-A window ajar is a prelude in building to the joy of being limitless! That uneasiness of being familiar somehow, sometime, somewhere.......

Monday, April 30, 2007

Will to Success

Often it is wrongly believed that great successes are brought about by great people. Look around you. What is success? It is nothing but an average person doing his average job over an average period of time. Talent on the other hand corrupts not only expectation but also strife.

I say this today because I remember a young man making his cricket debut in Perth long back. He was typically nervous, fiddling onto a sweater his grandmother had knitted for him to mark his debut. Today, if he is successful by any metre or mile , it is not because he is supremely talented but because his will and discipline are stronger than all other gifted men. And then of course there is that most important thing for success. Pride. Pride that burns a heart and drives life forward into a purpose. Pride that isn’t sold as an advert but worn with conviction. Just like that sweater worn almost a decade back which read Ponting plays for Australia.

Friday, April 27, 2007

On lights and lenses:

Being in a generation that has too much information and too little creative instincts, one might find comfort in believing that photography is some superior art form. The fact is , it isn’t. It is nothing more than a skill, just like painting fences or changing tyres. To speak of it elevating it to a creative artform is plainly ludicrous and a reflection of creative sense, or the lack of it in the beholder; if any someone has spent sometime knowing about cameras and photography, with some experience he is eventually bound to become better. Just because he happened to be present in a particular moment of time gives him no right to appropriate that moment or that time as a product of his very own creativity. The little and perhaps only bit of true creativity involved in photography is to be able shed light from a different perspective. In every sense of the word. And Not. I repeat Not capturing a spring flower on a macro or a deep focus of a child with an intent gaze and claiming what a superior artist you are. Because, with your skill, you just partake in an aesthetic premise...with or without creative value, but do not create it.

invest Northern Island Building, Belfast.
Architects: todd architects
Developers: McAleer and Rushe Group
Photographer: Forget It. Inc.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

On the Art of Remembering and Forgetting:

It is like this-

Lurpak unsalted or slightly salted? Hmmm. Salt for bones,for oceans , ah! what makes the seas less saltier than oceans? Oh the sea and the mind of the sea!! Sudden soft feminine hands on shoulders. Shrill of excitement, familiar voice. Surprised, who could this be? Unusual...now...turn back now.

Hello how are you? ermm fine, what’s her name, smile smile. Ha, When are you back here? No just visiting. I’m fine, fine. Ah! she used to work in my previous team, remember she has a tattoo on her arm, what’s er bloody name? Come,come,come Now. I am here just for a few days, a special enquiry, how are you? ....Oh.. Thank you! You look good yourself. Round face, long hair, nose quite economical, unhappy almond eyes, has she done her hair? Smiles a lot , unnecessarily. What’s her bloody name? Tip of tongue, tipotong, tipon No, Come now Please. Oh She is fine , Yeah he is fine too, on a holiday now in Catalunya, yes.
Yes , been around. Ill be here till Wednesday , yeah we should meet up for a drink. Sure Sure. what’s her name, Strange divinity and coincidences, must be getting old, starts with B, name name name?
Yes she was the one who got drunk on blond at the castle arms. Yes that’s her, that face yes, but what’s her name? Bev? No! Shit. Don take chances. Risky and embarrassing- This memory box and the mastered art of forgetting, Oh! Be nice and get over it, high standards.
Right, nice seeing you, you too.
Catch you.
Bye now,
Bye , bye.................yes B.. Brenda...yes , yes.
Hey bye now Brenda,
Brenda Chapman.
It is like this
Back to butter , hmmm slight salted then.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Formula for a Genius

Formula for a genius : Pavel Filonov .

Flowers of the world Blooming, one of the most mesmerising and mysterious paintings I have come across. I yearn to see it in real time and space, oh move Pushkin!!

Extract from one of my posts about Filonov and Analytical Realism:

Thanks to his sister Yevdokiya Glebova who preserved many of the paintings, they resurfaced again under Gorbachev’s Perestroika , opening to the world the thought and art of a man, who is now undoubtedly accepted as the mysterious twentieth century genius.
And a genius he is, for he has extended the definition of human experience by painting both the dejection and beauty of his life beyond the realms of what a canvas can hold.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Lollipop Story:

kid g.........o............e.........s cornershop



Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Myth of Music...

The Germans publish it first .

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Love in a Bathtub

For J,

Love in a Bathtub

Years later we'll remember the bathtub
the position of the taps
the water, slippery
as if a bucketful of eels had joined us ...
we'll be old, our children grown up
but we'll remember the water sloshing out
the useless soap,
the mountain of wet towels.
'Remember the bathtub in Belfast?'
we'll prod each other -

~Sujata Bhatt

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Tempus Roma

Could someone do us all a favour and get Times Roman banned .
Not only it has this ugly 80s look but also sounds like an Italian newspaper.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


Broadness of daylight, shimmering Thames gloriously between appetites of architectural labyrinths speckled by touristy enthusiasm: Arabesque Spanish, Italian, Japanese, and all. London is atavistic someone said once. It is not the need sir but the necessity. You need 113 steps to walk across the bridge. This gulfnesslessness that engulfs all. The dominions and their transcontinental cuisines. Croissants £ 1.29 , chalk-written in a hurry.Polish hands perhaps? Money is what speaks in time and space between the silence of lives. Matter over mind? Metempsychosis: the eternal periodic grumble of the central line, like those Americans who shop along the oxford street ; an air of post-modern fetishisms. Love thy neighbour. But charge for your love, there is no free meal in the world. In Camden a smiling teen offered you cannabis, one of a kind he said. Pure and orgasmic. I want to buy oranges. But they are not the only fruit. Hindus knew it all, the christians applied it and Romans lived it.A mirthless laughter consumes two faces. I walked with friends , friends of friends, lovers, lovers of lovers, lovers of friends, friends of lovers here. Forgiven, Forgotten.Touch and go; our souls: form of forms, our platonic loves. Mystery of sex and birth. Tattoos and innuendos. Introductions and bereavements. So and thus. We and us.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Popcorn papers: Recent Reels

A few thoughts on -

1. Volver:
I think after the first few movies one grows out of Almodavar. To me this happened sometime during the year before last when we did a complete series of his works over a weekend. It was plain evident how limited he was, both in terms of craftsmanship and the personal need to tell a story.

Yet I watched Volver in transit time mainly because of the women-hype-women-act-
Brouhaha- a la Cannes. And simply put it is painfully linear.

But first we shall utilise this opportunity to highlight Mr Almodavar’s colour sense. Or the lack of it. The common technique he often employs is to complement his unrealistic fantastic stories [excluding the first few] with his weirdest and perhaps childhood traumatic colour sense. Anyone who has seen any of his movies would swear they saw many rainbows over the darkness of the theatre.
His world would make any Eastman proud, ooh la la pants, skirts, even suits, in your face distemper settings, multivariegated super-shimmering-technicolor cardboard art with flashy migraine inducing saffron and a nauseous pink not to leave behind- here i am green and hey how about me purple walls and ceilings. Even an Austin Power would be ashamed for the lack of his own colourful imagination. One gets a feeling of a silent spectator to a giant Spanish carnival in a distant alien galaxy. I had always wondered how he would ever handle a funeral scene and in Volver he expectedly remains discreet.
So naturally this sense of drama often spills over to his characters , who always turn out to have stereotypical (hence very predictable) emotional core and nothing else in all the possible dimensions of their personalities throughout the movie, naturally they become wafer shallow and the audience start looking for a fresh chewing gum. So then the only way to hold any interest would be to make the audience emotionally curious by surrounding the story with predictable sellers veiled as sensitive story telling, which is a plain disgrace to the art of cinema*.

Coming to Volver: It is linear , unremarkable and directionless. The story is pastiched with too many themes: old age , sibling jealousy, family as system with a burlee dose of ill handled childhood sexual abuse. The world is focussed into a few streets without any actual demand from the story as such thus narrowing the people into roles. The much spoken of Cannes female cast was average. Acting was okay, not outstanding and definitely not in the bracket of an standing ovation at Cannes. The positives are Penelope Cruz has done a decent job, but I guess any actress with her experience would have. I must mention she looked totally in the skin during the song scene-volver. Except that sequence, its plain predictable when not boring. And about celebrating the great spirit of womanhood , well would say another marketing spin than anything else. There was a zoom shot of Penelope Cruz washing dishes from top sneaked in between without any real need of its presence in the narration. Well spirit of womanhood alright.
If you really want to experience some real family cinema better off with one of Mike Leigh’s , Secrets and Lies would be a damn good start. And if you want to watch the true great big daddy movie of all childhood sexual abuse family just watch that superbly done dogme gift : Tom Vinterberg’s Festen. The fact that the DVD costs around 70 quid even after 12 years of its release speaks reels about it.

*In my thought-school of cinema Almodavar takes the exact inverse or mirror position to that of Orson Welles. The supposed feminist spirit is captured wonderfully in roughly five minutes between Kane and his second wife( Susan is it?) in the picnic scne of Citizen Kane.

Also Almodavar's colours reminds me of Shantaram's Navrang which was made in response to a criticism -- that his movies were colourless and insipid. And what a damn neat craft of a response it was.

2.Little Miss Sunshine:

Watched it because of friends and also Dustin Hoffman raving it as the best from the America last year. Was okay, Nothing special. Would have to say lacking in great creativity but I reckon the husband wife duo who made the movie wanted to tell a simple story than anything else. Surely I would not be tentative to recommend it, certainly worth a watch. Mainly because it portrays a simple believable family in an American town and NOT like what Hollywood would want to construe it to be to the market. Also, it is a pleasure to watch any American movie which is a non-war, non-world-saving-from-disaster, non-political-us-versus-them, non-Adam Sandler storyline.Such is the state of American Cinema. I hope Little Miss Sunshine encourages more stories we want to know about- regular lives in Virginia or Idaho or Denver. Any such thing would be welcome with mercy.


Is plain waste of time. Watched it for Binoche who is aging by the minute. Haneke expects to get away with a hollow storyline without any centre veiling it as some abstract question about moral dilemmas pertaining to past guilts. I would suggest him to buy a good copy (with french susbtitles) of Dogville.
When the movie was done , I was baffled if I had missed out anything, because I felt pretty stupid but a later interview with Haneke confirmed he was just messing about. He has no devotion to give a decent narrative product.
The story is of a suburban French family who start to get mysterious messages and videos and how this impacts on the dynamics of relationships in the family i.e. husband - wife , Parent-Child etc. You must find the subject line interesting at least. Sure. If there is only a core for the story and the plot. To save the suspense there isn’t. The husband, as a six year old boy had apparently contrived and lied to throw out an assumedly orphaned Algerian boy adopted by his parents. And now we are asked to speculate (not confirmed in the movie) that algerian man or his son wants to take revenge by sending some benign drawings and videos repeatedly. No claims or ransoms. And this vicariously results in cracks in the family! Huh! Jeez. Around this a few hots of career , family and socilaization are edited togther to call it a movie. To add more fun, Haneke makes their teenage son accuse his mother of adultery in one completely misinserted scene and leaves it at that. Choose from your own menu. Haneke style!

And throughout, to keep attention levels from dipping, shamelessly he engages the viewer in subtle shock tactics , capped by one blatantly irresponsible scene. One wonders if one is watching a guerrilla warfare documentary except that soon it becomes apparent that Haneke is fighting himself to make up his mind about the storyline.

Positives: Congruous pacing and mysterious last shot which would make a worthy post-movie dinner conversation if you watch it along a few guests. Otherwise, I would not mind leaving it out. Plain tomfoolery.
During the interview, Haneke rambled on unconvincingly between foolish laughs, how he had left so many loose ends making the viewer to ask many questions around childhood guilt to be faced in adulthood. And FIY, Monsieur Haneke conscience develops after ten. One can only feel sorry or bad for actions before that, but never guilty.

On alienated tumours and dishonest eyes:

~Language in itself is simply a mental activity, rather a process to organise and far vitally to convey our perception to others. As an unit of consciousness most of the language would be a flux of personal broken thoughts and feelings. But I think what you are asking me is language as an identity and its relevance to day to day prejudice.

Language though is a learnt system forms one of the core attributes of identity not just in itself but also as an important mirror of socio-cultural values. And more often language becomes a token of prejudices against the latter values. In itself, languages are mutually exclusive and do not foster any negative emotion.

In cultures where language is one of the prime facets of identity, by which I mean circles where in meaningful intercultural exchanges has yet to begin or has just started, language forms a easy symbol for exhibiting any associated prejudice in a sociocultural setting. This would apply to cultures you speak about , as history points out most post-war America and Europe until the defragmentation/ deconstruction theories.

I am reminded of a study which showed that immediately after McCarthyism, Chinese looking for rooms in American hotels were refused in person while accepted when booked over post. These as I see are evolving tangents in an attempt to define and adjust sociocultural roles in the wake of antagonistic challenges. So a Bangalorean pigmy-collecting his detest over a period of time on a North Indian or a Tamilian would be primed to directly react given any available opportunity. The form of the reaction, however is subject to a million personal and communal influences. So a driver may overcharge or a HR may probe further a non-local in an interview or at worst a vehicle with an exotic looking board may be in danger of arson. This would directly lead us to the question of violent expression of prejudice focussing especially on the attack on symbols. In this case that of language. The perception of symbols is one of the great intrigues of human history. I haven’t read or thought as much as I like to have about the topic; I remember Rajesh posting about anatomy of mob violence. A very good authority would be Michel Foucault, and the associated secondary literature he has brought about. The crux is that of process called deindividuation where an individual identity is merged with that of collective action, thus minimising responsibility and hence consequence. E.g. Storming of Bastille, the great Russian revolts from history and any sports violence in recent days.
The other end of spectrum would be that of exercising control and power. Therefore, in cultures where postmodernism and capitalism are central in influencing way of life , language as a means of prejudice is minimal to nil. Prejudice however, being one of the definition of identity from without, would take forms of choice, hence creating an illusion of control. This, means for instance one would hardly see an Italian being discriminated against for his tongue but for his loyalty to a particular football club. In some unfortunate incidents this takes the shape of hostility and violence. Thus , if you pardon a cliché, it comes a full circle.

I remember reading a transcript quite a while back of an interesting talk on sociocultural influences and language between Chomsky and Foucault speaking English and French respectively on Dutch radio! See if you can get hold of it. Quite pertinent.

~ Faces: Hmm, I wonder why people bother so much about reading faces. It is obvious that most face reading is by species instinct and experience, both of which cant be taught. Also, in the eons of hierarchy in civilized populations, most are well adaptable to mask or curtail a real emotion or fake an artificial emotion on the face. So perhaps the whole idea of face reading is bit overrated. I think. So American.

However a few general points we all know would be of symmetry , co-ordination and synchronisation with speech . Of the latter, one mentionable would be the saccades movements of eyeballs. This can be studied scientifically in as a basic Neurolinguistic movements course which would help to gauge the speech and the actual implication in the meaning of a conversation.

I’m sure it could be available somewhere on the net, the basic gist is to watch the face focussing on the eye movements in the context of speech. Outwards and upwards would be visual construction ie fantasy and instantly made up lies. Outwards and upwards to the left would be visual memory. Say recalling a particular space or image relevant to the conversation.
Auditory memory would be left lateral : songs and speech. Internal speech would be left inferior- like conflicts and resolving a dilemma(indecisiveness). This one is particularly useful in negotiations and debates. They also say right inferior is associated with feelings and emotional memory. I have not found this of much use, In fact very few people have this movement in their range. Ill look up the link on these for a detailed explanation. Reckon should be on wiki.

Smile and laughter would be also be a bit useful. But these have strong cultural and class influences hence very little about the individual could be figured from them. Say for instance , Upper class British girl smiling with a brief display of her upper set of teeth can be considered significant while in case of an Iyengar girl in south india it would be the duration of the smile or laughter that would carry any meaning. Again exposure and experience dictates it all. Personally I believe smiles are meant to be enjoyed in an aesthetic sense rather than analytical.

All of these are arbitrary, I’ve known people who being aware of all these practice to remain neutral. Therapists and Police interrogators are trained to remain facially non-judgmental. Its a skill. One other thing to bear in mind would be distance, I reckon a territorial distance of 2m is basic to study faces, to make any reasonable opinion. As I said, the most important would be practice and hence experience; Pecos or Koshys would be a good start, but guess you would be already onto it. Fill up your chicken scrawl notebook that you carry.

One has to always remind oneself that reading faces is an interaction of perceptive values i.e. between two exclusive experiences, so it is absolutely vital in ones own learning interest that he or she has a fairly objective awareness of oneself as well as a good social sense to base the judgement without any figurative bias. So an attractive pair of eyes or a lovely smile would demand a greater effort to eliminate bias. Also, mind you faces mostly reflect emotions, and that too very fleetingly(2-3 seconds); thoughts are usually protected deep down and are always better put into context , body language etc. Even with the emotions , of the 260 odd recognisable human emotions , only six are primary i.e. surprise, anger, disgust, sadness, joy, fear. These are universal, they do not have cultural and language bearings on them. I think this was put forth in a paper in America in the sixties. This remains largely true.

Last but not the least, rule out alcohol, depression and long standing illnesses before bothering about any face . And of course love.

More about eye movements
here and there.

On Deindividuation

Kindly eliminate my bias from the above and make your own.

Of Mice and Women..

Right! Some turn of the events end up making two dull women sit on the ethics review committee and they just eat up my precious time. I not only had to heed to their lack of ability to think but also to their oneupwomanship against each other. Pity.
On the way back, we saw an anvil cloud and when I pointed out to Rob, he asked, what is common to clouds and women? Err? Well if both of them bugger off it would be a lovely day! Anyway, Am calling the day off : resting, catching up with some reading, and just giving my key board all the attention she deserves.

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