Tuesday, January 27, 2009

We Have TV !!!

Long have you eluded me. No more.

After a gap of 5 years , I finally have TV at my home. I haven't had access to a TV since I left home 5 years ago for college, save for the brief stints at home on holidays or the time my roommate went out and bought a TV for our room that lasted all of 2 months. The pure joy and convenience that a TV provides is unbeatable. We have over 200 channels , 15 movie channels among them. Instead of just discovery and NGC we have over 8 lifestyle channels. Oh, How I missed you Discovery. I am amazed at the wide variety at offer, but that in itself has posed a problem. There were times in India when there would be nothing good to watch. I termed it "Dead Time"- " a period of air time be it audio or video where the viewer/listener is offered nothing that can hold his interest for long". We have a strange variation of that here in the states. I haven't yet come up with a lame name for the phenomenon, but its a period of airtime where there is an abundance of programs that attract the viewer such that he/she is pulled everywhere and in the end settles nowhere.

Still I am elated with the return of TV. It brings back fond memories if nothing else. Unkown to my parents there existed a system of understanding between I and my brother. We had divided everything in the house between us. EVERYTHING. Rooms, household objects, mixies,TV, furntiture,and even our parents. So the TV ended up being mine, but my brother got the TV stand. Furthermore the TV was in the living room, which my brother had got in turn for both the bathrooms. So even though the remote lay in my hands, and I controlled what the family would watch - to which he complied - ,when something came that he just had to watch ,he would leverage control by moving the TV stand and pulling the plug of the TV saying I had no right to his "electricity". A truce would finally reach where he would get to watch what he wanted, but the remote would be in my hands, and I got wandering rights during commercial breaks.

"I am 12 years old, TV is my life" - Kevin McCallister, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.

I heard this on TV and was so happy that I was 12 years old too and in fact TV was my life too.
I was proud of my knowledge of TV timing when I was in school. I knew what was on at what time.I liked that certanity. Of telling time by what was on the TV. Like the furniture of my house, I knew where everything was. I knew how late night TV smelled. I knew how afternoon Tv tasted. I was the Lord of TV.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Fallacy of Central Indian Thought

Why does Kerala have so many Christians?
Why did so many Mallus convert to Christianity?

These were the questions that besieged me last night amongst a barrage of ill informed and ignorant rhetoric . When the obvious answer of the first missionaries landing in Kerala and thereby finding followers did not sate their scavenging minds, I did some research. According to the powers that be (read wikipedia), it is believed that St.Thomas the Apostle landed in Kerala in the 1st century AD. The oldest Church in India is in Kerala. All these are definite proofs of missionary works in Kerala early in the 1st millenium. Furthermore the Chera kingdoms were heavily dependent on trade with the europeans, and middle eastern Asia. So mixing of cultures was bound to happen. So if I belong to a place with a religious demographic that is highly skewed from the national average, am I to be blamed? My God, what kind of a person sees that as a negative thing? The four years I spent there showed me how religiously tolerant the place is. I dont think I have ever heard of communal riots in the south of India.

I am someone who believes that there was once a dark cowherd who slayed the King of Mathura and that there was a real Prince of Hastinapur who was just the bomb with the Bow & Arrows. Call it blind faith but its not so blinding as to turn to hatred for apostates. I believe my religion preaches tolerance.I am against any religious conversion that is not the voluntary end result of a curious mind's search for what it deems to be the right means to spiritual salvation. There is a belief in India that people who converted are those who gave into outside pressures, cowered and these guys who by virtue of holding steadfast to their faiths are superior. A part of me feels the same way. But tell me how can you claim bragging rights to something that you did nothing to achieve. You were born into your religion. You did not prove yourself in the face of murderous mobs or the tempting nets (if I may) of a proselyte. It screams of hypocrisy.

Why Central Indian Thought?? I am generalising instead of directly addressing the culprits. People who act as if they have never come across someone from the north of the Vindhyas. You should realise that "baari" is an accepted usage in the north, having been derived from the punjabi "Vaari" . Please , what right do you have to look down upon this when you yourself translate every sentence from Marathi? And someone who gets so touchy at the slightest generalization of Biharis should have a better sense of respect for all cultures within our country. I miss Delhi. I really do. If only for the better mixing of cultures.

I am also a fool for spending so much time writing this. Useful time that could have been spent watching "tonty phour"

Saturday, January 17, 2009


I have always thought of this blog as kind of a " Dear Diary" thingy. I guess mostly I write about myself. Things that affect me. Rarely am I the objective observer.

I woke up on my own at 9:30. Thats not early I know, but having slept at an hour unmentionable due to fear of parental reprimand, that is early.Plus I had to , because we are having this online college get together. I have a reputation for sleeping like a corpse. I sleep so soundly that I only wake up in the morning.It is real hard to wake me up in the morning. Ask my mother or my college roomie. I like it that way. I pity those who wake up at the slightest variations of temperature, sound etc. I feel they do not enjoy their sleep as much as I do. I have a friend who is a world class recreational somnambulist. And he is somewhere in between. But he takes real pride and joy in his sacred duty. That is something I admire about him. His dedication to his field. Then there is my present roomie who has an air of tiredness and sleepiness around him. He needs to revive himself with frequent jolts of caffeine or he would collapse and not wake up for an hour or two. My other roomie calls it " His Samadhi". Pompi Baba ki Samadhi.

I made myself tea right after. I have rediscovered my love for tea. It was a habit that I had abandoned after failed attempts to make a decent cup by myself. In Kerala , as in mostof the country, they drink tea with breakfast at home and in the evening. And if you are someone who eats from the outside, you will notice that people drink tea with their dinner too (of course not with rice, but their rotis and dosas). My office has a coffee machine that also makes tea. It has a little glass cabinet with different flavours of tea and coffee neatly arranged in see through drawers. They have a lemon calm and earl grey that I have grown rather fond of. I have a lot of friends who dont drink tea. Even my brother does not. Isnt he even remotely curious about how tea might taste. I know he hasn't had any for a good 10-15 years.

I have lots of stuff to read. I have two papers that I need to finish. I have got a free subscription to 4 magazines, and they are all piling up. I need to get right down to it.I have decided watching all those movies and TV shows will not get me anywhere. I need to read and write more. I have also chanced upon this neat row of indian books at the Alexander Library. I read Delhi - A novel, by Kushwanth Singh and its so wonderful to hear him speak of places where I have lived. His family built most of New Delhi, and they used to own the building that later became Kerala House and where I spent 6 years of my life. He presently occupies a quarter on Sujan Singh Park (named after his father) which is rt next door to my place at Pandara Rd.

I have made a discovery. There is a muscle on the left side of my back. It is a universal muscle, that is flexed even at the slightest movement you make, everytime and right now that muscle, which I would like to call universa flexosa II is hurting like hell. I dont know how I hurt it but I am in writhing agony. It seemed to knock the wind out of my lungs with the effort I needed to get up this morning.But there is a sadistic pleasure in flexing that muscle and at regular intervals I check if the pain is still there or not.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

10 Movies I have to See '09

Ok, we saw the year that was. Let's see what lies ahead.

1) The Boat that Rocked

Continuing my fetish for all things Kenneth Branagh , we now get to see him in a negative role as an authority figure trying to shut down a radio station being run out of a boat. Based on a true story.

2)X-men origins: Wolverine
In my college room [that would Room no.4, Lords Hostel for Boys] there were a number of posters, among them was one of a hand with three claws tearing out through the knuckles, blood oozing. In the corner it said Wolverine: Origins. This is the movie. Snikt!!

3)Star Trek

I am a fan of Lost. A loyalist. So it is natural that I scoop up anything Lost creator J J Abrams throws at me. I thought MI 3 was a neat action flick with a stellar cast[ one thing I feel is important in big budget action flicks], His next directorial effort is a reboot of Star Trek. I enjoyed the trailor and come opening day, my behind will be there.


Its called the best graphic novel of all time. I haven't read it. Why? I am waiting for the movie. Why would I read something that gives away the ending of the movie, rt? Not rt. I need to get over my fear of spoilers.The book is alwys better than the movie.Who watches The Watchmen? I do. Will.

5)Shutter Island

After the Departed anything that Marty touches had be obsessed over and seen pronto. I really like the premise of two detectives sent to investigate a murder on an island sanitarium with the killer on the loose in the island. Oh, theres also this tornado coming

6)Sherlock Holmes

Guy Ritchie reinvents Sir Doyle's Holmes , in the form of a Boxing, pipe smoking suave Robert Downey Jr. Jude law accompanies him as Dr. Watson. Apparently Moriarty is being held back for a sequel.

7)Chandini Chowk to Chowk

This could go either way, but the trailer had me in splits with lines like "Chinese bhaiyon Saavdhaan" " Ganpathi bappa, tum aa gaye ho, noor aa gaya hain" & "Yeh log sindhi main kya bol rahein hain, Dada Hojo"

8)Inglorious Basterds

Quentin Tarantino finally gets off his ass and directs his long talked about WWII pic. Brad Pitt stars along with an eclectic host of actors. This has must see written all over it.


Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra returns after RDB with the tale of an NRI returning to INdia( Swades??) and discovering puraani dilli .

10)Brooklyn's Finest

3 cops investigating the same crime from different angles.Are they remaking LA Confidential already?? Antoine Fuqua directs with Richard Gere, Don Cheadle and Ethan Hawke starring. Color me intrigued.

11) Everthing from the Judd Apatow Camp

Ok, I need to learn to count. There are around 3 movies coming from these guys that I am looking forward to. Observe & Report- Seth Rogen plays a Mall Cop out to catch a Flasher, I love You, Man- Paul Rudd's hunt for a best man for his wedding leads to Jason Segal [This flick looks amazing] & Funny People- Judd Apatow's next directorial effort, I dont know what its about, but I am soo there.

Other movies that look Interesting: Edge of Darkness, G. I . Joe, Terminator Salvation, Sarkar Pt.3 : Vansh, Luck By Chance, Dev D, Sagar alias Jacky

Strangely most of these movies will release in the first half of the year. I guess I will have to come out with another list in June. Also Kenneth Branagh was supposed to be the villain in MI:III , but they scrapped that script and went a totally different way. And in a totally unrelated note, I am rooting for Suzanna Mukherjee in Roadies 6.0. She's a real sweetheart .