Music: The Indian Jam Project #2

When I was in school, I had to choose any of one of the cultural activities from Violin, Harmonium, Flute, Vocals, Drawing, Tabla and Mridangam. The classes were two times a week for about 45 mins. I wasn’t interested to sing and didn’t want to scare away people. I was also not into drawing as an art (As an after thought, I should have taken this course. At least, I would scored more in my biology diagrams). Among the others, the easiest to carry around was a Flute and I chose to learn flute. Continue Reading…

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Movie: Deadpool

When you slog 10 hours a day working for a week and feel knackered, only few things could help lift up the weekend spirit. One of them is watching a good movie. By good, I don’t mean an intelligent movie with a difficult plot and great acting. I mean a simple, entertaining movie that won’t squeeze out the remaining juice from your brain. That is exactly what Deadpool is about.  Continue Reading…

Kaththi – Movie Review with spoilers!

kaththi

Actors: Vijay, Samantha, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Satish

Director: A R Murugadoss

Producers: Lyca Productions

Music: Anirudh

What you think of a movie is influenced majorly by the mood in which you went to the movie. I went in a happy mood to watch the movie. And it turned about to entertaining for me.

On the surface, the theme will look banal. Dual role; one a rogue and the other an activist; places get swapped and rogue develops conscience. But the way the things are handled and the technical aspects make the movie watchable. The issue that the movie touches and sends message about is very key and relevant.

Of course, there are positives and negatives about the movie and that’s what I will be talking about now.

The movie had a grand opening. A prisoner escapes; police chases; frame freezes; a flashback is shown depicting the crook as smart. Add to this the theme music and different camera angles with a twist in the sequence. Had the movie been taken in the same momentum, it would have been a fantastic movie. But the movie slows down significantly in trying to explain lots of things unnecessary for the plot.  The crook Kathiresan (kaththi) fills himself in the place of Jeevanandam (second role) who is an activist against corporations that deplete water resources in Tamil Nadu villages.  Then the movie carries on forward to show how Kathiresan got touched by the story of the village and decides to fight for them in the absence of Jeeva.

The actress Samantha, who plays the love interest of Kathiresan, has no scope to perform in the movie at all. She just shares some screen space. That’s all. Similarly, another character that I think was underdeveloped was that of the villain played by Neil Nitin Mukesh. The introduction for this role was good. But it soon fizzles out. He fails to make a mark as a villain as Vidyut did in Thuppakki.

The songs were not great although ‘selfie pulla’ song is a major hit. But the background score is impressive. The Bad Eye theme used for the villain’s entry and The Sword of Destiny theme used in various scenes are good. Some part of The Sword of Destiny reminds me of The Immortals song. The action scenes were choreographed really well. Particularly, the one with the bunch of coins was well thought of.

The movie takes a dig at city people for not caring about village issues and the media for ignoring the key issues for more sensational topic. The movie is long running for 2 hours and 47 mins. The movie was indeed entertaining but could have been better.

Kaththi – (Knife) was sharp but long. It could have been named as ‘Vaal’ (Sword).

Happy watching!

Opinion: Know Your Child – H.H.Sri Sri Ravishankar

Know your child

I first noticed this book in Flipkart. Then I picked it up from Crossword after few days. The tag line ‘The Art of Raising children’ made me think that this book would be a full-fledged multi chapter manual on how to raise your child. It was rather a collection of excerpts from H.H. Sri Sri Ravishankar’s speeches across the globe. After the initial chapters, you cannot avoid the same points repeating again and again. There were some brilliant ideas and some ideas that are common.  Some key points that I could recollect after reading the book

–  An infant smiles 400 times a day, a child 15 times and an adult hardly smiles.

– There is no harm in accepting education as a business as long as the management treats the customers, aka students, as kings

–  Parents should not hesitate to scold/reprimand the kids now and then so that the kids get used to this and does not suffer when they are treated badly in outside world (mostly applicable for West. In India, this is still very common)

– Children should be given spiritual training, yoga, physical activities, pranayama etc to avoid stress

–  Government and Corporates should work together in increasing the quality of the education. More corporates should come forward to adopt areas/schools

–  Children should be encouraged to meet one new friend each day.

–  Teachers should be role models. They should imbibe values deeply into children’s mind.

–   A child should be allowed to talk to people of all age ranges.

Sparing some good points and ideas, I felt this book was full of marketing message to get your child to enrol for YES, YES+ programs etc. If not that, then there are examples of how these programs transformed the behaviour of unruly children. It’s a good one time read that could be rented from library. I did not see this book as buy-worthy although price is less.

 

Khan Academy – My opinion

I’m quite sure that most of the netizens would have heard about Khan Academy at least once. It’s a website with a huge library of educational videos founded by Salman Khan who is respected as a visionary in educational field now.

A little background about why I am talking about Khan Academy now. My daughter is in her summer vacation and super bored at home. She’s five and hyper active and can’t sit idle. So it was getting difficult for us to keep her entertained/occupied.  When I was browsing youtube videos casually I stumbled upon the interview between Sal Khan and Elon Musk. The video reminded me of Khan Academy and I decided to check out if they have any educational videos for pre-schoolers.

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Voila! I was in for a surprise. Khan Academy has changed a lot. It has come a long way from being a repository of educational videos to an academy in true sense.  Some pointers:

 

  1. You can login as a parent or a teacher
  2. A parent can create accounts for his/her child and monitor the progress that the child is making.
  3. A parent or teacher login has a ‘Coach’ tab which allows to manage and monitor the progress of multiple students (kid/students)
  4. It has a point based system – completion of each video, each test gives points.
  5. Accumulate these points and get badges.
  6. The educational videos span a wide range of academics – Maths, science, statistics, history, art, entrepreneurship and what not.

 

I created login for my daughter and checked if there are any videos for pre-schoolers. There were. We took the basic counting and numbers videos. Though my daughter didn’t show much interest in the actual video, she enjoyed the tests. She was excited about tests which included counting, ordering numbers, missing numbers, and subtraction/addition by one etc. What I liked was the way questions were framed.  We look forward to use it more in the coming days.

Revolutionizing the education is a noble deed and Sal Khan has done a good job taking free education online to masses. No wonder, Bill Gates supports him. I strongly feel that Khan Academy would be quite handy in CSR activities where corporates adopt a school and teach the children during free time. Vision and scope are great. I sincerely wish it picks up in all the nations.  

Cheers!  

 

2013 – Book Reading Challenge – Book 1/15

I signed up for the 2013 Reading challenge in GoodReads with a target of 15 books this year. Considering that I picked up reading fairly recently, this was very optimistic for me. I am glad that I was able able to complete the challenge. Some of the books that I read were technical and could not be found in GoodReads. Excluding them, the list of the books that I read can be found by clicking this link.

Here is my personal opinion of the books that I have read – one post at a time. Remember, opinions are like a-holes. Everybody has one. So before you pounce on me about my post, doubting my eligibility, I would like to remind that this is purely my opinion & my thoughts. 🙂 The books are in the order in which I added them to the list in Goodreads.

Book 1: The Oath of the Vayuputras by Amish Tripathi

 

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This is the final part of the amazing Shiva Trilogy. I was eagerly waiting for this final part of the series. The first two parts ‘The Immortals of Meluha’ and ‘The Sercret of the Nagas’ were mind-blowing. It gave a different perspective of the mythological stories that we have heard and grew up with. I chose the first book as a complete random act; I bought it because I liked the cover. After I finished reading ‘The Immortals of Meluha’ I started doubting the cliché ‘Don’t judge the book by its cover’. I borrowed ‘The Secret of the Nagas’ from my friend with a lot of expectations and the book exceeded them. Amazing pace and un-put-downable.

‘The Oath of the Vayuputras’ is the final book of the series and the longest of the three by a small margin. I just love the way author has taken the story forward and linked various stories and concepts. Although the pace of the story fizzles out in the end and the end was not received well by lots of fans, the book is a must read. The author has sprinkled philosophy throughout the book and surprisingly, it is not boring at all.
I am sure that after reading these books many people would have become the ardent follower of Lord Shiva. This books does total justice in elevating the character of Shiva to a Superstar, uber cool God.The author has hinted that he might be writing about Mahabharatha next and I am eagerly waiting for it.

 

Opinion: Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School

I picked up this book for two reasons: 1) I started hearing about Sir Richard Branson very frequently 2) The tagline ‘Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School’ was appealing.

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This book is a collection of all the articles and the Q&A by Sir Branson published at different times.

I have to agree that the book was entertaining and a good account of Sir Branson’s life trail. It gave me an idea of the personality of Sir Branson. He is different than the usual entrepreneurs and unique in the way he runs the business. He is never afraid of taking risks and admitting failures and calling it quits when an initiative fails. He is also humorous and ambitious.

While there are lot of useful information and interesting anecdotes, as the chapters passed by, they became repetitive. At the end, I felt like reading a pitching manual of Virgin group of companies rather than a book of business strategies.  I wouldn’t have complained if not for the tagline “Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School”.

This book gave an overview of all of the virgin groups and I will take a while before reading any other book by Branson. But that said, there was a style about Sir Branson that couldn’t be denied.