culture

Episode 8: Nothing in Particular about Wealth

In the eighth episode of our ‘Nothing In Particular (NIP)’ podcast, we talk about something that is an unavoidable part of our lives. Some refer to it as the root of all evil. Others are ready to sell their grandmothers for it. And a few distribute it for the greater good.

Yep, wealth. Money. Cash. Property. Credit balance. Call it what you will. The chances are that you have already thought about it today. We discuss how different generations seem to value wealth differently, and the ways in which income disparities affect national politics. Also, breaking news (well, sort of) about a Nigerian millionaire. 

Listen: Episode 8: Wealth

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Episode 5: Nothing in particular about travel

The town crier forgot to make his rounds earlier this week. But do not worry. The fifth episode of our ‘Nothing In Particular (NIP)’ podcast is right here. We talk about travelers and tourists with our special guest, Vimal Abraham – a globetrotter and adventurer from Chennai.

We share stories from Greece, New York and Ladakh to the Marina Beach a few miles away from our hometown. All this and more in the latest episode that also features the musical talents of Hari Ram Narayanan and Sharanya Subramaniam, who had graciously created a theme song for our podcast!

Listen: Episode 5: Travel

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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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