Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Eat Drink Man Woman

I was searching for clips from Ang Lee's new movie 'Lust, Caution', when I came across this opening sequence from one of his earlier works. This is the most delicious opener I have ever seen. Forget the fish and chicken, even the frogs look appetising.

I will leave you with a reference from Wikipedia. "The title (of the movie) is an old expression elaborating two main desires in human nature - to eat and drink and to have sex".

PS: I don't think women will agree.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I am back

I feel relatively good in the morning.
I shave and bathe after three days.
Washing away the grime and bad vibes.
Smiling again.
The cough monster is still lolling in my throat.
But I forget about him.
Because I've got plans.
First office.
Then to Chaitram for the Payasam mela.
To gulp down every variety of that hot, heavenly stuff.
Of course, I will scald my tongue.
And it will spike my blood sugar and make me drowsy.
But what the heck.
I live for sweet moments like this.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


I have a raging fever on Saturday.
My body temperature shoots up.
I feel delirious.
Coughing spasms rack my body.
When I spit into the basin, the sputum is speckled with something red.
Is it blood?
The atheist in me takes flight.
God, I pray, let this not be a tumour; or cancer; or anything terminal.
I will do anything.
I will give up smoking.
No more cigarettes for me.
Isn’t that a great sacrifice?
Will you spare me now?
God, are you fucking listening?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

All time favourite Hindi Song 2

This is not a song. This is an acid trip. This is what you dream when you get stoned. Revolving porcupine balls. Neon light tunnels. Golden skin suit. I don’t know from which 80’s disco hit Bappi Lahiri ripped this tune, but it sounds good.

Interestingly, the film (in-between the songs) evokes a completely different response. I first watched Namak Halal when I was 8 years old. I still haven’t recovered from that tragic experience.

All time favourite Hindi Song 1

I love this Asha Bhonsale, Bappi Lahiri song.

There’s Parveen Babi looking like a million bucks in that shiny, tight black number. Playing the cool and enigmatic seductress. Check out her Clinic Plus Sunsilk hair. See the way she literally glides across the floor? She can’t dance at all, but who cares?

Then there’s the suspense. Will Shashi Kapoor fall through the trapdoor? (And save us the embarrassment of watching him dance) Will Amitabh save him? What about Parveen’s mummy who is being held hostage? What will those pantyhose villains do next? Will Ranjit die of emphysema? (Poor fellow is chain-smoking in all songs).

Tension. Tension.

Monday, August 13, 2007


For my return journey from Chengannur, I buy a ticket for Kerala Express. Dash to a nearby bar and imbibe just enough vodka to make me sober. Catch the train with just minutes to spare.

Surprise. It’s full of girls.

One sits opposite to me. Young, dark, petite, in a pinkish salwar. She is perspiring slightly, making her burnished skin glow. After a while, she puts her feet on my seat, close to my leg. When the train quivers, her toes rub the fabric of my pants.


Another college girl is sitting by my side. She talks a lot, with her friend. About software mostly. Peppers her conversation with English words. Whisks her hair from side to side. I can smell her sweat, her perfume, and that indefinable, stimulating odour that women have.

I sit quietly. I close my eyes and dream.

Surreal Nair Rituals

They take the charred bones from the cremation ground.

Wash it with water first.

Wash it with milk.

Wash it with tender coconut water.

Wash it with rosewater.

Finally, put it in an urn with a lighted wick. Top it with flowers. Pray.

Such loving care. The dead are truly lucky.

The Autumn of a Matriarch

My grandmother died last week.

She was over 92 years old, so I guess time took its toll.

But the real killer was indifference. From the people she loved. Me included.

Aging gracefully is a myth. The moment your existence becomes a terminal burden to your family, the recriminations will start. Day by day they will strip away your dignity, till you huddle in the some dark corner of the house, wasted to bare bones, waiting for death.

When you reach this stage, you can be stoic. Swallow everything - insults, pity, contempt.

Or you could slash your throat.

That's when you wonder. What do you need more - the courage to die or the determination to live?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Four reasons to like or dislike JKR

A small Q by Q rejoinder to those who say that I am green with envy. Of course not. I am red with irritation.


Q. The whole world is reading JK Rowling. Why don’t you? Who the fuck do you think you are?

Someone who doesn't march to the beat of the mob. Someone with the power to make choices. Someone wary about everyone and everything that’s unreasonably popular: Titanic, Hrithik Roshan, Harold Robbins, Shilpa Shetty, Spice Girls, Michael Jackson, Indian Idol. Am I a cynic? Yes, if it helps me steer clear of the media overkill and discover things and people who really make a difference. And I don’t give a damn if the world doesn’t love them. Clear?


Q. JK Rowling is richer than the Queen. That makes her an incredible person and a great writer. How come you are not singing her praises?

I don’t know how to frame a coherent reply to this.
Ever heard of Carlos Slim? Li Ka-Shing? Karl Albrecht? Ingvar Kamprad? They are richer than JKR and Queen combined and don't get their mugs flashed in newspapers everyday. You don’t need to be a writer, to make tons of money. You just need that uncommon common sense.


Q. Look at the number of huge books she has churned out!

Never read Agatha Christie? Enid Blyton?

Writing Skills

Q. What imagination! The plot twists! How beautifully she writes!

I prefer Philip Pullman. I rest my case.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


First, she tells me to unbutton my shirt.

Take it off, she says.

She looks at my naked torso intently.

Her eyes glance over my wild thatch of chest hair, forlorn nipples, protruding ribs.

She gets up and comes near.

Cups my chin in her hand and twists my face for a better view.

Then she run her fingers through the rough hair on my head, probing for something.

Her fingers play a cool concerto on my skin.

Satisfied, she prescribes a dosage of antibiotics, Clindamycin gel and Vitamin E capsules.

I am 15 years old. I have discovered acne and dermatologists.

All Time Favourite Books

  • Dracula (Bram Stoker)
  • Sophie's Choice (William Styron)
  • Portnoy's Complaint (Philip Roth)
  • Rabbit at Rest (John Updike)
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice (James M Cain)
  • A Farewell to Arms (Ernest Hemingway)
  • Herzog (Saul Bellow)
  • Ham on Rye (Charles Bukowski)
  • The Catcher in the Rye (JD Salinger)
  • The Secret History (Donna Tartt)