April 24, 2010

Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya

A few weeks back, in our dance class we had a discussion about happiness and sadness and their ability to move the audience. "You know happiness moves readers too, don't you? You don't always have to write stories that carry a tinge of sadness with them...", my dance teacher said. And I guess she is right. I do tend to stories with pathos more than outright humor and simple happily ever afters. After several comments from people that I ought to give that line of writing a shot, I did write "The prophecy" which for the most part was a lighthearted, feel-good story but that story was the exception. And I feel the same about this movie...

*spoiler alert*

It could have ended with a happily ever after and I would have liked nothing better but then the story and it's poignant moments wouldn't come back to haunt me with what ifs, would it? Boy meets girl, falls in love and they walk hand in hand into the sunset. All is well and we leave with a smile on our lips. But then it sort of fades into the background. When Karthik sits on the bench with her and explains why he couldn't have forgotten her -- her funny gait, her straight and curly hair and how he coped with the Jesse in his heart, the tears that fall from his eyes stay back with us because in the end, in spite of everything, it's all lost and they cannot be together. And somehow the poignancy of that situation outweighs the bliss of a happy ending.

This movie has touches of Alaipayuthey to it and the scenes just after Jesse's canceled wedding reminded me of the terrace scenes in DDLJ but then VTVsmacks us in the face with a surprise ending. And the what-could-have-been scenes that Karthik weaves into his first movie make the ending that much more powerful. Because, the audience is with Karthik and Jesse celebrating their union after what seems like a lifetime and then suddenly it all turns out to be a mirage, an unattainable wistful concoction of the mind and the palpable disappointment and hurt in their glances and words cuts through our hearts as well. I liked the way Gautham deals with the capricious workings of a woman's mind -- "Naan appadithaan", "Apo venumnu thonichu, ipo vendamnu thonardu". And the veiled vanity in Jesse's eyes when she asks, "You are crazy about me-nnu sonna? Yen?" is a dialogue nicely rendered by Trisha. Silambarasan as the forlorn lover is believable -- he delivers his lines with an understated flourish. An entirely enjoyable (although a tad repetitive) flick by Gautham Menon and the music by Rahman is to die for!

April 14, 2010

Me, me, me.

I suppose this post should come with a disclaimer of some sort so it seems acceptable to all people but I am going to skip the formalities because...ah well, I just can't be bothered. My pollen infested allergy-eyes can barely see the main content leave alone peripheral niceties.

So, I suppose I am still a new comer to this country and in a way, I am still learning the workings of the society and the way the system works here. One small aspect of the whole culture here that I am still getting used to is American weddings. Like George Lopez says to his wife, "Face it. This is not about you!" when he tries to calm an anxious bride whose wedding he is planning ("You are the most beautiful bride I have seen!"). I guess that lady in that episode (She is that famous desperate housewives babe whose name I can't recall) is who I am writing about today.

Yes, the day has to be perfect. Yes, it's magical and a match made in heaven no doubt. But really, to what extent should this blessed day be morphed to match an imagined, perfect wedding day, roses and doves and all?

I guess it strikes me as strange partly because of my background as an Indian. Our weddings are mostly about our parents. Friends and relatives of our parents throng our weddings while our parents stand proudly next to us and introduce countless faces that blur in front of our eyes (The sweat that pours from our over made up foreheads because of the glaring bright spot lights on us as we stand on the stage could be part of the issue). It is a big day for them. We, the bride and the groom are the cynosure of all eyes but in all, it is a bigger day for our parents.

Compared to that, here the day is about the bride and the groom only and mostly about the bride only. The focus is on love and romance and it should be but it also is on what one woman considers her dream day should be like. Down to the colors that border the trim of the bridesmaid's dress. It becomes more about the dress and the decorations and everything material...and how much a planner can match these expectations.

I guess I don't really have that much insight into an American wedding up, close and personal but at least that's what I see from popular television here. I guess in a way it's fun for the bride. It's the day she's dreamed of since she was a little kid (I guess Indian girls dream of getting into IIT when they're 5 :p)...but something strikes me as just off with this setting. Blame it on my brown upbringing...but I tell it like I see it, I guess.

Maybe I am just jealous because I didn't get a day of my own that I could construct bit by bit and watch unfold on D day (I doubt it)...but, who knows? There's more I want to say about this but can't sit out here any back when the season changes. Accchhhhhooo!

April 06, 2010

Thoughts on being a mom -- 1 year later.

I should have gotten around to this long back, 8 months back but better now than when r~ turns 2 -- then I would have to club together the first two years :p

She is taking a nap now, so I am going to write in short bursts, so I can just publish if I have to rush.

* I sometimes want to have another baby just to test out a parenting philosophy/theory (mine). I think this will work but she has already grown past the stage when I can try this out. So, now I have a theory and no baby to try it on!

* What seems like an insurmountable catastrophe today will be forgotten and filed under "Oh yeah, she did do that...almost forgot about it!" Like when she refused to get on the high chair, a car seat, her stroller and I figured I was so terribly wrong with my parenting style that I have a baby that just won't be strapped in anywhere! That phase lasted a week and I turned a year older in that week.

* Frantic internet searches (by the parent, I mean) will not go away. They just make a category jump from infant to baby to toddler to kid to preteen to teen to daughter and so on.

* Cry it out, controller crying, rock it out, nurse it out, baby whispering...finally, believe it or not, she will sleep. 8 hours without waking in the night. Just not now or next year or the next or...

* Being a parent is like being one of those head-spinning robots. Your head is on straight and you are happy because she gave you a kiss and then it's on backwards and she is testing out your patience. And then it's turned sidewards and you can't really see clearly and you imagine things and some days, it goes spinning and spinning until you shut down and collapse.

* Yes, you try really hard to not say no to her. But 55 times a day is not that bad right?

* Yes, you will swear in front of your kid when you stub your toe and no, however hard you try, your mouth is going to fail you one day or another. Anyway she says, "Frog" like ****! Her nanny is trying to get her to say "Froggie" instead :p

* Yes, it would be an ideal world when you have a clone of you taking care of her while the you-you naps. I was reading this interesting book that said if you can't give your toddler something she really wants, at least give her an imaginary world where she gets what she wants and more. Trying the theory out on myself.

* I actually made the "A" with the boiled carrot and a swirl of sauce. She smiled and squished the carrots in the sauce and said, "Brooooooken!" Yup, TV during dinner time it is. Is good for the soul. Mine!

* I am so glad she gives me the opportunity to be proud several times a day. I don't give myself that opportunity because lately I haven't accomplished much (anything)! Like, the other day, she pointed to the flower in Wild Oats and said "Shun-ffowwer"! And when I said, "Please taa" as she licked her popsicle, she said, "Taya maatten!" and laughed!

* I am competing for the mom-who-read-maximum-baby-parenting-books competition. I believe the competition also has a facebook fan page. Do become a fan and vote for me when you get a chance. Also tweet, blog, stumbleupon and digg it :p

* I am going to be squint eyed soon. Judging from the number of times I try to keep track of r~ when I am trying to have a sensible conversation with a friend (and he keeps saying, "I have her". Somehow his "I have her" is different from mine!)

* I have a running commentary of what she is going to do next in my head. So when I am in the middle of something, I'll see her edge towards the ants and I already know what she is going to do next and so I shout out an abrupt "She's gonna do this next. Watch out!" and k always looks up slowly as if to determine if I am indeed the girl he married!)

* No, my life is really not split between the various roles I play after r~ was born -- mother, career woman and such. I have become just a mother who does other things now like working, cooking, writing, dancing...but I am a mother first and everything else is next. And that's the way it's gonna be.

© Ramya Sethuraman, All Rights Reserved.