Sunday, September 16, 2012

That overrated (?) emotion

Love is not always a cupboard full of Valentine cards and soft toys.

Nor is it holding hands or whispering sweet nothings to each other

It can’t actually be all about spending a lot of quality time together

For it is too ephemeral to be pre ordained and too divine to be chosen by us

No one’s love story can be exactly like the other

And yet every story seems like it has been told before…

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Monologue for the lost time

I am a bit lost now...things seem more unintelligible than before. It is the never ending cycle of time; its morning, followed quickly by the afternoon, soon its twilight and then the night engulfs us all. I try to keep track of time but it slips by. Yesterday was the 14th July, I was at home, down with a viral attack and feverishly wishing for recovery. Today it is 11th August, am at home, writing, feverishly wishing for recovery from my writers' block and somehow the time in between seems to have vanished. Or sucked into another dimension parallel to ours.

But how did it do that? I have run errands, co-ordinated shoots, shot tests, compared results, done DI, checked prints, planned short films, read scripts, watched films, obsessed over the actors especially Marlon Brando and Steve McQueen, looked up dates for film festivals, caught up with old friends, mingled with family and made a hundred calls to both the acquainted and the unknowns -- and much more in the last one month. But its nothing new; with the exception of the actors that I chose to obsess over, the month before it was Paul Newman and Meryl Streep now its Brando and McQueen, I have repeated almost all the activities mentioned above with a certain torturous, self inflicted discipline. That's why the only things that mattered today were this day and the other day - the day that I was sick. My thoughts were exactly the same then - I need to get out of bed, start writing more, get in better shape, wake up early morning, join a Yoga class, finish reading Maximum City, start a new book, watch Metropolis again, silence the all powerful self critic and let my thoughts exercise the keypad, eat healthy, take care of my skin and hair and be more open to the world around me - absorb the sounds if not the smells, meet more people, take more pictures, cultivate a garden etc. That's why in my mind almost a month hasn't passed by.

Sometimes I think we, as humans, in our infinite desire to quantize every possible object or material or a phenomenon that surrounds us or happens to us in our lives, often over simplify and unitize everything in the most ridiculously simple and rigid manner possible. Then we relax and rejoice in the self proclaimed glory of our questionable intellect in having found answers to questions that we posed to ourselves. If we have used the same range of intellect (again defined by a set quantity, called the IQ) to ask ourselves the question and the same range of intellect to answer it, how great are our answers anyways? Aren't they limited by the intellectual scope of our question which is in turn is dictated by our ambition, narrow minded as it may be, to somehow find an answer or make one? Time is one such convenient answer. We wanted to give an universally identifiable stamp to all our individual and collective experiences. So we defined time; in sec, minutes, hours, days, months, years, centuries and so on...But what if the time as it really exists is not just that?  

What if time is a humungus complex equation that depends on a number of variables, not just the arithmetic count of the ideal pendulum swinging in a gravity free, inertia less environment  -- and what if you cannot ever ascertain its definite value, because its partly quantifiable and partly metaphysical? The quantifiable part is the one that's consumed by a million recursions of our everyday routines and the metaphysical part is the one that bases itself on state of the individual's  mind which needs more than just repeated recursions for any tangible progress to register. And what if the Earth's total time is the amalgamation of the quantifiable and the metaphysical units of all individuals combined, in the past perfect, present continuous and the future progressive?  

I am on the brink of sounding like a pseudo intellectual, posing questions and throwing random ideas without any solid equations and statistics to support my hypotheses so I will stop right here..The month as recounted above, has definitely passed me by, as per all the accepted definitions of time and maybe the fact that I learnt the usage and application of the new RED Epic camera in stunt sequences should remind me of it. But before I end it, I will leave you with the following: 

Time (as defined by the first result in Google search) The indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.

Imagine Tina Fey, channeling her alter ego, Liz Lemon of 30 Rock saying, "What the what?" to this. :)

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Still Waters

In the constant state of flux that life is in, there is always a fear of losing out if we stop, if we don’t make that one call on our list, if we don’t work, if we sit around and do nothing. I, for one, can’t deal with not working for more than two days. It just freaks me out. I can’t sit still, I constantly complain about losing the precious time of my life and can’t help dwelling on the fact that I am not growing any younger. If I am not working, I have to write something atleast or see, like six films a day or do read a book or just keep at something until it is done. I even prefer completing my camera report books to relaxing. I guess I am a certified workaholic lunatic.

Last week, the Monday was no different than one of these restless break days. My hard working self was troubled as usual and the Monday blues weren’t helping either. Imagine having Monday blues even when you don’t have a 9-to-5 job or a five day week… Anyways I was at the window of my bedroom looking out at the non intimidating vastness of the sky against the meritless insolence of the high rises. Just then a crow caught my eye as it flew down from the 14th floor of a high rise to its 5th floor. It fluttered around a bit, pecked at a few potted plants and then flew down to the 3 ft swimming pool in the center of our housing complex that had recently filled up with muddy water. I kept watching as this crow touched the tip of the water and flew away…I didn’t follow it any more…instead I began to stare at the blue color of the swimming pool that permeated through the brown mud in the water. So strong was the blue that the brown couldn’t keep it down. Memories of the water camp that I visited almost five years back came flooding in to drown me.

There in the midst of the summer, on the outskirts of Bangalore we frolicked in the waters by the beachside all throughout the day. This remote, idyllic place loitered just outside of a wilderness that we had trekked through on the previous day. It was so much fun that I refused to come out of it even when it was time to go back to the camp before the darkness fell. But one of my friends lured me out with the promise of showing me something spectacular that happened only at the moment of sunset. There was no time to lose he said; he looked so excited that I couldn’t refuse him. I reluctantly dragged my feet up a small hill after him. He was a good trekker; he kept leading on while I tried hard to keep my balance amidst the flailing stones and pebbles. At one point I seriously considered going back to my merry, effortless frolicking but he kept edging me on.

I was almost uninspired for this hike until nature decided to set me up for competition. Suddenly the sun began to set rapidly as if the other side of the world was exorcising the night and the overall ambient light dropped like it were on a high impedance dimmer. I took the cue; I was racing against time. In my imaginary movie - like rendition of my life, I began rushing dramatically to catch up with my friend; background score (ref: Carmina Burana) running in my head, fierce expression on my face, ‘against all odds’ suddenly becoming the catch phrase of my life et all. Soon I caught up with my friend and then we raced together to the top of the hill. As we neared it, the sun had almost set. A minute later, we were standing on the flat top plain of the hill but the light had been just whip lashed from the sky. Almost. I turned to look at my friend, both of us still trying to catch our breath. He looked at me for a moment, smiled and then looked back at the horizon. In a split second, the light on his face brightened up. I turned to look towards the sea as the sun spilled out in its one last minute of eternal golden glory. In that moment, the sea became a resplendent green blue like a seamless sheet of floating diamonds and the sun ever so gently touched the diamonds but not the sea and made them sparkle; the sky became a canvas of all the beautiful magentas, oranges and pinks master stroked into each other lovingly, the air became heavy with the silence of the unspeakable beauty, the birds stopped chirping as if to gaze in wonder and my heart altogether forgot to breathe. I felt a lasting sense of peace, I smelled inspiration, tasted belief; things I couldn’t describe but only know inside. And then just like that, in the next moment the sun set. And everything went back to the time before that moment.

I turned back towards my friend. He was staring at the ground, still trying to catch his breath. He then looked up at me and said, “I am sorry, we missed it I guess.” I couldn’t understand, what did we miss? Then we walked back to our camp base without a single word, as if nothing had happened.

But till date that one moment exists in me like no other. And the deep blue of our swimming pool brought back the memories of that still life etched in time dwelling inside of me; a token of a miracle, an impossibility, an improbability; one of nature’s spectacles meant for the exclusive audience of me, my own personal brand of elixir. Was that the first night of the many dreams of celluloid I have had ever since? Maybe it was. Maybe not. I don’t know why but I feel that those still waters run deeper inside me than I can ever comprehend because I felt at peace thinking about them. I stayed relaxed all through that Monday and for the first time not working seemed much more productive than working itself. Just being still made sense and at the end of that day, I wrote much better than before….

Sunday, August 15, 2010

In the impossible jurisdiction of words

Have the words forgotten their way from my mind to my mouth? It certainly seems like that. They are lost somewhere deep inside the innermost recesses of my mind; their screams for help slowly smothered away. They used to define me; my thoughts, my perceptions, and my persona, skewered as it might be. And now they are just gone. Sometimes I think I have found a word or two to define, without any circumlocution, my transient thoughts at their moment of prime but those turn out to be just shadows, just hollow, pronunciation-less echoes in place of the words that used to exist in that mindscape. If I don’t crystallize what I feel, if I don’t understand what I think, I risk the chance of not changing into someone I could become. These words, these little indestructible chips of a language used to help me crystallize, solidify, assume and over a period of time, become.

This month, I finally found some time for myself, a time for introspection of what I have become. And at this very crucial time, my words have deserted me. I am unable to describe what has happened to me; it is a tragedy so unique and personal that it has no remedy or relief and quite ironically no description. Stranded amidst my nameless predicament, I scream but no sound emerges for the vocal chords have no phonetics to carve. Cause there are no words.

Sometimes I get the feeling that I am in a spotlight standing in a disgruntled, dingy place vaguely smelling of rotten wood. I am unaware of myself in a partial amnesiac way. And there are these non-entities staring down at me from all the sides. Breathing, moving non-entities whose shapes can’t be described. They don’t speak; just stare…as if incriminating me, admonishing me for some unspeakable crime. Daring me to confess, to admit that I had wronged them, repressed them someway….are these my words? Am I in their court?

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Closer to home..

I recently got hooked onto to the TV series 'House'. Bought five seasons of the interesting medical drama from a pirated DVD shop and began a marathon viewing of the shows back to back; surprised to find all of life's varicolored dilemmas - emotional, psychological and physiological being played out boldly in most of the episodes. And to top as the icing on this cakelicious experience was the fact that I could absolutely relate to the central character of Dr. Gregory House - cold, bitter, misanthropic, calculating, a terrifyingly insightful eccentric genius, an intellectual with a sarcastic, witty and caustic sense of humor, a narcotic - addict who likes to push the limits till it all borders dangerously on murder or suicide and inspite of all of this still remains endearing, respectable and above all humane.

And it shocks me...that I can find House relatable. Its like saying 'I am a nun and the Texas chainsaw massacre villain feels like a soulmate'. The metaphor is a tad over-exaggerated but the feeling isn't. What really gets to me about the character is that even though it is written in a way that is too smart for it to be a real person, the flaws and the progression of the character's psychology and emotional maturity are unflinching and hard cored. And this growth is somehow fulfilling. House is generally Mr. Smartest Pants for most of his screen time, the "I-know-what-goes-on-in-your-mind-at-all-times" person. And more often than not, he's right.

He's right about people, about diseases, about diagnosis and almost everything under the Sun. But then there's always someone, a colleague or a patient or a relative, who cuts through House's defensive wisdom and reveals his vulnerable, tortured inner self. The smugness, the cocksure, rude, maverick, arrogant, defiant exterior of the character vanishes the moment he confronts his personal demons and in place of that we see an unsure, self-loathing, troubled individual who has difficulties accepting himself and his life, who questions his own judgment and fights against his own survival instincts to end it, once and for all.

And it is in these well-timed moments that the show's brilliance shines through and so does Hugh Laurie, who embodies Dr. House with his amazing emotional range and impeccable American accent. He's the reason for the 'all the way up" in the 'two thumbs all the way up' review that I'd give to most of the episodes in a true Roger Ebert style.

Also the way he talks is really for example he has these dialogue Wimbledon matches with his best friend Dr.Wilson (who, by the way is modelled on Dr. Watson from the Sherlock Holmes. Ah, by the way did I mention Dr. House is based on Sherlock Holmes? Holmes - House, see the connection?)

Wilson: "That smugness of yours really is an attractive quality."
House: "Thank you. It was either that or get my hair highlighted. Smugness is easier to maintain.

Wilson: "She's hot, so she's a hooker? What kind of pathetic logic is that?"
House: "The envious, jealous, I-never-got-any-in-high-school kind of logic, hello! "

And then ofcourse there are those nitrous oxide suffused philosophies:

House: " take risks; sometimes patients die. But not taking risks causes more patients to die, so I guess my biggest problem is I've been cursed with the ability to do the math."

House: "There's an evolutionary imperative why we give a crap about our family and friends. And there's an evolutionary imperative why we don't give a crap about anybody else. If we loved all people indiscriminately, we couldn't function."

Apart from Dr. Wilson, there's hospital administrator, Dr. Cuddy, a feisty female match to House's witticisms. Also there's his team of fellow diagnosticians, who act as perfect foils to his character and somehow are unrealistically but needfully effective at witty dialogue delivery.

For most part of the series, House convinces you that he hardly cares about curing the patients, he only wants to cure the disease. He only wants to be proved right, wants to establish that he is somehow the wisest of the lot. He talks about his unconventionality as a doctor, refuses to wear a lab coat and sneers upon all the typical patient-doctor emotional bonds. And he does that very well. But then he also is unafraid to take a beating, go to jail, give up his medical licence just for a glimmer of hope based his wild diagnosis, which eventually may or may not cure the person. These contradictions to his character make it more mysterious and unpredictable, yet you never tend to dismiss it as fickle. And that is what makes the writing of this show truly impressive.

If you could overlook the fact that there is a barrage of really complicated medical jargon bombarded at you for most of the time at the speed rivaling that of light, I think everyone will find House really entertaining. More often than not, I find he says the kind of things that make you question the fallacy of your steadfast beliefs. I find to my amazement that he sometimes voices arguments and passes comments that I dare not speak out for the fear of hurting someone or being rude. The nasty tone, the hilarious gestures, the outright insults camouflaged as witty twits, the absolute disregard for authority and the non-existence of moral, respectful or even dignified behavior just makes for such compelling, vicarious entertainment that I am completely hooked on for hours... Plus there is a regular dosage of strong debates over issues of belief, faith, God, afterlife; its intriguing because both the sides of the argument are so strong that sometimes you root for the side opposite to your current ideology...and ofcourse there are those outrageous sexual and sexist innuendos...but never offensive, always 'guffaw'cious...And its fun for most parts..

Will soon be getting over with the five seasons I got...But this will go down as one of the best TV series I have seen in a really long time...Go Team House!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hitting the big 1ohhhhhhhhhhh!!

One senseless...another egomaniacal...third prude and upright...fourth brain-damaging...and the list just keeps growing as I come down to my 100th blog.

More than 3 years later, I have finally arrived at the big 1-00. Actually had I made blogging a regular event in my life, I would have made it to this point earlier but never mind. I generally take my own sweet time with all the things up, close and personal to me and this blog is just one of those things.

For better or worse, I blogged about movies, books, poetry, prose, writers, directors, artists - all the things that caught my fancy. I made a conscious attempt to keep my real life experiences from becoming too detailed and have never put down much about the people, new and old whom I encountered in the last three years. I admit that it would have made the blogs more interesting and more intimate but it might have ended up hurting people because not everyone likes to see themselves in the light of others' perspective of them. I wrote about my life (or something like it) with a tone of self - deprecating humor cause I will always view it that way. Taking it seriously just doesn't go down well with me; plus that's the only way I have any fun with it.

I am a much different person than I used to me; my perceptions and ideas about the world and the people living in it have undergone a meteroic shift but at the core of it all, I still believe; I still have my faith. And I am still a kid at heart; ever trusting to the point of being suicidal. I guess I have a natural aversion to growing up and acting all high and mighty. I have to be the female Peter Pan, happily gliding about in my imaginary Neverland without a goddamn concern about my advancing age (its always at the back of my mind though) and no idea on how to get down to the business of earning a fabulous living and sorting out my priorities in the real world. I can't still bring myself to tell the nerve-wreckers to 'fuck - off' to their faces and absolutely hate being rude and uptight even when the situation demands it. But then that's me...though I have to say I have become stronger, I can handle more stress - both emotional and physical and the experiences have made my instincts sharper. So not all that bad, huh..I guess not.

In my head, I think by now I should have been at a certain place, with certain privileges and a body of shining achievements but I am not there. I am not where I began but in a limbo somewhere between these two places. Time somehow takes its own sweet course with me while I am racing along its side and yet it still wins. Its not fair but then with time you can't always win. So many of my friends are married now and have gone away to their own separate lives with their new priorities. Time has beaten me there too; I couldn't be with most of them on their special days and now a huge chasm of lost moments stands desolately and unforgivably between me and them. I can't seem to bridge it, making fumbling attempts to throw ropes across but in vain.

Between shoots, when I come back to my family I often hear of births and deaths in the families of relatives, all of whom are just wisps of blurred images as if from another lifetime. I often lose track of days, dates, festivals, wedding anniversaries, birthdays when I am shooting and when I am not, I really don't know what to do if I remember them at all. Life has become disjointed in ways; exists between certain periods and at other times, it seems to have smoked away. Amidst all the hustle and bustle of the shoots and the disquiet of the non-shoot days, I wonder if I am going down the right way...And ironically, only my dear friend and worst foe - Time can tell for sure.

This whole self-introspection trip is not the stuff that should ideally make up the 100th blog. It should be more of a celebration, a kind of achievement or something but I think of it more like the way I think of a birthday. More than a day of fun, its a day of thinking of life at that point. And that's what I did with my blog today...

What did you guys think of my blogs so far? Let me know...Promise to come back with something really funny. :)