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Ratheesh KrishnaVadhyar's Journal Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Ratheesh KrishnaVadhyar" journal:

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March 24th, 2017
08:19 am

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Water Worries
Summer is just starting now, but bore wells have all already started drying out and I guess this year Bangalore is going to face the worst Water Crisis in recent times. In spite of taking huge property taxes and even advance payments and deposits from the residents for BWSSB water supply, the pathetic Karnataka Government hasn't been able to extend water pipelines to many parts of the city. The pipelines in fact have reached till just a few hundred meters away from the place where we live, but the authorities are saying that we will have to financially sponsor the laying of extension pipelines from the current endpoint to our area in case we need water! However, there is no guarantee that we would get a drop of water even if we spend money for the pipelines, as the situation of Cauvery water availability is overall grim anyways.

Water has become like a luxury material now, and even the tankers supplying water from faraway places are not able to get enough supply, even though consumers are ready to pay higher amounts than usual. Near my home, at least 10000 apartments are nearing completion in the coming few months, and construction work by some more builders have started, just adjacent to a lake-bed, making mockery on the order by National Green Tribunal. I am not sure what is going to happen when people start living in these apartments and would need another couple of millions of liters of water every day.

Lakes are frothing with chemicals, Stench from compost processing plants setup in the middle of the city have become a part of the landscape.. and when all this is going on, the Government, which is not even able to provide basic necessities to its people, is working on crazy proposals like steel flyovers and what not!

Perhaps my age is making me rant on very pessimistic lines, but I am now getting seriously skeptical about the future of our species beyond probably a couple of centuries. There are types of animals like river dolphins which had survived multiple cataclysmic events over a span of millions of years, but Man managed to make them extinct by just a couple of decades of industrialization. How will our future be after a hundred years, if the current political and government systems continue as they are? I earn a living working for a company that takes pride in being "environmentally conscious". But beneath those colorful banners advertising the "green initiatives", the reality remains that the company is hoping to monetize by various means Man's laziness and craze for fancy means for convenience - by filling the world with sensor devices to do funny things like operating the toilet flush by staring at them, to give an example.

I think the current school eduction system needs radical changes to give primary emphasis on creating consciousness about the state of our planet, rather than on generation of more batches of potential IT professionals prepared for the so-called "competitive world". It is likely that the coming few generations of humans would be the last ones which would have realistic chances to initiate changes to reverse the current trends.

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March 23rd, 2017
02:37 pm

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Aliyan Vs Aliyan
I enjoy watching the Aliyan Vs Aliyan comedy serial coming on Amrita TV channel. The serial portrays the rivalries between two Aliyans and their families, living in two separate portions of a single house. Most of the actors from the Marimayam serial act in this serial too, and their humorous performances often reminded me of veteran actor Jagathi.

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March 21st, 2017
02:00 pm

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Pa Va
Watched Pa Va, a Malayalam film with Murali Gopi (Pappan) and Anoop Menon (Varkey) in lead roles playing as two old men, who have been close friends since their childhood. Varkey passes away, only to come back to Pappan as ghostly visions and continue their friendly conversations. They talk about the girl both of them had fallen for when they were young (the events are shown briefly over a sweet song). The girl could never reveal if she was also in love with any of the two friends, as she was enrolled in the catholic convent by her family, and she fell sick and died soon after. The two friends had moved on from there and grown up to become very rich men. Varkey had a craze for collecting antiques, and his ghost now wants Pappan's help to acquire the most precious antique he could hope for - the old diary of the girl with whom they were perennially in love.

I think the basic story thread of Pa Va was very promising and had potentials to make an excellent film. But it looks like director Sooraj Tom wanted to make just a light hearted comedy based on it, and the result is a very mediocre film. However, considering that this is his first film, I think he deserves some appreciation. The parallel thread in the film showing Varkey's efforts to persuade Pappan to go back to his roots and shift his edavaka to his native place, and the impact of this decision on the local church and its priest (brilliantly played by P Balachandran in his characteristic style), adds some humor to the narrative.

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March 19th, 2017
10:11 pm

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Angamaly Diaries
Angamaly Diaries, Malayalam film directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery, portrays the rivalries between to "gangs" in the background of the town of Angamaly. One "gang" consists of mostly youngsters, lead by the main character of the movie named Pepe who is also the narrator of the story - They were friends from childhood and had derived inspirations from the previous generation of local goondas, who used to gather trophies from all the football matches they played, even by snatching them from the real winners, if needed!

Actor Chemban Vinod Jose has written the script for Angamaly Diaries, and he does a brief guest role in a few-seconds long scene of the film. The film has 86 newcomers in it, and I guess, other than Chemban, there is not a single person in the film who has come on screen before. Though the story or script doesn't have much to boast of, Lijo's directorial skills stand out in this film, and it is amazing to see him derive excellent performance from these newcomers, who all seem to be living in their roles. There is a kind of rawness to the narrative style, with a tinge of of dark humor that is typical of the director, the camera work and background music are excellent, and the editing is crisp. Though the events in the story are somewhat predictable and mundane, Lijo's fast-paced and entertaining narrative style makes us feel engaged in the happenings.

Though I liked Lijo's efforts and can say that Angamaly Diaries is a unique Malayalam film, I cant say that it is such a touching or memorable film that I would want to watch once again. A lot of emphasis has been given on the eating habits of Angamaly through those recurring scenes of butchering, cutting and cooking of pork-meat, which I suppose was meant as something to be looked at from the aspect of fun. There are many detailed picturizations of scenes of fights as well (which are done in a very realistic way, and reminded me of Uriyadi, a Tamil movie which I had watched recently). I wish that a percentage of that focus was reallocated to develop the main characters a bit more, at least that of Pepe, to show the finer sensibilities in them - For example, It would be apparent to any person watching the movie that the character Lichi has a crush on Lijo all the way. But Pepe seems to be completely oblivious of it until she tells him in the end, but once he knows of it, he readily accepts it. Even though Pepe has been narrating the story all the while, somehow I never got a feeling of getting to know him closely. I think a bit more attention on some of the finer aspects of characterization would have taken the movie to a different level.

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March 18th, 2017
05:10 pm

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Winter Sleep
Turkish film Winter Sleep, directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, is set in Cappadocia region. We see the landscape changing through various seasons in the movie - The small hills and barren plains that dominate in the beginning of the film, are completely covered with snow in the second half. While these transformers are shown in the background, the film focuses on its characters - The wealthy, aging hotel owner who was once a stage actor and now a column writer in a local magazine, his young wife who takes great interest in philanthropy, his sister who is a divorcee, members of a poor family who are his tenants, and a few other people with whom he happens to interact.

The narrative mostly contains one to one conversations between various characters. Through these lengthy conversations, the director portrays various forms of conflicts - the rich versus poor, the husband versus wife, and so on. The performances are brilliant, and the remarkable film has made me look for other movies made by the director.

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March 12th, 2017
09:09 am

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Indica
Pranay Lal's book Indica narrates the natural history of the geographical area of Indian subcontinent, from the days earth was formed, till the evolution of Homo Sapiens. The author has written this book based on extensive geological and paleontological research that has been done so far, and he tries to connect various findings in order to narrate the story of the subcontinent in a linear form. Though the main subject is the Indian subcontinent, the story cannot be told in a disconnected way; so it narrates the formation of earth and its geographical structures, and the evolution and extinction of various species of earth in general, over several billions of years, with a special focus given on India.

Brilliantly written and informative, the book can be read by people like me who don't have much of a deep scientific background regarding the topic, but want to get a high level glimpse of the whole thing in a condensed form, and it gives the right perspective regarding placement of Man in the larger scheme of things. The book is beautifully published, with several color illustrations and photographs.

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March 11th, 2017
08:42 pm

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Hacksaw Ridge
Watched Hacksaw Ridge, based on real life story of Desmond Doss, who served as a medic in the US army during World War II. Adhering to his principles and religious beliefs, Desmond Doss refuses to touch a weapon even though he volunteers to join the Army. Even though he is ridiculed by his colleagues and superiors during the training period, Doss surprises everyone during US operations in Japan by single-handedly rescuing several wounded soldiers, putting his own life at risk throughout his adventures.

There are several horrifyingly realistic visuals in the war scenes of Hacksaw Ridge. Though the film would make us appreciate the real life hero, I felt that the film as such is neither as gripping and moving as other famous war films like Saving Private Ryan, nor is it an all-round cinematic experience as The Thin Red Line.

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March 8th, 2017
08:09 pm

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Ozhivudivasathe Kali
Kerala State award winning Malayalam film Ozhivudivasathe Kali, directed by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, narrates the events during an Election holiday, when a group of friends get together at a guest house in a remote area, to have some drinks, fresh chicken curry, kappa puzhukku and some time-pass. In the beginning, the event goes as planned, with the discovery of an unripe jackfruit from an adjacent farm adding one more dish to the lunch menu. However, after getting drunk, the friends start discussions on politics and various other social issues, and it becomes apparent that not everything is fine between the friends. They go through ego-clashes, fight with each other, patch up again, and finally play a "game" in the climax.

Through the game, the director shows the way one among the guys, possibly from a Dalit community, is "taken for granted" and oppressed by his friends, even by those who were projected to be having a "progressive outlook" during their earlier conversations. I felt that these scenes were very over-stretched; While I could appreciate the director's efforts to make a "serious" film with different narrative style, I felt that the eagerness to make a very explicit political statement through the climax scene considerably diminished the artistic quality of the film.

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February 27th, 2017
01:19 pm

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Planet Earth II
I watched the six episodes of Planet Earth II, nature documentary series from BBC. Titled as Islands, Mountains, Forests, Deserts, Grasslands and Cities, the series focuses on how animals adapt to the changing environments, how they prey on, and how the preys manage to escape.

It was a very memorable experience watching this series which is amazingly picturized, and we get to see some of the places and animals on earth which probably have never been videographed before.

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February 18th, 2017
04:39 pm

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The Red Turtle
The Red Turtle, a dialogue-less animation film from Studio Ghibli, tells the story of a castaway man in an island.

I liked the film for its brilliant images - The way the film portrays the storms in an ocean, approaching rains in a bamboo forest, a group of young turtles entering the sea in batches - there are many scenes that are remarkable for their brilliantly painted frames and accompanying background music. Apart from the images, the narrative of the film, showing the relationship between the man and a "turtle-woman", as he passes the rest of his life in the island, has elements that would make us ponder over Life in general.

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