That Aroma of Tea

There is no denying the fact that our travel is for the sake for visiting tourist destinations and having a peek at those places where we haven’t gone before and taking snaps to remember the journey. But some of those journeys are about smell, the fragrance that rises above what is visible, and makes us feel like never before, and I talk about such a journey here which stayed in my mind due to the fragrance factor.

There are not many things that have interested me more than the fragrance that the tea provides, even as it is a known fact that there will be more talks about the smell of coffee. The fragrance of tea leaves have been something that has inspired me, and that is evident from the name and header of this blog. I have never really left any doubt about the same either, it has been clear to me since an early childhood visit to Munnar in Kerala.

Can't wait to enter and have the much needed tea :D

Can’t wait to enter and have the much needed tea 😀

This is where my journey to Ceylon comes to the picture. The Sri Lankan journey happened in July 2010 which started with a fire on the flight which I boarded. But that was never really the beginning to the wonderful journey, which actually started somewhere higher in altitude – no not Kandy, much higher; and that should be the city of Nuwara Eliya as we travelled from Kandy to that place which was relatively unknown to us.

Our bus was going between the tea plantations until it stopped near a building which had a certain amount of beauty and could boast of having a scenic background that is close enough to a traveller’s paradise. I had decided at that moment that Nuwara Eliya was to be something special for my mind, forever. The guide brought us into the building which had that smell which filled the soul like nothing ever before. It was the fragrance of the tea leaves.

It might not be what most of people would wish to smell, but I found the fragrance like nothing ever before, even as I have been to tea factories before at least twice. It is like heaven to be at such a place, and the description of tea production never really caught my ears as this fragrance captured myself as a whole. There is beauty in the fragrance of tea, something which enchants and inspires us. It had transformed into a beautiful land of awesome tea.

There was the need to taste tea, and this opportunity only came later after minutes of living in that fragrance, hoping for the drink to grace my tongue; it was finally achieved by a cup of Orange Pekoe tea and one of the finest I have ever had, and the ambiance which was there for having that cup was simply mesmerizing. I wished I could stay there forever, but that was one of the shortest time periods spend anywhere during that journey. The only dose of happiness that we brought back was related to the Ceylon Tea packets which we brought home and a few photos which I keep as my wallpaper.

Who would not want to have tea here? Plus the aroma

Who would not want to have tea here? Plus the aroma

This blog entry is in relation to the #InspireAFragrance contest by Godrej aer: http://www.godrejaer.com/ – the contest was to inspire with an evocative travel experience to create the first crowd-inspired fragrances for Godrej aer. It always feels good to have one of such a thing for our cars, doesn’t it? Even if it is a new experience with the same, it never hurts to try. The fragrance is very important, as it is something which has become an unavoidable part of our lives, even related to the food and drinks.

TeNy

The Phone that Saves

Inspired by the powers of the new ASUS ZenFone, I have taken over the responsibility to transform my little mobile phone into something like a superhero in a world which needs a lot of saving, from the bad movies which are released in this world. Taking the situation in our nation, Bollywood takes the opportunity to unleash hell on its people, the poor viewers are bombarded with bad movies one after the other, and this chemical attack leaves the fans incapable of watching any other movie in any other language.

The grand superpower that my mobile phone will have is to save the good people who wish to watch nicely made movies rather than the nonsense that are usually fed to the viewers in the disguise of movies. The level of movies have been declining day by day. Even Hollywood has to depend on the remakes of the old good movies at times, and Bollywood has absolutely no idea what they are doing, with coming up with the worst movies of them all. We don’t deserve them, and the movies don’t deserve us as audience.

My mobile phone and the old DVD collection which deserves a check :D

My mobile phone and the old UK DVD collection which deserves a check 😀

But even such cases have their own supporters, just like any political or religious moment will have their own people. They are the fans who are completely and blindly into celebrity worship. More people suffer in this world due to fake reviews posted by fan-boys and fan-girls than those who don’t really read the reviews. Each and every fan comes up with an opinion that the movie of their favourite celebrity is good, and this has lead to the rise of the worst movies which are liked only by the fans, but the rest are also forced to suffer the torture.

The word-of-mouth opinion can no longer be trusted. This is where my super-phone will come to the scene and save the movie watcher’s world. This is why this phone will consider a scan on the theatre, find the people who are already in the theatre, check their reactions and also their own mobile phones to find if they are blind fans of any superstar attempting to praise or bring down the movie for no reason. It will also go through their mobiles to see their interests and previous history. It will also have a look at the theatre ambiance give a rating to the place in a score between zero and ten. It will also find good movie DVDs by just scanning through the covers.

It will identify the keywords which have been used about this movie by the neutral viewers who have a movie taste that matches me, and will find out what the flick is actually about and give it a rating according to how much it will interest me. For example, a horror movie will surely have a certain boost in the points, and if it is a movie like The Cabin in the Woods which is more than a horror movie, or You’re Next which finishes with a message, there will be more points added. The mobile will have the ability to know what I have written about other movies and thus used to my tastes. This super-power as well as the hero is called the Truth-On.

The mobile itself is a movie lover, keeping its own movie wallpaper :D

The mobile itself is a movie lover, keeping its own movie wallpaper of THG 😀

An advanced version of the phone will actually come up with a few points about the movie which the user will find interesting. For the same, the phone has to travel through the portal which gave it the superpowers, the Portal of the Oblivion, which further leads to the world of Absentia which lies between this world and the Other, from where no phone has yet returned without losing its battery or keypad if present. Not really recommended for any phone unless it is as powerful as a Zenphone – it is a risky procedure, but one day, my phone will take that path too.

Coming back to the new Asus Zenphone, I do hope that I will be able to buy one when I get a job, and if I do get one. It is undoubtedly one incredible mobile phone there. Then there are the looks and the name – how can someone not like that name? I am writing this post as part of contest organized by Indiblogger and ASUS about “Taking inspiration from the super powers of the ASUS Zenphone, give your phone a super power and tell us how it would help you see what others can’t see and do what others can’t do!” and the details can be found here: http://www.asus.com/campaign/zenfone/IN/

TeNy

Does it Really Feel Good?

There have been so many so called “feel-good” movies, and it makes one wonder if it is a title which is just used because there is nothing else could used to describe that movie. There has been too much use of that word to describe the recent movies, even the recently released Bangalore Days which actually has nothing to feel that good with even motherhood given no positive points. So many other movies have been asking for that title, or have adorned the movie like a colourless garland. Is it too easy to make some people feel good, or do they make themselves feel good by pressing a button after watching any movie?

So what does feel-good mean? Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary says it is “causing happy and positive feelings about life”, and this is where Bangalore Days completely misses out. But the fans of the movie have been wandering around forcing people to accept their opinions, as it includes fans of too many actors who are part of the multi-starrer. This has become a new device to make bad movies good – a “feel-good movie”. They said the same about Salalah Mobiles, Pattam Pole and Annayum Rasoolum, none of them having that element and are pretty much among the worst.

The poster of North 24 Kaatham (cropped from movie's official page)

The poster of North 24 Kaatham (Cropped from movie’s official page)

To this world of fake feel-good movies, North 24 Kaatham comes and proves to the audience that a true feel-good movie is not about what the fans say, and it can only be understood by the people whose eyes are not tied by the black clothing of celebrity worship. Even as movies like Immanuel, Punyalan Agarbathis and London Bridge do have a certain amount of this feel-good effect, there is nothing like the one cent percent feel-good influence that North 24 Kaatham has on the audience. The winner of Best Feature Film in Malayalam in the 2013 National Film Awards and getting the Best Actor for Fahadh Faasil in the State Film Awards, the movie is making more marks.

The movie has the protagonist going on a journey, and ends up on the road with two strangers on a harthal day with no means of transportation. Our hero is a geek and an introvert with OCD who is not liked by his colleagues. But this wonderful journey will change him in such a way that he is able to go beyond his problems. The journey is woven very nicely with significant lessons at almost every point of the tale. The other two people are also interesting ones, an older honest politician and a social worker. The aim of the journey changes to another one which involves getting the old veteran home as his wife is seriously ill.

The movie has a hero who doesn’t speak much, and the more heroic deeds are rather performed by the female protagonist. She is the smarter and the more active participant of the journey. This is a road movie, and lets not deny its role in the genre, and unlike the movies like Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi, this is not a selfish one, but a powerful message to help others rather than saying that much known dialogue about one deciding his own life and how others don’t really matter. This movie from Anil Radhakrishnan Menon is also a bildungsroman, a story in which the protagonist changes or even gets better over the tale progresses.

Innovative posters by Shilpa Alexander (From movie's official FB page)

Innovative posters by Shilpa Alexander (Cropped from movie’s official FB page)

North 24 Kaatham is a movie that keeps the humanity’s hopes alive for a better tomorrow, and its message of compassion and kindness makes sure that it gives a lot for the audience to be happy about, and obviously feel good. It will play a significant role in restoring faith in humanity sooner or later as we are fed with dumb movies full of mindless violence and sex. The celebrity worshipers, the fans of the worst kind will take it over and praise those movies as greater than whatever movies are known to man, with a ten out of ten rating. There were good and sensible people among them, but where are they? Nowhere to be found in the open?

The main problem which this movie also faced was with the fan-boys and fan-girls, and this was a movie for them to dislike because of its goodness. The interesting thing is that most of them can only use abusive language or illogical excuses without watching the movie. There will be good movies and there is hope in all movie industries, but for that, the fan clubs have to learn to behave instead of abusing other movies and the makers just in the name of appreciating bad superstar movies. The procedure of expressing one’s opinion in a decent way seems to be unknown to some people. This movie could somehow rise above it, but should have had an even better response.

TeNy

A Question: Who’s Next?

The 2011 slasher movie You’re Next leaves one a message, and it is in no way having a redeemable quality considering the current situation. It talks about one quality that is gone, which is the power of blood relations and even those of romantic relationships. It pours acidic blood over all kinds of relationships and makes the viewers realize that chaos will come sooner or later and nobody can consider themselves free from it. You feel that you will see slasher horror with lots of blood and gore, but this movie is more than that as it reflects a consistently degenerating society that we live in.

It is a known fact that the current world is a quick one and possibly too fast for the traditional people. The new generation goes on trying to enjoy their life or to become successful so that they can enjoy life later, with a Carpe Diem attitude. Seize the day by hook or crook? The newly formed parents are also responsible for the same, asking their children to study and get a job rather than become a good person. This is why they ask every child go and choose science, because that makes more money. This concentration only on a future full of money leads to things such as what is depicted in this movie. Be aware that the next few paragraphs will have spoilers.

Sharni Vinson as Erin caught in the wrong family (screenshot from the movie)

Sharni Vinson as Erin caught in the wrong family (screenshot from the movie)

You’re Next is a home invasion movie. It has sons who hire murderers to kill their brothers, sisters and parents, plus even their lovers as they are attending a big family re-union. The whole point is about getting the family inheritance for themselves. Now, you can’t put the blame on movies or some wild imagination of the film maker who wanted to make this gory movie more disturbing, because you read such stuff every day in newspapers, like father murdering the son, daughter murdering the mother, son murdering both the parents, mother murdering her newborn child for eloping with her new-found lover and such things which marks presence.

Even as the increase in such incidents is the result of this age, the greed and jealousy has always got the better of the blood relations. In the Holy Bible, the first murder was committed by Cain on his brother Abel which proved such relationships incredibly weak. This makes one wonder if some people of this age are the descendents of that same man who committed that sin and the crime. They can surely ask that question, if they are their brother’s keepers. May be they do have the mark of Cain on them. Meanwhile Kauravas did the unjustifiable fought their cousins Pandavas fought against each other during another time.

That doesn’t end that so many years ago. With kings being overthrown by their sons, nephews, brothers or other relatives, the royal world itself has seen such cruelty done to the bloodlines. But how can they do the same in the modern world? Weren’t humans supposed to have gotten better? There are people whom I know who have told that the absence of religion has made people better and all problems are due to religion. But here, we see the exact opposite. In a modern world with less religion, there is no respect for elders or love for the fellow human beings. The only contribution is a Facebook post which should automatically save people.

You're Next has its big family re-union (screenshot from the movie)

You’re Next has its big family re-union (screenshot from the movie)

You’re Next has people being murdered in the most gruesome manner, and all that for the money. But we see that one person who is not part of the family chooses to care for them. This is where the rare goodness takes itself in, proving that relatives are not everything. We have brothers fighting over a will and partition in about seventy five percent of the households, at least half of them actually showing them in public. We have brothers and sisters filing cases against each other and even against their parents, sometimes taking the matter into their owns hands. It happens in movies, and when it happens in real life, its real worse.

Some people do pretend to value such relationships, but that is just plain acting. Some of them does the same to a certain someone to keep others away and a few others to gain something by love. There are a few others who stick to their blood relations to hate the relatives of their spouse, but then the question remains how they can love their wife and children in that case? How can someone just hate a person just because he is his or her spouse’s relative, in an attempt to make one’s own relatives seem superior? How can someone fight his or her own bloodline over money even when there is something to take for everyone in the family? Why doesn’t family come first any more rather than the word “me”? If things go like this, “You’re Next”.

TeNy

Divergence: A Crime?

This is a question which I should have asked much earlier, but there is no limit for the time required for realization, I would say. I had the opportunity to watch the movie Divergent based on Veronica Roth’s debut novel with the same name. Yes, Shailene Woodley is a dashing young actress playing Beatrice Prior, but that is not the central thing about it, even as nobody can deny the fact that it helped to make sure that the movie was not missed. The comparisons to Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games is also relevant, but I would rather get into the main points now.

The divergence of Tris: So Beatrice a.k.a Tris is a divergent, not able to be grouped into any of the factions of the post-apocalyptic Chicago because she doesn’t possess the attributes for them. She was different from the others, but if the others were to realize the same, she would have no future of her own. Each person had to blend in somewhere and go on working with the faction, and her ability to be different was a case of panic. The world was set, and everyone had to fit in. The divergents were to be feared by the government for their brilliance and those ideas which could change the system.

Shailene Woodley as Beatrice Prior (photo from Divergent FB Page)

Shailene Woodley as Beatrice Prior (photo from Divergent FB Page)

The present scenario: There is no real option to be a divergent in our world. There are people who start groups and try to make people agree to their new found rights or abuse people to get acceptance. No, I am not talking about any of them. I am talking about being different by one’s own, being someone else by thoughts and action and not joining just another group to become of a member of another team which itself ruins the idea of being divergent, further creating more and more divergence forming more factions.

A person can’t be grouped into a category. There is more than one skill that a person can exhibit and there is always more than one kind of thought that he or she can have. A person is beyond all divisions as an individual. He can’t act like someone else just because he is part of that society. You can’t expect a person to paint his house in the same colour just because someone else has that colour or most people choose that particular shade. You can’t tell someone to follow a behaviour, no people shouldn’t be predicted, as they are not playing game, they are living lives.

We have been plagued, almost all of us in this part of the world has been chosen to study Engineering or Medicine, and was there really a choice until the recession came up and suppressed the latter up-to an extent? Can people always conduct a marriage in a simple manner without showing the vanity and spend the rest of the money feeding the poor? Can we Catholics marry without taking that terrible compulsary pre-marital course which has absolutely no use for the life post-marital life as long as we can’t figure out love by ourselves? Do we need to stand on a stage, grinning for the video camera till the wedding function ends?

These should have been easy things to do, but considering the current scenario and the attitude of the people, I would think that it is more difficult than the crow flying upside down or having a beautiful world of goodness. Our chance at divergence is pretty low unless our parents give support or our relatives are that damn good. But usually there are no real choices, we either agree to get rid of our divergence or rather choose to live our life hiding it or taking it out to bring the omnipresence of the people around us.

Be prepared to fight for divergence (photo from Divergent FB Page)

Always be prepared to fight for divergence (photo from Divergent FB Page)

People will always ask what we are doing and why are we not doing a job. People will ask why we are not getting married. They are nice questions and thanks for asking. But we are divergents, and the elixir of divergence that runs through our veins might ask some question to you which you might not want to hear or answer. In Divergent, our heroine could see through the fake visages, and may be we will see through your questions and it certainly won’t do any good for you. So, better leave us divergents alone and keep yourself away from the list for the abhorrent.

TeNy

Of Apes and Humans

Returning after watching Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and its messages for the present humanity – the species which is seeking violence and justifying the same with the distant past, and every group calling for blood just because the other religion or community not considered to be human, a post was a necessity. This is a shame that the modern world has brought upon itself makes them stoop to a level lower than animals. The movie gives the viewers certain lessons, and its relevance to the present world is higher than its contribution to the flick itself.

1. Violence is the dominant nature and need: It is seen that humans and apes do see each other as threats just because they are both different. It is the same problem that haunts humans who fight each other. Yes, people want everyone else to be like them, and there lies the problem. Even as war can’t be justified by any means, this hatred is boosted by people who fight each other in the social media and post fake images which completely nullifies their cause. The violence on the field is reflected even on the virtual world, and death of people from other groups is a necessity for some.

Teach something, but learn more from the apes (photo from movie's official FB page)

Teach something, but learn more from the apes (photo from movie’s official FB page)

2. Peace is just temporary relief: Humans are without the ability to forgive and forget and therefore there will be no eternal peace; Ceasar acknowledges this by the end of the movie. People always have many genocides to justify what they are doing now, and it is a shame that they have to bring things which happened in the medieval era to give the feeling of rightful revenge to their evil deeds. The world has changed and they need to get out of their distant past and learn to be good to others in the present. Only then there will be everlasting peace.

3. There is evil in every group: It is only with such sadness and disappointment that Caesar acknowledge that it is his own people who are responsible for this plight while it was humans whom he expected to start the war. The presence of good among evil gives hope, but this evil which spreads among the good people is rather terrible. There is the indoctrination that one group or the other is bad and deserves to be killed, and this spread like wildfire, faster than anything which is not so evil. The enemy might change, but there is a possibility that there is always one.

4. Apes are among humans: The indoctrinated humans form the new generation apes. They only support their own people and hope for the people of other religion or community to die. Those who are not violent enough to do it on the streets do it on the social networking sites becoming a spamming device themselves, aping others sharing the photos put by them without even knowing that it is a fake image or an something that works against themselves thus making the whole process invalid. Some others choose to abuse a person as a part of the aping, and attempts to do so because someone else did the same earlier.

5. The need for individuality: The apes resemble the humans who lack individual ideas and they think that it is always about them without even choosing to have an identity. They depend on some random person who share some ideas. People believe others to such an extent that they think that Steven Spielberg killed a dinosaur, and so how can they not believe anything else? If the same thing is given a racial, religious or caste colour, the whole thing will be easier to believe because some people only consider their group as human, and they think as our human leader says “they are just animals”.

Co-existence. Do the humans even know what it means? (photo from movie's official FB page)

Co-existence. Do the humans even know what it means? (photo from movie’s official FB page)

In the end, the only one who suffer will be the common man. Nobody really cares about the bloody politics which is bringing every act of war. There is only the need for co-existence, and for that, the change should be made at the root level, with the next generation being taught the values. But there is nothing to be done, as they have already left the children to find evil in their own way. The next generation is sure to bring a lot of hatred to this world, unless we guide the younger ones. Lets not be like the apes, and lets not be like the warmongers or the brainwashed supporters of violence.

TeNy.

Story of a Purge

There is something about the new generation people. They are angry, not just plain angry, but so angry that they need to go serial killer on their own people, even their friends and relatives. In that case, what is the chance of the common man whom they witness on the streets? Beware, people; the angry young men can take you on, and be careful when dealing with these people. You don’t know what they are capable of with the anger and frustration which have been going through them.

Some time ago, I had read something about a group of young men abusing and beating up an older man just because they found his vehicle ahead of their “super” automobile. This can’t be considered much different from what the cricket fans have been doing to Maria Sharapova, and yet this is also a case of disrespect to the elders which is the result of “spare the rod and spoil the child”, and the parents also suffer from a child who is not rightly disciplined, and it is such a shame.

This is where the movie The Purge comes to the picture. The angry young men need to purge their emotions and earlier they had chosen Sharapova for the same. A higher option is surely the life of crime and this movie talks about the need for a bigger purge, which means that people won’t have to abuse someone at frequent intervals, like Keralites have been doing with Renjini Haridas, Sreesanth, Prithviraj Sukumaran and Aashiq Abu. It is a shame that it has become so difficult to control negative emotions, and the need for such a purge is rather disgusting.

The purgers caught on the security camera demanding their right to purge or abuse & kill (screenshot from the movie)

The purgers demanding their right to purge or abuse & kill (screenshot from the movie)

Coming back to the movie, it has a period of twelve hours every year set as the time for the purge in which every crime goes. All things become legal, and some people will have the resources to defend while the others will just have to become the victims. The number of purgers will be a lot more than expected, and even your best friends or relatives can kill you. It is a terrible situation, and all this hatred and abuse which is going on in the Facebook pages is actually a kind of purge, a harbinger of something worse.

The Purge has lots of elements which should terrorize people, with the absence of any feeling of remorse or regret among the purgers, the blood and gore, as well as the declaration that these criminals are good, educated youth. That should bring a question about the point of education as we have seen what kind of words a group of literate people use on Facebook, but that would be another story. Here, the purge is about the absence of a heart and a soul.

The Purge has a terrible thing at its centre. The idea of such a purge itself is horrifying, but in the end, this movie is a violent movie with a message against all kinds of violence and has a stance for equality and kindness among all. We all have the tendency towards violence and it can’t be ignored. But the problem is that people only care about violence happening towards their own, or those who are kind of like their own. Otherwise, these people seems to find it okay, and it is impossible for them to realize that it happens both ways.

Yes, the purgers are the educated youth, and literacy can't bring anything unless you choose (screenshot from the movie)

Yes, the purgers are the educated youth (screenshot from the movie)

The tendency for violence will only increase among the upcoming generation as they are introduced to the world of blood and gore at such an early age. They are not disciplined and live the way they want to. Therefore, it is natural to get abused just because some young person rams the car into yours and start abusing you even as it is clearly their fault. You can’t argue with them, as they don’t listen to the voice of reason, and the new tendency is to completely avoid the word of God.

TeNy.

This is Dogville

Dogville gives you an order, and that order is to talk about it which can’t be avoided. The effect of knowing about its mere existence is that you have to feel and talk about it. Dogville is that cute town in the middle of nowhere, where people are supposed to be simple and good. It is that place where civilization has less effect and therefore it should be beyond the evils of modernity. But William Golding’s Lord of the Flies has already taught us about the danger of the same, but this one has some distant contact with people and therefore that problem is not directly visible.

Dogville is a 2003 movie which has Nicole Kidman as the central character of Grace who runs away from gangsters and is provided asylum in Dogville. They do demand things in return, and even as it begins as some physical labour, things get worse and she is turned into a slave. It is not a bloody violent movie, but is still disturbing in many ways, and it strikes a poisonous arrow right at the heart of the innate goodness which is supposed to exist in all human beings. Once we are poisoned with that arrow, it will grow in us, not like an idea in the mind, but like a stake in the heart. I will share just four areas of that infestation.

Grace (Nicole Kidman) among the apples, a shot which stays in the minds of the viewers.

Grace (Nicole Kidman) among the apples, a shot which stays in the minds of the viewers.

1. Inherent evil in man: The innate goodness in man is replaced by the inherent evil which goes back to centuries while leaving a mark on the way as time flies. This evil can spring out of anywhere, whenever the situation is appropriate. As the Overlord (game character) would say, “evil always finds a way”. This tendency to sin which stems from the idea of original sin is something from which humans can never really escape. It is easy for humans to fall into the abyss of temptation, and it has even happened to saints. The same can be said about the townfolks’ treatment of Grace.

2. Contempt for outsiders: Here, Grace was not one of them and therefore an outsider who was to be treated differently. They can’t show that directly, but there is always the fear of the unknown, and it develops into hatred up-to an extent. These people will never be accepted into the group, but are often considered as an appendage who can be thrown out or even abused. The beginning should be from denying some basic human rights. We can see that certain people in some religions and castes do talk in the same way and only caring for their own people. Such people are just another version of these inhabitants of the town.

3. Biblical connection: The name of our heroine Grace, which can be seen as “the grace of God” is rather the person sent to that world to help them as they give refuge to her, as she does prove herself more than just useful in their daily life. But she would be tortured and abused just because she was not one of them, and there were enough reasons created by random thoughts just to mistreat her. In the end, she will be called back, but she will be willing to offer them another chance, but not for long as another Sodom and Gomorrah awaited.

4. Democracy’s limits: The town depends on votes, and this might be the best form of government. But if their supposed leader could choose by himself, wouldn’t it have been better for Grace? Everyone is so much powered by their own selfishness, and instead of thinking for the common good or about the damsel in distress, they choose wrong. The evil people can always outnumber the good and devastate the purpose of democracy. The people who are lesser in number will never get their rights, even if their demands are justified.

The outsider in chains, as the society turns more and more against the other.

The outsider in chains, as the society turns more and more against the other.

Dogville can be your religion, caste, creed or community. It can be your land, and when you mistreat someone in your world for being an outsider, you are only strengthening that presence of inherent evil. It is okay to fear and take precautions as we know the story of “the camel and the arab” and there will some people ready to do the same to us, but that won’t give the right to hate. There are two things I am sure about; I have never loved a performance from Nicole Kidman like this, and there is no movie that has kept me thinking like Dogville. But be warned that this is not a movie for entertainment.

TeNy.

Taker of Nostalgia

Among the large number of the superstars, the celebrities and the sportsmen who graced my childhood world, I wouldn’t consider anyone bigger than that one man who was part of the daily trump card games. It was one of those more precious cards to have to secure a win, as the Undertaker had a very good rank which was usually between one and three, and a good number of fights fought, won as well as a height which was huge and good weight, biceps and chest, the elements needed to win the trump card game. This man, originally Mark William Calaway, has been a legend and a sure wrestler in the WWE Hall of Fame soon.

There were just Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart Hitman around him in the rankings, and when I managed to buy a few cards again, it was The Rock and Tripe H around him – somethings never change, and there was always the Undertaker, between Stone Cold Steve Austin, Goldberg or whoever came around. He was the man who had something for us kids, even as he was considered more of a man of the dark side with the avatar that he had chosen. Standing at 6 feet 10, weighing over 300 pounds, this man was always there, defining sports entertainment like nobody else.

He was the dead man walking, coming to the ring with an entrance which would make most of the undead rise from their graves and clap their hands. Even at a time when the effects were not that developed, he did manage to keep the scare tactics alive. There was always Paul Bearer and his urn which had his powers. He used to rise all of a sudden when everyone thought he was finished. He was a master entertainer, like nobody else. We loved his chokeslams, tombstone piledriver and the last ride, the finishing moves which remains in the minds of the fans forever.

My last collection of WWE trump cards, should be about ten years old.

My last collection of WWE trump cards, should be about ten years old.

We can remember those Casket Matches, Last Ride Matches and Buried Alive Matches, and that long presence in Hell in a Cell Matches. We loved him with his half-brother Kane as they became the Brothers of Destruction. Two chokeslams or two tombstone piledrivers at a time, and that is one great fest. Then when they fought against each other, there were sparks flying. I can remember not many things in WWE being any better. Then they had to make him face Brock Lesnar who was to disappear after that match, why?

When he was defeated at WrestleMania XXX, and his great undefeated streak came to an end, undoubtedly due to some bad writing, my world had clearly changed and I realized that it was the time to decrease my interest in WWE, as even IPL seems to be coming up with better scripts. WWE’s two main stars were John Cena and Daniel Bryan, both of them of no significance to me, and the upcoming ones like Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose are my least favourite characters. Kane is reduced to someone who is regularly beaten up, unable to chokeslam or beat the new faces; Triple H in a coat – what more can get worse for WWE?

One positive is Paige, the lady in black who has been gracing WWE for the last few months. This beauty surely has the power to unleash the beast by playing the monster with a certain amount of the inner demon unleashed. The Divas division surely has more scope these days. The same can’t be said about the men’s division though. Unless Kane becomes the real monster that he used to be, and fill the void that has been left by the Undertaker, plus Triple H decides to get into the ring as cerebral assassin fighter, there is not much ahead for WWE.

The Undertaker, the legend, the most memorable performer  of WWE (Photo from wiki)

The Undertaker, the legend, the most memorable performer of WWE (Photo from wiki)

I am fed up seeing the whole thing repeat again and again with no real change. These new wrestlers are rather too predictable and weaker stars combined with even weaker storyline is bringing doom. There comes the emptiness that one feels when the Undertaker is not there, and the realization that he has become old and won’t be the same again; he was already just restricted to being a small presence in WWE. I will surely miss the Undertaker, and I guess the only way to bring him back with immediate effect is to play WWE RAW, the old PC game again, but then it had the Undertaker in his American Bad-ass biker version, not the one I admire.

TeNy.

Vampires of the Soul

There is no other book that I loved more than Dracula, and I used to read many versions of the same in English and Malayalam during my childhood, and I have known Bram Stoker before I knew William Shakespeare. Count Dracula has been part of my early life more than anyone else and even inspired me to read more horror and made me watch my first horror movies, and my first horror movie in English to be watched on a VCR, John Carpenter’s Vampires. It would introduce me to the entity called “the vampire” which would never be redefined better than it did for me in this work.

Dracula was one person who never really scared me. But people around the world were worth being afraid of more than this one vampire. Some of them suck the life out of you, others money, and the worst of the suck the happiness out of you, and they are the vampires of the heart and soul. Most of them feel that they are the only people in the world, and the Earth no longer revolves around the sun, but instead exist for their own needs and all the people in the world are made for them to use. This one-human-centric universe have been sucking everything good out of our known world for centuries.

Consider the case of Count Dracula. He wanted to migrate to another country leaving his rural world behind. For the same, he leaves his old world behind and is ready to blend in with the so called urban people. But what does he get in the end? He is forced to keep running and in the end gets a stake through the end for trying to understand other cultures and mingle with them. He was a man of nature, blended with his natural environment and feared by the people of his land due to him being an introvert.

Bran Castle, commonly known as the Dracula Castle (photo from wiki)

The beautiful Bran Castle, commonly known as the Dracula Castle (photo from wiki)

Now, there comes the problem of being introvert. There are many organizations for supporting even the dumbest things in the world saying that it is one’s personal life and there is the choice to be different. But being an introvert is rather too difficult, as the other take away or rather suck everything away, and bening terribly talkative has been becoming a need, and on the tip of the talks, there would be big lies which will help one to advance in life. The others who can’t lie or show off their vanity will suffer like Dracula.

Still, the society considers introverts and people who can’t use tell a beautiful lie every hour or so as not easily acceptable. Being talkative should be a choice, and when people are chosen according to the performances during a few minutes of interview, it is a case of losing the right person for the job and instead finding someone who can talk and justify all mistakes and atrocities. You can’t find the right person by talking for a few minutes, because lies are too easy to say for the new generation designed just to succeed. This is the world of fake smiles, and the season of faking love.

Dracula was undoubtedly an introvert and a man who couldn’t socialize easily, and the use of diaries, letters and logs in the work and making it an epistolary one means that it was rather the idea of a group of people from one side of the society, and even the ideas claimed to be of other people could have also been forged. May be he had some bad teeth, and it is also possible that he was too much addicted to wine – there goes the ideas about bad teeth and drinking the red fluid. He just belonged to another culture and it is usual to be afraid of the customs and traditions, plus he had his own special abilities.

Christopher Lee playing the Count (photo from wiki)

Christopher Lee playing the Count, considered the common depiction (photo from wiki)

It is a usual misconception to related Dracula to the devil, and it is plain wrong. The vampire is surely not the devil, and beyond that, the Count has a personality which is far better than this plagued society which is not just affected by hatred towards other religion, caste, race and community, but also towards the random people who don’t know one’s idol or their most awesome person, a sportsperson, a movie star – any random celebrity. Yes, vampires have to look scary and not like a dumb teenager, but the story of the Count is debatable. Dracula was million times better than most of the vain humans of this age even on his worst day. Yes, the Indian cricket fans have already proved the same with their racist and sexist comments.

TeNy.

Immortals Among Men

We all need our gods. There is no other place where one can be more proud about the existence of God than India, which is indeed a great boost for my own spirituality and beliefs. We have cricket God, and not knowing him is a crime which can bring the religious fundamentalists to abuse, and a later stage of the same can give rise to the worst activities. That should be considered a terrible phenomenon denying someone the right to ignorance, but that story is different. Still, there was always the possiblity of gods in other forms of sports, and the same thing was recently discovered with the use of tennis God to refer to Roger Federer. Yes, it is about that impact that they bring, and despite not being omnipotent as one would expect from gods, they are always loved by people and the viewers always cheering for them.

Well, what is it about being a God? I wouldn’t use that word though, and I will choose to replace the same with the word Immortal. There are Immortals in every sport. We can write them off, and hope that they will go away, but they don’t. They fail to die and there is such clarity associated with the elixir of life which runs through their veins that digging a grave for them would only mean digging one for yourself. Some of the greatest players in the history are often resurrected. For the same, they actually have to die off. But in the case of Immortals, they were never gone and can’t ever disappear. Their game can fade, but not their class. Being a god needs omnipotence, but an Immortal doesn’t need that, and the lack of that quality makes him closer to humanity. We can have golden ducks and the scores of nineties, we can have first round exits and epic final losses, and it is how everything should work.

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic (From ATP World Tour Finals Website)

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic (From ATP World Tour Finals Website)

Then there was yesterday night. I had witnessed dark clouds gathering on the sky in the evening, but they had soon chosen to wait and show allegiance to the clear sky that Wimbledon had in store, as enough thunder and lightning was actually at on the ground. An Immortal, one who is worth being called the greatest of them all, was taking on someone who was looking to have his place at Mount Olympus, establishing the D-throne. There was thunder and lightning being served, and quite a number of them caught the magic wand and returned on contact. The magic was in the air, and there were legends of other battles watching from outside, cheering for the greatness that awaited them at the arena of great champions, where Immortals have clashed with humans or even battled against their own kind searching an elevation of their status.

The human was rather the favourite, and he has been so for a long time. He was a man who proved to be able rise above the Immortals and seize his glory to become another one himself. The other demigod from the island had lost his weapon early. Meanwhile, another Immortal had been defeated too early, the one who possessed the power of a Minotaur had to bow out as he had tasted the best of humanity in a battle which shocked the world of both the immortals and the believers. It is the best thing about being a mortal, you can surprise people with your awesomeness, but for Immortals, that is not the case. Immortals are always expected to win, and even if they win against another Immortals, it is taken as granted. It is only by losing that they can bring the surprise factor.

The human was sure to get that win, before the final charge was ever to be possible, but the Immortal was never finished, and they never are unless they say it themselves. They are the masters of twists, and the threads of fate runs around their bones. But it had to finish in the final round, because the human was no longer mortal for he was near immortality, and was so much close to that fountain which sprinkled the elixir and he took that extra step to taste the stuff. He was a demigod there, not an immortal, but Djochilles the Great was a man who was better than all demigods, a step higher than them all, and one moment was always going to be enough for him – it was the moment when even the Immortal faltered, the age and the vision of a Ragnarok catching up on him, and in a reversal of what happened in the previous set, the demigod became the Immortal, and joined his two contemporaries at Olympus.

The Immortal causes of Roger Federer (From Roger Federer Foundation Page)

The Immortal causes of Roger Federer (From Roger Federer Foundation Page)

Congratulations, Novak Djokovic, the Wimbledon champion of 2014, and the new World No. 1 also becoming the only person other than Rafael Nadal to beat Roger Federer in the Wimbledon Final, the greatest stage of them all. He also ties the number of titles with Nadal. At the same time, Federer also proves why he is considered the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), with that wonderful performance which he came up with, even when he is turning 33, an age which is not kind to the Immortals of Tennis. He will always be the greatest among Immortals, and that “God” status will be readily available for him, for that 237 consecutive weeks of being World No. 1 is not of this world. He is not finished yet, and we are sure to see more of the immortality at the court.

TeNy.