Sunday, February 28, 2016

In praise of Aligarh

Last night, I watched Aligarh. I don't watch many movies at the cinema, but I had been really looking forward to this one, after seeing the director speak last month. And it delivered fully on my expectations.

Based on real events, the movie follows the story of a professor, Siras, who is filmed, without his consent, having sex with another man. He is then suspended and publicly rebuked by the university officials, and thrown out of his apartment.

Every bit of the movie is brilliant - every sound, every frame, every bit of scenery, every silence seems to fit just right (which reminds me of Manoj Bajpayee's Siras talking about poetry and saying "It's not in the words, but in the pauses, the silences.")

Bajpayee is as excellent as ever: his Siras is dignified, gentle, introverted. His bearing, his clothes, his speech scream "professor" (my dad was one, and I'd mostly grown up within colleges, so this made him even more endearing to me).

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

How we killed Rohith Vemula

Till recently, I was very unaware of my own caste privilege. And I have been trying to come to turns with it, trying to understand, to learn.

I mourn Rohith, and I feel guilty for his death.
We forged the scythe of our hate and fear
In fires of contemptuous fury and flaming prejudice
We cooled it in bitter callousness
And pretended it wasn’t a weapon. 
And we cut the grass, instead of burning it
We saved it and let it dry
And strand by bitter strand we wove it
To help our victim die.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

I'm a Ladyfinger!

I'm thrilled to have a piece published on the Ladies Finger. It's a very personal piece about my grandmother's death and my visit to my relatives, which turned out to be a much happier event than I'd anticipated.

I very much admire the Ladies Finger -- it's my favourite Indian website/publication! If you're not reading it already, you should.

Bonus: here are a few pictures of the trip.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Books I read in January

I'm going to copy Aishwarya and keep a monthly tally of the books I read, with a few sentences on what I thought about them. 

One Point Two Billion, a book of short stories by Mahesh Rao: I attended the book launch, which featured an interview of the author by Jerry Pinto, and was immense fun. I brought both Rao's books home, planning to put them aside to read later, since I had other books I'd planned to read. But I couldn't help looking inside this, and was quickly drawn in. Each story has a very distinct point of view, and each was intriguing, some incandescent. It's rare that I don't dislike - or like less - at least one story in a collection. Each narrator/protagonist was sympathetic even though some of them did awful, and in one case, horrific things. Each one managed to surprise me. The writing is beautiful, with some radiant phrases that you learn to look out for, much like a treasure hunt.