A long time ago.

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Light sabers

In a galaxy far, far away.

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DO or DO NOT. There is no TRY.

Darth Vader

No, I'm your father.


You don't know the power of the dark side.

The Force Awakens


X-Wing Fighter

Long live the Rebel Alliance.

December 26, 2015

'High' in the sky

As I sit down to write this blog, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" has already grossed 1 billion dollars worldwide. It's one of those things a fan-boy always feels proud of. It's like a victory for the home-team. The movie's going to smash plenty of records. I can bet my life on it.

Star Wars is a phenomenon. Quote. Unquote. On a galactic scale. No one in his right mind can deny this. One movie, 38 years ago, redefined movie-watching experience for generations to come. Together with its sequels and prequels, it set the platinum standard for what an addictive loyalty to a cinematic franchise looks like. It generated awe-inspiring, fan-frenzied ripples through popular consciousness on a mind-boggling scale. We still haven't got over the high. It spawned a generation of Star Wars junkies like me. Star Wars video games, novels, comics, animated series and a smorgasbord of movie memorabilia shove and jostle for space on the neural shelves of our attention-banks.

Ten years have passed since Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and we are still in need of the occasional fix like recovering drug-addicts. We don't mind more of those needles up our veins.

Speaking of fixes and needles, allow me to give you a few faint clues of how far the Star Wars culture has gone up my nose. I have a R2-D2 pen-stand sitting on my computer table right now. When I was in school and college, I collected all the Star Wars posters I could lay my hands on. There are two strung up on my bedroom even as I speak. Three or four Darth Vader and Storm Trooper masks are shoved away at the back of my cupboard. And you just have to step by my place to have a peek-a-boo at my light saber collection. I have fourteen of them. Yes. You read correct. Fourteen. Yes, yes, I know the judging looks on those faces of yours right now. Big-time nerd. Bigger-time fan. Guilty as charged.

If my mom hadn't convinced me to give away a sizable chunk of my Star Wars toys and action-figures, I would have needed every millimeter of our store-room to stash them. Moms can get pretty convincing. Especially when the subject of kicking me out of my house in order to make room for my stuff comes up. It essentially strips down to bare-bones existence. An existential crisis. It's either them or me. And I get to live through the horror of choosing which childhood treasures to keep and which to throw away. Jeez. Gives me the heebie jeebies even to think about it.

And then there was the day my first girlfriend asked me if Chewbacca was some special-flavored chewing gum. The world looked bleak. This relationship was going to be a bumpy ride.
Kisne kaha mohabbat asaan hota hai,haan?
Mohabbat vi Star Wars ki tarah hota hai.
Har mor asaan nahin hota, har mor pe khushiyaan nahin hoti.
Image is under Creative Commons license. Original pic and its usage terms can be found here.

Once in school, I participated in a fest where I was supposed to pen a movie-review. I poured my love out for the original Star Wars trilogy in a starstruck drool-fest overflowing with sentiment and emotion. It was a day unlike any other. I had entered an altered state. The word-limit was 500. I think I went well over 2000. My pen was scribbling so fast I wonder how it didn't burn smoking holes into the paper. It was like writing a darned love-letter. An honest confession of the purest emotions clogging my soul and choking my heart with unstoppable rapture. When I was finished, I revised the stuff, giving myself a moment to marvel at the glory of my creation. I didn't win any prize. The flair of my pen went unsung and unrewarded, but that's okay. Were it up to me, I'd have stopped at nothing short of awarding myself a Nobel for that review. It was pure poetry.

I had written it all!

A hero's journey from being a bored farm-boy to being the 'chosen one'. The David Vs Goliath struggle of Luke Skywalker pitted against the Empire. The dash of danger and romance which the wild pair of Hans Solo and Leia brought into the mix. The comic relief and 'Aww!So cute!' camaraderie of R2-D2 and C-3PO. The shocking father-son reveal at the end of Episode V. Darth Vader's story- falling to darkness and then redemption in his dying moments. Heroes snatching victory from the jaws of defeat by standing on the shoulders of great sacrifices. The sheer enormity and the magnificence of the universe which the movies spanned. All the super-cool props- the guns, the space-ships, the light sabers (the last item never fails to make my drool-meter hit the sky)! The majesty of space which provided the backdrop to this epic drama. It was like the finest creative minds had come together to cherry-pick the best bits of the greatest stories and then combine them into a grand, jaw-dropping space-fantasy. And last, but not the least, Yoda.
Last, but not the least, be mentioned, I shall.
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When I was a kid, I wanted to go dressed to all fancy-dress competitions as Yoda. I had the light saber. I had the robes. But the tricky part was always the mask itself. My mom had tried (and failed on a galactic scale) on multiple occasions to make a Yoda mask for me with the pointy ears and stuff. But I always managed to end up looking like a dork with a bright green cauliflower on his head. The Force failed her each time. Mom often asked me why I didn't want to go as Obi-Wan in stead. No need for a crazy mask whose elaborate manufacturing would drive her to tears. A mere beard would suffice.

But where was the fun in that? By the second go, I had a pretty good idea that mom was going to make a mess of the mask every time, with perfect consistency. Which basically meant that I could guilt-trip her into giving me other goodies later on. The eight second long diabolical laugh track of Emperor Palpatine goes here. I make the bad guys of Star Wars lore feel proud. Smirk.

Speaking of goodies, when I came across the Indiblogger HP Star Wars topic, the fan-boy in me just couldn't resist. I have gone through the unboxing videos of HP Star Wars Special Edition Notebook. And I was like...well...

Image is under Creative Commons license. Original pic and its usage terms can be found here.

It starts right from the packaging. Two boxes, one inside the other, both with magnetic clasps. The smaller one even has a "You don't know the power of the dark side" message inscribed within. The foam inserts protecting the notebook are shaped like Imperial Star-fighters! Sweet! The Force is strong with this one! The touch-pad has got the X-wing targeting system of Luke's Death Star trench run etched on it. To top it all, there are those Aurebesh font glyphs on the notebook hinge and beside the track-pad.

Aurebesh font was something which sprung out of the Star Wars movies but which later took on a life of its own. Techies have actually come up with real, authentic computer True Type fonts based on Aurebesh. This particular special edition laptop has an Aurebesh system font installed too.

Honestly speaking, HP and Disney's painstaking attention to detail felt like an elixir of sorts to an ardent devotee's soul. I'm sold on the distressed texture on the lid, the touted 'battle-worn' look of the X-Wing Star Fighter Guidance system. And there is that eerie red keyboard back-lighting. The whole package is smart and aesthetic. And sinister.

I know I sound like a fawning dork. But my geek-bone can't help getting tickled. There is this steady stream of cute little innovation-candies which this laptop keeps dropping on my senses. When the laptop boots up, you'll see that they even made the Recycle Bin look like the Death Star. When you empty it, the icon shifts to a half-finished Death Star 2. Neat. Not to forget, you can replace all the system sounds with Star Wars sounds- the zing of a light saber, the binary music of R2-D2's voice, Darth Vader's labored breathing and a plethora of other tunes and tones.

Don't leave your seats just yet. It's Christmas and Santa has more goodies in store! This Windows 10, 6th Gen Core i5 beauty packs a ton of Star Wars screen-savers, wallpapers and concept art. Then there is the first Marvel Star Wars comic book - a neighbors' envy, collector's pride kind of thing. Belonged to the 70's. And to provide the icing on the cake, there are behind-the-scene photos, storyboards and book excerpts. The whole constellation of digital memorabilia which this 15.6 inch screen laptop packs is enough to give me a nerd boner. Nirvana for Star Wars junkies.

Plus, most importantly, this laptop is a gaming rig. It comes packed with a decent amount of RAM and a NVIDIA GeForce 940M GPU. It's going to be a blast playing Star Wars Battlefront, Just Cause and Call of Duty: Black Ops.

I'm sounding as if a Scooby snack has just been offered to Scooby-doo, ain't I? When I set my eyes on that beauty of a lappie for the first time, the Scooby-Doo in me had his eyebrows hitting the roof and eyes dancing with anticipation! Add to that his pink tongue, moving up down in see-saw fashion and spreading raindrops of drool all around, and voila!
Geek-gasm achieved.

There are a couple strands more of sentiment tethering me to this Star Wars laptop. I have a nice and comfortable history with HP. The laptop on which I'm blogging right now belongs to HP. My first netbook was from the HP stables too. Good times and fond memories, both of them. I had purchased HP stereo headsets to go with the laptop. Music, movies, chatting: the headset-lappie combo kept me company through both fun times and lonely hours.

Thinking of fun times, I have a dream, you know. To have a Star Wars themed bedroom. The wall behind my bed would be completely covered with a Star Wars wallpaper. Just on the opposite wall, there would be three light sabers hanging, of different colors. I might start with red, blue and green. I will change the color combination every month. Underneath them would be my study-table. I would be going for one with a futuristic look. There would be a life-size Darth Vader model in one corner of the room and a Storm Trooper model in the opposite corner. The pillow cases would have Star Wars quotes on them. The bed sheets would be space-blue colored. And a X-Wing Star Fighter model hanging over the bed. Nerd heaven accomplished. To quote Howard from The Big Bang Theory, I'll have achieved 'Nerdvana'. A big part of my childhood, with me, in my room, in exactly the way I want it. But it looks like a distant dream sitting here in India. Star Wars stuff are not that easily available down here.

Maybe, one day. Sigh. A man can only dream.

As of now, all I can do to give myself a fix is book a couple of tickets for The Force Awakens. So, hasta la vista, friends and bloggers. Do leave a comment if you need a review delivered to your inbox. And in keeping with the theme of the contest, I gave my blog a Star Wars twist. I had been wanting to redesign my blog since ages, but the Force wasn't with me. To put it simply, I was feeling too lazy. I am very thankful to HP and Indiblogger. They gave a lazy-bone like me something priceless. Motivation. It took me around two days of continuous tinkering with HTML, CSS, Javascript and jQuery to bring the blog to its present shape. Do tell me what you think about it, okay? Do check out the Star Wars Social Icons cluster. And do definitely check out the Recent Posts section. There is some animation stuff out there which you might find interesting! Good day to you! Peace out!
                      May the force be with you.

Image is under Creative Commons license. Original pic and usage terms can be found here.