A Writer’s Thoughts About SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

Dear Reader,

(Note: To take in the full magnanimousness of Slumdog Millionaire, see it on a BIG screen.)

Slumdog Millionaire is an oft-told rags-to-riches story, but it’s much more than a story: it’s an experience. It’s pure-eyed Indian children. It’s filth. It’s expansive poverty; orange, red, rust, and turquoise; it’s corrugated steel; breakneck cinematography; claustrophobic population; clangor, crash, and dust. It’s “Ta Ki Di Ma Ta Ki Di Ma…” bols (North India rhythmic mnemonics) machine-gunned out of the soundtrack. And it’s flecks of a orphan boy’s accrued knowledge thrown up to save his life, knowledge not buoyed by fuller knowledge: the name of a poet, the face printed on a particular American currency, a sports figure.

Flecks of knowledge. I recognized “Ta Ki Di Ma” in the soundtrack because when I was a college dance major the department percussionist and professor Tigger Benford taught me the fundamentals of playing the tabla, which included this phrase. Other flecks? I know how to test the moisture content of field corn. Why? When I was 15 years old, I worked in my uncle’s grain elevator, weighing loads of corn and determining and recording its moisture content. I know that spell checked “facial latte” in a text I’m editing should read “facia lata” because I once studied anatomy. That a fleck of Norwegian, potet sekk, means potato sack. My grandfather used to call me this — lovingingly, of course.

Flecks illuminate stories. Illuminate films. Illuminate lives, writers’ lives.


2 Responses to “A Writer’s Thoughts About SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE”

  1. 1 kristakae 02/28/2009 at 8:04 am

    Let me be charmingly writer-ish and just say that movie was awesome…

    Main Entry: awesome
    Part of Speech: adjective
    Definition: amazing
    Synonyms: alarming, astonishing, awe-inspiring, awful, beautiful, breathtaking, daunting, dreadful, exalted, fearful, fearsome, formidable, frantic, frightening, grand, hairy*, horrible, horrifying, imposing, impressive, intimidating, magnificent, majestic, mean, mind-blowing*, moving, nervous, overwhelming, real gone, shocking, something else, striking, stunning, stupefying, terrible, terrifying, wonderful, wondrous, zero cool

  2. 2 Faye Quam Heimerl 02/28/2009 at 5:35 pm

    Awesome! Thanks for providing the other words cuz I’ve recently been thinking about this word. Really! I’ve also been thinking about your perspectives about the movie, stated in your blog http://kristakae.wordpress.com/


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February 2009
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Photo Credits: Header - Barbara McNichol, Author - Bernadette Garcia

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