I don’t need sympathy or special consideration because, ultimately, who cares? You hate me, and I hate me, too. We are on the same team. I guess what I’m saying is that maybe we could all just mind our own fucking business for once, and that when you can actually see a person’s scars, maybe be a pal and don’t pick at them.
Samantha Irby, in ‘We are never meeting in real life’
1. Run a half-marathon
3. Don’t be an asshole
4. Read a lot
6. Don’t be an asshole despite having read a lot
7. Learn to drive
8. Write better
9. Shave more often
10. Call home more often
11. Walk Hadrian’s Wall
12. Make new real-life friends.
It was an unplanned trip, to attend to a family matter. Most of it was very boring. The smog kept me indoors, so couldn’t go for long walks. I’m off TV, so no time to waste there either, and I have no friends left in Karnal to go visit.
Reading was my only escape. I read Anita & Me, and Sapiens, and re-read a bit of Thinking fast and slow. Also read 3 issues of The Economist. Separately, read a 100+ articles in Instapaper.
The visit did end on an exciting note though. On the evening before the flight, I met up with my friends from undergrad for dinner.
I had no clue what to expect. These were the people with whom I spent most, if not all, of my first 3 years of college. And yet I hadn’t seen, or spoken, to most of them in last 5-7 years.
I’ve long believed that friendship is just a bunch of shared experiences. Friendships are kept alive by creating these experiences, or reliving them. What sort of friendship would it be when we haven’t even met or spoken for better part of a decade, and not created shared experiences for even longer?
I seem to be having a renewed fling with Hindi movies. It could be me – looking for a change from the formula Hollywood movies – or, it could be the movies I saw – light hearted, yet not the outrageous fare the Salman or Akshay produce.
I liked Ae dil hai mushkil (ADHM). And now, 2 weeks later, I really, really liked Dear Zindagi.
ADHM felt more polished, had much better music, and had the usual play between a male and a female lead.
Yet, it was Dear Zindagi that I liked more. A lot more. Some reasons…
Alia Bhatt – she brings a truck load of freshness, youth, and energy to the screen. It’s been a week, and I can still close my eyes, and remember the wide variety of her expressions. Brings on a smile every time.
SRK – I was starting to get tired of him in lead, primary male roles. And he goes an reinvents himself, and how. A small cameo in ADHM was brilliant. A full role, but as a second character to a young, female, primary lead – and he pulled it off effortlessly. He was strong and present, as his own character, while not stealing an iota of focus from the main character – Alia’s. Which brings me to…
Sole female lead. I didn’t think that Bollywood could produce a movie with a strong, solo female lead. At least not in my lifetime. And here we have one. Not just a solo, strong female lead. But one that’s neither an arch-feminist waging the war on the world, nor a mother-to-the-world leading the charge. She’s just a regular, young girl, living (the complicated & troubled, yet sometimes joyous life) in modern India. Hats off to the producer and director for taking on this challenge, and executing it without heavy melodrama.
Mental health. It took a long while, but glad to have a bollywood movie bring a focus on mental health into the mainstream. Usually, mental health issues are portrayed either with jail-like mental asylums full of odd characters, or with dark, dangerous, gloomy, brooding characters.
It was pleasant to see it shown in such a different light. Yes, normal, successful, seemingly happy people, surrounded by friends, can still have mental health problems. And yes, it’s not just normal, but important to see a therapist/consultant to work on those problems, the same way we do with our physical health issues. Thanks again, to the writers, the director, and the producers, for bringing mental health in focus, in such a non-intimidating, yet serious manner.
Bombay & Goa. My top two favourite places in India. The only two places, I’ve long stated on record, that I can live in if I ever return to India.
The movie highlighted some of the best bits of both places for me, without focussing on the usual landmarks and tourist spots. More than the sights, it was the people, the culture, of both places that I love. That I’ve missed. Was a warm blessing to see them portrayed on screen. Not perfect, not complete, yet true … to what was shown.
Friends. I don’t have any. I use to, not anymore. So, it really warmed my heart to see such a close, happy bunch of friends. Fighting, forgiving, fun, friends.
Friends, you can speak to. Or not. Who give you an embrace, and a shrug. Who care about you, but not just for the gossip. Just, friends.
Family. Again, the movie didn’t stick to one of the two standard strains of family relations – the god like parents in front of whom everyone bends eventually, or the devils of parents against whom everyone rebels, till parents come to their senses or the kids die.
Families are complicated. Relationships are complicated. It was good to see them shown as such, and not in one of the two simple baskets. We’re both right and wrong in our relationships. Often at the same time. Some relationships are special, some even more so. The strength of that bond, sometimes, has nothing to do with time spent together, or closeness of the relationship in traditional terms. And sometimes, relationships that should be close, aren’t – me & sis, for example. Often, some friendships get closer than even the closest relationships we were born into.That’s just how we are. Such is life. Such, it was, in the movie. Thank you!
Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le, Take 2. I liked the music of ADHM more than that of Dear Zindagi. Still, there are a few songs in this movie that’ve quickly made their way to my most played playlist. This one deserves a special mention, considering the original was (is) a long time favourite. (Take 1 is brilliant as well)
Love you zindagi…. (and you too, that small corner of Bollywood)
Dreary grey & gloomy morning
No warm humans
Step by step deeper into the ravine
They wrote me off when I screwed up on my boards and JEE.
They told me off when I went to a private college.
They told me they always believed in me when I got placed the same place that my IIT compatriots went.
They wrote me off when I instead went to work with a small startup.
They laughed at me when I decided to write CAT again instead of joining a smaller college first time around.
They told me they always believed in me when I got through, and joined an IIM.
They told me which jobs to pick and work towards.
They dissed me when I didn’t follow their wise words.
They told me they always believed in me when I got where I wanted.
Rumour has it that they’re writing me off again. It’s a good sign.