Sunday, April 29, 2007

Just for a while..

I wish I could smile,
I wish I could study
wish I could concentrate
just for a while ..

I wish I could smile
I wish I could laugh
wish I had the courage
just for a while...

I wish I could smile
wish I could live
wish I could hold on
just for a while.... "

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Little Gestures..

"We got you something," said my mom when she came home today.

I got all excited. A gift!! From my mom-dad!! Reasonless-ly!!

Out of the huge lumpy plastic bag, dad drew a bulky pack. I could see a soft white background color, with little orange and green flowers and a Mehendi green trim. A quilt!!!

Now I am someone who loves to sleep, and hence loves anything which makes my sleep more comfortable, so soft-toys, pillows, bedsheets, pillow-cases, heck even the atmosphere.

"You can take this to US with you," Mom says gently.

I froze for a second. Waited to get my emotions back in check and extracted the Mehendi-trimmed quilt from the plastic wrap and hugged it. While I was beaming a thankoo smile to my them, Dad removes another similar package. One more quilt.

Bewildered, he said, "Oh, you're going to take two quilts with you"

"No," Mom said, "that one's for me. She'll wrap herself with it there, and I'll wrap myself with it here. And we'll both remember each other that way."

I just about melted with that one. And while I write this the quilt lies curled at my feet, like a satisfied, fat cat. I'm already breaking the new quilt in. I want the scent of my room to hang on to it when I use it there. And the scent of my mother.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Revelation after the Class of '84

Disclaimer: Everyone mentioned in this post, is non-fictional, but their fictitious names hold no resemblance or connection to their real names at all. If you feel that I have referred to you in this post, then please refrain from questioning me about it. I will not be able to answer in the affirmative or negative. If you are sure you are mentioned and want to give in your two bits, then you are most welcome.

After I spent an afternoon venting out my inner fury on paints and glass, and trying to harbor some kind of a working peace, I finally ventured out for a play. A play I had been meaning to catch from quite a long time. Class of '84.

By the time I left my home, I was agitated and piqued. "I'll never understand relationships," I said to myself. From the last few days, I have been trying to understand the relationships I share with my friends. I have been highly confused, resulting in irritable, resulting in rude and resulting in absolute solitary confinement.

And this was the perfect time to see Class of '84...

I searched Google all I could, but I got no pics, so people reading this will just have to visualize my words. A play about 8 friends, one death, one beach house, one mystery person and several interlinked relationships.

We have Raveena Mehra, ex-girlfriend of Jojo, now married to Sanjay Mehra (Rituraj) who is a stifled housewife, who has a lot of reality effused into her character. She is married to a man who is a banker by day, banker by night, and a husband and father, every alternate Sundays and a pompous ass at all times.

Jojo, is the dead one. The gang has come together for his funeral, and have then bunked the night at Ravz' and Sanjay's beach house. And over the course of the play, we realize that he was a hot tempered, loyal, and fierce activist of social causes. He has also died a mysterious death.

Sarah Musa is a page 3 columnist who mixes with the high-flyers and writes columns in several newspapers about sex, scandal and whathaveyou. She comes across as an opportunist with a good enough reason to be so, and a practical woman who oozes sex appeal at all times.

Raghu aka Ragz (my pet name too!!), is a failed film maker, still waiting for his big break. He has some liaisons which are deadly, and is a cynical, angry man. His Mallu ass is wanted by quite the wrong kind of people. He is a baddie on the outside, always pulling people down, but a softie inside.

Bobby (Rajat Kapoor), is a small time actor, wanting to make it big. He has done one serial, "Inspector Raj, Apradhiyo ka Yamraj," which just goes through reruns now. He is coveting that one break too, which would push him into big league.

Cyrus, also called as Charsi in the play, is constantly stoned Parsi smoking pot. He has a so-called inheritance to his name, and has had a thing for sexy Sarah for the last 22 years. But he never told her any. He supposedly owns a restaurant styled shack in Goa which is not really his anymore.

Fuzzy or whatever her real name in the play is ( Paro Chisti actually), is another Parsi female, desperate for a guy in her life, an feng-shui expert, and a breathing and pranayam expert. She is slow with jokes, is apprehensive of saying SEX, and is the constant butt of jokes in her gang. She thinks of the gang as her family.

Now these 8 people have drifted apart over the years, and been sporadically in touch with each other. There are a lot of undercurrents flowing between each relationship, and each character. The friends pull each other's leg, rag a person's failure, but the silent support is still there. Despite the fact that each character, and by that I mean each and every character has a flaw. If i reveal these, then I'll be revealing the plot so I will just shut-up with that much. But inspite of these flaws, all the friends support each other. They don't judge the person on his failures or shortcomings of character. Each character has a secret he or she is holding on to, which contributes to the entire suspense in someway, but by the end of the play, they bond together, come close and while some reveal their secrets, some prefer not telling all. Jojo's friend Nikki, Zafar Karanchiwala (THE HUNK!!), spills a lot of beans, and plants himself where he does not originally belong, in the beach house.

From the past few days, I have been battling with relationship issues. Not the girlfriend-boyfriend kinds, but all kinds of relationships. I have been questioning the behaviour and the character flaws of the people who I associate with. I have been questioning their flaws, and wondering that if they are so flawed why would I take the friendship ahead.

There was someone, lets say S, who dithered from hard-work. Extremely loyal to friends, but when it comes to the team, S turned selfish. Not only are S' priorities unbalanced, but the definition of right and wrong is often sullied by personal preferences. I have had a falling out with S once before too, when S asked me for my opinion, and brutal that I am with words, I spilled out the hard truth, which dint sit too well with the receptive party. Then I had decided to not ever dole out my opinion to S. Even if the consequences S had to to face because of that were worse. When the team was to be given flak for bad work, S escaped, tail between legs (दुम दबाके kinds), which I found disgusting. I discussed this with a common friend, who tried to explain to me, that people had to be accepted with their flaws. And I refused. I said I was under no obligation to remain friends with S, just because of fierce loyalty towards me once before.

I had been dissecting this and agonizing over it.

And then, a friend of mine, N, who became close to me in the most offhanded manner possible, unconsciously cast me in the same mould as his other friends. This is seriously unacceptable to me. When I am close to someone, and when someone is close to me, it is an individual thing. I don't expect to me cast in the same mould as the rest of the people around. This made me rethink my relationship here. I was expecting too much out of someone who did not even think along those lines. But if my close friend can't think along my lines, then who can?

Another, say K, is just has hot-headed as me. But in anger, K says things, which hurt and which might not necessarily be true. I wondered if I should hold on for the sake of the relationship, or let go when it becomes too much for me take.

After constantly snapping at one and all, carrying around a rude disposition and trying to unwind with painting, its the play that helped.

S could be accepted with the faults, I realized, I just needed to draw a line about how much S would matter to me. Not much, I decided, and hence S will remain nothing more than just a friend. S and S' actions need not mean more. Meaning that I wouldn't cut off myself completely but I sure would know where to limit myself.

The next friend, N, too was not totally wrong. I was just focusing too much on the mould. I would just continue being unpredictable, and different, and then we would see how much of the mould fit me. And I did not want to, and did not need to be that consious about N after all.

K, was a difficult matter, because K was among those who you never let go off. Even if the distances increases, the relationship blooms quietly. And I realized, that if I'd just keep my calm for a few days, try to get things back to normal, and tell K, that I value and have faith in our friendship. That no matter what, the only thing which would keep me sane would be knowing that K is hurting. Things would be fine.

Another friend, J, also one of those who you never let go off, was getting back to normal with me. J and me had a falling out. Issues over behaviour and rights. But things were getting back to normal in the past few days. This relationship did not confuse me, but backed me more.

I came home calm and collected. My mind had stopped murdering itself. Things were clearer, and my vision was crystal. I had a lovely time, saw a lovely play, had an awesome dinner with my parents, and came back home late enough to sleep while writing this blog. Peace in my dreams and peace in my life.

Rajat Kapoor is absolutely brilliant. He essays his role to perfection, so much so that even his body language is typically that of Mumbai's wannabe star, who dresses dhinchak, talks big, and has nothing in his hand actually. His one liners, "one shot straight on the spot", are hilarious and the spine of the play. Ravz is so casually normal that one would almost believe that she really is a mother of two, and the wife of a banker. Rituraj plays pompous ass, Sarah is a sex kitten and Fuzzy is the scatter-brained little girl, aching for a baby and a man in her life. All have done justice to their roles. Ragz is pretty good, as is Cyrus. Then we come to Zafar, I might be biased about this, because I have always admired the guy, since his Hip Hip Hurray days. Zafar is absolutely slick, charming and young dashing guy, who manages to sweep them all of their feet. All eight characters, share amazing chemistry and a very evident comfort level.

The plot is a little weak. No, actually, the climax is ill-handled. a let-down more like. Not an anti-climax, but not quite a climax too. But the theme and feeling of the play has been well communicated the audience.

It's easy to forgive the small little flaws.. in the play, in life
and in our relationships, if we concentrate on the better part of the road we are travelling on...

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Namesake, and what it stirs up..

**I could have called this a spoiler warning, but really, there is nothing about the movie that can be divulged.**

Books are beautiful. They weave stories, images, characters around the reader. But these images don't always translate into pictures, moving pictures or movies.

The Namesake (ध नेमसेक) is one such story. The characters, the flow, the performance, the direction and the editing are all flawless. So are the locales. But the only flaw in the movie is that it is not meant to be a movie. It is a book. And it is meant to be only a book.

I have not read the original. But the movie has been made so beautifully, that I can imagine how wonderful the book must be. The movie just makes for a wonderful read. Nothing more. And that hurts. Jhumpa Lahiri is a very good writer. Which reflects in the movie. But whoever did the screenplay and adaption, forgot to make the book into a movie.

The story sketches the life of a Bengali family settled in New York. And like a book which sketches the lives of several characters, even this follows the various dramas, loves, loses and lives. Among the many kinds of loves shown in this movie, the love shared between Ashok(Irfan) and Ashima(Tabu) is the most beautiful. It is a quiet kind of love, which I imagine the generation above us has actually gone through. Their yearning for India too is another kind of love. Then is their love for their children, Sonia(Sahira Nair) and Gogol ( Kal Penn). Also, there is Ashok's love for Nikolai Gogol and his book, The Overcoat. And the reason why he named his son so. "We all came from The Overcoat, remember that," he says forebodingly.

We follow the lives of their children and their growing up process. Typical teenagers, grow up to be typical Americanized Indians. Sonia is sidetracked quite a bit, because the story, as the name suggests, is about the namesake of Gogol the author. Gogol distances himself from his parents, believes in living life the American way and keeping distance within the family. But when his father passes away, he realizes his true self. Or True Indian Self. He comes back to home, and everything homely. Spends time with his family. Enter new love. Falls for a Bengali family friend, who has had a dubious past, and marries her. Gogol and Bong Beauty Maushumi. But life is not blissful after marriage as Moushami returns to her dubious and very French past.

And finally Gogol finds freedom in the most unimaginable way. While Ashima, returns to her motherland to restart her singing since that gives her true peace. Sonia is happily married to an American, who does try his best to fit into the great Indian Bengali Family, and is pretty accepted too.

With a cast full of stunning performers like Kal Penn, Tabu and Irfan Khan, being directed by Mira Nair, the movie is bound to be good. But if you are more of a book reader kinds, I think you might leave the theatre with a craving for the book. At best, the movie act like a trailer or an advert for the book, because it will compel you to acquire the book and read it to be able to be sated with the story and the thoughts started by the movie.

I wondered for sometime after the movie was over. I was trying to gather my thoughts to be able to comment on the movie. And while I commented, there was a nagging thought in my mind.

Marriage is not disposable

Gogol accepts Maushami and all her baggage। Like a true Indian Boyfriend, he asks her how many lovers she has had। And like a True Americanized youth, he lets it go when lady love bites his lip and says, "You don't want to know". No problems with this bit. He asked, she shrugged it off and so did he. And then they got married.

Then why is it important to show their marriage breaking up because she is going back to her past. Is marriage that disposable? This thought comes just a few days after I chatted with a few girl-friends and wise people about what compromises a woman. A lot of affairs and boyfriends?

One friend, P, very conservative, shook her head and said, "If a woman has a lot of love affairs, she is characterless"

Another, T, who I consider quite broadminded, because of her carrying-ons, agreed. But when i put the question again in front of her, asking her if she truly believes that a woman who has had a number of boyfriends is characterless. Someone who dates a guy, has a relationship, the relationship reaches a point where it ends, and then she gets over it, and dates someone new.

"Uh.. putting it that way, maybe not," she says.

Another wise one says, "A woman who sells her body for money to fill her stomach is more respectable than one who uses it for pleasure." Thus spake the wise one. I still fail to understand or agree with this one. But there are some people who's philosophies in life can NOT be changed. Today as I blog about this and open this to discussion, I will also put up this debate in front of my oldest friends. And see what they have to say about this.

After they finish hitting me for making the mood heavy.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Apply, reject, apply some more.. vicious circle..

One more reject...

That's a sad note to start the post with. But It is a fact. A fact I have learnt to accept easily. Funny is'nt it? One rejection, kind of prepares you for another of the same kind. Even if the next one is a bigger disaapointment.. University of Texas at Austin ( UT-Austin) ... ofcourse the school is mindblowing, but its quite surprising that I got through University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign ( UIUC) , and dint get through UT. But it is supposed to be the other way round. Like it happened with my senior. She wants UIUC, but got rejected there, and doesn't want UT-Austin and got accepted there. Why do I always want the weirder things in life?

Here I am, accept at UIUC, reject at UT-Austin. Well, that dwindles my chances of chucking the great American Dream to 50%. Now it's all in Virginia Commonwealth University's hands.. the rest of the 50%. And my application to VCU has been zipped and shipped last night, finally. After I completed their exhausting screening process. Now let's see where fate takes us.

Meanwhile, Applicating to MICA starts tonight..