I still remember that saturday afternoon last summer, when I watched the movie Wild Strawberries. The only thing I knew about the movie was that it was in IMDB top 250 and it was a Swedish film. It was the story of the aging professor Isak Borg - his coldness, his reflections on life, his insecurities, fears and nightmares. It was unlike any movie I had seen till then. If you ask me if I loved the film, I am not yet sure. But, it was something so very different, that it made me think and I could not get it off my head. Then, I got to know about the man behind the movie called Ingmar Bergman.

The next movie I happened to see was his most revered The Seventh Seal. It was a weird movie about a knight who, on his journey through the lands affected by Plague, is confronted by Death who forces him to play chess with him. It did not impress me much and I felt it was a highly over rated movie.

It was when I saw Persona that I was completely bowled over by Bergman. It would be an understatement to say that this black n white movie was very captivating. The mind games played by the actress and the nurse was so surreal, I was left wondering if the drama was taking place in that hospital/island or in my mind. That whole week I was in the Persona hangover.

I followed it up with the very under rated The Silence. Its a story of the emotional turmoil between two sisters - a very symbolic clash of different value systems, masterfully picturized by Bergman and it happens to be my most favorite among his movies. The red-white color combination will always remind me of Cries & Whispers, though very dragging at times, a visually appealing movie. His other non-abstract films which I have seen are - the tense mother daughter union in Autumn Sonata (dont you think its such a beautiful name?), with a brilliant Ingrid Bergman (this movie is the inspiration to the Urmila-Shabana-Diya starrer Tehzeeb!), the teenage passionate affair Summer With Monica, with a very natural Harriet Anderrson oozing raw sensuality, a very depressing almost voyeuristically directed marriage saga Scenes From A Marriage.

If you ask me if Bergman tops my favorite list, I would say no. If any of his movies makes my favorite top 20, it would again be no. Most of his movies are too weird or abstract - that I sometimes feel if he had any concrete script in the first place. But, the affection with which he creates a scene is hard to match. The intensity in his movies is almost frightening. Coincidentally, my other favorite Woody Allen happens to be the biggest fan of Bergman. And nobody can be as depressing as Bergman and I always recommend my friends not to see more than a Bergman movie per week. I still have some movies of Bergman in my "Yet to watch" list. Hope I will see them soon.

Ingmar Bergman passed away yesterday and I felt like writing about him. Thank you Mr. Bergman for giving us those wonderful movies.

Venu has tagged me to write 8 random facts about myself. If you are self-obsessed and running out of ideas to write a post, is there any better option than getting tagged? ;)

Okay, here it goes!

1) I love black n white photos very much. Its a great pastime in our home to browse through very old albums. Even now, I take at least a few black n white photos with my camera. Sepia is my second favorite. Color photos are a distant third.

2) I had diphtheroid at the age of 8. I was easily prone to cough, cold and fever at that age and I could not go out without a monkey cap. From then on, I've been taking Homoeopathy medicines and my resistance has increased dramatically. Now I constantly eat at hotels and roadside chats and I rarely fall ill (apart from the occasional visit from that dear old friend called 'common cold'). The cap has gone, the monkey stays!

3) I learnt cycling when I was 10. After a very minor accident, I had not tried cycling for 3 years, till I got myself a red Hero Ranger when I was in class 8.

4) My first memory of mimicking was when I was 9. I had learnt to mimic my science teacher. Having the image of a good, studious boy (surprising how I got that!) I was scared if my teacher comes to know of the mimicking. After that, I have mimicked my family members, teachers, friends, movie stars, television people etc. I honestly think I am a very very ordinary mimic. But, I am a great "observer" though.

5) I am scared of dogs. And cats. I hate holding or touching them. Anything that has 4 legs, restlessly fast and has the ability to lick. I am not too scared of cows or donkeys or horses though. The only tolerable pets are fishes, which are neither obtrusive nor the "licking" types!

6) I thought I believed in God till I was 22. I was actually scared of God. Now, I am an almost agnostic I guess. I am not the "Nooru devaranella nookaache doora" atheist. I love being part of Ganapathi Habba and listening to that very entertaining story called "Symanthakopakhyaana". But now, I don't ask anything from God. There may exist a God, there may not be - and it does not matter too much either way. I am no longer scared of God. I know I can screw up my life far better than an angry God!

7) The first computer I had, had a 512 MB hard disk (not RAM my friends, hard disk!) and a 6 MB RAM. The second computer had a 8 GB hard disk (the capacity I thought was too huge and useless) I thought that people who have more than 1 GB songs are insane. Now, I have a computer with 160 GB hard disk, an external one of 250 GB - both almost full and I have around 60 GB of mp3s and I have never felt as sane or inadequate.

8) I used to paint a lot as a kid. I was not so good at mixing colors or giving shades, though I enjoyed my ordinary paintings very much. Most of my paintings and my brother's outrageous paintings are compiled by my parents, which is a great thing to go through on a lazy saturday evening.

Okay, now I tag Vedu, Krupa, Soumia, Vijay, Shruthi to write on 8 random things about themselves!

World & Me

Today was a cool breezy morning. The cloudy skies had the perfect script for sun's late arrival. The drizzle was very optimal to my comforts. Chamundi Betta looked as fresh as a girl just out of her shower. Everything was so perfect, it was almost like heaven. It would have been pure bliss on any other day.

Though there were a good amount of people, it was not suffocatingly crowded. You can easily categorize the people there.
I saw a bunch of college kids just out of their teens, talking non stop about latest mobiles, orkut and campus recruitment. They were blissfully ignorant of unhappiness. I cringed at their loudness. Or was it that I envied their exuberance and optimism?

The next type you can always encounter are those on the wrong side of their twenties, primarily the unfortunately-extant boring species called software engineers. I can easily bet my index finger that they talk nothing other than real estate prices, torturing managers and the dark unknown future that lay ahead. If you ask me how utopia will look like, I would say it wont have lorries and software professionals!

The old uncles will usually be wearing impeccably white colored full sleeve shirts, hair neatly combed and have thick rimmed glasses. They constantly talk about politics (the funny thing is that though all of them are pessimistic about the political future, nothing dampens their spirit to talk nonstop about it), children settled abroad, children who are about to go abroad, children who did not go abroad.

You will feel that the middle aged women in those incredibly faded chudi daars are the ones who know and talk on an array of subjects, till you realize that all those things are part of a couple of night time serials. Just walk by their side for an hour, you will get the monthly summary of Minchu, Preethi Illada Mele and Manthana!

The world which would have otherwise amused me looked like an irritating collection of stereotypes. I was getting angry for no reason at all.

I know its not the world, its me. When you are feeling rotten inside, even Scarlett Johannson will not look attractive!

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