The Quote Hanger

"If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance."
- George Bernard Shaw

Thursday, December 30, 2010

"What if this is as good as it gets?"

Have you ever wondered, while eating a scrumptious chocolate cake, whether you will ever eat cake that is as delicious ever again? Does that niggling thought turn your spoonful of chocolate into ashes, because you now know that it will be your last? Or does it make you relish your serving all the more, because you know that you will never enjoy any other cake as much?

Do you recall a time when you were immensely moved by a line in a book or a poem, a scene from a film, or by the way the guitar was strummed in a particular song? Did you ache to share the exact sentiment you experienced? Did you try to communicate, and fail? Did you receive indifference as a response? Did you wonder why you couldn't experience the moment by yourself? Did you resent your compulsion to tell someone else about it? Did you remind yourself of the times when you were unreceptive of someone else's earnest observations?

Is there anyone you yearn to forgive or be forgiven by? After convincing yourself that it did not matter, are you occasionally struck speechless by the debilitating bitterness between the two of you? Are you tempted to succumb and abandon the reasons you were adamant about being worthy of inducing a permanent rift? Do you despise yourself for your temporary weakness? Do you find the weight of a lifelong grudge bearable? Could you forgive yourself if you forgave or asked forgiveness of him/her?

Are you addicted to your cell-phone? Do you often find yourself looking away from whatever it is that you were doing to verify whether you received a text-message? Do you compulsively check whether your text-messages were "delivered" to the recipient? Are you irritated when you receive messages from someone else when you are awaiting a response from the eternally elusive "somebody special"? Have you ever abandoned your cell-phone when you went on vacation and felt the burden of expectations fall away?

Why are we so certain about what we want until we finally receive it? After months of anticipation and trepidation, why does that which we so ardently desired give us cold feet? Is it the fear of being disappointed? Is it that recurring concern that this will most definitely not be as brilliant as that was? But is it necessary for everything to compare to what we had in the past? What is in the past is in the past for a reason, isn't it?

"You know what I am? I'm a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it."
 - The Joker, 'The Dark Knight'

This year - Let go.

Friday, September 10, 2010

On the Coinage of a Phrase

Genre-elitism: noun. 1. The condescension evinced by an individual convinced of the superiority of his musical tastes.
2. A sense of entitlement, which is induced by an individual's firm belief in the supremacy of their favourite genre. 3. It is manifested by disparaging or disdainful comments about any other genre; along with spiteful, sardonic remarks about those who like genres other than their own. 4. Their sense of self-worth seems to have been derived entirely from their taste in music.
Genre-elitism is usually unacceptable and unforgivable beyond the age of fifteen (or sixteen, at the latest).
Related Forms:
adj. genre-elitist, noun. genre-elite

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Aisha kyu?

A realistic, albeit annoyed, interpretation of Aisha

            The recently released film Aisha had created quite a hubub prior to its release, particularly amongst the urban, college-going youth. On seeing the trailers, it is not too difficult to guess why – the effervescent, barely-past-adolescence Sonam Kapoor, Ira Dubey, Abhay Deol, and co. seemed to strike a chord as they fretted about “sixteen pack abs,” and being eternally single while waltzing around high-end malls. The promotional snatches seemed to promise a glossy, cheerful, and luxurious romantic comedy, a genre that still seems relatively novel in the Hindi film industry. However, the movie, in its entirety, seems to induce a different response.
            Aisha tells the tale of an ostentatiously wealthy girl from Delhi. She seems to while her time away by shopping, socialising, match-making, baking elaborate desserts, gardening with possibly branded gloves on, and organising events free of charge. It is hardly surprising, then, when she squeals, “I love my life!” in one of  the many voice-overs in the film. Of course, in the course of the film, she asserts that she hates her life, and the hate is induced by several trivial complications, most of which she brought onto herself due to her meddling and misunderstandings. Eventually, all’s well that ends well.
            One of the most significant aspects of the film is not only its female-driven cast, but crew, too. The director (Rajshree Ojha), script-writer (Devika Bhagat), producer (Rhea Kapoor), and casting director (Amrita Sehgal) of Aisha are, as their names suggest, women. It leads one to the inevitable question of how (and why!?) a crew consisting of women alone could create a protagonist, who seems to be the epitome of utter cluelessness, and the diametric opposite of how one would perceive an intelligent, city girl. Having firmly ventured into the 21st century, it seems feasible to believe that the damsel-in-distress has died a ntural death. Ojha, Bhagat and Sonam Kapoor, on the other hand, seem to be intent on resurrecting the deregatory female archetype through Aisha, who does not bat a heavily made-up eyelid before promptly calling her knight-in-shining armour when her car breaks down. Nor does Aisha have any qualms about abandoning her decidedly gullible friend, Shefali, at a guesthouse in Delhi, with a man she herself seems to dislike vehemently. The director described Aisha as “an extremely frank and open-minded girl, who loves to live in her own fairytale world.” How “open-minded” is it to evince disgust for the “middle-class”, and to discourage marriage solely because the boy (Saurabh) doesn’t belong to a higher strata of society? Buying criminally expensive apparel, and facilitating a make-over to ensure a match for the “behenji” friend doesn’t seem too “open-minded” either. In addition, it is all very well to spend one’s childhood in one’s own personal universe, when noone else is affected by it, but when an influential twenty-something girl refuses to emerge from it, it isn’t endearing in the least, but incredibly annoying. The implied empowerment of a women-centric cast and crew is negated by the plot, which, eventually, relegates the female characters in the film to women who are defined by their respective partners, and who do not hesitate to spend their father’s money (Rs. 53,000, to be precise) in one gigantic shopping-spree.
            Sonam Kapoor’s character moves from one disastrous event to the next, and brushes them all off under the guise that she was “only trying help.” Realisation does strike during the second half of the movie, after all her friends simultaneously seem to declare, “We are not your projects,” or something to that effect. After weeping, and drinking Moet through a straw, Aisha decides to apologise. While all the characters are magnanimous and forgiving, for the audience, it seems like too little, too late. Ojha described the film as a “coming-of-age” film. Nonetheless, Aisha does nothing to endear herself to the audience before she came of age, while she was coming of age, and when she does apparently come of age.Unlike Udaan, which is touted to be a coming-of-age film, too, and which is one, in the true sense of the phrase. While Abhay Deol’s character, Arjun (Sonam Kapoor pronounces the name as “Archan”), seems to represent the voice of reason in the movie, and does try to rectify the damage Aisha incurs, one can’t help but question his presence in such a film. Ira Dubey, Cyrus Sahukar, and the Angelina Jolie-esque Lisa Haydon deliver competent performances, and act as foils to the uni-dimensional Aisha, and the uni-expressionistic Sonam Kapoor. Another grouse against the movie would be its similarities with Clueless (1995), wherein Alicia Silverstone plays a rich, teenage girl, who takes a “lame” young girl under her wing. Certain scenes, such as the one where Shefali gets rid of her ex-love’s belongings, are identical. Since Aisha is, apparently, inspired by Jane Austen’s classic Emma, it seems quite ironic to find scenes from a highschool movie duplicated in the film.
            It is true that Aisha never claimed to be a “serious” film, but to lose oneself entirely in frivolity  doesn’t seem appealing, particularly when the “lightheartedness” is coupled with immaturity, and silly, discriminatory behaviour. If Aisha characterises modern-day fairytales, I can’t help but exclaim, “Aisha kyu?!”

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hit me, baby, er, for the first time?

Tragic accounts of relationships gone sour seem to abound. Everyone either has their own story, or knows a friend of a friend of a friend who does. It makes me wonder whether Carrie Bradshaw's assertion in a Sex and the City episode wasn't as ludicrous as it initially sounded - "Maybe we were better off when we thought less, and kissed more."

Lately, I've been thinking about, well, thinking! And the over-analysis most of us seem to dabble in more and more frequently. It's becoming increasingly difficult for me to distinguish between the times there really is a problem, and the times when I'm just creating one due to a self-induced implosion in my mind. As self-deprecating or masochistic as it may sound, I can't help but feel pretty certain that the so-called issue is usually due to the latter. This is mainly because, more often than not, two days after addressing a "problem", I begin to see the futility and insignificance of what seemed like such a grave concern a few days ago. 

I agree, a refusal to address what rankles isn't the most sound advice. It leads to pent-up emotions, which will find a vent in one way or the other. But think about it. Despite the minor grouses now and then, the fact remains that I like you, and you like me (and I don't mean romantic relationships alone). No amount of "discussion and deliberation" about "complications" will change that. Or if my feelings or yours have already altered, a conversation won't be sufficient to change that either. What one really needs, in my opinion, is a way to rid oneself of all those sapping negative emotions.

At the risk of attracting the ire of feminists everywhere, I can't help but be drawn to physical violence as a solution and substitute to the "We need to talk" conversations! Smacking someone is less messy than talking about "feelings", it's utterly satisfying, and it's cathartic beyond imagination. Besides, I need an excuse to pull a Tyler Durden and solemnly say, "I want you to hit me as hard as you can." 

Promise I will be forever yours
Promise not to say another word
Nevermind whats done is done

- 'Still', Foo Fighters.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Here is Now

The question of whether or not one should take drastic measures to protect oneself has been meandering around my mind lately. Should I feel obliged to my future self, and extricate myself from any potentially hurtful situation? Or should I continue to adhere to "carpe diem" (thank you, Dead Poets Society)? The answer, I suppose, is only logical. If you are aware that by doing xyz, you will wind up wounded, it is solely your responsibility to swiftly shy away from the aforementioned xyz.

There is, of course, a catch. Nothing is so very conveniently "cut and dry" in the Real World. There are no labels declaring, 'DISASTROUS' (or 'DELIGHTFUL') on individuals and/or situations, to indicate their impact on one's future. Most of us lesser mortals simply proceed based on our intuition, or learn to "read the signs" (For example, a date who seems to develop a nervous twitch in the presence of law-enforcing individuals is definitely a terrible sign, and must be abandoned; or kept on the bench until desperate, desperate times). However, situations usually acquire an incredibly complex nature, baffling the intuition. The signs, too, are ambivalent at best. At times like these, though it is slightly mortifying to admit, I often resort to Sheryl Crowe's wise words: "If it makes you happy, it can't be that bad/ If it makes you happy, then why the hell are you so sad?"

Yes, I do indeed worry about the days to come, and how they might be far beyond my depth. I worry, too, about biting off an amount, which, far from being chew-able, is most likely to induce severe choking. Nevertheless, I strive to remind myself that in the "Present misery v/s Future misery" debate, I have chosen to support the latter. Besides, why assume that I will be overwhelmed with unhappiness at all? Isn't it highly fatalistic to undermine oneself to such an extent? As clich├ęd as it may sound, but right here, right now, is really all we have.

"They're not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they're destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? - - Carpe - - hear it? - - Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary."
- The Dead Poets Society.

(On a ligher vein)


Monday, April 19, 2010

"It's these cards and the movies and the pop songs...

...they're to blame for all the lies and the heartache, everything."

Tom: What happened? Why didn't they (Summer's past relationships) work out? 

Summer: What always happens. Life.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Gaining Perspective

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; 
it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; 
it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; 
it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; 
it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; 
we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; 
we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way."

- Charles Dickens

Monday, February 8, 2010


Maybe we're all just idiots who don't learn as we go along, but continue to make the same mistakes over and over again in an absurd, cyclical, Alice-in-wonderland-esque world.

Maybe that's just me.

Maybe learning is over-hyped. 

Maybe un-learning is the key to survival. The more you know, the more you have to forget what you thought you knew; or so I would like to believe as of now. 

Maybe the so-called key to happiness is to stop wanting more. But is that the death of ambition? 

Maybe the key is to stop questioning so much. 

Maybe a "maybe" is as certain as you ever can be in this ever-spinning and transitory age.

"What if this is as good as it gets?"