That thing they call love

I am not a sucker for the valentines’ fervor. And owing to my recent view of consumerism, I only believe more strongly that it is yet another day to indulge people in spending – it’s good for the economy they say… so long then, you won’t hear me say another word against it, if that’s the case! 😀

Let me digress, for this post is about something else. Coincidental to Valentine’s Day weekend, we happened to watch a sort of romCom today; Drew Barrymore’s ‘going the distance’. This was about a boy meets girl in NYC (like we haven’t seen a gazillion of those already) and how they work a long distance relationship between SFO and NYC. I am not going into the nuances of the movie, but it is a good one-time watch and I would have preferred if they hadn’t tried hard to give it the happy-ending in bollywood style!

It reminded me once again that the most loved love-stories of our times are the ones that break your heart and tear you apart. They leave so much unsaid and undone that the feeling of “what it could have been” is far exhilarating than “what it is”.

It was only last week that I was hunting for a copy of the classic Malayalam movie ‘Vandanam’. Although filled with many laughs and unrealistic drama, the climax is what takes home a winner. It ends with separation of two people in love, out of circumstances not within their control. And like a dagger through your heart the screen closes with them in cars right next to each other at a traffic signal; each wanting to find out where the other is, not realizing they are just a head turn away. The signal turns green and the cars go separate ways. It sold, because the story was set in a time with no cell phones or internet and finding someone from change of addresses and landline numbers was almost next to impossible.

Another movie that I watched recently ‘Bridges of Madison County’ is a hands-down winner in this arena. The most gripping scene of the movie, fueled with some brilliant music, is Francesca fighting her tears and herself from leaving the car she is waiting in with her husband, to the car in front of them being driven by Robert. The scene is so dizzying to the viewer that I almost wanted to go for the car door knob in anticipation. And then the music mellows, Francesca takes control of herself and Robert drives away like a lost cause and she makes a decision for her family and wallows on ‘what it could have been’ for the rest her life. My favorite quote in the movie that says a thousand words is – “This kind of certainty comes but once in a lifetime.”

There are many such classics I am sure, each hauntingly beautiful, which can be easily reduced to shallow stories, if not for the way they end. So what if Jack hadn’t died? What if Jessie had stepped up her act? And then there are movies like Notting Hill and Serendipity, which apparently give one a sugar high, for they are fantasy at its best. And the same can be told for every product of the Karan Johar factory!

So for this valentines day, when the cable companies will flood you with happy stories all day, plan to throw a few tragic tales too…It is always good to add a few tragedies to life, I say… It helps you appreciate when the good times come along!


A true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you
everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own
attention so you can change your life.  A true soul mate is probably the most
important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and
smack you awake.  But to live with a soul mate forever.  Nah.  Too painful.
Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself
to you, and then they leave.  And thank God for it.

Excerpt from Eat Pray Love



Ladies Coupé

. .. The title always has a happy ring in my mind. It could easily be a feel-good-book and as a matter of fact there is one by Anitha Nair titled the same. I read it many years ago and wallowed in my own experience traveling in one over a long journey. It was the notorious Patna to Madras misnomer-ed as ‘express’ which took three days and four nights. I wonder if Laloo brought improvements to it at all ? Of my many journeys on that train, I distinctly remember this for we were in an all women compartment. Amma had said it was “safe”, since we were traveling without appa. She had also said it would be hence cleaner and easier to make friends. And just like that, we had managed to make friends along the way with many mother-daughter, mother-children traveling just like us. I don’t remember anything untoward about that journey, but a compartment transformed into the sounds of women talking, sharing food, codling others children and children having a ball of a time.

So, when I read Bg’s tweet about the most recent rape victim in Kerala, the words ladies compartment had conjured these happy images in a flash. And like an abrupt full stop, I snapped back to what the news was about. And the first thing that struck as odd was amma’s words ringing “SAFE”.  A simple google search will bring you chronology of violence against women in a ladies compartment; of being raped, having thrown acid upon, of being surreptitiously ogled by men in burkhas and probably  many more unreported/unrecorded cases?

Did you ever wonder what is the real need and motive behind all the gender separation? It is not a thing of the east alone – I had frequented a gym couple of years back and it was run by women and was advertised as women’s only gym, with no brawny men coveting you. I had picked the place out of proximity and little out of the all-women banner. It had me surprised that even the west held these inhibitions. And it is for the presence of these hard rooted inhibitions that concepts like unisex-restrooms standing for gender equality are only made possible in fiction like in the Ally mcbeal sitcom.

So where does all this figure in a ladies compartment or the ‘magilair mattum’ etched behind the seats in PTC buses? Why do parents fear sending a girl child to a co-ed school and succumb them to the walls of a convent bred? Is it enough to separate women from men to ensure their protection?

Probably not. That has been proved time and again. I had mentioned once about the plight of women in Kerala. And it must come as no surprise for many that the most infamous city in India for eve teasing is hyderabad.  I can narrate many disturbing incidents I have heard of and some experienced, but let us just say, I have come to understand so long as men don’t come into terms with the way women have turned independent, she will continue to be hunted and still blamed for being a whore or dressing up like one. So, in a society that is waiting to blame the woman for atrocities committed against her, where do you hide?

So, thats where the ruling bodies decided to sideline the problem instead of attacking it. Just the way, it was considered that 33% reservation is all it takes to uplift women, women are given “reserved” seats on trains and buses.  It is hoped that for those few moments she is traveling in a nest of her own gender, she will be safe from ogles, brush-asides and whistles. That is all she hopes for! And it only bodes ill that, even ‘that’ is a lot to ask!