Copper rumped hummingbird

Will show the rump in the post about the ones in Trinidad.

Hawaiian Torches

Hawaiian Torches

Yes, the beauty and surprises and the colors didn’t end with birds.. It just started there. Canon EOS7D. 150mm, f/5; 1/250 aperture.

Take two on the underdog- the thing called true love and the actor who deals in it- Kunal Karan Kapoor

‘Love’, with all its mystical powers to make us soar, have butterflies in our stomach, skipping and pacing our heartbeats to its own rhythm, provide a hormonal rush (also called swooning). Ending, if requited, with the feeling of being complete and replete and in peace with the world, has had a hard time making me believe in it. Though, lets not blame the emotion, outright. Maybe it was just the display and portrayal of the emotion on screen, in most cases.

A new friend of mine was describing the place she lives, when she said ‘It is just so beautiful, when it is beautiful’ ( that you forget the long months of cold, harsh winds and icy roads) also applies to love. That you just want to see and feel it again and would wait for eons in a desert (or in 40 inches of snow) and jump through fire rimmed hoops into a hot sulphur spring (boiling sulphuric acid, yum!).. if someone tells you there is ‘love’ in the end. Love, is also, not for everyone.

Poor Mohan was jumping through all the hoops. For months. Nanhi’s incisors have grown, they have been shooting for six months and so in real life terms, it has been almost a year our beloved Mohan has been trying to woo Megha. Who has been wooed, so to speak. In my last post I did not acknowledge Aakansha Singh and was really remiss in so doing, she is only about 21, I think and the character of a mature ( if not that much older in yrs) mother of two and her incantation of ‘Thik hai’ or betta… the concern and the trepidation, the turmoil and the incipient happiness in her motherhood all shine brightly through the eyes of this beautiful young girl. Who was excellently cast in this role and will hopefully avoid the typecasting that usually, no, religiously, occurs in every form of art, not just acting, all over the world, deserved and otherwise (Leo Di Caprio as a spy, Jack Nicholson as someone who is usually angry, Meryl Streep for successful women, Picasso for cubism, Jackson Pollock for drip painting,Stephen King for ‘horror’, Nicholas Sparks for horribly heart rending (in a physical manner for me) love stories, Daniel Craig for action etc etc). Perhaps a lot more perversely in Indian television shows.

Love is most definitely, for Mohan, and for Kunal Karan Kapoor. In the show NBTNMKK , he had loved Rashmi deeply in the past, relinquishing all hopes for anyone else in his heart, when she left him, until Megha came into his life. So he knows what it is. What it takes away in return for what it may or may not deliver. Even Rashmi knew what she was missing, because she had it once. That’s the catch with love, if you have felt it once, truly, even if it is not you yourself that has felt it inside you, if it was just something that came out in waves from the person that loved you. You will always remember it and look for it, everywhere, everyday. For us viewers, we feel it coming out in waves from Mohan, for Megha, right through the television screen. His hurt in tangible when Megha calls him irresponsible. I felt the pain and the dread of hearing the answer when he asked ‘Jab tum kisise bhi shadi karne ko taiyar ho, to mujhse kyun nahi?’ I thought that very good scripting and so logical that I forgot I was watching hindi television. Such clear questions are rarely asked in our dramas, people get most of their information via eavesdropping here!

I think, if you are one of those people who can really see other people, through their worldly faces and facades, and have seen someone truly in love, then also you are destined to keep looking for it, until you find it, if you are lucky. Its probably a good thing then, given the paucity of people capable of true love, that most people just take you on your face value.

The longing we all see in Mohan, is not that easily found in this world. The self preservation we are either taught or is innate in our nature, almost always prevents us to want something to a degree that could destroy us. To lose ourselves in someone else, till we as a separate person, cease to exist. Mohan Bhatnagar, crime reporter, clearly, has the courage to love, not once but twice. But that is the thing with any potent drug. Once you taste it, you simply want more, even if destroys you, as it most likely will.

Therefore, Megha, who had love, perhaps a simpler form that we can all have at some point of our life, is initially afraid of it. What she had was still deeply satisfying, as she knew no better. And deep is only as deep as we are willing to look. Contentment, is easier, and with a loving husband and children she had it for a long time. With Mohan, the waters are more testy. He is not your normal stoic gentleman that is the pillar of strength, patience, fortitude, good manners and dependability. He is also not your usual charming, metrosexual, well dressed and smooth talking modern guy. Some girls may like those.. TV shows are full of them.

Nothing wrong with British gentleman we have all read about, or the usual smooth Casanova all girls dream to tame and make their own or Rhett Butler of Gone with the wind ( I personally hate the book). But I like a real guy, sincere, emotional, impatient, dreamy enough to forget there was a child riding pillion on his bike- lost in his beloved’s thoughts or a man wielding a gun to shoot him, in pursuit, when he sees his girl, impulsive enough to declare his love at any opportunity because he could contain it no longer, despite knowing better. One would almost believe such a guy doesn’t exist. Charm can be acquired, clothes can be bought and couture, maturity and patience may well come with age and experience. Blind love, or the real thing.. that, my friends, is not so easily had (though aging and experience are far from easy!). And much more difficult to portray. The background of the two protagonists, with knowing and believing in the power of love, is quintessential to this story, I think. Unlike what most people think or at least like to quote, ‘that true love happens only once’, I think that true love is more to do with the person who feels it, rather than the person he/she feels it for. If you can love, then you will find someone to love. Its a behavior changing drug, with permanent side effects.

As he played the underdog this time, competing with Manav, the child psychiatrist  who has it all together and most importantly gives the impression of being dependable. Mohan is also dependable, and we the viewers know it, but Mr. Kapoor just does a brilliant job, with the help of the writer, to somehow appear to come off as wanting on that quality. Essential for a father of two. A high point of the story is of course, unlike in other TV shows, Manav- the other suitor, is depicted as being a good guy, with what one could view (objectively), as a better prospective father and provider. This happens a lot in novels and in english movies, but rarely do we see that in Indian television, where the assumption is that when one digs for dirt on anyone,the only way to win against a competitor,  is to find it. Usually in movies the lead actor starts out as an underdog and then shows strength of character and what- not to end up being better than everyone else, despite his few shortcomings initially. In NBTNMKK, that has not happened, and that is quite fresh and much more realistic. We don’t always need evil to be good, nor does Mohan need to be the best to steal all our hearts, as he stole Meghas.

The defeated, stumbling walk carrying Megha’s wedding card, the unshed tears, that forlorn look I so adore.. Kunal Karan Kapoor does for a TV show I have not seen any one do for a movie in a long long time. That has been the reason I love satires, or cynical ends, they are just so much easier to believe and thus easier for someone to portray. On screen chemistry is a different matter, I have seen that much more often and I don’t think that is easy to achieve either, but the softness of true love, that I have not believed recently. The last time I believed in real love, on screen, was perhaps Forrest Gump, because Tom Hank’s character did not have the normal selfish or self preservation motifs, nor did he question or deny his feelings, he was an unusual guy, without malice, jealousy and other emotions that make up most people and hence still a hero, albeit an unlikely one.

Mohan is, ostensibly, the ordinary guy, most definitely not a hero, despite Nanhi’s belief. Yet, I believe his love is as close to the real thing, as one gets.

For someone to make me believe in true love, I would need just a lot more persuasion, a lot more talent, and a sandpaper treatment: to remove the years of accumulated jadedness. Mr. Kapoor, you do that. I have believed that love existed, in books, like in The Thornbirds, or Great Expectations or in Ape Essence and a few other books by authors who can write a life and its several realms in such eloquent words, that you would believe anything even in the good in humanity. To take it to screen is another matter. To move the viewers is another matter, in a language that speaks beyond the script. In the eyes that speak beyond the pain and heartbreak. In the dry swallows that control more than tears and show more than the passion and, yes, the real thing.

So when Mohan leaned towards Megha at her farewell party, my heart skipped a beat and when he told Megha ” Meri zindagi bhi tum ho aur meri khushiyan bhi tum ho..’ ,I released the breath I had been holding and I believed. Even when I know that love can be the most selfish emotion in this world. It destroys the weak, who pine for it when it was never theirs and give up the fight, that is life. That bends reality in ways that even Einstein would not comprehend. Love, after all, is not for everyone, it is for the strong hearted. I wouldn’t recommend it, unless you loved Mohan Bhatnagar or someone like him. Even then be prepared for a future of impulsiveness, impatience, the child like devotion that comes with the kind of guy he is, also comes with a child he can be at times.. No wonder Megha sees the issues, being sensible as she is!! Alas, not much hope for her either, love hurts, but hurt is good for the heart.

I had also not acknowledged the writer in the last post and that was most remiss and kudos to them or her? I watch the show online and the writer’s name is barely visible.. 😦 My sincere apologies.

Note: after July 12th’s episode= AREY YAAR!! WTF..  so much for impulsiveness being adorable. Now the onus is on the writer, completely, to make this work, because acting cannot save stories. Though TRPs are important, and one cannot blame the producers for trying to keep the show going. We want the fast pace, we want the great acting, we want the daily dose, we, therefore, cannot pummel an attempt (however outrageous, but stranger things have no doubt happened in  heaven and Earth than what we can contemplate, predict or comprehend), to continue the drama. But again, WTF!!! ( ANd I really really, I swear on the holiest of holy things on this planet, that I don’t swear easily).

P.S. post July 28th: I think I can see where this is heading, the two weddings is intended to be an intrinsic twist in the plot which, I think, will continue to focus on M and M’s relationship, after (what is definitely an illegal) marriage. For us in the know, marriage requires more work than whatever (believe me), went before, no matter how tortuous it was. I do believe nice moments are likely in their blossoming love, some chemical reactions are forecast. The added complexity of the two kids, with Addu’s animosity and Nanhi’s partiality to Mohan, in a single roomed house.. There are many palces to go, yet. Mr Kapoor, I still love you. I know you will be made to jump through even more hoops, fire lined and directed to end in swamps (sometimes) . I also know, only you can do it and make it worthwhile to watch. And I think the writer is Sonali something,  she is brave to try to walk the tricky fine line between popularity and sensibility. I believe she will try to save Mr. Kapoor’s character from quicksand, even though it must enter the swamp. Its too bad, however, that within six months of the best show in years, before Mr. Kapoor received the recognition he deserves and is due him, the TRP dominated TV industry turned this into another hollow story, or perhaps just another soap that leans towards being forgettable, but may still be saved for people who have seen it from the start. Like us..

Whose book do you want to be in?

Note: The last post was more a rant in its original form, is still quite horrid, but I have made some changes to make it a little more, well, acceptable.

I am sure many of us have wondered at times, during a crisis especially, if there was somebody who was writing their life’s story, that they could lay blame on for coming up with this, this new way of physical/emotional/ metaphysical torture. Most people just blame God, or their parents. Some may even blame the whole wide world.

However, in case we were given a choice to determine whose book we could be characters of and thereby live the life they write for us, I wonder who I would pick.

Depending on what type of a life I want to live, I have a few options and maybe by the end of this I will have a clear winner… or maybe not. We will see.

If I wanted to live in a thriller, not a supernatural thriller, but just a crime thriller. After having lived in Baltimore, I am amazed I was not a part of one already, but there it is. I would probably debate a little between P.D. James and Reginald Hill. Definitely not intending to be in S for stupid or B for banal: Sue Grafton, or slightly less dross Mary Higgins Clark ( what was that I feel for American writers ?). I will probably swing to Reginald Hill, unless I want an action packed one instead of a poetic, literary, smart in some places, profound in others. Then I would go to Lee Child and meet Jack Reacher once 🙂 The thing that particularly attracts me towards Jack is his reluctance to ‘own’ anything that binds him.A permanent life partner, A car, a house, even a license. While I may be irreversibly bound by family, I really covet a recluse life, free of all liabilties. However, in the end, Andy Dalziel and Peter Pascoe are a tide more interesting to meet in person, even if Jack promises to be very thrilling indeed.

In case I wanted to be in an African country, instead of England, I would go with Wilbur Smith. I am not sure if Wilbur Smith is an adventure writer or a thriller writer, what I imagine as he describes Africa so beautifully is a mysterious landscape with immutable deserts and unforgiving rain-forests, full of warriors, of one kind or another. I can almost tough them..

Now, if I wanted to be in a supernatural fantasy.. the choices are mind boggling- not because of the numerous writers- I only like a few and have probably not read many outside of them- but because the competition would be very very hard. There is J.K. Rowling, I could invent a new category for her, but as I mention her first, it is unlikely that I would choose her. Please don’t hate me. I beg thee. But if she had written only the first three novels or even up till the fourth one, I would have thought about it a lot longer than this. However she wrote seven and from the fourth onwards I lost track of characters and spells, and Harry Potter became another one of those ‘unlikely’ heroes, albeit very likable and powerful, that I never quite got to adoring. I am really the ‘underdog’ kind of girl..

So, next up- J.R.R. Tolkein. He is the winner. I am afraid of not even getting to Stephen King. Tolkein was the first real teller of an entirely different world close to ours in a long long tale. As far as I know that is. A world that still controls ours. I am not a ‘western’ or cowboy type of girl anyway. Other than Clint Eastwood, I wouldn’t look at another cowboy. Unless it was with respect, at Jeff Bridges. Tolkein’s middle earth, is much more to my liking, with rolling fields, mountains and hills and valleys of danger. Plus other than the underdog, I am a proclivity for the original. King would be the second choice. ( even I am surprised).

Moving on.. a classic. I don’t read very many of those and I am not at all sure that I will make a respectable choice here. Charles Dickens? Probably not, firstly because I thought of him first and thats usually a negative thought in my case ( ha ha ha). Secondly, no humor in his tragic tales. Shakespeare? Sure.. Emily Bronte? No, too much passion and usually a very very sad end. No, I think it will be Lewis Carroll. I know, maybe he is not the classic classic. Jane Austen is funny too. I don’t particularly like her stories, I already understand women’s minds so its not eye opening for me, in the same way it may be for other people. Yes, Lewis Carroll it is. If anyone can take you to a dark wonderland through a looking glass and make even a dangerous place full of the most intriguing tales, characters and other critters, it would be him. I am all but ready for it!

Science fiction. Definitely not Robin Cook, he has gone so repetitive ( I know, I defend King and accuse Cook, but King I can’t do and Cook can’t do science and I see it too clearly). Isaac Asimov, he was the original, true. However he sounds a little dated these days, I still like him a lot and am in awe of his clairvoyance. Michael Crichton, I think it would have to be. I have not read a book by him in a while, but he creates grandiose landscapes and mysterious creatures, and interesting people. I would like to be any one of them and see the others.

Moving on to spy thrillers, I think this time the first choice is the correct one: John Le Carre. So what if my husband fell asleep in the movie adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Le Carre is one of the reasons ( and all the above are the others) that one should write what one knows well and perhaps does well. He worked for British Intelligence, i believe. If he/she doesn’t do it well himself- at least knows people who do it well. I abhor David Baldacci and Robert Ludlum. The latter fills the books with such jargon that I am pretty sure he doesn’t even know what he really means. Le Carre also uses jargon, but that is when he writes a detailed, intricate series, with essentially intertwined characters and globally connected events to give it a realistic touch, with George Smiley. His non- George Smiley books have little to no jargon and thats when you know that he knows his business. And knows it well.

I am a girl and it would not be fair to leave out romance. I already know the answer but let me put it in a convoluted, torturous way that most romantic authors like to build into their story. Barbara Cartland comes to mind and quickly vanishes, even though she writes period romances and thats the only genre I like, in this category ( is genre bigger than category?, I will have to look up). Judith McNaught also comes to mind and lingers a little, she does write a plausible plot with an inherent twist or more than one twist that are quite or almost believable as the story unfolds. Mainly because of the background she tries to build. However, I have noticed some obvious examples of her trying to have characters reminiscent of famous characters by, say, Ishiguro. Give me some credit here, it cannot be a Mills and Boon or Silhouette story that I want to live in. I am not 12. The answer is Stephen King. His characters get the best ( or maybe the worst) of the fantastical and the romantic world. The best chemistry, the deepest bond that lasts even after a beloved dies. The real thing. No compromises will be accepted.

Let us not forget a philosophical story, that tells a tale with mind bending insight into others’ minds, societal structure and even the most probable future of mankind. I have not read a whole of writers in this genre ( maybe it is bigger!), so I am positive I will miss a few or a lot. From Dostoevsky to Aldous Huxley, Ishiguro to Steinbeck, even Ayn Rand ( but no, she won’t be the choice), Jostein Gaarder, Sun Tzu, Guevera’s Motorcycle Diaries, NOT Paul Coelho ( i hate him), Bertrand Russell. This is a very very hard choice for me. Perhaps because, I really want to be living in this genre, because life is the real thing and these people sure knew it and know it and write it. Give me a few more years, guv’nor.. I will know it then. Maybe.

Acceptable life

Why is it that people want different things and yet follow a typical pattern? Why is it more accepted to want what everyone wants? We are likely to have a genetic composition that predisposes us towards wanting social approval, or society can’t have evolved to the extent it has. Altruism is only seen in genetically linked social creatures, like bees and ants. Even so, our superior intellect should have evolved to want something more – a ‘deeper meaning’ at much larger a scale than what I see around me..  All we seem to be capable of doing with the intellect is devising new ways of making money or rather abetting fraud or just follow a herd mentality. The mentality that is being perpetrated generation after generation. So that the what we call life, is just an ‘acceptable’ form of living. With very few who wander to places undefined, territories uncharted in the handbook of ‘How to live a Perfect, (acceptable )life‘.

We are even now constantly selecting for such combination of genes that would enhance and perpetuate just this. As getting married and having kids is high in priority for people who decide early that they want what their parents had, nothing more, nothing less and nothing different (other than technology).
Working as a volunteer for the rights of adivasis or minorities, discovering a drug, appear far, far down in the list of approved activities, if they appear at all, leaves little time to procreate and perhaps doesn’t go very well with good parenting- and therefore if there are ‘altruistic’ genes that make a heart break looking at someone else’s plight- they are going to be lost to the population in general. Acceptable life demands being selfish, as your family, your kids and your life must come first as duty.  In this life, there is no room for ‘bad’ things that hurt you and yours and that includes any repercussions of your actions that may have made thousands homeless and some more victimized.
What about dealing with the certainty of death? In the US, death is considered to be bad, in fact any american reading this, will probably exclaim, who doesn’t think death is bad? And how could it not be bad? In giving the ‘acceptable’ life to those who can afford it, we nonchalantly, or unknowingly or regretfully and even perhaps reluctantly deal a unpalatable life to the others, who are rarely seen and never heard.
For them, death could be preferable. Abject poverty amidst a state of complete chaos and no respect for life or the living, for honor  is not acceptable, but millions of people globally continue to live it. Where one is realistic and still ‘human’ enough to know that there is no way out. No light at the end of the tunnel. Or when life has taken every glimmer of hope or happiness. When you have no home, no family and the option is to kill others and join the army of a tyrant to survive or perish at the hand of another 9 yr old – 19 yr old- if the nine year old has ever known real love, he/ she would probably prefer to die than live such a jaded life. The operative phrase being ‘known real love’. Clearly, if you have not, then you can be taught to believe anything, fly any flag, kill any one, and hate everything. This is why the terrorist camps work. I don’t think there is any coming back to a normal life for the kids who have lived there since they were toddlers or younger. Hatred fills voids like nothing else can.
If by some form of miraculous therapy they do realize that all they ever thought and felt was simply the extension of a deranged, fanatic, no matter how much that person appeared to be close to godliness.. They would be more dead than alive. And what would we have saved, then? I am all for life, never anyone doubt that. But it has to be one that I could live, or anyone could live with a modicum of self-respect and honor and most importantly hope.
Then again death is important for the obvious matter of matter- maintaining the cycle of nutrients and life.
In fact, the charm of life is that it won’t last forever. Otherwise, what little motivation people have, to be a better person, learn a little more, see or think or do more, would be successfully procrastinated to never getting done. All these are options for people who have started the normal ‘acceptable’ life of course.
I do believe that most cultures, living close to nature have a much higher acceptance of death. It doesn’t make them uncivilized. According to me, that is something to emulate.
Many religions also view death as bad, apocalypse promises to kill all the non- believers while a special chariot lifts the believers to the heavens above, to be one with God. Others escalate death in the name of a religious empowerment as a sure shot way to eternal happiness. But then, I don’t believe God made religion anyway.
The other most socially approved act is to have children, the opposite or the beginning leading to death, depending on who is thinking about it. Someone once said that having a child is an act of very high optimism. One must be optimistic enough to believe in the best possible future for their children, obscuring all mishaps and unpleasantness that must have befallen them, while growing up. Perhaps magnifying the happiness children bring, to overshadow the essential sacrifices for bringing up children. We must be evolutionarily wired to achieve that level of obscuring as well. Or perhaps the need to be needed is powerful enough to overcome everything else.
So what is an individual’s contribution to society while living this acceptable life, children? some skilled labor? Is it overreaching to want to do something meaningful that outlasts your generation and want a family? Or is it even possible to do many things well? Bringing up children well, is no small task, somehow our parents managed it well enough, but as technologies bring in more negative forces to take away the innocence from our children, it is getting harder and harder. Maybe only in my imagination. But game-boy, definitely doesn’t make friends, or improve imagination, when a short answer to everything is easily available on the internet, why read a book? That has become acceptable, living a life where the only contribution to the world is the next generation of mostly similar in nature, but different in habit, people going through the daily grind.. Well, in some cases children do grow up to be great thinkers, who change what should be ‘acceptable’ and what not. I find it hard to accept that what we are participating in, is a kind of lucky draw, where everybody gets a consolation prize of having had children (if they participate), but there is very little  likelihood of a real prize worthy of its name. No,no, I do not mean that children are not  a prize, of course they are to us. What I mean is, objectively, they will grow up to replace us in a banal cyclical setting, that does not lead to any lasting meaning or substance.
Is that where, some socially incompetent geniuses come in, who are responsible for the few breakthroughs that can occupy whole generations in their repercussions? Who may never have had the acceptable form of life themselves..
The other, more sinister side of the consolation prize is, if you haven’t had time or the thought to read about everything that can affect your child, not limited to good parenting books ( and honestly, even if you thought you did the best), there are things that are beyond your control that make up a human life. Every time something bad happens to your child, you will blame yourself and not without reason. You may also have achieved the level of meaningful success in your field of choice, enough to be an expert who is valued, skilled and can keep up with all the new stuff with  little effort and still bring up a well rounded human being ( or 3 well rounded human beings, and we are not talking about their weight here). To win some , you lose some, maybe you are not an expert for long- you are just a mediocre wage earning person, who values family. That is acceptable.
You could even be fictitious. And still not be able to change the course your children’s lives take, even when some great writer is actually writing about you. Even the writer needs turns and twists in the story, otherwise it is not a story. Perhaps that is why, it is acceptable to have a life that is outwardly straight forward, with average to mediocre levels of happiness, success and pitfalls, agony, heartbreak and disease. Some one is writing a story with all of us as characters, and it has got to have twists and turns..
So, here is hoping for an acceptable life to all of us who hold mediocrity in disdain and are trying to find out why  they fall into that murky, black ocean-like body that has all the other mediocre people swimming in it.