Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Guide's Alchemy

Got a freshly minted mind courtesy the Konkan coast, where I'm back from. The rains kept away for two days; it was enough for me to try and see the Janjira fort. It looked like a battleship from afar -see the photo above- you literally see no sign of an island till you are inside the fort. From outside, it looks like the fort's walls have risen ominously from the sea to quell any misguided opportunist. You feel like an intruder yourself when you endure seedy-looking surrounds and a rocky boat ride, all the way till the hidden gate. But when you enter, it's a different world. Or is it?

I'm not going to bore you more about the architectural marvel that this fort is; nor am I going to ramble on about its Abyssinian history. I'll skip every detail about this fort so that you are as pleasantly surprised as I was. By the stories your guide shares with you.

If we hadn't hired the guide, all I would have seen was a ruined, uncared- for fort. With his alchemy, I could see the courts being called to order, a special prayer place, the queen's multi -colored bathing chambers, a secret passage that led you out of the island, and so many other magical things.

Ruins transformed into a different world by an alchemist.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bara Gavche Paani

I didn't really know what to expect.

I could guess what my old school mate Vikram Sathaye will make me do: laugh out loud uncontrollably. I've met Sunandan Lele, the veteran journalist, before, and knew that he has a rare sense of humor- he could get me and the others in Balgandharva Rangamandir to smile at his memories as well.

But what I didn't expect was for Harsha Bhogle to speak so well, in Marathi, and with a lovely Hyderabadi lilt that made the most khadoos Punekar warm up to him. There was so much to learn from what he said. Like how Sachin Tendulkar believes that bats talk to him. Like how Geoff Boycott doesn't spare his fellow commentators. Like...

These guys have made a career out of something that requires so much of ego bashing- and have had so much fun! I'd recommend you to catch this show if they ever do this again.

Their wonderful journeys still remain with me- with pit stops at Sir Viv's house, exclusive coverage of India winning (not seen on TV) and Frank Worrell's epitaph.
And just when things got a bit mushy, Vikram's imitation of Karunanidhi ensured a stitch in the side and made the old blood pressure go down a notch.

Hope you cover more places, guys, have more fun if possible- and keep us in the loop!

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Minute before Inception

As you can guess, I'd gone to see this film on the weekend at E-square. I have mixed feelings about the film itself, but not about the minute before the film started. It was a beautiful rendition of our national anthem.

It was a film showing the Indian Army raising our flag in obviously tough conditions (blizzard- like; bleak and windy). Some people had groaned when they saw the notice "please stand up for the national anthem" but I dare say that they felt a little bad about that reaction the moment they saw the visuals.

I think doing the national anthem before a film is a good idea (although bad possibly for popcorn carriers- all that juggling- and you can't really look solemn carrying popcorn, can you) . Having a film that gives goosebumps accompanying it is one step better.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bill Bryson's World

If you ever need to get yourself out of a rut, get hold of a Bill Bryson book. He writes about the places he visits. He covers them, warts and all, and has a delicious sense of humor to boot. He effortlessly takes you through the geography, history and charm of each eclectic place as he rips it apart. The good thing about his writing is that it is very real- he talks of the tedium of traveling as well as the joys, and I could certainly connect with that.

And your benefit is that you get that holiday, in your mind at least. And you don't get the blisters and insect bites that he does!

My favourite books are "Notes from a small island"(Great Britain) ; "A walk in the woods" (covering the Appalachian trail) ; and the last one I finished- "The lost continent" (covering small town USA)

And when he writes about having a "steamy, lavish bath" after a day out chasing some monuments, his infectiousness gets you to have one as well. No kidding.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Different Points of View

I teach every Saturday at Symbiosis, Lavale. As I drive up, I get to see some spectacular views. The first image that you see below is on the way up the ghat. The second one is a fantastic view of the valley after I get out of my car. The third photo is when I step inside the good looking institute. These beautiful images form my point of view. Scroll down and see the fourth photo as well to get a different point of view as well.

My students probably feel different. I imagine this depicts things from their perspective: Prison!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Once Upon a Time There was a Story

I'd seen my fill of disappointing films for the year. Shrek 3 and Iron Man2 disappointed. I didn't dare watch Kites or I Hate Luv stories.

Then I saw some posters I was really intrigued with, for a movie with a rather long title (Once upon a Time in Mumbaai). I tried my luck once again. Glad I did.

The film was a surprise and a delight. A very good script makes for powerful viewing. Yes, everyone's acted well, and the 70's era in Mumbai looks well shot; but the heart of the film is a wonderfully written script and dialogues(sure, some were corny, but I thought that was a nice touch within the film)

A good script prevents hamming and allows integrity to remain in a film. Watch the film and I'm sure you'll agree with me.