13 July, 2009

New Blog URL

Cine Cynic has moved to a new domain and a new blogging software. Please visit www.cinecynic.com.

14 December, 2008

Can we all please go to the toilet?

"Where is the restroom?" asked someone during my visit to IIMB in early 2007. That may have been my first encounter of "restroom" usage in the Indian English vernacular. While I honsestly am not a sexuality-ist, my instant reaction had been, "Gay," though I wish it were, "Lame."

That day, I heard several people jumping on the restroom usage reminding me of the "Chamberlain" episode in Seinfeld. That gem of a scene would've played like this.

George: Where is the restroom?
Jerry: What do you need a restroom for?
George: Restroom is now the number one destination in metropolitan India.
Jerry: You know why? Because people like to say "restroom." "Excuse me, do you know where the restroom is?" "I need to go to the restroom." "Where is the restroom? No restroom?"
George: You know it must be impossible for an Indian metropolitan to go to the toilet without asking for the restroom.

The thing is, neither are restrooms yet common nor are the people looking for a place to powder their noses. I don't understand why "toilet" and "bathroom" suddenly lost their servicability.

"Teacher, may I go to toilet?" "Teacher. Bathroom," were such wonderful excuses that I had learnt in school, and I thought they would serve me for the rest of my life. One of the reasons why they lost their sheen might be that groups with both men and women in them have become more common. They are conscious to mention a nature call in the presence of a representative of the opposie sex. But why? Sure, it is understandable when people don't want to excuse themselves for a moment citing a bowel movement, but in the days when the whole gamut of four-letter words are accepted among public coversations of grown-up groups, I don't see why "toilet" should make me self-conscious. Neither calling toilet a restroom nor sugarcoating it are going to change its odour.

Once again, having corrected myself, "restroom" sounds "lame". I pray to the Lord to bless me with enough strength to carry on the tradition of toilet along public coversations.

09 December, 2008

Harry Potter In The Woods

"There is a difference between intriguing and fucked-up."

When the body of Katy Devlin is discovered in the woods, Detective Robert Ryan and his partner Detective Cassie Maddox get the case by accident. Rob happens to be the only known survivor of a traumatic mystery that took place twenty years ago in the same woods in Knocknaree. The obvious possibility that the two cases may be connected can not be ruled out.

Every lead leads to a dead end. As they try to dig deeper, long lost memories start haunting Rob. Consequentially, his relationship with Cassie, the one friend that can make his life worth living, strains to breaking point. Detective Sam O'Neill who gets roped in for help is affected in his own way. No life that comes in close contact with the Devlins will ever be the same again. Rob tells us the story because he knows more about both the cases than anybody else and because he by the end that get the most fucked-up.

Ryan has a detached dry humor and little self-worth, and Cassie is the instantly lovable little tough girl next door with her share of secrets. All the main characters remain intriguing even after the novel ends. There are a number of sub-plots and some of them like in life do not reach their end within the novel and we are aware that they won't end well when they do. While the protagonists are warm, the cold ways in which they end up treating each other left me deeply hurt by the end of the novel. So much so that I didn't want the novel to end, in a hope to avoid the impending tragedy, even though it is already a very long novel.

Tana French makes a very impressive debut with In The Woods. The first person narration isn't always enchanting, but Ms. French holds it together for a complex character slowly disintegrating. Her second novel, The Likeness, in which Cassie gives the first person narrative now tops my to-buy list.

A very long time after finishing the novel, I had this sudden silly thought that is not so silly. There are a few parallels between Rob, Cassie and Sam, and Harry, Hermione and Ron. It may or may not be a coincidence, but that doesn't take away any sheen off the story.
Image Source: Tana French Official Website. Buy it on Amazon.

06 December, 2008

My Last Words For Now

I can't immediately recollect the last time I wrote something in such a hurry. The current reaction time is nineteen milliseconds less than the last time I had been pinged by a girl on Gtalk. You must understand this desperation to say my last words and more importantly forgive me for its unintelligibility if I am still alive tomorrow.

You see I avoid reading newspapers and watching news as much as I can. Not just because they are depressing but because they make me supercilious about my nonexistent writing skills. But with the Indian media telling the Indian masses that India is considering last week's Mumbai attacks as Indian 9/11 two things are happening. Everybody is blabbering non-stop about war during eating and smoking breaks without eating nor smoking so much so that I'm putting on pounds and breathing tobacco-free air that smells dsgusting. And every Indian friend living outside India is irresponsibly sharing testaments about terror on Google Reader so much so that I'm afraid I'll be fired if not laid off because I read every item in my Reader even though I don't read every mail in my office inbox.

I have never paid much attention to politics and foreign policies and superpowers and followed my mother's advise to stay away from the Police. Suddenly I'm hearing that 1 country is threatening to nuke 2 country and that 2 country is all ready to pre-emptively nuke anyone. This is news because neither 1 nor 2 is USA and is bad because nuking apparently is not the anglicization of Telugu's nUkaDam but something to do with nuclear bombs and it makes me sad because I have watched some documentaries in the past that showed that nuclear bombs can clear new cities better than Clinic All Clear can clear dandruff.

But why are they doing this? Apparently Pakistan bred terrorists to send them to India and India trained terrorists to help LTTE and LTTE wants Sri Lanka to lift some ban. Don't ask me why because I too read it somewhere. These new recruitments and training sessions went on in some state of peace until recently. With the current economic slowdown, they worried about cutting costs and decided that unloading their ammunition and curbing new recruitments by cutting down global population would be the right idea.

Forget all this. I've never considered myself a patriot and felt certain that I would rather risk a flight to a foreign country than a fight for funny causes that didn't fit my fettle. Now suddenly I feel too paralysed to even take a piss. Either terrorists who are in their cost-cutting phase or the countries which are gearing up for war or the masses who are following the media which is reporting strenuously about the other two are going to get me. Or something like that.

So what I can think of as my last words for now are these:

ఒకప్పుడు గాంధీ, తరువాత గాన్దీయులు, తరువాత గాంధీగిరి మీద సినిమా. ఇప్పుడు గూండాలు, గాడిద కొడుకులు, గన్లు, గందరగోళం.

Once Gandhi, then Gandhians, then a movie on Gandhigiri. Now gondas, sons of donkeys, guns, chaos.