Thursday, 21 November 2013

Before sunrise, Before sunset and everything in between

Just imagine, two strangers in a train decide to spend time together walking the streets in Vienna and getting to know each other! The very idea sends a tingle down my spine and fills my mind with a sense of being overwhelmed. And, the same strangers, of course not strangers any more decide to meet in the Vienna train station after six months, and in the interim not exchanging any phone calls, letters or visits. Well, they don't meet but connect after nine years in France. Well, more than the films, what really interested me was the conversation that transpired between the strangers during their first walk around Vienna which lasts until the wee hours of the morning - before sunrise, to be precise. To me the film is an ode to conversation - A conversation which is genuine, frank, occasionally punctuated by the gurgle of a stream, song of a street singer and by the different sights and sounds of the city. A conversation without mobiles, facebook and other usual suspects.

The strangers, okay the actors, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy converse on an assortment of topics ranging from feminism to climate change to love, sex, popular culture, media, animals and so on. Their discourse is peppered with anecdotes and in the process of sharing thoughts and ideas, they get to know the other quite well and also by the end of the meeting are attracted to one another. The film consists of only walking and talking and there aren't any more characters in the film than the two actors. Reading up on the film, I found that most of the dialogues are written by the actors themselves and that does not come as a surprise!

I wondered at the possibilities of me doing something similar - chatting up with a stranger on a long distance train and impulsively deciding to walk the town with that stranger. The thought did seem quite thrilling to me and I guess I would have done it, perhaps some years ago when I was in my turbulent twenties! Real conversations are definitely a turn on and as the talks go on, layers of our selves start peeling off and unwittingly we reveal our personalities in the intoxication of words. The same transpires between the two on that walk. I find that I miss that sort of real conversation sometimes. Books allow oneself to travel to unknown lands, mingle with exotic cultures and imagine surreal situations but it is a process that is done alone unlike conversation, and here I mean 'real' conversation where I can see into the eyes of the listener, catch the faint smirk, observe the change in the tone of the voice and take in the gestures of the speaker. You get the drift, don't you? And, if the person on the other end has an equally arresting face, body that fits the conversation then it is imperative that sparks will fly but don't get me wrong here. Conversations don't always have to lead to physical and emotional attraction in the form of love/lust. But I don't deny that there is a higher possibility of falling for someone who can hold an exciting and meaningful conversation for hours (This trait is fast dying because of the various gadgets that vye for one's attention throughout the day/night).

If this post on 'conversation' has made you curious, you must watch the films - there are three of them -- Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight

So, are you turned on by a heady conversation sans any distraction?

Image 1: Internet
Image 2: Internet

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

A kiss is just a kiss

This post has been itching to escape into the blog ever since it has been stifling in the crevices of my mindscape and I wonder why I have imprisoned it for so long. So, today, I've given a solace to the itch by applying a potion in the form of writing the post! I have always longed to devote a post to THE KISS and not the kiss that every one gives everyone but the special passionate ones that are employed to many forms of expressing love and extreme fondness in the name of lust. Well, a kiss definitely gets it started and suspends time and place. And for people like me growing up in the 90s, a kiss was as scandalous as sex itself and it was one of those forbidden pleasures that made us yearn for them on TV shows.

I remember awaiting those 'kisses' in the 'foreign' (read English) films when first Metro channel came about in the 90s. And, of course, the after kiss 'scenes' would also be eagerly anticipated but alas! they were denied to keen watchers by the censor boards who chose to not corrupt the young and fiery minds of productive youngsters like me. Well, we waited patiently for those passionate kisses and were rewarded by many during our growing up years. So much so that I even thought that a kiss is fatal enough to make one pregnant! I cannot digest my naiveté and today I wonder whether innocence of that sort was actually possibly imaginable!
I remember the famous TV program of those years, Guinness Book of World Records ended with a kiss and I would wait with bated breath to just watch that brief kiss. Ah, what thrill it gave me to imagine a kiss. I even shared the vital piece of information with a friend who also waited for that 'kissey' ending.

And it is for all the above mentioned reasons and more that the film, Cinema Paradiso is a film that is very close to my heart. For those who have seen the film, you will understand the connection between kisses and the film. For those who haven't seen it yet, here you go: The small boy Toto is fascinated by films and spends a lot of time at the cinema house  with Alfredo, the projectionist. But the films have many missing scenes - kissing and embracing scenes which are cut, following the instructions of the local priest. Many years pass by and  Toto is a successful director and comes to his village after a long time to attend the funeral of Alfredo. Alfredo's wife gives Toto something that Alfredo had left behind for him and it is a reel that is a montage made of all the deleted 'kiss' scenes and as Toto watches that he cannot stop thinking of his growing up years and Alfredo. That scene from the film is something that will never ever leave my mind. It is a wonderful mash of memories, desire and nostalgia. And every time I see Cinema Paradiso, I can't stop thinking about my tryst with kisses.
P. S. I still love kisses the same way as I used to then but no longer await those passionate kiss scenes like yore!

Images 1 & 2: Shutterstock
Image 3: Internet

Saturday, 16 November 2013

A heady concoction of cricket, politics, quantum physics sprinkled with an abundance of thrill

While the BB pins were doing the rounds in Facebook, another BB kept me engrossed on tenterhooks. The reference is to Suraj Clark Prasad's debut work of fiction, Baramulla Bomber. Starting to read the book, I thought that the figures and scientific explanations would impediment my interest in the flow of the narrative but I was proved wrong. Prasad's narrative is taut and keeps the reader's inquisitiveness alive as he guides us through the story. 
An illustration from the book

A map showing the location of action

Many readers have already written about the racy style of Prasad's resembling that of Dan Brown's and they cannot be truer. The story which is a heady concoction of politics, cricket, quantum physics added to a love story, involves many sub-plots which finally merge together in the main plot making the reader wonder and wander.
The cover page of the novel

What strikes me about the book is the additional information that is meticulously put together by Prasad at the end of the book. He provides links, articles and various trivia associated with names, incidents and places. The hungry reader who strives to dig deeper into some of the mentions in the book is greatly satiated by the information and being curious, I even looked up some links which enabled me to appreciate the research done by Prasad.

Kashmir, Pakistan and China are some of the places that have never ceased to intrigue the minds of discerning citizens of India and Prasad very tactfully spins his tale around these places alongside adding an exotic Sweden to the ring of operations. The development of the characters, the advancement of the plot and the minute details of various happenings capture the attention of the reader and ensure that the momentum remains the same throughout the course of the novel.

Clark mentions in his book that BB is the first in the Svastik trilogy and the readers who have gotten a taste of BB, I'm sure are awaiting his second and third books. 
Suraj Clark Prasad

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

The lost beaches of Goa

Yesterday, I was quite pumped up with energy and general feel of goodness after I returned from an early morning visit to the beach. The beach is almost like a temperamental individual exhibiting different tempers at different times of the day and be warned, every beach is distinct and has its own shade of personality. I learned all this by visiting some beaches in Goa. I was literally in a hazy sea of thoughts when my domestic walked in for the day. She had her usual smile and charm and inquired me after the sand that she had spotted in the entrance. With an excited demeanour, I told her that we had gone to watch the sunrise in the nearby beach. She nonchalantly replied: "We have been living here for so many years but have never visited the famed beaches of Goa till date." Her reply stirred me. It rattled my thoughts. I wouldn't know how to react to her reply which was a tone mingled with part regret and part resignation to her life. Implicitly, I asked her when she came to Goa. "Just after getting married," she replied. She has been married and living in Goa for about 18 years but the beaches were lost to her and her family. There was a beach quite close to where she lived but the time and zest to go and visit that beach was lost on her family.

I wondered why should one go to the beach? Does one want to feel a sense of contentment that comes with living in one of the most sought after tourist spots or does one go there to marvel at the wonder of nature and take in the beauty that everyday existence cannot possibly provide? I realised that going to the beach is a privilege of time and leisure. A chasing after beauty that allows one's heart to be puffed up with gratitude and warmth. I also wonder whether by not visiting a beach in Goa, did I miss out on the essence of the place? Do I visit beaches just because it would be a shame to have lived in a place filled with beaches and not have visited them. Some of these questions could niggle me endlessly and chances are that I might not even arrive at a legitimate answer.

Till my mind rests, let's go to the beach and take pictures that make others yearn and drool simultaneously.

Have you thought why you do what you do.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Virtual friendship and broken promises - A tribute to a dear blogger-friend

The last time I met you, you promised to spend more time with me in December. You also promised that in the December trip you will stay with me. You cruel soul - you broke your promises. Why do you make them when you were to break them!

We meet in the world of blogs and bloggers. We both were relatively new to the whole game of blogging. I saw her blog in one of the blogs I frequented. I casually stopped by. I liked what I saw and read. I started stopping by more often. Then she started noticing me and returned the favour. This was in 2009! From then on, we stopped by each other's blogs and gradually started emailing one another. The mails were usually two or three liners in which we mutually complemented one another's words and thoughts. We were never obliged to visit each other's blogs. I only commented when I had something to say and vice-versa. A bond had been formed.

Then I got married. I sent her an invite. She didn't come but sent me her wishes. Then, she got married. I sent my wishes. Our blog entries became infrequent but we kept in touch. She drifted towards fiction and photography. My visits to her blog were intermittent. She still came over to my blog and logged in her insights. We started chatting through Facebook.

She then gave me the wonderful news of her visit to the city where I lived. We met briefly over some snacks. Her mom and her sister were there with her. We were quite excited and thrilled to finally meet one another. She promised to spend more time with me in December when she planned to visit my place again on a road-trip with her better half. I thought December was quite afar off.

Unexpectedly, I had a chance to stop in her city for a break of journey and she played host along with her parents-in-law, husband and her non-human companion, a Golden Retriever named Rocky. They were lovely people and stumped me with their hospitality. She drove me to the train station. I was glad to have met her the second time and we refreshed our December promise and plan.

But she would never see another December! She broke her promise and along with her husband passed on to another world leaving me with memories of her blog and two meetings. 

I am glad that we did meet each other and exchanged meaningful conversation, if only once. Her sudden passing, though left me shocked and devastated, enabled me to understand the transience of existence. She was a quiet and unassuming person who thought deeply and tenderly. On some mornings, I wake up with thoughts of her and feel quite sad but as I mentioned earlier, I am truly happy that I met her and spent some time with her.

RIP my dear Sameera Kesiraju (1987-2013)

A poem by Sam:

Every evening is a conversation,
Sun’s retiring talk with a dear tree
“I’ll come in the morn looking for you!
I’ll knock on the doors of darkness with a request  
To let my rays caress with love, your gentle leaves
As they swing with joy, with hope, to see another dawn
Waiting for me to bring that dawn to you
I’ll come, but promise, that you will not let...
The black dusk swallow it all up - every time I am gone.



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