Wednesday, April 04, 2018

The compatibility

Mid-day musings

So, I have been talking to this girl for a while now. I think we first had a chat over the phone around late last year. A decent conversation. And then we stuck to iMessage for general day to day chats. It wasn’t that regular. I was in India, 5 ½ hours away and she was in Western Australia (she still is). Time zones didn’t match that well. I was also moving from one home to another, which means broadband connectivity restoration could take weeks. Anyways, amidst all that, we did get to know each other pretty okay I would say. We probably spoke over the phone about 2-3 times, mostly because I really wasn’t sure where I was heading. I was in India looking for a job and things were not going that well. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to head back to Australia at that time. She was quite clear that she wanted to live in Australia for a while (turns out she has a home loan to pay up. In that case, she bloody well be here!)

So we spoke or texted a lot about you know – history (what happened, what went wrong etc), then stuff like who’s in the family, how did you end up where you are right now, what does the future look like, other stuff like hobbies, movies etc. Again, all through this, I still wanted to be in India so I wasn’t sure what was going to happen.

Then I got back to Melbourne this year. Took me some time to find a job. We were still in touch after I got here. Had a couple of phone calls (the free local calls you see! Hahaha). Got on facetime once and had a chat.  I am still quite old school with certain things. I love my traditions, religion (although I don’t impose it or loudly practice it. I keep things to myself). And more than all that, I think I am still a hardcore South Indian inside (more a Madrasi). So we did talk about all that too.

And she says – “When we meet and if we both think that we are compatible, we can work this out”. She’s said this a few times before as well. I agree that we have to meet. That’s quite important.

What the hell is this compatibility really? Is it like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole? When women say this, I kinda freak out a bit.

If I met a girl, face to face, just once, or even spent a whole day with just her, I just don’t think I’ll be able to tell if we are compatible or not. Just that one day would put me under such a difficult condition that either I would be completely in my element (which would be the best situation for me but maybe not the best outcome) or absolutely fake it (which I have been sort of accused of doing it and acting all charmy, intelligent, totally worth it types) or destroy it (by acting weird, more guarded, say stupid stuff – all this is possible. I have done that too)

Does she expect me to a Lannister on the streets and a wildling under the sheets?

According to me, there are many unknowns in life. Compatibility is like software testing for a product but you have already purchased a lifetime license. The product meets your minimum viable requirements but there is no guarantee that it will work to all your expectations. You cannot return the product so you should compromise and build a few workarounds around the product functionality if it doesn't match your requirements 100 percent.

Friday, February 02, 2018

Tinder in India

Time to write a post. Its been a really long time since I came back to this. Honestly, I miss writing but at the same time, I have been delaying it too - thanks to Netflix, YouTube and of course laziness.

Now there's a huge gap from the last post to this one. I'll perhaps come to that later. I did spend a lot of time in India - from mid-June 2017 to early Jan 2018 and during that time I decided to explore the Tinder app. I was quite sure that India has progressed over the last 5 years to appreciate random conversations over an app.

Tinder in Chennai

I think Chennai is one of the worst cities for Tinder. Chennai hardly has any migrant population compared to Bangalore or Hyderabad. So every now and then, you'll find your friend on Tinder. Also, you have to expand the distance meter to the maximum (which will also include parts of Pondicherry, read Auroville.. LOL) if you need any results. After all that, you'll see one you like. Without wasting time, you'd super like her. She'd accept. You ask her out for a coffee (Of course you cannot ask her out for a beer. You are in Chennai. Filter coffee is the best. In fact, her guardian may also be sitting a few tables away from you). She will un-match because she still believes in an arranged marriage. She is only on the app to waste your time.
Once that episode is done, your meter will keep rotating for ages. You'll find nothing. You need to wait for another eclipse.
And then there was another match. Another super like I think. Sent her a text and by the time she replied, I could see that she was a few thousand kms away in the country. She'd accepted a job in the north. Didn't see her back in the city for a really long time. I did meet her but maybe that's reserved for another post.

Tinder in Bangalore

This is perhaps the best! A lot of women, to be honest, and some really worth the super-like. And there have been times when women have super liked me too. This generally never happens anywhere else but I think India has started noticing that my physical appearance is quite stunning after all the Crossfit (Thanks to all those people who inspired me. That list is a few pages long).
Anyways, I am chatting with girl 1 (who is into sales I gather from her profile, quite irrelevant). I ask her out but she doesn't have time and its also closer to my travel date back to Chennai. So we just decide to meet when I am in the city the next time around. In the end, I never met girl 1. We decided to meet somewhere and she cancelled. Maybe she got cold feet or she didn't like me. Who knows.

Second trip to Bangalore and I had 3 matches. Voila! Chennai seriously sucks in this department.

Ok girl 1 says hello, we chat for a bit and then decide to meet! Awesome. We go out for a nice dinner. Wow this is so cool. And I must say, she was really nice. I would definitely go out with her again if I was in Bangalore. But that didn't happen.

Girl 2 said hello. We decided to meet for coffee. The intended place was quite crowded so we ended up at the coffee place for kids - Cafe Coffee Day. We had common friends. So we were chatting a lot. So, this is the problem with Chennai or Bangalore. The network is so bloody small that if you are in a good job or studied in a reputed institution, there's a 100% chance that you and your Tinder match would have common friends. Not one, but like a herd. So girl 2 actually told me some horror stories about Tinder in India which was quite shocking to hear. Girl 2 is also a Bangalore lover. I didn't get a chance to meet her again.

For all the men - If you match with a girl, then learn to take baby steps. This is India god damnit. Do not - wait outside their workplace, send them messages on Facebook or ask them why they don't want to meet you again. If they don't like you, just get the fuck out of there. Don't make them uncomfortable.

Girl 3 matches. Quite late in the night. I ask her out because I was driving back to Chennai the day after. Then she gave me this huge lecture about how we should chat, exchange phone numbers, get to know each other and then meet. I was SO not ready for all that. I just wanted to meet and say hello. That's all. Not even in the mood to take it to the next date. And then I heard all these conditions (owing to previous experience meeting dickheads). So we never met.

So overall, Bangalore scores way better than Chennai for Tinder. There are many many dry days in Chennai (when you have no matches) but Bangalore has a fairly large migrant population and also open minded people who want to date or meet people this way.

Of course, there's more to talk about the people I met. Maybe another time. But for now, I think this will be a good start for 2018.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Kaatru Veliyidai

There's one scene in the movie Kaatru Veliyidai where Dr.Nidhi and Dr.Illyaas are in conversation and it translates to "VC is all about VC". That's pretty much the centrepiece of this movie.

VC is an airforce pilot who only cares about what he wants to do in his life. He occupies higher ground and he is always looking down at you, even when he is in love. Every time he smiles, you can see he exudes pride and arrogance. He feels superior, compares himself to God, perhaps even mightier and says that he will kill. You know the term "airs and graces" (the affectation of superiority). That's the "Kaatru" in this movie.

Of course, when there is a movie about someone at the border, there has to be drills and war. With war comes capture and then the whole drama of planning to escape and doing it. Mani Ratnam brings back a bit of Roja here, but leaves the patriotism out for a bit and takes the journey of love. This entire sequence of VC being in Pakistan and escaping to India through Afghanistan introduces us to his life at a slow and steady pace.

Leela has heard enough about VC for years. She grew up listening to stories about this individual who is perhaps compared to a superhuman (in the eyes of her brother). She is besotted. The job in Kashmir is only a reason. 

We all say "opposites attract". This is not the storyline here. This is the story of a girl who is fascinated about a guy, gets to meet him in person and is faced with some serious questions, perhaps a reality check.

Leela is already in love. And VC is just getting started but like I said in the beginning, "VC only likes VC". We get many visions of this during the movie - the registrar office, the single malt challenge, Leela's opinion, pregnancy.. there's plenty. So he finds it difficult to isolate himself from himself. He is caught for his actions. Actions that would have been encouraged and found very normal among a group of alpha males.  

The dysfunctional family is a distraction. Yes, there is a bit of affirmation about VC's character when we get a glimpse of his family but its not important. And merged into that family sequence is a song with a wedding and a lot of colour powder which looked good on screen but made no sense. I haven't been to any wedding where one of the events is like Holi.

When two headstrong individuals meet, there's bound to be a bit of an explosion. VC is controlling but Leela stands her ground. And that's where Mani Ratnam excels. He brings out shades of his women characters from his previous works. He gives them space. He lets them fall madly in love but not lose self respect. Leela may look vulnerable but her displeasure at numerous instances shows that she cannot be taken lightly. Her disapproval of VC, choosing to stand by her decisions, and still being honestly in love with VC is what breaks VC.

Kaatru Veliyidai is not a Breezy Expanse (as suggested by Wikipedia). Its the air of superiority slowly leaving VC after numerous rough patches in his life and how he finds his feet on the ground. Its one man's journey through solitude to find his true calling - a submission to love.

Friday, February 17, 2017

When rahmaniacs get upset

On Thursday 16th Feb 2017, I attended a concert titled "The music of AR Rahman" from Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO) and Charindaa. I have no idea who Charindaa is, so I didn't bother much. I have heard the MSO before, so I was eager to find out what they had in store. To add to the excitement, ARR himself had posted a video that he would be present at the venue. I didn't pay a lot of attention to that video, so I was quite surprised to see him on stage.

Anyway, the concert gave mixed emotions to a lot of people. Why? We expected a lot more and we felt that it was a let down.

First, I was annoyed that the organisers did not attach a program schedule when they sent me the ticket. Gates opened at 6pm and the MSO started on stage only at 8.15pm. In between we were entertained for a less than an hour by two random people on a tabla and guitar singing really boring compositions. Seriously, their music was "not good".

The MSO started with music that was unknown to many - Warriors of Heaven and Earth. I have heard the movie but who wants to see a mandarin movie for ARR (not that much a rahmaniac).

Then we were treated to Lagaan and Mangal Pandey which kept our north Indian friends happy but I was getting really impatient. Then they played music from Roja.

Then MSO went back to playing tracks from 127 Hours, Bose: The Forgotten Hero (that was actually a forgotten movie), Lord of the Rings (stage version) and that's when I totally lost it. They made ground by playing music from Bombay, Enthiran, Kochadaiiyaan and Swades.

ARR got on stage and played music from The Hundred Foot Journey for about 2 mins. Personally I thought that movie didn't have great music. So I wasn't impressed.

I think a good percentage of the audience lost it and started calling out Rahman as he was predominantly backstage. This didn't go well with the MSO conductor and he got annoyed. The calling went reached a level when he replied "If you behave well, he will be back". I could sense from his voice that he was pretty pissed. The MSO was not receiving the respect they'd usually get in live concerts.

Finally, they finished with Slumdog Millionaire. I was hoping that at least in this, ARR would sing the Jai Ho piece that he sang in the original but he didn't. An Australian opera singer did his best but wasn't impressive at all. In between, there was a tribute to Indian composers, which was really good (because they played the intro from Muthu, which was brilliant!). And then there was a tribute to Indian Beauties. It was utter nonsense and didn't warrant any presence in a music concert. Also, Indian Beauties featured only female lead actors from Bombay/Delhi which made it even more ridiculous. The madras emotion had already kicked in at the beginning. It took MSO more than 25 minutes to play a Tamil song from ARR's discography and then this beauty feature took it to the rock bottom.

Overall, this concert was average. I think MSO picked music that they can play. They didn't pick anything they'd be really challenged to learn or impress the audience. 

The organisers did the worst false marketing, just to boost ticket sales. I think they should have given some idea to people, considering that the entire Indian population of Melbourne is going to turn up when you say "Music of AR Rahman".

The rahmaniac in everyone got aroused almost instantly. People were annoyed and disinterested. I know its not good behaviour but hey! Its a minimum of 50 dollars per ticket.