My new favorite human

After I woke up from my nap, I moved to a small sunny spot near the window. It was a small spot, but I could make do with it. I wanted to nap again but the floor felt cold. I decided to get up and look for another spot in a different room.

The boy human was propped up on the bed with his hot light and sound thingy. I climbed over the bed and sat near his legs, staring at his wired device. I rubbed my head against his legs and mewed softly to get his attention. The boy turned off the noise, and picked me up.

He smiled and began to scratch behind my ears. It felt so wonderful that it made me purr. He kept me in his lap, and turned his attention to the noise again. A bunch of humans were talking about something on it. Every few minutes his hand would stroke my back.

Then all of a sudden the boy picked me up and placed me next to the thing in which the humans were talking. I couldn’t understand why and looked at him. Then I felt the burst of warm air on my belly. This was so much better than the spot of sunlight in the living room. I stretched and set myself against it. This boy was now my favorite human in the family.

IHM's cat: Sher Khan. Used with permission
IHM’s cat: Sher Khan. Picture used with permission. All rights belong to IHM

 

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. The prompt was to  write a short story/incident (200-300 words) from an animal’s perspective.

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5 off-beat Bollywood movies to get you started

Movies are an integral part of India. Be it the popular Bollywood which makes mostly Hindi movies, or the other regional –woods like Tollywood (Bengali), Kollywood (Tamil), Mollywood (Malayalam)  and so on which makes movies in regional languages, cinema touches many people. The movies made can be split broadly into two categories: mainstream cinema and off-beat cinema. Mainstream movies are your run of the mill Bollywood movies. They either use well established or upcoming stars, are easy going on the story line (possibly with a bunch of plot holes), and have song-dance routines. Typically these are happily ever after movies, and are meant for enjoyment with friends and family as a welcome break from the drudgery of life. Their main motive is to reach out the most to the average movie goer and make as much money as possible. Off-beat movies are also called parallel cinema or art movies. These are not your average light hearted movies. Most of them involve shunning of the song and dance routines, which makes it difficult for everyone to watch. The movies are thought provoking, and dark. Some may make you laugh, but will utilize dark-comedy or satire to do so. Typically they deal with realism, or the morals and motivations of the characters.  Off-beat movies generally don’t perform that well financially. It is easy for most mainstream movies to make millions for their makers and have wide viewership. Off-beat movies on the other hand are critically acclaimed and well made, but do not gather in as much revenue. These are generally viewed as a means to showcase talent, or experiment.  That doesn’t mean however that they must be taken lightly. Some of the most interesting and thoughtful movies have been off-beat movies. Since people need to develop a taste for such movies, sometimes off-beat movies are made with a touch of mainstream masala. This may be in the form of having famous and popular actors, addition of songs that go with the plot (and do not have uncalled group dance sequences), or some sweetening of the story line. I would like to share 5 such movies with you that I believe are a must watch to develop a taste for more serious off-beat movies. Dev D: This is a modern adaptation of the old Bengali novel Devdas by  Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. The novel has been famously adapted into movies with Ashok Kumar and Shahrukh Khan as the titular character. Devdas and Paro are childhood friends, and develop romantic feelings for each other after Devdas leaves his village for schooling. When he comes back, he is not allowed to marry Paro as she is from a family of lower status. While Paro moves on, Devdas drowns himself in alcohol at the court of Chandramukhi, with the help of his friend Chunni. Soon she develops feelings for him, but Devdas does not return them. The alcoholism takes a toll on him and he visits Paro one last time before he dies.

This modern adaptation is quite different. Paro (Mahie Gill) is much more confident and bold unlike the soft spoken versions before. She can match Dev (Abhay Deol) in his passion and wants him physically just as much as he does. While the parents approve of his match with Paro, a misunderstanding causes the jealous Dev to not marry her. Paro harbours no more feelings for him and moves on. Chandramukhi (Kalki Koechlin) on the other hand is a teen, who has to shift as her boyfriend makes an MMS of her performing oral sex on him. When this becomes public, her family first leaves the country. After her dad’s suicide, she comes to back to the country and lives with his family in the village. Unable to come to terms with culture shock and misogyny, she runs back to the city where she becomes a prostitute under Chunni. Dev meets Chunni over drinks and drugs, and begins to spend time with Chandramukhi. What is wonderful to see is how both the women are strong willed and ready to take control of their lives, and how Dev is brought back on his feet by them. The movie has a wonderful soundtrack by Amit Trivedi which complements the psychedelic take on the novel. Aks:
Aks is the story of Manu Verma (Amitabh Bachchan) and Raghavan (Manoj Bajpayee). Manu Verma is a cop who is given the job to protect the Indian Defence Minister on a foreign trip. Raghavan is a skilled (albeit psychopathic) assassin who manages to kill the minister. Manu and his partner team up to catch Raghavan at the cost of his partner’s life. There is a fight in the jail when Raghavan is sentenced to death, and the two end up shooting each other. While Raghavan is presumed death, his soul latches on to Manu and tries to take control over his body. The movie is about this fight of the two souls in a body, and how Manu has to now save his family and his world from the evil spirit within him. The movie features wonderful performances by both the actors. No Smoking:
Directed by Anurag Kashyap, it is one the lesser known movies that utilize a fantasy dream world. The movie is the story of Kay (John Abraham) who not only is a chain smoker, but a narcissist. His wife (Ayesha Takia) cannot deal with it anymore and threatens to leave him unless he quits smoking. Left with no option he is lead to a rehab centre called the Prayogshala (Laboratory in Hindi) by his old friend Abbas (Ranveer Shorey) who started to smoke with him in the first place. He signs a contract with Shri Shri Shri Prakash Guru Ghantal Baba Bangali Sealdah Wale (Paresh Rawal) so that he would do ANYTHING asked to quit smoking. He is blackmailed into threats that for each time he smokes a worse punishment will dealt onto him. This includes from hearing loss, making his brother with a sick lung to breathe in a gas chamber full of cigarette smoke, cutting of fingers and killing of his wife. One he realizes that the Guru’s disciples have infiltrated his life to ensure that, he has to come up with a plan to escape them. The movie uses fantasy lucid dreams, the concept of karma and souls as well. Delhi Belly:
An air hostess (Shenaz Treasurywala) agrees to make a delivery for her colleague’s friend as her friend is unwell. She gives the package to her boyfriend (Imraan Khan) and his debt-ridden roommates (Vir Das and Kunaal Roy Kapur). The package contains smuggled diamonds which are to be delivered to a local gangster, but is mixed up with a stool sample when one of the roommates gets diarrhoea after some street food. Hence the name Delhi Belly. Taking this as insult, the gangster kidnaps the air hostess. The film is about the hilarity that ensures as they sell off the diamonds and try to rescue the girl. This is a relatively short film that features no intermissions. The movie contains generous use of Hindi curse words, and potty humor. The movie is made by newcomers Abhinay Deo, Akshat Verma. It is one of the few Bollywood movies to have most of its dialogue in English, with generous Hindi curse words thrown in. Gangs of Wasseypur:
Gangs of Wasseypur was shot as one movie which was 319 minutes long. Since it would be difficult to release a movie over 5 hours long, it was split in to 2. The movie is set in the Wasseypur and Dhanbad cities in the Bihar state. Sardar Khan’s (Manoj Bajpayee) father was killed by Ramadhir Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia) who is a coal magnate and politician. Khan swears vengeance upon Singh, and promises to not kill him but make his life miserable. While he becomes a gangster in his own right, he is not able to fully deal in and gets the shot to death. After his and his older brother’s deaths, and spurred on by his mother (Richa Chaddha) the youngest heir ( Nawazuddin Siddiqui ) takes on the family business as he tries to exact the vengeance his father couldn’t. The movie is more just than the vengeance over dead family members, but deals with the politics of the region and how people come together or fall apart. The movie has generous use of the local regional language, and curse words. The soundtrack shuffles from rustic songs, old family songs, and some eclectic dance numbers. This one is a must –watch film that cover over 30 years of story. This post is a part of the Miss Lovely Activity in association with BlogAdda. Miss Lovely, an off-beat film directed by Ashim Ahluwalia is set in the lower depths of Bombay’s “C” grade film industry. It follows the devastating story of two brothers who produce sex horror films in the mid – 1980s. A sordid tale of betrayal and doomed love, the film dives into the lower depths of the Bollywood underground, an audacious cinema with baroque cinemascope compositions, lurid art direction, wild background soundtracks, and gut-wrenching melodrama. Miss Lovely is scheduled for commercial release on 17 January 2014. You can check the trailer of the film

Micro fiction: Thinking of love

He was wondering what had happened between them. He couldn’t bring himself to do the things he was asked to. Then, it became clear to him. He hadn’t stopped loving her. He had just begun to love himself too.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. The prompt is for the post to contain the word ‘love’ and complete the story in just 5 sentences.

The walls

I had a feeling of helplessness as I stood there, staring at the walls. The outer wall was once strong and protective, and now a blanket of green moss surrounded it. I didn’t want to spend much time there, so went inside to get it over with. I tried to prepare myself, for all that I could feel when I would get this over with. The walls were supposed to be once a symbol of strength, were now decaying with neglect.

The door was left open, probably by the last person who had been here to steal something for himself. The inner walls once bore a brilliant shade, but the purple paint was now peeling off to reveal the plaster beneath it. I stared at the fireplace in the hall. When once the room used to be covered in the orange warmth of its glowing fire, now lay the walls blackened by soot. A cracked shell of what it once was.

With great difficulty, I opened one of the cupboards that were there. The doors did not require much pull as they were swaying open with glasses broken, but I needed to strength to confront what I might find in them, present or missing. There were only two things left, an old notebook and a pot of ink. The pages had yellowed with age, but the ink still remained fluid. The bottle of vibrant blue ink held my eye, I assumed it would still glow if I saw it against the light.

I hoped to use this ink and write in the notebook as I once did. I would hold the nib of my pen for a second longer than I had to, when I would complete a chapter. It would amaze me how the ink would flow out fast and fluid, as it spread life in the pages on which I wrote. IT took me some time to look for a pen. I found one lying below the cupboard, its cap long lost. As I began to fill it with ink, I noticed that the nib was broken. The pen and the inkpot fell from my hand.

The ink spreads all over the carpet like a waste, quite different from how I remember it. Slow, and thick. I have a feeling of helplessness as I stand here, staring at the walls.

***

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

Review: The Krishna Key

The Krishna Key’ is the third book written by Ashwin Sanghi, after having written The Rozabal Line and Chanakya’s Chant. Without giving out any detailed spoilers, I will give you a gist of the story as part of the review.
The driving character of the books is Ravi Saini. He is a mythology & history teacher who is on the run to clear his name in the murder of his childhood friend Anil Varshney. Before his death, Varshney found an object that with his theory can change how we know history. However before he can do much about he murdered by a man who calls himself Taarak Vakil, whose name when you play with spells out ‘Kalki Avatar’. However he is not the bad guy like You-Know-Who but a man who believes himself to be tenth avatar of Vishnu (Kalki Avatar) and must vanquish the wrong and bring forth the light.  Now Saini must prove himself innocent while not getting in the hands of Taarak who is trying to kill him as well and save himself from the cunning and competent inspector in charge of hunting him.
The book is in three layers. Layer one is the main story of Saini and Vakil and how their individual quests progress and sometimes merge like the branches of a river. Layer two is the back stories/ flashbacks of the characters which serve to add flavour and show their individual motivation. Layer three is Krishna telling his own story to the reader. Of the three layers I personally liked the second layer the most as it provides the background of the canvas against which the main story is being drawn on while Krishna’s words serve as the frame for the painting.
The book has been told by some be India’s answer to Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. Now I don’t know how to react to this statement, but yes the book is indeed of the same genre. A mixing of the past and the present, murder and mystery, facts and wishful thinking and some conspiracy theories. The plot has its fair share of surprises and predictable moments. I believe each reader will react differently to the book depending on the number of plot twists they are able to predict or be fascinated by.
I have not read his first book, but have read Chanakya’s Chant with much delight multiple times. Chanakya’s Chant also had two layers, one of the fictional retelling of Chanakya and Chandragupta Maurya’s lives and the second of the lives Chandini and Gangasagar in the present. The two layers were in perfect balance with one leading into the other stream lessly. Just like a well made lasagna or Danish pastry. The Krishna Key however lacks such finesse and at times the plot seems to be pushed ahead instead of progressing. I once wondered that this book had been written before and Chanakya’s Chant after assuming that as the author matured his way of balancing the layers did as well. It seems however Sanghi is a victim of the success of his previous work that I and others have compared this book to those before.
The book is however still a good read and I must appreciate the amount of effort and time put in by the author in the research required to write such a book.
This review is part of the Book Review Program by BlogAdda. Wherein members of the program can receive free books as long as they commit to post a review of it. Due to my own lack of energy owing to some projects I hadn’t blogged for quite some time. I knew that a review would be required when I got in to the program and my lack of energy is no excuse for the review to come so late that BlogAdda had to follow up on me. My sincerest apologies for that.