ZE HIGHER FORCES



Despite our rather grudgingly approved sabbaticals (by the higher forces of course) we have been awarded. An award. And we must pass it on.
But first, we wish to thank Mr. Lounger from the lounge of Imam Wapsoro. For his undying support and much looowe.

And we must pass on the cheer. Cheer that shall probably never be heard or seen. But cheer that will send ripples of positive energy that will affect somebody, something somewhere. Because you see, we believe in such things. The higher forces, of course. Cheering on then:

Jabberwock: We love him because he has good taste. And then there is nostalgia. And then there was none.
Szerelem, Szerelem: We love her for her passion. And her obsession.
High Heel Confidential: For teaching us big things. Expensive things. Oh-so-fun things.
Purely Narcotic: For being sensitive and flitsy-flootsy fantastic.
Imam Wapsoro: But of course. For trying. And triumphing.
Toodles then! Until next time :)

WELCOME ME

I shall call it a sabbatical. An unnecessary sabbatical. But here we are and back on the road.

Whatever prompted me back into the deliciously real world of blogging again? A class assignment. Yes you heard me right. If facts are to be believed then 80% of a 1 credit course dedicated to blogging shall contribute towards my final grade. And the first question is ‘Who am I?’ Easy? But, of course.

About as easy as back when I was preparing for my TOEFL examination, and the voice prompt egged me on to describe my room and dumped a 10 second timer on me for necessary preparation. And so I spluttered “My room is….erm…large. It is bright and colourful. I love my room. Uh…” Nervous laughter punctuated the monstrosity of a meaningless sentence. Describe my room? I can talk how digital technology is revolutionizing the microfinance sector, and how the Global North needs to stop monopolizing. Period. But describe my room? Splutter. And then some.

Since when did I become such a complicated creature that the details in my very own bedroom started escaping me? The deep magenta wall, flanked by light wooden wardrobes with inward ridges. The giant television set that still has cable, covered by frilly peach fabric. Just about worse than Nat Geo in Hindi. But just about. Because, really I watched MTV Splitsvilla all the time.

Therefore, ‘Who am I?’ will be answered. With much aplomb and symmetry. But it really isn’t as simple as I would imagine. For starters, am I a Grad student? A Post-Grad student? Did I just complete my under-graduation? Or those nights I spent away in a desultory daze courtesy copious alcohol, were they not really celebrating my graduation? Sigh. Welcome me to the United States of America.

Love.

'TWAS A GOOD PLAY

The light comes on to reveal a staid, wooden table. One of the legs, seemingly shorter, lulls the staid, wooden table into an inconvenient motion. Until suddenly it jerks her into conversation. She is sitting opposite him. And in their loose, daily attire they start talking about super-heroes.


She: Really?

He: Yes, I am serious. I posses actual superpowers.

She: Uh huh. And what might these superpowers be?

He: I cannot tell you. When I start telling people, they start...(emphatic pause, deliberate stare)...dying.

She: Err....

He: Yes, I kill people with my talk. That is indeed my superpower.

She: What do you mean? (darts a look here, darts another there.)

He: It can be quite gruesome if I so wish. It takes the beginnings of forming my lips into ovals, moistening my lips, and expending the slightest whoooooosh of a word. I can feel the world around me spinning, Yes, I can feel it. There is a sudden energy that suddenly grips me. I feel like my brain is aware of a brand new consciousness. A world with my victims, and a world without. I have the power, the simple power of only talking about this power. And then the schism penetrating my consciouness, vanishes into thin air, taking with it the victims as I so desire. It is devastating my power, in execution and in style. Such ultimate power, all contained in a little, itchy ball dying to escape my throat...

She: (yawns)

He: (looks away, defeated) Well, looks like my superpower is to kill people with my talk.



DEAR FRIEND

Dear friend,

Once upon a time there was her, who promised with fancy. She beheld wistful glimpses into the future resplendent with gaiety and promise. Yet, she rued her failing friendships from the past and nodded solemnly.

‘One day we will leave. And you will be here and I will be there. It won’t be the same you know, and I cannot bear to think about that. I don’t know what I would do without you.’

‘Why? You will be here and I will be there. Once you are used to the difference, the distance won’t matter.’

‘It hasn’t worked in the past. Why would it work now?’


But it would. If only you had remembered me there, flung from a social extravaganza into a life less lively. Adapting to the old family that reared its brand new fa├žade and grunted to enliven conversation. I didn’t laugh the same way, or cry the same way. I didn’t grant the same way, the way I did when you were my family.
What good really is nostalgia? What good, when you have chosen your life. Sometimes you curl up in your bed struggling under the heavy darkness alive with a strange kingdom, and you think of me. Your hand reaches to me amidst doubts and self-pity, but the blackness prevents you from seeing straight and you retract. I call the next day and you half sob. But my heart has become impervious and I strain it. But my heart has become impervious.

What good are these words that will never reach you? Dear friend, I remember you with a touch of mirth. But the pending has assumed the past. It would not work now.

Love,

Dear friend.

KITHS KINS AND THE SHINS

There is an airplane waiting to whisk me away to distant waters. No, the airplane is not a metaphor for my warty frog waiting to receive a double dose of my minty mouth (for I do brush with minty toothpaste that promises to kill my plaque as well. Revolutionary toothpaste! Such a breath of fresh air.) No, the distant waters are not the gingerbread house made of gingerbread in ginger flavour that is cosy and comfortable and homely and fairy taley (and edible!) all at the same time. 'Tisnt.

I am expected to board the flying contraption and cross borders to alien countries with contentious space-folk stories and elaborate millitary plans. Oh but the Cold War is past and we are in the grip of a whole new horror. Obesity! Wait. And....anorexia! Well, I am expected to land in the midst of a dichotomy anyway. Excellent.

And one is gripped with an all-too-familiar feeling of the throat constricting, struggling to force our affected greetings while blinking rapidly. Because the new compatriots will not always understand. And will probably not take too kindly to your love affair with Nutella, tequila and the dream back in wonderla. And when you ask them if they know your kith & kin because the chances of knowing them from a billion strong is not entirely negligible, they will rationalize. And sometimes laugh. And then this love affair will dwindle away as a one-night-can't-stand.

Which is why I love The Shins.

Gold teeth and a curse for this town were all in my mouth.
Only, i don't know how they got out, dear.
Turn me back into the pet that i was when we met.
I was happier then with no mind-set.

And if you'd 'a took to me like
A gull takes to the wind.
Well, i'd 'a jumped from my tree
And i'd a danced like the king of the eyesores
And the rest of our lives would 'a fared well.

Wish me luck. Please.

NOSTALGIMMICKS

I know I haven't told you, but I have had rather intimate ties with theatre. While co-directing a play two years ago for the theatre group Dramanon (which incidentally has its reach in Manipal, Bangalore and Hyderabad if you are interested) I had written a heartfelt Director's note. I suddenly found it and am reproducing it here to gain your acceptance a tad bit more. I am kidding.

Here in it's original and undiluted form:

It all began that bright, sunny afternoon when Dramanon converged at our revered rendezvous point; the script was decided upon, some dates finalized, designations nominated…and we were rolling again! And thus, ensued a recycled reaction of regular entertainment, daily jokes, frequent bouts of stress and screaming sessions, intermittent paranoia and the eleventh-hour chaos…

The script impressed me from the start. It was simple, warm and celebrated a wonderful intimacy between characters so real and so exaggerated. The humour catered to every genre-slapstick, cinematic, situational and even the pun patronizing types! The moral was not preaching, yet explained so much. And we had the pleasure of working with some very intelligent actors, who could interpret their characters beautifully and slide into their skins with the utmost ease. Even when we made them repeat their dialogues again and AGAIN, they flitted through with a smile on their faces. And when we would get down and dirty with the tiresome psyche of the characters they would listen patiently and improve tremendously. A truly talented bunch…my heartfelt gratitude.

The production team leaves EVERYTHING for the last minute, and in those last hours ticking away mercilessly, works day and night sacrificing sleep, food and mental sanity to leave no stone unturned. They are the real heroes behind the scenes…my heartfelt gratitude with whipped cream.

And finally my co-director. Dramanon had a bipolar-director-disorder going with Dhruv and me arguing over few things, and agreeing over fewer! But this guy is something! Immensely capable and definitely cooperative…my heartfelt gratitude with whipped cream and cherry on top.

And now presenting to you my swan song…



Sigh. Good ol' days.

JODHAA AKBAR

We expected fantastic stuff from a 40 crore budget and Ashutosh Gowariker. Because we all liked Lagaan and Swadesh, albeit their rather patience-testing durations. The former was a fictitious event based in pre-independence India and hence, Mr. Gowariker had his creative imprimatur to tweak a character here, to tune an emotion there, to finally produce Lagaan as it was. And Swadesh again was heartwarming. Modern when it had to be, rural when it had to be and entirely inspirational. And yes, we did overlook the obvious lack of chemistry between Shah Rukh Khan and Gayatri Joshi. And we lived.

But Mr. Gowaiker why-ever did you get so confused with Jodhaa Akbar? Were you thinking 'I want to direct an epic love story, a union of hearts, a union of minds, a union of skills and a union of religion?' or were you thinking 'I want to direct a period movie, resplendent in all its glory, intrigue and historical accuracy.' Because what you finally did deliver was a perfect pastiche of incongruous ideas.

If twas' a love story you were looking to depict, then I can digest that the infamously lascivious Mughals' descendant became a one-woman man for his wife from an evidently political alliance (Of course, his grandson Shah Jehan did reject his ancestors' wanton ways for Mumtaz Mahal. Of course, Mumtaz Mahal also went ahead to die in childbirth, incidentally while giving birth to her 14th child. Our very virile Shah Jahan impregnated her more than once due to the lack of a most effective contraceptive - polygamy). So Mr. Gowariker, you wanted to create the perfect love story that our monogamous minds could accept and cherish. Love that arose from the darkened depths of political interests and religious discontent. That left behind deceit and conspiracy in its virgin wake. Love in the time of mughal-era. Marquez would be proud.
But then why would we have to sit through three and a half hours of historical events, all well-researched I presume? Because it was a love story right?

Oh but you wanted to direct a period film! Aaaaaaah. But then why no mention, however fleeting, of Ruqaiyya Begum or Salima Sultan, Akbar's 2 wives from before his marriae to Jodhaa Bai, and very much a part of his principal queens? Yes we know you included a rather prosaic disclaimer warning us that there are various names for Jodha Bai, but did you have to pander so much to the Indian sensibilities that you just dropped essential facts?

A Mughal epic was attempted at, but the Mughal era can never be created without a consistent portrayal of their stories on the battlefield, and their stories in the bedroom. The Mughal era that saw tolerance under Akbar, but if one version is to be believed, intolerance when it came to Jehnagir entering into wedlock with Anarkali. They saw the golden age under Shah Jehan, yet intense deceitry and conspiracy amongst his progeny. The Mughals just shouldn't be reduced to eye-gazing, coy-smiling lovestruck stars.

Ok, ok but yes we concede that Hrithik Roshan was better than decent. Aishwarya Rai looked pretty, dainty and all those wonderful adjectives. And hell Sonu Sood (do you remember him from Aashiq Banaya Aapne? No? I thought so) was pretty darn good. Give him some good films please, he has some latent talent that boy.

STRANGER THAN FRICTION

Meeting a stranger for the first time can be quite the daunting task. You might hope for stranger person to hold on tightly to a bright conspicuous sunflower, but stranger person might announce a dull, pedestrian sweater for tracking intentions. You might scan the ambient area for one black sweater and wave at quite a few black lovers. Oh, yes there are quite a few of them. Now you know.

Your accent might become more polished and purrry, your intonation deep and purposeful. Yet at the exact moment of ejaculating the purrrr-fect 'Hellooooo...', irritating cab driver might bombard you with calls and castigations because you forgot to inform him that you didn't require his services. Never mind that four other cab drivers called before him. Yes, there are quite a few cab drivers as well. Now you know that too.

You might bare your teeth a lot, with a desire to model your flashing 32. But conversation might dwindle as pearly whitened orifice might scare more than share. Inebriation might evade your tight purse strings, loose cigarettes might evade your very premises, knowledge might evade Ralph Waldo Emerson's transcendentalist works. Conversation threatens to burn an indelible improper impression.

And then you discover that investing in windmills might save you a whole lot of tax, that Bengaluru was crazier than you imagined, and that there are scarier things than two drunk souls driving a car without a license, getting caught by cops in the middle of the night.

Meeting someone for the very first time can be stranger than friction. Because sometimes there just isn't any.