Sex, alcohol, drugs and Arjun Reddy

I just watched the telugu movie Arjun Reddy, and I must say, even before watching it I was pretty curious to watch it just from the teasers, trailers, posters and general hysteria. Also Vijay Devarakonda is cute, cannot lie.

Im not a huge fan of telugu cinema but I’m loving how the telugu movie industry is redefining its image lately, and steering away from mainstream clichés and ideologies that have plagued it.

I knew before going in to the threatre this movie was going to be bold, but I wasn’t expecting the pace and this level of intensity. Right from the opening shot, the scene shows Vijay and a girl lying naked in bed, covered in white sheets, on a four-poster bed in the middle of what appears to be a beach. It was a bizarre image yet serene and beautiful. Almost calming. And that’s what I loved about this movie. None of the kissing or sex scenes were overtly erotic or sexualized. There was nothing dirty or vulgar about it. All the scenes were meaningful and beautiful.

It made me think how ironic it is that this movie got an adult or A rating wheres in other mainstream Indian movies there is so much violence, gore, objectfication of women and even rape scenes and yet they get a U/A rating and we let kids watch that stuff like it’s no big deal.

ew. Gross.

Arjun Reddy features two consenting adults in an intimate relationship and everybody loses their minds.

awww

How is it that we have become so desensitized towards violence yet can’t handle even a little bit of intimacy?

I think the whole problem stems from the fact that in India, the idea of purity is reduced to virginity. When really there is so much more to it like purity of the heart, mind and soul. We cheapen the whole idea of purity when we say purity = virginity. And according to society the onus of remaining pure falls on women. But I digress. This is a topic for another post ☺

Coming back to the movie, yes, there is a lot of making out. And sex. And throughout nearly the whole second half of the film, he is high. On coke, weed. And I don’t know what else. I felt the second half of the film was too long, but I understand that the director probably wanted to show the whole process of grief and heartbreak Arjun was going through. The length of the film certainly draws you into the story and makes you connect with the characters.

What I loved about Arjun’s character is that he was so realistic (in the sense that there was some aspect of him that almost anyone can relate to) but at the same time somehow larger than life.

That being said, it must be noted that I don’t agree with the decisions he took or his lifestyle. He is, in fact, a complete psychopath, but arnt they all like that? The dominant obsessive love struck characters are all a bit psychotic, whether it’s Christian Gray or heathcliffe or Jay Gatsby. That’s what makes them so.. juicy.

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A Sparkling Diwali Sans Sparklers

Its Diwali season! Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights. And as long back as I can remember, whether it was in my grandparents house in India or in California, Diwali time always meant shopping, good food and lots of fireworks! Although I was never really sure what it signified (I was never told); there are so many varying myths and legends associated with the festival.

Sadly, Diwali has just taken on a completely different meaning nowadays. Rather, it has become sort of meaningless. Today, Diwali isn’t even about the lights and glowing diyas anymore. Its just people bursting loud and disrupting firecrackers, bombs and rockets and in general creating a lot of pollution and disturbance because its supposed to be ‘fun’.

Reasons Why You Should Not Burst Crackers this Diwali:

  1. Air pollution: Sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxides in the air mix with water and you get acid rain. If you have ever seen the air just after Diwali, its like a gas chamber. It takes a really long time for these gases to go away.
  2. Noise pollution: Sometimes it gets so loud, your ears are literally become numb. It may lead to hearing deficiencies and probably deafness.
  3. Adverse health defects: These harmful acidic chemicals can lead to health defects such as respiratory problems. Kids, elderly people and pregnant women are affected the most.
  4. The garbage: It’s not like the streets of India are the cleanest places ever, but after Diwali it looks like a tornado hit the city. And who cleans up all that trash?
  5. Animals: On Diwali night, you won’t see a single bird in the sky. Dogs are really sensitive to the noise and get scared away as well. If not for the environment, at least think about the helpless animals.
  6. It contributes to global warming: Maybe not at a large scale, but all the greenhouse gases released in the atmosphere at once will affect the ozone layer!
  7. Worst of all: Small kids (as young as four) are making these firecrackers under hazardous conditions at minimum wages at a place called Sivakasi in Southern India in order to meet the demand for them during Diwali season. Many of these kids are held in bonded labor and don’t attend school. These children suffer from respiratory diseases, tuberculosis, malnutrition, bone injuries and a host of other maladies.

It was not until years later, when I discovered spirituality, that I came to understand that Diwali actually signifies the triumph of good over evil, of righteousness over treachery, of truth over falsehood, but most importantly it represents the triumph of light over darkness. If fact, it is said be celebrated on the darkest night of the darkest time period. I like to think the ‘light’ here is really the light in the innermost core of our hearts. The divine spark within all of us that shines even during the darkest of times. If you think about it, (minus all the rituals and religious dogmas associated with it) it is a really awesome and beautiful festival to be celebrated.

I feel like people are completely forgetting the real meaning of Diwali  and are instead heading into a continuous downward spiral of destruction without any real values. There is no sense of responsibility or accountability for nature, our environment or even humanity any more. Just baseless religious dogma. Having to say this is pretty awful and just sad, especially as a young person.  😦

I haven’t taken part in any of it in the past four years that I was in India. I always sat inside or on the driveway, watching my family and friends bursting firecrackers, yet refusing to participate. Of course, I never told anyone off or openly voiced my opinions about it because let’s face it: nobody wants to be the party-pooper or rain on everyone’s parade (or in this case their sparklers and chakras and hydrogen bombs and 1000 walas and bijili rockets). But lately, I have realized that standing on the sidelines watching, isn’t really good enough. It is NOT the best I can do. So I want to spread the word around and let everyone know.

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything”-Albert Einstein

Where In The World Am I From?

Whenever someone asks me where I’m from, my immediate response is Chennai! This noisy, humid, beautiful, dirty sweltering and diverse city with its sandy shores, idli sambhar stalls and insane bus drivers has been my home for more than seven years now. Whether I like it or not, this city has definitely grown on me. But of course, most ‘Chennaites’ react to this with raised eyebrows and an expression amounting to “Riiight… so where are you really from?”

They know you are not really from around these parts. They can smell it.

When I proceed to explain that I’m originally from Hyderabad, its all “Ohhh telenguu, like hyderabaaadi biryaaani?” or “ohh reddy garu, so your family are basically like factionists right?”.

Yes that’s right. All I eat is Hyderabadi biryani. Also my family basically goes around in white Sumos wielding hand grenades and terrorizing people (thanks a lot Tollywood). 🙂

Yet even this doesn’t seem to explain my contradicting ‘accent’. So when I explain that I grew up in the US of A then its suddenly “oh..nice.” when really they are thinking “Jeez an NRI(non resident indian); another stuck-up, bratty, clueless foreign return from one of those international schools. Another annoying snob who perpetually goes on about how Starbucks is superior to Coffee Day and complains about everything from the spicy food to the lack of air-conditioned bathrooms yet doesn’t know the difference between chai and chutney. Probably thinks she’s better than everyone else too.”

At which point, the next question is always “Which state in US?”

Well, California (for the most part), to which the reaction is like “ohh, the west coast! Hollywood! So you must go surfing like all the time and meet lots of hollywood stars”

Nope. Not really. I actually have never surfed before. Sorry.

…and Georgia: “I know! Like Hillbillies yaaa’ll (with drawn out Southern accent). Did you ever get mugged by those ‘black Americans’? Isn’t everyone like super racist there?”

No. Just no.

What I began to realize is that it doesn’t matter what I say; It doesn’t matter which corner of this planet I am from. My whole character and personality, my entire identity as an individual will be reduced to some preconceived stereotype. There is literally a stereotype about every single country/state/city in this Earth. No one really escapes from it:

Gujjus: money minded

Punjabi: loud, party and drink a lot

Bengalis: miserly, eat fish

Mallu: coconut oil and banana chips

Tamilian: Enna rascalaa?!

Sri Lankan: pirates

Chinese: kung-fu, noodles. Commies.

Russians: vodka. Also commies

Welsh: Sheep shaggers

English: stiff upper lip, lot of ‘football’

Irish: loud, drink a lot. gingers.

Swiss: banks and cows and chocolate.

Japanese: anime, eat anything that moves.

Australians: ride kangaroos and say things like ‘dunny’, ‘thong’, and ‘barbie’.

Canadians: boring.

Jamaicans: reggae music and weed

Iran: terrorists

etc.

There is no escape.

So.. where in the world am I from?

Well, does it really matter?

Did the universe conspire to define and limit me based on some external factors of the environment in which I was born and raised in? I don’t fit into any stereotypes and I like myself that way! Sure, I’m unique. I’m one of a kind. I got no labels or tags. Should we really be judging people and creating barriers based on some generalized bigoted notion of who they are? How about being a global citizen of this planet instead?

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

For the record, I love all my madrasis, mallus, telugus, kannadigas, gujjus, punjabis, bongs, marathis, chinkis, kiwis, aussies, brits, scotts, irish, desis, latinos canucks, frenchies, serbs, ruskies, Africans, hillbillies, yankees,  and everyone in between. ❤