The Great Indian House

Short Commentary
Old gold!
[Image by Vignesh Murugan from Pixabay]

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The great Indian house, stationary, offering shelter to its inhabitants, was no less than a monster said the poet.

With its welcoming smile and thousand arms it ushered the foreigners to come and stay and to become one with its culture – resistance withered itself away gradually. The time of Rajas, Shahanshahs, travellers, envoys, merchant kings, queens all lived and looted and loved this great Indian house.

This monster’s burning red eyes never blinked said the poet, not even when its inhabitants, its children set each other on fire. It swallowed these deaths, warmly, and sang lost songs.

Who met this monster once couldn’t leave, those who left, came back, every single time, as matter or chatter.

The monster – and so maybe for the want of a better word – fits and breaks the spectrum simultaneously, it is a monster but not evil or kind, not entirely, said the poet.

Reminiscing, hating and loving it, the poet’s poem tells that the great Indian house, with all its filthy incongruities and slow, glossy loveliness, is alive, apparently stationary, yet on the move, grappling impalpably with every idea and action that it warmly, blindly has gathered, is gathering.

The great Indian house when hit by a tempestuous storm, though handling it eventually, even now follows the tradition of first welcoming and serving it hot tea.


A modernist bilingual poet, linguist, essayist, folklorist, philologist, translator and scholar, A. K Ramanujan ‘wrote of the home left behind with a remote passion and irony’. Born in Mysore, Ramanujan moved to the US in the 1960s; settled there, he would remark to friends that he was the hyphen between Indo-American.

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Once upon a time…
[Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay]

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His translation of the Kannada novel Samskara and a Tamil bhakti poetry, Speaking of Siva, into English and the essays like ‘Who needs folklore?’ and ‘Is there an Indian way of thinking?’ allowed the readers to see regional literature in a new light.

The following poem, that inspired this blog post, appeared in Ramanujan’s second collection of poems titled ‘Relations‘ in 1971.


Small-scale Reflections on a Great House

by
A K Ramanujan

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Sometimes I think that nothing

that ever comes into this house

goes out. Things that come in everyday

to lose themselves among other things

lost long ago among

other things lost long ago;

*

lame wandering cows from nowhere

have been known to be tethered,

given a name, encouraged

*

to get pregnant in the broad daylight

of the street under the elders’

supervision, the girls hiding

*

behind windows with holes in them.

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Unread library books

usually mature in two weeks

and begin to lay a row

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of little eggs in the ledgers

for fines, as silverfish

in the old man’s office room

*

breed dynasties among long legal words

in the succulence

of Victorian parchment.

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Neighbours’ dishes brought up

with the greasy sweets they made

all night the day before yesterday

*

for the wedding anniversary of a god,

*

never leave the house they enter,

like the servants, the phonographs,

the epilepsies in the blood,

sons-in-law who quite forget

their mothers, but stay to check

accounts or teach arithmetic to nieces,

*

or the women who come as wives

from houses open on one side

to rising suns, on another

*

to the setting, accustomed

to wait and to yield to monsoons

in the mountains’ calendar

*

beating through the hanging banana leaves

And also anything that goes out

will come back, processed and often

with long bills attached,

*

like the hooped bales of cotton

shipped off to invisible Manchesters

and brought back milled and folded

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for a price, cloth for our days’

middle-class loins, and muslin

for our richer nights. Letters mailed

*

have a way of finding their way back

with many re-directions to wrong

addresses and red ink-marks

*

earned in Tiruvalla and Sialkot.

And ideas behave like rumours,

once casually mentioned somewhere

they come back to the door as prodigies

*

born to prodigal fathers, with eyes

that vaguely look like our own,

like what Uncle said the other day:

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that every Plotinus we read

is what some Alexander looted

between the malarial rivers.

*

A beggar once came with a violin

to croak out a prostitute song

that our voiceless cook sang

all the time in our backyard.

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Nothing stays out: daughters

get married to short-lived idiots;

sons who run away come back

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in grand children who recite Sanskrit

to approving old men, or bring

betel nuts for visiting uncles

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who keep them gaping with

anecdotes of unseen fathers,

or to bring Ganges water

in a copper pot

for the last of the dying

ancestors’ rattle in the throat.

*

And though many times from everywhere,

recently only twice:

once in nineteen-forty-three

from as far as the Sahara,

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half -gnawed by desert foxes,

and lately from somewhere

in the north, a nephew with stripes

*

on his shoulder was called

an incident on the border

and was brought back in plane

*

and train and military truck

even before the telegrams reached,

on a perfectly good

*

Chatty afternoon.

*

And the saga continues…
[Image by Victoria_Regen from Pixabay]

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An Old Tune

Flash Fiction

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Nibbling the leaves and thorns, reaching for its yellow flowers, suddenly, Jhui-Mui the little goat made a novel request to the Khejri tree, “please tell me a story.”

Jhui-Mui’s mum and other goats chuckled a bit, then continued surfing the shrubs spread around the Khejri tree for shade, water and love.

The tree which gave, for centuries, both food and medicine to all, with its ground bark to make a flour during the very many parched famine days, and its deep-deep roots that held the soil and directed the researchers to the cool water table, the desert’s old friend, Khejri, knew a pocketful of folktales too.

The Khejri tree told Jhui-Mui the little goat about a four-hundred-year-old tree, one who belongs to its own family, but lives in a far-off desert, alone on a barren hill, with roots fifty meters deep and long groovy, harmonious branches that welcomes every traveller and every story.

“What is its name?”, asked the beady eyed, happy Jhui-Mui. “The Tree of Life”, replied the Khejri tree and hummed an old tune that filled the arid air with cool magic.

No one spoke, everyone listened then.

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The Tree of Life (Shajarat-al-Hayat), humming an old tune, in Bahrain.
[Source – Wikimedia Commons]

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Pourquoi – Why?

Dialogue Poem
Who said am deaf? Who?
(Yummy candy)
Tell me! Loudly, louder! Eh?
[Image by Nicole Pineda from Pixabay]

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Pourquoi, say poh-ko-aa… means why

In French. Why? Yes, why! No! Why

French, all of a sudden?

In between an investigation?

Seems like a classic case of burglary to me.

Oi!! Footsteps! Oh! You stepped on the clue!

Huh, sorry, I did? Where?

No, oh, wait I’ll stand here

Or should I stand next to you?

Stay put you… you!


Pourquoi, say poh-ko-aa… means why

In French. Not again! But why?

Caleb please, stick to English!

Note down his name, he is oddly palish

Staring at us, a nut-job!

Ah-ha! His handprints on the door knob!

But he is the one who called, he is the owner.

No, he is not the owner!

Is he? Well, we’ll see, we’ll see.

Oh, a bloodied knife near the shrubbery?


Pourquoi, say poh-ko-aa… means why

In French. Why are you telling me this, Caleb? Why?

A lovely app, see here, language learning app!

Get lo– Why’s the tap wearing a cap?

Where? There! Oh, red spots again, call back-up, this is a gang—

(Bang, bang, bang!)

(Footsteps, door, footsteps)


Caleb, told you, he’s a nut-job, shot himself

“You f-f-found the knif-f-fe, cap on the tap, f-f-footprints, the deaf-f-f

Cat saw me, aaaahhh, am dying, am dead, am dying, am dead,

But of-f-ficers, know this-s-s, the dead body… is dead…”

What!!?? Hey, hey!! Wake up! Oh! Caleb, he killed someone, he

Is, was a murderer! I’ll call the team, give me the key!

Am not staying with a dead body, you stay here, it is always me!

Why? Tell me, why? WHY?

Pourquoi, say poh-ko-aa… and you’ll know why

In French.

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Which One?

Commentary
Three Worlds by M. C. EscherLithograph, 1955.
[Source – Wikipedia]

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Out of the three worlds, this time, which one can you hear? Which one appeals to you more? The fish’s saga, the floating leaves’ travelogue or the tall dry trees’ declaration?

Is it clear then that the fish is frantically slow and brokenly quick, dashing here and there, carrying a wide-eyed moustache-o message for one and all?

And that the floating leaves, united and wet, surge to take over the stick, the feather, the boat and the paddles? A spirit of wilfulness rises in every seemingly dead leaf that allows it to fade at its own pace… green, red, brown, and skeletal leaves speak a different language.

The tall dry trees say nothing that time can capture in the garb of winters, autumns, summers, springs or monsoons, for the tall dry trees declared it long back that it is all just one big movement, constant movement, and stays so whether you measure it or not.

Is it clear then that the trees are old masters and not just a reflection of our ideas?

Out of the three worlds, now, which one do you listen to? Which one swirls you as if on a joy ride? Which one’s too fast, which one’s too slow?

Which one? Or is there simply just one?

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One big movement!
[Source – Pixabay]

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Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Ours

Review

The Novel

Frankenstein Or The Modern Prometheus speaks to you directly, showing you with its wintery-cold hands the myth through the lens called life.

Call it a myth, an experiment, a mistake, it retells, at the same time approaching the same unknown vision, the story of Victor Frankenstein – a man who humbly tries to be god.

The novel retells, and is still retelling like a folktale in the air, how Victor Frankenstein’s passion for alchemy, chemistry and natural philosophy acted as a catalyst for his many experiments on lifeless frames he gathered from cemeteries.

Long, maddening but exact and taciturn, expeditions, not to a far off land (not as of now), but inside the laboratory, expedition to the depths of knowing the dead and undead, to the threshold of unruly desire and undue greed, greed to dominate.

It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils. With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet. It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs.

How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form?

Chapter 5, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The creator fled away from his creation forgetting that the two are now tied to each other by a thread – a thread stronger than creator’s own shadow, voice and thoughts. Victor created a monster, not on that ‘dreary night of November‘, but over a period of time. Absolute neglect and abhorrence left the monster no choice but to be one.

Even when he learns the ways of the world – living in a hovel, grasping in silence what a family life means, secretly helping people around, picking their language and deciphering meaning in what he could read – he faces rigid rejection to whomsoever he turns to.

Shunned, he questions his existence and finds the winter weather leaping away after answering him with a static silence.

Fear fosters fear and with such weakness and anger the monster acts, brutally he acts, making sure that his master hears all about it. The monster kills Victor’s younger brother William and thus begins the downfall of both the creator and the monster.

Darkness and gloom overpower Victor and with the deaths of his best friend, fiancé and his old father, he becomes as lonely as the monster.

The pure white snow at the North Pole, that appeared to be engulfing the earth and the sky alike, could not make the monster anything less than what he had become – he was a curse, told Victor to his new friend, Robert Walton, an explorer and closed his eyes forever, hoping that in death he may find victory over his loathsome creation.

And this once Victor was right, the monster decides to put an end to his grotesque life too.

A little bit of gleaming sunshine, valley fresh flowers and joy too may feel subdued in this novel by the inky rainy nights and foggy, grey skies, but that is because it stays true to its core – a tragedy, but a modern one where the hero nurtures his flaw, unaware yet certain at first, lamenting and regretting later, truly owning it as a dead man.

Victor Frankenstein borne the brunt of such a curse that no one may ever dare to face, even in the advanced world, maybe only by mistake, but not as a determined goal and even if one did, in the times to come, such a creation will know what happened to Frankenstein’s monster and will know it only too well.

Until then, Frankenstein will continue to live, in our memory, for the sake of the curse and so will his monster.


The Author

When I placed my head on my pillow, I did not sleep, nor could I be said to think. My imagination, unbidden, possessed and guided me, gifting the successive images that arose in my mind with a vividness far beyond the usual bounds of reverie. I saw – with shut eyes, but acute mental vision – I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.

Author’s introduction, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, London 15th October 1831

At 18, when she began writing Frankenstein, Mary Shelley had thought of it to be a tale no longer than a few pages, at 20, the novel, after initial rejections, got published anonymously – customary for most female writers of the period – with a preface by her husband, P.B Shelley.

Some thought P.B Shelley or his father-in-law, the philosopher writer William Godwin, to be the author of this phantasmagoria and Mary Shelley surely was influenced by both, but her close encounters with death that tortured her, but kept her alive, very much like the Titan god of fire, Prometheus, made her who she was.

Mary Shelley wrote in her diary – “Dream that my little baby came to life again – that it had only been cold and that we rubbed it by the fire and it lived – I awake and find no baby – I think about the little thing all day.”

Mary got her name from her mother Mary Wollstonecraft, a feminist writer, who died soon after giving birth to her. Even though deprived of this pious golden bond, Mary Shelley nurtured it solitarily, just like Frankenstein’s creation.

Percy Bysshe Shelley’s world became her world when she, at 16, fled with him, well aware that the journey ahead will be more perilous than it ever was. Percy, then 20, was already married, penniless and somewhat on the run from his creditors. After his first wife’s death, the couple got married and just for a few shy years they happily lived together.

Too strong a wave, was Mary’s beloved, for he rose to meet the light on a stormy night on the sea and drowned unabashedly. Mary Shelley kept the remains of his heart as keepsake and continued to edit and publish his poems posthumously.

Patience of deep sea grew in Mary Shelley and she decided to live – for her only son and her pen. She wrote novels, short stories, travelogues and biographies both to earn a living and stay close to the phantasmagorical world of stories.

The idea of Frankenstein came to Mary Shelley in a half-waking nightmare in the summer of 1816. She had been staying with her husband and Lord Byron on the shore of Lake Geneva when at Byron’s suggestion they were all challenged to make up a ghost story.

– Frankenstein (Penguin Popular Classics)

The summer of 1816 later came to be known as ‘the year without a summer’ because of the eruption of Mount Tamboro in Indonesia that sent clouds of volcanic ash throughout Europe, North America and Asia.

Torrential rain and grey gloominess filled the sky, it must have, when Mary Shelley sat down to write Frankenstein. And this only favoured her, even if she didn’t realise it, as she managed to breach the measurements of time in presenting a vision, hideous and terrifying, but intact and alive.

And so, it walked, with our desires and knowledge meeting, it walked – Frankenstein’s monster walked.

But what’s he up to now?


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The Elevator Masterclass

Fictive Feature
Time for the elevator masterclass.
[Source – Unsplash]

It was not planned, the elevator masterclass, it just happened and then onwards became a ‘thing’, a trend, a mantra hailed by all the students of screenwriting.

Hmm! And what about the professors? They are not a fan, and naturally so, for elevators are too congested a place for a class. Many prefer taking the stairs ever since.

Any-Hooghly-who… this is what happened that fateful day.

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But first, please watch this Academy Award winning short animation film, Geri’s Game

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Professor A. R Pillai, cleaning his spectacles, enters the elevator when his students, Deva and Lata, come there rushing.

Sir, sir, sir!! – Lata

Sirrrr!! – Deva

They enter the elevator.

Sir, you said Geri’s Game pulled a masterstroke… crux of your 7-day workshop, sir… – Lata

How-how-how sir? – Deva

Well, think for yourself! Now, chess is a complicated game, more so when you’re playing against yourself, right? – A. R Pillai

The elevator door closes.

Sir, you mean this twist, that Geri is playing against himself… – Lata stops mid-way as Professor A. R Pillai, bespectacled, takes his ‘listen-to-me-now’ stance.

That too, the twist, but also the character, Geri, old chap, more of a caricature, he’s determined, hmm, to play chess, game of chess rules his mind, we see it, we stay with him, you noticed his expressions…? – A. R Pillai

Yes… his expressions! – Deva; gesticulates for emphasis.

Who’ll win, what is happening, what is at stake? Music roars, no not literally, it roars and raises the tension, yet it is lovely, the music, there’s conflict, Geri vs Geri, who’ll win, both are one, yet different, you noticed, one is sober, oldie-goldie types… – A.R Pillai

The one with spectacles, yeah. – Lata

Yes, and the other one is cunning, ‘hah-ha’ he laughs, confident… but a fool, the oldie-goldie fools him, tricks him… right? Ah-ha!! And what is at stake? Well, the beaming denture! Oldie-goldie’s smile, literally, and he wins it back. The end! – A. R Pillai

Right! And no dialogues… – Lata

Sir, because animation tends to… – Deva; his question delays itself on hearing the elevator’s ‘tung-tung’ sound.

The elevator door opens.

Nah! Forget that! See every story as a puzzle piece, if it is well-rounded, it’ll fit well, you know, the viewer senses it and takes it along. – Professor A. R Pillai.

He walks out and says without turning back, ‘Tomorrow, 9 am sharp!’

‘Yes sir, thank you sir’, say Deva and Lata still in the elevator.


Maybe in the rush to express it all (at times, simply to end the conversation) and in the eagerness to know the answers, all minds in the elevator tune-in to a common harmony.

‘Tung-tung-tong’ – comes a sound that interrupts the narrator.

‘What? Is it still… hello?’, says the narrator, then quickly adds, ‘umm, the elevator suddenly stopped working today… huh, seems like this masterclass will go on for a little longer.’

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Darkness and Pleonasm

Nonsense Poetry
“Dear giraffes, turn around and look up”, said the moon.
Pleonasm – the use of more words than necessary to convey meaning.
[Source – Pixabay]

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Dark night, night dark

Like thundering clouds sans lightening

And we missed, skipped the enlightening

Message. “You damn fool, think hard,

You didn’t hear anything?”

Lub-dub, lub-dub, quack-dub,

“Quack dub?” Yes, the darkest darkness

Followed us that we failed to see in the darkness.


Lights off, there was no light!

Scared, we threw our candles away,

Out of fear we trembled,

And threw our matchboxes haphazardly,

A few hit my head, I caught one silently

And hid it in the fish tank for emergency.

(The fish lit a bonfire! They tried to!)


“What?” Madness ruled us, yes, madness!

Madly we wept and stood still in one corner,

Or was it the centre? Uncertain, afraid,

We slept quickly, peacefully and

Woke to see the dark knight

Who had come to return our torch light;

Said, it helped him cross the teetering bridge

Twice, for he came to return our torch light.

Listen, not a lie this, later we heard it, all of us,

The breaking of the teetering bridge

And a desperate goodbye.


“It was the dark knight!” O-but we

Couldn’t see anything for our torch light

Died along with that goodbye-cry,

Both engulfed by the darkness and its hands,

Crushed under its dark feet, that we failed to see

In the darkness. For clarity now

We have all blindfolded ourselves.


After heavy rain, hail storm, whispering winds,

We can now feel some warmth,

Feels like the sun, but who knows-ya,

Not us, for it is impossible to see-ya,

Especially in this darkness. “Ahhh!”

(The one who said ‘ahhh’, rushed away.)

Rushed away? In such darkness?

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Agnes Obel and The Narrative

Short Coverage
See, the blooming narrative!
[Source – Pixabay]

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Tell me now of the very soul that look alike, look alike

Do you know the stranglehold covering their eyes?

If I call on every soul in the land, on the moon

Tell me if I’ll ever know a blessing in disguise…

The curse ruled from the underground, down by the shore

And their hope grew with a hunger to live unlike before

And the curse ruled from the underground, down by the shore

And their hope grew with a hunger to live unlike before…

The Curse, by Agnes Obel

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Listen to the song The Curse by Agnes Obel before reading further –


Humanity as an unabridged version, dancing forwards, backwards, forwards, in joy, in pain, walking down the lane is moving too fast and swaying too slow, thought she and wrote it on the blackboard. The white words looked silly but good. She gave a date to this thought and it made a ‘gong’ sound that ricocheted for fun.

The curse is the boon, thought she, but only once in a while when seen thus.

Retracing becomes easier than stepping forth and so one forgets.

And in the search for meaning when they get tired, they choose to imbibe what they hear from others, what they find familiar.

The familiar good that is, not the familiar grim; nevertheless, it is an overwhelming experience, thought she.

Just so you know the underlying emotion here when in search, is that of love – love that doesn’t chase meaning… for it owns it. A simple smile, gesture, hello-hi wave, acknowledging the tata-goodbye, is love triumphing over time.

Time notices it and smiles, each time just so you know. And she followed this thought and it withered away, it withered peacefully.

Now you take this cool-cool mountain air to the riverside and let it gush, let it fall as droplets. Sit by the riverside, fall and rise as someone else who is thrilled to continue the search.

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So let the narrative grow

like a rhizome, spreading then like Time

Without boundaries, fast and slow.


Here’s the official video of the song The Curse

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“The Curse” is a song I wrote after I read the book Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. It’s a book about the mind, and there is a chapter in the book about narrative fallacies, and I thought that was really interesting – how we construct these narratives of our own lives, even though so many things, almost anything that happens, is the result of a lot of things outside of our own control and doesn’t have any meaning – it’s completely accidental. But our minds want to put meaning into everything and to make sense of them. We’re like these “meaning machines” – human beings.

I thought it was really beautiful and interesting, because in a way, he says it’s why we invented math, music, science, and poetry: this need for meaning. And religion, and so forth. But there is also the flip side, why we have all these wars and these hardcore ideas of national identity. That you can go out and kill other people. It’s a blessing and it’s a curse. I just thought it was interesting, and then I wrote this song about it. Some people couldn’t figure out if it was a blessing or a curse.

Agnes Obel (Singer, Songwriter, Pianist)

Read the amazing Agnes Obel’s full interview here – Song Facts

Listen to the other three soulful songs that inspired the blogger to write this short coverage –

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Familiar by Agnes Obel –

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Just So by Agnes Obel –

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Riverside by Agnes Obel –

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A Would-Be Pirate Pasha de Roos and the Parkinson’s Law

Mixed Fiction
Pasha’s humble dream.
[Source – Pixabay]

Pasha de Roos decides very early, it is the late 1800s, that he wants to become a pirate; a pirate captain, sans a wooden leg, eye-patch, bandana or even a pa-pa-parrot. Yeah! He loves turtles instead and there he goes, buying one old tortoise from a simpleton near the Tomato Market.

Oh, the Tomato Market is famous for many things like moringa, escarole, brussels sprouts, and you know…

Fredric-O, Ben, Pappy, Charles Vane, Jarrico and Inderpal are more or less ready to join Pasha de Roos’ troupe. He feels jittery these days, Pasha does, as he is not sure if this dream of his will ever come true.

Ignoring his family business of tomato farming is easy as his family has ousted him forever. Confident, Pasha is on the way back to his ancestral house to steal his great grandmother’s jewels, see, right, as otherwise how will he pay for the ship he bought last-to-last month from that simpleton?

Inderpal ditches Pasha de Roos; he weeps his heart out, but he, Inderpal, leaves nevertheless to work as a clerk in the town office. He promises to support Pasha de Roos emotionally.

*

Please focus on Inderpal who is smoking cigar in the background. Merci!
[Source – Pixabay]

Times are changing, pirating is not desired by many, this deadly joyful dangerous profession is dying, is dead already, say many sailors.

The simpleton before selling his ship shared such concerns about pirating with Pasha de Roos that a one-legged person with an eye patch and a parrot on his shoulder standing nearby died on the spot.

“Let us just go anyway, eh, let us just go anyway, eh, let us just go anyway, eh”, cries Pappy and the whole pub agrees with him. Pasha de Roos is addressing the wild crowd, hear him out once.

“Oh, come on, who says pirates are not reigning the seas anymore, eh, eh, who says the ocean bed has no riches, eh, eh, ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.”

Everyone’s laughing now.

“Listen, tomorrow, I will file papers, me friend one clerk, old buddy, I say, let the clerks rule the seas on papery paper and we shall rule it for real, eh, eh, ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha… I will take stamped permission to sail, ay, we will leave tomorrow around the lunch break time, eh, eh, ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.”

They have gone silent suddenly, the crowd.


And we time travel, it is 1955. Hmm!

Cyril Northcote Parkinson, a naval historian, has published an essay in The Economist. Pasha de Roos cannot, but we shall read about it now –

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First edition cover of the book Parkinson’s Law (1958)
[Source – Wikipedia]

Parkinson’s law is the observation that public administration, bureaucracy and officialdom expands, regardless of the amount of work to be done. This is attributed mainly to two factors: that officials want subordinates, not rivals, and that officials make work for each other.

Cyril Northcote Parkinson gives, as examples, the growth in the size of the British Admiralty and Colonial Office even when the numbers of their ships and colonies are declining.

The growth is presented mathematically with the formula x=(2km+P)/n in which k is the number of officials wanting subordinates, m is the hours they spent writing minutes to each other and so on.

Parkinson’s Law, Wikipedia

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Well, the Parkinson’s law can be applied in every situation, even in Pasha de Roos’. Pass it, pass it as a gossip or be direct, take it along, these calculation-free corollaries may guide him.

“Work complicates to fill the available time.”

“If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute to do.”

Parkinson’s Law, Wikipedia

Again, we time travel, back to Pasha de Roos’s world.

Ben, Pappy and Fredric-O have become Inderpal’s subordinate and they are all working as clerks. It is true, Jarrico shares with Pasha de Roos, telling him to set a deadline for his dream project.

A deadline!? A word unheard of, tickles the mind.

*

Confident that with so many of his buddies working as clerks, in tie-suit-boots, his one silly file with one silly paper – he really didn’t need the file, but that’s the fashion so – will be signed, stamped, signed, stamped and attested in a matter of minutes, yes, minutes that he reaches the office, look there he goes, laughing. ‘Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!”

A queue here, a queue there, wrongly filled form, no fee paid, no number, no date… and there leaves Pasha de Roos, bent and late. Late simply to set sail.

After three years, on a bright day when a deadline is also set, with no confusion and dense clarity, they are meeting today to paint the boat (he sold the ship back to the simpleton and bought a small boat in exchange), who all you say, well, Jarrico, Charles Vane and Pasha de Roos.

But the bright day is turning now into a dark evening, yet they haven’t settled on the colour. Oh! And now five berserk by-passers are arguing fervently about Jarrico’s choice of colour and Charles Vane’s paint brush’s size.

Huff-huff! Amongst all these experts, no one budges.

Deadline dies alone.


There in the future Cyril Northcote Parkinson gives a fresh argument in 1957 via the law of triviality that people within an organization commonly or typically give disproportionate weight to trivial issues.

He dramatizes this “law of triviality” with the example of a committee’s deliberations on an atomic reactor, contrasting it to deliberations on a bicycle shed.


Pasha de Roos is working all by himself in the farm. His exhausted shoulders droop in the sun, he is crying. “No, eh, I am sweating, eh, come on.” Okay, right, when Jarrico joined the clerk culture he didn’t cry then, when Charles Vane became the boss of the clerks, he didn’t cry then, why will he do so now.

*

“Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha, I have a dream, yes, I will rule the Tomato Market. I have bought potato seeds and-aaaahhheeee.” Pasha de Roos’s great grandmother hits him with her sleek walking cane. She is in a good shape; look how she runs after him in the tomato farm. “Aaaahhhheee!”

Pasha de Roos, here ‘roos’ represents their family sign, that looks like a rose, and thus, the name ‘roos’ but was meant to be a tomato. Some painter got it wrong.

“No-no, it was my great, great, great Uncle Frye-aaahhheeee.”


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One-All!

Short Film Script
Happy eyes!
[Source – Pixabay]

*

FADE IN

INT. SCHOOL BUS – DAY

Shweta, an eighth-class student, is chit-chatting with her friend in the school bus; they choose to stand by an empty seat.

The bus’s engine crackles and starts running as the driver takes his seat. The boys standing near the back door are talking loudly. With more and more students boarding the bus, it becomes a happy noisy site.

CUT TO:

CLOSE UP

Shweta is searchingly looking at the back door while pretending to be fully engrossed in the conversation.

CUT TO:

INT. SCHOOL BUS – DAY

A boy enters the school bus from the back door; his friends address him as ‘Raghu’; they immediately start discussing something.

CUT TO:

Shweta’s eyes are now fixed at Raghu; she even stops pretending to listen to what her friend is saying. Funnily, her friend doesn’t notice.

CUT TO:

Raghu, while listening to his chirpy friends, turns to look at Shweta just for a second and then turns back again.

CUT TO:

CLOSE UP

Shweta, with a tinge of anger in her eyes, glares at Raghu. This time her friend also notices it. The bus grunts and sluggishly starts moving.

ZOOM OUT

Raghu turns to see her again and when he does, right at that moment, Shweta quickly switches her place with her confused friend.

Taking Shweta’s side, the bus swayed to take a turn on the road, giving this switch a rhythmic touch.

Shweta, with her back towards Raghu, now can’t see him but is smiling as if she has somehow defeated Raghu in a game.

Raghu, somewhat baffled, stares at Shweta in the background and we hear a voice –

NARRATOR

(Keeping score)

One-all!

FADE OUT

*

Happier now, wink-wink!
[Source – Pixabay]

Complement with another short film script – Bowie’s Birthday Party

*


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