Lovelorn

Sometimes, when it is dark
The fan whirling away
I see you.

You come unexpected
Smiling just like we met
The other day
You use your hand to
Push away the bothering
Strand of hair across
My eyes, which I close
To see you.

You ask me how I am
If I miss you
Because you do
Not the one who left
But the one next to me
I open my eyes
To see you.

And through the tears
That fall free
Of memories
That slowly fade away
As I hear you
Whispering goodbye
In my ears
But I can’t
See you.

Romance Retreat

We Indians love our elaborate traditions and gaiety. We have many festivals all through out the year, and each is celebrated with joyous splendor and magnificence. But there is one festival that we love more than others, even more than Diwali – Weddings. The union of two souls is memorialized in grand ceremonies and extravagant show, and the Indian wedding only seems to get bigger and fatter with every passing year.

Since November-December is supposedly very auspicious for weddings, every year my Facebook news feed is religiously occupied during the marriage season with lovely pictures and picturesque check-ins of weddings and honeymoons and everything that precedes and follows it. And a very amusing trend in the matrimony “industry” (and I use the word “industry” because a lot of people mint good amount of money during this period) is the pre-wedding photo shoot. I saw it the first time couple of years ago, and it was absolutely adorable!!!! It has been long since then, and looks like this one is here to stay, except now, it has become kind of, cringe-worthy.

I don’t get it. What’s with these mock-up, larger-than-life pictures that look so unreal, like the romance has retreated from the life of the couple before it even started?  I saw a photo-shoot recently that left me astound – one picture of the couple was overlooking the ocean, the other on a mountain top with the obligatory Titanic pose, and yet another was in a forest! I mean, is it a photo-shoot or a 4th standard Geography-text book?

At the risk of getting unfriended by truckload of married friends, who have wasted precious money on those mushy and pretentious pictures,me – your oh-so-single friend is telling you that you that those photo-shoots are actually, very silly.

Tell me something, is the romance really about exotic locations or filmy postures? Ask yourself if this is how you fell in love with your partner, while getting photo-shopped on the top of Himalayas, or when he/she reminded you to go easy one that ice-cream because you are still recovering from a cold? Why is romance, or love, supposed to be so mythical and beyond the realms of a normal world? Isn’t it about practical wisdom, dealing with each day as it comes, and stealing moments here and there to express how mad you are about each other?

My parents didn’t have a fancy wedding photo-shoot, and neither did yours. And they still turned out pretty well. Look around you, don’t you squirm uncomfortably when you hear of young married couples struggling to make it work, irrespective of their marriages being love/arranged, because they are incompatible? Why can’t love be more, honest and straight-forward, instead of fake? Why not have a photo-shoot that shows the two of you living life like you normally do – enjoying that occasional glass of wine or goofing around each other?

As I sip my coffee and go through some really crazy photo-shoots, I have no clue whom I am getting married and when. But I sure as hell know what I am not planning to do –  A down-on-one- knee proposal picture with relatives in tow. Eww, no! Doing headstand together though, now that sounds interesting!

ASANA_C
                                       What a beautiful inversion!

Featured Image : The most realistic honeymoon picture ever

Image source: Yoga Journal

via Retreat

How Blue is my Sapphire – 5

How far will you go for what you want?

Do you recall, not long ago
We would walk on the sidewalk
Innocent, remember?
All we did was care for each other

But the night was warm
We were bold and young
All around the wind blows
We would only hold on to let go

Blow a kiss, fire a gun
We need someone to lean on
Blow a kiss, fire a gun
All we need is somebody to lean on

[Major Lazer and DJ Snake – Lean On]

It was the third time the phone was ringing. I was sitting with my laptop, working on a pet project. The last 3 months had been quite life changing. I quit EatOrg, and soon after left to Canada for a month to travel and meet friends and relatives. The trip did good to me, and once I was back, I decided to go back to things I loved. My days were spent reading, writing, going to my contemporary dance class, cooking, coding and coloring. I joined Yoga Teacher Training Course at a premier Yoga Academy in the city, and that kept me busy.
I checked the phone, it was some unknown number. Truecaller suggested it was from Pune, but with MNP, one could no longer know. I finally picked it up.

“Vaani?”, the voice that I knew so well, spoke from the other end. “Aakaash? Where are you calling from? Whose number is this?” “I came down to Pune, you won’t believe whom I met here. Anyway, I am coming back tomorrow, and I want to see you as soon as I land. We will meet at the coffee shop near your house?”

From the moment I left the EatOrg premises, Aakaash had tried reaching out to me in more ways than one. There were incessant “I am sorry” texts, countless calls on phone, Skype and Whatsapp, and several emails on my personal e-mail ID. But I left for Canada soon, and avoided using any kind of mode of communication or social media – I was just not willing to deal with the mess I had left behind. The calls and messages eventually stopped, or so I thought, until today.

“Are you asking me to meet or ordering me to?”, I asked with a wry smile on my face. “I will be there at 5 pm. See you, bye.”, was all he said.

*****

It was 5 minutes past 5pm when I reached. Aakaash was already sitting there, but not alone. “Guess who I found at Pune.” It was Tarang. I looked at both of them, with utter disbelief. “Vaani before your eyes pop out, please sit down, we have already ordered your favorite Mocha. And yes, we all have a lot to say, and this is going to be a hell of a evening.” “Indeed guys, indeed.”, I was almost speaking to myself, but that came out aloud I guess.

“Guys I know I screwed it up”, started Aakaash. “EatOrg was our dream, it was a lovely idea, but in my greed to make money, I unintentionally sacrificed what EatOrg stood for – honesty and friendship. I lost two of my closest friends to my idiocy, and it has taken me a lot of courage to admit this, but guys, I was wrong. Vaani, soon after you left, we had another round of food poisoning incident. There were too many complaints this time, and someone informed the local Health Inspector, who along with his team, came to check our kitchens. Needless to say, our hygiene and quality of products resulted us to get slapped by heavy fines, and that’s when me and Dua had a fight. He blamed it all on my mismanagement and we, well he decided, that EatOrg needs to be sold off. Fortunately for us, a health and fitness cafe in Pune was willing to buy EatOrg, since they have been looking to expand to Bangalore as well. And guess what, Tarang is a part of Healthily.”

“Healthily is a family business of one of my B-School classmates,” began Tarang. “After I left EatOrg, I reached out to him. He too had been looking to revamp his cafe, and wanted some help to do the same. We found an angel investor who had faith in our vision and Healthily now has its own apps on all major smartphone platforms. When we got to know that EatOrg was up for sale, I convinced the investor to allow us to acquire them. We had only one condition though.”

“Which was??”, I was intrigued by now.

“That Ajay Dua would no longer be part of EatOrg.”, replied Aakaash. “Really??? And he agreed?”, I asked, flabbergasted. “Well he had no choice, there are several organizations after his tracks, his farm has had complaints of inhumane conditions and less than minimum wages being paid.”, said Tarang. “And that’s why we are here Vaani. I think EatOrg deserves another chance, and it needs you and your vision. And this time, nothing will go wrong.”, Aakaash shifted his chair and moved closer to the table, looking at me with anticipation.

I was quiet. None of us was saying anything, probably waiting for me to break the ice. After several moments of uncomfortable silence, I knew I had to speak. “I don’t want to be a part of this venture again.” Tarang and Aakaash stared at me, shocked. Tarang opened his mouth to say something, but I raised my hand and said, “I am not done yet.”

“From past 2 years, we have all been working towards EatOrg, equally hard. But for me, this journey has had a different meaning altogether. I realized that this is not my dream, it is you guys’. And while I have tried to do as good a job as I could, I realize that it wasn’t enough. In my bid to be a loyal friend to both of you, I continued to work for your visions, but I lost my own sense of self somewhere. In between your ego clashes, I got caught up for no reason. As much as I love you both, it is time I do something for myself, and myself alone. I think I am done sacrificing my dreams for your dreams.”

“But we need you Vaani”, began Tarang. “No Tarang you don’t. For if you had needed me, you would have stopped that day. You would have called me up, talked to me and we could have figured something out, like get another investor onboard, or something. For you, I was always there, but you chose to leave, because you have your own set of rules that you like to play by. Today you have come back, because the rules are your own. While there is nothing wrong with that, I don’t think I need that kind of drama any more in my life.” “Vaani I am sorry. I just needed time to figure out..” “Figure out what Tarang? That what is more important to you- your ambitions or your friends?”, I blurted out.

Tarang had nothing to say in his defence. He looked at Aakaash, and sighed,”Yaar, tu hi samjha isey, meri nahin sunegi ab. I think I should leave now.” “Let me drop you till the parking.”, Aakaash got up and left with him. Five minutes later, he was back.

“Vaani, dekh meri baat samajh, I know you are mad at him.” “No Aakaash, I am not mad at him. I am just tired, of fighting for others’ opinions. All this while, ever since college, all I have done is either fight for your opinion with him or vice versa. But in that process, somewhere, I think I lost my own voice of reason. There have been a lot of things that I did for the sake of our friendships, but it’s time I do something for me too.” I took out the ring from my purse, and placed it on the table. “You know Aaakash, they say a sapphire stands for honesty and wisdom. The more blue a sapphire is, the purer it is. I am your friend, and if you need me, I will always be there, but I need to do what makes me happy.”

Aakaash took the ring, and asked me,”So what are you going to do?” “A lot of things, actually”, for the first time in the entire conversation, I smiled. “I am doing a Yoga Teacher Training Certification, and will soon be qualified to teach. I have quite a few things in mind, some freelance coding projects and online articles, let’s see where it all goes.” “So this is it Vaani, for us?” “Of course not Aakaash, I will always be the friend you can lean on.” “Me too Vaani, me too.”, he held my hand in his.

“Acha listen, did you quit smoking?”
“Yes”
“Good.”

The relatives He chose for us: Family

2016 seems to be a good year for the content driven mainstream Hindi cinema. After the strong and proud dose of patriotism in “Airlift” and “Neerja”, comes a refreshing take on family and inter-personal relationships from *surprise-surprise* the Dharma production house! I have always felt that whenever Karan Johar tries to rise above the usual run-of-the-mill candy floss commercial cinema, he does a good job. Take for example, “Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna”, which dealt with the sensitive issue of extra-marital affairs of two individuals blessed with loving spouses , or “My Name is Khan”, the struggle of a socially awkward Muslim man in USA, determined to prove that his surname doesn’t guarantee his guilt, or “Ajeeb Daastaan Hai Yeh”, from “Bombay Talkies”, reflecting on the stigma of homosexuality. However, this time, Karan Johar let Shakun Batra take the lead to make a hilarious, and yet poignant in parts, “Kapoor and Sons since 1921”, which is his first outing after the Kareena Kapoor-Imran Khan’s venture on friend-zoning, “Ekk Main aur Ek Tu”.

The movie boasts of a stellar star cast in Rishi Kapoor, Rajat Kapoor and Ratna Pathak Shah as the elders of the family, grappling with their own issues of emotional insecurity, trust, and sanity (in case of Daadu played by Rishi Kapoor 😛 ). They are accompanied by two of the HOTTTESSTTT men in the industry today, Fawad Khan and Siddharth Malhotra, and the effervescent Alia Bhatt. As much as Alia is poked fun at for her bad GK, there is no doubt in the fact that she is an amazing actress, bringing life into an otherwise side-character. Fawad Khan is an established Pakistani TV star and his role as the elder, responsible brother, trying to hold everything together in the background of the madness of his family and his own secrets, is something very few actors can achieve in their second film itself. This man is not just good looks, which he is blessed with abundantly, he knows his acting and how! I wonder why so many Pakistani men are so so so good-looking, and so so so married 😛 I wish they let us import some more Fawads. Sigh 😉

Siddharth Malhotra also, for a change, has tried to move beyond his poker face expression and played the younger, and often neglected sibling, with finesse. Your heart goes out for this young man, waiting for lady luck to shine on him, and being a mute spectator to the fact that his elder brother is almost always favored over him. This post, however, is not just a review of the film, for you must have read several of them by now, praising the movie and the cast. This movie made me think and realize that after a long long time, we have watched a very realistic take on the most important unit of any human society; family.

Family – the people God chooses for you, making them your parents, brother, sisters and extended relatives. Around 50-60 years back, it was quite the norm to have a huge set of siblings, who would grow up to be your friends, closest confidants or even arch-enemies 😛  As infant mortality and general life expectancy improved, the number of siblings came down, to the point that today there are families who believe in having only one child, as having two kind of means double the responsibilities, and problems 😛 And yet, I don’t think there is any better gift for a child than a younger sibling, someone to play with, boss around on, quarrel with, be jealous from, or as you grow wiser, discuss everything with.

When I was younger, like way way back, I used to feel envious of all attention my then-baby brother received. But as he grew older, I kind of realized that he is actually fun to be with, for I could direct him to do all the naughty things and then blame it on him later 😀 . Since he was too young and a darling of my father, he was hardly scolded 😛 Add to that the fact that I had someone to tie rakhi to and an excuse for another birthday party every year, for which I was given a new dress each time 😀 Of course, we had our share of crazy violent fights, that included worse sledging than what Australians do to India in cricket, often accompanied by choke-slam moves inspired by WWE. Add to the fact that I would scream for even the smallest of things, including him not giving me the remote of the TV, and one can safely assume what a nightmare we must be for our parents, at times 😉 Sometimes in my fit of rage, I would ask my mom, “Why did you get this guy?”:P To which she would calmly say,”Because your Dad says everyone should have a sibling”.

Needless to say, I didn’t buy that explanation then 😛 It took me years of fights and yelling to finally understand what it means to have a brother. Today, my brother, who has grown up to be a fine young man, especially when he ties his turban, is my voice of sanity. It is so strange to have someone almost 4 years younger to me have such deep insight into my relationships and issues. Of course, we still fight, and he feels I hog all the attention in the house 😛 , there is no doubt in the fact that I wouldn’t trade him for anyone else in the world. I can see him shaking his head at this line in disbelief, so yeah dude, I am lying just to be a better sister in the eyes of the world 😛

The thing with family is, they almost always have your back. Your parents are possibly the only people who love you unconditionally, and while they might yell at you or sulk when you do something stupid (in my case that includes not putting a bedsheet on the bed for two days in a row 😛 ), they almost always come around, understanding why you did what you did, eager to overlook your flaws and with time, even appreciating your seemingly-crazy but well-paid decisions. Of course, you may have to convince them a lot more than you initially expected, especially if they feel that you are wrong, but they will also be the first ones to defend you the world and the “chaar log”. Sure, they have expectations, and for that matter, so does everyone, of everyone, and sometimes the expectations can overwhelm us too, but in the long run, one realises that in the Indian society setup, it is family which leads to a concept of community and care-giving, which is very essential for any population to evolve.

Nope, not my wedding! And the one on left is my bro (yes younger) 😛

So go ahead, watch Kapoor and Sons since 1921 if you haven’t yet, and don’t forget to call your husband/wife/mom/dad/brother/sister/grandparent after that to tell them how much your appreciate their presence and value their words in your day-to-day life. And share your reactions in the comment section below!!!!

 

Featured Image : IBTimes

Motion se hi Emotion – Piku

Movies are supposed to be a mirror to our lives. Over the decades, Hindi commercial cinema has produced and promotes movies that portray and ideal, Utopian world, where children love their parents selflessly. According to Hindi movies, there is no greater sin than not taking care of your old parents, after all, ours is the land of Shravan Kumar- the ideal son. We have grown up seeing movies  where “Maa-Baap” were the ultimate epitome of love and sacrifice, who are loved equally selflessly by the “Hero”.

But what happens when you realize that an old father can be selfish enough to keep his young daughter to himself, trapped in his daily tantrums regarding his health, especially his bowel movements? It is with this view that Piku, directed by Shoojit Sircar of “Kahaani” and “Vicky Donor” fame, creeps in stealthily and captures our hearts.

Piku is the story of a young, independent, working Bengali woman, Piku Banerjee(played with absolute finesse by Deepika Padukone), who lives with her eccentric father (and this is the reason why Amitabh Bacchan is a living legend) in Delhi’s CR park (where else, apart from Kolkata? 😛 ). By now you must have read raving reviews of Piku, the superb acting of Irrfan Khan and others, and how it continued to rake in the moolah at the Box Office, till “Tanu Weds Manu Returns” ended its winning streak, and quite rightfully.

A simple story with a beautiful narration, Piku tugged at my heart and by the time it ended, it left me with many things to ponder. In a society like India where families are so close knit, often we see that even after children are grown up and independent, parents tend to hold on to them. They expect their children to revolve their lives around them, and to them it is only fair, since they did that for them too!

Image Source : www.bluegape.com

A lot of people celebrated Piku as the modern Indian woman, independent and self-reliant, brought up with a broad mindset. And yet, they ignore the fact that Piku’s Baba uses her active sex-life as an excuse to drive away potential suitors! Of course, there are a lot of ways to interpret a cinematic experience, people say that Bhaskor Banerjee was quite progressive, but if you ask me, he used “empowering women” as an excuse to tie down his own daughter into shackles of responsibility and loneliness.

At the end of the day, everyone is selfish to some extent. It takes a great amount of love to be truly selfless, letting someone you love go to find their own path. Piku too tried to tie down her father into the customary old-age restrictions of not walking too much or eating oily/spicy food, but she did let him go, eventually. Love is weird that way.

If you haven’t watched Piku yet, do watch it. It is good to see Hindi cinema revolving into meaningful and enjoyable cinema, without being preachy or boring.

Rating: 4/5

Featured image source : Koimoi