Friday, July 25, 2008

For better or for Verse

The rains are here, and I make a serendipitous discovery. I find two friends who actually love the very same poems I dig. That does make for an interesting conversation with the monsoon and the flowers contributing to the ambience, does it not? [:)]

Anyway to build on this conversation, I'll put down some poetry here. This one by Harold Monroe ( I was given to believe it was Mrs. Elizabeth Barrett Browning till sometime back, but I stand corrected) is high on sentimental value. In school, I was forced to participate in an elocution, so I actually read out these verses on stage. It was quite a challenge, conquering both my stage fright and my hatred for cats. Here it goes

Milk for the Cat
by Harold Monroe

When the tea is brought at five o'clock,
And all the neat curtains are drawn with care,
The little black cat with bright green eyes
Is suddenly purring there.

At first she pretends, having nothing to do,
She has come in merely to blink by the grate,
But, though tea may be late or the milk may be sour,
She is never late.

And presently her agate eyes
Take a soft large milky haze,
And her independent casual glance
Becomes a stiff, hard gaze.

Then she stamps her claws or lifts her ears,
Or twists her tail and begins to stir,
Till suddenly all her lithe body becomes
One breathing, trembling purr.

The children eat and wriggle and laugh;
The two old ladies stroke their silk:
But the cat is grown small and thin with desire,
Transformed to a creeping lust for milk.

The white saucer like some full moon descends
At last from the clouds of the table above;
She sighs and dreams and thrills and glows,
Transfigured with love.

She nestles over the shining rim,
Buries her chin in the creamy sea;
Her tail hangs loose; each drowsy paw
Is doubled under each bending knee.

A long, dim ecstasy holds her life;
Her world is an infinite shapeless white,
Till her tongue has curled the last holy drop,
Then she sinks back into the night,

Draws and dips her body to heap
Her sleepy nerves in the great arm-chair,
Lies defeated and buried deep
Three or four hours unconscious there.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Gotham Knight

Before I begin, I'm still to watch the "Dark Knight". This is because I wanted to watch the mid-quel (for the lack of a better word!) titled the Gotham Knight. If you still wondering what this is all about,Batman: Gotham Knight, a new animated feature from Warner Premiere, is a collection of six separate-but-interlocking stories, each looking at a different aspect of the character. The segments have been created by visionary anime directors and acclaimed screenwriters including David S. Goyer (Batman Begins), Alan Burnett ("Batman: The Animated Series"), and Oscar-nominee Josh Olson (A History of Violence).

The first short film explores how Batman means different things to different people through the narratives of a bunch of teenagers. Is he a shadowy figure? Is he a mutant? Is he a robot? It totally heightens the enigma that is Batman by capturing different perceptions in Gotham.

The second short film exposes the thin line that lies between being a crime fighter and vigilante. This features the experiences of detective who's frustrated of being relegated to errands like taking the arrested felons to prison after they've been "delivered" to the headquarters by Batman.

While this animated feature,released earlier this month, was purely done as a promotional venture, it is good enough to pass off as a movies by itself. It never really disappoints you as some of the earlier batman flicks did. After a slow start, things quickly pick up, combining a strong sense of visual energy with an interesting meditation on Batman's motivation and development.

The anime style may upset a few fans, the art work is an absolute animated renaissance. The artists' impression of Gotham is very reminiscent of Nolan's Gotham in Batman Begins. Thankfully for those die-hard fans who will pick up this DVD, the work done by the directors and producers on this animated feature is far more than just a trailer to the Dark Knight.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

No strings attached!

So when was the last time you felt like buying an acoustic guitar and learn how to play? Was it when you heard Tears in Heaven for the first time? This is a global phenomenon and capitalising on this urge that music fans have everytime they hear a good acoustic number is Now Play It.

Launched last year, Now Play It aims to get people as close to the artists and songs they love as possible. To do that, it offers downloadable video tutorials on the art and craft of playing hundreds of different songs on guitar, bass, piano or drums, many of them led by the artists who wrote or perform them. Paul McCartney among the artists currently offering instruction on the site, and users can search for tutorials by artist, song, instrument, difficulty level or tutor.

Being taught by a well-known artist, even if by video, is certainly going to give a user a healthy helping of experiences to narrate. So when will your guitar gently weep?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Animal Instincts

Animal Instincts is a humorous take on slang. The animals featured in this comic strip indulge in all kinds of colloquial word-play that they themselves identify with. However, no animals were hurt during the creation of this comic strip. Take a trip to your wild side!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fast Forward: Shalom! Bong! Thank you maam!

Bongs are my favourite bunch of people. even if they're from delhi and if they have me believe that the country's capital is CR Park. This is because only a bong could write something of the sort.

The ABC Of Bengalis

A is for Awpheesh (as in Office). This is where the average Kolkakattan goes and spends a day hard at work. And if he works for the ' Bhest Bengal Gawrment' he will arrive at 10, wipe his forehead till 11, have a tea break at 12, throw around a few files at 12.30, break for lunch at 1, smoke an unfiltered cigarette at 2, break for tea at 3, sleep sitting down at 4 and go home at 4:30. It's a hard life!

B is for Bhision. For some reason many Bengalis don't have good bhision. In fact in Kolkata most people are wearing spectacles all the time.

C is for Chappell. Currently, this is the Bengali word for the Devil, for the worst form of evil. In the night mothers put their kids to sleep saying, 'Na ghumaley Chappell eshey dhorey niye jabe.'

D is for Debashish or any other name starting with Deb. By an ancient law every fourth Bengali Child has to be named Debashish. So you have a Debashish everywhere and trying to get creative they are also called Deb, Debu, Deba with variations like Debanik, Deboprotim, Debojyoti, etc. thrown in at times.

E is for Eeesh. This is a very common Bengali exclamation made famous by Aishwarya Rai in the movie Devdas. It is estimated that on an average a Bengali, especially Bengali women, use eeesh 10,089 times every year. 'Ei Morechhey' is a close second to Eeesh.

F is for Feeesh. These are creatures that swim in rivers and seas and are a favourite food of the Bengalis. Despite the fact that a fish market has such strong smells, with one sniff a Bengali knows if a fish is all right. If not he will say 'eeesh what feeesh is theesh!'

G is for Good name. Every Bengali boy will have a good name like Debashish or Deboprotim and a pet name like Motka, Bhombol, Thobla, etc. While every Bengali girls will have pet names like Tia, Tuktuki, Mishti, Khuku, etc.

H is for Harmonium. This the Bengali equivalent of a rock guitar. Take four Bengalis and a Harmonium and you have the successors to The Bheatles!

I is for lleesh. This is a feeesh with 10,000 bones which would kill any ordinary person, but which the Bengalis eat with releeesh!

J is for Jhola. No self respecting Bengali is complete without his Jhola. It is a shapeless cloth bag where he keeps all his belongings and he fits an amazing number of things in. Even as you read this there are 2 million jholas bobbling around Kolkata- and they all look exactly the same! Note that 'Jhol' as in Maachher Jhol is a close second

K is for Kee Kaando !. It used to be the favourite Bengali exclamation till eeesh took over because of Aishwarya Rai (now Kee Kando's agent is trying to hire Bipasha Basu).

L is for Lungi - the dress for all occasions. People in Kolkata manage to play football and cricket wearing it not to mention the daily trip in the morning to the local bajaar. Now there is talk of a lungi expedition to Mt. Everest.

M is for Minibus. These are dangerous half buses whose antics would effortlessly frighten the living daylights out of all James Bond stuntmen as well as Formula 1 race car drivers.

N is for Nangto. This is the Bengali word for Naked. It is the most interesting naked word in any language!

O is for Oil. The Bengalis believe that a touch of mustard oil will cure anything from cold (oil in the nose), to earache (oil in the ear), to cough (oil on the throat) to piles (oil you know where!)

P is for Phootball. This is always a phavourite phassion of the Kolkattan. Every Bengali is born an expert in this game. The two biggest clubs there are Mohunbagan and East Bengal and when they play the city comes to a stop.

Q is for Queen.

R is for Robi Thakur. Many nany years ago Rabindranath got the Nobel Prize. This has given the right to all Bengalis no matter where they are to frame their acceptance speeches as if they were directly related to the great poet and walk with their head held high. This also gives Bengalis the birthright to look down at Delhi and Mumbai and of course 'all non-Bengawlees' ! Note that 'Rawshogolla' comes a close second !

S is for Shourav. Now that they finally produced a genuine cricketer and a captain, Bengalis think that he should be allowed to play until he is 70 years old. Of course they will see to it that he stays in good form by doing a little bit of 'joggo' and 'maanot'.

T is for Trams. Hundred years later there are still trams in Kolkata. Of course if you are in a hurry it's faster to walk.

U is for Aambrela. When a Bengali baby is born he is handed one.

V is for Bhaayolence. Bengalis are the most non-violent violent people around. When an accident happens they will fold up their sleeves, shout and scream and curse and abuse, "Chherey De Bolchhi" but the last time someone actually hit someone was in 1979.

W is for Water. For three months of the year the city is underwater and every year for the last 200 years the authorities are taken by surprise by this!

X is for X'mas. It's very big in Kolkata, with Park Street fully lit up and all Bengalis agreeing that they must eat cake that day.

Y is for Yesshtaarday. Which is always better than today for a Bengali.

Z is for Jebra, Joo, Jipper and Jylophone.