Poetry Shenanigans – Depth Perception

Depth Perception

There’s more cracks and crevices,
Than what meets the eye.
Like beauty, truths are buried skin deep,
Farther than what judgments and perceptions can reach.

SJ

Poetry Shenanigans

Light of Darkness

Aah darkness, my kind friend,
Wrap me up in your warm embrace.
I could really use a friend right about
now;
And you’re the oldest one I’ve ever had
And always known.
Where the whispers, jokes,
cackles and sniggers,
They think my bleary, tear filled eyes
can’t see,
Remain non existent…hidden.
Aah darkness, my solitude, my refuge.
Here they have no way to reach me.
No way to grab my shoulders,
Shove me against a wall,
Or leer at me in corners and open spaces.
Aah my kind friend darkness,
Where I can walk, sit and curl up,
Without bowing my head down,
Out of fear, out of sheer embarrassment.
Where my survival doesn’t depend,
On maintaining zero eye contact.
Aah wonderful darkness,
You are all the light left, to guide in these
unholy times and unsavoury places.
Dear darkness, please do me one more
favour,
Engulf me whole and blot the world out
at this time. 

SJ

Poetry Shenanigans – Rules of Engagement

Rules of Engagement

One, two…
Take that blow.
Shrug it off,
Go with the flow.
Three, four…
Hang in there a little
longer,
This ring is your playground,
You’ve got this under control.
Five, six…
Dodge those jabs,
Block those hooks.
Seven, eight…
They’re waiting for you to
throw the towel in.
Don’t let your guard down.
Nine, ten…
Tire them out, drain them,
Dodge, keep moving, feint,
It’s coming, keep an eye out,
NOW, it’s time for a TKO.

SJ

Movie Review Shenanigans – Pink (2016)

pink

No means NO…

Oh My God! I feel it bubbling in my soul, I feel it pushing it’s way through to the surface. I feel the hot tears rolling down my cheeks, of anger, of frustration…each tear a scream for liberation, for justice, as I’m attempting to collect my thoughts and feelings. I feel like I might spontaneously combust any moment now as a result of the intensity of my feelings as evoked by this spectacular piece of film-making titled ‘PINK.’ It’s been almost half an hour since I watched this movie and I can still feel the strength, sting and burn of the fire ignited probably quarter to halfway through the movie.

This is the first time in a very very very long time that a movie has had such a profound impact on me. Watching Pink unfold was an experience in itself. I didn’t feel like I was just the audience, at one point I felt like I was part of the proceedings, part of the plot. I felt like I was there in that courtroom, objecting, raising my voice at the absurdity of accusations being hurled, just like Meenal, Falak & Andrea. In fact, I wanted to go up to the antagonists and slap the living daylights out of them. I guess that’s what good film-making is all about huh? Where you feel less like a spectator & more of a participant.

Pink exposes & unearths all that needs to change within the Indian/South Asian mindset, I can’t speak for all other communities, but I’ve seen & heard almost everything addressed within the Desi community. While India is beautiful & has a rich history & all the other nice, touristy things you read, see & hear about, there are certain grim aspects. No, India isn’t the only country where Rape & Sexual Assault happens, I’d just like to clear that up as well. It’s prevalent every-goddamn-where in the world & you know what else is common? The excuses by perps are always the same…’Oh well maybe she shouldn’t have been drinking’ OR ‘Maybe she shouldn’t have dressed like a slut, you know she was asking for it’ OR ‘Well she shouldn’t have stayed out so late and hung out with all those other guys, she was just looking for trouble.’ Yeah, no assholes, SHE, neither asked for anything, wanted anything or desired anything out of starting a conversation with you, or even smiling your way. Maybe you didn’t see the grimace on her face when you were being ‘extra’ friendly? Did you not hear her say she’s not interested when you tried getting a little extra close & grabby? Why is it such an issue with folks from the South Asian community if a girl drinks or smokes? How the hell does an -OH group & nicotine define a person’s character, especially a girl’s? Why aren’t the same standards used with guys? Why? Because, when guys do so it makes them cooler? Or what, it’s a pathetic excuse about this stuff  being part of growing up?  Why do you think a woman has to get married in order to live a fulfilled life? What part of the damn life cycle criteria declares this to be a requisite? Why can’t a woman pursue her dreams, or, chase her dream career? Why does the focus always fall on marriage and kids and having to give up dreams & settle & sacrifice those dreams?  Why is a woman who is a divorcee seen in a much corrupted light than a man who is a divorcee? You don’t know the full story, so how dare you sit there and judge one harsher than the other? The world isn’t made of angels and demons, but, there’s a little bit of both in all of us. Seriously, toss your stupid thoughts out the window people. Uncle-jis & Aunty-jis, grow up…period. It’s 2017, it’s about high time you chucked out these ridiculous and archaic sentiments. Also Aunty-jis & Uncle-jis, stop judging people based on how they dress, interact & look. If you’re that curious to know them, go say a ‘Namaste’ or ‘Hello.’ You never know it might make a world of a difference to both your lives.

Before you start rolling your eyes and go all, ‘Oh here we go another Ra-Ra Feminist’ post let’s make  something exceptionally clear. The term Feminist shouldn’t exist! We as human beings & as a society should be ashamed of ourselves for letting such a term exist. The only reason it exists is because some people forget women are human beings too; Forget & most importantly underestimate them to be docile & cowering non-existent parts of society, when they in fact mould, build, shape & alter entire societies, communities & ultimately History. Movies like Pink are necessary, because they bring out all those ugly facets that we like to ignore, that we pretend don’t exist within us. It brings out that hideous & vicious, often ignored part of us residing deep within that we’re too afraid to face. Movies like Pink are necessary to make us cognizant that maybe it’s time to change our approach towards creating an impact. In this movie’s case, it handled & highlighted the approach to the subject of sexual assault & rape along with victim shaming. Clearly it’s time to stop addressing an issue the one way it’s been dealt with all these decades, because it clearly hasn’t been helping women at all by giving them useless advice on how to dress, act & what & what not to do in order to be seen as moral or immoral women. Basically, women should put themselves in a bubble and roll around town. That seems like an ideal plan, because hey this way nobody can blame their outfits, appearance, associations & activities right?  Think about it, what could you possibly do in a bubble? There’s an amazing sentiment conveyed in this movie, and it’s about high time it was put into practice. Why do girls have to be safer & exercise more caution than they already do? Why should parents only teach their girls to be aware & safe of the big bad world out there, especially after dark? Why can’t the emphasis be on boys? Why can’t parents teach their boys to respect women? Why can’t boys be taught that they aren’t any better than girls, that they’re the same? Why can’t boys be taught to become men with morals, integrity & character? Why can’t boys be taught that it’s okay to have girls as friends as much as it is to have guy friends? In fact you learn to be more appreciative & get a refreshing perspective  as a human being.

Pink wouldn’t have been possible without the conviction & vision of such a stellar cast & crew. Major major credit goes to Shoojit Sircar for writing (along with Ritesh Shah,) producing & directing something so phenomenal. Hats off to the stalwart Mr. Amitabh Bachchan for setting such acting benchmarks in the Indian Movie Industry, I hope all you artists are taking notes. After Black, this has to be my next fav movie of Mr. Bachchan’s . More than that though, hats off to the terrific trio of girls who totally rocked their characters. I’m sure it must’ve been extremely hard to play these roles, and to share the screen space with someone of Mr. Bachchan’s caliber is no small feat. Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari & Andrea Tariang played their parts as Meenal, Falak & Andrea respectively, with such conviction that you actually forget you’re watching a movie. Angad Bedi makes quite a mark with his character Rajveer, he literally makes you want to scratch his eyes out & wipe that smirk and smug look off his face. Piyush Mehra’s portrayal as the Prosecutor is so damn convincing that you wanna scream ‘Objection’ and strangle him for the way he treats the girls. You know what adds that emotional punch in your gut? That surge in your heart rate? Causes your eyes to brim with tears which then cascade rather rapidly? The end of the movie, while the credits are rolling, and all you hear is Mr. Bachchan’s baritone reciting a poem. The words in that poem are beyond inspirational. They will cause your blood to boil, set your spirit on fire & ignite hope & inspiration in a time & place where there seems to be a severe shortage of it.

A movie like Pink is necessary to break the vicious cycle of preconceived notions & preconceptions. It’s a jarring wake-up call, not just an alarm you have the convenience of turning off or hitting the snooze button on. It’s a long overdue holler that everyone should listen to, because honestly it’s about bloody damn time.

Emerald City: The Story So Far

emerald-city

 

A few weeks ago a show caught my attention that I hadn’t heard of at all. There were no whispers or murmurs of this show anywhere….at least not the places and spaces I dig and crawl through and find things. Trust me I do have a good set of eyes & ears as far as picking up on new shows is concerned. So a few days after the show premiered I was perusing through a list of new shows that I could possibly invest my time & interest in…and voila! There it was…’Emerald City.’ That led me to Youtube to check out the promotional trailer, which then led to the discovery that Vincent D’Onofrio is on this show which in turn piqued my curiosity even more, because let’s face it, the man picks very interesting projects.

The trailer was pretty darn interesting. Okay maybe I was having a nice senior moment, but for some reason I didn’t make the connection between the title and The Wizard of Oz. Heck, when I read the title I thought it might be a show on Irish mythology. The trailer in itself showcases that it’s a different take on The Wizard of Oz, not what we have come to expect after reading or watching the different adaptations over time. The cinematography and visuals are quite spectacular, in fact you get a certain ‘Once Upon A Time’ and steampunk-ish vibes when you watch the promo. Following the promo I started watching the show, and, I was sold within the first 5 minutes of the proceedings. Why? Because Gina freaking Bellman is on the show, at least she was in the pilot! Which made this far more interesting…fast!

Alright, let’s get into my  thots about the show so far. The first 2 eps will leave you confused, perhaps even a little unsatisfied & with a boat load of questions. But that is to be expected, I mean how can you watch a show if everything is explained within the first 2 eps? That just ruins the mystery, appeal and intrigue right? Anyway,  all I can say is that the curiosity & suspense regarding the plot-line just keeps building after each episode. The characters on this show are starkly different from what you’ve read and watched on other Oz adaptations. One of my fav aspects of the show is just how much the creators have dived into and played with the gray spectrum of human nature. There’s more than one way to view a character as good or bad, not just by their costumes or dialogues, but also by their actions and the situations they’re in that bring out this bivalent nature. It’s not our inherent natures, personalities, attributes, strengths or weaknesses that define us really. It’s how & what we turn to in order to survive that gets us labelled as good or bad. None of the characters are black or white representations of good or evil. Everyone is on a quest of their own.

The next few lines are going to be a few things that really stood out and were moments that made me pause and say ‘Hmmm…’ that’s an interesting way to put it. So this is my way of saying SPOILER ALERT for those of you who care, in which case skip this paragraph. For those of you who just don’t give a damn, as you were I guess. In this adaptation of Oz-ness, Dorothy is adopted by a couple after her Mum comes running to their house for help. It’s unclear what or who her Mother was running away from. Anyway flash forward and Dorothy wants to get to know her birth mother and she tries to go and talk to her but loses her nerve every time apparently. Then when she finally gets the courage to do so things get a little complicated, there’s a little blood and disturbance, trouble with cops and then a tornado which pretty much teleports her to Oz land…where she is on a completely bizarre new journey. When she lands in Oz she is subsequently captured/held & tortured for a wee lil’ bit before being released/freed, with some advice from a tribe leader telling her to follow the yellow road to Oz to see the Wizard, who in turn will be able to answer her questions, hell even save her. The yellow road, we find out, is made of pollen from the Opium poppy, which eventually has an effect on Dorothy and travellers she meets along the way & accrues as she heads on towards Oz. After watching the last 4 eps, the Yellow Road had me doing a lot of thinking. While the road takes you to your ultimate destination that has the answers, sometimes the path prescribed the most isn’t the path that you as an individual need to take to get to your goals. That commonly taken path might be one full of delusions that dim your hope away, and, may cause you to stray more from your destination, as opposed to the path you choose to make and take to your end goal. Besides, life has a funny way of giving us answers we’re looking for in the most interesting places and spaces, and a quest is not defined by a fixed path, but by the choices we make. One of the characters on this show has caught my attention more than the others. The character is a young kid, well is introduced to us as a young boy, probably in their early to mid teens. This character was given a magic potion (for lack of a better term) to help keep them alive, because as per the kid’s guardian he apparently has ‘bad blood.’ Now magic is something that is banned in Oz, a decree passed and enforced by the Wizard. So this kid was told that without the elixir they would die from their condition. The information was given him by his guardian, most probably a witch, who keeps him under lock and key at all times. Eventually, the character is busted outta house prison by a friend, only problem is they don’t have enough elixir for him to take on a daily basis to stay alive. Kid & his friend spend the night in the forest…the next morning kid makes a discovery after running out of the elixir, much to his surprise and horror he finds himself transformed into a girl. In the subsequent episodes you find out the elixir helped hide the fact that he’s a girl. The character’s struggle is heart wrenching to watch. Spending all your life thinking & believing you’re one way only to discover you’re not and not knowing how to handle something so complicated and not knowing whom to turn to or what to do, is definitely beyond frustrating, aggravating & nerve wracking. While trying to adapt to his new body, comes the expectation to adapt to gender roles in society. The character spouts a pretty epic line in episode 4 and it stuck with me. It goes something like this, ‘So basically as a woman you’re telling me my options are either to become a nun or be a whore?’ There was something so damn profound in those words. Society and their perceptions really peg us down. Why do we let assumptions and perceptions define what can or can’t be done, or what expectations are? Why can’t everyone, regardless of all the differences we like to get into, be able to set their own expectations and standards?  So far, these are the scenes/moments that have stuck with me, I’m sure there’ll be more ‘lightbulb’ moments as the show progresses.

This show’s locales and cinematography is very reminiscent of something that’s a cross between ‘Once Upon A Time,’ ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Merlin,’ and LOTR, with a hint of steam-punk dashed around. In terms of plot it reminds me of OUAT, only it’s much darker. I love the creative liberties the writers and creative heads have taken to tell this story. It basically is an old tale re-told for a new generation. But then again, that’s the idea of stories and story-telling right? To make them as relevant as the world & times we live in. Initially I was annoyed by some of the reviews I read by prolific ‘critics.’ I mean honestly, how do you write off a show based on 1 or 2 eps? If this show was done straight to Netflix where all the eps were lined up and one wouldn’t have to wait a whole damn week to see what happens next, I think the opinions might just be a smidge different. In conclusion, give ‘Emerald City’ a shot and let me know what you think of it!

Quirky Quartets: Marching On

Let’s kick start Wonderful Wednesday with a Quirky Quartet!

Marching On

Her right, my right
His right, my right,
Finally we’re banded and bonded together,
In this fight for what’s right.

SJ

Poetry Shenanigans: Hope

For a Fantastic Friday, here’s a Quirky Quartet Quip. To friends living down South, all the best today, stay strong & most importantly, stay united. Love always finds a way and is the greatest strength that binds us all.

Hope

When legacies end and tyrannies begin,
Take a moment, take a deep breath in,
And know, that this too shall pass,
And that hope shines brightest in darkest of days.

SJ

Poetry Shenanigans: Dance Away

 

Dance Away

You and I have this dance down,
Down to it’s last step,
Last twirl, last bow, last curtsy.
The same old beat, the same old tune.
When did we start being stuck in our ways?
When did we stop looking?
Hell, making our own routine?
Since when did we start doubting,
Our primal instincts?
The ones that drew you and me together,
In this time and space?
How did the walls that once ceased to
exist for us?
Seem to be closing in on us?
How did the love and passion that
once defined us,
Turn into indifference, negligence and
hostility?
When did the fire in our eyes?
Dim down, flicker and die out?
They’re playing our song now…
But I see you walk sluggishly over,
Shoulders hunched, fists clenched,
Teeth grit, jaw tight…mechanical,
As though you’re walking to your own
funeral.
Take a peek, take a glance,
And while your eyes dance askance,
Take my hand, take a chance,
For walking away and bowing out
is far easier,
Than fixing our flaws,
And waltzing past those wounds and
memories that claw.

SJ

Poetry Shenanigans: Left Behind

Happy Friday one and all. I’ve been trying to flex those writing muscles, and so far this is all I’ve come up with. There’s a bunch of stuff on it’s way, but you know how life has a way of just interrupting all the things you schedule? Hopefully, soon enough things will fall into place, have a great weekend!

Left Behind

This story has been told,
Over and over a hundred fold,
When the world you once held,
With the highest of regards,
Folds and crumbles,
And you take the first of many
tumbles.
All those who once stood by your
side,
Turn into mere ghosts,
That scatter,
Run helter-skelter, run asunder…
When you’re unraveling,
And freefalling,
Down that deep, dark rabbit
hole,
Surrounded only by whimpers
and sighs,
Falling freely, and tumbling
hastily,
From your lips,
That once poured out words,
Words of hope, words of delight,
In the wonder you seemed to be
surrounded by.
But now all it seems to know,
Are whimpers, mewls and moans,
Sighs and groans,
Lamenting, calling out, lashing out,
At all those moments that led
you here,
Muttering and screaming curses,
At forces unknown and foes known,
Until one day,
Your lips are too dry,
Your throat too parched,
To call out, to reach out,
To those that seem to pass you by.
You begin to think they’re mere
mirages,
Tricks of your mind,
Casting shadows and illusions.
You keep telling yourself you matter,
You mattered enough,
For someone to note your absence,
To note the emptiness,
That seems to take up the space,
You once used to occupy.
You hold on to that faith,
Until the day you’re done screaming,
Until you realize nobody is coming,
Nobody is looking…
And just like that,
You’re nothing but a mere memory,
And you’re left behind.
Now all you know,
All there is,
In this strange and unknown space,
Is you and your will.
Will they fight? Or unite?
One leads to utter and complete
defeat,
The other leads to another chance,
An opportunity,
To stand your ground,
To prove you’re all that you ever
thought,
And all that you never thought,
You could be.
So will you climb, tear and forge
your way ahead?
Or let the shadows swallow you whole?

SJ