Saturday, January 14, 2006

Movies and the factories...

Homeward bound
I wish I was
Homeward bound
Home, where my thought’s escaping
Home, where my music’s playing
Home, where my love lies waiting
Silently for me

Everyday’s an endless stream
Of cigarettes and magazines
And each town looks the same to me
The movies and the factories
And every stranger’s face I see
Reminds me that I long to be

simon and garfunkel sung these lines many years ago and these have been ever since my companion. as a person who always needs a home away from home and who rarely gets to go home and now as it looks forever condemned to the world of factories, i think movies have been my refuge. in this dhaka city where one doesnt get to catch a good movie in a good cinema hall the substitute is not a bad bargain. plethora of pirated DVD shops ( you wont beleive they have one in the international chain hotel Sheraton lobby also !!) makes living a bit easier.
so this eid week i have treated myself to some movies and 2 of them i have been trying to watch for a long time now.

one was Fried green Tomatoes. this intriguing title had been in my mind ever since some movie buff slipped it into one of the dumb charade sessions. finally i caught the magic of this simple southern story. a tale of 2 friendships in different generations told thru disrupted narration in multiple nursing home visits. what stands out is the human emotion and bond of friendship that gets forged based on simplicity of life.

the other was House of Flying daggers. this is one Chinese movie and as many of them are famous for the action typified by crouching tigers genre ( same as our bollywood is typified by dance and music) this too is a kung fu action movie but woven on a love triangle. what stands out is the visuals that director has been able to conjure and present. the actors seem to fit in so beautifully thru their performances in this beautifully crafted movie.

these two movies somehow unravel the secret of great cinema. It has to have great visual spectacle or that emotional bond with audience to move them beyond themselves.

moved i am ....

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Collective misfortune ?

i dread flying... everytime i enter that flight, first thoughts are my prayer to the lord. hoping this wont be my last flight. there is something about the swiftness and sureness of death, the last few minutes of shit in your pants horror that i imagine and associate with the fatal air accidents. i have spent many moments close enough in some rickety and vulenrable looking aircrafts in some really bad weather days.

then i see so many other people in the flight and try to console myself thiking that here are about 50-100 ( as per the size of the flight) people in this flight and definitely these many people wouldnt be unlucky at the same instant to share this flight of death ( if it was so and hope gods are not that unkind always... though there have been enough examples of this). so all my flights are hours full of agony mostly. Every turbulence is seems like one step closer to my maker ( if the makers of this aircraft lef some details untouched or if one of the million screws and nuts in this contraption decided to commit suicide)

last night, just 2 days before eid i was rushing about dhaka city to help my quality control team to finish some crucial inspection before all the factories shut shop for eid . Roads were jammed with vehicles trying to make to some destination or the other and rickshaws and human beings herding their cows. Dhaka's streets would have looked like a cattle ranch last night. when i passed the cattle market and glanced at those animals tied there. people around them bargaining their piece for sacrifice, one thought struck me ... all these cows, almost a million in bangaldesh, have just one more day left in their lives !!! a sheer collective misfortune!!!.... then i was reminded of the scene in the war of the worlds where human beings are informed that their days are numbered....

Do you know your shirtmaker any more ???

Do you know your shirtmaker any more ? or should i say, would you like to know your shirtmaker anymore. Gone are the days when your clothes came from trusted family tailors who knew your measurments just by looking at you. Gone are the days when your clothes used to come out freshly off the tailor's machine and they were hemmed by their swift fingers or buttons were handstitched in front of you and they were freshly ironed in front of you and that still warm piece of clotingwas given to you wrapped in the brown paper bags....

Gone are those tailors, replaced by the giant assembly line operators in some cheap labour country or the other. As the free market economics caravan moves on, chews on cheap labour bones around the world to satisfy our insatiable hunger for those cheaper shirts which would though give living to so many but somehow have taken away the charm of good old days.

those clothes in the shopping windows and beautiful catalogues dont show as to how some hardworking asians have sweated overnight to make the urgent shipments, to hit the shops on time. how just before the day of their biggest festivals ( be it chinese new year or eid or pongal) trying to meet deadline to catch his hard earned ticket for bus/train ride home and packing that last piece into cartons that will get him the money which will make festival a festive occasion.

ironies are common place in our world. in today's world we need somebody to exploit our potential and get us that money in return which we would in turn spend on buying something which would be result of exploitation of someoneelse's skills somewhere in some unknown corner of the world. products today have just price tags, no emotion, feelings respect associated with them anymore.