Friday, December 21, 2007

Of desire and regret

The first time I read this particular poem by Russian poet Vera Pavlova in the New York subway, it stayed in my mind because it reminded me of a little poster that used to be in my grandmother's house in Madras when I was growing up, stuck behind a glass cabinet, that went along the lines of:

The more you study, the more you learn
The more you learn, the more you forget
The more you forget, the less you learn
So why study?

Growing up, I used to think it was quite brilliant and very amusing, and my grandfather used to point to it and laugh whenever I said I had so much to study. I just found out (like right now, thanks to this glorious invention called the internet), that the person who wrote that was someone called Don Akchin. (Thanks, Don!)

And so, the first time I saw the lines below in the subway, I thought they were interesting because of the connect. But of course there is much more to it, in the philosophical sense - it is rather beautiful, I think. The New Yorker even published a set of four poems, of which this is one, by Pavlova earlier this year.

If there is something to desire,
there will be something to regret.
If there is something to regret,
there will be something to recall.
If there is something to recall,
there was nothing to regret.
If there was nothing to regret,
there was nothing to desire.

- Vera Pavlova (b. 1963), translated from the Russian by Steven Seymour

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Birthday Gift

She sat thinking intently…
Where could she hide it?
Under the bed?
Or maybe in the kitchen cupboard –
He’d never wander there - did he ever?!!

It was special after all,
His birthday.

As he walked in the door rosy-cheeked from the cold,
She smiled at him happily, like a new bride.
‘Happy Birthday, darling’, she said – sang, almost.
She waited for him to wash his face (tap on - splash splash splash – tap off)
And as he turned around to face her,
She hugged him lovingly,
Her unwavering hand wrapped tightly around his moulded back.

Then she stood back and watched
As he looked at the darkening river flowing down his stomach.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Women are BAR none!!!

Good news for people in Delhi (specifically men!) - the Supreme Court has upheld the employment of women as bartenders in the Capital. Now that I come to think of it, I have never seen any female bartenders in India so far. Nice change in the offing.

Anything you can do, we can do better........

Or so say Claire Danes and Patrick Wilson in this Gap ad which is very hummable!!!:

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The age conundrum

When you begin thinking of people born after 1984 as 'those kids' and people born between 1970-1980 as closer to your age, that's when you know you're on the wrong side of 25. Ugh!!!!

Must think more along the lines of 'Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.'

Now if only it was easy as the snap of a finger to just believe that!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Hauntingly lyrical music....

....that stays in your head long after the last note is sung. Brilliantly utilising Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, son of legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, O Re Piya strikes just the right note - the qawwali feel underscores the unbelievably romantic lyrics. It's been a while since I've heard a song that uses the Indian orchestra - specifically the drums, so well.

Sit silently for a while, and listen. Let me know what you think.

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

When you want something badly enough....

.......the entire universe conspires to make it happen. After a really crazy late night, I woke up suddenly at what I was soon to realize was 11.30 AM. My hazy addled brain remembered only one thing: that I was due to meet some friends in the city for the 12.20 PM show of Madhuri Dixit’s comeback film after six years – Aaja Nachle. Now, to get the rest of this story, you need to understand a few things: one, that I love dance, dancing and all it stands for. I love the spontaneity of moving to a song you love when you hear it out of the blue one day, the dedicated practice it takes to get a sequence right when you finally perform it on stage, the careful thought that goes into choreographing a dance for others. All of which I've done in the past. Two, the fact that I have grown up watching Madhuri in a scintillating array of roles, in most of which she was remarkably entertaining (and gorgeous): Radha in Ram Lakhan, Paro in Parinda, Anju in Kishen Kanhaiya, Madhu in Dil, Saraswati in Beta, Ganga in Khal Nayak, Nisha in Hum Aapke Hain Koun and finally Chandramukhi in Devdas, to name just a few. Add to this the fact that I sat and watched Karan Johar interviewing her (in five separate videos on YouTube) on Koffee With Karan the day before the film’s release, and you may JUST get why I really had to see Aaja Nachle.

So at 11.30 I woke up and said to myself ‘There is no way you’re going to make it on time, just forget about it and go later.’ Except I didn’t really believe it, I think, because with some slight nudging from the husband, who said that it was possible if I got ready in less than 10 minutes, I started thinking it was possible after all. 10 minutes is all it took for me to shower and change, and then I was out the door like a bullet. At the station, I heard the automated voice on the train say ‘Please stand aside, doors closing’ – at the head of a long set of stairs. I hurtled down and threw myself into the train just as the doors closed. The miracle here is that the train was still there by the time I negotiated those stairs, and the additional fact that on weekends that particular train only arrives at intervals of 15 minutes. So basically, if I hadn’t caught that train, I would really not have made it. Anyway, not end of story yet. I had to change trains. Yes. So 20 minutes later, I re-enacted hurtling myself down a separate set of stairs, through 2 turnstiles and into – yes into – yet another waiting train, whose doors duly closed as I threw myself in yet again. 5 minutes later, I was in the theatre. Now I knew I was safe, because it was just 12.19 or so….so after getting the ticket, I took the time to buy myself a large bottle of water and two hot dogs to get over my pretty large hangover. As I walked in and sat down next to my friends, the film started.

And that’s the story of how I got to watch Aaja Nachle.

Any review that I may write about the film is likely to be biased, so I will say this: I was completely entertained, I loved the songs and I loved the dance. Madhuri was as attractive as she was and considering she’s had two kids, as sexy as she was years ago. I also loved Kunal Kapoor (whom I’ve seen once in real life and he is so well-chiselled it’s amazing), Vinay Pathak, Ranvir Shorey, Divya Dutta, Akshaye Khanna, Irrfan Khan and Konkona Sen Sharma. The film is well-edited, very funny in parts, and not overly dramatic – which it could have easily been. If anyone wants my opinion, I’d say go watch.