Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Jungle law and disorder

There are unwritten laws in jungle; laws that are older than time. All the inhabitants there understand and follow them without fail. Only one creature refuses to abide. And we know who that idiot is. For reference, let’s go back to that glorious scene in The Jungle Book (2016) when all the junglevasis, big and small, gather at the river bank to have their fill. Nobody’s attacking nobody there. Not even Sher Khan. On the contrary, he’s wary of having a human cub (read: Mowgli) at the venue. Which is ironic given the feline's violent record. It’s been a long thirsty summer and nobody could care less—other than Khan, of course—about a human presence. The reason why they could do so is there is a law in place. The reason Khan couldn’t do so is he shares a history with our species. He knows what we are capable of. In fact, he knows what Mowgli is capable of even though Baloo and Bagheera pretend to overlook the endless possibilities. Wonder how the world would have been today if the two-legged beings could stick to the laws instead of fire.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

(Re)mind games

The first movie i ever watched in a cinema hall was Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin (1991). My cousin tagged me along and there's not much i remember about it except a scene where both Aamir Khan and Pooja Bhatt ate watermelon. Even today, whenever i come across that fruit, i think of that film. Just like pomegranates remind me of Biswa. The first Hollywood film i watched in a hall was Daredevil (2003). To my naivety, i found the whole blind superhero thing too cool back then. I watched it again seven years later and found the film short on so many scales. A film, unlike memories, doesn't change, right? Wrong. It changes with time just like we do. The way i felt about Amadeus (1984) the first time i watched at a film festival wasn't what happened when i watched it again three years later on a laptop. The same goes for Magnolia (1999). I think cinema has this spell on you for a time being. I firmly believe there aren't a lot of movies out there that remain constant in your mind. On the other hand, plays behave quite differently with your psyche. You watch one and then you watch another performance some months later and both of them are poles apart despite essentially being the same. The spontaneous nature of a play does this to you without your permission. My earliest memory of theatre is a Tulu play my amma took us (my brother and i) to when i was eight and i remember both our jaws dropped after watching a scene where one character stuck knife into another on stage. There was blood all over the victim's shirt. We two carried expressions that dangled between "THIS SEEMS SO WRONG" and "MURDER! MURDER! MURDER!" but kept quiet. The victim remained on the stage till the end. We were both looking for signs of life in him. None found. Inside our stupid heads, we thought he was dead for real. When the curtain dropped only to roll up again, all the actors walked towards the proscenium, folded hands to appreciate the crowd. The victim in his blood-soaked shirt bowed too, to add twist to our already confused minds. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Leave no reportage behind

If a reporter reports that a riot is taking place somewhere, should there be an added responsibility on the reporter to stop the riot from happening? Going by the logic of some self-proclaimed humanists, it is the reporter's job to get personally involved. Instead of reporting an incident, s/he is supposed to avert a wrongdoing; journalism be damned! Well, that's what the tone of debate is nowadays. According to the aforementioned humanists, it's morally incorrect of a reporter to take pictures of a man walking, carrying his wife's corpse on his shoulder, because the ambulance apparently refused to help. The point of contention here is the reporter could have done much more to help than take pictures of a desolate man.
This discontent is misplaced on two accounts: 
  • You may say that the reporter is only focused on TRPs but doesn't that apply to you when you're on your way to office and overlook so many wrongdoings because you don't wish to get late at work? The nature of a reporter's job is to highlight the rights and the wrongs in a society; which in this case, the reporter has done admirably well. With his report, chances are that the health authorities will notice and might expedite their otherwise laggard services. In an ideal scenario, there would be nothing to report at all but we don't have the privilege of an ideal scenario. So, let's deal with our dystopian reality with a bit more maturity, shall we? 
  • You don't know for sure whether the reporter helped the man by giving him a lift in his vehicle (if at all he owns one). Who knows, he might have done that? We don't know that, now, do we? Either way, it doesn't matter. Who are we to judge a reporter for not stepping up when he's the one who is at least letting us know that something is wrong somewhere. Without his reportage, we won't even know what's going on in a remote area. Like in countries like China, North Korea and Turkey, where freedom of press is a dream for the dreamers and a nightmare for the reporters. 
There's no denying that the standards of journalism are nosediving in our country. Thanks partly to influential journos who believe holding a narrative is more important than seeking the truth. We get narratives nowadays, not breaking news. By the time the so-called news reach us, it's already broken beyond repair. Amid such circumstances, i wonder what more should a reporter do; the ones who are away from the luxury of metropolitan cities? It's very easy to smear someone by taking a higher ground—especially when you're basically being a keyboard warrior in an air-conditioned room—but it's only when you in the field that you understand what reportage is all about. I was a journalist for close to 3.5 years and i did my fair share of running under the sun. You get sunburned sometimes. Going by these pseudo-humanists' yardstick, a film reviewer should walk out of every bad film. Well, s/he can't do that. That's the job. You've got to sit through the lamest of films and then if that wasn't tortuous enough, you are expected to write reviews too. Of course, in film journalism, you neither face the dilemma of clicking a grim picture of a vulture waiting for a starving child to die nor do you commit suicide after that picture goes viral in a pre-Internet era. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A worldly burden

The world is beautiful. However it is, with all its flaws and disappointments. It's chaotic and unique. There's no other like it. My wife asked me yesterday, if i had all the money i needed to sustain, what would i be doing with my time? I didn't have an answer to that. I could have said i'd settle somewhere in the hills and write that book i always wanted to. But i didn't. It'd have been a lie because i lack the discipline to write coherently (which might explain the hasty paragraphs i leave on this blog). Which brought me to the world we exist in and the world we can't wait to exit. We often dream of a place where everything is fair without doing much about it. There are gaping holes, yes, but the only way to overcome them is to embrace them. Hug them so tightly that the flaws and the disappointments in you merge with the world's, leaving you with no choice but to be at peace. You hate the world because somewhere, deep inside, you hate yourself for not becoming the person you knew you were fully capable of. It's only when you accept this barren truth that you'd be able to smile at the world without holding anything back. That's also when your eyes shall well up admiring the beauty in front of you (for reference: check out the Into The Wild (2007) gif below) and you'll be relieved of that burden called tomorrow. Once you're able to accomplish that, kindly make sure you don't die anytime soon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

LOLJK

  • Seize the day. LOLJK. 
  • These Olympic gymnasts inspire me to lead a more disciplined lifestyle. LOLJK. 
  • Have impossible dreams so that even if you fail, it's totally fine. LOLJK. 
  • I'd change my DP if somebody sketched me too. LOLJK. 
  • There's nothing wrong with being yourself. LOLJK. 
  • Sweetheart, you'll make a great painting. LOLJK. 
  • I'm not scared of Mondays anymore. LOLJK. 
  • Be practical. Be yourself. LOLJK. 
  • Standards are falling but it's alright as long as there's love. LOLJK. 
  • If i die today, i'll be remembered for my chai and biskoot. LOLJK. 
  • Mahabharata is much more than a property dispute. LOLJK. 
  • I get what you're trying to say. LOLJK. 
  • Akshar Pathak's puns are what is wrong with Twitter. LOLJK. 
  • I finally woke up as the person i always wanted to. LOLJK. 
  • I'll kiss you even if my lips hurt. LOLJK. 
  • Don't judge a handle by its DP. LOLJK. 
  • Forgive me, Lord, for i've sinned. LOLJK. 
  • Anything is possible, including world peace. LOLJK.
  • Article 370 sucks. LOLJK. 

That sign from above

Once upon a time, there was a monk who didn't know what Ferrari was. He lived in the wildness, away from everything that once bothered him. He kept lowering his wants every passing day. Make no mistake, he had a proper inkling of what was going on in the world outside; a world driven by countless ambitions and faceless cruelties. Regardless, he was keen on attaining enlightenment his own way. For that, he believed he needed to lead an austere life; a life devoid of greed or transgressions. He ate frugal and meditated most of his hours. He built a small hut for himself just to avoid rain. There was absolute peace in his existence. There were no wild animals to bother him. Every once in a while, a gecko sneaked in but his days of equating it with Komodo dragons were gone. He wasn't scared to die anyway. The only noise he heard were the chirping and the swirls of the river that flowed by, not very far away from his settlement. He loved walking to the river bank, to gaze as far as possible, absorbing all the beauty that nature has to offer in the form of tiny dandelions and mighty mountains. It'd be fair to state that he was closer to nirvana than the river was to his hut. Nothing troubled him, not even the vilest episodes of his past. There were no nightmares to escape. He slept blissfully and didn't have ulcers or gout or piles. He was in his early 40s but his skin radiated while his thoughts were clearer than the water in that goddamned river mentioned earlier. One afternoon, after having two pears for lunch, he was sitting outside his hut looking up at the sky. On cue, the clouds formed a middle finger salute. He couldn't resist a smile. Even the gods were envious of him. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Ranga


That's Ranga and he adopted us last month. He just showed up at our door with twinkling eyes that said "You are mine!" No questions asked. It was raining and he chose us. He could have chosen the tenants on first floor. But no, he raised his expectations and called dibs on the ones on the second floor. No complaints so far. He's adorable and is far from a nuisance. He's not an exceptionally healthy dog and seems to be an odd man out thanks to his awkward body language. There's barely any strain of confidence in him. He is the only dog i've known who doesn't bark—at all—and ain't fond of bones. His favourite food item is—believe it or not—milk. Bread soaked in milk is relished and finished within minutes. In case if you're wondering why Ranga and not any other popular moniker like Tommy or Tiger? Well, he has wholeheartedly accepted the name and you should stop wondering. The other dogs in the neighbourhood don't like him and chase him whenever he ventures out for a stroll. As a result, he has become a fugitive of sorts who seems to be guarding our door (when he actually isn't). People who visit us, from the laundry guy to delivery boys, ask "Does your dog bite?" and we are like "Forget biting, he doesn't even bark." Ranga basically divides his time between our terrace and second floor with little to no interest for the outside world. Sometimes, i wonder what must have happened to him before he met us; who broke his heart and other poetic stuff. In conclusion, i believe he is better off now. He neither has 99 problems nor a bitch.