The inimitable appeal of Lootera

There is some thing truly poetical about the Hindi film ‘Lootera’. Whether it is the ethereal beauty of Sonakshi Sinha as Pakhi or the appeal of a savvy scoundrel in the form of Varun Shrivastava essayed by Ranveer Singh, you will find yourself drawn again and again to the Hindi adaptation of the famous short story ‘The Last Leaf’ by O. Henry.

Set in an aristocratic mansion in the bye lanes of erst while Calcutta, the movie moves around the doting father and his adoration of his sick daughter, Pakhi.

The music, the setting, the subtle play of light, the transformation in the character of Pakhi, post the betrayal of Varun Shrivastava and the end, everything about this movie makes it a master piece in cinema.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJs_vW-TJAE

For the experience of great music, unbelievable singing, brilliant acting, great story line, ‘Lootera’ definitely is worth more than a watch.

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Blessings bounteous

Blessings bounteous

are these

the man and the woman

who take pride

who work hard

who love so much

whose care in every action speaks

that your heart breaks

tears flow

gratitude fills

every pore of your soul

soaking every negative thought

every fear that might float in

what quirk of fate

left me on earth

and stole him him my beloved brother

I cannot say

born to these parents

we have both been lucky

this love brother, is mine and yours to share

I have not forgotten nor shall ever forget

yet, to be alive

to be breathing

to be spoken of with such love

such pride for almost nothing

really,what more could I ask for

what more could I ever want?

to be your cherished child is my only dream

to be your loved girl is my greatest achievement

humbled and strengthened

every time I speak to you

fortified every time I watch you

thank you for being there!

thank you dear universe

for your blessings bounteous!

This way please!

‘This way please’

I implored laughter

who, was reluctant to come

sit for a cup of coffee,a nod and a smile

‘when did you become so pricey?’

asked I still mendicant- like

hands folded in reverence

eyes prayerful, shoulders drooping

when he chose not to answer

I pulled him in,

wailing now,hands flaying

gurgling in rolls and rolls of good bellyful laughter

ears reddening and voice now cracking

‘I only wanted to be called’, he said

‘you could’ve told’, I countered

crumbling in piles of joyful shakes

spreading contagious vibes

we fell on the floor heaving loads and loads of fun-filled guffaws

the corridors crumbled and rumbled

and a voice said

‘what’s that noise?’

and we, laughter and I

shrieked loud unable to contain our many joys!

Dark Awaits

The dark awaits

solemn quiet

don’t hesitate

embrace the dark

trust what you cannot see

see with your heart

it knows. it knows.

reach out

sometimes you are reached back

otherwise silence

yet trust, trust the dark

stark be the truth

fierce the sounds

yet know that the dark speaks

speaks to you in low dull tones

murmuring wisdom from beyond

trust the dark

dark awaits. dark awaits

step ahead

step in line

slip out of line

but just step up

take it

for

dark teaches

more than the light

the harsh lessons strike

like hot coal

scalding burning

but listen to the dark

she speaks. she speaks.

often times her sounds are convoluted

still she brings to you the fruits of knowledge

of sweats of the past lives

of tear beads accumulated in pain

in slow cooking of agony

in the rise and fall of anxiety

so harken the dark

trust

life follows what is not

light follows the dark.

The Autograph Seeker- rather un-put-down-able a book!

I started reading again and the joy is long lasting, I mean the reading of a book stays with you like the fragrance of a favorite perfume or like Wordsworth so famously said in his poem, ‘The Daffodils’, ‘For oft when on my couch I lie, in solemn or in pensive mood, they dance upon my inward eye, a host of golden daffodils’.

I had listened to a speech by Toastmaster Tony V. Francis and had thought of him as being witty. As a fellow Keralite, I did strike up a conversation with him at the IIMB Toastmasters Meet. But that was sometime ago.
When I heard about his book hitting the market I was curious but since lethargy is or was my prime state of mind at that time, I did not think of reading it. When I chanced upon the book in the college library I picked it up, remembering the author and my accidental running into him at a TM session. 
As I first took the book in my hand and browsed through, I wondered what was the purpose of all those autographs?Wasn’t it frivolous? As I started reading though, I was hooked. I was seriously in awe of the narrator as he took me through the formative years of his protagonist, his meeting with Vinny and the whole connection of St. Xaviers with the family of  Vinny.

The Addy who played the dark moor, Othello on stage, the native, the nigger and his love for the lead lady, Alice, with her pale skin and tragic life gives the school boy romance of Tony an unexpected twist.The tragic end to the life of the actress Esther Leach, Alice’s mother, the accidental killing of Alice’s step brother add layers of interesting love, action, drama and emotions to the story.

Considering what happens in the end, it makes sense that the ‘sunnys’ believed in the rumor of the ghosted green room beneath their stage!

I liked the idea of the camera sort of panning into the Alice and her son, viewing St.Xaviers, the renovated version of the elite theater of Calcutta, San Souci of Park Street, Purono Kolkatta as the Google tells me.

I liked the flipping back and forth into time. I thought the writer was already imagining a film being made of his book.His cinematic movement of the time frame cannot be accidental.

I fell in love with Vinny, the fierce independent mute girl who falls for a talkative, adventurous chap. I liked the way each of Tony’s friends have been built albeit the fact that they are all ‘sunnys’ in the book, with characteristics and qualities, that could make this novel, if made into a film, a sort of a prequel to ‘The Three Idiots’. A lot of detailing has gone into each character and since the time I read ‘The Masters’ or later the ‘Harry Potter’ when was school life so beautifully built into a story, I wonder! I would recommend reading The Autograph Seeker for a curious mixture of love, revenge, a tinge of history and a whole lot of innocence!

https://www.theautographseeker.com/

https://www.facebook.com/tonyvfrancisnow/

Musings

Sometimes said Anu, ‘ I wonder if I am living the last leg of my life, is it why I am suddenly able to do so much? Is it why I am receiving so much good will? Is it why the world is suddenly very kind to me that I am overwhelmed in gratitude?’

Does it have to be so? I countered;’Couldn’t it be so that you have been working hard for this and it is finally good times seeping in slowly? Maybe life waited to bless you with bounties and you are having your time in the sun, finally and that you can’t believe it yet.’

We looked at each other, she and I.

Unable to believe in the goodness of times, Anu was keen to poke a finger of disbelief at my conviction.

‘Much has been happening ever since the pall of naysayers lifted off . I started my doctoral studies. I even got a paper accepted at an international conference. I managed to write a chapter on Design Thinking for a book. Been hosting quite a few events at my workplace.’

‘Professionally it looks like I am in a good space. ‘

I smiled encouragingly even though part of me said ‘ what a gasbag!’ I knew where all this was coming from.
I quietly reached out for my helmet when I heard her murmur
‘But at my back I always hear Time’s winged chariot hurrying near,And yonder all before us lie Deserts of vast eternity’ ,’Thats Andrew Marvell in his poem To The Coy Mistress.’
‘Yes mam,’ I smiled as I got up and waved her a silent good bye.
Must you be so glum I thought to myself as I rode home.

Sorry doc,I gonna do the Google search!

A few months ago, my teenager had a sprain and some swelling on her feet. I went to the local trusted physician for a check up. The gentleman doctor advised rest but also raised a panic alarm when he pronounced the name of the said ailment that I almost fell off from my seat. With high anxiety and rising sense of helplessness, I reached the medical shop and asked for the tablets.

The girl at the counter informed that the prescribed medicine was not available. ‘Give me for today’, I insisted. ‘No, mam, it is steroids. So it is better that you take the entire course. I will get it for you by tomorrow’.

‘Steroid’!!!, I staggered and walked away in silence.

We went home. I called up my mother and reported the events of the day.

As usual my mother in her rather nonchalant manner advised, ‘ Heat up some water. Put some salt into it. Ask her to dip her feet in the salt water. After some time, tie that crepe bandage and keep the feet elevated. She will be fine in some time.’

I realized my tensions literally vanishing and I heaved a sigh of relief as the real doc has pronounced that ‘all iizz welllll’ 🙂

What would I do without this wonder woman?!!!! Seriously!!!

Next day, I went to another expert that my physician had recommended and sat waiting in trepidation for words of more wisdom. The smiling lady said, ‘it is nothing actually, ask her to rest completely. Send me pics of her feet and if things don’t improve, we will see.’

Surely enough, my teenager was back to her bubbly self and I regained my peace and calm.

Yes, I know that not all doctors are to be blamed and not every time. Yet when doctors prescribe steroids as easy to take medicines, you do wonder.

In another instance this week, I chatted up with a friend after a long time. She told me of her inability to join me as she was suffering from excessive bleeding during menstruation. As is the normal practice, she went for a checkup. The doctor told her that she has to get her uterus removed and advised her, almost insisted that she get herself admitted immediately for the operation.

In fact, one of the nurses callously commented, ‘Why do you need a uterus anymore?’

Agitated,appalled and terribly disillusioned the family decided to go for a second opinion and called back home in Kerala. The family physician in Kerala advised that she should at no cost remove the uterus. She was warned of further complications if it was done.

Said my friend, ‘I will take it slow. I know that my body will heal and with the right treatment, I will be back and bouncing’.

With good folks around, happy friends and a happier family, what can not be healed after all?

‘And a treat is in order’, I reminded her.

A doctor has put up a sign,’ Don’t confuse your google search with my research!’

Fair enough! but we can still use our brains, right!

Time-lined!

Ahead in the line

I saw a silhoute

that caught my fancy

a silver bun

a few silver strands dancing

a white dress

a pale complexion

a back not yet bent

and perhaps I thought eyes still bright

then I saw her profile from the side

just a glance

her eyes beneath her glasses

her lips drying

I turned away afraid to be caught staring

but as you would guess

my eyes strayed

and she turned with a sharp look

I stood shocked

who did she resemble so closely

and then I realized

I was standing since long in the queue of time

future ahead

past behind

which side was I

I shuddered to think

till I noticed I had fallen apart

away dangling as if from nowhere

watching the

myriad faces of lives now and after

and I broke into laughter.

Of disagreeing with Plato

In the Republic, the eminent Greek Scholar, Plato chooses to ban the poets from the society on the argument that they are far removed from reality and that they induce passions and corrupt feelings through the magic of sweet rhythm and music.

Really! not really, so I thought as I watched the enthusiastic participation of young people in the cultural fest at the college.

Yes, it was a cultural extravaganza with a well lit stage glittering like a queen, the vast spread of the campus all lit up and blushing, young men and women scouring the place, friends hanging out together shaking a leg, sharing food, jokes, laughter and more.

Across the sea of faces of young people was a sense of purpose and a sense of joy. They looked happy to be relieved of the burden of learning even if only for a day and took to the event with excitement.

In the event that I was organizing, which was sketching, many young boys and girls came on time, and mulled over the theme given to them and produced some very creative and engaging interpretations of ‘Reflection’.

I asked the student volunteers how was it to be a part of this event, they said, ‘it was great to see different perceptions of the same theme and how patiently and carefully each artist worked on their craft’. That observation was enough to tell me that perhaps this is the biggest take away for these youngsters today, to work at your craft with patience and be able to think originally!

After the Treasure Hunt, where the young lot was sent scurrying across the campus, chasing clues and deciphering them in groups of three, the students all blushing from the heat and the run panted as they spoke, ‘we had lot of fun and though we didn’t win, we made new friends!’ Apparently the last clue was of ‘the place they fear to enter’ and they rushed to the dean’s office whereas it was the main stage!, they laughed as they said that.

At the evening DJ night, the youngsters and the adults let their hair loose and danced to the tunes releasing many stressful hormones and replacing it with some happy feelings and experiences.

As the day drew to a close, I realized how important it is to have a stage, a place to discuss, deliberate and express oneself for the young and the old alike.

Now, come to think of it, what avenues of self expression do the poor have in this country, where do they go? why can’t there be more competitions or contest or just fun fest which are affordable to all?

Perhaps given a chance a child or an adult would not want to turn to violence! Maybe more avenues of self expression and self exploration is the way to curb violence!

Perhaps Plato was wrong after all to sagely advise that poetry and modes of self expression are corruptible in nature!

Of how your body speaks

The tall boy spoke well. He spoke with passion. His words precise, measured and his stance commendable. Yet, as his index finger moved furiously, the audience received him with mixed emotions, awe at his speech and an unease at how his body spoke.

One of the most prominent speakers on the national media tends to use his index finger a lot while speaking . Does it affect perceptions about him? Here is my two bits.

While the current prime minister is no doubt a go-getter and has a vision and a passion to bring betterment to the lives of his country men , I believe his using the index finger while speaking, moving it up and down as if brandishing a cane in the manner of a school headmaster does not sit well with the persona of a national leader.

For better success may be he could use more open hand gestures and totally avoid the use of the index finger while speaking.

This I say as a layman who has observed his rise and his frequent courting of hate and bad press.