I am changed, forever – HIGHWAY (MOVIE) REVIEW

Now, this is a first for me. I haven’t actually reviewed anything, not really. But with Highway, the Hindi movie, I felt like I had to. But, my review is coming approximately 10 days too late. Not because I only just watched it. I watched it on the day of its release – 21st February. And then I watched it again, on 23rd February. And then one time more.

And yet, I couldn’t bring myself to talk about the movie. This might be the movie that has affected me in the most obvious, profound ways. Ways which I cannot even fully comprehend. For a week and a half, I felt like I was looking at everything around me in a haze, in a blur. The only thing that seemed really real to me, that still seems real to me, is whatever Imtiaz Ali showed me. The only truth seems like the one spoken by Veera. And Mahabir. The only sound that my ears truly registered is the whispered, melancholic ‘Maahi Ve’.

This movie was like beautiful poetry to me. Somewhere, somehow, it was a poetic lamentation infused with beauty of nature, beauty of oneself. There is a scene in the movie, where Veera sits on a rock, in the middle of gushing, clean waters, and laughs. Just breathes and laughs. And then she cries. Then she laughs and cries.

This is what did while watching the movie. I don’t know if that is what catharsis is, or what being moved means. But I laughed and cried and loved with every single frame of the movie.

I have always believed that the best changes are the ones that you can feel. We all change, constantly. But the change within us that we can feel, are the best kind of changes. Every time I watched this movie, or listened to a song from it, or even thought about it vaguely, I felt something shift within me. Sometimes majorly, sometimes imperceptibly. But the change was always there. But only this very second, while writing this review, did I realize that the change that was happening within me was nothing but healing. I am healing because of this movie. I am, as corny as it sounds, feeling more closely because of this movie.

I read all the reviews I possibly could about this movie. All tweets. Everything. And some reviewers didn’t like the film, and some did. But this film feels so personal, that it doesn’t feel like anyone can understand it as well as I do. So, it doesn’t feel like anyone talking about the movie is doing it justice. Even though by no means was I a part of it, this film somehow belongs to me. And yet, I want to share it with everyone. It is within me, and outside of me.

I know all of this is confusing. Heck, even I don’t understand what I feel. But the fact that a movie has made me feel and think and, most importantly, live, at all, is a feat. Before this movie, I felt like I was floating through life, watching, observing, but not really living. Seeing life through a frame. Now, this movie has gently prodded me to put the frames down, and experience. And I cannot NOT do what the film wants. So here I am, vulnerable and strangely enough, happy.

PS- the movie also inspired me to take a trip to Himachal. Which I hopefully will. Soon.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

What Fanfiction Means to Me.

I had a debate about the nature of fanfiction writing today. Many people fail to understand the obsession with it. We were discussing it in my Popular Culture class, and the whole thing just made me uncomfortable. My discomfort led to the reveal that I write fanfiction. Most people were amused. Others confused. One girl looked back at me and said, “And you said I was a nerd?”

Shortly after my very able, though a little misguided, teacher left the classroom, a friend of mine – well, more of an acquaintance I care about, approached me and spoke to me about it. She sprung question after question, and I tried to answer them effectively. But I couldn’t. she was theorizing fanfiction. Looking at it from an academic – well, more psychological than anything else, point of view. I tried to make her get it, but the conversation ended with me saying things incomprehensible to her, like “Sherlolly” and “I am a fan of being a fan”.

Right then, someone asked me if I am ashamed of being ‘found’ as a fanfiction writer. And someone else asked me if fanfiction means fantasy fiction. The word ‘commodity fetishism’ and ‘regressing back to play’ was thrown around. And I looked around my classmates, my teacher (who was still standing outside), and thought to myself, “They just don’t get it.”

Not sure what this post was about. But I just had to write it down.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Home

I miss home today. Which is weird because I don’t really know what home is. Home is ambiguous. Is it that place where I spent the sixteen years of my life, from where are attached my memories of loved and lost ones? Or is it that place where I was supposed to have been born and brought up in, if everything had gone according to plan.? Or is it this city that I currently live in, that I feel attached to and detached from every other minute, the intensity of the two conflicting feelings so strong that it could only be compared to feeling bipolar? I don’t know. I don’t even know if it’s home I am missing, or just the feeling of belonging somewhere, anywhere.

Maybe, however, it’s not a tragic story. Maybe I truly belong to many spaces and places. Instead of belonging nowhere, I belong to a lot of places at the same time. However, that brings me pain too. Because then I am nothing but a puzzle. If I need to search for myself, where do I start? What do I take with me on this journey of discovering, (or recovering) myself? What part of me should I let go of? I do not know. Unlike usually, where I am exhaustingly optimistic, I am not going to end this post on a hopeful note. I am just going to wish as I type these words that one day, I will be home, wherever that might be.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Feeling Universal

I spent my time watching a lot of older How I Met Your Mother episodes today. It felt good.

Sometimes when I watch that show, I feel like I am Ted, and the whole world keeps taking the romance away from my life. Then, I realize that 99% of the people watching the show must also feel the same way. It feels good to know that what I feel when I watch something is a feeling felt by millions when they watched it. Makes me feel less alone. Like if I can have that honest moment of feeling something with a bunch of people I will never meet, hear or see, I can never be truly alone.

Think about it. Think about a song that you love, a painting you admire, a poem you adore, or a silly forward your friend messaged you that brought a smile to your face. It becomes all the more special the minute you either share it with someone you love, or you realize is loved by people you might never know. It gives you a huge sense of community, of belonging, doesn’t it? I will go a step further and say it makes me feel faith. Like, if what I feel is so universal that it was felt by many others when they came in contact with the same piece of art, then I can be sure that this world is a good place.  

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Translation

So, I found this Hindi poem online that blew my mind away. I decided to translate the first paragraph in English. I have, mind you, never done anything like this before. S please bear with me. I hope anyone who reads this blog likes it.

सपने – Aparna Bhatt

कुछ सपनों को जो पंख दिए,

वो खुले आसमान में उड़ने लगे,
बादलों की छांव मिले,
तो कभी तारों की महफिल सजी।
नरम-नरम हवा के पालनों में पलने लगे,
कोरे-कोरे ये सपने रंगों से खेलने लगे,
सुनहरी धूप की धागों से एक नया जहाँ बुनते हुए,
बिखरे-बिखरे यह सपने अपने-आप में ही सिमटने लगे।

Dreams

When some dreams were given wings,

they soared in the open sky,

sometimes, they got the shelter of clouds,

and sometimes they sat in the gathering of stars.

In the warm nurturing wind they were nourished,

these empty dreams started playing with colors,

using the threads of the golden sunlight, these dreams sowed a new world for themselves,

these scattered dreams started gathering themselves up.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Try to Remember

Sometimes, I don’t feel like I am good enough.

More times than not.

Sometimes, I feel that what I am personally best at, is not even average in the Big Bad World.

But I carry on. Because life goes on. Life will pass me by, mercilessly. So I mask my insecurities and doubts and cover them up with a smile – because that is all I can control. sometimes, I get exhausted. So I stop, take deep breaths and cry.  Let it out of my system. And I won’t say that I just dust myself off after a setback and carry on like nothing has happened – after all, feeling inadequate hurts. A lot. But I try to remember what the greatest teacher in the world told me. He has been my guru of sorts (though I am pretty sure he doesn’t know that), since I was in sophomore year of college. He once said, “Fear keeps you small.” Now, maybe this quote is plagiarized. I do not know. But, he said it with such conviction and sincerity, that I attribute this quote to him.

And he said this exactly three days after I had had the biggest setback to my sense of self esteem. I had messed up my monologue performance. Which pretty much felt like the end of the world to me.

And then he said this. And he said it not to me, but to a class of 38 students. But it didn’t matter. He went up to the board and wrote it down there. And I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with something. I am still not quite sure what, exactly. And I felt tears spring up in my eyes. I wasn’t exactly crying – I just felt choked up – perhaps in a good way.

I still doubt myself. I give up – I am not perfect. Life doesn’t work that way. But I try. Try hard to remember.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Theatre

I have probably never mentioned this before, but I love theatre. Script writing and directing feels better than anything else in the universe. Incidentally, a few days back, I got to perform a monologue for my Theatre Studies class. I will admit – I am not really a very good actor. But writing – ah, that I did. For myself and many of my classmates. Here’s a is glance at shameless self promotion. My monologue -

(Sitting at the center of the stage)

Don’t worry, my baby, it will be all right in a matter of a few moments. Never again will you have to wither in agony. Just a little while now. (Bursts into hyterical tears, stops the rocking motion. Cries loudly.)

I am so sorry I took your life away, my child! (Standing up) I know that everyone will look at me and equate me with a monster, but what could I do? You were so sick, so weak. It shredded my heart to pieces to see you undergo a lifetime of pain every time you moved.

Everytime you called for me, your voice seemed to become softer, more fragile. Everytime you cried when you had to get up to eat, you became weaker. Everytime I had to help you bathe, you seemed more ashamed, more helpless. Your strength wavered everytime you raised your eyes to look at me.

But doctors (laughing hysterically), they congratulated me. Told me you would be able to continue existing. Whether you were able to truly live or not, did not matter to them. They took immense pride in telling me that even in this condition, you will not die. As if not dying is all there isto living. these doctors apologised too. with lowered eyes, they told me your treatment is too expensive, I cannot afford it. And that was it. Your destiny was sealed. I could not pay for your treatment. Still, I didn’t give up. I begged for help. But everybody I went to, turned their backs on me. People who had meant the world to me, who I would have done anything for, tore my hope apart. Left us to rot in our misery. So, I did the only thing I could. I sent you to a better, less cruel place.

What do I do now? I cannot let my child’s murder go in vain. Everyone needs to know. They need to realize what monstrosity I had to commit to relieve my baby of pain. They need to know that though mine were the hands that took his life, they are all his murderers. I have to …I have to…(In a frantic manner, she dials a number on her phone. Speaks extremely calmly.) Hello? Police station? Yes, this is Aisha. I live in B 303, Brigade Gardenia. There has been a gruesome murder here. Could you send some people? Thank you.

Now they will know. Know what my helplessness drove me to do. Trust me child, I did everything in my power to fix you, to make it better. But I lost. Over and over again. And I couldn’t bear to see you like this anymore. But don’t fear, don’t worry. Your mother is joining you in death.

(Picks up her knife and slits her wrists)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment