February 1, 2017

The scars we carry...

As a kid, I've had friends from happy families and always wondered what kind of charmed life they led. Because as families go, ours was as dysfunctional as it could get. We accumulate scars over the years, from our family, from society, from strangers and from the world at large. It's impossible to escape unscathed. I've always wondered how it would be if I weren't as scarred as I am. Because I have to weigh every word I say. The person I am is a sum of those experiences, scars and all.
Of late, I've been thinking about this a lot. When I scream at my son, I wonder if he'll carry it with him to adulthood. When I scare him or restrict him from doing something because it scares the hell out of me, I wonder if I'm creating another person who'll always be scared of taking the leap. I should let him be. But then there's always this fear, what if I fail as a parent!

What I want the most is for him to grow up to be a good human being. It's horrible being a parent sometimes, because you don't really have a handbook that tells you how to deal with an unpredictable person. They say kids learn from you. I hope not. It's taken me 30+ years to discover myself, and to prioritise what's really important. I don't always set the right examples, and I've promised myself I will not be rigid. But then, when he drives me up the wall, I realise that my parents were right too.

What my parents did give me is the gift of choice. The freedom to choose who I wanted to be. A conscience that still hasn't given up on me. And endless hope. I hope I'll be all that for my son too. :)

June 17, 2016

Parallel world

Twilight dances within her eyes
And there is a promise of paradise
When with one glimpse, she seems to say
Things, that would lead mortals astray.

But, you say, she's hardly lived
She's still a child, a dream untouched
She cannot foresee her world
Burning down with lies and trials.

Could it be that you and me are wrong
And she's more than a bird, a song?
Could it be that she knows,
Just how to side-step shadows?

And she will look back, without getting burnt
And with her laughter, turn sorrows around.

April 11, 2016

Constellation

Let no one tell you that
Feeling empty is wrong.
It's okay to be a sad black hole;
And on some days, a constellation of stars.

Your light may dim on some days,
But it's never always dark.
For the dreams inside of you
Need just a single spark.

And on the days when
You are the spark
And the constellation,
Let no one stop you

From burning too bright.

March 30, 2016

backwards

someday we will walk back
into eggshells
and swallow our harshest words
and we will walk back into age
and we will walk back into our soul
and my hands will find yours
as we walk back into love.

February 23, 2016

The Malayali speaks up

Movies. The one thing other than books that gets me all excited and dreamy-eyed.

As a movie-crazy teenager, I never thought I'd grow out of that phase. However, there was a lull in my twenties when I could no longer find movies that made my pulse quicken.

But all that has changed and how! I'm no longer addicted to the mindless Bollywood movies they churn out in dozens every week! And the Hollywood movies I adore have taken a backseat too. It's plain old (and new) Malayalam movies I'm addicted to. As a true-blue Malayali, let me tell you that cinema is in our blood. Every Malayali you meet is a born storyteller. Maybe that's why, as I've been discovering lately, this industry has been producing some of the most brilliant movies I've ever seen.

Be it dark and menacing, or light and fluffy or just basic drama, we have it all! Here are some of the movies that have affected me profoundly. This isn't the complete list of my favorites, just the recent ones I'm in love with.

24 North Kaatham: What I really want to say is, I love the actor in this movie. I could list all his movies here. Be it the simpleton in Amen or the morally bankrupt character in 22 Female Kottayam, he can do justice to any role he's given. This movie is special because it's stayed with me long after I watched it. It is a road movie of sorts, and a coming-of-age one too. The protagonist is a misfit, a loner with chronic OCD. How he opens up to the possibility of being human, and being humane is beautifully translated onscreen. There is one particular scene which I love. His fellow travelers delay the journey as they're lost in the beauty of a stream. He comes back to see what is so special about the scenery, and is unable to feel the same emotions. That one scene conveys so much!

Iyobinte Pustakam: Like I said, I just can't stop at one. This one is more than a movie, it is an epic. This larger-than-life story, set in British India is an ambitious account of three brothers and has all the elements of a Shakespearean drama. There is revenge, ambition and the age-old trope of good versus evil. Every character is nuanced and layered. It's like reading a Jeffrey Archer novel, only much more detailed! The research that has gone into the making of this movie is just impressive, for every scene looks just like it should be.

Ustad Hotel: There's a scene in this movie where the young, restless protagonist asks his grandfather about the secret of his sulaimaani (black tea). His grandfather keeps him guessing; however, he does share a lesson in love. It is one of the most beautiful and moving scenes I've ever seen. This is a feel-good movie, but it stays with you long after you've watched it.

Om Shaanti Oshana: Malayalam cinema has female actors who aren't just props. Infact, they are as essential to the medium as their male counterparts. I wouldn't call Nasriya a great actor. However, this movie belongs to her. It is the love story of a teenager, whose crush on an older guy just doesn't go away. The beauty of this movie is that it's narrated by the girl, and her daydreams and asides are a part of the movie. We get into her head and watch her grow from a silly, infatuated teenager to a somewhat goofy yet determined woman. The one thing that remains constant is her first love. I must admit, rather shamelessly, that this movie is a favorite because I've been that silly girl, atleast as a teenager.

Premam: I kept this one for last. This movie has been called overrated, hypocritical and what not. And I must say that I did not really find it all that great when I finished watching it the first time. But there was something about the movie that made me want to watch it again. And again and again! Alphonse Putharen has beautifully bottled up lost childhood, laughter, dreams and hope in this visually stunning movie. The name is love, and it honestly covers three chapters of that elusive emotion. Three phases in the life of a man who is in love with the idea of love. For everyone who said that this one really does not have a story, it does. It is the story of every teenager who has lived in the nineties. The soda bottles, colorful candy, dark musty tea shops, cycles, it's all a heady trip into a childhood that was devoid of technology. An era where the idea of idling away time was much more rewarding as it meant being with your friends. The awkward teenage years with friends who you could share everything with, missed calls on landlines (with caller IDs!), following your crush all around town…all this is so beautifully captured. What the director cashes on is our love of nostalgia!

The second part of the movie was even better! Those reckless college days where being a defiant rebel is your idea of "cool". The opening fight sequence is a goosebump-inducing level of awesome! I cheered with the rebels in black because I've seen this as a college-goer in Kerala. That was an era where beating each other up was the worst college kids could do. Not the scale of violence and drama we see today!

The third part of the movie is my favorite. Everyone who's watched the movie loved Malar and George. Including my dear husband. For me, the last part, where George has transformed, from boy to man (albeit reluctantly), is just sublime. This story was a little abrupt. But it did subtly capture the nuances of what happens to you when you're an adult. There is this bit of you, that just refuses to be a cynic, no matter how much life has tried to break you. And having dipped my toes a hundred times in what I like to call love, I know how it is to finally meet the person you know will fit just right into your life. If the first story was about infatuation, and the second about passionately beautiful love, the third story is about your choices. I know that, if I had found the love of my life five years earlier than I did, I wouldn't really have fallen for him. Because both of us hadn't grown into the people we are today. That is essentially what the third part of this movie portrays. That, when the time is right, you find that one person who is yours. Forever. It isn't fairytale-romantic all the time, but it is pure contentment. :) Having said that, the ever-romantic George proposing to a girl he's met just twice, is heartbreakingly soulful. Add to that, the Red Velvet music which is haunting! I'm a fan of the cake too!


I hope the Malayali peeples keep this up! I just can't get enough of these movies!

February 19, 2016

Musing about future regrets

she brushes off the dust
and rises up to greet this day.
her dreams no longer centre around
dark pools in the shades of elms.
she is now a pragmatic soul
whose words, unspoken
have turned to thoughts
that will ferment in the recesses
and someday become regrets.

but for today, she's in that place
somewhere close to lucidity,
and she does not feel that pang
of not being in all the places
she's wanted to be in, together.

January 11, 2016

It's not really a lie
When you believe it.
And I sometimes wonder why
Nobody's noticed yet.

That I've been missing
For ages, from this thing called life.
and while they were busy throwing stones
I've been painting starlight
In alleys that overlook dark waters
And skies that mirror my waking dreams
I've been walking on cobbled stones
And waltzing with the moon.
And while their backs were turned
I've been living the lie.