Tuesday, May 31, 2005

About nothing...

Saw a most audaciously bad film called About Schmidt the other day. Am not sure why I am still excited by Jack Nicholson releases. It, of course, was retriggered by As Good As It Gets, which I thought was a most wonderful film, where Devilman had a totally author-backed role. But since then, it's been one bad experience after another, the hole arrived at with Anger Management.

About Schmidt was a really terrible film, with absolutely no real story anywhere, directionless directing, very mediocre camera, and laidback editing. The only palatable bit being the writing of letters to 'Dear Ndugu', which kept the little emotional wrenching going from time to time.

NOTE: Kathy Bates - wonderful actor as she is - appears naked in the film!!!

Saturday, May 28, 2005

The Bicycle Thief, and its parallels with Ray's cinema

Watching Vittorio De Sica's The Bicycle Thief last night was quite an experience. Really. I remember it as one of the major films I saw back in Calcutta (was I in high school then or college?) during the early days of liking films, thinking of the medium as a rather useful one and so on.

Now, there's an interesting aspect to film-watching in Calcutta, something that's often glossed over when we think of Calcutta and the cultural aspect of the place. You know, Calcutta - the people that is - is interested in good cinema, good literature, good theatre and suchlike things. But the problem is that despite opinions to the contrary, most of us there are clueless about developments post a certain era. As a result, while someone like, say, a Kubrick would be part of a lot of people's information bank, not many would have seen a lot of Kubrick while being totally clued in about the works of the Italian neo-realism period, Kurosawa, the European masters, early Hollywood like Paul Muni and John Ford and stuff. Oh yeah, Hitchcock too.

Therefore, festival after festival would have featured Rashomon and Bicycle Thief, but not, say, a 2001: A Space Odyssey. Similarly, Catcher In The Rye was a classic, but A Clockwork Orange was not.

Anyway...to get back to Bicycle... watching it last night, I was amazed at the bits that so, so resembled some of Ray's films. Of course, De Sica's film came earlier (1949) than any of Ray's films (starting 1955), and in any case, Ray has said and written in countless places how he was influenced by the Italian neo-realists during his formative years. But to actually see these influences is quite amazing. Not just of Bicycle, but also of a movie like Umberto D. The use of non-actors, of course, is a different matter. What isn't, is how similarly such non-actors as Lamberto Maggiorani (De Sica's Ricci) and Kanu Banerjee (Ray's Harihar in Pather Panchali and Aparajito) act. Or, for that matter, De Sica's Bruno (Enzo Staiola) and Ray's Apu and Durga (Subir Banerjee and Uma Dasgupta). It's amazing. As is the use of music. Limited ups and downs...limited instruments, a few totally unrelated theme pieces. Just arbitrary compositions fitted in here and there that go absolutely perfectly with the situation in hand.

Not completely off the mark is also the way De Sica avoids making a point of contrasting poverty with the high society. In Bicycle Thief, the richer class is represented by the family, and the little boy eating spaghetti in the restaurant Ricci and Bruno 'mistake' for a pizzeria. The corresponding situation in Pather Panchali is of the rich relatives' house Sarbojaya and Durga visit, from where Durga steals the necklace. In Ray's case - probably in keeping with the reality of such differences - the relatives were shown to be a tad crass, loud, boastful. But it wasn't dealt with in any great detail. Ditto in De Sica's case. Though the little boy does turn around a couple of times to look at Bruno, there isn't a lot of time taken in establishing the difference.

Characters, places, situations, other little details - the similarities between the two are extraordinary.

Nothing else to say really. I wasn't going to review the film anyway, not even comment on it, seeing that it's made - down the years - all lists of great films, all discussions on great films, won all awards a film can and so on. But I wanted to just remark on these similarities, which I obviously missed when I saw it so many years back. When, of course, I also hadn't seen as many Ray films as I have since. And here it is...

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

DVD-time, and Time's list

It's been a night cycle all over again, so not much has been happening on any front. But we have been catching some decent films in recent times, primarily as a result of finally buying the DVD player and the not-so-infrequent visits to the Zone.

We saw Kiarostami's Ten and Tarkovsky's Solaris. Finally. Both. Also caught Y Tu Mama Tambien (fantastic) and Fight Club, again. Ozu's Floating Weeds was full of scratches and wouldn't run on our player, and Motorcycle Diaries only had Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish subtitles. Have got both replaced now though.
Hit the Zone again yesterday, and picked up another set of movies I've wanted to watch for a long, long time. There's Almodovar's All About my Mother, which I've heard of so much, but never got a chance to watch (heck, haven't seen anything by the supposedly great man); Amores Perros, another film I've just heard so, so much about; the Director's Cut of Blade Runner; Antonioni's Blow-up (which I saw part of ages back with Jabberwock); Dogville (another one I've been trying to catch for so long now); The Bicycle Thief (saw ages ago in Calcutta - at Nandan, of course); and Carl Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc.

Now, I wanted to pick The Passion... ahead of a few other really tempting options primarily because of all the great things I've heard about it, primarily from Mrinal Sen during one of my interviews with him. The repeptitive old fart couldn't help gushing about the 'contemporaneity' of the film, when I'd gone to interview him during one of my trips to Calcutta. I've wanted to watch it ever since, primarily because despite being the most mediocre filmmaker ever, you can't help admitting that Sen' pretty much all there as far as his theoretical foundation is concerned. So, why not?

PS: The Apu Trilogy, Pyaasa and Nayakan figure in the Top 100 films of all time according to Time. Heck, Time sucks! Of course lists will always be open to debate and dissection, and going through the Time list, I couldn't find one film (at least of the films I know of, have seen, or have read about) that shouldn't be there. But I have a problem with the Indian films, and that might well be symptomatic of some of the non-English films they have put in the list.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Shades of Narayan in Vassanji

Finally finished doing time with MG Vassanji's The In-between World of Vikram Lall. Am not sure what the reviewers, whether in India or Canada or elsewhere in the English-speaking world, would have said about the book. For my part, I thought it was really good. I started it with little or no expectation - often a good thing, as often bad - and it ended up surpassing my expectations by quite some distance.

I'm no reviewer of literature - not by a long shot. So I'll reserve my reviewing instincts here. But I do want to discuss the bit about the shades of RK Narayan that I found in Mr Vassanji's book. It's the same sort of language. In RK Narayan's case, I would like to think that the language was not something he had worked out and worked upon. I think it was more to do with the language he knew. In his youth, I'd say Narayan learnt his English from the best English medium school in the Tamil town he grew up in. He learnt the language diligently, was told he writes well as a kid, and grew up wanting to be a writer. Which he did. For Indians, he became the face of English writing; for the West, and Graham Greene, he was just this quaint, charming writer.

For me, he remains one of the greatest writers of all time. Not so much because of his language, which was limited at the best of times. But more because of the way he wrote. His simple, uncluttered, uncomplicated story structures. His complete control over his subjects, characters and places.

I think that's exactly where Vassanji scores. I think he is in superb control of his time, place, and people. The subject, that is. Because I think his is a more well worked out language. Uncomplicated, but with flashes that prove he knows his English better than he wants the world to know. I haven't read any of his other books. I want to. If they come my way, I'll hope they are as ecucated as Vic Lall is.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


What the fuck are they trying to do?

[Copy-pasted from the ICC press release]

One-Day International cricket

The ICC Cricket Committee has recommended a change to the way that fielding restrictions apply in ODI cricket.

It recommended that restrictions should apply for the first 10 overs of every innings with two additional blocks of 5 overs to be applied through the course of an innings at the discretion of the fielding captain.
The CC was of the view that these blocks of 5 overs could be used consecutively or randomly at the discretion of the fielding captain.
The CC also recommended the introduction of soccer-style substitutes for international cricket wherein a player could be replaced at any stage of a match but would then be ruled out for the remainder of the match. Both the substitute and the substituted player would receive a cap and the replacement could happen at any stage of the match, including during a batting innings.
CC Chairman Sunil Gavaskar said that these innovations would introduce a new tactical dimension to ODI cricket.
“I think change to the way the fielding restrictions work will enliven the game and introduce a new element of unpredictability throughout the course of an innings,” said Mr Gavaskar.
“It will also be interesting to see how sides adapt to the tactics of introducing a substitute and to see what impact this has on selection issues and it is recommended that this be introduced in time for the Johnnie Walker Super Series in Australia this October.”

Saturday, May 14, 2005


Had to, had to put this on the blog...please read it

Before I start this poem,
I'd like to ask you to join me in a moment of silence
in honour of those who died in the World Trade Centre
and the Pentagon last September 11th.

I would also like to ask you a moment of silence
for all of those who have been harassed, imprisoned, disappeared,
tortured, raped, or killed in retaliation for those strikes,
for the victims in both Afghanistan and the U.S.

And if I could just add one more thing...
A full day of silence for the tens of thousands of Palestinians
who have died at the hands of U.S.-backed Israeli forces over decades of occupation.

Six months of silence for the million and-a-half Iraqi people,
mostly children, who have died of malnourishment or starvation
as a result of an 11-year U.S. embargo against the country.
Before I begin this poem:
two months of silence for the Blacks under Apartheid in South Africa,
where homeland security made them aliens in their own country.

Nine months of silence for the dead in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where death rained
down and peeled back every layer of concrete, steel, earth and skin
and the survivors went on as if alive.

A year of silence for the millions of dead in Vietnam--a people, not a war-
for those who know a thing or two about the scent of burning fuel,
their relatives' bones buried in it, their babies born of it.

A year of silence for the dead in Cambodia and Laos,
victims of a secret war ... ssssshhhhh ....
Say nothing ... we don't want them to learn that they are dead.

Two months of silence for the decades of dead
in Colombia, whose names, like the corpses they once represented,
have piled up and slipped off our tongues.

Before I begin this poem,
An hour of silence for El Salvador ...
An afternoon of silence for Nicaragua ...
Two days of silence for the Guetmaltecos ...
None of whom ever knew a moment of peace

45 seconds of silence for the 45 dead at Acteal, Chiapas
25 years of silence for the hundred million Africans
who found their graves far deeper in the ocean than any building could poke into the sky.
There will be no DNA testing or dental records to identify their remains.
And for those who were strung and swung from the heights of sycamore trees
in the south, the north, the east, and the west...

100 years of silence...
For the hundreds of millions of indigenous peoples from this half of right here,
Whose land and lives were stolen
In postcard-perfect plots like
Pine Ridge,
Wounded Knee,
Sand Creek,
Fallen Timbers,
or the Trail of Tears.

Names now reduced to innocuous magnetic poetry
on the refrigerator of our consciousness ...
So you want a moment of silence?

And we are all left speechless
Our tongues snatched from our mouths
Our eyes stapled shut
A moment of silence
And the poets have all been laid to rest
The drums disintegrating into dust
Before I begin this poem,
You want a moment of silence
You mourn now as if the world will never be the same
And the rest of us hope to hell it won't be.
Not like it always has been

Because this is not a 9-1-1 poem
This is a 9/10 poem,
It is a 9/9 poem,
A 9/8 poem,
A 9/7 poem
This is a 1492 poem.
This is a poem about
what causes poems like this to be written

And if this is a 9/11 poem, then
This is a September 11th poem
for Chile, 1971
This is a September 12th poem
for Steven Biko in South Africa, 1977

This is a September 13th poem
for the brothers at Attica Prison, New York, 1971.
This is a September 14th poem
for Somalia, 1992.

This is a poem
for every date that falls to the ground in ashes
This is a poem for the 110 stories that were never told
The 110 stories that history chose not to write in textbooks
The 110 stories that CNN, BBC, The New York Times, and Newsweek ignored...

This is a poem
for interrupting this program.

And still you want a moment of silence for your dead?
We could give you lifetimes of empty:

The unmarked graves
The lost languages
The uprooted trees and histories
The dead stares on the faces of nameless children
Before I start this poem
We could be silent forever
Or just long enough to hunger,
For the dust to bury us
And you would still ask us
For more of our silence.

If you want a moment of silence
Then stop the oil pumps
Turn off the engines and the televisions
Sink the cruise ships
Crash the stock markets
Unplug the marquee lights,
Delete the instant messages,
Derail the trains, the light rail transit

If you want a moment of silence,
put a brick through
the window of Taco Bell,
And pay the workers for wages lost
Tear down the liquor stores,
The townhouses, the White Houses,
the jailhouses, the Penthouses and
the Playboys.

If you want a moment of silence,
Then take it
On Super Bowl Sunday,
The Fourth of July
During Dayton's 13 hour sale
Or the next time your white guilt fills the room where my beautiful people have gathered

You want a moment of silence
Then take it
Before this poem begins.

Here, in the echo of my voice,
In the pause between goosesteps of the second hand
In the space between bodies in embrace,

Here is your silence.
Take it.
But take it all
Don't cut in line.
Let your silence begin at the beginning of crime.
But we,
Tonight we will keep right on singing
For our dead.

By Emmanuel Ortiz
(Emmanuel Ortiz works with the Minnesota Alliance for the Indigenous Zapatistas (MAIZ) and Estación Libre. He is a staff member of the Resource Centre of the Americas, the non-profit publisher of americas.org)

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The story of the flight back from AD

And then there was the flight back. Or what was supposed to be the flight back.

Having finished work (the shopping primarily, plus the last few bits for the stories), we reached the airport at around 10.00pm (Abu Dhabi time, two hours behind India), for the flight at 11.30pm. Boarded the flight on time, and then (club class, no less) settled down into a nice, comfortable slumber. The flight (Gulf Air) was supposed to stop at Muscat for 45 minutes, which it did. Well, supposedly, at least, because I slept through the next few hours. It took off on time, and then - en route to Delhi - developed a snag. Reaching Delhi was out of the question, so it did an about turn, and made for Muscat. Couldn't land there because the wheels wouldn't come out, and tried to reach Abu Dhabi again. That it did successfully, and when it landed - waking me up - I realised that there was a problem somewhere, because it was 4.30am by my watch, making it 6.30am in Delhi, and there was no light outside the window (or is it called a porthole?). We step out of the plane - most others aware of the sequence of events - and I see six ambulances and as many fire brigades. Gradually, I find out that I am extremely lucky to be alive and that our pilot had just managed to save 350 people by a combination of immense skill and luck.

Well, this experience should have been enough, but as it transpired, it wasn't.
We reached the airport lounge, parked ourselves around the duty free port, and started our wait, which eventually turned out to be a 14-hour one. Why? Because the airport hotel didn't have room for the numbers we came with, and there was no option but for us to sit in the lounge. The flight would be ready in a couple of hours though, so it's not much of a bother. The couple of hours turned out to be 14 hours, but that was after a series of 'couple of hours' promises by a unit trained to deal with Indians in concentration camp-like manners. Grunts were the answers to most questions.

We fought, indeed we did. Not just us 12-odd journos who had made the trip, but about 50 members of the crew that had gone across to broadcast the matches live. We fought hard, protesting against the treatment, the lack of proper accommodation for such a long haul, everything. We finally got food in return. Compensation - as airline laws provide as compulsory - hasn't happened, but we vowed to get what's due to us: All of us will go back and write out the mail to the authorities, to everyone, we vouched. None of us know the other person's phone number or email ID though.

And if the situation wasn't bad enough, what made it worse is that the only thing we could do for those never-ending hours was walk around. Where did that take us? To the booze and chocolate outlets at the duty free port. As a result, the few dollars I had saved up for my next trip were practically all expended on yet another round of chocolates, another bottle of alcohol, various other completely unnecessary things that cost a dollar or two each.

And then - on the flight that took 14 hours to repair and none of us believed would take off and if it did would most certainly kill us - we returned to India.

And that's the story.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Altoo in Abu Dhabi

Why Abu Dhabi? Because there was a triangular cricket tournament there featuring India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, ostensibly to add to the tsunami relief package, but more importantly to showcase the new stadium the Abu Dhabi Cricket Control Board has come up with. My office didn’t send me. It’s not a major enough tournament to spend money on. But the organisers, who I’d met a year or so ago in Delhi and did a couple of stories on, had sent me an invite. Nothing exclusive, some other channels had also been called, but there it was. And being a free trip to “foreign”, I certainly wasn’t going to miss it. Even if it’s Abu Dhabi.

Anyway, what do I write about?

Abu Dhabi itself: Is clean, spanking clean. A few bungalows aside, no construction is below fifteen stories. The traffic – entirely of Japanese and European cars – is extremely disciplined. Mainly because 90% of the drivers are Indian immigrants and will be deported if they break a law. Everywhere you look, you see opulence. Opulence like I have never seen before, anywhere in the world. We went down to Dubai as well. I needed to meet a gentleman from the Emirates Cricket Board, and all of us wanted to shop.

What else do you see? You see practically no schools or colleges or any other educational institutions. The Sheikhs must be sending all their kids to Europe or Amreeka, if at all. You see – well after midnight – girls walking alone on the streets without a worry. Why? Well, my theory is that youngsters – boys or girls – don’t really have a clue as to relationships. Yes, in general. Sex is something that is bought. Never any other way. Which is why East European women rule the nights.

What else do people do? They make money, primarily. And they shop. Either in Abu Dhabi or in Dubai, or, when on vacation, in France. The men spend their evenings at nightclubs drinking and having sex with washed out middle-aged Uzbek women. The women probably watch Indian serials at home. The youngsters dance and drink and have sex at discotheques. Yep, that about sums it up.

That, of course, is the upper class.

The middle-class doesn’t exist.

The lower-class – or the working class – is made up almost entirely by Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Nepalese and Filipino migrants, who earn their living doing all the menial work. Well, that’s how they start out. They reach Dubai and Abu Dhabi to work as sweepers in hotels and restaurants and offices, graduate to being waiters or whatever, and thus follows a string of promotions till they reach the level of ‘driver’ or ‘chauffeur’. That’s when they start sending money back home, and houses are bought, farmlands are developed, and families become rich. The women work as nurses and servants at Sheikhs’ homes. Ten years is the usual lifespan of a migrant worker in the Gulf, following which is a lifetime of bliss in the backwaters of Kerala.

The work itself was fun. The stadium is stunning. Probably the most beautiful in the world, with its combo of modern stands and SCG-like hills for spectators. The players have saunas and gymnasiums in their dressing rooms, and when they want to get to the ground, they come out through European football-like tunnels. Groundside, they sit inside air-conditioned glass boxes, which allow them full view of the goings-on, and allow spectators to watch them as well. Quite stunning on the whole, especially when you climb to the top of the press enclosure and realise that the patch – the stadium – is actually the only bit of anything in the middle of a huge, wide expanse of nothing but sand. Quite literally, an oasis. Yes, it’s primarily money that allows people to build things like these in places like Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, but it also takes a great deal of vision and drive.

FLASH: Ate a lot of really good food in the absence of any real inclination to hit the nightclubs. Dumba, beef (lots of it), and salmon to start with, plus a lot of really interesting chicken and mutton.

That’s about it. The flight back is worth writing about also, of course, but I’ll work on that after publishing this.

Meeting Mike Marqusee

It was in 1997, if I am not terribly wrong, that Tao Rodriguez – sitting about five feet away from me – was hollering: “He wants to know what you think of Dylan” into grand-uncle Pete Seeger’s ears. Old Pete, quite deaf, was in Calcutta; probably the only place outside his garage where he is allowed to sing, and get a full house. This was at a little gathering sometime before the actual concert, and I had exploited all my contacts (pop’s a journo, see) to get there and having reached even before the organisers had, I’d got a front seat. Anyway, the wizened old man, blue eyes still a’ twinkle, looked skywards for a second, turned towards me (yes, he did), and said, “Oh, but he hasn’t written one good poem in the last twenty years”. Yes, that’s what he said. He did. He smiled at me, and went on to give a lengthy discourse on Woody Guthrie instead.

Anyway, that was then. I was still in college, and Pete Seeger ruled. Dylan did too. But Seeger ruled a better kingdom. So if Seeger said Dylan hadn’t written anything good in twenty years, it became my opinion. But Dylan in the sixties! Heck, he couldn’t sing, but he wrote mean poetry, wrote what I liked, and played a mean harmonica.

And then there’s Mike Marqusee. I’d read something by him in Sportstar ages ago, but not much else. Jabberwock started me off with War Minus The Shooting, and I was bought. Since then, I’ve read Redemption Song, Anyone but England and Slow Turn. All outstanding. But most importantly, I was on emailing terms with the man. It started when I took a chance (while at tehelka) and shot off a mail to him during the Mike Denness controversy in 2001, “would you mind answering a few questions, I can’t think of anyone better than you when it comes to a problem of racism in cricket”. “Yes I will, just send me the questions,” Mike replied. I did. About 12 questions, to be honest. He replied. It was published under the head of “The entire history of cricket has been shaped by empire and racism”. I wrote to him again, “stay in touch”, he’d said. He replied. I kept writing. He kept replying. Never once short. Never once impatient. Never once patronising. And then we broke off.

Till I got the Oxford invite the other day saying that our man will be in town to launch his two-year-old book Chimes of Freedom: Bob Dylan and the Sixties. Good enough. I had to be there. But how? I cover it, of course. Lucky break. Lakme India Fashion Week is on, so no one from the arts and entertainment department is free. Or so I assume, not once checking if someone is free. Why bother?

And I meet him. I meet him before the actual launch starts, and I take him aside, introduce myself. He remembers. Well, he remembers the interview in any case. So can I have a one-on-one please? Of course. And thus takes place the three most memorable minutes of my professional career.

You go through Marqusee’s bibliography, and you find six books: Redemption Song: Muhammad Ali and the spirit of the sixties, War Minus the Shooting: A Journey Through South Asia during Cricket’s World Cup, Anyone but England: Cricket and the National Malaise, Defeat from the Jaws of Victory: Inside Kinnock’s Labour Party, Slow Turn, and now Chimes of Freedom.

At first glance, it suggests varied interests, or, as Jabs writes, no consistency of subject. Which is probably wrong, because if there’s anything that’s so remarkable about Marqusee’s published books, it’s the single-minded devotion to his pet subjects: empire, racism, capitalism, protest, socialism, multi-culturism, etc? These are not just subjects that interest him. These are all related subjects, brought together by centuries of the rich vs poor, big vs small, powerful vs powerless divide. Issues Marqusee has been addressing as a political activist for many, many years as well, as an American who has denounced his country and is living in England.

Coming back to the occasion: Following the launch itself was a rather irritating discussion between Marqusee and Indian political activism’s Thomson and Thompson, Achin Vanaik and Praful Bidwai. Why was it irritating? Because while Marqusee himself missed not a cue, held his own right through, brought all topics around to Dylan by some brilliant articulating, Vanaik and Bidwai spoilt it all by being pompous and self-important, while at all times exposing the complete and utter muddle in their brains by framing 15 minute questions after a great deal of absolutely unnecessary pontificating. Uhh, why do we need to listen to 60-year-old Indians talking about Dylan anyway, even if they are from the 60s and once smoked grass to The times they are a’ changing?

Marqusee then bought me all over again, by going through so many phases of Dylan’s poetry, reciting – almost singing – lines from between and down the years, talking about the man Dylan was and the man Dylan wasn’t. And making Dylan out to be so much more a human being than those who revere him so believe. I revere him too, but only as a poet. A poet who, like Amitabh Bachchan, became a grotesque caricature of himself after living through his Angry Young Man years. The times they did a’ change, but Dylan stayed stuck in the image that had been cultivated so carefully for him by the spirit of the age.

And thus ended the evening.

PS: Bought the book too, but haven’t managed to read it yet.

Back on blogosphere

Off blogging again for fuck knows how long…and it’s getting repetitive starting blogs with the same few lines about being tied up with work, etc. Scrolled down to find out that I have done it far too often. So no apologies or excuses this time…just straight down to keying in some stuff that’s happened since I blogged last.

I see the last one was about the ponytail, etc, which means it’s been a month or so. Blimey! So what’s happened since? Umm, let’s see. I went to stinkin’ Kanpur to cover my first cricket match for television. I see that I have blogged on it already, so no point in going over it again. Have nothing more to add to what I have already said.

Outside of that, most significantly, I met Mike Marqusee. Yes, Mike the man. In the flesh. Will blog about the experience separately; it’s eminently bloggable.

I also travelled to the Sanspareils Greenlands bat factory in Meerut to do a story on the controversy surrounding Ricky Ponting’s bat. Nothing much to write about on that front except that I came back home the proud owner of an SG bat. I have owned a Larsons and an SS bat in the past, but never an SG. Though I did play quite a bit with one that belonged to an extremely rich friend in Calcutta. He wasn’t any good as a player, but owned some three bats and six Prince tennis racquets. Never got around to bumming the racquets, but did con him into letting me play with the SG bat.

Then I went to Abu Dhabi. Why? Well, obviously not by spending my own money. Why would I go to the stinkin’ Gulf then? Sri Lanka and Pakistan are a closer stone’s throw away. But there I was, in Abu Dhabi, and because it’s ‘foreign’, maybe I’ll blog separately about that as well.

Ajitha and I have also been sniffing around for movies quite a bit, and ended up buying The Kid, Once Upon A Time In The West, On The Waterfront and Rosemary’s Baby as far as VCDs go. Plus, to go with our new DVD player, we have acquired Kiarostami’s Ten, Ozu’s Floating Weeds and A Story Of The Floating Weeds, Motorcycle Diaries and the original Solaris, by Tarkovsky. Not bad to start with. Of course, we have About Schmidt and the Dilbert series to fall back on once we have seen these and don’t have money for more.

Guess that’s it. Am off today. At home. Ajitha’s gone to work. BLOG TIME!!!