Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Page Refreshed

It's not that nothing worth writing happened these days. A lot happened, personally or otherwise. Again, it's not that I did not want to write. My dashboard shows more drafts than posted entries right now. The ones that got deleted go unrecorded.

Along went the unrecorded experiences and opinions: from witnessing Kumble's last test match at Kotla to visiting Vaishno Devi twice, with a sneak visit to Dalhousie where I saw snow for the first time in my life. From the seething anger and sheer helplessness that I felt inside after the Mumbai attacks to the overjoy and jubilation of watching Australia lose to us and then to the Proteas. Reviews of the few books that I read and movies that I saw went unwritten. Also went uncaptured the highs and lows and the emotional turmoil that accompanied the last few months (it never ceases does it?). And a lot that I don't even remember at this point of time.

I finally decided to let go of the inertia. To erase the slate, refresh the page and make a beginning. Forget all that could not be written and not let all that I could write suffer on that account.

The time away taught me a lot of lessons. When you have a lot of time alone, you tend to think about things you normally would not have considered worth thinking. Learning to adapt in an alien environment with hardly any like-minded people around (very unlike minded to be precise) compounded by less and less time spent with the like minded ones from outside that environment to keep a sanity check gives enough fodder for such unnecessary thoughts. You're made to realize how somethings you did not think important were the only things you wish for now to be happy and sane. Along with a wish to get back to a time where things were so much simpler. When each day there was something to look forward to, rather than wish to go through a day without any mishappenings.

I contested the idea of including such incoherent thought process in this post, but that was another thing I needed to get over with before pledging a fresh start.

So I watched Dev-D the other day. I had high expectations, considering Abhay Deol is someone who has featured in some good and offbeat movies lately, most notably Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye. Then there were some rave reviews with rating stars handed out like pizza fliers.

The movie watching experience was a revelation. You could sense the discomfort in the theater when the utter rawness of the movie hit the audience, and it didn't take long. There are different shades you present in front of different people, and the movie hit the deepest, darkest shade in everyone; a shade that hardly ever comes out in the open. For people like us it hardly made a difference, not that we are experienced with every raw emotion - the desperation for love and lust, alcohol and drug abuse. But yeah, the rawness of the language and the context of conversations was nothing we are not used to. And the discomfort of the people around was quite amusing, we even exploited the discomfort for our further amusement.

But, the movie itself was not something I would rate very highly. I cannot come up with a set of pre-specified parameters to measure it up but it just did not appeal to me. I never had the courage to go through any of the two earlier Devdases to compare it, but I think the movie must have scored in terms of zero pretence in terms of what to present in front of the audience. Certainly not your time pass weekend movie to go out with family and friends. And to imagine there were kids sitting in front of me, wonder what they would have taken from the movie.

The saving grace for me was the music, which had an obvious rock (grunge rock not pop rock) influence. And Abhay Deol himself didn't put up a bad performance himself.

I also watched 'Slumdog Millionare' the week before. It felt like watching one of those dubbed southie movies, where you could get and appreciate everything that was being shown but somehow everything was way detached and it felt like everyone was putting on a show. Hard to explain, but I get the same feeling when I watch India specific programs, dubbed in Hindi, which would have projected something new, special to someone watching it in English in a far off country but fail to register, fail to somehow appeal to me. The whole purpose of it is to present it to people who have little knowledge of what is being shown and have a perspective of someone who intends to present India within an hour's worth of documentary.

It was entertaining, nonetheless. A great story, and a fast paced narrative for most of the time. The background music was also worth all the praise.

Then I read Slaughterhouse 5 last month. It was unlike anything I've ever read before. The concept of living life in four dimensions, where people do not die in absolute terms but are just dead for a moment in time and alive in all others kept me occupied for a long time after reading the book. Imagine man as a centipede with tender baby legs at one end and old frail legs at the other. The book is also a wonderful take on war, its purpose and perception and most of the message is conveyed without being preachy or rhetoric.

Once again it made me feel how little I know of the treasures that lay undiscovered in front of me. The whole pebbles in sand and the infinite sea analogy all over again. Time to take a dive.