30 June 2010

Midsummer Mid-sentences!

Complication wasn’t new to her. She has been used to it since her teens. It is accepting simplicity that would be beneath her as voting for Republican Party. However this did not make sense. She grew up listening to Eurythmics constantly reminding her “Some of them want to use you…some of them want to be used by you”.

His straightforward responses, seemingly honest tone and unassumingly un-manly behavior has thrown her off her game. It was not supposed to be this way. He was meant to behave like every other asshole that gave her shelter. She expected their advances and allowed her dignity to be willingly pillaged as she locked her soul tightly until the storm was over. She knew the ritual. She knew the motions. She knew the rationale. The mind has a way of applying logic to its convenience and blocking every inner voice from your heart. She repeated the numbers inside her head. 509.508.507. It helped her calm down.

She knew her count.

She loved her Math. When the rest of normal people complain about it, she found it fascinating. The patterns, the logic, and the way seemingly unrelated equations get joined by faith and proven by assumptions that made sense to her senseless life. She could never understand how anyone can not love this beautiful language of equations that balances and unbalances at will yet it rears its head up at unexpected places like the tilted frame of her Mother that is held by the corner flower vase creating a unique triangle that would have made Pythagoras smile in jubilation. Numbers are real. Numbers don’t talk back. Numbers don’t take advantage.

She told herself to breathe. He is not like others. He is truly caring. It is my past sins that make me prejudiced. But he is still a man. A man with a dick. And she knew she couldn’t trust anyone with a dick. It is natural. It will happen eventually. Perhaps not today. Maybe not even a month from now but it is eventuality. It is only a value for X in the equation.  The impulse will take over. The hunt is in their blood. It is evolution. Prey them. Take them into confidence. Win their trust. Make them dependent. And then Pounce!   

It’s been over six hours. He hasn’t invited others to showcase her. He hasn’t opened her door and barged in. Count. Stop obsessing. Count. 357.356.355.

She knew her count.

And finally he came.She decided to let him. She felt his resolve weakening as he came closer. She counted down. Maybe he is innocent. 121.120.119. Maybe it’s not impulse. Maybe he means it as an expression of love. 44.43.42. Maybe he shouldn’t have sold young girls from Nepal as the encrypted files in his laptop shows. Maybe he shouldn’t have shouted “Fuck Me Bitch!” to that 14-yr old who came crying to me. She counted down. 03.02.01.

There were no more numbers. There was nothing left to do as she stared at him with her knife in his gut!

She knew her count. She added one more to it! 

22 June 2010

Curse of a Maniratnam Movie!

To say I can watch a Maniratnam movie objectively is like asking Dick Cheney to assess Iraq War dispassionately. Nevertheless, I do have the power to call my other twin Gemini during these times to do the job. Before I start I have to give a little history lesson.

They say the impact to your senses in the first 20 years lays the foundation for the rest 50 years of your life. My movie life’s foundation was filled with Mouna Raagam at 11, Nayagan at 12, Agni Nakchatram at 13, Geethanjali at 14, Anjali at 15, Thalapathi (Dalpathi) at 16, Roja at 17, Thiruda Thiruda at 18 and Bombay at 20.

While I saw many movies during these times, inevitably Mani’s creations would stand apart. His movies were filled with intelligent characters, breathtaking visuals, women who spoke their minds and a sense of believability for the most part. His one-liners often conveyed what five paragraphs couldn’t convey.
“I need to marry Saira Bhanu”-Shekhar
“Over my dead body”- Narayan(Shekhar’s dad)
“I can’t wait that long!” – Shekhar.

His range includes, Mouna Raagam, a silent emotional journey of a strong woman; Nayagan, an epic life saga of a young 10yr old boy till his 60’s; Agni Nakchatram, a struggle between two step brothers; Geethanjali, an intimate love story between two terminal patients. Anjali, a soulful, tragic story about an autistic girl; Roja, a crisp, tense, patriotic commentary on terrorism; Bombay, a topical, insightful and poignant story of a family caught in the midst of communal riots.

You call a movie a classic when it stands the test of time. It’s a classic when you find a new nuance to appreciate even after years. It’s a classic when you can’t find a flaw in terms of screenplay or acting even after you have grown past your adulthood. It’s a classic when your opinion of that movie still holds after your exposure to other great movies. Mani produced seven classics in a decade. And then he gave Iruvar, Alaipayuthe, and Yuva to add to that list(Thiruda-Thiruda,Thalapathi and Guru doesn’t qualify, Dilse, Kannathil Muthamittal came close but not quite there yet).

With such a track record, and my genetic lenience, I wait with bated breath for Mani’s movies. I ache for another Nayagan experience. I pray it is another Roja visually. I expect an elated feeling of having experienced a new world filled with strong-minded characters when I come out of the theatre.

Alas! With each recent Mani movie that doesn’t live up to his own standards, this Mani Fan feels let down for the lack of more classic additions from his repertoire!   

I don’t want Shahrukh Khan to die in the corner of no-man’s street after two and half hours of luscious beauty and mind-blowing song direction. I want him to die grandly in front of Republic parade saving the prime minister(Dil Se). I want Abhishek to turn good in Yuva after three hours of three different stories(Yuva). I don’t want to be confused if Kannathil Muthamittal is movie about adoption or Srilankan Tamil Fight or Adoptive Parent’s struggle. Mani is known for providing a clean single story arch. Not a confusing tricolor motives for his characters. I don’t want to wonder about what atrocities did Gurubhai commit by reading Ambani’s history. I want to see them on-screen without having to do my home work. I don’t want to assume the bad things that might have been done by protagonist(Raavanan). I want to be truly conflicted about protagonist and antagonist.

We are Maniratnam fans. We are nit picky. We are used to perfection. We demand a tight screenplay and flawless flow of scenes. We want to watch these movies year after year to relieve us from item songs, Mother sentiment, Cheating politicians, Mundane romance and Honest police officer fighting crime stories.

Is it Fair to expect perfection every time ? Absolutely Not!

But the thing is, when I am not impressed with Sachin’s batting, I know I only have to wait two months for his next dazzling display. When I am not impressed with Rahman’s Album, I only have to wait three months for his next musical innovation. When I am not impressed with a Mani’s movie, I HATE to wait 3 more years with the hope of it being another “Nayagan”!

So, my dear Mani, please, for this awful, small, intelligent legion of fans make a movie every year! I don’t need a Nayagan or Roja. I can live with more Guru’s as long as I get some movie moments from you to add to my collection!

17 June 2010

Half Life Déjàvu!

If the average life expectancy is 70, I am half way there today. You keep hearing, “40 is the new 30”, “50 is the new 40”, but, somehow those statements are reserved for multiples of 10 only. When you are 35, you are still 35. The only high you get is moving to next census bracket and insurance risk level. However at times like these, you look to your life partner for assurance and she came through with flying colors today by gifting me a book titled, “ How to be an Adult”!

The trajectory of Birthdays are like playing with your best friend's little daughter. You are excited in the initial stages even though you are not adept at handling a 2 year old. As time passes by and she asks you to pick the same ball she has been throwing for the past 45 minutes, you realize the pain of serving a new master. When you get to 16,18,21,25, in spite of your career not going great and in spite of having a huge credit card debt, you are still excited and feel like the rest of life awaits you. The moment you hit 28 though, the big 30 starts sneaking up. You are supposed to feel empathy for others now. You are supposed to be “somewhere” in the next two years otherwise you are just another 30 year old with more debt and an okay career, which doesn’t seem to ever take off.

Turning 30 feels like all your bluffs are finally being called out. You really get serious about yourself. You begin to make amends. Casual Sex is dangerous. Buying a home is important. Constant Cussing is considered juvenile. Yearly medical check-ups are not optional anymore. In other words, your time to mess up is officially over.Compared to turning 30, 35 is not that bad except you are even more closer to 40. But then, if you manage to shed that extra 20 pounds, even if no one tells you, you can use the “My 40 feels like 30”(although those extra 20 pounds have been in your body since Citibank sent you a pre-approved credit card when you got out of college).

I just don’t understand why those who are born celebrate Birthdays. They didn’t contribute anything to that process. Technically, it is an occasion for your parent’s hard work (pun intended ofcourse). Your mom should be going, “I never thought I carried such a glue filled, gross looking thing in my belly for doing something fun. This will be the day I celebrate how I don’t have to see that thing in same state I gave birth to for rest of my life and losing all that baby fat”. I am sure the Parents who invite the whole world for those 1-2-3 birthdays are celebrating just to prove to rest of the world and pat themselves on their own backs that this evolutionary species is still alive and they haven’t sold it or dropped it enough to have psychological trauma(not everyone is that lucky).  

Maybe they should call Birthdays as (Death) Countdown days(year)! If average life expectancy is 70, when you are 10, you celebrate countdown year 60. When you are 20, it is 50. You are not so lucky when you are 35. Birthday and Countdown Day coincides! You are screwed in the middle! There is one upside though. Calling it Countdown Year will make more people stick to their resolutions for more than 3 weeks.

Perhaps the saddest part moving forward is, you cant say “F*** U” to the little 10yr old kid when he calls you “Uncle!”. For some reason, I always associated the word "Uncle" as someone with huge paunch(damn those 20 pounds), lazy(don’t ask my wife’s opinion on that) and generally talkative kinds who blabber about things you don’t give a rat’s ass about! F***! I have become a friggin Uncle!

Denial, my fellow brethren, is the root cause of happiness!
35 ? what 35 ? you mean Fahrenheit or centigrade ?