It was a five minute affair and culminated in generous spells of uproarious laughter, after a thorough examination of an old snap of mine and a discourse on how much I had changed since my first year. The perpetrator was this mostly amiable and harmless man whose neck I wanted to snap in two [I grew my hair…DUH!!]
My mood was poetically distant and withdrawn. Mingled with a weighty awareness of nostalgia.
And so it begins…
Meanwhile enjoy the new and look feel of my blog.
Khalid Hosseini in The Kite Runner asks, ‘Is it harder to suffer the loss of a loved one than to suffer the loss of your entire universe?’ [And I do not quote verbatim here.] The question is an almost rhetoric before some thought is devoted to it, but I personally feel that the bereavement of your home, your surroundings, and your familiarity is a formidable loss. Because along with the structural domain you lose every single person, every single object of your affection contained within. Once you lose your foothold in your space, the disorientation can be overwhelming.
In Lost in Translation the protagonists Charlotte [Scarlet Johansson] and Bob [Bill Murray] have left their homes, their universe behind and have traveled halfway across the world to land in Japan. There is a scene where Bob is standing in an elevator, an entire foot higher than all the Japanese around him. And another [one of my favourites] where Charlotte watches a Japanese bride, a slight smile on her face, perhaps believing that marriages are easier in a different country. Their sense of loss and misgivings in an alien land is therefore explicable, yet is only completely understood once their personal stories are unraveled.
Theirs are not tragic stories, of an unhappy childhood or a loveless marriage. Bob is an actor with enough credibility to land up with an endorsement in Japan. While Charlotte is a Yale graduate who gets married to her sweetheart. We are exposed to no financial crises or domestic violence, no anger or fatalities. The only inkling of trouble in paradise is the explicit comfort of their respective spouses, comfort that tends to detach them from the sudden intensity of emotions that Bob and Charlotte experience in a foreign land.
That is one of the reasons I love the movie. I have friends who exclaim, “There is no story!” And they are right. It is not a conventional yarn with a beginning, a body and an ending. There is ONLY a body. Daily, prosaic events that leave in their wake indelible impressions and make a moment magical. When Bob and Charlotte are just lazing around in bed, talking about where they grew up, how difficult marriage can get, the excitement and terrible apprehension on becoming a parent…and they fall asleep with Bob’s hand resting tenderly on Charlotte’s foot. It is an ordinary gesture after an ordinary conversation, but it lends an extraordinary profundity to their relationship. Throughout the movie there is nothing remotely sexual about their relationship. Even when Bob sleeps with another woman, the jealousy that Charlotte feels is probably an outcome of her inadvertent possessiveness, she seeks solace from the fact they need each other in equal measure in a friendship that germinates from chronic insomnia and a discriminating loneliness.
The movie is “Slow!” because it is about two people who are in an alien land and nothing exciting is happening to them. I mean they are partying, getting shot at and singing with a rare abandon at the karaoke. But there is no passion, or wild sex or infidelity issues, which actually would be a forgivable sequence of events given the circumstances. Albeit the differences in their ages and lifestyles, they are brought together in a rare relationship of familiarity and comfort. The movie progresses in mellow hues and reflective undertones. Even when Charlotte is injured, it is a minor foot injury and warrants no excitement. Understated and beautiful.
My favourite scene in the movie is the last one where after the fumbling attempts to bid each other adieu, Bob spots Charlotte in a crowd and runs to her to say that final goodbye. He whispers something in her ear [I have no idea what! Believe me I have tried to listen] after hugging her close. And then he kisses her, and whatever he says to her becomes inconsequential because after days of communicating through words this is the first time he communicates through an intimate physical gesture. In that moment they both realize that ‘they have been found’ in the truest sense of the expression. And then they walk away, knowing they will never see each other again…
Real, rare and rapturous.
‘They went halfway across the world to come a full circle.’
I hope I have convinced you Pai ;-)
Oh and must note, Lost in Translation has a beautiful OST. I am guessing that’s signature Coppola.
And I chanced upon posts after posts of highly opinionated examinations of Feminism. A word that generates awe, some and ful(l).
Feminism is overrated these days.
Or maybe over-feminism is rated these days.
I can understand an attack on the flouting of fundamental human rights. When dirty, dark secrets have to be exhumed to recognize the decay, the stench, the absolute putrefaction of human sensibility. What else could possibly explain foeticide, dowry murders, rape?? Or child labour, mistreatment of the aged, killing because you are angry??
These are atrocities which need to be addressed with immediate deliberation. And I can understand an outfit solely dedicated to the cause of atrocities committed against women. And maybe the women who constitute this outfit can be acknowledged as ‘feminists’ [I do so wish to coin ‘sexagenarianists’ or ‘anti-child-labourists’]. But when the issues start leaning towards reservation for women, or blatant male bashing I start feeling squeamish [and without consuming any Kerala Hotel delicacies thank you very much!].
These are NON-issues. Seriously. We raise a hue and cry over reservation for SC/ST across educational institutions across the country, and rightly so because admission should after all, be contingent on merit, pure merit and nothing else! And honestly, in trying to assist the unprivileged SC/ST contenders the government in fact is fleeing from the real issue. Why are these people unprivileged? Because of an ineffective distribution of resources, of a failed mechanism to mobilize the poorer sections, of a highly facetious program that was intended to provide primary education to all but ended up making some lucky insiders richer.
Reservation for women has a similar tinge. Instead of demanding for the rightful reservation for us underprivileged women, the focus should AGAIN be on merit, and to rehabilitate the provincial mindset which would subsequently accommodate educated and working women in our daily lives. And I believe with rehabilitation and regulation this is possible.
I once overheard in an obviously feministic circle, “Women here are either male haters or male adulators.” And I was greatly disturbed. The idea is to encourage looser communication between the sexes. But the stray comment indicated a great dependency or worse, a greater detachment. It indicated a limitation, a boundary wall that fenced out anatomical adversaries. It was almost as ridiculous as the Berlin Wall – East Germany Communists fencing out the West Germany Fascists [and shooting anyone who dared to crossover!] Almost. And the intensity of ‘feministic’ gestures began grating against my intellect [of what I claim of course].
Such discussions are futile and fruitless. Whether C.S. Lewis is a sexist porcine specimen because the ‘bad guy’ in his Chronicles is a ‘wicked witch’. I mean there are giants on the witch's side in the book, so lets join forces against all tall people? Whether Virginia Woolf deliberately embraces lesbian themes because ‘only a woman can truly understand another’. It could reflect genuine companionship or a communion of minds, and have little relation to the genders of the characters. Because even if the characters are symbols of the authors’ mindset, the characters can be construed as per the readers’ discretion. And such [very] subtle and [very] discreet themes will seldom instigate a revolution of women-degradation or women-emancipation. Period.
I am headed to watch the Chronicles of Narnia right now with my girlfriends. Movie, magic, masti is being anticipated with much excitement.
Yes I love girls’ nights.
And I love being a woman more.
But feminarcissists are overrated.
PS - The snap was uploaded for sheer humour quotient...hyuk hyuk!!
PPS - I NEVER throw stones at boys...ROFL!
1. The adventures of Peter Pan, unabridged and illustrated.
Auyon claims it is very rare. ~!@##$%#&_)(!!
Cobainess – ambalika quotes:
‘When there's a smile in your heart,
There's no better time to start.’
2. Catch 22 – current read, ‘Yossarian wanted to live forever or die in the attempt.’
That kills me! – Gagan, you know exactly what I mean ;-)
3. My name is Red - intended read.
A Nobel Prize can do wonders to your readership…right Jhelum??
Someone sagacious once said ‘Patience is a virtue.’ And those two startingly scarlet horns sticking out of my BIG hair ensure that I cosciously condemn such generalisations [Aaaaah generalisations…]
Can seldom get through an entire album unless it is assorted stuff.
If it’s one of those songs that ‘will pick up’ then you better have some pretty smooth advertising because if I do not like the beginning, I will probably not get to the end.
But 3 songs?? That I can answer…
1. ‘Let me take you down coz I’m going to strawberry fields…’
Sprinting through my head at breakneck speed. With the wind in my (BIG) hair…
2. The American baby intro[Dave Matthews] – murderous!
3. ‘This is goodbye.’
Porcelain[Moby] – journeying ;-)
1. American Beauty – remember that polythene bag that catches the light breeze and just prances about?
2. Monsoon Wedding – I miss home ;-(
3. Lost in Translation – coming soon to a blog near you.
1. I love reminiscing. EVERYTHING is funny in retrospect.
2. Google is simply brilliant. And sounds uncannily like ‘googly’.
3. Being tagged [highly, higly consciously FYI] lets me pretend that I’m rich and famous and combat those rapid fires. Give me what you got you paparazzi you!!
And I tag myself ;-)
This in reply to why my friend chose to stick to Bangalore when he could have run off to Hong Kong [!!] for his final semester internship. And the wheels in my brain started turning with a screech here and a squeak there, and accelerating with a resounding intent.
Superficially it all seemed very incongruous to me. In this day and age where status whispers, money talks and power screams, such idealistic impulses are lost in the clamour of “ME! ME!” But the conversation ended with me feeling a little nice and plenty warm…
And it was so simple! The very fact that idealism seems like a summit unattainable is because we, as a species, have degraded so far down in our moral make-up that distances have grown longer and any effort has waned into a lingering half-attempt. Our lives have been made so simple by our evolving capabilities that we have devolved into these pampered beings that whip out their credit cards, push some buttons or call poppy up to keep that (in)famous silver spoon balanced!
And sometimes, somewhere, someone will claim that he will do it on his own, in his own way and perhaps in his own sweet time, and you will realize that those are the only kinds who refuse to acknowledge mediocrity, who try to elevate their dreams to loftier planes all the while doing it on their own terms…
…and even if they cannot quite succeed they can still look back and exclaim, ‘I did something that was pretty mediocre once, but it felt pretty damn good to me!’
And that makes me feel a little nice and plenty warm…
**with special thanks to Adam Hummel and my friend in question ;-)
And then the seasons change and the birds migrate and the clouds shed…
And you are walking down the road lined with trees, naked and stripped, and suddenly a virulent emptiness assaults you…
Why are people cynical anyway??
Why do they fail to notice the snow-white flakes descending languidly and settling on the bare branches with a meditated intention?
Or the carpet of white that invites you to dance on it with a rare abandon?
Or the sun shining lightly but gallantly, trying to spread some warmth and cheer?
Because ‘all you need is faith and trust, and a little bit of pixie dust…’
Peter sure as hell knew what he was talking about.
I read The importance of being Earnest and made the fatal mistake of succumbing to stereotypes. Therefore when I picked up The picture of Dorian Gray, I was: a) not expecting a novel. b) not expecting a morbid novel. and c) not expecting to be blown away...so after I read the book, I got thinking...
Imagine a portrait which bears your conscience...which bears the consequences of every deed that warrants a judgment in your life. As long as it is relegated to the recesses of your soul, one can sleep relatively easy knowing that one does have another day to purge his soul...a temporary amnesia or abstinence even...
But a visual conscience?? When every action's reaction adds that extra wrinkle to your face, that superfluous tell-tale meandering line on your visage that screams of stolen money, or a nasty remark. I believe the impact on a person's character would be tremendous which is why the book is powerful. We feel a 'prick' in our conscience when we mentally analyse the morality of an unjust action, an unfair thought, a heretic idea. But maybe it is just that, a 'prick'. To physically feel the impact of our actions perhaps our conscience has to be removed from our self, and scrutinised with our own two eyes. In conclusion however, I do believe that very few of us actually have the strength to withstand the decay of our moral beings unfolding painfully before ourselves. which is why unfortunately, or fortunately, the book will, or should, always remain fiction.
It was an exciting addiction…
I would watch his limbs flow in a graceful rhythm. His gait excited me, I would almost compensate for his lack of urgency with my pacing heartbeat. ‘The only problem with life is that it has no background music.’ And he would smile dangerously every time he caught me reading that on his T-shirt.
The day I confessed was the day Mr. Ex did 12 shots. “Can’t you see he is a bad guy!” I smiled knowingly and looked across. His long, slender fingers ran through his hair and he exhaled with some satisfaction. Our gazes locked for a second and then, he winked. “Inebriation becomes him, he disregards sobriety with such disdain!”
He was walking over, my heart was making a racket. The silver in his pixie ear caught my eye and our gazes broke for a second. By now he was standing beside my table and grinning mischievously.
“The neighbour’s daughter refuses to elope with the Nepali chauffeur. Boring girl.” Here he shook his head. “And moral discretion is exhausting. Care to join me for a session of ‘who can spot the constellation’?”
I shut my eyes, and his voice became deeper.
“It is a clear sky.”
“I am not very good with constellations.”
“You don’t have to be.”
He broke into a smile and suddenly in the dark all I could see was his personal Cheshire cat in the dazzling 32. I let him take my hand and felt his warmth seeping through my clammy palm. But in the clamour in my head I heard the genius of Wilde strike a crippling blow to morality, ‘People are not good or bad, just charming or tedious.’
Oh Mr. Ex was charming all right ;-)