Sunday, April 22, 2012


Author E.B. White once said, "Humor can be dissected as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind." 

Good humour always interests me. Many movies and stories have jokes that are often very descriptive, but very few of them have good humour. I was speaking to an amateur playwright friend from my French class other day and I mentioned about my desire to act in a play someday, as an old man. I always find them extremely humourous; especially in the plays. There is a look of “that’s obvious” or “that’s irrelevant.” Or “I knew that.” on their face that turns any serious and complex situation into nothing but a repeating history. 

We were discussing creative drama and modern art one day in class; of its intent being not clear to the audience and that the improvisational style driving the story towards multiple interpretations left to the viewer to conclude, serves no purpose. Then, a friend of mine narrated a true story of a playwright. The author wrote several and most famous plays that were conventional in all sense. One day he dies leaving an unpublished play; the play, very different from his previous ones and driving several perspectives. His admirers perform the play. Two shows later when the reviews were out, the critics bragged about their interpretations only to find out later, from the makers that it was a satire on creative drama. 

Recently I watched a play called “The Pillowman”, a Tony award winning black comedy. The drama narrates the troubled childhood of a writer, his stories and coincidental events of its execution, that puts him under the police radar. The play kept us engaged till the end with it’s humourous narration of subjects that can otherwise be very gory. The story neatly knits several  stories by the writer and thus making it not one but a communion of several small stories but with one soul, that of the writer. One of the several good dialogues that I recollect is when a detective narrates to the writer, the story that he has written and gives it a long title, something like - "A little Chinese boy walking on a railway track....." and asks for the writers opinion on the title. "This is the worst title i have ever heard. It needs two commas and a full stop." the writer replies.

I have always wondered how and from where a good humour originates. I knew it had to be situational yet spontaneous; just like it has to be understood by the listener. And one day it came to me; again during my french class when our teacher asked us to complete a few sentences; I got humourous specially on this one - Si tu ne sais pas nager….and I completed it thus – pas de problem, prends ce pont! (If you do not know how to swim….don’t worry take the bridge) :-)

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Fête de la Francophonie

During the month of March, at AFB, the French festival was celebrated very nicely. All the students and professors were provided a platform to present their talents. Among many events such as theatre, films, dance, music, wine and exhibits few contests designed specifically for the students, got us all so involved in the festival. And it united our class in a very different level.

Our prof encouraged us to participate in most of the contests and we did – In cuisine, slogan and singing contest. While our classmate N prepared excellent Quiche, she made sure to cook one big vegetarian Quiche as well for some of the classmates who were there to cheer for her. I must say that the dish was much better than the one we had had at Café Noir.

Several of us submitted slogans. When I framed my slogan, Jenn, (my writer friend from the US) who has studied French as well, suggested some improvements. So I call it - “The Indo–US collaboration wins a fourth prize in the French slogan contest”. One could quote this example for globalization, I guess. :-) In my acceptance speech, I took the liberty of being handed over the mike for announcing my slogan and thanked my three teachers I have had so far. The visual media i choose for my slogan was different shades of coloured papers glued to a black background and painted text.

But as always, individual participation does not unite people as much as the team participation does and for us the two songs that we had decided to sing did that magic. We choose one romantic song called – La Semaine Prochaine by Marc Lavoine and a rap song called “Les Mots” by La Rue Ketanou. We had several practice sessions at end of every class which brought out the zeal and enthusiasm in us like we had had perhaps during our college time. So what if we did not win a prize, nostalgia of fun and togetherness before and during the performance shall remain forever. While all other classes had 4-5 participants in their songs, almost 80% of our class was present to participate in spite of it being a weekday. 

Fête de la Francophonie and the classe de Français take me to a world of my choice filled with creativity; with its population that is diverse, both in age and nature; but most importantly who are sensible.