Sunday, July 31, 2011
Once again, we had huge amounts of fun! I absolutely love the IOK team! I dunno where time flies to when am with this bunch!
Best part of filming - the people!
380 more to go.
After that colourful week, it was a much needed quiet Saturday. Highlight - Malayalam movie "Malarvadi arts Club"! Made by a group of first timers (script/direction as well as cast), it was a very simple, not at all wannabe, happy and nice film. I thoroughly enjoyed it because it was exactly the kind of film Malayalam cinema needs these days. Young, emotional, dramatic, happy, etc. but all in a very innate Kerala way with not a drop of Western-ism in there! Perfect!
It made me smile for the rest of the day!
381 more to go.
My Facebook status this evening said "This could, very easily, be one of the best days ever!". And that is a big statement to make. But I have very good reason for it! It taught me or rather reminded me of some of life's most important lessons.
Here is a bit of background. Over the last one year, in my current global role, I had worked on about 9 different projects. While 8 of them got exceptional results, there was this one project which had been struggling for a multitude of reasons, many of which were not directly under my control. Also, given that mine is a global role, all these 8 project with excellent results happened to be for markets across the globe, while the one struggling project was for this part of the world, where I am located in. Because of that, everyone I was meeting on a regular basis (from a location standpoint) seemed to think my work was below par while my colleagues across the globe thought otherwise. A couple of times, I also got feedback on this and I kept saying "Look, the project is not due yet. When it is, it will be in a good shape. That much I promise." Truth was that I knew what would make it successful, but was struggling to execute it, again, because of factors outside my direct control.
The deadline for this project (i.e. the presentation to the top management) was today and as of this Monday, things were still far from falling into place. Once again, I got the same feedback. "This is not looking in good shape." "This is your region. Your visibility is important here, but so far it is not looking good." "You are not engaging the right stakeholders properly." etc. etc. And my head would ring, "But that's not fair! I have 8 projects excellent results, why am I being judged on just this one?! Anyway it's not my fault!"
And then I realized I have two options a) Wait for some magic to happen to make this work within the next 4 days, risking the time even further, and probably also settle in for a sub standard project and bad reviews for me, and then blame others for it, or crib about the unfairness of the system or b) Go beyond my job description significantly, work on the whole thing myself in the best possible manner I can and take full responsibility for what comes out of it - if it works, I win; if it doesn't, I probably would end up in the same state as option (a), so might as well take this chance.
So I worked and worked and worked. A horribly hectic few days with very little sleep, focusing all my energy on just this with a constant prayer that this would work.
Yesterday evening, I put the complete presentation on the table of one of the senior managers, as pre-reading.
This morning, before I left for my work, I told the hubby... "If the presentation today doesn't work, I might just quit." In my head, I didn't know how to have coped with that situation. I simply didn't want to be judged on this anymore, I guess. I had never missed a deliverable at work till date, that too ensuring that it is of good quality and I couldn't bear the thought that this would be my first miserably failed deliverable.
Needless to say, I was a huge bundle of nerves until the presentation.
At about 11am, I presented my plan to the senior manager and she said "This is such a significant turnaround from what I saw just a couple of weeks ago. I think this is one of the best pieces of work I have ever seen. Well done!"
I could cry then. It was something I thought I would never hear.
But it was not time to cry yet, there was one more presentation, coming right after that... which was to her manager, far more senior, one of the biggest shots in this region.
I presented my plan once more.
He said "This is the most comprehensive, most well thought through plan I think, I have ever seen! Excellent work!". Coming from someone who has been in the company for about 20 years, this meant a LOT! His comment was then immediately echoed by the other manager whom I had presented to, earlier. She echoed his feelings, supported my work and I saw my own boss beam. My boss had struggled hard, am sure, to keep me afloat in everyone's eyes and this was her victory as well!
This time I could really cry, but being in my prim and proper self at office, I didn't.
Post the meeting, my subordinate and I went off for a celebratory lunch.
Later in the evening I attended two parties - an office party at my boss' place, and a friend's 30th birthday party. I had a ball at both the places!
At my boss' party, the senior manager I had presented to first, came up to me and once again said how much she loved my presentation and how much she recognizes my work behind it. I could have hugged her just then, but that would have been inappropriate, so I didn't. I just told her that I apologize this came in just the last minute but she said that she recognizes that was not really my fault. Overall, it made me feel on top of the world.
Then I went to my friend's birthday party and had a blast there. It had the entire Mausams core team there (since the birthday girl was one of the leads in Mausams) and we had a real fun time. The dinner, the drinks, the birthday cake, the conversation, the madness, the walk to the bus stop from Dempsey, the bus ride, the mrt ride to Bishan and every other thing about it was downright fun! I could share my joy and success with all of them and it felt incredibly good! It was an awesome way to wrap up such an important day!
An important day not simply because my presentation was well accepted, but an important day because, like what I have written above, I was reminded of some of life's most important lessons, which are...
a) Giving up is easy. But it makes a ton of difference when you do not.
b) Most things are under your control. It is just a matter of how much you would push yourself to keep them under your control.
c) While what others think of you may be a fair reflection of what you are projecting to the world, it is probably more important to realize what you want to stand for and what you value yourself to be.
d) At the end of the day, your work would speak for itself.
And last but not the least...
e) It is most important to surround yourself with the best people you love. Sharing a success is far more meaningful than achieving a success!
The day would not have been the same had it not been for my wonderful friends, hubby and also my mom whom I downloaded all my frustrations, nervousness and finally my happiness with.
So yes, easily, was one of the best days ever!
382 more to go.
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Amongst another crazily, busy working day, something made me smile real broadly.
That was to see the feature film line up on the website of Silent River Film Festival that Mausams is an official entry for!
Seeing Mausams right next to movies like "I am Kalam" and "Meherjaan", it was just surreal!
383 more to go.
I had written about shooting for a TV interview with the Mausams team here and today it was telecast on TV.
And I must say I was very pleasantly surprised by it! They had interspersed clippings from the film, used its background score and had done some very slick editing and the overall interview looked a LOT nicer than what I could have hoped for! I felt it had truly captured the essence and fun of Mausams and it was a great feeling to relive the Mausams experience once again!
384 more to go.
P.S. the TV show is viewable at http://video.xin.msn.com/watch/video/episode-29/1tny2xvc5 (Mausams segment starts at 14:10)
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
9am - 6am. That was my working hours for the day!
21 hours is definitely a record... Phew!
But am not complaining. I am actually pretty proud of what I have accomplished over night.
So well... here's to feeling proud of your work albeit the ridiculous hours!
385 more to go.
Today after a long day at work, I decided to settle down and watch the audition tapes for Inganeyum Oru Katha. After several viewings, including watching my own auditions - which was a weird yet interesting experience, I finally got an idea on whom to cast for all the roles!
This is one of the most fun parts of film making, trying to fit the different people with their different styles, personalities, looks and skills to the characters you have in mind. I love the process!
And this time, it was even more fascinating because under my own scrutiny, I myself passed the auditions to play one of the roles!
I had earlier auditioned myself for Mausams as well but didn't feel like I made the cut and was sure that others were better suited to the roles. So I had rejected myself. But this time, looks like I will be in!
So far the journey on IOK has been incredible. And the recent auditions to casting, even more so. Now looking forward to a lot more fun soon!
386 more to go.
ZNMD was one of the most anticipated films in Hindi in recent times and I had liked the earlier work of its director Zoya Akhtar a lot. Given that the film released a week later in Singapore vs. other countries, there was already a lot of word of mouth going around about it and people seemed to have loved it. So I too, was really looking forward to this one.
And it didn't disappoint. Sure, it is not the best Hindi movie ever made or anything like that, but it was definitely a very fun watch thanks to the dialogues and performances, even though I am not really a huge fan of the entire premise and storyline.
More than the film itself, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of going for it. The nerve wrecking anticipation of whether we would get tickets or not, the rounding up of friends to go for it, the pre-show Starbucks Chai Latte, the dinner before, the review conversation after etc. etc.
It made my Sunday pretty relaxed and nice, and a welcome change from the hectic week behind as well as the hectic Saturday (albeit being a fun one, several hours of auditions did drain me out).
So yes, found this Sunday pretty nice as well...!
387 more to go.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
What a fantastic day!!! Totally, completely, LOVED it!
It was the auditions for my Malayalam short film Inganeyum Oru Katha (IOK, as it will be referred to from now on).
This meant mainly that - from 8:30 am to 7:30pm, my house was overflowing with Malayalis resulting in Malayalam flying left, right and centre in my house - so much so that my poor hubby, the non-Malayali, decided to go for Yoga after a break of 3 months! Yeah, the Malayalis with their Malayalam drove him out and achieved the impossible!
But I loved it! We had such a fabulous time together!
The auditions went off really well, I got to meet some of my long-time Mallu friends, meet a few new very talented people, speak in Malayalam throughout the day, realize how well some of the auditioning folks could speak Malayalam in spite of telling me otherwise earlier, discuss Malayalam movies non stop, give my own audition for some of the roles which was supervised by my cinematographer, joke a lot, laugh a lot and generally have a real ball!
Ah. So much good company and fun and that too over my little project! It was a P.E.R.F.E.C.T day!
388 more to go.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Here, I had written about how crazy this whole week has been at work.
Here, I had written about how, even at mid-week, I could not manage to cross out even a single thing on my to-do list.
Today, being Friday, I was determined that I will noe leave office until I strike out everything and I mean every single thing on my to-do list.
So I worked and worked and worked... and like every other day of this week, I was in the office until 10pm. But with just a difference.
At 10pm, I managed to cross out the very last thing that was pending on my to-do list.
Ah! The feeling of looking at a super long to-do list but with every single item crossed out!
It's nothing short of pure bliss!
389 more to go.
Another 6:45am - 9:45pm day at work.
Interestingly today, I made some royal screw ups in office. Because I was trying to complete some things at breakneck speed, a few mistakes happened. They were not a matter of life and death or business ruining mistakes but they were wrong in an embarrassing way. This, together with the fact that it was another long day, started to get to me.
But I was clear that I did not want to get depressed. I kept telling myself that I do like my job and this is just a tough phase, which is really the truth. So I did not want to drown in an ocean of self pity and depression.
Instead, in spite of the fact that I reached home only past 10pm, I went for a very long run. I ran and ran and ran, until I was panting and sweating like nobody's business. And as I was running I kept reminding myself that this is admittedly a tough time but not something that would last for ever.
After the run, I realized I felt a LOT better. No self pity, no depression, no complaints and not even embarrassment at that mistake I made at work. It had been rectified anyway, so all I had to do was simply put it behind me.
And then I felt in control. I felt like I was not drowning anymore but was ready to swim again. I felt like my own life guard, and now it's just a matter of handling the next day!
390 more to go.
Fascinating day. A very corporate one really, given that it was pretty much all centered around work.
A day of a few firsts actually.
Thanks to the load of work I had mentioned here, I ended up getting to office at 6:45 am (for the first time ever) and stayed in until 9:45pm - i.e. 15 hours spent in the office (yet another first)!
And then, the beauty of it was that the long list of things-to-do I had, remained untouched even at the end of it! I was unable to strike even one thing out completely, due to various reasons. So yeah 15 hours straight on work and not a single item struck out - yet another first!
But am not complaining. I guess I was very amused by the whole thing and had a lot of interesting incidents to note - for e.g. the very interesting conversation with the taxi driver early in the morning as he expressed his views on how parents these days spoil their kids with too much money, watching the sunrise from the office, having a rare cup of Starbucks coffee (that is, on top of the usual Chai Latte) to keep myself up which in turn made me feel really "corporate" (in my head, "let's get a coffee" or "let's catch up over coffee" is such a corporate thing!), fire fighting and rushing from one meeting to the other the whole day that I couldn't believe when it was suddenly already 7 pm, etc. etc. They all made me feel amused and definitely made me feel super important.
On top of these, I also got a call for the Filmie Fanatic Visitor I had written about, who told me that he is finally about to shoot his first film next weekend! Given that this was to a large part inspired by Mausams, I felt really good! The news gave me the mental energy boost to get through the rest of my corporate day.
The day ended with a catch up with a dear friend, who suggested that it would be great to have dinner and drinks together, mid-week on a Wednesday, in truly corporate style to finish off such a long and hard day. I thought it was an excellent idea and I met her at Clarke Quay for just that - Dinner and Drinks for about another 2 hours and it was a very fun catch up indeed!
So yes, it was an out an out corporate day - 15 hours of work, 2 hours of after work dinner and drinks and an intake of coffee, even! But I did enjoy it and I have a sense of purpose and importance which isn't bad.
391 more to go.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
About a month ago, I had written about how I made a poster for the hubby to put up in his office - for inspiration and to add some colour to his life.
The update on that is he completely ignored my efforts and the poster still remains as just a jpeg file somewhere in his email archives. So much for inspiration and colourful life!
Anyway, I too had completely forgotten about it until today, when my dad called me up and said that he has gotten the poster printed out and it now adorns the wall of his office!!!
How sweet is that!!
My dad, who retired from his job in a bank a few months ago, has taken to his music business completely. He has always been managing a music group that he had founded, on a part time basis, and now that he is retired from his day job, he had decided to take that up as a full time commitment. One of the first steps he took was to rent out a small office space to work in.
And he tells me that my poster is perfect for that office - A bit of inspiration, a bit of colour, a ton of music! !
My dad is a tough person to please, so this definitely made me feel super good! Completely made my day!
392 more to go.
Friday, July 22, 2011
Before we go proper into the post for the day, I must say upfront that I am actually writing this blog on 22nd July - i.e. after a gap of 5 days. Of course, this is not the first time that I am making up in bulk for days gone by, but usually such breaks happen only if I am out of the country. If in Singapore, the maximum gap has been only 3 days, after which I really get myself to sit down and write the missing posts. However, this time I am very much in Singapore but ended up with a gap of 5 days. And it is simply because that's how busy I have been. It has been a seriously insane week at work and I simply didn't have the time nor mental space to blog. The reason why am giving this rather long and seemingly pointless story now, is because I want to remind myself that, even at the end of this crazy work week (it's Friday night now), when I look back, I can still recall something special that happened every single day. Given the horrendous busy-ness my life has been subjected to, I think that is indeed something beautiful!
And now let's get to the post.
Today, in spite of a whole load of work in office, I managed to start the ball rolling for the auditions for my Malayalam short film! Initially it was looking like there won't be enough people for all the roles, since it requires a very good grasp of Malayalam. However, as of today, I have got enough number of people who have expressed an interest in being part of it! To ensure that the interest doesn't fizzle out, I sent out the slots for audition to everyone. The slots were almost all filled up by the evening, so I sent out the audition preparation materials as well, which were received by my potential cast with quite some enthusiasm!
So yes, auditions are all set for this weekend and Ingeneyum Oru Katha will be kicking off very, very soon! Exciting!
493 more to go.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
It was a very pleasant Sunday!
All I really did was go for yoga and watch two Malayalam movies back to back.
I always enjoy watching Malayalam movies, but recently the quality of them have been horrific and needless to say, disappointing. And I had formed opinion that movies from the good old 80s and 90s are unbeatable by a mile.
But surprisingly, BOTH the recently launched movies I watched today (Marykkundoru Kunjaadu as well as Best Actor) were really good! I had an awesome time watching both of them back to back!
It was like double dose of Mallu happiness! And that, I always love!
394 more to go.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
I already have the theme music for Inganeyum Oru Katha! Thanks to my friend, the brilliant and super committed musical genius Aditya Pathak!
Given that he doesnt understand Malayalam, I had given him just a very short description of the "feel" of the film and he has already come back with something that I absolute love! It is very much suitable for the film and I have been playing it on loop the whole day!
I like the way this project is shaping up! Exciting!
395 more to go.
Friday, July 15, 2011
Today I ran into 3 of my girl friends (all of whom were also part of the Mausams team), completely unexpectedly! All of us just happened to bump into each other at Novena (where I work) and it was a wonderfully fun meeting!
In the afternoon, I had a successful presentation, which I had been working on for a few days at stretch and this almost felt like an apt reward for that! We had a really nice conversation over dinner and I was a very happy person!
It's always fun to catch up with these ladies but when it comes so unexpectedly, that makes it even more awesome!
397 more to go.
I am having a super duper busy time at work. Like super duper duper super. It's like I don't even have time to take tea breaks or I am the first one to be in office or the last one to leave etc. etc.
But the good news is that I am feeling pretty good about work, in spite of the busy time. And that's really because a lot of the work I had been doing over the past month or so is beginning to show some good result. There was a feeling that things were going seriously out of control and about a month ago, I was determined to make it right somehow. And looks like things are indeed turning around!
Like today, I finally cracked this campaign! It had been going in loops and swirls for the past 1 year almost, but as of today, I am VERY happy with its progress.
So yes, it is busy as busy can be. But am happy as happy can be!
P.S. In other news, after all the drama with the DVDs, I finally managed to send 4 working copies of Mausams DVDs to the film festival! Now that is indeed beautiful!
398 more to go.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
One thing my life doesn't lack is dullness. Never a moment of it. Things happen left, right and center bringing varied and extreme emotions one after the other.
Take today for example. Here is a snapshot of all that happened and the range of emotions that played.
a) I was interviewed for TV, together with some members of the Mausams team (two of the lead actors, the hubby who is also the co-producer and the cinematographer).
Emotions experienced - Nervousness, Excitement, Happiness
b) Working at breakneck speed given that a few hours went on the TV shoot and I had several critical tasks to complete for work.
Emotions experienced - Stress, Determination (to get everything done), Satisfaction (at getting a few things done)
c) Lunch with the same Mausams team who were interviewed, over a conversation about future projects.
Emotions experienced - Pleasure, Excitement, Encouraged (to carry on with the projects)
d) Being caught and fined by the police for jaywalking.
Emotion experienced - Embarrassment (for being as stupid as to walk right into the police's arms), Guilt, Sense of Loss (over the wasted $20 fine)
e) Discovering that the second round of NTSC DVDs burnt for the film festival are also not working, a day before the deadline to send the DVDs out. Background to this can be found here.
Emotions experienced - Frustration, Panic, Helplessness
f) Successful NTSC DVD experiment (which was our "last shot", so to say) by the cinematographer, resulting in a working DVD at about 9pm.
Emotions experienced - Out of the World Relief, Gratitude, Happiness
As you can see, it's been the mother of all rollercoasters.
But I must say, it wasn't dull.
399 more to go.
It is the 600th day of the blog! Phew! Only 400 more days and I can wrap this up! That doesn't sound like a lot, now that I seem to have covered far more than 400 days!
A few things happened that the made the day a bit more special.
Firstly, I decided to pull myself out of the downward spiral I was going in, at work. It's been a stressful time with an overdose of things to do and it was really beginning to get to me. But I decided to try my best to ensure that this week would turn out good. And to kick-start the effort, I woke up early and reached office by 8am. That alone made a difference.
Secondly, I came across an interview of mine in a magazine, by pure chance. I was taking a short break at work with a colleague when she told me the story of how, over the weekend, she was at a salon, flipping through a magazine.
She: "...and then I saw Shilpa on it. Interesting interview, by the way."
Me: "Who Shilpa?"
She: "Erm... you?"
That's pretty much how I discovered that, my interview (which I had given in May) for the magazine India Se, had appeared in its May edition. And I had no clue! Sigh. But it was a nice surprise and I managed to get a copy of it from their online archives later on.
So yes, a good working day. A nice little surprise. And the 600th day. It's all good!
400 more to go.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Warning: This post might be one of the most ludicrous ones in this 1000-day series but I assure you every bit of it is true.
It all started with those guys messing up my DVDs. The longer version of the story is available here but in a nutshell, we didn't have a working NTSC DVD with subtitles, which was a requirement for the film festival and which we were in a hurry to get done.
So this morning, after several attempts to make this work over Friday and Saturday, my cinematographer (who shall be called RC from here on) told me that he will be coming over to my place with a DVD that he had finally managed to get to work.
So I waited for him. And as I waited for him, I got a call from my mom.
As usual, over the call, my mom updated me about the happenings in our neighbourhood back in our hometown, the latest and the greatest from the lives of our immediate family, extended family and even people who are almost-close-to-strangers to me. As the conversation progressed, the door bell rang and I walked up to the door and opened it, expecting to see RC.
It was indeed RC, but not the usual cool, calm, stud guy that I was acquainted with, but a huffing, puffing, profusely sweating one with a horrified expression on his face.
Me: What happened? Are you OK?!
RC: (nods but gives no answer)
Mom: (on the phone) ...and then we decided to go to their place in the morning instead of evening....
Me: Are you sure? What happened?!!
RC: (gesturing that he needs water urgently but still doesn't say anything)
As RC rushed to the kitchen to get the much needed water, my mom continued to explain, what happened when she went to somebody's house in the morning instead of evening, completely oblivious of the fact that am paying no attention any longer.
RC returned from the kitchen and collapsed on the couch.
Me: Seriously, are you OK?! (almost convinced that he is having a stroke)
RC: (nodding again, with no answer)
Mom: What? (finally figuring that I was talking to someone else)
Me: Not you Amma... anyway I will talk to you later.
Mom: But... (obviously wanting to complete whatever story she was saying)
Me: RC is here.
Mom: Oh OK.... bye then!
I hang up the call and turn my full attention on RC.
Me: Dude... what happened?!!! (already sounding like a broken record by now)
RC: A dog chased me.
RC. A dog. Chased me.
Me: Oh Shucks! You OK? Are you hurt?
RC: I am OK.
Me: When? How?
RC: Chased me from the bus interchange until your condominium!
Me: What?! Wow! (that's seriously wow stuff because it's about 400 metres).
Me: Well, at least you are OK... thank God!
RC: It took the DVD, Shilpa.
RC: The Dog. Took the DVD. Shilpa.
Me: What? (baffled pause) Oh. You are kidding. (That would have been an obvious explanation even though I failed to see the humour)
RC: NO! Your security guards saw it! The Dog. Took the DVD! (He wiggles his index finger towards imaginary security guards and then shakes his fist in agitation at the Dog).
At this point, my phone rings. I pick it up. It's mom again on the line.
Mom: I forgot to tell you something.
Mom: I have something for your black spots!
Me: Huh... what?!
Mom: Black spots on your face from scarred pimples? I have found a solution for it.
Me: Oh. Am kind busy here.
Mom: I will say it quickly.
Me: OK then.
RC: I tried my best to save the DVD, Shilpa. But. The Dog. (now lost in his own world of disbelief, remorse and guilt).
Mom: Just make a paste out of milk, salt, turmeric powder and lime juice and apply it and wash it off after it dries. It will work!
Me: Am sure. (an apt reply to both my mom as well as RC, as you would notice).
RC: I did try. My best.
Mom: In two weeks, it will be all gone.
Me: OK good. I will try. Bye. (hangs up the call and gets back to RC)
RC: The Dog. The DVD. The Mausams DVD.
Me: You wanna start from the beginning?
And he did. In his own words...
"As I walked out of the MRT (train), I suddenly had a feeling that maybe I forgot to bring the DVD along. So I opened my backpack and checked. I found the DVD in it, so I was just holding it in my hand for second when I saw The Dog. It was running towards me. I ran. The Dog ran. I even jumped the traffic light when it was RED. The Dog followed me also by jumping the traffic light when it was RED. I reached your condomonium. The security guards had seen me running towards them with the dog behind me, so they came out to chase it away. At this point in time, I accidentally dropped the DVD which I was holding in my hands, if you remember. I ran and hid behind the security counter as the guards tackled The Dog, with the intent of retrieving the DVD after The Dog leaves. The Dog left... but just before it did, it picked up the DVD and ran away. The Dog. Took the DVD."
RC: Your security guards saw the whole thing! (he does the wiggly-finger-shaking-fist action again).
RC: They didn't even ask me to register as a visitor because of the whole saga!
(Several minutes of complete silence as the story sinks in).
RC: I think it is your ancestor.
Me: What? (it was like my zillionth "What?" for the day)
RC: You know, ancestors come in the form of dogs and crows.
Me: Do they?
RC: They do.
Me: Well, I do wish mine just came in through the window, sat on the couch and watched the film on the TV, one of the thousand times I would have played it.
RC: Yes. That could have been an option.
Me: But it wasn't.
As the conversation fizzled out, somewhere in the neighbourhood a dog munched on a Mausams DVD.
401 more to go.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
A lot of posts recently had raised my frustrations with work, lack of productivity, life in general etc.
Today seemed like a good start to reversing this frustration period. It was incredibly productive and I feel pretty good about it! There was progress on a few things...
a) Getting my identity card replaced.... rather, starting the process to get it replaced. After the wallet was stolen, it had taken quite some effort replace all the cards and this was the last of the lot. So I feel good about it. And I must mention that the guys at the Immigration Checkpoint Authority (ICA) who handle these things were incredibly efficient and super nice to me, which made the otherwise tedious process pretty pleasant.
b) Then I got my glasses replaced - something that has been pending for about 6 months now. I can see a lot clearer. Yay!
c) I restarted on the Malayalam script I had left off after completing just one scene. Today, I completed 75% of the script!
d) I went on another 5km jog - I think I even surprised myself with this one! 5km jog in itself is a big deal for me... but two days in row? Awesomeness!
e) Watched Mausams all over again, as part of making sure that the new (PAL) DVD is working alright. I would like to think that this is also productive, because I did spend 2 hours on it and it had to be done, in spite of having watched the film like a zillion times already.
So yes, several things ticked off my list. I feel more in control. It feels like I am getting back on track.
402 more to go.
I had ordered for some bulk printing of Mausams DVD to be sent out to a few places, including the film festival and I got a box of them delivered today.
I felt really happy seeing them, because they had this nice Mausams artwork! They looked like the DVDs of a real movie! Here is a snap of it!
But I must mention that after the initial happiness of seeing the DVDs, everything went downhill.
Because when I tested them I realized that they had not been burnt with the subtitles. Which makes them very much useless, especially since I had to send a few of them out to the film festival very urgently.
Yet another Mausams catastrophe.
The background is that the festival needed the DVDs in NTSC format while we had only PAL format. So I had given the job to the professional guys who did the conversion from PAL to NTSC before printing them in bulk. Only glitch - no subtitles! So I have a carton full of useless DVDs!
Upon enquiring, they said that they do not have the software to be able to do the conversion with the subtitles. And that for this job, we will have to go to the "professionals". I wonder who that is if not for these people who charged me an arm and a leg for exactly this job.
Mausams never has it easy. Never ever. It was like a repeat of the whole screening day fiasco all over again.
There was only one way out. Re-render the film after embedding the subtitles into the video and then go back for the conversion from PAL to NTSC and the bulk printing. Easier said than done.
I felt that my brain would just collapse from the stress. So went for a jog. After a very, very long time, I jogged. That too for 5 kms. That de-stressed a lot.
Later my dear cinematographer once again came to the rescue and worked on the subtitle-embedding. The film was then put on a re-render which would take several hours.
At midnight, all we could do was hope for the best.
Another mixed bag day. Something small to smile about. Something huge to worry about. But at least this time I am not panicking out of my wits. I turned to the old reliable solutions of working out hard and taking some of those good, deep breaths.
Now fingers crossed for a few working NTSC DVDs to reach the festival on time.
403 more to go.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Today marks the 10th anniversary of having met the dude who happens to be The Hubby now.
Let me stress that the first meeting was anything but pleasant. I thought he was a pompous ass and he thought I was a spectacular snob. But of course, things changed for the better and rest is history.
Let me also stress that neither of us had any idea of today's significance until the day had well passed but in hindsight, this would still be what's most special about the day.
Here's to many more decades!
404 more to go.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Another horribly difficult day at work but with a very nice silver lining.
I got a call from the TV station in Singapore and was told that they would like to feature the story behind making of Mausams in the short English segment of a program called "Indian Beats". They wanted to interview me, but better still, wanted the core team (key cast as well as crew) to be interviewed as well!
I quickly passed the message to the core team members who are in town - the three lead actors, the cinemtographer and the hubby who is the co-producer of the movie. Everyone was super excited! It had less to do with "being on TV" but a lot to do with the fact that we will be doing something together as the Mausams team for Mausams once again, just like old times!
A few quick emails and messages flew around and it ended up in a long-lasting, huge smile on my face.
A very nice silver lining in a very dark cloud. I like it.
405 more to go.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Remember all those posts where I used to brag about how well I did in Yoga class for the day?
Yeah. Today was exactly the opposite.
It was one of the worst classes I've ever had. It's like my body had totally given up on me. I was nauseous, extremely dizzy and in pain. I think I pretty much skipped about 30 minutes of the 90 minute class, in total - taking a minute's break after every two minutes.
Now, you must know that this is a very common scenario in Bikram Yoga classes especially if you are going after a break. My other hypothesis for the more-than-average tough class is that it was a combination of more-than-usual heat and humidity in the room, break of 2 weeks since my last class, completely unhealthy eating habits for the past few days, very stressful time at work and a super long day so far.
Whatever be the reason, it is enough to say that it was awful, really.
Nevertheless, I am quite proud of myself.
Because I did not quit.
At about 20 minutes into the class onwards, I was 100% sure that I would throw up and seriously considered walking out before inconveniencing everyone in the room.
But then I thought that this was the only way to redeem my day so far. It had been a very long and very stressful day. Work is just going at a blinding pace and it's like running a never-ending marathon. I needed to go through this class to kick myself up, to feel good about myself and to relieve the stress. I knew that if I walked out of the door, I will feel miserable for the rest of the week, at the very least.
So I hung on. It was super hard but I did not quit.
After the class, I couldn't help smiling. I was feeling like I would drop any minute, but I still couldn't help smiling.
Sometimes, even the opposite could work out.
406 more to go.
One of those absolutely useless days.
I did nothing.
It's not that I didn't make any effort. There is always work to ensure that I do something. But somehow, in spite of a few attempts here and there including at work, the day ended and I had nothing to show of it.
And one can guess what this means. It means that at the end of day, there is a growing frustration and dissatisfaction with life. Suddenly there is that shocking realiation of having wasted 24 freaking hours. 24 hours, when one could have changed this world even or at least finished up a marketing plan, but instead the 24 hours were simply thrown away. In short, it's a bloody nightmare.
But of course, things had to be fixed. I couldn't let myself drown in a sea of self-worthlessness when it would just be mere exaggeration. So I had a conversation with the self. While my irrational side cribbed and cried and growled and made a fuss about having done nothing, my rational side said that this would be a good time to demonstrate the skill of "letting it be". Both had pretty valid points.
When no conclusion was drawn for a while in this internal war of the mind, I decided to meditate.
And I did, for a few minutes. I felt the muscles relaxing and the mind calming done. And there was no longer an internal conflict.
There was only one voice now and I decided to heed to it, and let it be.
407 more to go.
Monday, July 4, 2011
Every time I travel business class or when I visit the Krisflyer lounge (which I get to visit because am a Gold member on Singapore Airlines) in Singapore, I send out a Thank-You-God prayer. It's because whenever I get these opportunities, I am reminded of not just how lucky I am to be able to travel to all these places but how lucky I am to travel in such comfort.
Today a similar situation came up, rather unexpectedly. It was my first time in the Hong Kong Krisflyer lounge and it was fascinating! Usually, in all other countries I have been to so far, the lounge for Singapore Airlines or Krisflyer members is combined with the other country's local airlines lounge. There has never been a standalone one so far for just Singapore Airlines members, outside of Singapore.
But there is a HUGE, and I mean really, really HUGE Krisflyer lounge in Hong Kong. That was truly impressive.
I went in there and felt spoilt for choice on where to sit. There were everything from couches to dining chairs to bar stools. I chose a small dining table and chair and made myself comfortable.
It was super early in the morning and I was really tired from the hectic week. So being in the lounge, away from all the crowd, was in itself a blessing. When I went to check out the food, I was very impressed the wide range they had made available and was particularly pleased by the presence of samosas.
As I relaxed over a cup of tea, some hot samosas and a book, once again I was reminded of how comfortable and lucky I am. To be that far from home, but to still feel pampered and so well taken care of.
Quietly, I sent out another "Thank You God" prayer...
409 more to go.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Pretty good day! Reasons:
a) A very long but very productive full-day meeting.
b) Dinner outdoors with the team at Cafe Costa in the IFC mall, which had a fantastic view.
c) Awesome dinner with some excellent calamari followed by some yummy Tiramisu for dessert.
A good productive and fun day in Hong Kong!
410 more to go.
This morning I made my way to Hong Kong, for a business meeting. It is my first trip there, so that alone was exciting.
From what I could get to see of it the whole day, which was not much because I was working throughout, these made the most impression:
a) The runway along the ocean, which is pretty welcoming
b) The very interesting and different landscape of the city - it's a wonderful combination of hills, ocean, bridges and skyscrapers.
c) The city centre that is very similar to Bangkok with its narrow roads, small entrances to shops and an international feel with several signs shouting out Indian, Thai, Italian, eateries.
d) The super narrow double decker bus that seemed to be half the width of those in other parts of the world.
e) The "cute" hairdo with bangs that almost every other young man seemed to sport and which they keep on adjusting every other minute.
f) How everyone seems to be speaking English in a different accent from one another.
So yes, that's pretty much what I noticed of Hong Kong. As of now, I quite like it!
411 more to go.