Rust

Lacquered in a comatose white and gray, the auburn thatched mud houses look like the ruins of a terracotta army, battered by time. But they stand hollow, their windows stolen, their doors eaten by nature.
When the vicious jungle wind blows from the dry riverbed and passes through this necropolis, a howl ensues that tears open the naked breast of the rainforest.

Guineafowls peck little mites from the bones scattered across the plateau. Skeletal hands holding rifles, books, bags.

Or other hands.

A century ago, this patch of dense green had leopards, lions, tigers, elephants, wild buffaloes. Trapped between the bullets of sixty years of ferocious monarchy and the peculiarity of human masculine pride, the animals have traveled to become busts, adorned in the living rooms of the richest.

Time has crushed the biggest of kingdoms. The Kings and Queens have died. Revolution had taken place.

Then the rebels became rulers, and the first thing they did was to put every opposing butterfly to the waiting guillotine. Carnivals were named on dead men and women, their blood gushing through the river. That river has dried up into a valley of rust, where souls without salvation wander.

This used to be a good world. But then good worlds barely lasted.


He loved light. Like the flicker of sunlight that fell on his eyes, making their way between her flowy hair and salwar-clad shoulders, while he fiddled with poetry, lying on her lap.

This city of broken bridges ate small-time love like theirs, people said. They didn’t pay heed. Reckless as the monsoon, their love was devoid of any measured steps.

Five years later, the light had returned in his life. As he was slowly watching her body being engulfed in the pyre, he thought why he loved light so much, only to realize that it wasn’t light that he loved.

On that cold November night, two souls had melted into the darkness.

Only the city remained, ravenously waiting for its next victim, throwing poetry in the air as lures.

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Let’s just start by saying I’m partly human

Let the bionic hand that caresses a child be

more machine than motheresque. The eyes that

only see, doesn’t shine

be vermin and not

vermilion.

Tethered echoes

floating through our conscience – let them

drown in the black abyss

of the burning smell of

capacitors, resistors, transistors – silicon and steel.

The isolation, let it be

complete, man from himself, reveling

in things that he invented, but forgetting

what invented him.

 

Logan : the superhero movie that we may not want, but one that we absolutely need

It all started with Batman Begins.

Christopher Nolan’s retelling of the rise of one of the most iconic heroes of comic book universe had won critics and viewers alike. It will be followed by the superb The Dark Knight and inspire producers to take the superhero genre seriously, something that had all but died after the atrocious barrage of Batman and Superman movies.

Sam Raimi in his infinite wisdom had created a launching pad for Spider-Man, yet after the second installment the party was over. Spider-Man 3 was a quagmire of missed opportunities and bad character choices, and sort of bucked to the trend.

A trend where the superheroes were normalized, the stories changed, their actions either over the top or simply too humane, the villains relegated to flesh and blood animations without any sort of mysterious hyperbole. The movies often felt like slick thrillers. Some hardcore comic book nerds were left displeased as a result. Essential violence was stripped off; characters mellowed down – no ferocious animosity, no vicious path for absolute justice, no ravenous appetite for destroying the world or saving it, movie after movie succumbed to a global rise of PG era nonsense that was often too comical for its own good. Even Guardians of the Galaxy, a sleeper hit couldn’t prevent it. Last year, I saw two massive chances for comic book adaptations’ return to form squandered (counting Suicide Squad makes it three). While Batman vs Superman was certainly ambitious in its premise, the rush to meet Marvel at its path ruined the sustained story development. Hollow characters, deep holes in the plot and mindless battles only fastened its sad demise. Captain America : Civil War on the other hand ended up becoming too civil, too contained – almost too safe. It was a painful reminder of how a strong platform can still be ruined if no risks are taken. For reasons purely based on business, the story was criminally changed and forced on us.

It was only natural that the ghost of all these movies were still lurking around me when I finally decided to give Logan a shot. Two hours later the things that were in my mind were a mixture of the movie’s strong points and the fact that I was about an hour and a half late for home, the latter not sitting well with my parents. But off I went, promising myself to write a review because this movie deserved one.

In many ways, Old Man Logan is Marvel’s deviation from the norm, much like how The Dark Knight Returns was for DC. Alternate universe – check. Old, aging, dying superhero – check. One last mission – check. Morality strains – check. Wolverine, often used to the point of irritation as this hot with rage killing machine cum southern biker – a shallow existence who serves as a thug with pea brain and yellow costumes is shredded to bits here. Replacing him is a degenerating hero, not wolverine but Logan, Logan of yore who has forgotten his ways of being part of X-Men. Saddled with the responsibilities of a mortal man and the depressive disorders of a schizophreniac, he lunges onto one straw from another, trying to find a safe place to die. This Logan is cornered, vulnerable, and dangerous.

A deranged Professor Xavier is his sanity clause for the moment. The movie focuses on their love hate relationship. Some scenes are truly beautiful and worth pausing and rewatching (something I wish I could do in a movie theater). The small holes in the water tank and the rays of the sun poking through them creates the illusion of a starlit sky; the flood of light on the other hand concentrates on a small batch of greenery, giving the place a stark contrast and a touch of the mundane. Xavier’s demons were to be exercised there, away from humanity, in the middle of nowhere. But fate and Wolverine had other plans.

What happens after that is a two hour long escalation of situations and emotions. Kaliban, the mutant with a Brit accent and a pale skin is interestingly put inside this story and he surprises with his quips. He seems to be the only one with a sure footing in this world that has lost its own. Xavier and Logan on the other hand are too volatile, too vibrant and too crass.

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The story changes gears and gives us flashbacks of the old Logan, both as a protagonist and an antagonist- Wolverine if you’d like to call him that. The bleeding and carrying the adamantium bullet to relieve himself of his life Logan is arguably far more interesting though, as is wave-splattering, hallucinating Charles Xavier. The old reminiscing is what is utterly fascinating, to hear and see them go about discussing events that took place a long time ago. Mutants were gone, so were their well wishers. The remaining museum samples were being hunted down like dogs.

Twenty-three, or girl with the wolverine claws shows up under a familiar trope of a circumstance, and immediately triggers a whole barrage of crap onto the hapless trio. The redneck villain is surprisingly menacing here, mixing usual goof with unusual ferocity. The girl doesn’t steal the show, and neither does the villain, because this is not about them. It was never meant to be about them.

What about that ending though? I honestly feel that there couldn’t be a better ending than what Logan gives us. A conclusion that is devoid of the There was a huge bomb blast with the hero in tow but he still survives and many years later is seen in Italy enjoying a drink bullshittery, Logan’s finale is much more grounded in reality, something that immediately connects with the audience, the ‘No more guns in the valley’ notwithstanding.

Two hours later, I have nothing but praise for Hugh Jackman, Sir Patrick Stewart and James Mangold who gave us a fitting reply. This is the sort of comic book adaptation people want. A no fluff story, fewer, stronger characters and loyality to the original storyline and essence. Not the moviemaking kryptonite that kills superheroes and creates Barney the dinosaur in their places.

Now where’s that R rated Batman movie, DC?

Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman – a fresh coat of paint

For People who love mythological stories, the Norse stories are surely a draw. I had an odd thing introduce me to this grandeur – a video game, Ensemble Studios’ Age of Mythology. Later I figured out that much of Tolkien’a lore was actually influenced by the Norse Gods and creatures, and that fact intrigued me even more.
Gaiman’s retelling of the stories – from beginning to the end don’t give you anything new if you are aware of the central themes. It however gives you a fresh coat, a different literary perspective, something which Gaiman has plenty of experience dishing out. With his sharp, measured approach, the stories are cut lean, stripped from all the usual chatter that most writers tend to introduce. Gaiman also lends his lucid way of storytelling, far cry from the campy or dark, Brother Grimm like ways.

I thoroughly loved it, and this book will appeal to even the staunchiest of myth disapprovers. You don’t have to believe in divinities – just enjoy the larger than life stories.

The Seven Samurai: Indian Tech Review Warriors, 2017

The Indian summer is exclusive as it is relentless. Obfuscating as the endless media channels with their ‘you-saw-it-here-first’ slaps on the hapless faces of consumers, the generous heat emanating as a result of a lovemaking between human farts and the rays of the sun ends up shaping our lives in more ways than one.

But we’re not talking about copulation, and its irritable effects. The issue at hand is much more grave than coming back home with STD after the wildest night of your life.

I, therefore, invoke the power bestowed upon a lucky few by the Gods of tech. This is not my writing, but a mere translation of the divine words. I feel grateful that the onus fell upon my shoulders. Maybe it was the fruit of my past ten years’ worth of asceticism. Maybe I won the lottery. Maybe I went rogue.

  • The written review sites- are there any even left worth reading?
  • Video review sites – most are shit. Some stink more than others. Worse even, the YouTube endorsed Indian reviewers are on top of this stinking mountain. Best to utilize that time watching or reading stuff that will actually help you. If you know what the different voltages are and how they affect overclocking and stability, it is going to help you decide how far you want to push your processor. Watching a video where a barely 20 year old doles out maa-behen ki gaaliyan won’t.
  • Tech Evangelists, know-it-alls, Well-wishers of the community (there are a million names these people go by) – These are the most poisonous snakes. You will find them rambling about things in product pages, forums, and most of them ultimately end up hate-speeching on their own Facebook pages. These kind of idiots thrive only because we give them attention.
  • Old, back from the dead zombies – Some are really risen for the good. Others are lurking in the shadows. Their stink’s way too real.
  • Young advisers – Keyword Nazis, fighting and calling everyone fanboys. Has a very strong opinion about everything, and often uses obscure sites to prove points. Especially adept at producing benchmark numbers out of their rear ends.
  • The Buying and Selling Connoisseur – One who jumps into every sale thread with plentiful advises, fights vehemently with everyone, and then tells that he was educating the seller/buyer. The stench that these pariahs leave can floor even a Super Saiyan!
  • The Lone Mercenary- He is a Skinwalker, a Wendigo, a Ronin; He walks a thousand paths, yet he never settles. Can be seen online most of the time, but barely replies back. The hard disk crasher, the data-ninja, the male Valkyrie of the downed warriors in the long tech battle. You will see him everywhere, yet he’s not there. He fights alone, because his insatiable hunger for hardware is all-consuming. If you see him, do not move. Stay still.

I do wish from the bottom of my heart that these seven perils won’t faze a new reviewer. Amidst the rubble, there are a few rays of light, new warriors adorning familiar weapons with a new blaze. If this Kurukshetra is any lesson, here’s hoping that the bastion will be carried by the worthy, and not the attention-seeking vermin.