Movie Review: The Preparation by Cho Young-joon (2017)

 

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The Preparation | Directed by Cho Young-joon | Starring Go Doo-shim, Kim Sung-kyun
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Journeys are eventful – whether they cap a bout of tedium or open the vistas to serenity, they make their presence felt.  And sometimes, they do both.

On a recent long-haul flight, I did what most people on such flights do – watch movies. But I also watched what most people on this flight didn’t – “The Preparation”.

The Preparation is a South Korean movie, released during 2017, and tells the story of a mother and her son. Ae-soon runs a small shop in the city; it is no posh delicatessen and gives her meagre to average income. But her astute handling of the money and indomitable spirit to live keeps her and her 30-year old, intellectually disabled son, In-gyu, afloat. Continue reading

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Movie Review: Call Me By Your Name by Luca Guadagnino (2017)

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Call Me By Your Name | Directed by Luca Guadagnino | Starring Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

I tried thrice – writing down my thoughts about this movie – and failed all three times. Every time I would begin scribbling, my fingers would come to a gradual stop, my throat would detect a considerable lump and my heart would turn an arid land over which sharp, silent currents of memory would whip a nostalgic dance. I would succumb to an unbearable pain, a sense of acute restlessness and loss that would haunt me for many hours hence.

I stopped writing about the movie.

But it wouldn’t leave me. Because it’s so devastatingly beautiful that it is inescapable. Continue reading

Book Review: Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman (2007)

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Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

I finished reading the book late last night. As Elio bid a final goodbye to Oliver, I stood by him. The mist in his eyes and heart was in mine too. And I hovered my glance on his name and let the pool in my eyes fill a little more. And then, in a pained resignation, I closed my eyes.

It has been almost a day since I read the last word of this book. And yet, the moment I picked it up to review its contents a few minutes ago, my eyes began to cloud again. Because everything read and felt and wept for, yesterday, came gushing back and I once again massaged my aching vein to quieten and take this only to be a story. But is it? Continue reading

Book Review: An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine (2014)

An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Was it necessary to read ‘An Unnecessary Woman’? About a woman in the twilight of her life, a product of rusted times? A woman from a foreign land, and of foreign blood? A woman who offered pursed whimpers amid teeth that reeked soupy yellow? One with a musty room and a flickering temper? A borderline linguist who made peace with the unspoken word? She was nothing more than a drifting sprinkle of dust in this swirling world of men and ambition.

May be, it wasn’t. It wasn’t necessary at all to read An Unnecessary Woman. But I read it. And I read her. And read her more. Every page. Every day. Continue reading

Book Review: This House of Clay and Water by Faiqa Mansab (2017)

THIS House of Clay and WaterThis House of Clay and Water by Faiqa Mansab
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Forbidden Love – A diktat in itself, unleashed on unsuspecting hearts like an ouroboros where forbidden swallows love and yet appears whole, showing no signs of damage. No one knows the pain except the latter that is now usurped by the former. But it is when the opposite happens, that the tale transcends its meagre form and turns one for the generations.

Nida comes from a sophisticated family of high-ranking politicians and is married too, to one from this fraternity, but none of that sophistication and power has healed her wounds inflicted by her little daughter’s death.

Life is exacting and cruel. Death is calm oblivion. Life betrays everyone while death, without fail, always finds us.

Continue reading

Book Review: Cry, Heart But Never Break by Glenn Ringtved (2001)

25329997Cry, Heart But Never Break by Glenn Ringtved
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Even to the most-learned men and women, few things are as scary, swamping and tearing as death. Like an end, that ultimate exit, beyond which everything becomes void and nothing remains to return, it hovers over us like a spying cloud, always waiting for that one chance to seize our life and make it its own. How then, would one, explain its inevitability, its invincibility, its essentiality to children?

This gem of a book, majestically, rises to this task. Continue reading

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARCEL PROUST!

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It’s not a belated birthday wish. It’s a continuing one. Breathing in the Proustian air is one of my most favorite stress-busters since the time I have been introduced to it. An air so rich yet so clear, it permeates into my lungs with its slight, caressing bend, filling me with a sense of beauty that no amount of dark inhalation can pollute. Proust was special, even as a child. Which 14 year old would scribble such answers to a random, vanilla questionnaire after all? Even if I squeeze my most refined juices, I won’t be able to drench his intellect an inch. Continue reading

Its Bloomsday!

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For a bibliophile who fell in love with Joyce’s vast, exploratory, swashbuckling devil-may-care attitudinal writing last year, this is a first anniversary of sorts. Ulysses was, is and I am certain would be, a book to read and drive rebirths, to re-read. Should I say I loved the book because I understood it, I would be misleading myself and anyone reading this, for how exactly does one understand a multiverse of human behavior, seeped in the deep undertones of societal, political, religious, emotional, philosophical, psychological, linguistic, academic and mysterious hues, across a pantheon of 800 riveting pages, in one, single reading? Well, atleast I could not. But what I could, was to love it; like how one does when one comes across a beautiful thing – enigmatic, partially comprehensible but beautiful nonetheless. Continue reading

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RAFA!

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It doesn’t happen with everybody; rare is this phenomenon. That every time I come across your name, a surge of hope washes me over is unique to you, for me; for I have loved very few people which such reverence, even fewer, for this long. It is almost ten years since I first came across you, as a young challenger to the apple-of-everyone’s-eyes, Roger Federer when you stamped your arrival with a stupendous run at Roland Garros, your debut at the tourney. While the sports world went berserk, understandably so, you were a picture of incredibly-plain-but-certainly-not-commonplace equanimity. An element so earthy, so unreal, for a guy, all of 19, to handle all the attention of the world with such disarming humility and effusive charm. What, of course, bound me to you for the succeeding 10 years (and another 10 years hence too) was not your astounding haul of 14 Grand Slam titles, 28 Master Titles and innumerable other mind-boggling records but your consistency – Continue reading

Book Review: We Are All Completely Besides Ourselves by Karen Jay Fowler (2014)

16176440We Are All Completely Besides Ourselves by Karen Jay Fowler
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

In everyone’s life, there are people who stay and people who go and people who are taken against their will. 

Who do you remember the most? I asked myself. Those who make part of my primary circle of existence and have enriched my being with their presence? Or those who came and then departed for good, leaving an indelible mark on my life, as it looks today? Or those who, by all means that I could fathom, were supposed to be a part of my life but were disengaged from me with a menacing strike of destiny? I can’t say, honestly. Then I rearranged the words and popped the question to myself again. This time, the answer was clear.

The question: Who do I miss the most?  Continue reading