Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sleeping as a Job

Posted by at 1:25 AM
A year or two ago, I remember a newspaper article about a job that requires you to lie down and do nothing but eat and sleep . It was probably some experiment of sorts being conducted by NASA (?)  I think . But as I recalled it today, I began imagining, how life would be , if you have a job that requires you to do nothing but sleep. And based on the number of hours you sleep each day, you get paid. 

Think about it. Would it be lucrative ? I am sure it would sound lucrative if it is a temporary job. Hell it can be a part-time job alright, considering we sleep everyday for some hours. 

That part-time job can actually push us to sleep more. Because the greed to earn more would make us quit our habits of sleeping late at night. That means a healthier lifestyle, and a good life. Order gets restored in your life, and subsequently everywhere else in the world. Peace and tranquility. Ah.

Now consider it as a full-time job. You have to do nothing but sleep as much as possible. There could be constraints wherein you have to sleep at least 8-10 hours a day else you don't get paid. Now don't ask me why would someone hire you for a job like this, but just for a while , imagine the consequences. 

Slowly, you start disliking the fact that you have to sleep at least 8-10 hours a day. If there's a chip strapped around your neck ( equivalent to an ID card, tsk tsk) , it will prompt your supervisor as soon as you wake up. 

That means, on the days when you are unable to get some sleep , you don't get paid. You'd start cribbing, wishing for some flexibility in the policies of the job etc. 

You'd have to sleep mandatorily so you won't be getting time to go out and spend the money you're earning and enjoy some quality time with your friends. You cannot take much vacations because you have a responsibility , being an experienced guy who has been working in this job for some years now , and you have to plan your trips carefully. 

What happens consequently is that you start wishing you get some non-sleep hours, eg- you would wish if you could just work on a desk-job in front of a computer instead of sleeping your head off . 

I hope you see the point I tried to make. Drawing parallels is a beautiful thing *smirks*.



Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Late-Night Shift

Posted by at 12:19 PM
It was getting late. Eyes glued on the screen console, he kept typing with his earphones on. He paused for a sip of coffee before he could resume his work. While he was putting down the mug, he checked the time on his wrist watch. 11:45 pm. He had to fix the bug in his code tonight, even if it meant staying back for hours. There was nobody at work except for the floor attendant in his night shift who passed him a weak , sympathetic smile as he passed on every aisle of the floor, arranging the stationeries, taking notes of the count of pens and staplers. He smiled back. This brief exchange of gestures was a daily routine for them these days.

At 11.50pm, his phone beeped. He checked the phone. It was his flatmate. "Throwing a house party today. Help yourself with some beer in the fridge in case you're late." He sighed. He couldn't remember when was the last time he had been to a party on a weeknight. He couldn't remember when was the last he had returned home by 8 on a weeknight. 

11.55pm.He stretched a bit, and decided to get another cup of coffee. He left his console and headed for the breakout area. Filled the cup with coffee, gulped a few quick swigs, and returned back to his cubicle. He unlocked the console while wondering if he had locked it when he left. The coffee cup escaped his grip and hit the floor as he looked at his screen in horror. His code had vanished.

'Too many thriller movies.' He slapped himself, and tried checking the system. None of the files would open, and his source code showed nothing. He could feel himself turning white and pale. Three hours of work, all gone. 

He kept typing frantically on the keyboard. His head was spinning. The coffee was spilled on the floor with an ominous mark. The code files were nowhere to be seen. As he kept scrolling up and down , his screen went blank. 

There was a bright flash. He looked on. A string of letters came across the screen. 'Hacked by CorpPirate' it read, before it went black and shut down.Before he could make any sense of all this, his phone buzzed. 
'Hello, late night at work?'
'Who is this?'
'Your well-wisher.'
'I am not enjoying this.'
'Of course you won't be enjoying. Not interested in knowing what happened to your code?'
'What do you know about my code?'
'Nothing. But maybe I can show you.'
He received an image. He opened it. It was a screenshot of his code.
'What's the meaning of all this?'
'That I have taken your code hostage.mwahahahaha. But you can get it back.'
'Well I will re-write it.'
'Your call buddy. Stay up all night with a half-asleep head, write a code full of bugs, keep decoding till tomorrow morning, all the best for your demo scheduled in the morning.'
The very thought of the demo made him panic. He realized he was not capable of coding from the scratch.
'What do you want?'
'Go home.'
'What?!'
'I want you to reach home in 15 minutes, and start up your desktop. You will know of the next steps there.'
'Right. And what if I refuse to do so.'
'You still don't get it , do you? Well, if you don't do that,  I will delete lines from your code. I am sure it will be a lot more fun to complete an incomplete code, with ardent bugs, don't you think?'
'Damn you. Alright I will do as you say.'
'That's more like it. You have 15 minutes. Set the timer.'
He decided to call his flatmate. They had spare keys to his room, they can open the desktop in case he gets late. He dialed the number. Nobody picked up. 'C'mon pick up! Pick up!!' He tried multiple times but in vain. 2 minutes had passed already.

He had to reach home. He got up, starting searching for his car keys. He was not able to ponder and think at all. Debug. Code from scratch. Demo in the morning. Debug. Code from scratch. Demo in the morning. Debug. Code from scratch. Demo in the morning. He packed his essentials from the desk, and ran out of his office floor. Clicked on the elevator keys. Nothing moved. 'Fuck it!' he took the fire exit stairs all the way to the parking basement. He found his car, got in, drove fast, out in the calm and pitch black night. The turns were sharp as he drove at a speed of 100. He reached his building in 10 minutes. Leaving the car outside, he entered the apartment, and took the flight of stairs. He realized that his mind was not working as all he could think of was reach his apartment. He reached the front door, reached for his keys. He keyed in, found his hand slipping because of the sweat, as he somehow managed to open the door up. It was dark. He clicked on the lights. Not working. 

Before he could make any move, there was sudden outburst of loud noise and a dash of powerful lights. 
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUDE!"  He looked around. All his friends, his flatmates, everyone had gathered . A piece of cake was in the middle, surrounded by crates of beer. 'Fuckers!' he screamed, as one his friends came forward and hugged him. 'We knew you'd like the surprise!' he said. 'Yeah sure. It almost killed me! '  he said. 
'You made it well within 15 minutes eh!' his flatmates came up and elbowed him. 
'So it was you guys! But how did you manage to --?'
'Well it was Sam's idea from the beginning.' they said, pointing at a grinning Sam , his late-night office floor attendant. 
He now realized why he had found his console locked, when he came back from the breakout area with the cup of coffee, as a smile crept up his face.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Movie Review: Finding Fanny

Posted by at 9:06 PM
(please excuse typographical and grammatical errors whatsoever, I kept typing whatever thoughts came to my mind)

When I saw the trailers of Finding Fanny , I was reminded of Little Miss Sunshine. And don't take me wrong; I mean it in a good sense, and not that I am saying that I felt that it was 'inspired' from that movie. I expected something fresh , something natural coming out this time. I expected, well, a bit too much. And the reason why I considered to write this post is because I believe there are many out there like me who would have had the similar level of expectations from the movie.

The reason: Finding Fanny is a case of smart marketing where the Indian audience is hungry for fresh and original content, which matches the international standards. We are embracing the offbeat topics shown in our movies more, we like it when noir films like Citylights are presented to us now. This is a good sign, because this will encourage many makers to make movies that we would feel proud to call out, when we give examples of the movies made by our industry. So naturally, we would expect conviction of delivering what is promised to us.

Finding Fanny begins on a monotonous note, has some humor sprinkled here and there, loses purpose mid-way and ultimately falls flat by the end . I am not saying that I wanted the plot to be incredible because we have a strong ensemble cast here, but if you want it to be a road movie, then what's the harm in sticking to the basics?

Director Homi Adajania didn't nourish the film well, the way he did with Being Cyrus ( I doubt he will ever be able to reach the brilliance of Being Cyrus in any of his upcoming films) . He knows a lot about direction- the color palette is all perfect, the camera work, the setting , all great- he just doesn't seem to get a hang of what we call , er , telling a story. The final 20-25 minutes seemed as if he wanted to close many loops and simply finish his project, and that's sad because the movie seems to be incentive-driven, the basic idea which is: our heroes are out there, trying to find the lost love of 46 years of one of them . The dilation of the pupils, when Naseeruddin Shah dreamily expresses his joy in anticipation of getting closer to his Fanny, the close-ups when Deepika speaks about her life , the quip scenes when Pankaj Kapur tries to steal a physical contact with Dimple Kapadia- direction is working really well all throughout, but all that I couldn't see was the conviction, the same conviction in the work of the story-teller.

I don't mind having a movie with no storyline if it makes sense and gives me a feeling of accomplishment, but I would definitely crib if a movie reeks of negligence in places where things should have been taut , simply because in many other departments it is appearing to be a promising venture.

In a nutshell: Finding Fanny requires a lot of patience, lowering of expectations and a mindset where you tell yourself that be happy and content with what you're being offered, because the moment you begin to expect, the next frame will be full of brush-strokes of disappointments.

Oh and, watch Little Miss Sunshine, if you haven't, just to put things into perspective.

My Rating: 6/10

Monday, September 8, 2014

Conversations Under Low Light

Posted by at 2:10 AM
"Could you turn out the lights? "
"I will,  if you ask me nicely. "
"Haha sure. Turn out the lights."
"Okay. "
"So,  what are you thinking. "
"Nothing as such. Just some blank thoughts. What about you? "
"Ah likewise. But I am enjoying this darkness. And being with you makes it even better. "
"Hmm."

"Well let's talk about things. "
"About what? "
"Well you know, things. "
"Err okay... like?  "
"Like us. "
"Yeah sure. What about us? "
"The usual, you know. We meet every night at this hour, sit together and talk, I enjoy it. "
"It sure is a good time I have. "
"Remember the day when we met for the first time?"
"I do remember. "
"Hmm... It was great how you identified me uniquely out from the crowd. "

"It was meant to happen that way. Same school and all that.. "

"Perhaps. But I am so used to stay invisible you know. It's like people around me, don't even know that I am there, you know. Sometimes I want to complain and randomly pick fights with strangers. "

"We crave for attention without knowing its implications. It happens a lot many times. "
"True. But sometimes, you know. "
"I can understand."
"I hope you continue to do so always. "
"I will. "
"Thank you. "
"After all,  who else, if not me? "
"Well there's this guy in my school, he was a senior. I used to like him once, I wish he would notice me. Used to get his attention. Never really worked, you see. He would be sunk deep in studies. "

"So you fancy the nerdy type? "
"Oh shut up,  he wasn't a nerd. Just that he seemed a bit too focused. "
"Yet he missed you? "
"Yeah well, his loss you see. "
"I wouldn't really call it his loss. "
"Why would you say that?"
"Because maybe if you could make yourself more presentable in front of him, making your presence felt, he would surely have responded. "
"But I did try to talk to him. He never looked up. Used to think something is not right about him. But that's what I liked about him as well, you see. "

"So he didn't listen ?"
"Not sure. At least he didn't respond , you know. "
"And what did your friends have to say about this incident? "
"Never really spoke to them about him. I was afraid they'd spread the word, you see. " 


"Mia."

"Yes? "

"It's time to go home. "

"What, why? "

"You realize that it's late. "

"I can leave tomorrow morning, like always. "

"No,  I meant you have to go. "

"I will, but tomorrow. What's gotten into you, Bill? "

"You don't understand, do you?"

"What do you mean? "

"Mia, why did you not tell your friends about this guy? "

"I told you right,  I couldn't, I was embarrassed. "

"But you didn't tell me as well. "
"Bill,  you were my junior in school, and we had met only a few times . Surely you cannot hope me to share my crush stories with you, so early in our friendship. "
"Mia. You used to share everything with your friends."
"I know but--"

"Mia, don't you get it?  You had stopped sharing your thoughts with your friends after a point of time. "

"Who said that?  I used to! I--"
"And you used to tell me everything, even after you stopped talking to others after a point of time."
"I am not sure what is the reason behind this sudden outburst of yours. "
"Mia. You have to go. You. Have. To. Go. "

"I will but I like to stay with you. You understand me so well. I enjoy every minute of our conversations ,every single night. "
"There's a reason why you stopped speaking to your friends. "
"I don't --"

"Mia , you've been dead for the past three years. "

"What?  That's not true. That's not true. "
"It is the truth. The truth is, you are trapped in this world,  because of your unfulfilled love for that senior of yours. "
"But-- I--"
"You have to come to terms with this, Mia. You have to. You need to go. You need to leave. You have to find peace. In the afterlife, Mia. "
"No!  No!  Please don't say these things! OH PLEASE! "
"You will feel a sharp pain in your temple. And when I will turn the lights on,  you will be gone. I am sorry Mia, I had to do this. It is for your own good. " (approaches the light switch)

"No wait, wait. Please-- You did say that I would speak to you, right? How is it then that I was dead and I could speak to you? I am alive see?  This proves that I am alive ! Flesh and bones,  I am-- please don't do-- please --"

"There's a reason for that, Mia. You could speak to me, because.. " (turns on the light)


"  I see dead people. "



Near his bed, Bill finds his notebook, he picks it up. A list of names can be seen. Few of them are crossed out. He finds her name and crosses it out with a sigh.
Each name in the list have three more fields. Date of birth , date of death and cause of death. Bill looks at Mia's details, one last time.

Name: Mia
Date of Birth: 2nd August 1992
Date of death: 1 September 2007
Cause of death: Suicide

A homage to The Sixth Sense. Thank you, M Night Shyamalan.
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