Monday, June 26, 2017
Vasu Reddy from Chicago
Love for movies has been life time for me. On Friday (6-24-2017) I saw Salman Khan’s new movie Tube light. For some unexplained reason, our bathroom lights were flickering right after I watched the movie. This movie just like any other movie, is just fine with me. It has a bit more melodrama (taking you back to a couple of generations of emotions) and has a big cast including Om Puri, Salman Khan and his brother along with a good support cast and thrown in for good measure of Indo-Chinese conflict and melodrama with a couple of Chinese actors. The movie itself is simple is limited to a small village on the foothills of the Himalayas. The backdrop is wonderful and picturesque.
The movie critics have panned the movie. The box office has not been as magical as Salman Khan’s last few movies. This should not come as a surprise to anyone as the movie itself is not a regular masala movie but focuses on a boy/man who is developmentally challenged and his convictions of innocence. The movie depicts India’s small and diverse communities. It captures the nuances of different people, and certainly the brotherhood. I thought the movie was just fine and really did not have any issue with the central theme of a man with development disabilities, his love for his brother and affinity to people around him, and mainly to truth. It is a predictable and something we have watched a thousand times. Being critical of this movie and panning its story is a derivative of making the hero a normal and mentally challenged person, and moving Salman Khan away from his onscreen persona. The point of making Indian sensibilities a focus got lost in criticizing the movie.
India has always been and continues to be a nation full of stereotyping. Indians brand people based on language, color, religion and abilities. All movies make constant references to human beings, and most times use it as humor. Indians have a (nick) name for everyone and everything and using a stereotypical reference is a common place. No one in India (Indians) have a qualm about referring someone as “Tube Light” without any hint of apology or irony. In all cases people are referred to as how people feel in identifying each other.
I still remember being referred to as a “Madrasi” when I went to study in Utter Pradesh. I don’t think anything has changed in all these years. Our mindset remains the same. Indians have an uncanny ability to come up with a reference to every individual and the way we use nick names is engrained in our psychology. Sometimes it is hurtful but the references are innocent. If you remove Salman from the movie Tube Light, his character is a common reference to anyone with developmental challenges, and panning this movie is because of how we got used to seeing him onscreen.
While I searched for the origins of sarcasm, it has been a part of human behavior. We simply add references and stereotypes to everything and everyone. India with its diversity has a great dose of such sarcasm built into its system. It is such a widespread practice, Indians simply accept it as a normality.
While I am not an expert of movie reviews and the psychology of movies goers, this movie is commendable because of Salman Khan, and his shedding his macho image. It might not deliver the mega blockbusters of his previous movies, but depicts the Indian societies behavior towards its own in both developmental issues and regional intolerance.
Monday, June 19, 2017
Vasu Reddy from Chicago
Trump always said if some hits you hit them back harder. Although I start writing about Newton’s Third Law (for every action there is equal and opposite reaction), Trump has 70 years of life’s experience in hitting back at anyone who questions or differs with him. He is from New York and a real estate developer, and is an old man with life’s experience of hard knocks and hitting back, and more so rebuilding (building and rebuilding) again and again. No one must like him or dislike him for who he is, as he is the president of the United Sates, and people put him there. To complain, to keep trying to make him something he is not or doesn’t want to do, is impractical, especially given that he is the most powerful man on earth, leading the USA.
Only referring to previous presidential behavior as presidential is history, and much has changed with each presidency and its time and place. From Washington to Obama, times are very different in between each president’s time in office. We certainly are a part of the world that has become more accessible and more violent with each given time and opportunity.
Trump is the 45th president of the USA. Only 44 men have been in the place he is today, and people supported the election. He won fair and square according to the US Constitution. He is not from a political lineage and has no policy experience, nor he was ever surrounded with policy makers. Trump is not a man of patience and politics. He simply decides and tries to throw that thought on to the public. His impatience with political maneuvering and conscious building is non-existent. He is only supported by the Republican party which was unsure of his words and policies before he got elected, and a clear majority of them are still not sure of the same even after his election, but they support the party’s platform that Trump represents.
Trump doesn’t really care. He strikes back, and furious about things that doesn’t suit him or his plans. He has an added burden of his family in the political and business mix. He loves to say what he feels (always served his purpose), he loves to keep his family around (he always did) and he is impulsive in his actions and words. The added platform for him is the social media, which he uses constantly to communicate unfiltered comments. For the president and a man of 70 years, it is impossible to start to be someone different. Both his age and his position are not something, that someone can provide presidential guidance. There is no such thing as presidential and Trump is the president and what he is doing in the office is presidential.
America First, is the main verse in every presidential manifesto. Trump makes it his stump. Which is a worthy political choice for any politician running for public office. Each of the presidents implement and find ways to place the nation first, and if we remove the political rhetoric, there is no doubt that all the 44 presidents prior to Trump were all nation first, and people first. When the nation (or perhaps the world) starts to understand what we have is a president who reacts differently to what the world (anyone) responds to him, then his actions will be accepted as presidential. We are after all a nation that works on laws. If we continue to see the president react to each action that (he may or may not like) then just get used to it, as in his time in office, that is what presidential exactly means.
Newton’s Third law:
When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.
Monday, June 05, 2017
Vasu Reddy from Chicago
In you have lived in the Chicago area for about 20 years, you notice the changes to the weather. Winter is no longer 4 to 5 months long with snow, clod and blowing wind, where you must bundle up before venturing out. There were Aprils where snow was still around.
It has become a standard phrase for long-time residents in the area to say, “I don’t miss the snow and wintry weather”. The mid-west might have missed the year (several years) in having snow cover for four or five months, but it does impact the rest of the seasons. Hot weather in May and not a white Christmas or New Year. It is strange.
Our four seasons have their own charm, seasonality and importance. One season leads to the other, people, farming, life-style, everything moderate each-other and life is in full cycle, all four seasons. Each season with its own charm and importance and reason, keeping with the cycle of life. Weather was predictable and life revolved around the seasons.
Landing in Chicago from India, you had to appreciate the seasons. I always loved all the weather. I look forward to each season, and have always been happy to see them change in front of your eyes. The rain, snow, humidity (little), hot and wintry weather, and whatever mother nature decides in-between, was just fine. You just dressed for the weather and moved on. I believe in my whole driving career there was only one day was lost to a snow day and that too after I drive to work, I had to turn back and go home as there was no way to get into the parking lot. The company was closed after I drove 25 miles from home to get to work; closed because of snow day.
Those of us who live here adjust quickly to the changes to the weather. You can tune into new radio 780, and every hour you get ten weather updates, and many at times it does change quickly.
In the beginning of my time in the USA, I thought it was scam by the department stores, to change the seasons to sell their seasonal wear, and this happened constantly so I really believed that there was something sinister with weather and seasonal sales advertisements.
Once you appreciated the weather and the seasonality, you begin to enjoy the changes. I still do, as well as my children. There is not enough praise for the glory of mother nature and the beauty of earth. The good earth.
Don’t blame the politicians, or businesses or polluters. Each of them are supported by the entire population. We buy things that pollute the environment and make the businesses rich while they pollute, we give money to politicians who never keep their promises and we trash at every opportunity we get. We also complain about the inclement weather. We don’t want to think of the future. It is east to consume and trash. It is easy to blame someone else. It is easy to exhaust the resources. It is easy to eliminate millions of species. It is easy to pollute the Earth and beyond. We are smart and knowledgeable, we simply don’t care.
In the last few years we no longer experience the four seasons in their full glory. You could be democrat, republican or independent, or not eligible, you all know that there is something different with the weather. It’s not just us in the mid-west, but the entire world is experiencing the unpredictable weather pattern. With the irregular weather, we are also experiencing the consequences of unpredictable seasons. It’s simply can’t be called severe weather, but it’s not natural and seasonal weather.