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Friday, July 29, 2005

I Don't Know Harry Potter

I was waiting for the hullabaloo over the latest in the Potter series to wither a little before I started writing this. I feared that my voice would be lost in all the cacophony. So now when relative calm prevails I begin...

Who is Harry Potter? I've heard of him, but I don't know him. Six bestsellers (this is an understatement), and I haven't read a word from any of them. Does this mean that I will be lynched by millions (there might be more) of Potter maniacs for my ignorance? I might reason with the mob that I've crossed the compulsory Potter reading age (what is it by the way?), but the little girl with blonde streaks partly hidden beneath a witch's hat, pointing her broom at me will shriek, "My Grandma's 90, and she's potty over Potter!!" "With a grand daughter like you, do you think she has any other option?" my quivering mind ponders. Lesson of Life: When a mob attacks, reasoning doesn't work, running for your life does. And will I discover that those costly sport shoes (costly only because of advertising expenses and dealer margins) out pace the witches' brooms (something must be wrong with the ignition there, they won't simply budge off the ground). And I will live another day to write this post.

In spite of my imaginary brush with the wannabe wizards and witches, I'm grateful to Joanne Kathleen Rowling that in this era of cable TV and video games, the kids (and many grownups too) haven't forgotten the dying habit of book reading.

When I was a kid (and that's not too long ago) we didn't have the electronic media to hype up things for us and influence our tastes and preferences. Therefore we often didn't know what's 'happening'. Apart from sports (the ones played out in the sun and not on electronic gizmos) and a little television (only one channel for a few hours a day) we had to be content with books and comics.

Books ignited our imaginations. Comics gave shape and colour to them. Folklores, fairy tales, Stories from the Arabian Nights, Panchatantra, Jataka Tales... I read them all. Enid Blyton provoked my fantasy flights; I looked for life in my toys. Hardy Boys, a little of Nancy Drew, Secret Seven, Famous Five led to many misadventures.

Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Ruskin Bond et al. tickled my literary aspirations. With Jules Verne and HG Wells for company I went twenty thousand leagues under the sea in my endeavour to go around the world in eighty days, so that I could be back in time for my next journey to the centre of the earth in order to escape the war of the worlds.

I too wore my underpants over my trousers, used a towel for a cape and tried to fly. Always wished if Shillong (my home town) would be a little more like Riverdale and Xanadu or at least the Skull Cave my home. Always wanted to drink the magic potion and beat the shit out of the Pakistanis (it was ingrained in our psyche that all Pakistanis were India's enemies, but time and understanding has thankfully healed those misapprehensions)

Rowling missed me by a few years, because by the time the first of her legendary series hit the stands, I was already in college and had started preferring books without pictures (but I still go loony over toons) and other adult literature (yes, that includes porn too). And today, when I see all the ballyhoo surrounding Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, I'm for a moment tempted. But the overnight queues outside bookstores and the uninviting price tag of Rs. 895 (India's per capita income is Rs. 20,989) made me deduce this: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince = 22.375 bottles of beer.

Of course, I went for the latter.

And I still don't know Harry Potter. Hic!

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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Lure of the Lens

My brother is a foto freak. One of his prized possessions is his camera, which he acquired soon after getting employed (and keeps it upgraded with zeal). And he has been putting it to good use (I hope he doesn't read this posting). My sis-in-law is a bit jealous of his SLR - she feels that he was focussing more on his photo clicker than on her during their honeymoon.

This posting is a tribute to my relentless efforts in encouraging his pursuits, helping him in his experiments with objects and light, reviewing and commenting on his latest prints, accompanying him to Delhi's Chandni Chowk on his equipment and film hunting ventures.

The accompanying photograph is from his collection (which I'm uploading without his permission). You can view his snaps online at and'c

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Monday, July 25, 2005

Blog Fight

Two bloggers are pitting their literary skills against each other to decide who reigns supreme. This Deathly Fish versus Bob Jone is developing into an interesting battle. Visit their blogs to find out the latest.

Deathly Fish:
Bob Jone:

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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Nostalgic Stuff

Remember the good (?) ol' days when our air space (now cable space) was monopolised by Doordarshan and a hundred and one (I know there are more) channels were not jostling for TRP (eyeball) ratings? Remember the mesmerising Bharat Ek Khoj /Discovery of India? Recall the Ek Chidiya, Anek Chidiya... animated film? I know you do and so do I.

Surfing through the net, I stumbled across them. The soundtrack of Bharat Ek Khoj and the Ek Chidiya, Anek Chidiya video. Some good souls had posted them on their blogs and I'm simply passing it on.

Bharat Ek Khoj

Title Song:

Ending Titles:


Ek aur Anek Ekta



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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Wah Shah Jehan

About a month ago I paid my debut visit to the Taj. Yes, it is an impressive piece of architecture, but I was left wondering...

  • If Shah Jehan had constructed the mausoleum exclusively for himself and not for his beloved wife Mumtaz (one of the many in his harem and who died giving birth to her 14th child)
  • If the material used was something other than pristine (no longer) white marble (the replica in black never materialized anyway)

Would the Taj Mahal captivate the generations as it does? I doubt.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Sarkar Rules

The latest from RGV Film Company's Factory is after quite long a while not the usual assembly line product which the Factory seemed to be churning out. Yes, the Godfather influence is omnipresent, so is the alleged inspiration from the life and times of Balasaheb Thakrey.

Technical finesse has always been a characteristic of all Factory products, so Sarkar can obviously be no exception. Infact it goes a step further. If Satya was raw RGV, Sarkar is the refined form.

The drawback of the lack of novelty in the story is more than made up by the performances. Big-B Amitabh yet again proves why he is the Big-B and Abhishek - the small-b is no less a b than his sire. Kay Kay as always is...

Some scenes are so well executed they incite you to give a standing ovation. I somehow had to restrain myself. Especially the one where Shankar (Abhishek) tells his father that he killed his brother.

No playback singers, only an impressive background score.

A friend pointed out a flaw - Maharastrians supposedly call their elder brothers Bhau rather than Bhaiya, a word which in Bombay has other inferences.

Ramu Rules!

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