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.

 

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*

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!)

 

Rain, Rain, Come Again :)

It’s night-time. Dark, silent (almost) and a tiny bit eerie. I don’t remember the last time I stayed up to blog. Since afternoon, there have been so many thoughts in my mind that I can’t help but sit down and let them out. Considering how lazy I can be, it surprises me that I’m staying up to write about some random thoughts I had earlier during the day. Maybe the fact that I could not go to sleep without doing this shows how much of an impact these thoughts have had on me.

I had been feeling quite low for the past couple of days.

Today afternoon, while walking back home with a friend, it started drizzling. It wasn’t unusual (it has been raining on and off during the past few weeks) or sudden (it has been cloudy for a couple of days). But it changed something within me. It felt good. I felt an urge to stay out in the rain for a while longer. It evoked a kind of happiness in me that I can’t seem to explain. It was not an overwhelming emotion…just plain happiness. A good feeling within, just a sense of being content and happy with wherever I was at that particular point in life. I went up to the terrace and sat there for a while. The rain had stopped by then but I knew it wouldn’t be long before it returned. At that moment, sitting there, watching the sky and lost in thoughts, I felt a deep sense of contentment with life. Almost like I was living solely in that moment. Even though I believe in the concept of living one’s life fully and in the moment, I have to admit that I hardly ever come across moments like this. And when I do, they touch me far deeper than ever; they leave me filled with thoughts that demand to be let out! (Right now, I feel flooded by so many thoughts, I don’t know which ones to let out!)

Since it was the rain that led to this “outpour” of thoughts, I suppose I’ll let rain take the limelight here. Today, while it was raining, I had so many thoughts going through my mind…and when I paid attention to these passing thoughts, I realized that they were mostly vivid memories, all related to rain. Some of them were almost long-forgotten. I thought I’d list out a few, to pore over on some other rainy day.

Rain reminds me of:

1) How I used to long for rainy days during childhood. I loved floating paper boats in the puddles, getting drenched in the rain (although that rarely happened) or just listening to the rain falling outside. Since rain wasn’t very common, I used to love whenever it rained, even if it meant mess and mud and dampness.

2) Schooldays! I loved going to school on rainy days. Inspite of the fact that I hated getting my feet wet, I enjoyed rainy school days. I used to love the small puddles on the school ground. Not the messy corridors, though. We used to make excuses or happily carry out errands for the teachers, just to get out of class and go out in the rain.

3) Quite contrary to school time, I hated rain during college. Perhaps because there was an excess of it! I dreaded going to class on rainy days. I hated the muddy paths, the drenched uniforms, the cold, everything! One distinct memory is of an instance when one moment, we  (classmates) were all walking slowly, ‘navigating’ around muddy puddles and talking, and the next moment, it started raining cats and dogs, and we ran to find shelter, splashing mud all around (need I add we ended up looking very much pitiable).

4) Songs. Experiences – Every time it rains, the first song to come to mind is Unnai Kandane (Parijatham). It has become almost synonymous to rain. Apart from all the memories of travelling on rainy days or of curling up in the bed, listening to the rain outside, another rainy experience I’ll always remember is the one I had while I was at Kochi – going up to the terrace with a PGmate/friend and enjoying the rain.  Evidently, it was good enough to make me blog about it. The memory and the post, in particular, have immense significance for me!

5) And now, rain will always remind me of today and the happiness it brought forth in me. Because it happened at a point when I badly needed it. Or perhaps, because it made me see things I had been overlooking, like the need to be happy by oneself.

So, what does rain remind you of? 

 

 

Strangers Breed Homesickness

Most of my friends were really happy after reading the previous post. Maybe I should write more of those – happy, chirpy posts.

Just now, while chatting with Ann, she asked me why I wasn’t posting anything. I told her I didn’t know what to write and I didn’t want to post nonsense. She, being far cleverer than me, pointed out that our mind is never devoid of thoughts, that all I had to do was pick one, write about it. And then, it struck me – she is right! There are such a lot of thoughts in my head. Now, when I sat down to blog, all the thoughts came rushing into my mind. And I don’t know what to write about.

Ann was telling me about how I used to post everyday, once upon a time…and how she used to love it. Well, I miss those times, too. Those were times when I used to stay back at the college lab until 8pm just so that I could blog in peace. Times when I couldn’t go a single day without blogging (which was kinda bad on you readers, since you had to read all the bullshit I came up with).

I think I’ve gone down a notch in terms of confidence, because you need a hell lot of confidence to write shit and publish it for the whole world to see. And now, when I think of doing that, I hear this voice in my head pulling me back, telling me I should not do anything that could make my readers hate me. You know what? I’m done listening to the stupid voice. Because, more than pleasing readers, I’m here to write, find happiness in it and just be myself. So, I took a decision. I’m not going to try too hard to please anyone, I’m just going to write/blog and be happy. Makes sense, right?  🙂

There are times when I miss college very badly. More than the place, I miss the experience of having familiar faces all around. I knew people, they knew me. There’s a certain sense of comfort when you’re surrounded by people you know, finding some familiar faces everywhere. Like there’s always someone or the other you can go to, you are not alone (unless you want to be). That’s something I miss about college.

Over here, I see so many strangers while walking to and from work. I meet so many strangers at work. Strangers I’m getting closer to. But strangers, nonetheless. And it gets really distressing, sometimes. You don’t know if you can open up, trust or be yourself with someone. After a certain point, you get tired of being careful, and wish you could let your guard down. You long to see a face you know, a face that would beam with recognition on seeing you. I’m going through that phase right now. The initial excitement of being at a new place, meeting new people and all that has subsided (begun to, actually), giving way to the homesickness that I had been ignoring all this while.

I miss people, being around people I know. I miss my family. I miss places, knowing where to go, seeing familiar places & spots. I know it will pass. Until then, I just have to deal with it. 🙂

Have you ever experienced anything of this sort? If yes, how did you get over it? 

Memoirs of a (Creatively Messy) Roommate

I know it’s been a few days since I wrote something. Janet (my younger sister) left on 6th. And I’ve been too emotionally distracted to actually sit down and write anything. I miss her a lot. I’ve noticed that when there’s someone with you for a while and then they leave, it feels so painful. And even though you maybe used to being alone, you still miss the person very badly, and the solitude hurts in ways you can’t explain. Anyway, I don’t think I should go into that right now.

Today, I read a post that gave some ideas on how not to let blogging take up too much of your time (that is, if you don’t seem to have time for anything else). Simple yet different and effective ideas. One was that once in a while, you could post a photo and write a paragraph about it. I loved the idea. And it inspired me to think of another one. We meet so many people in our daily lives…friends, strangers, so many people. And I’m sure there will be something about them (quality, habit, behaviour, anything) that comes to mind when we think of each person. Blog about that; do you like it, elaborate on the specific characteristic, how it affects you (if it does), so on. I’m going to put these ideas to use when I go blank and don’t know what to write about. Of course, there can never be a dearth of interesting people in your life! 😀

Last night, I was copying some numbers from my phone into a diary and Ann was sleepily reading through some book (for school). I came across a friend’s number…and that evoked a hell lot of memories. I spoke to Ann about this friend for a while and she shared a similar experience with me.

The person I’m talking about, she was my hostel roommate, while in college. For 2 years! We are shuffled every year, but sometimes, we might get one or two of our ex-roommates. And that’s how I got Jisha as my roommate twice, during the second and third years. Talking about Jisha, she isn’t exactly my type of person. We aren’t best friends; far from it, in fact. To be honest, during the first year as roommates, I used to get constantly irritated by her. She was (nearly) obsessed with everything being clean and…you know, I hate it when someone forces me to clean my space. Not that I’m untidy. Like I always say, I like my own creative order. And Jisha used to think it’s messy. So, we did have our tiffs initially.

But, eventually, as time passed, all 5 of us (roommates) got closer to each other. We used to have a lot of late-night talks, discussions on everything from movies to current affairs to the usual class gossips. And, with time, I got used to Jisha. There were certain things I disliked in her, but everyone has flaws. And her’s was nothing I couldn’t overlook. Because she has so many other positive qualities that I still admire. Apart from her amazing knowledge of current affairs and stuff, she is a very good person at heart. She is extremely helpful, goes out of her way to help people, compassionate beyond limits, patient, rational, capable of getting things done, quick at learning new stuff, hardworking and a lot more. In short, a very awesome person!

When we became roommates during the third year, both of us were really happy about it. She is one person I miss a lot, whenever I think of the times at hostel. Even though we weren’t close in a personal way, the two years had led us to grow comfortable with each other. We had got so comfortable and used to each other. She knew my habits, my likes and dislikes and I knew hers. She knew when I didn’t want to be disturbed, I knew when she didn’t want my constant barrage of questions. There are a LOT of other things I could tell you about our friendship (like the numerous memories that never fail to make me smile, or even laugh out loud!) . But, basically, what I wanted to put through is how we were never close yet knew each other and were comfortable with each other, almost like close friends.

Before I came to RAK, Jisha had called me. I was surprised, because I hadn’t expected her to call, honestly! Anyway, when she did, I was extremely happy and our conversation had an intimacy that I hadn’t noticed before. When I told Ann about my bond with Jisha, she said she has a similar friend – someone who isn’t personally close but knows her so well and is very comfortable with her. Sometimes, sharing space with someone for a certain period of time is enough to develop a strong bond, almost similar to the one between best friends. You grow so used to the other’s presence, his/her habits, likes, dislikes and quirks…and most importantly, sharing space will also mean you create a lot of memories together…like Jisha and I did. Memories that will live forever!

Have you ever had someone like that in your life? 

 

A Labour Of Love (& Friendship & Lots More)

I hope I don’t turn into this full-time movie reviewer (or whatever those people are called!). Anyway, there’s a movie that I want to mention (in detail, that is). It’s not exactly a movie movie. It’s a short film named ‘Vazhikatti’ (a Malayalam word meaning someone/something that shows/guides you to a path), created by the final year boys of two classes at my college (most of them being my classmates). Why I’m doing this is because I know the efforts they put into this venture, and I want to do what I can to contribute to it, no matter how small or insignificant it maybe. And writing a post about it seemed like a great idea to me. 🙂

Let me first introduce you to the person who directed this short film – Shalu V.S.

Mekhavarnan (protagonist), Shalu (director) & Abraham (supporting actor)

He is an extremely talented young man, around 21 years of age, and aspires to be a movie director someday. He is so dedicated to fulfilling his dreams and has such awesome ideas. Since we’ve been in the same class for 3 whole years, I know how much this means to him and to the whole crew, which is exactly why I feel so strongly about supporting their efforts. Knowing each one of them makes a huge difference in the way I see the film, because they are guys I talk to and spend time with, on a daily basis. Used to, that is (since college is over).

Let’s get to the movie, shall we? So, Vazhikatti is basically a Malayalam short film (duration: approx. 30 minutes) that conveys a meaningful message. It might not be anything extraordinarily new, it’s nothing that you haven’t seen before. Sometimes, when we are busy travelling a certain path, we forget to look around…and most often, need to be guided onto the right path by someone. It could be a random person, a passer-by, a friend, a relative, anyone. This is the concept behind the movie. It revolves around the life and dreams of Mekhavarnan ,  the protagonist, and portrays how he  becomes successful, helped by a simple advice.

While it may not be anything incredibly notable, if you watch it, keeping in mind that it was done by a bunch of 20 or 21-year-old students (who have a lot of other things to be busy with), I think you will realize the level of their talent. Anyway, I loved the acting, even though their inexperience/unease before the camera is kinda evident in some scenes. The dialogue delivery could have been improved; it seems sort of forced and less natural. Mekhavarnan (the main character) has done a great job; in fact, I guess everyone gave it their best! Even those who did the supporting roles have done it with a dedication that surprised me. 🙂 I was impressed by the cinematography, done by Dhanish. He is one of my very good friends… and man! I was amazed by his work! He is the fun, easy-going kind but when it comes to something to do with a camera, photos, editing and the like, he surprises you completely! Loved his work in the movie! Anooj, another genius in these aspects (& an ardent movie-lover), has done the VFX and hats off to him! I don’t know how he works magic with visuals, but he does it, and he does it great!

Shalu, Martin & Dhanish

The music by Basil & team is beautiful! No other word to describe it better! I loved the background score in so many scenes, and the song (at the end) is strikingly impressive, coming from such young (& amateur) guys! When it comes to direction, Shalu has been completely dedicated and totally into it since the beginning. He has done a great job. For someone so young and lacking in experience, I was awed by his knowledge and ideas. He has a very clear idea about what he wants, what he has to do…and puts in his mind, body and soul into what he does. I sincerely hope his dreams come true. All of us (girls at hostel) keep talking about how, someday soon, we might be watching his movie and commenting about how we were classmates once. 😀

I know I haven’t named everyone who worked behind the movie, nor commented on every aspect of it. Anyway, thumbs up to the whole crew behind Vazhikatti. There are flaws, imperfections. But they have done their best and the outcome is awesome! 🙂 The movie is in Malayalam, and although subtitles are provided, I suppose not all of you might enjoy watching it. Anyhow, do try to watch it, if you can. But above all, please support and encourage them in their future ventures!

For those of you who would like to watch it, here’s the link: