Vantage point

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Cool Review

The coolest review of Fight Club

Thanks for the link, Aadisht.

Herculean Task

One of the tasks never given to Hercules was to find five females who could read english, but had never read anything written by Linda Goodman in their lifetimes.

Bet he would've failed.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The Gallop of Shwaas

It's the stuff movies are made of....very ironic, considering it's all about a movie in the first place.

The gallop of Shwaas in the world of filmdom reminds one of countless movies, both Hindi and Marathi, that narrate the story of the underdog.

This week, Shwaas was announced as India's official entry for the Academy Awards. In many ways, this announcement is a bit like the movie Lagaan. Nope, the script of Shwaas is nothing like the script of Lagaan. however the story of Shwaas, the movie, is like Lagaan.

This movie was made for just 6 million rupees, which would not even account for the catering bill of Hindi movies. It starred people, who despite being splendid actors, were known only to Marathi people. And yet, it has beaten the Amitabh Bachchans and the Rituparno Ghoshes of this world.

The fact that the movie was made, itself is a miracle. The fact that it got a decent release, an even bigger miracle. You can imagine how fantastic the National Award and the decision to send it to Oscars would seem against this background.

The message from the story of Shwaas' success is the same as that of any underdog-triumphs movie. That if you have what it takes, you can beat all odds.

Here's wishing it luck for even more accolades.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

...not even at a micro lebel

My response to a comment on the last post by seven_times_six

OK, let me get this clear. In your opinion, the problem is not that India has 1 billion people. The problem is that a family which earns very little has 5-6 members, right?

I contend that it is not a problem at micro, or macro level. Macro level, it is not a problem, as I have written on my blog. On micro level too, those who have a lot of kids do so with a reason.

Now tell me, why does a family have so many kids? Is it because they are ignorant about family planning methods or is it because they choose to have many kids?

While there might be a large number of families that do not know about family planning methods, my hypothesis (which you may choose to negate) is that most people have lots of kids because kids are seen more as a revenue center than a cost center.

In educated middle class families, a kid is purely a cost center. i for instance, was just a cost center for my parents. they spent thousands on my education, food clothing etc, and I left the house. Since kids are cost centers, educated middle class families have only a few kids.

In poor families however kids are a source of revenue. Whether it is a rural family, where kids help out in the farm, or an urban poor family, where the children work in restaurants, or clean houses.....or even beg on streets. More kids means more money.

Now why will a poor farmer have fewer kids? The state's flawed polciy on agriculture have already frozen India as an "agrarian economy". The smaller size of their holdings robs them of economies of scale, and the manual labour that their children provide is a key necessity for farming. So if I was a poor farmer, I wouldnt curtail the size of my family either.

And why will a poor slum dweller have fewer kids? He/she does not have a steady job, and every little bit brought in by the extra kids is extra income. Even if such a family was to have only one or two kids, their life will be tough.

As India moves towards a more urban-middle class society, the family size will reduce. And that is what is happening. The middle class, which has grown so much because of the state loosening its shackled, has caused a drop in the population growth rate. And it will keep happening. Sooner than later, we will plateau.

The real problem, both at a macro and a micro level, according to me, is the plummeting sex ratio.

Population ain't a problem!!!

My basic opinion about population is radically different from mmost of the majority. I DO NOT see population as a problem. I see population as an asset. My thought behind this is as follows

When would population be a problem? When there is a problem of sharing a limited number of resources. Now what woud be these limited resources?

- Food
- Land
- Clothing
- Water

Let us take each of these items one by one

- Food availability is not a problem. The reason millions are starving in India is not scarcity of food. It is because the abundant foodgrains can't be distributed properly that this starvation is happening. The state has taken charge of and is running an inefficient PDS.

- Land is not a problem either. Our population density is still way below places like Japan. We are a huge country, and land is certainly not scarce.

- Clothing is not a problem either. All sort of raw materials for the clothing industry are available in huge numbers. Today clothes are available in every price range, and they are all manufactured in India

- water, is again like food, not scarce. water management is bad. here too, small steps of privatisation will help

The reason people assume population is a problem is because they assume some things to be limited.....whereas those things are not limited. It is just the structure of the Indian economy that makes those things seem limited and scarce -

Jobs - Jobs are not scarce. The state control is what makes them seem scarce. Do one thing. Talk to one panwalla, autorickshawwallah, shopkeeper, small scale industry owner, restaurant owner, bus owner, manufacturing unit owner and a software company owner. Ask all these people what all they had to do to get permission from the state to do business. The only one who did not face too many problems would be a software company guy. is it just a coincidence that software is the only booming sector amongst all these?

Housing - Again, housing is not a problem. The fact is that building a house and renting it are arduous tasks. Again, thanks to the state.

Education - Again, the state has put many hurdled in the process of educating people.

What I am saying may seem wrong, but population is not a problem. Soon i will write about why population is actually a valuable asset.

But basically population is not a problem. It is shackling the population and forcing it to be unproductive that is the main problem.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Commie Ekta

Copy pasting a mail sent by an IBM-er who works in Kolkatta.

Yesterday the entire city was thrown into chaos for the good part of the day -- lakhs of our communist comrades and thousands of babu or "writers" as they are called (a hangover from the days of the british) decided to leave their desks and descend to the busy arterial streets of Calcutta... in protest.

You'd say whats new or surprising in that -- the communist parties across the country frequently do such stunts to keep themselves in the limelight (this after the WB's CM - "buddha" makes strong public announcements warning against strikes on weekdays -- incidentally he was spotted at the rally too!)

I agree.

But wait ... aren't you interested as to why strike was called in the first place??? Brace yourself. Our "Reds" did all of this as a gesture "to express their solidarity with anti-fascist powers who invaded poland on Sept 1, 1938". [directly quoted from this morning's TOI]

I mean are they for real....66 years on - i bet even the polish have a more "measured" reaction to the event.

...and then they want me to sell "solutions" not just such an audience! hehehehe

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Murali and Saif

Saif Ali Khan was watching Muttiah Muralitharan demonstrate the legitimacy of his action by using the brace. Saif was absolutely convinced of Murali's cause. He decided to lend him support by raising funds for a publicity campaign in which he would go from village to village, espousing Murali's action. for the purpose he came out with a video of his song. the question is which song?

Answer- Chuck de, chuck de, chuck de, chuck de saarey ghum...chuck de chuck de, chuck de, terey sang hai hum.

Phillum Up

Patrons of this blog must be wondering, what has Gaurav been doing. I'll tell you what i've been doing. I've been watching movies.

- Watched Fida, fortunately on a VCD. The movie is so bad, so bad, that even Kareena Kapoor does not deserve to be in that movie. That's like saying Monalisa Smile is so bad that even Kirsten Dunst does not deserve to be in it. If there is a God, i hope he punishes Ken Ghosh for the movie

- Watched Dhoom, again on VCD. Decentish. Not great, but bearable. It is a landmark film because after decades has Yashraj some out with a movie that does not feature weddings, engagements, punjaaaaaaaaaabi songs, or mothers. Plus the movie is shot in and around my office. I am more obsessed with my office building than....Aadisht is with his section. :P Aadisht is more obsessed with C-section than a child born through a Caesarian operation.

- Watched Kill Bill Vol 2, on big screen, at a later-than-late show (it started at midnight and ended after 2 a.m.) in Inox. The movie rocks, and is different than Vol 1 in terms of treatment as well as narrative. Inox, by the way, is a little too expensive. i wonder if it was a wise business move to open a huge multiplex on such prime land, away from residential localities. E-square is raking in the moolah.

- Watched "Hudd Kar Di Aap Ne" for the umpteenth time. No, I am not a fan of the movie. but the movie has been stalking me for years. I had to watch it because it was being played in the Mumbai-Pune bus. This movie has stalked me in all ways imginable. I know the dialogues and lyrics by heart. Boohoo.