Monday, December 31, 2012

Nirbhaya is dead!


[This is not a real post, just a jumbled dump of my thoughts.]

Nirbhaya was the name given by TOI to the girl who was gangraped on 16th December in Delhi. Another newspaper has called her Amanat and some others have given her the nickname "braveheart". The details of the case are well-known. Six men, six animals I'd call them though they are lower than animals in my estimation, raped a girl in a bus, beat her and her male friend with an iron rod and brutally tortured her, sexually assaulting her with the same iron rod.

One of the reasons I don't follow news is to avoid reading such horrible things, but this was too big to have escaped my notice. My colleagues told me on 22nd. Then I could not stay away from it as the girl was fighting for her life in the hospital.

I did not want to write a post on it and I don't know if I would be up to publish this, but all these thoughts have been swirling around in my mind since then and I feel that I must dump them on paper if I am ever to have any piece of mind. I don't know if it would work but I need to try. It's been driving me crazy!

There needs to be logic or order in this post since it'd just be a dump of my thoughts, only for my eyes.

The men who did this unspeakable thing were the bus driver and his friends. I consider them lower than animals. Even animals don't rape.

The thing that gets me and that has made me cry everything I think of it is that she didn't deserve it. She was a good girl, a productive member of the society and from all the facts that have come out, a brave girl! She did not deserve such an end to her life!

The bastards who did this, on the other hand, are scum of the earth. Most of them have previous criminal record. But they are still alive. Why?

I don't consider rape as a sexual crime even though it is classed as one. Rape is crime against human dignity, any person who attempts to take away the dignity of another human does not deserve to be treated as a human being himself.

The worst thing it has done is it has made me ashamed of my city and my country. I am painfully aware of the fact that people hear "India" or "Delhi" they think about shameful incident. I have been always proud of India and especially Delhi but now...I am even ashamed to be a man. :(

Then Friday evening came the news that after battling with her injuries for 13 days Nirbhaya died in the hospital in Singapore!

The last time I was this sad was when my father passed away last year. Of course, that was more personal but the sense of shock and irreparable loss is the same!

The saddest thing about this whole incident is not the 6 monsters who did this but that we have a system where they felt that they could.

Even when I was completely enamoured with the western culture I still liked the Indian culture. And as I grew up I liked and respected it more, the thousands of years of tradition, the immeasurable stores of knowledge...but in Indian culture we hail the woman power as the goddess, Durga, Lakshmi...is this how you treat your goddess, like animals? Like objects of lust to be mauled, harassed and tortured?

What the fuck! How can you treat an innocent girl like that? She is someone's daughter, someone's sister...how do you dare to lay a finger on her?

But we don't have a system where a normal citizen can expect to be protected by the police. We have a system where a normal person is afraid of the police.

And then we wonder why India is not a super power!

India will never be a superpower unless we stop the two-faced, double-standard bullshit and recognize Indian women as the power that they are.

Every time the issue of crime against women comes up, there are always some jokers who comment that women these days wear revealing clothes and thus provoke the attacks on them. I want to shove their faces in mud! Believe me you have not seen revealing clothes until you have been to a nightclub in London, or New York or any Western country. But they have much fewer cases of rape.

Because in England the maximum sentence for rape is UNLIMITED! In England, a girl can walk up to a policeman and say, "That guy is harassing me!".

We cannot call ourselves civilized until we change our basic attitude towards women.

What an irony it is that the city that has a female chief minister has a rate of 1 rape every 14 hours!!

Rape is worse than murder and must be treated as such. When you kill a person, you merely kill them, when you rape a girl you take away her human dignity and that is unpardonable.

I am proud of my country and my city that the general public has risen against this state of affairs but I am not holding my breath for any real action. The fact that the government didn't react to this incident immediately shows that the politicians do not consider it an outrage that it is, for them it's just one of those issues. But the people are not having any of that nonchalance from the leaders this time so they had to act or pretend to.

Congress is proposing a law where maximum penalty for rape would be 30 years with chemical castration in extreme cases. But in a country where last year rate of conviction for a rape case was 1 out of 635 cases, what effect do you expect it to have? One?

And then they make such a big deal about a police constable dying in a ruckus with the protesters. You want me to feel sorry about a lousy cop? Frankly, one girl like Nirbhaya is worth a 100 Delhi cops any day!

There is not shortage of those also who blame films for corrupting the culture and inciting such crimes? Really? So what do you do when you watch a cooking show - go rob a restaurant? Stop making excuses for your bloody, barbaric mindset and be a man! Not an animal, a man! A real man!

In this tragic, heart-breaking affair there are a couple of things that I feel thankful for. I am proud of the people of my country who have shown the power-hungry, chair-chasing politicians that they cannot tamed by a few cops in the demand for justice! I am proud of the Indian media who reported all the developments in the case but kept her identity confidential.

And I am proud of my country for giving her the respect that she deserved, for having the sensitivity to cancel new year celebrations official and private to mourn the loss of a brave girl who was the pride of her country even in death.

(I have decided to publish this post but I can't bear to read it, so it will go without proofreading. My blog will sport the black banner for a week.)


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Reblog: Purba Ray on Social Media

Sometimes I like to share with my readers something great that I have read on the internet. This particular gem I found on BlogAdda but it is from one of the bloggers I read regularly.

Purba Ray's writing style is so easy-flowing that you will have finished half the post before you realize it. Make sure you click the link at the bottom of the post to read the full post. A very thought-provoking and relevant post.

http://www.purba-ray.com/2012/09/confessions-of-social-media-addict.html


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Grow up, will ya?


"Growing old is mandatory, Growing up is optional."

How true!

Recently, I have been thinking about growing old even more than usual. You see, after staying 39 for a loooong time, a whole 12 months, I finally turned 40 this year. Was I looking forward to it? Not really! Was I dreading it? Not really!

You see, I think growing old has some real benefits and in our pursuit of eternal youth we often disregard them. I had a teacher in primary school who used to tell us wonderful things which were not all to be found in the textbooks. In one of his discourses, he quoted - "Nobody is rich enough to buy his past."

True. But then people do try. I really dislike it when people talk about the "good old days" of childhood like it was a euphoric time with no problems. There are many songs and poems on the subject, one of the most popular ones being the famous ghazal sung by Jagjit Singh - "Ye daulat bhi le lo, ye shohrat bhi le lo."

[Translation: Take away my riches, my fame, even my youth I am willing to give up, if I could just have back the rainy season of my childhood, that paper boat and that rain water.]

Cool. Sounds good to hear. But I dislike the expression of these sentiments (I love the ghazal!) not just because I like to move against the tide but because my memory is better than these other people. I remember, and very vividly, that the childhood time was not a time of trouble-free Eutopia, it was a time of fun and misery as equally as today's time is full of hassles as well as pleasures.

I remember very clearly the problems I had. The prime problem was money, always. Even to buy a simple rubber ball I had to save 3 days of my allowance. Then second biggest problem as with everybody else - freedom. I had to follow the rules of my strict father. I wanted to play in the street until late night, he had some silly notions about study and homework. Guess who won!

In my teens, it frustrated me that all the grown ups, my parents especially, practiced a set of double standards towards me! When they needed me to do something it was always, "You are a big boy now so you can...." and when they wanted to deny me something, it was always "No, you are too young to do that!" Believe me, I protested against this discrimination much more vocally than Anna Hazare stood against the corruption. You think it had any effect? Ha!

I am not alone who suffered these slings and arrows of misfortune. But most people choose to forget these things and colour their childhood memories pink in their minds and wish for the return of that time. Well, in the words of Samuel Goldwyn - "Include me out!".

Now, let's tackle the present time. Leaving aside the whole physical progression I want to focus on the mental part of growing up. Money, oh yes, the same problems as childhood, but I make much more than I used to have and I understand it better and know how it affects my life. Freedom, within the law, a LOT! If I want to play a game all night Friday night and sleep until 1300 on Saturday, I don't have to ask anybody's permission.

I have much more confidence in anything I do and that makes it all the more probable that I'd succeed in whatever I do!

Simply taking all the things that make me happy or bring me pleasure, unlike my childhood, I have a huge choice.

When I was a boy, coming home early from school during exam days and having 4 extra hours to play in the street was heaven!  I don't care about that now. But imagine this. Just as I am going to bed I notice the Moon peeking in my window, it's a full Moon, or almost, and looks mesmerisingly beautiful! I can't resist and end up postponing the sleep, taking out the DSLR, setting it up on the tripod and taking some great shots with my telephoto lens (75-300, if it matters). Pure, unadulterated pleasure!

Now, if your mind works like I think it does you would argue that the problems of childhood were trifles compared to the problems a grown-up has to face. And I would say - bullshit! The real size of a problem never matters, it's only the subjective experience that matters!

"A hill is only as steep as it seems to the person climbing it!"

For a child losing the finger of his parent in the crowded market is just as panicky as for a grown up to find that his girlfriend of 3 years is leaving him for a job in another city. Can you honestly say that one of the problems is bigger than the other? Says who!

Another favourite ghazal of mine, also sung by Jagjit Singh, is
"Mujhko yaqeen hai, sach kehti thiiN jo bhi ammi kehti thiiN,
Jab mere bachpan ke din they, chaand mein pariyaan rehtii thiiN"

[I believe that what mother told me was all true.
In my childhood days, the fairies did used to live in the moon.]

I wanted to talk about all the things that have changed in me and the things I have learnt, but just giving the background has taken up so much space that I will need to be brief.

One of the things would sound like a riddle is that with age you learn to appreciate what the age means!

Patience definitely improves over the years and so does understanding. My yearning to learn new thing is still the same as it was so that is a constant rather than change. But my confidence in my learning abilities has increased and my learning abilities themselves.

People's perception of you also changes. Based on your age they may consider you "wise" even though you might say the same thing that you have been saying for the last 20 years!

Friendships ripen and you learn to appreciate them and also learn to let go where the letting go is mandated.

And persistence!! The capacity to plow along on one track without giving up definitely increases with age!

One thing that I do feel but know that it's an illusion. The feeling that my experience has taught me a great deal. I know that 5 years from now when I look at this post I am going to say, "What bilge I used to spout thinking myself so wise and smart!" But now I know that I will do this in 5 years's time. 10 years ago I wouldn't have known that. See?

The topic is big, so much to say and a lot of it that cannot be described. But I am very interested in hearing your thoughts on the topic. Do you think it's a downhill journey or some things get better with age?


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Stupidity is God




Think about it:

It cannot be seen nor grasped but its presence can be felt everywhere.
It is immortal like Lord Krishna said in Bhagvadgita "Nainam chhindanti shastrani, nainam dehti paavakah.."
Weapons cannot kill it, and fire cannot burn it....
Also from the Gita - "You can only kill the stupid but the stupidity is never born and never dies."

Chacha Ghalib said long ago (and he was a wise man) - "AhamakoN ki kamee nahiN Ghalib, ek dhoondo hazaar milte haiN."
(No shortage of stupids, Ghalib, you search for one and you will find a thousand.)
That shows that stupids and stupidity is everywhere and isn't that what every religion teaches us - that God is everywhere?

Some people might argue that God created the world, well, do you think the entity who created Hitler, Mussolini, Kassab and so many others like them is an intelligent person? Come on now!

Omniscience - stupid people know everything! Just ask them!

Omnipresence - According to all religions God is in every single one of us. And we all have stupidity, to some degree or other.

Omnipotence - All engineers are busy in making things so simple and fool-proof that they cannot be misused or abused. Yes, along comes one stupid person and....

Need I say more?


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12.12.12




No, I don't have anything to say I just wanted to comment on this extraordinary date!
what's extraordinary about it, you ask? Nothing! Not a single thing. Except that this kind of sequence will be not occur for the next 89 years until 1/1/2101 now.

Big deal!

When I was younger we had Halley's comet appear in the sky and there were news stories on how this won't repeat for another 89 years or so. Or was it 900? Anyhow, I was impressed. Only to realize a few years later that there was something else happening in the sky that was equally rare. Then another few years later...you get the idea.

I have seen some of these amazing sights and lived through some such wonderful (?) dates but I stopped being impressed with them.

My philosophy now is...forget about the next 900 years or even the next 100 and...MAKE THIS MOMENT COUNT!

'nuff said.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Why Indians give advice?


Suddenly it occurred to me yesterday that unlike English we don't have that many expressions for showing sympathy, formally, to someone who's sick or hurt. In English you just hear someone say they are in a bad way and you can let loose with a multitude of platitudes.

"Oh, so sorry to hear of your accident, mate!"
"Aww, I am sorry!"
"Oh, may he rest in peace!"
"Get well soon!" (that one sounds more like an order).

We have none of those. I mean we have the words and sentences in Hindi, but they are not in use so much in real life. If you start saying those things in real, it sounds phony and dramatic.

I remember a line I read long ago - हिन्दुस्तान में राय  और चाय हर जगह बिना मांगे मिलती हैं।

(In India, you get advice and tea unasked everywhere.)

Maybe that's the reason.

We don't want to sound phony like a politician by quoting platitudes so we show our compassion and sympathy (of which we have an abundance) by giving advice.

As soon as you say, "I am feeling a bit of fever.", Uncle Ji would say, "Arre beta, you must take care, this season is not very good. Take two of ..." and so on. Some people would show off their knowledge of off-the-counter medicines while others would advise herbal remedies. Those who don't possess any specialized knowledge would at least tell you to see a doctor, or even recommend their doctor to you.

What I am saying is that, despite the lack of formal concern-showing phrases in daily use, we have our ways of showing genuine concern and compassion for a friend in distress. Where a Western woman would say, "Oh, get well soon, dear!", an Indian woman would say, "मैं अदरक की चाय बनाकर लाती हूँ आपके लिए।" (I will make some ginger tea for you.)

Of course, this a very generic and very subjective picture of both cultures and exceptions exist on both sides but....I am just dumping my thoughts on paper here and I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.  Click that comment button.





Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Man re tu hi bata kya gaoon..


I was going to write a nice long post on the occasion of hitting the 75,000 visitor mark on my blog. But then, real life got in the way and I couldn't even start it properly.

These days it happens a lot with me. I do want to post. There are so many topics that I want to discuss, but somehow I don't get around to posting. One reason for this is that the topics I want to discuss require deep, philosophical discussion and these days I am not getting that kind of time.

Second reason is that my thoughts are quite radical on some very general topics and while I never shrink away from controversy, I would not have time to properly participate hence my reticence.

But I am not done yet, don't deal me out of the game, just watch this space. :)


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Nexus 4 - The Pure Android Experience


Apple should be afraid, very afraid. Following on from the success stories Samsung's champion phones - Galaxy S2, S3 and Galaxy Note 2, here is a blockbuster directly from Google - for this low price, it's an spectacular deal.

http://www.google.co.uk/nexus/4/index.html

8 Spectacularly wrong predictions about computers


It made me laugh...and think. I hope you enjoy them too. There are quotes here from Bills Gates, Sir Alan Sugar and other great men who should have known better but didn't...

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/8-spectacularly-wrong-predictions-computers-internet/

Monday, October 22, 2012

Yash Chopra - The King of Romance - Passed away



Yash Chopra, prominent Indian filmmaker, passed away this Sunday evening in a hospital in Bombay.

That single sentence is easy to read but it’s not easy to digest! The impact of this one fact is immense! Yash ji was not your normal run-of-the-mill film director - he was a creative genius and a bold trend-setter.

Some of his great films included Deewar, Kabhie Kabhie, Trishul, Veer-Zaara, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom,....the list is long. So many of these are in my all-time favourites list.

He made more than 50 Hindi films and most of them were extremely successful. I think his genius was in his style, he could portray any subject in a larger than life manner and still connect with the common man. He was a true merchant of dreams.

Yash ji sold many dreams to the Indian audience worldwide over his 50 years long career. I don’t want to type out the list of filmfare awards and the honours he won in country and internationally, the internet is full of those facts. I didn’t know they had named a railway station after him.

All I want to do is pay my tribute to the great dreammaker and tell you that he was a great inspiration, definitely to me, and probably to a huge number of filmmakers all over the world.

He will be greatly missed!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Apple iPhone 5 fanbois - Dirty Jokes


These are my creations, not from the internet (the picture is from the internet). To be honest, they are not all about iPhone 5, some are just on Apple fanbois. Some are not so dirty either but you know....


Why couldn't the iPhone5 fanboi satisfy his girlfriend? 
He had only 4 inches to work with.

Why did the Apple fanboi cross the road? 
There was an app for it.

Why did the fanboi's girlfriend couldn't get any action all night? 
She wasn't holding it right!

Why didn't the Apple fanboi kiss his girlfriend? 
There was no app for it.

Why didn't the fanboi bite into his apple a second time? 
It looked like Apple's logo.

Why do fanbois close their eyes when being photographed? 
They are afraid of the Flash.

iPhone 5 - Great innvotator or Piece of Crap v 5.0?


After ALL that hype, after all that long wait, even after one false alarm and extra wait after 4S, this is what the great Apple has the gall to produce? Wow!

Now, I am very sure nobody but the die-hard Apple fanbois would be able to say that this is a good phone.

The best thing you can say about the iCrap 5, oops, sorry, iPhone5 is that at least Apple is trying to catch up with the Android models, unsuccessfully of course, but at least it's trying. The realistic thing you can say about iPhone 5 is that Apple is once again trying to shaft its customers by selling them something below-standard by using its marketing machinery.

The screen is now 4 inch, most of it used to make the phone taller. I'd like to hear from the fanbois who used to swear on their dead grandmother's grave that 3.5" was THE BEST and the only SENSIBLE screen size for a smartphone. It had the perfect reach for your thumb and it was just SO PERFECT in every way. What's the word guys? Are you going to admit that Apple lost the plot? Or is the new PERFECT screen size now 4 inch?

Even so it's not the best or the biggest screen in the market. Samsung Galaxy Note with 5.3" and Galaxy S3 with a fantastic 4.8" screen are still ruling the market. And any fanboi who stands next to me and dares to pull out his puny 4" piece, and tells me it's great, will get my answer, "Dude, you are just jealous because mine is bigger!"

The screen has good pixel density though 326ppi compared to S3's 306ppi.

Finally, Apple has caught up with 4G. But NFC is still not delivered even though promised.

Still a dual-core processor, but iPhone's processor has never been top of the range starting from the first model itself.

It doesn't have HSPA+ which is amazing for users in the UK where 4G is still in the works.

Most of the new features are just playing catch-up with Android and are 6 months to 1 year behind times. Others I am sure are Apple-customized. For example, Bluetooth is upgraded to 4.0 but I don't expect that iPhone users would still be able to transfer files to other devices without cables. Wi-Direct and things like that...well, that's just unfair to ask!

I am happy to see that camera has gained some good features like 1080P full HD recording at 30fps and 2.4 aperture, but I would wait to see any good photos from it before I believe it. Apple has a way of fucking up these things despite good spec's. The iPhone 4S camera was also touted to be a great 8MP snapper but was a shitty piece of crap in the real world.

Even with with iPhone 5 camera I don't expect it to have zero shutter-lag which is a reality with Galaxy S3's camera.

Of course, if you can count on Apple for anything it is to play its own tricks on the users. The current trick is a nano-sim. Yes, you read it right! It's even smaller than the micro-sim. Does Apple care how inconvenient for its users? What? Apple? Care? Don't make me laugh!

Anyway, enough about the latest iCrap. Ask me how my web series is doing. ;)


Friday, September 07, 2012

Let Me Fool You - Sheldon's Cats


Just watch this okay, just watch these two clips very carefully and tell me what's wrong. I am sure they thought they could get away with it, but.....not on my watch, buster. Actually, not on my watch if I watch the series a second time which is when I caught this.

I don't blame the director, if the actors cannot learn their lines, there comes a time when instead of saying "retake" you say, "Oh, what the hell..."


And the second video clip...



(Clip from Big Bang Theory, Season 4, Episode 3)

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

My Teachers: Gaurav Sir


I haven't posted in this series for a while. But it's Teachers Day, at least in India, so let me talk about another one of my great teachers today.

Gaurav Sir joined my computer institute when we needed somebody to teach us 'C'. Considering that the institute was small and restricted in budget, it could have been a terrible shortcoming, but in my case it turned out to be a great advantage. For example, when Chauhan sir came to teach us "COBOL" he was the best teacher for it, as well as for PLT. Similarly Gaurav Sir joined at a time when we needed a teacher for Unix and C and he was the best, bar none, who could have taught us those subjects.

Well, maybe Tenenbaum knew a little bit more about Unix than Gaurav sir, but not much, and I don't know if he was any good at teaching. :)

Why I say this about these teachers that they were great teachers, not because they knew their subject matter or because they knew how to impart the knowledge, no, that would not make them great teachers, that would make them adequate teachers.

What made them great was that they were geniuses in their own right and they could not help inspiring you if they tried. Gaurav sir was another such genius and you could feel that in talking to him though he NEVER, EVER, boasted or bragged about his prowess or even his experience.

For Gaurav sir, everything was casual, no big deal, even things that'd make me and my fellow students go wide-eyed , "You really did that, Sir?" :O

There's a whole lot I can say about Gaurav sir without covering the matter fully so let me say just a few important things and leave it at that.

Gaurav sir could not help challenge our minds. For example, the first time he took our class, he started talking about how to swap two variables without using a third variable. Even though he didn't ask us to try it, I just had to because I had never heard anything like this before. I showed it to him in a few minutes and he agreed that the solution would look something like that.That was always the way with him. He inspired me just by talking to him!

I don't remember exactly how it happened but he gave me his home address and I visited him there. He used to live in another part of the same city, Delhi, and I used to go to the public library near there. Then I made a practice of it, visiting him every 2-3 weeks at his home, on the weekend, even after he stopped teaching at the institute.

He himself was quite a scholar where computers were concerned. Every time I visited him I was awed by his book collection. He used to spend his money in buying the US editions of super-expensive computer books that were not available in India. Even though I was stupid in computers, I was smart enough never to ask to borrow a book. It's just something you don't do. Still, he lent me his notes and stuff more than once when I most needed it.

Later I followed in his footsteps, joining the same company where he used to work, etc. etc.

One of his peculiar (or maybe just enviable) habits was his love for certification exams. I remember very well how hard I had to study to pass my MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solution Developer) exams. 4 long, tough question papers. But Gaurav sir, had done that already, and done the 2 extra optional exams, plus gone in for MCSE certification, plus a few more certifications, plus he used to take the newly-launched papers as a test subject. My God!

It is a proud privilege for me that I am still in touch with him and I am always pleased to see that he's still doing amazingly well on his career path and still the same old certification-gobbling genius that he was. His email signature looks like a phonebook of doctors the way those abbreviations are lined up after his name.

To come back to my self-centred world, I would not be what I am and where I am today without Gaurav Sir's patient and selfless guidance and his continuous support. He is still a source of inspiration for me. And he doesn't have to do anything for it. I just think of him and it inspires me to do better and greater things in my life!

I wish him a long, successful, happy life!

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

An Android Camera - The Way To Go!


This is what technology is all about - changing life. All new innovations should be about making life easy, adding value to everyday life and giving people the power to do whatever they need to do or want to do.

This is called the Galaxy Camera by Samsung and from the spec's I can see that it's an amazing device. Having a 4.77" LCD screen (almost as big as the Galaxy S3) and the whole Android OS to play with, you have more power at your fingertips than you ever had with a camera.

Imagine taking a picture then editing it right there on the camera's huge screen and then posting it on Facebook, Twitter etc. or emailing it to your friends without any cables or card readers! Isn't that wonderful!

I have a DSLR now which gives me the power to take amazing 18MP photos with shallow DOF and everything but still I find myself taking photos with my Galaxy S3 sometimes simply because of connectivity. For example, my birthday pictures, I could take them with the phone camera and upload to Facebook right from the restaurant. If I had used the DSLR I'd have had to wait until I got home and get busy with card reader and laptop.

With this camera, you can take a 16.1 Megapixel photo, using 21x zoom if you want, and use the built-in connectivity to use it anyway you fancy.

I really like the remote live-view feature that you can use to be in the photo yourself. You place the camera, then connect to it from your Android smartphone, using the phone as a live viewfinder and take the photo with voice command.

Since it has 1.4quad-core CPU like the Galaxy S3 I expect there would be no shutter lag and the voice commands will work great. The OS is newer than the S3, it has 4.1 Jelly bean whereas the S3 has only 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich.

You can read the source article here:
http://www.lifeofandroid.com/news_detail/ifa-2012-android-cameras-keep-coming/

Web Series - Excuse You - Episode 5


As usual we released the next episode of our web series this Monday. FYI, this will be the last episode of this series for a couple of weeks. I plan to release the first episode of my second web series next Monday.

The idea is to alternate between the 2 web series and the short films in between. The only definite thing is that every Monday there will be something interesting on the G7Productions channel.

In the meantime, here's the episode 5 for you to enjoy:

Monday, September 03, 2012

Message to Apple Fanboys

This looks quite good to me. Of course, it would offend the fanbois. To them, to quote the show, FU.




P.S. I should mention that this link was shared by my regular reader - WindTV. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Episode 4 of my Web Series - Excuse You!


I still have trouble believing I am posting videos of my own creation. There was a time when I used to post clips from TV shows and films. But this series, it's mine. I wrote it, I shot it with my crew and I edited it. I am very proud of it. :)

I hope it makes you smile -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l72Jnbr2zA4

Let me know what you think in comments. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My First Web Series - Excuse You!


So, we released our first web series a couple of weeks ago. It's called Excuse You and you can watch it on our YouTube channel:
http://www.youtube.com/g7filmproductions

It's a comedy based around a London restaurant and its crazy staff. We release one new episode every Monday. So far, there are 3 episodes.

Here's the direct link to the first episode:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kc2kkB9kn8g


If you want to keep up with the series, Subscribe to the channel.

Of course, we like it when people click Like on the videos as well. ;)

I have kept the videos enabled for embedding, so if you'd like to share the episodes on your Facebook page etc., feel free!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Let me fool you - Big Bang Theory


The reason I have used a hyphenated two-part title to this post is that I have more than one thing to day on this topic and I might decide to do other posts with the same prefix "Let me fool you".

I don't like it when film and TV producers/directors take leave of common sense and just go ahead and film something ridiculous completely ignoring the fact that their audience is not totally stupid.

The Big Bang Theory is one of my very favourite shows and I love it especially because of its smart writing. But in one episode they took leave of their brain and wrote with their..I don't know what.

The story arch in the episode that I have problem with involves Howard and a Robot hand that he had made for NASA. Howard being the randy bastard that he is, he took the Robot hand home and decided to use it for masturbation. This, of course, went wrong because it's a comedy show. Because of some malfunction the hand gets stuck and Howard's genitals are stuck in its grip.

Their follows a comic sequence of SOS calls to friends, a visit to the ER with a blanket over Howard's junk etc. etc. But I could not laugh at it because I do not accept the premise. Think about it.

As soon as Howard realized his predicament he would not be sexually aroused any more, which would make his penis shrink and slip out of the grip of robot hand. Why did it not occur to the writers? Or was this episode written by women?

I just wish they'd stop treating their audience like idiots. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

My First Web Series - Excuse You!


We launched our web series last week. I know some people will ask what is a web series.

Well, simply put it's like a TV show with two major differences - the episodes are smaller, and instead of a TV channel it is broadcast using a web interface like YouTube or Vimeo.

Ours is on YouTube. The channel URL is:
http://www.youtube.com/g7filmproductions

If you click Subscribe you will receive updates at regular intervals (no spam) from YouTube when we upload new videos including the series episodes.

You can watch the first episode directly at this link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kc2kkB9kn8g

My plan is to upload a new episode every weekend so that people can have a fresh episode to watch on Monday. The idea is that in the stress of Monday morning, if we can be responsible for one of your smiles, it would be a job well done! :)


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Shers from Barsat Ki Raat



It's just a few shers from the film. There's no song around it.

क्या ग़म जो अँधेरी हैं रातें
एक शम्मे-तमन्ना साथ तो है,

कुछ और सहारा हो कि न हो
हाथों में तुम्हारा हाथ तो है

क्या जानिये कितने दीवाने
घर फूंक तमाशा देख चुके,

जिस प्यार की दुनिया दुश्मन है,
उस प्यार में कोई बात तो है

Translation -
What's the trouble if the nights are dark,
when the lamp of love burns bright.

I may not have any support in the world,
But I have your hand in mine.

Who can say how many crazy lovers
Have burnt their homes for it,

This love that the world has shunned,
There must be some attraction in it.

Of course, it's a million times more beautiful in the original Urdu. :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

TV Show - Anger Management



Thanks to Sagar for reminding me about the new TV show featuring Charlie Sheen. It's a home production of Charlie with his brother and it's good. It's not at the same level as Two and a Half Men yet but it has the same potential. 


As it's a very new show you can feel the new paint on the sets and the brand new furniture but you can also feel that as the cast gets more comfortable with each other it will get really good. It is already funny, and Charlie's still got that charisma which makes his presence on the screen so amazing. 


I am not happy with all their cast decisions, I'd have picked hotter girls for example :), but they show promise. I have only watched 2 episodes yet, I am looking forward to more. 


I'd rather watch this than Two And A Half Men without Charlie. 

Friday, July 06, 2012

Movie Review - Lockout - Piece of Crap

Warning: This review contains spoilers but then, I don't want you to see this movie anyway. 



This was a  sci-fi action thriller which is the best kind of film. But LOCKOUT is a good example of how you can spend 20 million dollars and produce a 95 minute long pile of shit! Yes, I am that disgusted!

The story premise is simple as it should be. A maximum security prison in space is visited by the US President's daughter. During her visit things happen and there is violent takeover by the inmates, who of course are the worst murderers and psychos on Earth. A man condemned for the same prison is tasked with the responsibility to rescue the president's daughter.

With this primitive story and predictable twists a good action film can still be produced.

What I didn't like about it? Pretty much everything. The characters are very stereotypical but the actors are very lacklustre. Guy Pearce has no on-screen charisma. Maggie Grace is the one who catches the eye from the start and she does a good job as the president's daughter. The main villain inmate and his lunatic brother are the other two who stand out.

I like Maggie Grace very much. I think she's gorgeous and she's an excellent actor. But when they dyed her hair dark in Lockout, I turned it off. She was the only reason by that time to continue watching it. Then I realized that I had only half an hour more to go so I decided to stick it out.

The thing that really, really pissed me off about this is the crappy job with science and technology. There is not one or two but numerous factual errors throughout the film. Some examples that irked me especially. When the inmates throw someone out of an airlock without a pressure suit he is seen from the space police station as flowing outside the prison space station. What the director doesn't realize (maybe he didn't go to school) is that this is more serious than throwing someone into the pool. In real life his body will instantaneously decompress, an explosion from the inside. For a good example of this, watch the James Bond film - Licence to Kill.

There is no concept of communication channels in the whole film. Anything being sent point-to-point can easily, without any active effort, leak into the main PA system. Nice!

In the end, the hero and heroine jump from the station wearing space suits and fall towards Earth. Where did they find gravity for that movement, I have no idea.

In one scene, the hero has to jump across from side structure to another. Below the empty space between the two windows are huge fans. And the guy guiding the hero says, "The gravity produced by the...should keep you afloat." Well, buddy, gravity is the force that pulls you down not up. If he had said "Air column" or "the wind produced by" I'd not have minded.

One huge blunder. Because the inmates killed the maintenance engineer, the prison space station is now going to fall on Earth. What is this, a car, that someone has to drive over the pot holes? A space station can only be built in orbit around the Earth and there it is held by the Earth's gravitational force. In exceptional circumstances it may fall but not like that because someone stopped shoveling coals into the engine. Bah!

Other than such specific instances the general technological atmosphere is also very illiterate and shabby. In one scene the hero is hanging by a cable and it breaks. This is a rope or cable he brought for this specific purpose to help him climb into places and it breaks so very easily. Even in today's world, you can easily buy rope of the same thickness that will hold the weight of 10 men not just one!

Then the smoking and lighter bring their own questions.

The devices shown are also not at all futuristic. I don't mind that. I mean if I were making a film like that, I'd also use things like Android tablets and stuff. Where would I find holographic displays and other fancy gadgetry? But with 20 million dollars, I will bet you I can find better devices.

There are tactical errors like they have automatic tracking and shooting guns on the prison station but no way to shut it off from the police space station. Even in today's times such stupid plans are not implemented, this is supposed to be the future.

I can go on and on but I have already spent 95 minutes of life on this crap. I don't want to spend any more.

Conclusion: Don't watch it! At all. 

Friday, June 01, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Note - My Review


Since I am expecting to get my next phone - Galaxy S3 today I think this is the right time for me to write a review on my last "new" phone - the Samsung Galaxy Note - N7000!

There is not a lot to say except that it's an amazing phone and I am very happy with it. I bought it about 2 months ago, I have been using it every day despite its big size and I just love it! I still have my Galaxy S2 and that's also a great phone but I had basically kept it as a "small" phone for going out and stuff where the Note may be too big. So far, I have not had a situation where I'd want to leave the Note home. On the other hand, I have actually left the S2 home sometimes mainly because the sim in it is for my second line and if I am going to take only one phone with me I'd rather take the big-screen wonder that's the Note.

On the train, that big screen is fantastic! I have stopped carrying my 7" tablet because of the Note. The screen, in size and quality, is quite good enough to watch media without carrying a bag to carry the tablet. The Note fits fine in my jeans pocket and is too small for my jacket pockets. When the Note had come out I had decided not to buy it because of the huge size. These days I don't even feel the huge size, I think it's just the right size. Compared to it my S2 feels small, I don't know how an iPhone would feel, tiny?

I have not been able to use it much as SatNav in the car mostly because I have not been able to find the kind of car holder I was looking for. I did use it once for a short distance and it is awesome to have that 5.3" screen for all the information. So convenient. You can't describe it, you can only experience it!

I have used it while walking around, using Google Maps and it works very well. Very responsive and of course the big screen helps you see more.

Come to think of holders, I haven't been able to find a really good case for it either, with a good kickstand. I have tried 3 so far, all failed. So these days I use my GorillaPod for watching videos on it and that works.

The speed is really good. According to benchmark it's not as fast as the S2 but the 1.4 GHz, dual-core CPU is really good and the experience is amazing. On that big screen you can set-up widgets that look good. I try not to overdo it. I am using Nova Launcher, the free version, which gives me 5 home screens and a 3screen dock below, plus resizable widgets. Mostly I just use a home weather widget, a facebook feed app and a Google reader app, plus a couple of small things like minimalistic text time and Google search bar.

The S-Pen, or as you might call it, the stylus, is very good. When I had read reviews and people said they don't use the stylus much, I was like, yeah, they are idiots, but actually I don't use it much either. And yet, it's indispensable, I love it! It's the stylus that keeps motivating me to sketch even though I am crap at it. It was because of this that I bought a sketchpad and a set of pencils. I still don't use them, but I do use the Note and the stylus to draw once in a while.

Even though I don't use the stylus a lot, when I do use it, there's nothing to replace it. For example when on the phone and looking to jot down something quickly, I look for a pen. There are 100's of note-taking applications for Android but I always ended up making a note in the SMS. But stylus is a pen, so when I start looking for a pen, I find it quickly, and just a double-tap on the screen with the S-Pen launches a new note in S-Memo where I can write in my own handwriting. Absolutely perfect solution!

Another place where the stylus is indispensable is  taking a screenshot. It's perfect. You can even doodle on the screenshot. With ICS Samsung has also launched "S Note" for the Note which lets you combine photos, maps, screenshots, handwriting and other media in a variety of creative and useful ways. It's just awesome!

The Note is much closer to being a laptop-replacement than any other phone so far. The big screen makes it much more usable. The keyboard is bigger, the webpages are easy to read...I love to post photos from Note to Facebook, or my own drawings. Once I edited a video, annotated it and uploaded to Facebook without touching the computer at all.

I had the foresight to buy the phone in white colour which is awesome. It looks so good, even after two months of using it, I still love the form factor and the design. This is one phone that makes even my iphone owner friends, "Well, have to admit that's a great phone for watching a video."

That's another thing about the Note. People just cannot ignore it. How can they, it's so big! I use it all the time to share a YouTube video with my film group in a meeting. Now that I am making films, it's good to have a phone like Note to show people your work.  Last time we had an audition I had to meet 7 girls, each at half-hour intervals, and one after the other all seven of them asked, "What is that?" "Is that a phone?" "Is that a phone or tablet?" "Oh, is that the Galaxy Note?" It's an attention grabbing phone!

Wow, I guess  I did have something to say about the Note after all! And I can still go on.

The battery life is very good. Not as good as the S2 but the 2600 mAH bettery lasts through a day of normal use. With my heavy use especially when I go out, I have 2 spare batteries. They are cheap and easy to change. Because I watch videos on the train to London, use Google Maps when location scouting and use the internet heavily, plus normal phone calls, texts and IMs, my usage when out is very heavy. Usually I end up using about 1.5 batteries round-trip. That includes travel in the tube as well when there is no signal and the phone spends battery power in signal search (normal mobile phone) behaviour. I also use bluetooth continuously for media as well as phone calls, that also drains power.

Browsing the web is a joy on this and I feel the difference when I do the same thing on my S2. Because of the screen size and resolution I am much more comfortable browsing a full desktop site on the Note than on S2.

The speaker volume is very good when at home, I can play it in one room and hear anywhere in the flat. It's just such a versatile, beautiful, fast, amazing phone. I don't think even S3 can top it in some respects but then, I am not planning to replace it with S3 so there's no real competition for me.






Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Vijay Mallya - Kingfisher Airlines


The expression comes to mind "Chadhte sooraj ko sab salaam karte hain." (Everybody salutes the rising Sun). There was a time when Vijay Mallya was the Man, everybody you talked to sang his praises and suddenly all you see about him is the comedy skits and people making fun of him. What happened? Nothing happened, it's just that his airline is in financial straits right now.

I am a man who deliberately stays away from news. Newspapers, TV, Radio, Internet, I don't follow news anywhere. So my news comes filtered through indirect channels like blogs, comedy shows etc. I think that gives me a unique, unbiased perspective on this man. My opinion of him is based on my contact with his business - Kingfisher Airlines.

The first time I flew Kingfisher was about 7 years ago from Poona to Delhi, a short, domestic route of 2 hours flight. I had flown that route before but with Spicejet. The ticket with Kingfisher was double of Spicejet's even in the same economy class. But I wanted to try it.

It was my hard-earned money that I spent on that ticket but I had no regrets. It was worth ever penny! The difference on tangible and intangible levels was amazing! First of all the most important part of any service industry - people. I have been told that Vijay Mallya handpicked his staff. Whether he really did or that his training program was exceptional, I can vouch personally that Kingfisher's staff was exceptional in the true sense of the word. I have never seen any airline staff so attentive and polite and my experience includes several international airlines. Kingfisher staff right from the moment you entered the terminal was always on hand, always very proactive in asking you if you needed help and very proficient in their jobs.

Being a man I don't look much at the male staff, but never forego the chance to look at the pretty airhostesses. (I have heard they are called Stewardesses now, yeah, like I care.) Kingfisher's airhostesses were always good-looking, always dressed smart and nice (attractive I'd call it, not sexy) and the behaviour from them was courteous and professional to a degree almost impossible to find in any Indian service industry.

By that time I had flown so many times that I could recite the security briefing by heart "Iss vimaan mein chaar dwaar hai....aapaatkaaleen sthiti mein.." (This aircraft has four doors...in case of emergency..) but in Kingfisher I watched this briefing with my full attention, and then I watched it in English with the same attention. Why? Because the announcement on seatback screen was done by the gorgeous model/actress Yana Gupta! Vijay Mallya appears in the video right after and promises warm hospitality by his airline and gives his personal email address to contact him directly if you have any complaints.

We all know some flunky in headoffice would be in charge of that email account but it still feels very good. The IFE was always populated with relevant programs and I was always spoilt for choice.

And they give a small gift packet to every passenger, even in economy class. It had a pair of Kingfisher branded headphones and a pen etc. but a gift is a gift. Nobody else had ever given me a gift even when I flew to US with them.

It was these touches which made my experience with Kingfisher so great that I never bought a Spicejet ticket again even though I owned stock in Spicejet.

Years later when I was looking to blow some money by buying a business-class ticket from UK to India I looked for the best business class available to get the most value for my money. You know what I found? That Kingfisher Airlines was the world's first and only 5-star business class airline! Even Virgin, Jet and British Airways are 4-stars. It made me feel a little proud that an Indian airline had that honour!

Sure enough this time I booked my flight with Kingfisher without any doubts. And the experience was memorable for life! I have no regrets.

And now that airline is in financial trouble. But like Jesus I will ask who among us has never been in financial trouble, who has never made a wrong decision when dealing with money? Maybe the beggar on the signal is exempt from this but other than that anyone who deals with money, including Baba Ramdev, makes mistakes. I cannot condemn a man for making a wrong decision in business.

Maybe I am ill-informed (I will make no attempt to fix that) but I don't look at Vijay Mallya with disdain, I think he is a very intelligent man with a flair for living life King size. All these people who were singing his praises yesterday can jeer and point fingers all they want, I for one, wish him the best and hope that he comes out of it, and Kingfisher Airlines flies again.

I may be the only one saying this but I don't care. 

Moves and Shakers 2012


It stands to reason that as soon as I said that Comedy Circus is the only Indian TV show I watch it changed. My nephew reminded me that Movers and Shakers has started again and I should check it out. So I did. But this post is about the first season of the restarted show, the first 35 episodes.

The first time when the show started it was in 1997, and to the best of my information it ran for 4 years. At that time I still lived in India and had never been out. I used to watch this show as and when I could. Basically, the show is Shekhar Suman. He is like a star of Indian television and an amazing host and presenter. But saying that is like saying that Taj Mahal is an old building.

Shekhar is a powerhouse of talent and I don't know any Indian who doesn't know him or doesn't admire him. To list all his accomplishment would be a tall order but still I want to mention a few that I know of and like. He was a judge on The Great Indian Laughter Challenge (my favourite comedy show), before that he was an actor, he was well-known for acting opposite the Bollywood legend actress Rekha. He was later a judge on Comedy Circus as well for a couple of seasons and was known for his long comments on performances.

It was during the TGILC stint that he went for body-building in a big way and came back looking younger. They sometimes show the old clips from the old Movers and Shakers in the new one, and I can see that Shekhar doesn't look younger than he was but he looks more handsome and distinguished than he was. I am sure he's pleased to see his old self on screen and enjoys the comparison.

At that time, when I used to watch the first M & S the one thing that I used to be immensely impressed with was Shekhar's speaking style. He has a flow like a river, the twists and turns, changes in tone, and what impressed me most at the time was how he could thread his way through English and Hindi with such flawless fluency that you never knew when he changed and he never missed a beat!

That flow and that flawless perfection of his delivery is still there but I guess as you grow up your way of observing things also changes. By now I have also been to many foreign lands, living in the UK at the moment and I can also go into Hindi and English fluently, by no means with the same skill as Mr. Suman, but good enough for my purposes. His use of the language is not just fluent but educated. He uses pure Hindi words in a way that doesn't look like a show-off but makes me feel proud to be a Hindi speaker. But still...

What I enjoy more about him in this new 2012 M & S is his way of dealing with people. It is a delight and an utter pleasure, (also full of admiration) to watch him interview these celebrities. I watch his manner very carefully as he asks the questions and talks to these people and I see that his way of talking to Om Puri is completely different from his behaviour with Sameera Reddy. He asks piercing, controversial and provoking questions of all of them, but his manner is radically different in talking to Mika and talking to Kader Khan. He always respects the senior guests, plays around with the younger ones, flirts with the girls and in doing all of that he always maintains his class.

That's the thing that I like more about M & S as compared to Comedy Circus. That touch of class. Even when he's mimicing Rabri Devi, or when he's cracking jokes on the prime minister, or dancing with Veena Malik, or flirting with a beautiful female guest, he always carries himself with class and dignity. And he treats his guests with dignity. He never hesitates in asking the tough questions but he never makes his guests feel bad while doing so. It takes considerable skill to do that with such a diverse range of personalities but Shekhar makes it look easy.

This time I am trying to learn that from him.

I am sure it helps that he's a celebrity himself and he has worked with so many people that he has developed this knack. The guests that he has worked with or people he knows personally, his behaviour shows it, within the limits of the show's format he is friendly but also a host. I notice all that and admire him for it.

When I watched the very first episode though (even though I checked it out months after its start, I started from episode one, courtesy of YouTube), there was the starting jingle and as I heard the words "The King is back...Shekar's back, the King is back" I thought, "Hmmm, Shekhar, ego much?" But then as he started talking he mentioned the first incarnation of the show and talked about himself and his activities in the last 11 years, he said, "Gaana nahin aata tha phir bhi album nikaali." Then I knew he was okay. A man who can make fun of himself earns my respect immediately.

Yes, that's another one of his accomplishments. He went into a singing reality show and also published an album of his songs. I have only heard him sing in M & S and I won't say he doesn't know how to sing. It's obvious that he has worked on his music and he has learnt how to sing. But in my humble and outspoken opinion, it's his voice. He has a great speaking voice and I think he's singing in the same voice. I think he will have to experiment and find his singing voice. It should not be hard for him as he's a very good mimic. I am not a singer or a singing guru so I have no right to give him advice but I just thought I'd add my two cents.

There's one thing I admire about Indian TV channels, instead of crying "copyright infringement, oh save us, our money, we are being robbed!" they are leading the YouTube revolution. There used to be so many people who used to upload Comedy Circus a day or two after it was telecast on Indian television. But it was always in 6 or 7 parts per episode and the quality wasn't good. Then Sony TV started uploading on their own YouTube channel. The show is in one long segment and the quality is awesome. I don't know if they make money from it, but I still get to watch it for free just like before and now I don't even look at any other uploads by individual uploaders.

Sab TV also does the same thing with Movers and Shakers. I am still catching up on the backlog so I don't know how quick it is but the quality is good and I love it that I can watch it so easily even though I don't live in India.

Other than YouTube M&S also has a Facebook page which Shekhar announces in each show AND a twitter account. The Facebook page is - http://www.facebook.com/moversandshakers.sabtv. Other than being a web presence for the show, the page has extra photos from the episodes, jokes, people's comments and other tidbits like the upcoming guest's photo etc. Their Twitter handle is @Shekhardobara

Now about the new format that they have started from episode 36. In simple words, I don't like it. They have changed the set but that I don't care about, the things I don't like are these.

The interviews are shorter, instead there are some silly activities which feel like cheap formulas and don't feel like they belong in M & S. They have added a section of comedy with Priya Raina and one of the Comedy Circus comedians. Priya Raina is extremely boring, and the comedians don't do much either as the script for them is 3rd class to non-existent.

Another thing which maybe small but matters to me is Shekhar's entrance. Oh btw, M & S also features the famous Surinder on the tabla, yes, the same one as in Comedy Circus. But I learnt from first episode that he was in the first incarnation of M & S as well so I think he belongs more here than CC. Here also Shekhar cracks jokes on Surinder but here Surinder is more part of it and it feels like he's treated better in this show. I have seen him speak more in M & S in 5 episodes than I saw in 15 seasons of Comedy Circus. I used to suspect he was mute! Here Surinder himself makes the jokes and takes part. So it feels good that Shekhar treats the band members well and includes them in things, otherwise on-air talent can be really snobbish as well.

Yes, so Shekhar's entrance. He used to climb down from steps on the right side of the set. There is a cute girl who stands/sits right in front of the band and most of the time when Shekhar came down the steps she would hold her hand up and Shekhar would give her a slow, soft high-five as he passed her on his way to his mark on centre-stage. Couple of episodes his didn't do this but in about 32 of the 35 episodes he did. (Yes, I do know the girl singer has changed after a few episodes but it still applies). Even though it's a small thing, I used to like it very much. It made me feel like, they were all, Shekhar, the girl, the band, part of the same team and there was a comraderie between them on and off-camera.

Now it doesn't feel like that. Shekhar's entrance is from behind centre-stage he comes and stands on his mark and starts the show. Not so good.

It's not just me who's missing the old format. Judging from the comments on their Facebook page, nobody is liking the new cheap-thrill format. I hope Sab will listen to the public demand and go back to the old format.

One thing they never did in the old or new format is to show the studio audience. I think they should.

Other than that, I am really enjoying it and I love it that it's 22 minutes 5 days a week. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Kalidas Katha


Princess Vidyottama was a scholar woman, and very proud of it. She was insistent that she'd marry only a man who would defeat her in Shastrarth (scholistic debate). All the learned men in the kingdom tried, but all of them lost to her and had to leave in disgrace. 

The pundits of the state also tried their luck but none could defeat this learned woman. Their ego was hurt and they decided to join together and get their revenge by making her get married to an absolute fool. With this intent they ventured off to find the most stupid man in the kingdom. 

They happened to come across Kalidas who was sitting on a tree branch and cutting it, sawing between him and the tree trunk, putting himself in danger. 

The pundits shouted to him, "O fool! You are cutting the branch you are sitting on. You will fall!"

Kalidas replied, "So what? It took me a long time to climb up here. At least I will come down faster!"

They then knew that he was the right person! They persuaded him to come down and talk to them. By promising to get him married to a beautiful princess they persuaded him to come with them. But they made him promise that come what may he would not speak a single word in front of the princess. He agreed.

The pundits took care that Kalidas looked the part of a learned pundit with his clothes and appearance. When they put him in front of Princess Vidyottama they told her that he was a great scholar and they were all actually his disciples. They told her that he was willing to engage in Shastrarth with her but he had a maun-vrat (vow of silence) which would last for a few more days. The princess agreed to have the debate by hand-signals.

Here's how it went.


The princess lifted one finger to signify that God is one!













Kalidas in his idiot mind thought that was she was saying, "I would gouge your eye out!"
He lifted two fingers to say, "I will gouge both your eyes out!" 


The princess was confused. She asked the pundits to interpret. They asked her why did you lift one finger. 
She said, "I said that God is one."
परमात्मा एक है। 

Pundits said, "Guruji says that God and Human Soul are two. Without the one the other is incomplete." 
"आत्मा और परमात्मा दो हैं। एक के बिना दूसरा अधूरा है। "

The princess conceded and they moved on. 






Our genius hero thought that she was saying, "I would slap you!"
So he showed her a fist to say, "If you slap me, I would punch you!" 


Again the princess was confused. She asked the pundits to interpret. They asked her, "What did you mean?"
She said, "I said the human body is only a combination of the five elements." 
शरीर तो पांच तत्वों का पुतला है। 

The pundits said, "Guruji replied that when these five elements come together only then the human body is constructed which can be used to worship God!"
जब पंचतत्वों से मिलकर शरीर बनता है तभी मनुष्य उसे इश्वर की आराधना में लगा सकता है। 

This continued for a little while more and finally the princess conceded her defeat. She was happy to marry the learned scholar who had finally defeated her and proven himself worthy of her. 

Now, here comes the twist in the story. 

After the wedding, on the wedding night, Princess Vidyottama and Kalidas were in her royal palace. Out of the window Kalidas spotted a camel and delightedly pointed it out to the princess. 

But when he spoke, he used the word "utra" for camel whereas the correct word in Sanskrit for camel is "ushtra."  
The smart princess understood in a second what had happened and how the pundits had gotten her married to an utter fool. 

She was furious! She called Kalidas a fool and kicked him out. 

But hold on, this is not the end, picture abhi baaki hai mere dost

Spurned by his bride and tortured by his love, Kalidas left the kingdom and travelled far and wide. He was not heard from for many years. 

But several years later, he returned back to the same kingdom. He had spent the years studying and learning everything he could. And now he was a real scholar. 

When he knocked on the door of  Vidyottama's private palace, she asked, "Who is there?" 

In Sanskrit, this sentence has four words. Such was the new, learned Kalidas that he created 4 epics each one starting from one word of that sentence - Meghadutam, Kumarsambhava, , Raghuvansam, Ritusamhara. 

He wrote many other works one of which "Abhigyan Shakuntalam" is considered his masterpiece and was one of the first Sanskrit works to be translated to English. The flow of his flawless Sanskrit in those epics is still unmatched to this date. 

He went on to become one of the "nine gems" of Emperor Vikramaditya's court. 

Now, here's my shame. When our Sanskrit teacher told us this story in high school, he told us the princess's question also in Sanskrit and then he narrated the first shloke (verse) in the original Sanskrit from each of the 4 epics created by Kalidas illustrating how each one started  with one of the words in the question. I feel very ignorant to admit that I don't remember any of that in the original Sanskrit. :( 


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