Story of a lost journalist

November 9, 2014

A smile for a smile, well, now

Filed under: People — Cris @ 18:46

Did my own bit of social experimenting today. Was not actually a planned one. After an assignment I decided to walk to office, a good 45-minute walk. I came across many lone walkers, men and women, evening walkers or casual walkers of the street. When you look at a face for quite a bit, which you have to if both of you are walking towards each other and from a distance, you tend to smile. Well, i tend to smile. At random strangers. And the responses I got –

Two women hesitated for a second before smiling in return, one young, one middle-aged. A third slightly older woman stared at me, and kept staring, perhaps to make shure it is a smile she saw. Looked to me like she took offence. A foreigner kept looking at me but refused to smile – she has adapted well. Now comes the interesting part. How the men react. Old and young all react the same. They accidentally look at you once and then they look away. Smile or no smile, that’s what they do. They turn to the birds on the trees, to the traffic in the road, to the fences of wayside houses, to the air in front of them and the ground below. There are the few who begin with loud snide comments but they too turn away the minute you look at them. To the trees and traffic and air. The bro code, i gather.

An eye for an eye, perhaps yea, but a smile, well now…

November 8, 2014

Interstellar in my life

Filed under: Movies/TV — Cris @ 15:42

I have been haunted by movies before, but not to this level. Where I take it to my life and feel nearly mad trying to find new meanings in harmless everyday thoughts and words. The Interstellar theme music is playing in my head, over and over again. I have got tears in my eyes and I have no idea why. Definitely not because I am feeling sad for the movie or about it. I hate spoilers but I will just talk about this one piece of furniture that’s really taking over my entire imagination now. A bookshelf. Between times. Between now and then.

Now everything is jumbled up. The dream I saw two nights ago about my best friend Ros telling me of a chemical compound and atomic weights – words and numbers I have never thought of after leaving school. The wish I made looking at the full moon sky last night to help me mess with time, trick it. Even the strange leak of the bathroom ceiling that drips a drop or two everyday, sometimes on my face, my way of seeing snow I used to think.

The little girl Murph in the film. We should not ignore that what little children say because we think they don’t know what they are talking about. Their minds are clearer, no learnings to mar it, and no prejudices from the learnings. They are more open, more receptive to a new message. Maybe we should go back to being that. Like how you were brave enough to pick yourself up and learn to walk in two legs, when you had no idea where that would lead you to. You felt it, and you did it. Now we don’t listen to our feelings, we think they are unimportant. “We didn’t invent love, it can be observed, it is powerful, it has to mean something,” she says, Brand says in the film. We don’t create it, we don’t manipulate it, no one has put it there, and yet it is there. How.

If, they are there to help us, the they that Nolan talks about, and they can’t communicate, what happens? They put strange dreams into your head, strange insights and thoughts, and feelings like love? And when the they are really us, it’s become what Brand said it is – the meaning.

Thank you Nolan, for putting me through this, whatever this is.

November 4, 2014

Being a feature writer

Filed under: Journalism — Cris @ 23:55

Back when i thought i should try journalism, i thought it may not be right for me, cause shurely you had to know a bit about everything, or everything about some bits. And i did not know what happened outside the cubicle i sat in, heck even what happened inside it. i have that gift to be unaware, uninformed, to be everything un. All i knew was i loved to write. My teacher at the journalism class asked me, you want to be a reporter cause you want to be a writer? There, it was spelled out for me, what i want to be and what i was trying to be. Two different things.

It was then i knew about this breed of people called feature-writers. Seemed to me you didn’t need to know all about all, you just had to know about what you wrote and write it well. But my features-writer teacher (Saraswathy Nagarajan) said please students, at least go through the headlines of all the papers and keep yourself informed.

So i tried to do that, and when the first line sounded interesting, that’d lead me to the second and the third. And i thought, maybe here is where writing meets journalism. Here’s why the writeups you write are called stories. Your first line should throw a hook around the reader and keep him tied till your last. i found fun in turning what appeared really boring to me into stories that i liked to read. Yes, it was important i liked it (at least) if another should so much as touch it.

The very rare times i attempted writing hard news, i was told, do not write it like features, here facts are what you need. Not the once-upon-a-time beginnings. It doesn’t still come easy to me and i consider it nothing but luck that someone had invented this art of feature-writing for the ‘Un’s like me. Trying to remove the ‘un’s in me. Trying, as i could, for i am still very limited in my becoming-aware-capabilities. And yet, the moment you spill out the word feature-writer, there is that sag of the eye that looks at you, and you can guess the line of thought. The mere, the lowly, the not-to-be-taken-seriously of journalism. The jobless, the 9-to-5ers, the page 3 yellow news makers of journalism.

And i wonder, really, was it really worth getting my very tiny mind out of my very limited world and putting it out there, to see, to hear, and to be put down so?

November 2, 2014

Kiss of Love

Filed under: My Musing Moments — Cris @ 18:35

(Kiss of Love is a campaign in Kochi to protest against moral policing, a protest for the right to express love)

Colleague A asks me why Cris, do you support, the kiss of love campaign. I ask why not. He says it all started from that attack on the Calicut café where young couples apparently kissed. I nod. So do you think it is okay to have such spaces allowed for young couples to come and kiss? He asks. I say it is not that they (the café people) “allow it”, they just don’t interfere, there is a difference between the two. Ok, he says, but what about the lots of exploitations on young girls taking place at these spaces. One, I say, it is not that the couples chose this space in the first place, they are forced to, because they can’t even sit next to each other in a public place, forget kissing. Two, I say, if it is an adult male and woman, it is not exploitation.

A father himself, A asks, but is it not right for parents to be concerned. Yes, of course, it is, but drawing boundaries around a daughter and putting her under a curfew is not how you solve the problem. You solve it by accepting (even if not agreeing with) her decisions, trusting her judgment after years of growing up with your principles at home. She is too an adult like you. You warn her, but you don’t stop her. So she knows she doesn’t have to fear about her freedom, and can be open and fearless, when her parents are with her, even if the rest of the world isn’t.

Mistakes, yes, can happen, cheating, yes, can happen. The woman, or the man for that matter, may be ‘exploited’, ‘harassed’, ‘cheated’. Like in every other grownup activity – in jobs, in businesses, in relationships. So do accidents on the road, but that doesn’t stop you from stepping out of your home every morning. And is there any point even talking about caution, about staying “safe” when assaults now come from the fathers and brothers of this world?

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