Sunday, June 30, 2013

Of Ranjhaanaa and the terrible thing called love

It’s actually quite amusing to realize that after the numerous jokes about multiple wrist-cutting and what-not, the movie has actually inspired me enough to write a post. However, this post is not really about the movie – rather the unexpected chord it struck with me.

Raanjhanaa describes love quite accurately, I would say. It correctly captures that rosy, warm, high-up-in-the-air feeling and how it slowly turns into that gnawing, terrible pain in the heart and stomach that does not let you rest. That makes you feel you would rather die than survive the terrible ache which consumes your entire existence. In the movie, you sort of traverse that journey with Dhanush aka Kundan as he struggles to make peace with this pain – and ultimately finds salvation in death.

I have had love described to me by various people in various ways. All of them have felt it, celebrated and suffered it. I remember one particular comment that has stuck with me throughout the years:

“The purest love is a pain. Unless you feel pain in your heart, it is not true love.”

I did not agree to it at the time. Naive enough to mistake my childish infatuations as the “real” thing, I had argued that love is flowery and mushy and all things Karan Johar. I later learnt the hard way how true my friend was. In a matter of days all those butterflies that flutter so ecstatically in your stomach settle down to leave that ezmpty ache – that dark vacuum that threatens to engulf your happiness.

Am I being too negative? I plead guilty, yes I am. But that’s the whole point. It is negative, at least, mostly dark with a few patches of light

Look, don’t shake your head and say “Poor girl, she has had it rough; I hope she finds true love soon.” I don’t want your pity or your sympathy. I’m just trying to say that love, as celebrated as it is, isn’t exactly the glorious saviour that it’s marketed to be. But we all know that, don’t we?

I'm not denying that there are a few lucky ones amongst us. Those who haven’t had their heart broken, have found true love in the first attempt. But most of us, the ordinary ones, have had their heart broken at least once. Some like poor Dhanush in the movie, multiple times by the same person. It doesn’t matter. The pain, with or without heartbreak, is all too real.

As I grow older, I realize the truth in some sayings. That you grow more cynical with time. That the heart gradually its power to love so acutely, every time its broken and mishandled. I remember the lines of Bronte, when Isabella speaks of Heathcliff:

“I gave him my heart, and he took and pinched it to death, and flung it back to me”

And alas it’s so true. I look back at the years, only to find my heart being pinched and flung around and gradually hardening into a cynical mass rendered incapable of love – by love itself.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Eye

"Beauty lies in the Eyes of the beholder" 

  The Eye. A lot of people had told me about it. That I would, in time, “acquire”, The Eye. As if I didn’t have eyes of my own! Albeit hooded by high-powered glasses, I still have them, thank you. And whatever would I do with one new eye, pray? Wear it on my forehead like the Lord Shiva?

  Well, first things first. What’s all this hullabaloo about an eye? It all started when I got my first DSLR camera – at that time it was still a novelty – not many dared cross the line from their perky and sexy point and shoots to the chunky and humongous DSLR. That too, at a time, when Nikons and Canons of the world, much like Henry Ford, dictatorially told us, “You can have any colour as long as it is black”. Yea, it sure took some commitment to carry that 3 pound overgrown baby home.

  Uh-oh, there I go rambling again. What was I saying back then? Oh yes, when I got my first DSLR. I was filled with pride and confidence about my “abilities” as a photographer back then. Still, good sense prevailed and I took to schooling from few of my mates whose photos I admired. And that was the first time I heard about The Eye. One fellow even went so far as claiming that he could see traces of “The Eye”, in my captures; my feelings went slowly from indignance at his assumed superiority to humility at his kindness as I understood – finally – what The Eye was all about.

  The Eye, as I later realized (and it dawned really slow), is what the right word is for a poem. Or prose for that matter. It’s like the right colour in a painting. We’ve all heard of “She’s got an eye for art, fine clothes, blah blah” etc. Well, the photographer’s “Eye”, is all these things and much more. You see, as with art and literature, photography draws strength in its diversity. A photograph can capture a smile, a wave, a flying bird, or simply something as mundane as sunlight on a dusty window. That one 4X6 rectangular frame becomes our world, a world where we start appreciating the small little perfections in our daily life, frame by frame. A world there’s harmony in existence, beauty in simplicity, and method in madness.

  It can be maddening for our partners and friends, I admit. After the initial euphoria of “’ll click even more beautiful pictures of me” wears off, boredom, frustration and annoyance creeps in. I’ve even had “It’s either your camera or me that’s going out with you today” statements thrown at me (more of that perhaps in a separate post, someday). After all, it can be annoying when you retrace your steps to find the missing person staring in rapt fascination at the contrasting colours of an overflowing dustbin. Yup, The Eye does strange things to people. And once you’ve “acquired” it, there’s no escaping The Eye.

  Anyhow, coming back to where this long ramble started, thousands of discarded photographs, multiple aggrieved friends and well-wishers, two lenses, three filters and hundreds of gigabytes of RAW data later, I still can’t claim ownership of The Eye. But I can claim relentless pursuit of The Eye, and respect for it. And the realisation, that in spite of all its imperfections and idiosyncrasies, the world is, in fact, quite an Eyeful.

Friday, May 04, 2012

In this porno, porno, porno world..

You can skip this post and not be any worse off, the conservatives, I mean. Because I am going to talk about a multi-billion dollar industry that we have all sponsored some time or the other. Maybe, you’ve guessed it, maybe not. Its porn. Pornography, if you want to be precise. And referred fondly as Panu, Pondi and what not by eons of faithful followers.

This is not one of the hypocritical posts where the author dons the holier-than-thou robes and condemns all sins of the flesh and hand. No sir. Not at all. Rather, this post is to extol the virtues of porn. Yeah, you knew it all along, didn’t you, that porn was good?

There are many who claim that watching porn frees their mind. Obviously, it has enormous distracting powers, and half an hour of “healthy porn” (you get to define what is healthy for you), does you a world of good in these stress ridden times. I had a filmmaker friend who used to say that porn helped him think better. He said storylines gelled much better, he thought better and he was at his creative best, after.

And what about those poor inexperienced married couples who took bedroom lessons from the porn DVDs their friends lent them? Well, let’s be optimistic here and hope that at least half of them benefit. That’s like hundreds and thousands of hours of torrid sex and trillions, okay, millions of orgasms. The rest, there’s always a limit to spoon-feeding. You can be good at theory but suck in practicals. Oops, wrong word.

Right from the dreams of the teenager to the night-time screenings of the adult, to the bored couple in need of adventure, porn has sheltered the night-time fantasies of many a sleepless soul. And as a mark of appreciation and acknowledgment, here’s a collective cheer to porn!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I live on

In the dark of the night,
Weak, helpless and cornered,
They destroyed my link to mortality.
My umbilical cord with life.

Hopeless, senseless and defenceless,
Blind, muted and hungry,
They left me lying in the mud,
For the creatures of the night to claim me.

But God had other plans.
I live on, fostered by creatures of a different kin,
Tended by loving arms and gentle words,
I open my eyes and see the world through theirs.

I know they want me to forget.
I know they try to make up for it,
For the warmth and belonging I will never have,
I know they are worried about me,
How I will survive.

But I live on.
Walking on strengthening feet I search,
See every loving face and still not find,
What should have been my birthright.