Author: farooq (Page 2 of 35)

Looking at 2017: The Year in Review

I started last year by forcing myself to write everyday. Remember? 

And I did stick to the resolution (more or less) for close to a little over 100 days. Finding time to write and penning down thoughts before hitting the bed, everyday, wasn’t easy. But I did. Good or bad writing, that wasn’t the goal. Writing regularly was, which was partially acheived. 

I travelled. Could have done more if the CLs and ELs were more generous. In my next job, the number of holidays will definitely be the biggest criteria. But of course, there’s time for that. It was a hectic work-year in catching up with lead targets but extremely helpful in learning. That’s the only goal for the first 5 year. A little over a year-and-a-half left to evaluate the ‘T-Marketer’ roadmap. 

My target was to complete 12 books this year at a strike rate of 1 every month. But, of course, I only started on that in the later part of the year. However, did manage to read 11 (and a few half-read ones). A long pending list awaits in my Amazon Cart.  

Tried my best to learn more of Kannada but haven’t been able to go beyond the greetings. Watched a few more of the regional movies to get a hang of the mannerisms but attempts to understand meet roadblocks unless it includes a few English words. A man’s gotta try, anyway. 

Made a few good friends. The existing ones stood by. Got in touch with old ones too. 

Was more honest than before. Was less mean to others and made conscious efforts to be nicer. 

And..

Had plans for more cycling trips but couldn’t. Got lazier than the year before but hoping this year would be different. At least, I’ll try to. 

Plan was also to be more self-focussed (self-obsessed actually). Tried my best to take a fair share of extra selfies to prove just that. And yes, indulgences in other selfish pleasures. This helps keep one sane. 

Of the things I did (or didn’t), the biggest lesson learnt was to find avenues of being content. To be grateful for what you have and find happiness in the little indulgences. It can be the food you eat, the place you travel, the movie you watch or the person you meet. There is no BIG moment that can give you that, always. Sure, they’d be a few. But you cannot anticipate the big ones and let go the smaller ones. Indulging yourself in every possible activity helps in not straying around aimlessly. 

The year 2017 was good. And even the stupid things that happened doesn’t pop outta my Head when I look back, so I’m assuming it was all good. 

Here’s to an even better year! Cheers, folks. Be Awesome (for yourself). 

Movie Review: Michael Madana Kama Rajan

Just watched Kamal Haasan’s Michael Madana Kama Rajan. Like, is there anyone who can can play multiple characters with such an ease? Even though I don’t understand the language, the tonal shifts in dialects with each of the characters are so perfect.

The basic plot of the movie is about 4 Quadruplets separated at birth. All played by Kamal (like, why not :P)

Even though this is a ‘comedy of errors’, every scenario is so thought of, that finding big loopholes is a rarity. Kudos to the writing (co-written by Kamal Haasan himself) and of course, the screenplay. The scenes are stitched together seamlessly. 

Like there’s this scene where 2 of the 4 Quadruplets meet and they’re standing near a mirror. Another character remarks, I can see 4 of you, now. I mean, subtle, huh! 

Illaiyaraja’s music is soothingly perfect along with the storyline where distinctive personalities get songs based on how their story develops. The picturization is so early 90s but it is fun to see Kamal Hassan dancing around 🙂 Also, the title song is sooo catchy. 

It’s a good comedy to watch. Lots of caricatures in the storyline but each fit into the plot and contribute to take it forward. My favorite being Kamaraj’s Grandmother-in-law.

Also, few of the scenes are definitely progressive and make light of things that could easily become ‘offensive’ in today’s India. 

‘Michael Madana Kama Rajan’ a good movie to watch and is available on Amazon Prime along with Subtitles. Go watch it.

The Others

Final moments of a crucial Hockey match and India is behind by 1 goal. It is almost certain they’ll lose unless a magic happens at the last minute. The captain of the team, a striker, gets the ball and crisscrosses the opposition player to reach striking distance. He can now equal the score. But then, a strike on his legs and he tumbles down.
 
Damn! This could have been an equalizer.
 
The referee signals for a penalty stroke. The crowd is jubilant. One more chance to equal the scorecard.
 
The captain decides to take the strike. Everyone’s on the edge of their seats. He looks around the stadium. They all are behind him to score. Pressure to score; as he takes the position. The opposition Goalkeeper is restlessly bobbling across the goal. He does not want to miss this one.
 
The captain takes the shot. The ball travels; we’re shown the slo-mo as the ball whizzes past the edge of the goalpost. As it goes away, the disappointed look of the captain matches that of the crowd. A collective sigh of disappointment spreads across the stadium and tv screens across the nation.
Sunk into the ground is our captain. He has failed his country.
 
How could I miss that?
 
The opposition player walks up to him to shake his hands in solidarity and the so-called sportsmen spirit. After all, it is just a game. Winning and losing is part of it.
 
A photographer, sitting on the far side of the fence, twitches his eyebrows as if he came across a sensational story. He points his camera and captures the moment. Naturally, it graces the headlines of newspapers with captions that were much more clickbaity before the terminology even became popular with the Internet. Television debates ensue and the entire media circus brings back the entire blame on the captain who missed the shot.
 
It wouldn’t have, had this been some other country. It was Pakistan.
 
Sports acts as a pseudo war for people who didn’t take part in the actual one. Beating the opposition’s 11 players on the field to win a game is like winning a ‘war’. In this case, the captain deprived an entire country of that win.
 
What followed after the entire media frenzy was the captain being kicked out of the side, had to leave his ancestral home while the entire mohalla watched. Few hesitant neighbors, undecided on what to do, keep mum to not be branded as traitors themselves. ‘Gaddar’, the term had crept out of newspaper headlines and TV Studios to their very own lane.
 
As the captain and his teary-eyed mother lock their home and leave town, a man walks up to write ‘Gaddar’ on their wall.
The mother consoles her son to not look. But the son does. He wants to see him write that down. The country he has played for lived in and considers his home, now brands him as a Gaddar just because he missed a goal.
 
This isn’t a real story. This is the opening few minutes of Chak-De which I just paused to write this down. Even though the story isn’t real, what happened to Kabir Khan is a symbolic representation of the brewing hate against an entire community. It just keeps finding faucets to come out.
I know, my comment section or messages, are going to have responses that this is pessimism and one shouldn’t base their opinions tangled in such negativity. But what choice does one have?
 
Two days ago, in an election rally, Modi asks Opposition whether the opposition wants a Mosque or Temple at the Babri Masjid site. This guy is the Prime Minister of our Country and unarguably the most powerful person in the country right now.
Tell me, where should I see the positivity in this? Where should I see the positivity in a 50-year old man being hacked and burnt alive for ‘love jihad’?
 
We’re all that same, Kabir Khan, looking at the country, as we get branded from one thing to the other. We are the beef eaters, the terrorists, the separatists, the ‘love-jihadis’ and what not. While our friends keep mum and we look on amazed at what we’ve become to them. The demons, the outsiders, descendants of Baburs and the Aurangzebs. The others.
 
As Kabir Khan says, ‘..jisko mera khoon paseena dil jaan deke bhi yakeen nahi hota.. ki main uski team se khela tha, aur zindagi bhar uski team se khelta rahunga..’
 
The existential question, common to all the others, Will we ever become a part of the country?
 
When posters of Ahmed Patel prop up in Gujarat claiming him to be the CM Candidate from Congress, he has to clarify he isn’t! Rahul Gandhi has to clarify that he is, after all, a Hindu and not a Christian. Why are these two things a point of discussion?
 
Hope is a good thing but with every passing day, it feels I’m exhausted. Of hope and even for an outrage!

Chasing Sleep

Minutes pass by as his tired eyes try gauging the freckles of light from outside the window, while the dark gloom of the room literally overshadows it all. 

The undecided state of mind and the vacancy of a description to it, seeks out multiple answers. The effect of just one, isn’t realistic. The impracticality just doesn’t fit. Even in this dark time. 

The invite from sleep is placed just right over there at the pillow. Visible even in the dark. But who takes up easy offers. The one for the taking. Not him. 

Conflict is interesting. In the head: fighting. Fighting to inch towards the pillow and the dreams on display. Not buy but earn it. Accomplish it to end your day on a high. A tired high seems like a consolation. 

‘Ill take it!’ he is affirmative on this. 

The after-sleep is enticing. Uncertain but with possibilities. Open doorways to illogical happenings. Enticing? Un-empty? Non-scary?

Hesitant he, just argues for the gloom; romanticizing the scared reality without a leash on it. Dragging in the empty air with a slow whiff out as his ribs aches. 

As his head drops down to accept the invite, he lived to fight another night. Chasing Sleep was, after all, a ritual. 

A Weekend Evening

The unplanned weekend has a calming character. Nothingness means something. The pleasant Bengaluru weather and the beautiful sky adds to the mood. Shuffling between the pages of a book to writing down a few lines for the blog, it’s a wonderful headspace to be in. 

When the door open to a world familiar and yet open to lend itself to you; to show you something new. The invitation is open for all and yet a few show up. Few chose to accept the invite. 

Is this an exclusive or just a consolation? Open for interpretation. 

What’s new in the chirping of the birds or in the piegions finding a corner for themselves? 

The fluttering of the leaves or the kids playing hide & seek?

The weekly ritual of washed clothes clipped on plastic ropes waving in clean joy or the family leaving for their weekend-outing.

The mundane isn’t interesting. And one’s interesting can be another’s mundane. 

The slightly chilly wind is comforting along with the warm embrace of this mug of coffee. 

A perspective is just about walking a few extra steps to check from the other side. 

There’s always something new to explore if you really want to. Like re-reading a book and wondering how you never got that before. Stories, characters and plots, all right here to observe and get entertained. 

A sunset here can be a sunrise somewhere else. 

It’s all about looking at the possibilities irrespective of their bleak sounding nature. Realism is always great. But not without some optimism. 

What are you doing this weekend?

Expiry Date

There, but not there! 

Seeking perfection even in the camaflogue of the broken, twisted and peculiar settings, our innermost desire still remains – finding that perfect story. 

In the corners of the world, probing for boxes with that one perfect story hidden somewhere. They all look appealing. 

‘Maybe, I want them to’, the voices warn!

One after the other. Open. Each box is supposed to be: ‘the one’. 

Anticipation. 

‘Please try again’

And we move to the other.

‘Better luck next time’

The cycles. 

Boxes. Us. The stories. 

They all change. The us-es. And with them, the stories. Just like the changing boxes. 

You’re ired to continue opening another one of these. You’re tired of the disappointments. Of those stories that are there, but NOT there. Of yourself. Of them. And you so wish that it was in your hands to let it all stop. 

The myth of the choice. Hadhtag My Choice. Hashtag their choices. The puppets think they have free will. The strings are just accessories to walk around the life’s stage. Idiots. We’re all the Siri’s and Alexa’s in a parallel universe. 

Stories where cliffhangers are the norm just tend to miss out on cliched endings like.. ‘…ever after’. Lifelong happiness sure might be a myth. But even seeking the permansncy of a ‘they lived’ is a tall order. 

They say, there’s no correct box. The idea of that one box doesn’t exist. Unless it’s a book. A really good book. Or a movie to lend thoughts to those imaginations on 70mm. But, who listens?

‘Customize it!’ They say. ‘Weave your own story. Paint it the way you’d like the world to see. ‘ they add to their wise sayings.

‘But.. the story isn’t for the world!” I contest. 

‘No one gives a $#@*’. Their look says it all. Uncensored. 

finding passion

Finding Passion(s)

There’s only one thing in the world that one should be jealous of: People who have found their one true passion.

I know, I am.

At a blog meet, a few weeks earlier, during one of the high-tea breaks, a couple of us were straying around in the pool area. Alongside, in a bespectacled gentleman in a kurta, puffing away his cigarette, threw a smile at us. As we begin talking about respective blogs and what type of stuff we write about, his advice to us was, ‘Stick to a niche’. Of course, he isn’t the first and he won’t be the last to utter those wise words. Ironically, many-a-times Digital Marketing thought-pieces that I’ve penned down for other websites claim the same. That is the ideal way to go about. Sticking to a niche and gaining authority in the space. Easier to preach, indeed.

Finding our one true passion is like finding that niche for your blog.

One of the usual talk-points, when meeting people, are questions about ‘Why you stopped writing about *this*?’ The ‘this’ varies based on whom I meet. From Movies to Politics, the list varies. I’ve experimented, and continue doing so, about writing about a variety of topics and quite honestly have liked writing about it all. I have thought of ‘finding a niche’ too, but have come full circle as always to be at the exact place. Not that I won’t drive back to this very conundrum, but I now think there isn’t a niche I can stick to.

The thing I’ve loved, since class 3 when my essay was read in front of the entire class, is Writing.

Sure, I love traveling, but I’m not a traveler. I love eating and experimenting with food; finding ‘something new’ but I’m not a foodie. I do like taking photographs but I’m no photographer. And like this, a lot of things are what I love doing, but a bracket feels an unknown and limiting entity. I am and I’m not any of these. But I like the experience of it, and more importantly, writing about all of them.

And that is, probably, that one true thing, I’m certain of.

Of course, I’m in no position to add a superlative in front of that writer, now. But, someday. And it really doesn’t matter if it leads to a destination or not, it is all about loving what you do. For now, I’m jolted up by the excitement that I can (and I will) think of having a singularity to my many passions in life. A realization. Now onwards.

There’s nothing wrong or right about having many passions, but I’d like to have just one. Asking too much, eh?

And that reminds me to ask, have you found your passion(s)?

The end credits

Have you ever tried waiting for the end credits of a movie roll down?

The one at the end where names, after names, after names scroll up and an instrumental sound track gives company. Sometimes it is a catchy item number. Depending on the type of movie you’re watching. 

Have you?

Involuntarily, I have. Especially when watching one at home. Unlike the theatres, the rush to head out is ALWAYS high. 

A lot depends on how the movie ended, did it leave with giving an answer to something? Or asked a question? 

Answers, ease you. Questions linger. At least till the credits roll down. 

Questions uncover Questions, like how an old wound when teased becomes fresh. Hurting. 

But maybe you wanted to feel this. You allowed for it to happen. The asking of this question. A failed attempt to get answer. There was never an answer here. Even if there was, that answer isn’t the solution. It’s just an answer. 

Blame all you want. On them, on you. The answers won’t bring a stop unless it’s the correct one. But who’s to tell? You’re the judge of your own shackles. Lock it up or let it go. 

A silence brings to halt the reverie. A long list of ‘What to watch next’ emboss the screen. Choices, like always. Hard to pick. 

Next, next, next. Click. 

Arjun-Reddy-movie-Review

Arjun Reddy Review: Intense, dark and a good watch!

Only a handful of movies stay for more than a day in the back of your head where characters continue to remain alive . The kind of effect synonymous with finishing the final page of a good book. I don’t usually write about non-Hindi/English movies, but this movie is probably going to be an exception. Or perhaps a start to writing regularly about subtitled movies.

I’ve usually avoided watching Telugu movies unless highly recommended (or stars Prabhas or Mahesh Babu). The stuff dished out from the state’s industry has remained mostly the same over years, refusing to come out of the action-packed-one-man-army-masala movie genre. Barring Baahubali, there’s been hardly anything good and different.

Anyway.

This movie, Arjun Reddy, has certainly changed my opinion.

The story is about, as the name clearly suggests, Arjun Reddy. Arjun is a 4th-year medical student who is a topper, college bully who is good at sports but has anger management issues. He’s about to drop out of college because this dude, of course, won’t apologize to his dean for getting his anger out on someone. But hey, a girl enters. Literally, as he’s about to submit the NOC of his departure. 

Their relationship starts off with him practically bullying her to be with him but she falls for him eventually. Because Movies! The plot is more about him coping with the breakup (Oh yes!) with moments of flashback on the ‘why’ of it.

The brilliance of the movie is hardly in the contents of the story but in the character universe built around Arjun Reddy. With a screen time close to 3 hours, each character grows as the story develops, while getting ample screen time. Nothing seems rushed to sprint towards the ending but is trying to pull the audience into its depth. The background score and cinematography match up perfectly to the pace.

Characters like Arjun’s friend, Shiva, played by Rahul Ramakrishna, are more than just sidekicks typical of Telugu cinema (or even Tamil). Bereft of even the male-bonding drama, which the usual stories seem to progress when trying to go in a different direction. Not that there aren’t any caricatures, but they are overpowered by well written roles. Must commend, the writer-director Sandeep Reddy Vanga for this.

The female lead, Preethi Shetty, played by Shalini Pandey is earnest and displays the emotional state of a scared, in-love and suffering, young lady as her character transitions through the journey.

The film, of course, hinges on Vijay Devarakonda who plays the lead and man! This dude is good. One can say the role perfectly fits him and that the writing was done keeping just this guy in mind. Not that he doesn’t display the antics of a ‘hero’ but this role demanded the tantrum-filled alcoholic to do just that. I’m actually looking forward to watching more of this guy based on this.

Arjun Reddy is not only an enjoyable watch but is able to pull you in a world created by the Director. The Background music and the songs (No song-and-dance) adds to the intensity. It is one of the good movies I’ve watched this year and you should too.

It is available on Amazon Prime (with English subtitles) if you’re interested to watch.

Expiry Date

Expiry Date

Empty rooms shout the loudest. On their own. Laced with the echoes of yesteryears. The silences shout louder from the depths of it. There are traces of your laughter. Those awkward ones with a snort as if you’re trying hard to not laugh. Failing, of course. But successfully remaining etched. Redefining what failures means.

Ever wondered how their flaws stay back while the perfections fade away? Perhaps that’s the charm.

There’s music adding to the gloom, failing to drown the noises of the past. Instead, helping it thrive. Words, I don’t know of. It probably does. As the strings caress each other and the symphony flows out like the background score of a Spanish drama, I stare out of the dark smudges of the window. Nothing.

With my back stretched on the sofa and the legs dangling out on the carpet, I stare at the ceiling. Questions. All over the carvings on top, flowing without answers. Navigating my way, forlornly, from one pattern to the other. Following the mundane routine.

‘Why it had to start?’ The question on loop since the exit.

The numbered days had already stapled an expiry date for the end. I knew it, she did too. A set timeline for it to happen. For a change, I chose the short term joy over my long-term sanity. I overlooked the pain of not looking into those eyes ever again over the laughter accompanying me for a few. But it did start something. A beautiful beginning awaiting cessation. The end was always in sight. Tick Tock. Tick tock.

‘Why it had to start??’ The question was still unanswered.

As we sat on the stairs, while the moon shone brighter, silence engulfed us both. I feared, that this is it. Did she?

Her eyes said, ‘Maybe this is for the best’. She said nothing.

‘Why it had to staaa…’

‘Ting’

A smile dangles out, effortlessly, as a message popped up.

‘Kitna roega be C%$#^? Neeche hoon. Jaldi aa’.

Maybe they all don’t come with expiry dates.

Twenty Seven

Twenty Seven.

Turning Twenty Seven.

I have always wanted to be an adult. More than anything else when I was a kid. More to lead a restriction-less life and *touchwood* I’ve probably come close to doing that. Barring a few high-pitched calls from my mother about traveling too much, living life exactly the way I want to, isn’t a dream but part of reality.

Sure, there are a lot of ‘good-to-haves’ and a long pending wish list that outgrows itself periodically, but I’ve learned (sort of) to find avenues for being content and getting indulged in them. I wouldn’t like to jinx things up for myself, but this phase of life- the one bereft of drama- is what I’d like to call the good life.

Let me clarify because I do end up confusing people sometime, it’s not like only good things are happening. No, no, no! What I intend to proclaim is the absence of any major bad thing and the minor skirmishes notwithstanding, life is good. You get it, right?

And there are always multiple ways of looking at life. I prefer to go with the most favorable outcome. Yes, ended up practicing a lot of Probability before my CAT preparation.

So, coming back to Twenty Seven. Sounds like a big deal to me! Adulthood finally appears to have arrived. Gradually. But this realization struck me just a month back. Of becoming old. Of turning 27!

Maybe I’m reading too much into it or maybe I’ve started adding too many maybes to my sentences. Signs of troubled confusion. Damn it!

It is that time when your relatives start telling your parents that your son I getting older. Parents, of course, believe whatever the 4 log who drop home more than their own common sense. Mine isn’t so different either. The frustration of not being able to make sense to the emo-drama coupled with examples from the khaandaan is bizarre. And, shit, this is just the start.

The peace and drama-less life that I’ve temporarily enjoyed suddenly appears to be standing on a shaky foundation. Definitely, I don’t want to lose my ground. Not right now.

The struggles of adulthood might have finally begun and maybe it is time to grow up.

…and that’s when I knew

That look of yours. Yes, the same one were you magnify your eyes. The one which makes me feel that they’ll just pop out. That. 

That’s when I knew. 

When you blurt out the same things. And when I do the same. And then we understand, but don’t laugh. The silent high-fives.

That’s when I knew. 

When you share those uninteresting stories. Oh, sorry that’s just me. You hold them back. But you listen, to mine. And remember.

That’s when I knew. 

Your start-stop act of being funny (trying to) and thoughtful. 

That’s when I knew. 

Maybe we both know. Now. And then. Or maybe it’s just me. Again. Waving at the bus, I keep missing. 

”It’s just in your head”

‘Yes, and that’s the damn problem!’

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