The Beginning

June 27, 2020

I turn 27 , the 27th of June. It took me 27 years to write this. 27 years to pick up the proverbial pen. But I'm here at last.

I have been reading some short stories by O. Henry, which serve as good archaeological evidence that simple writing is the best form of writing. These are simple tales. Most are written hurriedly, and do not end well. But they are wholesome because they are told with an honest heart, with wit, with nimble and springy words that are poured on the page, rather than measured to fit it. They make for a nice, hearty entertainment overall.

While they are not the polished, well-fitted and upholstered prose of the variety that is taught in schools or even posted on Medium blog, I think it would be okay to say it was the kind of things O'Henry would'be written on his personal website if he were alive today (and he chose to be a writer).

Here are two samples by him: two extremely rubbish stories that are almost not stories at all and are carried merely by prose that is heartfelt, even over a century later.

  1. The Voice of the City

    There is no head or tails to this story at all. Its just a nice piece of rambling. It starts as a man trying to find "the voice" of New York and then proceeds to have encounters of the kind that are found in old people's WhatsApp videos. But the ending is good, it certainly can't be called bad.

  2. The Pimienta Pancakes

    This is a more traditional O. Henry short story. Two characters begin to talk and then one -- called Jud -- goes on to tell a story to the other from his past, involving pancakes. There is a twist ending that you may begin to at least vaguely guess right at the outset. The prose is witty, almost like a TV comic skit, once Jud gets into his tale.

Naming characters is something O. Henry is poor at. You may find names and entire stories made of corny cheese, but they are enjoyable. What more can you want?


Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

July 6th, 2020

To waste time over the days gone by, I watched movies as usual. Of the things I watched, two come to mind prominently: Stagecoach (1939) and Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005). The former hasn't aged quite well for a classic so far as the story goes, for it has been repeated too many times to feel fresh. On every other count, it retains the stuff that gives it a characteristic look, a heart and soul so to speak.

It is the latter that came more as a surprise. I did not know this movie was so good. Nobody talks about it that much. Nobody talks about it at all. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is a parody of the noir genre. Three characters -- a thief, a femme fatale and a detective are brought together by fate one night in LA. Soon they find themselves between two murders. The rest follows.

The film is packed with wit from the beginning till the end, literally brimming out of the fourth wall. The sardonic narrator Harry (the thief) is played by the sardonic Robert Downey Jr.

The soup that the trio lands themselves in is quite similar to the one in The Big Lebowski although the overall flavour of the film is closer to that of The Nice Guys. In my opinion, this film is greater than both of those in terms of comedy. Or may be its just because I watched it more recently.