>> Those who watched the swearing in of her husband and noticed her eagerness to capture it for posterity were dismayed that there was a small cloud in what should have been the silver lining in Shashi and Sunanda Tharoor’s much anticipated rehabilitation into public life. Apparently while returning triumphant to Shashi’s home state Kerela after his induction as a minister in the newly configured cabinet, Sunanda got a taste of some close encounters of the not very pleasant kind when she was subjected to mob frenzy. “Totally upset by the horrible mob mentality of people,” the distraught lady posted on a social networking site. “Why would people be welcoming you and then take liberties with your body? I am bruised and battered by the Trivandrum crowds.
So much for feeling like a bahu of this state! I wonder how one understands people like this. God give me faith,” said the traumatised Sunanda adding, “But naturally one is not supposed to get upset if men are groping you or hurting you in unmentionable places. Apparently it’s not a politically correct thing to do. What happened to those days when men looked after women?? Why do we women have to suffer in silence?” Incidentally, Sunanda has not received only boorishness and the absence of civility from Indian men. Shah Rukh Khan known for his gallantry comes in for some praise. “Hats off to Shah Rukh Khan who looked after Juhi n me at the KKR celebration win in Cal when the mobs went crazy. A true gentleman. Gives one hope,” she said. We like!
The name is James
>> James Crabtree, the swashbuckling Mumbai correspondent of the FT whose life could well be the subject for a James Bond like thriller has been riveting readers and friends with updates from his latest assignment.
The Harvard educated, feline loving writer spent a week in Sri Lanka, which included a visit to Jaffna, the location of the headquarters of the Tamil Tiger movement and an introduction to what he calls ‘some of the more odd sites of developing Tamil tiger tourism.’
These included a ride aboard the smallest and bumpiest plane he’d ever taken, scrambling four floors underground to the escape tunnel at the back of the underground house-cum-bunker of the now-deceased head of the Tamil Tigers and a photo op besides the pool in the jungle used by Sri Lanka’s rebel army to train their ‘suicide divers’. Foreign correspondents have all the fun!
Cloud Atlas and the number six
>> We are happy to report that we were right there on the first day last show in the audience for the world wide release of Cloud Atlas, Lana and Andy Wachowski’s sublime and thought provoking sci-fi adventure film adapted from David Mitchell’s novel of the same name. We had been awaiting its release for a long time.
With its ensemble cast of fine actors (Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Susan Sarandon amongst others), a budget of $102 million and reports that it received a 10-minute standing ovation at the Toronto film festival it was more than a post it sticker on our diary. And now that we have watched it once, we are compelled (almost like a character in the film) to watch it five more times to appreciate its full meaning and all the undertows, nuances and twists of its many-layered plot.
Interestingly, the number six has a significant role to play in the film: Tom Hanks plays six roles, there are six interwoven stories in the screenplay and one of the main characters is a Mr Sixsmith amongst many others). Amazingly we find we are not alone in this compulsion. There are a few other die-hard fans (six in all) that are determined to see the film six times to appreciate its true beauty. See you at the movies?
Jazzing it up
>> Suddenly there’s an onslaught of Jazz: no sooner had we finished reading Naresh Fernandes’ excellent tome Taj Mahal Foxtrot and watching Susheel Kurien’s documentary tribute Finding Carlton-The story of Indian jazz when reader Manju Sampat writes in about an upcoming Jazz festival called Jus’ Jazz, in association with the NCPA to be held at the Jamshed Bhabha auditorium on November 3-5.
“This is a world class event with jazz musicians of the highest caliber performing,” the organisers say, “Featuring the Russel Malone Quartet from America and the Igor Butman Sextet from Russia, the New Orleans Modern Jazz Masters, Sylvia Cuenca’s Quintet and the Helen Sung Quartet from the US, and vocalist Diane Witherspoon’s Quintet.” Now, how about an injection of some blues and folk too? Will the Music Gods be kind?
>> Our friend Ashok Row Kavi alerted us to it — the racial bias in the Bosch washing machine ad that has a hapless urban Indian family being subjected to what looks like an inquisition by a panel of foreign lifestyle snobs. Not only do they demand to know if the family keeps flowers (yes they do, of course not jasmins and mogras but western ones like lilies) but they are only eligible for a washing machine if their bathrooms are tiled!
We noticed this insidious bias in the Nikon Coolpix ad too, featuring Priyanka Chopra who spells out to a foreign friend what she likes about Diwali – as if she’s seeking approval.
All these insidious disapprovals of our Indian way of life may appear innocuous in isolation but the aggregate they add up to is alarming when you consider how easily Indian women were conditioned to think wearing a sari to a red carpet event is infra dig or the way fairness creams have invaded our lives! We wonder if readers have noticed other instances of our cultural cringe…