January 31, 2006

Queer Post

In a cough and cold haze where the furniture melts seamlessly into faces and coats, I attend seminars. Words are thrown at us and we are asked to say what they mean to us. As long as one word is hyphenated (ab-normal) or wears a quotation mark sehraa (departure from the “expected”), the teacher smiles and nods and says “good”. And then we dismantle the categories of sex and gender and sexuality, till we don’t know who is who and what is what anymore, and then suddenly nobody and everybody wants to appropriate this political position of dismantled identities.

There is an uncomfortable silence when we realize that nobody knows what feminism or queer theory is.

And then people start talking again, for silence and ignorance come in the way of acquiring degrees. And as women continue to be circumcised against their will in Africa, and girls commit suicide so that their parents do not have to arrange for their dowry in India, I wonder if I should see a doctor about the cold.

January 29, 2006

Ae Saala!

Dhuan chhanta khula gagan mera
Nayi dagar naya safar mera
Jo ban sakey tu humsafar mera
Nazar mila zara!
Rubaru roshni, rubaru roshni hai

- Main Rang De Basanti Dekhna Chahti Hoon

January 28, 2006


Featuring a lesser known work of William Shakespeare titled “On Time (in ways more than one)”, this video shows a gentleman with the world’s most perfect eyebrows singing into a dildo and sneakily planting a microphone under a table so that his friend sitting in the car can prepare for his test for a medical transcription job.
I’ll understand if you never come back. Go ahead. Click the link. Happy Sunday.

January 27, 2006

Well-In-Time Day

How soon after a long and terrible battle can you ask your troops to march out and wage war again? Even in the most tyrannical of regimes, I am confident that atleast a fortnight’s break is acceptable, since it is not the enemy who has declared war, but the commanders themselves!

A few women still queue up outside the High Street Kensington H&M at nine thirty every morning, refusing to believe the Boxing Day sale is over before they could make their twenty third visit. Some stores are still threatening to kill you if you don’t drop in before this weekend, when the 90% off tag will drop, along with the item it is attached to, into the vast abyss where fashion hibernates till little girls become grandmas. (Note assumptions about exclusive feminine associations of fashion, compulsory heterosexuality and reproduction, and an assumption about the continuance of the same for many years in the preceding sentence.) Everyone still has three Selfridges bags that they haven’t had time to open and peep into and wonder why they bought whatever is in there. For God’s sake, the Starbucks red cups have still not vanished and the Harrods Sale is on for another 23.5 hours!

Why then are they already recruiting my purse for Valentine’s Day?????
Chocolate Christmas trees have become chocolate hearts, pink roses are everywhere, Velvet, satin, suede, cardboard and toilet paper packing adorns every shop window. Pret a Manger has shamelessly stopped donating 5p each time you buy soup, and has printed a huge pink heart on its takeaway bags, which bald old men carry around turned the other way round (Note disrespect for the elderly, assumption of the decline of their libido, and general callousness in the preceding statement) Toblerone has a rose stem printed along its body, posters are inviting men to gift a Brazilian Wax to their sweethearts (“Here my love, unbearable pain just for you!”) restaurants are offering bookings (they offered New Year Eve bookings starting early October, and were closed on Dec 31), and the godforsaken ATM machines, not to be left behind, are showing huge pink hearts on their screens when nobody’s using them (a closer look reveals that they are asking us to memorise their emergency numbers by “heart” so sweet, isn’t it?) Bye Bye 2005. Buy Buy 2006.

Ok. So there’s no escaping the madness. And being a Zone 1 junkie, am likely to run into it again and again. Not a penny am I spending on these thingummys (except take my diddle diddle darling Wendigo out for dinner). Drat! Valentine’s Day in London is no time to be alone! Maybe if I sleep on the night of the thirteenth in right earnest, I will wake up on the fifteenth. Sigh. SIGH.

January 26, 2006

Woh Jo Des Hai Mera...

“Should a person’s affiliations lie with one’s family, community, culture, religion or state?”
This question put forth for discussion by my classmates at a seminar leads me to believe that I might just pass this course. What kind of naïve idiot decides that one will owe allegiance to any of these institutions, and how many stupid bipeds who have only partially descended from apes even know which one of these debatably separate paradigms they are allied to at the moment? Such questions make my blood boil.

A very problematic thing I’m having to do ever since I came to London is to be an Indian. Now I’ve never identified with being an “Indian” even back home. I sleep through the Republic Day parade telecast when I’m in Delhi, but if I don’t wish all Indians on Republic Day in London, it’s wrong. I’m urged to participate in protest marches outside the Indian High Commission, but I don’t do that back home, even when I’m interested in the issue directly, because of my scepticism towards the efficacy of the protest march.

Others around me are quite enthusiastic about representing India in the classroom. They describe how things happen in India, and I look at them blankly, wondering if they are talking about the same country that I come from. If a Punjabi Delhiite woman who studied the same subject at the same university as me for as long has a directly opposite opinion about the Indian press, what does it say about India and about us? We’re obviously made of some stuff other than these external labels which are more or less identical, and we obviously inhabit different matrices that we refer to by a common name. Is she wrong in waving a tabloid about and saying the Indian press chooses to be much more serious? Am I wrong in thinking that it is only because we’re still struggling with problems that the Brits have solved, and there is enough spice in politics and potholes to keep people entertained in India?

One lecturer makes a remark about the efficacy of turbans in preventing head injuries among Sikhs who are exempt from wearing safety helmets, and the global classroom titters. This makes me want to stand up and yell, no matter how many Sardar jokes I might crack back home. But I do not stand up and yell, for I am not “Indian” enough to do it.

The shallow understanding of Asia, a fault (?) to which the faculty admits, is disturbing in an age where information in readily available (hat tip: wendigo, desivenus, eleven red buses, and that tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream) In the context, any depiction of India or China seems so fake and twisted that I squirm in my seat. It is all mispronounced, like our names, so awkward on their straightforward tongues. The cafeteria is celebrating India Week. There’s Indian cuisine everyday. To put everything I’ve said into one plate, they’re serving “Vegetable Biryani accompanied by Rice”. I’m having chips.

January 24, 2006

The Comedy of Errors

Saw The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of The Comedy of Errors today. Never seen a fouler misogynistic bawdy slapstick thing in my life. Loved it totally! Spent fifteen quid on the ticket, and got to sit in a forty five quid seat. I’ve decided to forgive my parents for bringing me into the world one year too soon, and denying me the young persons discount. I’ve used that extra year to qualify myself for a job that pays me more than enough to cover for the loss. Being extra optimistic because expecting PMS and essay evaluation soon, so playing for the contrast.

On either side of me at the play today sat two gentlemen aged well over 60. During the interval, they struck up a conversation, to which I was a silent and most amused party. The man on the left was disapproving of all the stage “business”, the ragtag extras who add effect and impose meaning upon Shakespeare’s text in a performance that does not otherwise seem overtly reinterpretative. He pleaded for Shakespeare being allowed to tell his powerful tale alone, without the monkey business. He was, as the gentleman on the right pointed out, a “Globe” man; one who likes the bare stage and sparse cast of the Globe Theatre, where Shakespeare is less suffocated by the addition of spectacle to his tale. Of course layers of meaning get added in the performance, but no more than would have been done in his own time.

The man on the right then described the last interpretation of the Comedy of Errors he had seen. It was by a group that calls itself the Oily Cart, and if you visit the site, you’ll have a fair idea of what it must have been like. It sounded most interesting! Also, I felt like I was among peers, a feeling that no classroom has afforded me so far in this country. I smiled silently to myself, for being a 70 year old British man on the inside.

Peeped into the programme that the lady in front had paid three quid fifty for (one day’s food budget, not to be wasted on colorful paper). Apparently Southwark Playhouse is staging Macbeth! Going to that website directly after posting this!

January 23, 2006

Virgin Atlantic LHR-DEL-LHR

The journey home
Is never too long
When open arms are waiting there
The journey home
Is never too long
There's room to love and room to spare
I want to feel the way that I did then
I'll think my wishes through before I wish again

Not every road you come across
Is one you have to take
No, sometimes standing still can be
The best move you ever make

(OST Bombay Dreams)

Now one will smile, three will worry, and anonymous will say I whine too much. :-)

January 19, 2006


This is one of those key moments of helplessness in life, like when you see your whole family being eaten by crocodiles and can’t do a thing to save them because you are in a spaceship headed for the purple planet (and more importantly this is a heavy dinner induced dream), or when your parents discover your blog and you’re in anther city…
Rang de Basanti is releasing in India tomorrow and am I stuck in stupid, beautiful, clean, loveable, Aamir Khan-less Britain.
Two pounds for the person who gets me the first review. (That’s your movie ticket covered, you lucky thing.)

January 17, 2006

More Trash

“Party leader Thorat requested the police to take suo motu action against Joshi as the victim has not yet lodged a complaint.”

What is suo motu? Taking fat people (no, you can’t say I’m being politically incorrect, I’m including myself in this category) to court?

Sis informs me it’s suo moto and suo moto means “of its own accord”. As if the police does anything of its own accord. Thorat hasn’t watched enough Hindi movies. They should dump the phrase suo moto. Unless Motorola wants to use it for a courtroom advert.

January 15, 2006

The Tube Presents...

…an updated Phantom of the Opera:

Notable quote:
“Mozart and Pavarotti broadcast through loudspeakers has resulted in a drastic reduction in anti-social behaviour by gangs of youths.
It is not that the music has a soothing effect - the gangs hate it and it has driven them away.”

January 14, 2006


To the piece of turd who ripped open the parcel of papers my mother sent me from India:

All those newspapers with the lists of men looking for brides are not for marrying me off!!! They have a secret purpose! Ha ha ha! We tricked you!

Now keep your grubby paws off my stuff.


January 10, 2006


Two very disturbing things happening simultaneously: one friend putting up strange status messages and wanting to be introduced to single women, and another friend getting fired for sexual harassment. Forgive me for being old-fashioned, but the reason I’m disturbed is that both of them recently married their girlfriends. Is it judgmental and moralistic to be utterly disgusted?

How SAD am I?

Apparently, I am NOT dying of a brain tumor and Wendigo is NOT suicidal and depressed. We are just SAD!
Actually, is there anyone out there who does not suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder?  I bet five bucks (Indian), that you have more than half the symptoms:

Sleep problems: Usually desire to oversleep and difficulty staying awake but, in some cases, disturbed sleep and early morning wakening
Lethargy: Feeling of fatigue and inability to carry out normal routine
Overeating: Craving for carbohydrates and sweet foods, usually resulting in weight gain.
Depression: Feelings of misery, guilt and loss of self-esteem, sometimes hopelessness and despair, sometimes apathy and loss of feelings
Social problems: Irritability and desire to avoid social contact
Anxiety: Tension and inability to tolerate stress
Loss of libido Decreased interest in sex and physical contact
Mood changes In some sufferers, extremes of mood and short periods of hypomania (overactivity) in spring and autumn.

This establishment is making megabucks out of our SADness. The rascals. No more money for them. (Have you tried their cookies, by the way? Drooooooool)

January 08, 2006

Last Day Of Vacation

In an unremarkable instance of life imitating art (cf. Wilde, Intentions) I went to Portobello Road after seeing Notting Hill (Michell, 1999). Nice market. I went into a second hand bookstore and purchased a copy of The Best of Dorothy Parker (London: Duckworth pub. 2000 ISBN 0-7156-3024-5 Approx 5 inches by 8 inches and weighing about 150 grams in semi-excellent condition paperback, purchased at 25% student discount for GBP 3 (INR 240 at a 1:80 conversion rate)).

As you might have noticed, I have done my fair share of academic writing this vacation, and am now at liberty to snuggle up in bed and read stuff like:
My land is bare of chattering folk
The clouds are low along the ridges
And sweet’s the air with curly smoke
From all my burning bridges

January 05, 2006

Breaking News 2006

The world is shocked. The press is afire. But for those of us who have marched up and down Fleet Street daily for some time now, this is news we had been expecting all along: A baby Starbucks was seen frisking on the road in the early hours of this morning.

Picture this: Five Starbucks outlets on a kilometre-long stretch, practically across the road from each other. All of them have been vacationing for over ten days now. The street has been empty because offices are shut and there are hardly any shops that are offering Ferraris free with chaddis as part of their Boxing Day sales. The Starbucks get cosy and there’s nobody to stop them. It’s Christmas. The season for freaky birth stories.

Some conservative Londoners are shocked at the incident (further research will soon reveal that they are not Londoners but software engineers from India on training tours of London). Tourists are clicking pictures with their tiny Japanese cameras, and some are walking up to the baby and demanding a mocha with cream on top, and an apple and cinnamon muffin to go with it.

Starbucks Corp. is excited about the news. They had already lost track of how many outlets they had, and they have issued a statement saying that they have “finally found a good explanation for why there are no cinnamon croissants in the Starbucks you’re visiting: It’s a newborn Starbucks and is yet to flag down a delivery truck.” Mama and Papa Starbucks are so proud of their little one that they are giving out free espresso-flavoured pacifiers to all those who pay over ten pounds by card. They’re also closing down sooner, about two hours after they open, so that they can take care of the baby and teach the staff how to spray cleaning fluid on the shelves of food without letting the chemicals seep in.

Some doomsday prophets predict the end of humankind as we know it, and are fearing the annihilation of all other commercial establishments. They have been requested to keep their mouths shut, and to (please) pass the nutmeg powder.


January 04, 2006

Existential Angst

Who is Bharat Mata’s husband? Definitely not the Father of the Nation: for she is his mother too. Surely we aren’t a bastard nation. And we probably aren’t an immaculately conceived nation either. Tell me, who is our Pitaa?

January 02, 2006

Happy New Year


Inky's 2006 Mantra: Never Stop Hoping!
Wish you all a Very Happy New Year!