The Wizards of Oz

So much has been said, written, quoted, and commented regarding the heinous crimes against Indians in Australia. You might think this is another rant from a fellow Indian citizen over dosed on news. I am writing this cause I find it obnoxiously alarming that Indians in Australia are being targeted. The Higher Commissioner of Australia has quoted in a press conference that in 2009 the number of attacks on Indians was 105 compared to 17 attacks the year before. 617% increase in attacks on Indians living in Australian. It matters to me even when I am coming from a country that is plagued with problems and trying to deal with it.

Last week the External Affairs Ministry (EAM) issued a travel advisory for those in Australia. The travel advisory should have been issued early considering the alarming rate of assault and violence on Indians. The travel advisory helped the world to see the best of the Australian government. I hope someone from SNL or Jon Stewart was watching the reactions/quotes/remarks from the top order of the Australian government cause it would translate into a laughing riot script.

My favorite character from Australian politics is the acting Foreign Minister Simon Crean. Just love this guy cause he says,

“Over the Christmas period there has been a spate of stabbings. This, unfortunately, is a violent threat and a violent tendency that has emerged. It so happens that one of the victims is Indian. There have been other victims. Melbourne is not the only city in the world in which this happens. It also happens in Delhi, it happens in Mumbai, and it is the responsibility of all law enforcement authorities to get on top of those issues.”

Hey Simon Crean, next time you must plug in the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, the genocide in Rwanda, the pirates in Somalia and the separatist elements in Yemen. He also gives the word ‘emerged’ a new dimensional outlook.

Everyday is a new turn and twist to Indians being attacked Down Under. Below listed are few –

Make up your mind

The abundance of bilateral talks is confusing the Oz government. The Oz government hasn’t reached a conclusion to love, hate or share a love hate relationship with India. A congruent Australian government opinion would help. Simon Crean decides to shower some of his trademark quotes (as above) to the Indian government, the next day the Australian High Commissioner says that India’s actions are

“measured and totally understandable”

and then says

“Indian media is a wonderful and varied beast.”

Media Outbursts

The Indian media has received heavy criticism for covering the deaths/attacks/assaults/brawls on Indians in Australia from the Australian government, media and certain sections of the Indian society. If a 617% increase in the attacks of Indians on Australian soil does constitute as a part of prime time news then what does? Indian media has become the scapegoat for the Oz government and media.

“Indians are safer in this country than they are in their own country. If you have a look at the data, they are safer here than they are in India. They’re the facts, what we’re seeing is really a hysterical and uninformed outcry from some portions of the Indian media, and I expect we’re just going to have to live with that,” said Victoria’s Police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland


Mr.Overland, one effective, action oriented statement and a logical explanation from your government without the word opportunistic would stop the

‘hysterical and uniformed outcry’

Blaming the Indian media is quite ambiguous. I think the coverage from the Indian press as a whole does translate to balanced reporting. Indian voices from Australia and those of Australian citizens has been taken into consideration and beamed live during panel discussions and reports. A good way to shut and prove the entire Indian media wrong would be some action oriented results or evidence proving that these attacks are not of racial motive.
Mr.Overland should at least read what the press in his own country is saying regarding Racism.

The Oz media hasn’t adhered to best practices in journalism. Adopting a counter attack mode, the Oz media has dug previous statistics of crime in the sub continent to showcase safe Australia. Majority of the times, the statistics is a combination of dowry deaths, homicide, riots. Below is an excerpt from ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’,

“In 2007, according to India’s National Crime Records Bureau, 32,318 people were murdered in India. Another 3644 were victims of ”culpable homicide ,’’ roughly equating to manslaughter. In a category of its own, 8093 brides or their relatives were killed in ”dowry deaths” – murdered by greedy grooms and in-laws angry over the amount of dowry paid by the bride’s family. And there were a further 27,401 attempted murders. By contrast, in 2007, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports, 255 people were murdered in Australia. Another 28 were victims of manslaughter, and 246 survived attempted murders. No dowry deaths were recorded.”

Definitely makes a good campaign for safe Australia. There are problems that plague India and we as a country are dealing with it. This does not mean we cannot voice our opinion or demand to know what happens to fellow Indians on Australian soil.
One man who makes perfect sense in Australia is Greg Sheridan, the foreign editor of ‘The Australian’ newspaper who says,

“There is nothing more lame than an Australian defence that points out that racism and policing problems exist in India too.”

Finger pointing can only strain bilateral ties and not generate solutions or provide security. The Australian government needs to understand the power of the television medium before lashing out insensitive quotes and comments before lamenting the country’s public image has taken a hard hit. For starters, Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard should limit her words of wisdom.

Student Community in Oz

The Indian student community has been the target for heinous crimes. Most people blame the students for taking the subway late at night or for living in dodgy neighborhoods. Student communities anywhere in the world have access to a limited amount of income. Students will live in areas where rent is cheap; this is a fact of life be it in Mumbai, Philadelphia or Singapore. They have to work night jobs for the money and will have to travel at night. What should the students do? Should they move into security gated Australian neighbor hoods to escape assault. Do they stop taking up part time jobs in the night time? Only if the Australian media listens to their own public’s opinion and voices. Here, you can read how better policing can quell racist attacks from the newspaper ‘The Australian’.

If it’s not Racial Profiling, What is it?

The Australian government has accepted that there has been an increase on the attacks of Indians. A majority, including me think that this is a result of racial profiling and outburst. The Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi agrees that the attacks on Indian students in Australia were

”racial outbursts.”

(quote taken from
The Australian government overlooks any word that begins with the letter R. So if it’s not racial profiling, then what is it? Give us a legitimate explanation as to why Indians are dying/assaulted/stabbed on Oz soil. The Oz government cannot dismiss all the crimes against Indians as urban opportunists at work, drunken brawls, a walk in the park and dark alleys. Greg Sheridan, foreign editor of ‘The Australian’ newspaper says,

“the government clings to the idiotic defence that most of the crimes are opportunistic as if it is impossible to be opportunistic and racist. In making these assertions they must be the only people who believe them.”

A change in attitude and the power to acknowledge has to come from the Australian government to ensure such dastardly acts of pre- mediated violence does not occur.

You must see read this. An interview of the Australian High Commissioner with Karan Thapar.

Artistic retreat

I dream of building myself an artistic retreat. A retreat where you are surrounded and engulfed by art – cinema, music, books, paintings, sculptures, anything that inspires you and calms your senses. To begin with, a few days here will work wonders for your soul. An ideal studio artistic retreat to slip into. I can see myself living here. Absolute Bliss. Love the creation especially the windows.


The word resolution has to be the most common verbiage used during the first week of the New Year. Life experiences have taught me not to take any effort to make new resolutions, as my old ones are still pending and never renewed. The past few days I have come across resolutions from bloggers, friends and strangers. There is no dearth in creativity and imagination that goes into making resolutions.

2010 just might see people skinny dipping, watching a play, getting married, hiking, reading, playing with children, taking a vacation, job change, standing up to bullies and more. Almost forgot the most important one without which resolutions would be meaningless, weight loss. I saw a few resolutions which said, “Find Love.” Perturbed how one can make such a resolution, I decided to look up the word meaning for resolution.
(source: dictionary.reference)
res•o•lu•tion (rěz’ə-lōō’shən)
The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination.
A resolving to do something.
A course of action determined or decided on.

I still fail to understand how you can –
a) be resolute/ have firm determination on finding love
b) resolve to fall in love
c) have a course of action determined by which you find love

Clearly all the ‘find love’ resolutions can’t all be love from a puppy or a kid. Find love spells more like the shampoo on the back row of the hair product shelf at the store, which if you are like me can’t reach. Enlighten me, on how the hell you find love.

If you are at Hard Rock, do you eye a potential, down shots, flutter your eyelids and make drunken sexy conversation?
If you at a grocery store, do you eye a potential and accidental bump your trolley into his?
If you are at a bookstore, do you eye a potential, stand next to him and pull out the same copy of the book he is holding?

Maybe I’m a clichéd romantic in my inner monologues to think that love finds you and not the other way around.

Find love just has to be the most over hyped, unrealistic resolution ever!

All about Credit

Finally, managed to watch 3 idiots. Loved it! The movie 3 idiots has become a phenomenal hit. Reports say that the film is bound to surpass previous highest Hindi movie collection records. Unfortunately movie has run into a deep controversy involving the originality of the script. The tussle between Chetan Bhagat, the writer of the book Five Point Someone and the Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Raju Hirani makers of the movie has picked up full steam ahead.

Chetan tweeted this link. Star News did a story on the above fiasco. This should bring in further clarity. Aamir Khan should actually read the book before making any further comments. Seriously, 3 idiots really didn’t need a scriptwriter. I mean all the makers did was Ctrl C and Ctrl V. Go, on read the book, watch the movie and voice your opinion.

Chetan did quite well for himself during the interview.

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The French Connection

Just heard the single ‘L’Amoureuse’ from the album ‘Comme si de rien n etait’ by the French first lady Carla Bruni.

Pardon for my ignorance, I didn’t know that the Italian beauty turned French Carla Bruni could sing. The super model turned singer turned mistress to Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton turned France’s first lady is actively pursuing her singing career.

A bit of trivia about Carla the singer – Carla is three albums old. She quit her modeling career to pursue her true love music. She burst on the French music scene with her debut album ‘Quelqu un ma dit’ in 2002. ‘Quelqu un ma dit’ was received well by critics and the public. This album went to earn Carla the French music award, Victoire de la musique. ‘Quelqu un ma dit’ has sold 1.2 million copies in France and 800,000 overseas. Carla’s second album ‘No Promises’, an English album didn’t do quite well as her first one. In July of 2008, Carla released her third album ‘Comme si de rien n’était’.

I haven’t heard all the songs on ‘Comme si de rien n etait’ as my internet connection is taking forever to buffer. Listened to ‘L’Amoureuse’ and absolutely loved it. Confession, I cannot comprehend French. ‘L’Amoureuse’ has a very pleasant, splendidly mesmerizing string arrangement which embraces Carla’s jazz, sultry, dreamy voice. The track is an ideal one to listen when you want to relax, sip on some gorgeous red wine and drift to paradise. Would also recommend it for a nice after dinner date music. I am awfully kind with compliments when it comes to anything French. It’s the dreamy, romantic, arty montage that is associated with the country.

Check out Carla’s music site here. All the songs have listening samples.
For Ms.Bruni on iTunes, click here.

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Swirl, Smell, Sip and Spit = Rs.10,990

The Indian market welcomed another niche product. This should cater to the fancy of the genuine wine lover, the la-dee-dah, the uber elitist and socialites alike, the US/UK returns. Time to swirl, smell, sip and indulge with a bottle of Cavalli Tenuta Degli Dei wine. Straight from the estate of the Italian designer mogul Roberto Cavalli. (Profits maximum when you diversify.)

Cavalli’s son Tommaso Cavalli runs the estate and is responsible for delivering high-quality luxury indulgence to India. A bottle of wine from the Cavalli Tenuta Degli vineyard would cost you Rs 10,990 in India. Wait and watch the Indian pseudo socialites drool over Cavalli wine without knowing how to pronounce the brand name.

As I am writing this, my monologue reminds me to pick up a bottle of Sula wine to ring in the New Year. Cheers Tommaso Cavalli.

All about Credit

Ugly controversy broke out between Chetan Bhagat, author of Five Point Someone and the makers of 3 idiots. It’s over the placement of Chetan’s name on the credit list and the originality of the script. There has been back and forth comments from both the sides, those who have read the book and seen the movie and the media. Unfortunately, I have not seen the movie, but read the book hence I cannot make any comments on the issue.

I follow Chetan on the micro blogging site Twitter, where he has posted a link to his blog. A post in his blog successfully validates his claims that the movie was more of an adaptation of his novel than an inspiration. After reading the post, I knew one thing Chetan Bhagat can survive in Bollywood. He ends his post by saying this,

“Like I said, I don’t need anything. Even if I have no more movies made on my stories or nobody wants to read my books and columns, I’ll happily join ISKCON and dedicate my life to Krishna. But I will not shy away from the truth – ever.”

Here is a link to Chetan’s blog.

I was really feeling sorry for the guy until I read this quote on ibnlive by Vidhu Vinod Chopra saying,

“He (Chetan Bhagat) was promised a bonus if the film becomes a hit, and it was given to him even before the film released. You are giving fame to a man like that. When a film becomes a hit, a lot of people come out to share credit.”

I agree that the ‘Based on the Novel’ credit should have been introduced in the beginning as hardly anyone sits through the end credits of the movie. I fail to understand the Indian mentality of never sitting through the end credits of a movie. As soon as the end credits rolls, everyone in the theatre is standing up. When the audience has been sitting for two and a half hour, what do they lose by remaining seated for another two minutes?

I learnt the importance of being seated while the credit rolls during my college days in Manipal. I always impart that knowledge with anyone I go to the movies. Very disrespectful to leave or stand up when the credit rolls. They are the guys responsible for the movie and being seated is your way of acknowledging their work. I must mention Farah Khan’s approach to credits. She makes interesting credit rolls for all her movies. Her end credit has a cameo of everyone in the unit including the spot boys.

Next time you are watching a movie, make sure you remain seated through the credit rolls, even if the entire theater is standing up. Absolutely necessary to acknowledge the people who have made it. Incase you are rolling your eyes saying,

“Ya! rite, imagine the torture inflicted by Kambhakkat Ishq or What’s Your Rashee?”

I would say,

“Didn’t the trailer warn you about the impending misery.”

Hits and Pits of 09

My favorite part of 09 – the year end lists. Lists that showcase the best, the mediocre and the worst. From movies to celebrities, scandals to scams, fashionsta’s to fashion faux pass, music to ads, food to drinks. Anything that can be counted and classified will be listed in the top/bottom 09 lists. Most of the 09 countdown/top/bottom lists are gibberish by nature and used as fillers by television channels.

I look forward to a few 09 lists. One of them is Rajeev Masand’s Hits and Pits of 09. The list is a collection of Rajeev’s personal choice. I swear by Rajeev Masand and his show ‘Now Showing’ on CNN-IBN. Per Masand, the hits include – Kaminey, Luck by Chance, Wake Up Sid, Gulaal and Rocket Singh Salesman of the Year. The Pits include – Blue, Chandni Chowk to China, What’s your Raashee, Luck and Kambakkht Ishq.

Damn! My ongoing hiatus is the culprit for the absence at the movies. Masand’s hits list will have to be faithfully carried over to the next year. The only movie I have seen from the Hits list is Lucky by Chance. From the pits, I have seen Chandni Chowk to China (on cable) and Kambakkht Ishq (downloaded). ). Dev.D, A Wednesday, Welcome to Sanjjanpur should have made the cut to the hits list. Pits should have included Paying Guests, Life Partner and numerous other slapstick badly timed comedy turned tragedy for the viewer that were rolled out this year. Kambakkht Ishq should receive a Razzie and Razzie life time achievement award should go to its director. To ask the director what he was thinking would be undermining your own intelligence.

Cinema is an art form. Agreed that cinema should not be pirated or downloaded due to the amount of work and effort involved in making the art. I follow a personal, slightly biased rule before dishing out Rs. 150-250 to watch a movie in the theatre. I am driven to the theatre because of the director, the cast and pointers from Now Showing.

I have always wondered how people go to the theatre to watch a movie like Blue, Kambakkht Ishq or Luck. What part of their cognition allows them to deduce they want to dish out Rs200 for self inflicted torture?

The review of Luck had me in splits –

“Luck came with the stupidest climax you could possibly imagine: Imran Khan’s character escapes death despite being shot at point blank range, because – listen carefully – turns out he’s one in a small minority of people whose heart is on his right side, not left” – Rajeev Masand.

Here is Rajeev’s Hits and Pits list of 09.

Did anyone watch ‘The President is coming’?

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Feast for Bridezilla’s and Wanna be Bridezilla’s

Weddings disturb me. Actually these days anything related to weddings disturbs me. A syndrome I developed from the universe yet to conspire an impending arranged marriage for myself. The more I avoid remotely related to marriage links, the more I stumble upon them. Good to know that Murphy and Finagle still dot over me.

Bridezilla’s and wanna be Bridezilla’s, here’s a treat for you. Style me Pretty, their tag line couldn’t be more apt – Obsession for Brides. Love the wedding photographs, the design, the décor. Simplicity makes weddings looks so amazing. Each photograph successfully captures the emotions behind the shutters. I am sure your inner monologue will utter at least one awwww.

Shout out to Elizabeth Messina, love the way she captures life in photographs. You can check her work here. Love her wedding photographs. The West does such a commendable job on capturing the heart and soul of a wedding. Don’t get me started on photographers at South Indian weddings.

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Wear the old coat, buy the new book & stack em on your self made bookshelf

I take immense pleasure in displaying my books. Yes! I do enjoy showing off books I love. Stacked books can change the look and feel of your room. They bring about special warmth. I drool over most bookshelves I see especially the ones from Ikea. The invisible book shelf came to my rescue.

Came across this simple, awesome and inexpensive way to display your books. The books are stacked horizontally and appear to float on the wall. This doesn’t ruin the book, saves space and you can show off your collection in style. Definitely affordable. All it takes is a few L brackets and screws to get an awesome invisible bookshelf.
You can find step-by-step instructions on how to get the invisible bookshelf here.

Wear the old coat, buy the new book and stack them on your self made invisible bookshelf.

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