Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The best films of 2009 - Roger Ebert's Journal

Nice list. For the first time in years, I find myself viewing Ebert's top ten year end list without having watched a single one of them. And this time it's more like a top twenty.

Posted via web from Mostly Charmless

Friday, December 11, 2009

Once Upon A Time In Kerala

Once upon a time in Kerala, there used to be a very entrenched, heirarchical caste system. Some would argue that this still exists even in modern Kerala, but let's not go there. We are all honorable men and women.

So, once upon a time in Kerala, there was a deep rooted caste system. Some say this started with the advent of the Nambuthiris, who pretty much treated anyone not a Nambuthiri as an untouchable. This extended to other castes soon enough, which meant you had the Nairs who were expected to instantly cut down the heads of lower caste people who presumed to defile them. This defiliation could occur because the lower castes were on the same road as them, were looking at them or were within 72 feet of them. The Nair man - for it was mainly men who walked out on the road anyway - was expected to have a bath in a temple pond immediately, to wash off this pollution. The Nair man was not expected to eat before he did this cleansing and was universally shunned till he corrected this sin.

Thankfully, we live in an advanced society now where this does not occur anymore. We are all honorable men and women and we do not differentiate. Right? Right.

Posted via email from Mostly Charmless

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Hotmail Scam

I really can't believe that 20,000 people fell for this scam. Then again, there's one born every minute.

This is the email which found its way into my Inbox. Why do I feel this has an Indian origin? 

From: hawkmiller2@hotmail.com
To: windowslivecommunications@microsoft.windowslive.com
Subject: Warning !!! Verify Your Account Now To Avoid It Closed (VJ2G99AAQ)
Date: Mon, 28 Sep 2009 17:15:52 +0000

Windows Live Hotmail Alert!!!

Dear Account Owner
This is email from Windows Live Hotmail® and we are sending it to you account user for your safety. Due to the anonymous registration of our account which is causing congestion to our service, so we are shutting down some account and your account was amoung those to be deleted,so the purpose of this email is for you to verify that you are the owner of this account and you are still using it by filling the information below after clicking on the reply button:

* Username: ...............................

* Password: ................................

* Date of Birth: ............................

* Country Or Territory: ................

After following the instructions in the sheet, your account will not be interrupted and will continue as normal. Thanks for your attention to this request. We apologize for any inconveniences.

Warning!!! Account owner that refuses to update his/her account after 48 hours of receiving this warning will lose his or her account permanently.

The Windows Live Hotmail Team

Posted via email from Mostly Charmless

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Aggregated Web

Everyone wants a meta site. You know, an umbrella thingy which aggregates your twitter, facebook, blogger, orkut, flickr, youtube and bank accounts. Okay, maybe not the last bit, but you get the idea. The good news is, there are sites like posterous which hope to become the master of meta. They can connect to all your social networking sites, they can parse pictures, view videos, you name it. And all this over email, to boot. Impressive, I'd say.

But then, once you have a few meta sites around, what's stopping a super-meta aggregator which would rule them all and in the darkness, bind them? Hmm?

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from Mostly Charmless

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Back to school

Rachu started 'proper' school today. She's done with the Montessori levels and has entered Std I. I dropped her off to school in the morning; she was dressed in her new uniform, complete with a school belt and tie. Damn, she's growing up faster than I'd want her to.

Friday, May 15, 2009


I took the easy way out the other day at lunch. The easy way out was to pretend the cockroach in my food didn't exist and get back to work without barfing my guts out. I also resolved never to order food from that stall in the food court again. This resolution should last till end of the week. Hopefully.

It's been worrying me, though. Why didn't I create a fuss and demand to see the manager? Why didn't I demand a full month's lunch, free? Maybe because the cockroach was so tiny, it really wasn't their fault it had sneaked into my plate. Or maybe because the first thing that came to my mind was the old scene in movies where the hero tries to weasel out of paying for lunch by inserting a roach into his plate at the end of the meal. Balachandra Menon in Chiryo Chiri and Jayaram in Nagarangalil Chennu Raapparrkkam, if I remember correctly.

Which reminds me, it's time for lunch.

Friday, February 27, 2009


So, I became a dad all over again last Monday. Thanks to technological marvels such as Blackberry, Facebook and Twitter, I could take pics and let people know within minutes of my son's birth. Felt weird, felt good too. Feb 23 was an amazing day for a lot of happy Indians, it became even more special for me.

The baby is doing just great. He keeps us awake most nights as any newborn worth his salt would. His mom is also fine and well, recuperating faster than most, thanks to an excellent gynaec whose only advice after the Caesarian was to run up and down four flights of steps. My wife being who she is, loved the advice and proceeded to do exactly that. She's almost fully back to normal now, within just a few days of the operation.

The big sister went through a mild patch of severe stomach ache and vomiting, which started curiously enough the day the baby reached home. She got a lot of extra attention the next couple of days and is back to normal now, thankfully.

We have named him Karan. Karan Madhav. You know he's going to steal your daughter's heart one day, don't you?

Our first choice of name was Kabir, though. It's sad that we live in times when we had to rule out a child's name, for fear of giving him an unnecessary handicap when he grows up. Kabir, you see, is perceived as a Muslim name in the south, especially in Kerala. Sindha and I thought of conversations which would go:

- "What's your name, smartass?"
- "Kabir"
- "A-ha! What's your father's name?"
- "Madhav"
- "Oh! We have a live one here. What's your mother's name?"
- "Thomas"

This would ensure him getting beaten up by all three communities. The Sikhs might also join in, given the importance they give to Kabir's poems. As much as we both loved the name Kabir, we just didn't want to setup our son for trouble later on in his life. The above scenario could very well turn out true, the way things are going these days, especially in Karnataka. I'm not very proud of it, but we chickened out finally.

At any rate, the baby is here and all of us are happy and well. We are four now.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stick-my-neck-out-dept v2009

Here we go with my predictions for the Oscars:

Picture: Slumdog Millionaire

Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire

Actor in a Leading Role: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Actress in a Leading Role: Kate Winslet, The Reader

Actor in a Supporting Role: Robert Downey Jr, Tropic Thunder. I'm kidding. Heath Ledger of course, for the picture that should have been nominated as Best Pic.

Actress in a Supporting Role: Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Original Screenplay: Wall.E

I'm not going to try and predict the winner for Best Original Song and Best Score, for some reason.

Friday, January 23, 2009

What is common to the following songs?

1. Desolation Row – My Chemical Romance
2. Unforgettable – Nat King Cole
3. The Times They Are A-Changin’ – Bob Dylan
4. The Sound Of Silence – Simon & Garfunkel
5. Me & Bobby McGee – Janis Joplin
6. I’m Your Boogie Man – KC & The Sunshine Band
7. You’re My Thrill – Billie Holiday
8. Pruit Igoe & Prophecies – The Philip Glass Ensemble
9. Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen
10. All Along The Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix
11. Ride of the Valkyries – Budapest Symphony Orchestra
12. Pirate Jenny – Nina Simon

Ans: They are all tracks from Watchmen. The last is featured in the end credits of the Tales From the Black Freighter DVD. Excellent collection, don't you think?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Cinescape 2008

A fantastic montage of the best of 2008. I haven't watched half the movies featured, but I really want to, after viewing this.