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Goodbye - A Take on Grief

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This movie has attempted to delve into topics that perhaps not many bollywood movies had done before. Death of a family member and how the family deals with it. There is grief, guilt, people advising different things, a business going on for funeral rites and rituals, the hullabaloo and elaborate customs that make little sense to someone who has not seen or known it before. There is this underlying strife between religious customs and scientific logic. And the uninitiated youth of the family goes through a lot of emotional upheaval trying to make sense of it all. Coming to terms with the traditions, accepting that performing the rituals is someone’s form of solace, there might be an explanation that we do not know of yet, was shown deftly, and with kindness and compassion in the movie. They have handled emotions, as raw as grief, and confusion that comes with it so well. I have cried buckets during this movie, but I also loved it in its entirety, it is truly made with so much love. We

Kantara - The Legend

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There is a demigod, who is a bit scary, but he has the forest people’s good interest. Some see him as the Varah avatar of Lord Vishnu. His statue, the rock that represents him and his ornaments are sacred to the people. They perform puja and pray to him for their wellbeing. He is their deity, their protector. He speaks through a performer who dresses up during an annual festival, paints his face, and dances to the beats of instruments and anklets. He speaks once a year and appears in dreams of the faithful. The high pitched sound that he makes gives goosebumps. There’s a riff between the forest officials, the tribals and the landlord. The story proceeds on the twist and turns, and how it is resolved. The message is strong at the end of the movie, telling us to value the forest - mother nature, and the people who live there and depend on the forest for their livelihood.  I love movies based on folktales, myths, and lores of past, local oral tales. Legends are so important in storytellin

The Role of My City in Shaping Me

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The Bangalore Palace I have been in Bangalore for one year now, on and off, as we move to and fro from our hometown in Odisha.  I have access to the best restaurants and cuisine here. I tasted Mexican, Italian, Japanese and Korean along with Punjabi and Mughlai ones. Lip smacking goodness. And the interiors of these restaurants exude class and style and art like no other. I can take a bit from here and another tip from there for the interiors of my future home. Though there’s traffic, the street food here is from around the country, catering to most diverse palates. The theatres here show movies from several states, dubbed in Hindi and subtitles are always available in English. Recently I watched ‘Kantara’ - the latest Kannada movie phenomenon- and was bowled over by the talent of the actors, directors, cinematographers and script writers. We have access to so many varied cultures and storytelling from so many different regions. But it makes me think - I know not much of Odia folklore.

Some Musings and A Book Review

** Cherry Writes ** I have an interview in five days that I have to prepare for. But I choose to pen down a review of this book that I started and finished reading two days ago along with random musings and stressful thoughts because I need to write and paint and read when I should be studying. That is just how I function. Unfortunately. At hostel, there were classes, chores and friends that helped me escape the preparation. So, I came home in hopes of relieving myself of any excuse I might or might not come up with. And I’m still not serious enough. This habit of doing things at the very last moment and still getting good enough results has spoilt me. Even though I know that it won’t work this time, I still find it difficult to sit and be productive. In my defense, at the cost of sounding lame, I even tried putting on brown noise in the afternoon and found myself waking up three hours later. My brain believes that if I could have an amazing time watching something or reading something

Once in a while, I ramble

I haven’t been able to write with feeling for long. My writings feel like stick figures without a soul of their own. Enacted pieces, cut and pasted from somewhere. This is not entirely me, I miss that part of me who could evoke emotions in a reader, compel him to stand and stare and think. Reflect. I rarely reflect on events myself these days. I rarely dwell on incidents. My mind is either numb, or overworked or asleep or on a low attention span. I have mastered ignoring, moving on and letting go, procrastinating, filling my time with chores or random Instagram reels, that I rarely make time to stand and stare. Once upon a book, I reminisce childhood days, mortality, the fast paced life, dwindling friendships and then move on to the next book. Books are my only yearly goals now, it seems, meant to fill in my social media posts, and my timelines. I just jot some sentences and post an update in my bookish Instagram account, not bothering to do a full fledged review in my blog. Where’s th

Chronicles of the Lost Daughters

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 ' Narach' - The Original Cover Edition in Bengali I was hooked to reading this novel and finished it in three sittings. It had such colorful mix of characters both real and fictional. Various known names - ousted Nawab of Awadh settled in his Metiabruz in Calcutta of the 19th century. The Brahmo Samaj - the fight for women's education, doing away child marriage done in the name of shastras, and widow remarriage. Kadambini Ganguly - the first lady doctor of Bengal, Dwarakanath - the reformist, Rabindranath Tagore, and so many from the era. And a family that is divided by the dreams of a deceptive contractual labour, indentures, after slavery was banned, and is shipped off to Surinam.  Though the blurb mentions only Bhubonmoni, I think there is no one central character in the novel, rather it portrays women - from the child bride who faces death on her marital bed, to a widow assaulted several times by the low rapists to the high pandits, to one who has successfully come out

Zero Day

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Being a fan of Hussain Zaidi's investigative works, I was excited to delve into his fictional novel and wasn't disappointed.  Zero day by Hussain Zaidi is definitely one of the best espionage themed books by an Indian author. The book played itself like a season of a TV series. The synopsis is simple i.e. key government services in Mumbai,  are made defunct one after the another, and are falling prey to cyberterrorism. The cybercrime division  led by a handful of daring officers are looking to foil the plot and capture the perpetrators. I could imagine the key characters being played by Manoj Bajpayee and KK Memon. Suspense was maintained throughout the book with the major reveals justifying the built-up.  The sequence of events were logically connected. Breakthrough happening in the cases was due to planned efforts by the protagonists and not some lucky chances or random realisations. The experience of the author was clearly visible in the accurate depiction of police investig

Lady Doctors

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What would it be like for a girl of impressionable age to be surrounded by intellectual minds - progressive Brahmo samaj, nationalists, writers, poets and passionate orators. What would it have been like to see the best and worst of worlds - sheer support for the women’s education and stark criticism for the same citing Hindu religion and conservative traditions as the foremost reason.  Reading these chapters I wonder, what would our world be if these women and their supporters didn’t exist. Sati system wouldn’t have been abolished. Young widows would still be force fed opium and dragged to their dead husband’s pyre. Child marriage would not have been made punishable offence. Widow remarriage would have been viewed with censure and scorn by society till date. Girls would be still seen as anomalies in a male dominated classroom and workplace. The right to vote would have been still reserved for the men. And devadasi system would still be prevailing under the staunch conservative Brahmin

Notes on Dissent

I say dissent or disobedience is an important aspect of an individual. If your son or daughter has the exact same opinions as you, the exact same thought process as you do, and does exactly as you say every single time - that’s not something to be proud of. That is a point of concern even, in my humble opinion, as it shows that there is no difference between two generations. Dissent, once in a while, when need be, is essential for character building. Owning one’s own thoughts, instead of mimicking an elder’s. It is a necessity for progress and reform - to do away with old regressive customs practiced in the name of tradition, and make way for new ways of living. I do not subscribe to the belief that elders are always right, that ‘gurujans’ cannot be wrong, and we should always obey them without questioning. I understand that elders are humans, they grow each day in their thoughts and as individuals as we do, so they can be wrong, and it is our humble responsibility to challenge their b

Hometown Cha Cha Cha

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This show appreciates the small town life, the pleasures of the slower life in the countryside, more specifically the seaside. The female protagonist loses her job as the dentist in Seoul, owing to a whistleblower act by her where she exposes her boss of minting money from unsuspecting patients admitting them for needless procedures. She visits Gongjin, a fishing village just hours away from Seoul, missing her last visit their with parents and reminiscing carefree childhood days. And decides to open a clinic there, go solo. And thus begins the lovely tale, with such dear and loving characters. As she learns to accept and appreciate ways of the people there and opens up to them, over the days learning her way to walk on their simple footsteps, we see amazing humane bonds get formed. Quirky characters, old grannies who love feeding people around them potato cakes, and teens, and kids petting a strange animal. I am forgetting it's name.  Korean world of sitcoms is so humane. It is so

Homi J Bhaba

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It is rightly said, those who have a fascination towards all things abstract - art, music, fiction - that which involves a great deal of imagination, can excel in science, especially Quantum Physics. It needs a great deal of visualisation to understand and take an interest in the mechanics of atomic and subatomic particles that cannot be seen in naked eye. And that world of Physics which Bhaba was exposed to is so fascinating to read. Reading about research and revelations around electrons, positrons, cosmic rays, brings back the engineering days. I could relate so much, every discovery that gave shape to the new physics and differentiated it from the classical physics. How the calculation of speed and position of electrons would always be inappropriate, how the theory of relativity plays a part in many new questions, equations and discoveries. It was an interesting chapter for sure. Quantum Physics.  The journey of a young man from being sleepless as a baby, too excitable as a child,

Of Existential Questions and Mortal Pursuits

Marriage market. That farce of meeting prospective future brides and grooms. And their families and relatives and friends and foes. That pretentious role-playing of being the demure lass, or the successful lad. The expected hospitality. The search, the extensive never ending ego-shattering search. The despair when time passes and no one clicks and a plus one gets added to one’s age year after year. The nagging words from relatives, the society at large, the cultural pressure. The peer pressure from friends getting engaged. Pangs of guilt ridden envy seeing friends plan their wedding trousseau. And career growth underappreciated by near and dear folks. It’s a lonesome time, solitary existence.   Thankfully, I haven’t experienced any of the above. But I have lived through most, through my friends’ experiences - sad frustrated narratives shared intimately. Looking back, I consider myself lucky and privileged that my parents didn’t focus on marriage until I had a postgraduate degree and a

A Slice of Life

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My husband has so many real life stories of people down his sleeve, that it amazes me. He loves non-fiction. He is inspired by success stories of small town folks who make it big in their entrepreneurship journeys. Recently he's been reading a book on the Munjal Brothers - The Making of HERO by Sunil Kant Munjal. Shoe Dog is one of his favourites. So is Shantaram. So is the movie Guru, and the life of Dhirubhai Ambani. The grit and commitment towards achieving one’s goal. He devours Shark Tank India and comments that the ideas and the urge to solve problems is far better in the Indian version than the original one. He tells of housewives, of middle class background students who have learnt the tricks and maths of running a business solely by learning on the journey and teaching themselves. Few have created a business in the pandemic, and few have honed their technical skills learnt in college to craft a masterpiece patented product. Such abundance of ideas. He gets so excited while

Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

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  Queeristan (Amazon Link) Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.   Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju

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