Monday, March 26, 2007

Light and Sound

Three movies over the weekend is a good count as far as I am concerned.

Lucky Number S7evin

Don't ask me why I wanted to watch it. It was not an informed choice, but more of a before I delete it, just five minutes kind of preview. And Bruce Wills always manages to get my attention. So does Ben Kingsly. So does Morgan Freeman.

So what are these three guys doing in one movie anyway? I kept watching the movie, till the very end, to find an answer to that question. At the end of it, I was left strangely unmoved. Often, one of them is enough for me to be riveted to the screen. I was left detached till the end. May be it is the sight of all these men trying to act in half baked roles. The movie had it all - good actors - Josh Hartnett & Lucy Liu are the hero/heroine; incidentally - the expected surprise ending, reasonably good editing, above average dialogue, emotion, drama, romance, family...

But at the end of it, the movie is like a beautiful plastic plant with no life. It will gather dust at a corner of your mind. And your heart will never be open to this movie.

Terms of Endearment:

Alright, I cried. There is Shirley Maclain - who so reminded me of my mother and the love/hate relationship I have with her and reminded me as to why people go ga-ga over her - her family friend, Danny DiVito and even that wicked old sexy man called Jack Nicholson who can portray those rascals whom every woman want to slap across his face and kiss up at the same time because of his personality despite the alcoholic slippery steps, leering face and overweight body. He daughter Debra Winger who can so beautifully express the hopes and fears of youth in an instant, the guy who acted as her husband, the guy in Third Rock from the Sun with whom she has an affair, the lady who acts as her best friend, and her kids - especially her second son. Yeah, it was when he cried that I cried.

This movie has soul. It has love. Not the perfectly packed and perfumed kind of love; but the ordinary kind -the one which hurts, disappoints, hurts some more, strays, stays and the one which is made all the more precious by the tears that mix with it. I loved this movie.

The Namesake:

Once upon a time, there were movies made in India like Namesake. In Malayalam, in Tamil, in Hindi. I grew up watching them. Ordinary, believable stories, where people do fall, but hey, they always get up, dust their knees and go forth again. This is a sunshine movie which will filter into the deep corners of your mind. Watch it guys - for Tabu and Irfaan's amazing love story. For Karl Penn. For all those times that make you think of your parents and family. You wont regret it.

This movie shines through - without melodrama but with emotions, without cliches but with slices from life, without stars but with good actors. Thanks Meera, for redeeming my faith in literary adaptations.

This movie gives you hope. And hope is a precious commodity for us to ignore.

Friday, March 23, 2007

To a land far, far away.

When I joined my company, an international assignment at the end of one year was pretty much a given. We knew this was going to happen, were indeed looking forward to it. Now, more nearer to the departure, I was having a conversation with another management trainee. She was not feeling happy about having to be outside India for 18 months.

"You might be happy as you never care about go home and don't have anyone here. I will get married next year or the year after that. I have a life here. My family, friends... I am more mainstream than you."

Ouch. I thought about her remark, so offhandedly cruel, all the more because it was not intended to hurt. I don't have a boyfriend, I am not that close to my family. So what is there for me to miss?

That day, I went home and started thinking about why I was not happy about leaving. I don't have any friends here. I don't have much fun in Kolkata. Still, I was feeling bad that I have to pack my bag's to Santa's land.

I wont have to deal with littered streets or rude people there. No sticky sweat or commotions. Peace and happiness and high quality living.

I would have preferred a much more crowded place. I love human beings - watching them hustle and bustle around me. I love the roadside food and the second hand book shops that you can find almost at every street in Kolkata. I am will miss the fact that I can fly to my friends over a weekend.

I am going to miss the riot of colours in this country. I will miss the spring and summer. I will miss the monsoon, the rumbling of the skies. I will miss the fact that by taking a cheap flight, I can escape into the extreme opposite of whichever climate I am experiencing in this country.
I never knew I loved this country this much. Patriotism is not a word that I want to use. It is not about my country greatest. It is about something that is so inclusive, so cheap in its riches, so varied in its sins and nirvana...

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy fish, sad fish

I miss Chennai.

The udupi hotel food, the low priced fruit shakes, the sea and the besant nagar sea bridge, the east cost road, the friends i had there, satyam theatre and Spencer plaza, the rains, the bike rides....

I miss Kerala.

The backwaters, the greenery in lavish abandon, the fish, the food, the underrated malabari biriyani with an egg, onion raita and yummy lemon pickle, the different pickles and fried tapioca, jackfruit, and what not, mashed tapioca, esoteric mallu breakfast of puttu, payar, kozhukatta, ada, jackfruits, various kinds of bananas, elephants, Rs 30 movie tickets...

I miss Jamshedpur.

The running into terabytes online movie collection, the roadside food experiences, the nights where i learnt to dance, the few friends and many acquaintances, the campus dogs, the beautiful streets and the houses, the riverside....

I miss Gurgaon.

The people in that office, the friends I have left there, the movies, the shopping malls, the hep eating and drinking holes, the all night parties, the all night drinking and talking sessions with work friends....

I will miss Kolkata.

College street, city centre, the old dilapidated houses, the white jamun, the roadside snacks whose name I always keep forgetting, the work, the responsibility that made me grow up....

I don't miss Chennai.

The dirt. The lack of water. The sweat.

I don't miss Kerala.

The leching men with hands like the tentacles of Medusa, who grope and grope and grope - till you either hit back or move away if possible. The apathy of the people around me. The pseudo intellectual crap of the arm chair activists which somehow irks more than the blatant commercialization of other cities.

I don't miss Jamshedpur.

The trying to fit in. The trying to be overly loyal and patriotic. The trying to put friendships and personal opinions above what needed to be said and done. The most times phony feeling of belonging.

I don't miss Gurgaon.

The feeling of being shouted at. The conflict between wanting my life back and not wanting to hurt my friends. The inability to again, take a stand for losing a friend. The overpriced everything.

I wont miss Kolkata.

The lack of friends. The people who try to make me dole out more just because I earn more. The selfishness and self centeredness of people whom I have met, interacted with, and who still think that they are doing me a favour. The lack of a shoulder to lean on at time, for sometimes professional and mostly non-professional guidance.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

What do you look for in a job?

He looked at me, smiled in a slightly uncertain manner, and asked.
I looked up to his face, shining with the unshaken faith in business school friendships, senior/junior bonding and the fact that one year experience make me qualified to give him gyaan.
Run faccha run! Completing one year is about the beginning of selfdoubts, of paranoia, of delusion and hopefully some amount of self realization. We have started on the ride, give us some more time before you as us these questions, lest I shake your faith in the great B School ringmarole - a.k.a the campus placements.
I was in enemy territory. Atleast, according to my juniors, my clan which I had left one year back. I was asked to take lesser students from that campus, to show my loyalty to our blood.
But then I like them a lot.
Like them, may be much more better than the ones from my clan. Like them, as they seems to be more accepting of the fact that la vida es una perra, and still laugh at it. Like them, as they were introduced by a good friend / colleague.
So I was there, being friendly and professional at the sametime - which means smiling a monalisa smile when they ask about who all got the shortlist, nod sympathetically when they come and speak greatly about a friend of theirs who would absolutely love to get into our company - nod and smile, instead of scrowling at them or divulging any information, and intentionally blanking my mind to all the marketing done for the candidates by their friends.
And what did I look for in a job?
I told him this:

A chance to fatten my cv. Some call it getting exposure, but I connect it to the final outcome. I dont want to put anything on my cv which I cannot claim as mine or which I cannot speak about knowledgably, so that means grabbing opportunites and accepting them when offered.

So that if in the future I have to choose my personal life over my company - without zilch personal life, I dont see that happening anytime soon - I can pick and choose what I want to do and where I want to be.

I did not tell him this:

Fun. This is a no-brainer. If I am doing something ten hours a day, I better have fun doing that. This means being challenged, appreciated, ragged, teased - I guess a better word would be to feel alive.

Family. I think that more and more, I substitute my work colleagues for my friends and well wishers. Well, atleast a significant chunk of them anyway.

I dont feel as if I am part of my old clan anymore. I am in touch with a lot of them - and many of my good friends are from there, but I value them as individuals than them having the same brand as I do. There are a lot in that group whom I have already forgotten. And I guess I have found a new label to belong to. I know that even this may not be permanant, but as of now, I am fine with it.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Yesterday, after a long long time - longer than I would have wanted, anyway - I cooked food.

Let me get something clear here - I do not consider anything involving 2 minute noodles or heat and eat packs cooking. I also do not classify anything related with eggs - oh phuleeze! How long does it take to cook it? Where is the challenge? - cooking.

For me, the cooking is the sorting, washing, cutting, mixing and allowing my hands to grab whatever they want to and add it to the food. I have never made the same stuff twice. Till now all my food has been new, age old mallu recipes ( I am a mallukutty after all ) mutated by random moments of insanity where I am a witch preparing strange concoctions.

In between cutting the vegetables, the phone rang. Somebody called up.

SB : Listen!
Me: I'm cooking - talk to you later!
SB: Listen to this joke - " blah blah blah "

If I have forgotten the joke, pardon me. It was not that great anyways. I groaned at the end of it, and tried balancing my mobile phone on my shoulder and continued cutting the vegetables. SB went forth to the second joke. I got distracted for a second, and sliced my finger. A bit - not really wanting a stitch, but a scar will remain forever.

"Listen to the third one!" SB was on the third joke, and I told him that I will call him later. I did not tell him about the cut finger. Blood - dark red like wine - was dipping on to the floor.

My self confessed cooking challenged flatmate and her equally inept friend who is staying with us for some time - " We have never ever cooked in our lifetime. Our parents never told us to!" - got the Dettol and other things, helped control the blood flow, and helped me with the rest of the chopping.

At the end of it, cut finger and all, I was happy. I had cooked good food, food which smelled, looked and tasted good. My magic worked. My roomie dug in with trepidation, then with gusto. Making the curry has been officially delegated to me, and I have got two enthusiastic cooking students.

The cooking went as follows:

1. Chop arbit veggies which you find. Potatoes, Cauliflower, Carrots, beans..

2. Add salt and oil to the potato and fry them for sometime, add more salt if you feel like it.

3. Sniff the food at regular intervals till you finish cooking.. Allow your mind to add whatever it wants to the food. ( I added ghee - but don't really remember when.)

4. Add some water, garam masala, the rest of the veggies except cauliflower and stir.

5. When the smell dictates, close the lid and go off.

6. When you feel like it, come back and stir and add tomatoes.

7. Stir. But mildly.

8. When the smell dictates, switch off the stove, and voila! yummy veg curry is ready.

Now this was yesterday. Today, the same Some body has caused a little bleeding somewhere within, some place which I reserve for friends. It doesn't need stitches, but I guess the scar will remain.

The cooking now, will go on.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Duffer men never know that...

A woman is fickle with her emotions - yesterday's undying proclamation of love, if not reciprocated, can turn today into tuning out when you drone on...

    It's just a little crush (crush)
    Not like I faint every time we touch
    It's just some little thing (crush)
    Not like everything I do depends on you

    That women do not hate each other as much as you think they do

    That women bond better with each other than men

    That a woman may love you with all her heart, but if you lie to her - well well... "the female of the species is more deadlier than the male..." unless, she choose to ignore or forgive you

    That they love the trill of the chase

    That they chase

    That they can be "frequently kind and suddenly cruel" and they will "carelessly cut you and laugh while you're bleeding"

    That they learn to leave behind feelings like flower petals falling, converting each frown and drooped mouth into a wrinkle of wisdom and power

    That they conjure up curses in the tears you make them shed and send them off to haunt you till the end of the earth

    And then say....

    You bored me with your stories

    I cant belive that I endured you for as long as I did

    Im happy its over, Im only sorry

    That I didnt make the move before you

    And when you go I will remember

    To send a thankyou note to that girl oh that girl

    I never really loved you anyway

    No I didnt love you anyway

    Valentino, I dont think so

    You watching mtv while I lie dreaming in an empty bed

    And come to think of it I was misled

    My flat, my food, my everything

    And thoughts inside my head

    When men act like bitches, women act like witches. They call in their coven, and the curse follows the man across time and space; like a recurring bad dream which would frighten them into insomnia.

    Two-faced daddy dont hand me no doublecross

    Youll see any time Im ready

    I can tell you baby get lost

    Duffer men... they never know...

    Strong inside but you don't know it
    Good little girls they never show it
    When you open up your mouth to speak
    Could you be a little weak

    Do you know what it feels like for a girl
    Do you know what it feels like in this world
    For a girl

    Hair that twirls on finger tips so gently, baby
    Hands that rest on jutting hips repenting

    Hurt that's not supposed to show
    And tears that fall when no one knows
    When you're trying hard to be your best
    Could you be a little less

    Kiddo, we will have our vengeance. Bill will be killed.


    1. This post is for the woman I love the most in the whole wide world. A wuss fooled her for a while, but she is nobody's fool. Amen to her!
    2. The colors are my subconcious drooling over the news that Tarentino is planning a movie - love the flicks, love the man. Bring 'em on!