Friday, August 27, 2010

I miss the comfort in being sad

Please take note that I doesn’t refer to me in particular, neither does you refer to you in particular. It’s for the sheer convenience of writing, and to keep out the boring references in the struggle to avoid faux passé.

I miss the comfort in being sad

Happiness is like the butterfly. So beautiful, so elusive. You keep trying to hold onto it, and it keeps trying to fly away, making you so alert and skeptical that sometimes it just leaves no room for being happy itself. There are people who have got everything; there is nothing wrong with their life at the moment, and yet, merely the struggle to keep this state going on and the fear of some imminent jolt ready to shake them out of this reverie doesn’t let them relax awhile.

Sadness, on the other hand, is more comfortable. It’s not running away anywhere. It’s there so firmly placed, for you to slouch inside it. Yes, the sorrow needs to be done away with, but there is no hurry. That’s why you must have seen sad people sitting quietly in a room, or drinking for hours together, as if there is nothing to be disposed of. You are, at least temporarily, dispensed from every job in the queue. And if your father is a rich man, it might even be permanently, as in the case of Devdas, who keeps drinking and idling throughout the movie, on the pretext of his sadness. You have the luxury of being in the moment, which is so rarely available these days.

On other fronts, happiness requires so much energy to counter people’s envies and to showcase it by smiling, describing it to people and updating your status on the social networking sites. If someone else is sad, there is the unsaid responsibility on the upper-handed happy guy, which is you, to show your concern for him.

You must not be too extravagant in showing your happiness, but being extravagant is really what you want. There is the excuse of sharing your happiness through parties. You don’t mind even when you know that these people have nothing to do with it, because even your main concern is not to share rather to show your happiness.

Sometimes, my father asks me to attend to a wedding invitation on his behalf. I haven’t even once met the people who are getting tied in the holy knot. So, there is no question of my being happy for them. Not that I am sad. It’s just that how could one (excepting poets) harbor any emotion (excepting pity), be it happiness, grief, sympathy or envy for someone whom one doesn’t know. I go there to relish the food, and I know that most of the people there, filling their plates with shahi paneer, dal makhni, raita, buttered naan and swallowing down their throats, one after another glass of expensive liquor or juices, are no better than me in this regard. They might know the wedding couple, but not many of them feel any happiness in particular. Some of them, to make it worse, might even be envious.

It’s a wonderful game, and everyone’s got to play it. These people would bring gifts, get photographed with the couple, even make a point to be somewhere in the video reel, would meet the parents of the couple, flash smiles and congratulate them. The father of the bridegroom or the bride, a sensible man, easily sees through this facade, but yet he acknowledges their congratulations and their feeling joyous in his happiness. He is not concerned whether or not they are actually happy for him, because even he wants to show it rather than to share it, through the big, fat weddings which are getting more pompous with every passing season. So even when I introduce myself to him a moment ago, the courteous man says how happy he is to have me there. He doesn’t express a tint of disbelief in my exultation on seeing his son or daughter getting married, even though I have known their names only this evening after reading it on the invitation card.

Sadness allows sulking. Contrary to happiness, people don’t mind much even if you are extravagant in showcasing your sadness – the symptoms of a self-centered, masochist society. It evokes sympathy for you from other people, and in turn, they draw much elation from it. No wonder all of us know at least one person who is addicted to self-pitying.

Here, you could choose the game to be not so elaborate as there are no major obligations or performances to put up. The subtleness or maturity you are required to show is accomplished by your saying “I am fine”. Even if people know that you are not fine, this is enough excuse for them to stray away, if they neither care for you nor draw much amusement. And then, the garb of maturity could be thrown away by smoking, wailing or crying in solitude.

There are no serious accusations of your being selfish or arrogant on your not sharing your sadness, as in the case of happiness. How often do we hear “What man! You didn’t even treat me.” for excelling in an exam, a wedding or a birthday! I have seen people sulking on this account, going to the extent of discontinuing ties with others, because the other person forgot to invite them to a major party. But it happens so seldom that someone says, “Hey, if you were not doing good, you should have told me. Let’s talk it out.” and really means it. Of course, there are the courteous remarks blowing out of proportion, like “I am so angry with you. You didn’t think of me to be close enough to share this. This is very bad on your part.” These courtesies, where your sadness is less important than your making them feel close, are so easily penetrable. You fend off these sweet, mild accusations with, “Yeah, I should have.” Then, they would give this much clearer indication of their disinclination by saying, “I hope you are fine now.” And you won’t let their hopes turn out into nothing. Even if you are still sad, you add with a wry, “Yeah, I am good. (You hope right.)"

Happiness is equated to optimism, high-spiritedness and all that positive stuff, whereas it’s considered sadistic to be sad. It’s not acknowledged. One has so many people relishing the food at weddings, but how many out of them, care to give even a call, leave alone meeting them, when the same couple gets divorced. There are not many performances to put up, when you are sad. That’s why sadness is comfortable, like the still waters of a lake. It requires not much energy, not much struggle.

In this article, I (this does refer to me) intended to be neither optimistic nor pessimistic, rather to just acknowledge the two major emotions, without being biased to either of them, and to observe them in connection with the human society. I would like to reflect upon them, as to what could or should be, but that has to be essentially a part of another article.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Just let me be

I beseech you daddy
Why can't you just let me be?

Brother is so intelligent
He would get money and fame
I am sure that one day
He would hold high your name.
You got to be proud of him
For me, you got only a frown.
I embarrass you by being your son
It's a shame how I let you down.

What to do - this is what it is
I ain't good at anything daddy
Maths and Science are so boring
No good at painting or photography.
Why can't you admit I'm no winner
Frankly, I haven't the surge to be one
Call me a loser, but in fact
I'm doing fine, I'm having fun.

My eyes too small for your big dreams
Stop attaching hopes and motivating
Is it really all that bad if I am
No great man in the making.
I love you, I'll care for you
I'll survive, I would be happy
Stop agitating, let me also relax
Why can't you just let me be?

Say something nice?

If I am speaking, and she is listening, it's a personal conversation. But if she's not listening, then I've been babbling, which she shortly tells me in an implicit manner. She says, "Leave this. Say something nice."

I have no clues. I ask her meekly, "Like what?"
"Like anything. Say something nice."

This is the big bloody question. This something is not what I got to say, as I had already been saying that when she stopped me short. This something is what she wants to hear. Now, I am not a mind-reader. I don't know what she wants to hear. I resort to the popular quoth for my rescue.
"I love you baby."
"I know that."

"You are beautiful, honey. Your lips are soft and your eyes so lovely."
"Come on, don't lie to me."
"I am not lying." I defend myself.
"Say something nice. Something about us."

I don't understand this. If we've not been talking about us, then about whom? There has been no talk of George Bush, Alfred Adler, Mary Shelley or any Tom, Dick and Harry. We've been talking about us all this while. Our friends, our families, our careers, our thoughts, saying whatever was on our minds. Now what's it about us that she wants me particularly to embark upon. I whack my brains to churn up something savoury to her ears. But she doesn't give me time enough for that.

She says, "We would have a sweet home of ours one day."
"Of course. And there would be a flower-bedecked lawn in the front. And a swing upon which we would sit and sip tea."
She steals a smile and retorts, "Come on, leave it. You don't have to say it if you don't want to."
But why then she wanted me to say it. And who said that I don't want to say this. It's all so confounding.

She adds, "Why can't you say all this yourself anytime? You say it only after I say it."
"Yeah, I am sorry. I would make a point to do that in the future."
And she sulks after having said this.

I realize that the answer could be anything except the one I have got. Some questions are not meant to ask for an answer rather to just question the other person. Long live Scarlet, who is not Gone with the wind. She is still here, infecting our conversations.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

teri yaad

Teri yaadon ka ek mor
Nachta hai mere aangan mein
Qaidkhane ki si umas liye
Baraste saavan mein

Baarish ki boondein uske
Pankho ko jalati hain

Wo tadapta hai
Aankhein meenchta hai
Kuchh dard kuchh sukoon mein

Rota bhi nahi kabhi
Lekin paani rista hai
Uski pathrayi hui aankhon se

Beete lamhon ki daldal
kheenchti hai use
aur andar doobta hai
gar nikalne ko machle

Baarish mein jalta hua
Daldal mein dhansta hua
Teri yaadon ka ek mor
Nachta hai mere aangan mein.

I love you so

I love you
And I just wanted to
To let you know
That I love you so

I didn’t stop
For any answer
I didn’t want one
It doesn’t matter,
Whether you say
Yes or No
I love you anyways
I’ll let it flow
Oh baby, I love you so

I feel such a new
Joy in giving
To think of you
Gets me smiling
When you’d love me
If you’d ever though
You couldn’t hide it
It would surely show.
'til then, I love you so

Monday, August 23, 2010


I watched this movie 'Maneater' this friday on Zee Studio, the third one in a ten made-for-television film series produced by RHI Entertainment under an agreement with Sci Fi. Based on Jack Warner's novel Shikar, the film details the killing spree of an escaped Bengal tiger after it gets loose in a small town along the Appalachian Trail. The movie falls in the genre of 'natural horror'.

I was disillusioned. The movie left me with a sour taste in my mouth. And yet, it inspired me. It taught me what are plotholes and unexplored subplots. Mutilated bodies are being found in the forest. There are talks of a tiger, but the tiger is never shown attacking any one of them. Although later I discovered the reason for that was the infeasibility caused due to the avoidance of CSI effects and using a trained, live tiger in the film, yet it inadvertently helps in creating the first subplot - Is it the tiger or is it someone else, who's playing cunning, killing people and letting the blame go to the maneater? No sooner the suspense has started building, that a particular scene giving some evidence like signs of a tiger's claws on the bodies dispels it. The first subplot goes crashing.

Now, there is this strange, sweet little boy living in the forest with his mother, who hasn't got a TV in his house, doesn't go to school, reads only the Bible, and has fancies about tigers after reading a tale in the book. He has this habit of sleepwalking, and roams in the forest in sleep calling for the tiger, "Where are you? Come on, come out. Where are you?" The tiger, on many a night, comes and sits near his house. Once the boy even sees him peering inside through the glass of his window. He is so happy on seeing him, but before he could reach out to meet him, the tiger runs away. Later, the boy meets a hunter, who's helping the Sherrif to kill the maneater. The boy pleads in front of him not to kill the beast. The hunter, in response, explains the tyranny of the situation and among other things, mentions about a particular Buddhist folk tale in which a teacher punishes his student. The angry student runs to the forest and takes the form of the first tiger on the Earth. The boy tells him frankly about his whim that he feels that he is a tiger himself. Once he takes his friend with him to the forest. There is the roar of the tiger. The friend runs away, whereas our strange cute boy remarks to the tiger (not shown), "Go away. They are looking for you to kill you. Run away." In a scene, the sleepwalking boy goes to a pond, and instead of seeing his own reflection, sees the reflection of the tiger in the water. When he wakes up, he thinks that this was his dream. He goes to the pond, and sees the footprints of a tiger on the edge of it. The boy and the tiger are never shown together in any scene until now. By now, the subplot has built on so smoothly to such a great extent. I am left totally mystified by this mystical subplot - Is the boy a weretiger, and takes on the form of a tiger sometimes; does it deal with a concept relating to compassion which transcends all hiatus, shown in abstract by using the POV (point of view) of the tiger; does the fancy of the boy for the tiger get communicated to it though some unknown channel like telepathy and in response, it has also developed a liking for the boy? Such tales like my favourite story 'The leopard' by Ruskin Bond, the tiger Richard Parker in the Booker-award winning 'Life of Pi', R.K.Narayan's 'A tiger comes to town' have started floating in my head. And this one seems to come out as more or at least equally wonderful. But alas! to my utter dejection, something I would never predict - the story takes on the most predictable end. The tiger kills the boy's mother. The sheriff kills the ferocious maneater, who's killed around 20 people including a squad of armymen, with a single shot of his gun. The sherrif has no kids of his own, and adopts the boy. The movie, which could have been one of its type legendery modern-day folk tale, culminates as a 'hardly one-time watch' two-star-rated movie, which neither succeeds at scaring the audience nor arousing any dramatic interest.

I'm left feeling so cheated. It upsets me a great deal. How could any writer be so lazy as to leave a wonderful subplot in between, and resort to a simple, predictable ending? The 'suspension of disbelief' of the audience, at many scenes like that of the boy's friend running away scared but the boy calmly talking, the boy seeing the tiger's reflection in the pond instead of his own, and many other similar scenes, falls out flat in the face, and uncovers the scenes as big plotholes, going against the line of logic.

The film suffers from an inordinately slow pace and repetitive action typical to 'Friday the 13th' movies. Except that of the sheriff, the character shade built for the hunter, the boy and other characters is metted out with severe injustice. In one of the scenes nearing the end, the hunter is attacked by the tiger (tiger not shown, by showing the hunter from the POV of the tiger in the preceeding scenes leading to it), but in later scenes, we see that both the tiger and the hunter are alive, which is the biggest plothole of the film. Did the maneater suffer from a mood swing, or did it have to go to toilet leaving the hunter halfway to being devoured? Or did the hunter have a surge of mercy on the creature and let it go after issuing a warning?

In addition to that, the film is filled with stereotypes, and doesn't promise any freshness. The only original experiment of using a live tiger served no purpose, but brought with it several disadvantages. The major one being the infeasibilty to show tiger-attack scenes - people caught in the tiger's jaws battling for their life,which could send an adrenaline surge up the audience's spines, making for horrid nightmares while catching on sleep in the aftermath of watching the movie.

The only good part was that the movie was subdued, speaking relative to other natural horror creature flicks, adding a depth and realism to it, and allowing subplots unconventional to such films (which remained unexplored though). The movie has snatches of visual appeal and good cinematography in certain parts.

All in all, watch it if all other movie channels are showing idiotic movies, and you have nothing much to do. Rated 2 on a scale of 5.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Showcase

I wonder sometimes whether the world is a romantic place or its beauty is a romanticized version of itself. This song is dedicated to those who believe in the latter. I went to Khandala yesterday. The whole landscape is just beautiful from wherever you watch it. But until the point people go to that park after buying a five-rupee ticket, they just can't enjoy the scenic beauty from anywhere else. The park was crowded. Same holds true for Monkey point in Kasauli, the Sunset point in Khuri desert, Shooting point in Shimla, Radha Ghat in Vrindavan. The traditional food which people could get anywhere in that city, but they enjoy it only in Chowkidhani; traditional khadi clothes only in fabsindia or Khadi bhandar in Connaught place. I see the hygiene-lover devotees in Vrindavan diving in the Holy Yamuna, which is equivalent to a dirty drain in your city (It passes through Delhi before reaching Vrindavan, so you can well imagine). This is the showcase, the invention of our modern age. Everything needs to be narrated about, polished, mystified and decorated in a showcase for people to enjoy it. So, here we go -

A hundred-buck thing would get you earning
Of a million pound
Gets gold for shredding, trick of marketing
If you have found

A bit of romanticization
Exclusivity gives elation
Tag with confusing phrase
Embellished in showcase

The cow-dung scent is a mosquito repellant
Tourism hugs tradition
The stiff maize bread is savored and said
To be rich in nutrition
In the dirty cold river they’ll bathe and shiver
Attach a folk rendition
No sense of beauty, they’ll admire truly
Display in exhibition

A bit of romanticization
Exclusivity gives elation
Tag with confusing phrase
Embellished in showcase

Design some spots to stand and snapshot
Add some surrealism
Some camping bonfire and local souvenir
Coin some neologism
Spirituality and self-help fills the bookshelf
Sofa-adorned mysticism
Things may not be but must seem to be
Depth slain by frivolism.