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What is Time?

I am going away for a few days. Dutifully I tell my fellow scrabble addicted friends on facebook. Where you going? One asks. Goa. Oh! Socegad! She says. Don’t be so stereotyping I say. Besides, I’m going for work. I am in Goa for a workshop. But I also have a big deadline I need email to help me reach. The hotel is supposed to provide internet to the workshop office. A few times a day I go I go up and ask hopefully: is there internet? I get resigned looks. Wait they say, it’s coming the hotel people said. I also sit down, and get that hanging about haplessly body language. A hotel employee comes up. Internet is not working aan? No. He walks around looking intent, but gingerly, not touching a switch or cable. He hovers above the router looking at it with the blank concern of a nephew who is visiting an aunt he has never heard of before under duress and is actually thinking of the cricket match while he waits for the visit to end. Ok, he says and leaves, never to return. Desperate

here's looking at you kid

If ever a writer had a drawl it is Mohammad Hanif. Whether it was the utterly fantastic, bitterly funny A Case of Exploding Mangoes or this piece on moving back to Pakistan, I always see the narrator leaning against the door frame, a cigarette in his mouth, drawling out the lines, the indolence masking the irreverence. Although we've received it more commonly through American pop culture, this dry drawling style does of course exist as a tradition in the sardonic rhythms of parts of South Asia, in the erudite, ironic observations of litterateurs... It is a glamour-evoking fabulousness indeed as styles go. Walking along the Karachi seafront after returning from London, I worked myself into a self-righteous rage at these young women in black burkas hanging out at the beach when they should have been at school or in some mosque praying for our collective salvation. But then I looked closely and found out that many of them were on a date. Some were actually making out, in broad dayl

The Other Bhabhi imparts a moral lesson for all girls

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While Savita bhabhi may not be able to bestow her largesse on the world for the time being, the other bhabhi who is such a shining light in my firmament has returned after a long absence in the papers although I did scour everything for news of her on Sanju bhaiya's 50th birthday. It's not a very specatcular resurfacing, but it is a reliable one. Ah Manyata! If only she had been my bhabhi during the boards I would have topped - even in Maths! If only she had taught me some lessons in youth, I would have avoided many a bitter romantic season instead of haring off here and there to pursue my goals, desires and other icky feminist things- Stand By Your Man! Manyata pushes Sanju to work, work, work Shahanaz my dingbat aunt has taken it upon herself to make me a star wife. It has suddenly become her life’s aim to marry me off to some filmi type so that the both of us can become red carpet regulars, schmoozing with the stars while her kitty gang begs her to get introduc

and then, maybe sex is the revolution

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Porn comic stars don't die they just become speech bubbles I guess. Shor Bazaar, a band from Bombay has written a song about Savita Bhabhi which most have read about but all may not so diligently gone to look for on the day of release as I did. For those of you more gainfully employed than I, my middle name is happy-to-serve - it is HERE Is it great stuff ? Well the comic was punchier and funnier and struck the right ingenuous tone- this song isn't really spark-y and it loses it's opportunity to use the small thing to talk about the big thing, to somehow combine pleasure and comment - but, it's trying at least and it wants to be fun. And it's local produce people. So I'll take it for now.

waiting for a revolution (just a small one yaar)

People often say military rule will straighten everything out. And us liberals always of course fight with them - as we should. But sometimes I feel like imposing military rule only on the entertainment business - because look what it did for Pakistan, man! Thanks to a friend I've been watching a show called Coke Studio - which is a sort of Unplugged or Studio Sessions type show with Pakistani bands/musicians. Some of the stuff is super fabulous and I felt frustrated again that in a country the size of India we rarely have - or come across - anything particularly exciting in the world of pop music. The normal response to that is that film music is our popular music. But I don't know - over time it has, like so much else, become so homegenised that although we hear a few good songs, they are all so similiar. Of course there are exceptions but just look - it's a country of over a billion people and so many languages and seemingly so little. A lot of singers in the film ind

The true meaning of romance

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Love, See us Into a Hall of Mirrors

I have a piece in the Outlook's annual Bollywood special - which I'd love some feedback on. The theme this year is romance. It's called Love, See Us Into a Hall of Mirrors Writing in something like Outlook is a bit scary because you know anyone, anywhere in the country could read it. Or at least it is now - because I wrote a piece last year and at that time I didn't think too much about it. Only after it came out did I realise how many people read Outlook - I mean felt aware of it actually instead of in some abstract corner of my brain. For a couple years I wrote a column for the Mumbai Mirror. Since those were my years of not taking the Times of India I never actually saw the column in print. As a result I wrote it with a peculiar sense of freedom - I had no sense of it being read by all and sundry and so, no fear of the inevitable shame and scorn that I otherwise live in constant dread of. Then I switched papers. Guess what I don't write anymore? Of course th