India needs more protests. It needs you.
Wake up! (Photo by Reiner Knudsen on Unsplash) Pilgrims died in Amarnath because of terrorists, a 16-year old Muslim youth was beaten to death on a train, with the attackers using his religion as an excuse, but West Bengal is witnessing its second communal riot in an year, however after protesting for over 40 days earlier this year, Tamil Nadu farmers will return to Delhi to renew their protests due to the inaction of the state government, and also, soldiers of both India and China are engaged in a face-off over a border dispute, while our Indian women's football team has not played a friendly match since 2013, a show of the AIFF's ignorance, at the same time in Nagaland- Stop. Breathe. Isn't there just too much news in the world? We are not even talking of the world actually; there are situations in Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, USA...but the prospect of understanding our nation and its on-going developments is itself a daunting task. Why are we talking all this? Things have changed in our world. Remember when Facebook used to allow you to change your DP color to the flag of a terror-struck nation? These were mostly European nations; so people asked 'what about the Middle East? What about the African countries?' So, FB stopped giving that option. Closer back home, when people protested against an issue, someone or the other would sit in a TV studio and smirk 'Now they are angry, but what about when THAT OTHER issue took place?' At some point, certain people started demanding of Pakistani actors to post on social media, expressing their anguish / anger / solidarity with respect to attacks involving Muslim terrorists in India. Otherwise, you know, they're anti-national and should leave our country. Moving on from the logic of that, we still have our essential question: if there is so much news about so much important happening (for now, in our nation), how do we sort out the 'worthy enough to protest' ones? On what basis? And hey, why is it my duty (a working / studying middle-class girl / guy) to be aware of everything wrong in the country? How many issues should I go out and protest against? I have my work / my studies / my fiance / my dog. Why should I bother? The brief answer is: you should. The long-form answer is: Everyone and everything starts somewhere. And the more you ignore it...today, our media is drawing attention to everything wrong in our nation, because God bless the Fourth Estate (including the consistently-outraged Arnab Goswami), the competition between them for the next big story is massive. But it can only draw attention; we are the ones who have to focus our attention and do something about it (and we have to account for the very real possibility of the media being biased). We have scheming (against each other) ministers and burdened judges, but even they leap into action when the people demand it of them; remember Nirbhaya, and the speed with which the new laws were drafted and the case was held? Who owns our news? Additionally, we do not have other independent bodies for holding governments accountable to the public; we have a sort of Night's Watch (our judiciary), but no great big wall to keep the threats out. There is no Lokpal, and Lokayukta, at least none with any teeth whatsoever. There is just...us. There is truth behind the saying of 'Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty'; we have to keep watch, to alert others when we see something wrong, and to make others do the same. Maybe this is not our job; maybe an institution will be able to do it best. But till then, we are the ones who have to do this job. And as with any job, we have to look at everything that matters. Because everything, every little place, every small news, matters. And if you choose to ignore it today, you will be the one crying tomorrow. Originally published on my blog
What is the first thing that comes to your head when someone talks about mental illness, about how tired their brain is? Well most of us call them crazy, at times pathetic too, but you would be surprised to know that they are feeling way more ‘pathetic’ than you can ever feel. When I say being sad and being depressed are two wholly different balls of game, I truly mean it. Some of us hit the reality while others get beaten up by it so hard that they start questioning their own belief of existence. Depression is not a disorder or a disease and surely not one of the assumed ‘mood swings’. It is rather a phase where you become so vulnerable that its hard to draw lines between different shades of emotions. If you think you know how this one swings, then trust me you don’t. A sad face is not a voice calling for help, a happy face is. Try to find the insight of this feeling and you might solve some of your own riddles. Here are some of the ‘dark’ pages of the depressed reality, which everyone should know about: So next time whenever you encounter humans going through an emotional roller coaster, try to understand them. This is nothing to be ashamed of, rather ask again, encourage them to face their inner monster. Lastly It’s okay, just love yourself a little louder because this shall pass too...
Looking for new books to add to your reading list? We might just have some suggestions! How about...The Book Thief!
The Book Thief The Book Thief has an unique narrator; Death. Hold on, first listen to what Death has to say for itself. Please be calm, despite that previous threat. I am all bluster. I am not violent. I am not malicious. I am a result. Set in Germany during the turbulent years 1939-1943, the story begins with two siblings Liesel and Werner; they are being taken to the small town of Molching - just outside of Munich, Germany - where they are to live with their foster parents Hans and Rosa Hubermann. Before their arrival however, Werner dies on the train of mysterious causes. At her brother's funeral, Liesel finds herself stealing 'The Grave Digger's Handbook' when it falls from a young grave digger's coat. This marks the beginning of her intense desire to read books; Liesel steals randomly at first, and later more methodically, but she's never greedy. She even becomes best friends with her neighbour Rudy, a boy with 'hair the color of lemons'. But even bigger things are yet to happen. Max Vandenburg is a Jew whose father saved Hans's life in the First World War. While escaping from the horrors in store for his kind, he arrives at the door of the Hubermanns, asking for help, and is subsequently sheltered. After seeing him, Liesel says that "Max's hair looks like feathers", which amuses him and later they become fast friends. He writes a story for her, called "The Standover Man"; it's the story of Max, of his growing up and coming to Liesel's home, with him painting the whole story over white-painted pages of Mein Kampf. This part damn near broke my heart. Liesel Liesel is very real, a child living a child's life of soccer in the street, stolen pleasures, sudden passions and a full heart while around her bombs drop, maimed veterans hang themselves, bereaved parents move like ghosts, and the skeletons of Jews are paraded through town. Death Death is rendered vividly; a lonely, haunted being with emotions, drawn to children, and someone who has had a lot of time to contemplate human nature and wonder at it. It is Death who pockets Liesel's notebook after she leaves it, forgotten in her grief, amidst the destruction that was once her street, her home, and carries it with him. And no Death doesn't always wear a black robe either! 'The Book Thief' gives a unique and compassionate voice to a narrator who can comment on man's inhumanity to other humans without being ponderous, 'worthy' or even quite understanding at times. Reading this book, you are bound to cry and then laugh out loud the very next moment. A deeply moving story which describes the strength of human relationships while also pointing out how fragile they can be at times. A must read!
Some of the most interesting short films made in India, now showing on your nearest smartphone!
Miss Anonymous returns, with short films! Bollywood has come a long way from item songs and senseless cinema. Where on one side, Indian films are being appreciated globally, short feature films (or just short films) are not far behind either. The talent pool within the county is endless, and a good number of their examples can be seen and appreciated on YouTube, where you can find a huge collection of good-quality short films for free! Here is a list of 5 short films which capture a wide range of emotions, have brilliant acting, and most of all, intrigue us with their stories. So…sit back, grab some popcorn, and enjoy! 1. JAI MATA DI A production presented by Terribly Tiny Tales, this short film features our very own Supriya Pilgaonkar! Released on the special occasion of Mother’s Day, the film is set in Mumbai and shows a couple searching for a home in the most crowded city in the world. Being an unmarried couple, no one is ready to rent them out a place. Tired with the hypocrisy, they call their mother, who ensures the landlord and helps them find an apartment. The question is, how does the couple have the same mother? Visit the link below to find out! Watch HERE Jai Mata Di 2. KHAMOSHIYAN Khamoshiyan-presented by Royal Stag Large Short Films-is a film for dog lovers! The film has no dialogues but a lot of emotions, as it shows the loyalty and love of a dog for his master! Beautiful cinematography and acting bring alive the story of how a dog saves the life of his master by bringing her back from suicide; however, the act is misinterpreted and the dog is shot by the girl’s neighbours. Follow the link to see what happens next. Watch HERE Khamoshiyan 3. ABNORMAL A modern take on LGBT issues, the film shows a young girl who is exploring her sexuality; her best friend Dev is in love with her, but she doesn’t feel the same way. She learns that instead, she likes Dev’s sister. Trusting her best friend, she reveals the same to her, who in turn leaks it out in the school. At this point, the girl starts believing that she is ABNORMAL, and secludes herself. However, she comes out of this enforced seclusion with the help of someone. Who was that? Check out the link below to find out. Watch HERE Abnormal 4. PEANUT BUTTER Peanut Butter is a short film produced by Playground Digital Cinema and directed by Manu Chobe. It involves Priya Mathur (Gauhar Khan), finding herself at a crucial phase in her life where she deals with the dilemma of choosing between her sudden pregnancy and her career. Priya, a career oriented woman, gets pregnant with her boyfriend, but wants to go for an abortion. As she leaves her home, she meets a teenage stranger, Rohan, who surprisingly knows everything about her. He makes her understand the consequences of aborting her child and thus, completely changes her perception. A beautiful day spent together gives her the courage and hope to be a single mother and raise her kid. At the end, Priya finds out who Rohan really is and then, is even more determined to have a kid. Click the below to find out who Rohan actually is. Watch HERE Peanut Butter 5. CHUTNEY This Chutney is a bit sweet and a lot spicy! Presented by Royal Stag Barrel, this short film features Tisca Chopra (Rani) in a never seen before avatar! Set in Model Town, the story begins with Sangeeta, who is Rani’s neighbour, visiting her to get the recipe of Rani’s famous Chutney. Meanwhile, Rani herself is aware about the fact that Sangeeta is going around with Rani’s husband. Making conversation, Rani narrates an incident to Sangeeta which revolves around Bhola who is a loyal and trustworthy cook hired by Virji (Rani’s husband). Suddenly, their idle talk takes an unconventional turn, leaving Sangeeta flabbergasted. Follow the link below to find out what Rani told Sangeeta, and how Bhola found himself buried in the ground! Watch HERE Chutney