Seeing Visions Of Cracks Along The Wall

This song is special for me. When the album Yield came out in 1998, I was going through a rough personal time. When was the last time I had a fine personal time? Anyways, I was about 21 not yet 22, and I saw that the album was out in record stores here in Kochi, India. I bought my tape and went home. Post dinner and it must have been around 10pm when I finally settled down in my bedroom. Sometime later I put the cassette in my stereo system and listened to the album for the first time.

Just before In Hiding came on, I fell asleep and woke up at around 2 am, I woke up again. I decided to play the album again at this song and the lyrics hit me deep. According to Eddie Vedder, the song lyrically was inspired by the work of Charles Bukowski, who often locked himself way for long periods of time so he could work in absolute solitude. “It’s about taking a fast from life,” Eddie Vedder has said. “Doing anything to get yourself back in touch with something real.”

I felt that the lyrics meant that the protagonist was in hiding from society, from family, from friends because he wasn’t happy with several things about life and therefore he decided to become a recluse for a bit. I felt really sad at that time and started tearing up listening to the song, which I ended up playing several times over the next few days. It has remained a strong favourite since then.

Selfie Overload!

Is Social Media Making Us More Narcissistic?

Yes in so many ways. I guess we all have some narcissistic streak in all of us but at different levels. Some have very small doses of it – I for one, atleast think that I have very little of it because, hey even I have a low opinion of myself.

Once in a while taking a few selfies is well understood and it’s fun to do. Having a great hair day? Nice new outfits? At a new location or a funky, happening place? At a party with friends? At a concert or a sporting event? Sure! Meeting friends after a few years? Excellent! All of these I can understand. Your current profile pic for your various social media accounts has become a bit old and stale? Go for it!

What I do not understand is taking 100 selfies in a week! Some guys are at fault too but I notice, atleast where I live that it is mostly girls under the age of 25-26 who do this. Go to the bathroom – takes 150 selfies! What the hell? I think that taking so many selfies is akin to some kind of mental disease.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

ROSHAN’S ELEVEN: Food Joints In Cochin

So these are my current favourite non-large chain food joints that I like visiting on a regular basis. I’m sure this list will change over time especially since I haven’t been to a few places like The Grill Lab which I am dying to visit. Anyways, for now this is where I love to chow!

  • 360 Degree Pizzeria
  • The Burger Junction
  • Cocoa Tree
  • Lil America
  • French Toast
  • Cafe 17
  • Burgeria
  • Chai Kofi
  • Kashi Art Cafe
  • Bloomsbury
  • Mash 24

Your Own Personal K.I.T.T.

Would You Like to Ride in a Car That Drives Itself?

Someone people love to drive. Not in Kochi at the moment with her pothole filled roads in most places and traffic jams up the crack of every ass! But yes a lot of people around the world do love to drive. I don’t drive and I do not have a car or a license to drive either. I wish I could afford to get one now though. I do love long drives as long as it’s not with too many people and the road is good and we are going to a place I’d enjoy.

Now, a car that is backed up AI and drives itself, that would be cool. Just sit, relax and set the seat back and chill with some music on, maybe even have a cold drink and/or a snack. The car will drive itself to your destination. You just worry about getting enough rest on your way to work or to a party or to a wedding or just coming back home. No stress of navigating traffic, honking horns and using deft maneuvers to dodge other vehicles – the AI will have all that done for you.

Imagine how much people would enjoy commuting in these circumstances. It’s like one of those spaceships in Star Trek or another scifi show where you input the co-ordinates into the computer’s console and the system drives it for you, while you can do other things. Sure why not? We can program the cars so that accidents are avoided at all costs.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

New Kid In Town

How Have You Handled Being the ‘New Kid’?

The main time that I remember having been the new kid was in grade 6. I had moved with my family from Kuwait to India and we settled in Cochin. A whole different country – well since I and my family are Indian it should not matter at all. But then I was born and raised in Kuwait till the age of 11 and it was a different experience for me – not as different as say a Western nation and then coming to India – but still it was a change.

I was in a new school and country and I stood out for a while. I was the only one who could not read & right the local language, Malayalam. So I was put in a different class for the second language as the school system has “Special English” for out of state students. You studied English & Hindi with everyone else and then the four to five of us who couldn’t read or write Malayalam went to sit in a smaller class room with a teacher who took additional classes for us but they were in English. And it was fun.

But I made friends quickly and within a few weeks I was fast friends with a bunch of guys and girls who I still keep in touch with even now (30 years later) albeit on Facebook.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

My Favourite Street

What Is Your Favorite Street?

My favourite street in my hometown is Panampilly Nagar Avenue, the main street of Panampily Nagar which is one of the most happening places in Kochi. This long stretch of road has amazing stuff from the beginning to the end stretch. First of all the road is wide so we have plenty of cars that can pass by, the road is decent in it self and we have plenty of walking space.

We have lots of stores and shops and banks and mobile showrooms, computers and laptop showrooms and plenty of eateries and hotels. The side roads too have these amazing food joints that will tickle your taste buds and keep you wanting more. This place has so many banks, it’s crazy but it’s a prime location as most of the really rich people of Kochi have homes there, including several actors.

This avenue has my favourite hot dog place (Lil America), my favourite burger joint (The Burger Junction), my fav doner place (Doner Kebab), my fav pizza place (360 Degree Pizzeria), my favourite French toast place (French Toast) and ofcourse there is Subway, Ming’s Wok, Zataar and the always good cafe and eatery Cocoa Tree. There’s more but I haven’t been to any of them yet. What more could you want in a street?

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

Sunday Plans Changed

This always happens to me. It’s Sunday and yesterday after leaving the house at 10:30 am and having been at the movie theatre and the mall then lunch and coming home by 5pm, I wanted to relax. Not having slept much the previous day and after a long 14 hour work Friday, I could use more relaxation on Saturday evening with an early bedtime. Which I did and am grateful for.

Today the plan was wake up at around 7:30 am or 8 and spend the morning online catching up on Youtube videos of channels that I subscribe to until 11 or 11:30 am and then watch a couple of movies till 5pm, go online again until 8 pm. Watch another movie or two and then to bed as I have to get up by 6am tomorrow to get ready for work. But then my internet service provider decides to play spoil sport.

I wake up and the internet is down. After coffee I wait for sometime but the internet is still down so I call up my ISP’s customer care and raise a complaint. Ofcourse it gets fixed only by around 12 pm! Until that time I listen to music and finally by around noon I get the connectivity back. I also got distracted in changing the look of this blog by installing a new theme. I hope you guys like it. I’ve been fiddling with customizing the theme and I lost a few hours to that today. Post lunch I watch a few episode of BSG and then in the evening we have family over.

Arsenal 3 Bournemouth 0

Danny Welbeck scored twice as Arsenal returned to winning ways and condemned winless Bournemouth to a fourth successive defeat. The Gunners came into the game on the back of two costly defeats by Stoke and Liverpool, but made the perfect start when Welbeck headed them in front after six minutes. Record signing Alexandre Lacazette doubled the lead on 27 minutes, bending a shot past Asmir Begovic from the edge of the area. Welbeck than added a third just after half-time, scoring from a tight angle into Begovic’s far corner. Alexis Sanchez, who was close to joining Manchester City on transfer deadline day, started the day on the bench, but came on for Welbeck with 15 minutes remaining.

The Cherries failed to register an attempt in the first half and Jermain Defoe’s header against the post after half-time was the best it got for the visitors. Arsenal were reduced to 10 men for the final 10 minutes, when substitute Francis Coquelin was forced off with a hamstring injury but Bournemouth failed to take advantage. Eddie Howe’s side are only off the bottom of the Premier League on goal difference and have lost their opening four games in a season for only the third time. Arsene Wenger’s side were woeful in a 4-0 defeat at Anfield two weeks ago, which followed a 1-0 loss at Stoke. Then came the final week of the transfer window, which saw a failed bid for Monaco’s Thomas Lemar and left the club clinging on to Sanchez, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain signed for Liverpool. The home fans needed a performance and were treated to a clinical one as the Gunners cruised against a poor Bournemouth side.

Wenger set up his team with a back three of Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi and Nacho Monreal, who restricted the visitors to just two shots on target in the whole game. Wing-back Sead Kolasinac led the attacking efforts in the first half, getting forward at every opportunity and providing the cross for Welbeck’s opener. Almost half of Arsenal’s play came down the left side of the pitch in the first 45 minutes, while right wing-back Hector Bellerin was crucial to the second half, running down his wing on the counter-attack, tipping the balance in favour of the right. Mesut Ozil, Granit Xhaka and Ramsey all played like they had a point to prove, while Welbeck and Lacazette started to show signs of a handy partnership.

Such was the performance that Wenger did not need to introduce Sanchez until late in the game and when he did come on, the Chilean looked desperate to get on the scoresheet. “Sanchez will win the fans back, and win them back very quickly,” Wenger said. The loss of Coquelin on 81 minutes might have usually caused some anxious moments, but Arsenal saw out the game in a professional manner.

IT (2017)

It is a 2017 American supernatural horror film based on Stephen King’s 1986 novel of the same name. Produced by New Line Cinema, KatzSmith Productions, Lin Pictures and Vertigo Entertainment, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, it is intended to be the first installment in a planned duology. The novel was previously adapted into a 1990 miniseries. The film is directed by Andy Muschietti and written by Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, and Gary Dauberman. Jaeden Lieberherand Bill Skarsgård star as Bill Denbrough and Pennywise the Dancing Clown, respectively, with Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton, and Jackson Robert Scott in supporting roles.

The film, ofcourse, is about a terrifying supernatural creature, who is ancient and cross-dimensional. This evil creature feeds on children’s fears and awakens every 27 years from hibernation to feed. It has a variety of powers that include the ability to shapeshift, manipulate, and go unnoticed by adults. In the novel, It is an eternal entity that is almost as old as time itself. It is the natural enemy of Maturin (The Turtle), both of whom exist in the Macroverse. After arriving on Earth, It would sleep for approximately 27 to 30 years at a time, then awaken to wreak chaos and feed (primarily on children’s fear). It is able to take many more forms than the film depicts, including werewolves, bats, leeches, and sharks. It could embody any of a child’s worst fears. It explains it prefers to kill and devour children, not by nature, but rather because children’s fears are easier to interpret in a physical form and thus children are easier to fill with terror. It says this is akin to “marinating the meat.”

The movie, changes the time setting as 1989 Derry, Maine instead of the late 60s and starts off with George Denborough meeting IT when his paper boat goes down a storm drain in the rain. Georgie’s arm is chewed off after It pretends to be a pleasant clown and the boy is then pulled into the sewer. Georgie’s older brother Bill keeps looking for him even a year later and with his friends Richie, Eddie, Stan and new boy Ben looks for clues as they try to avoid being harassed by a gang of bullies led by Henry Bowers. Also joining the “Loser’s Club”, as the original 4 boys names themselves is Beverly Marsh, who has an abusive father and home-schooled African-American boy Michael. Each has their own incidents with the bullies as well as with It, who brings to life their greatest fears and plays on their minds. Yet the 7 friends search for what happened to the boys and girls who have gone missing in their hometown.

A few weeks later, while meeting up at Bill’s garage, the group deduces that Pennywise is using the sewers to move around unseen. After narrowly escaping an attack by Pennywise in Bill’s garage, the Losers Club go to the house on Neibolt Street where Bill deduces “It” to be hiding. The group is separated by IT who tries to pick them out one by one but after chasing three of the boys, It is temporarily stunned by Beverly who spears Pennywise through the head with a fence post, forcing him to retreat through the well in the basement of the house. Eddie who was hurt, is guarded by his over-protective mother and the group is splintered but after Beverly fends off her father who tries to rape her, Pennywise abducts her in order to lure the rest of them to him. It also recruits a slowly going insane Henry to kill his father and attack the group.

The boys get their gear and descend down the well in the Neibolt house but Mike is caught by Henry. The younger boy manages to get the upper hand though and knocks the bully down the well to his death, before joining his friends at the bottom. ennywise traps Stan and starts to eat him, but the others chase him off. They then find Pennywise’s lair, consisting of a mountain of circus props and children’s toys, where they find a catatonic Beverly with the bodies of the other missing children kept in a form of suspended animation. Ben kisses Beverly, which restores her to normal. Pennywise tries to trick Bill by posing as Georgie, but the deception fails. As a last resort, Pennywise offers to spare the other Losers if they sacrifice Bill. Instead, the losers attack “It” as group. Realizing that he no longer has any power over them, Pennywise escapes down the pit. The floating children float back into the ground as the Losers discover Georgie’s yellow slicker, the others comforting Bill when he emotionally breaks down from accepting Georgie’s death.

A month later Beverly informs the group of a vision she had of them fighting Pennywise 27 years later. The Losers form a blood oath that they will each return to Derry should Pennywise resurface. After departing one by one, Bill kisses Beverly. As the end credits roll, a title card appears reading “It: Chapter One” and Pennywise’s manic laughter is heard in the background; this dictates that the story of “It” will continue in the sequel, “It: Chapter Two”.

Well acted and well directed, the movie brings back so many memories of my favourite novel of all time and the excellent mini-series that came in 1990. The kids add so much to this film with excellent chemistry between them while Bill Skarsgård goes bonkers in his role as the evil clown. 8.5 outta 10!

Better New City

What Ideas Do You Have for Enhancing Your Community?

Well, I have a few ideas. How about first stopping all religious places of worship that don’t pay taxes and just takes up all that space? Instead we could use those buildings and spaces to house the poor and the homeless and use the money to feed them too. How about a shelter for cats and dogs? That would be useful for the poor animals.

I would like to see more public places dedicated to reading and learning. How about some libraries with a few computers each that have free access to the internet? More museums and science center so ordinary people can go and get some upgrade for their knowledge base. More parks and common areas too.

Increase the fucking roads man, it’s pathetic now. Make it easier and cheaper for people to commute using public transport. It’s chaotic now. Cleanliness drives all over the city – we have such shabby streets. Public toilets in major areas. Reduce the charges for medicine and food. I think we can do it.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

Careful In The Sun

How Careful Are You in the Sun?

I am a lot. If the sun is blazing hot and it’s terribly sweaty and sticky outside, I will avoid going out and will stick to staying indoors. I will blast the fan full speed or if there is an air-conditioner, I will blast that at full cooling power. No one likes to be out in the sun and sweat buckets every few minutes. Least of all me.

I will make sure that I drink lots of water to keep myself hydrated. Hydrated as fuck, I should be peeing every hour and my pee should be clear as crystal. I will also have ice on hand and maybe Sprite or 7up in large 1 or 2 litre bottles at home because I find that they help. Lemonades with ice and water or soda with plenty of sugar and a little salt is also good.

Daily showers, possibly even twice a day will help as will changing your clothes, especially your underwear as it keeps you fresh and clean and sweat stained clothes smell badly too. That’s important.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times

TV Watching For The Family

What Role Does Television Play in Your Life and the Life of Your Family?

Television used to be affectionately called the idiot box. It truly did turn out to be the idiot box of this generation. The generation of tv and media glitz and fan following of the talentless, over-hyped, all bark and no bite celebrities while the ones with integrity and talent and some sense are content to have the faithful following them and they are grateful for what they get.

The family, well parents anyway, watch the same shit that is watched in most households in the state and across the country (though the language differs). They watch the big tv soaps that are advertised heavily on the local channels with rather stupid storylines and dialogues and crappy actors and acting. They watch the same stupid reality tv shows that everyone else in the state watches. They watch the same award shows with the same actors, comperes, same stupid, formulaic comedy skits and dances and speeches as the other 50, the same comedy on stage skits shows and the same talk shows and mom watches a bunch of cooking shows.

And ofcourse, a huge number of movies. Some of which are good but some are the same old, same old.

Prompt from The Learning Network at The New York Times