Friday, May 27, 2005

That's their mission. That's what they DO!

The Secret Service guys in the US must be overworked, poor chaps (and chapettes, one assumes). That, or they dont have quite enough serious threats against President George W Bush. I mean, to the SS, the assassination threats posed by dedicated Bush-haters, like Al Qaeda members, rank right alongside a high school student's yearbook dedication! Am I missing something here or have the SS men kinda lost their perspective?

Note, it wasnt the student concerned who even mentioned the assassination of Mr Bush - it was what the other kids had written about him their high school yearbook under his photo. The actual phrase was "most likely to assassinate President Bush".

Brrrr. Terrifying.

Anyway, the high school yearbooks were recalled, and the dangerous comment blacked out

Monday, May 23, 2005

Absolutely AMAZING!

I got these photos in an email from my friend, and amazing doesnt BEGIN to describe them! They're drawings done on the sidewalk - a FLAT sidewalk, and therefore the drawings are flat, too. Or so you'd think. But these are incredible 3-dimensional drawings and I'm more than half-convinced that they're really computer-generated. Take a look at these... and then tell me you dont feel the same way?

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Monday, May 16, 2005

Got it at last!

Sholay, the DVD, is what I've got.

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I guess it'll have been out on DVD in India well before now, but I didnt bother checking while I was there. The reason being that a DVD bought in India would probably not play on a DVD player bought in the UK. The world is divided into regions and DVDs from one region will not play in another - at least not for long, if the rumours are right.

This is to avoid piracy, apparently... but in practice, all it means is that good American movies and comedy shows that are available in the USA are not available in the UK, and vice versa. I'd SO love to have DVDs or even videos of Steve Martin's stand-up comedy, or Jim Carrey, or Robin Williams, but there's no way to get those here. And equally, there's no point sending across DVDs or videos of Yes Minister & Yes Prime Minister, or other BBC classics, to my sister in the USA. As far as I know, that is. If anybody has information to the contrary, puh-leeeese let me know!

Anyway, sourcing and finally getting my Sholay DVD was a loooooong process, mainly involving a lot of waiting on my part. And before the waiting, there was the googling, through which I came across a UK site that sold Indian movies - some old, some new. Mostly new. Not very useful when what I wanted to collect was classics - Padosan, Kagaz ke Phool, Baiju Bawra, Abhimaan... really old movies like those. And, of course, Sholay. What a movie, what a movie, what a MOVIE! And I actually have it in my possession at last. My collection of classic Hindi movies beginneth here. HooRAY!

And talking about Sholay, I'm so used to the movie name in English that the name seen in Hindi seems inadequate and too short, somehow... not expressive enough of the sheer bigness, the breadth, the SCOPE of the movie. It's just a silly notion that I cant seem to get rid of, for whatever reason. Still, I wonder if that can be construed as language chauvinism...

Friday, May 13, 2005

Talking about India...

There were about 25 kids, about 5 or 6 years old. They were learning about India - specifically, that week, about Chennai - and since I'm a genuine Indian import, their teacher asked me if I would give a small talk about Indian clothes, food, society, etc. Also had to answer questions like "Have you seen a snake-charmer?" "Have you been on an elephant?" "Did you live in a hut?" "Did you swim in the Ganges?" "Do you have a rickshaw?" "Are there roads in India?" and, not the least: "Did you see Barney Bear in India?" The kids were quite disappointed that I'd missed Barney Bear, so I didnt have the heart to tell them that I'd never even heard of Barney Bear. Their teacher later told me that the kids had seen an educational video about India where a man (wearing a bear suit) visited different places in India. To them, Barney Bear was as real as India itself! :-) The actor must have been a brave man indeed, to wear a full furry bear suit, complete with head, in the Indian heat!

This little girl is modelling a ghaghra-choli. It's MILES too big for her because she's only 6, and skinny for her age; and the dress belongs to Pete's daughter Rebecca, who's 10 and big for her age! Still, the girls loved the dress, and the little boys were seriously disappointed that Indian boys and men dont get to wear interesting, colourful outfits :-)

One of the teachers, on whom I demonstrated how to tie a saree. This was difficult enough because I've never tied a saree for anybody before. And made doubly difficult because the lady was wearing elastic-waisted trousers. She loved the look and feel of my saree, though... and was most reluctant to take it off. Not that she had to try, because it was unravelling by itself anyway. Elastic isnt the best base for tying a saree! Heheh.

Some of the little girls in the class. I cant remember what we were all looking at. But does anybody else feel that the teacher is thinking about how to get the saree back from me? :-)

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

This one's for you, Rums

A rapeseed field, golden yellow in the sun. It looks gorgeous and smells disgusting - the nearest I can describe is the stale aftermath of a giant sneeze. Maybe rapeseed flowers are God's sneeze made tangible. PonderYuk...

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - and me!

I cant wait for Christmas-time to come around! Not because I've suddenly discovered the festive spirit - I havent and I'm not likely to. It's just that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is due for release in December this year. It's the first of the seven books by C S Lewis that makes up The Chronicles of Narnia, and the whole series has always been one of my favourite reads. Still is, actually.

I came across C S Lewis by accident, at my uncle's house. They had a wonderful collection of all kinds of books, stored in several enormous cupboards which were also collection points for all kinds of junk starting with stuffed toys and going on to various sizes of tricycles to training-wheel bicycles and roller skates - and not forgetting the extra bedding that was also shoved in there, out of sight.

It was my special joy to burrow into those cupboards and unearth books from them. There was everything from encyclopedias to old old copies of Readers Digest, Enid Blytons, assorted fiction and non-fiction and any number of magazines. If the light in the cupboard was bright enough, it was an even more special joy to make a nest of some blankets and pillows and read right there. If I could have locked the door from the inside, I probably would have just so I could be left in peace (and probably suffocated eventually)... luckily for me, that option wasnt available. (Come to think of it, there cant be many store cupboards that have locks on the inside. Whatever for - right?)

The Silver Chair was one of the gems that I discovered on one of those digging expeditions - and Puddleglum, the morose, eternally pessimistic yet brave and faithful marsh-wiggle was the character I fell in love with. I must have read the book a dozen times before I thought to go in search of the rest. And boy, were they ever worth the read! Probably the slowest of them was The Voyage of the Dawn-Treader, but I'm not complaining really.

I had another pleasant surprise when I read The Magician's Nephew. Years ago, I'd been given a big Hamlyn story book that had excerpts from various children's books - tantalising glimpses that have stayed in my mind even though the book hasnt been in my possession for years (and how it disappeared is what I consider a personal tragedy, but that's another story).

Anyway, the most interesting chapter from The Magician's Nephew had been in that book... and I cant begin to describe the jolt of happy surprise that went through me when I recognised the excerpt while reading the book. Knowing that I had put one of those tantalising excerpts to rest, as it were, added an extra dimension to my enjoyment of the book!

And now the books are going to be made into movies... I'm looking forward to them rather a lot. I have high hopes for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as a movie, because the director (I think) is the guy who made the Shrek movies - and I absolutely loved those. I just hope that the storyline does not differ too much from the book... after all, there's nobody who can insist, as J K Rowling did for the Harry Potter movies, that the plot CANNOT deviate from the print version. Fingers crossed, for C S Lewis' sake!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

And now a pink one

Twin sister to the yellow rose

Monday, May 09, 2005

Yellow rose

Another miniature embroidery, ready to hang up in its little frame. I like these no-fuss frames!

More pics here

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Ready to exhibit

Just a simple little piece of embroidery - it's ready to be hung up in its round frame!