Silverscreen Surfaces Again

Once upon a time, there was this blog I used to write for. It was called Silverscreen, for those that remember. Now it’s morphed into a full fledged cinema site, and (probably because I don’t write for it anymore) it isn’t all that bad. Do check out the newly revamped Silverscreen, where you can pretend to read stuff like this while gawking at photos.

Santosh Sivan’s calendar doesn’t have dates. Or months. Or years. It has movies. During our 45-minute conversation, there is no mention of a date. The past is simply, “during Asoka”, the recent past being “when shooting for Thuppakki” and the future is an empty plaque (“haven’t finalized the name yet.”) with a “scenic village backdrop and new faces.”[Link]

Online Thuggery? Common.

David Segal’s profile of an unscrupulous online operator in the New York Times is the most fun story I’ve read in a long time. Deeper implications aside, how can a story with lines like this one not be fun?

“Do you think I would think twice about urinating all over your frame and then returning it? Common.” [NYT]

The villain of the piece is Vitaly Borker (“thuggish Russia born Brooklynite“) who runs his online operation in a manner familar to anyone that has shopped for groceries in India. It is a hilarious read that leaves you feeling slightly queasy at the end.

“The customer is always right — not here, you understand?” he says, raising his voice. “I hate that phrase — the customer is always right. Why is the merchant always wrong? Can the customer ever be wrong? Is that not possible?”

The next day, a man named Tony Russo called to say that DecorMyEyes had run out of the Ciba Visions. Pick another brand, he advised a little brusquely.

“I told him that I didn’t want another brand,” recalls Ms. Rodriguez, who lives in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. “And I asked for a refund. He got rude, really obnoxious. ‘What’s the big deal? Choose another brand!’ “

With the contacts issue unresolved, her eyeglasses arrived two days later. But the frames appeared to be counterfeits and Ms. Rodriguez, a lifelong fan of Lafont, remembers that even the case seemed fake.

Soon after, she discovered that DecorMyEyes had charged her $487 — or an extra $125. When she and Mr. Russo spoke again, she asked about the overcharge and said she would return the frames.

“What the hell am I supposed to do with these glasses?” she recalls Mr. Russo shouting. “I ordered them from France specifically for you!”

“I’m going to contact my credit card company,” she told him, “and dispute the charge.”

Until that moment, Mr. Russo was merely ornery. Now he erupted.

“Listen, bitch,” he fumed, according to Ms. Rodriguez. “I know your address. I’m one bridge over” — a reference, it turned out, to the company’s office in Brooklyn. Then, she said, he threatened to find her and commit an act of sexual violence too graphic to describe in a newspaper. [NYT]

Introducing SilverScreen

Someone talking to me for the first time is usually struck by two things: How incredibly handsome I am, and how incredibly smart I am. If they can get over this, they’ll be struck by two more things: How much I love movies, and how much I love books.

Someone meeting Manoj for the first time is usually struck by two things: How much he loves movies, and how much he loves music. Ok, maybe they’ll also be struck by how smart he is. Whatever. That’s not the point.

So anyways, Manoj and I spend the better part of our days IMing each other. In normal English, capitalized first words and all. (The only allowance for IMspeak is the ubiquitous brb, which I thought was a misspelt female undergarment when someone first used it on me. Now I know, and love to use it coz it sounds so, um, kinky.)

Continue reading “Introducing SilverScreen”

Listening, Looking, Ignoring

I’ve been a spectator for a while now.

I watched silently, Krishna in tow, when a bunch of classmates decided to take a peek into the girls dressing room on a trip to Bangalore. And listened to their stories – much exaggerated, much embellished – afterwards, and wondered for a second if Krishna and I had missed out on something. Later, guilt.

I expressed a bit of disbelief and not much more when I heard that some of the guys that I studied with worked. Where working means getting off standing behind a girl in a crowded bus. Really getting off.

I’ve seen a lot. In buses and movie theaters, upscale malls and vegetable markets. From catcalls to breathing down the neck, from elbowing a fellow passenger to things a bit more than elbowing. Everytime, a silent “What the…” and I’ve moved on. Sometimes, not even that.

And for the last week, I’ve watched an incredible lineup of posts for the Blank Noise Blogathon, and stayed silent myself.

Until now, until this post. In the hope that something’ll come out of it all.

Tag: blog-a-thon 2006

Blog Mela Redux

Here we go… the much delayed blog mela is finally up. Sorry about the delay – I signed up a long time ago for this, and circumstances have conspired to make my week miserably busy.

First up, this delectable little gem from Sidin. Certainly the funniest post of the week, and possibly one of the funniest ever. One post like this can make hosting a mela so much fun.

The esoterically named Gounder Brownie comes up with a splendid use for cabbages. An innovative twist on the idea that I came up with all by myself would be to use a lettuce in much the same manner – it has the added advantage of costing less money. Veena chimes in with some Valentine’s day advice of her own. Gawker manages to look through all this Dick Cheney brouhaha and draw conclusions that lay certain dodgy old demons to rest. Nice. And here’s a post from Megha I forgot to include the first time around – about what people seek and what people get.

Next up, the usual suspects. Jai Arjun Singh writes an awesome review; Chandrahas has a great post on literature – poet Jeet Thayil in this case; Amit has a series of offbeat posts about Pakistan; the folks at Sepia Mutiny churn out great posts. Humility prevents me from linking to this post on Thai Pusam, but not to Chenthil’s post on the same topic. DoZ on this blog, waxes eloquent about pleasure, pain, books, movies, life. Falstaff rhymes, then rants. And does it well. In other words, it was a week like any other.

The obligatory State of Fear post of the week. This time from Patrix. Unrelated, but here’s Sunil’s comprehensive review of Indu Sundaresan’s The Twentieth Wife. And Karthik just realized that one can use as many as three apostrophes in a single sentence.

Gayathri on the perils of choice. The title of her post reminds me of the funniest Subway story I’ve heard yet: My freshly arrived friend’s reply to the “For here or to go” question was: Both. And look ma: Three colons on this paragraph. Make that four: Sibyl, bless her soul, has a post on crossdressers and transgendereators. Now if that doesn’t bring me visitors, what will? By the way, great word, isn’t it? Transgenderators. Must be a smart guy that coined it. To keep the dressing thme going, here’s Tilo on non-violent silk; and the thread continues as she talks about the silk weavers of Madurai. Did I say one post per person? Bah.

Full2Faltu reminisces about the good old times when DoorDarshan was the only game in town. Oh, what’s the big deal if a guy makes a few (million) bucks on the way to killing a lot of bad people? Let him go, for he does what we cannot says Navin. From Cynical Nerd, a longish post about cheerleaders. Before you rush to click, be warned: there are no pictures, and many of them are old and male. Arrgh.

Spaceman Spiff wants states to be reorganized, Jeyavel has some predictions for India’s cities, Incredibly Me talks about oil changes, the Soliloquist muses on being an Indian. Or something like that, it was a long post, so pliss excuse me. Vivek talks about a village that built its own railway station.

Zero – who wants me to make no jokes – qualifies for the longest post of the week award with this. Speaking of which, Sandeep writes a Joyceian post about ballgirls and wins the longest sentence without any punctuation award hands down.

On Sports – cricket, of course – Prem Panicker’s outstanding blog still outstands, the atrocious interface notwithstanding. Anti isn’t too pleased about Moin Khan shooting his mouth off and Ruchir Joshi (who shares Rediff’s horrid interface with Prem) links to a video on who chucks and who doesn’t. By the way, if your vocabulary is not tuned to cricketese, let me clarify that rhyme notwithsanding, chuckin’ doesn’t mean what you think it means. Dirty chuckers.

The quote of the week, from PrufrockTwo. “Books may be easy to burn, but they aren’t that easy to get rid of.”

The next Mela is at Ashish’s Niti.

Blog Mela: Nomination Call

Upupdate: Apologies, folks. Check back tomorrow. Are you done with that book?

Update: We are collating posts, and will be posting the mela soon. Until then, read a book or something.
This blog will host the Bharateeya Blog Mela this week, and etcetera (Motto: “Oh no, not again!”) invites you to nominate posts subject to the following rules:

  • Posts must be written by Indians, or have an Indian connection of some sort.
  • Posts must be dated between the 9th and the 16th of February 2006.
  • Only nominations received before midnight on the 16th will be considered for the mela
  • Nomination does not guarantee publication, non-nomination does not preclude publication. In other words, we will get one of the underlings to scour the web for posts.
  • One post per writer, please.

Dark Humor

etcetera ( Motto: “If you think our name is banal, wait till you read our posts”) is one of the few blogs nominated for the Best Indian Blog of the Year award. Pause for laughter. Sepia Mutiny is not in there. Longer pause.

We strongly belive that the only thing that stands between greatness and us is our comments policy. So people, as soon as we find an email provider who gives us enough room to store all the emails we get (mostly pictures of admirers interested in romantic relationships with the handsome guy that writes all these posts) we will disable comments. And then there’s no stopping us.

Update: etcetera (New Motto: “Bad jokes are our forte, if you hate them, take us to courte”) would like to mention that through the flippant exterior it is all mushy and is actually humbled by the honor: The wife actually voted for it, and if you add Chenthil it got TWO votes. Beat that, Amit.

PS: etcetera ( Newest Motto: “We are running out of mottos”) promises that it will not update this post anymore.

Blog Mela

Welcome to the Blog Mela.

The Arts:

We’ll kick off with a beautiful Chandrahas post on Nazim Hikmet, “the most prominent name in modern Turkish poetry.”

The Jabberwock “scratches the surface”of Siddharth Chowdhury’s first novel – Patna Roughcut. He scratches pretty well, methinks.

witnwisdum says that critics are being unduly harsh on Michael Crichton’s State Of Fear, while Anup thinks Crichton deserves all that and more. [ In the opinion of the dude that hunted down this post for us, The it’s-just-fiction defense doesn’t hold too much water, especially when the book is qualification enough of Michael to be an expert witness on global warming. I am sure y’all care a lot.]

While we are on literary criticism, PrufrockTwo asks us to quit whining about harsh criticism and look at Europe.

Hurree Babu sums up the year in fiction for us. In case you are wondering, the Babu blogs at Kitabkhana.

Jo and Anup do a cover version of a song from one of their favorite bands.

Zero’s detailed analysis of Guna, a Kamalhassan starrer from the early nineties. [We thought the music was great, everything else was ordinary. But that’s just us].

Bharadwaj Rangan “traces some key aspects of Tamil cinema through Mani Rathnam and his Iruvar.” Now if only other people were considerate enough to put post summaries below their post titles, I could’ve saved half a day. You’re welcome though.

Arnab has an illustrated review of a “classic”. No spicy pictures though. Note that I put classic in quotes, so that means I did read the review.

Manoj, the resident subtitle expert in the blogsphere, tries his hand at subtitling a couple of clips. Hilarious.

And we’ll close this section out with an eloquent Falstaff review of Brokeback Mountain.

Sports (read, cricket):

Sunil apparently lived down the street from Anil Kumble. He speaks with a tinge of regret about never getting to talk to Anil, but we’d like him to look at the bright side, and be glad that it wasn’t Sania Mirza. Ooh, just imagine. By the way, all the bad jokes on this post: not me.

A sarcastic take on the Ganguly issue here.

For great cricket analysis, you need to look no further than Prem’s blog. I mean, I know it is one post a blog and all that, but still…

Creative Writing:

Anna hosts another nanofiction orgy this week at SepiaMutiny. I’ll break the rules and link to another one of the orgies. Plus mentioning orgy and orgies in this post will get me more hits.

Amardeep leaves us hanging with half a short story. Amrik Badnaam Goes To The Library. Since the blogmela limits me to one post per author, I’m afraid I can’t link to his neat review of a few films.


Amit discovers that a gene whose name sounds suspiciously like a Sri Lanka Airlines flight number could mean the difference between stardom and vampdom on Bollywood. Another A-lister, Abhi hails the selection of Bobby Jindal as its Person Of the Year. Heh.Glad you’re still reading.

Manish points us to a reenactment of the Constant Gardener in India, except that there is no Tessa and it is happening for real. Just check out the whole blog here, will ya. It is, like, an epic orgy of incredible blogging. Epic Orgy. More hits.

Nilu says something about dilemmas and deaths and such like. I am tempted to say something bad about the post, and get on his pukeroll and become famous and retire early, but that’ll be for the next mela.

Megha ushers the Holiday season with a poem, and Falstaff recreates the nativity sequence for us. I think. Actually, scratch these two posts, please. They were posted after the deadline. Let’s try again. Minal on Christmas Carols. And Shruthi on the evolution of birthdays. Since I mentioned evolution, let me also mention Intelligent Design and Creationism. We don’t want to offend anyone that might be listening.

Ganja Turtle is a mean guy that tortures animals. He also has the gall to write a lovely post about it. Here. What are the odds Uma’ll go after him?

And JAP (the original Prufrock) writes evocatively about Bombay in the morning. Outstanding. Really, truly.

Doz, who writes as well as anyone else in the blogosphere, waxes eloquent about lists. Lavanya talks about a man in her life.

Sonia Faleiro has the post of the week: an interview with R.K. Laxman. Such fun she has. Okay, here’s the last rule I’ll break, but I have to link to this post about Rakhi Sawant (note to Google: item girl, bikini, panties).

Sakshi tries to trick me with her post titled “And yes, Australia is racist.” I am glad I read the last line of her post, and she seems to be saying that that’s not the case. Phew, close shave.

While we are on hatred and stuff, here’s Chenthil on the “Kizhavenmani incident” where a whole bunch of people were burnt alive by their landlords. On Christmas day, (2005-1967) years ago.

JK wants to rename Kochi. Again.

Navin bemoans the lack of tolerance in India. In another avatar, he posts a pretty picture of the Wankhade stadium in Bombay.

Shoefiend takes us on a whirlwind tour of Amsterdam. Meanwhile. Rhyncus: rain, pictures, words. Pretty.

And with that we end. Hope you all had fun, coz I sure didn’t. Ok, ok, I am kidding. I did have fun. Next Mela: Chandoo.