Monday, January 28, 2008

I’ve watched him the last few days, walking back home from work; not quite staring, but not looking away either. Wrinkled face, a little bemused, he’s seated on a raised platform in front of a shop, watching the night traffic go by. He’s completely incongruous in attire better suited to small village Kathiawad: a white turban, an overshirt called an angarkha, a dhoti, stick in hand. Better dressed to herd a flock of cattle home. But he’s seated by a display of scantily clad, perfectly-proportioned mannequins, with cascading curls, or straw colored blunt cut hair, watching a sea of Hondas and Indigos coast by, and the contrast is quite something.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

sub's up on
dated January 26.
the lastest one, lots and lots of commas. semicolons surfeit.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Where and exactly how do values, culture, upbringing shade our reactions? After weeks of detailed reviews which showed much work had been done on the backstory- on blasts, building crashes, land grabbing deals, mill redevelopment and suchlike- I finally mailed across the definitive Mumbai book. Sheer scale and fine writing, nothing that captures the pulse- the pace, the dirt, the grit and adrenalin, quite like this one does. But how will someone far older, genteel and refined, raised in another land, react to these lines? Particularly the lissome, completely fragile Mona Lisa Patel? So sad, so beautiful, and your heart could weep.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Maybe there is something to this theory of filling in the blanks: I build 300 word stories with grand scale, with cunning and deceit, criminal code complexity and conspiracy, where the girls are necessarily not nice, gentle and pretty; but not raving stock market maniacs, and the men handsome, completely complex and unpredictable, but it is the sheer scale that surprises me, not for us a domestic story littered with he said and she said’s.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Red splattered the street today.
A carnage, long foretold.

When US accounts for 50% world consumption
Decoupling is a joke.

An exit far past overdue.
When teenagers play the market for pocket mone

Monday, January 21, 2008

V & V's baby:

Your tiny face grimaces for a bit.
You redden and pout in your sleep.
In an entirely enviable manner unique to three-day old babies.
Miracle baby. That’s what you are.
Born after a decade of waiting.
Born after a decade of well-meaning questions, freewheeling advice and snide remarks.
Born after horrendous treatments for fertility.
Including an ectopic “mistake”, that was near-fatal.
After visits to temples, and special puja's.
Born after systems had stalled, hormones at a standstill.
That’s when Dr UJ stepped in.
Oils, baths, powders, and inhalations.
All herbal.
Horrible diet restrictions.
Over two years of almost daily treatments, normalcy was restored.
And then the “good news”.
Miracle baby. Perfect.
Ten litt-el toes and ten litt-el fingers.
Sonu.. chotu…baaibeegoogaa I mumble in a strange baby language.
Proof that stardust exists.
“ Make a wish upon a star”.
Your mom and I laugh and cry, remembering.
Will you ever understand what you mean?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

sub's up, on
pushy, ya?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Because its mostly run run run and work work work; because how one has discovered voila! measuring the spices overnight can help save precious kitchen minutes groggy-eyed the next morning isn’t rocket science; and because a newspaper- attack strategy that consists of ripping off select pages for “later!” isn’t exactly a poem with blues, sapphires, deep sighs and onyx; and because the book for the blog tour sits unread past chapter two; because there is a flurry of subs, crits and very interesting ppl in the news you could just spin a yarn about although 100 suits is way too much; because experts sometimes don’t know anything; that I have not been writing.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Khoya khoya Chand is Pakeezah on speed.

Beautiful. Etched. Grand. Cruel.

Dialogue very fine, fast and if you miss a subtle point or two, zoom, its gone!

A 2000’s treatment for a movie about the movie making business circa 1950’s.

This rediff review says it all. If a feel good film is what you were looking for- this is not it.

The characters sound true to life, delineated with just enough, nothing over the top. A sketch in a few swift lines and the rest of the colors you’ll fill in yourself; that fat financier, that aging diva, the hero recommending his current flame as the next Garbo, the starlet taking “everyone does this” shortcuts to becoming a star, don’t they exist even today?

Incredibly complex lifelines, too much at stake. Yet that sepia and lavender- lace feel to it.

Nothing is what it seems. Everyone and everything is dispensable.

Layered characters. Dig a little, and ” What is in it for me” is all that matters.

You think later about the characters, and their behavior, this is the way it is, and this is the only way it can be, there is no other alternative, not really given this background and this lifeline.

The music is period classical and tinsel town chorus classic, both apt in their own place.

Some of the scenes didn’t render too well on dvd, dark blobs on the screen, or a black surface for way too long.

Either you’d like this very much, or not at all.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Worries melt as its tangy contents dissolve the crisp wheat exterior to a soggy nothingness, and then the spicy red-hot concoction that you gulp works its magic, opening up long forgotten centers in the brain, demanding attention as the next serving is unceremoniously thrust upon you. Pani puri bliss: utter confidence and all’s right with the world.

On the movie agenda this weekend: The lost lost Moon (khoya khoya chand). That is, if I can find a reasonably priced dvd to rent. The man who owns the corner shop has a monopoly in the area- and he knows it. Yup, I’m cheap.

An NRI cousin is to visit over the weekend. I wish they'd stay put.

This year, I have a to-do list, somewhat.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

What the hell is this?

Toshi Sabri, one of the twelve finalists on the Amul Star Voice of India show, was knifed near Andheri Station at ten in the night a day ago.


At that time, the place is buzzing with activity, buses double parking, people hustling autofellows to take them home, lots and lots of people trying to get home, by bus, car, walking, autos. It’s a sea of people. A crazy hullabaloo. Just mad noise everywhere. You get tired seeing the energy and constant activity.

How can this happen?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The specialist practices in the next suburb. Ghatkopar, or beyond the hills. Only, its not verdant hills anymore, just highrises and shanties and a road that climbs, curves and dips. The auto fellow takes a long road to take a short cut, a sleek new road with a flyover and a road that races past a lake and some fancy riverfront apartments with names of flowers. Only one crawls past in the most horrendous traffic jam, inch by inch, and a “ten-minute only” short cut takes one hour to navigate.

Saturday was interesting. As in a test of patience. After two false starts to register customer names, there is finally one more “ register or take your money back” directive from the government for people who put their money with mutual funds. I spent half the day trying to submit forms correctly filled in.

Watched Jab We Met (hilarious) and Laga chunri mein dagh (schizoid, the two halves of the movie don’t match).

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Who is Phoebe?

Dr Eric Maisel, psychologist and creativity coach is a familiar name to some of you, I’ve written about his work and how it helped me-struggling with my internal editor, and feelings of complete inadequacy. Last year was particularly bad, but the poetry was good. At that point I stumbled upon the creativitynewsletter on yahoogroups, and read up most of the archives. Phoebe features in some of the tales, stumbling some, skipping some, and finding her way past issues all of us somehow stare out, deal with, or dive under.

I just received my review copy of “The Van Gogh Blues, The Creative person’s path through Depression”, well in time for me to read and prepare for the interview I will host here early next month. But I’ve said this before- it is as if someone took you by the hand and guided you past crevices and pitfalls, and told you steps 1-2-3 that would help, if you but look at them. You can hear Dr Maisel’s podcast, “How Purpose Heals Depression,” here.

Kenya looks bad. Brought back memories of the Asian exodus from neighboring Uganda in the early seventies, when Idi Amin’s overnight decree caused hundreds of Indians, mainly from my state Gujarat, to flee, with little more than the clothes they were wearing. Suddenly Kinshasa, Kampala and Nairobi became familiar places as my sleepy university town shook itself awake and found space for the returning hordes to settle in. And now its happening again.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

It was a pleasure watching you navigate you taxi in the holiday traffic past Mahim, Panditji, yet another story of a runaway vagabond with a hundred bucks stolen from a village home, running away because a parent has been unfair; stretching the money till you can’t pay for even the cheapest streetfood, taking on odd jobs carrying cement-brick loads at a construction site, and then as the contractor notices your dedication, watching your luck turn, the quick rise to supervisor, after a few years changing over to the hotel field and learning about its pitfalls firsthand with one more inebriated Arab to entertain; the realization that this was taking you “ the wrong way”, the simple drivers job at a conglomerate chauffeuring the scions of industry and learning their whims and eccentricities, the forced retirement with pay post-strike, the nine months at the pretty star’s as you watched her metamorphose from refined to foul mouthed, and then your own taxi, short on earnings but high on self respect. Yes,your children go to an English school, you proudly tell me. What a contrast to the chiffon and diamonds clad hi fi lunging for the buffet tables later, yesterday evening.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A flock of black dots a peach sky.
It is colder than usual this morning.
Only a few have stepped out.
A bed of sunflowers slowly unfurls, lazily stretches to greet the sun.
A dewdrop is poised at the edge of a jade bamboo leaf.
Extravagant gold lights up the sky
A new year .