Sunday, January 6, 2019

A year into loss


I never intended to write this for there is nothing that I wish to tell you that I ain’t telling you every day. It is exactly the 366th day since I have started shattering gravely. Whomsoever said “Hard times makes you strong” weren’t right totally. That was only half the truth. The other is “Hard times make you weak”. Errr.. Weakest. Sometimes they throw to the point from which you can’t bounce back.

People who met me on this day last year saw a strong girl with the capability of building things from scratch and mend broken hearts. I looked like a stone pillar and they said “Look at her. She is no less than a man both in managing emotions and everything else. She is matured, balanced, fierce with grace and dignity”. Some looked up to me. Some drew inspiration from me. Some wished for a daughter like me. Since that day to today, no one saw my graph of deterioration. No one saw how my deepest fears took precedence over the little hope I had. I was introduced to persistent sadness, anxiety, emptiness and unknown fears of becoming lost in the pursuit of survival.

Devastation inside me didn’t happen like demolition of a building where in one ago ruining happens sans disturbing the foundation. In my case, it was akin to a natural disaster that leaves no trace of existence. I am shaken in the deepest of roots. I am being pushed into darkness inch by inch day by day. With this pace and growing disappointment in life in general, I shall fall into a major crisis if this prolongs for some more time. Keeping a straight face and showing resilience is only being done for two poor souls that still have dreams for me.

I am not exaggerating or joking when I say I sometimes crave for eternal peace. This world is making it extremely difficult to live and I don’t find enough motivation to look forward. I am experiencing something beyond grief. I don’t pray for good days anymore. I only wish for normal days. My dreams have started diminishing and the passion to fight back is dead. I don’t remember the number of times I have looked into the sky, took deep breath and asked to take three of us together into another blissful world devoid of pain. And there are countless times I was angry on you for not fighting with the death. The champ who could argue in the courtrooms couldn’t convince the keeper? Above all, the fact that you left me in this tornado to sail all by myself is merciless.

However, I am convinced that perhaps the only thing that can fix all this is a miracle that will make our lives a little better. From the deep pit I am in, I only pray for enough strength till I see a way to come out. Strength to endure the days before I see monsoon in my life. I only urge you to send me positive vibes till I find someone who can lend their shoulder for me to lean on, lead me to the light and hold my hand firm. Till then, I promise to not give up. Even if it is occasional, come into my dreams, guide me to overcome situations, light up days or just show your smile.

Your Sister

Self Love

It is 3.30 Am and it has been nearly 3 hours since I have been trying to console my aching heart. The salty water mixed with the resident kohl from my eyes has been dropping on the white pillow leaving a permanent mark. Both on my white pillow and heavy heart. It isn’t about the particular incident of unanticipated trouble and the entailed unpleasant consequences.

A greater realization, a concealed truth that I have been conveniently ignoring awakened me by slapping on my face, took the spotlight and is now hurting me. Badly. Period. The people that I love, rely upon, trust, admire and play a big part in my life are always going to hurt me. Despite my careful choice to let in selective population post observation, people still end up hurting me knowingly or unknowingly. Not once or thrice, this has happened many times in the past. This is a repetitive phenomenon. “Where does the problem lie?” I Ponder! If it is repetitive, then it isn’t an external problem right? It is internal, definitely. And, it would really be foolish to blame anyone. Because, you see, isn’t it my foolishness to expect someone to reciprocate the feelings with the same intensity as I do? To think they would go a little extra to do something for me like I do? To assume that they like and respect me as I do? My careful retrospection and introspection reveals that the main problem is “Expectations”. It is high time that I make peace with this and understand it objectively.

Now that I understood the root cause, I should try to kill the evil - “Expectations”. It isn’t as easy as gulping a fermented juice. But, a three way approach might help to handle it better. The first of the three way model is to get into shallow relationships. I need to be vigilant, cautious while defining new relationships. Being acquaintances is the best of all the relationships. Anything beyond it will lead to disappointments. So, I should draw lines, keep distance and only smile. Do not let anyone peep into my mind. I should stop madly putting my heart and soul into relationships that I think are worthy. Let it be shallow or nothing at all.

The second and the most important is to practice being “stoic”. As long as I remain stoic, nothing has the capability to break me. The transition from highly sensitive to stoic is time taking. The tendency of the brain and heart to return to its original state is high. However, I shouldn’t stop trying. Day be day, I shall progress a little and one day I shall win over it.

The last, viable and the easiest of the three is mastering “Selfless love” and “forgiveness”. Undeniably, altruism is easier said than done. How do I tell myself to just give and not expect anything.  To do my bit and settle on the corner chair. To cling to myself and no one else even in the worst of the scenarios. Look at the Sun. It only knows to give light burning itself inside. Who is beside it, behind it or above it? None in the near space. But, it does exist in the far away land and is highly functional. Be that burning star that only knows to illuminate. My illumination should be my empathy.

A contented heart needs nothing. I must try to over pour my heart with enough love that I shouldn’t have space to accept love that is coming from outside. In the short span of life here, I shouldn’t get into petty things like being accepted, loved, respected and pampered. These aren’t necessary to survive. Become that high functioning machine that focuses on self development, self activities avoiding people rather immersing more into yourself. My task is only to finish the jobs assigned, take up the responsibilities, earn and die. For the work I do, for the help I extend, for the smile I carry, I need no gratitude, compliment and reciprocation. Master the art of spreading only love in every sense.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Mothers and Daughters

She is magnanimous

An unusual phenomenon

that runs rapid and copious

that stands still in calamities

that endures the pain of falling branches

She flows in me

I am not just made from her X chromosome

I inherited cells from her courageous heart, determined mind, strong bones

A fraction that she has moulded

to become fearless, persistent, resilient

A part that she has prepared

to fight, handle a turmoil, a devastating storm

I owe her my everything

for raising me not as a princess

but as a warrior princess

Movie Review - C/o Kancherapalem

C/o Kancherapalem stands tall in the new wave of Telugu Cinema. Unlike other urban setup plots, this story exposes us to the rural encompassment. Interestingly and surprising, most of the actors are chosen from the real village Kancherapalem in the state of Andhra Pradesh where the entire shooting took place.

The movie opens with a sunrise and the plot is set in the village. As the Harikatha in the background plays, the scene opens with a person opening four frames of an old window early in the morning. The scene though is intriguing, visually attractive, it doesn’t make any sense to the audience. Little web would know that the director has not just opened the window frames, but wants to tell us four touching love stories.

The stories revolves around a 10 year old kid Sundaram and his classmate cum crush Sunitha, an early twenties boy Joseph who falls in love with a Brahmin girl Bharghavi, a thirty year old man Gaddam and his love Saleema and a fifty year old Raju and a 42 year old widow Radha. Each mini story is layered, woven beautifully breaking many barriers, stereotypes and beliefs.

In the puppy track between Sundaram and Sunitha, the director breaks the barrier of rich and poor, religious beliefs.Sweet conversations that start with “ee ammayi sunitha”, “ee abbayi Sundaram”, the old style colourful lyrics book, the village accent of English is well blended to bring that freshness.

Joseph and Bharghavi’s unpleasant meetings slowly turn into happy moments that leads to love. As Joseph leaves the village in search of a stable livelihood, Bharghavi succumbs to the situation her father’s throws at her. A strong, outgoing, vehement character like Bharghavi giving up on her love is little unconvincing but the director leaves it upon us to find convincing answers without showing us explicitly the reasons.

The middle age love story is a sincere and honest love track and it raises bar on all aspects. It is about how the charming wine shop worker Gaddam ingeniously falls in love with a prostitute just by looking at her eyes. . A big salute to the director for writing a character like Gaddam, who doesn’t flinch or show an ounce of regret even after knowing that Saleema is a prostitute and he agrees to all her conditions to get married to her.

Another mini story revolves around an attender Raju, a newly transferred Oriya officer Radha and her daughter Aditi. Raju is a sensible man. One particular dialogue where he says “he doesn’t believe in God and he believes in Humans around him” tells much about a person he is. Radha, a window falls for Raju after spending sometime with her as Raju helps her learn Telugu, helps her with fitness tips and other errands. When Radha’s brother creates ruckus, objects her wish to marry Raju, it is her feminist daughter who plays a vital role in taking the story ahead.

First half of the movie appears to be moving at a low pace but the director pulls it off brilliantly in the second half. After some heartbreaks, misfortunes, loss, and tragedies, you wouldn’t know if you will be left with a smile or broken heart at the end. The last few minutes is gripping and the director successfully convinces us of the happenings, instills light in our wailing hearts and makes us accept the tragedies-giving the positive outlook to the story as well as a message to the audience. Overall, the director focuses on the subject “love”, however, he blatantly touches societal stereotypes on religion, age, caste, community and class.

Kudos to Venkatesh Nama for giving us the flavour of real life characters sans makeup, managing shooting with 86 inexperienced actors, bringing conversational humour, go-with-the flow music, discreet-vociferous female characters, appealing silhouette movie poster and good cinematography. Special mention about the actors Mohan Bhagat, Praneeta Patnaik, Nithyashree Goru for nailing their characters. No wonder it made to the New York Film Festival.

The movie falls behind on some technical aspects yet it leaves you in awe, comes to your homes to stay with you forever. C/o Kancherapalem is like the charming moon in the sky. Even with its spots, it radiates beauty and makes you fall in love.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Art and I

Art didn’t happen to me overnight. Art wasn’t an epiphany to me. Art was there since the time I started remembering things. Though the forms of expression has changed over time.

Art has been my soul friend and secured a highest place in my life that not even my future partner would reach. When depression struck me, when uncertainties touched, when I was rejected, when people distanced, when life failed me, art stood by me. Art flows in varied forms in each of my nerve cells like an uninterrupted river. Be it paints and brushes, be it toy making, be it music, be it poetry or stories. Art has become my voice. Things I couldn’t vocally express gushed out this way. So, it is not a mere form of expression but something of esteem importance to me.

It is my addiction and medicine. Art is my comforter. Healer. It’s like a mother’s lap that is always ready to hold me irrespective of age or circumstances. Art and I co-exist without any expectations or egos. We strike that perfect balance. External factors have hardly any influence on us. We will cherish our companionship and will be ever grateful. Don’t get offended if any day I choose art over you. Because I know it will never fail me. It will never close its doors on my face. It will extend its arms to hug me and wipe off tears on my face. We will travel together till I reach my grave and hopefully after life too if I manage to leave decent works to the next generations.

P.S. Nothing related to the above:
People at times fall for my art and try to convince me that they are impressed with me and have developed feelings for me. There is a difference I say. In case you love my art, you will only become my admirer. Never you will become my lover. Instead, reach out to my heart. Look into my head. Be genuine. Understand the subtleties. Start loving me first. Me and my art shall love you back and soon you shall become a subject or muse to my art.

The irony of my life

I am a post graduate with few years of work experience. I am trained in classical music. I write. Few articles of mine got published. I try my hands on painting and hand crafts at times. I keep myself busy with activities like reading, designing, poetry reading, teaching.. etc. I was an above average student with laurels in my academics. I have had moments of accomplishments and instances of being awarded on the stage (for good reasons of course). And a handful of times I was successful in instilling motivation, positivity to people and girls around me.

My activities keep me on my feet all the time. when I am awake, I am either doing any of the above activities, or thinking on working on my skills, or curiously learning a new skill or there is an interesting story cooking in my head.

But, none of these has any value. All that I have achieved doesn’t matter. The only thing of prime importance is how well I know my kitchen, more specifically the domestic chores. I am judged every single day on the so called “Womanly” skills like cleaning, dusting, cooking, washing, sweeping, mopping and puja paat.

In the end, everything boils down to “whatever you did is appreciative, but, do you know how to cook and clean?”

If only there is a male in my place, I wonder if the expectations are same.

Not that I fail at those things. I have lived independently in the India’s busiest city balancing my work, hobbies and household chores for a good 5 years. I can proudly say, I can cook well, clean spic and span, wash stains, book gas or carpenter, fix a tube light, change sheets periodically, pay bills on time and have successfully pulled it off when my maid disappeared. Bruh! I am a veteran and may be I can perform extremely well with my spontaneity. Moreover, I can apply operational efficiency concepts, can use management skills and leverage technology.

Excuse me, may I now ask

If only there is a male in my place, will the expectations be same?

Aakasa Vedilo Andala Jabili - Movie Review

There have been instances in the past where a movie that has been extremely acclaimed didn’t please me and my macroscopic eye easily found flaws in the screenplay. Initially, I was sceptical about watching this movie too having heard about the persistent 4.5 or 5 stars the movie has garnered. Having learnt some details about Savithri gaaru’s (Not Savithri, you see) life, frankly, I wasn’t too enthusiastic about watching this assuming the movie wouldn’t appeal me.

It is challenging and imposes a great responsibility on the shoulders of a story teller to tell a story that is known to the audience. But, this man NagAshwin is something. He has a way to put known things on the plate in an interesting way that can glue any kind of audience. The screenplay is at another level with zero imperfections. Honestly, more than the screenplay, it is this story that mesmerised me.

Keerthy Suresh lived through the character. Her sheer beauty, the costumes, her facial expressions will take you through the golden era of Cinema. The impact of the character could have been more had Keerthy Suresh opted for a voice over instead of using her own voice. Savithri amma’s voice in original is sharp and Keerthy has a husky soft voice. I haven’t watched any other Dulquer’s movie so can’t say much of his earlier performances. He was good in this though. Maadhuravani and Anthony’s characters are well built and the director explicitly shows how both the characters have evolved as the story reaches the climax. Of all roles Samantha has played in her career, this character as a stammering journalist with huge glasses gave her an opportunity to showcase her acting skills. Mr. Devarakonda carries his magic as always. Who doesn’t fall for him. I am no exception.

Kudos to the director for recreating the old cinema magic and choosing the characters perfectly well. Shalini Pandey, Krish, Tharun Bhaskar, Prakash Raj, Dr. Mohan Babu, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Divya Vani, Bhanupriya and others were a perfect fit to the characters given to them. Background music and few songs took the film to another level. “Chivaraku migiledi” will leave you in tears.

Savithri Amma’s life is a story of love, passion, the rise and downfall, broken, betrayal and pain. There was none. There will be none. There is only one Mahaanati. Saavithri gaaru- An epitome of immense love and compassion.