Archive for May, 2005

saw someone getting happy at last…

May 26, 2005

went and attended another play at Ranga Shankara, a very tentative effort after the last fiasco…this one wasn’t much better…I must say the general audience seems much more easily amused than I seem to be….I certainly find a great tendency to laugh at anything and everything, the more puerile the better….do people really want just mindless entertainment at the end of a long evening and a hard working day? and does “value-based” theatre have to be serious and earnest and no fun at all? Reminds me of Ayn Rand’s premise in “Night of January 16″….that entertainment and seriousness need not be divorced from each other..the only time I have ever agreed with Ayn Rand…I HATED “The Fountainhead”!

met cappucino_jo who seems to be finding happiness again…

at the play, but could not meet the new person in her life…she has promised to come home…she seems to have an interesting choice ahead of her….hope things pan out.

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another drive on my favourite road

May 24, 2005

Last week, took the Old Madras Road yet again….this road is evolving, and yet, at most places, retains its old-world charm, and manages at the same time to be one of the better-maintained highways I have travelled. This time, the heat was intense, but the upside was that, in the Kolar-Wallajah stretch, both sides of the road were ablaze with Gulmohar blooms in all shades of flaming red to pale orange….the Tamil Nadu stretches have beeen widened, and though they lack the beauty and picturesqueness of the old-style road, one can really zip on the new multilanes. Leave Chennai or Bangalore on a Sunday morning, at around 7 am, and one will be in the other city by abou 1pm….it would be shorter except for the bottlenecks after one hits the city.

The desolate part of the Chittoor Palamner road also has its own beauty…it was surprisingly green this time, given that we were travelling in high summer.

One of my favourite roads….long may it last, and long may we be able to afford driving!

My child’s friends

May 17, 2005

Just read my child’s LJ, where she bemoans the lack of social content in her life at present, as she juggles with a demanding job and two moonlights…and says that her friends seem to have emptied themselves out of the US…and I realize that some of them are right here near me! In fact, I want to raise a toast to the wonderful friends she has always had…I have always been full of admiration for them. Sensible, unassuming, helpful, responsible youngsters who grew up into the kind of adults the world is proud of..and certainly I am proud of!They are very articulate, very humorous, and deal with life with grit, making career and life choices and standing by them in truly adult fashion….and each set of parents I have met through them has been a great experience, too. I have met architects, lawyers, scientists, business people….and have liked all of them.

A salute to the Gangue, and the very special role they have played, and continue to play, in my life…and to the friends whom I might not have met in America, whom I am getting to know better here!

paying for very amateurish theatre…

May 14, 2005

went a couple of days ago to my favourite theatre which is close to home…made a friend drive an hour, battling heavy traffic, to get there…4 of us then sat and watched an incredibly foul performance, by a group that would have been outdone by any amateur school playgroup! It was so bad we laughed all the way through….what should have been an intense, tragic play.

Karna was born to the mother of the Pandavas; as she was unmarried at the time and had invoked a prayer to the Sun out of curiosity, she floated the baby out in the river and he was brought up by a charioteer and his wife, and grew up believing that he was of lowly birth. Later, his mother married and had five princes as sons, who, as sons of Pandu, were called the Pandavas.

Karna went to learn archery from Parashu Rama, who taught him in the belief that he would help him eradicate his enemies, the Kshatriyas. Once, to enable his teacher to sleep, Karna put the teacher’s head on his lap, and even though bitten by a snake, bore the pain stoically. When the teacher woke up to the drip of blood, he realized that only a Kshatriya (warrior race) could bear pain like that, and angered at what he thought was Karna’s deception, cursed him that in the hour of his need, all his knowledge of arms and their use would desert him.

Karna learnt the secret of his birth only later, when Kunti visited him on the eve of the great Mahabharatha battle, when he realized that he was arrayed against his own brothers.

Alas for Karna on stage! When he was proving his valour as an archer, and bringing down from the tree all the leaves as against Arujna’s hundred…the arrow on stage, instead of going gracefully offstage as it should have, went and hit Duryodhana fair and square…who had to pretend it wasn’t there. Bhishma had a dhoti split wide open at the you-know-where and we couldn’t even look in that direction….the irony was Dhritharashtra, the blind king, having a dhoti that was…see-through! Karna and Duryodhana yelled in English, Shakuni (who is Gandhar Naresh, or king of Khandahar in Afghanistan) shouted in some horrible half-literary, half-slang Tamizh, Shukracharya yowled in Hindi. and when Dhritarashtra suddenly started screaming in Kannada, we just couldn’t stop our laughter…

We all determined to come out during the interval and never go back…and that was the best of all , the play which the brochure said would last 150 minutes, ended in 90…giving us blessed release!

Oh well, the last play we attended was excellent….Khatijabhai of Karmali Terrace, based on Emily of Emerald Hill…you win some, you lose some, I guess!

the moral tone of our tv and movies

May 5, 2005

Why are we such mealy-mouthed hypocrites? Heroes are sooo mother- and father- and family- loving and marriage is soooo touted and all other relationships between a man and woman are frowned upon with shock and scandal and of course man-man or woman-woman relationships are NEVER dealt with…when Deepa Mehta’s picture came out, there were people trying to set fire to the movie theatre in typical style…when are Indians going to grow out of Victorian hypocrisy and prudery and GROW UP???

hospitals

May 2, 2005

Another LJ-er, some time, described the horror story of his friend’s hospitalization in the US…..last week, a friend was diagnosed as having a block in a major artery….the hospital where he had been admitted for his angiogram did not offer him any options, tried to force open-heart surgery on him when angioplasty, a minimally invasive procedure, would have worked just as well. It was only because I have gone through this scenario myself, for my spouse, that I was able to get him to take a second opinion. The doctor who is noted for angioplasty is at another hospital..which said they would not honour his insurance. We spent an entire day running around trying to find solutions before the matter was simply resolved…by the surgeon telling the administration to accept the insurance policy. Why a doctor should have to interevene in hospital administration is beyond me; why a hospital administration should behave like a government office, is, of course, understandable…..the minute one gets the power of veto over another, there seems to be great pleasure in exercising it. The mindset is never, “Let us see how this can be done”…it is always, “This can’t be done…now you can run around all you want.”….when all the time, the right lever or pressure will ensure that it gets done.

When will we get out of this “babu” mindset?

Well, anyway, the angioplasty is later today. We hope everything goes well.