They Say

They say

Be whatever you want

Feel free

Wear whatever you want, say what you want, eat what you want

No body shaming, no fat shaming, no idiot shaming, no shame

Feel free

Be what you want to be

They say

However

Your dress is too short, you talk trash, you eat only junk

Eyebrows raised, lips pressed

Wafting fragrance of disapproval

Sure, feel free

Be yourself

As long as you are the self I want to see

Random Thoughts

1. I haven’t seen the movie Frozen, but when I came across this article, I knew I’d have agreed with her assessment had I seen the movie.

The most telling comments were from people who said that they knew something was wrong with the movie, but they couldn’t put their finger on it till they read this article.

I feel exactly the same way about the movies Hirani makes. I wish someone would deconstruct the Munnabhai movies, 3 Idiots, and PK like this.

2. I’ve begun to see Mother’s Day stuff popping up all around now. And discussions, as usual, about whether it’s relevant or not. It struck me that what we really need to have is a ME-Day. On that day, each one of us could do exactly whatever we want and celebrate ourselves, independent of all other ties. Then we could go back to being fathers or mothers or brothers or sisters or whatever. I think that would restore the balance, no?

3. Been reading articles about how even the most well-meaning parents mess up their children. Well, duh, that should take the pressure off parenting, right? So what’s all this about trying to be the most perfect parent ever? Waste of time, I tell you! :)

4. Went link-hopping (is that even a word), and landed up on wonderful articles on both science and philosophy. Further reading made me realize my personal views are more aligned with Shankaracharya, rather than Madhwacharya, though I’ve been born into a Madhwa family. I didn’t know so much of what the latter’s philosophy included, and though his arguments are clever, I personally tend to believe in Advaita more than Dvaita. It’s good to know sometimes, I guess. And the quantum physics world is just so fascinating, it’s hard not to get lost in it.

Living and Dying

I wrote a story about two years ago and sent it off to a contest. My mood at that time was a bit dark, my thinking not very clear, and something I was trying to articulate came out in the form of a story.

I completely forgot about it (out of sight is out of mind for me and my stories), until I received a mail asking if it was still available for publication. That way, I’m a little weird in the sense I dislike sending out simultaneous or even consecutive submissions. If my story does not get accepted by the party I sent it out to, I kind of let it languish instead of looking out for other markets. So, yes, the story was indeed available for publication, and I was quite surprised actually, by the selection.

The editing of this story was a wonderful learning for me. Such small changes by the very patient editor resulted in such impact. It made me ask myself what I exactly I meant when I wrote this or that. My stories have been subject to editing before, but for some reason, this specific experience was much more of a revelation to me than the ones before it. A good editor can make such a huge difference!

Now that the story is published, I read it and I can see how much more improved it could be. The exceptionally good writers make the good writing seem like a breeze. I guess, just like all the other arts, where a good singer makes you feel you can sing too, or a great artist makes painting look like child’s play.

So much further to go down the road, but for now, let me celebrate the little successes in my life.

Utopia

My ideal holiday is one where I hole up in a hotel room, order room service all day long, and read the stack of books I have brought along with me.

Being an avid reader all my life, it was somehow disconcerting and disheartening to suddenly come across speedbumps that almost threw me off-course. For the past couple of years, I’ve had such trouble reading books that I had kind of given up on them. Most of them just bored me. Nothing, not the story, not the language, absolutely nothing seemed to keep me interested enough to complete the books I brought home from the library. I even joined the local book club in an attempt to revive some interest.

This weekend, however, was as close to Utopia as I could get. Perhaps it’s just a cycle that I was going through, but this time, the books I lugged home on Friday evening kept me engrossed the whole weekend. I just loved all of them, and I count them as successes because they got me lost in their world, and left lingering notes for me to feast on.

Stephen King goes to the Movies: Stephen King reminds me of Ray Bradbury, in the way the words just tumble out. It might be careful work by these two writers, but when you read them, you get this sense of breathlessness, the sense that they are just unable to contain the flow of words, they will just explode if they stop writing. One of the stories was ‘Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption’. I loved the movie The Shawshank Redemption, but reading the story as written by King gave me a different vision, and it definitely didn’t bring Tim Robbins to mind as Andy Dufresne. That was also the night after the heavy rains in Bangalore, so when I stepped out for a cool walk in the night, King’s words circled me like a pet dog wagging its tail, and all at once I was inspired. A long-forgotten idea surfaced and clicked into place beautifully, and I’m excited to see how that story will turn out.

Running with the Demon by Terry Brook: YA novels have long fascinated me. I am a bit taken aback by the violence in many of them (Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner), but I love that age (in stories that is), the confusion, the maturing, oh so many things. Any book that has within the opening para, this wonderful sentence — ‘His voice cut through the cottony layers of her sleep with the sharpness of a cat’s claw.’ — can only get better as it goes along. Such a beautifully written book, though a bit predictable given the YA genre, yet the ending is so perfect, just the type that makes you heave a big sigh of relief after holding your breath through all the battles.

Bodily Harm by Margaret Atwood: Margaret Atwood is easily one of my favourite authors. She makes the story of just one woman so compelling. You can feel the heat of the tropics, the anarchy of her surroundings, the confusion in her head, the desperation of the search for that elusive something — she does it all so well. Every word is so carefully picked, not a comma is out of place, meticulous is the word that comes to mind. Rennie came with me on my walk last night, and I wanted to hold her hand and say that it’s going to be ok.

I’m currently reading the last book in that pile from the library, Solar by Ian McEwan. So far I like it.

I love that I’m reading again, and I love that I love what I’ve read. There’s no better feeling than to come away with the stain of the book on your fingers.

Why Bad is Good

I just read yet another article bemoaning the fact that the news nowadays is full of terrible things, and that there are no takers for good news. Of how the media incites the public on a daily diet of blood and gore, and then shrugs it off as the demand from the market.

It got me thinking, and here’s my theory why “bad” news (in more ways than one) is here to stay. Perhaps I’m over-thinking this, but I’m basing it on what people generally discuss when they hear any type of news.

I think when we hear bad news, we are immediately relieved it is not us. We are grateful that we have been spared, and we finally feel a bit better about ourselves because we escaped it through some good fortune.

Reading about good news relentlessly, however, makes one feel inadequate. We feel overwhelmed by the fact that others are out there doing things, living worthwhile lives, while we just go on with our ordinary lives. I guess it makes one a wee bit disheartened, and not so happy about oneself.

So, I guess that’s why bad news remains on the front page*. What do you think?

* When I wrote that, I immediately thought about the current trends of full page advertisements on the front page. Hmmm, now is that good news or bad news? :D