Sunday 19 September 2010

Kid Stuff : The Worm Who Ate the Earth

This is a story written by my son when he was eight years old.

The Worm Who Ate the Earth

Contents

1. The Laboratory makes a Mutating Formula
2. The Formula is Dumped
3. The Worm is Mutated
4. The Earth Meets its Doom
5. The Earth is Swallowed

Other titles in this series

Harry and the Magic Axe
The Town of Zombies

Chapter 1: The Laboratory makes a Mutating Formula

Once upon a time in the USA (United States of America), in New York City, there was a group of scientists who were always busy. They were working day and night for 7 consecutive days on a top secret project. At last after the 7th day the project was finished. The project was a mutating formula.

Chapter 2: The Formula is Dumped

After the formula was finished the scientists tried it on a plant but it never worked. Soon afterwards they had dug a hole in a field and they dumped the formula into the hole thinking it was useless and they had worked hard for 7 consecutive days for nothing. But they didn’t know it only worked on creatures that moved.

Chapter 3: The Worm is Mutated

After the formula was dumped in a hole it was eaten by a worm thinking it was food. Then after 12 hours the worm started to grow bigger and longer as it had eaten the formula of mutation. Soon afterwards it was so big that it was able to crush a farm.

Chapter 4: The Earth Meets its Doom 

After some time it grew, grew and grew until it was so big the government of USA decided to kill it. But as they went close to it, it hit them with its big tail and ate up the army, jeeps, tanks and all. The president was so annoyed he said he would kill it himself. But as he went close to it, it ate his rocket launcher, but luckily the president escaped with his life.

Chapter 5: The Earth is Swallowed

Soon the Earth was like a tiny ball to the worm and then he swallowed it and the army equipment he ate became balls and had formed the sun and the other planets and we’ll never know if we are really inside the stomach of a worm or not.

THE END

Movie Review : Dabangg

Once upon a time in a town called Bollywood, commercial films used to be fashioned around the ability of an individual to get butts into seats, a semblance of a plot and a heavy dose of emotion and dialogue-baazi. Over many years this town was taken over by urban educated, westernised people who brought in things like detailed scripts, realistic dialogue, special effects, elaborate sets, costume design and the like. The end result of this was a bunch of films that seemed to cater to either Indians living abroad or in cities. Even the names of movies started to change - Jab We Met, Once Upon a Time in Mumbai and so on. However, did the heartbeat of the old Bollywood die? No it continued to beat, albeit weakly with a few films a year.

Well, it beats weakly no longer. This year, Salman Khan has applied the defibrillator twice and we hear the beat loud and strong. First with Wanted and more effectively with the now released Dabangg. True Bollywood is back!

Dabangg is a UP western, complete with Spanish Guitar riffs and a suitably stark backdrop. This is a no-frills action movie with a family-centric heart, the way Bollywood used to do it. It succeeds due to direction of Abhinav Kashyap and more so due to the deadpan, take-no-prisoners approach Salman Khan brings to his role. He is the movie, pure and simple - whether taking on five baddies with a fire hose, delivering dialogues that get the seetees or paying homage to Dharmendra when dancing, the man is in his element, and the audience is with him all the way.

The movie has already grossed over fourty crores in the weekend of its release and is well on to blockbuster status. Salman Khan is now officially a real superstar. Not one like SRK who needs a tailor-made script and an NRI-Indian urban fan base, but a true one that can pull in the crowd anywhere in India, not just the multiplexes. Please move over a bit, Rajni and Mithunda..........

Over the weekend, there was a brawl in a Bangalore multiplex during the screening of the movie; of all places. Do you need a better recommendation?

Sunday 12 September 2010

Book Review : Under the Dome

The little town of Chester's Mill, Maine is sealed off suddenly from the rest of the world by the inexplicable appearance of a dome. The dome is nearly impermeable and indestructible.

Thus starts Stephen King's latest. Cut-off from the rest of America, the town deals with the resultant power struggles, paranoia and environmental effects. The town Selectman Big Jim Rennie, the overly religious, dishonest politician tries take over the reins of the town by converting the local police force to his own version of the Brown Shirts. Pitted against him is Col. Dale Barbara, the reluctant government designated point man within the dome. These two men become the rallying points for evil and good respectively, within a town that is for all practical purposes a separate world with it's own weather, law and value system.

As usual, King paints a broad canvas and there are a lot of sub-plots and characters the converge on a surprising climax, a dues ex machina if you will. King being King does not disappoint his core readership, which includes yours truly. There are supernatural elements, necrophilia, deranged murderers and violence by the tonne; all done with the good taste which only a true fan can fully appreciate.

Underlying all this is an exploration of human nature and a comment on political spin-mongering in the pursuit of power. King tips his hat to "The Lord of the Flies" quite early on in the book, and it's apt. The townspeople become lab rats in an environment where their normal frames of reference and assumptions are no longer valid and things start to change. There are enough references for someone looking at recent events in America to conjecture that King seeks to comment on the political and moral outlook in America over the last half decade or so. One could even look at this book as providing a perspective on the concept of God. I just think it's one damn good yarn, whatever else said.

King is without doubt one of the best writers of our generation. He is one of the few writers that make reading effortless and where characters and situations are etched fine enough to jump off the page. Given his choice of genre, it is unlikely that he will ever be given one of the stuffy awards that are handed out as recognition of such talent. I guess he will have to contend with the millions he makes from sales instead. Some people have it tough.

Over a period, King's individual works seem to increasingly reference or evoke each other. This was the most explicit in the Dark Tower series; actually it took this concept to a whole new level in the "The Song of Susanna." Under the Dome reminded me of the "The Tommyknockers" and for some reason I cannot put my finger on, "The Stand."

Pick this one up. It's big, fun and worth the time.