As we enter Day Three and the end is finally within sight, here’re a few pictures of Bombay in better times and worse from the photo archives of Life. (Click on images to enlarge / for more information.)
Monthly Archives: November 2008
There’s a giant hollow where my stomach used to be and I feel as though my country is at war.
We’ve been bombed before, the people of Mumbai perhaps more than any of us, and we’ve dealt with it and moved on. We’ve become anesthetized to the images of blood soaked roads and ambulances carrying broken bodies. We shouldn’t be, but we are.
This feels different. The mental picture of gunmen landing at the Gateway, physically storming the city, taking hostages at the Taj, the army patrolling the streets… what the fuck is this? I see the images but I seem to have lost the ability to comprehend somewhere along the way. It’s like a bad movie that refuses to end.
And then the thought comes (perhaps too soon – considering the operation is still underway as I write this) that the time has come to play offense rather than just defense. We won’t know for a while if the interim reports about this attack stemming from Pakistan are true, but we all know where the psychological will of Islamic militancy is concentrated right now: Afghanistan. Maybe the time has come for India to do something other than play catch up.
Not that our defense was all that great. The chances that India will soon be embroiled in a formal war are slim, but the chances of another terror attack on its soil is next-to-certain. What India needs, therefore, are not nukes but the best technology and equipment available anywhere to the police. We obviously have the talent, but as always they need political backing to get the job done to the best of their ability. To watch the NSG, the Navy and the Mumbai Police hard at work, despite the ineptitude of the government for which they work, has been the one positive experience of these nightmare hours.
The terrorists are clearly changing their game – from bomb blasts and suicide attacks to flamboyant gun battles and hostage takeovers. Shouldn’t we do the same?
I hate to rag on a man who loves his dogs (pugs! adorable chubby pugs! with teeny weeny footsies working overtime to keep up! who’re living a better life than all of us combined) as much as Valentino does, but GOOD GRIEF! That is beyond a bad tan. That’s some Satanic shade of ochre on his face.
I thought Europeans were above this? Don’t they all hang out on actual beaches in tiny Speedos and bake under the sun the way God intended them to?
Dear Mr. V, I know you’re in America now, but don’t feel you need to fit in, okay? XOXO.
On the upside, this is the first time in a long time that I’ve seen Sarah Jessica Parker and not felt afraid that she would come for me in my sleep.
PS: For those who want to know – that’s Maude, Margot, Monty, Molly, Milton and Maggie. And Maude is Valentino’s #1 girl. Awww.
PS2: I thought I’d throw this one in for all you SJP-lovers… Oh, alright, I just wanted an excuse to put in a Hugh Jackman video. It looks way better than his muppet photo on the cover of People’s Sexiest Man Alive edition anyway.
This is some powerful moron juice at work:
20-year-old male student surnamed Liu jumped over the fence at the zoo in the tourist city of Guilin, ignoring warning signs not to…The panda, named Yangyang, was wide awake. Apparently scared by the intruder, he bit at Liu’s arms and legs…”Yangyang was so cute and I just wanted to cuddle him,” Liu was quoted as saying from his hospital bed. “I didn’t expect he would attack.”
Yeah, I bet Yangyang’s number one desire is a sweaty embrace from an idiot tourist. I wonder why he attacked?
Well, I have a theory. It’s The Disney Effect. You know how Disney has all these child stars it discovers, packages, promotes, and sells? And how eventually they all start acting up so they can get out of their contracts? Well, I think the animals have taken note and this sudden rash of cuddly animal violence is a message being sent to the powers that be at Disney.
Look what Bambi’s up to these days:
“It came right at me, from about 10 feet away. I tried to run at an angle, but it caught me flush in the back right leg, impaled me with its weight, knocked me to the ground. It started to come right at my face with its antlers.”
The buck impaled Genn in the chest, but in the tussle he managed to land a swift kick to the animal’s underbelly, causing it to momentarily abate. Genn said he then screamed for his wife to get the dog. As his wife approached the dog, the deer rammed Genn for the third time.
“It impaled me in the groin area. At that point, literally, I took the antler and pulled it out of me.”
Yeeowtch! And you don’t even want to know the stuff Mickey and Donald have been doing on their off time.
Ahem. Shahrukh Khan is back as everyman in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, the heartwarming story of an ordinary (autistic?) man who transforms into a dancing tool at night. Or something like that.
“She’s hotter than a microwave diathermy machine.
Which is why I dress like I’m fifteen.
Our love is sweet and sour like a tangerine.
You should see what we do for Halloween.”
“So have y’all seen Yuvvraaj? Neither has anybody else. AHAHAHAHA! Erm, yes, bahut bura hua.”
Sardar-in-kimono wonders: “Who’ll go potty first?”
You knew this was coming! What Bollywood thinks yesterday, India thinks today. Or something like that. So now that Dostana and the family-friendly Karan Johar machine has stated that it’s totally cool to accept homosexuality (they’re just like women, except they’re funny!), all everyone can talk about is how amazingly awesome it is to, like, know a gay person. To have them as friends even! Diamonds are so last year, honey.
Maybe I’m taking this the wrong way but… Why Indian Women Want a Gay Best Friend:
* With no sexual chemistry to interfere, the relationship is relaxed, open, communicative
* Are safe escorts for late-night parties, events, help in keeping predatory males away
* Love fashion, shopping, art shows, gossip-all things that bore husbands and boyfriends
* Sensitive to a woman’s emotional needs; offer support without being judgemental
* Unlike women friends who can be jealous, aren’t competitive or catty. Hence, can give honest advice on everything from what clothes to buy to how to cope with boyfriend problems.
Is it just me or do these Indian women sound like complete assholes?
The Scene: A supermarket.
The Players: 1) My dad, a picker shopper who believes the more you buttonhole store employees, the better the product you come away with. 2) A bored employee who would rather gossip with his mates.
Dad: What do people buy to drink these days?
Employee: Tea. Coffee.
Dad: No, something cold.
Employee: Pepsi. Coca-Cola.
Dad: (pointing to a bottle of 7 Up… which he has definitely bought prior to this incident) What does that taste like?
Employee: Like soda.
Dad: It tastes like soda?
Dad: Does it taste like lime?
Employee: No. It tastes like soda. A lot of people buy it to mix with liquor.
Dad: I’ll take the Limca.
You know, I wonder if they still make Campa Cola? And if Limca still tastes like lemon-flavored antiseptic.
Who knew a movie about a couple of homophobic assholes could be this entertaining? Not me!
Meet Kunal (John Abraham). He bounces around the beach in teeny weeny (well, let’s hope not) yellow trunks that he feels compelled to adjust every couple of minutes whilst flexing his muscles and re-enacting the Ursula Andress/Halle Berry scene from the James Bond franchise, thus creating what is perhaps one of the best opening credits of a Hindi movie. Meet Sameer (Abhishek Bachchan). He drives a flaming pink convertible, wears ghastly tropical print shirts and works as a nurse because nursing is all about giving hot chicks sponge baths. All this means the two of them are screaming heteros.
Unfortunately, this won’t land them the apartment of their dreams – currently owned by Neha (Priyanka Chopra) who lives her life according to the moral dictates of her long-dead parents – so they decide to throw their arms around each other and mince into her life. Because her parents practiced the sort of conservatism that would have frowned at their daughter sharing an apartment with hetero males but would have been totally down with gay couples.
As you can imagine, this does not end well.
However! It’s fairly entertaining to see things go down the crapper. Of course, if you’re in the least bit sensitive to LGBT issues, it might help you to keep in mind that this is not a movie about two gay men. It’s about two straight Indian men who are clearly freaked out by their little charade and have no idea how to make it work other than by drawing on stereotypes. Nowhere is this more evident than in the cringe-inducing scene where the main cast prances around the living room with Boman Irani (as a bitchy old queen) and the most inappropriately effete immigration officer ever. Kunal and Sam ruminate on what it means to be homosexual and decide to “think like women, act like men” before running out with their pinkies raised and dancing to Beedi jalaile.
Thankfully, though, things aren’t always that bad in gay Miami. Sam’s fevered imagining of the origins of his and Kunal’s love story is just as cliche-ridden (they even dress up in sailor suits!) but thoroughly hilarious nonetheless. And the all-too-brief appearance of Kiron Kher as The Maa is one of the best bits. And in a surely unintended bit of irony, the boys are never so gay as when they’re being all hetero and lovey-dovey. Or maybe scrapbooking and watching Kuch Kuch Hota Hai are part of the Indian meterosexual awakening?
But really, by far the biggest problem with Dostana is that it’s the tale of two outsize jerks and when the movie starts asking you to feel their pain, you want to run out and get a couple of thumbscrews to up the ante, no matter what their sexual orientation. In fact, by the end of the movie, they’re so fucking evil in their “Duh! But we be hot, what be problem?” way, that you end up feeling more sympathetic towards the rest of the cast than their performances actually warranted. Bobby Deol, in particular, wins simply by existing as a foil to these two.
Can I also mention, as a film buff, how much I appreciate the efforts of Bobby Deol and AB Jr. who find ever more ingenious methods of discussing Sholay in pop-culturally relevant terms? The only thing I really liked about Jhoom Barabar Jhoom was the homage to Sholay which (intentionally or unintentionally) fed into all those “The Forbidden Love of Jai and Veeru” theories and now we have this movie. Well done, sirs!
And now, in lieu of a Dostana clip and in honor of the protest marches yesterday, I leave you with this clip of Dan Savage who is an actual gay man.
[for Raja who is clearly an evolved Indian male]
Little did Winston Churchill know, but when he said
We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air… whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender
he could well have been talking about the exploits of a fictional British secret agent called James Bond. Quantum of Solace might be a celebrated 106 minutes long, but not only does our favorite martini-swiller find the time to do all of the above, but he manages to sex up a naive plot point, attend the opera, blow things up in Italy, Bolivia and Russia in addition to France and get his buddy at the CIA a promotion. That he does all of this while sharing with a grateful audience the recipe for his favorite drink and taking out the man ultimately responsible for doing him wrong, is just a measure of his cool.
Don’t worry, I haven’t spoiled the movie for you. You could read the script with Daniel Craig’s little notations in the margins and it still wouldn’t ruin this movie. Reason? Because it’s awesome.
‘Awesome’ as in it blew my mind. Not because the whole damn thing is a rollercoaster that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Not because I’m so shocked that they managed to keep that arthouse chic of Casino Royale ticking in its sequel.
‘Awesome’ because it remains true to its genre while subtly probing the mind of the cold bastard at the center of the movie. As Bond deals with the fallout of his love affair with Vesper Lynd in the previous installment, you get the feeling that you’re no longer watching a movie about “Bond: The Early Years”, you’re watching “Bond: The Making Of”. If you haven’t watched Casino Royale then perhaps this might not make much sense – and you arguably wouldn’t be missing much subtext. But if you have, then this movie is the epilogue of that conversation between Vesper and Bond on the beach in the first film.
I, for one, am thrilled that I got to watch Bond learn the lesson he learns in Quantum of Solace. It makes me feel much better about the crush I’ve had on him – if “sonofabitch” is a personality trait, then Bond clearly arrived at it honestly.
PS – if they wanted to bring back Olga Kurylenko down the road, I wouldn’t mind it at all. Now that Bond’s her father figure. *koff*
It may not hold much interest for anyone else, but I find it endlessly fascinating to study what pushes my buttons. You know the drill: you’re going about your day, minding your own business, neither ecstatically happy or suicidally depressed, turn a corner and wham! You run smack into something that makes you completely flip out. And you’re not entirely sure why.
Take for instance this little snippet from an interview Barack Obama gave to Time a few days before the election:
Kashmir in particular is an interesting situation where that is obviously a potential tar pit diplomatically. But, for us to devote serious diplomatic resources to get a special envoy in there, to figure out a plausible approach, and essentially make the argument to the Indians, you guys are on the brink of being an economic superpower, why do you want to keep on messing with this? To make the argument to the Pakistanis, look at India and what they are doing, why do you want to keep n being bogged down with this particularly at a time where the biggest threat now is coming from the Afghan boarder? I think there is a moment where potentially we could get their attention. It won’t be easy, but it’s important.
The moment I read it, I knew it was a pretty loaded thing for him to say (and Karl Inderfurth was immediately on damage control mode). With the best will in the world, there is no way a Palestine-Israel sort of third-party mediation is ever going to work in Kashmir, mainly because India is never going to countenance it. We’ve held that position for 60-odd years and, while you might argue that it’s clearly not working to any great effect, if you can find an Indian politician who feels the Americans might be the answer we’ve all been waiting for… well, I have a Nigerian friend, a fabulously wealthy royal prince, that I would like to introduce to said politician.
That said, I actually appreciated the fact that an incoming President of the United States was actually thinking about the clusterfuck that is South Asia. I might not agree with his take on it, but at least he’s engaging with it rather than stuffing his fingers in his ears and singing “LA LA LA LA LA LA” at the top of his voice.
Until I read the comments.
I try my best not to subscribe to knee-jerk nationalism and I actually share a number of ideas in common with these people – and yet, the moment I hear random bits of advice re: “Things India (and Pakistan) Ought to Do So They Can Live Like Civilized Peoples”, I immediately see red.
Maybe they don’t mean it like that. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt and hope they don’t mean it like that – because otherwise it would mean they’re bloviating assholes – but however pure their motives, listening to some random guy who once read an interesting article about the subject talk about something that informs everyday life in my country just makes me want to cap a bitch.
The trick is to control my overwhelming annoyance to the extent that I can actually hear the arguments that are being made because living in echo chambers never helped anybody. On the other hand, I take this as unscientific confirmation that very few Indians will be willing to toe a third party line, even if said third party was going to hand us everything we ever asked for on a silver platter. Maybe Pakistanis feel differently (and maybe that makes them better people) but last I checked you still needed two to tango and India is going to sit this one out so the question is once again rendered moot.
Becoming aware of my prejudice in this matter does have one side benefit however: I will now think twice before handing out advice to random nations. Oh, I’ll probably still have opinions galore about things that are none of my business, but I won’t take offence if they get thrown back in my face.
I too can evolve.