Monthly Archives: July 2004

Guest Post : One Life To Live

Here’s a guest post from a friend — Tafosi — a confessed cynic with a dry wit. When not preoccupied with self-deprecation, he can be found spending most of his free (as well as paid) time appreciating Hollywood cinema, listening to classic rock or worshipping the Ferrari racing team. (His pen-name refers to what Italian fans of the team call themselves — Tifosi, although the misspelling of it can be attributed to alcohol-induced stupor.)

This post marks his entry into the world of cyber-lit. Hoping for lots of feedback to convince him to start a blog of his own! (Update — Mission accomplished. Tafosi now has a blog.)

One Life To Live

I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
the sinners are much more fun…

Billy Joel (Only The Good Die Young)

It is often that one is struck by an impulse to do something, which they perceive is miles away from ordinary behavior — or so they imagine. I have noticed this particularly with those youth who feel stuck in a limbo between ‘cool’ and ‘mature age’. It is that scary time of your life when you are hanging out with people who were born in a decade after yours. It is then when your mind starts wandering and towards the visions of your deathbed. At this ripe old age of late twenties, you coin the phrase, ‘Screw it man, we have only one life.‘ By pulling a veil of illusion over your eyes, you try to make as much of the sorry existence which you have remaining.

It is then that you console your guilt of having that extra slice of pizza and missing that tennis session with your friends. The summer hours are more devoted to planning for the weekends rather than pending work and your arrival time in office is pushed back each day, till Friday comes and you try to make it in time for lunch. When the voice of conscience starts assuming 6.1 DTS capability in your mind, those simple 8 words throw you a lifeline. After all, you tell yourself that yours is a sorry tale, with each minute bringing you closer to judgment day. You of all people deserve some happiness in life. Why should it be reserved for that twit who is 5 years your junior and makes the same as you. So you say to yourself, its all right to buy that cool DVD player or those expensive sneakers. After all that’s why credit cards were invented. This carefree attitude usually hits you once a month.

But then, guilt has a way of finally developing enough courage to launch another attack on your morals. This time it usually wins and drives you deeper into the never ending well of shame and misery. Just like the moon, your life enters a new phase where you start feeling sorry for neglecting all that work. The refrigerator is filled with fruits rather than cheese and you convince yourself that hunger is best way to lose all those extra pounds that you had gained. These insecurities usually culminate into a weekend of utter despondency where all you want to do is watch sad films and listen to blues.

But sure enough, as day follows night, things start looking better. Perhaps it is because the cricket team is winning or a movie that you were looking forward to is going to be released, but you are actually starting to appreciate life. The birds are chirping, sun is shining, work is producing results and … and … and that twit is driving a new BMW. Its just not fair. Now all the girls will flock near him. Maybe I should get that new plasma TV; after all we have only one life.

Relationships revisited

Thank you all, for lots of thought-provoking comments on the previous blog. Anytime there’s a discussion on relationships, broad generalizations to an extent, are inevitable. As they say, it is the exceptions that prove the rule! Having said that, here’s my views on it, loaded with my own sweeping statements, judgements, rants et al.

I think the article is well written in the two points of view it presents but flawed in attributing it to men and women specifically. The need for reassurance, that the person you love treasures and cherishes you, is fundamental to every one of us, men and women alike. Having said that, this need isn’t a constant one. Its more of an occasional desire that we like our partner to pander to. But after a while of not hearing it expressed, the question does come up – if he/she is feeling it, why won’t he/she say it? It is a happy and positive emotion after all (the emotion of loving someone, that is) so it is hard to understand why there is a hesitation to express it. That in turn gradually leads to doubts about the sincerity of the emotion itself.

Should that happen? Shouldn’t the basic faith in the other person and in the bond itself be strong enough for us to not be riddled with doubts? Why the need for external assurances, one might ask? I think that need comes ‘cos people and relationships are both essentially dynamic. What one feels today cannot be taken to exist tomorrow. In fact if I assumed a person’s love for me is the same today as it was yesterday, and took that to be a blanket fact without considering his actual expression of it, I am taking him for granted. I am doing an injustice to him by not seeing him for the ever-changing person he is. Not all relationships change quite as constantly. A mother-child relationship for instance, is different. Even without the continuous reassurances, it survives. But ‘romantic’ relationships (for lack of a better way to describe them) are inherently dynamic. Change is good, and people should change, no doubt. But it is these very changes in a person that make it imperative to express how we feel. The need to remind our partner that we may be changing, but our feelings remain as strong as ever.

Of course reassurance don’t have to come in the form of words alone. And that perhaps is the biggest difference between men and women. The implicit versus the explicit. The classic ‘why do I have to tell you I love you, isn’t it obvious in the little things I do?‘ question. If women can learn to read more into the subtle signals that men give to express how they feel, and men, in turn, try to express their affection in more explicit ways, perhaps a balance can be struck. Somewhere between questioning the sincerity of a man’s emotion ‘cos he doesn’t explicity express it, and on the other end, taking him for granted and assuming he loves you even if he doesn’t say so, lies an ideal middle ground that every woman hopes to reach. The Utopia of relationships!

Opining on relationships

Came across this opinion in an email forward. It gives a woman’s perspective – on sustaining the feeling of closeness in a relationship and how men and women approach it rather differently. Definite food for thought. I was unable to Google the author to credit her, although there are some other blogs that also mention this same post.

The way we women describe the intimacy we want is remarkably consistent: It’s that sense of oneness between two people that flows from an open, meaningful exchange of thoughts, feelings and affection. It’s about each one entering the other’s private world, not merely for a short visit, but to unpack and take up residence. As women, we often see intimacy as something that includes physical displays of affection and time spent talking and listening to each other. But far more than that, intimacy is what gives women the feeling that they’re no longer just a ‘me’ but also part of an ‘us’. In fact, it’s what defines the shared life. It’s the whole bundle of visible and invisible ways her man assures her (and keeps reassuring her) that he is the one person on this planet who knows and cherishes her for who she is. When something that precious is missing, we notice it!

The challenge is that while men value intimacy as much as women do, they differ dramatically in their view of what it takes to achieve and maintain it. We tend to pursue a close, profound relationship in a way that can be described as an upward spiral. Men value a generous and continuous exchange of information, demonstrations of affection (especially nonsexual ones) and consistent efforts to look out for their best interests. When these are present, the relationship feels as if it is progressing to a higher level, not unlike a steady trek to the top of a mountain.

For men, intimacy is a prize to be gained by getting in the finish line in strict sequential order and with minimal repetition. The linear progression goes something like this: (1) Express your interest. (2) Date to build trust. (3) Make a commitment: You’ve got each other now. Once a man has moved to the next level of closeness, he finds no practical value in maintaining the traditions associated with the previous level. Men see intimacy as a settled fact, an achieved goal that implies they no longer need to do what they have already done to gain it. Repeating earlier expressions of intimacy (‘Why are you asking me if I love you when I told you a long time ago that I do?‘) suggests to him that the two of you really haven’t made it to the finish line. It’s like having to repeat a year in school.

Add to this the reality that intimacy is a completely subjective feeling of closeness. For women it often means ‘Don’t stop our traditions of showing me/telling me/holding me/hearing me, because that’s what reassures me that you love me‘. For men it often means ‘Keep finding new ways to accommodate my practical needs/admire me/assist me/applaud me‘. Neither way is any more or less loving than the other; they are simply two different roads that lead to the same destination. But unless both the man and the woman are willing to travel each of those two roads some of the time, one or the other may fail to experience the closeness he or she desires.

Agree or disagree, it makes you think..

Musical ramblings (Part 2/42)

Am back, this time with some choice Tusshar Kapoor specials! *mwaaahahahahahaa .. maniacal Mogambo-style evil laugh* What is it about this guy that makes it impossible to say his name without a dig or potshot about him in the next sentence? Loads of Tusshar bashing follows but lets begin on a more positive note :)

(Music links on musicindiaonline.com)

  1. Jhankaar Beats (Vishal-Shekhar) — ‘Lots of masti, lots of timepass, lots of dhamaal!‘ A soundtrack that totally appealed to me, although i’ll admit, part of it was the intentional RD Burman feel. (All hail the loRD!) Good melodies, wonderful arrangements, due importance to individual instruments, spirited singing, all come together to create an album with a whole lot of pizzazz! I’ll listen to all the songs happily, but my picks for the day are ‘jhankaar‘, ‘jab kabhi‘, ‘tera muskuraana‘ and ‘suno na‘.

    • Jhankaar‘ is totally RD-ish, singing wise too. A lot of the musicians who played in this song were from RD’s troupe, I believe and Sudesh Bhosle does a good job of imitating RD’s singing style. Bursting with enthusiasm, its a very obvious ode to the ‘Monica o my darling‘ type stuff from the 70s. Boy the bass guitaring brings back such fond memories of Pancham! *sighh*

    • Good electric guitar work once again in ‘jab kabhi‘ and does Kay Kay know how to hit high notes when he sings, or what!

    • Tera muskuraana‘ — Heavy on the synthesizer, this racy, breezy song grows on you after a couple of listens. Reminiscent of the electronica-inspired but also bass-heavy numbers that RD created in the mid to late 80s.

    • I love ‘suno na‘. Don’t ask me why, I just do. Wonderful electric guitar work and minimal use of instruments, unlike the noise that dominates today. Plus i’ve lately started to really like Shaan’s voice a lot and he sings this song well, so maybe that has something to do with it.

    <digression rant> — When I say this soundtrack appeals to me cos of the RD factor, let me get on the soapbox and state that I think baloney like Dil Vil Pyaar Vyaar (which simply took RD tunes, changed the interludes a little, that too for the worse and had them resung by today’s singers) is not what I consider to be music, forget an ode to RD. The music of Jhankaar Beats in that sense captures the essence of Pancham in a much better way. As a movie too it’s pretty entertaining, although not what you would call a ‘family’ film! Debut director Sujoy Ghosh does a good job. Plus Sanjay Suri and Rahul Bose.. *sigh* okay, i’ll shuttup now :) To continue rant, people like Anant Mahadevan (the perpetrator of the DVPV atrocity) just tried to ride the RD popularity wave and make a quick buck. Pancham-spirit, my foot! <end rant>

  2. Joggers Park (Tabun Sutradhar) — ‘Badee nazuk hai‘ is regular Jagjit Singh fare. I know I ought to gush over it as a loyal JS fan, but its not one of his better songs, so nah. There’s a kinda annoying synth-chorus that could have been done without. The lyrics are nice in parts though, so one could give it a listen. ‘Ishq hota nahin‘ by Adnan Sami is my pick from this album. A semi-depressing song that rises above the ordinary solely on the basis of Sami’s singing. There’s something about this guy — its not just his voice (which is kinda raw), nor his pronunciations (which range from decent to comical to atrocious) but the fact that he sings so completely dil se.. like he really feels what the song says. That spirit, the feeling that the person is really into the music/song he’s creating, that’s what makes Sami click for me!

    Side note — This Tabun Sutradhar is the guy who came out with a CD called ‘Soft Instrumentals of R D Burman’ some time ago, a CD that is most commonly heard playing in the background in a typical desi restaurant in the US :)

  3. Kuchh To Hai (Anu Malik) — A baaaaad remake of I Know What You Did Last Summer starring Tusshar Kapoor (he’s the hero not the evil monster killer, although you could easily be confused :| ). My pick from the movie, ‘dil ding dong ding bole‘. The song is reasonably catchy and Sunidhi seems like she’s having so much fun! So if you can block out the image of Tusshar dancing to it, it can click for you!

  4. Kyaa Dil Ne Kahaa (Himesh Reshammiya) — One of *the* worst movies of all time. Made me develop new found appreciation for Janasheen (which was my prior ‘worst movie’ status flick). My friends are of the opinion that I have a secret crush on Tusshar Kapoor (since I insist on seeing every movie of his). I am of the opinion that some healthy self-loathing never hurt anyone :| On to the song ‘nikamma kiya is dil ne‘ — a dhinchak hit category song, peppy and fast, although noisy at times (I *don’t* like the English bits), but generally very catchy. Shaan and Sanjeevani (who shone in Kareeb) sing in both versions.

Realization at the end of review — I watch a lot of really bad movies. Some by choice, that too. Tsk tsk.

It’s like, you know..

I started writing this as a comment on Anirudh’s blog about Americanisms and how they tend to do things in the US of A differently from the rest of the world. This only covers language/style of speaking, but still turned out to be enough of a thesis that I put it on my own blog. So here goes!

(Note — The comparison isn’t so much with the “rest of the world” as much as it is with the English I learnt growing up in India, which while not entirely British, is heavily influenced by it.)

  1. The spellings
    • Words end in “or” instead of “our” — color/colour, honor/honour
    • Words end in “ize” or “yze” instead of “ise” or “yse” — categorize/categorise, analyze/analyse
    • Words end in “er” instead of “re” — meter/metre, center/centre
    • Silent letters are often dropped and words spelt phonetically — donut/doughnut, Marlboro/Marlborough (Bostonians will relate to this one), catalog/catalogue, pajamas/pyjamas, tires/tyres, hiccup/hiccough
  2. The words — Americans form a line instead of queue outside the restroom instead of the toilet, loo or lavatory, as pointed out. They rent an apartment in the US although its a flat elsewhere. Here, in a restaurant, you ask for the check (not cheque mind you) and pay it using bills while elsewhere, you ask for the bill, and could well pay by cheque (or cash too I guess.) A first floor apartment in the US is on the ground and it has closets, not cupboards. Jelly (the wiggly gelatine-based stuff) is Jello in the US cos that’s the primary brand that makes it; and jam (the stuff we put on bread) is jelly. Pencils come with erasers, NOT rubbers, a mistake that can lead to plenty of embarrassment for most newbies. In the US, dogs eat biscuits, humans eat cookies :) They shop at a store not at shops. Pins are thumbtacks/pushpins and cellotape is Scotch-tape (again a brand thing). Your address is not complete without your zipcode, not pincode! I could perhaps think of more, but this should suffice for now :) Oh and geysers!A geyser is a natural spring that discharges hot water and steam, something you would find in say .. Yellowstone National Park. Hot water comes from a .. water heater, of course! Duh!
  3. The phrases/slang — The usage of stuff and thingy to generically describe things that one doesn’t completely understand. The use of phrases like “its kinda sorta“, “its like, you know” and the repeated use of “uh“s and “um“s. As a British friend once said to me — if you walked into a shop in London and said “Uh, I’d kinda like some, you know, uh ..” the shopkeeper is likely to say – “Come back when you’ve decided :|” The use of “I’m sorry” instead of the more universal “I beg your pardon” if you interrupt someone, or ask someone to repeat themselves, or saying “I appreciate it” instead of just a “thank you“.
  4. The speed — Americans speak much slower than most Europeans, and infinitely slower than the typical Indian speaking English.

Am sure there’s more, but I’m too sleepy to think..