Thursday, November 22, 2007

Movie Review: Jab we met

Name: Jab we met

Genre: Romance / comedy

Director: Imtiaz Ali

Music: Pritam

Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor

My rating: 4/5

The theme is simple – on the face of it, may even look clichéd. But the execution is brilliant! Boy and girl meet accidentally during a eventful train journey, boy and girl who despise each other initially, become intimate, as the journey progresses, girl loves another guy, about whom she isn’t sure, boy helps her get united with him, but girl later realizes that she loves the hero more than her first crush, and then – the happy ending.

Aditya Kashyap (Shahid Kapoor), the son of a wealthy Mumbai industrialist, who fails in love, and also in stepping into his deceased father’s shoes, aimlessly gets on to a train. In the train, he meets motor-mouth Geet (Kareena Kapoor) who gets on to his nerves, first by talking non-stop and then by landing herself into one trouble after another, leaving him to get her out of all of them. But along the journey, Aditya too gets infected with Geet’s living-life-by-the-heart attitude and they become great pals. But the end of this journey ushers in a change of fortunes for the two. While Aditya carries on with the newfound zeal he got from Geet, into his business and life, to become very successful, Geet is besot with the bad luck which forces her to become a recluse, living away from family and friends. Aditya comes back to revive Geet’s life, and a twist of events at the end makes him her companion for life.

The movie entirely belongs to Shahid and Kareena, who share an awesome chemistry on screen and have come out with great performances. While Shahid does full justice to his cute, chocolate boy kind of role, Kareena is annoyingly adorable as the girl who loves to talk non-stop and live life queen size! The movie is loaded with genuine humor interlaced with the romance between Aditya and Geet, which makes you roar with laughter, throughout. The editing in the first half is crisp and takes the movie at great pace, but one just wishes the second half was about 20-30 minutes shorter, which would have added an additional punch to the movie. Pritam stamps his royal class, in the music department, by coming up with a bunch of melodious tunes. All songs are superb and add to the flavor of the movie – especially Mauja mauja and yeh ishq hai (a fusion song).

Verdict: Must watch… and yes, to enjoy the magic of the movie, do watch it on the big screen.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The joy of giving... NVEP @ Honeywell

The best way to be happy, is by making some one else happy... The joy and satisfaction that comes from giving, is unparalleled - especially, if the person receiving it is a truly deserving one. My moments of this ecstasy came during the Native Village Education Program, that I conducted in my native place Manipal, with the support from my company Honeywell Technology Solutions Pvt. Ltd

I have been associated with the Community Service wing of my companyfor over a year now. There are three tracks under this wing - the Medical Track the Education Track and the Native Village Adoption track. The purpose of the medical track is to provide free medical aid and facilities to those who cant avail of the same. These are carried out by conducting medical camps, blood donation camps, health and hygiene camps & special camps in the remote villages, where there is no access to medical facilities.

Under the Education track, we conduct activities ranging from scholarship programs for economically underprivileged children, donating mobile science centers, conducting teachers’ training programs, mentoring, donating computers, conducting science exhibitions and much more. Most of the times, we conduct these activities while we go the villages for the medical camps

Under the Native Village Adoption Program, an employee can make a difference in his/her native village by developing the basic amenities, infrastructure and education. Funds for the project will be shared between HTS Community Service Trust and the employee. The employee/s will be contributing 20% of the funds and rest by the CS trust, with a maximum limit of Rs 32,000. Development can be done from building the rooms of village school, tank cleaning, and bridge construction to road side tree plantation have benefited from this program.

My Native Village Education Program (NVEP):

I hail from a small village Parkala, in Udupi district of Karnataka. The district has a made a mark in the education field in Karnataka district, being one of the top three most literate districts in our state, with a literacy percentage of over 90%. But this record notwithstanding, there are several schools, where several bright students find it difficult to continue their education, due to economic constraints.

Encouraged by the support that the HTS CS wing provides the employees to help support education initiatives in our native villages, I conducted surveys, and discussions with the heads of five schools in and around my village. These are villages, and schools which have the maximum number of students coming from meager backgrounds. With the help of the heads of the schools, I identified some academically deserving students, whose families face deep financial crisis, which could threaten the future of their schooling, and conducted a merit-cum-need basis scholarship program for them, and distributed Rs 40,000 of scholarship among some talented poor students.

The schools i covered, were Manipal Pre University College, Manipal - my alma mater, where I did my high schooling and pre-uvinersity, Parkala High School, Shri ViShnumoorthy High School KoDibeTTu, U S Nayak High School, PaTla and HiriyaDka P U College. A couple of months back, when I been back to my native place to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi, I had proposed this plan to the heads of the schools, and they had enthusiastically responded, by preparing the list of deserving students from their respective schools and sending them over to me. My parents made the job infinitely simple for me, by coordinating these activities locally, while I was in Bangalore.

The program was scheduled for 11th November 2007, when I had been back on Diwali vacation. It was conducted in the auditorium of my school, Manipal P U College. All (almost :-))the students, who were selected for being awarded the scholarships had been present with their parents and guardians. In the absence of my school Principal and Vice Principal (who had cooperated magnificently, but could not make it, due to other unavoidable commitments) my old Kannada teacher, Mr. Uma Maheshwara Hegde, helped me conduct the function. His experience and full support was a major reason for the awesome success of the program.

Although I knew the importance of what I was doing, to the benefiting students, the actual impact of it hit me, during that program. In my address to the students and their parents, I had encouraged them to think big, to make their own ways, where there weren't any, and strive to excel. It was an overwhelming experience to serve as inspiration to so many talented young girls and boys. The gratitude and desire to surpass that I saw in their eyes, as I distributed the scholarships, made that day one of the most memorable days in my life.

The occasion was graced by the councilor of Manipal Shri Devendra Prabhu, and teachers from the schools, who had come to see their students in their moment of glory. Many of my friends, who are also old students of the school were present, and for me, it was a double whammy, in the form of a reunion after a long time! My sister, who could not make it to the function, had supported me with her best wishes and by paying for the refreshments served during the program.

Special thanks to Senthil Kumar, one of the leads and the pillar of our CS wing, my parents who were the back bone of this undertaking of mine, and most of all, the Community Service Wing of HTS who helped me realize my dreams...
For me?? I want to continue inspiring...

Like Winston Churchill has very aptly said "We make a living by what we get... We make a life by what we give!"

More photos:

Monday, November 5, 2007

Book review: Perry Mason - The case of the Lame Canary

Name: Perry Mason and the case of the Lame Canary

Genre: Murder Thriller

Author: Erle Stanley Gardener

Publishers: Master Mind books

Price: Rs 75/-

My rating: 3.5/5

A big fan of Perry Mason novels, I've read more than half the books in the series. I categorize these books I've read into just two categories - the top five, and the rest. This book, I can say, does not belong to the former category. :-)

A lady Rita Swaine comes to Mason with a lame canary belonging to her sister Rosalind, who is fed up with her husband and wants a divorce. The apparent divorce case turns out into a murder, when Rosalind's husband Walter Prescot is found dead. An accident on the road involving a coupe and a truck which occurs outside Prescot's house around the time of the murder adds another dimension to the murder. The other ingredients in the plot are Rosalind's boyfriend Driscoll, a snoopy neighbor looking into the house of murder Mrs. Anderson, the Weyman couple neighbors, a strange Carl Packard, Prescot's partner Wray, his secretary Rosa and Driscoll's maverick lawyer Rodney Cuff.

Mason, who would have otherwise dismissed the divorce case, which he is not interested in, takes it up, because of a hunch on the lame canary, and goes on to solve the murder. The ending is dramatic and sudden - typical of Erle Stanley Gardner's style - the narrative, grasping and the solution to the puzzle, absolutely breath-taking. Add to it the knowledge about court room hearings, autopsies, forensic science, guns and others that you get - its short crisp and very gripping. Go for it!