Memories- the missing pieces of the puzzle.

“….When there were no external records that you could refer to, even the outline of your own life lost its sharpness…”

One of the many things that have been bothering me lately, are memories (or more appropriately, the lack of them).

What is the point in living a good life if you can’t remember most of it, if not all? Experiences only matter if they can be recollected, years later, and you can almost feel and smell the environment around you at that point in time. Reliving an experience is probably more important than the experience itself.

Recent events have made me realise, in a crude fashion I must add, that no, I don’t remember most of my past.

To many of us, memories are the anchors which we desperately latch on to gain reassurance and comfort. No matter how gruesome a person’s past has been, nostalgia, and memories, give them hope, or at the very least mental peace, to help them survive until they meet the inevitable end.

They say small pleasures make our life beautiful, and I agree. The bigger events in life appear and go away with a bang, never failing to make an impact. The little joys, on the other hand, creep upon you, persist, and don’t elicit any more emotion than, perhaps, a slight smile. But it is the familiar serenity of these moments that contributes to our happiness in more ways than we can imagine.

What happens if one realises someday, with a shock, that they no longer remember such memories? Perhaps the little joys failed to market themselves well, and as a result have been erased from our mental canvas.
How do we deal with such a loss?

Forgetting them is one thing, being aware of such deletion is a whole other despair. Being blissfully unaware of anything and everything seems to be the best way to retain happiness. And when tangible records- pictures and videos, taunt us with evidence of our involuntary forgetfulness, how do we cope with it? Do we move forward, making new memories in the process, or mourn for the ones that have died a sorrowful death?

Thoughts on “Lakshmi”- Does it deserve the hate?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’d be aware of the brilliant short film “Lakshmi” that has been getting trolled and dragged down by social media pages. Let’s dissect the drama and the incoherent abuse thrown at it.

The film is about a woman who is stuck in a typical Indian middle class marriage- an abusive husband who cheats on his wife, a kid, the absolute necessity to work because, well, financial reasons, and a maddening monotony. The woman, frustrated and so very done with life, makes a choice and indulges herself for a few minutes- and the indulgence is of a sexual nature.

The arguments (if you can call them that) against the film are that Lakshmi did it for revenge. That sex is not the only way out of the situation. Perhaps she should have walked out of the marriage. Maybe she should have been ‘independent’ like in the “woman empowerment” movies. Etcetera Etcetera.

I just have one question for people speaking about how better the situation could’ve been handled- “Why do you feel the need to push your life choices onto someone?”

Now, before you hit me with the “It is just a movie, don’t take it seriously” comment, let me state that movies and books, especially ones like these are meant to be discussed. They put forth valid points and can be enriching learning experiences if one shakes off their affinity towards their existing beliefs.

Now, back to the discussion. We’ve all made bad choices in life. Either due to irrationality or due to sheer desperation, we’ve fucked up and come past it. And most importantly, each one of us has a different moral compass. What may be right for you may not be right for me. It is impossible to objectively decide whether an action is good or not.

Furthermore, Lakshmis aren’t a rare species. In India, they are everywhere, silently suffering and toiling hard. They have accepted and resigned to their fates and only hope that their next birth would treat them better. Eventually, one free soul breaks out, seeks happiness for a brief window of time- before she gets back into the cocoon she is so tightly encased in. The Lakshmi in the movie is one such beautiful human.

She happened to feel that bliss in someone that listened to her. Someone who made her feel accepted and beautiful, who quoted Bharathiyar, and unlike her husband, actually made her feel like she existed.

The validation and the rush that comes with being paid attention to is a feeling common to every person. I am sure no one reading this can deny that they’ve been insanely attracted to an intellectual (pseudo-intellectual?) person who quoted their favourite poems/books and said sweet things to them. We’ve all been there, guys. We’re all just a bunch of support seeking, normal human beings.

Lakshmi is a woman went through the very same experience. Having sex with a stranger is the superficial and overhyped aspect of the issue. The act stems from being abused and exploited for years.

The second and the most important aspect is, it was Lakshmi’s damn choice. Regardless of the reason, Lakshmi, a woman, is entitled to do whatever she wants. Why the fuck does one care about morality? It isn’t even an issue, considering morality is just subjective as mentioned before. Seriously, it isn’t even surprising to see so much piss boiled at a woman making a choice for herself; so many men intimidated by a woman having some harmless sex. Don’t use “culture” as a shield to protect your privilege, y’all. Grow the fuck up.

Lastly, we should remember that such commotion has arisen only because it was sex. We have had lots of films like English Vinglish and 36 Vayadhinile where the husband abuses the wife and flirts with other women, but in these movies, the woman always takes education or a noble cause as her weapon to reform her husband- and in the end, her husband and his family magically realise their mistakes and they all happily live ever after. In real life though, patriarchy and toxic masculinity are deeply ingrained. It has pervaded every fabric of the society through several decades and oftentimes, even a lifetime of constant education is not enough to change a person holding such ideas. Hence, such films are supposed to be used as a coping mechanism when you lose all faith in humanity, after which they should be set aside, and films like Lakshmi should be made and praised to hopefully bring at least a fraction of the desired utopian change.

I am not even going to start on how no one spoke about how her husband treated his wife or how he cheated on her. Such double standards have apparently become the norm now and no matter how well put those arguments are, they always come across as too feminist.

Well, I only hope that a day will come when common sense will be as common as it should be.

Routine is beautiful.

My life’s a routine.

Everything I do is pre-planned, pre-determined and absolutely not in my control.

I wake up at the same time everyday. Do the same things. Board the same train. See the same faces. Etcetera etcetera.

And I love it.

Routine is mundane, people say. I personally can never relate to it.

Mundane is boring. Routine is beautiful.

The amount of freedom routine gives is liberating. Life falls into a clean, chaos-less orderliness.

But, but, each day should be a new adventure, people say. Well, tinker your routine and choose your own adventure for the day!

Travelling through the same parts of the city everyday helps you discover new food places, new nooks, tiny details you never knew before. You fall in love with your city.

Meet the same people, form a kinship. Experience sonder. Learn about their lives, it enriches yours.

Incorporate rewards for yourself, do exciting things. Routine allows for all this and more.

Routine cleans up your day and allows you to do things you otherwise might not be able to do. It allows for self development and learning.

I believe everything in life has a rythm, a certain pace and orderliness to it. Routine is that rythm. It’s beautiful and rewarding. Embrace it.


20 years back, the world sipped amortentia 

It’s been 20 years since the first Harry Potter book was published.

Over the years, the series has become one of the most popular ones ever, loved by readers and non-readers alike.

The generation that grew up with the books speaks of it fondly. They recollect memories of standing in queues to get the book, they remember nostalgically how it felt to watch the movies on the big screen the day they were released.

Even for the younger generation which read the books years after they were published, and of which I’m a part of, this series has had an inexpressible impact.

I remember reading all the books at a stretch in eighth grade, falling in love with the characters, obsessing over the heart-wrenching parts.

The books, for us Potterheads, are never just books. They are a necessary part of life; not in the crazy fandom way, but in the casual matter of fact manner.

Befriending potterheads is a delight. Bonding over finer details of the book, making up canons together, ah! What bliss!

I’ve lost count of the times I met someone and immediately thought they were similar to a HP character. It’s almost as if the characters are real people.

Even though it’s been 7 years since the last movie was released signifying the official end of the potterverse, we potterheads prefer to live in a delusional state of being where the magic is immortal.

JKR, props to her, has done her part in keeping the magical universe alive, with Pottermore, new books and movies…. But still, nothing will ever equal the unparalleled mysticism that the books contained.

The books have been criticised harshly- some say the books are too kiddish, some say the writing is sub standard. Some say that JKR has stolen the plot from another series (cough cough), others say that the books are overhyped.

These muggles though *eyeroll*

Of course, one can never claim that the HP books are the best books ever written. The hard truth is, they aren’t.

But, fiction allows for a very limited area to be explored. There are only so many mythical creatures, only so many options to choose from. JKR has handled the plot brilliantly, and has packed everything into the books. That is a job very very well done.

She has inspired an entire generation to read. Somehow, the “nerd” status is now coveted, bookish humans are now celebrated!

She has taught us lessons in love, friendship, community, not giving up and other essential things.

She has inspired lakhs of people to be warriors. There are stories of several bravehearts conquering life threatening diseases by drawing inspiration from the books.

The series is larger than life, and this is an undisputable fact.

Despite the shortcomings of both the author and the books, we potterheads continue to hold them in our hearts. The series is a lifeline for us, something priceless.

Let’s raise our wands to our dearest immortal classic.

All is well.

The epitome of beauty

I might have just come across the most beautiful journal ever.

Don’t believe me? See for yourself.

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Ah ❤️

Matrikas have recently launched a new collection of journals. Titled “Creative woman’s journal”, the collection has four variants- “To dream”, “To fly”, “To write” and “To glide”, symbolising liberation and an escape from reality.

First, I’ve got to mention the quick delivery. I got my journal delivered to me in just three days from registration! That is probably one of their best(estestest) attributes.

Now, the journal. The design is very sophisticated and well thought out. The quality matches the looks too, with the buttery smooth and thick papers.

The amount of thought that has gone into the making of the journal is very evident. Besides fulfilling the main expectation we have from a journal (proper space to write), this journal raises the bar by including colouring sheets, stickers and doodle sheets. These make it both enticing and therapeutic to use.

My sister who is aged 10 years, is very very excited by the journal. She is in great admiration of the rich colour of the front cover and the colouring sheets. She called dibs on the colouring sheets the second she laid eyes on them!

With the advent of social media, journaling has become second nature to every one of us. We constantly document our lives and display it for the world to see. Although this gives us happiness and gratification, putting pen to paper and pouring our heart out is something that remains wrapped in nostalgia. This journal, I’m sure, will aid in resurrecting the dreamy writer slumbering inside.

Check out Matrikas- http://www.matrikas.co.in/

Reach out to them on Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/MatrikasPaperProducts/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Carnatic music really elitist? 

This post is my very humble take on recent happenings in the Carnatic music industry.

Mr. TM Krishna, an artiste of supreme talent and very high calibre, has been spearheading a movement (of sorts) that aims to make Carnatic music more inclusive.

In 2015, he came out against sabhas, the politics that plague the industry and the nepotism at play. I’ve witnessed first hand how deeply rooted politics is in the industry, and I laud and respect him for talking about it.

But the (non)issue at hand is quite different.

One thing we’ve got to understand is that both the classical art forms- Indian and Western- are elitist. Anyone can enjoy them. But without proper training, it is not easy to understand them. And that’s precisely how they’re supposed to be.

I don’t understand the “people don’t come to concerts, so we need to take concerts to them” argument lots of people make today.Carnatic music is very accessible. Free concerts all around the year, plenty of recordings on the internet. Besides, there’s a music school on literally every street.If someone still doesn’t want to listen to it, it’s their choice.

There’s no necessity to package art in attractive ways just to make it sell. Dumbing down an art form to make more people flock to it is criminal, imho. 

Mr. Krishna says that we have to take concerts away from sabhas and auditoriums to make Carnatic music more accessible, and that the industry has brahmin domination and imposition.

A very important, but underrated aspect of kutcheris is the acoustics. To enjoy ICM, you need to have proper acoustics.

There’s no rule that says kutcheris should be performed in sabhas (obviously). But if we want to make improvements in the way Carnatic music reaches the listeners (which we should), we’ve got to catch up on the tech aspect. That’s why we need to try and have many more well-equipped sabhas; not take CM away from it.

A sad fact- lots of top sabhas still don’t have proper acoustics. When that’s the case, would it make sense to go to a beach, perform in front of a microphone and call it “appreciation of art”? 

Sabhas do act as cartels and rig the opportunities that are available, yes. But the solution to that is speaking out against the organisations and organisers openly, not abolishing all concert venues.

And the casteist angle to the issue-

It’s a bitter truth that there is an imbalance between the brahmin and non-brahmin population in the industry. But this imbalance has been steadily closing, and it is not justified to say that in today’s world, discrimination exists. Very, very rarely have I ever heard of Gurus practising discrimination.

Carnatic music is constantly evolving- taking up new elements and shunning old ones. It would be wonderful if we catch up with this evolution, and let it keep growing 😀

 

 

 

 

Thoughts unleashed- Women’s day edition

Yesterday was ‘International women’s day’.

As expected, I woke up to an FB timeline flooded with statuses praising women, claiming how the world wouldn’t run without women, and how every man needs a woman in his life. Let’s put all that aside for a while.

One particular trend that caught my eye.

There were some people who very proudly expressed that women should be respected and protected, for they are someone’s mothers/ friends/ lovers/ sisters.

I find this preposterous, to say the very least.

Statistics say that almost every single woman in the world has been sexually abused. But still, “#notallmen” trends on Twitter.

Even stepping out of the house as a woman is terrifying; we always have to be cautious and look out for creeps.

Women get preached all the time about how we should act, what we should wear, what we should talk about.

Lakhs of women get abused by their husbands and in-laws for sex, dowry and sometimes, even for revenge. But still, thousands of men actively voice out their (senseless) opinions on how the law should be scrapped because (a few) women are misusing it.

It has become socially acceptable to impose certain stereotypes on one half of the population, make inappropriate jokes about it and talk about it as if it were the truth. Sample this-

“The husband who wants a happy marriage should learn to keep his mouth shut and his cheque-book open!”

Isn’t it absolutely ridiculous that the entire female population has to be demeaned just to make someone laugh?

All this, and so much more, and some people don’t find even one valid reason to respect women?

Why do women have to have a role in a man’s life to be respected? I am a fucking human being! Why can’t you respect me for that?!

 

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Preach.

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT IS HAPPENING?!

I adore social media. It has made lives easier, it helps us voice out our opinions, no matter how controversial they might be.

But the recent state of my Facebook feed has caused me to lose faith in humanity. No kidding.

There are some TN based meme pages (which shall remain unnamed for obvious reasons) that have garnered huge amounts of fame and attention for the following reasons-

  • They’ve rewritten history.
  • They’ve brought together the collective youth power of TN.
  • They’ve upheld the rich tradition and linguistic identity of TN.

So on and so forth.

The admins of these pages, for reasons I’m unable to understand, seem to be under the impression that whatever they think/write is the absolute truth.

So, what do they do? They create pathetic, substandard “memes” and post articles, most of which are just conspiracies and random things you’d conjure up when you’re high.

Just to emphasise my point, I am mentioning two such “articles” I read just some days back.

Conspiracy 1- 
The Ennore oil spill was a staged disaster to deprive Tamilians off the nutrition present in fishes that live in the TN coastal region.

(WTF, right?! Wait! Read the next one!)

Conspiracy- 2
The other states have decided to build dams to restrict water flow to TN, so that Tamilians would die of starvation and thirst, and the world will then be finally happy.

(Yes, I can almost hear the other states go Buhahhahahhahahahhahahha)



They literally claim that there is a huge scheme that the rest of India has come up with, just to make Tamilians beggars.

And the followers of those pages, Oh my god!

How can someone believe anything and everything written on the internet? The admins themselves are being a disgrace to the society by spinning stories and spreading misinformation. And their loyal followers seem to consider their words as the answer to everything, even the mystery of life!

Not one, not two, but literally thousands of people comment on those senseless posts saying they’ll do “Porattam dawwwwww youngsters power dawwwwww” to solve mankind’s every problem. Arghhhhhhh.

Usually, I don’t get disheartened by misinformation floating about on the internet. But now, when I see the sheer number of educated people who believe in these things, my heart cries out in pain.

My dear meme creators, the stuff that you write are your opinions. Not facts. There’s a difference.

Yes, everyone is allowed to put their opinions on the internet. But please don’t guide people in the wrong way, pretty please?!

And no, I’m not a PETA activist. I’m a not anti-Tamil. I’m not associated with RSS/BJP/INC/Dumbledore’s Army.

Dear readers, FB users-

Please think for yourselves. Double check facts before reacting to something you read online. It’ll take just two seconds, but will save you from a whole lot of agony.

Well, I guess this bullshitting won’t end until someone does a porattam in Marina!

*sigh*

On self worth and inner demons.

I have struggled with low self esteem for the most part of my life.

Growing up, I didn’t have the internet to compare myself with Photoshopped pictures. I didn’t pay enough attention to the media for it to instruct me to look or act a certain way.

Then, at one point, some people came into my life. They forced an imaginary ideal on me, thrust it hard upon me. I crumbled under the idea of perfection. I doubted myself, created impossible standards for myself and beat myself up when I failed to achieve them. I hurt myself, both physically and mentally, because I couldn’t meet the expectations I had created for myself.

I managed to sail through life with this issue. I was somehow able to dodge it; I found ways to cheat my way around my lack of self worth whenever it challenged me- when I lacked the confidence to talk to people, I convinced myself that I was happy with the friends that I had. When I was too hard on myself and my music to the point that it impacted my life negatively and hindered my growth, I talked my brain into believing that I was doing something good to myself.

But the past few months were a revelation. I passed out of school and was out in the open for the first time, after being sheltered in a conservative environment for several years. One of my closest friendships ended some days later for no apparent reason. I failed in my very first step towards a professional qualification. And some more drama ensued.

I knew that I had to do something to handle this situation better, to save myself. The realisation that I had failed to love myself all these years was easy to accept. The acknowledgement part was easy too. It was the ‘building self esteem from scratch’ part that was horrible.

To the outside world, to all my friends and my family, I still had to smile, crack jokes and behave normally. What happened inside me was nothing short of a battle.

Accepting compliments gracefully, even accepting that I deserved to be complimented…… it was tough to come to terms with. Some days were especially hard. I had to cry, console myself, and pull myself back together. These bad days made me question my existence.. and there were a lot of such days.

I was terrified of putting my words out there. It’s been several months since I created this blog. But it has taken so long for me to finally post something because all this time, I have been judging myself very harshly.

I’m still not there yet. I’m on this journey, riding on, letting life and love lead me. So far, it’s been extremely rewarding. I’m looking forward to the day when I can openly, genuinely say “Yes! I love myself! I’m a beautiful woman, who totally owns herself and doesn’t let anyone’s opinions and judgements matter! I am ME!”.

It’s only a matter of time till this happens.