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.

. stick_figure_search_clues_anim_500_wht

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.

Unrequited

For years, she had been trying to get through to him. She couldn’t help wanting to. She felt deep inside her that they were alike, that their souls were made of the same fabric. When he talked about his trials, she fervently nodded (in her head)..her trials were the same too. After what felt like eras of puzzling over doubts that haunted her, she found another who had wondered too. To know that they had shared those few important thoughts made him seem akin in a way that she couldn’t put into words. She wanted to carry this unexpected friend along as a torch against all the darkness she saw in her mind. Because, she thought, only he knew the nature of that darkness.

Everything at once!

Lirik Lagu Lenka - Everything at Once

As I sit through long bus-rides in Bangalore’s crazy-making traffic, my mind often conjures up visions where I’m far more accomplished than I am in real life..I’m usually a famous pianist, playing an incredibly difficult piece with very becoming nonchalance, in a dreamy evening dress.
Sometimes, to break the monotony of being a imaginary pianist, I try being an imaginary author sitting at a book-launch, kurta and jeans, very successful and very humble. Then again, sometimes in my head, I’ve saved a lot of people from starvation, in a crisp cotton sari ( The attire is usually as vivid in my imagination as the deed). I’ve also occasionally had more modest callings, such as a teacher of English or a Japanese translator, and some very improbable ones such as being a baking/yoga instructor.
Like Lenka says in her anthem..” All I want to be is everything at once!”

Years ago, a career counselor set me a task – to make a list of potential professions I might want to pursue. I took a big white chart and filled every inch of it. I was taken aback myself, and I fancy the counselor would’ve been flabbergasted and sent me away ( which I pre-empted by not going back at all). A decade down the line, my list is definitely way smaller, but there are still too many entries. I’ve never been one of those who knew from an early age ( or a later age ) what they wanted to do. My ambition is of the nature of an out-of-control garden hose, with force, but without direction.

When I was younger, it did not occur to me that a tepid-to-warm interest in too many areas could lead to inaction. I fancied growing up to be a charming polymath. But a tendency to occupy anything but the present moment spoiled my plans. I found myself singing and thinking of work, working while framing a poem in my head, writing and wondering if I should be exercising. Buddha and other famous Zen people would shake their heads in sorrowful but accepting resignation.

There are times when I think that I should pick one amongst the array of options, and Focus. Focus, my nemesis. And I’ve hardly begun to act upon the thought when my mind starts to present tantalizing images of everything else I’m not focusing on. Maybe my psyche could’ve managed in an earlier, simpler age. Perhaps it would have reveled in the modest number of life and career choices available. For I am nothing else, if not a poster girl
for being spoilt for choice.