Monday, 30 January 2006

Ci vediamo, when the next disaster strikes....


Remember the crisis which hit Niger a while ago? Remember how around the month of July Niger was all over the news and how we started collecting funds and sending aid these poor people’s way? My question is why did we wait till around July to do something? Why did we have to wait till the situation got that bad? Why do we always procrastinate?

Niger received in ten days more that any aid it received during the whole 7 months which preceded all the media coverage. Thanks to the BBC which run shots of children with blotted bellies, mothers looking grief stricken, fathers desolately looking at nothing but dry land. That’s when I heard about the crisis. Though, the ONU did make an appeal for help since the month of February 2005. And the most incredible fact is that Niger's leaders where denying the hunger claims!

Its incredible but the impression I get that events have to have an “In” quality to them in order to attract our attention. They have to be tragic, they have to be bad. Failing to fill these conditions will inevitably make them unworthy of our attention. You see, this famine problem still persists in Niger today. There is an ongoing ongoing and rapidly emerging hunger emergency in Ethiopia, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe. I am yet to read or hear about them. They need help. They need food. They need an "active compassion". This is a long term situation we’re talking about. This is no “In” situation. But heck, who cares, they aren’t talking about it on the news or the papers so it can’t be that bad, right? Till the next disaster strikes.

Friday, 27 January 2006

miniquest.

What makes you smile/laugh?
How would you define your kind of humour?
Do you consider yourself a happy person? Why?

Thursday, 26 January 2006

Food for Thought

"Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work." -Aristotle

Tuesday, 17 January 2006

Driving Test

Do you ever notice that when you're driving, anyone going slower than you is an idiot and anyone going faster is a maniac?

Friday, 13 January 2006

I think I saw Beauty

I watched "On a tout Essayer" day before yesterday. It's a French show where half a dozen animators discuss current events, politics, new releases etc... It's pretty lively and the banter if full of joke-disguised-truths.

A new author was invited on the show to present her book. Her first one. She'd been sick, discovered Buddhism and decided to share the experience in writing.

Stevie, one of the animators, the one who never has anything listening-worthy to say said the most incredible thing. Incredible in the sense that I wouldn't have thought him capable to coming up with such a point of view. He commented about how down he'd felt after reading the book. Not the whole book, parts of it.
The author writes about how insignificant we are in the face of the whole creation. How absolutamentously nothing we are in the whole universe. Stevie said that he'd never felt as down as when he'd realised the nothinghness of himself. He and his cousins sat and pondered over this fact which had never crossed their minds before and with sagging bodies, they separated and nothing more was added. He said thanks but no thanks to the author for spoiling his day. The audience laughed, his fellow animators congratulated him on the very profound comment.

Somehow, I thought of Kahlil Gibran's lines

"You would know in words that which you have always known in thought"

Two or Three months ago, with my sisters and our friend M, I had gone to visit Mauritius tiny cousin called "L'Ile au Cerfs". It was grand. We had a real good time. That's not what I want to talk about here. I had never para-sailed before. This was a not-to-be-missed occasion.

I flew. I soared. I went so high. I was so blissfully happy. I was uncomprehendingly sad. Mixed emotions. Hard to understand. Here I was, flying, grinning from ear to ear, thinking that it was a pity that no birds were about, flying with me, alone, I should have been just happy.

I looked down at the sea, she looked green. Beautiful green. Rocks and I don't know what else looking black under her. I noted the contrast between the opacity of the rocks and the transparent limpidity of the water.

I looked up at the sky. Regret for not being high enough to brush the clouds filled my heart. I thought I saw an elephant there, a pink blue elephant. This made me giggle, the Child in me and me winked at each other. The Sun was blindingly bright. I didn't dare stare.

In the distance, I could see speed boats. Tourists or locals? I asked myself. It didn't matter and the thought didn't last long. I took a deep breath. It felt like my first breath. So pure, so thick, so lung filling. I looked down again and was surprised to realise that I felt like crying. I wanted to cry. I wondered what it would feel like to have the sea enveloping me. I don't swim. Yeah, shame on me. Living on an Island at that. At this precise moment, the fear of the sea deserted me. The boat I was tied to slowed down. I came down slow. I wasn't scared. I felt I was watching myself descending. The coldness of the water caught me by surprise. I strained to soak my feet. The water splashed over my legs. I had a little of it over my face and my spectacles got wet. I took them off and furiously dried the water on my t-shirt. I wanted to see it all. To take it all in. this immensity. The greenness of the sea and the blueness of the sky. I tasted salt on my lips. Tears or sea water? The greatness of my surrounding just overwhelmed me. I felt so small, so insignificant; I marvelled and basked into the beauty of His creation and thought to myself:
“And beauty is not a need but an ecstasy.
It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth,
But rather a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted.
It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear,
But rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears.
It is not the sap within the furrowed bark, nor a wing attached to a claw,
But rather a garden for ever in bloom and a flock of angels for ever flight.”

“Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.”

Friday, 6 January 2006

Movies? Gimme a Break.... (new edition)

This is a post from my old home. Reposted yes, but with good reason. I went to a conference where the speaker said something about Bollywood being a complexed version of Hollywood. So true. At least where today movies are concerned. I live in this island in the Indian Ocean called Mauritius, remember. We're very up to date where Bollywood is concerned. Am appalled by the movie posters. Where are the sarees gone? Where is the decency gone? Where are the good poster makers gone? We used to make fun of the old posters. I remember when I was a kid in Niger, how we used to make fun of the same posters and movies I long for now. They are scarce now, the good movies.

Good movies? No wonder they don't make them good anymore. The movies I consider good apparently do not appeal to the general public, not in Mauritius nor in India. I am told that its hard enough living in misery to have to watch this same misery depicted in movies. People want movies which make them dream, make them forget the reality they're living in. For a few hours.

Chandi Bar is the name of a movie I particularly appreciated. Good. Real good. The story of every woman, black, white, yellow. Every woman who circumstances forced into prostitution. Yes, forced. The story of an orphaned girl whose uncle abused then “entrusted” to a pimp. One of her clients marries her. She now has a decent life. The husband gets killed in a mafia affair. She has two children to feed and raise. Life turns its back on her. Her son gets implicated into a crime. She has to bail him out. No money. She goes back to prostitution. Her daughter overhears and decides she'd help. Sells her virginity to the highest bidder. Meanwhile the son gets raped into jail. The mother and daughter finally bail him out. But he's broken. He kills those who raped him. Back to prison again. The movie ends with the image of this mother who tried but couldn't get out of this vicious circle. That's what I call a good movie. It was a flop at the box office in India. It was rated “18 years” here.
Dil Se is another movie which was a flop at the box office.
Why? I wonder!!!

Lagaan's , starring Gracy Singh and Amir Khan (see picture) surprised me by its success. Its such a down to earth movie and it wasn't shot in Switzerland. It's music (#1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6) is great (see picture)!

Back to today's movies. They just flabbergast me. I mean, you'd think. They are so.... words fail me but I'll give you a couple of examples:

- Make up: You have the hero (there's always a hero) who's playing a double role. He's the father as well as the son. Normally, you'd need a good deal of make up to make the young hero look older. Just a little bit. But noooooooh, noooooooooh, noooooooooh, the "maquilleur" is a very smart guy. He learned the art of making up from the masters. You only need one single thing to make the guy look credibly old. Guess what? A single line of gray strands of hair. Preferably located in perfectly visible position. The guy with her perfectly wrinkleless skin, straight bearing, bright smile, sure takes a couple of years less? more? ... huh... he looks .... huh.... never mind!

- Dress code: There is no dress code. The hero and the heroin are dancing and singing in the snow in Switzerland. She's wearing a saree (that was a couple of years ago), a mini skirt with a trunk top and high heels (this is nowadays, modernism and all). He's wearing (lucky man) a leather long jacket, jeans, boots, preferably all in black with the sunglasses.
They go to bed. He's wearing pajamas. Sensible hero. She's wearing a whole jewelry shops worth of jewels. Her face is painted in rainbow colors with the fake eyelashes, her hair beautifully coiffed. La totale!

- The stunts: they look like when my siblings and I and our friends in Niger used to play gangsters and cops when we were kids. You actually get to watch some beautifully remote controlled actions. Like a car exploding and going high. high, high in the sky before hitting the car in front and after which it was then supposed to explode and go high, high, high (they're good at making cars flying!) in the sky. So it goes like: car approaching at full speed (one of the bad guys driving of course), hero maneuvering his car masterfully so that another car is in the way. Bad guy's car is going to collide into moved-in-the way-other-car. Four seconds before it'll actually collide it explodes and does the flying stuff. It comes back down in slow motion. Camera zooms on both cars: the was-in-the-way (perfectly intact at this point, not a scratch) and the coming down car with the bad guy barbecued. Just then the perfectly perfect car which was in the way and which is stupidly still stationed explodes too. Then the ad guy's car finally hits ground and the other car. Bravo!!!!

- The Bad guys: The Leader is normally the girl's father. He does not approve of this guy (the hero is poor of course and she is rich). He sends his goons to fix the guy. But the guy is the hero. He dies not. The goons actually resurrect on spot. You just saw this guy going down clawing at his pistol shot chest and the next thing you know he's back on the ring! They are good, the directors!

- The dying: They always get to tell you all the secrets before they die. They even get to sing a 6 minutes long song before the poor shot guy gets to go to lalala land! And here, I must not fail to tell you about the inevitable operation theaters. It's always a scene with our guy or one of his buddies or relatives - because they are the one's who get to go to hospitals, the bad guys aren't that lucky, they just die. Anyway, one of these lucky people gets run down by a car. You see the doctors operating on his stomach, chest, leg. He gets hit by a baseball bat, no excuse me, its a cricket bad here, on his head. The doctors are shown operating on his stomach, chest, leg, anywhere but the head. After the operation you see the guy with a bandaged head a a little tiny bit of dark red, meant to be the blood, staining the white white bandage on the left hand side of the forehead if the hero is right handed and vice versa, so he can wince and bring his head to point of pain to convince himself that he's convincing us that he's actually in pain. He perpetually arbors a stamp of disapproval (black eye) to show how much beating he's taking in order to win his girl. The stamp does not appear into the dance scenes but comes back with a vengeance when the dance is over. The hero never dies. If he dies the heroin has to commit suicide or become mad.

- The dancing: bump and grind. Preferably in the rain. Hero running about looking at flowers, admiring the beauty of the universe. Heroin throwing herself at his feet. Hiding behind trees. Batting eyelashes. Hero beating his chest, his heart to express his love. Throwing his arms open wide. Heroin just in cue, runs forward and hugs him. They hug. He's going to kiss her but then she's all coy and turns her head so he bits her ear lobe instead and she runs to hide behind a tree and peeps out at him! Hurray!

At least I have no complaint today about the movies. They got me writing my longest post. Am not even mad at this Indian serial which generic song I actually chronometer ed : it was (the honest truth) 2:35 minutes.
And they lived happily ever after!

Wednesday, 4 January 2006

"Life is a long lesson in humility."

James M. Barrie

Sunday, 1 January 2006

Before the Sun sets on 2005,
Before the memories fade,
I'm wishing U, dear blogfriends, a Very Happy New Year 2006!