Monday, February 08, 2016

dear doshanbe.. what curse are you closely obeying? why does all breakfast turn charred? why does the inanimate still get to win? and, what's next?

Feverish over Ev history

Sunday spent feverish about people well dead and buried by now. The 1922 British team to attempt the Everest was an A-team of all sorts. It was only a year back, in the 1921 reconaissance mission, that a possible route to the Everest - through Tibet - was identified. These two expeditions - of 1921 and 1922 - count among the best, hardest, and bravest of mountaineering expeditions on this subcontinent. The enthusiasm with which every member of the team took it up, despite the inconveniences, brings to mind that agency that i have been trying to find and lift myself through in this year.

Also managed to confirm some finer details of JBL Noel's 1913 expedition, AM Kellas' covert documentation of 1920s, and the 1921 expedition, all of which led to the 1922 expedition.
The Arun River, which originates from Shishapangma (the shortest of eight thousanders), also has a fascinating course, that ultimately feeds the Saptkoshi system, that was new knowledge for me. Oh, and Tashikak != Tashigaon, that which fired all my curiosities to begin with, was resolved.

And I guess every time somebody takes a damn lotta interest in this, at the end of the day sits Wade Davis, with his book "Into the Silence" chronicling those events. Though a 2011 book, it is available at very few vendors - at 672 pages it sits beyond the boundaries as a primer or as a lighthearted reading, and I guess that is why it hasn't received a wider audience.
Lucky to have stumbled onto the last remaining copy on Amazon India, a surprisingly cheap paperback edition available that was immediately summoned to my home.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Make it so hard

When they end their preaching
In a quiet place under the blue
Hear the wind speaking
The words I wrote for you

I gave you my heart
And you don't like it 
But you still keep it 
And make it so hard

new hominid subspecies

such privilege for me to be sipping on my cuppa morning tea on my balcony - so many possessives to claim - while a neighborhood hobo surreptitiously swept up crushed biscuits left on the pavement (by the 4am dog lady) for the dogs of the 'hood.

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
truly, failing the adage, i could not teach the man to grow wheat and potato and build a stove and forage iron and dry salt, and rather simply threw him down a piece of flatbread that we call the Aloo Parantha, on the condition of keeping the pavement food back there. his stomach must manage very well if that's his usual modus breakfast.. homosapiens hyaenae

Friday, February 05, 2016

The blue eyed boys of high altitude mountaineering

Today's idling has been occupied by the fantastic adventures of Mr. JBL Noel.. one of the most fantastic creatures on planet earth in the last century. Him, and another gentleman Mr. Alexander Kellas, a chemist and physiologist, have been the two most underrated characters in the history of Himalayan expeditions, and climbing in general.

Inspiration, envy, eagerness, will to action - let's hope I follow that chain which starts today. Found a coupla nice papers to read that focus on the era of these gentleman. Had Kellas not died enroute to Everest on his very first visit with the 1922 expedition, the ill-fated 1924 expedition of Mallory-Irvine might've made it out alive.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Social prow

Clothes maketh the man
Naked people have little or no influence on the society.

This adage was running in my head a coupla days back. Then yesterday, irregardless of my anti-sociality, or maybe giving up on sociality, I put on a traditional kurta. Then by the evening I had 3 friends who I haven't met in a while. It turned to be a dense nightover.
I got 2 compliments over the kurta, which is not bad (out of 3 in the best case scenario), and which fulfills the purpose the kurta was made for. This is like walking out with an umbrella in the summers to have it rain. Or is this like flesh attracting scavengers? Or a social consciousness?

What crap to start my Doshanbe with. Next frontier: eusociality.

Coldplay's shallow India of Colors and Chaos

Reminded of this passage from EM Forster's "A Passage to India" after watching Coldplay's latest MV out - Hymn for the Weekend. It is average, shallow like the rest.

This coming from people who brought out Andy Serkis and animation pioneers for their next to last video - Adventure of a Lifetime

Realism of The Revenant (2015)

"If we ended up in greenscreen with coffee and everybody having a good time, everybody will be happy, but most likely the film would be a piece of shit."

I wondered throughout if it was all done for real, but yes it was. The Revenant, a 2015 movie, nominated for 12 oscars, is a beefy deal to get over with. Glad to have screened it tonite when Yogi was over. "Starkly beautiful and uncompromising", as one review calls it; ditto.

I did know it would be about the outback, and especially focused on survival, unaware of the background that it is based on the trapper expeditions in the harsh American north. Also didn't know the man behind it - Inarritu - all of whose movies I have enjoyed and found a lot of awareness encapsulated. Babel also had a similar theme of unfolding drama among people of diverse ethnicities and languages. But whereas in Babel the camera swept back and forth between interconnected dramas unfolding in the Moroccan deserts to the Japanese clubs to the Mexican and American border, here the camera is set solely on the American outback, and all "different" peoples - Arikara, Pawnee, Siouxee, French, English - converge here to create an epic drama.

After watching this movie, I admire the skills of the trapper and the survivor even more. Just a week back was I introduced to Nessmuk, a legendary American wilderness survivalist, pulling me back into the feverish thought; and today came The Revenant. Long wilderness reveries to follow in the near future.
Stories started to swirl off the set of the film in the summer. Crew spoke of enduring a “living hell”, of being forced to work in -25C temperatures, of travelling for hours to remote locations in Canada and Argentina to film for a mere 90 minutes, the result of Iñárritu’s decision to shoot only in natural light. 
Leonardo DiCaprio went through hell to play indestructible fur trapper Hugh Glass in The Revenant
PS: 2016 Oscars had some predictable outcomes
- Best Director for Alejandro Inarritu - two consecutive Oscar wins is a feat not seen in the last 65 years, and one which establishes the dominance of the Three Amigos (the Mexican trio of Inarritu, Guillermo Del Toro and Alfonso Cuaron)
- Best Actor for Leonardo DiCaprio - and his first Oscar!
- Best Cinematography for Emmanuel "Chivo" Lubezki. He is now the first cinematographer in history to win three consecutive Oscars, following gongs for Birdman (2015) and Gravity (2014)