Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Waiting for Spring

Remembering last spring. At Santa Cruz. :)

Monday, January 16, 2006

All life is an experiment

“All life is an experiment. The more
experiments you make the better.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Brand new year (well, almost. Its only been like 2 weeks and 2 days) . And a brand new experiment (well again, as new as the year atleast) ;)

Over the years, the lazy self has wanted to read more poetry than it ever got around to reading. As if that weren't enough, the self enjoys poetry being read out loud. Which in turn implies exercising more muscles than it would ever consider moving.

The idea - Outsource the reading.
The name - 'ĭ-trē

This is a pre-alpha proof of concept. So be patient :)

And what is this all about? A perfectly valid question. In an ideal world, it would be a scene from Kabhie Kabhie, where the Big B woos Rakhi with"Kabhie kabhie mere dil mein". But in a less than perfect world, the self has created a blog by recording poetry in its own voice - hoping others would get interested and add to the collection. (Yes, it believes that this will be a collection. Well, it also naively continues to believe that america will one day elect a woman president) :)

Poetry in any language is welcome. As long as there is not too much of @#$%!*, everything goes. Please try to respect copyright and other such brutalities that society imposes on the self (and the others).

As the collection grows, it will be indexed to make it more navigable. And yes, it will be made searchable by google (or your favourite extension of the brain on the internet). All that is still in the works. (Did the self mention it was lazy?)

About now you begin to have these great ideas on how to improve or support this blog. Or you might be thrilled that there is some use for all those flamethrowers in the attic. If you want to help, here are some ideas.

a) suggest a better name, a better tagline, a writeup about why the self and anyone else would want to do something like this.
b) record a poem of your choice - its easy. *
c) suggest a better layout
d) any suggestions infact :)

(until telepathic communication between us higher beings is perfected,) please email your ideas, audio recording, suggestions etc to

e) the self also appreciates kind words, dark chocolate, great movies, good food, lazy vacations and of late, has been interested in collecting mughal miniature paintings. Help with any of these would be greatly appreciated too.

How it works :

"What you don't do can be a destructive force." -Eleanor Roosevelt

'ĭ-trē runs democratically. As long as the self is the only one running the blog, it decides what goes. If you are inclined to join the club, you will get voting/vetoing rights too. :) For now the hazing rulebook recommends that one must have atleast three poems recorded in her/his/its voice and up on the blog before membership and voting rights are assigned (and now,it feels as powerful as Ralph Fiennes in Schindler's List) ;) Ok, the other option is to be really nice to the self (for helpful hints refer e) in the list of suggestions). But the true strength of any democracy lies in the power vested in the people. So contribute and make this a better place, for one and all.

The self is no great reader of poetry. (That it is a great admirer of poetry well read, is a different matter altogether.) It does believe that, recording poems in its own voice and putting them up in public domain, might in a small way, help coax others to do the same.

The self is a very sensitive being, with a huge ego. So it fully understands the risk involved in doing this. It worries that all this might just result in the brutal slaughter of its own precious ego. But what is that sacrifice, compared to the pleasure of being able to sit (rather, recline) and listen to poetry at the click of a button (ok, a couple of buttons, you nitpickers!)

Other minor details:
* Here are some ways of recording audio.
i) you can actually do it on any windows PC - (start -> all programs -> accessories -> entertainment (or multimedia) -> sound recorder) and get a .WAV file.
ii) if you own a fancy-smancy voice recorder you use to secretly tape interesting book reading etc, use that. :)
iii) if you are on skype and use it often, it is sure you already know you can save audio recorded while chatting on skype - try that. the self does not use skype, but it hears this is a good option.
iv) go figure a better option and let the self know, as it loves to learn about these things.
v) came across this really cool open source audio recorder - Audacity. Lets you do a lot of complex recording, multiple tracks etc. But should work well for recording your readings. This works way better than the windows sound recorder. **

Thursday, January 12, 2006

It Hurts, Again!


I hurt myself today
to see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
the only thing that's real
the needle tears a hole
the old familiar sting
try to kill it all away
but I remember everything
what have I become?
my sweetest friend
everyone I know
goes away in the end
and you could have it all
my empire of dirt

I will let you down
I will make you hurt

I wear this crown of thorns
upon my liar's chair
full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair
beneath the stains of time
the feelings disappear
you are someone else
I am still right here

what have I become?
my sweetest friend
everyone I know
goes away in the end
and you could have it all
my empire of dirt

I will let you down
I will make you hurt

if I could start again
a million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way

- Trent Reznor

Hearing Johnny Cash perform this song, can move you to tears.

Play on Real Player or WM

He brings all his pain, years of drug addiction, his struggles with his inner demons, and makes this song - his own.

Here was Reznor's reaction to Cash's performance.

"I pop the video in, and wow… Tears welling, silence, goose-bumps… Wow. I just lost my girlfriend, because that song isn't mine anymore. … It really made me think about how powerful music is as a medium and art form. I wrote some words and music in my bedroom as a way of staying sane, about a bleak and desperate place I was in, totally isolated and alone. [Somehow] that winds up reinterpreted by a music legend from a radically different era/genre and still retains sincerity and meaning—different, but every bit as pure."

Hurting oneself, or more specifically, cutting oneself, is supposed to be one of these horrid hobbies young people in some civilized countries indulge in, just to know, they can still feel! When Nine Inch Nails, first performed this song, that was the core audience, this song was targeted at.

Cash was given these lyrics, along with a bunch of others, of which he had to choose a couple and perform. He had no background on this song.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Love Two

Two movies, two beautiful love stories. Two women, two men. Alice Wu, Ang Lee.

Saving Face

Story of a young asian surgeon, who is coming to terms with sharing her apartment with her mother, after her mom gets kicked out of her grandparent's house. And managing to date her boss's daughter, a dancer!

The first film by Alice Wu (Stanford grad, ex-code monkey, self-proclaimed geek). The movie is set in New York. There are parts that are homage to classics like 'The Graduate'. The theme reminds you of 'The Wedding Banquet' (by Ang Lee) , set in New York and about Asian-american families coming to terms with the fact that, yes, their loving, devoted, sincere, successful children can actually be - Gay!

The actors were all excellent in their roles (Joan Chen, Michelle Krusiec and Lynn Chen). One way to tell a movie will be good, is when you can actually relate to or love the minor characters in the movie and they are also played by wonderful actors. There is also something about first time directors, that add so much to the soul of a film. They add these tiny details, nuances in the dialogue and scenes that add so much more life to the movie and the characters.

This is no Ang Lee, but an excellent first film.

Moving on to the men,

Brokeback Mountain

After all the wonderful reviews, Ang Lee's direction, the amazing landscape and the two hot men, it was finally time - to go gawk at it all. (After all, my sister has been so smitten by Heath Ledger, without even watching the film - just the trailers)

Yes, when I said, two movies - I did mean an Ang Lee film - but not the other gay film ('The Wedding Banquet'), but this one seems to have swept everyone off their feet.

Checked to see where this movie would be playing in my part of the world and turned out that it is being screened only in two theatres as it is a "limited release" film! At 7:30 decided to race to the Landmark Theatres. (don't you love it when they actually spell it as Theatre!) to catch the 8:00pm show on friday. Drove around for 30 minutes. Raced around the block for parking. Ran to the tiny theatre - got in at 8:15, and occupied, what were, the very last seats - right at the front and ended up looking up to Heath and Jake, the whole time.

Have to say it was worthwhile. I actually caught myself crying (cringe!) towards the end. That is something, I did not expect, walking into the theatre. I loved Michelle Williams. She did a splendid job. The pent up frustration, the pain of being hurt by someone she trusted so much. Its beautiful. The same with the last meeting between Heath and Jake - there was so much frustration, love, helplessness and the desire to be in control. There are very few times, that one sees strong men - cowboys at that - cry.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Repressed Lives and Fireflies - Despair and Hope

A writer, a friend!

Rucha Humnabadkar, friend, has come out with her debut novel. - Dance of the Fireflies.

UPDATE[02/06/2006] : A whole bunch of book readings in India.

Here is an article on the book in Deccan Herald. One in the Hindu. Another in The Telegraph.


A year (and a couple of weeks) after the dreadful devastation by the tsunami in asia, people still struggle to get back on their feet. There was an interesting campaign that caught my attention while in Chennai - the Tsunamika.

These tiny dolls of hope, created by women in villages around pondicherry, who were hit by the tsunami. (Some of her different avataars on sale.)

A Living Symbol

She is a symbol, a living symbol with her own life.

As her name suggests, she is a child of tsunami;
The tsunami that changed the lives of millions.
She is the memory of Tsunami...

She has been hand-made by women,
The women who live by the ocean,
The women whose lives changed forever after the tsunami,
The women who are exploring a new way of living,
The women who are empowering themselves.
Tsunamika is an expression of their creative fire;
Through Tsunamika they enter a new & wider world.

She is made out of bits and pieces of cloth
Left over from other works;
Made from what is known as waste.
There is nothing called waste in Nature,
Everything has its creative role.
Everything can be living & beautiful,
As Tsunamika is …

She is a living message,
A message of a new way of living
In which Life is respected.
A message of the Oneness of Life
In which love has a place.
A message of the sacredness of life
In which we can celebrate, together.

And life can be very simple
Like Tsunamika is.
She is our beloved.
She has touched many lives.
Now, she is here.
With you!

Born in Auroville