Privilege

I would like to say I realized very early on that I was born into privilege.
But that would not make it true, my wanting to say it.

I WAS born into privilege.
I did not realize it until I was all grown up and acutely aware of the world around me.
I did not realize it until the precious child I was stepped back and the undeserving adult I would be surfaced.
I did not realize it as I wasted time trying in vain to reconcile the me that was and the me that was going to be.

But I was going to be nothing but wild, grabbing attempts at reliving a childhood that most people don’t get to live
even once.

If that is not the definition of privilege, I don’t know what is.

I realize I am privileged. I am still processing this.
It’s alarming in that hazy, slowly-yet-steadily uprooting way.

I would like to say that having realized how privileged I am, I started to actively make something meaningful
out of my life.
My wanting to say it, mean it, do it, does not make it something I said or did.
Sometimes, I wonder if I ever mean it.

But between the thinking and the doing, all I have going for me is blind, desperate hope.
Maybe if something is repeated often enough in words, the essence of it will start to bleed out of and beyond the resolute lines of black and white.

I have bled into my creations.
So much so that I expect them to right themselves on their feet and totter off into the sunset any moment now.

But I spared my words my privilege.
I spared my words all my good intent.
I spared my words the ache for meaningfulness.

In much the same manner I live life, numb, mechanical and disconnected, I poured myself into my body of work even while I spared them purpose.

Now there’s two of me lying around, equally lifeless and spent.
When I get to death, if there’s to be a headstone, that’s what they should put on it:
buried in wasted privilege.

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Blink

Plug your ears
Make sure you’re stone deaf
Close your eyes
Be blind, blind, no hindsight
Foresight
And cover
Cover your mouth
Be mute, mutiny another day
Cover you face, cower
And then, hear it, that familiar tune
That old shriek
Torn out from your throat
Against your wish, torn out from your mouth
The words putting images to the thoughts
Let me conjure up the demons, the vespers
The fires from heaven, the summers from hell
The flowers blooming over a thousand rivers,
Rolling waves over a thousand coasts
Throw them up in the air
Catch them in your palm
They belong to the creator
Created in the recesses of your mind
Pumped to an excited state, charged to maintain speed
Aligned to maintain direction
Headed straight for the stars
A one-way track set up in time
Go back and forth and back again
And hide
And pounce out, from behind unexpected days
And unnoticed moments
To scare the living daylights off the victim
The victim’s in your head
You wish you could materialize him
He’s the tormentor in your life
And you cover your ears
And you close your eyes
And still see all and hear all
And feel more than everything put together
And when you open them the next instant
You have opened the safe in your head
And let out the wild beasts, the dancers
The carnival queens and the carnage kings
And god and devil and dogs and cats
And mountains of long ago
Covered with ice, capped in snow
And last to leave
A trail of tap-dancing monkeys
And little black unknown things
That make little unheard sounds as they scuttle by

 

Cover your ears
Hide your face
Close your eyes
Because in the span of a blink
You’ve breathed in air and next to nothing
And breathed out a spectacle, a fantastic link
Of wonder and dread
And the spells that crying stones shed
The things that crawl from underneath the bed
The things that unravel from your head
Blink and miss
And create and feel
And live
And blink.

 

All reason, all existence for this moment
All loss, all gain, all tears and pain
For this second
All sleep and waking hours
And daylight dreams and nightmares
For this moment
Of release, of end
Of forever sleeping
When no longer required
Forever still and still
When no longer noticed
And forever quiet
That falls on deaf ears
And echoes around cold stone
That I shall once again walk over
When I stir
And Blink

Bread and Punctuation ( by which I mean Sex and Such)

Why does the topic of sex get most people to react that way?

There’s the disapproval, the waggling eyebrows, the giggling, the smirking and the snorting. There are inside jokes and private conversations. There are parades and politically protected expressions of ‘collective public’ sentiment.There’s the taunting and the teasing, the air of oh-so-wrongness mixed with unspecified portions of shame and guilt. And then there’re the reactions to what is considered the ‘righteous’ kind of sex. There’s talk of what is taboo and there’s hushing and shushing and a lowering of voices, pointing and staring and ogling and whispering. Also, there’s this somewhat fixed set of facial expressions that everyone seems to carry around. These are to be used (with varying degrees of moderation) where sex and such are concerned.

(Like the meme-faces below, only infinitely uglier)

Image

You get the picture?

I mean, what if this is how people reacted to the topic of bread or coconut oil or punctuation?

People would point and suppress a giggle at the clearly coded and religiously demarcated plethora of punctuation; there would be right and wrong commas and a whole breed of parentheses that were just plain unnatural.

Then there’d be the holy, god-ordained bread and the kind that is completely devoid of morals. For the love of all that is sacred and true, bread that eats away at the fabric of society is just plain WRONG. If you had brown bread, even if you were feeding it to your mouth (connected to your stomach and, ultimately, to your bottom), what would I do with my varieties of honey crust and milk? What if, because you ate brown bread, the WHOLE world followed suit in your footsteps?? Then we wouldn’t have anyone who ate milk-bread and that is precisely what would lead to the end of the world (my holy books have all the proof you need)

And don’t even get me started on coconut oil that comes in cube-shaped containers. (That is NOT how they marketed coconut oil in the kingdoms of gods. It was shunned and frowned upon a billion years ago; even the dinosaurs were uncomfortable with the concept. I mean, who are we to argue with dinosaurs??)

My choice of bread is my damn choice of bread; especially when it’s not coerced, when it’s consensual and when I do NOT force it down your throat. I don’t care if coconut oil came in formless containers made of distilled suburban sin . I most definitely do not care to categorize the brackets and exclamations I use into categories of ‘suitable’, ‘culturally-accepted’ and ‘morally wrong’.

Daily Prompt: Mad as a Hatter

I actually have a very bad temper. Depending on the level of BS that a person or situation is filled with, I could fly off the handle in seconds or just build up steam like a volcano until the inevitable happens.

But mostly I stay calm and composed (and any pummeling or hacking-to-tiny-bits-with-an-axe happens solely inside my head). 

I especially don’t lose my cool in front of my colleagues and workplace peers (seeing as how that’s considered unprofessional).

This happened when I was working as an Assistant Director (AD) in Chennai. My Director, Atlee, is this super-sweet awesome dude and he took me under his wing from day one (what with being the only female on that entire team) and I was always really decent in front of him. There’s this other guy, one of the senior ADs, called Bakki and he used to majorly piss me off in the beginning.

(Come to think of it, I probably majorly pissed him off too)

We’d argue about movies, about songs, about whether or not something was “right”, etc. Picture me (a walking, enlightened circus of everything imaginable) and him (Mr. old fashioned chauvinistic stick-in-the-mud young guy) arguing over whether or not it was ‘okay’ for women to wear shorts, smoke, men to cry, a woman to hit a man in a particular scene, etc, etc..

(to quote a few random wild stereotypical examples)

Everything we’d argue about would eventually boil down to the extremely worn-out and cliched men vs. women topic (which isn’t even a topic in my head – do monkeys or snails have such debates? No!! There is no men vs. women; there’s just dumb-as-fuck humans vs. slightly less-dumb humans and EVERYBODY, irrespective or gender, falls under one of those two very broad categories)

Anyway, sorry for digressing – that happens a lot to me.

So, like I was saying, we’d been arguing for weeks: during AD meetings, during office work, during shooting; all the time. Everybody else in the office found this very hilarious, of course: an endless source of entertainment.

Now, I have this little blue diary (Nightingale A5-ish diary) and I scribble, doodle and take notes in it. NOBODY is allowed to write in my diary. NOBODY. And once, during a meeting, someone tried to take a page (the horror) from the book and I flipped out. You DO NOT tear pages off a diary.

So, that’s the background detail. The actual bad temper episode happened when Sir (my DIR) and Bakki were sitting together and discussing a scene and I was there taking notes in my little blue diary. Just for laughs and also to break the monotony, sir asked us to discuss something and soon we were arguing (Bakki and I) and he took my book and drew this big ugly face right in the back, on the last page. Now, I don’t know if anybody else here can identify with this – but the last page is SUPPOSED to be left blank unless the owner of the diary has something specific she wants to put there. I think I lost a few brain cells in that moment. I had warned this guy before about messing with my stationary; call it my pet peeve.

I got so mad, I snatched the diary from him and tore away the last few pages; I then scrunched up each and every page into tiny, hateful balls and threw them at his face. All the while, my slightly-shocked and definitely-amused director looked on in silence.

Here’s another little background info – you NEVER show that kind of disrespect in front of your director (who is like your guru, your mentor, especially in the Indian Film Industries; never mind that he is barely four years older to you and is struggling to keep a straight face).

Bakki and I nearly came to blows that day. Thankfully, my sir intervened and he berated us. He “yelled” at Bakki for ragging on me, especially since I had changed cities to work for him and I didn’t have ‘anyone’ in Chennai (and it was up to the team to take care of me, which they did very sincerely). He “yelled” at me for losing my temper and screaming and tearing things up while my ‘director’ was watching.

It all seemed very funny later on and my fellow ADs liked to tell that tale during late hours at work. But it wasn’t all that cracking when it happened.

There you go – that’s one of my Mad-as-a-Hatter moments.

(There was this other time when I screamed and yelled at work at another AD. I’ll write about it next I guess)

(We’re all good friends now, in case I hadn’t made that clear earlier)

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http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/prompt-mad-hatter/

Loki: Insanity and Characterization

On characters and movies and stuff: Loki

I recently watched Thor: The Dark World. Now, being an Avengers/Marvel/Movies/Comics fanatic, I would have made it a point to catch that movie in the big screen anyway. But then we all know that where Hiddleston is concerned, geek-status turns out to be only one half of the motivation.

Now, I’m not going to be the gushing fan girl (in this post at least). This is about characterization (I think). We’ve seen this before, we’ve read these same stories, these very same moments in other narratives: The Trickster Villain teetering on the line that separates “redemption from damnation” (Chris Hemsworth’s words, watch the video interview if you haven’t already).

Storytellers love to construct characters that are as real as living, ‘ordinary’ people in their shortcomings, quirks and weaknesses, while at the same time, giving them these unrealistic, fantastic aspects.
Recipe: Shower that character with charm and wit, place that character under duress, clothe him in misunderstanding and heart-break and let him loose in a universe (alternate or otherwise) run by the very same principles our ‘mundane’ world runs on, and WHAM! Result: You have yourself a loved-tragic-villain in the making.

And we cannot help but fall in love with that character. In spite of being familiar with the stereotype, in spite of having read, watched and sobbed over so many, many similar such stories. I’m not writing or saying anything new here when I declare that we absolutely require our protagonists and antagonists today, in the context of our current ’21st Century’ lives, to exhibit traits that are both good and bad. It’s been years since we’ve closed the chapter on characters that are just 100% clean and ‘good’ or 100% evil.

Which is the thing I took back home with me from the theater after watching Thor 2.

(That and this solemn promise to myself: download hundreds more of Tom Hiddleston’s pictures as well as make a board for him on Pinterest).

I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy the movie otherwise. I loved it actually, despite the rather dragged-out, stretched-thin ending fight scene. (And this coming from somebody who loves action movies.) I loved Frigga. Her character is epic and it was so natural at the same time (and if I say more, It’ll be a major SPOILER so I won’t).

I read on this review that Thor was not made with any ‘redeemable quirks’ (read here) – he didn’t have those shortcomings, those ‘shades of grey’ (ugh, that book has totally ruined that phrase for me) that Loki possesses. But I don’t think that’s true. Thor is a proud god, even if he is no longer arrogant. If you make him out to be so, he could easily step into darkness because he has been too straightforward for too long. Anyway, I’m rambling now.

(And another thing – don’t you just love the memes with a technologically-challenged Thor? I think that’s pretty redeemable! As in, his general lack of skill with such things)

tt1 tt2

Of course Loki is my favorite (and Iron Man; always Iron Man) and his character has been developed so well, portrayed so well, that Thor does come off as rather one-dimensional in comparison. But I think it’s because we can put Thor and Loki in opposition (Trubetzkoy anybody??) that each character, Loki being the focus here, is so exquisitely defined.

So, coming back to the line between ‘good’ and ‘evil’ and such things, after watching interviews of the cast and the crew and after Thor 2 (and Thor 1, which as a movie, I think was better put together than the sequel), I regained my passion for the bleeding-heart-villain character type and I kept trying to figure it out in my head: Why is it so epic, why do I love it so much?

And I came up with:

Most people understand that it’s such a murky, tenuous line, the one between madness and sanity. It’s never 100% of either one. It’s always a combination; two sides of a coin, to use the clichéd metaphor.

But there’s this one particular aspect that really intrigues me: the way it manifests in people. You can have a lifetime filled with madness, defined by innumerable acts of woe and tragedy, marked by acts of insufferable cruelty and pain. And in the midst of this continuum, you could have a few moments of sanity.

Or maybe, in a sane, calm life, you have instances of instability. Momentary madness that is so epic in its manifestation, so complete in its consumption of your soul that you are as much defined by those few moments as you are by the rest of your otherwise clean, safe and mundane life. Until, of course, you descend into complete madness because of those few moments and what they mean to you.

And that is super-relatable. On some level, we’d all like to explain the worst shortcomings in us as instances of madness; we all hope that when we (if we haven’t already) hit that point, we’ll be understood for both the good and the bad in us.

Or something less dramatically-cliched.