Whiplash

whiplashThanks to the Oscar 2015 fever, this time I was determined to watch atleast all the films nominated in Best Picture category before the event, just to be updated with the presentations. And I was fairly upto the mark with all films ticked except Selma. Last night I happened to watch Whiplash and I couldn’t have been more impressed. Before watching the film, I just knew it was about this kid trying to make it big in drumming. But there is so much more that you learn as the movie comes to an end.

The kid, Andrew Neyman played by Miles Teller is learning jazz at the prestigious Shaffer Academy in New York. He is discovered by a senior conductor at the school, Terence Fletcher who selects Andrew, from among his peers to be a part of his studio band that goes on to compete at jazz competitions. Andrew is excited to have got the opportunity and eager to learn since he has always been interested in becoming a drummer from a young age. Fletcher, who is known for hurling abuses at his students during rehearsals, insults and almost beats up Neyman for disturbing the tempo of the band while practising a piece ‘Whiplash’. Facing public humiliation, Neyman is determined to prove himself to his teacher at any cost and puts in his blood and sweat (quite literally) to perfect the piece.

This leads to a series of events where Andrew gets the opportunity of performing at one of the competitions as a core drummer until Fletcher gets a competitor, Ryan to threaten his position.  During one of the competitions, Andrew gets late due to unavoidable circumstances- bus breaks down, the car he is driving meets with an accident, he forgets his drumsticks at the car rental store; cause of which Fletcher is about to replace him with Ryan. At one point, when Andrew has to rush back to the car rental store to fetch his drumsticks and eventually meets with an accident since he is speeding to reach the venue in time, I felt he is not going to make it cause he is bleeding profusely. But the kind of competent lad he is, he cannot let go even an opportunity like this to impress his teacher and makes it to the venue anyhow(which impressed me immensely), only to disappoint everyone as he is not in a condition to play the piece. Post the competition, Fletcher agonises him by rebuking ‘ He is done’, that leads to a on-stage scuffle between the two.

Andrew is expelled for his unsolicited behaviour and gives up drumming since he feels that he isn’t worthy of becoming like one of his inspiring legends Buddy Rich. On his father’s coercion, Andrew testifies a lawyer’s statement who is representing a suicide case of one of Fletcher’s students leading to Fletcher’s dismissal from the academy.

Andrew and Fletcher meet again at a club where Fletcher tells him that his ways might be different but he only wants to push his students beyond what is expected of them. It is an inspiring conversation between a teacher and a student, where the teacher thinks that the two words in English which are utterly harmful is ‘Good Job’ since that would always deter a student from giving his best. Fletcher invites Andrew to play at a concert in his band where the so-called art loving critics of New York are going to be present, avenging Andrew with a piece, sheets of which aren’t present with him while drumming. A humiliated Andrew gives it back by playing an impressive solo piece of Caravan on his drums and stuns Fletcher as well as the audience by the sheer brilliance of his scale. The performance was worth an encore; sharp, electric and spellbinding.

Watching Whiplash made me question some of the core exigencies of modesty. Cause, sometimes, we authorize a force to govern our life to such an unimaginable extent that we forget our own inner voice or gut instinct, so to say. In this case, Fletcher was the governing factor in Neyman’s life, so much so that Neyman gave up his dream of becoming a drummer on being expelled and failing at Fletcher’s expectations. During the entire movie, Neyman was struggling with his insecurities and a constant threat of proving himself to his teacher. He needed Fletcher’s validation to ascertain the talent he had cause otherwise there was no source of inspiration for him to struggle and excel. I am glad Neyman came back after almost giving up and won everyone’s hearts including that of Fletcher. But, shouldn’t there be a line where you decide when and how you give up rather than somebody else imposing failure on you?

I think there should be and this movie teaches you that in so many ways.

 

Advertisements

Pain

Her hands were painted red,
Her face bore peace.
Now she could fly high,
for her only tormentor was gone.
The years of pain, now behind her.
She carefully lifted his body,
to give him a final funeral.
Not cause he was her father,
but to see him vanish forever!

#pain

Moment

The right is in the moment,
Take that step.
The wrong doesn’t exist.
Live the moment,
With all your conviction.
Don’t wait for another time,
There probably wouldn’t be one.
Don’t linger to seize the moment,
Let the moment seize you.

#moment

Maa

I loved my milk warm,
She knew it well.
And there it was,
Cold, covered in cream!
I shouted, she didn’t respond.
I yelled harder, in vain.
How could she?
Maa was 7000 miles away.
#maa

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.”

Memories

She sat by the sill sipping on her coffee,

Her body taut to her surrounding.

Flipping through the pages of memories,

She quietly smiled and reminisced;

thanking the Almighty for all the moments.

The moments defining her metamorphosis,

from a girl to a woman.

Chanced upon a dusty picture,

of a ride from her romancing days.

Quietly, sliding it beneath the covers,

she wondered if they’d make a perfect couple,

with all their incompetencies and imperfections.

Now with different partners,

fulfilling their societal responsibilities.

Deeply etched in her soul forever.

-Anonymous

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.

The Secret Gateaway!

Last weekend I had the best gate-away I could ever ask for. The entire week’s work takes such a toll on the mind and body that it becomes absolutely essential to have a relaxing weekend to gear for the week that awaits. And, if someone proposes a weekend party or a short vacation, I usually am not up for it unless the place and company is worth indulging. So, something similar happened last week when my father and a couple of his friends had planned a weekend trip to a place situated on the outskirts of the city, Hidden Village. Initially, I was aversive towards being a party to this plan but when I saw the pictures of the place my mind immediately said a yes. With just a 75 kms drive from Mumbai, the drive was pleasant and smooth with the highway being mostly empty in the wee hours of the morning. It took us 2 and a half hours to reach the place (with a halt in between for breakfast) and as the name suggests, the place was actually hidden in a small locality called Atgaon which is 6 kms from Shahpur. For people who do not know, Shahpur is an agricultural and industrial area located on the outskirts of Mumbai.

Hidden Village is in a small corner of a road and the entire place is full of greenery, with beautiful hotel rooms built on hilly terrains. There is a waterfall coming from a nearby dam area which forms an important attraction of this place. Because the place is situated in a village, the feel and experience is also like staying in a village. The staff of the hotel is hardworking, cooperative and extremely warm.

IMG_6318

The entrance to Hidden Village

IMG_6209

Typical village architecture welcomes you to Hidden Village

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rooms were big and spacious to accommodate our group of 13 people comfortably. All kinds of facilities were made available in the rooms starting from extra beddings to bedsheets and pillows. The rooms were air-conditioned with hot water available 24/7. There was a big seating area outside the room with tables and chairs.

The living area in the room

The living area in the room

IMG_6250

Seating space outside room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The two days that I was there, the weather was at its best. It was raining and the greenery was endearing with cool breeze blowing throughout the day. When we arrived, the dam water was clean and clear with the flow quite normal to venture and soak ourselves in the cool waters. The next morning when I woke up, I was astonished to see the same dam water turned into coffee colour flowing at gushing speed, owing to the incessant overnight showers.

Clear waters of the dam Tansa

Clear waters of the dam Tansa

Coffee colour water thanks to incessant rains

Coffee colour water thanks to incessant rains

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hidden Village is a perfect place for people across all age groups. Apart from the dam, there is a swimming pool to relax in, a recreational section where a number of indoor games are set for having fun with our group members. I particularly enjoyed playing foosball which puts your motor skills to test and can get quite exhausting towards the end. Apart from that, one can easily while away an hour or two by playing carom, pool and table-tennis.

Recreational Centre

Recreational Centre

The best thing about being at Hidden Village is that at no point in time you will feel hungry. The staff there makes sure that you are well fed during your stay. Their breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks consisted of lip- smacking Maharashtrian delicacies, namely, Misal, spicy Chicken, Mutton and Fish curries along with desi desserts to pamper your taste buds.

The Restaurant Area

The Restaurant Area

There was this mini trek trail that one can take within the hidden village and go up to the dam area where you would be greeted by some white ducks. The trek trail is a relaxing walking up the slope with greenery all around and if you are lucky enough you would also spot some rare bird species out there. Make sure to keep your cameras handy to capture these birds and the flowers that you would discover on your way.

IMG_6245

Trekking Trail

 

Ducks

Ducks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At reasonable overnight rates, I feel this is the perfect place to sneak away from the hustle of our daily lives because we truly deserve a peaceful get-away over the weekend. You can check their website (www.hiddenvillage.in) in order to check the kind of rooms and tariffs they have to offer. I am sure after checking their website, you will be tempted to pack your bags and drive off in pursuit of relaxation and mental bliss.

 

 

 

All images © Kainat27

What if…

Time ticks,
You age.
With you your bonds age,
Some mature,
Others can’t match the pace.
The ones you hold close,
Are the ones you wish to take along.
In times of doubt,
You know you can sail through.
But what if….
What if you drift for reasons unknown?
What if..
You never saw it coming?
What if…
You realised too late?
What if…
There was no time to mend?
What if…
You said and your words were succumbed in a black hole?
What if..
You were no more important?
It hurts,
Heart winces in pain.
Blame game ensues,
Cascading in an avalanche of fireball.
You can see the only person,
Who heard your cries being sucked into the lost universe.
You stand there,
All alone; a mere spectator.
The galaxy of stars laughing at you,
Universe sniggering at your apathy.
That’s when you feel real loss..
It’s not the loss of the person,
It’s the loss of a bond.
A bond which was worth a million heartbeats!