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Table of Contents Feature Foreword To Education Right To Education | Sahil Mehta/Shaonli Nath/ Nishant Boorla In A Nutshell | Surya Tej Borra iSchool | Rachina Ahuja Will Schuester - Dramatis Persona | Sayonee Ghosh Roy The World In Black And White | Sukanya Venkatraman
6 7 9 10 12 16
Opinions Please Dont Hold My Nation To Ransom | You Ought To Know | Vijay Narayan Poking The Past | Swathy K
14 22 31
Interviews Meet The Guardians | Solder | Band Interview
Sarcasmic Idle Observer | Nishant Boorla Swayamvar | Swetabh Kumar Summer Of No Romance | Rachina Ahuja / Nishant Boorla
17 26 28
Poem Rising Soul |
Movie Review The Girl In Yellow Boots |
Surya Tej Borra
Tech Games Take Your Breath Away |
Disclaimer All the opinions expressed in the magazine are of the respective authors. The magazine does not bear any responsibilities with regards to any hurt sentiments. The images used are of the respective owners. LTGTR|September 2011
I N T E R V I E W
Meet The Guardians
ast issue, we told you about the activities of the TGC Amity Delhi Chapter. This time we go down south to Thanjavur and talk to the TGC Chapter there. TGC Thanjavur chapter recently visited a government school and interacted with the kids.
ABOUT THE GUARDIAN CIRCLE
The Guardian Circle is an initiative taken by students to help give back to society. It is an NGO which fully understands the importance of education. However, they are also aware that some children cannot afford it. TGC strives to fund such financially handicapped children so that they too can have the opportunities rendered unaffordable by their financial state of affairs.
I N T E R V I E W
Q. What was the event about? What kind of activities did you organize? The main aim of the event was to help the students of PUNIDHA ANTHONIAR school by providing uniforms which they were apparently lacking and make their learning experience interesting by giving them crayons and other stationery items. We also wanted to create awareness among the students with respect to the environment. So, in that respect, we played an animated video that shows the ill effects of pollution, deforestation and usage of plastic. We also taught them how harmful consequences can be prevented by recycling and tree plantation. We conducted a drawing competition as well to make the event entertaining. The students showed great enthusiasm throughout. We concluded with a tree plantation session.
initially and then approached people who were willing to donate for the cause. We received donations from several students in our college. Planning and work distribution were done 5 days in advance. We have two girls among us who local language Tamil fluently and so it was their job to communicate with the students on the day of event. Other members indulged themselves in interacting with the students and help them learn something by different means. It was not too difficult to organise it as this was a comparatively smaller event involving a fewer number of people. Every team member was aware of his/her responsibilities and executed tasks to perfection.
lives that much better. Q. What kind of impact did this even have on you personally? The whole team was just moved by an incident which took place at our first event. A kid coloured his apple diagram violet. When asked why he had coloured his apple violet he answered in the most innocent way, “I have never seen an apple.” One tiny statement that rendered our whole world topsy-turvy for a while. Q. How many members do you have in the TGC Thanjavur Chapter?
We have 12 enthusiastic guardians including me currently .We made Q. What was your aim? Do you our presence felt through social think you’ve been able to achieve networking. Spreading the word to it? acquaintances and friends. As mentioned earlier, our main Q. Is it only in SASTRA university objective of the event was to or outside colleges too? provide the students with new uniforms and secondly give them We are just a fledgling organization Q. Why did you choose that necessary stationery equipment right now. But we have the backing particular school? that they require. We were able to of TGC-India and the Head Quarters in Hyderabad and that’s a start. The primary reason for selecting achieve it and we can say that with We will cover all the colleges in pride because the feedback given that school was because it is near our district in the near future. The our college and is the most under- by the students and the teacher was publicity blitz is on. developed school in the locality. It satisfactory. has only two class rooms for classes Q. How was the experience with Q. How did the Thanjavur chapter I through to V. One can imagine the the kids? Was there something start? How long has it been in way classes would be held for all of that particularly stood out for existence? them together. you? Most of our team are active part Q. How many of your volunteers were present?
The one sentence that everyone in the team had after the event was As TGC-T (the Thanjavur chapter “Today’s the best day of my life!” of TGC-India) is newly formed and The experience was so great that this is our first event, we had few we are unable to express in words. volunteers. Nonetheless, we had We actually enjoyed ourselves and good number of supporters for felt the joy of giving. It gives us the the cause. We were a group of 9 motivation we need to continue students all from SASTRA University. working towards our final goal. Q. Were there any difficulties you Q. What kind of activities do you faced during the organization plan to hold in the future.
of the event, particularly with We’d like to spread the cheer by respect to funding and co- celebrating Diwali at an orphanage ordination? nearby. We also have decided to For funding the event, we the visit a children’s cancer hospital to volunteers of TGC-T invested money do what little we can to make their
of NSS. We thought why not start an organization which could really help the needy on a regular basis and is a sustained manner, unlike the NSS which was organized once per academic year by our college management. Q. Have you undertaken any activites before? Most of our core team is a part of NSS organized every year. But this is our first independent effort and it sure is a start. We look forward to expanding our workforce and helping as many under-privileged children as we can.
It’s a little funny and ironical; 30 days of studying, fretting, late-night mugging etc. for exams – all of which are sort of components of my education - made me forget the reason why we chose “Education” as the theme for this issue. I’ve been scratching my head on this for days and all it took was 30 minutes on reading up on the internet. Some education we have, huh! Back to topic. What does education mean to Indians? I think it’s an incredibly difficult question to answer because everyone has a different interpretation of it. Nonetheless, I shall attempt to list down as many interpretations as i possibly can. To the poor and underprivileged, education is a way out of their miserable lives. For the middle class, it forms the backbone of their day to day lives. For the politicians, it is an important election agenda. For the political activists (like Anna Hazare), it is an issue to screw over the government. To the economists, it is the foundation of ever growing economy; for the students it’s a pain in the ass mostly. To the cynics and skeptics, education (or the problems related to it) is the cause for many of India’s problems. To the optimist, it is the key to a better future. I’m sure you will have your own definition of it too. But to me, it was a mystifying question. Education in the simplest, and yet most complete definition, is “the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills, and values from one generation to another.” – Wiki. When you put too much value on the outcomes of an act, you can easily forget what it means to you. I for one have found myself in that position time and again. And I do not think I’m the only Indian who has sought the true importance of education. There is no doubt that imparting quality education is the key to solving many of India’s social problems but at the same time it is important to recognise that education is product of humanity’s thirst for knowledge. It is imperative to understand that the fundamental reason for education is for us to evolve as human beings.
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At first glance, this act comes across as a messiah for the ailing education system in the country and it certainly does puts us on par with many developed countries in the world in terms of emphasis and priority given to education. And while everything is debatable, the RTE Act, for certain looks good on paper.
By Sahil Mehta/Shaonli Nath/ Nishant Boorla
ne of the most important bills to be introduced and passed in the parliament in the last decade was the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009. First introduced in 2005, the amended act was passed as part of the 100 day programme of the UPA government in 2009 and came into force on April 1st 2010 (The irony of the date of implementation was lost on our dear lawmakers). In a remarkable step, elementary education remained not just a dream but the constitutional right of every child in India in the age group of 8-14 years, just as quintessential as the Right to Life. Education wasnâ€™t just a privilege anymore; it was compulsory and empowered each Indian child to demand education.
disadvantaged communities in their incoming class to the extent of 25% of their student strength. The government reimburses expenditure incurred by the schools in this regard. Also the school cannot ask for donation or capitation fees as part of the admission process and neither can they interview the child or her/his parents as part of the screening process.
It has been one a half years since its enactment. And while no government policyâ€™s effectiveness can be judged in such a short time especially one that has been implemented in India, this short time period is sufficient to gauge whether the policy has had the desired impact in bringing about change. Sadly the RTE act has failed to live up to its promises and expectations.
Although the RTE makes education free and compulsory and sets qualification standards for teachers, in a myopic treatment of the problem of education, the act lacks any defined provisions for addressing the acute shortage of teachers, and particularly of skilled teachers, faced by the country. The HRD ministry estimates the shortage of school teachers in There are other provisions within India at a whopping 1.2 million. this act and the complete act can These numbers ignore the be easily found on the internet. teachers in government schools
Among the highlights of this act is that it requires all private schools to admit children from weaker sections of society and LTGTR|September 2011
who are themselves poorly trained and ill skilled and delivery of quality education by them is unfathomable. There are thousands of teachers who are on pay-roll of Sarva Siksha Abhiyaan yet it is once in once in a blue moon (or perhaps never) that they turn up to teach a class. As much as we try to minimize dropout numbers among students, what about the non-attendance among teachers, what about the non-attendance among teachers? Kapil Sibbal made a statement about how the brightest minds in all countries went into teaching and that it isn’t happening in India. Therefore, more incentives are required to attract bright young people into this profession. While this is a very noble idea, it’s practically impossible to meet the shortage of teachers in elementary education. The brightest minds in the country are not going to end up teaching basic counting and alphabets in rural areas. We can expect qualified people to take up teaching, especially for government schools, only when the social status associated with the profession rises. “Social status” is an ambiguous term but it can be interpreted in the following manner: Out of an engineer and a primary teacher who will receive greater respect in a social setting? The answer is obvious and selfexplanatory. Increasing the pay would help in bringing in more teachers but will not do much to increase their quality. The quality of the teaching profession can only increase when people taking up teaching are driven by passion for this profession, when people are driven by a desire to bring about a change. It is sad that while in LTGTR|September 2011
ancient India, Guru came right after God, the situation in modern day India is dismal. In the absence of a conductive environment for teaching as a profession, the promise of compulsory education remains a farce. Another widely documented problem with Indian education, especially in rural areas has been the large number of dropouts. Every year a significant fraction of our student problem drop out, for many reasons including, yet not limited to, making money by working jobs to make ends meet for their family. The boys assist in farms and the girls accompany their mothers as domestic help. The fundamental problem of dropping out cannot be addressed by just a static enforcement of education.
approach for children to continue their education while vocationally being involving in their own social ecosystem. How? That is yet to be seen. One of the most controversial points about the law is the reservation policy in private schools as discussed in the article earlier. While there is a genuine dearth of both schools and teachers, shackling private schools with reservations might end doing more harm than good. The law makes provisions for the government compensation but the compensation will be in line with the costs incurred in educating a student at a government school. Indeed, a vast majority of private schools are apprehensive about receiving any compensation at all. A better solution will be to encourage the establishing of more private schools in rural and semi-urban areas via publicprivate partnerships. These are but some of the problems associated with the RTE Act. There will be major challenges in constructing more schools, financing them, training teachers, ensuring attendance and monitoring the compliance of rules by private schools.
No sensible man will believe elementary education is sufficient to get you a job in this world. So unless higher education is within the reach of a person, they wouldn’t see sense in sitting through elementary education. For someone who has to spend the rest of his life working on crops in fields, education will come via experience not by sitting in overstuffed, dimly lit classrooms. The approach should be to devise a sustainable model which will provide a holistic
All in all, the RTE Act and its implementation leave quite a lot to be desired. Over the next few years it will be very interesting to see how RTE’s active implementation takes course. Till then good education remains a distant reality for most Indians. And if that concerns you in the slightest, please do not hesitate to join movements like Teach for India and The Guardian Circle.
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force their kids to do it to further their social status. Parents brainwash their kids by providing “facts” which range from banks not issuing credit cards to inability in getting married or buying a car, thereby forcing them into a hellish competition. The most irritating part here is that everyone wants to get into one of the IITs with a top rank. Recent statistics state that the coaching institute business industry accounts to around 2000 crores in this country. Why are these baseless benchmarks set in this society? They only make a mockery out of the lives of tomorrow’s citizens. A recent American university study concluded that the process of learning can be made y urya ej orra effective by means of sensory education. Unfortunately e produce 10 times more engineers in our country it is only through the one organ – brain. than what USA produces. But US makes More the mugging ability, more the marks. In that case engineers who are 100 times more the latest 1TB Sony Laptop should be given the topper technically skilled than us, why? The answer is very medal at all University Convocations because it can simple. India is home to a redundant and marginalized memorize the most. educational system. A very famous school entrance test for admission to LKG requires the tiny tots to write alphabets and Mr.K.M.Murthy, our neighbor has graduated with a degree in Bachelors of Mechanical Engineering in numbers. But that is what they are supposed to learn 1978. I would be graduating with the same degree in in LKG! Young kids who are not able to even say their 2013. Surprisingly both our curriculums are the same. name properly are made to memorize alphabets and We both followed the same textbook for Heat Transfer numbers so that they can secure a seat there. My and use the same Method of Moments while solving strong gut feeling was that they were planning to teach a Bending Moment Problem. We are taught how to English Wren and Martin Exercises in primary school make gears on milling machines when the modern day itself. What is the point of memorizing Newton’s laws industries use CNC Machines to make them . Surprisingly of motion when you do not know how to apply them? an undergraduate Mechanical course does not have a But the person who can memorize that and reproduce mention about CNC techniques whereas it is the core it in the examination is given good grades and hence of the modern day engineering methods. Engineering lands in a good job. The irony is that he has to apply is an applied science which is taking a new dimension Newton’s laws in his job which he is incapable of. A every day. So it is a fundamental responsibility of the majority of the Indian Industry works like this which is education system to give the student knowledge and the reason for our stunted technical growth.
exposure to the latest trends and technologies and make them technically competent. This is not just the case with engineering but with almost every stream of science or arts.
Let us look at another dimension of our system. In a recent survey conducted by a famous media house, 64% of secondary school students have expressed their interest to take up a career in engineering while about 26 percent wanted to take up medicine. Here comes up a strange yet a suicidal problem. Students’ talent is not nurtured and they are not encouraged to take up careers as per their own interests. Everyone wants their son/daughter to do a bachelor’s degree from IIT and proceed to US to do a MS from the top 10 universities or do an MBA from IIM and collect a fat pay and become stinking rich. When asked the reason for this ambition they say their child would not be able to live happily if he/she will not be a follow this so called “plan”. They
The list of problems is never ending. But there has to be a solution. This has to change because quality education is the key to a nation’s growth. My solution to this would be backing the education system by a strong political, academic and bureaucratic framework which would greatly improve the quality of the education system. There should be a constant revamping the system to meet the ever changing needs of the world. A strengthened platform should be laid which encourages students to pursue careers as per their interests. A strong sense of spirit should be installed among students to make education a pursuit for knowledge and a journey for excellence and not a rat race for grades and ranks. There should be effective changes in examination system which would push students to learn stuff rather than memorizing it. And most importantly we need dynamic and visionary leadership at the top which can effectively implement these changes for a better tomorrow. LTGTR|September 2011
F E A T U R E
By Rachina Ahuja
F E A T U R E
h school days! How many of us would want to go back in time to be in school again? How many of you are raising your hands like good little children at that question? We all have a love-hate relationship with school but now that we’re older, it’s mostly love. It’s a love borne of a longing for simpler days when things were black and white, people were good and bad, heartache was unknown, and worries extended only to completing homework at the worst. In honor of those days, lets take a trip down memory lane and revisit our complicated relationship with that infamous institution: School. Ten things we love to hate about school1. The teacher’s deplorable english. When he is telling the bwoys to istand up and explain him what is on the blackboard, we roll our eyes but when are caught snickering and are angrily enquired of what we’re loafing at, we obediently ‘shet’ up. 2. The school food. It’s too spicy and too oily but when we leave school and come back for a visit, that’s the first thing we go for, raving about how good it is and how many memories it brings back. 3. The system which is ‘unfair’ because they make us study so much, there is so less integrity involved with exams, all we do is ‘buttify’ and ‘vomit’ on the paper. We all unanimously agree that marks don’t really mean anything. No one complains though, when we get ‘important questions’ for the exam and nearly everyone’s strategy is to ‘fill pages up re with something’. 4. The ranks and grading system. People who care about that kind of thing are lame, especially the ones who always get good marks. Wait, what? I got the highest marks in Math?! Sweet! Uh, no big deal. 5. Sports day practice. I know I tried everything to get out of ‘Marchpast’, but getting kicked out wasn’t cool! Outwitting the prefects was the goal
and the feeling of smug satisfaction as well as not having to spend the day marching in the hot sun the reward. 6. The house system. Curiously named houses as well as not enough spaces in the red and blue houses formed the ultimate problem. Because who wants to be in the yellow house, anyway? That’s like Hufflepuff! Ew. 7. SUPW- What the hell was this anyway? Socially useful and productive work, I know that, but seriously, what WAS it? We’re just being graded on some mysterious basis here. But hey, free period! 8. Physical Education- No, don’t make us run in the hot sun and play games we don’t want to in weird, colorful uniforms! What? IIt’s either that or another hour of Math? I’ll go change. 9. The opposite sex. Who wasn’t the target of a dozen tweens chanting the name of some hapless girl/boy you supposedly ‘love’? The gossip on the possible/ existing connections between any combination of two people in class provided 94% of the spice in school life. In a girls’ school, much worse: the dance teacher or the principal’s son. If neither was attractive, then one must rely on girls with brothers/cousins. 10. Going to school! But one day of faking sick and you start chafing, wondering what your friends are up to. By the end of the day, you’re bored out of your mind, and not very comforted upon receiving the intelligence that “Sir taught about trigonometry today.” Bwoys and gerlls, think of ischool today and remember how you had to kneel down that one time for talking too much in class and that other time you bunked and went to watch that Shah Rukh Khan movie and that eggjam you flunked but then went to ma’am to ask for marks and then passed....
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DRAMATIS PERSONA - WILL SCHUESTER By Sayonee Ghosh Roy LTGTR|September 2011
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he new age teacher has traded in the stern countenance, boring old vests, ancient pair of spectacles and atrocious hairdos for a more affable and approachable nature, funky apparel, preferably no spectacles and a carefully cultivated hairstyle. Why? For times change and my chosen poster boy for this new School of Cool is Glee’s Will Schuester. A handsome Spanish teacher with a passion for show-tunes, Will takes over as the head of the McKinley High Glee Club with the intention of resuscitating it and giving it a second life. Evidence of his motivation can be seen in his christening of the Club as ‘New Directions’. But the quintessential high school clique pyramid mandates that the Glee club, on account of its ‘uncool’ness languishes at the bottom, be sneered at, derided and have fruit slushies thrown in their faces every day. Add to that, Principal Figgins’ whimsical budget cuts and the school’s megalomaniacal cheerleading coach, Sue Sylvester’s covert and blatant attempts at sabotaging the club and preserving the law of the Social Jungle, Will’s professional life is nothing short of waging a daily war. On a personal front, Will is married to his high-school sweetheart, Terri, a selfish, self-centered and for a lack of a politer word, bitch. Will can probably sense these traits sub-consciously but turns a blind eye against them and the school guidance counselor, Emma’s romantic advances, in order to be a faithful and loving husband. When they decide to have a baby, he even works overtime to save money for their child and pampers Terri silly, even momentarily succumbing to her demand to take
up an accountant’s job which is better paying, until he is reminded of his love for teaching by Emma and his students. But when he finds out Terri was only faking a pregnancy, out of anger and betrayal, he divorces her and nurses his heartbreak. Free from any obligations, he tries to pursue a relationship with Emma which sustains for a while before falling apart as he, secretly, hasn’t been able to forget Terri. Will, usually a level-headed and mature man, is blinded by jealousy when he sees Emma with her new boyfriend and lets the little green monster get better of him. He tries every trick in the book, worthy of an immature adolescent, to win her back, before accepting defeat when he hears of her marriage and moves on, questionably in the form of making out with rival show-choir instructors when drunk. No one is infallible and neither is Will. While he believes in fair-play, honesty, integrity and sincerity, his acute desire to keep Glee Club afloat and alive, leads him to indulge in a few unethical activities such as planting drugs in a student’s locker and threatening him with visions of a bleak future unless he joined the club or failing all the cheerleaders in Spanish so that they’re unable to continue practice, as payback for some diabolical scheme of Coach Sylvester. While he encourages free-thinking and creativity, he, sometimes cannot stop himself from being narrow-minded or controlling about the choice of songs or choreography, which causes the students to resent him at times. He claims to champion equality but he doesn’t make much effort to budge an inch from status-quo either. These would remain his
shortcomings if he didn’t realize his mistakes and try to make amends for them. Every time he senses himself going wrong, he stops to assess the situation and duly apologizes, He also manages to extricate himself from sticky situations admirably. His sensitive yet firm handling of a student crushing on him showcases his concern for her well-being and not destroying her fragile sense of self. When he tries to shine the spotlight on other students of the club and is met with dissent, his adamant stance on giving them their place in the sun exposes his willing nature to evolve and avoid his past gaffes. But what makes Will Schuester a truly inspirational character and torch-bearer of the pedagogic community is that apart from Spanish and singing lessons, he imparts his students, lessons in life. He taught them to stand up, face their fears, discover themselves and accept it and be at ease with it. He showed them that momentary lapses in judgment is only natural but holding one’s head high and staying strong after the debacle is only proper. He taught them to be perceptive of others’ emotions and feelings and have regard for them. On losing the Sectionals, he pushes them to be bigger and better as for true performers, the show must go on. But mainly, he was able to cut across the school’s various socalled social strata and unite jocks, cheerleaders, nerds, divas and punks under one umbrella who ultimately conglomerate to form the heart and soul of their platform of passion – New Directions. Now wouldn’t you love to have a teacher like that? Well, don’t stop believing!
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O P I N I O N S
O P I N I O N S
Please Don’t Hold My Nation To Ransom
o be honest, this whole furore about the Lokpal/ Jan Lokpal bill is not very surprising. If you see corruption being more rampant then stray dogs in the streets, of course you’ll be angry. Throw an honest, wellmeaning Gandhian activist backed by an organisation called India Against Corruption with a whole bunch of popular and controversial figureheads into the mix and you have what is now becoming a typical day in the life of an ordinary Indian. Soon we’re shouting all kinds of slogans and protesting all forms of government oppressions. College goings kids with hardly any idea as to what’s the real issue jump into the mix truly believing this to be their opportunity and duty to set the nation right. And if you’re still not happy, what the hell, declare a fast-unto-death to really get the shutterbugs clicking and a frenzied media hanging on every sound bite before literally doing more analysis on it than is done on any scientific experiment. Do you know what’s wrong with this all? EVERYTHING. This whole drama of public protests has become too commonplace. Every other day we have someone or the other protesting something. Every other person has some grievance or agenda and the only way he knows how to get his work done is, ironically, stop any useful work that is going on by sitting on a dharna. It’s okay to a point. If you’re sitting peacefully and raising slogans it doesn’t really cause too much of a problem. But when you decide that you’re going to be ones to change the law of the country on the pretext that you represent the people, I have a problem. See, the thing is, we chose our
By Sahil Mehta government. We chose to go and vote for the leaders who would represent us and our problems in the governmental bodies. So if my elected leaders aren’t doing the job properly how in the wide world am I supposed to trust people who I did not choose to represent me! You can’t just start sitting down on fasts and blackmail the government. Sad though it is, we as a nation chose this government. So if you’re gonna call insult the government and abuse it and basically try and supersede it you’re insulting and abusing the will of the nation. Sure, there are problems with the people we elect. They are corrupt, inefficient and sometimes just plain simple morons. But we went and voted for those morons. Who’s the moron now? There is no problem with the system; the problem is with the people. And the people are you, me, the leaders and every fricking Indian. There is the wonderful antigovernment sentiment that Anna Hazare’s arrest was undemocratic. First things first, Hazare was not arrested. He was detained because he refused to obey the law. He was given limited permission to protest, which he did not accept. Subsequently he was asked to remain at home which also he refused. Later after he was offered freedom from prison, he refused again. A bloke going on blatantly breaking laws as prescribed by the Indian constitution is democratic but the government trying to maintain law and order by allowing a limited right to protest is undemocratic? If you think protests are peaceful and harmless, go and find out the amount of destruction and damage caused when K. Chandrasekhar went onto a fast unto death for
Telangana or when the gujjars sat down on the railway tracks to demand OBC status or when people protested the setting up of the Nano plant. And don’t compare with Gandhi and call this a second struggle for freedom cause most of you weren’t even born in the 1940’s and never faced a day of violent British oppression. What’s amazing are these messages and updates I keep getting about how Anna is India and how I’m not a true Indian if I don’t support him. That’s pretty much the biggest truckload of bullshit I’ve heard in a long, long while. I’m not against Anna Hazare and his fight against corruption. The world is witness to the fact that we need stronger laws and better people. But to be adamant to pass a bill that has no public consensus and is certainly incomplete is not right. To paralyse and threaten the democratically elected government is not right. To mislead the thousands of individuals who are supporting you on blind faith is to betray their trust. Because no matter what law you pass, there is no magic wand to solve India’s problems. Raise awareness about the problems. Spread your views and encourage people to change. Have public debates on the Lokpal and raise your voice against corruption. But please don’t say I’m not a true Indian because a true Indian would accept that at the heart of the problem is the fact that every Indian somewhere, somehow is a perpetrator of the problems we find ourselves in. And please don’t hold my nation to ransom because democracy is not an individual’s right to do as he pleases but the collective right of the nation to do what it thinks is right. LTGTR|September 2011
F E A T U R E
here can’t be a single book to pick out and write a review for an edition whose theme is Education because, well, there is something to learn from every book. People generally say that experience is the best educator, and that life can’t be taught out of, and learnt from books. I beg to differ. Books are, and will always be one of the best educators you can find. Sure, they are a great source of information and knowledge, but they don’t just provide facts, they, in a way, converse and help you pull out the conclusions.
you can be lost in, but not one you can ever forget. The result of an experience is never how to think or how to feel, but it’s a discovery of how you think and feel.
it to be greener on the other side. A journey, where you can put your backpack down and gaze at the sky for hours together, and one where you can fly into the sunset. A journey, where you might laugh one minute and break down and cry the next. A journey that might be someone’s story, from someone’s point of view, but one that is, and will always be yours. It is the only journey that doesn’t end with the turn of the last page but pops up every now and then throughout your life.
A book is every relationship you will find in life. A mother, who makes you feel better when you’re down even though she might not know the facts, a father who suggests right and wrong and helps you develop it on your own, a sibling, who annoys you to no end but one of those few people who really know you, a grandparent, who recalls a story and gives you There isn’t a single book that words of wisdom and a friend, you can read which doesn’t change A book is in itself an experience. who knows your darkest secret a small perspective of yours, or It is a story, a story that isn’t ours, but still doesn’t judge you. helps develop it, which you have but one that we experience, one Above everything else, a book learnt absolutely nothing from, that we laugh at, cry over and is a journey. A journey where and which hasn’t left an impact. ponder upon. It teaches us two everything is in black and white, There are people, who say that life of the most important things but you experiencing it, and is not black and white, it is shades in life – to think and to feel. It’s being a part of it, adds colour of grey but a book teaches you the a direct, unadulterated entry to it. A journey, with a million biggest lesson – life is in black and into the author’s mind, and is an discoveries about the world and white, the colours merge because opportunity to look at things from about oneself, whether it’s that you experience it. his point of view. It’s an experience the grass is green, or that you find LTGTR|September 2011
S A R C A S M I C
Idle Observer By Nishant Boorla Animal rights group PETA to launch pornography I’ve said all along that PETA are a us to stop making horse serum bunch of morons who couldn’t cut from horse blood and instead take website in the real world. Don’t judge me, there’s a difference between being against PETA and supporting animal cruelty. Hating the BCCI doesn’t mean you hate cricket. I want to “We’re hoping to reach a whole new audience of prevent animal cruelty as much as people, some of whom will be shocked by graphic the next guy but PETA are just plain annoying.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), no stranger to attention-grabbing campaigns featuring nude women, plans to launch a pornography website in the name of animal rights.
images that maybe they didn’t anticipate seeing when they went to the PETA XXX site,” said Lindsay Rajt, PETA’s associate director of campaigns. • Ok first of all, if you want to shock people who are expecting hardcore porn with graphic images of animal cruelty you may want to consider not revealing your plans to the public! Their spokesperson announced to world that they plan to bring people by promising pornography and once their hooked they’re going to be treated to animal cruelty slideshows! That’s one hell of a diabolical scheme PETA, well done.
blood form the contestants on “The Biggest Loser.”
• There’s seems to be no end to jobless NGO’s the world over. PETA campaign against those who are “cruel” to animals. “Women’s rights” groups complain against PETA because according to them they don’t treat their women ethically! Now normally I don’t post jokes from the internet but Fernando Torres’ spectacular miss against Manchester United deserves a column of its own! Here are some the best Torres jokes from around the world. • Torres wanted to take his miss in good humour and read the net-jokes being posted online. Unfortunately he couldn’t find Net. #Bazinga • Ceasefire in Libya, specialist Fernando Torres sent in to make sure no more shots are fired.
PETA has been accused of campaigning for animal • Fernando Torres breaks David Imagine the consequences if movie rights at the cost of exploiting women. A Facebook Blaine’s Record of doing nothing characters were as dumb as PETA. group, Real Women Against PETA, was launched inside a box for 40 days! • Iamdarthvader @yodamaster after the organisation paid for a billboard showing an • I hear Torres is averaging one goal hey the new deathstar is done and obese woman with the message: “Save the Whales. per manager! it looks sweet! surprise attack on Lose the Blubber. Go Vegetarian.” • Torres – Miss of the season. And jedi’s next friday. #masterplan • Trademark stupidity again. “Save that’s not because he has long hair • Achillesheel @kingpriam We’re the Whales. Lose the Blubber?” How and looks like a girl! sending over a wooden horse as a is that going to help? The cosmetics peace offering but what you don’t industry survives on blubber from • So there I was, Row F, behind the know is that it’s full of our warriors. whales, not from plus size women! goal at Old Trafford watching Torres go round De Gea wondering if he #ancientmasterplan • Given a choice PETA would ask would score and then it HIT me! LTGTR|September 2011
T E C H
By Sagnik Choudhary
hile games are in theory, supposed to be able to whisk you away to a different world of their own, how many of them do a good job at it? If developments in technology, graphics hardware in particular, are anything to go by, this is one thing that we can expect a lot more from in the future. Of course this is not to say that this is something games haven’t already achieved in the past. And we’re just not talking about good graphics; we’re talking about game-worlds that actually have a life of their own. Let’s take a look at a few examples shall we? ITALY - ASSASSIN’S CREED 2 When it comes to recreating Renaissance Italy, Assassin’s Creed is pretty easily the franchise to beat. You can row gondolas in Venice, ride a horse from Tuscany to Florence, climb mansions in Forli or free run across rooftops almost anywhere. You can also explore underground tombs, which might sound a little boring, but is actually among the most interesting parts of the game. It is hard not to get overwhelmed with the sheer level of detail that the developers put in, whether it be shopkeepers sweeping the floor outside their shops, thieves running away with your purse of gold or minstrels and beggars singing and following you around. Albeit Rome makes a very brief appearance, you aren’t left wanting as there’s plenty to see and do. Like watching the sun set over the water from a rooftop in Venice for example. Delightful. ROME – ASSASSIN’S CREED BROTHERHOOD Though it would probably make sense to list Assassin’s Creed as one franchise, the Eternal City does deserve a place of its own. All the more so, because it was well worth the wait (Brotherhood was released a year after Assassin’s Creed 2). Gameplay is never dull and looks super always. Escaping from pursuing soldiers for example, could involve climbing to the top of a Borgia tower or church, jumping down to the back of a waiting horse and riding away through green pastures till you reach your safe house. The Vatican, the famed Roman aqueducts, The Colosseum, The Sistine Chapel are all places you can visit (and scale) in all their full glory. Lairs of followers of Romulus constitute the equivalent of AC2’s tombs. The music is very good too and blends with the environment very well, though this is something that all AC games have prominently featured. There are few games that you can have fun watching other people play; Brotherhood for sure is one of them.
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PANAU – JUST CAUSE 2 Though a majority of gameplay in Just Cause 2 involves creating chaos and blowing stuff up(and this happens in a million ways), exploring the island of Panau has its own rewards. Unique to Just Cause is a grapple gun (think Batman’s grapple gun, only more powerful ), and this is used to reach places otherwise inaccessible. You can also ride about a hundred different vehicles to get to places, ranging from rickshaws to boats, military choppers and Airbuses. Panau itself is beautiful and has regions with dense forestry, to high altitude areas with snow cover. Personal favourites are the ‘Mile High Club’ a brothel/club suspended from a large gas balloon in the sky, and a small island in the North that is a reference to the island from Lost and the Bermuda Triangle. Airports, Military Bases, Communication Stations to Ancient Ruins, Panau is one island that has it all. The ultimate holiday destination? AFRICA – FAR CRY 2 Far Cry 2 boasts one of the largest game worlds in the history of gaming, and most of it looks outright amazing. Gazelles and Wild Buffalos graze peacefully, and run helter-skelter when they spot you, sunlight streams through holes in the forest canopy, storks catch fish in lakes, and deserts are prone to random sandstorms. You could watch forest fires burn everything to cinders, or para glide from a cliff to another looking down upon the awesome world that is Far Cry 2’s Africa. As far as the plot goes, riddled with infighting and power struggles on the other hand, this is Africa in all its glory all right. All in all, Far Cry 2 has enough to keep you hooked for quite some time. And speaking of an authentic African experience, you happen to catch malaria and have to take pills every few hours. Authentic enough huh?
FOREST LIMBO – LIMBO It could be a little tough to believe that a game that’s just about 100 megabytes in size holds a spot in this list. But make no mistake; it’s definitely not something undeserved. After all what could be a more mystifying (and unnerving) environment than one that’s not explained to you, one that you cannot comprehend or make anything of? Though the game is in gray scale, this is hardly a downer as some of the effects more than make up for it. Plus, this adds up to the ghostly look and feel that Limbo tries to achieve. Not only must you outwit the hostile inhabitants of the forest, you must escape the plenitude of traps and dangers that lurk in every shadow and save your sister from a fate both terrible and unknown… MIDDLE EARTH – THE BATTLE FOR MIDDLE EARTH 2 AND THE RISE OF THE WITCH KING EXPANSION It could be surprising to many, that a strategy game makes it to this list. The people who aren’t all that surprised, would have played BFME 2. Rendered beautifully with an artist’s eye for detail, hardly has a Lord of the Rings game done better justice to Middle earth. Locales like Minas Tirith, Helm’s Deep, Ithilien, Lothlorien look superb. A personal favourite is Argonath, with huge statues of Isildur and Anorien on either side of the river Anduin. EMPIRE CITY – MAFIA 2 While Mafia 2 has been written off by many as a GTA clone, the fact remains that Mafia’s Empire City is big, and beautiful. Though not as open a world as GTA’s Liberty City for example, the game does a pretty good job capturing (correctly at that) various shades of the 1940’s-50’s era. The music on the radio matches the period; the weather changes are subtle and affect the environment you interact with in more than one way. Like for example, snow accumulates on top of the hood of cars, and this slowly melts away as you drive. The cars you drive too, are of about 20 different kinds and are a nod to the 50’s. All in all, Mafia 2 is a nice excursion to an America in the past, definitely worth a play through.
Let’s wrap up with a few notable mentions • The underwater world of Rapture in Bioshock, • Jerusalem and Acre of the middle ages in Assassin’s Creed 1, • Detroit and Singapore of the future in Deus Ex Human Revolution and of course, • Liberty City of the GTA series. As far as upcoming games are concerned, the future does look pretty bright. Do keep an eye out for Far Cry 3, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations in particular.
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P O E M
RISING SOUL By Raghu Emani
When the sun would rise, Like a diamond in your heart, Making you invincible through your soul, Then you would hear those cries, In the deepest of depths, Calling your name, Without any pain, Thinking of you as their future, Without agony and blame… Taking it as a duty to save humanity, You wear a mask of Dungeon, With your enlightened charm and Holy Spirit, And a sword to give freedom, To those pitiful souls, Once indebted to … Sacrificing your holy spirit, For the mankind, You were born once again, In this beautiful world of wisdom, To impend the fate….. ................................................. This poem which I wrote some years back is dedicated to all those girls who suffered a lot in their lives...from childhood to womanhood these people are the ones who support our male chauvinistic society.
his post took shape in my head around the time when Anna was the latest craze. On a totally different note, what happened to him? Or the Lok Pal bill? Don’t you just love how Indians seem to forget events like that so fast? (Yeah, I’m part of them, move past that). But enough about the really serious, caring about the world crap. Time to get back to the hate rant. It became popular thanks to men like Mandela, Gandhi and thousands of others. It’s probably why we’re free as well. Yes, I’m talking about freedom of expression. And on some primal level, I respect that. The problem with the right to free speech is the part where people forget their boundaries. And I don’t just mean you and me. I’m talking about famous people, of whom others just can’t get enough. Well, thanks to that lovely right to expression , I’ve taken it upon myself to point out just a few of them, and what I’d love to say to said person assuming if we were to ever meet. Unloading a clip of bullets into them would prove my point much better, but I’m trying to be civil, despite all my cave-man inclinations, and use words instead. EKTA KAPOOR - one saas-bahu serial was fine, two on the air was tolerable, three was like having nails driven through you. Considering the number of TV serials she’s made and the number of years they’ve lasted, I’m surprised members of some desi TV loving spinoff of the AlQaida hasn’t tried to assassinate her yet.
express the pain and disgust you have made me feel over the years. And the odd part is, I’ve never heard of parents complaining about you either. Aren’t parents always supposed to complain about the crap their kids listen to? (My best guess is that they figured a 16 year old girl can’t do much damage). Hendrix, Cobain and others would spew insults at you, but they’re a little busy rolling over and subsequently throwing up in their graves. Rebecca BlackPretty much everything I just said about Bieber, but I guess that just isn’t insulting enough. For the lyrics that you wrote, I’m surprised that you had to wait till you were 13 to sing ‘Friday”. Most kids know the days of the week by the time they’re six. I’m just hoping the next time you sit on the rim of the back seat of a car, you decide to drive through a low tunnel. Just saying. Also, How’d you feel when even Bieber said he didn’t want to sing with you? KIM KARDA (SOMETHING THAT I JUST CAN’T SPELL) – ok, it seems I’ve made a mistake by including her here. She’s part of my “Celebrities I adore and wish to meet and and do nasty things to” list. She’s just freaking awesome.
Chetan Bhagat- Obviously, being an actual engineering student, I can’t stand you. FYI: Not JUSTIN BIEBER - words cannot everyone who has pegs of neat
vodka before exams screw them up. Sometimes those papers just turn out to be awesome. (I’ve a friend who says so) Your latest book is on sale for 20 bucks a copy (or so I’ve been told. It’s against whatever few morals I have left to go and actually find out for myself) Toilet paper is now more expensive. Take a hint and stop writing. (pretty please
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YouOught with a cherry on top?) STEPHANIE MEYER - the thing about miracles is that they don’t come by in quick succession. You should’ve waited a few more decades until Harry Potter ended before printing that Twilight crap. Sparkly vampires? Seriously? Go watch Dracula or Blade for
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acceptable descriptions. Arindham Choudhry- I’m not sure if I spelt the surname correctly, but who gives a f***? It’s not like he’s Kim what’s-hername. First off, go for a haircut. Second, why in god’s name aren’t you advertising for a toothpaste commercial? Your teeth are so sparkly! If you do
By Vijay Narayan
decide to keep the hair and throw in a few fangs, you could actually audition for the next Twilight movie (I’m hoping they never make it, but who listens to me anyway?) I haven’t written so much about the others yet, and I STILL haven’t started talking
about IIPM , or as the casual reader might know it, the college that’s #1 in Global Exposure( WTF? Sasha Gray. Jenna Jameson. These are the names that spring to mind when one talks about global exposure. Not IIPM!!) . And how can I forget that you advise students to dream beyond the IIT’s and the IIM’s. I’m guessing you failed to get into either of them then? And, might I remind y o u , they’re still pretty much the best we’ve got.
RAKHI SAWANT- Here’s what people normally need, to succeed. Dedication. Brains. Hard work. Good Looks (not essential, but apparently helps. Again, what would I know, I’m a wannabe engineer FFS, not a model! *insert appropriate smiley here*). It doesn’t hurt to know English either. Now let’s run through the list. It’s obvious the last one doesn’t apply to you. This makes your paragraph a little disappointing since you probably can’t even read this. I’m not too sure about your Hindi either. As for hard work and brains. You do find Baba Ramdev hot. The only thing you seem dedicated towards is trying to make the average sex hungry Indian (most people in my college) notice that you exist. Well, I guess you
got that much at least. How’s that working out for you? I’m trying desperately to come up with a joke trashing Rakhi Ka Swayamvar , though I’m not able to put my finger on it. Advice anybody? How about Rakhi ka Insaf? I’m thinking something along the lines of, “how can SHE give advice to married couples?” though it just doesn’t show how much I can’t stand her. And now we’re back to that awkward part where I have no idea what else to say. Seeing as I’m done insulting most of the people I want to, I guess it’s time to end it with some well meaning, clichéd bullshit. *insert well meaning, clichéd bullshit here* Disclaimer- The above article does not reflect the views of the author. He was forced to write it at gun-point, by people who shall not be named. He would probably say pretty similar stuff though. After all, he really is a wannabe engineer. But feel free to share the post. The author is sure that the one who shall not be named would love it if others read this.
M O V I E R E V I E W
By Surya Tej Borra LTGTR|September 2011
M O V I E
STARRING: Kalki Koechlin, Naseeruddin Shah career defining performance in a role tailor made for her. A special mention to debutant BANNER: Anurag Kashyap Films, National Gulshan Devaiya who plays Chittiapa in this Film Division Corporation film who featured in the comedy sequences PRODUCER, DIRECTOR: Anurag Kashyap of this flick with his “Indianish” English.
R WRITTEN BY: Anurag Kashyap, Kalki Koechlin E RATING: 3.5/5 V I ontemporary Indian Cinema is nurturing E a lot of offbeat filmmakers and W
screenwriters and undoubtedly Anurag Kashyap would feature on the top of the list. After critically acclaimed flicks like Black Friday, Dev D, Gulaal and Udaan he wielded the megaphone for an out and out art movie which tells a tale of twisted relationships. The Girl in Yellow Boots is a story of life and happenings of Ruth(Kalki Koechlin) who comes to India in search of her long lost father whom she hardly remembers . She works in a massage parlor without a work permit. In her life are some strange characters that include a drug addict boyfriend who is obsessed about having sex with her all the time and a witty old man (Naseeruddin Shah) who cares about her. Before the theatrical release, this film was screened at various International flicks like Toronto Festival and Venice Film Festival garnering a lot of praise. Like all other Anurag Kashyap’s flicks it comes with a decent amount of originality and blatancy. Kalki Koechlin who plays the lead is growing from strength to strength .She leaves a thumping impression on you and delivers yet another
This film is a hardcore depiction of the modern India and the stereotypical Indian mentalities. The entire story runs in Mumbai and is a gritty depiction of life in the city. There sequences which aim to expose the deep rooted corruption in government offices and ill-mannered behavior of the general public towards foreigners. The most interesting aspect of this film is engaging screenplay which keeps you involved throughout. The winning moments of this flick are the last 20 minutes where Kalki comes to know about her father and depicts diverse emotions which lead the film to a disturbing end. Believe me ! The film haunts you even though it does not belong to the horror genre. My favorite scene in this film is the scene where Ruth narrates a story to Chittiappa and he runs out of the parlor wailing and shouting. The film does not depict vulgarity but tells you the naked truth about the relationships. It takes a lot of divergent thinking to make a dark flick like this which gets darker as it progresses. Overall it is an engaging watch but only for those who consider films to be, above all else, works of art.
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S A R C A S M I C
By Swetabh Kumar
SWAYAMVAR: who’s next to tie the real knot, the reel way!
eah, it’s understandable if you’ve already seen something like this in your inbox. . Yet, please allow my claim of a futuristic work to make sure you keep reading this (Note- my way of saying that this isn’t spam!). I say ‘Futuristic’, because every stint with Ms Rakhi Sawant as the protagonist always has a future, on page 3, in the rumour mills or simply in the ‘recycle bin’ of the public’s memory. But then ‘RakhikaSwayamvar’ did achieve jackpot TRP’s . It was so much of a hit that the next instant, you had an obsolete creature called Rahul Mahajan giving off his handsome self to one of the 11 ‘crazy’ girls who were game. And after weeks of all the ‘suspense’, the climax was one you could’ve bet your wages on: Rakhi dumps the finalist, and lets loose another controversy to bid season 1 adieu. About the 2nd matrimonial season, a birdie reported Mr.Mahajan finally got a girl…and that’s plainly the last heard of him and her!!
Clearly, with ‘high-end drama’ being the sole call, my imagination can’t resist visualising possibilities for the coming sequels. And looking at what sells on small screen; some of these alternatives can indeed make for an interesting watch. So join along as we seek 5 ‘best-seller’ guests for ‘Swayamvar’, 5 eligible singles who can actually drag you n me into watching them ring the wedding bells on screen….. Right then, here we go 5-1 on the list of ‘omg’ bachelors (!!) 5. Karan Johar: Right then Karan, seems like your fans just got satiated with excess ‘Koffee’, or maybe SRK
wants a termination to the long streak of ‘touchy’ jokes both of you starred in. Either way, the message is clear: For long, we’ve seen the million-dollar director question celebs on link-ups and fall-outs. And with your niche in family dramas Karan, we’re sure you’ll end up with the most ‘sanskaari’ girl of all, the ‘perfect bahu’ of your cinemas. But then, it’ll be interesting to see how many of each gender compete for the garland. After all, no one would be surprised if you won the prize for the perfect metro sexual! 4. Priety Zinta : Alright, Ms dimple, we understand movies aren’t exactly your forte anymore ( I really don’t remember a hit after Kabhi Alvida naa Kehna....wait, was that even a hit? ). Plus, the sweetness, the smartness, the coolness and all ‘Ness’(read Ness Wadia) declared ‘Astalavista’ long back, changing the headlines from ‘Bombay Dyeing’ to ‘Priety crying’. And to add to agony, your last heard venture, the Kings XI, haven’t quite made news at the IPL (
S A R C A S M I C the cheerleaders get more attention than the team) . So Ms.Zinta, this advice comes from me ‘DilSe’ :take heart from the fact that if Rakhi can gather a dozen contestants, you’re too not completely forsaken by men yet, plus the swayamvar would remind people that you did do films ages back,so go for it Ms eligible, enjoy seemingly your last doze of limelight, get your man and settle down for good. 3. Ekta Kapoor : So finally we run into the serial killer’ of the small screen, the effigy of all that can make you weep while watching Star Plus. We’re talking of a lady who’s made her millions through scripts that somehow glues all household females to television sets from 7 to 10 everyday. A lamenting ‘bahu’ in a sari, a mother-in-law resembling Satan and a dozen wailing people on each side make up what EktaKapoor popularised as ‘Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki’, or a ‘Kusum’ or some other random crap . So with her craze for ‘rona-dhona’ , what preferences she lays down for her Mr. Perfect is what remains to be seen ( we’re guessing he’s rich, successful, handsome , seemingly emotionless and yet sensitive at the same time). For, a lady who can challenge family emotions so dramatically on reel, she might as well act equally dramatic and chaotic in reality to reach the zenith of ‘parivaar’ values from her ideal suitor. Statutory warning for viewers : Its EktaKapoor after all, keep that handkerchief close to your eyes. If you don’t cry into it, you can at least take the easy
way out and strangle yourself with it 2. Himesh Reshammiya: Here’s introducing to you the victim of most puns in the past 5 years ( even though he hasn’t released a good song for the last 4 of them). The jokes, the spoofs directed at the guy and his music compositions have defined a genre of sarcasm by themselves, and might as well amuse people indefinitely. Nonetheless, the man does sell, and in huge numbers too. On stage, he’s said to be a phenomenon; on reality TV, they call him a ‘blatant egoist’, but what is Himesh like when he sheds the microphone and holds the wedding ring in lieu. No doubt his ‘nasal’ image has been stomped and ridiculed by you and me, but
hey, the ‘EkBaarAaja’ croon might still drive a herd of maidens to his ‘swayamvar’, following which a fan might just get to spend the rest of life with her idol. What’ll be actually exciting to see is how controversy’s favourite child ‘pokes his NOSE’ into marital affairs, and how his wannabe brides react to his ‘Suroor’ .P.S. It will of course, go a level higher on viewership if he withdraws his cap on this one (nothing beats the odds than a nasal sounding bald dude who gets a hot chick). And finally, we reach the numero uno. From koffee caterers to nasals, from ‘limelight seekers’ to emotional aatankwadis, we’ve had four powerful nominations to
grace the ‘Swayamvar’, each with a unique flair. And after an intense mano a mano,I managed to get the ‘unique-est’ of all flairs in the man getting the #1 crown here…. Fine then, for starters, he’s by far the ‘most influential’ single of them all. RakhiSawant once called him ‘hot’ in a tabloid, he’s got ShilpaShetty going gaga over his art. Clad in just an orange ‘lungi’, he’s no less than a national icon today. Friends, no prizes whatsoever for guessing, the man in reference is none other than our Mr. Naturopathy, the ‘Pranayaam’ maestro, Baba Ramdev . (again, be sure to keep a handkerchief by your side, for reasons mentioned above) With followers and believers counting in lakhs, this man will most definitely take ‘swayamvar’ to a different level, as the audience will be super-curious to see the role of the ‘Khapalbhaati’, ‘Anulom-Vilom’ and his ever enigmatic smaller left eye in determining who walks out as ‘baba’s gal’ after the finale. A definite MUST WATCH!!!, the first ever health-cum-masala show…. wow!! I’ll be frank. We’re reached that vague point where we’re done with the climax, but not with the entire story( if this were a movie, there would be a make out scene now) . But yup, we ultimately get the 5 ‘oh-so-desirable’ individuals, any of who can turn TRP mills rolling sky-high, because it’s drama that catches the Indian audience like nothing else. The idea of a TV-based matrimony implies new levels of scripted broadcasts, no Arjun has to hit the eye of the fish to get Draupadi here, its all come down to public entertainment. Sure, you might believe that there are others who deserve to make it to the top five. People like Arindham Choudhry, Rahul Gandhi and others sure seem like safe bets, but do mail us if you think of any others! LTGTR|September 2011
S A R C A S M I C
ummer is an exciting time for movie lovers. A lot of big ones release during these months. Personally, I don’t care for action flicks and I live with a cherished hope that rom-coms will someday get smarter and I won’t be lookeddown upon for watching them. Summer is usually a good time for the romance genre because people have a lot of time on their hands and I assume the target audience is couples (where women drag men along) and single women (the depressing truth). This summer however, was pretty bad for the genre. Why, you ask? I’d LOVE to elaborate:
By Rachina Ahuja / Nishant Boorla
Miserable romantic comedies and why they’re that bad unintelligent, unimaginative movies I’ve seen in a while. And this coming from a person who likes ‘chickflicks’! The only buzz surrounding that movie was something on the lines of “Ooooh sex between friends who aren’t dating!” And it left me feeling greasy thanks to the load of cheese they freely heaped on such a ‘daring’ scenario.
it sacrilege to even call them that. If you’re a screenwriter who writes only rom-coms, you’re the oompaloompa of the screenwriting world). Ok, I have to start over. Writing screenplays for rom-coms is as sophisticated as writing Zodiac columns. Just pick random points everyone can relate to and build a character around those.
Now these movies hardly ever have a twist in the tale. Even when the girl gets pregnant you know they’re working towards a mushy happy ending. Happily Ever After.
2.ConflictThere’s something keeping them apart, usually their own issues. IMPORTANT: This has to be believable! No one likes a heroine who is stupid or a hero who’s just being an A-hole.
Basic principles of a rom-com-
1.Boy+Girl - They’re people whom No Strings Attached, even though you can usually identify with. The it wasn’t technically released in film-makers are supposed to make summer, was like a harbinger of the characters likable. You should what was to come. One of the most want them to live happily ever after. The screenwriter (I consider LTGTR|September 2011
3.The big resolution- Even though we know how it’s going to end, brownie points for film-makers who surprise us. We’re just saying be a little different. The airport/wedding scene has been done to death.
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Even more points if you’re the guy who made 500 days of summer which was enjoyable even though it didn’t necessarily have a happy ending (which actually is a matter of opinion, because I didn’t think the ending was sad at all). Brickbats and cow dung for the guy who made P.S I Love You for writing a story so manipulative, trying to wring tears out of the viewer with every new scene. And failing miserably. 4.The process- This is why we go watch movies that have no suspense. We want to see HOW it all unfurls. We want to be told a story without being stressed out that it’s all going to end badly. Everyone loves a story, right? Most importantly, it should ring true. We shouldn’t be walking out of the theaters grumbling about the idiocy of the characters and about how ridiculous the premise was.
Anyway, it was a nice movie, one that I’d watch when I don’t feel like taxing my brains. It suffered from the usual flaws though, for example: Rachel is supposed to be plain, who in their right mind would call Ginnifer Goodwin that? But it’s a movie so I forgive them. Oh right, the premise is slightly different from the usual, except not really. Made of Honor comes to mind as well as 27 Dresses (although it plays out differently in that) and a dozen others that involve weddings. Protagonist is in love with someone who is getting married (wow… radical!). That someone is getting married to her best friend who has overshadowed her all her life. How she gathers up the courage to take what she wants, for a change, forms the rest of the movie (Yawn). I thought the guy was a HUGE idiot (They’ve sucked Rachina in to the rabbit hole and now she has formed opinions of the characters). Anyone could see Rachel wanted to go out with him but he asked her friend, Darcy, out instead, even though HE LIKED Rachel! (What a plot! Puts Fight Club to shame huh?) Gaaaaah. Not the shiniest fork in the drawer, if you ask me. The resolution was what you would expect. Nothing big or surprising about it. Moving on.
There. Now you have it. Now let’s take a look-see at what came out this summer eh? I am STRICTLY talking about the romance or the romantic comedy genre. I’ll leave it to Nishant to bash the genre (as he will) and talk about other movies. Not to take off on a tangent, but there’s an interesting article Meg Cabot (really, people, the author of The Princess Diaries and many more fun books) wrote on why men Bridesmaids don’t watch rom-coms but more on *ing: Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, that later. John Hamm, and a bunch of other people Right then. Movies. Something Borrowed*ing: Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson, Colin Egglesfield, John Krasinski Okay, so I read the book and that’s why I needed to watch the movie. It’s a thing. I’m sure it happens to everyone, right? Not really, no! Not with every book anyway. I wouldn’t watch a Brer Rabbit movie if it ever comes out. Unless it has a graphic novel feel to it and is directed by Zack Snyder.
puppies. The message that you get if you think about the movie after laughing yourself sick is - ‘All that glitters is not gold.’ Corny as it sounds. It’s all very lightly delivered, just in the way you should take life: with a large dose of humor. (Look who’s getting preachy!) Crazy Stupid Love *ing: Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling When I walked in to the theater, I was a bit alarmed because I barely saw anyone near my age sitting in there. I braced myself for a preachy, oldies romance, but soon I began to enjoy myself in earnest. Who can resist Steve Carell? He’s great as usual with his deadpanning. Julianne Moore was good too. Marisa Tomei was very entertaining, even in her tiny role. The scene-stealer for me was, of course, Ryan Gosling (He looks like a cross between cricketer Praveen Kumar and Hockey stud Dhanraj Pillay, only fairer!).
The climax of the movie reminded me a bit of a silly Bollywood movie: there are a bunch of misunderstandings and a scene ensues where all parties involved are in the same place and there is confusion galore. We do enjoy those, though, so no complaints! Also, Emma Stone was, as usual, wonderful but old Kevin Bacon was kinda weird and unnecessary (I still think of him as Rex from Footloose) (And I think of him as Capt. Jack This movie was pretty great. I Ross from A Few Good Men.) walked in not knowing what to expect (a movie with a strong SNL Friends with Benefits influence); I mean it’s a bunch of *ing: Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis 30 somethings and their love lives Sigh. Just when you think No Strings or lack thereof, you’d think it would Attached has properly ruined the be depressing. Nope! I laughed premise, another one comes along. myself into stitches. The best part? Awful acting helmed by the same These are real women! They’re NOT guy that directed Easy A, which glamorous, NOT skinny and NOT is why I thought this might not be perfectly put together all the time. so bad.It wasn’t bad, it was much They get drunk and create havoc on better than No Strings Attached. It airplanes, they say stupid things, was self-deprecating and yet trying they eat bad food and um “get sick” to be sweet at the same time. in public and also apparently steal LTGTR|September 2011
If sweet is what you can call it. Best part? Very low amounts of cheese. That’s all we want, guys. That wasn’t so hard, was it? (For the record, this movie made me want to kill myself. This sucked just as much as No Strings Attached. At least they had a better lead pair for No Strings Attached. They got Natalie Portman while these guys got Mila Kunis AKA Poor man’s Black Swan!) One day *ing: Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess YUCK. They put us through hours of Jim Sturgess’ awful, irritating character for this! Seriously, he smirks his way through the ENTIRE movie. I liked him in 21 but halfway through this, I wanted to punch his face. The movie shows us one day (July 15th, if you care) in the life of these two people for 20 years of their lives. The fact that the story mostly flows even though it’s just one day at a time tells us what? THEIR LIVES ARE NOT THAT INTERESTING. I don’t know about others, but I sat through all the crud: through Emma dating some guy she doesn’t like, through Dexter being a jackass and doing nothing but womanizing and smoking up, through their friendship which was basically her whining to him about her life and him DDing her and them talking about what they could be and should be but never doing anything about it, sat through all of it hoping that things would turn out to be okay and I can leave the theater with a sigh of relief. No such luck, it just got worse. Ugh, just stay away from this crap. (I don’t think I need to add anything here. We at LTGTR do all we can to avoid using foul language and so I won’t comment.) Sunk without a trace: Disney’s Prom Monte Carlo Hits? Blue Valentine LTGTR|September 2011
Water for elephants A note on Meg’s articleHere are a couple of quotes that pretty much say it all“Straight guys won’t go see a “romantic comedy” (or any movie featuring a female main character, unless it’s Megan Fox) unless they’ve been dragged to it by their significant other (or their mom) (BTW Meg Cabot – If a guy watches rom-coms with his mom, he’s not straight. No don’t give the ”he’s sweet and compassionate” crap. He’s not. He’s GAY!) This is why, for every one Bridesmaids, we have four Die Hards, four Terminators, four Pirates of the Caribbean, three Transformers, and two Hangovers. I have seen all seventeen of these films (plus Bridesmaids), so I know the real reason they were so successful isn’t because men don’t enjoy a good romantic story (Men enjoy good love stories as much as women. As long as the emotions are real. The story doesn’t have to be realistic, just the emotions and scenario. Which is why Wall E worked. And that is also why “He’s Just Not That In To You” bombed! Most women who watch rom-coms almost exclusively still haven’t grown up, or so it seems.They crave fairy tale romances with plastic emotions all centered around the one woman no guy wants to marry. No premise, no futuristic setting, the same crap over and over again with different actresses.) Strip away the roofies, explosions, and talking robots and at the heart of each of the above franchises is a hero who will do anything to protect (or get home to) the woman he loves. Perhaps it’s simply that because these more expensively made, man-centric, special-effects heavy films (I’m counting Mike Tyson as a special effect) tend to be so widely promoted, while romantic comedies are released in so many
fewer cities, on less screens, with the only pre-release buzz centering around whatever real-life romantic travails their stars are currently enduring, that makes the “guys won’t see a romantic comedy” thing a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy.”(No Excuses now. Those films are promoted so much and are given such huge marketing budgets because the studios know they’ll make all that money back. Not the case with rom-coms. Too tiny a target audience. Single moms, single girls, end of story. Whereas as with action flicks you attract all men without exception. Yes even the gay ones who come in droves to gawk at Chris Helmsworth’s body in Thor. You also attract women in relationships whose boyfriends drag them along. Since these films interest men, most single women will watch them too so they can talk about what guys want to talk about. And here’s the best part – Almost all these films are rated PG-13. Studios make sure it’s a PG-13 and not an R. This means lots and lots of kids at the movies all dying to watch your movie first. This also means lots and lots of parents accompanying their kids to watch Transformers movies. Can’t beat that killer combo.) ”This isn’t to say movies with exploding talking robots, roofies, or pirates shouldn’t be made. I would never say that, because I’m a fan of those films as well. I just think we need to be honest and admit that all of these stories, like all of us, have something in common: We all yearn to watch others fall in love, as we have; struggle to find themselves, as we have; and of course be publicly humiliated by an adversary, and tortured by a domineering matriarchal figure, as we have.” (Class Dismissed!) - By Rachina Ahuja and Nishant Boorla (commentary in blue). Two platonic friends who agree to disagree. Always.
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his was going to be an article about how I would go way back in time, wipe the idea of cultivation and agriculture out of the heads of men who got it first and save the earth of the identity crises it has been having for a while. How? It is quite obvious that agriculture led to settlement, expansion of settlements, and then man got time to think because he wasn’t always hunting or drawing on walls. His brain grew and he invented the wheel (ta-daa, such a genius). Everything rolled downhill from there in my opinion. He just wanted everything to be “better”; meaning “easier”; meaning “bad news mother nature”. I’m not going to tell you about all those civilizations and revolutions that followed. Please refer your history textbooks for a thorough read. So, if that one idea didn’t crop up, man would be living in harmony with nature, as some would put it, the way it was meant to be. I also wanted to put in a word about how Superman should’ve done exactly that, instead of spinning the earth backwards and turning back time to save his girlfriend. Then I got thinking about all the physics, practicality of time travel, space-time-dynamics mumbo-
jumbo that I could get my head around, which is very little, because as I said its mumbo-jumbo. If I did go back and change history, there’s a great possibility that I wouldn’t be born because of the alteration, which would lead to me not having changed history, and the earth being the same terribly battered thing it is now. Then again, if history doesn’t change, I would exist and I’d go back and try to change it...some loopy loop that would be. Another definite possibility would be that if I just stop a few people, there would be a number of others like them in distant lands who would get the same idea about growing crops. Then whole point of the exercise is lost, because I can’t do it twice, since I wouldn’t exist the second time. Or, I would require some thought-scanning and teleporting powers for efficiency. Or, my doing that may split the universe in to two parallel universes. One where the change didn’t occur and the earth lived on and is what it is now. The second, an alternate universe, which I generated by poking around. I’d invariably be stuck in the past, alternatively, cease to exist. There’s another OR. It could have
Poking The Past
been one of those “meant-to-be” events where I travel back and nothing happens as planned but I affect a change that leads to the present state of being. How guilty would that make me? :S So, what finally dawned on me was that if I did travel back, I’d rather just go to be a silent spectator. Also, I can’t really ask evolution to retire; he is on the run to becoming the best employee in existence. Maybe I’d watch a couple of dinosaurs, watch the pyramids being built, listen to some brilliant musicians live, watch great artists at work or as one of my friends wished she could, document Indian history better. Time travel is no longer a myth. Although 99.9% of the big brains think it is impossible, the rest are absolutely optimistic about it. Maybe there will come a day when time machines will be introduced into the market like the newest PlayStation or android app, with consequences unimaginable. The universe does have billions and billions of years ahead of it. Superman wasn’t all that dumb after all.
By Swathy Karamchedu LTGTR|September 2011
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Q. What ’s the story behind the name Solder? A: Well one day our guitarist’s cable got screwed, so we decided to be cheap and innovative and make our own cables instead of buying good quality ones (you know how it is to be a musician in the beginning, always a little hard on cash). So we did just that got some cables and SOLDERED the jack and made a week long functional cable. So that’s like the first thing we did other than eat and drink with each other. That’s where Solder was formed Q. AND THE CURRENT LINE-UP OF THE BAND IS ? A: Siddarth Abraham (Vocalist and Acoustic Guitar), Sylvester Pradeep (Lead Guitarist and Backing Vocals), Joel Rozario (Drums/Percussion and Backing Vocals), Akhilesh Kumar (Rhythm Guitarist and Backing Vocals), Samson Philip (Bass Guitarist) Q. Where did you guys meet? How long have you know each other ? A: Well we’ve known each other for quite a long time about 2 years together. Akhilesh and Joel used to go to college together; Sylvester, Philip and Joel have met each other through friends a long time back. I (Siddarth) met Joel and Akhilesh through some other common friends and well you get the picture. Bangalore is a small city; you’re bound to meet everybody sometime. Q. If you had to pick a genre for you music, what would it be? Who are your major influences? A: We consider out music to be ‘Feel Good’ rock though someone once told us everyone thinks their music is that so we decided we’ll be a little more technical and so our genre of music is nowLTGTR|September 2011
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Post alternative Pop Rock. Our inspirations are very varied. You’ll be surprised, all of us are from different musical backgrounds but we do have a few common inspirations like Queen, Dave Mathews Band, The Beatles, Junkyard Groove to name a few Q. When did you finally decide to form a band? What inspires you to make music together? A: We formed the band in July 2009. We all got together jammed and realized we pretty much got along with each other and can work with each other to make some great music. We’ve all wanted to be on stage and share our music with the world, you could say that’s our inspiration Q. How do you go about writing & composing songs? A: Well everyone writes in the band, so someone would come up with a progression of chords, we all sit and write the lyrics together, we add our respective parts to the song and jam on it, tweak it and voila a song is composed. In Solder, everyone gets credit for
writing and that’s how we like it.
are one of those few lucky bands Q. Are there any main themes to that have their own jam space. We practice about 4 times a week your songs ? for 2-4 hours and sometimes 8 A: Themes are quite varied, Love depending on the need again. songs, Inspirational ones, slightly Q. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST political ones as well CHALLENGE AS AN UPCOMING Q. Which songs do you perform BAND IN INDIA? most frequently? Do you ever A: Hmmm our biggest challenge play any covers? would be getting our music across A: Well we have 11 originals and to places in India. And recording. It 4 in the pipeline so we constantly is so hard to get a decent recording play the 11 over and over again done in India as the good ones are so that people get to hear them. really expensive but that’s part We used to play covers initially and parcel of being a band in India. when we just started but as the list of originals got bigger we just Q. HOW LONG HAVE EACH OF YOU decided we don’t need to play BEEN PLAYING YOUR RESPECTIVE covers anymore. We play just INSTRUMENTS ( leave the vocalist two covers, an Elvis and a Beatles :P) ? cover and that only if needed A: Hey, I resent the vocalist jibe (depending on time that is). Yes, :D! I’ve been singing since I knew I we do have a rough set list which could sing :D! Well we’ve all been varies according to the mood of playing our instruments anywhere the crowd :D! between 5-10 years I think. Q. HOW DO YOU GUYS REHEARSE Q. WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE AND PRACTICE? WESTERN MUSIC SCENE IN INDIA? A: We’ve been lucky that way. Our A: Hahaha! Well Western Music drummer, Joel has a huge ancient is slowly getting some foothold house with an outhouse which he in the country especially Original converted into a Jam room. So we Music which is a huge move
forward culture wise, though there will always be the occasional hang ups with different organizations and governments trying to ban something or the other. But the Scene is good overall and only getting better! Q. FINDING ONE’S OWN SOUND IS A LONG GONE-BY THING IN TODAY’S GENRE-PLAGUED SCENE . DO YOU GUYS THINK YOU HAVE YOUR OWN SOUND? WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO FIND YOUR OWN SOUND? A: Well we think we have our own sound though it still is getting refined but again that’s a matter of personal opinion. We might say that we sound different but other people would say we sound similar to somebody else just to explain to someone how we would sound. The fact is sounding similar is not the same as sounding exactly like another band and that’s where the uniqueness comes in. Q. ANY LAST WORDS? A: The journey has been great so far, has its share of ups and downs, but if you ask us if we were given a choice to choose something else we would say nothing would ever stop of us from taking this road over and over again :D!
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