Thursday, July 12, 2012

That thing …forever!

Sun spread itself on the floor of their drawing room. The only sounds that bothered the otherwise quiet air were the occasional hush-hush of few members of the family and the call bell that the maid would answer once in a while.

Ravi and Sarika were sitting on the either side of the clean white sheet; motionless, speechless but full of thoughts – thoughts which raced from one to the next, without giving any clue where they got lost in the whole scheme of things. 

He was lying on the floor, resting his both hands back to support his body which would have otherwise fallen down. He scanned around the house looking at the walls and the roof and the floor and the door and the windows. They all look quieter. Quieter than what they all seemed a night before this day when they all were filled with the cacophony of their fights, echoing the hate they would spill off on each other. Could it be the suffocation of that hatred which is responsible for what happened – he wondered. He then fixed his eyes on one end of the white sheet, the end opposite to where she was staring at. 

Her lower lip curled itself inside to get wet. Her eyes would have turned into stone if they were not blinked for some more time. She could hear her voices from the last night. She had almost shouted at Ravi, “I want to be free forever. And I want my son to be free… free from the clutches of your failures… free from your anger… your rage… your fucking, miserable life... for god’s sake! I want to take away my son to a life of hope and positivity and happiness…. forever and ever.”

It’s been two months. Their divorce was settled and now they were fighting for their son’s custody. If things would have gone as planned, they would have been sitting in the court room today to hear the verdict. Last night, both tried to argue, as their last chance, before the final verdict… just in case the other would change mind… or heart. No judge. No advocate. No legal hearing. Only their twelve year old son, to their ignorance, was standing behind the closed door, as motionless, speechless and full of random thoughts… as they were now. 

She wondered now, what does forever mean? 

Rishabh is dead… forever. And beyond death, what else is there… like forever? Feelings? People? Possessions? Life? …not even life. Only death is forever… naturally. Everything else is forced, constructed. If you decide not to talk with someone forever, you force yourself to not to. If you decide not to love someone forever, you force yourself to commit to it… and in our rage to hate each other forever, we went a little too far… so far that we lost our son forever. Was it all about him?

All this while she could hear her voice rise. From low pitch to high. Just like last night. Only that, it was in the head. It appeared as if her thoughts were talking to his, growing over in their heads, as loud as they could, strongly contrasting the silence outside. she felt him saying – No it was all about us. It was always about us. We had almost forgotten that he existed; existed as a person beyond flesh and blood. A person with a mind that might have had hundred questions for us and a heart that would be bleeding with thousand emotions, with what was going around him. But we never really cared.

She moved her eyes from one end towards another in a hope to see Rishabh’s face but got caught by Ravi’s, who had moved away from the face, in a hope to seek a momentary withdrawal from the reality of the moment. When they both met, they could not really decide what was more profound in each other’s – the guilt or the sadness? Hatred? Probably that was long gone, before they could even realize. Sometimes we engage ourselves in a desperate search of that “forever” thing… so intensely that we almost forget what we really wanted for ourselves, for ever.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Irresponsible entertainment?

What would we do when we graduate from X with good grades and getting admitted to a good junior college? Shop? Party? Have fun? This girl, I met some days ago, more than anything else, raced around to get her name changed. Why? Because her name, apparently, had become a way too popular.

It may sound a little too frivolous. But trust me, if any of you would have met her, you would understand what I am talking about. If you had seen in her eyes the guilt of bearing a name that was adjective-zed with something like “chikani” and contained in a song that vulgarizes one's being, you would understand where I am coming from.

When I asked her why she changed her name, she informed me, “Bhaiya, I don’t want to spend my first few months of college in embarrassment.” I felt angry. Imagine if I had to rename myself because some careless a**hole has turned my name into a cheap entertainment! Some people may argue that this girl, and all the girls like her, need to have courage and strength to fight it or to ignore and not to be affected. I ask, fight or ignore is a good idea... but how many times in a day?

I am sure when her parents would have named her whatever they did, they must have had some very beautiful connotation. And we – people who create such songs and those of us who have made them so popular – have brought shame upon the same name. At this realization, I think of all those girls who may be named a Munni, a Sheela, a Chameli and such. What creepy humiliation it is when you walk on the street and someone at your back sings “Sheela ki Jawani” or “Chikani Chameli”!

Men have been objectifying women since ages. That's pathetic. But what is more crazily insane is women's participation in this process of victimization. This has to stop. And to stop this, it’s not men who will take the initiative, some may be empathetic though. Rather its women who need to take the lead. I wonder - why a Shreya Ghosal has to sing Chikani Chameli in first place? Why a Farah khan has to create space for Sheela ki Jawani in her film? Why Malaika Arora has to dance on Munni Badnam Huyi? Why these women do not have courage to say no to such demands? After all they are established and powerful figures in their respective professions? Aren’t they?

As I understand cinema, the concept of “script ki demand” is crap. There are hundred other ways to narrate one's story. One just needs to explore those other ways. And I don’t think it’s about creative liberty to do what we do in liberty’s name. If that would have been the case, it would have been interesting to listen to Katrina ki jawani or Farah badnam huyi. But we don’t. Because in the name of creative liberty we rarely spill off the shit on ourselves. It’s mostly others.

I respect the courage with which all the girls with these names are surviving and fighting this humiliation. On my part, I pledge never to play to any of such songs. I pray that someday our film industry will grow to be a little more sensitive. I also hope that in one of the Satyamev Jayate episodes Mr. Amir Khan also talks about the social responsibility his industry has and is not catering to. Amen!

P.S. – I am a huge Amir fan and I love his work, including SMJ.