Thursday, August 28, 2014

Am I Naïve? (Movie review: Highway)

This movie was released earlier this year but I got the chance to watch it only now. It is an emotional ride and there were some thoughts that had been lurking around in my head for quite some time and resonated instantly while watching the movie. This movie is about a girl who has been kidnapped (unintentionally) by a man and they are on the road – passing through deserts, farms, hills, valleys, streams, snow – running away from police. The girl, away from the fake bling of city life, loves the ‘highway’ and the journey. She does not want to go back home, she does not want the journey to end. She falls in love with the kidnapper. Watch the movie to know what happens in the end. Visually it was a delight to watch this movie - Indian landscape(s) at its best!

What this girl goes through is a classic psychological case of Stockholm Syndrome. I have always found this idea fascinating and wanted to write about it. Watching Highway today pushed me to finally do that. Stockholm Syndrome is a subconscious phenomenon where a hostage/victim develops positive, loving, sympathetic and/or empathetic feelings towards its perpetrator. It is an act of defense mechanism perhaps, a way of coping with the trauma.

Would you call a person naïve for falling in love with someone who is perceivably dangerous and wrong for her? A lot of people remain in a relationship not knowing what they are doing. They may not be happy, their needs may not get fulfilled but they stay. . .trapped and ensnared in that relationship. The world calls it love. Someone once called me naïve to which I took offense. I am smart, intelligent, logical, thinking person, I am not naïve. I rolled my eyes. But if you knew you were naïve then you wouldn’t be naïve. That thought somehow stayed with me.

The lead actors, Alia Bhatt and Randeep Hooda, have given fantastic performances. Veera, the hostage, hates the city life – the fake mask that you have to put on to be social, to impress people, to do things in the ‘right’ way, to be nice to others. She has not seen much of the world, she is indeed naïve but of what she has seen, she does not want to be a part of it. She wants to run away. Somewhere in the movie she says – I don’t want to return to where you got me from, I don’t want to reach where you are taking me, I just want this journey to go on and the road to not end.

But can you escape life?

I am reminded of a quote from Breakfast at Tiffany’s –
“You call yourself a free spirit, a "wild thing," and you're terrified somebody's gonna stick you in a cage. Well baby, you're already in that cage. You built it yourself. And it's not bounded in the west by Tulip, Texas, or in the east by Somali-land. It's wherever you go. Because no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself.”

There is no running away then :)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Travelling to Europe *Yayyyyyy*

Picture courtesy:

Writing that blog title brought a huge smile on my face :) So yes I am planning to travel to Europe. What makes it special (apart from the fact that it's Europe) is that I will be going alone. ~cough~ yes a solo traveller, that's what I am going to be for 15 days across 4 countries and 5 cities.

To capture this travel, I have created a new blog. Why not continue writing on this blog? Who wants to keep up with another blog? Well yes, I did toy with the idea of using this space for penning my adventure. But in future I may want to share my travel story with people in my real life, with whom I don't want to share my personal space of To Blog, With Love. I don't love them as much as I love you guys, you know :)

So all those who want to know all about my travel, story of a young Indian solo traveller walking across the cobbled roads of Europe - hop on to my new blog.

*drum rolls* I present to you

I realized that on this backpacker's trip I won't be able to afford any other souvenir except a fridge magnet and a post card :) But a lot of pictures and a lot of memories.

I am not going to ignore To Blog, With Love, I promise :)

Edited to add:
I have changed the name of my travel blog :) Just like that. Now it is called Stories on the Map.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Don't stop those tears

Today I read an article that touched a very sensitive, though healed, wound deep inside me. It took me back to that time when I was 21 years old – my first tryst in a professional environment. It was a 3 month internship with one of the leading Advertising houses in Bangalore. I had great fun during those 3 months. There were a lot of challenges but it was all very exciting. I loved going back to office on Mondays. I was the starry eyed girl curious about everything, hungry to learn and work. My biggest goal during that internship was to convert that into a job so that I don’t have to depend on my college for a placement.

At the end of the internship, my boss (the branch head) wrote a letter of appreciation for me which had mentions of all the projects I had completed during my time there. And a few lines about my personality. In that he had written something like S is blah blah blah (good things) though needs to show enthusiasm at work. That last line was like a sword through my 21 year old heart. I did not understand what that was supposed to mean. Enthusiasm? I worked so much, more than any other intern that time. How could he say that I lacked enthusiasm – when I was the one running around getting things done, asking questions, curious to learn everything I could lay my hands on. I was severely heartbroken with that letter. This not only meant that my internship would not lead to a job, but also the letter was a stinker for future job prospects. I must have read that letter a thousand times and decided that I needed to talk about it to my boss – at least to understand what he meant by freakin’ enthusiasm. 

So I went to his cabin and asked and in the process shed big dollops of tears and put my palms on my face and CRIED. Now when I think back to that moment, I smile at my naivety. But that time it was a moment of ‘crisis’ : ) What my boss meant to say was that I need to ‘display’ my enthusiasm more. The important word there was ‘display’ and how that enthusiasm needs to come alive to infect others too. Now I was not that person who is animated around others; three months was definitely not enough for me to break the walls around my space. At least not that time. After seeing me cry, he edited that line to make it clearer. Haha. And I must point out that he did hire me after I completed my course :)

The article that I read today was about crying at your workplace – whether it is taboo or a sign of strength. And that made me think. I am prone to crying, yes, mostly happy tears. I don’t cry sad tears at the drop of a hat, but I do feel a wave of emotions (it literally feels like a huge wave) for something I feel very strongly about. For example in the story I just narrated, getting a job and becoming financially independent was an urgent need of the hour.

After that particular incident, being ashamed of crying at a ‘professional’ environment, I decided never to cry again like a child. I was after all, the young-independent-working professional I always wanted to be. But the first six months of my work were absolutely horrible. I had the worst team, the worst client and the worst boss in the whole world. And that taught me a lot. Those six months were like three years of work experience – every day a trial, every day a disappointment and the struggle to deal with all of that. I would be on the verge of tears and then ‘display’ my armor of strength pretending to be strong. There were days I would run to the washroom to vent out, to shed those tears, wash my face and come back on the battle ground. 

Every day I wanted to quit but there was a thriving force, a voice that did not want to give up. It was a hell of a shocker (pun completely intended) after studying for 5 years. I couldn’t believe that the place of my dreams was that. My self esteem was torn to pieces and stomped over ruthlessly. But as dramatic it may sound, I came out of that crisis, reborn like a phoenix. Things took a turn and became splendid – great client, great team, great boss, lot of good work, appreciation, recognition and fun.

Tears have made me ashamed of myself at one instance and also acted as a source of strength at another time. I don’t think tears are for losers. What you do after shedding those tears is what matters.