Monday, November 17, 2014

Spy stories

Have always been a fan of spy stories. Have been watching this season of  'Homeland' with considerable interest. The series has definitely gotten better with the death of Brody.

While some of the dialogues about US interest in Saudi oil etc. is overdone already, it is quiet courageous of the writers to explore the grey areas like the way Carrie recruits or attempts to recruit Aayan. It almost works in her favor.

Last week's episode ending was predictable with Carrie clinging to the handsome, ISI operative Aasar Khan lamenting, 'Brody, Brody.' I think Aasar Khan is going to be a good guy after all.

Friday, October 03, 2014


It was a grand spectacle. The crowd went crazy about him no doubt. I wasn't really sure how to interpret the Madison Square Garden show. I mean Prime Minister Modi's visit of course.

Balloons, Hugh Jackman, Star Wars quote... Seriously? In many levels, it resembled a high level sales call than a state visit. The kind where you put up a good show, you razzle-dazzle potential investors.And that's great. We do want our economy to strengthen, for India Inc to be oversubscribed.  It must really be my old fashioned misguided sense of restraint that wanted the revelry to be toned down.

Despite what John Oliver said I thought the Force quote was fun, Mr. Modi delivered it with commendable aplomb. Our PM cannot possibly quote Wolverine from X-Men First Class, can he now?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

News, news

Mr. Modi somberly paying homage at 9/11 site, Hilfiger weighing in on his fashion sense, twitterati comparing his visit to that of Swami Vivekananda, Goswami on the streets of NY, all took a back seat. Amma has been convicted.

I wonder why no one picked up the clues. The fact that the judgement was scheduled on a Friday just before the 10 days high-court holiday should have told us it was conviction and that too over 3 years. As an armchair conspiracy theorist I could speculate all kinds of scenarios. The same prevents me from writing them.


It poured heavily couple of days ago. The traffic was a bitch, the long, clogged roads with fallen branches torturous, the journey in the dark pot-holed roads with sudden pedestrians precarious. I sat watching the thick curtain of water on the windows of my car, thankful.  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

MOM yay!

It was quite thrilling to read the news about Mangalyan entering space orbit. Got reminded of the joke that used to go around during my school days – what does SLV stand for – Sea Landing Vehicle. GSLV – Guaranteed Sea Landing Vehicle, PSLV – Planned… and so on.  And in case you didn't know the actual expansion is Satellite Launch Vehicle. We have come a long long way. What a triumph that Mangalyan is a success in the first attempt.  And the cost effectiveness is astounding. Was a moment to get teary-eyed.

There was also the joke about Indian trains never being on time. That has been put to rest as well.

Friday, June 20, 2014

In the town of Baghdad...

These past months I have switched to getting my daily dose of news stories later in the evening. I settle down on my papasan chair with my shiny new ipadmini and trawl the internet for stories from all over the world. Needless to say, Iraq pretty much dominated the scene this week. There is the usual punditry – its Bush’s mistake, its Clinton’s mistake [or was that Crimea?], it’s Iran, it’s the Iraq government… But fundamentally the pictures and repeated coverage desensitize and dehumanize the stories.  It seems like we are stuck in a time-warp. Though one could argue its just tools, no one talks about the military-industrial complex or the easy access and mass production of the weapons.

Those stories I read as a young girl starting with the time immemorial phrase – ‘In the town of Baghdad’ were much simpler. They didn’t say whether Aladdin was a Shia or a Kurd.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Whats in a blog

After much hemming and hawing I have linked this personal blog to the one. Why would any stranger want to know my opinion on sundry matters just because I have scribbled [Okay not quite the manuscript type] a novel, I doubt.  Putting a non-intrusive link feels a little less conceited as opposed to an opinion fire hose in the same blog. On the other hand it is somewhat ironic and somewhat ridiculous to dwell over it so much. When a tree falls in the forest and all that...

Friday, April 25, 2014

More adventures

[Valmiki Sarga 31-, Kamban Velvi padalam]


There is one more skirmish before they could fully claim victory. Mareecha and Subaahu attack the vedic ritual. 

aavaarya gaganam megho yathaa praavR^iSi dR^ishyate |
tathaa maayaam vikurvaaNau raakSasau abhyadhaavataam || 1-30-11

The idea of  comparing the demons to dark clouds of torrential rain is a very powerful imagery. After all, what could create more havoc than massive clouds ready to pour down rains on the fire centric rituals. The demons actually pour down blood. Despite that Rama is at first reluctant to kill Mareecha. Is it because he just killed Mareecha's mother? Rama blasts a Maanava missile [expounded by Manu, clearly not The infamous Manu]. He kills Subaahu, even declares he is ready to kill the both of them but doesn't kill Mareecha. Perhaps because Mareecha is incapacitated and Rama doesn't want to hurt him then. Perhaps he knows as an omniscient being Mareecha is an important character that would bring about a major twist in the plot.

Whatever the case may be, the demons are out, all is well with the sages. Now comes the journey to Mithila. The bait is dangled - "there is this fantastic bow you must see." mind you, it is not - this fantastic girl you must see.

tvam caiva narashaarduula saha asmaabhir gamiSyasi |
adbhutam ca dhanuu ratnam tatra tvam draSTum arhasi || 1-31-7

A grand bow with such awesome powers, but sadly no one has been able to even lift it let alone string it, wouldn't he want to see that - what a tempting invitation for a twelve year old.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Doniger's book

Read the news about Penguin India's agreement to pulp The Hindus: An Alternative History with profound sadness. Many months ago I read the book. I found it gripping and read it in one breath. It helped I was travelling to Chennai by a day train. On the way back I got one of those four seater, two facing the other two. Three men sat around me while I got the window seat. When I raised my head for something the middle aged, bespectacled man across my seat asked if he could see the book. I gave it to him and he peered at the blurb and the cover. He quickly turned a few pages, in what could at best be called skimming. Then he handed it to me with a look of disdain. He said and his exact words were, "If you want to know about Hinduism, you read the Bhavan's journal, not these kind of books." I was quite astonished at his presumption, condescension [I am no school girl] and lastly the disdain. 

I still am not clear as to why this well researched, brilliantly written book that could have resulted only from someone's deep commitment to Hinduism studies, is provoking such anger. I was so moved and inspired by the book that I wrote a short piece on the Ramayana that I was planning to work into a series.

Sad, sad event. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014


The whole of 2013 went in anticipation of Sherlock season 3. I waited for only one other movie with comparable interest.

The movie was 'Star trek into darkness'. Naturally with all the speculation and no spoilers [it got released in India before the rest of the world could tweet that the villain was indeed Khan], it was a nail-biting wait. And I had mixed feelings after watching the movie. As an aside, it was easy to spot the few trekkies in the audience - I believe about five us gasped when Cumberbatch declared his name was Khan. I found the new version lacking in depth despite having so much material, and potential actors. With the strides made in genetics and with the very polished Benedict Cumberbatch available to deliver lines from Milton, I thought it was a missed opportunity. But then the movie was entertaining.

Now on to Sherlock season 3. Again mixed feelings. I kept thinking, 'this series is fun, but what have you done to Sherlock?' I found it somewhat annoying that Sherlock was folding opera houses out of napkins when there was an unsolved case. And did he really solve anything with Magnussen? It was like watching a nice rom-com. And I do love rom-coms. And yes I did miss Moriarty.