The Summer of Kulfi

It’s summer and daily kulfi is a must but have you noticed how these kulfi wallay have strategically placed their stands and carts to exploit our weakness for kulfi for more sales. I mean the time you finish one, which leaves you wanting for more, there is another cart right in front of you. What amazes me is how even if you are walking or driving, they know where your kulfi will finish? This must have been possibly only after extensive research involving the melting speed of a kulfi in summers and the average walking and driving distance one can cover in that time. This research presumably is the basic of rairi-wali-kulfi taking over. They may have beaten others in accessibility but nothing beats the taste of original Yummy’s Shahi Kulfi that used to come in smaller white wooden boxed-shaped icecream carts. That was the original kulfi that we all have grown to love and we had so many over the years that it is kinda part of our DNA now. After school, a summer day was incomplete without that shahi kulfi. It triggers all the right taste buds in your mouth and who can blame it, its shahi kulfi, it has to be good. Have it been awami kulfi we would have let it slide. Anyway a month ago a shop opened not far from our place and they have all the best and widest variety of kulfis and yes that includes the glorious shahi kulfi. Heck it is right at the spot van drops me on the way home from uni. So basically there is no fighting it, they have found my kryptonite. It wouldn’t surprise me if this summer turns into the summer of kulfi for me, like lassi last year, and to that I say bring it on. Laters 🙂

The cockroach who lived

Summer 2015, I was showering when something brushed against my toe. My eyes shifted instantly to find a cockroach running for his life. Contrary to what some people I know may think, I do not fear cockroaches. I find one, I kill one. That time however I was so disgusted by it and my skin was doing that think it does when something creepy touches you and I could not squash that hit and run convict in time. He got away. I am saying he although it could be a she, but I don’t want the first non-mehrum brushing against my toe be a cockroach so. Anyway, after that day he remained in the shadows, never to return to the surface. But I know the little thing.  He looked like one planny sicko. Bet he touched my toe on purpose. So he married soon after and had a lot of children. Then his children had even more children and he soon found himself telling hundreds of his grand children about our encounter. Of course he would have boasted, he was just like that, telling them how he battled with me as I threw chappals at him and tried to kill him with a broom but he got away due to his speed and bravery. Now there, right there is a generation of cockroaches who’s minds are filled with visions of grandeur.  As two years have passed, God knows how many generations of cockroaches would have heard this story by now and what area will his generations would have spread. Probably a whole lot of Pindi but also Lahore because some could have married outside the family. Because why not. That lying scum will be a legend by now and this summer generation of cockroaches will be dreaming of one day brushing against a human’s toe and living to tell the tale. I probably should have killed him. But what’s done is done. Just beware of your toes the next time you hop into shower, specially if you live in Pindi or nearby. Laters 🙂

Thor Ragnarok teaser

Thor Ragnarok teaser is already the most viewed trailer on YouTube in 24 hours. It is well deserved because the amount of money shots here are insane even for a trailer and its a teaser. Here is how this trailer promises to fix issues and hint bigger things form Marvel:

  • Finally a good Thor movie, hopefully. The last two were not particularly good.
  • Hulk’s previous movies were plain bad and since Hulk is not getting another one, this might be the best chance for him to shine and it looks like he will smash.
  • Color Grading. Many have criticized Marvel for its washed out grey color grading. This trailer shows a world full of bright colors and design reminiscent of Guardians of the Galaxy, which is a step in the right direction. (DC movies has it worse as it’s hard to see anything with all the darkness. Wonder Woman trailers show they are addressing this problem but at the same time the JL trailer still looks a little too dark.)
  • New Genera. Thor Ragnarok looks fresh because it is more like a buddy road trip interplanetary space adventure story.
  • 2 birds with one stone. Hela resolves Marvel’s villain problem and strong female character issue at the same time. One can’t get any stronger than Hela when Thanos, the most powerful being in MCU rn, is destroying half the universe just to impress her. Also she can’t be killed so I think by they end of Thor 3 she will probably leave Asgard or go back to her domain, hell for a short time because she has a big role to play in the infinity war movies. I am still not over how Cate Blanchett says ‘Asgard is dead”. She was made for this role.
  • Music is better. Marvel is blamed for not having music memorable enough. GotG vol.1 sound track had a big part in it’s success and looks like Thor 3 is following the footsteps. Electronic media worldwide has learned the art of using nostalgia to it’s maximum effect from TV ads to trailers but Marvel just does it better. As the demand is high, soon there will be a new job of song scouts, people who find the right nostalgic song for your ad campaign.
  • A good trailer. James Gunn has already called it the best MCU trailer when all his GotG trailers are just as good. MCU have had many amazing ones but so far DCEU had better with all Suicide Squad, Batman vs Superman and Wonder Woman trailers. This however might be the best comic book trailer yet. Hope the movie is just as good because I am not very confident about its writers. They have a bad record. Fingers crossed.

Movie scenes I can’t get enough of

There is sometimes a scene in a movie that is just wow, but every so often there are scenes that never lose that wow element on repeated viewing. Here are some of my favorites:
Bar Break up scene, The Social Network
Hans Lander at Perrier LaPadite’s farm, Inglorious Bastards
Battle of Helm’s Deep (Hornburg), Lord of the Rings
Highway knife fight, Captain America The Winter Soldier
Shutting down HAL, 2001 A Space Odyssey
Party scene Scott meets Ramona, Scott Pilgrim vs the World
Tasty Burger to Bible verses, Pulp Fiction
These are some on the top of my head. Will probably keep updating this post.

Weltschmerz

Three weeks ago we had to watch Inside Out for our psychology class. Which I should say is the coolest homework ever, but researching it I came across this one video that makes the point of how compulsive happiness is the reason for increased anxiety and depression in this day and age. As kids we are happy for no reason but I think a part of growing up is realizing that all sorrow is followed by happiness, as the movie suggests but also vice versa. At least this is what I believe. I have developed this fear in the past couple of years that when I am happy, bad things happen. This have led me to constantly try and find a state of balance between the two emotions. When I realized how getting attention from strangers on twitter was making me happy but also a dopamine addict, I quit. I saw how my friends are living “perfect lives” on Facebook and I felt depressed as my life is nothing but a university grind, so I stopped checking my news feed. I already do not watch TV or read newspaper yet universe keeps giving me something to be sad about. Except now I have accepted a little bit of sadness as a part of my daily routine. The Germans word, Weltschmerz better describes this feeling of how the world is cruel and there in no escaping the sorrow. Shoot, this turned out to be more depressing than expected. Please tell me it’s just me.

To leave on a lighter note, I got a question on ask.fm asking if you get stuck on an island with three movie to watch for the rest of your life, which ones will they be? This was a hard one but after much thought I have made my picks:

The Social Network
Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
Captain America The Winter Soldier

State of fiction

How can you expect creative minds to emerge from a country with no science fiction or fantasy magazines, no comic books and Spider, the only IT magazines that once was, discontinued two years ago. It’s not that are no people interested in this genera, it’s just more people care about politics so that’s what they get. Not that anyone is bringing a revolution or anything, we just like cursing and blaming others to no end. People are just as politically illiterate today as they were a generation ago and an awakening doesn’t show any sign on the horizon. Few short story competitions like Desi Writers Longue’s Dastaan Award, started allowing South Asian writers because there was not enough quality or quantity for biannual competitions. Ever since it started in 2013, solely Indian writers have won all the prizes. Even if we look at our short story competitions at university level, the given topics are always about terrorism, social issues or any other depressing subject.

Lack of readership is not the problem. There is a reason new newspaper companies are opening even today. Only problem is that people are not interested in creative or imaginative thinking. Spider was not discontinued by Dawn Group for lack of readership but to be replaced with Aurora, an advertisement magazine that apparently has more demand and thus more profitable, coz ads. I have seen Cinepax Rawalpindi sold out days in advance for Fast and Furious 7 but on the premier of Star Wars The Force Awakens, it was a deserted little place. I don’t blame anyone. How can you develop creative thinking when even at university level you are taught from power point slides that you have to memorize by heart to gain marks in exams. My love for reading was only because we HAD to study classical English novels in school and submit a writing on a given creative writing topic every week. It was a slow romance and it inspired many but still there is a greater part of our class that turned out to be just another addition to the herd. The stories in our Matric and FSc English books too are highly inspiring but they again fall victim to our teacher’s teaching style. Rather than telling us to write something similar or what we think might have happen next, they just tell us the meanings of difficult words in Urdu and mark the lines that make up the answers to the exercise questions. Mr. Chips, a novel most people oppose has a greeting literary style to it but again we are only taught the passages about his wife and conflict with the new headmaster and other parts we just gloss over through. Because these are the questions that get repeated in every exam. It’s like academic and examination departments are in an agreement to make it easier for the students to pass English by consistently repeating the same questions, yet many fail in spite of it.

If we want to grow as a nation, we have to let creative minds grow. We need to develop creative thinking in our kids and for that we need a kids and young adult magazine for science fiction, fantasy and latest technology news. However small, there sure is an audience for that and it will grow if someone dares to stand for it. Laters 🙂

Double Standards

They expect us to follow in our assignments every schematic detail they can. Font size 11, double spacing, Times New Roman, titles bold, pages marked, margins drawn, word count and everything they can come up with, while year after year they teach from the same ppt slides, never caring to even align some text, let alone make them aesthetically appealing or other things like following a built-in theme for once and sticking with it for at least a few slides. Its like each slide is its own abstract art of different colored boxes and text/equations floating around in free space. Four years. Four years I have been in this God forsaken place and not one teacher has ever presented from a properly arranged slide. I can’t study from these without going thought emotional torment. So I align them before I start and it only takes a few minutes. Will it kill them to do it on their own? For the future of mankind I can give them my edited versions but the question is how to do it without saying, ‘your presentations suck. Here take mine instead.’ This is hopeless. Laters 🙂