Women of Steel

The year started off with perseverance and oozes of energy.

The story goes like this. Well, it’s not a story to begin with. I must say this, it was an eye opener for mortals like us who just get waned away with dwindled pleasures.

I met 2 women. Well, I can say they are well past their prime. In fact, prime was gone long time ago and here they were, smiling at me, with unsurmountable words of wisdom and a gentle swagger that defines their aura.

These young, old ladies are miracle women to our generation.

One is 97, the other is in the pink of health at 102.

Now, those are staggering numbers.

Age has always been a subject of enigma, distortion and privacy. Face it, we hate getting older. Every birthday is a kind reminder to your ageing lifeline. Yet, we flaunt it with our ego and prejudices. We don’t like being taunted, though.

They have a memory of a whale and the eye of a hawk. They remember everything, doesn’t matter who it is. Like-able or not, memories are still memories.

Memoirs of a 97 year old-

The name of second child of her third grandson, the last time she visited London, birthday dates of almost all family members and an eye for details. If guns were blazing, I would give it to her hands down.

The tale of a 102 year old-

She crossed borders in Rangoon during the war ravaged times, with her children in her arms. But she charms you with her diaspora of memories and faith in God. She had few suggestions for me – take care of your family and respect your parents, they are the reason for our existence and success today.

Words of wisdom these days come in from all quarters but this one was one of it’s kind.

Meeting both of them gives you utmost satisfaction for the very reason we live – to love life.

At this age, I would be sipping Coke in my grave!

Both of them have stark similarities.

They have been through the worst, understand and paved the way through life with limitations and tenacity. Most importantly, they have this insatiable urge to live. And, that is the sole reason for the magic they exude.

Ladies, you aren’t merely the Women we celebrate. You are the giants for generations to look up to and take pride in our tormented and illustrious legacy.

Inevitable 2018, Hello!

2017 was a roller coaster year. Well, I can call it adventurous and tumultuous in the same breath. Yes, you might argue that these expressions don’t quite sit adjacent to each other. But at times, our derivatives stand flawed and undisputed.

Strange are the ways of life, so was 2017.

Indulgent, attractive, celebrated.

Sometimes, we feel excited about things that didn’t work. Perhaps, time is the major player here. We smile when it smiles. But in life, at some point, we all smile. Not really when we want, we don’t get to decide everything in our life, every time. As much as I am a great believer in myself and am self obsessed, I cannot ignore the subtle variations of destiny in my interesting life. I guess, there lies the beauty. And all the joy, apprehensions and agony that supplements the turmoil of the journey, so famously called ‘Life’.

But, all said and dusted, 2018 could be the year of my life. Instincts, gut feeling, not sure what it is. But the feeling remains undisputed. And, I am looking forward to it with exuberance and hope. Hope is good, fear is not. But apprehension, yes. I guess, that’s why 2018 is going to be a massive year of glorious uncertainties.

Keep aside my life for sometime now, 2017 was yet another year with lots of everything – emotions, achievements, disappointments, celebrations.

For each of you, let’s achieve what we always wanted to.

Let’s do what we enjoy the most in our decorated lives. Let’s create the space we always wanted in our lives. If you don’t like something, say it. If you want a change, now is the time to take first baby steps. Respect people but don’t take shit from anyone, especially if you don’t deserve it. Value relationships but make sure the relationship is two fold and devoid of oscillating benefits.

Phew! I know. Words of wisdom for few, Gyan for many and just rustic, frivolous words for those who don’t find a meaning in web of words and spoken partitions.

Let’s take a look at some pulsating pictures that defined my 2017, in more ways than it so appears.

2018, come and you will realize that you are already falling in love with me.

An Adulterated Life

Call girls. Prostitutes. Nymphs. Even worse, sluts and whores. Even an elite bitch works like magic.

Doesn’t matter how derogatory and pervert these words are, whether you like it or not, these words have a life of their own. And precariously, they live amongst civilians like us, living a nomadic journey of sleuth and ignominy. We despise them, yet we want them. It’s a dynasty of ruthless victims and jeopardised lives.

If they are animals, we are of a worst kind.

Prostitution is an industry in itself. An industry that traces its roots back to 200 years (perhaps older taking in to account, the frivolous and lustful nature of the human clan). Despite all the taboo attached to it, it still manages to thrive big and remain pioneers in a money spinning game of lethal flesh and enduring politics.

Coming back to the lives of women who have embraced prostitution as a way of life.

Real time, on the ground.

To begin with, let’s clear the air about this profoundly disgusting profession. It has nothing to do with pleasure, love or the art of lovemaking. In fact, it is devoid of human emotions and chemistry. All it is, is a game of flesh and bones. The woman is just devoured and used, spit and discarded once the capacity to inflict pain diminishes. All in all and significantly put, it is rape with consent.

As I mentioned earlier, here the protagonists are equally hapless and displaced. One craves for the other, for obvious and inexplicable reasons.

It is also a glorious example of the position of women they hold in a society and culture that has been an epitome of mercurial savages with a penchant for vegetable terrain.

Prostitution is an industry manufactured and designed to integrate the turmoil of system. Men need respite, women are used to get crucified and system needs a bait to bask in return on investments. A system relegated to a wicked and inevitable ploy supplemented by an equally disdainful history.

The families of such women are equally guilty. We have families around this world who struggle to make ends meet and the money their women make from this distasteful profession is a welcome boon. But, they equally despise them for what they do and the women are subjected to unsurmountable pain and hatred, which is grossly unfair. They want the cash but they don’t the profession to taint their lives which in itself is the sole reason for their survival. Pretentious, to say the least.

Despite leading a bereaved life of pain and humiliation, this clan continues to grow unapologetically. Redundancy, for one, is not a forte in this world woven with ruthless anguish.

குரங்கு பொம்மை

A local goon trying to wear a gangster’s hat, an old man with loyal submissions and a caring family, a devil in the shape of a man. If the ensemble cast is stitched with these characters, what do you expect? Perhaps, a tepid, outclassed flick. Oops! You will be surprised. It turns out to be a little stunner.

Such scripts have few takers, especially in desperate days when everyone is donning the ‘niche’ title to create the ‘most wanted’ magic on screen. But the ones who eventually make it out of the archives are the ones that keeps our cinema alive. Yes, honestly. Yes, truly. If you ask me, Superstars don’t make Cinema. They bestowed upon for a curiously different reason. Films like ‘Kurangu Bommai’ make the cut to retrieve cinema from the clutches of foregone parody.

Goon is a gangster but human. The devil who looks like man is the real animal of this film. It’s really the deluge of human needs and the gory extent he ranters himself to meet his desires is the real torment of this mini thriller.

The cast. All of them were affable and superb. Stuck to their lines and impeccable expressions from the lead actors (there are actually 3 of them) are believable and insane. I loved watching ‘Bharathiraja’ on screen, as an actor. I was always sure about the actor in him, many years back. This time, he is the nemesis and the protagonist, in a disjointed way.

Tamil cinema, I love you for such films of pure tenacity and dodged thrills.

Trivia: குரங்கு பொம்மை in English is ‘Monkey Doll’.

মা আসছেন

The reverence of goddess is almost iconic and monopolistic in the culture of Calcutta. This for me, is both quintessential and maverick at the same time.

In a man’s world and a country where Gods are God, Calcutta is unscrupulously devout of its goddesses. 

The Woman, The Mother, The Lady. Calcutta is the womb of the holy mother.

It’s Pujo, and I am closest to you when Maa is home.

Calcutta Stories, a tale of life and jubilation.

Encounters with Water

It was humid, sweaty and hot. It led us to the place of perennial relief. Our ‘Massive Friendly Neighboring Beach’!

It was dark but we could see the lights shoving up whine the earthly clouds. Clouds did not have enough water, but the sea did.

Sunshine eluded us but we could walk on the sand and feel it as well. Without too many people and usual chatter around, we felt breathtakingly serene.

The long drive wasn’t essential but we made it necessary. The destination was a delight to look forward then.

More often, let’s do this.

The Reluctant Princess

She was born and raised in a wealthy family. She ever had to worry about anything in life, literally. Born with a silver spoon and platinum cradle, all she had to wait for time to turn towards her path of glory. She had it all, precariously.

She had a penchant for charity and philanthropy at a very young age. She was extremely fond of children, the ailing poor and the differently abled. She had this uncanny ability to connect with people and the masses. Amidst all her flirtations and the gorgeous life she was blessed with, the human candor of one of its kind.

During her college days, she became an avid follower and participant of the charity works the college indulged in. In fact, she made it her own and was integral part of the socio economic genre. Not to forget, she was a brilliant student of academics and life.

In the final year of college, she fell in love with one of her professors and a member of the elite in the state. It was a whirlwind romance, and they got married immediately after. The marriage produced 3 children, and they were the most talked about couple in the town. Well, as it seemed to the naked eye.

The romance and the much adulated marriage turned sour in 5 years. Differences started creeping in their relationship. The professor was accused of infidelity, and she was guilty of neglecting her family values in pursuit of her greater vision. Neither could accomplish the trust and understanding between each other despite multiple attempts of reconciliation from both sides. He was distraught and digressing, she was adamant and falling apart. The marriage was dying. The kids were torn between their parents, and too young to understand the gravity of their parent’s miseries.

She multiplies her philanthropic assignments and starts staying away from home. Under immense scrutiny from friends and relatives, she disjoints herself from all emotional attachments. She however, stays in touch with her children and visits them as and when time permits. After 8 years of marriage and 3 children, their divorce gets finalized by mutual consent.

She moves to a different city, continues with her assignments and projects, visits her children and takes them to vacations. Her assignments and philanthropic work attain immortality as she gains widespread acclaim and adulation in the public eye. But happiness still eludes. She seems to be progressing towards her vision but feels a void inside – mentally and spiritually. She smiles for the people but the sorrow is exquisitely visible.

She starts going around with one of her partners and financiers. Initially friends at work, the relationship grows wherein both start thinking about their future, seriously. She is still not ready, but advances nevertheless. Her former husband and his family feel demolished by her decision. But she doesn’t care. In fact, they both stopped caring for each other years ago. Nothing of substance was left in their relationship.

On a vacation in a cruise with her new found ‘love’, she is trying to bask in the torched sunlight. They look happy with each other.

The same night, a sea cyclone hits their cruise. Badly hit, the cruise sinks. Both of them die in the aftermath, their bodies are recovered the next morning.

Her former husband learns of this accident and exclaims in a typical way. “Death chose her”.

He continues to live with his parents and children in his hometown. He is still wealthy, and owns large businesses in the state. He remains unmarried.

*Inspired by true events

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