Amazing people who make me go on n on n on:)

09 November, 2014


About a fortnight ago I joined a party, too late. So late in fact that I wanted to vent my guts out about how bowled over I was but refrained thinking of the bored eyebrows it would raise at what was she even doing all these years. I saw Inception finally, four years post its release. It came around the same time when I was hands down tied with a year old Seeya, hell bent in trying to give up on everything only to be able to tell her some twenty years later about how I gave up on everything. Sigh! Okay, that sob story for some time later folks.
Anyway, Inception had me in awe for a long while like I assume it would have done to anyone who’s a movie buff and had this cinematic experience. It’s not every day that you watch something on screen that takes your mind out for a jog and makes you return as though you trotted the unreachable domains of the galaxy and mind. The idea that one head could fathom it all through his imagination, Christopher Nolan had found a new albeit not a very vocal fan in me.
And now last night I was bowled over again by Interstellar. Too much bowling over I’d say in a month, but what the heck. Sometimes the Gods are kind. Despite the stupid claims in the first paragraph, I had managed to catch 'Gravity' last year and thought what could be better than Sandra Bullock now. I think Nolan unknowingly took that as a challenge. Also I went to a theatre in Kanpur and my husband thought there was no need to pre-book the tickets for barely is there an audience here out to watch English movies. We reached there 5 minutes late and were informed that the show is all booked. And I pleaded and cried, almost short of a howl at the counter. I only get a Saturday to leave back Seeya behind for she does not sleep early otherwise, next day for school. So you can’t imagine the murderous look I gave my husband when he parked the car and reached the counter and I told him no tickets. I think the guy at the counter was a married man who realized how delicate the situation was and asked for a few minutes to check again. And yaay we got two tickets!
It’s been a very long time since I saw a movie to packed seats and I think many light years since I heard the audience clap and applaud on scenes. And before you grow all cute enough to check, I know light years is not a unit of measuring time. Please, I know my science I think for I not just understood the movie but also enjoyed it. Baring a few references to Singularity, Event horizon and Relativity of course. Damn!
Dear Science,
I abhored you at school.
I'm so sorry,
A supposed, still-lost poet.
Although when I heard some IITians sitting ahead of me just as confused in those bits, I almost got on my seat to do a little jig. But hey, I got the crux, so yeah.
Also, I’ve had a crush on Matthew McConaughey since the time I could not pronounce his surname. I think I still can’t waise. But those were the days when he did romantic comedies and I remember renting a very dumb surfing movie just because it bore his name and I could ogle at him, though the movie bored me enough to tear my hair apart. But then the eyes felt so good.
Anyway, back to Interstellar, needless to say, it’s spectacular in every frame. It’s like you too have that bubble mask on your head and are an invisible co-passanger in this wondrous space travel. It’s like you know what’s a wormhole as if you studied it for years, even though you’ve never heard of the term before. And the travelling ahead of twenty three years in a matter of few minutes of scenes on screen, is as amazingly natural as it seems incredible.
Can you imagine the prowess of these actors who make you sit at the edge of your seat just by the merit of their facial expressions, made perhaps while looking at a wall? McConaughey is such a delight. The tears, the fright, the smile, the tense nerves, he just transmits them to your own face through some invisible connect from the other side of the screen and you can’t help but clap and be awed. And who would have thought love would find its way in such a scientific stellar experience. Awww! Also, the climax is just so OH MY GOD! Like it did in Inception, it left me gaping and forgetting to breathe for just a second. So much wow! It’s like a ride that is most thrilling just when you would expect it to drag on its closure. Such is a wonderful aftertaste it leaves you with.
I think I finally understand the hype around Nolan!
Such a one of a kind screen experience was this, that I actually dreamt for the most night post it about some of my own intergalactic adventures.
You still want to hear more of why you should watch this?
P.S. Although hey, when we returned back and my father-in-law asked G how was the movie, his response was "Balwinder". Yes, it means exactly what it sounds.

I Finally Met Him.

Yes, I finally did. And I never imagined it would be like this, becoming a milestone of sorts for both of us. Here he was, in all his glory in this mansion, hosting his larger-than-life presence and here I was, a nobody who had managed to get entry into the who's who circle by some stroke of last minute luck. And while he was gracious enough to allow being personally introduced to about only 50 enthralled guests awaiting to catch some stardust, I somehow found myself at the end of the line. Great! He must have been already exhausted of polite conversations and fake smiles.

Host: And last but not the least, she's Suruchi. A very popular blogger and extremely influential on Twitter too. And Suruchi, this ofcourse, Shahrukh.
Shahrukh: Ah! Writers, we can't live with or without them.
(He takes my hand in his for a handshake and allows it to be there a bit longer than usual, holding me by that ever famous gaze we have grown watching and swooning over on screen. I was a bundle of nerves within but had a surprisingly composed exterior)
Me: Not such a forbidding lot actually. If you let them see how par excellence an actor you are instead of how striking is your star power raising 100 crores.
Shahrukh: Waah, we have a little critic here. Good. It's been a while.
(I watch my host getting uncomfortable and my head is filled with unpleasant images of me putting my foot in my mouth literally)
Shahrukh: So you watch my movies?
Me: The last one was My Name is Khan. And you never really bothered to make me change that.
(Farah calls to our host and he takes Shahrukh by the arm saying they must go but Shahrukh waves him with his hand saying he'd be there in a moment. I feel all eyes on me now and trust me it felt as though I'd forgotten to wear clothes for this evening)
Shahrukh- So a fan once and a critic now. Tell me Madam Writer, can you please everyone?
Me- Sir...
Shahrukh- Please call me Shahrukh. I only look old, I really am not.
(I smile, besides myself. Shahrukh's wit has always been his biggest asset to charm his listeners and here he was, letting it rub a bit on me)
Me: Do we need to please everyone Shahrukh? Even from that spotlight in which you live all your hours? A man with a mind like yours, pulsating with invigorating ideas, thumping with the need for innovation, how can you let the performer in you be satiated by what it just a sip when the whole goblet of elixir awaits you. Stop suffocating him.
Shahrukh: Whoa! So many big words. Tch! I forgot my dictionary today.
Me: That's okay. I teach English to school kids. I'd be glad to help. So stop pulling my leg. We all know what a wordsmith you are.
(We both smile and there's an awkward pause. I don't know when but we had started walking and were now almost at the balcony when "Indiawaale" started blaring in the backdrop. He took me gently by the arm and led me out. He asked if he could light a smoke without really waiting for me to affirm or negate)
Me: Can I ask you something? (He nods) Strangely it's not visible on screen, but I see so much sadness in your eyes. Like a haunting loneliness of some sorts despite the menagerie around you.
Shahrukh: Suruchi...that's a beautiful name by the way. What if I say, I see the same light or the lack of it in yours? They say hungry, searching or lonely souls recognize each other, carrying a similar haunting while the rest of the world moves on like it's everyday.
Me: Oh come on this is not about me.
(Shahrukh's secretary peeps in and they speak something aside in whispers. I knew my time was up. He was wanted by too many, to pose with, to touch, to feel his aura, to exchange pleasantries that they could tell their grandchildren about some day. I move towards the door. He stands in my way)
Shahrukh: Ek storm khada karke aise kaise chal de Senorita? Picture to abhi baaki hain.
Me: Sometimes it is the storm that ensures the calm follows it. Kya dhoondh rahe hain aap?
Shahrukh: Kaash ke pata hota na. Humme kya chahiye. Aur jab woh mil jaaye tab kya?
Me: Kuch aur dhoondhe. Us sab se hat ke. Kuch chota. Like tiny infinite particles filling bit by bit a big hole. The slow excruciating process of collecting those bits rather than looking for something big?
Shahrukh: Is chote se sheher mein samet paate ho apne itne bade soch, Suruchi?
Bahut bade ho gaye hain?
Me: Haan?
Instructor: Bahut bade ho gaye hai aapke arse. Aur ab half an hour ke cycling se bhi kuch nahi hoga. Utar jaaeye. Line lag gaye hain.
Me: (Sigh, I look around and find myself in the gym) I know. But yeh dekho Facebook pe. Mere bhai ke saath Shahrukh ke photo.
Instructor: Arre waah, dikhao, dikhao.
Aur is tarah, kids, No, that's not how I met your father. Is tarah, kuch dreams bahut bade ho jaate hain. Aur kuch day dreams chote reh jaate hain. Aur kuch stupid arses, tass se mass nahi hote!

27 April, 2014

And The Mountains Echoed in me.

So after a hiatus of probably half a dozen years I return to reading. And return back like I was never gone. Sitting hours at an end in some cozy corner, trapped between the lines written by authors who wrote and moved on, probably oblivious to the lives they touch each day around the world.

Well, not exactly hours at an end now, for there is no mommy around, to put a plate before you in between your literary sojourns and says “Eat while you read” for she understands the urgency of being enticed by words that do not warrant even a moment’s break. And then there’s a mommy in me now instead who remembers it’s been ten minutes too long without Seeya peeking in, if she’s not already around.

This time it’s love blossoming for Khaled Hosseini, for I do not remember story telling being at this high and beautiful notch of excellence. I began with “And The Mountain Echoed” and I think the book would not end for me even though the pages ran off eventually. I remember a good friend giving me ‘The Kite Runner’ around five years back, out of his precious collection, telling me to read and fall in love with it. I also remember starting it and going on for about 50 pages when I lost interest and let the book adorn the bookshelf like many others that I began but never really could conclude. Active participation in social media, the commencing new role as a mother, the unwavering expectations and grinds of everyday life and reading covertly turned into a luxury.

Maybe, there’s always a right time to read someone’s words if you really want to appreciate them. The background of Afghanistan and the wars, the Muslim customs and cultural differences, the long descriptions of upheavals for the impatient reader in me, kind of bogged me down as opposed to a light reading that I was perhaps looking for then.

But then came 'And The Mountain Echoed', thank god for hyper bout of unseen boredom. Little stories that transport you to little worlds, characters that you tend to identify with, irrespective of the gender or age or background they come from. Because eventually our problems may be different, but they feel the same. Pain does not come in different languages or versions.  It just hurts universally. Love does not know the bounds of religion or nationality, it just grows naturally and tugs at a heart that has known it. Desire may be requited or unrequited but seldom is it wrong or right for the person who experiences it, running down in his veins like the very blood that supports his being.

I think Hosseini had me from the very onset, the first story that Saboor narrated to his children. I told the story to Seeya with a bit of necessary editing for a four year old to fathom it in accordance with her bounds. And when there was light in her eyes and a constant “Mamma, then?” there was light in my eyes too. I want so much for her to see the world through her eyes that could have been mine.

I wondered then if I had taints of Uncle Nabi, who pined in silent desire for Nila or shades of Nila who had too gypsy a spirit in her to be bogged down by social norms and confirm to the mundane. I wondered how I would behave were I in place of Parwana or her sister Masooma within a quickly dimming conscience over selfish grabbing of hope for materializing the dreams that you’ve aspired for all your life. I shivered under the thoughts of having to part with a child because poverty becomes too big a strain or the idea of living without a sibling who meant the world to you. Somewhere Pari and her struggles left me with a subconscious nervousness for Seeya and a “heaven forbid” prayer said silently.

The novel grows on you. Each time the author ends one long chapter of a life he paints before you with deft strokes, you feel the loss of having parted with a loved one. I remember a dear friend once saying he could not relate to fiction stories, with characters that he knew did not exist but were born out of the mind of one writer penning them. I also remember how I had argued with the notion for how could you not picture the character most vividly in your head once you read such brilliance. For me these people were living, breathing, feeling and ageing right before my eyes. The idea of having walked through with them in their journey like a silent companion in the shadows. Another dear friend mentioned how he had tears in his eyes after having read Hosseini. Well, as surprised as I was at such an effect of books on people, it really would get comprehensible perhaps if you submerged yourself with sensitivity in a book, that maybe I still lack.

I want to go on talking about the characters but then I’d want you to experience them first, if you haven’t already. The Kite Runner followed this and I’m not so sure if I have managed to come out of the ravaged lanes of Afghanistan or the lofty humans Hosseini left me with as fellow travelers in the maze of emotions and life, even though it’s been a week of having read them. This time around, I loved The Kite Runner too, experiencing the familiar disinclination to keep down the book from my hand without my eyes having devoured it all, in an innate sense of urgency.

I return back to reading and I am filled with a sense of completion. You know how sometimes in your lives so full, you move around with unnamed voids and just don’t know how to deal with them? I think I just dealt with one of them. Reading is perhaps like swimming, like loving. You could be years out of practice but one right dip and a splash of it on you and you begin to wade through with open arms till you swirl and glide and drench in it with the confidence of being at home. At peace!

“Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.”

The lines he began with and the lines where I end.

03 April, 2014

Your Beliefs or Mine?

People I know, closer and around the year I descended on this planet, are indulging and how. In satsangs, chanting, joining cults, motivational meetings, self-disciple-ing and the likes. And here I am beginning again to read books, exchanging ideas with newer people (sometimes half my age), thinking of travelling, giving up on 'No-chicken on Tuesdays' notions, wondering if it's too late to start a new vocation and the likes.
It is quite confounding to see how we are formulated with this basic urge to slink into roles at different phases of our lives almost as though sleep walking through it. My mom tells me "High time you start devoting your mind to some place now" like she began telling me I must get regular facials as soon as I stepped into my thirties. Like it's an unwritten rule and blasphemous to go otherwise.
However, I look around and wonder who's getting the better or closer to what's within! The same are these spiritual devotees who return back satiated with the idea of having “found” themselves at a certain level and then let manipulative bitchiness of the television serials consume them. Or allow the desires of flaunting their assets or knowledge, override enjoying the simple pleasures. Splurge on materialistic acquisitions and squirm at the idea of not being invited at someone's party while the whole town was there. Gossip and judging others is what feeds them, doubts nurture and the "me" surfaces most conspicuously while they demand time to do something for self to make them selfless. Kahe ka self improvement! Ghanta!
I also muse over my own relationship of convenience with God. Say a "Thank you for being with me and stay with me" is the only prayer I manage to sneak in everyday and sometimes I forget even that. Cramming my head with the notion that God shouldn't be narcissist enough to want to hear you praise him in mantras and read holy scriptures all day. That's a human craving, isn't it, minus the semblance to divine, or so we've learnt? Spirituality sounds like all the things that you already know being told to you so that you forget and be told about it differently next time. Tell us about it if you remember it still while you look down upon someone wearing a tacky dress or narrating animatedly how you heard XYZ's wife is having an affair. Some people don't need to grow within. They first need to grow up. And if it is just a brilliant ideology that dazzles you, dive in Literature, saunter around the lanes of fiction, join Twitter, whatever!
Maybe they are right and I am wrong. I do have these occasional bursts of inner ruffle. Don't they? I'd like to reform too as soon as someone convinces me that reformation comes with the guaranteed assurance of no-ruffling. “The frequency would be less”, they argue. “You'd be more patient and make peace with problems”. Hmm, isn't that what we anyways do when problems don't seem to be fringing on solutions? Tell me about the middlemen who've shunned limelight to light your soul. Who say beyond what age-old moralistic values have upheld almost blindly through time! Who let you believe what you believe in and not what you should believe in!
The priests and the sadhus and the babas and the gurus and the palm readers, insist they can change your life but for that you must have faith. I say bring that change first for me to watch that faith being born within, than have to cultivate it in, as though through surrogate mothers of your believers.
Or maybe I miss G who's gone on tour and Seeya who's begun school from today or this is just because I've not eaten anything remotely exciting since Navratri fasts ~ the ranting of a hungry woman. Why I keep them? I have no idea. Just been keeping them forever. Perhaps because the only reflection for me of God can be "ma". Perhaps because I want to clear my conscience with the idea that "Kuch to mein bhi karte hoon" after all. Or perhaps, dizzy in this pseudo superior complex of my idea being better than theirs, I’m looking for an excuse to give up fasting from next time and indulge in the pleasures of food. God would understand, won’t He? He does not want me to stay empty stomach to feed His ego? Well, I always win in the argument against him never mind if the world thinks He is just a silent observer.

28 March, 2014

I'm the Queen of the World!

So I saw Queen last night finally-
A. Because of all the hype created around it.
B. Because in all cuteness people were asking if I had seen the flick and wanted to know how I felt about it *I feel so critic-ishly kicked*
For otherwise, it would have been difficult to make me watch a Kangana Renawat movie just by the merit of her being in it.

Like I’ve said before, it is always better to watch a movie before they cram you with their opinions on it. The perspective is always truer.

Queen IS beautiful!

Also, I am beginning to realize that I can relate to anything onscreen that is based on a sense of abandon, with streaks of freedom from the stereotyped molds. It sometimes sends me into self introspection mode going in circles in my mind till real life takes over (Also the reason perhaps why I never watch anything on television). Aren’t we all trying to break free from whatever it is that defines us? Those tucked deep in riches want to live life the common man way, the common man strives to get out of his mediocrity, the house bound wife seeks adventure, the nomad travels relentlessly to find a base to root into and so on. Hence we are unified by a common thread for that desire to experience the uncommon of our lives.

Perhaps this craving is right. Why else should we get up from our beds each morning or what else would we dream of when we go to bed at night?

Queen celebrates the idea of being on your own.
Such a defining thought!
And for someone like me, it was a personal nudge. I CANNOT travel alone. Is there a name for the fear of traveling alone, some kind of phobia? Well, if there is, it would be what I suffer from. Ironically for someone who in her heart only sees herself as a nomad, experiencing life from place to place, is declaredly scared if she finds herself alone at the airport for over 5 minutes for the fear of being left behind or someone digging out drugs from her bags and getting her arrested before anyone even discovers she is missing. Not that I’d be travelling by air in those mind dreams.

Anyway, how beautifully does the movie sketch the female psyche!
I remembered my own mehndi and a thousand different thoughts zig zagging in that little head of mine like in Rani’s while the entire space around was a menagerie of sorts. That flickering doubt that came and went- Is it too soon? I haven’t even become anything in life yet? I might not become anything in life post this? But too many hopes hanging on me of everyone I’m pinned with, to tell them now to let me live my life first instead of building another one as a couple. My grandfather telling me he was glad he was seeing me getting married and could now die in peace; which he did within just three months of me leaving that house. Girls are like that or grow up conditioned like that in varying degrees - whether they live in Lajpat Nagar or not.

But then not everyone would be as lucky as Rani to be able to squeeze out a life from a latent existence in an unknown land. In a sense, the movie was real but dipped in a beautiful fairy tale flavor. The freshness emitting out of the fact that she became her own Prince Charming rescuing her from the gnawing miseries!

G looked at me intermittently through the scenes telling me now and again, “Seekho” implying on the streaks of independence as was being sketched out on screen. Little did he care to ponder over though that with an independent body comes a very independent mind! While driving back from the theatre, I asked him what did he learn from the movie. He’s a smart one now, my husband; he asks back- “What do you think I should learn from the movie?”

And very complacently I said, that it IS possible to have friends all over the world, who may or may not subscribe to the same age group, social strata or thinking genre as our lives are in. It is not always sexual. (Dear Mohnish Behl saying in Meine Pyar Kiya- “Ek ladka aur ladke kabhi dost nahi ho sakte”. Yes, fuck off!)

And he smiled mischievously for he refuses to believe one can find genuine friends over the internet and be close to them, even sometimes surpassing real life friends we’ve lived with. He shakes his head when I tell him of a 23 year old friend who confides in me, his life's trials and tribulations or of a 55 years old someone whose voyages on the sea fascinate me as though I journeyed with him. It is possible to share lives with strangers. Not all strangers come with dangerous motives. Some come with empathy that familiar faces find it strange to offer, without petty judging. And a woman thinking out of the box is not playing with her character.

But the most important thing that dawned upon me from there - Nothing good will happen to your stuck up life till daaroo happens to you! Oh yes!

I always forget I am reviewing a movie after a paragraph on it.
·        I wished I could see myself standing on a crowded threshold with that huge-ish map and make out anything from what seems like gibberish there.
·        I wished I knew what heeng was called in English, for friends around then looked up to the “English ma’am” honouring her presence to the group, to enlighten them.
·        I wished I knew how to contrive golgappas, even on Indian soil for that matter, to be able to eventually have that first kiss with that Italian hottie.
·        I wished I was streamlined Lisa Haydon-ish enough to be able to wear some Alexander’s shirt and scream out of the bathroom for the fear of some lizard, which I anyway do.
·        I wished I knew how to wear a bra like that under the covers just as stealthily as I can take out one.
·        I wished my parents would have at least let me go on that all-girls school trip in class 9 from my convent school. At least some kind of taste of that life on my lips for my life to look back on and not write such dreary reviews.

Let everyone live their lives before someone decides they should walk the aisle. Let that someone be the one who has to do it.

P.S. I still loved Highway more. While everyone gushed over Alia’s performance, I still can’t get over Randeep’s characterization and how well he sank and vanished into it, losing every iota of who he is otherwise. To an extent Kangana did too. That’s why these movies work for me. Also I’ve told my husband I am going to America alone now just to face my fears. He says, first try and book tickets uptil Unnao from here, some 100 odd kms from Kanpur. And to think I thought he’d be a new man post the movie. Tch!

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