Wednesday, June 27, 2007

On romance novels...

The first one I read was at home. It was Ma's. It was called Kona Winds, it was set in Hawaii. Its weird because Still life with Woodpecker, the book that I tend to quote most about love, is also set in Hawaii.

The second Mills and Boon I read was the one I liked more. I don't remember the name, though I remember the story really well. She was called Alicia, and he was called Jean-Luc or Jean-Marie or Jean-something.
She was very pretty, and British. After been jilted by her ex at the altar, she duly lost faith in love, pulled her hair back in a tight chignon and made it big as a high profile fashion designer in Europe. Now this tall-rich French guy, with his hyphenated name, squarish jaw and piercing eyes, is hosting a wedding for his goddaughter, and our belle dame sans merci, Alicia, has been hired to design everything for the wedding of the century.
She walks in. She can feel his eyes following her. Animal magnetism. A passionate kiss in a moment of weakness. Confusion. The other woman. The other man. Further confusion. Then in the last ten pages, they make-up, and kiss. In that order.
There were some hints about the happy ever after.

Classic M&B. I devoured it. I read it like it was literature. From cover to cover. And then I read it again. And again. A few times over. Ah, to taste the forbidden fruit... and the cheap thrills of youth... At that age, I was curious as hell, and ready to read anything in print, and romance novels were out-of-bounds.

Ma and I never spoke about romance. I am not sure she liked the story I just narrated, but it would be wrong to judge her ideas about romance. She would buy them for long boring train journeys, and upon returning home, symbolically trash them by hiding them in the top-most shelf, hoping I couldn't reach them. My cousin sisters would come, and take these away. They were a lot older, heavily into this stuff, and unwilling to buy it for themselves.

College came with its own share of romance and romance novels. With the curiosity dead, and having figured out the pattern in them, it wasn't so exiting to read them anymore. But during those uncertain years, there was definitely something reassuring about their predictability.

There was this little lending library next to the hostel which stocked up very few good books and tons of trash. During cram-time before exams, Dep and I would borrow Archie comics and M&B from there, and read them for a break. Each of us had developed our individual style of reading them. I used to read the back cover and the last twenty pages. She used to read the first five, and one page every ten pages thereafter. Neither of us admitted to the other that we occasionally skipped to the two-pages-where-they-kiss and read them too.

I don't think the books really affected my ideas about romance, or love in general. The characters in there were rather unbelievable, hence. But those days, these books did strike a note somewhere...

I haven't read even one since.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Quo Vadis?

A.k.a, in which I figure out the root cause of all my dissatisfaction.

Its not because I feel I have anything less.
Its only because I want more from life. More experiences, more travel, more learning.
Its only because I want a life. A life full of life.

For past few months have done nothing except work, just to see how it feels. And have realized that the element of disuse, the whole feeling of not knowing what to answer when someone asks me “What else have you been up to?”, is the culprit. That irritates me to no end, that I have no answers when I ask myself, what have I gained in the past few months? How have I grown as an individual? (Before you take a dig, I dropped two Kgs)

You know, there was this small shack, quite named Dreamland right opposite our where plans for life were made over copious amount of chai. You know what we had then? No, not talent. Passion, yes. And more so, the non-judgmental attitude towards anything and everything. We had deep devotion for everything we did, small, big or otherwise:
Making those posters for College clubs which lasted on the walls just for a few days,
preparing for the next quiz, the glory of defeat in which lasted only till the next,
screaming your lungs out for your team when they played a losing match,
and singing along when the college band played their own comps in a badly planned concert.

I miss that.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Its a been long time since Hypnos wasn't kind to me.
It was the coffee maybe.
Drunk with pleasure then, as I am drunk, now,
with this languid sense of being awake.
And why does this time of the night come with this itchy-scratchy feeling?
And the song playing incessantly on the radio channel in my head happens to be Justin -
"What goes around, comes around!"
Stuck in my head.
It's just that one line playing, no more.
The stuck head. The scratched record.

The sheep are tired, they have walked in and out all night.
They go around and come around.
And what happens next?

The clock ticks away, ten minutes too fast.
The lights from someone else's window flicker on mine.
It's almost dawn.
The early birds yawn.
And my dreams for a better tomorrow wait for sleep to come by.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Of Flus and Fathers...

Been down with fever and a sore throat since yesterday, and I am back to work.

Falling sick when I was growing up was different.
Dad would take leave from work, and launch a one man crusade against the invaders. Home would become a father-daughter citadel, meaning, we were allowed to make a mess of it till Ma came back from work.

No sooner than she had left the front door, he would start with a status check - he would put the thermometer in my mouth, and then head to the kitchen to make some herbal tea. I would squint, and wait for the mercury to reach 99, and get the thermometer out of the mouth. If it had already reached a 100, I would shake it down to 99 and then announce loudly and gladly that I was decidedly feeling better and should be allowed to go to school. He never called my bluff, but am quite sure he knew. So, despite all my protests, I was sent back to the bedroom.

By then the herbal tea would be ready. The tea was a speshul remedy for sore throats, a miracle cure, I was told. It had herbs instructed by old-wives - except that he would add them all at one go. The results, though not totally disastrous, were potent enough to scare the viruses/bacteria away.

He would then proceed to cook lunch. He is not a bad cook, just that he likes to experiment a little too much. Those days, anything he could successfully boil and add salt and generous amount of pepper to, would be served with much-ado. With the numb taste buds it hardly made a difference so long as the stuff could slide smoothly down my throat. Though, I must say, he has improved over the years. Having a guinea pig helps, I guess.

And medicines? Dad was particular that they be taken on time. I remember him waking me up on cold nights, and giving me an assortment of pills with half a glass of warm water. A cold hand would check if I still had fever, and he would stand still for a minute to check if I was wheezing.

Years later, he packed me away to the hostel sans much emotion, but with a semesters' supply of medicines: antibiotics, antihistamines, multivitamins, the works. One day, lying alone in the hostel room, running a temperature of 103 and yet trying to be all adult about being sick, I felt cold, lonely and abandoned. And then I realized it wasn't the medicines that I needed, it was all the fuss. So I did what I had to do, called him, and whined on the phone.

Like I did yesterday.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Verse #2343

I could see him distinctly in the light of the moon.
His dark face seemed paler than marble.
His left eye twitched, perhaps to violently protest against what was about to happen.
It was then that I realized that it had all gone wrong.
Right before he pulled the trigger.....

Flash of a lifetime
Loss sifts through moonlit leaves
Haiku left behind.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Peddling pedals.

Many summers ago, two boys went on a shopping trip to buy a cycle, It was vastly frustrating, so they boldly went where no men have gone before. They decided to open a bike shop.

It all started out when Nikhil and Rohan came up with the crazy idea of cycling to work. Despite the killer traffic, these two aficionados have been religiously riding their bikes to work for more than a year now, and have discovered that it is far less stressful to manoeuvre a bike in the traffic than to drive. They strongly believe that this could be a healthy solution to the current unhealthy traffic situation in Bangalore. With the nobel intention of sharing the gyaan, and helping people attain the same nirvana, , they came up with the idea of getting state-of-the-art Trek and Firefox bicycles to Bangalore. And lo and behold, BumsOnTheSaddle was born.

Together, the erstwhile-partners-in-crime and now in business are looking at spearheading a community of biking enthusiasts. So check out the cool website, the blog and/or the bikeshop (big incentive - it is located bang opposite the Girls' hostel in Jayanagar). And do remember to drop them a word even if you are not looking at picking up a cycle.

Generous as they are, they even offer free test-rides.

PS: Rohan, I just emailed you my bank account information . :)

Monday, June 11, 2007

The baker's dozen

Fans of the classic caper genre will say that Ocean's thirteen doesn't qualify as one. Maybe, this wasn't meant to be one. Also, that 11 was perfect. For this one, the aim wasn't perfection, perhaps.

Roger Ebert might complain argue that the plot is fragile, and whatever is left of it is quite absurd. I beg to disagree. While not cult-level, or anything remotely memorable, this one did justice to the series in a way no threequel this year has managed to achieve. I drooled, I laughed, I guffawed, and then I left, and that is what this was meant to be. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Matt Damon emerges as a personal favourite among the star studs. Brad's Rusty is well, rusty.

Also, for my plebian tastes, the Oprah touch was quite a masterstroke.

Saturday, June 09, 2007


There must a reason why common sense so uncommon!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The process

So the plan was quite clear, thus spake the Engineer/MBA. He charted it out for me neatly on a piece of paper. He excelled at spreadsheets, that kinda stuff you know. This is how he put it:

#define Start date T April sometime.

Start chatting;
T + 1 month: we will send pictures to each other.
Iff (all goes well) /*meaning, she doesn't get a heart attack looking at his pics*/
2 more months of wooing;
Early part of the following month, he proposes;
If( she says yes) {
Jump up and down ten times;
For(the next three months) discuss if we should get married?;
If (OK) then {
For(one month) - discuss when to get married;
loop for One year {
swimming and sinking in love;
If (End of next year) get out of this stupid loop;
Check(bank balance);
Tie the knot;
Happy ever after;

Bloody geek. Wants everything to be perfect. In order. Six Sigma compliant. Cant go wrong. Only 6 defects in a thousand pieces. In a million, the nitpicker would correct you.

Thankfully Love, as Tom Robbins said, is the ultimate outlaw. And it had other plans.

So then she called, and said she had sent him the pics like he had asked for, for which he had cooked up a silly excuse like a hard disk crash, and that she had Paneer butter masala for lunch which was too spicy.
And thankfully, the process crumbled.

Shilly phish, the two of them, I tell you.

With their parents blessings, they will probably elope today. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Kee Kando.

Somedays, I am not so cynical about the world. And I am kind. And excited.

[PS] I know the brackets dont match. Its okie. Its fine.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

On reviews :)

Two goats who wandered into an alley behind a motion picture theater happened across a can of film. Being goats, one of them promptly devoured it. "How was it?" asked the other.

"Not bad," replied the first goat, "but the book was better."


Sunday, June 03, 2007

The attack of the unimaginative three-quels

Will keep it brief. Pirates 3 was convoluted, too tedious even for the swashbuckling Jack Sparrow to resuscitate. Special effects are never as funny as people. They can wow you, but they can never ever strike a chord. Having said that, with every little ounce of life and love that's left in me, I am and will remain deeply devoted to Johnny Depp . So I still kinda liked it. The movie has its moments, wish it was easier to find them though.

Shrek 3: Ahh, the lesser said the better. Waste of popcorn. And what's with everyone giving emotional speeches in the end?

Fantasy, they say, has to have its ends tied up, only reality has frayed edges. But yet, just because all known characters come together on screen in one scene, where they all fight it out, give their speeches, find their loves and say goodbye hoping to squeeze some tears out of the cynical audience doesn't necessarily mean justice is done to the characters. It just leaves you with a bad aftertaste. Whatever happened to the joy of simple storytelling?

As for Danny Ocean's Motley Crew, I really hope thirteen proves lucky. Frankly, I have little hope.