Big, bright and beady eyes looking right through you, resting her gaze on meeting the soul, Durga, the beautiful supreme goddess, asks you to dare. The three-eyed deity, in a blast of red and yellow, and a thunderous jubilant tune, asks you to be brave.
Every mortal being bows and offers herself and dances madly, in a daze, circling in the incense fog, urging goddess Durga to bless and enlighten her devotees.
Durga Puja, a Hindu festival, celebrates every shade and story of life, fostering passion, guiding the troubled, reminding the beaten soul to rise once again.
Many old Hindu scriptures have passed the story of the fierce warrior goddess Durga, with a royal lion as her vahana (vehicle) by her side, killing Mahishasura, a shape-shifting deceitful demon who had caused havoc on the earth.
Grand clay idols of Durga – her ten hands carrying various weapons, slaying the terrible Mahishasura with a trishul (trident) who lies on her feet – are built and placed under beautifully decorated marquees.
Different avatars of goddess Durga are worshipped for ten days – for she is the personification of power, wealth, emotions, intellect, nourishment, beauty, desires, faith, righteousness, forgiveness and peace – and on the last day, the idol is taken to a local river body for visarjan (immersion of the idol). She then returns to her husband, Lord Shiva, who resides in the Kailash Peak in the Himalayas.
Slayer, nurturer, the feminine soul of the Universe, Durga is the life force, the will to survive, the spirit to fight back, the joy of being alive and the celebratory dance of the Creation.
Exceptionally popular in the eastern parts of India – mainly in West Bengal, Odisha, Assam, Tripura, Bihar – these states lit up magnificently, colouring every nook and corner alive. In our corona-hit world, with provisions in place, India welcomed goddess Durga once again.
More of a socio-cultural festival than just a religious one, the artists always come up with unique themes and styles when creating the idol. This year it was the idol depicting goddess Durga as a migrant mother carrying a young one in her arms, with two little girls walking by her side that won everyone’s heart.
The idol, created by Kolkata based artist Pallab Bhaumik, highlighted the plight of the migrant workers who were forced to walk thousands of kilometres to reach home from cities during the lockdown.
Devoid of vibrant colours, the ‘migrant’ Durga represents the hardships of a section of society who are usually forgotten after they make headlines, but such brilliant is this work that it appears to be more alive and grand than anything real.
Yet again it is the victorious, omniscient eyes of the goddess that say the most. She smiles for she is the witness of the on-going life drama.
The depiction of goddess Durga as a ‘migrant mother’ then could not be more apt because a labourer is also closest to the raw life drama which we all on the contrary love to refine before consuming.
And it must be a fierce conviction to win that fuelled the hearts of the migrant mothers and their faith in life that encouraged them to complete the tiring journeys. Because if not honest hope, what could be behind their unswerving patience and perseverance?
They will win in their journeys, everyone who creates something will win, for every action is an oblation, it is life and the wondrous Durga, its symbol.
Listen to the astounding Aigiri Nandini, sung in honour of goddess Durga –
The everlasting, all-embracing, ebullient circle game is manoeuvring it all so well. The cycle of life, the movement of planets and the galaxies, the journey of every individual swivel beautifully.
Joni Mitchel’s beautiful song The Circle Game from the album Ladies of the Canyon is a reminder, I feel, to remember the rules of the circle game.
A game in which we all are participating no matter how forgetful we may be.
Stories have been working from the very beginning to prove the presence of the circle game; every story that was ever written or will be written becomes complete when it forms a neat circle in the end.
It could be a linear circle with a clear structure like Macbeth or it could be a non-linear circle that nicely and freely waits for its completion in the viewers’ mind just like this song.
“So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty/ Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true/ There’ll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty/ Before the last revolving year is through…”
The Boy is twenty and life has happened; he has fallen but is hopeful, and there is still time for him to give it another try. And life goes on.
The circling theory of Karma – what goes around comes around, the circling nature of the first law of the thermodynamics – energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it only changes its form, the ancient Ouroboros symbol, for instance, all voice the same truth.
“We’re captive on the carousel of time/ We can’t return, we can only look behind/ From where we came/ And go round and round and round/ In the circle game.”
“Captive on the carousel of time”, curtly this hits the mind and the realisation disturbs languidly.
Like a plaything, like “the painted ponies”, we are tied to the carousel of time. And the only way forward is to continue.
Moving forward not painted-pony-like, limited and not captive every individual in this life holds the power to swivel in her fashion.
Destined and yet free, that is how life is, by nature paradoxical.
We are not separate, we are one with the circle game, we add to its beauty as we go round and round and together we are moving towards its never-ending end.
From the pre-historic art to the Ottonian, Viking, Anglo-Saxon and Celtic art, covering eras and some more eras to reach the Italian renaissance, the Baroque and the Neoclassicism, Romanticism and Impressionism, taking a leap, leisurely, one day at a time, to reach the “Graffiti” modern times, we have successfully lived so many lives.
I say successfully because the story is still in circulation.
Brushstrokes, texture and colour freeze a moment so beautifully that we often forget to read. Every painting speaks of its era and teaches sincerely. Without feeling ashamed it presents both the charming and the grotesque.
Leafing through the book of art frequently, I believe, is necessary.
For at all times it will be there, telling you about the truth and the fact, the mystery and the mystical, the mundane and the historical, the forgotten and forgiving tradition, the sinner and the redeemer, mirroring every mind and thought.
Yes, the intensity with which it glares overwhelms the hassled mind. Studying art is difficult, it asks for patience and openness, but for this very reason, we should revisit the art world, for these are values which always come handy.
Phenomenal, simple, even funny, a painting adjusts to our understanding of it. How empowering!
As I continue collecting stories, I will look into the art story again. What about you?
The theatre is jam-packed and noisy; as the lights go off, everyone becomes quiet. The film starts and the opening credits roll – in black & white animation we are introduced to the star cast, Ashok Kumar, Madhubala, Anoop Kumar and a yodelling-dancing Kishore Kumar – with a melodious announcement to get ready for a laughing riot titled Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi.
One of the biggest hits of 1958, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, directed by Satyen Bose, is a classic comedy film which though is 173 minutes long and is more than 60 years old, is still a treat to watch. The appearance of the Ganguly Brothers together for the first time, the unforgettable music composed by S.D Burman and soulful, breezy lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri, all combined, led to its massive success.
While no writing credits, apart from dialogues (by Ramesh Pant and Gobind Moonis), are given in the film, it has a well-structured, strong screenplay. The plot twists and character quirks both intermingle harmoniously to create comedy.
Writing a Comedy
A genre of fiction writing, comedy intends to amuse the audience; the Ancient Greeks defined it as a narrative involving an odd character caught in a challenging situation that inadvertently after making a fool of himself triumphs in the end. With changing times, and different types of mediums, comedy writing has also evolved; slapstick, parody, spoof, satire, irony, sarcasm, farce and dark comedy, these different sub-categories all approach comedy distinctively.
For a comedy story, you would need a solid comic premise, complex, but relatable characters, a risky situation in which the protagonist is caught, a touch of drama, plenty of puns and enough space for character development. Comedies aim not only to amuse and entertain but also to subtly mock the stereotypical stagnant beliefs in the society.
Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi has these elements all in place. Three brothers, all afraid of even looking at women, as if predestined, meet up three lovely ladies who take the lead to bring their story to a happy ending.
Brijmohan, Jagmohan, Manmohan – The three brothers together run a garage; the two younger ones follow elder brother, Brijmohan’s dictum of not interacting with any woman at any cost (apart from when there is an emergency). They even have a mantra that they chant to shoo ladies away; in the very first scene when their car breaks down and they are unable to find any fault in the engine, they blame it on a beautiful young lady looking at them from a distance. Seeing three men chanting the mantra, finding them weird, the lady leaves; the car starts working then and this reconfirms their theory about women.
They are not anti-women, nor are they disrespectful towards them. For the younger brothers, it is all about following Brijmohan’s rules and for him it is a way to protect his brothers from emotional traumas, something that he had undergone when his lady love left him for a rich man.
Jagmohan aka Jaggu is a fickle-minded, often cunning, but timid guy; obedient and docile in front of Brijmohan, he becomes inquisitive and laid-back when given the charge of the garage and easily passes his chores to his younger brother.
Manmohan aka Mannu is the main lead; he is sincere, dexterous and funny by nature. One rainy night, when he is all alone in the garage, he is forced to repair the broken car of a young lady, Renu, who in a hurry forgets to pay him his due. Next morning he explains to his brothers that he had to entertain that lady as it was an emergency case. Brijmohan highlights it to them that she is a clever person as she intentionally did not pay him anything.
Thus, the story takes a turn as Mannu, in a quest to get his due (5 rupees and 12 annas) follows Renu everywhere, he even reaches her home late at night and when the watchman suspects him to be a thief, Renu helps him to run away, once again without the due amount; such incidents result into the inevitable conclusion, Mannu and Renu fall for each other.
Mannu hides his feelings from Renu as he battles with the unacceptable idea of falling for a woman. He can never disobey Brijmohan, but he cannot forget Renu as well.
Comedy elements never leave the screen space even while dealing with such dramatic dilemmas. Jaggu and Mannu love Brijmohan, they look upon him as a father figure and as their hero. In one scene, Brijmohan, a boxing champion, beats up a giant who was refusing to pay the servicing charges and Jaggu and Mannu both had unsuccessfully tried to tackle him.
Their scenes together are hilarious; whenever Renu calls at the garage, both Jaggu and Mannu start fumbling, telling Brijmohan that they don’t know who she is, when Renu tells Brijmohan to send someone to repair her car, both Jaggu and Mannu refuse to go, though wishing to leave immediately.
Renu – The absolutely stunning leading lady of the film is a modern woman in the truest sense – she is bold, independent, zealous, a bit strong-headed, but sensible enough to differentiate between a fake and an honest person. She likes to drive her car, no matter even if it is late in the night – a big deal in 1950s India. When running late to reach home after giving her dance performance at the theatre, Renu is worried not that her father will scold her for being late, but about the car breaking down in the middle of the road yet again.
There is no question about parity in the film, as the women are given equal screen space and story material; in fact, the women are responsible for taking the story forward. Renu is the one who openly expresses her interest in Mannu, visiting his garage and taking him along for outings. Brijmohan too is unable to refuse as Renu had found a lady’s photo in Brijmohan’s room, purposely she enquires about it in front of his two brothers; a dumbfounded Brijmohan avoids the scene by allowing Mannu to accompany Renu.
Later, when Brijmohan tells Renu upfront that she should stop meeting Mannu, she does not falter and expresses that she is serious about Mannu; impressed by her honest approach, he then approves of her.
Renu’s actions, along with Mannu, become the driving force in the film; through her straightforward, brazen and naïve behaviour, she also adds to the humour.
‘Champion’ car, Model 1928 – This debuting car is more like a sidekick, an accomplice and a recurring motif in the film that talks about the ‘moving forward’ mantra, connects the plot points and even sponsors the happy ending scene. Apart from being the reason that steers Renu’s entry into Mannu’s life, it is given a special Chaplinesque sequence to enrich this comedy.
Mannu and the Champion car participate in a race, competing against many including the villain’s pawn; the start is a bit rocky, but they are determined to win, exchanging an opponent’s hat with a cockerel, throwing bananas at another and spraying water at the pawn, Mannu and the Champion car beat the others with great aplomb.
The car here is a metaphor for life; if the car is running and if you are able to fix it when it breaks down, you are all set, that is all you need to do.
Raja Hardayal Singh, the Antagonist – In his first scene, it is evident that his kindness, his beguiling demeanour and his aristocratic attitude is all too good to be true. A fraudster, who had long back managed to rob a rich businessman after marrying his only daughter (i.e. Brijmohan’s lady love, Kamini), Raja Hardayal Singh now has plans to make his pawn marry Renu so as to get all her property.
While his bass, confident and assured tone makes him a dangerous villain, his foolish men and their shortcomings make him appear as a goof. Then again when it is revealed that he keeps his so-called mad wife, Kamini, captive in an old bungalow, he takes his position back to being a ruthless man. But unlike in a novel when such a secret is revealed, the effect stays and changes the mood of the story, here the opposite happens. As it is a comedy, Kamini’s distress does not stay for long rather it triggers the climax and ensures her freedom.
These supporting characters, some half and some nicely baked, are a good study of how in a well-written comedy everything contributes to keeping the humour alive without it being overblown.
Maujiya – A junior mechanic cum helper, Maujiya is a happy-go-lucky kid who has very few scenes in the film, but whenever present he doubles the dose of comedy. He is an on-screen audience member who observes the three brothers, their eccentricities, always amused, but also alert of being caught.
Sheela – Renu’s best friend, smart and funny, Sheela is another bold beauty in the film. She falls for Jaggu and finds his buffoonery amusing. While chit-chatting once she happily tells Renu that she would choose a simpleton over a wise guy as she wants her husband to always listen to her; finding these qualities in Jaggu, she makes sure they become friends. Her frankness and wit mark her presence strongly in the film.
Renu’s Father – Like a puppet this character is placed to add humour in a scene or to bridge one twist with the other. A jovial, simple and sweet old man, Renu’s father takes everyone’s words at face value and thus, is shocked to know Raja Hardayal Singh’s reality. He trusts Renu and gives her freedom to choose her life partner.
Kamini – Though she appears later in the second half, she plays a distinct role in shaping the story from the beginning; Brijmohan thinks she betrayed him, but she and her rich father were fooled by Raja Hardayal Singh. Not afraid of anything, she decides to save Renu and Mannu’s life and becomes a catalyst for the climax.
Climax– Renu and Mannu are trapped, Raja Hardayal Singh is ready to marry Renu with his pawn; after a hurried reunion between Brijmohan and Kamini and a comic mime-style scene between Jaggu and Sheela, everyone reaches the same bungalow and a farcical fight sequence begins. Mannu, Renu, Jaggu, Maujiya, Renu’s Father and the half-witted goons create a mockery of a climactic sequence. It is only Brijmohan and Raja Hardayal Singh who behave seriously, fighting to end it for good and all. Sheela who was following Jaggu’s car, contacts police and arrives at the end to conclude the drama.
While in many black and white Hindi films of this era, the ending is usually badly shot as if the villain is in a rush to be jailed, but here the pace is much better. The police capture Raja Hardayal Singh and his team, and the three couples unite; sitting in the Champion car, Brijmohan, Jaggu and Mannu sing the title track of the film, while the three ladies in the front, Renu at the wheel, enjoy and laugh.
Songs – What added to the popularity of this film is its melodious, peppy soundtrack and catchy, honest lyrics. Iconic numbers like the title track “Babu Samjho Ishaare”, “Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si”, “Hum The, Woh Thi Aur Sama Rangeen”, “Main Sitaron Ka Taraana”, “Haal Kaisa Hai Janaab Ka” are all timeless. Songs in Hindi films act as a medium of storytelling, usually sealing the romantic journey of the hero and the heroine, always lyrically taking the story ahead. Here a song, “Hum Tumhare Hain”, picturised on Helen and Minhaj Ansari, though not truly necessary for the plot of the film, is nevertheless a beautiful song. Great singers like Asha Bhosle, Manna Dey and Kishore Kumar create magic through their voices.
With a few flaws and goof-ups, this film is a pure comedy classic, and in fact, the flaws humorously add to its nature. The characters are crafted nicely and each complement’s the other; if the film is a musical instrument, then all the strings are perfectly tuned to produce a hilarious track. Characters perform comedy in pairs and that too, effortlessly; Renu and Mannu’s romantic track is sweet and entertaining, especially their short stint as detectives; Jaggu and Sheela are loudly funny, but not in a bad way; and the three brothers are like three jokers in a comical act. Also, whenever and whoever is paired with the Champion car, we are bound to get our laughter dose out of that scene.
Thus, with a strong and humorous story, quirky characters and crisp pace, this film continues to be a hit.
INTERIOR – MAIDS ROOM, CHAPMAN HOUSE – MORNING Lyn (thin,30+) and Sally (chubby,30+) are drying wet hair of a golden terrier with a hairdryer. The terrier does not like it.
LYN (ANXIOUSLY) Looks like Bowie or not? SALLY Looks golden, Bowie was golden. I am telling you Mrs. Chapman won’t even notice…. LYN (INTERRUPTS) Shut up Sally! We have lost her dog, her Baby Bowie and that too on his birthday. SALLY (AMUSINGLY) Hah! Old Mrs. Chapman will go nuts again if she…. LYN Shut up will you! Thanks to Carlos, he brought this dog. SALLY (IRRITATINGLY) Yeah, yeah! All we had to do was colour his hair with my hair colour.
Carlos (Fat,40+), Mrs Chapman’s Chauffeur, comes in their room at this point.
CARLOS (GRINNING) (LOOKS AT THE DOG) Bloody hell! She looks like Bowie now. LYN AND SALLY She? CARLOS Yeah! She’s my neighbour’s… they call her Emily or Mily, something like that.
LYN Listen Carlos, try to find Bowie, he couldn’t have gone far… we can’t hide this from Mrs. Chapman for too long.
INTERIOR – THE LOBBY, CHAPMAN HOUSE – MORNING Mrs. Chapman (70+, white hair, elegantly dressed) is holding and caressing the dog.
MRS. CHAPMAN Why is his hair still wet? And he smells awful. What soap did you use? LYN AND SALLY Mrs. Chapman…. MRS. CHAPMAN (HANDING THE DOG BACK TO LYN) Give him a bath again, and hurry up, the party will start soon. (TO THE DOG) Baby Bowie would not like to smell bad on his birthday, right? Right Bowie? (TO LYN AND SALLY) Don’t forget the white bow!
EXTERIOR – LAWN, CHAPMAN HOUSE – DAY The lawn is beautifully decorated, the theme is golden and white, tables are set and the giant white cake looks too good to eat. Other servants are seen running here and there.
After half an hour, the guests start arriving and Mrs. Chapman, holding the duplicate Bowie in her arms like a baby, greet them one by one. Her high-class friends have brought bouquets and gifts for Baby Bowie. The golden-haired dog with a white bow complements the party’s theme.
Everyone is standing around the table, singing; it is time for the birthday dog to cut the cake. Mrs. Chapman is holding the dog who is irritated and is trying to free itself.
MRS. CHAPMAN Aw! Baby Bowie is too excited for the birthday song to end.
People in the party laugh in chorus. Mrs. Chapman tries her best to hold the dog in her arms.
MRS. CHAPMAN (MAINTAINING THE SMILE) (CONT’D) Baby Bowie, manners please! You are 3 years old now. Big boy!
Everyone laughs again. The dog whines.
MRS. CHAPMAN (CONT’D) I think Baby Bowie wants all of us to enjoy the cake as soon…. (THE DOG JUMPS) B-O-W-I-E! Ah!
The dog lands straight on the delicious white cake and then runs across the table, spoiling everything, jumps down and runs away. Mrs. Chapman is in a shock; almost all the guests first burst into laughter and then suddenly suppress it and copy Mrs. Chapman’s expressions.
EXTERIOR – LAWN, CHAPMAN HOUSE – DAY The party is over, most of the guests have left, two ladies have stayed back to console Mrs. Chapman who is drunk and looks extremely depressed.
MRS CHAPMAN (SITTING ON THE DESERTED GRAND TABLE) How could Bowie do this to me? Why?
Mrs. Chapman’s friends look at each other, they don’t know what to say.
MRS. CHAPMAN Why Bowie? How could you leave me too? (TALKING TO HERSELF IN WHISPERS) How…? Leave me… for a waitress?
At this point Lyn and Sally approaches Mrs. Chapman to tell her the truth, as Carlos has brought the real Bowie back.
LYN Mrs. Chapman, we found Baby Bowie… Carlos found him… we wanted to tell you… before the party… but…. MRS. CHAPMAN (DRUNK) Bowie!
Looks at the dog in Sally’s arms and then takes him. She makes him sit on the table and starts caressing him.
CUT TO CLOSE UP:
Standing to a side, Carlos whispers to Lyn and Sally –
CARLOS Did you tell her? LYN She is drunk…. SALLY (LAUGHINGLY) Good for us! LYN Shut up Sally! CARLOS Where is my neighbour’s dog? LYN She ran away… Oh! We completely forgot. CARLOS What?
While the three of them are talking to each other, Bowie starts barking. They then see that the other Bowie (Emily) has come back and both the dogs are barking at each other.
Coming out of depression, Mrs. Chapman now looks irritated.
MRS. CHAPMAN (SHOUTS) Shut up Bowie!
Bowie runs to and fro on the table and barks at Emily who keeps running around, barking back at Bowie. Mrs. Chapman again shouts at Bowie on top of her voice; Carlos runs after Emily.
CARLOS (NOT TOO LOUDLY) Emily! Mily! Emily!
Both the dogs are barking angrily at each other. Sally can’t control her laughter.
LYN (ANGRILY) What is wrong with you? SALLY (LAUGHINGLY) Don’t you get it? Mrs. Chapman’s first name is Emily. And old Mr. Chapman’s nick name was…. LYN Bowie!
Carlos repeatedly calls out the name ‘Emily’ and finally gets hold of her. Both the dogs are still barking at each other. Mrs. Chapman loses her senses and starts shouting loudly.
MRS. CHAPMAN Shut up! Stupid dog! Shut up! Damn with your birthday party and damn with you all. Bowie, are you happy now? Happy! You have spoiled everything once again.
LYN Oh! I think we should call Dr. Mathew.
As Lyn rushes inside to call the doctor.
SALLY (AMUSINGLY) Hey! I didn’t wish Bowie.
Mrs. Chapman’s two friends, totally confused, finally leave.
Carlos takes Emily away and Sally runs to protect Bowie from Mrs. Chapman who, in her rage, is now attacking him with the cutlery.
This light and bright book, ‘Japan Haiku by Marti’, is a library to me that has a collection of thoughts, wise words of a wise heart.
Haiku, a form of Japanese poetry that is dated back to the 17th century, is a fruit that a poet bears in her mind. It tastes subtly sweet and brazenly true. (Truth tastes different to all people, what does truth taste like to you?)
Carrying oceans and mountains and all the seasons within, it takes me on a journey every time I visit it.
Shying away from nothing, neither life nor death, haikus sing about nature and dance in the present. They capture it fully, through the lives of those who craft it, the haikus capture the moment fully.
No less than an explorer or a monk who practices meditation, the haiku poets in ancient Japan travelled to witness the peaceful, dramatic, kind, unforgiving nature. They did not hurry and that is why could understand it all.
Fetching cold water from a deep quiet well, with wit and brevity, the haikus quench our thirsts in this manner.
I finished reading this delightful book (part of my Auroville collection) sometime back, but I knew the journey has not ended yet.
Earlier I had taken a haiku turn to meet Matsuo Basho, the master haiku poet, and today I found a hidden haiku trail that took me to visit Rabindranath Tagore, the Bengali polymath.
“They reveal the control over the human emotions. However, they are never short on aesthetic sensibility. Their sense of aesthetics is marked by deep appreciation yet there is a mastery over expression.” – In Letters from Japan, published later as JapanJatri, Tagore recorded his views on haikus and his experiences of visiting Japan.
Interested in reading Japanese literature, knowing their culture and art history, Tagore in 1915 wrote to Kimura Nikki, who had studied Bengali under him at Calcutta University, “I want to know Japan in the outward manifestation of its modern life and in the spirit of its traditional past. I also want to follow up on the traces of ancient India in your civilization and have some idea of your literature if possible.”
Knockings at My Heart is a collection of short poems by Tagore (discovered only recently and published in 2016) that highlights the impact of haikus on him.
Let my life accept the risk of its
Sails and not merely the security
Of its anchor.
The pomegranate bud hidden behind her veil
Will burst into passionate flower
When I am away.
The mist tries
To capture the morning
In a foolish persistence.
The simplistic approach, depth of thought and brisk climactic acuity make this poetry form of the past very much of the present as well as of the future, for the passionate are always searching.
And so my journey continues.
Fireflies, an epigrammatic poem by Rabindranath Tagore, is a perfect complement to this post.
Gabbeh, the 1996 film, is a simple tale of a gipsy girl, her clan and the way their life goes on.
Unfolding beautifully just like an artist painting a canvas, Gabbeh quietly touches the grand questions.
What is the purpose of existence, what is this feeling of love, what makes colours so harmonious, so arresting?
The complexities, the insatiable desires, the mind games, what helps and what hinders, how do we know?
What is to be said, heard and done before death?
The film weaves a beautiful pattern of such thoughts, but subtly, charmingly that one gets truly absorbed in the flow of the story and does not feel staggered or burdened at all.
The story is exceptionally close to reality even though the style of its narration is truly poetic. It is simple and complex, romantic and mystifying, colourful and rough, complete and incomplete.
Presenting life from a woman’s point of view, talking about the role of a woman in a family, sharing her aspirations and wishes with us, the entire story thus, inherently is full of warmth, colour and calmness, making the love palpable for the viewer.
The best way to describe Gabbeh would be to call it a dream. It is a folk tale, a myth and yet an unembellished raw saga; hazy, vibrant, unreal and real at the same time.
Gabbeh is an experience, a dream that you must see one day.
Written and Directed by – Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Gabbeh – Shaghayeh Djodat, Music by – Hossein Alizadeh, Cinematography – Mahmoud Kalari, Edited by – Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Language – Persian.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull wanted to master the art of flying. Soaring up in the sky, above the white ocean of clouds, he felt truly free.
Though very unlikely of a seagull, Jonathan flew high ever so high, he practised and failed umpteenth times, but he never gave up.
An outcast, he lived alone and happily spent his time in his quest to achieve perfection.
On reaching a higher level of existence, he meets gulls like him who wanted to enhance their flying skills. It was not heaven for everyone there were learners.
Chiang, the guru of them all, teaches Jonathan how to let go of the concept of time and space so as to travel freely in the Universe.
“Begin by knowing that you have already arrived”, said Chiang.
Wondering if someone else, one who dares to question and take risks, needs guidance on Earth, he returns.
“Devil” for some and “angel” for others, Jonathan teaches a few eager ones. Practising, failing, practising again, Jonathan’s students rise above the Flock, the mundane.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull then continues his journey to guide other gulls who must have been waiting for him somewhere else in the Universe.
Richard Bach’s fable is soothingly clear, and thus, appears too simplistic to many. Just like flying looks simple only until we give it a try.
He equates perfection with freedom, emphasising on practising and a thirst for knowledge as the golden path to it; a path where you walk ahead passionately and not cumbersomely.
Every little bud in nature rises high, soaking in sun rays, moving towards it. Rising high, shedding the old self, stepping forward to explore the unknown, dwindling before making a firm stand is what life’s journey is all about.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull, “a one-in-a-million bird”, if appears to be too perfect and his ideas if sound too far-fetching then you should look at your on-going journey and answer these questions – what are you looking for in life – perfection in some form or maybe a balance?
And what is balance if not a proportion of perfect this and perfect that?
Even better, you should meet Shelley’s Skylark.
Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
Bird thou never wert,
That from Heaven, or near it,
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.
Higher still and higher
From the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire;
The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.
‘Blithe Spirit’ calls Percy Bysshe Shelley a Skylark that is soaring up in the sky (or Heaven, or near it), singing beautifully and gloriously that to him it is nothing but unprecedented ‘unpremeditated art’.
The Skylark, invisible to his eyes, has such power in its voice that the poet likens it to ‘a cloud of fire’.
Shelley beseeches the Skylark to teach him what it knows; a divine secret it must be for nothing on earth could outshine it. Joy so true, Shelley calls it ‘a star of Heaven’.
Nature’s bounty, the golden glow worms, the rainbows, the playful wind, a young maiden’s love and a poet’s grand verses, Shelley says the Skylark’s song, that flows in a ‘crystal stream’, is above them all.
What thou art we know not;
What is most like thee?
From rainbow clouds there flow not
Drops so bright to see
As from thy presence showers a rain of melody.
Like a Poet hidden
In the light of thought,
Singing hymns unbidden,
Till the world is wrought
To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not:
Like a high-born maiden
In a palace-tower,
Soothing her love-laden
Soul in secret hour
With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower:
Like a glow-worm golden
In a dell of dew,
Its aëreal hue
Among the flowers and grass, which screen it from the view:
Like a rose embower’d
In its own green leaves,
By warm winds deflower’d,
Till the scent it gives
Makes faint with too much sweet those heavy-winged thieves:
Sound of vernal showers
On the twinkling grass,
All that ever was
Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass.
The Skylark, above these mortal dilemmas, sings with pure love and delight. And in contrast we, humans, are locked in the past or the future.
We look before and after,
And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.
Shelley urges the Skylark to teach him just half of what it knows, this ‘harmonious madness’ so that he could capture it within and share it with the world.
The Skylark if not a gleaming reflection of perfection, then what is it? If its song is not a song of freedom, then why is the melody ‘a flood of rapture so divine’?
It must be that just like Jonathan Livingston Seagull, the Skylark returned to Earth, to guide and share its knowledge, to remind the poet that ‘freedom is the very nature of his being’.
Unlike a miracle, both took time to convey what little they knew of the truth. The Seagull stays to make his students practice and the Skylark sings till the chosen one – the poet in this case – hears its joyous voice.
Showing what doors can perseverance open and how patience leads to strength, the Seagull and the Skylark leave it up to the individual to unfold the story further.
Birth and death are timed then and a fully lived life, with all its imperfections, aims for a balance, for perfection that guides it to fly high and well.
“Hurry up girl, there is a lot to do”, said Mama and Sue Anna smiled for she was dreamy. And she had a good reason to feel so, she was making Ganpati Bappa’s idol with shaadu mitti (a type of clay).
In Ganesh Chaturthi, a ten-day-long festival in which colours rise in glory and fragrant flowers dance, sweet songs are sung and delicious sweets are distributed, all the Sue Annas in the world become brighter blessed beings.
Yes, there are many Sue Annas, the ones who are a bit more kind, the ones who love to find creepers ruling their garden and butterflies sharing their stardom, the ones who are cheerful when it is cloudy, the ones who dance in the rain loudly… you got it now, right?
But then they are a bit forgetful too, daily chores trouble them and they easily catch the flu.
Stealthily the sickness resides and gives a victory shout, but ha-ha-ha, lovingly all the Sue Annas broom it out. After all, they are Lord Ganesha’s favourite.
“Where are the garlands? Oh! You’re still not done? Sue Anna…”, said Mama and Sue Anna smiled, looked at her and said, “Did you say something?”
Mama told her about the unfinished tasks and Sue Anna yawned, stretched and added lazily, “first let Ganpati Bappa come to our home, he is only half-ready… see for yourself.”
And she gestured Mama to look at the idol. “The clay is so soft… this colour is so rich, right Mama”, and without waiting for a reply Sue Anna got busy once again.
“My Lord Ganesha… little elephant head and beautiful big eyes… a modak (a sweet) in hand and sitting elegantly on a grand asan (seat)…“
Mumbling these words for hours and hours, Sue Anna finally finished making the idol.
She then rushed away on hearing her Mama, Papa, maid and neighbour’s voice, all calling her at once for some work.
When she returned after tackling it all, to her surprise she saw that there is not one but two little Ganpati Bappas in front of her, both smiling sweetly with twinkling eyes.
Utterly amazed Sue Anna kept staring at the two idols, she then said, “Mama, Ganpati Bappa twinned up! Mama!” And Sue Anna ran to the kitchen beaming.
Ganpati Bappa is here to shower more blessings on you, don’t you remember your wish… I mean wishes… go and get your diary… hurry up girl, there is a lot to do!
A roguish year, 2020, I believe was a twist in our LIVE story. Terrible, oh, terrible things happened. Let us nurture hope, let us learn from our mistakes, let us help each other and contribute honestly to this change.
Let the old charm of stories work, let stories heal your tired heart.
This colossal twist proves that the great writer is planning to finish a chapter, but the story is far from over. Dawn is about to break, the sun rays will fall on a new beginning soon.
Come to Chiming Stories, pocket old and new posts and watch, along with me, the horizon.
Arthdal Chronicles is a South Korean fantasy drama TV series that takes us back to the Bronze Age in a mythical land named Arth, where different human species and tribes struggle to be on the top of the power pyramid.
Yes fly! For walking on the second track is dull and usual, but dreaming high, high, high requires tools. Tools like the right pair of shoes, a chirpy, gritty soul that eats butter-jam dreams, a soul that drinks milky-milky creams.