On my walls

A home is an important factor in our lives. In spite of the obvious fact that it provides us shelter, it is something that is our own. A place where we can be we, have our own environment of desire, and sense of being. This is why home is where we can be the most comfortable. An important aspect of the home are the walls of the place. While structurally important, they are also add a feel, a vibe so as to say based on what color we apply on them, and what we hang on them. It is not that I do not have a home, but it is in essence mom’s home. In itself, I see no harm or wrong in living with your parents. It is all based on the personal equation you share with them.
The idea that I have, is that it is the home she bought. She literally saved money penny by penny, and over a period of time so much of her has come into how the home is. There are of course some touches that are mine, a reflection of who I am and this is on account of the years that I have spent living there. Now I will talk of what my house would be, and how I would like it.

I have a fascination for posters. The posters that you put up on your walls are important, because you’re adding something tangible and very visual of what you like. I am a big fan of comics and cartoons. One of the earliest cartoons that I fell in love with was Batman animated series. In itself, it is a wonderful series. It makes good use of the audio visual medium through their art, and voices of Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamill as the Joker. I have wanted a Batman poster ever since, and finally bought one that shows him in all his glory: with his rouges gallery.

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While Batman is a definite favorite when it comes to DC Comics, I don’t have a clear favorite from Marvel. I have loved Spider Man, Wolverine, Silver Surfer, Hulk, Iron Man, Nate Grey equally (or sometimes more) from time to time. This is why I settled for this poster, which has different panels from Marvel Comics, and covers most of the characters.

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Pink Floyd is one of my favorite bands. I don’t listen to it as much as most fans though, frequently have to look up their names, and can recognize only a handful of their tracks by name. However they’re responsible for some of my favorite music, and along with AC DC, formed the gateway into English rock music for me. This poster is the famous the Back Catalogue poster that I first saw at my tattoo artist’s place. It has women sitting on the edge of a pool, with album art painted on their back. I did have this framed and put up at my previous rented place, but it got stolen during shifting.

pink floyd back catalogue

Calvin and Hobbes has always been a delightful read for me. Apart from the obvious fun and laughs, it transports me to simpler times, and how Hobbes is a safety anchor for Calvin who wants to do all that he wants. They are in true sense, soul mates.

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Calvin

Recently, I have fallen in love with the Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin, which has also been made into the Game of Thrones TV Series. ‘Winter is coming’ is a popular line from the series, but this poster reads that ‘War is coming’. It has such a brilliant depiction of it, a bloodied hand holding a throne high with victory. It shows the power and loss of lives associated with thrones.

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I do have all these posters with me, after the incident with the Floyd poster (which I bought again), I have decided to keep them rolled up in the packaging they came in. As of now I plan to frame them and let them see light once I move to a permanent place.

Written as a guest post for Project 365. The prompt was “What do you display on the walls of your home — photos, posters, artwork, nothing? How do you choose what to display? What mood are you trying to create?”

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My Wishing stick

I have always enjoyed reading fantasy novels, and fairy tales when I was young(er). If you read enough, it starts creeping into your mind much after shut the book and sleep over. This happened to me soon after I had read Cinderella and had begun watching Aladdin. I was fascinated with the fairy Godmother, because of her ability to swish her wand and make things happen.

One day while walking back to home from the bus stop, I found a beautiful looking piece of stick that had fallen off a tree. For some reason I had picked up and was twiddling with it all the way back home. I had just started watching Swat Kats on Cartoon Network, and was wishing that I would be in time to catch the day’s episode. Wonder of wonders, I did make it in time to watch the day’s episode.

The first thing that I did after the episode got over, was to run down and find the stick which I threw before entering home (cause people at home would throw a fit). I managed to sneak it in, and hide it in my school bag. Every other day, I would take it out and make a wish and most of these wishes did come true. If I think back, I did make simple wishes like wishing for Pizza, getting decent marks for the test (that I would have studied for) and being in time for a tv show.

I did tell one friend about it, who was my best friend. He asked me to wish for some thing, I don’t remember what, but it happened. Both of us collectively freaked out. It wasn’t the first time for me to have a wish come true via the wishing stick (which is what I had come to call it), but it was magic and YEAY!

A few days later it came to me that I wouldn’t be able to hold on to the stick for long. Eventually my friend would tell someone, or someone would tell that I had a stick in my bag. So I did something that came logically to me at that time, I wished from the stick to get its powers and not need it again. Then I threw the stick as far as I could.

Sadly, my wishes stopped coming true. I think this also has to do with what I started to wish for, like ice cream when I was down with fever, or good marks for a test that I had not prepared for, or for pizza in school. Oh well, one learns.

 

Written for the A to Z Challenge

The uncle at the ATM

Back in 1998, ATM was still a new thing. Few people knew what it was; leave alone how it is used. I was in 7th or 8th standard, and was aware of how basic bank transactions work. Owing to my innate curiosity, I was more than eager to know how an ATM works. I would listen to friends of Uncle talk about it in awe, as to how one could withdraw cash from an apparatus in the wall, instead of the lengthy procedure we follow. Unfortunately, neither my uncle nor his friends knew the details or wanted to find out.

Having heard that it works on a card, I even tried to use it myself. Instead of an ATM card, the younger me grabbed a visiting card of the bank’s manager we had. Clearly, it didn’t work. I couldn’t even get pass the scanner which opens the door to the ATM cabin. I took the next logical step that I could think of, and walked inside the bank to ask one of their employees. Instead of my curiosity being satisfied, I was patronized and sent back out. They laughed off my curiosity and asked me to go to mommy-daddy. They wouldn’t listen that they (Uncle & Aunt in my case) also didn’t know.

My curiosity however would be addressed few weeks later. I was coming back from a game of cricket with friends, when I saw a man get down from his car and walk towards the bank. Since it was almost 8 in the night and way past the bank working hours, he went to the atm. I approached this uncle (it is common to address older men as uncle in India), and politely asked him if he could tell me how it all works. Instead of laughing or ridiculing me, he simply smiled and began to explain it in a matter of fact manner.

Once he was done with his explanations and answering more of my questions, he simply asked as to which school I went to and what my name was. Not only did he accept my curiosity and entertained it, but was happy that I was actually curious enough about such things to ask others about it. I walked into school the next day, proud of my knowledge of how ATMs work and eager to share the same with my friends.

I was called up by a teacher to the staff room. It turned out that this man was the husband of the teacher who had just joined my school. Imagine that. To this day, this is one of the encounters that I have had with a stranger that will stay memorable.

 

Post written as a Guest Author for the team of Project 365. The prompt was “Have you ever had a random encounter or fleeting moment with a stranger that stuck with you?”

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Written for Day 21 of the A to Z Challenge.

Fun and Love

I have been to two high schools for my studies. While I spent lesser time in it, St. Gregorios has been responsible for some of my most memorable experiences, and wonderful learnings. I imagine that this is the speech that I have been invited to speak over there.

 

This is a very interesting feeling, to be on this side of the stage and speaking on the microphone. I have been nudged more than once by a friend when I had dozed off in one such speeches, and called out when a friend saw me eating chocolates or chewing gum. What are friends for, if not to occasionally get you into trouble?

I was asked before being invited back here, to speak on the path of life. Of course non one needed to have gone through the trouble of inviting me. One can never be invited back home, we just walk back in its comforting presence. What better manner to talk about the path of life than to speak through the memories that I cherish of this place, some similar to what you will end up with as well.

One of my most memorable craft classes was the one involving masks and puppets. As the class assignment all of us had to prepare a mask or puppet each. There were no compulsions as to what we had to interpret or portray, or which craft skill we had to use. One would think that in itself the act of mask making would be fun enough, we were told that the kindergarten classes would be grading us. The final class would involve us putting up a team effort to enact stories with our masks and puppets for the KG kids.

The whole idea behind our work changed, and it was as fun for us as the KG kids when the acts were being performed. I don’t remember who was more excited on the final day, the KG kids who were having enjoying the show, or us who were having a wonderful time putting on the act for them. What I am trying to tell here is that if you have to do something, you put in more effort if it is fun, and you enjoy it.

Of all the classes we had, I think the one that I ended up loving the most was Library. I know, library doesn’t have a set curriculum, or something specific to learn like we have in other subjects. But library gave me something that many classes cannot compare to. It gave me the love of reading. While it was never forced that we had to issue a book more than the once per week Library class, a bunch of us ended up issuing books much often. Reading was always encouraged for us. We were taught how to write reviews, and there was pride in one’s review being displayed on the library notice board for others to read.

I remember the discussions we had, students and teachers together. Discussions about the book we had last read, what we thought of it, and the recommendations to the next book. At the height of it, we were issuing books every second day, using the lunch time to change our books from the library. The books would get devoured in the bus on the way back home. Home was no different. Once home work and studies were done with, and dinner eaten; I would be in the bedroom propped with the latest book that I had had issued. Hours could go away on such nights and on holidays to the extent that a person like me would have to be called twice to the lunch table.

I remember when we had been to Bangalore for an inter-school competition, and were on the way back to our accommodation from the event site. We were playing a Harry Potter quiz, and Principal ma’am commented that had we put in half as much effort in our course studies, we would have all been scoring more than 90%.

The idea over here is to find something that you love. The moment you start loving something, you forget the amount of effort you put into things. All that will matter is doing it. Fun and love. These are the two things that I believe you must have, in your path of life.

 

 

Post written as a guest author for the team of Project 365. The prompt was to “You’ve been asked to speak at your high school alma mater — about the path of life. (Whoa.) Draft the speech.”

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Written for day 6 of the A-Z challenge 2014.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a movie that I stumbled upon while doing a search on how our memories work.

Joel Barnish (Jim Carrey) is a withdrawn man with an inactive social life. One day on his commute to work, he has an urge to go to Montauk instead of work. On the way back from Montauk to New York he hits it off with Clementine (Kate Winslet), who is the polar opposite of him. She has brightly colored hair, and is an unrestrained person who speaks what she thinks. What they do not know is that they had had already been in a relationship for two years, and when it turned sour they broke it off.

The reason why they are unable to remember any of it is, is that Clementine had had her memories of Joel erased. The heartbreak of the relationship breaking off too much for her to bear with. While Joel was managing to deal with the relationship not working out, he broke down when he came to know that Clementine had him erased from her memories. Distraught, he goes to the same company (Lacuna Inc.) and signs up to get her deleted from his memories.

The way it works is that representatives of the company ask the customer to hand over all items they have that are personally associated with the person that want deleted. Then they ask you to think of the memories associated so that they can form a brain map specific to the person. Once the configuration is done, they attach a computer based apparatus to your head and begin a systematic deletion of memories while you sleep.
This dream/memory world is where most of the movies takes place. Starting with the earliest, Joel goes through all the memories associated with Clementine. The most recent memories are painful, and full of angst with all the passive aggressiveness they had displayed towards each other. The deletion of these memories serve as a catharsis for him. However as he goes further in the past, he begins to recollect all the happy and rosy moments he had shared with her. He begins to realize that the pleasure of these memories is worth living through the pain of not being in a relationship anymore. But being stuck in the dream/memory world, he cannot do anything to stop the process which is taking place in the real world in his apartment.

The memory sequences are absolute brilliance. The narrative of the story jumps across time here. From a scene which takes place in the past, to a scene in the future where the movie started, to what is happening in the present where the Lacuna crew is deleting the memories. The visual imagery as to how the memory gets deleted, and what Joel tries unsuccessfully to prevent it captures the viewer with awe.

The movie however is not just about these two. There is a crew of three working on the deletion, of which Mary (Kirsten Dunst) and Stan (Mark Ruffalo) are in a relationship. The third character Patrick (Elijah Wood), is using the personal files and objects of Clementine that had been given to create the deletion as means to gain knowledge to impress Clementine and date her. This small but very wonderfully told sub-plot is as interesting as the main story line.
We already know that Joel will be unsuccessful in preventing the deletion on account of him not recognizing Clementine in the future when they meet in Montauk. While they start afresh , oblivious to what has already happened between them they receive records of their memories from an employee at Lacuna who believes that the company has done something very wrong, and has sent all the customers their records. You will have to watch the movie to find out how the two of them deal with this disclosure.

The title of the movie is inspired from the poem Eloisa to Abelard by Alexander Pope. The poem is about the tragedy of a love affair that couldn’t be, and the heroine’s believes that she can only be at peace if she can forget about this love that could not be.

 

How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d;

 

This is one of my favorite movies that seamlessly combines romance, science fiction and philosophy. I will leave you with the trailer of the movie.

 

 

Written for day 5 of the A to Z Challenge

Remembrance

Which is the earliest memory that you have? Which is the clearest memory that you have? Which is the memory that moves you to tears, or manages to bring happiness? While you may or may not agree that these questions are important, you will agree that you can answer them. All of us have memories. Memory is the act of storing and retrieving information. This information can be what we have read, heard, seen, or gone through. It could something emotional like the time spent with a loved one, or something like the process of riding a bike. In each case, memory is important.

No matter how old you grow, certain aspects of your life get etched in your memory. The highs and the lows, the moments of joy and sorrow. The more intensely you feel something, the more likely you’re going to remember it down the line. I remember most of the lows, and some of the highs.

I remember clearly when either of my parents have been angry at me, or scolded me. I remember when I first fiddled with my dad’s shaving blade and bled after I cut my finger. I remember an accident I was in as a kid, when I had a collision with a scooter after I let go of dad’s hand to run across the road. I remember the color the scooter, and how I was bleeding with blood running from head onto my shoulders. I was scared that mom might freak out, and had to be cajoled by dad to come with him. He was a doctor and wanted to take care. I remember getting jaundice and when my parents took me another doctor, I kicked him and they had to hold me down because I was scared of injections. I remember the toy gun they got me after I got well. These are just the memories of before I was even 6 years old.

There are clear memories of other times which were not joyful or sad, but made me feel a strong reaction. I was at my uncle’s and was to change into my pyjamas. Instead of have mom change me (I was less than 4), I tried to do it myself and ended up with both feet in one leg sleeve of the PJ and the other as a tail. I had to hop my way into another room to get mom to free me. I remember playing and dancing in the class with a girl while the class teacher had been called down, and the punishment that followed. A particularly strong and clear memory is that of a class in which we were taught about honesty, and how it is the best policy. Someone passed a joke at another and a bunch of us laughed. The teacher, who had been writing something on the board turned around and asked who cracked the joke. Then when she asked who laughed along, I found myself raising my hand. I was promptly sent to stand out of class. I remember clearly how I felt, and what I had learnt.

Which is why I like to associate memory with experiences. I am a big Harry Potter fan. I started reading the books however after Azkaban had come out, and my class mates were raving about it. Curiosity got the better of me, and I read the book. Yes, the third book was read first, and then the second and finally the first. It was such a wonderful experience. I remember taking up my entire weekend reading them in order of release then. While mom later purchased books 1-4 (4th I had read after issuing from the school library, there is a story for that sometime later), I started to pre-book my copy of books 5-7. I still remember how I left at 6 in the morning on the day of Half-Blood Prince came out, so that I could catch the first bus. I reached the bookstore (Crossword at Mithakali, Ahmedabad) and found a small bunch of other fans like me. We spent the time discussing our favorite moments from the previous books, and speculating what would happen in this book.

I have left out some of my most memorable moments, and could go at lengths about more memories but I would like to sum up with this quite apropos quote by Subject 16 from Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.

“What is a man but the sum of his memories? We are the stories we live! The tales we tell ourselves!”

Written for the Write Tribe Festival of Words – 2. Day 1 prompt: Memory/Memories