Happy. Thank you. More Please!

I’m home (read: RAK) for two weeks! I have been reading, talking to my bratty sister, devouring mom’s awesome food and, well, having a good time! In short, I am happy. It sounds almost surreal to say that. But I actually am happy. For now, atleast. Anyway, so, I have also been watching quite a lot of movies. Last day, I happened to watch one that I really, badly wanted to blog about. So, here I am. Sometimes, amidst the flurry of superhero, horror, thriller, comedy, drama and romance movies, you come across something refreshing. Predictable yet different. Happythankyoumoreplease (2010) was one such movie for me. It’s a romance-comedy-drama film that I stumbled upon while checking out some other flick in IMDB. The synopsis seemed interesting and I added it to my to-watch list. For the past 3-4 months, it had been gathering virtual dust in my laptop, until I decided to watch it yesterday. And I’m glad I did! There are three parallel stories in the film, told seamlessly, delving into the lives, relationships and problems of a handful of characters. Sam (Josh Radnor, who is also the director-writer) is a struggling writer who develops a complicated friendship with a lost child. His best friend, Annie (Malin Akerman), an Alopecia patient, tries to fix her messed up self-image and, in turn, her love life. Sam’s cousin, Mary Catherine (Zoe Kazan) and her boyfriend face certain problems in their relationship. Also in the picture is Mississippi (Kate Mara) – a charming, young waitress with issues of her own – who Sam falls for. OK, so, I know it sounds completely cliché. I agree, it is. And yet, I absolutely loved it. It felt like a breath of fresh air to me with its simple premise and extremely likeable, not to mention relatable, characters. I really don’t know why I found it so good. Maybe it just happened at the right time, like, I probably needed something light after the bout of “heavy” movies I had been watching. Perhaps, it’s because I found a genuinely feel-good movie after a long time. Or, maybe, it’s truly as awesome as I think it is! Whatever be the reason, it doesn’t really matter. Because the bottom line is: I loved the movie! It’s refreshing, light, happy, warm and…(the best part) even uplifting, in some ways. I think I could see bits and pieces of myself in the characters and their difficulties. The dialogues are another aspect I really liked. Sample this: “I realized the problem. You write short stories… and I think you like living short stories, but I’m kinda ready for the novel.” I was also quite taken by the music; some of the songs had really interesting lyrics. By the time the end credits were rolling, I was feeling quite happy in a way I can’t seem to explain. Probably because  it’s not usual for me to feel that way after a movie. This one, inspite of being predictable, had a lot more sense and warmth than many other rom-com-dramas. It’s not even about that, to be honest. You don’t always come across a light-hearted movie which actually lifts your mood, even makes you feel…inspired-happy, for lack of a better word. That’s the effect Happythankyoumoreplease had on me. And I can’t remember the last time a movie made me feel so good! So there! I think I’m done with the gushing. Your turn! Oh, that reminds me. I hate the “like” option WordPress has enabled for comments. Maybe I am overreacting, but I suppose I can still have my say. Earlier, the only way to respond to a comment was by, well, replying to it. The plain old reply in words thing. Now, you have the option of merely “liking” the comment, offering the gesture as a possible response. I hate that! It cuts off conversation! I suppose it might be Facebook-inspired. But then, it’s fine in FB, because you can conveniently end an unnecessary comment thread by just clicking the ‘like’ button (I do that all the time!). I don’t think it is required on a platform like WordPress where bloggers actually intend to communicate. And, that marks the end of my rant. For now!

Have you seen the movie? Let me know what you think. And, while you’re at it, I’d love to know what you think about the “like” option for comments, as well. 🙂

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.

Dear Library…

Come Sunday, I’ll be in a place I call ‘home’ in every sense of the word! The mere thought makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. I badly need the change of scene.

Last night, while on the verge of falling asleep, I remembered something that I had wanted to write about. I read something a couple of months ago and made a mental note to blog about it whenever I found time. But then, I got busy (like always) and the ‘note’ was pushed off to some corner of my mind. Only to resurface as a half-conscious thought, last night.

I came across this article in The Guardian about libraries – how they were ‘in danger’ and about a campaign that invited readers across the globe to write “love letters to their favourite libraries”. The idea had an instant connect with me and I knew that I wanted to write one, too.

My love-letter is to a very special library, one that does not exist anymore. Sometime in 2004, when I was in 8th standard, our school campus was relocated. While the library was, technically, shifted to another place, it wasn’t the same as the one we had in the old school. That library will always be a part of my fondest and most cherished school memories, for reasons more than one.

So..here goes!

Dear Library, 

You might not remember me but I could never forget you. They say you always hold your first love as a dear memory. I think that applies for libraries as well. Atleast for a bookworm like me. 

You were my very first library (and love)! I remember getting a glimpse of your interior sometime when I was in 1st or 2nd grade. Since then, I couldn’t wait to get inside and check out all those books. Finally, when I did enter the room, a year or so later, I was on cloud nine! It was love at first sight!

Dimly lit, with a mysterious air that hinted at all the treasure troves (read: books) waiting to be discovered, you had an old world charm about you. I loved spending time there, amidst shelves and shelves of books. We used to have a Library hour once every week and I remember waiting for it so eagerly. Waiting to meet you, to explore all that you had to offer me. Crossing your threshold was like entering into an entire new world, a space where everything else ceased to exist. It was just me, you and books. Even the air smelt of books, old and slightly tattered, adding to the magic. 

You introduced me to Enid Blyton. I couldn’t get enough of Famous Five and the Five Find-Outers. I kept yearning to see more of you, and read more. You helped me take the first step into ‘Bookwormland’ and guided me along the journey, delighting me with the beautiful classics you held. I remember those years as a blur of Jules Verne, Charles Dickens, Louisa May Alcott, E. Nesbit (to name a few) and gems like Anne of Green Gables, Pollyanna and Jane Eyre. 

I could never thank you enough for all that you have done for me. In so many ways, you made me what I am today. Hell, you might very well be the reason I write! Even though we had to part ways, I’ll never forget the time I spent with you, the happiness you gifted me. I know I never told you, but I love you; I always will. I believe you knew it all along. Every time I see the present library, or any library for that matter , I think of you and miss you. This is my way of trying to give back atleast a tiny bit of what you’ve given to me. 

Yours,

An ardent reader/admirer

Missing Bloggers

You put in so much of your time and effort into something that means nothing but boring work to you, and instead of a word of appreciation, all you get is rebuke! Sounds familiar? Well, I’m going through a similar situation at college and it’s frustrating. It has been going on for so long that I feel sick just thinking of the whole episode. This entire month has been depressing to the extreme. Big-time-BAD start to 2015, I say! I hope things get better soon! *Fingers crossed*

Anyway, my Facebook page tells me I haven’t posted in 11 days. I thought it was time I did something about that. And, here I am!

Sometime last month, I read a post by my blogger-friend, Manu Kurup, saying he intended to stop blogging. He said it would be his last post. And, sure enough, it was. He has deleted his site. He might have had his own reasons, although I don’t know what they were. Nevertheless, his post came as nothing less than a shock to me.

I don’t remember how I stumbled onto his blog but, well, someday, I did. I wasn’t a regular reader but I made it a point to catch up on his posts whenever possible. His writing style and thoughts were what I loved the most. We might have been strangers, on a personal level. But there is something very intimate and special about a person’s writing, reading what someone else has written. It’s kind of like getting a glimpse of their mind, a reflection of their perceptions. Perhaps, that is why I feel/felt a sense of belonging with all my fellow bloggers, including Manu.

When I read his final post, I was gripped by an emotion that I can only describe as “loss”. Something akin to what I’d feel if I were meeting a friend for the last time. While I do miss his blogposts, the experience opened my eyes to a fact I had never bothered to look at. Just like we take people for granted in life, I’ve been stupid enough to think that my readers and fellow bloggers will always remain the same. I never considered the possibility that they could also leave or fade off. Now that I’ve (almost) resumed regular blogging, I notice the absence of many blogger-friends who used to comment and support me. And I miss them all!

Anyhow, for those who have still hung around, this is a confession-plus-apology of sorts, to let you know I’ll try not to repeat the mistake! Keep hanging around! 🙂

Of Laws & Books

First post of 2015! 

I think Sir Isaac Newton was a genius simply for formulating the First Law of Motion – the Law of Inertia. Not that his other achievements are less brilliant, but I think the First Law is my all-time, top favourite. I see it manifested in so many ways, all around me, particularly in me. I wonder if Newton must have thought about the implications of his law in a personal aspect. Most people continue with their state of rest or activity (read: routine) unless acted upon by another force, which, I believe, could also be internal ( like, self-motivation, inspiration). My blog would be a perfect example. I remain lazy and “busy” until some sort of external/internal force comes into play. Once I get into the routine of regular blogging, I tend to continue it (like now). Until evil forces deter me. In this context, evil forces would be anything that keeps me from blogging. So, that’s the application of Law of Inertia in my blogging habits.

Much to my embarrassment, my WordPress Annual Report says that I’ve put up hardly 10 posts in 2014. And, trust me when I say I feel truly bad about it. I hope 2015 turns out to be a better year for my blog and that I’ll be better able to overcome the sinister powers (including lethargy & laziness).

I finally completed ‘The Fountainhead’ by Ayn Rand. Thanks to my schedule and lack of effort, it took me almost 5 months! That’s nothing less than atrocious, I’d say. But I’m glad I persisted. Because it’s one hell of a book! I absolutely loved it. I agree it has serious content in the form of concepts and philosophies which might seem a little too complex at times, but I enjoyed it, nevertheless. I was drawn to some of the concepts, like, for instance, the perspectives about selflessness as “the lack of self” and selfishness as “self given prime importance”. Another thought that appealed to me was the need of man to create for himself, rather than for others.

The book has some of  the strongest characters I’ve ever come across. In fiction, that is. I’m not going to harbour the fantasy that such people could exist in real life! I highly doubt there can be individuals like Howard Roark and Dominique Francon who are so rooted in their principles. I loved the character of Gail Wynand as the man “who could have been”. At the risk of sounding sentimental, I’ll admit that my heart went out to him, reading of the pain he suffered when he realized his power over people would prevail only as long as he said what they wanted him to say.

While reading, I have the habit of underlining whatever catches my attention. My copy of ‘The Fountainhead’ is filled with very frequently underlined parts. Which clearly indicate how much it has captivated me. So much that I think I’ll need a bit of time before I move on to another book. And, even when I do, I know the characters of this one will still be etched in my mind.

Stepping back into real life, my college will reopen tomorrow…which means: back to the same, hectic routine. But I’m going to try and overcome the force of “busyness” so that I can continue in this state of activity. 🙂

 

The New Year Post

Last day of the year. It has an almost ominous ring to it. Yet, it represents the birth of a new year, bringing along new hopes and experiences. If you think about it, New Year is, in essence, just a marker of the passage of time. But it holds a certain sense of charm which makes it special. The joy of the season, gifts, meetings, greetings and smiles everywhere…quite infectious, right? 

Perhaps that’s why there is a general notion that New Year should be celebrated with all the splendour and merriment possible. Honestly, I find it slightly pressurizing. Most of my New Year days have been pretty much normal, bordering on boring even. Except for a couple of times. I don’t even remember what I did for most of the New Year days, in fact! I bet that tells you enough. 

This year is going to be no different. Or so I think. I’m going to spend tomorrow exactly as I spent the past two days – reading, watching a couple of movies, blogging (*fingers crossed*) and doing whatever else I want to. I feel oddly dismal when I say this in answer to my friends’ recently regular questions about my New Year plans. As if it’s wrong to spend New Year like a normal day. So, then, I decided I’d blog about that…about how New Year day can be anything you choose it to be. More to console myself than anything else.

It can be a day for relaxing, working, loafing around or anything at all! You don’t have to be out partying or celebrating. You can just as well spend the day at home, doing what you want, without feeling sad about it. After all, it’s really just another day. I guess its ‘newness’ depends on how you feel, not necessarily on what you do. I don’t even believe in the thought that January 1 of every year represents a new beginning. If anything, it can help refresh you to continue. If a new beginning is what you want, it can happen any day, any moment of the year. You shouldn’t have to wait for one particular day (unless you’re stubborn and really want to!). 

So, yes, I’m going to have a seemingly boring and definitely lonely January 1st. But I’m going to try and be happy about it. Because, well, it’s the start of a brand new year. I’m sure it will have quite a few awesome days to make up for the very first. And, anyway, I’m going to spend the day with stuff I really love – books, movies, blog. 🙂 

Moral of the post – In case you have no New Year plans, do not despair. You can always join me!

Happy New Year, everyone! However you decide to spend the day, make sure you enjoy it! 

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*