Saturday, January 29, 2011

The King's Speech

Sometimes, when I ride through the streets and see, you know, the common man staring at me, I’m struck by how little I know of his life, and how little he knows of mine.

King George VI, The King's Speech (2010)

When his brother David - who has ascended to the throne reigning over a quarter of the planet's residents, and soon going to war with the rest, as Edward VIII - abdicates it in 1936, the Duke of York must reluctantly accept the crown, taking his father’s name to become King George VI. And with the advent of radio and newsreels, and the tense times, it is vital that the nation’s figurehead can speak with firmness. And clarity. And resolve. And NOT stammers punctuated with tortured silences..

"If I am to be king… where is my power? May I form a government, levy a tax or declare a war? No! Yet I am the seat of all authority. Why? Because the nation believes when I speak, I speak for them. Yet I cannot speak!"

So what does our King, portrayed by the oh-so-brilliant and oh-so-Brit Colin Firth, do? We have Lionel Logue, self-taught speech therapist, to the rescue, played appealingly by Geoffrey Rush.

The movie touches a number of interesting themes. A sucker for British royalty as I am, I see the film continue with the post-Diana mode à la The Queen, reminiscent that despite being subject to very human emotions, desires and limitations, the royals are not like you and me, or at least they aren't supposed to be. Even stammering royals, and royals wishing for the beloved common man's privilege of being able to marry a divorced woman, cannot withstand a commoner's treatment. Not because of arrogance, just because that's the bell jar they've been raised in. A divine right. The tension is ever more visible with the Australian Logue's dismissal of protocol, calling His Majesty The King Albert Frederick Arthur George, "Bertie".

Once over these hurdles, we begin to see the real reasons why Bertie was the way he was. The pressures of a royal childhood, a strict father, the repression of his natural left-handedness, a painful treatment with metal splints for his knock-knees; and a nanny who favoured his elder brother, deliberately pinching Albert at the daily presentations, unsettling him and making him cry, so his parents would allot less time to him and more of their attention to David. "You know, Lionel, you're the first ordinary Englishman... [Lionel whispers, Australian.] ...I've ever really talked to."

If only a few more people had been able to call him Bertie, if only he hadn't had his childhood fears and failings so brutally criticised by his father... Lionel is not merely a medical practitioner (which in fact he isn't at all), but a friend, a confidant!

With 14 BAFTA and 12 Academy Award nominations, a lot many more speeches need to be prepared for.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Friends are those rare people who ask how you are and then wait for the answer.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pup-Talk: A Conversation with a Dog

Image Source: Tikki Tikkiri Tik
A Dog's Life

So there I was, on the streets, roaming around. Chased, sometimes. No reasons, I could think of, for them to bully me. But I got chased, still. Finally found a quiet place for myself.

I wasn't of the shiny ones, the strong ones. Never got picked. They'd walk around me, and go "Tut-Tut". And go on. Which was fine, now that I think of it.

And then came along a lady. A girl really. But she didn't say "Tut..Tut". Not audibly, at least. And she played with me for a while. And she said she'd take me home.

She was beautiful. Oh yes! And smelled real nice. And looked at me with those eyes. Ahh… those eyes!

Take me home for a while she did. And it came upon me, that this is where I shall live. This is how I can spend my life. She just wanted to make me happy. Teased me. But also made up for it. And I was happy.

And then a day came, and the door went shut. All of a sudden, no excuse, no warning. And I found myself wandering again.

And then there was someone else. Who played a while. And went along. And another. And then another. And I said, to me, perhaps this is how it is to be.

And I saw the lady again. And she tried to pick me up once more. And I wouldn't budge. Not this time. But of course, I melted, after a while. And she petted me. I had never been pet before. I knew it wouldn't last long. But enjoyed it while it did, while I could. And back she went, and all I had were memories, to revisit time and again.

And a new one came. And saw my pain. And couldn't see it no more. And picked me up, and gave me room. And cared and loved and strode along. And then shut me down again, just like that lady had (that girl, I mean), but told me the door was open. It was, but no one was in. And once back, I was told I asked for too much. Perhaps I did.

And they all moved along, and I was left far behind. And the streets were always there, as they had been, so kind. And I walked along, and met strangers. And a few saw the pain in me, and said they'd let me in. Not this time, I said, I shall not to be moved. My pain is no amusement park. And walked along, and now I've met you.

So this was me. How about you, pup?

Very similar, I must say. But yet there's a kinder end to me, so I'll admit. They'd enjoy my antics too, and my faith would take a leap. But at least they'd take me to the vet, and put me to sweet sleep.

You lucky dog…

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

lama sabachthani

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

-- Martin Luther King Jr.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Nobody knows..

Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.

-- Albert Camus


Friday, January 07, 2011

Monday, January 03, 2011

Awkward Silences

The difficulty with this conversation is that it's very different from most of the ones I've had of late. Which, as I explained, have mostly been with trees.

-- Douglas Adams


Saturday, January 01, 2011


It's here.

2010 wasn't particularly good for me. But yes, worked, learnt a lot, met many wonderful people, made new friends, tried new stuff, had many "first"s.

Looking forward to many "last"s in the next 365.

Wish you a great 2011!