Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Seems to be a week for meetings and conferences.
Will post on saturday now.
(from Oct 17)

If you want to gleefully cuss, make faces at the traffic, then you walk. Each time I go to Juhu Crossword it’s almost like a pilgrimage, hiking double pace to cut past the traffic snarl-ups. The last trip was 45 min brisk and done till you reach JVPD. Then you navigate that labyrinth for the quickest way out as you put film stars’ names to dimly lit homes sitting pretty in obscenely huge compounds. But yes, attending a book launch that features the dialogues, in translation, of Mughal E Azam is worth it. Specially if one has spent most of the preceding evening trying to piece the dialogue together, while watching the classic on telly, “ uh huh, what exactly did she say?” And the redoubtable Mr Akhtar is worth it, silver haired or not. For once I’m not late.

Mr Akhtar, quite at comfort with the use and tone of words, spoke about the dignity of human relationships that is the fabric of the film. That is an interesting concept, I trhink, as concepts go. He then spoke on a number of issues and the point he made about translators/translations is interesting, about immersing onseself totally in the original language across genres to be able to any sort of justice. He drew a parallel from music, stating that S D Burman could compose as brilliantly in Hindi, because of his mastery over the forms of Bengali music, from folk to classical shruti. As an ideal this is great, but if one was to read/ study/peruse the classics of gujarati literature, Meghani and Tripathi and Munshi to begin with, it is too much. Just imagine battling past the 4 volumes of Saraswatichandra, probably it would take a lifetime given one’s speed and no actual translating would get done. He also recited a critical dialogue, where Emperor Akbar asks his heir to choose between the kingdom or his love, he has a tremendous presence and made the words roar.

The strangest part was helping out a distraught man with photos, only to be told later that he was the director’s son, and realizing that one’s clumsy point and click endeavors would reach the man responsible for this creative extravaganza. Of course, one bought a copy, duly autographed by Mr Akhtar and the translators, to gift- but I think I shall keep it afterall.

Funny world.

The Immortal Dialogue of K. Asif’s Mughal E Azam
Nasreeen Kabir, Suhail Akhtar
Oxford University Press

Monday, October 30, 2006

Old and new roughpad updated.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

will post in bits and pieces

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


The security guys were shocked to hear me ask, isn’t there a shortcut that ways down the hill? Turn a corner and it seems quieter, away from the hum of the industrial area. No road exists, just a frequently trodden path of sorts on empty scrubland, past a gate set in a rock-hewn wall, probably from the time that the rest of that (no doubt) heavily forested hill existed, past a well where a kid was valiantly trying to fly a kite. Jump over an open water line, looking askance at the bleached rickety boards placed across. Briskly march at the double through a village where the walls are painted blue and homes, shops tailoring establishments, sheds with lathes and vegetable vendors all exist cheek by jowl, where there is just enough space for one not too broad vehicle to pass else there’d be a traffic jam. Edge past the shed with the placid buffaloes, and you wonder at the price of this patch of real estate abutting the highway, and then voila! , the stream of unending traffic and glee at avoiding traffic jams at four signals.


the kindness of strangers
A one line request to someone whom you’ve long admired, oohing and aahing over comfort with words and turn of phrase, the dancing lines inducing you to read, merrily leading you on to an end that closes just right, with a punch. So much done for a stranger, just on request. I’m left speechless and I must admit- a little teary.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

On a blog break for a week.
take care, all.

Yesterday you had a day of psychopharmacology lectures, 9 to 6, and done.
Uh huh. Have fun. That didn’t quite convey the disbelieving laugh.
How on earth can you fit in everything that’s under DSM- I forget which edition it would be about now- in a 9 to 6 day…
-the rage of mania, distanced, you watch that pyrotechnic outburst of stupendous energy
-flickering wisps of alternate reality, an avalanche of babbling strange tongues,. quick images seen on a screen in a lantern play
-the unending spiral of the big D, sinking lower with each repeat phase
-the unpredictable swings of bipolar, ricocheting from high voltage mania to dull ennui
- the tsunami of panic
So much more, the millions of ways in which these cross cross and overlap
The medication to handle it all
The awesome switch-like action of rauwolfia serpentina when it was first discovered.
Haloperidol decanoate, the gold standard for oh so many years, bringing in a measure of sanity into gone cases. The beauty of the right modicum of dopamine precisely where its needed
The newer ones- aripiprazole, quetiapine.. so beautifully engineered these atypicals, inch by inch setting right drawbacks with previous therapy
And the whole gamut of antidepressants, restoring equilibrium at the micro synapses
Instant action tricyclics, with instant SE.
SSRTIs, inching back to hullo sunshine, inch by inch over a fortnight. The amazing grace at seeing a loved one move away from a catatonic state and check latest skirt length trends…Then the dual action ones, so smart-so very smart.
How can you fill all this in a single day?

Monday, October 09, 2006


Dor is beautiful, best watched in a wide screen multiplex, but then ours is a beautiful land. To say that the photography is striking is not true- it is tremendous, but then the whole product comes together quite flawlessly, trademark Nagesh Kukunoor style. A million and one dancing greens and sparkling streams in Himachal, the stark splendor of Rajasthan, each life with its own story and boundaries, yet intertwined in the manner life sometimes is. A wispy gossamer thread that links, a fine line that runs through an intricate embroidery. From what was till now a page 3-quality glamour cast- Gul Panag, Ayesha Takia, Mr Kukunoor has extracted a fine performance, most of it make up free and easy on the glycerine. A storyline that is pro- hope and entirely believable, stuff happens, you get up and walk, life goes on. Shreyas Talpade excels as the bahurupi, exceptionally good as a gag- a-minute mimic. Mr Kukunoor in a cameo as the lecherous Mr Chopra is miscast, he looks too decent to suggest a pass, let alone a live- in arrangement. The end could have been slicker, but that is about it. Watch, sigh your heart out as the desert winds whip up a mindstorm, put on them walking shoes.

On Saturday night I’d gone to Prabhadevi, reveling in the feeling of speed on the expressway; that ferris-wheel sensation as you confidently zoom taking in soaring flyovers with ease, the glee at acing traffic with clear green signals, noticing how the darkness is a coverup, and how those distant lights seem quite pretty if you’d half close your eyes. I returned by local train, happy to jump in before the train braked to a halt, senses alive at the hustle- bustle at key stations, glad but reassured to recognize Bandra with the arches and art -deco girders, amazed at the variety of goods sold with finesse in the compartment that hour of the night- candy, purses, trinkets, vegetables, T shirts and keychains from China. Both trips were fun in their own way, making me speechlessly happy with the world for no reason. Was this because it was a change from routine? I don’t know, but I felt more alive than I have in a long time.

Friday, October 06, 2006


The hedge is bright with a million and one yellow-greens, and you realize it seems prettier than it has for a long time. But it is the same hedge, unevenly cut, lining the same slightly pebbly walking track that is soft in places where you have to watch your step. It’s the rare sunshine, perhaps; filtering in past the clouds. Or trying to see what this swarovsksi shrub or that rough-hewn rock with the chiseled surfaces would look like on a tiny lcd screen. Yes, the same hedge, but it dazzles.

The workshopped story has been shredded with a sharp knife. We shall persist. I wrote and pestered -as in asked politely-someone for a review- am shocked at this rather brazen behavior. Or perhaps not.

The markets continue to thrill and shock, by turns. BRKA crossed 100,000 y’day. Did I get those zeros right?

Thursday, October 05, 2006


The other day someone gifted me a book with an autograph scrawled on the flyleaf, the first two initials capitalized with immense vigor and the t slashed with a flourish. Rather than an unending text in serif, this is an intelligent conversation that stops you short because it forces you to think. No, I haven’t read beyond the first page as yet.

People, episodes and ideas are elements of a good conversation, so the very first line reads, and rates ideas as the most intense. Conversations that center around inanities have a short half life, you say something and you’re done; or you say something and seek something else between the words, till one day you say nothing and you’re done. Ideas may or may not begin life all capitalized with inverted commas and neon lights. Nuances don’t exactly come to life with an announcement, but if the thread is to continue there is a dissection, a casual stroll around the bylanes, perchance intricacies- viewpoints examined, perhaps the conversation progresses to the next logical link.

But this is where I differ- for the exchange to move to ideas, first the groundwork has to be prepared, with events, people, and “what did you eat for dinner?” kind of small talk. This scaffolding needs to be put into place, a frame of reference built for words to mean what they indeed do.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Seven blackbirds buzz overhead. Angry waves scream at a jagged shore. A secret never told. No you can’t go there. No one can. There is no there.
A harsh spot on the sun. The last sigh of a tree butchered, sinking to the ground. A raging desert wind sweeps empty miles to the bitter horizon, where dry heat bleaches skin to bone. A young child, bent, broken boned, silent with an empty extended belly. Crumbles of brain sprinkled on tar. An angry duststorm, tweaking mighty sand dunes in play. A furious flood rages through desert lands, submerging hopes and dreams. Faith is a joke. A supercilious smile. A dog cries hideously at the moon, a non-stop loop. Sink to the cold floor, flail at the heavens, tear your hair out, weep empty sobs from your gut, curse the skies with no-meaning words. Cry, cry at the wailing wall. A flood of mumbled laments. Gasps. Oaths.A flood of incoherent sobs, the words running into each other, a shorthand saga. Of treachery, of loss, of betrayal, a wail. The overwhelming sorrow of generations past. A cursed legacy. Deadening. Dead hope, acid pain seeping seething in drop by drop in the DNA. A fractured genetic code plays out. Wailing, flailing at the immobile. Unheard. In a black void with cold stars aglitter, the planets play at planchette Deafening, this howl of the banshee wind at the artic. Icebergs gloss, groan like a dying animal. An overcast sigh, driving ice rain. Searing sorrow. Piercing. How normal, how trite, passé . A startle reaction. Cursed to tremble and shiver at sound. A chair moved. A phone bell. The hum of airconditioning walks upon your nerves. Block out sound. Nothing lasts. Your mind shrieks. Cry. Cry for the dead. For the unborn. For virii that mutate, that wreck the embryo unborn, for the sins of their fathers. For the blast shattered, the limbless, the amputees, the widowed, the orphaned and suddenly deaf. For new clothes with shiny price tags thrown out. Cry for the curse ,the wealth of the land, for black gold, for metal veins ferreted underground. For lines thrust upon a map. For overflowing granaries and hunger deaths. For color, for race, a dice throw. For shame of it all, for the weight of living. Soul cages.
(title courtesy-Sting)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

So! It was a jamboree. That Google Wordmasters challenge in Bandra yesterday morning..
Good fun, just getting there, and good fun too, to laugh and shout in a chorus and feel decidedly collegial for a while. A max. 200-word essay to be written using 20 given words, in 45 min or less. Not very objective, especially when you have an all-seats-occupied- standing-space-only auditorium full of people of all ages- teenyboppers to silver-framed grandfathers biting at their pencils, tense and raring to go. I would have expected a TOEFLish word-usage screen to set the bar for the first level, perhaps an essay to follow for quality. But perhaps they know better. It was good fun to do, although I clocked in at about 160, without much sparkling expression. I realize I have become dependent on using a keyboard, and need the space to change words around or press shift f7 at whim, make word messes on whim.Dim lights and cramped seats where one sits sort of slanting to get the arm space right, no thanks. The auditorium was impressive, with several large monochrome prints of stars from the silver screen by Gautam Rajadhyaksha lining the foyer; and posters from the Shakespeare Globe Theatre setting aspirations at the spotlights. Yet beyond all this, 6 person strong queues haggling for forms for the usual science and commerce courses. and I wonder about the roads we take and the ones we don't.