Million Dollar Baby

Life at times is like Clint Eastwood, the composer. Out of the blue, it brings out strangers on your way, walking beside you and in the very next moment they’re gone. You don’t want to know where they came from or where they’ve gone or who they are. You’re left untouched. Like those guitar riffs in Million Dollar Baby.


Do we need a zoo anymore?

Much has been spoken about the Delhi zoo accident already. I think it’s unfair on the part of the media to call the animal a ‘killer’ tiger. He did what the nature has programmed him to do when he feels threatened. The victim is said to be mentally unstable, so its unfair on the so called animal lovers’ part to put the blame on him too. Those who were around were also blamed, but I think that is also unfair because you can’t expect a common man to have learned about the animal behavior and acted accordingly.

But the zoo authorities should have done something. To have somebody trained to handle such situations if something like this tragic situation happened. It seems that there was a trainer for this tiger who knew the animal inside out but he also couldn’t get to him through the crowd (I wonder there is no other entrance for the trainer to approach the tiger than through the crowd). The tiger seems to have waited for about 10 minutes I hear and that’s plenty of time to get his attention away.

On a larger perspective, its time to think about the very concept of zoo or bringing in the wild animals to common places (elephants included).

No generation is totally good or bad

Every generation blaming their next has become a general practice. Complaining that they lack the morals or compassion and are self-centered. It’s the same story that you would have heard from your elders and it’s the same thing you would tell about your younger ones. And I think it is utter stupidity and I believe that every generation has had their good and bad.

A couple of weeks ago, my neighbor who is a student, came to me asking for help to raise funds for Naishana, a little girl who is an excellent student in her school but deaf and mute. A famous ENT surgeon had told her parents that he could help her gain the sight and sound but the surgery would cost seven lakh rupees. Naishana’s family didn’t have that much money since they were poor and her father is a cardiac patient. The Kerala chief minister had ‘referred’ her case to be taken care of under a government health scheme, but the department refused to treat her because the scheme is not available for children more than 5 years old (no comments on this – long live politicians and bureaucracy). But people around them – friends and neighbors – didn’t give up and they formed a committee to help raise funds for this child.

So this young man, my neighbor, came to know about this girl through the newspaper. He was touched by the story and the situation of this little girl. He called up her family, using the phone number that was published in the newspaper, and he was even more sad when he talked to her father. Then he decided to raise funds for Naishana on his own. He started pooling in money from his family, his brother, friends and neighbors. He took the newspaper clipping with him everywhere he went. When he went to college, he would ask his friends. When he went for a family function, he would ask his cousins. And so on.

He said he didn’t want to post it in Facebook, because he believed that it would end up in a few likes and shares and there was no assurance that the actual money would come through. He shared an experience when he asked some people for help and they told him “I will make a bank transfer straight to their account” before he didn’t even mention the bank account number to make the transfer. So when he asked, “so wouldn’t you need the bank account number?” they would casually ask for it as if they missed that part. His brother chipped in to help too and himself went down to see the family once. And finally, today I got a message from his brother saying that together they could collect Rs. 30000 and they made the cash transfer today.

Naishana is no friend of the Raphael brothers. She wasn’t from the neighborhood, no cousin and neither was she from the same religion. Yet, these young men, the younger one who told me the story is a student, took her story to heart and together they made a change. Ciril Raphael and Sunil Raphael, I’m proud of you my young friends. I think the others around our neighborhood or anywhere else has something to learn from you guys. More power to you.

To the pro-Palastines

If you want my attention to the cause of Palestine by posting photos and profile pictures of the dead bodies of children, their scarred little bodies and them crying, you don’t have it. It is most likely that I will turn away from them and do not care to read further. Not that I am insensitive to children; in fact its just the opposite.

I am aware that world over it is the children who suffer the most in war, riots, terrorism, domestic abuse or family struggles – be it in Syria, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, Iraq or your home. Directly or indirectly. Left dead or left to live. I don’t need your pictures to tell me that. So if you want my attention, write something about the politics and power plays that keeps Gaza on fire. The fight that religion ignited based on their holy books and race. Tell me something that I should know about the problem. Not the pictures of children left dying.

The Wolf of Wall Street

I didn’t even notice how many times the word ‘fuck’ appeared in the movie (of which I watched a YouTube video that took count before I watched the movie) because the movie, even in it’s entire three long hours, didn’t distract me to those unimportant details.

I was of the opinion that Leonardo DiCaprio, no matter what roles he played, I always saw the ‘actor DiCaprio’ a lot more than the characters he played. This was not to undermine his abilities as an actor. He does the ‘acting’ well, but he always was ‘DiCaprio playing the character’ for me. I have noticed the same thing in the case of Tom Cruise. No matter what role Tom plays, he remains ‘The Tom Cruise’ always (not comparing him with DiCaprio; DiCaprio is definitely in a different league as far as acting is considered). Don’t take me wrong, I don’t have anything against the handsome/good-looking actors because I don’t see the same thing happening with Matt Damon. Even when I look at Gatsby to Jordan boy here, they are just roles that DiCaprio plays (and there isn’t too many differences between both portrayals but that’s for another note). That said, the only reason that you would sit through these long three hours is, DiCaprio. And if there is a best of his so far in his career, this is it.

One thing is sure though. You’ve got to watch the movie to see what happens when you go off the track in your life – you know, with alcohol abuse, drugs abuse, sex abuse, career abuse or money abuse. There is a message for the guys of those sort or to the guys who may be headed on that track (even though the scale may vary).

“If It’s Monday, It Must Be Madhurai”

Finished reading Srinath Perur’s book “If It’s Monday, It Must Be Madhurai – a conducted tour of India” (what a perfect title for a book on conducted tours!). Its not just a mere travelogue but a study of the Indian landscapes – both geographic and characteristic.

Though the writer is critical on his subjects of study most of the times, he keeps himself at a safe distance – like a teacher’s pet trying to prove himself to the class teacher that he is a good boy, different from the naughty lot; here the teacher being the reader. Even though he isn’t asked to prove himself, this is evident from some chapters, like the one on Uzbek tour.

The general lack of enthusiasm of the writer (Perur seems to be approaching the trips as a subject study) in the first few chapters paves way to a more involved writing and excitement when it comes to the North East trip organized by Journeys with Meaning.

The book is a good read still. It explores the nuances of the conducted tours in India, some of which you didn’t know existed. I read it in a couple of weekend train trips to back home which made it more entertaining.


Guitar doesn’t weep gently; Cello does. And when it does, it feels like a lump in the throat. You hear the hoarseness in the voice, unlike the Violin. It’s hoarse, but it’s not loud. When Cello weeps, it’s all by itself, inside the closed doors. Not like Violin that cries out on someone else’s shoulders.

Just being myself