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.