Monday, February 23, 2009

Slumdog Millonaire

Having spent the first 25 years of my life in Mumbai, this was one movie that I was not going to miss. I wanted to see for myself why this movie was getting so much attention worldwide.

First thing that struck me is that it really takes an outsider to give you a brutally honest perspective of life in your own city. We are all so busy living our daily lives, that most of us never pause and have a real hard look at whats going on around us. Most of us who have lived in Mumbai for many years, have become numb to the poverty and depravation that we see all around us.

The first half of the movie had so much of the reality of Mumbai in terms of the dirt and squalor, I could not believe my eyes. It was absolutely shocking. It was like I was watching it for the first time, even though I had seen it so many times while travelling all over the city. The first thing that came to my mind is that this movie is really going to ruin India's image as an emerging economic superpower. I felt a sense of shame that we had some of the most brilliant minds in the country doing cutting edge technology work and solving complex problems all over the globe, while one of India's major metros is filled with so much crime, corruption, poverty and grief.

The movie is filled with optimism and hope admist a lot of pain and sadness. Jamal Malik (played by Dev Patel) the leading character in the movie goes on to win a large sum of money by answering questions on the Indian version of "Who wants to be a millionaire?" based on experiences he has had in his life. The movie covers a lot of different emotions. Each question on the game show is intricately linked to the leading characters horrific life experiences, which help him to answer all the questions correctly. The movie has all the elements of classic Bollywood style film making while at the same time giving it a very strong outsiders perspective.

I loved the movie. I thought it was great direction by Danny Boyle, fantastic cinematography by Anthony Dod Mantle. The entire cast has done a very good job of acting their part.

I hope that just like Danny Boyle had made this movie showcasing how the poor live in Mumbai, I hope he makes a movie that showcases the dreams and aspirations of the middle class and how they live in this same city which is known as the "Maximum city".

Monday, February 02, 2009

Singapore Food courts

One of the best things I like about Singapore is the variety of food available in every nook and corner. Since most of the families are made up of working couples, one of the big problems is to come back home after a tiring days work and then cook for the family. Singapore has solved this problem by setting up food courts in every neighborhood. A food court is made up of stalls setup by individuals or families who make a decent living by serving delicious food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Each stall is normally dedicated to a particular type of cuisine. So in a food court you will find, Chinese, Malay, Indian, Western, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Thai and many other nationalities represented. The hygiene at most food courts is pretty good and they offer value for money meals. You will also find dedicated stalls for various kinds of beverages and desserts. So you can pick and choose what you want to eat or drink. I don’t think you will find so many varieties of food under one roof in many other countries.

The Apple Macbook

After listening to and reading lots of reviews about Apple Products on the Net, I finally decided to check out for myself, what is it that makes Apple report profits while most other companies worldwide are reporting huge losses and laying off people in the middle on this huge global recession.

So I got my first Mac book. Its the aluminum 13 inch one. Since I work in the Information Technology industry, I have always been interested in understanding how to make products and services intuitive and easy to use while hiding all the complexity in the background. And after using the Mac book for the first 2 weeks I have come to love Apple for the following:

1) Beautiful Design
2) Fast, Intuitive software and hardware
3) All the technological complexity is hidden from the User

I have also been using the Ipod for the past 5 years. One word describes it best. And that word is "Simplicity". I am definitely getting a feeling that by end of 2009, I am going to be a hardcore Apple fan. Maybe I already am one.

Any of you who are thinking of getting a new laptop, do check out the Macbook as one of the possible options. For people who are not very techno savvy, getting used to the Mac book may take 2 to 4 weeks. But I would definitely recommend investing this time in learning how the Mac works. It will be time well spent.