Monday, November 23, 2009

On this bright Austin afternoon, I have endless deadlines and overwhelming work. The right thing to do would to be to get to them. But frankly, I would rather not. Instead, I give you my two critical engagements of the week.



Such a beautiful movie. Cinematographically and in terms of narrative, one of the gentlest films I have seen in recent times. This despite the harsh, barren Armenian landscape it chronicles. Prose will only take away; go see it.



Jhumpa Lahiri's work is so interesting despite being fairly unilinear in tone, mood and intent. At the heart of it is an almost unshakeable commitment to structure (reminds me faintly of Murakami). Her characters are so intent on being complicated. And yet, they are so quiet. Not quiet in an eerie, suburban America, "Im going to slash somebody" way, but just quiet within the norms of daily life. Even their passion is quiet. It feels like Lahiri is always going to figure things out for them, which is why I am rarely excited by their turmoil. If anything, they all make me faintly depressed. The depression is soothing however. A certain kind of reassuring melancholia.

Read/ See/ Feel anything interesting lately?

Friday, November 13, 2009

An Ode to Melancholia

How do I kill this strange thought?
It took root some time ago and will not die. But it does not live either.
The thing it thinks about has long been dead.
All that it left behind was this thought, its ghost, a specter.
Now the thought is the thing. Or so it thinks.
And it remakes the thing everyday.
Until the thing as it was is now the thing that the thought thinks.

Friday, November 06, 2009

A Breakthrough

It happens. It does. Sometimes you stare long enough at something and something else begins to emerge. And no, it is not holistic, or contextual, or big picture, or any of those cliched, banal, horridly unimaginative senses of the world. Not figure and ground. Not front and back. Not yin and yang. (Lord save us from antonyms)

So what exactly is this sense of the world? At the risk of being similarly unimaginative, I might contend that it is a sense of parallel time and space. One which can comprehend at the least, an affective or bodily sense of simultaneity. That is, one that doesn't ask why is this red and that blue but knows that these are different schemes of color, comprehended by a unique biological visual mechanism, mediated by language and judged by a value system configured by cultural codes of beauty and apprehension. And all of this at the same time.

A breakthrough. A minor one.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Go on, ask me

And just because I have had a song floating in my head all morning, this is what I would say....

How are you?
Haal Chaal Theek Thaak Hai,
Sab Kuchh Theek Thaak Hai,
Kaam Nahin Hai Varna Yahaan
Aap Ki Dua se Sab Theek Thaak Ha


What have you been doing today?
Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya
Har Fikr Ko Dhuen Mein Udata Chala Gaya


Any applications come through?
Kiska Rasta Dekhe Aye Dil Aye Saudaai
Meelon Hai Khamoshi Barson Hai Tanhaee


How are you going to deal with this bleak job market?
Nafrat karne waalon ke seene mein pyaar bhar doon
Main woh parwana hoon, pathar ko maum kar doon


Day ended well?
Kahin Door Jab Din Dhal Jaye
Sanjh Ki Dulhan Badan Churaye
Chupke Se Aaye
Mere Khayaalon Ke Aangan Mein
Koi Sapnon Ke Deep Jalaaye


Want to take a break and catch some dinner?
Nahin nahin, abhi nahin, abhi karo intezaar

Got to go; catch you later then?
Abhi na jao chod kar ke dil abhi bhara nahi

Sunday, November 01, 2009

I am writing now. In this time. In this space. In this body.

I wish I could tell you how much that means to me. To inhabit this moment in all its modes.

I am supine on a blue couch, the light is behind me; yellow light. My glass of wine rests on a red coffee table and the light falls softly on a sienna rug. Tango music in the background. The weather is lightly chilly.

I am reading. And I will now write.

I wish you could hear the music and feel the light. It's warm in here.




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