Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Radioman

This is a commentary on the film, the premise of which I presume you are already familiar with. For what the film is about, google it. or http://wearethemovies.com/reviews/radioman

There is something so keenly basic and desperate about the man and the story, that you are able to relate immediately with Radioman. His instinctual desire to leave his past and his identity behind is felt throughout the film.
At some level, all of us want to be like him, be nameless, yet on a first name basis with the worlds most publicized lives. But a sneak peak into what it takes to keep the drama alive, and we agree to be anonymous in our lives again.
Despite the seemingly honest testimonials granted by Hollywood's who's who, I couldn't help but feel that they treated him like a charity case. That their friendship with him was to only further their image as a do-gooder down to earth average guy.
 The film does dip into genuine care from some of the celebrities, and even into Radioman's troubled past, which helps the audience understand where this man comes from. His boisterous ways and a ready smile keeps the audience engaged and chuckling throughout. But the radio remains a steady reminder of the days where he was so lonely that the radio was his only friend.

The film in itself isn't crafted artfully. Most of the work is handheld and, one important guideline that I like to refer to, is that if you switched off the video, you would still understand the film, which neglects that fact that you're using a visual medium. A valuable gem bestowed by my professor.

Despite a lengthy disparaging review, the film makes for quite an interesting watch, if only for the wonderfully quirky nature of Radioman. Everybody in the audience took away a little bit of him when they left the theater I feel. The urge to be a little happier, a little more random and to work what you believe in.

At the end of the screening, the man himself was present and taking questions, and his personality and his livewire ways just steal the show. But his closing thought should be the thing that stays with you in which Radio man says that if there is something you really want to do, or be, just do it. Work towards it, and you will be.

What I took away from the film: Live a little, and follow your dreams.
Even a (previously) homeless man can star in over a hundred films, be on a first name basis with Martin Scorcese and still fart freely.

A charming and fun film to watch, all in all. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Kalpana



Written as an entry for the MSN She Competition around a quote from the book The God Of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.

For one second, she paused. The kitchen towel bloomed with flowers of crimson. Tendrils of blood crept to the corners, snaking across like vines. Turning pink at first, the white gradually turned colour, reminding her of paintings, and for a moment, what it really felt like to be alive.

She could see the red creeping in between her fingers and settle in the crevices of her wedding band as she scrubbed the kitchen clean. She observed all of this dully, with her dead eyes, not even for a moment blinking in surprise.

Momentarily distracted, she wiped up the mess and hung the kitchen towel out to dry. The kitchen had a strange metallic smell in the air. So she opened the windows and hoisted her husband’s body onto a bedsheet. It did not strike her until later that she wrapped her dead husband in the same bedsheet that he had gagged her with on their wedding night.

For years after that night, Kalpana woke up in fear. She spent the day in fear, and she slept in fear. Kalpana would take up a tiny little corner of the bed, and curl up like a bean. She would shiver throughout the night even though the blanket lay an inch away from her, and she would wake up in fear again.

She wasn’t a mousy creature, no. She was portly and matronly, and had the correct amount of fat around her middle to qualify as a mother. She had a tinkling laugh back in the day when she didn’t live in fear, and even her eyes squinched up at the corners when she giggled. Her children would do anything to make her laugh like that, and Kalpana would laugh at anything her children did.

But even before all this, there was a time when Kalpana was happy. It was a time before Kalpana knew better. It is a mistake that most make. Over and over again people would believe in real happiness, and over and over again, they would be proven wrong. In this delusional world, Kalpana remained happy. She would sing when she meant to dance, but it made her happy anyway.

She hadn’t dreamed when she met Shashi, that one day she would be stuffing his lifeless form into the ground, unceremoniously, without wearing white, or beating her bosom in loss. Without even taking the effort to wipe off her sindoor.
No, Kalpana didn’t do anything of the sort; she simply wrapped him up tight and left his face peeking above the sheet. An unconscious decision made of years of swaddling and tucking her children in bed.

Kalpana, quietly as ever picked up a book, switched on the night lamp and read herself to sleep. It had been an age old habit of hers to underline pieces of particularly unusual and interesting lines that she came across in the books. Tonight her tiny stubbly pencil had marked a dialogue.

“Now you’re just somebody that I used to know.”

It wasn’t particularly a stunning piece of literary work, but it conveyed her love for her husband, and that was that. Kalpana slept peacefully that night.

Meeting Shashi hadn’t been a coincidence of any sort. It had been carefully and meticulously been planned by her mother after months of matching monetary levels, sizing up looks and establishing club memberships. Shashi had miraculously passed all essential criteria. Pity there wasn’t a measure for potential abuse.

So the date had been set and the swashbuckling Shashi had entered their home and charmed everyone. He had sent Kalpana’s sisters into a fit of giggles, and watched the elderly party go red in the face at this blatant display of possible affection, when he took her hand and marched off to the garden as per the parents’ command.

Only Kalpana had winced when he crushed her hand inside his and pulled her outside. He had kissed her roughly, and let her ascribe her red, bruised face to shyness. Kalpana had just registered alarm when he told her how beautiful her eyes were. He told her everything about himself, and painted a fairytale for her. He even went on to name their children, which might have seemed like optimism, or love at first sight, but Kalpana later realised, was marking his conquest.

Both of them were called back in front of the parents to say their farewell, and in the moment they were heading back, Shashi had leaned in and whispered,
“I have seen you, maybe that will be enough for now.” She didn’t know how it was that Shashi knew her latest underline, but he did, and that sealed the deal.

He came to meet her sometimes, and took her out to see a world she didn’t know existed. She smiled shyly sometimes, and he looked at her with an unusual mixture of hunger and admiration.

That night, she marked, “Being with him made her feel as though her soul had escaped from the narrow confines of her island country into the vast, extravagant spaces of his.”

So the marriage was arranged and a smile painted on Kalpana’s face for her. Every single night, like their wedding night, Shashi had rolled over, groped in the dark, and made Kalpana yield to his demands. She would get up, bruised purple, and he would smile and tell her how lucky he was.

In one of those days, she had found “I will possess your heart”.

Soon, Kalpana discovered she was pregnant, she didn’t know if she should be scared of feel blessed. The night her daughter was born, Shashi had distributed sweets all around the hospital.

Rashmi was a blessing. She came along to save Kalpana’s life. A much needed respite from Shashi was granted, and she woke up with a smile on her face sometimes. Shashi spent a lot of time with Rashmi, and seemed to take good care of her.

So Kalpana marked “Let’s do the things we normally do.”

Although, she hadn’t been much accustomed to normal, this is as close as it got, she decided.

Then one day, when Rashmi was several months old, her husband commanded that she return to bed. She had to listen to Rashmi’s plaintive cries, while Shashi finished. Her hurry to rush to her child made him sneer at her. Taken aback, she had scuttled to her child and calmed her down with haste, returning to her husband’s favour.

Soon enough, Kalpana was pregnant again. Shashi had started spending more time outside home than normal, he even spent more time with Rashmi than with her nowadays, so Kalpana thought that maybe, a new child would bring her husband back to her.

She had a boy. They named him Ajay. Unlike Rashmi, Ajay didn’t receive a bit of the attention that his father showered on his sister. Shashi didn’t even bother picking him up.

In this sporadic love of his, Kalpana had built a home. No one could call it a happy home, but it was a home. Her children would come rushing to her after school, and Ajay would cling to his mother while his sister was showered with fatherly affection. Ajay would never be asked to go on a drive, or have an ice cream, it was always Rashmi.

Meanwhile, Rashmi being the sweet elder sister, always saved some for Ajay. She never paraded her adventures with dad in front of Ajay. She didn’t even tell her mom about them. There was never a shine in her eyes, or an eager smile on her face to join her dad.

Shashi had come home one day, calling out about a present for his companion. Kalpana surprised herself by heading over to him. He pushed her aside roughly, and handed the present to Rashmi. Rashmi had looked at her mother, and given a wooden smile to her father and gone into her bedroom.

The book Kalpana was reading that night, she found these words, “Why do you let me stay here?”

Shashi had gone to office, like regular days, and come back home, on the regular time. He had even had too much whiskey, like his regular self. But Kalpana had a question to ask of him. She wanted to ask him to take Ajay out for some father son time. So she did. He, in turn, replied, his eyes unfocussed, if Ajay had a vagina.

Shashi slapped Kalpana so hard, for her impudence, that he clear knocked her out. Both her children came out of their rooms to plead their mother’s wellbeing. Shashi slapped Ajay too, for no good reason. He tightly clenched Rashmi’s arm and dragged her to her room. Ajay cried for his mother, clutching his scarlet cheek. He cried for his sister’s love too. But most of all, he cried for his father to forgive him, for a sin he didn’t know he committed.

Rashmi made not a single sound when her father took her to her room. She did not whimper in pain when he bruised her arm. She did not cry out when he slammed the door that hard. She didn’t even protest when he put his hand under her shirt.

“I know what you did. It makes me sick. I am going to tell.” Maybe not from books, like her mother, but this TV dialogue played over and over in Rashmi’s head. Like it did every time her father took her on car rides, or read her a story, or used any of the other reasons to get what he wanted.

Kalpana, meanwhile, was stirring. Even if he knocked her out to near death, she had always believed her children’s cries would save her. And it did, she clung to Ajay for dear life, never once having felt this humiliated.

She could hear her husband whispering, so she assumed he was spending time with Rashmi to calm down. But then she started to hear some familiar noises, noises she was accustomed to hearing every night.

Kalpana quietly opened her daughter’s bedroom door. She noticed her husband’s hands, where they shouldn’t be. She noticed his mouth, where it shouldn’t be. She even noticed her daughter’s clothes were where they shouldn’t be.

The last thing she notices were her daughter’s eyes, locked onto hers, while closing the door, which she shouldn’t have.

Quietly, Kalpana went over to the kitchen, and prepared dinner in the thick bottom pan she reserved for her best curries. She noticed when her husband came into the kitchen demanding dinner, and left a lingering kiss on her cheek. His compliment to her cooking skills.

Silently, her family ate the dinner Kalpana had cooked, dishes for an occasion. Her children and Kalpana herself, with a losing appetite, finished up quickly and headed into their rooms. Kalpana dedicated herself to serving her husband’s ignited appetite and served him dutifully. Kalpana spent some extra energy scrubbing the heavy pan when Shashi entered the kitchen to keep his plate.

He washed his hands of everything he had done that night. As he turned to leave, Kalpana’s hands raised the pan by themselves and brought it down with a formidable force on her husband’s skull. A ripping crack echoed across the kitchen; Shashi’s eyes widened in surprise and stayed that way as he slumped to the floor in a graceful manner. Two drops of water made it to the floor, one from Kalpana’s hardened enraged eyes, and the other from her hand, dripping soap.

After that night, Kalpana didn’t read a book for a very long time. She concentrated on bringing up her broken children in a broken home full of questions. She couldn’t answer their questions about their father, but she could assuage their fear about his return.

She couldn’t even hide the feeling of loss, but she did. Normality, had been upset again, but it had never been upset in a more wonderful way. She was bruise free for the first time in years. Her daughter’s reproachful eyes had started to turn studiously black, and her son had felt like a boy for the first time.

None of the situations were good, but they were headed in the right direction. So Kalpana finally picked up a book, and marked the opening line.

“It was a pleasure to burn.”

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Heart in a Box



I kept my
heart in a box
and put it on a shelf.

So far behind
And untouched
I couldn’t find it myself
The combination
the words
that made it unlock
Those moments
that made it tick
were lost.


Nora woke up every morning to the sound of songbirds, and a self satisfied smile. It has been three years since she had permitted her heart to be lost.   The last time she lost her heart, she hadn't recovered for a long time. Nora knew that she was good looking, that she was smart, and that men found it easy to love her. But she also knew that those men were completely wrong for her.
Never once did she find a man who could match her intellectually. There was always something wrong. Not that the men weren't interesting, they were, or that they weren't intelligent, they were that too, but they remained woefully limited in their interests. So Nora went round looking for that someone who would be able to give her a quip? when she was in need of one.
never finding that man, she reconciled herself to her fate, kept both her feet firmly on the pedestal and looked down on the men who walked past. Then one day, her frustration peaked and a man happened to cross her path. Now he was a silly man, perfectly unsuited for someone like Nora, but he was nice, so Nora treated him well. She even let him in to her life, told him some of her secrets and loved him the tiniest bit.
then he decided that theirs was a relationship based on carnality and that it should remain that way. Nora asked him why he thought so, he said it was obvious from the beginning and that it never really meant anything to him at all.
hurt, and then hurt at being hurt, she quietly broke things up, locked her heart away and Reconciled herself to a life of solitude with the imaginary intelligentsia.
then one day, a man named Phil made an appearance in her life. He was the exact kind that Nora didn't want. Ignorant, sloppy and a massive fool in most ways. She merely sneered at him, and considered the fact that good looks did not a person decide. She pushed her heart further back on the shelf and socialised with him in a curious disaffected way.

I put my
heart in a box
and put it on a shelf

you picked it up
so softly
so tenderly, I could melt.

a soft caress
a slow kiss
a rush of passion strong.

an urgency felt
with soft lips
stirred a fire dormant long.

Nora didn't realize when she started liking hanging out with phil. but nevertheless she found herself waiting for his phone call, his wide smile and his easy effervescent ways. Phil had a gift, he was able to draw people out. So one day Nora found herself telling Phil everything, lying next to him on the grass. And then she turned toward him and he was looking at her like she had never seen before. Yielding to desire in his eyes, she closed her eyes.
When Nora opened her eyes, she would almost always find Phil next to her. She hadn't loved him yet, not in the true sense of the word. But she knew this was good till it would last, and it would do well to soothe her body's desire till she found her true love who would soothe her mind as well. At least Phil made her smile. She didn't feel terrible in using him, because he seemed to be coming from the same place. And that made things so much simpler.
Then one day he got her flowers, and she smiled. One night they stayed up talking and she had smiled bigger through her sleep filled eyes. It took her a long time to understand what the smiles meant, but she had already placed her heart so high up, she had forgotten how to get it down.

I put my
heart in box
and put it on a shelf

but when I climbed
to get it down
it is  for you I fell

you caught me
of course you did
but I fell anyway

now for me
bound to me
fallen you must stay

Phil made Nora happy in unique ways. She didn't feel he was her intellectual match, but she liked him anyway because it didn't matter. He would be over eager to learn from her whatever she wanted him to, and he always asked after the book she happened to be currently reading. It had long been in Nora's mind that if a guy wanted to strike a conversation with her he should ask about  the book she were adding, because she was always reading anyway.
It was hard to imagine for Nora, that she would fall for a guy like Phil, but she did and she liked it. One day she found the time to confess to him her feelings and Phil was severely non committal about the whole situation. He spoke about things like lust and bodily hunger, which seemed to be plaguing both of them, and that they really shouldn't take this seriously, because they were a long way off from love. Which was funny, because she had seen the way he looked at her and presumed he was just shy to talk about things she could see from a long way off, and hence she had picked up the conversation.
it took Nora some time to realize what was going on, but she caught on eventually. It took her a long time to come to the conclusion because she honestly didn't want to see it. She really didn't want to know that he had found love with someone else. Or that he had been kidding her the whole time. But she did find out, and that was that. So she went ahead and found out more information about the woman who had the gall to do something like that to her. She used all her means to make sure that the woman didn't have hold on Phil so that she could pick up where they left off.
In her days she plotted revenge on the woman and spent her time trying to guess the perfume she found on Phil's shirt. That it was cheap, she knew. But the plethora of cheap perfumes didn't help her pick the one it was, or the one who wore it. So she waited. She waited that one day Phil would come to her to breakup, or that one day she would confront him and just, not look at his silly deep blue eyes. Till that day she simmered and bubbled every time Phil came over. Because till she said something, nothing could end.
then one day, Phil came home and told her. He told her all about the sister he had and the Parkinson’s Syndrome she had. He told her that it had been recently diagnosed and that she had needed a lot of support. He did blink in surprise when she actually knew about the syndrome, because that meant she knew what he was going through, and his eyes absolutely melted when she nodded in understanding. What he didn't see was her eyes hardening and her begrudging the woman's syndrome, because that meant she couldn't have him as much as she wanted, even if she tried.

I put my
heart in a box
and put it on a shelf

you picked it up
and put in yours
and left me without help

wherever you went
you went with it
and I tried to follow

why don't you
just stay here
and not leave my chest hollow

Nora felt totally defenceless when it came to the scenario she had been presented with. Her vast knowledge and intellect couldn't help her face this particular scenario because she hadn’t prepared herself for emotions and unlikely situations. She would sit around everyday, even when she had other things to attend to, and obsess over the fact that Phil wasn't next to her. It wasn't that he wasn't around at all, of course he was. But Nora didn’t want him gone at all, because when he would come back, she could see the sadness in his eyes and his preoccupation with his sister. Even when his visits weren't close, his eyes would be clouded with worry.
Nora now spent an inordinate amount of time trying to come up with ways to get more time out of Phil. Somehow, she wanted more time out of the man she now realized she loved. It was still a matter of confusion if he loved her or not, but since Nora had decided she loved him, it only made sense that he did too, and so she went ahead making up new excuses everyday so that she could have more time out of him. Assuming of course, that he loved as much, if not more.
Nora wasn't daft, she understood what Parkinson's meant and the toll it took on a person, but she still didn't makes any effort to try and meet the woman, or offer any type of help, because as far as she was concerned, she was a hindrance.

I put my
heart in a box
and put it on a shelf

if in your hands
I placed my heart
and you upped and left

there is a lesson
yet for you
at great peril, to learn.

for if you did
I'll hunt you down,
and leave you to burn.

One day, Phil didn’t come back. He called, he sure did. HE explained to her that her sister was having a surgery and that he would have to stay awhile for her recovery, and that he would return, of course he would.
All of it was taking a toll on Nora. It was too much, and it was tearing at her. The old memories came flooding back and she just couldn’t handle the same heartbreak, the same pain all over again. In her double mindedness, she came up with all sorts of explanations for Phil and even convinced herself that there was indeed another woman, and that he was just conning her.
Furious and disbelieving, she promised herself that she would have to leave, to protect herself from all this, she would have to leave. She would leave, and maybe she would leave a piece of her heart behind, but she would indeed leave. There was no other solution. Silently, she gathered her mind around her and rose to leave, seething from inside, she didn’t understand what was going on. She was just furious at Phil for not returning.
She didn’t want to leave a trace of herself behind when she left, let Phil know what abandonment felt like. Let him know how deep her anger ran, something that he couldn’t see in her at all. Fuming and sputtering, she left the apartment, fully packed. Phil wouldn’t remember that she existed. But it didn’t matter, because Nora certainly wouldn’t. If a man couldn’t give her his undivided attention, he might as well forget the mere thought of her.
The next day, Nora got up, and for a few moments, looked for Phil, his smile and the smell of coffee. Then, before it could hurt her, she put him out of her mind and assumed her standard stony expression, but this time it was harder than before.
On the metro to work, the man sitting next to her asked her which book she was reading. She looked up, he had a warm buttery smile flecked with adoration. She smiled back. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Speak

I just can't seem to say it.
What I've been meaning to all along.
Its tougher than a secret,
And more lyrical than a song.

Maybe I don't know
Maybe I do.
But it's something I gotta say
Only to you.

If only I could find you
If only you could see.
What my eyes say
and what it means to me.

but for that you must exist,
for that you must believe.
For even though we haven't met,
I don't think you'll leave.

Words aren't enough,
or heartbeats true.
I got these feelings inside
Turning me blue.

So wander round
come across me.
I'll lean to you
And give you the key.

unlock the treasure chest,
Where maybe I find words new.
string a sentence as I know best,
And try to say these things to you.