Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Parting of Ways

It's not as though I had done wrong
It's not a crime to seek my own path
They say, walk away if things don't work;
They say one must cut one's own trail

So when I did (and thought I did fine),
I thought I had everything taken care of:
At least those that were in my hands,
And by far those that weren't either

I tried to clean the mess up for others-
I guess that's what I thought, you know,
That I was doing it right, the way I should;
But I am perplexed, very; maybe blind as well...

For I can't see where it had gone wrong:
When ego had stepped in, where friendship had gone
But so it is now: all muddied and clear,
The parting of ways, the story's now over.

Friday, January 24, 2014

16 Things to know (for your own peace of mind) when talking to an 8-year-old:

1. He doesn't listen anyway.
2. If you want his attention, insert this line in your conversation, "then you can go and watch TV".
3. He will get his way in the end.
4. Junk food is sometimes nutritious. (He will bring the packet and point out the 'nutritional facts' if you dare to say otherwise.)
5. You can't win an argument with him. (In their pre-birth school, they specialised in Law.)
6. All rules are meant only to be broken. Pathetic are those who try to follow them. Pitiful are those that try to enforce them.
7. School days are good, because he doesn't have to endure his mother's many commands during the day.
8. One should do homework only when one has nothing better to do.
9. Whoever invented rice had some grudge against humanity. Probably some sadistic idea by God. Well, no one is sure if God exists, either, so... It all stinks of a conspiracy.
10. There are no such things as sleep time, meal time, study time,... All time is either play time or TV time.
11. He could give Albert Einstein a run for his money. (He doesn't think old Albert was all that brilliant anyway.)
12. Reading isn't everything.
13. Parents are supposed to know everything, but these days he has his doubts on that theory.
14. His friend's Mom makes excellent and tasty meals (even rice).
15. He is never (and can never be) tired. Admitting you're tired is a sign of weakness.
16. If you yell at him, all he gathers is the fact that you yelled.

(With apologies to my son, who will soon discover this blog...)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Week

I am full of life,
Eager to start work;

Upto my neck,
I could do with a break;

I am overwhelmed,
But grateful for my job;

I am surprised that
I have a job (or two)

I am good as dead
Glad it's over now

Chores galore
Stare me in the eye

Blessed Sunday,
Why can't you be mine?

Monday, January 13, 2014

9 Things I Learned from Movies This Week

1. The hero's / heroine's parents always die when he/she is around ten years old, in a car accident. (The more elite ones get the luxury of a plane crash.) That's how we get the parents out of the way and invoke sentiments all at one shot. They don't die of any other reason, unless it is crucial to the story. You never hear of anyone dying of malaria or dengue fever.

2. Hollywood hunks like quiet, mature, brainy girls who have unbearably bubbly and hysterical friends. Desi heroes like unbelievably bubbly and talkative and gorgeous girls. Brains aren't a necessity. Foolishness and arrogance are pre-requisites.

3. Desi characters see ghosts of their dead parents/siblings/spouse, and they are startled when the ghosts vanish, because they think the vision is real. Hollywood folk shake their heads at the ghosts, smile and walk away, because they are clever enough to know it is only their own memory playing tricks.

4. Hollywood brides and grooms get cold feet before their wedding and threaten to call it off, at the last moment. In about fifty percent of the cases, the bride / groom changes her/his mind right before the ceremony (because, as we know so well, it's the wrong guy/girl). In Bollywood and surrounding regions, no one walks away right before a wedding (though they could be abducted from or forced into one). Desis aren't afraid of a mere wedding or the divorce rate in the country. They firmly believe in Happily Every After.

5. The heroine catches the bouquet. 'Nuff said.
(Luckily in India we do not have that delightful custom, else imagine what that would have added to Bollywood.)

6. The hero (who doesn't know yet that he is the hero, though the rest of us does) runs to confess his love to the girl, only to find her embracing her fiancé, and walks away, dejected. Little does he know that the girl's mind is not in it and she has been waiting for him to turn up. Earth has to revolve a little more before everything clears up.

7. This affliction is particularly common in Hollywood: the career-centric woman does not believe in true love, she is convinced it is some story cooked up by greeting card companies. Then this ruggedly handsome dude pops up in her radar, infuriating her, thwarting her peace of mind, plunging her deep into the chaos called... love. What can the distressed damsel do other than admit defeat?

8. The protagonist, who is suffering from an incurable disease, has to die. There is no treatment that saves his/her life at the end. (Imagine what a mess it would be if they are cured, when everyone else has prepared for their death?)

9. I watch too many movies on TV.

Who said movies aren't educational? 

Friday, January 10, 2014

A Return

It was as though a bunch of years had fallen back. Though if the years hadn't existed, today would not have been like today. 
The words thrown around were from forgotten memories. Like the dreams of the dawn. Vague, familiar, haunting.
The whiteness of the ambience. The atmosphere. The floors, the ceiling, the shades, the windows. So different, yet so like the once-well-known. The jolt of the difficult memory. 
It was not a re-living, it was a re-discovery. It was the jump of the heart when one plunges down in the Giant Wheel.
It was so ordinary, yet so special. Meaningful in the enormity of its commonness.
It was almost - but not quite - as though... I was home.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Be Strong

Have faith:
Things will settle down.
It's just a matter of time,
I've always known.

Have courage:
You've been there before;
I've made sure that you did
'fore I was gone.

Have strength:
For each day that passed,
Has taught you something new.
You're not alone.

Be brave:
I'll see you through;
I will not abandon you
Though I am gone.

I'm here,
Watching over you;
I know I am, every day.
I'll always be here.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

"And so it goes with God."

Except for the fact that Irrfan, when he speaks these words, looks profoundly enigmatic and proud, like a man who has seen something we haven't, I have no clue what his words could mean. Even after watching the movie three times and reading the book once.

At the beginning of Life of Pi, there is a claim (by Francis aka Mamaji) that Pi Patel "has a story that will make you believe in God". The movie tries to project it in such a way that when Pi abandons all hope and surrenders to God, God, who was watching all the while, brings him to a strange island to restore his belief and provides him strength to continue. There is no such interpretation in the book.

Surely God, who sank the ship, killed his family and allowed the ship's crew to perish, did not save Pi alone just to prove that He exists? Or is it that, despite the sinking of the ship (an act in which He had no hand), despite Pi finding himself literally at sea, God was with him, giving him the strength to survive? Does it have something to do with Pi being a "practising Hindu, Muslim and Christian"? My takeaway from the story is Pi's inner strength, whether God-given or not. In the face of adversity he does not wither, he blooms (well, as much blooming as a raft at sea and a famished tiger would permit). Richard Parker, his alter ego or a fierce Bengal tiger, depending on which story you want to believe, keeps him alert and alive.

But for Mamaji's confusing statement, the story remains a wonderful watch/read. The first part in India, with little Pi naming himself, encountering God and meeting Richard Parker are all delightful. (Even more so in the book). The lifeboat, the tiger, the vegetarian boy and the raft in the middle of the ocean are spectacular in 3D.

The movie remains true to the novel for the most part. Very minimal (and essential) clipping has been done, as compared to other book adaptations. The dialogs are pretty much Yann Martel's own words. The character of Anandi, the dancer, has been introduced in the movie. In the novel, there is a strange incident when Pi loses his eyesight and hears the voice of a man - who has curiously lost his eyesight as well. A long conversation between the temporarily blinded people ensue, at the end of which the newcomer tries to kill Pi (and devour him, no doubt) but the starving Richard Parker kills him instead. By the time Pi recovers his eyesight, the man is beyond recognition.

But what is it that's staring me in the face and I cannot see?

It was natural that, bereft and desperate as I was, in the throes of unremitting suffering, I should turn to God.

Nothing in the story reinforced or enhanced my faith, but nothing destroyed it either. Nothing answered my questions and doubts, and nothing made me decide either way.

And so it goes with God.