Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Constant Gardener

When I was around six or seven, I was dad's garden helper. This meant trailing after him on those early mornings as he chose roses to snip, and put them in a bucket of water. I am not quite clear on my precise role, since I didn't actually snip the roses, or put them in the bucket, and I certainly didn't carry the bucket. However, since we had a large rose garden and a number of roses had to be chosen according to the color mom had requested for the day, it entailed a good deal of time. And to me, at age six, it was an honorable, serious, and dashed important task.
Happy birthday, Dad. I didn't inherit your green thumb, but roses always make me feel like a happy six-year-old again.
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ana Carolina e Seu Jorge

First I found the jaw-dropping Ana Carolina singing solo, and now this! They are singing about the simple life. The song title, I learned, means something like “And that’s it.”
This Seu Jorge is the kind of musician that makes me grit my teeth even harder when I listen to the ‘pop’ that they play on the radio here. And I realize that made me sound Old. And you know what? I Am Glad. Because, if said old age has truly arrived, then it also brings the onset of truly Good Taste. Ha. E isso ai.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wrightey goes to the Emerald Isle

Gammaduwa in Sri LankaImage by ImageBang! via Flickr
Ian Wright has a new show - Out of Bounds. After his tour of America in ‘The Wright Way’ this show sees him venturing him into destinations that might be considered out of bounds for the conventional traveller, whether by reasons of politics, natural disaster, war, or other reasons.
So far, I have seen him going to Cuba- the country has always intrigued me so it was a pleasure to see Wrightey going around not only in crumbling, strangely exotic, music-filled Havana, but also to other lesser-known parts of the country. In one notable segment he visits the famed Camaguay ballet company, and, of course, does a twirl or two in leotards.
Last night he was in Sri Lanka. And he loved it! He did everything from toddy-tapping to cricket, from a spot of billiards in an elegant club to fooling around on a beachside Hindi movie set; a vacant-looking Nisha Kothari didn’t look too impressed with his assistance, though.
Overall the show is a fine showcase of Wrightey’s trademark willingness to just jump in there and do it all. I did find the show a tad strangely edited, though. And the lack of maps made me wish that they did have one- maybe we are just used to the Globetrekker format. My mind is leaping to his other possible destinations- I know he did Caracas, supposedly one of the most dangerous, crime-ridden cities, but what’s next? Lhasa? Now that would be something. Though I would also be happy with Thimphu or Astana.
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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Howlin' Wolf - Shake It For Me

Real music, real music, real music. Enough said. Pop-fatigue is upon me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


If you are coming from this tournament...Image by mirsasha via Flickr
And Rafa did it! I just finished watching the US Open final, where Rafa had to beat down a spirited Novak Djokovic. To give him due credit, the sweet Serb did wage an inspiring battle against the fearsome Nadal, making him work pretty hard.
Strangely, I couldn't muster up enough interest in this tournament this year- in fact the high point was reading about Rafa's new shorter haircut. Hmm. Now of course I think I should have followed the matches more closely. Still, watching the final was good fun. Both played a strategic match rather than just the thunking, beastly bore-fests that I dread with the big servers. Now to look for the press conference. Rafa's eyebrow-raising and faltering English is almost as good as watching him play.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Readings: Sea of Poppies

Amitav Ghosh is back in fine form with Sea of Poppies, the first of a trilogy. The novel tells the story of a majestic, beautiful ship named the Ibis, which has been commissioned by the British to carry slaves to the plantations of Mauritius from India. Despite a clunky first line, the book didn't disappoint mainly because of Ghosh's usual impeccable research and interesting stories. I say stories because each character's path that leads him or her to become a passenger on board the Ibis could have been a worthy stand-alone story; Ghosh's sure and deft hand pulls them together to make up an ensemble cast while keeping the ship at the center of the action.

The novel is neatly divided into three parts: Land, River, and Sea; a clever touch, I thought. The cast of characters is diverse, from the dramatically widowed Deeti, the untouchable Kalua, and the disgraced Raja Neel Rattan. The panoramic sketch of 19th-century British India is unfailing in its portrayal of the all-powerful distinctions of class, caste, gender and race. Also stunning is the depth of research Ghosh has put in to powerfully bring alive the ship's own universe- its unique language, the colorful crew and the phsyical beauty and grace of the Ibis itself.

I must confess that the nautical lingo and terms were difficult to read. Also, I wonder, how will foreign readers make sense of the liberal use of Hindi terms? (Evidently, they did just fine, if the Booker Prize nomination is anything to go by.) The parts I found most interesting were the social lives of the privileged, be it the Raja or the gala parties at the Burnham residence. However, it is bound to leave you feeling (if you are Indian, that is) with a sound gratefulness that we made the Brits leave- I am much happier to enjoy Jeeves and Wooster after the sun set on their blessed empire.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Concha Buika - La falsa moneda

Discovered Buika a couple of years ago and have been entranced ever since. Her voice! I want to BE her. Sade: You have competition. Snicker.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Corinne Bailey Rae - Paris Nights/New York Mornings

There's something so quietly joyful about this video. I can count on Corrine Bailey Rae for soulful lyrics and classy, real music. I love this part of the song:

"I could see the lights from the restaurant
I couldn’t quite perfect that nonchalance
Paris and champagne with one brown sugar cube

And we danced while the band played “She’s not there”
Kissed me in the rain by the Rue Voltaire
It’s a perfectly good way to ruin those silk shoes..."

P.S :I do covet those shoes.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


How fitting. The sun shines today. Clean blue sky and a veil of sugary breeze.
Let the good times roll.
For a few weeks, that is.
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