Sunday, November 28, 2010

Notebook - A movie review

Just watched this movie called Notebook, a Malayalam movie. I am well past the teen age, so I guess I am able to understand a lot about this movie, so much so that I am tempted to write about it immediately.


There are a lot of analysis points here and there in the movie that the schools and parents and the students need to notice. As I write this post, I will try to mark the analysis points within brackets for you to figure out yourself.


The story is about three girls studying in the Eleventh Grade[ Analysis point ], in a convent school [ Analysis point] based in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. Pooja, Seara and Sridevi. The three friends have good grades, have a lot of fun and mostly importantly be together all the time[ Analysis point]. Seara's parents are legally separated and she has little interest to go home. Pooja lost her father very early in life and lives with her mother in the same place. Sridevi's parents live in Kerala. Sridevi and Seara spend their second Saturday school holidays in Pooja's place. Pooja's mother is a loving and caring person who adores and supports the three friends and their friendship[ analysis point ].She is shown as a person who knows when to interfere and when to leave them alone.


Seara is this super-bold and very considerate person(Analysis). Here and there we see incidents that prove this point. So, when her friend Sridevi is in the deepest of troubles, Seara and Pooja work a plan to resolve it. The plan misfires(analysis ) and Sridevi dies. When questioned by the authorities, Pooja denied her link to the whole scene (analysis) and Seara agrees to have been a part of the scene. Seara gets a dismissal from the school and is very disappointed that her best friend didn't stand by her when it came to a common problem for both of them. Seara leaves town and Pooja feels guilty (analysis) and the guilt challenges her sanity.


Six years later, Seara graduates from a medical school and through the efforts of a well-wisher gets to know about Pooja's wherabouts.Pooja gets well and Seara and Pooja join hands again.That is the story in a nut shell.

It seems an ordinary narrative from my blog post, am sure, but the story has a lot of points to take away for school children, college boarders, parents, and authorities of the educational institution:

Parents:

1. Be a parent and not a military officer on duty.

2. Be approachable all the time and not be a bossy manager to the children.

3. If there is something happening in your child's life, you must be the first to know.

4. The children should never know about the loud disagreements between their parents.

5. If you are having a baby, ensure that you both agree to give up your egos at least for the child's welfare.

6. If you are sending your child to a co-educational institution, remember to be open to their friendships from the opposite gender as well. Ensure that all lines are drawn appropriately to avoid unexpected twists in student life.

7. Trust your child's words.

One word: Express love and care as much as you can. Children need to know that you love them, till they get old enough to understand your unexpressed and permanent love for them.

School and College Authorities:

1. Make a moral science class compulsory for the children of all grades. Teach or instill all the niceties that the child would need to know in life.

2. Academics are important, but remember, by discouraging or insulting a poor performer in front of the class is not going to improve the grades or confidence or morale of the child.

3. Do not give grades serious importance - instead give more confidence to the child who does not perform and instill the practice of brighter students supporting the poor performers without both the sections knowing this truth. It should be more of 'giving' and 'sharing' among the children.

4. Do not be too strict all the time. Your students are scared of you is not your best reward after years of service in school.

5. Be an example and be fair, even if the dealing is minor when it comes to children's issues. 'Someone lost a pen' might be a small news in a whole maze of things, but the way the teacher handles the problem decides the attitude of a lot of minds in the class.

6. Do not put too many rules.. Afterall children are children and have all the rights to be happy in their own way. Watch them over and if need be, put barricades, else be genuine with the rules that you make in your institutions.

7. Try to reason out the behavior of the child before accusing the child a lot and degrading the confidence level further.

8. Watch over them and ensure that you be unbiased.

One word : You cannot become a child again, so let them be.... and they cannot be expected to see truth in a lot of things like you do, so be there and keep your mind, eyes and ears open.

Children:

1. Stand by your friends, but be aware of unexpected dangerous twists in life.

2. Trust your elders at home or school and take advice on things you cannot decide yourself.

3. Fun is good. Too much of fun is not too good for you.

4. If you know it is too much to handle all by yourself, let someone in your school or home know about it.

5. If there is a rule, then believe that there is a reason for the rule. If you don't know why, try to talk about it to your parents.[Although talking about rules to the teachers is not practical, in today's set up, but in future it should be possible too, if the authorities listen].

6. When you are there to study, just do that. Make friends and help them grow in studies as well.

7. Be honest, its good for you.

8. Stand by your parents and do not do anything that your parents won't approve. May be they are not right all the time, may be they don't understand, but they are your parents who love you whatever you do to them.

9. Remember that anyone older than you will surely give you an advice.. Listen and store it away. Use it based on your judgement when you need it.

One word: Your parents deserve to be happy and do not deserve to be summoned by the principal for any of your behavioral issues.

Thats about what I can write presently on this subject. During the course of the movie, I did notice quite a lot of other pointers which will definitely be interesting only if you watch the movie.

A lot of scenes in this movie are not okay in my opinion for children below 18 years of age, but considering that it is a school set up and believing in the censor board , I guess, the problems discussed are relevant to the school kids of today. The parents should decide if they want their children to watch this movie or not. Since it is a school set up all children would want to watch it anyways. What they take away from the movie is upto Lady Luck.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

About the Oasis of Arabia - Salalah

Just noticed that this is the hundredth article of this year 2010 on my blog.. and is also my first travel post. We had recently been to this place called Salalah and I thought it is an interesting travel to share with the blogger world. You'll find a lot of articles and write-ups online about this, so what I am giving here is only an outline of what captivated our eyes and head during the trip.

Salalah, the oasis of Arabia is a coastal town in the country of Oman. The lush green lawns, shrubs, trees, coconut groves and banana plantations you see definitely makes you double-check if you are in the God's own Country- Kerala, India. Salalah is on the foot hills of the Dhofar mountain range. This mountain range is said to be lush green during the " Khareef " or rainy season. Khareef lasts from June to September. The scenic beauty of the place makes it a major tourist attraction even in the off-season period.

November temperature goes up to 32 degrees during the day and drops down to 20 degrees at night in Salalah.As you drive around to visit various local attractions, you get to see the withering remains of the September greenery. The varying shades of the Dhofar mountain range is worth a picture.

Per information from some locals and long time residents of Muscat, a lot of vegetables and fruits are grown in this surprisingly fertile land and exported to other places in Arabia. The tender coconut stalls are very popular here. Your trip is not complete without a tender coconut. The banana plantations are vast spread and hence the raw bananas are good sale pieces on the coastline.

The Salalah coastline has a lot of beaches open to the tourists. Sunset on the horizon is a must-see scene during your visit.

The locals are mostly natives of Oman and Pakistan. You also get to see a lot of people from Turkey and India living in Salalah. The widely prevalent language in Salalah in Arabic, though for us Indians, Hindi and understanding of Malayalam would be sufficient. When talking to a non-Indian, if you have to speak English, cut all the connecting words and excess verbiage in your sentence to get the correct response. An interesting example we heard was this: Evenings good babies play. It means, This park is good for babies to play in the evenings. All sentences have to be tagged along with a hand signal - signalling the place or context of discussion. Amusing and nice .. Wonder if Grammar has a role at all here?

A lot of rent-a-car outlets are available if you want to drive around yourself. Average rates would be 15 to 20 OMR per day. You can also hire a city taxi and asked to be driven around. A tourist guide book, a map booklet that has pictures of the local attractions would help you ask your way around in town.Don't forget that you cannot use your super high level fiction book or corporate standards of language here. People are willing to take time to understand your language and do their best bit to help you. Thats the best about the locals here.

You might have to call up and make reservations for your stay in the hotels here. Some hotels do not appreciate advance reservations. A two-star stay costs about 15 OMR and the city center has quite a number of nice accommodations that make your stay very comfortable.

You will need two full days average time for sight-seeing in Salalah. If you are a hurried tourist, you can finish the entire trip in less than two days time. If you are visiting Salalah during Khareef, three days trip to Salalah would ensure you don't miss any seasonal attraction.

It is important that we adhere to decent dress discipline. Clothes that are too casual - those that reveal more than they cover - are not welcome. You might need to carry an umbrella or scarf to cover your head when you are roaming in the afternoons, as the heat may be too much to bear. Winter clothing is not a must, but during Khareef it can get really cold though the temperature doesn't drop much.

In the next to next posts I'll post some snap shots and descriptions of the attractions in Salalah.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Curry leaves in a cover!!!!

We always take things for granted.. and life has its own way of teaching us the lesson of valuing every single thing that we have..

We were almost done with shopping for groceries that evening... In the hypermarket that seemingly spreads to acres ( at 9:45P.M when you are hungry and have lost all energy to take that next step forward, even a market seems so vast!!!) I rushed towards the vegetables section to look for curry leaves. I have been missing it a lot since I came to this city.

In the last two shopping trips I had not looked at the right counter I guess... I had never found curry leaves.. My kitchen and the 'would-have-been-excellent-with-a-garnish of curry leaves' dishes have been missing curry leaves.. Although most of us search for the leaves in the plate and take time to heap them all aside, our cooking is not complete without that touch of curry leaves...

When I searched all the racks in the green leafy section of the market, I found little packets neatly price tagged. I picked up one, just because I thought the packing was super perfect and the leaves inside looked familiar. On a close look, I found that it was a pack of curry leaves. I could not believe that there has come a day in my life when I am actually paying money for curry leaves and that they are sealed in a cover..

Nothing extraordinary about this really, but if you had visited one of the Tamilian houses with a backyard where they grow some plants, you will see a tree of curry leaves for sure and for such people this little sealed cover full of curry leaves with a price tag, is a small wonder...

Back home, in our backyard, we have a lot of trees from which we pluck curry leaves as much as we need for our cooking. I don't like to step out of the kitchen when I am cooking, so whoever is free in the house would pluck it for me. I have also had some boring chances (yes, back then it was a boring job for me!!) of plucking curry leaves... They are in abundance and we never bothered to buy curry leaves.. Even in shops no one really pays for curry leaves unless they go to the shop just for this purchase. Curry leaves and coriander leaves are usually given free of cost..

Life really has its own way of teaching lessons..I smiled and picked up one packet of curry leaves and looked at the price tag and smiled again.. My neighbour at the same counter didn't understand why I smiled and why I took such a long time to pick up one packet of curry leaves!!! She must have thought I am out of my mind... :) Not that it matters... What matters is that I learnt not to take even the smallest gift for granted!!!.

I am waiting for my next trip to India to pluck curry leaves with a smile for the first time in my life!!! :) Okay.. there are a lot of things I am looking forward to, this one is important in its own way :)

Monday, November 08, 2010

If there seems to be no way, make one....

Yes, that is an adapted quote: A quote from the cover pages of one of the student hand book that I bought last year said: We will either find a way or make one.

Very inspiring!!!

I recently moved out of corporate and presently looking for freelance assignments online. Never been a freelancer before so was fiddling with the mouse, clicking some links on the Google search results..

I am amazed at the multitude of job openings available in the market from individuals, small scale business owners and large scale companies. Some of the jobs are too surprising!!! Like, write a thank you card and you get paid!!! This one made me click the link.. not to consider taking up the job but to see why someone wants to employ people to write thanks.. It means the employer is so keen on sending thanks and that there are too many thanks cards to be written and so is willing to employ someone. The link indeed had this job description!!..

Then there are a lot of other assignments that offer jobs for people based on their interests. You need not be a highly qualified expert professional in some field to think of earning some cash. You just need the thought of making money with some hard work that you can offer. The opportunities available are endless..

We just have to be able to think of making a way, if there seems to be none.. I dont say its easy, but it surely is possible to make a way in your own style always..

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