The Big Sick

I had wanted to see The Big Sick since I heard the name and now I want to see it again for the razor sharp dialogue and the insights it provides. And, of course the humour.

Love isn't easy. That's why they call it love I thought. Maybe staying untethered isn't all that bad. But at the same time it has given me unrealistic expectations and hope that other than my parents and friends someone significant will stand by me.

Spoilers ahead. 

Would you stand by a very sick if not dying (but the threat is imminent) girl when you have just dated her for a couple of months, and broken up with her because you could see no future with her? Then, while waiting for her to wake up from a coma you realize you are in love, and willing to go that extra mile for her. I know! Truth is always stranger than fiction.Can this happen for real? Isn't cinema the fantasy that we escape to? The ideal. And then I found out that this was the story of the writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily  Gordon around the time they started dating. I was done waiting for Augustus and now here comes this guy. How will real people match up to their standards? I realized that if I have to watch movies and read books I have to believe in things working out, realistic fairy tales in other words, and not be sister grim(m.

Emily doesn't magically go back to Kumail because she heard from her parents he was there for her during her illness. She takes her time to figure things out. He was there but she wasn't there there to witness it. In a relationship two people have to be on the same page for it to work out.

The intense scenes were done well by Zoe Kazan whereas Kumail Nanjiani looked like he was a throwing a fit or having a nervous breakdown but I have to say signing up with an acting coach was a good idea.Her parents played by Ray Romano and Holly Hunter are superlative as Emily's parents.

The jokes about 9/11, ISIS and religion were really out there and it was brave of them to put it in the movie.Family, rejection, heartbreak,the question of race - all so wonderfully handled with humour. 
 
I realized as a writer you cannot be embarrassed about using things in your life as fodder in the most obvious way as long as you don't really break someone's heart. I know asking for permission or waiting for it to be granted isn't realistic but you could at least avoid the heartbreak.
  
This was my first white movie which had a Pakistani protagonist (Next will be The Reluctant Fundamentalist which has been on my watchlist since I read the book). The family values are very similar and their expecting you to do certain things or you will be kicked out of the family is quite relatable. India and Pakistan have so many similarities because the germline is the same. Anupam Kher played the father without making it desi. You will know what I mean when you see the film. 
  
Ray Romano seemed familiar too but I couldn't put my finger on it and then I found out he's the voice of Manny the mammoth in Ice Age, and later on when I saw Parenthood, he plays a rare character on TV who's a loner and very comfortable in his own skin.

Go watch it for the cast if not the subject matter.

We remember.

We remember things but forget the minutiae, and sometimes even the most traumatic of experiences. Humans are adept in the art of self preservation hence we have colonized the earth (or so we think until a virus comes along and makes us question everything we knew). We move on with our lives for better or worse but try not to forget the things that really matter. Making sense of things is more important than moving on. Honestly, I have never really understood what moving on meant and with life passing me by and time galloping away, I’m not even going to try.

I lost a friend recently. Many people lost their loved ones this year, (it’s the season of loss) and we have our own ways of coping. But what do you do in case of an online friend? I talked to other online friends who knew her but I still felt bereft. This person was someone whose strength and innate goodness I had admired, so it hit me particularly hard even though we had never met in person. I haven’t seen her handwriting or heard her voice but I knew her. In unguarded moments we shared the story of our lives as it really was, in all its ugliness. We had a connection, and battled some of the same issues. Now I’m here and she’s not. Life isn’t fair. I know that by now, but it still doesn’t feel any less painful or make its acceptance easy.

We wander around life thinking we have forever but our days are numbered and the countdown begins the moment we are born. But how many of us how truly understand the nature of time? Now a person is there, now gone. Some things we understand only in hindsight; when we can’t do anything about it but lament. The things we don’t do for others keeps on playing into the regrets of our life stories. Whenever someone dies I am filled with regrets about the things I could have done but didn’t do. But I have realised to live and feel deeply, is to live with regrets.

This year has been hard for so many of us for a multitude of reasons. It made me realize you can’t just hope to exist and live this life coasting by doing the bare minimum, not if you want to live. Survive. Live. Thrive. One step at a time. Survival is something one has to want, and give one’s whole self to (heart and brain working in tandem), and that means dwelling in the past is out of question. We know that bringing our A game is something we need to do but it doesn’t mean we always do. Gentle reminder to self going forth into the new year to look at things differently, in a solution oriented manner, and focusing on the positive however bleak the circumstances might be. Broken I might be in places, but I’m still alive.

Eating Wasps by Anita Nair

The words refused to come. They stayed away as if to make a point, like angry relatives refusing to attend a wedding. An adjective or two danced in front of me. A few verbs did cartwheels and a group of nouns turned somersaults. But the opening sentence sat with its back to me. I cajoled and pleaded but she wouldn’t listen. As long as she did that, the rest wouldn’t emerge either.

In my world a new Anita Nair book is always a good thing (I have enjoyed most of her books) and I was really looking forward to devouring Eating Wasps. I loved how the author narrated the stories of so many women but felt only a few were seen through to their conclusion. There were 10 characters with weighty issues of their own so that’s understandable. I would have preferred fewer characters and a better resolution but then it’s not my book. It is a brave book, a very powerful one but I still prefer her Ladies Coupe (my first book by her which had me smitten) to this one, especially the ending. It’s much more hopeful and the characters appear to be in control of their destiny, even while they continue to challenge societal norms.

Anita Nair’s women have always crossed boundaries and been their own people in spite of what society dictated, and paid the price for it. How easy it is to vilify a woman because she is different from what is the norm or what is expected of her. I didn’t know I will meet a subject I love but had left behind nor had I ever imagined I would see a zoologist, a lecturer no less, as the sutradhar in a book – teacher, writer, ghost all rolled into one.  Sree appears to be formidable but that’s what she wants the world to believe, for who in their right mind will reveal their inner turmoil to the world at large which will only mock and point fingers.

I had always been drawn to the potter wasp. I saw it everywhere, but there was little I knew about this solitary creature beyond the basic information. Scientific name: Eumeninae. Higher classification: Vespidae. Order: Hymenopterans. Rank: Subfamily. Kingdom: Animalia.

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