Till Death Or Other Weird Reasons Do Us Part

Originally posted on Ashish Shakya:

The Great Indian Wedding Season is drawing to a close, which is sad because I look at weddings the same way I look at getting tasered – it’s great fun if it’s happening to someone else. The best one I attended was basically a beach-and-beer party where there just happened to be a ceremony. However, recent news events have made me realise that you can do all the cool stuff you want at your wedding, but if it’s going to go through without anyone getting ditched at the altar, then don’t even bother inviting me.

The gold standard for excitement was set by a bride in U.P this week, when she canceled her wedding at the last moment after realising that the groom had hidden his complete and utter lack of education from her. She did this by pretending to be a human Captcha. No, seriously. She asked the groom…

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The best CWC campaign-Britannia khao, World Cup Jao

Mauka Mauka by Star is the best WC campaign this year

Mauka Mauka by Star is the best WC campaign this year

Every 4 years, brands in India are taken back to the drawing board to design an engaging campaign for the cricket world cup. Maybe now, the need of this engagement is diminishing because of too much cricket and rise of other sports in India. Brands like Vodafone and Hyundai are more focused on IPL while Amul & Docomo are more associated with Premier League Football than cricket.

This year, 2 campaigns stand out for two completely different reasons. Stars ‘Mauka Mauka” represents a great story-telling layering with nostalgia, humor and relativity. On the other hand, Lays World Cup campaign is pretentious, cliched and too much dependent on the star power of Ranbir Kapoor.

Lays wc ad

In my memory from 1999 cricket world cup stood out for 2 excellent campaign. The first campaign was Pepsi’s “Yeh Dil Mange More” with Shah Rukh Khan, Sachin Tendulkar, Azhar and others. In search of Pepsi, Shah Rukh breaks into Indian Dressing Room wearing a Sachin wig. If you don’t remember what happens next then you should definitely watch this commercial.

SRK SRT in pepsi commercial 1999

Another campaign was Britannia’s – Britannia Khao, World Cup Jao (Eat Britannia, Go to the World Cup). The idea of campaign was that each Britannia product had runs in the packet depending on the value of the product. For example, 50-50 biscuit’s packet had 10 runs, Fruit cake 40 runs and so on. When you score a century after collecting empty packets worth 100 points, you get a booklet with Cricket facts, statistics and a scratch card to find out if you have the World Cup ticket or not.

britannia worldcup

Of the 10 odd booklets that I had (yes, i force feed myself for those biscuits to get more of those booklets ), all of them said try again but still there was no hard feelings because that booklet itself was novelty for kids like me.

[Bonus Read: Britannia tried a similar campaign in 2002, but ICC had problems with that.]

The reason this campaign is still in memory is because of the engagement that it managed with it’s target audience. Not only teens and school going kids were collecting those packets, I also saw retired uncles and soap watching aunties collecting them too.  The result for Britannia was healthy too. That year, the companies financials show 37% increase in the profits.

So, well done Britannia with that campaign.

Do you remember any other campaigns from previous World cups that stood out. Do share.

Guest Post- The Joy of Discovery by Avinash Gupta

Avinash Gupta:

Sharing my guest post that I contributed to Aman’s blog. Amandeep is one of my favorite blogger and it was honor to feature in his blog.
Do check out his blog if you have not done so already.

Originally posted on CONFESSIONS OF A READAHOLIC:

The Joy of Discovery 

by AVINASH GUPTA

I have no right to speak in favor of book stores. Last year, of the commendable fortune of my modest income that was spend on books, smaller portion was actually contributed to the bookstores. Amazon and Flipkart enjoyed the larger share, and the reasons were simple:

  • Change in the content consumption pattern.
  • Way cheaper than the book store.
  • Amazing service (can you beat on click delivery of Amazon for my kindle)
  • Change in style in discovering the book

Of all the above, I want to focus on the 4th point. Now we select our books from the book recommendations by fellow bloggers, by goodreads timeline, through tweets and through Facebook book crushes. I mean, when was the last time when you went to the bookstore and said, “It looks like an interesting book” and took that book home with you. If you have not done it for long time…

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A like for Dahi Please !

Aah .. Dahi

Aah .. Dahi

Before I discovered the fun loving, alcohol dipped dudes and food frenzy of Delhi, I was introduced to the cruel summer heat and hopelessly rude city during my first real encounter with the capital. My hosts for the chaos were Sushil and Sunil, and in the streets where you will find Manish Sisodia campaigning these days were our backyard in those days(ok, now you realize this post has been in my draft for too long). There were times when we were up all night and used to talk about insanity that this city is, not only because we were good friends, but also because of the insomnia sponsored by 45 degree Celsius, 6 hours load shedding, FIFA World Cup 2006 and a crazy housewife next door. Only saving grace in those days were the 400 gram packets of Mother Dairy Dahi (curd) that were packed for two but we preferred 2 packets each. That chilled bacterial form of lactose was better than the bowl of ice cream after each heart break that Delhi offered us each day.

While Delhi was literally doing Dimag ki Dahi (making yogurt of our brains- well some phrases should not be translated ), the Dahi was saving us from the heat and the madness. Years rolled down and my days of hating Delhi was behind me. I fell in love with its madness, made peace with its weather and started associating with the cities flaws.

Click on the picture and give a like to Dahi

Click on the picture and give a like to Dahi

Sunil decided to dedicate rest of his life in the service of Dahi. He started this Facebook page that only 66 people thought was cool but he writes awesome Dahi poetry and monologues. Please spare your like button for this page and show love to encourage Sunil to come out with cooler than ever Dahi-fanboy stuff.

What you may see in the future?

– Yo Yo Dahi Singh Rap ( Tunne Mere Raita… ka kar diya Siyapaa..)

– Annual Dahi Appreciation Award ( Feature Award- Dahi Innovation Award- Past winners include Shubham Jain for making Kimaan ka Raita)

– All India Backlol’s Dahi Toast

– Podcasts including interviews of Misti Dahi sellers in Howrah station.

So I request you all to show the love for the Dahi . Here is the link.

P.S- As you guessed, this post was sponsored by the founders of Dahi page in exchange of 5 Million Dollars of Monopoly Cash.

 

Musings of Jhumpa Lahiri: Looking Back at Time

Avinash Gupta:

I really loved this post by Eshita. As she says, “some thoughts are best left to be mused on”

Originally posted on NightSoulWhisperer:

jhumpa_lahiri_260813_20.jpg

Ever felt the joy when you stumble upon a favourite article of yours that you had written long time back and had forgotten all about it? I felt the same when I chanced upon this article I had made on Jhumpa Lahiri, after attending her much-talked-about prologue session in conversation with Rudrangshu Mukherjee, a notable historian, as part of the Kolkata Literary Meet 2014, at the epic Victoria Memorial, Kolkata. Not only was I impressed by what she had said, I could also connect with many of her thoughts, as I’m sure many of the readers will as well. So, without further ado, here it goes.

(Jhumpa Lahiri obviously doesn’t need an introduction. However, for the ignorant mortals, she is an Indian American author. Lahiri’s debut collection of short stories, Interpreter of Maladies (1999) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN/Hemingway Award and The New Yorker Debut of the Year…

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Takeaways from the Jaipur Literature Festival 2015

JLF 2015

JLF 2015

This was my second consecutive visit to Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF). During my last visit, I reserved myself mostly to the sessions and had little or no interaction with the fellow attendees. But this time, I made sure that I interact and take away more from the largest literary gathering of the world.

I visited on the 23rd January, 3rd day of the event. My first stop was Front Lawns that had house full attendance. I am too young to associate with Woodstock but this place was closest literary version of Woodstock. In the cold winter morning, huge crowd was waiting for the session on “The Conflict of Dharma in the Mahabharata” with the panel consisting of co-director of JLF Namita Gokhale, Shiva Trilogy sensation Amish Tripathi and Bibek Debroy.

Audience were the most diversified group you will ever witness in any cultural gathering in India. The proportion of outsiders were higher than locals. Tourists, resident Westerners in India, families of different foreign diplomats, Authors, Journalists, students and other literature enthusiasts were sipping masala chais & listening to the session on the world’s largest mythological tale from India. It was great group to be part of.

JLF- On going session with Co-director William Dalrymple in center

JLF- On going session with Co-director William Dalrymple in center

More crowd may not mean better quality

Seema has been visiting JLF since 2009 from Noida. She has witnessed this event to grow in to stature and become a mark-off event in the calenders of  all literature lovers around the world. However, she miss the previous versions of the event when crowd was lesser and authors/speakers were more approachable. I somewhat agree with her. There were many noisy groups in the lawn that had no idea why they were at JLF. Also, arrangements were insufficient for the gathering as in most of the sessions, there were audience waiting behind the rows of chairs and there were always long queues for washrooms, bookstore and book signings.

Great writers are not always great speakers

Eleanor Catton is the youngest booker’s prize winner that she had won in 2013 for her brilliant novel The Luminaries. However, during the session on Art of Historical Fiction, she was very nervous and could not translate her thoughts in to words. To be honest, it was a relief to see an author to be nervous in public speaking. Most of the authors are projected as great speakers but it’s reassuring to find some of them humanly imperfect.

Empathy is high on Literature lovers

In the session  “The Twilight Zone: Between Arabs and Israelis” moderated by former Indian representative to UN Security Council, Hardeep Singh Puri hosted a very outspoken and pragmatic panel. While popular Israeli journalist Gideon LeBor was critical on the Israel’s right wing politicians, the famous poet Fady Joudah brought the much needed Palestinian point of view in the discussion. I saw lot of empathy in the audience, even few had moist eyes when Fady read out one of his poems on the children of Palestine.

Discussion on the tension between Arabs & Israelis

Discussion on the tension between Arabs & Israelis

Kids don’t know how lucky they are

Many schools in Jaipur had organized a trip for their students to JLF. The idea was good and I was really envious of these kids for the kind of opportunity they have in this age. I spoke to Megha and Raghav, who were looking visibly bored in their maroon blazers. They were here to attend a session by the former President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam but they were not really trilled about it, particularly considering it was a Saturday afternoon. “I don’t care much about books and literature, I will rather stay at home & watch TV” said Raghav. I wish he could unsay that.

Politics and Literature don’t necessarily go well together

Shashi Tharoor is one of the best author from India. Currently, he is a Member of Parliament and active member of Indian National Congress. His session was mostly taken away by his mocking of Government’s Clean India mission and gaining sympathies from the majority of the politically liberal audience on his reservation of the current conservative government of India. I would rather listen to Shashi Tharoor discussing his books & writing on Lit Fests, than the usual TV news channel kind interviewique talks.

 

Draupadi: an inspiration for Chanakya?

Avinash Gupta:

Beautiful Post by Dr Sweety Shinde

Originally posted on Impractical Dreamer:

The exotic and fiery Empress of Indraprastha. {5000 B.C.E}

The homely and cool headed diplomat cum Kingmaker. {370 B.C.E}

What possible thread could bind them?

Draupadi as portrayed by Rupa Ganguly  chanakya

I] The loosened HAIR, the oath for REVENGE:

Chanakya was insulted in full court by King Dhanananda. Stung at this barb, Chanakya unfurled his shikha (knotted braid) and swore not to tie it until Dhanananda’s evil rule was demolished.

Sounds FAMILIAR?

Draupadi, heinously insulted in Hastinapur’s court. Verbally, physically and psychologically – swore not to braid her hair until her sinners, the Kauravas were avenged in battle.

In both cases, their righteous rage led to a ‘Constructive Destruction’,

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Book Review: Down and Out in Paris & London

Orwell's memoir of his time in Paris and London

Orwell’s memoir of his time in Paris and London

What’s not to love about George Orwell’s Down & Out in Paris and London. Yes, it’s written by George Orwell, I know, how can it go any wrong. And pay attention to the tittle: It says  down and out- three words enough to say that it book have enough things to remember it by. And then it says Paris and London- just like Dicken’s Tale of Two Cities.

It is a memoir by Orwell during his times in Paris and London that he mostly lived in abject poverty. After his sting with British East India company in Burma, he returned to Europe to become a writer. But like all master plans, it ddn’t get the right start. We all know how it ended for him, but the journey is not pleasant at all.

After his fringe experiences with journalism, he ended up in Paris. He does not go in to details of his expedition in between, but this book mostly covers his last 10 weeks in Paris where he worked in restaurants in the most bottom end of the hierarchy. In his narration, when it is expressing his hardship and non-existing lifestyle, he made sure that he entertains with his humor and presence of mind. His observant mind allows us to go through the brains of various immigrants in Paris of that era, and chuckle on the drunken conversations and confessions. I loved the part when he explains the point of view of restaurant staffs and how waiters will never make a good communists.

The second half of the book is sort of travelogue, but with the perspective of the tramp. London must be one of the worst city in the world to be without any money. With his curiosity, Orwell made friends with group of tramps and narrated their unexplored. He introduced amazing characters like Irishman Paddy and street artist who goes by the name of Bozo. Paddy who is infamous for his ignorance while Bozo who was formerly astronomer who has resigned to the lifestyle of a tramp.

To be honest, what Orwell went through those years in Paris and London cannot make anyone jealous but even during those days of smoking from rejected cigarette’s butts and pawning all the possible possession, he made sure that we are left with a good tale to read. I rated Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell 4 out of 5 stars in goodreads. This book is available in Penguin’s modern classic paperback, which is glorious in its own league.

Year 2014 in Books

A week has already passed of the new year and everyone is looking forward for another year of big promise that will eventually disappoint them (and they call me optimistic :P )

But I am still looking back at 2014, but only in terms of books. First of all, I am glad that I completed my Goodreads challenge.  I started the year with the initial target of 25 books but gradually increased my target to 45 and read 46 books.

I am so happy

I am so happy

Here are the tittles that I read this year

My books in 2014

My books in 2014

Favorite books from 2014’s list :

I really envy people who can name one favorite book or author. I can’t do that so, here are my 10 favorite books from 2014, in no particular order.

1. Em and the big hoom by Jerry Pinto (Book Review)

2. And the Mountain Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (Book Review)

3. The Illicit Happiness of other people by Manu Joseph (Bonus Read:Book Review by Sanjay Gopinath )

4. Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Trueman Capote  (Bonus Read: My Own Breakfast at Tiffany’s)

5. The book Thief by Markus Zusak (Bonus Read: 5 Reasons to love The book thief )

6. Cuckold by Kiran Nagrarkar (Book Review)

7. Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil (Book Review )

8. Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri (Book Review)

9. On writing by Stephen King (Book Review)

10. Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell

 

Reading Challenge 2015 

For 2015, I have challenged myself to read 35 books (almost 3 books in a month), but I hope I read 50 :P

Reading challenge for 2015

Reading challenge for 2015

Do tell me about your reading pledge for 2015.

Happy reading

Book Review: “On Writing” by Stephen King

On Writing by Stephen King

There are not enough writing talents like Stephen King who seldom takes more than a cigarette’s length (non scientific measurement of time representing a period of time taking to consume a cigarette) to establish the character and its motivation. “On Writing” is a partial memoir and partial writing guide. He does not take more than a cigarette’s length to establish his motivation to write this book.

There is so much to learn from one of the finest writer of the era. He is not the kinds who wins major  literary awards but he is always respected by both the readers and his peers as one of the best storytellers of his generation. But this book is not all about how to write. He starts with his memoir, his childhood and his upbringing. He tells the stories of his brother and his mother, how he met his wife, and how they all contributed in his writing career. In his own style of modesty, sometimes he make it sound like an accident but he does mention his love affair with reading, humor, sci-fi and scary stories.

It is a cliche when successful people write how they handled rejection and failures to come back stronger and better than before. Mr King knows that there is no way to avoid this cliche because that seemed the way his career graph worked. His focus on the second half of the book was on the craft of writing.

Perhaps it is the single most important piece of literature available for the inspiring writers. I have attended few writing workshops, lectures and read fairly large number of articles on it. I believe all these workshops and lectures had an essence of this book. I can’t think of any writing coach who has not mentioned the advice given by King in his book.

My thoughts

In India, students are usually left confused when it comes to writing style. While most of them are fed classics in their literature classes, they are excepted to follow the outdated journalistic style in writing consisting of introduction, body and conclusion. It is not only in writing, but also evident in speech or school debates. Everything is template driven and it goes from school to corporate to government organization. It is important that schools incorporate creative writing and encourage students to try things out of the templates. Also, inclusion of modern literature in the curriculum will improve the perception towards reading and writing in general.

I gave “On Writing- A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King 5 out of 5 stars in the goodreads. There is no better way to educate yourself about the craft of writing.

2014: The Year of IIN

Idea's IIN is equivalent of everything about 2014

Idea’s IIN is equivalent of everything aout 2014

Nothing this year made any sense. 2014 was suppose to be epic. A landmark year in the stories of our lives. Our generation were suppose to rave about it in years to come. But what we got in return was pretty average and non-significant, where promises were big and delivery was lame. Last month, Idea’s  IIN commercial aired on the television. That commercial summed up the year for me:Simple, straight and worthless. A kid who escaped his years of puberty to prove his father that one need not be in IIT to look awkward and constipated in public places.There were so many hidden messages in the advertisement that it started making sense of the year 2014. (Watch the commercial if you have not yet) :

1. IIN is the metaphoric representation of Amit Shah as IIN knows everything and you can learn a lot when you are around it (meanwhile it is learning about you). IIN, like Amit Shah, is the invisible force that is behind the biggest events of the year.

2. Idea’s creative team and agency represented Rajdeep Sardesai. Like his shameless efforts to sell his book in the spirit of “whatever it takes”, Idea tried to prove it’s exclusibility to internet and superiority over other networks  by just bragging about the utility of internet. Worked for Rajdeep, will work of Idea.

3. The talking drone represented Manoj Kumar’s Kaleidoscopic Hanuman Chalisa yantra. Like all the problems in the life could be solved by wearing the yantra (beware of the counterfeit product. Watch out for Manoj Kumar’s picture on the box), talking drone bridged the gap between a baker father and ambitious son. Also, the son got a platform to rise up as a love-child of Steve Jobs and Tim Cook and also feature in TOI front page along with Deepika Padukone’s cleavage.

4. The father’s ambition matched the ambition of Arvind Kejriwal’s. Father was like, “If you can’t make it to IIT, start working in my bakery”. In Arvind’s version, “If no Lokpal in 1 month, no need to be CM (because he have already made it to IIT).

5. Absence of Abhishek Bachchan represented the quality of movies released this year led by Happy New Year and selection of Youngistaan in the Oscar long-list.

6. Germany won the football World cup and ISIS rose to power. World has an Official Yoga Day, our Prime Minsiter quoted Star Wars in a public event in US, Shrinivasan is still the head of ICC, India has a major Hockey/football/cricket/badminton/tennis/Kabaddi league, ISRO launched the mission to Mars and Moons, and Idea still things Drone is the new stuff. ( I am not judging)

And I thought Airtel makes the worst commercial. 

Guide to India Wedding, Part III (The Intangibles )

Also in the series :

Guide to Indian Wedding Part II

Guide book to Indian Wedding Part I

I am sorry for keeping you waiting for the part 3 for so long. Actually you can’t blame because my posts are based on actual research and first hand wedding experiences. While I am typing this, my hands are already soaked in the greasy wedding sweets and my mind is still confused with irrelevant wedding themes that people plan these days. And you know that wedding affairs in India are seasonal in nature because no one wants to mess with the heavenly bodies whose favorite past time activity is to check your daily to-do list and get grumpy about it.

In this part, I am still covering the wedding characters however, I am only focusing on the “intangible” character that rules the universe of weddings:

1. Respect:

Respect the damn authority

Respect the damn authority

Indian family tree and respect hierarchy is so confusing that you can sometimes only wish for the linear hierarchy designs of corporates and  drug dealers. For example the person who is officially sleeping with your cousin deserves more respect than your uncle who brings you gifts. And you cannot escape the situation by giving equal respect to everyone. That is not acceptable behavior. You have to give extra respect to some of them.

So, here are some “respect” techniques you can use on the deserving respected figures:

1. Suffocate him with excessive touching of feet/hugging/holding hands and cancelling the total opportunity of his personal space.

2. Force-overfeed him without caring for his digestion (because Respect does not understand Science)

3. Offer him to buy goodies, gizmos or private jet for him even though you can’t afford a decent pair of socks for yourself.

4. Continuously insult your spouse/sibling in front on him to make “Respected” feel good about himself.

2. Rituals

Even the people who might have been married thrice cannot confidently say that they know all the wedding Rituals. Some rituals involve bride throwing food at her parents & make them cry (ok, I made perfectly nice ritual sound nasty) or young brats stealing shoes and getting rewarded for it.

 

3. Entertainment

Because Mere Yaar ki Shaadi hai

Because Mere Yaar ki Shaadi hai

In Silk Smitha’s biopic Dirty Picture, her character clearly states that in India, three things are very important: Entertainment, Entertainment and Entertainment. No one spoke with such honesty on the big screen before and the wedding organizers made sure there is enough Entertainment quotient in the 3 month long wedding ceremony. Based on my research, this is what we Indians do to entertain us during wedding :

1. Role playing especially as snake charmers and Mozart.

2. Dancing awkwardly.

3. Complain endlessly about the wedding arrangements.

4. Give a political platform to satisfy the RSS uncle’s propaganda against homosexuality and backless blouses.

5. Prove a idiotic correlation between tsunami and Chinese emergence in foreign trade (or anything in the same scale of idioticness )

6. Brag about distance friend or relative who is either in Bollywood, Politics or involve in match-fixing.

7. Artificial Public Display of Devotion.

8. Make most of the Car-O-Bar.

4. Honor

Everyone gets an honor

Everyone gets an honor

While organizing the wedding, the hosts not only represent their families but also their community, tribe, regional deity, caste, state and the nation (if you were wondering why patriotic songs are played during baraat procession ). The honor of all these are on the sorry shoulders of the hosts (not only honor but also the bills) and the people around him make sure that the hosts are reminded about it again and again. The unwritten honor code states that being excessively modest and using all the weapons of mass-morality takes to you there.

 

5. Hospitality

Baraat ka Swagath

Baraat ka Swagath

Hospitality is such a big part of wedding that even for hoteliers and airliners , attending a wedding is a learning curve. The epic commercial by Pan Parag where the groom’s father, Shashi Kapoor states that their guest’s should be welcome by Pan Parag became Indian version stony teenage party prop. Pan Parag became a ice-breaker for the discussion between the two families. It allowed them to prove “trashier/holier than thou” (depending on the situation)and moral ego massage each other.

Some of the common hospitality trends:

a. Hand feed the guest along with the phases like “Ek mere haath se bhi ghaye; Yeh toh yaha ki specialty hai; Arrey, Aap humse naraaz hogaye kya.

b. Stalk the guest’s every movement, try to anticipate what they may want and get it delivered at the speed of light.

c. Offer to find future spouses for their 2-3 year old offsprings.

d. Non-stop compliments should be showered.

e. Be Alok Nath

 

Ok, I am done for this part. Thank you for reading. Will love to hear your comments.

Book Review: How to be both by Ali Smith

Also in the 2014 Bookers’ series :

Book Review: The Narrow Road to Deep North 

Book Review: Life of Others by Neel Mukurjee

Ali Smith's How to be both

Ali Smith’s How to be both

So far, How to be both by Ali Smith is my favorite among the longlisted books for 2014’s Bookers prize for fiction. Although the jury has already selected the Narrow Road to Deep North as the winner, but Ali Smith’s latest out-classes it in my books.

It is not an ordinary book, actually it is not a single book. It is 2 books in 1 and demands 2 kinds of readers. One story that is about the Renaissance artist and another story is set in the present time. One part sounds like the fiction based on art history of 15th century and another sounds like a Young-Adult book. And there it raises the important question to the readers, Can we be both ? This book is all about “both” and there are many kinds of both, sometimes inside the story, sometimes outside the story, sometimes just making a point and sometimes pointing out too loud. It is sometimes too simple and sometimes too complicated. Sometimes it looks like laborious read and suddenly it becomes a page tuner.

Another interesting fact about the book is that it is intentionally printed in  two different versions. One version has the “Eye” story first, followed by camera and another version has vice-versa. This was an experiment to see the reaction of the readers depending on the version they read.

My Favorite quote from the book: “How to be both—to be made & unmade both,exist in the past and the present, perceive more,create more,love more,live more– be more”

I gave Ali Smith’s How to be both, 4 out of 5 stars on the goodreads. She did well with both the characters, George and Franchescho. Both stories had a heart of their own, and I recommend this book to everyone who wants to be both.

 

 

Case Study: How to do a movie “Promoshan”, Feat. #DearVsBear #Puns

Movie Poster

While Interstellar and Gone Girl have taken away all the box office charm because of the fictitious terrifying future and the fictitious terrifying woman respectively, only few “bright” minds had noticed the emergence of another mastermind that was featuring fictitious terrifying film-making.  I am talking about the hindi feature film”Dear v/s Bear” released under Bhojpuri industries’ Yash-Rajique banner Lotus Films. Here is a study of its movie promotion that worked effectively in its limited budget thanks to unlimited creativity and bravery.

1. Make a blow-by-blow detailed trailer:

“Is it a self aware humor?” A friend asked me when she saw the trailer. I had no answer of that question, but that was a genuine question. There is always a talk to success formula in movie promotions and a good trailer is important part of it. The movie trailer had all the contents of an excellent movie trailer:

– The slide-show of romantic story arc that moves from initial hatred to eternal love via Football and poor VFX.

– A love song, skin show & comic exchange of dialogues.

– The character’s motivation ( to kill everyone with a football, no kidding).

– Anil Kapoor lookalike bears and Maruti Omni (because blowing up Lamborghini is too mainstream )

Verdict: Nailed it !

 

2. Give yourself an Irrelevant international award

Even before movie’s trailer was released, the film poster showed two major awards:

– Best Feature Film

– Best Actor

By whom? Does it really matter, if it is some Cannes lookalike award?

(Bonus Read: Case Study- How did we lose track of money, feat Race 2)

3. Relevant Brand Placement

The important thing that the promoters of DvB (Dear v/s Bear) learned was that their audience were different from regular Bodyguards and Happy New Years where audience were advised to leave their brains at home. It is a sophisticated movie and its audience are not TV watching menopausal aunties or pre-puberty-Honey Singh loving kids. Hence, they decided that they dont have to make the compulsive pre-release visit to Comedy Nights with Kapil, KBC or kiss Salman Khan’s ass in Big Boss. Instead they choose Rampal Sweets and Restaurant. The reason was simple: because nothing says I love you like sweets made from pure Vanaspati ghee.

Dear v/s Bear billboard, where it matters the most

Dear v/s Bear billboard, where it matters the most

Also, the promoters realized that they need to address the (graphically distorted) animal lovers. Their research team found out that the real animal lovers live in Uttar Pradesh who even call the old Vikram Tempos (Tuk-Tuk) Suvar (Pig) because of its front is designed as Pig’s horn. Take the image below as example: The Tuk-tuk owner calls his vehicle Sherni (Mrs Tiger) and has a DvB banner on the back. Genius.

Dear, Bear and Mrs Lion

Dear, Bear and Mrs Lion

4. Confuse your audience

To be honest, if I had to choose between the movies seeing at the posters below, I would be really confused. Alright, the one at the right has two most admired looking actors but still, both posters were serving each other as both posters had:

a. A girl and a boy in a dangerous situation but posed in an imaginary sex position.

b. Fire explosion (behind football playing bear) against the water explosion.

c. A helicopter (shame they didn’t put the Maruti Omni in the poster, oh wait, they did) against aircraft.

Verdict: Confused Audience.

Ohh i hate comparisons but this one looks a tie

Ohh i hate comparisons but this one looks a tie

 

And if you are wondering why the post’s title says “Promoshan”, well, I am only learning from the best.

Promoshan in Meerath: Again leading by example

Promoshan in Meerath: Again leading by example

Note: All images are taken from the Official Facebook page of Bear v/s Dear. Yes, no need to waste any photoshop or paint brush skills on this post.

Book Review: The Narrow Road to Deep North

Man Booker's Prize Winner, 2014

Man Booker’s Prize Winner, 2014

Also in the Bookers’ 2014 Series:

Book Review: Life of Others by Neel Mukurjee

Finally I got an opportunity to read this year’s Man Booker’s Prize winner (in fiction category), The Narrow Road to Deep North is written by an Australian author Richard Flanagan.  It revolves around Dr Dorrigo Evans who is haunted by his days in the PoW camps in Burmese and Western Thai jungles during 2nd World War. He, along with group the of prisoners from Australia were slaved by the Japanese army, who were trying to set-up an impossible mission of building a rail network in the dense rain forests.

The narration shifts between different timelines as Dorrigo’s love affair with his uncle’s mistress is unfolded (Her name is Amy and she reminded me of an Amazing Amy from Gone Girl).  Between these parallel narrations, you see a broken man who is struggling with diseases, cruelty and fear of death for himself and his fellow soldiers in the war front and on the other hand,a love affair circled around hopelessness and impossibility.

One can’t complain much after reading about the plot of the book but to be honest, it is not an easy read. The narration is very flat and mundane. The shifts in the timelines are too regular that can take toll on your character adjustments. The parts of book that deals with violence and deaths are very vivid. The romance and struggle between young Dorrigo and Amy is one of the best parts of the book.

My Favorite Quote from the book: “A good book leaves you wanting to reread the book. A great book compels you to reread your own soul.”

Like Life of Othersthis book refuses to catch the pace. While reading it, I often wondered how author is going to cover so much that  he had opened with these limited pages and with the pace he has maintained. Also I felt that Flanagan left an emotional void in his narration, sometime sounding too detached with the larger conflicts of the characters.

The danger with the plot that includes war and complex love affairs is that an author can get carried away and becomes too philosophical at times, which was evident in this book as well. However, taking nothing away from him, I think it is a nice read, if not worthy of a major literary award. The tittle of the book is borrowed from the Japanese Haiku that is about the impossibility of love. I gave The narrow road to deep north by Richard Flaganan 3/5 stars in the goodreads.

Next book in the series: How to be Both by Ali Smith

My Favorite movies featuring the Beatles

I don’t know about most of the people, but my favorite scene of the movie The Social Network was the end credits. Not because I didn’t like rest of the movie, it was a fine movie and brilliant screenplay, but it was the song “Baby, you are a rich Man ” that made me jump up and down and smile with LSD stretch on my lips. That is what the music by the Beatles does to me.

Here I have complied the list of my favorite movies that not only features their songs, but also the Fab four themselves ( in no particular order)

1. Living in the Material World 

Living in the Material world is the documentary based on George Harrison’s life directed and produced by Hollywood legend Martin Scorsese. The movie focuses on the view points from George’s friends and families and takes us the tour of his lifetime where spirituality became a big part of his life. One of the best documentary made on the Beatles.

(PS:  I share my birthday with George)

Living in Material World

When Legend makes a movie on Legend

 

2. The hours and times 

This 1991 movie is fictional account of events between John Lennon and then Beatles manager Brain Epstein’s holiday together in Barcelona. It was the worst kept secret that Brain Epstein was homosexual and there was lot of speculation in the Beatles camp about the trip.

The Hours and Times

Directed by Christopher Munch

3. Two of Us 

Another fictional account of meeting between Paul and John in 1976 where they discuss the possibility of re-uniting the band. There are long conversations about their lives and they rediscovered their bond.

Two of us

Two of Us, released in year 2000

4. Nowhere Boy 

This movie by Sam Taylor-Wood shows the teen years of John Lennon. Here, John’s relationship with his Mom, aunt and uncle is the main focal point of the plot. Also, his first love and friendships is explored in this 2009 made classic. Must watch

John Lennon before He was Beatle

John Lennon before He was Beatle

5. Yellow Submarine 

I often wonder how they made such an amazing animation before there were computers. This trippy and adventurous movie is based on Pepperland. The Beatles agree to go there to save the land from the music hating outlaws.

Yellow submarine

Beatles being awesome, with little help from their friends

6. Across the Universe 

Not big fan of covers but each track covered in this movie are so awesome that they have been immortalized in my playlists forever. No Beatle is directly connected to movie but their presence is as big as it gets.

Across the universe

7.  Help 

Help was the first multi-color motion picture by the Beatles released in the prime of Beatlemania. The humor is rich and parts of movie is fascinating as it allows you to travel to the golden era.

When in Beatlemania, you need Help !

When in Beatlemania, you need Help !

 

What do you think about my list ? Any suggestions to make it better, do leave your comment.

Book Review: Life of Others by Neel Mukurjee

Life of Others;Book cover

Few months back, everyone in the literary circles in India were discussing Neel Mukarjee’s Life of Others. It was first included in the long-list of Bookers Prize and later made in to short-list. Every bookstores in India started dedicating rows of space to this book and newspaper columns were filled with Neel’s interview.

“Life of others” is based on the large Bengali family in Kolkata that gets caught in the mist of communist up-rising in the state. The Naxal-bari moment in the upper West-Bengal is important incident in the history of contemporary India and this book captures the after-math of the event through the narrative of the family.

I tried my best to love this book, though it is very insightful, thought provoking and deep but I dont think so it is lovable. It is not so because this book is tragic, most of good books are that way. I expected the book to be a historical fiction but instead it was a joint family drama. There are so many characters that even after reading 200 pages, I had to go back to the family tree in the front page to find about the hierarchy of the character.Another disappointment was the stereotypes is the book specially concerning the Santhal community.

[Bonus Read: Blogging the Bookers 2014/4 ]

However, the best parts  in the book were in the narratives from the Supratik’s dairy. He takes us to the most unfortunate parts of villages and shares the struggles of suppressed farmers. Their struggling  for basics and their viscus circles of poverty. It was not the narrative from the outsider’s point of view, because he had literary lived the life of others.

The book started with the story of  the starving farmer who commits suicide after killing his family. That particular part was very moving.  The tone of the book was set to be emphatic but when the plot was taken over by the family saga of the wealthy Gosh family, it started taking more spins than required. The book jacket is very beautiful, one of the best I have seen in recent months.

In her last book, Jhumpa Lahiri also flirted with the Naxalbari movement but in her book, it was more backdrop than the main plot. I expected more from Neel’s book and the fact it was nominated for major awards had also lifted my expectations. I  thought that the book had more to offer than it did.

I gave “Life of others” by Neel Mukurjee 3 out of 5 stars in the goodreads. A marvel effort for the drifted cause.

Best Books from Indian States, Part 2

In this series: 

Best Book from India, Part 1

In the part 1 of the series, one of the most debated states were Delhi and Maharastra. While someone pointed out that White Tiger is a trash (that I  dont agree with), others said that it should listed under Bihar (that I somehow agree). Another disagreement was the state of Maharastra were I picked Bombay based Shantaram while the most favorite was Narcopolis. Other suggestions were The Em and Big Hoom and The Midnight’s Children ( I had picked it for Kashmir instead ). Thanks lot for the feedback.

This part of the series is compiled with the help of suggestions I have got through twitter, blog comments and emails. Here it goes:

11. Tamil Nadu: The Man Who Knew Infinity by Robert Kanigel

(Suggested by Pallavi Kamat )

There is no denying that this selection will spark some debate because Tamil Nadu is again a state with lot of literature. I still pick this one because its written beautifully about the most gifted mathematician’s journey from the villages to world stage.

The Book Cover

The Book Cover

[Bonus Read: Ramanujan and the Mysteries] 

12. Pondicherry: Life of Pi by Yann Martel

In the movie based on this book, Pondicherry is shown with lot of sitar playing in the background and girls practicing Bharatnatyam (classical Indian dance). It may propagandizes the more western view of India but its easily the best book from the former French colony of India.

Book Cover of Life of Pi. Also, a major motion picture

Book Cover of Life of Pi. Also, a major motion picture

13. Gujarat: Stories of My Experiments with Truth by M.K Gandhi

This autobiography by Mahatma Gandhi is included in the list of 100 most Spiritual books of the 20th Century.

An autobiography by Mahatma Gandhi

An autobiography by Mahatma Gandhi

14. Goa: Reflected in Water, writing on Goa edited by Jerry Pinto

This book is collection of the essays and poems on Goa. More emphasis is more the natural beauty and ever-changing culture of the former Portuguese colony of India.

file picture of Jerry Pinto

file picture of Jerry Pinto

[Bonus Read: Book Review- Em and the Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto ]

15. Madhya Pradesh: India’s Bandit Queen by Mala Sen

Do not confuse with the book ” Bandit Queen of India” which is an autobiography by Phullan Devi. This book by Mala Sen was responsible for bringing Phullan Devi in the mainstream even before Shekhar Kapur’s feature film “Bandit Queen” did so.

Book by Mala Sen

Book by Mala Sen

16. Uttar Pradesh: Mahabharata by Ved Vyas

Maybe it is  the most important book ever written in India. While entire North India can stake claim to this book, I give to Uttar Pradesh because Kingdom of Hastinapur is located there.

[Bonus Read: Book Review of Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of Mahabharata]

JAya- Retelling of Mahabharata

Jaya- Retelling of Mahabharata

17. Himachal Pradesh: Ghost Stories from Shimla Hills by Minakshi Choudhary 

(Suggested by Ishita Sood )

This book is your perfect companion for the trip to Shimla (no, it is not !) but if you have survived Stephen Kings, then you will not surely mind an Angreez Churail in the Mall road.

Ghost stories anyone ?

Ghost stories anyone ?

18. Assam : Tea, Love and War by David Mitchell

David Mitchell is searching for English roots in Assam through its violent but romantic past. Non-history enthusiast may label the book as “boring”.

Searching for English Roots in Assam

Searching for English Roots in Assam

19. Jharkhand: Gangs of Wassaypur, the making of the modern classic 

This book is the making of the modern classic of the Indian Cinema, Gangs of Wasseypur with the complete screenplay with details on casting, location and character. A must have for the film lovers in India.

The book cover

The book cover

20. Orissa: An Incredible Banker by Ravi Subramanian

(Suggested by : V T Rakesh )

In the hush voices, Ravi Subramanian is called the John Grashim of banking in  India. Do read this book to find out the authenticity of the claim.

The Incredible Banker

The Incredible Banker

This brings the end of the part 2. In part 3 I will cover interesting states like Bihar, Chattisgarh, North-Eastern States and Union Territories. I have not read much from these states, so I will rely on your suggestions for the best books from those states. Also, do let me know about my selection of books so far and your combined score of Part 1 and Part 2.

3 churches and a basilica: Exploring Bandra’s Christian heritage

Avinash Gupta:

Do not miss this amazing post. Sudha explores the Christian heritage of Bandra, supported by amazing pictures

Originally posted on My Favourite Things:

It’s a little before 7 on a muggy Saturday morning in March earlier this year.

At Bandra’s Basilica of Our Lady of The Mount, otherwise known as Mount Mary, the morning service is in progress. The stalls outside the Basilica are already open for business. At that time of the morning, there are hardly any people out on the roads; an occasional rickshaw, car or jogger pass by stopping for a quick prayer before going on their way.

Mount Mary, Churches of Bandra, Mumbai A jogger stops to say a quick prayer outside Mount Mary

I had wanted to attend the morning service at Mount Mary, but the bus that got me to Bandra from Navi Mumbai got delayed. Not wanting to enter the church midway through a service, I decide to wait at the Oratory of Our Lady of Fatima, which is across the road from Mount Mary.

With me is a friend and…

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