Tuesdays with Morrie

BOOKS_TWM_Mitch_and_Morrie_1_0

I had heard quite a lot about this Mitch Albom novel since I was in college but somehow could never lay my hands on it. Finally, I managed to finish the book last weekend and I am so glad that I did. Some things just got a timing and this was mine with Professor Morrie as he is about to enter the other side of world and makes everyone a part of his death journey, in a good way ofcourse.

There is no plot or drama in the book whatsoever. It is an old man’s death journey as he suffers through the terrible ALS disease but he is determined not to lose his mind as his body is losing every bit of life that is left in it. One of his old students gets to know of this and decides to meet the professor. What results is a series of meetings between the professor and the student every Tuesday until the last, where they discuss a myriad of topics concerning the very existence of human life. From talking about love, family, career, relationships and death, Morrie shares the basic wisdom of life and it is so heart-touching that you feel ashamed of being in an oblivion all the while. A sick, old man has to remind a healthy young man about the magic of human life and relationships; how it is extremely simple to maintain relationships and uphold the love, no matter who you are and where you are.

I was crying like a kid while reading the book cause it made me emotional about the weakening condition of Morrie and I was feeling sorry for not having to express to my loved ones so often. It is simple, beautiful and the most eternal feeling that you can experience ever. This book will stay with me for a while and once you read it, I hope it will with you too.

Happy Ending

Thanks to Bollywood, for a very very long time I was under the impression that a happy ending was where two people, madly in love with each other go beyond all societal hurdles and boundaries to be together for the rest of their lives. Somehow, nothing else but the love mattered. Sure it did on the silver screen. Not in real life. So often, we tend to visualize such happy endings in our real relationships similar to reel ones, that everything else apart from that feels like a loss. When you have been in a relationship for years, you perpetually start breathing each other’s air too (the analogy might be a bit off but yeah it is kind of true), so much so that even a twitch of the eyebrow is enough to tell you what is going on in your partner’s head. You learn from the mistakes, you grow together in the small eccentricities and evolve with the love that you share. The way you started out might be way different than where you have landed today. There is so much at stake, that being together feels like a risk that is worth investing. I have seen so many couples who might not be perfect for each other and yet end up marrying and then there are others who might be best suited for each other but don’t end up together. For a lot of reasons.

As an individual, I have had the fortunes of being in a relationship. I call it my fortune since there is a lot that you take by the end of it. I think it is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Like other couples, I have fought, abused and made up with my partner on numerous occasions and the moment post the fight always felt that we are meant to be together. There have been compromises, all for the betterment of the bond that we share cause any effort that makes us happy was worth it. As conventional humans, we have got so used to the notion of holding onto each other that letting go seems like a rarity. We always feel that love is about holding on to your partner and constantly communicating to them how special they are and to what limits you love them. But sometimes, letting go is also another way of loving your partner. You cannot always cling to them and expect them to breathe. Life will never go as per your way and every individual, more than anything else in this world deserves to live life on their own terms and conditions. Cause in the end, it is our battle and we need to survive, fight and win it on our own.

It might sound crazy to let go off someone with whom you have invested so many years of your time. There is a whole bag of memories, places and people to remind you of their existence time and again. Agreed. Also, letting go is perhaps the most difficult decision during the entire course of your relationship. Specially if it happens on peaceful terms. Many a times a couple is used to indulging in nasty fights and accusations that letting go during such times seems easy but later there is so much of grudge involved that it will not let you live peacefully. Arriving on a decision mutually sort of helps in the long run cause it ensures, if nothing else but the mutual respect for each other prevails over other issues that you might be facing in the relationship. And if two people have objectively assessed that at the moment, this is the best decision and works in the favour of both the individuals then it should be respected above emotional and other feelings which might seem to interfere with the decision.

So what happens next? Well, if you have stayed with someone for so many years, you must know this as a matter of fact that it is impossible to ignore them completely and that is also not the wisest thing to do. You must respect each other’s space while making sure that you are sensitive towards their feelings and emotions. It will take a while for their absence to sink in but sometimes this absence will make you respect them even more. This could very well be the beginning of a great friendship and if you deserve the love it will always come back to you, no matter what. And if it doesn’t, you have to move on wishing them all the luck they deserve. You will feel like going back to them when you come across pictures and reminisce certain moments but, you need to as of now respect the decision and move on. There will be times when you will need them and if you want to, you must not stop yourself from expressing your feelings. You need to be careful of not letting any negativity seep through you cause believe me, even if you get married to someone else tomorrow, this one person will still be there in your heart and you cannot by any means, feel ill towards them. It is hell lot difficult to achieve a state of normalcy but just the fact that you have spent some really beautiful moments with this person and the little hope that it might now work out cause you have tried everything else that you could, will help you sail to the shore. Nothing in this world should be stretched beyond its capacity. Relax and sit back. It will be back to original if it was meant to. This is also a happy ending. Life is a happy ending. It is how you see it.

On this note, I can’t help but say the famous Amrish Puri dialogue from DDLJ which you kind of can tell your partner during such times, “Ja Simran/ Raj jee le apni zindagi.”

Haider

This is not a review of the film at all. This is purely what I felt after I watched another masterpiece from Vishal Bhardwaj.

After all the hype and expectations brimming over the top, I abstained from checking any Twitter and Facebook updates just to avoid clouding my thoughts before I watch Haider since I was strongly looking forward to it. A film which, according to me is Vishal’s best after Maqbool portrays the grim relationship the beautiful people of Kashmir share with the armed forces. Kashmir has been under Armed Forces Special Act since 1958 due to the threat it faces from our divorced partner Pakistan. This act has time and again come under scrutiny for flouting human rights, inflicting unimaginable torture on innocent citizens, random killings and disappearance of family members. A lot of films have been shot in Kashmir for its breath-taking beauty and scenic locations but Vishal Bharadwaj presents a lesser known Kashmir.

From the lead actors to the supporting actors, everyone has done absolute justice to their role in the film. Shahid simply nailed it by getting into the thick of his character and mouthing certain powerful dialogues that left me stunned. It would be unfair if he does not win a National Award for his performance (although an award isn’t necessary to validate his performance) and even the movie for that matter. There are some beautiful, meaningful and situational renditions, thanks to the great great legend Gulzar saab that accentuate the intensity and relationship between the characters.

I was sobbing long after the movie ended because having visited the place and interacted with the locals closely, I could feel their struggle just to live a normal life in their own homeland. I have been told horrible incidents of torture (where hot iron rod was pierced right through their little hands) inflicted on kids as old as 5-6 year old who probably do not even know how to spell the state they live in, being accused of militancy for accidentally trespassing the LOC (Line of Control) while playing. It deeply saddens me to even hear or imagine a democratic 21st century India where a child cannot enjoy his childhood normally, a woman cannot stay peacefully even for a minute when her husband is away, unsolicited curfews are being imposed bringing the city to a standstill and innocent citizens being beaten, locked and tortured without any warranted proof after which their mutilated bodies are sent to their families for cremation.

I understand the security reasons and infiltration threat which requires the army to control the state but why can’t there be peace between the inhabitants and the armed forces? Why is there so much of hostility among Kashmiris towards the security personnels? Not even one person I came across during my stay in Kashmir who had anything positive to say about the army there. We claim to have the paradise on Earth but why do the people of the paradise constantly experience hell from a country which very much owns majority of the state? Why do the Kashmiris yearn for independence from India?

Haider is just an example of devastation of a single family and there are so many similar and even worse scenarios that have appeared and continue to happen even today. When will ache din come for this crown of our nation is only something only time can tell. Till, then do yourself a favour and watch Haider because I can promise you, you won’t regret.

Unheard Cries

Grimy in mud she dug her hands deep,

Trying to build the castle of her dreams.

Clothes, stained and soiled,

With the playfulness of her childhood,

For she was oblivious to the worldly vice.

Slide and swing, her only companions,

Scaling her to heights that nobody else could.

Busy chasing the butterfly that caught her eye,

She ran deep into the bushes to give a try.

Tall- dark figure awaited her,

Smiled and assured to win her over,

Unaware of the evil on his mind,

She embarked into the wild.

Taking her in his arms,

He swung her up in the sky.

Ecstatic and amused she wanted more.

But to her bewilderment,

He dropped her hard to the ground.

Appalled and shaken she fell,

Unable to fathom her surroundings,

While he unleashed the demon within.

Brutally ripping apart the tiny hymen,

Lambasting her soul with his demonic penetrations,

Until her wails faded in the air,

With no one to help and no one to care.

Dragging her aching body,

She cried her heart out to her tormented parents.

Who hushed her into silence,

For the fear of ostracism from society.

Cause deep down they knew,

That their fight and furore,

Would lead them to a dead end,

Seeking nothing but ill fortune for their angel,

Whose innocence was wretched

And childhood unabashedly ripped apart.

For she was to deal with the agony and pain,

Without a helping hand to aid,

Cause only a few fortunate in our society

Bear the freedom to stand up for their right.

While others rot in silence,

With their basic right to life

Dumped, crushed and burnt.

For justice comes to those,

Who posses power and position;

Not to those who are bound by the shackles of tyranny,

Born to die a laborious life of struggle in this so-called independent 21st century world.

 

PS- While there is yet another wave of angst and rebel going around in the country, this time for the inhumanity meted to a young school kid from Bangalore, it is important that we stop treating rape, molestation or eve-teasing as a normal phenomenon. Such kind of incidents simply show the sick, vile and narrow minded patriarchal mentality that our society is possessed with. There is a need to eradicate this mentality from the roots and not by merely introducing stringent laws and relief measures for the time being. It needs to be understood that while, it is not only the perpetrator who deserves to be punished but also the mentality of the people who have been bestowed with the authority to ensure just and liberal society that needs a change. One cannot give impetuous to one incident while the 100 others go unreported on a daily basis.

A system strong enough in its foundation needs to be introduced where such weak activities will not find ground to breed in and spread their virus. Remember, women are not commodities of pleasure who can be agonized due to someone’s lack of self control.

 

Different Shades of Her

Women form one of the most apt case studies of insights in psychology and behavioral patterns. I say that due to my innumerable and perhaps close interactions with a variety of women all spread across a dynamic age group and exhibiting strikingly contrast thought processes. It has always intrigued me to study them closely, the way they talk and carry themselves in public, the way they behave around friends and ultimately how they are when they are all by themselves. I have been able to slot them categorically based on their behavior, perception of the world, relationships, men and how they project themselves and wish to be perceived by the world as well as by the opposite sex.

1. No Nonsense, No facade!

These are the women who believe in maintaining an honest and transparent image, irrespective of the company and the expectations of people around them. For them, being who they are matters more than what the world wants them to be. They are blunt (don’t mistake me for rude. There is a difference between blunt and rude), sharp, intelligent and smart. They take pride in who they are and will not sacrifice something that they truly believe in. This type of woman is independent but she craves for love and companionship. It might not be the ultimate goal of her life but if she finds a compatible partner she will settle with him eventually.

For her, her pride and self respect matter and she will not compromise even an ounce to take shit from others just because doing so makes them happy. She is the successful goal-oriented woman who will do whatever it takes to achieve her goals. She will fight the world but not compromise on her ground no matter the given circumstances.

2. The Homemaker

For them all they aspire and wish to do is to keep their families content. Every group in college has this one girl who probably has the best brains and smartness one can ask for but unfortunately for them life is all about cracking new records in the kitchen. She is the woman who gets married as soon as college is over to the man her family chooses for her even if she might have been in love with someone because common, ‘how can I hurt my parents or ruin my family’s name in the society just for the sake of a man?’ I mean with no offense to the sentiments of the women who fall in this category, but I somehow find it difficult to digest the thought process that pushes one to take this decision. Agreed, we all live in a society and there are certain societal norms that one is expected to follow but when will you realize that social structures and norms is a very subjective phenomenon. We the people of the society determine the rules that will guide us. Without giving in to the pressure, it would be good to see women take a bold step and decide who she will choose to get married to than someone else determining your happiness. Go find the man who gets the best out of you. Make use of the degree that you worked so hard for and don’t make it like a priced possession to display to your kids.

Let there be no room for if’s and but’s because remember, ‘Change is the only constant.’

3. Dreamcatcher

That’s right. If all of you know what a dreamcatcher is then you know what I am talking about. This woman loves her dream life so much so that she creates an illusional life in her real world by creating situations or portraying herself as someone who she is not. She loves living the real life by keeping her eyes closed because dreams are way better than reality. She will victimize herself simply to gain sympathy from others and believe me when she does so it is convincing to the T. Even when she is caught making up things, she will refuse to extricate herself from the burden of having to maintain a facade but infact fall deeper in the obscure web of her illusions. For her maintaining the virtual image matters more than the real self and in this race, the real is lost in a maze. I feel pity and sad for such women because there is a problem at the psychological level where there is a need to tread deeper to understand the real person behind the veil only if she is willing to let someone though it. Nevertheless, she is a great storyteller and God help the one who falls prey to her.

4. Cynical Aunty

They have a knack of making even the wonderful things appear ordinary cause not that they are difficult to please but somehow the art of appreciation continues to defy them all the time. Be it love, life, work, family or friends this woman will never cease to find faults in situations that come her way. You can never be sure of what she is thinking at any given point of time or what her reaction is going to be in a given situation because she loves giving contrasting reaction even if it is unnecessary. You definitely don’t look forward to being in the company of such women and in case you are stuck with them, if you are someone like me you make sure to maintain safe distance just to avoid a heated argument that could worsen the cynic in them.

They will never make an effort to change their attitude cause according to them they are the victims of life where happiness and success continue to elude them and their life story forms the perfect premise for the next Sooraj Barjatiya film. If only they understood the worth of the wondrous beauties that life has to offer and how it makes one feel. Till then, happy cribbing!

5. The Sucker

They are the most unfortunate women I have come across in my life. They are the ones who make one man/ event as their centre of gravity and behave in a manner as if the world will come down crashing on them if they do not win over that man/ event. They are always ready to compromise on their values and ideologies, give up on people and things which could be dear to them because their centre of gravity is their driving force and winning over that gives them the ultimate high in life, however momentary that could be. For the world, they might portray themselves as being this hedonistic and strong willed woman but go weak in their knees when it comes to this one person. This person has the power to manipulate and use the sucker in these woman for their own benefit. It is a mutually gratifying relationship where one is willing to sacrifice her all and the other gets everything he wants. Wonder, how they last.

6. Forever Confused

They will never be sure of what they want in life or how they feel cause their opinions are based on the perceptions of people around them. Usually, women like these possess the herd mentality and cannot take decisions for themselves due to excessive dependency on their families or friends who have controlled major part of their lives. Even when it comes to a relationship, they are the shuttlers who cannot find love and companionship with just one person and hence end up breaking their hearts more than once. If you ever ask them for an opinion, they will have an ambiguous response cause they have never taken the pain to exert pressure on their grey cells that must have started to decay by now. You need to be aware of such ladies because they are highly unreliable when it comes to acting true to their words.

7. Miss Perfect

I envy the miss perfect ladies. They somehow have a great life with an amazing family,  best job, great set of friends and a supportive partner. They might not be the best but great at whatever task they do and make sure to excel in the fields they are in. They are the ones who get to go on these amazing road trips or treks to the mountains all the time filling you with morose about your current situation and bank savings every single time. They are the pep talkers and happy go lucky souls and it feels great to be surrounded by such women. They are the strong women who cannot and will not rely on anyone and everyone to lend them a shoulder to cry on in trying times. They are independent, self reliant determined to carve a niche for themselves in this patriarchal world of men.

How I wish their numbers were more than the rest.

8. Mystique souls

Mystique women love living in a parallel world. There are two versions of such women,. One that the world witnesses on the surface and the other is the hidden personality that finds an outlet to express herself in the parallel world. These women are always submerged deep in  their thoughts and have a calculated approach towards life. They will talk only when it is absolutely necessary, will divulge selective information about themselves and have fixed set of friends. They are limited certain inhibitions or social restrictions that prevent them from expressing their inner thoughts and desires and hence they wish to do in their parallel lives. They deliberately don’t mean any harm to the people they love but for them having a parallel life is important so as to function normally in the real world. It is quite interesting to be around such women because they offer you a unique perspective which others cannot.

 

 

PS: This article is purely based on my interpretations of interactions with women I have come across and need not be taken personally.