Monday, October 26, 2009

"Plus tard tu comprendras"

'Plus tard tu comprendras'(French) translates to 'One day you will understand'..

A movie on discrimination on ethnic grounds and substantiates my previous article on racial discrimination - 'Brownie Sizzles ???'

A French Movie directed by Amos Gitai. It is an intense film based on the Genocide of jews by Germany during world war II. It is a true story based on autobiography of Jerome Clement.

Rivka (Jeane Moreau)'s jewish parents are forced to abandon all their belongings in Paris to save themselves from getting killed in a concentration camp. They hide somewhere in France for some time but soon their traces are not found anywhere.

Rivka, after having experienced all this, lives a quiet life in Paris. Her son, Victor, tries to investigate the death of his grandparents and tries many times to get details from his mother - Only to be disappointed. Rivka would love talking about everything other than her past. The discussions between Rivka and Victor are really well presented - Victor trying to extract details from his mother and Rivka changing the topic whenever he gets there...

Jeane Moreau has done a splendid job as Rivka with her expressionless reactions and
a real hoarse voice to give the impact of those intense dialgoues..

The only time she speaks about her past is a day before her death when she reveals everything to her grandchildren (Victor's children). It is as if she knew that she would be dying the very next day...

Victor finally suceeds in his attempt at unravelling the past. But, in the process, learns why his mother had been silent all the while.

No frills, intense movie which is more like a documentary rather than a commercial film.

Recommended for intense-movie/Documentary lovers only !!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My First SkyDive !!!!

And the weekend travails continue... Jumping from 10,500 feet is no joke and i realised just that this weekend.

Thrilling, breathtaking, exhilarating, adrenaline gushing experience.

The day begins with a 100 dollar bill to the taxi to reach the venue - all just because of some careless useless planning by me. Just when i think that this is going to be a bad day, the sun gods appear from nowhere and change the mood altogether. The rains in the past few days could have spoilt everything. So, the platform was being set for a perfect beginning to skydiving.

I reach the venue on time and am told to fill up a form that is only two pages long but is full disclaimers. Felt no point in reading it as i had to sign in any case if i had to take the jump. Now it was clear, whatever happens - plane crash, parachute not opened, heart attack, or any other remotely related medical illness - I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR MYSELF!!! That makes it easy... Well, not really.

Now that the form is signed (with initials at every second line), i am introduced my guide Donald who is going to be taking care of my life for the next twenty mins or so. I think i should be able to find his name somewhere in my Kundali (horoscope) as he has every possible chance of changing my future altogether. Well, he is twenty years into the job and the probability of him screwing this up was very remote. That makes me comfortable.

The moment arrives.. I am all dressed up for the occasion and am told to get into the flight that would take us to 10,500 feet and come back with no-one in it (except the pilot of course)

We start the ascend and somewhere around 4000 feet i try to re-confirm my postures with Donald and he ignores it saying that we would have a briefing just before we get out..

We ascend some more - the maple trees look beautiful with colours spilled over them. The view gets hazier and you are hardly able to see anything now. Just as i realise that, Donald tightens my hook with his hook and starts giving me instructions.

Fold your hands across your chest when you leave the plane and open them when i tap twice. Just before we open the parachute, ill tap again and you have to fold your hands again.
And just as i try to visualise the scenarios, he tells me to kneel down at the gate. We are the first to go !!!! No time to fear !! Only later did i realise that this is actually a great strategy to minimise fear - Give very little time to think.

Ten seconds from then, we are at the gate and i am facing down from 10,500 feet. This moment defines the whole experience.. There is no greater moment than this...

You are standing at the gate of an aircraft at 10,500 feet - about to take a free fall that is going to last for a minute. You would be going down at 200KM PH during this time.. That sums up the entire experience.

Just as i look down and try to convince myself that i can do it, Donald tells me to pose for a photo. I feel like telling him, "Boss, this probably is not the best moment to pose for a photograph.." He turns my neck around so that i can give the cameraman (Andrew) a reason for him being there with me all through the jump.

Donald gives a call.. JUMP!!! I get the courage from somewhere and i jump (of course with a push from Donald)... The first 5 seconds make you numb as you are somersaulting at 200KMPH.. Just as you stabilise, you realise that this is going to be an enjoyable ride with the air gushing in at your face real fast at single digit temperatures...

We pose for some photos (the camera man follows you) and now it is time for opening the parachute. Donald signals the cameraman and suddenly you feel a jerk at all the places where the rope was tied on to you.

I insist on taking control of the parachute. Donald agrees as we were still quite long from landing. Controlling the parachute is a great feeling in itself. You feel as if you are flying and you take turns and increase speed etc..

One more minute passes by and Donald realises that he needs to get back controls now if we are to land safely. I agree instantly and Donald makes sure we reach safely...

This experience is something which may not have its impact with words.. You really need to experience it to feel it.. Dont miss it if you do have an opportunity !!!

Complete video at
(Search for 'Athmanathan Ramamirdam')

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mont Tremblant accomplished !!!

My tradition of weekend trips continues !!! It was Mont Tremblant's turn this weekend. Mont Tremblant is a picnic spot/Mini trek about 120 miles from Montreal. This place is especially beautiful during fall due to the colour of Maple trees (yes, it is the same tree's leaves that are present on Canada's flag)

It has this cable car ride that takes you to the top.. the other alternative is to climb the whole thing up.. Being very charged up, we decide to climb.. It has been a long time since i have done some trekking and i could realise that when i ran out of steam half way through !!! (My legs are still aching as i write this piece - it has been three full days since the trek)

Back to maple leaves, they are pretty famous here in this part of the world and people from far off come to this place just to see them.

Nothing else there other than that.. of course, there are some rides which you can enjoy.. But, we were content with the trek and were back just on time for our trip back to Montreal.

No need to mention, we were again travelling by 'Wonder Travels'.. !!!

Let me see what i can plan for the coming weekend !!!

One thousand islands-Toronto-Niagara (Part II)

It was Toronto where we were supposed to stay for the night. It was quite some time since i saw crowded streets and traffic jams and Toronto made me recollect just that. Very metropolitan and loads of people. It was a Saturday and our timing couldn't have been better to see people..
The only place we visited was the CN Tower ( - Supposedly the world's tallest tower when it was built. The view from the top is awesome...

Went to our comfortable rooms at Hilton to for the night and were awaiting the next day when we would be at Niagara..
Early in the morning, we start towards Niagara - about an hour from Toronto. And, finally we reached. One more tower at Niagara - this one is called the Skylon tower (on the Canada side) - which gives a breathtaking view of Niagara. I have heard that Niagara looks better from the Canadian side and that was probably true because the view just extraordinary..

Now, it was the turn to take "Maid of the mist" to reach the base of the falls.. We are given a thin raincoat so as to save ourselves from the mist that is created by this gigantic waterfall..

Finally, the last stop of the trip was Marineland - an aquatic museum which has trained whales, dolphins etc. It also has an underwater view which is quite good for a first timer like me..

It was time to head back to Montreal after a hectic but lovely two day trip..

More photos at:

Mont Tremblant follows in the next blog..