Why do we have to squint to find beauty in an Indian marriage??

Marriage.

Ideally- A communion of two souls.
Happy? Very.

Colorful? Exuberantly.
Sacred? Depends.
Though it understandably warrants some  serious reverence and veneration.
Now.

An Indian marriage has everything. Period.

It’s like a small-scaled simulacrum of India. Of us. So many dimensions.

You can see everything. You could see nothing at all. Depends on what you want to look for. And when. And where. Or do you want to look at all?? Just letting everything carry you. Nudge you. Push you. Yank you. Caress you.

You could see a multitude (that’s a small word) of people you have to be polite to. And cringe in revulsion. Or you could see a lot of new faces, new friendships in the offing, you could observe, overhear, it’s… entertaining surely, if not anything else.

Though, I prefer the second set of glasses, but I’m stuck with the first. (Introvert issues.)

By the way. A grand party, a grand scheme of things, a grand days-spanning preparation, where people move erratically, talk profusely, trample over each other to have a photo taken, gyrate in mass hysteria to utterly obnoxious (or so fucking amazing) drum rolls and dholaks and even crackers can be hell for an introvert. Or all this could be his or her initiation. The blooming moment.

You could see the incredible amount of money wasted (spent) on ridiculous (fun) rituals, ceremonies and cringe (revel). You could see the plethora of food items which taste the same (or uniquely amazing).
You could see gaudy, kitschy costumes, blinding (vibrant) sarees, sherwanis, glistening coats and choke (or smile).
In all this, you judge, you feel people judging you. Those eyes, you can so easily sense it. Relatives, uncles, aunties, kids, opposite sex, which is your age. That’s a lot of pressure ( or a lot of fun.)

You could see the amount of work that needs to be done, it’s always huge, and you can lend a hand (or you’re told to.)

Or you could find nothing that interests you, so you lie in corner (whatever space you get) and wallow, and pull faces and curse yourself, as people pay no heed to you (not that you wanted it anyway.). And you keep on scrolling that phonescreen, or just write something you have excessively thought so many times. I was talking about myself.

But as the focus, gravitas on actual wedding, those mantras and havans, I do’s and kubool hai’s are subsiding. An excessive and exaggerated attention is being guided and tethered to the secondaries and somewhat needless and flamboyant and ostentatious revelries, (That’s the ever continuing trend.)
You …. You find it hard to find some actual priceless moment of innate happiness and those moments of unaddled beauty.
Yeah. Beauty could be someone who looks actually beautiful. (Away from the rat race.) Beauty could be a smile. A gaze. A tapestry. An anecdote of an old lady. A  joke from an unlikely source. A differently beautiful song in the background (Not what they play now-a-days.). The look of actual happiness when you see your relatives, and meet long lost friends and forget those drab formalities and cordialities for a moment.                           And dance. And eat. And laugh. And cry. And what not. That beauty.

Marriage… huh! It could be the synonym for happiness. Only, it isn’t.

 

It’s so intimate. Yet so inclusively social. It’s emotional. Very emotional. It’s aesthetic. NOT materialistic. It’s about two people. Two hopeful, smiling, beautiful souls.

 

Why don’t we just focus on that, and that only?
Because marriage is about people. About our inner beauty.
Nothing else.

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Opinion. Belief. Adherence. Dissent.

Every one of us has an opinion. And there are so many factors, so many variables that shape it.

That opinion can be objective, or visceral. And its yours, and only yours, so is the reason that shapes your opinion. 

In this world where we are so fundamentally identical and so uncannily unique, our opinions and our reasons are the brightest and the biggest beacons of our individuality.




The best thing about opinions is that they change. With time, with experience, with a greater perspective, sometimes with a sudden change, a sudden revelation.
And it’s never wrong to voice our opinions. Never.
  What’s wrong is denigrating others and their opinions. What’s wrong is the intent to influence others and robbing them of their opinions. 



And we have to draw that line ourselves.
Conviction is a stronger proclivity. It is much more visceral. Changing an opinion is much easier than letting go of a belief. Because, though intuitive sometimes, an opinion is a more factual outlook and a more balanced conduit to express oneself.


You are not always associated to your opinion. You are not always identified by it. You are not your opinion. You are how you teeter on that edge of changing and sticking to your opinion.

And a belief brews when you stick to your opinion, despite its flaws, you view it unilaterally, you believe.

A belief is very hard to let go. There has to be some sort of epiphany. Or a serious trigger which topples the palace of your inclinations, thoughts and value systems.

Adherence to a belief is not harmful, unless it bypasses and overlooks the unchallangeable entities and constants. And that happens more often than not.


And with social media joining the fray, the whole world has transformed into one big sea of opinions and beliefs to find our answers, and maybe ourselves.



Conflict arises when your opinion is not in congruence with the opinion of someone else. And it gets ugly when when your opinion is pitted against a belief.
 Its not a conflict anymore, as

Dissent is viewed as an insult. Question, as an insinuation and even blasphemy!

And if a belief goes against a belief? Hallelujah!

Death…

She stares. She dares,                                     to come closer.

She gets bolder, she inches closer, as you get older, by the day. To your dismay.

She lurks around the bend.                             As you spend, yourself, in moments, in memories, in the pleasant reveries.

She lurks, and she snails your way, she hides, she likes to play.

And then she appears, out of nowhere.      When you’re on your way to somewhere.  A behemoth truck teeters astray. A stray dog comes in your way.

You never know, she is a sudden blow.      Smacks you when you are high, racks you when you’re low.

The pain it causes, the dread it breeds, there’s a finality in it. Like it’s the only reality, innit?

It ensnares some of us early, very early. And gorges on some so dearly.

To some of us it comes late.                           The vicissitudes of fate.

And we wait, alone, stooped in our mansions, slouched on a chair.                     Still cursing, “Life’s so unfair!”

It’s all just a game for her, a silent play.   And we are but puppets, ‘pray and obey’.

Life, in all its entirety seems a delusion.   Collusion of the creator, right from the beginning. Right from the very first breath.

The only permanence is the blackness, of the truth, which was always death.

Why we need darker superhero movies.

We are lucky. This generation. We just are. While so many of us have feasted on the phalanx of comic books and their animated versions, live action superhero movies seem like the real deal.

They have brought so many things to life, our dreams, our wildest imaginations. The action moves, the kicks, the punches, the costumes, the worlds which we could only imagine, are realised, and its soooo gratifying.

And the greatest thing about superhero movies is that there are so many stories to tell.

Sometimes it feels like the mainstream movies are running out of stories to tell. That they are unilaterally governed by their profitability and marketability.

That while making movies, these are THE two constants. And the whole movie is built around them.

A lot of focus, today is on the viewers’ satisfaction. Big movie production houses, distributors, they have grown so big. And they invest a lot of money. Millions, like pennies. So it’s not rocket science to understand that they want profits, huge profits. It is the era of commercial cinema.

Earlier, a movie didn’t necessarily mean gratification, over the top moments,        a “wohoo”. It could torture you, it could tether your rapt attention to that celluloid, it didn’t necessarily have a rich soundtrack or some catchy tune, and it did have a story, most of the time.

Today, its not that such movies are not made, many such movies are made, but the thing is, they are not trusted as much as they used to be.
A superhero movie seems like a perfect marriage. It has imagination. It has story. It has (a lot of ) action. It caters to the masses. Because of the birth of superhero comic fandom in the mid-twentieth century, today, in the 21st century, all generations today can watch a superhero movie. It has humongous hype. It has the ever-burgeoning profitability.

And these movies have truly rocked the stage. In these past 10 or 20 years we have seen a lot of them. And many of them have been so popular, so awe-inspiring, so funny.
But will these movies always be like this?  Smart. Funny. Super action-packed. Light-toned. Light-hearted. Riddled with highlights and flashes.

This… trend needs to change. At some point we are going to get bored. Yes. It will happen. And it will be so excruciating to be bored and disappointed​ by a superhero movie. Unimaginable. But impending.

That’s why we need a change. That’s why we need darker themes, darker stories, more intensely portrayed characters and challenging and taut storylines. Of course we need action. And jokes, wisecracks, of course. But not unnecessarily.

M. Night Shyamalan’s  Unbreakable was a first or its kind. Unique. Realistic. Mature. The portrayals of Samuel L. Jackson and  I Bruce Willis were brilliant. This movie could be a beacon to usher the superhero movie genre into a new and exciting era.
Batman Vs superman is one such movie, like Watchmen (Both directed by Zack Snyder) which showed us perspective and the unimaginable territory to explore in superhero genre. Though lambasted by critics and even some fans, it’s darker tone, grittier story and some astute movie-making might as well make it a cult movie in the future.

Making R-rated superhero movies is also a big risk despite the huge aesthetic freedom. But movies like Logan and Deadpool have succeeded beyond all expectations. Both critics and audiences adored them. And that should somewhat set the tone. Distributors taking the example of 20th century fox should explore newer realms in newer ways.
Superhero movies make us wonder. They inspire us. They transcend us from our mundane existences, and show us what it could mean to be more, much more. Scenes reel in our heads for days. Some death rankles deep. Dialogues hit home. Those superhero landings lift us.
And the last thing that anyone who loves such awesomeness wants is to get bored of it. And for that, a continuous reinvention of superhero movies is so important. Darker tones have to be groped for. Some realism, even amidst some mind-boggling fantasy is necessary.                                                             Because all of us want our fantasies to be more than just a dreamy celluloid phantasm, if not real.

Hand in hand…

The sky was dark. It was cold.

The night was young. And I was bold.

So I held her hand. Her tender, warm hand.

I felt myself quiver. Was it fear, or was it the cold that made me shiver?

But then I felt the grip. A firm, gentle grip. Of her hand, in my hand.

And everything felt fine, again.

And I smiled. She did too, I guess.

We just walked. And none of us bothered to talk.

Live in the moment they say. And we lived, we felt, we stayed, we swayed, in that moment.

We found a bench, wooden, rickety. And just sat there, gazing into eternity.

Seconds, minutes, hours went by. And the end drew nigh.

The night began to lighten. The day began to brighten.

I suddenly felt lonely, and sad. And a moment earlier I had been so peaceful and glad.

Time to go, she whispered, like a wisp, she vanished.

And suddenly I felt empty, cold. Its been years, my mind told, my heart.

She is no more. That she was never more, than a ghost tonight. Who vanished before the first light.

That she was an illusion. Her presence, a mere delusion, of an ailing heart, and a lost soul. My soul.

I looked at my hand, it still felt warm. As if she was leaning against my arm, her hand gripping mine.

And everything felt fine, again.

Right or wrong?

Right or wrong.
Weak or strong.
It’s all perception.
Like a dubious song.
Melodious. Yet odious.
Saddening. Yet uplifting.
Happening. Yet outmoded.
Like sides of a coin.
Equal bias. Fickle. Or pious.
No black or white.
The world’s a shade of grey.
The vantage point of a hunter.
The motivation of its prey.
A woman’s endurance.
A man’s sacrifice.
A mountain’s permanence.                          An uncertain, slippery precipice.                A river’s frivolity.                                          An ocean’s perpetuity.                             God’s command.                                               A despot’s law.                                                  A gardener’s sapling.                                      A carpenter’s saw.

Between the two extremes.
Wonders work. Dangers lurk.
People shirk. Some work.

But what’s right? What’s wrong?
It’s all perception. A dubious song.

I’m a terrible, terrible person.

Truth is a shining light. Truth is also a torrential rain.

It is soothing like warm sunlight, a mild drizzle, comforting, gratifying.

It is excruciating like scorching summer sun, a downpour, drenching, dejecting.

The truth is, I am an all right person. Or so I believe at times.                                         But the truth is also that I am a bad, bad person. And that, I know.

We always have this thing in the back of our minds, that we should adhere to our moral code. Our heart is our best friend. Our mind, our keenest critic.

Our moral codes are different. Because it is very hard to find a common ground of absolute good and and evil. No black or white, we all are shades of grey.

That is why we find our non adherence to our respective moral code more bothering than non adherence to a perceived absolute.

The sad thing is, when we deviate from our perceived notion of right and wrong, we don’t realise where we are heading to. We mould our years old notions and beliefs like plasticine, so easily, thinking that we are looking at the very same thing from a different angle.

We unknowingly counter our critic(s) with an unneeded ferocity. And sometimes even begin weighing in against the very foundation of our moral centre in a cushioned or a veiled manner.

Another sad thing, we realise our mistake, our fault  (our vehement protest against our very own set of beliefs) in retrospection. Always. And it’s hard, again. Because you can never be the same, things, can never be the same. Your moral code, your value system has to change, or adapt to strengthen, or completely implode. And that is scary.

Plus there’s a difference between realisation and acceptance. That transition, that leap is a daunting one.

I often find myself stuck in this miasma. I am aware. Yet indignant. It feels as if I am angry at something, or someone. Looking for any reason or any chance to vent all my brewing negativity at once.  There have been a lot of situations in which my reprimanding conscience, and intuition drive me mad.

And there have been a lot of such mistakes I have made in the past.

Lack of belief. Undirected hatred. Tempesting over a teapot. Bypassing the moral road. Realisation. Denial. Retrospection. Acceptance. Lack of courage, to own my mistake, to apologise.

Whatever we might seem from the outside. All right to some. Assholes to some. Let’s just be that from the inside too.

What makes us terrible, (what made me, or still makes me terrible.) is the duality of belief, lack of respect, ignorance towards conscience, and an an unchanneled negativity.

I’m a terrible, terrible person. But at least I know that. Do you?

Poet

Who is a poet? WHAT is a poet?

There are a lot of definitions. There must be.

The obvious one, obviously, is “A poet is someone who writes poems.”
I look at it differently. I think a poet is a lazy, lazy writer.

An impeccable, amazing writer, but so damn lazy.

 Poets doesn’t just adjust words into a line.

And a  poem is not a jigsaw puzzle.
Its a meandering river coursing through its own unique path to reach the common, ultimate destination.

Heart.

A poet could describe, discern volumes about something in just a couple of lines, and that too, in a rhyme.
What other writers usually describe in their ponderous tomes, he has LIVED in that description, in that moment.

And he has oozed out all the essence of that experience in a very limited and profound manner, with a beautiful garnish of rhythm, and raw emotion.
And this speaks volumes about his creativity, and his observational finesse, and of course, a very natural command of the language.
And its not that I’m denigrating writers. Writers are amazing imaginators (that’s not a word). And excellent with words.  But a poet is that good, and that unique, and that rare.
Though, there’s a poet in all of us. Or so we like to say. Or so we like to believe.

But we do know. Don’t we?
Another thing I think is unique about a poet is that he doesn’t have to (neither he has the patience) describe every nuance of his imagination. What angers him, or rather agitates him, is redundancy, and needless detail.
Maybe that’s what I’m doing here. Huh!

So. Poet? No I’m not. No.
Writer? Hahaha!!

Yeah. Good luck buddy!

A false reverie, a true nightmare…

“So.. You come here often?” She asked. Swirling the straw in the empty glass.
“No not often. But yeah. I have come here a couple of times. Nice place. Peaceful.” He said. Fixated on the beautiful face in front of him.
She smiled and blinked. And curled her jet black hair behind her ear. Her lips, smeared with red lipstick curved into a simple smile.
“So…” She said at last. Her large eyes, a tint of brown, blinked and then shied away.  He smiled, lost into her dreamy dusky face.
Words had dried. They had nothing to talk about, but a myriad to say.
“Want to eat something ??” He asked.

“No. I am full.”

“Want to go some place else?” She asked.

“Do you?”

“No. I kind of like it here.” She leaned  back, inhaling the ambience.

“Me too.” He smiled.
This was their first date. But it felt like they had known each other a lifetime ago.
“Thank you for meeting me. It means a lot.” He said.

“To be honest. You rescued me.” She said. “It’s been so long I went out like this.”
His face suddenly grew solemn, with a spasm of an inexplicable regret. She noticed that subtle moment. But remained silent. For a while they both remained still, lost in their own little world.
Finally she spoke. “You never came. You… You just left.” She choked.

Silence.

“I wanted to. But I couldn’t. You know that.” He intoned, containing himself.

Silence.

Tears welled up in her eyes. His eyes stared the wall hopelessly.
“She would have been eight today.” She said.

“I know.” He nodded. Still staring at the wall. Unable to look at the woman he once held in his arms.
“She would have pestered me to listen to her poems.” She said.

He smiled faintly.

“And she would have grown up to be so pretty. My baby.” She whimpered.

“The most beautiful thing in the world.” He said, tethering his surge of pain.
A silent tear trickled from the corner of her eye. He was crying like a child inside.
“I am sorry.” He said. “I left. I just couldn’t take it. I’m sorry. It hurt so much.”

Silence.

“Is it better now?” She said. Nearly a whisper.

“No. It hurts just as bad.”

“It’s been two years.”

“It’s been a lifetime.”

Silence.
“What do you want?” She said, with a sudden finality.

“Forgiveness. And us.” He said. As if ready  for this question.

“Us?” She said. Mildly sardonic. But unintended.

Silence.
” I love you.” He said earnestly and simply.

The phrase seemed so strange. To both of them.

Silence….

 

“I will always love you.” She said. Wiping her tears away.

Silence…

“What do YOU want?” He was restless. His emotions were overpowering him.

“To go back in time and live in our memories, those beautiful memories, again and again and again.”

 

Silence…
A man trying to rekindle the fire from the ashes.

A woman living in the past, crying whenever she woke up.
United in their pain.

Divided in their ways of dealing with it.

United in their hopelessness, and love.

 

An absolutely relative world..

We all have different ideas, notions, beliefs, perspectives.

We grow up differently. All of us have our unique value systems. Because of the many variables that affect them. Some genetic traits, some acquired values, many many more ways.

Similarly we have our own notions of right and wrong, good and bad, etcetera etcetera.

We live in a society governed by rules. Okay, let’s  assume such rules and laws are the most agreeable and unbiased opinions that we wish to follow. In many cases they are heavily opinionated and biased.

And that is the tragedy. Because in a world where everything is relative, every situation and the reaction to it, every belief, is relative. We expect some things to be absolutes. Laws. Right and wrong. Black and white.

But is it so??

We all have our targets. To accomplish something. To be something. To reach somewhere.

Though being competent in something, achieving something is always relative. Everything is ranked. Hierarchies. Vantage points.

But what’s absolute?

The taste of your favorite food. Absolutely good? Killing someone. Pure evil?

A kid’s smile. Pure bliss? Close.

The thing is, nothing is pure or sheer. The world is riddled with imperfections and opinionated outlooks. (However hard you try.).                                                     The only thing absolute is our belief in absolute, which again varies, because we have different beliefs, and different absolutes too.

But yeah. We scramble for a common ground and often find it. And just about manage it. And life goes on.

Don’t worry. It took me a while to understand it too. The weird shit I write. I think that’s close. Yeah.Really close.

The shit I write is ‘absolutely’ weird.