The one scene actor’s short lived biography 

Out of curiosity, what value or worth it is to me or to any human being on this very planet to know how many girls actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui slept with, along with his love making details?! 😃😃😃 I mean what contribution to knowledge does such a biography provide?! I am sure it’s been a long hard struggle for him to make his mark in the film industry but then it’s a struggle for everyone to make a mark somewhere, each and every day. Big deal. And it gets funnier when the women you claim to have been in a relation with slap legal notices and offer clarifications on how you have cooked up stories 😂 

Result – an apology and withdrawal of the book completely 😃😃😃 

Now that’s some serious printing cost gone down the drain for a publishing house! Innit?!! 

So my last question is .. Did you not read the manuscript before it turned itself into a book?! Or did you think in this day and age, it’s perfectly fine to lie and make up stories to sell a book 😃 

What a waste of breath!

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Bollywood films 

I recently got a whole big box of Bollywood film DVDs and I thought alright, let me be decent and start watching some Bollywood main stream films .. 
I started with Toilet Ek Prem Katha. I had heard so much about it when I was in India in August that I thought it’ll be a great start. It was nice. Had a message and had its own target audience.. So all very cool.. I could relate to parts of Murshidabad where toilets are an issue and where the West Bengal Government is now working on to solve this issue .. So all in all, a nice story. Not something that I would go back to ever but like a one time watch! 
Then I moved to watch Sridevi, Nawazuddin and Akshay starrer film, MOM.. I felt like I was travelling back in time. There was this old film with Raveena, Manoj and someone else and it was an exact same story where the girl child gets raped and then the mom takes on the rapists killing them. The difference between the new film Mom and the old film that I can’t remember the name of, is that in the new one Sridevi is a step mother and in the older one Raveena was the biological mother. So it’s like exactly same stuff, packaged differently and recycled after good number of years! 
And I stopped looking at the DVDs since. 
My question is this. Why does a story on screen have to be either attached to a motive or be targeted to achieve something or be a replica of something that’s already worked ages ago?! .. 
Look at us. Look at the people around you, look at you. When our stories and life that we all live individually is so very different given all the similarities then how hard can it be to tell a story on screen which lacks political agenda or lacks originality?! 
Or perhaps the so called storytellers have become so very complacent to stay in their job that they no longer care about anything. It seems like an assembly line production of stories .. Mix 1998’s 3 scenes with 1978’s 4 scenes and then add some 2015’s newspaper articles and that’s it.. We have a film! 😁😁😁
What a waste of money and time! 
Then someone like Rishi Kapoor goes on air to say that the ‘audience likes garbage so we give them garbage’ 🙏 

The issue is this. No one cares what the audience actually likes. I have known the best and renowned filmmakers who have claimed openly that they make a film for their own selves primarily with a hope that the audience will like it or appreciate it.. Fair enough! We all work with and on what we like; few of us rather are blessed to be doing what we thoroughly enjoy and that’s fine. As long as we don’t enter into a large arena thinking and feeling that whatever we enjoy must be enjoyable for a wider audience. And when you do step into a wider arena how hard is it to step in with some sensibility and originality rather than with an agenda to please someone or with an agenda to recycle and copy?! 
Besides the story, I have not seen a single film where I have loved the clothes or the boots or the accessories of the actors to say that oh look! I would like to buy or wear something like that. For some strange reason I have felt like I should provide my jackets and boots to some of the actors on screen cos their outfits were pathetic. So aesthetically even there is hardly anything OTT or anything worth a recall. At least if there’s no story, you can least admire the outfits but then that’s not even there. Or the locations. That’s even worse! Let’s not even get there. At times I feel I should rent out my own house to a shoot .. At least people can appreciate the decor!   

Oh well. I am done ranting on a Saturday morning 😂😂😂 Maybe I should get down to tell a story on screen .. Nah! Actually I should just quit living.

Voice. 

I’m sort of bored of these sexual assault and harassment stories because somewhere they are all relatable and somewhere they all have bits and pieces that I don’t want to relive or recall or even remember. When this one woman from the west coast, #RayaSarkar put out a list of academicians to warn prospective students of the sexual harassments that happen in educational institutions, I had to sit back and applaud her. I had to. 

It is no longer my personal battle or someone’s personal battle against sexual violence or assaults or harassments; we are all in it together as individuals. 

The fight is a lot deeper than what it appears on the surface. Naming and shaming might work and it also has an equal probability that it might not work. The battle concerning individuals minus institutions and individuals with institutional baggage, has and will have varied impact. Which one hides in which one and who feeds into who, will perhaps be the driving force into either bringing all these to a close or brush them under the carpet. 

Interesting .. that’s perhaps the only word that I have for this campaign and that’s the only word that I also had for the widespread #MeToo campaign as well. 

I am not oblivious to the other gang of individuals asking victims to come out and talk about specifics before naming & shaming .. I had said this before that talking about these puzzling and self depreciating experiences doesn’t come easy. It takes years and years to be able to admit to being a ‘victim’ at the hands of power in any form. 

Naming someone in anonymity is a lot safer for your own sanity when you aren’t strong or when you don’t feel and know for sure that you are strong. I am sure we all know by now that sexual abuse is hardly to do with sex. It’s about power. Hence, specifics do and are bound to take a backseat while avoidance and silence sit in the front row. 

Nevertheless I am with Raya and I am with every individual who dares to stand up with a voice despite my boredom. (My boredom goes through its own phase 😂)

Me too ..

When I woke up to the #MeToo hashtag, my first reaction was to type out a status with the tag. But after going back and forth a bit, I decided not to tag along. 

I don’t think sexual assault or sexual harassment or even sexual violence need tags or even that they need  victims of these assaults to unite. They literally don’t. I was reading the book ‘The Spy’ by Paulo Coelho few days back and in that when Mata Hari confessed how she had been assaulted by the headmaster and how it took sometime to realise that he had assaulted other girls too, it did seem that unity and talking about it in open did matter. However, that’s the case of one woman who was thought to be ahead of her times or perhaps that’s just a reflection of how the society is and how the society has been towards women by and large. 

Assaults that happen within homes, within extended families, within friends, within protected boundaries of schools, colleges and universities, don’t necessarily make or break the relations. Just that ‘be careful’ and ‘be watchful’ are added to the victims vocabulary. A long list of ‘don’t’s’ follow soon. Who to mingle with, who to talk to, who to confide in, and more importantly who to trust, then become questions of paramount importance thus paving way to a greater impact on the human mind. 

In this entire whirlpool of thoughts, feelings and emotions, somewhere thinking about your own self takes the front seat and everyone else follow; thus marking empathy as a long distant cousin who is perhaps better if avoided at all costs. Sympathy takes a seat in the front row. Rightfully so because it’s this sympathy that the same individual has received when she or he was a victim of someone’s ego, of someone’s vulnerability or fell prey to someone’s power show. And hence, when it was his or her time, sympathy is what he or she could rightfully provide. 

Rising up for causes, tagging along the existing ones, has always left behind a large proportion of individuals who have forgotten what it feels like to be cared for. They surely know and appalaud the courage of those that choose to relive the dark moments or spots from their lives; but they don’t necessarily know the value of empathy and the importance of their own voice because they have been left in isolation. 

Until of course, like that headmaster of Mata Hari’s school, or like Harvey Weinstein, or like some person A or B or X, we are able to tag the name along to the suffering, I don’t see much point in uniting saying ‘Me Too’ just to add to the fact that sexual assaults happen all the time, all around us, to a majority of us. 

If this has to stop, we need to know the individuals on the other side. The victims side of the story has been spoken about, written about and has been in the media for long. The list of Don’ts have significantly increased over the years. We must be doing something wrong! 

Perhaps we don’t need to unite and raise our voices to say ‘yes! I have been sexually assaulted or harassed’ .. Perhaps we need to unite and say ‘this man or woman has assaulted me or has harassed me’ .. Whoever it is! Even if it’s in your own family, that’s what we need to unite against .. Empathy can only be rebuilt if we know the face of who are fighting against. 

We can’t be fighting against the entire human race! There must be an abundance of goodness otherwise how is it that we wake up everyday in hope and in love?! 

Girls .. 

If I could tell you that one thing that I realised quite late in life,

It is to live in the heart than to live in the mind.

While the world might insist that mind is far stable;

I would still say that heart is the space that is love abled.

To walk through life, you wouldn’t need someone’s thoughts,

You would need a faith in you that you could walk.

As time passes, you will learn a lot,

You will grow, fight, fend and talk.

Through it all you would need to be loved,

To feel, always let faith and belief have you wrapped up.

You wouldn’t need someone’s knowledge to build your own, 

Neither would you grow in someone’s shadow or live in someone’s drone.

Keep the mind far far away because most battles have happened due to mind’s disparity with it’s crave.

Stay in the heart, keep others in it too;

To build a better world, for all of us, this is the least that we can all do.

And being a girl, this should come easy,

Read it in books that our brain is blessed with wires running differently; 

Thus be always guided by your own intuitive connectivity. 

Count the blessings not in form of materials, money or power; and may you always strive to give more than you acquire.

Like attracts like, trust me, very few will admit that to you;

Hence, be the magnet of love and sew. 

International Day of the Girl Child ❤️ 

October 11, 2017.

The life before ..

The life before ‘social profile’ sat in prominence is hard to imagine. Was I this interested in people and their lives is hard to believe and argue? The number of times that I have liked someone’s travel album or someone’s new born baby’s photo is beyond count. Earlier all this information used to travel through in time and I would genuinely be happy or think or leave it to my imagination on how their lives would be. That imagination of mine would generate hope, would generate positivity and a lot of genuine warmth in me for them. Now, with everything right on my wall and in my face, I am pretty sure that my feelings are stagnant.

The same click, the same love, wow and sad expression, how much more do I have to add? Is that all that I am allowed to feel when I switch on that social media tab? I guess everyone likes to be angry once in a while and thank god, I am able to click on anger too but then do I really click it for posts of friends, colleagues and people by and large? No. I seldom react to being angry on a piece of news that I feel has an impact on me somehow. The conformity that I have been made a subject of, governs me day and night. I get notifications on everything that I post online. Why do people react? Why don’t they act? Have we always been a society that acts to react? I wonder.

Do I miss the age old traditions and long waits for a piece of news? Perhaps I have been pushed into the age of ‘now’. I am so used to getting reactions right as I finish posting that I no longer no what it feels like to wait. I could argue that it is a good thing to have happened in time. But I could also counter agrue that perhaps what waiting would have taught me, these instant reactions wouldn’t.

Do I then blame the social media for being a part of life? I guess I blame myself for ‘being social online’.

 

 

3am .. 

She opened her eyes and tried to figure out which city she was in. Delhi, Bombay, Kolkata, Bangalore, London, Sydney, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Kaula Lumpur, or was it some random city in the United States?! The dark room made it hard for her to see. The ceiling felt familiar but the lights were put out for her to read. She closed her eyes and decided to fall asleep. 

This became her 3am routine. Day after day, night after night, years went by and every night ended for her at 3am and every morning began at 3.05am for her. What followed then was a strange sequence of struggle in her thoughts and in the broad daylight when she smiled and laughed, even she didn’t know who she was. 

Several searches revealed strange facts about being up at 3am at night but those never appealed to her. What did appeal to her were those 5 minutes of transition between her reality and her existence. She could argue that her existence was her reality, well, actually not. Her realisations weren’t her reality. They made up for the reality that she chose to see and to trust. Her existence, well, she just existed like the rest of us, in flesh and blood. 

Finding it rather hard to tell and to digest, she decided to move through her transitions and reason. Oh well, like several others, she didn’t realise that even reasons weren’t available for the best known cases. Sometime in history books, she had read that it’s always a struggle between the mind and the heart so she decided to figure out what was it that was tearing her apart. Was it all in her mind or was in all in her heart?! Something somewhere did need to be fixed for her life didn’t feel like life usually does.