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Archive for March, 2009

Revolutionary Road

My favourite part of watching a movie with friends is getting to talk about it later. To discuss it, ridicule it.. see what smart comments others have to say for it and then profess your own impressions. Some movies are worth it. Unfortunately, I didnt get to do any of that after watching Revolutionary Road, and thus am forced into refuge here.


Its a good movie. As in, the actors acted as good actors do and the plot evolved as good plots do. Technically speaking, the direction seemed too… artsy. Staged and dramatic almost. (Frankly, on a friday evening I’d rather not watch another movie about middle class mediocrity and mundaneness). But there are some bits that stand out… some dialogues that make so much sense. The ‘crazy’ son of the Wheeler’s agent, who questions why everything must be like it is. April’s enthusiasm in doing something rash, in wanting to live and not just exist. Frank’s emotions on facing something larger than himself. Good themes the story portrays there.

If this was a book, and it probably is, i’d much rather read it. I think i prefer my cinema to be (without sounding cheeky) more visual in its ideas. Well, they do portray america in the 1950’s really well.. looks like i have no words for its criticism. Watch it and let me know if you have any.


Hum panchi unmukt gagan ke

हम पंछी उन्मुक्त गगन के- शिवमंगल सिंह सुमन

 हम पंछी उन्मुक्त गगन के
पिंजरबद्ध न गा पाऍंगे
कनक-तीलियों से टकराकर
पुलकित पंख टूट जाऍंगे ।

 हम बहता जल पीनेवाले
मर जाऍंगे भूखे-प्यासे
कहीं भली है कटुक निबोरी
कनक-कटोरी की मैदा से ।

 स्वर्ण-श्रृंखला के बंधन में
अपनी गति, उड़ान सब भूले
बस सपनों में देख रहे हैं
तरू की फुनगी पर के झूले ।

 ऐसे थे अरमान कि उड़ते
नील गगन की सीमा पाने
लाल किरण-सी चोंच खोल
चुगते तारक-अनार के दाने ।

 होती सीमाहीन क्षितिज से
इन पंखों की होड़ा-होड़ी
या तो क्षितिज मिलन बन जाता
या तनती सॉंसों की डोरी ।

 नीड़ न दो, चाहे टहनी का
आश्रय छिन्न-भिन्न कर डालो
लेकिन पंख दिए हैं तो
आकुल उड़ान में विघ्न न डालो ।

 —————- Translation —————-

Birds of the unfastened sky– ShivMangal Singh Suman

 Birds of the free skies

Caged, they cannot sing

Battered against these golden bars

Break, shall the delicate wing.


We who drink from flowing rivers

Shall die of hunger and thirst.

Far better is the bitter berry

Than grain in a golden cup.


Within these yellow prison bars

We forget our speed, our flight

And visit only in lucid dreams

Our open swings within lush trees.


Such desires and more to soar

beyond the boundaries blue

To devour the scarlet rays with our beaks

And stars like grain, chew.


To blend with the horizon seamless

These wings shall thrash and throe,

To be one with that same horizon

Or only to be no more.


Pay no heed to the tree-bough

Destroy and wreck my shelter

but if these wings I am to have,

Do not distress these frantic flights.



Read this poem in 8th std, and have loved it ever since. Along with another poem (in 3rd I think) about the himalayas, I think this is the only poem in hindi that I remember verbatim. For good reason too.. a poem with such clarity of thought and emotion. I’ve wanted to translate this song for a long time now, and finally found the time/inspiration to do so. Check out this blog, to which I probably should owe some of that inspiration: http://arabianmarasmus.blogspot.com/2007/12/to-remember.html 

Henry David Thoreau ~ on Walking

Reading some essays of Henry David Thoreau, I cant help but marvel at what a genius this man must’ve been. Genius not in the academic sense, but in the ‘life and the meaning of it all’ sense. His most famous work is Walden, a pond somewhere in New England where he decided to live by himself, farming, building, reading, walking and having only the woods for company. Company enough if you ask me.  The writing is a lil archaic, way too many sentences merged in one, but its what he says thats more striking. The book has many other essays, on winter, on wild animals, on economy, on solitude, on reading, on fire and on everything he learnt/observed during his 2 year stint close to nature. The book takes time to go through, partly because of the language and partly the structure of the novel. But its worth it.

Below is an excerpt from an essay titled “Walking“. (I’ve been saying the same thing all along ppl :D!). Nicely written piece, nothing much that I can add to it. Right from the begining where he says “I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks, who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering;”. He talks of why we walk, why the general impulse is towards trees/the likes, and what it does to your character. He concludes with these lines, a lil more dramatic than the other stuff in the book, but nicely said nevertheless.

” We had a remarkable sunset one day last November. I was walking in a meadow, the source of a small brook, when the sun at last, just before setting, after a cold grey day, reached a clear stratum in the horizon, and the softest brightest morning sun- light fell on the dry grass and on the stems of the trees in the opposite horizon, and on the leaves of the shrub-oaks on the hill-side, while our shadows stretched long over the meadow eastward, as if we were the only motes in its beams. It was such a light as we could not have imagined a moment before, and the air also was so warm and serene that nothing was wanting to make a paradise of that meadow. When we reflected that this was not a solitary phenomenon, never to happen again, but that it would happen forever and ever an infinite number of evenings, and cheer and reassure the latest child that walked there, it was more glorious still.

The sun sets on some retired meadow, where no house is visible, with all the glory and splendor that it lavishes on cities, and perchance, as it has never set before,—where there is but a solitary marsh hawk to have his wings gilded by it, or only a musquash looks out from his cabin, and there is some little black-veined brook in the midst of the marsh, just beginning to meander, winding slowly round a decaying stump. We walked in so pure and bright a light, gilding the withered grass and leaves, so softly and serenely bright—I thought I had never bathed in such a golden flood, without a ripple or a murmur to it. The west side of every wood and rising ground gleamed like the boundary of elysium, and the sun on our backs seemed like a gentle herdsman, driving us home at evening.

 So we saunter toward the Holy Land; till one day the sun shall shine more brightly than ever he has done, shall perchance shine into our minds and hearts, and light up our whole lives with a great awakening light, so warm and serene and golden as on a bank-side in autumn.”

Zindagi migzara eh?

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say

Life goes on, doesnt it? Big surprise there. Children grow up, experiences  build up, knowledge.. well knowledge increases too. People keep entering and leaving our lives, places change, situations change, some chosen few don’t, memories don’t. Every one of us in our waking lives has a huge amount of past, present and perhaps a lil future tagging along. What does it all add up to? What drives this constant motion forward? Who can explain. Who needs to anyway. It should suffice that the wheels are always turning. Now here, this way, and now far away. Now so low, now too high. Feeling diverse emotions, with every passing day. What difference does it make? I’d like to think that it does. That being on top of the world thrills you, being back home comforts you and watching sunrises inspires you. That life wont pass you by without leaving its mark. So much for practicality. Forever this debate between blunt reality and not wanting to believe in it. Do we strive to make a difference? To make an impression? Do we shut up and stop being melodramatic in our blogs? Do we go sleep ( I personally am inclined to this one), or do we just live. You cant stop living.. I’m pretty sure of that. So I guess we just go on.

Thanks for reading so far. I honestly had no point to make.