As the year is reaching its final month I look back and think how it started out. We had resolutions. We had dreams. We had check lists. We had desires which were not on the list or probably not even dancing around in our conscious mind. But somehow without our full intention, they manifested from our subconscious. One friend lost considerable weight and attracted great opportunities. Another expanded his business. One flew to places he has just wished for and another made new friends. Some found love while some found work. Some moved and some contemplated a move. All in the same year. In the very time they didn’t think they would. Or even should because they were not ready or ‘deserving’. But time my friend, will present what’s good for you at the right time, and prepare you for the right time in ways that may not seem right. Trust Time.
Once in a while a movie comes along that touches you, awakens you, moves you, inspires you, resurrects a part of you that you thought was dead, so to say.
“Depression isn’t a side effect of cancer, it’s a side effect of dying.”
“The world isn’t a wish granting factory.”
Many such pearls of ‘infinite’ wisdom take you into an ‘oblivion’ of emotion. When a film transports you on to the very streets, skies, rivers and roads it shows, with thoughts of the depth, divinity and tragedy of love, you know it has worked on ALL levels. The love in question is not just between two people, but between parents and children, between friends, and the way it is captured is authentically real.
Two cancer ridden teens fall in love and traverse countries and each others hearts. I wanted to remember every detail, because I dreaded their fate. I wanted to live their lives even more fully, because it was going to pass them by, just like all of ours are. Their dislikes were mine and I celebrated their moments, playing a quiet witness to their fragile yet indefatigable existence.
The lead pair Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort (of ‘Divergent’ fame) bring alive a morbid chemistry which is tinged with regret and a fighting spirit. Eulogies and romantic moments, gestures and wishes unfulfilled, they are every bit the brave sufferers we adore. Their best friend, Nat Wolff is candid, their parents are strong, the scenario is bleak but love somehow still blossoms and perseveres.
Young director Josh Boone has handled a complex story brilliantly. Based on the best selling book by John Green, it just added one more reader to its millions.
Have a seat, grab a snack, because this three- way chat will confuse you at best, with hopes of entertaining you.
Here’s how a typical conversation in my head goes:
Me: I think that everything should be perfect in my world, though I may not be. Everyone should know what I want, think, like, dislike. People should conform to my beliefs.
Myself: I know that I am a part of this ever-evolving, ever-changing universe. I attract my own lessons and the people in my life are there for a purpose, the events that occur, do so for my own growth.
I: A conscious part of me that watches the debate between the above two, my resident jury of aging brain cells. It knows that the ego needs taming, that I am a soul that is aware of its place in the scheme of things. It hopes that I can achieve a reasonable thought process which can be both world-wise and true to itself. It doesn’t question me, though it sees me falter, or make a complete a** of myself, but it stays put, like a loyal vigilante who will not leave me, or judge, or sing ‘I told you so’.
Our mind is usually reasoning our thoughts and actions, juggling many dialogues at once. Some acknowledge this, while others continue (maybe blissfully) unaware, simply working from one action/reaction to the next.
What I have learned is that we usually play tricks with ourselves. We go through a conversation where “Me” usually gets the first say. Once “Me” is done making its point, “Myself” starts shedding light on some important aspects that may have been missed out. It goes to and fro, until of course, the larger part (either your ego or your awareness) let’s you express yourself. “I” remains as it always did, a silent supporter and a gentle reminder of your actions/decisions past and present.
The future is of course, full of infinite possibilities. Experience teaches us that let “I” guide you, while the other two indulge in banter which may or may not be entirely fruitful. You will always be known as the outcome of your internal battle, let it be who you really are and not masked by your version of your ‘ideal’ or ‘perfect’ self.
And above all, let love, compassion and kindness be your guide, because if they are, you will never go wrong.
When a film is called ‘Love’ we expect to see the ‘popular expressions’ of this universal force. What we are shown though, are the true colours, strength and qualities of love and its magnanimity.
An octogenarian couple is faced with the greatest test when one of them falls ill and starts deteriorating. How they both cope with it and keep their dignity and interdependence so balanced, is true genius by director Michael Haneke.
At age 85, Emmanuelle Riva became the oldest Best Actress Oscar nominee of all time. She and Jean-Louis Trintignant play an endearing yet resilient pair. The various complexities that old age and being by yourself bring upon them, are communicated in passing depth, which touch you momentarily, preparing you for the next scene. What unfolds is not necessarily difficult to watch, but a reality for all who are in relationships, or aspire to be in one.
The end is a triumph for love.
Happy Valentines Day!
Love is the Question. Love is the Answer.
I stood in the side lines, waiting for the curtains to part. Anticipation filled the air, we were hardly breathing. The house was full, the stage was set, the lights went out and act one began. The phone rang, it wasn’t good news. The audience had no choice but to be sucked right into the vortex of drama, where weeping and shock had taken over the scene.
As the act progressed, natural human nature took over and the characters moved on to different things. It is funny, this business of news. We brood over bad news much more than we celebrate good news. We also fiercely deny the existence of bad news. Like all things, this too shall pass. Friendship eased the wounds, which would eventually turn into scars, meant to be reminisced about, maybe even laughed at. This act was almost at an end, when something signalled my attention from the other side. It was Love. I gestured it to wait, holding out my hand. It didn’t understand. I mouthed the words ‘You are on next, wait for act two’, making a peace sign with my fingers.
It nodded and waited. As the curtains closed, we set the stage for Love to make its grand entry. Act two was going to be happy, cheery and bright. The first line was uttered when the lights shone bright, the oldest three word phrase ‘I love you’ was met with claps, cheers and hoots. Someone even let out a shrill whistle. Works every time, doesn’t it? I thought to myself. Love did its business, of making cupids work, flowers bloom, scents dance in the air and the like. We had to give the audience its sugar before giving them their medicine, right?
Intermission was announced on a high note. Everyone was chirpy and chatty. Another ‘happily ever after story’, and we get our money’s worth, they must be thinking. But alas, an avalanche of emotions awaited them in act three. Smiles had settled on their faces, their muscles had relaxed. Enough song and dance, tragedy entered, interrupting the reverie. The hurricane that ensued, the gasps, the wide eyes, how people clenched their hands, caught the arms of the ones sitting beside them, this was the theatre in all its melodramatic grandeur.
People actually let out a sigh of relief as the act ended, it sounded like the waves had washed in to calm them down, accompanied by the soft breeze of lights dimming, followed by a long silence. They still had to endure act four. What would happen next? What did fate have in store? The scene opens with a single light casting a shadow, a familiar song played. A silhouette of times past. They look into each others eyes, knowing this is the last dance. As their hands parted, the audience didn’t seem to understand why. Perhaps they were expecting serendipity. The last curtain was drawn. There was a brief moment of reflection, and then a murmur. A call that grew louder. “Author!”. “Author!”.
I stumbled forward, lights blinding my eyes. A few steps out of the sidelines and my world had transformed. I had forgotten it was me. I thought I was a spectator of my own life. I thanked them for their admiration, I appreciated their applause. Each clap took me miles away, echoing inside chambers where no memory had lived for the longest time. Someone yelled a question, “Why such an end?”.
I quickly said “Just because it didn’t survive, doesn’t mean it wasn’t love”, bowed and exited. I didn’t want to start act five.
When we speak of Lily’s Love that protected Harry, we tend to overlook that it was not only that person’s love at work. What Lily did for Harry was what any mother would do, cast herself in front of a danger that would take her life instead of her child’s.
The love that I am speaking of, started much before Harry came into existence. It started when a socially awkward Severus Snape fell in love with a young Lily. The night Lily died saving Harry’s life, we can say one form of her perished, but another very significant part lived on.
If Snape’s unrequited love died with Lily that night, Harry’s story would have turned out very differently. It was Snape who actually showed what love is all about, even if the other person didn’t know it existed. He saw Lily in Harry’s eyes, and though was not fond of him as he was much like his father James, Snape played his part extremely well, till the end.
The protection therefore was provided by everyone else, the unwilling Dursleys, the caring Weasleys, Harry’s many friends at Hogwarts, Minerva McGonagall, Dobby and others who fought with the Order and of course Albus Dumbledore. He was instrumental in seeking out Tom Riddle, a most unfortunate credit to his name, amongst his many merits.
But the one person who had lost everything dear to him and protected in the name of a memory was Severus. It is said eyes are the window to the soul, and part of his died seeing Lily’s lifeless gaze the night Voldemort cast the killing curse.
Much is spoken of the love that binds two people, the love between parents and children, siblings, friends, but what of the unrequited kind? That is the clear hero of this tale.
You are all my Questions…
You are all my Answers…
Thunder exploded in the Mumbai night sky, along with a realisation which burst through my very blood, chilling me to the bone, shaking me out of myself imposed reverie, leaving my collective consciousness in the darkness that follows after the brilliance of lightning. This is but a veil, a charade, a fictional reality… let go, let it go…
As the weather mirrored the storm inside, the universe put me through my greatest test. I am glad to say I passed, but at the price of my very being. The finish line seems like a distant mirage, getting further as I run, my only hope being this dream will end soon…
On the past:
The midnight breeze got with it memories past, the clock ticked away, seconds racing to minutes to hours, all was as it was… you wonder what you have to learn from each other, the lessons are ever changing, never apparent, all you can do is be yourself.
On the present:
In an intense moment of clarity, the abundance of the universe arrived. Life is so beautiful, if you just slow down and listen; to your own intuition, to your own heart beat. Thanking each and everyone for their part in my happiness and otherwise, you are all valuable. As for the weather, we had a tiny drizzle as a blessing, to iterate the fact that we are never alone, someone is always watching over us…