Sunday, August 20, 2006

Random shit

Yup, this is what you get when I run out of inspiration. And since I've been out of inspiration and/or time for the last month and a bit, and waiting for inspiration and time to strike together could be the perfect recipe for the death of this blog, here I am posting random shit. Let's see what random shit I can put together today.

The last three books I read

Rohinton Mistry - A Fine Balance - Beautifully written, blindingly depressing, thoroughly absorbing book. Literature from another era, almost. The characters are so vividly sketched that you'd feel fairly confident of what to order if they were coming over to your house for dinner, or what to get them for Christmas. The stories of the various characters are told very well, with the minimum amount of fuss, and their convergences and divergences are totally natural. Their happiness makes you happy and their tragedies can break your heart. Solid! (Warning, if you read Such a Long Journey and thought that was depressing.....this is ten times as depressing)

Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse Five - Excellent whacky anti-war novel. Not quite in the league of Catch-22, but close. Very entertaining, witty and sad at the same time. But Vonnegut's masterpiece is definitely Cat's Cradle, this one doesn't hold a candle to that!
Nick Hornby - A Long Way Down - My favourite writer (yes, my tastes are 'base'), Hornby has come up with another masterpiece. Like Mistry's characters you get to know Hornby's characters as intimately, but with far fewer words, and decidedly minimalistic brush-strokes. Also, these characters you'd like to call home for dinner, unlike Mistry's, who'd probably come and depress the shit out of you. This one's about four people who are contemplating suicide and meet up at a popular suicide spot on new year's eve. I know this sounds like a recipe for a cliche-ride, but in Hornby's assured hands, this story is steered well clear of all possible cliches and is the most refreshing take on contemporary urban life that I've read (but then I haven't read much, so!) .

The last three songs I got hooked on

The Kinks - Waterloo Sunset - Fabulous song. Ray Davies's songwriting genius on full display. The melody is plaintive and beautiful, the instrumentation is spare, and the lyrics are fantastic. Feast your eyes:

Dirty old river, must you keep rolling
Flowing into the night
People so busy, makes me feel dizzy
Taxi light shines so bright
But I dont need no friends
As long as I gaze on waterloo sunset
I am in paradise

Every day I look at the world from my window
But chilly, chilly is the evening time
Waterloo sunsets fine

Terry meets julie, waterloo station
Every friday night
But I am so lazy, dont want to wander
I stay at home at night
But I dont feel afraid
As long as I gaze on waterloo sunset
I am in paradise

Every day I look at the world from my window
But chilly, chilly is the evening time
Waterloo sunsets fine

Millions of people swarming like flies round waterloo underground
But terry and julie cross over the river
Where they feel safe and sound
And the dont need no friends
As long as they gaze on waterloo sunset
They are in paradise

Waterloo sunsets fine

Now go download the song!

INXS - Afterglow - INXS has that new chappie that they found through the reality show handling the vocals and while this song really isn't classic INXS, I love the Indian sounding rhythm section and the simple melody. Plus it's sung at a vocal range where even I can sing along through the entire song, happily.....and that's a rare pleasure!

Gillian Welch - My Morphine - M introduced me to Gillian Welch. Other people who I played this song to said she sounds a little like Suzanne Vega. A fantastic voice singing a slow, haunting melody laid out over a solo acoustic guitar....blissfully relaxing!

I wish I had something deep and philosophical to say......or maybe some highly exciting event in my life, but currently I am too busy with work to have time for philosophy or for any excitement. I did have a wonderful weekend in Kolkata where I stayed with an old friend from school, got blasted for not keeping in touch with her, and got to to explore a bit of this city that I love! I took some random photographs (with my Sony Ericsson K750i), which I am setting out below (none are very good!):

That's Park Street with a long exposure. As you can see, in Kolkata, nothing moves fast enough for there to be a significant blur!

That's Kusum Snack Bar off Park Street. People in Delhi/Gurgaon better hold on to your seats, because they are actually selling a chicken/mutton roll for SEVENTEEN BUCKS!!!

The following are random pictures of glitzy Gurgaon. We were discussing about how this part of Gurgaon looks like Singapore, and since Singapore stands for Simha Pur (Land of the Lion), Gurgaon should be called Gadhapore (Land of the Donkey).

That's the end of this random post!!


orange egg said...

Studmacha, welcome back!

did you finally get to listen to vega? is she not a goddess?

btw.. after reading 'a final balance' i was in danger of becoming clinically depressed. summary of the book.. "why live, might as well kill yourself right now before life kills the living out of you".

Sunscreen said...

I totally (TOTALLY) agree with Orange egg's view on 'A Fine Balance'. Its THE most depressing book I have ever read...It forces tragedy down the readers throat and I really hate that.

Starry Night said...

I think most of his books are depressing, don't you think? Except for Tales from Firosha Baag. But, I want to listen to Gilian Welch now.

Smith said...

@orange egg - vega not yet, yes....i can see how depressing it was considering you've renamed it the 'final' balance!

@sunscreen - hmm....ya....but he does it beautifully

@starry night - i haven't read 'tales...' but i think i'll give it a few months before i pick up another mistry...can't take a chance with his potential for depression....but now i've got another depresser, John maybe i am a sucker for punishment..

orange egg said...

if you really want to kiss yourself with depression.. go the whole hog and read 'hiroshima jim'.

orange egg said...

dammit .. i'm becoming more and more dyslexic, first 'final balance', then 'kiss yourself with depression'.

i give up!

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