Tuesday, 25 May 2010

My Androgynous Friend

Entry to Marble Palace is free, but visitors must first obtain a permit from the West Bengal Tourism Information Bureau. They give you a form, you fill in the visitors’ names, they sign and stamp it, and you’re good to go. Here is the relevant part of the permit obtained for last Sunday’s visit.

Ananya Adhikari, the fourth name on that list, is actually a fictitious name which Myshkin and I include every time we go to Marble Palace. The idea is that if an extra person joins the party at the last moment, that person can get in, pretending to be Ananya Adhikari.

The choice of name isn’t completely random. Under the curious conventions of transcription from Bangla into English, Ananya can be both a boy’s name [On-own-no] and a girl’s name [On-own-na]. Adhikari – a relatively rare surname – was chosen just because it is alliterative and rolls nicely off the tongue.

Thursday, 20 May 2010


From a May 2010 article in Vanity Fair magazine:
The word “disarray,” however, would never find its way into a sentence that included the name Grace Kelly.

Monday, 17 May 2010

A Grave Concern

But first, something that is not concerning in the least: The World According to Sroyon now has a CQA page. There is a link in the sidebar, just above the dice. Suggestions for additional questions are welcome!

And now we come to the Main Point. It’s like this. The batch that will pass out of our school this year is the last batch of students who were at high school with me. Myshkin is four years younger to me, so there are still plenty of students currently in our school, who were at high school with him. Which means that after the class of 2010 graduates, school will mostly be populated by students who believe that Myshkin was a bigger legend than me. This is concerning on several levels.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Upupa Epops Cardboardus

The school play I directed had props which were more expensive or elaborate, but the hoopoe (pictured above) was my favourite. We made it ourselves, with cardboard mounted on a jute stick. The body is covered with gift wrap; the head, crest, tail and wings are coloured with acrylic paint. It has an aluminium-foil collar and mirrors for eyes. The wings are joined with a rubber band, so when you pull downwards on the strings, the hoopoe flaps its wings, like so:

The play was staged yesterday: that – and not the heat – is the real reason why I was blogging infrequently in the last few weeks. I was more nervous about the play than I have been about anything in the recent past.

This play was our school’s entry in a theatre competition. Our school has always called in professional directors for this competition, though some of us always felt that it was better to call former students, even if they are amateurs. Four years back, a friend and I had applied to direct the play, but we were told that we were not experienced enough. (In hindsight, they were probably right.) This year they relented, and we knew that if we could pull it off, our school might rethink its policy. Besides, our school has won this competition in the last two years, so expectations were high.

But there was no reason to be nervous. I should have known that a play with a hoopoe in it just couldn’t lose.

Sunday, 2 May 2010


Fourteen days since I published my last post. If you discount the period when I had deleted my blog, this is now officially my longest interval without a post. Does “It was too hot to blog” sound like a credible excuse?

Hmm, I thought not.