Monday, February 27, 2006

akhir kyo(to)?


Let these words supply the effect, if you will, of a sigh of boredom that has lasted all the way from Saturday night when, for lack of sufficient entertainment, and also because I got all excited about Gong Li, the flatmates and I went to watch Memoirs of a Geisha. I think I will wait for Brokeback Mountain before venturing out to the cinema again. (Rather proud of self for not suffering a coronary with the excitement of having seen 'Coming Soon' posters of BBM. Although it was very close.)

Until it comes down, though, I must perforce wonder why the world is so, like a broken-down and oppressed teenager, in love with its own sad uncoolness as to produce a film like Memoirs for mass consumption. This cinematic masturbation, I am sorry to say, exists. And that is about the best thing that can be said about it. Actually, Michelle Yeoh and Gong Li are the best things to be said about it. And I can't pretend I didn't like seeing Ken Watanabe again, although he is living proof now of the fact that there are worse things in film than being seen next to Thomas Cruise. You could be cast in the creepy Hollywood adaptation of a slimy novel about a seriously disturbing aspect of Japanese urban life as a creepy, slimy, seriously disturbing rich guy that likes little girl prostitutes. Eurgh. *mocking voice* Geisha are not prostitutes! Geisha are works of art! Geisha are fetish objects for Western civilisation! Geisha are therefore cool!

And like that other famous travesty of modern logic, Rang De Basanti, this film, too, bears the brunt of a weak script that collapses in the second half and can't wait until it exhausts itself at its only possible conclusion. The more objectionable lines and scenes from the film beg to be quoted, but I fear I might make the impression that I believe it deserves an argument.

GAH.

And apparently all three female leads - the central figure being the puzzlingly popular Zhang Ziyi - are coming under fire for betraying their Chinese origins and culture by portraying Japanese prostitutes? What a delicious dilemma. On the one hand, the freedom of the artist to create or perform what art she likes. On the other, the unquestionably immoral act of posing for a film like this. What is to be said?

eta: I think I might faint of delighted love for Yevgeny Plushenko.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

cluckspam

For years I have had a tempestuous relationship with meat. My family, of the landowning proudly non-vegetarian ancestry, has reacted to this situation with predictable inconsistency.

Mum: Oh look darling, there's chicken fried rice to be had. Shall I get us some?
Me: Uh, no thanks, you go ahead. I'll stick with the veg.
Mum: Goodness, you're just like < insert name of prominent member of father's family >. God knows I never brought you up to be a joyless puritan who can't even enjoy her food.
Me: Alright. I'll eat some.
Mum: ... your lack of moral fibre is deplorable.

Over the last two years, I've returned purposely to eating non-vegetarian food at intervals of time, partly to prove that I'm not a vegetarian for morality, partly to ascertain if I am, in fact, disgusted by the thought of eating flesh. AndomgyesIam. For the most part. Fried fish passed the disgustometer. So did fish curry and rice. Not that anything could prevent the combined forces of a Malayali nature and Bombay-ite nurture from winning out in the end. As fish is a moot meat in Hyderabad unless you are very stupid, very rich (I suppose) or unaccountably fond of the taste of chlorine, I remain practically vegetarian.

Still, infected fish would have been less of an issue than this avian flu that has lamentably befallen our nation's chickens. One almost expects fish to get dodgy. They live in the sea, where all our sewage goes. Everyone could just let them stay there until they got alright again. But sick chickens are like radioactive waste. Where do you bury them?

To pre-empt further tragedy, sick chicks are being counted before they are hatched, the argument being that if the chick is sick, the egg will beg ... general standards of good health. Conveniently untying the Gordian knot re: the age-old question of which came first. It's saddening to see the little chick foetii sidelined by an unfair disadvantage. All in a day's work for the anti-evolutionary patriarchy, bah.

Readers are cautioned to stay away from pre- or post-hatched chickens in any shape or form until the flu's passed us by, then. Sometimes, when you're laid a golden egg, it's a great idea to step away from the bird very slowly and wash your hands well. Contrary to popular wisdom, it's best to place them all in one handbasket, and send it on its way to hell.



(pic courtesy edward monkton).

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

short shorts

My thoughts on that insane A Song of Ice and Fire available here. Spoiler alert for those who're still planning to read them.

And happy birthday to Suhel, who caught twenty-two yesterday among friends and loved ones! Have a great year, and don't stop clicking.

So have you all been worshipping at Raj Comics lately? :D

Thursday, February 16, 2006

dudes abide.

'Superhero.' Such an American word. The Japanese have their samurai, the Russians their heroic Marxist leaders (as well as peasants who die tragically in , the British have Rowan Atkinson. We have Bollywood and folklore.

Ha. SUCKERS. Bollywood and folklore may play their part in our imagination, but from such fertile ground rises a lone breed of warrior! All the su/her0 are belong to us! We p3wn comixx action out here! And other such gloriously expressive little gaming malapropisms. Trust me on this one. I don't like superheroes unless they're very very sexy, like Hugh 'Wolverine' Grant* in X-Men, but it turns out that I needed them all along, like everyone else. I just needed them more firmly rooted in my own cultural context.


I was directed to Raj Comics, the virtual residence of some life-altering heroic figures by Imhunt last evening. I ... have been dazed, to say the least. Some of my friends on Google Talk, to whom I have passed on the link, have been less lucky as they are, in their own words, "dying" at the sight of our homegrown Incredibles. Well. It takes strength to face the lady of the Golden Wo.. meaning, the protectors of the world of Raj Comics.

For example, I met ANTHONY, the hardcore super, a DEAD MEN WHO ARISE TO AVENGE WRONG DOERS:



Late Anthony Gonsalvez: A young music enthusiast who invented an original he called "Crownmusic"was tortured to death by his own rivals to steal his music. He is fondly remembered by his wife Julia and daughter Maria.


CROWNMUSIC. My drug of choice! I knew that "Crownmusic is my boyfriend" tee had appeared mysteriously in my cupboard last year for a reason. the DEAD MAN WALKING was sending me a message, of course.

I have not failed to notice that 92 kgs. is Anthony's DEADweight.

And you thought Bandra boys were just good for singing you old Jim Reeves numbers and breathing "men" into your ear in the throes of passion.

Almost as good is NAGRAJ, the MAN-O-SNAKE:




Millions of snakes resides in him in micro-form making him a dynamo of snakes powers. He reels snakes or snake-ropes called nag rope out of his wrists for various purpose. His eyes hypnotize, his poison breath sears and his bite kills.


And he has a brilliant alter-ego cover:

Public relations officer of BHARTI communications. Timid Snakes frighten him to death. Single Wears spectacles.


Cult classic? I should think so! Who will save us from the cultural oppression of the red-blooded white American superhero? Not Japanese anime, comrades, not Japanese anime. It is NAGRAJ, scourge of terrorism in our country.

I should have a special fondness for DOGA, the - would you have guessed it - dog-man:



since he protects my home city.


This towering dog face stalks the Mumbai nightshunting criminals and evil doers to do them to death. He is extremely violent and ruthless. e talks little His guns do the talking . He pooh-poohs law. He is law in himself. He has a bleeding heart for poor and unfortunate.


Even when I believed Ram Gopal Varma did not have a spark of originality in his body, I did not expect him to be heinous enough to transpose the noble character of DOGA upon his two-bit anti-heroes.

Still, much as my my heart bleeds for DOGA himself, I must say he remains eclipsed, for me, by the lone woman that hunts among this noble pack. Her name, friends, is SHAKTI.





She is a raging desire to get justice for women in this man's world. whenever a woman anywhere on this world cries for help in distress the vibes turn an ordinary woman Chanda into Shakti.


The poor honey must be getting overworked, a bit. Still, who am I to pity SHAKTI?


She turn into light form and streaks at the speed of light. the incredible amount of energy in her when released melts all metals and instantly moulds into shapes and designs as projected by Shakti's mind .


I can only worship at her altar. I love me a girl who beats her frying pans into incredible amounts of energy.


The interesting thing about SHAKTI's alterego is that she's a really hot woman, which is what gets her into trouble in the first place. Unlike her terrorism fighting, patriotic hero brothers, our hera converted to superism when, to quote her bio, "discovers a horrible fact that her husband had been killing her girl offspring." I don't know why I'd kill any girl offspring of a woman as lovely as the ORDINARY HOUSEWIFE Chanda. She has turned me into a blockquote-whore.


Chanda keeps herself busy in hospital and social works. The only tell tale sign of this phenomenon is eye mark on ordinary chanda's fore ford which she keeps well covered with a hear band pretending permanent migraine.


And the pervy boys and girls reading this all thought the costume had no meaning. Patriarchy-fed scum.

Do visit Raj Comics and acquaint yourself with these and other members of the Raj Superfamily, such as SUPER COMMANDODHRUVA (the young and brilliant orphan), BHERIA (the fox-man with a sympathetic fox-self that feels pain when he does!) and PARMANU, the atomic man of India. Who's YOUR favourite?

A word of caution. I do not think ANTHONY will appreciate having jokes of the "Were you the original writer of 'My Name is Anthony Gonsalves'?" sort directed at him. Beware; his crow PRINCE may just PLUCK YOUR EYES OUT.




You'd be much better off discussing such things with an older model.

---

* As Kray pointed out, I meant Jackman all along. But Hugh Grant as Wolverine is almost as funny as TIRANGA, the flag-man.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

moonlighting.

Street guys would invent slang ("He's a three-pad man") and "give fives" on the corner with some exchange like:

"Man, you lookin' good!"

"Yeah, man, I'm on the rag!"

- from If Men Could Menstruate, by Gloria Steinem.


I've got werewolves on my mind.

Remus Lupin, one of my favourite characters in the Harry Potter series, is a werewolf. Every twenty-eight days, he turns into a howling, slavering beast that bays for the blood of any human that crosses its path. He is not very unlike me in that respect. We may both have trouble deciding between which is the sexier of Sirius Black and Severus Snape, but our true bond? Is the howling beast thing. There is an unfailing tendency to mindless violence and utter intolerance of the human condition that I connect with deeply during that particular, well-regulated time of month. Remus Lupin and his co-wolves, however, can be easily spared from committing a crime by the simple practice of marking the full moon on a calendar. When one speaks of the entire world's child-bearing population, how likely is it that potential victims (which, cannibalistically, includes other members of the childbearing population) can find themselves a safe haven?

I have howled, I have slavered. I have whimpered, I have curled up in a fetal ball. I have sharpened my claws.

And I have grit my teeth. Being female, I have reminded myself, does not exclude me from being human, however difficult it may be for the population at large to remember this. I have diverted myself by reading conservative Victorian poetry that habitually bores me to tears and weakens my will to live.

But it has made no difference. The werewoman, not being a cow, remains uncowed. The hold of the dark powers upon it is unshakeable. It will remain a tortured and torturing creature with a limbs of lead and a bellyful of fire. Such is its power.

Resistance, just this once, is futile.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

the quiet world

To alt+t+w fanatics everywhere.

The Quiet World

In an effort to get people to look
into each other's eyes more,
the government has decided to allot
each person exactly one hundred
and sixty-seven words, per day.

When the phone rings, I put it
to my ear without saying hello.
In the restaurant I point
at chicken noodle soup. I am
adjusting well to the new way.

Late at night, I call my long
distance lover and proudly say
I only used fifty-nine today.
I saved the rest for you.

When she doesn't respond, I know
she's used up all her words
so I slowly whisper I love you,
thirty-two and a third times.
After that, we just sit on the line
and listen to each other breathe.

-- Jeffrey McDaniel


eta: You guys might like this triviabulous op-ed in today's NYT (one-time registration may be required, which you should get so that you can, you know, read the NYT for free):

Snails caress each other with their antennae, birds touch beaks, and many mammals lick each other's snouts. Chimpanzees even give platonic pecks on the lips. But only humans and our lascivious primate cousins the bonobos engage in full-fledged tongue-on-tongue tonsil-hockey.


The Kiss of Life, by Joshua Foer.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

a honky-tonk parade

Eeeeee. Emily is now available in blogtastic form - and what a blog it is! Know her awesomeness, all.

Upon learning that I had no plans for Valentine’s Day, my unsurprised but considerate flatmate said that it would be a great day to make myself ‘feel special’. Upon being reminded that it would be an exceptional day, indeed, upon which I did not feel myself to be somewhat superior to special, she conceded that the day, short of a miraculous prior drop in self-esteem or the equally miraculous appearance of a satisfactory diversion for a weeknight, could hold no true significance for me. Why, then, to devote the contents of an entire blog to a much reviled tradition of celebrating crass commercialism, smug coupledom and heterosexist media hyper-coverage? Because, I suppose, it is much reviled, and I believe in the power of true love, and I like the story of the brave St. Valentine, and the colour red.

I care to repeat neither stories nor offhand musings on my personal experience of the state of other-oriented excitement, but something, I felt, must be done to mark the day. Not chocolates, which our fridge stocks aplenty at the mo; not flowers, for which my bourgeois soul protests the necessity of having to shell out money; not fluffy bunnies, which are not my kind of rodent. So much for the commonly peddled markers of romaanz. But I reckoned, then, with the boons of technology and my parents’ affection and hard-earned money, all of which conspired to give me my old faithful iPod, Willa, and realised that nothing, but nothing, expresses the inexpressible so well as an .m4a playlist. So I present, for the record, a list of what I shall be listening to come February the fourteenth.

My Warbling Valentines:

- In random order. For all those I have ever pretended, intended, or been contented to love. You gotta dedicate these things to somebody.

1. Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off: Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. A song about linguistic quirks and cultural reconciliation, food and the incredible near-perfection of Ella. I hated this when I first heard it on When Harry Met Sally, by the bewilderingly still-in-circulation Harry Connick Jr. Ella makes it fall into place, and Louis Armstrong’s husk and grain complements the magic superbly. What more could one ask of a song?

2. It’s Only A Paper Moon: Rufus Wainwright. Originally by (I think) Hal Leonard, this one grapples with weighty ideas of Illusion and Reality. It’s only a paper moon/ settled over a cardboard sky/but it wouldn’t be make-believe, if you believe/in me.’ It’s typically Rufus, all lush arrangements competing against his dramatic voice, and it’s just so.damned.sweet. Nothing makes me put on the woozy hat like hearing Rufus sing, Without your love, it’s a honky-tonk parade.

3. Nightswimming: R.E.M. A popular choice for the wistful and the youthfully poetic, if not as sappy as a first impression will have one believe. R.E.M’s getting no letters written in blood for it, for sure. This song is just the right shape to fill a certain sort of hunger: of anticipation, of disappointment, of nostalgia and bittersweetness. Nothing, in a certain mood, can be quite as fulfilling as hearing that piano rhythm and Michael Stipe singing ‘September’s coming soon/ pining for the moon, and what if there were two/ side-by-side in orbit, around the fairer sun.

4. All I Want Is You: U2. See, this is the real reason I love this band. I heart the big political stuff and yes, alright, there is the embarrassing crush on Bono (although the cowboy hat is depleting it very fast) but no one talks about their ability to write killingly nasty love songs. It’s inexplicable that the finest stuff they’ve done in this vein, like With or Without You and One become anthems. They’re really MEAN. I think this one’s on the soundtrack of the too-very-nineties Reality Bites; I swoon yet at the memory of a brooding Ethan Hawke and All the promises we make/from the cradle to the grave/when all I want/is you playing in the background. And that isn’t even the best thing about it.

5. Son of a Preacherman: Dusty Springfield. It would take a truly fortuitous combination of a horn section, a voice like honey and just the right, easy swing, to make a song about someone called Billy Ray interesting. Luckily for the world, this is that combination.

6. I Think I’m Paranoid: Garbage. Because teenage love is unutterably messy. :D I’m too old to like a song that says Bend me, break me, anyway you need me, all I want is you - and I really don’t go in for that sort of thing, but I am helpless in the face of a catchy chorus. So yes, a fascinating study of obsession and all that good adolescent stuff. Plus, I say it should be on the list.

7. She’s a Rainbow: The Rolling Stones. Not a babymaking song, either. Such songs are generally sung from the lover to the beloved, and, well, this is Mick Jagger. And Keith Richards. And they’re referring to a female in the third person. It does not bode well for romaanz! But surprisingly, She’s a Rainbow manages to be poetic and folksy and very much the sort of song a girl would love to have someone think of when thinking about her. And it retains all the Stonesy exuberance, proving that it’s just that much better to be admired by a bunch of rascals than it is to have the love of, say, Perry Como.

8. Milkshake: Kelis. I’m kidding. MWAHAHAHA.

8. Hallelujah: Jeff Buckley. Possibly the most beautiful recording in English pop music. I’ve been single for so long I can’t remember what it’s like otherwise, and I like being that way, but come this song and my heart up and breaks, painfully, for no reason than because, per Stephen Crane, it is bitter, and because it is my heart.

9. Bang A Gong (Get It On): T. Rex. An indelicate name, perhaps, for an unconventional Valentine’s choice. But I know it makes me squirm with delight to hear lines like, You’re untamed youth/that’s the truth/with your cloak full of eagles. It’s a grubby song, but it has charm.

10. Theme Song – Happy Days: Ron Hicklin. Absolutely therapeutic after a long, exhausting evening of complicated emotions.

Current musix: bob dylan – everybody must get stoned. methinks plan b has written itself.

Friday, February 10, 2006

friday post.

So creationists believe the world was made in six days, huh? If I was really made in the image of the almighty, I demand to know why I'm so knackered in five. Why would we need weekends if we only required rest every seventh day?

BLAYP. Ye have no answers. Yet another logical victory for evolution in the whole stupid debate!

See you soon. Please don't let stupidity sink the Internets in the ensuing while. I'm still open for suggestions regarding what to do on Valentine's Day, by the way. Anyone coming up with rude answers, rest assured I've already thought of them.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

making down

My good friend Mithun Kidambi (Ray-deo to discerning bloggers) did me the honour of calling me "tangential" the other day. I'm humbled. Because, you know, I try.

But it's been a week for my real, sour, humourless feminist self to reveal itself. So many things to piss a girl off mightily. First, a psychiatrist takes his 17-year-old patient off schizophrenia meds, because, although they're helping her, they're also making her fat. Shockingly, she doesn't seem to mind exchanging mental instability for chub. A seventeen-year-old who doesn't possess negative body image has really got to be insane.

Then I see these tee-shirts. And realise that there are people out there who think that - we take sexual abuse too seriously. Well. I never.

Then I discover that my friend cannot buy a frigging motorcycle on monthly installments, although her boyfriend can. Because they just don't allow it.

I was thinking about the last post I made, which for those who didn't click on the link was about the UK setting up a fund to counter the Global Gag rule imposed by Bush Co., which prevents foreign organisations from using funds to provide safe and legal abortions to women in remote, rural areas of aided nations, or information about abortion and birth control, or the right to lobby for legal abortions - basically a heap of Very Bad Ideas. And I remembered that abortion comes in very handy in this country when families want to commit female foeticide. And that abortion services - the safe, legal kind - are still pretty dismal out here, for a number of reasons. But pretending they don't exist? What am I missing, America?

Finally, what's everyone doing on Valentine's Day? I thought about writing a love letter to my ten favourite books of all time, and then realised it would be much, much better to have a cup of tea and a quiet lie-down.

current musix: rang de basanti. suck it up, it doesn't mean i like the film any better.

eta: BUT the Eighth Carnival of Feminists is up, viz. awesome. And I just realised I'm part of it. o.O

'kay, I've got the feathers, who's bringing the rum?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

making up

for being an evil empire. First Rowan Atkinson, then Emily, now this. Oh, Great Britain. You make me love you so, sometimes.

Via GenderGeek, some very heartening news about Britain.

Monday, February 06, 2006

the souring of springtime

eta: I wonder why the idea of someone dying - forget about killing, since no one seems to want to mention it - to wake up the rest of the world is so inspiring. Is it because it absolves the ones who follow of the guilt? Of the onus of being the first to get up and speak?

And everyone is so inspired by a film that pays homage to Gladi-bloody-ator. (I think my pulse is growing stronger, I'm beginning to find it funny.) Fingers through the mustard fields! Elysium arriveth! We go to heaven for killing the naughty emperor!

If anybody believes for a minute that murdering an oppressor will wake the rest of the world to life and freedom, then perhaps they also consider it a social experiment worth trying out? As far as I recall, incidents like that haven't usually ended in massive social change. Just in death.

--

earlier this morning:

That swank new film I watched last evening turned out to be a disaster, so. It almost made me cry tears of rage and definitely ruined my taste for dinner afterwards. I fear it’ll be a long time before I ever look at dal makhani without being reminded of the spectacle out of which I stumbled. Spectacle is just not a good enough translation for tamasha, though, is it? ‘Farce’ is a closer approximation. Or ‘mockery’, but both those words imply making a jest in some measure of consciousness.

Spoilers follow.


I tried not to take Rang De Basanti seriously. I did. Unfortunately I seem to lack the wit to take the joke far enough. I can’t even bring myself to think about the things about the film that were good – and there were a fair number of those. Or its equally real filmic, technical failures. Even my capacity for Gladiator jokes is sapped. I’m a sucker for patriotic, nationalistic films, on the whole, because they make me laugh so. Here, on the other hand, was a film that seemed to execute the basic idea of awakening the sleeping conscience of a young nation in a way that got me interested, and then systematically, deliberately, massacred my hopes, and then spit on them.

One applauds the idea of a young Briton deciding to telling the lesser-known stories of the fight against Empire. Britain could do with it, as Emily always says. I don’t think India does, though, since the film would have us believe that awakening our passive youth to the lives and deaths of some of India’s best-known revolutionaries (who they’d have been familiar with long ago, if they’d paid less attention to their hair and more to history class) will mean utter carnage. For those reading this without having seen the film: the college students the young Englishwoman casts in their roles for her documentary suffer the death of their pilot friend who crashes a substandard plane, no thanks to the corruption rampant in the echelons of government responsible for these things. They decide to untie the Gordian knot of the due course of law and peaceful protest and so on by murdering the Defence Minister. The documentary unfolds, and though we know what fate awaits the boys running into the cruel might of the Empire, we can never guess what happens to the revolutionary hopefuls of today.

The answer? They die. Cruelly. You know, the way mighty and vengeful nations put the assassins of their leaders to death. In the full glare of the media. We are left, then, with the idea that this ignoble consequence of an ignoble cause will bestir us to get off our arses and do something about our rotten government. Never mind the brilliant idea of Gandhian non-violence that changed the way the world thinks and became the hallmark of India’s independence.

I can think of several ways to oppose the accepted principles of Gandhian thought. An ideology so powerful requires its opponents. Factions of violent revolutionaries have always existed alongside practices of non-co-operation and civil disobedience. Gandhi’s mistakes bear very close examination. As, perhaps, the frightening idea that we are taught to value these principles because it suits status quo to have us believe them. One wants to know the absolute values of peaceful protest; to quantify, to be reassured. History does not afford us easy answers. But on a pinch, we’d say that matching violence for violence and committing crimes to defy law aren’t going to earn us any points in the evolutionary cycle.

But it’s a waste of time to ponder these questions in the context of something so horrifying and hollow. To this film, the poetry and pity of war never happened. In fact, neither did the odd century of socio-political, philosophical change that lies between Bhagat Singh and today. It makes the same philosophical and moral mistake that big, sword-and-sandal Hollywood epics do; to its own ends, it misreads the motives of the warriors, the source text. Troy reduced the Iliad to a greedy squabble, Alexander elevated an ambitious king to a great visionary of world equality. And Rang De Basanti takes the deeds of a few young men with their backs to the wall, with no possibility of their voices being heard, much less of escape, and presents their story as a blueprint for freedom.

And I’m thinking, those lads long ago that gave themselves up to prison and torture? Definitely did not go to the gallows or commit suicide with smiles on their faces and a song on their lips, unless they were psychotic. Don’t kid yourself. They probably cried and pissed their pants. They were human. They did what they had to do. History will be kind to them because they were desperate men in desperate times. I can think of other men in similar positions in the world today. Young, well-off Delhiites with fathers in positions of power? Not so much. I’m afraid our aging hero’s Frodo Baggins hairdo didn’t do much to convince me of the righteousness of his cause. India’s corrupt bureaucracy isn’t the Empire. It isn’t Sauron. And neither of those were brought down with bullets, last time I looked.

How many times was I to cringe at the subtle attempts to bring religion on the sides of the righteous? It’s okay, it isn’t like the Crusades never happened, you know. But those riots in 1984 did, too. Way to champion murder and lawlessness, to have Frodo’s Sikh family make some crazy dedication of his death to God! Way to incur divine sanction for our fearless crusaders, jaunting around the Golden Temple and sundry places of worship in the best tradition of national integration. Simply fantastic to see the famous one God of many faces bring all of them together to give us a giant thumbs-up at taking the easy way out. “We’re not terrorists, we’re just students angry with a corrupt government,” they say. They have a word for people like you in Afghanistan, you knob. It’s “Taliban.”

My disgust for the film’s grand ideal, in the end, made me think about whether I believed there was anything for which it was worth dying. One’s country? World peace? The people one loves? Anything or anyone, perhaps, for which we are responsible. The onus is on us to protect what we love.

Is there anything, then, that is worth killing for? Theoretically, the answer would have to be yes, bound to those very things for which we are responsible, after all. In the real world, the answer is no. In the long run, if we want to rewrite history – if we want to ensure a future, simply, the answer is no.

If there were a hundred people reading this, I know at least sixty, somewhat alarmed, would want to respond with a request to cool it. It’s just a movie. And were it any other movie, I’d have taken that advice. I’d never have gotten to ranting like this, in the first place. But this film wants you to take it seriously. It wants you to awake and sup on its milk of freedom. Don’t be taken in. If you wake up and decide to go about being inspired by the thought of killing people who make life hard for you, the door’s hitting your arse on the way out.

Friday, February 03, 2006

friday farewell.

It's a crazy world for as long as you're connected to the Internets. Come Friday evening, you shut down your system, wend your way resolutely home, and spend the next twenty-four hours in bed, alternately sleeping and devouring A Game of Thrones.

You order jeera rice and dal fry from the local shady restaurant, and then supplement the meal with a double cheese pizza. You lower ten-rupee notes on a piece of string from the balcony to the chai-lady down on the footpath at intervals, in order to have strong, sweet, fragrant tea sent up to make being awake worthwhile.

You have long, lazy baths, childishly delighted with the expensive shower gels and shampoos you're usually too rushed to use on weekdays. You wear your favourite frayed khakis, take the imaginary dog out for a walk down the leafy lanes of the park nearby.

You have long, heartfelt conversations about spirituality and society and hot office gossip with the flatmates. You commune with the hidden self that refuses to do time with the rest of you on the capitalist payroll.

You plot your great novel. You spend hours lost within the dense, complex beauty of the first movement of Beethoven's Sixth.

You go shopping at FabIndia. You go shopping at the British Library's sale of withdrawn books. You walk in triumph to the swank new theatre to watch the swank new Hindi film everyone's been talking about.

You sleep some more.

And then, by the time Monday arrives, you're climbing the walls out of sheer desperation, because you are a WEB JUNKIE, and all the world's pleasures come to nothing when compared to a GOOD HARD SURF on a gleaming flat screen and hi-speed connection.

And the Internets, caressing your fevered mind with the touch of an indulgent mother, will open its arms to you. Because you have MORE THAN BLOOD running in your veins. You are an ELECTRIC ADVENTURER, soldiering your way through forests and deserts of webspace. You have SUPPED on the MILK of virtual freedom. You have BANDWIDTH FOR BONES. And a GOOGLE SEARCH BAR for a BRAIN. You are possibly even a LOSER, but one of the kind that is past caring about it's LOSERLINESS, utterly BEYOND REDEMPTION.

Until then, homies. Keep the web safe, wot.

---> aaand a belated happy birthday to Vikram! May the sour apple martinis flow and nubile young beauties dance attendance upon your every whim. Or, you know, have another fantastic year of lounging about and reading big fat books that no one else understands, because geeking over history is as good as love. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

the romaanz tag

So, I've been tagged to do this rather dodgy meme by the lovely Anindita, who probably knows how seriously I consider these things. The meme asks you to describe 8 qualities of the Perfect Lover. Oh, perfection! Oh, love! Oh, interesting philosophical problems! And apparently the sex of the desired party must be stated. I take objection to this on principle, let it be stated for the record. In practice, however (although it's been yonks) I'm heterosexual. But, let us proceed without further ado.

So, the perfect lovah:

1. Ought to be a passionate artiste, preferably with a weird accent. If last name Shakespeare, must look more like Joseph Fiennes than dubious Elizabethan portraits. Shakespeare with cow-eyes and abundant hair means Shakespeare to treasure for all time.

2. If last name Fiennes, first name preferably to be Ralph. Additional points if is maniacal misunderstood dark lord, although could do with more nose and less interest in genocide. Must not be mutilated Nazi enabler languishing in Italian villa checking out the pretty nurses (though villa is totally okay).

3. Speaking of genocide: Must not like guns. Must not like hunting. Must not think cowboys are sexy. Unless they are kissing each other. In fact, is definitely allowed to express interest in Heath Ledger as Heath is one hot rabbit. Must adore Ang Lee.

4. Or, omg, be a dashing Chinese cowboy in manner of Chen Chang. Additional points if turns out to be a Japanese actor in disguise, a la Takeshi Kaneshiro masquerading as Chinese in House of Flying Daggers.

5. Might as well speak Japanese, while at it. And lots of dead languages. Would like it if not dead himself, unlike the real Shakespeare. Must not insist on Shakespeare being scion of the House of Oxford or other snooty bastich, but celebrate his being son of soil.

6. Must not be snooty bastich, although attendant wealth/Gothic manor/hordes of lovely manslaves would be welcome. Or dark rugged superhero in leather and wool, seeking to be worthy of regaining the inheritance cruelly stolen from him when still a quickening in his mother's womb (but must bathe more than once in three days). Is okay if snooty literary bastich, although Vikram Seths generally preferable to V S Naipauls.

7. Actually, can just be very rich but thoughtful, well-spoken public man dedicated to the betterment of the people, like Rahul Gandhi, but with brains and without mother. If orphan, is not allowed to be Heathcliff, as Heathcliff VERY boring.

8. Could definitely be Johnny Depp. Apart from being uber-sexy, could then speak of children in generally disrespectful ways, such as: "When kids hit 1 year old, it's like hanging out with a miniature drunk. You have to hold onto them. They bump into things. They laugh and cry. They urinate. They vomit." May or may not love children but simply must be able to laugh at them, see.

Now, the most important part of it. These are the Tag Rules:

1. The tagged victim has to come up with 8 different points of their perfect lover.
2. You need to mention the sex of the target.
3. Tag 8 victims to join this game and leave a comment on their comments saying they’ve been tagged.
4. If tagged the 2nd time, there’s no need to post again.

Okay. I've done this meme very badly, since some of the points are really two points combined in one, and some are a continuation of the point before, and all are filled with silly notions about Celebrities, who everyone knows are not Real People, and so on. (Real People are so 1990s, anyway.) Besides, there probably aren't eight people who read this blog, and I can't be arsed to comment on eight others. So, excited as I was to receive a tag myself, I shall be lazy and selfish and not bestow the honour on anyone in return. Although, both of you reading this, please know that I would love to hear about your perfect lovers, so if fancy takes you, consider yourself tag-tag-tagged!