startling banals

27 November 2007

Orion from an aeroplane window @ 39,000 feet

Of course
I have seen you before

Sitting huddled in
Narrow train doors

But never
Never from this close
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19 November 2007

11% in 11 months

Thats how much the dollar has fallen wrt the rupee - from 44.2 to 39.2 since January. If this trend continues, it will be 34 Rupees to a Dollar by next November.

The corresponding drops with respect to other currencies:
10.4% Euro, 5.9% Pound, 6.5% Yen, 7% Yuan, 9.5% Ruble(till October), 13.4% Australian $, 11% Danish Kroner, 15.4% Norwegian Kroner, 19.5% Canadian $!

But if you watch too closely, you could miss the big picture.
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15 November 2007

Reign Over Me

An established dentist in New York, Alan Johnson (Don Cheadle - Crash, Hotel Rwanda) sees his college room mate, Charlie Fineman (Adam Sandler) driving a kids' scooter on the streets.
Charlie refuses to recognize him. He is suffering from post-traumatic stress after losing his wife and daughters on 9/11 and stays away from anything that could remind him of his life. He lives a hedonistic isolated existence of complete denial and gets agitated if anyone tries to make him remember. Alan himself is stuck between family and career and has lost touch with his true self. He decides to do everything he can to help Charlie and starts meeting him more often.
A touching and beautiful story of friendship, loss and hope. A bit too Hollywoodish but surprisingly great acting by Adam Sandler. He can act! Don Cheadle is very good as usual. Reign Over Me.
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12 November 2007

What does it mean to be homeless?


Fredgy runs a used books stall in Harvard Square. I think she must be around 60. Old clothes, kind weathered face and just a bandana to protect her from the cold. She talked to me as I was browsing.

F: Each one of these is for 2 dollars.
A: Hmm.
F: We have fiction here in this row, next is poetry, then drama, biography, on the other side - scifi, novels, old books.
A: (Pointing out Isak Dinesen's Letters From Africa) Do you have more books by this person?
F: I'm sorry I can't keep track of..
A: These books are really good.
F: Yeah look at this. You won't get this anywhere. We have rare books. Every Friday we get a thousand new books and replace all the shelves.
A: Wow! I'll come here often.
F: We are open on all days unless it rains or snows, till 11 out in the cold.
A: Do you live around here?
F: Do you know about us? I was born here and grew up here but now I am homeless. Some of us started this to get out of the streets and back home. We are not alcoholics and we don't do drugs - but you know the stereotypes - if they are homeless they must be drunks. The City wanted us to go. We got arrested thrice - handcuffs and all - but we fought them. First the City then Cambridge Police. And we won. They had violated our rights according to the First Amendment - our Freedom of Speech.
A: How did you manage a lawyer and all?
F: They arrested us so it's their responsibility. The City said 'We don't have a permit to give them for the next 30 years' The judge said, 'Then make them one!'
A: Great!
F: Nobody bothers us now. Are you in school?
A: Yes I go to Northeastern. I am Anish. (Shook hands)
F: Aani?
A: Anish. Whats you name?
F: Anish. I'm Fredgy. Nice meeting ya. Many students come here. Their books are so expensive like 80-90$.
A: Yeah. And most of them are paying off their tuition loans for a long time.
F: Yes everyone has payments all the time. You know.. MBTA (the municipal transport) also wanted to throw us out of here - but Cambridge Police came up and told them not to try. We have been successful in New York. According to federal and Mass law we don't even need a permit. And state comes over city. We have been running for two years now.
A: I am so happy this happened.
F: If you go online you can see our story - look for sparechange.

(I got three good books: Letters from Africa -Karen, Buddenbrooks -Thomas Mann and Watership Down. There were some more details like bail was only $40 but can't remember everything; I can't bring in her accent either)

Shorter accounts from Boston and Bombay comng up.
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Zindagi Khwaab Hai (Jaagte Raho)

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03 November 2007

Beth Gibbons & Rodrigo Leão 'Lonely Carousel'

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6 months of winter and static

Innocence lost-
About time
To be afraid

Sparks gonna fly

No longer
Only in the sky
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