I'm a Goan girl, working in Mumbai as the founder of a creative agency 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.

I love Animals, Nature, Art, Relationships, Sports, Technology and Stories.

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Monday, January 23, 2017

La La Land Review

23rd Jan 2016



I watched La La Land today. 

I’m not really one for musicals, but the story completely overpowered the ‘genre’ of the film. The trailer didn’t excite me much, but I was curious to know why it won SO many Golden Globes, and besides – it was directed and written by Damien Chazelle, the same man who made ‘Whiplash’; another film I was awed by. 

I still have first-screening frenzy, but I’ll try to look at this as clearly as I can. This was not just a musical. It is an honest and heartfelt film about dreamers; a subject which is very relatable to us all. Emma and Ryan are so cute and charismatic, and it’s lovely to see how their ambitions unfold and how one makes the other push forward and become someone more. I don’t think it’s a love story, but a story about the honesty and drive with which the characters dream. However you do root for the two of them, and the love story is beautiful to watch at parallel. I was left speechless choked up by the end. 

Wonderful writing, music, choreography, cinematography (that one-take opening!! O_O), acting and direction. Maybe I can’t justify all the Oscars, but it’s definitely delightful, refreshing and emotionally driven cinema. Please go see it in a good theatre before it’s gone!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Arrival, Moana and Westworld Reviews

Hey guys! Some quick TV and Film Reviews of this week: Arrival, Moana, Westworld

Arrival



I went into this movie blind. Akshay was super excited for it since he was anticipating it for a long time, and I was advised to go without watching any trailers! I was pleasantly surprised to watch such a kickass film. The direction is so good, so subtle and smooth. I watched this last week and since then have been trying to figure what the story of the film is – I’m still not sure, but I like how it showed the concept of time in such a beautiful unconventional way. Most films involving time definitely have some loopholes – it is indeed a difficult subject to tackle in film; but Arrival conveys it smoothly with the help of SciFi devices fitting well in the world of the film.
I especially loved the colour key of and pace of the film. It made it look so simple, effortless and void of distraction. Amy Adams as always was brilliant, and all the supporting cast did great too. The writing I imagine must have taken very very long – time being such a sensitive subject. The emphasis on language and typography was really impressive; a must watch and one of the best films of 2016 according to me. I’m hoping to give this a second watch in theatres before it’s gone to notice the finer details.

Moana



I wasn’t that excited to watch Moana but it was really entertaining! The visual effects and animation is top-notch as expected from an animation giant like Disney, and the story is simple yet engaging and exciting. I really liked how Moana is put in a role where her gender wouldn’t make a difference – such films are truly feministic. It also had some subtle jokes mocking previous Disney films which I guess only the adults would notice. It’s a good watch, but maybe the concept of a protagonist being the chosen one and fulfilling her destiny against set challenges is a bit monotonous for me now, and isn’t one of those films that I can carry home. A super entertaining film nonetheless, and a fun watch for kids too.


Westworld






Thanks Lakshmi, Sumoh and Arvind for insisting I watch this one!! I have only watched the first episode, and it’s absolutely KICKASS. Glad I didn’t watch any trailers for this either. If there are any fans of Black Mirror here, this is something on the same lines with more drama. Westworld is a sci-fi series which constantly makes you question how far we can ethically push the boundaries with AI, humanity and conscience. Its writers have assumed that their audience is intelligent enough to not spoon-feed them, which I really really appreciate. It’s written well, and I’m so excited to see where it’s gonna go from here!
Please let me know if there's something you'd like to recommend! Have a good weekend. :)

Friday, December 2, 2016

Sad Rescue Attempt


      I had a really disappointing day today. Shraddha had come over to discuss Totem taxes and accounts. In the middle of our meeting, I got a call from the ambulance guy from yesterday. The day before around late evening, Arvind and I saw a puppy get run over by a biker. The biker and his pillion stopped for a second, turned back and saw the puppy on the road, yelping in pain whilst hurriedly trying to cross the road to safety, and rode away. I had a surge of anger, and we ran to the pup to see him.

      Under the weight and speed of the bike, his hind leg was absolutely crushed. Arvind felt his femur – limp and loose. It was broken. We called Taronish from World For All, who forwarded us to another NGO owner – Sonal. Sonal said an ambulance would be sent the next day.



      Yesterday after constant pressure and following up, the ambulance was sent with 4 men. A handler somehow got the puppy out of his safe shelter with great difficulty and the vet inspected his leg, rendering it severely fractured, requiring possible amputation if not treated soon. I shook my head in disappointment. “Pehle X-ray lena padega, aur jaldi se, nahin toh internal bleeding ho sakti hai. Lekin aap unse baat karo, phir hum dog ko leke ja sakte hain”, he said. I called Sonal again. She said she needed to ask her management and would send the men again the next morning. I was quite irritated, but I decided to follow up the next morning.

      Today after around 10 calls and explaining the address, puppy and his situation all over again to an entirely new set of people, the ambulance arrived with one handler who was supposed to take the pup. As soon as the pup saw him he started growling, yelping and shrieking drawing a lot of attention. He went deeper into the safe shelter and got inaccessible. The handler couldn’t manage to get him out without risking further injury, and gave up. By now I was out of patience, physically and emotionally.

      I got back to work with Shraddha and Arvind. When Arvind asked what happened there, I said, “I wish I had never interfered in this whole thing”. “Ptch! Arre yaar..” he said, about to explain to me that we did whatever we could and we couldn’t have possibly invested more time or energy. "Just call Sonal and tell her to drop the whole thing. We also don't have time to follow up everyday and the puppy will also be separated from his family and habitat".

      Because of us, the pup was traumatized and scared of anyone and everyone and in more pain than before due to inadequate rest and anxiety. I was so terribly upset. It’s also my first day of period, so I’m not sure if it were the chums or if I was genuinely so so upset. I regretted taking any steps to help the puppy. This isn’t the first time this has happened. I have always been the kind of person who goes out of her way to help animals, but sometimes the NGO I call for help takes me, my time and my emotional availability for granted. Agreed they need my help too to help this dog – but there’s only so much a bystander can do. I don’t own this pup, I don’t do this professionally, and I don’t even live near him! Yet I am supposed to be responsible for this animal. If an animal rescue centre cannot help me then who can?? If an animal handler can’t transport an aggressive puppy then who can? Of course I have huge respect and admiration for any and all people who work in animal NGOs; but for common people, such experiences would discourage them from ever helping an animal again.

      I’m trying to stay the same and isolate this experience (and past such experiences) from my ideals and continue helping out as far as I can. It’s hard to not bully myself; sometimes I feel selfish if I am called to take the puppy to the vet, pay for its medication, foster it etc. if I don’t have the time to do it, even though I don’t own the animal. But if I was so selfish, I would have not called for help in the first place.

      I hope anyone else having such experiences approach this the same way. We may not make a huge difference, and we may not be the heroes that save them, but we definitely make the world a better place for animals.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Documentaries on the issue of Climate Change

21 Nov 2016
I loved Before the Flood​. It definitely focused most Coal Consumption, but I thought it could still be much more holistic covering all major sources of global warming. It seemed a bit biased, and gave little or no emphasis on other major causes of climate change like cattle consumption.

I just came across Nat Geo's first episode of Years of Living Dangerously​. It covers the US energy situation where the powerful and corrupt utility monopolies are making it impossible for their solar to succeed. On the other hand, David Letterman covers India's energy consumption as an emerging economic power, and the decisions India has taken to switch to cleaner energy.
The US situation got me so depressed, just like I felt with Before the Flood, but India's situation only felt positive. I was so relieved to see that we're actually taking steps and have energy goals to accomplish by only 2019!

I always thought we were backward, and hated India's government for being so morally unsound - but luckily literate and scientific voices are being heard here; and our country has shown the willpower it has through it's actions. US always criticizes us on consuming so much coal, but look at NY offices at 2am, when the entire building is empty. That's called wastage. US on the other hand, has just proven to be shamelessly ignorant, and increasingly greedy for profit. The world has such a long way to go, and like LOTR, or any epic, you tend to wonder if anything good can happen in the end when so much bad is happening now.

Urge you guys to watch these documentaries, and feel educated, inspired and positive.

Links: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnaBB7lTyjk - Ep. 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kpIPNkCglk - Cochin Airport - the world's FIRST fully solar powered airport
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65hKrLGGybg - Before the Flood

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Battle Royale Review

17th Sept 2016
So I watched Battle Royale recently, and finally understood why it's compared to The Hunger Games so very often. Battle Royale (2000) is a Japanese film where a class of 9th grade kids fight till the death on an island in a 'game' invented by adults.

I absolutely loved the film, as gruesome as it was. I felt the overall theme of the film was friendship and trust, and how these two variables change depending on different individuals and the situation they are faced with. Each character, (as long or less as they appear on screen) has a clearly defined personality and a justification for it. It's interesting to see how the game forces each one of them to change. Some of the situations have so much irony.

















(SPOILER AHEAD)

For example when the girl who poisons Nanahara's food accidently kills another girl, all the girls who seconds ago trusted each other turn on each other and die on by one - but the girl who started the whole affair gets out alive. In the end of the scene she is confronted by Nanahara - and she now understands that her whole perception of Nanahara has now changed. The guilt is overpowering and conflicts with her ideals - leading to her death.
Even Mitsuko seems like a selfish girl with pure survival instincts, until we look into her past which justifies the way she behaves today.

Almost all the characters have reason except a few - I didn't understand the exchange student's (Kiriyama's) motive for being a voluntary player in the game and brutally killing on his way. Even the teacher Kitano's motives weren't clear. I watched the director's cut, so I didn't understand what he meant in the end when he says "What should an adult tell a child in this circumstance". Wiki says that he was rejected by his daughter and found the relationships between him and his students unbearable. 


(End of spoilers)


I can see why the frequent comparisons, but there are some notable differences in the two films. in THG
- the motive of the games is very clear - the government wants to establish its power over the districts and remind people of the 'scarce resources'.
- the entire battle is televised
- it allows ratings for a particular player to go higher or lower depending on their popularity among  citizens
- there is a clearly defined hierarchy of people involved in the entire game industry, including the government.

Overall, Battle Royale was a great film with many themes and relatable interesting characters.
It was long overdue for me to watch it, and I'm glad I did! Please let me know your thoughts as well.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Revisiting DeviantArt!

21st Aug 2016

Old Logo VS New Logo
I can’t remember after how long I actually opened DeviantArt. It had been years. They've even changed their logo! DeviantArt is that great community of artists, novices, beginners, enthusiasts, professionals all sorts of people who come together to broadly share, discuss and learn art. I don’t know how I forgot about it. I had eve forgotten my password! When I remembered it and logged in, I noticed the 1999 notifications.

It gives me such a warm fuzzy feeling to go through that site today.

With all the instant platforms like Facebook and Instagram, people don’t maintain their blogs or Deviantart profiles anymore. But here’s the thing – Deviantart, CG Society, ConceptArt.org and Vimeo is where the real art community lies. Where you get love, critique and help from people within that community. I remember using Sketchaholic too, I wonder if that still functions.
These platforms were exciting and inspirational! Besides professionals, it’s where I found people who were on the same level as I was. Some grew faster, some slower, and it was so motivating to know and see that there are artists like me out there. I’m going to try making it a point to keep my Deviantart updated. I hope to see you guys there too! 

It's good to move with the times, but it's important to not forget the roots. I’m glad it still exists!

P.S: Sketchaholic is alive too!! :D




Thursday, July 28, 2016

Silky Cup! Zero Waste solution to periods!

12 July 2007

A Swach worker segregating pads, diapers and
condoms from plastic
I always knew that the sanitary napkins we women use cause HUGE amounts of plastic and chemical waste. Personally during a normal cycle, I use around 8 pads (and I don't bleed a lot). That's 8*12 months = 96 pads a year! And I'm just one girl! The last time I thought of this was in 2010, but there was really nothing I could do about it. There was no better alternative that would make me feel equally secure.

During Chitrakatha 2013, a NID couple did a large crowd-funded project called 'Mentrupedia' - an educational comic book for young boys and girls on the subject of menstruation. In one of their chapters they mentioned the menstrual cup as an alternative. When I googled it, it wasn't available in India.

Silky Cup Medium
A year back, I saw it on Flipkart or something - and I kept thinking if I should buy it. Of course it's the best solution ever!
Pluses:
- Zero waste, reusable, green
- Huge money-saver
- Not messy and easy to dispose
- Swim and sports friendly

But the thought of using it looked rather painful. >_< I had never used tampons for the same reason. The thought of inserting a big silicon cup in my vagina and walking around with this object inside me was terrifying! I ignored the product.

On my journey to zero waste, I found it again - but this time I bought it and told myself to have an open mind and try it out. I needed to tell every girl I know - it is such an awesome product, it's unbelievable! It's a bit uncomfortable the first few times, but once you know how to properly insert it, you won't even know it's there! No hassle of changing, staining, disposing! You can play all the sports you like, and swim and not worry about leakage or discomfort. And best of all, ZERO waste, and you can use it upto 10 years!! What an epic invention.
Usage Guide + Pouch

This product comes in 3 sizes for different age groups/body types, a silky pouch and an extensive usage guide which you HAVE to go through before using. I'm so glad I gave it a chance! Go ahead girls! Try it, it's gonna change your life!!

P.S: I bought the medium, Here's a link to the product>  Silky Cup Flipkart