Sunday, December 23, 2012

"So, can fairy tales come true?": My entry for the Get Published Contest

The Idea: 

They say that matches are made in heaven. But often, these matches get torn apart in the real world, by our society and its various constructs and norms: religion, caste, creed, age and what not. Love may be the most precious blessing of all but it can often turn into a curse. Fairy tales may play out, replete with magic and miracles, but happily ever afters are difficult to come across.

This is the story of A and S. 

A, who was outgoing and humorous; S who was shy and reserved. His father was a reverend and closely involved with Christian ministries; she belonged to a traditional and conservative Hindu family. But that of course didn't stop them from falling in love. Because as every story of boy-meets-girl has implored since time immemorial, love is an untamed force that is far above the self-imposed, often unreasonable rules of humanity otherwise known as religion and caste.

Their story blossomed in a most filmi style as they grew close through bus rides together to college every day. The seeds of love were always there but it took three years for the flower to bloom. And till then, college was over and it was time to move on with life. A wanted to go to Canada to study further, while S applied for the MA course at the same college. Her parents were also hinting at finding someone for her to marry, now that she’d graduated.

What did the lovebirds do? Come out and talk to the families or wait and see what fate had in store for them?

This isn't just another story of an inter-religious love affair. It is the enthralling saga of a couple who had to part immediately after they got together in the first place because life cannot be paused, not even for matters of the heart. Did their love endure the separation that came with A going away to study? Did S confess to her family? Did their fairy tale affair culminate in a happily-ever-after? You'll have to wait to read the full story to find out. 

This is my entry for the HarperCollins–IndiBlogger Get Published contest, which is run with inputs from Yashodhara Lal and HarperCollins India

Please, please, please vote for this REAL love story at  because I've personally witnessed it unfold and assure you that it’s a story worth telling the world. 

Thank you! 

Friday, December 21, 2012

The world is not getting safer. But that does not mean we stop living.

The past few days, I have been kind of hoping that the world would indeed end today. We'd all die and there would be no more problems to face, duties to fulfill, dreams to accomplish. There would be no more difficult questions to seek answers to, or situations to grapple with. We would all go poof! and be at peace at last. At long last.
Especially the women of India. There would be no more burden to shoulder, no men to hide from or struggle against, no dangers to avert, no threats to our safety and existence. Because, uh, we would all just cease to exist. How nice.
I do not want to rant. About how I am fed up of being a girl. About how the world is unfair. About the Delhi gang rape case that's got me emotionally paralyzed. About how I hate growing up and facing the future. No, I don't want to rant. So here's what I'm going to say:
The world is not getting safer, just like it's not getting any cleaner or bigger or better. We are all majorly (yes I know that's not a real word) SCREWED and are doomed to meet a terrible end, much worse than the 2012 apocalypse (because hey, what could be worse than surviving some more years in this messed up world?). However, that does not mean I stop living: that is, doing the things that make me happy or give me fulfillment.
As much as I would like to go to bed and never wake up to the future (provided that I have one), I can't do that. Because limbo is a luxury that the living cannot afford. To hang around and do nothing is for the dead. Even if the world is not safe, I can't stop going out and doing the things I need to do. I can't stop chasing my dreams, I can't just give up in fear that I may be attacked or whatever. If bad things are supposed to ensue, they will ensue regardless of what I do or don't do. Though of course, that doesn't mean I should go and engage in some completely reckless behaviour that as good as invites trouble to come and get me. All I'm saying is that in the quest to be 'safe', I can't stop living. I have to do whatever I need to do, and I have to go wherever I need to go. Because if I don't, then I might as well be dead then, right?
I end here with something my friend told me her dad said once:
"Maut to yuhin badnaam hai, takleef to zindagi deti hai." 
Death just has a bad reputation. It's life that actually hurts us.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I love love stories; Jab tak hai Jaan.

To me, Yash Raj Films have always stood for the two things that hold the whole world captive: dreams and love. I am mostly referring to the Yash Raj flicks of the late nineties and after as I haven't seen too many of their earlier productions. The films I am referring to are rarely directed by the late Yash Johar, instead employing the talent of younger filmmakers who often tell lighter, youth-oriented urban romantic comedy-style tales. Some of these films flopped, but most went on to do excellent business if not turn into mega blockbusters, often despite their silly or unreasoable plot lines. I'm talking of the likes of Dilwale Dulhaniya Lejayenge, Mohabbatein, Hum Tum, Saathiya, Salaam Namaste, Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai, etc.
And of course the ones directed by Yashji himself - Darr, Dil to Pagal Hai, Veer Zara.
I loved them all, and no matter what anyone says about my sad taste in movies, I can watch a Yash Raj Film anytime, every time, and thoroughly enjoy it.
In a way, they were my first exposure to the possibility of a perfect world, where a perfect love story can unfold to culminate in a perfect happy ending. The heroines in these movies are often so much like me, yet so different. Other times, they were everything I wanted to be.
Candyfloss Yash Raj movies were the perfect complement to my teenage diet of cutesy young adult novels and Hollywood Rom-coms. I was addicted to love stories. Still am, in fact. They make me believe in that elusive possibility of romantic love despite never having experienced it myself. They make me believe in happy endings, and song and dance and the outlandish idea that somewhere out there, there IS a guy who can be my Mr. Right. All my friends make fun of my somewhat adolescent obsession with love stories and all things romantic, even more so after I acted in my own two-minute cheesy love story film which in retrospect is quite hilarious to watch. But none of that has ever changed the fact that I do love love stories, no matter how stupid, childish or cliched they may appear to other people. That is why I was super excited to watch Jab Tak Hai Jaan ever since the first promo released. Unfortunately, I had to wait almost a month to finally go and see it and to be honest, I was disappointed but still liked it.
To start with, it is terribly edited and just way too long, which makes it boring and draggy in the middle.Secondly, the central plot is sort of stupid, something I doubt most young people today can relate to. Thirdly, and most importantly, BOTH the female lead characters are just SO shallow. On one hand, we have Meera who does little apart from look pretty, and on the other, we have Akira who is oversexed and in-your-face bubbly. Neither represent the true modern woman of today and are caricature-ish, to say the least.
It was only Major Samar Anand who stole my heart and held the film together. I don't care what people say about SRK, there's a reason he is known as the King of Bollywood. At least he doesn't try too hard like Aamir Khan or overdose on the stupidity like Salman Khan. Yes, he does go overboard on the romance, but that's what he does best so...
However, SRK on his own is not enough to be a saving grace for the movie. Just like a Mills and Boon novel, a YRF film has to be a certain way and that's where Jab tak hai jaan fails, in my opinion. There are no grandiose declarations of love that mark this genre of Indian cinema; instead, everything is all very casual and 'cool' and hence unbelievable. In the quest to be appear 'modern', the story ends up being shallow. A few dialogues are nice and the songs tend to grow on you, but the background score definitely steals the show.

On the whole, boring and average, it's a movie only SRK fans will be able to tolerate. Nonetheless, I love love stories, and I love YRF. Jab tak hai Jaan. :P