Thursday, December 26, 2002


My arm’s length is threatening
The purple buds
Waiting for tomorrow’s
Carnival of the sun
The diamond in your eyes threatening to cut a hole
On the glass of my window
To expose me
To the smoke and sound of this city

Outside in the streets
Mules are carrying our soiled skins,
Unaware of the fleas, like rubies
Clinging to their veins

In the horizon
The famished sun threatens
To throw up black smoke
Over the city
Then plunge beyond the darkening green edge.

Outside, the mules scattering out of a file
Threaten to drop the washed linen off their back
Into this mud
Now waiting in the open wound on the tar

Inside, the fluorescent tube
Flickers and threatens to push me into dark.

Your loud voice
Is threatening the crows
But they are not leaving
They are still on the roof
Where your eyes won’t reach.

My long shadow encroaching on your porch threatens the curtains
Making them run inside
Straining the tether

Your clothes are clinging to your wet body
Threatened by my reaching arms
Outside the mules have disappeared
Into the shadows
Threatened by the sunless sky
Finally the crows are chasing
The horizon to see
Where the sun has gone.slcw

Sunday, December 22, 2002

PC Magazine’s selection of the ‘Top 100 websites’ (October 2002).slrs

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

I forgot to mention it when, more than a month back, Edition II of the Srikrishnamangal ezine, edited by my friend, was published. As I have mentioned earlier, I serve as ‘webmaster’ for this venture by contributing big chunks of my leisure. The third edition is planned for around the turn of the year.

Sunday, December 15, 2002

Gave in to hardware lust and bought myself a new toy:

The Sony Walkman WM-FX193

Deflowered with Oasis’ Definitely Maybe. Then revisited Dylan’s Highway 61. After that the Beatles’ Hard Day’s Night ended as Coltrane’s Blue Train chugged in. Life may not be a mistake after all.

Welcome back, Fobbin. Been a while.

Monday, December 09, 2002

Yesterday I was watching Cape Fear for the nth time. This is also one of the movies the first version of which I want to see so badly. Neslie was with me. So I asked him about remaking it in Malayalam. He was excited. As is my specialty, I started with the casting.

I said we can put Mohanlal in the place of Nick Nolte. Or Murali for that matter. But who will play the part of Robert De Niro. We thought for a while; then Neslie said sadly that we don’t have anybody to take De Niro’s place. But I took it as a challenge, but till now I haven’t figured out De Niro's equivalent in Malayalam. It is not that we don’t have people of De Niro’s calibre. But we are not ready to find out who is capable. We are not ready to experiment with casting.

Social Behaviour

The social behaviour of our contemporaries and younger ones are in a pretty bad state. I had an experience recently to come to this conclusion. It was a gathering at my mother’s home. We had a lot of young people aged between 10 and 30 years. I was really surprised at the pigheadedness with which these people interacted with each other. The main problem was that each one of them fancied himself / herself as a genius and the only person worthy of living on this planet. Like everything was spread out in front of him for his choosing.

Then I heard them discussing the stupidities of their parents and grandparents. Hey Clement, we know about the shortcomings of our parents. We know how bad a job they have done as parents or grandparents. But talking about them like discussing rat infestation is not my style. Let them call me any name they like, I don’t give a damn.

Later during dinner someone introduced me as a painter and a writer and blah, blah, blah.... Suddenly all the antennae in the room focussed on me. I had this terrible feeling of being burned and killed by the powerful laser beams, ready to shoot from their highly charged and super-intelligent foreheads. Now the aliens started to come towards me and started asking me questions. Then the girl who introduced me said that I am planning to have my debut exhibition on a pavement. ‘How stupid that is!’—one exclaimed. I asked him why. ‘Why??!! Man, when you can hire a gallery and do the exhibition like everybody else and sell your damn work and make money—instead you are thinking of hanging your paintings along our dirty footpaths. That is stupid.’ Then I made a terrible mistake, of explaining my idea of art and its place in society. That is the last thing I remember from that evening. From the things they taught me that day I don’t remember much, because what they said was way above my level of intelligence and reasoning.

Now I would sadly say that the social commitment of a male of our generation ends at the tip of his pretty, piggish nose and of a female at the tip of her hormone-rich boobs. In the case of females with a pair of silicone-filled melonotits, this rule doesn’t apply.slcw

Of Mice and Men

Few days back I saw Of Mice and Men—the screen version of the Steinbeck classic, directed by Gary Sinise, starring John Malkovich and Gary Sinise. The sad thing is that I couldn’t watch the whole film. (You know how frustrating it is to watch good movies at home, where people are more interested to know what happened to Mrs A’s daughter who ran away with Mrs B’s son whose ex-girlfriend who slept with Mrs A’s stepson who is now in jail for drug pushing, is pregnant but refuses to abort the baby, and she is now after her IPS, is posted in the same prison where her baby's father is kept… Hey, I am good at this!! Don’t you think?)

But, the three-fourths of the film that I saw was really good. Excellent acting by Malkovich, overall casting is good too. Good warm photography. I could not properly evaluate the music because of the raucous discussions that were happening around me.

So to get more information on the film I looked it up in Leonard Maltin’s. From there I understood that it is a remake of a 1939 film with the same title, directed by Lewis Milestone.

Leonard Maltin has given four stars to that version. The TV version of the same movie is made by the director Reza Badiyi and Maltin have given it three points. Usually riginals and the remakes do not share such good grades. Either the original or the remake will be dull, and usually that will be the remakes. Now I greedily wish to see the 1939 original as well as to read the book itself.

Sunday, December 08, 2002

The Rough Guide to Music—covers Rock, World and Classical. Fantastic. Their recommendations answers questions like ‘Which are the best recordings available of Beethoven’s violin sonatas?’ I’ll be spending some time here.slrs's selections of essential albums in some spheres of world music.

Traditional World Music Recordings—lists for introductory listening in some areas of classical music, including Indian Hindustani and Carnatic. Something I've been looking around for for a while.sll

Paul Williams is the man credited with having started the first serious American rock magazine, titled Crawdaddy!. The LA Weekly writes:

If he is right in his hunch that Dylan is The Great Artist of the 20th Century, Williams’ [Performing Artist book series] could be tied to the songwriter as strongly as critic Samuel Johnson's writings are to Shakespeare.

Williams has also authored a book titled The 20th Century’s Greatest Hits: A Top 40 List, which has one of the most offbeat such lists I’ve seen, since it considers all the art forms and ends up with a Beatles song at no 1, followed at various positions by works by Picasso, Joyce, Thomas Pynchon, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Martin Scorsese.

sll Not bad.slrs

The Indus Telegraph

Saturday, December 07, 2002

The NPR 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century’.sll

Friday, December 06, 2002

Notes from the Brink (Extract #1)

All our writers, artists, prophets, philosophers, sages and messiahs have seen some positive aspects to this life. That is why they expressed themselves in thought, word or action, so that they may influence the state of things towards their own ideals, or to reinforce the values they found and considered to be of value. There is a wide variety to be found in their convictions. But none of them believed in the ultimate meaninglessness of things. Or so it would seem. For even if some lone voice were to proclaim that life has no meaning, or that truth could never be found, that life-denying voice would be ignored as that of a madman. Because whatever a man’s faith may be, he always lusts for certainty. Like Pascal said, all our reasoning ends in surrender to feeling. All honest thinking, coupled with an awareness of the limitations of the human mind, brings the mind to an abyss, from which it is naturally repelled. One may jump into the abyss, and may even find the truth, but this truth is never communicated to another. The one who finds it may live a madman’s life or probably suicide. (It may be worth noting that suicide notes have not received their due in the study of literature. How could they? How many of the so-called searchers for truth would read a suicide-note with the readiness to follow the author if he were to be convincing enough in his justification for his final act? None. The most these would do would be to appreciate the passion of the writing, a common feature of suicide-notes.) It may be easy to believe a Messiah if he were to come and declare that he has the Truth, and it is: Love thy neighbour as thou would thy own self. It is easy to follow him. But one who were to tell you that there is no difference if you were to live or die, laugh or cry, help or harm, wake or sleep, work or dream, fuck or fake, would be branded a lunatic, laughed at or stoned. It may also be worth noting the high incidence of so-called insanity among geniuses. Some, like Nietzsche, turn ‘mad’ after producing works which are regarded even centuries later as valuable. Many more geniuses succeed in avoiding ‘madness’ and are known merely for their ‘eccentricities’.slcw

Fragments of my self are strewn along the arc of time I have hurtled through—
a meteor screeching through time, ever longing to be whole again,
the green womb of my mother a distant dream.slcw

Jottings for Night / Insomnia:

…night night night when the chirp of insects and the wink of stars and the perfume of flowers intoxicate the senses…

How can I sleep when the whisper of a thousand voices thunder in my ears and the grey children of night crawl with their hairy legs all over my skin while I drown in the perfume of the flowers blooming rancid in the silken moonlight? I cannot sleep. I can only sprout bloody wings and flit my bat body across the grey ambiguities of the full moon’s delirious face…

…my eyes held open by the legs of an arachnid
from my navel a flower blooms yellow and red
ants marching in eerie harmony into my ears…slcw

[Abandoned piece]

Man has no closer brother;
For I am the one who soothes him to sleep.
I wash away the day’s wrinkles from his soul.
I help him forget.
I fight the tyranny of Memory
And the dross of Thought.
I let him play and wander in the woods of Dream.

I help him forget the pain and the sorrow;
The worry of tomorrow and the regret of yesterday.
I offer him the nectar of Sleep.
My sister is Night and my brother Weariness,
And one day I will take Man to my Father[…]slcw

Four lines, for Bob Dylan

The dancing streets ignited the howling troubadours,
Who sought mercy from the pantomiming beggars;
The astronomers, they wondered aloud,
If the tail of the elephant was singed by a whoreslcw

life is a drag. life is a story. life is a fire. life is a dream. life is an explosion, a sleep. life is one long fuck. life is a dance. it is a song. it is a search, a finding. life is a bore. it is a ride. it is a discovery. it is an expedition, a journey, a daring, a challenge. life is a bet, a gamble. life is a joke, a game, a con. life is a treat, life is a slap. life is a surprise, a gift. a punishment, a sentence. life is a question. it is the answer.slcw

It’s been a while since any of the stuff in my notebook has found its way to Salon. So here, despite their uncooked, careless, even diarrhoeal verbosity,…slcw

The first Pune International Film Festival concluded yesterday, I think. ‘Why was I not there?’ I wonder. It probably has something to do with this feeling I’ve been having over the past few weeks—best described by this line from Terrence Malick’s play Sansho Bailiff: ‘I have grown old in places where I never meant stay.’ That line says a lot about my life, especially the last two or three years. So I’m making this serious effort to get it back on track and to get control of the engines. Only time will tell what comes of this effort. The times they are a-changin’, and so am I.

Sunday, December 01, 2002

Krzysztof Kieslowski, Krzysztof Piesiewicz, Dante Alighieri, Cate Blanchett, Tom Tykwer—the big and bigger names behind the film Heaven.

Legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, which shared the top prize at this year’s Berlinale. Happily, it is also the highest grossing film in Japanese history.

From Robert Lowell’s ‘Skunk Hour’:

My mind's not right.
A car radio bleats,
‘Love, O careless Love...’ I hear
my ill-spirit sob in each blood cell,
as if my hand were at its throat...
I myself am hell,
nobody's here.

A 2001 issue of the publication World Literature Today listed chronologically ‘the most important works in world literature since 1927’. It also had commentaries and responses to the list: one, two, three.sll