Oct 16, 2005

Grim Movie

I wasted time on Saturday and Sunday watching a couple of movies. What I mean is that the movies were imminently mediocre and my time would have better spent getting drunk with friends. The movies were "El Crimen Perfecto" and "Batman Begins". I have decided that in keeping in with the theme of this weekend, I will write my thoughts on another mediocre disappointing movie that I saw a few weeks ago.

I have to offer a point of clarification, lest my definition of mediocre be misconstrued. "El Crimen Perfecto" was billed as a black comedy, supposedly painted with shades of Almadovar. I'll admit that the movie had it's moments, but the director, de la Iglesia, is no Almadovar.  As far as Batman Begins, do not mistake my trashing it as some sort of pseudo intellectual bullying. When I go to the theater to watch a film adaptation of one of my childhood favorite comics, I expect to be fully entertained, lost in the world of cool dialogue, delightful excesses and slick action. As was the case with Tim Burtons muy sabroso "Batman".  However, when a comic book starts taking itself seriously, and special effects overwhelm coolness, you've lost me!

Anyway, the movie that really disappointed me was "The Brother's Grimm". I have been enraptured with Terry Gilliams creations. From his cartoons in Monty Python to the Fisher King and Brazil, he has used his imagination to portray the bizarre and the fantastic while delivering a human message.  Maybe the message was not that human in "Fear and Loathing.." but it was a great laugh. It was heartbreaking to see his movie based on Don Quixote fall apart, and I was eagerly anticipating the Brother's Grimm.

Perhaps my disappointment was due to anticipation. The wrong premise that a filmmaker who makes few movies always delivers the goods either through a subtle plot or a subliminal insight into some facet of humanity or a novel style of filmography. The Brother's Grimm served up none of the above. To top it all, one coughs up a good $10 per head for this experience.

Oct 14, 2005


There's not a whole lot to blog about, when your life consists of a 7 to 7 routine of work and commute, followed by dinner, and errands. Ever had days like that ? No revelations, great or small, at work. No towering achievements, no babies were killed, no million-dollar-oops. The ride to and fro was essentially blah ! No damsels in distress, no menacing acts by road -rage racked individuals. The weather was fine with a slight drizzle. You came home and ate leftovers, watched some TV and completed one chore you had been meaning to do.

It was that kind of a day. .

Oct 13, 2005


I am not musically inclined – rhythm has never claimed me as her own, be it while dancing, or just tapping fingers to keep the beat. (Forget actually trying to play an instrument). However, this much I know – listening to music is unmitigated pleasure. It's a source of revelry and joy as well as free therapy for malaise.

In other words, I spend a lot of money on concerts and CDs! With that justification of my squandering habits off my chest, let me get on to my real point.

Every so often, I have had the opportunity to be at a concert where the music is truly real (IMHO). It is usually a confluence of geniuses, whose towering minds allow for no ego and the music is played out of sheer joy, camaraderie is created on-stage through majestic talent recognizing the same. [The key, I believe, is the towering mind + humility, witness the shambles of the 3 tenors]

The list is as follows:
  • Paco, Al and John (San Fran 1996). Maybe not as good as their first concert, but they still had the magic, 15 years later at the 15th SF Jazz festival.

  • Ali Akbar Khan and Allah Rakkah (Kolkata, 1993). I am fairly ignorant when it comes to Indian classical but when music moves and mesmerizes, what do you need to know.

  • Bela, Stanley Clark and Jean-Luc Ponty (New Bedford, yesterday). My muse today. So much virtuosity, seeping off-stage and gathering up the crowd. Clark shuts his eyes and thumps the double bass, his eyes closed in some sort of an ecstasy; Bela, with his wry humor, humble yet mischievous as he plays with his boyhood legends; Jean-Luc, an apparition from elf land, swaying to his own musical swirling cloud.

I am indeed fortunate.

Oct 12, 2005

Seasons of the Witch

The New England Fall is upon us.

I am not referring to the season of spectacular colors, the richly-hued vista that elicits gasps from hikers and other tourists. I am talking about the grey dull days, the continual rain since Friday, the creeping chill that is forcing home heating systems to turn on. The season of the at-least-40%-more-expensive natural gas.

Oct 11, 2005

Legalize it !

The dichotomy of people getting increasingly isolated from each other as technology brings the world closer together just hit home again. I am at a coffee shop, I've had lunch and am now drinking copious amounts of coffee (free refills). I am connected to office e-mail, Yahoo e-mail, and all kinds of IM's. I can do a quick check on the latest on the Islamabad earthquake, or look up the meaning of "peregrinations" on the On-Line Merriam Webster, I can Skype pals in India, I am downloading bit torrent files of the 1989 Telluride Blue Grass festival and rating the sound quality of the audio files seeded by Xpanding Man.

All this while I sit in a roomful of people, most of whom are eating or working alone, or are talking on cell phones. I can shut my eyes and imagine scenes out some futuristic novel, glassy eyed people in mod cat space suits, gliding on walkways. I feel depressed. I am shaken out of my gloom by a timeless mating-ritual tableau at the table next to mine, reminding me that I am still on Planet Earth.

Various websites debunk and glorify the hypothesis of- The Neurotransmitter "Serotonin" & Serotonin Acting Anti-depressants. I had my "so-called clear-thoughts" about this, and I realized today that I actually don’t quiet know where I stand. (So what's new).  
I used to think that our emotions change our "biochemical balance" which affects us physically. Sometimes, the circle is complete when our physical incapacity induces inertia which then impacts our emotions further. Thus, we spiral downwards. Anti-depressants are supposed to handle this. Since I am opposed to medication in general, I (Dr. Shouvik 8-) advise that we deal with our imbalance through "wellness"  That new age concept of a balanced diet coupled with Yoga.

The truth is that discipline is hard – it also takes away so much from life. I want my whiskey-soda-bourbon, my biriyani from Shiraz, the blue smoke wisps swirling when I try to give my aching mind a break late at night, Chandrapuli, Baklava, goat curry. Without these objects, I would be emotionally drained (a circle within a circle). I want to stop nothing, but practice moderation.

So what's my point? I'm blabbering. Apparently no one is quiet sure what out biochemical balance should be, so what are anti-depressants actually doing? Laughter is the best medicine. Meet friends, have fun, fight isolation. The young man in the next table  is now giving his paramour a neck-shoulder massage. All the solitary folks are looking in their direction, glaring/sneering. Fools... follow their example. Find a friend, share the joy of company, it's medicinal.