Autumn

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Golden themes, golden dreams,
The portière of summer descends.

The brittle caramel leaves pirouette down
An invisible spiral of breeze
Asking for a last melancholy dance
Before the winter’s clutch claims them.

The leaves thrive with a scarlet flush
And amid multitudes of copper
There is gold shining through
And a blush that brings summer fruits to mind.

Summer petals have curled brown to mother Earth
Shrouded in a garland of crimson and gold
Thickets of wildwood take on the russet and purple of decline.

She’s a peck to the summer long gone,
She’s a billet-doux to the approaching winter.
She carries the promise of the first snowflake
Of golds and berry reds.

Autumn, the end of beginning.

She

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With a face as withered as a wilting flower, she stays silent. Her listless eyes… just watching. Her forehead tells of worries past and present. Her wrinkled skin, narrates an incredible sojourn. She has stories to tell; and experience dances on her lips like an amused child. Frazzled by circumstance, she longs for that kiss, still; that does not care a whiff for time and space; instead leaves a trace of euphoria on her visage. On the infrequent occasions she speaks to someone, her eyes blur with tears unexplained.

How Safe Are Women in India?

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What prompted me to write this article is the fact that when I typed “India” in the search box, here at WordPress, the first post that came up was one that dealt with the rape of a minor in the country.

Now, for anyone who’s aware of the kind of atrocities being inflicted on women in the country, it should come as no surprise when I say that the number of rape cases in the country have only increased in the past 5 years or so.

The most notable of these has been the Nirbhaya case that took place in New Delhi.  On December 16, 2012, six people, including a juvenile, brutally assaulted and raped  a 23-year-old paramedic student in a moving bus in South Delhi. The victim and her male friend were later thrown off the bus. The girl was not only gang raped but her friend who,  tried to save her from her perpetrators was also brutally beaten up. They were left for dead when they were thrown off a bus.The girl didn’t make and thirteen days later she succumbed to injuries in a hospital.

The fatal Nirbhaya gang-rape saw an outpouring  not only on the streets of Delhi, but in all the other cities – protests decrying the fragile status of women in India. Candle light marches, editorials examining the patriarchal and sexist traditions of our country, an awakening on social media – even conversations on streets all revolved around the night that we can never forget: the night that took Nirbhaya.

The incident brought to the forefront some  pressing  questions. How safe are women in India? If such incidents take place in the capital itself, then how safe are the rest of the cities? And it took the Supreme Court some 5 years to pass the death sentence for the rapists.

The country was once again shook by the rape of yet another girl. This time, a minor, a girl of only eight years, Asifa Bano.  Yes, I am talking about the infamous Katha rape case.Some men, including a policeman were involved in the crime. They raped her over and over and left her for dead. It’s unimaginable the kind of pain, she must have gone through.

It’s just a very sad state the country is now in. The lawyer who had taken up Asifa’s case had to face death threats and harrasment from several influential people and political parties.

These incidents have shed light on the pressing questions of women’s safety in the country. But the legal system is hardly doing anything to make an impact. Laws need to be more stringent. We need better law enforcement policies. Because that is the need of the hour. Otherwise we will end up losing our women to such heinous crimes.

In the Mood for Love

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I recently watched Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love. So yes, it came highly recommended. One of my friends had been pestering me for months to give it a watch. And guess what? I was blown away when I least expected it.

One of the things I usually do, before settling down to watch a movie is to actually catch a glimpse of the trailer beforehand. It was no different this time around. The first thing that struck me while I was watching the trailer was the background music. I won’t be exaggerating if I say that it tug at my heart strings. This particular background score quite efficiently  relays a very heterogeneous set of emotions – the pangs of separation coupled with unrequited love.

Mr. Chow and Mrs. Su happen to be neighbours. Maggie Cheung’s Mrs. Su is the  prototype of the elegant, graceful and somewhat docile wife. Tony Leung’s Mr. Chow is the ideal , loyal husband. Things roll into motion when Chow and Su find out that their respective spouses are having an affair.

The narrative is set in 1960s Hong Kong. The film rather crudely asserts the prevalent social conservatism when Mrs. Suen tells Mrs. Chan, “It’s right to enjoy yourself when you are young. But don’t overdo it.”

One scene that plays on loop several times is that of Mrs. Chan going out- still dressed in her work clothes- to buy noodles from the shop in the alley. As she descends down the stairs Mr.  Chow is seen alighting the stairs. The scene is set in a very dimly lit alleyway and the interplay of light and shadow runs parallelly with the emotions of the two actors on screen. Both the characters are helpless and alienated when their spouses are away from home and their repeated encounters in the alley perhaps provides some kind of reassurance.

The great thing about this movie which also sets it apart from other movies of this category is that, we hardly relate or identify with the characters; it brings out our more empathetic side. Usually films with a similar storyline would focus mostly on the cheating spouses, but here the focus shifts from the adulterers to the innocent victims of adultery. Chow and Chan crave love. Although they feel strongly for each other , neither acts out their desires because they are bound by a moral stand, that each believe the other has taken. Even when the act our how their spouses might have seduced each other, their eyes betray their mutual yearning for love.

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Wong Kar Wai does a brilliant job with the aesthetics of the film, be it Mrs. Chan’s vibrant and  richly colored costumes or the frame within frame presentation of each scene. The ‘frame within frame’ concept presents a very vital theme. It’s as if the people within the frame (mainly  Mr.Chow and  Mrs.Chan) are being constantly watched and this constant vigilance perhaps, is what keeps them alert and on their toes. The two main characters never for once get physical on screen.

The film begins with the tagline : “He remembers those vanished years. As though looking through a dusty window pane, the past is something he could see, but not touch. And everything he sees is blurred and indistinct.” And ends with a long shot of Ang kor Watt in Cambodia where Mr. Chow is seen pressing his lips to a hole in the wall, confiding a secret,one which he has carried with him, rather painfully for several years.

Another delight is the soundtrack. It is   brilliant and evocative. For me, it is up there with Krzysztof Komeda’s brilliant soundtrack from Rosemary’s Baby. Also Nat Cole’s  “Quizás, Quizás, Quizás” brings out the film’s tension as also its cohesiveness.

Goes without saying,  this film for me is the epitome of beautiful cinema.

Busy City Street Wallpaper Luxury 303 best New York images on Pinterest

This is a place where constant motion forbids you to wallow in self-pity, a place with a million faces you will never know. A place where your soul meets your wildest ambition. A place where you are always chasing the next opportunity to scrape a living from the dust.

This is the city of the haves and have-nots. There is misery in these streets…misery that has soaked into every lane and every sidewalk.

 

Indigo

166ca16281865d0f06e693242a9ff15f Her eyes reminded you of something extravagant. Those blue indigo darts mirrored unpolished blue kyanite with flecks of navy. They were the colour of sun-bleached forget-me-nots, ringed with the deepest indigo, the colour of your first pair of bleached jeans. At once, they echoed the colour of a Norwegian glacier and that of freshly blossomed bluebells from the valley- beguiling and delicate. They resembled the sky just before the sun disappeared – dark rich indigo with specks of wild colours here and there. Whenever she rolled her eyes, it was as if all the myriad shades of blue spiralled together to form a whirlpool of apprehension. They were nothing like the darkest of sapphires that crawled under your muscles, but the kind that made your blood dance.