Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Truck full of Returns

Saw a truck parked near the kerb.
Outside the Family Court the other day.

Two sets of stern looking lawyers in their blacks and whites.
Serious legal juniors taking notes.

Taking notes?
I looked closer.
Two sets of families taking notes as well.

The men unloading the contents of the truck had half amused, half irritated looks.
They carelessly dumped things onto the pavement.

I saw a two seater sofa set, bereft of upholstery.
A rolled up mosquito net.
Kitchen utensils, work with use.
A cane stool.
Wooden chairs with faded varnish.

Apparently  these were belongings being returned to parties post a legal case.
A broken marriage.

The two sides ticked the lists furiously.
Engaged in debates.
Consulted the lawyers again.

I moved off.
At first I wondered, what good are these exchanges when what one has lost is time.
Precious time, precious years... that can never be returned.
Why do we hold on to material things so much?

Then I realised.
Material things stand for what we have lost.
They symbolise the memories.
They stand for what we have earned. Owned. Grown.
Such exchanges and victories give us the confidence to move on.

Its like the idols in our prayer room.
Lifeless. Yet so full of power and Life so far as we are concerned.

Belongings give us hope.
And once in the hands of their rightful owner,  even a faded wooden chair stands for a victorious end.
And a new beginning.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Of Fifty Shades and Reveals

We all talk  about "black money" turning "white".
This piece goes a little beyond those currency notes.
And talks about Life. And about the Fifty Shades Trilogy that's outsold even Harry Potter.

When I was young, my mother had complete control of all vocabulary in the house.
Forbidden words were, well, forbidden.
Some were bad words. Like swear words, "vamps"( those were the days of cabarets in movies).
Some were superstitious. We could not say "cancer".
Some would get up a sharp slap. Like "masturbation".

So we grew up, like most kids, with solid mental walls that no modern day sledgehammer could bring down.
There was a world of bad words, bad visuals, bad activities- which as years unfolded, were actually quite pleasurable. But only behind closed doors, or in the company of friends. never out in the open.

But times changed.
With the female actors in hindi films doing the same "vampish" moves and wooing friend and foe.
With Google spinning up every kind of search our mind and heart desired.

Maybe that's why Fifty Shades- The Trilogy caught my attention. I devoured the books.
And thought- why?
Not very well written.
Not a great story.
Seen better characterization.
But the why niggled me.

Think it's because the author managed to remove the wall between "porn" and "regular reading".
We don't paste our social world walls with porn sites. But we are writing, talking, discussing Fifty Shades.
The movie being released in 2013 already has Facebook likes and followers. There are innumerable discussion forums. Media blogs. Stories. Merchandise.

Are we only discussing the book?
Or has the author unleashed all the constraints, broken down all the walls- about accepting such literature as just one of the many things we CAN talk about without wondering whether the world will label us negatively.
Maybe we are enjoying the fact that we can actually have the trilogy on our book shelf and not tucked away in cupboards.

Finally, in my mind, Fifty Shades has removed  some of our own demons.
That this world will not accept the "bad".

There is no "bad".
It's just the way we choose to live our life.