Sunday, February 28

Holi Hai!

Being the stupid little overgrown village that Chennai is, they decided to not recognize, celebrate, or consider Holi important enough to be declared a holiday tomorrow.  So, the dynamic young world-changers that we are at J, we woke up this morning, took matters into our own hands and said, "Holi Hai!"

Don't ask me how they did it, but an enterprising little committee put it all together and at the end of four hours; rolling, drenching, throwing, rubbing and splashing in color, with song and dance, tens of jugs of bhaang later, the more civilised of us looked like this. 

     A rare moment of respite as we wait for the next song to be played                  Photo: KR

Mine sure was a kickass Holi. I hope yours is too.  To all, a Happy Holi!!!

PS: I suggest cleansing milk, toner, surf excel, face wash, body wash, astringent, pril liquid; a scrub and some more cleansing milk, to regain original skin colour. 

Friday, February 26

Au revoir, Pondichéry

A quaint little café overlooking the sapphire-blue beach; soaking-in the sun, sipping lemonade, the Smiths in the background and snatches of conversation. 

Walks along cobbled streets, shopping for summer dresses,  aahaing a cafe here, ooohing a cottage there, a litter of labs totter down the side-walk, as a horse-driven carriage leaves us behind. 

A new morning, beginning with breakfast, sunlight streaming through the windows; smells of freshly roasted coffee beans and newly baked bread; and women in chic white, vermilion on their foreheads, snippets of french, talk of the auro and the ashram. 

At dusk, walking by the shore, watching the sun set into the water, smooth stone against  skin, wind in hair, salt on lips; carefully concealed memories surface and, threaten to choke. A masquerade parade passes by, throws across a safety, a new mask. 

Leaning on his shoulder, drifting in and out of sleep; dreams come. Too soon, a gentle shake, a reminder, return to reality.   

Time to get off the bus, it seems.  

Monday, February 22

A typical Q&A session at J

Professor: Yes! Since we are done with the lecture, the floor is now open for questions.  Thank you. 

Over Enthu pest: Yes, sir, I have a question. It might sound a little off-track from the course of our discussion here, but it's of my strong belief that it is pertinent to give voice to an inquiry so that it is adequately addressed in the appropriate forum, having being necessarily subjected to the considerable thought that it requires? 

Professor: Oh sure, sure. There is always a need for healthy debate, discourse and dialogue in our classrooms.  In fact, its interesting because I would say that it's the Socratic tradition that we uphold when we engage ourselves in an inquisitive mode of dialogue. Would anyone else like to contribute to this?  No? Okay then, back to the question.  

Over enthu pest: Yes, sir. So, I was thinking that if it doesn't conflict with the current scheme of things, may I switch on the fan?

Professor: That's a very very good question. It's actually quite impressive how intelligent these sessions are turning out to be. It means that you are applying your concepts in class to your day-to-day living. A liberal would be overwhelmed by your enthusiasm. 

Over enthu pest: Thank you sir. 

Professor: So, does anyone else have any questions? 

Another pest: Oh yes sir. I would like to submit that the lecture was highly illuminating. Now, I might be wrong, but from what I gathered from the talk, which again could be argued is a purely empirical exercise; if it would be right if I offered that the author's words can be construed and approached in a multitude of ways, in manner of a different interpretation or a value-judgement if you like, even though one might be caught in an intrinsic dichotomy if one does choose to take this stand while naturally understanding the difficulties of upholding such a superficial construct. 

Yet another pest:  Sir, sir, if I can make a observation on this?

Professor: Of yeah, of course. It's an extremely interesting thought. Please, go on. 

Yet another pest:  Its my thinking that it's imperative to our comprehension of the context that it be understood that we are contemplating a fine line between the physiological constraints of a psychological construct and the psychological barriers of a physiological one. So if that is to be considered as a premise of the structure on which this assumption is to be made, then it follows naturally that it is a premeditated endeavour on the part of the author to have created a text that is deliberately subject to interpretations and therefore, a probable juxtaposition of ideas, in the manner of a post-modernist epistemic.  

A third pest: But Foucault...

A fourth pest:  Sir, if I may, I wonder if it's prudent to take Foucault into account at this junction as it is markedly evident that his school of thought has been allegedly influenced by Kant, who in turn is known to have heavily borrowed from the writings of Hume. So, in effect, we should be looking towards Marx. 

Professor:  Oh, wow. That's an extremely valid point. It's brilliant that you guys are able to delve so deeply into the heart of the lecture and discuss these intricacies with such ease. Does someone want to throw some more weight into the discussion? 

Or is there anyone who is at a loss to comprehend these issues? Oh, don't feel dejected if you do. It is natural that you might. These are very tricky concepts. Alrighty then. It was an extremely enjoyable session. Well done, you guys. See you day after. 

*Class ends*

As we walk out... 

Friend: "WTF was all that about? "

Me: "Oh, that guy wanted to know if a text can be open to different interpretations." 

Friend: "Well, duh? That was a question?!!! We woke up at 8:30 and sat here for the better part of a hour discussing that?" 

Me: "Yes." 

Friend: "Dear god, please save the world from us. In the absence of that, do us a favour and make us illiterate again?" 

Me: "Yes please! Do god, do"  

Saturday, February 20

A Joke: An amnesiac trying to forget

One click of a button. One drag of a cigarette.  One missed call in the log. One lone e-mail. One half of a photo.  One rogue memory. One song on the guitar.  One sleepless night. One worn out blue shirt.

One heartbreaking lie.

Friday, February 19

A mighty quest

I'm a survivor and I come to tell you my tale.  Two months ago, one seemingly innocuous mosquito bit me and transferred into my bloodstream a deadly disease. Like Lily sacrificed her life for Harry, my mother sacrificed her K-serial marathon for me and brought me back from the jaws of death. I oathed then to make it my life's mission to kill every single mosquitoes in the world. Lets call me, the-girl-who-lived. 

The girl-who-lived fought valiantly against the odds, outmanoeuvring the enemy's superior aeronautical skills and causing grave harm to its army, until one day, the news about this brave girl reached the Queen Mosquito. She consulted her counsel and so it was decided -- the girl-who-lived was ordained to die.    

In the dead of the night, they came stealthily and in swarms while the poor child slept unaware; dreaming of her bed and her food, her love and her mosquito repellent. In a typical ugly insect fashion, without so much as a war call, they attacked all at once hitting at the most vulnerable spots of her body. 

The girl writhed in pain as they sank their greedy mouths into her delicate skin and drank her blood, weakening her body, minute by minute. They laughed and laughed at the poor girls plight; assured as they were of their imminent victory. Little did they know that the girl-who-lived had been preparing for this her entire life. It was for this reason that she had stored tremendous reserves of protective fat in a number of places throughout her body that shielded her and saved her life that day. 

With the element of surprise on her side, she rose and she killed, ruthlessly and with deadly precision.  One by one, each troop fell to the mighty hand. Too late did the Queen gnash her antennae and made her retreat. By then, the damage was done, the battle lost. The girl-who-lived emerged victorious once more. 

However, the girl-who-lived did not bask in the glory. Her hands were dirty. She felt like Lady Macbeth when she wanted to be Bella Swan. In the aftermath of the war, the colossal death and destruction she had caused seemed so futile. So she vowed anew that she would give up the blood lust and spread the message of universal mosquito tolerance and painless swatting techniques. 

And she did too. For ten long, peaceful, bloodless hours.  

Until the new moon.  

When she closed her eyes and dreamed her dreams once more and then... felt  the lusty mouths suck at her skin once more. 

As the mosquitoeth army comes forth again, the girl-who-lived rises from her lair. The quest is renewed.  Now, the thirst will be quenched only after the mosquito army is destroyed. Once and for all. 

And, so it begins

Friday, February 5

Rann: A review

Before you make up your mind about Rann, it’s important to understand what this film is and what it isn’t. If you were to oversimplify it and put it, the way Ramgopal Verma does throughout Rann– its noble and it’s ambitious.  What it isn’t is anything watchable or worthwhile. 

Vijay Harshwardan Malik (Amitabh Bachchan) is a veteran journalist and the head of News 24 x 7 – a news channel that is struggling to survive in a morally deficient sensationalist market; rapidly losing ground and TRPs to his erstwhile protégé Amrish’s (Mohnish Behl) channel, which in contrast, is thriving on infotainment and paid news.  

In comes the twist in the tale, when the prodigal son and heir apparent, Jai (Sudeep) in a bid to save his channel, is lured by his avaricious brother-in-law Naveen (Rajat Kapoor) into a industrialist-politician nexus, when he sells his soul and with it, his channel’s integrity to the greasy politician Mohan Pandey (Paresh Rawal) by agreeing to ‘create’ news; staging a sleazy sting operation incriminating the PM in a communal riot that ends up toppling the ruling regime and leading Pandey to the seat of power. 

Meanwhile, intrepid young reporter Purab (Riteish Deskmukh) noses around the fishy business, finds ‘proof’ which is essentially is another over-enthusiastic sting operation, and so unearths ‘the terrible truth.’  Like the good boy that he is, he dutifully delivers it to his hero Vijay, who nobly apologises for his pig-headedness and that of his son’s on live broadcast along with a few personal dedications, an eight minute lecture on media and morality and takes leave.

So, it ends.

It’s not by accident that the women in the cast are missing from a mention here.  Notwithstanding the entirely expendable role as that of a snitch played by Nalini (Suchitra Krishnamoorthy), they are simply not even a part of the plot. Gul Panag’s role as Purab’s partner is blink-and-miss while Yasmin (Neetu Chandra) as Sudeep’s neurotic girl-friend does little else but to hover annoyingly on the screen like a mosquito you can’t wait to swat.

Even so, Rann’s white-and-black characters are still among the best things that can be said about it. The music is mediocre, the cinematography creepy.  And, the potential of the movie’s premise is lost in its craze for clichés and the sheer scantiness of its detailing. For instance, why the country’s most respected journalist would run an anonymous it-just-arrived-in-the-mail tape on national television without checking for sources, except to obviously further the plot, is beyond anyone’s comprehension.  That’s just the most glaring plot hole. There are many more. 

With the media being what it is today, the amount of ammunition available for RGV to work with is staggering, if only he had cared to scratch beyond the surface.  In the absence of that, Rann is, just like the news channels in it that he points fingers at – a farce. 

As a student of journalism, I object to Rann not because it mocks the media. But because it doesn't. Not nearly as well as it should have. 

PS: I watched Ishqiya after this. This is the review -- It was very WTF.  Even in a film noir kinda way.  That's it? Yup, that's it.