Tuesday, May 31, 2011

7 + 8

Most Underrated Book:

I think calling The Beetle underrated is a little off, a better word would be neglected. I have these pulp phases where I read purely to feel the satisfaction of being fed a ludicrous story, so imagine my wide, wide smile of happiness after I finished reading this for our secondyear course on Popular and Genre Fiction in the 19th Century. I'm prone to thinking that most pulp authors are underrated purely because they're pulp (and because I am unwaveringly supportive of flagrant drama) so this shouldn't come as a surprise, more so because all of this book is sheer stupendousness. I realise this tag's become a reiteration of things I've already written about when it comes to books I like, which is why I should've saved myself from agonising over this and done the one on movies instead.

Most overrated book:

Agh, I don't know. I'm more often disappointed with the inability of a writer to sustain one brilliant book after another (what, and you're not?) than the reading of something unsatisfactory, so while the standard answers - Love Story, A Passage to India, and English, August - all stand, may I please take a minute to point out the sheer ghastliness of everything Zadie Smith has written after White Teeth? I couldn't get through either The Autograph Man or On Beauty so I doubt this applies as an answer. Doesn't mean my heart remains unbroken when this happens, though, I love the way she writes. 

Monday, May 30, 2011


Day Six: A book that makes you sad.

As a companion piece to the last, also the last really sad book I read so no point trying to think of other sad books. Or attempt to describe exactly how it broke my heart. So devastatingly perfect. And vice versa.  

Friday, May 27, 2011

Day Five, Belated.

Day Five: A book that makes you happy, Or, Sohini already took Durrell.

From such a long time ago. The first Wodehouse I ever read. A friend of my mother's gifted it to me on my thirteenth or fourteenth birthday, and it's still my favourite book by him for purely sentimental reasons. I know every story in it by heart but I never talk about it and I never bring it up because I love what it's about so much - twelve vintage cases, as the cover says, of good eggs and decent chaps entangled in snares of young love. I still think Wodehouse does the best job, without hamming it, of making gawky love feel happy, no that's not the word, quietly joyous, and I can't help but appreciate that because it adds much to the moment whenever I pick it up. But this book isn't even completely about love; I keep getting the feeling it's more about those much-required instances, those I Feel Just Like a Child moments. So there, defeat awkwardness with maximum ridiculosity. This is where it all started.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

And again.

Yeh tamanna hai ki azaad-e-tamanna hi rahoon.

Monday, May 23, 2011

30 Day Book Challenge, Day Two

Day Two: A book you've read more than thrice:

First-choice standard replies:


Because, as has already been established, pithy twisted wisdom is one of my things. I'd throw in Breakfast at Tiffany's and The Little Prince and To Kill a Mockingbird as other standards, but since this is a, uh, challenge, I wanted to think of a book I've reread these past five years. Which is futile because there's nothing I've reread fairly these past five years from start till end. True story. I've only picked up already-read books to reread favourite chapters or scenes, but Bradbury I return to because it's something I puzzle over and like puzzling over. Not because dystopian premises are another one of my things (who're we kidding, of course they are) but because of the deceptively terse sentences and the way it progresses and the way it ends - I don't think this book will ever cease to fascinate me, so my cheat answer would be Fahrenheit 451

I'm skipping Day Four and Five. There aren't many series I've completed reading (another thing, kill me kill me carnage carnage aaaa) so no point. Plus I'm a Discworld noob, here's outcast material for you. Off the top of my head I loved His Dark Materials and the first two Bartimaeus books and Artemis Fowl till he went sappy and I stopped reading Colfer, which I should probably rectify because I could very much do with a Fowl book now. But I diverge. Favourite book of favourite series, why the hell, please, don't test my patience. Everyone knows I have a thin with the middle books of trilogies, and I have my reasons for obsessing over this, witness The Golem's Eye and The Subtle Knife - optimum length due to excellently estimated imaginative reign leading to restrained maudlinness leading to the right twist ending paving way for the last book (which is always so grandiose it trips over itself) - they always have just the right amount of everything. But not The Two Towers. Ride and rest. Ride and rest. Ride and rest. Eat elf bread. Ride and Rest. Ok I'll stop now.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

30 Day Book Challenge, Day One

Day One: The Best Book You Read Last Year:

I can't explain why exactly I loved this so much, maybe because it's about old people. I love old people. And little children. I love the fact that they're unafraid to be brutally honest about the world, it's like they're one step closer to absolute wisdom when compared to the rest of us. Goes to prove we're born with it and die with it, only hindered somewhat in the middle by a compulsion to act like first-rate morons. This book has an exceedingly smart old lady in it and there are strange animals and buildings and lots of craziness and an inexplicable nuclear winter, but then Carrington wasn't exactly your standard Surrealist. What I love most about it is that it came to me at the right time, just when I needed to read something short and unconstrained. I haven't read as much as I'd wanted to since college started, I've become crabbier and intolerant and impatient and abandoned more books than I care to admit, but this one got me started on a reading spree all of last December and I'm grateful for that. My best read of last year is therefore a choice based purely on serendipity, but the best part is there's nothing you can do about it. So there, watch me grin.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dogs baffle me. I suspect they always will. No matter, it's never been detrimental to the lovin'. I want to be a dog in my next life and not have to give a fuck. Not a superfast pedigree dog or a mongrel, just a normal pup will do.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

de profundis

love like a sunset
sink into the sea
turn into a shipwreck nibbled by the little fishies

wait for deep sea divers
to find a bottle heart
they'll put it in a museum smelling like a perfumed fart

mouldy as you're parked now
pickled deep in blue
a squid will come by sometimes (squid sightings are few)

and it's worth it in this funny place
to see him spray ink too -
you're sticky, but he's found himself a mottled sunset loo.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Five things


the hearts of sunflowers


being caught fishfaced at a moment like this


what would ordinarily be a creepy pigeon, but I can't hear it over the falling rain


banana oatmeal pancakes with honey and watermelon


drama outside my window


Thursday, May 12, 2011

I try not to write You posts because there's always the possibility of my not having a concrete You in mind when I'm writing them. I might be addressing many Yous, or I might not mean a You at all but a We and that just complicates things so why bother. It's not romantic or schizophrenic, you gather, just claustrophobic. Such a tussle, this indecision about writing to a You or about a You. There's always a time to decide to throw everything in and put one's anonymity to test but this is isn't it so I'm going to have to talk about other things. So many things. It's time the watermelon clock came back, I think. It's time many things came back. Black and grey too. I'm spending all my time on 8tracks and discovering songs to dedicate to a lot of people but it's all being held forth till I can sit down and breathe. Till then, this. Till then, thoughts of August. Sweat on upper lip dirty toes a chilled beer craving, it could be anything really. Signs everywhere, just that misreading might be a slight problem because I'm not here, this isn't happening, that's right, I told you this wasn't a You post. Now do the math.

I still haven't written my paper. I should be having mixed feelings about this but I don't, I'd happily take all my exams tomorrow just to be done with this so that I can walk back in through 4nombor and walk easy.

On an unrelated note, I think a largeish chunk of my life would've been different if I could've just thought up a cool nickname for myself at the right time. Like at sixteen. The people I truly love and who truly know me know that just Priyanka will do, it's the best that can be done because it's not a malleable name and Pinka's just retarded. It truly is, no street cred potential whatsoever. It's endearing at times but it doesn't always come from the right people. I can't remember who came up with it but I remember it being in school and having something to do with my aversion to pink (which has over time mellowed down to an aversion of pastel pink), I suppose I could've tried to live it down but that's just not my deal. Some people call me Kumar and some call me nicer things but there will always be someone calling me Pinka and it's not their fault and it's not like I mind but there it is, just an oversight. Besides, it's not too bad. Much better than the squeals that went with "Peekay class mein aayi hai, dekho."

Friday, May 6, 2011

So here's the lowdown on sudden bursts of feeling kicked: Wikipedia helps. I have this tee that I love so much I never wear it. I remember buying it in front of the Indian Museum one random walkaround day in second year with Senjuti, it was ill fitting and a little tattered but it didn't matter because it had the Mothership illustration on it. And here's a champion for cheapness, it was thirty bucks. And since I knew Mothership was a compilation album I never really bothered checking it out (what fan buys compilation albums anyway and all that) but the artwork just looked so very good. And now its termpaper time and I'm all over the internet and I just found out it's by Shepard Fairey, so excuse me while I go feel like an accidental art collector. Over and out.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It's been a while since I sat up for dawn. Feels good. This hollow socketed feeling is worth it for the chilliness, ditto birdcalls, not to mention the overall pinkness of things. In an ideal world I'd be heading out for breakfast now. In this world I'm making myself maggi. I'm supposed to be writing something else somewhere else but fuck that, it's dawn.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I am always oddly touched by enthusiasm at plainly wrong moments, by eagerness in the midst of desultory conversation, by that absorbed look in some eyes, absolute unwavering concentration, things like that. Maybe it's because I'm a vacillator; my love for the world is almost always a selfish two-way affair where I love everything intensely in short bursts and then put it aside and move on to something else. Which is why these few people I know, they constantly astonish me with their ability to love and commit and sustain and rekindle, and they're doing such a damn fine job it breaks my heart. I know it's far too uncool to care hereabouts and I know we're all nonchalants looking for new ways to prove we're freaks but you guys, you know who you are, you guys will always make my heart light up because of these little blinding beams of intensity, for returning smiles and whoops and for breaking all the walls I put up around me. You're all A-class lovers and you know it, there's no need for me to write this except to slowly wrap my head around the idea that I too might in little shaky motions be able to zoom in and focus and stay, always stay.