Category Archives: Write ups

Confessions of a free bird

People pity the caged bird. People think that the caged bird has limited options to spend his days. People think that all of his days are the same. They are spent in admiring his owner, expecting a small reward in return. And let me tell you, the people are not wrong.

Let me introduce myself. I am a nobody and I am a somebody. I am a free bird. Free Bird. That’s right. It might seem an ordinary thing, but today, in the chaos of a world, it is difficult to spot one of my kind. I fly with my flock but I am not bound to it. I take flight whenever I want and I rest when my wings need to refuel.

It has not been like this always. Flying is not easy. There are so many things that can go wrong. And the world is a big big place for a small bird like me. When I flapped my wings for the first time, I never thought that I would fly an inch above the ground. Of course there were a few old birds who led me to believe that I was no good. And for a split second, I believed them. But I didn’t let that anchor me to the dust. I soared and I soared high. And I see those old birds from up here. I bet it hurts their neck to see how high I am. But the view from here, is beautiful.

The caged bird is pathetic. And he remains so, until I see that shiny sugarcube he gets once a month. Boy that’s looks delicious. The caged bird is not alone. He has a small family too. All of them, happy with the sugarcube they share. Now, even if I roam a thousand miles a day, I can’t find that one by myself.

When I think about it, getting that sugarcube is not that difficult. It involves a simple exchange. I have to give up my freedom and accept the cage for the rest of my life. And in return I get the sugarcube. Once. Every month.

Well, it’s an offer every bird gets. Truly. Each bird gets this choice once. Right after the bird learns to fly. To fly or not to fly. Why do we fly? In simple terms, for food, yes? A caged bird gets his food three times a day. A sugarcube a month. And that too, for not flying. Of course he has to sing and chirp all day long to prove his worthiness. But when I think about it, it’s not bad job actually.

There are some days when I feast on the best delicacies in the world. And on some days even a peanut is hard to come by. On such days, when I look at the caged bird with his family, I can’t help but smile at the irony. I wonder if it would be a wise move to look for a cage for myself. After everything is settled, the sugarcube must taste good.

Oh, I know one thing for sure. Sunsets are beautiful. And the view is different from each place I go. I don’t know if I can commit to the same sunset for the rest of my life. Flying, more than anything reminds me of who I am. There is no joy and there is no sorrow. Flying is a simple reminder of the fact that I am doing what I am supposed to do.

Maybe someday, I will have to settle down for a cage. For now, I am happy with my little empty stomach and this stellar view. There is no better feeling in the world knowing that you can stretch your wings and just fly to find out how far the horizon is stretched. Nothing but stars to cover your head and cold breeze to support your wings. There may or may not be glory in it, but there is freedom.

Let me introduce myself. I am a nobody and I am a somebody. I am a free bird.

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Net Effect

They say experience is the worst kind of teacher. The test comes first and you learn the lesson later. But you remember it for the longest of times. Such scars teach you a lot. And more importantly they keep reminding you of how strong you are.

I recently had a bad experience. Something related to the work I do. I had high expectations from the project and it did not work out the right way. Which made me doubt my abilities and my future a little.

It is foolish to expect each and every experience to be awesome. Nobody likes to have sweets all the time. We need something spicy from time to time. Life is not alway sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes covered in grey clouds of doubt. And thank God for that! It makes us appreciate the good parts. It helps us form memories. It helps us grow.

It is not possible to take everything positively. Some things hurt you at that particular time. And the fact that you feel pain is just a signal that you are alive. Nothing wrong in that. But even if you take some things negatively momentarily, make sure that the net effect is positive. If someone hurts you, and you can’t let it go. Store that potential energy in you. Store that energy till it becomes a volcano. Point it in the right direction and let it erupt. Millions of years ago such volcanos erupted and formed clouds of dust and ash and vapour, eventually raining down on earth and creating life! Volcanos are powerful tools of creation.

No matter what level you reach, it is difficult to handle criticism. Because the higher you rise, the deeper you can fall. Bad experiences make experienced players. And I am going to think about the long term positivity the experience is going to bring in my life. I am going to jot down the things that went wrong from my end and also the errs of the client. And I am going to make sure these same mistakes don’t happen the next time. And trust me, there are limited ways in which  you can go wrong. Once you have gone wrong all the ways, you have no option but to get it right.

Cheers to getting one step closer.

Jumpy

Eastern grey kangaroo mother carrying a joey in her pouch

Mum kangaroo loved her baby. Why wouldn’t she? Her world had changed after she saw her baby. HER baby. It gave her a sense of pride, a sense of happiness. It was a joy just to see the baby, turn into a bigger baby. She always kept the baby close to her heart. Never letting the baby go out of her sight.

Time went by and the baby grew up. Much to the Mum’s surprise, the baby was now old enough to make Mum a grandmum! But that was for the world. For Mum, baby always remained a baby. One day, baby told her Mum that she was curious. Baby wanted to see the world. Mum said, “I’ll come with you.” But baby, wanted to be alone. “ABSURD. RIDICULOUS.” Mum said. This changed behaviour of baby shocked Mum. She never thought baby could ever want to go away from her.

Mum kangaroo had a friend. That friend stayed on a tree and laid eggs in a nest. So everyone called her Birdie. Every once in a while, the eggs would turn into little birdies. Then Mum birdie would save food to feed them, and work double shift to cope up with the pressure.

One day Mum kangaroo saw something strange. Mum birdie was pushing her little birdies off the high branch. Mum kangaroo yelled, shrieked. Called Mum birdie names for pushing her little ones away and letting them go. But Mum birdie motivated her little ones to jump. They looked at their Mum and took a leap of faith. They fell and they fell! Mum kangaroo closed her eyes and opened only when she heard the sky full of exuberant chirps. Little ones were soaring high!

Then Mum birdie came down, near Mum kangaroo. Kangaroo asked her, “Now your children know how to fly on their own. Would they come back to your nest?” Mum birdie just smiled and said, “Maybe they will. Maybe they wont. But watching them soar is worth the risk. I didn’t want my worry stop my little ones from doing something so wonderful. Sometimes, you just have to let go and believe in what you have taught your children. Things turn out fine.”

Mum kangaroo didn’t sleep that night.

A year had passed since then. Aftrer that night, Mum kangaroo withdrew the boundaries and let baby go. Baby never came back… Instead there was a kangaroo, fully grown. She looked so pretty even Mum couldn’t recognize HER baby. She only recognized her when out of her pocket came a little one, new baby! Mum kangaroo jumped and landed on the ground as a grandmum. That leap was worth it. She quickly held new baby to which her baby said, “Careful!” Grandmum just smiled with a sense of pride, with a sense of happiness and said, “I know…”

Looper, Time travel and More

“It is the big choices we make that set our direction. It is the smallest choices we make that get is to our destination.” – Dr. Shad Helmstetter

On the surface it looks like an action film based on the concept of time-travel. But as we explore further, it has more to it. I can’t say whether it is good or bad.

(The article does not contain a synopsis of the film. Please read it here or elsewhere. And then enjoy reading!)

Time Travel in Looper:

Time Travel is a very complicated subject when put to celluloid. It never answers all of your questions and creates paradoxes. By the end of the film when the credits start rolling, you always have to interpret what you saw on screen. That makes it really difficult for the makers of the film to make something palatable for the audience. We have seen films which are fairly easy to understand (Back to the Future Trilogy, The Terminator) and we have also seen complicated subjects in Cloud Atlas. (Cloud Atlas is Time Travel, kind of…) Looper has some really different theories about time travel.

Massive spoilers are ahead.

The movie has a linear approach to the repercussions of time travel. We experience stuff as the characters experience it.  Everything is kind of being created and fused in terms of the timeline in the present moment. Nothing has happened till it has actually happened. The makers have made an excellent explanation of how time travel affects the future self by torturing Seth (Paul Dano). Seth lets his future self run away instead of killing him. So his boss finds Young Seth and etches the location on his hand. The location then appears as a scar on Old Seth’s hand. While he struggles to get there, he keeps losing his fingers and eventually loses his legs. His limbs disappear. It implies that Young Seth is being tortured and his body is getting disintegrated piece by piece. Old Seth reaches the spot where Kid Blue (Noah Segan) kills him.

Similarly, Young Joe etches on his hand to give a message to Old Joe. When Young Joe gets shot, the bullet wound appears on Old Joe’s shoulder. Old Joe also forms new memories as per what Young Joe experiences. The only problem in the film according to this theory is that Old Joe disappears rather than dying in the last scene when Young Joe kills himself. When Young Seth loses his legs, Old Seth still exists and continues living in a linear timeline although it would’ve been impossible to get where he is shown in the film without his legs. So that implies that what happens to your younger self will appear instantaneously to you. In that sense Old Joe should fall down or turn into ashes when Young Joe dies.

In the Terminator series, we have multiple overlapping timelines. Every change creates a complete divergent timeline. In Looper, we have a similar situation, but everything loops back into into a single point in the same single timeline.

Metaphors and other cool stuff:

1. Blunderbuss vs magnum

As the makers have made it pretty obvious in the film poster, the Young Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) sports a Blunderbuss shotgun and the Old Joe (Bruce Willis) has a magnum. In the film, the characters explain the specific role of these two different guns. Blunderbuss is a short range weapon but it is unmissable. At the same time Magnum has greater accuracy and can cover a long distance. Maybe that is what the decisions of our lead characters signify. Young Joe always thinks about his short term gains while Old Joe thinks on a long term basis. In the end, Young Joe kills himself with a blunderbuss. He goes with his gut feeling and finds a way of making a long term impact with a short range weapon.

2. The Stubborn Stump

When Young Joe meets Sara (Emily Blunt), she is trying to get rid of a huge tree stump in her field with an axe. Young Joe tells her that using an axe might not be the quickest way of getting the results. Sara doesn’t respond to this suggestion. She continues to break the stump using her axe. She chips off little pieces every time she strikes. This may not be the most efficient way of doing the thing but Sara believes that she needs to be patient. In the narrative of the film, we see that Sara’s son Cid doesn’t believe that Sara is his mother as he was raised by Sara’s sister after Sara abandoned him. This is the stubborn idea in Cid’s head which Sara needs to clear and she needs to be very patient about it. This element makes the movie about good parenting and how it can change the world.

Horrible Bosses

My younger brother has a knack for theatre. In February he joined a local theatre group and they are putting up an experimental play. Within just a few weeks, he was given an important role in the play as a replacement. It was wonderful to see him so excited about this. Managing school and rehearsals is a tough task and he was doing it without any complaints.

One day, school got over late and I went to drop him off to the rehearsals. I had some work nearby so I thought I’d wait after finishing it, watch the rehearsals and then give him a ride back home.

“Oh, do I have to start from the basics now? ALWAYS face the audience!” The harsh voice echoed in the building. I peeked inside just to realise that my brother was getting bashed up by the instructor for some silly mistakes.

“Walk properly, like a man. You are a man aren’t you? I am not too sure.”

“Do you think this soft voice will reach the last row? I doubt it will even cross the third one.”

“Call the Janitor. I am sure he will do a better job than this guy…”

Every word hammered his confidence down. And the humiliating laughter just made things even more cruel. He is new over there and I could see that he was trying his best to cope up. If there are any suggestions, there has to be a gentle way to put it forward. He is just 15, trying hard to adjust in a new group. He needs to make friends over there who will make him feel confident. He needs an instructor who appreciates his courage of venturing into something new. He needs encouragement. Not a bunch of bullies who turn this into a nightmare.

A group which already has a strong bonding will never accept you so easily. You have to take special efforts not to be a pariah. You have to laugh at jokes you don’t find funny. You have to do things that don’t interest you. Humiliation comes free in such situations. And there are always horrible bosses. These are the people who can easily make you feel comfortable. Their opinion matters. BUT, they choose not to.

A boss could be anyone who “bosses” over you. It could be a friend who constantly insults you, a teacher who criticizes you way beyond necessary or even your son or daughter who makes you feel like shit. In most of the relationships, there is one dominant person and one recessive one. In a healthy relationship, this position keeps changing. Sometimes, person A is the dominant one and B accepts it and sometimes B becomes the boss. Once one person in a relationship never steps down from his or her dominant position, the relationship turns horrible.

In today’s world, criticism has replaced appreciation. In the constant struggle to achieve more, we have forgotten to sit back and look at what we’ve done so far. If I know people, I know for sure that nobody underperforms by choice. At least not in the start. Let it be a boring desk job or even something you have passion for, naturally you will try to give your best in the start. But when these efforts go unappreciated, things turn sour. Mediocrity steps in. Everybody in the world has at least one unique talent. The tricky part is, most of the times this talent goes unnoticed. Sometimes even by that individual himself. As a human being, I feel it is our responsibility to respect that talent and genuinely tell that person that no matter how small it seems, it matters.

After rehearsals, while going home, I asked him, “Are you okay?” And he said yes.

The next day he was as excited as the day before. He went to the rehearsals. Now, he is doing alright. When I ask him about his rude instructor, he tells me that he has started nitpicking some other new kid. I am glad the focus has shifted to someone else. But I am even more happy about how my kiddo brother treated this whole situation. He stayed positive. He didn’t lose faith in his own abilities. And that really matters.

Not everyone is generous enough to understand what you are going through. Because it takes efforts to be compassionate. But nobody can make you feel bad about yourself if you don’t let them to. If you have a horrible boss in your life, let him be the way he is. Don’t expect him to change his character to suit your needs. And if his opinion makes you feel low about yourself, then seriously f*ck it. Do not give such people the authority to tell you that you are no good. They may be the dominant one in this relationship. But that doesn’t mean you have to agree with their point of view about you.

My younger brother and his reaction to this situation taught me to stay confident about myself and my work. There are people who tell me that I have potential but I am extremely ordinary. Such reactions when come so bluntly hurt a lot. They may be right. They may be wrong. And not my thoughts but my actions to come will differentiate what’s right and what’s wrong.

Cheers to staying positive.

Q: Why Do We Call It Making Love?

Ans:
It’s because love is not just a feeling of affection
It’s just like a roller coaster ride
With all its twists and turns and ups and downs
And two people coming together have to cross the ocean of fire
Together… By holding their hands, all the time
And one should be aware that there would be some moments
When a thought will strike him as lightning
‘Why the hell am I with you? …
I should be just alone…’
But he should know that they are better together
Whenever one thinks of quitting
He must take a pause… And rewind a little… And ask…
Why did we come so far?
Aren’t those memories worth memorizing?
Then all these thoughts will start disappearing
Why do we call it making love?
Because love is not just a feeling of affection
It’s a task… Of making impossible, possible!
Holding hands in the worst times
And MAKING the best of it!

#15 Write Ups: The Games We Play

Since past couple of weeks, I haven’t been doing anything productive. A result of a work heavy month which literally wore me out. I just sat in front of my gaming console and enjoyed butchering random characters, escorting them to their cyber graves. And I enjoyed it to be honest. I enjoyed the fact that I am the most powerful character in the game’s universe. I needn’t worry about dying as I can load the game again. And just like in any game, I am destined to win.

Maybe this is the reason why violent games are so in fashion. We, as gamers; don’t have to fear the consequences. There is always an easy way out. But the puzzle of our life is not a video game. Right?

Well, technically speaking modern open world games have created a real life experience for us. The expressions, the stories, the characters all look very believable as we play the game. The maps in the world of video games are huge. Yet, the way our console can present that level of detail is that it only renders the field of view. One perspective, one point of view at a time. A nerd named Ray Kurzweil has predicted that considering the accelerating progress in technologies, it will be possible to build a supercomputer more powerful than the human brain by 2045. So suppose we do build a supercomputer that can simulate the game of life for us, what else do we want? Isn’t life all about the experience of it?

Going even more crazy now, what if we have built a supercomputer so strong already? And we have decided to connect ourselves to that singularity in order to do as we please, without any consequence? Just to safeguard the integrity of the game we have erased that bit from our memory. Our mind is the console, rendering one point of view at a time.

If we are in the game, we are at the mercy of the supercomputer. We don’t have the controller in our hands. It is just the illusion of control. We are in the game, we are a character. Some character. We don’t even know if we are the good one, the bad one or the insignificant one. We don’t know if we will respawn once we are gone. We don’t know whether the game will restart. We don’t know the rules. That’s what makes it so confusing; matters beyond our control. Matters beyond our understanding.

This is the reason to fear. And ironically this is the reason not to fear. Whatever is the story of the game, it will take us forward. We will do things, as the story suggests us to. We will win sometimes, just to keep the game “lively”. And we will lose sometimes, just to keep the game “lively”. We just have to do our best in whatever the story unfolds.

If you ask a supercomputer, the proof of its consciousness it will give you one. But only if it is programmed to give you. The supercomputer will know for sure that the proof is obvious. But is it? Consciousness is such an unthinkable phenomenon, something so obvious that is why so dubious. We can sure give the proof of being self aware; being in control of ourselves. But we can never be sure if we are the ones pulling the strings.

Einstein was just as useless as I am. Maybe even more. He wrote this:

A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace the whole of nature in its beauty.
Note: In all this nonsense, my next level has loaded. Need to take some more characters closer to their destinies.

#14 Pursuit of Happiness

I have been privileged enough to know a bunch of talented people. And I am jealous of them to the core. Even I want to be able to play the acoustic version of ‘Wonderful Tonight’ without any hassle in front of a live audience and bathe in the applause. I want to be the center of attraction at every party with my moves. And every once in a while (though bodybuilding is not a talent per se) I want to take off my shirt on the beach without hesitation.

As simple as it may sound, I want more from my life. Who doesn’t? Isn’t that the reason we do things? To get more?

In the summary of our school days, I wonder, we were under the constant judgement of our performance in the exams. And no matter how much we tried, there was someone or the other with whom they always compared us. ‘It is okay if you did not score well as long as you were one step ahead of your rival.’ Rivalry has seeped through our veins so deep that we don’t even find it wrong anymore.

And is it wrong? Maybe yes, maybe not. I think under the pressure of judgement I performed well. For someone else, the absurd expectations proved fatal. It is the outcome that measures the correctness of our actions. It is too simple to connect the dots backwards. It is easy to thank someone or blame someone as a post script.

Do you know the feeling when the coin is tossed in the air? Suspended mid-air with utmost uncertainty of the outcome. When you can do nothing but to believe in your luck? I dread those moments. The flutter of a butterfly may cause the winds to change their course, making the coin turn one more time and change my fate altogether. Suspended mid-air, far away from the concept of control

If you think about it closely our life is the sum of all such moments. No matter how good you are, life finds a way of surprising you. Like a gust of wind making a bird’s nest to fall off the tree. I wonder if that keeps the bird thinking what if it had lazed a little? Things would’ve been different.

Unburdened by such thoughts, everyone except humans must be happy. It’s just us who believe in the pursuit of happiness. We wait for the better tomorrow as we blindly forget that today is the tomorrow we always waited for. We keep running after we cross the finish line instead of celebrating. And maybe that’s where we lose.

So instead of envying others for what they have, I’ve decided to be proud of what I have. Maybe someone, somewhere will be jealous of me too. Because it is simple to see the light reflected off others. To see your own reflection, requires a talent.

#13 I Bet This Has Happened To You (2012)

A great man once said if you can’t get over something, convert it into literature.

 

1. Women have a set of rejections ready. When you are about to ask them out they just open the file in their head and smash you with one. No woman says “yes” in the first shot. If she does, she thinks you are way out of her league.

 

2. Love is like a ghost. You don’t believe in it until you experience it. When you experience it, it never lets you sleep. Then you try to convince people that it is for real and they don’t trust you. But ultimately it is just a chemical imbalance. Nothing more nothing less.

 

3. You can’t really be friends with the person you have been in a relationship with. At the most you can act as if everything is cool when in public. But in the back of your head you keep asking “Why did we break up?”

 

4. After your break up you hate the things you once loved the most about that person.

 

5. The problem never starts with a fight. The problem starts when you are lying on your bed thinking about apologizing and you don’t make the call.

 

6. You never actually get over a person. Of course until you meet someone who is better at making you feel worse.

 

7. When you are in love you love every love story, no cheesy line is cheesy anymore. Actually speaking you weep like a little girl in the toilet thinking about that person.

 

8. You become an excellent family planner.

 

9. No one else finds the person you love as special as you do. For everyone else that person may be just a part of the crowd. But he/she means the world to you. You are ready to leave everything behind to just be with that person. But the wonder of it all is that person never realizes, how much you love him/her.

 

10. Love is always true. But sometimes it is not just meant to be.

 

#12 Spooky Obsessions (2014)

Well, in a very recent, very unbiased and completely reliable survey three most common fears across the globe were revealed:

Number 3. Fear of death

Number 2. Fear of public speaking

Number 1. Fear of dying while public speaking

 

Today, as we are being antisocial on the social networking sites a few modern threats have popped up in the notification window.

 

For a very close friend, Surpanakha Ramachandran, it is a matter of honour when it comes to her selfies. Anything below 371 likes gets deleted from Instagram and finds a haven in Google+. Her recent selfie at the PVR washroom had to settle for a new low of 198 likes. When asked to comment on this catastrophe our humble friend answered in vernacular: “अब तो नाक कट गयी।”

 

It is demeaning, degrading and demoralizing not to be appreciated for a status update. One does try so hard to compose it. Sugar, spice and everything nice blended with chemical #. And when a comment receives more attention than the original message, it is taking a defecate right in the face. *defeat (autocorrect)

 

One must be aware about how he/she is portrayed on the Internet. Being cool is a full time job with it’s own perks. And there is nothing wrong in wishing your dad a happy birthday in the cyberspace rather than the awkward space.

 

While most of the world lives in this fear of lacking social presence, a modern monk has found inner peace in simple pleasures like privacy. He believes that we can never share our true joys in words. Our minds are so cluttered by the aftermath, that we forget to savour the moment ourselves, sharing them is a different matter. His dumbo was last seen in Thane mental asylum and he is scheduled for execution in 2 days by a Slingshot.

 

As we keep our articles honest and ad free, here is a shoutout to your favourite Twitter celebrity Kamaal R Khan for his latest clash with Kapil Sharma. And if you are just scrolling on Facebook as you are completely jobless here is a list of 20 things you should do if you are a human. #12 is an absolute must!!!

 

Note: Hey! What do you expect? I’m a filmmaker. I exaggerate for a living.