Vendetta of a different shade

Banter alert! My thoughts are all jumbled up because so much has happened. I think I’m trying to give it some comprehensible order by writing it out here.

I had an amazing experience of what it would be like to do what I love doing. I interned at the tabloid of a newspaper for two weeks, as part of my course. And, I loved it! Their stories weren’t exactly my kind but that didn’t really matter since I was just too glad about the experience. I wrote a few stories and got them printed as well! The joy of seeing my name in the byline for the first time was something so exhilarating; I still can’t stop myself from smiling wide when I think of it.

Things weren’t all hunky-dory, though. There was a lot of shit happening on all possible levels (personal, emotional, blah blah) and I tried my best to hold myself together. While it wasn’t easy or pleasant, I have to admit, I did learn a couple of necessary lessons.

There were so many thoughts and incidents which made me think, “I should blog about this” but once the moment passed, they seemed irrelevant. Or I forgot about them. Which is downright ridiculous and irresponsible, I know. I suppose trying to recollect atleast some of them would be one way to redeem myself.

As of now, one of the most predominant thoughts on my mind would be about the Hindi movie Badlapur. I watched it last night. I can’t decide if I liked it or not. I had read this review on Firstpost right after the release of the movie. I was intrigued enough to decide to watch it. So, I did. As I progressed through the movie, I understood what the writer had meant in the review about many aspects.

Badlapur started off with a tension-filled, fast-paced scene but gradually lost the tempo. While Varun Dhawan has certainly managed to break the mould, he does lack the nuances needed to portray a character of such depth and intensity. But Nawazuddin Siddiqui definitely makes up for it and then some, although his role does seem a tad repetitive, as mentioned in the review. I loved Huma Qureishi as Jhimli, perfectly depicting the subtle shades of the character. I’m no expert to talk about technical brilliancy, so I’ll leave that part to those who know better.

A screenshot of the scene

A screenshot of the scene

One of the most touching scenes, for me, was the one in which Raghu (Varun Dhawan) comes back to an empty house, after the death of his wife and son. The commonplace clutter of a home, framed pictures and photos, leftovers of a dish…all of it seem to accentuate the pain of loss that has just begun to set in.

What struck me as most interesting was the concept of revenge that director Sriram Raghavan has laid out. The protagonist and antagonist don’t engage in climactic stunts or bloody battles. Their encounters are few and far between, and the physically violent ones almost rare. A moviegoer accustomed to stereotypes would associate revenge with something more severe, like I did. It took me a while to realize that this was going to be different. Yes, there are a couple of brutal murders but Raghu’s vengeance is of the silent and brooding kind. Which is, definitely, a refreshing change and my favourite aspect in Badlapur! The climax, apart from being sort of subdued, seems to bring into question the relevance of his need to avenge and what he ultimately gained from it.

There are flaws, of course. But I felt Badlapur stands out from the spate of commercial Bollywood films for its singular depiction of the age-old emotion of revenge.

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Transcending Trivialities

I miss holidays!

While back to college has caused a spike in my frustration levels, I must say things haven’t been as hectic as it was during last semester. I suppose the real action is yet to start. I don’t think I’m looking forward to it, though.

Well…there is a thought that has been stuck in my mind for the past few months. I felt it’s time I let it out. And, with yesterday’s Charlie Hebdo terror attack serving as background, I think this would be a good time.

[ Before reading on, please note that I’m talking specifically with reference to the situation in India, as I know it ] 

Once, sometime in November, during class, one of our teachers somehow came upon the topic of Muslims. I don’t remember what exactly we were discussing. Initially, she said she wouldn’t say anything but, when some of the students (my classmates) ventured to comment (negatively), she added to it, expressing her dislike for Muslims. A few of my classmates agreed with her, reacting very vehemently, much to my shock. They almost ganged upon another classmate who questioned their bias. I kept quiet, listening to their argument. From the way they spoke, it seemed like they held Muslims responsible for every shit that happens in the world. I was dumbstruck.

For a bunch of individuals who are going to be media professionals sometime soon, this kind of strong prejudice could be lethal. The most shocking part, for me, was that the teacher supported their thoughts instead of pointing out how wrong it was. It might already be obvious that I have very high regard for teachers. Nevertheless, I don’t believe in giving respect to people who don’t deserve it. This particular lecturer’s comments had an instant effect on me – I began to dislike her from that very second! In another class, she gave some more absurd views about family planning. That was the final nail in the coffin!

But that’s not the topic of this post.

Just a cursory glance through the major events of last few months would show you how Muslims have been collectively victimized for most of them, if not all. Of course, there are terrorist organizations wreaking havoc in ways more than one. And they seem to be blinded by their religious fanaticism. But is that reason enough to hate Muslims as a whole? Because that’s what seems to be happening right now. I’m not justifying the ones who caused death and destruction; don’t go on and call me a traitor. I’m raising the question of why we seem to blame ALL Muslims for whatever is happening. If you were to commit a mistake, would your entire family, including distant relatives and friends, be persecuted for it?

What is the sense in alienating persons of a whole community/religion just because some fanatics acted in the name of that religion? Haven’t other faiths also had such people who killed and ravaged? Did we also treat every individual of those religions with equal hatred? I doubt it.

I don’t support terrorists or their activities. Neither do I support denigrating anyone based on their beliefs. Like a close friend once mentioned, however well-educated a person might be, every bit of sense goes out the window if the topic of religion comes up. For a race which is considered highly intelligent and superior, I find it really contemptible that we fight over religion and borders. Especially considering the fact that both were created by man!

As of now, all I can do is hope that people (my classmates and lecturer included) start thinking and acting more sensibly. Maybe, someday soon, we’ll see a world with men who look beyond details like one’s faith and nationality.

 

In the Wake of the Void…

People keep coming into your life. It’s all part of the ride. But then, meetings inevitably lead to partings. And, you know what’s the worst part (atleast, for me) when a person leaves, be it for the time being or for good? The void they leave behind…that inescapable hollow feeling when you sense the empty space in your life that they once occupied. As much as I love being with dear ones, I hate having to confront this void.

As mentioned in the previous post, my sister was here for a few days. She left on Saturday. And I was left face-to-face with a gaping hole that was the remnant of her presence here with me. Coming back to the room, knowing I was going to be by myself all over again…it was hell! Next day, I couldn’t bring myself to go out because I knew I would be reminded of all the times we had passed by those paths in the past few days. So, I stayed in.

Later, sometime at night, I had a talk with Kiran. I was surprised when she mentioned something along the same lines. She said that the worst part about people stepping out of your life was the memories they left behind. All you have to remember them by are those memories. My youngest sister, Ann, also said something similar – “The pain will be there as long as you are surrounded by stuff that reminds you of them.”

I might get over this situation in a couple of days. But it led me to think of all the friends I miss or have lost contact with…friends who have left a void and faded off, the intensity of it diminishing with each passing day yet refusing to disappear completely. And I felt a little lost. Disoriented would be a better word, I suppose. Take a moment and think of every single person who has moved out of your life, whom you miss in your own ways…and you might understandMemories what I’m talking about. Isn’t it disconcerting when you ponder over how much everything has changed, right from the person you are to the people in your life? That’s precisely what I felt when I had this train of thought yesterday.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I miss my sister. I miss some of the people who had been with me at different points in life. Nevertheless, I guess I’ve learnt to live with this emotion and all that it entails (writing helps immensely!).

Considering it’s the end of the year, I thought it would be the right time to put out this post. For everyone who has been/is part of my life, thank you for leaving me with a treasure trove of memories. I miss you in my own way. 🙂

 

[ P.S: For all the assholes who were in my life, the above message isn’t applicable to you. But yeah, thank you..for all the lessons I learnt, the hard way…for being the reason I could recognize your kind, later in life. You’re lucky I’m stopping at that. ]

Difficulties & Delights

I wanted to do a Christmas post. But then, my sister came over for a few days and I was too busy having fun with her. So…maybe, next year!

One of the ‘hazards’ associated with my course is regular (read: daily & multiple) assignments. Most of them involve writing. Recently, after submitting one such assignment, I got the comment that my article/report lacks the ‘joy of writing’. I was truly surprised. For one thing, whatever I might lack in my writing, I’ve always known it would never be devoid of the joy or pleasure. Secondly, I was startled because I realized that what the ma’am had said was true. That particular article did not have any sign of involvement. The reason was pretty simple – there was not much or no involvement at all.

I don’t know how it is with other writers. But I definitely find it difficult to write properly when I’m given strict parameters to follow. I lose the spark, the urge to come up with something creative if I feel restricted. Which is probably why my assignments lack the ‘connection’ that is so evident over here. It’s all the more frustrating if the topic is boring (happens always!).

I understand this is part of what I have to endure. But I have to admit, it’s annoying. Not to mention, draining. Forcing myself to write (about the least engaging stuff) when I don’t have the least bit of interest to do so…that’s no small feat!

On a different note, there is something positive that my course has made me realize. I seem to have developed an inclination and liking for designing subjects. As part of my course, I have been learning certain page-making and editing softwares. Even though I was sort of apprehensive, initially, I’ve come to love working on them. I never thought I’d be saying this. I’m amazed at myself, to be honest. It’s sort of challenging because there are so many intricate details to be considered, so many little things that matter. I enjoy the experience of putting myself into the work and trying to figure out the specifics. It’s actually fun. 🙂 It’s amusing that I’ve discovered such enthusiasm for this aspect while I find the writing assignments quite daunting. No wonder they say life is full of surprises!

I have Christmas & New Year holidays till next Monday. I’m planning to make use of it to spruce up this space. It is yet to be seen whether those plans will materialize or not. I’m hopeful, though. As always. *wink*

An Amateur Writer’s Blah Blah on Writing :)

“I think the writer has to be responsible to signs and dreams. If you don’t do anything with it, you lose it.” – Joy Williams

I didn’t get any particular sign or dream as such. Just a lot of complaints from my sister. And, maybe, one article which could possibly have been a sign – On Not Writing.

Whenever I resume blogging, I also make an effort to catch up on posts by bloggers I like/follow and the Freshly Pressed posts. Apart from giving me a sense of getting back on track, it also leads me onto thoughts I want to write about. One such post which I read (the last time I resumed blogging) was Finding your writing voice over at Wanton Creation. The reason for being drawn to it was: I had had the same line of thought and was planning to blog about it (which never happened, alas!). So, I was surprised to see a post on the same topic, with similar thoughts!

There is something I always notice when I read articles or blog-posts – the writing style. Even though I must have been doing it all along, it’s something that I realized very recently. It might be my passion for writing or maybe, just something I’ve grown to do as a result of my reading. Whatever maybe the reason, I’ve come to realize that the first thing I notice and appreciate about a piece of writing is the writing style, the way in which the writer has put forth his views. Also, I believe, that is what helps maintain my interest in the piece. However interesting a concept might be, I cannot bear to read on if I don’t like the way it’s written. Once I realized this, I was curious. Curious about what exactly led me to like a particular way of writing, what factors I looked for in a piece…and most importantly, what was my writing style, how would I judge it, how do people judge it? The latter’s a thought for another day, though.

It’s not easy to write something that engages a reader till the end. And it’s definitely not easy to make it good enough to leave a mark on the reader’s mind or provoke them to think about it. So, then, what draws a person to read a certain piece of writing (Note: I’m not talking about books here)? Let me list out 5 qualities in writing that do the trick for me:

1) Humour – It works every single time. Use humour to present your concept/thought and I bet it will get through to your readers. It works splendidly for me!

2) Simple yet compelling language – I would never want to read something that is filled with complex or generally unused words. That’s not to say I’d like something plainly written either. Attaining that balance between simple and compelling language  is tricky but I believe that is what could reach out to readers. On that note, let me also add : grammatical & spelling mistakes are a firm turn-off when it comes to reading something. (Not that I’m perfect at it!)

3) Keeping it personal – Now, this is a factor that ALWAYS draws me to a piece of writing – the writer’s ability to connect to the reader by maintaining a certain personal touch. Instead of an article that is completely factual and impersonal, I’d opt for something that has a personal element, an article wherein the writing seems to communicate to me, engaging me in what the writer is saying. In short, I should be able to feel that the writer is talking to me through the piece.

4) Short and sweet –  Never mind the ‘sweetness’, but I certainly do prefer articles that aren’t too long. It isn’t really about having time to read it. For me, it’s more about whether a long article will be able to hold my attention, whether it will be worth the effort. More often that not, I have strayed off halfway through a long article and just skimmed through the rest of it. So, the phrase “short and sweet” is highly relevant to me.

5) Flow of Writing – The way the concept is developed from one paragraph to another or, in simple words, the flow of writing is another factor that helps in maintaining my interest in an article. Disconnected or disrupted flow of thoughts usually make me leave halfway through the piece.

So, those are the 5 elements of writing style that capture my interest in an article.

What are yours? Do care to share.

Peekaboo!

The perfect tagline for my blog would be “Now you see me, now you don’t”.

The past two months, in particular, have seen a flurry of activities. I met Kiran, went to RAK for a while, came back and joined college (I enrolled for a PG course in Journalism). It feels like I’ve just entered another phase. A good one, I should add. There was this particularly bad ‘down-time’ that I went through, recently, and it has just begun to pass. Which, I thought, translated to – new blogpost!! But that is not the only source of motivation for this sudden comeback. The faculty at my college are pretty insistent that we should start being active on Twitter and have a blog as well. I took it as a sign that I should get back to this space, especially because I had also been getting questions from unexpected people about my disappearance.

The course is something I’ve had in mind for the past two years. Going back to college seemed like a good idea. Who wouldn’t want to go through that experience once more (unless you were in a college you hated)? Nevertheless, I found (and still find) it difficult to break out of my carefully built cocoon of laziness. Waking up early, sitting through classes…and then, ASSIGNMENTS! The last time I remember, I was the one dishing out homework to hapless students! And now, I’m on the receiving end. Life sure has a way of getting back at you!

Having said that, I can’t deny the fact that I enjoy what I’m doing…the daily assignments, the sudden surge of new information (about a hell lot of stuff), the consequent thoughts, even the dabbling at Twitter. In fact, I’m almost on the verge of becoming a Twitterdict (not enough to take over my love for blogging, though!).

So, here’s to good times and more blogposts! (You’ll see me soon, I assure you!)