Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Kleptomania, for the uninitiated, is the "mania of stealing things". Its a term we have all used with such casual ease that it has lost its seriousness to a large extent. On a number of occasions I have heard people referring to each other as a klepto, albeit jokingly.However, we don't realize the gravity of this phenomenon or disorder if it can be called that. Imagine a family member of yours, somebody you have loved and grown up with, somebody whom you have respected all your life, suddenly turns out to be a "Klepto". First reaction-DISBELIEF. It would be nothing less than a shock to anybody with our first reaction being, what with all the trust, love and faith one placed in the person, this is how one was repaid. The feeling of being betrayed would fill one with intense loathing. Instantaneously, a million things fall into place. The necklace that went missing during a cousin's marriage, the money that was lost during the house-warming ceremony and sundry other things.

Yet is ostracizing the person, the solution to this problem?Not talking to the person ever again is not going to make anything better. Also we will be punishing the near and dear ones of that person, say his/her spouse and children for no fault of theirs.So what is the solution to this problem? Is there a solution to this problem? Should one forget about what happened? Is it possible to forget what happened? Can things ever be the same again?

Monday, March 21, 2005

What happened...?

Me: I am bored of this job ma and I guess I will quit pretty soon.
Ma:If you quit then what will you do?
Me: I don't know!

Immediately mom goes into a state of hypertension and starts a long sermon on knowing one's responsibilities and that with time these "responsibilities" would also increase and how I need to figure out a career for myself and try and stick to it. I listen to this entire lecture with a half-smile on my face which she construes to be a smirk and continues with her lecture thinking that it did not have any effect on me.

At that moment, I ask myself, "What did I want to become when I was 10?". I think hard and I remember that I always wanted to join the Navy as far as I can think. Their sparkling white uniforms, the captain at the stern of the ship looking dreamily at the horizons in front of him, the wake that the ship leaves behind and the mighty ocean -this is what I wanted to be a part of when I was growing up. Then what happened?What went wrong?How many ten year olds want to become an Equity Analyst or a Public relations Officer or a Chartered Accountant.From my last count, that number adds upto zero. What then happens to our dreams as we grow up?

Its as if we condition our dreams, dilute them and mould them with the world around us. Where is the adventure in becoming an investment banker when compared to an astronaut?This is not to cast aspersions on any of the above mentioned professions however, how did someone who wanted to join the Navy end up as a software engineer. This question has troubled me a lot of times and when I look around, I see people happy doing what they are doing and I ask myself, "Is this what they wanted to become when they were 10?". Professions which so appealed to our young 10 year old conscience such as being a doctor, nurse, teacher or police officer have hardly any role in our mind space today.What happened then?All I have is questions with answers so vague and misleading that I am better off without an answer.

What happened to me?What happened to my dream...?

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


I am teaching my mom how to use the computer these days. My sister is at the University of Melbourne, studying architecture, and I thought that teaching mom how to use the comp would be a good idea now, so she can communicate with my sister without my assistance.First, some background info on mum-she is quite the quintessential, sentimental mom, loves to stuff me with food till I am on the verge of bursting and then a little more. I think that should suffice for now.

She had her first lesson on Monday. I asked her to start with switching on the machine. She sat there with a pen and paper in her hand, writing down everything I said starting from switching on the machine to connect to internet by clicking on AccessRunnerDSL. Then click twice on Internet Explorer. One of her biggest doubts is where should she click once and where should she do a double click.

On a separate thread, it got me thinking as to how I went about learning to use the computer. I guess it must have been in school, when I was about 10 or 12, in the computer lab, with four of us sharing a single machine and jostling with each other trying our best to get our hands on the Holy Grail- the mouse. Somebody would make a mistake and the other three would instantly scamper towards the computer teacher and complain vociferously about the injustice of it all. At that age, definitions of justice were so much easier to form, rivalries had a very short shelf life and Dean Jones was GOD.

Back to the topic of my mom learning the comp, despite her repeated attempts at pulling the plunger on the right of the page down in order to scroll down, she was unable to do it and suddenly I screamed in frustration. I don't know why but instantly I felt a sickening feeling within me. What if she had done the same thing when I was growing up, trying to findmy way around things, failing a number of times and succeeding sometimes. But she was always patient, always encouraging and whenever I fell and looked up at her, I was greeted with that cherubic smile. So I started again and she sent her first mail yesterday, the excitement within her was palpable and I just stood there smiling at her.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Mummenschanz Next

The silent kiss of the fluffy balls

The man-woman conundrum

Its a nice feeling to just sit in an auditorium to watch a performance without a single expectation. As we sat there waiting for Mummenschanz Next to start, we knew that it was mime theatre, but nothing prepared us for what followed next. In simple terms- it was a brilliant show. It was brilliant in all its parts and it was brilliant as a whole.

It started with a thin stream of light going round and round in circles on its own; just a streak of light making a thousand revolutions and suddenly there were an array of objects coming on stage and going away. There was a box that suddenly came to life and started acting bossy with the other "live" boxes. There were two snakes involved in an elaborate, prehistoric yet pleasant courtship and suddenly the snakes consummate, and their detachable eyes start whirring around. There was a huge monolithic mossy mass that crawled around the stage and sometimes perilously on the edge, to the horror of people in the first row and to the delight of the others. There was a squid that seemed to glide on its own with a school of fish swimming around it.

It was an act beyond comparison. The exceptional use of lights to bring out those subtle expressions on the faces of balls made of various materials and to hide the people behind these objects was exceptional. Every aspect of the lights was neatly and meticulously executed. The act itself was innovative and left the audience gasping and thinking that such things are also possible, that theatre does not necessarily have to be throwing one's voice and clarity of speech; it can just as well be silence and expressions, all with a little innovation.

It was an evening well spent and the applause was thunderous when the four performers, John Murphy, Raffaella Mattioli, Bernie Schürch and Floriana Frassetto appeared on stage. Mummenschanz next- can't wait to see you again.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Pune Highway-the Play

Bugs and Rehan Engineer

Rajit Kapur and Yamini Namjoshi in Pune Highway

Andheri Raaton mein, sunsaan rahon mein

Pune Highway came to Chennai and in keeping with Rahul da Cunha's earlier production, Class of 84', promised to entertain. The setting- a drab and seedy hotel room with Bugs sprawled on the bed and Vish(Rehan Engineer) sitting on a stool. The hotel is located on the Pune Highway and at regular intervals one can hear the rush of a speeding vehicle. Enter- Promode(Rajit Kapur) and the play gets underway. Three friends together, Promode the married philanderer, Vish, the executive yuppie and Bugs, the insecure one with his These friends are holed up in a hotel because a friend of their's, Babu, has just been murdered and they have had to find a place to stay for the night and get their car repaired so as to make it back to Bombay. As they are holed up there, the tension of their friend's murder begins to crack them slowly and they react to this stress differently. It was a pleasure to watch Bugs with his stammer have a go at Promode. As they sit there and reconstruct the sequence of events that led to their friend's death, enters, a hotel employee alias Shankar Sachdev who was an amazing act. The sheer nonchalance with which he appraised these three people in the room and walked about dealing with them was a delight to watch and what with his entry-exit song humming such as the one I have mentioned in the start, was refreshing, to say the least.

Babu had borrowed money from some people and was not in a position to return the money and so the lenders track down Promode and make him bring Babu to the Pune Highway saying that all they wanted to do was "teach him a lesson" and consequently kill him. While this is happening, Promode is in the back of the car, having sex with a female friend of his, who also happens to be the daughter of an MLA. Her role in the play seemed more like an attachment that was put there for its own sake than for the sake of necessity. Her tantrums bordered on the irritating to the boring with the whole "Pramy" sequence, but Bugs' take on the whole Pramy thing was extremely enjoyable.

The play started off with the usual element of sarcastic humor puntuated with a number of choice words both in Hindi and English which gave it a more casual sound to it and it was also funny in places.However towards the later stages of the play, it became disengaging and continued that way till the end. There was no real suspense created about Babu's death and the ending was a disappointment. That... was Pune Highway.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The weaker sex

Quote for the day-
The weaker sex is the stronger because of the weakness of the stronger sex for the weaker sex.

Nice one...found it here

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Currently reading

Friday, March 04, 2005

Crave - the play

A grandfather takes his granddaughter into the car and pulls his pants down and it pops out- big and purple;she rears in fright and cries. The father sitting behind says, "she has never reacted liked this before".
Crave, the play by Sarah Kane, by Theatre Nisha, presents four characters, or perhaps four aspects of human nature all of which are singly, overwhelmingly traumatized by life. It reveals a litany of rape, infidelity, loneliness, familial rejection and childlessness. The characters are embittered and dismayed by an existence over which they have no control.
Thus, read the handout that we were given before we entered the hall in Alliance Francais to watch the play. About 10 of us went to watch the play on friday and came back, some confused, some disappointed. The play is about 4 people and how they are voicing out their inner most thoughts and emotions. It was a neatly done set with only black and white in every element of the set,though I am not sure why that was done; the two men on stage in complete black and the two women in complete white, the floor covered with white and all the walls being black. The play talks about the taboos of everyday life like paedophiles and rape and tries to show the helplessness of individuals under these circumstances, their cries of agony, their moans of distress. It depicts a scene where a grandchild comes home and finds his grandmother in the lap of another man. Its an intense play where it tries to depict the world in all its shades. However the performance did not live up to the play, with some unusually long pauses in places and with the accent of some of the cast being too Indian when it was clear that the play is set in a foreign land, most likely,the US, what with its references to the little Vietnamese girl who was running for cover with her back burning because of the Napalm bombing with a US fighter jet in the background. The play stood only on the strength of its script with various interesting lines, though disconnected, like
I am not what I am; I am what I do
It almost got me thinking about Hank Rearden in Atlas Shrugged and his belief that he was what his work was.
It talks about the definitive role of the centre in the geometry of the circle where there is no chicken and egg dilemma as to who came first as it was the centre that came first and then the circle was formed.
I had to fake orgasms before but now I have to fake not having an orgasm
Imagine that...
This and a variety of other interesting lines kept the audience occupied and then suddenly it ended, abruptly with a police cordon drawn across the stage. The abruptness left a lot to be desired.
My favorite line of the play
I suddenly felt ecstatic and then realised that it was only the absence of grief
Footnote: It has been stated here that the play is supposed to be American however it has been brought to my knowledge that its not and its actually British. The error is regretted.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Multiple love

I have always wondered if it was possible to love two people the same way, with a similar sense of feeling and with the same intensity. I have asked a number of people this question and the first reaction I get is a squinted face from most of the women who give me a thorough top-down appraisal leading to a scumbag conclusion and the men with a naughty, smirkish been-there-done-that kinda grin that makes me more abashed than anything else. I have never understood as to why its made out to be a moral dilemma or a crime to be able to confess that you might have feelings for another person when you are seeing somebody else. People immediately launch into a lecture on ethics and morality and loyalty and I am left bewildered.It's almost as if once in a relationship, one has lost the right to feel something like that,which I believe is completely unfair. Their tirade continues which consists of how you would feel if it happened to you to what an insensitive ass****. Strange people, strange ideas,strange reactions, badiya hain!!!