My Two Cents


 

The other day, in fact a week ago one of our neighbours popped into our home. She is not really our neighbour but our neighbours daughter, who lives in the nearby town. Apparently she is looking after the house since her mom is out of station.

Among the small talks, there was one thing that caught my attention which if you look at it didn’t really have to but the fact that it got my attention is why I thought of sharing it with you.

Out of a random topic we began talking about visiting temples and about our religious inclination. It was just a causal mention not even the main topic we were talking about. What she said in response was that she is very progressive in her outlook and therefore isn’t very religious which in turn means she doesn’t visit temples and such on a routine. Of course what she does in her personal life is none of my concern but it got me thinking nevertheless.

Do people in our country – the educated and (so called) liberals think that been progressive and religious go hand in hand? Does becoming less religious mean you are more positive in your approach, that you are an elite of some sort? That you look down upon the ones who are religious?

Am not a religious person, never have been from the time I have been introduced to it. But I do consider myself a follower of Santana Dharma who does believe in its teaching. I don’t know why people of other religion go to their place of worship but to me in particular it is because of the peace I get from the energy in the temple. There is something different in its very air when you enter a temple and pray.

But being progressive has nothing to do with religion IMHO. I mean religion is a part of your identity not your outlook in life. Of course it can heavily influence your views and opinions and that’s where the problems lie. A religion which decides for you is dictatorship in my opinion.

I know our country is going through a so called religious awakening thanks to the ruling party but my point has nothing to do with politics but with beliefs. You can be both progressive and religious. It depends on how you view your beliefs.

To be progressive is not to be biased on the basis of caste, creed, sex or gender, place or religion etc. To treat everyone equally. To not let personal differences come in between your other commitments.

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To be religious is to follow a particular faith which gives you satisfaction, an identity and a structure or a path in life. Every religion has a tipping point and no matter what each will reach theirs.

I don’t even want to start about been secular and religion, two different things stitched together by a party for their own selfish interest, almost ruining this country. This is about a personal belief, that’s all.

Believing your faith to be backwards is one of the downfall Hindu’s are facing today. I don’t know if it’s a British mentality thats still left behind or propagated by secularist but if one thinks so then they have no idea about their own faith and it is high time they study it before they begin critiquing it.

Yes certain customs are backward but it is the fault of the people who made them. Every place has its own custom and it is up to us to eradicate the bad ones, don’t blame religion for it.

If at all I have something to say, it is this: Nobody is going to respect you if you don’t respect yourself and similarly nobody is going to respect your religion or culture if you don’t respect it yourself. Change begins with you.

 

Big Little Lies


 

You can find my first impressions here: Big Little Lies – First Impression

This time I will be writing about both the series as well as the book. To begin with the book, its aptly written. The characters are so fleshed out and you have strong reactions to them, like you either hate them or love them. Wonderfully written, Big Little Lies is definitely worth a read. Those who have read it please review or post your opinions here: Book Club

Coming to the series, obviously there are many changes from the book to fit the series mini episodes yet, not much is different. The characters are spot on. Though I did wonder why they didn’t include Fred in it. Besides the obvious difference in climax which I think was better in the series, but we writers have a way to make things more dramatic on paper.

It is not a book/Tv series on whodunnit. It’s about these three women – Jane, Celeste and Madeline  two other side characters Bonnie and Renata. Each of them have their own quirks and thats what makes them human.

Some of the imagery in the show was too much at times, like jane constantly envisioning her run on the beach or someone trying to break-in to her house or others dreams. But I guess it was necessary to “show” how distraught they are in a short time unlike in the book where you have time to draw out these nuances.

It is a wonder how they summed it all up in just 7 episodes. I didn’t, to be honest, think it was just a one off mini series. I expected to have more seasons (ha!) but I was reading the book and watching it almost simultaneously, which I never do but I just had to check the writing and realised this was it.

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I think the reason we have come to like it so much, is cause we can relate to them. We all keep secrets, some are dark and some even darker. We all want to put our best face on and show the world what a perfect life we are leading. I don’t know why we do that, what kind of pressure that is. Just imagine how much we could accomplish if we spoke the truth and helped each other instead.

But no, we all strive for perfection. ‘There is nothing wrong with my life’. And thanks to social media we are even pressurised to “show” it. It is sad that we try to show a make- believe world that doesn’t exist, cause believe me the best things in life cannot be shared or ‘posted’ on social media. It just happens.

The other thing I liked about the story was how genuinely good every character in this book was trying to be. How they tried to help the other women in distress even though they had humongous personal differences. I think it is more of a fantasy since no one is that good to anybody. We like it cause we wish it existed in real life too. I mean how many of us can be really that good to an ex-husbands wife or how many of us will actually defend a woman we don’t like with an abusive husband? How many of us will actually do something when it matters?

It was almost like wish fulfillments. I mean there is nothing wrong in not been perfect. Nobody is but we pretend to be and in turn do nothing about it when it really matters. Another part is obviously the entertainment factor cause I guess home makers think of themselves as leading a boring life and here was a show that showed the dramatic side to them. It was a show about them and how hard everything is on the inside though everything looks perfect on the outside. Nobody knows how hard it is to keep up that facade.

Overall, both the book and the series is worth the watch. I highly recommend it. What I loved the most was the performances. Every character felt lived through. All the actors standout yet nobody is outperforming the other. For all we know they could be our next door neighbors and we were having a peek through their lives. So go ahead and enjoy the coming weekend binge watching Big Little Lies!

 

 

Dysfunctional Family #Kapoor&Sons

We have all seen them, maybe even have been a part of them. Of course there are extreme forms of dysfunctional families and am not talking about the extreme ones. We have seen it in Dekh Bhai Dekh, or American Tv series Modern Family or for that matter Arrested development.

A family is not complete without some of its members been a “little” over the top. I was inspired to write this post when I remembered about Kapoor and Sons movie. By now you must have understood how much a movie influences my thoughts. Am a huge movie buff but its not just entertainment I take it with me once its done. It’s an experience and good movies have a way to make you feel you were a part of that movie.

With Kapoor and Sons it was like actually been there and silently watching all these characters go through their performances.  It was too good.

kapoor-and-sons-rkThere can be no doubt about the fact that my favourite character remains the grandpa played by Rishi Kapoor – the masterstroke actor.

It was engaging yet felt like we have lived this. We have all had that fight or that talk. The sibling rivalry, parental fights and amid all the chaos finding our calm to enjoy that perfect moment when it does show up.

 

Growing up in such a family has its share of impacts, and whats more is that  we even take it along with us for the rest of our lives. I would say my family does qualify the kind of families I have mentioned above, sans the laughter tracks, Ha!

There are worser kinds where it leaves the kids with traumatic effects such as those depicted in August: Osage County; what a wonderful performance by Meryl Streep and the whole cast! The relationship between Benedict Cumberbatch and his mother is just heart wrenching. The ones Meryl has with her daughters is both disturbing and a bit funny. But its so real and it happens.

So what is family and do we need family? Apparently this institution of family was started because the males wanted to pass on their wealth and intangibles to someone down their line and as a slave prospect started this ‘Familia’ which is nothing like what todays family represent and included household servants.

How many horror stories do we read in the news about how family members kill each other or abuse each other or sabotage each other for wealth or power? In fact every day I read about either a son killing his whole family out of vengeance or a father abusing his daughter. Don’t even start with Domestic Abuse cases. So is this what family is meant for? To control each other so much that you destroy the very thing you have in life?

I don’t think family has a longterm value considering every person starts his own family and the previous ones become obsolete and its an ongoing pattern. I guess its just the way of nature is.

For me, Family is support but I have seen families where they pull each other down, like crabs. Especially Indian families, I think they are afraid and insecure. Don’t go up the ladder cause we didn’t. Family is supposed to encourage everyone part of it to reach their potential but I feel sometimes it is the very family that holds you back.

Am a single child but yet I have been pitched against other kids to compete with for no reason. It always effects you cause you are constantly comparing yourself to others no matter what you have achieved. I think that should be stopped cause everyone is unique and nobody can replace the other. Maybe Family had a disturbing origin but I think its up to us to give it the proper rendition it deserves.

So what are your family quirks? Share your (‘funny’) family experiences!

 

 

The Great Indian Parents

The other day I was watching an old interview of the ensemble cast of Dil Dhadkane Do (DDD), one of the better movies to come in the last couple of years.

Honestly, I was prejudiced towards the trailer once I saw it cause I didn’t think these rich people and their problem was any of my concern and so the whole movie was just candy floss.

I, in fact, watched the movie last year but at that time I didn’t have a blog to write down my thoughts but after watching their interview I was reminded of the fact that I loved the movie. It was everything beyond expectation.

Reema Kagti makes wonderful movies, including Talaash and Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd, two movies I thoroughly enjoyed and Zoya has a meaningful and different approach to movie making. But this isn’t about the movie that I want to talk about but about what the movie represents. Family.

I think Indian Parents are a different species altogether. I have always wondered why they can’t let their grown up kids just be. I always question these kids who grow up under controlling parents – like do they want to be like their parents or does it happen naturally through years of conditioning?

I can’t imagine being a parent like that and am always dreading if I will be (Only time will say). I mean I get the protection and responsibility they imbibe but once your kids turn a particular age, do you really need to spoon feed everything?

In this movie, there is two particular scene that really stung me:

  1. Where Anil Kapoor’s Character tells Ranbir’s “what have you done in your whole life? You are because of me and without us, you are nothing”, (loosely translated)
  2. Where Shefali Shah’s Character tells Priyanka’s to stop focusing on career and to start a family and also Anil telling her she is not welcome back to the family if she wants a divorce.

I mean why would parents do this to their kids? Why do you expect everything to be about you and not the kids? Aren’t they individuals? Do parents not look at their kids as separate beings? Or do they think kids have to be dependent on them no matter what?

I get the part about our parents sacrificing a lot for us. Every parent does that and that’s what makes you one. But expecting your kids to applaud you and be forever grateful to you is just plain wrong. And so is expecting them to toe along your lines cause you have done such great things for them.

Another part I don’t understand is why do kids still live with their parents! Unlike the old Joint family get up today there are more nuclear families. Yet parents are always there right behind you. Especially for girls who get married and move into their husband’s house, it’s just plain weird having to make such adjustments that the boy never even fathoms.

Why create such uncomfortable scenarios? Why can’t two adults live by themselves? Unless you have a single parent, there is, in my opinion, no need for adult kids to live with their parents. It only prolongs dependency, especially the emotional ones which is what’s dangerous.

Just imagine the benefits of living on your own:

  • You make the decisions
  • there is no conflict of who is the head of the house
  • the value we place on boys cause they “take care” of parents will lessen
  • More time can be taken out for actual bonding with family members instead of having to secretly hate them and create pain for everyone concerned.
  • Emotional maturity – especially for boys who take washing, cooking and such mundane activities for granted since someone else is always there to do it (their mom or sis)
  • Independence!
  • Privacy – No questions on where you are going or to whom you are speaking to or such questions, which only kids need to answer not adults.

I mean the lists are endless. Can you imagine how the whole Indian society would turn out to be if we actually followed this?

I have to agree there is No competition when it comes to their love. They win hands down but sometimes a gift can turn into a curse and we need to make sure it remains a gift. I believe a parents duty is to provide for their children and teach them to survive on their own. My husband and I both believe in this school of thought –  to let the kids just be.

As parents we worry about so much already, isn’t something left best to the kids? They need to discover themselves through their own eyes and not through others. If you watch kids carefully you will know they are hardly scared or insecure or worried about anything. But we force our views on them and by a certain age, they start believing it too. Their outlook on life is smudged by their parent’s views.

Every parenting style is different. No two parents are the same and believe me no parents want to hear that what they are doing is wrong nor do they want to hear parenting advice. Besides parenting comes naturally, no one can be prepared for it till it happens to them.

But certain qualities only Indian parents share and I constantly read on Quora what today’s youth want and believe. They are far much mature than the previous generation. Being exposed to so much in today’s world, they are I think even born ready to take on the world. They talk about stuff that a generation above them wouldn’t have or actually take risks. But still, they have the age old Indian parents who instead of encouraging them, hinder their progress.

I can go on and on about Indian parents but it’s time for a change and I am not going to shy away from it cause change begins with you. Hopefully, I can be one of the parents that I write about but there is still time for that.

What do you think about Indian parenting style? Are you one? Share your experience!

 

 

 

Hindi Medium and The Need to Conform #Movienight


 

Last night hubby and me decided to watch a comedy movie. Having seen most of the movies this year, I was left to wonder which one to watch for tonight. That’s when I remembered we still hadn’t watched Hindi Medium starring Irfan Khan and Saba Qamar.

The story is something like this: Parents want to send their daughter to an ‘elite’ english medium school in order to catch up with other elites in the society. Now I am not part of north India but I have heard they are way too posh and extremely conscious of their image and power. I mean this is the same city where Jessica Lal was murdered.

Coming back to the movie, it is light hearted fun, certainly a bit exaggerated and doesn’t take itself too seriously till the climax when the protagonists begins to sprout consciousness.

It definitely made me wonder what our education system has reached to and the mentality of us Indians. I have always considered English as  a language and nothing more. But maybe due to colonialism we are still stuck in that mode where anything ‘english’ is elite and better.

I have studied in an english medium school where speaking in english was mandatory. We even wore a ‘speak to me in english’ badges on our uniform. I never took it seriously cause I speak three other languages too. I guess it’s pretty common in India to be bi(tri)lingual.

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In those days very few people conversed in english in their daily lives but I have to admit now a days anywhere I go, I see people talking to each other in english like its the ‘cool’ thing to do. Am always trying to decide if I should speak in english or use the state language, something I never felt growing up.

In fact I used to be teased in college for speaking in english cause I am not exactly well versed in Malayalam as the native speakers are and now these very people converse in english like their mother tongue has no value.

It is sad we Indians don’t value our own traditions, heritage and culture or for that matter language. When I see the Chinese attempts to glorify their culture or Germany/France, I feel disappointed that we Indians lack that. We have such an ancient and culturally rich heritage that I don’t think todays kids are even aware of.

Everyone is after the image we are been sold to. Every country has it’s own value and it’s up to them to maintain it. I feel being Hindus we have become so liberal that we don’t even value our own system or take pride in it.

Hindi medium only throws light on the education system which itself needs an over haul but for that to happen we as a society needs to change at its core. We need to amalgamate what’s traditional and modern, use the positive and leave out the negative cause as a country we have such a huge potential and we need to propagate it for our own advantage.

I just wish that we value what we have now and nurture it cause one day when we look back we as a country are going to regret having lost everything that once glorified us. Sometimes I feel we are obsessed with this language, why can’t we show the same to our own language?

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Why not give the same importance to other languages too like french, mandarin or Spanish? or the multiple languages in our own country! Besides knowing two or more languages contributes to a persons intelligence. And to me language is just that –  a tool for communication. In a country like India it is significant where multiple languages are spoken, hence english ironically is the one that unifies us all. But why give it an over the top connotations to it?

Back to the movie, watch it for the fun message it gives and the comic timings of Deepak Dobriyal. He is too good. A perfect weekend movie. I would rate it 3.5/5.

What are your thoughts on the movie and the message it shares?

 

Confessions of a Closet Writer #1


 

This is not a series am attempting to begin here. Though that would be fun huh? I just had to to share my fears as a writer cause I know am not alone. Besides sharing is caring and I would love to hear from others who maybe going through the same emotion as am.

The thing is when I was younger, I used to love reading. But till about the age of ten -twelve what I read was the Archie comics. I have to say thats where my whole English knowledge even began. I was constantly on it once I was back from school. I had a membership in a nearby library and there was this whole section dedicated just to comic books and three-fourth of it was just for Archie comics.

Once I crossed to teenage, despite my love for the comics my attention had turned towards romance particularly to the Harlequins romance series. I used to read them like till I was about sixteen? I couldn’t have enough of them (Apart from the Potter series of course).

So when I decided to start writing, it was inevitably about romance. The kind I fancied in my life. That’s how I began writing. For the longest time that’s all what I wrote and I have to say thats where it all stopped too.

Once I started college, my writing disappeared. I was no longer interested in writing. But I was still a voracious reader. I used to read thrillers, mysteries, sometimes biographies, Sci-fi or fantasy or whatever book I found interesting in the library.

What I feel most guilty about is the fact that I stopped reading for like three to four years. I was so interested in other activities which had nothing to contribute in my life but problems that reading took a back seat.

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So the two most things I loved at one point in my life had almost vanished. It was made worser by the use of smartphones and tablets. I was hooked on to those too. I used to read ebooks but I love holding the hardcover/paperback, their smell is something else. In fact I have always wanted to have a library of my own. Something I hope will become true one day.

It is only in the last two years that I was finally able to start reading and get my zing back. Yet it took another long time for me to start writing which was towards the end of last year. I have to confess due to such a long gap, am not confident about writing. I feel am not good enough.

When I read certain blogs or books, am blown away thinking I could never write like that. In some ways I feel inadequate. Most of the time I badger myself for taking such a long time to realise that this is what I want and love. Everybody is gifted with some talent and this is mine and I took it for granted or wasn’t grateful enough about it that now I feel repentant.

But the good thing about Life is that it gives you second chances and maybe this is mine? Though am no expert at writing, I guess these are probably what I would advise to aspiring writers out there:

  • Write a lot. Anything. For yourself or if you feel like it, share. But keep writing.
  • When you are not writing – Read, like there is no tomorrow.
  • Find your own unique voice. That’s what sets you apart.

So yeah, glad to unload that part of me. But no one has just one confession to make, right? So what about you? what would you like to confess? Share your thoughts!

 

 

Why do we Blog and Should You?


 

To begin with there are lots of blogs on the internet. Some are for business, some are personal, yet there are those who use it in private and one’s that are used for promotional purposes.

The reason I use blogging is for a creative outlet. I love writing. For me it is therapeutic just like cooking/baking is for others (I do love baking). Anyhoo, it is always important to know why we blog.

There are many who have made blogging as a career and kudos to them right. It isn’t easy to be inspired everyday and actually sit and write something. Give it a try and you will know what I mean.

I constantly ask myself this question – why am I blogging? I need to keep reminding myself that I love sharing what I have to say cause otherwise keeping a private journal will do too. You don’t really have to blog just cause you like writing alone.

I love reading other peoples views. Sharing and understanding their point of views. Its what makes the blogging community so wonderful to be a part off. It’s like a little world of our own.

A blog can be about anything. Business, hobbies, some talent/skill that you have. You can always create a platform for yourself before the world comes to know of you. These days, YouTube plays a huge role in advancing ones talent cause lets face it far more people spend their time browsing videos than they do blogs. It is easier to get your attention and you don’t have to spend your energy reading something.

Thankfully, there are still people out there who like to read and jot things down. Blogging is as relevant today as it was when it first started.

images3.jpegSo that brings me to the question of should you blog? Yes and I mean why not? It is a great way to share what you think, your opinions and to inspire others. These days we even have Quora or Twitter to make your views heard but I find it to be quiet shallow and not really helpful in the longterm.

One needs to be clear on why they are making a point and what it means to them. Just typing 140 characters doesn’t bail you out. And Quora is a closed community. You can only view them if you are a member and yet the questions are very rhetoric mostly, but yes there are many helpful ones – no doubt about that.

But one has to understand that blogging is a completely different platform and no one else can provide what it does. Your own unique voice and that matters. Some of the things one must consider if you do decide to blog is that:

  • Be consistent – Nobody likes to follow a blog where random posts about random topics are made. At least try to find your own niche/passion before you start blogging and post twice or more in a week.

 

  • It is a great way to keep writing. For writers it is a boon. You can always share what you write, gain feedback and improve yourself. There is no better way to have an engaging reader base than blogging.

 

  • Among many things maintaining a blog is a healthy habit. It can lead to discipline. More coherency in your ideas and even inspire others to become a better version of themselves. Besides its free and who knows what adventures it can lead you to.

 

So yeah, there you have it. Three simple reasons on if you should blog. I know many who try and give up early and thats cause you set such a high bar right from the beginning. It is not a race and there is no finish line here. Take your time, enjoy the process, unleash your creativity and just have fun.

Share your experience on blogging!