Years Ago One Summer Eve

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Oh! Thirteen: Some Interesting Records So Far

If there is going to be a year-end list, it is most likely more than half the records listed here will be absent in it. It is turning out to be that interesting a year. It’s that or I’m vehemently hyperbolizing.

Anika – Anika (EP)

 Anamanaguchi – Endless Fantasy

Applescal – Dreaming in Key

AraabMuzik – For Professional Use Only

Benoit Pioulard – Hymnal

DJ Koze – Amygdala

Doldrums – Lesser Evil

Four Tet – Rounds (10th Anniversary Reissue)

Houses – A Quiet Darkness

J Dilla – Donuts (Reissue)

 VeronicaFalls – Waiting for Something to Happen

Waxahatchee – Cerulean.Salt

Wooden Wand – Blood Oaths of the New Blues

Widowspeak – Almanac

Letherette – Letherette

The Knife – Shaking the Habitual

Matmos – The Marriage of True Minds

Mazes – Ores and Minerals

Phosphorescent – Muchacho

Sally Shapiro – Somewhere Else

Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse

On One Missing Photograph

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I haven’t been one for misplacing things except once when I’d left a bunch of chronologically chosen photographs with a college friend because he could scan them at his home. I then took train. He took flight. There’s a slim chance I could get them back—after all it’s just been a decade since.

One that’s been rather special to me is a black’n’white photograph that my sister had lost. I remember nagging her, every time I visited hometown from work-town, she must hand it over, and she has this habit of ‘misplacing’ things. Here’s my theory as to why it went ‘lost’: She was much fonder of it than I was. It’s gone missing for eight years now.

That one is a picture of my IInd Standard wherein I stand, amid my classmates and teacher, (no one holding anything except me) holding in my hand a fancy ‘geometry’ box that aunt had brought from Kuwait. I remember it had a cushioned lid and a magnetic lid lock. I was so fond of it I wouldn’t part with it come recess, come whatever. It also brings to mind’s eye:

The knee-deep lake we’d walk across en route to tuition, father translating Tintin for me from The Week; real-life tales of the hero cop slain by thugs, the boy who drowned in a municipality tank, another who impaled himself playing with a sword; the fragrance of vibhuti, the slithering river sands under my feet right before I nearly drowned, playtimes that involved making balloons out of Nirodh, my indescribable addiction to notebook labels, and more that was Pattamadai in the early-to-mid nineteen-eighties.

And it was my only photograph from that place.

One brown sock emerged from a dusty rack, so, again, there’s the chance it could pop up anytime from anyplace.

101

(Rameshwaram beach, circa 1987 – Days of DD’s Malgudi Days)

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Taking Pictures

The beginning is near
Nearer than the third ear can hear

Parvati takes a long walk
Satyam shivam sundari
She chants as she walks

Vasuki captures photographs
Camera garlanded to her neck walks Parvati
She has many places to be

Lands rivers prisons planes people
Borders deserts birds plants cars hospitals
Oceans labs insects beasts ships shops

Satyam shivam sundaram
Satyam shivam dharmam
Satyam shivam sundaram

Forests flags offices factories fishes farms
Planets trees asylums theaters streets homes ponds
Schools weapons skies zoos rocks runways

Parvati keeps to her long walk
Satyam shivam sundaram
She chants as she walks

The end is far
Farther than the farthest star

Reflection – Upstream Color

Many things can be said about Upstream Color and still there will be things left unsaid. It is such a, one of a kind, movie one would be tempted to call it Cinema (yes, with the upper case see and, yes, tempted to). What is of concern, though, is some of its content (as opposed to its form) and its device. In that regard, one of its faults strangely as well happens to be its perfection, which is obedience (by the book), that is it cannot overcome its temptations of Chekhov’s gun—that fixation, that oft-unquestioned submission (of fiction) to what is at best a mere shadow. In a movie like Upstream Color, that is a movie that bends reality a fair bit, a punch to the face could achieve what a shot to the chest could not, yet it’s very content with—a funny sad thing—conforming, its blindness surrounding Chekhov’s gun being it doesn’t see there are choices (beyond) and beside the pull of the trigger.

Its bigger fault is it enforces human transcendence (rather violently) as though it were some kind of gospel or universalism (not that either could be validly enforced, just that they’ve often violently and deceptively been) when any form of transcendence and (rigid) enforcement never do make bedfellows (which maybe, just maybe, is what it is getting at mutely and roundabout). For it to have done that it is historically unsound, (even if it isn’t that) it is very ethically unsound and even worse—very, very creatively indolent. Again, the funny sad thing is it is deeply flawed just as it is technically, if not perfect, seemingly deeply beautiful. So, for an ideal example of if-looks-could-lie, one needn’t to look further.

Aside from its faults, its one weakness is the thin science fiction cloak it happens to wear. It is a greater weakness because with that it ends up as a (personal) utopian (myopic) vision, that vision (whatever that is) of some kind achieved by way of violence and deception. With its choice of such a sci-fi device, instead of a (say, Kafkaesque) irrealist device (when incorporating such a irrealist device would render it rather far-sighted, making the happenings less explicable, leaving it open to valid yet varied interpretations), despite it concluding in the affirmative, as it is, it is essentially defeatist and (among other things) borders dangerously on anti-life, than anti anything else.