Queen

********************************************** SPOiLER ALERT ********************************************

Kangana I have never done a movie review on this blog before, but something about the movie last night makes me want to note down all that I felt while watching it.  And for the first time in my life , I liked a heroine’s performance in a Hindi film.

Queen starts out as a regular, punjabi song and dance flick, the one we have seen many times over, the kind with four weddings and a funeral. Except that the wedding does not happen. I really liked the realistic portrayal of  Rani (the protagonist)’s disappointment, especially where she pops a sweet into her mouth while brooding over her fate. I mean, has any of us ever stopped eating for more than a day (I ate even on the day my father died!) ?

Rani sweetly decides to go on her honeymoon by herself and lands up in a myriad of adventures. She comes of age, in a foreign land, doing things she would have never thought of before. I could identify myself with all the things that happen to her in Paris : the same feeling of being lost, the same helplessness, the same  village bumpkin in a foreign city thoughts.At this juncture, all the regular clichés were pulled out and the film tends to drag on.  Personally, I felt the extra characters were unnecessary. In fact, the comeback of the fiancé itself seemed a bit trite. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the sensitive portrayal of a conservative, timid girl in even the crappiest of contrived scenes.

One scene that would stay in my mind forever would one of the last ones, where she runs, hops and skips to meet her friends for the concert. It was way too beautiful. Somehow, the whole essence of being a girl seemed to have been captured.  Her innocence, her sense of freedom, her hair flying in the breeze, her skirt : it was perfect. I also liked her sense of style and the fact that none of the scenes were sexed up to “sell”.

It could have been made a lot better, yes. But for now, I’ll take the feel-good factor and do just that :

Feel good. 🙂

 

 

 

Impressions…

I was once an evening person. I went for walks in the evenings, I wrote in the evenings, I sat down to meditate under the setting sun. The golden glow of the evening put everything in perspective for me.

While I still enjoy the evenings, I truly relish mornings in Bangalore. Rushing off to class at various times during the mornings, I have gathered a treasure bag of memories that I pick out from time to time and linger over.

Fresh, fragrant filter coffee and ‘Chow chow bath’ (found only in Bangalore) at any of the Sagar joints. 

The flower vendors near Market and Lalbagh. 

The spectacular and blushing morning sun over Cubbon Park and people jogging and walking all around.  

The old-world charm of Basavanagudi and J.C.Road, especially in the mornings. 

Chants and songs from the various temples near Jain College. 

The ‘neelambari’ flowers, spilling onto the roads in Jayanagar. 

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The lovely Carnatic music on 100.1 FM, making you feel like a character in an art film. 

School kids on their way. replete with water bottles and overloaded bags. 

The birds that chirp away noisily at Vidyapeetha and the huge trees that make the campus of my work place. 

Indeed, I find mornings so beautiful that I have started waking early of late. If its a passing phase, I want to make the most of it while it lasts and gather many more lovely moments such as these.

So that one day, when my body can no longer go there, my mind just has to reach back within its labyrinths for a trunk full of joy.

[IMAGE COURTESY : http://aartigarde.com/  via Google Search for “Sunrise + Cubbon Park”]

 

 

 

Vulnerability

With every batch of students you teach, you learn atleast one new thing about the human species in general and the way our mind works in a classroom, in pursuit of learning. What works with a certain group might totally backfire with another; what seems important to one might seem completely trivial to another. As a facilitator, you have already learnt your first lesson : 

There are many different ways to do the same thing, without compromising on its efficacy. 

On certain days, the best of preparation does not work. It probably will have nothing to do with you, though. Maybe some of them did not eat any breakfast or one of them is going through a divorce or yet another is expecting a baby. You cannot ignore these ‘givens’ – one must find a way around to make it work, and it does not. That is when you learn, 

Frustration is good for creativity. 

Not many days ago, I met a student who made me question afresh something we all feel is ‘necessary’ for success : Self-confidence. This student is the antithesis of a self-confident person. In hand-me-down clothes and cheap slippers, I wonder how he holds his own in a city like Bangalore, where glitz and show rule. He has a timid smile and oily hair. He does not speak unless asked. He works well in a group and exposes his vulnerability like it were the Pulitzer prize. When he writes, the work is largely error free. He blends into the class, not drawing attention to himself. Yet, I am sure his presence would sorely be missed if he were to cut class tomorrow. From time to time, as I looked at him today in class, his shy smile put me at ease. He was in that moment : learning, thinking. being happy. 

On my way home, I thought a lot about it. Perhaps we make a big deal of the “Fake it till you make it” concept of self-confidence. I am not questioning the need for a healthy and positive evaluation of the self, but the need to exhibit it. The emphasis on the external aspects of self-esteem and the undue stress we lay upon “selling ourselves”.

I think it is okay to be vulnerable. It is okay to not be a part of the ‘cool’ crowd. Not everyone is a show-stealer in the typical sense. 

Some, like the student above, steal the show with their vulnerability. 

Allow yourself some healthy self-doubt. It is good for your soul. 

Earth to earth…

Earth to earth….

As a child, I often felt a raw affinity for the earth and often considered it my first mother. I was often found sitting in the garden, dusty and muddy. I also put a small mark with wet earth (like people wear vibhuti/kumkum) on my forehead before I went to school to remind myself where I came from. I would take soft steps and often asked her(the earth)  to forgive me for treading on her. I still do not know how I started believing in all this, it just happened. Like I said, it was raw. Innocent. I did not have a philosophy, I just did it.

Needless to say, I grew out of it. It was a phase in my life, albeit a very important one. When I look back, I realise how I had been right intuitively, with no prodding. I had felt this oneness with the Universe without even trying. I knew all the answers before I could even fathom what the questions were. Perhaps we come with all the answers and in trying to make the most complicated questions, we forget what the answers are.

Ashes to ashes…

That old self has been burnt, yet the ashes remain. That is what brings me hope. That, perhaps, from those ashes,  a new fire would emerge. I would, once again, find the lost answers.  Once more, my mother would embrace me. Yet, when I think of it, the old self has not died down completely. I still want to lead a simple life. I want to give away all my clothes and live like my own mother does, with just what was necessary. I do not like jewellery unless they remind me of the earth and the trees. I want to ask for so little materially, such that when I die, I just transition seamlessly into where I once belonged.

My ideas are often met with skepticism. Many wonder if I am a fake, jumping unto the bandwagon of “minimalism”. The others are convinced that  am going to fail. All I want is that raw connection I once had.  That wordless language where I was one with the trees around me. Where I felt that the sun and the moon would always follow me, to keep me safe.

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Dust to dust…

Today, I rekindle my flame. To seek out once more, the simple joy of the earth.

To lead a life of my choice, where trees and mud rule and not gloss and silk sarees.

To reach that state of knowing all the answers.

To be.