehe. 

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy Birthday to the Shadows

It has been two years since I have been on the blogosphere. I have learnt a lot from my able blogging buddies, taken encouragement from them, received healthy criticism and I would like to think I have improved, in terms of both the quantity and quality of the posts on Whispering Shadow. But still, perfection is far from achieved. So fortunately for me and unfortunately for you, I am going to go on with the opinionated and desultory expression of my thoughts for at least a few more years to come.


Big Ben's Cake


Talking of birthdays, birthdays/anniversaries of loved ones have always proved to be lucky for me. Since the blog can be counted as one of those, I am hoping I get lucky again. This time it’s technically a day later but the blessings of the goddess of good fate can not wane off over a period of just a day.

And if a slumdog can become a millionaire, anything is possible as long as ‘it is written’ (Slumdog Millionaire is highly recommended).

Gosh, things I do to do please myself!

Friday, January 02, 2009

The Train of Thoughts

While I was waiting on the station for my train to arrive, I noticed bustling on the rails abutting the platform. I had to strain hard to gauge what was transpiring in the veil of darkness. A mischief of rats was scouring the gravel for food in the litter which had been thrown by irresponsible passengers on the tracks. They moved at a great pace crisscrossing between the two parallel lines, as if it was the last time they were ingesting for many years to come. A train was approaching. I was hoping that their animal instincts would forewarn them to evacuate their feeding grounds for the safe shelters of the sewer drains. But they didn’t budge. They persisted with the hogging. I gave the train a miss to see what damage had the train done to them. Guess what? I didn’t see one dead rat. They went on with their customary routine. Fear is such a subjective emotion, I said to myself, both in its presence and effects.

I caught the next train. I was in a first class bogie. Through the metallic grill separating my section from the second class, I saw hordes of passengers, crushed against each other like hay in a stack. I felt each one of them was staring at me. Wonder what they were making of me - A snob, an elite freak, one who is born with a silver spoon? Or just thinking I was on the right side of the divide at the right time. All I did was break eye contact. There glance was telling me more than I wanted to know, more than I wished to take then. I looked out of the compartment.

Just then another train passed by. It was Doppler’s effect at its best. The sound of a horn cutting through space and time, screaming through the air, gave the impression that it was calling someone’s name. And in a moment, the sound was overshadowed by light, moving like a Jedi Knight’s sword. Inconspicuously, the sound of the horn has been replaced by the rattling of the tracks, amplified due to the waves bouncing on and off the bodies of the two trains. I thought how the mind can find music in noise, harmony in chaos, selectively and decisively, isolating you and the rest of your world.

It was time to change trains. I was late in realising that I was waiting at the wrong place for my compartment, so I got on the train through the door that came to a halt in front of me. The crowd was more sluggish than usual, not pushing and shoving their way through the door. The centre bar of the door was missing. I thought it was the luggage compartment. But then it occurred to me that I was getting on the compartment reserved for the handicapped. I stood by the door. As the train approached the next station a blind man made his way through the crowd. Another man with only one arm stopped him, telling him that he would fall off the train if he moved further. A cripple moved his crutches so that the blind man wouldn’t trip over them. I contemplated on how much the handicapped were dependant on others around them, how they trusted their lives in the hands of strangers, and how these strangers reciprocated only because they had a deeper understanding of one another’s plight. And in the middle of it all, how people like me just chose to stand there and watch.

The train stopped at my destination station and I hopped off. But I didn’t know how long it had been since I began my journey. Nor did I wish to know. I wanted to go on and on my journey through wonderland.