The many whims of Manmarziyan

Kabhi to bol, Rumi main hoon.

At around 30 minutes or so in Manmarziyan, Rumi (Taapsee Pannu) and Vicky (Vicky Kaushal) are eloping from their hometown Amritsar. No one knows what or who they are running from and no one knows where they are headed. A few hours on the road, their lack of perspective dawns on Rumi and she confronts Vicky about their plan or lack thereof. He says that he’s running because she asked him to. An exhausted Rumi snaps at him that why does he never assure her that he’s there, he’s there to take a stand for her, that she can trust him to think things through. To which Vicky repeats with the innocence of a child who has just been scolded that Rumi I am there. That argument brings out the essence of their relationship- it is pure spirit but no perspective.

Rumi and Vicky love each other. Their love is like an impulse, it is that rush of emotions that makes you jump roofs to be with the one that you love. Their love is like an addiction, it is that oblivion of being invested in each other so much that they barely register anybody’s existence, anybody’s needs or anybody’s discomfort when they are together. They love each other passionately for the world to see, they argue passionately for the world to see, they physically hurt each other for the world to see, even when they abandon each other, it is for the world to see. They are not shy of exhibiting the full spectrum of emotions that they swing through. It is not their character to hide from the world. The whole of Ambarsar (Amritsar) knows that neela kukkad (blue hen) and lal pari (red witch) – referred so in relation to the color of their hair- are dating each other. But it is that sort of knowledge that passes on the grapevine in hushed voices and only through the grapevine Rumi’s family knows it too, they suspect the same and it is confirmed when both of them are caught in Rumi’s room.

The plot sets in motion when the family pitches the idea of marriage and Rumi commits to them that Vicky along with his father will visit them the next day with a marriage proposal. It is both her impulse and her trust acting when she gives promises her family because though they have never even discussed marriage among themselves but she trusts that he loves her enough to honor her commitment. But here is where the conflict begins building. Vicky loves her enormously but he is reluctant to comply with her demands. It is too sudden for him, which is strange to hear because both Rumi and Vicky are ‘sudden’ in their decisions, there is no system/order to their decisions or lives. Vicky emotes out that conflict, that hesitation so beautifully where you see how madly does he love her yet he struggles to give her what she wants. He wants to give her everything but he is selfish too, he places his comfort and perhaps his constant desire to exist outside societal structures above his love for her. It’s easier for him to agree to elope than to marry because eloping is defiant and reckless and his love is both defiant and reckless.

Rumi doesn’t sit and weep for him. She tells him that if he wouldn’t marry her, she will go marry the first suitor that comes her way. Along comes Robbie (Abhishek Bachchan), her first suitor who falls for her the minute he sees her smiling vivaciously in a picture shown to him by a matchmaker. He is attracted to her, so much that he doesn’t want to meet any other girls for an arranged match, so much that he discovers about Rumi and Vicky’s affair through her Facebook account, yet he wants to marry her. You do not why, you do not understand what is it about her that draws him so passionately that he cannot turn his eyes away from her. Maybe it is the old school ‘opposites attract’ because she is feisty and he is calm -even in his arguments. He is the kind of man who apologizes for an outburst even when he is the one being wronged in that situation. However he is twisted in his own ways, he has his manipulative moments too and even though you want to sympathize with him for being caught between Rumi and Vicky’s mindless obsession for each other but you cannot because Robbie basically volunteers to be the third wheel.

Amidst the confusion, Robbie marries Rumi and he patiently waits, waits for her to at least look at him once. Rumi has no perspective here either, she walks herself into a marriage on a whim and she does not know what to do next. She eats, she runs, she obsessively watches animal mating documentaries on the television. It looks as if she is trying to come out of an addiction. It is an answer to that old knowledge that our elders attempt to pass on to us that marriage fixes everything. You see her struggle and her restlessness and you realize that her life is far from being fixed as of now. But Robbie waits for her, he never forces himself on her, he never questions her, he never stops her from doing anything. It is endearing to watch his silent and unflinching support.

Thirty or so minutes in the second half Robbie tells her that he is there for her, that she can come and tell him anything. These are the words that she has been yearning to hear right from the beginning. But the words are not coming from the man she has so passionately loved. That is what the underlying conflict of Manmarziyan is, how does one really choose between the wild spontaneity that Vicky stands for and the unconditional stability that Robbie offers her. And if Rumi gets what she wants, if she and Vicky were to get married, wouldn’t their love feel different, wouldn’t that tame the wild and free spirited nature of their love.

I saw Manmarziyan yesterday and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. The story is not new, I have seen this in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Woh Saat Din and Tanu weds Manu and disliked all three of them. The strength of Manmarziyan lies in its characters, if I were to quote the lyrics of the song ‘Grey wala shade‘ -” Kaala na safed hai, grey wala shade hai” – that is, no one is black or white, every character is grey. You see all of them torn between their complexes and what keeps you engaged is how will they resolve the chaos that they have brought upon themselves. The second strength is the world that they have built inside the movie- their families, the matchmaker- the household bickering, the clutter in middle class houses- everything comes out so authentic and believable. There isn’t an attempt to polish the city, the lanes, the garbage and grime around, the paint peeling off the walls. Punjabis are not used for comedic relief, they are not reduced to stereotypical caricatures, nobody breaks into a dancing fit singing balle balle and oye hoye, nobody is excessively loud except Rumi when she is vocalizing her rage. Even the use of Punjabi in conversations is authentic and consistent, characters simply do not slip in one or two random Punjabi words in their conversations. Nothing about their world looks manufactured or made up. The third strength is the music by Amit Trivedi that exactly mirrors the mood of the plot and of the characters. My favorites are Daryaa, Grey walaa shade, Dhayaanchand and Halla. I don’t know if it happens with others but I only warm up to songs when I have a story to attach to them, so I end up liking the music only when I have seen the movie once and I am aware of the context.

I have learned the hard way (read arguments) to not recommend movies because movie choices can be highly subjective but if you are interested in watching a fresh take on love and the things people do in love, then Manmarziyan is worth a chance.

The image has been sourced from Wikipedia.

Maybe George Clooney is right after all


I watched Up in the Air. Up in the Air is one movie that has been popping up on my recommendations for a long time now. But I never watched it. I am going to tell you a little secret- I am scared of watching bad movies. If I am idle, you will never see me streaming a new movie. It will always be an old favorite. As a family ritual, I watch a new release every weekend with my parents and trust me when I say this, most releases in the year are horrible. Of all the movies that I watched this year, I only liked two. So when I already dedicate time to watching mostly sub par movies, I have no appetite left to risk watching another potentially bad movie during the rest of the week. That’s how I never watched Up in the Air. But two weeks ago, I decided to give it a try.

Up in the Air is based on a man who spends most of his time travelling for work. For a major part of the movie, George Clooney is in the air and if not in the air, then at some location in and outside the airport to be in the air. He has an enviable life, he is always on the move, he gets to travel on his company’s expense, he gets to exploit fancy lounges and hotels at his company’s expense, there is nothing or nobody in terms of belongings or possessions to hold him back and importantly he has a dream that is achievable, that doesn’t depend on anybody else but him. He wants to earn 1 million miles (loyalty points equivalent for an airline). Why? Because he will be the 7th man in the world to do so, he will be a part of an exclusive club, he will get to have a chat with the pilot and simply because this thrills him.

There is a talk that he is shown to give at conferences. In the talk George Clooney asks you to take a backpack and fill it with all your possessions- everything that you own. His idea is simple, that once you lift the backpack and put it across your shoulders you will realize how your possessions weigh you down. And frankly, it does make sense. There are so many things that we buy, some impulsively, some decisively but do we ever contemplate if we need these or not; and they do hinder our mobility. Do not agree with me? Every time you step out, do you not worry, if you have locked the house properly or not? Do you not fear that someone might break in and wipe you off of your assets? Do you not get annoyed with how things keep breaking apart and you have to constantly keep investing in them?

His talk doesn’t end there. He next asks you to take a backpack and fill it with your relationships. He wants you to feel how the weight makes the straps cut across your skin. He wants you to evaluate how this baggage will stop you from going places, from doing what you want to do, from achieving your goals. And strange as it may seem, this did make sense to me. I am not George Clooney’s character in real life, I am far away from that. I value relationships, sometimes above my own desires. So when George Clooney gave the talk, I could feel the straps cutting across my skin. I could see all my abandoned decisions play right before my eyes.

Maybe it’s not about Up in the Air and the talk solely. It’s about this past year and the frequent realization that people do what they want to do. They will do what suits their whim and sometimes it has a negative bearing on your life. However people never extend the same liberty to you. They use their words and their emotions to hold you back. The funny thing is that you let them hold you back, you let them change your decisions, you let them dictate your choices. Why? Because you want to see them happy; because you know that they will not understand/agree with your choices; because you fear that you are going to hurt them through your decisions. The funnier thing is that people never see how you alter your life’s course for them, they never value it and they do not even acknowledge it. So when George Clooney said what he said, it rang a bell. I wanted to see how life looks like at Clooney’s side of the world. I wanted to taste that sense of freedom that lets you go where you want to go without a second thought.

Of course, Clooney is not a happy man either. But that is the beauty of ‘Up in the Air’, it’s an excellent commentary on our world, relationships and solitude- it’s that message that happiness and sadness come in cycles and in fact nobody is constantly happy. If you watch closely, you will see how Clooney gets hurt only when he acts on someone else’s advice and alters his decisions. Pain comes to him when he changes his plans, when he does something for a person and comes to have expectations. He was happy untethered and maybe you and I will be too. The more I think about the movie, the more I come to believe that it’s simpler to have fewer things to my name and to have fewer relationships in my life. It seems simpler to not have to think about how many people get affected with my choices. It seems simpler to be to able to fly for once.

If you have watched Up in the Air, tell me what did you think of the movie. If you haven’t watched it yet, please do, it will certainly make you reconsider a lot of your choices and judgments.

Also, I had decided to participate in Nano Poblano this year but since my November had different plans for me, I was unable to write anything for the past ten days. However since it took me 4 years to participate, I don’t want to lose on this entirely. So I have decided that I will write for the rest of this moth and do a partial Nano Poblano.


The Good Wife and The Circle of Life

I started watching ‘The Good Wife‘ in 2014. It is the story of a woman trying to stand on her own feet after her States Attorney husband is convicted of using public office money to solicit sexual favors. She had studied law however never pursued a career in law because she began building a family with Peter. Imagine, where 13 years of family building brought her, cheated at the hands of her husband and at scrutiny of people who couldn’t resist branding her decision- of being a home maker- naivete. Given the economy and the cut throat competition, Alicia is forced to pull some strings. She approaches a friend from law school, ‘Will Gardener’ to give her a chance as an associate at his firm ‘Lockhart and Gardener’.

I remember watching the first few episodes in 2014 and then months later seeing the first episode of season 5 where Alicia makes a move out of the firm to start her own firm. Undoubtedly, her friend Will felt cheated and I, as a viewer felt intrigued. I wanted to know what was it that prompted Alicia to turn her back on her friend. Will hated Alicia for her decision and maybe I did too. However I couldn’t unearth the reason without watching the 88 episodes that fell in between Alicia joining and quitting ‘Lockhart and Gardener’ Yes, I could Wikipedia the plot but I chose not to. So here I am in 2017, finally having discovered Alicia’s motive behind the big move.

Throughout seasons two to four, Lockhart and Gardener is seen to be struggling with finances. They join hands with another firm but decide to separate when their independence to make vital decisions stands threatened. In  season 3, they are declared bankrupt; they are assigned a period of six months to raise an amount of 60 million dollars to pay off their liabilities and a trustee is appointed to oversee their revenue management and discharge of financial obligations. As they head into the final month of the assigned period of six months, they are still short of 29.50 million dollars. They have a few settlements in pipeline but they make a plea for an extension of six months. Before they are granted that extension, Alicia who is now a fourth year associate is given an option to become an equity partner. She has to cough up 600,000 dollars to buy her share in the firm’s equity. Needless to say, Alicia is ecstatic because amidst the economic slowdown, the firm’s bankruptcy, her loyalty to Lockhart Gardener, she has always felt insecure. Insecure that another associate might jeopardize her position at the firm, insecure that her firm’s liquidation might render her jobless again, insecure that she might have to go back to depending on her husband for money. So in a long time, she is shown to be relieved. Even if she declines the offer, given the incumbent threat of liquidation, she might have something substantial to boast about- that she is not simply an associate, that in a short span of four years, she was offered to be an equity partner. As a viewer, we are all happy and though we are skeptic at the timing of the offer, we are relived when Will and Diane assure her that her hard work has brought the offer on the table.

At the end of the episode, we realize that Alicia is not the only one with the offer to become an equity partner. There are four other fourth year associates who have been pitched the same offer and after all the assurances, it is not her hard work but a shrewd attempt by the equity partners to raise 3 million dollar from their own associates. Alicia is stung. Partly because she believed that her efforts deserved to be awarded and partly because given her loyalty she deserved the truth not false assurances. Diane tells Alicia that she was offered partnership only because her boss was accused of sexual harassment and by making Diane partner he wanted to convey to the world that he doesn’t discriminate between men and women. She explains to Alicia that when an opportunity comes knocking at the door, you simply take it; you do not investigate the stimulus behind that.

Alicia acts on her advice and decides to take it, she decides to accept the offer like her other peers. However Lockhart Gardener manages to steer out of bankruptcy, not only that, they earn 113 million dollar surplus at the end of that quarter. In the same meeting, the partners vote against appointment of new partners. They don’t need their money, they don’t need extra hands to share their losses, so why appoint them and share the surplus. When Alicia comes to know about the vote, she is stung again.


When Will confronts her that she says that after all the hours she has billed and the thousands of dollars she has earned for the firm, she is the injured party here. In a move to get the partners’ attention, the 4th year associates begin talking to the clients they have worked for, asking them if they are happy with the firm. The partners are scared that if these associates walk out of the firm, they may poach their clients. But they can’t succumb to this form of corporate terrorism, so they decide to divide them. Will proposes that they appoint one of them as as an equity partner so that the other four begin to resent that one person. He proposes Alicia’s name for partnership and again when Alicia inquires about his motives, he tells her that it is because of her hard work.

Yes, Will makes her a partner but he never gives her what she deserves- the truth. He gives Alicia what she desires but only when it benefits him and the other partners. In fact, that is one of the central themes in ‘The Good Wife’, that nothing is black or white, it is in the grey. We can never categorize a character and their choices as good or bad. People favor others when it benefits them, people hurt others when it benefits their dear ones. In the same episode, when Alicia is offered the partnership the first time, she is questioned on the stand that the firm is offering her a partnership only to raise some money. Will and Diane expect Alicia to commit a felony, to claim that it is untrue. A felony that can cost her 5-7 years in the prison but as mark of her loyalty she is expected to manipulate her words. She does what is asked of her and in spite of this, what she gets are more lies.


The question here is why is loyalty a one sided road? If Alicia has to hold the best interests of the firm and their clients at all times, then why isn’t the firm and the partners expected to do the same for her. Why does Will hate Alicia when she quits the firm to start her own? After all, like everyone in the show, she is trying to look out for her own self. Yes, Will extended her a colossal favor when he hired her in the first episode. But hasn’t she repaid all those debts by perjuring under oath, by answering questions on her sexual life during Will’s grand jury trial, by trying to convict an innocent for a murder in order to save their client, by working in close proximity to a woman who had slept with her husband, by representing a philanderer alleged of killing his wife, by representing a drug mafia, by constantly witnessing her attempts at professional progress being belittled by a world who believed that her court room victories are owed to the men in her life – all against her moral fiber only because she was expected to do so by the firm.

No matter which season are we in, there is always that one episode where Alicia is strategically placed in a situation so that the firm can benefit from her status of being married to the current States Attorney and the future Governor of Cook County. Then, there are outsiders who believe that the reason she has been retained for four years is because she is Will’s former love interest and that they slept with each other for a brief period. But how long could Alicia continue to work in such a set up?

Will did a favor for Alicia but throughout the show we can see the firm trying to exploit Alicia’s marital status for their own good. And when you get a favor in return of a favor, your favor becomes a barter. It can be argued that Will always saw Alicia as a friend but friends don’t lie to friends, friends don’t manipulate friends and friends don’t trick their friends to help their own bankruptcy. During the third season, Will is suspended from practicing law for six months because he withdrew money from a client’s account for paying off a gambling debt. Almost everyone including Alicia tries to comfort him by saying that it was 15 years ago and he repaid the money in full. So why is it that nobody comforts Alicia, that it was 4 years ago when Will hired her and she has repaid the debt by being a brilliant litigator for Lockhart and Gardener.

In the third season, a judge asks Diane if she believes in hell? She says no. The judge then tells her that even he did not but then he saw lawyers. What he tries to point out is that a good lawyer does whatever is necessary to work the odds in their favor, a good lawyer manipulates the circumstances without paying heed to the collateral damage. Come to think of it, Alicia just does that. When she believes that she no longer wants to be played by others, she quits. She starts her own firm in a bid to shield her own future and her authority, she takes the associates because she needs them to fight cases and she poaches the clients because she has to think about the revenues. ‘The Good Wife’ shows Alicia’s transformation into a good lawyer, after all is it not what every one at the firm expects Alicia to be. And when she becomes one, all they do is call her move savage. But why? At the end of the day, she is a reflection of their own own compromised principles and actions. At the end of the day, it is just the circle of life, one thing ends and another begins.



Talking about whether or not will it last

It’s always about Harvey and Mike. The season premiere of Suits I mean, is always centred around Harvey and Mike. The first season was about Harvey hiring Mike as his associate. In the second season, Harvey has to save Mike from getting fired after Jessica comes to know that Mike has never been to law school. The third season was about Mike redeeming Harvey’s trust. In the fourth season, Mike had moved on to be an investment banker and the question was will he have a change of heart and ally with Harvey again. But this season is different. It’s about Harvey and Donna.

I had always believed that the writers will never touch that chord. Because Harvey and Donna are pristine. The series is filled with analogies on Mike and Harvey’s equation. That our Batman cannot function without Robin. But the one person that truly drives the man that Harvey Specter is, is Donna. Maybe, they are going to be an analogy for other fictional characters. Because, it is Donna’s departure that has shaken Harvey to the core. He has panic attacks every time she turns him away. He begins to see a shrink for keeping them at bay. For the first time in the series, he looks vulnerable and needy. So needy that he begins to introspect and share his feelings to a complete stranger. If this is not love, I don’t know what is.

Suits is a great show. Among other reasons, because it makes you care about every character deeply. It is difficult to decide on the character you’d want to see having the last laugh. Because it will be at the expense of another’s feelings. You see Harvey struggling and you want Donna to return. You want her to resume being the oxygen-esque force that gives life to him. But then you think of Donna, about how Harvey left her on a cliffhanger when he said ‘You know I love you Donna’ and walked out. He revived an emotion in both of their lives that they had mutually decided to ebb. He had fired her in season two because the situations and Jessica demanded so. She was stung because she felt that he did not fight enough for keeping her. That is what has earned Harvey her abandonment, him not fighting for her, him not acknowledging how lucky he is to have her. Then there is Louis, who always is jostling in the middle of shifting dynamics. In the third season, just as Mike accepts to be his associate, Harvey walks in to announce that he has forgiven Mike and they hi five their way out of the room leaving Louis empty handed. He was wounded, rightly so, because he had sought Harvey’s consent before approaching Mike to be his associate. And if Donna leaves him, his dejection will take the best of him. It will be a reaffirmation of his insecurity that all the greatness is exclusively for Harvey and he is just a pawn in the bigger picture. That he is the one to be mocked at. He is that child in the family with all the hand me downs.

Harvey keeps on repeating throughout the episode that it won’t last. Maybe, he is right. Donna might not walk out on Louis on her volition, he might eventually force her to do so. We’ve seen it time and again that Donna’s existence forges Harvey’s individuality. He can swagger around the city because Donna feeds him with the right information at all times and dextrously manages his clients. What has been ignored though, is that Donna can be Donna only because Harvey lets her be. He allows her to have her way. He never asks her to do things she just does them. He never questions her authority. But Louis is a different breed of boss. He likes to take control of his subordinates. Gradually when his euphoria over landing Donna wears off, he might interfere with her decisions. Needless to say, it will not go down well with her.

In the next episode, Harvey is going to hire another Donna, who he will not allow to become Donna because he cannot stand being invested in another person at this point of time. The internet is abuzz with questions on the potential romantic arc between Harvey and his shrink or his new secretary. I don’t see a future to that. In an article about Friends, it was said that if any of the six characters grew closer to a supporting character, the writers went to inordinate lengths to break them apart. The ones they were meant to be with were the other friends. Such is the case with Suits as well. At the end of the day, it is only Jessica, Harvey, Louis, Donna, Rachel and Mike in the pack.

Ghosts of Fangs the Past

Once upon a time there lived a young girl Polly who had been invited to spend the summer of her fifteen with her cousin Sally. Amidst  the many adventures that marked their summer, Sally introduced Polly to the tale of Twilight. The world was abuzz about Twilight, reasonably so for it had reached its conclusion that very summer. However before Sally could take Polly deeper into the realms of the romantic saga between a coy human girl and a vegetarian vampire, it was time to bid Polly a farewell. The summer vacation had reached its climax.

The one thing that Polly abhorred was to be left with an unfinished story. After all she could not hang onto the picture of a vampire and a human kissing in a graveyard. Yes, somehow she always imagined that they lived in a graveyard. She had to find out if that bit of imagination was true and penetrate further into their worlds. But she was fifteen. There was no way that her parents were going to allow her to spend two thousand rupees on a novel. One day while completing her brother Peter’s internal assessment file, she came up with an idea. She decided to finish other children’s holiday homework in lieu of money. In addition she charged twenty rupees a page from Peter. Thus Polly bought herself the box set of the Twilight series. 

All she took was a week to read the series from cover to cover. From that point on, she was a devoted fan of the Twilight series. She was enticed by the  premise that a vampire was fighting against his very nature for his true love. This girl was the the most tempting human to have crossed him in the century of his existence and by all odds she was etched to be her soul mate. Oh the young are so naive about matters of the heart. Name one fifteen year old who wouldn’t love a man whose dark passenger was ripping him apart but all he wanted was to keep his love safe.

Since young, Polly enjoyed narrating stories to others. On a school trip, all her friends ran out of ideas for recreation one night. So Polly, envisioning herself as a noble torchbearer of the saga, recited the first instalment of the series to her friends. At times, she paused, trying to decipher the blank emotions that spread across their faces; she had doubts if they will come to enjoy it. But young as they were, like our dear Polly, they loved the story.

Polly was drawn so deep into the world of supernatural beings, that she became addicted to a television show called Vampire Diaries. All she desired in life was a lover with glinting sharp fangs and an opportunity to teach a lesson to people who mocked her obsession with vampires. Well only her brother Peter who had a habit of outsmarting her with his wits. 

Six years hence, Polly is smuggling her box set out of the house without catching Peter’s attention. She cannot afford to remind him of her vampire phase because today she fails to enlist a single reason to defend her foolish fetish.She walks by an intellectual reputation among her peers and she cannot let even one of them discover that she had fallen prey to the tentacles of such sloppy writing and unbelievable characters. Do not even delve into the powdered faces of the movie characters. How did she endure the torment of their laborious acting skills and walk off believing it was good?



Take one look at this man and imagine waking up to the horror that you once found him attractive.


Well the books are gone for good and Polly here has written this little post to unfurl the demons of her former fandom, hoping to put an end to the vampire chapter of her life. So have you ever been obsessed about something in your younger years that you are embarrassed to recount?



Looking Back at the Boy Who Lived

Daily Prompt: Off the Shelf

Imagine yourself curled up in a corner, grief stricken on the continuous disappointments that you have faced in life and bereaved of any hope at all. You have nothing to call your own except for the affection of some; but then love cannot take you very far in life, can it?

You know what you should do? Pick up Harry Potter and give it an intent read.


Because only then you will realize that love is an emotion so strong that it can rebound the mightiest of spells.You will come to understand that affluence is no yardstick to judge a family’s well being. The Weasleys show us that happiness is simply a function of the cocoon of affection that shades the family. You will begin to appreciate the prowess of humor, that even a small joke holds the strength to appease the soul in face of mortal danger. You will realize that no individual is an open book, very often we let our preconceptions dominate our opinion of others. Needless to say, a faulty premise will lead to erroneous conclusions.

It will teach you to bear that each one is human, thus, is bound to err. Howsoever shocking it may seem, even Dumbledore being Dumbledore could have been flawed. No creature is above another, as inconsequential an individual may be to us, mistreating them can force them to take actions that may prove fatal to us. Kreacher is a standing evidence to this. A reflection of your innermost desires is no more than an illusion and opting to fall prey to the lure of such a mirror will lead only to misery.

Oh and finally wizardry how so much advanced it may be, can still not undo death and the pain that follows.

I am revisiting the series after five years and on my second stint with Harry Potter, I am coming upon many a new insights that I had overlooked the first time. Harry Potter is not simply a children’s book built on a premise of sorcery, it is much deeper than that. It is once said in the book

Words in my humble opinion, are the most inexhaustible source of magic that we have.

Once you read this book, you will find this true because it will definitely leave you enchanted.

Oh if you still don’t believe me, all I can say is that I wish I could hold you under a confounding charm (if there were one) and make you read Harry Potter.

Objectionable Televised Femininity


Have you seen a small ticker running on a general entertainment channel which says that if one finds anything objectionable in the content being telecasted they are free to complaint to the Broadcast Content Complaints Council India? When I watch Indian television shows it makes my mind wonder if anything that is being aired is unobjectionable at all. There are hundreds of women clad in six yards of sari who let themselves be dominated by men, who try to hold on to dysfunctional marriages and make them work (read non consensual marriages between 18 year old girl and 50 year old man), who go to extreme lengths to prove conjugal piety to men who will take the next given opportunity to slap insults at them.

Here are seven women characters who should be taken off from television and the people who have created them or enacted them should nothing but be ashamed.

Bhabho- Diya aur Baati Hum

The mother in law who makes the sexual life of her son and daughter in law a dinner table conversation and asks the daughter in law to leave he house for not being of service to her son.

Simmi- Yeh hai Mohabbatein

The wife who shields a husband known to have sexually harassed a number of women. The sister who helps her brother flee the town when it is revealed that he made a MMS of a girl he loved and who turned down his proposal. The brother who attempted to kill his sister in law’s mother when she comes to know of his fault.


The grandmother who schemes to coerce her granddaughter into marriage because she believes that the actualization goal of a woman is to get married and have kids.


Pavitra Rishta

The mother in law/mother who reprimands the daughter in law/daughter for using contraceptives.

Urmi- Doli Armanon Ki

The girl who dreams of nothing but getting married at 19. Education and career is passe, lets get married and make some love.



The wife who lets her husband treat her as a doormat. The one who never asserts her opinion or allows her will to supersede that of her husband. The one who patiently endures his physical and verbal abuse. Kudos to you for making your marriage work with a sociopath!

The mother who shamelessly switches her newly born daughter with a newly born boy in a hospital so as to uphold her honor in her husband’s house.

Be the Edward to my Vivian

Daily Prompt: Born to be With You

Be the eyes that find solace in my eyes.

Be the smile that rests on your lips when I am being naive.

Be the man to trust me with your car.

Be the hand that takes my hand as I stand clueless on a street.

Be the kinship that demands nothing but a drink and a little talk.

Be the gaze that remains settled at my sight.

Be those feet that steady my pace when I am walking too fast,

Or the ones that set mine in motion when I am too afraid to advance.

Be the whisper that reminds me how beautiful I am when I do not fidget.

Be the force that makes the world bow at my feet.

Be the gentle nudge that helps me fit in.

Be the unwavering belief in my abilities, even when I believe the contrary.

Be the faith that doesn’t shudder to confide the unspoken in me.

Be the time you stole for me, from what is known to be your sole passion.

Be the slumber you succumb to, in the confidence of only a privileged few.

Be the submission that let my opinion supersede yours.

Be the blow that assuages my hurt.

Be the persuasion that longs for my company.

Yet be the nod that accepts my retreat.

Be the epiphany that qualifies me as priceless.

Be the knight who rescues me.

More importantly, let me be the woman who rescues you back.

And that is what you call being the Edward to my Vivian.

P.S. This was a post I wrote a few days ago. I call it my Pretty Woman hangover.

Soul Stirring Cinema Not Many Remember

Have you watched Stanley Ka Dabba? Weren’t you moved by the endearing capacity of that kid to endure his sorrows? How about Oye Lucky Lucky Oye, Lucky’s suave demeanor and his glibness qualify him as the sexiest con man Bollywood has ever seen, right? While watching Do Dooni Chaar, didn’t you jump off your seat exclaiming that is how you fidget with your father over the music in the car?

We all watch movies for recreation but sometimes the stories that unfold on the 25mm screen are so enchanting that they stay with us for a very long time. They make us introspect, ponder on the complexities of life and appreciate the beauty of the smallest of things. Today I am going to write about five such movies that touched my heart and remain an all time favorite.

Mumbai Meri Jaan

Mumbai Meri Jaan poignantly captures the aftermath of a bomb explosion and how each one of the characters redeem their lives eventually. In a single blast we all stand to lose not only lives but the will to live as well, it induces fear amongst us, evokes cynicism towards people of a different creed and manifests loathe for the police for having failed in their job. The beauty of this movie lies in its earthiness, the natural mannerisms of the characters. Someone does not want to travel in the local trains, someone does not want to work with a Muslim fellow, someone’s loss brings forth the realization that they have been a voyeur for others’ grief and someone is simply trying to face themselves in the mirror. The movie ends with Rafi’s song ‘Yeh hai Bambai meri Jaan’ the fitting conclusion being that it indeed is an uphill task to live a metropolitan life.

Mr and Mrs Iyer

We have all heard tales of communal violence pitting people against each other however this movie brings to us the story of two different individuals who are drawn to each other in the wake of a communal riot. On her way to Kolkata with her toddler son, Meenakshi Iyer is acquainted to Raja a friend’s friend and her chaperone for the long journey. The bus driver takes another route and consequently the bus is halted because of a curfew in the light of outbreak of communal violence in that area. Raja reveals to Meenakshi that he is a Muslim which leaves a conservative Tamil Brahmin Meenakshi shell shocked. She conceals his identity by naming him as her husband to a Hindu mob and he guards her at every unfateful turn of their journey. The woman who once regretted drinking the water he had offered her, experiences a heartache on his departure at the end of their journey.

Paan Singh Tomar

Not every runner ends up being as celebrated as Milkha Singh. This biopic introduces us to the life of a man who traverses the journey from being an exceptional athlete to a bandit. Every character that he assumes during his life is purely to satisfy the smallest of wants in a life of bereavement. To break free of penury and despondency, he joins army, to quell a humongous appetite while being in army he participates in military sports so as to secure himself unrationed food and finally to avenge the violence inflicted on his family owing to a land dispute he becomes a rebel. Irrfan Khan adopts the the character and the rustic language brilliantly and it is hard to take your eyes off him.

Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro

Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron is a classic which is entirely forgotten. In this black comedy two photographers accept an assignment from a sensationalist journalist to secretly shoot a corrupt builder. What seemed to them their golden ticket to fame embroiled them in a series of unfortunate events finally unfolding into a side splitting climax of the dramatization of Mahabharata. Two men embarked a journey to make every wrong right end up being wronged at the hands of unethical elitists yet they uphold the undeterred spirit of the common man as the movie ends with both of them humming ‘Hum honge kamyaab’ (We shall overcome).


Lunchbox is the story of two secluded souls who are brought together by an exchange of letters in a tiffin box. A housewife attempts to revive her husband’s feigning interest in their marriage by cooking him a delectable meal for his lunch box. However the Harvard accredited Dabbawalas commit a folly and deliver the lunchbox to a widowed accountant instead. The arrival of the estranged husband in the evening brings forth the realization that her hope ridden lunchbox has reached the wrong hands. The next morning she sends a letter within the lunchbox thus sowing the seeds of a companionship which finds her an ally to share her dreams with and to the man an opportunity to redeem his words and heart back. Imagine, letter a primitive form of communication originates a captivating relation between two strangers, a relation  which is even deeper and meaningful than the one brought to life by marriage.

This post is a part of the Miss Lovely Activity in association with BlogAdda.

Miss Lovely, an off-beat film directed by Ashim Ahluwalia is set in the lower depths of Bombay’s “C” grade film industry. It follows the devastating story of two brothers who produce sex horror films in the mid – 1980s. A sordid tale of betrayal and doomed love, the film dives into the lower depths of the Bollywood underground, an audacious cinema with baroque cinemascope compositions, lurid art direction, wild background soundtracks, and gut-wrenching melodrama. Miss Lovely is scheduled for commercial release on 17 January 2014.

Book Review #1: The Cuckoo’s Calling


“Unhappy is he whose fame makes his misfortunes famous.”

Lula Landry is dead, her body lies, pale on snow on a cold winter’s night. A high profile model traverses through a jump, her way from the balcony of her flat to the ground, leaving behind the question if it was her own despair that perpetrated the jump or was she knocked off from the balcony?

“The dead could only speak through the mouths of those left behind, and through the signs they left scattered behind them.”

So is the case with Lula, different allies and each with a different story to tell. A foster family, who believes she had the tendency to be ungrateful to the ones who introduced her to luxuries. An admirer who asserts it was the paparazzi that drove her off the balcony. Friends, one who knows she would have called before taking the formidable step, another who refuses to accept that she was suicidal. Some believe that her insecurities have eaten up her life and others that her lover might have pushed her in one of his hissy fits. The police rule it out a suicide for that lack of proof to the contrary. And entrusted with the responsibility to weave together the varied accounts and unveil the real girl who breathed as Lula Landry is Cormoran Strike, the private detective hired by her brother, who seems to have led a life as intriguing as Ms Landry herself.

And the question still remains, ‘Was it her own bent for self destruction or a tragic end authored by a kin?’

For the past six months, I haven’t read a book, precisely I have started many but couldn’t finish them because I soon lost interest. This is my first novel in a long time and I am quite pleased that the jinx was broken with this one. Once I finished reading the novel, I knew this will be the perfect novel to write the first book review for Expressions.

The Cuckoo’s Calling is a brilliantly authored thriller which will keep you glued till the last page. It is an immense novel yet Rowling manages to keep the plot taut and as we reach the conclusion, there is not a single end which remains unstraightened. Strike’s character makes one reminiscent of Sherlock (from the BBC television series Sherlock), razor sharp vision backed with the skill of deduction, detached from worldly ties and the silent agility with which he unravels the truth. The beauty of this novel is that Rowling has spun a life like tale, her characters no matter how strong on surface have their own vulnerabilities which they are too scared to expose. Conflicts as, whether ferocity implies vile, the darker facet of fame, trial by media and line between unconditional love and possessiveness, are intricately woven into the tale. The last thriller I read was Gone Girl, though it made for an interesting read but the story shapes up in a very unreal fashion and thus I have fully come to appreciate the execution which has been give to ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’.

If you do not have a reading appetite for a long detailed novel, then you can give this one a pass, otherwise ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ is an excellent read in entirety. Witness the return of J.K. Rowling into what she is known to do best, immersing one into an unfamiliar world as if it were their own.