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who so hunts to list

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"If you interact with things in your life, everything is constantly changing. And if nothing changes, you're an idiot. " So says Umberto Eco in this interesting interview about how lists are the stuff of culture . (Nice decor huh?) I remember sitting, rather hungover, with a musician friend at Sea View in the early morning, and feeling a ching of recognition through the haze as he said this thing that a lot of Indian traditional culture is made up of lists - a list of kisses (Kama Sutra), a list of the types of relationships there can be between lovers (Gita Govinda - I think he said), and so on. The idea of an EDL, a film's edit, as a list of images perhaps comes very close to this idea and reminds us, to make that list with care. In every day life my propensity for lists has been talked about earlier, here. I often feel that if I make the list in the wrong order I never get through it and if I make it the right way then it orders my day. Perhaps that's

The Lost Bits

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If my dad were alive today he'd be irritated with me - always waiting till the 11th hour! he'd expostulate - why can't you do things on time? If you had to write me a birthday post why wait till the last hour of my birthday? And I'd be saying - but Papu I had to do that other thing - and I scanned the picture earlier and.. And he'd say - always excuses, dash it! Koi system nahin hai! And I'd say - that's not true! System hai. And it is being done before your birthday is over na! And he'd say - don't teach your grandmother how to suck eggs. And I'd feel like laughing but wouldn't dare. Every year on my dad's birthday I miss him more than other days - that's natural. But I feel it more - or differently - when it's the Sunday before his birthday and I see the horoscopes for those whose birthday falls in the coming week. It's a reminder that there isn't something to look forward to. I think about reading the paragraph

festival seasons from other worlds

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Perhaps the government's inimitable way of reminding filmmakers that you can't have your torte and eat it too (no matter what the signs say) (and not to be confused with tort ). It's art or commerce baby; success or goodness. Unless of course you go to another kind of festival altogether and get some special boons

Electric Plug

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Electric Feather, an anthology of contemporary Indian erotica finally launched last week. It's been a while in the coming (the best things in life take their time). And since the last public erotic feather was in Mughal-e-Azam, I'd say about damn time! I have a story in it and I'm suddenly wondering how people will respond. When I give the book to someone, sometimes I want to take it back. Not because I have any issues writing about sex. In fact I was more or less willing to read a rather explicit passage in my story which features a starfish simile I'm kinda proud of. But suddenly I'm coming to realise how few freely admit to fantasy and pleasure, how many are a bit squirmy about it and also, I begin to wonder how does this squirminess play out in one's more formal, professional relationships? I'm wondering if people will read, maybe even like, but hesitate to say anything because of their sense of propriety or privacy or prudishness - or need to wrin

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