Sunday, December 20, 2009

I just realised that the basic bass line of A.R. Rahman's 'Telephone Manipur' from Indian (Hindustani) is the same as Ace of Base's 'All that She Wants'. Of course, Rahman's just using western influences. When Anu Malik does the same thing, he's copying :D

Proper blogging will resume soon, for my presumed fans' benefit

Friday, November 27, 2009


So its finally here. One of the most important days of my life, just 3 days from now. After all the months of blood, sweat and tears (ok, no blood), I will attempt to 'bell the CAT'. Has it been worth it? Yes I have lost a lot in the process..but today I was watching a feature on IIM-Bangalore on CNBC and I though "Damn, I want to be there". I've always wanted to be there. I've been visiting the campus since I was a kid (thanks to my stud Dad!) and it has been my earliest and most concrete dream. At some unwritten date in my future, I would be giving the CAT and that date is now almost here. Lets hope all the effort pays off!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Ideal Day

Given the fact that I have had so little time for myself recently, I have been reflecting a lot on what an ideal day in my life will encompass..and what I intend to do once my various exams get over. So this post is split into two parts:

The Ideal Day: My ideal day will involve the following -
1. College, because I have to go. Ideally, the class will get over at 11 itself so I will have more time.
2. Find some good company and take the car out and go to town. Catch a REALLY mindless movie. Something like 'Radio' with Himmesh Reshamiyya (I am DYING to see it). Or even better actually, 'My Name is Khan', if it releases by then (though I'm sure it won't be mindless).
3. Go shopping with this good company. Hit Garuda, Forum and Sigma (Because I can!!).
4. Go for an earliesh dinner - Some nice Italian/ Mughlai/ Thai place. Might as well include the ideal list of retaurants as well - Miller's 46, Saigon (but Sigh - its gone), Spagetti Kitchen, Samarkhand or Little Italy.
5. Head to Mojos and have some beer and listen to some good music. Not too much cuz I have to drive back.
6. Go home if possible. Rent another mindless movie and watch it with the good company. Sit up till late talking about nice, non-personal issues. Go to sleep happy, rested, full and high on materialistic comforts.

My Ideal List of Things to Do After Exams
1. Go for as many Carnatic music concerts and dance performances as possible.
2. Join either French or German classes.
3. Join piano classes - B'lore School of Music has shifted so will have to look at other options.
4. Start a music blog.
5. Buy an ipod (finally!).
6. Find some alternative way of earning money (optional).

Sigh, looking at this makes me feel better. Post 23rd December, I shall be on an aggressive mission to reclaim my life. All good company is invited to join.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I've realised that regular doses of New York serve as remarkable stimulants. This is an extremely effective remedy against any form of depression.

It can be taken in optically or aurally i.e. through pictures of New York or songs about New York.

Immediate effects such as extreme joy, energy, enthusiasm for living and ambition to work to get there can be observed.

Side effects include wistfulness, hallucinations of tall buildings, day dreaming and extreme longing.

Highly recommended if you have a great love for the city of New York.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Roadhouse Blues or An Examination of the Mindless Depravity of Bangalore Traffic

I got a car!! A wine red Alto! Second hand..but with a music system, power steering and an AC. Its awesome cool and great fun to drive! Having said this, driving in Bangalore trains you for handling undisciplined driving (apparently indisciplined isn't a word!)in any part of the world. Bangaloreans simply DO NOT follow the traffic rules. Everyone takes the law into their own hands, everyone believes anything is possible on the road, everyone is in a blazing hurry and everyone doesn't give a %$&* about anyone else: "You come in my way (even though I'm reversing on to a main road with high speed traffic)? Go DIE Macha!"

I have been driving around a fair bit, over Indiranagar, Whitefield, Koramangala, Sadashivnagar and MG Road and have come to the general conclusion that the less you follow the rules yourself, the better the driver you are. However, this is the conclusion that the rest of the Bangalore populace has also come to. Thus, in order to distinguish myself and keep a firm grip on my life, I religious follow all the rules. I give the indicator when I change lanes. I start moving to the left/ right at-least 10 to 15 feet before I have to make a turn. I honk at all turnings and pedestrians. I maintain a 3-4 feet gap between myself and the next car in traffic pile ups. However, no one and mean NO one else does..and moreover, they get angry if you do it. I think my conscientiousness pisses them off because I remind them of what they should be doing. Having said this, it is better to expect the unexpected in Bangalore - in fact, it is better to not expect the expected at all. If there is a two wheeler or auto on your right, it will invariably cut to your left at the last moment. If there is a bus behind you, the driver will try to edge it into gaps like a two wheeler. Most importantly, if you live in Indiranagar, watch out for a Ford Ikon, registration number 2192 or something like that, which drives in a strangely zig zag fashion at a very high speed.

I have to conclude though that I love driving. In traffic or on a free road, it is simply exhilarating. There is as much satisfaction in maneuvering your car through traffic and successfully dodging that auto which meanders aimlessly in the middle of the street as there is in racing down the Indiranagar - Koramangala Ring Road. It leaves you wonderfully fresh as opposed to tired and frustrated. I guess when one has to do it everyday, it gets to them. But right now I'm positively addicted to it!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Park Politics

Roughly between 12th Main and 1st Main Defence Colony, Indiranagar, lie about 5 to 6 walking parks. There is no real explanation for so many of them being there, except that Bangaloreans..especially the retired old fogies in Defence Colony, love to walk..and thus seize upon any empty plot of land and convert it with vengeance into a park. This sort of wonderful thing goes on in Sadashivnagar also. The Sankey Tank park and the Sunken Garden there are at the height of landscaping achievements. But the park which has always been my favourite is the relatively humble BDA Park.

BDA park is famous all over Indiranagar for being one of the oldest parks around. It is also right next to Indiranagar Club and is thus frequented by Club goers, both young and old. In my first standard or so, we were taken out to BDA Park for a field trip or something like that. The park seemed like a wonderland to me. It was so big and green, the children's play area was so well equipped. Coming from an area that had no real children's park (that time I lived in the less prosperous but infinitely more exciting Gitanjali Layout), this park seemed to posses world class facilities.

We finally realised the Defence Colony dream in 2003 (in the middle of my 10th Boards) and the BDA park became a reality....a place which I could frequent! Of course, it seemed to have diminished in size and coolness, but it was still as beautiful and exciting as ever. BDA Park thus became the initial and consequently the most important step in my weight loss program, which has been running on and off for around 5 years now. I would go to the park everyday and 'power-walk'. Of course, I have an unfortunate habit of screwing up my face in concentration while doing this and striding very purposefully. Young mothers and maids would move their children/ charges out of my way for fear that I might send them flying as I crossed them. Park Veterans would glare at me, wondering how I dared to upset the equilibrium of the park with my thundering style. However, it was a great source of amusement for some of my friends/ snobby classmates who would see me as they crossed the park on their way to the Club ("I saw you walking in the part yesterday da. You looked damn determined", sniggers). Well, all these things happened and slowly but surely, I worked my way up into the higher echelons of park goers.

For BDA Park has a hierarchical structure. There are the Veterans who get the Right of Way and the Young Upstarts who make their Right of Way. However, if you are a Young Upstart and a frequent user, the Veterans do not mind giving you the Right of Way. The key ways in which to accomplish this are to come regularly and more importantly, come in the early mornings. The fact that you came in the morning showed that you were a serious walker and were willing to work for your walking status. I would come every morning at about 6:20 and walk rigorously for an hour; and this more than anything else, made the Veterans of the Park recognise me. As made my way up, I did not get smiles or nods or conversations in return..I hate walking with people anyway. But I got the Respect and famed Right of Way...I was a Young Upstart who had proved herself worthy.

The Park has always been a very interesting place to observe people. The crowd is primarily upper middle class, given the general demographics of the area. Out of these, nearly two thirds are senior citizens and middle aged people, while the young people of course children, young mothers and couples. One of the most interesting things to observe in the mornings was the Laughter Club. This club is more amusing for the onlookers than the participants themselves, I have always felt, and takes sometime getting used to. Mastering the natural reaction of laughing at the doings of the Laughter Club is an important sign that you are on the way to becoming a Veteran. Another interesting thing is to see how some people have continued coming to the park regularly for the entire duration of the 6 years for which I have been using the park, and perhaps even before! It is fascinating to observe routine in such a rigid, unchanged fashion, especially given our chaotic lives in law school. Another thing which amuses with unfailing regularity is the distortion of the Right of Way principle by bitchy women walkers. These women (usually middle aged) move in packs, blocking the whole path and gossip incessantly, while not letting you pass. Some of the single walkers deliberately walk faster, or come in front of you to prevent you from overtaking them. Earlier, I used to respectfully get off the pathway and jog on thhe grass alongside them, till I managed to overtake them. Now, after becoming a Veteran, I simply force my way through. And then, there is always the element of the odd and obscure..a man playing the flute once, a couple of Rastafarian foreigners (there are a surprising number of there in Indiranagar) another time and if you're lucky, an arguing couple every now and then.

BDA Park will always retain an important place in my life's history, not merely because I have immortalised its memory with this entry, but also because it gave me some early important lessons in social manners and decorum and also helped me lose weight. And it has always been a very pretty park! The incident which prompted me to write this entry serves as a fitting conclusion to the post: An elderly lady and her daughter (both obviously new to the Park) were walking around in the Park, and the lady for some reason, stopped over one of the flower beds and began to pick some flowers and leaves. From somewhere in the background noises of the Park floated a child's voice "Aunty, no picking flowers!" The difference between Veterans and the newbies was clearly established.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I don't think I need to go into how music can set the mood for so many different things. Something which struck me in Bombay this time was how some kinds of music were just suited for a particular city..or an area of a city. The life and pace of the city blends with the perfect kind of music to create a sort of background music, which seems to just 'fit in'. For example, South Bombay and jazz go almost perfectly together. Jazz is about spunk, sophistication, sipping champagne and enjoying a cigarette and elegance. Yet it is also about passion, confusion, improvisation and celebration of the liberating power of music. South Bombay is also about a lot of these things. The old buildings of Fort and the Art Deco of Marine Drive are perfect to stare at while listening to some Billie Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald. The trippy and cult atmosphere in Causeway and the madness of VT and Churchgate finds expression in Dizzy Gillespie's almost impossible compositions. Yet as you move North, towards Bandra, the crowd becomes increasingly younger and yuppie and the music changes to classic rock..pretty much the music which reflects Bangalore the best. Here beer, corporates, techies, college kids and school kids 'come together'. Whether it is angry intensity of The Who and Led Zeppelin, the psychedelia of The Beatles and Pink Floyd, or The Doors, Deep Purple and various other bands, they somehow reflect the mindset of the young crowd in areas like Bandra or Brigade Road, Koramangala and MG Road..a mix of optimism and skepticism tinged with the surreal.

Older areas in Bangalore like Jayanagar, Banshankari and Malleshwaram somehow just call for Carnatic music in any form. The shaded roads, markets, temples and older population of these areas seems to blend only with MS, DKP or any of the other greats. These areas are after all the most 'South Indian' as it were in Bangalore.

The most Bob Dylan place I have ever been to is in fact Pondicherrry. This time, I went for a walk on the beach, listening to Dylan and the setting was perfect. There are some songs which should be listened to by the sea. The sea seems to add a rhythm of its own to the song, making the whole experience very harmonious and agreeable. Dylan's soft guitar and poetic lyrics merge perfectly with the mildness of Pondicherry and its eclectic populace.

I not sure if the above post makes sense, but I think its a fairly funky way of looking at a city and its people. Music has always enhanced and completed things for me. And now it has go on to greatly enhance my travel experiences..two of my favourite things together. Sigh, the limitless powers of music!
It was exactly 40 years ago today that Abbey Road was released. 40 years since 'Something' first played on air. Now that's "something"!

Bless The Beatles.

Let me be by myself in the evenin' breeze,
And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees,
Send me off forever but I ask you please,
Don't fence me in.

Sea breeze, a sharply curving coastline and a bunch of art deco buildings facing nothingness. I miss it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My Top Five

I was going to make this into a question on the 'How Well Do You Know Divya Suresh?' quiz on Facebook (just so you know, it doesn't still exist, and probably never will), but I thought it would be far more interesting as a blog post:

My Top Five Rock Music Albums

All these albums I'm sure figure on the Rolling Stones list. They aren't very original or different, but I always like to talk about them. So here they are in descending order (most most favourite to least most favourite):

1. Led Zeppelin IV - Led Zeppelin
I don't know how many of you find this a surprising first choice, but yes, this is my favourite music album of all time. Incredibly surreal, evoking images of long forgotten gods, mythical landscapes, mighty battles, treasure etc with sudden bursts of nostalgia; this album is simply magnificent. I really can't find enough superlatives to describe it. It starts off with the upbeat and brilliant "Black Dog" followed by "Rock n' Roll" a nostalgic song in both style and lyrics. The fun however ends there. From then on, the album progresses in 'Lord of the Rings' fashion telling stories, weaving allegories and painting a picture of greed and destruction through music. The standout track in the album according to me at least is 'The Battle of Evermore'. Robert Plant's vocals are amazing and the mandolin accompaniment creates a mythical feel to the song. Enough has been said about the next track i.e. 'Stairway to Heaven'. 'Misty Mountian Hop' is another upbeat LOTR influenced song with a fairly sinister feel to it, which is carried forward by 'Four Sticks' and John Bonham's extraordinary drumming. The tone of the album again softens with the acoustic track 'Going to California', but ends in the hard edged and somewhat merciless 'When the Levee Breaks', my second favourite track. All in all, a fantastic album..not just for the music and the immortal songs it has produced, but also for being one the most visually evocative albums I have listened to.

2. Tommy - The Who
Again, an album about which a lot has been said. I discovered this album in these January hols and I was completely blown away. Tommy is a concept album that tells the story of 'Tommy Walker', a deaf, dumb and blind boy who is psychologically adopts that condition on witnessing his mother's lover being murdered. The album is a again paints a vivid and disturbing story and the music is loud, desperate, surreal and angry..conveying the moods of Tommy and his parents and their frustration. While the album is too long into every individual track, my favourite song is undoubtedly 'Welcome'..the song in which Tommy calls people to a 'holiday camp' which he has set up. The song is incredibly fascinating due to its frequent changes in tone, chords and pace. And Keith Moon's evil whisper "Welcome" at the end of the song actually manages to freak you out a bit, the first time you hear it. Another fantastic song is 'Amazing Journey', a psychedelic song about how Tommy starts sensing everything through music. Townsend's gentle vocals and the soft guitar work with crashing drums nicely capture the contrasting nature of a psychedelic trip. The disappointing song in the album is the 10 minute long 'Underture', which is supposed to represent a drug induced experience that Tommy goes through. I guess Pink Floyd is better accomplished at long drawn out psychedelic jams. John Entwhistle's contributions such as 'Cousin Kevin' and 'Uncle Ernie' are wonderful as ever, with an orchestral ensemble and dark humour. This is one album you must listen to as a whole. Truly a great musical achievement.

3. Rubber Soul - The Beatles
Well I'm not going to say very much about this album because at some point in life, I have complimented and raved about each and every song. Its an album which fits together perfectly and can actually be summed up in one work 'longing'. Unrequieted love (Norwegian Wood, You Won't See Me, Michelle, Girl) , jealous love (Run for Your Life, Do What you Want), the desperation of the misunderstood (Nowhere Man), love for the present (In My Life), hoping for love (Wait, If I Needed Someone)..every form of emotion associated with love and longing has been covered in this album. The lovely folksy sound and McCartney's poignant bass (it somehow is) lend each song a sense of coheisiveness which is absent from many albums which seem to be just a collection of songs (outside of concept albums). Definitely recommended for easy listening and something to sigh along with.

4. A Rush of Blood to the Head - Coldplay
Another surprising entry, but definitely one of my all time favourite albums and definitely the album I have listened to the most number of times. Coldplay's music is angry and at the same time emotional..the theme varying in almost every alternate song. The gem of the album is undoubtedly 'Clocks'. I still remember the first time I heard the distinctive piano riff on the seemed to open up new doors of music to me! However, one of the loveliest and most underrated songs in the album is 'Warning Sign'. A poetic and beautiful song about unrequieted love, it has a lovely bittersweet to it through out. 'Amsterdam' is another wonderful song with its soft start and catacylsmic ending, which gives a perfect end to this album. While several albums of this song has made their way into mainstream popularity, this album is worth listening to for having some of the best B-sides any album has ever produced. Some might say that this is the album in which Coldplay perfected their 'formula'. For me however, this is the greatest album of modern rock..which became a trend-setter for several other bands - a feat which Coldplay has not been able to repeat!

5. Piper at the Gates of Dawn - Pink Floyd
Yes is "Dark Side of the Moon" and "Wish You Were Here" but "Piper" is Floyd's most intersting and electic offering, largely due to the genius of Syd Barret. The album is a psychedelic masterpiece..again a very visually stimulating experience. The songs lyrics are childlike in simplicity and yet weird and otherwordly musically. I haven't heard another album which merges complexity and simplicity so well, except perhaps 'Sgt Peppers'. But 'Sgt Peppers' never borders on outrageous, which 'Piper' often does. Apart from 'Interstellar Overdrive' (I somehow just hate that song), every song on the album is fantastic. My favourite of course is 'Astronomy Domine' followed by 'The Gnome' and 'Kite'. Definitely the best album (along with 'Revolver') to listen to when you're drunk!

Those who almost made it:
1. All That You Can't Leave Behind - U2
2. Revolver - The Beatles
3. Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd
4. Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd
5. Blood on the Tracks - Bob Dylan

So here they are. Do tell me what you think!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

O lalala Oo le O

I am a very very nostalgic person. Funnily, I don't get emotional at momentous events. I did not cry when school ended..I doubt I'll cry when law school ends either. But sometimes good periods of life re-visit me like a stomach ache, making me long for 'the good old days'. Something which brings up very powerful waves of nostalgia in me is music, for the simple reason that it has seen me through life. 'Novocaine for the Soul' - The Eels, reminds me of my 12th pre-boards and reading 'Going Solo' by Roald Dahl. 'Don't Leave Home' by Dido always reminds me of Math tuition. 'Bedshaped' - Keane recalls the tense days before the class 12 board exams. Random songs, random memories - but all important nonetheless.

I recently saw Jimi Hendrix performing at Woodstock on Fox History and this performance, more effectively than anything else has fully made me realise that this is my last year in law school. In fact, most rock songs by artists who I have listened to extensively at one point of time have this effect on me these days. The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd etc have all become constant companions. However, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Jethro Tull, CSNY and many of the other Woodstock artists remind me, in an emotional, stomach ache-esque way of 2nd and 3rd year in law school. Of all those beer soaked and smoke filled hazy evenings at Mojos and Pecos. Of getting soaked in the rain to watch Thermal and a Quarter perform live. Of crying on Surya terrace about love and love lost. Those were the true carefree years, when I was (un)happy and drunk, obsessed with Hippies and Counter-Cultures, thoroughly unmotivated and having a wonderful time. I know this is in direct contrast to my previous post, but yes..there was such a time, and I loved it.

I especially miss those evenings at Mojos, which have greatly reduced in frequency and the unique set of individuals who accompanied me to the same. I in fact hadn't realised how much I truly miss those evenings, till I watched Jimi Hendrix in concert that day and surprisingly felt a lump in my throat. Of course, the times have changed now. I am extremely wary of slipping into that mid law school apathy again and have pulled myself out of the seeming 'bottom'. The nature of evening outings has has the company, all equally enjoyable and entertaining. Jazz music is now the preferred choice. I have been meaning to blog about how 'New York, New York' is slowly becoming one of my all time favourite songs; and how it reminds me of one of the best nights of my life at Opus, with three of my favourite people. Yes, I am happy now as well. Happier in fact, because my life has taken direction and because I finally feel complete as a person (3rd year did produce the most number of 'I hate myself' entries).

Yet, it is nice to let nostalgia engulf you every now and then. A cheers and bottoms up to Pecos, watery beer, classic rock and the eclectic company and freewheeling lifestyle; before we all started taking each other too seriously.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Glamorous Life

It is not very easy to re-adjust to normal life after living for three weeks in Colaba or Bombay for that matter. Three weeks of good work in the lovely Fort area; of shopping, dinners, exotic alcohol, jogs and walks on Marine Drive, random train rides to Bandra, cursing the rain, interesting conversations and several other things. A blissful mixture of dynamic and idyllic sensibilities. Three of the happiest weeks of my life.

Sometimes the kind of freedom that living a routine life can give you is a lot more liberating than a so called, unencumbered, live-by-the-moment day. Sometimes walking down a definite path is more exciting than floating freely, going wherever the breeze takes you. The security that the path and the routine give you, help you realize and and discover various aspects of yourself. With one part of your life set, you can concentrate on making that part (to use a cliched phrase) truly extraordinary. And while there was nothing extraordinary about my 3 weeks, they were freedom as I have never known it!

At the center of it all was Marine Drive (which is I think officially my favourite place on earth) and the long walks I had on it. For once, they (the walks that is) weren't very contemplative or reflective. They were walks for the joy of walking, the pleasure of feeling the sea breeze and sea spray; of eating ice-cream while sitting there, listening to jazz music playing; occasionally meeting some interesting people; wondering why the Air India building was so ugly and so on. Absolute bliss. A life I have been greatly missing, but a life I hope to go back to someday.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Confesions of a Secret Lover of Disco

The person referred to in the title is me.

I will soon stop paying tributes to other people and restart the usual tributes to myself (:D). However, I simply cannot ignore the immense musical loss of Michael Jackson.

You probably might have gone back and read that line again and thought 'WTF'?! I know that the prominent styles of music that have figured in this blog have been rock, jazz, blues, folk and soul. But like I was telling Rishabh the other day, if there was one more genre of music which I would pick to fit in with the aforementioned group, it would be disco.

I have always had a great fondness and weakness for disco, especially from the 70s. Songs like Funkytown, D-I-S-C-O, YMCA and actually anything which the characteristic disco groove and bass have always been among my favourite songs to dance to or even listen to. Which is why, Abba and Boney M figure very highly on my list of all time favourite artists. And which is also why, I have to pay tribute to 'The King of Pop'.

My Mom loves disco and MJ and hence, I have practically grown up listening to him. 'Thriller' was the first English album that I completely listened to. Songs like 'Bilie Jean', 'Wanna be Starting Something' and 'Beat It' were among my most initial introductions into the big bad world of English music. Needless to say, starting off with him, Abba and Boney M has given me a life long love for disco.

MJ may have had many controversies in life but that doesn't take away from the fact that he was bloody good at what he did. With music that appealed to everyone, simple melodies, catchy rhythms and occasional 'political' and 'social' songs like 'Heal the World' and 'Black or White', he managed to cross a lot of borders. In fact, a wonderful article in Foreign Policy talks about MJ being one of the original 'global' pop stars by achieving penetration into countries in Europe and Asia as well..leading to a mini-globalisation on his own. In that respect, the impact he has had is mind-blowing and his influences on music will continue. (Justin Timberlake has already adopted his vocal style here and there. I confess a weakness for those songs like 'Rock Your Body').

His death came as a huge shock to was like losing a constant companion since childhood, whether you love it or hate it. I was hoping he would release a new album and even tried to win tickets for his last tour in London. Its sad that he died in such disgrace..and its nice that his controversies have been forgotten in his death (though the public phenomenon that his death has become is kind of upsetting). So here's to the great entertainer, sinner and genius that was Michael Jackson.

The Fallen Hero

I have been meaning to post about Roger Federer since his disastrous Australian Open. The draft post kept changing in form and content...after he smashed his racket in the Masters, after he won the French Open making mincemeat of Nadal's conqueror, Soderling. At all those points the title of the post was to be 'The Fallen Hero?'. But now, posting after that fantastic Wimbledon final day before yesterday, I can't even begin to reflect on how Federer might have fallen. He has somehow risen beyond himself, not because he beat Sampras's record..but because he conquered himself. The Fedrer we saw day before yesterday was similar to Federer at his peak in 2005-2006 ..winning the Wimbledon, US Open and Australian open continuously. The Wimbledon Website carried an excellent article on Federer's win yesterday, summed up in these lines "This may not have been Federer at his most artistic but it was Federer at his most ferociously determined". Its been a while since I have seen Federer play with such focus and calm (something which was characteristic of him at one point), pushing on doggedly and serving better under pressure than Andy Roddick himself. In the end, it was as much a mental and psychological game as a physical effort; a question of who would crack first; and Federer, regaining his poise of old, triumphed. And he didn't even cry! It still remains to see whether he can use this effectively against Nadal, who seems to get to him like no one else. But now with the 15 grand slam titles (and this Wimbledon, I personally think, is his greatest victory), he has the confidence and complacency to keep playing and winning. As for Nadal, I don't think its important for Federer to beat him anymore..personally at least, I feel he has proved all that he needs to prove!

A word on Roddick though - really improved game and fantastic playing under pressure. In the end I was actually hoping he would win; but as 'Veejay' Amritraj always says 'Don't doubt the champion!'

Monday, July 6, 2009

I was strangely happy to see news reports of the rains in Bombay on Saturday. Its always something you see on TV and marvel about, and here I was in that very city..not really wading through flooded streets, but still experiencing it in my own way. Its always cool when you are a part of something on TV :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

I have never been particularly interested in cricket, but I have always had the highest regard for Rahul Dravid, as a sportsman and an ambassador for the once 'gentleman's game'. Today I had gone to a place near his house with my Mom for some work. Suddenly, my Mom said, "Hey, isn't that Dravid's wife?". I saw her standing on the pavement, with the newborn kid over her shoulder. Moments later, Dravid himself appeared holding his elder son's hand. They crossed the road, to his car..some Hyundai SUV. He settled his wife and kids into the car and then got into the driver's seat himself and drove off. There was no pomp, no security, no chauffeur, no adoring fans, nothing. Just him and his family, going for a visit to the doctor most probably, for his second kid. There was a great pleasure in seeing someone hailed as one the greatest batsmen and who has been captain of the Indian team, as a normal and distinguished member of the public. Dravid was as he always seems to have been, simple, unassuming and slightly perplexed by what was happening around him. I couldn't stop smiling after this incident.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

21 Random Things - On Anwesha's Behest, the Psycho

I have already written a version of this on facebook but for all those who feel facebook kills blogs, or don't check facebook or some such problems, here's another less introspective, less whiny and more funky set:
1. I have this weird need to try random food substances with trippy names. Like Bindu, Rani, Melto and Fun Tan.
2. My sense of humour of late has taken a morbid turn. I find Bambi meets Godzilla, persons getting knocked off trains while standing on the platform and persons drowning in their bathtubs, funny.
3. I am increasingly thinking of taking up smoking because it looks so hot.
4. I have seen 3 Broadway shows - Chicago, West Side Story and Mary Poppins.
5. I have a major 'good looks' hang up. However, my standards for good looks are not too high. Usually if the guy has curly hair and specs, I'm happy.
6. I think the Fedrer - Nadal rivalry is the single most exciting thing in the world today.
7. I look at the moon/ sunsets/ other pretty natural phenomenan and often wish I had someone in life.
8. On the otherhand I'm terrified of what will happen when I actually find that someone.
9. I almost permanently have a schoolgirl type crush on someone or the other. Yeah, all of you don't know this about me: I can dream about a guy I have just glimpsed somewhere for ages.
10. When I like someone all I can do is laugh inanely at their jokes and keep smiling at them. Its quite irritating.
11. I love singing at the top of my voice. I have been told to keep it down twice by seniors while singing in the bathroom. Its so much fun!
12. I once cried when we lost a throwball match in school. It was a very close match.
13. I have always wanted to be in showbiz. From Miss India, to a Bollywood Actress, to a Rock Star, to an RJ to reintroduces Woodstock philosophy in this day and age to a singer in a nightclub in New York to a Rockette in Radio City Music Hall to a Broadway prodigy. I permanently have some showbiz dream.
14. I love pretty, expensive things. Like Chanel dresses and Prada handbags. And I LOVE formal clothes.
15. I have always wanted to win a Grand Slam. May be Lawland Garros at Spiritus next year!
16. I think Humphrey Bogart is the most desirable person to have ever lived.
17. I love watching any sort of dance..from Bharatnatyam to Broadway (sorry couldn't resist that one :D), even though I don't have much faith in my dancing skills.
18. I like to rewatch the bit in Casablanca when Bogart and Bergman see each other for the first time. It always gives me goosebumps.
19. I have a fairly wild imagination. A lot of it seems to revolve around martians and idlis.
20. I love the idea of movies, know loads of movie trivia and eagerly watch the Oscars always but can't bring myself to watch movies themselves. Does that make sense?
21. I still don't know why I'm in law school. Though this AMSS internship sure has made it worthwhile :D.

I tag all those on my blog list..including Serena Williams, if she so listens.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I am slightly concerned for myself - I knew there would be anger..but so much of it? And the subsequent sleeplessness and dreams?! Little weird I feel, not too healthy also. Must get out. I shall watch some Roland Garros today.

Monday, May 25, 2009

An Affair to Remember

This seems to be an extremely shady title for a post about a mere law school committee, but to me, the Cultural and Fine Arts Committee has always been more than that. While I wouldn't go as far as to say that it defined my identity in law school, it has become very much a part of my life. Apart from being the first place in law school where I felt I truly belonged, it has helped me develop an understanding of my own shortcomings and has surprised me by helping me bring out my strenghts and has stood by me as something I could always fall back on...the eternal thing that I was always good at. I have never had so much satisfaction and pure pleasure from working for anything else; undoubtedly there have been stressful periods, politics, tiring, mundane tasks and moments where I felt like giving it all up. But my basic love for what the committe did, and what a committee like it could do made me continue. I sincerely hope that at the end of my three years, especially last year, that the seeds have been sown to make law school a more wholesome and entertaining place.

Things I will not miss about CulComm:
1. Having to curse a fairly nice thing like rain all the time. I can finally appreciate rain again.
2. Running behind sponsors. I am an absolute child of the corporate world, but these companies should really be nicer to us!
3. Dealing with univ week politics across all batches - enough to drive anyone insane.

Things I will miss about CulComm:
1. Waiting for a Quad Party to take off and playing whatever music I like in the mean time on the speakers.
2. The sheer delight of watching a large scale event that you have organised come together.
3. Having the authority to make shady comments on the mike, for all events.

Through all the years in law school, CulComm has been a constant companion (I know this sounds ridiculous, but it is true). It is something I could put my heart and soul into when all other opportunities were bleak, something which constantly challenged me to expand my vision (promoting cultural awareness in a cynical place like law school is not easy) and something which allowed me to fully realise my creative potential. It is something I have loved and will greatly miss. Here's raising a toast to three of the best years of my life and all the laughter, tears and wonderful friends made.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

In keeping with the current theme of change (Obama-esque), people around you change as well..and a lot. I just wish they didn't have the disconcerting habit of changing when you least expect it. But then I guess you just never expect some people to change.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I just want someone to take a walk with in the evenings, to enjoy this wonderful weather. Thats all I want.
Watching those videos of Thiruda Thiruda today confirmed that my vague childhood memories of a lot of people dancing in front of a palace like structure and a fairly plump woman in a white scandalous (as considered by my family then) top and skirt, were actually about something tangible. I could remember both Veera Pandi Kottayela and Kannum Kannum as songs that I have definitely heard (apart from the electric Chandralekha, which I have heard otherwise also). I am also hooked onto Rasathi. Its tam a cappela! I'm pretty sure I haven't heard this song before; or may be I have and it subconciously influenced my a cappella craze. A really lovely song, one of the best I've heard I think. Its seriously time I went back and watched some of these movies again. Rewatching Baazigar was excellent. I shouldn't let all this great music fade into mere memory.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Law School changes you. I'm not sure it does anything else. It may not teach you too much in terms of acads, it may or may not help you discover certain talents in yourself, it can choose to provide or withold opportunities. But it changes you for sure. For better or for worse, you are simply not the same person you were when you first stepped into this institution. A combination of a highly small community, a competitive environment and a diverse culture attacks nearly all your established characteristics, traits and sensibilities.

I have been facing a tumutlous couple of weeks, as my previous posts probably have indicated. For my part, I feel somehow that the insides have been scooped out of me, leaving a shell..a more clever and watchful shell, nonetheless. By insides, I mean those things I prided myself about. About being untarnished by gossip, always having a clean reputation, being very good at acads, being extremely self-assured and confident, being a good, if not great singer, being honest, sincere, kind and generous, not getting influenced by *negative* emotions too much..and so on. I was an idealistic cocoon, so to speak. I was independent minded, but well rooted and grounded. In the past few years, these above attributes have been repeadtedly torn to shreds..even the good singer bit! At one point of time, these ideals (leaving out the acads bit) were considered law school, they seemed to be stupidity itself.

I discovered how selfish I could be; how jealous and possessive I could get; how my self confidence could be shattered; how I could spend hours gossiping and actually enjoying it. It was a revelation in many ways.

Now, if I stand apart and look at myself, I am surprisingly not disgusted by the person I have become: watchful, extremely self-protective, selfish, frank to a fault, short tempered and apathetic. I feel at some level, I needed to become all these things, I like myself more as a person now - someone who can actually face the world eye to eye. May be its a sad thing or may be its just a reflection of these times. Pity about the self confidence though..that bit really bugs me.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Over The Rainbow

Sorry to blog about this again, and I am also very drunk right now and have never blogged when drunk before, but I simply LOVE 'Over the Rainbow'. Its so beautiful, it makes me want to cry everytime I hear it. It generates SO much longing in me, its insane...more than any other song ever written. Bless whoever wrote the song and arranged it for the 'Wizard of Oz'. Stunning in everyway...visually, musically, lyrically. Its a song that can transport you, in every sense. And yes, it is my most favourite songh of all time. Simply love it, can't even begin to express how much. The moment I start I will get all pedagogical and analytical. Its a song I just love.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Judy Judy Judy!

For as long as I can remember, I have idolised Judy Garland. Even before Audrey Hepburn and Julie Andrews (though I have practically grown up watching Mary Poppins). I remember in class 5 or so, I read 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' and then waited eagerly, with my VCR ready to record 'The Wizard of Oz' when it came on TNT. I recall being extremely disappointed with the movie. It was my first dose of the bitter fact that movie adaptations of books do not always follow the original storyline. How could the script writers make Glinda and the good witch of the North the same? How could they send Dorothy back home straight from Emerald City, without her final journey to the South across Chinatown and the hill of the Hammerheads. And most sacrilagious of all, how could the whole thing have been a dream?! I was extremely upset and refused to watch the movie for a long time since then. But slowly, it grew on me. The iconic status that this movie has achieved now is farily understandable..I have never seen any movie so supremely designed to end up as iconic! Every line is quotable, every song is hummable, every character is memorable...Its a great package. And Judy Garland was soon my heroine.

She is pretty much the quitessential solo music performer. In my opinion, no one can quite perform like her. In 'Over the Rainbow', she unconciously holds your attention..her simple vulnerability, her innocence, her pleading eyes and the longing in her voice can appeal to people of all ages, be it young children or adults longing to get away from their stressful existence. This is officially my most favourite song of all time (surprisingly!). No song has so consistently moved me or inspired so many feelings like this song. I can listen to it even today and feel a lump in my throat. I totally think it deserves its status as the greatest movie song think it was almost deleted from the final cut of the movie! My admiration for Judy grew, watching her opposite Mickey Rooney in the 'Andy Hardy' movies. And then, I saw 'The Man that Got Away'. At the risk of repeating myself, I truly think this is one of the greatest performances I have ever seen of a song. And its unnerving how I know and can imagine, while listening to the song, ever hand gesture of hers, every expression..the way she covers her stage, throws her hand out, pushes her fringe back (I know I'm starting to sound slightly creepy now)etc etc! Simply amazing.

Judy Garland is the reason I have always wanted to be a singer in a night club (and consequently wished I was born white). Two songs, 'The Man that Got Away' and 'An Affair to Remember' (this one has Deborah Kerr singing) have always epitomised the elegant, smoky nightclubs of the 50s for me...and era and scene that I've always longed to be a part of. Of course, its all fantasy, nothing will ever come of such dreams. But every now and then, I like to imagine myself singing 'The Man that Got Away' with my backing band, an elegant dress on, wowing the crowd like Judy Garland continues to wow me. This post to dedicated to her, my childhood heroine, who's influence remains to this day.


I can't stop looking at photos of the NLS Ball. What an event, seriously! (If I may say so). Every bit of it was special, just like Admit One and Le Gala before it.

I'm quite amazed at how true the proverb 'familiarity breeds contempt' is. I usually think most proverbs are faffy. This one has been proved time and again to be correct. Can you really ever like a person you get very close to? I wonder...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

To be read after the previous post:

However, its also fairly amazing how, listening to "Lady Marmalade" and imagining myself with the perfect body dancing a sexy routine in front of some hot guy, never fails to cheer me up enormously!

Touch of her skin feeling silky smooth
color of cafe au lait alright
Made the savage beast inside roar until he cried,

Well I've just found another way to depress myself. I've convinced myself that looking at things philosophically is just a loser's way of looking at the world. I'll tell you why. Of late, I have been rejected by two firms for an internship and by the college for an exchange program, the latter which I really, really wanted. I know I shouldn't have expected to get it, but it still hit me pretty hard. Along with that, the reality of my pathetic CGPA became all too apparent. Its all but done away with the 'embrace the world' attitude I'd adopted in the hols.

After seeing New York in the holidays, seeing another country, another place which I connected with to such an extent, I was excited like I hadn't been for a very long time. I knew I could get there, I WANTED to get there. The world seemed to be my oyster, to use a cliched phrase. Then law school happened and all my inadequacies caught up with me. Big time. And just the other day, I was reflecting on how law school gave you a very skewed perspective of life. Because, life does not exist only within law school, it happily thrums outside this institution, and offers opportunities and allows all types to exist, even thrive. I tried fairly hard to use this attitude to make my thinking more positive. I told myself again and again that this was not what I wanted anyway, and what I really wanted was still within my reach. But, there is this nagging voice at the back of my head which keeps saying that no mater how much I philosophize, how much I look at things from a broader perspective, no matter how long I try to motivate myself, the fact remains that I have screwed up....and badly at that.

I seem to have suffered this almost irreparable loss in self-confidence - my first thought for any job I'm given is "I can't do it!". And the nerves start to build up..I can't sleep, I can't even work properly because I'm so nervous...Its a differnet thing that I manage to do it fairly well at the end of the day. Its an insanely vicious cycle and frankly, I'm unable to see how I'm going to get out of this one. Scary, scary stuff.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Fedrer smashed his racket. I feel like smashing my comp. First it crashed, and now when its been repaired, my charger conks off. Its not fair I tell you. There are other things also. May be some other time....and the heat makes it worse.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A bite out of The Big Apple.

There are various kinds of cities. Pretty, beautiful, ugly, magical, friendly, snooty...a city can take on a personality that is comparable to any human. But usually, most cities exhibit some dominant characteristic. My stay in New York however convinced me that it was big enough to posses several characteristics..something for everyone. On one hand, you had the maddening pace and sheer ugliness of the buildings in Midtown and the Financial district..on the other hand, there was the quiet serenity of neighbourhoods like Greenwich Village and Chelsea, two aspects of one of the boroughs in the city, diametrically opposite and interesting in different ways. One thing that definitely adds to any experience in New York is its aura. Shows like Friends, Sex in the City, 30 Rock and countless movies have glorified and deified the place...exalted it as the place to be: fun, exciting and stimulating. Hence, you go there expecting a LOT. And I at least wasn't disappointed. New York played into a lot of my passions: music and showbiz, sports, walking in parks, countercultures, finance (?!) and so on...A lot of the things I was seeing were things I had grown up hearing about, read extensively about and dreamed about. And it offered the pace of life which I think suits me (I am not kidding about this. One lazy-ish day and I just can't sleep at night!). Hence, I decided to compile a list of things (apart from the usual touristy stuff), very personal to me, which completely made me fall in love with the city:
1. Jazz music playing in all the Starbucks and several other places which I went to.
2. Listening to the strains of 'America', every time I passed under the Palace Theatre at Times Square, where West Side Story was showing.
3. Just sitting on the chairs in Times Square and watching the world go by.
4.Walking around Greenwich Village.
5. Washington Square Park.
6. Watching the dogs playing in the Dog Runs of the various parks I cute!
7. Seeing the site where John Lennon was shot. It actually made me sadder than the Holocaust memorial or the Vietnam War one (yeah, shocking I know!).
8. Turning a corner in Chelsea and coming face to face with a tiny art gallery.
9. Browsing at The Colony, this insane memorablia shop on 49th Street, 7th Av. I think.
10. Being hit on by so many men! And in a nice way.
11. Observing 'Yo Momma' types listening to hip-hop, wearing bling jewelery in most Bronx Bound trains. Some of them were really hot as well. If it wasn't for their musical taste, I would completely go out with one of them.
12. Having 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'. (Yes I did!)
13. Going to Central Park for a morning walk and shopping for detergent after that.
14. The Statue of Liberty..from every angle. I never thought the symbol of freedom of another country, especially a piss off like USA would inspire such a feeling in me, but she is awesome!
15. Brooklyn Bridge at night.
16. The top of the Empire State Building.
17. Watching the New York Ballet and New York Symphony Orchestra rehearsing: amazing!
18. The Broadway shows, especially Chicago and Mary Poppins. I have never been so blown away.

Well I think that sums it up. It was a great trip, an excellent adventure..and more importantly, an indication of where I should focus my energies: I'm sure I want to live there at some point. Now its time to see how.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Well I didn't do brilliantly at all, but i managed! After that trimester! Am I going to be saddened by the way my standards have fallen? No way! The detachment worked!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

They did it!!

I was pleasantly surprised today to find that Yuki Bhambri's Australian Open victory had stolen the front page of Times of India and taken precedence over India's victory over Sri Lanka in cricket. Bully for him! And Bhupati and Mirza won!!!! Its already turning out to be a great year for Indian Tennis, with Somdev Devvaraman winning the Chennai Open as well. Go India!
"We both know what memories can bring,
They bring Diamonds and Rust"

From Joan Baez's Diamonds and Rust. The truth so simply put in those evocative lines. I'm listening to this Joan Baez album I downloaded sometime back right now, she's quite amazing. Great lyrics and a lovely lovely voice. I think I've rediscovered female singers in a big way. From Duffy, to Dolly Parton, the Aretha Fraklin and Janis Joplin phase and now Joan Baez. If you're looking for simple yet beautiful lyrics with brilliant vocals then the last three mentioned in this list should certainly be listened to. I'm going to get hold of some Joni Mitchell next.

Another song from the Joan Baez repetoire called 'Love Song to a Stranger Part II'

They brought me a beautiful basket of fruit
And two finger bowls of glass
The couch is gold with a floral design
And the wine is Germany's best
And the wine is Germany's best
My thoughts drift ino the frozen night
Frankfurt is covered with snow
And numbly they ride on an icy wind
To places they're longing to go
To places they're longing to go
I remember the tall dark Irish rose
Who held me in my limousine
And slept with me under a burgundy quilt
With sheets of silk in between
Well, anyway, that's how it seemed
I thought I wanted to marry him
His face was sculpted by God
His words were gentle and ever so true
And soft as the Irish fog
And lost in the Irish fog
I remember the boy from the monastery
Who wanted to be a monk
But he brought flowers and wine to my room
And we both got happily drunk
And we both got perfectly drunk
He laughed like the chimes of a silver bell
His eyes were alexandrite blue
He danced the t'ai chi with the grace of a deer
And I wanted to marry him too
Yes I wanted to marry him too
There was that son of a dog from the Tennessee hills
Kept telling me I was still young
He spoke in pure southern and smoothed out the lines
Round my eyes saying I was the one
Forever that I'd be the one
He drank and he cussed and he wrote his own songs
He was very much on the go
We followed each other for over a year I
couldn't have married him though
So we just lived in sin on the road
There was that black eyed beauty from Boston town
Two days were never too long
He stood by the mirror and picked out a rose
But I already wrote him a song
Yes, I already wrote him a song
So here I sit with my basket of fruit
And two finger bowls of glass
I finished my bottle of Germany's best
And concluded my thoughts on the past
That love is a pain in the ass

Brokeback Melbourne Park?

Tough match it was but really?

I know a match report should ideally follow. But I didn't see the whole thing :(

Its all in your head

When I started playing in badminton tournaments, one of two most often repeated phrases were 'match mentality' and 'killer instinct'. Today I watched the woman's final and the normally fiery Dinara Safina lacked both. May be its because, as Vijay Amritraj said, she comes from the Safin family. They are prone to periods of high performace and equal periods of apathy. Safina undoubtedly wanted to equal her brother's performance of 2005 here, when he won the title. But today, as she herself said, she was more like a 'ballboy' on the court. Serena Williams was at her destructive best, keeping up a steady stream of winners and aces while Safina regularly served up double faults (3 in her opening service game). I was feeling terribly sorry for her and wondered what in the world had made her lose sight of her 'match mentality' that had allowed her to come through difficult matches such as against Dokic (with the crowd practically ignoring her winners) and Alizia Cornet. Even if Safina was meant to lose, the scoreline of 6-0, 6-3 doesn't even begin to speak of her actual abilities. I recalled the French Open final, where similary she had had a dream run only to throw it away against Anna Ivanovich, the scoreline once again not doing her justice.

And thats what made me realise what 'match mentality' really was. The ability to be in something as huge as a grand slam final and still have that determination to pull through. The ability to think and focus at that time, putting all mind-numbing thoughts of preparation, all previous matches, even if they were unenjoyable, the ability to play for that moment alone. Total concentration and focus. Safina has always carried baggage with her. Her comment in one of the press conferences about how 'someone screamed at her from the crowd but she ignored it' and her sullen expression while playing all indicate that she does not enjoy tennis or love the game like she should. May be its the pressure of her brother's unfinished legacy, may be its a maddening desire to establish her own legacy, 'match mentality' does not call for any of these thoughts. Its calls for thoughts about the match at hand alone.

I was quite upset by the way she had lost (I don't know why I supported her, especially against Serena, because of Safin I guess) and kept wondering aloud "But she was playing so well. What happened?". Mom as usual put my thinking right "Why do you get repeats then, even if you study? It all depends on how you perform at that moment right?" So true! And quite a comparable situation!

After her loss today, she finally eased up; she was laughing and chatting with Serena; it was a stark contrast to the way she looked daggers at Anna Ivanovich in that French Open final. May be she had finally learned to cope with her baggage, to let go and realise that sometimes circumstances just push things out of your hand. The initial tears and then the acceptance. Not that she shouldn't blame herself, those double faults were really uncalled for, that too in the first service game...but still she new there would be other chances, other attempts, other ways in which she could prove herself. And I think I have also reached that level of acceptance. I said this once before - some would call it being resigned to their fate. I would call it detachment, hopefully bringing you one step closer to that ever elusive 'match mentality'.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I just realized that my blog posts have crossed the 50 mark (55 posts right now, including this one) and it has been around for a whole year.

Yaay me!!


I guess I end up blogging about the Australian Open because its the one I get to watch most comprehensively. So here's the summary:

Venus : out
Jankovic : out
Ivanovic : out
Sharapova : not playing
Baghdatis : out
Djokovic : retired hurt (silly guy could've at least let Bagdhatis win if he was going to pull out of the next match anyway)
Tsonga : out (nooooooo!)
Murray : out
Hewitt : out (if anybody cares)
Simon : out (but he's hot, in that nice French way)
Henin : retired alltogether (how could she do this!?)

Aussi open is BIG for upsets. The draws point to a Fedrer - Nadal final. And its Fedrer and Roddick in the semis! Haven't seen one of those in a while, in a grand slam. The last time I think was in 2004 (?) when Fedrer and Roddick faced off in the Wimbledon finals. As for the women, Dokic made a big come back (again, if anybody cares), the Aussi audience was particularly vindictive in her match against Safina....full credits to Safina for coming through that. It pretty much looks like a Serena v. Safina match. Both big hitters, with the big serve, and very very determined. Should be interesting.

Well I have my favourites clear now, but the men's final is a bit disappointing. Anyways, let see if Fedrer can make that much needed comeback.

But most importantly...Go Mirza and Bhupati, make us proud!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Eclipse: A Ritual for Assorted Tams

Being a Tam Bram, I witness several interesting and sometimes absurd rituals, all largely to do with Preserving Purity or Maintaining Culture and Ritualism and such things. One of the weirder rituals I have observed is the eclipse ritual. Basically, when an eclipse occurs, you are supposed to not touch any clothes or eat anything and just sit in one place. Once the eclipse gets over, you are supposed to put all the clothes you were wearing at that time for wash, including all other clothes that were outside and also take a hair bath. This is undoubtedly a rather irritating and taxing ritual to observe but I don't want to deride it completely due to the firm belief that my family has in it. On Monday, Republic Day, the solar eclipse occurred and the fasting began.

It was a rather entertaining afternoon. My sister and me kept groaning about how very hungry we were and why we had to follow such things and my Mom kept telling us to accept things as they were and shut up. It lead to some rather interesting ideological debates.

"Just be quiet and follow the system."

"But the system is man-made isn't it? It not a divine imposition. So we can always go back and unmake it."

"No you can't, just watch TV now."

The conversation at some point also went to starvation in prisons and my sister and me hastened to point out the similarity between the prisoners and our current state. We were told again to be quiet and resorted to incoherent muttering and grumbling, mainly to irritate our parents, since we'd been through this process too many times before for it to really get to us.

Finally, the golden hour arrived when we could cleanse ourselves of all the impurities acquired during the eclipse. This presented an interesting problem since us Impure Ones were not allowed to touch any clean clothes. My mother had thought I would go for bath first and had put my clothes in a plastic bag to take in. However, my father wanted to go first, being Man of the House and all. The question arose as to how to get his clothes into the bathroom. The problem was finally resolved using a badminton racket to place the clothes inside. My sister and me by this time were rolling on the floor with laughter to see our parents capering about like this. Then my turn came and I was still giggling and asked my Mom:

"But you won't really be able to see what I do inside the bathroom right. I could just go and touch the clean clothes without taking the bath first. Will the sun explode then or something?"

"No but we might. The sun is too powerful and we should not question or make fun of nature like that after all."

This sobered me up. They really do believe in this stuff. So I went in like a good girl, did everything in its right order and emerged Pure, once again.

Afterwords, I tried to google rituals + tamil brahmin + eclipse to find a rational reason for this procedure, since my Good Cultural Upbringing had told me never to make fun of rituals as they always had some important reason. I could not find and rationale but found that there was a fair degree of ritualism associated with solar and lunar eclipses within the Tam Bram community (as there is with most things) and that there were actually mantras for the same and so on. Quite fascinating, really.

But somehow, I don't think I'm going to continue with this particular ritual when I start my own family. But I shall at least break a coconut on the Lotus Feet of the Lord for Thinking such Thoughts and pray for Purity instead, a far simpler exercise!

PS: the title of this post is actually a contortion of "Eclipse: A Piece for Assorted Lunatics", which was supposed to be the title of Pink Floyd's excellent album, "Dark Side of the Moon"

PPS: I hope my Mom doesn't read this blog. Then I'm really screwed!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


"Got a feeling 21 is gonna be a good year" sang Roger Daltry. I should probably believe it. My sister's friend called me 'Aunty'today. Of course it was on the phone, and I do sound exactly like my Mom telephonically..but it was my first 'aunty' incident, made more freaky by the fact that I'm turning 21 tomorrow. Its a big age.....I guess I should finally get rid of that ridiculous habit of calling every woman who is older than me nad not my senior, aunty.
And those military pants...
And probably that 'Rebel Queen' T-shirt...
And all those old slam books which have questions like "My latest crush" and where people have written that their most memorable moment was when I became a good friend of theirs?
21 is the legal age for drinking in Delhi (or is it 25?). Its also the legal age for gambling in America. Its the age my Mom got married. And the age to be called 'aunty'?
21 better be a good year..

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Comments please?

Since no one has commented on my blog for like......ever, and also because I'm jobless, I conducted a general survey of the number of comments on my blog for posts classified into various broad categories. The following are my finding:

Emotional/ depressed/ whiny/ introspective posts
- 19
Music related - 4
Fiction and poetry (not my own) - 8
Humour/ Weird Theories/ Coolness Quotient Tags - 16
Travel and places - 9
Serious Theories/ y - 13
Opinions - 3
Sports - 6

From this I concluded that people are most likely to comment when they get a real insight into your nature, whether you convey it through whiny posts or through quirky opinions about subjects that are more philosophical and 'inward looking' such as relationships, weight loss or whatever. While music, travel, sports and fiction constitute opinions which I feel are equally if not more reflective of your interests and personality, I think humans are just looking for some sign of vulnerability or a true 'slice of yourself', not couched in an opinion about some third party subject to understand you. That's why I guess when you get to know someone also, you try to 'look deep' and 'soul search'. The ultimate conclusion of this is that most people are invariably looking to 'reach out' and convey it through all or most of their actions. Its such a pretty little theory :D

Getting to 'know' someone

So much fun isn't it? :)


I, like many others watched Obama's swearing in ceremony yesterday. I personally felt that it was the single most positive event I had witnessed on television (barring Abhinav Bindra's gold at the Olympics) in a long time. Somehow the fact that so many people had gathered in front of the Capitol and had their hopes pinned on him seemed reflective of the amount of hope still existent in these rather bleak times, where everyone is suspicious of everyone else. I also think USA citizens may have not realised the excellent political opportunity that Obama's election presents. By electing a friendly brown/ black face, USA has sent out an extremely optimistic message to the international community which has grown to resent USA. Obama seems to signify that miracles are possible, that USA is not about the 'white American dream' alone and that the world should give them one more chance, not to set things right like they usually try to do, but to become an important and positive force in international relations once again (not just because they happen to be powerful).

Lets just hope the Ku Klux Klan gives Obama a chance now!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

International Law II

A single line from Koskenniemi made it all worth it: The 'tyranny' of the Great Powers was overruled by the 'tyranny' of the majority.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

International Law

I am so bored and sleepy right now, even fantastic lines like 'the civilising force of hypocrisy' found if you look hard enough in (in other words study) international law articles are not inspiring me. Of course, it is 3:20 in the morning so I have a RIGHT to feel this way!

That's a really cool line though and deserves a blog entry to itself (one more of my contributions to the body of literature in IL), but this is not that because right now my brain is too clogged up to process anything much. I also had my IL viva the other day. My IL project is on Bosnia v. Serbia, basically dealing with alleged claims of genocide that Bosnia had against Serbia. As part of the Serbian counter submissions to Bosnia's submissions was this creepy poem found in a Boanian paper:
Dear Mother, I'm going to plant willows
We'll hang Serbs from them
Dear Mother I'm going to sharpen knives
We'll soon fill pits again

Its shocking that so much hatred can exist and for no real reason. As I was deeply moved by this poem (and also because I didn't really want to do my project), I googled Bosnia and Serbia for images of both. They happen to be stunningly pretty places with lovely, picturesque hamlets..almost honeymoon destination worthy (presumably these are not the war stricken zones). Its pretty sad that they don't like each other. May be they should appoint women presidents / prime ministers and then refer to my post on this to solve all their problems. Apparently these places have also been reduced to abject poverty due to this prolonged conflict. But do white people really know what poverty is? In Bill Bryson's book 'The Lost Continent" (really delighful read, highly reccomended if you are fascinated by small town America) he says that most of the 'white poor' in America own a car, and that too is usually bought first hand. Then how can they really be poor? I think these guys should coin a separate word to refer to their sense of poverty..something like Pobunolinththiwor (Poor-but-not-like-in-the-third-world) or Capoor (poor with a car). And then whether they have a car or not should be the starting point of their poverty line. By now you have probably concluded that I should make too many contributions to international policy..I have also conlcuded the same thing but I think the world could do with some humour and innovative solutions. But this is all just random theorising, its time to get back to the real (read boring) theories.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Its interesting how international law has so much scope for literature and more ways than one. We were discussing the Pinochet case and it struck me that Pinochet was a very feeble name for a dictator. It sounds so stupid...almost comical! Hitler still has a sinister ring to it..or something like Rasdislav Krstic (resposible for the Srebinican Massacre in Bosnia). But do these names bring about such an association merely because of of what we know the individual behind the name to be? Gandhi - for example sounds so peaceful and seemingly soothing. However, some villian of the independance movement like Rowlatt or General Dyer sounds pretty evil. Do names become the people or do people become their names?

I was watching 'Across the Universe' the other day and for all its mindlessness, it posed a very interesting question: is who you are defined by what you do or is what you do defined by who you are? When I asked this question with my initial thought process on names in mind, in morphed into whether your actions determine your personality, which define your name? I personally believe that only when your actions truly reflect your personality do you become your name or at least, the emotion associated your name when you say it out loud.

Then again, there's the question of how you do something and whether that defines who you are. But some actions can only be done in a particular way. It is the idea which merits the action, which is limited by the way we confine our idea. There are only so many ways to exterminate Jews (or Bosnians), no matter how you do it, it is the idea which determines your true personality and how you think.

So to sum up, who you are is what you do, provided you do what you really want to do..and thats when you become your name. This however, still doesn't exaplin the anomaly of Pinochet - a really shady name I say!


Ladies and Gentle-dudes..Yours truly has had a marvelous trimester where lots of things went wrong but a hell lot of stuff went right. I can definitely look back on with a sense of achievement (like I do look back on all screwed up periods of my life). The best bit about this trim though was I did what I loved doing, reasonably well....which made it all the more special. I wasn't involved in sorting out messes made by myself, I was involved in planning, executing and building from scratch. I've realised that I love creating stuff. This doesn't mean I have artistic or songwriting (though I try here) tendencies or anything, it just means that I love putting together something, thinking of ways to make it better, innovating, appealing to various audiences, watching all parts coming together to make a living, breathing, sucessful whole. And I love the role demanded of me..the master crasftwoman, quietly standing in the background and watching things smoothly fall into place. It was lovely!

May be that's why I like the idea of marketing so much. I like trying to figure people and their wants, keeping various parameters in mind while doing the same. I love selling a product..provided I believe in the philosophy and ideal behind the product. While I have my reservations about advertising and the fact that it might be conning the public, marketing to my mind is a more genuine exercise because it actually takes into account needs and wants of the people...actually trying to give it to them without solely relying on making them believe its something else. To get someone to appreciate anything for what it actually is would be the sweetest victory.

And this trim, the victory was sweet. Acads suffered, relationships were slightly above average but the work spoke for itself..weaving a spell, spreading good cheer, hopefully creating a revolution. And while I can't say that everything was rosy and I am incredibly happy at the end of this trim, I can say that one emotion which definitely stands out among the others is pride.

Exams are coming now. I don't know what I feel about them after last time's experience. For the past three occasions (trimesters that is) on which I've given exams, I have been highly stressed out. This time, I am scared and quite motivated but there is something missing. I wouldn't say I was disillusioned or anything...just detached I guess. The whole 'work should speak for itself' philosphy I think has penetrated that corner of my brain which always flared up in righteous anger everytime my results didn't seemingly reflect my 'preparation'. I am ready to take what comes..I am not going to make any positive or negative statements about the same. This doesn't mean that I won't be all messed up if my results are really bad, its just a more mature and calculated way of tackling things. (some might call it being resigned to their fate. I think its largely that as well!).

New Year was lovely this year, certainly one of the best I had. It was not spent in random dancing and drinking but in savouring simple pleasures in life...the company of close friends (if not family..sorry I love you guys!), a large cheese burst pizza and a feel good movie with great songs from one of my all time favourite artists (Mamma Mia)....and good liquor made into nice cocktails (by yours truly again!) was excellent. It signified a nice sober start to the year, symbolic of the fact that though you got really caught up with the frenetic pace of activity, you could always take some time off to relax and indulge. I am too lazy to upload the picture of our excellently stocked bar, but will do it someday.
As a conclusion...the trimester was pretty I can't wait for it to end!