Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Driving In Dubai: Beginners

Today, I failed my first road test. Damn.

I got up in the morning, nervous as hell about two things: (1) Getting a cab at 8:30AM and (2) Hoping to conquer the Dubai RTA Ultimate Road Test. Adding to the nervousness, I cut myself while shaving. “It’s not a sign Anish, chill.” I devoured my banana, drank my milk, packed my bag and went down to catch a cab. Nervous Issue (1) was no problem at all – I got a cab in about 3 minutes, brilliant. Now that’s a sign, definitely very much 100% so, right? Wrong, “I don’t believe in signs” – maybe I should.

It was Nervous Issue (2)’s turn. But what was haunting me, were the "signs". I met this long lost friend who I used to play football with 8 years at the Emirates Driving Centre Road Test Centre. It was his second test and it turned out to be second time lucky for he, or he was plainly just a good driver. He told me they make you drive for literally two minutes; one left turn, one right turn, a couple of lane changes, parking and you are done. “Do that properly, and you’re through.” He buoyed me up with hope, hope that was previously, mysteriously dim. What these driving instructors do is that they scare the living pants off you, and say that the “Shoorteh” will fail you at the smallest possible error. Doing this is good to an extent, but seriously, everyone is crapping in their pants during their driving test due to this injection of paranoia, and that makes it tougher to pass than it should. One activity at a time is seriously enough. Crap time is later.

Anyway, I made my way into the EDC Test Car with my “Shoorteh” and my three other fellow compatriots. They had been waiting for me; apparently I had not heard my name the first time. “Anis KisHOre Malbani” on a not-so-clear mike can be slightly confounding. So I was late - That’s Bad Sign #2. There was this Chinese (or Japanese, definitely NOT Filipino] guy, this South Indian guy and the Paksitani guy, in the car along with me. The Chinese guy was first and he drove well. But I thought, “Hah! I can do better than that!” Semi-over-confidence = Bad Sign #3. He did well, and he did eventually pass. Next on the wheel – Me. I got of to a decent start and shifted into the third gear with supreme confidence. Apparently a confident driver [not a semi-over-confident driver] is a good driver. I took a right and then a left with sublime ease. Time to change lanes – easy stuff. I changed lanes twice quite expertly showing perfection beyond my years. Lane changing 3 – I somehow, quite unfortunately, forgot to look in the side mirror, and there just happened to be a car coming by next to me. I went for the turn, with a crafty smile on my face, and then suddenly, the “Shoorteh’s” hand jut into my sight, and he handled the wheel, saving us from “serious danger”. He failed me on that: “5. Applicant causing a serious danger (hazard)”. All my hopes of conquering the accident-filled Dubai Roads crashed away. I had one chance before I left for the US of A, and I had mucked it up. With a heavy heart and a heavier bag, I got an empty cab quicker than I have ever before in my life. Obviously. Bloody signs!

The South Indian was an okay driver, but a little confused in the head. The Pakistani guy was pathetic. His car stopped in the middle of the road, and the poor bugger let his nervousness get the better of him. So fate or some other shit made one Chinese/Japanese guy euphoric, and three Sub-Continental guys miserable today. I called mum and told her the bad news and she laughed, not out of ridicule, but out of the sheer feeling that I was teasing her. She was like, “How can you fail Anish? Don’t kid me.” I am like I just did fail Maa! That didn’t help, but then that’s motherly love.

Dad called a few minutes later. I recited the story, and he was like you deserved it. Thanks Dad – like a true father. =) And then he dropped the bomb: “Anish I just met someone who could have helped you getting your license, like 5 minutes ago.” No bloody way. “Fate,” right? I guess but “I don’t believe in fate” – maybe I should. Ahh life! What's really annoying is that even though the UAE has such an intense driving program, where passing the Road Test is quite a task for people, there are still such rash drivers on the road, and the number of road accidents taking place in Dubai is nothing to be proud of either.

Anyway, on a more positive note, I don’t really need the license. I am leaving the country for good in 9 days. I might as well get my driving license in the US of A. But failure is in general pissing off, especially when the past two and a half months have gone in learning how to drive. So what was it exactly? I had 3 Bad Signs, and 2 Good Signs. Oh, so the Bad prevailed over the Good? Right.

P.S. Don’t get thrown away by the “perfection beyond my years” bit. I am not that great a driver, only average. The “perfection beyond my years” was to instill a little drama which is greatly inspired by JK Rowling’s writing style.

Friday, July 20, 2007

“Oh Harry!”

Right. So I saw Harry Potter 5, and no, I didn’t take a pencil and a notepad with me, but I didn’t love the movie either. It was a midnight-er, as in a midnight show, a-weird-Dubai-“premiere” type of thing. Anyway, Romit was really excited and was hitting falsettos quite often. Tejas was there and Ali wasn’t. 3 girls accompanied us – woohoo, yeah? But two were out of place and made the third feel out of place, so you do the math.

Anyway, the movie was okay-ish. The script was poor and Emma Watson cannot act. Nor can Danny-boy. So if your leads are messed up, it is, in no way, going to be a good movie. Emma is supposed to be hot, or well “cute” and supposedly “smart” in her role, but here she is more like a blond-ish bimbo saying some cheap, corny lines. Very disappointed, Emma tut tut. I think it’s high time you learn from Megan (Fox, you can’t-relate-to people). Yes Radcliffe was better than before, but if his previous exploits were rated Z, his current one would be given an F- : an improvement; but still crappy. Rupert Grint is the savior, or well would have been the savior if he had more lines. Crappy acting, marred with major plot holes and pure ignorance, Harry Potter fans should be quite disappointed.

On the positive side, I loved the camera-work, and the cinematography was quite brilliant. Obviously, it was nothing compared to Transformers, but the Voldemort v/s Dumbeldore was beautifully done; props to the director on that.

So I’d say, watch HP5. Hell, watch it in the theatres! Not because it’s great, but because it’s Harry Potter. It’ll help you make conversation, and also gives you a fun topic to blog on.

Yeah, recently, this blog is more of a movie-review website than anything else, and I apologize to those readers that have still remained faithful. It’s just that there is so much going on at present, that I cannot choose something concrete enough to blog on, as in without sounding too cheesy or too melodramatic in my posts. Movie reviews seem safe. Or I’m just being lazy. No no, I have too much to do!

I am going to try and get back to reading HP6 now. I have restarted that darned book to get into the whole “Potter Mania” again. It’s just that I have been faithful to Rowling, and want to finish the saga with as much enthusiasm as I read HP1, i.e. continue to be faithful [hint hint]. Also, it could also be that I have forgotten most of what happened in the 6th book, so I want to get a heads up before the 7th one arrives. But that’s similar to the whole getting into the “Potter Mania” bit, yeah? Damn. “Whatever”.

Till more personal posts.

P.S. At least this update was faster than the earlier one.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Yes, I haven’t blogged in quite a while – a thousand apologies.

Yes, I said I would get back to you on the best-est film of the recent past “Transformers”, so here I am.

Yes, I have been a tad bit lazy with the blogging scene, and I am a little late with the “Transformers” review, but screw that.

Yes, here come a bunch load of “I”s.

I attended the midnight show at Al Ghurair with a few friends and Ali, the biggest Transformers fan ever [please contact me if you wish to contest that statement, seriously]. I made it a point to sit next to him to absorb all his enthusiasm and it paid of. I clapped for the movie, I clapped. It has been a while since I have really enjoyed enjoyed a movie, but “Transformers” changed all that. From the beginning to then end, you cannot take your eyes of the friggin’ screen. The movie draws you towards it like the legs of sexy lady. The humour, the direction, Megan Fox, the acting, the heart and the out-of-this-world cinematography will hit you so hard, that there is nothing else you can do but clap or stare in disbelief or stare in awe or act as if you have suddenly become the biggest “Transformers” fan in the world.

“Transformers” has set a new, as-tall-as-Burj-Dubai high standard of film-making; if not for film-making then definitely for special effects. The intricacy and the accuracy with which each frame is done is mind-blowing. 38 hours to do render each frame of CG – that itself says a ton. Hats off to Industrial Light & Magic for pulling off the near impossible. The way these Autobots and Decepticons transform is sublime. The sound effects and the animation is beautifully intertwined to pull off a magnificently pleasing look. How the bloody hell can you make robots lovable [besides cartoon/animation – that doesn’t count]?

The acting is decent too – Shia Labeouf, the lead guy, is funny and more importantly NOT annoying. The robot voiceovers are spot on and the evil, tiny spy Decepticon so cleverly crafted that I want to personally blow the beetles out of him. The only minor flaw that I can maybe point my dirty little finger on is the direction in some of the fight scenes. Mr Bay, a few long shots of these giant robots wouldn’t have done any harm.

A special paragraph must be devoted to Megan Fox. Megan Fox is pure hotness. Her heat blew the life out of me. She is beautiful and sexy. WOW! I would go watch the movie only for her! No seriously, Megan is the next, big thing. Okay well the next, petit, nice, hot, beautiful thing or woman to take Hollywood by storm. Screw Hollywood, the world! I can imagine Bin Ladin and crew enjoying her every move. Ahh Megan, if only every woman was like you. Piss off Ali.

However, everything wasn’t woo-hoo-haa-haa. The movie de-motivated me when it comes to film-making. It was so, so well made, as a film, that any budding film-maker would either be highly inspired or go how the hell can anyone pull that off? I am in the latter phase, maybe sometime later I’ll switch to the former. But for now, I really need to go watch this movie again, in the theatres, because it is a must.

P.S. Talking about “transformation”, life’s current transformation is finally sinking in. Shit. I will blog soon. Mother promise.
Also, Harry Potter 5 is next.