Thursday, June 27, 2013

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Of connoisseurs and creators

It was so easy to read a book, she said. It was easy to buy or borrow one. It was simplicity itself to enjoy a delightful movie, and talk about it afterwards. It was so cathartic to complain about a bad film, to rip it apart and call the filmmakers names.

It was all so easy - before I tried my hand at Creation. Everyone is born a connoisseur, she said. The baby who purses his lips when offered mashed vegetables, the little girl who frowns at one frock and reaches for another, the book reviewer, the movie lover, the cricket fan, all are connoisseurs. It is so easy to be one because we are born so.

It is so easy to be a connoisseur until we try our hand at Creation.
I suppose that's why God does not criticise us. He knows how hard it is to Create.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Damsels in Distress

Why are all the women in our movies projected as damsels in distress whereas the men get to be superheroes?

The poor heroine has to run away from goondas who chase her in the middle of the night (and she runs right into the arms of the hero who of course knew this was going to happen),
... she screams and pleads and cries all the time - except when she is unreasonably angry and shouting at the good-natured, funny, absolutely lovable hero who takes it all in his stride or gives a fitting reply (which all changes the moment she realises what a great, kind, incredibly wonderful guy he is),
... she is easily forced into marriage against her wish (until the hero comes to save her),
... she is bossy and foolish and loud and arrogant at first until the hero turns her into butter (after which she is totally wagging her tail for the rest of the movie),
... she makes foolish mistakes that no one in the world would make (until the hero gently and firmly and mockingly sets her right),
... if by mistake she is a policewoman, she is the most ruthless and unkind and unreasonable one (until of course... ah, you get the drift).

The hero is as super as Superman, as spidey (creepy??) as Spiderman, as bat... err, fantastic as Batman, as magical as Mandrake, as firm as the Phantom, and all that. He is kind to those who need his kindness, and he can survive the most impossible situations with his wit and cleverness and wisdom, beat the strongest villains, walk around effortlessly after getting shot a hundred times, perform all the tricks in the world, and - we're quite okay with it.

Whereas all the heroine can do is flop down and cry when someone says "BOO!". I wish someone would introduce her to Taekwondo and be done with it. Or at least teach her to outrun those overweight goondas. Because if the hero can be fantastic beyond all logic, why can't the heroine?

Very rarely in a few films, the heroine gets the upper hand, but she would inevitably have misunderstood the gentle, kind, well-meaning hero at first and would end up apologising profusely to him.

No wonder we have this feeling somewhere deep inside that women are weak cry-babies, who just want to run away from (and who can be easily made to run away from) trouble (though they can't even run away properly), whereas men are strong beings, who do not know what cowardice means, who always win no matter what the battle is, who are made of something other than flesh and bones. Moreover, when there is a big trouble, like the hero goes bankrupt or losses someone dear or is wrongly put in jail or something, he never tells his wife, because she would freak out (and possibly scream and howl the house down) and he doesn't want her to be upset. Isn't that noble or what? Puts a trifle more pressure on ordinary men to perform, don't you think?

Imagine a movie like Renaissance Man (and many others), in which the woman private says All Men are Dogs and actually gets away with it. No one bothers to knock some sense into her, no one takes it upon himself to snip off the tails of her arrogance, no one thinks it his duty to humiliate the woman until she wriggles on the floor and apologises for uttering those criminal words and promises never to utter another sound again.

Friday, June 14, 2013

... When the storm returns

The storm is going away;
I can breathe a while.
The skies are making way
For the storm to leave.

Its deadly arms have lashed
The ground to thousand bits,
It's ghastly, fearsome eyes
Burnt the trees they hit.

I know it isn't over:
I know it's coming my way.
It's only a matter of time
Until the storm returns.

Only a moment's peace,
The relief it will bring,
I'd better start running
Before the storm returns.

The deafening roar of thunder-
Many a nerve has bent;
The storm must have its plunder
Until its rage is spent.

The damage has been done:
I know it's not forever;
But I had better be gone
Before the storm gets here.

My book of poems is now available on Kindle: Lonely Journeys

Sunday, June 9, 2013


It's something that we take for granted.
It's something whose existence we forget to remember.
It's something we cannot imagine living without.
It's something that we fail to notice except when we need to rummage it to retrieve and replay an old scene.
But without our memories, we do not exist.

The last couple of weeks I experienced a few alarming lapses of memory - uncharacteristic, I believe. The first instance is all the more alarming because right now, I cannot remember what I had forgotten. I remember saying "How can I forget something like that?!" -- and for the world of mine I cannot recall what it was about.

The second time, I spent two days trying to recollect a name - of someone I once knew so well, someone I had spoken of just last month, someone I had spoken to a few months ago, someone who had resurfaced after a few years' silence, someone whose name is very common & easy to remember. I went through all possible names that start with each letter of the alphabet, but I did not get it. I knew I just had to make a phone call to another person and I would get it in a second - but making that phone call meant I had lost. I did not want to give up - not just yet. Moreover, I did not want my vulnerability thus exposed. 48 hours later, the name just came back to me - calmly and easily as if it had just gone out for a breath of fresh air. (Don't ask how relieved I was.)

The third is another slate wiped clean: I remember receiving the medicine. I remember thinking, I need to keep it so that I will not forget to pack it. Then comes the blackout. I searched all possible places where I could have kept the medicine "safe" but it just ain't there. The medicine that vanished that day has not yet been found.

Motherhood comes with its own share of absent-mindedness. And in my case they did come in droves, in the last 7-8 years. I got used to them, more or less, because the clouds would clear after a while, and the forgotten thing would reappear like that lost name (sometimes they don't, but I wasn't unduly worried). But these instances (and maybe more that I have forgotten about) were a wee bit terrifying.

But if we really think about it, it need not be terrifying or alarming. Instead, what could be alarming is the number of thoughts that cross us in any random five minutes of our life. Close your eyes and analyse the last five minutes and you will know what I am talking about. Is it even natural for a person to have so many thoughts criss-crossing his mind? No wonder some of them slip out, and we could safely tag it as absent-mindedness.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Learning from mistakes

Learning from the mistakes of others is like lessons from high school: some are engraved in our hearts, some are forgotten within minutes. All that matters is how well we can put it to paper/practice, when the time (exam) comes.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Hopes and Dreams

Don't give me hope
For hope leads to dreams,
Dreams make me wish
And hope for much more.

Wishes are fake, like
Dreams of the dawn,
Goes with the light, when
You're wide awake.

Dreams take my time,
My heart off my work;
They spin off the truth, and
Make unreal yarns.

But dreams make me plod
Through trenches and dirt
In search of my prize
My aim and my hope.

My book of poems is now available on Kindle: Lonely Journeys