Monday, June 11, 2007

Laut Ke Buddhu...

I had forgotten how brutal an assault visiting Kolkata after a long break can be, compounded by the fact that's it's the peak of summer here. The mismanagement and chaos is nightmarish. The campus feels like paradise in comparison, though one with a lot more humidity than I would prefer. Coming back to my engineering college campus was never as looked-forward to an experience as this one was.


I am absolutely in love with David Mitchell's writing right now. After Nabokov and Rushdie, Mitchell is one author whose writing I like simply because the way he plays with words. It's very stylish, fairly original (at least according to my very limited knowledge of literature) and deceptively clever. This is part of a paragraph I found towards the end of Number 9 Dream, which, though not the best specimen, is definitely a decent example. If you don't find anything special here, don't waste your time reading his books:

Rented-by-the-square-meter Tokyo has turned into zones of rice fields, houses, industrial units. The landscape itself looks like its map. "On a fine day," says Ogre, "you can see Mount Fuji over there, you can." Rain stars go nova on the glass, and Ogre speeds up the wipers. They squelch. The radio burbles away. Tires hiss on the wet Tomei Expressway. A minibus of kids from a school for the disabled passes on the inside. A pair in the back row wave. Ogre flashes his headlights and the whole bus goes wild. I wave too. I still cannot say why I feel so at peace with the world. I am suspicious of this feeling - when it leaves you feel hollower than before. Ogre is chuckling. "Who knows what makes kids tick? Not me. Alien species, kids are nowadays, if you ask me." Row upon row of polyethylene hothouses troop past. I feel I should stoke the conversation to pay for my fare, but when I begin a sentence a yawn splits my face in two. So I ask Ogre if he has any kids himself.


I saw a hoarding with an ad for Tween Times while coming to the campus in the morning. I don't know if this supplement by TOI is limited to Kolkata or available in other cities as well. It is definitely refreshing to see someone identify this huge untapped market, something that I had written about once at my previous blog. I sincerely believe that there is scope for something like Target to do well in India even now, despite what most people might think of the short attention span of young individuals and their greater affinity for films and fashion compared to reading.

I have realised that I am compulsively non-committal. If I tell a friend that I am going to keep writing to him regularly, even if I actually intended to do that earlier, because I let him know, I start getting this urge to not write to him ever again, or at least for a long time. There are several other instances, many of them in the recent past, which have convinced me. I hate letting any one else be able to predict what I am going to do. That's a good enough excuse to avoid marriage, right?

Thursday, June 7, 2007


Am back in India. Departing from Singapore at the mind-blowing Changi Airport for a week's stay in one of India's least developed regions, with a pit-stop at Delhi that has probably one of the worst international airports in the world, is a substantial come-down. Of course, what is 2 months in comparison to almost 25 years? But the first night, travelling by road in Gurgaon, which people seem to compare too often with Singapore, was a disconcerting mixture of despair, disappointment and outright depression. I actually prefer the climate in Delhi to Singapore's though.

Thankfully the stay at home is short, and just about right to enjoy 'no work' without getting too bored. If my disdain for watching movies on my comp, which started a few weeks into my internship, continues for one more term, it'll help me quite a bit in getting my GPA up.

Am really happy that my long-dormant hunger for books has reared its head again. David Mitchell - have read Ghostwritten and am half-way through Number 9 Dream - is a really great author. Not that I have been in touch, but I am not sure I have seen someone as adept at playing with words, styles and situations as he is in recent times.

I am so fed up with TV journalists that I am sure I am going to shoot, or at the very least spit on, any member of that ilk I come across in the near future. I hope neither of the ER Secys from my college reads this. These guys are so utterly dumb and so full of themselves. The journalists, not the ER Secys.

I saw the last KSBKBT episode that had Smriti Irani as Tulsi Virani. How do people not get confused between these two surnames? I managed to watch the entire episode, despite the close-ups with jarring background music. These serials are so much funnier than the Great Indian Comedy Challenge or whatever it is called.

I am enjoying the Indian Idol 1.5 hour shows though. But we do need our own Simon Cowell and no, Anu Malik is not good enough. Some of these singers are pathetic. Of course some others like Chang, Prashant, Pooja and Emon (is that the right spelling?) are really good too. Udit Narayan is making such a fool of himself. One expects Alisha Chinai to root for the most good looking contestants, which she faithfully does. Javed Akhtar is a lot more observant and knowledgable than the other two chumps, but I'd still prefer a singer or a music-director.

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