Tuesday, August 23, 2005

First Bulletin from NYC

The sun is slanting in through the salmon pink venetian blinds and a tree (of unspecified race and gender) nodding outside the window of my New York buddies Kiran & Andre's upper-West-side apartment. It is a canonically beautiful mid-summer day here and even though the sun is, for me, NOT a friendly entity (I have an on-again off-again sun-allergy), I can appreciate it here much more than I can in Dilli the Grilli.

I am recovering sloooowly from my cold, have had my first re-acquaintance with the NYC subway system and yesterday saw my first rehearsal of HARVEST at NYU's TISH (sp? Not sure) Centre. Erin B Mee, the director is like a high tension wire in human form -- she crackles with positive energy. Her team is warming up to their task: it is a strange thing for me, watching the play YET AGAIN -- seeing all the familiar moments, recognizing them in yet another interpretation, trying to disengage my last impressions from the newest ones ... all that stuff. Three of the principle characters are Indian, the mother is Philipino and the primary guard is Greek.

The set has been designed to be extremely cramped, to provide a visual reference to the constraints under which the family lives. I like that.
One of the earliest ideas I had for a set design was a cage constructed out of iron struts, with the family boxed in and visible from all sides.

And Amro, as for walking off the fuel-intake -- basically, forget it, okay? Obviously you have the metabolism of a five year old child. I, on the other hand, have the metabolism of a camel. I was apparently built to survive in desert conditions for months without food or water, without feeling much distress because I DO walk around and I do sweat/feel tired etc but I DO NOT lose weight!! So the only alternative, other than becoming a blimp, is to avoid eating anything I don't absolutely HAVE to. It is SO annoying. *ANGRY SIGH*

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Penguins on Ice

The first leg of the trip -- i.e., arrival in Boston -- is successfully completed, *phew*. Though I DID pick up a cold germ along the way and am only just surfacing from the suicidal depression that overtakes me from the moment I feel the first sniffles coming on. Guh. Whoever invented old rhinovirus was NOT a compassionate and all-knowing deity! But I have plugged myself up with drugs and two days later am feeling vaguely human again (which means, in my terms, not really normal at all).

I and E got in to Bos on Friday evening, where my niece & her consort were waiting for us at the airport. We've been enjoying the home comforts of my niece's very pretty little apartment since then. Last night the four of us went to see a documentary film called The March of The Penguins which could easily double as a promotional film for Heroic Fatherhood. As most of you probably know, the male Emperor Penguin stands out on the antarctic ice for at least two whole months, in the dead of winter, balancing an egg on his toes and starving, waiting for the tiny, black-and-white fluffy-toy chick to hatch. Not for the faint-of-heart, penguin parenthood! Through fearsome blizzards and the cheerless dark of the sunless polar winter, lit only by the fitful magic of the Aurora Australis, the birds stand and guard their single eggs. In time the females, who have gone off to feed, return plump and sleek, ready to take over from their mates. The whole routine is so doomed to failure, that it is wholly miraculous that the creature survives at all. Beautiful photography. We can only image what tortures the camera crew had to endure to remain at their post, filming away through storm and -80 temperatures. Rather like penguin fathers, come to think of it ...
And so to close. Today, (Sunday) my trip is about to shift its next gear: I and E both leave my niece's home, going first to Providence(Rhode Island) with our friend MAUDE, an artist and also Bhopal-friendly activist. Later today I'll peel off to NYC, while E stays on in Providence and then goes to the West Coast.
Amro, I am sorry to disappoint you, but the best I can do in the way of food-reportage is to speak of the number of items I have successfully RESISTED eating. Currently, for instance, as I write this, there is a container (unopened) of small, toothsome-looking oatmeal cookies on top of the fridge. I can hear their plaintive voices calling to me: Eat us! Eat us! But I have turned a deaf ear to them, thinking only of 2% milk and low-carb cereal. *sigh*

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Yow! The Virgin Flight Approacheth!

Two days left to go -- no, no, wait ... make that ONE DAY!! Eeek. As may be obvious, I am not a calm and placid traveller. I fret and sweat and lose sleep then fret some more. I think the reason I do it is that I believe it calms the spirits of misadventure which have been my close companions through most of my life. It puts them to sleep, confident that one of their charges is having a seriously awful time chewing off her own toe-nails.

I think I had best stop writing about (them) in case (they) learn to read blogs and get onto my case.

Okay -- aside from dwindling resources of placidity -- not much has happened. Or to put it differently, the things that have happened are just the usual ones: I have FINALLY finished the Tulika book -- well, upto the artwork level. The text still needs to be inserted, but that's not going to happen till I return, in late November -- and scanned in all the artwork and sent 17 pages away. And there is now a completed poster artwork for the Philadelphia/NYC production of HARVEST -- I hope to post it here tomorrow. And there may even be a cover artwork for ... uh-oh. Better not mention it till it's made it past the proof-stage. In my experience, anything that gets discussed in advance of being printed never gets printed. So there. Yes, I am superstitious. Not in silly ways of course, only in deadly serious ways, such as this, in reference to printed work.

In other news, I met Arnab Chakladar (CEO, Grand Chancellor, Supreme Webblorium etc., etc. of Another Subcontinent, the excellent web-site whose link is featured in the column to the right) and his Korean lady, at my restaurant-du-moment, PLOOF. It was a fun lunch, even though the food was ... somehow unmemorable. Ah well. Can't have good company AND good food, I s'pose. One or the other is bound to suffer for lack of attention.

And in blog-news, let it be known that I have FINALLY up-dated the game-board of my long-neglected SudoCritters Game, featured a little further down on this page. I do not, alas, have the energy to count up points. I suspect that Minal has won. And perhaps Pramod too. The only certainty is that I have NOT. This reminds me of those birthday parties where the birthday-child's family is boringly fair-minded and does NOT insist that only the birthday-child can win at the games at his/her own party. *sigh* You can guess which species of family I belong to. Well go on then, Minal and/or Pramod! I have a move or two to make but you can start your victory parades. Thanks for being patient ... for playing along ... for ... ummm ... winnning? Okay! For winning too. That was super fun.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


Yes, I will fry in one of the nastier regions of Hell for using up precious last moments before departure NEXT WEEK *YOW* to post links to sites about kitties but ... I guess my place in Hell has been reserved for so long I might as well use up all my badness privileges to the hilt. Okay, so here are four funny sites in reference to Our Favourite Animal -- taken from an article published in the New York Times entitled How the Oh-So-Domestic Feline Became the Internet's Best Friend, by Sarah Boxer (rather an ironic name, don't you s'pose, for someone reporting on cats?). A good piece, but the best bits are the linx (or do I mean LYNX?)(sorry)(ghastly pun). There's RatherGood which shows cats catterwauling;MyCatHatesYou that features a gallery of fearsome beasties; InfiniteCat wherein you can see what happens when cats get to watch cats watching cats watching cats ... and finally, best of all (in my opinion) is LitterBoxCam in which ... oh, just go there yourself! Why should I be the only one wasting my time staring at a static picture of two kitty-litter boxes??

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Back in Nude Elly

Returned on Monday (1st Aug) night, but hit the ground running -- my trip to the US is less than three weeks away and there are towering stacks of work to be finished before take-off. Some part of the work involves getting ready for the trip -- such as doing a poster for the production of HARVEST that will be staged in Philadelphia in mid-September. I'll post an image of it here once it's complete ... I consider it a mixed blessing to be asked to do graphics for my own written work -- on the one hand, it means I can't blame anyone else if the results are terrible, but on the other hand, it means there's only my own vision framing my stuff. I am always looking out for that cover/poster/whatever by someone ELSE which might give me an insight into how my work is viewed by other people (-- not merely critics and reviewers, but PEOPLE, if you get my point) and/or might augment my work by presenting a different perspective. But it's usually much easier to just leap up and do it myself anyway.

I haven't been posting impressions of my trip in Madras because ... it was SO PLEASANT. There are two reasons it was pleasant. One was that my niece's new baby has caused the family to experience a general cease-fire in all hostilities -- everyone seems to have mellowed in the presence of extreme youth! What a relief. The other factor was that my mother's domestic help team has changed finally and for the better this time. The result is a profound reduction in psychic stress in the house -- that atmosphere of distrust and crisis-pre-emption that has scarred the past four years had entirely dissipated. I believe I could write a thesis on the effects of demonic domestic help upon a household, but alas it would take more time than I have. It was just a very peaceful, comfortable 8 days in the company of my Mum and other family members.

Of the several interesting/silly things seen and discussed, I'd like to refer only to one -- Dan Brown's ANGELS AND DEMONS -- under the category of "things too ridiculous to be mentioned in polite company". I never did get around to reading The Da Wiggly Code but entered A & D on account of a recommendation from Someone (who shall remained unidentified) who said, "The writing's terrible, of course, but there are some fascinating ideas in there --" Well, I guess my fascination-threshold is too low for the book to do anything for me. I am now reading it to give myself horror-disgust thrills -- yes, I know that best-sellers are almost guaranteed to be trash, but this is ridiculous! I can only suppose that the author has recognized that his average reader is barely out of Moron Kindergarten, as a result of which he/she will never have heard of, eg., CERN or perhaps even the whole of Switzerland ... My guess is that this approach allows his readers to think they are really smart, UNLIKE the protagonists, who appear to be so ignorant and under-intuitive that every event is for them a megaton shock and/or an impossibly rare, unexpected fragment of knowledge. Guh. I am so glad not to be human.