Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The things we need

I have discovered, after long years of experience, that there is no way to pack perfectly. Whether it is for a new place that you are preparing, or a new time, you will take things you will not need and you will have left behind something terribly important. As long as the turn ahead holds suspense, your assessments of what you’re likely to need will be off the mark. I’m resigned to this.

Poet Carolyn Hall muses in retrospect:
year's end—
what made me think I needed
a harmonica

My sympathies, but I must quibble with the poet here: I think we could always make a little room for a harmonica.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Broad strokes

Spoiler alert


Just back from PK. I’ve been humming Tharki chokro every spare minute this fortnight, and I was looking forward to this big release. I went expecting to laugh. Also – knowing from reviews that the film sought to come to grips with the complex issues of gods and godmen (and considering that I am myself in the thrall of this glorious face you see on the right hand corner of this webpage) – I went expecting to somewhat disagree. There was no need to have been so primed. Sledgehammer-subtle, lacking in nuance and intelligence, PK offers nothing even worth rebutting.

It conveys anguish, it conveys confusion, it cries out that the hapless people of the world have been maltreated by religion: insofar, the tale commands our sympathy. (Towards the end of the poignant song Bhagwan hai kahan re tu, PK walks into a manufacturing unit of festival idols, where we see precisely the stuff our gods are made of: straw and plaster.) However, on the whole, the film was satisfying neither in its understanding nor in its resolution. I was intrigued by the concept of a tabula rasa visitor, taken by the education-via-handholding idea and quite delighted with his clothes. But did PK have to be so unintelligent!?

I found Sanjay Dutt utterly charming, Aamir Khan belaboured, Anushka Sharma too pouty and Sushant’s appearance too brief (Shweta says he dusted off Manav of Pavitra Rishta for this cameo; she’s so right). Saurabh Shukla as Tapasvi Maharaj was fat and nicely smug though.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Perked up

I shook off winter lassitude this morning to expend a sharpish burst of energy. Bhoodevi wiped down furniture and I changed sheets, covers and upholstery with a vengeance. And how nice it feels to see dappled sunlight on my new colour scheme.

Aaj hi hamne badle hain kapde, aaj hi hum nahaye hue hain...

Welcome, festive season, we're quite ready for you.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Tight Place

Stuck in a traffic jam for the last half hour. So stressful. How do people venture out in this madness everyday? My stay-home work has softened me overmuch and I feel like a tortoise without its carapace. Surely cities shouldn't be like this? They're supposed to be convenient, for God's sake!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

To the Reclining Lord

Saagara shayana vibho...

I've just heard three versions of this lovely composition in Bageshree by MD Ramanathan. That's the way to best acquaint myself with a song, I've found - find the lyrics, translation and exposition, and follow each singer through the nuances. It's a fun exercise.

I'll include one of them here: this croony rendition by TM Krishna.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Just before I sleep...

I put away the book of poems
and reach for the tab --
Candy Crush Saga.


I move about in a personal cloud all my doing.

For now, blanketed grey, a hint of melancholy drizzle
and a forecast of storms to come.
Something temperamental is in the air
I hesitate to leave the ground;
I would judder, I know, in this turbulence.

I have made a study of the weather.
I know, I think, where the clouds came from,
Even, where they picked up the rain.
I cannot account for the lurking high winds, however,
or chart my course through what's to come.

Uneasy, suspicious, I board up for the storm. All defences up.

Outside, the sun shines brightly on every living thing
and I move about in a personal cloud. All my doing.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


बेक़ारारी सी बेक़ारारी है
दिन भी भारी है, रात भारी है

आँख से छुप के दिल में बैठे हो
हाए, कैसी ये पद्रादारी है!

Monday, December 15, 2014

After effect

Still groggy.

Now that I'm back home in Hyderabad, and the system has the luxury of rest and time, it has collapsed into the most torpid languor. I'm going to play some Rafi and unpack.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Other Side of Hypnos

I'm up. Body thinks it's 9 am and scandalous to sleep beyond that. Damn.


ab so jao, neend ankhon mein hai, kal phir sunaayenge 
zara si reh gayi hai raat, afsaane bohut se hain...

I'm fighting off sleep and jetlag like a particularly obstinate child, but I must succumb. Just a matter of a few minutes now, and I will sink fathoms deep.
Good night.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Japan Musings

It has been a great week in Japan. I sit in the lounge waiting for the departure call and reflect about what kind, warm and polite people these are.
I've seen many things, absorbed so many details... I wonder often if travel is worth the trouble it takes seeing that we intake so many things when the idea is to empty oneself. Filling up even as we drain - how sensible is that?
And if this is my primary preoccupation, why do I hanker after travel, get itchy feet when I've been home too many months? It is a contradiction. But never mind, I have been taken well in hand. How much play I get is His call. What I'm permitted to do, what I'm expected to be conscious of, what he'd like me to learn... It's all up to him. 

I have a feeling I didn't use Japan too well. I was caught in the little things and didn't back that with even so much as an appropriate exuberance either. Perhaps I'm in no position to judge. In any case, it is done. I have lined up Boyhood and Lucy for the flight. And Tokyo Detective Duo if time permits.
I'll be home soon.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Totemo samui!

Japan is cold. Very cold. And beautiful. And endlessly interesting. And cold.

We are about to head into the mountains tomorrow to stay in a monastery. It promises to be beautiful and very cold. 

No surprise but among the first few phrases we've committed to heart is 'samui': it's cold.