Thursday, January 3, 2008

Coffee Break, Part 3

The last day in the big city. Feeling blue, quite seriously. Not really the emotion I expected at this threshold. After days of meeting my folk, being called thin so much that I felt all wizened and emaciated, four days of mood indigo, some feel-good and some feel-hollow rendezvouses with people, and other vague randomness, it's time to get back to where I belong. I'm spending time in the most obvious place I'd think of spending this evening in - Coffee Break.

It's not fun to say goodbye. Not fun at all. A day with a goodbye is not a good day. Never. Turns out I behaved astonishingly maturely towards the goodbye. Surprised myself. Usually, these forced goodbyes make depress me to no ends, but this time around I was up and around straight-on! Had I grown up, or had my innards frozen, I asked myself. Bah, not the time to think.

There's a bunch of people who're evidently from Delhi. The first words uttered by the girl when she entered the shop just gave it away. The accent, the casual attitude, the cautious yet careless stress on certain parts of the sentences, were all signature Delhi. I suddenly missed my CH1 corridor a lot. Especially the northie blokes. All the Delhi things - the classic Hindi, the righteous and playful swearing, the sheer loudness, the in-your-face sexual humour, and in spite of all this, that intense camaraderie and swearing by the people they held close - I miss all those. Never thought I would, considering I'd cursed them all some time or the other, especially exam-times. Today I found myself wanting to go through all that stuff. It's funny how some things silently become an integral part of your life. So silently, you never know they're there till they're not around any more. Funnier still, although they happen all the time, they're make you feel just the same on realisation, every single time. If I'd have to describe the feeling, I'd call it strangely hollow yet complecent.

Neha's borrowed my latest Richard Bach find, so I've switched over to Shantaram. I got the how-long-do-you-take-to-finish-a-damn-book-man from people recently. I just figured I like slow reading. Reading to absorb every detail, every word and every phrase and how beautifully they've been used, each metaphor and most importantly, every ounce of inspiration I can gather from the author. More than saying I've read so many books, I'd really like to say so many books have inspired me.

Getting back to Shantaram - I think I've got the gist of why the book's gained stupendous popularity. I'd wondered a while back, as to why a fugitive's tale would fascinate millions across the globe. When Mum asked me this today, I found myself giving her quite a satisfactory answer - The book's about freedom. And deep inside, skin-deep for some and way deep down for others, everyone desires freedom.

I found myself wondering what real freedom is. Whether it is, as Gregory David Roberts puts it, the power to say "no", or whether it's something else entirely. One thing I have a firm personal foothold on, however, is that real freedom is more difficult to achieve than any of us can perceive. Real freedom is when we are liberated from, quite simply, everything. And the one type that prevents most of us from real freedom, is social restrictions. To consider it blasphemous to alter the rules and regulations set by our own ancestors - humans, to be exact. To be bounded by boundaries created by our own kind, the one that makes mistakes.

And yet something inside me told me social restrictions are essential. To prevent society from going haywire, to prevent utter chaos. Is this another paradigm set in the past which could be shifted from? Or was this the proverbial Catch-22 situation which made real freedom unachievable?

Or was real freedom simply the power to believe? The faith in your own self, the faith in the fact that oneself is free? Do those who claim to be absolutely free, just believe so strongly that there's no questioning the thought? Is it really that simple?

Maybe i need to read the book more. Or maybe I need to give it more thought.

Or better still, maybe I need to stop pointless thoughts.

Having said all that, I feel incredibly imbecile!Oh, for the record, this place is playing Sinatra today. I was pleasantly surprised when I entered to here ol' Frankie's voice. Happy change from the usual hip-hop and dance numbers playing here. Way more blissful to write while listening to Jazz.

Bleh! I wanna continue reading Shantaram. Curiosity about the story combined with a wanting of widening of perspective. I don't wanna say goodbye to Coffee Break. This place has given me loads, even in the little number of times I've been here.

But for now, I'll just do a pirouette, take a bow, and hope to write further parts later.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Starry eyed

How many times does it happen that you get back to putting finger to keyboard and decide to post your thoughts up, because of a 35mm flick? How many times does a movie touch your heart so warmly that, in the words of Madhura, "It's almost unfair if you don't put something down about it". This one's purely inspired by Aamir Khan's latest masterpiece, Tare Zameen Par.

It's amazing how the man, adhering to the theme as it was, created a piece of art that can inspire the good in a person. It's the simplest of storylines. A dyslexic kid, neglected during his childhood, meets angel-in-human-form teacher, who recognizes his dormant talent and brings out the best in him. TO most, it would sound like the most overdone of Bollywood stories. This is where the execution of the film comes in, and quite literally, takes our breath away. The movie, after a point, is not about dyslexia anymore. It's not about a kid who's rubbished by society. It's not about how parents should raise their children, it's not about how teachers should be. It finally comes down to whether we're willing to build an individual-based society. A society where the development of every member is equally important as the development of the society in general.

I dunno how, but something that Rowling mentioned in Deathly Hallows just popped up. It's actually just a phrase. Geller Grindelwald's motto. "For the Greater Good". For eons together, there have been conflicts on whether the lives and fates of single individuals helps society on it's way, or gets in it's way. It's been one of those unsolved debates that we all talk about. Hundreds of kids with dyslexia are passed off as mentally retarded, when it's quite the other way round - they're way ahead of us where brainpower is concerned. Those hundreds of kids could've lead normal lives, but at what cost? Is it worth it? Will all those kids turn out to be Albert Einsteins and Thomas Edisons? Is it worth the effort and time to identify these children?

I'm not here to feed fire to the old doubts. I'm just intrigued by the subtleness by which the subject has been approached. The very basic fundamental of life. Individualism. Something I consider of utmost importance. For me, individualism is realising the simple fact that society cannot get where it needs to without every single member raising the bar for himself all the time. A dyslexic kid can think way beyond a normal one, but can he put it across to anyone? Can his talents be recognized by the standard techniques of recognition we have set? Where's the loophole here? Can we seal it at all? Does individualism, when contexted to the dyslexic kid, mean taking him a few notches up the rat-race or raising society a few notches up? Then again, what do we have to compare against when we have society?

Where am I headed to? Just this - There is no wrong and right in this. It's about belief. Whether you believe in the fact that every person counts, or you believe that a selected few can take society to it's pinnacle. It's worth the thought.

Blah! Enough of that. For those who haven't seen it - Stellar performances by Darsheel Safary and Aamir Khan. Also the kid who's polio infected.

In the cliched words of them critics - A must watch!