August 30, 2006

Quasi-Heretical Rant

I tried to get into St Paul's Cathedral around three on the afternoon today, and there was a blue ribbon barrier and a poster demanding that I pay up nine pounds if I want to get in. Apparently, taking poor students' money will ensure that Saint Paul's is still standing when future generations come to visit. However nine pounds each time I want to visit God means I shall not have any money to raise future generations of my own. Maybe my little urchins on the street will be rescued by the Saint Paul's charity brigade, now that will be full circle, won't it?

At the entrance, a poster says that photography is not allowed (Chanduppa shuddered in his case in fear when I read it out to him) so as to preserve the sanctity of the place of worship. Some sanctimonious place of worship it is, with Mammon acting as God's gatekeeper. So how does this equation work? I hand my money and then I get two minutes with God? And since I am paying, am I entitled to demand instead of supplicating? Like "Yo God, that dissertation I am about to hand in tomorrow? You better get me a distinction, or else no more moolah from me OR my future generations, geddit?" Now there's an idea. Maybe I can sell it as an advertising campaign to the authorities of the cathedral. For nine pounds.

Had written a poem when I first went to the cathedral. Seems even more relevant now:

On Visiting St Paul’s Cathedral

Heavenly Father, who in Heaven must be:
for in Wren’s cathedral, though I do see
matchless splendour, there’s no divinity.

Those angels hovering in the air
are to my willful eye passing fair.
And it will not shut itself in prayer.

The feast is laid, and the senses will dine

Pardon me, for I must stray awhile
to return that darling cherub’s smile
and to admire old architectural style

At midnight sharp, by St Paul’s clock
I shall sit by the river on the sidewalk
And there, in silence, we shall talk

You in your Heaven, and me in mine

August 28, 2006

In which Chanduppa...

...the baby camera goes berserk among the revellers at the Notting Hill Carnival










HRH Bollard One


This accidental piece of art was spotted on a trash can along Regent's Canal, where all the millionaires of London park their boats, and the banks of which make the perfect long walk after a hectic day at the Notting Hill Carnival.
Carnival pictures on flickr in a set. Too lazy to link.

August 24, 2006

I'm Lovin' It

There's something profoundly disturbing about ordering a vegetarian meal at an Oxford Street McDonalds at 9:30pm, and waiting for five minutes (letting people go ahead of you in the queue) while your Grilled Veggie Melt (one of the very few to be sold that day) is grilling and melting, and then taking your food (yes, it's still called that, though barely) to the basement (200 extra seats! Caution! Wet Floor!) and choosing a table far in some obscure corner, where the obscurest table is already taken by a self-conscious young man neatly picking at his McFlurry, and then loading the calories without a book in hand (not because you don't have one but because you do not think you'll be there long enough to find the page where you left it, since the bookmark was forgotten at home) with an eye on the waitress who has her eye on the neat man (not for flirting but for rapidly cleaning the table the moment he leaves, and putting up the chair so that no new customer dares to take a seat close to closing time) and another eye on the door of the ladies room (which is right across the hall, and each time it opens it shows two girls engrossed in make-up) wondering if the four pounds you spent on this meal were worth it, and then remembering that you came in because you did not want to cook, not because you had better things to so, but because you had already cooked twice today, and repeated domesticky tasks can kill you, like that waitress, for instance: the cleaning fluid must seep through the cloth in her swift hand, and the chemical must be rotting her skin as she ceaselessly clears the remnants of happy meals from tables.

August 23, 2006

Newton Ki Billi


With Chanduppa, the baby camera, the temptation to just post pictures and not write is becoming too strong.
One anecdote, however, was brought back to my mind at the British Library today, when I took a picture of this sculpture of Newton in the courtyard.
When I was three or four, my grandfather used to tell me stories about Newton and his dedication to his work. I had no clue about who Newton was, and I think I called him Nutren, but I remember that he was a chap who, when his cat ruined a heap of his writing, sighed and put the cat aside and began writing again, without throwing a tantrum. Now the purpose of this story was to instil in me the virtue of patience and the ability to stay cool if my hard work is destroyed, but all I got out of it was this: One day I came home from school crying because someone had bullied me in class, and the teacher had not seen or done anything about it, because "she was busy reading and working like Nutren".
Education, however, has not given up and is still trying to make friends the right way with me. Which is one of the reasons why I was at the library. Nutren was busy as usual.

August 21, 2006

Things Hang On It


"Every little trifle, for some reason, does seem incalculably important today, and when you say of a thing that "nothing hangs on it" it sounds like blasphemy. There's never any knowing - how am I to put it? - which of our actions, which of our idlenesses won't have things hanging on it for ever."

- Where Angels Fear To Tread, E.M. Forster; quoted in White Teeth, Zadie Smith

August 19, 2006

(Inky Heart Wendigo) Heart River


That just about sums up the last eleven months...

August 18, 2006

What The...

A to Me: "You're marrying such a good looking guy, and you wear such gender-neutral clothing... if you don't expose even a little bit then how will you retain his attention? He will stray for sure. You must go and try that frock."

The REASON I went camera shopping with a GUY was so that I went to a CAMERA shop and not a CLOTHES shop, but something about me screams: "SHE HELPS BUY CLOTHES" and I was quite wet in the rain and down in the dumps by the time I reached Jessops, where I got the world's worst service but a darling little camera !

And obviously, I do not have money for a skimpy frock now, so I will risk the straying, I guess. :)

August 17, 2006

Alter Ego


Expect News Of Retail Therapy

August 14, 2006

August 10, 2006

Lessee If Fortune Favours The Brave!

"If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss…"

Am a certified NRI-type now. I went and saw the preview show of Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna.

Which also means I get to write a review before I read any.

All I'm gonna say (and all anyone who writes about it before most people have seen it should say) is that go watch it before people tell you the story (never mind the email forwards and crap) and judge it for yourself. Sometimes, the story is all-important. Like now. it's tough to swallow the fact that Shibani Fanaa Bathija came anywhere close to this film's script. Maybe I'll stop sticking pins in her voodoo doll.

The worst job, and the one with the most responsibility right now, is of those whose work forces them to write a review of this movie for mass circulation. I'm looking forward to reading as many as I can lay my hands on! One year of media studies has skewed my perspective after all!

P.S. I like watching Shah Rukh Khan movies with wendigo. She calls him all sorts of bodily orifice names! So this song is dedicated to her:

Tumko bhi hai khabar
Mujhko bhi hai pata
Ho raha hai judaa
Dono ka raasta
Duur jaake bhi mujhse
Tum meri yaadon mein rehna
Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna…

P.P.S. This is a must-watch movie for anyone planning to get married soon. Better still, it is a must-force-future-spouse-(who-will-try-to-avoid-it)-and-give-advanced-warning-of-neuroses movie.

P.P.P.S. As for the history of formula hits Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, I guess Karan Johar needed to erect a platform and collect some junta before he cleared his throat and began to speak?

P.P.P.P.S. That's a lot of peas before one ass. Or is that an abbreviation for pearls before swine?(OK stop)

August 08, 2006


And thereby comes to an end the best year of my life so far.
Twenty-seven sounds like just the right time to grow up.
Maybe I will, maybe I won't. We'll just have to wait another year to see.
Meanwhile, London is. And I am happy.

Miss you Ma.

August 07, 2006

This Her Tation

I am in full study-mode these days and the dissertation is taking up all of my time and attention (hyuk! hyuk! hyuk! hyuk! who'll buy THAT?) Ok. Every morning at about nine-thirty (I know!) I plonk out of bed and the tiny-tude of my new room ensures I land in the chair in front of my laptop. With bio-breaks, and brush-breaks, chat-breaks and tea-breaks, all the furious typing for the day happens in semi-awake condition. By the time it is twelve, I am done, and I have a bath, something to eat, and plan a half day of well-earned (hyuk! hyuk! hyuk! hyuk!) fun with wendigo, promising to meet her at three. I promptly fall asleep and then meet her at seven. By twelve, I have irritated her enough with my panicking about the dark for her to see me off at a bus stop. And then I surf idly till I fall asleep at two.
Now this is what you'd call a complete, whole, and healthy plan. Except for the minor detail that I am living here to write my dissertation, and that is getting the teeniest portion of my attention. The bursts of writing are a diarrhoea of simplistic sentences conveying the ideas of a host of people who have had no role in my course of study for the whole year. In fact, I cannot remember most of what I studied all year, if I ever did study. I'm handing in a ten thousand word gossip column to my department and hoping they have flexi-bendy rules regarding the intellectual value of work, and the sense of humor to give me a passing mark. Or maybe I'm going to stop being a lazy bum and start taking this dissertation stuff seriously. (hyuk! hyuk! hyuk! hyuk! who'll buy THAT?)

August 06, 2006

O Pihu Re, Na Jaiyyo Na

A song is lazily whirling and twirling and swirling like a tea bag in the cup of hot water called me. The music and the voices and the words are seeping into every corner and colouring it and flavouring it and making me heady in a way that is very non-conducive to academic writing.

O, saathi re
Din doobe na
Aa chal din ko rokein
Dhoop ke peechhe daudein
Chhaon chhue na, O saathi re
(Gulzar in Omkara)

August 04, 2006

Barry Happy!

Got my first birdie present of the year today: a collection of Dave Barry articles sent by The Boyfriend. It's awfully nice to open the pigeonhole at the hostel reception and find something addressed to you in it. Something other than National Westminster Bank telling you that you have sixteen pounds and thirty four pence in your account. (At this stage MSN informed me that I have received a mail from vegas@home) Been giggling on buses and in shops as I dragged myself around town to help wendigo buy clothes (a whole another blogpost, I assure you!)

I could not help but remember the time I was introduced to Dave Barry. It was by the first and only person in the world to have a crush on me. He was a beer-and-dance bar owner, who was also a bodybuilder with a shaved head, and was known universally as Shetty. How this character came to develop a soft corner for me is a long story. For now, it is enough to say that I was a wide-eyed benevolent spirit who set out to make friends with ALL my classmates in advertising school, and in the case of this person, I was the only one to have made this gesture. Before long, it was clear that I had started something strange, but I put a stop to it in my own militant and brutal fashion.

One day, Shetty came into the classroom where I was typing a letter out to my mom, and told me he was going to give me a gift. Having recently been threatened with a tubelight being smashed on his head, I wondered why he even wanted to talk to me. He gave me the URL to Dave Barry's column, and told me it was a precious gift that he had not shared with anyone, and I was not supposed to share it with all and sundry either. It was a really kind gesture, and I not only thoroughly enjoyed the articles, but was quite discriminating in choosing candidates to pass the good word on to.

Poor Shetty was feared even by the teacher, and he liked me and I threatened to kill him….

It's horrid and evil to let a gift from your boyfriend set off a chain of recollections about a guy who liked you, so instead of stopping I'm gonna add that he too was a photographer, and he too hated Delhi! :P