Sunday, June 25, 2006



By the way, the first 'round of 16' match had Germany on a roll with 2 goals by Lucas Podolsky, the second one being especially cleverly setup by Klose. The Swedish side seemed totally lost, even missing a penality at such a crucial juncture ...

Saturday, June 24, 2006

'My Name is Red' by Orhan Pamuk

A book that starts with the statement 'I am nothing but a corpse now, a body at the bottom of a well' promises to be a thrilling murder mystery right from the onset, but what makes the book even more exciting, is the exotic setting of this turkish novel. Set in Istanbul during the sixteenth century, the book looks into the politics, philosophy, artistry and lives of miniaturists. The best of the miniaturists there, under a master painter are set upon the task of creating a book of paintings, by the Ottoman emperor. As the work is proceeding, one of the miniaturists gets murdered and a pall of suspicion mires the religious leaders, fellow painters and others, even as the reason or motive behind the murder remains shrouded in the numerous alternatives.

The dichotomy between the newer western style and the eastern form prevalent from the time of the great masters creates a complex political scene, that is handled in such an elegant manner by the author that it never gets jarring or overtly political. Literature at its height, the book seems to follow a unique style of switching to each chapter with a first person narrative by a different person. Most characters in the story get to present their perspective/their side of the tale; including inanimate objects like the paintings, corpses, the mysterious murderer. The pacing with the twists and turns, enlightening insights into the colouring, guilding, sketching and painting techniques; the turmoil in the personal lives of the miniaturists their emotions and longings, suspicions and schemes, doubts and ideas; is just right for a book that runs for more than 500 pages. The message comes through that each painter should have a style of his own and should neither stick only to the old or ape the newer western techniques. The ending is like a dream and also brings in the author Orhan as a part of the story.
A must read for lovers of literature, this superlative work of the art of fiction.

Watched the movie 'Crash' - a very good and complex movie which tries to dispell the concept of racial stereotypes in America, by portraying the characters from different races and immigrants in an interconnected set of incidents. Worth watching, as each actor gives excellent, emotive performances. Had got the DVD from a colleague (Nitin).


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Portugal beat Iran 2:0


Lots of visible talent in this Portuguese side - Ronaldo, Miguel, Deko and Figo. The 21-year old namesake of the more illustrous Ronaldo from Brazil is currently doing much better and seems to possess skills for some amazing footwork and a speed to match - a player to look out for. The shot from Deko that went into the goal like a bullet from a distance of some 30 feet in the 63rd minute and the 80th minute penallty success by Ronaldo helped beat the Iranians. But not without some good offence from the Iran team, they have a clutch of good players and had chances aplenty some so close to a goal, that it is sad that they could not convert. The players from the nation in conflict would be going back home after their next match with Angola.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Day 3 - Holland Win ...


A rather tame match between Holland and Serbia; except for Robben's master skills (he plays chess too I believe), which made the solitary goal possible thus giving Holland their first win. Both sides attacked often, but could not convert their chances, definitely more entertaining and aggressive than yesterday's England-Paraguay match.

Day 2 - Lacklustre England - Superb Trinidad ...

(Trinidad and Tobago players Dwight Yorke, Shaka Hislop and Dennis Lawrence celebrate claiming a point from their opening 2006 FIFA World Cup™ match against Sweden. The contest finished 0-0. PHOTO / ARIS MESSINIS; Copyright: AFP)

The English team was so tactless, except one or two moves by Beckham, the self/own goal by Paraguay in the fourth minute carried England through to a 1:0 victory - dismal match. The next match was real good, people had written off Trinidad & Tobago and expected a drubbing, but I had my doubts about T&T - which turned out to be a very capable side, they held off the Swedes to a goalless draw. The Trinidad goalkeeper (Shaka Hislop) is marvellous, with some five or six brilliant saves which would have otherwise been sure goals. As usual did not have the energy left for the 3rd match, which seemed to have been an entertaining one (Argentina vs Ivory Coast).

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Here comes the Football season.

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Wow ! What a way to kickoff the World Cup 2006, the opening match between Germany and Costa Rica was an absolute treat with each of those six goals. The last German goal was a stunner having been struck from such a long distance, leaving the goalie dazed and staring unbelievably, after the unsuccessful dive towards his left. The first goal too was a beauty - the superb curl from the left by the German Lahm, the ball striking the post and slipping inside, in a flash. The Costa-Ricans were never fully out of the game and attacked well, however both sides seemed to have weak defences. The ball seems very very light these days - would love to play with such a ball - if I get a chance; reminded of those days when I was the striker + captain, in school (12th std to be precise - you have to believe me, locate and ask my classmates if you don't). Was too tired to catch the next one between the Poles and Ecuador at 12:30 am. The kind of interest and energy the FIFA World Cup tournament can infuse is enormous. Call it a global energy switch - right now switched on !

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Da Vinci Code

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I was wondering, is this the same Tom Hanks that I saw in 'The Terminal' ? He acts cold in the role of an expert symbologist Robert Langdon and yet tries to act funny at times - never manages to connect to the audience. The acting from Audrey Tautou (playing Sophie Nevue) is better, more natural and the person who plays Captain Fasche has on display a controlled emotion througout. Ian McKellen playing 'Leigh Teabing' tries to portray the quintessential British expert and succeeds only to an extent with his quirky and loud dialogue delivery. The person playing Silas the albino is pretty convincing.

Overall the movie is fine - essentially a step by step representation of the book; it is able to capture the essence of the story, Certain chase sequences are marvellous and a sprinkling of humourous scenes and the glimpses of famous paintings and the Louvre museum, make for an enjoyable one time viewing. The conspiracy theory and the events pointing to the church are all displayed in flashback during a discussion when it is explained or revealed so to speak. The conclusion leading to the royal blood line of Christ, with Sophie as the latest descendant also happens in a deadpan manner. Some violent and surprise scenes are well choreographed; for example when the albino Silas attacks Langdon inside Chateau Villete - Teabing's residence is electric. The movie tries to portray the contradictions inherent in Christianity and the Church, the Priory of Sion's attempt to protect the great secret and leaves us thinking with the question at the end: "Will a living descendant of Christ among us, help in increasing or decreasing the faith among men" ?

The audio effects - especially the bullets firing are crisp and distinct thanks to INOX's excellent audio system where I watched it. It was a reunion of sorts with ex-colleagues from BEL (including Sudhakar, Praveen, Santosh and Ranjit and a few other fresh faces) on my first visit to Garuda Mall.

NYTimes review
Roger Ebert's review

To posit that a greater focus on aspects of the self alienates a human being from the objective of greater good towards the community and mankind at large may not be fully justified, but is definitely the general line of reasoning.

The weeping rikishi (sumo wrestler).