Sunday, September 23, 2012

Children of God

'I bent over to pick up a paper plate and all of sudden my sister nudges me, asking to attend to a child who wanted another plate of goodies. I turned back and before I could even notice who it was, the little boy stretched out his hand, wanting to get a bite of that tasty egg puff. Though he was only two years old and the most talkative kid, I couldn't stop myself from the overflowing sympathy that came  after seeing a tube attached to his hand. It was a tube meant for vein location, when in need for extracting blood. He is suffering from blood cancer.'

I entered the 'Pediatrics Oncology Department' inside the RCC. It was one of the most colourful rooms I had seen in a long, long time. One of the walls had been painted over with the four cute characters from Madagascar. There was a huge pineapple cake with my name inscribed on it, looking as delicious as ever. There was even a paper cut out that read 'Happy Bday' stuck on a cupboard. Excitement turned into empathy on seeing a bunch of little kids undergoing cancer treatment, who were seated with their mothers. It is one of those days where I found it to be a life changing experience. It's not the pain or fear of death. Everyone goes through a lot of pain in different ways, right? But what hit me was their indifference towards their situation. They were all too young to realize what pain is, yet most of them were too mature. If I were them, I would have walked up to the birthday girl and given her a piece of my mind for being so stupid to rejoice over turning a year old at a place where celebration is a term seldom felt. But I was the birthday girl, and as I felt heavy hearted celebrating my 23rd year, I felt it was time to behave my age.

I had a rewind and replay session of few sulky moments in my life, where I felt God was being too unreasonable. Forget counting my blessings, I started weighing my life on the basis of these problematic situations, which weren't that bad coming to think of it now. As much as a self-boosting process that day (at the Cancer centre) had been, everyone deserves happiness at any cost. But we belong to an unbalanced universe, where it's the imperfections that complete the viscious circle of life. I understood how hard it was for me to acknowledge the gift of life as a boon, rather than a tally board between who is right and wrong. Rumi was so precise when he said we'll meet in a field beyond right and wrong doings. And here I am, in that field, looking at the unclear shadows of the sunny side of life :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

In and out the idiot box !

Television is not only a source of visual entertainment but a means of relieving boredom. There exists the old school, which believes in reviving tradition and in remaining deep rooted followed by the new school, which is into glorifying anything and everything to gain viewership. I was surprised to see a leading actress and her fiancé face the heat in a recent interview on a leading Malayalam channel. Their romance was being publicly exposed, imposing questions on its credibility like, if the actress took the right decision by getting engaged to a married man who was seeking divorce from his first wife. There were rebellious justifications from the couple's side followed by fiery questions by the journalist. The couple shared their happy times which were juxtaposed with tears, too. I couldn't understand the big scene that was created to entice spectators. It's a fact that the couple faced this interview with courage and the demeaning process of exposing their personal space was done with their consent. But, the channel would have never come up with such a steaming concept if there weren't any spectators, right? What fun do we, as spectators, get in showing such worthless curiosity in someone's agony? I mean, coming to think of it, whether they get married or not is really not our business!! What have we come down to as viewers, and most importantly as humans?

 Are we running out of talent, or is it just a coincidence that reality shows have been shelved to weekends due to lack of viewership? I have nothing against them, just that they are a little too glittery in my otherwise lucid life. I have a feeling that spectators are taken for granted too often that we're expected to lick every bit of the dish they serve. I know it's easier to shut up and change into some channel that satisfies me in a better way. But, what is it that actually satisfies us? Watching a star couple being cross questioned over their marital decisions? Certainly not. Or maybe, yes! Then it's time to start worrying about what we have become.

Even in the recent Guwahati molestation case, though the girl's face was blurred, her stripping was evident in the video which was being replayed throughout the day. It was Times Now that took the humbling decision of not telecasting it anymore, as it made no sense. While we may never stop referring to the TV as the 'Idiot box' .. who are the actual idiots here - creative channel people who cater such insensitivity , or the viewers who buy it ?!?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Problem child

Here I am, bed ridden with one of the most easily communicable sicknesses, the common cold. In the silence of my bedroom, I seek something beyond the ticking of the clock to accompany my loneliness. I am, interestingly, on a self-discovery mode. Having experienced a cold-prone childhood, ice creams and other cold savouries were told to be my perennial enemies. Little did my parents know that I would outsmart them into including these edibles in my regular diet, so much so that now I am daring enough to have one even on the day of my concerts! Don't get me started on how good I sound on all those occasions ;)
Apparently, they affect the vocal chords over a period of time and the unlucky few, like me, will end up coughing at old age, while Asha Bhonsle would still be judging Indian Idol. But my idea of not giving up ice creams revolve around a totally different logic. I am in the process of making myself immune to them :D . Ok! Stop there, Mr. know-it-all, who is prepared to attack me with a scientific theory that'll prove otherwise :p !

Aruna Shanbaug, around 40 years back, was a smart young lady who planned her life with great conviction, only to be hit irreversibly by fate. A single rape by a sweeper, which was an act of revenge, dented her life forever, multiplying pain and sheer torture by several amounts. While people from all over India visited KEM Hospital to get a glimpse of the 'damsel in distress', she became just another 'object of display'. Captivated in a single room for forty years, it's the spirit in her that keeps her alive and kicking even today! In this vegetative state, all I would pray for her is euthanasia, though I might be denying the hope within her, despite diminishing health. Pinki Virani, a journalist, has written 'Aruna's Story' which is a true account of the rape and its aftermath. She initiated the request to allow mercy killing for Aruna and has been unsuccessful so far.

...and every time I read of such pain-stricken stories, I instantly forget all the pain in my life, which half of the time is in my thoughts rather than in reality. But the fact is it all creeps in once I'm over with empathizing. Our problem is actually our problem and no once can ever get it how much ever they try empathizing. Some smart tweeter had once said that - if we were given a chance to sit across the table and exchange our problems with others, within five minutes we would leave back with our own.

Like Chris Martin had sung in Coldplay's 'For you' .

Everyone of us is scared
Everyone of us is hurt
Everyone of us has hope

Friday, June 22, 2012

Melle Kollum - New Mix !!

Singing melle kollum was a different learning experience for me. Being a part of 22 Female Kottayam was actually unplanned. It all began with doing the tracks for Rex ettan, for the video shoot of the songs. But eventually my voice ended up in the main version, too, only because of him. And when Aashiq felt that he wanted to try out a single female voice, representing Tessa, he invited me to do the 3rd track, Neeyo, which is composed by Bijibalji.

My favourite is Melle Kollum. I guess deep down everyone is a romantic. I am one, too. For someone like me who has a two-way communication with music, I can best express my heart and mind and soul via music.  I remember Rex ettan asking if I am in love a few days before recording this song, to which I asked if it would affect how I rendered. He just smiled. Music is such. I like how I can be just another person in love, soul-singing every word, justifying romance. Melle Kollum is an out of the world song. As in, it's abstract and larger than life. I was asked to sing my portions dominantly, as at that part Tessa takes a huge step in her life by moving in with Cyril. Rex ettan wanted power in the singing, one that comes with security in love, trust in a relationship. That is why the words used for my part are vast and open and infinite, like horizon.

ulle..ullil melle... veeshum thennale
kanave.. kadale ...

I didn't know how Tessa actually must have felt.. till I got to see the video. Beautifully shot in Bangalore, Aashiq Abu took it to a different level altogether, with an enticing chemistry between Rima and Fahadh. Penned by Venugopalji, Rex ettan just did a new mix for the song.. and I would like you guys to give it a listen..

This new mix is for his satisfaction, as an independent musician. So here is melle kollum..

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


blank space.
blank space filled with umpteen ideas.
random and familiar; inspiring, yet deceiving
on the outset, my imagination begins to clutter, feeling confused. 
but now they align into several parallel paths
not meant to collide, until my mind wants it to.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Cherish the day

This is the second time that a bird, whose breed I'm unaware of, is nestling her babies over the highest layer of the chandelier, upstairs. Though I've heard of how beautiful the process of giving birth is, it never occurred to me until I got to experience its warmth in real . Every day the bird would bring layers of twigs to construct a nest, a home for her eggs which were soon-to-become babies. The very first time the eggs hatched, baby birds would twitch their neck upwards to gulp whatever little grains their mother fed them with. Eventually the day arrived when they had grown big enough to fly, filling the room with plenty of chirps and pips. As melancholic a day it was, it soon succumbed to silence when they flew out of their ways, to explore a world of their own.

The same process repeated and now the new ones are in their feeding days, occasionally taking a peep from the top of the four layered chandelier. Beautiful. Now I get it when they say how giving life to something is one of the most beautiful creations of God. It will be a dry day when they too will leave their temporary home. Life is beautiful, no doubt! Perhaps, what makes it beautiful is realizing how useful we can make it by nestling every second with utmost will.

The presence of shady people in your life shouldn't make you hate life. Somewhere, they have been hurt too, to be that shady. It's unfair to blame them or your destiny when things don't go as planned. Today you're happy, and tomorrow could be just another unhappy day. But who cares? It's just another sunset that will soon be followed by a sunrise, if you're willing let go!

I'm glad that the expensive chandelier came of some use to the birds, who could generate life, instead of being covered in dust. See, now this was not something that was called for while purchasing it, right? Sometimes, the most unexpected could play a pivotal role in shaping who you are.
So...  "Let go, let go, because there's beauty in the breakdown" - Imogen Heap

As I end this blog, the birdy is now guarding her sleeping beauties, without winking an eye.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Life being what it is,we all dream of revenge.
Open your eyes for a second,just to roll them at me."

It is. Isn't it ? No matter how bright and illuminating the sun is, we just can't help but groan over the dark side of the moon. But down the lane, remembering the dark side of life could not mean more than a tear drop. They say it's a part and parcel of life. Be it yesterday's plane crash or the chirpy bird's nest over my chandelier or thousands of natural activities that are accelerating global warming, they'll happen for a reason. It was funny when just the other day, I and couple of my friends were talking about the Big Bang theory and how whatever is how many ever light years away! The way it evolves, connects together in an unbalanced manner, for a purpose that unintentionally celebrates that imbalance. So I guess every obstacle in our life creates an imbalance, making it the only possibility to get over it successfully! So happiness or success or any such positive moments would be impossible without these obstacles. How amazing it is! Life being what it is...  a reality to be celebrated every moment!

Monday, January 23, 2012

IFFK 2012

It’s better late than never, is what I felt after the eight day long IFFK held at Trivandrum, last month. I always regretted not attending the Festival so far, but my first time was a super-enjoyable experience for me, one that’ll remain etched in my mind for quite some time. I am no critic to judge the quality of movies screened this year, but some of the movies I got to watch at the festival were enriching in several ways. ‘Delhi in a day’ , directed by Prashant Nair was a delightful watch, comprising of a tiny mishap that takes place between an upper class family in Delhi and a foreigner who wants to feel the real essence of India. The director got it right with the casting and by portraying an India devoid of slums and snake charmers. Though, I was advised not to indulge much into Indian films, I couldn’t stop myself from checking out ‘Palas in bloom’ by Shalini Usha Nair which was engaging to an extent. With killer acting by Fahadh Faasil, this book adaptation was narrated through his perspective, which made it interesting in certain shots, like the climax. The final Indian movie I watched was ‘At the end of it all’, a Bengali movie that was a total art movie clichĂ©. The initial innings looked promising, but it got too boring with stereotype characterization, where in, almost all the characters spoke poetically, not to forget about a dragging narrative.

Among various categories including an exclusive list of football films, ‘Games of their lives’ came as a surprise as the synopsis given in the handbook was of a completely different one! This documentary told about the development of football in North Korea. French master Robert Bresson’s films were featured in the retrospective category and his ‘Ladies of the Bois de Boulogne’ was a decent black and white experience. Depicting a vengeance filled extra marital affair, this one highlighted French culture of women of those times, which was aptly supported by subtitles. Denying it of unnecessary melodrama, the characters had a balance between emotions like ego, innocence and pride. ‘The Puzzle’ spoke of a bored housewife who leads a monotonous life and finds her true calling in solving jigsaw puzzles. The written material has been well adapted on screen and also has really good performances by the main leads.

My favourite pick from the Festival films has to be Asghar Farhadi’s ‘A Separation’. Every character was simply interwoven within the storyline, connecting with the spectator in an empathetic way. Farhadi is directorially brilliant in his flawless style of narration and kudos to the realistic cast. I couldn’t take my eyes off for even a minute, despite having to keep in pace with the subtitles and facial expressions. Adrian Sitaru’s ‘Best Intentions’ was another flick with unintended humour that came out of serious situations. It juggled with subtle comedy and an over anxious protagonist. The movie mostly comprised of long shots, where in, the leading character had long dialogues to deliver, doing justice to his neurotic personality in the film. But it lagged in few places, yet, stroke back with funny punch lines. ‘The First Grader’ is based on a true story, beautifully directed with the non- fiction element intact. Though, it doesn’t boast of a great technical side, the movie on a whole was very inspiring with some impactful dialogues, speaking of how empowering education is. Visualizing Columbian country side in a modern day portrayal of daily life, ‘The Colours of a Mountain’ is a simple story of a nine year old’s world. In the context of a larger, dangerous issue of the killing of civilians, all that matters to the children is a damn soccer ball. Even in this earthbound hell, a huge round of applause came for Manuel as he risked everything to get his ball.

I had my share of good and not-so-good movies, but watching them with friends and loitering around Kairali theatre for snacks and shamelessly waiting for a free auto is all too memorable to be forgotten. As inspiring as some of the movies were, that enriching it was to share it with friends of the same mind set. Like they say, great minds think alike :p

Monday, January 16, 2012

If not now, when?

I love my Samsung Google Nexus S phone that operates on Android. It's super-efficient, has thousands of smart apps, and is my best buddy when I'm away from home. I can 'like' on my own photos and can even send free SMSs internationally. Today, it is my virtual buddy, and what scares me is that maybe in the future, my only buddy.

You know what the irony is of this technology? The smarter your phone gets, the dumber we soon are prone to be. Being an ardent user of this technology, and a Facebook addict, it's only recently that I realized how small my world literally is. Be it from news updates to downloading songs and playing games where pigs are apparently in war with birds, smart phones and the internet have made many of us absolutely dependent on it. There was a time, back in school, when I used to talk to my best friend in class, after I'm home and before I sleep. My mother would ask me what's there to talk so much. But, that was the kind of bond I used to share with my closest of friends. Today, we speak around once in two weeks, and inevitably end the conversation with 'keep in touch' and the like, which I never thought would have to use it with her. My parents often complain of how silent I've become. and perhaps , now I realize it's because I'm so pre-occupied with socializing on the internet , and when outside… on my smart phone.

Giving it up is not a solution, as one will be called primitive if done so. Age old uncles and aunties will have a problem with this technology, scaring you away with latest findings on how cancer prone you are with radiations emitted by cell phones. Some might say it lacks personal touch and by saying that, I wonder what personal touch was there during times when a pigeon would deliver letters. Funnily, none of this can scare away net savvy people like us, and no matter what cancer can be born out of whichever gadget, even on our death bed we’ll probably not forget to ‘update out status’.

All said and forgotten, one thing that really scares me is how dependent I have become because of this. Also, how many of you can remember your closest friend's birthday without peeping into your phone calendar or Facebook for birthday reminders? Honestly, I don't even know what my land line number sounds like, because I don't need it anymore when I can converse freely over Skype with my sister who lives seven seas away. What's amazing is that everything from pins to pizzas are accessible today- just a click away. It saves time, too. I don't need to stand in a queue at the railway station when I can 'e-book' it. Nor do I need to go to book exhibitions for latest collections when I have Flipkart to deliver it at my doorstep. The internet is so cool, that I can catch an AR Rahman concert on YouTube for free, while other loyal fans take the trouble of paying hefty amounts to catch a live glimpse of him. All this is even better with a smartphone and 3G connection, which apparently is the new method for birth control ;) One of my professors had joked once about how net addicted today’s generation has become, that if we are asked of our grandparents’ names, we’d probably have to Google it up. Lately, I’ve realized how handy all this is when you have to constantly be in touch with people related to work and otherwise, but look at the amount of time wasted. At my age, I can see a lot of youngsters who aren’t equipped with such luxury, making most of their time travelling around, experiencing the real sun and earth. However easy our life is today because of this, I seriously think we must intend on spending more time outside with real people in a real world, as we may not realize what we’re missing on the outside. It shouldn’t be too late to regret, right?

We really are missing out on a lot, sometimes, when we take all this for granted. Unarguably, experience that comes with a personal touch leaves an immortal impression. There's so much to explore and enjoy outside the world of web. It's time that we stop confining ourselves to gadgets and gizmos and go out there. We might say that we're making life much easier with everything just a click away, but we're missing out on the real way of doing things that could probably make us stagnant and isolated with no memories left for the rest of our lives.

P.S. Samsung Galaxy Note is just amazing! Checked out my friend's phone and it has amazing storage power and a good enough camera. In fact you can even send mails in your own hand writing and its so much fun to play angry birds on a screen as huge as that :P. It's been rumoured to be better than iPhone .. do check it out, whilst you detach yourself from these gadgets after reading my post :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Happy New Year !

Nothing has changed, yet, so much has.. people, circumstances and emotions. It's amazing how we end up happy with the same person we despised before and how we can't get enough of this happiness. I don't know how fast the year passed by, but what changed with it was my life, my ambitions and most importantly- who I am. How expensive is it to buy happiness for a lifetime? Is it always about compromising and being settled with whatever you're given? Or.. is there a field out there that's beyond what's right and wrong, like what Rumi said?

Toot ke bikharna mujhko zarur aata hai
Varna ibbadat wala shahur aata hai

Sajde mein rehne do, ab kahin na jaunga
Ab jo tumne tukhraya tho sawar na paunga

It's a new year, calls for new innings, new opportunities to become a better person and everyone deserves to be happy. Wishing you all a fabulous year ahead.