It’s at the heart(of the)beats.


If the director so badly wants to beat up on privilege and the abuse of it, why make a polite film then? What is privilege in the first place? Privilege as I have come to understand is the mother of ignorance and the comfort, lethargy and indifference that is born out of it. The waiter served too much of that dish on my plate. He should have asked me for quantity. Now I have no choice, but to dump it into trash. Now I have no choice, I tell myself. Now I have no choice, I convince others. Instead, what if I stepped back and packed it home for a post-meal hunger pang? That would be one less blame in my daily blame counter. One less dissatisfied customer for the waiter. One less moment of awkward silence for the group. I now realize that this is a bad example. Or is it?

It is a classic case of privilege where my thoughts were revolving around myself – my needs, my hunger level, my group, my image, my meal and my money going into a parcel box or the trash. As a kid wasting food, family would often remind me that there are thousands of kids of my age, who don’t get to see a plate of food for months together. But those episodes were never all that intense, and so I cared enough only to forget it later. Sarvam Thaala Maayam reminds you of that lesson that you should have nailed into your head. A class of people who are the veterans of mridangam making are casually denied an opportunity to learn it. But why? – Privilege. STM’s first beat – soft yet strong.

Every time Kandukondain Kandukondain was played on TV, or if the name got mentioned anywhere, that was it. The following weekend would be a KK weekend .. more precisely Rajiv Menon weekend. Rajiv spoke in colors back then. This time it was all in beats. Every time he makes a movie, I wonder what else is hidden inside this man of treasure!? Writer, Cinematographer, Director, Music buff or I thought so until I heard Varalaama and assumed it for ARR. Varalaama, an addiction was looping in my playlist, profusely thanking ARR until a friend pointed out that it was Rajiv who penned and composed it. I should have been surprised right? I was thrilled because now there is another reason to celebrate my most favorite director-writer-music composer-cinematographer-my favorite – ok that’s not a legal item in that list. That was the second beat – melting sir!

As a dancer, I adore the Guru-Shishya relation. I consider it the most important and the most intricate of all the other bonds in life. Rajiv Menon has explored this in ways beyond comparison. Peter, a deserving and a lucky man to have found a guru like Vembu Iyer. Vembu Iyer, a maestro with all the good karma to get a student like Peter. GV and NV extremely lucky to have been found by Rajiv Menon. What do I say? The shruthi, laya and the tala are all in place .. impeccably positioned to trance us into Rajiv’s world of beats.  Casting – the heart beats of the film – well-played beats sir!

Why do I like his works so much? I wonder. This could have made a sensational, strong and an emotionally riding, mass appealing Pa. Ranjith movie. That may have bashed one or more communities biasing the voltage towards secularism arguments. Of what with ‘The Casteless Collective” surfacing as a statement to the anti-brahmin, anti-domination and anti-privilege collective more than a platform for amazing artists, Rajiv Menon has had the guts to defy all negativity and narrate a story of everything dark. He has moved on from sensationalizing polarized views and cashed in a lot of positivity that stems only from pure love for classical arts. Any other director would claim this to be a raging view against arts that aren’t classical but Rajiv Menon has showcased what it means to perceive things with a pristine angle in life. It is not just a script with a perception. It is a trait per se. One that is the need of the day. Stay positive and learn to look at things the right way, with zeal and positivity.

Not all brahmins are bad. Not all lethargic students are to be taken at the flicker of a light. Art forms deserve penchant, clarity, conviction, love for pain(yes) and above all, endurance. Peter was ready for it all, and thus Vembu Iyer chose to be by his side. They simple earned each other in their lives – always a case for every Guru and Shishya. At every point, Vembu Iyer did not hold back from disciplining him (for the sake of art) and never got in his personal life or ways. That’s how great gurus are trained. That’s how great gurus train. They don’t nose around unless asked for advice. They don’t let anyone take their students for granted. They do not get embarrassed when their students demonstrate more prowess instead they beam in pride to learn about it in private – enjoying their mark in their student’s life.

With every beat hit to perfection and touching the notes with finesse, why wouldn’t I remain a fan of this man? I could go on and on, but for now I am going to cherish this feeling and maybe make newer posts as I re-watch and re-rewatch the movie in future. Sarvam Thaalamayam – A masterpiece.

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I create, therefore I am


 

Why is art a mode of communication despite numerous other world languages? We can all converse in emotions, words, looks and gestures. What sets an artist’s statement apart is the door to infinity.

With every message, e-mail, pings and calls, there is a certain degree of expectation that tags along. With art, it is a never returning journey of a relationship on a fabric of multi-dimensional space. Art accepts me beyond right and wrong. It takes me across the confines of birth andWhatsApp Image 2018-09-20 at 13.26.32 death. It neither hates me nor loves me. It takes anybody whom it pleases. It takes anybody who strives to be taken. It takes anybody who needs it. Artists do not always travel on linear (OR) curved roads. They transcend imaginary planes of existence.

As an engineer, I have deadlines, milestones and expectations to meet. As an artist, it has only been about the process. I’m on the receiving end of unlimited refinement and bliss. I let art hand-hold me and move in a way that art pleases.

Sometimes I walk, Sometimes I fly . . .

Sometimes I crawl, Some other times I just try.

Most times, I just lay myself in the essence of art and let it shape me the way art wants me to be .. the way I am supposed to be.

Artists are beyond just creators. They don’t give art. Instead, art gives a piece of itself through them. It’s an amalgamation of the artist’s movement and art’s commands. It evolves. It creates, grows, and flourishes in its own glory. Imagine having to tie-up all of your inner and outer senses like being blind-fold for the eyes (which is just a visual lock-up). Such is the movement of an artist.

I am the mere residue of what art takes out of me in my every breath. With this constant take-aways, I hope to mould all of my flaws into an unconditional pristine expression. I do not know if I deserve applauses or compliments. I do not even know if I expect them, but I know that even the smallest of these gestures pull down my veil of ego an inch further.  The facade that I am, is stamped and crushed into grains of atoms until it becomes one with my art – the art that commands me.  No matter how hard I rehearse, I evolve on stage; I communicate in front of the camera; I live there at that point in time; I simply emote within my inner space. I will keep  moving forward in this never-ending journey until I get completely naked, ripped off of my ego and all of the negativity. Then, I merge.

I create, therefore I am.

Hello Haters . . .


This is an open, dear letter to all the legitimate souls on the internet, who are unable to withstand others’ opinions, pictures, videos, and ideas. Are you that guy/girl who sends your d***/b*** pictures on a private message (privacy [in]dignity) to people who post their passionate yoga videos, dance pictures, and outfits? (Especially on Instagram?) I feel you. I totally feel you. But let me confess something as I take your side. Wait, I don’t do that. I’d never do it because I find happiness and joy in different things like writing, reading, dancing and spending time with people I love. But I find your intentions and approach very strange and … ok, let’s just use strange for now. I do not believe in giving a voice to a criminal/culprit who has confessed his guilt. With rising rape incidents, I believe rapists should be denied expression of opinions. They are far from human species and I do not know what, but they have got a long way to get back into their human skin. Alright, I am excusing that and taking your side now, dear hate-mongers.

I have been feeling challenged as I am wondering how to put my thoughts out. This does not feel easy. Online content such as news and personal opinions may annoy you because all of us judge and all of us have some degree of hypocrisy. The question is about who you are as a person, and how you respond to such data. Damn, what is the best way to do this? I want to be quite careful about each and every word I put out here. Ok. I am going to take a few examples and jump straight into the dirt. Instagram is an amazing online community that bears billions of stories on an hourly basis. People world over, share their stories through the eye of their phone camera and so much of it, is so very inspiring, beautiful, funny and thoughtful. Some are life-changing indeed.

Story 1 – I come across a lot of yoga poses and pictures on Instagram in which the yogis explain what they are trying to achieve in a specific asana(pose). A lot of the before and after posts were a story of transformation and had information about dealing with inner fears and sometimes flexibility. I am an infant student of yoga and I find these posts refreshing my day. After my yoga class, a ton of YouTube tutorials and reading materials have failed to make me understand a specific technique. Many a time, the magic has unfolded after seeing an Instagram yogi explains the specific pose and demonstrates it in their post. The almost nude/naked/bikini/yoga clothing posts are so damn on point because as a student, I learn it for free plus it turns out to be a Eureka moment. That joy and the completeness has to be experienced. It is the joy of learning and learning the right way. I am awed by their courage to open up and post, barring all their inhibitions and vulnerability of judgments.

yoga

Holding the core, stiffening the shoulders and making up your mind is not as easy as sending an “I want to have SEX with you” DM. It is far more difficult and demanding than a demeaning comment on their post. Apart from ruining your own opportunity to get inspired, you are bringing down the spirit of an innocent person who is working so hard to push themselves harder to get better. Of course, they are going to move on from you, but the trauma you create is irreversible. It is a scar.

Do you think the yogis need to be enlightened about the dresses that you find obscene? Who are you at all in the first place? Okay, I am your advocate. So let’s look at this way. What if they try to dress “better” according to your standards and someone like you, does not like it and ends up sending demeaning DMs and comments just like you did? Victims remain victims yet. Doesn’t work. If you are trying to excuse yourself because they were not dressed well, read on the next case.

Story 2 – I am keeping it simple this time and let’s take up an (Indian) classical dancer. Why? Indian classical dancing (traditionally) has traditional (read full-cover) attire. It is hard to find (or discover or get a Ph.D. on) anything remotely obscene there. But then, she gets harassed on Instagram again. She gives up on her past silence and makes a post on it that goes like this.

nitya

Did you read the first line of her post? It was not her first time. It was several instances (days) of suppressed anger and confusion as to why somebody would send such profanity. She failed to understand their (your) ignorance and blasphemy. She has already tried ignoring, blocking and moving on. But (you) guys seem to hide under those sober t-shirts and jeans at the corner of every street, in the buses, trains, theaters, toilets, walkways, schools, colleges, homes (!) and now online as well. Thanks to technology for keeping your brains blunt and offering you an extra pair of evil eyes. Okay, I am your advocate. Let’s see.

Boy, are we damned? Not yet. Next is the story of an activist (Uh-Oh!).

Story 3 – A friend of mine who keeps posting sweet updates on food, family, books, and places. She is also an activist. Her soft soul has had enough of your scars that keeps giving her panic sweats. Okay. I am your advocate. Why was she harassed with “SEX” in her DMs? She did not post with “obscene” dresses. She did not post dance videos that “YOU” didn’t like. What was it with her now? Oh wait, you guys are the breed that would suffocate an eight-year-old diaper, aren’t you? Okay, I am your advocate. Let’s calm down.

I guess we are damned now dear hate-mongering, sex-begging, cyber-bullying, human-disguised-demons! You wouldn’t back down if one woman pushed you out. Not when 10, 100, 1000s do it with all their #MeToo confessions. Now all the men, women and every sane soul on the internet are forming a #cyberchain and plotting to rip you apart through channels such as Gentlemen Of India (insta handle @gentlemenofindia), Everyday sexism project (Twitter handle @everydaysexismproject) and #AWARIANS (insta handle @awarians).

You have gotten yourself here. It is never too late. By now, you should be having panic sweats and near trauma conditions if you did any of what is shared above. But that is okay. There is still time. Move on and try to develop a perspective that sees the good in others. If you find a post irrelevant, move on. If you find it pleasing, be encouraging. Harassing others will get you nowhere. Oh wait, it could legally land you in jail! We. Are. Damned.

Dear hater, I am so sorry I could not advocate you no matter how much I try to see if there was an ounce of sense in your actions and intentions. How others dress is never your concern, choice or business. How you perceive things and people, and how you react, maybe under your control if you choose this as your redemption point. If not, we are coming for you b******. Next time you have a reaction to something, scroll up this post, read about my contemplations and challenges I faced as I tried to broach and approach something that disturbed me. If you still possess a good human mind, you would have gotten your answer already.


The petitions I supported alongside this issue –

Reporting Rules on Instagram

Report rape threats against women

 

 

Three Thousand Stitches


Before I start to share my thoughts about the book, I must confess how I decided to judge the author, her way of life and obviously her writing. Three Thousand Stitches especially is not a work of fantasy or fiction. It is a lexical documentary of reality that throws light on all the right things a person should focus on, in their life. It is the much-needed Neo-Bible that this world needs right now.

Ms. Murthy is one lucky, intelligent and an extremely compassionate person. I am usually conscious of the adjectives I use to describe someone because it is easy to get sidetracked. As much as I hate character assassination, I am also against pompous and clichéd profile description or a narrative. This is exactly why the ‘Three Thousand Stitches’ that she put together is a must-read for a lot of reasons – Simple and powerful narrative!

Her experience has been rich and diverse with life lessons and that is why she is lucky. I find her intelligent because she has used these experiences as stepping-stones and decided to refine herself to become a better person, with each passing day. As far as compassion goes, whenever she was offered a choice, she chose kindness and simplicity. This particular trait is remarkable and all-pervasive in the book because, the situations rise up to an anguishing volcano that she has annealed with her compassion in every opportunity and difficulty – An invaluable lesson. She was happy with the choices she made and she made the choices, happy ones. She redefined her life choices and also stood by what she chose. sudha

This book is an extension of her choices. It is a statement and a standing testimony of her compassion because doing good does not suffice. The ultimate joy is in spreading your  happiness and joy. She urges the people of this world to experience this joy of being human. Spreading this thought and making this a world a better place to live in, is a duty we are all bound to carry out as a mission, uncalled for. This reminds me of the famous thirumanthiram  (The Thirumantiram is a Tamil poetic work written in the fifth century by Thirumular that  strongly emphasizes on Love is God). 

“யாம் பெற்ற இன்பம் பெருக இவ்வையகம்”

“Let me share with this world, the joy I found”

For upcoming writers out there, she has a splendid tone of mastery and narration. Be it the Raas Leela of Shri Krishna (where I was transported to the banks of Yamuna watching the whole scene objectively) or the airport adventure, Sudha’s writing captivates you by the eye. It did sink a bit inside of me when the gopikas and Krishna were unaware of my presence in their world while I was lost into their interplay. For a moment, I questioned if I were being subjective or objective. I do not know if there is any other answer to this question except that it is the power of great storytelling that Sudha aces along.

I am glad my friend chose this book for me. I am glad the book chose me. I am glad I made the choice to read this book. Every stitch was a conscious choice to be right. Choices. Don’t miss to see! Don’t miss to read!

 

Rants of an unwritten notebook


I need a notebook right now. Like now. Before I forget what’s on my mind, I gotta jot it down. I will get back to it later, when I am more inspired and fill it in. I will then give it a closure and wrap it up. Ok, now where is the notebook? Isn’t there one empty notebook in this house? Empty pages are all of what I see when I walk around looking for practically anything in this house. Just like Murphy’s, I would not find that ‘always seen’ notebook when I am looking for it. There it is!

This book has seen a lot. Are you confused? Please don’t be. I know why it sounds funny that I call an empty notebook to have seen a lot. I will tell you why, in just a little bit.

The first time I picked this notebook, I got it in a desperate mood. I felt like there was an indispensable place and need for this book because I was stepping into the next learning curve at work. So I had this rush to take notes. A lot of notes. That’s how this notebook became mine to keep. I needed it so badly back then, that it has been lying unused for over three months now,  obviously because I had gotten it for an immediate purpose. Genius move.

 

By the way, this is not the first page of this notebook. But I did note few points that were part of my ‘learning curve’ lessons. I guess I worked too flat for the curve to happen. It will eventually happen. Somehow I didn’t persist. Rather I didn’t need this notebook, maybe?! The reason I think so is because, those notes were never looked into after. But the notebook was really needed you know?! That’s because I joined a class soon after.

Is there any classroom learning that can go on without notes? So yes, this class also called for a systematic note-taking as a proof of my sincerity and attention (deficit). This human’s heart was inflated by the contentment of this human’s mind and its resourceful abilities. How smart is my brain to have quickly figure out that this learning curve did not demand any amount of note-taking! So the TPU (top processing unit) decided to assign these empty pages of memory to a new algorithm (class of learning) that began joyfully. Ok, turning off my engineer brain until further need. Saves up a lot of energy, you know!

Back to the new class. First session was over. After my first class, I excitedly flutter the empty pages of just not too new notebook, and my teacher’s painted eyes stared from between the spectacles that skied down his nose, and the furry brows. For a moment, the 90s Onida TV ad demon brows put me on a freeze mode. The teacher wanted me to do some ‘memory job’ and not scribble away every word. “BHOOK!!!!!!!!!” sighed the notebook as I closed it. Sigh!

Now what’s with this notebook and giving up? Everytime I tried to use it . . . Ok, both the times I tried, I hardly wrote 20 letters. But today is going to be different.

I want to start a journal. A health journal. One on my fitness and all of the communication that I have with my body. I believe that human body is the most complicated scientific system in this world. Smart, efficient, adaptable, unique, and most of all, self-healing! How much of it do we respect and reciprocate? None of man-made systems have surpassed, replicated, mimicked or even come close to this wonder. It keeps communicating so well, and so often in a day. I don’t mean to be pessimistic about mankind’s capabilities or achievements. But I like to be practical about the fact that we are getting towards isolating the organs and mimicking their functioning when it is a system and that is what inspires us more.

So, I have decided to log about this incessant and eternal verbal and non-verbal communication that I have with my body. So this notebook is going to be a personal health journal. Not silent and empty anymore. And I hope it makes sense now, as to why I claimed this notebook to have seen a lot before. Before a notebook sees the words of a writer, the empty pages go in hiding, waiting to be touched and taught. And all this while, it watches out for the writer’s unstoppable thoughts. There is a lot of noise that dissolves in between the cover of a notebook and its spine. Until a writer walks past the writer’s block, the empty pages see through a lot of cacophony in the writer’s head. It is like the uterus of a carrying mother.

Well, this is the first time I have crossed the 20 letter mark on the pages of this notebook. More hope. More thoughts. More words . . . More . . . Less is more . . .

Not today . . .


What would have Rose gone through after Jack died drowning? What kept her alive all the years amidst such a tragic love during the formative years of her life? But what if Jack tried to protect her by deception? What would have happened if Jack knew his impending death and gathered all of his balls to lie about the vacuum of hate for her? A thought experiment.

She sat by the dusky stone bench and thought of that night when he had drowned after speaking out all of his heart. All of his hate. All of what he had meticulously coated on just to make her believe the unbelievable. But she was smart, he thought. Was she? The water in her eyes drowned him down more than the drunk ocean.

In the midst of love

Will it be today? At least? How much longer should I endure this before I know this is the last? Why can’t I want this to be my last breath? Why don’t people see that depression is real? Depression is the unwanted meal you stare at, on a long day. Depression is the uncalled sleep that pulls you away. Depression is real. Tonight is the night. Or is today the day? The D-day? Depressing day. Everyday. It is all coming down on me. I know my PMSes kill me. I know he kills me too. But it cant take away what he means to me. It cant alter what I have for him even if it does not happen. It is intense. It is pure. It is pristine like a drop of rain. When I look at the blue ocean bed, I am reminded of him. The transparency, the openness, that clarity, I think that is him in my mind. What I have for him, is as pure as the first DNA copy of an unborn child. It cannot be touched, moved, altered or influenced physically. But it can be destroyed by internal fire. It can create a whole new beautiful being. It is the pearl of life – the tiniest Might. The unborn knight. The unspoken truth. The untouched drop of rain. The unbroken promise. And the unparalleled lullaby. The first light of life begins in the dark. The first cloud of darkness brings light.

Everyday means a new beginning to this deceitful world. But I am smart. Because I know the truth. I know that everyday is not a beginning. It is the gateway to the end. It is the last opportunity for my breath. It is the last of all that I want it to be. Why should I really pursue this darkness? Why should it really be pursued if the dark clouds love me so much? I loved it back too. But the clouds dint seem to be moved by my true love. They seemed to enjoy it instead. That is not why I loved them. I loved them so they wouldn’t stay. I loved them so they wouldn’t torment me with more downpour! They chose me instead. This cats and dogs of downpour is just too much to take. I know this is the last sight of this view that I can get. All of me is already drenched and decayed in the pool of tormented downpour that is flooding me from those lovely dark clouds. Oh so not lovely you cloudy! Now I am telling you I hate you. Just go away! Just don’t shower me anymore of those pristine drops! You don’t seem dark just on the outside. You seem to organically cook your darkness to make some dingy heavy and blotted drops. And I don’t love them cloudy. Oh so please keep your blots away from me. Why do you keep my sight yet after all this downpour? Are you enjoying my stares at you? Can’t you see I want to not see you? Like he wants me out? Either swallow me or get away from me? What do you enjoy from holding me up in your throat all alive? Don’t you want to let go of me? Do you? Will you?
So what if life beats me down? Why can’t you shine up and show me the way like a melting pot of golden sunset? Yes light is not always just sunrise. Sunset is light too, for it paves the way to endurance. If you want to hold me up for longer, let me tell you, I want to end it all.

As the water near her feet receded, she looked up at the clouds once again pleadingly. And she wept. And she was drowned up to her nose yet again. And the thunder roared ‘NOT TODAY. Just ONE MORE DAY’. Everyday.


This post is a submission to ‘The Chennai Blogger’s Club’s photo prompt.

Thank you for being late #GogalReads


If you are a fan of ‘THE HINDU’ or NYT, and appreciate the Open-Ed columns in newspapers and online media, then this could be your book. Remember it gives the feel of 400+ pages of newspaper articles. It does give the feel of a curated article collection but it is not. The author has documented a lot of his travels around the world, and has travelled a lot to document the world. It should have been enriching and overwhelming to observe and narrate all that, that today’s world is about. Every page demonstrates this euphoria.

Engineers and tech-freaks would envy the author for he has met up with the big shots of this century who are in the realm of corporate business and science and technology. This is to understand how they decided to see this world as a bank of opportunities amidst blood and wars. The author has grasped all of this donning the journalist hat, and published pages and pages of awe for the speed and passion that pervades the planet. And the message is calm and clandestine – Optimism, power of writing and opportunism. Opportunism is not bad after all, when channelized to solve world problems.

And so it seems that some of the awe has turned into pages and pages of rant as the book approaches its end. But to give him the benefit of doubt, what would be a good way to end a book on contemporary world? It just doesn’t end, right? I think that should have been the struggle. In an effort to appreciate and demonstrate his inspiration from biomimetics, the author tries to take a metaphorical approach towards “what can we learn from the existing systems?”. This part of the book is called the drag factor.

This is where the author does not only unpeel the banana, but also grabs the stick, to push it down the reader’s throat (That’s right, it’s choky and saturating). Apart from this part, the book is neat. No. I wouldn’t hate bananas altogether. Think about it – that wouldn’t be a wise decision. Hasty, yes. Wise? NO. You regret complaining about a good book. This is really worse than not liking a book. For aspiring bloggers and content creators, this chapter gives a valuable lesson on KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid. Brevity is the soul of wit – truly!

This book is a mini time-capsule for everyone who wants a bird’s eye-view of “So! What’s up in the world?!” I’d recommend it for the back-story of all the successful people who make us think that it was easy for them. What we underestimate or sometimes don’t even care to wonder, goes behind the scenes. But the truth is, a lot of those scenes and bloopers has made ordinary minds to come out with extraordinary ideas that has made this world a better place to live in. Isn’t that reason enough to tolerate the climax drag? To pause, stop, to look around and see how much has changed, and how well it can be used for one’s betterment, is the best takeaway from “Thank You For Being Late”. Well, better late than never!