Faff

On Movies

Caught the trailer of Conviction recently. The background score for that (tres cult as that is) has been lifted from here. And here. Which is just a wee bit sad!

Maximus Decimus Meridius might have put on a fair bit of fat. And, a double chin. And, have been reduced to browsing Youtube tutorials. But for all that, the man still packs a mean enough punch

The 39 Steps. Criterion. Farce. Genius.

P.S. Something I was reading recently suggests the best way of combatting a vampire is to steal one of their socks. Point being that vampires are insanely anally-retentive, and would therefore be unable to function if they can’t locate that sock thingie. Well, I have lost two socks, heck, two friggin’ differently-coloured socks, in the last month or so. And it is BLOODY pissing off. Wonder if people would notice me tramping around in mismatched socks!

P.P.S. Is currently involved in a full-on battle of attrition with his cellphone. I currently enjoy a slim lead but Motorola’s catching up fast!

P.P.P.S. Istanbul’s good. But I still prefer Snow.

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Life

My laptop’s power adapter caught fire last night! I can charge my mobile phone if and only if it is inclined at an angle of 82 degrees to the horizontal (apart from the fact of course that it is operational only on speakerphone mode)! And my digital camera can easily give Methuselah a good run for his money in antiquity stakes!

In short, life (including most electronic appliances associated with it) is absolutely and irrevocably conked out 🙂

For all that though, I still somehow contrive to land up in places like these:

Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

 Istanbul, teşekkür ederim 🙂

Where I Search for a Suitably Diwali-esque Bollywood Number

Its just a tad surprising, you know. Holi probably has something like a zillion odd songs to its name, Diwali on the other, hardly has any to talk about. Frankly, this is the only one I can think of:

Which is just a wee bit sad. I think if I was Diwali, I would have been pretty pissed! Seriously, if the only song I had to my name was from a movie having Boman Irani dressed as Santa Claus, and where the plotline revolved around a jackass trying to con his way out of paying the pizza-delivery boy, I would have been furious 🙂 

In other news, I am heading to India tomorrow.

And One for TT

Back in University, the Skulker and I had penned something called “The TT Chronicles” for our Yearbook. It was verbose, it was wordy, probably had enough adjectives to fill out a goodly-sized Wren & Martin, and was more or less, absolute tripe. It also took a fair number of potshots at some people which were perhaps not appreciated, and did not take one potshot which was definitely not appreciated 🙂 But as usual, I digress.

Today, I came across an article in FT along somewhat similar lines. Ok, maybe not! But ’twas about TT and much good it was 🙂 

I give you Ping Pong with the FT: Harry  Evans. And a short extract therefrom:

Top Five: Ping-pong joints

 Spin New York: With backing from the likes of Susan Sarandon and Edward Norton, Spin’s 2009 opening symbolised ping pong’s new-found celebrity appeal.

 Spin Hollywood: This west coast branch, in LA’s Mondrian hotel, offers coaching from table tennis champion-turned-fashion model Soo Yeon Lee.

The New York Table Tennis Club: Former champions Alex Tam and Deng Yaping are among the members at this Flushing venue.

The Fleapit: Micro-brewed beer and “tunes with a certain bounce” go with the regular table tennis nights at this bar on London’s Columbia Road.

The Book Club: Tuesday night is “King Pong night” at this Shoreditch bar. Entry is £1 – with £30 worth of drinks to be won

As you can see two of ’em are in London.

And one of them is even called The Book Club 🙂

Of Food and Festivals

When I was a child growing up in Doon, Diwali was THE festival. Dusshehra might have meant assorted pyrotechnics involving a 30-ft ten-headed effigy of Ravana (and his unfortunate cohorts) at the Brigade Ground; Holi probably took the cake for all-round revelry; while Christmas-time meant jingles, and carols, and cakes, and general chhutti from studies and whatnot! But, Diwali was, well, in a league of its own. The scene changed a fair bit when I moved to Cal though. There ‘twas the Durga Puja. Period.

I’ve always thought there is something about India which is instinctively festival-friendly. Think colour, think passion (hell, I sound like Javier Moro), think general vela-giri. Heaven knows we as a country have enough issues to drive us up the wall. And the Gods must have said to themselves, ah, well, lets cut these chaps some slack, shall we. And that’s the thing about festivals, you forget the drudgery of your daily lives, you smile for no discernible reason, and you just feel bloody festive 🙂

When I left India, I really didn’t expect to see stuff like that again. Alrite, there is Christmas here, but there is also probably some upper limit to your festivity-quotient when yer body is trying to choose between frostbite on one hand and a chilblain on the other. And the Brit version of Diwali is Guy Fawkes Day. ‘Nuff said.

What I certainly did not expect was to have my first Onam in the heart of London.

The Indian YMCA might have its faults. Its probably a tad on the costlier side, it has this smashing snooker table locked up inside a room, it has an 8:30 pm dinner curfew time which is bloody early, and we could probably also do with a lift which breaks down a little less frequently. That being said, there are more than a few things it does pretty well. The event alluded to above comes in the latter category for sure.

There was Rangoli, there were ornate candle-stands, there were banana-leaf plates and then, there was proper authentic Onam cuisine, the works basically. And from what I was told, there were more people inside the YMCA dining hall since, well, probably Onam last year 🙂 Most importantly, we did not have any utensils. Had kinda forgotten how good it felt to eat that way!

For your viewing pleasure, I attach the menu below:

Also, just to rub it in, the food was superlative. People who know me would tell you of the contempt in which I generally hold vegetarian food. I gobbled it all up. Some of it was even decidedly squishy. (There were no brinjals though, or so I think!) My personal favourite though was this ultra-tangy ginger concoction called inzupulli; followed closely by kuttukurry.

Credit for all the magnificent items cooked go to Rashid and the rest of the gang at Indian YMCA.

Special notes of mention also go to Jose, Tintin, the Jacobean, Sharry and RKC who did a stellar job in serving through out the evening. A further note of mention for RKC who served the servers themselves and one other git who landed just in time for the spread.

P.S. In case yer interested, Raga apparently does the same spread. Some designated day of the week. For about 32 quid.

Quotidian Quibbles

I am currently about halfway through, what is in my opinion The Greatest novel I have ever read. It might not be the best of the lot, nor might it be the most engrossing read around, but ‘Great’, yep, that most certainly it is.  It’s also a novel I have been making pretty heavy weather of over the last few weeks/months. I don’t think I have ever taken as long as this to finish a book. Well, probably working in the City ain’t exactly that conducive to reading habits. That being said, two former lawyers from my firm have just had their first novels published! 

At times, I just wanna run. All day long. Preferably in sneakers. And not in hiking boots which weigh half a ton. (That almost rhymes, probably if spoken in a faux Scot accent).

Have a long weekend staring me in the face. With a slightly constipated expression and rather complicated upper-eyebrow movements. None of which is especially endearing. Neither is the fact that I would have to be up again early tomorrow morn. But then, faithful and fed-up reader, such is life. 

On the point of which, I think I should go to/try to go to sleep.

 P.S. The Chap might have written The Greatest novel, but The Chap also seems to like the term ‘quotidian’ a lot. Not that I mind. It just sounds a bit like what one might name their pet duck-billed platypus.

Eeks, Ooks and Eegregs

Finds it just a wee bit ironic how some people can catch a Prius back home after having decimated a goodly rainforest (or two) in the course of a day’s work.

Vile’s not a word I use in vain. Dr. Pepper, though. Is. Vile. Perhaps not quite in the same category as lizards and brinjals, but pretty darned close nonetheless. Not to mention that it probably has the stupidest ad I have ever seen.Which, given the general quality of ads in this part of the world, is saying something!

Thought I always knew what would be the first novel I’d read this side of the Indian Ocean. As it turned out, ’twas the fourth. Good stuff though. Good, good stuff!

Pachelbel’s Canon is Cult. As for that matter, is the video below 🙂

Shall. See. Inception.  And perhaps, The Concert as well.

Of Churches and Burritos

Haven’t blogged in like, ages.

Somehow, I don’t think I have a taste for burritos. Calamari though, is an entirely different matter.

Had gone down to Greenwich yesterday. Which, in my considered opinion, is one of the loveliest areas in/around London. I also kinda figured out why the Lightning-Man is so reluctant to leave that place 🙂

Got my tennis racket re-stringed. Had busted it while playing against the Architect. There happens to be this shop in the upper reaches of London called Gefen Sports. Just off Queen’s Park. Which deals almost exclusively in racket sports. And the chaps who man the store are exceedingly nice and watch IPL on TV. All of which is much good 🙂 Not too mention the fact that I think I got a pretty good deal with my strings as well.

Had recently gone for the evening service at All Souls, Langham Place with the Jacobean. ‘Twas beautiful. For a moment, I thought I was back in school (doosrawala).

Had out first NUJS London Reunion thingie about a week back. Some enterprising sorts even made it out down from Oxford to attend this gig. Some non-enterprising sorts didn’t even make it down from London 🙂 Which was kinda sad. For Maida has this amazing dish called Chicken Tai Pai. And, that, is just friggin’ awesome.

Had gone gallivanting in Camden when Yellow Bags had come down to London. Its essentially like a bigger, more psychedelic version of Portobello market. With lots of tattoo artists. And some dirt-cheap basement-rate bargains. Not bad at all.  

Go. See. I Am Love. Or lo sono l’amore. This is probably as European a movie as they come. Lush colours, ridiculously awesome cinematography, cult camera angles, the works essentially. But then, that is precisely what has been the bane of European Cinema for so long. These auteurs tend to get so carried away by the brilliance of their art and technique that they forget that there is somebody else who would be watching their product. Pithily put, form often trumps substance 🙂 And even here, while walking out of Cineworld, I heard at least a few people go on about how they couldn’t make head or tail of this flick. In this case however, I’d beg to differ. And Tilda Swinton is amazing.

I have a new favourite piece in classical music now. Concerto for Two Violins in A Minor by Vivaldi. Watched it being performed by the Belmont Ensemble at St Martin-in-the-Fields last night. Much, much good. Dunno if you will find this on Youtube, but probably worth a shot.

What I know, you should find on Youtube, is another track this piece reminded me of; Building a Family by Mark Isham. Come to think of it, I don’t think its that similar. Or perhaps, at all similar. But then, you really don’t have any control over the stuff yer reminded of, do you. And especially, when the ‘stuff’ in question is as unquestionably sublime as this!    

Go on, don’t be shy, google it. You can thank me afterwards 🙂

A worm, eaten as a delicacy

After much deliberation and heartburn, I have finally decided to activate the WordPress app for Facebook [Yeah, I know, ultra-cheap publicity gimmick] Turns out there are a surprising number of people, who want to stay in touch with a git like me and kinda remain in the loop as to the various antics I might be upto. Which might be a bit redundant actually, considering that my life, as I had cause to remark recently, “is nothing but work and laundry”. 

Ergo, or perhaps, yet, FB app it is.

Go, see The Blind Side if you haven’t caugh it yet. Highly, highly recommended. Great performances, brilliant background score and an OST which I plan on getting my hands on soon. And of course, Sandra Bullock in an Oscar-winning role. Also, I don’t know why, but Big Mike reminded me so much of Forest Whitaker. Mind you though, the Travolta-starring Phenomenon-wala Whitaker, and not that McAvoy-starring psychotic despot-wala version.

Can’t say so much about Shutter Island though. The one thing which I can say, is that this must be one of those ultra-rare instances, where a cinematic adaptation turns out to be so much better than the original product. Decidedly so; Lehane’s novel was err, umm, slightly iffy to put it mildly. And just by the way, either there was something wrong with the Cineworld I had gone to, or the editing was so bloody chopped off , that a sous-sushi-chef might very well have been at the helm of affairs.

Sous-sushi-chef, aah, always wanted to use that in a sentence somewhere. Well, always, as in, since the moment I thought it up, which was roughly 30 secs back. Much, much good 🙂   

Had been playing tennis with The Architect yesterday. Which was good. I busted my tennis strings though, which wasn’t all that good. Re-stringing probably costs a bomb here. Either that, or it might be time to go Lillywhites ahoy!

Had gone to Foyles recently. As should you. As should any one else. As should the whole world. For a bookshop with a wikipedia entry like this can be no ordinary bookshop. Also went generally rummaging around in the vicinity of Tottenham Court Road, and discovered quite a few places which ain’t too bad themselves either. Next stop, perhaps next week, is this cult bookshop opposite Old Vic off Waterloo.

I thought I always knew what would be the first book I’d get out of India. I didn’t get that book.  

Had possibly, what might pass for our first NUJS batch outing here in London a few days back. The Power Couple were hosting it. Snag and Ms. Steinbeck were fashionably late. The One with ‘Em Stevie Wonder jokes, spent something like two-and-a half hours trying to figure out the way to the Power Couple’s pad. She did arrive eventually though. I though, would have been dot on time. Well, would have been, if the Tea-Boy hadn’t kept me waiting for something like half an hour at the Bank DLR. I would have probably pummelled him in other circumstances, but thankfully (for him) had a Peter Carey for company, and was feeling generally charitable towards the world around me.

But, as usual, I digress. Coming back to the batch thingie. Good, good fun. Scintillating conversation, topics ranging from Govinda flicks to abstract art, from theorizing on why people get divorced in UK, to attempting to decode that cipher called Lady Gaga; some cheap digs, some more; thoda sa PC (woh doosra wala, and that too only towards the beginning, mind you); some decidedly foot-in-the-mouth moments; a phone call to you-know-who in re you-know-what (heh), and ofcourse, glasses upon glasses of absolutely stud mango lassi. And lest I forget, a honourable note of mention goes to Mr PC who makes these friggin awesome gobi ke parathe. I believe Ms. PC doesn’t cook 🙂

You should check this link out. Was sent across to me by the Mayan. The man, for all his faults, does do something useful once in a while.

A coberra is apparently, a worm, eaten as a delicacy. So saith the novel, I am currently reading. Reminds me of the time, when I had gone along with the Robot and the Skulker to the Chinese Breakfast place at Poddar Court, and where the Skulker, in a spirit of reassurance and calm, had told a nice, middled-aged lady harbouring suspicions about our abilities to imbibe certain non-tradtional meatforms, “Hum Sab Kucch Khata Hai” 🙂