aristera says

Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Rang de basanti

With much trepidation, we went for the premiere show. The film had an interesting concept and a good cast (minus aamir khan). Was sure it would also turn out to be a big disappointment, after the debacle of 15 Park Avenue. Was pleasantly surprised. Was a very nice film. A film which finally understood the meaning of ‘implied’, ‘subtle’, ‘less is more’ instead of hamming (which a concept like this, it could so easily have fallen prey to). Stylistically shot (sometimes too stylized… but what the hell!). Like my friend B said about the first half, it looked like a slick music video. Apt. but well handled, sound cinematography, brilliant locales (a far cry from New Zealand, Alps, and Mumbai). Set in contemporary Delhi in the DU campus and the outskirts, this film’s strong point is definitely its contexuality. Relevant. It hits you hard.
Am glad I never went to college in Bombay. Colleges here impart sound education without any ideology. ‘Campus’ is missing as a way of life. The bonding on other campuses over the country is so different. Delhi University may have the drawback of the overtly politicized atmosphere. But that’s better than Bombay colleges’ apathy and ignorance. There is so much more to college life than jam sessions, chilling and other frivolous indulgences. I mean, these are definitely essential but there is more to it. At college, I had BIG fights with my head of department, faculty, administration, trustees, and the works. Because I believed that there was a need for a changeand because I felt that I was getting a raw deal. Because it was unfair. I wasn’t a rebel, per se. that would be a gross exaggeration. Like extempore said once about someone, ‘I can’t stand rebels without a cause’. The college fests here have too much money. The commutes take all the thinking time. Infact you spend all your time either commuting or thinking about which train to take to avoid the rush hour. This rush is not conducive to education, for sure.
Am digressing. It’s about RDB.
The way the film transcends the present to enter the past and vice versa is maturely dealt with. The title track is fantastic. Keeps ringing in my head. Ding ding ding ding. Soha (unlike her stiff performance in Antarmahal) is very restrained and convincing in the film. Waheeda is subtle and graceful, as always. The others are aptly cast (Sherman joshi, kunal kapur, sidhharth something) and do a very good job of it. Aamir khan sadly is too big for the film. He can not get over the fact that he is a ‘great’ actor. Over board at times, while decent at others (he is fantastic in the climax), he looks GODAWFUL.
All said and done, I think it’s worth a watch. Even the dimwits will like it. It plays to the galleries with the realistic but crass dilli-college lingo. Some of it is uncalled for and affected, some endearing.

Oh and republic day!
Yes. I hate Indians. I do. I love India and hate Indians. Uncivilized and hate it as I may, I will describe us as ‘monkey tribe’. While seeing the film, I cursed the Indian audience. Laughing at all the wrong times. Insensitive. Don’t deserve a good film. Saying things like ‘mind-blowing’ while Jallinwalabaug is being shown? Huh? DISGUST is the only word that comes to my mind. I detest people whose vocab is restricted to ‘rocking’ and ‘mind-blowing’ and ‘awesome’. May that cretin sitting behind me in the film burn in hell. The general audience was dumb and daft. The next day I saw a TV show where they asked people when was India’s republic day. People didn’t know that! When did it become a republic? Nada. What does republic mean? Zilch. UGHS. Pity. We are truly a THIRD WORLD COUNTRY. I hate Indians. We are A-W-F-U-L.

Oh a completely different note, I am puzzled with myself. Something I have been looking forward to for ages finally happened. It a fantastic step-up for my career. Takes decades for people to achieve it. I was waiting for it like mad. And that’s an understatement. But it happened and it just fizzled out. It was like a flat beer. I was like, wow. So now that we are done with that, lets go make some coffee. Nobody was excited. Nobody. Except my cousin. She’s the best. She wanted an autographed copy. Others were like ya cool. Whatever. Sigh. For me it was a milestone. my parents haven’t seen it yet, but were happy. My grandmom saw it and was happy for me. I wish atleast there was someone who would be as excited or a bit proud of me. Damn. I had sworn not to write about emotional stuff on the blog. Anyways. On a much lighter note, am rather vela these days. Not as much work. Suddenly. Wish I was reading. But I am on the fone all the time. Or sleeping early and getting up late. My favorite prof at college used to call me a ‘lazy lump of corruption’. Hehe. I now call my favorite student the same. Life comes a full circle. Wow, makes me feel ancient.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


kareoke nights

(over a year ago, an old aquaintance and i went to jazz by the bay for drinks are a play at prithvi and some drinks at OnToes. he somehow convinced me to sing. 'With or Without You'. i kept the mike away and sang. then on diwali i dragged some friends along to jazz to sing songs and bring the festival in. my friend R, the performer, wanted to sing YMCA. i flatly refused. we both agreed to Pretty Woman. i sang awful. even my friends said so. but after 4 vodka tonics, i couldnt care two hoots. then on new years eve, at this shady club in calangute-goa, j and i, this time after an awful cocktail and about 3vodkas, we decided to to a theatrical rendition (last song for the night- for obvious reasons) of 'I Will Survive'. it was a riot. didnt do a very very bad job, coz j was good at singing. hehe. but like i said, it was a riot. and then again, today i am singing along while writing this post... and the song is my current state of mind).
Oh Pretty Woman
From the Movie "Pretty Woman"
Performed by Roy Orbison
Pretty woman, walking down the street
Pretty woman, the kind I like to meet
Pretty woman
I don't believe you,
you're not the truth
No one could look as good as you
Pretty woman, won't you pardon me
Pretty woman, I couldn't help see
Pretty womanThat you look lovely as can be
Are you lonely just like me
Pretty woman, stop a while
Pretty woman, talk a while
Pretty woman, gave your smile to me
Pretty woman, yeah yeah yeah
Pretty woman, look my way
Pretty woman, say you'll stay
with me
'Cause I need you, I'll trear you right
Come with me baby, be mine tonight
Pretty woman, don't walk on by
Pretty woman, make me cryPretty woman, don't walk away,
hey...okayIf that's the way it must be,
okayI guess I'll go on home,
it's lateThere'll be tomorrow nigh,
but wait
What do I sees
is she walking back to me
Yeah, she's walking back to me
Oh, oh, Pretty woman

Monday, January 23, 2006


tombstone of aristera

while saurabh put this thought in my mind... i thought it might make an interesting post. what would one want one's tombstone to say. morbid thought? naah. narsississtic? perhaps. it made me think. i came up with cheesy one liners (yes, those of you who know me, stop sniggering!). i came up with caustic remarks (my forte)...and i said to myself, aristera, beta, not in death, no sarcasm please. the best i could come up with (albeit not-original, courtesy frank sinatra)...
(1981 - xxxx)
He Did It His Way

Monday, January 16, 2006


you think this post can have a title?

this is not the life i want to lead.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


15 Park Avenue

One of those films which are not bad, but could have and should have been so much more. Aparna Sen, goddess of cinema for me, fell from grace. A great concept gone off the mark. A wooden ugly rahul bose, a cocksure and diva-like shabana( playing herself in arty clothes), a simple yet convincing waheeda rehman, brilliant shefalie chhaya. Konkona was ofcourse very good, but in an author backed role of this kind, you cant go wrong. It is one of those films which a mother would make for her daughter to get the National Award as a birthday present. Technically no great guns, bad dialogues, forced acting. This could not have come from the same woman who gave us masterpieces like 36 chowringee lane and yugant. No.
But in all fairness, the ending was made beautifully. I might over interpret it, but it challenges the sanity of the so called sane. And how we are all looking for that elusive something/someone…our very own 15 park avenue?

Friday, January 13, 2006


teacher teacher

Planning to have some friends over tomorrow evening. Some close friends. Some who may become close friends. Food and drinks. And conversations. Have discovered that I love entertaining. Absolutely. Luckily the blues have gone away. No complains about living by myself. No issues about being single. Working sensibly, if not hard. Am on a high as far as teaching is concerned. Had a good class today. The new batch this semester is very good. Very curious and very cocksure. Love teaching them. They harrow me with their doubts. Especially this one gurl M. it’s the prefinal semester for them, andi decided to remodel the program completely. Retail design. Showing them ‘breakfast at tiffany’s’. doing lotsa case studies. M suddenly asks me these questions that just kill me. Reminds me of me in college. ‘so is this deconstruction?’ . I just smile. Sigh. Then go on to explain. ‘so is minimalism so facile?’ or ‘who fathered the modernist movement, Mies Van Der Rohe?’. I sigh again. Start explaining the sociological framework post-world-war. Give her a reading list to solve her doubts. It is as stimulating for me as it is for her. We dissect Ayn Rand’s writings. She thinks the world of her ‘Fountainhead’. We fight over it. I tell her to give it five years. She humours me and smiles. We move on to next weeks assignments.

An observation, if I may. Somethings which are considered cool to dismiss :
1. Indian writing in English
2. derrida
3. marquez
4. booker prize winners
5. siddharth dhanvant sanghvi
6. arundhati roy
7. rushdie and naipaul
8. contemporary Indian art
9. hussain
10. indian art house cinema

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


yes, yes, now lets get over it

sheepish look, tail between legs, and i am back. yes, yes, you all knew i would and all that. so lets get that over with. no phal, you may not make wisecracks. or what the hell. go ahead. predictable, eh? kept composing posts in my head all these days. and it killed me. so i said, resolution 1 : fcuk resolutions!
goa over new years. nothing but sheer indulgence. spoilt me. goan lunches. english breakfasts, italiano dinners...the good life. lazy long brunches at cafe lila's (not to confuse with the fancy hotel) beautiful little place by the baga river creek. chicken pate', sour dough bread, smoked fish (sex is nothing compared to this kingfish...please trust me). smoothies and shakes, cheese and croissants. aaah. authentic goan food (but terrible terrible service) at martins in south goa. my goan friend j who was with us on the trip was on a 'goa pride' mode and wanted us to sample everything local...xacuti, local bread, fish preperations, the works. little snippets from him about old goa. st augutine's star which was a beautiful ruins. will post pics if my friend b ever gives em to me. swimming in the sea is so liberating! j and i went bonkers. spent a good amount of time with him for the first time. bonded like nobodies business. over common interests (to shallow to write about...haha). port wine, cashew feni with mirch and orange drink (vile), good old sula, breezers (pansy drink and all, but ok if its between sessions or real drinking) on the beach, beer by the gallon on the beach beds, fresh lime sodas for breakfast.
the most beautiful night was the night of 1st jan 2006. 6 bloody mary's (just for a frigging 100bucks each... i wana live on anjuna) and a peaceful beach. clear sky, stars, walking alone on the deserted beach, faintr music in the background, and those little fish which light my feet. it was lke walking under stars and on stars. have never ever been so happy. at peace. c'est la vie. it is!
went with a bunch of friends with whom i have developed over a short apell of time (a little over a year) a great comfort level. we were all just being our selves. priorities didnt clash. we all are gluttons (new year confessions and all). shopped some. got back guava cheese (divine) and coffee liquer and cherry brandy liquer (cant spell the word) and some flip flops. sand in my soul.
all in all a perfect trip. all i wanted and more (except for the shady club we partyed at which was more of a pick up joint for aging firangs and the fact that i didnt get laid...i tried and so hard...hehe). if you have noticed, the blog is getting more honest this year.
getting back to bombay was a rude shock, to say the least. wasnt prepared for the onslaught. need to go back.
new new year resolutions:
1. buy loads books, read them all
2. work very hard
3. travel as much as you can
4. be happy
currently listening to : kungfoo fighting, kama chamelion, beautiful boy.
telling myself: life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans


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