Let’s Meet

Let’s meet

Neither your place nor mine;

Let it be unusual,

somewhere pristine;

Where the sun peeks through the window,

And moon shines through the night,

Where Totoro lives next door,

And Alice’s wonderland at the cross;

A willow tree spreads its branches at the peak

And leaves flutter in gentle breeze;

There’s an old hut lit in this silent night

With a flickering lantern, waving dimly bright;

Hurriedly jumping, there might be one rabbit or two,

There may wander other animals of the zoo;

Sometimes they gather around, when the king talks,

Believe me, they’re hopping & wading bunch of crazy folks;

Of course, this is just my speculation of someplace nice;

An animated utopian world, unpurchasable of humanly price;

Yet let’s meet – neither your place nor mine,

Some place unusual, somewhere pristine;

For I know few places quite similar to this

A beautiful arena, nothing short of pure bliss.

 

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My Delhi Travel Log

When you’re working in an organization, the repercussions of your actions are propagated throughout the company. You’re no longer an individual entity. #CorporateLearning

It was evening drenched in drizzle, about a month ago when I was travelling back from a rather tiring day at office that I came to know that I would be starting my field training in Delhi in next 2 days.

Now this single sentence sparks around hundred questions that I need to address to my regular blog readers but lets just keep it for my next post ‘Post-College Aftermath‘. My dormancy on this blogosphere would be better explained there but for now here’s what happened in Delhi.

Ticketing, packing & travelling done, I landed at the place slightly known to me through my sophomore year internship. I have been to Delhi before that as well – once in my childhood when, as I remember, I hated this place so much that I use to cry everyday to go back. It was an alien abode for me. Not so much now.

The transit flat that became our second home for the next 3 weeks was one of the nicest place I have ever stayed in, apart from of-course home and my beloved college. Not just the location & the ambiance but the caretakers there were some of the nicest people I have ever met. The treatment was not less than royal. Being acknowledged as the company officers and the perks that come with it were not something that I am accustomed to.

My cousin has been staying in Delhi for the past 10 years or so. The moment I reached my room, I called to let him know that I’m in Delhi. Unsurprisingly, he was quite surprised. Luckily he was not much far away from the place I was staying in – Saket (a place in South Delhi). I immediately texted him my address and he came over.

My cousin and I have a very nice bonding from ever since I remember because of the life ethics we share. Our catch-up meeting quickly turned into a funky rendezvous when he discovered my interest in video making. He is into performing bathroom-stage comic arts and I, on the other hand, am always in search for the subject for my next video.

Though it took me sometime to shed aside my hesitations and shoot anything outside of the courtyard, our chemistry kept the momentum going. Whenever we met on weekends, we made sure that atleast one WhatsApp story comes out of it. He was much more eager to be in the videos than I for one making them.

Fun continued and so did the work. Each day I would wake up to a delicious breakfast and a discussion over the transportation medium we should take to reach the destination. Though the destination kept on changing each day. Not to bore you with the technicalities of my work, I had numerous things to learn each day. From machinery to operation, planning, management and the trick of trade – it was learn-it-all in a nutshell.

Delhi houses so many diverse places to visit – from sought-after historical places to grandeur malls, from fun-filled amusement parks to big public libraries. One would never get bored with this bustling city (may be I should the permanent residents). Though my whole-day office certainly put a huge constraint over time and energy we preserved to wonder around, we did manage to explore couple of places.

Having accommodation in a posh area had its own perks. The sports complex and two gigantic malls nearby were the biggest saviors. Not to forget the marketplace on the other side where we could find food at affordable prices. Eating at mall’s food court often would have heavily loosen our pocket.

 

A Cause That Went Missing

Isolated from the herd of wits and bullshit,

knocked over, by the choice of mine

By the choice of yours, I surmised

The onsetting dusk, I lamented;

 

For what it’s worth, I tried, mending

The broken bond, the shattered link,

Asphyxiating every ounce of my conscience

Of reason, now nearly lost, faded;

 

O thou confidante, my mate of ages,

Where thy friendship paled,

Faith vanished, yacht of trust sailed;

Leaving me here, belittled

By the mockery of circumstances,

You meandered into an abyss,

Never meant for me to wander;

 

Weathered, toiled & trudged, I have

To be where I resolutely stand, I tried

To pull you back from the chasm

In futile, for all in vain, at last I inquired,

I questioned – is this how it ends?

I prayed, not, yet if not otherwise,

Among the scarce choices,

I had to choose right, for the multitudes

That surrounds my mortal self, unaware you,

Blinded by basic human jealousy, it affronts

More than penitence, it outrages my senses;

Reminiscing the chronicle of obscured meaning

I now sing this ode to the end of an era;

 

I struggled writing this piece because I wanted to bring in as much clarity without being specific in depiction. This poem recounts my personal experience of recent times, which, as I recall, I have encountered in past too but this instance is much more intense. It felt like an unexpected blow to the fragile castle I was cherishing all this time.

I do not intend to incentivize over the broken bits but rather remind myself that it is a part of life. It hurts and it teaches me a lesson. It may seem irrational yet it begets rationality in my maturer self. It kills the hope yet shapes my expectations.

Author’s Note – I write about certain events on this blog because either they need to be told or I want to document them as learning experiences. I do not expect others to gain much from the later category, given their specific contexts. This is one such post. It has troubled me recently and I needed to vent out the feeling.

[Cinephile’s Diary] In Awe With Storytelling

A little more than a fortnight ago, I released my first short-film ‘Refaire‘ on YouTube. It’s quite special to me as it marks my debut in storytelling. It was received quite positively during the in-house film festival we had. This post is first in the series Cinephile’s Diary to encapsulate my experience of making this movie. If you missed the announcement in the previous posts, you can watch it here –

I would soon be releasing ‘The Making of‘ featuring some behind the scenes and raw footage. Reminiscing the chronicle, it took us around a month to transform our idea into reality. Timeline breakdown would seem something like –

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In one of my previous blog posts I had written –

It’s an interesting idea to capture such tiny moments. But it’s equally difficult to convey the weight it carries. There are numerous instances which everyone goes through but their impact is somehow lost in the influence of the end result. I would really like to share the result of my experimentation.

So here it is. Today I will write about my own experience that made me realize how movies are a compelling medium of visual storytelling.

There’s an old saying – “You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes“. This was my attempt to fit in.

Ever since I had realized the headiness in movies and effort that goes to bring out that subtlety, I was fascinated. I was eager to paint my own hands with hues of creativity.

The above block-quoted lines were written in context of seeing beyond the obvious. To interrogate and analyze the bigger picture. Now it may seem to be a philosophical ranting – a shell in lieu of solid. But that’s where your ability to comprehend kicks in.

Amidst the desire to cherish, there lies an opportunity to showcase. To extract out the what others couldn’t behold and embed it into your creation. A creation that reveals the beauty. That’s storytelling.

With this conjecture in mind, I dived deeper into my world unknown. A journey that started with mere fascination became a passion which drove me crazy. Now the creator had to find inspirations.

I have watched a vast number of documentaries, acclaimed movies, vlogs, skits, etc. But now I also started reading articles about the art, about the back stage stories, their inspirations, thought process, struggles, bloopers, the story before and the story after. Gradually I realized that beyond our fairly obvious scenes, there lies tremendous effort to make it as little noticeable as possible.

https://goo.gl/xgrBT5

Now there are multiple dimensions to visual storytelling itself and each triggers our nerve in unique style. Most of my life, I have watched movies that wowed the audience. But then I also incorporated movies that challenges intellect into my list. It was all possible now that I could get access to this vast repository of information – Internet. It then expanded to documentaries that took us to the unseen corners. I can’t forget my childhood’s obsession with National Geography and Discovery.

When I beheld further, I recognized them as just another medium and there were plenty. I binge watched skits like ones from SNL (Saturday Night Live) or TVF’s Qtiyapas. But then came the web series and changed the definition of how we perceived television. This is the era of online contents and it provided a way to better consume them. With wider penetration of Internet to the masses, web series quickly gained the traction and we got shows like TVF Pitchers, Permanent Roommates (one series that triggered my inner zeal to tell good story in a humorous way) & Little Things.

It was during my intermediate that I was first introduced to an impactful storytelling medium. All thanks to ‘Yaadon Ka Idiot Box‘ on 92.7 Big FM. Radio was my biggest companion back then and I owe a major part of my positivity to this show. And then recently I come across its visual counterparts.

There exists incredibly intellectual talk shows like this –

https://charlierose.com/video/player/29525

And the fascinating travel diaries like these –

Night and day, I kept immersing into a world that seemed so different yet been existing around myself. It’s not the matter of what one could or couldn’t have experienced, it is rather about the presentation. Call it the magic of cinematic shots or the power of editing, they came out way better than what an average person could imagine. This need vision. This needs creativity.

And then I stumbled upon something that seems to be the latest fad – Vlogs. But there are few creators who have mastered this art.  I was never much fan of vlogging where a guy just keep on moving and doing stuffs with camera in one hand but Casey Neistat showed me a whole new aspect. I owe a major part of my learning experience to him. He taught me what to shoot, how to shoot, how to edit but what matters the most is ‘the story‘.

And this was just the entrance. As I kept on looking around, I got to know about wonderful people whose works were as amazing. They taught me how to produce videos that make the audience feel the experiences without them being there. I would talk about them later in the series. Till then I’m just hanging in there – watching, learning and getting better as I practice this art.

Film-making is ever evolving. With each passing time, there comes another medium that surpasses the existing trend. These trendsetters take the crowd by storm. They’re here to persist. Each of these has different style but what remains constant is the story.

Author’s Note – The purpose of this blog post was to introduce readers with various mediums of visual storytelling. It was rather to consolidate the things that inspired me to understand the mechanism better. Obviously I couldn’t accommodate everything I wanted to write about but this gives a fair introduction of what I started with.

This blog post is mere a prologue to the upcoming ones. Keep falling in love with this enticing world of film-making and stay tuned to the series! Peace ✌️

 

Flying With The Free Bird

A Tweety witty bird clucking one day,

Dodging and munching, delightful and gay;

Saw a flattering bird different of all,

Colorful feathers – unwithered of summer & fall;

Dancing and fluttering and chirping melodies,

Swinging, rolling, whirling & twirling,

Taking flights from trees to trees,

Seemingly unconcerned of all worries;

‘Why aren’t others like her?’ – wondered Tweety

Lively, spirited and wonderfully pretty;

An epitome of everyone’s aspiration,

For Tweety, a reason of joyous elation;

Then he understood the virtual cage

Trapping everyone, regardless of age;

Cage that they had put around themselves

Only to be strengthened over time and felt;

Apprehensive of leaving their comfort zone,

Breaking the consistency of monotonous tone;

Avoided rejoicing the fun of wild imagination,

Stepping out of shell, seeking one’s passion;

Beholding the beauty floating around,

Free of rules or any imaginative bound;

 

While the free bird did it all,

Caged ones merely shrugged & laughed

On her unencountered craziness;

Rendered opinions of vast majority

Oblivious of opinions, rolling on top

She didn’t care, neither did she stop;

Whatever she did, she did it the best

Unfurling a new dimension of enthralling zest;

‘What’s missing in my life?’ – Once Tweety had thought.

There the answered lied, beautifully she brought.

 

…Now he wish to fly with the free bird

In her enchanted world of merry craziness.

 

Author’s Note:  Based on a true story, in fact just a part of my story.

This poem is dedicated to a person who taught me the meaning of ‘being free‘. How it feels to do whatever your heart says. Things that people may find ridiculous at first but later contemplate on why didn’t they think of it. It stands for all those refreshing moments. Amidst all those craziness when I reluctantly thought ‘this was what missing in my life‘.

Being Bibliophanzee – On Diversified Reading

If you search for this word ‘Bibliophanzee‘ in dictionary (online/offline, whatever you prefer) you would find no meaning. That’s because it’s not an officially recognized word but the product of idiotic mind. I chose or rather made this word for its phonetic similarity with amalgamation of ‘Bibliophile’ (\ˈbi-blē-ə-ˌfī(-ə)l) and ‘Fonzie‘.

While ‘bibliophile’ is essentially relevant with the context and the later is merely chosen for my love of ‘F.R.I.E.N.D.S.’ (referenced here – The One Hundredth). Don’t worry, I would somehow bring in the relevance to justify my word 🙂

[Do you think I’m an idiot?] My friend would say – No, of course you’re not but I am. Owning to my tiny vocabulary and futile searches to convey what I want to say, I turn to such absurdity for my own amusement. On the side note, you can suggest words to Oxford Dictionary for inclusion but its chances of acceptance would be very less. How about doing some language research prior to that?

So what is it for anyway? Simple, On diversified reading.

And what exactly is it? Simple, apart from how much you read, considering what the general sources that you read from, as well. Your reading obsessiveness analyzed over quantitative and qualitative parameters.

In our fourth semester ‘Thermodynamics‘ course, the professor suggested – while making the term papers, don’t just restrict yourself to Wikipedia. Do explore other websites, read research papers, look for forums & discussions and tonnes of other things. He was pretty sure that students would directly copy-paste the materials. Ironically Wikipedia articles themselves are compiled from various sources.

Brainpickings – An inventory of meaningful life – The epitome of diverse learning. Its a boon to bibliophiles. This is what I wrote about it back in December –

I’ve been receiving the Brain Picking’s newsletter for over 3-4 months. I have never really completed reading the whole newsletter yet. There in so much of information contained and even more embedded that if extracted properly, would render the reader a literary aficionado in few months.

All the articles are exquisitely connected but they establish their individuality gracefully over the topic. And not that these newsletters share the monotonous topics, it ranges over variety of genres. Its brain simulating.

brain_pickings_logo_print

The writer ‘Maria Popova‘ brings in the deeply researched stories about books, authors and topics spanning science, love, philosophy, music, art, history and what not. Its her tremendous selfless effort that brings us stories like ‘A Madman Dreams of Tuning Machines‘, ‘Psychology of time and the paradox of how impulsivity and self-control mediate our capacity for presence‘. Her podcast on ‘Design Matters‘ would give you further insight or probably watching her TED talk .

Pocket recommendations and Instapaper – If you get hand picked articles from all across the Internet, what’s wrong in that! Some articles are extensive, some are informative, some includes opinions while some argue about ‘why Google turning to Alphabet is a strategic movie in its favorable future‘. I oftenly share my significant-reading items on Twitter. So if you’re curious, you can most certainly have a look.

How diversified is your reading?

Yesterday I got the email from one of the Quora’s top writers whose newsletter I’ve subscribed to. Mostly (in fact always) its about Mechanical Engineering but yesterday he mentioned a book – ‘Man’s Search For Meaning – Vikto E. Frankl‘ which he read recently. It moved him so much. Well I’ve read that. Coincidentally I had mentioned about this book in my last post.

Inshorts – News in 60 words. Who has got the time to go through whole newspaper these days? If you’re in hurry, how about having a look at the headlines and summary. An amazing idea executed equally brilliantly, Inshorts restores your connection with the world in case you were quite possessed on your own.

inshorts_logo

Fews days ago while writing response to a comment on a blog, I wrote –

I need to get along with books again. The thing is though I read a lot throughout the day, it mostly consists of online articles, blogs, news, Quora, documentations and discussion on Q & A forums, etc. But it doesn’t seem substantial like when I finish a book.

It pinched me somewhere. After all, my activities were similar to what a bibliophile would do yet I wasn’t just reading books. ‘Bibliophanzee‘ is the answer to that. A healthy obsession to get your minds on not just one but other means that serves the purpose of meaningful reading.

Writer’s note: This post is a part of newsletter series ‘Swapping The Bits

Running The Movie Marathon – It’s Okay Sometimes!

While I took a break from my Mother’s Day gift making session last night almost exhausted from the debugging war I had with Disqus & ghpages for static site generation, my mind refused to continue and went into the relaxation mode instead.

Woah! Hold on a second – that’s a lot of things in one sentence. You made mother’s day gifts? Which framework are you using for the site? Have you heard about Hugo?

Oh Yes I did. Few hand drawn sketches, few graphics and a lovely poem. None of them I showed to my mother for she doesn’t understand these. How could I have given it better sitting thousand of miles away? I called her and talked about her worries (which my younger brother is the main reason of 😛 ). She understands my voice. It soothes her more than any of my gifts can. Anyway here’s what I made at last when the day came to an end –

mother's (1)

For the geeks who are equally interested (or even more) in the latter part. Guys! wait for it. I’m working on an extensive blog post for most of your queries. Let’s not mix up things here. You would get to see codes 🙂

Anyway for the kind of nocturnal habits I’ve developed, the relaxed mind needed something to pass the time with (also where it doesn’t have to work much). Ah! what could be better than movies. So there it started – my movie marathon.

Just like you do warm up exercises before starting a race, the movie marathon starts with YouTube trailers. For kind of recommendation that comes, you’re sure to end up at the wrong corners of Internet. That’s the problem with shared network, so beware 😛

For the safety, I maintain a well maintained list of to-watch movies curated from trusted sources like Quora and authentic reviews. If you’re going to devote your two hours of life, better watch something worthy. So the first one in the list was this –

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For curious souls, I generated this using online calligraphy tool. Clicking on the image would direct you to the link.

Considering all the frequent encounters I was having with this movie somehow, I couldn’t resist but to finally watch it. For the readers who’re still awaiting for the perfect moment to watch this movie (probably with their partners), don’t worry! I’m not giving away any spoilers.

If your definition of a cliched love story is something like a poor boy and a rich girl falls in love with each other but couldn’t get along because of girl’s parents while the boy’s parents are chilled out with everything. Life parts them away then somehow matches them up as well. Happy ending. Well it just got your approval for being one but wait!

This is what I wrote right after I finished the movie (quick review) –

It’s amazing how one scene could change your entire perception about the movie. For me it was the notebook’s first page that reads ‘the story of our love by Allie’. Burfi’s initial plot kind of felt like same as this. Actor’s role seemed peculiar though.

But the execution of story somewhat makes it different. While getting the image for the poster, I stumbled upon this link which talks about certain facts that would make you like this movie even more. If you have time, go and have a look. If you want it short, here are the main points –

  • Ryan Gosling was considered for Noah’s role because he didn’t look like a Hollywood actor but a regular guy.
  • The movie was shot in reverse. [wrt Noah’s character] First beard scenes, then shaved off & young guy beginning scenes.
  • One of the most famous scenes in the movie is the heavenly ‘birds in the lake‘ scenes. Birds were not brought from somewhere else for it would’ve been difficult to make them stay in the lake. So they were raised besides the lake itself.
  • Some of the artistic furniture shown in the movie were actually make by Ryan.
  • If Rachel Mcadams wowed you in this movie then you should know that she had less than a day to prepare for the audition.

The movie has some intense intimate scenes, so <cough>…After all the movie didn’t win ‘MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss‘ just like that.

So that’s how it gets added into the list of romantic movies I’ve seen recently besides About Time (Hands down, winner in my list so far – celebrating love of all dimensions), Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind (Brilliant concept and equally brilliant screenplay, heart falls for the Alexander Pope’s excerpt), Submarine (Words fall short. Talking about cinematography, I love these kind of movies), Begin Again (I’m still listening to the songs!) – they’re all so epic that ‘The Notebook‘ had the hard time finding its place it between, at last get appended at the bottom.

The clock ticking around 2:00 AM and the dose of ‘The Notebook’ wasn’t enough to signal my sleep, so my hunt began again. Few YouTube trailers slowly drifting to the wrong side – what kind of movies are made these days! Anyway again I was saved by my list. So the next query went like – ‘moonrise kingdom full movie online’ (who cares about uppercase in google searches anyway!)
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It would be a sin to say something about it beforehand. Ok remember the tickle that you feel when you run your imagination about something wonderful and there is a slight possibility of its coming to reality – yeah, that kind of tickling you would feel here (perceptions might vary).

Two of the best movies I’ve ever seen! Both by Wes Anderson.

The brilliancy of cinematography is unmatched in terms of simplicity and depiction of subject.

‘The rule of third should not be called a rule. It’s a preference.’ – Damn right! If you’re a cinematography enthusiast like me who has been fooled by this rule too, watch Wes Anderson movies and your whole learning would be defied. In fact, he has come up with his own technique of filming subjects which he justifies as –

“I have a way of filming things and staging them and designing sets. There were times when I thought I should change my approach, but in fact, this is what I like to do. It’s sort of like my handwriting as a movie director. And somewhere along the way, I think I’ve made the decision: I’m going to write in my own handwriting. That’s just sort of my way.” – Wes Anderson

If you need visualization, see Wes Anderson//Centered yourself –

So there goes ‘Moonrise Kingdom‘ too.

But if you just saw two movie in a row, how could you call it a marathon? It’s quite normal in college, right? Everybody does that.

If you have this question, sorry I don’t have any answer except ‘please know me better!’. You could contact me through blog, website, email or anything. I would be happy to have a conversation.

For the rest, I had booked the ticket for ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity‘ for this afternoon show on Saturday itself. So there you go – three movies in one day, two in peace of my silent room and the next one tens of kilometers away in city.

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“Great talents often comes from the most humble of backgrounds” – The true story of limitless mind.

I don’t go to theaters often. Last time I went for ‘Interstellar‘. Ya go ahead and connect the dots – I like movies based on science and romance more than action, thriller, horror or whatever genre you come up with. Sandwich ‘comedy‘ in between as the demarcation line.

What? Are you asking me how was the movie? You’re kidding, right? Go ahead and watch it. Dev Patel’s acting is brilliant and so of everybody else’s.

Ramanujan's last notebook

A page from Ramanujan’s lost notebook – click on the image to know more.

If you collect the amount of such films made and spread it over the entire span of cinematic existence, it would come around 2 years or so (it’s my guess; I’m only counting Bollywood and Hollywood not regional movies).

Imagine this huge film industry (including all of the greatest directors, actors, production units you’ve seen) working tirelessly for 2 years just to produce a 2 hour movie – wouldn’t that worth your time?

Playing renowned Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan in “The Man Who Knew Infinity” was a bit of an irony for Dev Patel as the subject of mathematics was an Achilles heel of the actor in school. – Report

So there you go. A blog post with few spoiler (if you sensed them) and some crappy analysis that just fuels your eagerness to watch all of these movies now. And if you’re stuck in crappier situation which doesn’t allow to do that – like stuck in office hours and preparing for exams – then best of luck!

Bonus –

If you’ve read so far, I want you to know that there was one more thing I wanted to write about but didn’t because the post have already gone huge. Anyway I would give a hint – there is something remarkably common among biography movies like ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity‘, ‘A Beautiful Mind‘, ‘The Theory Of Everything‘ and ‘Man’s Search For Meaning‘ (it’s a book) by Viktor Frankl. Try to find out and write in the comments.

Disclaimer (I know it should be written in the beginning but why spoil the fun before it even start!)  – I don’t support watching movies but some films leave a mark of indispensable learning. A huge amount of work goes behind making something meaningful and appreciating the effort is the greatest driver of improvement.

Writer’s Note  This post is a part of newsletter series ‘Swapping The Bits‘.