List of Good Movies I Saw in 2018

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Mainly for documenting purposes, because who am I kidding, no one reads this blog. In case a future you stumbles here and are interested, this is a list I’ll keep updated for all of 2018. Here you go.

  1. Murder on the Orient Express
  2. Dreamcatcher (based on a Stephen King Novel by the same name)
  3. Professor Marston and The Wonder Woman.
  4. Lady Bird
  5. On Body and Mind (Hungarian Movie)
  6. The Firm
  7. Allied (2016)
  8. The Rainmaker
  9. Identity (2003)
  10. The Bright Day (2015) — directed by Mohit Takalkar
  11. The Cloverfield Paradox — even though the plot has super loopholes, and things were just happening on the pretext of the unknown boundaries and rules of physics we do not know, like swapping with a parallel universe and other things that might count as spoiler alert. Despite all of these, I liked the movie for the possibilities it opened at the end of the movie. But given that all other movies under cloverfield franchise are independent movies, most probably there isn’t going to be a follow up movies.
  12. 10 Cloverfield Lane – the second movie of the cloverfield franchise, certainly better than the third one (the cloverfield paradox) in terms of the plot — no unexplained grounds of assumptions. Sometime happens, at least it happens without being weird — even though there things happening without knowing why they are happening, they seem plausible.
  13. Cloverfield — the first movie of the cloverfield franchise, directed on a handy cam with stunning (whatever is visible) animation effects — the movie is totally on the battlefield grounds — people confused what is happening and they are rushing. I really hated the guy behind the camera character though. I can’t think of any person who’d talk so much in the middle of a city level life crises.
  14. Manchester By The Sea (Highly Recommended)
  15. Annihilation – Starring Natalie Portman. I think this movie should win awards for creative stuff.
  16. Detachment (2011) — 10/10.
  17. The Florida Project
  18. I Kill Giants
  19. Ready Player One (10/10)
  20. Avengers Infinity Wars — Although this was a setup for the future Marvel Movies, and it came out of nowhere, everybody just keep meeting each other out of nowhere (which was very weird), I still liked it.
  21. Titli
  22. Looper
  23. Ex Machina
  24. Babadook
  25. Zodiac
  26. The Invitation
  27. Stuck in Love (2012)
  28. Europa Report
  29. East Side Sushi
  30. Hichki
  31. October
  32. They Call Me Jeeg
  33. The Only Living Boy In New York
  34. The Discovery
  35. Before We Go
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When The 🌬️ blows 🎐

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I picked up guitar after a really long time, after half a year. Today the wind blows hard, so much I want to surrender to its wavefronts, stand so still that it feels I’m flying. Sit so still, that my fingers and hands feel missing. Today, there is this light orange shade all around, like the bad crayons during school time — orange would turn out very light, so you’d colour by pressing the crayon candle really hard, before giving up.

Fast blowing winds are like a slap to me — they order me to wake up and slow down. Unlike the breath of a person, this wind doesn’t know how to negotiate for which spaces to touch, the wind has no hole source, it’s created as if by magic, out of nowhere, only if science was not there to explain it.

Don’t you feel so? Things keep getting explained, either by demands of the world, or one’s emotions, or by loose motion like persistence to name things, know them. Know them. Why?…Why? Know them.

The wind’s music, amidst the thunderstorms and the light all around which would make just woken up person confused — what time of the day is it?, shuns everything down — people’s chatter, my mind, the road beneath the landslides somewhere, water pipes blocked because of it, time. Yes time. The winds blows at a time akin to the shedding of the scab over the wound — things are okay, finally, totally, before they are no longer. Before the sun will steam us mid air, before the winds would have no control over their temperature. But what a wind it was, and it will be, ah… the wind that places cherry on top of the mountains, the wind that takes you places, with your feet at a standstill.

Sanjay Uncle’s Ignorant Bald Face

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Song to listen to while reading this — Society by Eddie Vedder

Being unemployed, especially when you are ‘educated’ and living in a society could be a nightmare. Not as much because of the lack of salary, but because of how people start seeing you suddenly — Loser oozing out of their eyes and head bobs and false nods.

Sanjay uncle is father’s old colleague. They used to work together at a different place from where father is now. I had to give father’s left over clothes to him, because Sanjay Uncle was going where he is now — in Shimla. As soon as he saw my face, my grown unkempt beard, my long scrubby hair, he scrunched his nose almost automatically, I can only guess, in disgust.

I only smiled and answered the same question over again, when someone at the back seat of the car Sanjay Uncle was sitting in the front of, asked me —

Beta, what you are you doing these days (which implicitly means, where’s your job at?)

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Where The Leaves 🍃 Shimmered ✨, Waved 👋, Smiled 😊 And Said Hi 🌻

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As always, I was reluctant to go. Mother wanted to get out and go to a different hill town. Last time mother had such outing was last year, when me, my brother and mum went to a 10 day trip to Leh, Ladakh. It’s an awfully long gap to not have a getaway in. I mean, we did keep going to Chandigarh (closest city) to see movies and meet our relatives and eat junk and stuff. But nothing beats the whiff of cold mountain air in tropical June’s summer heat.

Not that it matters to anybody, but it’s fun to see the route, so here it is —

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Caption — I live in Nahan. Jamta is a place which people from Uttrakhand, Delhi and Chandigarh hijack as a place to spend their summer holidays at. Sangrah is the place where we went. The time estimate though is way off the real thing — it was about 3.5 hours. The road is as narrow as one way street + mountains, so mini landslides everywhere.

A perk of being a kid of a seemingly high ranked government official (especially of the one who works in Public Works Department, which has rest houses at every place in the state), accommodation is never a problem. We got a room better than the most 3-4 star hotels, and that too in a small town in Himachal Pradesh, whose population couldn’t be more than 3000 max.

We unloaded, and went for a long walk. Upon reaching the end of the first half of our walk, we saw a flattened cricket pitch, a bunch of people playing enthusiastically. My mother said —

Only if I knew how to play cricket, and only if I wasn’t tired from yesterday’s playing hockey mistake…

We went up to a helipad that was nearby and saw tiny kids playing. Mum couldn’t control it any further. If it wasn’t going to be cricket, it was going to be corner corner, dun dun and race. So it was! While she played, I overlooked at a stretch of the mountains at the far side of the helipad. At the near side of the helipad were those cricket children seen playing from the top. I kept staring at mountain peaks and deodar trees in front of me, like they were having an acoustic concert.

When mum got tired we started our walk back. We kept fooling around singing parody songs. Mum kept showing me how good the photographs were that she was clicking (they weren’t 😛). I kept requesting her to stop talking for a while to enjoy the lovely breeze that was flowing. She wouldn’t shut up because she was happy, which was good. She forced me to take photographs —

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Me forcing a smile, lest I be scolded.

Then over one particular turn, we saw the sun setting. The sun was in front of us, with a complete panorama angle vacant from its sight to our right. To our left were mountains’ ridges. Mum shut up. We both stopped talking and walking, and stood there. Mum’s initial instinct was to keep clicking photographs of the sun, but it would come very bright in the mediocre camera mobile phone. So she stopped and joined in silence together, watching the sun, going down and down and down. The tranquility that it gave us setting down is beyond words. It’s funny, we keep trying to explain which is inexplicable. I think that is something that makes us human — to continue to keep striving for perfection, inching bit by bit, even after knowing  that there is no absolute perfection.

After a while, some thoughts started popping in my head, more like questions — how come a burning star is giving me such peace? Should I not long for more such evenings and instead serve people? Am I selfish? And then such questions faded away again, as a dark orange streak of dying light embellished the clouds. That is when I knew a decent photograph could be taken.

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I looked down, after having looked at the sun for a long time, and saw a man giving manure to his crops, one of them was Pea —

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We started walking again, this time not talking, as the hangover of the setting sun was still grappling. Walking some yards, I looked towards the right and a tree with really short and light green leaves took my attention. I stopped. The now all pervading reddish orange light reflecting from the fluttering leaves, like the leaves were water droplets straight out of a big lake, was so ethereal, I was fixed, couldn’t move as if I was in sleep paralysis, but without any fear or irritation. They were swaying and dancing so effortlessly it felt like it wasn’t the air that was stroking them, but as if they were waving voluntarily. Imagine waving hands in a European football match, or in a Coldplay concert, the leaves were waving and dancing like that.

We came back to the rest house and kept looking at the mountains as if they were going to go extinct soon. For the first time in a long time, I felt like clicking a picture of myself for no reason —

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and then I looked across the horizon to this pink horizontal line made, a silver lining turned upside down —

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We came back to our room, with the intent to still become more intoxicated with even cooler air that swept the valley in the night. That is what I did all night. I sat and stared at the nothingness, and wondered… nothing.

About Being A Morning Person And Working In The Morning

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Day before yesterday I slept tired. That is to say I slept early (though tiredness does not necessarily ensure an early sleep, I did sleep early). I woke up at 7 in the morning without any alarm, without the sun sneaking into my room (curtains were drawn), without mum screaming at me to help her in the kitchen before she took off to school (she is a high school physics teacher, I’m unemployed).

The thing about mornings like yesterday’s is that if you catch what you want to do early, your mind could be so focussed that it wouldn’t even bother coming up with thoughts that would start distracting you. This is the fact why I’m wary of running after getting up early — I get charged up then. Jumping onto a task you are really interested in (for example — I’m hell bent on making this poetry editor) gets you in that zone — your mind is kinda zoned out for all other things (thanks to early morning sleepiness), other than the thing that you are interested in doing / adamant on. So the work gets done.

I got so much work done in a couple of days (even if that meant writing shitty but working code), I was really happy with the attention and focus I could give to something in the morning. The only problem is that to have such mornings, I most surely have to satisfy one condition — sleep happily and wilfully tired. This is very difficult to do.

Today I woke up to my mother knocking at my room’s door, shouting, asking dubiously and telling at the same time, whether she could take her car to the school, because its insurance was due. She had been in a hurry, so she took the car keys, decided that she would take the car despite expired insurance. I had to go running behind her to tell her that the insurance inspection guy’s visit was due in an hour. She panicked and started yelling without any argument, so much so, that she couldn’t listen my pleading that I would drive her to the school in the other car on top of her voice. When I continued the plea multiple times over her shouting, she stopped yelling and asked me to hurry up.

This is the kind of morning that screws up the possible focus that could have been. So I ended up dancing after a long time (which felt good), and watching youtube videos in loop.

New Song And A New Beat To A Perspective

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The new repeat song — The Only Boy Awake. I have to learn the riff of the guitar of this song because it’s so melodious. I think I could have done a better job with the words, but they are okay, we’ll make peace with that.

A NEW BEAT TO A PERSPECTIVE —

Arihant (me) — I don’t get it sometimes, there shouldn’t be a need to convince others at all, but there are these constant societal expectation nags that keep poking you. The first question that anybody would ever really ask is — what are you doing these days, beta?

Satyam —That is perfectly normal. If they don’t ask then that is abnormal! 😃 If they don’t ask would mean that you are either a fool or unquestionably wise. In both the cases that question disappears.

🌋 ☮️

Not Moving On With Chapter Wise Notes For Damini’s Book ‘The Sunlight Plane’

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I’ve decided that I’ll stop taking notes online, and just scribble them in the book itself. I didn’t really know before why I put everything up online, but I’ve figured that it helped me —

  1. Form an opinion about things and remember it. Reiterating the things that I scribble in the book helps me form patterns in my mind about dialogue placements, character sketches, timeline, narration, adjectives and adjective phrases, verbs and so on and so forth.
  2. I wanted to keep sharing what I think about the chapters with Damini herself.

I’m stopping putting things online because

  1. I will already read the chapter multiple times on a sentence or paragraph basis out of habit, so reiteration after scribbling is already happening.
  2. I don’t know why I wanted to share what I think about chapters with Damini. I think I just wanted to show how I’ve become a fanboy. Because I don’t think I have any clear greedy expectations as a fan 😁, and there are no common things I could talk about with her other than ask questions like an AMA like I’ve done in the past, which have been beneficial and informatory by the way, I’ll stop.
  3. Also, I think I’ve a natural instinct to get people interested in reading what she writes / wrote in this book (I did this review thing for some initial chapters of Damini’s erstwhile project called Cor Corand as well). But I don’t think I’m making a difference, nobody reads this blog, let alone regularly. I don’t think I’m helping people take my recommendation to read her, because there are no people. So I’m stopping. But I’ll continue this, to relieve this sort of itch, to make people read her on a personal basis.

☮️

Lassoing The Truth Out Of Difficult And Or Sad Times

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Title partially stolen from Kacey Musgraves’s Song Wonder Woman.

I almost wrote Sad as Sand in the heading  😁, which would have made sense as well. These days I’m inadvertently thinking about the girl in this blog post. It is almost unbelievable — I can’t remember any reason for any and every time we fought or something wrong happened. That doesn’t mean that I don’t realise that most of those times were because of either my lack of action, or my mistake — which was mostly taking for granted things that I couldn’t have put more effort in, given how I’m, how I want things.

Like I said in the last post, there are always middle ways to take, tradeoffs to make. Life is not binary, least of the choices, no matter if in dire times, it might seem that there are only two choices to choose from. This is my trade off. I can’t love a person to commit myself to a lifetime together as formally as the world wants, or they want, but I can’t seem to not love a person either. It’s funny how this tradeoff description and behaviour, matches with what I wrote in the last post When writing has to be done for the sake of it.

In end, given that we don’t hold onto our past, especially the bad parts, like a leech, or to put the perspective into focus and to put it more precisely, like a person holding onto his shit in their hand and showing it to everybody and smelling it every 2 minutes, we don’t remember the sad / frustrated / depressed parts of our past life at all, at least I don’t.

But I’m a little biased here in taking the pride of not remembering the bad parts, because I’m generally very forgetful person, which I’m very grateful for to be honest. But well, that’s that, what can you do about it ☮️

When Writing Has To Be Done For The Sake Of It

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My parents are not particularly readers. My father reads an occasional book once in a while. My mother seldom reads. Neither does my brother. I’m the odd one out in the family, who spends time reading poems and stories before bedtime. Neither do I have many friends (like at all, except one at this point of time) who read and write, consuming themselves in the process. Consuming so much that they are no longer attached to the impressions that come from the world, only to the ones that come out of the story — meaning that, they are not able to focus on anything else. It’s like they lose their minds while reading. We. This is why reading is called an escape. You can’t do anything else but read when you do. Otherwise you can’t read.

I mostly write to show to myself, with occasional generous people who find time to read stories and give their feedback. But that is rare, because most of my poems and stories are kept to myself. Why? Because I want to constantly improve them and publish them. Sharing them up with online acquaintances and people on social media is a dead end, at least for me. For starters, my Facebook activity is so dead, that every time I’m tempted to open Facebook out of habit of doing it every 2 minutes, I’m reminded that there is not going to be anything there anyway. So why even do it?

And also because if I post anything online, I stop working on it, because social media gives me this false proof of validation that people read it, liked it, and that that should be it, the work is done. This happens even when I’m aware of it. That is what addiction is. So nowadays, I don’t publish on social platforms, I write everything in my notebooks. I’ve tons of them. First I was crazy about notebooks which had hand made recycled paper. Then I started feeling impractical, because it was very difficult to find good pens to write in them with. Nowadays, I’m crazy about the composition notebooks like the one that is an amazon product. Really pretty, hard bound, and cheap. Of course there are downsides of writing things on paper – you can’t redo undo with a couple of keyboard keystrokes, and there is always the risk of losing it, or it getting damaged. But just like the taste of food differs when you eat with a spoon as compared to when you eat with your hands, my writing does too. I write rough drafts in the notebooks, take notes in them, but ultimately I improve them online on google docs.

When writing has to be done for the sake of it, it’s hard to do, especially when you have this constant nag of the world moving on, while you are still stuck with yourself. But there is always that innate want to share your work with others. I don’t know why sharing has always come as a given. Most writers write for readers. It’s hard to not to. When you write for the sake of it, the temptation to make other people read it is always, always active. So what do I do with that temptation? I’ve started submitting to online journals and lit magazines. They are a dead end in a way. You submit now, and wait for 8 months, most probably only to find that you’ve been rejected, again. The only smart thing that you can do is to keep submitting the same story(ies) or poem(s) to multiple places. Of course, it’s a lonely path without people. But that is how the things are, what can be done? Submitting to publications is tradeoff made, that keeps the hopes high only if in delusion.

Sometimes I get frustrated because I can’t make myself stand up to give all my time to writing and reading. It’s too risky. And I’m not confident enough to take that risk. I’ve never taken risks. I’ve always cowered. I don’t write well. It’s a long shot anyway, so why do it?

Still I keep writing, it’s like one of those unexplained things that get explained through the most pathetic imaginations possible — like miracles were sourced to Gods. But I’m okay with not able to find any reason. Writing too, takes away all botheration and thoughts and impressions. It’s an escape route. And I kinda traipse on it, because I don’t have a good imagination. All that I’ve ever written has been felt and experienced. I’ve not done a good job (yet) to imagine worlds independent of ours. I’ve tried though. I’ll continue to keep trying. Why? Probably because I’m stupid. Or perhaps because I’m stubborn enough to dream constantly. It’s hard not to, so stubbornness comes easily, but its consequences are tough on the shoulders. Once in a while you slouch and shriek, but then you get back, probably because you are stupid. But stupid is fine, I guess.

When writing has to done for the sake of it, you do not have a lot of options. You can either do it, or not do it. Either way you are going to regret something like all other tradeoffs in the world. Point is, if the suffering is going to be optional and independent of those regrets. If it is going to be, then suffering is going to be a choice rather than consequence. It’s the basis of Buddhism and Sanatan Dharma — you feel things, but your mind can have the power to choose to not be effected by them. I’m up for it. Always have been. What I’ve not ever expected is not having many friends. I guess I’ll just have to be stubborn enough to accept that as well.

It’s okay if no one calls in years, and by no one, I mean many people. Because I know there is going to be one reading this blogpost, and I don’t want to be called for this omission of the fact.

☮️