I’ve been struggling to write for the past three weeks. I have been feeling a lot of things.
For one, the doom and gloom is getting very real. Just as we thought we were out of Covid, Putin has decided to hurtle the world into another catastrophe. In one moment, we are laughing on Twitter at a cat video; in the next, we’re scrolling past videos of a fire in Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. It is eerie.
We can enclose humans in metal contraptions and hurl them half-a-million kilometres into the sky, but the best political systems we can design are liberal democracies that thrust insurmountable power in the hands of a few? It baffles me. The majority doesn’t want war. The majority wants to catch the train at 5:37pm to beat peak-hour traffic.
Instead of bombing Afghanistan for two decades and now decimating Ukraine, I wish America and Russia, respectively, had the courage to sit down and talk, to choose non-violence over and over again. But they don't do that, they make their ‘wives, children, relatives and friends’ pick sides, and become a nuisance to everybody. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam indeed.
Feelings matter. Feelings lead to wars. So… please take care of how you feel.
I am trying to gather words to write about my grandma who passed on three weeks ago, but am unable to. I feel a void.
My beginner Urdu course is going really well (a 9 week 'introduction to Urdu' course I signed up for last month). I’m getting familiar with the alphabet. I’m thoroughly enjoying learning the script. I’m beginning to recognise letters that make those most beautiful squiggly lines.
Last few days, I’ve been watching a lot of films. I am excited to watch films again after a long time. I get into bouts of these. Of the films I watched recently, I particularly loved Asghar Farhadi’s 2009 film, About Elly. Fantastic.
I signed up for the online version of Bangalore International Film Festival specifically to watch a Kannada film called Pedro. I believe it’s a story about a man who accidentally shoots and kills a cow, and is then ostracised by the village. Watch the trailer here. The film has been received very well at major international festivals.
However, it’s a shame that the jury/organising committee of BIFFES—the biggest films festival of Karnataka, and the home state of the director of Pedro—lacks the spine to show this film in some category or another. They seem chuffed with themselves sucking up to their bosses in the government. It's a sorry state of affairs.
I watched Jhund on the day of its release, my first film in a theatre since the beginning of the pandemic. I wasn’t a fan. It is no match to the director’s brilliance that is seen in Fandry, his directorial debut. (I am yet to watch Sairat. Sue me!) Rahul Desai, the exceptionally gifted writer and film-critic, opines on Jhund here: Jhund Loses Itself Somewhere Between Caste And Cast
I'll see you next week,
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