Thursday, December 28, 2006

The 36 canonical Plots

The other day, I was watching a show on originality ( or the lack of it) in Indian cinema. It was a kind of a debate with a few prominent theatre and film personalities. One of the participants commented that nothing much is original anyways, and even shakespeare quoted that there could be only 36 dramatic situations. The only thing original was the presentation. Anyways, the argument caught my fancy, and i tried to lookup something on google. The following is what i found, and as a true blue programmer simlply pasted it on this
space below. I figured if this one is about being original, why not do a copy/paste. Makes an interesting read.

The 36 canonical Plots

This is summarized from "The Thirty Six Dramatic Situations"
by Georges Polti, publ 1921.
Los Altos, Calif, library has it at 808.8024.
This book is translated from (probably) French or German, and
it is not at all clearly written.

The German writer Goethe said "Gozzi maintained that there can be
but 36 dramatic situations. Schiller took great pains to find more,
but was unable to find even so many as Gozzi." None of these three
goobers actually wrote down what the situations were. This is the
challenge that Polti took on in documenting these plots.

The situations can easily be combined, e.g. "Gone With the Wind" is
a combination of the 9th situation ("daring enterprises") and the
28th situation ("obstacles to love").

The 36 Dramatic Situations.

1. Supplication
(A Persecutor, a Supplicant, a Power in authority whose decision
is not yet known). Three sub-situations, A,B, and C.
A. The power whose decision is awaited is a distinct person. Will
he decide in favor of the persecutor or the supplicant?
B. The decision comes from the persecutor. Will it be anger or pity
that determines his course?
C. There's another person, the Intercessor, who implores the power on
behalf of the supplicant.

A.1 Fugitives imploring the powerful for help against enemies
A.2 Assistance implored for the performance of a pious duty which
has been forbidden.
A.3 Appeals for a refuge in which to die.

B.1 Hospitality sought by the shipwrecked
B.2 Charity entreated by those who have disgraced their own people
and been cast out.
Example: Adam and Eve
B.3 The seeking of pardon, healing or deliverance.
B.4 Seeking the handing over of a corpse or a relic

C.1 Imploring on behalf of someone dear to you
C.2 Imploring one relative on behalf of another
C.3 Imploring a mother's lover on behalf of the mother.

2. Deliverance
(An Unfortunate, a Threatener, a Rescuer)
A. Appearance of a Rescuer to the Condemned
B.1 A Parent Replaced on a Throne by His Children
B.2 Rescue by Friends or Strangers Grateful for Benefits or
Hospitality. This theme is no less than the story of Christianity.

3. Crime Pursued by Vengeance
(An Avenger and a Criminal)
A.1 The Avenging of a Slain Relative
A.2 Vengeance for a dishonored Relative, Friend, Lover, or
False Accusation
B.1 Vengeance for Intentional Injury or Spoilation
Shakespeare's "The Tempest"
B.2 Vengeance for having being robbed of one's due
Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice"
B.3 Revenge upon a whole sex for deception by One
Jack the Ripper (Bertrand & Clairian, 1899)
C.1 Professional Pursuit of Criminals
Sherlock Holmes

4. Vengeance Taken out on Relatives for Relatives
(Avenging kinsman, Guilty kinsman, memory of victim related to both).
A.1 Father's death revenged on mother
A.2 Mother's death revenged on father
B.2 Brother upon Son, Father upon Husband, Upon Mistress, Children,
Lover, etc.

5. Pursuit
(Punishment and Fugitive)
A.1 Fugitives from Justice pursued for Political Offenses, etc
B.1 Pursued for a fault of love
C.1 A Hero struggling Against a Power

6. Disaster
(A Vanquished Power, a Victorious Enemy or a Messenger)
A.1 Defeat suffered, Fatherland destroyed, natural catastrophe
B.1 A Monarch Overthrown
Shakespeare's Henry VI, and Richard II
C.1 Ingratitude Suffered, Outrage Suffered, Unjust Punishment
Shakespeare's King Lear
D.1 Abandonment by lover, husband, parent.

7. Falling Prey to Cruelty or Misfortune
(An unfortunate, a Master or a Misfortune)

8. Revolt
(Tyrant and Conspirator)

9. Daring Enterprise
(A Bold Leader, an Object, an Adversary)

10. Abduction
(The Abductor, the Abducted, the Guardian)

11. The Enigma
(Interrogator, Seeker, Problem)

12. Obtaining
(A seeker and an adversary who is refusing, or an
Arbitrator and Opposing Parties)

13. Enmity of Relatives
(a malevolent relative, a hated or reciprocally-hating relative)

14. Rivalry of Relatives
(The preferred relative, the rejected relative, the object)

15. Murderous Adultery
(Two adulterers, and the Betrayed Spouse)

16. Madness
(Madman, Victim)

17. Fatal Imprudence
(The Imprudent, The Victim or the Object Lost)

18. Involuntary Crimes of Love
(The Lover, the Beloved, the Revealer)
A.1 The discovery that one has married mother, sister, etc

19. Slaying of a Relative Unrecognized
(The Slayer, the Unrecognized Victim)

20. Self-Sacrificing for an Ideal
(The Hero, the Ideal, the "Creditor" or the Person or Object

21. Self-Sacrificing for a Relative
(The Hero, the Relative, the "Creditor" or the Person or Object
A.1 Life sacrificed for that of a relative or loved one.
B.1 Ambition sacrificed for a parent's happiness

22. All Sacrificed for a Passion
(The Lover, the Object of the Fatal Passion, the Person or Object

23. Necessity of Sacrificing Loved Ones
(The Hero, the Beloved Victim, the Necessity for the Sacrifice)

24. Rivalry of Superior and Inferior
(The Superior Rival, the Inferior Rival, the Object).

25. Adultery
(Two adulterers, and the Betrayed Spouse)
How is this different, except in degree, from "Murderous Adultery"?

26. Crimes of Love
(The Lover, the Beloved).

27. Discovery of the Dishonor of a Loved One
(The Discoverer, the Guilty One).

28. Obstacles to Love
(Two Lovers; an Obstacle)

29. An Enemy Loved
(The Beloved Enemy, The Lover, The Hater)
A.1 The Loved One hated by relatives of the Lover
Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
B.1 The Beloved is the Slayer of his Lover's father, mother, brother...
Romeo and Juliet is this plot, modified by plot 10 (Abduction,
or here, elopement) then with triple effect, plot 36 (loss
of loved ones). The first loss of loved ones is mistakenly, then
simply, then actually and doubly and simultaneously and undoubtedly
with a cherry pom-pom on top too, to both the families of the loved ones.

30. Ambition
(An Ambitious Person, a Coveted Object, an Adversary)
A.1 Ambition Watched and Guarded Against by a Relative or
Patriotic Friend
"Julius Caesar" by Shakespeare

31. Conflict with a God
(A Mortal, an Immortal)
A.1 Struggle against a deity
B.1 Controversy with a deity

32. Mistaken Jealousy
(The Jealous One, the Object Whose Possession he is Jealous Of,
the Supposed Accomplice, the Cause or the Author of the Mistake)
A.1 The mistake originates in the suspicious mind of the jealous one
Shakespeare's Comedy Of Errors
B.1 Jealousy suggested by a Traitor moved by Hatred
Shakespeare's Othello and Much Ado about Nothing
C.1 Reciprocal Jealousy suggested to both spouses by a rival.

33. Erroneous Judgement
(The Mistaken One, the Victim of the Mistake, the cause or Author
of the Mistake, the Guilty Person)
A.1 False suspicion where faith is necessary
Beowulf and the death of the big dog.
B.1 False suspicion drawn on oneself to save a friend
C.1 The Accusation is allowed to fall on an enemy

34. Remorse
(The Culprit, the Victim or the Sin, The Interrogator)
A.1 Remorse for an unknown crime
B.1 Remorse for a fault of love

35. Recovery of a Lost One
(The Seeker, the One Found)
A.1 similar to situation 9
second part of Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale and Pericles

36. Loss of Loved Ones
(A relative slain, a relative who witnesses, an executioner)
A.1 Witnessing the slaying of relatives while powerless to
prevent it.
Part of the film "The Usual Suspects"
B.1 Divining the Death of a Loved One
C.1 Learning of the Death of a Kinsman or Ally.


So much for drama! You often hear the same thing said about jokes,
that there are only 12 (or 6 or 9 or 7) basic jokes, and every joke
in the world is a variant of one of these.
Maybe that's true, and the jokes are word surprise (spoonerism or
pun, like the lazy teacher who gave us a bad spell of "whether"), object
surprise (practical joke), people surprise (I didn't do what you
expected me to do) etc etc. Surprise is the critical element of humor.

No surprise, no humor. That's why jokes aren't funny when you've
already heard them once. If you write me a big research grant, I'll
do some more thinking along these lines.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Fuji Q Highland Resort

It was the company quarterly outing the last weekend, and a trip to fuji-q highland park was planned. The fuji-q highland is an amusement park with all kinds of rides.
Details about Fujikyu Highland -attractions, map, etc...

The trip was planned on a sunday, so we were supposed to wake up early and get to shinjuku bus station at 9. Thanks to some late night t.v and unexpected calls from India, we barely managed to make it before 9.00 a.m. The Bus ride was a pretty pleasant one, and we reached the place about 11.15 a.m. After goofing around a bit at the gates, doing the usual "I am a tourist, I click photographs everyhwere" routine, we got our day passes, which would enable us to all the rides. The first sight that caught my fancy on entering was the giant roller coaster. I am going to call myself moderately decent at clicking photographs (blame it on the kodak !!! Need to buy a nikon d50). So you can see the pics of the park on the link below.

or type "fuji q images" on google to get search results.

On entering the park, we were left pretty much on our own. We got in line for the first ride on entering the park, which should have been skipped, as it was a go-kart which barely had speed on it. I mean even i could have outrun it when it was running at maximum speed. O.k, not for the whole stretch, but I am sure I would have beaten it at the 100 m dash. And we waited for almost 30 minutes to get into that. All this time, i could hear people scream in the roller coasters.

I am not a big roller coaster fan, never been. It does not excite me at all. Infact, back home you would have to pay me to get in a giant wheel. And they are almost miniature models of the ones back here. I do have a mild case of vertigo, although that has never been confirmed. I first realized that when I went up a water tank with someone during my college days. Heights don't freak me out, but I just kinda start feeling giddy up there. And here I was, in front of one of the largest roller coasters in the world, wondering I must be crazy to even think about. I was later informed by a friend that he has been to this place thrice, but never ridden the big roller coaster. But i say, what the heck, If i am gonna do it only once in a lifetime, let this be it.

So i grabbed a chili dog and stood in line. It was a pretty long queue, as it was a sunday and everybody wanted to ride this one. I was munching on my chili dog, in the hope that it would give me some kind of sickness so that I could chicken out. After a little more than an hour, We finally arrived at the starting option. I actually had the option of riding in the first seat. yeah, right, like I was gonna do that the very first time !!! There was a chicken way at the very top, which seemed very tempting, but I had my mind fixed that I was gonna do this one. I got in on the third seat from the front, which did not seem that scary. The ride started slowly, and i already was feeling the state of things to come. It ended in less than two minutes, much to my delight. I was screaming all the way down, up and whichever way it went. They also have a camera on one point , so you could have a photograph of you on the ride. I sure have a copy of that one.

The rest of the afternoon was spent on roaming around the resort. I sat in the huge giant wheel , but even that gave me the jitters. And then it was time to hit the ice rink !!!. After a few falls ( a couple of really bad ones) and almost 2 hours , i managed to make a small video clip of me Ice Skating. It looks pretty cool on the video, but balancing your whole body on those two blades was quite a task. But as famously quoted "Mein to India ke liye bana hi nahi"
Soon it was dark and time to leave. We got on the bus and i crashed after one beer. My feet were killing me and I had to go to work the next day.
Tip :- Do not try ice skating, if you have to go to work the next day.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


I was there !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Watching U2 live was a mind blowing experience. And thats all i have to say about it. It is not something to write about or read about. You have to be there. Just posting the set played during the show.

Main Set: City Of Blinding Lights, Vertigo - She Loves You, Elevation, I Will Follow, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, Beautiful Day - Sgt. Pepper's, Window In The Skies, Walk On (acoustic), Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, Bad - 40, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Bullet The Blue Sky, Miss Sarajevo, Pride, Where the Streets Have No Name, One

Encore(s): The Fly, Mysterious Ways, With or Without You, The Saints are Coming, Angel of Harlem, One Tree Hill

Comments: Window in the Skies makes its live premier

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Kawasaki Halloween parade.

Another boring sunday with nothing to do. Picked up my backpack and my friends camcorder and travelled to Kawasaki to catch a halloween parade. yes, There is actually some place called Kawasaki in Tokyo. I am not too sure about Honda and Toyota, though. It was my first Halloween, and the Japanese seem big on american holidays. I had read about this parade in
metropolis, the magazine in my apartment, so I thought I should go look.
The place was not far from home, around 20-25 minutes from home. The only problem was that I got down at the wrong side of the station and spent almost an hour searching for the parade. I did finally manage to make it just in time for the presentations. Got to see a lot of costumes, some weird, some kinky, not all scary I must say. Hung out there till about 7.00,
and then back home.
Atleast, It was better than sitting at home.

Had a real rough friday night. Was out for a couple of drinks and came back home and went straight to bed. Woke up real late on saturday and had to skip breakfast. I decided i could use a pizza. So I hopped out of bed, picked up my backpack and off I was to look for dominos.
I had seen dominos deliver at office, so i guessed there would be one close by. But could not find it. After almost an hour on foot, I had almost given up when i found the white and blue sign. I didn't even know how far I was from home, But the pizza place was bang outside a metro station ( whose name I cannot remember if i have to go back). I ordered a 10 inch pepperoni, corn & salami pizza for 1200 yen.
Caught the train and came back home to finish all of it at one go. I can't remember the last time I had a whole pizza all to myself. Must be in college when I used to eat at dominos often. They were the only pizza joint then and pretty close to home.
It tasted the same, and was expensive as usual. Come to think of it the filet-o-fish and fries at macdonalds taste the same too. My worry is that there is a lot of junk food going in. But it's good to see some things never change.

Need to find that subway sandwich store close to office soon !!!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Diwali in Ginza

My mailbox is being bombed by happy diwali mails. I am feeling a bit queasy. HELP !!!!! I should join the shopaholics online.
This weekend will be tough to survive. Last weekend i went to hermes. 150 $ for a tie.The point here is that i have 150 $ !!!!!!
This is a true test of my middle class character. I am sure i will pass. 6 weeks v/s 27 years.You decide.
And to increase the difficulty level, i live next to ginza. In tokyo, in the city you do not have huge areas like bandra or andheri. The whole of ginza is like half of veera desai road. So, if I live at last stop, ginza is somewhere near rajkumar. And the next station will be at the pedestrian flyover at andheri.
The reason i am going on about this place is this. I was talking to a desi I met at an Indian restaurant a couple of days back. He is in Japan for the last 5 years. CTO somewhere. We were having a casual conversion about the diversity of investment opportunities in India and China and the ongoing recession in Japan. (Since when did I start having those dinner conversations??? HELP !!!!! where is my nintendo ? ). I happened to mention how i was surprised than even during this recession in Japan, i could see people in subway trains with luis vuitton and chanel bags. He gave me an intersting fact. He says, 30% of the revenues of all big brands like armani, luis vuitton, hermes, bvlgari are not from japan, not tokyo, but GINZA !!!!
I can't verify this fact for you. But sounds true. I don't trust the guy cos
a) He is from delhi
b) He looks like a punju.
He looked like one of the uncles you could have seen in a punjabi wedding. But good timepass for dinner.
You could check this fact out for me. not punjabi uncles. The ginza story.
Anyways, I was taking a stroll at ginza in the evening. Went to the GAP store first. This is the only brand I find which is relatively cheaper. Not today though. A plain thin black v neck sweater costs around 5600 yen and will not be enough to keep me warm even on a cold mumbai morning. Caps are anyways expensive and I wanted to buy something really nice so I walked out of there.
I was in no mood for window shopping, when I was actually planning to buy something. No point in going to armani or bvlgari. So i walked into UNI QLO, a store I had earlier gone to in Korakuen. It's the cambridge shirts of tokyo, with cheap clothes(realtively) and up to date with the times, unlike cambridge which still sells 80's designs.
The UNI QLO is a chain of stores in tokyo, and the ginza version is four stories tall. I went up to the men's section and found the same sweater i saw earlier in GAP for 3500 yen. Picked that one and a plain white shirt (Japan's national uniform for work) for 2500 yen. The people at work are almost always dresses in dark suits ( mostly black) and white shirts. Feels like attending a large funeral at all times. The shirt was a size 38, and fitted fine. It felt awkward, cos I had never tried anything that fit after I had gained all that weight. 17 kilos lighter, it fit just fine. Hope to be this size as long as I can.
Mostly happy with the bargain, I walked back home.


(Missing the sweets at home and hogging at mohammed ali road in ramzan)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Cinema Ikspiari

It was the saturday before diwali, and people were getting in a festive mood at home. I was at the apartment till about 4.00 in the evening finishing of housekeeping stuff. Got really bored and picked up a copy of the metropolis. This magazine has now become kind of my tour operator. It's a weekly that can be picked up free of cost from the apartment's reception. It has all the listings of sports, cultural and other events happenning in and around Tokyo. There didn't seem anything intersting in it, so i decided I would go watch a movie.
There were quite a few playing, and I picked up "Thank you for smoking". The next pick was "Snakes on Planes", so I chose the former.

Now comes the tough part. Finding the theatre. It was playing only at 2 places, a cinema hall at maraounochi close to home and cinema iskpiari at maihama which was god knows where. I got on a train and reached yurakucho where I was supposed to find this theatre. After searching for about 20 minutes, I decided to give up as the show must have already begun. The next option was to go to maihama and search for the theatre again. And I didn't even know what time the show was and even whether there was an evening show.I was already giving up, when I remembered it was saturday and I had nothing to do. The age old question for weekends "Ghar jaake kya Karega? " popped up and I said let's go for it.

Turns out maihama was on the edge of the city. I had to go to Tokyo and take the Disney Line to maihama. After 20 minutes on the train( which is a long time to travel by Japan standards) I reached maihama station. And Lo .. . And behold. Turns out maihama station is the entry point for Tokyo DisneyLand. Even more depressing when you are trying not to remember it's the festive season back home. I plan to visit DisneyLand sometime soon, so I don't wanna write about it much. The good part was, they had an information desk and they pointed me right towards cinema iskpiari. The ticket counter girl spoke a little english, and i was given a ticket to the 7.30 show. I am sure it must have been the most expensive ticket (1800 yen) in the house, but i was no mood to ask for balcony or stall. That's definitely the most I have paid for a movie ticket and I was hoping that at the price I was paying, It had some mind blowing chota chetan 3-D effects(It didn't. There was tim burton's "Nightmare before Christmas" playing at the same place which did. Blasting Barnacles !!!). I had more than an hour to kill before the show started, so after confirming that the show was actually in english ( Not an english movie dubbed in Japanese), I set off to take a stroll outside DisneyLand.

I didn't go far. Found a Planet hollywood close by and walked in. They had a lifesize statue of arnie from terminator at the door. The funny part was that it was halloween season and they had put a witch's robe and hat on it.Was escorted to a bar stool in a couple of minutes. I am already getting sick of sitting all alone on bar stools. Sipped on a cocktail, till it was about time. Didn't pick up any souveniurs, will do that later.

Back to the movie hall then. I was a bit early, which is quite unusual to our movie outings in mumbai where we are almost always late. I noticed they had beer and popcorn and hotdogs and decided i would come back later. I was skeptical till the movie started and was finally at peace when the soundtrack was in english. There was no national anthem ( Maybe we are the only ones who do it) and no interval, so i had to rush out in the middle of the movie to grab a beer. I didn't feel like a beer, but when was I going to sit in a movie hall and sip beer again? The movie hall was typical of a mid-size multiplex and there were only about 15 people in it. Guess that's the amount of folks you'd find anywhere for a foreign language film. The movie was average, it would have to be a classic of Forrest Gump's magnitude to make me feel like it was money well spent. I think i'll stick to renting dvd's for some time now.

All in all, a good time was had and a saturday night was not completely wasted.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Odaiba and Sega Joypolis

Another weekend had come with no plans. It was friday evening and I was sitting at my desk looking really busy, searching for something to do on the weekend. I stumbled upon the statue of liberty. Yes, In Japan. Gifted by france as usual. On doing some more R & D, found out that it was located at a port called Odaiba. I asked my colleague and he seemed interested. So i chalked out a rough plan for the next day ( which I must remember is always, always someone else's job).

We left our apartment at about 11.00 ( come on, it's a saturday). Had to catch a train from shimabshi station, which is my regular railway station. It Does not come anywhere close to andheri. The funny part is it is as noisy as andheri station. Only the noise, nothing else. We had to catch the yurikamome, which is an unmanned train running on rubber tires. The train ride to Odaiba is an attraction in itself (as adverised). I did not pick up the one day pass for the train, which was a mistake, as it is much cheaper if you plan to spend the whole day in odaiba. We were at one end of the train, and it is really fascinating to know that no one is driving the train. We got down at odaiba, the station that was the nearest to the statue of liberty.

After some regular photo ops at the statue of liberty, we headed to sega joypolis. This is like a 3 storey building full of popular sega games and rides, as well as some of new and upcoming ones. Again, did the mistake of not taking a full day pass and ended up spending more money inside. The virtual plane tour was a blast. The horror shows were ok. Maybe scarier if i knew what the characters were talking about.

After sega, the next stop was Mega web. Part of Palette Town, Mega Web is a Toyota showroom, where you can view and touch Toyota's newest models and car accessories, test drive a real car ("Ride One") or ride an automatic, electric vehicle ("E-com Ride"). Historic cars are exhibited in the "Historic Garage". With no driving licence, we were compelled to ride in one of the e-cars. It was a bit weird, sitting at the wheel while the car drives itself. Reminded me of Jurassic park. After we got of the car, we went to the car museum which was an exciting walk through all old cars which you would have seen in 70-80s flicks.

We hung around pallete town for a bit after that.This shopping and entertainment complex consists of Venus Fort, Sun Walk, Mega Web, a Ferris Wheel and Zepp Tokyo, a large concert venue. With the feet starting to kill us, we took th yurikamome back home.

A saturday well spent, i must say. Better than sitting at home and watching movies on cable.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


This is what wikepedia has to say about kabuki
Kabuki is a form of traditional Japanese theater. Kabuki theater is known for the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by its performers.

The individual kanji characters, from left to right, mean sing, dance and skill. Kabuki is therefore sometimes translated as "the art of singing and dancing." These are, however, ateji, characters that do not reflect actual etymology, and the word kabuki is in fact believed to derive from the verb kabuku, meaning "to lean", or "to be out of the ordinary", hence kabuki can be interpreted to mean "avant-garde" or "bizarre" theatre

CAUTION :- Do this when you have absolutely nothing to do or if you really dig cultural stuff however bizzare it may be.

O.k. The caution is not on wikipedia. That ones's added by me. My reasons for going were simple
1> It was a sunday and i had nothing (better or worse) to do.
2> Ginza, where the theatre is very close to where I am staying.
3> The theme of the play sounded interesting ( Two samurai brothers out for revenge)
4> I was feeling like exploring Japan's cultural side. (New one for me)

Kabuki is not that bad. I was advised to go to an opera instead, but I have left that for something to do in Europe. But after watching kabuki, it made me wonder why i was never interested in KathaKali. Maybe I would have been If I was a tourist in India and had nothing better to do on a sunday. Maybe I should have watched kathakali when it was on t.v during my DD1 days in pune. But I didn't, so I am not in a position to make comparisons. So I am just gonna write about kabuki.

Discalimer : - Do not go by everything said in the above link.

I had no problems getting to the place. It was a stone's throw away from ginza station. It is small structure compared to the towers surrounding it. It seems it was rebuilt twice after a bomb and an earthquake. There are two options for watching kabuki. You either go the whole 9 yards, that is 4 and a half hours of four or five different acts or only a single act lasting about 90 minutes or so. Not being the culturally adventurous type, i decided to go for a single act on a sunday matinee show. For the single act, you have to go on the fourth floor which common sense tells you, does not house the best seats for watching a stage show. And in case if anyone's wondering what I was going to do at a cultural japanese play knowing only a few words in japanese, they have english headphones for translating the happenings on stage ( as advertised)

So there I was on a sunday morning, standing in line to get in for the act, trying to make a pass at the french girls ahead of me. At the opening of the window, the ticket guy saw I was lost in Translation and explained a few details to me in his version of english. What i got from it was I could have to stand, which i eventually did, as i refused to run up four flights of stairs for a seat on a sunday and preferred to stand for the next 90 minutes or so. I got my english translation radio from the counter on 4th floor for 1400 yen, 1000 yen of which was a deposit. I had just about enough standing place.

Come to think of it, the reason I was there was that the play was well advertised.It went something like this
Soga Brothers and their father's killers
This is one of the oldest and most calssical of all kabuki plays. In the edo period, every january , plays appeared about the vendetta, carried about the soga brothers Juro and Goro after 18 years of hardship.In soga no Taimen, the brothers confront Kudo suketsune, the man responsible for their father's death. More ceremony than play, it features each of the important kabuki character types, including the bombastic aragato style of Goro and the soft wagato style of Juro.

Well, that sounded intersting. So there i was, standing in the top balcony of the hall(worst seats for a play) waiting for the action to unfold. The play began with the opening ceremony which was about endless. I really do not wish to write much about the rest of it, but let's just say it ended in 90 minutes. All the action was missing, and there was lots of drama. I was half expecting full on wham bam action on stage, but there wasn't any. There were about countless japanese ceremenious, and endless praises sung by each of the characters in each other. The aragato style mentioned above consisted of screaming loudly and the wagato style sounded like the shreiking of a four year old girl. The play could be summed up as the brothers mentioned above getting themselves invited to the villians lunch party and challenging him to fight. All this took 90 minutes. In the end, I was thankful it did'nt take more.
I left sorely dissapointed ( no french girls spotted after the end of the play). But i would not want to discourage anyone from watching kabuki while in japan. Just, don't say you were not warned.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Yomiuri Giants VS Hiroshima Carpenters

Now where else would you find baseball teams with those names !!! Went to a baseball game last weekend. It was not planned, just happened. I had just come back home after spending the afternoon window shopping in roppongi. I did end up buying stuff from the Hard Rock cafe store. It was around 5.30 and I had nothing to do. So i just picked up my backpack and left for Korakuen where i knew there was a game on at the Tokyo dome between the Giants and the Carpenters.

I reached around 15 minutes late from the scheduled start at 6.00 p.m. After much hand talk with the ticket counter girl, I got in at a ticket of 1000 yen which was a standing ticket. It worked out great as i could roam around the whole circumference of the dome and catch the action from all angles. The tokyo dome is home to the Giants team. They are much like the real madrid of football. Big club, lots of money, great history and no credible performances in recent years. The carps were the minnows comparatively. The giants are the only team in Japan, that has all of it's games televised nationally.

As i put my foot in the stadium, I instantly knew what japanese baseball was all about. I do know the technicalites a bit, and that helped. The first innning was over and the giants were leading 2-0. The crowd was on their feet, which they would be for the entire game. They kept singing and playing their trumpets all the time.
The whole atmosphere was mind boggling. Well it was not half the crowd you would get at wankhede for an India - Australia match or one fourth of the noise when sachin would come in to bat. They say aamir khan recorded the crowd sound in an India - Australia match at wankhede to use in Lagaan. But the japanese had their own way of enjoying the game.
They had something of a japanese wave going which was similiar to the mexican wave. As the match progressed, I noticed one thing. The fans would cheer only when their team was batting. When the other side came to bat, they would just sit there patiently. It seems the japanese play a very conservative style of baseball. Not once during the game did i see someone try to steal a base. I picked up two chants, maybe wrong , but they sounded somewhat like this
" Se Se Hirose"
" GO GO Tamago"
I know the secound sounds english, but i am not sure. By the end of the seventh, I sat down at a place as my feet were killing me. In front of me was a man recording all the action on his two camcorders. It was pretty strange, cos he would change cassetes in one as they got over and start recording in the other. He had both cameras placed on tripods, and hardly changed the angle !!! Thankfully the guys sitting next to him also thought it to be funny, so I did'nt feel totally lost. There were the girls selling beer and hotdogs, all in matching uniform. They looked cheerful right till the end of the ninth.
As far as the game goes, the Giants were leading till the end of the sixth. The carps came from behind and made it 2-2 at the top of the seventh. I saw my first home run, being scored and it was quite a thing. On getting back to home base, the batter was gifted a doll by a cheerleader which it seems is customary. God, there seems to be a custom involved in everything here. The carps got another one at the top of eighth, and by the end of the eighth inning, the giants could not comeback. The crowd already started to leave at the start of the ninth, but I waited till the end. The carps did win eventually.
I hung around outside the dome for some time. Was really hungry, so decided to grab a bite. Walked into Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant but didn't feel like seafood. The restaurant has all kinds of soevinuers from Forrest gump. Will get back here to get the "Run Forrest Run" license plate. It seems they have a chain of these around the world.
Stepped into a chinese restaurant and had seaweed chicken fried rice. With chopsticks. They come joint, and you have to split them into two. I did a really bad job with the first one and ended up with one and a half chopsticks instead of two. The waiter was kind enough to offer me another one to break, and this time I split them like pro. The chopsticks are disposable anyway, so I could have broken a few more. It seems they do have some problems in clearing garbage in Tokyo cos of all these chopsticks and other disposable stuff. The rice was good, and I think I can handle chopsticks now.
Left for home at around 10, and must say was a weekend well spent.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Lost in translation

It's been a really long time since I updated this place. Almost more than 3 months. A lot has happened over the past 3 months, But I just have not been able to write.
There were the floods in mumbai ( It is going to be a yearly affair now, methinks), and the bomb blasts on the train and much more. Just could not find the time to write. Or maybe didn't want to write. Maybe I was a bit tired of cribbing all the time. But It seems I am back to my old self again.

And I am In JAPAN !!!. In tokyo. Nice place. How I got here is another story. The 12 hour plane delay, 2 trips to the airport, taking the airport bus ticket before picking up my luggage, the japanese cab driver and no keys after getting to the apartment. But I am here now and stuck with work as usual. It will be a month in Japan in another couple of days. Time does fly. Weekdays
is 9 to 9 so i hardly get time for anything. Weekends are for sight seeing. I Think i should be updating this space more often, so i keep up with all places I visit.

Until now it's been an experience. I am using my hands more to communicate than my mouth. Japan is the world's second largest economy. And Tokyo is the most expensive city in the world!! My apartment would cost me 1,25,000 INR per month. And it would hardly accomadate more than one person. The railways take some time figuring out, But by now i think i can make it. These guys all look the same. I think i'll take some time differentiating. I have tried a bit of Japanese food and it seems good. But what would be worth it would be eating at someone's place, the kind of food they have regularly at home. Hope i get the chance. Anyway's it's been a major gastronomic
experience till now. I am sure I have gobbled up more meat in the last month than i did in the whole of last year.

Tokyo is like any other major metropolis of the world. Well, I have seen only two, but the major commercial areas of both seem very similiar. Apart from the difference in infrastructure, it seems the same. There is the usual rush to get to work. The macdonalds, starbucks and subway sandwiches lined up. Just different looking people
maybe. rest all seems the same. And yes, there are Indians all around. Maybe we truly have spread all over the world. Atleast the metros, I think.

Will try and keep this place updated.

Bye for now.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Radio goo goo Radio gaa gaa

It's gone. This post is an Obituary. Somewhere in the begining of this month, my favourite radio channel, mid-day's Go 92.5 passed away. May it's musical soul rest in peace.
May god not forgive the people behind this. But I think they can't be blamed anyway. A radio station survives on advertising. And advertising comes to mass appeal. Sadly in the most cosmopolitan city of the country, Rock and Roll has no mass appeal. Neither does Britney Spears for that matter. Go 92.5 was the only station that played english songs. And they could not do that 100% either. So it was 50 -50. One english song followed by one hindi. I vaguely remember mid-day coming up with a radio channel a few years back and the same thing had happened. Those were different times. This time around there were much more players. And lots of money thrown in.
But they could not last. And they will be missed. It came as a rude shock to me when i first tuned in one night at 10.00 p.m. After 9 it used to be only foreign music. And they had "jhalak dikhlaja" playing. The station name had changed. I picked up a copy of mid-day first thing in the morning. and there it was all splashed over the last page. It had turned 100% Hindi. A friend will be missed.
All those mornings with "good morning mumbai" with jaggu and tarana.
Bearing the evening traffic lights with "Horn, o.k please" by malini.
"Late night " music with glen.
All gone. I have heard that jaggu and tarana speak strictly hindi now. They used to speak a mix of hindi and english which was so mumbai. Their jokes were discussed in the evenings. I dont have the heart to tune in. There are enough 100% Hindi stations. You needed REM and GNR once in a while. Ah heck, even n'sync was good to laugh at. all gone.
I am at a loss for words. Hopefully we will have them back someday. But that seems like wishing himesh reshammiya would disappear from the planet taking with him all the airtime he gets. But the hope still lives. Maybe one day we will have a 100% foreign music channel. Till then, so long ....

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Fight Club

Was watching the movie the other day. Brad Pitt looks great, but Ed Norton rocks. The movie has till now acquired cult status along with brad pitt's abs. It's one twisted tale of an office employee and soap salesman building a global organisation to vent male aggression(source - IMDB).The movie was cool, the soundtrack was nice, but I am not writing a review here. For cool quotes visit
In fight club, there is a scene where brad pitt and ed norton are discussing ideal opponents.They do this a few times in the movie. When asked to choose a historic figure for fight club, ed norton picks gandhi. Brad pitt picks lincoln. Inspired by this, i decided to publish my own list of people I would like to take one on one in fight club. I tried to spread it across various categories, and have geniunely put down the first name that came to mind. Here goes

Fight Club

Personal - Vinod Iyer
History - Veer Savarkar/Gandhi
Politics - George Fernandes
Cricket - Sunil Gavaskar
Football - Gabriel Batistuta
Bollywood - Anil Kapoor
Hollywood - Robert De Niro
Indian Music - Kishore Kumar
Foriegn Music - Bono (U2)
Model - Rahul Dev
Wrestler - Yokozuna

One Last Fight to the finish - ...........?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Rain Rain go away, Little Johny wants to play

Yes. The monsoon is back. The weather changes to pleasant overnight. But that is the only thing that is pleasant in mumbai. Mr Johny joseph, the BMC chief assured us that mumbai is ready for the monsoons. Well, the city just got a glimpse of it today. If it would have rained continously for an hour more, we'd have a day off tomorrow. And that would have been getting away really easy.
I do not have anything against rains. Maybe if i had not spent most of my life in mumbai, i would have appreciated it more. The smell of the first rains is quickly overcome by the stench of the filth. I will not write anything more lest people may miss out on the beauty of rains. But, as it is, mumbai had a terrible monsoon last year. Everybody has their own horror stories of 26/7 2005. That should have been reason enough for the BMC to wake up and smell the coffee.
Well, the city will smell this monsoon, but I am sure it will not be coffee. Agreed, quite a lot of work has been done in the past year and deadlines have been met. But as would be the case, quite a few deadlines have been missed. This should not be unusual as it is most common place for such occurences. But the bafflling part is there seems to be no contingency plan. Roads are still being dug up and "Work in progress" signs being put up one day before the rains. On another note, I remember seeing this sign board on the streets of mumbai for as long as i can remember, and one day if they all dissapeared i would feel lost and believe i was in another part of the world altogether. As it is, I have been travelling from andheri west to saki naka to work for almost 5 years and i want to see how new york traffic could beat that. And now they have potholes all along the road. I remember some radio station had come up with the idea of having a pothole named after you, if you discovered it on a road claimed to be clean. And believe it or not, they still have the same amount of potholes if not more on that patch of road. But johny does not think so. We are ready for the monsoons he says. Maybe he knows something we dont. I have never been to shanghai or new york, the cities they claim to make of this, but if they are half of mumbai when it rains, i sure dont want to be there.
All of the citizens of mumbai are partly responsible for this. Students across the country are raising their voices against new issues that bother them. We wont even say a word for things rotting in front of our eyes for years. But till we do something about it, Little Johnny will have his way.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

FIFA 2006

Yes. It's back. The FIFA world cup. In another 2 weeks, the world will eat, sleep and breathe football. It is surely the most popular sport and the most watched show on television. Even in a country like India, where the national team fails to qualify even for the world cup qulaifiers,
the game is huge. Over the next two months, the cricket bats will go in the closet and the locked footballs will come out. And with monsoon around the corner it is just about the right time.
I am sure i will be writing a lot on the cup as I get caught up in the frenzy. But I wanted to remember all my football moments before the world cup starts. A few snapshots from the most popular events in the most beautiful game that i viewed. Here we go.

Italia - 90
Frankly, I do not remember much of this event. I was just another 12 year old, happy with my bat and ball. Till Italia-90 came along. And everybody was talking about one name. Diego Maradona. I got hooked by no choice, as the nation had only one channel at that time and you had to watch whatever played. Somehow I remember the first match I watched was Argentina v/s Cameroon. A relative unknown facing the giants. This was supposed to be a walkover with argentina supposed to run away with it. Sure Diego Maradona played, But there was another man who made the party his own. Roger Milla. The favourites were shocked 1-0 and i was hooked on for life. Argentina recovered from the shock and went on to reach the finals, but roger milla was remembered for a long time. Coming out of retirement for the world cup, the 38 year old's jig by the side post is still the Kodak moment of the tournament. Argentina eventually lost the finals to west germany led by Lothar Mathaus 1-0. There were a lot of other names that were in the news, like italy's schillachi (who won the golden boot, scoring in every game he appeared) and baggio, holland's gullit with his hair, Englands linekar , argentina's cannigia are a few I can remember. But the champions had lost, the germans had won and a weeping maradona after the finals would have made anyone feel for him.

USA - 94
Four years after the first one, and frankly I don't remember much of it. I had finished s.s.c,
gearing up for H.S.C. Maybe that must have made me miss it. But i caught up with the scores and the finals. Hristo stoichkov from bulgaria won the golden boot and was not heard of by me atleast again. Roberto baggio missed out the most famous penalty miss of all time. Brazil won in the final against germany, gabriel batistuta , one of my all time favourites from my argentina played his first world cup, but the kodak moment of this cup would be bebeto,romario and the gang from brazil doing their famous cradle the baby after scoring.

France - 98
This was the world cup for me. I was 20, living all alone in a city away from home, and had my own television set. I could go on about this one, as i will surely not have the same experience again. I had another friend for company. Almost every evening, we would get together after dinner, grab our snacks in front of the t.v. Getting late for everything else the next morningwas worth it. I remember supporting Italy in that tournament, cos if nothing else, roberto baggio deserved another chance. I still remember the quarter final between france and italy. We were all geared up with beer and chips and it could not have gotten better. It went to the penalties, and roberto baggio scored. The game was tied and di biaggio was taking the final kick before sudden death. He did not run, shot from the spot and hit the cross bar. Barthez ran to his french team mates and di baggio stood motionless for a few seconds before he dropped on the spot. That was a heartbreaking moment for a fan. I swore that i would never drink that brand of beer (haake beck) again as it must have brought bad luck. I still have stuck to that one. I did not watch a single match after that and read about france winning in the papers and the whole ronaldo fit-unfit story. There were many kodak moments in this one, with performances from zinadine zidane, the rise of thierry henry and young michael owen, batistuta, davor suker of croatia who won the golden boot and has not been heard from since.
But the Kodak moment for me was in the round of 16 match between england and argentina. There was a tackle and david beckham was down on the ground. While lying down,
he kicked simeone and the referee promptly handed a red card. Beckham got up, hurled a few profanaties, spat on the ground and was escorted out of the field. A star was born.

Japan/Korea -2002
Not too exciting, i must say. Brazil, after losing the last world cup , were favourites to win this one. And they did quite convincingly. The culprit of the last world cup, ronaldo, was the most prolific scorer winning the golde boot. Well assisted by rivaldo and ronaldinho. The german goalkeeper, Oliver Kahn, a personal favourite, lost it in the finals by failing to collect one clearly. There were some highlights, like the Italy- South korea round of 16 match. With the score at 1-0 7 minutes before regular close, korea scored the equalizer. And when there were three minutes to the close of extra time, korea's Ahn jung-hwan got the golden goal. The azzuri cried foul play.
The korean had his future contract with Serie A club Lazio cancelled. But korea went ahead as far as the semi-final. Kodak moment - Yes, the famous chip from ronaldinho over david seaman's head to take brazil to victory against england.

Hoping this tournament, dubbed the greatest show on earth, is as exciting as it's predeccessors.
My wishes are for the azzurri. Not they are the best team, But for roberto baggio.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

God's lesser children

It's Back. The whole reservation thing. This time around it is for the IIT's and the IIM's and the M.B.B.S. And the whole nation is protesting. My first tryst with reservation was some 13 years ago. And it has been since then. What is the whole thing, anyway. Undeserving students will get admissions regardless of merit. And they will drop out unable to cope up. I am not against the reservation thing. I totally disagree with the way people are seggregated. In urban cities, it makes no sense to call a third generation under priveledged.
Education needs to reach the underpriveledged in this country. The motive behind the move is clear and concise, the implementation all wrong. It comes out as nothing more than a political move to capture the vote bank. I have nothing against any caste or tribe. It is a vice the world has problems with. But the way we handle it is seriously outdated.
I can't recall a student uprising at that time unlike now. Maybe, I was too young to know what was happening. And by the time it hit me, it was maybe a couple of years too late. Could have been interesting to come out on the streets. But the students are doing it now. There seem to be protests all around the country. It is kind of wierd to protest against policies being implemented by people we choose to represnt us in the first place.
I hope i could do more than just to sit and watch. Someday, maybe. As of now, the issue is hot. The government is not budging from it's stand, nor are the students. Hoping there is a feasible solution. Till then, it's the usual wait and watch.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Belated Birthday Blues

Reached an age where birthdays are not a cause for celebration. Fast nearing the thirties. But it feels good. Nobody takes you seriously in your twenties, and I believe it is a complete waste if you are not getting laid or sloshed or both in that time.
Anyways, 28 seems like a nice figure. For Now.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Show must go on

The oscars are over and done with. The night of nights in hollywood and the one monday morning in the year in India when we wake up has passed. The academy awards were the regular fare. All the glitz, bling and zing zang was witnessed. Everything was the usual fare. Except for the movies.
The 5 movies nominated for the top honours were all well made. There was Good night and good luck directed by george clooney. Syriana, which had george clooney in it and capote which won hoffman the best actor. My favourite was Brokeback Mountain which is about two gay cowboys in the 60's. But, the best film was awarded to Crash a racial drama set in los angeles. It had a wonderful script, for which it did win best original screenplay, but the best film honours came as a surprise to all. The academy does like to throw in a few surprises. After all, it is one of the most watched television event acroos the globe. What good would it be if it ran on all too predictably. They sure know how to run the show.
Any ways, The movies were a much better fare this time. And the show still has not lost it's charm. I am sure an oscar does lots more to an actor's career than a grammy does to a singer. It seems to have much more recognition attached with the tag. There are a few upsets every year. Spielberg's "Saving private ryan" lost out to "Shakespeare in love" in 1998. But the oscars this year still didnt beat my favourite. Kim Basinger for best actress in L.A confidential in 1997. That was a mother of a shocker. All those who have seen the film will agree. I think, the actress
herself would too. I am still waiting for that one to be beaten. Every year i end up saying, "Well that was shocker, but not as big as Kim Basinger". Come on guys, we need a good show.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Another one bites the dust

A trip to pune has just been had. The city is changing at a frantic pace. It wont be long before it resembles mumbai. But the flavour wont change. I was there to attend a friend's engagement. The venue was on the second floor and it had a lift to take you there. The lift had a sign posted above it " Dupari 1 te 4 chowkashi saathi var zau naye". Vintage pune. You cant beat these guys. They are the cheesiest lot i've ever come across yet.
Was at an old college joint in the morning. A trip to pune is never complete without a visit to VAISHALI. Being a mumbai guy, after all these years i still cant get over the fact that an udipi joint is the most coolest hangout for college goers. But hats off to the place, they are still going strong despite the numerous Barrista's and Coffee Days around. It still seems the place to be seen at. An udipi joint. hmm. I wonder how many of friends would come with me if i told them that Udipi shree krishna was the place to be if you are not in a classroom during college. I wonder if i would have any friends left. But vaishali has a cult status now. And there are the usual stereo types. The ones in the smoking section seem uncanningly familiar. They are the ones who were you "seniors" when you first came to this place. They are still around, although a with a little bigger midsections. But the spirit remains the same. And then they are the usual sporty types from Fergie and B.M.C.C in their track pants and college sweatshirts. Discussing basketball, badminton or whatever sport they are into. And then the creme de la creme. The "Shining" in puneri terms. The good looking guys and girls in one major group of about 15-20.
Youth, with not a worry in the world. Happier times have surely passed by.
All said and done, the place stil has not lost it's charm. Some things never change. And thank heavens for that,

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The begining

Just moved the blog to this space. Hope to make some use of this space. let's see how long i last on this one.