Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Stare - II

(this post is in continuation to "The Stare" posted earlier) took some doing, but I found I could relax and hold the glance if I simply stopped working to figure out what the other person was thinking. I had to force myself to stop reading every twitch, every sideways glance, every brush of the hair. When I walked in the door, when I stuck out my hand, when I said "Hi?" I turned my gaze toward the pupil of the person's eye. It really was a process of searching it out, looking at the black of the eye only, holding my glance there, and waiting until the eye color registered in my periphery.

It worked, too. Females could not hold my glance longer; men moved faster. This worked with colleagues. With friends. Even with Auto-drivers, whom I looked at in their rearview mirrors. I began to gain better control over these transactions by searching out their eyes. It took only a few seconds, but I could plainly see what they were looking for. Here is what I saw: No matter how much attention they appeared to be giving me, no matter how slowly they spoke or how long they paused after greeting me, it was evident that these people were initially treating me like every other guy who walked in off the street, trying to figure me out and see how fast they could get me what I wanted before moving on.

The eye contact changed all that. You realize you have X-ray vision. You had the right blade. With my eyes, I calmed them, slowed them down, and did so without knocking them over or humiliating them. I used my eyes to upset the indifference of their routines and simply register my presence. It worked every time. They didn't know me, but then, suddenly, it seemed they did. I did not need to bargain much. The doorman perked up when I arrived at the dad’s office and stood up straighter when I walked out.

I tried it with people who see me all the time. The guard at my office who now greets me every time I walk in. The person I've known for three years. A guy I know from some social service activities. In each case, upon greeting them, I'd search out their pupils and hold my eyes on theirs for a minimum of two blinks. Just as with people I didn't know, time seemed to slow down and routine moments became unpredictable. Not just because two blinks is an eternity when you have nothing to say except "How are you?" but because it meant they had to look at me at least once, and often two or three times, before they spoke.

While I may suck at eye contact naturally, there are people who are worse, much worse, in every ring of my life. The more I practiced, the more hapless they seemed. It's the law of dominance, I think, that the more dominant you become, the more you want to stay dominant. I found I liked backing people down. I began to look at them long enough that I began to sense when they were about to look away. The truth is, instead of them seeing me, it ended up that I could really see them. They were just like I was, a little afraid of eye contact, a little leery of connection. I meant well, so I pressed on. People gave me apologies I didn't ask for. They invited me to dinner.

I could do far worse with my eyes. Anyone can. The tool can always become the weapon.

With any gesture of influence, the danger lies in not knowing what you are after. I fell into an easy routine recently. Just yesterday, while negotiating the price of a beautiful watch I was buying for my mom, I was staring into the eyes of a storekeeper, trying to figure out what color his eyes were, when he suddenly dropped the price by two thousand bucks to four thousand. I'd been threatening him somehow and hadn't known it. I didn't break away. I didn't look down. While I hadn't expected as much, now I had to see where I could go from there.

His eyes jumped back and forth, from the counter to the watch to me, then back again, in reverse. His eyes looked green, I decided. Green.

"Four thousand," I said. "Flat price. No tax. OK?"

He nodded and looked back at me then, long and hard. We were in agreement, though neither of us said a thing.

FYI, my eyes are BROWN.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Call up...

It is a well established “known” assumption that senses do bring out lots of things, which are about to happen in our lives. Twisting the story would entail that more than senses, it is what we eventually end up doing, reminds us of lots of hidden agendas of thy nature.

I’ll not beat around the bush anymore (it anyhow won’t make much of a difference), and come to what the incident of the day is – I used to have Reliance phones – not just one, but two of them (don’t wonder why two – I am presumptuous enough to say that one was official and another was for personal use; now don’t ask me what personal use I’m talking about). Both of these were ignored and discarded a couple of years ago (the paradigm shift of need of fancier handsets was the trigger..).

Today, I was just going through my stuff when I could locate one of those reliance handsets in my junk drawer (again, don’t ask me whether it was personal or official). To my surprise, it was still there. What surprised me more was that it was still working. And above all, it had all the messages (or SMS’) intact (Not that I had thought that someone would have deleted data from it, but it came as a surprise that the text was still there)!

And believe me, the messages were real touchy. It reminded me of quite a few things – highlighted ones being - a night’s drive about a hundred kilometers away from the city to drop someone home; a total collapse of a friend’s love life; & an anxious friend waiting to get the answer from her beloved – there were so many, what should I call it, maybe “flavors”, in those messages that I could almost relive the past.

I wanted to pick up my cell and call to relive those moments, but somehow, my fingers felt a quiver and I just could not – it wasn’t the ‘ego’ that was holding me back; it was a fear – fear of making a mistake (no, calling is not a mistake here; not calling is..). The fear of sounding stupid, when it means the least. Vaise who knows the real essence of stupidity – is it the lesson learnt from “Pride and Prejudice”? Or does it ensemble from the absence of acts – I don’t know.

But calling – yes – I’ll do for sure. Just giving myself some time…

Monday, August 20, 2007


Though I've been on a low for a few days, but this shall speak out anyhow..

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Ultimate Search for Bourne With Google

Much awaited Bourne is back - The Bourne Ultimatum is as much a political movie as an action adventure: director Paul Greengrass made it after the second Bourne film and United 93, the movie about what happened on one of the jets hijacked by terrorists on 9/11. All three movies take place in that anxious place between reality and perception, and The Bourne Ultimatum is made with the same shaky, documentary-style cinematography that invites us into the grey and faithless world of the spy. Not since John le Carre suffered the end of the Cold War have we had such a rich and adult view of what secrets mean.

Not that there’s much time to think about it. The Bourne Ultimatum is also breathlessly tense: Greengrass stages three chases with a beautiful eye for the suspense of the everyday. In the first, Bourne leads a newspaper reporter (Paddy Considine) through a London train station as assassins follow them both. It’s one of the movie’s several chases-within-a-chase: everyone has a cellphone, all of them are tapped, and Bourne orchestrates the journalist’s flight even as he is being followed and in turn following. It’s very long and unfailingly gripping, and Greengrass manages to convey the twists and complications clearly within its crowded reality.

The Bourne Ultimatum ends with the answers Bourne has been seeking. These turn out to be disappointing, maybe because the movie has to come to a shuddering halt while we go through flashbacks that don’t tell us much that we couldn’t guess. Bourne’s long run to find out who he is turns out to be not that important. What he was really learning, it turns out, is who we are.

I would rate it 4.5/5

Quick Trivia - Universal Pictures and Google have joined to promote the movie and at the same time tout several of Google's products to moviegoers.

"The Ultimate Search for Bourne With Google," is an interactive game that uses several Google products, including search, maps, images, translation and YouTube, to let players adopt the persona of Jason Bourne, the film's hero. Players are given challenges each week at a dedicated Google site, Another feather in the cap, I must say.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Here's ME..Where're you?

Music and Lyrics

There's a formula for romantic comedies that one must adhere to, which is pretty much close to the guidelines Mills and Boon put out for their novels (Yes, I know what they are!). Logical too, given the size of the romance market. Your hero must be good-looking, a little tad naughty, eventually redeemable and every lady should want him. The heroine must be amiable, a little peculiar, and she must win the hero over with the force of her lovable personality, because even though all the people in these stories are inevitably drop dead gorgeous, it's never about the sex, because, well, that would be just crass.

"Music and Lyrics" - an unusually witty and intelligent romantic comedy. A Movie advised on Valentine’s day / Friendship day. Once recommended.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

On this day...

On this day, the friendship day, I'll share one of the incidents I've been a part of that I can talk about. It is about this friend of mine, who I don't think goes through my blog, and it would be safe for me to blurt out the incident here.

Well, the story goes like this - Let's call this friend 'D'. D and I have been knowing each other for ages, for as long as I can remember (I know, I know, I have a bad memory, and I hardly remember things happening a couple of hours back, but whatever..) - so now, we both used to get along very well as friends - and by getting along, I mean that no ten minutes could pass without us having an argument or a fight. Obviously my mom trusted D more than she trusted me, and vice versa. Not that we used to go out too often in those early days, but it used to be fun to fight at each opportunity possible. And one fine day, we had a fight, a catastrophe!

Hang on, hang on...if I tell you the reason for the quarrel, you've beat both of us to death. All those who today know the reason for that quarrel we had still wonder what was there to even have an argument about. I WILL NOT open the cards to tell the reason, because it will reveal how stupid we were, but anyhow. So we had this quarrel, and we stopped talking (as we generally used to, for a couple of hours) - but on this occasion, neither of us tried to the hours became days, days became weeks, weeks months, and ultimately months turned into years, with us not talking..!!!

In the meanwhile, D shifted home, and so did I, our phone numbers changed, and since I am talking of the primitive age when we hardly used to operate computers, we did not have each other's email IDs too..Years later, when in college, a classmate of mine told me that some friend of his met some other person, who knew me, and the name of this other person was 'D'! Just like we see Flashback in movies, I could recollect all the times spent together, and I decided to get back in touch with D at that moment itself.

But but but, everything was not as simple. D's address was still not known - my classmate's friend had some faint idea of which street D stayed in!

Anyone seen 'Love Actually'? Remember how Hugh Grant (playing the Prime Minister of Britain in the movie) went from door to door in the street, trying to locate Natalie (PM's love in the movie). Not that I had watched the movie by then, but that's exactly what I was prompted to act upon. I can still remember the shocked face of D when I knocked on the front door of D's house, and D standing there, wondering how on earth I could find the place!!!

Post that, it's been a couple of years, and yes, we are in regular touch now. Fights and quarrels are still as silly as they used to be, but I guess the time has taught us both a lot - that near or far, it's a matter of being with your friends, in essence.

It's a matter of hanging on, after others have let go.

Now D holds a distinct place - many other friends of mine do too, but I am writing how special D is to me here, because I know D will never reach this page.. And many of my friends who might read this should know that I have their stories too, but those will be shared only in forums or platforms where they can't see them. :-)

Now some general gyan, that you may skip..
One of the most memorable moments in life is when you meet old friends whom you had lost touch midway in the journey of life. You will be overwhelmed with the feeling of emotional detachment, realizing how much you have been missing him or her all these years. Having them around will remind you of all those golden moments that you spent together in the rain, amidst the morning mist or under the scorching sun. It will remind you of those golden moments of sharing lunch together and exchanging your friendship bands. More so it will remind you of how silly you have been when you picked up fights on matters of no substance, spending days, weeks, months, or even years not talking to that dear friend of yours.

Apparently today is friendship day. Many would have planned for grand reunions and rocking get togethers with old friends. This is a way of sharing all emotions that you had stored for them for this long span of time. Doesn't really matter if you don't do it now though, because one can celebrate the occasion of friendship any time of the year! Just grab a couple of beers, and/or pickup some snacks from the nearby shack, and sit under the stars on the ground with your friend, and revisit all times, good and bad, with your dear friend - you won't discount that day as any other day. the good and the bad times with your friend.

And if the idea has not stuck yet, go and collect the contact info of all your long lost friends (by long lost, I do not mean those who you've left in the "Kumbh-ka-mela"!), and get back to them - shoot them an email, post a letter, call them up, send gifts, or do anything that makes you feel you are closer to your friend.