I'm a Goan woman, working in Mumbai as the founder of a studio called Totem Creative. I try to make the world happier, safer and more meaningful. I believe education, knowledge and awareness, art, writing and creating Social Impact are my means to achieve that end.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Eve 2012

24th Dec 2012

My (sometimes) sweet firm Atnovus sent me this for Christmas :)
I had a really good day. I started off with Tennis and basketball, then a healthy mess breakfast, a good heavy lunch, worked hard for Atnovus (my Swiss firm) and had an amazing Chicken roast sizzler dinner at Jayshree with a couple of friends. We talked about various topics (the food took forever to come). From bargaining in different parts of the country, to awfully bad days, to our last internship at Studio Eeksaurus and many other things.

What got us there was a conversation with a mean little friend named Aakash back home, who was at the barber's getting a haircut when little kids came there to sing christmas carols and gave him a chocolate! Went the other way round! He painted a picture of how home would look (Goa). Panjim streets all lit up, lights hanging in trees, stars in verandas, kids singing carols, people making cribs and christmas trees, oh I was jealous. I am here, working on Christmas eve in college with practically 5 people throughout vacation in a strictly Hindu state where noone cares about Christmas. :( My mean friend Aakash doesn't care about that and goes on about how it looks at home. That led to Jayshree.

Later tonight we had drinks (yes Arvind, 'alcohol'.) Made sure noone caught us and watched Robin Williams' epic standup comedy. Finally sent my firm to work and FINALLY got a reply from SOMEONE I wanted a reply from. Avner Geller responded to my mail asking bout his work and Ringling. It's nice to know people exist! ;) That's about all. Tomorrow morning, tennis training with Micky, breakfast and Rise of the Guardians! Woohoo!! :D :D :D

Gnight guys, and hope the world is having a very merry christmas indeed! :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Be the change

Posting a letter I wrote to Krithika about today. It was almost like a page out of my diary so I'd like to remember this. 

Hey eggs,

I was having a hard time these few days getting myself to work. But really, I need to stop giving excuses and just get my ass moving, because enough is enough. Today when I thought I was getting somewhere (I took time, but I made a nice painting for Atnovus), Alok gave me a huge talk because I was leaving early from college to sleep. I have been treating this like a vacation and I really need to stop it. 

I really really needed that scolding Alok gave me. For the amount of bitching we do about this college, we need to make up for in character and will power and the drive to give time and effort to my film. Like we did gestures in Sem 4, 5. Even when we were full after dinner, we'd slog and push ourselves to do gestures EVERYDAY. I really feel terrible and guilty and very very disappointed with myself, but I won't let this day go without making it count. So I am settling in the room. I'll work from here because its distracting in college. Maybe it's just another phase, but let's see how this works. I am gonna try to make every second count. No movies, no non-physical games, no Atnovus work after 5.30 no matter how much I'm done with. I'm gonna run like my ASS IS ON FIRE. 

Enough ramblings. Now back to work.

Lots of love,

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gang-rape in the rape capital - delhi.

19th Dec 2012

A girl is brutally raped and her guy friend is beaten up badly for just being with her at night time. The girl defends her friend and fights back, so the bloody rapists want to 'teach her a lesson' and beat her with a iron rod for 90 minutes and rape her till she's unconscious, and they throw both the students out of the bus naked on the highway until the police arrive a few HOURS later.

I am always having frequent debates with male and female friends on whether Indian women are independent and free. Once again we are reminded how safe Indian women are and how men look at them in society. And the govt. is still deciding whether the rapists need a death sentence when their victim is on a ventilator in hospital. So, ladies, the govt. or the police don't want you to fight back. They want you to get raped and die. It's disgusting and no matter how much we talk about this, NOTHING is gonna be done, even if you, as a woman are paying taxes out of your hard earned money for better lit streets, for well policed roads and helplines, or for the politicians who take the call on whether the rapists will get a death penalty.

Wake up India. How many more women do you want to give up?

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Secret World of Arietty (I'm mindblown)

22nd Nov 2012

I am overwhelmed. If I could ask an elder to bless me when I touch their feet, I would ask for them to bless me to get a job offer from Studio Ghibli. I can't believe I hadn't seen it earlier. The first thing that came to my mind when it started: Thumbelina. Later, I find a classic story about being brave, and fighting for the things you believe in; although truly, a love story. Maybe it's a Japanese thing, but their romance seems so beautiful and meaningful. Most of them end with the characters being separated in the end because one has to go away. But the feelings told and expressed in Ghibli movies are so true to life, and genuine, you can hear them in the voices of the characters and feel for them so deeply. The boys are so nerdy and emotionally deep. Poetic, almost. And the girls are adventurous, brave, something quite opposite of what we see in western films like all the princess stories.

The worlds they create are so real and fantastic, like heaven (but real). The Secret world of Arietty has backgrounds mostly in a bug's perspective of a country house and it's surrounding garden and forest. I was resisting from pausing the movie to oggle at the water colored backgrounds. I found the story very similar to Whisper of the heart; they have  similar characters. There was even the cat - the guide that connected the protagonists. But they're both set in completely different worlds. I can't wait to see the rest of the Ghibli films. Somehow I save the ones I haven't seen for special days - because I know they come out after years. It totally makes my day.

If you spot me giving a flying kiss to my laptop screen during the credit roll, it means it was something really special, and that the film makers are the few people in my life I aspire to meet and congratulate on sharing such a beautiful story with the world. The Secret World of Arietty was one of them.

Here's some of the artwork from the films that I could find available online:

If you're satisfied with this, you'll be in another world if you watch the film!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Balanced World

Once upon a time in the kingdom of Heaven , God was missing for six days. Eventually, Michael the archangel found him, resting on the seventh day.
He inquired of God. "Where have you been?"
God took a deep sigh of satisfaction and proudly pointed downwards through the clouds, "Look, Michael. Look what I've made!"

Archangel Michael looked puzzled and said, "What is it?" "It's a planet," replied God, "and I've put Life on it. I'm going to call it Earth and it's going to be a great place of balance."
"Balance?" inquired Michael, still confused.
God explained, pointing to different parts of earth.

"For example, northern Europe will be a place of great opportunity and wealth while southern Europe is going to be poor. Over there I've placed a continent of white people and over there is a continent of black people,"
God continued pointing to different countries. "This one will be extremely hot, while this one will be very cold and covered in ice."

The Archangel , impressed by God's work, then pointed to a triangular land mass and said, "What's that one?" "AAAAH," said God. "That's India, the most glorious place on earth. There are beautiful beaches, mountains,
streams, hills, waterfalls and vineyards. The people from India are going to be very beautiful, handsome, modest, intelligent and humorous and they are going to be found traveling the world holding good jobs..... They will be extremely sociable, hardworking and high-achieving, and they will be known throughout the world as diplomats and carriers of peace, play cricket and win world test matches. Even their Knowledge and wisdom will be appreciated and exported to far places."

Michael gasped in wonder and admiration, but then proclaimed, "What about balance, God? You said there would be balance!"

God replied wisely, "Wait until you see the clowns that will run their government."

Sunday, November 4, 2012

New friends

4th Nov 2012

Wow, it's been a really long time since I wrote. But a lot has happened today. Firstly Pris started talkin to me again. An old friend who I thought had suddenly decided to not have anything to do with me for no reason. :| And then I went to meet Rhutu in the evening. Spent an hour alone on the beach, happily talking to myself, splashing water in the sea, drawing on the wet sand. It was getting darker. Rhutu came an hour later, with his brother and his friend. (Another joke happened. I had earlier been introduced to his brother as 'Upaashi', which in Marathi/Konkani means - Hungry/Starved. Rhutu and his funny psychological experiments. I should try some too!)

I remember the first time I actually spoke to Rhutu. I saw him when Shivani was talking to him in NID, during the first Chitrakatha. I didn't pay much attention to him, because I was too busy soaking in the environment. There's so much energy in NID, it was overwhelming. I had a wonderful experience. I think it was only on the train home, that we spoke. I was all dark and twisty then, I guess. A closed book. I had made life very complicated for myself, and I was making a lot of choices. Choices are my weakness - I'm indecisive, and overanalytical. But I had to do it. I would write heart-wrenching plots in my journal. I needed to write a lot, draw a lot. Rhutu came with us to Pune on the train. Train journey's are really wonderful, especially with friends. With a lot of friends too, coz then you can sit alone to yourself and noone will notice. Sometimes when I think of the person I was, I miss that person, but life's much easier being transparent. Today I am brave. I allow myself to be hurt, to feel pain, because I feel strong. I feel brave to handle truck loads of drama, because I know it's just drama, and it won't last, and "This too, shall pass." Life has a series of many many downs, but you go over them and get back up. It's like a stubborn horse.

I sat at the window, writing, seeing the imagery flash before my eyes. Train journey's make me look at the larger picture - I get philosophical. The wind blowing on my face. Even Pooja didn't know me back then. It was later that we became roommates. Pooja and Rhutu were having some conversation, and they ended up moving and sitting next to me. I didn't say much. I was wandering, but they got me talking. I'm not very friendly with new people - I take time to know people, and let them know me. I am a huge book with full pages, and very few people like reading. I think Rhutu likes to read, but we still didn't talk much, besides animation. Animation. Animation has been my life so far. It runs through the blood in my heart. It makes me the person I am. Animators are assumed to be fun loving, entertaining, and humourous, also a little crazy. I'm like that with people I know. A hard nut to crack, one would say. But mysterious people are dramatic people. And I'm different now.

Rhutu came to MIT a few times in between, and we showed him around, but I didn't know him, still. Now he's down in Goa, and I hung out with him a couple of times. We walked, which means talking. Laughing. Joking. Percieving. When you're in a comfort zone (people you know), suddenly, meeting someone new feels strange. You don't know what they like, what they're like, and you're uneasy if there's silence. I try not to show this through my body language, but I think I was meant to be transparent - my face and body show what I'm feeling, if my tongue doesn't say it. It's wonderful to meet new people, and get a fresh perspective on life. It's like poetry, it's like a new feeling that is strange and uneasy, but gives you a sense of adventure. You can smell it around you, you can find it and go for it, if you're brave.

Rhutu's like those many people you come across in your life, who you didn't know you could talk to, or get along with. I still don't know him. He's a new friend. But it's nice to gain new perspective and talk to a fellow warrior. I remember once when I lost all hopes on my film, I had his email on my card. And it said, "If you even lose faith in Animation, just mail me". I didn't know him, but at the time there was noone I wanted to talk to. And Alok had his own problems to deal with. So I sent him a mail, and all the load lifted, knowing that he was going through the same troubles.

You generally know that you're alone when you are making the hardest decisions. You doubt people, and wonder if you can trust anyone again. Before, I wouldn't have even tried to know someone new. On the way, you will find and know yourself - a part of you you couldn't define before. I am rambling a lot! But this is the only way I can express myself.

As Stella Adler said, "Life beats down and crushes the soul, and art reminds you that you have one."

Monday, October 22, 2012

Google wishes me!

22nd Oct 2012

How wonderful to login my google account and find this!!! It's totally made my day. I'm already teary!

Here's another photo which really touched me by my fellow HP fan mamta. :) This is absolutely 'wunnerful'! :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

BBC documentary

20th October 2012

I was stumbling for information on dog intelligence for my colloquium paper, and I found this goldmine of knowledge! This is one of the best most interesting and well explained documentaries I have seen on dogs. From where they came from, to what they are now. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Another phase.

23rd September 2012

It's been a terrible week of a lot of sleep deprivation, depression, and the feeling of being squeezed of all creative juices. I feel terrible. I've forgotten the feeling when I felt amazing after drawing something. A lot of times I question whether I'm in the right profession. So much struggle, and such little visible progress. I feel homesick, and I really need a huge break without any work or any commitment for a while - but that seems so so farfetched.

What a phase. A lot of experiences and thoughts have gone into the making of the mailbox - it never feels like I've gone ahead. Thanks to Alok I feel an extra push once in a while. Tension is creeping up on me and it's hard to articulate everything. Pressure works really well on me. I turn into life-saving-mode and everything becomes super awesome and super fast. It's like adrenaline. When the pressure's gone, I'm left with laziness and the stress of failure. I hope I can get through this. I want to be better. I've gotten worse with the gesture drawing and the character design, hell knows where my animation and story skills lie right now - I don't even want to get there. I just wish I had the time. As students we want to rush things, and it's hard becoming something out there coz everyone is SO good at what they do. And besides work, you have to live a life!! Something that I wonder the people I admire have.

That's the emotional update for now. I wish I could chill, like I could before. I want to take everything that happens with humor.

Hoping every student of animation out there knows that it's okay, and there're more people like them. :)


"Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly, but
the bumble bee doesn't know it so it goes on flying anyway."
-- Mary Kay Ash 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Rising expenses

30th August 2012

There is something that runs in my blood as fast as RBCs - stingyness? I wouldn't exactly call it that, because I love gifting people stuff. I guess I'm very money-conscious. I try to save every rupee that I can. I find joy in saving even a paise. So I just can't get over the fact that things have become to expensive in India - and one of the most scary things that have become expensive besides the petrol is - FOOD! The most basic necessity of our lives.

Somehow everyone seems to be used to this. They're used to paying 40-50 bucks for a sandwich and 100+ rupees for every meal of the day. Tomatoes have gone from 5 to 10 for quarter kilo. A pack of 10 Good day biscuits have gone from 15 to 22 bucks. The packet is much bigger than its contents and Lays! Don't even ask about lays potato chips. They're such frauds. The contents have around 20 slices of chips, that's visually 1/4th of the packet, and it costs Rs. 10 for that! I feel I can just buy potatoes and make fries instead - if only I had a kitchen here, and a lot more time in the day, but, unfortunately, being a hosteler doesn't give you that privilege. Peanuts, which are manufactured here in Loni itself and are known to be the common man's snack cost me 45 bucks a tiny packet.

If you even go to a dhaba today in Loni, the remotest part of Pune city, the cold drink there (maybe coke) has an MRP of 16, but they charge you 25. I was furious so I looked for the consumer code forums online. I wasted 1 hour of my day knowing that nobody would address my problems. The Indian government is a massive corrupt and disorganized body that couldn't care less for the people of India. Everything goes around in circles and you never get answers or justice. It's rather upsetting.

So, basically, I just wanted to express my opinion here. I'd like to know what you guys think, and if you can get over it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I found Mascarenhas!

28th August 2012

It's nearing the end of the month and I am SO unhappy with my performance. I need to stop talking to people, going to the canteen for chai breaks and playing sports. Also one of my biggest enemies is the music industry and the internet. :( The only progress that happened last night is that I've finally found the right person to do Mascarenhas' voice!

My buddy Ishan Sadwelkar! Since he's from Film and Video, he did some really good voice acting. I think I make a decent job at being casting director as well. I was getting really worried about the dialogue shots.

Will start planning and animating it tomorrow. I really hope these go quick. I need a lot of acting help - all the help I can get, and I also need a voice for Mr. Postman! :( I am way past my deadline of finishing the animation. The whole day today got wasted in the ruddy MIT office, which passes you on from one person to the other like it's the indian government. It's corrupt and disorganized as hell. also my sleep and eating timings have become so erratic that it's starting to add on to the numerous things that affect the production of this movie. What a hell hole I've made for myself!

Anywhos, 'The Mailbox' production blog is the only thing motivating me to finish this film, along with the dream of even a small audience watching the screening of this film. Good luck to me! Adios and goodnight (I am trying to correct the sleep schedule now).

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Feeling fresh

Today is a brand new day. I never usually feel like that, considering my erratic sleep timings these days and a sincere lack of motivation. However after a good night's rest and a little reading and writing, I am ready to put in my 100% today. I started with a fresh cup of sweet chai and filled my water bottles so I don't feel drained. I feel like it's a bright day with possibilities of some good shots. I just hope I can use it well.

I'm glad I didn't decide to go out to buy my cycle today, I would've wasted a lot of time. The movie's bringing on a lot of pressure, and sometimes a lot of apathy towards the subject. I have 5 days to go for the end of the month and I promise to this blog that I will really really try my best to finish a trememdous amount of animation. Let's see how this goes. I will keep updating this post.

Here's my dedication to this post. 2 lame pictures taken from my lame laptop camera.

Something went wrong here. Hmm.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

I'm learning French!!

14th July 2012

I have always wanted to learn french, but I never got the time or the opportunity! Luckily I was going through the TED videos and I found this AMAZING site called Duolingo that helps you learn different languages for free!! The only way you pay is with your time and you help translate sites like wikipedia, and you learn by translating! :) Isn't that cool? Here's a video explaining how it works:

Here's the video through which I got to know of its existence - a TED talk of Lui von Ahn who invented CAPCHA!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Wiped Screening #02

I got to screen 'Wiped' (my short film) in the Film & Video projection room this morning!
When Neogi sir asked me to come and talk about it, I was like - "yeaaahhh... about that." but he didn't take no for an answer. The freshers have just joined MIT-ID and they were having a briefing of what all they could take as disciplines. I was honored to be asked to screen my film (made by an Animator and a Product designer) to fresh minds.

When I plugged in the pen drive and screened it, I started shaking. During the film's climax my heart was pounding and I felt all wobbly. Some laughed where they were supposed to (although I wished they would laugh more) and some were just going with the build up. I was really happy with how they took it - a bunch of people who didn't know me, or any of the actors and who had no expectation from the film. When it was over there was an unexpected applause and a lot of smiles! I thought they would just stare at my face, but I got a few questions, and very sensible ones! Turns out this batch is not as shy and underconfident as we were when we were freshers! :) Good for them, they'll learn a lot more.

The first question was about the story, the second about the production and the third about sound of the film. I was very nervous and my knees were wobbly, but En said I answered everything really well and I was very comforted. When I look back at this film there is nothing I want to remove or undo, nothing I want to cut out of it. It's very close to perfect, and how we came up with it with such a tight deadline (10 days for conceptualization and production) and such few actors is so interesting.

Incase you guys haven't seen it yet, here's it is, and do let me know what you think of it. :)

Wiped from Nikhita Prabhudesai on Vimeo.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Funny Kitehhhs!!

Somebody watch these cute kitehhhhs!!!!! :D :D How to walk your human Kitten's Dance of Intimidation How to introduce two cats to each other What a great reference for us animators!! ;)

Brave Review

22nd June 2012

When I saw the Brave trailer a few months ago, I was honestly very disappointed. I realized Merida's character design was beautiful, especially her hair and the change in the generic facial structure of disney/pixar characters, but besides her, the other characters resembled the characters from How to train your dragon. A lot. Sure, they were scottish with the skirts and the accents, but the features and the designs looked as different as those in HTTYD when it released. Also I was not too happy with Pixar making princess movies. All those pre-judgements kept aside, I went into the theatre to be overjoyed with the film.


There are a countless number of things I loved about it.

Story and Design
The first thing I would say is the storyboarding. Everything was so well choreographed! The introduction of the immense Scottish highlands, the castle and its grasslands, the woods, the character actions really helps the audience follow the story. It created a mystery throughout the film.
Coming to the story, a lot is always expected from a studio like Pixar which has created and brought us films like Ratatouille, Toy Story, Wall-E, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo and Up. So, naturally we expect nothing but excellence. The story was usual until half of it was over - you expect a prince to come in somewhere, but there is no prince. There is no clichéd romance, instead a very unspoken relationship between Merida and her mother is suggested.
As far as design is concerned, a lot more could be explored, but since it worked, there was no need for that! All the character designs shouted out the personalities of the characters! The parents, the brothers, and even the stupid princes and their fathers! I was so glad the horse didn't look Disneyish.
Also, I absolutely loved the Score and the songs sung - they really brought in another dimension to the film.

There're no second thoughts about this - all the gags and the acting is extremely well done and believable. We can expect nothing less from Pixar animators!

What I didn't understand is the core of the film. Was it about choosing/changing your fate, about her relationship with her mother or about accepting each other for who we are? If there was emphasis on one particular subject then the audience could have taken back something. Since the core is unclear, we take back bits and pieces. We are entertained, but it doesn't touch our heart and stay with us.
Also initially the scottish accent was very distracting and at times changed the tone of the film.

A lot of critiques mentioned that this film didn't have a specific target audience - well, I cannot understand why there should be one as a rule! This film is enjoyed by all age groups. So is a film like 'Up'.

I guess that's all I have to say about Brave. I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it and hats off to all the talent and the effort put in! Loved the story, the gags, the action and the emotion. I actually cried at the climax. :'( (yes I am an emotional individual) Go for it guys! 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Reality Shows

Reality shows

Here's a show that takes reality shows to a whole new level. 'Breakthrough with Tony Robbins' is a show where Tony Robbins guides people in real life traumas or problems through an extraordinary journey to rediscover themselves and their worth. When I watched the first episode I was mved to tears. I was so happy to see that there are people in this world who selflessly go out of their way to use their talents and skills to fix other people's lives - people they have never even known! Apparently this show got only a 4.8 rating on IMDB, and after its 6th episode the TRP went so low that NBC decided to discontinue it. Here in India, the most nonsensical and pointless reality shows like 'Spitsvilla', 'Roadies', 'Big Boss' and 'Rakhi ka swayamvar' get high TRPs! So why does such a meaningful show like Breakthrough go so low on audience?

Amir Khan's done his own breakthroughs in India with 'Satyamev Jayate', bringing to light some of India's most harsh and truthful realities without any exagerration. At a first glance I thought it was overly dramatic. I was also disappointed by the fact that it was more of a talkshow like 'The Opra Winfrey show' than a travel and documentary show; that's what the promos had got me to expect. After a few episodes I felt it was insightful and quite hard-hitting. Some of the educated classes who watch films might consider it another drama, but guys! compare this to the countless meaningless programs that have aired on channels like Star Plus, MTV, [V] and Colors? btcih please! Also we have not realized that this is meant for the common masses that generally have no awareness about the laws and their human rights! There are things in the show that even I wasn't aware of, being brought up in such an educated society. Amitabh Bachchan got us KBC (a copy of the american show 'Who wants to be a millionaire'), Shah Rukh got the game show 'Kya Aap Paanchvi Pass Se tez hain?' (the indian version of 'Are you smarter than a 5th grader?), Akshay Kumar hosted a badly scripted 'Masterchef India' I think Salman Khan also hosted one such money-making show like 'A minute to win it'.

What is really wrong with people today? Does entertainment mean only funny stuff that is light-hearted and makes you forget about it in an hour? Do we want to be ignorant and heartless? Unfortunately TRPs are not counted by the number of youtube downloads or playbacks. Since I do not have a cable connection and a TV that's the only way I can watch it and share my support for these amazing breakthrough shows.

I urge you to watch shows like Satyamev Jayate, and please increase the shows TRP to encourage the hard efforts of such wonderful producers. Be aware, be helpful and kind, and always empathize! Do you really want to watch more crap like Rodies and Spitsvilla??

Alok NR for introducing Tony Robbins to me
Youtube (where you will find full free episodes of both the shows - 'Breakthrough with Tony Robbins' and 'Satyamev Jayate')

Travel Journal - Készthely - day 14

day 14
15th june 2012
Abbazia Hotel, Készthely

After I go home I have to get a dental checkup ASAP! I'm really getting freaked out about almost all my teeth getting really sensitive so early in life! And I love to eat!! :( Also my foot is injured badly and I have no idea how it happened. For the past two days I haven't been able to walk at all; I've been limping around like a disabled person. There's a baddass twist right below my left foot's ankle on the left of the foot and there's a slight reddish swelling. Something has gone very wrong inside - I just don't know what to do about it. I tried putting it in hot salt water and applied balm on it. Let's see if it's fine by tomorrow. I hope I don't have to go to the doc when I'm back - I wanna keep my healthy record of about 18 years.

I have another goal I want to achieve - I want to go trekking. A proper trek; like the Enduro. I want to climb 12 mountains overnight and feel the exhaustion but sense of success and achievement - I want to do something challenging. Hopefully I'll have someone to do it with, Maybe Alok, Polo, Pooi, and Supri will be interested. Just that now I don't know when and where that will happen.

P.S: 15th june evening update: Soak the sprained foot in hot salt water for 2 hours and gently massage it. Apply a muscle relaxant balm on it, rub it and wear a soak for heat and go to bed. Wala! It'll be much better the next day. Tried and tested method by mommy cool.

Travel Journal - Készthely - day 13

day 13
14th June 2012
Abbazia Hotel, Készthely

Only two days left to get back home. What a weird vacation this was. The first week in Vienna and Budapest was exhausting but fun! After we rented to car and travelled to Készthely - the first 5 days included a lot of fighting over way-finding and directions! As Dory asked, "What IS IT with men asking for directions?" They are so full of ego and stubborness. Who are they trying to prove themselves to anyway? Besides that we played a lot of Rummy (card game), plucked cherries from the backyard, shopped a lot of SPAR, and drove around to local places like the lakeside, the wonderful Herand Porcelain Museum and factory (where we saw how it is carved, painted, glazed and fired), and the local Pottery making shops. We watched the whole season 6 of 'Friends', 'Satyamev Jayate' and also 'Breakthrough with Tony Robbins'. Throughout Puppa's been all about what we call in Hindi - 'Pét Pooja'; translated - stomach worship? Lol! No really. Yes, you do get more hungry in cold regions, but I think it's mainly because there is nothing much to do here but relax. Tomorrow I will be cooking at eating asparagus for the first time. Nothing fancy - I'm just sautéing them with sliced almonds and mushrooms and hoping they'll taste good without the olive oil.

I am realy looking forward to going home and having home food and enjoying the Goan rains with my friends and speaking in English and Konkani again! I'm also kind of scared but eager to work on the Mailbox. Luckily the interest hasn't died, infact I think it's grown because I didn't get to work on it for a while. I want to put my heart and soul in this film. I'm gonna have to make a lot of changes to make it better.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Travel Journal - Budapest - Day 7

day 7
8th June 2012

We saw a museum of art and history, we saw the central library, a hot spring bath facilty which was very famous for the baths and massages, bought candies from a HUGEass candy store, saw the one of the oldest most elaborate done cafés in Pesht and even the city square where the statues of the 9 tribes of Buda had originally settled were erected. Mumma did her bits of composing and photography. I noticed in Budapest there were a lot of wonderful musicians who played for free all over town, so beautifully it almost made me cry. I wanted to know the songs they played and know them as individuals - why didn't they perform in concerts? This was one of the things that amazed me here. Another thing is - nowhere in Vienna and Buda can you buy a decent glass of water, everything is carbonated and flavoured. The reason you need to buy water is the one from the taps (which is apparently filtered) has a weird chemical taste, something like chlorine. Anywho, then we went to the university of modern science and history, which was also beautiful and we sat there watching this pair of wonderful artist who sang lovely traditional songs.

NT took us to another quaint café which was very artsy. Things there were hung upside down and lots of old retro frames were hung in clusters. We sat outside and I had the most amazing Jubilee mediterannean chicken there with a raspberry flavoured lemonade. Puppa's salmon pasta was also great! We took the main tram to the parliament where we also walked along the Danube. There was a small gesture for all the jews who lost their lives in Wold War II. budapest had a lot of jews and a lot of them were killed by the German army. They were told to stand facing the Danube and were shot from their behind and thrown in the river.. People had placed flowers in the metal shoes that were fixed alone the boulevard. It was touching. We went up the the fisherman's __ to get the amazing view again, and I stole some Mulberries from a nearby tree there. after that we finally left for the Bo18 hotel coz we were exhausted. We couldn't even have a parting dinner with NT since we were SO tired. We said good bye and hoped to meet her again in Kesthely. Will rent the car and leave for Kesthely tomorrow.

Budapest was wonderful, and all thanks to the amazing Nayantara Ghotge! :) Thanks NT for being the best personal tour guide we could ever have! <3 That's all for tonight!

Travel Journal - Vienna - Budapest - Day 6

day 6
7th june 2012
Vienna - Budapest

We left for Budapest this morning by the train which leaves every one hour. Vienna was beautiful, and I guess what I liked most about it was its infrastructure and it's beautiful people. Even though they couldn't communicate in English we managed to make it through. The means of transport are so well developed - the subway, the trams, the buses and cyclists and pedestrians. They have even taken into consideration - the blind and the disabled.

We had a super heavy meal at a local café in the city centre with Nayantara! She hasn't changed much, just her English might've changed a little. Got some really nice photos. Buda-pesht is so much prettier to photograph than Vienna where everything had come over exposed. It's a lot like Italy with the Bistros, potted flowers everywhere and cobbed pavements. Even the architecture has a lot of roman influence. We saw the king's castle, the fisherman's __ (which is a vantage point from where you can see the river and the two sides of it - Buda and Pesht. It was stunning at night. That's all we did really. Also the weather is so so pleasant! It's like Goa at night without the humidity! <3

Travel Journal - Vienna - Day 5

day 5
6th june 2012

We left for the church in the city square. That church was this elaborately done Gothic church with too much work. While reaching there we had some yummy gelato and watched the beautiful city - it was so full and lively, and the sun was out nicely today. Things were looking good. Mumma and I wanted to see the Albertina hall's exhibit of Monet, Picasso and Gustrav Klimt's works. Raina wasn't interested so she waited outside for quite a while. We were tired after the walking anyway. Puppa also joined us and we saw the works. The first exhibit was ridiculous. It showed early works of artists who later got famous. The early works looked like they were done by 3 year olds!
When we reached Gustav Kilmt's gallery I was stunned. His draftsmenship was stunningly accurate and gorgeous! His erotic works were so appealing, and my favourite piece was the one he was commissioned for for Shakespear's Romeo and Juliet. His drawings of Romeo and Juliet were so beautiful - I cannot find the perfect words for it. Do google him if you like realistic art.
Picasso's work never appealed to me, neither did Monet's.

Raina got really bored waiting outside. Then we went to eat food, which was expensive and we weren't even't that hungry, so Puppa lost it completely when he tried to order in a hurry and we stopped him from buying stuff and the counter lady was staring at us so he got even more mad. Raina got really upset and it took her a while to settle down. We did more sight-seeing and went to this palace where they originally trained horses to behave in the 'propa' royal manner - they even taught them to dance here - till date.

By now we were exhausted, but thanks to Puppa's stubborness we caught a tram to a far off village house in the middle of the city with creepers going all over it. that part of town didn't even looko like a partt of Vienna! it was really quaint, like out of a storybook. But we couldn't stay there for long and my battery died anyway, so we were off to the hostel, where we had a good night's rest. Will be leaving for Budapest tomorrow by the local train.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Travel Journal - Vienna - Day 4

day 4
5th june 2012
Vienna, Austria

This morning I woke up to have to tell Puppa that I forgot the Canon charger back home. That's how the day started badly. Then when we left we realized we hadn't locked the luggage in the room - got a huge firing from Puppa which made me very angry and upset. I always end up being the one yelled at. Vienna (Wien) is much safer and friendlier than Cairo - they have a LOT of politeness, civic sense and chivalry; it is also EVEN more expensive. 1 Euro=70 Rs, and here they use 1 euro like 1 rupee!! :( We end up calculating a lot. We saw Maria Teresa's palace today - she was the main empress here. It's also FREEZING COLD!! I roam around with a lot of tops and sweaters and mittens and scarfs and I still feel cold. Freezing cold. :( we travelled by the super fast subway - saw people making out in public n all. Today we visited the empress Maria Teresa's royal palace - it has a gorgeous garden, a pretty difficult maze around the back, and also a viewing point on the top of the hill opposing the palace. Inside it's turned into a museum with all the info and artefacts from that time. I discovered a new style of painting, clothing, colors, framing and decor - 'Rococo' and had studied a little about it on wikipedia before arriving. It uses assymmetry instead of the renaissance style symmetry.

We also had a wonderful session of Apfelstrudel show! There a chef showed us how to make the famous original Vienese recipe of Apple Strudel! :) We also got a free sample which was wonderful. After that dad got reall hungry and so was I. We ate the cheapest (1.5 Euros) burgers and a delicious warming cappucino at McD which was pointless, coz later we bought Strawberries, Cherries, and also had a proper 6 Euro lunch at the youth hostel, which was totally worth it. I know I'm sounding super stingy, but when you're a travelling broke Indian, your jaw drops when you calculate, and it hits you in the face! :-s
Anywho. We quickly freshened up and took the sub back to the palace. There was a concert we attended - it was absolutely beautiful. The music was flawless, well composed (by of course, the Vienese master Amadeus Mozart) and it was performed and conducted so beautifully by these musicians. Some of the pieces had a pair of graceful dancers or a pair of opera singers along with the pieces.

I was stunned by how perfect the loudness, pitch, tempo and synching of all the many instruments was! There were Cellos, Violins, trumpets and a few more things at the back. We were too far to see ALL those guys. In an hour's time we got back to the room. I'm super sleepy now so I'll conclude by saying - "Wien is wonderful, fast, quaint and beautiful."
See you guys, if anyone's still reading.

Travel Journal - Egypt Vienna - Day 3

day 3
4th June 2012
Egypt - Vienna

After an amazing breakfast this morning, we saw the Pyramids of Giza from the inside! Kiosk's, and his two sons' pyramids too. I forgot their names, they are so hard to remember! When you look at them from afar they really don't look that big; probably as tall as a ordinary skyscraper - but they're HUGE when you come close! The largest one was made of 3 million slabs of rock, and each weighs about 3-5 tonnes. It took 300 men to move each slab at the time, and the first pyramid of king Kiosk took 20 years to complete with the workers working for 3 months in a year.

Anyway, the one we went inside was the queen's pyramid - there are 3 of those next to the smallest one. It was super fun to get into! I thought it would be huge and hollow inside but it had one room - one chamber only! And there the tomb was kept with all the jewels. The way to enter it is getting down a slope about 10 metres, and another of 5 meters. The toughest one to get into was the other queen's pyramid, where you would have to climb 60 metres down, 30 metres up, 60 metres down again, and then the slope. Kiosk's pyramid had an entry fee of 100 Egyptian Pounds (1 Egyptian Pound=10 INR), so we dropped the idea. Our awesome and sweet guide Sherif also told us that it's basically the same thing, but instead of one chamber, it has 3, out of which 2 are for the jewels and the treasures to be taken and used by the king in his afterlife. Nice huh?

So that was that. From there we went to the papyrus making place where we saw how the ancient Egyptians made papyrus. It's kinda like Sugarcane, but it has a triangular stem. The inside of this stem is sliced in strips and soaked in water for 6 days, after which it is pressed and dried. The paper is immortal! It's strong, it doesn't tear, and it's flexible. The salesman there was very persuasive on making us buy one of the paintings, but they looked nowhere as beautiful as the originals where they'd used natural dyes instead of the metallic paints we saw. After a lot of debate we bought two empty sheets. We reached the hotel, relaxed, charged batteries and left left for the Airport. The van driver (from Eygpt Airways) was almost begging us for a tip. 'Nothing for me?' he said. Here's a helpful tip about Egyptians - they are inborn conmen! They trick you and needlessly beg for tips. At the pyramids the camel riders begged you to take a photo of them (Pls take photo, I say cheese) and then asked for money for the photo, even if you're not even in it. They sell you artifacts worth 5 Egyptian Pounds for 25 Pounds! So don't trust anyone about their prices! Be firm, and say no. Walk awayyy......

Here's another tip - do not travel to any country via Egypt - travel via Quwait or Dubai. They don't stall, they don't cancel flights, and they don't have shabby unmanaged service. Egypt Air takes forever for Transit passengers - they hold your passport until the next flight and sometimes a lot of flights get canned. So this time it got canned after all the halting-in-Egypt-for-a-day and we travelled in Austrain Airways. Their service was fast and efficient. We were dying to have lunch in the plane! The flight took what seemed like almost forever to reach (3 hours). It got delayed by 30 mninds thanks to 'turbulent weather' and we couldn't land. we kept circling Vienna with our seatbelts on. Finally we reached the airport!

The Vienna airport is full of characters. I was dying to sketch, but we were in such a rush to collect our luggage. People of different shape, sizes, colors, hairstyles, walk cycles and clothing buzzed arounf. Then we had to take the subway outta the Airport. The ticket thing is a rather tricky business for someone who hasn't travelled a lot  - and everything was in German/Autrian. We sat in the train without Validating the ticket. Luckily there was no TC guy to throw us outta the subway. The ride took a long time, enough for me to notice that Vienna is so so beautiful. It has a lot of greens, and the city is well planned with seperate lanes for buses, air buses, cars, cycles and pedestrians. The subway sides have grafitti all over and the architecture of the city is very minimalistic and modern. We had to walk a while to the youth hostel after reaching. It's a rather tricky business navigating in a country where noone speaks English! :( Vienna at 7.00PM is as dead as India at 5AM. The shops and restaurants close and very few cars zoom around. The roads were wet thanks to the 'turbulent weather', so the whole city has a gloomy wet washed look.

The hostel is nice. The lobby was full of cheerful people playing Uno, Billiards, Solitaire and browsing the free Wifi. We've got sandwiches for dinner. (It's the first time I've used a vending machine!) I'm starving but I wanna bathe first. I feel like someone threw me in an oily gutter and stomped all over me. That's all for today. We'll eat and get all the rest we've needed.

Travel Journal - Egypt - Day 2

day 2
3rd June 2012

Woke up early and Puppa's friend dropped us to the airport. The flight took 6 hours. First we were starving so we got just a slice of cake and water for breakfast - but we had a decent lunch at 12. I was royally bored, so I visited the loo twice. In my time there I pondered over how the drainage system in the aircraft worked. Where did my shit go? I know my pee would evaporate. Cut shot, a man many metres below is walking in a park. He hears a distant sound getting louder. He looks up - particles of smelly stuff splats over his face. Cut shot, I give a loud sigh and walk outta the toilet. Maybe something like that.
Watched a funny Jim Carey movie about penguins with half the sound on the shitty inflight earphones and the shared sceen.

We were finally reaching Cairo. We took a kind of turn. The weather outside the window looked scorching, like it was 45 degrees! Although our screens showed 31. I looked down, miles of desert and rock were seen, and we crossed the suez canal and later the nile. I also saw the Pyramids from the top! Mumma spotted them, but I think they weren't the main ones. Apparently there are 98 pyramids all over Egypt. It was overexposed outside. I imagined Mr. Chameleon again, happily crossing the road in its slow dragged speed of 1km/hr. He takes two steps to cross the road and he gets FRIED - royally, and turns upside down with cross eyes. I hope I can animate/board that once I'm back or something. (Theres already a huge list of things to animate).

Once we landed we had to wait for them to finish the forms and transit stuff which look a friggin 1.5 hours!! During that time I took out my sketchbook and tried to inconspiciously sketch all the wonderful people with all their shapes, sizes, hair colours and styles, clothing and gestures. I could spend a whole day doing this without getting bored. Vienna airport was even mmore interesting in terms of people! While I sketched a man approached us and had a chat after looking at me sketching. Later a huge crowd formed and begged me to do one of each one of them! I got super super conscious, but I started churning out sketches of their faces and tearing pages from my book but more kept showing up to get free portraits! :-s So I shook my head and said I'm done and turned towards sis (who is permanently browsing facebook wherever she finds internet). I wanted my sketchbook to last for the rest of the trip!

Finally we were taken to the hotel by an Egyptian Airways bus. After we settled down there we left for the Egyptian Museum - which had the biggest collection of Egyptian history! I couldn't wait! Our guide Sherif was very friendly and cheerful - he must have been around 26, and he knew practically everything about the ancient Egyptians and their stories. Photograhy was not allowed inside, so I tried to take in eveything with my eyes! I loved Egyptian Mytho! I had read shit loads about it since my childhood and it continued to amaze me. What I loved best about their pharoahs and queens was that they were absolutely real. Their beliefs were real, their bodies were real, and their rituals were real. There was so much evidence to prove it. Serif explained to us about the main kings and queens - what indicated a rich king from a poor king, what certain animal forms symbolized, and what the crowns meant. We saw the famous rosetta stone - a black slab on which a direct tranlation of hyroglyphics is written in demolic (language of the egyptian priests) and the roman alphabet!
The bottom two floors consisting all the kings and queens staues and treasures were gorgeous - but we had no idea what was in store for us on the 3rd and last floor.

The WHOLE DAYM FLOOR was devoted t Tutankhamun!!! He was Egypt's most famous king and most youngest king! He changed the religion back to Amun Ra (The sun) after his father's death and made all the Egyptians happy. His father had made the people rebellious because he had broken the norms that had been set for years staing that the main god was Ra. He changed the main god to Aten - god of sexuality - which is why his body is often depicted with a female form but masculine head, or vice versa. Tutankamun was found is a massive sized gold engraved chamber - the size of a room! Inside that were 5 other gold boxes with engravings, each a little smaller than the one it was kept inside. The final three were made of gold, then silver, then one made of food and offering, and lastly - the cast for the mummy - the gold mask that we have seen so many times - the symbol of Egypt. It was gorgeous. It was nothing like the photos. I was overwhelmed looking at all this. I wish we had many more hours left in the museum to stare at everything more deeply, but we had already gotten late for the 8PM sound and light show at the Pyramids.

The sound and light show was great - it highlights the story of king Kiosk - to whom the biggest Pyramid belongs to, and his sons, wife and daughters, to whom the other pyramids belong. It also told us how they were made at the time.

Tomorrow morning we will get to see the Pyramids for real, not from afar. :D

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Travel Journal - Mumbai - Day 1

Day 1
2nd June 2012

Woken up at 6am and had delicious dosas made by Anju auntie. We soon said our goodbyes and left for Mumbai by a shameful 8am. The drive was pretty pleasant besides the fact that they didn't let me BREATH! I mean, I was trapped in an AC car without fresh air for a frikkin 4 hours. When we reached Mumbai we'd decided to buy some undies and all on hill road. The ones in Pune were 85-140 bucks and we wanted to save Puppa the thousands of rupees, but unfortunately everything was shut since it was only 10.30. So we headed to Ashok uncle's place for lunch where we had mind blowing taste-bud orgasmic round of starters. First these tortilla kind things with minched chicken filling, then jumbo fried prawns, then chicken. We were really full by then, but the starters kept coming! There were also cheesy kati rolls, more prawns, and lastly - lemon chicken. our tummies were exploding by then, so we gave it a rest. Puppa actually went for a nap since he was tired from the driving, and we chatted up. I gave Karan all my flms and he took me to this amazing café opposite his building named 'Leaping Windows' - it has a HUGE comic book collection i  the basement where you could spend DAYS reading. I was so overexcited that I wanted to live and breath there till I finished readig whatever they had. I saw Batman, Spiderman, Superman, Wonderwoman, Green Arrow, more DC Marvel books, Naruto, FMA, Buddha and even Scott Pilgrim! This owner was my god!! While leaving I also saw Watchmen and V for Vendetta on his shelf! I wiped a silent emotional tear from my eyes and left the place. Karan was enjoying my emotional breakdown.

For lunch we had thai curry rice, which I really could.not.finish. and the desert, which was irresistable was Mango soufflé which I had 2 helpings of - until my stomach whimpered "Stoopp..."
Then we went to Raina's first future fiancé - his name is Jayesh Nagashekar. He was okay, but too nerdy, Raina's first experience of meeting a guy formally for arranged marriage I guess. I still find the whole thing very weird, not that I have anything against it. Mumma is still fighting with some family problems back home, and feeling guilty for not being there for Ajju, but she's good now and things are working out okay. After that we went to Hill Rd. and bought all the undies. Sandhya tai called to ask if we could visit her as well and I really felt like meeting her, so we went there and we fed there as well! With mangoes and icecream. She has a really sweet husband and a bunch of fish. She also has two teeny turtles with very pretty shells.

Finally we went to Mohan bhau's place - where we were gonna spend the night - had our last most awesome meal - Goan food! Fish curry sol cudi rice, fried fish and bhendi bhaaji. Slept after a good show of Satyamev Jayate (ep. 4)

Friday, May 18, 2012

It wasn't me

18th May 2012

Lately the computer lab that I work in has been.. well - discomforting. Someone's releasing a lot of gas in the air conditioned lab, and this is how I deal with it.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Finally! Some Animation

26th April 2012

It's interesting how a simple change in the color of the layout in TV can change your attitude towards animation. It started making my frames look better! Here is the old one VS the changed one.

I know, right? Anyway, the animation's finally kicked off! Atleast I've done something I'm proud of today.

We went together to speak to Shyamu (our HOD) about getting our deadlines extended. Somehow came to settlement to finish atleast one shot complete with the inking, color, bg and sound. Phew. Will also get a briefing on our colloquium paper on Monday. That's kinda a thesis paper.

Besides that on the Animation side, we're all going for 'The Avengers' tomorrow! Can't wait. We were so eager we pre-booked the tickets online and got top row seats! It better be good. The last one I saw was Thor, and I was horribly dissappointed with that.

That's all for tonight.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Psycho review - spoiler alerts!

Link10th April 2012

Wow, I'm speechless. Another brilliant Hitchcock film and it stood up to all I'd heard about it. I love the good old classic cinema. Besides the absolutely brilliant staging, lighting, color or black and white, there is a ton more to learn from it. I feel like pausing it and soaking everything in. It's becoming harder to watch good films for the story now. Animation makes you so sensitive to framing, continuity, lighting, acting, and all the other 1000 technical aspects of a film. Coming back to Psycho - the story was absolutely gripping. I was at the edge of my chair at all times. There's this thing I noticed Hitchcock does in all his films - he fools you into believing that something is very important (in Psycho, let's say the money she steals in the beginning), and then he just makes you realise that that wasn't important at all! (the money gets drowned in the swamp with her body). He seems to do this a lot in all his movies - he confuses you, misguides you, but all these sub-stories guide you to the bigger picture - and the end unravels everything so beautifully that you're mind puts all the pieces together. It was sheer creative brilliance. Actors of that time were so charming - their dialogue delivery was so grand and theatrical, your ears would pay attention to what they said. It's true - they don't make them like they used to.

Another thing I would really appreciate is the staging. It completely stood out. Every scene was so planned, so crisp - yet it didn't reveal the story completely. Here are some of my favourite screenshots.

Did anyone notice the stuffed birds in the background and foreground, adding to the strange personality of our newly introduced character?

Vertical lines suggesting anxiety, nervousness. The composition guides your eyes towards him.

Amazing lighting, creating so much suspense! As the detective climbs up the staircase we see this door opening very slowly.

More suspense! We see the body of a person in a gown, and we see his/her head, but we can't see the face! Throughout the film, there has only been a suggestion of her.

The almost haunted mansion.

Sharp lines and foreground elements guiding us towards her - almost as if someone is watching her.

Well composed 3 shots and 4 shots. It's not easy to place so many characters in one frame without it looking artificial and staged!

The film ends with the Rule of thirds, with our subject on the golden point. I don't know if all his shots were intentional - maybe all the rules we know are rules based on movies like his that managed to communicate the story so well! :)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Convocation 2012

6th April 2012

Phew, what a crazy eventful week. Yesterday we had our farewell, that was one really sweet party with a fun theme - rubik's cube. I guess this is what the Americans call - 'senior Prom night', except that the tucks and the dress aren't compulsory. For the first time I compiled my own clothing and En and I went on a crazy shopping spree in the city. We both ended up buying blue.

Today was a BAD start. Woke up VERY late coz my body was aching badly from last night's dancing, and then we went to the laundry and then Loni to withdraw since the ATM wasn't working, and En was super frustrated with his phone. Anywho, in no time it was 3 and we made these really pretty origami flowers for the graduating seniors. Last minute plan.

The convocation was done beautifully this time. Everything was in order and it was neat and organized. The lighting was really nice, the panels weren't screwed (maybe because the students themselves had to manually fix them before they got printed) and it all looked very red carpet and formal. I loved that! :) Congratulations to all of them and I hope they have a wonderful career and contribute to the world of design, and do meaningful stuff. :)

I was hopping around everywhere with my camera. Here are the best clicks of the day: