Saturday, July 08, 2006

A Few Things Before (a perhaps permanent) Hiatus

I am purportedly studying for the bar exam. It sucks. Everyone warned me that it would suck, but I brushed off their complaints as so much hyperbolia...after all, these are the same people who warned me that first year of law school would work me to death. (Not even to sickness, or pallor, or depression. Maybe a bit of anxiety but really, that's par for Pooja's course.)

Nonetheless, the bar really does suck. Unlike law school exams, which were generally open-book, one subject, and often (freakily) fun, for the bar exam there are: 1) no notes 2) no pontificating 3) a dozen and a half subjects. Argy, argy, arg.

That's my ostensible reason for signing off-- to study. But, if you've been clicking refresh, futiley, as I have for the past three weeks, well, you'll know that I am so off blogging. Several reasons: First, I'd like to invest my energies in other writing (at least after I stop writing 300-word essays that begin, "This case shall be governed by the Uniform Commercial Code of Contracts, article 2"). Second, and far more importantly, I am totally off the real world. Everything just sucks. I'm quite happy, internally, but the world makes me miser-fucking-able. Things I can barely bear to think about (yech!):

1) The accelerating gap between rich and poor in the US, which seems to have swallowed anything that resembles a middle class

2) Kaavya Vishwanathan. So much about this story was sad before the plagiarism charges struck. A book "packaged" on Madison Avenue, written by a Superstriver whose abiding passions were Gucci bags, Mary Kate Olsen, and investment banking, occupying full page spreads in newspapers and primo shelf space in bookstores. What does that say about the state of book and newspaper publishing? THEN the fact that the poor kid was so pressured to perfect her frou-frou fluff that she actually copied someone else's. Poor kid-- not only was she brutal on herself, but she had exceptionally bad literary taste.

3) Guantanamo, and the Supreme Court's tepid ruling on it. If only Kennedy had the balls to say that the dungeon violates the Genever Conventions. (Also, see Road to Guantanamo if you haven't. I expected to cringe at the brutality; I was unprepared for the ineptitude exhibted by U.S. military. It'd be comical in a Hellerian way, if only it weren't (for the most part) accurate.)

4) Iraq, Iraq, Iraq. I don't know that I will ever stop mourning the war and the terror it's unleashed on the Iraqi people.

5) Missing my friends. I wouldn't sacrifice being with Jonathan to live in a more Pooja-friend-rich place, but damn, I miss you all and many, many others who don't read this. Please visit. Cambridge is actually salubrious for another couple of months.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

La Tourbillon de la Vie

Jonathan and I have become obsessed with the song La Tourbillon de la Vie. It consists of two alternating melodies, each, impossibly, sweeter than the last. I suppose its melodic structure reflects its narrative, about two lovers who meet and part and meet and part a nd finally meet.

Vanessa Paradis has a rendition, but Jeanne Moreau's, in the Truffaut film Jules et Jim-- available here-- wholly captivates.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Acts of War

About those prisoners who committed suicide at Gitmo:

"They are smart, they are creative, they are committed," Admiral Harris said. "They have no regard for life, neither ours nor their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us."

I'm speechless.

Let's see here. We lock up hundreds of men in a lawless zone and tell them that they have no legal rights and they might never leave, but don't tell them what they did to deserve it. We rob them of everything that makes life worth living-- love, family, sunshine, the sense that there is a moral order and, most of all, hope. And then, when they quite reasonably give up, we rob them even of a dignified death.

I think I am going to be sick.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Bye Bye Law School

I turned in my last paper on Friday. I was in a hotel room in Monte Carlo, where Jonathan was at a conference and the cappuccinos cost, like, 10 euros. It's really hard to pull an all nighter when the coffee's so expensive. I went to an Italian shop a mile from our hotel to buy bread, cheese and fruit, and thus to avoid either starving or bankrupting myself, and the bill came to 36 euros.

I didn't much like Monte Carlo. To be sure, I didn't see much because I was writing that paper, and everyone was tres gentil (et tres patiente avec moi quand j'essaye parler francais), but still, everything seemed to me to be about money. Lamborghini, Maserati, Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Ferrari all had showrooms on l'Avenue de Princess Grace and Rue de Prince Albert, etc., etc. Many of the hotel guests arrived in such automobiles. The women dressed like fashionable trash. The men leered. All of the place's natural beauty-- houses built into a mountain overlooking the insane blue of the sea-- was obscured by the glitz and cheeze. On the other hand, as a casino town, Monte Carlo has none of Vegas' positive attributes: $5.99 buffets dinners and open bars on the floor.

The trip was otherwise fantastic. We spent the weekend with my aunt, who lives in a tiny village. It's the platonic ideal of bucolic-ness. Green pastures filled with cows as fluffy as Snuffleluffagus, forsythia hanging from roofs, blue bells dotting meadows. My aunt, Latu Bua (that's short for Lalita, her first name, and "bua," which means "father's sister"), was as always the consummate and most loving hostess. She fed us Champagne; mangos; piping hot, fluffy pooris with chana and alu sabzi; Champagne. She gave us gifts (Indian kurtas and a skirt for me; cologne and aftershave for Jonathan). We hung out with her, her son--my devilishly handsome cousin Manu (who'd flown in from the Hague for the weekend)--and her daughter-in-law-- my lovely cousin-in-law Shadi (who had come to London from Hong Kong for business). My only regret of the trip is that I didn't spend more time with Latu Bua and the other Sachdevas. I hope I will go back soon.

We flew to Nice on Tuesday, getting (we thought) some movie industry bigwigs on our flight. One woman was definitely a Bollywood star-- very glam, long, layered black hair, lots of kohl, Saran-wrap-tight jeans and knee length boots. None of us had the nerve to ask her who she was, or to ask for her autograph, but I did try to make conversation with her mother. Unfortunately, the mother seemed not to speak English.

After the yuck that was Monaco, Jonathan and I drove a Peugeot (sounds much like my name) to Maillane, a town in Provence, to visit my college friend Julia. Although Jonathan and I had some car trouble (the car was a sort of clutchless manual shift, which was a slight problem on the steep hills of Monte Carlo), some toll booth trouble (till we discovered they take credit cards) and some directional trouble (damn those far-apart exits on A7!), we pulled up at the gate of Julia's farmhouse around midnight. Unfortunately, we could not figure out how to open the gate or ring the bell. Finally, in a fit of pique and much to Jonathan's chagrin, I climbed over the gate and ran up to the brightly lit window, where Mina (another friend who's staying there) and two of her friends were having some wine. I gave them quite the scare. It turns out we were supposed to go to the second gate, which has some buzzer. That this Provence farmhouse has two gates gives you some impression of how ridiculous and big it is, and if it doesn't, telling you that it has a six or seven bedrooms, two kitchens, a Turkish sauna, a pool, and a tennis court might. The remainder of the weekend involved at least five rounds of Kir Royales and several bottles of wine, a large and lush lunch with lots of cheese, and an extravagant dinner-- truffles, foie gras, three desserts, the works--somewhere, courtesy of our gracious hosts.

And now, alas, I am back at home. It is fabulous and weird. For the first time in a very long time I have no school work; no work work-- nothing to do except organize my life, read novels and magazines, watch movies and go for walks. Bar courses will take a bit of time, but only that.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


I tried to make a pun in the headline but it didn't catch. This yum article on mangos reveals that soon, we in the United States will be able to get Indian mangos--Alphonos, too!-- at the height of the season. By next year. Faranghi reporter gets lesson on mango-eating, below:

Inside knowledge always helps, so this reporter called upon Deepanjana Pal, a wine critic in Mumbai who is just as enthusiastic about mangoes. The most important lesson: How to eat a mango, presented in a three-part mime. She first holds out a cupped hand, in which sits the imaginary glistening orange oval of a whole peeled mango; she then deftly flicks her hand at the wrist to propel the phantom mango against her mouth, which gets busy sucking the flesh down to the seed; finally, outrageously, she deploys the full length of her tongue to lick her arm, elbow to wrist, to recapture an inevitable trickle of invisible mango juice.

"That," she says after a long moment's rapture with a fruit that's not even there, "is the best bit." She goes on to speculate that there is something alchemical in the mingling of sweetest mango juice with a salty sheen of sweat.

(Later, a local driver reacted with horror to the mime. "So you don't eat them like that?" I ask. "Well yes, at home, of course," he says. "But not in the streets! People will think that's where you live.")

Yum yum yum, give me give me give me! Also, that's hot.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

America Oversleeps By Eighteen Months

Bush's approval rating has slipped to an all-time low of 31 percent.

The poll showed a continued decline in support for the war, the issue that has most eaten into Mr. Bush's public support. The percentage of respondents who said going to war in Iraq was the correct decision slipped to a new low of 39 percent, down from 47 percent in January. Two-thirds said they have little or no confidence that Mr. Bush will be able to successfully end the war there.

Mr. Bush's political strength continues to dissipate. About two-thirds of voters said that Mr. Bush does not share their priorities, up from just over half right before his reelection in 2004. About two thirds said and that the country is in worse shape than it was when he came to power six years ago. Forty-two percent of respondents say they consider Mr. Bush a strong leader, a drop of 11 points since January.

Helloooooo?????? Why couldn't the undecideds in Ohio and Pennsylvania etc figure this out in November of 2004?

The Joys of Bluebooking

One of the footnotes in my 3L paper-- to be turned in today!-- is:

Kanye West, Gold-Digger (featuring Jamie Foxx), on LATE REGISTRATION (Roc-a-Fella Records 2005) (advising men, “We want prenup, we want prenup…It’s something that you need to have ‘cause when she leave yo’ ass she gonna leave with half").

Gotta love law school.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Don't Expect Any Lyricism Here. Just Cut to the Links.

I am not supposed to be reading media gossip right now, let alone to be posting. I have papers I'm flailing around about like a flopping fish. But this is the best thing I've read in, like, 2 years. Colbert is AMAZING. He spent 20 minutes at the White House Press Dinner, on the dais, next to W, lambasting him and the POS press corps. You NEED to read the entire thing-- it's ludicrous and truthful. Is there a word that captures both of those adjectives?

Predictably, press persons have gone ballistic. Apparently Colbert was too critical, he crossed some line or something. That's sour, soulless grapes. Where were they three years ago?

[In the near future (read: after school), I will dedicate a week of posts to Her Most Excellent Divess, Helen Thomas.]