Posted in Me and moi, Movies

Wonder Woman.

I’d decided not to write a post on the movie. Everybody else in the world was doing it, and I thought my contribution would just be another drop in the ocean. What changed my mind was the fact that I was getting goosebumps whenever I talked about the movie, even three weeks after I watched it.

The movie, in itself, is great. DC have finally managed to get humour in a superhero movie right, and the visuals are fantastic. One scene, especially, where she steps out into No Man’s Land, is reminiscent of Jon Snow riding out in the Battle of the Bastards, which means it’s very, very cool. I was so glad they got this movie right, because if they hadn’t, Hollywood would have used it as an excuse to not give women superhero roles or women directors big budget movies for the next 20 years. Now, they really have no excuse.

I had never given any thought to the lack of proper women superheroes in movies. I knew underrepresentation was and is an issue, but I relegated it to being a #firstworldproblem. I underestimated the impact a female superhero would make on me.

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The male gaze in Wonder Woman was jarring by its absence. Simply the lack of shots panning from Diana’s legs to her breasts meant that I could look at her as a person, not as a body. I was more interested in her motives and her strength because the director looked at her outfit and saw armour, not a skin show. The woman in the film was unapologetically powerful, much more than the men surrounding her. She did not try to hide the fact that she was better. She did not try to make the men like her. She took charge, and used her entire potential, without fitting into a mould. And yet, she liked ice-cream and snow and dancing. She cared about the villagers she had saved and loved Steve Trevor, with all his faults. She was a woman. Every aspect of a woman.

I came out of the theatre crying. No wonder boys and men are so self-confident everyday. They watch superhero versions of themselves all the time. I came out of the movie theatre READY TO TAKE ON ANYTHING. I laughed at the paltry rain holding me back from travelling home. Diana wouldn’t stop at rain. Diana wouldn’t stop at traffic.

Three weeks later, I’ve found myself changed. Whenever I’m interrupted by a man trying to explain to me what I’m saying, I see Antiope shaking her head at me. Whenever I feel tired and unable to go on, I see Diana, smiling, confident, ready to take on the world. I have found Antiope in me. I’ve found Diana in me.

Posted in Stories

After the Funeral.

At the senior citizen community cafe, it was officially tea time. The residents had come down from their afternoon naps for chai and gossip till it was time for their daily soaps. Today’s charcha was the death of one of their neighbours.
“Heart attack, the doctor said.”
“And no surprise! I always told Lata not to let her husband have so many biscuits with his chai. It’s not healthy, especially at our time of life-”
“Joshi Kaka never did listen to anyone. Not even his poor wife.”
“Poor Lata. 40 years of marriage, and now what? Left alone, no children, nobody to take care of her. No company in her old age.”
“We should go and visit her. Ask her to come down for tea. The poor bird will lock herself up in misery otherwise.”
“I’ve never seen a wife more devoted to her husband. Not one fight in 40 years! How is that possible? My Lord! Shirish and I fight almost everyday, and we’ve been married for 50 years!” Mrs. Kulkarni cackled.
“I’ll tell you what. I’ll ask her to accompany me on my morning walk and see if she’s interested in the laughter club. Get her out of her funk.”

The gathering nodded, very pleased with themselves and their good-natured plans to help the widow and supplement their gossip.

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Lata was sitting at her dining table in their small little condo. It had become difficult for them to climb the four flights of stairs to their old apartment, so they’d moved here 3 years ago.
She liked this place much better. She’d retired as a bank clerk last year after 35 years of steady service, and her pension was quite comfortable. An old woman like her did not need much.

The kettle whistled and Lata got up to make herself some tea. It was so quiet now. Just the sound of her shuffling feet and the bubbling water.
The death hadn’t hit her immediately; there had been so many arrangements to make and people to call. But twelve days later, she felt hollow. Like a mango that had rotted on the inside, gruesome, wrinkled and lifeless.

She shook her head at herself.

“It’s much the same.”, she told herself. “I’m sitting here on this chair, with my dinner, switching on the TV at 7:30 PM. Exactly like I’ve done for the past decade. Nothing at all has changed.”

Nothing had changed the last time either. It was oh, so long ago now. She was younger then. Her darling Pramila had been 4 years old. Such a wonderful child. So sweet, so smart, so beautiful! And then God had taken her away. Snatched her up to heaven. They never talked about her after that. They’d both carried on living their lives like nothing had happened, like nothing had changed. The same routine.

Lata was a very devout person. She’d known it was God’s plan that Pramila should be in heaven, in His lap. She trusted in His plan.

They’d both wanted more children. When she had Parag, they were so overjoyed! A fine, healthy baby he’d been. So full of life and vigour! God had a plan for him too.

Lata wiped a tear from her eye. She shouldn’t be ruminating. Not after so many years. What was the use?

God has a plan for all of us, she kept telling herself. He always has a plan.

She’d known his plan for her husband too. God had come to her in her dreams, as He’d done so many years ago, and told her. She was His humble servant. She’d merely carried it out.

Lata sometimes wondered what God’s plan for her was. He’d sent her to earth as His messenger. It was her sacred duty to execute His word. First her mother, then her father, then her brother. Then dear Pramila and Parag. And now her husband. Would He ask her to dispatch herself to Heaven next?

“Not yet.”, she murmured, a she poured herself another cup of tea. “Not yet.”

Posted in Stories

What Are You Afraid Of?

What is your deepest, darkest fear?
That there is light shining inside of me.
That I will look inside and find the universe.
That I will see limitless, endless space;
Waiting to be filled and stretched and filled again.
I am afraid that I will see an infinite; take away everything and it still remains.
I am afraid that I will see a whole, a complete thing, without bonds or wants or needs.
I am afraid to see what is possible, because then I will never be satisfied.
I am afraid of seeing potential; of knowing that it will remain just that.
That I will convince myself that I am limited, because limits are comfortable.
That my flesh will warp the reach of my mind, simply because it does not wish to try.
That I will be capable of everything, but accomplishing nothing.
That I will hear ‘could do better’ over and over and over again.
I am afraid to see the immeasurable power of my soul,
And then fritter it away on magpie treasures.
What is my deepest, darkest fear?
That there is light shining inside of me.
And that I will snuff it into blackness.

Posted in Stories

Perfect. – Part 3.

As the groom helped the bride into the car, I walked over to the best man. Nathan looked a little glum. Maybe he was just tired. It had been a long day.

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“Well, it’s finally over.” I rubbed his arm absentmindedly as I stared my fill of George before he left for his honeymoon.

“Yes it is, isn’t it?”

Something in his voice compelled me to look at him. He was still staring at the newlyweds. No, not the newlyweds. He was looking at Ella. I recognised the longing in his eyes.

How could I have been so blind? I was so wrapped up in self pity that I’d never noticed that my friend was suffering as I was.

I linked my arm in his and forced a smile.

“Don’t worry, we’ll get through it.”

I think Nathan understood what I said, and why I said it.

As we watched the car drive into the sunset, my heart felt lighter. Other people experienced heartache too. If they could try and move on, I could too. I would move on.

It had been a perfect wedding.