Too Strange!


On the 22nd of September, my cousin who shares my passion for reading, rang me to advice me to get a copy of “Proof of Heaven: by Eben Alexander”.  I ordered for it immediately with Amazon and it was delivered to me on the 23rd inst.

hereafterI could not put the book down and finished reading it on the 25th September. In between, on Facebook, my friend Nandu reviewed a film “Hereafter” and since it was the first time that Nandu had recommended a film, I sent for it too and it was delivered on the 26th inst. I was able to see the film only today though as I was preoccupied with other matters including seeing some other films both at home and at the theater.


While I was reading about Dr. Alexander’s experiences and wondering whether I should go back to read Fritjof Capra, Amazon, as it is wont to, sent me a list of books that may be of interest to me and it was Quantum And The Lotus by Matthieu Ricard, and Trinh Xuan Thuan. I have sent for this book instead of going back to Capra and it is expected to be delivered tomorrow.

One recommendation leading to two others and all tying up nicely into a subject that has suddenly occupied my mind.

Seeing “Hereafter” was a very unusual and indescribable experience.  It is more so because it has been produced and directed by Clint Eastwood and one naturally wonders as to what prompted him to do so on a film with such an odd theme.  Be that as it may, it is not a film that I would have seen had it not been recommended by someone I knew and so the surprise.

While I reserve a review of the film for later, this post is to comment on the chain of events that is as mysterious as the subject matter of Near Death Experiences and Life Hereafter!

The Intern.


Catch me not going to a movie with Robert De Niro in it. Despite my partner in crime Ramesh being preoccupied with a second honeymoon as he calls it, I managed to go all alone to watch the movie earlier this afternoon.

And I fell in love with Nancy Meyers who has written the story and directed this film. For the first time ever in my film going experiences, I came across a writer and director who has understood men of my generation and has produced a character in Ben Whitaker, so ably portrayed by De Niro, with who I totally identified. When he tells one of his younger colleagues, “A man carries a handkerchief to give to ladies who cry’, my heart melted. The younger males portrayed are so real modern IT types that I meet all the time and I thought that this film could be made in India and the story would resonate with Indian viewers, at least in the cities.

I have seen Anne Hathaway in other films notably, Brokeback Mountain and Les Miserables. In this, she portrays the moving spirit behind a successful start up internet based company and she does a magnificent job.

What do I need to say about De Niro. For the first time ever, his portrayal, thanks to the storyline and superb direction, sends the message loud and clear that male roles showing gentle, kind and sensitive men can also succeed in movies. He produces such an unusual performance that my already high opinion of his histrionic ability got reinforced.

It is a fantastic movie, without any of the violence, melodrama, sex etc that seem to permeate modern films and I will be very surprised if it does not succeed in the box office and may even get an Oscar or two.

Don’t miss it. I wish that I could give a higher rating than [rating=6].

Lucky Number Slevin.


A few days ago my friend Hendi posted a clip of this film on her facebook, I suspect, to show the histrionic abilities of Ben Kingsley and Josh Hartnett. She commented on it being funny rather than anything else.

Not having even heard of this film and because Ben Kingsley was featured in it, I investigated and found that apart from Ben Kingsley, the film also featured Bruce Willis, Lucy Lieu and Morgan Freeman. I was hooked. On further investigation, I also found that I could borrow the DVD from a local library rather than punch a hole in Ranjan’s legacy and so it was that I saw it earlier this evening.

Apart from the four actors, I had not heard of anyone else involved in the making of this film and another interesting piece of information that I gathered is that a rip off of the film in Telugu was made here but it flopped.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the film and thank Hendi for sharing the clip.  I was also very lucky that the DVD worked just fine unlike some other experiences that I have had with borrowed from the library DVDs.

If you have not seen the film and you like the Crime Thriller genre, this is quite a watchable film despite it running for and hour and fifty minutes. Since I saw it at home, I could pause and do other things in between but even had it been in a theater, I think that I would have been able to see it through without complaining about its length. I give it a reasonable[rating=5] rating and hope that it influences you to try and see it.

Lions For Lambs.


Abhaya came up trumps again with the recommendation that I see this film. With Robert Redford, Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise in it, I did not need much persuasion to send for a DVD and I am glad that I did.

The short,just under an hour a half of viewing time, and powerful story has been presented in a very effective way and the message comes loud and clear. No high drama, action sequences or romance to take the focus away from the topic of inept leadership leading well meaning and motivated individuals to futile ends.

Tom Cruise disappoints with exaggeration but I suppose that an US Senator has to be portrayed like that. Redford and Streep deliver powerful performances and I am surprised as to why the film bombed in the box office.

If you have not yet seen it, it is worth spending the hour and a half seeing it. You will not be disappointed. I will give it a rating of [rating=5].

Prose Vs Poetry.

“When you write in prose, you cook the rice. When you write poetry, you turn rice into rice wine. Cooked rice doesn’t change its shape, but rice wine changes both in quality and shape. Cooked rice makes one full so one can live out one’s lifespan . . . wine, on the other hand, makes one drunk, makes the sad happy, and the happy sad. Its effect is sublimely beyond explanation.” – Wu Qiao

I am alive and kicking and will hopefully be so well beyond the proverbial three score and ten years which I have already crossed. I did not get here by getting drunk on rice wine. There is nothing sublime beyond explanation in me which can be attested to by my readers who have been with me and my prose for quite some years.

My family had three English Literature teachers in my father’s late elder brother who carried the honorary title of Shakespeare before his official name, his son and my cousin who was Head Of The Department of English of his college before a tumour in his brain put paid to his fame, not for his proficiency in English but more for his prolific writing in prose in our native language Tamil; and the third, the current living English Pundit is my sister Padmini who is also expected to contribute some prose to this weekly attempt at some fun, but who is otherwise preoccupied. I too got my Bachelor’s Degree in what was then called the Liberal Arts and a subject that was included in that attempt was English Literature.

While I cannot speak for those three very illustrious English teachers, I found English poetry tedious and never took to it. I learnt the bare minimum to get passing grades and that was that. Very rarely did some English poetry appeal to me nor did poetry in the Indian Languages that I know except for Sanskrit which appeals to me not because it is a form of literature, but because its subject matter is spiritual and that sublime matter can best be explained in the verse form. Be that as it may, my choice of Prose over Poetry depends on logic, not personal likes and / or dislikes. For instance, how can something as sublime as this be ever conveyed in Poetry?

“In my youth I thought of writing a satire on mankind; but now in my age I think I should write an apology for them.”
~ Horace Walpole

For the record, I have not attempted to write prose or poetry in a language other than English and even in English, the poetry that I did try was a total and miserable failure. I would rather not dig it up again to embarrass me!

My readers can best judge my proficiency in my English Prose, and with that very interesting thought, I leave you my dear reader to go and read some Sanskrit Poetry. And while I am at that very noble pursuit, I shall entertain you with this very amusing video from Thailand.

This topic was suggested by Me for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where currently eight of us are supposed to write on the same topic every Friday. Unfortunately, most have not been doing as last week only Lin at Dun-Na-Sead and I posted. I hope that you enjoyed my contribution to that effort this week.  The six other bloggers who areexpected to write regularly are, in alphabetical order, AshokgaelikaaLin, Maxi, Padmum, Pravin,  Shackman and The Old Fossil. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, or not at all this week, do give some allowance for that too!


In my yesterday’s post on Old Men, the story is about two old men walking the Appalachian Trail and I had included a link to another story about a walk along the Pacific Crest Trail.

Recently, there has been a lot of walking in my life some deliberate and some out of compulsion.  I also had the pleasure of receiving a friend from Uttaranchal last week.  He runs a Travel Agency that organises trekking and biking tours on Himalayan trails and his  insistence that I join him soon was so tempting that I almost succumbed and went with him on his return.

And, so I was not surprised when a cousin sent this to me as part of his message of congratulations on my resuming my walking for exercise routine again.