Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Packing is not going well

I blame the world wide web.

I keep blogging instead of compressing all of my room's contents into boxes. Am I really leaving tommorrow? Unreal. My lamps, winter coat and comforter will be left behind. I am fiercely tempted to just leave everything behind that won't fit into my suitcases. I waffle between "I've tons of room and time" to..."I'm so screwed". So far I have procrastinated in the following ways: (Note that four out of the seven activities require our cable modem.)

1). Blog at Bald Marys

2). Email my cousins my "anger triggering" points. There are 7 of them.

3). Chat with people on Gmail chat.

4). Download the music to Omkara after reading the following post. Excellent music.

5). Make and eat lunch. Grilled cheese sandwich with ketchup. It's my backup food--food when no food is around.

6). Upload photos from this weekend onto my laptop. Look at them. Think about Kodak-izing and sending them to everyone involved.

7). Make lists.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

That's not Halal Meat

Strange stuff going down in a Virginia Grocery here
When the butcher stepped out seconds later, the customer's severed left hand lay on the floor by the meat saw, Asghar said. The customer ran down the Springfield store's center aisle and into the front parking lot, leaving a trail of blood and yelling repeatedly that he was "not a terrorist." Outside, another witness said, the man announced that he had used the meat saw to cut off his hand "for Allah."..more

Monday, July 24, 2006

Tick Tick Tick Tick

Tik Tik Tik Tik

I declared it 80s Bollywood week last week roughly. But what I meant was it's "Any Decade I feel like for however long I feel like-Bollywood video week"

Check out Raj Kumar's utterly fabulous 70s number where he asks you to "Pik the thymmmeee..tick tick tick tick" Find out why Bangalore came to a virtual standstill when he died.

Everyone Else Had Had More Sex Than Me

Everyone Else Has Had More Sex Than Me

For full flash video, click here

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Dwindling Time

Time is dribbling away like tap water after you turn off the pipes, and a little bit streams out defiantly anyway. It is possible that I ponder the passage of time too much.

Walking to the metro in the sweltering heat, I had a running montage of DC playing in my mind. My first days here--the sheer disorientation and loneliness of being in a new city all by myself, my quest in those days to carve out my niche, my place in this world. I feel more acutely than ever, that I am ripping out the roots growing beneath my feet, moving it across oceans and continents to re-plant, renew. Exhilarating and saddening all balled up in one.

I was walking through Chinatown this afternoon, and as usual it was the craziest part of the city. The large, flashing news-screens defeaning DC citizens with its daily updates outside the MCI center. Gold and The Dollar have both sunk, a woman's husky voice purred into the steamy, stifling afternoon.

The Falun Gong seemed to be back, and there was a wonderful street marching band of some kind playing. I hopped, skipped and tapped my feet and lingered longer to listen to the rhythmic, angry pounding. I will miss this. Discovering musicians in the metro who force you to turn off your i-pod or risk bursting your ear drums.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Israel-Lebanon Crisis: Part II

I blogged about this two days ago here.

More shit has hit the fan since then. More people on both sides have died. Some 230 Lebanese have died--most of them civilians, compared to about 24 Israelies (half of whom were civilians).

Moorish Girl has an excellent list of links worth checking out. It's especially useful if you are sick of listening to the CNN/Fox/MSNBC machine.

I want to bring attention to two links in particular--one disturbing, the other not.

One of them shows Israeli children signing off on shells presumably headed off for Lebanon. There's an explanation given for these pictures here. Was the western media as forgiving when they splattered footage of Palestinians rejoicing shortly after 9/11 all over the evening news?

If you are against this war, there's an online petition you can sign. Click here for Save the Lebanese Civilians.

Update 1: More links from Moorish Girl

I am a creation authorian

If you've ever wondered why Calvin and Hobbes is the best comic strip ever....well if you've ever wondered that you are a fool.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Peace in the Middle-east

Right at the heels of the train bombing in Mumbai, (which has already faded from our collective memories—if it left an impression at all—poor, brown people dying isn’t much news) we are seared again by the air strikes in Lebanon this past week. For the first time in months, the chaos in Iraq has been pushed aside. Restrain and reason have once again become radical liberal mythologies in our world.

Last time I checked it was still frowned upon to plow missiles into another sovereign nation. Have international laws changed since the turn of the millennium? I realize these laws mean nothing, never has and it’s foolish to even bring it up. I bring it up here for posterity.

This is the sixth day of Israeli attacks on Lebanon, despite continuous pleas from the UN—not to mention the Lebanese people—to cease fire. The newswire has been flooded with stories of the accelerating violence I won’t bother recapping. There’s plenty of lopsided news reporting to go around. I’ve been following Moorish Girl’s advice, and trying to stay away from my RSS feed.

The nipping, angry provocation by Hezbollah was so clearly an invitation for Ehud Olmert to participate in political grandstand posturing that Olmert readily accepted.

"Nothing will deter us, whatever far-reaching ramifications regarding our relations on the northern border and in the region there may be. We have no intention to give in to these threats. We know that many tests yet await us. Our enemies are trying to disrupt life in Israel -- they will fail. The public is strong and united in this struggle."more.

Brash irresponsibility conveniently couched in misplaced nationalism and fervent ideology. Sound familiar? I wonder about what “public” he is talking about. Did he poll the Israeli people, and ask them if it was okay to sabotage any hope of peace for their country and neighbors? Surely the public discussion around whether or not to invade Lebanon over two abducted soldiers was more nuanced than this “the public is strong and united” bullshit.

Especially chilling and eerie are phrases like “whatever far-reaching ramifications there may be”. As if all that mattered was that a few Lebanese die. It is a sorry day when it is difficult to tell apart terrorist rhetoric from government justifications. What is supposed to happen next? The Hezbollah and Hamas will now shrivel up and die? Does anyone believe this? Is this rhetoric really that different than anything Hezbollah or Hamas vomits out?

We could argue till we are red-faced and screeching that Hezbollah and Hamas are state-sponsored terrorist groups, and hence these states deserve some state-sponsored terrorism of their own. But that doesn’t change certain other inconvenient truths. Lebanon's control over Hezbollah is highly questionable at best. The missile strikes of the past few days have succeeded in doing nothing but kill some 150 people—all of them civilians. In fact, the one thing they have succeeded in doing is amassing antagonism for Israel and helping Hezbollah and Hamas grow bigger and more relevant to the Palestinian and Lebanese people.

A Side-note: hateful, racist bullshit will be deleted from my comments section. That’s a standing law, but I thought I’d evoke it again here.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Asha Bhosle - Piya Tu Ab To Aaja Helen Caravan 1972

The heat has cooked my brain. It's a good day to do a video post. I know I declared this 80s Bollywood video week, but no favorite bollywood music compilation can be complete without the delectable Helen.

Here's the utterly fabulous, Monicaaaaaa from 1972 Caravan.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

80s Bollywood Week Continues!

Papa kehte hain Bada naam from Qyamat se Qyamat tak

Remember back when Aamir Khan didn't feel the need to make clumsy nationalist statements everytime he appeared on screen? Remember him bright-eyed, and fresh-faced jumping up and down because school's out?

Who lived through the 80s in Bombay and didn't swoon when Aamir Khan told you what Papa Kehte Hain? Who doesn't remember him happily telling us he has no purpose, no particular goal in life--except maybe to fall in love?

*sigh* A beloved classic.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Rang Barse!

Rang Barse - Silsila (with English subtitles)

Nostaglic for Bombay. In honor of the one of the coolest, I'm gonna do an 80s Bollywood Video Madness Week!

Check out vintage Ambitabh--the Man, the Legend. Speaking of which, this particular video is also dedicated to mah' DC Desi Posse:)**cyber crowds go wild**

Thanks for a lovely time this weekend:)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

All I feel is nauseous...

This came through this morning through my email, but I barely read it--too distracted. Now that I am home, and reading through the newswire/blog updates, all I feel is sick to my stomach. There is nothing to say. I am horrified.

The death count has risen to 163 the injured figure keeps shifting insidiously.

Update: 190 dead

Blogs worth noting that provide constant real time updates:
Mumbai Help
Pajamas Media
India Uncut

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Honey for the Bears by Anthony Burgess: Book Review

This has little to do with Anthony Burgess, or my thoughts on his book, Honey for the Bears, but…I found the following note scribbled in slanty, skinny boy-handwriting on the front cover of the book.

“Prof. Brooks-I have enjoyed your class immensely and I have developed a much greater appreciation for Russian history and literature. I wish you all the best and a speedy recovery from your surgery. Sincerely—Ishai (dated)”

I left out the last name and date to protect the innocent. There's something a touch sad about giving away a gift--especially a book. Even if it seems to be from some ass-kissing kid. Prof. Brooks couldn’t have much cared for the book or he wouldn’t have sold it to some used bookstore in Brooklyn, NY. Or maybe he was moving (perhaps due to surgical complications?) and he only wanted to take heavy, text-book types with him, leaving behind skinny, not-what-Burgess-is-known-for-anyway fiction that doesn’t behave like Russian literature (which is uniformly depressing, gloomy and cold, right?:).

This is a funny book. More than once, I found myself chuckling out loud, and re-reading sentences put together quirkily with an odd flamboyance. High-brow literature written for the Three Stooges. Briefly, the book is about an Englishman, Paul Hussey, who is voyaging to Russia with his American wife, to engage in some nefarious capitalist activities. They are selling synthetic, gaudily colored dresses to fashion-whores in Russia. Drillion dresses, they are called. They have many adventures, or Paul Hussey does (his wife is sick and weak in a hospital throughout much of the book before she goes off and has some adventures of her own).

Paul Hussey is an endearing character. Even when he attempts an "erotic assault" on the Russian maidenhood. Whenever he gets caught breaking the law, lying or cheating, he is indignant and outraged like some wronged customer at a fancy store. Never does he feel afraid, ashamed or guilty. It works well, and has a slap-stick comedic feel to it.

But despite all this, I was never really engrossed by the book. A classic “it’s not you, it’s me” problem. Well-written, fresh, interesting, funny and indeed "fizzing with energy" as the book jacket reviewer proclaims giddily—I should have loved it. But didn’t.

I was almost bored by large parts of it. Especially when he is describing all the Russian architecture and boisterous, drunken oddities of the Russian people. But he never rambles on about it--not really. And it is clear that he has a soft spot for the Russian people so his jabs feel familial somehow, instead of cranky and dismissive.

Regardless something about the chemistry of my brain when I was reading it or maybe the cosmic address of the moon in the sky---something stopped me from devouring this book. It's slightly unnerving to have an indefensible opinion, which is why I went out and got A Clockwork Orange this weekend. Await firm opinions on Burgess.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

statz rappers

Say "Binomial Distribution!!!"

**crowds shout, "binomial distribution!!" **

There's hip hop simmering underneath those differentials, null hypothesizing and the all-mighty p-value with its insecure little confidence intervals.

Of course there is. Don't make me standardize your deviance.

Check out the video or I'll go gaussian on yo' arse.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Uncomfortable "Cultural" Moments

Man: You are from India?
Me: Yes, yes I am.
Woman: Have you ever seen that movie, Monsoon Wedding?
Me: Yes, many times.
Man: It's sort of like Bend it like Beckham, right?
Me: No, it's nothing like Bend It like Beckham, but they both do have brown people.
Man: **nervous, pink-faced chuckling**
Woman: Do you have like chai tea?
Me: umm..we have tea?
Woman: Yeah, but I'm looking for chai tea...
Me: Well, chai is really tea in Hindi. So what I am hearing is "do you have tea tea?"
Woman: yeah, there's a chai brand here though...
Me: Yeah, that's stupid.
Woman: oh...
Woman:'re from India?
Me: Yes, yes I am.
Woman: Where in India?
Me: I'm from the south, but I grew up in Bombay.
Woman: Isn't it Moombye?
Me: Yes, but I don't call it that.
Woman: Oh really? (inquisitive eye-brow raising I choose to ignore.) Have you seen the Taj Mahal?
Me: No, actually I never have.
Woman: Oh why not? I would think it would be easy for you.
Me: Yes, I guess you would. I wasn't a tourist, I just lived there.
Woman: **awkward laughing**
Man: You should do something about those pavement-dwellers in Moombye. They have a rough life. I saw it on PBS. Pavement-dwellers.
Me: **laughing, and trying hard not to**

Sunday, July 02, 2006


Nothing green.
Just a fizzing dark blue that shimmers
Rusty velvet
Stained corn-rows, red tinted

Saturday, July 01, 2006

List of Things I Fear/ sort-a Fear/ am bothered by...

When I was little I was afraid of clowns, santa claus and stepping on feces. I was also afraid of this bitter, wrinkly, old woman who lived in our neighborhood and who believed in rouging her cheeks daily with bright red blush that made her look permanently angry. She would make me and my brother walk on her back, and I worried I would fall on her and crush her to death. She was little, brittle and had skin so loose it was a treacherously slippery walk each time.

Times have changed, I have a new list now.
  • Riding Old, Clunky Elevators Alone: If I must ride these cranky, smelly and glorified box-on-a-string, I would rather ride along with another soul. I reason--if it does get stuck, we can put our heads together and plot our way to freedom.
  • People who Display Excessive Saliva whilst Talking: **shudder**I find this nothing short of vomitous. Those who know me, also know I am deadly serious. Swallow before conversing with me--preferably in-audibly because that's gross too.
  • Barking Dogs that are Behind Me: I worry my butt will be chomped on any second as I've seen in endless movie flicks. Why is the animal still barking? I usually flee with my ass tucked in.
  • That One Guy who Stares Too Long on the Metro: What's with him? Quit it. Gaze elsewhere. You are creeping me out.
  • Unknown Sleeping Surfaces: Thanks to my cousin, I am convinced I will develop pimples the minute my head hits a strange pillow for a good night's sleep.
Well...I am afraid of heights too, but that's boring. Who cares if I cannot climb ladders without the wobbly legs? Also afraid of death, cancer, violence and of course, large, wild animals lunging at me and clawing me to death. And also David Blain. But who isn't?