Monday, April 19, 2010

That day in the rain...

    This is yet another work of fiction from the time when i dabbled in storywriting :) Read on..
    I was just planning to get out of the house, when it started raining heavy..The tiny blue umbrella in my hand looked like an unworthy combat for the rain outside.Normally,on any other day,I would have loved the rains.Nothing could beat the bliss that I felt as I sat by the window,sometimes with a cup of coffee and a book,sometimes with tears in my eyes and sometimes with wet hair having just got out of the shower,but always,with a smile on my face, watching the rain hit the window panes.I would sit there for hours,watching the new drops of rain that hit the glass, making a game out of guessing which drop would flow down first and merge with another drop on it's way, making a tiny stream of it's own and then gathering up at the bottom of the window into a tiny pool and then trickling down the wall and into the garden mud,sending out a strange,alluring fragrance that merged into my being as I drew a deep breath to draw it all in.The scent of the first rains!
     But today was different.Today was so special all by itself, that it did not need the rains to add any further beauty to it.Today,was the day that I had spent sleepless nights over,thinking and re-thinking how I could make it more perfect.."More perfect" is an oxymoron..But for me, it was a possibility.For a day that had been so eagerly awaited, no happiness could be impossible.As I stood in the verandah waiting for the rain to stop,I realised that,even if the rain stopped,I could not save my sari from getting ruined.The moment I step my foot down,the muddy waters would splash all over my sari ruining the hems and staining the sari.The drizzle would dampen my hair and make it stick to my scalp.I could not even try to imagine what I would do with my new pair of matching footwear!And to think that I spent an entire day shopping for all this, so that I could look my best on this special day...With a long face, I settled down into the bamboo chair in the verandah and closed my eyes.The moment I did that,a tiny stream of tears ran down from the sides of my eyes and trickled down my cheeks,one stream drying half way through and the other trickling further down onto my neck..I was ashamed of myself.I was the same woman, who, when life threw the toughest of challenges, took it upon myself to face them all alone without a tear.But here I was,disappointed that it rained at a time when I wanted to walk straight in the sunshine and enjoy what I had strived so hard for...Anyway,I just decided,as I shamefully wiped the last tear out of my face, that I would not cry anymore.Nor would I got out in the rain and let two hours of dressing up go down the drain.Shopping for clothes and accessories is hard work.Especially for someone like me whose sense of fashion is not really great.I would not let all that go waste.I decided to stay put where I was and wait until the rain stopped.
     Closing my eyes shuts me off from the real world.Not always.But sometimes.At times when I am very happy,the best way of handling it,the way that works for me,is by closing my eyes.So I closed my eyes,and thought of the day when the strife that was about to end today,began.I remember how I fought with the entire household for him.I refused to eat and drink until the entire family agreed to what I had to say.After all, I could not afford to let him down.The day I decided to fight for him,I knew I had a tough path ahead.As a member of a joint family,it was important for me to convince all the members of the family.It was no easy job.And I could not be sure what our future would be like.I had no idea myself.Infact,getting myself to talk to the family itself demanded a lot of thought and introspection from my side.Only when I was convinced that I was ready for the end results,did I garner enough courage to open up.I still remember,as if it was yesterday,how the elders of the family called me a fool and asked me to revisit my decisions a million times.I was adamant. I expressed my firm decision that I was not ready to go back on my word.There was silence in the house.The only noise that could be heard was that of the great swing in the hall creaking under the weight of the people who sad grim-faced on it.The grandfather clock in the house went clicking by.No one said a word.The silence was killing me.That night I refused to eat.No one bothered.The next morning,with a broken heart, I saw him board the first train at dawn.I was alone at the railway station.I was weak,I needed support,I needed someone to hold me and tell me that everything would be alright soon.But there was no one.I was left all alone.
     I woke up with a start as the first rays of the evening sun hit my face.The rain had stopped.Half an hour had passed since I fell into this reverie.I looked at my wrist watch.I still had an hour.In my excitement to meet him,I had gotten ready two hours in advance..Standing up and straightening the creases on my well starched sari, I got of the gate and walked to the auto stand.I got into the auto and began the countdown.My heartbeat was racing up,I could not help smiling,I kept staring out of the window.Everything I saw made me happy.So lost was I, in my happiness,that until the autowallah shouted "Madam,Station!" I did not realise that we had reached. I paid him in a hurry and got out.
      I could only imagine how happy he would be to see me in this sari.This was his gift.I wanted to look my best.I wanted to see him happy.I just wanted to hug him and forget the world and it's pains.As I walked down the footbridge,I saw him in the distance.I had grown so used to him,that I could recognise him from behind even from a distance.He was a part of my instincts! I smiled and quickened my pace.He turned back and saw me too.He picked up his bag and started running towards me..All the way,grinning from ear to ear and watching me without batting an eyelid.At last the moment was here...He threw himself into my arms,hugged me tight and said "I have missed you so much amma"...
       I again went back to that day at the same station when he had hugged me just the same way and said almost the same words "I will miss you amma".I had cried then.I cried now too.But they were tears of happiness.The happiness of seeing a son walking back alive into my arms from the enemy line.The happiness of having had the courage to fight against my family for letting my son follow his dreams.The happiness of having the will power to send my son back to a place where I had lost my husband.The happiness of being alive to watch this day.It was all about happiness.And as I drowned myself in his warm hug, I wished with all my heart,that this moment would last forever....Forever...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bata !

     I am not much of a footwear person. Now, I don’t mean to say I like walking around barefoot. It’s just that I am so not the type who can maintain an exclusive pair of shoes to go well with each dress I buy. I am the kind who will buy 3 or 4 pairs of reliable (read: no pencil heels, no tiny-string stilettos), durable (read- slush about in the rain and they are still intact), goes-well-with-any-dress kinda footwear and leave it at that. And oh yeah, there is also a fancy, high-heeled, diva-like pair meant for occasions that do not demand too much walking ( I would die walking in them!)  Considering the fact that I spend more than half of my life slogging in a cramped cubicle where people don’t have time to scratch their backs, forget checking out other’s footwear, I don’t really get into this matching-coordinating-shoes-n-dress business. So basically, I have a bad case of “guy-like” negligence when it comes to footwear. Guys, if you are shoe-fanatics, don’t take offence! It’s just that most guys I know don’t really care!
     So considering my absolute nonchalance towards footwear NOW, you can imagine what I must have been like as a kid. The ONLY footwear brand I knew as a kid was ‘Bata’. Liberty, Action blah blah was still there, but Bata was a household name. Just like the Maruti 800 among cars and the Bajaj Chetak among scooters. So the black school shoes, the blue and white sports shoes and even the everyday shoes at home were all Bata. Back then, Bata was a no-nonsense, no strings attached kinda footwear company. At one point of time, looking at all the love people had for Bata, I even thought it was an Indian company. Much later did I learn that it was not! But looking back now, I realize there was something very Indian about Bata. It was the most economical, most comfortable and most minimalistic brand of footwear. Very rarely could you find some fancy footwear there. It was all about comfort and minimalism. 
   My tryst with Bata continued until I was old enough to buy my own shoes. From then on, I was no more a Bata loyalist. The collections at Bata did not cater to my needs anymore. As a youngster, your taste is bound to lean over something that is more stylish than comfortable and more outdoor-ish, in-the-wild kinda stuff. Woodlands was the best bet in that category. But yes, I must say, Woodlands was expensive! More so, when you have been wearing Bata all your life ;)
     And then came the Metro, the Mochi, the Sole and poor Bata took a blow. In fact, I don’t remember buying footwear from Bata in a really long time. Even if I did, it was when I needed a comfortable pair of pump shoes for my morning walk in Mandya (the walk did not last for long, but the shoes did J ) . I thought Bata was all but gone, until one day in mid-2007( I think) when a pamphlet arrived with the morning newspaper. Bata was back! Trying to do it’s best to catch up with the new trends, Bata had introduced its line of new designs. Nothing over-the-top, but definitely a far cry from the minimalistic designs Bata was known for. And they had re-discovered their old designs too. Their footwear was now more colorful, looked younger, but, like always, was still very affordable! The Bata logo still makes me feel very nostalgic! It’s a brand I have seen morphing in my times…From tiny footwear shops to 3-level showrooms, Bata has changed and how! The way this brand has re-emerged is truly remarkable..I don’t know about the market gurus and their complicated analysis, but at least for me, I think Bata has really grown from what it used to be!


          In the past year, their designs have really taken an upsurge in style and now, if you walk into a Bata showroom, you will see designs that are both stylish and comfortable! There are two things about Bata that still hasn’t changed. Their minimalism and their affordability. Their designs are still understated, yet elegant, and nothing flashy at all! And the cost is still very much easy on the average Indian pocket( old Bata loyalists will beg to differ I know!).Different people have different opinions about the quality though. That is one thing not all can agree upon. The experience differs from person to person, so I will not touch the quality part here!
    This past week, I shopped for something comfortable to wear through the summer. And I found just the perfect thing at the Bata showroom. Now, you may have seen many variants of these close-toe shoes, but this one is ultra-comfortable. Your feet just slip into it and stay there! Plus, it’s ventilated. Tiny holes all around the shoe, it’s so perfect for sweaty summer feet! Considering the fact that I have giant feet ( no wonder I am not much of a shoe person! K), I was pretty surprised when this shoe actually fit :-P Their Hush Puppies (The brand from Wolverine.. I think Bata is marketing this brand in India), ladies’ formal shoes and the glossy peep toes were amazing too. But with their cool-on-the-eyes pastel shades and their ultra-comfortable,simple,no-fuss design, the winner for me is this understated, very girly pair of close-toes that go well with the summer theme and look great on the feet too! And guess what! Carry them home for just 300 bucks!How cool is that! ;)
     Ok, FYI, Bata did not pay me to write this :-P This is just direct dil-se.. Btw, I think no footwear brand has managed to gather as much customer goodwill in India as Bata has. Good for them! Though I have to mention..When you are in the mood for Diva-like dress-up shoes, you are better off hitting the other high-end designer stores.
      What a "sole"-ful post this has been ! ;)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Varudu - My Review

     Ok, someone please hand me a glass of water. Nah..I am not thristy..I just need to splash some on my face to wake myself up! I am just back from watching “Varudu”, the latest Allu Arjun flick. If you are someone who has seen Arya, Deshamuduru etc, stick around. If you haven’t seen a telugu movie in your life, you are better off not reading this. Just go away.
    Yeah, for the folks who are still here, welcome! Read this and save your money. Better still, save yourself some really nasty torture in the form of “Varudu”, the much hyped saga about a 5-day Telugu wedding that has Allu Arjun gesturing and behaving like a shy brides. Ok, yeah, like most of the people who made it to the theatres, i fell for the posters! Now , when you see a six pack guy, dressed in wedding regalia, complete with a garland in hand, shyly stealing sideward glances towards his bride ( the heroine, whose identity was kept secret until the movie released), you are bound to wonder what it is that makes a macho man go all jelly kneed. And yes, there is another trap too! The trailer promises to treat you to a visual delight by showcasing the traditional 5-day telugu wedding in all it’s grandeur. I am a sucker for wedding rituals! I am the kind who can sit through a traditional 6 hour wedding, doing nothing but watching the rituals. So when a movie promises to show all that and more, you can be sure I will watch it. Girly I know, but what the heck!

      Anyway, using the last remaining bit of the long weekend, I made it to watch “Varudu”. And God, do I regret it or what! The movie is the usual Allu Arjun fare, baring his torso, and wearing pants that make his thighs stick out like giant jelly blobs and of course he has to dance to tunes like a madman. I love this guy ok! Give me his Arya and I can sit and watch it over and over again for an entire day! But this Varudu movie just does not work for him. He takes this “ I will see my bride only on my wedding day” thing too far and stretches it beyond imagination. Now, it would be unfair to say that there are no good moments in the movie at all. As a brand ambassador for the Great Indian Arrange Marriage, when a punk like Arjun Allu professes the virtues of an arranged marriage, asks his parents to find the bride for him and blah blah, there is a teeny weeny bit of me that says “ Ok, yeah, so I am not the only loser who is gonna settle for an arranged marriage”. Also, there is a little dhak-dhak happening when the bride and the groom see each other. But after that initial surge, the movie is a total let down! To sum the rest of the movie, it’s a lot of “Allu Arjun yelling at the villain”, “ Villian delivering loooong dialogues”, some overtly dramatic fights and yes, oh yes, before I forget, there is a liplock. Yes! A liplock in a telugu movie ;) But I must admit, the hero and heroine make the whole thing look so awkward that it’s easier to sit and watch a open heart surgery video than sit through the unnatural, “should-we-do-it-should-we-not” dilemma filled liplock scene :P
       The cinematography is good,music is forgettable except for the title track, which is quite nice on the ears, comedy is non-existent, action is nice and the marriage sequence, though supposed to be the theme of the movie, is all done and finish in a single song :-| But I must admit, whatever they showed of the marriage was really good. You can credit some of that praise to my girly instincts, but really, I think the money I spent on Varudu was just for this song and sequence.
      Allu Arjun, boy, seriously, get over it as soon as you can and go back to what you do best! This shy bridegroom with dreamy eyes thing is seriously not your cup of tea. Since I like you, I will try and save your ass and pass a little blame on the heroine, who I am sure was not inspiration enough for you to act well :-P To see seasoned actors like Suhasini and Brahmanadam being used in “blink-it-and-you-will-miss-it” roles is really sad!
      All in all, this movie is a fantastic idea, all gone wrong! It had all the ingridients to make a tasty meal, but I think too many ideas in the director’s head spoilt the broth, just like the proverbial too many cooks! And a subject that could have very well been the next Tollywood sensation, sadly ends up in the trash can as garbage. And garbage well spent on! I am sure they made good the money they spent on the movie in the first week. Every Gult Uncle,Aunty,Bunty,Babli,Laila,Majnu worth their salt, made a beeline to the movie halls! Sadly, they snored and came back! Allu, please go back to being Arya!
     There! I have successfully saved you some money and better still, some really boring torture in the form of Varudu...What happened to your good manners?! Say thanks!

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