Retrograde. Bamboozlement! More Bamboozlement!

Simple joys of reading Second Hand Books


Penguin Books
New Writing in India
Edited by Adil Jussawalla

For Blessy -
Our country grows
newer every day,
and we along with
it -
     your loving sister
          mala.
New Delhi '75.

Evocative line scribbled on the first page of an anthology of Indian writing  published in year 1974.





Bollywood poster art inspired beautiful cover (right) of this book by a UK based artist named Mark Edwards. Some more of his wonderful work here


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Related post:

'tukde tukde din beeta' by Meena Kumari


tukde tukde din beetaa, dha'ji dha'ji raat mili
jiska jitna daman tha, utni hi saugaat milijab chaha dil ko samjhena, hansne ki aawaaz mili
jaise koi kahta ho, lo phir tumko maat mili
dil saa jab saathi  paayaa, bechaini bhi saath mili


In fragments the day was consumed|
And in broken bits was the night|
Whatever the size of one’s requirements|
Just that much charity was received;|
When I tried to understand my heart|
I also heard the mocking sound of laughter|
As if somebody was saying|
Look, you are defeated again;|
If I found a companion of my liking|
I found restlessness with it too.

~Translation by Vinod Mehta, from his year 1972 book titled Meena Kumari.
( Urdu lines: scan of a page of the book, but urdu in english script may be a bit off  )

These lines perhaps sum up her life.

You can listen to Meena Kumari sing these lines in a little video collage I put together here:


Song is from the wonderful album 'I Write, I Recite' - a collaboration between Khayaam and Meena Kumari.

You can notice that in this song she uses the word 'aanchal' instead of 'daaman', line 'dilsa saathi jab paya' instead of 'dilsab jab saathi paya' and the line 'maaten kaisi, ghaaten kya, chalte rehnaa aath pahar' is missing from the verse quoted in the book. These alterations were probably made by her for the recording of this beautiful song .

HMV FM ad of Woman's Hour, Calcutta

Calcutta's Women Have Something That other Women Don't

Charm, Yes.
The Zest for Life, Yes.
And HMV-FM to keep her company on weekday afternoons.
Capture the women power of 4.22 Lakh Household.*
Read Them Through Woman's Hour
RPG Enterprise
HMV FM Calcutta
Monday to Friday 2 PM To 3 PM on Radio 107 MHz

*Source: Marg Survey October 1996
Found it in A&M, Advertising and Marketing Magazine, 16-31 May 1997. This is from a time when Kolkata was still Calcutta (changed in 2000 but in effect since 2001) and Indian was experimenting with FM. According to the book, The Radio Jockey Hand Book :
The first private FM station was launched in Chennai in 1977. FM operators were allowed to take up time slots. Prasar Bharati stopped private players from airing in 1998 and Times FM and Radio Mid-Day had to shut shop. On the 6th of July 1999, the Union Government announced that it would allow private players to operate FM radio stations across the country. This gave private FM a second chance in India.
Private FM tottered into operation with the launch of Radio City's Bangalore station on 3rd July 2001.  
And six years later, around mid-2007, women got Meow FM 104.8, India's First Just-For-women Radio Station.

Aayega Aanewaala remixed by Paul Riordan

In 2006, Paul Riordan, a musician from UK with over 35 years of experience in the music industry, got the permission to use samples from the SaReGaMa catalogue of early Bollywood soundtracks. A year later the outcome, something truly unique, was an album named Hour Glass.

From Hour Glass album here is a truly wonderful track titled 'He who holds the Mirror', it's a remix and a mesmerizing video collage by Paul Riordan of the famous Lata Mangeshkar song Aayenga Aanewala from Kamal Amrohi's year 1949 great film Mahal.

You can sample some more of his music at Paul Riordan's myspace profile

To download another track from Hourglass: do dil tootey from Heer Ranjha (1970), and to read more about his work check out his website bigmindmusic.com

Talibanization of India, Nonsense!


They are calling us Hindu Taliban, they are using terms like Talibanization of India. What a stupid idea and a preposterous notion. They belittle us, these pseudos. We are the Heroes, how can they compare us to our enemies. Remember we - in our all flavors - still believe in the old maxim: 'Sakinaka Say Nagasaki tak Sara Area Apna Hai' and wasn't our Ghandhariji from that area. What do you mean So?

These Jhollawallas turned Suitwallas really have microphones for brain and cameras for mouth. Do they have any idea what we are trying to achieve and against what odds. Taliban had their work cut out for them, they are students and they only interpret, here we are masters, we create stuff out of thin air, at times we have to define good Indian culture, workout issues of public morality and lot more, and we do it by mostly relying on our good instincts and the prevalent political climate in the country. We are great people of a great civilization. Those crazy talibs could actually learn a thing or two from us, for one they can learn an important lesson: democracy is not the enemy, you just need to learn how to work with it. Yes, we do envy their discipline but they are stupid for they have no intention of growing inside the cracks present within the civilization, instead they are hell bent on being the great crack that brings down the house. Here we have mastered the art of juggling between the role of being the prominent crack in the aging building, the menacing banyan sapling growing inside the moist gap and also the mortar that promises to fill up the crack. Taliban have such crazy ideas only because they have too many guns. Unlike Taliban, we don't have AK47s57s, we would like to have them, but we don't have them. People in west make movies on them and  not on us, we would like it if they did, but the west is biased against us. Even the tvwallas don't like us.


Do you think its easy being us, only a couple of years ago these women had purdahs down to their knees, yes it was because of the cruel muslim invaders, but we were okay with it; we got used to the arrangement. But now, these loose women go around deliberately parading their butt cracks in loose jeans. No SharamWaram. And we keep thinking of our mothers and the simple times they used to live in. And every time we try to talk about it, you throw Kamasutra and those wretched idols from temples of Khajuraho at us, then you do glossy articles about them for waxed English newspaper pages with blowups and insets of dozen dirty pictures thrown in and you call it culture. I am sure even the things that I am saying write now would have a glossy presentation that would have no context with the important message that I am sending out. You people are are like that only na. At moments like these, some of you even try to educate us about a dirty kashmiri brahmin with an awful name like Koka who wrote a perverse Shastra on sex. Ohji, if he had put his brain to writing a military manual, maybe his decedents would have still been living in Kashmir. Maybe if this Koka fellow had realized that it wasn't about pleasure but about procreation, then his decedents would have been a sizeable percentage of the population of that forsaken pure Hindu land.Idiots. So many medieval references and still they say we are the ones pushing India towards middle ages. Poor fellows don't even know how to formulate a logical response.

Tell us, only a couple of years ago in your bollywood films didn't only vamps go to pub, get drunk, dance half naked, heave heavy bosoms, lure honest simple men to those shady love dens, make merry and bring down the house of poor pativratas. Didn't these vamps once in a while get slapped around a bit - Yes Helen never got that treatment but that was because of her white colour, because of whiteness she was beyond treatment, she was meant to be like that. Why would any woman enjoy drinking and dancing. What kind of  women enjoy these acts? Only vamps. So what did we do wrong. You all are wrong. Now all the heroines want to acts like vamps and heroes want to act like anti-heroes. Thank gods we got Jhojpuri cinema where everything is still clear.

And now these people are sending us pink panties. What next, you yuppies singing "Ram ka naam badnam na karo" to put us to sleep. We would like to point out panties - pink or otherwise, called chaddies or anything else - are against Indian culture, an evil import from the corrupt west. Even hearing the word does something to us deep inside. Didn't, the west, some decades ago, insensitively send Bras to a natural calamity hit Pakistan as relief material. That's how these gora people are. The poor folks in Pakistan didn't know what to do with all those bras, so they cut up the bras and used the resultant fine cups for distributing rice. Pakistanis are great at doing these thing. Of course things have changed for the worse even for them, they now sell dirty toys of the west(do not check).

Trust us, support us, we are Hindustan's last defense against going down that filthy uncultured path. No, we don't yet know the alternative to the panties, but we will check our glorious scriptures and get back with a decent solution. Meanwhile, I think we are going to have our cadre do little sewing work on those panties, dye pink color to saffron and wear the crown of saviors on our head and pretend that it's the fancy karakul hat.

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On January 26, 2009, a group of 40 men attacked girls in a pub in Mangalore. They claimed the women were violating traditional Indian values.

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Image credits:
My Retrospace for the magazine cover and Batman, Phantom spanking comic
for Mandrake this site (NSFW) with more comic spanking

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Unrelated post: Chaddie ads from 1980s

Gentleman magazine and its Universe

Gentleman magazine:



Publishers: Express Publications (Madurai) ltd. They also published Andhra Prabha Illustrated Weekly, Malayalam Vaarika and Cinema Express.

Some of the regular columnists and names from the magazine:

Adil Jussawalla,  Farrukh Dhondy, Sudeep Sen (Literary)
Pradeep Sebastian (Literary and films), you bought a fat book by James Wood just because he recommended it, writes a popular co coulum for The Hindu
Jaideep Varma [blog] and Leslie Matthew (Music)
Rohit Gupta (for the stories 'Salmon day' and 'The pinhole camera'' in the 'Waking up in the year 2020' special)
Sarnath Banerjee (Graphic comic series Road to Harappa)

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Image on right: Cover of August 1998 issue dedicated to The magic of movies.  It has a great write up by T G Vaidyanathan titled 'The Romance of Movies: From Kiss Kiss to Bang Bang'.

Matchbox Art from India and more

familiar household names

Matt Lee collected matchboxes during his time in Bangalore. You can check out his matchbox collection here
In all there are 159 matchboxes. [Found via: BoingBoing]

In Yelahanka, Bangalore, Matt also took photographs of wall posted Kannada Film Posters.

He calls it, and quite aptly, Macho men and flirtatious women. You can check his collection of Kannada Film Posters here

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Here are my two cents:

One very popular Indian matchbox name missing in that collection: Homelites. Extra Long. Extra Strong. Karborised. Manufactured by Western India Match Company (WIMCO) - perhaps the oldest name in the industry. WIMCO was founded in 1923 by Swedish Match (founded 1917).



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A public service ad from 1980s
Does you child play with matches? Stop it. Some of the worst fire accidents have been caused by innocent children playing with matches.

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The end of diya silai.
Matchbox revolution started in India in early 1980s and a Bollywood film from 1980 bears testimony to this statement. The film was Dhan Daulat starring Rishi Kapoor and Rajendra Kumar. The simple plot goes like this: A slumdog played by Rishi Kapoor is in love with a girl played by Neetu Singh, but the girl's father hates the poor bastard. So the boy decides to make lot of money and how - by making matches. The whole basti pools in money to set up the match factory and since it was a community affair, they name it Apna Matches (Maachis). Their market competitor happens to be 'Ricpo' a brand owned by a millionaire business man played by Rajendra Kumar. True to his capitalist instincts the rich business tries all sort of dirty tricks to get back at his usurper. Also, slowly money starts corrupting the young boy. But, by the end of the film we realize Rajendra Kumar is Rishi Kapoor's missing father and everything ends well.

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By the end of 1990s, India got wax match sticks - and these are quite preferred by junkies.

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Related post: Saddam Hussein fireworks

Radio Jingles from 1970

Three jingles found in a scene from Merchant Ivory's year 1970 film Bombay Talkie (1970)

Ads are for Tata Jai saundarya sabun (beauty soap), RR banyan aur undershirt and Strepsils

Related post: two jingles from a 1978 film

Sau Rupai by Zeest

The Great Indian Subcontinent dreams of Ek gaadi and Ek Bungla, Ek biwi aur Do bachche; par Sau Rupai may kya milay.

Pakistan based band Zeest (a shame if I have to tell you about their song BC sutta) recently came out with a new song titled “100 Rupai”. According to the official Zeest blog: "The song is a story of a financially frustrated Indo-Pak’s youth life. A Treat for the Current Global Recession”

They are giving away the song for free download at zeestmania.com

Sailor kissing girl in Times Square, After Smoke mint Ad

 After Smoke. before Anything.
Pop one of these mints into your mouth. welcome back to mint-condition breath.
Candico's After Smoke 
The breath freshner

found the ad in A&M, Advertising and Marketing Magazine, 15 October 1999

The actual iconic photograph, popularly known as 'V–J day in Times Square' and described as 'Sailor kissing girl in Times Square' at the end of World War II, was captured by Alfred Eisenstaedt on August 14, 1945 at Times Square. This famous picture of a sailor kissing a young nurse at the Times Square - an impromptu celebration following the announcement of  Japanese surrender and the end of World War 2, was first published in LIFE magazine.

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found the ad in A&M, Advertising and Marketing Magazine, 15 October 1999

Sock Puppet Slumdog Millionaire

SockTubePresents a funny parody of Slumdog Millionaire:


Sock characters in the film have weird accents, the film has gruesome torture scenes and a happy song-dance sequence at the end. And that sock Anil Kapoor is too perfect.

Do check out the youtube channel of SockTubePresents for hilarious parodies based on other Oscar nominated films.

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previous post on slumdog millionaire
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