Monday, September 29, 2008


Rediscovered an old favourite....

The River
AK Ramanujan
(1929 - 1993)

In Madurai,
city of temples and poets,
who sang of cities and temples,
every summera river dries to a tricklein the sand,
baring the sand ribs,
straw and women's hairclogging the watergates
at the rusty barsunder the bridges with patches
of repair all over them
the wet stones glistening like sleepy
crocodiles, the dry ones
shaven water-buffaloes lounging in the sun

The poets only sang of the floods.
He was there for a day
when they had the floods.
People everywhere talked
of the inches rising,
of the precise number of cobbled steps
run over by the water,
risingon the bathing places,
and the way it carried off three village houses,
one pregnant womanand a couple of cows
named Gopi and Brinda as usual.

The new poets still quoted
the old poets, but no one spoke
in verseof the pregnant woman
drowned, with perhaps twins in her,
kicking at blank walls
even before birth.

He said:
the river has water enough
to be poetic
about only once a year
and then
it carries awayin the first half-hour
three village houses,
a couple of cows
named Gopi and Brinda
and one pregnant woman
expecting identical twins
with no moles on their bodies,
with different coloured diapers
to tell them apart.

You can read more of Ramanujan's beautiful verse from


changed the blog look (and feel)... still not satisfied... work for a lazy day... :-)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Dunno what went on... Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na

Saw this movie called Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na today. This was Aamir's nephew, Imran's debut movie. He's cute (and a kid really... makes one wonder at HOW time flies!) and so's the girl who plays the lead - Genelia something. The premise was nothing earth-shatteringly new. Two friends, who go through college life, without ever acknowledging a mutual attraction, while of course everybody else knows that they are actually in love... er... ummm... okay... yeah well I have friends who can apparently identify with this.... hmmm...

Anyways, there were some interesting dialogues and the camera work was goood and the music was nice (with Rahman at the helm, it's REALLY tough to go wrong... the score was fresh and i love "kabhi kabhi aditi" and "kahin to..."), but there was really no story as such... (i mean even dil chahta hain (one of my favourite movies btw) had no specific "story" but this one scarcely followed any semblence of a plot... the performances were nice, the new kids were okay, naseer was fantastic, supriya pathak was cool, even arbaaz and sohail were great... but even after all and a great climax scene at the airport... something was just MISSING!!

But then i went to see the movie with a lot of personal baggage and probably wasnt all receptive to it... but i still feel that things could have been better... tighter editing for one... and better situations for christ's sake... why cant we think out of the box and just AVOID cliches???!!

ugh! give a rest to the hrithik roshan in Kaho naa types waking up scene or the DCH type phone call "aditi needs me"... instead bring on the Ranjhhor ka Rathod type scenes - which were truly fun!

this isnt a review by any stretch of my limited imagination - but like what the hell - it was a cute movie... but not necessarily a good one... worth a watch.. once.. especially if yr cablewallah's a decent guy... that's abt it...

PS: Smita Patil's son also debuts in a small role, as Aditi's brother - definitely shows a lot of promise.

ERRATUM: It's not Supriya, but the other talented sis, Ratna - who was the spiffy mom! Thanks S for pointing this out! :-)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Pettiness- manifestations of a different sort

It started out nicely enough... two sisters divided by a gap of almost a decade and their mom, a lazy Sunday afternoon and a cupboard full of treasures! It was meant to be a fun afternoon, deciding what clothes you were to have for the pujas (which are, now that i realize, about four months away) - a generally pleasant state of affairs. Till suddenly, the younger exclaimed that all the "good" stuff was being kept aside for the eldest and she was only receiving the "uglier" things... the particular point of content was a lemon green and golden length of cloth given as a gift to the eldest by a favourite aunt.

The eldest had been literally salting it away for such a time and place when she could wear it without guilt and be totally happy with it. Problems with that thread of thought being - a) eldest is usually wary and she is never sure of what to expect where, b) eldest needs to be told when to be happy, c) eldest is usually guilt-ridden with actual and imagined sins... etc etc.. eldest is not a happy person.

But (now this is an actual sin), eldest's self preservation antennae went on overdrive on hearing that the youngest had plans on the green stuff. She immediately lunged forward and carefully wrapped it up again in it's clear plastic wrapping... youngest fumed!

She had, till then, borne (quite a number of times) the dictat from their ma, "no, that belongs to didi" and she burst out. She made a grab for the clear plastic packet... eldest yelled (blood curdling-ly) and grabbed the packet back. Youngest launched into a tirade, eldest followed.

The ma stood stunned in front of an open cupboard, amidst colourful cotton and silk...

End result - youngest petulantly declared she didn't want any clothes for the pujas, eldest sobbed and ranted and went on about how the youngest was always taking her things- and NEVER returning them... the latest being of course a pair of green tourmaline earrings, which were returned... damaged.

Youngest brands eldest as the selfish mean thing eldest never suspected herself to be...

Later, eldest wondered who was actually being petty... she would probably never be able to carry off the beautiful green suit as well as the pretty youngest would... she was not into gold or sequins either... she probably never would be happy or guilt free enough to wear the suit... and yet, she was not able to share it with someone so "close" to her...

Youngest is now upstairs, still fuming and angry and curled up on the bed with Harry Potter...

Eldest thought and thought about what to do and sat down to write a blog...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Like Water for Chocolate

I read this book by Laura Esquivel a few days ago called Like Water for Chocolate- A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies. The novel has an interesting format, part magic reality and part recipe book.

The novel is divided into 12 chapters, named after each month of the year - starting from January and ending at December. Each chapter begins with a traditional Mexican recipe - sometimes complex and sometimes simple but always relevant to the events which follow in each chapter.

The story is woven around Tita, the third and youngest daughter of a domineering mother. The story is based during the Mexican Revolution and it has a deep impact on the characters in the story. Tita is raised as a sort of kitchen goddess by Nacha the cook at the Di la Garza Ranch. The taste and flavour of food cooked in her kitchen, change according to her moods and fancies. She can whip up intricate recipes and innovate complex dishes, skills which her sisters lack. While it is a Cinderella story to some extent, Tita does not really get her prince. Her tyrannical mother, Mama Elena, insists that she remain unmarried to care for her in her old age. Pedro, the man Tita loves, secretly comes up with a plan to marry Tita's eldest sister Rosaura so that he can stay near her.

While Mama Elena keeps a sharp eye on Tita and Pedro, the lovers find a way to communicate through food. Each dish that she prepares with love and longing for Pedro successfully transmits her feelings to him. While Mama Elena and Rosaura remain impervious to the magical food, Tita's other sister Gertrudis is driven to a wild lust. She runs away from home with a Revolutionary!

In the meantime, Rosaura has given birth to a son called Roberto. Tita cares for the child as her own. Mama Elena suspects that Tita and Pedro might be meeting behind her back. She sends Pedro and Rosaura away to San Antonio. The child dies and Tita is heartbroken. She mourns alone in a dovecote from where she is rescued by a sympathetic doctor called John Brown.

Dr. Brown takes Tita away to his own house and nurses her back to health. Tita is revived by the spirit of Dr. Brown's Indian grandmother who passes on some of her native wisdom and healing magic to her. Mama Elena passes away in the meantime and Pedro and Rosaura return to the ranch. Pedro is driven to jealousy by the intimacies that Tita seems to share with Dr. Brown. He and Rosaura soon have another child called Esperanza.

Dr. Brown and Tita plan to marry but the marriage is foiled by Pedro's jealous rage. He tries to seduce Tita so that she refuses Dr. Brown's proposal. Eventually, Tita realises that she is still in love with Pedro and that she cannot abuse Dr. Brown's trust. In the meantime, the seeds of romance are sown when Dr. Brown's son, Alex falls in love with Esperanza.

However, tyranny lives on when Rosaura decides that Esperanza would never marry and continue to serve her mother in her old age. Tita is enraged that Esperanza should share a fate like hers. Both Pedro and Tita unite and plan for a better future for Esperanza.

Finally, Rosaura passes away in a mysterious illness caused by jealousy and ill-will. Gertrudis, the middle sister returns as a triumphant and glamourous general of the Mexican revolutionaries. She brings in a host of new elements to the story.

The final chapter begins with arrangements for a wedding and we find that Alex and Esperanza are about to be married. Tita's special marriage dishes kindles a frenzy of love making and passion in all the wedding guests. Pedro and she finally unite, though in the end they both die out of their passions. The ranch is burnt down in the fire that follows and all that survives is Tita's magical cookbook.

The story is also known as Como Agua Para Chocolate. It's a common Spanish phrase originating from the Latin American practice of making hot chocolate by boiling chunks of milk chocolate in water. It is also a sexual innuendo for describing a state of passion.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Chhanabela - Childhood

Twinkling eyes, grubby hands, lips sticky and stained with cherry gloss, hair going in twenty different directions all at once - when you are a kid, how does that matter?
Indeed, why should it matter?
A period of life when having dirt beneath pink fingernails is clearly normal! A time when fashion is won over by face paint and dusty smudges on clothes are liberating!! A snail sliding along a railing is entertainment and a jump into a puddle is mandatory!
How long is it before vanity takes over and transforms the freespirited grin to a smile, the tight hug into the handshake, the carefree into the practised, or the innocence into the merely courteous?
When is it that adulthood creeps in and robs childhood joys?
There's no deeper pleasure than seeing the young grow - but can't that pleasure be delayed? Cannot they be young for just a few days more?
Every attempt to grasp that quicksilver moment of joy is thwarted by time, homework and responsibilities... and before you know it, a familiar someone with strangely foreign eyes await...
And then, the stick of gum is no more greeted with a whoop of joy, the comics are pushed away in favour of a Nancy Drew, toys traded for make-up and make believe shortchanged with disturbing reality!
And all the while, you sit watching - afraid to interrupt the transformation! Sweet child of mine... stay awhile...

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Let that bird fly...

A sudden loud noise... a quiet landscape breaks into sound and movement... the flight of a thousand birds... the desperate fluttering of wings... and then quiet again...

Everytime you think that nothing can hurt more, that this IS the ultimate sadness, the deepest wound - something comes and rocks you again... and yet the cars zip past, people talk, little girls lick candy smeared lips, life goes on...

I came to know today that he will never be mine again - ever... these are the last few months of pretense... after that comes a series of deletions, denials and some tears... and hopefully closure.

About 11 months from now, we will cease to exist; they will come into form.

Perverse Pleasure

Madhuja'r jonmodiney lekha kobita - Anindya Chatterjee জুলাই মাসে, কোনও কোনও জন্মদিন আসে। ঘরের পাশে,ভিড়ের বাসে স্মৃতির ঘাসে, জলোচ্ছ...