Thursday, May 7, 2015

Changes in life

As I grow old, I understand the warmth of companionship family and friends. And, I am not talking about marriage-kind of family. But just the one you were born into. Simple stuff - Mom, Dad, sister, brother. These days, weekends feel meaningful and full of love. The new place is quite large, but nobody has separate rooms, so everyone is kinda hunched up in one single room, doing their thing or in the balcony, watching people and cattle or in the bedroom, where there is always a seemingly necessary humour on my new single status, before I feign getting hurt and the hoodlums are satisfied and everyone sleeps. Sunday evenings which until recently meant something else, are now for family walks to the nearby Forest Department nursery, where fresh fruit is plucked, especially for us. I even made friends with the Nepali security guy Tapinder, who tells me that everyone calls him Bahadur because he is a Nepali, which I find rather sad. He is a gaunt, weather-beaten looking guy, who looks not older than 50.

Anyhow, yeah my Sunday evenings are booked in a good way, and I like it. Although, I now have to take the erstwhile Sunday evening route of Wipro crossroads, every single day owing to our new house, I have taught myself to be numb to stuff, and pretty soon that will wear off too, I hope. All in all, I can't be more proud of how my family stood by me in these darker days and supported me in their awkward way.

I also met friends from the past, recently. Every passing day, my psychoanalyzing capacity reaches new heights, and it's both a curse and a blessing. Blessing because knowing something is always good and curse because well, the games people play are all too clear. It is surprising how people do things and expect others to react the exact same way, they would were they in such situations!

All I can say is, so many people are becoming my pet-projects, case-studies day by day, it's overwhelming. People-watching is truly rewarding, because everyone is so unique, multi-faceted, nuanced. Just so flavorsome for my brain.

Coming to friends, I am thankful for the bunch of friends around me, though it isn't the same bunch as last year, I am still high on happiness and love. My weekly Hangouts with my best friend make my life a hundred times bearable. And, I love my breakfast session with girls. Plus I love my brother from another mother. Plus, I really like some of the people I hang out with.

Not all of these friendships are the ones I celebrate, there are people I would give an arm to be with, then there are people I plainly enjoy the company of, and then there are people I tolerate, and then there are those that set new highs of my tolerance level with their presence. The last type - each conversation is like brick to my head. But, I get by, because I intrinsically teach myself, how NOT to be, ever! My sister always ask me how I can stand people whose company I absolutely loathe. The answer is I don't concentrate on their flaws, I just go with it. I become numb, to certain personality traits. I perfected the art of enjoying myself, no matter the company. I can't explain how. But it's a wonderful and most importantly, it's empowering in a weird way. Like you know you can be yourself in a deeply human way, anywhere, with anybody, no matter what.

To family and true friends!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Life Skills -Good writing skills

Good writing skills are important not just to people in the writing fields like media, journalism and such but they are an important vertical that traverses all horizontal departments. If you are equipped with good writing skills, chances of your opportunities increasing are greater. You could be offered to write that important report that might get you noticed in the higher-ups, you might get to write a blog which will guide millions, you might even be called to give your opinions/presentation on a subject if your writing catches people's attention.

Grammarly surveyed over 400 freelancers to determine what impact writing skills have on a person's career opportunities and published the results in an infographic, to raise the importance of good writing.

Grammarly's infographic

But where does good writing come from- it comes from reading. When you read more, you understand the art of putting words together more. Hence, you can organize your thoughts better, and this will make you smarter. And, just like everything, the more you write, the better you get at it. The better you get, the more satisfying it is, as a pass-time. Not to mention, the amount of world-wise wealth you glean from reading about different things. Reading Enid Blyton at a very early age, helped me learn the difference between stalagmites and stalactites, which I didn't learn in school till Primary class, reading inculcated in me a zeal for History (because Julian, my imaginary older brother from Famous Five loves History) and with other million little things like these, it is reading that shaped me into the person that I am now and I can't be more thankful to my family. But, not everybody is so lucky.

 In a world marred with violence and greed, we have easier access to something harmful like guns than something profoundly life-changing like books. To bridge that gap in America, where nearly two-thirds of low-income families own no books, RIF came up with a wonderful literacy non-profit initiative. I am awed by the stuff they are doing and I 
wholeheartedly hope for something like this in India, and wish that reading just for the sake of reading would become such a fun-activity for kids, from an early age. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

My thoughts on Ok, bangaram!

So, I watched Ok Bangaram recently and I was going to say something casual and flippant like "Best movie of the year,"  but it's a Mani Ratnam movie and I just can't leave it at that.

Mani Ratnam has been reinventing the way love-stories are made, for decades now and the variety never ceases to amaze me. Amaze as in deeply engulf me into his insanely realistic, celluloid portrayal of life, that I keep remembering little nuggets from the movie now and then and smile at what a genius he is. But I'll have you know that he is not the only genius of this movie. Months before it even released, we all lost our sleep over Rehman's music. Just when I thought I couldn't get over how beautiful Aye Sinamaka is, he comes up with this background score for the movie and you know what genius-personification is.

What can I tell about the movie, without  spoiling it any way? Dulqer reminds you of that stubbled-hot Nagarjuna from Geethanjali (1989), as will Nitya of Girija. The easy chemistry between them, looks sappy sometimes and a bit forced even, but I blame it on the translation. It's easy to look at Adi(Dulqer) and fall for him, but Tara(Nitya) is the true star. The way her eyes dance when she sees Adi, her strong opinions, no bullshit attitude will win the hearts of women like her screen-self, she is a firebrand. There is this special moment when she is filming something for her project work and Aadi comes into frame, and just for a minute second, her lips curl into a smile that is endearing and instantly makes you feel mysterious. She may not have the oomph factor of the regular heroines, but when it comes to portraying love, I can't think of a single heroine in present generation, who can beat her. 

Adi and Tara meet crazily and get into an easy live-in even more crazily. All this while, another deep portrayal of love runs along Adi and Tara's - that of Ganapthi Uncle and Bhavani Aunty. This one makes you yearn for that kind of love, that it's almost masochistic to watch it when you don't have one. It takes a film-maker of great insight to make such a movie. It is not for regular Telugu audience who lament over non-existence of an item song or non-filmy lionization of the hero. 

Special mention for PC Sreeram, another genius. Technically too, the movie is superior in many aspects - the live sound, cinematography, background score. 

I can't really say much without spoiling stuff for your movie-watching experience. Too much awesomeness in this movie, don't miss it.

As long as there are film-makers like Mani Ratnam and Imtiaz Ali, I guess I can sit back and relax with such movies, that won't be blockbusters  let's face it - but ones that can be watched over and over and each time you will find something nice and touching. Ratnam and Ali must be long-lost brothers. The way their movies make me feel is so identical!

P.S : This movie reminded me so much of Love, aaj kal.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Those are not the choices I'll make, but I'll defend your right to make them

Everything these days, especially shit, blows out of proportion and very soon jobless netizens all over the country lap it up like hungry street dogs and everyone has an opinion on it. As do I. If people can be blasphemous, I can throw my two cents there and try to make myself heard too! I'm talking about Aloknath jokes, Sharapova's ignorance, India's daughter...and the latest MyChoice. Coming to the latest part, I am frankly beyond shock now. After well-meaning Indians (who call themselves devotees of Sachin, the God) trolled Sharapova's page bringing overall Indian image to a nauseating low, some of the Indians, who are in top positions like lawyers of this nation, proved the bar could be set much lower and everyone is free to witness the crappy circus of an opinion on a "foreign" documentary India's Daughter. Now the dog version of MyChoice makes me think, stupidity is ingrained.

Generations of Indians are brought up on this diet so much so that reasoning and rationale has been kicked in the guts and natural evolution seemed to stay far far away from many of these species. We hold our fake traditions so close to our hearts and try to keep our ancestors' cultural values that we no longer qualify for Darwin's theory of intelligent species evolution.

Deepika Padukone spoke about the choices she can make. And, those choices can be bad, so what if they are? If everyone is so cognizant of what should be absorbed from media like documentaries and item songs, why are we talking about these flawed choices? Today, if a girl walks on road, lechers won't mouth Ms.Padukone's dialogues from MyChoice, what they will sing are leery songs like Chikni chameli or the more local Soopinchandi....If directors and actors who can influence millions with such songs can get away with such destructive media, because people after all are intelligent enough to discern what's cinema and what's reality, why not cut some  slack to Homi baba!

 If he is talking about a woman sleeping outside marriage is her choice, I'm sure I believe young girls/married women, yet-to-be married women heck all women are intelligent enough and love their spouses/boyfriends enough to not make that choice. If you are a woman reading this, and you love say Deepika Padukone, would you ditch your husband and sleep with another man just because Deepika reminded you of that choice which you can exercise?

What is bothering the people? Is it that sleeping outside marriage, a wholly unIndian thing being advocated by a celebrity of such stature? Did their love for Indian culture take a huge ego-dent because of something that's being done by some men and which has been silently borne by their women for centuries, a choice not Indian enough for women to make? What is bothering them? Her speaking about about choices she says women can make, even if they are mistakes in your eyes? It is a fucking documentary, she is not telling everyone to go have affairs or to not have a baby. They could be someone's choices, even if they sound arrogant. They could be someone's choices, someone who doesn't like the idea of kids, yes they could be someone's choices, someone who can be a player if she wants to. Why would a society not elevate her to stud levels that a male usually gets, but instead calls her names like slut, bitch?

For centuries, women have been oppressed in this country, for whatever reasons. Her menstrual period makes her untouchable, she cannot light her father's pyre even if she's the only daughter and she still can't enter some religious places. Today, things have changed majorly, but still many men are hell-bent in making their women perfect daughters-in-law in order to make them functional as wives. As if girls grow up to be somebody's bahu's, they grow up to be their own fucking selves, not remote controlled, custom-made, abiding-by-inlaws-preferences models. In societies like these, if a woman talks about her sexuality choices, flawed as they are, who are the people talking against them? Who are you lot to judge and make opinions.

If the video bothered you so much, just brush it aside like another item-song, after all , you, a viewer is cognizant enough to discern right from wrong, aren't you?

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Holi brings people together

Holi is that time of the year, when I am always on lookout for non-inhibited group of individuals who wouldn't shy away from smearing holi colours, with the help of eggs and tomatoes, if need be. People who wouldn't mind shaking a leg after the colouring festivities or even, during the celebrations. As it turns out, for the last 3 holis I have been having the festivities with total strangers who I'd meet through mutual friends just for the sake of playing holi and fortunately, all three years have given me many colourful memories like egging total strangers and while at it, being drowned in bucketfuls of colourful water some more strangers and then after everything has cooled down, going to meet these very strangers' parents and being force-fed copious amounts of delicious South Indian delicacies and even having this stranger's mom dry my hair with towel, while I wolfed down the breakfast. I will never forget the way those bunch of strangers made me feel that day.

Another holi I recall is last year's, where I had just moved to this completely new city Pune, was going though really crazy personal times and was sitting down in front of my system, thinking about everything when my new set of colleagues (again, total strangers till that moment) pulled me, literally by hand and took me to the common area where everyone started throwing colours at each other, quite civilly at first, and then gauging the reactions and upping the mischief next time. I was wearing my birthday clothes, a set of them I chose very carefully while buying but wore that day, never having the forethought to imagine the way they'd become. We had tons of pictures and by the end of the day everyone had become friends and soon became my lunch group buddies, my movie buddies, my drinking buddies.

Image source : Shutterstock

This holi was with my closest friends and even though no strangers were involved (except for taking our pics :-D) it was no less special. One minute we were watching these girls totally grouped by their friends, getting smeared, screaming in glee, then me and my friend look at each other, both thinking the same thing - 'Hope someone would do that to us' and then all of a sudden couple of our friends jump on us from nowhere and smear indigo purple all over us, mercilessly. Wishes do come true, and how quickly! There was dancing and begging for colours from strangers and then some more stealthy smearing and then some dancing, and I go back to my workstation, I work for a couple of hours and when I am about to leave, I enter the washroom and find myself aghast at the street-urchin lookalike staring back at me in the mirror. 

'', I say out aloud.

A girl who was trying to look less like Incredible Hulk (the girl had green hair and face), mouthed Happy Holi to me(all in the mirror) and pushed her face gel pack across the counter. (I see her everyday, but we never spoke.) I laugh and begin washing myself when a girl in Vermilion walks in and gives the same, aghast expression I gave a while ago, we both wish the new girl Happy Holi and resume our washing. 

I smile at my image, which is now starting to look a bit like me, and think 

"You can never stay away from strangers on Holi, can you?"

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.