Thursday, 16 June 2016

The X-Men Pack a Punch; Apocalypse a Bummer

Flashbacks, flashbacks, flashbacks…the latest edition of the X-Men movie series, ‘X-Men Apocalypse’, are full of them. For a casual movie fan who has never read the comics or watched the cartoons, I found the movie entertaining (in contrast to the reviews), which packed in most of my favourite characters, except for one major disappointment…the villain. 

In the last movie of the third prequel, we revisit young Professor X/ Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (Michael Fassbender), and are introduced to a teenage Jean Grey/Phoenix (Sophie Turner), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), and Scott Summers/Cyclops (Tye Sheridan). Ten years have passed after the Paris Peace Accords from ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’. A wanted man, Magneto moves to Poland, takes a new name, settles down with a wife and daughter and lives an ordinary life ignoring his superpowers, while the professor is busy doing what he does best…running his School for Gifted Youngsters.

A super powerful mutant, Apocalypse, buried for thousands of years, is brought back to life and proclaims himself as God. In a hurry to recruit disciples he meets the professor and gets envious about his mind reading gift… thus war begins.

Featuring various mutants from the Marvel series, the film even gives Wolverine a cameo. And in the little time he is seen, he meets Jean Grey for the first time and the chemistry between them is evident; although, honestly this Jean is tad too young for him. Talking of which, the movie total indulges its romantic fans. All our favourite mutant couples get their moments in the movie — Beast and Mystique, Jean and Scott, Jean and Logan and even Professor and his CIA girlfriend Moira MacTaggert.

The movie takes us back in time with scenes from the other XMen movies, which helps revive our memories as much as it keeps the movie within budget. 

Magneto goes through a inner turmoil to decide whose side he is on, while we get to see the dark side of Storm. We see a struggling Jean and Scott come to terms with their uncontrollable powers.  

But, the central character of the movie was a utter disaster. Apocalypse is the ultimate baddie with multiple mutant powers, but acts like a stubborn toddler and looks too much like a carton villain. Suffering from bad dialogues, he comes across as all brawn and no brain and has a flimsy strategy unlike the solid ones by other bad guys we have seen in the X Men movies… namely Striker, Sebastian Shaw and off course the glamorous Magneto.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Hotters' Alert: Spotting a Baby Owl

Earlier this week, I spotted an adorable baby owl, which put an end to any fears I had about the nocturnal bird. Well, more like I gatecrashed into its home, clicked plenty of photographs and tried to find common ground.

Monday, 29 February 2016

Of Hand-written Tests and Horrible Handwritings

Today, I was asked to write something on paper, with a pen. As I read my own musings, I was reminded of a fact I have known as long as I’ve known my ABC – that my handwriting is messier than my vomit (sorry if you just ate).

Why? Why? Why do companies still take tests on paper when there are plenty of free computers around?  Or at least a typewriter for goodness sake. We need to throw all those evaluation sheets out the window. No, not literally, but figuratively. Scoop them all up and hurl them out the window. Hand-written tests are like a conspiracy by calligraphy artists, who ran out of business with technology advancement. Its their scheme to shame those of us who are transcriptionally disabled.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Helping Malayalam Take the Digital Leap

( This article of mine was published in The New Indian Express)

Even as the world celebrated International Mother Language Day on Sunday, the digital experience for non English speakers is highly diminished. Vernacular languages face several challenges on the digital front -- from not being supported by operating systems and mobile apps to a minuscule presence on the Internet, which is dominated by English.

Swathanthra Malayalam Computing (SMC) is a free software group which has spearheaded the movement to bridge the language divide in Kerala on the technology front and is today the biggest language computing community in the country. The volunteer-based group has created several Malayalam fonts, a keyboard for the blind, supported many government digital projects and a keyboard that can support Indian languages for android phones.

Monday, 17 March 2014

'Kakkoor Kalavayal' on the Lane of Changing Times

Enthusiasm filled the air as the strongest and mightiest bullocks of the state ran with all their might to be crowned the fastest at the age-old ‘Kakkoor Kalavayal’, a post-harvest temple festival near Muvattupuzha in Ernakulam district.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

In Pursuit of Happiness

Choosing a career can be a difficult decision, one which requires years of pondering. But, some people have it easy and let others make that crucial decision for them and end up hating what they do for the rest of their lives.

Jubanashwa Mishra gave into the middle-class Indian dream of becoming a successful IT engineer, but two years into the job he found himself stuck in a rat race he didn’t want to chase, which led to an introspection on his career choices. In his endeavour to discover what he was passionate about, the 29-year-old former techie from Odisha found himself at the backwaters of Alappuzha, assisting a houseboat driver, atop mountain peaks picking up garbage, rubbing shoulders with Bollywood stars and selling sundals (snack made with chickpeas) in Tamil Nadu.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Worst Times

It’s always the worst times and never the best
when everything gets put to the test.
Only then can you tell if the promise of love will hold
or give in to hopeless remorse.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Murderous Silence

Like a child I was so eager to be free
My soul, an open mind welcomed the world
There was you a friend in a crowded town 
You took away loneliness from early dawn to late twilight
You came, you stayed and then you conquered
Until there was no me, no us, only you
Only you in my fantasies, only you in my dreams
I ignored the warning, I ignored the signs
When I choked I said it was the smoke
When I stumbled I thought it was the hangover
I recognized me no more, I saw the death of me in your every blink

Monday, 10 December 2012

Grammys Play the Quintessential Art Snobs

When Justin Bieber got a hat-trick at the American Music Awards last month he snubbed his critics by dedicating an award "to the haters."

But the Grammy's 2013 nominee list clearly reads "Haters 1: Beliebers 0”. The Teenage "Baby" singer's manager Scooter Braun not impressed with his boy missing out, was quick to react to the nominations with the tweet "I just plain disagree. The kid deserved it".

Friday, 27 January 2012

What lies beneath?

Its poll time again. And this time it’s in the country’s biggest state – Uttar Pradesh.

The world’s largest democracy is all dressed up to conduct elections in its most populated (and typically Indian) state. What’s at stake? The chief minister’s throne!
I did use the phrase “dressed up”, this is not for want of a better word, but an intentional one. If you haven’t heard, the state has been decorated in pink. The pink being the color of the wrapper (covers) used to cover Mayawati and her elephant statues.