Sunday, April 24, 2005

Butter Chicken for the Allergic Soul

* I love chicken. I can eat it thirty-two times a day and still have space for some more. But my love for blood, murder, predatory appetite and primal savagery only extends to chicken. I cannot take pork, beef, lamb and I hate (that’s an understatement) sea food. Just think about this for a minute - where do fish crap? - In the water. Where do they live? - In the same freaking water. How can you eat something which lives along with its own crap? Ok! Ok! I know I am being biased, but I have a reason.

The reason, for one, is my ignorance and two, the following - Any of various marine cephalopod mollusks of the genus Loligo and related genera, having a usually elongated body, ten arms surrounding the mouth, a vestigial internal shell, and a pair of triangular or rounded fins.

If you are still guessing, here is a picture:

Even the fungus growing under the flower-pot in my balcony could have told me that I should stay away from anything which looks like that, has ten arms surrounding its mouth and is called SQUID. Yeah! You heard it - I ate squid and those Italians whom I love so much tricked me. How you ask? They couldn’t call the dish they prepared from this freak of nature - ‘Stay Quarantined Until It Disappears’. No! They had to call it bloody Calamari - such a harmless sounding name - people would have said in Hindi - ‘Kiski Mari! Calamari! Kiski Mari! Calamari!’ Well now they can shout out loud -‘Kiski Mari! Anshu Ki Mari! Kiski Mari! Anshu Ki Mari!’

I spent the third most uncomfortable night of my life after eating that crap. My face and body were so badly swollen that it looked like somebody with a real grudge had used a sledge-hammer on me.

Can’t you write on the menu that this dish is prepared from an organism which can grow anywhere between 5 centimetre and 18 metre (Yeah! Go check the encyclopaedia). Had you told me, I would have run so freaking fast that Forrest would have been proud of me (Little girl - Run Forrest! Run!).

Resolution: Stay away from sea food.

Observation: Yahoo! I finally have an allergy! I am so proud of myself! (You freak!)

* She doesn’t like movies! The moment I heard this, it felt as if the entire weight of the Himalayas had fallen on me. The world stood still and the next one second took a thousand years to pass. I, Anshumani Ruddra, had fallen for someone who doesn’t like movies. Disaster! Irony! The universe mocked me! My entire life flashed in front of my eyes.

And then, she smiled. Ah! That smile.

Who cares about the movies? It is the occupation of the bloody bourgeoisie. People have other hobbies. You will survive. She has so many more interesting things to say. She is so beautiful. She is so spirited. You are a pathetic sell-out. So what? When she laughs gravity disappears - you believe you are a bird - better still, you believe you are a Lockheed Martin SR - 71 Blackbird.

Hmmm ... Just because she dislikes motion pictures doesn’t mean you have to stop watching them. It’s just that your favourite topic of discussion no longer exists. You have other interesting things to say. There is more to you than just movies (Is there? Let me think - I am choking! * Al Pacino voice* - When the shit hits the fan, some people run and some people watch movies. Oh shut up!)

Final Analysis: The world doesn’t revolve around film aficionados. There still exist interesting people in this world who don’t like movies (from Ridley’s Believe It Or Not).

* I love poetry. I love reading it out loud. I love performing it. I love quoting it to others. I even like writing it. But here comes the problem - I suck at writing poetry. But hey, this is my blog! I can put up whatever I want. Read and weep, suckers!

This was written in 2 minutes 44 seconds in an on the spot writing exercise. The theme was - ‘One Way Ticket’

The Poet finally decided to call it quits.
His patience after all had been tested to the hilt.

He could not take this sundry life no more,
The whole bloody thing was such a bore.

The poison and the railway track did not work,
So he kissed the village nurse who was a complete dork.

He died of common cold the next day
Thus buying a one way ticket to hell, oh yay!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

A Question of Age

It’s happening all around me. I think about it in great detail and then try and forget about the whole shebang. But it comes back. What is ‘It’? ‘It’ is this sudden urge in guys I know to fall in love with women who are older than them. My position on this issue till a few weeks back was that of indifferent neutrality; not any more.

Let me quickly put down the few arguments which people give against this age disparity in love. Women mature faster both physically and mentally than men. Women start looking older much earlier than men as time progresses. These are the two most common arguments given by wiser, older and more experienced people in favour of the woman being a few years younger than the man in a relationship. Though the arguments are highly generalized they do make a lot of sense at a certain level and probably apply to the lowest common denominator in our species. But what if we are dealing with above average, well rounded and mature men and women? Age suddenly becomes irrelevant.

The rule-followers will now argue that a few months here and there may be alright but not more than that. So what age gap is acceptable? Few months, one year, less than three years, five years, ten years? Frankly, I don’t know. It depends on the guy and the girl in question. The only chink in the armour I can see is this – Companionship is about experiencing life together as a journey. A much older woman, (man single, 25; woman divorced, mother of one, 32) would have already completed a part of this ‘Journey’ and learnt valuable lessons from it. Agreed that every relationship is unique in itself, but still the joy of experiencing new things together is lost if one partner has already gone down that road before (sex is just a trivial issue here you perverts, ok it’s important but not that important).

I was recently responsible for convincing the parents of the 25 year old to marry him to the 32 year old. Guess what argument I used – They both really love each other, your son is a useless chap whereas she is a highly paid executive in a MNC, and your son is most probably impotent and will never be able to have children – this way you get a readymade grandson who will love you oldies a lot and if the couple is lucky you might be blessed with another grandchild. My powers of persuasion were probably at their best because they bought the whole thing.

It’s easier to argue for or against when one is an uninvolved observer. But what if one is involved? What if I, an intelligent, creative, mature and level-headed 22 year old writer, have a crush on a beautiful (read hot), talented and spirited 24 year old journalist? Now that, would be interesting!

Thursday, April 07, 2005


I am going to discuss the movie ‘Closer’ in detail, so all those who haven’t yet seen the movie and would like to see it, please avoid reading the following blog post. The movie raised a lot of questions in my mind. I tried searching the net for some answers but that wasn’t very helpful. I have tried to answer some of those questions here on my own.

What I understood of the movie:

The Characters:

Dan (Jude Law)
Beginning: Has a girlfriend called Ruth who is not shown throughout the film. Writes the obituary page in the newspaper and hates his work. Wants to become a writer but doesn’t know what to write about.
Middle: Writes a book called ‘The Aquarium’ which fails. The book is inspired by the life of Alice but according to Alice it is not the complete truth.
End: Becomes editor of the obituary page after the death of the editor. The editor is most probably his own father. In the beginning he says his mom died when he was a kid and his dad is just hanging on to dear life. In the end he says he sat next to the editor in the hospital for many days before he died. So I am guessing the editor was his father.

Anna (Julia Roberts)
Beginning: Married to someone but unhappy. She is a professional photographer who has read the manuscript of Dan’s book.
Middle: Becomes a successful photographer with her most famous work being the picture of Alice – London girl.
End: Is married to Larry and is probably happy. But we don’t know how long this happiness will last.

Larry (Clive Owen)
Beginning: Dermatologist working in a hospital.
Middle: Meets Alice and is the only character to whom she tells her real identity but he doesn’t believe it.
End: Has a private practice and is married to Anna. Has sex outside of marriage and still gets away with it because Anna cannot complain.

Alice (Natalie Portman)
Beginning: Stripper from New York who comes to London and changes her identity.
Middle: Goes back to her original identity and works in a club.
End: Goes back to New York but again changes herself.

The Plot Details:

The real Alice: Her real name is Jane Rachel Jones as shown on her passport. She tells Dan that he can never see her passport because then he’ll know her true identity. When Larry asks for her real name repeatedly in the strip joint she tells him the truth each time. When Dan leaves her the first time and asks her what she will do, she says she will disappear. She takes the name Alice Ayers from the porcelain plaque when she and Dan walk through Postman’s Park in the beginning of the movie. The plaque says the following –

“Alice Ayers. Daughter of a bricklayer's labourer who by intrepid conduct saved 3 children from a burning house in Union Street Borough at the cost of her own young life. April 24 1885."

This is exactly what Alice does in the movie. She is compared again and again to an angel by Dan and Larry. She is responsible for saving the other three characters in some way or the other. At the end they are all in a better state then what they were in the beginning of the movie. In the original play on which this movie is based, Alice dies in the end. In the movie the ending is more open – she might meet another stranger in New York, fall in love with him and be completely devoted to him or she may die. I would like to believe that she lives.

Larry the Caveman: For someone who talks about being a caveman and not being very refined, Larry is really smart and a good observer of human nature. He manipulates Dan twice. Even though both the women prefer Dan in bed, Anna still ends up with him. Larry likes to dominate women and treat them like whores. In Anna he has found a woman who likes to be dominated and because of her inherent inability to be happy she will keep coming back to him. He makes Anna tell him all the details about Dan. Anna’s indiscretion is very puzzling and she is perhaps the quintessential bitch.

Art: Alice’s description of art is an amazing statement and is almost a reflection of the movie itself. Anna’s photographs have captured the sadness of people and yet are beautiful. But this beauty itself will bring joy to others and hence the art is justified. Dan’s book on the other hand was also about Alice but failed to capture the truth (her sadness). This is perhaps why the book failed. The movie is about four sad and emotionally challenged characters and yet it is made beautifully.

Dan and Anna’s search for something better: Alice unconditionally loves Dan. Still Dan falls for Anna simply because he feels Alice is dependant on him and Anna is an independent woman. In reality, Anna likes to be dominated by others. Why else would she go out with a creep like Larry, who chats on sex sites and only has sex on his mind 24/7. Dan and Anna will never be happy because happiness freaks them out and they run away from it. Somehow they remind me of Sisyphus – that guy who used to push a boulder up a hill and then it would fall back and he’ll do it all over again.

Why I am freaked out after watching Closer:

Some bits here are redundant because I wrote this before the previous part.
There are some works of fiction (books/movies) which leave a deep impression on us. This has happened a number of times to me with books but not too often with movies (probably because I see so many of them). The last time I spent many sleepless nights because of a movie was when I saw ‘Requiem for a Dream’. Yesterday I saw ‘Closer’, twice, and I don’t think I’ll be sleeping for the next few days.

They say reality starts following fiction after a while. I believe that, is always the case. Yet, I have never identified myself to such a large extent with any one particular character in a book or a movie (not the way every Tom, Dick and Harry thinks that Howard Roark’s life is their own or Salinger was telling their story). Not until I saw Jude Law’s character - Dan yesterday in Closer.

Dan is an obituary writer. I have been secretly obsessed with obituaries for ages. The guy wants to be a writer at the beginning of the movie and eventually becomes a failed writer by the end. I am an optimist, so that probably wouldn’t happen to me but I am currently writing about a character who is trying to write the perfect obituary for himself. Creepy!

Dan asks Anna (Julia Roberts) to lie to him because he is frustrated with the truth and thinks lies make life so much easier. Dan also is a proficient liar himself with an imagination working on overdrive (he goes on a sex site and pretends to be Anna and chats with Larry (Clive Owen), I haven’t done that but I am very much capable of doing it – it’s just that I hate chatting on the net). Yet, he contradicts himself in the end by asking Alice (Natalie Portman) to tell him the truth and stresses the importance of truth. His selfishness and failure to recognize love is all too familiar. I better go out and party a little or I’ll go crazy.

Listening to:

Closer Soundtrack – The Blower’s Daughter Artist: Damien Rice

Did I say that I loathe you?
Did I say that I want to
Leave it all behind?

I can't take my mind off of you
I can't take my mind off you
I can't take my mind off of you
I can't take my mind off you
I can't take my mind off you
I can't take my mind...
My mind...
'Til I find somebody new