Author: Rafa Gurrl

Doing this and that.

Ants, Ranting and a Poem

What I said was wrong, mom.

Every time I said I wanted to leave home

I was wrong.

Hostel sucks.

My room is such a mess

I’d have to fuss

About it

But I just don’t care because

It would never be like mine back home

There are ants every where

In my jar of sugar, they’re about to get into the coffee

How do I make them go away?

I’ve drawn Lakshman Rekha in rangoli patterns

On the shelves, on my trolleys, suitcases,

Cartons and big-shoppers, even books

I’ve sprinkled some powder that the security gave

“The ants will be gone in a day” he said

Nothing went, but followed in a fit of sneezes

And a headache

How come our kitchen never had these many ants, mom?

Would you let me in on your anti-ant secret?

I wipe, sweep (okay, once in a while) and dust

But the moment I turn the other way

To wipe the sweat off my forehead

The dirt

The pile of ugly, entangled hair comes

Rollin’ in like they were never tossed in,

In to the dustbin

Even the dustbin is never clean, mom.

I leave the dishes untouched for weeks

At least until the next time

I scrape up a barely edible bowl

Of noodles or corn flakes

Or a cup of coffee

But until then the rims of the cutlery

Turn dry and impossible to wash

What do you then, mom?

I have an idea.

Write me a book, a novella

On how to maintain a room,

Beat up a cockroach when it turns up at the middle of the night

When I’m trying to cram Phillips’ Curve,

What should I do when the uncooked noodles

Gives me a stomach ache,

How to keep the swept dust from making a run,

Fold clothes in a way that they look pressed

Or accurately ration my washing powder

I think I reek of soap nowadays

And, mom, how do I stop missing home?

It would save us a lot of phone calls too

Wouldn’t it?

The Fridge Index

Legend has it that I usually left people in awe by the measure of food I could gobble. Before this legend, my grandma has it that I ate very poorly and the margin of me turning into one of those malnourished kids in Africa whose ribs were protruding, was very thin because I averted my face and pursed my lips every time food was in a proximity of a meter. What retribution I had against food, only God knows. So my family prayed to him, bribed him and finally I started eating. It seems. And I haven’t stopped since.

Of the very few things I am good at (which is basically a compendium of two things) one is eating. Lately after moving into hostel and such, my meals have been reduced to poorly cooked noodles, corn flakes and chocos with mere hot water and mess food. Owing to such harsh Russian conditions I started dreaming of the refrigerator back at home when usually nocturnal visions were mainly of oil strapped guys from 300, Rafa Nadal and those guys who run chasing a ball for 90 minutes.

And now that I am home for the winter break and that I am well fed, my nocturnal functioning of brain is annealing, in case you were concerned about the preceding malfunction. Back to the point, last night or should I say very early morning since the time was 2 am –ish, I was hungry. It was not that kind of hungry that can be gratified by three gulps of water or a banana, neither was it the kind where a cup of coffee and a sandwich will do but it was the kind where you are not sure whether the rumble was of a thunder or the tummy. I planned on raiding the refrigerator. So I cautiously tip-toed my way to kitchen.

The fridge had everything. How come I’ve never noticed before. Everything except legit food.

  • There were two bowls of thick, creamy stuff; yesterday’s curd and today’s curd and two jars of pickle alongside a bottle of maroon nail polish from Latha Fancy Store next road.
  • A tray destitute of eggs where a packet of opened Marie biscuit was kept (No, Thank You).
  • Two Tupperware dabbas; idli maavu and dosa maavu
  • An unopened tiffin box (Haiyaa, tiffin box! Something should be there.)

Contents of the tiffin box: curry leaves, ginger, green chilies, coriander and pudhina.

I should have seen that coming.

  • Oh, there’s a plastic cover. Please let there be something. Bread is also fine. Ha ha. Paaku packet and beetle leaves. Paaah, such a big cover and so much scene for vethala paaku.
  • The shelves, nevertheless were neatly arranged by various stages of discolouring lemon that made me rethink of eating the lemon rice mother was planning to make for that day’s breakfast beside an unpeelable fruits from last wedding/family function, 98% empty bottles of Mayo and tomato sauce (for western breakfast, in case you were wondering) and baking soda (which has been there for ages).
  • Water bottle. I’ll at least have some cold water and quench the disappointment in fashion. *SPITS!* Jesus Christ Perumale WHAT WAS THAT? Panchakavyam. Just a svelte concoction of milk, a pinch of sacred ashes and cow’s urine.

 

I don’t think I will ever dream of the fridge again.

 

PS – I remember seeing a sketch of such a fridge somewhere on the Internet. If anyone remembers, tell me so I can add it here! 🙂

Kodambakam and Logic

Disclaimer: no offense intended, respective fans of the respective actor. Take a chill pill ra!

I’ve had my share of logic and an equal share of Tamil movies. Considering movies variable x and logic y, (believe me when I say I’ve had more than enough of logic) the correlation coefficient of x and y as per the Kollywood industry is perfectly positive though it makes no sense. I’ve had my share of logical Tamil movies (which is very very thin) and there’s illogical movies. Now, enough of shares.

The best thing to do before watching a movie is to forget Physics (very important, especially the concept of gravity), Chemistry (oh wait, there’s plenty of that), hell, forget Science, forget History (Kollywood creates it’s own history often portrayed by actors looking up with hazy eyes, smoke covering up the frame and a background score that fades out… FLASHBACK!), you might as well forget the myriad chores that you could get done instead of watching a movie.

Breaking down Tamil movies into elementary types

Head-ache inducing movies

  • Anjaan

This movie forced me and my parents (who rarely watch contemporary movies) to contemplate all the sins we have committed and how karma got back to us within 15 minutes of the movie. And and and, Actor Suriya please leave the singing to professionals for the sake of our ears and common good. Coerced watching off this movie should be made a legal punishment. Crimes, at least then, would boil down.

  • Anegan

After plausible acting in Aadukalam I thought maybe Dhanush wasn’t so bad after all despite mind numbing, superfluous movie Mayakam Enna. I don’t know what Anegan was all about. The storyline was strewn across different eras which maybe was just an ill effort to get Danush to act on all platforms. Just trying to interpret the story-line gave migraines. My grandma caught a fever watching this movie and it was summer.

Note: The difficulty in trying to understand Anegan is a midget compared to Vishwaroopam (which is vera-level and precisely why my grandma was advised against watching this movie). My own experience of the Vishwaroopam aftermath was plain discombobulation. Everyone seemed to get it. Or did you? Even Thatha went “paaru avan oru undercover la irukan and…” But for me it was like after a math class of complicated solving of calculus with trigonometric variables. “Whaaaaaaat?”

  • Irandam Ulagam

Director saar, enna solla varinga? Simply translated: see, director, I don’t understand the point of this movie. What do you want to tell this world? (Or the worlds. Considering the chromic parallel universes you’ve shown or miserably failed at trying to show in this movie). The one thing that I got from Irandam Ulagam was no matter where you are (Dubai kurukku sandhu or Mars) if that boy is for you, then that boy is for you despite your geographic location or your feelings towards him. He will find you and marry you.

Irandam Ulagam bottomline: Vaazhvo saavo, unnaku naan ennaku nee. (Life or death, I’m yours and you are mine).

We-put-Houdini-to-shame movies

  • Sura, Villu

I can hear your “don’t even”. why Why WHY? Why does actor Vijay have a lousy discernment when it comes to choosing scripts (slyly pointing out Puli also)? How Vijay can fight and restrain those many villians with burnt Ramen noodles for hair, we’ll never know. How he disengages from those inches-thick rusty chains that the villians tie him up in, we’ll never know. How he can soundly function (which includes delivering punch dialogues that flacks anti-poor people, his thangachis; younger sisters and the society) with multiple stabs of knife, aruvaa-cuts, thwacks on the head that could have easily lead to Ghajini-2, we’ll never know. I don’t just point out Vijay here but tons other actors who have defied the laws of science altogether. But we do know, as per the Kollywood Encyclopedia, heroes have improbable ammunitions that aren’t up for query.

  • Asal, Alwar, Billa-2

*loses hope on writing about this and relocates to one of the worlds from Irandam Ulagam*

Et tu Brute? 

  • Lingaa

I still cannot savvy the reason behind Rajnikanth accepting to do this movie. After blockbuster, perennial hits like Muthu and all; Ravikumar and Rajnikanth came up with this make. I wouldn’t go as far as saying flop because Rajnikanth and positing that would become a divine allegation (deiva kuththam for those who get Tamil). I mean scenes like the climax, where Rajnikanth jumps off a chopper on to a hot-air balloon with a fatal depth (if speaking logically) but lands without a scratch and robbery of a thing of prominent value pulled off with just a sticker-pottu and balloons? It was like watching Chutti TV.

  • Manmadhan Ambu

Ummmm uhh *laughs nervously* haha *sweats anxiously*

*starts hyperventilating* *collapses clumsily*.  All in the hope that Kamal Haasan deduces and arrives at a solution as to why I passed out trying to dissect his movie. The answer is in the question. What is the question? The answer.

Oh, I even sound like Kamal Haasan now! In a sentence: Kamal should’ve stopped after Dasavatharam.

“Tries to pull tongue and die after watching” movies

  • Alex Pandian, All in all Azhaguraja

To be honest, I couldn’t sit through both the movies and I didn’t. But as far I got, the comedy was feeble, strenuous pressure to make jokes was evident and there was nothing in the movie. It made me think about the preciousness of life and it shouldn’t be trifled with.

  • REMO

The main reason I started out this blog post was because of how childish and irrational this movie was. It’s been a around 4 hours since I saw this movie and immediately wanted tell someone how uninspiring despite the feel-goodness element this movie was. And wow, Sivakarthiyen saar, how quickly you change back from the heavily-worked saree, at-least three layers of make-up, that glossy, man, glossy doll-adikkum lip gloss (which would’ve taken minimum 10 minutes to rub off completely says my meager knowledge on stuff like these) in to a sharp man with a crisp-less blue suit, hot gelled hair and fresh roses in hand within 2 minutes. How? And this is just one of the many unbelievable moments.

  • The last one.

In a word: Vishal.

In a gif:

kv42l

“Sir, what about gravity?” “I didn’t like that movie.”

1509

The house was not too big. It was very old, the bricks were huge, it was Victorian style. I hated living in that house because the ceilings were very high, there were very few windows, small cupboards with glasses everywhere and a very rude neighbor who wouldn’t let me play tennis against the wall because her husband had an eternal tooth ache. For four long years I had to endure existing in that house. We shifted to a pretty house and all that now, but suddenly I found myself conversing with my brother how we enjoyed our days wandering the Trichy Road because we couldn’t stand that house. And that struck my memory cord.

Despite the house’s infrastructure, it was at the heart of the city. Kannan Departmental store was at my doorstep, Hot Vada was two steps away, Race Course was a two minute ride and my library was at Race Course, my school was almost opposite to my house, Aryaas hotel was another neighbor along our block, our best friends’ lived in same locality and Spencer’s was so close to us. The proximity was striking. The Spencer’s bakery was something to die for especially their foccacio and pinapple truffle and croissant. Unfortuantely, the shop wound up months before our shift. Our favorite CD-DVD/book shop also was close to us. As luck would have it, we spent a lot of time outside.

The house was dingy and dark at some places (like the room next to the dining room) but made a good place to read Stephen King’s novel. It was more than 150 years old and was built by British, lived by one and an Indian bought it one day. Ownerships changed and for four years we lived there. Everybody –except me- adopted to the tall ceilings and red surfaced floor and small windows. The house also had it’s own advantages – proximity to best eating joints, theatres, book shops and library. All was very convenient to my parents.

Still the house and living in the house bugged me. I got embarassed everytime I brought my friends home and I’d apologise to my parents, to my friends, to myself. Eventually, the visits became infrequent. My home was just about the school. So, I walked back from school at times.And I’d walk extra slowly, cautious that I waste time. It was that house. All the time. It was pomp and grand but not sublime. House is a home when you fit in. When the bricks feel like your bones and the walls became a source of warmth in the winter.

It still bewilders me how my family lived in. They lived so normally. I’m not saying the house is haunted. Gosh, no. I just had a different perspective. The first day was horrible because 1) the ceiling was preposterously high. I mean, it was weird.The sun rays hit my eyes. 2) I saw a cat walking in the backyard. It was big, white and hideous. Offensive too. I hate cats. 3) It rained.4) There were things all over the place. Here, there, on the dining table, next to the telly, inside the fridge, on my head and under my bed. 5) I had school next day. First day of class 9 and I didn’t know where my school bag was inside that swollen house. Hence, bad first day.

I started getting out of the house. I would rove between Race Course and the small eateries. Food makes everything better. And then my brother joined me. We’d eat ice creams, veggie rolls, popcorn, almost everything that is fried and costs less that Rs. 30. I have this incoherent notion that street food tastes the best. Okay, street vendors-houseflies-contagious-not clean-roadside- I’ve heard it all. But there are hygenic food stalls, lots which serve sumptous, healthy and luscious food. My favorite is deep fried sweet corn cutlet from Apple Bees, Race Course. Plus, I also belive that savories that cost above a certain amount of money is just not worth it. You might go to Creme Centre, Taj because prestige. They sell dosa for Rs.250! Be rational. Small shopkeepers are concerned about their customers like I get extra sauce on all chows.

This doesn’t mean that I was a tramp or a vagabond and always out of the house. That would be very ‘bad girl’. I was out occasionally. Like the walk from school or cycling to the library or fitness walking at Race Course (where I ate more than walking) or after Tennis classes again at Race Course. It was fun. Now, I miss that fun. And family.

Homesickness strikes.

Looking For Alaska

It is not a book about a man in search of Alaska. It’s about a boy, a girl, their friends and figuring out what the labyrinth is and how to get out of it. Let me get my facts straight – it is not a romantic novel where the book is so full of misunderstanding and French kisses, it is not a book of thrilling, electrifying guys in masks holding hostage, it is not book that has stonking magic spells/noseless villains and it is not a book where our future world is in ruins and it’s civil war every direction you turn and it is not a book where the leading lady has interminable sex with a copper-haired Grey. Plus, it is not a book where at least one person has cancer (you have The Fault In Our Stars for that).

Personally, Looking For Alaska is reality. Some (or mostly) books are written of unimaginable or too perfect circumstances. You have Hogwarts and Magic and School of America at Paris and congenial parents and Success + Happy Endings with a kiss. If you expect or crave these while reading a book then Looking For Alaska is not for you. The thing about this book is reality. Unfazed reality. You ache for Alaska with Pudge. You undergo the fear of being expelled and abhor poverty though knee deep in it with the Colonnel. And munch bufriedos with Takumi.

Maybe it’s my hormones but I languished to live the parts of Alaska and Pudge together be it reading Vonnegut after midnight at the soccer field or porn hunting or playing Decapitation. I want to live them. Why, John Green, why? Alaska has this big Question – figuring out what the labyrinth is and how to get out of it. She is a deeply sad person (by her own words), very smart; well, she teaches calculus to her mates, smokes and drinks hard and loves sex. Oh, did I mention? She has a rich boyfriend, Jake.

To write down one favorite scene/chapter/moment would mean doing the ten other scene/chapter/moment injustice. There are lots of brilliant lines to quote and fathomless thoughts to ponder over. But the one I love the most is

“There comes a time when we realise that our parents cannot save themselves or save us, that everyone who wades through time eventually gets dragged out to sea by the undertow – that, in short, we are all going.”

Paper or Pixel?

When I was a kid, my father would take me to his friend’s book shop at Lakshmi Complex and I would browse through immense titles and run my fingers along the spines of the books just for the thrill of it. The aura of bookshops is the pretentious fact that there are hundred other people inside those books at different places and vibrant state of affairs at different worlds altogether. That distinct fact is truant in the case of online shopping of books. Panoramically, I would say that book shops and libraries are macroscopical engulfment of fabricated lives. There was a time when I would select my books by fervently glancing at the four-lined description given by the publishers and literally sway on my toes while my father too reads it for approval before purchasing it. Later on the way home, there is an irresistible tingle of anticipation to start reading the book. I would take a few hours or a maximum of two days to finish my book that always leaves my mother with a look of stupor that says – “We just bought you that book.”

The flush of exhilaration when I’m at a book shop is unaccountable. There would be infinite books facing me and the sweet pain is that my parents allowed only a couple of books to purchase at a time. Ergo, the selection was arduous. The best part was beholding the vivacious cover pages of each book. They ranged from titles engrossed cover pages, glossy cover pages, minimal themes and so forth. They played a major role in my book selection at the book shop and hitherto they have not let me down.

Through my early teens, I enrolled in a library owing to my rapidly growing need for books. While reading the library’s copy of The Great Gatsby I stumbled upon dried, yellowy tear drops embedded on the page where Gatsby dies. Then I noticed that physical books – unlike virtual books – absorb anthropoid feelings. Similarly, in a copy of a Stephen Kings novel at an electrifying phase, I found the page gently crumbled. Some books are dog-eared, some are not, some books are filled with remarks along the margin and some are highlighted; Books define the reader. Poring over literary collections virtually is something that I have not been able to wrap my head around.

But lately, I have been consecrating my time reading e-books and PDF versions because they are mostly free of cost and easily portable within an app of my phone unlike the considerably dense books. The perusal of virtual editions of books has brought a tardily evolving eye pains and headaches. Hence, I decided to go back to the hardbound copies and paperbacks. It is after sometime that I realized how bereft I have been of the papery texture, the compressed spine, the myriad of curves through each page and the evident fragrance of each word. Books on Kindle, laptops and phones are well movable but the bends and curves of a physical book are pertinacious. I hope this occult war between physical books and e-books come to an end because it is understandable that each variation has its own rewards and limitations. Yet I sense an abstract compulsion to impel my view that a ‘book’ regardless of its definition, is bound by stacks of papers filled with stories to tell and wisdom to impart.

Sum(meme)mer.

So summer 2016 was basically rainy, wet, dark and cold that otherwise meant hot coffee, chocolate, always tucked under sheets, cardigans and … *drum rolls, please* INSTAGRAM (if it was sunny too). I come across so many posts and my friends unlike me are usually busy so I am left devoid of people to send screenshots to or tag them in memes so I’m posting them here. Okay fine, I know, I’m boring you. Just scroll your way through these memes.

 

download - Copy

huehuehue

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Mom, what matters is that we have our health.

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Based on a true story.

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J-O-H-N, C-E-N-A!

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As a war takes place in my tummy. *grumbles*

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One of a kind instrument… hmm…

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Ditto, bro.

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Water? WTF is that? Send me the link.

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Let me rethink.

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wha?

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Later: ehhhhh

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Toeing that fine line.

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Couldn’t have put it better.

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mine too. they had to take a moment and welcome the trouble.

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phew

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Gran-xit.

Aiyo, lame no?

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I’m a wot?