Friday, August 30, 2002

Tandem Theory

Remember the book "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus"? Here's a prime example offered by an English professor at an American University.

"Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his or her immediate right. One of you will then write the first paragraph of a short story. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story. The first person will then add a third paragraph and so on back and forth. Remember to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. There is to be absolutely NO talking and anything you wish to say must be written on the paper. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached."

The following was actually turned in by two of my English students: Rebecca (last name deleted), and Gary (last name deleted).


(First paragraph by Rebecca)
At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile,which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.

(Second paragraph by Gary)
Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. "A.S. Harris to Geo-station 17,???*?? he said into his transgalactic communicator. "Polar orbit established. No sign of
resistance so far...". But before he could sign off a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship's cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.

He bumped his head and died almost immediately but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. "Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel," Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth, when
the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspapers to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things round her. "Why must one lose one's innocence to become a woman?" she pondered wistfully.

Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu'udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through the congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret Mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion, which vaporized poor, stupid, Laurie and 85 million other Americans. The President slammed his fist on the conference table. "We can't allow this! I'm going to veto that treaty! Let's blow 'em out of the sky!"

This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic semi-literate adolescent.

Yeah? Well, you're a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium. "Oh shall I have chamomile tea? Or shall I have some other sort of FUCKING TEA??? Oh no, I'm such an air headed bimbo who reads too many Danielle Steele novels."





Get fucked.

Eat shit.


Go drink some tea - whore.

A+ - I really liked this one.

Maybe we should do something like this on l-j as well. Start off on a story and everyone pitches in. One would need a community for that and I am all out of codes. Sounds interesting to anyone ? Want to try ?

Thursday, August 29, 2002

I do a Maveli

My recent visit to Kerala left me with mixed feelings. The trip was good on the whole - was able to spend some quality time with Sindha's folks at Trivandrum, met , visited Binoy at Cherthalai, attended my cousin's marriage and pigged out on food. However I have this feeling that Malayalees have changed a lot. They drink more, they appear more superficial, cynicism has increased... there's an air of restlessness and instability. "Ellolam undu poli vachanam", to paraphrase. Hope I'm wrong.

Saw a good malayalam movie after a long time - Meesha Madhavan. Its not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination, but its enough to keep one amused for a good two and half hours. Loved one of the songs - "ente ellam ellam alle...". Dileep has improved a lot, Sindha says that he must have got training from his wife Manju Warrier (one of the finest actresses in Malayalam, career wound up after marriage).

The first half of the Leh pics have come out quite well. Watch this space for links and a note on the trip

Current Book - The Collected Works of Roald Dahl, by Roald Dahl

Friday, August 16, 2002


Back from Leh - had a great time. Will put up a detailed post later.

And yes, finally got the Palio - hurrah !! Remind me to tell you the whole story I almost went to court and how I was described as a "thorough gentleman" ....

My parents are home for a week, they've brought yummy chips and halwa from Kerala....aaah !

Current book - Candyland by Evan Hunter and Ed McBain