Movie Review: Judgementall Hai Kya

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Kangana Ranaut has been in the news for so many things in the recent past that any movie of hers is newsworthy mainly because of the gossip around the actor. Although, IMHO, she’s become typecast for her neuroses in the earlier movies; she still manages to deliver a believable performance as person who is psychotic and yet not entirely off her rocker.

Rajkummar Rao fits well into edgier characters as smoothly as he does the feel good ones. His turn in Stree vs ELKDTAL vs JHK are varied as they are well-etched and with their own distinctive feels. He is truly a good actor in every sense of the word. He belongs in each of the movies he does.

The disclaimer at the start of the movie is also something that’s commendable in a place like India where mental health issues are a huge taboo and a dirty secret that’s more liable to be swept under the rug than be tackled head on.

Onto the actual reviewing: The movie is engrossing but it’s no OFOTCN or Nobody’s Child. It is however, a thought provoking look at a life tinged by pain and feelings of not belonging anywhere and being heard by those who matter.

The direction is fairly taut with Kovelamudi dropping the ball only when Rao starts fessing up to all his crimes which were deemed as psychotic ramblings of a delusional woman. Kangana sometimes overdoes it with the wide-eyed stare of a person who lives in a parallel universe inside her own head. Sometimes the scariest people are the ones who remain calm on the surface but are churning with maladaptive thoughts and hallucinations inside; desperately hanging onto shreds of reality.

The ancillary characters mainly make up the comic element in the movie. Whether it’s a long-suffering, hoping-to-get-laid sort-of boyfriend, or the ineffectual, obese cop (Satish Kaushik) who perpetually keeps eating; adding to his weight and his inefficacy. Jimmy Shergill doesn’t add much to the movie; gravitas or otherwise. His cameo needed to be better fleshed out. And for God’s sake, why does Amyra Dastur get work? She makes very little impact. At least someone who could breathe some life into a role needs to be brought in. She fails to strike a chord with the audience at all. The opening sequence of the movie with the blood splatters, spills and the origami is actually more poignant than many things in the entire film.

In the end, Rajkummar Rao with his sociopathic turn and Kangana in her delusional avatar, carry the movie forward and take it a step in the right direction; making mental illness lose its stigma and helping people know that it’s *not* a dirty word.

Rating 3.5/5

Retroblogging#23

Another one that caught my eye from the days of yore…

Right from the time my son was born, I was struck by how delicate he was. I knew babies are vulnerable and helpless but this one seemed to embody those qualities and more. He was a thin baby, weighing just on this side of an acceptable birth weight but he never lacked spunk.

That ‘scrawny’ baby’s learnt to run now and also balance himself on his toes to reach heights hitherto out of his reach.

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One thing that’s absolute about children is that you NEVER know what they’ll do next. If you think there’s a line they haven’t crossed yet, they always manage to cross it and then some! So if you threaten your kid with that ‘last straw that breaks the camel’s back’, you’d better be prepared to have a whole herd of camels waiting out there because your offspring will find plenty more straws and with it plenty of camels’ backs too.

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I used to think of little children (infant to toddler stage) as being fragile but it’s us as parents who’re the fragile ones. The kids are resilient and how! They fall, they bleed, they sprout bumps here, there and everywhere and they still keep going even after the tears have left tracks on their face.

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And speaking of tracks, while you may not need therapy to get over the minor cuts and nicks on your child; it definitely takes some doing to see your child hurt and you not being able to prevent it. And some things do stay with you. Whether it makes you a better parent or a hovering one is anyone’s guess.

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And by the time you’re over the initial trauma and your monkey is again gallivanting off for newer places to fall down from; you tell them what’s sure to become your motto in life- “Don’t cry! You wanna cry? I’ll give you something to cry about if you dare do something like this (fill in blank with your pet peeves about your kid) ever again!!!”

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And you go on. Both of you…sometimes with one chipped tooth, a brief black and blue mark and you with a near-paranoid obsession for stuff your child could hurt yourself on again. But you do go on.

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And before you know it, they’re onto newer things, more things they could make hurtful for themselves and with you still trying to be their life-long safety net and catch them before they fall. But that’s not to be…what is to be their ever-growing curiosity, activity and ability to bounce back each time.

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Amen to that! The rest will keep I suppose 🙂

P.S: At the time of this blog being posted MLM’s graduated to TO and has had 3 surgical interventions (nothing critical) which includes one broken hand being reset. And we’re still chugging along! Phew…

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The Housewife Chronicles

Note: The author knows that women put up with the vagaries of the hoomans they live with whether they are working inside the home or outside of it but it does seem a little tougher to escape said hoomans when you’re chiefly inside the home. You either have to buy a ticket to the tropics (minus the drama of the song) or buy your hoomans one and get yourself some METIME.

So the latest hurdle to hit this cozy household was one of milk. Yup, that’s M-I-L-K. Why did milk become a crisis as it were? Well our earlier milk vendor who sent us yummy, delicious, thick milk in good quality glass bottles (yay for the eco footprint reducers!) was unable to provide the milk due to some operational hitches. And the milk delivery stopped abruptly.

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I got back home from a trip to my folks’ place to find my husband saying “fix this” and a child who’s a food critique par excellence in the making; his terse and discerning palates lead him to say, “Yuck, this is disgusting” and that particular item is deemed unfit and doesn’t cross his lips again. Ever.

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So a bit of a background about my two masters- they are fussy eaters. Not an extensive palate. Extremely limited fare goes down their gullet but that must be consistent and be the same-ish. And if you ever need a bit of a feedback about what may or may not be making the dish taste good or bad the answer comes back in a way that redefines being succinct for all eternity- “Doesn’t taste good” OR “tastes good”. And you’re left trying to decipher what the bleeping eff you’re supposed to take back from the exchange.

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So when I went back to an earlier brand of milk we used to have before our new favorite, Red came to me with a scrunched up face. And for an-almost constant poker-faced guy a scrunched up face can signal the beginning of the Apocalypse. This is how the exchange went-

Red- Is this the new milk? Me- Umm no..this is the old new milk..hee hee, we used to have this brand before we switched to the latest thing. Red- We did? Why? Doesn’t taste good. Me- You liked it earlier. Red- Don’t like it now. Too thin. M- OKAY…how does it taste though. R- I don’t like this..it’s too thin. M- $%@#$^@#^@$^. Red- get something else for tomorrow.

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Similar exchange with TO- “Ayu…the chocolate milk doesn’t taste good. Me- it’s the same as it always was. TO- No it’s not. Can I have juice? Me- No, we don’t waste food, finish this and I’ll get you something different later. TO- Add some chocolate sauce and put a straw in it like Ma (my mom) does. This is weird. Me- Weird how (because, yes…I’m that much of a masochist). TO- IT.IS.WEIRD.” Nuff said.

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So after having a couple of mind-boggling, eye-popping experiences by seeing the prices of the stuff out there and even contemplating buying a damn cow to please the two ogres I live with, I finally got a brand home that’s passed muster with OGRE#1. Am waiting for OGRE#2 to wake up and put me out of my misery and give me his trademark thumbs up approval for the new milk brand.

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If that doesn’t work I’ll just interview the milch cows of Hyderabad and see if anyone wants to generate milk customized to the taste buds of two (semi) high maintenance males who seem to get hungry and thirsty the moment they see my face. If that doesn’t work either they can live offa Soya milk because I’ll be saying MOO to you!

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P.S: how do people inherit food genes?! Baffles the mind.

Ruminations@3 AM

I have a slightly off sleeping pattern. I need to time it pretty precisely so I get my required amount of sleep. Too early and I’m up 2-3 hours prior to my usual wake-up time. Too late and I’m rushing through the morning just to catch up with everything that needs to get done by 9 am.

Some days, like today, I’m up early and looking out at the city and it’s pretty darn quiet. No sounds anywhere and few cars around. Almost seems like I’m the only one up for miles around.

I drift from room to room and ultimately set up shop somewhere and start listening to music (right now it’s Sonique’s It Feels So God) or start streaming something-none of which aids in going back to sleep.

Social media can be a boon at this time. Or a curse. But then again it always is. I see whose babies are upto what or where people are travelling to and wonder about life.

I also go and look in on TO and either cover him up with his sheets or demummy him (aka unwrap him head to toe) and start thinking about the morning.

Occassionally I catch up with my BFF because she’s on a continent that works with this time difference. But I mainly go into the bhatakti aatma mode till I give up the ghost (totally bad punning at 4 am) and wait for morning.

I really want to just be able to do this though…

Stupid growing older and messed circadian rhythms.

Grrr!!

What Dreams May Come

For every student who dabbled in Psych, Sigmund Freud is a part of the study one couldn’t escape. He was the pit in the cherry or any fruit that you had to eat around and eventually spit out. And now I’m doing justice to both my Psych and English Litt backgrounds by using metaphors and also showing my subtle dislike for the man.

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But dislike aside, pioneers usually pave the way by being the first one to *do* or propound something. In the course of time people run with it, either disprove it and tear it down to build anew or to use it as a foundation for their thoughts and research.

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Why am I talking about the dirty old man of Psychology on this fine, breezy morning? Well, he spoke and researched at length about dreams and their meanings and I can barely count the number of times I’ve seen non-psychology students get his book and flip through the pages and try and find a meaning for the dream that they had.

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I have rather vivid dreams, complete with background scores and set decor sometimes. We all pick up cues from our environment all day long. Some we’re aware of and others hover on the edge of our consciousness and come out full force when the guards are down aka asleep.

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It’s not only the bad dreams that startle us or make us think. Prima facie even a “happy person” who’s looking forward to something fun and positive could have a dream that makes them think, “why that dream? what could it possibly mean?” And the answer can sometimes elude us and at others it’s right there in front of us.

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I have no idea why I dreamt what I did last night. I don’t even know for sure if it was negative in it’s connotation. So many things get tainted with a negative slant because of fear, misinformation or just because of stereotypes when it could actually be a far more benign thing.Image result for freud dream meme

And sometimes a dream is just that, a dream and not something that needs to be dug into deeper. I’m playing Roberta Flack’s Set The Night To Music while typing this post out…it could mean nothing or it could mean the nights have to be waaaay more chillled out for me going forth.Related image

But one thing seems certain, my kid needs new toys. If I find another reptile while I’m brushing or making the bed or see him search for poisonous snake pictures and videos on my phone then the blame’s squarely landing on a particular pint sized person who clearly overshares his interests with his reptile-fearing parent.

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Mommy over and out!

 

Realizations…Bite!

I am currently facing a gargantuan task. I have to sort out the images I have with me on my hard drive. The device is running out of space and I know I’ll keep taking more pictures so I have no option but to optimize the usage as soon as possible.

So, what’s the brouhaha about? I should be able to ruthlessly delete stuff, right? Well, it needs to be taken into account that I have certain OCD features which have prevented me from doing this in the past. I am a hoarder *hangs head in shame* so it’s pretty darn tough for me to throw anything away especially images of my child, taken from the moment he was born till the one I took of him yesterday.

As it is with fast moving bodies, you need to click a good number of images before you find the one which isn’t excessively blurry or the one which has your subject looking exactly the way you want them to. So it stands to reason that the human hurricane that he was before he turned 6, has way too many pictures which contain if nothing else, but a part of an ear, a pinkie or the curve of his butt. And it is now my “pleasure” to sort through those treasures and keep the ones which I absolutely can’t do without.

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Did I also mention that I need things organized in a said manner so I don’t have a mini fit looking at images all lumped together? The feeling of seeing a folder arranged into sub-folders which may or may not have their additional sub-folders is *quite* a joy. Neat. Tidy and most importantly, properly labelled. I’m quite the labeler. They make it easy to locate things in life like the trip you took when the child was 2 years old and it was winter. Or the images from when he was in diapers but sporting a bald look. It all adds up…to idiosyncrasies but it can’t be helped. It’s part genes and part malaise.

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Here I go, down the rabbit hole of images…..

39

So here we are again…had to be, right? Birthdays being the yearly thing that they are. I am happy to report that the girth hasn’t kept up with my age. It would make turning 40 *quite* traumatic.

As time goes by, I find that I settle into these little traditions on certain days; birthday lunches with good friends. Bonding over booze is something that we cannot ever take too lightly. The same goes for importance of Bollywood music as it turns out. More on that later.

A good friend and I made a pact this year to discover new places (eateries) and try them out all through the year. And that’s been going on fairly steadily. I also try to make it for as many of the movies that I want to watch. Just got to head back before T.O gets back though and make it look like I’ve been busy folding clothes and doing laundry all day. Moms aren’t allowed to have too much fun without their kids or so the thought process goes.

Have more leisure time on my hands since I stopped working and most days are a heady mix of streaming something on Netflix and reading. It’s actually become a lot of rereading but books never go out of style. Especially John Sandford.

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My relationship with being healthy is an out of sight-out of mind kind of thing. If I’m not focused on it, it’ll never happen. And I end up losing focus very quickly in this area. Note to self: find out if ADD can happen selectively in a person’s life. All I can say is that I’ve not been patronizing unhealthy foods as much as I used to.

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diddly squats

This past year has been one that’s been quite memorable. More facetime (not app,the actual kind) with friends and a bit of travel here and there.

I’ve basically trying hard not to make too many plans. I’ve always been a planner. Long before summer break came about, my suitcase would be packed up and I’d enjoy the process of planning for everything I’d be taking along with me. The little joys as it were.

But while planning is fine, sometimes in planning too much you kind of miss the day-to-day. And the day to day is what adds up to everything else when you sit back and look at everything that’s been done. So that’s the focus now. Plan but at a slower pace and sometimes just let things happen. My kid broke a hand. We dealt with it. He’s now swinging from monkey bars and swinging cricket bats with equal ease. Can’t plan for every eventuality and when stuff crops up, you deal. Simple. Red left his job, took a sabbatical and then got back on to the grind sooner than we thought. The only plans we made uber seriously, were about securing the future for our child and us. Everything else was icing on the cake.

So while I’ll never be the fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda person, I’m still going to (try to) take it easy. Maybe. Possibly. I’ll make a list… Sheeesh!

A quick look at the day itself and the night after.

Jager Bombs!

The jingbang who help cut the cake every year

Salut!

The Magic Of Coffee

Caffeine is defined as ‘an alkaloid compound which is found especially in tea and coffee plants and is a stimulant of the central nervous system.’
I, on the other hand, would call it the life-giving and life-sustaining elixir which enables me to tolerate my fellow man, open my eyes in the morning without wishing a piano fell on people around me; basically not putting a hit out on people who keep me from my coffee.


Take this morning’s scenario- TO has trouble getting up in the mornings. So do I but I have been given the divine duty of getting my kid off to school ergo sleep can be sacrificed for the joy of knowing he’s boarding the yellow bus. Anyhoo, after what seems like eons in getting him to get out of bed and the zombie-walk to the loo where he can brush, he decided that *now* was the best time to lie down flat on a skateboard and S-L-O-W-L-Y roll his way to the dining table that was maybe 5 feet away.

Why, one might be tempted to ask. Well apparently the flesh and blood wanted to have his morning milk ‘on the go’ as it were.

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In such moments, coffee is the most glorious of gifts. It prevents you from turning into a banshee, dumping said cup of milk onto otherwise lovable offspring’s head and as the caffeine enters your system, you feel calm and barely-there tolerance pervade the space around you.

I do agree, I might have a wee addiction towards the bean. It has been my constant support for more than 26 years now. It has got me through many a thing. Kept me from throwing things at odious people and throwing odious people off other places.

A few weeks ago I was asked to cut back on milk and caffeine as a part of a “diet”. That it didn’t work out is a given. I took to lingering in the kitchen gazing at the cupboard where the coffee is kept. I sniffed the coffee powder a few times a day and wished I could mainline it. Yup…total junkie.

But all jokes aside, we all have our crutches in life. Some worse than others. Of all the things I could be doing, coffee seems to be the most benign.

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Channeling Animals

Today I walked on all fours. In an extremely ungainly manner. Bum in the air, hands flat on the ground doesn’t do it for me. And also makes me appreciate the load my feet carry.

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My trainer occasionally gets his peeps to do various animal-walks. Red’s come back all winded doing a duck walk and apparently there’s no end to the variety of animals that can and will be channeled in the fight towards a fitter body. Here are a few that trainers love to inflict on us poor heavyweights.

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A crab walk

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A bear walk/crawl

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A crocodile walk

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The snake crawl

All of these are designed to impact the body positively; in theory. But doing them is another ball game altogether. Especially when all the body wants to do is curl up and sleep. Image result for hibernating like a bear

 

 

A Forced Hiatus

I type this out, with the middle finger of my left hand raised and ostensibly flipping off the world at large. But that’s not so. I’m not that angsty. Or am I?

A few days ago I tried to save a silly glass from toppling over in the wind. The wind was gusty and the glass was flimsy. The breaking of the glass and my hand reaching out to save it happened simultaneously. Long story short- there was lots of blood, stitches and waiting in the emergency room, breathing in the hospital smell while the nerve that got nicked twanged on furiously. Ergo the raised middle finger that cannot bend.

I’m currently down with what’s called Neuropraxia. And Wikipedia very nicely and accurately describes it as thus, “Neurapraxia is a disorder of the peripheral nervous system in which there is a temporary loss of motor and sensory function due to blockage of nerve conduction, usually lasting an average of six to eight weeks before full recovery.”

For a person who talks with her hands as much as she does with her mouth (it’s a toss-up which one gets more weightage), it’s been VERY, VERY uncomfortable. Barring the episiotomy that I had while having T.O, I’ve never needed any surgical intervention and I was happy with that. And no…I won’t define an episiotomy! Those who know what it is are already shuddering; I don’t want the general populace cringing as well.

But back to flipping the bird. It’s not fun. It’s not remotely fun because after you exhaust all the middle finger jokes, you’re left with a finger that keeps sending electric-bolts like shocks up and down your hand and sometimes through your body; making your freeze in your tracks like an extended (and sometimes perverse) game of Statue!!

But all my bellyaching aside, it’s great to get some mobility back in the finger. And yes, I perpetually do give everyone in the vicinity ‘the bird’; whether warranted or not. Most importantly, the learning from this has been immense! Always drink whiskey. The glasses are sturdier and don’t shatter at the first contact with another object.

Nuff said.

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