The Leftover Pizza

Daily life Pizzazz, some nuggets, some fun

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Queen – as real as it gets

At one point in the film, in a drunken stupor, Kangna Ranaut captures the life of the average Indian girl – Tum jiska bhi naam lo, maine sabki baat maani hai. To me that was the defining moment of the film. Indian girls are taught to be ‘good’ rather than ‘authentic’. Lisa Haydon’s Vijaylakshmi, tries to bring Kangna out of her inhibitions. But where Queen becomes superlative is that it neither judges Vijaylakshmi (unlike Deepika’s character being judged in Cocktail) nor does it judge Kangna’s Rani for being what college bullies term as being ‘behenji’. Its a rare script where the heroine comes into her own but doesn’t necessarily become the opposite of what she was to prove her worth. Even at the end of the Queen, Kangna’s character remains the girl from Rajouri, albeit with better confidence. 

 
A lot has been written about Kangna’s performance and she has done full justice to a strong author backed role. Perhaps she personally related to Rani, as she has been criticised by Bollywood and some viewers for her small town looks and her style of talking. Succeeding for Kangna also must have been similar to Rani’s self discovery. 
 
What is also remarkable about Queen, is that for the first time you have a heroine’s family, that is understably upset about their daughter’s marriage being cancelled at the last minute, but doesn’t go into theatrics or forcing her to forget the guy or marry someone else soon. At no point do we see the family telling her that her life is ruined. They are just quietly supportive, so much so that her father is surprised but doesn’t ask her anything about the sex toy shop bills. One of the endearing portrayals of family interactions for me, was how whenever Kangna would want to hang up the phone or disconnect Skype, her mother would talk atleast 5 more minutes and she would have to cut her mother off mid-way. That so reminded me of how all our mothers are. We love them, but sometimes we have to cut the call and though they feel hurt about it, they love us too. 
 
The writing also follows cinematic grammar. For me, the greatest evidence of that was when Kangna sees the Eiffel tower and memories of her ex fiance (Rajkumar Rao, in an advanced version of his role from Love, Sex aur Dhokha) flood her. For the next 5 minutes wherever she goes she ends up seeing the Eiffel tower, its like she can’t escape it. That to me was a brilliant cinematic way of showing how when we most want to suppress unpleasant thoughts, especially those of personal loss, they keep showing up. The mind keeps bringing up the same images and thoughts. 
 
Rajkumar Rao’s role is very brilliantly written. He is just a garden variety Indian MCP, wanting to emotionally and physically control his fiance. The kind who puts up shaadi.com profiles of ‘wanted traditional yet modern girl’ (really what’s up with that?). So he when he returns from phoren, he wants a better status wali wife so plain Jane Rani won’t do and yet he can’t take even the better status wife if she has a mind of her own. Very telling are the flashbacks that explore what might seem to many Indian families normal expectations of a fiance but are really steeped in patriarchy. The need for control is strongly established when he disregards the pain she may have gone through on being dumped suddenly and insists she feel guilty that he had been looking for her for 5 days. The portrayal of nosy ‘log’ is also very real with how more than Kangna’s parents, her overseas relatives who’ve never seen her for years, seem to be more concerned about her barbaad life. Isn’t that true even in real life? 
 
As a small town girl myself, Queen felt very personal to me. Kangna’s journey in the film was so close to my own reality. I had warned my friends before watching the movie, that I might relate too strongly to the movie and might get emotional. But to my surprise the movie makes a point without tying the viewers into emotions. Its just reality with a sense of humour. As four of us girls walked out of the theater after the movie, we saw all the ladies discussing it animatedly and in good cheer, but the men in the audience were walking out with sombre expressions. Were they wondering if their significant others also would secretly want to post ‘Kutta’ on a facebook wall? 😛 
 
Go watch the movie if you haven’t already. Its rare such a real and fun movie comes out of Bollywood. 

Open letter to all Gynaecologists

Dear gynaecologists,

I write this letter on behalf of all women who have or are touching the dreaded age of 30. Some of us come to you as part of our annual check ups, some of us come for minor irritations and questions while some of us come for questions related to our fertility and choices of motherhood.

Invariably if we are anywhere above 27 and there is no sign of a ring, mangalsutra or if we just have a boyfriend/fiance whom we intend to marry someday, we have had to face intense scrutiny from your creed about it. We thought our grandmothers and those pesky aunties scared us the most about marriage and the impending deadline for it. However, the fear one visit to you puts in us is far worse.

Whether we come with a husband/boyfriend regarding family planning or come with some other questions to you with no man in the picture, the first thing we are told is that our fertility is running out. The implication always is that most of us have given preference to career goals or some new age ideas and are delaying motherhood. These assumptions are made regardless of your knowledge of what is going on in our life, whether we have been coming to you for years or even if it is the first time we ever came to your clinic.

This assumption is just the starting point, after which many from your creed remind us of the dreaded figure of 30, as if friends, relatives and media do not scare us about it already. In a country where sometimes even a well educated 20 something woman sometimes does not know fully well about sex, sometimes a woman just comes to you to get a clearer idea. And a friend who came to one of you regarding clarity, so that she could proceed with caution with her fiancé was given a morality lecture on the pre-marital sex and basically told her fiancé was probably only after one thing. Another friend who married post the magic figure of 30 and is trying for a child, is frequently being made guilty for having waited so long and told during every visit about how she will probably face all the worst scenarios of having a baby late. Those of us who have yet to ‘settle down’ are given quizzical looks and told we better hurry along with predictions of a gloomy future.

You might say that all of this is well meaning advice, because medically late pregnancies do have their own complications. That is a fair enough point, but what flummoxes most of us is, why the morality lectures and why the judgements on our life choices? We already have too many people in our lives who judge us daily about that, how is having a qualified professional doing that too helping us? Could we expect from you an understanding that for some of us, life doesn’t follow the Bollywood/societal script, whether we have tried hard or not? And aren’t you reinforcing a societal mindset that a woman’s only usefulness to the society is her reproductive capability by scaring her about it every time? Could we expect that the next time one of us comes to you, instead of telling us what could possibly go wrong and how our lives could be ruined, we get advice on what could still be done, given our age, our financial conditions and whether or not there is or will be a man in our lives? Because if you show the way, there is a likelihood, the society might also consider a woman’s utility beyond her reproductive abilities. 

Hello homies

It has been quite a long time since I updated this page, so much so I had to go through an entire password recovery process to post again. In the time that I was away, a lot of stuff happened, that I could have written about, but was too caught up in my own personal Greek tragedy to write about. But I was pleasantly surprised at all the online love all you have shown me by constantly visiting this page. Thank you all a lot 🙂 So a separate new post coming up for you, on what else, but the usual topics about women and emotions and men and emotions and the complex webs of society that I write on always 🙂

Drum rolllllllll

End of this month, it will be a year to your favourite blog. (Do I sound like that 9 pm anchor Lol?) Anyways, its been a year of self exploration, some fun posts and yes, some not so fun ones. But trust me, its been more fun 🙂 So happy anniversary to the Pizzeria 🙂

Choosing you

Been going through some of Natalie’s old posts at Baggage Reclaim and came over this one about overcoming the past. 

Sometimes when things go wrong, the first instinct is to blame if not anyone else, then atleast yourself. You sort of say if only I had done this or said that things would have been different. You go over and over the tape, but what you fail to recognise is that probably there was something wrong even before you did or said something.

People are going to be people. They might say or do things that you never expected. You might say or do things you never expected. But so what? Are you going to keep on blaming yourself for not knowing? No one can predict things, so it is all ok.

What I realised is that I had this tendency of not forgiving myself. Anything  I did was a huge mistake according to me. Oh no, I did this, I said that. Oh no, now I am never going to be forgiven. Oh no, how could I be so stupid. But the fact is, even if you are and if you have realised and shown remorse or taken some corrective measures, that is all you can do. The ball is no more in your court once you have done everything you could try. Then its about the situation and how it plays out. And however it plays out is not a measure of your character. Its not about you.

The gift of desperation

They say desperation makes you figure out newer ways of doing things and better solutions for your problems. But I have found desperation probably leads to more problems than it solves. Some people work better under pressure but for most of us it brings out the worst in us.

New age theories of manifestation of desires also talk about how desperation and impatience could actually delay what you want from coming to you. Sometimes we want something so badly that we are only focused on its lack. We are also forever wondering why it is not coming to us right away, especially when we have been doing everything to make things work. Perhaps the problem is trying too hard. This contributes further to your desperation.

There have been things I have been stuck at but today a huge realisation was just how much desperation I was showing. The desperation was forcing me to swim against the tide. It was making everything more labourious. The realisation is here, but now I just want God’s guidance to help me resolve this.

I read an interesting piece with many short stories about manifestation. The last story was the most striking. A woman was out in the rain to make a visit and her umbrella turned inside out as it so often happens on rainy days. She was close to the home she had to visit but she didn’t want to make her first impression with a dilapidated umbrella. So she says out aloud : God I leave this umbrella to you, I don’t know what to do with it. After a few minutes she heard a voice from behind : Miss do you need me to mend your umbrella? The author goes on to say there is always an umbrella mender nearby, we just need to leave the umbrella (situation) to God or whatever power you believe in. The lesson here is in letting go, the toughest part of wanting something for yourself. Someday I hope to master it and be at peace with whoever and whatever I am.

I refuse

All my childhood, I was a yes girl. I morphed myself, changed myself, fitted circles into squares and did whatever it takes to just buy peace and keep things nice for everyone but me. But not much was made of all the contributions I made and in the end when it was my turn to ask for help, I was on my own. I refuse to do that anymore.

I refuse to bow down just because you think that’s the way things should be. I have as much of a right to my reality as anyone else.

I refuse to deny my feelings or my view of things because it is uncool, uncomfortable for you or any other reason. I choose to live my life as my own person.

I refuse to abandon my principles so that you can live with your illusions.

I refuse to be drawn into a conversation where you question my way of coping with things.

I refuse to acknowledge your judgement of how  I should react to the world around me.

I have had enough of being told what to do or how to be. This is who I am, not the child you imagined, not the colleague you want, not the yes man who you are comfortable with. Yes, this could mean that you will become more difficult around me, this could mean that you find that you dont have any use of me anymore, this could mean that the whole foundation of things is wrong. But I refuse to pretend anymore that things are better than they actually are.

The curious case of Cheesychic

For the first time, I have been realising that people view me much differently than I view myself. The last week has been full of such realisations. My stand in a lot of life situations used to be I am not ok, you are ok. Heck was I wrong!

So many hours I have wasted thinking that I was doing, being something wrong and all for naught. Turns out I was always the better one off in most interactions, I just approached them feeling I wasn’t. Heck, how much of a poor little rich girl type syndrome is that.

People have done things to impress, hidden things to keep me happy, tweaked things to present the ‘right’ picture to me, even let me conclude so that I could get what I wanted. People have always wanted something, and instead of seeing that as a compliment, I either felt pressurised or I felt inferior. Well people only come to you if they think you have something better and my only crime is foolishness of not realising this. I chose to believe people who would exacerbate this fallacy too. After all, some of those who want something from you, want to act as if they don’t and what better way than to make you feel less than so that you give it up on your own. Foolish, foolish, really foolish I know. How did I get to this point even? I was a more self assured kid than this, growing up made me lose perspective, heck. Quite a reverse case I am, was wiser as a kid. But better late than never, atleast I know now.

Selling out to capitalism

Someone long ago had said that everyone starts out as a communist in their youth and slowly as the years pass becomes a capitalist. Wonder if that is what is happening to me. They said the reason was as you mature you realise the futility of idealism. I think its probably different. As you mature you also learn to adapt. With adaptation comes conformity or atleast a semblence of it. And capitalism is all about conformity. Capitalism is also an escape mechanism, atleast I find it so. When you typically grow up you realise the fragility of that dream of equal opportunities, you realise the fallacy of hope. So at some level you abandon those efforts and conform to the comfort that money can buy, because you know that is something you can control. We love to be in control, it gives us the opportunity to plan our lives. And so we sell out to capitalism, to retail therapy and other trappings of the economy.

Interestingly, there is one point I would like to disagree with about people becoming capitalist later on. I think all aspiration or the way ambition is defined is pretty much capitalistic. Very few of us dream of getting a good degree and entering social service. We dream of getting a degree and a good job so that we can earn a lot in terms of money and recognition. So arent we already sold to capitalism?

Lets face it, by nature, men and women do something only if they see a benefit in it. Even sacrifice or social service is something you do for yourself, for your own satisfaction that is derived from helping others. The primary motive of any human being is me, myself and this is the reason why capitalism works. Capitalism is all about maximising success as defined by it for yourself. The reason communism or any ‘moderate’ left leaning perspective gets dismissed is also about the human tendency to maintain a status quo. Also like I said earlier, we have adapted to a capitalist world, at long length we have accepted that we need to fall in line with these concepts, that our own concepts made life a little difficult, so when someone else comes charging with idealism, you tend to laugh it off and call it the immaturity of youth. Is it truly that or is it just a mild sadistic conformity that you want to impose on the other?

Fork in the road

Here we are now. Achieved a dream we once had as a child. Did not too great, but not bad either there. And now seems like the time to move on. So do we just go for another version of the same dream or do we take lessons from what didn’t work in this dream and what we still want to achieve on material terms and take the next path.

Forks in the road are very confusing. You know you have to take some road, you can’t keep standing where you are. And yet, standing just there seems quite the thing to do because you are not sure where to go.

What is the time when you decide that you should live more in practical reality and give up on a dream? What is the time when you need to decide that maybe you are better suited for something else? What is the time to know that you are not quitting but making a strategic move to a different path? There are so many questions.

For someone who has lived with passion most of her life, this is a difficult choice. Some say that keep your expectations low and keep things cool. Some say that no matter what trust yourself and keep going ahead. As for me, I dont know what I want, I don’t know if I want to be known as the person who tried hard, for long and then felt vindicated, or just change.

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