Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I am 24 and I still do not know what I am passably good at.

I do not know what career path I will choose when everyone else around me updates their LinkedIn profile.

Sometimes I impress myself with my brilliance and sometimes I feel like an ordinary person with extraordinary ambitions.

I have no achievements/accomplishments/nothing.

I'm pretty sure noone will ever be with me anytime.

I will probably kill myself within a year all alone in a room and noone will notice till there is a terrible smell eminating from it a week after and then they will see the mess and say "Who is going to clean THIS up now?"

I can't stand people but I can't stand being alone.

I think now is a good time for prayer.

Happy New Year, world. Happy New Year.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Slumdog Millionaire

I would be remiss if I did not mention that I was one of a grand total of 7 Indian graduate students at the AMCs on a late saturday night. Some eager to watch a movie everyone was talking about, some just for the score and others with nothing better to do. Why do I bring this up? Because leading up to the movie I had a nagging suspicion about why this movie was so well received and however much I tried I could not drown out the 'foreign director in India' spiel that is as loud as the 'bright colors' that we are purported to enjoy. India is a subject that most directors in the west would salivate over. The triumph of innocence, the exuberance in squalor, the never ending spirit that drowns and resuscitates us -an Ajith-esque scenario. Not unlike that joke about throwing his captives in liquid oxygen; the liquid wouldn't let him live and the oxygen wouldn't let him die.

Danny Boyle, is a master at merging stark worlds together. A dark comedy of errors featuring heroin junkies that was Trainspotting is now a cult classic. Every person with an email account would have received that forward about choosing this and that appearing at the beginning of the movie in a screenplay tour-de-force. Two disparate worlds mashed together and capturing the chaos that would naturally ensue takes a special effort. That is essentially Slumdog. I do not intend to go in to the details of the storyline but essentially, it's not the large stash of Marijuana that the protagonist is after, but the heart of his childhood sweetheart.

Finally, in true Holly-Bollywood fashion, this is a movie after all, Jamal gets his Latika, the villain dies and everything is hunky dory. Everyone rightly cheers AR Rahman's wizardry. Movie done. A burlesque so cleverly disguised to make the west and the guilty expat weep. Followed by a vegan sandwich and a chai latte at the Panera Classic. This is terrible, I thought. This was poverty tourism at it's barest.

Through the travails of my life, our travails are our own, I constantly comfort myself that life is more than the sum of it's parts. Boyle in an almost literal interpretation, places the lead Jamal in the aptly named 'hot seat' of a game show. Every question is a haunting reminder of Jamal's terrifying past. A past shared by many millions at home. Who hasn't broken a window in a game of gully cricket and run away whilst being chased by a corpulent watchman? Who hasn't seen the safari suit clad businessman with his fake Ray-Bans sizing up an opportunity with his satchel safely ensconced in his armpit as he spits any remnants of his after-lunch pan to his side? Who hasn't been a vagrant foraging in the garbage dumps whisked away to be used in a begging racket? Who hasn't been inducted into tragedy hall of fame?

Who hasn't?

Thursday, December 25, 2008


You look at the pop tart in the microwave. Circling and heating up as I hold my cup of coffee waiting for the caffeine to kick in. This is the time to make your plans and schemes for the day as you plot your survival for another day. It is a crisp autumn morning and you see condensation form clouds in front of your mouth as you turn around to lock your door. You fake blow a draft of air from your mouth and you still feel a childish thrill at an age when they are long outlawed. You light your first cigarette and inhale as the fire-air fills up your lungs, blackening an already tarnished soul. An auspicious start. The walk is one cigarette long and the bus to work pulls up right when you reach. Maybe this won't be such a bad day after all. You chivalrously wait for everyone to get in and before you do too, you collect a gob of spit and let fly from your mouth.To remove any tobacco residues of course.

Rituals, they say, bring discipline for the easily distracted. For the most part it is superstition. We all have them, I suppose. Be it as banal as a right-sock-first or as sober as praying. My ritual is watching the microwave cook. If I am heating my ramen or on that rare occasion, while boiling rice, there is a certain feeling that I harbour with watching the food turn while it is getting ready. The food for me and I for the food.

My microwave is Rihanna's 'Umbrella'. Only less annoying.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The day the Earth stood still. And when we voted we could change. Something.

Keanu Reeves is a lucky actor if there wasn't a lack of them out there. That doesn't take away how well he has integrated Hollywood's penchant for churning out one sci-fi movie after the other and his ... wait for it... thespian abilities. No, this is not a 'Keanu can't act' free for all, but since watching Bill & Ted's most bodacious , righteous and excellent adventures, that tag is hard to shake off. So if you haven't figured it out already, our man is not of this planet. The events unfolding in the movie were set rolling when a mountaineer (with a shocking resemblance to Mr. Reeves himself) stumbles upon an 'unearthly' orb. What have we learnt as humans thus far, kids? You see something new? What are you waiting for? Take your chisel and put a hole through it.

Turns out, the aliens were watchmen for our planet and decide enough is enough. Invasion time! Speaking of niches and actors, Jennifer Connelly has one of her own. It is called the sympathetic woman. It is not a terrible byline, but after that Beautiful Mind movie and then that Hulk movie it is getting very tiring. Connelly is an incredibly brilliant researcher at Harvard. This time the scientist is an astro-biologist. The astro prefix is getting a little out of hand. Astrophysics is the last believable astroscience. Ok sorry Astrology also because I love my grandmother very much. I wouldn't be surprised if the next incredibly hot scientist lady is an astronanobiotechnologist with left - liberal leanings. Ok Ok. The movie. I digress. The alien, after spilling out of the spaceship takes on a human form with the mountaineer's features and he kicks butt. Thanks mostly due to presence of a robot that accompanies him in his spaceship. His eye is a laser light that scans everything around him. Like a new age Eye of Sauron, only much lamer.

He comes stumbling out in New Jersey because who cares about other countries. Right? Right. He is weak, but he gets better and conveniently for us he learns our languages. There is chaos because we have spaceship in our hands. So Mr. President goes absconding and only Secretary of State handles everything. She is played by the lady who played Adam Sandler's mom in The Waterboy. You know 'foosball is the devil'. I kid you not. He escapes, she helps, yada yada. So why is he here? The earth is not ours itseems and he says we are ruining it and so he is doing some last rites thing. But he still balks. And this is the centerpiece of the movie. "Can we change?" The entire movie is about how he thinks we can't change while our scientist friend vehemently argues the contrary. After some more sophomoric conversations between him and ,would you believe it John Cleese, who plays a Nobel Prize winning biologists whom Mr. Reeves disproves by crossing an equal to sign on one of his equations. Awesome. I'm sold now.

It's the most excruciating game of tag played out on cinema, ("you won't change", "yes we will") while the earth is already on its path of destruction, with a little help from some nanobots. But suddenly our man says, "ok, your dead husband's black son from a previous marriage hugs you after yelling at you the entire length of the movie. You can change" He then does some alien magic and it's all good. No end of the world. Remember when your 6th grade teacher would tell you about the evils of littering. Watch this movie if you didn't go to school that day. But if I didn't go to school that day, how can I remember if... Yes you're right. Don't bother.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Erase and Rewind

It's a shame. We are born into a cursed world. A biased world. A shame. Where nothing is darker than black. Nothing hotter than white. Where a six is not twenty knats. Where everything is set. Where it is not who you are but who you know. What you know. It is a shame. A sham. Where clothes do not match. Where the kid is taught not to pick his nose. To stand in line. An arms length behind another. In front of another. And another. Where dead dreams are failures. Where numbers add up. Where taboo is taboo. Where there is... Sigur Ros. Where there are notes hanging in the air, enveloping it, engulfing it, packed tightly into perfection. Where there is magic. Where we die. For us. For another. Where her eyes glisten in the evening dark. Oh, how they glisten. Where there is a mind's eye view. And everything is serene. Where there is perfect.