Thursday, 26 September 2013

The odd thing called "memory"..

--> Of my list of the most absolute favorite movies, A Moment To Remember definitely comes in the top 5. I am a sucker for good romance stories and this film is an embodiment of that. But more on my views and reviews on the film later… I’m here to talk about memories right now. In A Moment To Remember, the female lead starts losing her memory one by one, the tragedy being that she forgets the love of her life. Of course, the love of her life, devastated as he is, tries to keep their memories alive for the both of them. There is a line in the movie that keeps coming more than once and it goes: When the memory dies, so does the person.

 A Moment To Remember has me crying a river every single time I see it. That is one happy couple and they don’t deserve that. When someone is happy, they should know and remember that they’re happy! 
There is this K-drama that I had really enjoyed watching, along with its tiny flaws (okay, fine, glaring you in the face flaws), mainly because THE Lee Min Ho was the lead, called Boys Over Flowers. It was immensely popular in South Korea when it came out in 2009, making instant stars out of Ku Hye Sun and the entire F4, especially Lee Min Ho. It was aired in a lot of countries outside of South Korea and well received there as well, but not in India, not that that stopped the die-hard fans (such as myself) from following and falling in love with the series.
--> The reason I talk about Boys Over Flowers is that in the very last episode, Goo Jun Pyo (ah, definitely one of my fav fictional characters till date…giggle!) meets with an accident and is critical for a while and all that but when he does wake up, he’s fine except that he doesn’t remember his girlfriend Guem Jan Di. Which wouldn’t have been such a big deal had the entire series not revolved around the true love and struggles in love of Jun Pyo and Jan Di. Anyways, I, like the F4 and Jan Di were shocked and vexed when Jun Pyo couldn’t remember her, fretting over their fate (he eventually does remember her…True Love is rewarded in all the K-dramas that I’ve watched till date, yay!). I remember reading a fan blog on that episode of Boys Over Flowers at that time. That post was written on the same date that finale episode was aired in South Korea, the internet was buzzing with the end of a series that had contributed so much in the Korean Wave. The blogger wrote about the part where Jun Pyo loses his memory and fails to remember only one person and I remember her critsising the plot saying that it was a fake disease.
--> And at that time, the only reason I didn’t like that comment was because of my loyalty towards Boys Over Flowers and anything that Lee Min Ho is associated with. But I never really did believe that this selective amnesia is a real thing and dismissed as a mere plot device. And I also remember thinking, oh well how convenient! If we could just happen to forget one thing or one event that pains us, or even person that even though we love truly, just is so difficult to keep loving. I had thought that. I wasn’t happy that he had forgotten her, I just wanted it for myself as a defense mechanism, just like I had wanted Son Ye Jin’s character’s Alziemer from A Moment To Remember.
--> I should clarify that never for a moment was I serious about wanting any of that. That was just me getting melodramatic and coping with the ongoing shit in my life, that’s all. I tend to do that. This is how I deal with stuff. I watch or read a lot of stuff and imagine myself in highly dramatic situations with the most bizarre and fantastical solutions and then when I’ve let out my steam, I am ready to deal with stuff practically.
A childhood friend of mine met with an accident sometime back. The accident was bad, as all accidents are, and she got hurt in her head which meddled with her memory. I’ve known her all my life and you cannot imagine how sad I was by this news, but she was in another city, far away and they only thing I could do for her were write to her over facebook, and pray. Anyway, she contacted me and while we were chatting, she told me that she remembers everything about her life except that she is married. Her marriage wasn’t a taxing event in her life, she had married the guy she loved and were, and are still, happy together. And after reassuring her that it’s okay, memories are tricky and they come back slowly but eventually, I thought about how that turn in the plot of Boys Over Flowers had got it right.
I had dismissed it then, thinking it silly and all. But the fact is that memories are important. And it is possible to lose them. Which is why so many of us cling to it so dearly. Little snippets of who we are, what we’ve been through, what we were. I think it reassures us in a way. I have torn down and burnt old diaries, some old photographs even, but I still remember primarily each thing that I’ve been through. It helps us grow. Otherwise we’d all be Peter Pan.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Being a woman

Women--how they should or should not be, what they should or should not wear, what they should or should not marry, what line of academics & careers they should or should not take--seems to be one of the most talked about topics right now. And maybe I've turned into somewhat of a pessimist in the last few years, but none of it is making me, a woman, feel any better about myself or my own position in the society I am forced to live in. I have to admit, it is not the easiest thing to be a woman (at least in the time and space I am inhabiting) not because I am powerless or lack resources, but because it is not socially acceptable for me to go and get those resources for myself. You know what I mean? Ironically, it is very much the social acceptable thing to do for everyone to talk about women as independent entities, capable of living their lives their own ways.

I think people are a bit confused over this issue, as is bound to happen with any topic that deviates from tradition even to the slightest degree. I'm not denying that the whole women's' emancipation topic hasn't evolved for the better...I am merely saying that we have a long, long way to go still. Take, for example, the 16th December, 2012 Delhi Rape Case. It was horrifying, inhumane to say the least. And I am happy that now it is politically incorrect to question what the victim in question was wearing, who she was with, and what time she was out. I say "politically incorrect" simply because since that day I have met quite a few people who still ask those questions but when they are safely hidden in their unquotable domestic circle. What did take me by surprise was the number of people--men and women--who seemed to have wanted protection for women because they are apparently weak (as opposed to horrible people roaming about out in the open).

Recently, a new ad campaign against female sex trafficking has got the entire country taking. There are three photographs of three women dressed up as three different Hindu goddesses. These goddesses are battered, they have been beaten up, are bruised. And the campaign has achieved two major objectives: it has evoked a sense of horror among the audience to get everyone taking about it.

(Note: I most certainly do not own any of these pictures, they are all taken from the internet).

When I first saw these pictures, I was amazed at my own reaction. I was horrified, yes but the whole message of female sex trafficking went above my head and I was shocked that what I felt was an odd combination of disgust and something-is-so-wrong. And hours later, it hit home. Many, many things about the pictures disturb me. Like, something as basic as why is that in each of the photos is it that the face is the only part of the body that is harmed? I am obviously not a fan of women or anyone else being hit or anything but it's just that this doesn't make any sense. It almost seems like the major offense is to threaten the beauty of these goddesses. 

 The other question is that why are these dieties Hindu? Is this a message for Hindu audience alone? From where I look, it can offend a lot of people. A lot. My other question is that why are these women goddesses in the first place? And if they are goddesses, why are they not retaliating? I'd have liked to see what would have happened if someone tried to punch the face of Parvati in the avatar of Kali as she holds a freshly slayed demon's head. That would have been a campaign to show what power a woman is capable, if given the chance. 

Oddly enough, one major question that pops to mind is whether it subconsiously tries to send the message that the real threat is that once the baddies out there are done with the "whores" and "slut" and the "regular" women, they will go for the goddesses next? And that's the reason why women need to be saved? Because I sure as hell hope not. I hope that people realise that the real threat is no woman (including sex workers) should be subjected to this kind of humiliation just because they were born here and now without a Y chromosome. It is a little annoying that the world still divides women into two polar opposites of the goddess and the whore. Why must we typecast anyone? Why not just show a regular woman? Why must we attain to be goddesses to prove our worth? Why cant women be shown as powerful figures and not damsels in distress? 

I'll give you one thing though. I like that despite the hurt these women have been subjected to, in each of these photos, they are all standing without flinching, with a lot of grit. They might be standing there because women are expected to treat violence inflicted on them as acceptable and go on about their lives as usual, normalising violence. But still, to be standing there, without breaking down, meeting our eye shamelessly is pretty awesome. Of course, I would have loved it if they had made use of their special resources and talents to fight this horror: Lakshmi with her fortune, Saraswati with her knowledge, and Durga with her weapons and the lion standing right behind her!