Sunday, 8 March 2015

TOP 5 Female Centric Movies that always liberate me!

“Empty and dark shall I raise my lantern.
And the guardian of the night shall fill it with oil
And he shall light it also.”
-   Kahlil Gibran

Just replace ‘he’ with ‘she’ and you’ve got my mantra of life. When things go wrong, as they sometimes do, I just turn on these movies. Then somewhere along the path of escapism into celluloid, I discover the light that leads me to the end of the tunnel.

Here's my pick of top 5 

It’s a movie adaptation of the book that I sneaked out of my mother’s library. It was one of those books that I wasn’t allowed to read as a kid because of my ‘impressionable’ mind.
It was the love-story of Chandra Gupta Murya, the great Indian king of Maurya Empire and his courtesan Chitralekha. That’s what it was.
For me however, it was the story of Chitralekha- a girl who had a mind of her own in 340 BCE, India - a girl who never followed anything out of devotion, a girl who raised questions, followed logic, a dancer who dared to challenge Pundits & their isms.
For me, the most inspiring part is where a great hermit has a face- off with Chitralekha. He comes to her, insults her mannerisms, preaching her morality; she presents an elegant dance dissing his ways with a beautiful smile. 

She demands to know-
“What is a sin?
What is virtue?
Stamp of religion on traditions.
But, don’t religions change in every century?
How can you make them your ideals?”

These questions that she raised, added a prism to my vision and suddenly things weren’t about white light & darkness but an arch of rainbow colors!
This vision threshes the situation makes it naked. It sifts it free from husks of social norms, suddenly the problematic knot untangles.

4. Belle De Jour
Long before 50 Fifty Shades of Grey, there was Belle De Jour, Catherine Deneuve. I will be honest with you. I watched the movie because I HEART those Roger Vivier courts that she wears. I am a 90s child, growing up with Victoria Beckham’s knee-aching heels, idolizing Sarah Jessica Parker’s impractical stilettos, I was shocked at her choice to wear mid-heels to essay a super sensuous character. This knowledge that I don’t have to twist my ankles to be sexy appealed to me. The movie took this liberation one notch up.
It just puts female sexuality on front line. A perfect woman, with a perfect husband, embraces prostitution to fulfill her sexual desires.
The essence is not the ‘ Yes. YEEEEES’, but it penetrates further. We live in a society where people wear two masks, pretend to be someone else to please others. How amazing it would be to see ourselves for who we are, how liberating it would be to come out of our repression & shed our hypocrisy?!

3. Shrek (Part 1)
If you ever meet me, you will remember me for the rest of your life- because I am a ‘Clutz’illa. I break & bang things in a super human way! Thankfully I’ve always gotten away with it because people think it’s kinda cute. But a big fear in my life was that one day I’ll stop being pretty and then people would stop being accommodating of my clumsy ways. The day beauty will go, loneliness will creep in. Princess Fiona without her magic wand liberated me of this anxiety. I don’t have to be pretty to be loved, I don’t have to be anything, I just have to be me to have my Happily Ever After.

2. Wadja
Wadja as a movie can be an incident that may create history.
It is about a girl craving for freedom. All 10-year-old Wadjda wants is a cycle; something that she won’t be able to ride when she grows into a woman.
The movie is set in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where women are forbidden to walk un-chaperoned or uncovered in the streets. So, the film’s director, Haifaa Al-Mansour, had to instruct her cast and crew on walkie-talkie, from inside a van! It is the first movie ever to be shot by a Saudi woman. This movie always reinforces my belief that things may not be right now, but someday they will be. But, we woman, need to act on that wish like Haifaa (the director of Wadja) did.

And, the no.1 movie that resonates with liberation is:
                  Kill Bill
It’s Rambo, Rocky, Die-Heart all in one for me. What better way to lift spirits than to kick some ass. When everything else fails, there’s a solace in the fact that I am woman, I am entitled to have world at the tip of my sword, I just need to gather myself up & claim it.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015


She adjusted her crisp white shirt, careful to hide yesterday's love bite. It had now developed a deep purple colour. With a sweep of a hand, she gently pushed her curly tresses on one side of the neck. He was sitting across the table, smiling, watching her curls bang against her soft peach cheeks. She examined his warm expressions, wondering what to say or how to say. Afterall, she was meeting her fiance for the first time today, in six months.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

For the love of Rumi
Poems that made me surrender my Soul to Rumi

I’ve been fascinated with the Sufi saint Rumi long before he became a vogue in the West or even before film director Imtiaz Ali used his couplet as the essence of his hit movie ‘Rockstar’. 
My love for Rumi's work runs more visceral- (We also share our birthday you see!*beaming*)
Perhaps, that was one reasons why I first Googled up his work long ago, and little did I know that it would change my outlook towards life and love forever. I bow to the grandeur of his poems. This grandeur comes from his full prostration to Shams. He wants us to do the same- to surrender to love. I surrender to him. 

Here’s top 5 reasons (read Poems) why:

Rumi wrote seamlessly- his poems had no titles. So, the titles I use here come from the feelings they evoke in me.

5. Nomadic Impulses
What’s truly alive is always changing. Rumi’s wanderings are beyond fields, the moon, the sky, even sex and orgasms, they are more aware and yet, they are more free-
You’ve so distracted me,
Your absence fans my love.
Don’t ask how.
Then you come near.
                                                               “Do not…” I say, and   
“Do not…”,you answer.
Don’t ask why
This delights me.

4. Making Meera out of Me
Poetry, especially a good one, is a very tricky thing. For it gives us an illusion of experiencing emotions without having to live them. The way Rumi writes, it forces us to shudder with love in the way my Meera or his Zuliekha did-

Zuleikha let everything be the name of Joseph,
from celery seeds to aloes wood. She loved him
So much she concealed his name in many phrases,
the inner meanings known only to her…..
Any complaint, it’s his being away.
When she’s hungry, it’s for him.
Thirsty, his name is a sherbet.
Cold, he’s fur. This is what
The Friend can do when one is in such love.
When one is united to the core of another,
To speak of that is to breathe the name Hu,
Empty of self & filled with love.

3. Refuge in Silence
Close the mouth, open the eyes. The light of the divine won’t use the door, only the window. To understand Rumi’s scriptures with his advocacy of the non-verbal, it is essential to taste silence. With that taste, comes a revelation that the divine presence and refuge in love, comes in a language more experiential-
There is some kiss we want
With our whole lives, the touch
of spirit on the body. Seawater
begs the pearl to break its shell.
At night, I open the window and ask the moon to come and press its
Face against mine.
Breathe into me. Close
The language door and open the love window.
The moon won’t use the door,
only the window.

2. Miracle
It’s rare, but when heart dissolves in love, a new love builds and there are miracles all around-
The way of love is not
a subtle argument.
The door there
is devastation.
Birds make great sky-circles
of their freedom.
How do they learn that?
They fall, and falling,
they’re given wings.

      But the no.1 poem that made me surrender to Rumi is

Sublime saloon
Have you ever been absent and present at the same time? Felt sobriety that contains all drunkenness Think about it, every revision of this vision will open a new chapter for you. I can say this with confidence because it happened to me-

You bind me, and I tear away in a rage
To open out into air, a round
Brightness, a candlepoint,
All reason, all love.
This confusing joy, your doing,
This hangover, your tender thorn.
You turn to look, I turn.
I’m not saying this right.
I am a jailed crazy who ties up spirit-woman.
What goes comes baack. Come back.
We never left each other.
A disbeliever hides disbelief,
But I will say his secret.
More and more awake, getting up at night,
Spinning and falling in love with Shams.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Some 'nutty' stuff

On my recent trip to Vaishno Devi, we got a lot of walnut prasad. So one fine lazy Saturday morning when I had nothing better to do than watch TV and crack nuts, some creative ideas struck my mind.

                                                                                                  And off to sail....!

Baby crib

Made the baby out of marble, beads and hair with thread...

Floating diyas out of walnut shells.

Don't walk as if you own the world, Walk as if you don't care who does!