Wednesday, February 14, 2018


And just like that, you're 35.

It's past midnight before you get a breather.

And you feel like listening to songs you've not heard in a million years.

Almost as if you wanted to see if a tiny fragment of you was alive and well.

Why did it take me so long just to find ... ?

The emails kept piling up all day.

Wishes from people who knew you before you knew yourself.

Wishes from people who know very little of you, but wishes all the same, to keep you warm on a cold winter's day.

A kind soul sends you flowers.Another sends you a beautiful card.

A friend takes the time to write you after years. And then there are those who don't expect anything but still make it a point to call you.

It is true. The kindness of strangers is the purest.

Do you spend your life / Going back in your mind to that time?

You know you're capable of equal parts magic and malevolence.

You know you can be both hero and hustler.

You intimately know beauty and betrayal, duty and disappointment.

You know everything there is to know.

Yet you know so little.

And would you save my soul tonight?

And just like that, you're 35.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

It's sunset and he's walking on Mount Road, towards the Nungambakkam flyover.
The traffic is heavy. It usually is at this point in time. People heading home. Heavy bus traffic, honks blaring. Of course, he can't hear anything, he has his earphones plugged in.
The buildings yield, the traffic thins, the road widens and that's when the sky opens up.
Glorious evening sky over Madras.
Sodium smooth and radio blue, crow speckled, leaping from east to west.

Almost as if all that the sun wanted to do that day was lie down and die, and let itself bleed slowly across all of eternity.
Sattendru maarudhu vaanilai ...
There was a time when such unbearable beauty would have torn his insides apart, left him feeling unhinged and unmoored, filled him with an urge to tell someone about it, tell someone that the world was beautiful and that life was thrilling.
Somewhere, somehow, all of that has changed.
He was sitting at the Ispahani Centre bus stand, earphones streaming songs from Minnale.
His office used to be around here and he would often catch a bus from this very bus stand on a Friday evening to go to the beach or just take a tour of the city.
It was drizzling and he'd cycled through the other hit songs from the movie and was a little absent minded when Ivan yaaro started to play.
Roughly two minutes into the song, he sits up, pauses the player, slides the song back a little on his phone and replays it.
There. No mistaking it.
He pauses the song, and plays that bit over again.
Nenjae nenjae unnai, ullae vaiththadhu yaaru ...
Almost as if Harini, otherwise peppy and playful in the rest of the song, threw a little bit of her soul into that one line.
Almost as if she wanted to lay herself bare for that one line, her voice straining, searching for that bit of pain to paint a pointless line with.
Yaeno yaeno yennai, paarkka seidhaai unnai ...
There was a time when lines sung like that would have turned him inside out for life, left him feeling a little less desolate and made him want to lay himself bare to someone in return.
He smiles to himself.
Somewhere, somehow, all of that has changed.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

As Good As It Gets - Thoughts

I finally got around to seeing "As Good As It Gets" on TV. Thought I'd put down some thoughts while the afterglow lasts.

  1. "And the fact that I get it makes me feel good, about me." This, and then there's another exchange when Melvin is strong-arming Carol into accompanying him on the trip to Baltimore: "You're saying accepting your help obligates me?"-"Is there any other way to see it?". And there are other scenes that I can't remember now. What I like about all these exchanges is how the movie is very comfortable in its skin about love, and kindness, ultimately being about one's own self and ego, no matter how much we want to say, or think or feel, that it's about the other person, or that it's about being selfless. There's an acceptance of our "self-centred-ness" in relationships that's  very grown-up, world weary, tolerant, lighthearted and refreshing.
  2. "It's very weird now not feeling that stupid panic feeling inside me all the time. Without that, I just start thinking about myself, and what good does that ever get anybody?" This is what makes one fall in love with Carol. Because she puts in words the guilt that all of us, in the midst of routines and responsibilities, feel on a daily basis.
  3. Melvin's squeamishness when people are genuinely grateful to him, and also how he doesn't take advantage of certain situations, like when he doesn't let on to Carol that he's asked for Simon's things to be moved into his apartment even though it would help him score brownie points with Carol. There's something gentlemanly in his character which is otherwise curmudgeonly.
  4. Carol waving to Spence from the bus. Carol calling Spence as soon as she gets to Baltimore. You can see the pensiveness and anxiety that comes from having to care for someone who's totally dependent on you. And then, when she hears that Spence was playing soccer and scored a goal, she becomes a butterfly who wants to go dancing.
  5. The fluidity of the narrative and the natural ease with which one scene melts into the next. Great screenplay.
  6. "Well, here's a little suitcase shocked that it's being used." ... "There's no way to pack for this trip." ... "Nice packing" As someone who's had to go on multiple unforeseen trips accompanied by last minute packing, and also as someone who's had to to lug suitcases down from the loft not just for myself but for the whole family because I was the tallest, these one-liners brought a smile to my face. But then, the movie is full of great dialogue.
  7. Excellent acting from everyone in the movie. Nicholson and Hunt are downright brilliant. Their Oscar wins were well deserved.
I don't think I'll be able to do justice to the movie given that it's 6 AM and my insomnia is finally wearing off. I will see if I can write a Part Two, although it seems highly unlikely given how rarely I post here.