Discovering my sanctuary.

I believe in music the way some people believe in God. ‘What kind of music do you listen to?’ is a question I’m often asked. (Aren’t we all?) And I have no definite answer to that. It’s like taking a kid to Disneyland and asking him ‘Which ride would you first like to sit on?’ Obviously the kid is baffled by the fascination. For us true blues of music, it’s hard to point a finger at one genre.

I didn’t have the powerful-sugarsweet vocals of a singer. Nor could I play any musical instrument with prowess (although I always wanted to learn the guitar, drums and the keyboard). But the celestial energy of music stirred my soul with an intensity so strong, I knew I had to find my niche somewhere, somehow. And that’s when I decided to merge my passion for music with writing.

It all started with an amateur write-up for A State of Trance 600, which I sent across to some companies. The kind folks at Festival Sherpa gave me a platform to express myself. Couple of weeks into the job, and I knew I was working with a bunch of people as enthusiastic about music as I was. I had found my abode.

Recently at SulaFest, I had the privilege to enter the venue before the festival commenced. We were sitting in an empty amphitheater, amidst the serene hills of Nashik in weather that can only be described as perfection, witnessing the sound check. I realized, simply looking at all those instruments and equipment on stage gave my mind a high that’s difficult to put down in words. And that’s how music should be experienced. Not in a dingy club with seizure-inducing strobe lights and bodies drenched in sweat touching against yours.

For an introvert who’s not comfortable around large groups of people and shy to converse with strangers, going out there and covering concerts was stepping out of my comfort zone. But that’s where the magic happened. And this couldn’t hold more true – life only begins at the end of your comfort zone.

I might not have landed a corporate job with a hefty paycheck, or a ‘secure government job’, but I did work in jobs where I looked forward to Mondays, willingly worked round the clock and over the weekends and met some extraordinary people along the way.

Here’s to the transcendental power of music!

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Sweet mothers of god!

I think mothers are the most beautiful souls in this world. The moment a baby leaves the womb and is held by a mother in her arms, she is transformed into the most selfless creature. Her heart only beats for the tiny soul she’s given birth to. Her every decision, every sacrifice, is made keeping her child in mind.

I look at my mother and I know I’d not even be half as good a mother as she is. And then I look at my size and my built, and I laugh and laugh. And then laugh some more. There’s no way I’m letting this petite body undergo the horrors of pregnancy. Some women are just not meant for motherhood, you know? It’s not necessary for each of us to procreate. (And hey, if not lowering the population, at least we aren’t adding to it!)

I’m lazy. I love my sleep an enormous amount. I can rarely ever sleep at a reasonable hour. If given a choice, I’d sleep for over 14 hours a day. Sacrificing precious slumber for a high-pitched crying baby? No, thank you. It’s doubtful I’ll ever reach that state of selflessness.

Earlier this year, my mother was away from me for almost two months, and I’m someone who’s stayed with her mother all her life. The day she got back, I remember I simply could not leave her side. When anything goes wrong, her hug is all I need.

I’m barely able to take good care of myself in my mother’s absence. How on earth will I look after and nurture another human? In fact, I’ve even asserted this to my mother on several occasions – “Please have zero expectations of becoming a nani.”

My mother has also been a father to me. And the best chef I know. My foul-weather aide. And absolutely everything else under the sun!

I consider becoming a mother to be the biggest challenge in life. Bringing up a child with the right values in this messed up world requires a woman of great character and strength. And I bow down to all the women out there doing just that.

Next time you’re about to snap at your mother, think twice before you do. Not just today, or on her birthday. But till the day you know you’ll never see her again.

Love, and let love.

Attraction is a dangerous thing. But you know what’s worse? Attachment. That shit is fatal. 

Every time a guy tells me he is a ‘nice boy’ and not like the others out there, I want to believe him. I really do. But when you have been consistently betrayed in the past and constantly lied to, it takes more than just courage to start trusting again. You want to put yourself out there and be in love again, but the shattered pieces of your heart you recently glued back together are still too fragile to undergo another turmoil.

A guy once told me that because of a bad experience he had with a girl, he can never trust any girl again. Fair enough, I thought. Most of us today have trust issues. It was what he said next that left me disturbed. He said he would rather hurt women, than be hurt by them. Now that’s some next level damage. If everyone starts thinking this way, whom can you turn to for love and honesty? (I was disturbed because these words were being told to me by the person I was extremely attached to, once upon a time.)

Just look around you. People are either getting married in their early 20s, or not getting married at all. And then there is the third kind – and my heart goes out to this bunch – the ones who aren’t ready for marriage but eventually give in to family pressure and tie the knot in their mid or late 20s.

I say, what is SO wrong with not wanting to get married at all and not wanting to start a family? Or getting married when you’re finally ready for that kind of commitment, even if that means you’re 45? Why not let an individual make that choice for him/herself? Just because you, a parent, want to fulfill your desire of playing with your grandchild on your lap and watching your ‘family name and legacy’ being carried forward, you get your child married to someone against their will and demand them to churn out babies!

A girl has barely set foot in her 20s and is still figuring out what adulthood is all about, when everyone in the family takes the unanimous decision of turning her into a wife and making her experience the oh-so-blissful joy of motherhood! Her restless parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and their dogs start the eager hunt for a ‘well-settled, well-to-do’ guy. Parents, wake the fuck up – the world is a scarier place today than it was in your days. Infidelity is trending worldwide above any hashtag on Twitter.

Speaking of infidels, my family has a whole bunch of them. If not divorced, their relationship is tainted with lies and beytrayal. No one around me is leading a ‘normal married life’. Including my own mother, who is a widow. My father passed away in 2007, and for five years I saw my mother battle depression. Not to mention, the society and relatives who had either shunned her or added to her trauma by trying to control her life and telling her how to live it.

Five years later, through a chance encounter, she met an incredible man. How they met is another story altogether! They mutually decided to not get married or have a wedding, for their own reasons. But my mother’s family was having a hard time accepting this. After gauging their reactions, she decided to share this happy chapter of her life only with those who mattered to her.

It’s been four years since they first met, and this gentleman has been there for us through thick and thin, at every step of the way. I couldn’t have asked for a more caring, kind, understanding, affectionate and genuine partner for my mother. She deserves to be happy after all that she has been through. It’s about time we stop giving a fuck about what society has to say about our families. People will talk, either way. Why endanger your happiness and mental well-being for the sake of others’ opinions?

Expecting to be in love with one person till the grave is unrealistic. Falling in and out of love is what makes up our lives. But is coming out clean really that difficult? It’s possible to love two people at the same time. But being ‘in love’? That can only happen with one person at a time. This world would be a happier place if people were simply honest about the way they felt.

I’m now at a stage where I just don’t wish to get too close to a guy anymore. Devoting my time and energies to my work has proved to be more fruitful and satisfying. As far as love is concerned, all I have to do is look at my mother and her better half to fill my heart with warmth. Maybe I’ll find what she has at a later phase in my life. Until then, I think it’s okay to have a little fun with the commitment-phobic idiots.

Movie Review: Haider

Vishal Bharadwaj has brilliantly woven the plot of Shakespeare’s Hamlet with the internal conflicts that were rampant in Kashmir in the early 90s. In an exemplary attempt, Bharadwaj has touched upon the turmoil in Kashmir, yet stayed politically correct by not choosing sides.

Those who have read Hamlet or are well aware of the plot, can sense the similarities and differences while they watch Haider. Although the director has stuck to a bulk of the original play, he has tactfully altered the climax of the movie, leaving it to the audience to interpret the precise end. The protagonist Haider, played to perfection by Shahid Kapoor, is an ideal son to his parents who is obedient and loving. He reveres his father – a doctor who harbors militants. His father is caught by the army officials, and made to ‘disappear’. They also burn down his house. Haider’s mother, Ghazala, played by Tabu, is devastated. The only hope she has left is her husband’s brother, Khurram (Kay Kay Menon has done an impeccable job portraying this character). It is depicted that Khurram develops a fondness for Ghazala much before the ‘disappearance’ of her husband. Haider learns about his father’s disappearance and returns to Kashmir, only to find his mother involved with his uncle. He is deeply perturbed by this. Ghazala explains her side of the story, and also admits to her son that she is mentally prepared to learn about the demise of her husband. Haider is disturbed by this thought and we see him breaking down for the first time in the movie. Is Haider’s father really dead? Who’s the true villain behind this family’s catastrophe? Watch to find out!

After debacles like Phata Poster Nikla Hero and R… Rajkumar, Shahid has pleasantly surprised all of us. He has bounced back and how! Tabu is simply flawless in the movie! Her sans-makeup look truly enhances her beauty.  Irrfan Khan’s role is relatively brief but crucial. His screen presence is enough to keep you enthralled. Shraddha Kapoor plays the role of a charming yet innocent Arshia – Haider’s love interest. She seems to have come a long way since her debut in Ashiqui 2.

Things to watch out for:

Shahid Kapoor’s ‘street performance’ after the interval.

Shahid Kapoor performing spectacularly on the song ‘Bismil’. The choreography is poles apart from his usual ‘Shiamak’ moves.

The two ‘Salmans’. Although their obsession with Salman Khan felt slightly overdone and unnecessary, it did add some comic relief to the rather somber plot.

Chutzpah!

Verdict:

The movie is slow-paced and the background score augments the melancholic aura. You need patience to get through this nearly three-hour movie. But if stellar performances are what you dig, then Haider is a must-watch!