Monday, September 26, 2022

The Effect of Friends on a Whole Generation

 Sometimes I don't know what Anjali or my nephews or nieces refer to because I missed watching all the famous sitcoms. Friends, Seinfeld and the lot. Then my life started seeming pretty sad and I decided to add some humour to it and started watching Friends. I am in the seventh season now thanks to dedicated watching every day.

Then I realised how much this generation must have got influenced by this bunch of Friends. They have these wildly swinging morals where a cigarette or a drink is bad but sleeping around with anyone you like is fine - as long as you are not dating someone - but its ok if you are on a break - and hey as long as she is not your friend's date - and its ok to lie and fool around but not ok to break the code. The general idea seems to be to make out or to sleep with the next thing you see who does not fit into these categories - but hey, we do that once in a while and we end the relationship pretty fast. Their idea of right and wrong is so warped that I just cannot get my head wrapped around it.     

But it makes me laugh and I like the way Joey and Rachel's relationship has developed. I also like the way Chandler says the best line in the series so far to me while he dreams of his dream house - that he would have an apartment on the garage where Joey can grow old. Lovely stuff.  They are all getting to be likeable - Chandler, Joey, Phoebe, Rachel, Ross - except Monica who is getting a bit too competitive and predictable for me.

So, getting back to the topic of kids who grew up on this stuff - its easy to be very judgmental about those who did something that the 'Friends' would not approve of. I am only hoping by the end of these ten seasons they will loosen up their morals a little and be ok with whatever instead of having rules for everything.   

Brahmastra Part One Shiva - Movie

 The tickets were priced at 280 I think - but seriously, even if someone paid me to watch this movie again I would not watch it. That said it was a lot of fun because a group of young kids came and they shouted their heads off with comments that reminded me of the good old Hyderabadi comments in the single screen days. The comments were more fun than the movie many times.

Anyway let's get down to business. There is an introduction to the sages and the astras and how the sages want to control the astras. Why these sages were such control freaks we never know but all they did was control everything and well, its not like they did a great job considering where we are today. Anyway like all secret cliques they form an exclusive clique over the years and protect the famous astras. Now for some reason three chosen ones are given three astras - a scientist who uses a desktop is given the vanarastra, an artist who looks like someone who runs a bar is given the Nandi astra and one Guru-ist (to rhyme with scientist and artist) is given some other astra (a small dagger like thing). 

Anyway a sexy villain lands up with two hunks and they beat the hell out of a cheeky scientist and perhaps take away one part of the Brahmastra that they are after. At the same time we have DJ Shiva who is an orphan with a sad story (his story gets sadder after he meets a clingy, controlling girl called Isha who begins to control his life from then on and ask him all sorts of information about himself that even he does not know). Anyway our boy gets visions when scientist goes flying off his penthouse (I am sure scientists would love houses like that) and knows who the killers are (he sees a news paper item next day). Ms Clingy (her pet line is 'who are you?' like she keeps forgetting I think) is there very conveniently and they rush to Varanasi where the artist's life is in danger from the sexy villain and he two thugs (who use all sorts of weapons but not at the right time - guns, hand fights, knives etc - but they are the type who take a knife to a gunfight). There's a terrific car chase (the only part of the movie that I liked) after the artist is killed and he falls off a cliff. But hey, fun fact - at least four people fall from heights in this movie and die - Scientist, Artist, Alia Bhatt and Tenzu (I might have missed someone). Anyway the journey now moves to Guru-ist who is AB and I so want him to retire now. He is assisted by five different youngsters who are probably interns at the Brahmansh which is otherwise filled with doddering old fellows (and one sexy old helicopter pilot in the form of Dimple). Anyway many things are discovered here and made sense of while the sexy villain (Mouni Roy, easily the best thing in the film) is trying to get the Branhamstra. The fight against the evil forces is in a small dagger that Guru-ist holds and a Chinese lighter that Ranbir holds (it does not always work).

By the end of it there are a lot of VFX which did not enthrall me or anything. If you see the poster above, its a bit like that. I was glad it was over. Unfortunately they killed Tenzu who has the power to hold up two full grown people in mid-air including a full grown sexy villain like Mouni Roy but cannot save himself from falling down a cliff - but hey, he must have decided not to work in the movie anymore and voluntarily committed suicide. Wise chaps these Tibetans. And hey, there's a Harry Potter interning with Amitabh Guru-ist who says nothing so guessing he will have a lot of work in the sequel. Anyway, I loved the kids in the hall and I feel my money got fully vasool thanks to them. Ranbir and Alia had zero chemistry which is also interesting. I'll leave no recommendation because by now its kinda clear but for those who are not sure, you deserve it.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Launch of South First - A Website Narrating the Other Side of the Story

 South First, a website dedicated to narrating the other half of the India story, the South story', was launched on September 17, 2022 at ITC Kakatiya, Hyderabad. It's CEO, Vasu Gandikota, my friend and the Chief Editor of The New Indian Express till recently, gave the inaugural speech and set the context as to why South First was launched. He said that South First aims to provide accurate and non-partisan news from southern states, and create a platform for informed analysis or politics and polity in the region.


Asaduddin Owaisi, Prof Madana Gopal, George Isaac, Justice Chalameshwar

The entire day was filled with panel discussions on federalism with speakers such as KTR, PTR, Shashi Tharoor, Asaduddin Owaisi, Justice Chalameshwar and others.

I met a few friends there apart from Vasu - AP Srinivas was around and so were a couple of others. I met Asad on the way out and he wished me warmly, something he always does since our days of playing cricket for the University and enquired about my writing. 

KTR, Shashi Tharoor, PTR

I wished I could have attended the discussions all day but I had other commitments so I headed out.

Hon'ble Governor of Telangana Dr Tamilsai Soundararajan 

Wishing the team at South First the best of luck and I am sure they will certainly fulfill all their aims and ambitions. Wishing you luck Vasu!  

Monday, September 19, 2022

A Beautiful Thought - Thanks Hari

Hari sends me some really nice stuff. This is one of the best. I am going to keep it somewhere so i can always see it. 

"For Awakening 

These are the timeless meditation instructions, be-aware, they are deceptively simple. 

Anyone might be able to maintain the advice for a minute or so, but the practice is to maintain ongoing recognition….

Have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing...

“Don't recall...let go of what has passed

Don't imagine...let go of what may come

Don't think...let go of what is happening now

Don't examine..don't try and figure anything out

Don't control..don't try and make anything happen

Relax right now....and rest".

Gazing intently into the empty sky - vision ceases; likewise when mind gazes into mind itself the train of discursive and conceptual thought ends and supreme enlightenment is gained.

The nature of light cannot be affected by shadows…

For if the mind when filled with some desire should seek a goal, it will only hide the Light.”

~ Tilopa

May these words bring you peace, encourage you to relax the striving, and may your true non-dual nature, Mahamudra, be realized in this very life.🙏

In Loving Kindness 



Thanks a ton Hari. 

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Thought for the Day - The Danger of Feeling Your Feelings Too Much!

 Everything in moderation they say. So it is with feelings. 

Many are accused of not having any feelings. I have some friends like that who are like stone and who do not seem to feel for anyone or anything. Some have feelings but they are excessively towards themselves and they exclude everyone else. And some have excessive feelings towards others to the exclusion of themselves. 

I guess all are bad because they are seem rather excessively imbalanced. I personally learned the art of feeling and expressing my feeling when I started writing I guess. I am putting myself out there and slowly it became easier to do that, be ok with telling what I felt, feel vulnerable. This enabled others to feel vulnerable and perhaps led to more authentic spaces. But the downside is that I began feeling way too much for the others at my cost. And this is a killer.

Feelings are either genuine or they are built upon. If we have a narrative that adds to the feelings they become much bigger than they are. If we can cut out the narrative, then the feelings are under control.

But then life is lived in that space between control and no control. So when I have to choose now between feeling my feelings or not, I guess I'll still go with feeling them. Perhaps the one difference is is whether one expresses them or not.

One can feel them and keep them within. They are still as authentic and as beautiful, uncorrupted by words and images.

Oke Oka Jeevitham - Movie

 Three young men, not doing so great in life - one is a real estate broker, one is unemployed perhaps but his bigger concern is finding a life partner and one is a singer who has stage fright (but has a girl friend). His stage fright is related to some incident in his childhood and losing his mother who he loved a lot.

Enter a time machine and the prospect of revisiting their childhood and hopefully making some corrections to their current life and they go back in time. What happens after that is what the movie is about but in the end everyone is happy to get back to where they are with all their limbs intact!

I enjoyed it. Funny in parts, emotional at others.   

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Meeting Professor V M Shamraj After Many Years

Professor VM Shamraj was our sports Professor at Osmania Engineering College - our go to for all sportsmen at college. He taught in the Mechanical Engineering department (which was replete with cricketing talent in its faculty - with Professor Rammurthy also being part of that department). Prof Shamraj played football at state level, won All India football Universities in 1959  for Osmania (not replicated again since then), played cricket and tennis for the University. Professor Rammurthy played cricket for Andhra and Orissa in his time. Professor Shamraj was very active and most helpful all through those years. 

He was the one who I first met, thanks to Chakkar, who took me to him after my father passed away, saying he will tell you how to apply in sports quota. Prof Shamraj was very helpful, he told me to get my certificates changed to not just about representation but about my strong point - being on winning teams. That always stayed with me. He was on the committee that interviewed me for the engineering seat and he was the only one who asked me questions on cricket. Later he became my mentor and guide for all sports and academic related issue sin college. When we launched '50 Not Out' in Hyderabad, I made sure that Pavan went and picked him up and got him to the launch. He was frail but he enjoyed the outing!

Sunil, Shamraj saab and Me

While writing my new novel based on my years at the University I realised the part Professor Shamraj had played in my growth and tried to call him on the number I had. It didn't work so I got his number from his daughter Sharmila who was my senior at the MBA college and rang him up. He was happy to hear from me and invited me over when I told him he featured in my book. I could not meet him then and he was not well so it took almost a month to finally meet him.

I took Sunil Jyoti along, another sportsman whom Professor Shamraj knew, and we met him. He was lying in bed and recollected a lot of our old memories - he commented on my bowling, what Uncle Jai would say about me, some trips we had made and matches we played together for MCC. We spent a good part of the hour with him, took a few pics and returned.

Prof Shamraj and Me

It was good to see the twinkle in his eye, hear the warmth in his voice as he said 'How are you re' just as he would all those years ago. I'll add to this post as I go by because there is much to write about him but suffice to say now that it was so nice to catch up with him and laugh at the old days and rue the fact that 'those days will never come again'.

Get well soon Shamraj saab. We need you at the book launch!