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Friday, September 17, 2004


Watched a much-touted film on the telly called " Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon ", an angst-ridden saga by Ang Lee.
It's the story of an old martial master Li Mu Bai and the sword he seeks--rather inscrutably named the Green Destiny , or as they can say Hari Kismet ( Hmm, another rotten film I tried to watch, Kill Bill, was on another sword which was called something else ) This sword too is about 5 centuries old, looks like it has been in a few skirmishes and is obviously pure and just and truthful which makes it coveted. Hey, what's with all these swords ? (The last time I read something good on a sword was " The Mysteru of the Headless Horse", a Three Investigators tale on the Cortes sword.). The capers of the protagonists enable them to transcend the self-imposed constraints of the body and conquer the dark recesses of the mind. Nateeja,peeth ka dard--they leap with feline grace from rooftop to rooftop, slide off doors, mount ferocious attacks from the sides of walls, gallop in the stratosphere and such aesthetic impossibilities. It is mind-numbing to watch and while I've seen humans achieving God-like qualities, this string of inanities is ludicrous and jarring. Kill Bill was another eyseore and what pulls on the half-numbed sensibility is that the people lauding these kind of films are the same who mock at Indian heroes polishing off a dozen assailants, who intrepidly catch a bullet with their teeth, run faster than a train and the like. Atleast the numerical probability of such occurrences is more than what Mr. Lee's Punch and Judy cast manage. Hypocrisy, thy name is the Indian viewer.!

As part of the orientation ( is there a word called occidentation ? ) , had to get into the heat of battle ( and humidity ) by covering a market set in Central Madras. Language was mercifully comprehensible and was able to get a few insights into the psyche of the retailer. Had an interesting conversation too with a chap who was quite truculent on a recent local ad featuring a hero whose star is on the wane, and a failed Hindi actress who is quite popular in these parts. His contention was the profile of the lead does not match the product image. Quite sharp, that !
Was also privy to a crowd in the throes of filling water pots from a private lorry. Found myself saddened and low after this. How can a city in which water comes through taps for a majestic hour every two days be even rated on a " Best City to Live in " survey ? Madras managed a respectable Second after Chandigarh. And how is it that the Government of the State, represented by the Municipal Corporation cannot get water for its dehydrated and desiccated denizerns but a few thugs can ? Would support a revolution on the matter here-it's piteous.

After tiring of the hotel food, decided to venture out into the vast unknowns yesterday and found refuge in a refectory called the Vellore's Gyan Vaishnav Punjabi Dhaba--all veg. The service was timely and preemptive, the food was great and filling and the owner - a portly Sikh was warm, engaging and inviting. A strong recommendation, this being in the heart of Mount Road.

Aus walloped NZ --incredibly athletic for such giants and rest assured, I'll support India against them in the series ( For a change )

Missed a reading of Neruda's poems next door and all the other action begins in Madras on Monday--so will have to wait until next time. Will be back in Bombay tomorrow.


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