Wednesday, October 08, 2014

“ज़हर खूबसूरत” - Unbearable to possess. Impossible to give up

First things first. These are my thoughts on the movie, Haider. Secondly, I will watch Haider again! J Not only did I like the movie. I believe, I have more to understand and contemplate on the story. Thirdly, if you have seen the movie and have actually written a review/commented on reviews in social media, let me warn you – “This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.”

My write up could in some way turn into a review of some of the reviews/comments I came across before I saw the movie. Having seen the movie almost a week after its release, I was privileged to hear, read and overhear so called reviews from many people. Fortunately, such reviews didn’t affect my intelligence, my pre or post thoughts about the movie. In fact, 15 minutes into the movie, I realized not many of those reviews were on the movie. They were quick, mostly agitated and somewhat reactive statements to their knowledge/according to them, what happened in Kashmir in 1995. The opening screen of the movie clearly states, my warning to people who have seen this movie. That, it is a work of fiction and all characters, names, situations…. blah blah blah are fictional. So, relating the movie to reality, to me didn’t come naturally. Most of the reviews I had read took most of the movie to heart. Nothing was how it “actually had happened”, according to them. Of course, it didn’t! That is what it means by fiction. Isn’t it? May be, I am limited, perhaps challenged in my thought prowess and logic. As for me, in 1995-96, I was in the best phase of my life and didn’t bother a rat’s arse what was happening beyond my boarding school boundary wall. After 1995-96, I have been like the boy, Haider, in the movie mostly. Emotionally unstable, vulnerable, indecisive and independently foolish. J. Back to movie, if and when someone will ask me how was the movie, I will repeat the dialogue used by Haider for her mother, “ज़हर खूबसूरत”. Unbearable to possess. Impossible to give up.

A good man, a good husband and a good father with humane values, decides to help a man from a not so favourable background. In a moment of weakness, the otherwise good wife and mother, gives away a secret to her charming but opportunistic paramour. The lover takes advantage of the situation and smartly ensures the husband is packed off to the dungeons. Due to prevailing uncertainties, the son had been sent out of town for safety and a better future. On his return, his only aim becomes to find his missing father, who the boy believes, is still alive. Once he gets to know he is no more, he wants revenge. He is at his vulnerable best (or worst J) and is manipulated by all vested parties. This to me, was the plot. All the other facets were just incidental. If one looks at the storyline of the movie, this could be happening in any family in any village, town, city or country. Come to think of it, most of the idiotic daily soaps thrive on deceit, promiscuity, revenge and manipulation for self-interest. These days, I hear they do use expletives and explosives too in daily soaps. Saale Chu ****…errr… I will surely come this, later. 

How poisonously yet beautifully portrayed by the makers. Vishal’s fictional storyline but realistic visuals just made it a mind blowing experience. There were hints and tempting overlaps to supposedly what would or could have happened in Kashmir during that time. I think Vishal and the makers could have saved themselves a lot of curses, if they would have not mentioned just this year, 1995. But then, brilliant move, if it was intentional. Oh, and how can I forget Chutzpah. By the way, in its original form, the 'c' is silent in the Yiddish word - the pronunciation will be 'hutz-pah' or 'hootz-pah'. But am sure, this was intentional. And it’s a hit! Just like the hit phrase, Chu***** Sulphate from Ishqiya. Another brilliant thought. There were some other fantastic yet subtle symbolic references in this fictional story that grazed my mind. When asked by the wife, on whose side he was, he says, “life”. Being a doctor only helped. Or that the character who becomes the only factor who shapes the son’s thought to the final direction, is named “soul”. As I am thinking, the way the characters dressed exemplified their existence. “Soul” was always shown dressed in white. The not so good guys were mostly, if not always, dressed in grey or black. But the character who says, “jab tak hum inteqaam se azaad naho hote, koi azaadi humae azaad nahi kar sakti….” is wearing a very neutral color in the two scenes he appears.  Well, the central character, Haider, was mostly in “dark” colours. The best part of the movie, for me, was the beginning of the end, the climax. The song starts ( and sets the climax. Brilliant thought.

The story and characters, all have their own strong perspectives. In their fragile mental status too, they hold on to their belief of what is "right". Pretty much how many of the reviewers have strongly shared their views on the movie, the makers of the movie, the way it portrayed what apparently happened with Haider. Realistic imaginations of fictional characters, I presume. Nothing else, specifically comes to my mind, which drew my attention for an extra thought. Except, perhaps insertion of Salman Bhai caricatures. I may write some more on them and on other facets of the movie, after my second watch! Yes, I loved the movie. Before I end this write up, I would like to share an adaptation by an artist of an original form ( and his perspective on it. I love the original. I love this adaptation too. I do not expect or anticipate everyone who reads this piece to agree, disagree or debate with me. However, if at all anyone would like to, s/he is welcome. My response to them though, is optional J.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I want to be Captain

These days, with the advent of social media, any employee can mail, tweet, ping, comment and tag her/his top guy of the company. The line of control to provide higher powers and right to speak out or decide is becoming hazy over the last few years. Or has it?
Studies show and many optimists believe, the traditional hierarchical, top-heavy, controlled business scene is now diluted helping in being nimble and quick on decision making. I have my doubts. We love to believe that we are now living in an ultra-slick, modern, high performing, merit recognizing environment. Cultures within a company and the corporate environment as a whole is changing. I don’t think so. And it’s not just my belief. There are counter research studies and academic write ups elaborating the same. They have found that the way organizations function now exhibits hundreds of years of hierarchical structures and remain unchanged. This is so because these structures “can be linked to survival strategies” in the workplace.
I believe the biggest reason why hierarchy is still around, will remain so and should remain so, is that hierarchies work better. A human mind keeps looking for order and security. We are always looking for something to give us that extra push and an added cushion of comfort. We need someone, seemingly better and brighter to show us the way. Add to that, a more competent mind/individual will always want to be differentiated from his so called less proficient peers. Her/his need to grow, move ahead and access more power and accountability only accentuates hierarchy and layers of superiority. Another latent but critical factor as I have experienced is, professional and sometimes personal (out of office) relationships with superiors still matter for an employee’s current job and opportunities at work. I would call it as “in-house networking skills”.
It is not what leaders in the company say or publish in weekly, monthly or quarterly meets. It is the mind. And mind is very complex. We as humans need to perform well. But our need to perform well more often than not, comes from being competitive. We need to be better than the other. Added to that is the need to be seen with high performing, more influential crowd. It’s like becoming a fan of a cricket or football team. We all like underdogs. But we love and want to be seen as a supporter a winning team.  As it is said by some wise man, “if you want to improve, be with people who are better than you”.
Another very acute factor as I notice is during decision-making. Whether amicable discussions which turn into a constructive debate before becoming a never ending mail trail or a fire-fighting situation, wherein, on the moment trick decisions are to be taken. A person on a higher ground, apparently more effective with his repeat successes and hence cannot go wrong comes to the rescue of the quarrelling group. People at a higher pedigree are thrust with certain behavioural and performing characteristics which may not really be true to them. But with time, because of their successes in one area of specialization, broad and unjustified inferences are made for that person, many a times, finally making him falter.
But then, why do we want to believe in flat organisation stories? I believe, that’s how we are brought up. We all believe fairy tales till late in our lives. Partly it is make believe, aspirational thoughts. Then there is the sudden up rise of “ways to reach” your right audience such as in-house professional networking forums and social networking to make one believe it is a flat structure.
If everything is so flat and non-hierarchical, why is it that organisations still call some businesses as front-ending while others as back-end functions? Or, why is a certain function a support service or a shared service while the other is a critical market facing business? Because, it works!

11 players make a team. But there is still a captain. And everyone dreams to become one.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Un-addressed Letter

That letter I wrote,
But never could post.
That moment of clenched fist,
In a moment, life was lost.
In the first few lines
I wasn’t sure
In all truth, I say
You would had to endure
As I could not make myself to confess
As also the fear of your no or a yes?
I knew though, once
My feelings are known to you
You will understand
Why I was drawn to you.
You were the one who made me realize
The difference between the setting sun & sun rise!
By the end of the letter
I had only repeated myself a million times
My desperation was getting crazy
There were no reasons, no rhymes.
All I wanted to know, is that you know
And smile back, as I loved you so.
May a rains have passed by now
Your address has rubbed off the envelope
But on some winter nights, I still
Imagine, hoping against hope.
I thank, Almighty; for keeping it sane
My sweet memories, sweeter, they remain.
12th February 2014
(sometime in 1995)

Sunday, February 09, 2014

This pain is priceless

inspired by a Bengali poem/song by @shayan - a Bangladeshi singer and social thought bearer (a long read; only for vella folks like me!)
This pain is priceless
Found an old book; while dusting, opened it
Only to see, the name….
Misty eyed, got reminded; of that long lost friend
Who gifted it to me…
Whiling away time, morning till evening
Straying, we loitered on city streets
Kicking dust, walking aimlessly;
Singing old and new songs
Without any inhibitions.
Never, did we hold hands.
But we knew our worlds,
Were entwined to meet at the end of the road.
There were fights and arguments,
And good times; when we laughed encore
Reminded of those days together
I realize now; I still cherish your company
I know I have lost you. And it pains, endlessly.
But I need to keep this pain; this pain is priceless.
Why do we keep burying emotions, as we grow up?
We keep adding acquaintances and losing friends, as we grow up, why?
There is no news about you; I don’t know your whereabouts at all
But I do remember times together, happy and sad
We were partners; soul mates, feeling in equal measure.
Today in this selfish, mad rush of the world
Let me confess for once, in my fading remembrances
I have forgotten to remember you so many times
During my vulnerable moments, happy and sad
Yes, I have learnt to live alone
And frankly, I don’t need a friend anymore
But, in all this supposedly completeness of my life
There blows a sudden gush of vacuum
May be, just may be it’s you
I don’t think we will meet again, ever
But still I do hum our happy song sometimes.
Am sure you are living a good life
I too am breathing just fine
But there are times when, in a crowd of people known to me
Where I am not alone; but lonely.
That one last time we had met
Silence was being spoken, instead of words, between us
We knew reasons; yet kept it repressed within 
In our hearts, we still believed this would get better.
Never ever, did we imagine we would walk away.
The heart acting as the crossroad
To the final decision of our lonely destinations
This world too, played its clever game 
And made us heartless to each other
Our egos fuelled the fire
And burnt our dreams of desire
We both won; battle of ego
But lost the war to win over the world
To live together forever.
I know I have lost you. And it pains, endlessly.
But I need to keep this pain; this pain is priceless.
In celebration of that worthless win 
Today as I reminisce those days
There is a sweet pain of your memory
And hurt to have lost you purposely.
Am not sure though; suddenly why,
At this point in life you are running through my mind
It’s almost past a lifetime, that we have met
To speak the language of silence again,
Through our eyes and touch.
I try to sketch your last look at me
That stare, the smile, the innocent rage
And then imagine, how would be your look now
Every time, I fail.
My falling tears, wash away your face from paper.
I have a blank page; and blank space on my mind.
The whole expanse of the sky falls on me,
Drenches me in your memories, soils me within and takes me adrift
Breaks me and kills me slowly, everyday.
I wish no one loses a friend like you were to me
I pray no friend says good bye, the way we went away, silently.
I know I have lost you. And it pains, endlessly.
But I need to keep this pain; this pain is priceless.
10th February 2014

Friday, December 27, 2013

Unknown traveler

Though we have never met
And don’t think we ever will
I don’t even know you yet
You will never come to know, I exist.

Though we have not spoken
We have exchanged voices
I have called you out and heard you whisper
waking me, every morning

Though we have never taken a stroll
But I have lost and found you, everyday
You have been my crowd
I was on the train, you missed.

Though this message will never reach you
Or may be it will; may be it has
You may not take the train anymore
I wait for you, though.

27th December 2013

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Protected Feelings"

Anyone I meet, I look for you
Whoever I talk to, I want to know what you would have said
I hear the words you never said
I agree with you.

I confess to myself I need you
And then I console myself for it
I promise not to ask the same question over and over again, to myself.
I confess again.

You have become the reason for my existence
Your smile is my sunshine, your voice is my compass of life
The words you speak weave my thoughts together
Your eyes tell me what I should believe
The flow of your hair changes the rhythm of my heart
Your fragrance lingers, never to leave me alone

And I watch you from a distance
As a stranger in a new town
You have always lived with me, but
I don’t exist for you.

Secrets are not kept, they should be protected
I will protect you from the world
And keep you away from me
I always knew, we were never meant to be.

And yet I hope for a day
When you will know
There was someone who walked by
Asked you for an address, to live forever in oblivion

30th April 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013

Impossible Hope

I have to learn to avoid asking questions, answers to which are known and may hurt
I have to steer clear of dilemma, which I know will only entangle me more

I start speaking and then I halt
I start listening and then stop hearing you even, suddenly
I keep looking back as if waiting for something to come by
I desire for things, of no use to me anymore

I want to be in a crowd when I am desperately alone
And among swarm of people, I try to find my identity
I need to speak out
I need to listen to you
I need to hear my voice and know that you are listening to me

Unfulfilled desires, for how long will they remain so?
Is it possible to yearn for the impossible and yet hope I will return to you?

22nd April 2013