The Beginning Of An Unsaid Romance

I feel compelled to warn you. This doesn’t end like a film. It is like a film though. And there are references to films. But it doesn’t end like a film. So you can get a tub of popcorn and tissues.

She was in a foreign country and she was finally studying the course she had always wanted to. She was on her own and could have exercised her freedom. But the course was so absorbing, she swapped the partying with sleeping and going out with writing or homework. But as is the case with these things, watching films was part of the course and mandatory for students like her.

Sometimes I think writers like to be loners. They like to brood in their thoughts. They will only make conversation with somebody that intellectually stimulates them. She was no exception.

It was while waiting in line for a mandatory film that she was first introduced to him. He immediately struck her as different. Writers also sense vibes and sometimes don’t pay attention to words. It’s funny, isn’t it? He initiated conversation with her. As it turns out, he was a short term student in another class but very interested in her course. Hence, she imparted the knowledge she had absorbed thus far. They spoke a lot. They spoke so much that they lost the friends who were in queue with them. But it’s never smooth sailing, is it? They had been acquainted but they hadn’t exchanged details like phone numbers or Facebook addresses or social media contacts. His friends had held a single place for him in the theatre. She was left looking for her classmates.

She didn’t see him after the screening and she was left wondering.

She quickly went online and looked him up. All she knew was his first name and it was a generic name for his nationality. Not much help. Thank heavens for mutual friends. She looked for him on her friends’ profiles and shot an arrow in the dark, hoping to land on his heart. Alright, that was a tad dramatic. She just wanted to talk to him some more.

Days passed and she didn’t see him or hear from him. Until there was a party her flatmates were going to. He showed up, only after 2 hours of her scanning the venue for his presence. He greeted a couple of people and headed straight for her. And they picked up the conversation where they had left it. She continued teaching him about screenwriting, And they continued talking despite several interruptions. It was almost as if they were the only ones there and everything surrounding them had faded away.

They spoke about spirituality, God, beliefs, meditation, breaking old habits. Was she a fool for thinking he might be interested in knowing her outside of the screenwriting parameters? They were the last few standing and they pretended to walk somebody to the complex exit. Once the third wheel left, there was an unsaid comfort that resulted in an awkward silence. He hugged her good night but she wanted the embrace to last forever.

(At this point, my laptop battery is dying and I don’t have a charger. Something else I left behind in L.A. Do you want to know what happens next?)

Leave me a comment if you want me to continue the story. :*

I promise to write every day. Will you help me keep the promise?

If you ask me, “What do you do?”, my reply will be, “I write.”

Ever since I’ve come back from studying screenwriting in Los Angeles, I’ve lost my sparkle and drive.

But every day is a new beginning and every promise has hope.

So I am challenging myself to write for 2 hours every day and hoping to make you a part of it.

Here’s the plan: I’m going to write for a minimum of 2 hours every day and post a piece of it on the blog. If you like it and are the first to leave a comment on the blog, I will get in touch with you and send you a token of appreciation. Sound good?

So… wait for it. The first post is coming up next. :)

Let’s listen to some music!

It’s a Sunday morning and what better way to start the day than with some music? Here’s what I’m listening to:

1. Are You There – Mono

2. Things I’d Do For You – Astronomyy

3. Box You Up – Natania Lalwani

4. Let Me In – Grouplove

5. Side – Travis

6. Sugar Town – Zooey Deschanel

7. The Weakness In Me – Joan Armatrading

8. Brighter Than Sunshine – Aqualung

9. In Your Eyes – Peter Gabriel

Listen to the full playlist here:

To be Indian in a West inclined world.

Republic Day

Republic Day

For many years, Republic Day has meant a holiday from school, college and/or work. Of course, some of us, my sister included wake up and attend a flag hoisting ceremony at the institution we’re attached to at the time. The rest of the day is spent doing pretty much what we would on a regular day. And this year, as I imagine, would be the case, city folk might have taken off for a holiday to enjoy the ‘long weekend’.

AirTravelprocedure

As I type this blog, from my desk in my apartment in LA, listening to a Western artist’s music after my failed attempt at cooking pasta, I’m thinking about what makes me Indian in 2015. For sure, my accent is a give away in this American city. And that most foreigners find it difficult to pronounce my name. Interestingly, a Sidecar driver mistook me for a doctor. I definitely look Indian. I mean, I’m darker in complexion, shorter in height, have a strange nose and big hips. LOL

18indians-travelling-abroad1

Sridevi in English Vinglish

It’s surprising when I feel most Indian. While writing my screenplay. I imagine song and dance sequences at crucial intervals. I still expect an intermission when I watch a film. I need to get that samosa. But that’s just one aspect of it. Because I actually think in English and write in English because funnily enough, it is my native language. Let me correct that, it is my first language and the language and culture of my thoughts. I say culture, because I probably enjoy a burger more than vada pav. Okay, that’s a bad example. But in all honesty, just like the protagonist of my script, I watch American television shows, eat Italian food, spend way too much time on Facebook and can’t wrap my head around ‘arranged marriage’.

Kajol & SRK in DDLJ

Kajol & SRK in DDLJ

I struggle with the idea of freedom in the independent India of my residence. I have only lived in the financial capital, Mumbai and the city lights haven’t dimmed but the city’s sparkle sure has. I have to impose a censor on my thoughts, on my writing, for worry of what my family, peers, authorities might have to say or do. I still have to go on arranged marriage dates and deal with obnoxious men. I still have to wear ‘traditional’ clothes when and if I go to the temple. And a film like PK does get caught in a controversy. I can sing along to Hindi music and enjoy Bollywood movies but i can’t write in the language. Like my favourite author Vikram Seth, English is the instrument of my choice.

Indian wedding

Indian wedding

I know we’ve come a long way in these 66 years. And I also know we still have many a issues at hand to deal with.

But as someone who belongs to the youth of the nation, I find myself struggling with the idea of equality and independence. I find us becoming slaves to Western ideologies, individualistic in our approach, enamoured by American influence. We speak a foreign language in our homes. We celebrate ‘English’ festivals with more gusto than we do national holidays. And I’m not complaining. This is my observation. I don’t know who to identify with. I can’t find my way through Google Maps for this route.

Logo-Oct-2

I don’t know how you feel about being a young Indian. On most days, I’m happy with the opportunities available to me. But I don’t usually think about giving back to my nation. Some of us don’t even know our political leaders. Our prime minister had to take to social media campaigning to reach out to us!

So, basically, do my words resonate with you? Do you ever think about what makes you Indian?

Of small talk and random subjects of conversation…

I don’t like to walk. I’d rather take the bus or call a cab. That’s just how it is.

The other day, I found myself in the midst of a free day and decided to go to Glendale Galleria, a 20mins ride from where I live.

Now, the thing about LA taxi drivers is that they love to talk.
They almost compulsively make small talk, which I don’t mind. Some might see it as an opportunity to weave different stories each time. But I stick to the routine.

“Where are you from?”
‘India’
“How long have you been in LA?”
‘4 weeks’
“What are you doing here?”
‘Studying”
“Where are you studying?”
‘New York Film Academy’
“Do you want to work in Hollywood?”
‘I haven’t thought about it yet’

And it goes on.

Then there are old men who drink alcohol on the bus and insist on telling everybody in their close radius their life story. This one was particularly entertaining.

“You having a good day, Miss?”
‘Yeah’
“I’m always having a good day. You know why?”
(He points to the inside pocket of his jacket and shows a bottle of alcohol. He almost immediately brings his finger to his lips and pretends it’s a secret)
“I’m just happy to be alive.”
‘Mmm hmmm’
“I’m 57, just 3 short of 60. Ooooh and this (points to his hip) is my third artificial hip. I’m in pain and I used to take (names some medicine I can’t remember) but now I just (makes a drinking gesture)… ssshhh.
‘Mmm hmmm’

He goes on to claim having lost 101 cellphones or something and quotes an arbitrary figure on how much it cost him. So much so that now the store owners are fed up of taking his money and gave him an ordinary cellphone for free. As far-fetched as all his stories possibly were, he was just looking to make small talk with anyone who paid attention and responded enthusiastically. Unfortunately, I had nothing but monosyllables to offer.

There was also this really long conversation I had, on everything ranging from screenwriting and religion to the purpose of everyday life, that still takes me back to the night of sometimes.

But the common thread of it all has been this:

We inhabit the same planet and none of us know the length of our time here. We might as well exchange some words and learn about each other while we can. Isn’t that what conversation is for?

Feel free to leave your comments below.