Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Something lost, Something missing

Far away in my village
A tree fell
Staked out from its roots…
Verdant Guardian since centuries
Simply down to dust
In a singular moment!
Steady, sturdy presence
Essence of the village persona
Now no more?

It came down with a deafening noise
Breaking thru the silence
Shook the villagers
The sight that met their eye
Of the Glory now prostrate
Chilled their hearts….

And yet the next morning
The sun rose
From the east
Like nothing was amiss!

They wanted to build a
Platform around it…
It was a bad omen
Some said

Today, when I close my eyes
I can still see the quivering leaves
I can still hear
Their ceaseless whispers…
But when I open my eyes
There is just the barren dust…
And some crisp, crumbly roots…

Something less, something missing
From my soul…
A piece of me was uprooted too
That day when the canopied splendour
Came crashing down
To meet the earth…


Monday, February 06, 2006

Shabd- The movie

Producer/s: Pritish Nandy and Rangita Nandy
Director: Leena Yadav
Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Aishwarya Rai and Zayed Khan
Music: Vishal-Shekhar
Lyrics: Irshad Kamil and Vishal Dadlani (guest lyricist)

This can’t be called a review – its just my response to the film as I watched it- my way of perceiving it…
I had been wanting to see this movie based on the little info that I had gathered from here and there- the reviews that I had come across were quite discouraging and unflattering- and yet I knew I wanted to see it- my curiosity had been nudged- and when they relayed it on Star Gold this weekend, I watched it eagerly- and frankly I enjoyed it.

The theme is yet again love triangle- except that the third angle has the older woman – younger man scenario.
The husband- Shaukat Vasisht- Sunjay Dutt, Anatara Vasisht- his wife- Aishwarya Rai, and Yash- Zayed Khan.

While the circumstances leading to the younger man- older woman relationship is not very plausible, I could understand the plethora of emotions and conflicts that the situation led to…The questions raised, the doubts faced- the justifications, the validations, the imbibed conditioned thinking , the concept of rights and wrongs- - all seemed very genuine and realistic. To me, it seemed like a very honest peek into the psyche of the characters…

Shaukat Vasisht- a writer who was facing a lot of criticism with his last creative venture- is determined to overcome his writer’s block and regain his audience. He was specifically accused of writing unreal/ fantasy stuff- and so he wants to give ‘real’ to his readers- he looks around for his hidden muse- finds his beautiful wife- Antara (whom he calls Tamanna in his thoughts)- and decides to ‘employ’ her as his muse- he attempts to prise open her comfortable shell of self complacent contentment- probes her to delve within and search for repressed discontent- seek her hidden true self…tho Antara is baffled in the beginning- she claims complete contentment…she slowly begins to wonder on these lines- and this path to self discovery is catalysed by the appearance of a new younger co- worker- Yash.

Shaukat is excited by this new character, and encourages Antara to explore new possibilities in relationships. He is obsessed with the experimentation of his new topic- Woman, the Forbidden boundaries- the concepts of Rights and Wrongs wrt relationships.
Though Antara refuses to comply initially, he convinces her to withhold her marital status from Yash. Antara is uncomfortable with this especially because Yash makes his affection for her pretty obvious. However, Antara begins to enjoy his exuberance (which first, she had found annoying), his mischief- and of course his attention and admiration. She discovers little joys in his company- like spontaneity, uninhibited laughter- and enjoying little, trivial things in life- all those which she had forgotten existed- she realises that she had simply fallen into the expected groove with marriage- comfortably and conveniently performing her duties as a loving wife – and though she loved her husband- and had no regrets- she rediscovered the joy of living in Yash’s company! And now she is afraid of falling in love with Yash…

Shaukat notices the changes in Antara- he understands what is happening- and believes that everything was happening as he conceived for his story plot- the writer in him is excited and thrilled- but the husband in him is beginning to worry and get insecure, scared and sad- the conflict begins in his head- between Shaukat the writer, and Shaukat the husband…

Yash, blissfully ignorant that he was playing a part, is happily in love- he tells Antara the qualities that he finds in her endearing- her hesitations, her coyness, her laughter, her holding back…and Antara feels helpless- she is caught in between his affection and her loyalty to her husband.

It dawns on Shaukat that perhaps Antara ws developing a soft corner for Yash- and that it was time for the husband to intervene and reclaim his wife- he decides that the ‘character’ Yash had to die- and he inserts Yash’s “suicide” into his plot.

Antara meanwhile is unable to cope with new emotions for Yash, sense of deceit and guilt , and her convictions about “rights” and “wrongs”. She confesses to Yash about her marital status- admitting that while Yash had brought into her life a gift of joyful moments- and that she would cherish the memories of the wonderful moments that they had shared…she was very happy and in love with her husband. Yash is devastated but wishes her well and moves away gracefully.

Shaukat at first is disappointed that real life had moved away from his ‘script’- Antara is aghast that he had been seeking/ weaving a story out of her life, that he had been egging her on to “let go” of conditioned thinking, her ideas of rights and wrongs for the sake of his creativity- she confronts him accusing him of insensitivity and ignorance of the ways how reality worked- she tries to make him realise that Fiction was different from the real world…when real individuals and real time emotions were involved.

But Shaukat is unable to take it- he was by now enmeshed in a web of his own making- that of creative obsession! He had been proud that he was able to chart and predict uncannily how the characters in his story would speak and behave. He was convinced that his words were powerful and self fulfilling! He was sure that Yash would commit suicide because he had penned it so- and now the prospect terrified him- he tottered between real world and fiction and was unable to make a difference- he keeps on searching frantically for the last page of his story to change the climax-

Antara realizes what was happening to him- she tries to assure him in vain that his words would not prove prophetic- but Shaukat was too far gone from reality by now- he has to be admitted into a re-hab centre, and she is confident that some day he would return to her …

I liked the metaphors, the imagery- the direction- the play of the raindrops on Sunjay Dutt’s face- I lack the knowledge to describe such things technically except to say that I liked it-

I liked Sanjay’s acting- but wished that they had other actors play the role of Antara and Yash. Aishwarya of course looked beautiful but Aishwarya’s mannerisims masked Antara- and so also with Zayed…however as the story progressed, I forgot to notice the indiscrepancies- the characters of Antara and Yash loomed larger, tho I’m not sure it was because of their acting prowess or my own involvement with the story.
Sadia Siddiqui in the role of the domestic help tho miniscule- was impressive.

Though the idea of a writer husband encouraging his wife to have an affair for the sake of his creativity sounds too far fetched- the questions raised were very genuine –

And it often happens with me that while I do enjoy the nuances, the dialogues- the direction while watching a movie- most of the time on retrospect I tend to remember a movie less favourably with passage of time, so I wrote this out before the ‘feeling’ evaporated.

I remember, many years ago there was a similar story attempted in Malayalam- I think the name of the movie was “Rachana”meaning “composition” in which the writer husband ( Bharath Gopi) persuades his wife ( Srividya) to encourage the affections of a very na├»ve, simpleton co-worker ( Nedumudi Venu) - and then finally invites him over to their home for dinner- and there the husband makes his appearance- the co worker is shocked, embarassed and mortified- so much that he commits suicide - the wife is unable to handle the guilt and becomes insane, and the wretched husband is left to repent and regret forever…

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Eternal Wait

The sound of the approaching train barged into her senses and she was startled out of her stupor. Subconsciously she moved into the “waiting” mode. It took some moments for her to remember that she had nothing to wait for. Her wait had ended two years and four months ago…She knew that and yet but her heart still continued to wait – it seemed to refuse to believe and accept that her wait had come to an end…she had been programmed to wait and could not be deprogrammed!

Before the wait had ended two years ago, the sound of the approaching train meant that he was about to arrive- it meant anticipation, increased heart beats, excitement as she waited for the approaching footsteps. The moments ticked by heavily, each leaving a footprint in her heart. Her ears would be alert to every rustle outside her door- her world would be reduced to just a single all pervasive action- that of waiting…

As the familiar footsteps approached, she’d get into a tizzy of excitement, sheer happiness. She’d rush to open the door- and there he’d be standing outside towering over her at the doorstep- that first moment would freeze- him looking at her and she at him- only after a few moments , would both of them come back to the mortal world- and she would step aside, to let him in- the moment she closed the door with her heart in her mouth, he would swoop her into his arms – and she’d cradle his neck with hers….

Now it was two years since he had left- forever- her wait had come to an end- but even now, when she heard the sound of the approaching train, her senses perked up in reflex- she could not unlearn it- For her, the wait had become Eternal- the wait for the footsteps that would never reach her door…

Monday, January 30, 2006

The Wall Of Silence

Silence, Silence, Silence…why did he never reply? She had called out so many times, but it was like he never heard her cries….but she knew he would’ve heard- he just chose not to respond- Why had she been chosen for silence? Did he think his silence was louder than his words? Did he think she could hear his thoughts through silence? Did he expect her to understand his unspoken words?

Or was it that he did not want to respond? But if so then why? What had she done to deserve this silent treatment?

She was sure she had given him no reason to rebuff her thus..or had she? Nothing that she could recall…or perhaps he had misunderstood her at some point in the past? Perhaps he had misinterpreted her words- sensed some unimplied meaning to her actions?? May be he was not used to her kind of expressions? May be he perceived her words, actions in a way different from what she had intended?

But how would she know the reason unless he broke his vow of silence? Unless he told her what he thought/felt? She could not read his mind…how could she clarify otherwise- reassure him that she had implied nothing offensive in thought, word or deed???

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

To a friend who left...

Hi …
Just thought of telling you that
sometimes I miss you..lots…
But let me tell you that
sometimes I don’t…
Sometimes I want to talk to you
Sometimes I just want to listen…
And sometimes I don’t know
what I actually wish-
Sometimes I think I should
wipe out every memory,
every thought of you…
And sometimes I want
to cling to even the tiniest moment
And don’t want to let go ever…
Sometimes I ask why, how..
Sometimes I just don’t care…
Sometimes I think
I’m getting used to your absence
And sometimes I feel its unbearable
Sometimes I think I’ll get over you…
And everything will be fine
I’ll keep moving
And sometimes I’m stuck…
I feel lost

Knowing that the past
will never come back…
Knowing that the future
will bring more painful realities…
Sometimes I can accept
And sometimes it hurts
There are some moments
which flash in my mind’s eye-
Which I hold close to my heart…
which are precious...

I always knew you’d leave
But when you did
I realized I was hoping
You’d stay…

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Hear me Please...

I don’t care about your name
Or what they call you by
I don’t care how you look
Two heads or four arms
Or a crown of thorns
With nails pinning your arms and feet
Or whether you sport a turban and a beard…
I just don’t care how you look
I just need you to be out there
Up there or anywhere
I need to know you’re keeping a watch
That you’re looking out
That you’ll take care of things
Not just me, but all of us..

Its not enough to know
That you’re within me
Or within everybody
I’m yet to learn to trust in me
And in the rest of us mortal creatures

I need you, YOU, YOU…
To have faith, to have trust
I need to know desperately
That I need not worry
That things will be fine
Even when they seem bleak

When I see things happen around me
Calamities and disasters
Floods, hurricanes, earthquakes
I’m struck with dread
I cannot understand why some suffer
I cannot fathom
Why I’m spared
I see no reason, no logic
in the stream of happenings
I’m sure you do
Just that its beyond my finite senses
So you see why I need you…

Sometimes its not enough
That I’ve been blessed
Becos when I see the lesser fortunate
It doesn’t help
Even as I’m grateful
Somewhere it niggles
Becos I see no difference
in me from them
And I know to You,
all are the same
in them I sense myself
and the ones I love
I can claim no redeeming trait
That isolates me from them…

After all they laugh the same laughter
They shed the same tears
They bear the same pain
But they suffered and they died!
And a piece of me died with them!

Such random selection
Breeds fear within
Today they, tomorrow who?I? Us?
How does the elimination happen?
This uncertainity haunts me…

As I beheld the wake of Nature’s fury
In all its raging splendor
The sights that met my eye
Staggered meI felt lost,
I knew not where to look
When I saw them look
out of their windows
In their marooned homes
The despair, the helplessness
Mirrored in their eyes
Reflected in their visage
Wrenched my soul
Suddenly, nothing mattered
It just is!
Good, bad, rich, poor
Right, wrong, no one cares
Its just you or me or them-
its just the same
the “why’s” just echoed
seeking an answer seemed pointless…

a sense of defeat, a sense of foreboding
a helplessness, a hopelessness
a bleak despair
a nameless fear
pervades my being

I want to shake off this murky stupor
I long to look around
Once again in amazed wonder
I need to reawaken Hope and faith yet again
That which has been
Shocked to numbness
I need to defrost
The spark, the zest for Life
For without faith and Hope
I’m just a breathing corpse!

So please tell me ...
You hear meHear me, please…
Can you hear my silent screams
For myself and the rest of us?
Tell me you do…

the above lines I scribbled in a wave of impulse just after having returned home from the Kaveri bridge- here, where we live- there had been floods in Nov- a husband left his wife and kids at a friend's home- at a safer area- but he remembered something important to be retrieved- and went back to get it...he never came back- his body was recovered after the waters receded...if only....many more such stories...our apartment was spared tho- becos a rly bridge served as a barricade...

the climate is already beginning to get warmer, and now it seems like the uncertainity of those days was just illusion...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Wayside Views...

The bus circled round the bus station and came to a halt. Those who had arrived at their destination , scurried to the exit and the rest who had still a long way to go settled into their seats. Some moved onto better seats, a few were dozing, and the others seemed to be preoccupied.

Bhadra looked at her watch. An hour or more to go to reach her destination. She absentmindedly observed the faces of the alighting passengers. Some seemed relieved at having reached their stop, a few looked excited with feverish anticipation- or so she imagined, while others were looking tired and travel weary - the rest looked plain indifferent- their faces were frozen masks with no emotion on their countenance.

The driver jumped down from his perch to the outside. The conductor stayed back at the door, wiping the sweat of his brow with a shabby towel. He wore a harried expression as he rattled away the names of the places the bus would be stopping at. New passengers scrambled into the bus in a hurry- eager to get hold of the better seats- even though half the bus was empty and there was still time for the bus to leave. The instinct to race ahead of others was inborn, Bhadra mused.

A young girl – probably a college student trudged heaving two seemingly heavy bags to the door of the bus. She clarified a doubt with the conductor and wearily climbed in. The conductor looked visibly annoyed and was muttering under his breath. Bhadra guessed that the girl must have enquired about her student’s concession.
“you’ll have to vacate your seat when more people get in"- he reminded the girl curtly. She nodded assent.
Bhadra deduced that the girl must be on her way home from some college hostel.

A familiar stench wafted into Bhadra’s nostrils and she wrinkled her nose in reflex. Her eyes wandered outside and she saw the source of the smell. She hurriedly looked away, and her gaze fell on some movie posters on the adjacent wall. It occurred to her that it had been ages that she had watched a movie in a theatre.

Bhadra noticed a boy who loked about 10-11 years old getting into the bus. He was balancing a huge open box containing an assortment of pens, hanging precariously from his shoulders. In his left hand he held a handful of pens and she watched with curiosity as he beseeched the passengers to buy his pens, all the while enumerating the superior qualities of his wares. She sensed a despair in his voice . Nobody paid any attention to him. Bhadra gestured to the boy to come closer. The boy came to her eagerly. She bought four pens without attempting to bargain. The sparkle in the boy’s eyes warmed her spirits. She wondered for a moment if the pens would write and then decided that it did not matter if they didn’t.

Suddenly Bhadra was distracted by a commotion outside. A group of unruly boys were harassing a woman. Her clothes were dirty and in disarray, her hair was unkempt. It was obvious that the woman was mentally unstable. She was crying piteously as she clutched a tattered pouch to her bosom. Fear reflected in her eyes as she tried to escape the assault of the boys who were shouting abuses and chasing her. Bhadra was dismayed at the cruelty of the children. Unexpectedly the woman fell down and the pouch was snatched by one of the urchins. A piercing wail rose from the woman and Bhadra shuddered. The people waiting for buses watched the spectacle stoically…

At that moment Bhadra realised that the bus had begun to move. She glanced back for the last time- the children were pulling out the contents of the pouch on to the ground, the woman was still crying out…the people were still watching….Bhadra sat back into her seat shutting her eyes tight - the women’s wail resonated in her ears…and she was aware of a teardrop coursing down her cheek…