Monday, January 31, 2011

Back off Bharathiraja.

The recently held D40 event in Tamil Nadu, India, was meant to commemorate the South Indian Director Associations 40th year. That was the intent, but the whole show ended up as praise fest for one single director whose last hit was when Bush was the US president. Senior.

What ticked me off was a short film that glorified him and began with the line (in Tamil): In 1977, Tamil cinema gained its independence…” The loving, nay, lusting tribute showed clips from his films, amidst recent shots of Bharathiraja, walking, sitting, reading, writing, thinking, making love to furniture, etc. If it doesn’t make you nauseous, it would certainly want to make you take another shower. Especially, when the narrator lovingly detailed a technique where our director intercuts a shot of the heroine 20 or so times with a shot of a flapping butterfly. The insect could be male, but Bharathiraja is not a certified entomologist.

One of the credits often offered to Bharathiraja, who have not denied it, is that he moved the camera from studio to the rustic village site as per the 1977 debut, 16 Vayathinile. In short, in actual location. Wrong. It has been done by the filmmakers of the past, just take a look at Bheem Singh's Pazhani, the paddy field is beautifully shot for Aarodum song. Ditto, Mr. Singh’s Bhagapirivinai. Want to go back? How about the fabulously popular Manapaara Madukatti song in Makkalai Petra Magarasi.

But they are only song sequence, you might say. Actually there are other shots where the director painstakingly have taken the camera out of the studio and laid the tripod on actual ground. The thing is, it was very costly, and labour intensive to take the camera out, and as with Hollywood in the early days most portion of films were shot in the studio itself. 1977 was rather late for “Look ma, I am at real location” praise.

Most of his films are just plain romance themed, love stories, couples from various background and age group facing objections. 16 Vayathinile talks of a forbidden love between a simple village girl and a handsome (70s effeminate way) doctor and a limping simpleton, or was it a simple limpaton? Likewise, Kizhakke Pogum Rayil, this time he added train, classical dance by someone who can’t dance for nuts, and introducing Sudhakar who will go on to be a successfulsmall time comedian in Telugu films. Puthiya Varpugal is yet another love story set in the village.

He took a break from village, came up with excellent Sigappu Rojakkal, one of the very few film of his that didn’t age, thanks to well preserved Kamal Haasan and awesome soundtrack. Not that it was original, but nobody has seen a suspense thriller ala Psycho before in the industry.

Then, it was back to village romance for Bharathiraja with Niram Maratha Pookkal, and, straying a bit unsuccessful with Nizhalgal which deals with unemployment and awful looking costume. The films songs were excellent and are still enjoyed today if one were to remove the image of Chandrasekhar flapping his bell bottoms.

I would go on, but I assure you most of his films later dealt with love between a young girl and a young man facing opposition, with religion, caste or anything Bharathiraja can grab and make it with his own style, where the hero and the heroines crank their collective heads up and down to laugh (he even made Sivaji Ganesan to do it, that criminal), have the heroines speak in Radhika’s voice even if it is Radhika herself and even when Radhika is not dubbing. You get the loud mouthed old women beginning with Ghandimathi, succeeded by Vadivukarasi and the most recent was, well, Radhika herself.

You get variety of characters that seemed original back in 1977, only to turn up here and there in form of other underpaid character artistes, sometimes blown up as in case of the dad character in Karutamma, a film that could have been a lot more awesome if it not the case of Bharathiraja imposing himself on everyone on screen and hiring Raja.

Oh did I tell that most of the films have a central character committing an act of violence, screaming, “Deeyy……”? towards the climax. Followed by another character waiting for the central character to return from jail.

One of the biggest crime he committed was to make Sathyaraj in Kadalora Kavithaigal a wimp towards the end when he started the film showing him to be a tough, lovable rogue. Somewhere, I get the feeling that Bharathiraja loathed tough guys, or probably bullied by one when in school. The toughest guy in 16 Vayathinile gets rock on his head, the hero is a wimpy limp. Any films with Sudhakar goes on to show that softies takes the centre spot, as with K. Bagyaraj’s self written Puthiiya Varpugal where the toughest thing he did was to grab the girl and elope. Kamal in Sigappu Rojakkal killed women, not M.N. Nambiar. Oh yeah, he killed a guy, K. Bagyaraj, a lowly waiter, in the loo. They did it to you there, didn't they, Bharathiraja?

Sivaji Ganesan in Muthal Mariyathai was not only henpecked by mealy mouthed Vadivukarasi, but had to endure the show of strength by lifting rock. Yes, the same man who roared as Veerapandiyan Kattabomman, swashbuckled as Vikraman, broke bones as Raja, shot fireworks from his third eye as Lord Shiva, and even few years before was a regular ass-kicking ageing hero, had to lift a papier mache rock to impress a young girl in that movie. That is Bharathiraja’s idea of macho.

His insecurity is spilled over another annoying trend he employed in his films: voiceover. By him. He has the gravely voice that does not suits his whiny heroes and as a result, in most of his films, it was the case of mouse that roared. In fact, the biggest crime (how many biggest crimes already?) was to dub Nizhalgal Ravi in one film where Ravi already had a perfect speaking voice. A beautiful voice. And Bharathiraja ruined it.

To be fair, Bharathiraja was instrumental in introducing many talents. Actors like Karthik, and greatest comedian ever to be part of the film industry, Goundamani benefited from appearing first in Bharathiraja. The director also spawned assistants who will go on to be fantastic directors of their own, like Bagyaraj and Manivannan who are wonderful on screen performers themselves. Manivannan, underrated he was, made some of the best thrillers to come out of the industry.

Not all his films are typical Bharathiraja mess. The abovementioned Sigappu Rojakkal was one, and there was Vedam Puthithu that presented a searing look into caste system, En Uyir Tozhan, a powerful meditation on politician/follower relationship, and the quiet Anthimantharai, an ageing romance affair which was better handled than Muthal Mariyathai would have stunk without Sivaji and Ilayaraja. Plus great local locations, especially the beachside ones.

Speaking of whom, ever since the partnership with Ilayaraja faltered, so did the popularity of his film despite, or is it, in spite of occasional alliance with A.R. Rahman. The greatest Bharathiraja film has never been made, simply because he is not that great.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Interlocked Action

The New Straits Times carried a news concerning a raging issue this morning. The opening para goes:

(Malay novel) Interlok will be retained as a literature textbook but sections deemed sensitive to the Indian community will be amended

And it explained:

Federation of National Writers Association (Gapena) executive secretary Abdul Aziz Mohd Ali said the body supported the ministry’s decision to use Interlok as a textbook.

He said the only acceptable change that could be made to the novel was to add a glossary for the word “pariah” to better explain it.

This was done especially after initiated by the hardworking, nay, overworking Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) party, which still does not sit well with the Hindu community, as the umbrella group Hindu Sangam expressed “outrage” according to online news portal Malaysia Kini.

They should be. How could they? I say don’t give up. Most of the protesters may have never read the novel, or most of them can’t even speak one full sentence in proper Malay despite living in Malaysia their whole life. Never mind, don’t give up.

In fact, I have further recommendations to make when it comes to unhealthy use of caste names in popular culture. Here we go:

Ban organisations with caste names

Believe it or not there are organisations or clubs in Malaysia that represents specific caste. And its very easy to spot them, just go through the Tamil language newspapers, they are always organizing a dinner, a tribute fest, or maybe ear piercing ceremony or something.

Apart from representing their community and doing anything for them, like putting up an advertisement praising any of its members for their great deeds, like opening up a restaurant, I feel there is no need to have caste name in their organisations. Maybe instead of _____ Organisation, you can change it to Organisation of Members, Whose Ancestors Used To Lend Money.

Ban movies with caste names.

Two of the biggest Tamil language films to come out in the 90s was Chinna Gounder and Thevar Magan. Blatant use of caste names. And never mind that the latter is anti-violence and pro-education, it has caste name in it. So, what else ban it!

In fact, you should ban any films with actors with caste name in it. And the biggest offender of them all would be late supervillain M.N. Nambiar, whose single name is a caste name. That means you have to ban about 267,851 films. Phew, you have work cut out for you, government.

Ban other books with caste names

How many other books have caste names in them? In fact, how many Tamil language books have caste name in them? Ban them! Don’t read them or try to understand the context of those books, just employ someone who can identify those names and urge the government to ban those books. Act now!

Ban websites with caste name in the content.

Online wikipedia has given explanations to various caste names. Ban them! How insensitive of the online encyclopedia to the Hindu folks. How can they even list those caste names in the online source for knowledge to the entire world!

Get someone to write a search engine program that can track down all the sites, apart from wiki, that actually has caste names in it and ban them all to hell.

Ban people with caste names.

My grandpa was a smart man, he knew this was coming so he refused to hand over his caste name to his children. In fact, his own children were too pre-occupied with Hindi film stars names** to give us caste names.

But there are a bunch of folks walking around with caste names with them. In fact, I personally know some who actually do not have it, on the account that their own parents had similar strategy as ours, but use it anyway for god knows what reason. Maybe it helps with their digestion.

So ban them. Arrest them. Lock them up and make them watch human rights films on the loop 24 hours 7 days a week. Humanistic films like Gorrila’s In The Mist.

I got many other suggestions, but right now I need to seriously talk to my dad, because his identity card says, Premakumaran son of Shankaran Nair. I got my black marker ready.

**Consider some of my cousins names: Malini, Suraj, Kalpana, Sanjeev, Devanan, my brother Shubash and think of 70s Hindi films. And of course, I owe Hirtik Roshan’s dad some royalty.

Note: You must be confused about the pix above. I did google image search for caste, it was one of the pictures that turned up. I swear.

Monday, January 24, 2011

In Trance-it: RIP Anand pt 2.

One thing I couldn’t believe was my cousin’s form. A vigorous active skinny lad, here he was doing the elephant thingy. Of course, I learned later that he used to take on that form in estate festivals and on Thaipusam events. Disbelief aside, I need to do fast thinking on what to do. The “Kali” was taunting Puruso, making snappy wordless sounds either asking Puruso to shut up and calm down, or ordering Big Mac with fries to go. I don’t know.

Bug Jeggan the Kali kept on making those sounds and there are signs of Puruso calming down, not before rising again, and calming down, and rising again and calming down, it was like watching a 8mm reel in loop. Only live. Only way creepier. In the meantime, Anand the elephant man was stomping his skinny knees around the flat, not giving too hoots that a supernatural drama was going on. He was oblivious to the whole thing, happily in his elephant kingdom.

…and yet, guess who chose the time time to make a dramatic entrance Yes, the last seen aiming badly Shanker, and like many bad sequels, he came back with vengeance. Well, technically that will not be his job, since this time he came with a burly friend, with, I suspect, intention to pummel Puruso to extinction. Oh yeah, great timing guys.

Naturally, when they saw what was happening, both of them looked as if they caught a panda making out with a snake. I had to explain them simply in Tamizh that roughly translates, “One got god in him, one got devil on him, and another might request for sugar cane”. The burly one, helpfully, suggested something they didn’t think of when they planned the beat the crap out of Puruso, “Call the cops,” he said, himself looking like he had wet himself.

Good idea, I left them in charge and the other housemates, and took the lift down. I know where police station for that block was. You see, sometimes back, Anand, the trio (Puruso, Murugia, Jegan) and I was waiting at the ground floor for another friend to arrive, to go somewhere (movie I think) when a police van dropped by. One of the cops asked us to get into the van. He was very polite. hey, maybe he needed our help to shift furniture or something. So, we got in, and they drove us to the station which was very near actually, got us out, and asked us to sit at the reception area. Nice and comfy looking reception. We sat down and treated it like a hotel lobby, legs crossed and me, forever a reader, looking for magazines to read.

Shortly after, another cop entered bringing a Malaysian Indian dude with a bandaged arm in slingshot, and various bandages on his face and body. The cop asked us to get up and stand in line. Bloody hell! We were part of identification parade. Luckily the culprit was not among us. The cop then asked us to go back and Anand asked, “How about transport?” Needless to say I had to drag my protesting cousin out.

Aside: Anand must have been serious about public transportation. During a movie at a full crowd screening, there was an emotional scene, where the entire village vowed that they want to go to the city and catch a culprit, Anand shouted, “Dey, who will play all your busfares?” End of aside.

Anyway, having been already acquainted with the police station, I got in but was tongue tied. I didn’t know how to explain, and my vocabulary power had already evicted my brain no thanks to the incident. Combination of gestures and words like “god, inside him”, the cop understood and asked, “Are they in trance?” Yesss! That’s the word. He said he will send someone immediately and asked me to go back. Oh crap, do I have to. Well, for one I have a cousin who thinks he has trunk and tusks, and I better attend to him.

Rushing back, I was shocked to see something. Well, it was nothing actually. Jegan was relaxing on one corner. Anand was massaging his knees and gave me a sheepish grin. Or was that an elephant-ish smile? But he looked okay, apart from sore knee. And Puruso? Well, he was okay too. Sort of.

He was stretched out on the floor, half of his belly facing down, and he was attempting to bite the corner of a Wardrobe. It’s one of those plastic cheap ones and his molars were scrapping the plastic sheet. Otherwise, he was not making any sound or giving the Bruce Banner-to-Hulk look. Maybe it’s a kind of a hangover.

I asked Murugaiah what had happened. He said they have solved problems among themselves. Yeah, it’s not like they had table talk or something right? Murugaiah said as Puruso calmed down finally (if you call that “calm”), Jegan returned to his form and he was not sure when Anand calmed down himself. I asked Anand, who was not sure himself.

It was about that time when the cops came. One was a Singaporean Indian, and the other Malay. Ah, help has arrived…or so I thought, because it is not the cop who will resolve the situations. The cause behind the incident is something nobody thought of, and we will find out, not here, not within the vicinity of the flat, but in the middle of a frickin’ jungle…

To be continued….

Friday, January 21, 2011

In Trance-it: RIP Anand pt 1

My cousin, Devanand (my dad’s sister son) passed away on 19th January, 2011, and was cremated the next day, which happened to be Thaipusam day. His mother, crying her heart out, mentioned that his birthdate was number 1 (first of January) and he died on the same month, on a day numerologically totalled one as well, and he was born on Wednesday and died on the same day. That was not all the coincidences.

As sad I was, considering that he was close to us brothers and practically grew up together at some point, my best fond memories of him happened to be something to do with Thaipusam, the day he was cremated. I have long wanted to write about that incident, but I guess his own demise pushed me to do this. I shall do this now.

It was 1996; I was one year working in Singapore at that time, attempting to pursue accountancy (ACCA) and working as admin clerk. No, that was not the strange part. During weekends I used to meet up with my cousin and his hometown buddies who were all working in an electronic plant in Bedok (I was sharing a house in Holland Road). It was a more innocent time in Singapore, before it became home resident to batshit insane public nudes.

And so there we were, me after work, sitting and having dinner with my cousin. He was known as Deva to his friends, and Anand to me and his relatives. Conversation would get pretty confusing when one friend keep asking who the frickin' hell Anand was, and before he gets violent (alcoholic beverages are cheaper in Singapore), another friend has to assure that Deva and Anand are one and the same person, considering his actual name was Devanand. Oh, recently I found out that his employer, The Butcher, refers to him as Dave. Enough confusion let me get to the story.

So, there we were, Anand and his three hometown buddies, Murugaiah, Jegan and Puruso(taman), plus a few others from Malaysia working at the same plant. It should be pointed out that strangely Anand was not drinking, and his buddies were, namely Puruso and Jegan. Anand ordered iced Milo, and the drink came. There was conversation with another guy by the name of Shankar, which sort of got heated up. When you have bunch of Indians on a table with bottles of beer, the last thing you will see is signing of peace accord. So, this Shankar made Anand mad at some point, who suddenly sprang up ready for good ole’ fisticuff. Unfortunately, while doing that the Milo spilled on him. So, I suppose the idea of throwing punches with Milo on his crotch was a bit too undermining, so he just walked off back to his flat. So, I thought that was that.

Not so to Puruso. Not the close buddy of Anand who had second bottle of beer in him. Shankar excused himself to the toilet, and Puruso followed him. For some reason or other, I thought I should follow the latter, knowing well that he was not quite himself. Okay, that’s an understatement if you read on. In the loo, Shankar was doing his business, half drunk, so he was having trouble aiming at the urinal. Why I tell this is? Because Puruso walked right onto him, and this is a violation in Male Code of Conduct in toilet where you try your best to stay as far away from the guy in the next urinal.

Puruso started verbally assaulting him with words that I can post here for a simple reason that they were in Tamizh. Let say they involved variations of words defining pubic hair and private regions. I thought I better drag Puruso out of the loo before Shankar decides to realign his aim. While doing that, I had to calm him down and at times it works and at times it does not. And this won’t be the end.

The flat is about 20 metres away, but get him there I felt I was halfway the Mt. Everest. There was a lift mind you, and getting him there was a relief. And then it started….

…our friend, beloved Puruso, who was all the time bitching about Shankar, slowly started to lose his tongue, like I don’t know what he was rambling about. Definitely not Malayalam, his mother tongue, which happens to be what I speak at home. Swahili? Maybe, but alternating it with hisses? Weird sounds coming from throat. And him looking like Bruce Banner halfway becoming Hulk only with no extra muscle. Or shredded trousers. Something was wrong.

The flat they were sharing was a studio flat. No, it’s not meant for the Picassos or the Van Gogh’s. It was for piss poor Singaporeans, or alternatively, blue collar Malaysians working there. This one housed about six or seven of them, I can’t remember. There were only two rooms, and they were the kitchen and the bathroom. The rest was hall, and there was Anand, looking quite relaxed despite the Anger/Milo incident. He gave me the “what’s wrong with him?” look. I shrugged. He helped to bring Puruso in and seated him on a mattress already spread on floor.

Actually, not seated, because since he wanted to keep standing up, we have to push him down to make him lie down. The hissing and croaking sound continued…yes, I was definitely reminded of The Exorcist. If he was ever to do a 360 degrees with his head, I am ready to faint. I was still a superstition believing, Lord Shiva worshipping youth with secret desire to become a temple priest then. Trust me, freaky is not the exact word I was experiencing.

More and more housemates started to arrive and they were intrigued. At first. Freaked out would be the subsequent reaction. Soon, there were four of us attempting to push Puruso down. The hissing, croaking, and occasional howling continued. I remembered what they do during the festivals were folks would get into trance listening to pulsating percussions. To calm them down, their trance buddies or priests would whisper god’s name or something and they would step out of the spell and become normal again. I tried doing the same. Pressing the “third eye”, I chanted “Ohm Nama Shivaya” repeatedly.

Success! Yesss, it worked. He calmed down. If you think I should break out a champagne bottle, or beer bottle considering our financial situation, think again. Puruso was back and this time, remember Jegan, the other friend? Yeah, something weird happened to him, and suddenly he started to widen his eyes and stick his tongue out…far out…like it was touching his chest. Okay, I am exaggerating, but that’s how it looked like. He started to lift one leg, and having been to many religious festival, especially Thaipusam, I knew exactly what pose that was! Goddess Kali. And the other friend, Murugaiyah? He was crying.

Why? Well, sudden appearance of Kali is one, but my own cousin brother, Anand, was suddenly on his four, moving slowly around, and slowly lifting one arm up like Hitler with arthritis. What the hell was that? The tearful Murugaiah mumbled something about Lord Ganesha was inside him. Great. And now what?

To be continued….

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Phone it in.

I realise lately that I need to get myself a new mobile phone, especially when each time I make a call or do text messaging, I have to reassemble it. When I look at it, a Motorola, I am reminded of how far it has come. My first phone, bought in late 90s was a Motorola Microtac (above pix), a piece of equipment that never forgets to remind you that the bulk in your pants is unfortunately not your superlative manhood.

My first encounter with phones of course began during my childhood but not at home, coz we were too poor to afford one. Calls had to be made from dad’s office, and that too for only emergency matters like, say, for example, death. Casual conversations were distilled in form of letters, which are now referred to as snail mail, and it usually take days to reach the other party, and so on so forth. That is, if it ever reaches. Sometimes the friends or relatives might actually be visiting you when the mail they wrote days earlier arrives. That’s embarrassing.

Anyway, the phones I saw were usually in relatives place. It was the type where you have to dial, like rotate the first number that you need to dial and wait for it to settle back to its original position and rotate the second number, till you are done. If, let’s say, you started during the breakfast by the time you are done, they’d announce the dinner. Thankfully, it was replaced with the ones you see nowadays, the ones with button, where you can tap on extremely fast and dial wrong numbers.

Mobile phones were never heard off back in the 80s, though I realise now they were around. It’s just we’ve never seen them. It was in the 90s when more folks started using and buying them, like my ex-boss, who got one of those big things now referred to as brickphone. You probably heard the jokes about how they can be used as battering weapons. They really are. The buttons are so hard to press, and you can use it only for phone conversation. You can’t stuff it in your pocket, and if you accidentally drop it on your feet, pray to your god that you can walk in couple of month’s time.

But things were about to change when “features” started to be added in. A form of time capsule you can look at would be the second Pierce Brosnan/James Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies, where the Ericsson (before becoming Sony Ericsson to add Japanese fetish in) would do any goddam thing except having sex with the Bond girls. Unfortunately, twelve years on we are not driving our cars with a mobile phone, let’s not even talk about sex.

Still, we have gone a long way. Mobile phone almost control our lives these days, especially when the call is from wife. Okay, that has been happening forever, but damn it, wouldn’t you go panicking when the phone “tells” you that it’s out of battery? Wouldn’t it frustrate you when you walk into the lift talking to it and suddenly the coverage goes off and you go “Hello? Hello?” loudly while the others in lift look at you the same way they look at a snatch thief?

Soon, we’ll be doing anything and everything with our phone unless it involves intestines. But I am giving its future too much credit. Remember, once they thought the Zeppelin was the future of aerospace, till it got burnt, crashed and killed hundreds. We all know that it’s the aeroplane that have taken over and have since killed thousands.

We shall wait and watch the evolution of the mobile phones. In the meantime, I am would be looking for a model with feature such as writing blog posts.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Common New Year Resolutions You Should Quit Thinking About.

It’s the first week after new year, and boy are you tired of responding to inquiries about your New Year resolutions. This would be typical scenario:

Friend: Hey, what’s your new year resolution, bro!

You: First to lose weight, then_

Friend: I didn’t ask your Ten Year Plan.

See what I mean. Common new year resolutions are just that, common. You got to stop thinking up the same resolution every year that you forget three months down the road. So, you have only two days before the week is over and here are the resolutions that I suggest you lose fast and I’ll tell you why:

Losing weight.

It’s a myth. Can you remember the number of times you told yourselves that you are going to lose weight, and making much attempts, you actually lose some weight, and, you felt happy about it, went on celebrations binge, and end up looking like Jabba the Hut’s bigger brother? Yeah you know what I am talking about.

Remember attempting to lose weight is not a resolution item. It should be your lifestyle, like playing warcraft or picking up kids from school, or do certain archeological activities inside your nose. Saying that it’s going to be your resolution over and over every year till one day you realise that they are wheelchairing you to the loo in old folks home is not going to help with things. Especially when they need a forklift to do that.

So, think of some activities that can you can practice for the rest of your life, when it comes to eating correctly. Like eating sparingly, and get your wife or partner to bitch-slap you each time you help yourself that extra portion. Make sure you sign an MOU on that plan.

Quit smoking.

When I asked a friend what his resolution was, he said, resignedly, “the usual, quit smoking” almost as if he was complaining about KL traffic problem. Duh! Guys saying that they are going to quit smoking have the same honesty and sincerity as the guy who says, “really honey, it was just one drink,” when all the wife heard was, “runny want rink”.

Even the president of the might US of A is having issues quitting smoking as I write this. Maybe he has already, but does that mean you have to be in highly powerful position, and in full view of the public to quit smoking? I bet when Obama finishes his two terms, or kicked out after this term, the first thing he does is to take one big puff of Marlboro, the red one. Okay, maybe after he signs a gazillion dollar contract to write a biography, and then that one big puff.

As per the weight loss thing, this is your life man. I recall reading an Ian Fleming book where Bond declares to a chick that he is an authority on quitting smoking. Why? “Because I do it often” he says. So, you want to be an authority on quitting smoking? Good luck, I’ll see you after several burnt lungs later.

Get organised.

Yeah, I can see your desk that looks like not only tornado struck, but was trampled on by couple of bulls while doing their business, and immediately followed by a wild mongoose-snake fight turned into inter-specie sex. Wait, that’s my desk.

And what about time management? Yours truly’s time management is about as organised as a stray dog’s meal time. One way of getting organised and manage your time well is to use this Big Rock concept by Stephen Covey.

In a demo I saw in a video presentation, the bald leadership guru who looks like Telly Savalas' evil twin, as if Savalas is not looking creepy enough, asks a girl to fit in some big rocks inside a bucket full of pebbles. The rocks being important activities and concerns in life. She struggles of course, pressing and attempting to screw the rocks (important thing) into the pebbles (wasteful activities). He then helped by producing another bucket, where the girl immediately placed the big rocks on it first, and then poured the pebbles. First thing first.

But then, why the hell didn’t he tell about the other empty bucket. In life you get only one bucket, so start screwing the rocks in. All the best.

Strenghten your relationships with family and friend.

Look every year you gain new friends and family member, you also lose some friends and family members. Of course, most often than not its good riddance.

These are the days of email, skype, text messages, social networking etc. So, why worry, you are always in touch with your friends and family. Need to keep an eye on birthday wishes? Facebook can do that for you. Need to let wife know that you’d be late home without her nagging at you? Just text message. Need to tell your buddies that if they don’t confirm their presence for the upcoming reunion, send an email blast to all of them saying that those who does not turnup will be referred to, at that event, as something that rhymes with nick-beds.

I am going to be philosophical now. Look, we come to this world alone, and we leave alone. You can’t even take your EPF and insurance money when you shuffle off the mortal coil. Unless you fake your death, but that is a subject matter for a different article.