29 09 2008

Here is something to look at if you are sick of the antics by Falsie over at SpaceBar’s, :)

Richard Avedon. Falstaff.

Richard Avedon. Falstaff.


In life,

24 09 2008

Take notes as you learn lessons.

Take time out to copy them over in a cleaner font when said lesson is over.

You will, inevitably, need them notes again. And again.

Thank you.

17 09 2008

boy meets girl,

girl eats boy,

lives happily after.

mantis religiosa.

Talking of Michelangelo

13 09 2008

(Alt Title: A Pink David for Spacebar!)

Two cities, two Davids. Both interesting takes on the masculine perfection that is Michelangelo’s David.

Singapore, National Gallery. June 2008.

Titarubi’s Surrounding David (in pink brocade). Click for higher res. More images here. What is the whole point? Well, if I remember correctly the anatomy of David is known to make some young ones dizzy. (Yes Veena, you. *) And, here is a well-written analysis on this installation.

Surrounding David

Moving on.

Palo Alto, USA. June 2008.


Duane Hanson’s Slab Man

A life size construction worker with the name-tag David, leans against the walls of the Cantor Art Center. Right after you walk past Warhol’s Electric Chair. Fantastically realistic. Observing this installation closely can make you feel like a creep intruding on someone’s well deserved break. The name-tag evokes Michelangelo’s David, but nothing else about the statue does. Here is a middle-aged construction worker with a paunch and a slouch.

* It was the summer of 2002. Florence, Italy. We were all bright eyed, bushy tailed and what have you. The Scene, Veena with her jaws dropped, stares unblinkingly at Michaelanglo’s David. Bill stands around with A, the both of them discuss something in a furious but hushed tone. I walk around trying to find some spot where the guards wouldn’t catch me shooting some pictures. Bill walks up to me (this is rare, him walking up to you, instead of the other way round). He says, “I don’t know how to break this to Veena, but 15 year olds don’t have that kind of…ahem…anatomy”. Well, well.

Since we are all doing it

11 09 2008

I had walked the 3 miles back home the night before. Sometime around 3am. I did not ride the shuttle bus, I walked. Thoughts — of the slow but steady memory leak in my code — kept me company. I got home and read. Must have gone to bed around 5am.

The next day, back in school, having taken in my daily quota of online comic-strips, I was back at work. And a new message popped up in my mail client. Airplanes had collided into the WTC. There was one more hijacked plane still circling some part of PA. What?!

In the hour that followed various numbers, the melting point of structural elements of skyscrapers, airports, terrorists were discussed on the television sets I stared into. The news channels were clamoring for facts and numbers. They promised to to keep us updated.

Someone at school told me to get supplies. Not duct-tape (we did not know their omnipotence back then, did we…). But a bag of rice, as the Indian store was only a block away. The other grocers were all a bus ride away. There was still that missing plane and rumors that it might come crashing into a building close to where we lived. So I was to withdraw a substantial amount of cash. One thousand had sounded substantial to me that day.

A 10 pound bag of Basmati rice and a tiny purse with my passport, visa and cash.

How unprepared we were for the decade that has followed.

The other film

5 09 2008
mumbai meri jaan

mumbai meri jaan

I caught Nishikant Kamat’s Mumbai Meri Jaan right around when this was happening over at Spacebar’s. Mumbai Meri… is nothing like Jaane Tu… And is definitely worth watching. It has been repeatedly called Crash-like, which is sort of true. But it is definitely one of the best movies to come out of Bollywood(?) this year.

The film follows the lives of 5 characters in Bombay around the July 11th, 2006 train bombing. The actors fit right into the roles here. Irrfan Khan as the Tamil coffee vendor is very convincing. Paresh Rawal* does a great job as a policeman at the verge of retirement. KayKay Menon gets to do what he always does best -be a terribly frustrated person with misplaced priorities. But they are all good actors to begin with.

Surprisingly (or commendably), Kamat has managed to get a good performance from not just Soha Ali Khan, but also Madhavan. Soha plays a TV journalist who does what all TV news channels and anchors seem to do best – get a story and look good doing it. Until one day there is the bomb blast and her life turns into one of the stories the press wants to cover. Madhavan plays a software engineer who refuses to move to the US, or buy a car and continues to take the local trains. And of course, he is in one of the trains where a bomb goes off and his world is rattled.

These ordinary stories of average struggles in the lives of regular people that can be seen in any big city. But the film-maker has managed to give us a sense of who these people are. This is rarely done well in most films. There are people sitting around having chai in the corner shop making jokes. There is a character who lectures a street vendor on the issues of using disposable plastic bags. A glimpse into how the rest of India gets to see and experience the Mall culture (hint: They are usually not even allowed to enter one).

Very few films shot in Bombay manage to capture the fine balance of the grittiness and the beauty of the city right. This is one of those films. I loved the way this film has been shot. It captures what I saw of the city the one time I have been there.

If you don’t get to see this film, atleast catch a clip from Kamat’s Dombivli Fast on YT.

* Unlike how he is typically wasted in what passes for Bollywood comedies (Yes, I mean those hideous remakes of 80s Mallu movies by Priyadarshan).