Impressions 'n Expressions

Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

The permanent temptation of life is to confuse dreams with reality. The permanent defeat of life is when dreams are surrendered to reality.

Monday, April 30, 2012


Chance, destiny, fate...whatever you call it, is just an inkblot on a page in history, observed fleetingly, used as a prop to debate the imponderabilities of life. But the enormity of chance and happenstance in shaping who you are is usually given a short shrift, because we would like to think that we have our lives under control.

We like to think we know where we are going.

Sometimes a chance occurrence jolts you and you awaken to the possibility that life may not be as simple as you thought it to be. The mind-numbing fear you feel when it crashes into you from the periphery of your vision, spreading an ever growing vine of doubt and fear, opens your eyes to a life that just might not be playing to the rules…the rules that you built in trying to factor in each and every possibility, the rules that lead you on the path to who you are now, the rules that are designed to take you to the person and fulfillment you knew you were seeking…all these hangs on such chance occurrences. These are our moments in the sun when we lay totally exposed and naked to self-doubts and on such chances are knit the tapestries of our lives.

These are the moments when we have no control over our destiny, we are but passengers. Journeymen.

They say, life is so much more beautiful when we can embrace the concept of how fleeting it can be and realize not all that we dream, desire, and want will come true, but the moments shared in dreaming these dreams…together, will be worth it. They say, sometimes, all that will remain are memories of these shared dreams. Maybe they are right, because not always do all of us make it back, sometimes you come back with memories. Sometimes all we are left with are memories. Memories and scars that will take a lifetime before we finally come to terms with it. It is then we realize, maybe, that these scars however traumatic, were also responsible for who you became. It is up to you to look at these scars and remember.

When you are enveloped by this gloom of sadness remember that you owe to each of them to remember…to be thankful for the chance you have been given. Sometimes all you can be is thankful, sometimes all you can be is grateful.

Other posts on loss,
Is there a greater tragedy than a promise that wasn’t given a chance?
...and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls
I will remember you, friend

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Is there a greater tragedy than a promise that wasn’t given a chance?

We all trek into the vicissitude of life awash in a kaleidoscope of promises and optimism. Even as the horizon we are hurtling or ambling toward seem to move ever so slowly away from our reach, we harbour in us a promise, a need, a desire that keeps us from giving up. There is always a reason that supports us when we are beat, a reason to make that moment last a little longer.

There is no telling how long the journey will last. A vast majority of us see the end of the road coming and prepare accordingly in own way for the inevitable. Some of us are pushed to that moment of certainty and walk into the vast void of unknown and master their own exit ...the foundation of their plunge built on broken promises, heartbreak, or an unwillingness to stretch that moment of certitude.

But a few of us are blindsided by the suddenness of the eternal black and leave in a blinding flash of ordinariness that is as abrupt as it is overwhelming. What we leave behind is inexorable sadness and a penetrating sense of loss. All that was bright and beautiful a moment ago vanishes into the magnificent void of nothingness and what remains are wisps and strands of memories of a life that was cut short.

Destiny or chance, whatever we believe in, doesn’t hold a candle to this searing unfairness of it all.

Is there a greater tragedy than a promise that wasn’t given a chance?

Will miss you. You were a beautiful person Sooraj.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Its been a while since a movie created this sort of anticipation and it has everything to do with Christopher Nolan, who hasn't had a real misstep in his career since he announced his arrival into mainstream movies with the mindfuck of a movie, Memento. Since then there has been Insomnia, Batman Begins, The Prestige, and of course The Dark Knight. All of them have been highly accomplished features which fell into the right side of very good movies.

Inception, is another one of Nolan's winners that literally toys with us with its intricate plot structure that is structured like a heist movie while remaining at heart one man's journey to find his way back to the one thing that holds any meaning to his life.

But intricate structuring does not mean that Nolan makes it difficult for us to understand the almost straight forward narrative that is at once intellectually stimulating and yet does not condescend to the lowest common denominator among us - like most mainstream movies tend to do. Until the end everything is kept straight, though am sure the last scene will have its share of debates around it. Does this movie deserve the ambiguity at the end...I would assume so, cause it allows each one of us to carry with us our own interpretation to what actually happened.

The story line follows a group of dream stealers who invade the mind of a target to implant an idea deep into his subconscious. This involves travelling deep into a dream within a dream within a dream and effectively creates a situation wherein it becomes difficult to tell what is real and what is a dream. The plotting is an amazing exercise in playing with layer upon layer upon layer of complexities that are bound together by complex rules. After the exposition is done, the movie is one long sequence that hurtles towards the end as it intercuts between the different levels of dreams the protagonists are trapped in.

Inception features some amazing sequences, but the highlight for me was a gravity defying action setpiece set in a hotel lobby.

Hans Zimmer's music score complements the action on the screen providing the right amount of zest and suspense as the movie speeds towards the climax.

The acting for what its worth is quite good, especially Di Caprio and the always delectable Marion Cotillard. If there is a quibble, it is that the other characters are not suitably developed to provide us with any sense of emotional connect. This may be deliberate, because the central story of Inception is about Cobb's
(Di Caprio) journey at finding a way to atone for past sins and his relationship with Mal (Marion Cotillard). It was also nice to see Joseph-Gordon Levitt in an action role after his essaying of the timid Tom in the anti-romance, 500 Days of Summer.

Inception is another one of those accomplished sci-fi movies that can be grouped alongwith the likes of The Dark City and The Matrix. It also makes me wait to see what Christopher Nolan can come up with next.


Monday, July 12, 2010

...of Vuvuzelas and Africa

...and that concludes another edition of the football World Cup. South Africa hosted a wonderful and memorable month of football, not pretty football most times, had its share of controversies, moments of ecstacy coupled with the cruel agony of defeats, beautiful goals and moments of magic...but that is just football, the World Cup is so much more than just football. The sheer drama, the extravagance, the flamboyance that surrounds the people's game brings so much life in these troubled and cynical times. It was nice to see the Africans unite together at least for a month and support the tournament, support each other and for a fleeting moment give rise to hope.

FIFA, despite all its issues, has done so much more to bring humanity together and build a sense of optimism. A sense of optimism to a world that is going thru tumultous times while getting increasingly fractured along racial, religious, and economic lines. I do not think any other sports organization can claim to have done as much or even aspired to. FIFA over the years has started shedding its pro-european bias and have become more inclusive. The emergence of Africa as a footballing power is the result of this inclusiveness.

Now you have thousands of Africans plying their skills in Europe. It is heartening to see the likes of Drogba and Essien not just content to make money and be a part of success stories that were built on individual skills and talent, but also get involved in trying to change the fabric of a land that was pillaged and raped for centuries, the scars of which are still left behind to erupt as communal and ethnic strife that plagues this great continent. The African footballer has become a symbol of hope for the thousands of children who have nothing better to look forward to in life. For a generation that lacks access to basic amenities like water, health services, is a way out. I remember one of Essien's interviews for the Time magazine where he states that when he started playing football Ghana did not have one proper football stadium, but now Ghana is one of the powerhouses of African football...indeed world football. Sadly unlike footballers in any other part of the world, the African footballer besides trying to compete with the best in the world also carries an enormous burden...he is carrying ...hope.

I know, this is just wishful thinking on my part. How can something as trivial as a game of football even aspire to such greatness. But what do we need now more now...the naysayers like Pele or the English media - who prophesied that Africa will not be able to host an event of this magnitude - or a willingness to believe.

South Africa showed the world that, we can do it..all we need is to find out what we want as a part of the global community. Brothers and sisters from the African continent, with their vuvuzelas and enthusiasm managed to keep alive the spirit of carnival, the spirit of togetherness and showed us that if only we shed the cynicism, if only we looked beyond the shallowness of superficial differences, we can forge a world that can with all its difference be a wonderful place indeed.

Thank you South Africa.

Bring on Brazil.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Time and Identity

Recently I had a chance to visit the Institute of Contemporary Arts at Boston. Two hours later, I felt overwhelmed by the knowledge that I am either way ahead of time or maybe way back, as I was absolutely wonderstruck by my ignorance of the contemporary art culture - at least in the Western world. That's supposed to be a joke, because I am quite clueless about art in general. At different points in my life I have come across beauty in a painting, a sculpture, or a mural and more, but I have never tried to learn more about what struck me about it and why? I guess, one can't actually define beauty...because, I believe, the state of mind plays a really important part in appreciating it, well at least, that's my argument. The concept of beauty is an idea that evolves and mutates.

The exhibits looked beautiful in a very abstract way and yet remained incomprehensible to my base sense of aesthetic sensibilities. I am sure everything on display had a reason for its existence, I am positive the two young women who were discussing From amongst the golden foil spread in a very deliberate fashion, the cuboid made of pins, cross-section of an ant farm, Emily Dickinson's lines as white section made some kind of impression on me, the lithographs titled 'Still Waters' and the solid glass sculptures by by Roni Horn.

Roni Horn uses photographs of the Thames in flow as a metaphor for the mutability of time. Using Heraclitus's postulation, 'you could not step twice into the same river, for other waters are ever flowing on to you,' Horn uses the dark swirling waters of the river to emphasize that time is transient. Each picture is annotated with references to incidents, movies, books, and more that frankly made no sense to me, but it did make me try to reach out and grasp the essence of these almost quotidian displays. Using the simply magnificent solid glass sculptures, Roni Horn evokes the changing nature of identities as a shift in light or how and where you are observing from causes the solid glass to appear liquid. The amorphous nature of identity is beautifully brought out using seemingly immutable inanimate objects, exemplifying that we are more complex than we can ever hope to understand and identity is a prisoner to perspective.

I don't know if it is what the artist intended, but for the next few hours all I could really think about was the influence of time in our lives. An abstract concept at best, time has become an integral part of how we run our daily lives. But do we really understand it, do we really even think of it as anything more or less, than as a point of reference to connect our existence with to the world around us.

The time is gone
The song is over
Thought I'd something more to say.

Sitting by the Charles River, watching the yachts trying to catch a good wind, watching life as she jogged and cycled and gathered along the path, capturing a moment here and letting go another there, I tried to see myself for who I really am. Who I am has been lost I guess, who I am is a judgement that you make, who I am is just another wisp of wind that you wish I could be, a reflection of your desire.

Another crazy take on time

Friday, April 09, 2010

I've always been fascinated by death. The feel of it, the smell of it, the quietness of it.


A tender and poignant love story of a necrophilic.

Sandra, a loner, works in a funeral parlor embalming corpses. What no one knows is that she connects with the cadavers she embalms in a deeply personal and spiritual way. Her obsession, 'glorious and overwhelming', involves treating the bodies that come to her with reverence and understanding, because she believes that though dead...they can feel. Sometimes the connect she feels with them also leads to engaging in sexual activities. Matt, who knows about her necrophilic tendency, loves her and tries to reach out to her without really understanding the reasons that drive her. Sandra's failure to communicate what her obsession really means to her results in a misunderstanding that leaves him frustrated and unable to convince her about his feelings until he realizes that there is only one way she will really understand what she means to him.

Movies dealing with extreme forms of fetish are not for everyone and this one more so, as necrophilia is as controversial as it is uncomfortable.

Without being exploitative or gratituous, the movie works as a conventional love story set against the backdrop of an unconventional fetish. For those who are not turned off by the nature of the subject, Lynne Stopkewich fashions a good watch.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

"If a body catch a body comin' through the rye..."

"Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be."

J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye