A Few Author Stories

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05bgnnvarnab_GS_05_2140532e1. Person at book event: “Your autograph please? This is for my husband, I would of course never read the stuff you write.”

2. Random person in store comes over to where I am sitting (just before book-event): “Give me three free copies”

3. Random person at Bangalore Lit Fest: “Are you a famous author?”

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Few Thoughts on Haider

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Haider-movie-2nd-day-collection

I, like many others of my generation, grew up on an oily diet of Kashmir masala films.

Roja. Which, besides introducing this guy called A R Rahman, gave hope to boys like me that you could have a physique like ArvindSwamy but still get to curl your fingers around the shapely waist of a Madhu, if you play the marriage cards right or if the script-writer writes that in the script for you.

Pukaar. Where sinister plots from across the border are spoiled by Anil Kapoor’s verdant chest hair.

Mission Kashmir. A convicted Bombay Blast accused played a patriotic cop and where the man who single-handedly wiped out polio played a terrorist.

Countless other action films, their names a-blur, typically starring Sunny Deol, in which all laws of physics and common sense could be violated as long as Pakistani ass was being mausichi-ed.

The rhetoric was simple. Pakistan was evil, India was good, Kashmiris were misguided and all would be well in the end if the pesky Pakistanis and their agents were demolished.

When I came out of the theater after seeing Haider, I was happy I had seen a film that had flipped the formula. I was happy that finally the censors were letting audiences decide what was wrong and what was right and that there were no bans or stay-orders or any of the other silliness that has so stifled the free expression of ideas in India,  a fact that was doubly surprising given that our wise mediwallahs had been prophesying a dystopian Hitlerian Bharat of suppress-oppress-depress ever since that man took over.

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Bad Culture

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[originally published in Du-kool]

There was a time many years ago – I think I was in class 6 or was it 7 – that my mother thought that it would be a good idea to make her son into an outdoor type of person. So I was sent off to a one week nature-study-camp in the forests of Orissa. There I learned how to tie knots, identify constellations in the sky, and the proper steps that must be taken when your torch falls into the communal toilet at two on a moonless night. This camp, which as you can see I enjoyed a lot, used to have a daily event, the campfire where camp attendees were encouraged to perform. You could recite poems, do skits, tell a story, or you could sing.

One rule however.

No Hindi film songs.

Actually no Bengali film songs either, except songs from Satyajit Ray films, which were of course okay, because, Satyajit Ray.

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Leaked Table of Contents

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Leaked table of content of  book “2014 The Election That Changed India”

Forward by Ms. Ghose: How the Internet Hindus Became The Nazi Stormtroopers of Modi And Some Other Ruminations On My General Awesomeness.

1. Morning Maalish: The Relationship Between The Media And Congress Before Modi

2. Where I Put Tough Questions To Modi

3. Blow To Modi

4. Yet Another Blow To Modi 

5. Truffault’s 400 Blows To Modi

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Ice Bucket Challenge

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The first time I heard about the “Ice Bucket Challenge” was when a video of Satya Nadella, the Great Indian Whose Achievement We Have Appropriated, showed up on my Facebook News Feed. I first thought  seniors from college who had missed ragging him had finally managed to catch hold of Nadella or perhaps the people who had paid for Windows ME had. Anyways I soon found out that this so-called ice bucket challenge was the new viral sensation, the Macarena of 2014, though I am still not sure if dunking yourself with ice gets you out of a contribution to ALS (the Wikipedia entry seems to suggest so and so does Charlie Sheen’s video) or that you are supposed to do both. Anyways, it is a most worthy cause,  millions of dollars have been raised and everyone from Justin Bieber to Sonakshi Sinha have done it but not Modi and there, Arnab Goswami and Caravan magazine and Kafila, you have an idea for your latest outrage.

This post is though isn’t about the ice bucket challenge per se. It is about icy baths in Hindi films, the mechanics and the implications.

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Ten Years Of The Blog

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Time flies when you are having fun. Or when you are having pitched battles on comment threads.

On August 20, 2014, this blog turns ten

I never thought I would be saying this, when ten years ago, on a cold Detroit evening, all alone at my first job, away from the comforting shelter of graduate life, I had started typing into the dark. I had never thought there would lie in the future, book deals, writing opportunities in places I could never dream of writing for, and many many great friends. There is a life lesson here, something about taking that first step and not holding back, but I will save the details for a TEDx talk.

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