Writer's Blog

Transient Thoughts

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Okay I have written here some random thoughts about the movie "Boom". On second read, I didn't agree with some parts of what I had written. But I have no enthu to sit and make changes. Please read the below in that spirit.

Somehow I feel that "Boom" is not being given its due. The Times gave it just one star, the very lowest, putting it at par with the very worst movies. IndiaToday blasts the movie for the lack of a story.

Come on. A gang losing its diamonds and making the models responsible to pay for it. The models stealing some other diamonds. The models double-crossing the gang-lords. This is as much story as you can expect in a bollywood movie.

The three models are shown as beautiful women who know they have great bodies and know that they can use them to their benefit and don't mind doing it. Surely there exist such women in the world today. What's wrong, then, in showing this on Film.

Agreed that the movie is a bit stark and sometimes vulgar. But at least it can't be accused of hypocrisy, unoriginality, artistic decadence, lack of integrity and most importantly plain dishonesty. (Hmm. That's a lot of words.)

On the other hand, I thought showing-the-childhood-and-early-youth-photos-of-all-involved and the bhang-induced-song-that-the-models-start-imagining-in-the-bank-they-are-looting, pretty cool.

The movie slacked a bit though, sometimes and there were some unnecessary scenes.

On the whole Gustaad has scored more plusses than minuses I think.

I started watching the India-Pak Asia Cup Final wishing, like Tendulkar (then the Indian Cricket Captain) did in some Cartoon, "May the best team not Win." For the Pakistanis were in top form, had beaten India in the league match and had an ominous reputation for converting penalty-corners. And the Indians had the dubious reputation of giving away matches in the final moments, and losing their cool in big matches.

But the Indians were by far the better team that day, in terms of ball possession and chances created. Towards the end I was praying, "God they are playing so well. Hope they don't lose from here."

In the end, thankfully, everthing ended quite fairly, though till the final minutes the match looked like going into the agonizing golden goal stage, where one penalty corner and it might all be over.

Kitne Ghayil hain, kitne Bismil hain,
Is Khudayi mein, Ek tu kya hai,

Ek Tu Kya hai, Ek tu kya hai,
Ae Dil-e-naadan, Ae dil-e-naadan,

-from 'Razia Sultaan'

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Around 2.oo pm yesterday I fought off a well-deserved sleep to go and swim at the swimming pool beside the Ulsoor lake.

The sun is glorious in Bangalore these days, and one ought to go out in the afternoons more often.

In the Ulsoor swimming pool people are let in, in 1.00 hour batches. Of the one hour, you swim for 35 minutes ( a bell goes off) and the rest of the time is used by the security guards and the pool employees in coercing all the swimmers out of the pool.

I reached there around 2.20, in time for the 2.30 batch. There was a huge queue of kids waiting in line for the ticket. I should have known. The pool would be crowded on a Saturday afternoon, when all schools are closed. Generally, in a swimming pool 80% of the water is used by 20% of the swimmers. I am referring to the "deep" and "shallow" sides of a pool. I belong to the 20%, and so I had some hope. But looking at those, sun-darkened, fiddle-fit kids, I wondered if the 80-20 rule would apply.

For a moment I thought of ditching the whole thing and coming on Sunday morning. But then I had already got a parking ticket for the bike, and had come with so much preparation besides. I decided to take the plunge, so to speak.

The Ulsoor pool is 50 metres I think, and it slopes pretty rapidly from the shallow to the deep. Swimming in the very deep is not allowed in the afternoons, I learned sadly. But the semi-deep section was open and I was happy to see only two or three swimmers in it.

Swimming in the bright sun and swimming in the rain are among the few pleasures known to man. Every time you turn your neck to breath in, you see the sun there, beaming down cheerfully like an elder brother, egging you on, your steady companion. You smile back and go in again. (Too much poetry uh?)

The changing rooms at the Ulsoor swimming pools are only for the ladies. One changes in the open with one's towel for cover. This fact added to the unfortunate cirumstance that the 'nada' of my swimming trunks had got stuck, made me ditch the idea of changing out of my swimming trunks. I just pulled my shorts over my swimming trunks and set out.

As I un-parked my bike the possiblity of my wet-trunks soaking my shorts occured to me.

Hmm. Too late now. Besides, if I kept sitting on the bike the wet backside wouldn't show. I would have to be careful when I parked my bike at home, though. But then again, if someone did see me, perhaps they could be beguiled into believing that I had taken a shower in my clothes and had gone off on my bike to dry up.

For, I am sure, whatever 'Bajaj Wind' can do 'Yamaha RX135' can do better. (More google hits. he he he. Am I good at this!)

An unfortunate thing happened. In a narrow, busy, street close to my house, I had a skirmish with an Ambassador car. The fault was his entirely. So I promptly stopped the bike and got off to indignantly examine the damage to the bike as I had seen countless carsmen do on the road. There was no damage to the bike that I could see and the Ambassador-walla had stopped and looked suitably apologetic. But I noticed that a couple of shopkeepers had begun giggling and snickering. I quickly realized that this was at my expense. I got on the bike, started it, and released the clutch something terrible.

I got home without further adventure.

It might interest the reader to know that the 500th hit on this site was a google search called "Urdu Jokes and Romantic Sentences".

They say opportunity knocks only once. Not true. It gazes at you steadily and then might demurely lower it's eyes. Then it comes and sits in front of you at your lunch table. If you still don't do anything, more fool you.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Saw "Joan of Arc" yesterday. On TV.

These days we are getting food delivered at home. So I generally go home around 8.00, eat a quick dinner, read for around half an hour and be ready to catch whatever movie is coming at 9.00.

I missed "Joan of Arc" last time they were playing it and I did so want to watch it because I have this thing for historical movies. The movie is set in 15th Century France. Got to see some interesting war weapons, but otherwise the movie was pretty painful. It was quite long too.I suspect, a lot of philosophical fundaes put in the movie but I had no stomach for them after a hearty dinner.

The day before saw "Kabhie Kabhie" on cable. I have heard so many people sing "Kabhie kabhie mere dil me" that I just can't hear it now. I used to sing it N times too. But there are a couple of other good songs in the movie -" Mere ghar aayi ek nanhi pari" and "Main pal do pal ka shayir hoon".

These lines are from the latter song:

Kal aur aayenge nagamon ki khilati kaliyan chunane waale
Mujhase behetar kehane waale tum se behetar sunane waale

The Mr.P's episode which I record in my previous post ended somewhat anti-climactically. The check, it seems, bounced because of some banking errors. My bank re-presented it and it has since been cleared.

Here are a few posts which I wrote but did not post:


When our previous landlord, the villainous Mr. P, finally gave us back our house deposit ( witholding close to 4k bucks) I did not think it an event worth my blog-reader's while. But now that his MFing check has bounced I have a fresh supply of blog topics. Who knows, if me and my roomate try to sue Mr. P, I might have blog topics for life.


Yesterday was Som's birthday and we went to this Arabic restaurant called Zaks in Fraser town. It is run by an Arab family. Those guys are pretty generous with their meat. Egg and Chicken rolls, mutton curry, Chicken tikka and Chicken with rice, french fries, Kabuli Chana paste and Arabic roti called Kabus were ordered and eaten. Sprites and soda-lemon were drunk. A hearty dinner was had by all except Lokesh, who is a vegetarian.

Children in Arabia must have really happy childhoods.


Tomb Raider, Jogger's Park, The League of extraordinary Gentlemen, Rules: pyar ka superhit formula, Boom.

Watched quite a few movies over the past couple of weeks. Have been wanting to write about them but not feeling quite like it. Tanuja is quite a charming grandmother in Rules. She doesnt seem to have changed much since the days she was singing in the shower in some black-and-white melody I can't recall or trying to seduce Dev Anand in 'Raat Nashili hai' in Jewel thief. Angelina's British accent seems affected in parts in Tomb Raider. Jogger's park is good in parts (the character of the Bongy judge's Daughter is nice and there is a remix of a Mukesh song and a good gazal by Jagjit Singh), but on the whole it's amateurish and half-baked. The finishing is bad, so to speak. Boom is stark, a bit vulgar but still it has some 'integrity' which Jogger's Park lacks.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

They say winning isn't everything and I have decided to take their word for it - Calvin.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

In the Men & Women section of the express today there is an article on Shyam Benegal. Behind him stands the poster of one of his movies- Nisha.

Nisha is one of my favourite names. It suggests a person who is intriguing, just like the night.

It would suit a dark skinned girl very much. In Benegal's movie it belonged to Shabana Azmi. She was on the poster.

However many a girl called Nisha, turns out to be fair as the moon (our side of it), much to my disappointment (Not fair uh?). Perhaps the parents meant to refer to the Deep Black Eyes or Night like hair.

Or perhaps Fair and Lovely had a role to play.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Why did the Sardarji/blonde remove his spectacles when he/she was looking at Mars?
Because they said that Mars would be visible to the naked eye. Ha ha ha! I made that up.

Deciding to learn to type was a very good decision.

I generally take good decisions. Not due to my excellent judgement or anything, but perhaps because I love the 'Status Quo' so much, that it takes much effort on my part to start anything. So if decide to do something then it's because I really-really want to do it.

I had always wanted to learn to type. In 8th-9th standard, when I wrote my first novel, (He he he. Yes I have written two novels and have made detailed notes for a third. When I become famous I will get all that crap published.:-) I used to think, how nice it would be if I could type it all neatly on my own typewriter? It was then I think that I asked my dad if he would buy me a second hand typewriter. But my dad loves the Status Quo just as much, and gives a lot of thought to things and all that. And if decides to do something then it's because he really-really wants to do it. So the typewriter never came.

I remember reading a kid's mystery story where there was some report-writing or some such thing involved and the winner would get a brand new type-writer. The heroes/heroines of the story did get their typewriter in the end. Hmmm.

Computers have generally failed to impress me too much. Though the Internet and Google are surely the result of the Punya we have all gathered in our previous Janmams. The things that a PC itself can do, I don't care too much for. Except. The Keyboard-Monitor-Notepad/NE association. And that because I know how to type.

Anyways, I learnt to type in the summer vacation of my second year in Engineering college. In our DCF (Departmental Computer Facility) there were a couple of these really old computers with small, green monitors. There were the good comps also, but if you were not an Olympic sprinter and didn't hurry after class, you generally got to check mail only on those shady Green comps. Now on these comps., the keyboards were totally misbehaved. Backspace wouldn't work and if you did some particular thing ( I don't remember what) the comp gave this string of beeps and chilled out for sometime. Imagine working on these comps, by the way on Vi Editor, looking alternatively at the keyboard and the monitor, typing really really carefully so that you did'nt make a typing error. If you did'nt know, the backspace equivalent in Vi is press Esc first, then use 'x' to delete. To start typing again one has to type 'i'. Many a times one pressed an 'i' too many, because the comp was slow and the first 'i' didn't show up, and then had to press Esc and 'x' to delete that extra 'i' and then type an 'i' too many again as one tried to resume. Whew. Even recollecting those moments gives me the creeps. Writing a three sentence mail ( and generally one didn't write longer ones) was a complete workout. They used to ask me 'Hey Pills, how do you keep in shape da?' and I used to tell them.

The point of the above paragraph was, I think I thought wistfully during one of those three line mails, 'How much easier this whole thing would be, if I knew how to type?'.

So it was, that in my second year summer vacation I went to our then home in Karwar with a steely resolve not to waste the summer. One of the things I would do was to learn typing.

Thankfully, we used to get more than two and half months off in the summer. It took me more than a month to make myself go looking for a typing class. If my home was in a city like Bangalore heaven knows where I would have found one. In a small town like Karwar it was easy.

And I wanted to learn on the typewriter, not on a comp. keyboard. On the typewriter the keys have to be HIT and even your little finger has to be up to the job of slamming the key down. It is really good pracice.

I made decent progress. I had told the teacher that I wanted to finish the whole thing in a month. So I didnt want to learn numbers and punctuation marks and special characters. Just the alphabet.

By then the rains had started in Karwar. But I went to class regularly, sometimes soaked to the skin (literally, for it RAINS in Karwar and I preferred going on my dad's old LUNA, which I think I had also learned to drive that summer). The fact that for the first time in my life the sex ratio in my class was overwhelmingly girls >>> boys, perhaps helped me bear the brunt of the monsoons with a smile on my face. It also perhaps helped me to learn to type looking neither at the keyboard nor at the monitor/paper.

When I went back to college I felt the immense pleasure of being in control when I typed. An immense feeling of gratitude towards myself for making me decide to learn to type. I still feel that pleasure whenever I type more than a hundred words.

If you are a writer (and I love it when I am called one) then you must know how to type. There's something about typing which kindles creativity. I don't know what. But there surely is something. PG Wodehouse and Agatha Christie. They typed. They have mentioned it somewhere. And have you seen 'Finding Forrester?" It's about writers and man...you must see those guys type...Ghalib says: Ghalib sariir-e-khaama navaa-e-sarosh hai (Ghalib, the sound of a pen scratching on a paper is the sound of Angels). The click of a typewriter and the 'pitt' of the keys striking the paper is no less pleasing. Some computer key boards come close.

I make it a point to flaunt my skills. Anyone getting bored typing his report, and I extend two helping hands. 'Hey let me do it a while. I know how to type.' And then I try and type really really fast, looking only at the source-paper by the side of the keyboard. As I said I like to flaunt my skills. By the way, the Somerset Maugham passage in my previous post? I typed that pretty fast too.

Today I am going to do the easy thing again and update my blog with someone else's work.

Somerset Maugham from the Summing Up: (More Google hits? I don't think so.)

...In youth the years stretch before one so long that it is hard to realize that they will ever pass, and even in middle age, with the ordinary expectation of life in these days, it is easy to find excuses for delaying what one would like to do but does not want to; but at last a time comes when death must be considered. Here and there one's contemporaries drop off. We know that all men are mortal (Socrates was a man; therefore- and so forth), but it remains for us little more than a logical premiss till we are forced to recognize that in the ordinary course of things our end can no longer be remote. An occasional glance at the obituary column of the The Times has suggested to me that the sixties are very unhealthy; I have long thought that it would exasperate me to die before I had written this book, and so it seemed to me that I had better set about it at once. When I have finished it I can face the future with serenity, for I shall have rounded off my life's work. I can no longer persuade myself that I am not ready to write it, since if I have not by now made up my mind about the things that seem of importance to me there is small likelihood that I shall ever do so. I am glad at last to collect all these thoughts that for so long have floated at haphazard on the various levels of my consciousness. When they are written down I shall have finished with them and my mind will be free to occupy itself with other things. For I hope that this will not be the last book I shall write. One does not die immediately one has made one's will; one makes one's will as a precaution. To have settled one's affairs is a very good preparation to leading the rest of one's life without concern for the future. When I have finished this book I shall know where I stand. I can afford then to do what I choose with the years that remain to me...

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

This has been happening for sometime now. I am unable to read books. Whenever I find something really well-written I feel this urge to go and write something myself. I feel a Darwinistic repulsion from the stuff I am reading. Right now I have got this wonderful book by Somerset Maugham called The Summing Up, where he writes about his career as an author and his life in general.

Here's a not so representative extract.

'I learnt (his experiences in medical school) that men were moved by a savage egoism, that love was only the dirty trick nature played on us to achieve the continuation of the species, and I decided that, whatever aims mens set themselves, they were deluded, for it was impossible for them to aim at anything but their own selfish pleasures.'

I have only read some random sections of the book and I am having serious suspicions whether the jealous writer in me will let me complete it. But probably I will, for the book promises to help clear some of the confusions regarding life ( what is the purpose of life etc.) that have been bugging me in recent times.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

On Tuesday I slipped away for office in the afternoon to watch a movie I knew was good - Shatranj ke Khiladi. I had seen parts of it with my Mom on TV sometime. Of cousrse I made up by working in the night ( Supervisor, in case you are reading this). It was an impulsive decision really, and there was a kutti feeling of guilt when I got home, was I comitting one of the seven deadly sins - sloth?

Anyways, the movie was worth every bit of the effort. I found out that it was based on a story by Premchand and directed by Satyajit Ray. What else does one want? The narration was done by Amitabh's voice.

The music, the sets, the costumes, the props and the acting - all perfect.

The movie is set in 18th or 19th Century I forget which - during Dalhousie's times. It is set in Lucknow. The focus of the story shifts between the contradictions facing the King of Awadh ( Amzad Khan )- he is a patron of music and dance and given to the good things in life besides being a poet, and can't cope with the politics of the East India chaps - and the lives of two Chess playing friends (Sanjeev Kumar and Sayeed Jaffri), both Jagirdars. OK I can't possibly even begin to describe the intricacies of the plot. The above was just to give an idea.

It is one of those few movies which you can call complete and flawless. You watch them and you feel guilty for having watched and enjoyed half-baked movies like Koi Mil Gaya (KMG is Innnovative ok, different fine, funny yes, but still half-baked). Movie Makers don't seem to set themselves high enough standards anymore. Nor it seems, does the audience. Together they are pushing the Hindi movie industry to Devil knows where. There is no honest story telling anymore. Today's Hindi movie is just an assortment of entertainment modules - a joke there, a song here, and dance next all set to the background of visually pleasing foreign locales. No film is intended to leave a lingering taste in the mouth ( some do leave a bad one though) . The only purpose of the movie seems to be to grab the audience attention for 3 hours.

This leads me to think: What is Perfection? What is the purpose of Art? What should be an artists goal? Will think later.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Our previous landlord is acting up. He has already delayed the return of our House Deposit by more than 3 months and now there are indications that he might not return all of it, either.

Yesterday me and my roommate Som felt that we were for the first time getting insights into the mind of the criminal - What drives him? We discussed what crimes we might perpetrate against Mr. P and still stay above law. Suggestions ranged from Letting The Air Out Of His Car Tyres to Setting a Bigger Dog Free On His Pet Pomerian. Such questions as " How does one get a firearm license?" and "Who takes Supari in Bangalore?" popped up yesterday and today.

Then I was thinking of writing an open letter (in a newspaper or something...) to S M Krishna ( Karnataka CM) about Landlord harassment in the Hi-Tech City. Or making a funny movie featuring the Shady Landlord, and releasing it nation-wide. Or at least writing a short story to the same effect.

Then again, I wondered what tone to adopt in negotiations with him, if they were required. Would a Moral Plank work against a Thick Skinned MF as this Mr. P? Should we sign off with a threat of getting back at him at an opportune time. How would it be if we photo-copied the first few pages of 'The Godfather' and mailed it to him? Would the fellow get the hint? Or would it have to be iron-willed haggling as with the vegetable-vendor? Perhaps if we collected all his present tenants (he has quite a few) told them our tale of woe and convinced them to threaten to leave if he didn't return all our money?

It is in times such as these that an uncle or two in the police force comes in handy.

It is in times such as these that one hopes there is a life after death, that there is a God and that one has to answer for one's sins.