Monday, August 28, 2006

From our Own Correspondent

The latest addition to our bookshelf is a blue baby (The cover is a lovely blue with a pic of what looks like some icy terrain) "From Our Own Correspondent" - a Celebration of fifty years of the BBC Radio Programme.

Included here are Nehru Dynasty by Mark Tully, China Waltz by Matt Frei in China and The Ayatollah's Funeral by Alex Brodie in Iran.

Promises to be a box of Alphonsos.

Yum Yum Yum...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Syriana

(Spoilers Ahead)
Steven Gaghan (of Traffic fame)has directed this movie based on a novel "See No Evil" (also the working title for the movie) by the ex-CIA agent, Robert Baer.

This is such an outstanding example of a well written script. The entire movie has this certain tautness to it. George Clooney plays the main role, of an agent who discovers behind the scene machinations and the existing power politics in the oil business as well the politics in the Middle East. The story is intertwined with the tale of a consultant who befriends one of the royal family members, the role of the consultant essayed by Matt Damon. The background is that of an American company which gets beaten out of a contract by a Chinese company, leading to a merger of the American company with a smaller company that has landed a Kazhaki contract, leaving the Dept of Justice wondering whether there is more to it than just the oil price!

The story is quite tragic and the viewer could be forgiven for being a trifle despondent and cynical about the state of the oil business in the present day and the role of the American government and oil companies in it.

My favourite scene is the one in which George Clooney’s character has to meet someone in a Hezbollah controlled area, despite the presence of a government and he is assured that he will come to no harm, as long he doesn’t mess around. Something goes terribly wrong and he is captured and tortured and eventually rescued just in time, by the people who had assured his well being in the first place.

This could have easily been a documentary if not for the dramatic ending.
George Clooney apparently went on a heavy carbo-diet to look his part and hurt himself during the filming and then later said that it was very stupid of him to have done something like that. I disagree with him. I think he did a great job by trying to look the part.

The movie could have easily lost its way by focusing on the Pakistanis who join the jehad, the lost missile in Iran and several other things, but no, Gaghan has his eye on the ball. And he swings well.

Must watch.

BT Acumen South Zone Finals 2006

8 guys incl. yours truly made it thru a solo prelims to be randomly paired up for the finals.

There was some drama before all this happened. Anish Raju (my teammate) and Biswajit, two of Chennai's seasoned business quizzers almost missed the prelims! Anish stormed into the room where prelims was being held and thought that I was one of the organizers, since I was holding a sheet of paper (I was actually submitting mine when he walked in!) This resulted in some hilarious confusion and him generally taking off on me. I returned some of it calmly and told him that I was not one of the organizers!

Anyways, had fun and we came 4th in the finals. Anish was unperturbed by our steady downslide in the finals and we had a ball, even hitting zero score, somewhere during the finals!

Good quiz set mostly by Anustup Dutta. Well handled by Harsha Bhogle. Well Won by Biswajit and Prasad Shetty (who has apparently won the last 2 editions as well).

We got some Van Heusen vouchers for the petrol spent in getting to IIMB. And of course, yet another T-Shirt to the collection.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Untitled happiness

Occasionally life rewards you with something that you least anticipated and most importantly, when you least expected it. I managed to renew links with someone who was my closest friend and confidante for a good part of my early life, but who I lost touch with for what was then a serious mishap in our lives.

He was the one I played football with. His house had all the comics and books I read as a kid. Sometimes I feel that I read more of his books than he did! We walked home from school as kids, then cycled home (when we acquired bicycles). We were thick as thieves and were fiercely attached to each other. Phew!
How kicked am I?!

Incredibly so. Which is why this post beats several others which are still waiting, (atleast some of which I should manage to pull off before the weekend).
God is merciful. Life is a long series of short cheap thrills as I never fail to remind myself.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Life's a Rush

I owe a post on Syriana to a friend. Its really classy.

I also need to write something more on 4 Oscar nominee/winners which I managed to see in one marathon Saturday night viewing last weekend - Walk the Line, Capote, Good Night and Good Luck & Crash.

Had seen Brokeback Mountain the weekend before that.

Crash was the best of the lot although GNGL is a very close second.

Also finished 2 books in the last week or so. Will finish one more by t'row.

Saw Truffaut's "Domicile Conjugal" (also called Bed and Board in english) and The Inside Man today.

Had planned on updating blog about all this, but there's little time.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

K-Circle Annual Open Quiz and further plundering…

Attended my first ever open quiz in Hyd last Saturday (5th Aug 2006). Was conducted by JK (who is quite popular in the Hyd quizzing circuit and amongst regular quizzers elsewhere). There were 25 questions (5 tiebreaks) in the prelims and 14 (with 3 tiebreaks) was the cutoff.

After about half an hour spent in general disappointment at having negated 3 perfect answers and then counting our score as 13 and then realizing it was 14, thus being reconciled to some happiness, we (Majji and myself) were surprised to qualify.

6 teams in the final incl. one with both members who had studied from UMass, Amherst (one being the learned Ludwig). They even called themselves by the name of their insti. They won the quiz too. Even beat the venerable Swamy (our teammate on occasion) and Mitesh, Sambora and Ramkey (making up an ISB team of sorts) and some other good teams. Some of the leading lights and old timers had an off day. We had our lucky day. Thank you Bhagwan.

We came 2nd. We had a ball and did as well as we could. Made some decent prize money as well. And what did we do? Splurged on our reading habits… The following are the fresh batch of books that shall enter our Academy (of Dhammotion Pictures ?) ;)

1 Cinema's Strangest Moments - Quentin Falk
2 Wodehouse - Robert McCrum
3 Atonement - Ian McEwan
4 The History of the Kings of Britain-Goeffrey Monmouth
5 The Voyage of the Beagle - Charles Darwin
6 The No.1 Ladies' Detective agency - Alexander McCall Smith
7 Encounters with Animals - Gerald Durrell
8 Thereby hangs a tale - Funk
9 Heavens to Betsy - Funk
10 Nine Stories - J D Salinger
11 Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom
12 Skinny Dip - Carl Hiaasen
13 The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam - Edward Fitzgerald
14 After The Fall - Arthur Miller
15 Death of a Salesman - Arthur Miller
16 The Crucible - Arthur Miller
17 Breakfast of Champions - Kurt Vonnegut

The last 15 books came for about Rs.900 (roughly $20) – thanks to a sale by BEST Books. They really are worth their name. Not a single pirated edition in the above 15. All old books and in decent shape. Forget a bookshelf. We don’t even have a teapoy here in Hyd!

Forgot to mention earlier that the previous blog in addition to being the 200th also marked completion of 2 years of our blogging. happy 2nd budday beta. next yr se school jaana padega...