Thursday, December 30, 2004

A little story...

He poured the green liquid into the test tube containing the concentrated acid, and then added this to the crimson, jelly-like semi-solid in the round bottomed flask. He quickly clamped on the stopper and watched the brown gas bubbling into the nearby retort.

The sight of the myriad chemical apparatus filled him with a sort of sadistic glee. He was fed up of society and its narrow mindedness. His painstaking research and hours of perseverance in the confines of his laboratory had been denounced by the world as the work of a lunatic. He had been shamed by being given the mocking title ‘Mad Scientist.’ He, Arvind, master of the chromosome!

Yes, he had conquered the realm of genetics. He could create creatures of his choice and bring about fearful mutations in any living organism. He had achieved what was undoubtedly the pinnacle in his chosen field – the ability to create and modify life. To play God.

Yet, unbelievably, when he had proved his theories by carefully documented experiments on lower life forms like frogs, mice, dogs, horses and TV talk show hosts, he had been condemned of unethical practices. Inhuman, cruel, sick, they called him. In the very hour of his triumph, he had been cast aside by the world of Science...

He was brought out of his reverie by the hiss of steam from the retort. He smiled and cracked his knuckles, reveling in the anticipation of what was to come.

Earlier in the afternoon, in the midst of his experiments, he had called to his wife for a drink of water. But she had failed to come to him. Consumed with rage, he confronted her only to be told that she hadn’t heard him. This enraged him to such an extent that he had caught her and tied her up in his lab. It was the last straw to his tormented mind.

He poured the contents of the retort into a test tube and drew out a few drops by means of a dropper.

He walked over slowly to his wife, who watched wide-eyed with fright. Coming closer, he squeezed the bulb of the dropper, letting two drops fall on her cheek.

He did not have to wait long.

In a minute, a small hole appeared in her cheek. As he watched, it grew into a human ear. He had punished her impudence by giving her another organ by which to attend to his summons.

“Well, well, my dear,” he said, grinning devilishly. “Happy New Ear!”

Friday, December 24, 2004

The hand that holds the baton rules the orchestra

A few nights ago, I watched the Three Tenors in concert at the Forbidden City. On Star World. And it was pretty awesome. I really don't know how they can manage to sing like that year after year at their age. (ages? whatever.)

But what struck me most about the show was the conductor. And before you think of sad jokes about bus conductors, I mean the guy who usually waves his hands about randomly while giving the audience a clear view of his butt. And takes most of the credit at the end of a piece. And always looks super-self-important.

I don't really know what it takes to be a conductor. I suppose it involves a whole lot of training. (Swing your arm... No, no, smoothly, don't bend the elbow. You shouldn't bend it more than 15 degrees). Googling for 'music conductor lessons' gave me 319,000 results. That's more than two and a half times the number of results for 'bus conductor lessons' (121,000). It's an unfair world.

The conductor at the Three Tenors concerts had weird hair. A top view (one of the few terms I remember from Engineering Drawing) of his head looks like this

Ok, I can't draw to save my life, but I hope you get the point. The squiggles represent hair, hard as that may be to believe. Pay careful attention the the squiggles at the front. These were wisps of hair that were apparently randomly placed and seemed to defy all known laws of physics. Even as the conductor threw himself about in what appeared to be particularly violent fits, these wisps jumped about merrily in the breeze, soaring and diving with gay abandon. With not a care in the world. With a life of their own. It was real fun. The hair seemed to be more in tune with the music than the conductor's arms were.

Found this nice cartoon...

Disclaimer: The cartoon above was taken from and I fully acknowledge Mark Parisi's copyright over the cartoon. And this post is not meant to be insulting to conductors. Really. (This is just so I don't get into any legal hassles.)

Thursday, December 16, 2004

A thought

Went to Singapore about two weeks back. And learnt something I had never known before. Not even on a subconscious level. Singapore has a S$ 1000 (as of today S$ 1 = Rs. 26.6321) fine for 'unnatural sex'. I guess that means doing it with animals, plants or electronic devices.

But I don't know if 'unnatural sex' includes homosexuality. That's still illegal in India. I find that pretty unfair - every adult ought to have freedom of choice to decide their lives and loves. I realise that, for some, there is an underlying revulsion or oh-weird-stay-away-from-me feeling when one meets a homosexual, but in my opinion, that's just so wrong. Inhuman and cruel, even.

Homosexuality ought to be legalized. I don't think it's right to persecute them the way society and the law does now. They aren't given the basic freedom to choose how to lead their lives and are forced to conform to the rigid expectations of a conservative society. And given the current general mindset and the fuss that is made every time a case of homosexuality is detected, it doesn't look like things are going to improve anytime soon.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Ocean's Twelve... drowning in disappointment...

What do you do if you have a stunning star cast, a wildly succesful movie and a rather dumb and jobless audience? You make a lousy sequel.

That's all I found Ocean's 12 to be. A brazen attempt to cash in on the big names and the success of Ocean's 11. Even allowing for the fact that the first movie was a remake of a 1960 Frank Sinatra movie, it rocked for its sparkling humour, fine direction and cool storyline and screenplay. O12 is very pointless in most parts and quite a letdown in the end. This time, they're 'doing' Europe. You think the movie is really getting someplace, but at the end when you realise exactly why everything is as it is in the story, you begin to wonder why you watched it at all...

There are a lot of unanswered questions (ok, I ask a lot more questions than the average cinegoer but hey, where are the answers?). Several scenes lack logic - just wait till you watch how NightFox gets past the lasers. And the futility of the plot struck me with great force right in that sensitive spot above the bridge of my nose and between my eyes. A weaker man would have screamed. I merely glowered at the screen and squeezed the ticket to a pulp. A waste of 60 bucks and an inauspicious start to the hols (insofar as we have hols; college reopens on the 13th...)

Good things about O12: It's funny in parts. In parts. Catherine Zeta Jones looks stunningly awesome, especially with short hair. George Clooney is as debonair as ever. And the music is brilliant!

But thats about it. If you really want to watch the movie, I suggest you get a CD.

(Sorry, I could resist the pathetic pun in the title, or the awkward alliterations in this silly sentence.)

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Ahh + must watch movie + must hear song

Ahhhhhh..... no that's not relief at the end of a bout of constipation. That's relief that the exams are behind us and, what's really important, my net connection's back. Was totally disconnected for about a week. It felt lonely. Very lonely.

Anyways what follows was meant to be posted early this month, but here goes. As a wise man (no, not Confucius) once said: Better late than even later.

There's this totally mind-blowing movie called 'Kung Pow: Enter the Fist' I saw on Star Movies a few weeks ago. It's simply awesome. The movie's the brainchild of Steve Oedekerk. What he's done is take a 1978 Chinese movie, digitally replace the original Chinese lead actor with himself and redub it. And the result is bloody hilarious. It's a spoof of all chinese-to-english dubs there have ever been, with a good measure of The Matrix, Lion King and a few other huge movies being ridiculed. Full of bad continuity and intentionally lousy dubbing. And the dialogues are just plain nutty. My kind of sheer timepass no-brainer nonsense comedy. The villian, Betty, is simply incredible.

Dialogues/scenes to watch out for:
1. "Killing is bad and wrong, from now on there should be a new stronger word for bad-wrong or badong. Yes, killing is badong and from this day forward I will stand for the opposite of killing - gnodab."
2. Mushafasa, spoof of the Lion King's Mufasa. "This is CNN"
3. "Mmmm tiger tiger tiger....mmm birdie birdie birdie"
4. "I am a magician, your clothes are red!"
5. The scene where the Chosen One finds his master, his lover and his dog are dying.
6. "Tell me if you see a RadioShack."
7. "...By the way, you must beware of Betty's iron claws. They are sharp, and they hurt. And beware his song about big butts.. he beats you up.. while he plays it!!!!"
8. "That's a lot of nuts!"

Ok, I know all this won't make any sense to you when it's presented out of context, but trust me - this movie rocks! I'm chuckling as I write this blog...

Also, here's a song you've absolutely got to listen to. Bulla Ki Jana Main Kaun by Rabbi Shergill. It's in Persian or something, and is based on a work by the 18th-century Sufi poet Baba Bulla Shah. The video is currently on most music channels. Simply awesome song, very peaceful and moving. Listened to it about 30 times within 24 hours of downloading it. About 150 times in 11-12 days. I haven't loved a song so much since Allah ke Bandhe and Chinnamma Chilakamma.