Jul 26, 2015

The 'woman-at-the-well' moment | Manna for your Soul

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the list of things you need to do everyday?
Have you been blind-sided by misplaced priorities?

Well, the truth is we all have been at the 'caught like a deer in the headlights' spot in our lives. 

In the Bible, the book of John talks about an incident that changes the lives of not just one person but an entire town. 
John 4:1-42 starts with how Jesus stops at a public well outside of Samaria for a drink of water, meets a lady and the transformation within is as marvelous as it is profound. 

Dissecting the scripture, we need to understand that Jesus was on His way to Galilee.

Tired and exhausted in the mid-day heat, he decided to stop to rest. 
There He meets a woman who has come to draw some water for herself. Remember, this is when the sun is beating down and the well is a public well that was out of the town. People would not travel so far at this time of the day to get water. Atleast not the ones that were respectable. This woman probably didn't want to be seen among people and that's why she came to draw water at this well that was far out of town.
When Jesus asks her for a drink of water, she is startled. Because she is used to being ignored and reviled and was surprised any man would want to speak to a lady like her. 
Also because, Jews practiced racism and discriminated against Samarians who they regarded as a lower class of people. Sounds familiar?

His response perplexes her. 
She is almost mocking Him when she reminds Jesus that He doesn't have anything to draw water from the well. She thinks she has an advantage over Him because she has a can and He doesn't. 

When Jesus tells her that he can get her water that can quench her thirst forever. Her immediate response is - 'WOW! Give me this water so that I don't have to come to this well anymore'. She is positively excited at the prospect of never having to come out in the heat of the day. Not too unlike us either.

Jesus asks her to get her husband. She tells Him that she doesn't have one. Checkmate
And this is where we come to know that she has been juggling husbands. Bingo! That explains why she was hiding from other people.

But like a bear caught in a trap, she knows she has been exposed and immediately tries to deflect attention from herself. She turns into a theologian and flatters Jesus. Apparently, she is no stranger to sweat-talking people either.
Now ordinarily, calling a random person a saint or something like this would have been enough to shut that person up (it still works today) but no, Jesus saw right through that. 

He tells her to focus on the 'How' and not the 'Where' of worship. He takes her up on her devious question and scores a slam dunk. She is now desperately trying to squirm out of this conversation and tells Him “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”.
Oh yeah, well she walked right into that one, didn't she?!

We are all like this woman.
Like her, we prioritize everything else but God in our lives. 
We place God in the periphery of our lives, within reach, so that we can access Him only when we need Him and put Him back when our needs are met. 
We love to deflect uneasy scrutiny into our spiritual lives. 
We love to debate theology when it gets hot beneath the collar.
We love raving about that restaurant or that movie but how many times have you spoken about the wonderful things God has done in your life? 

The thing is Jesus didn't need water. He is the Man who resisted temptation after 40 days of fasting. He was here for a purpose. It was no accident that she was there at precisely the same time and day He was there too. 

If you have ever felt the divine peace and serenity that a church provides, multiply that by infinity and that is how wonderful 'spiritual water' can make you feel. 

If there is something in your life that doesn't seem to be happening at the speed you wish it happened, don't fret. God is softening the hearts of people, changing the minds of the powerful and basically rearranging lives and circumstances so that it happens. All you need to do is surrender yourself to Him - in spirit and soul. 

Now, we don't know what happened to the woman after that, but we can imagine her life was never the same after that. God chose her because she knew what a wretched person she had become. She was ripe for the change. Jesus didn't chastise her. He didn't ostracize her. He didn't mock her. He didn't avoid her. He didn't victimize her. 
He simply made her realize the folly of her ways. 


The Bible has never promised a life without challenges. Anyone who tells you that being a Christian will make your life like a toll-free 7 - lane expressway is selling you grade A crap. 
The Word of God can give you the tools and the grace that you will need to live a life that can help you overcome any challenge that life throws at you. A Christian's life is something like a nugget of gold. You'll need a furnace to refine it. Are you ready for the furnace?

Jul 24, 2015

Ant Man | The corny movie review by Navin

So being a Marvel fan, I caught the movie on the day it released in India.

Ant Man

Dr Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) has discovered that his protege has been trying to steal his technology. Hank gets fired. Just like that.

Cut to present day, Hank has realised that his former protege and his estranged daughter are close to having their own shrinking suit  - the Yellowjacket (how very creative!)

Enter  Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), a 'reformed' cat burgler just out from jail and looking for a clean break. 

I won't give away the rest of the movie but I guess you already know where this is headed. 

Paul Rudd is a fabulous comedian and is in a league of his own. 
Michael Douglas has aged fabulously. 
Michael Pena has comedic timing.

The good thing about Marvel movies is the continuity and the way all the other movies are connected with eachother. The bad thing are the intermittent references to Iron Man/Tony Stark. Well, I won't blame them because if something works really well, why not piggy back on it. 

The VFX is good, as usual. 
There is a fair amount of geek-speak so that will appeal to the geek in you. 
Intrigue? Strip this movie for all its tech wizardry and it is just another movie where an over-ambitious co-worker steals your tech (because he wants to take over the world) and fights you in the end and dies. Sounds familiar? 

Would I recommend it? 
Sure, if you are a Marvel fan. Its a nice outing with friends on a lazy evening. While humor will keep you yawn-free, it would have been better if there was a better storyline. 
I do see the potential for a sequel but so are most of the other Marvel superheros. Ant Man is here to stay, atleast for a while.

My Rating: 5

What does the ratings mean? 
0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theater.
5-7  : Err... the movie is pretty, but it's definitely missing something. A storyline, that is.
8-10: 'Drop-the-dishes, stop-the-sex, jaw-dropping, that-is-incredible' 2 hours of movie experience

Jul 23, 2015

Through troubled times..

In the movie, Kung Fu Panda 2, after Shen's ship is destroyed, he asks Po 'How did you find peace? I took away your parents! Everything! I-- I scarred you for life!
Po: See, that's the thing, Shen... scars heal. 
SHEN: No, they don't... wounds heal!
Po: Oh yeah. What do scars do? They fade, I guess...
Shen: I don't care what scars do!

About 9 years ago, my dad lost his battle with cancer and moved on to greener pastures. 
I have been wounded many times since. 
Everything that could've gone wrong, did. Murphy's Law. 
But this also reminds me of the principle Jesus shared with His disciples when He told them, 'In this world you will have trouble' (John 16:33). So in other words, we can count on it - sooner or later we will hit troubled times. Its not the way God originally intended life to be, but when the human race first succumbed, everything on this planet fell into the grip of sin. And we have been stumbling ever since. 

Interestingly, Jesus also promised His followers to be 'of good cheer, I have overcome the world'. The fact that Jesus has and will always overcome the stain of evil proves that he understands our frailties, our wounds and our scars. 
Because not only did Jesus conquer the fallen species through His death and resurrection, the fact that your scars have healed over time, proves that He will give you the solace you need, no matter how much trouble you face. 

Whether they chose to remain in my life or not, people in my past have played a big part of who I am today. 

Po: You should, Shen. You gotta let go of that stuff from the past 'cause it just doesn't matter! The only thing that matters is what you choose to be now.

Today, if you had the chance to rewrite your past, what would you change? And why? 

Jun 21, 2015

Inside Out | The Corny Movie Review by Navin

'Have you ever wondered what went on inside your head'.. Ahh. The timeless question we have always been seeking answers to. Hundreds of movies have tried to answer this question, in their own inimitable way.

Ladies and Gentlemen! I present to you - 

Inside Out

A young girl Riley is born in Minnesota and with that 5 different manifestations of her emotions. 
We see how different experiences in her life make up her memories and personality. 
When her family relocates to San Francisco, there is an inexplicable event that changes everything else in her life.

Disney and Pixar have come together to create another masterpiece that will be remembered for years to come. 
The animation is par excellence. We see a young girl's journey through emotions portrayed in a way that is as realistic and believable as it is imaginative. 
The movie is warm and the storyline is like fine french wine. The longer you think about it, the more you appreciate it.
Kudos to the makers for being able to translate a complex theme as this and making it appealing to audiences of all age. 
The script is watertight and the one-liners fresh and witty. 
The climax and the way the movie ends is spectacular. 

Should you watch it?
Well, let me put it this way - Unless you are a brain-dead douchebag who doesn't want to laugh, you need to have watched this by now. There isn't an excuse to not watch it. 
This is the kind of movie that needs a sequel. 

My Rating: 9

What does the ratings mean? 
0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theater.
5-7  : Err... the movie is pretty, but it's definitely missing something. A storyline, that is.
8-10: 'Drop-the-dishes, stop-the-sex, jaw-dropping, that-is-incredible' 2 hours of movie experience

Jun 6, 2015

As you liked it Mar/Apr/May 2015

This past month showed us the power of PR. So if you want to change the world one news reel a time, get into PR. Not into IIPM 2.0. Whatever that means..

Modi is probably the only Indian politician who has mastered PR that works. Last year, with 3D hologram projections, he won the hearts and imaginations of a billion people. 

A year later, his government is a monumental disappointment. His fans will insist he is 'getting there', yet we see industrial output shrinking and the economy in animated suspense. But wait! He is still not done with all the travel. 100 more countries to go. Maybe he could check-in to the newest luxury hotel in the Middle East.

The PM who wanted us to Make In India, ended up buying fighter planes from France and saving their industries from shutting down. Incredible just like that!

So what if he trash-talked his opponents (read Congress) while visiting other countries he did manage to mend some fences back home with Didi and later... Amma. Well, he should. Because he wasn't getting any of his bills through the parliament the way things were.

Salman Khan, Bollywood's Enfact Terrible and 'Philanthropist', got convicted in a lawsuit that appeared to take forever. But hey, like most Bollywood blockbusters, there was the happy ending  - the High Court over-turned the verdict and set him free! All because he is a good man. What kinda 'good man' throws his driver under the bus? Oh the irony!

Now if that wasn't terrible enough, we had nuggets of pure gold from Bollywood 'celebrities'. Some of who you'd not like to caught dead following online. Now, I am all for free speech and shit, but shouldn't we really punish people for their public bouts of verbal diarrhea?

Oh and Farah Khan Ali, please disconnect your internet connection and throw your phone and computer into the fucking Arabian Sea. You are nothing but a slightly more better looking version of Rakhi Sawant. Dumb as a door-knob, not a blush more, not a gloss less

Fat Lady Jayalalitha got her clean chit. Sure, when you have a platoon of over-priced lawyers fighting for you, I'd be surprised if she didn't get the acquittal she did

But hey, if she didn't get away this time, she was ready to hire Harish Salve, the man who 'saved' Salman Khan. Move over Ram Jethmalani, there is a new black-coat in town. Strangely, the Old Man is quiet too. Not surprising though considering how his daughter and son(s) have been up to their sambar-savored throats in lawsuits, it would be like the pot calling the kettle black.

But all this should sound like music to Dawood Ibrahim. Isn't our judiciary wonderful!

Look what the cat dragged in -  Rahul Gandhi. All fresh, rejuvenated and brimming with life juice. After a much needed vacation, he hit the road running. Went for the jugular and gave some sterling speeches. That's enough work for one year. 

India is perhaps the only democracy in the history of the world where we can have celebrity legislators and part-time politicians who mooch around doing everything else but what they are paid to do.

Hey Rahul, you had your chance. You blew it. You could have done the same things that Modi is doing years ago when the BJP were nothing but a squabbling bunch of senile old men. 

Modi, what in the world were you (and your party) doing all these years when you were in the opposition? Being in the opposition doesn't mean you can't still push for reforms, does it? So both of you, shut the fuck up and get down to business.
Screaming blue murder and labeling each-other makes us look like babbling seal lions fighting over a grape. 

India's First Son-in-Law Mr Robert Vadra spoke. Let's just say that much, because what he says really doesn't matter. It's nearly always 24 carat crap.

So what if we cannot give our farmers a proper livelihood, or protect our citizens from Maoists, we still had to have that billion dollar fancy war boat.

Indian Railways recently celebrated 162 years of servitude. Just about time to reveal its biggest scam. Let's raise a toast to that!

Ramalinga Raju, Hyderabad's poster boy for IT got 7 years. For someone who ran India's biggest corporate scam, this judgement is a mockery, but who cares.

Delhi entered another state of suspended animation. No Surprise. We have Mr Kejriwal back as the Chief of the Toon (er Goon) Squad. The self-proclaimed anarchist and papa of corrupt daughter probably wants to govern for a little longer than he did the last time, but looking at the way things have been going I don't think he'll make it to full term this time either.. Who cares about the farmers, anyway?

And you know what else is wonderful, Obama lied to us. Apparently, Osama was 'sold' to the Americans for the bounty on his head. All this and more if investigative journalist Seymour Hersh is to be believed. Predictably, the White House has denied this. Why wouldn't they?! That is probably one of the handful of things O can claim to have achieved during his presidency. With a shade of a year and half left, things seems to be unraveling for Nobel Peace Prize winner and America's first black president.

Locally in many parts of Bangalore, thousands of people lost their homes and offices when the local municipal authority bull-dozed structures that were illegally built on tank and lake beds. I can imagine the plight of those who lost their homes, but bull-dozing them can't fix our ecological mistakes. The government must be proactive to relocate those who have been evicted because none of this would've happened if governmental officials didn't connive with builders who developed and sold this land in the first place. Besides, leaving piles of rubble won't revive the lakes and the job is only half done now. Ironically, the government isn't doing enough to save lakes that are still there. Displacing citizens when elections are still far away isn't a risky move because chances are, we will all forget about this by then.

Talking about elections, the United Kingdom went to polls and Cameron did a 'Modi'. He swept the parliament lock, stock and Scottish barrel. 

A Chinese CEO gave his entire staff of 6400 women employees an all-expenses paid trip to France. Good for them! Here are other large-hearted employers who treated their employees out. And then there is this Chinese  employer who offered a night with Japanese pornstar Julia Kyoko. Now, who wouldn't want to work their asses out for that?

So while we have CEOs tripping over themselves trying to keep their employees happy, can someone give our farmers some TLC too? Driven to suicide because of bad weather (duh!), a vicious credit system and a brutal economy that believes in rewarding the rich, it appears like the larger population has become insensitivity to their plight. After all, we can't really identify with our farmers anymore. We don't mind it when farmers kill themselves in their fields, their homes or from trees. Sure, it is an inconvenient sight, but something we can get over with. It isn't enough to jolt us from our recliners. Self-immolation maybe. But this ain't 1980. We have other Breaking News on news channels now.

A Delhi teen brutally bludgeoned a bus driver to death because of road rage. Egged on by his mother who wanted her son to teach the driver a lesson. Most Indians aren't shocked because nearly everyone of us would have either egged someone on, or seen someone egg someone else on. The driver's family has demanded a compensation of ? 1 crore and a permanent job for the son. Let the negotiations begin.
Next story please.

Its said that the Mona Lisa might be hiding a picture of an alien high-priest. Why do we have to see something supernatural in everything extraordinary? 

Right after this, they will be studying why men need to shake it twice. 

Pakistan: How do I put it gently?

Former Twin/Estranged Indian Brother/Failed State/Great People  Awful Politicians/Safe Haven for Terrorist Scum/Benefactor to aid from 'Developed Nations' to get rid of said Scum/host of RANDI
Oh yeah. That's what happens when you have the Chinese doing stuff with you. We made such a fuss when the Chinese promised $46 billion but when Modiji went got some of the Chinese moolah, we said - In your face, Pakistan Bbbbuuuurnnnnn

Nepal: A lesson in PR disaster. 

Every ounch of goodwill we gained in speed and effort, we lost when we started patting ourselves on our backs. Yes, we couldn't stop gloating at how Modi convened an emergency meeting, sent plane-loads of relief and manpower and moved heaven and earth to help wipe the tears of our Nepali brothers and sisters.
And then we went overboard. Waay overboard. And we wouldn't stop, until they told us to get the hell out. 
From pat on the back to the swift kick in the butt, making friends everywhere we go.

Marital Rape. We still can't decide which side we are on. Decisiveness has never been our strengths.

And talking about rape, one of India's original Nirbhay died for the final time after living like a vegetable for 42 years. Aruna Shanbaug, didn't deserve to live a life that her colleagues wanted. She died for the first time 42 years ago when a hospital janitor sodomized her. Her colleagues kept her alive to prove that they can be as defiant as defiant can be. India may have legalized euthanasia since but ironically, we didn't think she deserved mercy anymore. We needed a memorial - Aruna Shanbaug. She finally is in a much better place.

Meanwhile, her rapist has gone on to live a life less ordinary. If you ask me what an ideal punishment would be - Make him watch his wife and every single person in his family lobotomized. 

Many young nouveau riche, fully educated, completely fucked-up Indians have been circulating emails and posting statistics on FB comparing rapes in India versus The World. So do you need a medal for that

So you think we should be sensitized towards women by now? Nah. Rapes whether you are in Washington or Warangal, Oxford or Palakkad, when we violate a woman, it is probably the worst kind of crime we can commit and get away. 

A student in Oxford wrote about her rape
Back in India, we still love to stare at those luscious cleavages of our tourists while flogging the dolphin.

Silk Road creator, Ross Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison for creating and running an illegal online empire of drugs and guns. If you ask me, I think we need to have geniuses like him serving humanity with forced community service until death. Life is too precious to rot away in prison.

Snapdeal, take notes and thank God you are in India.

In news that can inspire you to move beyond your armchair, read about Arunima Sinha. The former athlete, victim of government apathy and first female amputee to climb the Everest. Bravo!

Yemen went to the dogs the Syria way. Ironically, Saudi Arabia fought back. Not to free the country, but because they hate Iran. Tom never got Jerry after all those years, if you know what I mean.

In this month's DILLIGAF section,

  • We have a 94 year old American man who became the world's oldest person to graduate. If he was an Indian, hmmm... nevermind.
  • An Arab mother, probably in a refugee camp, was caught mothering her baby. And a father who sold his daughter for Rs 25000/-. Child Services, anyone?
  • A french company managed to manufactured human sperm in a petri-dish. And that's how men will become irrelevant in the future.
  • An Uber driver was accused of forcibly trying to kiss his female passenger and the world got to know this from an FB post. Looks like some of the drivers didn't get the memo.
  • A former Pakistani diplomat, Hussain Haqqani, revealed how Pakistan uses its weapons against India. Tell us something new, Mr Pakistani Politician.
  • Some of you might remember Telangana. Oh yes, the State who had a float that had 'tourists' on it in the last Republic day parade. Yes, that glorious State that Sonia created before her party was booted off. Well, there are a lot of 'Progressive farmers' in the government and they love traveling too! Why not?! We might as well learn something about farming and babies for sale from European countries. 
  • You want to read up on ISIS, RTFM
  • Morari Bapu. Fuck You!
  • Shobha De. Ditto.
  • Maggi. 'nuf said.

FB is a wonderful place to spend your day. Its a little piece of humanity online - Strangers cussing at eachother, some of them flirting with anything that looks like a woman (or have a pussy), and the others trying to sell anything they can lay their hands on.

I am mighty proud of myself. Correction: I am told that I should be proud of being an Indian. Why, you ask? Well, because a Sikh boy beat the crap out of a white boy who shoved him. Great! This is exactly the kind of violent reputation we need. Ofcourse, you can't see the much circulated video anymore because it has been taken down since. Thank You, Youtube.

Say salaam alaikum to Mia Khalifa. Our Arab cousins got all riled up and banned her and him! Just curious how they 'discovered' her. So ladies and gentlemen, I'll save you all a google search...

The Greenpeace got banned and so did the Ford Foundation. So much for being business-friendly

Talking about bans, in case you think you can get away eating beef at home. Think again. The great State of Maharasthra now authorizes its policemen to enter your home and investigate you if they suspect you. That escalated fast

And finally, if you thought that deo/damn cold soda/music CD/club glasses/energy drink/car/dirty off-roader/puny scooter/all-powerful bike could get you laid or that women were just waiting to have hot steamy sex with you, you need to stop watching Splitsvilla and watch this before its banned. 

All hail the power of PR!

May 31, 2015

San Andreas | The Corny Movie Review by Navin

Ok so we've all seen this like a gazillion times before. Everything from malicious aliens and zombies to the end of world disasters happen in the US. 
Introducing San Andreas. 

Starts with Ray (Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson), a rescue copter pilot, in the midst of a cliff-hanger (no pun intended). Ofcourse like most of other movies of the same genre, Ray is one half of a divorced couple and a doting father. 
And predictably, his estranged wife is already with another guy who abandons the step-daughter in trouble. 
Meanwhile, a team of seismologist discover it is time for a mega-quake which will rearrange the West Coast. 

San Andreas doesn't tell you anything that Volcano and 2012 doesn't. This movie probably reinforces the belief that Americans living in America are probably the most afflicted people in the world. 
The theatrics and the scale of destruction is truly astounding. Unrealistic but still astounding. 

Where San Andreas shines is in it's actors. Chiefly Dwayne does a really good job and is really coming of age with San Andreas. Contrary to his previous outings, where he mostly grunts, and flex his over-sized bicep 3 times too many, here he shows emotions without looking contrived. 

Though the movie is filled with disaster/apocalyptic movie cliches, it is always good to see actors try something new, so watch this movie if you are sucker for movies like this and Dwayne Johnson. 

My Rating: 4

What does the ratings mean? 
0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theater.
5-7  : Err... the movie is pretty, but it's definitely missing something. A storyline, that is.
8-10: 'Drop-the-dishes, stop-the-sex, jaw-dropping, that-is-incredible' 2 hours of movie experience

May 22, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road | The Corny Movie Review by Navin

Mad Max : Fury Road

Hollywood is blessed with the best technology money and imagination can buy and movies like Mad Max are children of this gift. 

Apocalyptic films are always tricky. They can get it right and are revered or they go wrong and are reviled. 
Mad Max is a grand spectacle of theatre. There are tons of high-adrenaline vehicular warfare and gore. 

Yes, water will be precious in the future and wars will be waged for the bare necessities of life. But how do you explain women in sheer clothing? 
Mad Max doesn't make sense for most of the movie. Charlize Theron is good, so is Tom Hardy. 
There is a simmering hatred between the two characters and sometimes it gets annoying. 
The pimped up cars and trucks appear like they mated cars  from the Fast and the Furious with Adams family. 
Mad Max is daring and packs a punch. 

If you like to see monster truck derby with pimped up gargoyle-looking cars being driven by equally goofy characters, then Mad Max is the movie to watch.
For me, Mad Max was a sheer waste of good money.

My Rating: 5

What does the ratings mean? 
0-4  : Not worth your presence in the same zip code as the TV/Theater.
5-7  : Err... the movie is pretty, but it's definitely missing something. A storyline, that is.
8-10: 'Drop-the-dishes, stop-the-sex, jaw-dropping, that-is-incredible' 2 hours of movie experience

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