I Was Something Else, You Know

(Written for Friday Fictioneers)

Photograph by Claire Fuller

Photograph by Claire Fuller

You are famous – there are those who are awed by you and want to emulate you in every way. Flattering? Of course!

You are famous – killed for being so lovable, set in stone for the rest of eternity, someone steals your identity and parades around pretending to be you. Flattering? No way!

Welcome to the wo-duh-rld of San Claude.

Have you perchance seen that bulge-bellied, red-donning, sack-carrying, bearded man? That’s the crook. Goes by the name ‘Santa Claus’. Hand him o’er to the sheriff the next time you see him.

And the ‘HO-HO-HO!’ was originally my signature laugh.

fat-santa

 

 

The Window Scraper

(Written for Friday Fictioneers)

It has been so many months since I wrote a flash for FF. Glad to be back :)

Photograph by Ted Strutz

Photograph by Ted Strutz

 

Scrape! Scrape!

Without glancing at the screen behind her, Stella knew it was Dooz at work again.

Dooz had been given his plastic dental tools as a reward for good behaviour.

Each day, he spent some time trying to scrape the life out of the window. ‘I need some fresh air’, he complained in his shrill voice.

It had been three years but there was not even a scratch on the fortified window.

Stella suddenly felt a tap on her shoulder.

The last thing she heard was Dooz’s icy voice in her ear – “You forgot the door was made of weaker glass missy.”

 

 

 

‘The Xposé’ Movie Review : A dark, mysterious and unintentionally funny story about…    

…well, I could have finished writing the entire plot of The Xposé (mind the é) in the headline itself, but on second thoughts there were so many things I wanted to say – that it resulted in the not-so-brief rant given below.

 [Spoiler alert:  There is nothing I could say that will spoil the movie for you.]

I have never ever gone to the lengths of clicking photographs during a movie and making this kind of photo collage for any celebrity, big or small. But Himesh, you COMMAND my attention.

I have never ever gone to the lengths of clicking photographs during a movie and making this kind of photo collage for any celebrity, big or small. But Himesh, you COMMAND my attention.

Anyways, back to the movie.

The_Xpose_(First_Look)-wappor.com

The story is about cop-turned-South Indian acting sensation Ravi Kumar (Himesh) who gets his first break in Bollywood. Two aspiring actresses vie for attention as they work towards their debut movies. Two directors want to make the biggest movies of their lives. One music director sells the same tune to the two directors and has a hot older wife. And love blossoms somewhere along the way. And then someone dies. And they realise it isn’t suicide, but murder. And the story unfolds in the weirdest way possible. Everyone who is anyone in the movie is on the suspect list without a valid reason. The ‘cop’ in Ravi Kumar surfaces to identify the murderer – not by an act of sleuth, but by (believe-it-or-not) screening everybody with his kaatilana nazar. Sweet.

Another collage for the man. And this time Himesh's got a personal meme! Woohoo! This guy is unstoppable I tell you.

Another collage for the man. And this time Himesh’s got a personal meme! Woohoo! This guy is unstoppable I tell you.

Anyways, back to the movie.

It has been a while since I saw The Xposé, but I was finding it a bit difficult to put into words what I felt about the movie. Now that I’ve become coherent enough, I shall express my views as thus -

  • After more than 2 years, Himesh Reshammiya is back – lean, mean and raring to go! He wears a lot more clothes than the actresses – because hell yeah, they are the ones Xposé-ing. However, he wears a lot of lip gloss and endeavours to pout while attempting to appear suave. Aww adorable. Not.
  • The movie has absolutely no premise. The writer has decided to pull up his socks and smoke up while writing the script. Result – there are HUGE gaping holes in the story which are left up to audience to go figure. ‘Involving’ viewers in the story has taken a whole new twist.
  • Most of the cast has the emotional bandwidth of a wrinkled piece of cloth hung to dry in the hot sun (Doesn’t make sense, eh? You get the point now?)
  •  The movie claims to be ‘The Biggest Vintage Musical Thriller of the year’. You see none of these in the movie. Liars.
  • The dialogues are lame duck and delivered with such deadpan expressions by Himesh that they are even funnier. Sample this – “Tere jism mein itna khoon nahi hoga jitna Ravi Kumar ek baar mein moot deta hai” or “Itna marunga ke judge ke order order bolne ke pehle tere liye ambulance order ho jayega
  • Why is Irfan Khan in the movie? Just why?

On a different note, there is apparently a part 2 being considered. Like we didn’t have enough with the first. May God collectively bless our souls.

 

Re-Xpose anyone?

 

‘Yellow’ Movie Review : An extraordinary story of a not-so-ordinary girl

yellow-promo1

 

An irresponsible father, a loving mother, an accusing society, a pitiful uncle, a struggle against all odds, a love story between mother and coach, a school bully, father comes back, preachy messages and a last minute nail-biting finale.

Irresponsible father and loving mother yes, but Yellow stops at that. This is no run-of-the mill sob fest, nor is it a preach-a-thon at the end of which you are left with an overdose of thought. It is a simple story of how a mother’s only wish is to ensure that her daughter gets the respect she deserves from society. Yellow is Gauri’s story.

Gauri has Down’s Syndrome and lives life on her own terms. Her mother Mugdha (wonderfully portrayed by Mrinal Kulkarni) leaves her husband (Manoj Joshi in a small but impactful role) after he attempts to let Gauri drown in hopes to take a chance to restart the family and beget a child who can live his dreams and not one he is ashamed to talk about in public. Mugdha’s brother Shri (Hrishikesh Joshi) supports the mother and child. He is the voice of reason whenever Mugdha doesn’t know the way ahead.

Gauri grows up is stubborn, fun-loving and extremely fond of playing pranks – being ‘Denise the Menace’ to fellow residents in the building. What starts off as swimming lessons to improve eye-hand co-ordination, turns out to be the turning point in Gauri’s life – she finds her true calling and goes on to win a silver in swimming at the Olympics. She is trained by a strict swimming coach (Upendra Limaye in yet another power-packed performance) who leaves no stone unturned to make her a competitive fighter. He refuses to see her as a ‘special’ child and treats her as he would any of his protégés.  One of the most memorable scenes is when the coach digresses from his usual teaching style to teach Gauri the butterfly stroke by incorporating the lesson in a story – and Gauri’s immediate responsiveness to the story as she masters the stroke effortlessly.

Yellow_(Marathi_film)_Poster

There are no distracting sub plots and the entire focus is on the central character. If she isn’t in a scene, she is being talked about in it.. Debutante director Mahesh Limaye has delivered a fine movie and has managed to extract a brilliant performance from the entire cast. What is most heart warming is to see Gauri Gadgil playing herself in the movie. Any other actor in her shoes wouldn’t have been able to have that impact. With Gauri, you know that every emotion is as real as it can be. You smile when she smiles, you feel satisfied as she sleeps after a hard day at the pool, you get annoyed at the coach for his grueling practice sessions, you feel warmth when you look at her mother smile. And you gotta see this girl in water! Strong powerful strokes, lithe body and the grace of a fish under water – makes you wanna jump off your seat and be a part of her water world!

The movie teaches us to be humane. Its central message is summed up in a line that one of Gauri’s teachers says, “It is important to accept these kids than to expect from them”. Don’t treat these children as a liability. With a little more patience and the right training, they can turn in to assets that you will be proud off – as in case of Gauri’s father when he sees his daughter’s photograph in the newspaper. The movie is not content at just leaving it as a creative narration. It moves beyond and gives a positive insight to its viewers.

At the end of it all, you know there’s much more to Gauri that makes her a ‘special’ child.

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Selfie

It’s been a while since I’ve put up a post dedicated to my favourite Weekly Photo Challenge. Hopefully, I shall continue posting more stuff in the days to come (as I promised myself the last time I posted!). Also, this topic is from about 2 weeks back, but I was busy getting married, so I guess some leeway is allowed here ;)

So the deal is that I absolutely love selfies.  Here’s a look at some of Me.

Self paparazzi and the drama which follows

Selfie by Rishal Bhide

Selfie by Rishal Bhide

 

Caught in a spoon

Selfie by Rishal Bhide

Selfie by Rishal Bhide

 

Shy and demure I am…NOT

Selfie by Rishal Bhide

Selfie by Rishal Bhide

 

There was this time, when I caught myself in the webcam

Selfie by Rishal Bhide

Selfie by Rishal Bhide

 

This isn’t a bad hair day, it is a lot of hair oil and fun PJs!

Selfie by Rishal Bhide

Selfie by Rishal Bhide

Let my country live

Our country is on the threshold of a long awaited shift – mental and political. Will this change sustain long enough? Will the change initiators and change influencers have good heads on their shoulders? Only time will tell. 

28india1

Courtesy – Google

We have a chance for fair redemption from errors of past

Don’t be selfish when change is upon us

Let my country be born again.

 .

Rest your ungainly demands for power

Don’t choke us during this fight to the top

Let my country breathe.

  .

There’s a new wave of emotion running through our veins

Don’t pull back when all is finally falling in place

Let my country live.

  .

Support those who lead us towards a better future

Don’t be leeches that suck every ounce of progress

Let my country sustain.

.

.

Is the wait too long? – Christmas special

[Why am I not writing? I asked this question to myself often over the last month or so. I still have no idea, I really don't. But then, inspiration struck today (yay!) and I went back to my old friend senryu. Merry Christmas y'all!]

Decorating-Christmas-Tree-with-Colorful-Lights

Courtesy – Google

Forlorn, unhappy miserable

In the room of happiness

In the room of happiness

The celebrations loud

No one hears the muffled sobs

No one hears the muffled sobs

Or so he thinks

For there is still hope

For there is still hope

In the form of

The little girl with pink bows

The little girl with pink bows

Comes up and touches his browning greens

Her eyes cloud with emotion

 

Her eyes cloud with emotion

“I’ll take you home”, says she

No tree will be unhappy this Christmas

 

Hope

 (This is an old story which I think fit quite well with the new Weekly Writing Challenge on writing a Descriptive Piece)
There is something special about the morning today. The warm sun envelopes her like a soft blanket and discourages her from getting out of bed. The chirping of the birds sounds like a sweet lullaby to her sleepy ears. But she does not let this dampen her plans for the day. She soaks in the tub for a good hour or so, acknowledging the aromatic genius of the bath salts. The freshly laundered Turkish towel feels like cotton wool against her cheeks. Donning her favourite skirt and blouse, she is off to the beach for the ritualistic walk.

The air tastes salty. She can feel silken sand caressing her naked feet. The waves create a beautiful symphony as they crash along the shore. The gentle wind blows about; whispering sweet nothings in her ears. The seagulls call to one another in the far off sea. She imagines young couples walking hand in hand with slow lazy steps. There will be the older children making sand castles and the younger ones parading as sentinels to prevent the destruction of the castles. There is the sound of laughter and merriment coming from all directions – everyone seems to be reflecting her happy state of mind. A hot lemon tea reinvigorates her to the core and she gets back the zing in her step.

Wrapping a jacket tightly around her, she proceeds to her favourite restaurant at the end of the beach. The smell of roasted corn kernels wafts through her senses, creating a tantalizing effect. Without referring to the menu, she orders for the usual. The spluttering of the oil as the bacon rashers sizzle in the pan, the sound of the eggs being gently cracked to make a fluffy omelette, the smell of fresh scones being removed from the oven – all promise to deliver as well as always. She takes a moment to take a deep breath as the food is placed in front of her before digging into the gastronomic pleasure. As a celebration for the advent of this wonderful day, she decides to order a beer instead of the regular dose of raspberry and banana milkshake with extra cream and cherries. The beer tastes like drops of sweet poison sliding down her parched throat.

She is aware of everything going on around her but nothing is successful in perturbing her today. The cars seem to be honking in a weird sort of melody. The clashing of pots and pans, clinking of cutlery, water droplets from an open tap falling in perfect rhythm in the bare kitchen sink, the whirring sound of the radio being tuned, the drone of the ceiling fans, the constant bickering between the waiters and the kitchen staff, the well-timed snoring coming from the adjacent table and the occasional pop of a beer can being opened – all seem to be contributing to orchestrate a perfect harmony.

The way through the fields to the church is her favourite part of the town. The grass swishes under her feet, still wet from the dew last night. Many church goers wish her on her way to the church, and she politely returns the greetings. The church bell gongs and startles her for a moment. She thanks God for this wonderful day and the promise it brings to fulfill her hopes and desires. The sanctity among the church walls calms her, as if asking her to be patient for just a little while more.

She walks to the old age home that she visits every week and spends the afternoon with the elderly. No one fails to notice her excitement, flushed cheeks and the radiant smile. They all are extremely happy for her – she has been waiting too long for this day to arrive. A quick lunch follows and she is on her way back home, after a stopover at the bakery. She purposely takes a longer route across the bridge over the creek. The croaking of a lone frog indicates the arrival of monsoons. She bites into a delicious brioche, strolling through an apple orchard and over a small hillock, where she used to sit for long hours till her mother would come to pick her up after work. But she does not have the time to sit – there is good news waiting to be delivered to her and she does not wish to tarry. She wants to stand on this very hillock and scream out the news to one and all – it is going to be the most memorable day of her life.

On reaching home, she is so deliriously excited that she begins to shiver slightly and has to be helped by her mother to put on the seat belt in the car. Each minute of the drive stretches for what seems like hours. She continuously fidgets with the hem of her skirt as she waits for the verdict to be delivered. The long wait has been extremely excruciating and she knows she surely deserves this chance to happiness.

She can hear her mother’s voice whispering softly and the raspy voice of the other person, as she impatiently walks up and down the corridor; but nothing is audible. By the time she hears her mother approaching, she is shivering so badly that she has to hold on to a chair to steady herself.

“C’mon mom, spill the beans”, she blurts, unable to contain her excitement.

“I’m sorry honey, the doctor said there wasn’t a match. Probably there will be a donor next year……”.

But the next few words by her mother fall on deaf ears as she tries to make sense of the situation. For six years she had looked forward to receive a favourable news, but the unfair world comes crashing down on her head. She wants to scream and wake up from this awful dream. But a sudden hush sweeps over her and she regains her composure. “Yes mom, I’ll get a donor next year”, is what she manages to feebly say.

Once again she is left to fight this darkness alone. Dejected, she steps out of the hospital wearing her large black sunglasses and back to where she was…

I Chickened Out

The last week of October was a busy one for me. I had a novel to write.

 

A brief background of what I am talking about -

Last year, I found a few of my fellow bloggers waxing eloquent about NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. It is a competition of sorts where you write a novel of 50,000 words (or more) on any topic/genre of your choice in a matter of 30 days. Random ramblings or serious script writing, it doesn’t matter what you write. The point is to write. I was so kicked about it. Unfortunately I was too late to participate last year and decided that I would get set and write the next time definitely.

ab2

Opportunity presented itself when I found NaNoWriMo updates for the month of November. I promptly registered myself and began thinking about a plot line (which involved scouring online articles for story ideas). How difficult could it be? You just had to connect finger to keyboard and type away to glory, keeping a daily/weekly word count in mind, There are writer forums and discussions and tips and all sort of material floating around that can help one have an awesome novel writing experience. I had a couple of plot lines in mind and couldn’t wait to start writing.

On the morning of 1st November, 2013, when I was officially supposed to begin writing, I paused. Erm,..maybe I need to refine the plot line a bit more. I’ll start writing tomorrow.

On the morning of 2nd November, 2013, I obviously couldn’t write. It was Dad’s birthday and I had stuff to do.

On the mornings of 3rd & 4th November, 2013, I couldn’t write because It was Diwali (The grand Indian festival of lights, sweets, firecrackers, merriment and family get togethers).

On the morning of 6th November, 2013, I deleted my NaNoWriMo account, Who was I kidding. Enough of excuses.

 

I’ve been wanting to write a novel. I don’t care if it stays collecting dust in obscure shelves of unknown bookstores. I want to feel the satisfaction of having completed something that has been at the back of my mind for so long. Someday I will – sooner than later.

 

Maybe I’ll keep signing up on platforms like NaNoWriMo and never completing what I set out to do. Years maybe, if I can resist the temptation to write for that long. Maybe I’m right when I think I don’t have it in me to write a novel. But how will that be confirmed unless I START writing one. I think I (mis)judged myself too soon. I ought to give myself a chance. Once in a while.

 

I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. Nothing in life is easy. But that’s no reason to give up. You’ll be surprised what you can accomplish if you set your mind to it. After all, you only have one life, so you should try to make the most of it.

- Louis Sachar

 

It is a horrible feeling to know you have failed even before trying. So go ahead and do what your heart tells you, and give that cross-questioning brain a much-needed vacation. It is ok to fail after having given your best shot. You’ll still be happy for having tried.

 

Note to self: Read the last two lines every time self-doubt raises its ugly head.

 

This Story Has 3 Sides

(Written for Weekly Writing Challenge : This week’s challenge is to tell the same story from two or more unique perspectives in whichever format you want)

 

The scene: Stark hospital room with a female patient.

In a white bed I lie

Revisiting old memories, happy & sad

Clock ticks as life ebbs

-

Clock ticks as life ebbs

I smile as the end seems near now

A beckoning arises from the beyond

Woman – The one with all the time, all the enthusiasm but no energy.

 —

The scene: Stark hospital room with a female patient, her husband holding her hand.

They say time heals

But it only deepens the sorrow

My love fades before my eyes

-

My love fades before my eyes

She smiles to suggest she is ok

My eyes smile back as the heart cries

Husband – The one with all the energy, all the time, but no enthusiasm.

 —

The scene: Stark hospital room with a female patient, her husband holding her hand as the doctor hurries to check the patient’s reports.

I rush past my duties

Mechanically, emotionlessly

Need to catch the matinee show

-

Need to catch the matinee show

Apart from the drama unfolding in the room

This job defies emotional indulgence

Doctor – The one with all the enthusiasm, all the energy but no time.

  .