Wednesday, April 15, 2015

What does a young, black police officer in Los Angeles, with an ambition to be politician, read?

These books, of course; at least before he fell in love with a would-be diva…

In the wonderful storybook romance, Beyond the Stars (2014).

Oscar Noms 2015: Best Original Screenplay

Screenshots from the video of the Oscar Awards 2015. The award went to Birdman.

Oscar Noms 2015: Best Adapted Screenplay

Screenshots from the video of the Oscar Awards 2015... The award went to The Imitation Game.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

"El Condor Pasa (If I Could)"

I'd rather be a sparrow than a snail
Yes I would, if I could, I surely would
I'd rather be a hammer than a nail
Yes I would, if I only could, I surely would

Away, I'd rather sail away
Like a swan that's here and gone
A man gets tied up to the ground
He gives the world it's saddest sound
Its saddest sound

I'd rather be a forest than a street
Yes I would, if I could, I surely would
I'd rather feel the earth beneath my feet
Yes I would, if I only could, I surely would

-- Simon and Garfunkel
I'm sitting in the railway station.
Got a ticket for my destination.
On a tour of one-night stands my suitcase and guitar in hand.
And every stop is neatly planned for a poet and a one-man band.

Homeward bound,
I wish I was,
Homeward bound,
Home where my thought's escaping,
Home where my music's playing,
Home where my love lies waiting
Silently for me.

Every day's an endless stream
Of cigarettes and magazines.
And each town looks the same to me,
The movies and the factories
And every stranger's face I see reminds me that I long to be,


Tonight I'll sing my songs again,
I'll play the game and pretend.
But all my words come back to me in shades of mediocrity
Like emptiness in harmony I need someone to comfort me.


"Homeward Bound" is a song by American music duo Simon & Garfunkel from their third studio album, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966). Produced by Bob Johnston, the song was released as a single on January 19, 1966 by Columbia Records. Written by Paul Simon, the song was composed in 1964 during his period in London, England. Away from his love interest Kathy Chitty while touring clubs, Simon felt depressed and homesick. He first penned the song on a scrap of paper outside the Widnes railway station in Widnes. "Homeward Bound" was the duo's second single, the follow-up to their enormously successful breakthrough hit "The Sound of Silence". It performed very well domestically, peaking at number five on the Billboard Hot 100, remaining on the charts for 12 weeks. Internationally, the song performed best in Canada, where it hit number two; it was also a top five hit in the Netherlands. MORE HERE/
Cultural Diversity in the North East of India and How it is Being Negotiated in an Increasing Fragmented World

Concept Note/
According to reports, there are at least 120 different terrorist outfits (all working from somewhere between India and Myanmar), from the seven states of North East India (Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh). All the outfits have similar goals; they want geographical independent or political self-rule for the ethnic communities they represent.

In an increasingly fragmented world, where Hindus are fighting for their supremacy and Muslims are fighting for theirs, the fight for the rights of an ethnic community sounds valid. The question, however, is whether these demands are feasible.

There are at least 100 different communities in these seven north eastern states, with their own languages and cultures, with their own gods and their own wines and their own clothes. Yet, for centuries, they have lived together, sharing the same geography. Politically, it may not have been an easy coexistence, yet it has been achieved.

The current paper attempt to examine this diversity, how it flourished, and why, now, these communities are clamouring for political isolation.

The Measure of Happiness

My story, ‘The Measure of Happiness,’ in the current issue of Earthen Lamp Journal… I am so relieved that the story is finally out. Thank you, Divya Dubey, for turning my random prose into a breezy read… The story is long, I am afraid, but do take a look…

The story had a long gestation period. I wrote the first part some four years ago. It was a different story, set in the US, about cultural clash. There were some important white characters in the mix. But I couldn’t carry on. I was not qualified enough to write about white characters.

Then, two years later, I wrote the last portions, when the two Manohars meet at the hostel room. It was supposed to be a story of a man trying to seduce his former lover’s son. Even there, I hit a roadblock. It was sounding too incest-y.

I abandoned the project again. Then in January 2015, I took on a challenge to combine the two separate halves and merge them together.

Making them stick together wasn’t easy… And, to think, it all started with an ice cream vendor at India Gate…

The story here/

Thursday, April 02, 2015

At the heart of Indira Goswami’s sprawling fictional world (set in the heartland of Assam, and elsewhere, including Vrindavan, Raebareli, and Delhi) resides the image of a destitute woman, pushed to the margin by the cruel twist of fate and the demands of equally cruel patriarchal society.

It is nothing short of a miracle that Goswami’s women characters pick themselves up from the depth of their existent and fight back.

This book chronicles three stories of three such women. In ‘Breaking the Begging Bowl,’ when the mother of a missing son and a crazy daughter is pushed to the wall, her young daughter picks up the cudgel, and fights back the only way she can, with her body. In ‘The Blood of Devipeeth’, while everyone expects the beautiful girl who was deserted by her husband because of a vitiligo patch on her back, to return to her marital home, she finds her comforts in a forbidden romance. In ‘Delhi, 5 November 1991, a girl from the margin forgoes her own comforts to care for the destitute, and yet cannot escape her own body, which, for the privileged men around her, is an object to be snared and enjoyed.

The beauty of Goswami’s fiction is not the just the tale, but how is it told, with tactile details and violent imagery, and a deep understanding of the human psyche, not only of her central characters, but also of those in the fringes. Her writing holds a mirror to our society and what it reveals is a portrait of ‘terrible beauty’.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Octavio Paz on India/

When I'd finished the definitive version of Freedom on Parole, I felt I could start over. I explored new poetic worlds, knew other countries, lived other sentiments, had other ideas. The first and greatest of my new experiences was India. Another geography, another humanity, other gods—a different kind of civilization. I lived there for just over six years. I traveled around the subcontinent quite a bit and lived for periods in Ceylon and Afghanistan—two more geographical and cultural extremes. If I had to express my vision of India in a single image, I would say that I see an immense plain: in the distance, white, ruinous architecture, a powerful river, a huge tree, and in its shade a shape (a beggar, a Buddha, a pile of stones?). Out from among the knots and forks of the tree, a woman arises . . . I fell in love and got married in India.

Read the complete The Art of Poetry No. 42, HERE.

The Band Wagon

Roger Ebert on the 'Shine on Your Shoes' number in Vincent Minnelli's The Band Wagon/

Minnelli saw Leroy Daniels, a real shoeshine man who sang and danced as he worked, and that not only inspired the number, but got Daniels a trip to Hollywood and a scene where he co-stars with Astaire. He's a gifted performer, his timing as precise as Astaire's, and perhaps because he's the real thing, we sense a freshness and joy. Note, too, Astaire's casual strength when he lifts himself on the arms of the chair so he can kick in mid-air.

Most of the scene's charm is because of Astaire and Daniels, but some, too, was contributed by Minnelli. McElhaney recommends watching the "Shine on Your Shoes" number, but not focusing on Astaire and Daniels: "Instead, only take note of the direction of the extras; watch it again, and only note the function of the decor and the camera movements; then watch it one final time putting all of these elements together." What that exercise would illustrate is that for Minnelli, the whole screen was always in play, not just the foreground and the stars.

More here/