Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mercure by Amélie Nothomb

Yay ! I just finished reading my first French novel. Well, actually it's Belgian but you know what I mean :) It's called "Mercure", written by Amélie Nothomb and published in 1998. What attracted me to it initially was nothing but it's pocket-book appearance. The novel is a pretty fast read and took me just a day and a half to read. It's quite suitable for anyone who is at the B1 level with a decent vocabulary. I was actually looking for some pulp fiction but judging by their covers the "romans" section of the Alliance Francaise de Bombay has only literary fiction.

I enjoyed "Mercure". It's a thriller narrated in easy, light prose. I think my own imagination lent a gothic atmosphere to it. I think the story is just perfect for a Hollywood thriller. It's 1923. Nurse Françoise a beautiful, competent and upright woman is summoned on a private island to take care of Hazel, an orphaned young girl living under the guardianship of a rich old man. On her arrival, Françoise is puzzled by the tight security and baggage-checks. Soon it's revealed that mirrors are banned on the island and the guards are ordered to confiscate even the smallest reflective surface. Over the course of her daily visits, Françoise becomes aware of the strange relationship between Hazel and her benefactor. Old man Loncours treats Hazel like his daughter except at night. Françoise soon gets into Nancy Drew mode and uncovers secrets that could change the course of Hazel's life.

There are only three major characters and most of the action takes place indoor. Although there are many scenes where two characters would just talk and talk, it never ever gets boring. In fact all the conversations are quite interesting. For some reason the author decided to write two climaxes, both of which seemed odd to me. The second one is weird as hell.

I am a big fan of dark thrillers and "Mercure" seems like the perfect source material for an atmospheric, period thriller. I couldn't help but imagine a smart tall brunette like Angelina Jolie playing Françoise. By amping up the supernatural elements and adding some scares this could be one hell of a movie ! Wow! I wish that gets made.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Room 205 (Kollegiet) - A Review

I think, this is the first danish film I have seen. Its what we call a 'timepass' movie in India. Just some passable entertainment to engage in when you have nothing better to do. I watched it with the sound on low ( with subtitles ofcourse ) , because it was playing late at
night on TV and I dint wanna disturb anyone. Its fun to watch subtitled movies in the dead of the night :) Especially a horror flick.. This particular one, called
Room 205 ( Kollegiet ) is a rather standard, mild ghost story. The ghost itself is a funny
looking blonde who turns up here and there in a dormitory, terrorising good looking people.
But I do admit, I saw her through half-open eyes as I dint wanna keep seeing her weird face
everytime I went to the loo in the dark :D

Let me outline the plot first. Theres a pretty girl, Katrine, with some baggage , emotional as
well as real. She moves into a college dormitory and is subsequently ill-treated by some
bullies, especially by one jealous bitch with curly hair. Katrine begins to have some creepy
supernatural encounters, people die and the ghost has to be stopped before it kills the main
character itself.

I kept getting Deja Vu-ed throughout the whole thing. Everything seemed familiar and
predictable. Thats the only reason why the movie did'nt hold my attention so well .

I wont call this an atmospheric thriller just because it has a few scenes of the sky changing
eerily over buildings ( deja vu again ). The dorm, where all the action takes place, looks
like a nice place with lots of fresh air and sunlight. Cant help contrasting it with the
creepy old building in 'Dark water'.

There are a fair number of scary scenes. Mercifully, the gore quotient is low. The acting is
strictly ok. Actually the supermodellish Katrine seemed a bit out of place. She dint really
seem traumatized or disturbed.. I dunno if I missed something in the translation, but I really
dint care for the characters. Some of them looked too old to be playing college students.
All said and done, you will enjoy it if you dont mind the cliches. Bad movies can be fun too
you know. If you DO see it, watch out for the very last scene. Its HILARIOUS ! :D

Monday, October 31, 2011

Interviews with new-age spiritual teachers

Found this really wonderful website that features interviews with the world's most popular new-age spiritual leaders. I had not heard of all the names listed, but I have read some wonderful ( understatement ) things written by Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer and Eckhart Tolle. Everytime I read these kind of things, i feel so much clearer.

Well, heres the link, that will lead you to a "a collection of inspiring interviews with leading spiritual teachers and "The New Age 100" Core Book List "..


Friday, August 19, 2011

Chicken chilly and Egg fried rice.


I made my first decent-tasting chinese food today :P

I think I added bit too much of soy sauce, but it was still fine.

Found the recipe on youtube. It was by a chef called Sanjay Thumma

( vahrevah.com ). The guy is really fun to watch, I would definitely

recommend his video recipes..........i think he just makes it look so

easy. Heres one for chicken fried rice :


Monday, July 25, 2011

I loooooove puppies :) n i want one tooo !!!!!..

Look at his ears, isnt he cute?? I just wanna hold him close...
And look at these fur balls below..how do dey get to be soooo cute?!? <3

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Design and Me

I am really happy that to FINALLY step out of full-time professional graphic designing. But looking back, I feel even happier that over the last few years, as a just-out-of-college, clueless youngster, my career was subjected to a bit of experimentation. Including my summer vacation jobs, I have dabbled in sales, reception, journalism and design. But it was my not-so-short stint as a graphic designer that really enriched my life. Some ‘mistakes’, you see, are not to be regretted.

My first real job as a graphic designer was at the Gowandi-based Web Animation Studio, which was, in those days, bustling with full-on 3d, flash, html, photo shop activity. I guess I was lucky to get a break THERE, of all the places. We had cool projects. It was fun to be in a place where interesting work happened.

The first assignment on my plate was a CD-presentation for a leading internet service provider. This was the project that taught me to create a flash presentation, and all that goes into it. It was a team effort with one script-writer, two voice-recording artists, one illustrator, one graphic designer, 3 flash designers , one video-editing guy and one project co-ordinator working on it. I was co-ordinating the project and took over as the flash designer towards the end. I also got a chance to witness a voice-over recording session, with me supervising it. The recording studio, tucked away in an old Chembur bungalow, was the first that I had seen. Well, I also learnt that voice-over artists get paid pretty well and their job looks like so much fun! I also learnt the importance of crystal clear communication. When so many people are working together, a lack of communication alone can disintegrate the project. And, I have seen that happen. All in all, this project was quite a learning experience.

Another memorable part my design career was the Myspace Secret Show concert, that we had organized, just a month or so before we went jobless. I ACTUALLY, got the opportunity, to design the stage-backdrop, apart from T-shirts! It was amazing. Even now, sometimes I see a random guy on the road wearing a Secret shows T-shirt. Feels nice.

Days at WAS and MySpace were spent in scouting for images, templates, fonts, inspirations….This is how I discovered stock images, stock illustrations, Template monster, photoshop tutorials, deviant art, dafont, Smashing magazine etc...It opened up a whole new world of art and beauty to me, which showed me just how much serious talent exists out there. I was totally awed. It inspired me to learn illustration and I went on to draw my very first portrait, which I proudly uploaded on my blog. The collectible posters at MySpace were a revelation. What coolness! I would say the biggest thing that I gained in the design-terrain, is the inspiration to explore my creative side.

As a web designer, I ended up learning and using, many more smaller softwares, apart from Photoshop and Flash. Now I can create my own ringtones etc in a sound editing software. Upload/Download files using FTP, Convert FLV to mp3, create basic html pages... This quickness and comfort with new softwares, is all thanks to the demands of the profession. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have taken the time to learn anything out of the way. Being a web designer myself, I designed a website for my mother’s matrimonial bureau. Today, I manage it myself, with occasional help from my php-developer friend, Roy. I also print my own wall-posters, and I can design my own Tee-shirts (although I haven’t yet gotten around to doing that YET!)

And last but not the least, I look back at my designing career fondly, because of all the wonderful people that I met, all the friends that I made….Yogi - my boss at WAS, Abdul - my walking-talking photoshop tutorial kit, Sunny – my reporting manager at MySpace, Dolly – colleague and friend at MySpace….

I am glad that all this happened to me. However, slowly, as I became more serious about a career, I had began to realize that I didn’t really belong. Although, I could have survived long enough, as a mid-level designer, I couldn’t really envision a future bright enough. I did not see myself as a commercially viable graphic designer, and neither was I interested in coding and implementation. But the main problem, was switching careers. How would I do it? But my mind was made up, and here I am.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

29 Palms : A comment

I watched this movie last night, and I am still feeling spaced-out :D Actually, I really liked the first half, which is all serene and normal
( I hadnt read many reviews...was watching it without much expectations). Nothing much happens, but its still good. I thought it was all
building up to something very interesting/moving/disturbing . I found
the couple kinduf interesting and sweet at first. But 70 mins into it,
I began to wonder, where exactly the film was going.

The one thing that disappointed and confused me was, how the bloody
climax, makes all the interesting little details of the relationship (
the ice-cream conversation, the late-nite fight, oral sex in pool,
David's stalking of katia etc ) seem irrelevant. The couple itself
doesn't seem normal, but I think the climax would have been the same,
irrespective of how normal/dysfunctional the couple was. An incident as
horrific as that, can make anyone go mad. 90% of the 114 mins , are
focused on their relationship, but the "horror element" which arrived
in the last 5-10 mins of the film, just comes out of elsewhere.

Sure the rape is horrible n humiliating, but it seemed to be there just
for shock value. Maybe, the director wanted to show how one random
horrific incident, can absolutely ruin everything...but if thats the
case then the duration of the film doesn't really make sense.

I think the makers have done a great job in building up the
suspense....but the wait is too long and wen the bad stuff happens its
weird. For me, the climax was neither shocking nor thought-provoking
(Everyone knows, man is capable of both savagery as well as
saintliness) , but just very very saddening. So this movie has left me
in a sad and confused state of mind.

Also, I dunno, why are movies like these, marketed as something they
are not. If you promise the viewers "a deliverance meets psycho", and
give them this movie, there are bound to be negative reviews. Even, the
original trailer tries to make the film look so eventful and
thrilling...lolz...I can understand why horror fans are pissed off.

Its NOT a bad movie, but I would'nt call it a horror film either... I
agree that the desert looks quite menacing, so OK that qualifies as a
"thriller" element. But there is a disjointedness to this movie, which
is why I wouldn't recommend it.

But if you like to watch slow, ambiguous movies and then dissect them
for symbols, hidden meanings etc..then go ahead. You just might like