Saturday, December 20, 2008
How did I get to the book? Well, I had heard of Salinger of course, but I never caught hold of his books. And last week I was reading this beautiful short story where the gal says she is reading him. And since it was vacation, I thought I’d do a google on him. I couldn’t find the books initially, of course. I mean, not free editions. But finally I did. And then I just started reading this afternoon. Its only 115 pages, so u can finish it in less than half a day. And it’s quite a fast read- what with ungrammatical language and very simply understandable stuff. But the funny thing is you don’t understand what’s happening till the end. And honestly, I thought I only liked the last two-three pages. But once I was done, I could get the whole point. And then suddenly, I knew I liked the book.
God, that sound pretty much like a post-script to “Catcher in the Rye”- same tone, I admit. And I’m sure u wouldn’t understand this post at all unless u read it right after the book. Anyway, what I got outta the book was- the problem of a guy who really didn’t fit into this so-called suave and sophisticated world. That’s really a good issue to write a book about. And the really wonderful thing is, if u asked an Indian to write a book about a guy that didn’t fit, he would make the protagonist a real weirdo. And he would exaggerate situations beyond despair. And in the end he would kill the hero or something. As if weird people can’t live on. Honestly, till I finished the book, I was half expecting the guy to die or something. Or I thought that they would put him in an asylum soon. It’s the thing with us, you know- Indians are so crazy about the system. They just wanna run the mad rat race, however mad it gets. And the worst part is, even when they want to laugh at the system they do it in such a stereotypical way, u get sick of it. Maybe we should name our capital “cliché”. It would suit the country.
Anyway, this book is quite humourous, if u get to understand the humour at all. And it’s also quite insightful. (I know our college MOC guys call anything from the HOD’s welcome addresses to the chairmen’s vote of thanks “insightful”, but this time I mean it!) And it got u thinking about the world- about how crazy it really is. And about the people who live life the way they want and not the way they have to (I know that phrase is another of those clichés, but I really couldn’t think up anything else, u know.) And come on, why do we all have to earn and smile at everyone we hate and be called cultured? THAT is the question the book asks. And a very good question. I could, of course, go about answering it, but that would make our discussion too long. Anyway, the point is that society creates these crazy rules that are really not necessary for us as individuals. And it is true that the world would be a mad place without those rules. But then it is probably a mad place anyway.
(Incidentally, I picked this quote today afternoon, and till now, I didn’t realize how much it fit the book I read. It says- “Society needs rules that are quite meaningless as individuals. For example, it doesn’t matter if a car goes on the right side of the road or the left. But when there are many cars it makes all the difference!”)
Then there was this thing about innocence- how a guy cannot remain innocent for too long in this world. In Salinger style, I should say “it killed me”. It is one of the few things I often wonder about- the fact that innocence is so terribly lost in this world. And it’s such a pity. But I am not too sure if we’ll all be happy if everyone retained their innocence as adults. We’d probably get tired of that too. Anyway, that was a beautiful thing about the book.
There is more, actually. Like how the guy uses decent language though it’s all colloquial. Take any book today and you find it full of filthy language. And this book wasn’t at all classical. It was very much American schoolish. But no obscenity. (Unless u think ‘bastard’ is an obscene word!) Or maybe even if he talks obscene stuff, they don’t sound bad! At least they didn’t get me disgusted.
And there is also this part about brother-sister relationships. It’s not the way they show it in our novels and movies, u know. U must have a younger sibling to know what it feels like. But every minute the Caulfield guy was admiring his sis, I knew exactly what he felt. Younger siblings can drive you crazy at times. (both positive and negative) And he had captured that feeling pretty well. Not sentimental or any sobby stuff. Just the fact of liking your sister or brother and having a great time with them.
Anyway, the book wasn’t a whiff of fresh air into your mind or anything poetic of that sort that reviewers usually say. Nor did it stir a storm of revolution into your heart. It just made u think about the world. Actually, I dunno. I’ll only say, try reading the book sometime. It may be worth it.
P.S.:- I just read (about ten minutes after first publishing this post) in wikipedia that this was one of the most challenged book etc. and that it has too much profanity, quite contrary to what I thought. But maybe there is so much more profanity in the world today. Another thing is that the book is supposed to be abt a guy who is "growing up". I leave you to read all those interpretations. I ve written exactly wat I thought about the book. If it is not the right interpretation, well, there is wiki neway! :)
Friday, December 19, 2008
As the city pulls the thin shroud of mist over itself,
Falling deaf ears to the calling thrushes and nightingales
I watch the skyline- the silhouettes of buildings
and look for you amidst the shadows, and the whispering winds.
I know you shall not appear though your heart beats still-
Death was so much better to handle!
The sun rises in understanding pity-
the only kindred spirit alive watching over a dead city,
bright as a bride’s cheeks or my mother’s fiery bindi
my sole accomplice in mourning over loneliness!
The only other to have found love and not known how to claim it!
I know the cruel sorcerer time shall show me
Your love and long walks with someone else,
And I don’t wish for an escape, or oblivion, I only seek a rebirth.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Words pop like mushrooms in my mind, waiting to materialize in ink-
brave bridegrooms awaiting their marriage with my thoughts.
I write and write, and they come in greater numbers,
maybe it’s my war with the words,
Yet I feel only a little compassion for them, no hatred!
After all, they are my sole companions in love,
Guileless souls that know not their own purpose for me,
Know not that love blossomed in my heart but once
And that it was stillborn!
I pity them for they are unaware of your greatness
Of how I thought you gave meaning to this futile world.
Or maybe, they know, and only revolt out of their own sorrow
"And maybe when they blunder into my poems, they seek but oblivion!!!"
Forests of green and lemon yellow, birds of purple plumes
Sunlight on dewdrops and primroses on the brook side…
As I walk along the mountain paths, not so struck by the beauty
The clouds try to charm me and the twittering behind- music
Yet my ears have become tone deaf today!
I have never walked with you on these paths,
Never once told you how much I love the moon,
Never did we have the time to speak of my dreams, and yours
But all through there had been a chance, a silent promise…
Maybe they were only fireflies and I mistook them
But I always thought these footprints shall be filled by yours,
And today, when I know you shall not return,
Though the beauty remains guileless and chaste- I only think-
"What a magnificent waste!"
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Well, this time though, I didn't try completing my short stories- after a point, you know it's getting futile... I decided instead to go on a round of blogs (mostly my collegemates') and do a little reading. I must admit it was an interesting exercise. But what struck me a lil too glaringly was that when a post got to be more than 300 words, I read ONLY if it was a review or something. I jus skipped the ones that were abt coll events n stuff if they wer long. Im a VERY impatient reader, I guess. (On second thoughts, that is also not true! I don't mind staying up for 1000 page novels, but I just can't stand staring at the monitor, for beyond 400 words! Maybe, I m not that modern yet! :( )
Anyway, the moral of the story was a lil too bitter for me to take! Cos on my own blog, I ve very few posts tat are short. But I try making them as short as i can. Maybe I have too many things to say. (That is a chronic problem with me, u know- I always have too much to say; and torture my friends by non-stop talking! :D) I thought and thought and thought.... (on how to reduce the length of my posts, of course!!)
And then it dawned on me- yes, a simple statement that proved to be the remedy ( i was too tempted to use 'panacea' here! :P ) to all my problems! --- The simple realisation that "I am not a 300 word blogger!!"
I mean, I just can't write posts that short, conveying at least half of what I wanna say... I ve really tried.. Only Microsoft Word can tell you how many sentences I delete, and how many phrases I replace with single words, and yet, word count never decreases!! :( So, now i ve decided... to leave things as they are.. and continue.. And declare to the world with head held high (Tagore likes that, doesn't he?!) that I shall write what I like, n rattle on and on, till they shut their ears, and then to proudly smile and say- "
I am not a 300 word blogger!"
(Special Note:- T S Eliot is more popular for his 1000 line poem than for his shorter verses! :) :) )
(Bonus special note (NOT added to increase word count!):- Pls dont comment saying I need a course on more effective communication or something. ;) U kno I don't take advice... N ya, i really like writing long posts... :D )
Thursday, October 2, 2008
(It is probably too late to write this review, as the movie was released quite a while ago. But I couldn’t resist the temptation of reviewing it; and doing a little advertising for the movie, just in case, someone didn’t watch it yet!)
It’s rare that you feel a sense of completion after you see a movie. I have always believed that the easiest way to judge a movie is to see what you feel once it is over. You know, there was ‘Sivaji’- which made you feel empty, ‘Dasavatharam’- that made you marvel at Kamal’s talents, ‘Mozhi’- that made you feel happy about life, that filled you with hope and told you that the world is a happy place, whatever our problems, ‘TZP’- which woke you to the world of children, and made you want to do something for them.
And there is this amazing movie I saw yesterday- (quite surprisingly, Hindi)- that filled me with energy. For one thing, the movie itself was racy, and had your adrenaline pumps working on overload. But not just that, when the movie was over, you were so overflowing with energy- you wanted to face a hundred new problems, meet them square in the face, and yes, you knew you could make a difference in this world. It was not just a feeling of completeness, but as if u refueled ur mind! It did not just rejuvenate you, it made you feel empowered! N yet, it did not have beautiful cars racing (unless you call police vans and yellow buses beautiful), or hot women running, or romance or dupatta-udne-wali songs. (It did have a pretty(?) gal on the run, and the angry young man hero but not really the masala type!) In fact, what made it a beautiful movie was the simplicity, and the genius in story telling…. O, I am sorry, I didn’t mention the name of the movie, did I? It was “A Wednesday”.
(Note: Please don’t read the review before watching the movie. It is too beautiful to be spoiled by knowing the plot beforehand! And as usual, the review may not make much sense if you haven’t seen it yet…)
When the movie began, since I had already read the review, I knew the basic storyline- that it is an encounter between Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah, that it is a bomb scare etc. However, thankfully, I didn’t know the ending. And reading the review usually keeps me from getting caught (I mean, over engrossed) in the story and helps me to stand apart and look at the movie as a pure critic. However, in this case, I must say I lost to Neeraj Pandey. Though, initially I was trying to analyse each shot, it didn’t take long for the director to get me trapped, and he had me biting my fingernails in eager.
The beginning is not spectacular, and THAT is the beauty of this story. It starts off with a simple man walking into a police station and then climbing the stairs up an unfinished building with a bag of sabzi (the way he pays attention to details and picks that one tamatar that fell, as though it were the most important element of the story- man, do we have a great storyteller here!) The simplicity of Shah holds you on for a little while, (and the gag at the news creators of our media, is good), but these things can’t sustain your interest for long. And at the precise moment before which you might begin to lose interest, Shah sits in front of a table of gadgets (the changing sim part is pretty outdated) and makes that much awaited strategic phone call and the momentum picks up, what with Jai and Arif running behind men, and the police headquarters getting busy and before you know it, the race has begun. (I was regretting I didn’t have popcorn in my room, to add to the mazaa!)
Then it’s all running, and waiting for the next phone call, and I really don’t know how time flew. The scene about the hacker and reiterating the fact that the best equipment of the police is still outdated, fit. Of course, the cartoonist gimmick to figure his face is too old, they should have used a computer instead!! The video about a man who might be the mastermind behind the blasts is cleverly done, though the author could surely have come up with better tools to divert the spectator's attention!
But there were many instances that made me marvel. One being the depiction of Kher. He is the man in complete control of the situation, and in his decisions lie the fate of a city. But he doesn’t shout, no melodrama; only a subtle play of emotions, and knitted eyebrows! The other, of course, is Shah! He is brilliant, to say the least, though I am still not sure whether it is his acting or the role itself. But it takes some mettle to underplay and still convey. Besides, in the scenes where the city stands in his background, you can smell raw power. You think- this single man, unpretentious, quite ordinary, but as he sips tea, holds the power to blast an entire city. And all the action behind, the running, the police, the guns, the blood, the Ethernet cables, and the network trackers , all revolving around and being defeated by his brain! Beautiful…
Of course, the twist in the end is clever, and the (Shah’s) dialogue, very intelligent. But what stands out, even in such moments is the simplicity. We have seen so many of Shankar’s movies- all of them trying to tell us that the common man can and should question atrocities. However, there is so much drama built by Shankar, and so much hype and glitz that really masks the theme; and reduces the movie to one among many others. That, is where, “A Wednesday” stands out. Even Naseeruddin’s dialogue is not sophisticated. And his reasons are amazing. He is not fighting because his son dies in a blast. It is for some unknown stranger. Again, he doesn’t say it is for the society, it is for his own self. And the statements about ‘aam aadmi’ –wah!!
If you thought that was the end, hold on. There is more to appreciate this movie for. Though the movie is about violence, there is very less bloodshed. It is an action movie alright, but no unnecessary gore! Again, no unnecessary romance. No hero running behind heroine, and all that crap. N more importantly, the hero (which is definitely Shah and not Arif) is an old man wearing specs and carrying, with effort, a bag of vegetables. Makes me wonder if Hindi movies are really improving! Also, no unnecessary bad dialogues- most action movies use such vocabulary that you really wanna watch them muted. Of course, these things make the movie very serious. Not much of humour except the poor attempt at it, initially. But what the movie lacks for in glamour, it more than makes up for, in speed and storytelling.
Of course, there are a few plot glitches too- why Ibrahim Khan had to be shot by the police and didn’t have to die in the blast. If it is only to add spice, well, that was poorly done. Or worse, still, if it was to tell us that terrorists are not all that brave when they face death, how very farfetched! And the whole idea that anybody can make a hoax call and get away with it- is our police force THAT bad?? Surely, logic was seriously lacking there…
But I guess we should forgive the director for these minor errors, and applaud anyway…
N yes, last but never the least, it is a movie you can go watch with children (if such a breed still exists!). It might be a little too serious for them, but it surely does not have any vulgar or violent content. That is itself very commendable, as most Indian movies have lost the habit of being watchable with family. Most of the times, we are forced to accept whatever is shown and loosen our own norms of censorship, out of very less choice. And if nothing else, in that sense alone, “A Wednesday” is an amazing movie. Or in the words of the director- “Sahi ya galat- pata nahi; lekhin jo bhi tha, achcha tha!”
Movie: A Wednesday
Director: Neeraj Pandey
Actors: Naseeruddin Shah, Anupam Kher, Naseeruddin Shah, Naseeruddin Shah, …
Story: One man has the whole Mumbai police force running on a bomb scare
Bottomline: Don’t miss it!!
(P.S:- If it sounds like I am only praising movies, I would like to tell you about “Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na”. I heard raving reviews of it, and it had done very well at the box office, so I quite expectantly wasted more than two hours on it. It was an ordeal to watch, and had me desperately wishing it would get over soon. The story was obvious, and the treatment poor, but the worst part was there was nothing to grip you. Nothing that touched you either. A poor attempt at cinema, for, even with a simple storyline and popular stars, the director was unable to use the medium effectively. Incidentally, the only part I liked there too was Shah, and his Rathod dialogues! Luckily, a few movies like “A Wednesday” relieve us of the burden, and make us feel hopeful about Indian cinema.)
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
For those of u who did not check the news, 147 people (not considering the confusion about the exact number) died in a stampede yesterday at the Chamunda Devi temple, Jodhpur, Rajasthan. (The picture accompanying the article in the paper is quite horrible, and is sure to make you frown, but then, it depicts the situation quite well. Not putting it up, as I don’t believe in sadism!)
The first question that came to my mind when I saw the paper was- "Is it right to stamp a hundred people just to have a glimpse at the lord? " Would a God really save you only if you visit his temple on the first day of Navarathri? I did not think about the relief measures, only about what I’d have done, had I been there. Most victims were trampled or suffocated. But was it worth it? I mean, is standing in a crushing crowd justified by the darshan of the lord on an auspicious day? Maybe, I am not devotional enough! But then, what could anyone have done once they were part of the crowd? I don’t think there was any option but to continuously push, thrust and move forward, once the stampede began. But then, the photo returns to my mind…
Imagine the horror of having hundreds of people walk right over you! I know it is gruesome. I know it is not something we’d like to talk about. But that’s how most important topics are- "we don’t wanna talk about them!" It’s so safe and comfortable to pull the mask of civilization over our faces and evade the responsibility. Child abuse?- C’mon… No "respectable" girl writes that on her blog; only weirdo feminists! Foeticide? Eve teasing? –Oh, pulee..eez.. grow up! And legalizing homosexuality? –I can already see "taboo" on your face. Not that we don’t talk about these issues. Only, not in public; or mixed company. It is so easy to be able to walk into star hotels and have oh!-so-romantic candlelight dinners and enjoy the luxuries money can buy us, and talk about the nuke deal and be called intellectual anyway. Why write dark stuff on your blog? After all, it’s more enjoyable (even for the author) to write humour, ManU, movies and college news on his blog. And definitely so much easier (read fun) to read?!! Well, I guess someone has to do the dirty work, but maybe we are digressing too much…
Any mass debacle is sad. But an earthquake or flood is not really in our hands. We are still not equipped enough to put out the fire of nature’s fury in such cases. However, a stampede is caused by men. N not world leaders greedy for power. (How easy it usually is, to talk about World War II and say all the destruction was caused because one man named Hitler got greedy! The picture of a power hungry politician causing a mass massacre is such an easy one to paint and shrug the guilt off your safe guileless shoulders…) But, in a stampede, there really is no politician to blame. It is plain obvious that it was caused by another so-called common man, who very well could have been u or me! It’s just lucky that we didn’t go to the Chamunda Devi temple yesterday. But there are millions of temples across the length and breadth of our country, and hundreds of ‘special pujas’ that offer innumerable occasions for stampedes to occur. No, I don’t mean to psyche you out in Reader’s Digest style, and say that each of us is guilty and must be punished- that is not really necessary! But then, we very well could have been the cause. I know so many of my friends who push their way to the front in queues. And that is precisely how the stampede began yesterday: somebody in the queue wanted to get the darshan over with asap, and decided to push his way through. And the others followed. This happens at temples most of the time- maybe standing in queues just doesn’t suit the Indian temperament! And the worst part is that, once u are in the queue, even if u don’t wanna push, u are sure to get rammed.
However, the story doesn’t end here. What about the victims? Of course, the government pays them a lakh in compensation. For one thing, the money won’t’ last long; what with inflation still not under control. And for another, there is always the cliché I can quote- that any life is too valuable to lose. What if there was a boy in the crowd, on whose salary his family depended? Ok, that is old fashioned. What if there was a youngster all brainy who could have invented a new generation of computers and changed the way the world runs? Those of us who believe in God can only hope he isn’t THAT cruel. Or maybe, our governments should think of offering jobs and not money in compensation. (I will not talk about the ordeal of getting the compensation money, for that is another long story).
Then there was the lawyer (or former judge or somebody) who had been asked to submit a report about the debacle. Honestly I don’t see the point. How many government executives read these reports? And how much action is taken based on them? And come on, what can the report contain- figures of numbers attended, injured, died; a theory for the cause of the accident and suggestions that nobody implements anyway? Nobody can report the failures, the dreams that became castles in the air, shattered down to dust, the hopes, the ambitions, and all the happiness that was lost. And is this report all the answer that we have got, to give the innocent victims?
But really, what else should have been done? The authorities have said that "temples should have better arrangements for devotees on special puja occasions!" Now, (Forgiving the innate Indian tendency to take measures post- crisis) that does make sense, but it only brings me back to square one. What can a host of guards do if hundreds of devotees decide to shove their way in? Isn’t it more the fault of the devotees than the authorities? Isn’t it more the small fault in your and my mindsets that grew up to such horrendous proportions?
Ok, so what can we do? Start respecting queues and hope that since you have done your bit, the world shall do its. I know it sounds old fashioned and straight out of a sermon to say ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’, but then it does seem to work in our world. Or at least, let’s hope it does…
Monday, September 29, 2008
The title that came closest to what I wanted was "Murphy Reloaded!" Thanks to Priyadarshini for tat. I also considered "Gone with the wind! " But that reveals the story way too much...
Anyway, thanks for ur support...
N yes, I hope to be a lil more regular in posting... Lets c...
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Whew! Finallly!! Been trying to put something up for so long... but if Im good at one thing, it is making excuses, n i obviously came up with the idea of placements and the routine stuff.. So, for the time bein, jus one poem tat i dashed off... (Quite a few stories wer sposed to be put up, n somethin on lehmann's bankruptcy, but i really am not placed yet, u kno... :( )
Crawling years that refused to go by,
filled by a desire to meet an adversary,
The belief in a silent promise hidden somewhere
making everything ever so magical;
And then a discovery, of the finest I could hope for
A competition, a pain, an equal brain,
To walk against, at each step, and to oppose,
to constantly struggle, and for wits, to match, against;
It was a challenging race, and a spring of joy
and yet, it’s over now- I lost!
There is nothing left in me now to reach the finishing line
After all, the race is over- I am spent!
I search within myself for an answer I had when life began
Where is the cheer? The promise? The hope?- I am empty!!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
'There', I tot, 'go my dreams of a coffee day treat', for I was sure that in the best case, he would only let us share the money.... N a fifty is never as good as a hundred, u kno... I jus gave him a vacant stare...
"Look, there comes my friend.." And sure enough, there was another middle aged man on a bike comin in our direction... And in one of those rapid turn of events, b4 i could realise, my neighbour vanished on the bike along wid his frnd!!!
I would ve danced on the road, had i known how to. But im one of those souls wid two (or probably more than two!) left feet. N besides im a normal gal, or at least aspiring to tat title, so I jus smiled to myself...
N now, back to "Mission Im-sure-its-possible"... I looked right n den left. (No! No sentiments here.. I jus happend to look right first!!), my eyes scanning every square inch in sight. Convinced that there was no human soul around, I decided to bend down n pick it up b4 i lost it to some other cruel villian! N den somehow the tot struck me tat mayb i shud think twice abt my decision. I could hear my primary school moral science teacher say "Haste makes waste"!
Wat if someone saw me jus wen i took the note?? Of course, I could pretend ntn had happend n continue as tho it ws my note. But wat if they knew? Wat would they think abt me?? I mean, imagine ur image crashin from a self respectin young girl who has been this perfect idea of the good-gal-next-door , performin excellently in school etc etc, to dis greedy lil creature that grabs onto that piece of currency that surely wasnt her own... a thief, to say the least??!!! Did that sound nice.?? - No, of course not!!
N worse still, imagine some neighbour of urs walkin into ur flat n tellin ur family- "u kno wat i saw ur daughter do yday...."; particulary in tat complaining (read poisoning) tone that middle aged Indian women have!
That landed me (as usual) into a short reverie on the norms of society that bind us. The pangs of living in a so-called civilised society whose rules condition all our actions... N we say we have freedom!! For a minute, i fell for that temptation of saying that all freedom was meaningless.. I mean, if i see a neat hundred bucks n cant walk straight n take it, wat is the point in my constitution granting me 7 fundamental rights?? (Of course, much later, on second thoughts, i realised that i was grossly mistaken, and freedom is not defined like tat etc. But we humans often lose our sense of morality and correctness in important situations, you kno..)
N wat if that note brought some sorta ill charm??? I mean, why would anyone so mercilessly leave a self-respecting hundred rupee note right in the middle of the road and walk away, if they hadn't had some problem wid it? Now, dont you imagine me to be a gullible gal who goes around believing superstitions n stuff. NO! Im jus not tat kinda person.. But somehow it dint quite seem plausible that someone wouldn't notice their money falling down while crossing the road. N obviously, it did not fall wen they were involved in some transaction. I cant imagine anyone paying/buyin in the middle of a road. (Life isnt one of those Indian movies, wher the cars n buses wait as the hero stands obstructing the traffic!) N maybe, it jus runs in the Indian blood (call it genes if u want!) to come up wid arbit sentiments at the spur of the moment.. I cant be blamed for wat runs along wid my erythrocytes, u kno.. :)
N then i thought... Wat if it was a counterfeit note? U kno, like in the Jeffrey Archer short stories, wat if i took the note n entered coffee day, n got caught for using fake money?? I dint even know the penalty for that... Was it jus a fine or a few months in jail?? I racked my brains for an answer. Obviously, i couldn find nethin. (GIGO, v call it...) But I knew tat gettn anywher close to the police wud ruin my reputation... N our family name n honor n such things.... Worse stil, for an Indian gal, the future mite be even more bleak.
N I had heard somewhere that these days counterfeit notes look very much like real ones. They call it some process, i don remembr the name, by which they copy all the motifs on real notes, so that only the machines can find the difference. I could almost see my future crashing down as they suspended me from college, n i wandered from company to company searchin for a job n i could hear prospective employers say "9 pointer wid a criminal record?! u mite be sriously dangerous to our company!! Try somewhere else..." What a comedown it would be, i thought..
N b4 i could come up wid a hundred more contentions, it happened rite b4 my eyes... No, nobody else walked away wid the note!! It was the breeze... And right b4 my eyes, it carried the note away to I-dunno-where!! U kno, the meteorological centre reports a maximum windspeed of 20kmph in Chennai this month!
I did not take the 6A tat day. I chose to walk to my destination!!!
Monday, May 19, 2008
N ya, i mostly write in first person, n some of the characters n situations may seem to be real. But pls be warned tat wat follows is only a figment of my imagination... or in a more formal manner.............................
....Disclaimer: All characters and incidents in the following post are fictitious and...... (c'mon! how many times have u read this! And u expect me to type the whole thing?!! :P )
It was a warm afternoon. Of course, warm is an understatement, considering that Chennai burns at 42+ celcius these days. N i was standing at the infamous Besant Nagar bus stop. (For those of u who are unfamiliar wid Besant Nagar, chuck the location. It hardly matters! :) ) I could feel the hot wind slapping (not beating on) my face every minute, n the bus was jus not arriving... I must tel you that the public transport of Chennai strictly obeys Murphy's law. In fact, many years ago, wen I stil dint know that Murphy wasn't Indian, I was under the impression that he propounded the theory while waitin for a bus! Neway, I was waiting for a 6A n every other bus (even ones that come hourly!) had arrived. The bus stop was deserted, since it was 2 in the afternoon- typically lunch time.. In fact, there were hardly 2-3 ppl on d road, n I dint even have anyone(or anythin) to watch. I jus kept staring at the house opposite the stop. No signs of the bus yet....
I would surely not have seen that, but fate, o fate, I did!! Now before u start gettn ideas of me rescuing someone from some grave danger (or the Indian version of the Mafia), or of falling in love wid the gr8est lookin guy or somethin of tat sort which always happens in novels, let me bring u back to good ole' Earth n tel u that wat I saw was a very common but quite a worthy object--- A hundred rupee note!!(Applause for those who guessed it rite!! :) ) There it was lying on the road, the colour of the note in horrendous contrast to the dirty black tar road background, sadly orphaned by its callous (careless?) owner! N I immiediately wanted to fling myself to its rescue n save it from its poor fate... After all, there it lay, about 2 feet and 5 inches away from my right foot. Of course i dint bend down n measure, but den, it helps a reader's imagination if i write some numerical values, however crazy they may be... N it is definitely better than sayin tat the note lay i-dunno-how-far-from-my-foot away!!!
It was a beautiful note. No, it was not a new one with shiny paper n the smell of ink still lingering on. It was slightly aged, wid the experience rendering it a slight sheen of beauty n tenderness tat youth never seem to possess!
Sorry for the digression.. As i was sayin, i almost bent to save the note n treat it wid the respect it deserved! However, jus wen I was about to bend, there came along in jolly fervour, who else but my dear sweet neighbour, waving the most friendly hi, as he crossed the road n walked to the bus stop, towards the place where i was standing!!
"Hullo, young lady!", he said.. (Some of these 'uncle's have the worst ways of addressing, n even tho quite respectable, i hate bein calld 'a young lady'!) "Vacation, eh?"
"Yes, uncle." i nodded. (Dude, if May isn't vac for us, wat d u think it d b??)
N he proceeded on with the routine pleasantries n questions on my future plans (GRE or CAT?) n den, of curse, the standard ones that parents of 12th goin kids(?)ask engg coll students (how did u prepare for entrances, do u think she shud take AIEEE coachin in d vac or will the IIT one suffice, n so on ad infinitum...) N there it was, my beautiful note, lying still on the road, innocent of the tortuous conversation I had to put up wid. I almost envied it for living in a world far far away from my dreary life, n was reminded of those lines from some crazy poem -"I am safe in non-understanding!!"
Neway, this man standing next to me showed no signs of leaving, n i was hopin he dint c the note too... I had read somewhere that God transmits to ppl's minds al those things v don want them to hear. (Another of those damned corollaries of Murphy's law?!!) I jus hoped he dint.
N when I was still hoping, my neighbour, squealed in excitement, "Hey, what's tat?!!"
(To be continued...)
Sunday, May 11, 2008
For days, months, years...
Carefully spun a web of love to imprison myself in,
and watched the days slip through my fingers
like grains of sand at the beach.
Poured my life as water for a weed,
and threw stone after stone into the clear lake
trying to build castles!!
Now I look back at those toddler steps
as their meaning dissolves in a solemn dreamy funeral
- a revelation of my innocence!
As time unravels new mysteries each day...
I'm unsure if it has made me happy but...
We have all grown up!!
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Anyway, after nearly a year of being around, I ve finally given in to popular demand n changed d layout... I remember tat dis had been the first suggestion/comment.. N somehow, I never tot twas necessary to change it.. But, a walk at IITM last evening, (when i was lost in thoughts as usual) somehow gave me enlightenment n i tot- "Why not change?"
I must admit I found it difficult to part wid my favourite sunset n d black background! But den, I had to give in... After al, wats d point writin a blog, if oders cant read it?!!
So, hope dis is more reader friendly...
N ya, abt new posts.. Keep checkin... Doin some interestin ones... They ll be up soon...
Sunday, April 6, 2008
I look at this world--
a fused mass of millions of candles
Each struggling to kill itself to light the surrounding
Each a flexible statue of wax moulded by predecessors,
waiting to fuse into the great nothingness called "everyone"
Each an epitome of serenity spreading its dull fuzzy light...
And my eyes search for a spark of light
Just a tiny spark, sudden and dangerous,
A spark that could grow into an explosion
or a firework display; but grow, nevertheless
A rebel to stand out of the crowd
and relish the coronation of solitude...
For, centuries spent under the monotonous sun
can't compare with the pleasure granted by a momentary flash of lightning!!
Literary reviewing is itself an interesting task. For one thing, u shud read an entire book whether u like it or not. N if u wanna b a good reviewer, u must also b unbiased abt it. Now THAT is a very very difficult thing. Cos it means that, not only shud u remain unaffected by that book, but also by nethin els u mite ve read.. seems sorta humanly impossible... But then, there ve been a lot of such good critics. Neway, most critics take d easier way out n jus express their own opinions. It den rests on d reader to remember the nature of the critic while readin d review so as not to be prejudiced by him.
Anyway, all that banter abt reviewing was to tel u tat im gonna review a short story now.. yes, a short story.. Tat could be a lil interestin cos, reviews are supposed to b shorter than the "reviewed", n since short stories are, by definition, short, my review must b shorter than d story itself, yet must convey all the merits n demerits of d story. Wel, since all dis mite prove to b difficult, I request u not to chk word count etc.. C'mon... blogs are beyond the constraints of usual literature. "They are a new art form", u c... (allusion intended, of course).
N ya, before, u read d review, I suggest u read the story itself. Its too good to miss! :)
The link is:
Ok.. gettn to d review...
Science fiction is a very interestin literary form. While, on the one hand, it tells of the possibilities of science, positive or negative (so much that, it mite even b a wake up cal that awakens us to d dangers of science that v mite possibly ve overlooked); on the other, it confers the story, the one element unique to all short story writing--- the twist, or in dis case, the horror.
Neway, in science fiction, if the story can keep u dumbfounded for one minute, if it can make u forget urself n remain immersed in horror, the story can be written off as successful. (Remembr those Isaac Asimov ones that made u think abt em for d next half an hour n fear for d world???)
In this manner alone, "Time, art n criticism" is among the best stories ever written.
For a short summary of the story, Taran Vechery is a "temporal engineer" who has recently entered both Earth (after 65 years on a starship) and the world of art, with his innovative "temporal sculpture". This is defined as an object having a time frame different from our own, and oscillating wrt our own time.... Thus as we move ahead in time, (which we forever do anyway!), the object ages, then "de-ages"(meanin it goes back in time), repeatedly. Of course, this bein an entirely new medium of expression, Vechery expects the art world to turn around and look at him. However, he is left with no time(!) for that, as the "sun of the art world", De Soliel, trashes his piece. Vechery doesn't lose hope n continues to produce better stuff, only to be rejected by De Soliel. The grand finale?????? Ill leave it for u to discover!!! ;) Its too good to be revealed....
Neway, der re oder appreciable aspects to a story, such as language, expressions, n as De Soliel puts it, the "human element"! Going in that order, the language that the writer has used is one important factor for the success of the story. By mentioning the use of a "watch tatoo", "shuttleport", etc, the author has transferred us to the future indeed! (Tho, i'd say, some of his efforts are too obviously pronounced; it becomes quite obvious to the reader that he has used them to emphasize future tense!)
Special kudos for the statement- ' "O,sorry", he said, not sounding it! ' .... Beautiful piece of sarcasm....
Incidentally, the story is sorta poetic. The way time marches back and forth, and how the tree goes into spring when De Soliel arrives and is back in autumn when he leaves. Seems to reflect the mood... N his use of celestial objects in so many places... "Sun of criticism", picking up "satellites" etc.. Quite commendable..
N his statement about artists taking time to understand themselves... how true!!
N ya, about the "human element", there certainly is a great deal of it in this story.
The way Vechery has been depicted is quite touching. Our hearts automatically overflow with pity for him. The unrecognised genius has always been one of life's greatest tragedies.. How many masterpieces of creation are born in this world, who die unrecognised, just bcos ppl around are too mediocre to recognise them!!!
His analysis of the eternal conflict between artists and engineers is also quite insightful. It is pretty well known that most artists reject the idea of science being beautiful as a sorta comic joke. N Vechery's explanation is quite interesting - Do they refuse to recognise it cos it is beyond their understanding?? Or are engineers really (he)artless??
The character of Gardine is also well depicted. An ordinary yet honest man, and hence with no fan following... :) Amusing...
However, unlike real life, Vechery doesn lose hope, even in the worst of circumstances, and the determination shown by him is almost inspiring. It also reflects his innocence in trusting the talent and integrity of De Soliel.
N of course, the best part of the story--- Vechery's answer!! Haunting as it mite be, it is also the best reply he could ve given under those circumstances.... And no amount of praise can match the ingenuity of the writer in creating this climax!N abt d human element, dis review s already overflowin, y not keep it for some oder time??!! :)
Monday, March 31, 2008
April has always been an awessum month. Apart from the personal value it has got for me, and the fact that the first day s fulla unforgettable pranks, it has always been the "vacation month", somethin that irrefutably makes it the best! :D (Of course, May is also part of the summer vac, but wen at school, by the time May sauntered into existence, we d ve got tired of the holidays n wud greet every frnd wid an "Im so bored", n start longin for school again... ). N yes, I could also quote Shakespeare on April, but lets skip the obvious...
April is also the month of a few great birthdays (:P), starting from Sophie Germain (mathematician) to Jackie Chan and Pandit Ravi Shankar, and Prophet Mohammad, to ChandraBabu Naidu and Adolf Hitler... There is more to comment on the similarities and difrnzes between these ppl etc. However, it would only sound like the "distinguish between"s that we fill our papers wid... so lets skip that too...
The fact that i want to throw light on is the life of a particular great person whose b'day is seven days from now.
On the 7th of April, years ago, a man was born, a genius of an intransigent mind, and probably infinite talent; a highly egotistical and self absorbed man; not a loner per se, but someone absorbed in an intriguing solitude; (very typical of geniuses, eh?) a man whose eyes sparkled with intelligence and pride, but one who had time to observe the tiny details and pen some of the most beautiful romantic (I mean romanticism and not mushy poems!) literature one can ever read... On April 7, 1770, William Wordsworth, the poet who wrote some of the most beautiful English verses, and launched the Romantic Movement, was born in England. And more than 2 centuries later, he lives on in those innumerable dog-eared poetry books (and the webpages, of course!) With Nittfest round the corner, I may not find time to post somethin on him next week... N hence, with a week to go for April 7, I remember him in advance. Wat follows is a short recap of his verses, ones that i found the most memorable and beautiful...
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
tossing their heads in sprightly dance...
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more...
The world is too much with us;
(The world is too much with us)
There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
(Ode on intimations of immortality)
And of course, the truly immortal ones.....
My voice proclaims
How exquisitely the individual Mind
(And the progressive powers perhaps no less
Of the whole species) to the external World
Is fitted:--and how exquisitely, too,
Theme this but little heard of among Men,
The external World is fitted to the Mind . . .
(Prospectus to the Recluse)
(P.S:- I found a very interesting discussion on wordsworth at the foll link... chk it out!!! -
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Not so void, yet empty!
The silence swallows the heavy air,
I wait, and wait, but no answer from you!
I wait for the sound of a voice,
not sweet but soothing;
My pen seems to reply to the rustle of leaves
and the silence whispers long lost secrets
in a sadly unintelligible language!
Now, I can hear the stars twinkle and the flowers bloom-
I only thank you for leaving me alone
To savour the eloquence of this silent solitude!
Thursday, January 3, 2008
I happened to meet one such person last week... Monday, the 31st of december, to be exact... He is an awessome guy... a little different tho, but as i d ve it, verrrry special... So let me introduce him to u.... the great Mr.Ishaan Awasthi!!!!
Very sweet lad... His toothy smiles, n pranks n pangs n tears steal our hearts at once... But I shud say, its not jus him.. The credit shud also go to his awessum teacher who brought him to the limelight...
For those of u, who cant make much sense outta wat im talkin, Ishaan Avasti is the dyslexic hero of TZP...
(Note: If u haven't seen the movie or read the plot, much of dis post mayb puzzlin. so for better results, c d movie.. :D )
"Taare Zameen Par" shout the posters... automatically generating in our minds, the thought... "Aamir khan.. Another movie for children..." N i immiediately retaliate... "no, not jus "another" movie for children!!"
So, lets begin at the beginning....
The black screen stares at u, n u stare back, filled wid wonder at wat lies in store for us.... Since, it is critically acclaimed, probably, our curiosity is even more kindled. And then the first 3 letters appear. s-a-w (or mayb w-a-s, i don remembr which). Then another 6. All of us try to read the words, in an attempt to find out wat the words are intended to convey. And as we continue to read, the words appear faster, then in such rapid succession, that we lose track!!! And then the message from the director dawns on our heads.... "Don't search for meaning in every action, monotonically... Sit back and relax, and more meanings than ever shall bloom before your eyes!" One of the BEST directorial touches, I must say. But lest we think that is the end of Aamir-Amole's creativity, they immiediately show how greatly mistaken we are. With Ishaan fishing in muddy waters, literally, we are transported back to those days wen rainwater puddles held the greatest pleasures of our lives. As Ishaan watches the tadpoles in his bottle, unaware of all the mud clinging to his uniform, we begin to forget the rules of society that bind us- the clocks, the procedures, protocols, decorum, and conventions of our lifestyles. As Ishaan swings on one gate, though the other is open, we become lil kids, and go back to the swings and see-saws. And wen he sits in class, dreaming of flying trains and starfish, our minds too start spinning tales. (I don think I need to quote Bernard Shaw- "u c things n ask "y", i imagine em n ask "y not?" !!" ) And den during the disasters......... Wen the teacher begins to announce results. As her tone changes between the 24/25 and 3/25, our hearts soar and sink and we clench our fists against our primary school enemies. That is great work by the directors. The noise of the marks bein read out really makes our heads reel (courtesy, RDX!) and we reminisce the days wen those numbers ruled our lives. Again, as the local boys order Ishaan about, we prepare to fight those bullies who whacked us, and hope they are suffering now! As Ishaan leaves home, we remembr the beauty of the institution of family!
Ok, that seems to go on and on... So summarizing, I could say, in routine reviewer style- "The success of a venture is in d details"... n here s TZP...
Leaving the rest of the pre-intermission for u to savour, v land on Aamir's entry. It doesn't seem practical to have such a wonderful teacher. Blame it on the cliches of Hindi cinema. However, I must say, if Ram Shankar Nikumbh cares, so do a few other ppl. N if not teachers, der re neighbours n frnz n relatives like him ,who take time to understand kids' language n light their lives. N Aamir has played the role very well... Sorry, i ve erred.. he hasn't played or acted, in that sense; he has really become that nice caring concerned teacher, and melted our concrete laden hearts...
I don think i shud dwell on the storyline as such- how Ishaan struggles in school, how his bro youhan is sucha goodie-goodie addin to the contrast, how his teachers n parents get buggd, hw he hates boardin school, hw d hadicapped topper makes a nice frnd n how RamShankar transforms his life...
So quickly, for the plusses and minuses...
Plusses- All actors have done a gr88888 job (nobody excluded!)! Innovative narration of story, tho the story itself is obvious! Portrayal of teachers--- funny, maybe hyperbolic, but still reminds us that nobody is omniscient n tat at times, anyone can get silly! The book of drawings, depicting their separation-- one more amazin example of attention to details, and a very touching one too...
The songs and the message conveyed, of course, but spl section devoted for tat below....
Minuses- Very predictable storyline; Loads of stereotypes -- v surely expected better stuff!! Copyin calvin n hobbes (the arithmetic wid planets!) -- wen ll our directors stop copyin?? And the most obvious climax... A lil disappointing, that!
Songs...... hmmm.... The songs are really good. The one that says "Tujhko sab patha hai na ma" really reminds us of how we completely trusted our mothers, n imagined them to be all- powerful... of the days wen holding her one finger was the source of al security... Special congrats to Prasoon joshi for the lyrics... The other one about monotony in life is also wel depicted. Seeing Ishaan's mother make omelettes so continuously makes us feel sorry for our mothers who toil their lives out for our sake, yet take no reward. Credits for the others too, but now lets quickly jump to the social significance of the tale...
Tho packed with entertainment, Aamir has also sunk in the mesage of the importance of helpin oders. Tho most of us ll forget tat v pledged to make a difrnz to someone's life, once v come out, at least the seed has been sown... Besides, the example given by Aamir to Ishaan's father is worth remembring, I mean, the one wher he asks him to read Chinese n xplains that if u dunno d letters, u cannot understand wat u read, however intelligent u may b... nails the fact too well... excellent direction!!!
And of course, the one inference that I personally made.... The taste of success... It can create miracles in our lives. Wen Ishaan Awasthi's painting is published, the amount of confidence he gains, years of pep talk and efforts could not have given. Success seems to be a drug, that transforms our personalities,. and our perceptions of the world around us.... It is of course, a lil addictive, as al drugs are, but useful in small doses, nevertheless!!!
Wel, den, cheers to Aamir, for producing one of the best movies ever (this time, truthfully, unlike most reviews, wen v praise box office hits!). We shall continue to expect good cinema from him, ever.....
Movie: Taare Zameen Par
Genre: Strictly under 18!!
Director: Aamir Khan, Amole Gupte
Story: C'mon, u ve heard dis story smeared across the Indian print media
Bottomline: Two Nobel Prize nominations for the directors! (U read it rite- Nobel, not the Oscar!)
Expansion of bottomline :) --
Nobel prize nominations for the following reasons:-
Neways, ppl... Wish u al a happy new yr!!!