Sunday, November 25, 2012

Poem of the Week: Monica Mody's 'Myth of Cosmos'

Monica Mody's poem, 'Myth of Cosmos' is the last up on November's Poem of the Week on TheThe.

It went up a bit late because of Thanksgiving weekend, so for any of you who turned up on Friday, bright and early, waiting for links only to find there were none, he

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Diamond for Spaniard

Guys! This is the 1000th post!

To celebrate, and since no one else is likely to, I thought I ought to give the blog a diamond.

This is a house (yes, really) in the neighbourhood. It is brilliant and I hope people actually live there. It is also more splendorous than it looks in this photograph.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Enough with the eulogising

Can we not pretend that 1992-93 never happened? That we need to, somehow, say something - anything - nice about someone just because they happen to have died?

If you're sick of all the hushed reverence TV news has been showing over the not-yet-finished-tamasha that is Bal Thackeray's death and funeral, please read Rohit Chopra:

The free pass given to Bal Thackeray today also tells us something about the pathologies of Indian life that produced and made Bal Thackeray possible: pathologies shared across those who identify as secular and those who rant against pseudo-secularists; pathologies that unite the South Bombay whisky-drinking, rugby-playing, Bombay-Gym types with Dadar Hindu colony sons-of-the-soil; pathologies that allow diasporic Hindu nationalists in Silicon Valley and Shiv Sena footsoldiers alike to believe that they are the victims of a secret cabal of Muslims, Marxists, and Macaulayites. Thackeray did not, then, come out of nowhere. He was not the creation simply of disaffected subaltern Maharashtrian communities or of middle-class Maharashtrian communities who felt outsiders had snatched what was their due. He represented something central in Indian political society–not an essentialist, ahistorical tendency but a historically produced capacity for using violence as a form of political reason, the absence of a coherent vision of solidarity that could respect similarity and difference, and the many deep failures of the postcolonial Indian state that our exceptionalist pieties about Indian tolerance, coexistence, and secularism often obscure.

And no, we do not need to be silent on any of this just because Bal Thackeray died earlier today. I doubt any Shiv Sainiks or Thackeray himself spent a minute thinking in silence about any Muslim killed in the 1992-1993 riots in which the Shiv Sena played a key role. As Vir Sanghvi’s article on Thackeray, posthumously anointing him the “uncrowned king of Mumbai” reminds us, Thackeray’s chief objection to Mani Ratnam’s representation of him in the film Bombay was that his cinematic alter-ego expressed regret at the riots.

It is a disgrace that Bombay is shut today. It is a disgrace that Thackeray is being wrapped in the national tricolor. It is a disgrace that he is being given state honors in his death. And it is a disgrace that none of our political leaders, celebrities, or media personalities seem to think any of this is a disgrace. And that if they do they are terrified of saying so.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Poem of the Week: Joshua Muyiwa's 'Eight' from 'The Catalogue'

On TheThe this week is Joshua Muyiwa's poem 'Eight' from the longer series called 'The Catalogue'.

Just a few lines here:
Look at Nan Goldin’s face, it is battered. But she makes this photograph to remind herself that love, her friend, visitor and heart-thrower will find her. Even the next time, she will follow blindly but this time, she will bargain.
Perhaps, our approach to love should be Goldin’s approach to photography:
a healing art. Love like Goldin’s photography will teach us the indulgence of self-reflection, relearning the erotic and the slippage of gender.
And we will be the changed.
Go look at Nan Goldin's face - and read the poem - on TheThe.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Poem of the Week: Tsering Wangmo Dhompa

This week's Poem of the Week on TheThe is Tsering Wangmo Dhompa's 'Exile: An invitation to a struggle.'

With the prayer flags below and Tsering's poem now, I seem to be firmly placed in that part of the world (but facetiousness aside, with the almost daily self-immolations of the monks in Tibet, this poem is a good reminder that words like exile and freedom are not the absurdities they seem when the photographs report only calm skies and peaceful roads.)

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Mother Mary with prayer flags

Because I'm chronically lazy and have not kept my promises to blogblogblog and feel guilty as heck, here's a picture of Mother Mary for you.

Yes, those are prayer flags.

Sikkim - Gangtok - was enormous fun. I was visiting after nearly 30 years and it was the kid's first brush with something approaching cold (though actually it was very sunny and only mildly chilly in the evenings). We walked, gathered stones (lots of shiny mica), grabbed nettles, ate momos, took photos, visited monasteries, kept intending to buy thangkas, sat outside a hotel and watched a wedding reception in progress, kept count one night as wedding guests danced right above our heads.

And so on. Oh, and we went to Kalimpong by the most breathtaking road off the main highway.

And we bought cheese.

The whole trip was brilliant from start to finish.

Friday, November 02, 2012

November's Poem(s) of the Week on TheThe

I've been away for a long, long time, haven't I? But I'm back and not in the least sorry because I have! photos!

Also, this month I have selected the Poems of the Week that appear on The The and first up is Aditi Machado's poem 'How A Thing Turns Wretched'.

Go read.