Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Brexit Ahoy !!

It finally had to happen.

In what could very well be termed as one of the most significant moves of the new millennium, last Thursday the United Kingdom voted to move out of the European Union. Given the significant amount of clout Britain wields over the European and world economy, the importance of this move cannot be underestimated.

The world did not take it lightly either. As soon as the decision became public, stock markets across Europe and Asia started tumbling. The Euro and Pound currencies took a huge nosedive and fell to new lows. A pall of gloom descended among British youth and Europe in general. British PM David Cameron stated that he would resign the coming September citing personal responsibility.

But I believe it was an event waiting to happen. In fact, given Britain’s unique and chequered history, this move should have hardly come across as a surprise. Geographically isolated from continental Europe, the British have always viewed themselves as politically and culturally separate from the European Mainland. In that sense, the English Channel separates Britain from Europe in more ways than one. Apart from James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Jeeves, Bertie Wooster, Royal Enfield and Jaguar; the one thing which the British are famous for, the one unique trait which differentiates a Brit from the others is their die hard patriotism and pride in their national identity and their stubbornness to influence from outside culture. It is this pride and stubbornness which made them heroically resist Nazi Germany’s air attacks during world war two. While any other nation would have buckled under the constant barrage of the Luftwaffe, Britain heroically resisted and also responded in kind by bombarding German cities. It helped to turn the tide of the war in no small way. It was this same stubbornness which made Captain Scott persist with his ill-fated quest to find the South Pole despite the numerous odds which were stacked against him. The same stubbornness and British pride which made the captain of the Titanic stay on board knowing very well that the ship was on its’ way to Davy Jones’ locker. All that and the cognizance of the fact that their nation colonized nearly half the planet not more than a century ago has acted in no small way to fuel British pride and instilled a deep patriotic sense of identity among their people.

And this could perhaps the single most reason for Britain to pull out. On the surface, they (The British) do cite valid reasons for leaving the EU. The less than ideal financial condition of the EU(not helped by Greece and the Euro crisis of past years) and the potential economic and employment problems Britain faces from member East European immigrants are pressing concerns. But knowing the British, I would say the single most important factor for leaving the EU could be a deep rooted fear of losing their national identity, a fear of being typecast as ‘One of those developed European Nations’ instead of being known as ‘Great’ Britain, a fear of being relegated to a mere speck on the map of a bigger Europe rather than being known and respected for it’s own.

Whatever it may be, the British have spoken. A rocky path lies ahead, given that they will soon lose all the prized privileges of being a powerful member of the EU and the fact the founding members have not taken Britain’s decision very sportingly. The British will soon have to carve out their own path, not an easy task by any means. To compound matters, Scotland and Northern Ireland have made very clear their preference to remain in the EU. With such complications, the United Kingdom might not remain so ‘United’ in the near future.

But all is not lost yet. Critics and pro-pounders of doom for the British might have just underestimated her strength and determination. In fact, this could be just the tonic the sleeping British economy needs to rouse it from its’ slumber. There’s nothing quite like a hard challenge to perk you up. Spain and France have also given indications to quit the EU, a move which will further weaken union and exacerbate matters no less. And if other countries do follow suit, Europe will start looking like how it was back in the late nineteenth century, with each country vying for financial and economic superiority. Two devastating world wars were the direct consequence of a divided Europe back then. God knows what will happen now.

The full impact of ‘Brexit’ still remains to be calculated and only time will stand proof of the soundness of the move. But there’s no denying the fact that once again the British have created a Big Splash, the ripples of which are being felt the world over. Trust them to stay quiet! I say what ..old Boy!

Cheers to the British!



Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Changing Face of India

The sixties:



Son rushes into house jubilant and excited.

Son:   Mom, I have good news! I have graduated with top honours in my college. I have also got a job as a Junior clerk in Seth Makhichand’s firm. I will be getting a salary of three hundred rupees a month.

Mom:   God Bless you my son! If only your father was around to see this moment. He would have been so happy.

Son touches mother’s feet and takes her blessing. Mother bursts out into tears and hugs him. Overall, it’s a highly emotional moment.


The Seventies:



Son walks in the house, depressed and dejected.

Mom:   Any luck getting a job son?

Son:   No mom. There is no hope. You need a special recommendation to get a job. You need to be the son of a minister, industrialist or someone with high connections. Without that, I don’t stand a chance. I have roamed around the whole day, from one office to another. My slippers are torn to shreds and my feet are bleeding. They want people with experience. And how does one get experience without starting somewhere? This degree and my entire education have no value at all.

Frustrated, he throws the file containing his qualifications to the ground.

Mother:   Don’t get unduly disheartened Son. You will find something soon. Have faith in God and yourself.

Saying so she hugs her son. Once again, the atmosphere is heavily loaded with emotions.


The Eighties:



Still the same old scene. Son walks in dejected, a file in one hand and a bag of vegetables in the other.

Son:   Mom, here are the vegetables you wanted.

Mom:   Any luck son?

Son:   Still the same old story. There’s a huge waiting list for each job. They are asking a bribe now even for getting a chance to sit at the interview. I wonder why I ever took up studies. There is no value to this degree at all.

Saying so, once again he flings the file with disgust to the floor.

Mom:   Don’t get disheartened son. I have something for you. I spoke to Seth Makhichand the other day. He says there is a vacancy for a junior clerk available in his firm. I will request him to give you the job.

Son(Getting angry):   How can you even think of that mom? I am a graduate Engineer First class with honours. After doing engineering, how can you expect me to take up the job of a clerk?

Mom:   Why don’t you realize? We need some money to run this house? We have to get Chunni (younger sister) married. Where will the money come from? You have to take up this job, whether you like it or not.

Son gets dejected and hangs his head down while the mother bursts into tears. Once again, an emotional moment.


The Nineties:



Son walks into the house excited and happy.

Son:   Mom, there’s good news. I got a job in the new foreign IT company which just started its’ operations in India recently. The salary and perks are very good.

Mom:   That’s good news beta. I am so happy for you.

Son:   Yes. Thanks to the new economic liberalization policy of the government, foreign companies are investing in India. They have started new factories and offices. New jobs are coming through. It looks like our bad days are over.

Son and Mom hug each other in a … once again …. Emotional moment!

Dawn of the new Millenium:



Son walks in with laptop and travel bag in hand. His mother is waiting eagerly.

Mother:   How nice to see you again son. You should take some time off to meet me often from that hectic work schedule of yours.

Son:   Mom, I have good news. I have three job offers in hand. But my current company didn’t want to let me go. So now they are sending me to Europe on a long term assignment. It will take four to five years.

Mom:   Such a long time? What will I do without you?

Son:   Don’t worry mom. I will visit you once in a year. We can also be in touch via Skype.

Mom:   But son, you are already coming of age. What about your marriage? You need to settle down in life.

Son:   Oh c’mon mom. Don’t bombard me with your soppy emotional sentiments. I can’t afford to miss this opportunity. It will be good for my career. Marriage can wait.

Son touches mother’s feet and walks away without even looking back, not noticing the tears she is shedding. A totally one sided emotional moment!


And after the First decade of the millennium:

Son walks into the house screaming abuses in the cell-phone. It is evident from the wrinkles and warts on his face that he is going through great stress. He cursorily stoops to touch his mother’s feet, not really looking at her.

Mom:   How are you beta? Where are you wife and kid? Haven’t you brought them here?

Son:   No mom, they couldn’t come. Wife is busy with her job. It’s a critical period.

Mom:   What about my grandson?

Son:   I have left him in a proper day care centre. He will be occupied all day. The centre has excellent facilities.

Mom:   But why should she (your wife) also work? Isn’t it enough if you work alone? The kid needs his mother’s care.

Son(angrily):   Now don’t start that again Mom. Prices are rising. We cannot afford to survive on my salary alone. Do you know how expensive it is to buy even a small 2BHK these days? You have no idea.

Mom shrugs and sighs helplessly. Son keeps ranting on the phone oblivious to his mother’s presence. A moment totally devoid of any emotions.


Present year:



Our hero is lying on the sofa, animatedly chatting with someone on the cell phone. His mother walks in.

Mom:   Still here? Are you not going to college?

Son(laughing):   College? What are you talking about? I dropped out a long time ago.

Mother(flabbergasted):   WHAT??!

Son:   Yes. I and my two friends, we’re starting an online real estate business.

Mom(angrily):   And all this time you fooled me telling me you were going to college. Why did you lie to me?

Son:   Because I knew you wouldn’t agree. You always try to discourage me.

Mother:   I just want you to be safe. Can’t you at least wait till you finish your studies?

Son:   What for? I mean what’s the point? There’s never been a better time to become an Entrepreneur. The government has launched the new ‘Start Up India’ scheme. There are a lot of angel investors out there. The time is ripe. We must capitalize. Now, who would waste one’s life studying and sitting behind a desk and cubicle in a mundane and boring nine to five job? Ok mom, I have to be going. I will be back late. Have your dinner. Don’t wait for me.

Son walks out and mother is left behind shaking her head in disbelief.



© Srinivas Pavan Addanki

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Wish you a happy and prosperous 2016

Hi Folks,

2015 is history now and 2016 is the 'in' thing. I wish to thank all those who have spared some time to read my blog and hopefully gained something from it, wherever in the world you are. I want to take this opportunity to wish you a very healthy, happy, prosperous and exciting new year. Let's hope 2016 will give you all that you have hoped for. I pray that all your dreams come true and you reach new heights in personal life as well as your career.

Let there be peace and happiness all around.

With Love,

Pavan 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

A case of Poor timing !!

There’s a new buzzword among the Indian media these days – Intolerance. After 67 years of living in harmony, some people feel threatened and insecure and have termed our nation ‘intolerant’. They feel they are being singled out and being discriminated against since they follow a particular religion. Their fear that their freedom of speech and their fundamental rights will be threatened. The irony is that most of these people are those who have received tremendous love and affection from our citizens who have placed them on the highest pedestal of fame and glory. And yet, they feel insecure. They should in fact feel tremendously safe. They have nothing to fear. That’s because far from being ‘Intolerant’, we are really the most tolerant nation in this world. Too tolerant by half in my opinion. Indeed, if anything we should be criticized for being ‘over tolerant’. Let me show you how.

Let’s take the clock back seven years. Seven years, on this very day a group of heavily armed terrorists across the border sneaked in by boat to South Mumbai and attacked popular targets such as the Mumbai CST and Taj Hotel. The drama continued for five days until all the attackers were either apprehended or killed. By the time they were done, hundreds of innocent people were killed and scores more were wounded. Their mission was more or less accomplished. They had come to spread terror, death, destruction and they had succeeded. The world was quick to condemn the attacks and expressed their sympathy. For the next few days, Mumbai and the rest of the nation boiled as angry citizens came to the streets and demanded justice. We all knew where the perpetrators had come from, despite their vehement denials. And what did our government do? They snapped all Cricketing ties with that nation. Yes you heard me right, Cricketing ties!! Jeepers! And here I was, thinking of a nice old black cat commando operation Entebbe style to nab or kill the perpetrators, and all I got was ‘No Cricket!’.

Now pause for a moment and think. Did the planners of the 26/11/2008 attack even consider this outcome as one of the consequences? Did they, in their wildest dreams ever imagine this step by our government? No self-respecting nation would have tolerated this kind of attack on it’s soil and would have taken steps for immediate retribution. Keeping that in mind, the planners and all those involved would have been on high alert! Imagine the look on their faces, when instead of a deadly retribution, they hear the usual ‘Stern Warning’ and ‘No Cricket!’ message. They would have simply laughed their @$$es off. For all that we know, they would have simply died laughing. 

Ok so what’s done was done right? So the Cricketing ban would have hurt some players and some officials. Well, it was some kind of retribution at least. But then what does the BCCI do? Seven years after the dastardly attack, when the wounds have yet to heal for some of the survivors (or should I say, victims) the BCCI goes all out and announces resumption of Cricketing ties with our ‘Friendly neighbour’. That too, on the very anniversary of the attacks.
 
Now who would dare call our nation ‘Intolerant’ after hearing all this? To those who still brand our nation as intolerant, you have underestimated the magnanimity and the big heart of our government. Terror merchants across the border, perpetrators of scores of heinous and deadly attacks in India live a life of safety and leisure with the knowledge that justice might take a lifetime, if ever to catch up with them. That being the case, You: dear citizen of India can rest easy! Nothing is going to happen to you!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Friday the Thirteenth

It was a Black Friday for Paris indeed. On the morning of the Saturday, the 14th of November 2015, the world woke up to the shocking news of terrorist attacks carried out on one of the most vibrant cities on earth. What should have been a gay and enjoyable weekend for many Parisians turned out be a nightmare, as scores of innocent people were killed and injured by terrorists who planned and executed the attack with lethal precision.

As an Indian who has witnessed similar attacks on home soil, my heart goes out to those affected.
If I knew better, I would say this was an incident waiting to happen. Our Prime Minister, Mr. 
Narendra Modi rightly said that the attacks mirror those carried out on 26th November 2008 in Mumbai. India long ago stated that terrorists have used India as a staging ground for carrying out attacks on a worldwide scale. While we suffered, the world joined hands in condemning the heinous acts of terrorism but failed to heed our warning and realize the real repercussions. If the Mumbai attacks are not proof enough, take the 1999 hijacking of the Indian Airlines flight to Kandahar, Afghanistan. What followed on the 11th of September 2001 in New York needs no elaboration.

It’s high time we all woke up and acted. Condolence messages might have the best of intent, but to those who have been directly and indirectly affected by such acts, these messages will sound hollow and meaningless, just like the fire brigade arriving after the house has been totally gutted. Terrorism has long since ceased to be a problem for just one nation. As is evident from the events in Paris, even the most powerful and developed nations now find themselves victims of anti-social elements who can wreak havoc at will without prior warning. We have to recognize terrorism as a global problem and come together to crush those responsible. Until we do, attacks like these will become more regular. What is more frightening is not the fact that these attacks will continue, but the fact that we will become immune to them (as we have to many other atrocities nowadays), which will only serve to encourage the perpetrators. We have to join hands and eliminate terrorism from the core. Until then, none of us is going to be safe and sound.

(Apologies if my blog sounds like some clich├ęd political diatribe)

But then again, there are always two sides to the same coin.    

While an infamous terrorist organization has already claimed responsibility for the heinous act, France has declared this incident as an act of war. French President Hollande has vowed to punish those responsible for this incident and has promised to act ‘ruthlessly’ to crush all enemies of state. This could just be the beginning of what could be a vicious circle and a dark chapter in French history. How France brings to book those responsible for this act is yet to be seen. It won’t take much to figure out that members of a particular religion will be targeted and persecuted. For the actions of a guilty few, many innocents must suffer the trauma of suspicion and hate. This in turn will lead to more dissension and hatred among those affected. This will lead to further repercussions. Need I say more?

This does not mean letting the perpetrators go off the hook. Go after them by all means but watch out for collateral damage. To the French Government I humbly request: if you see the guilty hiding behind a number of innocents, do not attack them or mow them down ruthlessly just to reach the guilty. Instead, move quietly till you trap and isolate the guilty party and then ruthlessly tear them apart. Ensure that no innocent gets harmed in the process. That’s easier said than done of course.
To those responsible for this dastardly act I say only this: What were you hoping to achieve? Have you come any closer to your objectives? Do you think you have redeemed yourself in the eyes of your maker? Are you still under this deluded belief that these kind of acts will guarantee you a spot in heaven?   

Hatred breeds only hatred. As Ben Kingsley stated in the film 'Gandhi', ‘An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind’.

When will this end, if ever?

I appeal to all:

Let there be Sanity, let there be love. Let no innocent suffer.


Above all, let there be everlasting peace.     

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A tale of two cows

This is the story of two cows Molly and Holly. Both were identical twins with features so same that it was impossible to tell them apart. But when it came to behaviour, both were totally different. Molly was brave and ambitious and always the bright spark. In contrast Holly was just your average cow. People adored Molly and admired her for her skills while no-one paid any special attention to poor Holly. Soon people started comparing both of them and always gave more preference to Molly, which left poor Holly often in tears and a deep inferiority complex. One day Molly and Holly were talking as usual in between chewing hay. Molly said to Holly, “You know Holly, I have been thinking a lot. I really don’t want to end up being a cow my entire life; you know like giving milk and all that. I want to do something big and I think this farm is not big enough for my dreams.”

“Uh-huh.”, Holly said, chewing her hay. “So what do you plan to do?”, she asked.

“Well, I plan to run away to the city. There are a thousand things to do there. I’ll find a job, earn lots of money and become rich and famous! Come with me. Don’t get cooped up your entire life in this wretched farm. Just think of the possibilities. We can have nice gourmet food instead of the dull hay we eat every day. We can drive around in expensive chauffeur driven cars instead of lugging carts. We can go places!!”, Molly replied enthusiastically.

“Uh-oh! Count me out! I think the best place for me is the farm!” Holly said.

“I knew you would say that! Well, a cow you are and a cow you will be forever! Stay here and waste your life!”, Molly snorted.

Holly, who was now accustomed to such abuse from Molly sadly shook her head and continued munching hay.

That night Molly secretly ran off to the city. The farm hands were perplexed by her disappearance and searched high and low in and around the farm, but in vain. Soon, they forgot about her and life went on as usual.

Molly had to face a lot of struggles in the city initially. She was homeless with no money. But she had spirit and soon landed up a job with a big corporate dairy firm. She worked hard night and day and came to the notice of the owner who promoted her, gave her a good raise and additional responsibilities. Her confidence grew along with her ambition and she started working doubly hard. But in the process, she lost all her friends who now feared her as she had more power. Day by Day, Molly got addicted to work and her efforts were noticed by top management. It so happened that the top management group consisted of people who mostly smoke, drank and ate non-veg. Molly knew that if she had to get in their good books, she had to change herself and give her image a complete makeover. So she started smoking, drinking and eating non-veg to impress her superiors. Though this gambit paid off, her health took a beating. People near her despised her, became jealous of her and started hating her more than ever. Molly, on her part shut herself off from the outside world and became more and more reclusive, busying herself with just work and more work. This continued for some-time until Molly’s system could take it no more. One fine morning, her heart gave way and she collapsed and died on her work place. The irony was that the company people for whom she dedicated her life and worked so hard for, were not even the least affected. With shocking disdain, they just dumped her body outside the company premises where vultures, hyenas and other scavengers were waiting. They tore apart her body limb by limb and feasted on her flesh till there was nothing left of her, not even bones!

On the other hand, Holly was now the centre of attention now that Molly was gone. But her experiences of the early days always kept her humbled and grounded to earth. She had her priorities set early in life and did not carry heavy expectations and was well aware of her responsibilities. She grew up to be a fine and sturdy cow on the farm and gave lots and lots of milk of good quality. Slowly and steadily, she became an indispensable asset to the farm. She also gave birth to fine and health calf specimens much to her owners delight. Though she did not have any extra-ordinary talents and did not win any medals, she was well versed with her strengths and limitations and more importantly, was very comfortable with her identity. She lived a happy cow for the rest of her life and also died peaceful and content, knowing that she had done her duty well and lived a fulfilling life.

Which cow do you want to be?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

To ‘B’ or not to ‘B’




After more than 2 years of meticulous planning and dedicated hard-work, the eagerly awaited and much hyped ‘BaahuBali – The beginning’ has finally made its way to cinema halls all across the country. Given all the hype and the hoopla that has surrounded this film, it’s not surprising to see hundreds of eager film buffs line up in droves outside cinema halls to catch the first glimpse of this magnum opus. The films’ trailer, released some months before had already set the platform by gathering millions of likes and generated tremendous interest among viewers. In the first week itself, this movie is smashing all regional and national box office records. And if you just can’t get enough of it and want more, then there’s good news. Like the Cinema title suggests, this is just the beginning. There is a second installment of this movie due in 2016. And what else after that? God only knows!!




Not everyone though, is happy with the film’s release. If newspaper reports are to be believed, this film has caused a great deal of concern to producers of other regional films mainly down south who complain that people have simply lost interest in their projects. But given the huge interest this film has generated, this was inevitable. Newspaper and Popular film websites also state that many south film producers have developed cold feet and have decided not to release their movie in and around ‘BaahuBali’ simply because they are aware that once this cinema hits the big screen, like small boats crushed under the wake of a giant ocean liner, their cinemas will be washed away. In Karnataka, “Baahubali” has already overshadowed movies of leading Kannada superstars such as Sudeep and Shiva Raj Kumar in the first week of it’s release itself causing no end of strife to the films’ producers. In Tamil Nadu, this movie has gained more viewership than ‘Paapanaasanam’ (the Tamil remake of the Malayalam movie ‘Drishyam’) which stars none other than Ulaganayagan (Universal Hero) Kamal Hassan: making it the first non-Tamil dubbed movie to succeed to such a big extent at the Kollywood box office.

As an avid Indian cinema fan and a Tollywood film buff, I too am hugely excited and eagerly waiting to see it. Given all the frenzy this movie has generated, I know I will have to wait for some time to catch a glimpse in cinema halls; maybe after all the initial euphoria has come down. But I am sure the wait will be worth it. After years of watching countless foreign movies with superb jaw dropping visual effects, this movie is a sight for my sore eyes. Being a Telugu by birth, I am all the more proud that this film happens to be a Telugu Cinema. This film will silence critics who claim that Indian film makers can produce only emotional tear jerkers, mushy love stories and family dramas.

What’s even more heartening is the fact that this film has employed a large portion of local and national talent to create the VFX and special effects using computer graphics, instead of relying heavily on foreign talent and technology and ‘outsourcing’ the work. It’s true that some of the work was outsourced to foreign studios, but that was simply due to the fact that most of the the local studios involved were already neck deep in work. The entire movie was made on a budget of Two Hundred and Fifty Crore rupees (Forty Million US Dollars) which makes it the most expensive movie made in India yet. But it should be noted here that Hollywood movies produce similar effects at four times the price of this movie. The entire creative team behind the making of this film starting from SS Rajamouli himself along with Firefly Studios, Makuta VFX and others deserve a pat on the back for producing stunning visual effects.

I sincerely hope that this movie encourages Indian film producers to break barriers and leave no stone unturned to produce movies of the highest quality and visual appeal. We are already known the world over to produce movies with good music and emotional sentiments. Now add some VFX and technological punch to them and our films will slowly and surely rule the world.

Sources:



http://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/regional/600-artists-17-vfx-studios-working-on-baahubali-s-s-rajamouli/