Reviewing – an art.

The statement – ‘we shall get back to you once we have reviewed’ used to freak me out at one point but I realised through my life in academia that reviews play a critical role in shaping the contents, sharpening the perspectives and in my case, correcting grammar and language.

I call it an ‘institutional impact’ where no reviews put me in dilemma. Whether it’s an amazon purchase or an app purchase or a Facebook page; reviews and ratings make me comfortable. I do understand that biases play a crucial role in these, however, the comfort of it, is something that I can’t deny.

Reviewing purchases are far different from reviewing a journal article because the scales and parameters of liking a product are entirely human than checking for scientific contribution or checking for an impact that a particular drug could potentially have on the masses. However, it can’t be denied that products or purchases or brand reviews drive customers in and out. These reviews are predominantly for the masses by the masses. Thus, like fire, bad words and bad reviews spread far and wide in a shorter span of time than one can ever imagine. Even when the fire is put out, the smoke lingers.

Words just like thoughts, once put out, keep ringing from time to time. Once these words are used to construct statements, regardless of them holding truth or lies, things go beyond mass comprehension. It’s these words that one then identifies the brand with, the products with and more often than not, the individual behind it.

I love the concept of adopting a thick skin and putting blinkers on, to just focus on what you want but when your work faces the masses directly, it should be a mutual responsibility. A responsibility of protecting each other’s dignity and that of nurturing each other, given the finite time and possibilities.

Naming, shaming, provoking and blaming rarely offer any solution. On the contrary, gratitude serves all, in different portions. Our time in this world is finite and with defined destinies to meet; words and thoughts could serve all of us better if we keep it clean.

Remember that muddy water that we used to play in as kids? We never slept in those muddy clothes for the fear of disease. If cleanliness in clothes and body is what we, as humans, seek then why should our thoughts and words be any different than these?

Hence, by all means, do review .. Review your purchases, films that you watch, things that you see, places that you visit .. review everything, share your opinions, provide judgements but do pause to clean.

An (open) letter ..

I have travelled and met people.. From slums to brothels to psychiatric wards of some hospitals .. to lavish rooftop parties in Hollywood to film sets, on few occasions ..to house parties to gym to my local train stations .. to meeting people through friends and family on random walks to online introductions .. The people that I have met or that I continue to meet all have the same story to share and to tell ..

Their constant battle through life embedded in hope.

Some struggle to get the ingredients to make a decent meal, and some struggle to digest a meal because of their health.. Some sell their bodies to strangers for peanuts and some carry those peanuts home so that their family can live .. Some think of killing others and some think of killing their own .. Some strive to live by the book and some think of flushing the pages down some gutter hole. Some talk of judgements that the world throws at them and some talk of love that they lack .. Some point a finger at the world and some don’t even raise their hand.

I have stopped saying that every battle is unique; now that I have seen diverse backgrounds.. They all emerge from the constant lack of love and acceptance that make a human grow and at times, frown.

There is always a finite supply of human medals that are given to humans for their work.. There is also a finite supply of energy in humans that they can put to life to work. Achievements and materials, then, can’t define your character and neither can they declare you a success or a failure .. The life, that you are blessed with, is far far greater.

Beautiful things take time to grow .. the stronger the roots, the better they hold .. If that be true for the strongest trees then why isn’t it true for us, human beings?

If I could tell all of you, who come back to me for positivity, that life is unfair and it shall always be .. The rule of thumb is then to simply transform yourself into a channel of possibilities.

Remember, battles can go on forever, decisions might take time to show .. But if you can accept and love yourself first, before anyone else, you stand a brilliant chance to shine and to glow.

So then, before reminding yourself of what vision and version this world holds of you; pause and remind yourself of what you really mean to you.

❤️

Strength and courage

I don’t really know why I am writing this but here it is..

Off late, a lot of people are telling me on how the world and it’s people make individuals question their choices, opinions, looks and basically existence in every possible way.

Things like, oh, you still don’t have a job? What are you going to do? Or are you sure about leaving him? What will you do without him? Your life is anyway very hard or Are you sure you want to be with her? I think you can do better or Have you really decided not to have children? You will regret this later in life or Are you sure you want to wear this to the party? I think you should change .. and it further goes into an endless loop of what the world thinks.

Not that I haven’t been on the receiving end of such statements myself but over the years, I have learned that life, is meant to be lived not to be compared or to be awarded but to be lived. Things flow just as emotions and over a period of time, pain, focus and priorities change axis. This happens to everyone.

The trick to survive through any transitional phase without being questioned by the society is one of the worst things to expect.. Hence, huge blinkers will surely help to pass through the transitions without much emotions. At the end of the phase, once settlement starts kicking in, people mostly retire or give up pointing their fingers at you or stop poking you because you would have passed their judgement barriers.

With open questions like ‘have you really thought this through’ or like ‘do you know how hard it is going to get’ .. the best answer often is to be honest and admit that you don’t know but that you shall see whatever comes your way just as them. By involving them in that uncertainty, maybe you can get hold of some tricks or earn some self peace.

But the problem is when you start asking their questions to your own self .. That’s when you let everyone win the battle against you and are ultimately left on your own in the battleground. This part, right before you adopt their questions, pause and breathe deeply .. If you still want to ask their questions to your own self, your answer should be .. I am strong enough to fight my battles; my strength and my courage are the my two most important keys.

Justice.

Every once in a while I get bombarded with ‘justice’ hashtags and shares.. justice for either her or him .. justice for this or that ..

I am bored of this justice to be honest and I don’t even understand ..

Because

I can’t go and tell the parents of a 7 year old in this very world that selling her to the sex trade so that her family can survive is wrong or right.

I can’t go and tell a 10 year old who just got pregnant due to an assault that her life will be back to normal and fine.

I can’t go and tell a young boy as young as 6 that it is okay to sit in silence and watch his mother being raped by soldiers.

I can’t go and wipe off the tears of a young teen who feels he is worthless because he couldn’t save his family from being set to fire.

I can’t go and tell millions out there that their faith and beliefs have no power.

I can’t even promise any individual that if he seeks the path of honesty, he shall rise and shine.

And neither can I tell anyone that being brutal, putting your own needs before others at the cost of their emotions and lives will not help you survive and thrive.

I can’t wipe out lust, greed, prejudices and jealousy from each and every mind..

Perhaps this is why ‘justice’, in my time, trends as a hashtag.

I live in a world.

I live in a world where robbing individuals of their innocence and space is not a crime.

I live in a world where an entire country gets wiped off the map because of war and it is fine.

I live in a world where liars get applauded on stage; trials get ruled by money not by content.

I live in a world where your house, car and travels provide you a social status; not your individuality or rigour.

I live in a world where non scholar videos and articles feed your brain not books or research.

I live in a world where honesty, trust and love are fashionable in text not for real.

I live in a world where no one has patience to chase truth through the path less travelled and known.

I live in a world where propagandas are massive and issues are huge.

I live in a world where I, like millions, no longer know what living means anymore.

Investing in the ‘you’.

A lot of issues float around because someone doesn’t understand you and it often leaves this feeling of strange pain and fear. Completely resulting out of sheer lack of not being understood. I guess the primary question that is to be asked is why would anyone invest in understanding you? The almost immediate answer is that in fact, no one should ever invest in understanding you except you, yourself. The main job and the only job in life bestowed upon each soul is to understand their own selves. The stronger the bond of the self, the radiant the self will be and thus the lesser the need to be understood by another body other than you. We are all taught to care, to share and to do good but I guess the primary receivers of this exact share, care and goodness are we first before anyone else. Imagine not being in love with your own self, what will you teach the world about love and more importantly, how will you show that love honestly to anyone? Hence, the basic act and practice starts with the first face that you see in the mirror when you stand in front of it each day. It’s you. And therefore, invest in you for that’s the best investment that you would ever do in a life.

Go-to films.

I don’t remember who and how I got introduced to the world of Kore-eda. To the world of Hirokazu Kore-eda. And that added a dimension to my life that I never knew existed.

The very first film of his that I watched was Nobody Knows followed by Air Doll. Air Doll left such a long lasting imprint on my heart that I kept going back to it over the years. I found Nobody Knows hauntingly beautiful and eerie. I have never gone back to watch it but I have thought of it over and over again that I have lost my way through my own thoughts.

Still walking and like father, like son, flowed in and I could see myself in the web that Kore-eda created for little, important human emotions, relationships and existence. Something was beautifully crafted out of those little ‘not to be told secrets’ or those ‘we don’t talk about these’ sentences. The stories had their own unique space but his narrative lingered on for days, months and years.

Kore-eda’s films, till date, are my go-to films; of course I need subtitles to understand them but beyond a point I think his work blends in with the need of the hour too .. where we need to acknowledge these little emotions that made us humans to start with.