Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Christmas lights (in April)

This is a piece I worked on...well...during Christmas last year. 

It's been lying about in my drawer all these months, and I just found a good programme to convert DVD to MOV (till now, it was more trouble than a two minute piece is worth) so here it is.

All those lights, on almost all day, got us wondering if light pollution was an issue. 
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(But they just look so pretty!!)

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Monday, 27 April 2009

Website spoiler

After spending 15 hours in front of the computer fixing pixels I think I deserve a distraction.

Since I spent the last two hours (and good afternoon last week) trying to figure out how to post feeds of this very blog you are so kindly reading, I figured I might as well see the fruits of my labour. Hence this post.

Of course weaving all those dreams (the aforementioned 15-hour workday excuses the use of cliches and puns) on Dreamweaver, and the prospect of editing a radio documentary in the next couple of hours means that my imagination is limited.

This is all I have for this post - my website spoiler.

It's one of those open windows...

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Who's tracking your online footprint?

With Twitter mania adding to the already established popularity of Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and all those Google apps, the line between information and too-much-information gets another shade murkier.

While I voluntarily (for the most part) put up information about myself, scores of private and public organisations are collecting more information about what I do, the choices I make and my behaviour patterns.

As the New Statesman puts it, "Our digital records create a fast-growing laboratory of human behaviour."

I'm in the middle of research for a documentary about surveillance, and not surprisingly, the Government and Google regularly feature as the bad guys. Both have been criticised by privacy organisations for their disregard to dataprotection and privacy laws.

But as the same New Statesman article mentioned earlier goes on to point out, we may be confusing romantic ideas of anonymity with privacy.

It seems like a futile fight for anonymity, against the natural progression of a society where the information we share exponentially increases.

I'm coming around. It would seem that we require a completely new mindset, behaving in the straight-and-narrow. Because: 'Who's watching me? Who do I want watching me?'

Ironically, a half- finished 1984 stares at me from my bedside table.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Fight for the Torriano

Earlier this month, my colleagues and I worked on a 7 minute documentary for a video project.

We picked to follow the story of the Torriano, a quaint little pub in Kentish Town, North London.

The landlords and lease holders of the place, a young couple, are in a legal battle with the owners of the property, who want to convert part of the pub into flats.

It's an interesting case. The next round of hearings is coming up next month. More on that soon.

Till then, this is our video doc on the Fight for the Torriano. The video hosted on the Vimeo site is a bigger size, so do watch that one.

Thanks for watching!


The fight to save The Torriano on Vimeo.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Everyone's a hack's friend

Family and friends of us journos don't have it easy.

Hounded for contacts, asked to drop everything for the sake of quotes/ soundbytes/ 'expert' opinions.

More so for student journalists who just need some camera practice before the real thing. This one's called 'Trains Outside my Window.' Haha.

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Of course, sometimes in the process, a star is discovered. Thanks for being a sport Salil!

Monday, 6 April 2009

Thanks for the thought!


An email sitting pretty, read, re-read and treasured - no use pretending I wasn't waiting.

Phone calls, long winded and pleasant.

A photograph that sparks off hysterical laughter to drown out self-righteous indignation.

And everything really is alright.

Good memories just make for more :)

(Pic: Kriplet and the Rascals.)

Saturday, 4 April 2009

"Holy Crap!"

Now that I'm far from the place I'm used to calling home, once ignored aspects of daily life take on greater importance. Like religion.

With essay deadlines staring me in my face and the daunting task of having to eat food I cook myself, it should come as little surprise that I find the need to call on favours from higher powers.

But finding a temple I'm comfortable with has turned out to be harder than finding god.

My latest religious misadventure - Ramanavami celebration at ISKON London.

They promised a festive feast and I can shamelessly admit that I went because more than my piety was piqued.

The temple is in Soho. In an area known for hight-street fashion, gay bars and fun options for nights/ evenings-out. We've all been here before on a different kind of pilgrimage, but it's not exactly what I'd call a 'spiritual atmosphere.'

The 'temple' seems little more than a room up a narrow stairwell, above the organisation-run vegetarian restaurant.

The hall had no ventilation and no emergency exit that I was immediately aware of, a fact that worried me greatly as the prayers of the faithful got more vigourous as the evening went on.

(For a better picture, watch a Beatles documentary or read this entry.)

I was momentarily distracted from making sure none of the dancers stepped on my feet when I spotted a pierced and longhaired rocker with his electric guitar and spiked jacket turn up as well.

I try not to be judgemental; I don't intend to sermonise about how anyone else follows their religion, I myself love the ISKON temple back in Bangalore and I quite readily embrace their approach to religion. I chant Hare Krishna. The people were probably there, as the Hare Krishna man said, to get rid of their miseries, and who's to say that their chosen means of doing that is right or wrong.

But there seemed something fundamentally wrong with pundits serving prasada in dirty socks.

Any place of worship has to be holy and I didn't feel that here.

It's not holy when food isn't cleared off the floor before serving the next set of famished believers (?), when tuneless prayers are screamed out at random, different ones at different parts of the room, at the same time, when waiting-room entertainment is a cartoon Ramayan, and the cloak room/ shoe stand area is also where you dump the unconsumed food.

It was surreal and rather hilarious. It seemed like I'd stepped into a confused mix of cultures and generations (didn't the Maharishis and the Gurus die when disco took over from Flower Power and rock-and-roll?) and just plain confused people.

As a friend and I prepared to make a quick exit, we overheard: "Hare Krishna. I'm stepping out to Starbucks for some herbal tea."

Either this place is the ultimate confluence of free religion, or the most messed up Hindu temple ever. Or was I the confused one?

Thursday, 2 April 2009

This Happily-Ever-After thing never really ends

Two things that'll survive as Things Fall Apart - chocolate and happy endings.

According to a BBC report, Hollywood has traditionally been quick to employ artistic liberty and liberally sprinkle its annual produce with happy endings during times of gloom.

The BBC's calls this 'happyendification' and makes a perfectly pleasant fairy-tale ingredient sound like an embarrassing body condition.

Let me take a moment here to say I Knew It All Along.

It's time the contribution of escapism and the comforting predictability of stories to the collective human sanity is well recognised.

Hell yea we've earned it after living in reality the rest of the day.

Of course one (means I) shall be willing to appreciate (albeit slightly grudgingly) the (apparent) emotional depth and narrative intricacies of a tear-jerker and one (me again, with a Queenly disposition) will clap when it gets that Oscar.

But with the power to decide an ending for any fictitious expression, why not choose to brighten some dreamer's day. Leave the depressing stuff for Robert Peston, willya.
 
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