Welcome to The Jerky Loudspeaker - an independent sports and culture newsletter, I’m super excited to have you here! Before you dive in, let me quickly break down how the newsletter is structured. Think of it like a mini newspaper, with three sections:
Deep Dive - Each piece/series in this section will be an in-depth analysis of the thoughts and emotions that arise from my interactions and experiences with the arts
Consumption Corner - A weekly review of what I’m watching, reading and listening to.
Balls, Bats & Baskets - As always, sports on the back page. In this section I’ll geek out about the happenings in this world of balls, bats and baskets.
Passion Projects - Once a month, I feature Q&As with creatives from different professional and personal backgrounds.
Shop for Life
A couple of months ago, my mother did an online acting workshop. It was a ten day course and it was intense.
When she signed up, she received an extensive list of instructions from the teacher. She had to be in a room with enough open space because a lot of the exercises involved movement. Phones were to be on silent for the entire three hours of the class and background noise was to be kept minimal. As some of the exercises involved shouting, students were told to prepare their family members in advance for all the noises they might hear from the room.
Each evening, my mother would lock herself up in her room and we’d be given strict instructions that we weren’t to enter at any cost. The class was supposed to run from 6 to 9, but it rarely ended before 10.
On each of these nights, my mother stepped out in a trance. She’d amble into the living room, shaking her head in awe. Over dinner, she’d decompress everything in the previous few hours. My father, grandmother and I would listen with intrigue, but she wasn’t telling it for our benefit. It was her way of imbibing everything she’d absorbed.
The class was run by the critically acclaimed actor Neeraj Kabi, known for his work in movies like Talvaar, Bymokesh Bakshi and Ship of Theseus. But, you probably know him best for his role as Inspector Parulkar in Sacred Games and Sanjeev Mehta in Paatal Lok.
The way my mother spoke of him, he sounded like the type of man deeply entrenched in his art. Passion, especially passion for the arts, is a powerful entity. And it’s transferable. My mother’s been involved with theatre for almost 15 years now, but those ten days made her rethink everything she thought knew about acting. The awakening within was tangible and it was a fascinating sight.
Kabi spoke of acting as if it were a spiritual immersion, my mother told us. Acting is essentially breathing he’d say. He stressed on the physiology behind being an actor and structured a large part of the course around it. For example, he spoke of how he doesn’t lift weights because it obstructs blood flow and that hampers his acting and how performing martial arts forms like Kalari are his preferred mode of exercise.
I’m not into acting, but I wanted to attend the course just to hear him talk about acting.
‘Shop for life’ was an idea he stressed on. He spoke of how he leans heavily on his life experiences for each of his roles and how as an actor, it’s important to collect life experiences. How can you play a stumbling, slurring drunkard with conviction if you’ve never been stumbling, slurring drunk in your life?, he said. There’s no limit to the range or extremity of these experiences. For example, he said you should do something in life so that you end up in police custody. Not something so drastic that you're put behind bars, but enough to see the inside of a police station.
I was instantly taken by ‘Shop for life’. I loved the simplicity of the idea. And because unknowingly, it’s what I’ve always practiced with my writing. While Kabi channels his experiences into his acting, I do it into my words. But ever since lockdown had been imposed , the well I drank from had turned dry and the words were stagnating. Remember the month-long gap I took from this newsletter in March? Now you know why.
But, Kabi’s coinage of the phrase ‘shop for life’ filled with renewed vigor. I realized I need to stop using lockdown as an excuse and need to begin shopping virtually. My mother was in as much thrall of this approach to life. To put this principle into practice, we signed up for online Kalari classes with the instructor Kabi himself had learnt from him. Everything I know about martial arts comes from Karate Kid. I have zero interest and no prior experience. But, that's exactly why I signed up.
Yesterday, we completed my first month of Kalari.
What have I learnt about the art form?
Learning it is a slow process and progress isn’t easy to measure.
Movements are deconstructed and don’t make sense until you put them all together.
It requires as much stamina as a HIIT workout, but with the grace needed for ballet. It isn’t easy.
What have I learnt about myself?
I have extremely stiff hamstrings.
While learning about the art form and my body is the goal, the learning experience itself is another driving factor in this pursuit. There’s an absurdity to it that makes it worth it. Attending a bi-weekly martial arts class on Zoom with your mother is as rich an experience you can get.
What I’m reading: This New Yorker piece by indie musician Michelle Zauner a.k.a Japanese Breakfast about Korean supermarkets and how they helped process the grief of her mother’s death. It’s a devastating, yet beautifully vivid essay. You’ll feel sad, but you’ll also feel hungry.
What I’m watching: If you’re looking to improve your diet and start tracking your intake but are not sure how to, this video is a good place to start.
Tweet of the week: The type of thread that will make you go ‘hmm I hadn’t thought of it like that before’
Palak Zatakia @palakzatUnpopular Opinion: Google Search will become irrelevant.
I’d love to hear what you thought of this week’s edition! To share your thoughts, comments or if just want to chat, hit me up at email@example.com!
In last week’s edition:
Balls, Bats & Baskets: Seeking inspiration from Naomi Osaka and the manner in which she prioritized her mental health
Consumption Corner: A column on bar nostalgia, Tim Urban’s TED talk on procrastinators & a podcast episode with Nike’s CEO
Read it here!