Lit Impact

Since my course is just beginning,we had a kind of introductory lecture today about what literature means to us etc. etc. One interesting question that our professor asked us was if we have ever laughed,cried,felt pain,joy,anger,depression or any such emotion while reading any particular book.

Some of my classmates said they did cry or laugh out loud sometimes and some said they have never had such an experience.When I had to answer I said that even though I had never actually cried I do feel a strong sadness or depression with respect to the character or happiness when something good happens.

So when some of my friends answered that they have had no such experience I wondered  how it was possible to actually read something and not feel anything about the situations in the story or the circumstances through which the characters are going? I guess it would depend on the person who is reading the story.

I always imagine whatever scene I am reading and when you do that you have to “feel” for the character.At least,that is what I think.This question led to the discussion about the impact a book has on one’s mind.When you watch a movie,for eg,you think about the plot for some time,enjoy the comedy,feel the sadness-all in that span of two or three hours.But when you read a book,the characters stay with you for days or months and if its a particularly good book,then even for years.

As I said in class today,when I read one of Khaled Hosseini’s books(The Kite Runner or A Thousand Splendid Suns) I feel sad for the  characters,I wonder about what kind of a life they are living and I also think if people really go through something like this in life.Or when I read a book which ends in a ‘happily ever after’ that happiness stays with me for sometime,it makes me happy to think that inspite of everything,there is a chance at happiness.

Or if I am to talk about Harry Potter(it has the potential of an entire post,maybe some other time).The Harry Potter series has that kind of an impact in my life,atleast(and I know quite a few people who would say the same).I mean when you read about Harry’s parents,his friendship with Ron and Hermione,Voldemort’s past,Dumbledore’s,Sirius’ and Snape’s deaths,Umbridge’s cruelty-I could go on and on and on-it makes some kind of difference to the way you think about things.It makes you realize the importance of so many things in your life:family,friendships,truth,courage,the importance of good over evil.

A good piece of literature,be it a novel,a play, a poem or anything else,has that ‘impact’ on our lives.Even if sometimes we may not realize it.I am sure most of you would agree but there will be some who probably won’t.For me a good book is something I will relate to,something that will allow me to glimpse a part of the world about which I am not aware.And a good book to me also means something that will make me think about what lesson I can take from it.

Literature has a different effect on different people,as do so many things in life.I remember one of my professor’s favourite lines here,he always says ‘It’s a matter of perspective’.

Until the next post.

The LOCALS……

A lot of articles,stories,books have been written on the subject of Mumbai’s local trains.Even though today’s post is on the same subject,I think it might be a little different because I am writing from personal experience.

When I was in school travelling by train was something I didn’t like at all.I would always ask my parents how we were travelling before we went anywhere and my mood would depend on the mode of transport we were travelling in! But once college started there was no option other than the local train if I wanted to reach for my lectures on time.So I started travelling by train.Not because I wanted to but because I had to.

Even though this was true till a couple of years back,I wouldn’t say the same thing today.That is because I have come to realise the importance of the local train in an average Mumbaikar’s life.It is true that the locals are the lifeline of Mumbai,if the trains stop the city will stop etc. etc.But what is even more true is that Mumbai’s local trains are a way of life.You can’t live with them and you most definitely can’t live without them.

Everyday crores of people travel by these trains,so many lives,so many different situations,so many sorrows and so many joys.Every single person having his/her own identity and yet having the same worries and also happiness in the same simple things.Its amazing when you think about every person as a separate individual in the throng of humans crowding the trains and the platforms.

There are people from different strata of society travelling together in one compartment and hence everyday there is something new one learns about society and about the lives of people from different backgrounds.There are women reading books,magazines and newspapers,there are women sharing their family grievances,daughters-in-law talking about their mothers-in-law and vice versa,students talking about their teachers and teachers talking about their students.There are groups of young girls laughing uproariously on a private joke and old aunties giving them angry looks and discussing how this generation is so spoilt and how their generation had so much more sanskaar.There’s a group of women who are celebrating someone’s birthday,there’s another group who is eating some delicacy one of them has prepared and then there are those who are travelling alone.They are usually either reading,listening to music,sleeping or taking in the scene around them and sometimes wondering things like,’What a nice kurta!’,’Wow,that girl has such nice,long hair..’ etc. etc.

There is also,always,atleast one woman who is intent on getting into a fight.The reason could be anything:not getting a seat,an elbow in the ribs,a big bag,long hair,the list is endless.Some people don’t need a reason to fight,they just like to however trivial the reason maybe.

You get to see all sorts of people in the train.I believe its a great learning experience!

Then there are those who sell all sorts of things,hair clips,hairbands,earrings,lockets,rings,plastic pouches,mirrors,brushes,needle sets,even dresses and saris.There’s an entire market!If you have absolutely nothing to do in the entire journey,this small market provides a lot of entertainment!

Most of these sellers are women,physically challenged people,young boys.The women,many a times,have young kids(who are really very cute).Then there are women passengers and young girls who play with the child,enquire about the baby’s age.Its all very heartening.When you look at these people selling various things and living on platforms you cannot help but realise how lucky you are in life to have everything that you do.

That’s why I believe that everyday there is a lesson in a simple train journey.It depends on how we look at it.

I could go on writing because its a vast topic and involves many experiences.It has become an absolute essential part of my life.I wouldn’t have said the same a few years back.

Thats all for today then.Until next time…..

 

Songs for Life

Being from a country that has such a rich culture of cinema,it is very natural that I have such a liking for good movies and more than that good songs.

Bollywood has given us so much , especially in terms of music and songs.There is a song for every occasion.Be it a wedding song(there has to be atleast one),a love song,a happy song,a sad song,a song for a sister,a song for the parents,a song for friendship and many more.These songs have become such an integral part of our lives.

I have read quite a few articles on the benefits of music in our lives and all that.But what I am talking about here is specifically Bollywood songs.All of us have a song which,in some way or other relates to us or our life.Many of these songs have wonderful memories attached to them and you can’t help but smile when you hear them.

And then there are those songs which you absolutely DO NOT like,because of their lyrics (munni badnaam or sheela ki jawaani are those kind of songs for me,I mean seriously,what exactly  do those lyrics mean huh?),or because of their music or anything really.These are especially those songs which you just cannot get out of your head,once you make the mistake of hearing them.But then again,these songs are just as popular,sometimes more than the really good ones.

Nonetheless,these songs are kind of nullified in the total variety of songs that Bollywood has to offer.Some of them are just so beautiful! Especially when they have the right kind of lyrics,the right kind of music,the right kind of singer,these are the songs that are just right.You won’t find a thing to complain about them.

Bollywood songs form an absolute integral part of most Indians lives,mine included.I find myself humming some song or the other,always.Infact one of my friends (she has a really nice voice,too) knows so many hindi songs that she can remember a song from some random word we speak in normal conversation! So,we have had  many occasions when she simply starts singing and the rest of us are kept wondering as to where that’s coming from.

It’s amazing really that just one song can make us feel better about something or even ourselves.We  have soooo many good singers and sooo many good lyricists.I mean,really,I don’t know how to appreciate this fact in any more words.But I think most of you will agree that we have a rich musical culture and it’s still a very important aspect of our lives.Where would we be if not for all the beautiful melodies?

I have heard so many songs from years ago and they are still just as loved,if not more.The situations and the stories for most songs might have changed a lot today but I would still say that there is some great music being made even now.I am no musician or singer but I am definitely someone who likes music and appreciates it.And I would say that there are always going to be songs in Bollywood which are for life.

Oh and since it’s Friendship Day today,this goes out to all my friends…….

Yeh dosti hum nahi todenge

Todenge dum magar

Tera saath na chodenge….’

That’s it for today!

 

 

Just a Moment

It takes only a moment,doesn’t it?

It takes only a moment to make you laugh,to make you cry,to make you fall in love (no personal experience there I’m afraid!).It really takes only a moment to make or break lives.

It is also only a moment which we have to look forward to in life.Everyday there is (and should be) something to look forward to.If there isn’t you are not really living the right way.All of us have these ‘moments’ in our life which somehow change us and maybe even come to define us.Its like in the game show Kaun Banega Crorepati, “Ek sawal apki zindagi badal sakta hai”.The ‘sawal’ is also that one moment,isn’t it?

I know,I’m writing too much about moments.But its just something that got me thinking today.We live our lives in such a hurry nowadays that we do not take the time to acknowledge these moments.They just pass us by.We no longer live in the moment.Stress and worry are our constant companions.We are either regretting our past or planning our future.What about the present? We are always finding something to complain about…’Its raining!,The roads are going to be so dirty.’ But what about the pleasant smell of the earth when it rains,the beautiful clouds,the greenery,the breeze?Why doesn’t anybody think about these things? These are the experiences which give us our cherished ‘moments’.Is it really so difficult to just stop and think?

I’m sure there are a lot of people saying the same things.Infact in todays times there are an increasing number of people wondering about this,writing books about our stressful life and overcoming it.I don’t really mean to do anything of the sort.

I think seriously,sometimes.And,believe me,I surprise myself too.But That’s the reason I’ve started writing this blog,to be able to write what I feel about anything and everything.

Lets hope my next post will be on something a lot less serious and philosophical.I’m not really that kind of a person.

Till the next post then.