Look what I saw on the streets today!

(Written for Daily Prompt)

Drive along Maya!

(Written for Alastair’s Photo Fiction)

13-06-june-23rd-2013

Roy drove like a maniac. Deep furrows on his forehead. Eyes locked in concentration. Vengeance flew in spittles from his parted lips.

It was a regular game – accelerating hard towards the edge of the river and coming to an abrupt, bone-shuddering halt.

Movie style background music always played in Maya’s ears at such times. But today, all she could hear was her heartbeat – thumping overtime. She shivered a bit under her jacket, despite the summer sun.

“Are you gonna kill us you jerk? Slow down. SLOW DOWNNNN”, Maya’s screamed in vain. Roy, unaware, seemed to have transcended into a different world.

They were scarily close to the water now – the waves involved in a dancing frenzy. 15 feet..12 feet…10..5…2…1…

STOP!

Roy hit the brakes hard. He turned to Maya with his boyish smile – but the bloodshot eyes still held a memory of crazy.

“Happy Birthday Maya darling. I’m hungry.”

 

‘Raanjhanaa’ movie review: An earnest, twisted love story

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What is the only reason that will make you smile like an idiot in the middle of the street? Or give you the courage to confront your dreamgirl without worrying about the consequences? Or give a false sense of victory and take it away all at once?

Love. It can only be love.

All through the movie, you expect the imminent happy ending, half wishing to see something ‘different’ – and you are proven right. Raanjhanaa moves away from the regular love triangles and gives a fresh perspective to the concept of love – the human embodiment to The Pogues’ song “I’ll love you till the end”.

320380,xcitefun-raanjhanaa-stills-1Set in Benaras and Delhi, Raanjhanaa  is story of a Tamil speaking priest’s son, Kundan (Dhanush) who is in love with a Muslim professor’s daughter, Zoya (Sonam Kapoor), since an age where even the concept of love is unknown. As he grows older, the feelings just grow stronger, never to diminish. So much so that every slap Zoya gives is like a brush of a feather. Every rejection is a challenge to try harder. It is the consistency and earnestness of his crooked attempts to woo, that make Zoya give in, if only briefly.

Zoya moves to Delhi and returns grown up and grown out into a strong independent woman, embroiled in politics and in love with Jagjit (Abhay Deol). However, Kundan is still in the same zone – a happy-go-lucky, hopeless romantic clinging to his single minded obsession to be with her.  Though broken hearted, he sets out to help Zoya, even if it is for the selfish reason to be together.

The movie broaches various social issues such as Hindu-Muslim divide, rape, faulty land acquisitions and the easy dispensability of the common man. Kundan, who moves from being chaiwala to a public speaker, shows a different side to his personality – his ability to emotionally move individuals.

Director Aanand Rai stays true to his vision throughout the movie with much conviction. Shorten the screenplay by 15-20 minutes and you have a much powerful story. Also the ease with which the leads characters slit their wrists is disturbing.

Cinematographers Natarajan Subramaniam and Vishal Sinha bring out the colourful vibrancies of Benaras and the contrasting dull hues of Delhi with élan.

The music may not be memorable – but that is the beauty of it. A. R. Rahman’s score blends in artistically and complements the storyline perfectly.

Sonam, in her career’s best performance, delivers a range of emotions effortlessly, while looking beautiful in every scene.

But the movie belongs to Dhanush. He neither has the looks nor the six packs of a hero, but is a superstar in his own right. His lean frame fills the entire screen. His acting pierces like an arrow – bang on target. He is like a magnet – pulling you into Kundan’s world and making you believe in his one-sided ill-fated love story. You are silently rooting for him every time his love is let down, trampled upon, played with, betrayed and rejected outright. And boy can he dance!

At the onset, the pairing of Dhanush and Sonam seems absolutely wrong. But they manage to bring out a quaint likeable quality to their romance.

In a special appearance, Abhay brings dimpled charm and maturity to his performance as a young politician who heads a team of like-minded individuals to change the corrupt political system of the country. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, as the BFF and Swara Bhaskar, Kundan’s smitten, short-tempered childhood companion lend brilliant support to the story.

All in all, the movie is a wonderful watch, despite the unbelievability of its story. So grab a ticket and go watch Raanjhanaa – if only to fall in love all over again!

Ol’ Lily Fairweather

(Written for Daily Prompt)
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Ol’ Lily Fairweather sat in a wheelchair

In her favourite plaid skirt and done up hair

Her ninety-fifth birthday was very pompous

A barbeque party, though she couldn’t stand the ruckus.

She quickly looked around and saw no one in sight,

Slowly and steadily she began to tilt to her right

A helpful nephew quickly propped her straight

Said, “You ought to be in bed, it’s quiet late.”

She sighed and looked again, no one was around

She began to lean to the left without the slightest sound

“Grandma are you sleepy?” asked her pretty daughter

“Or are you feeling unwell, should we call the doctor?”

Lily brushed her off and was left all alone

She began to bend forward with a slight moan

A pair of hands quickly pulled her back at once

Her son quipped, “You’ve not visited the doctor in three-four months!”

The family thought the old lady was losing her balance

Began fussing around her, to talk she was not given a chance

In the end ol’ Lily Fairweather could take it no more

“How do I fart if I don’t move, you morons?” she loudly swore.

The Choodiwala (The Bangle Seller)

choodi/choodis – bangle/bangles

choodiwala – bangle seller

nimboopani – lemon juice+water, a popular refreshing drink

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Vidya+Sury+Bangles2-001The wandering choodiwala walked on now

His wares resting atop his shoulder

Greasy palms wiping his sweaty brow

 

The glass bangles played the sunlight reflecting game

Boldly in kaleidoscopic colours

Bashfully putting the rainbow to shame

 

He squinted tiredly at the sky

And he craved for some cold nimboopani

It had been a long day today

 

A shoulder tap woke him from his reverie

“Can I get some green choodis for my mother please?”

Asked the blind man looking weary

 

“All the colours are amazing”, the choodiwala replied

“Why would you want just a green?

How about the dazzling blue, glorious green and fiery red?”

 

“Green”, the blind man continued to insist

It was his mother’s favourite colour

To no other colour he would shift

 

How could the choodiwala  ask the man himself to choose

The green bangles from the bunch

He sighed and picked a nearby bunch, he had nothing to lose

 

It felt bad to cheat a blind man, the thought chewed his mind

He wasn’t sure which bunch he had given him

For no one else knew that the choodiwala was colour blind

 

Standing Guard

(Written for Friday Fictioneers – 100 word story)

Photograph by Managua Gunn

Photograph by Managua Gunn

Laila O’Henry twitched under her musty uniform.

Kings had come and gone, but she remained confined to a man’s job. Nobody did a double take anymore to see a female palace guard. Unnoticed, she watched the world change. The quaint city port had metamorphosed into a bustling attraction. Towering castles replaced by imposing buildings. Dreams devoured by ambitions.

And yet the water glistened as of yore and birds chirped the same songs.

But nothing like a bright sunny day, she thought. The caramel light went through her, spreading its warmth. So much better than the cold lifeless nights in a box.

Laila O’Henry was, after all, a different sort of ghost. The one you saw only by day.

The Return

(Written for Alastair’s Photo Fiction)

“It’s been seven years but that vile woman STILL won’t leave your mind. Get out of my house!”, Erica screamed furiously, spit fountains flying around unabashedly.

Two strong forces occupied the room. She, the erupting volcano. I, the calm sea.

I didn’t want to lie to myself again.

Photograph by Alastair Forbes

Photograph by Alastair Forbes

I walked, then jogged and finally ended up running – excited like an eager teenager on his first date.

Our favourite lane. It felt like home. Every leaf and stone seemed familiar. This bend was where we first met, that tree we shared our first kiss under, and those steps led to the church where we…

I felt her presence before she called out. Her perfume made me go weak in the knees, even after all these years. She still looked exactly like the photograph in my wallet.

Lauren – my wife. If only she would have me back.