Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Inside "Inside Llewyn Davis"

I watched "Inside Llewyn Davis" on Sunday. I just had to write something about it. I went in expecting a funny, quirky movie, which it is mostly. But I came out of it feeling quite depressed. Don't get me wrong; I absolutely loved the movie. It moved me, to put it in mediocre words. It moved me enough to make me want to write about it, in a terribly unsatisfactory way. I don't want to get into the plot details because frankly, there isn't enough plot. It's a week in the life of a man who is good but not just good enough. I don't know if I am being narcissistic when I say I could empathize with Llewyn Davis' character. I think anyone who thinks of himself/herself as an artist can empathize with him. You can empathize with his arrogance when he sees his contemporaries' work. You can empathize with him being a jerk to people who try to be nice to him, but in fact, kind of pity him. I don't know why everyone (including me) thinks that they have to be tortured or angry or experience some sort of negative emotion to be thought of as a true artist. With Llewyn, it's not so much the negative emotions. Half the time, he seems numb. His reactions to his friend's death, the fact that he may have a child living somewhere, his father's condition, seem so tame. Or rather, he hardly reacts to any of this. But when he sings, his voice seems to carry the weight of all that he is going through. It almost seems like he is saving up reacting to all these things that life is throwing at him just so that he can sound all raspy and sad when he sings.

The one thing that I loved about this movie, more than anything, is the cat, Ulysses. Also the female cat which is mistakenly believed to be Ulysses. This cat is one thing that makes you want to like Llewyn. He may be an ass to most people  around him and be oblivious of their expectations from him but he is a nice enough person to carry the cat around instead of letting it go (which would have been the practical thing to do). Granted that he abandons the female cat and a physically challenged man in the middle of nowhere in the bitter cold, but hey, we can't please everyone all the time!

The songs are brilliant. The "Please Mr. Kennedy" song is the only cheerful thing in the movie. Oscar Isaac has done a wonderful job. I have not watched any of his other movies but I really hope that he considers this shaggy hair, unshaven, haven't-had-a-bath-in-forever look because it works so well for him. Carey Mulligan looks like a ghost in a Japanese movie but most scenes she is in are really funny. Justin Timberlake hardly has any screen time. The cat still remains the best character in the movie. Especially in that one scene where it is looking out of the subway train at all these sign boards. Believe me, that is Oscar-worthy acting when compared to K-Stew.

If I may self indulge a bit, I could see how my life would end up being if I decided to give writing a shot and get rid of my comfortable lifestyle and struggle to live (and not exist, as Llewyn would say). Only difference is that I wouldn't have any kind friends who'd let me sleep on their couch...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Small Talk

I wrote this one a long time ago. I'd forgotten all about it. This was rejected by an online magazine, which you should read sometime. It's delightful.

Needy, greedy and extremely selfish…
The words ring like an alarm
That refuses to snooze.
How easy  it was to say
“I don’t care!”
You tell me about relative advantages and disadvantages
Of things like cell phones, laptops and tablets.
You tell me the detailed algorithms
Of searching for something
And sorting out among other things.
All I do,
Is watch your black, beetle eyes,
Searching for indices and pointers,
Backtracking to see what I missed.
I sort the things you tell me
Into neat stacks of truth and lies,
Pop things during fights
And push some more elements when we make up.
I touch the back of your hand,
You smile at me and ask me what I’m thinking about.

I begin to tell you how my cat went missing.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Say Cheese

She wakes up every day looking at the stream of sunlight, obscured by the wildly fluttering curtains because they never close the window. She mixes in drinking chocolate in his milk, four spoons, because he loves it sweet and chocolaty. If she questions how he could ever possibly like something that sweet, he smiles at her and says, "Well, I like you, don't I?"

Every day, she steps out of the shower to see a heart drawn on the steamed up mirror. A perfect, symmetric heart. She checks her phone and sees a "Good Morning :)" message from him. She kisses him goodbye and goes to work, all the while thinking of a way to get him to clean the table after dinner that night.

At work, she hears about how her co-worker's husband surprised her with a vacation. She hears about how wonderfully spontaneous he is. She laughs to herself a little about the silliness of it.

She comes back, late in the evening, finds him waiting. She can sense that he is a little angry; he expects her to be home before him. She apologizes, making an overly cute face till he smiles and gives her a hug. He says he missed her, like the deserts miss the rain. She makes his favorite dish with lots of cheese and watches him eat his plate clean. She smiles at seeing him grin, with crumbs in his beard and his impish smile. She sees him watch the news, as she wipes the table and cleans the dishes.

As she goes to bed, he turns to her and tells her that he wants her to come home early every day. She nods, yes, of course she understands. She assures him that she will come early starting tomorrow. He kisses her good night, hugs her tight and falls asleep.She looks at him for a while, sleeping peacefully, not a care in the world, or at least pretending to not have a care in the world. She gently frees herself from his grip and turns towards the window, away from him. She looks at the moonlight with a sigh and waits for the suffocation to set in...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Soporific journeys

The first time he noticed her was when he passed on the log book and no one received it. He looked across the seat to see what was taking the other person so long to take the log book from him. And then he saw her. Her face was slightly inclined towards the left, like she was looking at something really cute and she was reacting to it with an exaggerated curiosity. Her head drooped forward regularly keeping rhythm with the jerks of the bus. Her mouth was slightly open. It took him some time to realize that people were looking at him because he was frozen mid air, in a weird half standing, half sitting posture, the log book in his hand, staring at the sleeping girl. He stretched his hand and passed the book to the guy sitting in the seat before hers.

He saw her again after a week. This time the window beside her was open. The light outside fell across her face every chance that it had. He wanted to see if she was awake today. So he pretended that he'd dropped his keys next to her seat and went close to where she was sitting. He looked closer at her and realized that she was asleep, again. She was still asleep when he got out of the bus.

The next day, he decided he'd go early and try to look at her when she was awake. He dint know why he had to do that. She wasn't even all that pretty. Plus, he'd never spoken to her. She might be a Twilight fan (oh, the horror!) Or worse, she might be a non vegetarian. He laughed to himself as he realized how much he was thinking about the girl he'd seen asleep, twice (he wanted to refer to her as the 'sleeping beauty' but it sounded quite cheesy). He waited with anticipation. For some reason, he remembered his first date when he had shared a Pepsi with his girlfriend.  (They were together for less than two weeks; he'd broken up with her when he found out that she hated the Harry Potter series without ever reading it). He was so lost in his nostalgia that he dint realize that the bus had started and that girl was nowhere to be found. It was disappointing. He'd even taken time to comb his hair properly.

He dint see her again for a few nights. As he walked towards the bus bay, he wondered if she was out on a vacation. Maybe she'd quit. Maybe something bad had happened to her. The thought filled him with some sort of panic. It was foolish to worry about someone he dint know. He went to his bus, Route 47, and got in just as the driver started the bus. And there she was, in the second seat, sleeping again.

He sat next to her. His heart was pounding and his lips felt dry. He sat very carefully so that she wouldn't be disturbed. The bus was an old one and creaked every now and then. But she dint stir. She breathed evenly, a few loose strands of her hair that carelessly fell on her face, bouncing ever so slightly as the great, old bus made its way through the night. He could smell her perfume, something lemony, citrus-y. She had a black backpack that she was hugging to her chest like a pillow. Now that he looked at her, she was very plain looking. He'd probably seen her a hundred times but never registered her face in his memory. She had no make up on, she dint seem too bothered about her appearance. She just looked... peaceful. All he could think of was waking her up and asking her what she dreamed about, asking her what kept her awake at nights. He wanted to hear her laugh. He wanted to hear her sing. It was weird... he wasn't really a romantic. He watched her sleep till the bus stopped and he had to get off the bus. He had an impulsive thought of staying on in the bus till she woke up and finding his way back home later. Then he realized how crazy it seemed, smiled to himself and got off the bus.

The next time he was on the bus, he was so busy reading Murakami's 'Norwegian Wood' that he dint realize who sat next to him. He couldn't recognize her awake. But it was her. She smiled at him as she kept her backpack between them. She glanced at the cover of the book and did not seem to recognize the author or the book. As the bus started, she started talking on her phone. He heard her voice, something he'd been waiting for. He heard about how scared she was living in her apartment all alone, how much she missed her mother. He heard her making plans to catch a movie on the weekend. He heard her make baby voices as she spoke to her pet dog. She paused abruptly and he had to stop himself from pretending to read. He casually glanced away from his book and found her looking right at him. She was holding her palm on her phone and asking him for his name. "Your name?" she said. He was momentarily taken aback. He just stared back at her like an idiot, not knowing how to react. Then she pointed at the log book on her lap. "I thought you shouldn't be disturbed while reading. I could fill in your entry too. So what's your name?" she asked. He mumbled his name and got back to his book. That was the last time he thought of her or spoke to her. He wasn't really the talkative kind...

P.S - I know it is too long but I'm hoping I built up the anticipation enough to justify the anti climax.
P.P.S - When I started out the story, a year ago almost, it was supposed to end on a romantic note. I guess I have changed quite a bit.

Monday, June 25, 2012

I know. It has been a long time. I dint even know Blogger had changed so much. I want to make excuses; that I don't have a laptop to write out new posts, that it is difficult to type on my touch screen phone, that I don't find the time, that the horrible city that I have to work in has left me drained and uninspired but sooner or later, I face the facts. I cannot write anymore. I cannot think about what I would want to write. I cannot think beyond the lame, limited walls of my claustrophobic life to write about anything that might connect with someone other than me. I am not sure when this happened. It is scarily close to the time I started working. But I wouldn't want to blame that. Because no matter how much I try to deny the fact, I am happy with my job right now.

It is quite a shocker to me that I have reached a point where nothing motivates me to write. Is it because I see the same people everyday and face the same situations? Is it because I am too busy reading my Twitter feed to observe something outside the window of the bus and imagine a flashback to a moment that catches my attention? Is my job responsible for rhetoric and sentences starting with conjunctions? I don't know. Other than the enviable achievement of learning what the 'Home' button is for and what miracles it can perform whilst coupled with the 'Shift' button, the last few months have been terrifyingly devoid of meaning. It makes me think that happiness/complacency has very little to do with, can I sound corny, satisfaction in the philosophical, rational sense. I started out writing this post to highlight the good things that have happened to me in the past few months and ended up writing another depressing piece of mediocrity. So yes, not a lot has changed :)

To wrap up things, I want to write. That is probably the only thing I want to look forward to. Going through some of my more recent drafts, I have a feeling there is a chance of me being decently readable. Sometimes I think that writing may be a bit of fashion photography. You write so many things that something will stand out and be good enough.

P.S - I will try to complete some of my drafts. Quite excited :)
P.P.S - Activity engaging is a nice phrase. Almost as nice as the word 'proactive'

Friday, July 29, 2011


I think the first door latch was invented to keep away prying eyes during a private moment of sadness.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


I feel empty inside. Maybe it's because I watched 'Dexter' too much. Maybe it's because I've always been like that. Lately, I struggle to let my mind land on a memory. Not because I have early signs of dementia or something. I can remember certain things to the point of what clothes others around me were wearing. And when I say others, I don't mean the people close to me. I can probably remember what my friend's friend was wearing some day. I can remember details of several memories. But it's hard to remember what I felt like when that happened to me. I can't remember if I felt sad or happy or angry or excited. I feel blank, like a page that had writing on it but the writing has been erased and all that is left behind is this crumple that looks empty but doesn't feel that way, a page with the impressions left behind by the pressure the writer applied on his/her pen/pencil and forever tarnished it. You erase the ink, the fading graphite but you know that it will never be new again. Just an ugly looking page, a wannabe page hoping it'd be someone's second choice for a scribbled phone number or a grocery list. They will try to smoothen it out, lovingly spread it on the table and run their palms over it to coax it to un-wrinkle itself. When they discover that it won't work, they roll it up, pull at the edges and hope to find it in better looking shape. And finally, when all else fails, they settle for the slightly crumpled piece of processed bamboo and pour their heart out on it.

P.S - I want me to be less lame.