going anon and on

“First, stomach.”

Notes from a talk by Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik, about food and the philosophy it contained in ancient Hindu India at Tata Lit Live:

Food is divine.

What is ancient India? When does it begin? One thing could be, before we ate potatoes because potatoes came with the Portuguese. … Tomato, chilli, so imagine India without samosa. The samosa came with the Turkish people. Samosa was actually packed with meat. But the Indians said we want something Indian inside it. Called a potato.

Everything that comes into India, it’s invented in India. … It reveals a very fragile self esteem.

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Hello world

It’s been so long since I clicked on the button to add a new post that I feel like I should just write “Hello world!”, like the default first post that WordPress puts up for a new blog. On the plus side, here I am, only eight months after the last post. They’ve been eventful months and at some point in the future, when I need to remember that show I saw in June 2014 or September 2015, I will curse myself into a tiny pile of ashes for not having blogged. Because obviously, I will not remember anything other than the fact that there was something memorable. Logamnesia, ahoy!

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Mr. Turner

Early on in Mr. Turner, the painter’s father goes to buy paints for his son. There, he enquires after the cost of the ultramarine. The shop owner says that he has the best price and the best pigment. The ultramarine comes from far away Afghanistan, says the shop owner. The senior Mr. Turner buys some and also asks for some Indian red and some chrome yellow.

And with that little, insignificant detail, the colonies imprint themselves upon the work of an artist who is considered an epitome of British art. Ultramarine came from Afghanistan because it was obtained from lapis lazuli. Indian red was called that because it was made of natural iron oxide from deposits near Madras. These colours show up in so many of JMW Turner’s paintings. As I was watching the film and its glorious shots of the English countryside — many of which were supposed to remind the viewer of specific paintings — I kept thinking about the pigments from the colonies that would render that British-ness on canvas.

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Enter Tragica

A new year is upon us, yet again, but if you think that this is just another arbitrary event in the lunar cycle, rid yourself of such cynicism. As anyone who has been following the news knows, ever since India’s landmark general elections last year, the Big Brother of South Asia has voted for change and progress. At the start of 2015, we no doubt stand on the brink of sweeping transformations that will sweep away all traces of the Third World country that India once was. We will enter a glorious era of VPNs, vegetarianism and voracious development. So lest we forget where we came from, here is a humble request: let us build a monument that will remind generations of all that makes up India today. Let us build TRAGICA, a Third World-themed, Indian amusement park.

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Ravi Varma Remixed

I made most of these years ago — before I knew of “memes” and what not — and someone reminded me of them recently. Ravi Varma, popularly known as Raja Ravi Varma, is the grandaddy of Indian kitsch and calendar art. His paintings were once extremely popular in India but as you might be able to tell from what’s below, his art is not what you’d describe as timeless.

It took me forever to find these and I was pretty sure that they wouldn’t be half as funny as I remembered them to be, but they’re actually not bad. I’m glad my taste in fonts has improved though.

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Best. Interview. Ever.

Willow and Jaden Smith are my new favourite people. At first, Willow seems to winning the contest, but I think Jaden catches up with his explanation of what is a heartbeat in a foetus. Einstein, Newton and obstetricians, read the quotes below and eat your heart out.

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Women at Windows, New York City



“There were models, socialites, my wife (second floor, far right), the supervisor’s wife (third floor, third from left), all wearing their best dresses. I moved them around to spread out the colours and told them to pose as if they were giving someone a kiss. As I was photographing, I noticed some of them were on the windowsills. As these were made of cement and sometimes break off, I shouted at them through a bullhorn to stay within the frames.” ~ Ormond Gigli

Vertical Dancing

Apparently there is such a thing as “vertical dancing”. As far as I knew, pretty much all dancing is done vertically and I was all set to put vertical dance just below “short form journalism” in my list of Best Pointless Terms*. But it turns out vertical dancing is an actual thing and vertical refers to the surfaces on which the dancers perform. It may sound silly, but the effect is absolutely dreamy.

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Someone yesterday told me about this app called Lulu which lets you “rate” ex-lovers and here’s the first thing that came to my mind:

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 10.11.31 am

The panel is taken from this Buzzfeed list.

Rest In Peace

The only thing ‘wrong’ with him was that his six pack wasn’t precisely aligned. When he took off his shirt, it looked like someone had sliced his stomach neatly down the middle vertically and then joined it carelessly so that the cut of muscle on the right was just a little above the left. Is that reason for someone to take their life? Or maybe it was the heartbreak. Except being dumped seems about as coherent a reason for someone to kill themselves as un-aligned abs.

She had her teeth “done” so that her smile didn’t look “out of whack”. Sometimes, her gums bled and she would be mortified by blood staining her teeth. She hated that she couldn’t feel when the red leaked out of her gums and stained her teeth. So with some of her friends, she’d invented a discreet little gesture that we were expected to do if we noticed her smile was taking on a vampirish edge.

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