Minestrone soup from a bewitched, bothered and bewildered soul from Ipanema

I’ve been meaning to write a post like this for quite some time… a lot’s going on with me that can’t be put into a post that’s short and to the point. But something or the other always comes up. Some intermittent writer’s block that is worse than a normal one… you begin something and are continually pissed that you aren’t able to complete it.

I watched The Great Dictator yesterday and man, I must say it’s a mindblowing movie. I rather liked Charlie Chaplin’s speech at the end. And all the slapstick’s really godawesome. I’m rather surprised I hadn’t watched it before last night.

Talking of which… I find I watch more movies on TV than I would normally watch on the LAN at NITK. Maybe it’s because I don’t have to put in effort to choose movies. I just watch what’s coming.. no expectations, I pay attention because I want to, not because I have this movie in front of me and I’ve decided to watch it.

I thought search was a better paradigm than browse… but this previous experience has changed that. It’s easier to ask the chef to surprise you than to painstakingly ponder about your order. And they actually show good movies on television, I find.

So exploratory search is hot right now. Google Squared is rather a great first step.

And the Google Wave video has me (and a gazillion others) waiting in expectation.

I’m quite surprised not too many people associate ‘Bing’ with F.R.I.E.N.D.S… like I said “Can Bing GET any worse?” and hardly anyone got the joke. If the name is onomatopoeic as is rumoured, I’d love it if there was an Indian search engine called ‘Dhichkao’ or ‘Dishum’.

Getting backs to movies and LAN, I find I used to read a lot at college. None of that remains now. It’s been months together since I read anything I found captivating, gripping and unputdownable. It’s actually been pretty long since I read anything substantial at all. It’s really shocking as far as I’m concerned.

At the same time, the number of blogs I’m subscribed to on Google Reader has reached scary levels. If I leave my feeds unread for a day or two, the backlog reaches seemingly apocalyptic limits. And what’s scarier is, I actually manage to bring the unread count to zero. And not by clicking “Mark as read”.

Perhaps it has to do with the attention span. Or maybe my interleaving reading with other activities due to which I can’t afford to devote a continuous block of time and concentration to a single piece I’m reading.

Oh, and I’ve been told for the trillionth time since I was born that I waste far more time than I should. Only now it’s official. I’m rather tired of hearing this… it seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’ve never been able to dig hyperactive people who are control freaks and can’t live without micromanagement and raise their systolic pressure by twenty points each time they are 0.1 second late in completing something.

I’ve never been an overachiever like quite a good number of my friends. Somehow I’ve never even wanted to overachieve. My goals, if any exist, are modest. I don’t much care about lines like “The only thing worse than aiming high and not getting it is aiming low and getting it”. I despise lines like “Winning is not everything.. it’s the only thing”. I continue to be shocked by people who get frustrated just because someone stole a march on them in things as inconsequential as a Hindu Crossword or a little extra attention. Oh well, maybe I’m just sleepwalking through life.

I also find I’ve been liking a lot of things less and less. People not in the least. I totally detest the mainstream media. It’s due to the Internet, yes. Right from when I was a kid, I was a newspaperoholic and deified anyone who had anything to do with that industry. But it turned out that there are people who don’t do this for a living and do it much better… blogging helped me find a LOT of such people. They are more incisive than Allen Mendonca, funnier than Jug Suraiya, and write better than Bachi Karkaria… So, well, fall from grace for newspaperwallahs in my eyes… it’s going to take me a while to get back to perspective.

I’m also rather sick of the whole post-poll analysis of where the BJP went wrong and whether ‘Hindutva’ is relevant. It’s going too over-the-top for my taste these days.

Getting back to reading, I read Kon-Tiki a really long while back, and I’ve to say Thor Heyerdahl is one of the best writers I’ve ever come across. The whole tale of how he got the idea of sailing from Peru to the South Sea islands, how he assembled a team together, how they got balsa logs, how they built a raft, how they finally sailed using only the most rudimentary sailing equipment, and how they finally reach land… and the most touching bit about how the locals on the islands say they are very touched and feel vindicated that their stories about their ancestors being white bearded Gods are more than just myth…It’s brilliantly written, captivating, gripping. Heyerdahl’s words flow so easily, so simply that he so seemingly effortlessly gets the message across. It’s not fiction, not a thriller, no nailbiting scenes… but so endearing, so edge-of-the-seat that it’s unputdownable.

The adrift-on-a-lifeboat part in Life of Pi borrows heavily from this book – the description of the ocean currents and weather conditions, the description of the seaweed and sea life – birds, fish, sharks, whales, dolphins are all taken from Kon Tiki. And when you’ve read both, you understand the importance of context. In Kon-Tiki, the ocean is a treacherous yet fun place, and the animal life a merry company. But in Life of Pi, the ocean is a dank lonely place and the sea life just food waiting to be gobbled up by Pi Patel and Richard Parker.

I notice that I haven’t heard any substantial bit of music in the past one year that I haven’t heard before. And I’m more addicted to Ella Fitzgerald than ever before, as the title shows. I like the honesty in her music and lyrics. It somehow feels like any emotion I feel has already been felt by Ella and been penned into a song.

Of late, I’ve been hearing quite a few things that are making me rethink ideas I consider the very basics of my thinking. Oh, maybe that’s just a nice way to say “I’m being brainwashed”. Or maybe it’s just that I’ve turned twenty-two and the teacher appears when the student is ready. Or some such thing.

And hopefully I’m coming close to the end of my “This is all a temporary situation” phase that has been on for the past seven years. It got sickening, the feeling that this isn’t where I’m supposed to be, and I’ll be where I’m supposed to be in the coming few weeks/months/years. The moment seems to have finally arrived. But I’ll know for sure only in the next four-five months.

And maybe I’ll finally make one decision and maybe it’ll turn out to be life-changing… but that’s speculation, and I’m not the most decisive of people, as I find out.

I’m also viewing my NITK life in a whole new more detached perspective now… and more than anything else, I’m appalled at the pathetic conditions we all lived in… Mum, Dad, how did you let me live there, and not cringe and gave me moral support every time I called up whining about the pathetic living conditions?!

And… I’ve all moved on from the undergrad mood or so it seems to me.. and when I get nostalgic now, it’s for the times that have passed me by, and I don’t want to relive those times all over again or anything now… I’m glad it happened, not sad it’s over. But it tickles me that there exist people who still haven’t gotten over their undergrad experience and hold on to it to such a large extent, they even nurse the same grudges they held in college, like as if it’s still Incineer or something.

All that apart, after a very very long time, my mind seems to be totally blank. I’ll wind this post up right here…. I don’t seem to have anything more to add… I can’t seem to remember all of what I wanted to put in when I began writing this… so goodbye there.

And the comments section here seems awfully dead of late. Do take a minute to drop a comment. Just anything will do…. it’ll be nice of you to help bring something back from the dead.

About wanderlust

just your average books-and-music person who wants to change the world.
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15 Responses to Minestrone soup from a bewitched, bothered and bewildered soul from Ipanema

  1. Shreevatsa says:

    I pay attention because I want to, not because I have this movie in front of me and I’ve decided to watch it.
    Why would you be paying attention not because you want to, if it’s on a computer instead of TV?

    Also, looking at all the options and pondering and picking one is ‘browse’. “Give me whatever you think I want” is ‘search’. :p

    (And could we please eradicate the word “overachiever”? Sigh…)

    • wanderlust says:

      sample movie-on-comp watching scenario:
      damn this is taking time to load… let me login to gmail. ah, movie’s begun… let me put it on my status message. hang on, let me pause movie to answer pings. OMIGOD, the movie’s THIS bad? let me tweet about it..
      damn, im missing a lot of the movie… let me just sit tight and watch it. let me make this a game… how long I’ll watch this movie without checking my mail or responding to pings or tweeting…….

      this doesn’t happen with television.

      as for overachiever, are you sick of hearing the word used in reference to you?

      • Logik says:

        A bit exaggerated, but moderately true none the less.
        But there’s also a bright side to it,
        “Give me a fast-forward,rewind and a pause control, and I’ll go to the theatre”. Comes in handy while watching ‘really bad songs/scenes’, ‘ awesomeness’, and ‘whatever you’ve to pause for’ respectively…

      • Shreevatsa says:

        (Sorry for late late comments. I was taking a break etc. :P)

        Seems that what’s at fault here is a tendency to try forcing the movie into the cognitive style of the computer. (A movie’s enjoyment is very much affected by the viewer’s setting; Truffaut writes of how he used to sneak away from school to see Hitchcock movies, and how it (understandably) added to the experience.) [But I did recently watch (on a computer) all 3hr20min of ‘Das Boot’ fullscreen without interruption, so it can be done. :-)]

        I have never been called an overachiever, by anyone, nor is that likely to change. But that’s not the point. Despite the possible claim that ‘over’ here means “more than is expected or predicted”, it’s really carries the sense of “more than desired or necessary”. The word is inherently anti-intellectual, it contains in it the insinuation that there’s something wrong with “achievement” instead of it being something to aspire to. More annoyingly, it’s criticising achievement itself (which is often accidental), not a lifestyle or other choices!

  2. harish says:

    Yes, Google wave is awesome. Atleast the video is impressive.

    I think even the newspapers and news channels have now got bored with BJP poll debacle analysis. Even BJP is bored with it. That’s why BJP is not doing any analysis. Maybe there should be more analysis of the stunning defeat of Lok Paritran or Janata Dal (Secular) with each having got just 2 or 3 seats. Shouldn’t Lok Paritran change it’s name to something that’s more cool and contemporary? Should Janata Dal (S) have an English word in its name? Why didn’t JD(S) go for an alliance with Lok Paritran? These are the questions that would be more entertaining.

    ‘I can’t seem to remember all of what I wanted to put in when I began writing this… so goodbye there’ – Short term memory loss? 😛

  3. NITK life from a detached perspective…
    Well that is something i always tried but hv never been able too.. the ring on my right ring finger doesn’t actually allow me.. so i tried gettin rid of tht.. the gtalk friends’ list din’t allow me now.. i tried not lookin to the NITK group (in pidgin tht is)… ENGI ’08 dint allow me to detach myself… i stopped takin interest in ENGI ’09 (part I or II)… now being an engineer makes me attached to the place – however aweful it was, it was and prob will be the best four yrs of my life (though few frnds i’ve made in XL are no less..) The place tht NITK was… I can’t write a detached view!!!

  4. Siri says:

    Maybe this is just reacting to changes 🙂
    Here, doing my bit to bring something back from the dead. 😀
    Fancy a nice Hindutva fight?

  5. harish says:

    Hindutva is passe. We will debate or rather declare and discuss the greatness of Rahulji, Manmohanji, Soniaji, Priyankaji, Vadraji.

  6. 🙂 This post is very, um, Ghajini-esque. No?

    • wanderlust says:

      if you’re talking about the last-but-one line, this post took a lot more than fifteen minutes to write 🙂 and.. it talks about ‘yesterday’ and my time at nitk which was more than a year ago…. and fwiw, im not feeling vengeful or anything 🙂

  7. Aham bho Arjunaha! says:


  8. The great dictator is truly a great movie. I’ve watched it thrice and still haven’t got bored/used to it. As you said, the slapstick is truly spectacular. Especially the parts where he makes the sculptor wait and the anti-semitic speech parody.

    This concludes my efforts to bring alive your comments section with extreme force. Note the link to Rev. L K Advani’s blog.

    • wanderlust says:

      the doubleDutch german rocked, really.
      what do you mean the Rev. Advani, as if he’s some Benny Hinn or something 😉
      and you’ve been a great revivalist 🙂 thanksu.

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