Friday, June 01, 2012

Proust, Sarson, Smells & Memory

During a conversation with colleagues, I was talking about how the beautiful, pungent smell of sarson tel involuntarily triggers childhood memories.

Just a whiff sends me back to my train journeys in second-class compartments where snack-sellers would walk by in the aisles, peddling their wares in newspaper cones. One of the snacks was jhalmoori, the East Indian equivalent of the ubiquitous bhelpuri.

Jhalmoori, unlike bhelpuri, tends not to contain the delicious red and green chutneys. It's purpose is to have jhal — spice. It is soaked in mustard oil whose sharp smell drowns out the assorted smells of the chanachur, chilly, diced potato, peanuts, onion, and sometimes coconut.

The taste of the oil and raw onions sting the tongue, but not enough to stop you from going for another palmful of the assortment.

My colleague Princy James then pointed me to these words by Marcel Proust in Remembrance of Things Past:

When from the distant past nothing remains, after the beings have died, after the things are destroyed and scattered, still, alone, more fragile, yet more vital, more insubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, ready to remind us, waiting and hoping for their moment, amid the ruins of everything else; and bear unfaltering, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the immense architecture of memory.

Yet again I had recalled the taste of a bit of madeleine dunked in a linden-flower tea which my aunt used to give me (although I did not yet know and must long await the discovery of why this memory made me so happy), immediately the old gray house on the street where her room was found, arose like a theatrical tableau…

Do you experience these involuntary memory triggers too?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Is it just me or...

# ... do bankers really have the limpest handshakes?

# ... is shopping for groceries the most relaxing, therapeutic activity of the week for other people too?

# ... is the world suddenly full of babies? They're everywhere - on my Facebook timeline, in the malls, at restaurants, smiling out of billboards, smiling out of the windows of the cars passing me by. They're everywhere I look. It's like the whole world around me suddenly developed baby fever.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Minimalist Bollywood Posters - 2

Also see: Part 1

Andaz Apna Apna, 1994 [Explanation]

I thought there was a case for further simplification here, so...

Chhoti Si Baat, 1975 [Explanation]

Don 2, 2011.

(I had the misfortune of seeing this film earlier this month and it is my considered opinion that it may be impossible for Farhan Akhtar to make a worse film than this.)

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Minimalist Bollywood Posters

Abhinav Bhatt has kicked off a minimalist Hindi movie posters Tumblr. Contributions are welcome.

My attempts:

(I hope the 'gyaarah mulko ki police' peg is clear enough)

(Clearly my Photoshopping leaves much to be desired).

Two more for the day:

Monday, November 21, 2011


Wife: How was the paneer curry?

Me: It was very good.

Wife: How good?

Me: Very good.

Wife: Better than my other paneer dishes?

The voice in my head: Don't answer that. Don't answer that.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The P Word

Some years back, I created this quiz on the Flixster app on Facebook.

Today, I noticed this on Tendulkar's Opus site.

Just saying.

Earlier: The Times of India

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Chennai Tied Test

Except Maninder's famous dismissal, I had never seen any footage of the Chennai tied Test. But random Youtubing reveals tonnes of delights, especially for cricket fans who would never otherwise be able to see rare videos like these.

Here are a bunch of men — some of the toughest individuals known to cricket — and they talk for this film like excited school boys who know they've done something special.

Don't miss:

1) Border's arguments with umpire Dotiwala who threatened to send him off the field, and Border checking with Boon, "Can he do that?" Boon's reaction: "Buggered if I know!"

2) Chetan Sharma and Tim Zoehrer's animated argument. Chetan told him where he will put his bat if Zoehrer didn't stop chirping, and Zoehrer actually bent over. I've never seen anything like this.

3) Dean Jones talking about how the Appollo Hospital staff abandoned a badly injured patient with broken legs to treat his dehydration.

4) Umpire Vikram Raju's explanations for giving Maninder LBW when everybody else saw the inside edge. And the part where Ravi Shastri confronted him.

5) Shastri feeding off the crowd's energy as India got closer to 348. And why he stayed away from Kapil as he walked out to bat. Brilliant.

6) Greg Matthews, who wore two jumpers in the Chennai heat, doing things to get on the crowd's nerve.

Watch the videos here:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

The Awesomeness of User Generated Content

If there was a list of seven wonders of the web, I would want this Youtube video on it.

Notice the number of likes and dislikes for the video.

Friday, October 14, 2011

No Genies Inside

So we were at this pseudo-antique shop on Commercial Street, going through grandfather clocks, oil lamps, brass compasses, rotary telephones and suchlike. The shop owner told me they had been manufactured recently but they all looked ancient.

I came across a basket of bronze lamps. When everyone was looking away, I tried to rub one to see what happens.

Clearly, I've seen one fantasy film too many.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Gandhi's Facebook Talisman


Guilty Confession

Whenever I see someone say something extraordinarily smart on my timeline, I Google the phrase to see where it has been plagiarised from.

Monday, October 03, 2011

From Veteran of the Psychic Wars by Blue Oyster Cult:

You ask me why I'm weary, why I can't speak to you
You blame me for my silence
Say it's time I changed and grew
But the war's still going on dear
And there's no end that I know
And I can't say if we're ever...
I can't say if we're ever gonna to be free

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

CID in Telugu

There's only one thing more awesome than CID — that's CID dubbed in Telugu.

(Video for non-commercial, illustrative purposes only).

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Where you feel like singing I Believe I Can Fly each rare occasion you touch 40 KMPH.

Thursday, September 15, 2011