Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Conquest of the Useless

'...because I am going to be on my own as a producer. For a moment the feeling crept over me that my work, my vision, is going to destroy me, and for a fleeting moment I let myself take a long, hard look at myself, something I would not otherwise do - out of instinct, on principle, out of self-preservation - look at myself with objective curiosity to see whether my vision has not destroyed me already. I found it comforting to note that I was still breathing.'

Werner Herzog, Munich-London, 8 October 1979
Conquest of the Useless

Ranjita doesn't care too much about getting married.
But the wedding date has been set for May. She's already 19.
She has to or there may be no one around to marry her, she'd be too old.
She's not going to have babies, not for some time, she says over her shoulder, as she points to the plants in my balcony. This is where she wants her picture taken.
He works in a hotel. He'll do well. He has style. She'd met him once. She's going to check around about him. You can't trust anyone these days.
"It doesn't take too much time to fall in love, don't you think?", she says.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Of love

that feeling when you've just fallen in love, single conversations have you imagining them talking and rising into a star filled sky, strings of stars unfurling from their sides,
And the words just lie there floating lazily in the liquid ink

Posted via email from Milann's posterous

Friday, 8 October 2010

last night's dream

Yesterday I was on a spaceship

it kept stopping over on land every now and again
and we'd go out to walk on the land and see strange fruit
the journey on the spacecraft wasn't a particularly pleasant one,
we all knew it was headed out on a suicidal mission or something
I can't explain the feeling..
a dull heat, all red and blurred at the edges..
somehow, the places we slept on, the beds, felt important
everyone was happy they had a comfortable one,
we always found our way back from land to board the spacecraft again
like there was no other way to think.

But I thought about it, that way of thinking, only after I woke up.

Posted via email from Milann's posterous

It helps to consider yourself to be a character in a book, and then when placed in the middle of its folds, one can look around with clear eyes.. It's not the first time lives are being lived, or being chronicled. I keep getting bottled messages from the thought I'd record a passage from the 1700s which applies directly to mark the working lives of me and my close ones, wrt the relationships broken or mended along the way.

'The second distinctive trait of his aesthetic sense. While a beast wants that which may quench its thirst and satisfy its needs, man often requires contentment and pleasure beyond his instinctive needs... The second stage of social development is possessed by people living in civilised cities belonging to those virtuous realms that raise men of morals and wisdom. In such places human social organisation tremendously expands, giving rise to increasing requirements..the third stage... is reached when various transactions take place between human beings in this society, and elements of greed, jealousy, procrastination, and denial of each others' rights crop up, giving rise to differences and disputes. In such a state of affairs, there appear some individuals who are ruled by low passions and are disposed to commit murder and loot...
So said the sage Shah Waliullah.'

I got this one bottled in Insomnia and other stories, Aamer Hussein,2007

au milieu de la jour,

I found Tomasz Zarachowicz's corner in Manek Chowk, Gujarat.
Didn't see Panda M anywhere though.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

'Everywhere these days the mind of the poet and the public mind confront each other.

The sun comes cracking down, and the mind of the poet finds meaning in the public mind. The wind blows, and the public mind finds structure in the mind of the poet. Snow is all over the place. Both are wrong. The mud is greener than the grass.'

Sunday, 3 October 2010


"She had prepared eighteen to twenty nice hand stitched dresses, all in time for you.
When she was admitted in the hospital she instructed the nurse to get you to her in the best of the little dresses.
We had a brand new ambassador, not my own,... given by a friend of ours to facilitate taking her to the hospital 
and to bring you back safely..
And from then on you've always been in a car
basically you were born on a silver plate 
and we've been taking you around on a golden plate..
So that's the story till now you're a rascal
so that's that...."

Apaa paused then for a bit, I could imagine him looking outside at the water, little crinkles by the sides of his eyes, 
even more crinkly now, since he was thinking of that other time.

"...... I remember all the dresses mummy had made, about eighteen to twenty of them
basically to cover your body
so they could move easily over your head, with the back open
all the best of cotton
so there would be no rashes
you were such a cute little girl
we had given the name even before you were born
and now you don't want to talk to either mummy or me."

He laughed his gentle, rumbly laugh. And I smiled, here so far away in Mumbai. 
With apaa still on the line, I looked at the cityscape around me distractedly, and slowed down a bit, wasn't familiar all over again. goddamit.

Saturday, 2 October 2010


It is true..when one travels one is almost always on the lookout for the next person to talk to.
John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley, 1962.


We were passing through the inner ways of Jamalpur. 
Mounds of earth, cemented firmly into the ground,... a hurried cemetery, broke out of the pathway leading to her perch. 
Sugra biwi sat in a vignette of light.
Nadira walked to the cupboard and brought out a tin box full of coloured photographs from the almirah and put them on the floor in front of me. Sugra biwi giggled, pointing at the string of pearls  the 'photography walla' had put on her hair. 
A brood of children in the family crowded in at the doorway, blocking my source of light. 
Sugra biwi laughed shyly, working her fingers on her prayer beads in starts, as they giggled at her.  
She glanced at me furtively as the girls undid my hair, and layered it out evenly over my shoulders. And we looked at each other for a moment.