Sunday, April 27, 2008

My Niece again

There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.” ~ Elizabeth Lawrence

My niece was on the phone to update me on many things. Her grandpa is planning to make her join swimming classes. He took her to some pools. She couldn’t contain her excitement and asked him to call me up. She started, grandpa bought me track pants to exercise before I swim. He also bought me a panty. Giggling I thought eh! What is this? Then I heard dad tell her it is called swimming costume.

My sis-in-law is the disciplinarian and she would insist that Ankita finish her homeworks (yes, at K.G. Children are expected to learn and know everything under the sun including Laplace’s Theorem) first before she could play. Every book had a page marked ‘Homework’. I was at home for a few days and naturally, she knew I am not going to scold her for anything. She said, “Mama, Miss asked me to do my homeworks with my Aunty”. Ha ha ha.

She just finished her exams before the summer breaks. She came back and said, “I helped someone with some answers.” Sis-in-law asked,”why so?” She replied,” How would she help me if I don’t help her first?” And this is happening at K.G.

She came to the airport to see me off. One of her friends from the neighbourhood tagged along. Among the two, she has been the one who has got more exposure and the other girl clung to her for her expert advice. Her friend asked her, “So, this is what they call India Aeroplane?” She replied, “Yes, India Manipur Aeroplane”. Don’t know what the hell they were talking about. She was the more experienced you see, and she managed to have the last word and convince her friend.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Juno, zara suno, one mised call has come race hogi kaha Jodhaa ke sath. Ab ye Jodhaa kaun? well, it is the Lives of others

The lives of others: What I hate about the movie is its ad quoting SRK’s intention to make a movie like this.
I initially did not understand the setting, but S explained to me that it is the time when East German governmant controlled its people through surveillance. (I am weak in History as I was more interested in Science. My favorite science is Moral Science. ) An officer tries to collect evidence against a playwright and his girlfriend. He would listen to everyting that was happening in their house and type them out. Sometimes they even read, “They made love” (I was ready to see how? but he did not type more than that). He started off his work diligently but ended up getting submerged and involved in the lives of the two people. The movie is about how this affects his life and actions. It is an intense drama.

One missed call: I know it is a remake of a Japanese movie and I haven’t watched the original. I was building up expectation and was actually getting scared but until the end, the movie failed to convey why? One by one people get missed calls and a voice message telling the exact time when he or she would die. They often hear themselves screaming to their death over the phone. One by one people kept on dying. Some investigation happened over a hospital accident, somebody got burned. A child was trying to kill her own sister. A ghost appears. All the victims threw up a marble (or is it a toffee?). The guy and the gal were attacked. Almost died. The credits rolled.
Did you understand anything? Not me either.

If this was a movie good enough to have inspired a remake, then I guess this has missed the whole point of the original.

Race-The Twister: In one line, everybody is everybody’s girlfriend.
I didn’t like the picturisation of the song, ‘pehli nazar me’. I liked Sameera Reddy in the song ‘Aur Ahista’ by Pankaj Udas and I honestly feel she should have done what she was doing before she joined movies.

Juno: It is about an acerbic teenager trying to come to terms with an unplanned pregnancy. She is queer and outspoken but at the same time she is cute, funny and the story is surprisingly grounded. She is like every other teenager trying to look chic, wears big glasses, puts a smoking pipe (without actually smoking) and has a hamburger shaped phone. The songs are amazing and the dialogues quite witty. I particularly like the part when she got angry and told her friend that it is Morgan Freeman on being asked over the phone who she was? She acts cool and tried to handle an abortion, but age and experience fails her and she decides to do what is best for the child. When she had a one-on-one with her parents, they stood by her though the worst they had expected was news about her being expelled from school or some drug abuse but not pregnancy at that age. The gist of the story is this, but it explores the finer nuances of human relationships for instance, her relationship with her step-mom as the pregnancy progresses, her chat with her dad and his reassurance on true love, her friendship with her best friend (the boy who got her pregnant), the anticipation of an adoptive parent etc. Jennifer Garner plays a woman eagerly wishing to adopt. She tells her husband who is in a state of utopia about his music all the time,”I’ll never becoma a mother if I wait for you to become Curt Cobain.” :-) A must watch.

Jodhaa Akbar: I have heard about Akbar and Birbal. Now, who is this Jodhaa? I think everybody was struck by this question and people protested. Some say Jodhaa is Akbar’s daughter-in-law, some say Jodhaa is his wife. I feel Jodhaa was Birbal’s other name. The movie was worth a dekko.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Love actually

Rows and floes of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons evrywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way
But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really dont know clouds at all

Moons and junes and ferris wheels

The dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I’ve looked at love that way
But now its just another show
You leave em laughing when you go
And if you care, don’t let them know
Don’t give yourself away

This song by Joni Mitchelle is one of the OSTs of Love Actually. Karen (Emma Thompson) comes to know her husband is perhaps, having an affair and confronts him.
Karen: Imagine your husband bought a gold necklace and come Christmas gave it to somebody else...Would you wait around to find out if it's just a necklace, or if it's sex and a necklace, or if worst of all it's a necklace and love? Would you stay, knowing life would always be a little bit worse? Or would you cut and run?
Harry: Oh, God. I am so in the wrong. The classic fool.
Karen: [voice breaking] Yes, but you've also made a fool out of me, and you've made the life I lead foolish too.

I’ve looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It’s loves illusions I recall
I really don’t know love at all
Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say I love you right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I’ve looked at life that way
(edited the post. Some of you read it and mailed me. I cried posting it but felt miserable after putting it up. I thought if I should die today, this is not what I want to leave behind. I know many of you would have read through the readers but that is ok. I just didn't want it to be here anymore. :-) )

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

there is something about mother-in-law

How can an update about a marriage be complete without talking about the mother in-law? So here I go…My hard rock-loving-guitar-playing-meat-eating-at-the-drop-of-a-hat-alcohol-sipping-and-not-so-religious husband has got a Hari-Om-Hari-Om-Chanting mother. So between the two extremes, I went eiyeiya karung mein kya suku suku.

First lesson, she told me not to take the husband’s name. Not taking the name is ok but in Manipur, women often address their husbands as brother. I came to know that Malayalis and some other communities also practise this. A lovelorn gentleman would be writing to his ladylove like this,

” Dear Sister,
Ever since I saw you, my heart has been going ping pong...
I hope my dearest sister would understand my feelings. I shall wait for you in the Love Nest restaurant.

Your loving brother “
So, until we have a kid in which case, S would be Chintoo ke papa or Meenu ke papa, we would be bhai ben. S intervened and said, ‘nothing doing!’ and I was saved from calling him 'brother'. However, I did not take his name in front of her. So the conversations went,”Please come here. Food is ready. Please bring that”. I used to do this to my sister when we fought. “Mom said food is ready” with a straight face and not address her directly.

The next thing was about religion. The world and everything else came from Hari and therefore, I must entrust my life to him. Then she also added that once you are married, your husband is your God. I don’t know if S was getting promoted to Hari or Hari was getting demoted to S. So, mission ‘please the mom-in-law’ was like conquering Saichen. For the few days that I was with her, I entrusted my life to Hari and hoped that he would do something to please her. There were rituals to be followed everyday starting from having to change clothes many times and worshipping God (many, including Hari) a number of times.

One day, she asked me to cook and just sat in the kitchen. My! I cook fairly well but this was judgement day. I was very conscious even about the way I was holding the knife and cutting vegetables. Suddenly, my mom’s advice from the past years came to mind. “Some families, cook like this, some people like being served like this. See that the utensils do not make much noise when you cook or serve. Never say that you do it like this but always ask your mom-in-law how it has to be done.” I think every mother trains her daughter from day one to be a daughter-in-law. I used to hate it and say, "I’ll do it when I have to and I‘ll manage even if I don’t know", but finally her words became handy because my mom-in-law gave me tips on how she does things.

I am back to my shorts, T shirts, boiled eggs and Maggie, cook only one meal a day, that too with S helping me most of the time and pray ( a short one) before I leave for work and not at dawn. I know I could never live up to my mom-in-law’s expectations. She said she cooked for 17 people from the day she got married. The max I cooked was for 11 people and that gave me a severe back ache later as I am not conditioned. Those were her values and the only yardstick for measuring someone and I don’t really mind. Infact, she told me, “I know you are not going to follow many of the things that I do here but I just wanted you to know them”.

S knows I have failed and failed miserably, but he is mighty pleased because I tried. I also sing Usha Uthup’s song, ‘Hari Om Hari’ when I think of my mom-in-law.