Knock, knock. Who’s there? Future!

Lately, inside my head there’s this constant dilemma between the life that I want to live versus the life that others want me to live or the one that society enforces us to live. Every person I meet, they are trying to somewhere converge the life they are living with these societal standards. And I am pretty convinced at this point in life that even long term that may be the right thing to do. But I am happy now.

Food for Thought 01: Is being happy now selfish because there may be sadness and heartbreak in the future?

Food for Thought 02: I want to reach a stage in my life where I can look in to the future and still be happy in the present.

Food for Thought 03: What if there is no future? What if while loudly playing Starboy on my car radio, while driving the robotic zombie route back to my home I meet with a tragic accident and die?

Well, actually the possibilities of dying are endless, but I keep telling myself that I cannot afford to die right now and that’s why I need to plan and ration for my future. But I wish there was no future – there was only today and how I felt about today and that was just it!

 

 

 

Love and other things!

 

I’m on Delta flight to Detroit, first time traveling to Michigan. I’ll be driving to Ann Arbor to meet my sis who is coming all the way to meet me (I’m meeting her second time this month! yay!) and then there’s some work stuff on Monday. 

The song, to be precise “the lyrics” going on in my mind are “my boyfriends’ pretty cool, but he’s not as cool as me, I’m a Brooklyn baby, I’m a Brooklyn baby”. All hail Lana, she puts words into my trance.

I just had peanuts on the flight. Everytime I have peanuts it reminds me of my pet dog Tashi. God! I miss her.

The person sitting right next to me is reading “The Great Gatsby”. There’s an American couple right across the aisle from me who can’t keep their hands off each other, making the Korean guy sitting next to them really really uncomfortable. Just to think I was happy in the morning that I forgot to bring “Love in the time of cholera”, the book I’ve been reading for months now and can’t finish because I’m just so sick of love.

I guess love never leaves your side – love for travelling, love for sibling, love for pets, love for music, love for food, love for reading, love stories, love in general…

So here’s a cheers to love from seat 25D of flight DL1371.

This is Not a Movie Review: Venuto Al Mondo (Twice Born)

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probably I’m never going to meet a bunch of interesting strangers, fall in love impulsively and dance in the snow to rock n roll and classic American music

Director: Sergio Castellitto

Writer: Margaret Mazzantini (novel)

Starring: Penélope Cruz, Emile Hirsch, Adnan Haskovic

Release Date: 6 December 2013 (USA)

 

Last night I was eating dinner at my friend’s place when my sister pinged me saying she’s gonna watch “Twice Born”. After she finished the movie, she told me that I should probably watch it but warned me that it is intense so I might be sad.

Boston’s climate was confused whether it should rain or snow today – so it decided to shower both. I was curled up in my comforter, refusing to get up before 5 pm on a Saturday and that ‘sad’ keyword had attracted me to the movie like a bee towards a jar of honey (not sure, honey is artificial, wouldn’t it be more attracted to a flower with nectar, I give up!). I also checked imdb.com and I was surprised that it had 7.4 which is a pretty good rating. So I decided to watch it. Plus I love Penelope Cruz.

The description on imdb focussed on a mother bringing her teenage son to Sarajevo, where his father died in the Bosnian conflict years ago. But the movie was so much more. Throughout the movie, I kept thinking that I would love to read the book, just to understand the depth and complexity of the characters and the conflict in Bosnia that the movie could not reflect. I’m sure I would love the book even more than the movie, because, isn’t that always the case?

The movie starts with Gemma (Penelope Cruz) receiving an early-morning phone call from her old friend, Gojco (the boisterous Adnan Haskovic), urging her to return to Sarajevo. The work of an American photographer is the subject of an exhibition there. She agrees to visit with her son, to expose him to a different part of the world. Immediately, memories of this thrilling and tumultuous time come rushing back to her. The year is 1984, Gemma arrives in Sarajevo for her research for the Winter Olympics. Her guide is a poet Gojco who introduces her to a bunch of eclectic artists including the American photographer Diego (Emile Hirsch). Diego pursues her in a very reckless American way “Drop everything, and run away with me,” he purrs. They have only one night and then both are leaving for different parts of the world. Diego is leaving for Brazil to photograph children working in mines, whereas Gemma is going to Rome where she is getting married to her long time boyfriend.

Gemma’s marriage doesn’t last long and Diego comes back to meet her in Rome. “Every day will be a party with me, baby.” She resists the attentions of the younger man. Until she doesn’t.  Both of them want a family, but after multiple miscarriages they get to know that Gemma is 97% sterile and due to the past drug abuse and police records for Diego, the police would not approve them for adoption.

Their struggle to have a child is tragically and beautifully portrayed in the movie. In one of the scenes, Gemma tells the psychologist that “I’m here because I am afraid. I am afraid of losing the man I love. I want to give him a child, to tie him to me.” I couldn’t help but wonder is this why most people have children. To tie another person to you, so that they remain in the relationship with you even if they do not want to. I have a friend I have known for a very long time. People who are not close to her know that she does not want children. But since we were close, I Know that it is not that she did not want children, she just didn’t want to have a child with a man who is not there to raise the child with her. She did not want to have an absentee father or someone beside her but not in love with her anymore, which is often true in an Indian society. What she really wanted was a man who wanted to create something together, to build a life together, a family together. In the movie, both Gemma and Diego want that family, however they falter.

As their inability to have children starts wrecking their marriage. war builds up in Bosnia. Gojco is part of a Sarajevo arts community where denial about the war runs deep. Lines of people fleeing the city when the shooting starts only earn a “they would never touch Sarajevo” from him and his friends, the silly dreamers. The war plays out on television, until the snipers show up in Sarajevo and the power is cut off and the city is under siege. Meanwhile, Gemma’s efforts to conceive play out against that bloody backdrop.

At one point, Gemma and Diego are on the verge of splitting, but instead they decide to travel to Bosnia, to go back to their old friends and past life. In Sarajevo, Gojco comes to know about their sterility issues and he gets creative with the idea of surrogacy. This brings us to the one of the films vibrant and intriguing characters, an outspoken Croatian musician named Aska (Saadet Aksoy). But like every other character in the movie, she gets saddled with some truly awkward dialogue, much of which revolves around her obsession with Kurt Cobain. (This is also an easy shorthand to inform us that it’s now 1992, the year the Bosnian War began.)

I do not want to give away any more of the plot or the climax in here. I give Penélope Cruz credit for her role of Gemma – she is tragic and earthy as ever.  She is a wonderful actress. Gojco, has the best lines in the movie “Poetry is God when he feels nostalgic for man”, “For me the most beautiful word is ‘grazie’”. Emile Hirsch plays exuberant and callow well. Diego has a childish charm, a man-child vibe and reminds me of someone I fell in love with a long time ago, and which made watching this movie such a personal experience for me. I never understood, which is also a big flaw in the movie, how Diego moved away from Gemma or why. In fact, the two of them, Cruz and Hirsch, never really click in the movie, there is a serious lack of chemistry.

Irrespective of the flaws in storytelling, when the third act of the movie rolls in, the surprises start piling up. Events from long ago are shown through a more accurate lens in the backdrop of the war and in the context of love and motherhood. This is where “Twice Born” rises to something nobler and closer to heartbreaking.

The movie has really terrible reviews on Rotten Tomatoes which only goes to say that it’s not always the film critics opinion that counts. The movie hit me… hard. The mix of history, great performances, and an arresting plot, brought home the reality of what war means to civilians caught up in it. I didn’t enjoy the movie because it was hard to watch, but I loved sitting through the emotional journey that this movie was. If you have watched it, what did you think?

Sreeja

My thoughts about Damián Szifrón’s “Wild Tales”

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I just finished watching Damián Szifrón’s “Wild Tales”. The movie was nominated for Oscar in 2015 in the Best Foreign Film category. But what really sold me to watch it was that it has 8.2/10 rating on imdb.com and 95% rating on rotten tomatoes. I’m a big movie buff, but I haven’t really watched that many foreign movies because I think reading the subtitles takes my focus away from what is happening on screen and thus leads to less feels. Anyways, this movie was different. In fact I was never bored enough to look away from the screen and play Farm Heroes Saga on my phone. If you haven’t watched this movie and plan to watch it in the future, then I will ask you not to read this blog as it will contain some spoilers.

Because I do some research before watching any movie seriously (unless I’m on Netflix and planning to fall asleep while watching it) I already knew that the movie was broken up into 6 short stories and that it was about broken people and revenge. I didn’t want to read anymore so I just started watching the movie.

The movie starts with a very hot Argentinian model going to the airport to board a flight. She asks if she can use her miles and the clerk at the airport says no. That was the first time something struck me as odd. Because when I fly I can always use my miles. It’s a different story altogether that i forget to add them. Anyways, maybe that scene was important to the movie or not, but it kind of got me hooked. This first short story is called “Pasternak” and it is about a person with the same name. The conversation in the movie was very interesting and it was fun to watch. At the end, they show an old couple and you are left to wonder if they are Pasternak’s parents or not. I’m pretty sure they are.

The girl in the second movie “Las Ratas” was very pretty and it was enjoyable to watch her. However, this movie was mostly surrounding the old cook and I think the theme was really how badly she wanted to go back to jail to lead a secured life. At least that is how I interpret it. I’ve watched Orange is the new Black and I think that the old lady will be quite the badass in jail.

The next story was “El Mas Fuerte”. When the story started then Diego Iturralde was driving through this beautiful road. As a newly confident driver myself I would love to drive on that highway between Salta and Cafayate, alone, blasting Enigma’s Return to Innocence. However, this is where it got really crazy and gory. This was perhaps the only story which was even funny at times, may be because at the core we are still ignoble. I fast forwarded the fight sequences a little bit because they are not really things I enjoy unless I’m in a movie theatre and I’m challenging myself.

After the third short story I started to question whether all these stories will be linked together at the end or not (a huge fan of Arthur Hailey’s Airport). I even started fabricating in my mind how all these stories could be related. Anyways, they were not.

The next story was “Bombita”. If I understood Spanish a little bit I would have set the expectation for this movie accordingly. This movie was fun to watch. I think i sometimes behave like this guy Simon Fischer. I will really overreact, shout and scream when something that seems unfair to me happens. I will react so much that everyone around me will remember my reaction instead of the bad thing that happened to me. Then from the next time onwards I will learn a lesson and just not react and do the same thing calmly without much fuss. Since I was relating the story to myself I was really confused when SImon, seating in a nice cafe, watched his car being towed. Anyways, I really just did not understand the ending of this story. Why would the wife who wanted a divorce because the husband was not spending enough time would come to meet him in jail happily with their kid. Also is it safe to bring a little girl inside a prison? I understand that all prisoners are not bad and often not guilty, but still… By the way, Simon Fischer is such a typically American name. Anyways, may be it is common in Argentina as well.

The fifth movie, ‘La Propuesta” was the one I enjoyed the least. I really have no comments about this story except two. Firstly, I really liked how the study and the video room in the protagonist’s house was decorated. I wish I have something like that someday. When my husband and children get too chaotic I will just lock myself up in that room and listen to Bocelli’s voice or Yanni’s composition to calm me down. I think this will remain a dream. The other comment is that I felt really sad when the gardener Jose was killed at the end.

The story that really frightened me was the last one “Hasta que la muerte nos separe”. Since I was a young child I have really worked on every aspect of my personality. It has really affected how I think about success, life, religion, relationships, career, politics etc. I have consciously chosen what I wanted to eat, what should be my impact and footprint on this world and many other things. The only thing I left untouched was my emotion and at this point in my life I feel like that is something that I should have worked on. This story kind of shows you that what a wreck you can be if you do not control your emotions at the correct moment. I really liked Érica Rivas‘s acting in the part of Romina. I admire actors who can let go of their need to look pretty on-screen and without any inhibitions become the character that they are portraying. Nonetheless, she looked so pretty in the end when she’s sitting on the floor, surrounded by her friends, crying and at the same time concerned about Ariel.

I cannot watch any movie without identifying personally with a scene, a character or at least imagining myself in a role in place of a character. I know many people watch movies objectively, just like a movie. But at the same time I think a movie like this one wouldn’t have got so much rating just for it’s entertainment value. I think it kind of shows what we as human beings are capable of doing if we are not constantly talking us out of it. All in all, it was an interesting movie to watch.

The Dementors

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I was having a particularly bad day today. I was really sad and heartbroken and I was about to jump into bed and wail away with grief until I fell asleep. So I made myself some hot tea and broke off a huge chunk of some bitter-sweet dark chocolate and was about to curl up in my bed with a book.

And then, I thought …

No wonder the cure for the dementors is a piece of chocolate. No wonder the patronus charm that you need to perform to ward off the dementors is to think about your happiest memory and say ‘Expecto Patronum’.

Yes, I am reading the Harry Potter series now. And you guessed it. 🙂

When I was a kid I resisted reading this series thinking to myself that it is a bunch of books written for children. But when I saw the movies I really enjoyed them. Specially, the scene in the third movie – The Prisoner of Akaban – where Harry himself wards of the dementors that were trying to kill him by performing a patronus charm. Last year when I was going through a particularly difficult phase, I realized that I needed some magic in my life.So on a whim I got the entire series for myself. I also gifted my sister the same so that we both could read it together.

I have been reading the books for sometime, really enjoying them  and I just finished reading the third book. However, until today the analogy for the dementors and the patronus did not occur to me. I realized that what we achieve inwardly will change our outer reality. J.K. Rowling must have realized this before she wrote the book. She was writing this book when she was going through a difficult time herself – her mother’s death, balancing the joy of a newborn and the remorse of a failing marriage, and poverty. She chose to shape her experiences into a charming series of books to enlighten generations of children; she gave us magic to lighten up when down for the rest of our lives.

When I was burdened with the pressure of completing my thesis last year, I remember my old wise friend ask me if I had chocolate. And when I answered in affirmative, he had said “Then what is stopping you?!”

Sometimes as grownups we forget that the cure for a sadness is to take a huge bite from a piece of chocolate and to remember our happiest memories. I wish I can do this more often…

P.S. I will go now and save the bars of dark chocolate for all the rainy days that are yet to come….