Sunday, 17 July 2016

Movies that made Bollywood proud!


Odds are that you'd have heard of or seen this one too, directed by Anand Gandhi. The film was actually a pretty deep one, high on philosophy and principles and was critically acclaimed in India. It was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and was touted as 'the hidden gem of the year'. It was also screened at other film fests, including BFI London Film Festival, Hong Kong International Film Festival and more.


Apart from the fact that the film got rave reviews in India, it was also screened during the International Critic's Week at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. It went on to win the Critics Week Viewers Choice Award and was also screened at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival.


Well, this is a recent one and we're sure you must be familiar with it. Based on the life of a girl with cerebral palsy who has a confused sexuality, it received rave reviews in India and was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival. It was also screened at a bunch of other international film fests including at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia, BFI London Film Festival, Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF).


Starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Geetanjali Thapa, the film throws light on the issue of migrant labourer exploitation. The film is India's Official Entry for the Best Foreign Language Film for the 87th Academy Awards, but then it didn't end up getting nominated. It was screened at the Pesaro International Film Festival, Sofia International Film Festival, and more, and whisked away quite a lot of awards too.


Here's another flick you guys must have heard about. The film deals with the life of a poor kid who wants to make it big in life while his mother keeps discouraging him from studying. The film was applauded by both the audience and the critics and was screened at Transilvania International Film Festival in 2011. It also won a bunch of awards at various international film festivals.


Produced by India's Children's Film Society in 2012, Gattu received rave reviews from the audience and the critics. Based on a kid's life who is passionate about kite flying, Gattu received a special mention under Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk category at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival, which is a rarity for any Indian film.


Nagesh Kukunoor's film Dhanak was screened at the Berlin International Film Festival and was honoured with The Grand Prix of the Generation Kplus International Jury for the best feature-length film at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival. It also received a special mention from Kids Jury at the festival. The film shows the story of a young girl and her blind brother who travel across the state of Rajasthan to fulfill a promise the girl makes to her brother.


Miss Lovely is a rather well known indie film as compared to others that often are unable to garner as much attention. Perhaps it was because of the fact that the film was based on Mumbai's C-grade horror porn industry! This was screened at the Un Certain Regard section of Cannes Film Festival in 2012.


Chatrak is a 2011 Indian Bengali film which was screened at the Directors' Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival. It was also screened at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival and the Pacific Meridian film festival in Vladivostok, Russia. But it's yet to see a theatrical release in India, probably because of its high voltage sexual content.


A co-production of Aditya Chopra and Dibakar Banerjee, this was screened at the Un Certain Regard section of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, and at a ton of other international film festivals as well. It's slated for a mid-year release in India, and has picked up numerous awards at international film fests including Seattle South Asian Film Festival, Gijón International Film Festival in Spain and more!


We all know the man in this picture, right? Purab Kohli. But not many of us have heard about this gem of a movie called Jal. The film is set in the Rann Of Katch and deals with the life of a water diviner. It received special mention at the "New Currents" section of the Busan International Film Festival 2013 and was also short listed as a contender for the Best Picture category at the 2014 Oscars.


Indie director Hemant Gaba's Shuttlecock Boys had a first-timer cast and crew. The film deals with issues in the lives of four young boys in Delhi from lower middle-class families. The film has been screened at a bunch of international film festivals with amazing responses, including Australian Festival of South Asian Arts, Seattle South Asian Film Festival, and more. It even got its theatrical release at PVR cinemas in 2012.


Director Manjeet Singh's debut film, this one won many hearts when it first premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Based on the life of street kids, it was screened later at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival and Palm Springs International Film Festival as well.


Indian indie film Masaan, directed by Neeraj Ghaywan, was screened at the Cannes Film Festival and guess what, it received a 5-minute long standing ovation from the audience. The Indian connect  is pretty strong this time at the coveted film festival, and what makes this gesture from the audience even more special is the fact that this is, in fact, director Ghaywan's first film! Starring superb character actors like Sanjay Mishra and Richa Chaddha, Masaan captures various stories of different people from small towns in India and the complexities in their lives.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

How to spend your college days productively?

1. Networking
The richest people in the world look for and build networks; everyone else looks for work. - Robert Kiyosaki 
I remember the very first day when I joined my NIT, the first thing I learned about was Networking. I didn't agree with the concept that much initially, but realised it was indeed one of the most important thing during college (and even after that). College is a really good place to network both with peers and faculty. It's also a good place to network with everyone in your industry as you are a student and you can approach people for guidance - usually people are helpful. Though very few of these people would become good friends/mentors/well wishers, but all those who do help immensely in life.

2. Read/Learn 
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.Dr. Seuss
Well you are in College, might as well do this one :). My two cents: Reading doesn't have to be restricted to the course books and lessons are not learned only in classrooms!

3. Experiment

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.Ralph Waldo Emerson
College is the best time and place to experiment as failures are quite cheap and acceptable here. You are at the stage in life where the world is your oyster and everything seems possible - experiment, learn and grow and even if you fail, learn from it, make things better and again grow from it :)

4. Make memories

The moments may have ended, but the memories last forever Anonymous 
People always told me the time that you spend in college is one of the most amazing time of your life and no matter where you go and what you become that's the time you'd like to go back to - always. I know I cannot say that for everyone, but I find it quite true in my case. I think it depends on your memories you've made in college - most of us have the best of them from college.

And Now,
Being a college student isn’t easy. However, the Eisenhower Matrix can help.

We rush to classes, complete multiple homework assignments per night, and fight to stay awake in lectures the next morning. When we allow ourselves the privilege of spending time with friends, thoughts of important responsibilities leave us feeling guilty.

It can be overwhelming.

One great method of coping with that, “too much to do, too little time” feeling is adopting a method of time management that facilitates the decision of how you should be spending your time. Meet The Eisenhower Matrix!

This is where the Eisenhower Matrix comes into play. As denoted by the name, President Eisenhower developed this method of time management. This is how he balanced his responsibilities as the 34th president of the United States, a 5-star general, and the 1st Supreme Commander of NATO.

To keep himself focused and decide where to allocate his time and resources, Eisenhower divided his priorities into four quadrants.

Critical and “Do Now” Tasks
These tasks are of high importance, and demand your immediate attention.
Examples include:

  • Study for tomorrow’s exam
  • Buying your best friend a birthday present for his/her party this week
  • Completing an online quiz due tonight at 5:00 PM
Critical, but Do Later
These are tasks that contribute to more long-term goals and advancement.
Examples include:

  • Getting on a regular training schedule to make the club tennis team
  • Choosing a topic for your end-of semester research paper
  • Running for an elected position in your club, sorority, or religious group
Not Critical, but Do Now
Tasks like these can be confusing to deal with. The idea behind these tasks is that they should be delegated to other people; they are menial tasks that do not demand the skills you possess, and should be passed on. However, as students, we don’t have assistants.
The best thing to do with these tasks is deal with them when you don’t have the mental energy to work on things that are more important. This saves your best self for more critical work.
Examples include:

  • Scheduling a dental cleaning
  • Taking your formal dress to the dry cleaner
  • Sending a quick thank-you email to your professor who just gave a test review session.
Not Critical, Do Later
You may be thinking, “but tasks in this quadrant will never get done”. This is exactly the point. By identifying which tasks do not need to be done, you free up more time for tasks and activities that mean more to you.
Examples include:

  • Going to an acquaintance’s improv performance
  • Watching 5 episodes of New Girl
  • Colour coding your closet
The Result: 
By organising your priorities in a matrix like this, you can rest assured that you’re focused on the right things, whether trying out for a club sports team, planning your best friend’s birthday party, or studying for a test.

Pro-Tip: One thing that President Eisenhower didn’t realise is that not every task is simple and clear-cut. A task like “study for Chemistry” might look easy enough, when in reality you need to know what to study first or in what order you should go through the material.

We decided that in Priority Matrix, each task should have its own “matrix”. This allows you to keep track of each action item that needs to be done.

This way, you won’t forget each step and will successfully complete the entire task!

Courtesy- The Eisenhower Matrix, For Students 

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Great Quotes from Great Movies!

1. Shawshank Redemption
Hope is always a good thing
Andy:  There are things in this world not carved out of gray stone. There's a small place inside of us they can never lock away, and that place is called hope. Red: Let me tell you something my friend, hope is a dangerous thing. Drives a man insane. Its got no place here. Better get used to the idea.  

Red doesn't believe that "hope" can do any good to a man in prison. But Andy is a believer- he keeps his hope alive. And this hope is what drives him to chisel the walls of the prison with a small rock hammer. This hope is what makes him take on the blows of the "sisters" gang and the exploitation of warden Norton. This hope is what makes him write letters for six long years to expand the library. He just keeps on going and going and going. And finally the light shines through- he breaks through the prison wall, like a bird never meant to be caged.
In the end, Andy sums it up well-
"Remember, Red. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. I will be hoping that this letter finds you, and finds you well.
Your friend. Andy."

2. Pursuit of Happyness 

Dream. Protect it!
"Don't ever let someone tell you that you can't do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you gotta protect it. When people can't do something themselves, they're gonna tell you that you can't do it. You want something, go get it. Period."

3. The Godfather
Offer your friendship and loyalty in return to a favour 
Don Vito Corleone: Now you come to me, and you say: 'Don Corleone, give me justice.' But you don't ask with respect. You don't offer friendship. You don't even think to call me Godfather. Instead, you come into my house on the day my daughter is to be married, and you ask me to do murder for money.

Nobody will do a thing for you without expecting something in return. It maybe your friendship, your loyalty or a return favour. If you want people to help you in your hard times, learn to offer something in return.

 4. The Godfather: Part II

Keep your friends close, but enemies closer
Geary: Because I intend to squeeze you. I don't like your kind of people. I don't like to see you come out to this clean country in your oily hair -- dressed up in those silk suits - and try to pass yourselves off as decent Americans. I'll do business with you, but the fact is, I despise your masquerade -- the dishonest way you pose yourself. Yourself, and your whole fucking family.

Michael Corleone: Senator - we're both part of the same hypocrisy. But never think it applies to my family.  (Notice how he keeps his calm)
It's important to keep a watchful eye on your enemies. To hold the ground and not burn down the bridges in anger. When Senator Geary comes out to bully Michael, he keeps his calm and plays along. Later on, he uses his cards right and turns Geary over to his side.

 5. The Dark Knight
Find that one thing that makes you forget your limits
Alfred: Know your limits, Master Wayne.Wayne: Batman has no limits.Alfred: Well, you do, sir.Wayne: I can't afford to know them.

Out of so many lessons that Batman provides, this is one key lesson applicable on every life. Find that one thing that makes you rise above all the struggles. Something that makes you forget your limits. It maybe big, it maybe small, doesn't matter. Finding it is important.

6. Schindler's list
The value of one life 
This scene says enough.
Schindler: This car. Goeth would've bought this car. Why did I keep the car? Ten people, right there, ten more I could've got. (looking around) This pin -- He rips the elaborate Hakenkreus, the swastika, from his lapel and holds it out to Stern pathetically -- Two people. This is gold. Two more people. He would've given me two for it. At least one. He would've given me one. One more. One more person. A person, Stern. For this. One more. I could've gotten one more person I didn't.--He completely breaks down, weeping convulsively, the emotion he's been holding in for years spilling out, the guilt consuming him.-- They killed so many people... (Stern, weeping too, embraces him) They killed so many people...

7. 12 Angry Men
Stand up for what you believe
"Just remember this has to be 12 to nothing either way. Um, that's the law.Now, all those voting guilty, please raise your hands." (11 men raise their hands.) Starts counting- one, two, three, four, five, six, seven- (stops, one man has not raised his hand)- eight, nine, ten, eleven. That's eleven guilty. Those not guilty?" (One man raises his hand.)

On this, another man speaks out- "Boy, oh boy, there's always one." (Notice how this man remarked an absurd comment on the one who stood by his decision. That's the truth. Others will always mock you when you stand by your decision and their ideas are challenged, even if you're speaking the truth. Be prepared to handle this.)
If they answer not to your call, walk alone. Stand up for what you believe in even if the whole world is against you.

8. Pulp Fiction
Be Prepared
You never know what lies on the next step. So be cautious and well-prepared(especially while coming out of the bathroom!) for whatever the life might throw at you.
The bathroom door opens and Vincent Vega steps out, tightening his belt. In his hand is the book "MODESTY BLAISE" by Peter O'Donnell. Vincent and Butch lock eyes. Vincent freezes. Butch doesn't move, except to point the M61 in Vincent's direction. Neither man opens his mouth. Then... the toaster LOUDLY kicks up the Pop Tarts. That's all the situation needed. Butch's finger HITS the trigger.

9. Into the Wild
 You don't need human relationships to be happy, God has placed it all around us

"The sea's only gifts are harsh blows, and occasionally the chance to feel strong. Now I don't know much about the sea, but I do know that that's the way it is here. And I also know how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong but to feel strong. To measure yourself at least once. To find yourself at least once in the most ancient of human conditions. Facing the blind death stone alone, with nothing to help you but your hands and your own head"
There are many more in the list. Mention some of your favourites of all time in the comments! 

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Life at NIT

An average student attending NIT goes through 5 phases typically-
  1. Denial- Most people here believe they were destined for IIT or some other greater stuff. So initially,we have a lot of guys roaming around explaining how they got sick on that crucial JEE day,how their lousy coaching guru skipped the very topics which came in the exam,how they forgot to circle the answers in the OMR but marked them in the question paper.....the list goes on and on....
  2. Anger- In this stage, anger is vented out by the hapless guy upon any issue he can lay his hands on-the shoddy quality of mess food,the shoddier quality of teaching, the super-boring schedule(it takes some time to form friends), electricity cut -outs in the hostels.
  3. Bargaining- For a short period of time,the guy ,in vain,tries to brighten himself up by cultivating thoughts like  'I will make up for everything by topping my department, having a good job with a better pay packet, I will finally learn how to play a guitar/bongo/any other musical instrument which will gain me instant popularity points among the female NIT populace, I will get into the core team of XYZ fest and thus obtain that elusive certificate'
  4. Depression- Soon,reality strikes. It turns out that it is not easy to get that 9 pointer,especially when you are in competition with those 'chosen ones' who mug 10 hours a day. Moreover, you weren't the rockstar or sublime actor that you imagined yourself to be and most of the girls of your batch are already committed to your seniors.
  5. Acceptance- After the darkest hour , things begin to go uphill. Free Internet and DC++ comes to your rescue. Everyone finds those few people whose 'frequency' matches with them and friendships grow. Few people discover their passions (coding,robotics etc) and delve into them. Assignments no longer cause undue worry, as seniors teach us the golden mantra-'Light lo". Life is again full of laughter and fun (incidentally, the definition of 'fun' differs a lot from person to person).                                                                        
That,in brief,sums it up.

" When all is said and done, there are only two ways you can react to whatever happens. Learn or Let Go.

You'll be surrounded by the most diverse crowd. Some will share their lunch, some others will kick your lunch down. Some will motivate you, some others will humiliate you.
Observe. Learn.

You'll be made to do things you are not used to, things you've never dared to, things that go against your principles. 
Run away. Let go.


Every friend around you is stuck with some problem. Financial status, academics, romance, spats, enemies, addictions.
Observe. Learn.

There are assholes who'll break your heart.
Run away. Let go.


Suddenly everyone is running. Some know the destination, others are playing Blind man's buff. Do not fret, this is the best time we seniors come in handy; as we have 'been there, done that'.
Observe. Learn.

Antipathy is everywhere. Sadist professors give you arrears. Friends leave you suddenly to befriend more studious/influential people. 
Run away. Let go.

Senior of them all:

Your friends are getting placed, they are flying abroad, they are starting a business. This is but the beginning of a new path. A new path that you have been constructing or a new path that you have simply stumbled upon. Seize every single opportunity.
Observe. Learn.

Despite all the running and chasing; happiness and hurt, here you are, wondering where time went, pining for one more day in college. Memories will haunt you.
Run away. Let go.

And most importantly,
Learn to let go and never let go the process of learning.
All the very best. "


Sunday, 15 May 2016

Turning trash into toys for learning- Arvind Gupta!

Have you seen him? On TV? On DD1? On Tarang?
Do you reminisce anything about him?

Meet Arvind Gupta:  The IIT Kanpur Engineer Who Quit His Job At Telco And Began Teaching Science To The Children Of India

When Arvind Gupta quit his job, his mother came to his defence stating  ‘good, now he will do something noble with his life’. A prophetic  statement from a woman who never had a day of formal education in her  life but ensured that her four children excelled academically.
For almost 30 years now, Arvind Gupta has been taking his love for science and learning to  the young minds of your country. Gupta has travelled to over 3000  schools, demonstrating captivating science experiments to wide eyed  children. What sparks their imagination further is that Gupta uses only  everyday garbage as the building blocks of these experiments.

“All teaching aids we use are hand-made. It‘s important for children to  see that you don‘t need fancy materials. Science can also help you look  critically at materials that are often considered trash, there is a lot  of learning in that itself”

An empowering lesson for his pupils  who are of limited means. They watch him as he explains phenomenon like  light and its laws of convergence & divergence with only used up  ball-point pen refills, rubber slippers or empty tetra packs! He also  distributes CD’s packed with massive collections of e-books and videos  to the schools he visits. Often, these are the only teaching aids they  have ever received or used. The keenest minds of our country might be  hidden away in a broken down municipality school, in a town we have  never heard of. A tryst with Arvind Gupta could open their eyes to  endless possibilities and give them the chance to dream, despite their  limiting environment.

"Great task of education is not to cover things but to UNCOVER!"

Gupta’s dedication, perseverance and  brilliance have not gone unnoticed. He has been recognised by organisations such as UNESCO, UNICEF, International Toy Research  Association, Boston Science Center, Walt Disney Imagineering and  Research. 
He has received a special award given by the National  Association for the Blind for designing teaching aids for pre-school  blind children and the Ruchi Ram Sahni Award for science popularisation,  among others.

“I have an enduring passion for my work because it  allows me to reinvent myself. Every child has a dream in their eyes,  and each of them instills a hope in me about the future”, he shares.

Thus, not every day do we come across good Samaritans like Gupta who would give their all for the betterment of the society!
In  true Gandhian spirit, Gupta signs off all his communication with the  words ‘with love and peace’. He certainly lives by them.

A man who makes little things that make huge changes in the way children learn. His story is as charming as it is inspiring.

Please watch his TED-talk: TED Speaker- Arvind Gupta | Turning trash into toys for learning