Saturday, December 31, 2005
Sunday, December 25, 2005
In school of course I liked both these hols for a different reason altogether: we would get our term breaks during each holiday! But before school closed we would have our annual day where each class would put up plays and dances for our parents. There would be a display of some really bad acting and dancing! But all the parents would clap, cheer and congratulate us on the wonderful show that we kids had put up for them.
There was a rule in our class that all the children in each class should be seen up there on the stage doing something or the other, no one was left out without a part. So I have played such diverse parts from a villager to a narrator to a witch! The story in which the last character appeared was made up by all of us when we were in the 6th class. Each of us contributed to the story and built it out of our own imagination, and also decided who would play which part. We had named it ‘Rose and the Rainbow Cat’! That was such a lot of fun! The majority of us played witches with a girl cast as ‘Rose’ and a boy cast as the ‘Rainbow Cat’. All of us ‘witches’ just relished our parts, because we got to act really nasty! Hee hee hee! [That’s wicked witches’ laughter for the uninitiated! :))] Also, we got to put on some really outlandish makeup!
We would also start singing Christmas carols and songs like ‘Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly’, ‘Winter Wonderland’, ‘Good King Wensceslas’, ‘Silent Night’, ‘Joy to the World’, ‘Jingle Bells’ and many others.
When I was in the 7th standard, instead of the traditional play and dance routine, we had an annual day where all the classes sang carols. My class sang ‘Twelve days of Christmas’. All of us were divided into 12 groups and my best friends P and S and I got the first verse to sing: “A partridge in a pear tree”. Boy! Was that fun or what!
And I remember one time when we were really young, my brother, cousin and I had written letters to Santa Claus detailing all that we wanted. On Christmas morning there were two miniature Christmas trees on our desks along with a book for me (drat!), and I don’t remember what my brother got. Along with all these was a letter stating how sorry Santa Claus was that he could not bring us what we wanted. My mother sure was clever (still is!)! But the disappointment of not getting what I’d asked for did not last for long as I was so very excited that Santa had actually come to our home and dropped off gifts!! :))
After school I sort of lost the excitement that Christmas brought along. But this year, I was out shopping for some essentials (the food, shampoo, toothpaste kind) when I saw these shops full of Christmassy stuff; streamers, Christmas trees of all sizes, bunting, paper lanterns and what not! It just got me so excited that I bought a few shiny red and green streamers and decorated our room here. I even hung some from the fan. Of course before that I marched my grandmother out of the room and made her sit in the drawing room for a while. She was quite bewildered by it all! But when she saw the decorations she got all teary-eyed, and not because they are that bad! :D She was just a bit overwhelmed because according to her, her room has never ever been decorated for whatever reason as long as she has stayed here. Well, as the dutiful granddaughter I’ve managed to bring some holiday cheer into my grandmother's life! LOL!!
And even my brother, who is ever so ready to run down anything I do, actually liked it!! Hehe! Here are some pics of how my room looks now. I think it just looks more cheerful! :)
Here is a card that my dear friend S had sent to me and I wish to share it with all of you.
Friday, December 23, 2005
A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE by BARBARA TAYLOR BRADFORD
I’d read this book when I was studying in the 10th standard. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…” Ok, that’s all I can remember from Dickens’ classic ‘A Tale of Two Cities’. But this line is so apt for how things were in the 10th standard.
But, as is my wont, I digress! Emma Harte, the protagonist of ‘A Woman of Substance’ greatly inspired me, she still inspires me. At one level it is just a story of a girl who rises above her means and becomes rich and famous, bur underlying it is the journey she makes from a poor maid to a businesswoman of great repute and the sacrifices she has to make to get where she did. And the best part is that she is not as pure as driven snow, she has many flaws, the yearning for revenge being her greatest; and she can be cold and calculating when she wants to be. But it is her strength, both mental and physical, which greatly awed me. It truly is a fantastic book.
FRIED GREEN TOMATOES AT THE WHISTLE STOP CAFÉ by FANNIE FLAG
This is a great Southern American story about four women – Idgie Threadgoode, Ruth Jamison, Ninny Threadgoode and Evelyn Couch. The women do not do anything extraordinary, except sticking up for each other and being there for each other in times of trouble. But I guess that is quite extraordinary in itself! I’d watched the movie before I’d read the book. The movie was quite a faithful representation of the book, with great performances by Mary Stuart Masterson, Mary Louise Parker, Jessica Tandy and Kathy Bates; but I enjoyed reading the book much, much more.
GONE WITH THE WIND by MARGARET MITCHELL
In Greek plays the hero is the most honest bravest, strongest, smartest, kindest person around, but possesses one terrible flaw that leads to his undoing. Scarlett O’Hara is the antithesis of the above. Here is a heroine who is selfish, greedy, vain, crafty, and would stop at nothing to get what she wants; and she is also a procrastinator like yours truly, as is evidenced by her famous words, “Tomorrow is another day”! Hehe! Just kidding! Those words show just how self-possessed she is, as despite all of her flaws she does have great confidence in herself and in her abilities. And it is mostly due to her efforts that her family survives during the Civil War. Here again I saw the movie before I’d read the book, and I think the movie is not a patch on the book, though the performance by the cast is very good. I guess it was not possible to encapsulate all the events that occur in the book into the movie. The sequel, ‘Scarlett’ by Alexandra Ripley turns Scarlett O’Hara’s character topsy-turvy. It is like Ripley created a totally different character! But I won’t go into all that now. Suffice to say that Scarlett O’Hara is one of the most dazzling fictional characters of all time.
LIFE OF PI by YANN MARTEL
‘Life of Pi’ is one of the most imaginative books I have ever read. It tells the story of Pi, short for Piscine Molitor Patel, a young boy whose father owned the Pondicherry zoo. He gets stuck in a lifeboat with the most unlikely companions for 227 days. And how he survives makes up most of the story. Aristotle had said that the audience should be willing to suspend their disbelief in the duration of a play. You will have no difficulty in suspending your disbelief while reading this novel! Martel narrates the events with such lucidity that you cannot help but be entranced by it all! This book is all about survival; it even weaves in a bit on ‘survival of the fittest’.
THE LAST SONG OF DUSK by SIDDHARTH DHANVANT SHANGHVI
This novel is quite… magical. I cannot think of any other adjective to describe it. It just transports you to a different world. The characters are quite extraordinary, yet their motives not all that difficult to understand. It is the story of Anuradha Gandharva, her husband Vardhmaan, their son Shloka and Anuradha’s cousin Nandini. I won’t presume to understand everything that occurs in the novel, some parts are steeped in mystery, and I did not get the philosophical overtones at some points. But the time during which I read this book I would just be cut me off from the world around me, the feeling was almost surreal.
SPOUSE by SHOBHA DÉ
I have just finished reading Shobha Dé’s ‘Spouse’, and whoever saw me reading it gave me knowing looks and passed comments like, “Oh! Are we going to hear some kind of good news from you soon?” or “Preparing already for the future huh?” Followed by a lot of ‘wink-wink, nudge-nudge’. I was quite amused for the most part. No, there is no “good news” to be expected and I did not buy the book with the intention of “preparing for the future”. I actually bought it because I was bored and pissed! And I must say it was one of my best buys (*pats own shoulder*) yet! I started reading it expecting the tone to be kind of condescending and ‘talking down-like’, but boy was I in for a surprise! It is a very common sensical book. Dé says it as she sees it, without mincing any words, which is of course her usual style, but I enjoyed reading this book much more than I did any of her works of fiction. It not only gives an insight into her own marriage but also into the married lives of Indians ranging from the ‘elite’ class to the lower middle class. I think it should be made compulsory reading for all couples that are planning on getting married. It will surely bring them down from Cloud no. 9 and face reality. Already married couples will also benefit from it. And one thing I found out is that from all accounts my parents do seem to have quite a great marriage on their hands! They are openly affectionate to each other (sometimes disgustingly so! :D) and they just somehow seem to make it work! Dé would be so proud of them! :)) And the best thing is that her advice can be applied not only within a marriage, but to other relationships too.
There are soooooo many other books that I absolutely love, like the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, ‘The Simoqin Prophecies’ by Samit Basu, ‘Five Point Someone’ by Chetan Bhagat, ‘The da Vinci Code’ by Dan Brown etc., etc. But I’m just going to leave it at these six above.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
The play was entitled Butter and Mashed Banana enacted by three guys from Banglore (or should I say ‘Bangaluru??!), Nakul Krishna, supported by Arjun Shankar and Ajay Krishnan. It was written and directed by Ajay Krishnan. The day after I had watched the play I got to know that butter and mashed banana were used to grease the hangman’s noose!
This play was a part of the Thespo theatre youth festival, started by Quasar Thakore Padamsee and other 20 some things six years ago.
The evening began first with a platform performance that took place in the parking lot of the NCPA experimental theatre. It was entitled The Dissonant and is described as this, “An individual trapped within the flux of life as an unwilling participant in the struggle. Knowledge renders the ultimate truth within grasp, and then – what then?” Needless to say, I did not get what the playwright was trying to convey. I was thoroughly confused with the goings on, as was D. And when this performance got over we heard several people murmuring, wondering, “what the hell was that all about?” Our puny minds could not grasp what these people were trying to portray.
D gave me a dirty look and asked, “Were you ever bored at any performance that I took you to? How about making inquiries about what we will be watching next time?” And when he read the summary of Butter and Mashed Banana and found out that it was about the battle between the Left and the Right, he looked positively resigned to a boring evening!
Now let me tell you what Nakul Krishna, the actor who plays the protagonist had to say about the play: Consider an alternate universe populated by dour hangmen, radical Hindutva types, Marxist feminists and joyless conformists who live by the Cinematograph Act of 1952. All of whom are all too willing to jump up with a ‘Don’t you dare say that!’ Or maybe this universe isn’t that alternative after all… Butter and Mashed Banana is about getting high on the constitutional freedom of speech that allows us the right to choose irreverence as our drug of choice. And might offend a few along the way. Hopefully.
The play was simply brilliant! It was hilarious and at the same time made sure the point was brought across clearly. It is basically about this boy who is born out of one passionate night shared by his parents, his mother being a feminist, while his father is just the opposite, and how he tries to create his own identity.
The interesting thing about the play was that the actors hardly wore any clothes, and by that I mean that they were dressed only in a ganji/vest and pajamas. And the set design was very minimalist too. It consisted of a bed sheet and a pink tub. The actors broke into song in between to propel the story forward, with Ajay Krishnan strumming on the guitar. The supporting actors also wore ghungroos around their ankles.
One of the funniest sequences had Krishna singing the most controversial song of the late 1990s, ‘Sexy, sexy, sexy mujhe log bole’ (People call me sexy) performed by poor Karisma Kapoor, who was crucified after this song was aired! Krishna sang it in this high-pitched voice, which was just too funny! Another funny sequence was one in which the protagonist writes a best seller (which by the way, never gets released in India, because of its ‘controversial’ subject) and is being interviewed by some journalists. One of the journalists actually asks him much to his bemusement about which brand of shampoo he uses!
Yet another good sequence is where the protagonist receives a call from a guy threatening to kill him because of his book to which he asks, “Didn’t you call yesterday?” And the caller is like, “No! That wasn’t me!” And the protagonist says, “Strange! Someone called up yesterday and said exactly the same thing!” Then the caller says that his book is very offending in nature to which the protagonist replies, “Did you actually read my book?” only to be answered by the engaged tone!
Each and every person sitting in the auditorium enjoyed this play immensely, including D! People were rolling in the aisles listening to the very tongue-in-cheek dialogues!
The very same evening there was as awards ceremony before which a local rock band called 'Helga and the Fun Castle' performed. I don’t care much for hard rock music and this experience has just reinforced my view!
Then the awards ceremony started. And which play swept the awards in almost all categories that it was nominated in? Butter and Mashed Banana of course! It received the awards for best supporting actor, best actor, best director and best story. And to think the first 2-3 ideas of the director, Ajay Krishnan were rejected! And most of the girls/women present fell in love with Nakul Krishna, ‘cause he’s so damn cute! ;) (Ok, he does not look all that great in the pic below!)
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Now all I have to worry about is the marks I’m going to receive, and I’m hoping that my prof doesn’t go through it with a fine toothcomb!
I never wanna go through something like this ever again! So I’ve decided that procrastination does not pay, and the next time that I have to do any project I’ll start doing it well in advance. Now I really, really hope that I can stick to my resolve!! :D
Last Saturday I’d gone to the Navjote ceremony of my cousin’s children. To those who are unaware of this ceremony, in short it is a ceremony that all good little Parsi children have to go through to be initiated into the Zoarastrian religion. All of us go through with it when we are 6-10 years old. It’s celebrated on as grand a scale as a marriage.
So anyway, first of all we were late for the ceremony because of yours truly! We were going to start off at 5:30 PM, and I left JJ hospital at 5:45. So instead we started out from home at about 7:00 PM, as any self-respecting girl, I do take some time in getting ready! :))
Anyway, we got there and it was the same old boring do, where I hardly knew anyone at all. My mother was having a nice time chatting up some old buddies of hers. So I spent time arguing with my brother over silly things, and also gawking at all the diamond jewelry the women were displaying. Some of it was really breath taking!
And when we sat down for dinner, guess who I saw??!! Cyrus Broacha! At first I thought it was just someone who looked like him. But the more I stared the more I was sure it was him! Even my mom and brother were like, “That’s Cyrus Broacha!!” He was wearing a pink shirt and gray suit. He had his serviette tucked into his collar, and was tucking into the food with great relish! He actually looked better in person than on TV. Of course, suffice to say, I kept on staring at him all through dinner!! I’m a big fan of his! He’s so hilarious! Most of his jokes are quite silly, but the way he narrates them is too funny!
After dinner we met up with some relatives of my mother. You’d say that I might as well have said “some of my relative”, but the thing is I hardly know anyone from my mother’s side, so it’s hard to think of them as my relatives! Anyway, here was this couple and the woman started speaking to me and was like, “so how are your computer games going?” I gave her a half-blank-half-silly-smile-on-my-face look, and repeated like a goof, “computer games?” For the life of me I couldn’t place this lady at all! I was so completely embarrassed, but went on confidently, “Oh! All that has stopped! I was very busy this past month.” Then she asked me about some online games website that I’d given to her when she had come home. That’s when it hit me who this lady was, and I remembered her at last! Hehe! I’m sure this has happened to the best of us some time or the other!
After this slightly embarrassing encounter we moved onto another group of relatives who I at least know by name and face! Once again, as my mother chatted with them, my brother and I exchanged insults.
Then at last Ma decided that it was time we left, so we made for the exit slowly and painfully, as at every inch there was someone or the other who had to have a word with Ma or Grans. And just as we were leaving the yester years actress, Bindu, walked in with her husband. She sure is tall! She looked really big!
And guess what? We met the father, mother, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, cousins of the two boys whose Navjote we had just attended, eaten the feast and were now leaving; but we never actually met the two boys themselves! :))