A Bowlful of Minestrone


You never realize what you have until…. sounds too cliched, doesn’t it?

Do unto others as…. nah, this too.

Absence is to love what wind is to fire…. mush-ick-y.

Give ‘im an enema and ‘e’ll fit into a matchbox... there.. that’s a better status message.

For close to eight years now, I have been mistaken for a metalhead, so much that people once dropped by to check if I’m fine when they heard strains of Roxette’s It must have been love from my room. [I am not exaggerating… my friend felt my forehead, peered into my eyes, and gave me the mental third-degree about whether I had fallen in or out of love or what. And no, it was neither.]. I suppose that phase is ending… retro Hindi is taking over my playlist.

Talking of which, I read somewhere that Kishore Kumar once had a “Beware of Kishore” board put up on his gate. And once when a colleague came home and offered to shake hands as he was leaving, the maestro bit his hand, and laughingly asked the visitor whether he had seen the board on the gate.

And another bit of trivia… apparently Nana Patekar is a police artist – the sort to which you describe what your assailant looks like and based on that get a sketch of what (s)he probably looks like.

Watching Kamal Haasan’s Kurudhipunal, which is a remake of Govind Nihalani’s Drohkaal, I wonder what the difference between a “good” person and a “bad” one is… is an good armyman still good when he makes tiny, seemingly careless transgressions that anyone could make by mistake, at the behest of a terrorist organization that’s holding his family hostage? And that, along with a few events I came across at college makes me wonder… is a niceguy still a niceguy overall if he doesn’t remain a niceguy when faced with a nattily-dressed Natalie?

It’s amazing how little things can be such a turn-off. Like the way Sagarika Ghose says “Mmhmm”, and the finality of her tone when she says “Okay” to cut off someone she is speaking to. Or when someone swipes the kitchen counter with a dishcloth in a way which doesn’t ensure gleaming surfaces. Or uses ‘besides’ where they should actually use ‘beside’… as in “She lives besides my house”. Or simply bad grammar, zero punctuation and improper capitalization on blogs.

Talking of Ms. Ghose cutting people off, I’ve begun to watch Lok Sabha TV, and it makes such a refreshing change where you have panel discussions with not more than four panelists, where none of them cut the others off, and best of all, the moderator really moderates, and it does sound like a chat than a charged-up game of one-upmanship with the stress and time constraints showing on the reporter’s face as you so often see on 24-hour news channels. The interviews aren’t designed to provoke, but to gather insight about issues rather than people. And unlike other TRP-oriented channels, the interviewer openly says “I disagree with you on this” rather than let that show in the way he biases the discussion, and very less attempt, if at all, is made at being politically correct.

I wonder what has happened to the concept of gathering around for the purpose of idle chatter. You don’t anymore see people gathered around a park bench talking politics or cricket or national policy, or even plain gossiping… no, not even the ajjas and ajjis in panche or cotton sarees and imported sports shoes… they are too busy looking inward, closing their eyes and meditating, when they are not walking at marathon-ish speeds.

So much hoo-haa is being made about the shortage of teachers… why don’t they simply hype teaching as a career on par with one in the IT field or medicine, like it has been done in Southeast Asia and Finland, with really painful entrance exams and coursework (though I’d say the coursework in a decently good college in India is no joke either), apart from absurdly high pay?

I’m not able to understand the correlation between a good education and being a good leader. It’s the sort of thing that is taught in schools, but it seems absurd to me that Shashi Tharoor writes a column asking why when the US has its presidents from Harvard and Yale that we don’t. More than education it has to be a willingness to learn, and knowledgeability. And education, while it opens up new insights and possibly newer ways to solve problems, is no band-aid remedy for corruption; if anything, it enables you to loot the nation in a more suave way. India doesn’t have any dearth of educated politicians… Narendra Modi is a postgraduate in Political Science, Praveen Togadia is an oncologist, Manohar Parrikar and Jairam Ramesh are from IITB…. and, on the other hand, Madam Sonia didn’t even quite finish a spoken-English course at Cambridge, and after Nehru, the only graduate in the Family has been Varun Gandhi and he is not with the Congress…. well, there you go.. that resolves the doubt I put forward in the first line. But heck, what has a stint at School of Architecture given Arundathi Roy other than one of her husbands, and material for In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones?

I’ve started to see ads for this proposed successor to IPL… it’s called ICL. If you, the cricket fan haven’t yet heard of it, despair not and you can stop looking for more feeds and sites to keep you updated on the latest in the Gentleman’s Game… it’s the Indian Comedy League. It’s on Star Vijay and the humour doesn’t seem much different from the other standup comedy shows… the same imitations of Vinu Chakravarthy, Chinni Jayanth, Janagaraj and Bhagyaraj.. but the team names sound cool this time – Chennai Kings, Trichy Terrors, Kovai Killadies, Pondy DeFulls, Katpadi Cutbodies, Nellai Notties, Salem Siddhars, Madurai Mannars. And for some weird reason, I have the lines in the ad going round and round my head – “Tiruchi da, kokka!”, “Ellam rendu-renda theriyudhu”, “Haiyyo.. vekka-vekkama varudhu”, “Maga, soukyama?”…  Going by these, it should be called the TNCL… we didn’t see as much as a Bangalore Bandha-parties or a Kolkata Koothaadies.

After hearing about Love Story 2050, I’m wondering why coloured hair is seen as a sign of rebellion… I’ve always wanted to have my hair colored bubblegum pink or a garish violet, or electric blue streaks like Kylie of Extreme Ghostbusters, and I’m the worst sort of conformist and conservative you can find. Oh, and the reason I haven’t yet done it is the risk of follicular damage, wispiness and split-ends, all of which I can’t take for granted considering the long time it takes to recover from the effects of hard water. Oh and if you want to advise me to try burgundy or hazelnut, please don’t waste time… IMO, if you’re coloring your hair, it should look like you’ve coloured it, not like you’re trying to cover up a few greys.

And… the other debutante flick… Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na… from what I’ve heard of the storyline, it’s a remake of the Prashant-Shalini starrer, Piriyaadha Varam Vendum, Shalini’s last flick before she succumbed to the pressures of matrimony, which itself was a remake of a Malayalam flick called Niram. While it is refreshing to *not* hear the line “But… we’re friends!”, or variations thereof, it gets onto your nerves to hear yet again that Ladka-Ladki kabhi dost nahin ho sakte. I can’t help but give an ironic laugh at that.

Look at the ease with which I declared a movie I hadn’t even seen to be a remake of a Tam flick… for some reason I seem to worship Tamil cinema, atleast more than Bollywood or even Hollywood, as I discovered on a long, long discussion with yet another fanatic.

There’s this old, old friend of mine who I’ve long lost touch with, who I had almost forgotten about. Recently, I was reminded of a story idea suggested by this friend – a murder mystery set in the Indus-Sarasvati Civilization. Of course, he called it the Indus Valley Civilization, and staunch Congressman, secularist and Anglophile that he was, he called the river as Indus, or if we got into specifics, the Ghaggar-Hakra, instead of the Sarasvati. Gives me an indication of how much I seem to have changed in idealogy since then, but still, that’s one heck of a story idea… anyone any more ideas, anyone?

And in case you’re wondering what Minestrone is… here.

About wanderlust

just your average books-and-music person who wants to change the world.
This entry was posted in Priya's Travails and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to A Bowlful of Minestrone

  1. Swati says:

    Hey I ve seen the Kunchakko Boban-Shalini starrer “niram”,its true the plot sounds the same(difference being-All parents are alive in niram,and shalinis fiance is a singer) but I am sure Jaane tu is worth a watch (even if just for the music)!!And about that shashi tharoor article – that was a good read.(Dunno how much good the Yale degree(?) has helped Bush in his administration!!,but IMHO there should be an increase in the minimum qualification requirements at least for the post of ministers handling important portfolios like power,oil,finance and CM,PM etc.Coz these ppl ought to know the basic fundae of how the economy works.

  2. Arun says:

    Oi.. No Metal = Mental [:P]

  3. wanderlust says:

    @swati:
    yeah, i’ve heard lots about how good the film is. wouldn’t mind giving it a look.
    minimum qualifications… true, but IMO enforcement is going to be a colossal pain – which univ will refuse a degree to someone with reasonable political clout… and you should also consider the fact that a lot of these bigwigs own colleges themselves! And.. there will be the cat-and-mouse game of trying to disqualify politicians over the fakeness or originality of their degree… the possibilities are endless.
    @arun:
    now nimhans is going to get some crowd 🙂

  4. Logik says:

    Whate long totally disconnected rant that was….And ya, oldie music was/is always more appealing… [ A generalization probably, but thats what I feel]

  5. Tuna Fish says:

    “She lives beside my house” / “She lives besides my house”, both sound wrong to me… I prefer “She lives next door”/ “She lives two doors next to mine”/ “She lives across the road”…

    I dont think degree/advanced degree in any course can prepare you to be a leader.(They should have some BLead/MLead/PhD in Leadership 😛 ). It only makes you more knowledgeable in the chosen field.

  6. wanderlust says:

    @logik:
    it wasn’t a rant!
    @tuna:
    imo, leadership cannot be taught, it can only be learnt.

  7. Tuna Fish says:

    @wanderlust
    That was a joke 😛

  8. wanderlust says:

    yeah… got that. just felt like making a quote that might by chance make my name immortal 😛

  9. Logik says:

    Whoa.. Sorry bout that.. The operative word there was ‘disconnected’.. Something on the lines of Most topics discussed in a single post…

  10. Kaushik says:

    Hey!
    Now, I know why Jaane Tu looked so familiar. I had seen the Mellu version long back.

    Katpadi cutbodies is such a great name 🙂

    !Kaushik

  11. wanderlust says:

    @logik:
    maybe you can suggest that to the folks behind indibloggies as a new category :-/
    @kaushik:
    so it is similar!!
    my favorites were nellai notties and pondy deFulls.

  12. Logik says:

    The togadia, modi education profile, and contrasting that with sonia later is flawed on the similar lines as that of the churchill-hitler analogy… I guess we should drop making these generalisations. As an example, lalu has a law degree, if i’m not mistaken, which never figures in our impression about him. Which means that people do tend to do continuous profiling of other people and generate opinions based on recent issues, and not just some past laurels/faults.

  13. wanderlust says:

    @logik:
    yeah… i had commented on churumuri on the same thing.. this bit is an abridgement of that comment. i’ve mentioned jairam ramesh, he’s a congressman. i guess i should have mentioned manmohan singh and chidambaram and said that a degree abroad is of no use considering the state they have the economy in now. and what you learn from mrs. gandhi is that the craft of retaining power cannot be taught, it can only be learnt.
    btw, someone once told me HD Revanna studied to be a doctor….. is it true? coz when i said that on churumuri, people asked me what i was drinking.

  14. Logik says:

    Well the usage there was “What are you smoking”, but anyway,
    About Manmohan n Chidambaram [ and the team mate Montek Singh], I guess giving free reins to foreign investors without proper planning, Worldwide economic recession, Inflation, Any major reform duly rebuked and revised by the Left, Insane Oil prices, and Madam inspecting every move, put quite a pressure on the venerable trio… however they did indeed goof up on many aspects, mostly economic that too…

  15. Siri says:

    Oh Come on Now.
    Saying the Economy is in doldrums because of MM Singh and PC is like backing out of the government because of a Nuke deal with the USA.
    🙂

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  17. Logik says:

    @siri –
    Your analogy, though pretty entertaining , is quite untrue. Referring to various factors that I mentioned above, it is true that they came to power at a really bad time[ in the global economic scenario], but with their collective economic experience[ Two finance ministers, and a lead of the planning commission], this is a really bad situation to ignore.
    You’re partially right on the fact that Left’s antics made it hard for them [ I mentioned that before], but you must understand that left is backing out of the deal, only because its USA, and their intense disrespect for anything american is well-known. It has very little to do with the details of the deal.

    BJP says it doesn’t want to compromise Indian nuclear sovereignity by accepting this deal. But it was one of the chief proponents of Nuclear peace post-Pokhran[ to escape economic sanctions, but nonetheless]. So the protest is just based on political interest.

    @ priya – long comment , really unrelated. Sorry, and thanks for the space.

  18. wanderlust says:

    @siri:
    i’d like to add to what logik said… in this age of people changing parties and ideals like clothes, it seems to be some sort of a relief to see someone at least stick to the ideals they started with. that they are shortsighted is another thing.
    nice to see you back here.
    @logik:
    while it’s true that i haven’t gone deep into the details of the Nuke deal, i read an op-ed by an expert in the field… don’t recollect who… in The Week quite a long time back.. he said fission is a relic of the past, and it will take atleast eight years for the fruits of this deal to make itself felt, by when fission will be the stuff of history textbooks. india has thorium reserves along its coasts which it should be using, is what he said, as the by-products of thorium as nuclear fuel are less harmful. and we’ll apparently rely less on others if we designed a long term nuclear energy plan with thorium and not uranium. far-rightists as well as far-leftists argue that it’s just an instance of the US making a quick buck apart from acquiring strategic control by selling off its obsolete technology.
    sometimes i wonder if Nehru’s Non Aligned Movement was just a case of saying “nice doggie” until he found a stone?

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