July 5, 2010
February 6, 2009
As a result of having half a lifetime’s experience of being the target of insults from a very wide variety of people: of all ages, classes, castes, nationalities, sexes, religions, etc. (a large and very representative sample), the writer of this blog has made the discovery that the quality of insults hurled out by someone is a very good and very accurate indication of that person’s intelligence and imagination. This more general part of the discovery is less disturbing. It’s almost as satisfying as any scientific discovery.
The more specific part of the discovery, however, is very disturbing, even though it shouldn’t really be so very unexpected. This specific part is that the vast majority of the people hurling insults is completely lacking in imagination and seems to have very low intelligence as reflected in the quality of their insults. The writer can say without hesitation that at least 95% of the insulters will qualify as mentally challenged. Severely. And that’s a conservative estimate.
As any reader of this blog could have noticed, the writer of this blog is not a very modest person. And he claims to have extraordinary ability to come up with highly creative insults that can send even a person of strong temperament reeling with emotional pain. But, for some reason, he keeps this extraordinary power of his under very tight control, so much so that it is rarely exercised, at least against individuals.
But he is disheartened by the depressingly dismal quality of insults hurled out by others at him.
Show some imagination folks. Some intelligence. Don’t be (in your good language) so damned fucking stupid. So (in your average language) damned fucking re-tards. So (in your still more average language) damned fucking fagots.
He can give you a clue for coming up with good insults: Truth Helps.
And don’t tell me that this discovery is not really novel. I now suspect that of every discovery.
July 13, 2008
Internet is giving rise to some brand new genres and giving life to some others. The genre I am going to refer to in this post has definitely been revived with extraordinary vigour (vigor for the dominant party), if it is not a new genre.
This genre is called Anonymous Abuse. It’s quite like terrorism, but it involves much less risk. You can be as dastardly cowardly as it is possible for a human being to be, which is saying quite a lot. In fact, there are no risks involved.
There is a particular elite variety of this genre which involves a person in a very safe position at the abusing end and a person in a not very safe position at the receiving end. Naturally, this is even more dastardly cowardly, just like the worst kind of terrorism, minus any risk again.
Even if you surf the net randomly you are likely to find whole sites full of such abuse. But if you go to places like certain kinds of ‘forums’, you will get more on one forum than you would probably have the stomach to read. Forums of news magazines are one such example, especially those which are not moderated much or at all.
So, from now on, I will, once in a while, present gems of this genre. I can do this freely as the person, by choosing to remain anonymous, has implicitly given me the right to reproduce his (or her) stuff. The anarchist in me likes this.
Here is the first gem I found on the Outlook magazine website. One reason I have selected it is that it is probably written by someone on the campus, but more importantly (for me) it might just be the first ‘creative’ spoof that someone has taken the trouble to write that is possibly (even if very very remotely and, of course, mistakenly) connected to either me or what I have been doing and writing.
So here it goes. Verbatim.
Daily Letters | 4 Jun, 2008 07:08:31AM (IST)
It was a great Himalayan assault by the Congress Party that has put Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary to shame. It was the conquering of the Supreme Court and planting a Scheduled Caste judge as the CJI making it a Scheduled Court or Scheduled Caste court, as you like, for all future quota purposes. The political class rejoiced. Everything has been going as per the plan. With no unity or integrity left in the people except their quota greed to preserve nothing could now stop the Congress to cobble a measly majority of “like-minded” parties when the LS polls are over next year.
As the hunchbacked HRD evil Sherpa Tenzing Hillary sat with his Congress cronies giving finishing touches to his another magnificient Himalayan assault plan of SCHEDULEFYING the Indian Army post 2009 they heard a jarring noise. “What was it?” asked the Sherpa hunchback. An aide whispered. It was the Gujjars who were burning Delhi in support of their Rajasthan brothers. The strange noise was unsettling to Tenzing Hillary as even during the doctors stir in Delhi the noise was at low decibel with police slaves handling it firmly and nicely. As his nerves jingled, a courier came: Sir, you are wanted at the durbar of Empress Sonia. You are being called to explain leaking of the Congress secret of Rahul becoming the next prime minister.
As the evil hunchbacked Sherpa limped his way to the sanctum sanctorum of Her Majesty Empress Sonia he was quietly ushered into Her august presence as she sat flanked by her confidantes Jayanti and Renuka.
The kow-towing came very naturally to this born evil owing to his congenital deformity. A durbar attendant finally managed to steady the boulder from kow-towing to his death.
As the Empress stared at the hunchbacked evil incomprehensibly like a Sphinx sitting on the hot sands of Egypt, the jarring Gujjar noise grew louder and louder to an ear-splitting cacophony. The Evil Sherpa muttered helplessly that could be barely heard by the Empress. It sounded something like “FOR WHOM THE EIGHT BELLS TOLL? Jayanti understood it a shade faster as she spat: “It tolls for thee!” Renuka furious that Jayanti had beaten her to the draw by a micro second hit back with venom. And for once in her life spoke the truth: “C’mon Jayanti, you think you know everything. It tolls for us”
As the evil boulder was being slowly dragged limping away after a mild warning to his morbid cabin he wondered if he and his comrade-in-arm Chidambaram had done enough to keep the throne of his Empress secure from shaking.
You don’t get it? What’s the matter? Don’t you like the way the abuser shows contempt for the Dalits as well as the Gujjars (not to mention the Supreme Court or Victor Hugo or Tenzing or Hillary or John Donne or Hemingway or even the Sphinx, for God’s, I mean, Abuse’s sake)? Can’t you appreciate his humor (humour for the non-dominant party) at the expense of the physically deformed? Don’t you see the wonderful ‘Tenzing Hillary’ part? So blatantly racist. How lovely. In this age when people have found extremely innovative ways of hiding their racist and other such tendencies, doesn’t this blatancy come as a breath of fresh air? And the sexism. Good old stuff. But it may be a bit mild for some. What about xenophobia against the Nepalis? Isn’t that impressive?
Some people have a Muse. Some others have an Abuse.
You would have to know a lot of Indian history if you want to make anything of the reference to ‘doctors’ stir’ and the ‘police slaves’ in this particular context. Believe me, I know a whole lot about this. I could write ten books about this, but I won’t. I won’t survive.
No points for guessing that the abuser is a high caste elite professional. You will have to give it to him that he can at least string together more or less grammatical sentences. This is not a characteristic that is very common among the Anonymous Abusers. Because those who can, use their talent (and here I mean for Anonymous Abuse) in a manner that pays.
So what if the abuser doesn’t make any sense? So what if the abuser might make even Congress party haters and right wing ‘democrats’ and ‘liberals’ flinch? So what if even Narendra Modi or Praveen Togadia won’t dare to openly support this abuser.
Make no mistake. This is coming from what is called India’s Best. India’s Crème de la Crème. India’s Very Meritorious Class.
To be frank, I don’t like any of the individuals mentioned (by name) in the above abuse, except perhaps Tenzing and Hillary who climbed the Everest for the first time. And I would hate to see the Congress in power again. (Yes, I would hate to see the BJP in power even more).
But I like this stuff, though not for the above reason.
I am happy to post it here. I hope there is more.
As Ali G. would say, Respect!
March 13, 2008
March 7, 2008
It makes us feel that we are all extras in somebody else’s movie.
That’s a comment someone made about the movie I am going to write about today. I am not the kind of person who likes to watch the same movie again and again. But there are exceptions. So I do watch some movies more than once. And this one is a movie I have watched the second highest number of times.
From what I have written so far about movies, the regular readers of this blog (assuming there are any), might have got the impression that I am a very dry kind of person. Always talking about serious movies. And always talking about only the serious (political, philosophical, psychological) themes in all movies.
I am not going to do that in this post. Not because I want to prove something (there goes an apology). Just that this particular movie doesn’t have anything serious to say about life. And, therefore, I don’t have anything serious to say about the movie either. (Well, yes, this is more of an exaggeration than a literal truth).
But I still have watched this movie the second highest number of times (for me of course). And will definitely watch it again. More than once.
Like the other movie that I have watched the highest number of times (for me of course), this movie too was a big surprise.
In how many non-Indian movies will you find a Punjabi folk song on the soundtrack? A song like the one transcribed below.
This is one other very unusual unme-like thing I am going to do in this post. Transcribing the lyrical and poetic parts of the soundtrack of a non-serious movie. There might be some mistakes in the transcription (there goes a disclaimer), but then I won’t be the only one to do that (there goes an excuse). Just a few days ago I bought a sackful of second hand books (all in English: good Hindi books don’t have a market, even a second hand market) from a roadside Sunday book bazaar. One of the things I bought was a booklet titled ‘Joyful Hearts (For Private use only)’. It had lyrics of popular songs in several languages, all transcribed in the Latin script. One of them (California Dreamin’) is on the soundtrack of the movie I am writing about. I too have transcribed it below, but I have done so from the movie. The version in the booklet wrongly contains the word ‘in a lay’ instead of ‘in L.A.’. Actually, the task for me was easier (for English songs) because the subtitles also had the lyrics. But the Hindi and Punjabi words I had to transcribe on my own. And if I remember correctly, even the subtitles had some mistake in the transcription of an English song.
Anyway, here is the Punjabi folk song:
पिपलां दी ठंडी-ठंडी
सत्थ मैनूं लग्गे
मैं वी उन पुच्छ के
बैर कर दी
So, how many foreign (non-Indian) movies will have this kind of real and really beautiful folk song that is hard to find even in India? (I am talking about music more than the words. Unfortunately, I can’t transcribe the music).
Even in an India where, while Punjabi as a distinct language is going down the extinction path as much as any other language except the lucky handful, certain aspects of Punjabi culture are making inroads even in the South. And music is one of those aspects. But, tragically (I mean it: I don’t use words lightly), the Punjabi music that is proliferating is of the worst kind.
And how many foreign movies will have light classical Hindustani music with words like this:
बदरवा बरसन लाई
लाई फूहारों की लड़ाई
पवन चलत पुरवाई
As this is Hindustani classical music, even if light one, the words give very little indication of the beauty of the music. Unless you have a gift for discovering the music hidden within the words. A well known Hindi film music director used to say that all songs (i.e., lyrics) have music hidden within them. You just have to find that music and you can get the right composition for the song. I think he was at least partially right (there go weasel words).
But the one that follows takes the cake. In how many movies will you find hardcore poetry in hardcore standard Hindi. The shuddh Hindi. The pure Hindi. Even I don’t understand everything in this poem. And, I am ashamed to say, I don’t even know whose poem it is.
गर्जन भैरव संसार
हँसता है बहता कल कल
देख देख नाचता हृदय
बहने को महाविकल बेकल
इस मरूर से
इसी शूर से
सघन भूर गुरू गहन रूर से
मुझे गगन का दिखा
सघन वह छोर
राग अमर अंबर में भरने जरूर
ए वर्ष के हर्ष
बरस तू बरस पर तरस खा कर
मार दे चल तू मुझ को
बहार दिखा मुझ को
गर्जन भैरव संसार
हँसता है नर खल खल
बुद बुद कल कल
देख देख नाचता हृदय
This poem, like other songs in the movie, is played in more than one bits and is employed as the musical theme of a certain bit of the ‘story’.
There is not much of a story though. What you see in this movie, what made me watch it the second highest number of times, and what made this one of Tarantino’s favorite movies, is simply cinematic magic.
Magic created out of photography, choreography, composition, colors, music, musical words and romance. Simple almost unreal and surreal romance made magical.
By the way, the movie is called ‘Chung King Express’ and is directed by Wong Kar Wai. And it stars a very good looking star cast consisting of Brigitte Lin, Tony Leung Chiu Wai (the smaller, who is a bigger super star than the bigger Tony Leung of ‘The Lovers’), Faye Wong (who was already a pop star), Takeshi Kaneshiro (who actually knows four languages and uses them all in this movie) and Valerie Chow.
The movie also has a song from one of Faye Wong’s albums which I couldn’t transcribe as I neither know the language nor the script.
I have a feeling that this movie has influenced a lot of people working in the realm of popular culture.
It is also influenced by a lot of other creations by other people working in the realm of popular culture.
It’s not every day
We are gonna be
The same way
There must be a change
There are bad times
And good times too
So have a little faith in
What you do, oh yeah
Getting happy, yeah
I want you to understand, yeah
The movie actually has two interwoven stories (CLICHE!). Roger Ebert may be right in saying that watching this movie is a cerebral exercise as you like this movie because of what you know about it, not what it knows about life.
But Roger Ebert can be horribly wrong sometimes. Like when he wrote a review of Malena. I will just quote Michael DeZubiria to point out how unbelievably wrong the best known movie reviewer in the world can be (there goes a marathon digression):
Roger Ebert wrote probably the most idiotic review I’ve ever seen him come out with about this movie. He missed the point of this movie even more than he missed the point of Memento, and his review of that movie was like a blind man describing a shooting star. He describes Malena as a schoolteacher “of at least average intelligence, who must be aware of her effect on the collective local male libido, but seems blissfully oblivious.”
Roger, seriously, are you joking? BLISSFULLY?? Did you sleep through this movie?
She almost never speaks at all and never displays even the slightest hint of a smile. Given the extent of her depression and stifling sadness, it is astounding to me that anyone in their right mind could attach the word “blissfully” to any element of her character.
I know what that’s like though, because sometimes I completely miss something about a movie and I think that something else is the stupidest thing in the world because of it, at least until someone explains what I missed and then it all makes sense. Watch Malena, for example, walking through the central square in town at any point in the movie. If you think she keeps her eyes on the ground directly in front of her because she is in a state of pure, ignorant bliss, then trust me. You are missing something.
I don’t know if Malena was actually unaware of the effect that she had on the townspeople, but I find it nearly impossible to believe that she did. That thought actually never even occurred to me until I read Roger Ebert’s gem of a review. Her behavior struck me much more like someone who had been dealing with such behavior from the men around for her whole life. I doubt very much that she doesn’t understand the concepts of human physical attraction.
Coming back to the current movie, I can say with a crystal clear conscience (I don’t like to lie too much) that this is one of the best movies about plain and simple ‘love’ type romance.
What a difference
A day makes
Twenty four little hours
Brought the sun and the flowers
Mmm, where there used
To be rain
My yesterday was blue, dear
Today I am a part of you, dear
My lonely nights are through, dear
Since you said you were mine
Lord, what a difference
A day makes
There’s a rainbow before me
Skies above can’t be stormy
Since that moment of bliss
That thrilling kiss
It’s heavens when you
On your menu
What a difference
A day made
And the difference
But then it is a movie by the master of nostalgia. Wong Kar Wai can make you feel extremely (I don’t use adjectives or adverbs lightly) nostalgic even about places where you have never been. He can even make you feel nostalgic twice removed. In this movie he first makes you nostalgic about Hong Kong (even if you have never been there) and then he makes you feel nostalgic about California (even if you have never been there) from Hong Kong. And all this time you (there goes projection) are sitting in a man made cave in India.
All the leaves are brown
And the sky is gray
I’ve been for a walk
On a winter’s day
I would be safe and warm
If I was in L.A.
On such a winter’s day
Stopped into a church
I passed along the way
Well, I got down on my knees
And I pretend to pray
You know the preacher likes cold
He knows I am gonna stay
On such a winter’s day
If I didn’t tell her
I could leave today
On such a winter’s day
I was (along with the person who gave that movie to me) fascinated by the soundtrack of another one of Wong Kar Wai’s movies, ‘In the Mood for Love’. But ‘Chung King Express’ beats even that movie. It has one of best soundtracks in the history of movies. In fact, I have watched it sometimes just for the soundtrack. And I am not really crazy about movie soundtracks.
Tarantino has claimed that everyone that he knows who watched this movie (he only knows men, or, more likely, he only counts men) had a crush on Faye (who is named Faye in the movie too).
A tribute from the king of cinematic non-serious violence to the king of cinematic non-serious romance.
So, whenever you want romance on your menu, go to Wong’s. They serve the best there. You will find yourself visiting frequently.
Even if there was nothing else, I will still watch this movie to listen to the Hindi poem being played on the TV, accompanied on the soundtrack by many other sounds.
Hindi poem on cinema. Foreign cinema. Now there’s a rare thing for you if there ever was one. Even if it forms the backdrop of an almost comic botched small time drug smuggling operation involving many very bad looking lower class ‘Indians’ who are actually Pakistanis.