Posted in Movies

From Dreams to Reality – 500 Days of Summer

And so after 500 days of a tug of war between the mirror of Tom’s dreams and the dark but real world of Summer – reality gave up on dreams.

So often we life we look for something so desperately that we miss it even if it is right in front of our eyes. Our minds are on alert anticipating all the ways the thing that we are looking for is going to find us or we are going to find it. We project in our heads all sorts of possibilities and work accordingly.

Only these projections of possibilities only blind us to the present we are living. We are not looking at what is here and seeing instead what it could be. How ridiculous is that!

But then it turns out it is how we do so many things. And what is the most searched thing for us? Watch before leave for office, umbrella for the rains, an old pair of earrings that match perfectly to our dress, our phones, a job, a soul mate? Well all of the above.

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We have at some point of time in our lives spent thinking about and acting on how to find one of the above things. And the one most looked for thing is usually a soul mate, someone to love or simply just looking for love.

We project all the childhood fantasies that we associate to finding a soul mate. All those stories we grew up fantasising about, the cutest crush in the movies, the most beautiful meadow where the boy meets the girl with the wind in his hair and love in his eyes. We are looking for those moments that we lived in these stories as moments of love. We begin projecting them onto our lives only not realising we are but blinding ourselves to the present.

You see, the danger here is that we do not find our soul mate in dreams. We find them in real life, the life we are living right now. But the projections we set up on the canvas of our mind only blocks out what is real and before us.

We are bound to the images of our dreams. We think that is what love is and if anything ever is to shake us out of them, we would be deprived of those dreams. And so we hang on to them all the more desperately, as if it was our hope as we drown amidst life.

But what we need to realise is what makes these dreams so powerful so as to become our lifelines while all the time blocking out our lives for us? It is a deep held fear, fear that all the truth lies in these dreams.

This happens when we do not live dreams in real life. For the dreams are but reflection of life. But they are not life. Your reflection is yours but it is not you. It is as stupid to think dreams were life as it is to think the person in the mirror is also you. In fact to think that the person in the mirror is the truer one and not you.

And all this because in our real life we are not living our dreams, we are not fulfilling those dreams which we should. We are not doing things we want to do and allowing ourselves to be led by the world around us. We are not listening to our own voices and so we have to rely on the voices of our dreams to lead us.

This causes a visible rift between what is real and what is dream. We see the reflections in the mirror as becoming more romantic than our real selves. We come addicts to the mirror and lose touch with the real selves. Thus allowing the real us to rot and degenerate.

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That was the condition in which the hero of this story, Tom, met Summer. He was in a state of complete divide between his real world and his dream world. He had assumed that it was when his dream of finding true love would come true that he would be happy. He had painted a picture for himself in the mirror and was intent on living it. His reality was distraught. He was caught up in a job he did not want to do and too afraid of doing something he should be doing.
And that is when he meets Summer. There are instant deja vu’s with his mirrored dream. He projects them onto her and invites her in his caged and deluded world of dreams. But she is way too practical to get caught. She refuses to be caged in the mirrors of dreams. She is unsure of finding reality in the smoke of these mirrors. Yet his strong belief has her stay and not leave immediately. There is something she knows is true about these dreams. (She probably sees the specks of reality even in the reflections.) But she cannot convince herself of it all being real. He gave her no reason to believe it could be real.

And so after 500 days of a tug of war between the mirror of Tom’s dreams and the dark but real world of Summer – reality gave up on dreams.

She walked away. Only to see that she was tinted with his dreams. She found her love and her dreams come to life. She knew it was because of him but also that she had broken him down. He was lost in an abyss now deprived of his dreams as well. So she checks up on him to find that reality had taken a toll on him instead. He was working on what was real instead. He had given up on his dreams and that is when she rescues him back by gifting him his dreams back. She says, ‘You were right about all your dreams. It was me you were not right about.’

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Posted in Movies

BARFI | A Sweetmeat for your Soul

One of the most sublime and rewarding qualities of art is hiding as much as it is showing on the canvas. The art of leaving things unsaid but very subtly alluded. Despite being one of the most rewarded epithets of art it is also the most difficult to achieve.

The moments of silence in a composition, balance of the filled and unfilled canvas space, the magic of poetry that insinuates meaning in the minimum possible words – they are all nuances that make good art great.

In the words of the literary critic Harold Bloom, writing on Shakespeare: “Increasingly in his work, what he leaves out becomes much more important than what he puts in, and so he takes literature beyond its limits.”

Literature, painting, music – all are but indirect media of expression. When they leave things unsaid, they impact us the most. Firstly because they leave space for the reader, viewer or listener to fill in the blank spaces and make the piece of art their own. This suddenly brings the artist closer to us. Not only do we recognise ourselves in the art we also recognise the artist, relate to the artist. It is a strangely gratifying intimacy. Secondly, art is essentially an expression of the shy wild animal encaged in its shell – the soul. The soul – that little wild animal of the jungle that if not won over with pristine and true intent, does not show itself to us however many serenades we sing or paint we blotch.

It is said the soul cannot be talked about, we can only talk about the soul indirectly. And that is the quality of all art – stories, melodies, poems, portraits, landscapes. They are all trying to capture that which will always remain unseen if we try to look at it. It is not meant to be looked at it is meant to be experienced.

Much like this sweetmeat for the soul – Barfi. It will not preach true love, it will not enlist characteristics of true love. But you will still understand what it is to love, truly. This story of love is narrated by almost every onlooker of the ballad but the main protagonists. The two people whose love we live in this short glimpse of their life, never speak about the love they bear in their hearts. While one is indefinitely mute, the other is way too sensitive to utter words we can ever understand. They only show, what it is to love. They only allude to how the soul loves another soul.

The most important thing – the words of the two lovers are left unsaid in this story. But you have enough to fill up their narratives. You will still feel in your bones what one feels for the other. You will see, feel it, smile with it, laugh at it, cry on it – but you will not be able to put it in words. For it is not meant to be spoken about, it is meant to be lived, experienced, by your own soul.

Posted in Movies

Letters To Juliet – Inside Juliet’s Mind

A river is born when a single flake of snow melts off of the mountain and flows down. A single drop. That’s where it all begins. A journey of thousands of miles to the ocean mouth where it finally ceases to exist and becomes an infinite ocean.
My journey began the day I met him and fell in love instantly! He was the one to bring me this city where I found the ocean, my fearlessness to write and not just remain in the hindsight.
But … I still don’t understand … why does he not want to read what I wrote? He wants to but he doesn’t make time for it. Maybe he just says he wants to. Maybe he has been too busy of late. It will get better soon. But … how soon?
This is crazy … how can I think he doesn’t care for me? Just because he isn’t around when I need him without saying? Just because he is not around when I need him the most? Just because he never has been around … since the start … but whose fault is it? I allowed him to be like that … I put myself after him … beneath him. It is my fault … how can I blame him?
Oh my … it is my fault … I allowed him and now how can I blame him? So then what do I do now? I cannot hurt him … leave him … for my own fault. After all he is the love of my life … isn’t he?
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He is the end of the journey … the ocean. The first drop fell from the mountains, the letter I wrote back became the first step to this story I have today. I met these wonderful people because of the letter. I met him … on that journey … of writing the story, my story. Oh God, why did I kiss the guy? It was a mistake after all. Why did I kiss him on that beautiful night … beneath the stars … as he told me his heart’s fear … the heart of school kid … afraid of going back to school on Monday … not wanting the twilight of this vacation to end. Is he … ?
But how can that be? No … how can that be? It cannot be. He didn’t believe in what I was doing … since the beginning … he was always so rude … not always though … he did apologise for his mistake and was the first admirer of what I wrote … he was the one to tell me I was a writer … he never said I can be one … he said I already was one! Oh my God! Is he … ?
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But … how can this be? Yes … he saw me for who I was … never mistreated me after getting to know me … oh holy lord … I came to the city because of someone else … the man I thought I loved … I met this man because of him. 
Is there a way ahead of the ocean for the river? I thought I reached the ocean mouth but what is this that I feel? What can be a possible way ahead of the ocean for the river?
So … I reached my ocean mouth … but I still want to go on … go on flowing … like there is still time to the ocean … that’s it … so then this is not the ocean yet … I still haev a long way to flow … why? Because I want to flow … because he does not feel liek an ocean … so then he is probably not … the ocean.
How can it be right when it started out with me allowing him to mis treat me … what kind of mis treatment? He did not abuse me … he wanted to marry me … have a life with me … but he did not want to love me. He did not see who I was, I did not show him that. So it is wrong and I must go on.
Let go of this fear that maybe this one isn’t true, the time isn’t ready yet, that I am not ready yet. The drop has melted and anything that prevents it from flowing down is not right, cannot be right, should be made right.
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We are so weak, we humans. Such fragile beings set in a shell of thought that we are probably immortal. This shell, so hard to break, so hard to get past. The fragile being within, the human, barely can escape. We are prisoners of ourselves. What a tragedy!

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When love strikes on our shells, the doors we have shut tight, we are terrified. It is a knock of freedom, the freedom that is the very nature of the fragile being. The wild freedom of the little creature that lies tightly closed behind shells of what is immediately urgent, social, appropriate. Creating stories and lies in our heads about how to staying fearful is so good, so right. 
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Oh, this fear took me away from him once. This fear took away so many Juliets from their Romeos. And I am succumbing to this fear, once again. Another in the line of tragedy queens trapped in their own clouds of fears, creating their tragedies. They drink it up, try to smoke it out, shatter around, become numb and cease to dream. Others wait for a fifty years, turning and coiling around planes and plateaus, hoping to find the ocean. But it is not until they face the fear and continue to flow – will they find the ocean of peace. 

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Posted in Movies

Erin Brockovich – The Path of Sacrifice

All that is good, one day creates evil. All that is evil, one day creates good.
The light of the sun that warms in the day, becomes scorching at night.

The trouble arises when we refuse to acknowledge the presence of both. That is we close our eyes to the evil when something is good and refuse the good that evil can potentially create.

It is the eternal human fallacy of fearing change. We want the good to be always good and the bad to be always bad. And it is this which is the root cause of so many troubles of the world. This inability to acknowledge transformations is the probable cause.

It is the job of the pioneers of society to take up the responsibility of recognising good and evil. So when the society falters in an abysmal confusion of what is wrong and what is right, they can light the way.

Both the men of art and science, faith and reason, passion and pragmatism make for pioneers. They are engineers, poets, scientists, chaplains, lawyers, teachers – any person that has the capability to acknowledge transformation is a pioneer. They are gifted with a burden of bringing truth to the misguided world.

Professions do not make pioneers, it is the person behind the tag of a profession who becomes the pioneer. And sometimes, a person without the tag of a profession may also become a pioneer. As we see in the story of Erin Brockovich.

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She is not even a college graduate, was an ex-beauty queen and a single mother of three kids. Yet she was capable of recognising when things transform.

She could recognise when her marriages were no longer serving her to grow as a person. She also recognised when the many citizens of Hinkley were being slowly poisoned with lies of a Chemical Corporation, that was meant to serve them.

And what did she do when she recognised the good of life turning evil? She fought back and chose to bring change. She did all she could to bring about the change, realising her potential as a lawyer’s assistant with a singular ‘lawyer-like’ virtue of being good with people.   eb4

We have seen many stories of men and women standing against institutions that turn against the very purpose they were concocted for – service to society. They stand up against the evil created by these once virtuous and great institutions. Thus becoming leaders, pioneers, torches guiding the society out of its abysmal confusion of what is right and what is wrong.

These leaders then have to step out of their individual selves, let go of all their previous identities and become obsessed with the cause. Dedicate themselves to being those pioneers, torches of light that burning themselves to light up the way for others.  It is a sacrifice of their identities, that they associate to their egoistic ephemeral selves.

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Like Erin, who had to let go of her self-identity of being just another single mother to becoming the mother force of justice for a thousand people. She had to sacrifice, like all the other pioneers very often have to, personally. The time with her kids, love life, social life, self-identity were all sacrificed slowly, every day. But it was necessary and one day she knew they would not matter as much, even if they seemed important at the moment.

Yes, she began her journey as a Path of Bliss, following her childhood dream of leaving a mark on the society, of being respected and valued. But this path led her to the Path of Sacrifice as well. And it was because she could make even this transformation, that both the Bliss and Sacrifice found salvation.

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Erin Brockovich and her firm alleged that residents of Hinkley were suffering higher rates of cancer due to pollutants used to fight corrosion in a natural gas pipeline built by PG&E. At $333 million, the 1996 settlement won by Brockovich and her team was the largest sum ever awarded in a U.S. class-action lawsuit. Her story was adapted as a motion picture in the year 2000, winning the Academy Award for Julia Roberts who played Erin in the movie.

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Posted in Originals

DEEP

Shh…hear the silence. Hear it for it has a rhythm now.

Shh…see the darkness. See it for it is lit

up now.

It is lit up in blue, the deep blue of the oceans. It is quiet down here but with a rhythm of its own. For there is life down here. And life comes with all its noises, even in the deepest blues.

Come…witness this life that is the whole. A whole that is much greater than the sum of its parts.

Come…look at the parts so brittle and so fragile. Barely making it through without other parts to help.

Slow down…and now see the life that you are. The life that you breathe right now. See how you are no different from those fragile parts barely sustaining their togetherness.

Sit still…and feel the flow in your body. The flow of life, of the blue, of the waters as if in the womb. Feel it flow in your throat and your gut and your fragile bones.

Sit still…and look at yourself die. Look at how you are dying and you cannot do anything about it. It is inevitable, it is horrifying, it is happening – in the deep, in the blue, in the womb.

We are forgetting a great man’s words and also our fragilities, forgetting that we are indeed islands of the blue ocean; parted on the surface but connected in the deep.

We want to live by letting the other die, fall, break away. We are breaking the central axiom of the chaos, the axiom that builds on itself, convoluting on itself and creating the intricacies of life meanwhile. We are deluding ourselves with the complicated intricacies, forgetting the simpler truth behind those intricacies.

We save another to be saved by another. We save another to be saved by another. That is how intricacies grow, parts attract themselves to each other and make a whole. You save the immediate other from their peril and you are saved one day by another from yours.

Shh…come…sit still…and remember what it is to be alive in the deep.

 

thedeepcut from Wendy Jehlen on Vimeo.

Wendy Jehlen is the Creative Director of Anikaya Dance Theatre. Graduate of the revered Harvard Divinity School, she runs her labor of love, Anikaya, for almost a decade now. She believes and materialises it through her dance – the Dark Matter – the interconnectedness of everything!

Posted in Movies

Erin Brockovich – The Path of Bliss

There are so many things that stories can teach us, remind us, about ourselves. From dreams to struggles to defeats to victories – however small or big – stories hold the power to touch onto one key on the piano of your life that is in perfect harmony with your melody.

When we see our heroes fighting their wars and struggling to see their dreams come true, sometimes fighting the world and at other times overcoming their own limitations – we join them in their odysseys. This is what makes art worthwhile, this is what makes existence worthwhile. It is essentially why we tell stories and paint and dance and sing – to celebrate this syncing, this harmony of melodies.

Here is a story that will remind you of one of the most important aspects of the hero’s life – an invisible hand of help when you are set on your path of bliss!

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It is the story of Erin, a small town girl both blessed and cursed with her beauty. She wants to do a lot of things in life, she wants to be respected for all that she does, leave a mark on the world, be a hero.

So when she wins the title of being the most beautiful woman in her town, she goes brimming with dreams of all that she would do with her wonderful life. Her beauty is her greatest strength. People like her, they want to talk to her, admire her and compliment her qualities. She is enjoying all that, it is her bliss – to be seen and seen with respect.

One of those admirers asks her hand in marriage one day. Love, another bliss of her life, stands at her doorstep. She rushes to welcome it in as well. She wants to be seen and loved for what she is. She wants to be loved like she is the most beautiful thing to her man, inside out.

Everything is just perfect. Except it is not.

Unfortunately, both the kinds of bliss she beholds do not go well in the world she is born in. She cannot have the bliss of being a wife and a leader. She must choose one and she must only choose the former.

But she refuses to yield. She refuses to have only one of them. And ends up losing both.

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Life reaches its nadir when she is jobless, almost homeless, raising three kids alone and having two failed marriages to her name.

And then, something happens. Something that forces us to believe that when we truly set out on the path of our bliss, our complete bliss, we find a path that was set out for us and only us. A path where even crisis was a blessing, but in disguise.

Mildly dosed by nicotine but still following the traffic signals right, she is hit by a racing car in broad daylight. She decides to file a lawsuit against the driver and hope to get some money as compensation. She meets a private lawyer and that is where the Hero’s journey has begun.

The Hero mythology has a plethora of stories wherein the main protagonist saves the world. And it all begins the day the Hero steps out of his comfort zone to explore an unknown abyss. He may do so knowing the greatness of the cause he must work for or he may just be lured into an adventurous ride. The lure is almost always a thing of desire rooted deep within the hero. Even though the events may seem to be of chance, the hero responds because of these innate desires. According to Joseph Campbell, these are like ripples on the surface of a lake created by a water spring deep within it.

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A series of events unfold before Erin and she goes on to make the choices purely off of her bliss-compass. She grabs the job, follows the queer medical reports, fights her boss and a $28 billion corporation with him, gives love a second chance, risks her life for the cause she discovers and in between all this finds Truth of who she really is.

The years she spent on raising her kids, the prime years of her youth, which may seem like a fall back to her story, turn out to be just the opposite. It is in those years that her curse of beauty reverts itself to becoming her biggest strength. She reaches an age where she realises the hypocritical society that favours long legs over big ambitions or deep necks or deep thoughts for a woman. She also learns the value of true love that she spends with her three kids and what is the importance of being accepted and loved for who she really is. Having a community of people, even if toddlers, who love her for the love she gives and that’s all.

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This dichotomy of beauty becomes her strength when she has to go forth on her path of leading thousands of ignorant, innocent people. The people she sees herself in. People with kids like hers. People being lied to and deceived into a chemical pogrom!

She finds her community in those people. She finds her people. She finds hearts that love her back for the love she gives them. She also finds people who only consider her love worthy of the length of an orgasm. But this time, she does not let them crown her a beauty queen. She beats them at their own business. She uses their weak prejudices for her beauty against them, to fight for a cause.

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And she finds her bliss in between the difficult waters. She finds the raw love and respect for her abilities. She finds true love in family and in a man who finally takes her for who she is. She finds her bliss.

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Erin Brockovich and her firm alleged that residents of Hinkley were suffering higher rates of cancer due to pollutants used to fight corrosion in a natural gas pipeline built by PG&E. At $333 million, the 1996 settlement won by Brockovich and her team was the largest sum ever awarded in a U.S. class-action lawsuit. Her story was adapted as a motion picture in the year 2000, winning the Academy Award for Julia Roberts who played Erin in the movie.