The night. Black. Dead. Two people in a room. Awkwardness giving in to passion. Tongues exploring each other slowly, then surely. Two explorers caught in an alternate world of smoke, darkened rooms and unimagined heat, seeking unknown pain and gentle pleasures, tasting salt and manna dancing in the inner recesses of their mouths. Oblivious of the night, and of each other, they dance the dance with the opposite body.
The morning. Nothing remains of the night before. The blackness is gone and death, for the moment, seems to have vanished. In place of two people, one person remains. The woman, standing by the window, gazes at the brown sea, the dirty little boats and the piles of fish waiting to be sold, and sees nothing. It has become a habit now. Last night was but one night among many. The same story with one constant protagonist, her and an ever changing credits list at the other end. Continue reading
By – Ajay Patri
Why do we watch a Quentin Tarantino film? Certainly not for the plot or the story, right? I would watch them because the man knows how to tell a story and tell it well. Those thoughts were running through my mind after I saw Andrew Dominik’s Killing Them Softly almost three weeks back (I didn’t for the life of me have the time to write this before due to exams and now that they are over, I don’t have anything better to do).
It was International Day of the Girl Child, a couple of days back. It hurts, that we have to create awareness about something as fundamental, and it hurts, when even today, my anaesthesiologist mother regularly gets questions asked, like- “Two daughters? That’s it? No sons? Aren’t you a doctor? Didn’t you try?” There’s so much said, and that can be said, about sex selective abortion and discrimination against the girl child, that I’m not going to write about it today. But it hurts, when a representative of the people, declares that child marriage is a solution to the crime of rape, and it hurts, when a fourteen year old girl is shot, on the way back from school, for demanding that girls be allowed to go to school.
In the past couple of years, I’ve taken some assorted shots of girls I’ve met along the way, and I thought I’d compile them as a short photo-essay, in honour of International Day of the Girl Child, and dedicated to the indomitable Malala Yousafzayi.
By – Ajay Patri
The class is boring and he feels exhausted. He sits on the fourth row with his eyes half-closed, his head drooping. The professor stands in front of the screen, talking in a monotonous drone about ancient obscure cases without a single pause. Her voice wafts over the length of the class, a mass of students struggling to pay attention. Some of them have given up, succumbing to the comforts of the wooden desk in front of them and the half-realised dreams of the night before. The others make a valiant effort to stay awake, some of them going so far as scribbling in their notebooks with a feverish obsession.
He looks at his watch and groans in a low voice at realising that fifty more minutes would be spent in the confines of this classroom. He frets about in the uncomfortable chair, his unease compounded by the warmth of the day. The creaking ceiling fans are useless; the ceiling is too high and the room too large for them to have any palpable effect on the sweating, somnambulant crowd of students below.
By: Vikram Shah
The Bombay Reporter
May in Bombay is a hot, but not brooding month. Brooding would imply a sense of lurking, of watching from the shadows. May in Bombay stings you straight in the nape. Sweat trickles like little geckos down the small of your back, leaving a ring of moisture around the waistband of your trousers. How do I remember that it was in May that I was first put on the Kaleja Khooni case by Rustom Kharabjee, editor of The Bombay Reporter? Well, it’s because I remember there were geckos running down my back when I got off the bus at Fountain, and walked to our dingy offices on the third and fourth floors of Ghazal Chambers. The Bombay Reporter was a smallish publication, but there was one group of Bombay men whose days would not begin without scanning its grisly pages: the film producers. This was the seventies, a time when Russy Bhai’s desi version of gonzo journalism with the Blitz had lost its allure. Rustom’s particular interest lay in sensational crimes. His other particular interest was in blurring the line between fact and fiction. That explains why his pages were a favourite with the men who made movies. The seed for not a few blockbusters was sowed when a producer would peruse the headlines with his morning tea, wicker-chair seated, in a Juhu bungalow.
– Srikanth Mantravadi
“….my knees dissolved in the anhydride rush that disconnects neurons from nerve endings, obliterates bone and tissue, and removes anxiety by removing all possibility of pain. I thought: If pain is the thing shared by all living creatures then I’m no longer human or animal or vegetal; I am unplugged from the tick of metabolism; I am mineral.”
Jeet Thayil’s Narcopolis is a haze of a book where illusion and delusion wash over reality, sometimes the former consuming the latter and sometimes the latter subsuming the former, to evoke the sort of nihilistic profoundness that so many writers seek to achieve. Thayil writes in short phantasmagorical dreamscapes giving the narrative a fleeting, ephemeral quality and brings the subterranean nooks and crannies of the city to the forefront, the Shuklaji Street with its decadent opium dens and prostitute houses. This is obviously not a complete picture of the city; it is in fact about the overlooked parts of the city; the parts only few know about, most want to ignore and some want to forget. Continue reading
Okay, the song ‘Navrai Majhi Ladachi Ladachi ga‘ is stuck in my head; I just got back from watching English Vinglish. I need to get this out of the way, I am so glad that there’s finally a wedding song with strong Marathi intonations! My evident bias aside, this film has a lovely and unassuming, appropriate soundtrack.
If you want to watch an honest, feel-good and profoundly simple film, go watch English Vinglish. The film has no complex storyline or plot. It’s a description of the course of events centred around the protagonist- Shashi Godbole, played by Sridevi, and the trials and joys she encounters in the face of her family, her interests, her exploration of New York City, and her conquest of English. And this description makes for a delightful watch.