(Continued from Reflections on Ritesh Batra — 1)

It is a déjà vu. In his debut The Lunchbox, when Ila learns of Saajan Fernandes’ name, she doesn’t tell it out. Instead, she asks her friendly neighbour upstairs to increase the volume because the song being played is ‘O mere Saajan’ from the 1988 movie. It is so subtly done. Here, Miloni probably thinks about their conversation and his offer while listening to that song in the taxi. That if she was free the next day, they could go for a movie. As for the choice, he leaves it open but through the adorable way in which that song segues into the next scene, we realize that she had chosen Teesri Manzil. She being a millennial had likely never seen it. …

Note: This is not a review of the film. It is a reflective piece I am writing to understand and appreciate Photograph better. Spoilers ahead. Read it after watching the movie.

Every photograph has a story behind it. When William Wyler’s Roman Holiday ends, a sense of sadness looms over us. We wish that Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) and the Crown Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) can live a happily ever after. But that can never happen as their worlds would never meet in reality. We accept the end of Roman Holiday with a grumpy bitterness. But, when Irving hands over Ann’s photos of her wild detour from her stifling and scheduled life, we are only happy for that brief moment for Ann. …

Two months back, I had a conversation with a colleague of mine in which I randomly posed a question, “Malcolm Gladwell said that if we put our heart and soul into anything that we love or want to excel at for 10,000 hours, we would be mastering it. And yet, here we are, living everyday but neither enjoying nor excelling at it.”

When I mulled over this for a week, I found that we are so tied up between our work-life-internet balance. Internet? What do you mean? Think about how many hours you spend on the internet today — we use internet almost equal to our work times and on weekdays, it is more than the time we spend with our loved ones, family and friends. …

When Deepak Srinivas got placed early in the campus placement rounds of his final year at IIT-Ropar, he had a desire to try something new.

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Picture Credit: Deepak Srinivas (Facebook Page)

Often he would watch videos of Estas Tonne on YouTube. Yes, there was the influence of other guitarists like Steve Vai, Prasanna, and Vishwa Mohan Bhatt. But, the manner in which Estas Tonne used the guitar to connect cultures drew Deepak in. Estas Tonne is a Russian guitarist and a street performer. He often tours across Europe to perform in ‘Buskers Festival’, an event where street-performers of music, theatre, dance, etc. perform a prominent role.

On the Madras I have ignored, my decision to uninstall social media apps from my phone and my newfound interests, Chess and Podcasts.

For the past month or so, I have been quite busy. I wanted to write about a lot of things but ended up missing them. So, here I am trying to pen them down, in no particular order.

The Madras I had ignored: August is the month of Madras. If there is an ideal month to visit this southern coastal city, it is August. The city turned 377. There were several events lined up. I happened to attend a session called Houses of Mylapore based on L’s suggestion. We had met at a spoken word poetry event. She had invited me to be a part of this unique program where a group of architecture students from the city would explore the architecture of the houses in Mylapore. We often convince ourselves that we pretend to know the city we live in for a considerably long time until we venture to discover things we have failed to notice. There were about forty of us on an early Sunday morning. We started with an individual house constructed somewhere in the 1930s. The house with a curved motif and a hexagonal balcony seemed heavily influenced by Portuguese architecture. I wish I could delve on this longer for I would have to speak about the Burma teakwood or the Mangalore brick tiles or the Art Decko font style but for now, they shall stay in my diary. But there were a few things to take away from that event. I came to understand how the Indian architecture was more influenced by being open-faced and welcoming than European architecture, which was more self-centered and closed. Unlike what others presume, Mylapore isn’t a Filter kaapi preferring — The Hindu reading — TamBrahm community either. Muslims and Jains have lived peacefully over centuries. On the other hand, I also realized how architecture is essential in preserving the cultural history of a city. In a few months or a few years from now, most of these ‘old’ houses would be gone. Unfortunately, not many seem to care about it. How can a city cut ties with its past? Where would the memories of a city be preserved? Photographs are merely a way of escapism. Shouldn’t we look beyond religious places of worship to keep the ‘old’ Madras intact?For …

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Cricket statistics can be harsh on players. Baz never truly belonged with the biggest names in cricket. But when we take a closer look, we realise that he was the first man to play 101 consecutive tests, since his debut in 2004.

In a country that is obsessed with rugby and where they truly are a fine team, the All Blacks, cricket has never been of much importance. For 80 odd years, their cricket teams with a sober nickname, the Kiwis (Kiwi is a flightless native bird) haven’t achieved anything phenomenal saving the occasional hurrahs. …

There were no companions around. She was perhaps, enjoying her moment in solitude. There were few dried puffed rice grains near her feet. She looked at them for one long moment. It was a restless day and she needed those small pieces of food to survive another night.

Yet she moved away. It was not food that she wanted. Time ago, she would have spent those moments with her companions. But there were none around. That worried her. It gave a sense of what life was all about. She was told as all the sparrows are, that life was all about movement. Staying in one place was a dull thing. Elephants could. Lions could. Never the birds. Especially the Sparrows. Sparrows were meant to fly, to travel. …

The candle light was swaying to the music of the Indian summer breeze. The silence of the night had consumed the ears of Ganga. Her eyes were aching to welcome her dreams of peace. And freedom. In her dreams, she need not have to worry about her husband, her in-laws, the men and yes, the women. She need not have to worry about the tiring long walk to the well to fetch her family two buckets of water when the sun was hot or about dreamless vile men in shabby clothes who ogled at the breasts of women. She was aware that such men were capable of crimes. She was prepared to fight against them if such a situation arose. But it was her own folk, from the other side, who disappointed her. The gossip they indulged in. Chandra! …

She called me on a rainy Sunday morning. The raindrops falling on my window sounded like gentle drum beats. In my lonely apartment, I was lying thoughtlessly on the bed. I had missed a couple of her calls. The familiar voice I have loved listening to over the years said, ‘Sid, I want to meet you today. It has been a long time since we met. Shall we go for a movie?’

I missed her. Nikita. Without much thought, I said ‘Yes. You book the tickets. I am open to come for any movie.’

‘Sure. Will text you the ticket. …

Gordon looked at his watch that was nearly as old as him and imagined to himself of the lines he wished to tell her. Malena. She filled his heart for the past year and a half. He remembered lying naked on his bed, gently brushing her hair as she smoked. He had spoken of his future with her. She had laughed. The next moment, she had kissed him passionately. He doubted now whether the action was a mere response to her professional call or to his longing.

He had loved women before and lived with a few as well. But none had loved him the way Malena did. Or maybe that is what he wished to think. For younger men, yet to taste love, it is an exciting fantasy adventure. But Gordon was not young. He was old enough to know what love meant. He is aware that loving a woman like Malena, is an obsession that burns like a candle, consuming itself in the process of giving light and removing the darkness. …



Reads to learn. Writes to understand.

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