Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Books, Award, Railway Wagons, Optimal Kerchief Management, God, Pigeons, Outlook Traveller, Graphic Novels, Vinayaka Chaturthi, Disease (With Pics)

Where we regurgitate everything

0. Books

Lots and lots of people are borrowing our books nowadays. We've resorted to using reminders on the trusty E51.

So far we know that Emma has Sea of Poppies; the Nitwit has What I Talk About When I Talk About Running; Mango Indian has A Short History of Nearly Everything, The God Delusion, India: A History, and a couple of Eddie Izzard DVDs; the girl upstairs has Santorini, The Five Dollar Smile: And Other Stories (yes, a moment of weakness); and the neighbour uncle has The Unquiet Woods and Textures of Time: Writing History in South India 1600-1800. So all of you beware.

Someone, but someone has our copy of Norwegian Wood. If you're reading this, holler. The other Murakamis on the shelf are beginning to miss this one.

Speaking of which, the running book is unmissable, especially if you've had running and/or writing ambitions and lived in Cambridge, MA or Japan. One of the good things is that it de-mystifies Murakami quite a bit, and suddenly he is this ordinary runner guy (well, sort of, he runs one marathon every year) with ordinary running troubles. Lots of little things resonate for anyone who has engaged in long distance running. For example, that mysterious question that non-runners will pose, "What do you think about when you're running?" It's a bit of a baffling question for someone who's past the 10 mile mark. What are we thinking about? Nothing, really. To put it in a different way, who the fuck knows? It's a strange state, quasi-meditative, self-transcending and what have you. The book results in repeated mental revisits of Sharon Olds poem.

1. Awards

The good Imam has done the unthinkable and nominated us for some pink coloured award. Thank you, thank you. Curiously enough, Pragya (who through a complicated and unfathomable chain of links has been lurking here) also nominated us for said pinkie. Thank you, thank you. Now we needst pass it on. So here goes. Pretty much the only rule we're following in this is that the blog has to be a personal blog we read regularly and is not already on the blogroll.

1. Australopithecus - Sample: "Another thing that worries me about these Americans is the use of the word momentarily. I almost shat in my trousers when the pilot announced 'we shall take off momentarily'."

2. Barmy in Wonderland - For kaaryakshetra adhyayan and suchlike. Also for contributing some mufat ka gyaan.

3. Wisecandyman - Who will surely one day shuffle off the mortal coil during the video question at a quiz shortly after he has consumed industrial quantities of esoteric cuisine, thus neatly bundling all his passions into one compact event.

4. The River's Wing - Who really ought to write more often.

OK, that's it, have lost enthu. There's still a boatload of stuff to write in this post. Sue us. And we set all these worthies free of the obligation to continue the tag. So there. Muhaha.

Speaking of awards, we made a little bit of money at the Landmark Quiz on Aug 15 in Madras. This has duly been spent in Landmark on such things as The Watchmen; Common Sense and The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine; The Open Society and Its Enemies; I, Claudius etc. One of these days we'll write the definitive What Rs. x,000 Buys You At Landmark post, but till then what Rs. 3,000 can get you at Landmark is diddly squat.

3. Railway Wagons

A lot of time has lately been spent on trains, as readers will doubtless be aware. It's been very pretty too, what with all the rain and lushness. Behold, somewhere in northern Andhra Pradesh, dusk, Howrah-Madras Mail.

And there's the Godavari, all pregnant and ominous. Is there such a thing of joy as a bowstring girder in the middle distance?

But on these journeys, such of us who are wont to worry about such things, are plagued with unanswered questions of the following nature. Ever so often, you will pass a railway siding or a freight marshaling yard where there invariably are forlorn looking goods wagons lying about. This is a heartbreaking sight, especially at dusk, when there is a slight drizzle, especially. They look orphaned in a way that your average passenger coach never does.

The worst ones are from the far off railways. Nothing is more tragic than a rusting North East Frontier Railway wagon on an Erode siding, catching the last rays of the sun refracting through a light shower, silently watching the Salem and Coimbatore bound traffic thunder by with nary a care... Makes you cry. Oh, once in a while you'll find an engine that's as far removed from home as our wagon. A Tughlakabad WAG-5 in Thootukudi is nowadays not an unusual sight, but it's different for locomotives isn't it? The key word being locomotive. The thing could find its way to Delhi or Dehradun if it wanted to, innit?

Not so for the poor goods wagon. It's in our mind's eye, lying there silently in the gloaming, at the foothills of the Nilgiris. Meanwhile a clerk in Bongaigaon or Dibrugarh scratches out its serial number from a long list in a smudge-ridden, dog-eared, ledger in a dusty office in the Brahmaputra valley. Sigh. Think about it, the next time you see one of these.

4. Optimal Kerchief Management

Is this even possible? Are we to resign ourselves to the sad truth that there is a black hole or other such spacetime anomaly in the cupboard, into which kerchiefs disappear? We've bought 20 kerchiefs in the last year, and can barely find one when we need it. In pensive moments, we break into song. With Bong accent. "Bhere do you go, my lobhely? I bhant to no..." Where do they go? (That song, by the way, is one of those instantly evocative take-me-back-to-the-90s-when-STAR-TV-had-just-been-invented specimens.)

Is there some way of ensuring that all times 3-6 clean handkerchiefs are available for consumption in some easily accessible place? Please help.

5. God

See 6.

6. Pigeons

Assumption: There is no god. Therefore, species evolve according Darwinian principles of natural selection and genetic mutation.

(i) Pigeons exist.
(ii) They are unquestionably the dumbest creatures on the planet. Staring deeply into a pigeon's eyes for about 3 milliseconds will make this truth instantly self-evident. If you aren't convinced, send us an application in triplicate and we will put a post on such topics as "pigeons; IQ of", "pigeons; cranial cubic capacity of", "pigeons; taste of" and so on which will doubtless convince you.
(iii) And yet they flourish. By the gazillion. If natural selection and all those fairy tales were true, they would at least have to have gone the way of the Kakapo or the Jerdon's Courser. But, nahiin. They darken the skies with their pestilential coochiings and cooings, and dive-bomb terrified, helpless Grand Slam winners. Did they go off in some distant past and engage in some ghoulish coupling with Stuka (Junkers Ju 87)?

Anyway, they exist, and seem to thrive.
(iv) Assumption must be wrong. Ergo, god exists.

Corollary: Given this sort of blatant bias towards an unfit species, the only logical explanation is that the biased One is Itself one of the beneficiaries. Ergo god is a Pigeon.

Jai Guttur Dev.

6. Outlook Traveler

Hah. Thanks are due again to Lesley because the Konaseema piece is finally out in print. Outlook Traveller recently released their 45 Weekend Getaways from Hyderabad book. It's not in the stores yet, but we have an author copy ("author copy", "author copy", oh delicious sound) and find that we're rubbing shoulders with the likes of William Dalrymple and Sheetal and are very kicked. Please buy in industrial quantities.

7. Graphic Novels

Who would've thought that there's something new to discover once you're 30+? As Jamesh Bond put it, "Never Shay Never Again" or whatever. Lately we have been lapping up these ones. That Man Keynes With His Execrable Urdu started us off by gifting us Maus and Persepolis. Then along came El Spaniardo with Amruta Patil's Kari, and the alea was well and truly iacta est. Latest couple of bouts of bookbuying have resulted in Tezuka's Buddha and the aforementioned Watchmen joining the ranks. Are we done? Do we need to do more? Sin City and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen beckon, but not much else.

It is so important to have all the volumes just so in the shelf, don't you think?

Popper, Calvino, Moore, Window, Balcony, Laundry (A Juxtaposition)

8. Happy Pillayar Day

Today it is. We spent some quiet time in the evening on the terrace and thought we'll share some of the pictures with our hapless breathless readers.

The view from the balcony

Sunset - I

Sunset - II

Close observation will reveal a sliver of moon that has been causing hullaballoo in certain parts.

Sunset - III

Sunset - IV

Silhouette - Self Portrait

Jalebi vendor - Begumpet

puja pandal, apni galli mein

9. Disease

We have mumps.

10. Bonus

Does anybody remember this?

Zing Thing

Found in a 1980s copy of a magazine/Indrajal comic on the CFL premises. Brought back some memories. Was it good for you too?


blewgenes said...

I totally remember the Gold spot...the zzzing thing ads in Tinkle and walt disney comics.

I am a big graphic novels fan. I loved Tezuka's of life funda, runny nose asaji etc. Interestingly, "Ludwig B" was Tezuka's last work.

You would definitely love the Doonesbury's "Dude : The big book of Zonker".

Space Bar said...

ok what? you have mumps?!

kbpm said...

please dont tell me you have mumps, really. must be all the pigeons you associate with. of course it could not be trains (which was my leading theory till last month). at any rate remind us of all the symptoms of mumps. & JIC avoid Gold Spot. All I can recall is the full Spiderman Song when I think about Gold Spot (Why?)& no, i have not had the pleasure (plea-ure) of stealing said book. next time perhaps. i really want Running Book but could not find it in the damned local store here. :(

Anonymous said...

Animal says ...?

aandthirtyeights said...

I looked at the Murakami at the bookshop yesterday four, five times and didn't buy it. Maybe, I'll go again today.

And, I am lurking in your parts of the world this week. Will you be there on Saturday?

??! said...

Yay! Another comic-convert.

Now you must read Sandman, and Lucifer, and V for Vendetta, and all other Gaimans (especially Neverwhere), and .... ok that's for starters.

PS. Watch out that the mumps don't migrate south.

Sharada said...

Spots blog name on award list and faints... Regains consciousness and faints again.
After an hour, "I'd like to thank my Dad, my Mum, my brother, Janaki Teacher, my pet dog and goldfish and all those people who believed in me. Thank you! Thank you! And I must not forget Ludwig who considered me worthy of this award and ..." music commences and sobbing awardee is pulled off stage.:p

You have Persepolis?! Please, please Lend! (Turns on pleading puss-in-boots-from-Shrek-eyes).

I distinctly remember you turning up at a birding trip post a bout of chicken pox. And now Mumps. Say, how are you getting childhood diseases now?

Shweta said...

Uff! Couldn’t you have issued a warning, evil person? I had to squint at the rest of the post. Anyway, I don’t think there actually is a moon in that picture.
But I wish there was a picture of one of your forlorn goods wagons. Next time I see one I’ll make up a good afterlife for it involving innocent and framed faraar mujrims using it as a hideout. Beats carrying coal from Bhagalpur to Nanded, no?

indisch said...

Oh... Indrajal comics, how we too loved them! God knows where that collection is now!

blackmamba said...

hankie mgmt 101.

And mumps? I thought the MMR vaccine was supposed to keep that one away?!

Nice work with the strategically shot self-portrait. Completely avoids any sign of the bloated neck.

Ludwig said...

[blewgenes] err...hello, lurker (?). welcome. the other ad that came to mind the moment i clapped eyes on the Gold Spot one was that ketchup one, the "Dippy dee dippy doo dippy dum dum" thing. ring a bell?

re: Doonesbury, again territory i have never ventured into, but yet another benefactor has given box set which is waiting. although, it doesn't really qualify as novel or graphic strictly, does it?

[space bar] well, or goitre.

[kbpm] please i have to tell you i have mumps, really. i'm avoiding trains, pigeons and Gold Spot with all the vim and vigour i can muster.

the plea-yyur of the running book will be very much for you, seeing as you are a co-Cambridgeite. the man goes on and on about running with pretty, aggressive, young, Harvard/MIT/BU/Northeastern undergrads around the Charles. something we all can identify with...

[anonymous] eh?

[aandthirtyeights] if you're not despo about running and/or writing, you might want to wait for the paperback edition/beg-borrow-steal as opposed to forking out Rs. 300+.

will i be there on saturday? no, i will be here on saturday. it really baffles me how anyone can ever be there. here is really the only place you can be, no?

ok. am around. should hopefully be well enough to make it on saturday.

[??!] sigh. yes. converted, in dotage. thanks for the comix tips, but i think i'm ODing right now. but duly noted. glad you didn't mention '300'. quite hated the movie.

and no, they didn't get beyond the Vindhyas. you're very well up on your mumps. and the fact that your right thumb has smudges of ink, and your otherwise tanned neck has a strip that's fair, and your jaunty walk lead me to conclude that you are medical person who has been to Afghanistan.

[sharada!] you're breathing evenly and are calm and poised and porpoised now. i have Persepolis. you wants? as the Lacaedaemonians told the Persians, "come and get it!". but remember that your name will go into the phone.

am completely baffled by the childhood disease phenom. i think the Inner Child is waking up. and bawling.

[shweta] non-evil person, there definitely is a moon there. the only reason i pointed the damn phone at the sky was to capture said moon. and inflict VC bad luck on people even post VC.

i know, my bad about the forlorn railway wagon. really ought to snap one up sometime.

happily carrying coals from Bhagalpur to Nanded, coupled to your buddies versus parking in a Sengottai siding and abetting faraar mujrims? i don't know, even stevens....

[indisch] mmm, Indrajal. mmm, Bela.

[blackmamba] v. droll. of course, i would have to re-write the same post, except that instead of handkie i'd have to find-replace with "safety pin".

these vaccines and all are like so much water of so many ducks' backs for me. my immune system is a closet admirer of Mir Jaffer and whenever the Clives of diseases show up at the Plassey that's my body...

ah, you noticed the strategically shot picture, didn't you? but then nothing like that escapes your aquiline vision...

Sharada said...

What? You want me to detour all the way to where you live and pick it up? If your highness decides to come for birding, please get it along no? Will take care of the book, don't worry.:) Yes, yes, put the names intos the phones.:p

Why does my name have an exclamation mark after it?

Clicked on the picture to open it up in larger format. Saw the moon. Wait? You took this on Vinayak Chaturthi, you say?

??! said...

'300' was strictly ok.

And just to make you happy, I'm a recent re-convert to the form too.

Also, mumps is unforgettable, after reading Durrell's detailing of his own experience with it (I think it was Garden of the Gods, but it easily could have been Birds, Beasts and Relatives). Plus, I had it too. Once. Anciently.

D said...

we loved the here - there exchange above as much as the blog post.

get well soon.

if it helps you recover sooner, we must observe you have the brysonesque touch!

and when you decide to publish, please engage us as your literary agent for our insight above ;) we need a job!

Anonymous said... are krank :(
hope you feel better soon
(and this comes 9th on the list??...priorities are very clear :P)
Have you ever checked out some of the old Indian commercials (and those DD social awareness ads) on YouTube...that will really take you back


Ludwig said...

[sharada!] all the way where i live? detour? and you of course live in the heart of town. very droll. ok, if i come birding and if i remember, i will bring. and consign your name into the pits of the E51 void.

your name has the exclamation mark on it because that's how your father Sankara Sastry interrupts you when you screw up saamajavaragamana. comprendez?

yes. VC moon. you are duly jinxed. muhaha.

[??!] strictly ok is strictly correct. so, now we're a brethern (or cistern) of Born Again Comic Lovers or something?

i have no recollection of a Gerald Durrell mumps story. shite.

[D] there you are! you're there. we are well enough to be yapping. the brysonesque touch comment is helping immensely, thank ye kindly.

don't worry about job. i'm sure some crazy running club somewhere is looking for a Chief Evangelist Officer :P

[dharini] ja, i am krank only! but much better now, as you have discerned from the #9 position.

yeah, there are some tripper DD things on YouTube. ek anek is the most famous, i guess. as is mile sur mera tumhara (which for some reason best known to the inscrutable minions of Indian Railways) plays in an infinite loop nowadays in Bangalore Cantt.

shankari said...


If this be awakening of inner child, let it frolick, gambol, run wild, no need to be in the dumps for a case of mumps

(Liiiife is full of Campa-cola times, no?)

As for the 'complicated and unfathomable c of l', it is I who has been lurking here (there?) and sharing your links (w/out any chain) with Pragya.

Heres wishing you all the conditions which promote such long detailed posts. Let the blogposts be Out - as Dahl would say about them whizzpoppers - they're better out that in.

Nina said...

Congratulations on getting published!

You were at the landmark quiz! One of the finalists...?

Ludwig said...

[shankari] i know, the inner child is pretty much the only consolation at this point. anyway, things a lot rosier now.

oh, so you're the c of l lurking connection to Pragya? more power to you. readership is what this blog craves.

conditions are not very propitous at the moment, but who nose.

[Nina] thank you, thank you.

i was, as you schrewdly suspect, one of the finalists. if you were there for the Chennai Finals, i was the joker who was awarded the dinky party hat for the Quizzer of the Evening thing.

there. the feline is out of the receptacle. you were also there?

Sheetal said...

First, mumps aa?! ayyo paapam. full commiserations. Do you know a chap called Charlbury?

Second, Ludwig is right - there is no other way to say Sharada than 'Sharada!' Abhi tak kaanon mein etc.

Third, just had to round off 19 comments to 20.

Nina said...

Ohh, so that was you! Good show!

I was there, yes. And as it turns out, standing (at one point), not two feet from you (recognizable by the party hat). Nice to meet you, I guess! :)

Space Bar said...

sheetal: you mean ludwig reads heyer? i'm shcoked. and if he's charlbury, i'm the grand sophy.

Ludwig said...

[sheetal] thanks. sympathies are muchly welcomed here. Charlbury who?

you nerd you.

btw, i've just bought the spa cover story issue. nice photo yaaron!

[Nina] that only. ta-daaa.

> Nice to meet you, I guess! :)

heh. passing ships in the night. nice to meet you too!

[Space Bar] heyer who? you're definitely "shcoked", that i agree. grand sophy? what in the name of all that's good and decent are you guys going on and on about?

choxbox said...

mumps? thought thats over and done with once you get that awful MMR shot.. hey get okay soon.
btw did the belur-halebid-SBgola trip. awesome, both the journey and the destination(s).

Space Bar said...

ludwig-san: these errors are crroect.

charbury is one suitor who gets mumps in georgette heyer's 'the grand sophy'. all is well in the end, you will happy to know. he takes a bullet in the arm for a good cause.

Space Bar said...

charlbury. i meant.

choxbox said...

LOLinga t 4 and 6.
when you crack 4 pls to pass on gyaan - need to extend it to socks, with the added complexity of them being matching ones.

kbpm said...

wtf is going on in this commentspace? go away for two days and all nature of incomprehensible things occur. anyhow you dont know Heyer? puh-lease. all boys are secret readers and admirers. we are sure.

Ludwig said...

[choxbox #1] wellness is occurring. if i had a $100000 for every time someone has told me about MMR... :) good show on belur-halebid-large naked man sculpture front! day trip? or did you manage a Chikmagalur also?

[space bar #1] i have since Wikipediaed Heyer, Sophy, Cadbury and so on and am now enlightened. hopefully it'll all show up in some quiz someday.

[space bar #2] Cadbury

[choxbox #2] oh, the socks thing totally makes this NP incomplete or whatever. we don't even deign to think about those ones... for now we are looking for feasible (not even optimal) strategies for kerchief konundrum.

[kennybunkportmainepyarkiya] wtf indeed. if you're worried about my commentspace, imagine meri haalat. i didn't know Heyer.

> all boys are secret readers
> and admirers. we are sure.

err. boys may be. not us. you needst get out of your ivory tower/reinforced cement concrete shell structure more often.

choxbox said...

do not get greedy i tell myself - cant compress n things into 1/n of an hour. doesnt mix well with the small human in the party.

so belur 1 day, halebid 1 day, large sculpture 1 day incl. running up and down 600 steps in 6 min. sack out rest of the time. also squeezed in drive through chikmagalur and checking out yagachi reservoir, will do coffee estate type trip later in the year.

Ludwig said...

[choxbox] that's true. quite forgot about n3 and n4! but ne'ertheless, sounds like fun came.

definitely do coffee estate. very soothing. moonlight. "Art of Fugue". silver oaks. mmm.

Anonymous said...

the principle of natural selection states :' survival of the fittest' not the smartest.

and sometimes, manytimes, being 'dumber' may be the 'fitter' option.

eg, you drive like a moron, you'd have lower blood pressure, you'll live longer. you don't have an opinion about anything, you'll not get pissed at things, you'll have lower blood pressure, you'll live longer.