Monday, October 12, 2009

Love, but know not why

Love, but know not why

Love not me for comely grace,
For my pleasing eye or face,
Nor for any outward part;
No, nor for my constant heart:
For those may fail or turn ill, --
So thou and I shall sever.

Keep therefore a true woman's eye,
And love me still, but know not why:
So hast thou the same reason still
To doat upon me ever.
- Anonymous

Gather ye rosebuds…

Gather ye rosebuds…

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he's a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he's to setting.

That age is the best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be coy not, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.

- Robert Herrick

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sophia…

Happy is the man that findeth wisdom and getteth understanding…
She is more precious than rubies, and all that thou hast cannot be compared unto her.
Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left riches and honor.
Her are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

From Proverbs 3:13-17

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Quotable Sandman...

I have been reading Neil Gaiman's Sandman series recently. Out of the 10 first volumes I have completed 8 and two are still remaining. The Sandman is the Lord of Dreams, and I have found a few lines worth quoting from the series...

And what do you want from me?
Everything. What else is there to want?

Am I dreaming?
Not a bit of it. Quite the reverse if anything.

Getting what you want and being happy are two quite different things.

If you have nothing left to want, then you just wait until there is nothing left to wait for.

You really are just what you look like you are.

I do not know. I think so.

We do not represent them. We are them.

They say death is kinder than he is.

His hot fingers are already invading her soft curves and moist crevices.

Sleep until life wakes you.

It isn't fair, but it is right.

Eventually, it begins to get dark.

There is a joy in there, of course, and love, and touching.
The presence that makes the absence unbearable.

Her kiss is a deep ocean.
Her kiss is not a deep ocean.
Her kiss is the grey sky.

Her kiss is a blind alley.

Her kiss is her touch is her breath
is her fingers is what remains
after the laughing is over.

Her kiss is the blackness.
Her kiss is not the blackness.

Her kiss is a black dog.
That follows you in the darkness.

And people ask,
Does despair despair?
Does dream dream?
Does desire desire?

Is everything over?
No, its just begun.

If you can't be happy when you are, you can't be happy anywhere.

Hell is other people.

To be despair. It is a portrait.
Only close your eyes and feel.

They are after all, all we have.

Who knew? Who could have known?

I have heard the language of the apocalypses, and now I will embrace silence.

That's not unlikely. This is unlikely.

You don't believe me. I don't mind, I don't always believe me either.

It cannot be stolen. It cannot be given away.

Perhaps one of our problems may prove a solution to the other.

But this kind of thing, doesn't happen to you, does it? It happens to other people.

I am coming, though the way is ardous and strange.

My admiration doesn't lessen my anger.

Great stories will always return to their original forms.

I have learnt from my mistakes, but I have had more time to commit more mistakes.

She isn't yours Nathan. She belongs to no one, except herself.

A black mirror made to reflect everything about itself that humanity will not confront.

For all of you, the dream is over. I have taken it away from you.

I don't understand it, but I believe it.

If my dream was true, then everthing we know, everything that we think we know is a lie.

When its just you and a blank sheet of paper.

If that is what you wish, it is done.

Is anything forever?

It's a fools prerogative to utter truths that no one else will speak.

His folly, is no fault of mine.

I am that merry wanderer of night.

It never happened and yet it is true.

And it is forever summers twilight...

And I wonder, why I wonder...

But the price of getting what you want, is getting what you once wanted.

Things need not have happened to be true.

You make your own hell.

And who might you be?

But I know of things no one else knows.

To absent friends, lost loves and old gods, and the season of mists; may each and every one of us give the devil his due.

...as if merely saying something were enough to make it true.

...it is better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven.

We do what we must. Lucien. Sometimes we can choose path we follow, sometimes choices are made for us. And sometimes we have no choice at all.

Innocence, once lost, can never be regained.

The kind where you know it is a nightmare, but you still can't wake yourself up.

I think hell is something you carry around you, not somewhere you go.

Your impertinence invites my severest displeasure.

Times have changed and we have changed with them.

Do not wander from the path when you return.

If only it were that easy.

I never thought disposing of the unwanted would be so hard.

There must be a hell, for without hell heaven has no meaning.

As such though I regret it, I cannot fault it.

Tell her that we need to talk.

We will hurt you and we are not sorry.

The land is far from lost.

So what are we waiting for, exactly? I mean, if that is not a dumb question?

However, I am not sure that I know the answer.

We are in the twilightzone.

I don't have to kill a rabbit, do I?

Shit in one hand and wish in other, see which fills up first.

I'd been lying so hard I'd convinced myself I was telling them the truth.

Sometimes inaction itself is action.

It was freely given and well meant.

I don't think home is a place anymore. I think it is a state of mind.

For they have sown the wind, they shall reap the whirlwind.

We should take our goodbyes whenever we can.

Liberty is a bitch who must be bedded on a matress of corpses.

Tyranny like hell is not easily conquered.

The truth here is a matter of conjecture.

What we obtain too cheap, we esteem to lightly.

We write our names in the sand, then waves roll and wash them away.

She ought to be mine, but she isn't, is she?

His madness keeps him sane.

What more than that a man could desire?

For the lesson perhaps, if for nothing else.

Values's in what people think. Not in what's real. Value's in dreams, boy.

You shouldn't trust the storyteller; only trust the story.

wishes are best left sometimes ungranted...

Am I arguing with a dream?

I'll wake you up and you will go where dreams go.

And forewarned is seldom forearmed.

You come in, you do not go out again.

A good mystery can last forever.

For those were the days of wonder.

It is unwise to summon what you cannot dismiss.

It has been far too long since we sat beneath the summer moon together and talked of pleasant fripperies, of that and this, and left others to speak sensible things of import and consequence.

I do not wish. I know. What must happen, will happen.That is the way of it.

There's is something I want and I can't have it and I am going to take it anyway. That's my problem.

Somethings are too big to be seen, some emotions are too huge to be felt.

I think you are more in love with the idea of your dead love than you were with the girl herself.

There will be conditions, but then, there always are.

Thou hast made the furies cry.

There are always rules.

He is not one to forget a slight. Nor to forgive.

But he does not change. He will not. Perhaps he cannot.

You do not give. We take.

But you have made your own errors. It was your own life.

I'm not blessed or merciful. I'm just me.

Someone once brought me a flower, clandestinely. That means I do not know who it was. And I never saw the flower, either. Maybe they never brought it after all.

Ah, that is unlike you.What's wrong?

And it distresses me to see you troubled.

I hate being nowhere.

We shall seek answers. We may seek questions also.

Shadow plays of memory are forever being enacted, on paths that you walked on not too long ago.

Life is a strange way of describing our experience.

I can do that if I have to.

And somebody said he wouldn't keep going on about a perfectly understandable mistake that anyone could have made.

Don't drink the cup, just the coffee.

Because there's no such thing as one sided coin.

Why does it seem like none of us, know what we are doing?

Nothing new can exist without destroying the old.

One cannot begin a new dream without abandoning the last.

Life like time is a journey through darkness.

What's done can't be undone.

We do not always accomplish what we set out to do.

Our journey is over, all debts are paid.

... in a manner of recognizing a line from a familiar poem in a strange book.

Nobody is fine on their own. people need people.

It wasn't that the things got bad, but they were no more spectacularly good.

And you never get to learn what happens to anyone else.

It is fearful thing to be haunted by those who loved you once, it is fearful to haunt those one loves.

There is a thin line between intoxication and unconsciousness, and I think he is about to cross it.

There are rumours, but that is all they are.

Like there was nothing left to hold on to. Nothing left to believe.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ghalib and communication...

Nawab Agha Khan Ashq wrote the following lines about Ghalib, which I think also applies to a lot of `intellectuals'.

अगर अपना काहा तुम अाप ही समझे तो क्या समझे?
मजा कहने का तब है, एक कहे अैार दुसरा समझे
जुबान मिर लिखे अैार कलाम सैादा समझे
मगर ईनका काहा ये अाप समझे या खुदा समझे.

(If only you understand what you have composed, what is one to do?
The joy of composing is when one composes and others understand too
When Meer writes and Sauda say we understand
But his couplets only he understands and God, its true.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

D...

Well, I am D.
Now what does this D stands for, some call it a family name...
It is that, but it stands for something more, something beyond the oblivion...

D is for Desire!

D is for Delight!

D is for Despair!

D is for Delirium!

D is for Dream!

D is for Destiny!

D is for Death!

D is for Damitr!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Candy Shops for Bibliophiles 3

After the initial post on bibliophilia [here], and book shops in Nagpur [here] and Pune [here] we now come to the third in this series. The city of Mumbai [formerly known as Bombay] . There is too much to write about Mumbai, the way it was, it is and it will be in the future to come. Since it is my current location since about three years, and it is to be so for the coming few years, I have developed a special bond with the city. When I was in Pune, I had come quite a few times to Mumbai, with one of my friends who belonged here. It was during my visits in those years that I came to know about the Old/Used book markets in the city.

The first one which I will describe is in the heart of the Mumbai, The Fort area. Currently there is no Fort in this area, but there was in the early days of Nineteenth Century. The Fort has long gone since then, for making space for civilian and other buildings, and now only the name remains.

There are too many things in the small area which are of interest to me. I cannot maybe describe them all in this blog. Maybe, The Fort, needs a blog entirely for itself. But lets not divulge too much into it, as right now the thing that we are interested in are the Candy Shops for Bibliophiles. The Fort area presents the bibliophiles with a wide opportunity to shop, right from the old/used books to one of the quite old shops in Mumbai the Strand Books.

I recommend that you start from the CST [Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus formerly known as Victoria Terminus or VT] and take on the D N Road [Dadabhai Nowrojee Road]. Start walking from the Western end of the road, the end at which Mc Donalds is present. Almost right up to the Flora Fountain, one finds a sort of subway created by the arches of the buildings of Victorian architecture.
Along these corridors there are a lot of proper book stores. Some notable among them are the Computer Book Shop, Bookzone, Ashish Book Stores.
See the map below. Ashish Book Stores also have a annual exhibition in which you get lot of books at heavily discounted prices. Usually the book fair is at the Sunderbai Hall, near Churchgate.


On the other side of the road is the Sterling Book Stores, which will give you an enormous variety of technical books to get. They have substantial sections on Physics, Mathematics, Philosophy and Psychology. In most of these shops you will get about upto 10-15% discount on the list price.


Along the corridor you may find one or two old book sellers. One at very beginning and one may be in the middle of the passage. They were frequent a few years back. I got my copy of Albert Einstein : Philosopher and Scientist here in these shops. In fact a lot of old booksellers were present till a few years back, most of them now being removed, I guess in the anti-encroachment drive. But the walk through these 'corridors' is worth for the books that await you at the end of this walk.

You can drop by to the Khadi Bhavan, which is on the way to do some nice shopping. If you take a left turn at the Khadi Bhavan Chowk, it will lead you to Strand Booksellers. They have good collection of books on all subjects. You won't find too technical books here, but books for general reading are more than abundant. Every year Strand people have the Strand Book Festival, which is a must visit. The book fair is usually during January end of February beginning, at the Sunderbai Hall, Near Churchgate. Huge discounts are on the offering in this mania of books. So make it a point to visit it!!


Now, if you go straight this will lead you to the American Express Building. Along side the walls of this building are the old book sellers. A few years back they were quite spread out, some of them had shops along the walls of the High Court building also. But now they have been contained in this small pocket here.

The sellers here are quite knowledgable about the books that they keep. They know the books by title and author. Some also make it a point to keep the books according to authors. The books most of the times are neatly classified by geners or subjets. They know almost all books by Arthur C Clarke and Carl Sagan. The more popular a book, more are the chances that you might find them here. But sometimes you get jewels here. I got my Why's of a Philosophical Scrivener by Martin Gardner here.

The book sellers also have a library system, which means that after reading the book you can return the book and get some amount back. But who wants to depart with a book, especially if you are a bibliophile? The most common books that you will get here are the novels of all kinds. Bargaining can be done, and you can get books in quite cheap rates, especially if you are a regular.

The best time to visit is a late Sunday afternoon. When you can have all the time to browse through endless piles of books, to find what you are searching for.
One thing that you might miss on a Sunday is that many of the proper book shops mentioned above including Sterling and Strand, and the Khadi Bhandar are closed on Sundays. But the advantage to go on Sunday is a drastic reduction in the crowd that is present on the weekdays. So if you want to visit them all, the best day is a Saturday.


Till last year some sporadic old book shops were also present along the footpaths, of the Old Bombay University Building, the side on the opposite to FabIndia and Globus, near Kala Ghoda end. Here some of the sellers used to sell books for a cheap but fixed price. Some of lots would have Rs. 10/20/30 for a book. Sometimes I have found quite interesting titles here. But recently in a last few months I did not find these stalls. Maybe they were removed from there permanently. I have also found similar shops along walls of the Post and Telegraph Office. But they are not always there. If you are lucky you probably might get them.

While returning to CST do not forget to visit the Fort Book Distributors, opposite the main entrance to CST [Legend 2 in the map]. This is a unique proper book shop which also sells old/used books at quite cheap prices. They also have exhibition and sales of books at different places in Mumbai, so keep an eye out for them in the newspapers. My last visit to their FBD Book Fair was quite fruitful.

So much for the south part of Mumbai. In next post I will cover the Old Book sellers in the so called college district of Mumbai, the Matunga Area.

Till then happy book hunting!!

Update: As per comment of Square Peg below, I have not mentioned the New and Secondhand Book Shop. Yes! It is there from quite some time if I remember correctly since early days of last century and I did not know about it.

Only recently I came to know about it from Arvind Gupta. And I have not mentioned it. I was going to… but procrastination has its own strange ways in which it works…

So here it is :

The New and Second Hand Book Shop:
For this wonderful shop go to the Metro Cinema Square. There is a shop of musical instruments opposite Metro Cinema [well not exactly opposite, but across the street]. So when you keep your back towards Metro and are standing in front of this Music Store, start walking along the road towards right. After a few shops you have a lane going to left of the road. Just at this corner is the New and Second Hand Book shop. But beware the entrance is a bit small. Two times it happened that I went and saw that the shutters were down so just came back. Third time when I went there, I saw somebody coming out of what I thought was a closed shop. So this is where I discovered the entrance to the shop. They are open till 7 in the evening and closed on sundays.
Visiting the shop makes you feel as if you are visiting an old library. The shop has books lined up nicely according to subjects. The shelves have subject labels on them. Browsing through the shelves can, at times, become tedious. The section on social sciences is quite large. You get 30% discount on all the new books. For the old books the prices are mentioned on the cover and on that you get additional 30% discount. Most of the books are more than reasonably priced; they are cheap :). Also don't forget to visit the second floor also.

So do visit this shop, till then happy book hunting…

[Map coming soon]

Candy Shops for Bibliophiles 2

After looking at the bookshops in the heart of India we now turn to the second chapter in this series. The Oxford of the East. Pune [पुणे].

Pune has a large student population. The are some very good colleges in Pune. Apart from the standard colleges, there are a large number of courses being offerred by different institutions. Academically speaking I am a product of Pune. Both my alma mater are here. The first one being grand old Fergusson College and then the Department of Physics at the University of Pune. Coming to Pune from Nagpur was a transitive phase for me.

Well here I experienced lot of things which I would not have had, had I been not here. Anyways coming back to the main issue. Since Pune has a large student population, there are a large number of bookshops, publishers to support them.

The most famous area is the Appa Balwant Chowk [अप्पा बळवंत चौक] , popularly known as ABC. This area is in the heart of Old City. The area around ABC is literally overflowing with old and new book shops. But alas most of the books that you get here are the standard ones, Nirali, VBD, Manali types. But anyways, this is what most of the students are looking for. And also you can sell your old books here. With some booksellers there is a library system available, you can get about 50% money back when you return the books after you have used them. Only rarely you will stumble across books which do not form a part of any standard syllabus. You can bargain here.
Open throughout the day.

But apart from this there are a few other sellers which I want to tell you about. They are Mr. Prabhakar and Co. Major chunk of my own collection comes from them. These booksellers do not have a permanent shop as such but are basically street vendors. They sit at the Deccan end of the Sambhaji Bridge [संभाजी पुल ], also known as the Lakdi Pul [लकड़ी पुल ]. Be careful not to take your two wheeler on this bridge, this only a three and more wheeler bridge!

Mr. Prabhakar with his road side stall, at Deccan End of Sambhaji Bridge.

Their shop is not open throughout the day but only in the evenings. Just near sundown they get their books and start displaying them along side the footpath.

Now if you are a true book-lover this is the time to get the books. Keep an eye out for the books that they are taking out of their bags. As soon as you find something interesting keep it aside. That is the strategy that I had adopted when I was in the town. I have myself got quite a few good books from them. I hope you too, along with a lot of Mir/Russian titles. They are open all days of the week in the evenings till about 8:30 pm.

If you are a regular they may also keep some books in reserve for you, as they did for me. Also over a time they knew what kinds of books I was after, and as soon as I appeared they showed me those ones. The books are reasonably priced, most of the times I did not have to bargain. So much for it. Try them out and I hope you won't be disappointed.

Apart from these there are few proper bookshops in Pune which you can visit.
They are:

International Book Store, Deccan Gymkhana, just opposite to Mr. Prabhakar.
They have some good sections on technical books, literature, and humanities. Also there is an annual sale, in which many books are sold very cheaply, so keep an eye out for that. 10-15% discount on the list price. Legend 1 in the map.

Popular Book Shop, Deccan Gymkhana, along the same side of the road as International. As the name suggests mostly popular books, the kind of ones which you will get in Crossword. But worth a visit. 15 % discount on the list price, but no discount if you pay by card. [Legend 2 in the map.]

Just around the corner from Popular Book Shop is the famous Good Luck Restaurant, one of the few Irani Cafes left in the city. Don't forget to have some mouthwatering delicacies there. Do try Bun-Maska there! [Legend 4 in the map]


Universal Book Stores, Kelkar Road
As soon as you leave the Z Bridge coming from Deccan take a left turn, and if you go straight for about 50 meters, you will find Universal Book Stores on the right hand side of the road. This is _the_ technical book store around. You can get almost all books in print here. Plus upto 20% discount on the list price. Here is where I first saw Gravitation by Misner, Wheeler and Thorne in a shop.[Legend 3 in the map.]

Finally, Manney's Book Store in Clover Centre, Camp. This is the most comprehensive of them all. You get books on all subjects under the sun. And they have a huge collection of them. Perfect combination of quality as well as quantity. Upper floor is for technical books. Just to look around the complete shop, will take quite some time. You DON'T get any discount. Pay as per the list price, but a must visit.


PS: Just next to Manney's is The Place, one of the better joints for sizzlers in the city, so after a long shopping at Manney's treat yourself with beers and sizzlers here.

Photos of other sites along with maps will be added soon.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Candy Shops for Bibliophiles 1



I am a bibliophile. You can read about it here. Well in this series I will give information about the old, used book seller markets that I have visited so far.

I will begin with my hometown of Nagpur [नागपुर] where I started collecting books. The old book market in Nagpur is in the heart of the city near Variety Square, Sitabardi [सिताबर्डी]. There was a old cinema named Variety when I was a kid, now this has been replaced by a multiplex. Very near to this is the Maharaj Baug Zoo [महाराज बाग प्राणीसंग्रहालय].

Now this place is not only the heart of city but also the heart of India, literally speaking. The Zero Mile [label 6 in the map] is just about 200 meters from this place. The Zero Mile in Nagpur is supposed to the geographical centre of India. See the map below.



Initially the book sellers were quite spread around this area, with book shops being setup on either side of the road, but now they have been restricted mostly to the western side [right side of the road if you start from Variety Square towards Zero mile] of the Residency Road and a pocket on the eastern side of the road. Now since a flyover is constructed here you an get down the flyover and park the vehicle just in front of where the major book sellers are situated. Morbhavan [मोरभवन] the Depot for City Bus is just 100 meters from Variety Square. Also this is very near to the place where shooting incidence of Gowari tribals happened some years back. There is a memorial for this just after the book shops end. And you can see a Giant Orange telling that you are in the Orange City.

But I recommend that you start from the Sitaburdi Police Station which is at N-W corner of Variety Square [label 1 in the map]. Keep walking and you will see some book shops on the pavement and footpath of the road. Much further ahead just as the walls of the Patwardhan High School end, you will find about a dozen or so shops, well stacked with books of every kind.

Here are some of photos from my last trip.





The most abundant books that you will get here, as is the case with any other used books shop are the ones required for degree/diploma courses. Mostly these are second grade books written with just one intention of passing the exams the likes of VBD, Pragati etc. And of course there are books for various types of exams. And then there are host of magazines which find there way here.

But to get some really good stuff you will have to hunt through what seem like endless stacks of books. Then suddenly like an epiphany you will find a gem of a book. As far as Mir/ Russian publication books are concerned Delhi and Bombay are dying out, I have not found many in these cities so far. But Nagpur is an exception. Everytime I go there are Mir/Russian publications always to be found.

Apart from the Russian publications some times I have found quite some good books here. After all I began my collection from here. A few of the notable books that I have brought recently from here include the Flora of Marathwada Vol 1 and 2, Handbook of Optics Vol 1 and 2.

Mostly you will have to bargain for the prices that the book sellers quote. They will decide the price by seeing you and your interest in the book. A good way is to start at the halfway mark. But it depends on how seriously you want the book. A good strategy is to take more than one book and then bargain, this way you probably will get it cheaper [cheaper by the dozen?].

As soon as you enter this arena, many of the sellers might call you, to their shops, it can be a bit intimidating if you are not used to it. But anyways they mean no harm.

Just on the opposite side of these sellers is one of the oldest book stores in Nagpur, the Nagpur Book Depot [label 2 in the map]. You can just go there and see if can find something interesting there. They give about 10-15% discount on the list price.

Along this side of the road there are two further old/used book shops, which might harbour some gems. So don't miss them when you go back to variety square.


Best time to go is on a lazy afternoon. The shops don't open too early in the morning so don't go too early. They stay on till the daylight allows the books to be seen. Open on all days of the week.

In the next part of this series we will explore some of the old book shops in Pune.

Till then happy book hunting...

एक होती चिमणी..


एक होती चिमणी. पण तिला घरटे नव्हते. एकटीच होती ती. तिला कोणीच खेळायला पण नव्हते. एकटीच ती तर सगळं जग फिरायला निघालेली. रोज जेवढे जमेल तेवढे दुर जायचे, अाणि रात्र झाली की झोपायचे. दुसऱ्या दिवशी सकाळ झाली की भुर्र उडुन जायचे. पोट भरेल ईतके चरायचे. दिवसा नंतर रात्र, मग पुन्हा दिवस. रोज चिमणीचे असेच चालायचे. कोणी मित्र नाही, कोणी सखा नाही.

कोई ये कैसे बताए की वो तन्हा क्यों है?


काल रात्री ती चिमणी अामच्या घरी अाली. तिने मला प्रश्न विचारला "तु कोण?"
"मी दमित्र."
"तु काय करतोस?"
"सध्या तुझ्याशी बोलतो अाहे."
"बाकी काय करतोस?"
"तसे काही विशेष नाही."
"म्हणजे काय?"

अचानक तिथे एक मांजर अाली अाणी तिने चिमणीला खाऊन टाकलं...

बाकी ऊरले ते फक्त विखुरलेले पंख....

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The toys

The toys in my possession

From the left


Canon Powershot S2IS, 12 X optical zoom, 5 MP sensor

Sony Alpha 200 DSLR, 18-70 mm Lens, 10 MP Sensor

Canon EOS 500 N SLR, 75-300 mm Lens, Film Based

Sony Alpha 350 DSLR, 75-300 mm Lens, 14 MP Sensor [With Live Preview!!]

Need to have some macro lenses soon...

Shot Taken with the so called King of Camera Phones the Nokia N82 [5 MP with Xenon Flash]!!


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

This is the first post directly from the Mobile.

N82

Cheers

D

--
What TeX version are you using?
I am 3.141592...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I hope Aamir Khan Won't Mind...

I hope Aamir Khan Won't Mind this plagarism...

Instead of Ghajini - Ganne Ka Ras




Innovative use popular iconism...


Near Jama Masjid, Old Delhi

Friday, April 24, 2009

Delhi April-May 2009 Day 1

I am finally in Delhi after two year gap. Last time I was here was in the summer of 2007. Since then much water has flown below the bridge. But this time I am on an `official' visit.

Anyways. Since the train tickets were not booked too early, there was no chance that I would have got any reservation. So had to fly. Then I tried for the `no frills' flights. The week I checked them they were ~ [LaTeX code: $\sim$ ;)] 2.5 K. But the next week the same flight cost me ~ 4.2 K. So this was a `no frills' flight whose cost nearly as same as that with a flight with frills.

During my last visit I had a fiasco with train which I was supposed to board to go to Nagpur, which is another story. That travelogue is still in analog form, have not yet blogged it. Two years down the line. But since then I become quite nervous and anxious when I am about to leave for a longish journey. During one or two days prior to the journey, I sort of become OCDed, I check the tickets and timings again and again. And as if I have lost confidence in myself, I confirm the date with others also. So this flight was scheduled on Friday the 24th of April at 17:10 hrs. So when I checked and rechecked the flight status, finally the day arrived and I was ready to go.

I reached the airport comfortably two hours before the departure. The check in was done in five minutes and I had the boarding pass in my hand. The airlines people were asking for photo-id from others, some how for me they did not. [Does my name and personality match so much?] So after I just went ahead with the security check of mine and the cabin luggage. I put all my accessories in the bag itself. And was myself clean. I waited for my turn before they would frisk my body with a metal detector. It seemed like eternity. Finally my turn came. As I did not have any metal things, the security guy did not have the much to do. But he was a bit taken aback with my waist watch. I mean those of you who remember the Fastrack advertise of girls hanging ulta from trees and asking यार टाईम क्या हुअा है? will understand. So the way he was standing he could not obviously understand the placing the watch on my waist and then not being able to make any sense out of it. He asked me to take it out, and had a look at it, so as to understand what kind of watch was that. But then, finally he gave up, put the watch down along with the security stamp on my boarding pass. The cabin luggage [bag] also had been cleared for security.

Then I went to the waiting area. I called up people to bask on my achievements of clearing the security check so quickly. There is a Cafe Coffee Day counter, inside the security area.
So after ordering a cappucino I sat with a view of the airplanes just about to board. Every now and then I would also have glimpse at the flights that had just taken off. Having sips of coffee with such a splendid view are moments to be cherished.

In the waiting area, aptly called so, people come from the security checks wait there for some time and then go for the flights. This for me was like wathcing a time-lapse movie when I was having my sips of coffee. Just outside the waiting room, the world is entirely different. There are all kinds of activities and vehicles going around there, in seemingly chaotic manner. But, there is clearly a method in this madness. How do these people communicate with each others, I do not know, but everyone was seemed to know where they wanted to go.

While waiting in the `waiting area' I browsed through a lot of newspapers. Most of it was trash. Babes in skimpy clothes, ads for which I had least interest and politics. With the soaring temperatures of summer, it seems that election heat is also increasing. But, this time around I have least interest in who is going to be in power. Anyways, the day before was the Phase 2 of elections in Maharashtra. So the news papers had quite some photos of the people who had successfully voted in these elections.

They say that the percentage of people who came for voting is on average ~ 50%. So this is supposed to be worrying trend. Out of all the photos that I saw, there was one of an old lady. People posed with blackened fingers to assert that they had indeed voted. The indelible ink. This lady was about 70 years of age. And they had put the indelible ink on her middle finger. And she was showing a blackened middle finger with pride to the entire nation. Where is the moral brigade now? Won't anybody charge her of obscenity in public place?

In the middle part of ceiling in the waiting area, they have created a glass ceiling. Not the one which is here but the real one. Well, one can say that, this is a glass ceiling which separates the flys and fly-nots [literally, no pun or metaphor intended], but then I rest my case. The view from this ceiling was amazing. The sky was blue and a few white clouds here and there were coming in view. From the large ventilation pipes overhead, this little [well, not very little] window gave a different view as to tell the passengers awaiting there in the waiting room that the sky above was waiting for them. Every now and then a flight would be visible. moving across the skyline. There were two people who were cleaning the glass above. They cleaned the very glass which separated them [fly-nots] from the rest of us [flys]. But, this, I think is true in our society everywhere. People from the oppressed lot are used to oppress people. I felt bad about them and all the cleaners and other people who are class 3 or 4 employees. They see so many flights, everyday. They are ones who make the operation of the entire airport possible, but they may in all their lives never get a chance to fly. They are like birds with their wings clipped, so that they cannot fly.

Well, coming back to the flight, they announced that there will be 10 minute delay in the flight, as the incoming flight from Goa was late. So, I was a bit disappointed. After a lot of wait, and it was not 10 minutes definitely, we boarded the flight. The air crew from the previous flight tended to us till we were seated. I had booked a window seat this time, as never I had had a window seat.

Well then the 'cabin baggage' nicely tucked in the overhead compartment, I sat, watching the view outside from my little window [this time I mean it]. The flight plan was announced by the hostess, with names of the captain and the attending staff being told.

''हम दिल्ली जाएगें''

She said in a sweet voice. Well after a few minutes from that, the plane finally began to move. I had a sigh of relief. But soon this relief turned to frustration, as for the next 20-25 minutes we were on the runway. This gave me all the views of the airport, especially the slums around it. Heaps of garbage and kids playing on it, seemed like a shot straight out of Slumdog Millionaire [see my post here]. When Danny Boyle had landed in Mumbai, he must have seen these kids and made it into the first part of the film. I saw two flights land from a bug's eye-view. So finally after a long wait we were on the runway. And we ran away to the sky...

When the flight is gaining altitude [as they call it], you experience a force, which is not very pleasant. One could see the almost completed Worli-Bandra sea link, from a bird's eye-view. I could recognise many of the areas, like Mahim creek and all that. But that was it. We flew Westwards towards the sea, never to comeback to the city of Mumbai below. With the acrobatics the plane was performing, there was an illusion, with the position that the plane was in, the sea went up. Till I could see out of my window, I could just see grey waters below. The experience was very dis-orienting.


We soon went over the clouds and the picture above would make you see what I saw. The clouds seemed like a carpet [cotton] spread over the entire area below. It was an amazing sight...


Soon the light began to fade, and sun from a blazing yellow went towards deep orange.


The horizon seems endless from this height. The contrast in the colors below and above horizon during Sunset become most stark. Below, you have a dark mass of unknown regions, the horizon it self becomes blazing line of orange. And above that you have a gradient from orange to dark blue. It thought I saw a few stars here and there...



So the final moments of Sunset in the picture above.


And this is what the horizon looks after the Sunset. This condition stayed on for a while. Then the darkness ascended. Now both the sky above and the land below were darkened. No visibility. This is the twilight.

Soon the one could see lights here and there in the land below. At a few times I saw intense orange lights [Sodium vapor ones], but apparently randomly placed. I could not find any structure in them.

Soon the formless light structures, gave way to villages and hamlets. One could make out the roads, which were straight and were lighted regularly. The cities from above looked like fractal structure. The sight was amazing.

Delhi, light everywhere...

All was Light...

But, unfortunately I could not get it pictures, or was it for my eyes only.


Seemed like golden and silver dust has been sprayed in the darkness of the night and what forms is the city below. Streams of cars and highways were in all directions. The cars coming towards us were all yellow, and those away were all red.

The flight lands after a long delay.

We are finally in Delhi, it is officially announced.

So much for the first day.

Dunno whether be able to continue this for the later days..

till then ciao

D

Monday, April 13, 2009

Good Work Team India...

Finally !!!
We Won 3-1 !!!
Good Work Team India!!!

The Sons - Franz Kafka


The first time I heard about Kafka was in a interview of Kabir Bedi in a Times of India Sunday supplement called Times Life. Kabir told the scribe that one of his former wife quoted Kafka a lot. So, then as you know Google is your friend, I googled Kafka. And I was introduced to one of the authors who is enigmatic and mysterious, with shades of surrealism in in. But it was not until very recently that I bought the works of Kafka, in hard copy. I had them in soft version, tried to read them on screen, but without success. It was not until Strand Book Fair 2009 that I had mint copies of Kafka's work with me. Apart from The Trial, now I have almost all of his major works. I started with The Sons, which is a collection of three stories, namely, The Judgement, The Stoker and finally The Metamorphosis.



Kafka wanted to publish these three stories in one volume, he said in a letter to his editor there is a secret strand which runs through these three. The novels I think are a window to Kafka's mindset. The stories reveal a complex personality of Kafka, which was tried to carve an existence of its own in the shadow of the overpowering personality of his father. The feelings of Kafka are made clear in the part of the compilation, A Letter To His Father, where he tries to convey his father, tries to convey him, how strong and suffocating his
personality was for Franz as a child and also as an adult. It relates small incidents, which made a dent on Franz's egg shelled mind, whose repercussions he felt even as an adult.

Some of the incidents in one's childhood can have a lasting influence on one's future. This I guess, most of us can relate to. How many childhood memories, especially non-pleasant ones, are still fresh in your mind, as if, they happened just yesterday? On the other hand the joyful ones, many times, are harder to remember. This where I guess Kafka is just great, he remembers little episodes from his childhood, and relates them to the person he is now. As far as qualities were concerned Franz was a direct opposite of his father. And he makes a point how his forced silence in the childhood made him the person he was. I think this is where Kafka gets his inspiration from. The things which he was not allowed to say, came out in form of the literature that he has produced. This is why I say, that his literature is a window into his complex and sometimes surrealistic persona.

My reading of Kafka is also confirmed by others. In the Fontana dictionary of Modern Thinkers [1], it says,
Himself slim, sensitive, an intellectual, Kafka was dominated by his well built, bullet headed, businesslike father, about whom, he said, all his works were written.
The picture above appears on the front cover of the same book [1].

And in Franz's own words

My writing was all about you; all I did there, after all, was to bemoan what I could not bemoan upon your breast.

Now to the three stories themselves:

The Judgement

In this story an obedient son commits suicide

The Stoker

In The Stoker Kafka
You can think whatever you like. But morals change every time you go to a new port.



Oh, that's just the way things are; it doesn't always depends on whether a man likes it or not.

I am complaining just for the sake of complaining.

You don't listen to what I say, and then you give me advice.

Activity without end, restlessness transmitted from restless element to helpless human beings and their works!

All his strength was concentrated in his fists, including the very strength that held him upright.

And all other people here are of no consequence.




The Metamorphosis


This getting up early, he thought, can make an idiot out of anyone.

... since he was well aware his mediations, would come to no sensible conclusion if he remained in bed.

But what's the use of lying idle in bed?

... if that were possible, and saw no way of bringing any calm and order into this senseless confusion, he told himself again that it was impossible to stay in bed and most sensible course was to risk everything for the smallest hope of getting away from it.

.. he did not forget to remind himself occasionally that cool reflection, the coolest possible, was much better than desperate resolves.

Inspite of his predicament he could not suppress a smile at the very idea of it.

I'm in great difficulties, but I'll get out of them again.

Don't make things any worse for me than they already are.


Letter to His Father

Nothin alive can be calculated.

The effect you had on me was the effect you could not help having.

I couldn't pick and choose, I had to take everything.

You mistake the person for the thing.

But that joke is, in a sense no joke at all.

Between us there was no real struggle; I was so finished off; what remained was flight, embitterment, melancholy and inner struggle.

All this, however, is today only a dream.

Even in other circumstances I should probably have become a shy and nervous person, but it is a long dark road from there to where I have come.

It is not easy to find a middle way.

My writing was all about you; all I did there, after all, was to bemoan what I could not bemoan upon your breast.

Probably I am constitutionally not lazy at all, but there was nothing for me to do.

To live with such fantasies is not easy for a child.

In reality, however, the marriage plans turned out to be most grandiose and hopeful attempts at escape, and, consequently their failure was correspondingly grandiose.

That so many seem to succeed in this is no evidence to the contrary; first of all, there are not many who succeed, and second these not usually don't ``do" it, it merely happens to them; although this is not that utmost, it is still very great and very honorable.


There were certainly obstacles, as there always are, but then, life consists of confronting such obstacles.

... but they are not decisive; they do, like worms, complete the works on corpse but the decisive blow has come from elsewhere.

It is too much; so much cannot be achieved.

But if he escapes, he cannot rebuild and if he rebuilds he cannot escape.

In my hand I have nothing, in the bush everything.

But I did not ask this question but live it from it from childhood on.

Everything is entered but never balanced.

But you sit at your window when the evening falls and dream it to yourself.

A way of life so natural that is borders on existence.

Just think of how many thoughts a blanket smothers, and how many unhappy dreams it keeps warm.

Do you think I have no memories?


rooted in ordinary life, he experienced or imagined ordinary fear,
distress, frustration, to an extent that we can all empathize with
because it corresponds, if not to our actual experience, then to our
apprehensions, even our nightmares.



Metamorphosis

[0] Franz Kafka, The Sons. Schocken Books, 2000, 0805208860

[1] The Fontana Biographical Companion to Modern Thought: Alan Bullock, R B Woodings (Eds.), Fontana, 1983, 0006369650

[2]

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Road Not Taken



The Road Not Taken

Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I---
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

This is wonderful poem by Frost which reflects lot of my feelings about the things that I have done in my own life. I think I have taken the road not taken, but will have to wait a little longer to see where it leads me...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Delhi 6


I have been to the rustic lanes of Delhi 6 twice. Once when I was a kid, and other when I was a bigger kid. The other visit obviously will have lasting memories through my life. When you come out of the Chawri Bazaar metro station, which is a relic of the 21st century design, expect the unexpected. Architecture and artefacts outside the station are from another era. Time it seems has a different pace here. The experience that you get here, will be no different from when you go to the old part of any city. But the mix of tradition and modernity that you get to see in Delhi is unique.

The old walled city was established by Shahjahan, and was called Shahjahanabaad or rather 110006 as in the Postal Identification Number Code of the Indian Postal Department. People who have lived there for generations would sure have feelings about the place which I might not be able to reflect at all. For all my life I have never lived in such a locality. There are many things that interested me in this part of Delhi. Apart from historical significance it has one of the largest old book bazaars that I have ever seen. And since I am a bibliophile [see older post here], this is a "Mile long candy shop" for me.

Anyways first I came to know about Delhi 6, the film by the song Masakali [Singer: Mohit Chauhan], in which Sonam Kapoor steals the show. So immediately got the entire soundtrack. And it is amazing. While writing this review I am listening to the same sound track. Rahman, as usual has done a lot of hard work for this too. Just listen to the variety of musical styles he has used in the film and that too to the best of the songs. The other favourites are Arziyan [Singers: Javed Ali, Kailash Kher], Kala Bandar [Singers: Karthik, Naresh Iyer, Srinivas, Bony Chakravarthy] and Delhi 6 Title Track [Singers: Blaaze, Benny Dayal, Vivianne Chaix, Tanvi Shah, Claire] which proves that no genre of music is beyond Rahman. He will do music from all around the globe, still retaining his unique style. Rahman has taken music to another dimension.

So much about the music. It is defnitely one of the better contemporary OSTs that I have heard. Then came the posters and the trailers of Delhi 6. The design of the posters was also good. All this raised my expectations about the film .....

But, alas, if you have done these two, just stop there, this is the best part about the film. Rather than watching the film, I would recommend to buy the audio CD and be happy with that.

If you want to see, how a director with a good cast, good location and lots of budget can screw up, then Delhi 6 is a fine example of that. ROM short for Rakesh [oops Rakyesh] Omprakash Mehra, thinks that whatever he will serve on the platter, public will accept. But sorry ROM, I had high hopes from you, you disappointed me. I don't even need to compare Delhi 6 with your previous work viz. Rang De Basanti, Delhi 6 is by itself a disaster.

Abhishekh Bacchan plays Roshan, who is a ABCD. He returns to Delhi with his granny played by Waheeda Rehman, who is counting her last days. They start living in their ancestral house in the old lanes of Delhi 6. The come to Delhi during Raam Leela, and the film ends on dusshera. As the film develops more characters are added to the cast. Some of the shots which capture the spirit of the walled city are really well taken, but this is the better part of the film. If you look at the content of the film in terms of the story, the film is a bore. The story does not go anywhere, rather there is no sense of direction. So ROM becomes the non-director of the film. Why do you need to produce such films Mr. Screwwala?

If you look at all the actors that are the part of the film, they are by themselves great. But with their characters in the story, the entire thing story does not fall into place. The events in the film are themselves non connected to each other and the characters as well. And one of the best actors in the film is the Kala Bandar, who had the potential to make or break the film. Unfortunately, Kala Bandar did break the film.

Mr ROM, I think you had intentions of making the film for fundamentalists on either side of the Hindu-Muslim divide, then you have failed miserably. Another suggestion for the title of the film would be "Religious Fundamentalism for Dummies". But the film fails to convey the message to them. It begs the question to be asked.

जाने किस रंग में रंगे, हमाम में हम सारे नंगे

The hysteria about the kala bandar in masses and the media is common place in these days of the information revolution. To have a look at worst of them, just tune into India TV, by far one of the worst cases of sensationalizing the news that I have seen. Why don't they have a provision for banning such media production houses. Though Mr ROM, you do media bashing in your film, your film itself is no better than the channels that you have bashed.

The character of Roshan is a dumb one. He is really ABCD. If he had died in the film, I am sure he would have got the Darwin Award. For those who don't know or don't want to visit the link Darwin Awards are given to the individuals who have done a great service to the human race, by deleting themselves from the gene pool, by killing themselves in stupid and idiotic ways. So Darwin Awards are given only posthumously. Unfortunately the character of Roshan does not die in the film, so we Indians are depraved from that Award, at least for this film. I think that the Kala Bandar is the residual self image of Roshan's character, which comes out in the end and meets an end. Mr Bacchan Jr, why don't you think about the movies that you work with, wasn't Drona a lesson enough. And as for Sonam Kapoor, babe I am sorry for you, maybe you should consider better roles in your next film. The jodi of Gobar and Jalebi played by Atul Kulkarni and Divya Dutta outperform the rest of the crew, kudos to them.

Anyways the climax is the real anti-climax of the film. Mr ROM why can't you be a bit subtle about the content, I think you don't believe that the viewers of your movie have some analytical capacity, why the hell do we need the narrator to tell what is evident?

Final Rating: 1 out of 5; the music and the posters are much better than the movie itself, be content with that.











Monday, March 2, 2009

Innocence Lost


Well this photo from Reuters tells it all...
No need for me to elaborate...

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Slumdog Oscarpati!!

Slumdog Oscarpati!!!!!!!!


Slumdog Oscarpati!!!!!!!!


And the Oscar goes to ..... Slumdog Millionaire!!!


Well finally it happened. A Oscar to a film made in India with all Indian actors. An when it rains here, it pours, literally. So when Uncle Oscar came to India, he did not come alone, but bought an entire gang with him.

Now with the number of Oscars that have been awarded to the movie, I think it should be rather called Slumdog Oscarpati!!

Well, we Indians have a snobbish way of putting things. We do not appreciate the work done by our fellow people, unless it is appreciated by the West. In this case it went the other way round. Since the people in the West appreciated Slumdog, people in India are smelling rats and fishes. Here are some of them:

How can a movie as ordinary as Slumdog Millionaire win 8 Oscars?

Why was Rahman given Oscar for this movie, he has done much better job elsewhere?

If it was presented as movie made by Indians, [formally for the Oscars Slumdog was a British Production] we would not have won the Oscars?

We are selling our poverty to get the world attention.

The film makers exploited the child actors. Did not pay them lot of money, but made loads of money themselves.

The film is anti-Hindu।

The film portrays India in a bad light.

The movie did not deserve the Oscars.

The Oscars are a ploy to enter into the lucrative Indian movie market by the Western people.

etc. etc. etc.
[No matter how long a list I make, there will be always some objection/criticism that will not be included in this list. Is this is a consequence of the Godel's incompleteness theorem?]

Given all the objections that are raised, I think the movie should have not have been made. It would have been better, remained as the book Q & A which it was written by Vikas Swarup. The criticisms fall into three categories as I see them

1. Actors and media people, who did not get a part in the Slumdog M.
2. People who smell conspiracy in everything that they hear/see.
3. Indian people who have an inferiority complex, who think that Indians are not good at anything.

I do not have any grudges against any of these people, but I will be presenting my point of view over all these objections. After all, this is my blog.

There is a tirade of media people criticizing the content of Slumdog, as it glorifies the poverty in India. But is this not true? Are there no people who are living in India, with exactly the conditions or even worse that are shown in the movie? Just visit to a nearby slum, and see for yourself. So what is so wrong in depicting what is actually present there? Its not as if all of India lives above poverty line and the movie is falsely depicting the people living in poverty. It is no fiction.

Have no films been made in India which depict the poor? If that had been the case, one might have agreed to the criticisms. But then this theme is not at all alien to Indian cinema, a poor protagonist is a goringly boring theme, is it not? What hurts us is the fact that some firang and not a desi has done this. Shame. Shame. Shame.

Of all the actors that are criticizing the movie, including Amitabh, Preity Zinta and Shilpa Shetty amongst others, would they have dared the same if they thenselves had acted in that movie. Do they ever dare to criticize the movies that they work in? I can smell something burning. Given a chance most of them would have jump at offers from overseas, and it would be considered prestigious for them too, then why this farce?

As for Rahman, yes I know he has done much better work elsewhere. But, then, good music also needs other good things in the movie to make an impact. Personally if you ask me Dil Se is one of the best works he has done.

Cinematography wise the film is brilliant. Period. Though while watching the movie, sometimes I felt faint traces of the Cidade de Deus [The City of God] running among the sequences and camera shots.

Also lets not forget another thing, that there is no point in comparing the movie with the movies which were made before and won the awards. The movie needs to be compared with the movies that it was competing with now, not with all the great movies that were produced world over before. How many times does it happen that a movie certainly deserving an oscar, did not get one. When there is more than one movie which is good, certainly there are hits and misses. Definitely we have much better movies made before Slumdog M, but then it did not compete with them before the award. So we have to compare Slumdog M with the movies that it was competing with now, not all of the movies made before it. And maybe it was the best of the lot, for this year.

Also if we are taking the film apart as we have done, we are not doing any justice to the actors in the film, who gave their efforts for the characters that they were playing. Was that all part of the bigger conspiracy?

Has not this production brought some deserving youngsters to the fame in international cinema? What about them are they not happy for that? Ask them and you will know the answer...

Now the second group. There are two types of people in this world, one who find conspiracies in everything and others who find conspiracies only in somethings. I think I myself fall in the later category.

Some people think this is a propaganda by the Western people to proliferate the Indian production houses and reap the profits from Indian audiences. But why do they need to come to India for that? I mean lot of english movies made without any reference to India or Indians involved in the production have done quite well in India. Remember Titanic?

The others especially, the Sangh Pariwar people see this as a conspiracy to defame hindus. Well, where is that they do not see a conspiracy to defame hindus? All the media [national and international] is against them, well except what they themselves publish [I think sometime later even that might go against them ;)]. So it is no surprise to me that they see this as conspiracy. O
The following quotes from here summarizes the sentiments of the Sang Pariwar.

Every art whether it be the mad jehadi painter Hussain portraying hindu godesses in the nude and obscene posters or the slum dog film portraying hindu gods and hindu customs and blackening the image of hindus and hindu gods or the novels of Arundhtai Roy and Arvind Adiga maligning hindus, their culture and traditions and their parents, become instant hits since enemies of hindus are national and international and sadly national media exaggerate every bit of it.

And another one from the same source:

The film is a plot made by the Americans to despise the Hindus. This is also one type of war. The film should be banned in India. just like De vinci was banned in India. The film is seriously affecting the sentiments of Hindus before International flora. Alas! there is nobody to protect the sentiments of Hindus.Srirama and srikrishna were shown as villains.Godhra riots were shown unnecessarily. The hero , a slum dog could identify the figure on the dollar but not Mahatma Gandhi on Indian currency.


Well Americans? AFAIK the Brits would not like to call themselves Americans. War? Where is that you people not see war? If war is against all Hindus [who technically speaking I am], I don't quite agree to it.

The film is seriously affecting the sentiments of Hindus before International flora.

Which Hindus I may ask? Those who are already a part of the Global/International brigade of the Sangh Pariwar?

Srirama and srikrishna were shown as villains.

Well Sri Rama did play a part in the film, but Sri Krishna ? Well I think director forgot to portray him and I am sorry on his behalf. But then we have millions and millions of Hindu gods, why did you not depict them all? And as villains, I doubt it.

Godhra riots were shown unnecessarily.

Well, where the hell is Godhra shown in the film? The riots portrayed are the Mumbai riots, which happened at least 10 years before, please do watch the movie before you comment on it.

Why was the dude a Muslim and the dame a Hindu. Both should be Hindus! This is a [film about] Hindu nation!!

So far so good. Apart from religious zealots there are people who also smell fish in Slumdog M. But this is a different kind of conspiracy. The overall structure of this is like a communist propoganda. Financial gains. For the producers of the film. Well don't the producers want the financial gains from the films that they make? It is a business for them, is it not?

This is a British ploy to enter in to Indian film industry. So be it. If the result is going to be better movies, I am all for it. So where does exploitation of the poor child actors come? If at all Slumdog M did not became a hit, will such a hype be made about this? How many struggling actors are present in Mumbai, who would go to extremes for just landing a small role in the films, let alone getting being underpaid? Success has a lot of enemies. If at all directors and producers knew what film would be always a hit, why would anybody make a movie which would eventually be a flop? Are there no flop movies in the world?



Anyways these are my views about this whole Slumdog Business, lets see what happens next...



Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dev D


Dev D
Deranged-Explosive-Violent


Saw Dev D. Had heard it and about it. Had seen it in parts, now completely. Liked the movie and the posters [they are really good too]. The story is based on one of the most [ab]used characters in the Indian cinema. Just think about the dying scene in Bhansali's DevDas. I can't stand it, but I know many who adore the performance of the King Khan in that film. Sorry. I can't. Period. It's [rather he's] not my type. Have seen the older Devs too. But, nonetheless, found them boring too. What is that fascinates directors, actors and the moviegoers to the character of DevDas. What is in the character for everybody, that again and again the character resurfaces with the cream of actors each time.

Abhay Deol has done really good work so far, I mean he is definitely much better than his two cousins. The choice of the movies that he has made over the years, and his portrayal of the characters tells his story. No need for me to certify. But the character of Dev played by Abhay is the most brilliant one he has played so far. From a boy who has everything in life in his grasp, including Paro, love of his life, to a DEVastated Dev, who is lying waste on the streets of Delhi, the journey itself is the main theme of the film and also the essence of Dev's character.

Why is that what we desire is just within our reach, but we can never reach it?

The teasing is always there...

Life is like a juicy, ripe fruit just out of our reach.

Dev has Paro [Mahie Gill], but is unable to take her. Mahie Gill plays the role of Paro well enough. The rustic charm of a गवांर jaat babe, is present in her character and in her. The thought that she has shared herself with someone is unbearable for him. This is where the first explosion is shown. The breaking of bottle on the head, is where Dev unleashes himself, from the bonds of Paro. But the bonds are too strong, to be broken. The farther she goes from him, more intense the attraction is [F = -kx ?]. Why does the thought of sharing the one you love with someone [or even something for that matter] else is just unbearable? If this was not true lot of world's problems would have not arisen. But this is the tendency of the human mind and the human kind. True as Mr. Smith says, we are like a virus [ Do viruses have a mind?].

I love thee not, therefore pursue me not.
- William Shakespeare: A Mid Summer Night's Dream


Dev tells Paro, what he does not want to, its just a few moments of hate and rage, during which the silent bitterness comes out. This is one of other problems of life, you cannot tell a person how you excactly feel, the feeling is always within you, but somehow it does not find an exit. The feeling remains within you, becomes a part of you, does not depart, for there is nowhere for the feeling to exist outside you. And when you make a decision to talk about it, something else comes out, something that is not planned at all, something which has no meaning, but can be quite devastating and this is what Dev does. For me this is the "emosional atyachaar इमोसनल अत्याचार" of life. This is where Anurag Kashyap is brilliant. If it was any others formula film-maker, the scene would have had required gallons of glycerine. Dev is oblivious to the fact, even when told explicitly that he also did [ the same to] Rasika, that its the same thing Paro did. But obviously as for any self loving, self indulging person the standards for the self and the others are not the same. So is with Dev, a promiscuous Paro is not acceptable for him ...

Would a promiscuous lover be acceptable to you?


Paro more stronger than before [and definitely more than Dev] and "moves on" with life. Even when promiscuous, she has an absolute love and is mad about Dev. Dev is her first and true love. But after the Dev-debacle she first reluctantly and then whole heartedly takes the new life that comes to her post-Dev. But post-Paro Dev has no where left, so he goes to Delhi. When he is unleashed he is all around but no-where in particular, like the mists of Delhi. Life for Dev, becomes a psychedelic experience for us. The life revolves in circles in bottles of vodka, fumes of smoke from cigarretes, and the ATM. The hotel room which he lives in is a sort of mirror of Dev's own life, chaotic, orderless, yet we are somehow strangely attracted to it.

And the one encounter with Paro in Delhi, Dev again loathes her. Paro still down to Earth and still caring about Dev. [Is caring for somebody same as loving them too?] Paro does not stop his advances, but neither does she give any encouragement. [This can be really frustrating, believe me.] On the other hand, the imagery of Paro doing it with her [superman] husband is too much for Dec. This is surely इमोसनल अत्याचार.

Can you bear to see your loved one in someone else's arms?

So he again bursts, Chunni is there to handle him. And guides him to Chanda.

Enter Chanda [Kalki]. As a daughter she has "disgraced" her family and her father kills himself in shame. But Chanda emerges stronger, from all this. Post-MMS, she lives a double life, one of a prositute [A commerical sex worker if you prefer] and one of a college student, thanks to Chunni. Chanda makes a point when she says that, what right do they have to call her a slut, when they all watched "it". The character of Chunni identifies Dev as an appropriate candidate for the business he runs. In Dev, Chunni finds the ideal customer. And in Chanda, Dev finds the traces of lost love that he is looking for.

Though initially Dev loathes Chanda, she persists, in his life and his outbursts. A bond develops between them, which gives, if only vague, aim to Dev's life. So there is some relief from the Vodka bottles, but this is short lived too. Dev again unable to bear Chanda doing it to another man, walks out, literally. Again the psychedelic trance life begins. The relfections on the aviator that he wears is now his life. The neon lights of the nights are what Dev sees all around him, life is like a roller coaster ride, which only goes down, always speeding up, never slowing down, but which gives Dev a high, a high to rise above all the troubles life has presented him with.

And here we [all] wander in illusions.
- William Shakespeare: Comedy of Errors


Now that Dev has a BMW, the life speeds up. The life and the BMW gets a hit, literally. The accident scence is another brilliant stroke by the director. You would otherwise see tankloads of blood and dozens of dummies being crushed by the car... But here you see the accident from Dev's perspective, after all this film is about Dev. The scene is as it would look when you are in non-drivers seat and Dev is in drivers'. The deaths are just like bumps you would feel on a bad road. [Maybe they _are_ bumps for Dev on a bad road of life.] Overwhelmed by the experience he [rather his system] just crashes. Dev is in hospital. And in all this turmoil Sattu is dead. So Dev gets bail to attend the funeral. While coming back, Dev just runs away from the harsh realities in waiting for him back in Delhi. Dev escapes to the Himalayas, maybe seeking a nirvana, maybe just running away like a coward. Finally, his health forces him to come back to the coarse realities in Delhi.

... my pride fell with my fortunes.
- William Shakespeare As You Like It

Once the cash reserves are all gone, Dev takes to the streets literally. Paro is nowhere, neither is Chanda. Dev is and has lost. He desparately looks for Chanda, not Paro mind you, but she is nowhere to be found. Roaming aimlessly on the streets of Delhi, finally Dev finds Chanda, or is it the other way round? Anyway the end is a welcome relief from the other who followed the original DevDas blindly, without any brains good enough for their own interpretation of the story.


The story _is_ loosely based on Devdas, the novel.

Final rating 4.8 out of 5. Must see.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Sick Rose




O Rose, thou art sick!
The invisible worm
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

--
William Blake


This poem is a part of William Blake's Songs of Experience published in 1794. The above image is the hand illustration of the poem as it appeared in the 1794 edition. Though a little one, this poem like Blake's other works this poem is loaded with meaning. Just give them as the key words and you will find a lot of entries explaining the meaning of the poem. Wikipedia article also gives multiple meanings to the metaphors used in the poem. Some other commentaries are here and here. As is with other things people see things in their own perspective, with the Experience that they have. No wonder that Blake put this poem of his in the Songs of Experience.

[I first read about Blake in the Rama Series by Arthur C Clarke. Blake's Tyger is recited there, after seeing the vastness of the alien space ship which is named Rama.]

We as humans try to understand the things that we see and experience as a part of the mental structures that already exist in our minds. Cognitively this is the only way in which can survive in this world. Try to imagine a world in which no new things that you see or experience are not a part of what you have in your mind.

With the comments from others apart, Blake produces two strong metaphorical views about the poem in me. These two views share lines of thoughts and they don't share some. The interpretation that we can do of these lines depends on the view of the world that we have. Everyone tries to look with the experience that they have at back of their mind. No wonder many people don't agree to what they perceive in literature.

So what are the interpretations that one can make from these lines?
[One thing is for sure, now it does not matter what Blake had in mind when he wrote this poem. The readers now can make their own interpretations, about what Blake had to say, whether he meant the same thing or not is an entirely different matter.]
O Rose, thou art sick!
In this line the word Rose is a metaphor for woman. If we take a closer look at the Rose in the illustration by Blake, we see a feminine figure metamorphosing from the Rose. So the rest of the line would imply that the woman is sick. But what kind of sickness is this?
The invisible worm That flies in the night,
In the howling storm, Has found out thy bed Of crimson joy: And his dark secret love Does thy life destroy.

What can be an invisible worm? The invisible worm is the cause of the sickness of the rose. The description that Blake adds is that it flies in the night. One of the interpretations is that the worm is an metaphor for the phallus and the sickness of the Rose that is being referred to is a STD. Another of the interpretation is that the it is the act of losing of the virginity and becoming impregnated. The worm seen in this sense is the phallus. As this happens in the night the worm is seen to be flying in the night. One more interpretation for the invisible worm would be the semen, which "flies" in the night.

The howling storm in the night can very well represent the screams of pleasure or pain. In which the woman is ruined [the life destroyed], as she is now impregnated.

The word crimson is also used metaphorically. It can represent both love and blood. For the color of love is red, and that too a dark one. So is the color of blood. The bed of crimson joy can mean the actual bed where the blood of the virgin has been spilled. The other is the red womb of the woman, which has been impregnated [found] by the invisible worm [sperm].

Another interpretation is that the rose symbolizes love, and the worm but a troubled soul. The worm flying around in the night is a lover long lost but never out of one's mind. The lines
And his dark secret love,
Does thy life destroy.
May represent lovers who may not have been of actually been together, but a unified by a secret bond. These lines can also be taken to represent a secret lover who has married another. But the love still persists and is taking its toll on the woman, who is now in confusion [howling storm], as the secret lover has now [found] a place deep in her heart [the crimson bed]. Hence the life of the woman due to it [secret lover ] stands to ruin.

These are some of the few interpretations of Blake's Sick Rose, whether you agree or not it depends on you. Many of the interpretations may seem far fetched, but then Blake is such an author that you need to stretch mentally a bit in order to grasp the depth of his thoughts.

Whatever the interpretations, this is one of the most imagination provoking and concise writing I have come across. Blake makes your imagination run wild and the various scenarios unfold which makes these 8 lines come to life.