Sunday, August 24, 2008

Feel proud to be a human

Most of the time looking and aspiring for better things in life, we forget to appreciate and relish the very fact that we are humans and the life is to be enjoyed. A film preaching this very simple but usually ignored message is "The Shawshank redemption". Now, this is a very old movie but I may look crazy to be writing about this now. But the fact is that I watched it only recently and that it left such a mark on my mind that I can write about it even after another 30 years . Now to get to the movie, it is one of the most under-rated movie according to me. And I read somewhere that it didn't make money and to everyone's surprise it didn't win even a single oscar. Though it does not contain any earth defying stunts and a complex narrative, it is a film with a true heart in its right place. It is the story of hope and freedom. It is the story of celebrating the very fact that inspite of all our problems in life, we are human and that itself is worthy of celebration.

The protagoinst of the story is Andy, who is convicted of double murder, which he claims he has not done, and hence, he is subjected to 2 life sentences in shawshank prison. Now, shawshank prison is portrayed as one of the toughest and worst place to be in. And the prison inmates have lost all their hope about life, some even fear about going out. But Andy comes in as a fresh air. He , with his skill with his bank and money matters starts helping inmates and also prison guard and also warden in the meantime getting a lot of favors for the inmates like a very good library. Mid way through the movie he find proof for his innocence, but then when that proof is also lost forever , he still shows a lot of compassion in recovering from the situation. His character is a benchmark in taking positives from the toughest situations in life and then moving on with life with a smile. What happens to Andy and some of his friends marks the rest of the story culminating in a brilliant climax.

The movie is marked with remarkable script,dialogues and acting. The narration by Morgan Freeman is simply awesome. All characters live their part. Though the pace of the movie is really slow, by the time it gets over you end up yearning for more. And each time I see the movie, I derive out a different meaning out of it, probably a different message it wants to convey. And at the end of each such viewing, one thing is for sure, I feel energized to take up the challenges in life. In fact, this is the best movie I have seen yet. Like they say in the movie , Remember hope is a good thing, in fact..the best of things... I will be hoping that you like this blog and keep visiting this page of mine again and again.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mysteries of mystery spot

Visiting a lot of places grants you the virtue of reviewing them and here I am reviewing one of the places I visited last weekend. The Mystery spot, Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is a small town situated around 35 miles to the south of San Jose. Santa Cruz boasts of a beautiful beach, a theme park and mystery spot. Now before we headed for it, I did some homework about it over the net and found it to be a good place to visit. However, the whole story was not as honky dory as the homework was.

The first mistake we did was to go on a tour without a person who knows to drive a car and of course without a car. Nevertheless, the took the greyhound bus to the place from greyhound station of San Jose. The journey took alomst 1 hour and there we were estranged at the Santa Cruz bus stand , clueless as there were no taxis around to take. After a wait of almost 1.5 hours at the bus stand and many calls to the call taxi service, finally we found a taxi at around 12. Mystery spot is in the outskirts of this small town, in deep red wood forests. Next, came the shocker, we had a huge sunday crowd there. We stood for the tickets and and got the tickets for the 3 pm tour. Even though there were 45 minutes tour starting every 12 minutes. That was the amount of rush there. So we were left waiting for another 2 hours for our tour.

Now to the tour, as every other thing in US the tour started bang on time and we got a nice tour guide. Mystery spot is a place where the laws of gravity go haywire.

The first thing we saw here was a plain platform. With one part of it inside the mystery spot border and the other outside it. The magic here was the difference of height between 2 persons who stand there. The difference in their heights vary a lot when they change places. To be precise, one looks to be shorter when he is inside the mystery spot boundaries.

The next thing to experience was the uphill climb. The slope which looked to be less steep was difficult to climb and the slope which appeared more steep was easier.

By the time we finished climbing, we reached a tilted wooden hut. This was built for the purpose of tourist attraction only and it was built straight. But due to the mysterious gravitational force here, it started tilting on its own and here it was tilted at about 15 degree. If you are inside the house, ideally you should be tilting at the same angle as the house but thats not the case. Wherever you stand in the house you are tilted at the same standard angle of 17 degree. Now to prove this point, there are planks in the room with a different angle so that you can stand countering the tilted angle of the house. But again you stand tilted at the same 17 degree.
Here, we saw things rolling upwards on the plank indicating the anamoly in the gravitational force.

At the other side of the house, we were shown some more instances of height illusion on a flat plank and then our small mystery tour was over.

Now I won't call this place breathtaking probably because you are really not allowed to spend your own time and do some research on the things over here, and thats probably because, we don't know what is wrong where and it would take a long time to discover things yourself. And seeing the sunday rush expecting this is too much. But at 5 $ ticket, and in a car's drive from San Jose this place is definitely worth. What more, you can flaunt some very brilliant photos and videos.

My contribution on you tube.

One more trivia about this place is that, the owner wanted to buy the flat piece of land which is currently parking place for mystery spot. The owner was forced to buy the mountain which is the mystery spot earning thousands of dollars every day.

Another very mysterious aspect of the place was what do Indians have to do with this mystery spot? I mean more than 60% of the crowd there was indian. It was not a one day story. Prove to this, there was dal and rice served as a dish at the local eatery.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Johny Gaddar: Watch it

During the evening hours of my stay here and when office spares me, I managed to see a movie which I wanted to see since a long time and it is Johny Gaddar on you tube. The movie is very much worth the hype which I had heard it from word of mouth because the box office collections of the movie suggest a completely different picture.
The movie begins with 5 goons planning for a 'deal' where everyone has equal amount to share and equal share in profits also. The real story begins when one of them, the gaddar plans to ditch others and take the whole money for himself. Now, the audience is aware of who the gaddar is from the very moment the treachery comes into the mind of the of the gaddar himself. So, what keeps the viewerd engaged is what one might wonder. It is the casual and cool way of the characters, the apt characterisation, the bang on spot dialoghes and the excellent cinematography. Now one might wonder, cinematography has no role to play in such a movie where there are no songs and no foreign locales but what impresses you is the way the cinematography manges to reflect the mood of the movie. The screenplay is another stellar. As for the performances, newcomer Neil couldn't have asked for a better debut and he manages to perform well also. Dharmendra in his new second avatar has been a reveleation like the movie 'Metro'. Other members support aptly. By the end of it all, when you feel the gaddar has just pulled it off and also for some strange reason I felt happy on that, the last sting is left. Songs by Shankar Ehsaan Loy are another plus for the movie especiall, the title song for me. Must watch for people who have a taste for interesting and sensible movies.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Life in San Jose

Well, I am in San Jose for the past 2 weeks and will continue to bless this land with my presence for another 10 weeks. So how's life here, or how's life different here. These are some of the points which were markedly different from what I had seen or experienced so far.

  • San Jose(esp the region I stay in) is the most artificial place I ever will see. Yes, it even beats the places you dream about. Everything here is just about perfect. Where else do you find deserted roads all through the day. The VTA train which runs for local transportation also runs all for itself.
  • Where do you find trains and buses running bang on time. I mean, if the train is supposed to come at 7.23 it will come sharp at 7.23 .
  • There's not a spec of dust on roads. The reason for this is that the roadsides from where sand can fly into the road is covered by wooden flakes which are left behind from construction of trees.
  • The climate seems to be tailor made for comfort. Well that is for the time being though. Sunny and windy afternoons and chilly but comfortable nights.
  • The city is amazingly clean and the people unbelievably friendly.
  • The city is well planned in all aspects with perfect roads and infrastructure.
  • But even though they thought of all this they missed to think of an important aspect which one might need and that has to do with toilet. Hope you got it.
Not until I visited places like San Jose downtown and San Fransisco did I realise that this place is no dreamland and it is indeed a place very much on earth with all the earthly things like traffic,rush,poverty,begging etc etc. So I am out of my dream now.