Monday, February 28, 2005


nearly half the shoes in the rack
the blue eye pencil, the khojati surma, the mascara
the yellow stole, the grey and the dull gold
nusrat, sabri brothers and hariharan
a few books
the packed suitcases in the verandah

Thursday, February 24, 2005

new look

Attempts at learning HTML have yielded this.
A bit jhatak, I admit, but till I get a nicer layout or actually make one, I think I could live with this.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


I got a haircut and the second in as many months. I haven’t been this shorn in like, what… fifteen years! It’s going to be a cool summer.


My favourite-est road in all of Hyderabad is the one that leaves off SD Road to turn into the Cantonment between Gymkhana and Parade Grounds. Open spaces on either side, this road is always a couple of degrees cooler than anywhere else. As night falls, I take that turn and dramatically leave behind the traffic and city lights; that turn always makes me feel I’m almost home.
By night, it’s always lovely, dappled and steeped in atmosphere. Tonight, it was spectacular. The moon’s waxing and will be full tomorrow. The Asoka and gulmohur trees are lending it romance worthy of a B/W Telugu movie.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

All escited

Just finished reading Michael Crichton’s Travels.

Interesting man. Book leaves so many impressions, I can’t put them down fast enough. And mentioning a few would distort the rest. Wouldn’t want that, hmm.


Sudha, thanks for supplying every Crichton I’ve read and specially for letting me keep this one for months. Now can I have State of Fear, please?

Monday, February 21, 2005

Ee picture choosara?

Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana

Manchi picture, andi. Romance and brother sentiment, rendu unnai.
Prabhu Deva direction, taking anni super.
Siddharth, chaala chaala cute ga unnadu, abbai baaga acting kooda chestadu. Trisha is ok. Kaani best performance ante, Srihari de. Aaha, emi screen presence, great acting.
First half aite nandi, full paisa vasool; kakapote second half koddiga lagaadu – unneccessary fight sequences bore kottai. Kaani encheddaam, mass picture kada? Tappadu.
Manchi family picture andi. Running successfully for fifth week in many theatres. Picture is a hit.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Idol talk

The Rahuls aren't having a fair deal at the Indian Idol, are they? Rahul Saxena's elimination was a shocker but Rahul Vaidya's yesterday was as unfair.
How could they, after that flawless, ruhaani rendition of Suraj hua maddham? I might find Vaidya's self-centered and ambitious approach unattractive, he's one hellava singer. Amongst all the weird poetic ramblings Anu Malik actually made sense when he said: Tum sur ke samandar mein nahate ho, tehre hue paani mein aag lagaate ho.

Sahi hai.

'e boke it!

The bloodstone broke :-(. Not shattered but undeniably in two distinct pieces. It's Mom's, and helps her enormously to keep the blood pressure down. But I was taking care of it for her and I'm feeling so bad.

Friday, February 18, 2005


Haven't been so 'thrilled' in ages. Just shut the covers of Matthew Reilly's Hover Car Racer and yaaron, what a maja it is being! This Reilly chap is Australian and actually released the book first on the internet in eight installments and, get this! was read online by about 18000 people. Now, they’re bringing out the book and Disney has already bought movie rights.
What’s it about? Here’s from the blurb:
In the world of the near future, man travels everywhere in vehicles that hover four feet above the ground. But this brilliant new technology has inspired a super-fast, ultra-competitive sport the likes of which the world has never seen: hover car racing. It’s both dangerous and glamorous, where racers are part fighter pilot, part, race car driver, all superstar.
The fun part is Reilly creates a composite sport by borrowing rules and formats from about half a dozen sports. Hover car racing has four major tournaments that make up the Grand Slam like tennis – the Sydney Classic, the London Underground Run (yes, held in London’s labyrinthine Underground), the Italian Run and the New York Masters; it has race teams and all the glamour from F1 and then some; match races and pursuits like cycling and gate races inspired by rogaining. Plus it’s all about speeding at 800 kmph.
Good, good fun, I tell you.

When the lights go out

The only time I met Narain Karthikeyan, I didn't like him.
I was reporting a go-kart event and met him briefly for a soundbite. He was... oh, I don't know... a little cocksure? Perhaps he didn't think women journalists were particularly well informed about car racing, and perhaps we aren't... whatever, but something was a little off.
Now it really bothers me when I dislike someone and don't know why. With the result I hadn't been following Karthikeyan's career with any particular interest. And so surprisingly, when the news came in that he would be racing for Jordan this season, I found my heart billowed with joy.

My patriotism I'm delighted to report far outstrips personal prejudices - oh, to think we could hear the Indian anthem soar out over the grandstands at an F1 race in the next couple of years! He won’t be winning in a Jordan, I don’t think, but come silly season, and who knows? He could have a chance to actually race in a competitive car. He's burning a trail that will make it so much easier for Indian racers after him.
Karthikeyan even wears the Indian tricolours on his helmet. For that, Narain,
sau gunaah maaf.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Bole to?

I’m finding that Dorothy Sayers sends me scurrying to the dictionary rather often. Learnt a new word this week from The Nine Tailors: widdershins.

“He turned to his right, knowing that it is unlucky to walk about a church widdershins.”
Main Entry: wid·der·shins
Pronunciation: 'wi-d&r-sh&nz
Function: adverb
Etymology: Middle Low German weddersinnes, from Middle High German widersinnes, from widersinnen to go against
: in a left-handed, wrong, or contrary direction : COUNTERCLOCKWISE.
And I didn’t know it was considered unlucky in churches too, or even that you circumambulate (bah, what a word) them. Nice, no?
Incidentally, what a katti book it is! Am much loving.

Roshan and nostalgia

ODed on Roshan yesterday.
Listening to Swapn jhade phool se brought back vividly those times in Chennai. My housemates and I had a lovely big old-fashioned house: it had that red oxide flooring you never see these days and blue limestone walls. Airy, sunny and very homey. We had some fun times with our wide assortment of friends – the occasional party but mostly lounge-about times with tea and lots of conversation.

Manoj and I were the Hindi film music crazies in the group. One time this song played, and that was it – we went nuts in appreciation of Neeraj’s every evocative line in that poem, examining the cadences, the broad sweeping visuals he creates – giving us flashes of blissful happiness and contrasting that with the bleak devastation that follows. (I have never understood the context of the song in the movie, but the piece stands alone.) We were so caught up in the exhilaration of the song, and also of course, finding another person who felt the same way that we bored everyone else to tears.

I have no idea where Manoj is now. The regret is almost keen – I have not found so many friends or kindred souls that I can afford to be careless.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

The love game

Heard this one from Gupt after a long time yesterday. And remembered all over again what a great job Anand Bakshi did with it.
See the way he just throws all these individual words together and actually comes up with filmi lyrics that approach poetry. There’s only one full sentence in this song: the refrain, Mushkil bada ye pyar hai.

Ye dooriyaan
Mushkil bada ye pyaar hai

Mushkil bada ye pyaar hai

Mushkil bada ye pyaar hai

Ye paheliyaan
Ye jawaaniyaan
Mushkil bada ye pyaar hai

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Monday, February 07, 2005

Black thoughts

Rave reviews everywhere. The now-infamous Nikhat Kazmi awards four stars (and we assume these are her own opinions). The movie has been credited with altering Bollywood and Indian cinema forever. High, high praise.

Dare I say what I think? Ok… the film is as detailed and well researched as it gets. Sign language, the costumes, the nitty-gritties of teaching a deaf-blind student… The subject lends itself to intensity and in this case, high drama.
What else?
Amitabh Bachchan – excellent
Rani Mukherjee – luminously beautiful in a performance of a lifetime
The frames – overwhelmingly aesthetic (at times at the cost of the narrative: I use the word ‘overwhelming’ consideredly)

Problem? Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
Whose intrusive presence pervades every single shot in the film. The subject deserves delicate strokes with a zero brush and Bhansali reaches for the bludgeon. Every time.

Saturday, February 05, 2005


Heard Rabbi Shergill sing on MTV's Asia Aid show last night.
And it occurs to me that you can create good music, triumph in a recording studio and have a raging hit on your hands. But to go on stage, perform for several hours in front of a live audience and still emerge with good music... that's a different ball game altogether.
Rabbi's voice couldn't stand the pressure of the occassion - frequently off key and no dum at all. What a pity. He plays the guitar much better than he sings, however.
And Nishu, I see what you meant...


At last sensible, music-loving Indians outnumber the scary Ravinder Ravi Fan Club! Hallelujah.

Friday, February 04, 2005


Me and my big mouth.

Repeat after me:
Not hurting people is a priority.
Not hurting people is a priority.
Not hurting people is a priority.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Aaj rang hai

I can't get it out of my head.

I'd read about Amir Khusrau's Aaj rang hai but never heard it sung. I did yesterday. Struck gold with a CD called Mast Qalandar and Nusrat brought it alight.

There are many stories about why this song was written - some say it's a celebration of Holi, but my favourite version goes that it was the day young Khusrau met Nizammuddin Aulia. He had been seeking a pir and when he met him, of course, he knew. He came home in an ecstatic daze and sang to his mother:
Aaj rang hai, ri maa, rang hai ri...
Mohe pir paayo Nijamudin aulia
Nijamudin aulia mohay pir payoo...

Here Nusrat slides fluidly to Des:
Des bades mein dhoondh phiree hoon
Toraa rang man bhayo ri....
Jag ujiyaaro, jagat ujiyaaro,
Main to aiso rang aur nahin dekhi ray

And finally, a line that hasn't failed to make my hair stand on end or force me blink back the tears...
Main to jab dekhun more sung hai, ri ma, rang hai ri.
Aaj rang hai, ri maa, rang hai ri...

Kya bolun? Aaj rang hai, ri maa, rang hai ri...

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

What DO I make of Neville's gum wrappers?

What do I make of Neville's gum wrappers? Aishwarya asks.
It's awfully sad, that's what it is - what am I supposed to make of them? Jeez, is there more to them?! Scramble over every reference - shit, Jo even has hordes of them on her desktop, one even has a link to it - there's a hidden meaning! What do the chaps at the Chamber of Secrets think? No wait, she said she used to be a smoker, that's why she chews gum - maybe she just had to pass it on to a character who happened to be Neville's mum, c'est tout.
But what, I ask you, what if it happens to be a 'smoke' screen and gum wrappers are IT? Will Neville put his by-now considerable hoard to some lethal use?

Aish, I dunno. I do think the fact he had to use his father's wand (which is now broken) is significant. But the gum wrappers are trash, except of course to Neville, they represent all he's ever got from his mother. Sniff.

Desultory, you think?

Winter brings out the hibernatory instinct. I'm not much of an afternoon napper but give me a nip in the air and I tend to pull out my soft Himachali rug and catch some zzzzzs. Lovely.

I woke up with an odd longing for salsa. The sauce, I mean -- wasn't feeling upto the dance before afternoon coffee. So I looked up a couple of recipes and made do with what was in the kitchen. Capsicum, tomatoes, an onion, garlic one hari mirch, oregano, salt and pepper. What a phataka it has turned out to be - a spoonful and I nearly smoked from the ears. So majbooran, I added grated carrot. So now it is just this salad thingy but what the hell, it tastes great.

Nishu leaves tomorrow. And won't be coming Hyderabad-wards for a year!! No leave. I knew this employment business had a catch.