Friday, October 21, 2016

Benaras- the unexplored attachments

The movie overwhelmed me.

I realize I have been using the word 'overwhelmed' for about everything that gives me goosebumps and leaves an imprint. I need to work on that.

But it does that exactly. Overwhelm me. Fills me with such a storm of emotions, the amalgamation of so many kinds of them, that I cannot contain them within myself. It bursts out of me through tears. Tears that do not state happiness or sadness, just the state of being overwhelmed. I wish I knew the word for it. It burst out again afterward in quiet recollection of the entire experience, in tranquil solitude, through the words I wrote.

What touched me most was the visual appeal; the earthly music that slowly reached its own crescendo, and fueled that burst I talked of; the subtle interpretation of love, relationships, and life through poetry; and that factor I still can't seem to point out. It is a surreal portrayal of the city of Benaras as a lady love. It's a pseudo-reality, almost magical.

I have to watch it again to complete this review.

It can have lots of critical analysis. It is deep. Open to any kind of interpretation. That's the beauty of it. The audience can make his own interpretation according to his mind.

It's a different wavelength that this movie works in. Only some part with reach you, others won't. Your mind works in a different wavelength than your friends'. It will give you a different experience from that it gave your friend.

The entire film is a conversation. Conversation between the stranger and the city. A just so talk. Words scattered. The stranger introducing himself and his beloved.

'Anything organized cannot hold in Art.' That is just so true. Art is the expression of our thinking, our interpretation of things around us, our voice in the most authentic and unadulterated manner. It was so nice to hear about the journey from both the director and the producer themselves.


This is my interpretation, which is perhaps just one facet of the 8-minute film. Do watch it, and let me know of your version of it.

Everything you love talks to you in an inarticulate language that others cannot understand. Others cannot understand your love, only you do. The old city of Benaras speaks to the stranger who comes to visit it and falls in love with it. She is disturbed by the talk of the stranger. She doesn't know the stranger while the stranger knows her well.

The stranger finds her purity in the air, simplicity in the residents, expression in the beauty and visual appeal, and approaches her to talk before trying to confess his love. She is disturbed doesn't want to talk. But she grows attached to his presence. No one had addressed her so far, no one had called her out to talk. When he is finally packing up to leave the city, she talks to him, seeking him out to bid adieu. She asks, smiles, bids farewell with a promise of his return soon.

It is a feeling that eludes me- an effervescent emotion, I can't name it- my faculties lack in this field.

Do watch. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Cinderella and The Four Knights

It is a South Korean drama series of 16 episodes based on a novel of the same title published in 2011. The fact that it has four male leads and one female lead makes it comparable to the likes of ‘Boys Over Flowers’ and ‘Heirs’. The drama is about four differently passionate young people, probable heirs to a conglomerate family of business men, who happen to live together in the Sky House but don’t get well with one another. Eun Ha-won, the Cinderella here, gets to stay with them in Sky House following certain rules set by the Chairman, working on missions to get these guys together as one family.

The characters are deep, emotional at the core. One is a kind hearted arrogant rebel, another a flamboyant playboy carrying deep wounds, another a gentle top singer-songwriter, and yet another a seemingly stoic yet sentimental bodyguard. The female lead is no damsel in distress, but she lets herself be protected by those who love her. I like the way they are deconstructed layer after layer, as the story progresses, and their authentic self-buried under the fakeness and arrogance is revealed. The story is sensible and believable. It has its highs and lows. There is enough seriousness and enough comic relief in between plot twists.

My rating: 4.5/5

Remembering the year that went by

It has been a year since I got posted in my hometown Bhubaneswar. A year since I left the Mysore campus and the hostel. Miss those days. We were trainees then. Four months of rigorous hardwork, fun and frolic, making of new friendships and discovering a new way of life away from home. It was the first time I had ever been to the hostel. My schooling and college was done in my hometown, so I could live with my family while studying. I haven't tasted much of the freedom that comes with hostel life.

When we were posted in Bhubaneswar, it was just a few of us, not all. Some of my best friends, including my roommate had to stay in Mysore for another month. It felt lonely in the new surroundings at first. I had no project for the first week and the lack of work felt horrible. It was boredom and an idle mind that gave me an almost depression. And over the top the new people everywhere. Some friends remained close in this phase, and some didn't. It was a turning point. I used to go to the guest house room allocated to one of the batchmates and sleep for hours on end. Otherwise I would go the dormitory and lie there from mornings till evenings either reading a book, watching something in my smartphone or just dozing off. Somedays I went to the library, read three to four newspapers to pass time or read a magazine from end to end to fight boredom. I had completed reading two magazines, deliberately reading word by word, in two days. It was a struggle not having anything purposeful to do. I felt reckless for whiling away my time like that. I prayed and prayed for a project.

My prayers were answered really soon. I hadn't expected that. Just the next week I was called up for an interview. I had received a mail with a document to fill up with personal details and identity information. Then three of us went for the interview. All of us were selected. I was happy that I finally got a cubicle of my own and a place to sit in office. I was really glad and I thanked a lot that day to the universe.

But the tests too started with the allocation of a project. Nothing comes easy for a newbie. A fresher has to carve his or her own path, treading on thin rope. Connecting with team members was not easy for me. Acquainting myself to anyone new is always a task for me. Then understanding the work culture, the norms of the workplace, the etiquettes, etc.etc.etc. I still can't make my way around this. Even the knowledge transfer sessions seemed daunting. I admit I am a rather slow learner, compared to my other team mates. But I do work hard and am very disciplined and punctual when it comes to sticking to the deadline and delivering the code.

The learning phase is always tough. I tried to accept that fact. Stress and pressure depressed me some days. But all's well that ends well. So the journey takes persistence. And I saw it for myself that however difficult, tough and daunting a task seems, it can be achieved through sheer persistence and diligent effort. Deliberate practice is the key. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Random Insights

In real life the person’s appearance matters- you see the person physically and it’s the appearance that you first take note of. In reading a novel it is not so- the descriptions of the appearance don’t matter as much as the thoughts, the emotions and the core sentiments of the character. It is this that makes you root for the character. You see the person in the book with a new set of eyes- the ones that empathize more and are closer to your soul. How wonderful reality would be if we cared enough to see through those eyes that are perhaps often reserved for reading!

It is true that reading increases empathy in individuals. It enhances the power of those eyes that are hidden somewhere within your own consciousness. It makes you observe, not just see the surface. You learn to see the beauty in the fragility of human beings, in unevenness and imperfection. You see meaning in dents, flaws and shades of grey. You witness such beautiful minds who know not their own worth. You encounter so many lives, so many people who leave traces of themselves in your mind.

Why is it that we long to be overwhelmed? To be thrilled. To be mesmerized beyond belief. To have Goosebumps. Why do we want that surge of fear and watch horror? Why do we desire that adrenalin rush and take up seemingly reckless outdoor activities?

It is because in that rare instance of time we are present with all our consciousness in that particular moment, the Now, the ultimate present. No part of our minds lingers in the past, and no part speculates the future at that moment. No part wants to revive the past, and no part wants to be in the day dreams of future. All we want is to be present in the Now, to feel the bliss in our bones.
Never let go of that which makes you feel alive, overwhelms and astounds you.

Some people don’t understand you because their minds do not work in the same bandwidth as yours. They just don’t get what you mean. They don’t get the magnitude of the things you say. They understand and view things in a completely different bandwidth.
Reading and observing with perseverance increases this bandwidth.

Linking the post to #UBC , and #DailyChatter.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Wanderlust, is it?

I want to travel to Istanbul and witness the amalgamation of cultures of two religions. I want to travel to Japan and live in their histories. I want to travel to China and understand their tales, myths, and legends. I want to visit Bhutan and learn about the Buddhist way of life and happiness quotient there. I want to see the Nazca lines. I want to see the ruins of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. I want to experience the peaceful and soulful Balinese culture in Bali. I want to travel to Florence and see for myself the beauty described in novels. I want to visit Jordan and witness the enormous creations, the red sand, the canyons and feel the wonder.

I am not able to stay still, sit at one place without wondering and searching the details of these places. I have been searching for places that require no Visa for Indian citizens and the list is awesome. I also searched for those places that provided Visa on arrival. I think this is the first time I am feeling wanderlust at this scale. I feel like putting every care away and just bag packing to some mesmerizing place.

I also have been searching for travel groups too like Times Passion Trails, Wander Girls, and Girls on the Go. I want to travel to be meaningful, a learning experience to widen my view of the world. I want to live everywhere and absorb the rich heritage of each place. I want to feel the energy and aura of every single place or culture in my bones. I want to feel the breath and the air and the cosmos in that place- and send all the overwhelming bliss within me back to the universe.

I want to learn baking things first hand in Italy, learn the art of making dumplings in Japan, test my limits and improve my stamina to trek miles in the Rainbow Mountains, and so many things more. I want to see what the azure sea looks like in real, not just from the voyage channels on television. I want to do this and that. This and that. The list is endless. I want to start somewhere and then just continue on that path. I want to travel. A lot.

I have been reading the blogs in Bruised Passports and Beautiful Destinations. It’s sheer wanderlust, guilty pleasure. I wish. I wish. I wish. They have such cool jobs- just travel to numerous destinations, click breathtaking pictures, write travelogues, taste delicious cuisines and get paid for it all. Feeling so jealous! They do have talent, though. It’s not for nothing that they get paid so well. God bless.

Linking the post to #UBC , and #DailyChatter.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Beauty Inside

‘The Beauty Inside’ is a 2015 South Korean movie based on a book named ‘Every Day’ by David Levithan. It’s a romantic comedy but talks at large of living a life of transition, alteration and inevitable change. It is a story of a man who wakes up every day in a different body. Some mornings he is a handsome young man; sometimes an old middle aged person with arthritis and poor vision and sometimes a woman. He wakes up as a child or a girl or a bald headed obese man at times. But no face or body ever repeats itself. He has to adjust to this 24 hour change that his entire system goes through. The story is how he becomes used to this change and finds love even in his unusual situation.

The protagonist Woo-jin is a furniture designer.  The bodies he finds himself in, every morning, is regardless of age, gender or nationality. There are times he wakes up as a foreigner. He experienced this for the first time on his 18th birthday, and his life was never the same. He withdrew from his friend circle, closed himself inside the house. One single friend knew his secret and accepted him as he was, stayed with him through thick and thin. He took time to figure out his life step by step. He added to his wardrobe for diverse body types, kept a case of lenses of different powers, a shoe rack of different sizes and styles, and modified his belongings to suit anyone and everyone. If he ever found himself having an ugly face, his only solace was that it would last only as long as he slept again. Tomorrow would bring another face, another body.


It was hard to find love and make it stick. The girl Yi-Soo knows his secret and loves him anyway. She helps him through the crowded street when he is an old man, carries him/piggy back when he is a child, allows him to protect her when he is at his prime, capable and links hands with him leisurely when he is young. Will their love last forever? Will it be easy for her to settle into this eternal state of discomfort, unpredictability, uncertainty, and metamorphosis for the sake of love? Do watch the movie. It’s highly imaginative, but truly a revelation. It is very soulful.

Linking the post to #UBC , and #DailyChatter.

In Other Words - A Review

It’s a memoir on a language project that Jhumpa Lahiri takes up for about three years of her life. It’s about her deep and personal journey of learning Italian, trying to master the language, living in a self-imposed exile from her dominant language English by reading and writing solely in Italian. It might come across as a strange project, yet bold, brave and not more than a few can fathom to take so huge a risk while being on the peak of one’s literary career. This autobiography is her first, yet the truest, most vulnerable- about her joys and failures, about being a foreigner forever, about belonging not in a country or a culture but in the margins. It is about seeking comfort and solace in discomfort, seeking freedom in limitations.

I loved this book. After almost a week of finishing reading it, I usually find myself opening a random page and re-reading it. I keep going back to the book.

She says in one of the chapters, when she reads Italian, she feels like a guest, a traveler. When she writes in Italian, she feels like an intruder, an imposter. And there! There she has laid bare so many of her insecurities that the reader might empathize with or might judge. I thought about the humility she has, after the huge successful task of jotting word by word in a foreign language and building a book. She still doesn’t feel Italian in her bones, in her marrow, she says. She still makes mistakes. Yet, as a lover of words, of language that is boundless and effable, I thought that the feat she has achieved in getting this book out is an immeasurable one. She literally went from being an illiterate in Italian to being almost Literate- from understanding words, forming phrases, structuring sentences, learning grammar to creating a full-fledged book. Salute to her and to her immense love for the language. Instead of learning it from the periphery in America, she decided to take the plunge, right into it, by coming to live in Italy, cutting off from her comfort zones.

“There is pain in every joy. In every violent passion a dark side.”

The author is seen as a foreigner in Italy because of her physical appearance. People didn’t want to listen to her or accept her as someone who knew their native language moderately well. They didn’t appreciate that she was working hard to speak their language. This irritated her. She felt reprimanded- ‘like a child who touches an object that shouldn’t be touched’. “Learning a foreign language is the fundamental way to fit in with new people in a new country.” Without language, you remain unheard, without a voice, without power. And these hurdles made her journey more meaningful.

There’s a chapter in the book, named ‘The Metamorphosis’. It is one of those chapters I kept rereading again and again. ‘Metamorphosis is a process that is both violent and regenerative, a death and a birth.’ She talks of change and transition as a way of life. She uses allegories, analogies from myths and Italian/ Roman legends, and elaborate stories to describe her feelings and her complicated situations.

‘The moments of transition, in which something changes, constitute the backbone of all of us. Whether they are a salvation or a loss, they are moments we tend to remember. They give a structure to our existence. Almost all the rest is oblivion.’

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves words and languages. If the unknown language charms you, makes you want to learn it, yet you feel daunted by the magnitude and vastness of the journey, this book is meant for you. I personally loved the book. My rating- 5/5

Linking the post to #UBC , and #DailyChatter.