Tuesday, September 25, 2007

And when I puke I see stars

One of the patients on rounds last week was a chubby four year old girl with leukemia. She'd been vomiting for a couple of days and had looked exhausted on admission, too tired to speak beyond monosyllables. We admitted her and took care of her dehydration and so remarkable was her recovery that the next morning, when the team went in to see her, we were astounded to find her sitting up in bed with a book, eating potato chips.

The attending, a wonderful woman with a talent for laughter and a gift for prying out hidden histories, stood by her side and shook her head in amazement.

"How are you feeling now?" she asked the girl.

"Good," the child said, biting nonchantly into a chip.

"You look good!" the doctor remarked. "So why are you in the hospital?"

"Uhm, because I was puking," the child told her. "And when I puked I saw stars."

The whole room burst out laughing.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Blue Umbrella

Vishal Bharadwaj's The Blue Umbrella is a quietly enchanting film about a young girl who lives in a small mountain village. One day she acquires a blue umbrella from some visiting Japanese tourists that the town instantly starts to covet. Everyone, from the village schoolmaster's wife to the shoeshine boy, has their eyes on the umbrella and chief among these is the town's shrewish shopkeeper, Nandkishore. There is a delectable scene where Nandkishore is trying to entice the girl to give up the umbrella by offering what he thinks is an irresistible bargain:

"Chay mahinay tak roz do toffee do biscuit, haftay main aek alu ka paratha gajar ke achaar ke saath, deepavali pe do phooljari, holi pe aek pichkari. Itnay saare baeir aur itnay saare shehtoot aur saath main dus kachchi ambian. Theek hai?"

She of course refuses and the umbrella subsequently goes missing, unfolding a sequence of events that charmingly illustrate the fickle nature of possession and how it changes human relationships. The film contains some mild exoticisation of rural life and some slapdash humor that would work fine with another film-maker but looks trivial when used by Mr. Bharadwaj. These minor glitches aside, the movie is definitely worth a watch, and seen on a big screen can provide an immersive experience with its rich cinematography and beautiful soundtrack. I don't think I've enjoyed an Indian movie so much since Vinay Pathak's performance in Bheja Fry.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Autumn Song

The firelight glows,
The embers sigh,
We dream and
The cat and I.
The kitten purrs,
The kettle sings,
The heart remembers
Little things.

- Margurite Kingman

Sunday, September 09, 2007


karrvakarela --



'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at QuizGalaxy.com

How apt.

Nerd oxygen

As much as I love my new job, there are days when it leaves me dismayed. Like this morning for example, when I had planned to spend the day relaxing with a book. I love reading and for the past few years books have been a lifeline of sorts for me, nerd oxygen that kept me connected with an intellectual life when not much else was. So naturally I gravitate towards them now when I want to unwind or feel brainy or just have a few moments to myself. Except that this morning, after I got up and had breakfast and examined the clock to make sure that whole day was still there to be plundered with a good read, I found my old habits had deserted me. The book sat in my hands, I was reading, scanning rows of letters and words for sentences that carved out into images and ideas, the whole sequence forming a thin film in my mind and I felt so disengaged from the whole process. There was no impact to what was going on, no sense of connection to the story or the characters. This isn't the first time this has happened. A number of times in the past few weeks I've picked up a book and found myself dissociated from its essence. Whether that's because of work pressures or tiredness or just an inability to concentrate after habituating to frenzied work-pace, I don't know. But it means I've lost my oxygen and now I feel choked. And, in the world of blogging and other imaginary traumas, that's not a nice feeling at all.

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