December 24, 2009


Avatar tells the story of late imperialist self-loathing. Of the Other networked to his ancestor, who has the alternative key to supremacy. Whose minerals and leaves are valuable. But whose mind has greater value and must be broken into. Empire kneels down to assert its greatness, and the self-loathing anthropologist ensures that despicable modernity is defeated. This is the new Chapter of the Other. Seen through the lens of wisened Empire. With tired feet. That resurrects the real capital in the Other - that of feminine, elusive, catlike power. Much like the eyes of the feline warpainted Hottie. Empire switches to the good, wholesome, real, nourishing. For it needs re-fuelling.

December 16, 2009

Postcolonial Winters

Friends and countrymen got married this winter in the midst of silks and cocktails. This made for weeks of Facebook voyeurism coupled with me-and-my-cats paranoia. Also triggered off an academic question about the factors involved in the concurrent happening of stable job, home loan, first car, love, foreign travel in the winters of one's being the age-group of 28-30. The fulfilling of life lived in the manner that our day and age require of us, is indeed a compelling drive-force. What is it that requires the accomplishment of material, professional and emotional stability all in one time-capsule as one heads towards a gratified thirty? If two freelance hunger journalists, or struggling artists get married, it does not make for very nice Facebook celebration of them having Lived. A divorced 28-year-old law-firm-partner would only give out the Facebook signal of being emotionally messed up, losing track of the right things of life. Professional and emotional stability is writ large on Facebook wedding narratives.

What is also writ in slightly smaller font is that everyone is their own person. Comfortable in their individual and communal skins. They know what they want in their partner, they know how much gold to wear at their pre-wedding cocktail, they know that holidaying in Switzerland is not much cooler than being hidden away in Uttarakhand. These are narratives of confident postcolonial completeness. Complete with kitch, silk, Silk Cuts, sepia, literature, film, chai, love, enough-money, happiness. And anxiety and ennui in their perfect measures. Vulnerability of the kind that Cadbury Diwali family advertisements portray. The Facebook-happy postcolonial, cosmopolitan citizen knows how to live outside the mad anxious race. She is not pushed around by her family to get married to the same-caste software engineer. She is not a victim of dowry, neither alienation. She does not crave Freedom-on-a-banner, as she takes for granted its warm wintry caress. She loves solitude as she has just enough community and camaraderie. She travels with abandon as she knows home awaits. She is the picture of contentment. She loves the Other as she knows the Self is doing quite well.She loves doubt as she knows certainty. She loves being witnessed in all her completeness. On Facebook. Or he.

So this is not just a time of families flying down to joke in the winter sun. Not just winter of bourgeois niceties. Or bickerings over dowry. These are not times of homecomings of Hazaaron-khwaishein-aisi defeats. Neither are these homecomings of bugled conquests. This is a winter of fruition and completion. Joy, excitement, comfort, warm, fuzzy all packed in a photo album that conveys enough satisfaction of wants makes one happy. In a real way that great philosophers could never quite capture.

December 1, 2009

Hate Art

This was a jump of threat, a jump of abandon, a jump of machismo, maybe one of despair. These men wore blue Adidas sweat pants, and swung on one hand over three sixty degrees. And made sexist jokes. And threatened to steal flat-screen televisions of Japanese tourists if enough donation was not poured into their boxes. They spoke nonchalantly of their time at prisons and legwork learnt while housebreaking. They spoke of the larger world that their touristy ad hoc audience came from, that owned flatscreens, and fetishised street performance, and read the New York Times. And they only flirted with the big Mama.

This was political commentary and irony and gymnastics packed in one - these men were performing hatred. While nostalgia jazz was being bagpiped a block away, and a BBKing-esque man tried to move you to tears into buying his CD. These blue-adidas-gold-teethed atheletes made their way into the heart of gaiety-New-Orleans and swung limbs up in desperation. And said we love you, and we love your flatscreens even more.