Thursday, December 29, 2005

a poste of sentimente

In a stunning display of worthlessness (don't think this contradictory to yesterday's blog, I'm obsessed with my worthlessness) I lost the confirmation printouts I took for my flight to Bombay and had a bad twenty minutes of it before I located the alternate email. After having almost died about four hundred and twelve times, victory was mine. So I will, in fact, be in Bombay tomorrow night, ceteris paribus, and be with my lovely, lovely family - oh, the benefits of living out of home - and bringing in the New Year with some of my friends. Greatest regret? That I can't be with all the people I love at once.

So something I want to say before I go. I'll also be thinking of you:

Kaushik and Vivek, to balance you both out by being appropriate woolly-headed to avail of Kausha's big-brotherliness and simultaneously be a nagging wench for Viv's betterment. You are both people with whom I enjoy what I enjoy even more than I usually enjoy it.

Shloka and Aishwarya, if I thought I could survive a Delhi winter, I would totally have come down and seen your great city which many down here speak of. And we could talk about life, love and literature, because we never talk about anything else.

My flatmates, who're both holidaying in different places, because there's no one I'd be more comfortable with. But also piss off, since you both went on vacation before me.

Emily and Lindsey, what oceans divide us, my ladies. But we'd be a party of thousands in a room if we did meet, so I suppose it's just as well we wait until we can book the refurbished Wembley Stadium for ourselves.

My friends and co-conspirators in world domination via witterance and brilliant literature, I hope you all have a great time, wherever in the world you are.

Shakespeare and Milton, I am leaving you behind in my cupboard. Try not to behave completely inappropriately in my absence. If you do, clean up after yourselves and don't let me know.

All the strangers and slight acquaintances who read this blog, because on New Years night I will look up at the stars and think of all of you, as in, 'I wonder if strangers and slight acquaintances are reading this blog right now?'

For all of you, a token of my feelings via the diabolic Edward Monkton:




See you on the west coast!


current musix: john lennon - jealous guy.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

a manifestation of my life-long romance.

I dig my dandy new userpic. It isn't me, but it'll do. So, on to the self-obsession. I present to you a meme. Here is:

The Field Guide to Me

- How can I tell if you are angry?
I start thinking about myself even more.

- How do you want me to behave when you are hurting emotionally? How is it best to comfort you?
Wheedle, flatter, pander and otherwise be an uninhibited mollycoddler. This is true reassurance. Who needs a hug anyway? (But expensive gifts are welcome too.)

- Are there things we should not discuss?
In the blogosphere: my job. In public (if you know about it): my writing. Anywhere: snakes, boring books, Culture Club. Also we should not discuss my failings, except in a romantic, doomed fashion, eg: 'Alas that the fatal curse of procrastination that has fallen upon you, Roswitha! We must now go on a quest to throw the curse in the cracks of Mount Workplace, and find a sexy elf, man and dwarf to walk beside you in an epic fashion. Or walk into a bar to drink rum. With you.'

- How should I treat you if you are physically ill?
If you are a doctor: not by telling me that panacea means four Crocin a day. If you're a friend: fly down from wherever you are to kneel by my bedside and tell me that you do, in fact, agree that Sachin Tendulkar is the best thing to happen to anyplace ever. Brownies for bringing Sachin Tendulkar along.

- What makes you happy, that's in my power to grant as a friend?
Blogs! Playful literary pow-wow! Gaspingly adulatory remarks about me. Eat drink and be merry, and whatever you do, please don't die on the morrow.

- How would you like us to recognize your birthday?
See above. Also instant noodles with cheese.

- Are there any standing categories of presents that would be inappropriate or unwelcome?
Snakes, boring books, Culture Club tapes. You catch the drift.

- Are there any kinds of presents you love?
Stories, I love stories. Unless they're boring stories.

- Are there times of the year that are difficult for you? Please explain if you are comfortable..
I'm quite comfortable with declaring that February is my annual month o' doom. No matter when horrible things happen to me around the year, the full impact of it comes crashing in on me only in February. This is invariable.

(Of course, one can't forget that April is the cruellest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire. Can't imagine what it must be like for someone with an allergy to lilac pollen.)


- Are there times of year that are happy for you?
Early June, rains in Mumbai. I wasn't there for the cloudburst this year, else I'm sure this would have changed. As it is, the monsoon brings me happy thoughts, poetic impulses, and the wonder of the people at my woozy hereur about slush season.

I tag you all to make this self-assessment, if you please.

Hey, here's an essay that attempts to answer a question that fazes me endlessly: What's The Secret To Enya's Success? Revel in the examination of Mr and Mrs Leavitt's genteel nightmare.

current musix: (ost) yuva - khuda hafiz.

why did this soundtrack not strike me down with its coolness before now?

Friday, December 23, 2005

a celebration of holiday spirit.

Shloka: I ogled an unsuitable man a while back.
I: Sigh.
I: I have met no men.
I: Or women.
Shloka: Oho.
I: I've even broken up with my imaginary boyfriend.
I: He was just getting to be a pain in the neck.
Shloka: Aiyyo. What was his name?
I: I don't know. See, that was the irritating thing.
Shloka: Mine would be called Sebastian. I love people called Sebastian.
I: There's no hope for a relationship with a man who doesn't have a name.
Shloka: ... I love me some Sebaschunnnnn.

---

Emily: Happy Christmas Supriya, if that's not a terribly colonialist and Euro-centric greeting. *cuddles*
I: No, it's great. I miss Jesus. Happy Christmas. *cuddles back*
Emily: Thanks. Why is the world paining you?
I: It is being cheerful and happy.
Emily: I miss Jesus too.
Supriya: Do you suppose he was musical?
Emily: I think so. Probably got it from his father.
Emily: Gods tend to be musical, don't they.
I: Jesus isn't god. He's the son of god. Unless you're a heretic.
I: I thought his father was Gabriel.
Gabriel: *is shocked to hear he has sired a child out of wedlock*
Emily: I thought Jesus was a god and it's the unitarian heretics who thought he was only the son of god.
I: :O
Emily: ... but you know I'm an athiest.
Emily: And I think I need to hibernate in the winter months.
I: Like a little lamb.
Emily: Little lambs are fetal in the winter months.
I: *know woefully little about animal reproductive cycles*
Emily: BUT SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IS NOW LEGAL IN ENGLAND.
I: I KNOW. ELTON'S MARRIED.
Emily and I: *celebrate festivus anyway*

current musix: janis joplin - cry, baby

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

on film for its own sake, with kaushik figuring prominently herewith.

Kausha, said I, what should I blog about? He said be careful, my bowtie is really a camera. Also, why don’t you blog about the Oscars?

The Oscars! exclaimed I. Those empty ceremonies of tokenism, those gold-plated doorstoppers of rooms where few women come and go, and no one talks of Michelangelo? Those craven panderers to crass commercialism?

Whatever picky girl, said Kausha. Why don’t you write about music, then?

MUSIC! I exclaimed further. I can write about music. Perhaps of the songs I’m listening to these days. Perhaps of songs I never listen to anymore. Perhaps of how I’ve switched from Winamp to iTunes in an act of craven pandering to crass commercialism.

Yes wonderful yes wonderful said Kausha, typing with one hand as he clung in desperation to the cliff-edge of life worth living with the other.

But perhaps, I mused, I ought to write about films indeed. I ought to write about films I’ve never seen, like Brokeback Mountain, but I already did that, a little. Or I should write about not having watched films at all this year, so that (to tiresomely repeat a thought I voiced to many of my friends already) I would, as a character in Asterix, be called Watchesnoflix. I ought to write about the few I’ve seen, like Harry Potter IV – which I liked – or Salaam Namaste - which I hated with the fire of a thousand suns. Or perhaps I could just talk about Romeo and Juliet. I’ve been loving on R + J all over again, but I mean of course, the play, and not the films. Or I could write about Shakespeare in Love, which I like and is about R + J in a roundabout manner.

But then Kausha went back to being a functional human being, and I went back to being left to my own devices. So I thought about some films I would really like to see (apart from the Heath Ledger-and-Jake-Gyllenhaal-push-all-my-buttons types).

I would really like to see an adaptation of the Iliad. Troy has sprawled all over rock bottom in that category, so I’m certain it can only get better. If I were to make the Iliad, I would recast Brad Pitt as Paris. Achilles and Patroklos I might retain as cousins – but more canonically, of the kissing sort. (And they would definitely push all buttons of the perverse female sections of the audience). I would flesh out the Trojans. I would follow the actions of the poem strictly, since you can’t improve upon Homer as far as continuity is concerned. And I would film it in spare blues and bronzes, in which my whippet-thin, red-haired Achilles would flicker in and out like a beautiful flame, and Hector be a tall, burnished, steady candle.

I’m waiting with bated breath for the proposed adaptation of His Dark Materials. I think the first two books and the last bit of the third will lick themselves onto film with surpassing ease. I’d definitely have cast Gary Oldman as Lord Asriel if he wasn’t, you know, not the sexiest man on earth, and I know I would expire of excitement while filming the bits with Iorek Byrnison. But I won’t have to! For Tom Stoppard is writing the screenplay, and who can write better than Tom Stoppard? Speaking of people who should be doing more work, Johnny Depp might make a fantastic Asriel.

And I might like to see more Kieslowski, except Kieslowski’s dead.

I think I’ll watch the LOTR trilogy again when I’m in Bombay.

And that is all. Kausha, you can stop pretending to be comatose now.

Like, bye.


current musix: malmö chamber choir – dotter sion, fröjda dig

you guys, you’re missing this absolutely sublime swedish version of ‘daughter of zion, rejoice’ if you haven't heard it. it will complete your lives, write your ph.ds and make you gulab jamuns. i’ve been listening to it all day.

Monday, December 19, 2005

a musing.

On the mysterious comfort contained in hot buttered toast, golden-brown, crisp and melting in your mouth, that you can go on and on eating.

And the tang of orange juice as it hits the back of your throat, not waking you up like coffee but setting setting your brain to work.

And the poisonous addictiveness of instant noodles with cheese.

And the thick, complicated coconuttiness of real banana chips to fill the emptiness on the other hand.

Monday, December 12, 2005

oh what ails thee, knight at arms?

Do you have a favourite poem or a favourite song or a favourite book? I don't. At least, I'm unwilling to admit to them being my favourites unless I am allowed to group them in a collection of other poems/songs/books. For example, I would never admit to loving 'The Silmarillion' if I wasn't also allowed to mention 'Oranges Are The Only Fruit'. Never breathe a line or prayer of Janis Joplin if there was no space to fill in Leonard Cohen.

(To combine both since, as Kausha informed me, this song is about Janis and Leonard Cohen getting it on, here is an mp3 that I received just today via a friend: Rufus Wainwright covering Cohen's Chelsea Hotel No. 2).

I can't pick one and leave out the others. Like many people reading this, I'm spoilt for choice and have never been faced with the necessities of 'Yes' or 'No' - I'm a perpetual 'Can't Say'-er. Shallow, perhaps. Definitely un-Victorian. I just can't say I like Yeats more than Christopher Logue. I don't have to.

Another reason that really does have a lot to do with my education is that I'm too critical. This is a horrible thing to realise about oneself, that one can't love 'Pride and Prejudice' or 'Amelie' without reservations since, after all, what sort of love is that? I think it's why so many people I know, mostly women who read mostly the sort of books that I do, are far more willing to talk about things like pretty boys than people they love. Of course, pretty boys are indubitably fun, but it's rather a Japanese(?) way of disparaging or belittling what we think about. We can do it in each other's company because we know that we're not talking about pretty boys because we're silly, or not only because we're silly. We're also afraid, we also know that the more important something is, the more people will expect perfection of it.

But I think the most pressing reason I don't choose one among the many is because it gives away more than I want to admit. As with 'Catcher in the Rye', I read 'The Fountainhead' at an age when, instead of worshipping it unequivocally, I could enjoy it and throw it down with a healthy dose of what-the-fucketh. But I do remember someone in the book telling someone else that the sort of face we found beautiful said a lot about us. Now I think picking one favourite poem wouldn't say enough about me in one sense. In another sense it would say more than I might want someone to know. And being the 'Can't Say'-er that I am, I can't allow this to happen. I would freely admit to nothing but fangirlishness for the Beatles, or Shakespeare, or Homer or Bach, since I'm one of only millions of people who think that these people are somewhere about the pinnacle of human expression (which they are); there's neither shame nor suspicion to run with the pack in such cases. It's amazing how much attention it's possible to expect even when giving other people nothing to judge you upon.


current musix: beethoven - pathetique, movement one.

Friday, December 09, 2005

worship the garish sun

So. Good day today. Not only everywhere the glowing reviews of Brokeback Mountain (wonderful moving force of nature oscars!) - who knew that Ang Lee and big gay love could bring out the hitherto undreamt-of actor hidden within the apollonian form of Heath Ledger? - but also extra money for the holidays! Tickets booked to return to Bombay for New Years! The prospect of new books on the weekend! Exhausted stock of exclamation marks by the end of this post!

So. I have nothing of significance to say other than that. I could have made this post yesterday, but I maintained, instead, a respectful silence for a little 25th anniversary.



Because the point was that everyone did imagine, if only for a minute or an hour, even if he was mad and drug-ridden and a hypocrite millionaire, because truth can illumine every soul; if dehumanised rural cowboys can love each other in spite of overwhelming obstacles, then rockstars can be prophets and heroes.

(I hope Ang Lee makes a film about pop music soon.)

Friday, December 02, 2005

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

piss off if you're here to raise the dead, bono!

Do you really not care? Did you start the day out thinking you would try and be more interested and accepting of the world in all its vagaries? Did you see the NYTimes quote of the day and, in outrage, begin an eloquent blog on how Mr. Bush makes the mothers of Sparta sound like divinely inspired poets, only to leave it all unsaid because there really are so many sides to the issue and you can't disrespect human life (even if you can human intelligence)? Have you and romance - the honest-to-goodness sort - been on unspeaking terms for the last several years because you can't be bothered to invest in yet another human being who, from the very outset, is not anything like the person you expected to get special with in your maiden dreams and doesn't particularly promise to shape up like one? Is Bono's earnest pomposity getting on your nerves even though you love U2 with every particle of your soul? Are you listening to Tan Dun and Yo-yo Ma prostituting themselves on the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon soundtrack instead? Have you left unread a book all the people you respect raved about because you couldn't get past the tedium of the first two pages? Are you apathetic, agnostic, disgruntled, dispassionate or just bone-tired today?

Party on my blog. Bring food of choice, rum's on me.

Endnote to amuse me anyway: I love rum even though I don't drink alcohol except in a medical way - and I've done a fair bit of that this past month. First, it tastes great. Second, it reminds me of Johnny Depp in his finest hour in that work of inspired genius, Pirates of the Caribbean: "BUT WHERE HAS ALL THE RUM GONE?"

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

pretty boys! no, really, look!

They come just a bit further down but this is totally about them, although I am once again resisting impulses to whine because hello, did I or did I not just suffer a malaria relapse? It was like the ghost of Cathy coming back to tap on the windows of that wretched house on the moor!

Pretty Boys #1: But then I spent all of today listening to rowr macho-boy American blues of old, mostly Elvis Presley (incidentally, isn't Lilo and Stitch such a cool film?) and Ray Charles and B.B. King. No crackwhore Beatles or masochistic, repressed Dylans or Cohens for me! I want a hunk'a hunk'a burnin' love!

Ignore that if it gave you ideas. Now, two positively ravishing links for the perusal of dear readers.

Pretty Boys #2: America asks; cute, or British? The Guardian reprints from an American newspaper, funnily enough (I think it must amuse them to do that sometimes too) about how the British accent holds such appeal for women that they, unwilling to so much as look at men of their own nations, suddenly turn to simpering totty upon hearing it. I held my stomach laughing as I read this. "Decades of BBC and English lit classes have genetically programmed the American female to believe the British are culturally superior beings, skipping around Oxford making puns with their Byron under one arm and a pot of marmalade under the other. This isn't always true, of course - at least according to The Full Monty. Apparently England is also full of working-class people who watch telly and prevail against overwhelming odds."

For every one of my friends who have been reduced to jelly by accents ranging from that of Colin Firth to that, regrettably, of Robbie Williams. Your name is legion.

On a personal note, I much prefer Jeremy Northam to Mr. Firth. Here he is with Jennifer Ehle in Possession, an utter travesty of cinema, the art of adapatation and the very fine novel by A S Byatt. He's gorgeous. And so, of course, is Rufus Sewell. And James Purefoy. But I'm not going to post pictures of them. I'm not that shallow.

Actually I totally am. But interested people can just go Google or something, I'm too lazy.

~Ugly Boy Interlude~


On a slightly different note, but still on the British page (not the one Oscar Wilde was getting to the bottom of, naturlich), is Prisoner of Narnia, in the New Yorker, pointed out by the ever-bright Furius today. A long, fantastic exploration of Lewis' motivations, his imagination, his sex life (*everyone spontaneously leaves post unread and clicks on link!*) and the way he's perceived on both sides of the pond. I think this is a must-read even for people who've never read Lewis and/or are firmly ensconced in the Philip Pullman camp. Lewis didn't suffer from many of the problems that Tolkien did. Quote: "[JRRT was someone] whose views on teaching English were even more severe than Lewis’s: Tolkien thought that literature ended at 1100."

He can appreciate Milton, but he falls into the same Puritan trap of, as Pullman puts it, "Death is better than life; boys are better than girls; light-coloured people are better than dark-coloured people; and so on." Now, I had problems with His Dark Materials too, especially the middle bits of The Amber Spyglass where PP becomes positively Rowlingesque in his harping on motherly virtue and whatnot - although he more than makes up for it with the ending - but it's obvious that anyone working on the basic principles of logic will concur with this.

~~


Pretty Boys #3: And speaking of Rowling, I went to see HP and the Goblet of Fire in spite of the m-thing and it was IMAX (iMax?) and popcorn yey, but I stopped pretending to pay attention to anything and just concetrated on the pretty, pretty boys (that Harry does NOT call friends. Why are the best-looking men always the Slytherins in the HP films?). Jason Isaacs and Alan Rickman and the ever-eyeable Draco boybandb0i, and Yum Krum! Although I must allow that they were almost balanced out by Cedric 'if-he-can't-do-it-Harry-can' Diggory on the side of Good. Dumbledore was just fugly.

AND RALPHIEMORT. OMGWTFMWMFPH. *grooves to the 'guess who's back, back again, voldie's back' evil white rap thang* Owning the souls of discerning filmgoers everywhere - even without a nose.

current musix and pretty boy #4: rufus wainwright - 14th street.

Ha. I am totally back with mah sissy love.

Monday, November 21, 2005

slings, arrows, outrageous fortune lalala.

I could say many things today. I could inform the passing reader that I possess a "stayin' alive" tee-shirt especially for Mondays; I could snark about how it does not significantly improve the quality of said days; I could moan about how the already limited market for foreign languages in Hyderabad, even the Indo-European sort with Latin scripts seems, to add insult to unparalleled injury, to be chronologically inflexible. How can I take Spanish at six in the morning when autorickshaw drivers at large are out to cheat me of my money and/or my virtue? How can I take German at six in the evening when I'm working at the time? How can there be no weekend classes? I mean, it's enough of a compromise to eschew long-cherished desires to study Ancient Greek (imagine Homer in the original!) or Hebrew (much of the Old Testament in the original!) or Sanksrit (cultural oppression in its purest form!) because they aren't practical enough. How much more practical can you get than German?

(Naturally no attempt to combine desire and compromise in the convenient form of Yiddish study exists in this city - one person so far claims to have detected a synagogue somewhere about - and apparently there is a Parsi community here too, but of course Avesta is out of the question.)

Goal to gain working knowledge of Telugu by the end of the year remains rock-steady, although as December approaches I see I will have to be more proactive than provoking my stroppy maidservant (sneakily trying to teach her Hindi all the while).

I could of course complain about all of this. But I won't. Instead I reproduce in this blog a poem introduced to me long ago by Lindsey, that I forgot about and stumbled upon again today, standing still (figuratively) with thumping heart and thrilling pulses, face framed against the rail, longing to get between the lines.

Come. And Be My Baby
by Maya Angelou

The highway is full of big cars
going nowhere fast
And folks is smoking anything that’ll burn
Some people wrap their lives around a cocktail
glass
And you sit wondering
where you’re going to turn
I got it.
Come. And be my baby.

Some prophets say the world is gonna end
tomorrow
But others say we've got a week or two
The paper is full of every kind of blooming horror
And you sit wondering
what you’re gonna do.
I got it.
Come. And be my baby.


If sixteen year olds were introduced to poetry instead of grunge they would all have this poem on their tee-shirts instead of despairing suicidal grunge! (Not that there is no appropriate time and place for such things. Except for Pearl Jam, ick.)

Congratulations to you, L, on the close of some tough but very successful exams, to say nothing of the rear-admiral iPod and the vacation in Paris you are currently on. (item: I have already studied French so there is no point in me taking weekend classes at the local Alliance.) And congratulations to Kaushik, on surviving one of the world's toughest exams. Joy! To the world.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

spoiler? i think not!

I KNEW IT. I KNEW RAFE WAS COOLEST.

From today's edition of the New York Times:

As good as these actors are, nothing prepares you for the malevolent force that is Lord Voldemort and the brilliance of the actor playing him, Ralph Fiennes. Dressed in a flowing black robe that seems to float off his body rather than hang, Mr. Fiennes moves with lissome grace, his smooth white head bobbing like a cork on a sea, his fluttery hands and feet as pale and bright as beacons. For years, the movies have tried to transform this delicate beauty into a heartthrob, but as "Schindler's List" proved, Mr. Fiennes is an actor for whom a walk on the darker side is not just a pleasure, but liberation. His Voldemort may be the greatest screen performance ever delivered without the benefit of a nose; certainly it's a performance of sublime villainy.


He's just - cool.

current musix - ost harry potter - hedwig's theme

oh, endnote: Apparently Business World manufactured a quote by me. I do not remember giving them any remarks! But then, how did they know me and what I was doing last year?

Things are strange.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

wednesday afternoon 3 p.m.

I spent the morning listening to Pandit Jasraj – music sharing is one of the great advantages of the corporate workplace – and was completely transported back to the morning concert at Janfest four years ago that I attended with Bob. She had to wrap me up in a silk saree at six a.m., after we had spent a sleepless night out on Marine Drive, since I was some kind of PR minion in the great St. Xaviers’ tradition for Janfest (which for those not in the know is Xaviers’ annual classical music festival and totally rocks the socks off other festivals. In some ways.) And he was absolutely insufferable, of course, but he sang that song, the one Times Music always advertises on its Jasraj CDs, and I’ve totally forgotten the name, but it was a kirtan and not a raag proper, and I’m dying to recall which one it was. Does anyone remember? Kate, Kausha, you were there – anyone else?

I can’t believe I’m mentioning the Times more than once in a single blog in a non-disparaging sense, but I miss the Mumbai edition more than ever. It used to make me feel clever in the mornings. Furthermore, every Mumbai newspaper is covering the Abu Salem trial in morbid detail, and The Hindu won’t say much more on the subject than ‘Oh, hey, Monica Bedi’s in Hyderabad! She likes biryani and the Volkswagen fraudster. Oh, and her dude’s still being grilled by the CBI.’ On page eight in a single column. (Although the biryani story made it to page one. Yes, in The Hindu. I kid no one.) It’s strange but it’s true: I want to hold the Mumbai ToI (and of course the Mumbai Mirror) in my hands once again.

The area in Worli where my father grew up was pretty badly affected by the ’92 riots. When we went to the passport office this July he insisted on walking me across the street from Century Bazaar and the shops from which he’d bought school stationery and groceries for his mum and ice-cream, and while you’d only expect any place in this city to change face completely in two and a half decades, it wasn’t really with equanimity that we met places and people he didn’t recognize because the familiar things had been bombed or burnt away.

I don’t know what it means to have Abu Salem in the clink. There’s no meeting ground between what will happen to him and what happened to, say, the people in Honesty Café in my dad’s neighbourhood. Who that lost anything in the riots is going to think they’ll be repaid by this trial? But the law must take its course. Well, if there’s so much as one member of the populace to whom this guy getting in trouble makes a difference.

current musix: pandit jasraj - raag marwa

Monday, November 14, 2005

a scheme is not a vision/you never have been tempted

So I'm back inland and back at work - although the amounts I've been able to complete on day 1 seem so far to have been so negligible as to be non-existent. Really. I might as well have stayed back in Bombay.

< / monday snark >


Now, because I notice blogs with much higher readership than this uploading music for the taking, I decided to be rash and offer one of my favourites, The Song Of Isaac. (Read lyrics here.) Originally by – who else – Leonard Cohen, it comes from one of my favourite albums - a multilingual, cross-genre record of protest song covers by Mirah and the Black Cat Orchestra. (Buying info here). I love good covers. I like Leonard Cohen too, a whole whole lot. Although Rufus Wainwright beats him out in the affection stakes because of his unutterably gorgeous voice and ‘I’m-just-one-of-the-girls’ approach. And he can be so silly in a magnificent, baroque way. Where beauty is existence, to sing about Greece completely innocent of irony when even in their golden age of democracy and theatre Athenians were allowed to take twelve-year old boys as sex slaves! Then he goes and redeems himself with one way is Rome and the other way is Mecca/on either side, on either side/of our motorbike, which is just marvellously self-indulgent and in such a different way from Cohen.

current musix: rufus wainwright – go or go ahead.

but oh medusa/kiss me and crucify/this unholy notion of/the mythic powers of love/look in her eyes … forget about/the ones that are crying.

Sigh. Popera at its very pinnacle.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

all answers are a form of death

John Fowles, the novelist who died on Saturday aged 79, combined a rare narrative instinct with a scholar's interest in literary form; as a result he enjoyed the unusual distinction of both professorial attention and enormous sales.


The Telegraph's obituary.

Who is Sarah? From what shadows does she come?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

"i AM malaria."

Alack-a-day. In spite of a week in a hospital run by kindly Bengali monks the mysterious 'evening fever' persists - although I am now back in the far more cheerful and considerably better-smelling environs of home. Oh, my vibrant, bouncy, postmodern American employers! I fear you shall have to book me into Haworth Parsonage if this state of affairs continues. For the Ring, it cooleth, and seemeth to shrink even as I hold it on mine palm! (Come on - you know Emily would have written that if she'd thought of it. The First and Second Ages of Middle Earth are more Brontesque than - than - Bramwell.)

But for those concerned I am much improved from this time last week, when I was recovering from what my parents failed to identify as a visitation from Sauron (a la P. Jackson, naturellement) in the form of an evil drug reaction. I suspect the fever may just be a side effect of prolonged exposure to bloody Natwar Singh on every bloody news channel on bloody TV. Thug. (Heh. That's the way people look at me and say 'switt girl'.) Wish Vikram Seth was in place of Shashi Tharoor in the UN. Scratch, actually, wish he was head of everything ever anywhere. The world would be beautiful!

Anyway, I return to my long trudge on the road to recovery. I think I'm in Mumbai for forseeable (read next few days) future. Belated Eid and Diwali greetings to everyone.

Important endnote: I absolutely love my girlfriends. They're the best in the whole world and I will fight anyone on that.

My boyfriends are lovely too. :)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

fyi

I'm back in Mumbai, ravaged etc. by malaria.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

on babiez.

Has anyone ever googled for images of babies?

I have. I think they're adorable.

What could this mean?

That, mm, I think they're adorable. I feel pleasantly happy for parents, grandparents and sundry other relations that walk around with the wee bairns when I see them out on the roads. I like cooing and making faces at kids that come my way. One of the only factors that could distract me from a book in long years of commuting via the 10:08 Churchgate local to college was the presence of a baby in the next seat.

Babies have big eyes and are cuddly and sometimes very trusting. Upto a certain point they're all indistinguishable from each other. Kohl-wreathed eyes or especially eye-catching couture aside, there's not much to distinguish Bunty from Bubbly for the untrained eye.

Often they can be devils. With every baby I've seen throw a tantrum or act like a general idiot, my respect for human innocence drops a notch. (Think about that before you beat up Mummy for being otherwise occupied, Munna.) I like cuddling them, their lack of exretory control and propensity to periodically yell themselves a new pair of lungs notwithstanding. I, at least, am more tolerant of human folly than Munna. (Yay!)

All this is as long as as I can put them back at the end of the day. My roommate hates babies with a virulence we usually reserve for unscrupulous politicians. I don't. They irritate me sometimes, and I don't consider it a social duty to actually have one unless I want to, but on the whole I like them. They're cute and fun to hang out with. And that's what I like about them. Not anything they imply or make possible or anything. That's a blatantly ageist attitude. [/ ideological stance]

(I have a theory about the Romantic worship of childhood. Most of those guys had the misfortune to lose their own offspring or see close friends undergo the same trauma. Ergo, regret and the melting mood ensued, without the benefit of the fatalism that allowed earlier generations to take infant mortality in their stride.)

It just throws me slightly off-balance when I see a lot of (but not all) people around me take a firm pro/anti stance against childhood. I can't. When my mother loves on babies and how important they are for a family and a couple and society and all that, I see her point of view in part. But I agree with the roommate too, because I do believe our position as urban women and human beings is constantly changing and changeable and thus allows us to take the pressure of baby-making off ourselves. (Even if other people leave it on.)

And then, they really are cute.

But. I guess what I'm trying to say is that having babies isn't a logical choice for life anymore - in fact it seems like not having them makes rather more sense.

Now, what's all this about a biological clock?

To wrap up the ramble, I'd like to direct everyone to this family's website. They're the people who've had sixteen kids so far and are willing to have more if God supplies them with the same. Yeah. I know. And while I can understand the motives of the man, who apparently is running for public office and has insanely bad hair, the woman flummoxes me. I mean, does living in the world's most developed country set back your primitive impulse to optimise your resources and have as few children as possible this far? The mind boggles. And as for those children - never mind. Read Mark Morford's rant in the San Francisco Gate, if you can stand his howling fundie-liberal rhetoric and pointedly skewed opinion.


current musix: simon and garfunkel - at the zoo

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

i'm off to kazakhstan!

so there's this really cool meme doing the rounds:

#################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### ####################################################
Your personality type is SLUEI
You are social, moderately moody, unstructured, egocentric, and intellectual, and may prefer a city which matches those traits.

The largest representation of your personality type can be found in the these U.S. cities: Reno, Washington DC, Providence, New York City, Denver, Norfolk, Salt Lake City, W. Palm Beach, Baltimore, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Detroit, Albuquerque/Santa Fe and these international countries/regions Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Greece, Argentina, Iceland, Taiwan, China, Croatia, Italy, Poland, Spain, Israel, Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, Turkey, Finland

What Places In The World Match Your Personality?
City Reviews at CityCulture.org



Who knew, my beautiful country of snow-capped peaks, strange, beautiful men (one hopes) and - *google-earths* er, not very cultivable land, that we were meant for one another.

And the personality test seems to be spot-on. At least Kausha will attest to the fact that 'unstructured' is my middle name. I'm so unstructured that at the atomic level, I probably don't even exist.

Hmmm. On reviewing that list of countries again - I might like Finland. They speak Quenya - er, Finnish there.

current musix: led zeppelin - night flight

Monday, October 17, 2005

frivolosity

Mmm, weekend was relatively excellent in spite of not being spent in Bombay. One is almost reconciled to the lack of a Garcia’s or a Smokin’ Joe’s or hell, an Udipi that sells Indian pizza in Hyderabad, when Pizza Hut makes an eat-all-you-can offer. After all, floury, fermented pizza is still way better than no pizza. Especially when it leaves you enough money to buy jeera rice from the corner biryani shop, and milk for next morning's coffee.

Ramzan speshuls are love. Wish Music World had something similar going on. They didn’t have Pirates of the Caribbean which I went looking for since, like Blackadder, it happens to be one of my life-staples. There was, however, a deluxe edition of the complete BBC recordings of Pride and Prejudice. Now abashed though I am to admit that I am not a screaming Colin Firth fangirl, I might even have bought it, were it not for the fact that I’m currently re-reading Middlemarch. Who needs snark and ten thousand a year when you can have the delectable Will Ladislaw?

(Well, eventually everyone does. As more than one wise person has told me, the good thing about literature is that you never need pick just one hot book-crush; you can have them all.)

I also watched Flavors, which helped pass two hours very tolerably, and finished the very harrowing Birdsong. I’ve had an intense few days of reading World War I novels, what with the massive and angry Birds Without Wings I raced through before I went to Bombay.

Weekend was complete with hysterical and raucous readings of Catullus, who has got to be the dirtiest poet dead or alive.

Endnotes: Have a lovely art nouveau portrait of Madeleine Peyroux.

And happy birthday for yesterday to mah Viv-boy. *strings up balloons and streamers* Did you know you shared a birthday with Oscar Wilde?

*uses excuse to add pictures of Johnny Depp to the decorations*


current musix: miles davis - charlie's wig

Friday, October 14, 2005

ou sont les neiges d'antan?

You win, Ashanka. Only partly, mind. But I'm willing to be generous since its about music.

Susheela Raman is far from being unbearable. In fact, she's kind of cool. I still find her pronounciation too irritating to be able to coast along peacefully on the utter sexiness of her voice and the heady, very tasteful carnatic jazz groove. And the obligatory 'world music' bits are ridiculous. Maya, my world of illusion. My all-too-real foot!

But I can totally listen to her and not feel pokers poking my brain pokily. Or think too much of Tyagaraja (pbuh) spinning beneath the sands of Thanjavur.

I studied Carnatic music for close to ten years. From the age of five I went every Wednesday or Thursday to Devaki mami, five minutes away from home, who sat a batch of about eight of us down for an hour and a half and simply made us open our throats and sing. She possesses a dramatically fabulous voice - even as a child I always wondered why she was teaching us ingrate proles when she could have been hitting the bigtime, big time. I still don't know, but I'm very glad, since she chose to be a teacher, that she was mine.

People who discover I was taught always ask me, "So what level did you reach?" And I always have to say I don't know. She taught us a bunch of different things from the very beginning; we learnt to sing keertanam (like, classical songs, for any non-desis reading) simultaneously alongside the scales. I'm technically very ignorant, and very envious of everyone who isn't. So that is something I still mean to remedy.

After the first year or so, I never applied myself to class; I never practiced at home. This was both because and in spite of the fact that my parents begged me to. Every time I went to my grandparents' home in Kerala for the vacations I was expected to sing. Fierce resistance ensued, as is probably natural. Fifteen is a difficult age. So is fourteen, thirteen, twelve, eleven, ten, nine, eight, seven and six. (Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, kids.)

I never knew many people at school who studied Hindustani music, but there were a lot of girls around the place who sang at church and in their choirs. I was totally up for chorus singing, although I never really got English music at all, either, until I was about fourteen and the Beatles sprang into my life. The only time I actually had the guts to go solo in my school years was at a little inter-class singing competition. I was twelve and, like everyone else, I sang the theme from The Sound of Music. And, er, won.

In the middle years, there were always the fantasies of being a rock star, living to burn stadiums and shatter glass. (Random TMI: My imaginary seekritch best friend was always the moody solo blues star.) Extended periods of hanging out at rock shows in and around Mumbai followed, although the repression was a minimal motive, compared to how amazed and excited I was by the concept of live rock itself, and all the bands that play it. I mean - Zero, if you're reading this, I am still totally your fake groupie. There was Kaush and Bobby, Abhishek and the IIT gang to hang out at gigs with; and there was Vijay Nair, my obligatory celebrity pal, to act as crack-supplier, since he sneaked me into more shows than I could ever thank him for. I always think that the power and joy and amazement of rock is its capacity for wish-fulfilment. And screaming along madly with speaker-blasts can do that for you.

... I was going to say that winning that little school thing all those years ago? Never did much for the paranoia about public singing. Something vital always seemed to get lost between the desire and the, erm, requirements of performance. (And wow, that is straight out of the porter's monologue in Macbeth.) And it still does, every time. I guess music is just one of those languages I can understand but can't speak.

But. To rubbish whatever point this rumination might have had: I, in fact, gave my first public performance in years last night. I can't decide if this means I've grown up or not. If you were at the Waterfront restaurant in Hyderabad last night and caught someone in a pink tee-shirt and b0ikutt belting out an old soul chestnut in spite of an obvious cold - the gods meant for you to be there.

Also, won't happen again, sorry for the disturbance, etc.

Oh noes, this has turned into a confessional. I hate confessionals. (Unless you're Sylvia Plath, in which case - SYLVIA BABY! Always knew you'd stuck around, come to Hydy and we can get drunk and talk about Ted Hughes' eyebrows. Love, S.) I'm not going to listen to Susheela Raman again if she prompts me to vomit nostalgia all over my blog like this. I could delete this post - but hell, no. It's too long. Ol' Sush and the head cold must suffice for an excuse.

I was actually planning to laugh at one of my heroez, Jim Morrison, because even if he can sound great singing things about a young child's fragile eggshell mind, he's still ludicrous. But I've nearly exhausted my quota of tangents for the night. Here's the last one. If Will Shakespeare was a developer for Apple, he'd have written - iMacbeth. MWAHAHAHAHAHA.

I think that's funny. I really do.

Okay now, bye. Have a good weekend and all.

*goes away, embarassed, omg*

whineage.

As much as one can reconcile oneself to the womanly lot by reading George Eliot during one's time of month - it is the onset of a really buzzing cold and headache that makes you believe in the principle of evil.

I feel, to paraphrase my hero Blackadder, like a cowpat from the devil's own satanic herd.

But not to make this completely whiny: Harold Pinter has won the Nobel Prize. Now I never felt it necessary to actually read Pinter when we were studying him last year, so I can't comment. But I hate the fact that Orhan Pamuk might go the Salman Rushdie way. He really doesn't deserve to; he isn't half as silly. And he's twice as cute.

Blog comes with all disclaimers to the effect that Rushdie is actually the love of one's life and one wants nothing more than to be reading Midnight's Children and Haroun for the first time all over again, etc etc.

To work now. Head going buzz buzz even after unloading of literary opinion. I had the hugest crush on Vikram Seth in my early teens.

current musix: eric clapton - before you accuse me (take a look at yourself)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

h0 is me.

i came to office on a holiday hoping to get fired up and write about 4000 words of totally awesome fiction in preparation for the nanowrithon. i ended up having a very silly conversation with aishwarya.

current wordcount is less than half of projected wordcount. i suck. but silly conversation so shiny!

*is totally into aishwarya*

*and massage chairs*

*but mostly aishwarya*

another voice

in support of rashmi bansal and gaurav sabnis in the all-too-real tamasha visited upon them by the iipm bugaboo.

read about it in precise detail in this post.

portentous as this is for bloggers everywhere, especially gaurav's predicament, i'm reminded of my righteous anger at how (and perhaps why) the biggies in the mumbai print market expend most of their journalistic integrity and glossy paper on pieces that have roughly the originality of a bappi lahiri bollywood number. come JAM, still indie after a decade, still getting told where they get off - and still refusing. having written for them in my wise youth, and having had the opportunity to know rashmi slightly better than her attackers do, i can safely throw in my lot in support of her sense of ethics and her considerable intellect.

(although, like aish, i'm very amused that the pestle-headed anonymice 'accused' her of being a lesbian in her student days. thoroughly eighties stardust.)


current musix: rage! against the machine. :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

story meme

Upon being tagged by June, I produced the following 55-word story.

A Portugese sailor, an English businessman and an Indian fisherwoman walked into a bar. After the sailor failed spectacularly at darts, mistakenly shattering some precious sculpture and the Englishman got the fisherwoman to pay, they all went down to the sea. Moonlight made the saltwater glitter. And then they beat their swords into local trains.


To write another 55 word story, I tag Lindsey.

whee-hee! whoo! go girl! aaow!

supriya: *walks back to desk after depositing lunch tray in cafe, in a virtuous bid to work through lunch*

lunch: *was v. moral mix of salad, curry and only a little rice*

out of nowhere: *suddenly produces screaming, careening goth teens free-wheeling down the corridors*

insistent drum-beat: *starts up*

supriya: hello, strange figments of my imagination. what ...?

supriya: *is stampeded by dancers high-kicking in menacingly perfect co-ordination*

michael jackson: *arrives dressed in following articles of clothing: one hat, black; one glove, white; one jacket, red; one face, dubious finish*
*to say nothing of the trousers*
*and socks*

michael jackson: hey pretty baby with the
high heels on
you give me fever
like I’ve never, ever known

supriya: you! out of my office! take away your perverse eighties disco-beats and unfashionable goggles! oh, also these teenagers. but not back to your place, naughty boy.

michael jackson: you’re just a product of
loveliness
i like the groove of
your walk,
your talk, your dress!

teenagers: *cartwheel and perform splits on cubicle-tops*

supriya: NO BREAKDANCE ALLOWED. NEVER.

teenagers: *break-a-shake-a-leg!*

office-mates: *begin to dance!*

managers: *moonwalk!*

michael jackson: i feel your fever
from miles around
i'll pick you up in my car
and we'll paint the town

supriya: *is helpless*

supriya: *begins to jig against own will*

the way you make me feel
(the way you make me feel)
you really turn me on
(you really turn me on)
you knock me off of my feet
(you knock me off of my feet)
my lonely days are gone
(my lonely days are gone)



ETA: chika. chika. chika.

Monday, October 10, 2005

return of the pillock

Valuable lessons learned today:

1. If you avoid fatty foods at lunch, you will end up breathing in forkfuls of Maggi by five in the evening.
(NB: This will probably happen anyway.)
2. If you spend the day reading other blogs, you will get very little work done.
3. If you spend the day furiously exchanging mails also, you will get very little work done.
4. If you apply your mind calmly and expansively, the matrix will reveal itself to you.
5. Thus too you will get lots of work done.
6. If you ever happen to go to Bombay, you should stay there and not come back.
7. If you ever happen to go to Bombay and come back, do not spend the worknight in a train next to a screaming, if amiable child. Even if he offers you potato chips from Bangkok, he will gobble up your sleep and leave you a mumbling wreck.
8. If you open an envelope from a bank, you have visited destiny upon your own b0ikutted head.
(So, with some proper beauty care, he could be Geoffrey Boycut?)
9. If you think that, by regulating your diet and working out regularly at the gym, you will look good in a small white Levis tee-shirt, it probably means you have another month of starvation diet and dead-ducking on the treadmill to go before you actually do.
10. Life is pain, love is torture, and friends traitors. Virgins will weep, virile men creep and the pages of the book of life be ripped and torn in a howling dark dust-storm unless there is coffee in your gullet at all times on a Monday.



current musix: sigur rós - jósef tekur fimmuna í vinnuna

no, this is not spam.

30, 000.

mood: no longer pillockish.

breathe. breathe.

you know, i've read a bunch of really interesting books over the last few weeks. and listened to some awesome music. and i have a really nice house in hyderabad. and i have an idea for the urban sex-and-violence fantasy i'm going to write next month. i'm going to talk about all of this now. i'm a positive, life-affirming person. i look outwards. books very good! very clever! music sublime! built-in cupboards! fantastic mumbai potboiler with children and old people!

now that felt really good. no, really.

*wanders off morosely in search of coffee*

current musix: still achtung baby; u2 - who's gonna ride your wild horses

is it getting better, or do you feel the same?

I'm away in Hyderabad again.

< insert 800-page glum novel of failed potato crops, dead babies and incomprehensible accents >

current musix: does it make it easier on you now/you've got someone to blame?/you said, one love/one life/but its one need/in the night

*guitar*

Saturday, October 08, 2005

i, witterer.

I can’t breathe – I’m in Bombay! There’s so much pollution and fetid October heat and lack of space! I think I need an oxygen mask!

Never been happier in the last two months.

So it may be that the old ‘artists must suffer’ cliché holds good. Everyone knows, of course, that the ratio of blogworthy intention to actual blogging is normally somewhere in the realm of 42:1. This equilibrium (?) at least returned to somewhere in the realm of normal as the first whiff of the wasteland around Kalyan arrowed into my unaccustomed nostrils. Suddenly there were chemicals, little puppies, the joys of being single, cheap restaurants, how many intellectuals on the list of the world’s best one is aware of, how many of those one agrees with, how many of those are not as smart as oneself, etc.

Woe is, I’m leaving to go back to the land without shadows tomorrow afternoon. Nothing grows there except quantities of junk food and badly-planned office complexes. One’s work is literally one’s comfort, and that strikes me as singularly deviant from common human experience.

Following arrival, I’ve been eating Navratri prasad and yummy Thai food, being a lazy arse and re-reading Ravan and Eddie. Gods, what a novel. I think aspiring young novelists (could there be a more ridiculous profession?) starting off by imitating Rushdie tended to be bad enough in the manner of incomprehensible Dylan Thomas clones in the Fannish Fifties. Still, gratitude is in order that Nagarkar remains relatively unread and unsung, since I’d volunteer that nine out of ten would start off believing themselves better writers, and then we’d all be in a worse mess. The only thing that man needs is a better editor. Even the preoccupation with below-the-belt bodily functions is a delight. After all, he has a legitimate predecessor in Joyce etc.

I can’t believe it. This is the first time since Hyderabad that I’ve even thought of Joyce[1].

*watches disgusting alien creature writhe out of navel in delight*

While still rejuvenated: allow me to announce my joining the ranks of above-ridiculed melting-pot boiler wannabes: I’ve signed up once again for NaNoWriMo. I met the challenge last year, and its consequence thru 2005 was a fullblown obsession shared by esteemed Irish litterateuse Arthur C – no, Lindsey Clarke. Our project continues to hop along in bits and bites (So an Irish novel-in-waiting would really be Hopalong Cassidy?). However, I’m taking another shot this year with something different. I think I’ll do what no young person has ever done before and write urban fantasy with lots of disturbed sexuality and casual violence in it. Prompts for bad poetry to be inserted in the text welcome starting now.

Rounding up Bombay mini-mini-weekend with a visit to Strand Bookstore this evening.

[1] Of course I’ve never really even read Joyce, dear reader.

Last but most important: Birthday cuddles to Aishwarya! Shall I write you a bad poem?

current musix: bunty aur babli - kajra re

endnote: I have b0ikutt (i.e. v. short) hair and extra ear piercings now. ears hurt like milton.

Friday, September 30, 2005

i am a beautiful child, lalala

So If George Michael and Samuel Beckett got together to create a work of art, the resultant masterpiece would be called Wake Me Up Before You Godot?

--

In other news, Hi-tech City is achieving the dust levels of a stormed-over caravanserai road in the Sahara, and Enya is easy listening about three minutes in, after which you just want to pour some whiskey down her throat and get her to sing Irish drinking songs in her real voice.

current musix: garbage – i think i’m paranoid

Monday, September 05, 2005

in light of recent events

Another song blog: How does one take a cultural artefact and stand its meaning on its head? Tragedy and disaster will help. Sometimes the irony is self-evident. Growing up, I didn’t know a single person who did not at some moment in their lives think that “Imagine” was the greatest, most hopeful and meaningful song in the world.

Listening to A Perfect Circle’s cover, the always-a-little cracked and kooky song seems like more of a joke than ever. There are no changes to the lyrics, to the simple whistle-able tune, just the addition of a heavy, dark cello and the voice of Maynard Keenan, menacing in its quietness. It makes my hair stand on end, more than all the full-colour omens of disaster.


--

On a different tack, Happy Birthday to Pawee baby. And Happy Teacher’s Day to everyone, especially to my Mum, and all my English teachers.

current musix: a perfect circle - imagine

Friday, September 02, 2005

feelm writin'

Yes! Huge improvement in (already shiny + happy) work environment resulting from finally getting off rear and activating iTunes. Quick, deft work transferred pod-songs to hard drive. Am cool.

Also am eating too much dessert.

--

I’m listening to one of my favourite songs, “Everybody’s Talkin’” by Harry Nilsson. It seems like a song almost too easy to underestimate; a mistake that the makers of “Midnight Cowboy,” did not make.

Midnight Cowboy is a film we watched as a class last year. Many of us went back to it several times, unable to resist peeling off layer after beautiful layer. It stands every test and remains, I think, a collective favourite to this day. Famous as the first and only X-rated film to win a Best Picture Academy award, ‘…Cowboy’ retains its quality as an offbeat indie film and intensely personal experience in spite of what classic status it may have achieved. It also contains perhaps my favourite Dustin Hoffman performance, and proof that whatever lack of acting ability Angelina Jolie suffers  was certainly not inherited from the admirably competent (adorable, pitiable) Jon Voight. Can you imagine how difficult it must have been to share a screen with a Dusty at his ‘I’m-your-Strasberg-Superman’ best?

Nilsson’s song sank without a trace when it first appeared on the charts in 1968, a year before Midnight Cowboy was released, at great personal risk by John Schlesinger and, of all studios, MGM. The filmmakers found the song in the manner of all legend, while browsing music racks at a store. Idly. (Better than dosa.) From there it went on to imprint virtually every sequence in the film with its nimble opening chords and Nilsson’s nasal country-boy voice.

               I guess I love it so much because it makes me think of the film’s fabulous little dream sequence, which Dusty’s oily, raggled loser of a character envisions as a fulfillment of all his desires, running along a sunny beach with big handsome ol’ Joe. The first time I watched it, it made me smile. The second time I nearly cried.

Barista outlets everywhere play a highly painful breathy female version of this song on rotation. I swear I have heard it in three cities. LISTEN WITH PREJUDICE.

On an unrelated endnote, allow me to squee myself all over the blog about ‘All These Things I’ve Done’. How much do I love this song? How much, Lindsey? How much?

Emily and Lindsey are meeting at the British Museum in a few hours from now. I want to go. *gets on plane*

*is escorted back upon failure to provide extant passport*

*to prison*

current food: fruit gateau
current musix: the killers whee.





Wednesday, August 31, 2005

thought for day.

In Godard's Breathless, a famous poet is asked to confess his deepest desire. "To become immortal," he replies. "And then die."

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

know your atomisation

People make their own cities; this much is clear to me after a month's go at something resembling a new life. One of the very useful words we learnt from early Marxist studies is 'atomisation': not, as Google Glossary claims, solely "the reduction of a liquid to a very fine spray." Apparently it has more to do with relationships in an industrial society breaking down to the point where all social interaction is restricted to professional and commercial ties.

G. BUDDHA: Helloes! Been there, done that, got the potted plant.
K. MARX: But I speak to the hearts of the youth! I am a thinker! A German! A king among comrades!
STALIN: This is why we put him on meds in Russia. Mwahahahahaha.

Anyway. I am atomised.


current musix: janis joplin - piece of my heart

Friday, August 19, 2005

*tapping mic*

Hello, check.

Using Blogger for Word to post. Horizon all clear, day bright and sunny.

But, how it be?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

i got soul (but i'm not a soldier)

Another short piece of fiction, momentous only because it's my first since moving to Hyderabad.

Written for the paranoia challenge in my writing community. A little over twenty minutes, 463 words. Minor edits to some foul language in v1.0.

Credit to Joseph Heller for a paraphrased quote and The Killers for the title.



All These Things That I've Done

If you think about it, thinks Achilles, this whole war is an excuse for killing him, an elaborate game on the parts of the Ones In Power - bloody effing pigs, begging their pardon - to seek him out, gun for him and obliterate him, to pound his skin and hair and bones and jizz into grains of foreign soil.

"Well then," he says, "I am not going to fight."

Patroklos reads serenely from the seditious literature one of the newer Armernian recruits was caught writing. "Yossarian," he reads, "they're out to get everyone."

Achilles kicks him with all the savagery in his human heel.

"If you think about it", he says, "it began even before the war, didn't it?" He steps out of the tent and walks along the sand, kicking up great shovelfuls of it every twenty-fifth step - the number of years he has lived. The moon is a baleful orb, paler than his mother and less pretty (much less prettier than himself). "I was born to mismatched parents. If they'd stayed together I might have had a normal childhood, grown up to actually like looking after my cows and horses that the Trojans have never so much as looked upon. I might never have had to go to school with a centaur who taught me what it means to be human. I might never have become a girlie-hatin’ cross-dresser. I might never have liked you enough to consider going to war in arms with you worth all the stinking trouble."

"If you doubt now, Achilles," Patroklos says, rubbing his chin, "nothing's going to remain simple any longer."

"What do you mean?" asks Achilles. "Nothing is simple, Patroklos. Everything is conspiracy. The world is spinning about us as we stand here by the will of the gods, the ones to whom this beach is a strip of a chessboard and we mere pawns."

Patroklos bites into a peach. "Aren't those my lines? I'm the smart one, after all."

Achilles blows his nose into the pockmarked sand. "That's true," he concedes.

"And how do you know they even exist, the gods?" asks Patroklos. "Have you ever seen them?"

"Well," Achilles begins with great sarcasm, "just my, you know, mother."

"A scion of the world's second-biggest publishing house," says Patroklos.

"Yeah, and?" asks Achilles.

"Have you ever seen her change someone's life?"

"She ruined my dad's."

"Helen's ruined thousands, and she's only of dubious descent."

"Hm," reflects he of the river of red hair. "If you think about it."

"Yes."

"I've never actually seen Helen."

Patroklos grimaces. "I have come to realize," he says, "that one can never trust the media."

Achilles thinks about this.

"The media's out to get me?"

Patroklos scratches his neck and spits out a stone. "It'd make a great poem."



As always, for Emily and Lindsey, with thanks.


current musix: pink floyd - shine on you crazy diamond (parts I-IV)

Friday, August 12, 2005

Thursday, August 11, 2005

logic. speak it?

Huh.

Tiring as the whole drivel about political correctness is, even more so is the drivel about NOT being so. Study why and how people cluster, why certain national traits endure over centuries, why certain cultures embrace technology and economic growth and others resist them, beseeches David Brooks of all 18 year olds with big brains (And just which ones are those?) This is the line of inquiry that is now impolite to pursue, he says.

It is not. It can be redundant, immoral and all-too-humanly offensive to ask questions with certain purposes in mind. But everyone with half a brain knows that there are always questions that need to be asked, and asked in certain ways, to find right answers.

But multiculturalism, says Brooks, preaches that all groups and cultures are equally wonderful. Not! Multiculturalism treats all cultures as equal, period. Anything more is a matter of context; anything less is injustice. That is all.

I am just so glad that all the eighteen-year olds with "big brains" I know of are studying literature.

Friday, August 05, 2005

TGIF, baby.

Two weeks back I didn't even know what that acronym meant, good honest gods of the hearth! Well, I did know it was "Thank God It's Friday," but in typical Supriya-fashion I made the mistake of assuming it was no more than a nice restaurant somewhere in Mumbai. And that only because I have cooler friends who informed me of the happy fact.

Incidentally, does it still exist? What is left standing? I've been hearing reports about the ToI's stellar coverage of what the All The Right People did when Mumbai - my city, my home, my people, mine, mine, all mine - was doing time at the apocalypse, but I with my access to The Hindu and its sober, clear-eyed reportage have only felt more divorced from it all, because there is no emotion I can attach to those reports seen through alien eyes; no regret, no remorse, no righteous anger. Only an irrational survivor's guilt, and a need to be home and to be helping and suffering with the people I've travelled to college with every day for the last five years. Ridiculous, I know; if I hadn't moved out that very week I'd have been cursing the heavens and very likely stayed curled up in a small useless ball at the edge of my bed - but I would still be there, to look out of the window. (In the howling wind, comes the stinging rain.)

Yes, in other news, I've been busy. It's strange not to be a student anymore; I don't feel like I've earned this money - well, technically I'll be earning it at the end of this month - and a comfy house in a comfy locality in Hyderabad and good food and an utter sexpot of a desktop at work (which is called Bono, by the way). Is it work until you bring emotional baggage and unironed clothes and hard-won opinions on everything under the sun in to be examined by everyone else each morning? Three years of English class, and I am left unprepared for the divorce between iSupriya and the new yuppie raising a fresh and wrinkly face up to the corporate sun.

*struggles into itchy new skin*

To all I stretch the open arm; send me bloglinks and postcards! Speaking of which, I need to mail some of you my address.

Finally, a shoutout to Aishwarya and June. I hope you're both doing fine. I feel very big sisterly towards both of you right now and I hope you resent it greatly. Know also that I miss you very much. Mail me? Many hugs.

Alright folks, I'm out. See you soon.

*clinks coffee mug tiredly and switches off Bono's screen*

current musix: natacha atlas - ne me quitte pas

Thursday, July 28, 2005

the horror, the horror

What sort of time is this to be away from Bombay? Clearly a good one. Close to a 100 cm of rain in a day, and a big fire to boot. Who says we aren't beloved of the gods? (They're taking us to their bosoms a bit prematurely, aren't they.)

What sort of time is this to be away from Bombay?

Phone lines are down.
There's been no power in places where my friends live.
No transport.
No news from friends.


I'd almost rather be back there.

Monday, July 25, 2005

brave new world

HOMESICKNESS.

*cries*

current musix: rending of clothes.

P.S. E, L, I miss you both so much.

Monday, July 18, 2005

"what's it called?" "the massacre at paris." "whoo. good title."

So I read HP and the Half-Blood Prince. eta: and a detailed review courtesy Aishwarya and I is to be found here.

Got it nice and bright on July 16th and read it straight through, bar an interruption involving nuns and Swiss chocolate.

I enjoyed it. All my favourite characters got a leg up, yaye. JKR is also better than Dan Brown yaye. *wishes lots more Scottish castles and the like on her*

Some observations based on the new book that will not be spoilerish. Don't read if you're leery and DUN WANT TO KNOW EVEN ONE WORD OMG. (Get a life.)

- Jo is an Al Green fan. I;m getting a little tired of all her soul talk.
- Jo is not a fan of factual consistency.
- Jo's romances are best left to subtext. Except of course the abiding and obvious love everyone seems to have for the Giant Squid, wands, and their fathers.
- That said, I am firmly convinced that the great love story of the books is that of Snape and Dumbledore.
- Best. Opening. Chapter. Ever
- Best Alternate Title For The Opening Chapter (Ever): The Blair Witch Project.
- Hot Male Slytherins are a countercultural phenomenon that must be encouraged afap.
- TolkienLite does not a Tolkien make. (Although Tolkien might have done well to consider TolkienLite. Speaking of which, JKR never finished LotR, apparently. Dude, wtf.)
- - Dementor babiez!!!!!!

That is all.

item: I'm moving to Hyderabad this Sunday. *puts paper bag over head*

Friday, July 15, 2005

on returning after a space of seven endless days.

And on #8, God made the Internets. Because Divinity, too, needs entertainment.

I return to the web! *plunges headlong* Here is a review of "The Master" to mark it. *beam*

The trip to Kerala had me suffer all of one power cut, but succeeded in cutting me off from the world outside the sleepy village where my grandparents live. My cellphone died of network withdrawal, but not before a wayward tractor came hurling down our road and knocked over the landline telephone pole. So my only source of media pollution has been The Hindu, which is great, if somewhat awkward and self-conscious reading, and the evening Malayalam soaps on telly. Do you have any idea how disgusting they are? No? Don't go watch them to find out. I'll tell you. They'll put you off your food, unless you like weeping, whining paragons of virginity (or, of course, scheming, sorcerous matrons of vice) for whom life is all about loving your parents - or wicked step-parents - and catching a man and keeping him caught, even if he's mad, bad and fugly as a pockmark on Satan's grandchild. Also take ten points if he turns out to be obese.

VIRTUOUS WIFE: I hate myself! I have made 4590723 babies for you and you leave me for a younger, prettier woman! Something must be wrong with me.
TOTALLY WORTHLESS HUSBAND: ... you're not trying to make me feel guilty, are you?
VW: Strange as it may seem to your superior logical mind, Mr. Man, I'm really not. Observe! No irony!
TWH: Wow, I'm beginning to be attracted to you again.
VW: But sex is bad. My evil step-mother told me that I was to deny you at all costs except under the most pressing circumstances to keep this marriage safe.
TWH: And the fact that she was evil means nothing in this context.
VW: I said, NO IRONY.
TWH: Is that the pattern I've been sensing all this while?
MOTHER-IN-LAW: I told you marrying her was going to be wrong for you! She's ruined your Oedipus complex! Also, your life.
OBLIGATORY SQUALLING CHILD: *squalls!*
VW: I get the feeling your mother's never liked me.
MOTHER-IN-LAW: *has been running a 'CHOOSE BETWEEN US' tee-shirt enterprise out of home since son's marriage*
TWH: ... I am totally getting out of here, bitches.

Ah, Mumbai. Air thick with poison smoke, slums everywhere, atomisation at its worst in evidence. A smooch is due to thee.

*puts feet up and watches NO TV. OBSERVE! NO! TV!*

item: Those frequenting Orkut know that each community view also has a 'related communities' panel: so, for example, their 'Ancient Greece' community also relates to the 'Rome' and 'Classical Poetry' communities, et cetera. Now, the rightest of right notes is struck: their 'Bono' community has two related communities. They are 'Bono' and 'Bono'. Bless the Ego.



current musix: the killers - smile like you mean it

Thursday, July 07, 2005

sad eyes, crooked crosses/ in god's country

A fly-by post to say that I will be gone to Kerala in another half-hour or so; returning on the 14th. I will naturally be 'netless and, if the Kerala Elec Board has a stroppy fit on, there is no guarantee my neurons will be functional at all after six in the evening.

... I'm not sure if that last sentence conveys the fact of Kerala's horrible electric supply, or it just sounds like KSEB are a bunch of sadists who like torturing innocent (?) expats(?) with shoxxxx.

Taking Foucault's Pendulum, My Name Is Red, The Master and Reading Lolita in Tehran with me.

Bye!

current musix - the joshua tree.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

we already have problems with populations explosion.

Aishwarya's blog links to an Indian equivalent of that great bastion of Americanism, Save The Males, which, in spite of its lukewarm pun on a great clarion call of our times for corpulent women and Japanese seafood alike, is merely a collection of deadly serious and self-righteous asshattery along the lines of "Women have destroyed the foundations of society!" and "Feminism destroyed my right to keep food warm for my husband!"

Aishwarya is currently fielding heated comments from people who simply don't know of any place anymore (except maybe a few villages in Bihar, apparently) where women aren't treated exactly the same as men, et cetera.

I'm not linking to the Save Indian Family OMGplzkthx! site, but interested readers may Google for it or hop over to A's blog. In short, it is a warning against the western disease of feminism. In allied protest, it has also chosen to eschew reasonable conformity to grammar, although, as Emily pointed out with characteristic sagacity, English too is symptomatic of the Western disease. My question is, why use the Internets as a medium, though? Everyone knows it's filled with 'atheistic hedonistic' women who write pr0n and have orgies on full moon nights!

So many years, you have tied Rakhi on your brother on Raksha Bandhan day and he vowed to protect you.

"Sorry, he's being wanky again. Time to tighten that rakhi."

Today, your brothers in desparation need your help, help for their very survival.

*cracks the whip* "I said CRAWL!"

So, before you tie Rakhi on his hand next time, tell him "Proudly I Say No to Feminism."

"But only because that website told me statistics show a higher suicide rate and lower life expectancy among men than women. So I'll wait till you kick it, steal your money from your 'old mothers, aunts and grandmothers,' and go back to being a superbitch."

Both want gender war. This has already started in urban india.

Emily: Why did you not take me to see the gender war, Supriya? I travel 3,000 miles, the most I expect is to see strapping female warriors in khaki saris barricading the road from the oncoming Mumbai boi's tank division.
Supriya: You westerners are so degenerate, omg.

we already have problems with populations explosion.

I know! And then we have to deal with schmucks like you! Sucks to be a girl, dunnit.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

ten things you did not need to know about me.

1. Between this post and the last, I have entered the world of gainful employment. Details forthcoming.
2. Between this post and the last-but-one, I have fallen hard for one of those shiny new rock bands. Not ashamed! The Killers are so much fun they hurt.
3. I suspect I have socialist tendencies.
4. I have been accused of being feminist because I am single.
5. I'm straight. No, really.
6. I don't have any, repeat, ANY official photo identification. No election card, no passport, no driving licence.
7. Last night, I felt the horrible urge to read the cheesiest, frothiest, most morally offensive romance novel I could get my hands on. It just wouldn't let up. I didn't find any and had to go to bed with Reading Lolita in Tehran. I stayed up till two, reading. The funny thing is, it served the purpose just as well.
8. I'm going back to being vegetarian. Chicken SUCKS.
9. I just got a Shakespeare postcard from Lindsey in Dublin*! She is the rawking. item: I also have a stuffed rat from E. His name is Walsingham.
10. I am nasty. (Pls to cope.)

eta: * - I feel bound to clarify this statement further. My esteemed co-author and crack fairy is under suspicion of being one of the Bard's own descendants. :D :D Don't worry, L, even if you aren't, it wouldn't matter to the greatest charlatan of them all.

current musix: the decemberists - july, july!

Monday, June 27, 2005

moral of story.

I'm not yet decided on journalism as a career because I don't want to write the sort of stuff I read in the papers. Would it be a betrayal of conscience (it's back in fashion to have one, isn't it) or the only way to satisfy it?

Huh moment of the year? Social conservatives in the NYT pointing to Nazi Germany and Russia and other such places and talking about how leftism naturally progresses to fascism. Hello, did you not get the memo that says - SO DOES CONSERVATISM, KTHXBAI.

Leftism, rightism and centrism have theoretically nothing to do with the off-phenomenon of fascism. Extremism is the only position that is in any way logically connected to totalitarianism. (although I think the anarch-capitalists disagree?)

Sheesh. The New York Times needs to get opinions that are a little less stuffed up their own bums.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

play it cold.

The monsoon is here; I smell the rant about rock music no longer being what it was in the air.

I love The Guardian. They tell me exactly what I want to hear as a bleeding-heart pinko-liberal-intellectual-elitist-womyn and - oh, hang on while I take my tongue out of my cheek - they have some good writers. They did this piece on Coldplay just a month back that was excellent armchair rock journalism, full of the sort of bewitching trivia and fuzzy pop perspective that allows Rolling Stone to maintain its dignity even as it features the Ashton Kutchers and Ashlee Simpsons of the world on its venerated covers. Rock writing is an art, an exercise in creating a spectacle out of spectacle. Or as in the case of The G's Coldplay piece, spectacle out of nothing.

Now, this Friday, they come up with the piece linked in my first sentence. In summary it says: Coldplay sucks, Keane sucks, Snow Patrol sucks, new rock isn't going anywhere, the lyrics are no longer poetry, did we mention that Coldplay is the suXX0rz??/\??

Like, hello. We knew that already?

*discerns the sounds of Coldplay fanrage nearing*

Disclaimer: I'm a dud rock fan, possibly the worst, most populist, herd-following, nostalgia-glutted girl that ever owned a Doors tee-shirt. The most recent of my favourite English rock albums? Came out in 1986. (for more details, see the U2 post further down this blog.) So, yes, positively vapid. So much so that it's a wonder I don't listen to more 90's post-rock.

Rock music is no holy cow of mine. I don't care who plays their own instruments or writes meaningful lyrics or doesn't sell their songs in adverts or places in the charts. I love The Beatles, The Doors, Floyd, Zeppelin, and U2, and they have all committed crimes against their own beginnings by doing big fat commercial stuff and breaking out of the long dark teatime of the soul. I love Sigur Ros and I don't understand a word of what they're singing - I don't care what sort of noise-metal-thingummy they actually are, they sound like rock to me. And when I say love, I mean love, the I-can-listen-to-this-album-on-repeat, I-still-remember-what-each-note-felt-like-when-I-first-heard-it, now-i'm-dancing-now-i'm-crying sort of embarassment.

There aren't any newer rock bands that can do that for me. (Although, have you heard A Perfect Circle cover Imagine? They're pretty frickin' awesome.) I adore rock as an entity of many parts; there is the charisma of the band, the sense of being part of a passionate community, the preciousness of the bits of trivia that every fan uses to construct their idea of the band, and all these things add up to something that creates a framework for the main thing, the music. You could say that really good music doesn't need cheap props and spectacle. I'd say probably not. But that's what defines rock music for me; anything that doesn't create that need to geek out in me doesn't have the same effect.

In a conversation with Lindsey and friends about the Guardian article (on suxx0r bands), D, who I hope will not mind being quoted here, quite rightly pointed out:

Kinda unfair to say today's lyrics are banal and the ridiculous belief that older automatically means better. He holds up Lennon, Morrissey and Jarvis Cocker as great? Why not throw in Bob Dylan while we're at it? Yes, Bob, writer of such fantastically deep and profound words such as "Everybody must get stoned!" How about the incredible "Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on, bla la la how life goes on" from the untouchable Lennon? (sp? It's a Macca song) ... I take the point that great lyricists are not as plentiful as they used to be, and I don't argue it. Music is more than just the lyrics. Oh, the lyrics help, but people don't air guitar, nod their head, tap their foot or just rock out to lyrics.


Yeah, man. I've never understood the need to equate rock lyrics with poetry. Who on earth goes to a rock concert for the 'poetry'? I love Lennon but I don't think he's a poet in the 'maker of poems' sense of the term.

I did pontificate thus:

Since the 1990's, rock bands have taken on the mantle of ironists rather than poets, and I think the post-Radiohead generation has brought this examination on itself. These guys are, at least at first glance, indistingushable from one another musically, they have no defining signatures - and there's no leavening by way of star power either. Rock music has traditionally been oriented around the figure of the bard, the prophet, the one who has been chosen to speak the mind of the public in spite of and because of the fact that he or she is different from them, because he or she can where others cannot. 'A man speaking among men', as I think Wordsworth put it. None of these bands have that, even though they sell themselves as boys-next-door.

Every decade has its share of pathetic bands that are all carbon copies of each other - and I am SO thankful the eighties are over - but there's been no overweaning, defining sound that the post-Nirvana era would be proud to be associated with.


Alt-rock really doesn't seem to offer any alternatives, because there aren't any BIG bands to take the house. Call me inattentive if I'm wrong, but from here it looks like we're sitting through an alarmingly long string of opening acts, waiting for the real thing to show up drunk and loud and beautiful.

--

Two U2 links. Shut up. They're good links: Transcript of a recentish Bono interview. "Radiohead just looked at the pop machine and the machinations of pop and just said, we don't have it in us, we don't have the energy, to have our way with that. I don't hear Thom Yorke singing on the radio. I want to hear Radiohead, extraordinary band that they are, on MTV. I want them setting fire to the imaginations of 16, 15, 14 year old kids."

Their Vague Majesties Of Rock. Excellent, if one-dimensional. Slate piece that notices something rather extraordinary about the band. U2's other trick is to pretend that it is a political rock band.



current musix: exodus quartet - the far east coast