A weekend of unusual movie choices

I’ve been feeling lately that I am doing too much of the same thing over and again. A few days ago, I woke up from a dream with a pressing thought that my life needs more variety. (I’m pretty sure that these thoughts stem from the fact that I have an impending 30th birthday ahead; being the classic overthinker that I am, I have to compulsively review my 20s these days, and make mental notes of what went well and what didn’t.)
Anyways, I have since then decided to do less of what feels comfortable and familiar. So this weekend, when I found myself with some time on my hands, and an itch to watch a movie or two, I resolutely stayed away from the usual stuff , and watched a Tarantino movie and the new James Bond flick instead. The Bond movie was surprisingly fun to watch. I had formed an opinion ( without any basis seemingly) that Bond movies would have far too much fast-paced action for my liking – I can appreciate fast action in reasonable doses, but I need some calm conversation ( with no guns in the frame) every now and then to keep from spacing out. This one was fine though, atleast in my opinion, though it put to sleep the Bond fans I went with.
The other flick I watched was ‘Inglourious Basterds’. I’m glad I let my husband talk me into watching this movie! What glorious dialogue and acting!! I’m not much of a movie-buff – I can lose myself in a book far more naturally than in a movie. So, on the rare occasions when a movie does affect me this way, it has the added charm of novelty. From the brilliant opening scene right up to the end three hours later, the movie twists this way and that, turning sharp corners and mowing down most of the cast on its way. The beauty of the movie is in the plot as well as in the thousand clever details. Some of my favorite bits from the movie –

1. All of Hans Landa’s conversations!
2. Brad Pitt’s accent 🙂
3. The opening scene, in which the French guy bravely tries to keep his secret, until Hans wears him down. You can see the sudden hopelessness in his eyes as he realizes he is going to betray the people he is protecting.
4. The scene in which Shoshana and Hans are eating strudels. And the one immediately after he leaves, where her face finally crumples into the tears she’s been holding back.
5. Shoshana’s final face – off with Fredrick

I will probably not watch this again, because I don’t like how much I brood after such a movie ( which is why my usual go-to-genre is rom-com). But, no movie experience is ever complete to me these days without IMDB – and now that I’ve written this piece, I look forward to many happy hours on IMDB, absorbing every tiny bit of trivia and opinion 🙂


Notice-period musings

Of all the poetry that my English textbooks contained, the one that appealed most to my lazy soul was this poem called ‘Leisure’ by W.H Davies, the first few lines of which go like this –

“What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.”

If the ghost of W.H Davies is listening, I hope I gladden his ethereal heart with this pronouncement. I DO HAVE THE TIME! 🙂

Until very recently, I didn’t, and shortly in the future, I’m going to rejoin the ranks of the productive. But right now, I can out-do the most slothful cow or sheep in the staring department. Because I’m in the middle of that most delightful of times, called the notice-period.

I’ve had many laudatory thoughts about this phase, but to sum it all up..PAID VACATION! I don’t suppose everybody has it this easy – but because of a fortuitous combination of circumstances ( involving a delayed project, and a general slacking of requests coming to my team), I’ve basically been left to my own devices. I’ve fallen through a crack and am now mostly inconsequential here, the merest of mere spokes in the wheel that is my organization.

And the goodness doesn’t end with my suddenly-relaxed schedule. In my eight years here, I’ve had some fabulous acquaintances who’ve drifted away, or whom I have drifted away from. But now it feels like they’re all crawling out of the woodwork to bid me farewell. The cafeteria is suddenly teeming with folks I used to know and like. It’s like my company is going out of it’s way to give me closure – former cab-mates, former managers, a long line of former crushes.. I’m spotting them and talking to them all over the place.

One more thing I observe is the sudden excess of affection in my heart for this place that’s been my home away from home for so many years. The past few days, I’ve been looking tenderly at every last conference room and coffee-machine, and ordering things on the menu I never wanted to eat before, just because I want to sample everything before I leave. I like all my managers more, and am turning into a right old Cisco Loyalist. When I walk through the lovely grounds inside the campus, I feel like a fresh-from-the-oven college graduate all over again, overwhelmed and in complete awe. I’m now positively corny in my love for the place 🙂

The past month has made me a believer in the wholesomeness of this short rest-stop in a career. if life feels, well, lifeless, get yourself a notice-period situation.  If you’re lucky, you’ll get to rest your wearied limbs and have a ball of a time. But even if you’re a worker-bee until your last day,  there’s a sense almost of euphoria that accompanies this period of letting go and starting something new – a feeling, which if examined, would probably be equal parts liberation, optimism, and hope. It’s almost as exhilarating as falling in love, and not half as much trouble.

The only movie review you’ll find on this blog

I don’t write movie reviews, even when I have nothing else to write. Earlier, this was because of a tendency to like most movies in a lukewarm fashion, and not be critical enough, which hardly makes for interesting reviews. Of late, as a result of reading too much of the The Vigil Idiot, I’ve begun to sneer spontaneously as I enter a movie theater, which also is not the right attitude.

But this review I feel compelled to write, because cribbing about it hasn’t been enough. At home with the flu last week, I binge-watched Visu’s ‘socially progressive’ movies of the 1980s. I remember loving these movies when I was growing up, for the snappy, well-placed dialogues. The re-watching left me appalled at the treatment of women in these movies! Our society and our movies have really come a loong loong way since the 1980s! Amongst my peeves..

1. The assumption that marriage is the only honorable career-path for a woman. In one of these movies, there’s this chap with a list of conditions that he wants any prospective bride to fulfill. Enter a marriage-broker, on a mission to marry off as many girls as possible, as a penance for having rejected a girl in his youth. Inspired by him, all and sundry conspire in marrying the hapless groom to a girl who does not meet even one of his conditions ( the girl is chosen by the marriage-broker by picking up a horoscope at random). And the marriage-broker/old-wise-man-of-the-movie maintains until the end that he was right in doing so because the girl was languishing in her unmarried state, and needed a husband at the earliest.

2. The daughters-in-law in these movies are of two different cookie-cutter moulds – One is all pureness and giant golden halo, with a never-dying tolerance for getting slapped. The other is the ‘bad woman’ – wears ‘modern’ clothes, is free-spirited , and gasp! expects a man who treats her reasonably and with respect.

3. One of his movies talks about the impact of working women on the family environment and finances. It takes you through the pros and cons by contrasting two families ( one where the wife is at home, and one with a working wife) and their highs and tribulations. The movie ends with this disturbing moral – ” It is ok to ALLOW your wife to work if you really need the money for sustenance, but it is not ok to SEND your wife to work just because you want a more luxurious life” ( that sounded less clunky in Tamil) Gah!!

4. A father beats his daughter to the ground, on the merest suspicion that she has been ‘associating’ with boys. In fact, there’s not one movie amongst these where the daughter/wife doesn’t get manhandled at one point or the other. What gives, I say!!

(Childhood-me, I’m tempted to despise your taste. Your memories even led me to recommend these movies to other people, including an already-cynical-about-tam-movies husband. But I guess you just didn’t know any better.)

Never again a Visu movie!

On REALLY letting go.

I once read this very poignant quote – “All life is simply a process of letting go”. I’m usually very impressionable about anything written between quotation marks, attributed to anybody with a famous-sounding name ( in all fairness, I’m also a sucker for any zen/buddhist quotes, and anything written by ‘anonymous’). And so I instantly found a variety of personal experiences to fit the quote, though I would have done just the same had it been ” All life is a process of serendipity” or even ” A good breakfast solves most evils”.

But this one was particularly meaningful when I read it, since I was just getting over a relationship that had screeched to a painful halt. The quote cheered me up quite a bit..If letting go was such a garden-variety occurrence of life, if there was simply no getting away from it, then people had been doing so for centuries past, and so could I. But as I realized later, letting go did not happen naturally, not for me, and maybe not for many other people. Memories of a relationship had to be consciously evicted from my everyday mind – good times purposefully tucked away to a corner of the soul, to be visited only rarely, and bad times cried over many times, before being relegated to some dark nothingness in the depths of nowhere. I did let go, though not very soon, and not effortlessly. And my efforts were of the variety that inconvenienced a lot of close and kind friends at ungodly hours. I had to analyze, dissect, read, discuss, rationalize ad infinitum, before I could be at peace.

Lately I’ve been wondering if one must always live with a slight imprint of the past. Is it possible for a bond that once existed, to become completely irrelevant? I’d imagined that the emotions associated with the past would fade away steadfastly and reliably, with the passage of time – like an attenuating sine wave. There would be the occasional peaks and troughs, but they’d be muted, harmless pulses. And eventually there wouldn’t be even that. But I haven’t yet seen proof of that final closing of the doors. There lingers a tiny flitting channel to the past, a barely-there ghost. It does not bother me much. I could live with it if I had no choice. But oh, I wish I knew how to exorcise it!

Heavy weather

Ennui lands thick and sure of itself
On a dreary damp evening
That was just a while ago alive and rainbow-kissed
And gloriously full of hidden adventure

Now the raindrops lay huddled in pools
Wanly reflecting disgruntled faces
And inconsiderate wheels splashing
Their way through the city

The very air is glum and sulking
And frowning and brooding
There’s heavy weather out there
And in my mind too, this night

9 things that only people who read lists on the net understand

1. Lists are addictive. You may dislike reading them, but you’ll read through to the end.

2. Most lists are black-and-white, and sure of themselves, like the above point.

3. After you’ve read a few, you realize they’re easy to write – even easier than bad poetry. There’s nothing stopping you from writing one yourself, and that is how you help perpetuate the listicle epidemic.

4. You can always relate to a few points in a list, and depending on your level of gullibility, convince yourself into believing the rest.

5. These points are mostly bunk, but you knew that already.

6. Like any successful gimmick, lists are designed to make their target audience feel smug for being able to understand and relate to something that most people cannot. You may know this, but you read on and feel smug.

7. After a while, you cannot read long, high-on-content articles anymore. Unless they’re bullet-pointed and flattering to your ego.

8. And even if they are, you’re like, where is the GIF that will explain to me what I could understand just as well from the writing, if I only focused a little.

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9. As much as one part of you cannot help reading list after list, there’s one more part wishing sincerely for the extinction of this format, and soon.

One year

One year in, and

You’re still awesome, you didn’t turn out to be

A wolf in sheep’s clothing – because you see,

With people who seem as awfully nice as you,

One has to account for that eventuality too.

One year in, and

You’re still hot, you’ve got the charm,

Still plenty of toned muscles in your arms.

And now you’ve got a stubble too, which in my eyes,

makes you sexy as sin.

One year in, and

You’re even more kind and sweet,

There’s more love in you than words could ever mean.

Warmth runs through me, head to feet

When I think of you, and the year that has been.