Archive for March, 2009

comfortably numb

  1. A good  aratai session with “chicken pox” srinath and his mother
  2. Amazing vattha kozambu, rasam and rice
  3. A good feel sad, feel good movie: Sunshine cleaners!
  4. 3 nice beers and a brilliant session of mindless banter
  5. Pink floyd with the slight buzz
  6. A good day on the field for India

Things really are nice now:)

Cheers!

Kaushik

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Somethings never change

Just a couple of weeks ago I had ranted about not being able to pick the phone up and call up my married friends. All through spring break, I had itched to call Bhavani and Suku up, but felt ashamed and without any plausible reason for having chickened at the thought of speaking to them since their marriage in November.

So, what did I do today, when totally out of the blue Suku and Bhavani called late in the afternoon and proposed a weekend trip to Portland to meet Anshu. I totally lapped it up, and within hours, all of us had got the tickets to Portland, for our next reunion since the most memorable Hydrangalore trip!

And so it was, I was expecting a lot of uneasy aaah-ahems-hmm’s over the phone, especially from a guilt-struck me, but conversation nicely flowed when I spoke with Bhavani. Thank God for that.

As Anshu so nicely describes it on his gtalk status:

Four legs of the tripod meeting in April :)
Its time to relive the RVCE days again. Cannot wait for the 10th of April.

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Spring Break

It is march madness again. The combination of march, America and spring break means that I get affected by the ” I-want-to-be-alone” bug.

The first symptoms were on Thursday, when I came back after class, and immediately went to sleep (at around 11 in the morning). By the time I woke up, I just wanted to be all alone and be by myself. I woke up late in the evening, and stared out through the window. I saw the muted streets below, a car coming out of the driveway, a few cars waiting for the signal, a few pedestrians and ta few runners. The late evening sky was blue, and the sun was preparing to set. But what stuck me was the muteness through the window. And the unfamiliarity. It has been nearly two years in the US, but still, there are days in which I wake up to an unfamiliar country.

Realizing that my dreams were much better, I dozed off again. I somehow managed to talk myself out of Watchmen in the evening, and I started reading “My name is Red” in earnest. Friday was pretty much the same. I wiggled out of dinner at Noodles and company, but could not get out of the late night pub visit. By this time, My name is Red had become really really interesting. I came back at 3, and was up till 5 finishing the book.

My name is Red is a good book. It takes a little time getting used to the book. Each chapter is narrated by a different character and sometimes scenes continue across chapters, bringing in a change in narrator and perspective to the same situation. It took me about 40-50 pages to get the feel of the continuity in the story with the narrators constantly changing. Once you get used to that, you get sucked into Istanbul of the middle ages. It is about the murder investigation of a miniature painter Elegant Effindi. But the story runs much deeper. The Sultan (The Refuge of the World) has commissioned a new book, and Black’s (the main protagonist, the person who investigates the murder) uncle is making it the European style, which is not only new to Istanbul, but is also considered blasphemous. Years and years of miniature art has survived by painting from the so-called top of the minaret view, or God’s view. Painting anything real is considered idol worshipping in Islam, and thus, miniaturists painted the God’s view, or how God saw things. They spent their lives painting in the hope of becoming blind, because becoming blind for a miniaturist was proof that God was not angry with him. Black’s uncle, was a forward thinking man, quite in love with the European (Frankish) style of painting in perspective. A portrait of a man is the focus of the painting, and things farther away are small, and there is the horizon. The story is the inner struggles of the artists, Black, his uncle and Master Osman, the master painter, who is against the Frankish style, to grapple with and tackle the question of change versus tradition. There is an amazing sequence in the Sultans Treasure house, when Master Osman grapples with these issues, and Orhan Pamuk (who got the Nobel prize), writes page after page about important miniature paintings, and the stories the paintings conveyed, bringing to life, not only Master Osman, through whose eyes we “see” the paintings, but years and years of Islamic history. Also thrown is, much like our “sri ram-sene” is a heretic who instigates people to revolt against the tarnishing of Islam culture and a beautifully rendered story of love and unrequited love, and the story races towards its climax. Orhan Pamuk, then slows things down as he  slowly unveils the thoughts of all the painters (one of whom is the murderer), and you almost sympathise with the murderer, who believes that change of style is in accordance with the time. He releases time, and in a beautiful sequence of events, ties up all the lose ends of the story, much like a beautifully choreographed dance sequence.

The lonely bug was wearing off and by Saturday evening, I was nearly back to being me again. My room-mate and I cooked and invited friends over, and we watched “Remember the Titans” late into the night. On Sunday, I got to starting the book that I have been wanting to read since the India trip, R.K. Narayanan’s “The Guide”. Halfway through reading the introduction to the book, I found out that the Hindi movie classic, Dev Anand’s Guide is a movie adaptation of the novel. I hadn’t seen the movie but have heard people telling that it is one of the greatest Bollywood movies. So, I started streaming the movie in parallel.

Much of Sunday evening was spent in reading the first two chapters of the book, and immediately, the genius of RKN affected me. The simple life, the easy writing style and the characters would mean that I saw a pyol floating in mid-air in front of my eyes, with the shop just round the corner, little Raju, shouting his lessons out, his father strictly following every word little Raju says with a stick in his hand, his mother ferreting over the oven, blowing air into the coal, the construction workers, forming a human chain passing the raw materials around…

On Monday evening, I saw a horribly made chick-flick, “Just Friends”, about which less said the better, and followed it up with “Kill-Bill-1”, which just has one word for it -Style. Later in the evening, I was drowned in the world of Rosie and Raju and Marco and the swami, and was transported back to the rustic, muddy Indian hinterland.

I slowly dazed of,  trying to decipher the characters inside my head, trying to understand Raju the guide, from Raju the swami-ji. All the three characters in the story were selfish. Marco, selfish to his needs, neglecting that of his wife. Raju, selfish in the love for Rosie, trying to be everything that her husband could not be, to gain Rosie’s love, and Rosie, selfish to her dance, selecting, finally, the path of least resistance to live her dreams. Rosie and Raju address the issue of pursuit of happiness that lay below the selfish goals in their lives. Rosie, wanted to dance just for herself, as a hobby, and dislikes her avtar as Ms Nalini, and yearns for a middle life to the two she has had, wife to a rich man and a dance artist. Likewise, Raju yearns for those early days of his courtship with Rosie, when he was the shoulder for her to cry on, and probably, loving the time when he was the bread-winner. Ironically, Raju’s second life, as the swami, was also fueled by the selfish needs, that of food and shelter, but slowly, he grew bigger than the character that he created, and truly became the selfless swami.

The movie too was brilliant. I actually loved the poetic dialogues, every sentence peppered with metaphors. Just goes to show that a movie with a sound and interesting story can not go wrong!

All this, and I am still just halfway through the spring break!

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Quick Thoughts: Dev D

Absolutely loved Dev-D. The backgroud score was just too good. The characters were amazing… what I loved about the movie was there was no attempt to create pity for the main 3 characters. It was not the usual stuff of extremely goody-goody people, who want no harm for anyone falling pray to life’s devilsih pranks…Dev and Paro were seemingly normal people, who decided to make some wrong decisions out of ego, spite, jealousy, whatever. And nowhere, did the director actually try to drill it into our heads that Dev took to drinking and drugs because of his immense love for Paro. I could almost feel Dev’s addiction went beyond forgetting his pain, and that he was enjoying the drugs!

The loose end in the movie, about Paro’s life with Bhuvan has been tantalizingly left unexplored. Chanda’s back story could have created some sympathy, but she herself chose not to take that sympathy.

The story of Devdas itself, does not excite me much. Only a loser would want to waste his life because he did not get what he wanted. I do not appreciate sympathising with such a character. Obviously, I have not read the book nor seen the earlier adaptations, so I may not know of any hidden merits in the story which has made it a big hit. ( I tried SRK’s devdas, but between SRK’s irritating over-acting and Kiron Kher and the other ensemble’s dialogues with a few bengali words irritatingly mixed in, I gave up).  I liked the Dev D approach to the movie because it did not have the semi-philosphical true love bullshit in it. Infact, Dev himself acknowledges in the end that it might just have been lust.

Finally, the movie had oodles of style. Did I mention the awesome soundtrack. The director dedicates it to Danny Boyle, and I have wanted to watch ‘train-spotting”, his take on drugs that has influenced Anurag Kashyap

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Grihapravesam

Hello!

So I shift to wordpress…

Somethings are new, and somethings need a little personalizing. I have whole new about me. And I have new plans for my blog in its new address.

1. A new category called Quick thoughts. I wish to post regularly into this new category. I want it to keep it a little more elaborate than twitter tweets and mainly want it to be an opinion on day-to-day happenings. It could be something I read in the news (and with the election season, I hope I have something to say on politics regularly), or about some issue that came up while talking with friends. It could be anything that I care to have an opinion about, but don’t care enough to sit and write an elaborate post.  Previous experiments on my blog, namely the category/tag on blogger called “the days of my life” failed. Hope that this does go on for a while.

2. It has been a wish that I have had  for a long time, to have a board right above my desk and pin up recent photos on it, to make it a collage. I wished that the collage would be dynamic and I would keep shuffling photos on it. That has not happened so far. Probably, I could try an online version of it. I wish to make a new page with recent photo collage. I will probably work on that during my spring break, which is next week. Yay!

3. Need to sort the categories and tags in wordpress. This gives me extra freedom of labeling the post. That work would also mean, that I do what I normally do, read back through all the posts that I made. So, that will be time consuming.

4. Need to play around with the template and widgets to finally get a look that I like.

So, I have moved into a new home, but with all new homes, I have to do a lot of personalization, to make it look the way I want it to look.

See you around!

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