Qualified Opinion

Its been eons since the last post! The thought was that I’d take a temporary slowdown for the exams. The slowdown, which started in Jan 2010, got shifted to a break in February. The only problem was, the break never ended!

Exams came and went, but the break went on. There have been many times I felt like updating the blog, but I’d just sit in front of the screen, staring at the ‘New Post’ page. The sudden surge of guilt of having ignored my blog, which would result when I read something good on the internet, would quickly melt away when I sit to write. Absolute lack of creativity was the norm.

I have sat down many times, taken lots of vows to put finger to keyboard and update my blog, within this span of time. There are lots of stupid draft posts lying half-baked and unpublished. Well, its not like I was exceptionally creative earlier, but  there always used to be something to write about, whereas the last year was full of studies, exams and other tension. But, it was a life-changing year. One that totally altered my life. In many ways, many meanings.

2011 – I got transformed from a ‘student’ to a ‘professional’. From a ‘classmate’ to a ‘colleague’. From an ‘internee’ to an ’employee’. Ok, enough for now. More on that at a later stage, at a different place.

Yes, at a different place. This blog has been decided to be closed down. Not that it wasn’t already, considering the long period of inactivity, but yes, this is officially closed from today. This blog has given me a belief that I can write, and hopefully, someday, I would again start a new one, and hopefully I’d enjoy writing there as much as I did with this blog. God bless all!

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B(lo)odyguard

I thought Chronic Bachelor was superdirector Siddique’s most boring movie. I thought Rasikan was Dileep’s most boring movie. (No, I didn’t have the courage to watch Moz n Cat, Colors, etc). I thought Mallu movie makers had a minimum sense when it came to placement, timing, picturisation and selection of songs in a movie.

And then, I saw Bodyguard.

Went for the movie purely cos of two factors: Dileep and director Siddique. Both being known for their humorous entertainers, it was my fault to expect a bit of entertainment from the movie in spite of being warned by friends to stay away from it. This was 2.45 hours of boredom.

It starts off as an action movie, goes into college mode, then to romance and somewhere in between, we fall asleep. The actors have little interest, songs are greatly misplaced and unconnected, the editing is bad, and the quantity and standard of humour is way below the expectations.  Nayantara looked good. Mitra Kurien looked half as good as she did in Gulumaal. Thyagarajan, looking seriously aged, had the same expression throughout the movie. Dileep’s characterisation was bad and the number of loopholes in the plot were just too much to count. Guinness Pakru, in the couple of scenes that he featured, evoked more laughter than the designated Dileep-film-comedian Harisree Asokan who had a nearly full-length role.

Then, there is a twist. Yea, the final twist in the movie that’s supposed to make us forgive the makers for the agony we suffered till then. It was unpredictable, I agree, but it was also equally weird and mindless.

What were they thinking when they made the movie! The producer would be a relieved man with the in-film promotions of Docomo, and the general hype and interest surrounding a Siddique movie which would ensure the movie being a hit.

And this movie, I hear, is going to be remade in Tamil with Vijay? In Telugu with Venkatesh?

Oh Lord.

The Delhi Tour/Happy New Year

The end of ’09 looked good for me, with  three trips to three awesome places. The first being to Wayanad, then a quick official trip and finally, the best in a few years. A superbly satisfying 8-day trip to New Delhi, Jaipur, Mathura and Agra. The weather was quite chilly, which added to the pleasure. A much-welcome respite from the humid, sweaty climate in Cochin.

Jaipur, the Pink City, had fortifications and walls all over the town. Nearly every other building looked like a heritage monument. And the road traffic is just horrific. Agra made me stand in a big queue for over an hour to see the Taj Mahal, which was worth it anyway.

Also visited Mathura, the birthplace of Shri Krishna. It is one  big struggle to get to the temple successfully. The whole thing looked like a typical video game. You’re in a taxi. There are tons of random roads, all dusty and crowded. Your mission is to reach the highly controversial Janmabhoomi temple, and there are no sign posts anywhere. Almost every person in the road is waiting to divert you from your destination, luring you to visit their own small temples, and ten people point to ten different directions when asked the actual route to the temple. At last, if by some luck, you do manage to reach the temple, there’s a mile-long queue for security check which moves at snail-pace. Thank God, our taxiwala bhayya was a pro in these matters!

Now coming to Delhi. The Corporation officials of my city can well learn about maintaining a clean city and ensuring minimum traffic congestion with good roads from the folks there. Lovely roads, especially in the important parts of the city. The Metro Rail is excellent, and I seriously doubt whether such a thing would ever come in Cochin, in spite of the brains behind the projects being the same. Blurdy land acquisition problems. There would be Hartals and Strikes from day one, if the plan ever did materialise. And the roads, well, there seem to be more craters in the roads in my city than in Moon or Mars!

We had to cancel the Haridwar/Rishikesh trip mid-way because of the heavy fog. The few kilometres we went before we cancelled were mind-blowing! It was zero visibility and total blank view, and there were upturned vehicles and fog-related accidents at almost every corner.

Anyways, let’s hope the year ahead is good, serene and calm. Here’s wishing you all a happy, healthy and fruitful 2010!

The Wayanad Tour

Just got back from an amazing tour to Wayanad. Wayanad is a spectacularly beautiful hill station/forest area in northern Kerala. A must-visit place for nature-lovers.

This is a synopsis of the tour, arranged in numbers. And I clarify, this is not because of the popular conception of CAs being mad-about-numbers people. Heh.

1 – One bus. Twenty people. One rocking tour!

2 – Number of days spent in Wayanad. 

3 – Number of movies watched in the bus during the whole journey. All yucky movies, sadly.

4 – Hours spent at Kuruva Dweep. Awesome four hours. Lovely place. One of the best experiences for a water lover. And one of the rarest clean picnic spots we can see in India.

5 – Number of people who went out for a walk at 11 PM along a totally empty road in the middle of a forest in Vythiri, with no houses or habitation around for kilometres.

6 – Time (in minutes) the above walk lasted before the team got shit scared and ran back to safety.

7 – Number of guys who were interested in getting their snaps taken beside the rocks and water in Banasurasagar Dam, and got busted by the cops for entering prohibited area.

8 – Minutes the above-mentioned cops spent advising (Of course, in Kerala Police terms) the above-mentioned law-breakers about Godknowswhat.

9 – Time (in hours) taken to reach Wayanad from Cochin.

10 – Minutes my chappals lasted before breaking apart on our 1.5 hour trek atop Chembra Peak till the supposedly-never-drying lake.


C.A.tch-22

Please answer this simple question before you start reading this –
Expand C.A.
Well, you have options to choose from:
A. California
B. Cricket Australia
C. Captain America
D. Chartered Accountancy
The following might seem highly vague and wtf’ish if your answer to the above was A,B or C. If your answer was D, there is no guarantee, but just a slight chance that you might understand this, unless of course, you were one of them dummies.;) The different colours are just a ploy to distinguish the speaker.

<Scene 1. Jumbo and Co., Chartered Accountants>
“Hey Ravi! Did you speak to Sir about the leave?”

“No, Midhun. Was waiting for you. Do you think we will get three months leave for PCC?”
“I wish I could say yes, but sadly, I’m not the partner, nor his son. Hee hee. Let’s just hope for the best. You ask Sir about the leave first.”
“Oh, whatanideasirji! Shut up. Ravi, you ask him. Sir was impressed with you over the presentation the other day too, you know. That could have an impact.”
“Could Ravi, could. Could does not equal will. And so, sorry to disappoint, I am not ready to be the scapegoat. Why don’t you take the honor?”
“Oh, spoilsport. Listen. This isn’t gonna work. We both go in together, ask and clear it out. Ok?”
“Fine. All the best to us. Fingers crossed.”

<Scene Two. Sir’s Cabin.>
“Sir..?”
“Yes.. Oh, hi, guys. What’s this double power. Some Gherao? Please. Spare me. Hah hah.”
“Er, No sir, actually, we have our exams in November.”
“Oh yeah. Good. Hmmm.. You know, when I was writing my Inter, that is, decades back, …”
<Fifteen minutes later>
“… ahhh.. that was long back.
You guys are lucky, exams are much easier these days.  Anyway, what’s the status of the report I gave you, Ravi? Oh, Midhun, you are free? We have an audit to start. Why don’t you start the assignment tomorrow?”
“Errrr. Okay sir..! :-o”

<One week later.>
<Scene Three. Jumbo and Co.>

“Sir..?”
“Yes.. Hello, guys. Tell me. The report ready?”
“Sir, actually, regarding our exam, can we start our study leave from August?”
“What! August? Thats three months? Long time. Believe me, you just need two months for Inter. Anyway, how prepared are each of you? Let me see. Midhun, what does Section 43B of the Income Tax Act say?”
“Er, sir.. That..”
“Hmm.  So you don’t even know that. Tell me, what does AS-19 deal with?”
“A….S….19….”
“Oh my God. And you are supposed to write Inter in a few months. And this is your preparation? No way. You forget this exam, start preparing seriously from today, and write the next exam coming up in May. Ravi, You tell me the answer.”
“Sir, 43B deals with the Deductions on Actual Payment and AS-19 is Leases.”
“Oh, good, that’s right. So you have prepared well already. Why do you need three months then? You can do it with two months of leave, I’m sure. So that solves it. Guys, if you don’t mind, I have a seminar to attend. See you people tomorrow. And don’t forget about the report, ok?”
“……………..”
“……………..”

Kerala Cafe – My view

Lazy sunday, had two movies to choose from. Kerala Cafe, the latest malayalam multi-starrer, or Pazhassi Raja, the multi-‘crore’r historical saga.

Well, personally not interested in spending 2.5 hours over a movie in which the final outcome is certain. (The Raja shouts, fights, horse-rides. Finally, the Indian allies betray the Raja and he gets killed by the British. Replace ‘The Raja’ with any king you have learnt about in history text books, and the plot is the same.) Whats the point? Superb special effects, sound recording and originality? Thanks, but no thanks. What, creating history awareness and celebrating our culture? Oh please!

So, Kerala Cafe was the chosen flick. One movie, with ten sub-movies/short films, each lasting 10-12 minutes each. Attempted for the first time in Malayalam.

< Spoiler Alert >

The movie starts off with Nostalgia starring Dileep, and the plot dealing with an NRI mindset. Considering Dileep’s other recent releases, this gets a 7 upon 10. Good for a start.

The next is Island Express, starring Prithviraj (of course, Jayasurya accompanies) and others. Confusing at first, a superb ending gives it 8 upon 10. Really into the movie now.

Suresh Gopi’s Lalitham Hiranmayam comes next. Er, bad concept for a Malayalam movie and bad screenplay. Can’t get boring in just ten minutes, but still, bad. 5 upon 10.

Of course, ten sub-movies, one of them had to deal with a horror theme. Well, Mrithyunjayam could have just not been there. It is just there, as if for the sake of bringing in a horror theme in the movie. An old mansion with ugly figures popping out randomly and doing ‘booo-hah-got-you’  stopped scaring me years back. Cliched, childish and boring. 4 upon 10.

Happy Journey featuring Jagathi Sreekumar is the pick of the first half. Close second being Island Express) Simple theme, well presented, with of course, awesome acting as usual by Jagathi Sreekumar. 8 upon 10.

The second half starts with Aviramam, starring Siddhique. Well, something looked missing. This one about recession could have been presented, er, differently I guess. 6 upon 10.

Shyamaprasad then brings across Off Season, with Suraaj Venjaramood in the lead. Starts off really well and raises expectations, but goes downhill fast. There could have been more creativity in the only light-hearted subject of the lot. 6 upon 10 again.

Bridge, by director Anwar Rasheed, is beautiful. Really different from his earlier ‘masala’ movies (Rajamanickam, Chota Mumbai, Annan Thambi), this one stands out in the second half. 8 upon 10. Salim Kumar looks fine for the role and the old lady impresses.

Revathy’s movie Makal, relating to child trafficking, carried a lot of expectations, and manages to come out ok. This one could have been presented better too. But I still haven’t figured out what the first scene of this one had to do with the rest of it. Hmm? 7 upon 10.

The last one being Lal Jose’s Puram Kazhchakal, starring Mammootty and Srinivasan. This one does not bring any fireworks, but is good. The general tone built up for the twist at the end is good, and the twist does not let the build-up down. 8 upon 10.

The point was to make all the stories linked to a common theme, namely Kerala Cafe, a railway canteen. The link could have been better, considering the emphasis given to it. Certain scenes in some stories appear forced to show something just to relate to the link. Overall, my man of the match would be Anwar Rasheed. Good work with Bridge!

Though not very original in concept, this of course deserves special applause in the present Malayalam film scenario full of cliched plots and flops after flops. Go and watch the movie! One of the better Malayalam releases of the year!

Exams and Results

It’s official. Yours truly is now a degree holder. B.Com First Class, to be precise. The only regret being not attending a college, whereby missing out on class-bunking, movie-watching, boozing, drooling, partying, ah, you know the rest! In short, skipped out years of jolly time wastage by deciding to become the person who is awake among those who sleep.

(By the way, a google search on the above quote results not in the ICAI motto, but on sleep disorders. Well, No surprises there eh?)

I wish there was a way to look into how my university people value the answer sheets and set the marks. My mark list shows that I got 40 marks in Costing I and a 90 in Costing II. Which is like getting a 40 in CBSE Class X English exam and a 90 (equivalent) in TOEFL. Okay, thats exaggerating. But you get the point. So, according to them, I know just about enough to manage to pass in the basics part, while I’m an expert at the advanced topics. Kewl! Wonder what they were smoking. Anyway, the rest of the marks are equally bewildering.

Hmm. On another side, all kinds of rumours are spreading on a change in the ICAI exam pattern following their press release about students expected to have advanced knowledge right from the PCC level. An increase in the minimum marks or cut off level seems to be the most common one. Why do all the rumours that we hear tend to be bad ones?!

To the November exam guys: All the best, ppl! Rock the show!

And to everyone: Happy Deepavali 🙂