There is such a thing as settling down for a film to begin that Romancham doesn’t allow its audience. It begins long before it actually does but teases you into believing that the film will start any moment now. This is not the film’s problem, this is the problem of us. That ‘we have forgotten how to watch films’ will offer the unnecessary consolation that once upon a time, we knew how to.

Instead, let’s quickly go to Romancham. The word settles comfortingly in Malayalam and all its sister languages because its invitation to you isn’t incumbent on your knowing its meaning but its feeling.

And what a feeling Romancham is. I don’t remember watching a film that does so much with so little. And by so little I mean the way stories were once imagined and had the balls to once be told.

Romancham activates that part of the childhood dream where all we wanted in life was to get away from adults, lock ourselves up in a room with friends and tell each other ghost stories. It’s perhaps why when the event we are trained to wait for in a comedy-horror film never fully arrives, we may not even notice it. Perhaps because it has already arrived or perhaps because it doesn’t have to.

The seven friends in the film haven’t succumbed to having a lot to do with the little time they have, they aren’t pumping their days up with the luxury of being absorbed in phones or much else —either because of poverty or because they have one another in the way we used to have friends.

A familiar boredom and the sharp annoyance of being left out of throwball leads one of the friends to become a fake ouija board expert. The incoming ghost is barely the point of interest here because after that, each of their 7 faces explode into an individual drama in this house full of commodes. And the commodes, man. At no point in the film are we told why there are so many commodes in boxes lying around the house but we believe in them, like we believe in their thoughtfulness when they gift one of the commodes to a friend getting married.

Their daily transactions with each other lend themselves to everything from how organizedly they sleep in a line below a kannada fillum poster — to ensuring that the friend who has an incessant cough problem gets his 2 bottles of cough syrup every month. This intimacy is a childhood dream coming true with all of adult life problems intact: money is an issue, and so is the threat of being left out for not knowing how to play throwball, as also – the following desire to puncture said throw ball.

Romancham’s writing is skeletal in a most visible way. It is touchable, holdable and not hiding behind grandiosity. And I am not saying there is no grandiosity just because it is a story of seven men sharing one shabby bathroom, one sink.

I am saying no grandiosity because even if the film is based on real life incidents; in its narration— the only lurking joy is coming from seeing what happens if seven mostly unemployed Malayali bachelors are thrown in a Bangalore house full of commodes.

The charm of this commode house is that it is still largely Bengaluru despite being haunted by Malayali men and even a Malayali ghost. It’s a house left to fend for itself much like the few houses in Jakkur were before the airport flyover plundered its grassy emptiness.

The Romancham house is sometimes modern in its capacity to allow all kinds of non-brahmin things to happen inside it — storing rice in commodes, doing things to piss off gods in all religions — making one wonder if the owners are not Brahmin or live far away or dead or just don’t care – all four of which are super rare to find in Bengloor, whether in 2007 or 2023.

The house’s other Bangalore ability is to be surrounded by the bigness and loudness of landscape and to remain still small in front of neither fully yellow nor green street lights. Its anglala with a rope-swing, the accumulating commode boxes, and broken two-wheelers all contribute to this.

Zizek said in Pervert’s Guide to Cinema that waiting for a film to begin in a dark theatre, staring at the blank screen is like staring into the toilet bowl, waiting for your worst nightmare to come true – for shit to reappear. ‘We are basically watching shit’, he says. I don’t know if it’s the commode or the general naughtiness of the film- shit or not, it’s a mad, sexy film and I want to watch it again.



After weeks of assaulting my nose to dig up dry blood and booger, I’m pleased to finally be phlegm-free. I am in equal parts grateful for and terrified of that inner plumbing which ensures that I never have to pay attention to my own breathing.

Read Annie Dillard’s Total Eclipse today and felt pangs of sunlight spreading across my body. Now reading Lynn Nottage. Ciao.


I like the word firm. It imitates its meaning almost teasingly, as if by standing sincerely next to other casually thrown words, it is holding on to last minute dignity but still dignity. I first registered the word when I was reading a story in which a man moves his hands inside a woman’s blouse while they are kissing. Her breasts were firm, it said.

I’ve never quite figured out that way of understanding breasts. But I grew more attracted to ‘firm’ after I began noticing its use in the way people held back opinion, thought, action. There is an extremely desirable edge to it when people refuse to give in and perform the unsavoury act of withholding. I have never been a fan of withholding. It reminds me too much of first-rank brahmin girls from school.

But that is not the firmness we are thinking about today. This is the kind of firmness that comes from having been bitten twice, thrice. The kind that is not sure of itself but only knows that it must do what it is doing because it doesn’t know any other way. A firmness in the way of thinking like slow-walking, of talking like mindful-chewing, of decisions to not give in to gossip even when it is tempting, of refusing invitations kindly: a weak back bone that is bending but also standing.

After all this, I only want to know if I have it today or not.

Postcard from today VII (dedicated to Naziti)

  1. Loving this SRK reel where he talks about Saroj Khan whacking his head for complaining that there was too much work. She told him that as an artist he shouldn’t complain when there is work because not having work is a bigger and more real problem.
  2. The ability to breathe well is everything.
  3. Silence is a reasonable response to women who perform male supremacy. Pointing it out is exhausting.
  4. For my sister’s wedding, I wore a red chikankari kurta, the grandest set I own. Guests kept asking me when I was going to get ready.
  5. I want to watch Farzi everyday.
  6. Law is sexy. Reading it as literature is sexier.
  7. I vaguely wondered if I would be taken seriously if I combed my hair more often. Then I told myself to fuck off so I stopped wondering.
  8. Wondering is a reliable word.
  9. Thinking about long and lazy lunches with women I adore makes me less bitter.
  10. Poetry has all the answers.
  11. This kept me up last night:

9:01 am

Sometimes when I am a spoilt brat, I forget to remember that my job isn’t a curation of my bitterness against someone else’s. It is freeing to return to this thought when I think of all the possible ways in which my work and my writing could get stuck in a permanent ode to my own miseries about other people and what they are doing in their worlds.

Sometimes when I am not a spoilt brat, I remember to look at the sun and smile.

Morning loffs

I remember this time when posh girls I used to teach would roll their eyes every time I spoke about Elena Ferrante in class. It made me wonder if I should talk less about the writers I love and more about writers that were dead.

But my way was the only way I knew how to teach which was to take my fears, curiosities, love, and immense love into the classroom with me. It was only after I realised that rolling eyes was their standard response to anything that I learnt to laugh about it.

It taught me that teaching does come from a position of fandom. Franny’s exquisite writing captures this sentiment more efficiently than anything else can. Read her essay here. It’s a testimony to what’s possible when we open our minds a little more and remove ourselves from our heads when we read.

It reminds me that what we do in the classrooms must continue – despite eye rolls, the great shakespearean sighs of boy babies, and general intellectual/political snobbery.


In other news, fother was reading Udayavani and laughing loudly this morning. It was a news article about a young boy in Patna who went to write an exam and fainted. Why did he faint? He found out that he was the only boy in the exam hall with 500 girls. When he regained consciousness, he had also developed high fever and shivers it seems. Fother, mother, and I sat together on their bed and laughed.


I must remember to write about the Social Justice Film Festival we organised last week. Watched some super documentaries and now I have a slow itch to make one small kutti video.

Speaking of which, Meta prep is in full swing. My baady is sometimes dying sometimes ok sometimes alive. Last evening we made reels for JAM promos. Just A Minute is fun to watch and now perhaps funner to play. I made only 11 seconds but I laughed a lot.

All my stoods are mad. Reels will be available here.


Pathan and then some more

  1. India’s topmost scientists are representing the country at a science conference in Dubai where the president of India is going to deliver the keynote address. On the way to the conference, the scientists are talking about taking selfies with the president because one of the scientists wants to impress his wife – a woman he’s been married to for 40 years.
  2. Mard ko dard hota hai: first time I am watching 2 action heroes sitting and eating pain killers together.
  3. Deepika is bottomsupping whiskey like I want to bottomsup her.
  4. One paapa sheep is grazing cutely on top of some afghan mountains while John and SRK are doing marvel type stunts over its head.
  5. SRK’s face was in my hands when Deepika touched him – his skin felt papery thin. Soft. I was afraid to squeeze. But his veins were throbbing warm (do faces have veins?)
  6. SRK’s Adam’s apple is the best apple in the whole world.
  7. Deepika Padukone is a queen.
  8. Dimple Kapadia’s name in the film is Nandini. I learnt this 2 mins before she died.
  9. Putting small pox, 370, and Kashmir together in one line is funny. In one film, too much funny. Chumchumma throwing random words and all. K. Vish’s robots in his short stories do more justice to the feel of somesomethingandall.
  10. I still want to know which film SRK was abandoned in as a young child.