Tuesday, February 28, 2006

If you can't stand the kitchen...

I fear that I have gone all* domestic.

And when I do the whole distance-yourself-from-the-situation thing, that fear turns into horror, and then that's me in the corner, cowering in fear, expecting to be hit over the head, by the rabidly feministic eighteen year old, that used to be me.

"Look", I try to reason with her**, "put that cudgel down. I'm sure we can discuss this like adults", and I'm praying like hell that the hormones blazing through her veins haven't taken over all her brain cells.

"You've changed", she says, accusingly..."You used to be strong-willed...and free spirited...and, and you HATED housework!"

"I know, I know! I've been a little...different lately, but it's not what you think", I say, in weak defense. "Look...I'm still a feminist***...and just because I've started spending time...doing...other things...well..."

"Last night, you told the SB that you needed more counter-space in YOUR kitchen." she says, with such scorn in her voice, that I wilt. "You went to bed smiling, and don't think I don't know why!"

What do you mean!? I went to bed smiling because...well...I was happy, okay!? I'd had a good day and I'm allowed to smile when I'm happy, dammit!

Ha! Rubbish! I *know* why.

What?! I mean...I don't know what you're talking about!

You checked the fridge before you went to bed! You smiled...at the bread and cheese and eggs. You even patted the packet of mushrooms fondly. Don't lie to me! I saw you!!

"Alright alright! It's true...all of it! It...It's like a disease okay? I can't help myself! I wake up in the morning, and I want to *make* things. Fluffy, cheesy omelettes with little mushroomy bits of goodness, served up next to slices of toast in melty butter shawls...stacks of golden brown pancakes dripping maple syrup...stuffed-to-the-seams parathas with cold yoghurt and mint chutney..."

Don't try to distract me! You don't fool me with your little tricks you know. I know you! Hell, I AM you! Or, used to be at least...until you turned into this.

Don't talk like that! You don't know what it's like! You don't know how it feels to walk into the fresh foods' section and see all the produce just sitting there...the plump, juicy tomatoes...mocking you with their sheer availability...and the iceberg...so fresh that your teeth almost ache with wanting to crunch it up.

And I can't stop! I see these things...and then I see everything they could be. One minute I'm looking at shiny purple aubergines and the next minute...I can almost taste the baingan ka bharta. Smoky, with the slight tang from the tomatoes...scooped up with pieces of flour-dusty rotis...

"You're doing it again, you're trying to distract me..." she says, but with less scorn now and more...is it hesitation? Hunger?

I see my chance and take it.

"Wait", I tell her, as I rustle up something. I place the dish in front of her with all the flourish of a magician pulling out doves from silk scarves. She eats one spoonful, then another and soon the plate is empty, and she's full.

After a long silence, she asks, "You...enjoy doing this? Making food? Feeding people?".

In between broken sobs, I confess. "I do...but please, *please* don't tell anyone!

The look on her face says, "You're WEIRD woman, but as long as you can cook like that? I'll live with it."

We're aware that it's an uneasy truce, but we shake hands all the same. I breathe a sigh of extreme relief - I have my kitchen back and she has her hormones.

*Okay, not all domestic...I don't do any of the other stuff.
**Yes, I have conversations with my past selves. You ought to try it sometime.
***See, I used to be the kind of person who thought cooking implied domestication implied encouraging gender stereotyping. Yes, well, I wasn't the brightest teenager in the box back then.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Things that make me go - Aaaarrgghhh! Stop!! Somebody! Make it go away!!

1. Koel Poorie
Or Puri. Or Pourrie. Or Puree or whatever. A puri by
any other name, is just as heart-attack-inducing. But I'm rambling.

This is a pretty woman. With fabulous skin and lovely, lovely arms.
An immensely talented one too. How many women do you know, who have the ability, to make you want to curl up into a foetal position, and run away screaming and tear your hair out, strand by excruciating strand, all at the same time*?

Yeah. She's that good.

I watched the film Mixed Doubles recently, and while it's a decent enough movie, the aforementioned Koel Poorie, froze the blood in my veins. Now, I can understand, that she's playing a slightly eccentric character, but even if you are eccentric, I would assume that if you are doing the whole role-playing deal, you will be a little...well...involved in it? And okay, maybe she's not really into role-playing, but isn't that where this little thing called 'acting', enters the picture? I have heard more passion and longing infused into a "Pass the salt please", than in her throaty and (purportedly) seductive, "Come here and kiss me".

She played a similarly eccentric character in the completely obscure movie, called White Noise which was where little seeds of despair and disbelief were first sown.

"This woman is allowed in front of a camera? Which has a real person at the other end of it? And which will eventually lead to many more people seeing her awful impersonation of a person acting? Will mankind's propensity for sadism never cease?"

I wonder if there's a reason why she's consistently offered woman-completely-off-her-rocker roles. Could it be that she has to be offered a role (maybe filmdom works in mysterious ways?) and the producers reason that, since there are few definitive traits of women-completely-off-their-rockers, maybe no one will notice?

Well I have news for you producers...people notice. And they feel pain. And to paraphrase Shylock’s plea: Hath not a movie-goer eyes? Hath not movie-goers hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? And if you show them Koel Poorie acting, do they not gouge their eyes out?

But perhaps she's not all to blame. Perhaps a long long time ago, when she was a just a little disaster...ummm...I mean, girl, someone (probably a kind old-completely-off-her-rocker lady) told her, that she ought to become an actress. Now, being young and impressionable (and minus any signs of brain activity), she took that suggestion seriously. And damn the glaring lack of acting talent! Who needs acting talent when you're facing a camera? Absolute humbug, I tell you!

Kind old-completely-off-your-rocker lady, I'm coming after you. With a hatchet.

I thought of two more! -
1. Madhuri Dixit, in the abyss of her Sooraj Barjatya-ness...wearing red frilly dresses, and singing wince-inducingly tuneless songs about 'Chocolate, Lime Juice, Ice-cream and apparently, 'Toffeeyan'. Aaaarrgghh!!

2. Kareena Kapoor, as 'Poo' (well, at least THAT part's true) in the Karan Johar conducted, three-hour painfest, deceptively titled, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham.
*weeps silently*

2. Fashion Designers...
and phrases like 'White is the new Black'.

What?? And I mean, what?!

What ARE you, people-who-make-such-statements? Blind as a small, winged, nocturnal marsupial?

Okay, I *get* that this is what the 'Global Fashion Forecast' says but when, o when, are Indian Fashion designers going to realise, that the GFF is essentially a bunch of white skinned people (not that I have anything against them, mind you), making colour and silhouette forecasts, for other white skinned people? Makes sense, doesn't it? That you wouldn't really design for people, who cannot wear your clothes, without looking like something that crawled out of UFO wreckage?

Indian designers, on the other hand, consider the GFF, the word of God.

If lemon yellow has been declared (by the GFF) the 'New Black', then screw the fact that it makes brown skin look choleric! Who cares about looking good! Let no one accuse us of not being 'With It'! Let there be a sudden profusion of lemon yellow pants, shirts, blazers, skirts, sunglasses and ties in every single designer boutique! Fill the streets with with people sporting The Cholera Look!

You'll see one lemon yellow clad body...then two...and then, lemon yellow clad bodies everywhere you turn! Like some genetic mutation experiment gone horribly, terribly wrong.

If skin-hugging has been declared the silhouette of the year, then every single designer outfit will be designed on the basic premise of, 'hug skin or die', and never mind that what it's hugging looks more like the Venus of Willendorf, rather than any of the sculpted bodies walking the Paris ramps. Can you imagine? Lemon yellow fertility figurines everywhere you look? It's like a bad dream. And one that you can't wake up from, until the next bloody season!

And if that isn't bad enough, these Lemon Yellow Skin-Hugging abominations will have price tags, the likes of which you can probably find on the Kohinoor diamond. Or sleek red sports cars.

The logic behind this kind of pricing, is apparently that, you're paying for exclusivity.
What I want to know is, doesn't the fact that an *individual* is donning the garment, give it 'exclusivity'?

But then, there are people who pay for these things and so what if I think they're a bunch of daft buggers. Stupid rich people exist, so people cater to them. Seems like a fairly sound business proposition - Get the SRP's to pay gazillions, for something you've spend twenty bucks on...brilliant actually!

Career option number two, here I come.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Rang De Basanti

We're back!

And most happy to be so.

Ah! To be met each morning, by the fragrance of coffee (brewed sinfully strong) and a crinkly newspaper (forgive me Emerald Isles, I could not love thee so much, loved I, not caffeine more)!

And though there are probably a million better ways for a comeback, we shall go the obligatory-post-on-Rang-De-Basanti way (since that's what we most gleefully, hopped, skipped and bunked office for. A whole hour and a half early too!).

There there, Mr. Prufrock...shush now. We have watched, hence we must review, but we promise to make it short.

We liked the movie.

And we *loved* the title track.
For Prasoon Joshi's beautiful lyrics.

"Thodisi dhool meri, dharti ki mere watan ki
thodisi khushbu bahurai si, mast pavan ki

thodisi dhonkani vaali dhak-dhak dhak-dhak dhak-dhak saansein
jin mein ho junoon junoon voh boondein laal lahu ki"

For Rehman's authentic (as sarson-da-saag te makki-di-rotti) music.
And for Daler Mehndi's earthy, bursting-with-energy rendition of it.

It made me want to get up and *dance*. With utter abandon. And utter disregard for - 1) the fact that I don't have a punjabi bone in my body, and non-punjabi bones just cannot do the bhangra, and 2) the accompanying picture of five feet zero-inches of chocolate pudding, giving the impression of being electrocuted. Oh you can laugh! But just try telling me that you heard the song and your shoulders didn't start going bop-bop-bop to the beat (however subtly). And that your feet didn't show a sudden aversion to being in contact with the floor. Go on, try.

Ha! Knew you couldn't!

We also really liked the track 'Khoon Chala'. Soft, sweet and fist-sized-lump-in-throat evoking. Somewhat reminiscent of Mirza Ghalib's-
"Ragon main daudte rehne ke hum nahin kaayal,
Jab aankh hi se na tapka, to phir lahu kya hai."

One of the more poignant parts of the movie is a sepia scene between Kunal Kapoor (as Ashfaqullah) and Atul Kulkarni (as Ram Kumar Bismil). Kulkarni is trying to convince Kapoor to escape to Iran (or some Islamic country, I can't remember which one), saying "Vo tumhare apne hain", and Kapoor, burning with angst, and hurt and heartache that you can hear in his voice, asks, "Main tumhara apna nahin?".

This is a man to watch out for.

The fact that we have trouble disguising our drooling, is of course, a trivial and irrelevant matter (another post on this, soon).

So, to conclude an immensely un-analytical and un-informative review, we say, we loved it. It's a really good movie and if you haven't already, go watch it now. (See Mr. Prufrock? *Short*)

**I don't know what this word means. Can anyone help, please?

Apparently, there's more than that one word I didn't know the meaning of.

1. Baurai - No such word.
The word is Bahurai, and is derived from the urdu Bahr (or bahur) which means, 'of the sea'.
Hence, Thodisi khushbu bahurai si = The smell of the sea

2. Dhonk Nirali - No such word
The word is dhonkani, which means, bellows.
So, Thodi si dhonkani vaali saansein = The bellows of breath (or the breath used as bellows).

You live, you learn.