Monday, June 28, 2010

All that is gold..

Today I was talking to my favourite cousin Mishti (God bless her dad for coming up with that nickname!) about, well, guys. Fourteen year old that she is, it is so not surprising that our opinions on our celebrity crushes shud differ widely.

The actors I worship for their physical beauty and force of personality she calls "tired old uncles". Fair enuff! But to my credit, I respected Jeetendra and Amitabh a lot more when my mom admitted she always fancied them. Anyway, after Mishti had finished dissing Christian Bale ("he has such a bad temper!") and Daniel Day-Lewis ("the butcher guy with that big mustache? From Gangs of New York, really now, tai?"), followed by the luscious Viggo Mortensen ("Aragorn?? No wayyy!!"), I decided to ask her about who she thought was cute. I was not surprised when Zac Efron came up immediately followed by, erm, Robert Pattinson. I was totally expecting it.

Then she talked about some new HBO show called True Blood that her friends had started watching (something with vampires in it to spend the dreadfully tough times between the Twilight movies, I suppose!). She said that she thought this Swedish actor who played a vampire called Eric was really hot. Interesting, I thought. How kids these days (I've always wanted to use that phrase!) seem to have this crazy vampire fixation while I insisted on sleeping with the light on and the window locked for days after I'd read the abridged version of Bram Stoker's Dracula in school inspite of my dad's repeated exasperated assurances that there were no vampires in the whole of India, let alone in Worli where we lived!

Coming back to Mishti's flavour of the month Swedish vampire guy. He's called Alexander Skarsgard, and he's the son of Stellan Skarsgard (who was in the awesome Hungarian film, Taking Sides) and the brother of Gustaf Skarsgard (who was in this really cute Swedish film, Patrik 1.5 that we saw at the Kashish film festival at Prithvi theatre).

All this we discovered after googling him and Mishti absolutely insisted on us checking out the character this "so hottt" guy plays on True Blood on youtube. Well, safe to say, he's no Dracula. I thought he was way, way more deadpan than deadly. But I have to agree with Mishti that he is incredibly good-looking. Man, anything's better than glittering vampires and whimpering virgins!

Thereafter, we skipped to related youtube videos that had the "so hott" actor talking about his vampire character. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the man seemed intelligent, articulate, remarkably soft-spoken, and incredibly, a trained architect.

While I was getting increasingly impressed with Mr. Skarsgard with his really cool last name and gentle demeanour, Mishti seemed to be thinking the exact opposite thoughts.

"Wow! He is so cool on the show! Too bad he's such a dork in real life." she pronounced. "Not so hot anymore, sis, he's just another regular nice guy-next-door."

Before I cud point out I've never really had six foot four inch-tall, blond blue-eyed Swedes staying next door to me, Mishti had moved on to talking about the next Twilight movie.

On the bus home, I cudnt help smiling at the thought of all the things to be learned about guys, relationships, love and life Mishti still has in her glorious glittering future. Stuff that I have kinda passed thru growing up.

It is the regular, nice, dorky guy-next-door who takes you home at the end of the day. And if he looks anything like Alexander Skarsgard, consider yourself seriously lucky.

Like they said about Aragorn, "All that is gold does not glitter." ;)

P.S. It seems a little cruel to end this post without a single picture of Alexander Skarsgard, but thats kinda besides the point. :D

P.P.S. I have used the word "glittering" wayyy too many times in this post, but it goes with the theme, so...


T. said...

Hmmmmm. Interesting. i can see that this post has its origins in ur last comment on that previous post n like all good writing it says more about the author than abt its subject.

dont mind me saying this its just an observation. but in spite of all ur liberal openmindedness cookie, on the inside u're still a very typical middle class indian girl.

u sound more impressed by the fact that hes an architect than his greek god good looks. what if he had all those great qualities and was just some model or something? that wouldnt impress u as much would it?

n u know what dont pretend like u would never have a crush on a badass. u liked joaquin phoenix when he played the villain in gladiator! must be a trait that runs in ur family :-P

n btw, i know abt true blood. n i should tell u i think it has a lil too much sex to be seen by a 14 yr old !

Tangled up in blue... said...

Tawf, I wont argue with you coz you know me so well. I cant shrug off my middle class morality, its an ingrained thing.

But what I found impressive was not merely the fact that the guy's an architect. Cmon now, don't be so simplistic. Its the fact that he let go of that profession to follow his passion for acting. Imagine having a well-paying secure job and then leaving it all to go to a foreign country to study theatre just becoz you really want to.

And I admire that. Maybe it comes easily to these Europeans. But it sure doesnt come easily to me. And that is why I found it impressive, I guess.

And Gladiator was like a decade ago! I am so over that phase! :D

And, umm, now whose being the middle class prude? :P

On a serious note, I trust her to be watching whatever is age appropriate and I dont want to be the one telling her that. Besides, if they show it on HBO in India, they're obviously not showing the sex or the violence! :D

Shankar said...

Interestingly enough, just hours ago I was pondering about this whole twilight insanity (and a large population of women, in relation to it).

There are times when I can see the merit in something, and dislike it, there are times where I can't see the merit in a thing, yet still see its monetary value. In Twilight, I'm unable to see both.

Anushka said...

My dad nicknamed me Mishtu! And thank god it was a Skarsgard and not a Cullen.

Tangled up in blue... said...

Shankar, I completely and utterly agree! I dont understand why such poor writing and such terrible films inspire so much love and devotion in some people (mostly girls)! Its like Indian soap operas but glossier..I dont understand it at all.

Anushka, I think its such a cute nickname! :) And I agree, thank God for that! There's something to be said for good taste :D

Anonymous said...

Gah. If only females valued dorks like us :-/

Tangled up in blue... said...

Leo, well they dont initially..but then they learn hopefully. :D

Ketan said...

Hi TUIB! :)

T's comment made me wonder if there's something particularly middle class about me too not getting too enamored by perfect looking people?

After some consideration, I feel that's not the case. Because my Indian middle class upbringing has seen me deviate a lot from the expected 'average', an example being my views on God, religion, science, peer pressure, society, etc. Moreover, two siblings despite being brought up same parents, might end up being attracted to quite the opposite kind of people!

I think first, we need to distinguish between two kinds of attractions. One, where we engage with the attractive looking person merely as an object to be experienced through our senses (vision, hearing, odor, etc.). A good looking person, after all, is good looking. Second is the kind of attraction where we wish to engage with the person at level of our emotions, ideas & even value-system. Here, forget looks, even gender might not matter!

The first kind of attraction is too easy to experience & acknowledge. That attraction & yearning becomes second nature to you. It's fulfillment is not a prerequisite for living a fulfilling life. To give an analogy, it's like knowing you're attracted to chocolates, but that doesn't mean you'll eat them as all of your meals [Okay I know, being TUIB you might have done that as well :P]. But, the second kind of attraction is rooted in our wanting a purpose to live. I know, I've said these things before to you, but probably atheists/agnostic/introspective people know there's no external purpose to life. The desire to be in vicinity of & constantly interacting with someone who you value at multiple levels (like intelligence, ethics, worldview, etc.) gives a motive to live. It seems like a much more worthwhile purpose to live for as compared to simply evading death. And when you'd like to live your life for someone else, why
not that "someone else" be one who you feel *deserves* your dedication & emotional investment? What qualities would make one *deserving* of that? Probably, what you value depends on what you like to dwell on in your 'inner mental space' (in other words, what you're obsessed with), which in turn, as I said before depends on how much you're 'connected with yourself'. :) I said the last thing because it's easy to point out why you'd be attracted to a person who looks attractive (because appearance is sequentially the first thing we get affected by), but to make out what attracts us to a physically unattractive person requires a bit of hard work (and "knowing the self") :) ...

Ketan said...

...Another thing that would put me off in a incredibly attractive looking person is (if that be the case) their/someone else's effort (cinematography, makeup) to make them look much better than they would in real life. It would indicate a desire on part of the object of attraction to be obsessed with appearance rather than substance, and a certain kind of desperation to be dishonest (trying to appear more attractive than in "reality").

While starting to write this comment, I'd a feeling I'd be coming with some astounding insight, but as I finish it, I feel I've been quite incoherent. :( Guess, should resume blogging, if nothing, at least for practice. :(

Lastly, reading one of your comments I wanted to point out that it's financially much more difficult to take an offbeat career path as compared to in the US or some European country. Imagine, US' per capita income per month is close to $ 4,000 which is probably just a bit less than what the the best of Indian engineers earn there. And it must be remembered, Indians even with that kind of income manage to save about 50% of it. So, how much would a person with offbeat career make? At least $ 2,000/month? Is that really a disincentive to try something unconventional if it interests you a lot? What's India's per capita income? Around Rs. 12,000/month. What's half of it? Rs. 6000! Can you survive in a city like Mumbai with that kind of income, buying/renting house for yourself, getting social security and medical insurance? Next to impossible! So that way the disincentive is very strong.

Moreover, western society does not heap ridicule on almost any career, unlike in India. They probably do not have such a strong sense of 'hierarchy' of vocations we tend to have in India (civil services > IIMian > IITian > doctor > lawyer >> clerk >> driver >> sweeper <-- just a vague examples). Being more individualistic, there you would not be made to feel guilty if you live just for yourself and don't take up others' (parents', spouse's, children's<--Western society's more accepting of idea of not marrying/not having children) financial responsibilities upon yourself.

Plus, I feel, in India talent's not valued as much. Our society runs much more on bribe/contacts, etc., probably more than the western society. Genuine talent is much likely to help in India than the western society (imagine, Arshad Warsi almost always playing "side-kick", whereas likes of Fardeen Khan, Zyed Khan and Vivek Oberoi playing heroes!).

I'm posting the previous three paragraphs, because I sort of sensed guilt in your above comment for not being "unconventional" enough. :) That's not good for your happiness (though, for some other reasons you might be quite happy with your life).

BTW, this' a blog (click) you're quite likely to enjoy (don't go through just one or two posts - the person is EXTREMELY intelligent - almost turning me agnostic about my atheism! :D ).

Take care.

PS: Though my writing skill might have deteriorated, please don't think because of length of my comment that it was my intention to use your blog's comment section for practice! :P

Ketan said...

Genuine talent is much *less likely to help in India than the western society...

Tangled up in blue... said...

Wow, Ketan! I had been wondering for quite some time when I'd get to see one of your exhaustive and thorough analyses of an idea. And I must say your comments kinda put my whole post to shame! :D

I understand what you're saying and agree with your thoughts on both the topics you're touching upon here.

What I interpreted T.'s comment to mean was that even if I do feel that first level of attraction for someone with good looks, my Indian middle class mores wud only allow me to respect and admire them not for their success in a career like modelling or acting, but for their academic achievement in what is perceived as a more staid career choice according to as you correctly pointed out is the Indian hierarchy of typical career choices.

And I recognised that what he was saying is essentially right, his observation about me is correct which I have granted him. So what I feel is not guilt as such, but more of a yearning to be more and do more, not settle for something that doesnt make me feel fulfilled, you know what I mean?

I just made plain that the reason I admired Skarsgard was not the fact that he had made the said career choice but becoz he was brave enuff to take up something you correctly called an "offbeat" career. And again, as I have admitted that it may have been easier for him than it cud be for us here in India.

And since his father is a well respected actor, he must have even had it easier than most others. But in the video, when he talked about how he was performing Hamlet in New York in front of schoolchildren and he had no money and no apartment, and now that he's doing so well people tell him he has a lot of potential, people who ignored him back then. I found that bit of honesty very affecting.

I agree with you wholeheartedly about finding an obsession with one's own looks very tacky and unattractive. But then again, thats what makes so many people in the glamour industry so successful and wealthy. Doesnt mean that they dont work hard. So I wonder if thats a prejudice on my part to associate people like that with airheadedness, to stereotype them so to speak. You know? But then again, everyone has their preferences, so I'm not being too bitchy there! :D

And do blog again soon, wonder whats keeping you from something you love doing so much? You take care, too and how are you in general?

Tangled up in blue... said...

And I totally agree about nepotism in Bollywood! After his turn in Ishqiya we need to see a lottt more of Arshad Warsi!

Shankar said...

Hehe, 'it's like indian soap operas but glossier' - a worthy comparison. What I find baffling is this, some of the most intelligent women I've had the pleasure of meeting turn into crazed 5 year olds at this franchise.

I suppose, just like many men turn into boys loving big toys, many women turn into girls at the idea of cheesy love.

Tangled up in blue... said...

Uh huh. You know a friend of mine pointed out to me that maybe stories of so-called undying true love and such were like, you know, porn for women. :D

Srishti said...

TUIB!! How are ya?

Okayy, see, I'm more on Mishti's side.I'm over Zac Efron, but come on, ROBERT PATTINSON! I saw his documentary Robsessed the other day, and now he tops my list. Its not just his cheekbones and hair, its his personality too. He is such a sensitive singer, its amazing. And he's so level-headed, away from all drugs and rehab stuff.
But would you think better of me if I said that I also find Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jude Law and Ronaldo hot? And also Neal Caffrey from White Collar.

Tangled up in blue... said...

Yeah Srishti, you're more on her side coz you're more closer to her age I guess..I look at Rob Pattinson and all I think is, wow, pale kid! And omigod, Jude Law is so very goodlooking that its difficult to believe he's actually straight..I havent started watching White Collar yet, how's it?

Tangled up in blue... said...

Oh btw, I really really like Rick Castle..;)

Soin said...

@srishti..its disturbing tou find ronaldo hot. she is a girl. i will inform your parents

Srishti said...

TUIB, White Collar's AWESOME! You know, they're trying to create the whole impression that Neal Caffrey is very smart, like street-wise and brain-wise and I totally fell for it. And the EYES<3333
You will die, I'm telling you. Do watch it. And Rick Castle's a whole different league, man! He is so perfect. Except the problem is that his daughter's my age, so the whole, 'I'm in love with Castle' feeling just doesn't come. Love the show, though. :)

And SOIN, that is so untrue. TUIB finds him cute too, don't you TUIB?

Tangled up in blue... said...

Srishti, I just started watching it..the guy is really hot! :D and I am so jealous of these firangs with their deep blue peepers, I find those eyes very arresting! :)

and soin, cmon, just coz he's a lil metrosexual does not make him a girl! or we'd have to call bipasha basu a lesbian..:D