Childhood

Crane on Turtle Candlestick Holder

Flash Fiction
“We are old friends.”
“Hai-hai!”

[Japanese vintage candlestick; source – ebay]

Our blacksmith picked up the mould and studied it. His expressions were not discernible, but the sweat on his forehead highlighted his precision as he poured the molten metal into the mould.

Whilst he worked, many frames, metal shapes – some contorted, some flamboyant – stared at him, acknowledging and appreciating in utter silence.

Our blacksmith, on his way back home, saw a little kid who was standing against a wall along with his friend, wasting time, living.

That little kid whispered something to his friend and they both started following our blacksmith, copying his gait.

A silly game, a random thought, a reason to smile.


Dear reader what does time say?

Time says it is next day.


Every frame, every metal shape was eagerly waiting for our blacksmith. Roller shutter made its habitual noise and our blacksmith entered his workshop, and along with him came his two buddies, those two kids we saw earlier.

Quickly they went and stood next to his grand table, jumping with excitement.

Our blacksmith finally showed them what was now ready in the mould – it was a crane on turtle candlestick holder.

The two kids laughed and so did our blacksmith. He said the crane and the turtle were friends and the kids inquired if he had seen something like that in real.

Our blacksmith nodded and said that when he was their age he went with his father to a lake side and saw a crane standing on a turtle’s back.

Childhood memories capture time that never fades.


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Persepolis

Stories are happening, stories are being written, stories are being ended, stories that are new meets stories that are old, everywhere, in every life a story is taking place.

Now imagine a place, long back in time, a grand place, the centre of a huge empire that today rests quietly, patiently the ruins hold itself against time, vanishing slowly but never getting defeated.

Persepolis, the city of the Persians, awaits quietly and patiently a time, it stands composedly and accepts what it witnessed, giving one a good hint of its past who then leaves taking along an unfinished story that also awaits a time, a time of completion.

Book cover
[Source – Cult of Pedagogy]

Marjane Satrapi has a story, it’s titled Persepolis. A beautiful way to begin a story, to merge the storyteller with her past, present and future, to the place she belongs.

Marji’s story is a story of constant reminder – a reminder about the holy myth, burden passed on by the lineage, large scale bloodshed done by mistake, wars of the sexes; it is also a reminder of true love, beautiful dreams, hope and faith, strength to stand up, courage to bow down, belief in freedom and humanity. 

Marji’s story is a fusion of all of this and more that makes life, life. Marji shares it wonderfully from her perspective and whether you know her or not, you will connect to it, for your life too is a story.

So much to be explored, many such Persepolis to be seen, a Marji waiting to tell her story everywhere, a life to be lived today, in the present, a story to be written, today in this very second.

Embark on a similar journey and you will reach a Persepolis and be enthralled by its mere presence. You will become Marji and look back with a smile.


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I Was Born But…

Short Review
Keiji and Ryoichi.
[Source – UCL Film Blog]

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Keiji comes running to his elder brother Ryoichi and tells him about the bullies. Ryoichi, a great son of a great father, stands up and assures his brother not to worry. Keiji trusts Ryoichi. They can handle the bullies, they are confident. The next morning their father walks with them half way to the school and then leaves for office. Keiji and Ryoichi, near the school gate, find the biggest boy amongst the bullies challenging them. They then look at each other, deciding with a nod what they should do. They run away and don’t attend the school that day.


Yasujiro Ozu’sI Was Born But…’, a 1932 silent film, will remind you of your childhood, the challenges you faced as a child – winning some and losing some, the faith you had in someone great and the dream of becoming someone great. Children’s world comes in contact with the adult’s world. The innocent child doesn’t understand hierarchy or hypocrisy, though he understands power as he finds it in his world as well; power to not to be bullied, power to bully the bully, power to be the group leader.

How in the adult’s world dreams become unreal, fantasies die and realities are numbered, given a name, a social status and bit by bit life is compromised, is what we see in the film, but from the children’s point of view. Children are lively and so is the film. Its comical timing is fantastically perfect. Slowly with the shifts from this to that world, the tone changes, yet maintaining the rhythm throughout.

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Keiji, Ryoichi and their father, Mr Yoshii.
[Source – IMDB]

Understanding anything, anyone is a tough job, some fail to and some refuse to do it altogether. This film takes up this job and finishes it successfully, understanding the child’s dilemmas, beliefs, hopes and displeasure, understanding the adult’s demeanor and how they accept a denouement, understanding the familial ties and the need of tuning it, understanding the melodies of life and how it makes everyone laugh all the time.

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Ryoichi, Taro and Keiji.
[Source – Wikipedia]

An amazingly marvelous film, it must be watched by all those who want to feel the magic of cinema. ‘I Was Born But…’ is one of my favourite films of all time. It is introduced as ‘a picture book for grownups’ and rightly so. The fact that it’s a silent, black and white film doesn’t make it a difficult watch at any point rather this masterpiece flows so wonderfully that colour or sound seems redundant.

All you have to do now is to watch this film, appreciate and thank Yasujiro Ozu for making this superlative work of art.

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[Source – IMDB & The Criterion Collection]

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