culture

Episode 4: Nothing in particular about cinema

Please don’t be alarmed. It’s just the fourth episode of our ‘Nothing In Particular (NIP)’ podcast. We talk about movies – the narratives and their narrators, and the parameters that most people use to love/hate them. Also, find out why we think 12 Years A Slave and Citizen Kane are extremely overrated.

Listen: Episode 4: Movies

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Episode 3: Nothing in Particular about Spirituality

Have you heard the third episode of the ‘Nothing in Particular (NIP)’ podcast yet? We talk about spirituality, religion, how our search for inner peace is awesome and awkward, and why Paul Coelho is a very rich man.

Listen: Spirituality – Awkward and awesome at the same time

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Episode 2: Nothing in particular about reading

Check out the second episode of the ‘Nothing in Particular (NIP)’ podcast in which we talk about books, bibliophiles, e-readers, emoticons and everything else in-between. We are excited about this one because we are joined by our dear friend and your friendly neighborhood reluctant bookworm – Madhu Nair.

Listen: On Reading

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Sexuality in India: Please don’t try this at home

Sex and language can be inconsolable bed-mates. Best friends with benefits. They can go out for a coffee, talk unabashedly about life, and get drunk on each other. They can wake up in each other’s arms, with one pretending to have already freshened up. And the other playing along for the kisses and giggles.

But I used to feel odd whenever I have tried to write about sex. However uninhibited I may have thought I was, I found myself in a state of imbalance. And I ended up regurgitating bedtime fantasies. Like the rose petal scene from American Beauty. It is the most Indian-influenced piece of Hollywood. I expected Kevin Spacey’s leg to tip over a glass of milk, as nine months go whizzing by and then – a baby’s squeal is heard behind closed doors.

Perhaps, it is because of where I grew up. The land of the Kama Sutra and the home of the prude.

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13 reasons why Madras wasn’t just about the filter coffee

It is tough to pigeonhole Indian metropolitans. They are Dickensian by nature. Often, their identities shift, like tectonic plates, under the pretext of urbanization. All the while, they play a game of cat-and-mouse with the past, whether good, bad or ugly. They are works in progress or experiments in terror, depending on how you see it.

Similarly, citizens of metros can seldom be typecast. I figured it out a week after my city suffered from its worst natural disaster ever. During the chaos, we bonded together, like squealing piglets suckling on a giant loving mammary gland. Everyone talked about how brave and selfless we were. A mere week later, we went back to being weak and indifferent – with flashes of politeness. But nobody was paying attention to us, by then.

I was born, bred and fed in this city. I am a son of the soil, for all practical purposes. But I don’t like filter coffee. I have no memory of attending any Carnatic music festival. And maybe, I have been three temples throughout my life.

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Friends, semicolons, countrymen, lend me your sparrows

I get stuck in traffic while going to the office every day. During this time, young women in rags approach my vehicle to beg for alms. Emaciated babies wedged in-between their hips and the dull tangerine sky. It is an amphitheater of despair. A showcasing of les misérables. Well, we are all miserable. But if you are reading this, you probably have it better than them. I know that I do.

Because it boils down to simple and cruel economics. Money matters. Some have so much of it that they do not know what to do with it. Many others cannot seem to put their fingers on how much would be enough, so they work to earn until the day they are bed-ridden and dying; staring at the ceiling, listening to the cold and mechanical buzz of the air-conditioner, and wondering if they will ever see a slideshow on the shit they have accumulated, as an acoustic guitar plays in the background.

Then, there are the sparrow people.

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Bird is the word: Hawk cuckoos

The universality of curse words may suggest that we aren’t too comfortable in our own skin. So many expletives seem rooted in human sexuality. Maybe, we don’t respect our bodies the way we ought to. Why else do we liken people to reproductive organs and expect them to be offended by such inane comparisons?

In fact, why are body parts even perceived as constituting to obscene language? Is the human anatomy so repulsive that the very mention of its most intimate parts insinuates emotions such as anger, disgust, and confusion?

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Show me where it hurts

I know that you aren’t sure why you feel depressed. You try and hide it because you can’t find its source. You fear judgment from others. The ones you know and those you cherish. They won’t understand what you are going through because you don’t either.

So you avoid thinking about it, but it doesn’t go away. Whenever it comes, you feel sick in your stomach. Your press your fingers against both sides of your scalp to assuage the dull quaking in-between. But there is no escape. No crack in the wall through which you can squeeze yourself out.

No hole in the ground you can fall through and disappear for a while.

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Yours animatedly, Velvet-Fronted Nuthatches

Like many children of the 80s, I used to be an obsessive gamer. My dad brought home an Atari 2600 home console sometime in 1988. It came with two 8-bit games – ice hockey and tanks.  At once, I understood that it was going to be a spectacular end to the decade. And he knew it would be a stressful, annoying and expensive one.

I was introduced to 16-bit games during the early Nineties. It led to a large chunk of my life being devoted to the Mario Brothers franchise. It gave my life a sense of purpose. Not that I was interested in the changing dynamics of gaming technology. I only wanted to save the princess.

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Beauty doesn’t lie in the camera of the beholder

Staring is India’s creepiest pastime. It is either a reflex action or a defense mechanism. We are like frightened and / or frustrated deer caught in the headlights of shrinking geographies and fading belief systems. It isn’t a problem exclusive to women either. Victims include people from other countries and young couples.

A theory is that our conservatism has made us meta-judgmental. Buzzwords like tradition and culture have stitched xenophobia into the fabric of our communities. It is so woven intricately into our mindsets that hyper-sexual gazing is a permissible social activity. Another theory is that we are sociopaths. Sort of like Lionel Richie in that music video in which he stalks a blind girl. And insinuates sexual tension before asking her “hello is it me you are looking for?”.

I don’t think so, creep.

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