Friday, June 30, 2006

Love shove nahi nahi

There is no talent in writing a mushy love song - the geniuses are those who can make it so real and appealing that even die-hard unromatics like me end up liking it. So this is going to be an open ended list of some songs that I dare to like inspite of being ME!

1. Joan Baez's Love Song to a Stranger: No one can even touch this one. My favorite part:

We spoke not a sentence and took not a footstep
Our two days together which seemingly soon would
be gone
Don't tell me of love everlasting and other sad
I don't want to hear
Just tell me of passionate strangers who rescue
each other
From a lifetime of cares
Because if love means forever, expecting nothing
Then I hope I'll be given another whole lifetime
to learn
Because you gave to me oh so many things it makes
me wonder
How they could belong to me
And I gave you only my dark eyes that melted your
soul down
To a place where it longs to be
I wish I could be hippy enough to say "Oh I can totally relate to it." Nah, I am too monogamous but still, it is so real that it makes me want to believe it's written about me, and by me!
2. Beth Orton's Central Reservation: i am getting too predictable, huh?
Running down a central reservation in last
night's red dress,
And I can still smell you on my fingers and taste
you on my breath;
Stepping through brilliant shades,
All the color you bring,
This time, this time, this time,
Is whatever I want it to mean.
Beth Orton - Central Reservation

Ok this one may not count as a real love song - it's more a break-up song but what the heck. Bob Dylan's Just Like a Woman - I have to mention it in at least one of my posts! Oh ya, Lay Lady Lay would make a better one right?
4. Tracy Chapman's "If not now": This song from her first album (Fast car) is not too melodious and I don't think it caught the imagination of too many people (not as much as Fast Car and Baby can I hold you tonight - didn't backstreet boys or some shit pick this one up later?)
If not now then when
If now today then
Why make your promises
A love declared for days to come
Is as good as none
You can wait 'til morning comes
You can wait for the new day
You can wait and lose this heart
You can wait and soon be sorry
Now love's the only thing that's free
We must take it where it's found
Pretty soon it may be costly
If now now what then
We all must live our lives
Always feeling Always thinking
The moment has arrived

Tracy Chapman - Baby Can I Hold You

Baez's another masterpiece "Diamonds and Rust",
this one
makes me want to learn how to be a REAL singer so bad.
Now you're telling me
You're not nostalgic
Then give me another word for it
You who are so good with words
And at keeping things vague
Because I need some of that vagueness now
It's all come back too clearly
Yes I loved you dearly
And if you're offering me diamonds and rust
I've already paid

Joan Baez - Diamonds & Rust

And ofcourse, how could I forget, Joplin's Me and Bobby Mcgee
But I'd trade all o' my tomorrows for one single
yesterdayTo be holdin' Bobby's body next to mine
Since I am alos human (!) can I add 2 cheesy ones? I promise they are not Boyzone variety...
Sting's Field of Gold and Sade's By your side. Corny but catchy and immensely singable...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Book tag?

Silbil's attempt at making us learn how to "tag". We still haven't figured out what it is but here's our very own version of it...

The first book I remember reading: The Enchanted Book (Enid Blyton)

The book that my parents asked me NOT to read and I read: Some Ismat Chughtai book - I think it had a "quilt" on the cover page. I picked it up at Lolita Mashi's and for some reason all adults were not very happy with my choice. (I was about 10)

Book I associate most with love, for whatever reason:
The Taste of a Man by Slavenka Drakulic. NO NO it's not what you think. Try reading this book before you judge me. If that is porno, so is Margaret Atwood. WARNING:A bit time spoiler ahead
She realizes she loves him too much to let him go. So she eats him...

Book that should have never finished: "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenter" by Salinger. He writes so brilliantly that I feel like I can was sitting in the same taxi with all the people escaping from the wedding (where the groom never shows up). the short man whose legs don't touch the floor, the aggravated woman, the blubbering man... Oh I love Salinger. Unfortunately, I think he dead.

Book I am so embarrassed about liking: Land of far Beyond. the most preachy kiddy fable anyone could write (Blyton's the preacher). For some bizarre reason it's just engraved in my memory!

Book I am so embarrassed about not liking: Old man and the Sea. Nohhh I can't!

One day I will pucca read: Shakespeare's something or the other

The most erotic book I have read: The Taste of a Man (Am I allowed to repeat an answer Prof. Silbil?)

I could't sleep for nights after reading:
Roald dahl's Royal Jelly - don't ask me why that gave me sleepless nights, but yikes it did!

I can never finish reading, though have tried many times: Old man and the Sea. Nohhh I can't!

I bought recently: Handmaid's tale by Margaret Atwood - feministic (is that a word?), about surrogate motherhood and spooky as hell. The most approp combo for me now!

My wish list (3 books allowed)

1. Hitchhiker's guide (I always plan to read it but never do it)
2. "The Political Economy of Threats and the Production of Fear" by people on my committee! The name sounds cool but too daunting. I bought it, got it signed and it's now sitting pretty on my shelf for the past 6 months!
3. Lajja: Why Why WHy was there so much of Halla about it.

World Cup Hotties

Ya sure. That's EXACTLY what you would expect from a woman's blog. Huh?
"For the ladies who are already yawning over the nation's World Cup obsession, it's time to snap out of the trance because we've created a more meaningful competition to keep you interested.
While your boyfriend and his mates bounce around the living room like chimpanzees, you can now settle down with your G&T and pick the hottest football team online."

Apart from the chimpanzee bit (wink wink) everything about the article was so predictable that it almost failed to infuriate me ( I mean who in their sane mind has a Gin and Tonic in any case!).

Well, nah, I am not huge World Cup watcher. I do catch at least one game a day - mostly cos that's when I am on my exer-cycle. But then, I have 6 more options to choose from and yah, I choose to watch the World Cup even when there is no Swedish Ljundberg or Italian Alessandro to drool over.

On a more gender neutral and unfeminist tone, I was disappointed that there is hardly anything unpredicatable happening in the finals this time. Once again, the same names - Brazil, Germany, England, Argentina, Italy, France. Thank God for Ukraine though. Maybe they can be the surprise team in the finals?? I'll keep my fingers crossed for my under-dog. If I had my way I would want Ghana or Saudi Arabia there. I have no idea why I said that...

Anyhow, let me go back to devising more ways to make my undergrads understand Foucault.

Monday, June 26, 2006


decided to start writing without planning for a change. I am sick of being this obsessive planner - plan tickets to India 2 months in advance, lectures 2 days in advance, plan my powerpoint presentation in my dreams, plan my next post while walking on the trail, plan the chronology of exercise machines to be used while sitting in the bus.. Gah Goo bah. When did I stop being an impulsive rebel-without-a-cause and become a plan-it-all granny?

Now see what happens with lack of practice at nonchalance - I have nothing to write.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sometimes being a bitch is ...

...all a woman has to hang on to.

Again, I wish I had thought of this first but Stephen King did in his book Dolores Claiborne. I watched the movie yesterday night - as a part of our 'Saturday night have nothing better to do except be part of a movie marathon'. Started off with this ancient Hitchcock "Notorious" black and white but forgettable movie and then Dolores. Something about the movie made me want to write a post on it. Maybe the half-witty line (in the title of the post) women keep chanting at various dramatic junctures, maybe it was the brilliantly realistic acting by Dolores (Kathy Bates) or the violently optimistic end.

In a nutshell, the plot is of a housekeeper accused of murdering her employer of 22 years. Flashback to 1975, when a timely accident killed Dolores's husband during the solar eclipse (very metaphoric!). Dolores seems to have the most amaingly shitty life possible, whther it be with her employers, her hub and worst of all the relationship she has with her grown daughter . But somehow inspite of all the child abuse, wife abuse, employee abuse happening in the flick, Dolores' character was so much more than just a tear-jerker. I am not a Stephen King fan but this one was definitely worth a watch.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

1000 Things to fear in this wild wild first world

1. The Weather (HELP there is a thunder storm warning, we will all be washed away)
2. Foreigners (send the troops to the borders to stop all the evil mexicans from crawling in and free-riding the American dream)
3. Children (with guns or without)
4. Arabs (umm does that include Indians and Chinese?)
5. japanese, Russian, Chinese, Cubans, Iraqis, Muslims, Koreans
6. Fatty food (and Atkins died of heart attack)
7. Homosexuals (run run they are taking over)
8. Teenage mothers (make them all take the virginity pledge)
9. Welfare queens (getting off the Cadillac, popping babies by the dozen to get the extra $ 65 - Tch tch these lazy black women, told ya they should be sent back to Africa)
10. Anthrax
11. Video games
12. Guns
13. Aliens ( I swear one landed in our pool yest night)
14. Divorce/ declining family values (See even Braddy left jennifer)
15. Sex Addiction
16. Planes (esp the ones crashing into buildings)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

We're all about to discover...

that elephants can dance.

I wish I had thought of that myself - but can't take the credit. This was the punch line of an article on the apparent "progress" of India I was reading just now. "The 'un-China' could be world's next economic superpower.. according to the CNN. Nah, I am not being a precocious critic for a change - the article was kinda interesting. India maybe a winner as far as democratic ideals go, but "Democracy aside, there is a second way in which India is the un-China -- and it's not to India's credit."..."Backbreaking, empty-stomach poverty, which China has been tackling successfully for decades, is still all too common in India. Education for women -- the key driver of China's rise to become the workshop of the world -- lags terribly in India. " And so on.

Reminded me of an unexpected revolt by a usually shy-silent bhalo chhele (good boy) in my D-school days. D-school is determinedly pro- liberalization (a lovely contrast to JNU) and most of its professors exhibit institutional loyalty by being "liberalization wow wow". In one such class we were sitting and lambasting Chinese policies and the futility of socialism (actually we weren't, the prof was - DSE does not encourage much discussion). When suddenly this silent type got outraged ("aikla boshe jhimjhimiye hothhat gailen rege"... an untranslatable masterpiece saying in Bong), sprang up and started quoting stats on how the Chinese are doing so much better on the HDI front and how socialism made that possible. It was brilliant.

If I had dared, I would have given him a standing ovation.

Ofcourse, the pissy old prof, just shut him up. But the shy-boy became my hero of the cohort. (ofcourse, there was not much competition in a class-full of MBA rejects and MNC aspirants)

Saturday, June 17, 2006

haunting me softly with a song?

Guitars strummed softly, harmonized voices, violin strings, deep voices, soft lyrics, unfinished lyrics and songs attached to memories = some recipes for songs that haunt me...

Abida Parveen Le Chala Jaan: I don't claim to know much about ghazals and sufiana , but take it from an illiterate expert on music that this one is a sure winner. I don't like the accompanying instruments (the percussion is ok but there is some really shaadi shehnai-harmonium type thing happening that almost threatens to spoil the song but ..)
The perfect blend of nasal but throaty voice, I got hooked on to Parveen thanks to A's Ipod collection. I am sure he hasn't heard it as many times as I have by now!

Beth Orton's Pass in Time: Very predictably the next in this list is my undisputed queen of music (for the moment!). This one has Terry Callier adding to the haunting-ness.

Joan Baez's What have they done to the Rain: This song makes me want to howl - written about atomic bombing in the 1950s , the song was originally written by Malvina reynolds but sung by Baez in her usual plaintive voice.

Just a little boy standing in the rain
The gentle rain that falls for years
And the grass is gone, the boy disappears
And rain keeps falling like helpless tears
And what have they done to the rain?
Dylan's Lay Lady Lay, not one of my favorite Dylan songs but somehow it has the haunting quality we are looking for in this post! maybe it has the nostalgia element to it, maybe it's just the echoing guitars...
Stay, lady, stay, stay with your man awhile
Until the break of day, let me see you make him smile
His clothes are dirty but his hands are clean
And you're the best thing that he's ever seen
That sure brings back memories from long time ago!
Lennon's Jealous Guy: I have no idea why I love this one so much - mmm, actually I do. Apart from the fact that I am from the wrong gender, I feel Johny's exact emotions very often in my relationships! And the nice planned break in his voice at
"I was shivering insiiide" and at
"I was swallowing my paaaiin"
does the trick for me ...
And finally, these two Floyd classics mostly because of memories of the person it evokes in me. The rickshaw ride from Kamala nagar to his house, the snippets of the few converstaions we had at that shack we called a restaurant, hysterical interpretation of his latest glass painting and the frenzied catching up on the years we hadn't known each other on the day of my 21st birthday. I haven't thought of him for the longest time - but most of it was a conscious effort.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Performance Time

Waiting anxiously for it to be 1 pm. That's when I start my first lecture. Been obsessing about it for a while now. I am supposed to have not just the right kind of over heads but also the right mix of formal-informal dress code, sense of humor, apathy, authority, playfulness, instructor-ness...GAH what do they think I am - super woman? Well, I don't think I can practice humor right now. Too bad. Maybe they'll have to learn to live with a eyebrow -raising, puritan, Indian-type teacher for the next 6 weeks. Or maybe one day, inadvertantly a F*** or a Shit will sneak out of my mouth and they'll be all giggly and I'll be most popular for the rest of the minute.

India doing well against the Windies. I am surprised. Wish I was in Atigua or whatver the name of the island is (I keep calling it Aguada - thanks to my Goa obsession) watching it live! Nah, I lied. If I was in Atigua - the last thing on my mind would be the match - I would be happily floating in the sea and drinking Pina coladas right now.

Ok time to go. Go away you butterflies in stummy. I am a bond,I am not nervous. (Save me save me Do!)

That wasn't bad. I am quite the shit (BTW for you non yankee types, that means I am good. If I had said I am quite shitty, that would be bad. Get the nuances of the lingo babay?)! Feigned interest in all their lives for more than an hour. Nah, some of the kids WERE intersting - one plays elctronic jazz, a couple come from outside of this country - South Korea, China, Nigeria, Poland and Columbia, some were art historians, some mechanical engineers and lawyers. Quite an eclectic mix. I think (my great!) idea of making them talk to the person next to them, talk till they find something in common and then introduce their partner to the class helped break the ice (hehehehhe I am such a egotist). But I have to confess even the 1 hour seemed too long. I need to have a lot more ready for it go on for 2.5 hours from tomorrow. Yikes, some one give me innovative, fun yet "sociological" game ideas. QUICK.

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