Wednesday, July 20, 2011

We need Cinema.

Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham. Tees Maar Khan. Ajab Prem Ki Gajab Kahani. Amar Akbar Anthony. Khoon Bhari Maang. Karan Arjun. Etc. Etc. I hope you get it—these are all formula-driven, emotion-stirring, attention-holding Indian movies that I know of being criticized by many who enjoy sensible movies.

Look. I love sensible movies, period movies, artistic cinema. I can give you names—Valkyrie, Dhobi Ghat, Delhi Belly (the screenplay is lovely). But I also love Bollywood. I must confess I am a  Bollywood queen who quite enjoys being melodramatic and dancing with thumkas for fun! What? Don’t judge me. I am serious.

That’s not the point anyway. It’s not about me.

You see, I have heard and I still hear many a joke with a discriminating tone about the first list of movies I gave you. Let’s put them together in a box and call it ‘Entertainment for the Needy’.

Call me naïve and ignorant about movies and the industry but believe me these movies are a great pain-reliever for the poor who spend the entire day as labourers without the luxuries of hospitality at restaurants, or sunscreens, or tea and coffee at regular intervals. They do the dirty jobs. They hardly have any fixed timings. They do more work than in their job roles. They hardly can save any money. They are worried about the marriages of their sisters and daughters and if they will make enough money for rent that month and if they will get water in the next two days and if they will have food next month. There is hardly any electricity or privacy in their houses. Life is not pretty for them. They struggle every day. Toiling hard each day only to make through it and live the next one. Always at the edge. Always at the mercy of their employers. They cannot afford tantrums. They hardly can demand. These are the people we never bother to look at the faces of or even smile and thank after they have done their job. (More about what social hypocrites we are but later)

The point is why they should want to watch movies about how many difficulties life gives and how sad people are and how bad the world is—they deserve entertainment. I agree these film makers do not think this when they are making films, they only are interested in what will sell. These sell because we need them. Sorry. Because a large chunk of our population needs these movies. They deserve all this entertainment.

“So why are you telling this to us? Let them watch if they want to. Who is stopping them?” you may ask. Well, it is a matter of respect. We discriminate. It might seem a small thing but when you think about it carefully, it is not—we are firstly not respecting the hard work and struggle of 70% of our population and based on the fact that their favourite movies (formula-driven, melodramatic, filled with silly jokes, senseless etc.) are not artistically sound, and are called mass movies, we discriminate these movies as meant for the lower castes whose problems, by doing so, we thus refuse to even imagine of.   For us, poor are dirty since what they like, as it seems from how we comment what we comment, is dirty. See. We do discriminate in more ways than we realize or like to admit.

Well, just that.

And that more and more mass movies should be made and released. Entertainment is a need. It is. 

Love, Sex Aur Dhoka!

A very close friend of mine recently got caught cheating in a relationship of almost 2 years; this happened when they moved on to a long-distance relationship status.

Another friend of mine got cheated just when he thought everything was great and had more or less surrendered himself to her.

It so happens that I am surrounded by live examples of relationships with promises, dreams, love, laughter and a subtext of adultery. I must tell you we are all in the age group of 19-21, which is why I wonder if we are getting carried away only because we are still young and not matured enough to either understand or handle such commitments, or is there a bigger picture?

Why did these accidents take place in spite of adequate freedom and absolute trust?

Was it loneliness? Confusion? A problem roots of which can be traced back to parenting in childhood? Scarring incidents while they were growing up which has led them to not know what they were doing, or to think it was okay, or that they did not care?

The cheats have now been termed as ‘bad people’, abandoned by their friends though some of them have been successful in keeping their friends. In such cases, knowing the cheated, we imagine a great deal of manipulative narration to friends is the cause.

What’s the point in terming anyone ‘bad’, I ask? I think the approach has to be understanding the ‘why’—from personal experience, I can assure you this leads to forgiveness and peace for the wronged. That’s a story I will get into later.

I wonder if our parents’ generations had these issues, that too, in such an astonishing number? I wonder if our grandparents’ generations cheated so often.

Is it because the technology has made communication so easy—as easy as it is to stay in touch with your loved ones, it is to do so to make new friends.

I am a great fan of values rather than morals but I do understand that morals can keep from disasters to materialize. I mean the conditioning of ‘should do’ and ‘should not’ is more or less a constant hounding in our heads.
The fact that, my friends of both genders go ahead and cheat again and again makes me wonder if we have actually lost respect for relationships? Please note that I am not saying you must not in any part of the world, in any given circumstance sleep with another man or woman when you have one already to call your girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse—the point is are you keeping the bond of commitment made between you two? If it does not fit your relationship, it is wrong for you.

Is it because my generation fails to understand the pact of faithfulness involved in their commitment and confuses it with what it hears and sees about what I hear they call it ‘an open relationship’? That concept is tempting to many, I understand, especially at this age but are we to worry about our coming generations which will have better technology and faster paces of living and less time and more work and no play?

It seems a highly complicated web—this love, sex and dhoka! I hope I do find some answers soon.

Friday, July 15, 2011

What are the Rules of Being on a Break?

Two people I know quite well, or so I think—a girl and a boy—are deeply, madly and not blindly in love with each other.

They are young and cannot credit a large number of years of having been together as a “couple”. We think they are very cute, and it seems they have some great level of understanding between them.
News is they are on a break! Question is how does that work?

Before that, to give you better context, I can tell you in as short as possible, why they are on such a status of relationship—some silly mistakes, not too big, committed by one of them and unexpected by the other. This has led to certain trust issues, questions like “what were your intentions?” “Have I made the right choice?”, “can I spend my life with this person?”, “am I giving unnecessary high hopes with no potential?” etc. etc. where the quest is for the truth.

Now, I must also tell you that theirs is a relationship that one can admire. It has one element which I think is crucial to any relationship—friendship. Which is why, as I observe them as they are ‘on a break’, I wonder what the rules are of being on a break?

They are still in constant touch, texting and calling, of course now they need excuses to do so. They still say ‘I love you’, of course, sometimes hesitantly. I have heard them flirt; of course the words are manipulated. I have not heard of them meeting yet. Their relationship status on Facebook is ‘In a relationship.’ They are not just polite but quite like friends talking about life, making jokes, and digging the past and then reality hits—‘we are on a break…we might break up…we might not grow old together…’

As you might have figured out, there is love but there is also ‘holding back.’

So back to my question—what are the rules of being on a break? Are you to not talk or are you to not talk with affection and commitment? Are you allowed to see other people or not? Is it okay to flirt? Is it okay to show you still care?


The social set up never fails to amaze me—names to relationships can change the nature of relationships—two people can call each other friends and behave differently, and when promoted to being committed, they behave differently. When there is a break or a break up, the equation changes. But the thing to observe is—love remains all through the journey. It has, at least in this case.

Anyway, the latest news is the accused has asked the wronged to let affection be for it is difficult with it but the wronged has smilingly rejected the request.

Let’s just say my questions will be answered as they keep moving and doing and not doing things. I hope they keep me updated and that they do grow old together, and as a couple.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It's over. What's the point now?

I took light-his incessant calls and messages. I had moved onto college, to new friends, to a loving boyfriend, to a comfortable life. There was nothing to talk about. Somehow, it was hard to find the love of long-gone friendship, which was, I must tell you, very innocent, honest, unselfish, not as thick, but great! He was a fan, and now when I think of him so fondly, he was so child-like.

He still would have been had been alive, and was so in the last few months when I took him light. I am a terrible friend. Well, I was being one.

The news was a shock. I had not bothered to call him back and two days later, the news. He was no more now. Well, he was never going to call me, ever again.

All the love for him that was hiding somewhere came back, so did the memories. It was painful.

There was no way I was not going to visit him. I am a terrible friend - I do not visit when you need me, I visit when I have to find my peace.

He was the tallest boy in our school, and will remain so, I think for years to come. That was his identification mark - tallest boy in school. They had to bend his knees so that the big glass box to store dead bodies until they are taken to burn, could accommodate him. He had grown fat. And there was blood around his mouth; and body hair. He was sleeping. We nonadjustable humans refusing to go with nature expect dead bodies to wake up. He did not wake up, not for a second or fraction of a second. Not to the wails and questions of his mother, aunts, grandmothers. We were in the background. Grieving. Apologizing. Watching. Agonizing. Regretting. Apologizing.

A number of thoughts suddenly spur at such moments, empathetic thoughts and you begin to value life more. I thought of the pain he had to go through, of how he considered me a great friend and how I never bothered to be with him in his days of pain. I could only imagine his parents' loss; of the dreams he had that he can never fulfill; of the experiences he never will go through. He had recently turned 20. So young, such a wonderful person - all to an end. Why? Why him?

He was brought out of the box, to the cellar of their building. We all gathered. The priest instructed and rituals were carried on. His father broke down and cried aloud. There is no end to the mourning for those we love, those we have nurtured, and seen grow. There are also no words, I imagine, to define such feelings.

They took him to give him what Hindus call 'aatma ki shanti'. I left.

I cried another day. Then decided to not think of him. I am good at avoiding, evidently, be it thoughts or people. I avoided.

Two weeks later, his father called. He said "I and aunty want to talk to you here at our house. Please come." We fixed the day and time. I was more than ready to oblige now, since everything was over. I was wondering if aunty would question me why I had been such a disgraceful friend. May be they would tell me how he complained about me claiming I was busy. With what? I have not even had a job for months.

Well, they did not. In turn, they were nicest to me. Courteous in spite of the gloom of the mishap. Offered me drinks and snacks. Smiling, being polite. Everything that parents of friends do for their children to their friends.

A Power Point presentation made by his best friend and closest cousin was shown to me. It had pictures of his joyful days at school including a picture with me. He used to speak a lot about me. His friends must hate me now. There were pictures of him when he was sick - I was not there then. He had beckoned so many times. I never paid heed. Some suppressed tears and a conversation with many long pauses about him, about his nature and likes and dislikes and dreams and complaints.

It was not as difficult as I was scared it would be. Not that it matters what I feel. He was and his parents are suffering far more than any of us.

His is not just a death. It is a great loss. Of the kind of human being who kept the child in him alive - loving easy, hurting easy, forgiving easy.

I and many others lost a friend - the only kind who would, with guarantee, come to your rescue at any given time of the day or year. We lost a great deal of kindness, honesty, love, compassion, passion, team spirit, love for fun, devotion, hard work and everything nice that can possible exist in this world.

I write this now when he cannot read it. He died thinking I was mad at him and did not love him anymore. I was never mad at him. Neither did I stop loving you. Life changed but that is not an excuse. I am sorry. Do forgive me. You were and are unforgettable.

He loved movies. Wanted to be a film maker. We probably also lost a great deal of wonderful movies!