Monday, December 11, 2006

The incredible dumbness of being

One of my friends is getting married and e sent me his foto along with the would-be. The would-be was dressed in a traditional sari with all the jewels bedecknig her torso and even some sparles on her face.
She was a woman. A full-grown woman.
This unsettles me a bit. As much as a kid callnig me an uncle.
At 28, I still feel very young. My concept of girls is still the - backslapping, beer-mugs clinking and making-out in the back seats of an empty cinema hall- kind . A woman overwhelms me.

Every day I perhaps become more bitter or wiser (or probably both are the same thing), but there is this restlessness taht refuses to settle down. Inspite of the fact that each passing day makes the fact of my ultimate non-impact more obvious. But somewhere I still feel the fire. The only thing holding me back, and perhaps a generation is -
1. the fear of poverty (no matter how rich some pals are making it, I still feel this underlying fear very strongly, esp. in friends coming from middle class bkgrnd. )
2. unwarranted peer pressure (esp. strong for those graduating from "premier" institutes
3. the kind of unreal, hyper-hyped, over-paid corp. work taht we do that alienates us from true human reality and art

I see this gonig only two ways.

Either I will leave my MBA career and do something in the next couple of years.
Or, I will push my head deeper into the grinder and die silently.

A moment passes
An energy drains off
I sigh
I think it's gonig to be the latter

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Cruel Intentions

Of all the shitload of teen movies to come out in the recent years, it is this adaptation of "Dangerous Liasons" that has interested me. The film revolves around the amoral duplicity in the lives of super-rich kids and their games.
See it if you stil haven't. Nice treatment and an amazingly good-looking cast.

Monday, December 04, 2006

What lies beneath

I can never be a "great" man. I am a terrible listener. My ears only prick at the unusual. A man tellnig me 10 great places to invest in tomorrow so that I can reap 100% a week afterwill lose me. But if he mentions just a little about a friend who shits standing up, I am all ears.

Since childhood, my fascination has been two fold - stories and the people in those stories. I like seeing people. The way they move, scratch and mutter. I discovered this when a friend from school met me last month and told me this. In IIMB, I had a guy named Anurag Hans sitting next to me and he followed the same interest. We had a whale of a time discussing why everybody wore the clothes they had worn to the class then, which of the guy might turn out to be a wife-beater, dear old Vibhor Kumar and other odd topics.

Now that I have started clicking a few, I find that it's again people that interest me. Caught unawares. I hate getting fotografed and fotografing people striking a pose. A digitalSLR gives me the freedom of keep on clicking till the person drops the pose and gets oblivious to my antics and gives me something more soulful.

Here is a collage of people who have interested me in the past 2 months and whom I have clicked.

Top - San, Nilanjan, San, Srijit, Prachi, Me (clicked accidentally)
Middle - Prachi, Prachi, Ronjon Da, the very handsome and very young Raheem, my favorite subject - Rajeev
Bottom - San, Vibhas, Gulshan, Tara, Vibhas, Tammy

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The need to be seen

A friend who professes to be above base-human desires and hubris (if this was not pride itself!), inadvertently let his slip show yesterday. We were discussing a celebrity and not very flattering at that. My friend told me that he'd met this start once and, with a touchof pride, had a photograph clicked enselmble.

I've met some celebrities also. And tho' I don't live in the shadow of those events, I still wonder - that did they affect me even for a little while thereafter? Did I feel elated by an aura of celebrityhood (the phenomenon of strangers pointing and gaping at you from across the street instead of just ignoring you) experienced second-hand? Did I make more of a casual meeting with a comedian who rarely makes me laugh, a thspian who does, a singer who brays just because the no. of people knowing the guy-girl outratioed those konwing me by a factor of 10000:1?

Another seemingly related point. Since I have started clicking strangers, I find the ratio of people interested in getting fotografed to those indifferent to be huge. Sometimes with an enthusiasm which is difficult to explain since it's very clear that they're never even going to see the foto.

Why do we all have this craving, this need to be noticed?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006



Got up at 6:30 and biked with Vikram to Bheemeshwari. Went along the unbelievably potholed Helagur road but returned by Sathnur which, tho' not exactly the cheeks of Hema Malini, is a far better approach to the place.

Had breakfast of Idlis and tea at Kanakpura along the way.

Reaching Bheemeshwari photographed some monkeys and then came across a langar around a temple construction. Despite the full stomach, the pulyogiri offered in banana leaves relit the appetite :).

After taht took a dip at the brook. Lots of local kids who offered some interesting snapping opportunities.
Caught some silk farmers on the return trip. You can see the worm in the foto taht has just finished spinning its web. The farmer gave us some fresh coccoons and asked us to dip them in boiling overnite for the silk. Otherwise, the moth would emerge in a few days. You could feel the worm burrowing inside. Could not do it. So gave mine to Vikram.

Vikram is a very special friend. We don't share any past. Just the French and these trips. No chips on the shoulders, just good times.

I think I am independent enough now to not need shoulders to cry on and ears to confide in. I just want to have a good time and intelligent conversation.

In the evening, Manju dropped by with that cute 5 year old Nabbu. San's bday was on and so went to Chandni Chowk - San, Prachi, Tammy, Manju, Nabbu and me. Nabbu told em about some friend of his and I pulled his little legs a little as I asked in all mock-seriousness whether he was sure he was a friend and not just a casual acquaintance. Had he tested the mettle of the so-called friendship yet?

Nice end to a lovely day.

The world - according to the media

erupted in protest over Greg Chappell's comments against Indian MPs, with demonstrators burning the coach's effigy and demanding that he be sacked immediately.
At Kalighat in the southern part of the city, around 30-35 members of 'Cricket Lovers Association' raised slogans against the Australian coach saying he has insulted not only the Indian MPs but also the entire nation.

30-35 people make Kolkata.
That means if I collect the three floors of my apartment building (each floor housing 4 flats) and protest against, say, women being allowed to drive cars, I can claim to speak for an entire city of only a few millions.

This from Indian Express.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Had a short theatre thingee yesterday night at Hotel Ista. Just a small playlet prepared for a corporate audience. Kanchan was also playing a part. Directed by Arka. Just for the heck of it. Tho' had a verrrry delicious apricot filled chicken breast as a result. One of the best dishes I have ever tasted.
Yesterday, in the noon was caught in the rains, after dining with Firoza Vikram and Arvind, at Brigade Road. Had gone to get a UV filter for the camera. Quite an interesting subject lay before and clicked a few.

Today, I did nothing. Decidedly so :). San and Prachi did go to see a Hindustani classical music concert but ditched coz it would have taken more than 6 hours. Wanted time just with myself. But Vibhas and later N Singh dropped in. Didn't mind it :). Clicked some snaps with Vibhas on the terrace.
Vibhas is still trying to get into too many things at once.

Bertrand Russell describes 3 levels of unhappy people. One of them is the Narcissus - one who is obsessed with himself and does stuff because the end looks good to him. But he hasn't thot about the process of getting there or rather just not the route but not the perseverance and tribulation that goes into achieving.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The past 2 days...

Stumbled from one revelry to another this weekend.
Thursday, came home from work and some theatre practice to get a call from Sabby taht his bachelor party was on at Enigma.
Entered to find a crowd of strangers. Four pitchers later, we were bosom buddies.
Went back to their place and had more booze. Enigma waiters had been pretty indifferent( which is a euphemestic way to say taht they were downright rude).Umesh avenged the umpteen putdowns handed to us by just walking out with the beer mug he was drinking in. I am sure his parents must be really proud of him today.

Nsingh and Vibhas dropped by yesterday to create a joint family scene.

Tammy also came back yesterday. Clicked some snaps of hers and Prachi trying to be the bad girls. Prachi was hilarious as you can judge for yourself.

Tammy has a very photogenic face. Very clear skin and if I increase the brightness, the effects can be very interesting.

Anyway, we went to Angeethi from there where Tammy had her first paan.

Today, I am meeting the old French gang - Firoza, Deepthi, Arvind, Vikram and (hopefully) Karthik for lunch. Have a small production at Hotel Ista after that.

thank gaye bhai...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


It finally happened.
After a two-year hiatus, I went back to theater.

We had three shows spanning Friday and Saturday last week at Alliance Francaise which were sold out. I am a bit taken aback by the success . No doubt the performance and execution was good but I feel that the response has been more over-whelming than expected. I think part of the reason is also the pathetic theater scene at Bangalore. So much so that if a play can be performed with its actors taking the cues, remembering their lines and giving passable backtalk - it is a success.
But, of course, it was a great play and am happy to be finally a part of it.
The play was based on 12 Angry Men - a1950s play/movie about the conflict in each of us when we are made to sit to judge others. The conflict of our reason vs. our own beliefs, biases and prejudices.

Ranjon Da played the judge, debating whether a petty Muslim youth had murdered his father or not while we played the 12 jury members that debated the question in his mind.

But, no doubt, this play belongs to Riju (right).

Entirely his baby.

And getting 14 schedules, tempers and actors' egos in sync has defintely made him more patient.

After the production, we had a get-together at RanjonDa's place - Yellow Submarine.

It was really exhilerating to discuss the subtelities with 14-15 different personalities who understand theater and acting - some almost as good an actor as yourself. See the snap below of the discussion.

In all, a good experience.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Why do we say - Nevertheless and never Alwaysthemore ?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Article on time management

Ask yourself this question: "Would I have ever gotten started with this project, relationship, career, etc. if I had to do it all over again, knowing what I now know?" If your answer is no, then get out as soon as possible. This is called zero-based thinking. I know a lot of people that have a limiting belief that says, "Always finish what you start." They spend years climbing ladders only to realize when they reach the top that the ladder was leaning against the wrong building. Remember that failure is your friend. So if a certain decision you've made in the past is no longer producing results that serve you, then be ruthless and dump it, so you can move onto something better. There is no honor in dedicating your life to the pursuit of a goal which no longer inspires you. This is another situation where you must practice integrity in the moment of choice. You must constantly re-assess your present situation to accurately decide what to do next. Whatever you've decided in the past is largely irrelevant if you would not renew that decision today.


Everytime an aeroplane flies over my colony, Dudu, the bldg. mutt, howls like a wolf.

Don't you hate those Reader'sDigestOprahClub book that would overanalyze the smallest of events.
Like the aeroplane was the lost opportunity flying past us for which the soul cries out.
The aeroplane carries within it hundreds of possibilities in terms of the different people. The doul cries out to those who can touch us if we met them but unfortunately will never.... and so on...

But why does Dudu howl like that?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Of late

Perhaps the besting thing that has happened to me in the past couple of years is going back to reading. Got up at the unusal hour of 630 today for a play practice session at 7. As usual, the rest of the cast started trickling in after 730. But hell. What does it cost when I have the pathetic yet evoking Nabokov to give me company.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Today, once, while meditating, and the other, when conversing with Prachi, 3 epiphanies dawned.

1. The opposite of determinism is freedom and possibility.
2. Probability is the law, possibility - the transcedence.
3. Society will always show you the path of least resistance and even moralize it. The reason being that people are fearful of any change.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


This, along with(The Bicycle Thief) is the most impactful movie that I have seen this year. Like"Requiem for a dream" and 'Matrix", the style redefines the movies of today. A lot of reviews have dismissed this movie as too much Tarentino ( and KillBillish, relying on style over content and too much gore.
Firstly, I believe this is far superior to Kill Bill. Tarentino is good, but a bit overhyped. And I don't think his #1 forte is style but dialogues.
Second point - Bullshit. The movie made me think. Not many can claim to do that these days. A lot of us suffer from the misconception that if something is delivered in a cinematically cool package, it can't have any substance.
Third - I think the gore was necesary. Even the violent copulation scene between Oh-Dae-Su and Miko.

I don't like to dissect movies that have made an impact in me. The essence of the impact is in the whole and not parts. To understand the lack of impact, maybe, you need to dissect it.

But some scense that clearly I enjoyed the most stylistically ( and don't feel guilty about it)-

1.tha passage of time by world events unfolding on the TV.
2. Dae-Su coolly walknig to a gang, plucking the cigarette from one's lips and having his first puff after 15 years. And the small fight after that where he questions whether 15 years of self training can really prepare you for the real world and the two line answer - It can.
3. Of course, the fight scene in the passage which I feel has been inspired by video games layouts like Ninja.

I have watch the movie 5 times now and still watching...
Some more blogs on Oldboy!32C26870C88B5120!434.entry

Monday, October 02, 2006

High Noon

Am watching one classic after another these days.

High Noon is amazing. Set against the background of McCarthy witch hunt, the allegory is a leap of genius. The shot of the rising tensions in all the lead actors and the rail road at the last minute countdown to the coming of Frank Miller is c.l.a.s.s.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Ever tried pinning all the literary bursts into a book?
it saps you dudes.
and when the end is in sight suddenly everything seems so wrong. the humor too obvious, the drama too melodramatic, the language too pedestrian. No wonder a lot of the authors ending up dedicating the final print to the person who gave the last push and just convinced the author to get the goddam script published.
In my case, after two years, I find what I have written too stale and obvious now. Even the genre and style seem too pretentious now. I am trying to bring out the mediocricy of growing up experiences in small-town India but I fail to identify the beast that I have created. It's not a story, it's not a commentary, so what the heck is it?

Why could I have not stuck my guns to a romance?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Cola wars

We seem to have hit the peak of the age of hysteria in the ensuing Cola controversy. I refer to the condition in hysteria of reacting excessively without thinking. Tho' it's my personal belief that the motives are also fuelled by the xenophobic envy at the supposed riches and lifestyle associated with PepsiCola MNCs and the Indian habit of finding anything consumed for pure pleasure as evil.
I know this may seem a long way off but I find the sentiments echoed in the increasingly common outcries against "vulgarity". The indecent assaults on our maryaadaa protested by gundas burning tyres and holding the public at ransom.

Why I say the whole protest sham is unreasonable is this -
High is not an absolute term. It's relative. Hence, when the media sensationalizes the high levels of pesticides in the cola, the first question taht should have been asked is - How high is high? But I see nobody asking this very common-sensical question. I guess this is beacuse nobdy is interested in the right answers. The only issue at hand is tahta MNC is brought to the knes and let's kick the living air out of it.
Reactonism, Frustration, Inferiority complex - each one seems to have his own ulterior motive.

The article below by the very respected Gurcharan Das in TOI should put things in perspective (for those who are interested in the controversy on its scientific merit) -

Truly, we are a wondrous land! In a country where two thirds of the children are undernourished, where 70% of the people cannot access safe sanitation and 65 infants die out of a thousand born, we are seriously debating the pesticide levels in a product that is probably the safest in the world from a pesticide perspective.

Sadly, the controversy has created a scare in a nation which has among the lowest pesticide residues in its food chain. Indian diets contain roughly 18% of acceptable daily intake levels of pesticide versus western diets which have 40-50%, according to international experts.

The reason is that our diets are extensively vegetarian; and meat inherently has higher pesticide levels via the grains ingested by animals in the food chain. If we are seriously concerned with pesticides in Indian diets, we ought to begin with tea.

According to European norms (EU), tea contains 187,300 times the pesticide than water used in colas. If hypothetically our colas had exceeded allowable levels by 30 times, I could still drink 6,200 glasses of cola and I would have less pesticide in my body than a cup of tea.

The same goes for other foods. EU norms allow apples to have 154,120 times the pesticide than water; bananas to have 95,220 times; milk 7,140 times. So, soft drinks are among the safest products we consume from the pesticide perspective.

This doesn't mean that our other foods are not safe. Nor is our food chain polluted — an unfortunate impression created by the media. It means that we do not live in an ideal world free of pests and pesticides.

I am generally a critic of our government, but in this case I give it credit. It has fixed water standards which are equal to the highest norms in the world.

Since water in soft drinks conforms to these norms, it is probably safer to drink a Pepsi in Kerala than in Kentucky. The government is also now working on sugar norms and testing a protocol for finished soft drinks.

In the end, governments understand that multinational companies have to maintain high standards because they have too much to lose. News travels quickly and a disaster in one country can harm a company's image and sales around the world.

Hence, the Indian government wants to do its own tests. The last time around government data showed six times lower pesticide levels than CSE's tests. Our state politicians have fallen into a trap.

They think that by banning colas they have won cheap votes. People, however, will soon realise that they have been taken for a ride. Already, the people of Kerala are questioning, how can you ban colas and allow the sale of liquor and cigarettes?

Eventually, everyone has lost in this silly business. Our nation has been unfairly smeared for high pesticide in our food chain. Our exports of food products will lose the trust of international customers.

Tourists will say, "If I can't drink a safe cola, how can I eat anything in India?" Foreign investors will be reluctant to invest in a country which does not observe the rule of law in closing factories.

All NGOs have got a bad name by these smear tactics. The environmental movement has been hurt. This is sad because we need a strong civil society to take on the real problems of India. Finally, media has been tarnished by its lack of application. We have truly scored a self-goal!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

If I were the PM - 1

  1. All news would, henceforth, be aired from only the state-owned service by Shakti Kapoor. The end of every news item would be marked by an "Aaaoooo".
  2. Instead of the inane left-of-way or right-of-way ruletraffic flow will be converted to middle-of-way and side-of-the-middle ways. The rule will change at every crossing. Which mmeans that people driving on the middle of the road will have to shift to the sides and vice versa.
  3. No movie having les than 30 minutes of nudity and 1 hour of blood-soaked violence will be passed. Only movies with 1 hour of blood-soaked violent nudity will be granted the Universal certificate.
  4. Kick in the crotch would be deemed as a valid punishment for all cases of corruption. The no. of kicks would correspond to the amount of money siphoned. The kicks will be administered by grumpy Jat policemen who have just had a row with their wives followed by an incident of road-rage.
  5. On the anniversary of every Miandad-six Sharjah, Chetan Sharma will be beaten mercilessly on the state television for 1 hour. After his death, the onus will pass on to the closest kin.

Remember the heroes

Every morning my eyes water - partly from the Bangalore morning rush hour pollution and partly from the sight of heroes on cycles weaving through the mayhem. Peddling furiously between cars, over pavements and the razor-thin tarmac dividing two giant potholes, the heroes sally forth where no other dares. They brave the unending rush of horn-blaring bikes and mammoth juggernauts of Honda Cities and Ikons as they blind turn towards the right from the left or vice versa. My only complaint is that, in daring this impossible move, the terror and plea in their face and manner as they pedal to the other side between the flurry of MRF wheels does not really become the dignity and courage of their endeavour.
When the roads were converted from 2-way to 1-way, the Bangalore Traffic police forgot to communicate the fact to these brave men. Unheeding of the coming storm of cars, scooters, bikes and horns, the heroes slowly but steadily continue their pedalling. Together, they hold the memories of the era of 2-way streets. A reality that strikes me every time I succeed in finding the gap besides the lumbering Sumo to make my breakaway, only to be confronted by a timid hero, advancing in the opposite direction, precariously clinging on to
  1. the memories of the Bangalore and that particular road that were,
  2. the little space on which he finds his way through and,
  3. of course, his dear life.

The Bangalorean cyclist is a dying breed. Literally. Those who survive live to fight another day. In all the scenes of accidents that I have witnessed, it is the cyclist who has been at a disadvantage. Whether in the mangle of steel, tube and bones, or the receiving end of a string of Kannada abuses from the biker who's just realigned the poor cyclist's front tyre.