Friday, June 22, 2007

Shoe alert!!

Didn't do much today...dragged myself the nasty language :P) to pick up a 'personal character certificate' from a 'member of faculty' got a teacher to make a formal statement that I am not a criminal.
Got home and decided to go buy Franny and Zooey, from local bookstore. And this is where it know, not so long ago at all I'd pick up a book if I were bored. Now I listen to Clapton. Earlier, anything that came between a bookstore and yours truly, would be summarily ignored. Or trampled. But today...I was walking towards the bookstore when something pink caught my eye. And I couldn't help it, I smartly swivelled ninety degrees and started walking towards it, Franny and Zooey be damned.
Once I got to it, I paid for it. Like in a dream.
Here it is. Watch and slaver, people, watch and slaver. (Though it looks far prettier in actuality I still think; the pics don't do it justice.)

And again.

I have never bought anything either this gaudy or this pink before. I was a black/beige person, really.

You live and you learn.... :D

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Of English and Ngls.

I just read an interesting post on Sindhu's blog(which, by the way, is an example of thought-out writing, not an orgy of rants like this one... :D )on the the way English today is a mere shadow of its former glorious self.

I personally cannot claim to like SMS-lingo. I hate it, in fact. I like words to have both vowels and consonants, and adjectives to precede nouns, and sentences not to start with 'because' , because 'because' is a conjunction, because that was what I was taught was correct, and that is what I have come to appreciate as a mark of intelligence.

This does not take away from the fact, however, that if there is one thing that can be said about the evolution of the English language, it is that it has always been changing. At breakneck speed.
It began with being Celtic, and yet how many words in contemporary popular usage can be said to be of Celtic origin? Most of it is Greek, Latin, French or Hindustani(as Hindi, Persian and Urdu are clubbed). Some are Irish(seance) and some are German(doppelganger). Some are even Tamil. English is possibly the most bastardised language in the history of the world. It has no scruples about encroaching, head and shoulders, into any other language, and it is for this irreverence and flexibility that I love it.

Most of the rest of the words we know , are, of course, Shakespearean. That's right. That guy we all deify as the 'father of modern english drama'? Him of the complicated romances and long-drawn-out tragedies? Well he invented words left, right and centre, and any other time it pleased him to, if existing words were too colourless for him. And even otherwise.
He was famously an astute businessman too - far from the popular myth of struggling idealist artist in cold garrets, he was prosperous, canny and inanely productive. He was on the payroll of several local theatre companies, and created hundreds of drafts a year. Plays came not out of isolated creative bursts amidst intellectual dawdling, but as a steady - and overwhelming - stream, out of business interests. He was responsible for some of the most long-lasting innovations in practical theatre structure as well. He was innovator and a businessman - not an intellectual.
Far from being horrified at the 'degeneration' of the English language, he'd be delighted at the size of the new audiences he could reach, not least the market they represented.

We may all love the English language, and some of us may rue the demise of the time when capitals and periods were considered intrinsic to sentences. But love of the language should not blind us to its faults. Apostrophes, for one, are widely considered to be one of the most clumsy grammatical devices ever, apart from, in historical times being considered too colloquial and indicative of the lower social classes.

The upshot being - English is moving on. Shortening, twisting, scrambling, but moving on. As it always has. We may mind, but it doesn't. Never has. We can only try to influence the evolution, not control it. That would be sadly against the very spirit of English.

Oh and - I assure you that everything I have said here has been sourced from either a book or a newspaper article, and I will put up some references as soon as I can find them online. Excuse the lack of footnoting.

Friday, June 15, 2007

There are some days...

Ye Gads and little fishes! Can a girl be not left alone to just simply think, sometimes? Be quiet? Alone?

Oh, but 'alone' is definitely a problem. You cannot say the a-word without the place suddenly becoming absolutely pill/razor/even-vaguely-sharp-thing(figuratively) free and your parents adopting funny worried expressions and making subtle hints in the form of we-are-always-there-for-you-in-the-event-of-any-kinda-trouble dinner-time speeches, that often end in awkward expectant silences that expect me to come up with stunning revelations, and fall, sobbing, on supportive parental breast. Often I have been tempted, out of the kindness of my heart, to save them from disappointment and announce that I am pregnant; the only drawback is that in such event I would have to produce the other contributor to my productivity, and I cannot think of any one person amongst my considerable set of male friends who would be willing to volunteer to be so honoured.

In case you're wondering, actual event: "What happened? Why'd you all shut up? Is there anymore lemon pickle?"

Also, I have always preferred my own company to others', and my family is used to the sight of me staring vacantly out of the window, non-responsive to calls/yells/insults. Familiarity with given scene doesn't prevent them from making pointless, not least repetitive enquiries into it, though. And since, most of the time, I begin with thinking random thoughts, and let them lead to other thoughts, and just basically 'watch' from a third-person standpoint, the flow of randomness( or specificity, whichever direction my mind has agreed to take out of its vacuum), there isn't much to tell curious askers. I mean, I could attempt to do so, but:
1. I don't have the patience
2.If I did, my family would dismiss it halfway as "Satkeli hai"
3.I would agree with them, which would do nothing for my ego
4.I prefer my ego healthy, ergo
5.I don't tell my family.

So, almost on reflex, when asked "What are you thinking of?", or "What have you been talking about for one and a half hours on the phone?", I answer, "Nothing..", and bang!:
"Why are you so moody these days?"
"Am not.""Yes you are."
"What ok?"
"What ok ok? Ok I'm moody!"
"Now you're getting mad."
"Am not."
"Damn right you are.."
"All right."
"All right what?"
"All right I'm getting mad."
"What for?"
"Will you leave me alone?"
"THIS is what I meant."
"So I agreed with you, didn't I?"
"Don't YOU get fresh on me, young lady..."
"What ok ok for everything? Retarded or what?"
"Ok you're right. Yeah, I'm retarded. I also want to be alone. Will you please leave a poor mental case alone, then?"
"Oh my god, Divya, I don't know what to do with you these days!"
"Join the club."

There are some days...

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I was thinking about the prep I put in, in April, for the law entrances, while cleaning up the paper rubbish in my room, and I found some absolute gems, written in moments of either absolute exhaustion, boredom, or piss-ion(not a word? so what?).

I must include this as disclaimer: I did not ever take writing short notes myself to be a serious form of prep. In retrospect, stupid decision, but hindsight is always 20/20.
From the point of view of idle humour(here I am saying that I am idle, and expressing the hope that you have a sense of humour), however, they provide, on the whole, an excellent index of how interesting I found the prep.

Here they are:

The Singur issue: Kindly inform me as soon as you find out.

Land acquisition and the Tatas in Bengal: It happened recently. People are fighting, and dying, even! It is a national tragedy in whose remembrance we will doubtless have a holiday , in the near future. Also, the Tatas are rich and Bengali women are hot. Forty words up?

Voluntarism: The spirit of wanting to do accomplish tasks spontaneously and without external force. I am sadly lacking in this, if you go by my mother. Newton's law says it is impossible in any case. Indians, as a whole, interestingly, are sorely lacking in the spirit of voluntarism, which is why, no doubt, Indian law makes a provision for voluntarism.(right?)

Voting for French Presidential elections in Pondicherry:I am fairly sure of the fact that there were elections in Pondicherry. It seems to me to be a prerequisite for democratic functioning. Though now I come to think of it - is Pondy a democracy? Is it part of India, even? Anyway - I have full trust in the people of Pondicherry - they have exquisite taste in bagels - and I'm sure they can elect an able leader. In the light of all this, who really got elected is rather superfluous.

They're all true, I swear.

Of idle hours.

For two years now I've been cribbing for, inter alia, hours of absolute joblessness;for a state of such absolute emptiness that the emptiness be the most exciting thing about it.

I've been cribbing, in fact, for what I actually have now. I wake up in the morning to a day of having absolutely nothing to do. Of course, I have three weeks before I leave for college, and I'm supposed to be making three kinds of lists and packing, but - ah well, lets just say that these sound exponentially more interesting than they are( which is certainly saying something, because they even sound just about as interesting as a bump on a log.).

Given freedom to do so, I'd just turn over and go right back to sleep, but my parents seem to object. My mother also seems to feel that I should be spending my time learning 'life skills'(read: cooking/washing/ironing).

I have made it to law school. Already I have exceeded my expectations; and now they expect me to learn to cook as well? Me of the runny-dishwater-dal and papad-variety-roti? I mean, isn't there some such thing as moderation in desire?!

The cooking part my mother is yet to accomplish - everytime she begins about 'survival cooking', I insert my argument about Maggi/coffee and the we generally end up in stalemate - but I have learnt to wash clothes by hand, which are - applause, here please - wearable, on drying.

No, really.

So much for the domestic side.

What I have found time to do, finally, is listen to music. Phil collins, def leppard, the beegees, the beatles, jimi hendrix, eric clapton, mark knopfler, the oasis, the doors, some deep purple, lots of simon and garfunkel, some sting, just a leetle billy joel, some country/western, even.
Out of these, I have fallin in love all over again with Eric Clapton and Art Garfunkel.

Thanks to youtube(many, many, many thanks!) I've been able to locate some absolute gems...the S&G Sound of Silence performance in 1969, the Hendrix performance at early Woodstock, some vids of Phil Collins' 1990 tour... very very nice.

No, I don't listen to linkin park/greenday. Why is it their music just doesn't excite me? The only track that comes anywhere close to even limited repeated-listenability is boulevard of broken dreams, in my book. But then, I got bored after two songs of each, so...

Oh and I've also located some old favourites; some Jagjit and Chitra Singh ghazals, and Hindi film music of the 60's and 70s. Mausam hai aashiquana (pakeezah), and Yeh zindagi usi ki hai(anarkali), and Yeh raat bheegi bheegi(chori chori), and Babuji dheere chalna(CID), and O maajhi re(no clue), and Chaudhvin ka chand(no clue, again), and Awaara(Awaara), and...oh, so many more.

All hail Youtube.

Why is Himesh Reshammiya still in business?

Friday, June 1, 2007

Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi

I saw Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi today.

I generally do not attempt movie reviews, but I doubt too many people have seen this, and since I want them to, I will write something about it.

Nothing I can say about the film will be new, but it does no harm to repeat that it certainly is a wonderful movie.

For one, it has this student-documentary feel - you know, no panning out to an awe-inspiring(if a trifle boring) Swiss vista, no rave-worthy camera effects , except for the home-video feel in some places that I liked.

Also, it has the lovely Chitrangada Singh. Apart from being graceful and convincing, she is certainly one of the most beautiful women in Indian cinema. Also, you cannot miss the startling Smita Patil resemblance. Smita Patil had this barely-under-the-surface smouldering intensity, which Chitrangada Singh, however good, lacks, but this lady more than makes up for it with her very wonderful nose!

Umm..almost. :)

KayKay Menon's firebrand act, and Shiney Ahuja's very slick transitions from Gandhian-by-default to wheeler-deeler to loverboy are well executed, and very much appreciated.

One thing about this movie is, that though everyone has carried through very well, the appreciation of their individual performances can only be complete in context of each other. As in Shiney Ahuja's brilliant pragmatist against KayKay Menon's raging revolutionary, and Chitrangada's armchair idealist against, interestingly, Chitrangada's political awakening vis-a-vis Siddharth.

Many of the flame-ups of modern India's political scenario - very volatile in the time the movie is set (Indira Gandhi's antics, for example) are captured very nicely, in context to the characters and their lives, and not, as is more conventional, as a subject by themselves.
This allows the movie fluidity and continuity, and puts the three characters in focus, allowing us to watch them be influenced by each other, and the turbulent times they live in, and grow into who they are by the end of the film.

And if you feel, at some point, or at every point, that the political scenarios are exaggerated to the point of being entertaining in themselves, or that neither such powerful turmoil exists that it can pull into its vortex ordinary people like us, nor that such people exist, who'd want to make a difference anyway ; or if you're just plain tickled at the circus they show us, and call the Indian Government...

Well then, wake up. This is the truth, and perhaps the source of the greatest sadness.

As for the movie itself...I cannot be sure who I liked more...I know it is Shiney Ahuja, but I'm tempted to say Chitrangada, because, well, she is so beautiful.

Ah well.