Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Mourning Raga

At its core, Morning Raga deals with a very lofty question that many Indian artists have to contend with, an issue elaborately worded by Vikram Chandra in his essay The Cult of Authenticity. The big question, how does an Indian artist balance his Western and Indian influences, without being torn apart by culture critics on either side of the fence? The recording artists for Morning Raga got the gist of this conundrum, whipping out an awesome soundtrack; but just about everything else is so grievously wrong, right down to posting a press releasey edit on wikipedia.

It’s about this ad exec who makes jingles, who one day he realises that he's a whore to the capitalist gangbang and decides to quit his job and start a band to make some TROO music. In the next 5 minutes, he recruits band members in the most fake and contrived circumstances designed to push the plot further to the divine tragedy of Shabhana Azmi, a Carnatic singer with a catholic guilt complex.

The whole movie is so wannabe urban meets rustic, east meets west, old meets new that it feels like a 3 hour Bharti Telecom ad, you know, one of those ads in which they show a hundred contemporary faces of gratitude and joy for a telecom service without which their lives would be impossible. The colours and tints are very Karan Joharesque, whether its ‘hip’ backdrops of coffee franchises and discotheques, or rustic backdrops of paddy fields and old Chettiyaar style houses.

So the plot is that 20 years ago, Shabhana was a great singer in her gult village, and had a best friend who was a violinist who never ventured out of the village so when they go to the city to perform, they meet with a bus accident that kills Shabhana's son and her best frand. This instills in her a guilt complex, and she blames her ambition and her various gods for this divine retribution, because a woman belongs in the kitchen lol.

20 years later, the best frand's son comes back, he's the ad jingle maker now troo musician wants to recruit the now tragically emo Shabhana. Before he recruits shabz, he has taken in Peridaaz Zorabian in, and she's the modarn metro chick who wears tight jeans. Guess what, pehraaz does not have a father! You wanna know why?! Cause he died in an accident 20 years ago by drinking and driving, the same accident that Shabana's son and gult-ktvlt music director's mother died in!

The cathartic ending for the movie is the band playing at a major concert without shabz who's still chickenshit to travel outside of the village. But in the omg sensational yending, she does come with her Veena and sings to a spellbound audience who stand and applaud her while pehraaz zorabian gyrates and gives the western touch to the Carnatic like an Usha Uthup remix.

And everyone lives happily ever after, I suppose.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Comedy Gold

I love Indian matrimonial sites, if westerners have Myspace, we got shaadi.com, and bharatmatrimony.com for da hookupz yo.

Browse through some of these profiles, and you'll find racism, nepotism, close mindedness, ignorance, and candid admissions of economic strata and employment status of sibling, father and mother.

But it serves a very important function. Without arranged marriage, 70% of Indian men and women would die virgins.

When you go through the site, you seriously wonder, which asshole said that Indian women are beautiful in the world? Maybe 1 in 10 are. And the less you say about men the better. I blame arranged marriages for this. Evolution would have weeded out the ugly if it weren't for the safety net of arranged marriages, which perpetuate this cycle. When it ceases to be a decisive survival factor, the species comes up with specimens in varying degrees of grotesquenesses.

Some examples:
Complexion: Wheatish


Fair N Lovely

Body Type: Athletic

0_o - Wau

Sunday, November 05, 2006

He's going the distance..

I've been jogging religiously for the last three months(okay on and off to be honest, but more on than off!), and it's one of the most therapeutic things ever.

Why you might ask? Because it's a full body high, and it gives you a buzz that goes on all day.
When you get your body racked in pain, it secretes endorphins, (endo-morphine) which can be a real kick, and that's just the hangover!

I claim to be no expert in running, especially long distance, since I've been a heavy smoker for over 5 years. But I've been slowly cleaning my lungs out, and I'm on a snus methadone program to cope with my nicotine fixation. (Cigarettes suck) My personal best is 10 kilometres on a treadmill, in an air conditioned gym. Now since the weather is tolerable in Dubai, I run around Zabeel Park, cause it's cheaper than a gym membership. I can manage 6 kilometres without taking a break. I hope to compete for the Standard Chartered Marathon in Jan next year and finish the half way course. (10 kms)

Some jogging tips:
Jogging is all about rhythm. It's a very high impact exercise, and can wreck havoc on your knees and joints, which is what tires you out. The key is to glide through, using your hands as pendulums to give lift, using the momentum to power the next stride.

Wear shorts and sleeveless t-shirts. Less friction and resistance matters a lot in the long run.

Watch your breath. If you're panting hard, you got a few hundred feet of steam, so you can either slow down or burn out.

Always keep a bottle of water handy. Since I run in circles around Zabeel park, I keep my bottle of water at the starting point of the lap, and it keeps me motivated to complete the circle!

Jogging is best done on an empty bowel and an empty stomach, while being well hydrated.

Sleep is very important too. I seem to run pretty badly on days where I haven't gotten enough.

Find a partner who's better than you. There are many joggers whom you can run with to improve your speed.

Music helps set the pace, but once you tire out, your body automatically finds the most efficient gait and stride.

Wear a headband and a sweatband, especially if you're listening to music on headphones. Copious amounts of sweat can short the headphones and make em go bzzzzt!.

If you're running out of steam, try changing your rhythm and mix it up a bit. I run the first lap on my calf muscles, by leaning forward slightly, by the second and third lap, I use my hands more.

And if you're absolutely exhausted midway, slow down until you can control your breath again, and pick up the pace.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Faith in Humanity--

"I think you should be allowed to own a Humvee, I just think that when you go to buy it, like when you sign it, so that it's yours, you just get hit in the back of the head with a roll of fuckin' quarters in a sock, then just wake up in Iraq with a gun and they go, 'Oh yeah, you have to get the oil yourself. You can drive it all you want, you just have to get the gasoline by yourself.'"
- Patton Oswalt

I wish we could draft these fat fucks who're gulping down the spoils of war by buying even more SUVs even after they've felt the sting of rising gas prices. and it's not like they're particularly safe either.