Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Movie of the week- Delhi-6

I never thought I would be writing on a movie anytime soon. But watching two movies, in otherwise uneventful day, with contrasting box office records set me to do some analytics. It’s true- we Indians sometimes perplex ourselves.

‘Namasthey London’ was the one which type proclaimed Akshay-Katrina as the ‘working’ pair in Hindi industry. But in this one it has been difficult to make out what really worked for the film. The movie takes liberal digs at the ‘firangis’. Akshay takes a study class for them in Hindi on our glorious culture. Then comes India v/s Britain rugby match where Akshay makes a run like Theo Walcott and wins us the trophy and saves our honour. As if these are not enough to make you sink deep into the sofa there is a dialogue in the very end ‘I know English better than you. But don’t get confused I am a Punjabi at heart’.

Have you noticed, we have been casting pathetic, homeless, wreaks of Englishmen as the British aristocracy. The hooker women dress themselves in basic lingerie to do a dance at pubs while our Indian heroines seem to have a superior fashion sense. In the end the wayward, Uppen Patel, learns a leasson on culture and religion from Akshay and he returns home. Katrina takes some longer time to come into senses. In the end all is well. Bottom line: We haven’t got over the East India Company attitude.

But what baffled me was- why did this work while Delhi 6 didn’t? What went wrong fundamentally?

Rakeysh Mehra has a problem in conceptualizing his films. The flaw was there in RDB and became all the more evident in Delhi 6. In RDB liberal dozes of patriotism and anti-institution feeling bailed him out. ‘Monkey man’ is too light subject to connect with mindless religious fanaticism. Cinematography failed him miserably in the movie. Some sequences looked worse than kiddie flicks. I think the producer saved a lot of money as the movie didn’t move out much from the same lane and same house. Delhi was shown very briefly when Bachan goes for a quick tour. Was this shot in Delhi at all?

Both in RDB and D-6 Rakeysh has shown that his main strength is the strong, unique and to an extent eccentric characters. In D-6, they turn out to be witty and simple minded. But at times, I felt they were painted a few decades back and seemed to have stepped straight out of 80’s movie. To makes matters worse towards the end, Rakeysh made the movie (which was running in a unique track) too B-woodish.

I still don’t think these are reasons enough for the movie to bomb. These would have been the flaws no one would have bothered if it had been a hit. The script was very strong. The characters were introduced at right time thus turning the ebb and flow of the story. Then there were powerhouse performances from the cast. When the music was released, I had an apprehension that it would drag the pace of film, which didn’t happen at all. Altogether it had a message and I was glued to the sofa till the end. This should have worked.

Still we humans are a mystery.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Saviour of Christmas

Hey, so another Christmas season has come by. You, being my faithful readers, deserve some gift to cherish. Here I give mine and this is a story I heard. The story is satirical but read deep into it and you’ll get a meaning.

The class teacher decided to do a skit on the nativity scene as part of the Christmas festivities. Pete had always been enchanted with character of ‘Joseph’. He was one of the most respected characters in the Bible. Nothing much is known about him, but the little information that exists makes him all the more venerable. Besides he gets a central place in the skit and could stand in all the pride with Mary, as the shepherds and angels dance and sing around them.

While teacher was assigning the roles, the dream role of Joseph fell into the hands of Sid. Disappointment would not be the apt word to describe the mood of Pete, that too when Sid was his arch rival. Pete had to contend with the inn-keeper’s role. Protest was not a favourable method as he may end up as a butt of jokes.

After much practice, the D-day arrived. According to the real story Mary experiences pains of childbirth. Joseph goes around looking for lodging but is turned down by everyone. Atlast he approaches the inn-keeper. The inn-keeper apologizes that he has no free room left. Joseph persists and seeing Joseph’s anguish inn-keeper offers them his cattle shed.

The skit moved on until Joseph approached inn-keeper.
Joseph(Sid): Sir, my wife is in pains. I have searched everywhere without any luck. Can you please offer me a room.

The audience held their collective breath. The teacher was on the verge of breakdown. For the first time in history the story of Christmas was about to be corrected.
There was a pin drop silence as Joseph walks in to the room.
Joseph(Sid) [in disgust]: Oh what a dirty, dinghy, stinking room it is. A cattle shed would be better than this. Come on Mary, let’s get out.
Thus Joseph saved another Christmas


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Shift in Values

Everyone who knows him would say he is a pretty nice guy. The people who are not close to him says he is stubborn as a mule.

We were enjoying the evening sun at the beach when a pastor went around distributing anti-liqour pamphlets. Then my friend said, ’What moral authority does these guys have to preach against drinking? Christians drink wine don’t they? If the’ immoral’ drink is just judged on its alcoholic content, then beer has lower alcoholic content than wine!’ I hate to get into arguments especially, when the matter pertains to faith.

The next morning I read in ‘The Sun’ that Britain broke one another record. But this time it was for the youngest couple to make It to parenthood. In our times Age- 14 was for fantasy dreams like becoming a famous cricketer, getting a spider bite to turn into a spiderman etc. We saw our first hardcore porn picture at the age of 15 and later discovered that we were capable to produce the white liquid too.

‘The Sun’ went on to do a further interview with the kids. They were pretty excited to talk about the parenthood. The Mom claimed she broke up with the kid’s dad. But the dad claimed they were still an item. The funniest thing was they couldn’t make out if what they did was right or wrong!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The writers' generation gap

I am notorious in putting down outdated posts. It’s because the newer ideas get stacked on top (kind of last-in-first-out flow).

During The Hay Festival I made a startling discovery on the lineage of the writer, Jaisree Mishra. She is the great grand-daughter of one of the greatest writer in Malayalam, Thakazhi.

As Jaisree shook her legs drabbed in the neo-desi outfit, I couldn’t help but take a snap of hers. Due to poor lighting and movement, it came out as hazy. She might have looked on with suspicion at the guy who stared and impolitely clicked her. But it wasn’t exactly because I was enamored of her.

I couldn’t help but compare the contrasting figures of Thakazhi and J.M. The Thakazhi we have seen in pictures is a bare-chested man, relaxing in a chair flanked by his wife and adorned with the infectious smile. He wrote on the plight of poor farmers of central belt of Kerala and the out castes of the society. I still feel the tug at heart on recalling his famous work, ‘Thottiyude Makan’ (Son of the Scavanger). His works reflected the revolutionary era and the wide spread social changes that were sweeping through out.

Now I see, JM, writing on the make-break relationships in concrete jungles. Her target audience is the affable metro-sexual youth. The books are well adorned, well-publicized, costly and well-sold.

But what have we been missing?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Film Fest

The past month was not great for my hometown. The bad roads, the bad weather and bad accidents added to our misery. But there was a silver light in the horizon too. And it was called IFFK.

The official film festival of Kerala- IFFK has reached its 15th edition. Unlike the much hyped and big flop IFFI, IFFK marches on in style. The best part of IFFK is it’s run by genuine film lovers. Nonetheless Kerala is famous for the ‘good’ films we churn out. I hope the officials of IFFI understand the simple fact that ‘Bollywood’ isn’t World Cinema.

So I acquired the symbols of pride- IFFK delegate pass and the Kit. Strutting them on I marched in and watched three-four movies in the first two days. There are 5 shows in some 6-7 theatres. In the 7 day period some 150 films are shown. No one can watch the entire films that are screened. But he can rigorously plan his schedule to watch the maximum number possible.

But to make matters worse I was downed by a bout of stomach bug. But still I am optimistic and happy to be at the cinema lover’s paradise for a week.

Friday, December 3, 2010


I happen to hear a wonderful story on the TV yesterday(Yes, TV can be useful too.)

Gandhi was with the Indigo plantation workers of Bihar. It must have been during his return from S.Africa. It seems that one of the owners was mighty pissed off with Gandhiji.

He remarked, 'Gandhi is a coward. He surrounds himself with farmers. If I get him alone, I will shoot him on the spot.'

The news reached Gandhiji through hearsay.

One early morning Gandhiji's colleague and helper noticed him waking up one hour earlier than usual. Gandhiji started walking through the streets. He reached a big cottage and knocked at the doors. Someone opened the doors.

'I heard that you have taken a pledge. Sorry the farmers flock around me all day. So I couldn't free myself. Now I have got up a bit early and have come alone to you. You can fulfill your pledge'

Rest History

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The table and the book

My Mom was waiting for me to get away from home for a couple of days. She pounced on my desk, to do a cleaning job.Mind you, I have tried many a times to clean my table, but have failed miserably. I don't know how she manages it!The bad part of table cleaning is you will end up having no clue on what you have deposited and where it has ended up.

Well I give you a chance to compare the extremities. It will take some time for me to revert back my table to its ugly self.

As of now, I have finished 'The Age Of Kali' in the long train journey.Now I am into a biography on EMS by P.Govinda Pilla . The book is entitled 'EMS Nambbothirippad'.Well he has a few accolades to his name:

1. The leader of first democratically elected Communist governement.

2. The first Chief Minister of Kerala

3. The brightest party idealogues in India

4. One who started off 'The land re-distribution Act'. The reason why caste disparities are few in Kerala

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kannada star

So this weekend I was roaming in the streets of Bangalore with my good friend, Vattu.we saw many Kannadiga cinema posters on the wall. We came back to our princely room and watched the late night 'item dances'.
I say to Vattu, 'Eda, I think we ought to try to break into Kannada cinema as heroes'

'As soon as we get a break, it doesn't matter if we grow old, grow bald, can't dance or get a huge paunch. You'll always get two short-skirt clad actress to drool over you plus atleast one item dance with a voluptous one'
'True, very true.'

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

About to be Bangalooored

For a while I have been planning to get out of the suroundings but nothing hasn't been happening.
It's tough to get all the guys together, atleast a few. Thankfully, a handful from my college days are planning to meet in Bangalore this weekend. As I said it's tough to get everyone together. Times change and so does priorities.Thank God for the ones who haven't changed!
As for now except the tickets, nothing has been planned. A pair of shoes and clothes are in the top of my 'to-get-list' from Bangalore
So will get you guys an update after the weekend. Cheerios

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


One of my ambition @ the Hay festival was to get to meet William Dalrymple

He does extensive research on his works. The deep knowledge he has on Indian tradition and culture can put any hardcore Inidan to shame.
So when he moved ahead to the book signing, I wanted his autograph on any piece of paper.I was unprepared for and grabbed a book of his from the stall.
I hadn't heard of 'The age of Kali' until then. I did a simple judgement based on beauty of the cover.

I was pulled into a trance as I started reading the book. I sat glued in my chair for hours.This is a travelogue and WD travels across the country and he gives the reason why he thinks India is fast slipping into detrioration and degradation.

It's a very chilly narration, but very much true. And you can dismiss it as white man's penchant to jeer at the EMERGING India. Believe me, you will find it difficult to do so.

Most of the blogger friends I came acroos think very much alike. Most of are urbanised and meterosexuals. We believe we stand on a superior moral grounds and the poor and illiterate are fit only for the dungeons.Thus the outcastes are fast eating into the social fabric of the society and dragging us to KaliYuga.While we sit comfortable on the higher realms of morality.

I would recommend this book to every Indian who thinks everything is fine with India.

Rest don't bother

Friday, November 19, 2010


During the Hay festival, one participant asked Bob Geldof if the rock culture of ‘60s and ‘70s triggered off a culture of sex, orgy and rebellion? He replied that rock culture didn’t trigger off anything. It only brought out what was already hidden the depths of society. Rock brought it out and said, ‘This is what is hidden in you.’

I believe this decade will be known as the reality show decade. The morality of reality (sex) shows have come under the scanner again. This time Rakhi Sawant is the (anti) hero again.
A few years back kids didn’t know what a ‘Nirodh’ was? Today we see the reality couple get married, make love and even grow kids on screen. The stars use foul languages, bitch about others. Then accidentally the bra slips off or there is an upskirt. We get to see celebrities bath publicly. (I believe bath clips were porn a few years ago). Then there are couples who split and make up and again split and make up. And ultimately, we have an uneducated vamp trying to patch up separated couples.

So are these shows evil? Do the sky rocketing TRPs mean, we need them to expose the hypocrisy hidden with in?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Movie of the week- Golmaal3

Saturday is a Sabbath for me. I do a heavy workout and doze off the whole day. But when a girl calls you out for a movie with an accompanying lunch, you drag yourself out of bed.

Well Somu is a good friend of mine. Sadly all her close friends got displaced due to attrition, and she was in desperate need of company. I was happy to oblige as a knight in shining armor. Though I do not like Hind movies, Golmaal was supposed to be sure shot entertainment.

Well the theatre was packed with a jovial crowd. The condition of theatres in Trivandrum is unfathomable. But it’s very low priced and hence forgivable. Besides you get a chance to rub shoulders with nice, cute girls.

Coming back to the movie, there is nothing to review about. The first half was outrageously fun. Although I couldn’t catch the full meaning of the jokes, I got a hint from the crowd and laughed along. The genre is plain slap stick comedy. The movie is colourfuly shot. The protagonists, though jobless, dress always in their Sunday best.

Devgun (or was it Devgunn or Devgn) walks around showing his cleavage and as if he just stamped on shit. The third installment is nowhere compared to the first two and to be frank the best part of the film are the supporting cast. There is no skin show from Bebo. The dumb jokes from Tushaar is getting too repetitive.

Hats off to the director, Rohith Shetty. It’s not easy to make three hit installments, quite phenomenal. The Mithun Chakravarthy flashback jig was awesome and probably the best one I’ve seen. So is Johnny Lever. Rohith Shetty didn’t have a story with him. Surprisingly he didn’t mess up things and wrapped it up pretty decently.

When the movie started off there was a disclaimer- The animal used in a stunt scene is a fake and no harm was done to the real one. How nice and hip to be an animal lover. Strangely, the movie is filled with jibes at a mute character and at one having speech impediment. It’s okay to hurt a person but not at all okay to hurt an animal. What a world!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A lesson from School bus

The first step to counter Arundhathi Roys and Geelanis is to breed a few law abiding citizens. Imagine the situation where the schools turn out to be the greatest menace to human society.

The given photo is snapped from a busy National Highway in Thiruvanathapuram, Kerala. The school/college bus is parked from the footpath and into the highway thus eating up a major chunk of road. The greatest danger is to pedestrians and cyclists who have to veer themselves into the highway.

This institution has a huge empty space in their compound. At least in the after school hours they can put the bus in their compound. The authorities are vary to take action since it’s a religious educational institution.

Venue: Opposite to Lourde church, PMG, Thiruvanathapuram, Kerala.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The wedding reception

The greatest place to socialize in a dreary office is the carom board table, table tennis, pantry and in our case the foosball. I met Arjun on my adventures at the foosball. By the way I am really bad at socializing in office. We became good friends and met over for tea. Arjun was super rich. The salary he earns is peanuts compared to the wealth amassed by his dad. Well there is no point in him earning his own bread. So he lazed around and managed not to get himself fired.

The favorite past time of office friends is mutual bitching of managers. But we had a problem here, Arjun’s manager was my old friend and Arjun’t know about that. And I didn’t reveal to Arjun the relationship between his manager and me. The simple reason being I love people bitching about the people I know rather than people I don’t.

So this exercise went on for long. Arjun revealed his bitter feelings about the manager and addressed him in the choicest of words. The worst part came when Arjun invited his colleagues for his posh wedding reception. I made my grand entrance along with his manager. A great surprise for him and that too on the eve of his wedding.

Friday, October 29, 2010

What you say...

Hi.... Haven't been here for a long time. And apologies for I couldn't follow many of your blogs.

I would like to know your reaction if you are caught up in these situations

1. You, your parents and their parents have been staying in a place for a long long time. You have been making a decent living out of the place. You very well know the place is a result of the sweat of your fathers. One day the government discovers that the place you stay in is a solution to all the energy shortage in the world. You are asked to relocate to a slum in a bustling metro.

2. One fine day the government comes up with a startling discovery- the Vatican sits on a mine of invaluable worth. The Vatican has to be demolished for the purpose. Certainly this would mean an industrial leap for human kind

P.S If you are a Muslim you can change the 'Vatican' to 'Mecca'. Or if you're a Sikh to 'Golden Temple' or any other shrine you consider divine. If you are a communist you can change it to 'the grave of Che'

3. The government deploys military in your area. The soldiers doesn't fall under the law of land. Your brothers get beaten up and your sisters get raped. But you can't question the Armed Forces as they are 'protecting' you.

Well these situations aren't fictional but is very much happening in many parts of the world. Tell me what you think of these situations

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sports Appeal

This is about something we have been seeing in our newspapers regularly, but something that we chose to ignore.

Women playing badminton, tennis etc. have been doing very well on the field. We have classic Indian examples-Saina Nehwal, Sania Mirza. And there is also the William sisters.

But why do we have to see photos in the dailies highlighting their sexual appeal. Do we have to market women’s events on sex appeal?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Specially Gifted or is it???

Hey guys this is something I came across my FB wall

I remember once someone telling me that a child with special needs is a special gift from God to special parents - to show others what "special" means! Salute! I salute everyone who is involved in supporting children with special needs - parents, teachers, the support systems! We care!

hai..i donno whether u r really telling it outta experience..i hav worked with children with DOWNs syndrome and cerebral palsy...their parents are frustarted and fed up...if they wud hav been given another chance by NATURE bfore the kid was... born,they wud have aborted it>>I AM TELLING FROM true life incidences..its easy to say all these...but reality me more precise reality SUCKS!!!!!In our country there are only few fulfleged support groups..The one run by marthoma sabha is pathethic..iF U R IN UK OR USA THEY HAVE SLIGHLY BETTER SUPPORT GROUPS...ONLY thing with the parents is that they can rationalize themselves with your above offence meant

u can detect all chrosome anomalies like DOWNs,patau's,edwards syndrome NOWADAYS very easily and cheaply from a wel equipped diagnostic centre through amniocenticis,tripple test etc at appropriate weeks of gestation in mother.Now,DOWNS SYND...ROME CAN BE AVOIDED thru proper genetic counselling..ITS no longer a costly affair.The only daughter of K.S.chitra the famour singer,IS A DOWN syndrome(mongoloid) KID.She has filed a case aginst a hospital in chennai for not detechting it earlier.The matter was settled outside court.So thru proper diagnostic tools,u can detect this anomalies and prevent the pregnancy..rather than suffer the whole life.

God does things with a purpose :) My comment only stems from that! If we think otherwise ... we will have to think God made a mistake!

i believe in GOD..but that doesnt mean that when i have a heart attack..i will sit in my house and wait for my fate...wen myy car is brokedown i ll thinbk it as my fate...wen my kid is sick ..i ll stuck myself infront of a photo and pray...hope u got my words...But REALITY...SUCKS..(the word F will be more appropriate)...sorry for those harsh words

Me: You guys are going to like this link

I have not gone through these situations. So I will not judge sitting on the fence. But it surely confuses me.
P.S: Farila is some one I always respect and is a very inspirational person.

Monday, October 11, 2010

In search of a better option

I hate re-reading my posts. But the last day I did contemplation and found to my dismay that my language is damn pathetic.

I have been reading a Martin Gilbert’s book on 20th century history. It’s rare to see such a one sided piece of writing. An ordinary man with little knowledge can easily be misguided by such deliberate distortion of facts. USA is portrayed as the nation that took great pains to secure world peace and human rights. They are ahead of rest of human civilization by light years while we fight with each other for worthless matters. Stalin is reduced to a caricature of psychotic killer and so is the entire communist movement.

One of the greatest music producers, Napier Bell, had described in his book how he was approached by some men. They promised to fund his band in return for which he will have to do music promoting their ideology.

The greatest flaw with democracy is we are made to believe we are part of a system where we have the authority to control our destiny. But in the end power rests in the hands of a select few. Today it’s the rich class.

Many a times popular choice may not be the right one. We learnt it the hard way when Bush was elected for a second time. We are seeing it in Iraq and many Latin American countries. Needless to say we have been witnessing that in Karnataka for some years where a band of rich miners are trying to topple the government by paying out obscene amounts as bribe money.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Femina Managers

I remember a debate we had in our college. The topic was on ‘Do women make good managers?’ Most of them chose the safe side- the feminine one. They tore apart their opponents with points like

a. Women were worshipped in pagan relegions

b. They make good home makers

c. Good at multi tasking

d. Attractive

e. Caring and considerate

I sat with my mouth shut. Little did I know that I would be confronting this topic, but in real life.

After a few years in a corporate field and that too with most of the time with women bossing over, I have arrived at some sour but true realities.

Women find it easy to climb up the ladder at least to an extent. The reason being they say ‘Yes, I (will) do’ too easily. Then they cajole/threaten their slaves to finish the job. So trust a woman to do impractical things at impractical time.

Another trademark aspect is easiness with which they panic. I know a well connected lady in our place. We regularly get the company news letter singing her praises. I found her good in only one thing. When an issue comes up the first thing she does is to panic and melt half the team’s confidence. Then everyone work around like rats until the issue is made messier. The stakeholder decides, ’We are better off without it.’

Then there is this very beautiful girl. She is very young and was promoted recently. She walks around panting and puffing exclaiming the cruelty of her fate. She goes to bed very late and wakes up very early. I wonder how these people function without any sleep. Btw do you guys know lack of sleep causes breast cancer?

There are other great features too for women. They magically pop up behind your shoulder to monitor how you waste your time. They regularly remind you how hard (late) they work.

It’s actually great to see a good looking manager on someone else’s side. No thanks, I wouldn’t want them.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Gandhi Jayanthi- the new perspective

I was browsing through the morning newspaper and came across an interesting article on Gandhi Jayanthi. Well for the illiterate, it’s the birthday of Mahathma Gandhi.

A journalist decides to go on a journey to Sabarmathi Ashram in Gujarat. He got into an auto-rikshaw from the railway station. He gave the address as ‘Bapu’s Ashram’. The journo had seen the pictures of an old structure in the papers and books but never have been there in real life.

The auto driver takes him to a huge structure. The journo gets confused, ’Is this Bapu’Ashram?’

‘Ohh, sorry. You should have told it in the first place.’

The driver takes him to another spot. The auto speeds away as soon as the journo gets out. The journo is more confused as he can’t recognize the place from the pictures. Slowly he realise that the place is the abode for a demi-god who goes around with the name ‘Bapu’. Soon the sales men Sadhus alight imploring him to pay a visit to the ‘bapu’. These guys are on deal with the auto and cab drivers, who drop the unsuspecting visitors to ‘Bapu’s Ashram’.

It seems everything is on sale- religion, love, relations, ideology….

Hope you guys had a cool Bappu’s b’day

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A private e-space

I took a stock of ‘Think’ and found to my little amazement that a major chunk of posts deals with women. I don’t have a reason for it, may be the mind might be filled with delicate beings. And since most of the comments and feedback are positive, I believe I am quite a nice guy.

Jane forwarded me a link on how she was stalked by a creepy guy on the internet and another one in which she was confronted by a porn producer.

The amount of personal information we put on the internet is mind-boggling. Strangely, our virtual self turns to be more true than the real one.

The USP of social networking sites are they stroke our hidden urge for voyeurism and sexual erotica. All the talk about security is big time bullshit. We tend to get more public figures in the virtual world and more secluded and private in the real world.

I am not acting a saint here. For I am one among them who is guilty of this pleasure.

The celebrities have used the internet and social networking for self marketing. The principle of ‘those who live by sword’ came in real for them. If they are having a ‘bad hair day’ or a ward robe malfunction, the ‘fans’ knows it in no time. I think we Indians are notorious compared to others.

It’s important to respect the private space. But in a free world, I doubt how realistic its going to be.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Branded for life

Guys and Gals,

Apologies first. I haven’t been able to follow many of your blogs or comments in the past week. I have this trouble in motivating myself. I am very reluctant to pat myself at the back. So for the past one week I have been roaming around feeling like a loser. This happens when you are one among the few in office who haven’t won a recognition/appreciation or when you perform too badly in your guitar classes.

Back to the blog:

My brother got an SMS which was meant to be funny.

A couple breaks up after a long courtship.

The girl goes around saying ‘He is a loser’, ‘He is insensitive’, ‘He has a tough mother’ etc.

The boy goes around saying, ‘Dude, she is a slut’.

Have you noticed our women get branded too easily? Or am I wrong? Some women consciously try to avoid any tasteless tags but some don’t bother at all.

There is a girl in my neighborhood. She has an ordinary face and an extra ordinary figure which she compounds by wearing good clothes. She has a huge number of male friends and regularly hangs out with them. So whenever a talk about her comes up, the aunts would have seen her at multiple places with many guys at a single time.

Another famous figure who’s a victim to the vicious branding is Sania Mirza. She got all the attention because she was a hot number on the court (and off it). I remember she was the most googled person once. As soon as she started losing we branded her as an upstart, undedicated, etc. But wasn’t it too much to expect a Wimbledon from her? Was she wrong in marrying a guy she chose and calling off the engagement with another. Why do we go after her when she broke no law and is a harmless creature?!

I saw a photo of Yuvaraj Singh with a huge paunch and why isn’t anyone after him questioning his dedication?

Friday, September 17, 2010


Monsoon is a beautiful season. But it’s the time of the year when Kerala is besought with all sorts of fever.

Thankfully, I had no bout of fever this time. I wonder why was I spared when everyone else coughed and sneezed around.

Then the last night I went out for partying. I am a teetotaler, but that night I took a sip from every single variety available. To make matters worse I even had a (dry) sip of whiskey which burnt the interiors. May be it’s the potent mix, I woke up with a temperature. Guess I will have to spend this weekend in bed.

Speaking of fevers, I believe after human race, the next species to inhabit the world is going to be virus. Did you know that viral fevers can cause you renal failure? This is not hearsay, I personally know people who went through that.

The paper cup, which was supposed to be a revolutionary invention can turn out to be another cause of human extinction. A colleague of mine had some gastro failure. Doctors found his digestive system coated with wax. They pointed out the cause to be the regular use of paper cups at office. You feel stressed, bored or you simply may need a chit chat. You run to the nearest coffee machine. The hot coffee in the cup melts the glue and over a period of time you accumulate as much as wax inside you to end this miserable life.

The beautiful world of ours is a dangerous place!!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I was out for my evening jog when I spotted Munna along with his hot girlfriend. What were they doing here? There were supposed to be in the evening shift! I was in a hurry to get to the juice shop and so hurried away without saying a ‘hi’.

Only the next day did I get the ‘hot’ news. Munna and his girlfriend have been suspended for doing ‘naughty’ things in the office late at night. There were smart enough to switch off the lights in their area so that the CCTV couldn’t make it out clearly. Anyway the security guy claims he saw a vigorous movement of hands and legs. To make matters worse the couple behaved as if sex is their fundamental right. Sadly it’s not so in India and certainly not so in the office.
‘Office sex’ was a fantasy seen only in porn. Now it’s becoming increasingly common. What could be the reason?

You spent almost 12-14 hours in the office and 2-3 hours for travel. To make matters worse some white guy in the other part of the world makes your life miserable to make his-more comfortable. People need some outlet to relieve their stress. Some opts to de-stress through shopping, drink, smoke and a few of them through the pelvis.

Committing adultery is not moral. But climbing into higher grounds of morality when it comes to sexual matters is certainly immoral. Our work culture is highly corrupted and needs a repair. In the rat race we tend to forget to enjoy simple pleasures of life. In the end we turn to quick-fix and crooked ways.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Not so long ago people knew their relations unto third, fourth and fifth generations. The greatest use of the huge family tree came during marriage. In India, where the marriages are arranged by the relatives, much information about the proposed boy/girl and the family wouldn’t be available on hand. But there might be some distant relation living near by. He would supply the needed information on the past history, wealth, social status etc. Everyone was well networked (without much help from FB, orkut).

In these turbulent times, we are not even aware of who is staying next door, let alone our relations. So the pre-marriage enquiry has come onto a big crisis.

The common practice today is to enquire with the friend’s friend’s friend who studied/worked with the boy/girl. I have come across many predicaments as a result of this.

My good friend was enquiring about a girl he was supposed to get engaged to. She studied with me in college. He wanted to know if she had any secret affairs. The only information available to me was rumors. I have no proof for them. So should I dispense with the rumors?

On another occasion, a friend of mine asked me about a guy who was supposed to marry her friend. She wanted to know if the guy drinks. I had an information that the guy had taken to bottle when some girl dumped him. And if I dispense with my knowledge I might be denying him a new life!

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Being raised in a religious household is an advantage. You keep yourself grounded in times of trouble. But I was lucky to get enough space to form my own opinion.

From what I observe, the more a person shows off his religious fervor and rituals the less he is obliged to practice the essentials in his life. In other words the external demonstration is inversely proportional to the internal quality.

I feel the religious awareness has been on a very high in the recent decade. But the faithful fail to identify the essence of the teachings.

As a simple example- if we believe God is all powerful, why should we bother to defend him when someone else makes a bad remark about him?

So when someone asks me what my dream girl should be like…I reply- Of the numerous qualities, no one should tell her religion by her dressing gear or her mannerisms or other symbols.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Women are from Venus

Happy Onam….. Don’t try to reach me hereafter….somehow I and my boyfriend feel that our friendship might not turn out to be for good….So goodbye!
I stared at the screen in wonder.

Female species have continued to baffle and petrify me. I am positive that I wouldn’t be the only man in the world to come up with this opinion. I stand in the league of world’s greatest philosophers and thinkers.
‘She’ is a personality whom I haven’t met (at least not in reality). Here is a few online conversations we shared.

(We were chatting about a family function at her home)
Me: So what all food are going to be there for the occasion?
She: why are you so concerned about that?
Me: I wanted to know how you guys do your functions
She: Please do not show any concern on me? I am already engaged to another person.
Me: Huh?
(We were chatting about a sly manager)
Me: I will crush his balls
She: Balls?
Me: Uh-huh.. It’s nothing
She: Please tell me…. What balls are you talking about?
Me: Something related with male anatomy.
Me: (concerned) You there?
She: How dare you talk filth to me?
Me: Filth?
She: Balls
Me: Ball isn’t a bad word!
(We were chatting about her Mr. Cool )
She: You know I am worried about him.
Me: Why?
She: He drives his car so fast and does so much adventure.
Me: No worries…ambulance services are very fast in UK. They even use helicopters.
Me: What is your guy’s name?
She: No girl is supposed to tell her guy’s name.
Me: Then what am I supposed to call him
She: You can call him ‘breeze’
Me: How can I do that? ‘Breeze’ is a ladies inner wear manufacturing company.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Movie of the week- Raging Bull

Do you know what differentiates the great directors from the good ones? Their ability to weave out their dreams and fantasies on the celluloid. The whims and fancies of audience and critics no longer matter.

I had the chance to watch the masterpiece of Scorsese recently. I always wanted to see the ‘Raging Bull’. It’s a movie that has been there in the all time top 100 classics.
The great directors are always known for sticking to a set of actor/crew. They build a group and put their faith in them. Essentially film-making is a community process. Scorsese has casted De Niro in many of his classics and De Niro walked away with Oscar for his performance in Raging Bull.

As the name indicates De plays a boxer in the movie. He dreams of attaining the world middle weight championship. He works with an animal like passion towards that and he is nicknamed ‘Bronx Bull’. He bashes down anything that gets into his way. In addition to his opponents in the ring he has to fight those outside it. During that time the boxing world was controlled by the powerful Italian Mafia. But he is not at all bothered to make a compromise with them. He develops his own set of ‘rights’ and he works in that way.

The story is based on a real life character- Jake La Motta. The events happen in US around the 50’s and 60’s. More than his life in the ring, his life outside and the characters that revolves around makes the crux of the film. His bullish nature spills outside the box. He gets into the bad book of mafia. Jake has sentenced himself to absistence during his title quest. As a result he starts doubting the fidelity of his wife. His relationship with his wife and brother suffers. Thus he breaks away with his brother (and reunites years later).

The film opens with an old Jake practicing a speech and we wonder ’why?’. Then his youth is unscrolled. There are poignant moments like Jake breaking down after failing a ‘fixed’ match, reuniting with his brother. The physical transformation of De Niro after the retirement is amazing. It highlights the commitment level of the actor.

The whole movie is shot in black and white (like ‘Sin City’). But the boxing scene and blood spraying around is shot in a different style and short angle to give it a gory look. There is a particular sequence where Jake bashes the nose of a good looking challenger. Then the bookie says, ’He ain’t pretty any more!’
Just can’t get enough of the film!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Happy Freedom Day

63 years and we are fast becoming a ‘too-independent’ nation. One by one we have been breaking the age old customs and taboos and enslaving ourselves to the chains of freedom.

Tell me your thoughts on the following subjects:

Have we become too free to choose the life and death of unborn babies? Because we are not ready enough or because life is young enough! Besides babies are uncool- diapers, feeding, baby fat, sleepless nights, missed parties…Don’t we call this freedom to live?

Have we become too free to fill our television, films and music with stuff that has no regard to moral and social ethos? Our kids are become a moving encyclopedia on sex even before they attain their puberty. Our actress show off all the god-given and surgeon implanted assets. We enjoy the jokes and lyrics with dual meaning (along with our children). We fill our screen with mindless violence and eulogize heroes with negative traits…. Don’t we call this freedom of expression?

We covet what rightfully belongs to others. It can be positions, wives, husbands, water, air, grades etc. Then we adorn it with a beautiful name- ‘Ambition’.

We cut down trees for road widening. We fill in the natural water bodies. We adorn even the most scenic places with vulgar concrete structures. A family of four will have four vehicles. We clog the traffic and waste the fuel. We call this- ‘development’.

We indulge in any form of sex- homo, hetero, bi. Moreover we proudly display our variety of tastes. We have removed the age, sex, relationship restrictions to copulate. Today porn is one of the thriving industries in India. This is freedom to enjoy.

And last but not the least our media is free to fill in anything they want. They no longer play any role in nation building. As long as it’s eye-catchy, anything is good to go. So the wrong people, the wrong ideologies attain the prime space. This is called freedom for media.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Bus Ride

I jump on into the bus. The conductor impatiently strikes the ‘double-bell’, signaling the take-off. The bus is already filled and there is standing room only.

An old man had also got in with me. He seems visibly tired. He tells the conductor in low voice.

‘I am physically challenged’.

There are two seats reserved for the ‘challenged’. There are two unchallenged already in the seat. The two remains seated..... unmoved.

The conductor requests one of them to move out for the old man. The two looks here and there to see if anyone else is kind enough for the gesture. The old man asks again, this time in a loud voice.

The imploring goes on and on. Still no one in the bus is ready to forsake their comforts.

Is corruption exclusive for the political class? Don’t we see corruption in every sphere of life.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

What is wrong?

‘Malarvadi Arts Club’ was released in Malayalam with much hype. It was a directorial debut starring new comers. So it was supposed to bring with it a whiff of fresh air.

Contrary to what I expected there was no fresh air. Just the old, stale story in a new package.

So have you ever wondered, even after being such a big country filled with movie goers, we end up making pathetic films.

Across the nation only a handful of films become a commercial success- be it K-wood, T-wood, M-wood or B-wood. Strangely the reasons are almost the same

1. Weak Scripting: I always believe script is the life of a movie. But we end up seeing almost huge gaps in a script. The sickening part is the issue is seen even in an experienced director’s film.

What could be the reason? One reason could be compromise on the script for commercial success.

Moreover the reason is inexperienced writers in the industry.

Strangely we have brought in young blood to the industry. But script writing needs someone who has seen life. Inexperienced writers rely on the popular, foreign language films for ‘inspiration’ when they run short of ideas. We thus miss any kind of originality or clarity.

2. Poor Casting: Casting is an irony in India. The protagonists will be the son/daughter/friend of some big gun. They may be good in self marketing but sadly rotten in the talent department. In short the cinema has to run on the shoulders of supporting cast.

But there are guys like Abishek who developed with experience. There may be guys like Ranbir who may grow up.

Take a copy of Filmfare, you will find article after article convincing us that the New-Gen are sexy and talented. I couldn’t help but laugh when I see people like Ranbir, Sonam who aren’t half as good as Filmfare believe them to be. Now I hear that Anil Kapoor has produced a 21 year old producer too. Who are these trying to fool?

Bollywood, unlike the other Indian film industries, has a strong talent in the supporting cast department.

3. The Tamil film industry is notorious for the way they choose their female leads. A few years back it was purely based on the flatness of tummy and bust size. Things have changes a bit now. They prefer lean actress. But the chubby ones like Namitha (ooooh…) is still in demand.

Along the southern side of country there are very few films that have a female protagonist. But I believe things are changing in B-wood.

By female oriented movie, I don’t necessarily mean the ones in which the women are exploited. Amelia would be a great example.

4. It seems we Indians have forgotten clean humor. Our films are stuffed with toilet jokes(so is our mobile). Our leads are too serious to joke. B-wood does strange things like putting a fat Punjabi to crack Sardar jokes in typical Punjabi style.

I dare not speak of Tamil, Telugu or Malayalam. Overall, we have just the slap comedies in our films. We do not have place for any other brand of humor.

5. Our audience are too impatient. They prefer a fast and furious movie. So the biggest challenge a script writer has today is to cram in a whole film in two hours. Even then people say ‘Shorter the better’.

6. The marketing strategies of films baffle me. A film is declared a hot or flop from the first response. So we try to get in the maximum number of people by giving them the wrong idea. So a melodramatic movie will be depicted as Action movie of the century. Even sexuality is not spared. Thus the wrong audience comes in. They go out and say the movie is bad.

It ends up with the tag of ‘hyped’.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pre Marriage

The days have become lonely at the work-place. My fellow ‘bitch-the-management’ mates moved out. So there is no more ‘bitching’ sessions and the coffee breaks have grown shorter.

But there is a group sitting near me who gets together for short chats. Although I am not part of the gang, I love eaves-dropping into their tidbits while pretending to work.

And there is this really beautiful lady in their group who is fast approaching the upper limit of marriageable age (Yea, I dream of her always, err secretly). She started talking about a marriage proposal that came in her way.

The chat-mates got around and started tearing apart the boy piece by piece. She said, ‘I heard that the guy is professionally useless’. I gulped. The poor boy was being disrobed here without his knowledge. God knows, how many allegations are true.

Someday I would be disrobed too, may be a thousand times. Boy, marriage sucks…big time.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Turn the page- The Evil Offspring

In the days I started serious reading, I preferred English literature. They were supposed to improve my language and mould me into a global citizen. Recently I found out that my native Kerala is blessed with amazing writers which I have missed all these years. So I am into Malayalam now.

I have been reading ‘Asura Vithu’(Evil offspring) by M.T Vasudevan Nair. MT is one of the renowned Malayalam writers and has scripted some of the award winning movies as well.

One of his first books I have read is ‘Randamoozham’(Second Chance). Usually we read the Mahabharata in the popular point of view. Here he draws the picture in the point of view of Bhima. It was such a wonderful and touching portrayal. Bhima is shown as a soft hearted person taken for granted by all.

The climax where his mother reveals his paternity is very touchy. I wonder if the Hindu fanatics would have allowed such a book to be released today.

‘Asura Vithu' is set in world war days. It paints the picture about a rural village during those tough times.

MT’s command over language, issues and situations is remarkable. Today it would be impossible to touch up a whole lot of issues in a single novel.

The main difference between a good writer and great writer is his writings transcends generations. Even it would be difficult for me to put my favorite writer Kushwant Singh in the list of great writers.

Most of the issues MT mentions in ‘Asura Vithu' is still prevalent in our society. The most prominent one being the casteism, moreover, the influence of the rich in the caste equations.

Another feature being the degradation of families entirely dependent on agriculture. As a result a new breed comes up that prefers getting a paid job. Even today a farmer has only second rate status even though he grows our food.

WW-II is a sensitive area for India. India was dragged into a war we weren’t supposed to be in. MT shows the inflation and food shortage in rural India. The aloofness of the people to the morality of warring side is humorous.

Another sensitive and very relevant subject is infidelity. Men from rich families are allowed to spill their wild oats. In the end the unfortunate woman is married off to some idiot who gets a good amount as bribe.

Reading such books enhances our social outlook. But sadly these serious writers have been ignored today.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Movie of the week- Inception

Almost every other Indian blogger you meet is a movie reviewer. There is a favorite term used by all ‘Paisa Vasool’. I have failed to understand or grasp the meaning of the term. I figured it out that if the actress looks gorgeous, wears sexy costumes, the lead couple dances in foreign locations and if there are toilet jokes, the movie is termed as a ‘Paisa Vasool’.

I have stopped going for these ‘Paisa Vasool’ flicks. It gives me headaches.

When Nolan came up with his new flick, I was caught in a dilemma. All the recent ones which came with huge publicity and hype turned out to be damp squibs. Is this going to be anything different? But Nolan has the reputation of churning out brilliant movies each and every time.

So on the first day, I stood in the queue. It had a variety of people from construction workers to school kids. It even had a bunch of young girls who were desperately trying to look older and sexier. Well, the problem here is that if school kids come for a movie unaccompanied on a week day, they can be caught by the police. I talked with an unskilled laborer who took regular sips from the brandy bottle in his bag. He had an off day since someone from the locality was stabbed.

Before the show started the vultures descended (black tickets). The queue broke up and a circle formed around them. I managed to get a honest ticket but I accidentally purchased three(when we needed only two). I rushed back to the queue and offered the guys standing there the ticket. But surprisingly people were even frightened to buy the ticket from me. ‘Assholes, when some guy offers the ticket for extra money you are too eager to get it’.

Anyways the show started.

The movie, as usual, dwells on the complexities of human mind. As the human mind the movie is unpredictable and complex.

It’s about a guy, Cobb, who specializes in extracting information from his victims by travelling into his mind. During one such operation things go wrong and mission fails. His victim, who seems to know every move of Cobb offers him a proposition. He has to incept an idea into the mind of the heir of a business mogul. Although the mission is extremely dangerous Cobb agrees for it in exchange of freedom to go back to his family.

Meanwhile Cobb is a man with dark past and has to dwell with demons within before he accomplishes his mission. The trump card of the movie is how we are taken for a ride into Cobb’s mind and his past.

Nolan is a man with great ideas and you would see fabulous visuals in the movie. But this high budget flick wouldn’t have been possible if he had no huge backing. You wouldn’t see any huge blasts or weird creatures. But the special effects are one of the best in Hollywood. A whole imaginary world has been visualized and it comes to life on screen. Full marks to Nolan who comes up with these fabulous ideas each and every time.

Nolan always comes up with the best cast. And he strangely sticks on with almost the same guys in front of the camera. And they are doubtlessly the best too.

Screen plays are the trump card for a Nolan movie. The idea and story of ‘Inception’ Is a tricky one and it’s not the first time the idea has been dwelt upon. But the treatment had to change and that’s what has been done exactly. Any normal guy would have faltered in the pace. But with all the complexities of Cobb’s mind, the focus isn’t lost and the pace is constant through out. And as a result we get a pace thriller.

But Nolan has this penchant for complexities. I doubt if he made the story too complicated towards the end.

PS: I have almost all Nolan films- Memento, Following, Batman Begins, Insomnia, The Prestige and now Inception. How many have you seen?

Friday, July 16, 2010


Clown Mohan and Co. are going around telling everyone that everything is fine here in India and the recession is for the west.

But the trump card of Indian Economy, the IT industry, doesn’t seem to be doing well.

The most happening phenomenon in an IT company is ‘Jumping’. In his hay day a softie gets double the salary when he makes a ‘jump’. By the time he is 30 he will be earning a obscene paycheck.

During the recessions no company was willing to take the risk of hiring. The ‘jump’ slowed down. So the softie stayed on pledging allegiance to his company. The bosses weren’t so foolish. They cut the wages and increased the work and put all the blame on George Bush.

As soon as the economy started blooming again, the companies started getting new projects and they started poaching talented and frustrated people. So company A lured those of company B with 70% hike. This created a vacuum in B prompting them to go searching the ones in Company C.

This vicious cycle went on until everyone filled up all the existing posts with double the earlier pay. This in turn caused fall in profits. Bosses had enough of this ‘rat – eat- rat’ and they are coming up with measures to control the ‘jump’.

I believe some surprises are around to regulate the ‘jumps’. My dear friends, who are used to huge salaries, you might have to check in your greed a bit.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


My parents have been married to each other for some 25+ years. Dad and mom is very sensitive. Their egos get hurt easily and we get to see a fight once in 3-4 weeks. They recollect all the fights from DAY 1 and they blame each other.

The next day they won’t speak to each other for some time. Soon they team up together and we children get the scolding.

During the inter parent shouting matches my dad used to compare our household with the neighbor. They have a loving dad, smart mom and ever smiling kids. We never heard blood chilling shouts from their house.

‘The lucky man!’

A few days ago ‘The lucky man’ started growing a beard. One day my brother told me that everything is not sweet in the neighboring home. He started drinking and sister says the nagging wife is the reason.

My poor dad has no one to compare. He isn’t so desperate to start drinking and 55 isn’t a good age to start.

Successful Marriages aren’t made of fight-free life. It’s only when the tempers flare up that we bare ourselves out completely. So small fights are good once in a while. The ‘success’ is how well we patch up.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A peek to the finals

The World Cup was pretty good this time. We got good teams in the final and both of them should have won it long ago. No matter Spain wins it or Holland, the Cup of Life is going to be in good hands.

This time I noticed some interesting trends. I had to come in to terms with the fact that India is not a football loving nation. For an average Indian the best team is the one that wins and the best player is the one that scores the most number of goals.

The only thing we get to watch here is the EPL. So we were under the impression that England is a superstar team and will walk away with the cup. Since many analysts wrote that Brazil had a superstar team some went over to the side of Brazil.
I am happy that both of them made their early exits. As for England they had the excuse that the English media inflates the ego and abilities of the players to supernatural levels. In reality, it was just a bunch of ordinary players.
Brazil had no excuse to make. They had a vast talent pool and a coach who captained one of the best teams in France ’98. But sadly Dunga chose the safer and bad strategy of play.
It was humiliating to see such a shoddy display. As they marched majestically through the group stages, the weaknesses were exhibited. Still the pundits chose to close their eyes. As long as someone keeps on winning anything is fine.

On the other hand while I witnessed people booing and jeering Maradona, he was welcomed at his home with a rousing reception. That is the definition of ‘Champion’. ‘Champion’ doesn’t bother to win at any cost. He plays in his own way.

Many predicted Germany to walk away as the victors after their game against Argentina. But everyone overlooked the fact that Germany thrived against weak defense through swift counter attacks. Against Spain it was simply not going to work out. The Euro champions denied Germans the space and the young German team failed to switch strategies. German played on par with Spain and it’s the experience that saw the ‘Red Fury’ through.

If asked to predict, my mind says the Oranje would prevail. They have the composure and application mindset. But Holland is nowhere near Bergkamp era and I don’t want to see the glory hunter Sneijder walk away with the Cup. My mind guns for Espania!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Suicidal Love

I was working out at the gym when our instructor came around carrying the ‘obituary’ section of the newspaper.

‘What is the matter, Ashan?’

‘One guy from our gym committed suicide…..apparently love failure.’

The workouts couldn’t strengthen his heart!

The tabloids celebrated the suicide of Viveka Babji. They assumed the reason of suicide to be her boyfriend, who dumped her.

The tabloids took it as a chance to reminiscence the Kamasutra model’s sensous figure.

It’s rare to hear about a love story culminating in marriage. Even the rapid urbanity, intrusion of western media and culture hasn’t given our youth the strength to tide over the tough situations.

Recently I heard about a girl who developed cold feet at the last moment (after getting approval from both the sides) because her boyfriend refused the religious conversion.

A fiery female chauvinist wrote: The men who preach about preserving the caste honour never bother about the caste of whores they visit at night. Is this honour something that is worn in under wears?

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Friday was a day of rejoicing and on Saturday I cried along with millions.

On Friday we saw Brazilians being out-thought and out-played by the Dutch. I loved the Brazil of old- Brazil of Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho. Dunga has made the beautiful Brazil into a team of some 7 defensive minded players. So when Dutch imposed themselves in the middle the frontline of Kaka, Robinho and Fabiano ran out of ideas. I am pretty much happy to see Dunga cry.

But I don’t like the Dutch either. They have said good bye to the ‘Total football’ and plays to ‘win’. Can’t blame them everyone needs result. Moreover they haven’t showed their ability to play as a team. The race for self glory is evident in the way they play.

Argentina was obvious to fail. They had one of the weakest defense. But for the great man, Maradona, everyone chose to remain silent. Against a good tactical team Argentinian defense fell all over the place. It was a tragedy waiting to happen. Another black mark in the career of Maradona.

I would love to see Germans going through. The team is so young but plays with amazing composure and game plan. But we will have to see how they fare against a team good in the wings.