Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Malice In Wonderland (Movie Review)

You don't know who you are, so you don't know who you're not.

We’ve all, at a point in our lives, seen, heard or read some version or another of Alice in Wonderland. Loosely based on the book, Malice in Wonderland is a refreshing, low budget, fast paced movie. However, were it not for the name, people would not even think of comparing the two. But since the name makes such an obvious link to the book, the similarities are impossible not to notice.

The story follows a young American woman, Alice, in England who’s being chased by some men in black when she gets knocked over by a cab. The cab driver Whitey, who is apparently very late, throws her in the car and drives her to Underworld, where she wakes up to find that she has lost all memory of herself. During her journey in the Underworld, she meets some very interesting characters which, apart from Whitey, include Gonzo (Dodo), The Dutchess, Hattie (Mad Hatter), The Caterpillar, Midge (the Dormouse), DJ Felix Chester (the Cheshire Cat), Tweedledee, Tweedledum and Harry Hunt (the Queen AND the King). She tries to find out who she is and what she was supposed to do all through the movie. Although it’s based on the book, the story is very original and interesting. There was not a dull moment in the entire movie and the ending was not something one would expect but nevertheless, it was good. I found it hilarious that the genders of both the Queen and the Mad Hatter have been switched.

The acting is decent and most of the actors do justice to their roles. Danny Dyer as Whitey is really good and steals every scene he’s in, even if he’s just standing in a corner and not saying anything. Maggie Grace as Alice is good as well. They somehow make the weird seem almost believable. The dialogues are excellently written, as is their delivery. I especially loved the rhyme thing that The Caterpillar had going for him. The best part, though, is not the acting or the script but the visuals. The visuals are a pure joy even to the untrained eye. I kept wondering what it could’ve been like if they had a better budget. But it's one of those love it or hate it movies that you can't just like. To sum it up, this one’s worth watching.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Socialism in Pakistan: Situation before and can it work now??

Although Pakistan is now becoming a capitalist state, Socialism had prevailed in the country. Socialism came into this country when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto became the President of Pakistan in 1972 after winning the elections in East Pakistan. He introduced several socialist economic policy which came as under:

Zulfikar Ali  Bhutto,  first eradicated the feudal system which was prevailing in the country. Land reforms were announced in which it was stated that the maximum limit of 150 irrigated land and 300 un irrigated land can be kept. The rest of the land was distributed among the poor farmers.

The labor reforms were introduced in 1972 and guaranteed the rights of labor in the country.  Fundamental rights were promised, free education of children, management involvement and medical facilities were among the few promises which were made. This made a new way of communication between the employer and the worker.

The education reforms were introduced in the country and free education till Class X was given.  As the education was very expensive at that time and not everyone could achieve a good level education, the government at that time decided to nationalize all the schools, colleges and universities to ensure that everyone gets the same level of education as according to socialism every person should be treated equally. This reform had started to enable the government as a socialist government.

Nationalization of the industrial sector was carried out and iron and steel mills were nationalized. Apart from the steel mills, heavy engineering, vehicles, food producing chemicals industries were also nationalized.

Economic reforms were introduced as all banking sectors were nationalized along with the industrial sectors. Nationalization of the industries were under the supervision of the Ministry of Production. Trade unions were strengthened during this time as the policies which were made at that time was favouring everyone.
As from the above reforms we can clearly make out that the government which Bhutto was leading a socialist one because in the Socialist school of thought, everyone is treated equally and government is in control of the whole show.

Can Socialism still prevail in Pakistan:

Socialism today cannot prevail in Pakistan because Pakistan is now an interdependent country which is need of other country’s help. Pakistan at this point does not have enough infrastructure so socialism cannot flourish.

Socialism can only work in those countries which have enough money to take care of itself because nearly every country in this world is capitalistic and it takes a lot to separate itself from the world and live on its own. Evidence proves that socialism has worked in those countries whose resources are self sufficient and are taking care of itself such as China, Russia, Germany. Pakistan's relations with the United States will take a very heavy blow if Socialist policies are implemented.

Pakistan on the other hand is facing severe economic crisis at this point. They are dependent on countries like China and United States. Socialism says that no foreign loans should be taken but Pakistan is taking heavy loans from nearly the entire world.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


The mega event, Indian Premier League will be kicking off just 4 days after the ICC Cricket World Cup ends and the owners of the respective franchises have selected all players in the auction just a few days ago.  

One of the new changes which were bought to the heavy budget tournament was the inclusion of two new teams, Pune Warriors and Kochi. There are now 10 teams in the tournament are are divided into a group of two.

This year will also be disappointing for our country as Pakistani players will not be participating in this year’s tournament also. The Pakistani players were snubbed off in the 2010 season and are not allowed to take part in this year too. A spokesman for the IPL said that the Pakistan Cricket Board did not send any names for the auction which was going to be held.


Well known players which will be playing this year are:

Chennai Super Kings: Dwayne Bravo ( Mumbai Indians), Scott Styris (Deccan Chargers), Joginder Sharma (Retained), Albie Morkel (Retained), Suresh Raina (Retained), Michael Hussey (Retained), Nuwan Kulasekera, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Retained), Ben Hilfenhaus (Australia).

Kings XI Punjab: Shaun Marsh (Retained), David Hussey (Kolkata Knight Riders), Piyush Chawla (Retained), Ryan Harris (Deccan Chargers), Dimitri Mascrenhas (Rajasthan Royals), Adam Gilchrist (Deccan Chargers), Praveen Kumar (Royal Challengers Bangalore), Stuart Broad (England).

Deccan Chargers: J.P Duminy (Mumbai Indians), Kevin Pieterson (Royal Challengers Bangalore), Michael Lumb (England), Kumar Sangakkara (Kings XI Punjab), Cameron White (Royal Challengers Bangalore), Dale Steyn (Royal Challengers Bangalore), Ishant Sharma (Kolkata Knight Riders).

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (Retained), Luke Pomersbach (Kings XI Punjab), Daniel Vettori (Delhi Daredevils), Zaheer Khan (Mumbai Indians), Charl Langeveldt (Retained), Johan Van Der Wath, Dirk Nannes (Delhi Daredevils).

Delhi Daredevils: Virender Sehwag (Retained), Irfan Pathan (Kings XI Punjab), David Warner (Delhi Daredevils), James Hopes (Kings XI Punjab), Morne Morkel (Retained), Ajit Agarkar (Kolkata knight Riders), Roelof Van Der Merwe.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (Delhi Daredevils), Eoin Morgan, Yusuf Pathan (Rajasthan Royals), Jacques Kallis (Royal Challengers Bangalore), Brad Haddin, Brett Lee (Kings XI Punjab), Laxmipathy Balaji (Chennai Super Kings).

Rajasthan Royals: Rahul Dravid (Royal Challengers Bangalore), Ross Taylor (Royal Challengers Bangalore), Shane Watson (Retained), Paul Collingwood (Delhi Daredevils), Johan Botha, Shane Warne (Retained), Shaun Tait (Retained).

Sahara Pune Warriors: Graeme Smith (Rajasthan Royals), Robin Uthappa (Royal Challengers Bangalore), Yuvraj Singh (Kings XI Punjab), Angelo Matthews (Kolkata Knight Riders), Nathan McCullum, Jesse Ryder, Mitchell Marsh, Ashish Nehra (Delhi Daredevils), Wayne Parnell.

Kochi IPL Team: Brad Hodge (Kolkata Knight Riders), Mahela Jayawardene (Kings XI Punjab), VVS Laxman (Deccan Chargers), Owais Shah (Delhi Daredevils), Steven Smith, Brendon McCullum (Kolkata Knight Riders), Sreesanth (Kings XI Punjab), RP Singh (Deccan Chargers), Muttiah Muralitharan (Chennai Super Kings).

Mumbai Indians: Sachin Tendulkar (Retained), Kieron Pollard, James Franklin, Andrew Symonds (Deccan Chargers), Moises Henriques, Davy Jacobs, Harbhajan Singh (Retained), Lasith Malinga (Retained), Clint McKay. 

The Shockers:

There were many surprising moments in the auctions were that there were no buyers for Brian Lara, Chris Gayle, Sourav Ganguly, Graeme Swann, James Anderson and Sanath Jayasuriya. These players have played a major role in the teams and are still performing for their countries and local counties.

Chris Gayle should have been selected because of his aggressive style and hard hitting shots. Sourav Ganguly  played  brilliantly in the 3rd season for the Knight Riders and he was the only one who had really performed for the team and nearly took them into the semi finals. Graeme Swann and James Anderson were also one of the most looked players and most of the people were heavily anticipating the bid for the British. Non selection of Jayasuriya and Lara was widely criticized by the people as everyone loves to see them play.

IPL 4 will be very interesting to watch as everything has completely changed and all the teams will have to think of different strategies as all the players have changed and all the players know the players’ strength and weaknesses. This is going to be one hell of a season.

Note: The brackets tells the old franchise in which the players performed

Friday, January 7, 2011


The TV blares. I see some hysterical female being chased by a lunatic with a machete. She's screaming as she runs. 
I see a man updating his home security system. 
I read about how one victim "fought valiantly" but eventually succumbed to his kidnapper's blow.
I watch as frantic relatives pace up and down hospital hallways, lips moving in prayer, desperation clear on their faces

No matter how much I try to fight it, one feeble thought always enters my mind: All this, to save a life...
Is life really this precious? Is it so special that people would fight till their last breath for more of it?
When faced with danger, people run....they fall to their knees and scream up to the heavens for a miracle..and do they stop, just for a moment, to ask themselves the questionwhy though?

The building is ablaze. Blinding orange flames leap up from it's crumbling walls.  Thick swirls of smoke are turning the sky black. One man runs frantically through the charred corridors, his hands cold with fear, his heart roaring in his chest. He had never imagined this would happen, what a terrible way to die; there were so many things he still hadn't done in life, it couldn't end like this...but the smoke was closing in on him, pressing him against the wasted wall like a physical presence..now there was nothing but fire...how the wood scorched under his knees..was there really no way out...and then both he and the detritus of centuries were thrown up in the air into the quivering flames, tossed high into the churning blaze, before being devoured by the inferno.

Millions of miles away, a girl was singing. Sunlight filtered through unfurling leaves and bathed the ground with splashes of green and gold. Glistening raindrops clung to petals and just did not fall. The sky was bright blue; the clouds were like crushed velvet. Birds swarmed overhead, in a circle of singing feathers that spun faster and faster until it became a wreath settling itself on the upturned, smiling face of the world.

So yes, life is this precious. And you don't know just how much until you're right on the precipice of death. And so who am i to sit on my cushioned seat and question this? Who am i to know of the grief that consumes you when you realize you want more time but there is none?
Everyone has their own ways of extricating meaning from life. Here's mine:

A carousel keeps moving,
as do we as we clamber aboard.
Visible sights are shifted, replaced, by newer ones that whisper better promises, only to be blurred out of focus again.
But what is out of sight does not necessarily have to be out of mind.
 If we seek good,
good that has only ever been glimpsed from a swirling haze of so much more,
 we can settle it in our minds,
embed it in our thoughts
and nurture it until it fights its way to the windows of our skull
 and becomes all that we can see,
because we remembered.