Kitchen Cults

So, two of my childhood friends are turning out to be androids of some sort. I always suspected this of one of them – A – who’s efficiency in just about everything peaked much before the Japanese discovered productivity metrics on the assembly line. She’s super practical and clinical and does stock market number crunching as a hobby. Let’s just be thankful she’s on the right side of the law. But the other friend, C, well, she threw me off guard with her recent display of kitchen nerdiness. Maybe I did not suspect her of android traits because the two of us share the same incorrigible hair woes –  we look like we’ve slept on thorny shrubs. And that’s just the good days. That, and also she’s abreast of all the tapori songs and movies I enjoy.
Both A and C are working mums and so, a lot of planning goes into kitchen chores. Breakfast and lunch must be packed really early in the morning. So, menus must be worked out well in advance. A’s kitchen is a lean six sigma operation. She’s the gadg…

How To Watch A Movie In 2018?

Who knew watching a Bollywood movie in 2018 can be such a minefield? Here you are, a sorry-ass just trying to get through the week one traffic jam at a time; juggling linking of Aadhar and PAN; worried the bank will start stealing your money because you can’t maintain their exorbitant minimum cash balance. . . and so many other things. You just want to go catch a movie. Like how it was done for donkey’s years. Three hours of escapism. Where you are transported from Thippasandra to the Swiss Alps, to the pyramids, and to the streets of Budapest whilst munching popcorn. Where a babe can be irresistibly drawn to a middle-aged waiter and the guy suddenly becomes a bomb disposal expert for the Indian army because his heart is broken (whereas, you must pluck your eyeballs out just to move from one project to another). Where a middle-aged man can become a worldwide wrestling champion to prove his love (and you already have lower-back pain and knee joint pain because you are sat on your butt…

Siddhartha - Hermann Hesse

Some books show up on your radar when you are ready to accept them, and such books must be savoured at least once in a lifetime. Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha showed up on my Amazon recommendation cookie for no decipherable reason. Years ago, when my life moved from one soundtrack to another, I had failed miserably in engaging with Hesse’s Steppenwolf. I bought Siddhartha immediately (Amazon’s one-click is the boon and bane of our existence).
I don’t enjoy spiritual books, at least not the ones where the author sits on a high pedestal, literally and figuratively, and preaches condescendingly. I was not sure what Siddhartha had to say. But when a story starts off with, “In the shade of the house, in the sunshine on the river bank by the boats, in the shade of the sallow wood and fig tree, Siddhartha, the handsome Brahmin’s son, grew up with his friend Govinda” – you stand no chance and you become an instant slave of the book.
We follow Siddhartha in his stumbling journey of self-discovery…

Munroe Island (Mundrothuruth) - Review

The premise of Munroe Island looked quite interesting. A father drops off his adult (eighteen-year-old) “sociopath” son at his ancestral home, where the grandfather still lives. What happens next?  This movie is categorised as thriller on Netflix. I think more than the synopsis, the title intrigued me. Malayalam movies, like Bengali ones, are way ahead when it comes to experimenting offbeat themes. I figured Munroe Island would be one such treat and I was not disappointed.
We are introduced to the grand patriarch (played by Indrans to astounding perfection) lovingly addressed as Appoopan by the grandson (Jason Chacko). We also get to meet the house-help Kathu (Abhija Sivakala). We follow them around the jaw-dropping (for city dwellers like me) ancestral home. It’s shot on location and it’s not a gaudy set. Neither is the place a new-age teak and marble monstrosity. It’s a sprawling house that’s weathered many elements. There is the unpretentious gate leading to a sheltered porch. If y…

Can You Smell The Rot?

I've been disgusted with the screen grabs of a shitty soap opera currently being aired in India. - Pehredar Piya ki roughly translates as 'Guardian of my lover'. The protagonists in question are played by adult woman and 9-10 year old boy. In what can only be termed as mindfuck of recent times, the woman marries the boy. There is a now a petition doing the rounds to ban this perverse nonsense.

But I wanted to get to the root of this ugliness. Who is thinking of this shit? Who is writing this? Why did the boy's parents think this is an appropriate role for the child? On the whole, why do these production houses, actors, writers feel they have no responsibility?
The production house is run by a husband-wife duo - Sumeet and Shashi Mittal. The mission of Shashi Sumeet Productions Pvt Ltd is “to create quality content that enthrals and entertains audiences.” They have produced a number of popular soaps.
In an interview with the Scroll, Summet Mittal says -
"The boy is i…

The 21st Century Hero

Yesterday a friend forwarded a home-made music video on Whatsapp . It has two women on the guitar.  Watch it. If you are a Kannadiga, you will go on karaoke mode for sure.  I was enraptured. It is a piece of music that you will listen to over and over again.

Please note: I don't know who owns the video since it came as a forward. 
More than the music, those two ladies made me indescribably happy. Clad in crisp salwaar kameez, they are truly the ladies-next-door you’d discuss mundane stuff over coffee and Mangalooru store kharaseve.  They are so wonderfully unassuming and understated despite their explosive talent. What’s lovely about the video is the lack of fuss; the sheer everyday-ness of it... what a breath of fresh air in the age of sickening social media drama! “Watch this advert and you will cry!” “Watch what happens when this puppy meets the kitten!” “Watch what the old man in humanity restored!” And on and on...endless tracks of barf-inducing  nonsense.
I have l…

A Cabbage And An Epiphany

There was a writing competition last week; the central theme was food. Ha. Food and an Indian - the theme was a landmine of choices. How much of our lives revolves around food! As someone who cooks at least two meals a day (three on days when I’ve run out of cereals), it can get exasperating. I hoped to write something deep, rich with emotional textures and symbolism. At least in an Indian household, food becomes a veritable battleground – the manifestation of motherly (and other forms of) love and of femininity. Indeed, the preparation of a meal can make or break relationships in many joint families—the cracks appear in the kitchen and the lava pours forth on the entire family. As I mulled over these complex themes, an incident occurred.
I needed to assemble a couple of flatpack furniture, so I had booked a slot with a fitter.  It was a cold but sunny Sunday morning when he arrived. Tall, lanky, hair slicked back, tattoos snaking up all over his arms. As is customary in any Indian …