Wednesday, June 25, 2014


An overheard conversation.

A conversation that made you smile. A conversation that made you furious. A conversation that made you wonder.

Something you saw on the drive to work. A movie you saw. An article you read.

A tweet. A Facebook post. A song on the radio.

Memories. Hopes. Questions you want to ask. Questions you want to answer.

Things you want to say. Things you have to say.

What makes you think? What makes you write?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Somewhere along the way

I'm "working from home" today, because my car needed to go to the shop, and the shop I like to take it to opens on the weekends only if the owner feels like it. I respect that level of whimsy in a business owner, even if it makes things a little inconvenient for me.

In reality, I'm sitting in a coffee shop which has free wifi and will refill my mug with hot water for free if I'm willing to reuse the tea bag they gave me - in fact he suggested I do that when I went to buy another cup of tea. I'm being surprisingly productive too - I'm usually utterly unproductive when I work from home, but I've churned out a pretty decent amount of work in the last couple of hours.

The coffee shop's keeping fairly busy. There are the college students sitting and reading, working, looking up Google Maps et al., the business meetings between serious and worried looking folks, and a couple of people who look like they're replying to very important emails. And amidst all of us, there's a table at the other end of the shop with three women and a baby. The baby's been passed from woman to woman since I've been here, and so I'm not entirely sure who the mother is - nuggets of conversations overheard seem to suggest one of them definitely is. Their conversation has flowed almost incessantly, and ranged from excited squeals to sympathetic murmurs, from advice based on recent holiday experiences to complaints about a boss and a tricky job situation. I'm not sure how old the three of them are - I would have assumed older than me, at one point, but I'm beginning to realize I'm growing older, so maybe not.

And it's making me miss my girls more than usual. My gal pals, as I call them, and which they objected to when they found this out some months back - they claimed they're more the "saheli" type. Which in all fairness, is probably true.

I've known them for more than a decade at this point, my girls. We went to college together, and spent three years giggling and snacking and pretending to study together. And there was drama - of course there was drama. And most of that drama was put aside, eventually. Because not getting over it wasn't worth what we would lose if we didn't. Some were closer to me then, some are closer now. Some didn't seem that close but were the ones who reached out when I needed someone to reach out. There were others who were part of us too, but disappeared along the way, for reasons that were delved into way more often that we should have. I had different equations with each of them, and each of those equations have changed over the years. But the four of them will always top any list I make of loved ones.

I hardly speak to them anymore, my girls. The occasional whatsapp message, sure. But I never talk to them. I've never been good at just picking up the phone and calling up someone because I felt like it; I suppose it goes back to the kind of person I am. And somewhere along the way, they stopped calling too. I used to send them articles I came across and found interesting; I never got too many responses, so somewhere along the way, I stopped.

We used to have the most hilarious email chains going on once upon a time; I spent hours trying to muffle my laughter at work once upon a time. The replies used to be fast and furious, till you didn't know who was replying to what. One girl would never respond for days, then appear with a one-liner once in a while, and vanish again. Those stopped too, somewhere along the way.

Three of them are in the same city, all four of them in the same continent. Some of them were on a different continent for a while when I was still home, and came back around the time I was getting ready to leave. Three of them got married in the past, what, 18 months? I missed all three weddings, and it broke my heart not to be there to see these girls, these girls I've loved for so long now, marry the men they've chosen to love. It made me question those life choices all over again, every single time.

Just before I left home, three years ago, I came across this article and sent it to them. And every time I miss them more than usual, I pull it up and read it again. Today's one of those days.

Because I hardly talk to them anymore, my girls. It shouldn't be so hard, you know. In this day and age, between gtalk and whatsapp and Skype and Google Voice and whatnot, it shouldn't be this hard. Even when I'm in town, meeting them seems harder than it should be. Everyone's busy, everyone has lives, everyone has things to do, whether it's getting on with life, planning for a wedding, or trying to cram every possible thing on the list into two weeks of vacation. But it sometimes feels like it's harder than it should be.

But there are priorities, and there are egos, I suppose, and there are histories, some of which are easier to get past than others. I suppose. So I hardly talk to my girls anymore. And I miss them. And I never tell them that I miss them.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Thoughts I had while watching Maleficent

This is by no means meant to become a thing I do every time I watch a movie, but the thoughts are there, and begging to come out, so what else am I supposed to do I ask?

Again, this may or may not be spoiler-y, so tread with caution if you intend to watch the movie and haven't yet.

  • Can we just begin by stating outright how utterly distracting Angelina Jolie's cheekbones were? I've read about them, and seen the trailers, but I didn't realize just how prominent they had been made till the movie started in 3D.
  • Can we also talk about how ridiculous, horrible and incomprehensible the characters of the three fairies were? They switched sides (purportedly with the idea of keeping peace) and showed up at the christening even though they presumably knew the history between Stefan and Maleficent. They tried to stop Maleficent from coming near the baby - which, okay, was understandable in the grand scheme of things, but was just so contradictory to the way we saw them interact with young Maleficent in the beginning of the movie. They were terrible caretakers of Aurora - and not just in terms of being incompetent without magic, but just plain and simple uncaring. And how do they not catch on to the fact the very person you're trying to keep Aurora away from is hanging around in the woods near you, if not IN your cottage, almost constantly? Not to mention having absolutely no idea of where Aurora would be for what I assume were hours on end. And finally pushing a random dude you've never before seen in your life onto a sleeping girl because he said he's a prince. Excellent job, ladies, you're exactly who I'm leaving my kids with.
  • And then there are the men in the movie. One pleasant Prince Philip, who in his 2.5 scenes showed he had more brains than those three fairies ("but we've only really met once!"). One delightful sometimes-raven-sometimes-man-sometimes-whatever-creature-Maleficent-chooses whose name I couldn't quite get (Diablo? Diaval?) who also seemed to be playing the part of Maleficent's conscience in some ways. And two moronic chauvinistic kings. One who needed the magic world destroyed because that was supposed to be his "legacy" and also needed one of his knights to go do what he couldn't so he could appoint said knight as his successor and son-in-law (because y'know, he only had a daughter and God forbid she succeeds him). And one ambitious twit who broke a heart (and more) to become king, treated his wife like dirt, met his daughter after 16 years and far from even hugging her, promptly ordered for her to be locked up (and no, it wasn't out of concern as far as I could tell), and generally was batshit crazy. But then I suppose the movie needed him to be a twit for the story to exist.
  • All this aside, I actually did like the movie. The middle section, in particular, where the "fairy godmother" is playing pranks on the three twits was utterly enjoyable. 
  • Elle Fanning was fine and all, but the baby they got to play her was totes adorbs. Also, I was reading somewhere that the kid who plays Aurora as a toddler was the only one of Angelina Jolie's children who didn't get terrified seeing her mother in that get-up. Made me giggle all through that scene.
  • The twist towards the end was utterly predictable. Especially if you've seen Frozen or even Snow White and the Huntsman (which, by the way, has a producer in common with Maleficent, as I discovered from Wikipedia), you'll see it coming from a mile away.
  • The nods to the more classic Disney movie about the Sleeping Beauty were a lot of fun - the raven, the dragon, the birthday cake - all tiny, but fun common threads.
  • It occurred to me, as I was watching the movie, that I've never actually watched a movie with Angelina Jolie in it before this one. Unless... do Kung Fu Panda movies count? 
  • And finally, this: I've read reviews of the movie where what Stefan does to Maleficent is compared to rape. I don't know. What he did was despicable, and traumatic, and unspeakably terrible, but what he did was also him taking the easy way out because he couldn't make himself kill her. And rape is... not that. And I'm not saying anything more on this beyond I really don't know what I think of that comparison.
That is all, folks. Good night.

(Unless I think of something I forgot to mention. Oh wait, I just did. Let me go add that above.)