Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Camp Diary

The routine at the yoga camp is gruelling. I wake up at an unearthly 4.30 am and have a hot water bath. The water is heated using solar power. Next I have Asanas and Om Meditation. Meditation is particularly tough, but I am gaining new ground in the Asanas classes. My body has become flexible in the three weeks I have been here. I have also lost weight, which I am putting back on. Well, almost. But most people who are gonna see me after the camp are going to notice the difference. We have Gita chanting and lecture classes next. Through the day, we have cyclic meditation, pranayama, special techinques - asanas meant to focus on the individual rather than a group, and a hundred different things. We also do kriyas - cleansing techniques - though not in a big way.

I bought a few books at the store today. Among them is a diary by a pilgrim who went on a trip to Mount Kailash. Looks promising....

This place is teeming with people from the North East. I have made friends with people from different countries. A girl from Kenya. Another from SA and Holland. But most are kannadigas, who seem more amiable than even Tamils. On Thursday, we are staging a skit. It is to be based on miscommunication through the use of too many languages, an apt topic for a camp like this.

A bitch - the animal kind - in the camp has given birth to six pups. It's fun to watch them. They were sleeping till last week, but have become active now and often play with each other.

There is a tower on the one end of the camp from where we can see the sunset and sunrise. On the other end, there is a huge statue of Vivekananda, the patron saint of the camp. There is a hour called in camp parlance as 'tuning to nature'. I spend most of my time in the two ends of the camp. I hate the classes anyway. I love the serenity though.

There is no spell check on the program I am using to type this blog. So if there are any spelling errors, don't blame me.

The Departed

Long after the movie is over, I keep hearing Jack Nicholson. "In this country, we don't come to a business meeting with automatic weapons, because in this country that don't add inches to your dick. It gets you in jail," he tells Chinese businessmen trying to buy stolen microprocessors from him. Jack is playing Frank Costello, a mafia head based in Boston. But he is really playing himself or the screen persona that he has developed over the years. Not even Martin Scorcese, who has finally made a movie that audiences and critics alike have come to expect of him, can rein Jack in. Sometimes the swagger in Jack's tone is delicious, but in a couple of scenes it does grate a bit. Especially when he and Capiro are discussing the rat in their gang.

Scorcese has based his movie on the script of Infernal Affairs, a wildly popular Hong Kong film. Which is to say that screenwriter William Monohan has said that he didn't see the original, instead choosing to just write his script based on the script of Infernal Affairs. Jack gets the best of Monohan's lines; some of them will no doubt go on to become as famous as Travis's (Robert De Niro) monologues in Taxi Driver.
The story revolves around Bill Costigan and Collin Sullivan played by Leonardo Di Capiro and Matt Damon. Collin is groomed from his early teens by Costello and he becomes the gang's man inside the Boston police department. Costigan, who uncle is a don, wants to join the police department but is forced to go undercover within the Costello gang.

Scorcese, much more that Coppola, is the granddaddy of mafia movies. Much like Casino, The Departed is not romantic. There is no glorification of violence. Rather, the end that most characters meet in the movie is a sort of moral lecture Scorcese is making; For instance, violence begets violence. But it is incredibly interesting anyway and so you tend to watch.

I haven't yet taken a good look at the Oscar nominations, but a friend told me that Jack has been nominated for the umpteenth time. Just a few years ago he was up there getting the Oscar for As Good As It Gets. Hope he is not back again this time, because terrific as he is, this is not his best performance in recent years.

Hope you guys have interesting comments to make. I am looking forward to a slow, deliberate discussion over a really erratic and frustatingly slow connection at the yoga camp. I could not really rewrite the review like the way I want to. So sorry for being sketchy.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Arrived at Prasanthi Kutteram

The one-month-long yoga foundation course will begin on January 12, Vivekananda Jayanthi. I took the night bus yesterday from Nagercoil at around 6 pm. I watched Madrasi and the first half of Giri on the bus. Both are worthless movies. Had the feeling that Vadivelu may do good in Giri, but could not watch the entire movie.
I reached Bangalore this morning at around 8 am. Had a breakfast of Palak Puri, Vadai and some really strong coffee. I caught a call taxi to Prasanthi Kutteram, where the yoga camp is happening. It is about 32 km from Bangalore city. It is almost a village by itself, with a sparsely stocked store. Hot water is made through a solar power system. I have paid the required amount of Rs 5,000 for the course, which would include accommodation and food. I may have to spend a little more for the extra week I am staying here.
My mobile is no longer working as I have run out of validity period. I am trying to get a local prepaid number.
The Internet connection is really slow here. I don't have a camera to shoot the scenic location. So I will try and get in a few words everyday when I have time to spare. The routine here, which begins at 5 am and ends at 9.30 pm, is gruelling. So please bear with me if I am, indeed, unable to post.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


Two movies that I have seen, The Departed and Veyyil, need to be reviewed. Both are excellent movies in their own right and their is a very good reason I am not able to complete the reviews. Both are lying half done in my gmail folder.

Today I am leaving Nagercoil for Bangalore where I am taking part in a yoga retreat on the city outskirts. The camp is a few kilometres from the Bannergatta National Park. I will try and update my blog from there, but no promises. :)

In other news, I have been diagnosed with rheumatic arthritis, a condition that affects the joints of the body. I have had it for around five years on and off, but I had my blood tested only two days back. I usually don't post about such stuff on my blog, but I want to write about the disease using my experiences. I hope to do this once I return from the yoga camp.

Keep commenting guys for each blog written from now on is sort of precious to me.

Monday, January 01, 2007

My vacation

Sleep. Eat. Repeat.