There is always a light

There is always a light
Don't be afraid if you are alone or surrounded by darkness. In some part of the world, the day has just begun. There is a always a light waiting for you to find your way to touch its radiance.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Heart Knows it All

By Anindita Baidya
Anand, Gujarat, India

Dear Ann, these flowers are for you.  Every day, in the past two years, I have placed two extra roses in the bunch that you have bought from me.  Those two flowers were, everyday, meant for you.
In the past two years, you have, every day, visited my little shop to buy those fully bloomed crimson roses.  You preferred full blooms, you had said and after that, I have tended to my rose garden with utmost care and have delicately arranged the flowers every morning.  Like the refreshing morning dew, you arrived every day.  Like a breeze, you always opened the glass door of my shop and swirled yourself and walked right up to the roses. 
Without fail, everyday, my heart was set on a spin when you entered the shop. 
A late riser once, I had started waking up early and grooming myself well, without knowing if you even noticed me.
As days passed, the morning hour turned out to be the only meaningful time of the entire day.  Before you arrived, my heart yearned for one sight of yours and after you left, the time came to a halt and the world revolved very slowly, around your thoughts until a new dawn arrived.
Dad knew, before I realised, that I was in love.  Mum was always a hardcore rational.  She said I could not possibly love someone just by looking at her and not knowing a thing about her.  She said I was infatuated.  Dad said I was in love.  For my own comfort, I chose to agree with my dad.
Days went on and with the grace from the Heaven above, the moment arrived every day.  I did not even know where those flowers went.  They adorned your house, possibly. I did not want to know.  Sometimes a remote fear would paralise my heart; what if all those roses went to someone you loved?  What if, your roses, and my unnoticed and unpaid- for roses were generously and lovingly being handed over to someone you loved?  The thought was so cruel that I would soon brush it away.  Ignorance is bliss!
And one day I gathered enough courage to secretly follow you and find out what happened to the roses.
Indeed, those went to someone you loved!
Every morning, before visiting the little chapel, you would stop at your mum’s tomb and place the bunch of flowers on it, with utmost gratitude.  You would then kiss the cold stone structure and say a little prayer before proceeding towards the chapel.
So, that is where my roses went to, everyday!  Oblivion to it, you, on my behalf continued dedicating my flowers to your mum.  And I continued receiving her blessings, that is what my faith tells me!
And that is why she showed me the way.  I saw, written on her epitaph, were these lines:
“Forget not, what you dream,
Fear not your thoughts;
Have faith, have hope, have trust..
Through your life’s eves and odds.”

So began my journey, anew.  My mum said if ever I wanted to be your life mate, I will have to prove myself to be an ‘able’ partner.  My dad said, “In the journey, never lose the dream.  Let love be your guiding star”.
So, armed with mum’s discipline and dad’s passion, I concentrated in organising the bits of my little life.  The ritual of hiding my two roses, however, never stopped. 
You would not even have noticed me or my shy and silent thoughts if Dad had not started his ritual of humming “…..every morning you greet me…” whenever you arrived.  Despite Mum’s continuous warning, Dad continued; despite my tearing embarrassment, Dad went on.
And you knew it.  You were not as shy a person as I was but you did not ever talk about it.  You came, you went and in between, you bought the bunch of crimson gratitude in which I hid my crimson dreams.
Today, my mum says I am an ‘able’ person and ready to tell you what I have always wanted to.  I deserve it, she says.  I have passed her test, she says.  I am a grown up, she says.  But I know, deep within, I am the same shy person whose heart goes for a spin at your sight.
Dressed in my dad’s best suit, I am ready to knock at your door.  With the crimson blooms in my hands, with an untold tale in my lips and a hope, a fear, a shiver, in my cruelly beating heart, I am here standing at the threshold of my dreams. 
I may not be able to utter one word when you look at me.  I may fail to tell you what I want to.  Here I am, unaware of your feelings; I do not know what your answer would be, neither do I have a clue to what you think about me..
I leave it to my eyes.  If my words fail, my eyes will tell you.  If my eyes fail, you heart will tell you. Your heart will tell the tale of two roses for you.
 For, I know, the heart knows it all……..

Friday, February 4, 2011

Love for love's sake only?

By Ananya Mukherjee

“I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy - ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness--that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what--at last--I have found.”---Bertrand Russell

A very wise man said that, and having transferred his profound confession of one of the most intriguing of human emotions, am left with a few lingering afterthoughts for you and me.
Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, they begin with an old world hesitation, then gradually develop into an act of submission with restrictions, and move on to tales of sad endings with age-old anguish of being apart or together. And often it leaves me wondering if there is really such a thing such as a spiritual craving supported by an eternal destiny in this persuasion of that single metaphysical release, that one connection coined “us”, that thing called love.

Or is it because there are phases of accepting this ethereal phenomenon complacently as a natural state and then suddenly perhaps as an unanticipated offshoot of a different pursuit, realizing what a wonderful thing it is to have happened to us, that makes it so delicate, so unpredictable?   
On the month of another valentine’s day, when each of you celebrate your love, do Tagore’s lines resonate with your thoughts?  

“As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge,
Clad in the light of a pole-star piercing the darkness of time:
You become an image of what is remembered forever.

You and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount.
At the heart of time, love of one for another.
We have played along side millions of lovers, shared in the same 
Shy sweetness of meeting, the same distressful tears of farewell-
Old love but in shapes that renew and renew forever.”

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dhobi Ghat: Under the Spotlight

By Abhishek Chatterjee

Kiran Rao's sensitive debut film engages not so much with plot and pacing, as it does with cityscapes and moments. The film achingly reflects on urban angst, alienation, loss, inspiration and hope. It is also, obviously, as the title suggests, a paean to Mumbai. The film doesn't spoon-feed solutions or nudge the viewer towards a preferred point of view, rather, it leaves the viewer to ponder over the proceedings, a watermark of intelligent film-making.
Investment banker, Shai, comes to Mumbai on a sabbatical and explores the city through her camera, and it is through her lens that the film truly comes alive. Black and white photographs still have that certain 'je ne se qua' and can capture subtleties that colour tends to blur out. She meets a laundryman, Munna, a migrant, who, apart from his day job washing clothes at Mumbai's famous 'Dhobi Ghat', moonlights as wannabe actor and night time rat-killer (I didn't know such a profession existed. The rat-killers have nothing else to get their prey with, except for large and unwieldily sticks). It is through their interactions that we see most of this fascinating city, shown here with all its treasures and pockmarks, its many landmarks and its dingy bylanes. Munna is hopelessly in love with Shai, but gives up the chase in the final frames of the film, when he realizes that the religious and class divides between them are just too wide to bridge. Shai also has a one night stand with Arun, a celebrated and introverted painter, who is perhaps lonely and searching for inspiration after his divorce. He finds his muse in the video diaries of his previous tenant, a bubbly newly wed Yasmin, only to later discover, to his horror, that she might have ended her lonesome and troubled life in that very apartment.
Performance wise the film clearly belongs to debutant Monica Dingra and the brilliant Prateik Babbar, whose performances ring so true you that you needn't have them speak at all. They come across as complete naturals against Aamir Khan's studied and understated Arun. Kriti Malhotra completes the fine acting effort from this largely inexperienced cast with her doe-eyed, heartbreaking portrayal of Yasmin. Also kudos to Tushar Kanti Ray's for his camera work and Gustavo Santaolalla for his haunting guitar work.
The film is sensitive, layered, nuanced and easy on your time. Those looking for a solid plotline will be disappointed with this ninety minute feature (though it could have been shorter by 5 -10 minutes...the whole 'Munna's brother/underworld' track being an unnecessary distraction). The city has millions of stories to tell and Rao chooses to tell but four of them... all representative of the modern urban malaise, so to speak, as well as serving as an exploration of fleeting but deep relationships. Not to say that Mumbai is portrayed on the whole, as a miserable and harsh place. The city's omnipresent character is best embodied in Arun's (and Yasmin's) aged, semi-paralytic neighbor, who in her continual presence, can witness all that happens around her, but can offer neither encouragement nor admonishment, comfort nor solace, advice nor reproach, as she watches those around her live, love, yearn, suffer and die.