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Ariza | 18 March 2007, 11:22am

Some thing to prove my claims.

Current Mood: Amazed
Current Music: Cat Stevens

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Ariza | 17 March 2007, 1:14am

300 Cover Layout

Like most of you my introduction to the world of Frank Miller was through "Sin City" Robert Rodriguez's strange cinematic experience. Frank Miller was the writer of a graphic novel on which the movie was based and was supposed to be incognito, someone who should have appeared in the credits, at the premiere pictures and then at the academy awards clapping for the winner. But that maverick of a man Rodriquez slapped him on as the co-director because he said that the source could not be distinguished from the product. The whole thing caused a controversy where Rodriguez refused to bow down and the academy in tow with the director's guild refused to acknowledge the movie. Who was this Frank Miller? and why in the bloody-hell was he so important?

For those who are trivia interested he is the priest in "Sin City" but principally known as the comic book illustrator for Daredevil, X-men -- Wolverine and the Batman series. A man whose books are referred to as Graphic-novels and for those of us who have seen these as movies "graphic" means sex, crime, blood and violence. In short a dark dreary vision. Little wonder it drew Rodriguez and the-never-too-far-off-from him Tarantino to it. 300 comes as Zack Snyder's wannabie to this world.

It tells the story of how 300 Spartans fought against a million. Now, in history whenever you read something like that you must expect a lot of dead people and 300 throws that reality in your face. The Spartan king Leonidas (Gerald Butler) rejects an offer to bow to the Persian king and decides to go to war. Prevented by a corrupt oracle and a superstitious council to take the entire Spartan army and aided by his own war bred idealistic self he decides to fight the million strong Persians with just 300 men. With the pretence of this story over Zack Snyder (Dawn of the dead) gets to the real business of this movie: war.

For those of you who havent watched the trailers: watch them to see what I mean! The war sequences are spectacular. An all male theatre testifies to the heightened levels of adrenalin pumped onto the screen as you witness one massacre after the other. The Persians with their bodies pierced and their strange oriental manners are just prey - numbers to be piled on. Each sequence is beautifully choreographed and even though you are aware of the technique it never takes you away from the awe.

But 300 does not hold. Yes, I get the tragic and heroic tale of 300-people-against-a-million part and I get the fights but in the end I still didn

Current Mood: Thoughtful
Current Music: Still Vincent

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Vincent - For easy access

Ariza | 15 March 2007, 11:29pm

starry night
paint your palette blue and grey

look out on a summer's day
with eyes that know the
darkness in my soul.
Shadows on the hills
sketch the trees and the daffodils

catch the breeze and the winter chills

in colors on the snowy linen land.
And now I understand what you tried to say to me

how you suffered for your sanity
how you tried to set them free.
They would not listen
they did not know how

perhaps they'll listen now.

starry night
flaming flo'rs that brightly blaze

swirling clouds in violet haze reflect in
Vincent's eyes of China blue.
Colors changing hue
morning fields of amber grain

weathered faces lined in pain
are soothed beneath the artist's
loving hand.
And now I understand what you tried to say to me

how you suffered for your sanity
how you tried to set them free.
perhaps they'll listen now.

For they could not love you
but still your love was true

and when no hope was left in sight on that starry
starry night.
You took your life
as lovers often do;
But I could have told you
this world was never
meant for one
as beautiful as you.

starry night
portraits hung in empty halls

frameless heads on nameless walls
with eyes
that watch the world and can't forget.
Like the stranger that you've met

the ragged men in ragged clothes

the silver thorn of bloddy rose
lie crushed and broken
on the virgin snow.
And now I think I know what you tried to say to me

how you suffered for your sanity

how you tried to set them free.
They would not listen
they're not
list'ning still
perhaps they never will.

Current Mood: Angry
Current Music: Don Mcclean

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Ariza | 14 March 2007, 11:53pm

It will come to you through a song while those lights dance about on the streets and the city reminds you that you have always been here. Then the last few months of living amongst the newcomers evaporate like naphthalene and you are left with the bitter after-taste of irony.

If you remember right, you were going to be the first one to leave: the first one to live abroad and send in jealousy provoking letters to those friends who will ask you to bring in gifts and stories about the world outside the city. Instead you are the one left telling the story of the neighborhood new hotshot Chinese food restaurant starting out as a small bandi (many years ago actually!) and as an annoyance to everyone before it made it so big that now your story lives off it.

It is all wrong when you remember how it was before the hi-tech city came in. Before the potential of Hyderabad was still a promise and it was a beautiful promise. You had a small net parlor close by where your friends gathered and chuckled about the browsing history of someone. It was childish, but you were children. You learned about the world through words and images on the computer screen - a medium that left you in Hyderabad and them in LA. It is all wrong when suddenly you are the only localite in the office and when you have to tell them where "Paradise" is. Oh god! it is worst than that! It is sacrilege.

So you are alone on the road and the city seems to have finally gone to sleep. It never gets to do that now-a-days. It works as hard as you do with no weekends and grueling schedules. You have an excuse - career. What does it have? Potential? So in its tender sleep of a few hours you have become the dream. You have a chat with the city. It speaks with all the poignancy of nostalgia: reminds you of the time you saw "Tezaab" in a second show at Padmavati and missed "Ek Do Teen" and wondered what it was all about while driving back with your father. Those yellow street lights made you feel warm when the night was cold. You shiver now. Someone zooms past in an esteem. You are not to be bothered. The conversation has died out. But the music is still on.

"Kehdo ke tum ho meri varna.....jeena nahi mujhe hai marna."

Current Mood: Preachy
Current Music: Tezaab

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Six weeks at Sea

Ariza | 16 October 2006, 12:15am

Six months at sea! Yes, reader, as I live, six months out of sight of land; cruising after the sperm-whale beneath the scorching sun of the Line, and tossed on the billows of the wide-rolling Pacific -- the sky above, the sea around, and nothing else! Weeks and weeks ago our fresh provisions were all exhausted. There is not a sweet potatoe left; not a single yam. Those glorious bunches of bananas which once decorated our stern and quarter-deck have, alas, disappeared! and the delicious oranges which hung suspended from our tops and stays -- they, too, are gone! Yes, they are all departed, and there is nothing left us but salt-horse and sea-biscuit. Oh! ye state-room sailors, who make so much ado about a fourteen days' passage across the Atlantic; who so pathetically relate the privations and hardships of the sea, where, after a day of breakfasting, lunching, dining off five courses, chatting, playing whist, and drinking champagne punch, it was your hard lot to be shut up in little cabinets of mahogany and maple, and sleep for ten hours, with nothing to disturb you but "those good-for-nothing tars, shouting and tramping over head," -- what would ye say to our six months out of sight of land? --opening paragraph from Herman Melville's Typee

Current Mood: Triumphant
Current Music: Listening to Kate Beckinsale

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Ariza | 31 July 2006, 6:42pm

I am reading a novel where this guy goes back to the place he feels most connected to after many years. This led me to thinking about the places I would like to go back to and my right to claim to these times. I'll write about that later. I asked one of my friend where he would like to be. He told me of his college times in New Delhi.

Sometimes I doubt the power of words and just when I begin to loose faith in them a friend like this appears and reconstructs a world i could never have any right to be in for me. At these times I like to step out of myself and accompany the story and live it with the narration. I wonder what claim do great writers have when such seemingly ordinary people can tell stories so well. Then I begin to feel better and carry the flavour of these words with me for days together.

What my friend doesnt believe is in HIS power of words. I have asked him to write many times but he refuses. "Are you mad! Who would want to read it!" May be he is right but I tell him to write for me, for days when I just want to cuddle up to a story. He calls me a parasite. I told him that there are times when my stories are sufficient for me but then there are times when I dont want to hear about my city, my life or my his-story. Then I want to hear of places and stories other than these.

I cant tell his stories and he asks me to. But believe me he tells them well. He knows who he is.

" I cant put it any more sincerely."

Current Mood: Cheerful
Current Music: Omkara

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The loft

Ariza | 24 July 2006, 6:58pm

Like every house there was a loft in this house too. I got in because she asked me to go look there. I went up on my hands and settled between two old boxes and a steel drum. There was a whole house up there and I looked at a life in them. It was the life from many years, a life that she had decided to lock up and keep away. I looked at the utensils, the books, the old chairs, the beddings and the old cassessets. There were magazines from sometime I had never lived through and there were photographs of people I remembered in leathery old skins. My pants raked up the dust and I felt it suffocating. Suddenly I saw a file full of papers and decided to look inside. There were scribblings of someone intelligent and ideas that ran out of patience. She saw me looking at it and she asked me to quit it. She told me I got no business in those papers. I didnt care. The old photographs showed her young and smiling. The eye-liner had worn away because her eyes watered when she laughed. She still had that bottomless laughter but in that photograph it was without the darkness of experience. I knew that she had only begun to learn then. I saw her seated amongst the ruins of some temple looking as beautiful as the night. She sat looking at me, I knew it, but it was on the loft and I had to get down to her.

Current Mood: Thoughtful
Current Music: Counting Crows

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My friends groups

Ariza | 23 July 2006, 7:31am

The other day a friend of mine had this to say when he got drunk and believed he was very wise.

".....and when I am with them I feel like I can let go, you know, like there I can say something stupid and get away with it. I like them then. I like that they dont know about ideas and they dont know about Israel or Lebannon. They will tell you about Pokiri and tell you about a site that has the photographs of that girl from the movie. I liked her too. They like Mahesh and I dont give a damn about him. But the! (At this he made a sign with his hands) That is when I like to be with them and as a nineteen year old I used to be with them all the time. But I cannot be with them now. Because they are almost thirty now and they still just like the girls in the movies. You need to see them Ariza, its like they are stuck to the idea of being Nineteen. Then they liked fast bikes and they still like fast bikes and still have those posters on their walls but they dont know jack-shi* about them. And its like that with everything. A strange sort of contentment I cant bear after sometime but feel superficial enough to dip into every once in a while."

"Then there is the other group. The ones who read and can talk about books and ideas. They sit under trees and they talk about the contextual basis for a film, about concentration camps in germany akin to the ones in Uganda and with them I say something and I feel important. They all like rock music and they talk about the gothic influences of rock music and they talk about the Berlin wall and rock music and pink floyd and poetry and they talk about why America shouldn't do what it is doing. I like listening to their talk and god knows I worked hard to get into that group until I realise that they all talk and talk and talk and talk. And one day I realised that the originality of their talk ran out long ago. Ofcourse they are growing, god forbid me if I mention that to them and get bulldozed upon by terms and definitions, but it is as if they are insulated within the scope of their ideas. Then I feel like I need some air to breath and something to do."

"I keep shuttling between these groups Ariza. Sometimes I am convinced that I am the one with the pretensions and that if all my cribbing about these groups is superficial? Surely there must be the other ones out there and yet I choose to stay and crib in private and feel important about it. Crib to you who know none of these groups!

Tell me to start one group of my own and tell me to try harder. But I fear how long it will be before it becomes like one of them. And then I wonder if they are all that different at all."

Then he paid the bill and we left. Note: This post is to that nineteen year old girl who once started writing about this, got embarrassed, folded the paper and kept it in a diary buried under the old photographs of old cricketers.

Current Mood: Confused
Current Music: Pokiri

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The city and the Story

Ariza | 22 July 2006, 7:28am

I am reading Daniel Defoe's Journal of the plague Year this week. It tells the story of the plague that ravaged London in 1666. As Defoe creates the slow progress of the plague through the city I found the narrative interrupted by repeated mention of the localities affected. I could see Defoe sitting down patiently with the map and taking care, plotting and mentioning the progress in his growing manuscript. But why? Wasn't he clear that he was writing a fictional account? More importantly what purpose did it serve but clutter the narrative with unnecessary names?

Even in the narrative of Dickens we find London interrupting, in Dostoevsky Petersburg is mapped out as we follow the characters through the city. I am also told that in James Joyce's Ulysses the character Leopold Bloom follows a path that has since been made famous as some sought of a Bloom's line. Obviously these writers took a lot of pain to put these references into their story lines. But why?  Sometimes these innocuous references become famous like with 221b Baker Street and Sherlock Holmes or the 9 3/4th platform of the Harry Potter books. Even those are firm settings in a story which although non-existent are more than fictional. Think of Hardy in Wessex, Faulkner in Yoknapatawpha and so on and on. This is not just limited to Books. New York forms a character in many movies, Los Angles, Paris and London for others. But this is especially clear in the movies of someone like Woody Allen in which New-York comes out like a canvas on the background of which stories are told. He did this with his recent Match Point where, for a change, he uses London.

I can think of the people living in London now reading the Journal. I could imagine myself to be one of them and living in one of the localities that Defoe mentions where there is a mass grave with hundreds of people buried in it. It can bring history alive, when you know that the ground you stand on is littered with it. That explains Defoe. Then there is the argument for narrative necessity where the author finds it easy to create the image of a character for a reader by telling him where he lives, how he travels, where he works. This is as much a need as describing what he feels. That most of his readers might not live in the city of his story doesn

Current Mood: Feeling Better
Current Music: Les Fuiles Mortes

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Story ideas

Ariza | 18 July 2006, 9:53pm

My brain is baked by the movies that I see and I am convinced there are no good ones. So I have decided to invent some stories myself where I can express myself and philosophize freely to the detriment of others. I intend to sit down and discipline myself into developing these ideas into a novel. The following is then, how the blurbs of the published books will look.

Story Idea 1

After convincing himself that his childhood crush is his true love, Tedan Gilraihie begins to trace her on the World Wide Web by leaving her name as a comment on various blogs along with a bizarre message he is convinced only she could decipher. One such sojourn leads him to a site that maintains an impeccable record of everything he owns: seven pairs of everything. There are seven pairs of shoes he owns, shirts, pants, belts, computers, and whats more in a section called the basement there are seven pairs of everything that he ever owned. Tedan is horrified and decides to catch the culprits stalking him. He is convinced they enter his house each night to inventory his life. So he stays awake for seven nights inadvertently completing a process that admits him to a world named Lehl. Tedan finds seven versions of all the people he knows. Even seven versions of his childhood crush but he doesn't find himself. Find out why?

Mood: Bizarrly poetic.

Meat value: 6.75 (How much you can philosophize!)

Story Idea 2

The year is 2019 and the vision 2020 for Hyderabad is getting closer when suddenly the world runs out of petrol. Roads look bare and cycle factories close under the immense pressure of over work. The MCH is worried all this will spoil its VISION 2020 achievement party. People must be able to travel with their families, they decide and someone comes up with the idea of giving them a cycle-rickshaw each. The last known cycle rickshaw died out years earlier and no one has seen them since then. The art of making them has been forgotten. A desperate search is launched to find one rickshaw maker. Every other engineer is busy. There are whispers of an old rickshaw maker who lives in the obscurity of some chawl. They say he only makes them if you agree to carry a huge picture of superstar Krishna on the top. A spy is sent out in search

Current Mood: Bored
Current Music: M&M

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Hope is the thing with feathers

Ariza | 12 July 2006, 7:41pm

< !--StartFragment --> 

< !--StartFragment --> 

O Captain! My Captain!
by Walt Whitman

O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring

Hope is the thing with feathers
by Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Current Mood: Relieved
Current Music: Rocky

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Two women

Ariza | 5 July 2006, 11:36pm

Arun always had a problem dealing with women. As a child, he grew up hearing so little of his father and so much of his mother that for years he believed that women's freedom was a satiric term. His mother was the only one with a job in the household, and she was also the one who had to take care of her children to which her husband didnt help by making sure that she had a child every year for the first five years of her marriage. Somehow Arun came at the end of a long line of four sisters so that his mother came to love him more just because his birth made sure that her husband didnt want to try for a boy anymore. But that was the only place where she gave in and hence to Arun his father became a peripheral figure in his life: a man who hung around his house for some strange reason. His mother taught him to respect his father by an argument that was pure logic:< ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


"He is the reason you are here. He was the only one who wanted you born."


Arun grew up with something more than respect for women. He watched each one of his sisters struggle with their youth. Each one that blossomed became even more attractive than the last and so his mother had to deal with a long list of suitors along with them. He saw his sisters return with tears in their eyes from the comments they heard from these men who had a funny way of confessing their love. He then saw his mother admonishing each girl and training them to carry themselves among a world of men. Soon each of these sisters came back educated in the choicest of curse words and he saw them use it with class. He learnt these words with the same urgency of purpose that he saw in his sisters. One suitor put this vocabulary in perspective:


"With sisters who can cuss like that, who's gonna bully that kid!"


He also learned about loss from the women in house. From the time he was fourteen he saw each one of his sisters marry and go away. Of course they never went very far as they all settled down in the same town, but they were all allowed to pick their grooms and they all made their families with the same earnestness that they had seen their mother work with; so that Arun saw that they were never the same after the wedding. A certain backward checking glance on a talkative husband or a mischievous child always accompanied them wherever they went. Arun learnt first hand how the demands of love can grow inside a marriage and he saw his sisters slip away into their families until he was left alone with his non-existent father and his demanding mother. Somehow the exit of her daughters made her demand more out of Arun until he was sure she knew what he dreamed about. She confirmed this one day when after seeing his soft step and careful manner around her she told him:


"Dont worry. I am not dying so soon."


Arun stood shocked in the centre of the room because he had dreamed of his mothers death and had woken up with the sense of loss still raw in him.


It was against this backdrop and at the most inopportune of moments that Arun had fallen in love. 

Current Mood: Lovestruck
Current Music: Madonna

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Rear Window

Ariza | 3 July 2006, 10:29pm

In Alfred Hitchcock's classic Rear Window a wheelchair bound James stewart has an uninhibited view of an apartment block of people living in front of his apartments. He uses a binoculars and moves from one life to another with little effort. Most of these lives are mundane but, luckily for our wheel chair bound policeman, not every one is. He suspects a murder and over a period of watching slowly gets convinced that it is so. What happens next is obvious.

I dont know if the theme was older than the movie or if it began after the movie but I have noticed that people who end up spying on their neighbours are almost always convinced that something is afoot. I have seen some friends who begin to tell me in hushed voices about the affair the married woman next door seems to be having or the cigarette smoking teenager on the roof. I have always thought of this to be a sad existence, something that reflects on the watcher's loneliness. And I have known from personal experience that it cannot be helped.

Georges Perecs Life: a users manual also touches on the same theme. In this, I am told, we also have the access to peoples memories and other details. It is a novel and in it I suppose the author has much more creative license and time to explore the theme. He probably makes the experience more poignant by giving us the access to peoples most intimate details. It is, I am told, a great book.

That aside, I have often wondered walking on the road how most people led their lives. Most of these lie close to cliches that I cannot rid myself of: drunkards, wife beaters, teenagers, children (read cute) etc etc. Completely my problem. But how different is blogging from all that? Granted most people never post the truth (and that includes me) it is interesting to watch their digital identities. Here the judgement is on the basis of their lies.

Anyway, I wonder what would happen if someone pulled the roof out of my apartment block and peeped inside? Rear window style not Life: a users manual. That is a topic for another post. And a different story to tell.

Current Mood: Thoughtful
Current Music: Police

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Brazil Out!

Ariza | 2 July 2006, 2:31am

The only reason to watch the football world cup finals is out. Brazil!!!!!
None of the latin americans are represented. Argentina was painful and Brazil was murder.
God knows they play better football than any of those european jokers out there.
The only hope now is portugal. Scolari and his team now have to do it.

Current Mood: Heartbroken
Current Music: You think that I am Robbie williams

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Eighteen year old men

Ariza | 28 June 2006, 6:09pm

Was reading a book about war today. The author was eighteen years old when he was shipped off to the world war. He describes his experiences in the book. There is a particular scene which stands out. The author and his friend are in the trenches waiting for an attack to come when they start having a conversation.

"I had a great life. I dont know if I would ever see it again."

"You will. Dont worry." the author says.

"It's just that, now that I have seen this destruction the whole thing stands out in contrast. You see I had a great life. I never got to know that then, always had something to crib about and I only got engaged hoping to get laid. And now I might die alone. Now, from here, I am in love."

Talk like that in trenches might sound like a bad idea because it makes everyone emotional and then it becomes difficult to kill. But I dont think so. In the above line you can see the fellow wanted to live, that he wanted to see life. That is a good reason. Hell, it is as good a reason as any to fight a war and kill a man: TO LIVE.

In our country the movies made on war are about nationalism and patriotism. How many times have we had soldiers lecturing about their love for the country while they die. I remember J.P Dutta's LOC. Somehow, I am not convinced. Patriotism is a good enough reason to go to war but it is not the thing that keeps you alive. Ofcourse, a man could turn back and run and then he would be alive. Catch 22's Yossarian would agree. But a man cannot live to be a coward and we are always aware of the cowardice inside us. So between these extremes you end up fighting and in a war, in the trench waiting for the enemy, it is better to know that you have to be alive to go back home.

Ofcourse home is never the same. We, who have gone through eighteen rebelling and drooling after girls can never understand this. A simple near death experience can change us. War is more than that. There must always be the fear of death and change must breed inside this. In this book there is a character who sleeps with his gun in his hand. They keep warning him that one day he'll blow his head off. He says he is liable to do that if he didnt have his gun beside him, that the fear was too goddam much. The gun gives him comfort, keeps him sane.

I wonder how does he come home. What happens to his fear? What happens to that place in his heart where once there was fear.

Ofcourse we can never understand that.

Current Mood: Thoughtful
Current Music: Vijaypath

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