Sunday, November 29, 2009

Full Metal Jacket

I have the distinction of not having a clue about what most people consider to be the cornerstones of the edifice of Good Stuff. Shortage very succinctly lamented when I was raving on about Scarborough Fair a few weeks ago, "What a late discoverer of delights you are!". However, if we are to see the putative half-full part of the glass, this ignorance seems to allow me to discover good stuff at a time when I am more able to appreciate it. I was wallowing in this self-same ignorance when I was browsing youtube for videos of Winston Wolf (from Pulp Fiction; Lord have mercy, I do know about that) for probably the 20th time now, and I saw this video:

Full Metal Jacket - Motivational Speech

By God, and great homecoming fuck fantasies with erect nipple wet-dreams of Mary Jane Rottencrotch! What a scene! I threw all warnings of piracy control policies to the wind and went ahead and watched the movie.

Full Metal Jacket is actually two movies in one, much like Wall-E is. The first part describes military training at camp and the second one is about actual warfare. I couldn't appreciate the second one too much, and I probably need to re-watch it a few times to understand nuances better. But the first one - ah, that's what this post is about.

One thing that stood out, in my view, was that the first part was actually just a series of rather disjoint clips, with no smooth transition. The viewer is expected to fill in the gaps and make the story, and if this technique is done well, the movie gives a better experience than any possible transition scenes. Sort of like this old joke about bikinis [1] :

Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.

The viewer's imagination fills it up most satisfactorily. This has a double-advantage, in that the director can also focus on getting each chunk perfectly right, and not worry about how it fits in with the rest of the movie. One of the most important ingredients of this technique however, is that the scenes must be distinct enough for the viewer to detect a clear difference, but not so distinct that the jump is too big to fill. If the scenes are too close, the imagination-filling part doesn't kick in too well and you get a jagged experience. There's definitely some kind of uncanny valley here. Tarantino is one of the people who have got the pre-valley peak bang on. I can't think of one right now, but there are tons of examples of a director trying too hard with transition scenes to keep the narration self-contained, and thereby ruining the feel.

Back to the movie. Without doubt, Sergeant Hartman is the absolute star. I can't stop raving about the guy. Take ANY scene he is in. There's an almost magical power to his screen presence and the power, the raw power that he exudes on screen is palpable. I have had a few teachers who wielded a similar kind of power. I detested them and dislike them even now, but if you were to sneak up behind me and do an imitation of one of them and ask me jiggle my balls with my left pinky, I will unquestioningly jiggle my balls before thinking. This kind of power over people is different from the abstract notion of power that is popular today. Having armies march in front of you doesn't quite cut it - it's more a one-to-one thing. Here's another favorite scene of mine where this power is demonstrated:

Pulp Fiction - Breakfast scene. Just observe the way Jules asks Brett to sit down at 4:06. The way his hand keeps moving, slowly, till 4:09. That's what I'm talking about.

The terror is tetrated later on, when Jules fears Marsellus Wallace so much. If Jules himself is so scary, and he is scared of Marsellus Wallace, how powerful must Marsellus Wallace be! Surely far more powerful than anything that can depicted on a movie screen!

This kind of transitive super-empowering is also done to perfection in The Usual Suspects. This description of Keyser Soze by Verbal Kint chills anyone's blood better than hours of gore:

Verbal's description begins at 1:50. Start there, turn off your monitor and just listen.

The other character in The Usual Suspects that I found as chilling as Keyser Soze was Mr. Kobayashi. In this link, please see the part between 1:04:50 and 1:10:07 - Megavideo link. (Ms. Finneran is Keaton's girlfriend)

Don't be lazy to navigate there. This is not a commonly remembered scene, and is one of the only good scenes from the movie not to be found on Youtube or anywhere on Google Video. The Megavideo link may go down anytime, so do use SideReel and find it if it's gone. In case everything fails, as the very last resort, here is the transcript of the most chilling part:

Get your rest, Gentlemen. The boat will be ready for you on Friday. If I see you or any of your friends before then, Miss. Finneran will find herself the victim of a most gruesome violation before she dies. As will your father, Mr. Hockney. and your Uncle Randall in Arizona, Mr. Kint. I might only castrate Mr. McManus's nephew, David. Do I make myself clear?

This transcript is nothing, I repeat, nothing, without Mr. Kobayashi's mild, educated - no, learned, calm accent. The austere serenity with which this threat is delivered - that seals the deal.

Another recent demonstration of such cold power is that by the fantastic Col. Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds. His every moment in the movie is brilliant - the first Jew-rat scene, the Cinderella scene - I can't count! He amazing cold power will keep you riveted whenever he's on.

Inglourious Basterds, the Jew-Rat analogy

His accent that is ever present but makes a distinct appearance at places - like 'never occur' in the clip above, and the derisive, sneering way he mentions 'dignity' - has this effect of marking him as an outsider, not one of us.  And he's an outsider with power, loads of it. Earlier in this scene, when he switches over to English, I went 'fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck' till the last bullet was fired. The dialog between him and Ms. Hammersmack which leads to the Cinderella sequence was another one of those gut-chilling moments of fear and tension.

(There are many other scenes in the movie I want to talk about, including ones not involving him. The Bear Jew scene where the German does not flinch, does not blink and looks straight into his killer's eyes; the finger counting scene; many more. I also want to rant about how much I hated the ending, and how much I hated Brad Pitt's character for winning everything with no effort on- or off-screen whatsoever. I also want to present my theory of optimally-constrained movie moments, but all that for another sunny day. Today is all about cold power.)

It is important to note that in ALL of these examples, none of the parties wielding supreme power have ever any weapon at all. If they have indeed held one, it is at best as powerful as what everyone in the scene is holding. No, it's subtler, more personal than that. Further, none of these people are really at the top of any scheme they are in. Hartman is just a measly drill instructor, not a General with supreme command. Jules is just a contract killer, like a thousand others, who quivers before Marsellus Wallace, and who wets his pants when he contemplates the prospect of a nurse coming home to see a dead body. Kobayashi is a simple lawyer, just an order-carrier for an unseen Kaiser Soze. Even Hans Landa is just a lowly Colonel. It is almost as if their low position clears any illusions of power vested by a hierarchy, and thus allows them to focus on personal power, over individuals. If Landa had been a General, he might have just got a platoon of soldiers to do a job. The power vested in him would have been textbook-like, and his exertion of that power is also textbook-like. If the General of an army gets people to listen to him with rapt attention and hang on to every word, there's nothing special about that. They're listening to him because he's the General. But when a lowly Colonel philosophizes over how rats are different from squirrels, and yet everyone listens to him at the edge of their seats, there you see the kind of power that we are celebrating.

As an aside, I'm quickly becoming a great fan of the techniques of British colonial administration. They were used against us, yes, but that fact should not come in the way of measuring their effectiveness, nor cloud our memory of them being used to root out some of our society's very worst diseases like Sati. Part of this appreciation is because of the brilliant way Dilip taught us Indian history. For example, let me quote Charles James Napier (of the 'Peccavi' fame) from Wikipedia:

The best way to quiet a country is a good thrashing, followed by great kindness afterwards. Even the wildest chaps are thus tamed

This technique is recommended everywhere from wild animal domestication to keeping two-year olds under control. The entire system of ragging (or hazing) is based on just this. It operates at a kind of pre-intellectual level, and by god is it effective! Any intellectual response is necessarily weak, mild, balanced and quasi-static compared to the power of an instinctive response. Imagine how it would have been for someone to discover that millions of men could be controlled like dogs, just by harnessing this power over a few people!

As an aside to the aside, incidentally, wiki claims that Napier's brutality was because he believed 'So perverse is mankind that every nationality prefers to misgoverned by its own people than to be well ruled by another'. Compare this with Gandhi's plea of a hundred years later (paraphrased):  "Please leave our country. For better or worse, we prefer to govern ourselves. We will graciously welcome you as our guests, but not as our rulers"

Alright, I've pushed you two far down, let's pop back to the movie level. Sergeant Hartman's raw power, yes. The casting for his part is an engaging story in itself. Here it is from the wiki article about the movie:

Former U.S. Marine Drill Instructor R. Lee Ermey was originally hired as a technical adviser and asked Kubrick if he could audition for the role of Hartman. However Kubrick, having seen his portrayal as Drill Instructor Sgt Loyce in The Boys in Company C, told him that he wasn't vicious enough to play the character. In response, Ermey made a videotape of himself improvising insulting dialogue towards a group of Royal Marines while being pelted by people off-camera with oranges and tennis balls. Ermey, in spite of the distractions, rattled off an unbroken string of insults for 15 minutes, and he did not flinch, duck, or repeat himself while the projectiles rained on him. Upon viewing it, Kubrick gave him the role, realizing that Ermey "was a genius for this part". Ermey's experience as a real-life DI during the Vietnam era proved invaluable, and the realism was such that in one instance, Ermey barked an order off-camera to Kubrick to stand up when he was spoken to, and Kubrick instinctively obeyed, standing at attention before realizing what had happened. Kubrick estimated that Ermey came up with 150 pages of insults, many of them improvised on the spot — a rarity for a Kubrick film. According to Kubrick's estimate, the former drill instructor wrote 50% of his own dialogue, especially the insults. Ermey usually needed only two to three takes per scene, another rarity for a Kubrick film.

The 150 pages of improvised insults - each syllable is gold! "Your days of finger-banging ol' Mary Jane Rottencrotch through her purtty pink panties are over!", "Do you feel dizzy? Do you feel faint? Jesus Saint Christ! I think you've got a hard-on!", "Bullshit. It looks to me like the best part of you ran down the crack of your momma's ass and ended up as a brown stain on the mattress! I think you been cheated!", "Are you a peter puffer? I'll bet you're the kinda guy that would fuck a person in the ass and not even have the goddamn common courtesy to give him a reach-around. I'll be watching you". I could go on and on list all of his dialog!

The brilliant part is these are constructed recursively from equally brilliant components. Consider the last quote. 'Peter Puffer' is a guy who sucks ('puffs') cock ('Peter'). What a name, and what consistent imagery in the rest of the quote! It is a kind of incandescent brilliance that is quite apart from the more intellectual kind of brilliance. I must read up further on it, but there's a kind of fundamental difference between the more literary and educated kind of intelligence and this unaffected intelligence. Urban Dictionary is full of the latter kind!

The marching songs are also quite the earworms. I just can't stop myself from humming 'Ho Chi Minh is a son of a bitch! Got the blueballs, crabs and the seven-year-itch!". And M.I.C; K.E.Y; M.O.U.S.E!  That's another thing extremely rare today. When was the last time you ever sang in a large group and felt the song? Can you even imagine a time you'll do it in the future? I can't!

The first part ends rather quickly, in about 45 minutes or so. It ends perfectly, in my opinion. There's a kind of delicious justice in Sergeant Hartman getting killed. I wanted him killed, I wanted him fucked after what he did to Lawrence. There was an unspoken, unthought, instinctive craving that was satisfied perfectly there.

It's a similar justice that happens when the mighty Marcellus Wallace, the most powerful goon in LA, he who has people thrown out of windows for giving foot massages to his wife and has suave henchmen debating the ontology of the act, he who has the power to demand "If Butch goes to Indochina, I want a nigger waiting in a bowl of rice ready to pop a cap in his ass.", he who has the audacity to fix a boxing match while philosophizing, "You see, this profession is filled to the brim with unrealistic motherfuckers. Motherfuckers who thought their ass would age like wine. If you mean it turns to vinegar, it does. If you mean it gets better with age, it don't. "- when THE Marsellus Wallace, who even my spellchecker fears and suggests 'Merciless Wallace', gets raped in the ass by a security guard, and with a billiards ball tied to his mouth to boot. There's a primal justice served in that scene. It is so well served, that you instantly feel sorry for the big old guy. Your heart melts, and now the villain's actually Zed the security guard. Talk about inversions! So you feel that primal sense of justice and satisfaction AGAIN when Butch picks up the Katana, and when Marsellus shoots Zed in the crotch. Primal justice has very short memory, and never have I seen that property exploited so amazingly to such perfection, EVER.

Right, this was to be about Full Metal Jacket, pardon me. The whole part did have a few imperfections. For example, the most pernicious one: in the last scene before Lawrence shoots Hartman, Hartman's lines chiding him are weak to say the least. "Major Malfunction"? The only explanation I have for such abysmally weak lines compared to the rest of movie was that Hartman had just woken up. But that doesn't quite cut it.

The scene where Hartman is impressed by Lawrence's shooting skills - that was unnecessary. It seemed to be an attempt to lend some kind of fairness to Hartman's character, but it didn't work for me. They might as well have removed it, made Lawrence still love his rifle because he had no friends, and made Hartman a 100% bad guy for him. That would have made the climax even stronger.

And the blanket party, where the entire platoon ambushes Lawrence. The motivation leading to that was very weak. That's the failure of the very tact that makes the movie sharp at other places, the tact of leaving of transition scenes. I never felt that the platoon as a whole was pained with Lawrence, it was just an inference. A scene or two  with grumbling recruits would have served that well.

But these are minor details.  Power - yeah :-)


[1] Yes, I know I need to go out more often when I think that was a joke about bikinis and not statistics.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Kapiratna Kolidasa

Just marking my territory, I can now ask my fans to google 'Kapiratna Kolidasa' to come to my blog :P I can't believe there wasn't one page on the internet that referred to this phrase!


It's too dangerous for someone who wants to live in Bangalore to tell the original context of the phrase, but here's a watered down samasya-purti: How would a Kannadiga mockingly call a Bengali poet who apes Kalidasa and has an insatiable craving for chicken? Kapiratna Kolidasa!


(Samasya-purtis are explained on page 49 of the document. The whole thing is a must-read, if you ask me!)

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I was helping a friend out with mock MBA interviews, and read this somewhere when doing my research:
I'm Asian-American woman, and the school actually got an interviewer who was the same ethnicity and gender as I was, which was a little surprising. It was very comforting, and I really appreciated the effort on the school's part to ease my stress.

I was petrified when I read this. I would any day opt for a non-desi interviewer without batting an eyelid. It has nothing to do with liking or not liking people - it's the judgment that gets me all queasy. Intellectually, it's all about the job/application, and there's really no difference who conducts the interview. Instinctively though, there's tremendous discomfort, suspicion, sizing up, one-up-manship and double guessing. I should be the last person to complain about this, because all the interviewers I have ever faced have been exceptionally warm, friendly and willing to listen. But come now, it's no fun being not hypocritical :P


Perhaps it has to do with an abundance of Indian Crab stories we're inundated with. A representative , possibly apocryphal and correlation-causation-confused example: Circa 2003, X was a highly rated university for Computer Science in the US, though not in the top 4. Like nearly every university, it had senior grad students (3rd+ year) actively involved in their admission process, especially in gauging the achievements of the applicants given that there were so many country-specific factors like entrance exams, merit scholarships, etc. Y was a highly rated university in India, and many people from Y routinely got into universities ranked higher than X. For some reason though, during a 2 year period every single applicant from Y was bumped. This happened to coincide with the time a certain student from Y who had joined X happened to be on the admissions committee. No other university showed this trend, and there was no development in the CS department in X (known from other people from Y in X) that could explain this. It was later learnt that no application from Y managed to get into the final tabling by the profs.


There's a very common held belief among most desis that Statements of Purpose are 'full of cock' and that all resumes are lies. Which may be true many times, but that is not a comforting observation when you consider that your interviewer or the person reading your application has that  self-same impression in mind. Your 'unquenchable thirst for knowledge' and 'firm belief that my work should have an impact' - even if they are absolutely true statements you came up with yourself - don't seem as sincere when you know the guy you're pitching to  knows that the very same words have been recycled a million times. It is almost as if knowing that a dishonest SoP can exist invalidates all honest SoPs. It is not as if desis carry a special overcriticality gene - it happens even if they are perfectly fair in isolation, but just know that such dishonesty can exist. The common knowledge causes the situation to degenerate into a suboptimal Nash equilibrium.


Even apart from that, suffering-inflation ensures that even if you have a truly wonderful story of having overcome suffering and difficulty in your life - like having virtually no meaningful academic education from your school - it is so commonplace in India that they seem much less of a challenge to a desi interviewer. It is not fair to say "Look, every desi has been through that, there's nothing special about you". If you're looking for initiave, every desi is more likely to be better then, and that is no reason to be setting the bar artificially high!    


In general, wherever multiple groups of people are to be found, there is a tension between two poles. The first one is an instinct to help someone of your own kind. The second is a sadistic self-group-hate, the classic Indian Crab. If it's not full-blown hate, it is at least a pervasive discomfort or negative opinion. It's present among all races, and people have made a lot of money just observing that. But this takes on a fractal, chaotic dimension when you include things like language, religion, caste, or any of the million other turtles that go all the way down. An instinctive fear - and this may be due purely to pessimism - is that important encounters like an MBA interview may be closer to the crab end of the continuum.

Friday, November 13, 2009

F=ma [Made in China]

We have a confession to make, gentle reader. We're guilty of hubris. We used to think we were no lightweights at this business of re$earch trickery. Why, on a bright day we might even have ventured to put on our Sherlock Holmes hat, and just like Master Detective does with mud-stains in a 50 mile radius of London, we might have dared to claim we can instantly identify which murky alleys of fraud a published result has passed through. But the Grand Reviewer up there probably didn't like our active voice, and sent this whopper that has made our assessment even dimensionally incorrect. The impact of the realization is so large that we are even contemplating sanyasa from the exciting, high-stress life of research and settling down in the serene, peaceful life of a pit trader or an investment banking MnA analyst instead. But perhaps we should begin at the beginning.

A labmate casually remarked today that a very well known professor in a well known university has all his grad students in the US, and all his postdocs in Singapore.

Also, the lab was getting its experiments on mouse cells done in China.

BY GOD, and the entire editorial panel of Nature crossbred with the Economist's! It struck me like the loud report of the starter pistol did to Yeddy when his political race went Ready-Steady-Reddy: Outsourcing research! That must be the most ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC IDEA EVER! How could we be so blind to it for so long? For shame, for shame! Just take a look at the advantages, which I outsourced straight from an article on the benefits of outsourcing:

Advantage #1: Outsourcing can save you money.

Hell yeah! Customer satisfaction is always our #1 priority. The huge number of  research studies which end up with unremarkable conclusions is a tremendous waste of grant money. If for 1/10th the price the people over at Wipe-pro can provide value-added solutions to the Poincare conjecture, with relentless effort towards quality and project delivery excellence (PDE), leveraging their time-tested experience (TTE) of project management, industry best practices (IBP) and internally developed project management software (PMS), who are we to meddle with the free market? High quality results and 100% customer satisfaction guaranteed. All platforms, including NSF, NIH, DoE, ARC are fully supported. 150% moneyback policy if Tier-2 journal rejects work, Conditions Apply. Why needlessly spend money on costly grad students, supercomputers and lab facilities? All a grad student would do with his stipend would be live, eat and watch porn on the lab's projector or  Apple HD Cinema Display anyway.

Advantage #2: Outsourcing can help you share risk.

No shit Sherlock! Who wants to run a 3 month experiment only to find the correlation is only 0.4? Plus, universities have developed stiff-nosed Victorian standards of conducting research and it's impossible to be creative under such terrible constraints. Procedure, they harp, Procedure and Hypotheses and Validation and Double Checking and Consistency and Backtesting and yadayadayada. You don't want all that, you want a good life. Take a hint from the investment banker down the road with the Ferrari, and share your risk. Maybe if you imitate him well, you can hope for a Camry. You don't need to do Science the way old European fogeys did it. Peering at the skies for 30 years without a telescope to record observations accurate to 1/60th of a degree, and dying of a bladder burst, pooh! It's 2009 now. Risk is taboo. The seller will be eager to please, and you have the pleasure of perusing results with none of the pangs of Procedure.

Advantage #3: Outsourcing can help accommodate peak loads.

Of course! It was micro and stem cells a few years ago, it's bio, nano, energy and cleantech today, and it will be pervasive soc-nets and Cloud computation tomorrow. You never know when a funding source will chance by one day, so it's always best to be prepared with research power on the bench. GPU computations for resonant MEMS cantilevers? Our Korean team will handle it. Solid Oxide Fuel Cells for Clean energy for 2-stroke engines? Our brand-new benched team, which can't tell apart electron emissions from nocturnal emissions, is right on it, and wants to know what in colour you want the prototype painted. Long-term environmental impact of sulphur effluents on river systems? No problem, our India team has specialized on-ground expertise, and can deliver historical data, analysis and predictions all in a low-cost, 5 papers guaranteed package. Hurry, order before Thanksgiving and get a conference-friendly Java GUI FREE!

Advantage #4: Outsourcing can help develop your internal staff.

Very deep. First, you won't have wasteful grad students asking poking questions loitering around. Neither will you have pesky postdocs. Only you, tenure and a growing stack of publications. Bliss. You can finally take that long-deserved vacation without the headache of that algorithm not converging, or that shady simulation not coinciding with experimental results. It's Someone Else's problem now.

So what are you waiting for? Just pick up the phone and call 1-800-MOAR-PAP3RZ now!


(Update, Jan 6) Hark, unbelievers! "Chinese academia ghost-writing 'widespread'"


If our humble efforts have succeeded in piquing the interest of the gentle, generous reader, might we beg that he humour a fleeting thought toward a modest venture embarked upon by the One Post Phenomenon and your humble author, Soopper Turbo Suttifiers GmBH? We offer superior quality German acronyms beside our name, and ensure such high standards of service that you shall always leave our premises with a light heart and a lighter purse.


Gratifyingly, the website which I outsourced the bullet points from, Sourcing Magazine, 'the world's leading online content provider for the Outsourcing community', has its homepage stuck in an endless redirection.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Stuff Internet-savvy People Like: Pranav Mistry

There's a limit to the amount of adulation I can tolerate for raw ideas. Sure, wearable computers are the future; sure, querying the Cloud is Tomorrow's way of just asking someone if that brand of garlic bread tastes good; sure, information that you are now forced to get from slow Facebook stalking can come right from a few discreet thumb-presses, and you can impress that girl with a amazingly coincidental set of interests. ZOMG! She just can't imagine there's someone else in the world who has  cats with the same names!

All that granted. But the collective shagging on "the genius behind the innovative SixthSense application", Pranav Mistry, is nauseating. It is just a concept, an idea, like a million other ideas! The video that Pattie Maes showed in the TED Talk is, in my opinion, a reasonably well made funding-agency demo. Nearly everyone I know in grad school who is working on hands-on research has made a video like that. You get a funky piece of technology that is extremely common among some circles, but is surprisingly rare in general. In this case, it's a matchbox-size projector and a gesture recognition system. 90% of the people who see one in action are hypnotized just by the fact that something is being projected out of that small box, but every lab has tens of them lying around. Next, hook it up to a nice GUI, in this case a simple Cocoa-based one. Choose a sequence of examples that are of interest to the target agency - in this case, shopping. Hard code an application to follow a certain procedure to demonstrate a concept - in this case, look up something on the web and project it. And voila, instant internet recognition!

The demo comfortably sits inside the continuum ranging from completely hardcoded demos (everything is scripted) to completely open demos (like if instead of showing a video, a member of the audience was asked to come up, wear it, and do something in realtime). It's much more closer to the hardcoded demos - sure, the realtime web downloading is real, the projection is real, the keypad identification is real, even the gesture identification is real (he claims that it took 50,000 lines of code to get gestures+the computer vision part working - that seems about right for code written from ground up, but no way in hell is this new or even innovative [*]). But the entire thing together is scripted! A few typical scenarios are chosen, and a sequence of events of using those technologies is orchestrated. Getting a few parts of the demo to work would certainly have been challenging, and it does take several weeks to even get a simple computer vision code working for a perfectly defined object if we just vary the lighting and the angles. But it is impossible for that to be considered a completely general product!

The slashdot summary, on a story that says he graciously decided to use open source after having "put paid to the canard that open source and innovation are incompatible" reads:
Mistry’s decision has meaning beyond Sixth Sense. The desire of inventors is always to get their work into the market as quickly as possible. Usually this means waiting for it to be turned into a useful, profitable invention. Mistry is bypassing this by going straight to open source. (Italics mine)

Honestly, I think people are far too consumed in imagining elaborate visions of future technology and heralding the next victory for open source to really look hard and notice that this is just a slick frickin' demo! 
I've seen far too many demos and done enough of them myself to believe this is a real, open demo. If indeed it is a completely open demo and anybody today is free to try out the product if they wanted to, then I'm completely wrong and Pranav Mistry has achieved something that I believe is impossible  (in a 2nd law sense) with the time and resources available as a grad student.


[*] - Here's a product review of a $130 projected keyboard.
And a product demo of gesture recognition with video, on a mobile phone.


Reactions to this post, mainly from critiquing myself and some from others, have included 'Cynic!', 'Overly spiteful critical old crone!' , 'Pessimist!', 'Indian crab!', 'Unbeliever!', 'What have you got against the poor guy?', 'You're just jealous!', 'You try doing something like that!', 'What have you achieved?', 'You're going against public opinion just to seem cool', 'Inverted watermelon!' (Red outside, Green inside (Anger, jealousy)),  and I quite amusedly actually agree. I don't know what's possessing me to get so irritated at this.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Sirigannadam Gelge!

Happy Rajyotsava, dear reader! Instead of the usual fare of putting up "Udayavaagali namma cheluva kannada naadu" as my status message, I decided to go a wee bit further and quote a full song. 'Enda Endti Kannada padgOL' ('Booze, Wife, Kannada songs') by the amazing, amazing, amazing G.P.Rajaratnam is, well, amazing, amazing, amazing! It's from his 'Ratnana Padagalu', a drunkard's view of the world. The humor and intelligence in the song comes mainly from the use of drunk-slang and vernacular, which might be hard to understand if the song is not heard. So I'll post the original song, and my 'translation' of the song into more standard Kannada. I can't even imagine translating this to English! As always, please help me out if I've made any mistakes.

(In case you are having some font issues, here's a small PDF of this blog)

ಎಂಡ ಎಂಡ್ತಿ ಕನ್ನಡ ಪದಗೋಳ್

ಎಂಡ ಎಂಡ್ತಿ ಕನ್ನಡ್ ಪದಗೋಳ್ ಅಂದ್ರೆ ರತ್ನಂಗ್ ಪ್ರಾಣ, 
ಬುಂಡೇನ್ ಎತ್ತಿ ಕುಡುದ್ ಬುಟ್ಟಾಂದ್ರೆ ತಕ್ಕೋ ಪದಗಳ್ ಬಾಣ.

ಬಗ್ವಂತೇಂದ್ರಾ ಬೂಮೀಗಿಳ್ದು ನಮ್ ತಾಗ್ ಬಂದಾಂತನ್ನು,  
ಪರ್-ಗಿರೀಕ್ಸೆ ಮಾಡ್ತಾನ್ ನಮ್ನಾ ಬಕ್ತನ್ ಮೇಲ್ ಅವನ್ ಕಣ್ಣು.  

ಎಂಡಾ ಕುಡಿಯಾದ್ ಬುಟ್ ಬುಡ್ ರತ್ನಾ ಅಂತ್ ಅವನ್ ಎನಾನಂದ್ರೆ, 
ಮೂಗ್ ಮೂರ್ ಚೂರಾಗ್ ಮುರ್ಸ್ಕೊಂತೀನಿ ದೇವರ್ ಮಾತ್-ಗಡ್ ಬಂದ್ರೆ.  

ಎಂಡಾ ಬುಟ್ಟೆ, ಎಂಡ್ತೀನ್ ಬುಟ್ ಬುಡ್ ಅಂತವ್ನೇನಾನಂದ್ರೆ, 
ಕಳದೊಯ್ತ್! ಅಂತಾ ಕುಣುದಾಡ್ತೀನಿ ದೊಡ್ಡದೊಂದ್ ಕಾಟದ ತೊಂದ್ರೆ!  

ಕನ್ನಡ್ ಪದಗಳ್ ಆಡಾದೆಲ್ಲ ನಿಲ್ಲಿಸ್ ಬುಡ್ ಬೇಕ್ ರತ್ನಾ  
ಅಂತವನಂದ್ರೆ ದೆವ್ರಾದ್ರೇನು ಮಾಡ್ತೀನೌನ್ಗೆ ಖತ್ನ!  

ಆಗ್ನೆ ಮಾಡೋ ಐಗೋಳೆಲ್ಲಾ ದೇವ್ರೇ ಆಗ್ಲಿ ಎಲ್ಲಾ, 
ಕನ್ನಡ್ ಸುದ್ದೀಗೇನ್ರಾ ಬಂದ್ರೆ ಮಾನಾ ಉಳ್ಸಾಕ್ಕಿಲ್ಲ!  

ನರಕಕ್ಕಿಳ್ಸಿ, ನಾಲ್ಗೆ ಸೀಳ್ಸಿ, ಬಾಯ್ ಒಲ್ಸಾಗಿದ್ರೂನೆ!  
ಮೂಗ್ನಲ್ ಕನ್ನಡ್ ಪದವಾಡ್ತೀನಿ ನನ್ನ ಮನಸ್ ನೀ ಕಾಣೆ!  

ಎಂಡಾ ಓಗ್ಲಿ, ಎಂಡ್ತಿ ಓಗ್ಲಿ, ಎಲ್ಲಾ ಕೊಚ್ಕೊಂಡ್ ಓಗ್ಲಿ,
ಪರ್ಪಂಚ್ ಇರೋತಂಕ ಮುಂದೆ ಕನ್ನಡ್ ಪದಗೋಳ್ ನುಗ್ಲಿ!

My 'translation' into 'normal' Kannada:

ಹೆಂಡ, ಹೆಂಡತಿ, ಕನ್ನಡ ಪದಗಳು (ಪದ = song) - ಅಂದರೆ ರತ್ನನಿಗೆ ಪ್ರಾಣ 
ಬುಂಡೆಯನ್ನು (kind of bottle or small pot) ಎತ್ತಿ ಕುಡಿದುಬಿಟ್ಟರೆ (ಸಾಕು), ತಗೋ ಪದಗಳ ಬಾಣ!  

ಭಗವಂತನೇನಾದರು ಭೂಮಿಗೆ ಇಳಿದು ನಮ್ಮ ಬಳಿ ಬಂದ, ಅಂತದುಕೋ. 
ನಮ್ಮನ್ನು ಪರೀಕ್ಷೆ - ಗಿರೀಕ್ಷೆ ಮಾಡುತ್ತಾನೆ ಅವನು, (ಏಕೆಂದರೆ ಅವನಿಗೆ) ಭಕ್ತನ ಮೇಲೆ ಅವನ ಕಣ್ಣು (=concern, ಇರುತ್ತೆ; widely held view that God will test (the faith of) his devotees). 

"ಹೆಂಡ ಕುಡಿಯುವುದನ್ನು ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಬಿಡಬೇಕು, ರತ್ನ" ಅಂತ ಅವನೇನಾದರು ಅಂದರೆ,  
(ಆಯಿತು, ನಿನ್ನ ಮಾತು ಕೇಳ್ತೀನಿ. ಇನ್ನು guarantee ಬೇಕು ಅಂದ್ರೆ here, I promise,) ದೇವರ ಮಾತಿಗೆ ಅಡ್ಡ ಬಂದ್ರೆ, ಮೂಗು ಮೂರು ಚೂರಾಗಿ ಮುರಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತೇನೆ ( ನನ್ನಾಗಿ ನಾನೇ ಶಿಕ್ಷೆ ಒಪ್ಪಿ ಕೊಳ್ತೀನಿ)  

"(ಆಯಿತು,) ಹೆಂಡ ಬಿಟ್ಟೆ, (ಈಗ) ಹೆಂಡತಿಯನ್ನು ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಬಿಡು" ಅಂತ ಅವನೇನಾದರು ಅಂದರೆ, "ದೊಡ್ಡದೊಂದು ತೊಂದರೆ ಕಳೆದುಹೋಯಿತು!!" ಅಂತ ಕುಣಿದು-ಆಡುತ್ತೀನಿ! (LOL :D)  

"(ಆಯಿತು, ಈಗ) ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲಿ ಹಾಡುವುದನ್ನು ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಬಿಡಬೇಕು, ರತ್ನಾ"  
ಅಂತ ಅವನಂದರೆ [instant change of mood now] ದೇವರಾದರೇನು, ಅವನಿಗೆ ಮಾಡ್ತೀನಿ ಖತ್ನ! (ಖತ್ನ = circumcision! ROFLMAO :D also, religious poke at "cutting the dick" off ನಮ್ಮ ದೇವರು :D Brilliant!)  

ಆಜ್ಞೆ ಮಾಡುವ ಅಯ್ಯರುಗಳು ( ಅಯ್ಯ = ಯಜಮಾನ) ಆ ದೇವರೇ ಆಗಲಿ, (ಪರವಾಗಿಲ್ಲ),
ಕನ್ನಡದ ಸುದ್ದಿಗೆ ಏನಾದರು ಬಂದರೆ ಮಾನ ಉಳಿಸುವುದಿಲ್ಲ!  

(even) ನರಕಕ್ಕೆ ಇಳಿಸಿ, ನಾಲಿಗೆ ಸೀಳಿಸಿ, ಬಾಯಿ ಹೊಳಸಾದರೂ ಕೂಡ,  
ಮೂಗಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಕನ್ನಡ ಹಾಡು ಹಾದುತ್ತೀನಿ, ನನ್ನ ಮನಸ್ಸು ನಿನಗೆ ಗೊತ್ತಿಲ್ಲ!  

ಹೆಂಡ ಹೋಗಲಿ, ಹೆಂಡತಿ ಹೋಗಲಿ, ಎಲ್ಲ ಕೊಚ್ಚಿಕೊಂಡು ಹೋಗಲಿ!  
(ಆದರೆ) ಪ್ರಪಂಚ ಇರುವ ತನಕ ಕನ್ನಡ ಮುಂದೆ ನುಗ್ಗಲಿ!

ಸಿರಿಗನ್ನಡಂ ಗೆಲ್ಗೆ! :-)

I found the original at Prof. Holalkere Chandrasekhar's pages on Kannada. It's a fantastic resource, if you can get used to the slightly jagged font in the GIFs (It'll need a revolution in many areas to be able to search Kannada, so I'm not complaining about the GIFs themselves)