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.

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. ]

(A bit of) Straightening Up :)

Apparently, one post was all it took! I already feel like I’m back to blogging.

During my active-blogging-days, I used to go through each day, see everything partly through a blogger’s eyes. I used to always be open to wandering thoughts and ponder over how to write it out. Each passing thought or incident went through a sort of scrutiny, just in case it was something I could blog about. And, I seem to be back to that stage now. I keep thinking of what I could possibly blog about; I write down interesting sentences I build up in my head, jot down random thoughts; I observe people, places and situations much more closely. Do note that this happened just hours after my previous blog post. And, then, it struck me…I feel like I’m back on track. Almost, I suppose.

The past few months were much like a whirlwind of activities. March was my last month at school, as a teacher. And I was completely caught up with everything. Completing portions, spending time with the kids, finishing up the tasks. It was quite hectic but I didn’t really mind. Probably because I knew that I wouldn’t get to experience it again. April was more of a roller-coaster ride. I finally got to Bangalore (a place I’ve had in mind for the past two years!) and before I knew it, everything had fallen into place much more perfectly than I had expected to. I’ve almost settled in with the new atmosphere, place and people. Like any roller-coaster ride, I also had some down-times, instances when I was emotionally low. But then, I know it will pass (even though it seems to be taking its own time in doing so).

The only writing I did in the last few months was in my diary…the normal rant about incidents, emotions, day-to-day events, random thoughts. Even those entries were not regular. Still, I kept at it. For the sake of the joy and solace it gave me every time I wrote something.

A week or so ago, while writing out about the day, I realized that it had been ages since I wrote a poem. There was a time when I used to have books/diaries filled with poems and now, I can’t remember the last time I wrote one! That’s when it struck me that I hadn’t really been writing, in the true sense of the word. Whatever writing I did in the diary barely helped in keeping the spark alive. It felt like I had been trying to keep myself just alive, barely so…and not nurture it back to life completely. Like managing to stay afloat but never taking the effort to reach ashore.

So, now, I need to get out of the rut and..well, write. For real. 🙂 Thoughts and ideas are always welcome. (I could seriously use some help!)

What does writing mean to you? What does it do for you? 🙂 

 

The Shining: Which Truly Shines – Movie or Book?

I thought that soliloquy might have just managed to save my blog. But looks like the ‘saving’ is still under way.

Last day, I wrote in my diary, after quite a long time. And, I don’t know if it was the myriad thoughts already in my mind, bursting to be freed, or the way the pen floated so smoothly over the paper (LOVED the feel of it) or even the mere act of writing…but I ended up writing a lot. Like, a lot. And not just normal diary entries; the ‘lot’ included random thoughts, some crazy, some profound. At the end of it, the process of emptying all those thoughts onto paper felt so great, so relieving…so much that I couldn’t stop smiling and feeling happy. And that also gave me  this longing to blog. Which is why I’m back here, nearly one month after I promised myself I would try not to neglect my blog!

The book I’m currently reading is ‘The Shining‘ by Stephen King. I saw the movie a few months ago. I kept seeing it in all the ‘Top the-shiningHorror Movies’ lists and decided to watch it (being the horror-movie-fan I am). Unfortunately, I didn’t like it much. I was disappointed, to be honest. Yes, it might probably be because I was expecting a real horror movie. By the end of the movie, I couldn’t figure out if there were actual horror incidents in the movie or if they were all just the characters’ imaginations. I’d call it more of a psycho-thriller than a horror movie.

But the book is an entirely different case! There were quite a few instances in the book which gave me the chills (and I’m only halfway into it!). It pulls you pulled me into the life of the Torrance family in a way the movie didn’t. The characters have a depth that they lacked in the movie (in the movie, I couldn’t figure out if Jack Torrance had a streak of insanity right from the beginning or if the hotel/the ghosts did it to him)…a depth that makes you understand why they act/react the way they do, that makes you see sense in what happens to them. It’s a lot different from the movie in terms of situations, characters and plot. Jack Torrance seems to be a much more emotional person, deeply attached to his wife and son, more than I remember him to be in the movie.

Well, I did some googling, and, turns out I’m not the only one who didn’t like the movie so much.

Stephen King has been quoted as saying that although Kubrick made a film with memorable imagery, it was not a good adaptation of his novel and is the only adaptation of his novels that he could “remember hating”. 

… King suggested that he disliked the downplaying of the supernatural element of the film, which he felt took the “bite” out of the story and made Jack a less sympathetic character. According to King, he viewed Jack as being victimized by the genuinely external supernatural forces haunting the hotel, whereas Kubrick’s take viewed the haunting and its resulting malignancy as coming from within Jack himself.” 

Sometimes, I wonder why exactly books turn out to be much better than their movie adaptations. The experience with ‘The Shining’ offers one possible explanation. A book can delve deeper into characters than a movie, giving you a lot of background with which to understand more about a person – his traits, behaviour, idiosyncrasies. This is particularly true in the case of books made into movies. The book would have drawn out a complete portrayal of the characters, giving you a perfect grasp of why they acted in the way they did. The movie can hardly achieve this kind of detail, considering the limitations the medium has, as compared to a book. So, when someone who has read the book watches the movie, they see semi-detailed characters, interesting situations omitted/altered, less sense in the way the plot pans out.

 

Whatever reviews might say, I’d skip the movie and go for the book any day! 🙂

Care to mention the movie-adaptations which, you felt, lacked the depth of the book?   

Why I Loved ‘The Rule of Four’

Hypnerotomachia Poliphili

“Published over 500 years ago, the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili is one of the most treasured and least understood books of early Western printing. Coded in seven languages, it is an intricate mathematical mystery and a tale of love and arcane brutality that has baffled scholars since 1499.”

The first time I read about it was when I came across an article about a novel that was based on interpreting the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. Probably around 3-4 years ago. And, obviously, I found it interesting. I had read all of Dan Brown‘s books and was impressed by the writing style, the suspense, pretty much everything, in fact. And when I read about this book which seemed to be in the same genre – a perfect blend of suspense, mystery, secret codes, history and much more – I

immediately put it down in my to-read list. The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason.

The book, basically, revolves around how two friends, about to graduate from Princeton, are on the verge of of solving the codes in the Hypnerotomachia and the sudden murder of a fellow researcher makes them realize they are in danger.

Well, I got to read the book recently. And I wasn’t disappointed. It was worth the wait. Most reviews compare it positively to the Da Vinci Code, some say it is a mixture of Dan Brown and Umberto Eco. Personally, if you ask me, I’d say: a Dan Brown fan would like the book, definitely. But the Rule of Four is no Da Vinci Code. The latter was about secret codes, symbology, secret societies, religion with elements like suspense, murder, fast-paced action…you know what I’m talking about. If you notice, the Da Vinci Code does not dwell too much on emotional aspects, relationships and the like.

What I felt after reading the Rule of Four is that it is predominantly about friendship, love, family, emotions; about how the Hypnerotomachia affects the relationships of the protagonist. What the Da Vinci Code lacks in emotional aspects, the Rule of Four more than makes up for it. And I loved the book, especially because of that! The best part, I think, is that amidst all the emotions, the

Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason

Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason

suspense never takes a backseat. Which is kind of difficult to maintain when you’re trying to juggle quite a few genres in a single novel. Even though some reviews I found online criticized this ‘juggling of genres’ as ineffective, I found it interesting and, to be honest, distinct for a novel that is basically categorized as suspense/thriller. Or maybe, it’s just me and my perspective. I expected to find a pure mystery and got something with more depth and emotions than a mere thriller. So, while some might think it was overrated, I’d say: I LOVED it!

Here’s a passage from it that I absolutely loved:

“…that the present is simply a reflection of the future. Imagine that we spend our whole lives staring into a mirror with the future at our backs, seeing it only in the reflection of what is here and now. Some of us would begin to believe that we could see tomorrow better by turning around to look at it directly. But, those who did, without even realizing it, would’ve lost the key to the perspective they once had. For the one thing they would never be able to see in it was themselves. By turning their backs on the mirror, they would become the one element of the future their eyes could never find.”

If you’ve read the book, do let me know what you think. Did you like it? 

Intensely Lucky

While some books are a breezy read, there are some that move your mind…perhaps with a slight shudder or a tremor, or it may have the effect of a rough jolt on your mind. The book I’m reading right now falls in the latter category.

Since I moved to this new place in October, my mornings start with a cup of coffee and some time of peaceful reading, sitting out in the balcony area, while the neighbourhood wakes up around me. When I opened Lucky by Alice Sebold, one morning, recently, I never thought I’d have to rethink about the phrase used earlier: peaceful reading. 

LuckyLucky is not an easy read, not the kind of book you can breeze through. It tugs at your heart, firmly clutches on to your thoughts in a way very few books will. If I had to describe it in one word, I would certainly use ‘intense’. On the morning I started reading it, right after the first couple of pages or so, I was disturbed, pained and moved. Like, by those few pages, something had changed in my world.

Lucky is a memoir by Alice Sebold, author of the bestselling and critically acclaimed The Lovely Bones. If you have read The Lovely Bones, you will know how powerful Sebold’s writing is. It is bold, open and distinct. No tough words or phrases, nothing complex. She does not use subtle synonyms to describe a situation; she says it as it is, plain, straightforward. Lucky recounts her experience of beingalice sebold raped when she was in her freshman year at college and goes on to describe how it changed the rest of her life. The book was all the more disturbing for me because of the fact that it’s not merely a story; it details exactly what a young girl went through, for real.

Sebold has portrayed the emotions and situations so intensely that I couldn’t help but feel the 19-year-old Alice was a part of me. I could feel her pain and confusion, the joys of friendship, the problems in her family… Her writing is intense, it pulls you into the book, implores you to try and feel what Alice must have gone through. I had loved Sebold’s writing style after reading The Lovely Bones. And it’s no different this time.

Lucky is a powerful book; a raw, intense read. It has moved me, touched me…and, like The lovely-bonesLovely Bones, I know this is one book that will fail to leave my mind. Highly recommended. And, if you haven’t read The Lovely Bones, that is yet again another highly recommended book.

Some lines I really loved, from the book.

“I live in a world where two truths coexist: where both hell and hope lie in the palm of my hand”

“Since then I’ve always thought that under rape in the dictionary it should tell the truth. It is not just forcible intercourse; rape means to inhabit and destroy everything.”

 

Thoughts, On The Way

Some people can intimidate you. It’s normal. Some books can have the same effect on you (or is it just me?). Again, normal. But, last weekend, while travelling, I realized something strange. Places intimidate me. Like hell. And when I say places, I’m not merely referring to tall buildings, huge structural wonders. I’m talking about the place, as a whole. When I travel to new (or even old) places, I realize how less I know about it. More like how much of it is left for me to know, to see. And that is extremely intimidating. For me, atleast. I know it sounds weird. But then, that’s why I’m telling you about it.

When I go to a new place, the first emotion is always fascination, the awesome feeling that comes with knowing something new. And then, realization sets in. I look around and I see how much there’s left to be seen. Last weekend, I went to a friend’s place. The journey was special, because, after a long time, I got time by myself. Completely by myself. I observed some people, looked out at the passing sights, let my mind wander and thought up a hell lot.

Another weird thought that occurred to me was when I was just leaving the city where I currently reside. For a moment, I felt this pang of emotion. I can’t explain what exactly it was. Something similar to what I’d feel when I go away from home. I felt like I was leaving a place where I (kinda) belong, a place that has begun to feel like home for me. I was surprised at the thought. Because it’s only been a month since I moved to this city. And realizing that it has already begun to fit into the concept of ‘home’ was sort of overwhelming in some ways. Seems like I’ve accepted the city, though I’m not yet sure if the city has accepted me as a part of it. It probably doesn’t make sense to you. Or maybe it does (if you’re weird enough).