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Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Dozen Plus Movies

The Year 2009 was a year of movies for me … I mean a year of watching movies in theatre. In the past several years, I haven't exactly seen many movies in the theatre. But 2009 turned out to be different. In fact, I think I have not seen as many movies in past 5 years as I have seen in 2009 alone.

I managed about a dozen (13 to be precise) movies in 2009

4 each in Dec and Nov,  1 each in June and Sept (all these in Mumbai, India) and 3 in Dubai – 1 each in Jan / Feb / Oct

Ghajini and Delhi 6 in Dubai with colleague Aseem

A movie with Bro in June … and I have forgotten which one was it …

Went to see Final Destination but instead saw animated 'UP' in 3D  in Sept ...

Caught "Final Destination 4" in 3D in Dubai in October

Nov ... Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani & 2012 (in Hindi J with Bro) at "24 Karat" Multiplex and Twilight at "Fun Republic" … I also went to catch another good movie "The Christmas Carol" in 3D but the movie was gone from the theatre and I was left with a choice of Ninja Assassin and De Dhana Dhan, I chose Ninja Assassin since it was from the makers of Matrix and repented that decision. I wrote about it in an earlier blogpost.

Dec ... Rocket Singh & New Moon at Hub Goregaon, 3 Idiots at Pinky Theatre (now called talkie Town) with Bro and also, caught "Avatar in 3D" at Hub with my best friend … what an end to the year  

The year 2010 has begun and I have a few movies to catch before i go to South Africa

 

I started the year with Avatar (with Brother this time) and also caught up with the low budget movie 'Raat gayee baat gayee' ... Also snatched up a chance to watch the Sherlock Holmes movie and a Marathi movie "Harishchandrachi Factory" with my best friend … Thats 4 movies in January. Not bad at all :P

 

 I would try and catch a few more before I fly off to South Africa ...
 

Let's see whether 2010 crosses the Dozen mark again and hope to watch more movies with some good company rather than alone like 2009

 

On a separate but related note …

All these visits to the theatres also made me realize that Movie viewing in theatres had become a pretty expensive affair in Mumbai. A single ticket costing about 70-100 bucks for morning show to about 300-400 bucks for the late night show; not to mention the sky rocketing prices of pop-corn, cold drinks and other snacks within the theatre premises. As a rule, I do not eat or drink anything inside the theatre. I just do it outside the theatre, before/after the movie.

I was just wondering that an average family of 4 might spend up to 1000-1500 bucks for movie tickets over the weekend evening and add another 1000-1500 for a dinner.

The Weeekend Movie and Dinner experience is going out of reach of the average middle class Mumbaikar … and the Movie Industry cries foul over Piracy !! What do you guys expect ??

The problem was highlighted max when "3 Idiots" was released. Most theatre owners (multiplexes in specific) hiked up the prices for this particular movie by an average of 20-40%. The movie was a runaway hit and people went to see the movie en mass with their entire families ... grand parents and kids alike. The dent on their purse was significant and it pinched (although when it comes to family, people are ready to splurge once in a while). Of course, the Dinner at a nice Restaurant before/after the movie was skipped and the ladies of the house had to spend time cooking before/after the movie.

 

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Reading … My first Love

Reading always took me to a different world. I loved being in that world.
Diamond Comics, Tinkle, Champak, Target, Chandamama, Nandan, … that was early childhood.
I read a lot in my school days. In the school library I discovered Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Canon Doyle  and 3 Investigators by Alfred Hitchcock and read up every available title. Also, read up almost all of the popular titles like Around the World in 30 Days, 20,000 leagues under the Sea, Moby Dick and so on. We used to have one library session at the beginning of every week and we could borrow 2 books. I used to go to the library again on Friday and return the 2 (which I would have already read) and take another two. I used to do this at least twice every month. I remember i even received a prize in ou annual function for being one of the most voracious readers in school :P

Year 1994. End of school. A break / pause to my reading habit. Reading slowed down to a crawl.

Took up Science in college. Burden of Studies increased. Free time and vacation was consumed in coaching classes. Then took up Engineering studies and reading seemed liked a habit of distant past. Post engineering entered the corporate life and there seemed to be no time at all. I just managed a few books every year all thro those years

The Dot Com Bubble Bust of 2000-2001 did one good thing for me. I lost my IT programmer Job J I started to prepare for the CET (had just one month) and the first thing I purchased along with the study material and books was a set of 4 books of a series which seemed to be pretty popular around. The first 4 books of the Harry Potter Series J It took about 8 days of my precious study time to complete all 4 of them and I called it practice in Reading Comprehension J I felt good. Very Good. Extremely Good to read sooo voraciously after such a long time. I consumed the 4 books in 8 days like a person would gobble up a 6 course meal in a matter of minutes after being hungry for like forever. That was year 2001. I rediscovered reading fiction after a span of about 7 years.

I was back as far as reading was concerned but this time around something changed. After having lost the job, I was not interested in working for someone else anymore and started a Training centre along with my friend Nikunj. So my reading began to move from fiction  to include personal development. I began reading self help books on personal development, public speaking, Vedic mathematics, etc. Variety came to reading but it was with a purpose. The leisure aspect of reading was lost over a period of time.
Although, I still enjoyed reading … but it was different.

Then, after a year, NITIE happened. Academic Books and notes were back and fiction was reduced to few. A major achievement was reading Fountainhead 'completely' J

Post NITIE, back in corporate world. Reading took a back seat.

Reading was revived again when I went onsite to Switzerland and I had my travel time of about 30-40 minutes  which I began spending on fiction again. A year of blissful reading. Discovering Robert Ludlum's, Dan Brown's, John Grisham's and Sidney Sheldon's…. Year 2006

The years 2007 and 2008 were again sluggish with little reading being done. Partly due to entry into married life and partly due to work and chasing another passion called Bloozle.

It was nice to get back to reading in late 2008 when the Dubai project began in August. I spent the entire 2009 in Dubai and hence it became the year of getting back to books ... fiction ... novels … the world of fantasy and mystery … the visual treat generated by the written word, the edge of the seat suspense thriller, the whodunit, the Robert Ludlums, the Matthew Reilley's and several other story tellers …

I usually read during travel between home and office and Dubai gave me that (although in small doses) hence I got back to reading and slowly, steadily I began to get back into the groove of reading once again. Most part of the year I spent reading books from my own collection.
Towards the end, Shraddha made me buy Matthew Reilly's CONTEST and I was like hooked on to it. She had introduced me to Satyajit Ray's FELUDA in 2008 and I was equally hooked on to them. She is partially to be held responsible (in a good way) for making me fall in love with books all over again.

Now reading is back for me ... my old love :) my first love ... since early childhood …

I am going to carry quite a few books to SA now in spite of the 20 KG check-in baggage limit. I am scheduled to be there for about 6 months and I hope to make the best use of that time. Since I cant really carry many books, I might end up reading a few eBooks too (something I have never really been very comfortable with)

BTW … My best friend, Shraddha, is an absolutely voracious reader and has a 'library' (most recent estimates reveal a number close to 200 books and this only includes Fiction) and so she is my supplier of good books J. She not only recommends good books to me but also trusts me with her books J  I also have a moderate collection of about 70-90 books but they include books across a variety of topics, subject etc and purely fiction might come close to 40-50 maybe.

So we are doing a kind of exchange program of books; although I am at a disadvantage … Her collection is far more awesome than mine ... and the reason is simple. She is far more awesome than i am.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Looking Back at 2009 …

Well … this post is about looking back at the past year

I spent the year 2009 oscillating between Dubai and Mumbai … Travelled to-n-fro in March, June, September, November and finally came back to base (to Mumbai) in December. Writing this, I just realized that in 2009; I had a total of 9 international flights and 1 domestic one (considering my Dec flight was a Dubai-Delhi-Mumbai route)

The year 2009 had begun with dismal market conditions, global economic recession and all the sad notes … and then we were hit by an entirely unexpected crisis of our own. When I say we here, it refers to We the employees of Satyam … Raju's resignation accompanied with revelations of financial fraud pushed Satyamites into their very own personal recession.

Complete Crisis Situation ... with Media completely writing off the company and predicting sure shot doom for its 50,000 employees. Market ups and downs along with uncertainty within the company with no one sure of anything … life was tough ... But somewhere i had faith .. i had this strong conviction that a strong company like Satyam does not vanish into thin air or crumble because of wrong-doings of a single person or a group. With that faith .. i stuck to Satyam ... rejecting offers from other companies like IBM etc .. I saw Satyam transform into Mahindra Satyam ... My performance was rewarded with a Promotion but with zero salary hike, even the promotion seems pretty much pointless. I now wait for some sort of Salary Correction announcemnt to my stagnating salary :P

Even life on the Personal front was going through a crisis ... loneliness struck hard on me ...
I lost a best friend and another good friend ... in pretty painful manner they decided to break ties. And then after the first quarter, another best friend decided to go into silence mode. Communication broke down and I got pushed further into the loneliness. All this while, I was struggling with yet another personal life crisis and the worst was being alone with no one to talk to, share with or get support from.

Friends are everything for me and their absence makes a huge difference to me. I was lucky enough to regain one of my best friend's back before the end of the year. I have always believed (and unfortunately experienced it too) that friendship goes thro' its highs and lows ... emerging stronger after every crisis ... the bonds made stronger with more understanding of each other and self ... maturity u might call it !!

The other good friend who had fallen out of communication also returned but things were never the same again. A lot had changed although I never understood what and why ... my friend refused to talk about it and tell me.

As I come to a close of my memoirs of 2009; I should write about the last day of 2009. I had a wonderful time on the last day of the year ... day began which began with watching AVATAR in 3D and then spending the afternoon with my best friend working on her dream J and then spending the evening and late night with cousins having dinner at a restaurant and spending the new year moment with Sizzler ice-creams / brownie and Milk Shakes and Cakes at a CCD ... Going back to cousins place and spending some good time with them before coming back home at 3 AM in the fresh new year.

 The year 2009 came to an end on a positive note ... with things looking up !! 2009 saw the rise from the trenches and brathing in the hopeful, happy fresh air ... Hope 2010 turns out to be a happy, positive, fun-filled year ...

 

BTW ...  The year 2009 was also a year of Movies in Theatres for me  but that deserves an entirely independent blog post 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Experience

Experience is what u get when u don't get what u want.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Vote on FB, Blog abt it & educate 40,000 underprivileged children of India

I was planning to write the first post of this new year about how it has started out and all ... but here is something important first ...

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Here is a unique opportunity to reach out and impact thousands of lives through your blog. Yes, sitting at your desk, voting on FaceBook and writing a blog post can help educate 40,000 young Indians all over our country!

One of India's most trusted and credible NGOs; GiveIndia is taking part in a competition on Facebook to win a US$1 million grant. The winner will be the NGO that gets the highest number of votes from Facebook users. The prize of $1 million will help put or keep 40,000 children across India in school for one year!

Imagine the Indian Blogger/Twitter/Facebook/Orkut communities coming together to spread the word and help the underprivileged children of India. The impact would be tremendous and GiveIndia would be able to gather the votes we need to win.

Voting in the competition is for one week only, from Friday, January 15 – Friday, January 22, 2010. Can we make a difference in the next 5 days? We sure hope so!

The link for voting, where you can also see more details of the competition is

http://apps.facebook.com/chasecommunitygiving/charities/338730

There's been lots of talk about how social media can bring change and make an impact on the world we live in. Well, here is one tangible way for us to take a small action that could have a HUGE outcome.

In case you have more questions about this, please write to giveindiachase@gmail.com and a GiveIndia team member would be happy to reply.

blog.giveindia.org  and @GiveIndia on Twitter