Posted in Opinion

The Cup Of Life

To sum it up, the weekend of 15 July  and the run up to it was one of the most exhausting and exhilarating stretches in recent times. While I felt spent out by the time France lifted the World Cup, my initial feeling of all the matches ending in a damp squib were replaced by a wonderful realisation.

These five days had rewritten ABBA’s immortal lines, forever :

 The winner takes it all
The loser standing small

Because all at once, nobody looked like a winner and everybody looked like a winner!

In a world constantly reminding a woman about her age, Serena Williams coming back right upto the finals in her first post-motherhood grand slam … her own victory. Angelique Kerber taking the trophy against Serena, something to cherish for a lifetime. Kevin Anderson had his own victory in driving Federer up the wall , with fifth set battles in double digit numbers we have never heard of. And Novak Djokovic won against a never-give-up Anderson.

And it wasn’t just Wimbledon doling out life lessons. It was football that sang The Cup of Life at its loudest and clearest.

To me, the most defining moment was Luka Modric stealing the great Ballon D’Or from the Messi-s and Ronaldo-s of the world. In doing so, he had risen above the misery and turmoils of his past , taking Croatia along, and showing us how a small team can punch so much above its weight. Hell, they even gave two goals to France! Belgium, an unlikely hero, a dark horse, racing ahead to number 3 through sheer grit, awarded with a Golden Glove for persistence. No other country celebrated together like England, during a time of turmoil and uncertainty that its people are going through … and a Golden Foot for the path that lies ahead.

And above all, the victory of France, a victory of love and diversity over hatred and discrimination. They truly owned that ‘World Cup’ for what they have stood for and what it means! ❤

The most amusing of it all, people in India glued to two sports, none of which was cricket!  🙂

Just the realisation that everyone is winning is a happy way to start the week 🙂

Posted in Book review, Opinion

An elixir for all of us

A review of Elixir – A novel by Sinjini Sengupta

Have you also wondered like me what drives someone to suicide? Why is depression spreading at epidemic proportions in the recent times? Why, despite having everything the society sees as success, do people slip into this abysmal pit?

The recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain got me thinking a lot about mental health.   Most books dealing with mental illness that I have read so far, had made depression and anxiety a part of a dark, twisted plot and evolve into a crime thriller of sorts. What does depression look like, in reality?

Elixir happens to be my 40th book for this year and I think this is one book that should be read by all of us. It has been on my TBR for quite some time and I happened to pick it up, just at the right moment. Elixir deals with a lot of issues that have become an integral part of urban living, and the writing echoes the sense of hollowness that the protagonist faces, as a result. How does she cope with her situation? Is her family able to see through her condition?  Does someone come to help her? Are her dreams trying to convey something?  

This book by Sinjini Sengupta is a much-needed work for our times. It is rich, not only in terms of the message it is trying to convey but also for the beautiful language used. Read it. Maybe someone around you needs help too?

 

 

 

Posted in Humor, Opinion

When I tried DIY Soap making

With immense pleasure, I announce that I have ventured into soap making.

This inspirational journey began after watching a few minutes of many soaps and wondering if I can pull off this feat.

How to make a soap, sitting in the comfort of your home

Write each of the below lines on different pieces of paper

Gently fold them (in slo-mo) and put them in a jar

Draw lots and form a sequence. 

Here you go :

Girl be the saree wearing office-goer (with a bad boss and a good friend)

Family full of problems (dowry , drinking, debt, all misery)

Well dressed Honda city lady impressed by saree girl (temple bells ringing type)

Rich Amerika return dude with happening girlfriend (smoking and all)

Saree girl married to Amerika dude (full accident)

Saree girl early morning, tulsi round putting with nightie

ABCD no like saree girl

Random guy under banyan tree astrology

Saree girl magically pregnant

So many women at home (audition based on knowledge of witchcraft, medicine, make up)

Saree girl gets to know of a smoking girl (when the lamp blows off or something. Conjuring level – Infinity)

Saree girl kicked out of the house (strong, independent lass who need no man is victim of sorcery)

Saree girl making and selling the papad and buying the Benz car (Fun fact: If we put together, all the masala and papad sold by daily soap ladies, we can solve the world’s hunger problem)

Rich dude becomes broke dude (and joins papad company)

New rich dude all lovey dovey for saree girl

Loads of self pity

Lots of betrayal (with background music)

Random kidnapping in ambassador car

Some reincarnation here and there

Marriage @ Elizabeth Taylor and Gemini Ganesan

Court room drama (fastest court in the country)

Bizarre revenge

Unbelievable transformation

 

On a serious note : Scores of women are fed with this kind of content , every single day, in the name of entertainment. So much for empowerment , creativity and education

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Short Story

Coleridge

“I wish I could turn back the clock and bring the wheels of time to a stop,” Coleridge thought, as he lay on the grass, with his head turned skywards. There was nobody to disturb him now. At any moment, the sun would flare up in full glory. And then, he could contemplate his next move for the day, as he lay basking in its warmth. There was quite some daily excitement ahead, until the yellow ball slowly drifted away. Then the humans would start filling up the kennel again.

The humans had shown up earlier in the day. The human with the flowered scent had given him his morning meal. The taller one had patted his head and accompanied him for a walk. The tiny one, Coleridge thought, needed the most help. He kept dropping the ball. EVERY SINGLE TIME. But he was around Coleridge most of the time, rolling in the grass and playing in the pool with him. So picking up the ball for him didn’t feel like much of work. After all, what are friends for?

Most mornings were like this. Then the tiny human would leave in a big moving kennel. The kennel had more tiny humans in it. They always acknowledged Coly with loud cheer. Coly would cheer back, until the kennel disappeared from sight. The bigger humans then left in a smaller kennel which moved. Coleridge thought that was strange. Shouldn’t it be the other way round?

Coleridge enjoyed his occasional trips in the moving kennel. The human would ask him to sit still, but Coly made it a point to put his head out of the window to feel the wind as the kennel moved. At times, they would stop in a park and meet more people and play. Everyone he met had something to tell him. But some small people pulled at his tail. Coly thought his humans were the best.

At times, they would go to the beach, and Coly had to fetch a plate instead of a ball for the little human. Wonder how mommy filled so much water in that pool?! On one particularly terrifying type of ride, the moving kennel would slide down a slope and stop at a smelly place. There were many people just like him out there. Some looked ill, and some had a broken leg or head. Someone strapped Coleridge to a chair and poked him with a needle now and then. Mommy always put pills in his treats after that. Sylvia and Lizzy also had a similar complaint about going to this place.

The thing about boarding the moving kennel was that he could never say how the journey would be. Some rides were fun and some rides were not. But they always ended up home after each ride.

The other humans called mommy as Martha or darling at times – just how all the humans called him different names at different times – Coleridge, Coly, Good Boy, Dumbo. The tiny human was called Samy. At times, the big human was also called darling. This meant two humans could have the same name!  However, when Coly called out to Martha or Samy, they never seemed to understand who was being addressed.

Sylvia was sitting on the lawn across the fence, demure, with her fur shining in the summer sun. Coleridge and Sylvia had been pals for a long, long time now. She was his perfect partner in crime. Coleridge could not say the same about fuzzy Lizzy. Lizzy was just so proud and full of herself. She made it look like it was a privilege to have her around. And there was no trusting her. She could drink all the milk that the human gave her and still crave for more. But having Lizzy around had its advantages. She knew how to make her way through to the cupboards in the kitchen. She did something like climbing up the water pipe and reaching the balcony. Lizzy also knew how to wriggle and dance and all the humans cheered her when she did that.

One day, when Coly and his humans returned from the beach, there was this yummy smell from across the lane. Samy was very excited. He went through this kennel’s door, when the huge human held Coleridge by the leash. He then returned with a hot aromatic box and carried it home. This started happening often. Coleridge got to taste the contents of this fine looking box once in a while. The taste lingered on for so long and kept him full. Lizzy and Sylvia also loved this treat. In fact, they had all come to expect a slice of it whenever water poured from above them. This made the absence of yellow ball less depressing.

Dealing with a wet coat was no fun. It had a bad effect on the nose. Whenever it poured, the humans would lock Coly and co. inside their big kennel. Coly had to spend all day on a rug. All he could do was watch everyone walk up and down at different speeds. His favourite part of the house was this funny box in which he could see clothes spiraling round and round. It was so relaxing to watch. He also loved to laugh along with Samy as his squishy toys paraded on TV. The box also played music. At times the box also showed people like him. But they never acknowledged his presence or spoke to him. The humans would laugh and pat his head. He felt sorry for himself.

Samy and Kate, who lived with Sylvia, loved to climb over the wall and cheer the garbage truck. Coleridge and Sylvia would shout along with their humans. The wall was not there before. It only came after a very thin human and a bulky human knocked the gate a few days ago. Coleridge remembered the bulky human very well. He really smelt absurd. For the time he was around, Coleridge and Sylvia got extra lunch and pats on their head. In return, the two would follow him on his round trips between the wall and the inedible powder and rock he carried. It was a welcome change from the routine of chasing squirrels and birds about the garden.

Then suddenly one day, the two humans stopped coming. Only then did the three friends realize they could no longer get across the street. The fence post was not to be seen anywhere. In a couple of days, the three friends had lost that tiny window to the busy world outside. The gap in the fence was their secret passage. It took them to the food truck and to the street gangs. They had fallen prey to the temptation of the exotic.

It had begun on the day the humans boarded the small moving kennel and went out, leaving Coly behind. Sylvia’s humans were also away. Martha had watered Coly’s trough. Lizzy climbed over the flower pots and perched herself on the fence post as usual. Coly and Sylvia loved to see her dancing and commenting about the happenings outside. Right then, the familiar aroma spread from across the street. In one leap, Lizzy was gone. That was the problem with Lizzy. One could never predict what she would do next. Sylvia and Coly followed Lizzy’s footsteps and tried to step over the flower pots and reach the fence. Later, when the enquiries happened, they did not know who broke which flower pot or how the shells of the broken pots ended up in the swimming pool. Within moments, the fence post crashed and Sylvia and Coly found themselves on the pavement. They dashed across the road, chasing  Lizzy and the aromatic smell of pizza. The motorist passing by jerked to a halt and scared the cyclist. He lost his balance and drove straight into the food truck. None of this, however, halted the threesome’s pace.

With no idea of the chaos they had created, the three stood at the door of the pizza house. Lizzy wriggled her way to the window and peeked inside. This scared the baker, who came out and found the three of them, eagerly looking at his hands. He recognized Coly by the red collar, but was surprised that there was nobody to accompany him. In a few minutes, he came back and offered them their hard earned treat. As they slowly made their way towards the meeting point of the gangsters, Samy’s big human called out to Samy from somewhere. Torn between the street mission and the loving voice calling out, Samy returned home. All this seemed so long ago now.

Samy could hardly remember how pizza tasted now. His gang would call out to him from the other side of the wall, but Lizzy had not yet found the right way to go over the wall. And therein, lay unaccomplished missions and inviting aromas, all in need of the right escape route. Until such time, all Samy and Sylvia had was vivid memories of past adventures and a view of the world as depicted by Lizzy.

“Coleridge” first published by Nithya Rajagopal in Ink Spear Inc in June 2018, on her personal blog site.

 

Posted in Movie review, Opinion

Vivegam Mayhem

I love illogical movies. This exquisite taste of mine gives me an opportunity to choose from a plethora of special movies tailor made for me. And trust me, being made with the noblest of intentions, they never disappoint.

Just so you know, this is one of the most difficult genres to make. It represents the absolute pinnacle of sales and marketing excellence. You have convinced somebody to pay you heaps of money and you con your way into making the artists say it is an opportunity of a lifetime . And you hold on steadily to your loose logic for an entire period of film-making because if you can’t believe you are doing this, then who else will?

A trailer with Ajith can be quite alluring for the gullible audience -which is what led me to tune into Vivegam on that fine May Day morning. And after an entire week, I am still struggling to come to terms with what I have been put through. Three hours, three hundred paradoxes.

First of all, it took a few minutes for my eyes to settle down. The camera had no vivegam whatsoever.  I convinced myself that the whole thing was shot like a Tehelka sting operation. And in the middle of it all, a pepper-haired guy was walking about doing nothing – Like ‘ Enakum idhukum no sambandham’.  When it dawned on me that this guy is Ajith in his most stylish form, Vivek Oberoi came trotting along. Why was the movie named after him? Anyway, he is the first person I have come across all my life who constantly addresses his friend as Nanba. Good morning, Nanba. Very good, Nanba. Congratulations, Nanba. May be the string was appended to every sentence, while programming him. Something like, Artificial intelligence without the intelligence.

When I was still reeling under the Nanbaning. AK’s wife, KA, made an appearance. If not for a missing orange robe, she could have easily passed off as a disciple of a self styled Godman. AK’s wife be so sanskari, she wearing full sleeved blouse and cotton saree in Serbia. And poor Serbian children learning to Sa Pa Sa from her.

Now I heard Akshara Haasan was thoroughly impressed with the script when she signed up for it. Apparently the character had so many layers. Yenna layer? Illa, yenna layer-nu kekarein? Naturals layer-a? Green trends layer-a?  Bike ride with Ajith, Car ride with Ajith, date with hologram and still, layer didn’t understand when someone asked her to sit inside the car. Pottu-nu adi vaangi gone. Also, I want that phone with such a powerful speaker, you can hear baby’s heartbeat from inside mummy’s tummy via ultrasound machine in the midst of a bike chase. iPhone to Iiophone.

Now AK’s resurrection is a thing of legends. He falls from a tree, and is presumed dead. And then he is doing crunches against a tree, and then he is deadlifting with a tree log , and then sumo-squatting with the log and then battle-roping with branches and all of a sudden sitting on a railroad track, ready for war. Mara-ka mudiyaadha performance.

Unable to bear the atrocities of her music class, when KA is finally tied to a chair and contained in a cave,  she forgets her own name. She even goes to the extent of asking Nanba robot for her full name. And when AK comes to meet the nanba guy, KA starts to sing. At this point, every soul in the audience sheds a drop of tear for the Serbian kids who have been subjected to her shruti potti.

But the most pertinent question of it all is the existence of an all Indian anti-terrorist squad in Serbia. And Vivek Oberoi having more security than Kim Jong Un.

But I guess, that is the thing with such movies. I was still reeling under the effect of this masterpiece and then Vishal came along. In no time, he just tied up his future mother-in-law and two of her sisters in gunny bags and effortlessly flung them from ground to first floor to kick off the next riot.