Mere Madness

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Grey Matter

OK. I’m hooked. To Grey’s Anatomy. Why so many short sentences? I want you to feel the staccato. It’s not a gradual liking. It’s the instant shot of Anastasia. A powerful swig of red bull. I’m HOOKED.

The first two episodes gave me a feeling of deja-vu—a lighter version of ER mixed with the intro and exit narrative of Desperate Housewives. It seemed like one of those replicas based on previously successful formulae. But I was in for a surprise. The cast comprising of five surgical interns Dr Meredith Gray (Ellen Pompeo), Dr. Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh), Dr George O'Malley (TR Knight), Dr Isobel "Izzie" Stevens (Katherine Heigl), Dr. Alex Karev (Justin Chambers); one resident Dr Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson), three Attendings Dr. Addison Forbes Montgomery-Shepherd (Kate Walsh), Dr. Derek Shepherd a.k.a. "McDreamy" (Patrick Dempsey), Dr. Preston Xavier Burke (Isaiah Washington) and one Chief of Surgery Dr. Richard Webber (James Pickens, Jr).

The show weaves in and out of their private and professional lives, each episode slowly throwing up ice-cream cone truths (plain, there for all to see and half as appealing as the actual ice-candy) of life. The plot is unpretentious and taut, and most of the times quite unfrivilous. What Grey’s Anatomy heavily relies on is soundtracks. Each episode is named after a song. Besides, every episode has 3-6 unreleased soundtracks from various bands. In fact the bands Snow Patrol and The Fray have gained immensely from GA as "Chasing Cars" and The Fray's "How to Save a Life" became top 5 hits after appearing in the show. Both the create Shonda Rhimes and music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas, deserve a pat on their backs for the brilliant use of brilliant music.

Visit: or the official site: for more dope.

My Dissected Frogs

Sometimes I wish I could pick out my confusing thoughts from the clear ones and place them in neat shelves in the cute little left side of my brain. And then separate the CTs from COs and dissect it like a Science student would to a frog. Analyse the different organs, what makes the frog jump, croak, tick and live; what turns his colour green; and where do the bloody insects go once swapped by his tongue. And then hope that like the very same Science student, I don’t faint.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Writing Contests

Writing contests at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2007

Caferati is managing four contests for the Literature and Writing section of the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2007.

Go straight through to the individual contest pages for details.
  • SMS Poetry — 160-character poetry — About Submit
  • Flash Fiction — very short stories — About Submit
  • Graphic Flash — very short stories, told with visuals — About Submit
  • Poetry Slam — performance poetry, live and head-to-head — About Submit

All these contests are open to anyone, anywhere. However, the Poetry Slam is a live event at the Festival, so it’s a bit pointless to submit if you live elsewhere, unless you are prepared to travel to Kala Ghoda for the event at your own expense, if you are selected.

The deadline for all of them is midnight, IST, February 4, 2007.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Brick Brawn and Brown

First-timer Rain Johnson’s Brick has all these elements and more. The film starts with the protagonist, Brenden Frye’s (Joseph Gordon Levitt) pensive crouching pose reminiscent of the Thinker. The ensuing long shot then leads us to the setting of a tunnel where a few feet away from Brenden lays the body of a blond girl sprawled next to the flowing water. As Steve Yedlin’s camera deliciously and shockingly presents a montage of the girl’s brown skirt, blond hair and electric-blue painted fingernails on a hand with true-blue bangles, it sets the stage for a noir-ish thriller which alternatively vows, shocks and surprises you at every turn. Since this first scene, the film belongs to three people—Director Johnson, Second-in command Yedlin and the prophet Levitt.

Simply put, Brick is about high-school drug trade and some student and non-student players in the lucrative business of giving students their first, second and sometimes…their last high. When Brenden receives a call from his now-dead ex-girlfriend Emily (Emilie de Ravin) for help, his incisive mind decides that he will go all out to be there for her. He seeks help from a prototype of a geek, The Brain (an endearing Matt O’Leary) who adds on to his insights with some research data to chart out a map of the drug pyramid. Repeatedly warned by almost every character to leave this business alone, Brenden, like every protagonist, goes out to seek The Pin (Lukas Hass) who is at the top of the drug pyramid; but he does so with a clear vision often aided by his rimless spectacles. As he picks through the maze with the help of clue-conversations with vampish seductive Kara, brainless-brawny Brad, hunkish Tugger, dope Dode and velvet-voiced rich girl Laura, Branden’s charismatic composure wins him brownie points with all concerned…including the devious Pin. With many encounters, as the scars and abrasions on his face begin to change from fresh red to deep brown, Brenden slowly uncovers the truth behind the blacks, whites, grays and browns of Brick.

A few cliché’s rule the roost (WARINING: SUSPENSE SPOILER) which are as glaring as the mole on a mafia boss’s face…like Brenden’s spotless-clean gray jacket which he wears all the time and loses it in the second last scene when the pyramid collapses and his final scene of the confrontation with Laura; like the overpowering presence of the colour brown which incidentally is present in almost every scene, right from Brenden’s brown leather boots, to Emily’s brown skirt, to the wooden interiors of the Pin’s basement, to the apple juice that Pin’s mother gives the thoroughly thrashed Brenden after his first confrontation with the Pin. Artfully inserted, brown sets the tone of the movie, until the end where the Brick is white.

The plot is carried forward by words; starkly in contrast with some action that you might expect, most action comes from and is generated by words. As Levitt says in an interview about Brick, “In "Brick," the world is born from the words.” Staccato sentences and measured emotions form the conversations between characters. The strong but sparse number of characters adds to the spice in the movie. Johnson has done justice to each character. Mind you, there are heroes and villains and the beauties and the beasts; but there are no extras. Each dialogue of each character is weighed like gold—there is no wastage. Eventually the product sparkles.

The cinematography is original; from being a detached voyeur to presenting the POV of the characters, the camera draws you deep into the movie. So much so that you feel Brenden’s loneliness. The setting is charming. Mostly open spaces which are sparsely populated, indoor-shoots too present an element of spacious stuffiness, as paradoxical as it may sound. The slick editing helps Yedlin’s product to not just shine but sparkles. Nathan Johnson and Larry Seymour original score plus their mixing is just perfect; it heightens and elevates the mood and subdues the tone when needed. At no point, does the non-diegetic sound overpower the mise-en-scene of the scene. It stays true to reality. Interestingly, the diegetic sound keeps us hooked to the present though out (example the constant presence of the traffic sound in the last scene between Brndon and Laura).

Finally the performances—very rarely have I seen such perfect casting. Every actor creates a student at the Southern Calafornia school. They are not playing the characters; they are the characters. Differentiated by craftiness, intelligence, seductiveness, bravado, brawniness or vulnerability, each actor plays his/ her part to perfection. Emily is charmingly vulnerable, her gray eyes speak of the addiction she can’t let go of, the addiction that she desperately doesn’t want to let go of. Laura is caring and charming by turns. While you can see blood rushing to Tugger’s brain every time he is on camera, you can feel Dode’s wastedness every time the camera stops to focus on him. Pin looks as devious as ever and, finally Levitt becomes the sum total of all these adjectives. A charismatic combination of all of the above, except perhaps seductiveness, Levitt as Benden makes you wanna reach out to him even when he is helplessly crying. He gives a whole new meaning to the term, ‘Boys don’t cry.’

Finally, Johnson has grafted well. Trying to present a ‘this-is-what-the-real-world is like’ theme in a less-than usually colourful high school setting, Johnson attempts to show that is sort-of grown-up high school students have grown-up a little more. The only adult presence of authority in the entire film was of the Assistant Vice Principal, who is more of a belligerent policeman, who understands the value of his source but is caring enough to ensure that he doesn’t fall down the manhole. The director plays a smart game with some fire and some blood. He clears the ring. Good Show!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Who went missing?

“Do you miss anyone?” quipped Kavs, my usually iridescent and unique neighbour. I looked around, thought for a couple of seconds and blankly said no. “Mom, Dad, sister, best-friend, anyone?” she nudged and persisted. My drowsy mind heard the murmur and said, yes, “My best friend maybe,” all the time wondering why is she asking me all these weird questions. She then said, “I don’t miss anyone.” After a couple of seconds, during which I could hear the brain machines in her head churning, she asked, “Am I wired wrongly??”

Sometimes you think the world revolves around you and you alone.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


There are days when I think Tuna is the best fish god ever made for human consumption. Those are the days I feel like Hobbes…with fur et al.

October 28, 2006

Sometimes I wish I lived in an illusion; it probably brings less uncertainty than life does. Today was a weird day. I did a bit of work…was super pissed off cuz of chumming and had a huge meeting which puts me in a dilemma of added responsibilities v/s new horizons. My heart’s heavy today. Even two glasses of beer couldn’t make it light. I need a hug…but my teddy suddenly looks unadorable. For a change orange lights seem too bright. The night irks me more than usual. Today’s Mid-day is fluttering irritatingly against my leg. I don’t feel as pretty as a wine glass. And as I puke out more of the complexities that the day brings, I wonder at the harmony in which razor edged emotions co-exist with a heavy heart devoid of the inclination to create a mirage. I need my illusion…it has less uncertainties. I wish I wouldn’t plunge dangerously low to replace confident assertion of choices with mundane bluntness of tapping fingers. I wish illusion were reality. I wish the day was as hinged as the constant creaking of crickets outside. The day was uncharming. Even my new silver n white sneakers couldn’t make it sparkle.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Written a few years ago, this poem was in response to news reports about Australian missionary Graham Stewart Steins and his two minor sons who were burnt alive in Orissa by a Hindu mob.

The man of God was engulfed in flames
Yellow serpents kissed cross
some scheming, some screaming
a bright light, a darker darkness
When embers died,
what remained
was the charred soul of the perpetrator

Friday, August 25, 2006

Why mere madness?

People often ask why is this blog called Mere Madness. Here is why: It's a part of one of my first self-descriptive poems I had ever written. Here is the original:

Furbishing falsehoods and facades
the veil is now the iron curtain
What lies beneath?
A mere madness...