Quotes Recalled

As a child and later as a teenager, I had this habit of collecting quotes. I would write them all down in a notebook I’d stitched together from the blank pages of used notebooks from the previous academic year. In those ancient pre internet days I would often come back to a quote either to pep up an essay we’d been set or to introduce a speech as part of an elocution contest I was participating in or simply for the sheer pleasure of it. My notebook of quotes was lost in the several moves that we made from one … Continue reading Quotes Recalled

Some Musings on the Tamil Film Super Deluxe

It has been more than a year since the release of the Thiagarajan Kumararaja Tamil film Super Deluxe. But I suppose one can indulge in some thoughts about it after having watched it recently on an OTT platform. Spoilers Ahead For those who are reading this and haven’t yet watched the film but are planning to there are disclosures about the ending of the film ahead that may spoil your enjoyment of it. Plot The film strings together the stories of an unfaithful wife, three teenagers whose hormones are running high and a transgender who has returned home. It is … Continue reading Some Musings on the Tamil Film Super Deluxe

Policing Memory – Book Review

Yoko Ogawa’s The Memory Police is a dystopian novel set on an unnamed island where the Memory Police disappear things from time to time. The protagonist is a novelist (also unnamed) who lives alone in a house by the river. Both her parents are dead and from as long as she can remember things have been disappeared from the island. The other characters are an old man and R the editor of the protagonist’s novels. The people on the island forget what has been disappeared though not all of them do. They are the ones in danger of being arrested … Continue reading Policing Memory – Book Review

Vignettes From A Literary Festival

From January 30th to February 2nd of this year the well-known Malayalam newspaper Mathrubhumi conducted the Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters (MBIFL). With over three hundred writers participating from different parts of the world and a host of interesting topics for discussion, it was the place to be for people interested in the world of letters. The venue too added to the charm of the festival. Kanakakkunnu Palace in Thiruvananthapuram is ideal to hold such an event as it offers a large enclosed area within which several smaller venues can be set up. Under The Tree Some of the venues … Continue reading Vignettes From A Literary Festival

Favourite Quotes on Reading

Here are some of my favourite quotes on reading: “Books are uniquely portable magic.” – Stephen King. Yes, books are magical and the best thing about them is that you can carry them anywhere and be lost in them; whether you’re travelling or waiting for your turn at the dentist’s. And there is something delicious in being able to surface from this magical world and look at the people around you and pity them about the ordinary everyday world they are part of. “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives … Continue reading Favourite Quotes on Reading

Women and Creativity

The house was being painted. And the painter turned out to be a real chatterbox who jabbered incessantly. Not only would he talk non-stop he would also insist on active listening. Attempts to ‘mmm…’ through his anecdotes were instantly greeted by energetic ‘Are you listening, Madam’ queries.  Not to say that all of his stories were boring. He did have interesting anecdotes to narrate. After much silent eye rolling among other family members I was (predictably) designated official listener. He painted and chattered and well, I listened. All grist to the writer’s mill, I consoled myself. One day he was … Continue reading Women and Creativity

A Song in Perspective

Film music in India is a genre by itself. Songs are a uniquely Indian style of narration in movies. That is just as well. Imagine how much poorer our leisure hours would have been otherwise. The lyrics of many Indian film songs are fine poetry. That is not surprising because many lyricists in different Indian languages are also renowned poets. This is true of Malayalam film music too as it has been especially enriched by the work of lyricists who are also poets of outstanding genius. Vayalar, P. Bhaskaran, O. N. V. Kurup, Yusufali Kechery, Rafeeq Ahamed are the names … Continue reading A Song in Perspective

The Right to Pee

There is this nugget about Mrs Indira Gandhi in Karan Thapar’s ‘Devil’s Advocate’ (page 75). Before leaving for the movies, Mrs Gandhi advises Mr Thapar’s sister to use the washroom as there was no facility at the place they were going.  When his sister asks her how she managed during an ordinary work day or while she travelled, Mrs Gandhi replies that it is very difficult for a woman politician. She managed by drinking all the water that her body needed before going to bed hoping that it would be out of the system before morning. This is a telling … Continue reading The Right to Pee

English Vinglish

The average Malayali has a tortured relationship with English. It’s full of contradictions – love, hate; admiration, envy; desire, indifference. The actress Urvashi commenting during a popular music reality show put it succinctly when she said, “Those who make fun of those who speak English well are actually jealous. They just hide behind a pretense of disdain.” She could not have been more right. Mallus have a strange fascination for and hatred of English. They secretly admire those who speak the language fluently but put on an outward show of dislike. “Oh, come on,” you will hear them say, “There … Continue reading English Vinglish

Favorite Scenes from Endlessly Watched Movies – 1

I thought I’d do a series on some well-loved scenes from some of the movies I’ve watched so many times that I’ve lost count of the number. I’m at my laziest and happiest when watching certain movies again and again. It gives me a feeling similar to that of curling up on a warm unmade bed that I’ve slept in earlier. The characters and their fates are familiar and one is not in for any nasty stomach knotting surprises. And if I’ve something crunchy and spicy to munch on, it’s paradise. I confess to being fiercely regional and parochial when … Continue reading Favorite Scenes from Endlessly Watched Movies – 1