Mdeii Life - Anand Krishnamoorthi's blog
Wednesday, April 30, 2003
Sun TV newspeople should be stoned
Their abysmally cheap sensational reporting of a SARS case and the resulting public hysteria and false alarm smacks of a lack of any journalistic ethics. The crass politicization of public health issues is the lowest TV journalism can ever get to. The fact that SARS fatalities are rare, and the truth that despite a lack of �a cure�, there is every possibility that a person naturally would get over the affliction with the right care (just like in the case of a common cold) are being completely ignored.
I think I am rightfully very bitter about the quality of media education in India. In fact there are many idiots who think they can get into important and responsible fields like journalism if they just know how to press a button on a camera or be stupid enough to ask immaturely �bold� questions. All these years in South India, we have been having actors read us the TV news; now I guess we have unscrupulous pulp-writers composing the news.
In college today
We were all ready for the advertising class-presentation. We had laboriously crafted our slide show and carried the projection equipment all the way to the science block. But alas there was no sign of the teacher. We waited in vain until even the electric power went never to return until late afternoon. We packed up and trudged back to the department, feeling very bitter. We went in to see the lounge look like a railway platform. Two TVs perched high on opposite walls of a barely 20ft wide room: both playing Gyan Darshan.
The days are not that great
Bloody stuffy and hot!
The closest I can get to a photoblog�
�is to be able to describe last evening�s sky. The sun had set I guess, or was it hidden behind the richly lit clouds? All I could see were glowing puffs in the west: gloriously orange and then mellowing to a yellow and peaking to a pink: all the time silhouetting the city that stretched small in front of it.
I turned to the east from my perch on the water tank to survey the little whitewashed blocks of houses peeking from behind lush green. A drop of rain reluctantly fell on me as if the clouds graying above had no place for it. It should have been the last little drop to fall as a quick breeze then picked up; pushing in more clouds and not letting the rare hallowed drops shed, ever touch the ground. The white-faced concrete specks amidst a darkening green mat stood out against the blue-black-gray sky when the glowing clouds of the west painted them yellow-pink. There I stood in a stiffening cool breeze and fading light, enjoying every bit of pre-monsoon summer dusk.
Monday, April 28, 2003
Under the weather
It has been very sultry all morning and there is an uncomfortable pall of cloud in the sky. Rain is good, but a short burst that these scanty clouds might hold, could only make matters worse by raking up heat from the ground. All morning, everything has been irritatingly dull as dull can be.
Sunday, April 27, 2003
Sunday evening blues
It is that time of the week when life�s a bitch. I hate a good weekend coming to an end.
Everybody�s getting older
My uncle (dad�s younger brother) was home to give us our new clothes that would invite us to my cousin�s thread ceremony. I�m now an adult in the family (hmm�), so I too get a formal invite with shirt and dhoti. My mother�s choice of saree was interesting. I remember, as a kid, seeing only �old women� in checked silk sarees; now my mom�s picked one.
I don�t know�
�but I have a strange feeling that the Crosswords and Music World outlets at Shoppers Stop are cutting down in size; probably the competition they get from Landmark and the shops at Spencer�s is to blame. They certainly seem a far cry from the places we used to frequent when we guys were in Loyola.
Vipul, Mihir and I spent the day eating, drinking, driving, shopping, hanging around, talking, talking, talking, listening to and playing music (Mihir played music, we made sounds). When we guys get together, all you need is a motion picture camera and you�d have instant Quentin Tarentino movie conversations. Tapas Bar on Cathedral road, we discovered today, was a great place for a drink and a nice conversation. In fact if you looked around carefully and asked the right people, you�d find some great places to go to in Chennai. Aditya! If you�re reading this, where the heck are you?
Saturday, April 26, 2003
Today, after Krib�s class, I had to go my grandmother�s place for lunch because there was this family function on. After this I called up Vipul and went over to his place. Vipul�s cousin Parul was also around, so the three of us went shopping: Just Casuals and then Spencers. After spending the customary one hour at Landmark, we went home for dinner and I just returned. I�ve borrowed Vipul�s movies and DVD�s and boy does he have a great collection.
Thursday, April 24, 2003
Lawrence of Arabia
The movie has always been considered a timeless classic, and if you watch it now in the light of present day events, it does raise interesting thoughts.
While I have waited rather impatiently through the cable operators� idiosyncrasies, I have always wondered why I never got any transmission of NDTV. Today, albeit poor in reception quality, I got to catch familiar faces reading news. One news story carried reports of American journalists pillaging the art treasures of Iraq and smuggling them home. Now that�s interesting.
10th avenue, where I live, has been blocked off completely on one end for the past week because of maintenance work being carried out by the metro-water people. There is a huge trench right across the junction end of the road. That means that busses now take roundabout routes. But what happened today was really weird.
While I was negotiating through what is left of the pavement now strewn with sand embankments and barricades on my way back from college, I heard the familiar and urgent wail of an ambulance. Startled I looked up to see the vehicle speeding through 10th avenue towards the very prominent roadblock. What amazed me was the fact that the other end of the road boasts of a hideously obtrusive barricade as well. Of course this one covers only half the road so as to let people living on the road to enter and exit. Either the message on the other barricade was not clear, or the ambulance driver was not intelligent enough. It was a pity to see the chap reach meters away from the blockade, turn around; head back hundreds of meters to the other end and then look for an alternate route.
Wednesday, April 23, 2003
Last night, I came back home to find a pile of books in my room. My mother had, some time back, done the illustrations for a children�s book (I had helped her with the colouring and cleanup). Yesterday we had received quite a few printed copies from the author of the book from Bombay. One book was autographed to us by RK Laxman: now that�s an honour.
With the guys
So Vipul is in town. That meant yesterday evening was really good. Vips picked me up from AU and we went to Mihir�s place where Mihir treated us to a session of Metal Guitar playing. Then we hit the juice parlour, then a restaurant (where the food was exceptionally filling), then we hit the road home and it was 11 before I could hit the sack.
It is really nice to watch a class screening �cinema style�. Projector, speakers set� the works. And really great was the fact that we watched David Lean�s Lawrence of Arabia. Now that�s a movie worth watching on a big screen.
Monday, April 21, 2003
�Distinguished� Mr. Sheep
Today on my way home, I noticed truckloads of cheering, shouting, sloganeering, rowdy groups of political �sheep� being ferried to a rally. I tried to look at the face of one young man on top of a bus. But he was faceless: just another head to a headcount of hundreds.
And then I realized. All along I had believed in the fallacy that I was better off, but despite my exalted education and my prudish indignation of the faceless man atop the bus, how different am I from my own peers? No rallies and bus tops, but boardrooms and classrooms. Just another faceless head adding to the headcount of hundreds. Sheep nevertheless! Sheep nevertheless!
Hype, a lot of hot air and then hope
Today our new director addressed us. The man came through as being very straightforward. He sounded matter-of-fact when he told us good news and somehow sounded very convincing when he came out with the not so good news as well. In the end, I just hope that it all works out well for the students, the teachers as well as the management. We know now that at least two of us at a given time mean business.
Saturday, April 19, 2003
Freaky Frozen Fibrous Fleshy Fruit
The mangoes that my parents had picked from outside their window had ripened inside the rice drum. Unusually this year, the mango tree had lots of little fruits and even more unusual was the fact that hardly any of these were gnawed away by a healthy population of chipmunks living in the vicinity. And that I think is because the fruits are very very sour, besides the fact that these home-fed creatures are getting increasingly picky about their food.
It was then decided that these sour mangoes would be juiced rather than be eaten straight. This afternoon, I went about trying to do just that. Each fruit I peeled the skin off looked liked �Cousin It� from the Adam�s Family. Getting any sort of fleshy pulp was very difficult, so I squeezed the fruits to get decent amounts of liquid. Some sugar, some milk, some mixie and some freezer did the trick. Or so I guess! Sweet, sour and cold, it tastes good; and you can feel it in the ears.
Points to ponder about
Yesterday the Prime Minister made a call for dialogue with Pakistan. On Question Time India on BBC World, an e-mail message from Pakistan called for India and Pakistan to come together to counter American hegemony. For long, there has been the thought that both our nations have been pitted against each other, just so that neither of us have an independent worldview and concerted foreign policy ideology. That makes current developments interesting.
At a time when everything from tomatoes to petrol is scarce, if there is one thing that is not in short supply, that�s long weekends. After I had readied myself to get down to the bus stand, Vaseem messaged me that the one class that was scheduled for today had also been cancelled.
Thursday, April 17, 2003
Good Friday� Great Friday
Tomorrow�s a holiday!
We guys went to AIR (All India Radio). Very very neat place! And I mean clean, spick and span. Learning about all the transient high-funda stuff that�s happening around broadcasting, in fact it was very heartening to see the tried and tested spool recorders, ribbon microphones and linear tape edits at work; and they work well.
Aaj Tak shot in AU. Despite all our passionate classroom discussions about the perils of the news construct, we were actually part of that construct.
We had not many classes, but strangely yesterday was so tiring that I just got back home and crashed.
Tuesday, April 15, 2003
Town bus S5 to Chicago
Since we were anyway in the vicinity of Satyam, Mihir and I decided to watch Chicago. Mihir�s parents also joined us. If any of you have traveled on some town buses in the districts, you�d be aware of this practice. Since there are no rigid timings, these buses wait until they are chock full before leaving the stands. That�s exactly how Studio 5 operated last night. But the movie was worth the wait. This was one of the most stylish movies I�d seen in recent times. Plus it was very well cut. Gotta get the DVD once it�s out.
So after the movie I spent the night at Mihir�s place and just got back home.
Cheekier than thou
The meet with Hetal happened yesterday. As a video editing student, I have lots of problems with people with long winding sound bites, yet I could not help myself rambling on in front of the camera. I guess there is one thing in being a critic, and a whole new ballgame when it come to practicing what you preach.
After the shoot we guys went on to have some very costly ice-tea.
Sunday, April 13, 2003
Talk, television & tandoori pizza
I spent the evening with Mihir. We�d met after quite a while so it was nice catching up. I spoke to Adithya in Bangalore as well and he�s back from NID for his holidays. So Vips, if you�re reading this, when�re you gonna join us?
The evening went off pretty well, the only low point being tandoori pizza. Of course, I was not very hungry, so that�s an excuse for not enjoying it. We walked into Pizza Hut just to watch the cricket. Was very happy about Mohammed Kaif�s batting. We both were born on the same day, so that�s more reason for me to consider him my alter ego, as I have always liked the guy�s temperament.
If things are weird, that�s right! It�s irony!
In typical Headlines Today language, I announce this with a profound sense of irony that despite my not so cordial comment on their broadcast, Hetal of the news group called me up about a story she�s doing on blogging in Chennai. I don�t know if I now come across as either being proud, embarrassed or downright stupid. But the news channel sure comes across as being very �tolerant�. Meanwhile, Hetal�s currently in touch with Kribs and a meet is scheduled on Monday.
The fact remains that there has been a sudden rush of publicity for blogging in India and especially in Chennai. That�s good for us�I hope!
Saturday, April 12, 2003
On BBC World, I watched Bob Simpson report about a horrific case of �friendly fire� he and his crew were witness to and victims of. Such reports make you think; whichever side you are in: good, bad, winning, losing, justified, unjustified, mighty, weak, clean or dirty: WAR IS STUPID AND INHUMAN!
The worst thing about seeing these guys win is the stupidity and political decadence they represent. They now have a set of playing cards with pictures of the 55 most wanted erstwhile Iraqi leaders to be distributed amongst the marines. Texas style �wanted� posters for Osama, �Ace of Spades� for Saddam, what next: monogrammed handkerchiefs and matching cuff links for Musharraf?
We made a mistake by prematurely believing in a �Coalition� defeat. Now that has not come about, we should not prejudge their victory either.
And after all
It is weird to be reading last week�s edition of war commentary now. Most of it does not ad up with the stuff I see today on TV. There were predictions of how the proud Iraqis would hold out and not give in to the �invaders�. But television pictures today show �liberation�, and ironically, looters.
In fact this brings a strange sense of d�j� vu. Reminds me so much of the mud some journalists had on their faces when the Gujrat election results were announced. What�s worse, in both cases, I was siding with these very people; so even I have had mud thrown on my face.
Were we wrong with our initial assessments of things? I sure had my heart in the right place. Or is it reality that is truant and becoming increasingly politically incorrect. I already see a lot of commentary (from those who were earlier not too happy with Bush), now that Baghdad has fallen, to grow critical of anti-war writers.
On both sides of the political divide, we have to realize these things: anti-war is not anti-American, anti-war is not pro-pseudo commie leftist. In our own camp, we need to understand that in our parochial haste bolstered by our inherent prejudices, we fooled ourselves into believing in a bloody utopia. But it is not just us who are unthinking, the Anglo-Saxon media wears a similar blindfold over its own eyes right now. We are indeed lucky have been able to realize and tear it off early.
Friday, April 11, 2003
�and on Wednesday
We have a class presentation, actually a mock marketing pitch. Guess what our group is trying to market? Broom sticks!
At long last, a long weekend
Thanks to the TNPCEE exams, we don�t have classes this Saturday. Add to that Tamil New year�s day on Monday and Mahaveer Jayanthi on Tuesday.
Thursday, April 10, 2003
Of keyframes and connectivity
Today, I was a victim of a couple of mini electronic disasters. First, I lost the entire sequence of keyframes from a 3D animation I had done for a class evaluation. I have now gone as far as suspecting sabotage. Nothing else from the file is missing, except the keyframes from the timeline. I now have to redo the animation. Thank god the rest of the file is still there, or at least I hope, will be there until I get the chance to get back to the computer lab.
The second disaster involves my mobile phone. At about 4:00 in the afternoon it refused to take or make calls. I first thought I was out of range, but moving all over the AU campus did not work. Distracted from this by the loss of keyframes, I returned home later to try all sorts of things. Before finally deciding to call the reliance helpdesk, I tried one last thing: I turned off the phone and turned it back on. Presto, it was working as if nothing ever was wrong with it.
Wednesday, April 09, 2003
Cordon bleu d�eau
Today I had somebody who liked my drink and complemented me about the �developing taste� and �a taste that was a fond smell�. Thanks Chitra!
I don�t know what, but I have always been dreading it. There has been so much acrimony, expressed right here about my scriptwriting class woes that I was almost expecting things to turn out differently. Fate never likes your foes remaining happily hate worthy. Just when my teacher was shaping up to be the perfect villain, he had to break the comfortable spite by being very nice today. But...all you know there might be another �u� turn coming along when I can be happy and content once again, and have no misgivings or doubt about my bad attitude towards him.
Tuesday, April 08, 2003
Every week I look forward to receiving my copy of Outlook magazine. The cover the magazine comes in is very handy. Every week it is nice to have a fresh bag to carry your lunch box in.
www.mdeii.com ---Now that�s what I call a website!�---
I finally have my own dotcom. Right now, all that there is on it is a link to my blog. Better things are on their way.
Monday, April 07, 2003
---FLASH NEWS: News channel bites dog---
The thing that came to my mind when I watched the first day�s broadcast of Headlines Today was, �Who�s the sixteen year old smart ass news editor?�. After having developed a taste for classy reportage through my life, I was kinda amused, but not too surprised to see typical India Today language on television. Informal is okay, I like informal, but not to the extent of trivializing news. WAKEUP GUYS! PEOPLE GET KILLED DURING WAR!
It�s lousy leader season
Dubya�s dumb enough to go on a self-destructive war, Saddam�s dumb enough to call for a Jehad, Blair�s dumb enough to toe Dubya, Vajpayee�s dumb enough to think that silence is good, Amma�s dumb enough to pull down a college overnight�
Wanna test you leadership skills? Just check if you�ve taken some really dumb decisions these few weeks.
Seeking �The Wolf�
Sometimes I get into seemingly inextricable trouble. Sometimes things get too unwieldy that I�d just love to give up. Sometimes I need Winston Wolfe to clean the car�a professional troubleshooter who�ll get me out of the deepest of manure pits. But for that I guess I�d have to be a gangster�s minion who finally gets shot in a toilet
Sunday, April 06, 2003
Iced ale and water
I had to heat the water to get the ginger flavour to seep in, so after I prepared the drink in the afternoon I chilled it before adding the lemon juice. It still was not cool enough to drink, so I put the container in the freezer and forgot about it. After I came back from dinner, I found the drink frozen so just broke some chunks of ice and added it to water to drink. I just tried it. In fact�the taste is not bad at all! I�m getting better at juice making.
Dinner and goodbye
Anita�s leaving Chennai tomorrow. BTW she�s back from Pondy. So the entire gang met up today and we had chettinad dinner at Anjappar.
The one day I get to spend at home, I spend either sleeping or watching TV. Today my parents decided to go shopping so I was bored as hell alone at home. I decided to make myself useful and tried my hand at making a lemon drink. I tried adding various spices and flavours in various ratios. Salty, sugary, tangy, bitter�and ice cold. I also made some chocolate ice cream with a ready mix powder and some milk. I�ll let the ice cream sit in the freezer for a while. Probably get back home tomorrow afternoon from university (it sure would be bloody stuffy hot) and then I�d enjoy it.
Saturday, April 05, 2003
Unpublished and uncut
Today I got to see some of the pictures Kribs did not put on his blog and I immediately knew why. :D No! jus kiddin�! Vijay brought to class the pictures he had clicked last Saturday. But I haven�t seen the Kribs� lot that did not make it. Got to get my hands on them.
While I was busy with Blog �03, Chandru and Nithil got the paperwork ready to dispatch the �Footprints� (the documentary on the Armenian Church) tape to Delhi. I hope that this too gets cleared for telecast.
What�s with the weather gods?
While the days are sweaty and hot, the evenings almost everyday seem to bring some clouds with them. Right now, the sky is pretty much on the dark side. But these are not rain clouds; they are crazy stupid heat traps. Save for the evening breeze from the sea, it sometimes gets downright unbearable.
Thursday, April 03, 2003
I don�t know how true this is, but Nostradamus is supposed to have written in 1555.
"Come the millennium, month 12, in the home of greatest power, the village idiot will come forth to be acclaimed the leader"
As the war rages on�
Removed from the battlefields of Iraq, we guys have been having academic discussions about the war. One thing I felt was that people give too much importance to the role of the media and how unjustly the Anglo-Saxon propaganda machinery seems to dominate the scene. What the heck? If I don�t believe in war, obviously whatever CNN says I�m gonna doubt and see it through jaundiced eyes. The fact about the media forming public opinions does exist, but that goes only as far as is this news channel credible?. I do not know about how it is in the west, but at least in the �neutral� nations, I feel that all this war mongering on television is only getting the trust level of these guys down.
No! This is not one of my psycho rants. Actually both at AU and at home, we�ve been enduring frequent power cuts. In fact all of this afternoon we did not have electricity. That makes the already horrid Chennai heat unbearable. Plus work does not get done, as the computers cannot be operated.
Wednesday, April 02, 2003
Tuesday, April 01, 2003
Kirbs has put up the pictures from Saturday. They�re great.
Starry starry night
This evening, the electricity went off. We hit the terrace to beat the stuffiness. The breeze from the sea was just on, and boy was it good. Having taken the recliner along was a great idea. I had my very own real life planetarium. Lying on my back under the stars, I watched them peek through the misty pink city night sky. A scattered set of pink neon clouds gathered to race past my eyes. Then the power supply was restored and I went back down to my almost subterranean third floor flat.
I pushed myself to attend two hours of scriptwriting and rather than delve deeper into depressive moods, I just walked out of class and back home. I felt very guilty for having ditched my friends on the news edit, especially Rohini who was already under enough pressure, but I had to cool off.
Things have been pretty edgy for the past few days. Things that normally would not, have begun to upset me. All my life I have been my own shrink, always giving myself rational advice and negating my emotions. But I now need someone to tell me that it is OK to be pissed off about things. But what I have seen are people who are hell bent on telling me that I am a gutless, useless quitter and loser. This kind of advice I can give myself. I just want some good stuff. After all, I think that I deserve better for whatever I am worth.
Teenage mutant ninja monkeys
This morning I reached university early enough to watch the antics of a bunch of monkeys living in the trees in front of our new classes. They were all apparently juveniles slugging it out in mock combats. They swung from loose branches upside down hanging on like a bunch of heavy grapes to the vine. As the twigs snapped, they dropped down and scattered. One guy rummaged through the garbage bin and picked out a plastic bottled filled with some thick orange liquid and started drinking.
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