Thursday, May 26, 2005

Convicted !!

I don't know how many are aware of Schapelle Corby if you do not live in Indonesia or Australia, but this piece of news is bound to change the mindsets or the ways of travel of quite a few. Schapelle, a 27 year old ex beauty student from Queensland was arrested in October 2004 at Denpasar airport accused of smuggling in 4.2 kg of marijuana into that country. The drug was found in her bag that she had not locked up before the baggage check. The whole verdict hinged on defense claims that baggage handlers at Australian airports have packed the drugs in the bag. Indonesian drug laws are very strict as we have seen today, have been convicted of the charges and she has sentenced to 20 years in prison in Indonesia.

The media in Australia is having a field day here with a big contingent packed outside the court and I was not able to access the popular news.com.au website for more than 15 mins now. During the course of the trial there were some polls conducted by the media here for the public opinion whether she was guilty or not. Most of us felt that she was innocent, I, for one felt that she was innocent. I would not know if I would have felt the same for a 27 year old male from Australia. As most criminal investigators opined, she did not behave the way a normal convict would do facing such serious charges. She collapsed twice during court proceedings earlier and had to helped away from the courthouse.

Meanwhile, a further nine young Australians were arrested in Indonesia sometime back on same charges, the evidence this time more damaging. The drugs were found taped to the legs of these people. What is to happen to Bali Nine (the name given by the media) if Schapelle who atleast had a legitimate claim that none can see the baggage once you check in.

The Australian govt has been negotiating for a transfer to an Australian prison, preferably the Brisbane Women's Prison, whether that will be allowed, only time can tell. John Howard has been very diplomatic in answering 'We have to respect the laws of every country, we have to be mindful of the fact that you will be judged by the laws of whatever country you are arrested in'.

Moral of the story: Remember to lock your baggage before you check in and note the weight of the baggage at the check in. This was a crucial point in this case as the defense pointed out that Schapelle's baggage was not weighed at Brisbane.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The savings account

One and a half months back after coming from India, I applied for a NRE account with Citibank NA. The facility being interest free transfers from my $ account here to a rupee account in Coimbatore. My family also gets an ATM card, check book etc. Having confirmed that this was the deal that I will be getting, I applied for the account by filling numerous forms along with a 100 point identification check at the local post office and a A$ 700 deposit as well.

My rupee account has been activated from Coimbatore and I received the check book, ATM card and the letter of offer nearly a week after the application was done. I even received the package from Madras without any problem with the correct address and my phone numbers (both landline and mobile) listed on the package. The lowpoint is that the corresponding Online Cash Manager account with Citibank Australia is yet to be activated inspite of more than 10 calls to their hotline. All I get is 'your account is being processed', 'we will contact you for further info', etc. This has reached a point where I am debating cancelling the whole thing and forgetting about it or sending money home tied to the legs of a homing pigeon.

I dont know who or what is delaying the process and after all, I am not asking for a loan, it is just a savings account. Strange are the ways of the banking world nowadays.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Great 100 Movies

Time.com has published a list of the 100 great movies of all time. Nayakan (1987) finds an entry in the list along with Pyaasa (1957). Way to go, Kamal and Mani.

Happy as I am, this is the news that caused my tomato curry to be burnt while I was cooking it this morning. Had to eat it as well along with some chappathi.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Word Reference

For the last two days I have been trying to use a word reference site through my office systems. No luck so far. I cannot access popular sites like dictionary.com or thesaurus.com as they are blocked. I can access all the university websites in Australia, though. I have checked almost everyone of them and they have links pointing to all those sites mentioned above, but none of their own.

Not be daunted, I checked the meaning for the word Apercu (pronounced Aper soo) at a standalone internet system, meaning - Insight. This was a word that I saw as a passing glance at one bookshop last Saturday and had been eating my mind eversince. I could have visited <a href="http://www.m-w.com">Merriam Webster</a> or <a href="http://dictionary.com">dictionary.com</a>, but did not have the time to use my PC at home.

Another thought came into my mind when I watching an episode of Friends. Why shouldn't I buy toilet paper that have words with meanings on them ? At this point, I am waiting to find out whether such a thing is available in my local supermarket. I hope I don't cut a crazy figure if I keep looking at all the products in toilet paper aisle.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

BLAAAAAACKKK !!

Wow !! What a movie ? I guess Sanjay Leela Bhansali best work to date should be nominated for an Oscar, to say the least. Anyone reading this post and not seen this movie, please watch it, this is not a movie to be missed. I don't know who to praise, the small Michelle, the lady Michelle or Debraj Sahai, the script or the director himself.

People say that movies are inspired by true life incidents, but with Black, I hope some incidents in my life will be inspired by this movie. The way the director launches into the story immediately is true testament to the seriousness and depth of emotion in the script. I agree it is heavy stuff, but something that made me look at the sufferings of the visually impaired people at a totally new level.

Kamalhassan had already done this with Rajapaarvai, but to make a child act accordingly requires enormous talent and patience on the director's part. Mani Rathnam can vouch for the above, having directed 'Anjali'. And, what to say of Amitabh, he is bound to be remembered for such roles rather than the Angry Young Man roles that he portrayed in the 70s and 80s.

Truely, a wonderful movie. Another one for my all time hit collection.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Kamal Mania

Another weekend is around the corner and it is the same old thing, laundry, cleaning the house etc. Boring stuff, but timepassing of late because of the iPod. After writing the post about Kamalhassan, I had the good fortune of buying three of his well known movies in DVD - Sathi Leelavathi, Kuruthipunal and Hey Ram. Another movie I am looking to buy - Thevar Magan. I still haven't watched Hey Ram - but I watched the other movies as late night movies. I still cringe at the scene in Kuruthipunal where he gets shot.

Kuruthipunal had no songs in it, just plain action based story. Some of the sequences with Nasser regarding the breaking point of a prisoner in interrogation (very applicable as I am reading 'Icon' by Frederick Forsyth) were very esoteric, maybe thats why the movie did not fare well at the box office. It would not have been very interesting for the womenfolk in India due to the violence in it. My mother went Oh, Antha Moviea ........ when I told her I had bought these three movies. But, all the more accolades for the Kamal.

Sathi Leelavathi and Thenali - two movies that bring out the versatality of Kamal. SL had him basically speaking in Coimbatore tamil and TH had him speaking the more beautiful Sri Lankan Tamil. The fact that he was able to blend into the characters of Dr Sakthivel and Thenali so very well, makes me wonder that whether we have acknowledged his prowess to the fullest extent. We have given him the Padmashri, though. He recently was awarded a honorary doctorate, but with politicians all getting Ph.Ds dime a dozen, that is not worthy enough.

If only Kamal provides the director's commentary like Gautam for Kaakha Kaakha, I can buy those DVDs all over again. I would seriously love to hear his explanations for scenes in Hey Ram or Kuruthipunal.

He has been often criticised for his overbearing involvement in the making of a movie, Aalavanthan, for example. I am saying why not ? Studios or production companies have their own agenda for fixing up directors, technicians, musicians for the movie, and if Kamal is able to provide a more valid viewpoint, then why not? We all know that we cannot satisfy everyone.

Also on my agenda this weekend, Black by Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Test post through email.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

I had the chance to watch Mumbai Express couple of nights back. I was not able to see the movie in full as I had to leave early in the morning. By then the DVD had been returned to the owner. But, I was just wondering about the evergrowing expertise of Kamalhassan in the movie industry. Some specific scenes that does not go away from memory -

- Punnagai Mannan : the suicide scene.

- Nayakan : 'Neenga nallavara, kettavara.' I somehow cannot bear to see Vivek ridiculing this scene in Dum Dum Dum. This scene was my late grandfather's favorite as well.

- Anbe Sivam : the last scene where he meets with Santhanabharathi.

- Kuruthipunal : the scene before which he gets shot.

- Hey Ram : the Akashe Jyotsna song.

The man never ceases to amaze me. I am sure that there will be lots, but these are the ones that sprung to mind when I thought of writing this post.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

My memory rocks !!!

That is true. After reading Prabu Karthik's post on his number fixation, I certainly can identify number of things that I remember offhand. And of late, I have couple of deja vu situations as well, and I was able to place what situation I was in before. Not only credit card numbers, debit card numbers, birthdays, vehicle registration numbers ... This is in no way to prove that I am superior to you Karthi, but just my take on it. Something to ponder, is this true with everybody who is a single child ?

This feature unfortunately has not served me well in the last month or so. Needless to say, I also remember bits and pieces of conversation that I have had with people. And, sometimes, overzealous as I am, I have mentioned to the same people, that it was not their view in previous conversations. That has put me in a spot of bother, and somebody who I trusted, believed in a lot gave me the bottom line - 'You are weird'.

Late realisation !!. If you have good memory about people, places, numbers, anything at all you are better off keeping that to yourself in your memory.

Having said that, it is just that eventhough my memory rocks my people judging sense sucks !!. Karthi - you are a master at both.