Friday, March 10, 2006

All my words come back to me ...

There's quite a bit to write about. Like watching Crash. A story put together so well! I loved the irony and how the protagonists become victims of their own prejudices. Such a complicated world, non? You never realize how rare objectivity is in perception, we all see the world with tinted glasses we've been bettering (or worsening, depending on the case) since we came into this world. We suffer from our own myopias, sometimes suffer from others' and sometimes come face to face with harsh realities that others fail to even discern.

While coming back from school sometimes, I used to look at other people on the road and sometimes observing one person closely, I'd find myself thinking 'She has a world of her own, her own thoughts, her own family, her own problems and her life has no connection with mine! I'm someone who's just staring at her and she doesn't even know ... The second we pass, we're out of each other's lives, I'm a non-entity to her and yet I'm all that matters to me!' It used to thrill me while making me feel extremely negligible and insignificant. In spite of this seemingly trivial existence our prejudices can have chilling consequences.

Some of my favourite parts from the movie:

Anthony: Look around! You couldn't find a whiter, safer or better lit part of this city. But this white woman sees two black guys, who look like UCLA students, strolling down the sidewalk and her reaction is blind fear. I mean, look at us! Are we dressed like gangbangers? Do we look threatening? No. Fact, if anybody should be scared, it's us: the only two black faces surrounded by a sea of over-caffeinated white people, patrolled by the triggerhappy LAPD. So, why aren't we scared?
Peter: Because we have guns?
Anthony: You could be right.

... and then you know what they do. I think at that point of time, I actually raised my hands in disbelief!

And of course, these priceless lines, by the same duo:

Anthony: You see any white people in there waiting an hour and thirty two minutes for a plate of spaghetti? Huh? And how many cups of coffee did we get?
Peter: You don't drink coffee and I didn't want any.
Anthony: That woman poured cup after cup to every white person around us. Did she even ask you if you wanted any?
Peter: We didn't get any coffee that you didn't want and I didn't order, and this is
evidence of racial discrimination? Did you happen to notice our waitress was black?
Anthony: That waitress sized us up in two seconds. We're black and black people don't tip. So she wasn't gonna waste her time. Now somebody like that? Nothing you can do to change their mind.
Peter: So, uh... how much did you leave?
Anthony: You expect me to pay for that kind of service?

Just couldn't help laughing.

Sometimes, its like we just love filling our heads with our very own kind of trash. Once in 7th class, when I was new to the city, a friend invited me to her and her sister's birthday party (they were twins) and my grandfather refused to let me go without someone to drop me. Freshly brewed teenage rebellion took over and I ranted to another friend 'Yeah! How unfair! They just don't want me to have fun, what do they care about my feelings?!' and this friend, S, rather wisely said 'I wouldn't go alone in an auto, I don't know the place either. What if you get lost?' And somehow that put things in a different light and I backed down. Sometimes, certain viewpoints are so much more easier to adopt even if they aren't right, especially so, when you don't want to take too much effort to understand the situation or be objective.

Like once I was telling Happy Singh that people tend to ignore me because of my headwrap (hehe, new blogword i picked up) and she said, 'Maybe its not because of your headwrap, maybe its because you're small' (or something of that sort that I suppose generally makes me ignorable. Remember that funny article about the man who complains that waiters always see through him except when they want to bring the bill?) While I know for certain that some people do tend to behave like I don't exist,I also know I am occasionally susceptible to paranoia and that it's upto me to wave my hands and shout 'Lookey here!' to make my presence felt.

Subjective justice

Also realized, with our own prejudices, we also have our own ideas of right and wrong. The other day, I was sitting in the canteen with a couple of friends. Someone called out 'noodles!' and a friend, who had ordered fried rice actually, found that nobody was there to take the noodles, called for them and gobbled them up. When his fried rice came, he gobbled that up too. I suggested that he pay for the noodles but he changed the subject.

I was a little indignant then, it was not like he couldn't afford to pay for them. When I told another friend this, he said 'You can correct someone once or twice. If people keep making calculation mistakes or aren't careful while catering to orders then they deserve to learn a lesson'. Who are we, I thought, to decide whether people deserve to learn lessons or not?

THen the same friend continued about how at a certain joint, there are always mistakes in calculating the VAT and then found myself thinking 'That's okay, na?' And then realized wit h a jolt that not paying the right amount of tax would be wrong too. Quite a revelation.

Harsh realities

Blister is doing her housejob at a very busy government hospital. Since it's a government hospital, there are a number of people from the not-so-well off parts of society. Many of the patients are the goonda types who come in with wounds inflicted due to fighting among themselves.

Blister had her night duty there the other day and she found two men sitting in the ladies ward and just staring, in the most deliberate way, at the female patients. They were also trying to forcibly converse with the women. Blister shooed them away (quite a dangerous thing to do in retrospect) and they wandered off to trouble women elsewhere. When she later told her classmates about this, they said 'What? You didn't know? This is nothing. Class IV employees are often found doing things like this. They even attempt rape on the patients. It happens every day, don't you read the paper?'

And to think these patients are poor, helpless people who cannot afford to go elsewhere. There are people in charge of security but it is largely inadequate. So, the patients can either bear with the assault or take their illness home.
How very sad and terrifying.

Phir bhi, like the snowfall at the end of Crash, there are those little things that gladden your heart - rainwashed trees, roads, puddles, staring at a black sky upside down ... the clouds little islands in a vast sea, stars shining through little gaps, a plane whizzing by - a lighted ship on that dark ocean ... and your heart feels at peace - a feeling that is ephemeral yet precious.


mythalez said...

A very well written post jus like the movie .. seems to be following the narration style of the movie too ...

Bhim said...

I started reading this post, but got the inkling that it might reveal a bit more than I want to know about hte movie.

I don't want to read a spoiler before I watch crash..

I guess its a nice movie?

AK-84 said...

Post's framed really well.. For Crash, another set of dialogue between Anthony and Peter when they talk about travelling in a bus and Anthony speaks about why those buses have big glasses was cool too.. And for harsh realities, they're there everywhere, EVERYWHERE..

Dreamcatcher said...

Beautiful, beautiful post. Especially the last bit.

Random said...

Lovely post...

Handa said...

really loved it... i don't know what i can add to this.. hats off...

Handa said...

you say i dont read ur blog... i read this twice just to make sure i didnt miss anything.

infinity said...

hmmm...must see crash...can't do much abt the rest...

Sudha said...

Nice post, as everyone else said. But when and where did you see Crash? As far as I know, it isn't out in Hyd yet!

Good to know that I'm not the only wierdo out there who goes through introspection a la CC: "While coming back from school sometimes, I used to look at other people on the road... 'She has a world of her own, her own thoughts, her own family, her own problems and her life has no connection with mine! I'm someone who's just staring at her and she doesn't even know ..."

But it never made me feel thrilled (you're apparently wierder than I am)--just detached and disconnected from everyone around me. And not in a good way.

And your noodles-friend incident? Didn't really get that.

Anyway, speaking of things that gladden the heart, you might want to check this out. Thou art mentioned, along with one particular incident that always gladdens my heart--and makes me laugh hysterically, but what the hey.

And yeah, just remembered, you still haven't told me who your 'Mother Theresa' is.

blister said...

funny u never told me abt that thing where u wonder about a stranger's life - i do it every other day almost. and btw, it's 'JVG Super Wash', and it's retained my 'dumbest ad ever' title till date. does ANYbody else remember this ad?

shub said...

super post kiddo! :) last time i read this, the comment page didnt commenting now....
loved the last part...
can't wait to watch the movie...
ps: did u cry while watching the movie? :p

The Reporter said...

dodo, thank youse :) and no .. just the ending, not the middle :) or is it? :/

bhim, no spoiler here sir .. except the dialogues :) Yes, it is a lovely movie ...

AK-84, thank you .. yeah, that was there too. They are everywhere ... but something should keep your heart from hardening towards them.

Teq, thank you :)

The Reporter said...

Random, Handa ... thanks :) Though I *honestly* don't know what makes it any different from my other posts.

Infinity, you must :)

Sudha, thanks to the internet :D It makes me feel thrilled because I wonder at how complex our world and our lives are .. :) Shall explain noodles-friend incident in person, and thanks for the mention :)

blister, hmm, methinks I did. Hehe, I think we watched the ad way too many times.

shub, thank you :) and no i dindt cry :P