Apr 062016
 

Whenever i feel slightly lost, and tossed about by the stormy winds of life, i listen to this. As much a song as a plea. get my boat back to safety … sort of.

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more on the Benaras boatman series here

Somehow i saw fishermen as being more spiritual than, maybe, the rest of us, who were firmly tethered to land. Casting off into the sea, or a rather big river. Navigating into the unknown, based on the stars (pre GPS), encountering storms and waves, and the rest. While you can take the song in it’s literal sense (get my boat home), it is also metaphorical – be my guide.

Mar 302016
 

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No. this is not a PR plug. It is just that extremely fulfilling sense of ‘goal met’ .

The teams i worked with for two and half long and hard years, pulled it off. We know all know how we worked, and how much we worked, to get here. Proud of the teams – and the leadership that managed to get to the target a year before schedule.

I couldn’t stop smiling yesterday, when the news came out. I may not be there anymore, but they are still my teams 🙂

Mar 282016
 

As i was reading this piece on Pachauri, i could feel the smoke coming out of my ears. What kind of an idiot commissions such a one sided piece, and shames the victim of sexual harassment ?

Pachauri, who is accused of stalking a woman with poetry, love messages, and physically groping her whenever possible, has a freepass in the Guardian, the alleged bastion of women’s rights, where he accuses her of being paid off by the climate denial lobby. He claims that she ‘hacked’ into his account to send her self mails, over a 15 month period, so that she could implicate him in a sexual harassment charge. He also claims that she was the one who was pursuing him.

“What is disturbing [is] that right from the first day over a period of about 16 months she was creating and assembling an archive of messages, which to anyone would seem very unusual. As far as I know, the emails, text messages etc that she collected were personal, semi-personal and only in a few cases official….. I was, during that period, extremely busy and carrying out email communications on six different email accounts. These included my Yale, IPCC, Teri official, Hotmail as well as Gmail accounts. I generally corresponded with her on my Gmail account, but since I had a huge volume of messages to deal with I did not frequently read my messages, except when I was alerted about a message waiting for me. When I did access this account, I would only read unread messages. Honestly, how many of us check our sent items regularly?”

I am also assuming here, that she took control of his hands, brain, mouth  and eyes —  everytime he got near her.

“On many occasions, Dr Pachauri forcibly grabbed my body, hugged me, held my hands, kissed me and touched my body in an inappropriate manner,” she told police

And, she also waved a magic wand, so that everytime he was in range – his personal mobile phone began spewing out SMS’s and Whatsapp messages to her.

I see the need to counter the powerful anti climate change lobby. But, not at this cost. A woman who has been hounded at work by a man old enough to be her grandfather; out of work by a lobby of powerful friends of Pachauri, is now hung out to dry by a newspaper that should know better.

In India, like elsewhere, women at the workplace are afraid to report sexual harassment, because they will be seen as the troublemaker; the one who wont take it on the chin, like a man, for the good of the organisation. The easiest thing to do in a scenario like this, is to shame the victim so that others don’t speak up. The Guardian has set the cause of equality of women at the workplace back, by giving space to a powerful man to present ludicrous claims as facts.

I have been reading the Guardian for the last 25 odd years. And, yesterday, when I read this piece, I was truly disappointed. Truly.

Chart-Sexual-Harassment

(source : International Women’s Media Foundation) – almost 48% of those surveyed said they had experienced sexual harassment. The bulk of the rest were either in denial or didn’t want to rock the boat)>

 

Addition : Do read this entire chain of tweets on how ET reported the Sexual Harassment case, something completely overlooked in this whitewash.

Mar 272016
 

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All in all, it wasn’t quite as bad as the critics made it out to be. Definitely worth a watch on the big screen.

The film is set some 20 years after Batman first picks up his cape and cowl. Batman/Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) is a darker Batman than the one’s we have seen before. He brands criminals with the bat symbol (that leads to their death in prison); he is coping with the death of a Robin (killed by Joker); and he drinks more than he should. Also, he is sure Superman (Henry Cavil) is upto no good, and has God like plans to dominate the world.

Superman is conflicted – why he is conflicted is never explained in this film (i guess one has to brush up on Man of Steel to figure it out). Maybe he is getting over the killing of Zod or maybe he is figuring his relationship with Lois Lane; but, there is certainly a tortured hero air about him. And, both he and his alter ego Clark Kent have begun taking interest in the work of Batman .

Lex Luthor is the most irritating Bat Villain I have seen in eons. He makes Danny De Vito’s Penguin (who i loathed) seem tolerable. Jesse Eisenberg plays Luthor as a cross between Mark Zukenberg and the Joker. And everytime he was on screen, i had this terrible urge to slap him.  Oh, and Lex Luthor unleashes Doomsday – and all those of you who are comic book fans know what happens next. 

Wonderwoman though she is never introduced as that (rather as Diana Prince, her alter ego) has stunning screen presence. Gal Gadot wears that ridiculous costume with such nonchalance, that you barely notice that she is wearing a single piece swimsuit with lots of metal sticking out.

The film has more dream sequences than a Hindi movie – and most of it is about people getting killed.

My problem with the film, is that you needed to know comic book continuity to get a lot of the stuff going on. Be it the death of Robin (the costume in the bat cave with Joker’s epitaph); or Diana Prince ; or even Lex Luthor’s relationship with Superman (or indeed with Bruce Wayne). Also the allusions to the comic book universe are there – there is a stunning dream sequence, where a rebel Batman is fighting a Superman who has taken over the world (Red Sun), or the interruption of Flash warning Batman (one of the  crisis books, i forget which one). There are heavy costume influences from the Dark Knight Returns (Frank Miller)

Ben Affleck makes for a good older Batman. I can see Christian Bale’s Batman growing up to be this. Henry Cavil is better in this than in his first outing as Superman. Jeremy Irons makes for a rather scruffy Alfred. Amy Adams as Lois Lane – is a plot device, when ever the plot gets stuck, she is rescued by Superman. Holly Hunter is wasted. Jesse Eisenberg was dreadful (and i am being kind).

My other problem with the film is that it takes itself too seriously. Once you set up a hero to be a God or as near a God as possible, it possibly strips the fun part of being human from it. It will help if comic books feel like comic books, and not like a Shakespearean Tragedy. i kept wanting to shout at the screen “lighten up, it is a comic book, superhero team up”. Seriously, directors of Batman movies should take inspiration from Grant Morrison’s style, not Frank Miller. So much angst gets overwhelming.

But, was it a bad film – not by any stretch of imagination. It held together well.  It was enjoyable, and I am looking forward to the Justice League and all the other films that will follow.

Looks like it is Darkseid up next or Brainiac – Lex Luthor’s final promise. And the Justice League. Should be interesting.