Monday, March 27, 2006

Cool Bukowski

Currently reading my favourite Bukowski’s The Last Night of the Earth Poems, perhaps the final book of poetry he would publish in his lifetime. There’s a story like feel to his poetry and am enjoying reading this book published in 1992. Here’s an excerpt from Two Toughs:
anyhow, Jed never made it
to Notre Dame
and I never made it
. . .
damn, there was no way
it seemed
we could ever
but we did.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Bollywood rocks Melbourne

Saw Ray last night on HBO. Method acting by Jamie Fox is sheer brilliance but I feel the film loses out on being an epic because it does not use the traditional narrative structure. Jumping between the present and the past detracts from the pathos which generally elevates the film and the “classic” appeal, and tends to give away the story. Must get some Ray Charles music now. That reminds me that I also need to buy The Impressionist.
Saw the closing ceremony of Melbourne 2006 on the idiot box and I must say Bollywood did us proud again. After the clinical but dour performance by Aussie singers came the Bollywood show and it filled the magnificent MCG with a riot of colours and vocal and visual vibrancy. India rocked, and Aishwarya looked spellbinding when she was lifted by the dancers in a Namaste repose.

This is what Toby Forage, Fox Sports editor, writes: “But it wasn't so much the memory of the Games just past that had everyone excited, but the promise of some serious fun to be had in Delhi, which will host the 2010 Games. Bhangra and Bollywood were on show at the MCG in a traditional preview for the next host of the Games, and it was presented in magnificent style. If the idea of a 19th Commonwealth Games leaves you cold, you might want to consider giving them another tilt in India. Tonight's preview suggested colour and spectacle await in fours years' time. Add sport to the mix and it’s a heady cocktail nobody should pass up. But Melbourne's efforts were not forgotten amidst the vivid brilliance of India's finest performers, including former Miss World and now movie star Aishwarya Rai, fellow silver screen studs Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukherjee, and cricket great Sunhil Gavaskar.”
A comprehensive report including pictures on Bollywood’s taste of Delhi 2010 is here on the official Melbourne 2006 site. DD Sports was pathetic as usual in its mushy and unnecessary voiceovers and criminal ad interruptions. Typical of the babu-run channel!
Poetry lovers may check out a compendium of American Poems here. I need to read more of Cummings.
Also, do take a look at Sacred Cow Dung, a blog on “Mythocracy in Venture Capital, Technology, Healthcare, Media, Internet, et al (Chief Dung Analyst: Christian Mayaud)”.
Cool stuff. Cheers…

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Computer frailties

Finished Transmission. Captivating book. The latter half is truly gripping. I enjoyed it because of its very contemporary plot juxtaposing human dreams with the reality of capricious computers and their frailties. Do take a look at what Walter Kirn writes in NYT:
“The fact that all contemporary fiction is now, by definition, historical fiction is hard to deny, but it's much, much harder to face, of course -- particularly for talented young novelists, like Britain's Hari Kunzru, who don't want to cede the present entirely to cable news personalities and Internet posters. Kunzru -- who turned down a prize for his first novel because he felt the London newspaper that sponsored it, The Mail on Sunday, had ''pursued an editorial policy of vilifying and demonizing refugees and asylum-seekers,'' and who went on to win a spot on Granta magazine's prestigious list of the best young British novelists -- is as up-to-date as writers come, with interests in technology, pop culture and the economics of globalization. If anyone deserves a shot at breaching the literary space-time continuum and doing what logic says can't be done, it's Kunzru.
''Transmission'' is his brave attempt. Making this exercise in timeliness even tougher than it has to be, the novel revolves around computers, which become obsolete even faster than morning papers. Even when they're hooked up to the Web and continually fed with software updates, computers now go to seed within a year, but put them into the pages of a novel, away from their modems, and the things are stillborn. A plot formed around their latest capabilities and influenced by their current limitations is irrelevant by the time the pages are spell-checked. It's science fiction in reverse.”

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Have started Hari Kunzru’s Transmission and am reading it voraciously. Interestingly told contemporary novel about an Indian software engineer trying to make it big in the US. Kunzru’s prose is bereft of a self-indulgent grandness and has an easy-going feel to it.
Do take a look at the super-cool new search engine Accoona that uses AI to super-target your search. Says the website: The name Accoona is derived from the Swahili phrase, Hakuna Matata, which means “don’t worry be happy.” Do check out its news and business advance search.
Talking of search, here’s another one: Vast. A search engine that specialises in free classifieds listings. Vast is the brainchild of Indian StartupBoy Naval Ravikant. If he can organise the classifieds jungle with a semblance of order, he may be sitting on a jackpot.
Nestle is doing an ultra-cool online viral campaign to launch its Butterfinger chocolate. Do check out for a commercial set in a Bangalore call centre. Desi is clearly cool in America.
On which point, lemme introduce Desi videos on a roll! Sanjay Shah, way to go, mate. Take care…

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Happy Holi

I am not really a Holi person now but I remember how we used to have fun in childhood. Over years, it has become extremely boisterous and vulgar and that’s the reason (perhaps!) why I don’t enjoy it anymore. Anyway, here’s wishing you a riot of colours for today and for years to come.
Finally finished River of Gods. The book is pretty grand in terms of its scale, but somehow I found it taxing and not easy flowing. Too much mumbo-jumbo about a futuristic plot set in India 2047. Wrote a poem (she is so beautiful) today and posted it on the Caferati forum. Check it out.
Also, do take a look at MyToday, a new Web 2.0 offering by Rajesh Jain. Methinks it’s truly phenomenal in its offering and could emerge as a one-stop shop for all my news and blogs related needs. In its scope and canvas, I find it richer than Rajesh’s earlier India World offering which made him a killing.
Another great new launch is the venerable Guardian’s blog, Commentisfree. When it’s from The Guardian stable, it’s gotta be good. It’s my absolute favourite newspaper in the world while is my number 1 newspaper website.
On the personal front, Soven is in Class VIII now (she did well in Class VII) and the demolition work regarding our new home has begun. We hope to start building soon. Shall keep you posted. Do take good care of yourselves.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Idea of India

Nothing much to write about the past week. Lotsa work, very little play. Except yesterday when we went to my friend Simran’s annual garden party at her regal Aurangzeb Road home. It’s the most beautiful garden, really, and it was nice to catch up with friends from the media. Simran was complaining that the next house is of LNM and that his caretaker plays loud music. Well, that’s some problem to have on hand. Bush was here and I enjoyed his inspiring speech from the Old Fort. He made a good job of selling India to Indians. We have a long way to go but I think the scent of India as a place is changing. I can see hope floating in the air and it seems India is an idea whose time has finally come. We really need to consolidate our gains from here. Infrastructure is a huge issue and that needs to be addressed on a war footing. Sadly, unlike China, the urgency is missing, and our bureaucrats and politicians are adept at playing games. Maybe soon we shall marginalise them and get on with life. Take care…