Friday, June 29, 2007

An Afghanistan we didn't know

I was pretty reluctant to pick up Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner. I mean, a book so popular that all of page 3 is reading it... c'mon. But curiosity got the better of me (that, and the 60 bucks pirated edition at churchgate) and I ended up reading it. Lost it halfway through, bought another one and finished it. And what can I say, its been a while since I read something so beautifully tragic.

The Kite Runner is about two boys - Amir and Hassan - growing up in pre-Soviet Afghanistan. Hassan is the servant who's totally devoted to Amir and the best kite runner in all of Kabul. Their rather rosy childhood is interrupted when a shocking incident changes their relationship forever. The Soviet invasion and the rise of the Taliban further alienate the now expatriate Amir. However, the path to salvation lies in Kabul and Amir must seek his in the land of his ancestors.

There are few books that draw the reader so well into their emotional stream, and The Kite Runner is one of them. Right from the beginning, there is this sense of gloom, a dread that something horrible will happen to tear the young protagonists apart. A feeling of guilt runs through the narrative like a little brook that is out of sight, but whose gentle sound your ears cannot ignore. The only thing that mars the gentle subtlety of emotions of the book is the ending (or rather, the last few chapters) - its too dramatic in comparison, rather like a Hindi movie climax.

Apart from the story of personal loss and redemption, the book also paints a vivid picture of Afghanistan before it became the ravaged nation that it is now. When Amir finally returns to Kabul, one can sense the author's sense of outrage at the rape of a beloved land. And sadness at the loss of so much culture and heritage. In all, a good read. Reading Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns next.

Phew... not yet

Hectic week. And I'm working tomorrow (its compulsory, you see!). Gaaaah! I'd love to be feeling like this:

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


I was 11 or 12 when I first heard (saw) this song, and kept wondering if the singer was a guy or a girl. Tracy Chapman has been a favourite ever since. Needless to say, I love Fast Car. Beautiful song.

Its that time of the year... again

With the quarterly results season approaching, I can't seem to find enough hours in the day. Working in a work out schedule into the same just makes the squeeze tighter. For once, I don't want it to be Friday soon. Else I'll be in a soup and a hot one at that :). An old favourite for some respite:

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Read this at feministing- women who essentially have husbands that run their lives: one husband picks out his wife's outfits and hairstyles, another insists that she shave his face and put his toothpaste on his toothbrush, there is even one woman who is blindfolded when she and her husband drive so she's not tempted to offer help with directions.

I am shocked beyond words. Surrendered wives who have no say whatsoever in anything - shopping, child bearing, finances, sex. OH. MY. GOD. How can these women put up with such stuff? How traumatized are these morons?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


I was in primary school when I first watched Mani Ratnam's Nayakan. The movie begins at a funeral, where a little boy knifes the policeman responsible for his father's death and runs away. Well, this post isn't really about the movie (rated amongst The Top 100 Movies of all time by TIME). Ilayaraja did some really good work for this movie, and the title track "Thenpandi Cheemayile" still brings a lump to my throat like it did all those years ago. The beauty of the song is primarily in the lyrics - about a lost little boy - that readily appealed to a little girl who was watching the movie. The lyrics are something like this:

Thenpandi cheemayile, therodum veedhiyile
Maan pola vandhavnai yaar adithaaro
Yaar adithaaro, yaar adithaaro...

Valarum piraye theiyadhe
Iniyum azhudhu thembadhe
Azhudha manasu thangadhe
Azhudha manasu thangadhe

A rough translation:
In the southern realm of the Pandiyas
In the streets where chariots race
He was skipping along like a fawn
Who could have hurt him?

O waxing moon, please don't wane
Don't sob your heart out
For your tears will break my heart
For your tears will break my heart

You can watch it here.

The little boy goes on to become one of the most feared mafia dons in Mumbai (based on a true story). In one of the last few scenes in the movie, his little grandson asks the don "Are you a good man, or bad?". For a moment, the old man weighs all his actions and replies, " I don't know, son. I don't know."
Sometimes I get tired of all this running. My teeny, tiny brain needs a break. On that note, here's Eddie Vedder.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Its official, George Clooney is the Cary Grant of our times!

I've avoided watching most of the 3rd installments on screen recently (Spidey, Pirates, even Shrek). Was hoping Ocean's 13 would break the curse of the sequels, but... Danny Ocean and his motley crew failed to enthuse me as much as they did when they were fewer in number.

That said, Ocean's 13 is still the best 3rd installment out this season - Clooney just seems to sink deeper into the suave and debonair skin of Danny Ocean with each movie. He's clearly the biggest draw here, and his easy camaraderie with Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) has gotten even better. Loved the snatches of conversations about their respective women, offering glimpses of the regular guys beneath the cool dude veneers. Eh, regular dudes who sniffle over The Oprah Winfrey Show. Matt Damon, who was extremely likable in the Talented Mr. Ripley (I don't understand the fuss about Jude Law anyway) gets some more screen time here. He certainly doesn't need the help from the Gilroy, that guy looks hot even with that ridiculous nose!

But the real scene stealers belong to Virgil Malloy (Casey Affleck - why doesn't this guy get more work?) who incites the workers into rebellion at the factory in Mexico where he's supposed to be fixing the dice. I totally loved this subplot! Almost everybody else is wasted here - Ellen Barkin, Don Cheadle, Andy Garcia, and last but not least - the amazing Vincent Cassel. François Toulour actually made Ocean's Twelve more watchable, but his blink-and-you'll-miss-it subplot in 13 is so disappointing.

The biggest disappointment is the lack of the trademark Ocean twist to the tale at the end of the movie. After 11 and 12, one comes to expect that Danny Ocean and his boys would have some trick up their slinky sleeves. Unfortunately for us, not this time.

Friday, June 15, 2007

I don't understand why he can't be around for another term

The UPA government seems to be in a hurry to replace the one President we can be totally proud of. I don't claim to understand politics, so I don't know why Dr. Abdul Kalam is not being allowed a second term at office. Even the fact that the UPA consensus candidate is a woman is no consolation.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Love junkies?

Found this on a discussion board:

There are some interesting biochemical perspectives on relationship breakups which you might find useful. When a person develops a pair-bonding attachment to someone, the brain produces a chemical called phenylethylalanine, which is a chemical cousin of speed and has similar physiological effects. The intense and irrational feelings that go with what's commonly termed "falling in love" result at least in part because having floods of phenylethylalanine in your system is biochemically analogous to a speed trip. PEA is released in response to interactions with the person of interest to you, and in-between interactions, PEA levels fall, so you mope and write sonnets and stick out your bottom lip and become a general pain. When you interact again, back comes the rush!

Biochemically, a Romeo or Juliet sitting by the phone waiting for their beloved to call is just a junkie waiting for their next fix! (Sorry about the iconoclastic nature of this discussion!!!) And the longer the interval, the deeper the moping phase and also the more intense the rush when you next interact. People living together usually lose the intensity of their feeling as PEA levels fall with constant exposure, and endorphins are produced to take their place (this is the "comfortable" stage). But PEA can be triggered again by separations, and this helps explain why couples living together who are separated for a week or so have these honeymoon effects when they are reunited.

A relationship breakup is basically like withdrawing from a speed addiction. This explains the physical symptoms and the irrationality. And I think it helps explain why people keep returning to abusive or incompatible partners, instead of getting themselves a life and finding a decent person. Of course, once the person is over the withdrawal and biochemically back to normal, they wonder in retrospect what on earth the fuss was all about!

Why all this biochemical hoodwinking? Well, it's all in the name of the continuity of the species, and of course life would be boring if we couldn't live on the edge of a cliff.

Puts things in perspective, doesn't it?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Lovely weather outside

And there's a song inside my head...

Lovely number

Ah, Chris Cornell's voice! Love the lyrics as well. Never mind the video.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Some jabber for a rather pleasant morning

42. The answer to Life, the Universe and Everything. The catch? Nobody knows what the question is. Life is a many headed beast - chop off one and two grow back. I used to think that I could spend life being a spectator (read Eyeless in Gaza, people!), till it grabbed me with grubby paws and dragged me into the maelstrom. I come up for air every once in a while, and I'm sucked back in again. Sweet escape seems so far away. But then, what would I do if I did manage to escape?

Becoming specks of matter flitting randomly across the universe seems like a good idea. But then, I'm already kinda doing that now. I am just floating - rudderless, going where the tide takes me (and boy, does it take me places sometimes). Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I love the feeling of being anchor-less, unbound. But then, some part of me wants to find a sunny shore where I can germinate and take root. The question now is, how much of a change is that? Is it possible to be equipped to handle that? What if it just creeps up, catches me unawares?

Sometimes I wonder if other people know what they want from life, where they're headed. When I look around and hear people talking about what they want to be, I am totally amazed. Isn't life too ephemeral to be making big plans for tomorrow? Is it just me who is clueless (except for about where I'm headed on Saturday night)? How do people know what they want?

Like Estha said, "Anything can happen. Its best to be prepared". On that note, here's Alanis with Ironic.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Thursday, June 07, 2007


How do you know if you can trust someone? Is it even wise to let people in? On that note,

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Remember why we loved them?

Under black belly of cloud in the rain
In through a doorway she brings me
White gold and pearls stolen from the sea
She is raging
And the storm blows up in her eyes
She will suffer the needle chill
She's running to stand still

30 years

My parents complete 30 years of married life today! I just cant imagine what it must feel like to have been with someone for so long. I mean, 30 days feels like so long sometimes. Some achievement, I must say. Happy anniversary, mum and dad!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


This purple frog is among the 24 new species found in South America. Predictably, they're under threat of extinction. I know its illegal, but someone please get me one before they die out!


Monday, June 04, 2007

When will they stop killing the gods of the modern age?

Was discussing Che Guevara on Saturday night. I admit, most of my information on the man came primarily from a Russian (read Communist) biography that I read when Dad wasn't around the house to stop me from reading it. But one thing went straight into my head (and heart!) - this was a man who fought in a foreign land for something he believed in, won, became a hot shot, gave it all up and went to another foreign land to fight for his ideals. Enough to captivate any 14-year old. So I hate the fact that he is being commercialized (with the exception of the recent Motorcycle Diaries). Today's DNA has this to say:

What is sure to be causing his followers much concern is that Che is fast becoming like the marijuana leaf - street cool, he’s no longer the symbol of a revolution.

Time had a more balanced opinion when they picked him as one of the 100 most powerful people in the 1900s. I love the last lines - The powerful of the earth should take heed: deep inside that T shirt where we have tried to trap him, the eyes of Che Guevara are still burning with impatience. I hope so.

That warm feeling

Being single and away from home in a big city could become tiresome, but for a lovely bunch of friends. And what better way to make a new place home than having a nice little house-warming party with some friends. Was fun (for everyone I hope) and left me feeling warm and fuzzy. Thanks guys!

Some girlie shopping (I bought a saree within an hour!!) on Sunday followed by a nice ride in the drizzle. Some weekends should never end.

Friday, June 01, 2007


Watched Cheeni Kum. Was and am too distracted for an opinion.