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Ee Adutha Kaalathu

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Sometimes things come together as if magically. Destiny, luck, coincidence.. whatever you call it, things just seem to lock into place. It’s all right at the end, the good guys win and the bad guys lose. This is the theme of Ee Adutha Kaalathu (In Recent Times) a Malayalam movie released in recent times.

The film shows you multiple threads. You bite hoping it tastes good. The movie drags on and on. You look at the watch anticipating the interval. Then the script knocks you over suddenly and then cuts to the interval. The slow pace of the first half is improved upon in the second half. After a few tense moments the movie comes to a close all movies are supposed to – with the good rewarded and the evil vanquished. Go into the theatre expecting three – quarters of the movie to be slow, please. The way things come together is worth it.

This is not your regular movie with action and romance. The script writer and director tries to tell a good tale and I must say they succeed. The movie touches on themes like poverty, frustration of the married Indian woman, sex rackets and sexual impotence. We come across the husband who hides his impotence by ill treating his wife and acting out fake “affairs” in front of her. The yellow press is not spared, with the script writer showing his disdain for them by creating a dislikable character well played by Jagathi Sreekumar. Most of the actors are competent with some of the stalwarts like Indrajith displaying a fine performance. Indrajith’s name in the starting credits was received with well deserved applause – he seems to have made character driven roles his forte.

Murali Gopy has penned the script with skill. He also dons the greasepaint, essaying a major character with great skill. It is unlikely to be an accident that he chose to essay that particular character as it is quite clear the lovingness with which that character is detailed. The character stands out with his frustration and quirks. The writer bringing it alive on screen is indeed a treat to watch.

Arun Kumar directs and edits this movie. He presents the brilliant script really well. There does seem to be a few rough edges that I expect he will polish. His previous attempt at direction – Cocktail – justifiably did well in the box office.

Anoop Menon’s presence in a film has come to be seen by some as a weatherwane of sorts. The actor tends to be selective and shows up in really good movies. In this movie too he plays the character of the pompous Commissioner of police really well. Contrast this with another Commissioner who has set out to blast our eardrums with the err.. King!

Overall I would definitely recommend this movie. Go ahead and watch it – Malayalam cinema is still alive! :)

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Railways extend booking of tickets from 90 days to 120

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The period in which you can reserve train tickets has been increased from 90 days to 120 days. Apparently this is being done on an experimental basis. This does not affect some short distance trains like Taj Express and Gomti Express.

Reactions to this change have been on mostly predictable lines. Most users have gone through a lot of wasted time and effort in booking a ticket via IRCTC and it shows. Most of the comments were along the lines of “Railway tickets can now be booked 120-days in advance. That is 30-extra days for IRCTC website to die on you“. All justifiable :D

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Midnight in Paris

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I saw Midnight in Paris and wanted to talk to Woody Allen about it (Yes, I’m only hallucinating). We sat down and talked.

Me : This concept of “flaw in the .. imagination of those who can’t cope with the present” and “delusion” pointing to a certain escapism as far as Gil is concerned. The movie revolves around that.

Woody Allen : Yes. Gil is a character who, for whatever reason, grudgingly goes through the motions of the present. He yearns for a “Golden Age” and lives in the notion that that particular period in time – space would be the ideal, would be his paradise or Xanadu.

Me : A lot of people suffer from this “Golden Age Thinking”.

WA : I think human beings are almost always deeply dissatisfied with the situation they are in. They strive for the better. While remembering the ages past we tend to keep with us only snapshots. And certain ages we tend to think was the best time ever. We construct an image of that time and hang on to that belief because of the dissatisfaction with the present. We dare not think that the future will be that Xanadu, we assume it must be something that has passed already. Man feels that his condition has worsened ever since he came out of the womb. At the beginning all he cared about was sleeping and eating. We pooped when we wanted to and cried when we felt hungry. We did not have to struggle to survive, whatever we wanted to have was available to us. But today as adults we struggle. We fight for our daily meal, our social standing and a million other things. We then extrapolate… surely the past was the most wonderful time there was?

Me : What is wrong with this notion? It is true in a sense, is it not?

WA : It’s when he sees Adriana’s escapism that Gil gets his insight. He realises that he was trying to escape his unsatisfactory life into the golden age of the 1920s. He observers Adriana escaping into the 1890s and Gauguin talking about the golden age of the Renaissance. Every age thinks of another age before them as the perfect one. When you were in college you had a similar experience, you thought a previous batch was the best batch ever in the history of your college. They must’ve thought something similar about a batch that graduated before they did. Every age yearns for a past age. The reason for that yearning is not the truth, the drive comes from being unsatisfied with the present. It comes about when we try to escape the present instead of living and enjoying every moment of it.

Me : Live and enjoy every moment of the present?

WA : You’ve heard this joke about the lady and her dream. The lady has a dream where a tall dark and handsome man walks up close to her and removes the layers of his clothing one by one. Once he’s naked the lady asks the man, “What happens next?”. The man answers, “Lady, it’s your dream. You decide”. Imagine that you’re living in a dream. A dream in your mind. Now just live it the way you want to. Don’t think of ifs and buts. What you have with you is a beautiful thing. No one can take that away from you and no one can give it to you. It’s all yours. It is you who have to decide what to do with it. Just live it!

Me : Inez does not understand Gil’s need to write something more than “Hollywood hacks”.

WA : Inez and Gil inhabit different worlds. Gil was brought up on good literature and his job of writing scripts does not satisfy him. That’s not really what he wants. He considers himself a sellout, like he’s sold his soul to the devil. He aspires for a higher path. In a sense he’s a fallen angel who longs to return to heaven. Inez is carried away by Paul’s self – assuredness and his achievements. She feels a sense of stability with Paul and a sense that she’s missing out on a lot of things with Gil. Her priorities are different. They saw about Leslie McFarlane, the author of Hardy Boys, that he was immensely ashamed of his work. He considered them a nuisance and the only reason he wrote the Hardy Boys series was to pay the bills. However, a person who had read nothing but Hardy Boys would not understand Leslie’s feeling. It is in this same way that Inez is not touched by Gil’s urge to write a novel.

Me : Hemingway comes across as rather brusque, in a sense, always looking to pick up a fight or something.

WA : He’s honest to the point of being a little brusque. But what do you know about Hemingway?

Me : Not much really…

WA : Then shut up. I know him, Ok? You want to settle the matter over a fight? Do you box?

Me : Now you’re talking like the Hemingway character in your movie.

WA : I’m just a figment of your imagination, I’m just doing it the way you want me to.

Me : Go to sleep

WA : Ooh.. look who’s sleepy

Me : Shut up or I’ll punch ya

WA : Oh you gonna punch me? you gonna punch ME?

We leave my imagination there. It needs to take some rest.

 

 

ps : In case you haven’t recognised it yet, this isn’t an actual conversation between me and Woody Allen. It’s just me trying to get some words into my blog.

 

Update : Woody Allen just won the Original Screenplay Oscar for Midnight in Paris. Yayyyy!!! :)

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Changes to tatkal rules

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Some changes have been made to tatkal rules. Tatkal booking will now start only 1 day before journey date. Earlier this was 2 days. For example, if you need to book a tatkal ticket for your journey on Nov 17 you have to book your ticket on Nov 16 and not Nov 15th as it was previously. This was announced by minister Dinesh Trivedi on November 12, 2011.There will be no refund on confirmed tatkal tickets.At the time of booking we are required to provide the details of the identity card we would be carrying at the time of journey. The reservation chart will contain the details of the identity card being carried. You can also book only 4 berths per tatkal ticket as opposed to 6 earlier.

These new rules have been introduced to prevent misuse of tatkal by agents and louts. Whether these will actually prevent misuse remains to be seen. The idea of the ministry is to allow only genuine passengers to book tatkal tickets in case of emergency.

If you have booked a waiting list ticket and are waiting for it to get confirmed (or not) to book a tatkal ticket, then the extra one day will help you. Most of the cancellations happen in the last 2 – 3 days before the journey. Now this will make it easier to decide if we want to book a tatkal ticket or not.

The stricter rules also mean that you need to make sure beforehand which identity card you’ll be carrying with you. Previously, booking an online ticket required the user to give the identity card details at the time of booking the ticket. The Railways amended this rule allowing any one passenger to carry an identity card. No longer was the identity card details required at the time of booking. Now we have a situation where the identity card details are required at the time of booking for Tatkal tickets only.

So take extra care when you book a tatkal ticket from now. Do check if you can get the ticket through the general quota.

Update : As per the latest notification in the IRCTC site -

1. The Advance Reservation Period (ARP) of Tatkal scheme is reduced from two days to one day excluding the day of journey from the train originating station. For example, if train is to depart from the originating station on the second of the month, the Tatkal quota booking for that particular train will open at 08:00 hrs on the first of the month from originating station.

2. For booking Tatkal e-tickets, the passenger shall enter the ID proof type and number, which is to be used for travel. These details will be printed on the ERS/VRM as well as in the reservation chart.

3. During the journey, the passenger, whose identity card number has been indicated on the ticket, will have to produce original proof of identity indicated on the ticket, failing which all the passengers booked on the ticket shall be treated as travelling without ticket and charged accordingly.

4. Maximum of four passengers per PNR can be booked on Tatkal e-tickets.

5. No refund will be granted on cancellation of confirmed Tatkal ticket except in case of circumstance mentioned in para 2 of instructions contained in Commercial Circular no. 53 of 2006 issued vide letter no. 2006/TGI-I/20/P/Tatkal, dated 30.06.2006.

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RIP, Dennis Ritchie

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This is a bad bad month for technology. First it was Steve Jobs, now it is reported that Dennis Ritchie (dmr) is no more. Rob Pike has posted that Dennis Ritchie passed away in his Google+ stream. In his post he says :

I just heard that, after a long illness, Dennis Ritchie (dmr) died at home this weekend. I have no more information.

I trust there are people here who will appreciate the reach of his contributions and mourn his passing appropriately.

He was a quiet and mostly private man, but he was also my friend, colleague, and collaborator, and the world has lost a truly great mind.

For those who don’t know, Dennis Ritchie is one of the inventors of the C language and UNIX. Much of computing today stand on the foundations built by this great man. Without C, we wouldn’t have high level languages. Without UNIX, Operating Systems (including Linux, Mac OS and BSD) wouldn’t have reached the state it has today. We owe a lot to him and it’s with sadness that we receive this news.

RIP, dmr.

Update : If you’re looking for Dennis Ritchie’s homepage, then it maybe down right now. See Google’s cached version of the page. TechCrunch has also reported the news.

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RIP, Steve

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Steve Jobs has passed away.

There are few people who truly change the flow of the human race. Steve Jobs was one of those few. People will talk about him, worship him and study him for years. Those of us who lived while he did will consider themselves fortunate.

He always thought of the normal guy. Few people could do that. His obsession with creating wonderful products changed the way we live. If you told me a few years back that I would own a smartphone and it would do all the amazing things it does, then I would have laughed at you. So would a million people. If you told me that I would listen to music with a player smaller than a matchbox, then I would have laughed at you. Much of the revolution today can be attributed to the vision and persistence of a single individual.

He was more than an engineer. In many ways he taught engineers to follow a higher calling. Teaching us that all of what we do has no significance until it can bring a smile to your neighbour.

Steve, the world will miss you. Rest in peace.

Steve Jobs 1955 – 2011

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Double decker coach introduced by Indian Railways

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Indian Railways has introduced an AC double decker coach on the 12383(Up)/12384(Down) Howrah – Dhanbad Express. It was designed ingeniously by Research Development and Standard Organisation and developed by Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala. The coach can run on a train with diesel engine.

The fully air-conditioned train will have chair car coaches and will start from Dhanbad at 5 am to arrive at Howrah at 9.15 am on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. From Howrah, it will start at 3.20 p.m. on every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and reach Dhanbad at 7.40 p.m.

If the double-decker becomes a hit, Indian Railways will probably release it in other trains as well. The increased carrying capacity could be enormously useful in routes that are crying for more trains such as Bangalore – Kerala route. I believe a lot of passengers will travel in it for the new experience at first and then as they get used to it will appreciate the usefulness as well.

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Engeyum Eppothum

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Engeyum Eppothum poster

We’ve heard the same thing an umpteen number of times – drive carefully. It is refreshing to hear the same thing being gently given to you instead of pushing it with a stick down your throat. Lest you think that’s all there is to Engeyum Eppothum, the movie boasts of excellent characterisation and brilliant performances from its leading cast. M Saravanan has shown that good cinema does not require a superstar and that good cinema will be accepted by audiences.

The movie opens with a horrifying accident involving 2 buses – one heading from Trichy to Chennai and the other in the opposite route. The film then unravels some of the characters in the buses and takes the audience to the lives and love. Each of those characters offer a chance to connect. You would stand by idly and move on in accident involving people you do not know. You would be actively involved in the rescue effort if a loved one’s life is at stake. This film gives you ordinary characters you can connect with and through their pain, feel disturbed. This is,perhaps, in contrast to the young men in Ko whose desire to see a change in the political system is not explained with much depth. Other devices were employed by the filmmakers to keep the audience connect.

Among the characters in the movie the character of Manimegalai ( played by Anjali ) stands out. Anjali portrays the strong Nurse brilliantly. Practical to the point of being blunt, her antics finds us giving her a special place in our hearts. Kathiresan, played by Jai, provides an excellent foil to Manimegalai. Simple and naive, his true love makes him endearing to the audience. The two other leads – Amutha ( Ananya ) and Gautham ( Sharvanand ) also plays their role very well. There are some side characters, like a Gulf returnee who is dying to finally meet his daughter, who provide richness to the texture of the film.

In this age of superstar movies and mindless song – dance routines this film provides a welcome relief. Do watch it.

Engeyum Eppothum

Definitely worth a watch

How an accident cuts short the life of many people. The film provides us with a peek into the life and love of some characters and how their plans for the future are smashed by an accident

Rating by Anirudh: 4.0 stars
****

 

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Printed tickets not mandatory for tickets booked from IRCTC

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Forgot to print the ticket you got from IRCTC? Not a problem, if you have a copy of the ticket in your laptop or mobile. As per the latest IRCTC notification (emphasis added) -

Electronic Reservation Slip (ERS) – The printout in standard specified Performa containing reservation particulars, and instructions for use which can be used by the passenger along with the relevant authorized Identification, as travel authority for performing the journey.

Virtual Reservation Message (VRM) – A screen-shot of the e-ticket displayed through laptops/palmtops/ Mobile phone is referred as Virtual Reservation Message (VRM).

ERS/VRM along with any one of the eight prescribed ID proofs in original and the indication of the passenger(s)’ name(s) in the Reservation Chart will authorize the passenger to travel.

VRM combined with valid photo-id in original will be treated as an instrument on par with the ERS.

ERS/VRM along with one of the eight prescribed proofs of identity in original will also authorize the passenger to enter the platform on the day of journey and he/she will not be required to purchase platform ticket. ERS/VRM along with original id proof will be required to be produced on demand of Ticket Checking Staff on the platform.

– as per https://www.irctc.co.in/VRM.htm

What this means is that you can show a screenshot or pdf of the ticket from IRCTC along with your ID card in original (which you needed to anyway) instead of a printout.

Save paper, save trees. What an idea, sirjee :)

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How to solve the “local edit, incoming delete upon update” issue in SVN

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When I removed a file from svn it caused me lot of problems. This particular file was in CamelCase and I needed to replace it with a file in lower case. I svn deleted the CamelCase file and committed a copy of the lower case file. All this happened in a windows system. When I updated the checked out branch I got the error :

At revision 17582.
!  +  C FooBar.php
>   local edit, incoming delete upon update

Multiple attempts at svn cleanup, svn update etc. failed. I came across this stack overflow thread which recommended svn resolve. This did not work for me. Further down the thread I came across another solution which worked.

  1. create FooBar.php ( $touch FooBar.php )
  2. svn revert it ( $svn revert FooBar.php )
  3. Check status ( $svn status ) . It should say ?FooBar.php
  4. Now remove FooBar.php ( $rm FooBar.php )

That’s it, you’re done :)

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