Thursday, May 14, 2015

On Romance - and Movies

Saw 'OK Kanmani' and, oh god, got thoroughly bored. I am told I am not the right age for watching this movie and that it is meant for a younger audience, and those who are still young at heart.

So I couldn't help wondering why I found it so boring. After watching Piku and enjoying it thoroughly, my thoughts went back to OKK and why I was bored.

OKK was not badly taken, the actors were pleasing, the scenes shot very well. The story too was not bad. But it was BORING! My friend with whom I watched the movie too couldn't sit through it either. And yet, it is not that being married has made us so bitter that we can't enjoy a good romance!

My diagnosis is that there were no ups, no downs. The story set out on one path, stuck to it, but so closely that the scenery did not vary one bit. What little scope there was for drama fizzled off in the 'let's kiss and make up' silver bullet the couple carried with them. On the other hand, I enjoyed the portrayal of the older couple because there was a lot that was unstated, and a lot of what was stated was done with great humour. What little drama was there came from them. It was not melodrama. It was matured, dignified and the tension was created in our minds without having the characters rave and rant or open the dam.

I was reminded of Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya - another movie that bored me to death though it was raved of as a reflection of modern times. Another movie where the ups and downs fizzled off into nothingness, more so because it was repetitive. At one point I wanted to slap the hero and tell him to get himself a spine if it was available.

I am worried about modern times if this is what today's youth is all about. If relationships are taken so lightly that confusion and lack of clarity except that you want to be in a relationship is all that determines who you will go with. I hope the modern youth has more maturity than that. If the anti-thesis to the arranged marriage is a trial and error method... Well, I reserve my opinion. It maybe politically incorrect.

Maybe this blog post already is.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

On Mothers

We paint all mothers with one brush - loving unconditionally, nurturing, god on earth. But as a mother, I hardly think I fit that description. I am loving, I am nurturing, and maybe I am even god on earth till my children discover otherwise. But we are also individuals and come with our own quirks and personalities. So a fun look at how each mother is different from the other:

1. The Hands-off Mother - she has given birth, and now she expects she has done all that she could.

2. The Food-Supplier Mother - having given birth, she believes feeding is her prime duty. She will cook wonderful dishes, invite the child/children's friends and embarrass other mothers who cannot match her culinary skills. (You guessed it right, I belong to the 'embarrassed category'.)

3. The 'My-Child-Is-God' Mother - whether she is god on earth or not, her child is. To her. The child can do no wrong. The friends better scamper for safety if her child were to come to her crying when playing with them. The fault must all be theirs.

4. The Academic Mother - wants to see the child at the top of class, career, life. May steal the child's childhood in the process. But if the child can have a brilliant career, then they are set for life! Mom knows best.

5. The Intellectual Mother - physical nourishment, academic pursuits... they are important, but not all. Travel, books, freedom... She lets the child loose into the world and believes (s)he will come out stronger and better.

6. The Demon - yes, such ones exist too. Indifferent, feeling trapped, venting their frustrations, killing the spirit of the child. Maybe she is not evil, but doesn't know to find the god in her.

Mother - how many forms you take. And through all this, you try to live up to the image in your own way. In the eyes of the world, you may succeed or fail. But to your child, you will always be God on Earth.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Handle with Care

Shreya walked in to the party and looked around. There were many familiar faces, faces that she had avoided and run away from. But though she had made new friends and moved on in life, the tug of the old was strong.

She smiled at the first familiar face that caught her eye and walked with quiet dignity. His eyes popped out and he rushed towards her with outstretched arms. The hostess, who had met her quite accidentally, managed to tug the right strings and lure her to attend the party, also saw her and hurried to welcome her.

Shreya maintained her poise though her heart was beating very fast and she wanted to quickly hide herself again. It was wonderful to be among friends, but not all of them at the same time. She stood still as she sensed more and more people eagerly converging towards her to greet her. She glowed with warmth and at the same time she felt nervous.

A drink or two loosened her up enough to be able to chat with her friends.

"Well, well..." she heard a voice behind her suddenly and her heart leaped to her mouth. The colour drained from her face and she went rigid. She had thought she was prepared for this moment, but obviously, she had underestimated his power over her.

The person she was talking to looked discomfited and melted in the crowd as she slowly turned to face the new entrant.

She crossed her arms and looked at him defiantly. It was hard to maintain that posture. She was stunned at how her heart still went flip-flop on seeing him. But now, she hoped to use her head more.

"What have we here! Ghost or Madam Rhea in flesh!" he drawled.

Shreya flinched when Ranjan called her Rhea - it invoked an intimacy that she did not care for right now.

"Shreya," she said sharply. "Rhea is reserved for people I am close to," she added uncompromisingly.

His one eyebrow rose up a little. She set her jaw against softening.

"I thought I was one of them." He was laughing at her.

"Was... that's the operative here," she said in a low, vehement voice.

He was silent for a beat. "Can that ever change?" he said.

She swallowed, fearing she would weaken. "Trust me, it can."

She walked away, feeling all the hurt and anger returning. She was not ready yet for this. She quietly slipped into the night, heading towards the car with purposeful strides. She opened the door and heard footsteps. She paused and looked up. A shadowy form went around the car and slipped into the passenger seat. The light came on and she stared at him.

"Get out, Ranjan. Out," she said, without getting in. But he wouldn't.

"We have to talk," he insisted.

"Does your wife know you are here?" she asked, half mocking, half angry.

"If she is watching, she will..." he said carelessly.

She laughed maliciously. "She is learning fast, isn't she? Has detectives watching you?"

"Where she is, she doesn't need them."

Shreya frowned without comprehending. Intrigued, she got into the driving seat and started the car. "So you want to get away...?" she glanced at him.

He chuckled wryly but did not reply. "Where did you vanish to?" he asked instead. It was her turn to be silent. She realised she was heading towards her hideout, and did not want him to see the place. She veered the other way and drove aimlessly. "I am waiting," he said.

"You can," she said indifferently. "Doesn't mean a thing to me," she said trying to sound cool.

She heard him inhale deeply. "Yes, I know that too well. And still I come back, like a fool!" he said with unexpected bitterness.

"You didn't, I did," she pointed out.

"You left, I didn't," he retorted.

"You wanted me to leave," she said relentlessly.

He laughed louder. "I wanted you to leave, indeed... As if I could make you want to do anything."

"You were at it, all the time. Almost waiting for that moment when I would give up, would leave."

"That's just not true!" he exclaimed angrily. There was silence, heavy and pregnant. She stubbornly shut her mouth tightly, not wanting to be drawn into an argument about the past she was trying hard to forget.

"You know you are all that I cared for!" he said finally, in a voice that made her want to stop the car and hug him.

She drove with better self-control, moved to the kerbside and parked. She turned to him slowly. "What a fine way to show your care. First you came close, then you kept pushing me away, sure that I will leave, that I will cheat, that I will stop loving you. I tried not to give in, I tried to remain strong for the two of us. I knew you had your demons, your mother leaving you when you were young made you wary. When you didn't succeed, you started seeing that woman, made sure I knew about it... Pretended to be careful, but you were not, were you? You made sure I left. And now that you aren't happy with her, you are doing the same thing. You know she is watching you, and you make sure she sees you with me..."

"She is dead," he said.

She didn't understand him. "Sorry?"

"She is dead."

"Died of weariness?" she asked angrily. She didn't know what she was angry about, but she was angry, very angry. As if her death had deprived her of an opponent.

"She couldn't give me what I wanted, but she gave me something else... Assurance, which you never could."

"Because she refused to go?"

"Because she left before her time," he said. "Death took her away before anyone else could. And I realised what a fool I was. You were alive. I was alive. If only we had a chance. Before death takes us away."

She turned front, her eyes on the road. She thought of the past year, of the struggle she had gone through. She had longed and longed for this moment. And now it was here, he was here, telling her he wanted her back, telling her what she wanted to hear.

"Glass," she whispered. "Thick glass. You keep banging it on the floor, knowing it can break, waiting for it to break, wanting it to break. When it breaks, you want it back whole. Is it possible, Ranjan?" she asked softly. She turned to look at him, her eyes filled with tears, her voice regretful, but her heart made up. She shook her head slowly.

He remained silent, his breathing hard, his eyes fixed ahead, his lips stubbornly silent. He looked tired, defeated.

She started the car, wanting to leave him behind before she gave in. "Where shall I drop you?" she asked, resisting the urge to go back.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

One Earth: No Tree Frogs, Please!

One Earth: No Tree Frogs, Please!: Nature, lovely nature. When I saw the three basic but intelligently made bamboo huts in Karadimalai Camp in Chengelpet, I was excited. We...

Friday, April 10, 2015

Mother Racketwali

She sat quietly, immobile, waiting for the attack. She offered her body for the sacrifice. But she was not going down without a fight. She was armed.

Right enough, the promise of food, the scent of blood, the sitting duck lured them from their corners. In ones, twos, almost invisible in the shadows, they emerged and reconnoitered.

She waited. She felt their pincer grip but sat still. She wanted the army out, not these minions. She towered over them, and so the damage was not significant. But it was not their bite which was dangerous. It was what they injected into her system. Even one minion could poison her system, but she was willing to take the risk.

Nothing happened for a long time. Only the minions got drunk on her blood. She was getting angry now. It was not an easy call, this decision to kill. Largely peaceful as a person, she felt that she was justified in killing because she was being attacked. It was pure self-defense.

She saw the fat ones moving up closer. She swished her weapon - the electric racket - and heard the satisfying burst of the body against the electric wires. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She felt another one bite. Swish, swish, swish she went. Crackle, crackle, crackle she heard the response. She smelt burning bodies.

She had promised herself, she would kill only those who came to her. And that the stream had to end. But like Raktabeeja, each death caused at least two more to emerge and strengthen the attack. The frenzy to kill consumed her. She bent low and looked far. She caught the tiny bodies in mid air and swung her arm with relish.

But it was unending. 11. 11.30. 12.00. She must go to bed now. She will resume the battle the next day.

The survivors hovered, having won another day.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

One Earth: What's Your Excuse?

One Earth: What's Your Excuse?: On a busy thoroughfare near Mount Road, Chennai, on a narrow stretch between the footpath and the flyover, stands this dustbin occupying ...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Modern Goat

It was a narrow road. Shops on one side, houses on the other, and just enough space for two cars to cross each other from opposite sides.

An auto was parked next to the shop, by the side.

There came a car, a sedan, driven by a chauffer, with a lady inside.

He parked outside the shop, next to the auto, on the road. He went in, leaving the car with the lady inside.

He bought a few things, but forgot a few others. He came out and asked the lady what else she needed. She told him her grocery list. He went back in to do her bidding. So what if the road was narrow and one side of the road completely blocked?

"There is an auto parked by the shop, that's why my driver had to park on the road," she reasoned.

"Oho, poor thing! Do you realise you can park ahead, on a side?" asked one bystander.

"Mind your business," said the lady.

The driver, coming out, his hands full of things, glared. "There is enough road on the side for your bike to pass," he pointed out.

And the charioteer drove his queen away, unmindful of the disturbance he caused. This reminded me of the Panchatantra tale of two goats crossing a bridge and dying because they wouldn't give the other way.

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