Thursday, December 22, 2005

Is Bangalore safe?

I was deeply affected by the recent news about the rape and murder of a call centre employee of HP. It was disgusting when the CEO of HP gave statements on the lines of "there is no lapse on our side" or "This is a one-off incident". How can he get away by saying that? It infuriated me further to hear that nothing is being done to make the situation safe in our own SLI, which also uses the now infamous SRS transport to ply employees home at night. Although I didn't use the cabs provided by SRS very often, but there were times when I did, and very often I was the only passenger. It creeps me out now to think of it. Common complaints that I have heard from other employees are rash driving and rude behavior. No concessions are given if you are a female employee in terms of order of the drop offs. Corporates need to take a strong stand in this issue. An employee's safety is the responsibility of the employer. Either provide a safe environment to work in, or do not expect employees to stay back late. After all, who wants to reach home late? Very often I have seen that employees who are not married tend to stay long hours in the office, sometimes without sufficient reason. This is more an individualistic trait, but it just goes to show the kind of culture that is prevalent. A change in this can happen only when it comes from the top management.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Goblet Of Fire: A Review

"But I am only Harry, just Harry" said Harry Potter in The Philosopher's Stone. He has come a long way, Harry has. From being a bewildered eleven year old wizard to a fourteen year old one who has to confront his nemesis (the darkest wizard of all times, Lord Voldermort), watch a fellow student die and actually fight a Dragon (a Norwegian Ridgeback, no less). Like Hagrid says, dragons are fairly misunderstood creatures! Fact is, you can't get close enough to one in order to understand it. This is what Harry has to deal with in the first task of the Tri Wizard Tournament held at Hogwarts during his fourth year. Of course, Harry never intended to participate although he has been dreaming about winning the cup and impressing Cho Chang (a girl he has a crush on and who occasionally produces a orange-juice-dribbling effect on Harry). How his name comes to be in the Goblet is one of the many mysteries of the story. One line describes it aptly: Be careful what you wish for, you might get it….
After a surprising (even to himself) success in the first task, Harry uncovers a clue about the second task, although he first has to confront a female ghost a.k.a Moaning Myrtle in his bath. I'm not sure this scene was so suitable for toddlers, but what the heck, there is a PG 13 rating stamped on the film. The underwater sequence has been superbly shot, and if ever anybody remarks that mermaids are sexy, I can tell them a thing or two about them. Harry not only rescues his friend Ron Weasley, but also rescues another opponent's target, and is credited by the headmaster for displaying 'moral fiber'. The last task in the tournament is held in a maze, and it looks awesome. Those who have read the book will watch this sequence especially carefully since it has a rather ghastly result. I will not be a spoiler for those who haven't read the books or seen this film. All I'll say is that the viewer is not spared the tragedy. There is no molly cuddling of the facts here.
The Yule ball sequence deserves one mention. It is funny, and very well handled, very much in line with what was described in the book. Ron's dress robes, Hermione's make over and Harry's first dance have been portrayed excellently.
Towards the end of the movie, Hermione Granger, Harry's other best friend, says, "Everything is going to change now". Its not very clear if she's alluding to her having found an admirer in Viktor Krum or to Voldermort's return. It doesn't help that she is actually smiling (or smirking?) while saying this. One can only guess.