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Showing posts from April, 2005

A baby girl it is

I never had a baby sister. Never did I have a cousin younger to me and in the proximity of my life. I would probably never know what it would be like. However I know how much fun it could be if you have a sibling. I count my brother as one of my best friends and I figured you could be the best friend even if you share none of his interests or passion when you grow up together. Growing alone could probably beckon you to unknown charters of life. But I would give it a pass now.

Because today my wife has delivered a baby girl and she is going to be the baby sister of my two and a half year old son. He was making faces and singing his own version of twinkle twinkle when I drove him to the hospital. Though we were lost in the labyrinthine alleys of this huge hospital complex, he did not like to be carried in my arms. Did he sense that he is a big boy now? He did not pester his tired mother today.

He might go into bouts of sibling jealousy and learn to share the hard way. But its an experienc…


Philadelphia is a city where you find the dwellers gripped by a recurring sense of having lived the exact moment a while back in their life. The same conversation, same person with a smirk on his face, same weather and precisely when your neighbour locked his apartment to leave and the mayor was having a nightmare of his house being bugged by the FBI. Or you could listen to the jumbled voices from radio discussing Dali and the death of a Jazz singer in your car while a black man walked across the street with a beer bottle in hand.

It's a city that has been aging ever since Ben Franklin had a dream that on the day of his funeral leaders, 34 ministers, preachers, priests & at least one rabbi marching arm in arm behind his casket as it was being carried to the gravesite. He further had another dream of Liberty Bell crumbling.

If you sit in one of the chairs in the old assembly hall of the constituion house, after climbing up the sturdy wooden stairs you could still sense the rustl…

A Mirror held against the soul

We celebrated every moment
Of our meetings as epiphanies,
Just we two in all the world.
Bolder, lighter than a bird's wing,
You hurtled like vertigo
Down the stairs, leading
Through moist lilac to your realm
Beyond the mirror.

Andrei Tarkovsky posited the Mirror(1975) onto his life. A life that he knew about his family glinted by sepia tainted memories, winter green deaths and rainswept conflagerations. It reflected off the contours of imperfect lives and their spiritual innards around him, unrelenting and unflinching. That the montage of art, history and spirituality went right through the soul as if a million rays converge to immortalize a human being.

When the movie begins to unreel, we find an adolescent overcoming his stutter under a spell of hypnosis. That is where Andrei wanted us to let the magical hold of "Mirror" to unwind ourselves. You let go of your fears and handicaps of inert words for your soul to begin a journey of self expression. When you do, you becom…

Andrei's sense of time

"There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions"

--T.S.Eliot (Love song of J. Alfred Prufrock)

Andrei Tarkovsky was a poet. But he chose cinema for his medium. Every cinema of his had been a quest for Andrei's identity as an artist. He believed no true artist had ever lived in an ideal world and the issues of real world were the very impurity for the chemistry of creativity. He further believed that the same artist was challenged by the concept of time, more so for a cinema director.

The director is at pains to capture the fleeting moments of vision and sculpt them with structure, images and metaphors. The linear narrative is an impediment to poetic expression and the shining metaphors and visions that Andrei so dearly wanted us to see might just vanish. He is also worried about characte…

The dreamcatchers

We were a bunch. The students from colleges in the neighbourhood. We were unbridled and impetuous as we could be. There were student union activists who set many a tranquil days into raging conflageration. There were brooding loners who would walk by the din as if the world had never been a spectacle. There were loiterers simple and vain. There were kiddos destined for greater futures that had been mapped out and choreographed by their parents. And then there were us, who just happened to be there for no apparent reason. Sure there were thousand other students who looked just like us: in those over crowded buses, "bootilicious" noon shows, among the clamour in mess halls, hostel and along the periphery of life itself.

We ran into each other in some of those happenstances. We met again at Kerala Kalapeetam, a tiny 1200 sq. ft. rendezvous for writers, artists, oglers, pretenders and movie buffs. It used to be a major haunt for the arty intelligentsia in the sleepy town of cochi…

I am the only one who leaves

Have you ever thought of life as an interminate state of leaving and arriving? The familiar anchors of your daily life: the comforter on your bed, double doors of your apartment, pavements, traffic lights, the coffee room at work and the faces around you.
You may as well think about it as an incessant spell of leaving: You leave from childhood, teenage, youth and the rest of your life as up to the hour, minute and second. If one's life has a defining moment, yet he/she is floating away from the defined moment to many a cursed ones too. The "I" in me is in a state of infinite flux. And I might lose it at some point in time.

Consider this poem from the Peruvian poet Cesar Vallejo. He is one good poet you want to read even if you don't like poetry and hate one time communists.

Paris, October 1936

From all of this I am the only one who leaves.
From this bench I go away, from my pants,
from my great situation, from my actions,
from my number split side to side,
from all of this…

The greenhouse effect of Indian writing

Indians have learned nothing but Western science and philosophy from their reading and academics, the basis of which is mostly European christianity. We deluded ourselves imagining their issues as our own, debated their debates, fought their fights and created snooty socialite circles. The modern and post modern culture elites and well read intellectuals stayed clear of Indian realities and interpreted issues with their western peer's yardsticks. While I agree on the revolutionary aspect of western methodology and its use in Indian context to a great extent, I equally resent and condemn these folk's authoritarian attitude towards Indian ethos and the "traditional" wisdom. I also understand that the native culture fanatics do not make their job easier either. Indian thought which is based on texts from vedas, upanishads and other oral intelligence and written scripts are dismissed and ridiculed as religious artefacts.

The post-war europe taught us the absurdity of life…