Monday, March 30, 2009


Ghajini is the title of the Indian movie I watched last night. After hearing some negative reviews, my curiosity got the better of me. Let me inform you, being of South Asian descent I am realizing it is very important, in fact crucial, for my cultural brown identity that I engross myself in anything Bollywood. I have been tested on my Bollywood knowledge by the guys my parents set me up with, and needless to say I don't pass those tests with flying colours.

So I put on the movie, as background noise, as I started to work on my sister's architecture paper last night. What can I say my sister is a slave-driver. But the movie took me by surprise, and had me watching it with my hands covering my eyes, because of all the grotesque violence, and heart on the edge. It is good cinema, and goes in the same category as Revolutionary Road, in terms of acting.

It is an action thriller about a guy who has amnesia. This part of the movie reminded me of Jason Bourne, from the Bourne trilogy. But, the element that appealed to me was the love story between the male protagonist, the Indian Bourne, and his love interest (Duh!). Theirs is the most beautiful love story I have seen in the movies recently. It had me in tears. My favourite part of the movie comes right before the following song, which I have been listening to obsessively. I tried finding the subtitles on YouTube, but clearly YouTube expects you all to understand Hindi. After all India, along with China, would be our overlord, so consider this song your first step towards learning Hindi. The song in a nutshell is about the fact that the protagonist cannot believe his luck that he managed to meet and have the love of someone so kind-hearted. It is a beautiful song, again I wish I could find the subtitles for it. Btw, the music is composed by the Slumdog Millionaire's composer and Oscar winner AR Rahman.

The movie also implicitly discussed the division between Indian socio-economic classes. Also, discussed the problem with human trafficking, and teenage prostitution. It depicts the multi-layered modern Indian society, and its contradictions.

Ghajini is an excellent movie which I highly recommend.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Nikolai Gogol: The Nose

I read this second short-story of Nikolai Gogol's a month ago, but just didn't get a chance to write about it. It is hard to discuss this particular satirical story without ruining it. Furthermore, the story, as Gogol admitted himself, does not make much sense.

The Nose is about magical realism. A theme one may find in Woody Allen's movies, Family Guy, and South Park.

I was watching South Park the other day, and the Episode 1205 seemed awfully similar to Gogol's story, which was published in 1836. Only in the case of The Nose, the protagonist, Collegiate Assessor Kovalyov, wakes up one day to find that his nose is missing. Yes, his actual, physical nose. Some critics have hypothesized that the disappearance of the nose is seen as a castration complex. Others have argued that maybe the story is biographical, since Gogol was insecure about his nose, apparently.

Whatever the case, the story is well-written, and very HILARIOUS. As, I mentioned before, what strikes me the most about Gogol's writing is the fact how relevant his narrative is.

In his life Gogol's work was censored, because he had the courage to criticize the government. Similarly, I feel, it is in shows like South Park where we get to truly see our society's double-standards, and ignorance. For instance, as far as I know, only South Park has been able to truly point out the hypocrisy behind The Jonas Brothers, and the cloning factory that is the Disney Network. Well, South Park, and the Onion.

Disney Lab Unveils Its Latest Line Of Genetically Engineered Child Stars

A few centuries from now, that is if the world ends up surviving the economic and climate crises, I could see people studying South Park to mock our ignorance.

Urmmm...okay, I am done ranting.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

C-eh? N-eh? D-eh?

This is what the world thinks of Canada.

Q: I have never seen it warm on Canadian TV, so how do the plants grow? (UK)
A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around and watch them die.

Q: Will I be able to see Polar Bears in the street? (USA)
A: Depends how much you've been drinking.

Q: Is it safe to run around in the bushes in Canada? (Sweden)
A: So it's true what they say about Swedes.

Q: It is imperative that I find the names and addresses of places to contact for a stuffed Beaver. (Italy)
A: Let's not touch this one.

Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in Canada? Can you send me a list of them in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Halifax? (UK)
A: What did your last slave die of?

Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Canada? (USA)
A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Ca-na-da is that big country to your North . . . oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Calgary. Come naked.

Q: Which direction is North in Canada? (USA)
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Do you have perfume in Canada? (Germany)
A: No, WE don't stink.

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you tell me where I can sell it in Canada? (USA)
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q: Can you tell me the regions in British Columbia where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
A: Yes, gay nightclubs.

Q: Do you celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada? (USA)
A: Only at Thanksgiving.

Q: Are there supermarkets in Toronto and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of Vegan hunter/gatherers. Milk is illegal.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)
A: Yes, but you will have to learn it first.

Thanks Sus for the link :).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The glass half full or empty?

This is my blog's first spring. I should warn you that I am a spring fanatic. I love everything about spring.

Following is the conversation that happened on MSN, after I changed my screen name to: "Zany saw the prettiest pink tulips. *HINT*HINT*"

Friend says:
who u hinting to
Zany says:
i'm not picky
Zany says:
Friend says:
just an open call
Zany says:
omg i saw this guy buying flowers
Zany says:
my heart skipped a beat. he was holding white daisies
Friend says:
did u jump him?
Zany says:
i just smiled at him
Zany says:
and he smiled back
Friend says:
well flowers can also mean i'm sorry...
Zany says:
why do you have to kill my optimism?
Friend says:
i drove my car into ur mothers house
Friend says:
or someone died...
Zany says:
no no
Zany says:
Friend says:
just a shake of reality
Zany says:
it was out of love
Zany says:
he wanted to make her day special
Friend says:
maybe he was visiting his mommy
Friend says:
and wanted to bring her flowers
Zany says:
that's sweet too
Zany says:
all the more reasons for my heart to flutter
Zany says:
a guy who buys flowers for his mom is a keeper
Friend says:
Friend says:
(that mite leave him single too)
Zany says:
i know and he smiled back
Friend says:
Zany says:
Friend says:
i love a good cute unexpected smile
Zany says:
well i smiled first
Zany says:
can't even expect guys to make the first move when it comes to smiling

Spring is in the Air

This poem has been running through my head, on this beautiful sunny day. It's 14 degrees Celsius outside, folks. The sun is out, birds are chirping, and I can see children playing, out my window. Ooo, also, tulip sprouts have made their much anticipated appearance.

by Henry Longfellow

Come to me, O ye children!
For I hear you at your play,
And the questions that perplexed me
Have vanished quite away.

Ye open the eastern windows,
That look towards the sun,
Where thoughts are singing swallows
And the brooks of morning run.

In your hearts are the birds and the sunshine,
In your thoughts the brooklet's flow,
But in mine is the wind of Autumn
And the first fall of the snow.

Ah! what would the world be to us
If the children were no more?
We should dread the desert behind us
Worse than the dark before.

What the leaves are to the forest,
With light and air for food,
Ere their sweet and tender juices
Have been hardened into wood, --

That to the world are children;
Through them it feels the glow
Of a brighter and sunnier climate
Than reaches the trunks below.

Come to me, O ye children!
And whisper in my ear
What the birds and the winds are singing
In your sunny atmosphere.

For what are all our contrivings,
And the wisdom of our books,
When compared with your caresses,
And the gladness of your looks?

Ye are better than all the ballads
That ever were sung or said;
For ye are living poems,
And all the rest are dead.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

If you want it bad enough...

Found here.

Found here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

No Line On The Horizon

Is the title of U2's new album, which I have been playing, obsessively, since this past Wednesday. I have to admit the album is a grower. The first time I listened to their single "Get On Your Boots", I wasn't really impressed. So I didn't become a fan of the song until I watched their opening act at the Brits. In spite of my initial apprehension, I shelled out 13 bucks, and purchased their 12th album. What can I say, I am a U2 loyalist. And, *drumroll please* this is one of my favourite albums. The lyrics are deeply enthralling. The music is volcanic, eruptive, riveting...and I can keep going. They recorded some of the songs in Morocco, and one could actually feel the Arabic cultural influence both in the sound and lyrics. But this influence is not a case of Orientalism, or as The Edge pointed out, of musical tourism. They made the Arabic tunes their own.

The songs are longer, and each song has its own narrative.

1. No Line On The Horizon
This title track gives the album a kick-start with the classic U2 sound. The song is about a girl who said "Time is irrelevant, it's not linear". The girl apparently has them mesmerized, Bono sings: "The songs in your head are now on my mind".

2. Magnificent
In my opinion, the song is about U2's growth and their relationship with their audience. Bono sings:

I was born
I was born to sing for you
I didn't have a choice but to lift you up
And sing whatever song you wanted me to
I give you back my voice
From the womb my first cry, it was a joyful noise...
Only love, only love can leave such a mark
But only love, only love can heal such a scar
Justified till we die, you and I will magnify

The song reminded me of "Beautiful Day". With "Beautiful Day" and its corresponding album, U2 reapplied for the job of the world's greatest band, and expanded their fan base. But, I believe, with their 12th album U2 has reinvented themselves, something Coldplay attempted to achieve with their 4th album, Viva La Vida.

3. Moment of Surrender
My instant favourite, as it reminded me of Rumi's poetry. I think the lyrics are simply poetic.

We were barely conscious
Two souls too smart to be in the realm of certainty
It's not if I believe in love
But if love believes in me

In a recent TV interview, Bono said that they get a lot of their musical inspiration from Gospel music, and the following verses remind me of the act of praying. Remind me of the moment when people bow down to pray, which in my opinion is the ultimate moment of surrender. In a solitary moment of devotion, when someone becomes oblivious to his or her surroundings.

At the moment of surrender
I folded to my knees
I did not notice the passers-by
And they did not notice me

The last part of the song depicts the frenzy of our everyday life; especially the uncertainty that's hanging over us these days.

I was punching in the numbers at the ATM machine
I could see in the reflection
A face staring back at me
At the moment of surrender
Of vision over visibility
I did not notice the passers-by
And they did not notice me
I was speeding on the subway
Through the stations of the cross
Every eye looking every other way
Counting down 'til the pain would stop

4. Unknown Caller
This song pleas for the beginning of a new era.

I was lost between the midnight and the dawning
In a place of no consequence or company
I was right there at the top of the bottom
On the edge of the known universe where I wanted to be
I had driven to the scene of the accident
And I sat there waiting for me

Another song that reminded me of Rumi's poetry. A poem called "Be Lost in the Call" comes to mind. I am just going to copy-paste it here.

Lord, said David, since you do not need us,
why did you create these two worlds?

Reality replied: O prisoner of time,
I was a secret treasure of kindness and generosity,
and I wished this treasure to be known,
so I created a mirror: its shining face, the heart;
its darkened back, the world;
The back would please you if you've never seen the face.

Has anyone ever produced a mirror out of mud and straw?
Yet clean away the mud and straw,
and a mirror might be revealed.

Until the juice ferments a while in the cask,
it isn't wine. If you wish your heart to be bright,
you must do a little work.

My King addressed the soul of my flesh:
You return just as you left.
Where are the traces of my gifts?

We know that alchemy transforms copper into gold.
This Sun doesn't want a crown or robe from God's grace.
He is a hat to a hundred bald men,
a covering for ten who were naked.

Jesus sat humbly on the back of an ass, my child!
How could a zephyr ride an ass?
Spirit, find your way, in seeking lowness like a stream.
Reason, tread the path of selflessness into eternity.

Remember God so much that you are forgotten.
Let the caller and the called disappear;
be lost in the Call.

5. I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight
My appreciation for this song grew after I watched their live performance on the Letterman Show. I think, they brought down the house with this song. It's a classic U2 number, with the hidden plea for social awareness and global involvement.

There's a part of me in chaos that's quiet
And there's a part of you that wants me to riot
Everybody needs to cry or needs to spit
Every sweet-tooth needs just a little hit
Every beauty needs to go out with an idiot
How can you stand next to the truth and not see it?
Change of heart comes slow...
Every generation gets a chance to change the world
Is it true that perfect love drives out all fear?
The right to be ridiculous is something I hold dear
But change of heart comes slow...

6. Get On Your Boots
For better or worse, this track is different from the rest of the songs on this record. I think the reason they chose to release it first, because the story and/or the chaos begins from this song. Here they pose the question, what do you do when the world falls apart in front of your eyes? Something our generation has had to deal with over and over again, in this past decade. We dwindle from not wanting to talk about the outside world, to feeling selfish for not caring, to feeling inadequate, to believing in the power of one.

Winds blow with a twist
Never seen a move like this
Can you see it too
Night is falling everywhere
Rockets hit the funfair
Satan loves a bomb scare
If some one's into blowing up
We're into growing up
Women are the future
All the big revelations
I've gotta submarine
You've got gasoline
I don't wanna talk about wars between nations
Not right now

This song is a definite grower. But, don't judge the entire record based on this one song.

7. Stand Up Comedy
One of the shorter tracks about Bono's crusade to instill individual responsibility in us, to solve our global problems. I think, this song goes perfectly well with the following video, which changetheworld360 mentioned on her blog:

8. White As Snow
In this song, U2 is reminiscing about yesteryears. It is a slow song and has an entrancing effect on me.

Once I knew there was a love divine
Then came a time I thought it knew me not
Who can forgive forgiveness where forgiveness is not
Only the lamb as white as snow

9. Breathe
The song starts with The Edge's powerful guitar strings. This song is chaotic, and random, very much like our lives.

10. Cedars of Lebanon
Just the title alone reminded me of the 2007 Lebanon Conflict. I remember Lebanese with foreign passports were able to leave the country, and escape the conflict, but the ones, who didn't have the luxury of having dual-citizenships, stayed behind in the midst of "Cedars of Lebanon". I am not sure who the narrator is, in this song. It could be a journalist, who reported from the country during the conflict, portrayed through the song's linear tone.

I haven't been with a woman, it feels like for years
Thought of you the whole time, your salty tears
This shitty world sometimes produces a rose
The scent of it lingers and then it just goes
The worst of us are a long drawn out confession
The best of us are geniuses of compression
You say you're not going to leave the truth alone
Child drinking dirty water from the river bank
Soldier brings oranges he got out from a tank
I'm waiting on the waiter, he's taking a while to come
Choose your enemies carefully 'cos they will define you
Make them interesting 'cos in some ways they will mind you
They're not there in the beginning but when your story ends
Gonna last with you longer than your friend

11. Fez-Being Born
Fez is a 400 year old Moroccan city. Wikipedia tells me, the city has the oldest university in the world. This is the last song on the album, perhaps paying tribute to the city where U2 sought for their rebirth.

I'm being born, a bleeding start
The engines roar, blood curling wail
Head first then foot
The heart sets sail

Saturday, March 7, 2009

We are two but we are one.

In a Charmed Life, a Road Less Traveled

One of my Saturday morning rituals is to read the Modern Love weekly column, in the New York Times. Reading other people's take on love, be it about real life obscure breakups, or once in a lifetime eternal love, somehow has a therapeutic effect on me.

The story above pointed out that when we think about love, or when we get into a marriage, we are usually thinking about building a happy life together. For some it is having children, snuggling in front of the idiot box, going to the park together, vacationing together, and the list goes on. But, I guess, even the most morbid individuals don't wonder, would their partner be there for them if they became physically disabled. Then again, these are the things we should not plan for, right?

In this week's love story, a car accident leaves the writer's wife physically disabled, where the writer is left to look after her. When he got the call from the hospital he wondered if she was mentally okay. The fact that he would be required to clean after her didn't bother him. He just wanted the essence of her being, her personality, the person he fell in love with to be there.

You know how they say looks come and go, but who we are, our soul, our personality, our intelligence is something that is truly uniquely ours. I think, at the end of the day, if somehow I could find this mythical mental connection with someone, then I know I would be okay.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

On This Day

So folks, on this day, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudan's President, Omar Hassan al-Bashir. He has been charged for war crimes, and crimes against humanity. President Bashir is responsible for supporting the Janjaweeds who have killed millions in Darfur. This is the first time in history the ICC has issued an arrest warrant for a sitting head of state. The Sudanese government reacted by revoking the aid licenses of 6 humanitarian organizations in Darfur, demanding them to remove their personnel from the region.

I reckon, the warrant would probably result in more bloodshed, but it was a necessary measure. The world needed to display some sort of action against the acts of violence campaigned by President Bashir. However, at this point the warrant only seems ceremonial since the ICC does not have any military of its own, and the UN Forces lack the means to arrest the President. I suppose, we are headed in the right direction. Here is hoping, President Obama sticks to his word, and follows through with his promise of assigning a special US envoy responsible for ending the genocide in Darfur.

On a personal note, my sister gets her Iron Ring today.