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On MODIfying, Developing and Changing INDIA

There was a country, a country of spirited and adept men, finding itself in the path of recovery from the heavy blows of imperialistic pas...

Thursday, April 24, 2014

There was a country, a country of spirited and adept men, finding itself in the path of recovery from the heavy blows of imperialistic past, shaking the shackles and chains of misfortune off its limbs, showing promise of redemption and excellence. This country if played its cards right could end up leading the world which was its expected natural destiny, making the rest of the world line up behind it. It could acquire what once the World War Combatants desired: the indisputable global dominance, the god father stature.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The entire affair regarding the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi by the LTTE and its aftermath is no simple math to decode and arrive at an answer. Besides even if one can arrive at a conclusion it will not be an easy thing to ponder over it freely as we have people with the so called “Tamil sentiment” on one side as anointed by the corporate media and the less tolerant, less co-existence capable people with their illusory certainty about life on the other side. Keeping away from all that would be sensible of me to do which I will do focusing on clearing the air about or so to say, understand the “Tamil sentiment”.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Even after many years I could feel her; her skin, her touch, the smell of her fragrance. 

I scolded myself; she is someone else’s wife. But does love, a wild force, a thoughtless emotion, bend to the beatings of reason or rationality?  No, it doesn't. 
If it did and if it can be manipulated and controlled, it is not love.

Love in its truest form stays the same, sometimes it even breaks, but it never bends.

These were lines from a story I wrote recently. Though the story is about letting go of the past, redemption and forgiveness, it might deceive you and to clear the air let me pronounce out loud that the story is not at all about forbidden love. 

But guess what, this post is.

Call it co-incidence or fate I have been treated to this theme of forbidden love through books and movies I acquainted myself with of late. Should I be blamed, or my choice of books, movies or the creations themselves I don't know, the point is, it convinced me that it deserved a blog post when I have been skeptic about blogging owing to various time/ other constraints. The idea was to share a Face book status as usual but I watched a movie and reiteration of the same theme pushed me to blog this. More than that, I wanted to record my notions, my perspectives on this. 

Besides, photographers and painters are not the only people who could capture moments; writers too could, in fact in more than imaginable degrees. :P

The movie which resuscitated the curiosity and made the shelved thoughts on this subject to blossom and flourish was Mr & Mrs.Iyer(2002). (Well, this is not a movie review so let me skip the plot details, if you wish you could Google it or even better, see the movie for yourself: P). This movie has a rather odd but beautiful portrayal of a muted, underplayed romance between two passengers(Konkana Sen Sharma, Rahul Bose, Take a bow !), a stranger and a married woman with a kid on a bus journey, who are caught in the midst of a communal riot (which was the main theme of the movie actually). I was supposed to grimace at the idea of that kind of romance but I didn't, you know why? It is because, as I said, the string of movies and books, which are all supposed to be classics and critically acclaimed, had kinda prepared me for this. And in fact this is least of the movies and last of the portrayals I could grimace at comparing others. Really? Let's see.

I would like to begin with The English patient(1996) which portrays the teenage like blind but true love between its protagonist and its lead lady who is already married. Though it doesn't glorify or justify a relationship of that sort the movie in a way revels in portraying their forbidden romance where the protagonist is certain of himself and his love to the extent that during a war he goes on to betray a country for the woman. In those defining moments of his love for the lead lady the protagonist takes what was supposed to be an affair into something more, akin to what poets and artists try to define as love.

Then there is L.A confidential(1997), one of my all time favorites, which portrays a stirring love between a cop and a prostitute. Smitten by a woman whom he later finds is a prostitute the protagonist is torn between his feelings and her despicable profession. He insults her and leaves when he finds that but she senses the undercurrents of their feelings for each other. Unable to exorcise her, he watches her every day parking his car few blocks away from her house. One day it gets the better of him and he knocks the door. 

She opens the door, she has a word, and she looks into eyes. She takes him to her bedroom, not the one she has reserved for her work and for her clients but the one where she really sleeps. He asks, why? meaning why she brought him there, why she chose him to be the special person. She says, “I don’t know” with held up tears.Creativity wise nothing can be as novel, as imaginative and as touching. The journey of these two characters through this crime, thriller flick is replete with such novel, highly imaginative and hear touching scenes fathoming their unbridled love for each other.

If there are bizarre love angles like LA then there are realistic, painful angles too. The Descendants (2011) portrays one such. A husband finds that his dying wife had been cheating on him when she enters coma due to an accident.  Suddenly he sees that he is left with a dying wife, a broken marriage and a disintegrating family that comprises two daughters.  A rather gloomy, artistic movie that focuses on infidelity, its effect on a family and forgiveness couldn’t have been any better. The painted Veil(2006) is also a movie on those lines of infidelity and forgiveness.

If there were films that handled these tricky subjects sensibly then there are some which unabashedly portrayed them in a way what one would call desperates. American beauty (1999) is one such where a father gets infatuated over a friend of his daughter. It almost borders on perversion (at least premise wise) yet one could feel that the portrayal knew its limit, brilliant, poetic at some portions and even kinda portrays the urban life brilliantly when you have finished watching this movie. The reader(2008) too is one such movie where the premise borders on perversion (this movie with its strong sexual content earned lot of criticism for its portrayal from critics) and which has its moment of asking bigger questions of life.

If The English patient treated what is really an act of infidelity casual, if the movies came up with debatable portrayals then the next one in the line, a book, The god of small things, sort of endorsed an outright, unthinkable taboo. An otherwise splendid, engrossing, unparalleled novel (No… No... it's not a novel, it's actually a 300 page poem..) almost earned a rebuke from me just in a matter of page where the protagonists, the twin brother and sister, share an intimate moment at the end of the novel  when they unite after their life shattering childhood ordeal. 

However artistic it was, however cathartic it was dubbed, however redeeming it was portrayed the basic idea certainly made me puke despite the arguments, the arguments that one could come up with like "Love as an emotion has no definition" which also happens to be the central idea of the book. In fact the book enunciates it openly at some point as follows “It really began in the days when the Love Laws were made. The laws that lay down who should be loved, and how. And how much. The Laws that make grandmothers grandmothers, uncles uncles, mothers mothers, cousins cousins, jam jam, and jelly jelly".

Nothing could sum up the subject as crisply as this argument and here arises the much thought over question? 

Is this whole idea not a shame, a shameful crime to be precise?  Don’t these ideas  jeopardize civilization as an ideal, as a practice and as an accepted reality?  

The love, we have been taught, on certain people can be of certain kind only and these ideas of mistaken, forbidden love are in stark contrast to them.Isn’t there a natural order, a settled harmony to this world which would be disturbed? 

Or is that we are missing a point and we are overlooking something? 

What about love, the sanctified, idealized of all the human emotions, which is dubbed as universal and beyond definition?  Is love not universal, definition-less as it is portrayed despite where and between whom it blossoms  or is it just another impulsive, wild human emotion wrongly sanctified and celebrated, which should be controlled, ruled by rationality and which should bend to the rules and laws laid down by the culture?

How much of the theories about love we have made holds true really?

 Have we idealized love distorting from what it truly is?  Have we consecrated love as we idolize everything we do not understand? 

There are no concrete answers; it is a never ending duel between laws, rules, ethics, cultures and individual's choices which makes one wonder whether laws exists for the people or people exist for the laws. 

More on those lines, what’s more  noticeable in the examples above are the questions of infidelity, taboo, right-and-wrong is thrown out the window and what takes center stage is individuality; an individual's aspirations, wants, desires, emotions and feelings. They convey the idea that love takes center stage in life and codes, ethics doesn’t which should actually be the case but which is contradictory to the reality as we know. 

In a way everything is made simple in them, in those invented fictions, which in real life is not because of the complex, intangible pressure exerted on individuals by culture, laws, values ,society and civilization: the guy loves her, the woman loves him and they enter in a relationship, the twins with a broken mind, fractured emotions and wounded self slip into a moment of passion, it doesn't matter she is married, it doesn't matter they are brother and sister, it doesn't matter the relationship bears the tags of infidelity, adultery, it doesn't matter they are breaking the barriers of a bond, the characters behave as though they act for themselves and their actions are not a result of pressures exerted by the man made factors, not to escape what-others-think disease as in real life. They behave as though individuals take precedence over rules and ethics. Aren’t individuals made and driven by the laid down rules without putting their rationality to use asking what is what in real life?

Could it be that the characters behave the way they do just because they are a figment of imagination and not flesh and blood individuals in the reality landscape? If it is so, why the heck are they made that way?

And this brings the next question: If reality and our culture aren't made that way why the hell on earth do writers write such stuff and most importantly why does our righteous, straight thinking world celebrate those creations? (The English patient as a book received a Booker and as a film swept the year's Academy awards with 9 wins, The god of small things was a Booker prize winner as well and of global unanimous repute and if you say these are the perversions of modern writers then there is the evergreen classic like Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina which deals with this theme). Are these creations result of writer’s gratification to write differently, the thrill they get in breaking the norms, foraying into the forbidden challenging their borders? Is it the natural affinity, their defining DNA, common to humans, that is always attracted to the forbidden, that always want to trespass into the restricted? 

Or are they being simply perverts giving catharsis to their repressed perversion in the name of art? Or is it a genuine effort to explore things as they are, open up the eyes closed by the lids of ignorance? What drives them to write that way? What on earth?

Questions abound but answers are scant.  But it is important to get an answer, the actual answer or a constructed one at least for the time being if the answers are not that simple. So what’s the answer or the made up one I have constructed for myself? (Well it may not be definitive; it may not be clear or let me confess it may not even make sense just like my untraceable thoughts jumping over the trail of each other’s frenzied drifts.)

Well, the central dilemma here is that the culture says few things are not to be tampered with, few things are considered taboo and love as an idealized feeling says otherwise. Let’s take a closer look at both. 

First what’s love? In its true sense, in the height of rationality it could be defined as a human emotion, a raw, strong, and very much innate just like the knowledge of swimming to a new born fish.  In an emotional point of view, no one knows what it is and hence it is definition- less. Is it sacred, is it to be worshipped or is it to be made the way of life and pursued relentlessly? It depends on the beliefs of the individual.

And, what is culture? (Well, this one is easy) Culture is set of accepted customs, accepted way of life in a group. Nothing more, and nothing less. In simple terms, Culture is you-should-wear-a-saree in India, you-should-bury-yourself-inside-a-burqa in Saudi Arabia and it is you-can-wear-a-bikini-or–even-roam-naked-if-you-wish in America.Unlike love, culture isn’t universal (may be Moral is, not culture, which says it is better to cover oneself by a piece of cloth. But sadly moral doesn’t care whether it is burqa or saree or whatever or even whether it is forced upon or not). 

Culture isn’t sacred, culture is not compassionate, not like love. Culture could sometimes say a woman should deprive her life herself if her husband dies, it could cut limbs for as much as thievery, it could stone a victim of rape, it could rob books, arts, music from an entire community. Culture often is the vice of society, culture in practice could be flawed and culture is parochial eight out of ten times if looked in a broader perspective.

In short, love is blind,a natural blind, by no fault of its own and culture despite having eyes, lacks vision.

And as for the writers and creations writing in certain way, I think some do use those themes to lure the crowd, to sound different while others genuinely try to open the lid of ignorance or understand whether our eyes are closed by those lids. It would be a grave mistake, it would be ridiculous to interpret such writers and creations in wrong light as if the writers are perverts who propose lets-go-back-to-stone-age and sleep-with-anyone-as-we-like times. Whether we see or not, whether we accept or not, there are people who do ask those greater questions of life making us to doubt what is taboo and what is accepted. 

For instance a portrayal like LA confidential directly asks what bearing does sexual intimacy has on love. Indeed, that is a worthy question to be asked. How much an act of carnality corrupt love as culture says when it glorifies epics that tell the story of a wife who had five husbands? If I'm not wrong,aren’t those same characters worshiped as chaste woman? How much of the-physical-love-sense holds valid there? Or is it that culture has become the vehicle for hypocrites to deviate the ancient’s forward thinking, “Chastity is never physical and love has got nothing to do with physical intimacy.” 

What is accepted then? What is a taboo then? 

I think it is time we apprise things as they are and think things with our own logic, ask our own questions, have our own counter arguments and get our own answers than surrendering ourselves to the blind, vision lacking culture, ethics et al. Especially this is essential in times where people still get killed simply for their choice of marriage by few other people (I’m talking about the tragic outcome of inter-community love marriage which shook TN recently).

And as I referred, universality-and-boundlessness-of-love hypothesis doesn’t mean to propose lets-go-back-to-stone-age theory, but it is an opportunity to look at things as they are. It is not taking sides, it is not glorifying or debasing things blindly, it is simply a question put forth that asks whether love can be manipulated, controlled and regulated.  As simple as that.

P.S: I started reading, And the mountains echoed by khaled Hosseini and guess what? This also deals with a similar theme at least in a part. :P

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

There are books that clasp your fingers, grab your senses and have your attention on its leash when you take them up in your hands; they call it the page-turners. There are some books that are heavy not so much in terms of its girth and weight but in terms of the facets it explores, in terms of the impact it leaves in a readers mind. These books are delicately subtle, profoundly beautiful, and unbelievably chimerical in terms of their form and their very make. They are like a cool breeze whose touch is felt even after they have left long ago. 

Then there are some other books that are like an evening cup of coffee, you like it when you drink but as soon as you put down the cup you don’t remember it. They are not tongue burning, neither the treat of the life, they are usual; these are what they call a good-read. And there is another kind which you and I won’t like spending time to discuss about; they usually call it waste-of-time.

And before you ask, what’s all this piece-of-wisdom on books about let me tell you that this post is about a book that I read of late. To make myself clear, this isn't exactly a review but just my thoughts on a read-worthy book, An Excursion of Insight, written by my friend, Harsh Agarwal.  Plus, more than anything I wanted to give him comments for a change (Just kidding: P).


Sonam Dorji is a simple, less endowed man from Bhutan who has his feet firm in Buddhism.  He lands in Meghalaya: with eyes full of dreams to study in college, with an obligation towards his motherland and with an innocent belief that India is what they show in Bollywood movies. He has responsibilities and he knows that better than anyone else yet he falls in love with a classmate, Sarika; a beautiful girl with whom Sonam’s chemistry works out in the chemistry lab. While their chemistry mix up in test tubes like salts with diluted acid and  warmed in Bunsen burner flames effervescing uncontrollably, Sonam is pulled into the smothering current of the academic twirl on the other hand.  The Indian Educational system that crushes spirits, sucks confidence out of student’s life leaves its trademark effect on Sonam too who is new to this rat race. He is haunted to a level that everything he held close to his heart shatters in a matter of days. What does the shaken Buddhist do, what happens to him forms the story.

About the book:

Of the three types of books I referred earlier, this book falls in the spectrum of second type of books in terms of its content and presentation.

It is beautiful when it effortlessly paint the maiden green landscape of Meghalaya. It is subtle when it exactly captures the craziness of student’s life, college years and the suicidal stress at times. It is delicate when it reflects the pristine beauty of Sarika, her every fiber, every contour like that of a mirror.  It does leave the feel even after you have closed the book.

Though the main premise has been love it is not a love story. The tapestry of themes that are handled augurs more depth and complexity to the book. Indian educational system, religion, belief, friendship, a foreigner’s view on India, suicides are few of which that are being tackled throughout.

“The shining India” bit had been exploited very well in Sonam’s early scenes. The approach of giving a realistic view on normal engineering life is appreciable without adding what they call it “spice”.


Another striking feature of the book is the characterization especially that of Sonam, the protagonist’s. Him being a Buddhist, his innocent nature and the setting he lands in gives a perfect natural conflict needed for the story. His inner struggle that whispers “Desire is the cause of suffering” every time he lifts his feet off Buddhism because of the circumstances has come out well.

Sarika’s characterization was good in terms of her detailed extraneous portrayal.Though I felt that her character arc was abrupt but that’s my impression. It could have been consciously left such so that the character doesn't turn out flat, stereotypical. Salil, Sonam's friend, character has come out well.

Having said everything personally I felt that the book could have delved bit deeper in some places to give a wholesome, more gripping feel as the themes were complicated in nature and because the style was literary. I felt the story to be consciously restricted and compressed at times. As a reader perhaps I am greedy, I always want more.

The style of writing also makes a big difference. But for the quality text, it would have been a good-read, another sparkling campus story with different ending. The style, the text and the writer’s sheer ability to spruce up words into places, persons and emotions had made all the difference. And having known Harsh for sometime this isn't a surprise. In fact there is more to him and this excursion is clearly a jolly ride he has taken. I am certain he is capable of taking it to whole another level when he means business.

Over all if you are a reader who wants your creative senses to be tickled, who cherish the beauty of writing, not entertainment and not only the adrenaline factor attached with page turners then this is a recommended read.

 To Take the Excursion: An Excursion of insight

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It was well past midnight. I was searching for this old classic, Swathi Muthyam as I heard highly of the film and its director K.Vishwanath. I have been hearing about three of his films particularly, out of which I have already seen Salangai oli. Of the other two Sankarabharanam and Swathi Muthyam, I found the plot of Swathi Muthyam interesting and found it in YouTube. But damn, there were no subtitles. So I had to postpone my plans until I find this movie with subtitle elsewhere. I was about to close the window and go to bed but another movie caught my attention which I have already seen it in school days,Guna. I was not particularly impressed and had a vague memory of the story. And with the string of Hollywood psychological thriller movies and movies about deranged minds I acquainted myself in the recent past, some part of my mind asked why not I try this movie to see how our own counterparts had done.

I had not been a big fan of kamal movies until my early twenties where I liked Hey Ram. And obviously knowing the tragic plot of Guna I did not want to see it fully. So there I was, an insane guy in the midst of the usual-manic-movie-watching-spree well past midnight wanting to just check out a movie to get a feel of it.

I turned the movie on. Time elapsed and when I was 30 minutes into the movie I found it odd that I had not skipped any scenes. Usually if I check out a movie I just skip and see only the most interesting or engaging scenes.An hour elapsed and until then there was only one scene that could tickle my part of the mind that wants it to be marveled, inspired and stupefied while watching a movie.

After the initial set up of the story part it got better, those marveling, mildly stupefying elements in the scenes could be seen often. For the next 45 minutes or so it made me laugh, wonder, empathize and appreciate. I thought it wasn’t that bad an idea to catch up the movie giving up sleep. When I was thinking on those lines being glad, there came a blinder. A blinder of 20 minutes, an awe-striking twenty minutes of pure awesomeness, complete brilliance after which I knew a tragic climax is brewing. 

 Tragedies, as they say, are not my cup of tea when it comes to movies and books. Though I could appreciate movies of any genre as long as there is element in it, I am just another guy who grew up liking all-is-well-at-the-end type of movies. So I thought of turning it off and I almost did. By then I was reminded of such a movie, a movie of sorts that has a tragic ending. The movie’s name was American History-X which taught something about the right interpretation of movies sometime ago. The lesson was tragedy could sometimes be poetic and profoundly beautiful if presented well.

I wondered whether I could apply what I learnt there and decode Guna in the right sense. Eventually I got back and completed the rest of the movie that ends with the vividly-remembered-image of kamal jumping from the hill. It was not all poetic as expected. But when I thought more deeply from a creator’s perspective I realized there couldn’t be any other better way of ending it. 

When I said about lesson learnt from American History-X I forgot to add couple of other points. The poetic element of such tragedies, I referred earlier, is not readily visible. They hide behind the cloak of fate, co-incidence which we give as reasons for the tragic endings. They remain hidden until we uncover the cloak, until we interpret the reasons for such endings in a different angle or the right perspective may be.

In American history-X, Derek Vinyard (Edward Norton) is a neo-Nazi racist who is sent to prison for killing two Black guys who try to steal his car. In prison he becomes an outcast because of his white superiority theory and everyone awaits their chance to strike. Derek is subjected to a brutal incident; a black man whom he got acquainted in prison helps him out of it. Change of beliefs happen and Derek realizes his mistake of racism. He is released from prison and to his dismay finds that his younger brother is following his own footsteps that could end up in a disaster. He explains him about what he thinks now and his brother sees the point.

Seeing this one would think that there is an all-is-well kind of climax on the cards. But to one’s surprise his younger brother is killed by a black kid next day in school. Derek finds his body and he breaks into a cry. The movie ends.

The screenplay, plot, the philosophies and the entire movie proved brilliant except for the climax. It seemed artificial in the otherwise well thought out script. The protagonist’s character arc was complete, and he was no more a racist. He is a changed man; he has succeeded in stopping his brother from treading a wrong path. All was fine, everything had been answered and what is the point of killing the brother? I pondered over this and it stuck to me in a while. When I dissected it in terms of a story and its ending it did not make sense but when I did think in terms of the journey of the character (i.e. of protagonist's) it made all the sense. I realized that there could not have been any better climax.

 The climax actually was the real testimonial to Derek’s change. With his brother’s corpse in his lap he is presented with two choices. Either, he could give himself to anger and go on a killing spree as he did earlier or he can be the changed soul who knows violence and hatred doesn't solve anything. Derek chooses the second and that decision completes his character arc truly. After that I began to see the importance of moving the story in relevance to the protagonist's journey, protagonist's objective.

And the 20 minutes of awesomeness of Guna comes into picture right there. To continue on the same lines, the awesomeness that I referred was not because of any regular mass movie elements such as best dialogues, adrenalin pumping actions, on the top flashy performances et al but it is in terms of the authentic, well thought out characterization. As I said for American History-X, the awesomeness of these 20 minutes could only be seen if it is interpreted in terms of character’s journey. 

Guna is some one of a deranged mind who thinks he has a lady love called Abirami loathes his life. His abusive father had abandoned his wife after which Guna’s mother had to involve in the flesh trade. Guna doesn’t like his mother or the brothel she has in which Guna has grown up. While treatment he says to the doctor that people are nasty, the world is nasty and he himself is ugly with the features of his father’s face and that he is impure. He says his only saving grace is Abirami, a nonexistent, imaginary divine lover who can cleanse his mind, soul and body. He calls others as “Humans” suggesting he is not one of them and comments that the world is disgusting. Thus the character’s objective is to escape the humans, escape the world they dwell in and live with Abirami.

Rohini is a daughter of a rich father who had just died in a plane crash. She is almost left alone with her mother gone when she was 8. Being a motherless child with her business obsessed father she had grown up in hostel without any shade of love falling on her. Now all she has is 20 crores of her father’s business with nobody to care even a bit about her.

One day, Guna comes across Rohini and sees his Abirami in her. Their fates intertwine and Guna ends up taking hostage of Rohini. He takes her to a mountain where human interference is on the very minimum. After her foiled attempts to escape, Rohini gets the better of Guna when he risks his life while saving her. She refuses to lift Guna who is hanging at the tip of a cliff. Guna falls off. By then Rohini’s caretaker comes with Gunda’s asking her to sign a blank document. Rohini finds the evil design of taking possession of her property. She denies. But S.K, the caretaker threatens her with rape by Gundas after which Rohini signs. S.K says she could not live even after she had signed the document. He aims the gun at her. She closes her eye getting ready for the bullet to pierce through her. Fortunately Guna comes and saves her only after S.K breaks her leg. Guna kills one of the Gundas. Rohini is left unconscious. 

Guna takes her to a remote cave. He tends to her while she is unconscious. What lies there in the cave is not Rohini’s unconscious form but a reincarnate of Rohini. Rohini has experienced death,physically when she closed her eyes awaiting her death when S.K prepared to shoot and emotionally when S.K threatened her with rape thus destructing her emotions, destructing the belief she had on people. Now she is a new person with new beliefs and new hopes surrounding her. She is the Abirami of Guna’s dreams who had ceased to be just a figment of imagination, who had been given life by Guna himself; she is the Abirami who could give to Guna salvation and who wants herself a salvation.

 After a while Rohini wakes up and finds Guna bandaging her broken leg. She is overwhelmed seeing Guna taking such good care of her despite her betrayal. A conversation ensues. Each of the words that they spell shows how their inner search is answered. She asks him whether he is not angry and asks why he is so good to her despite her leaving him to a possible death. He says the reason is he loves her. “What kind of love is this when you don’t even know my name”, she asks. He says that her name is Abirami and that is how it is for him always. “Abirami”, she whispers. Good than Rohini she says. Who is Rohini asks Guna, for whom the girl who is sitting opposite had always been Abirami as far as he could remember. For that she says,” She was a girl I knew” rechristening herself as Abirami, reaffirming her transformation into Abirami.

She understands that love showering Guna is better than the money-lust souls she had been living with.  She says, to be Abirami who is loved beyond limits is better than being a loveless loner Rohini. Though her partly enlightened human mind cannot still understand the feel Guna has for her. She asks whether he wants her mistaking sexual motivation in Guna’s love. She thinks he had saved her honor and life and deserves her. Guna denies and says he wants to marry her saying implicity that his is not a love as perceived by humans but something beyond human understanding and something purer than human love. She asks him to marry her then and there for which he says he wants to marry her on the full moon day.

                                       Part of the 20-minutes-of-awesomeness

Then Rohini fever struck, bedridden. Out of a sudden whim, may be laying there protected by the shoulders of a man who genuinely care for her had ignited something in Rohini's mind, she asks Guna to marry her. He says full moon is due by only next day for which she says her heart is filled that day and it is the full moon day for her. She feels real happiness perhaps the one she had never felt in her whole life and she wants to multiply it. He ties the sacred thread. Thus Rohini’s longing for love has been answered. The loveless attains pure love and happiness completing the character arc. Guna’s objective of escaping the people, finding his Abirami who can cleanse his heart, body and soul, is also fulfilled. 

As the movie ended initially I thought the poor souls could have been allowed few more days of life. But the verbalization that my heart is filled by Rohini clears that as well. Rohini of the old could have lived 100 years and never see happiness. But this reincarnate of her’s, Abirami had seen a day of sublime happiness. Rohini would have traded a day’s happiness and death than 100 years of loneliness. Guna was the catalyst she needed all her life to see the world as it is and life as it is. And as far I know nothing could be any poetic than that. And the song "Kanmani anbodu" damn its an piece of art especially for the lyrical transformation of ordinary lines into a song, Vairamuthu's best.

People always bring up Kamal Hassan’s name when Guna is discussed. True that the man has lived the character and at certain points you won’t find his acting brilliant as you tend to believe Guna was not a brilliantly orchestrated performance of the skillful actor kamal Hassan bu someone real who had been mad all his life. Even I thought Roshni as Rohini has done splendidly well that too for a debutant she was brillaint. Generally she looks attractive, cute with her expressions, dialogue delivery and a tad hot sometimes but I felt her to be strikingly beautiful and irresistible in those cave sequence. May be it is after all true that beauty is not skin deep and it has to do with the person one is. Back to the point, I think the true hero of the movie is script than Kamal Hassan.

Thought I speak highly of those twenty minutes, though to me the movie starts only after an hour of actual movie starts and it ends before twenty minutes of the actual ending I think the other parts are also necessary to build towards that good part. Over all it is one of the best movies I have seen in the recent past, may be the one I would ever see all my life. Damn this deserves rewatch(already seen it 5 to 6 times in 48 hours :P) and it belongs in my collection of all time great movies undoubtedly. A classic or at least a cult classic as accepted by many.

Hell I have lots to say but I think it is enough for now. May be after watching the movie for another round of 10 times I would write a better version, a part 2 may be. ;)

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Been a long time that I wrote something in this space. Not because I was lazy,not because I had nothing to say but sheerly the fact that I was apprehensive about whatever I wrote stopped me from posting anything. Three to four half-written posts saved as drafts would testify.  I guess,the perfectionist attitude that I picked up lately and my emphasize for an unique content are the main reasons that held me back. To my dismay, my other writing catalyst which is the strong impulse or a sudden overwhelming feel on things also failed to inspire me to write. In short I was not touched,moved or antagonized by a larger degree in recent times.  If I pay enough attention I would know that this habit of mine meant I am surrendering myself completely to the ridiculous-mature-world of adults. And of course without a shard of doubt I would hate that,So I had to break the chains and write a post at least for being myself.

After making up my mind to write,I did not have much of difficulty in zeroing upon  a topic with this thing,the friendship day around the corner. I, for one, known for the posts I have written in the past on friendship, I thought it would be a fair idea to revisit my opinion on friendship. It looked worthy a undertaking to invest time and this post is just a result of it.

In retrospect when I see,all through the turn of time, friendship has always been projected as an entity,a bond which has a fixed definition despite its presence among different set of people across different age groups. Its definition has always been confined to the common perception and the common viewpoint accepted unanimously by everyone.  But at a quarter century of an age when I look back it looks odd. How can something that is so common and widespread can have a single whole interpretation. Personally if you ask me, I don’t think what I perceived as friendship when I shared a chocolate with a kid when I was three is as same as what I felt when I averted ogling at an attractive girl just because she was my friend's love interest.It is not even close to what I feel today as friendship when people of my age group are expected to shut themselves and bury their head being narrow minded in the name of making/saving their career.

Friendship has undergone a change.Like air,I have seen that friendships shrink and expand. Oddly it works in an opposite way. Even when the life’s demand is too much,even when life becomes hot bed of thorns the air of  friendship should expand and be in its glorious form but these days that is where the much undesirable contraction happens. I am not sure whether people are the ones to be blamed because they tend to go with the flow like a sheep in the herd to save itself from butcher's knife,they have to go with the socially accepted lifestyle to qualify to be called a “Social Animal”. In these circumstances if anything is to be blamed I guess it should be the wicked word called “Career”,a 20-th century invention to keep people from tasting real life and the society that has given an impression that the career is cornerstone of a man’s life.

So when I say my idea of friendship wouldn’t be anywhere near what I felt exactly a year before,I guess it is fair.  At this moment when I look back with all the years of experience,with all the accumulated sweet moments and prejudices I am at a loss of words and ideas to perceive friendship as it is. For instance,if I try to wipe out the clouds of common opinions, definitions that had been forced upon me and look in the deep recesses of my mind,I find that I could not describe friendship.

In those moments I resemble like a computer with a 512 MB Ram hanging in a limbo being not able to withstand the heavy process running in the background,looking all set to crash.  I have these two thoughts about friendship confronting each other, to outsmart one another every time. One says, from the recent experiences of  broken,failed bonds that friendship is never a perpetuating feel but something seasonal. Like one of those phases of listening to music where you are obsessed with a particular genre and move on to the next. It gives an impression that there is nothing called lifelong friendship.And that every single thing portrayed about friendship is like a tempting noon mirage to the thirsty pair of eyes in a sultry desert.

On the other hand, with the patience-personified-angels hanging on to me year after year despite my stupidity the other part argues that, Friendship is as real and as human as the blood oozing out from an aching wound. There had been/are people who had wronged all cynical thoughts about friendship and prove to be sun in the east of my mornings every single day glowing with love for which I owe them everything in life. With the argument between these two parts getting intense leaving me in a state of mental paralysis,one day I decided to retire from the world of chaos to go into my inner self and get an answer.

I sat back,took time and scrutinized my experiences to sort out things for myself. After a while I was able to see few things clearly. The foremost thing that came up in the analysis is that the intimacy between two people can never be the same and it shouldn’t be in any relationship. There should be ups and downs,there should be moments of anxiety without which it can not be real. In initial stages of every relationship the understanding and the intimacy tends to be  in an optimum level. As the time flies by, it tends to get stronger and that is where the problems starts to crop up. At a certain point the intimacy reaches its peak,it may be days or weeks or months. It stays in that peak level for a certain period of time and then this intimacy sows the seed for a casual mindset of taking the other for granted. The common reason given are like he/she is close they will understand me and I don’t need to be formal with him/her. This provokes a spark which ultimately leads to contradiction or some gap. 

This is common across all relationships and what happens after this differentiate between what I call as a seasonal friendship and lifelong friendship. In seasonal friendship the intimacy that has hit the roadblock will never be back on track. The long dormant ego that had slept during the days of  being close awakes. Sometimes apart from the ego , the extent to which someone is hurt also play a role. Both compete to prove tough leaving the relationship to die and in course of time the so called intimacy becomes a myth than a real thing that filled the heart.

Second thing that I felt strongly is that the notion that friendship is common despite gender which is all a hogwash. Basically I accept that friendship and the feel is the same but then the approach can not be the same. How much ever intimate a girl and boy may be , there is a line put forth by culture or basic manners or whatever that divides them. That is the reality.This difference,I can say, is felt strongly when the “taking for granted” phase comes in. Guys normally get offended when taken lightly and especially when it comes to a girl the offense factor just grow manifold. A guy turning his face and walking away is hell lot different from a girl doing the same. The other factor that makes the offense factor gargantuan despite whether it is a girl or boy is that friends doing silly stuff having known how much it will hurt us. Simply its not what is done but who has done it makes all the difference. Most of the times it is not only regret that you feel but anger too have its place.

Also what people do when they have difference of opinion some times makes you go mad. If some one had been so close with you for years  and act cool,be relaxed as if the difference did not affect them and when they act as if you don’t even exist may antagonize anyone and especially for a guy like me it will leave me in a raging mood. Personally sometimes I could not understand what people wanted from me or worse still what they want from me. But in a broader perspective honestly I am past those days where I go on rampaging mode or be mad at someone.  Those days are behind me, I have no time and most importantly I have far more bigger things pricking me now.

Moving on,the other thing is when two people share a bond sometimes it is very magical, very divine. And once any of the one involved do something stupid or when the above “taking for granted” phase happens leaving someone hurt,creating a gap that magic is lost forever. They can even get back later,apologize with each other and rejuvenate the relationship but the magic doesn’t come back,you don’t feel the intimacy as before. Sometimes its like a fragile golden thread that can not be glued back once it is snatched. So if your friendship with some one is delicate,innocent and humble make sure you handle it with care as you will handle something made of glass.

Finally I can say that,Friendship is like an egg shell covering a magical intimacy. Some relationships are like raw eggs where the magic is lost if the shell of intimacy cracks. And some relationships are like boiled eggs where the inner core remains unaffected even if the shell cracks.(I know it is a lousy example in a rather serious post but can’t think beyond now :-P).

To conclude,I guess most relationships fail because they don’t get past the above test of temperament. Unfortunately these kind of test of nerves are not one time phenomena but they come in cycles which in a way make you realizes the worth of friends. The life long relationships which I referred are the ones that see through these tests every single time. Happy to have few friends who are in that category. If there is anything that I feel good about which makes me feel I am a blessed soul then the presence of people of this kind should be the only reason in my otherwise bruised,tattered life at present.

 Though presented with a confusing notions about friendship,though the human condition has reduced to such a miserable state to mark a day for celebrating friendship despite celebrating it every single day I wanna say “Happy Friendship day” to everyone out there who loves me,who still remembers me though I hadn’t spent time with them, the ones who hates me and the ones who had conveniently forgotten me.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Capital punishment(CP) or death sentence,the highest level of punishment imposed in the civilized society to make the guilty pay and to demonstrate that the society will not tolerate injustice was nothing new.This practice is no invention of the modern world and it should have its origins connected to the the early formulation of civilization when the thought of order,justice crossed the human mind for the first time.Without a doubt it should have been crude,brutal and ruthless in olden days and though it should have been aristocratic, something that was belted out at the whim of monarch or the supreme man as means of intimidation and threat,the need for preservation of it was undeniable.But as the cultures evolved the deciding authority, the method of execution, the categories of offense that merited capital punishment evolved as well and the whole process was made to look sane at least in parts in the modern days.

When things were like this,one fine day the "Evolved world", which had scaled the moon,which had sent probes to Mars questioned whether it is right to put someone to death that too by the government and the judicial system that is supposed to protect.Their "evolved compassionate mind" thought for a while and declared that capital punishment is a blot in the fabric of human civilization and as the most modern intelligent generation of all time we should abolish it.Have we ever agreed on anything? Another group said that death sentence is mandatory to the world as a sword is to the king without which governance is not possible. Following that, a debate, a controversy ensued ( as usual) and in the process some countries abolished the idea of death sentence.Then UN called for a resolution to abolish it all over the world which few countries denied to accept thus helping in keeping the debate of capital punishment's need alive.Since then the controversy rages on and let us try to understand the sensibilities of the arguments.

One might wonder about the tone of the above lines and find it slightly critical on the advocators of Anti Capital Punishment.It should strike as odd when someone who belongs to a country that gave birth to the concept of non-violence hint so.But not only me I guess any Indian would favor CP having learnt that any terrorist can just stroll across a city street and shoot innocent people at will,after having known that the home of democracy,parliament can be attacked as if it is the backyard,a practice ground for terrorists, wouldn't it be a natural reaction? And without a surprise one can imagine that India is one of the countries that deny to accept the abolition of CP and it is rightly so.

More than anything death sentences are needed to prevent perpetrators from committing the crime again.It is just a bargain we have to make to save many lives by taking one.Secondly when the crime rate is soaring high in a time where death sentence applies, what would happen if it is abolished? What would stop the criminals? Having said it,the odd thing is that the people who oppose capital punishment exactly put forward the same as allegation.They say that the "prevention strategy" doesn't give the chance of rehabilitation and that everyone has a right to life which is crushed when death sentence is given by the legal body that is meant to protect.In addition,not only it is the offender who suffers staring the impending death but also his family during the entire period of investigation and  execution.Rights,suffering? Man,I wonder whether the poor soul who was killed was from the streets and that he had no family that suffers for his loss? Isn't it ridiculous?

It is also argued that it becomes revenge when you take a life for another life and it is asked, "what is the logic in killing the people who kill people to show them that killing is wrong?" Fair,but what I don't understand at all is whether convicts are that naive to not know killing is wrong? Aren't most crimes deliberate with full knowledge of the impact it will make? Hasn't killing become another profession or a game with exception to few that take place on the heat of the moment.People who promote the abolition of CP should know that they also represent/ speak for men who plant bombs and massacre innocent civilians and people who involve in things such as rape, human trafficking etc.The alternative that Anti CP advocators suggest for CP is life imprisonment or LWOP(Life without Parole) which can not help in all cases.

Will LWOP hold true to the terrorists,serial murderers.What would happen if a convict like Noida serial killer is given LWOP and he manages to escape the prison in course of time? Do you think he will keep quite after escaping? Will the prison life turn him into Mahatma? If the complete implications of abolition of CP has to be learned then the case of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh who is a Pakistani terrorist should be taken.He kidnapped 4 foreign nationals in 1994 and threatened to behead them demanding the releases 10 Kashmiri terrorists. Later he was detained and was sent to Tihar jail to be locked up for life which proved a mistake and wreaked a havoc that was too heavy.

First, an Indian Airlines flight was hijacked and a man named Rupan Katyal,a newly wed who was returning from honeymoon was killed.Later Omar Sheikh and few others were released as per hijackers demand. Omar Shiekh flew and started doing what he does best.In 2002 the same man, beheaded the American journalist Daniel Pearl who was kidnapped in Pakistan.It should be noted that when Daniel Pearl was killed the Pearl couple were expecting their first baby.Also Omar Shiekh played important role in 9/11 attacks in which thousands died.When the point of right for life is discussed then one has to consider the rights of others as well.What about the right of the victim's wife to live with her husband ? What about the right of Pearl's baby to have its father? What about the right of life of thousands who died in 9/11 attacks?

Apart from deterrence, some cases purely merit the punishment like serial killing,terrorism as discussed above, felonies like human trafficking, women trafficking, child abuse and even rape.I guess more than homicide the instances of such crime bears unimaginable brutality. Especially rape of minors and child abuse.One might wonder whether rape,human trafficking etc are as grave as terrorism? Yes,in some cases like this its more worse. Often these trafficking and abuse cases are not as simple but they are subsidiary to a more graver crime like murder,kidnap or other crimes.

Having said everything,it is not so wise to take a side without ever lending your ears to the other side's argument.So as an obligation let's see what is the other side's stand.Among the arguments against death sentence the point that emphasizes on the instances of wrongful execution of innocents holds valid and something that needs attention. Given how easily the judicial system can be bent, the instances of innocents getting executed are high.I guess for this the investigation process and the judiciary has to be refined.People involved in the trial like the judge,advocates and the cops should be able to differentiate between the innocent and a criminal.Scrapping death sentence altogether will not be the apt solution.

Even though one might be critical about the Anti Capital Punishment advocators we can empathize with them when we dig deep.Apart from wrongful execution there are things like execution of minors,painful methods of execution, imposing death sentence to not-so-grave crimes. Web sources say that China,Middle East and some African countries are so tight-fisted that they impose death sentence for not only murders and drug trafficking but also to common crimes like robbery, theft,adultery,flesh trade.Notably in the Middle East homosexuality is a crime punishable by death which is ironical where gay marriages are legalized in some parts of the world. And in some cases it is insane to the level that conversion to another religion, idolatry,tax fraud, corruption(Are you kidding?) are capital offenses.

Apart from the insensible issuance of CP for random crimes the execution methodologies also seem to play part a part.The element of cruelty and pain inflicted also concerns the Anti CP advocators.Other than hanging and to an extent Lethal injection where the convict is injected with a dose of drugs rest of the methods like electrocution,gas chamber, decapitation (beheading) and stoning are still followed which are cruel.In addition to that few Islamic states follow the practice of executing the criminals in public places like in roads and in some cases they have special arena where stoning and beheading is conducted like a football or cricket match which is not acceptable.Oppression of women is common in these countries that adultery,women involved in flesh trade and in some worst cases rape victims are also stoned to death which is very much objectionable.

So finally one can see that to retain or to completely abolish capital punishment is not so sensible.As a general rule it can be avoided and in special cases it has to be imposed.Even in murders, the crime that is conducted just on the impulse,on the heat of the moment should be considered and in such cases imprisonment or life sentence is enough.But terrorists,serial killers and offenders who pose a serious threat should be sentenced to death. Some countries have various degrees of murder out of which first or second degree murders are given death sentence and the same can be followed world wide.Rape especially if it involves minors,child abuse should fall under capital offense depending on the case.

Apart from that if the United Nation wants to do something,it should standardize the offenses that come under capital punishments rather than blindly eradicate death sentence. It would be sensible to make sure the punishments imposed are for reasonable crimes and uniform throughout the world.And few countries should come out of backward thinking, death sentence for theft,tax fraud and changing religion? Come on! The punishment they carry out for adultery,flesh trade etc shows the oppressive attitude towards women in the name of culture,religion.This is ridiculous and pathetic and these people should change for good.If voices have to be raised,if controversy should be made then it should be on such things.

My Note:
I watched a movie and a message that was just belted out just for the sake of it, at the end inspired me to write this.The movie is Aravaan and the irrelevant message that has no connection or whatsoever with the movie saying,"Death sentence should be removed", annoyed me and I took up this post.Even some days before there was a commotion in TN asking Rajiv Gandhi assassinatiors to be exempted from death sentence which I thought about writing but did not get time.I don't think just because you have some sentiments and emotions for an issue you can blindly demand such things.If they are the ones who killed some x no matter who that x is the person deserves penalty and if it is death sentence then it should be given.You don't connect irrelevant facts and conjure up reasons to defend them.
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