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 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