How I Felt About ‘Highway’

I can’t recall the last time I went to watch a movie for the second time in a theater. In fact, I don’t think it had ever happened. Never have I been so compelled and moved by a film or a character to make the effort and pay the price just to get a second glimpse on the big screen. I’m quite surprised at myself for feeling so strongly about a film to the point that I feel guilty. There are so many things going on in the world that I should be obligated to feel strongly about other than a fictional movie. But I guess that is the charm and power of cinema. You walk in the theater to get away from your life for couple of hours and sink into others’ lives without becoming invested in it. I got the short end of stick when I walked out of the theater after watching the recent Bollywood movie called ‘Highway’. I went home heavy heart with tears running down my cold cheeks. Irritation bubbled inside me towards the director for such an abrupt end to a beautiful journey. Unlike those sequel movies, this has an end and this was the end. The characters will never reappear in a sequel movie. This was the end we had to accept.

It’s a story about a young woman who’s true journey towards self-discovery begins after being kidnapped by a couple of hoodlums for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Veera is the daughter of a well-known and powerful businessman. All her life, she has known nothing but comfort and well-being so much so that she felt trapped and longed for an adventure outside her regular life in the city. Mahabir Bhaati, the kidnapper, has had the polar opposite life from Veera. All his life he has known hardship and struggle. Raised in living conditions below par and abused by his father, the only comfort he has felt and known is in the arms of his mother who he knew was being abused and sold by his father to rich power players in exchange for money. Scarred by this trauma, he grew up to despise the upper-class. After Mahabir discovers the identity of his victim, he seeks this as an opportunity to seek revenge to the powerful people who has done him wrong. He takes Veera on a long road trip journey with no apparent destination. It’s the story about how their relationship blossoms throughout the journey.

The real reason I went back to see it a second time was because of Mahabir Bhaati, played so beautifully by Randeep Hooda. I was unable to get this character out of my mind. I felt such a strong empathy towards Mahabir that I have never before felt for any character. In fact, I don’t think I have ever delved so deeply into a character before especially in Bollywood movies. I usually watch Bollywood movies when I don’t want to think. And most Bollywood movies don’t really delve deep into the characters anyway – or maybe it’s just me not paying close attention. But this one struck an emotional cord inside me. I have to give kudos to Imtiaz Ali for creating this enigmatic yet endearing character. However, the full credit goes to Randeep Hooda for his raw and sincere performance that he made the character so believable and real. Alia Bhaat has outdone herself as Veera considering this is her second movie. I believed her soul was still innocent despite being sexually abused at such a young age.

But let’s get back to Mahabir for a bit. After all, he is the reason I went back. There is so much depth in his character. Despite his rugged exterior and tough guy behavior, he also has an innocent soul within him. Even though he kidnapped Veera, he never looked at her in a wrong light nor did he attempt to touch her in a wrong way. I think that is why they connected. They both saw through each other for the pureness left inside them despite facing trauma and abuse in their childhood. It’s strange and fascinating how abused children grow up to be. Some become abusers themselves but some become defenders.  Mahabir became the latter. When one of his hoodlum friends tries to get touchy-touchy with Veera, he confronts him that such behavior is unacceptable. He is a man of integrity. Even though he is angry at life itself for what it has thrown on him, he still remains principled when it comes to defending someone’s honor. I think it has a lot to do with his mother issue. Veera is extremely expressive, both physically and emotionally. She shares her traumatic childhood story with Mahabir and is the one to reach out physically through form of hugs and little brushes here & there. Her openness and willingness sort of forces him to open up as well. One peculiar thought crossed my mind that may be Mahabir has not had any physical or sexual relationship with any woman so far. And it is understandable even though he might be in his 30’s. Men who see their mother gets abused and raped will have extremely difficult time forming physical and emotional relationship. Just a floating thought since he flinches every time she tries to touch him. I think this made me appreciate the character more and made him more endearing. But it’s just my perception since this fact is never revealed in the movie. I’d like to believe so. I truly had an urge to know more about Mahabir’s character. The back story as well as how his relationship with Veera develops and the way it affects him. Unfortunately, we never get to see that. And to me that is when the movie gets a bit disappointing. We are taken through this glorious journey of self-discovery but just leaves off brushing the tip. Just when we were getting to the best part of the meal, it is snatched and thrown away. That is exactly how I felt. Sort of cheated actually. But I understand the director’s point of view. He showed us the reality. We don’t always get the things we want in life. Some things just gets left off unanswered.

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That awkward situation when………

Finally out of hibernation, even though winter never really came around this year. Speaking of weather, it’s scaring me the shit out of me. If it is this hot in spring, how will it be in the summer? I have vowed to wear a hat and put sunblock this entire summer. Got to protect the face, ladies.

Right now I am in a somewhat distressing situation. I recently got a new job. Naturally that means leaving my current job which means having the dreadful ‘I’m leaving this job’ talk with my boss. Two weeks notice as they say. I have been dreading this moment ever since I found out I got the new job. It seems my anxiousness to have this talk exceeds my excitement for the new job. I have always been very cautious person and like everyone else, I hate making hard decisions. Given the current state of economy anybody would have dropped everything instantly at a offer for better post, closer to home. But I have been having unsettling feeling ever since. Its because I love this job and I love the people I work with. Sure it’s pretty far away from home (2hr metro ride every single day) and the pay is not as much but still, I love it here. And its a non-profit organization which means it exist to actually help people. The people I work with are so dedicated, mellow and down right awesome. I had a thought this morning about how giving this two weeks notice is just like breaking up a long-term relationship. Both have invested a lot of time and hard work towards this but now one is moving on to a different path without the other’s knowledge. And the other is left dumbfounded, empty-handed and searching all over again for the perfect one. The relationship cycle all over again. That is why I am filled up with this guilt. I know for a fact that they will easily find someone else to replace me but seeing the disappointed look is excruciating enough.

 

I have been having tiffs with my inner philosopher. I had difficulty making decision whether to take this new job or not. I turned to my elders and friends to hear their two cents worth. Majority of them told me to take up the job as it pays better and more convenient. They told me that is how progress is made, sacrificing the leisure and getting out of the comfort zone. The philosopher in me questioned: isn’t the purpose of our life to attain happiness and if so, are you not happy at your current state? Yes, I am. I am happy at my current state but what about the future? I have to make my way up the ladder in order to live comfortably in the future thus sacrificing the current form of happiness. But when does that future arrive? And what guarantee there is that progess will lead to more happiness? At the end, the philosopher in me got defeated by my desire to follow societal norms and strive to make progress in life. Subjective word that progress. Hopefully I will find happiness in my new job. But one thing I have learned from my current job is what I want to do in the future. Fingers crossed!

Resolutions, Resolutions

New year arrives in a week which means it’s that time to churn out those hard-to-keep resolutions. My new year resolutions have remained the same most years basically showing the sad fact that I haven’t been able to keep my resolutions. Its the same routine every year. A week before new year, enthusiastically prepare a resolution list with every possible determination to achieve each and every goal on that list even if it says one rice per day diet or facebook once a week. Then comes January 7th and I think to myself ‘hmmm….stuck to my resolution this whole week but I have the whole year ahead so wouldn’t matter if I just skip one week. I promise will get back on schedule after this week.(insert smily manipulative face)’ One week turns into two which turns into a month which turns into a year and I realize its that time to set up new year resolution, agian. So over the years I haven’t kept my resolutions for more than a week. If only there were resolution police, the world would be a much better place…well at least my world would be better. Here are three resolutions that appear on my list pretty much every year:

1. Lose weight – Before you judge me, this must be the top on most girls, women or even mens’ resolution list which is, I admit, kind of sad. Some might do this to lead a healthy lifestyle but most do this because they are not satisfied with their appearance whether it stems from societal pressure or personal insecurities. There are two ways to achieve this: exercise and diet. Being a major food-lover, I cannot do the latter. I can never say no to good food. One minute I am resisting, next minute its gone. But one way to compromise is to purify you eating habit. Include fruits and vegetables in your diet every single day. Treat yourself once a week by eating out. Eating out regularly is a very bad habit. Restaurant and fast food are filled with excess sodium and other unhealthy ingredients. I am saying this out of experience. Nevertheless, exercise is the main means to achieve my goals. It not only helps me lose weight but also keeps me healthy and fit. If only I could get my lazy ass off the couch and into the gym.

Time Magazine’s Top 10 Commonly Broken New Year Resolution

2. Spend less time on facebook – Well, this wansn’t in any of my prior year resolutions but it will be this year. I sometimes think someone paid big money to Mark Zuckerberg to create this social network to distract everyone from daily chores. (Employees too busy with facebook) This virtual life of facebook is so addictive that without it you feel incomplete. I once deactivated my facebook for a year, and I felt like I lost connection with the civilization. The only updates I got on my friends life was when I actually called them or met them in person which felt so wrong. It is a creepy little site but there are perks that come along like instant news update about dead dictators. But like many moral stories, it is out there like everything else in this world, and it is up to you how you should utilize it.

 

3. Be more productive – See no. 2.

Whilst writing this entry, I have realized that one key factor is holding me back from achieving all these resolutions I have set up: laziness. If I become less lazy and more active, there is nothing to hold me back. So I shall now reveal my list of resolutions for year 2012:

  1. stop being lazy
  2. be more thoughtful and kind
  3. eat more fruits and vegetables
  4. smile more & be thankful
  5. spend less
  6. more positive thinking
  7. sleep early/ 8 hrs
  8. travel to at least one other country
  9. read more books
  10. fall in love

*learn basic survival skills in preparation for doomsday. kidding.

So long 23…

Well, it’s that time of the year again. This Saturday is my birthday. I have never really been the one to hide my age because it is what it is. But as I get older think I am becoming one of those who are hesitant to reveal their age. Only if I age like Jen Aniston then I would write it out big for the world to see, I mean look at the woman – she is 42 and she looks like in her late 20’s. However, sticking with my old self I will reveal that I am turning 24 this weekend. Not a bad age. Let’s take a moment to reflect on what my 23rd year on this earth was like. At 23, I felt as though my quarter life crisis came two years early. I did a lot of soul searching – questioning what, how and most importantly, why. The year began beautifully in the San Francisco valleys, forgot for a while all the struggles and trouble awaiting back home. Once home, it was back to browsing Craigslist and monster seeking a suitable job. And whilst doing that, thinking and regretting if only I had done a better job in college, then questioning the whole institute of higher education (watch on youtube – is college the biggest scam in history?), later think what I really need is a master’s degree, then blame it all on George Bush for screwing up the economy and feel much better. This routine went on for a while until, finally, I found a job and thought all is not doomed, yet. But the trouble continued even after I got a job. Now it was  – how am I going to do my masters? When will I get time to study for GMAT? So forth and so on. On top of this, there was the emotional baggage I was carrying of home, friends, more than friends, etc. Those who were suppose to be there for me were not there. I wasn’t there for those who needed me. It was a very confusing year in terms of relationships. I made a lot of mistakes and became someone I couldn’t recognize. But now I have found my grounds and learned a lot from those mistakes.

Here are some highlights from my not-so-exciting 23rd
year on this earth:

  • Surgically removed all four wisdom tooth in a
    day (result: swollen face for a week)
  • Got pepper sprayed (Yaaap!)
  • Got golden opportunity to attend and volunteer
    at Kalachakra
  • Got my heart broken
  •  Experienced couple panic attacks (damn you
    George Bush & Osama)
  • Almost….almost fought with someone
  •  Survived earthquake and flooding in Virginia
    (high five!)
  • Encountered couple of douche-bags
  •  But canceled out the prior by meeting some
    awesome new people

So that’s pretty much it I think. They say wisdom comes with age. I really hope this is the year I am showered with that wisdom so I can
prepare for the real quarter life crisis next year. Hoping for a drama-free, torture-free year. Cheers!

9/11 – then and now

Tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I still remember vividly that particular day of my life and so does millions of others. I was a freshman in high school, sitting in my math class as my teacher turned on the class tv for some unusual news. There I sat with my eyes fixed upon the tv as the second plane hit the second tower of the world trade center. It all looked like a part from a very dramatic action thriller movie, not knowing that thousands were taking their last breath and billions will be affected. That was a day and this is today. Everything has changed. From the way we define terror and fear to the way we pack our luggage for a trip. Every single day I ride the metro with fear in the back of my head – fear of becoming part of the casualties, fear of losing my loved ones – and every single day I have to placate myself that such thing won’t happen, I mean what are the chances. But those boarding the flights on 9/11 thought the same. The mastermind has perished but thousand others have borned to terrorize. When will all this stop? When will we stop living with fear? There is a possibility of terrorist attack tomorrow either in DC or New York. And tomorrow happens to be the day my uncle has to work – in DC. I haven’t been feeling calm all day today. And I won’t all the tomorrow either. When would a time come when we would stop fearing people harming other people for no good reason?

Tenzin Namgyal Tethong La for Kalon Tripa 2011

Tenzin Tethong La has worked tirelessly from his youth years till now for the political cause of Tibet as well as for the betterment of the Tibetan society on a community level. He not only performed what was asked from him but also went above and beyond in establishing solid grounds for Tibetans to voice their thoughts and ideas through the twin pillars of innovation and perseverance.

It is sad that negative campaigning carried out by some section of our people during this electoral period is tarnishing the image of this man who has dedicated almost his entire life exploring different ways to develop our exiled community so we would be able to stand on our feet and fight for Tibet in the global arena.

It is because of his efforts to resettle 1000 Tibetans in America that we are enjoying this privileged life here in the land of the free. It is because of his efforts to get the youth involved in the Tibet movement that we can proudly claim ourselves as being part of RTYC. It is because of his efforts to have Tibetan students educated in various American universities that scholars like Dr. Lobsang Sangye and a number of others have been able to pursue education free of cost and establish good-standing careers for themselves. It is because of his efforts to not leave behind but connect our brothers and sisters in Tibet that Voice of America (VOA) is now able to broadcast and telecast news to Tibetans inside Tibet. It is because of his efforts in the capacity of a special representative of Kundun that the United States now continues to provides financial support to the Tibetan government in exile because of which the Tibetan government in exile is able to sustain the continuous functioning of its various departments as well as start and nurture new ventures. It is because of his visionary initiatives that we are able to get updates on Tibetan as well as global news and current events through Shejha, a popular Tibetan language magazine and Tibetan Review, a premier English language monthly. The list continues ad infinitum, metaphorically, with regard to what Tenzin Tethong La has done for the Tibetan cause and for the development of our community and the Government in exile.

There is a reason why great importance is attached to job applications in clearly specifying ones past work experiences. This is all the more critical when the job in question involves high risks and important decision-making as in Kalon Tripa. Past achievements, as opposed to future promises, is a reliable indicator of what will happen in the future. This is why it gives me a great measure of confidence in supporting Tethong la based on what he has done in the past.

This is a critical time for Tibet and makes this election of monumental importance. I urge everyone to go out and vote on March 20th. However, before voting, study each candidate’s competency thoroughly with the future of Tibet firmly on mind. This is one great chance to write the fate of our country. It will be regrettable if we let it slip by.

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.” -John C. Maxwell

 

Learn more about Tenzin Tethong La: http://www.kalontripa2011.org

 

***I have give credit to Tenzin Choephel who helped edit this piece. Thanks!

Not so funny after all…..

Recently I started watching Ray William Johnson on youtube. His videos are among the most watched videos on youtube. What he does is he comments and reviews videos that have gone viral. What I have realized from watching his videos is that most viral videos, videos people pass on to each other for a good laugh, includes someone in that video suffering. I mean we all have done it at some point. I admit I have. I literally laughed out loud when I saw ‘The best cry ever’ on youtube. But when I think about the content of that video it’s a pretty emotional moment. Here is a son who is expressing for the first time his true feelings to his father and the father, overwhelmed with emotion, cries his heart out. For them its the most profound and emotional moment of their life. And here we are dying with laughter because some idiot didn’t have an ounce of empathy in them.

It’s true when they say you won’t understand something unless it happens to you. Its easy to be on the other side of the screen, laughing at someone else misery. I had something horrible and unimaginable happen to me yesterday. I won’t mention what as recollecting that memory will put me through agony once again. I was in dire need for help. Luckily (I think god was watching over me) this truly amazing family, who I have never ever met before in my life, helped me all the way through. It reminded me of the show ‘What would you do?’. Its a show where the crew sets up a horrible situation with hidden cameras and see whether the on-goers will get involved or just walk by. For example, in one episode a young male actor was acting heavily intoxicated and about to get behind the wheels. So the hidden camera was checking whether the on-goers will get involve and stop this obviously drunk young man from driving his car or will they just walk by. Surprisingly, many people did get involved and stopped this guy from driving. And at that instant I would think ‘does this really happen?’. Now I can surely say that there are people out there who can sympathize and empathize, people who don’t just use another person’s misery as their means to gaining fame on the web. I am just thinking if someone had taped my moment of suffering and put it on the web for everyone else to poke fun at, I mean I would be petrified and would completely lose my faith in people having a good side. There is a lesson learned at every step of your life. I have learned my lesson. But I think it will take much more time for the rest of the world, especially the youngsters, to learn their lesson. The web world has clouded their ability to sympathize and empathize. And sadly another person’s misery and tragedy has become the main source of laughter and pleasure. May be chivalry really is dead.

Here is a video which shares my sentiment. The title says it all: I didn’t ask for this.

Things that scare ya…..

Wow, I took two months break from blogging. I guess I am lazier than I previously thought. But there is another reason as well ( so not entirely a sloth), I got a job…PHEW!! Nothing big and fancy, but it is a start. There is no question that time flies by in a snap. I cannot believe summer is practically over in a month or so. I had a good summer so far – few ups and downs here and there yet positive. I am not a big fan of cold and windy weather but the display of fall boots at the mall cheered me up a little. Plus, its my birthday in September so looking forward to that. 🙂

Anyway, I was browsing the net and read a fellow blogger’s post.  She wrote about the different type of phobias that exist. It got me thinking about my phobias as well. One of the most common phobia is arachnophobia – fear of spiders. I am not entirely crazy about any type of bugs or living organisms with more than four feet, be it spiders, crickets, cockroaches, ladybug, etc. I am usually one of those person that shriek at the site of a bug. However, if there ever comes a time when a loved one is in danger and the only way to free them from danger is to get skin contact with a bug or bugs, then I will do it without a doubt ( or a less dramatic scenario than this one). So I don’t think I am arachnophobic.

Funny thing was that the more I kept on reading her post about phobias, the faster my breathing got – apparently I have a phobia of reading about different phobias. Anyway back to my phobias. The one phobia I know I have is the fear of flying in a plane. Yes, I know…kind of pathetic, I mean of all the exciting phobias out there this one gets me. I won’t deny that this phobia grew stronger after Sept. 11. At first I was afraid of flying for the sake of flying. I mean hundreds of people in a tin box, however thousands of feet in the air, relying solely on two people operating the machine, no parachute or nothing……it does make me a little uneasy. Then after Sept. 11, I gotta worry about people actually wanting to crash the plane on purpose, that made me a lot uneasy. Damn those terrorist, they do know how to make our lives a living hell. If I ever get my hands on that Bin Laden, I will torture him by plucking out his beard one by one with a damn tweezer. That will teach him a lesson he won’t forget. So back to my airplane phobia. Yes, so every time I fly I feel like I am going to die. Trust me, that is not a feeling you would want to feel. And it doesn’t help that your family and loved ones lives far far away and the only way to get there is by plane. I try so hard to distract myself on the plane – watch a movie, talk to the person next to me, look for cute guys, sleeping…..gah, but nothing works. And I become Rosie O’Donell crazy when there is turbulence. I just loose it and start praying. It is an overwhelming experience. And what sucks is that this is a part of our daily life. Other fears such as fear of spider and fear of being buried alive….these things happen rarely, but riding a plane is inevitable since that is one main form of travel, especially far away. Yea, so that is one of my biggest phobia. There are many other phobias – some common like acrophobia –  fear of height, some weird ones like fear of dolls, so if you think you have weird phobias you are not alone. Personally, I don’t get homophobia. What, they think that flamboyance is contagious, they wish!! ha ha. Here is the link to the blog post that inspired me to write this. Read it and feel better =)

http://jamiewords.wordpress.com/2010/07/30/jamies-top-10-random-phobias/

Okay I take it back….that arachnophobia thing. I think I have arachnophobia. I just went to the laundry room and this giant spider or cricket jumped out of nowhere ( talk about timing). I screamed like hell. Man, those things are creeeepy (said in a Chris Tucker kind of way).

Remembering the Brave Ones…….

I was watching the news and I couldn’t help but notice the buzz about this memorial day weekend – how much traffic there would be, how the DC area will be filled with tourists, how Virginia beach will be packed this weekend, how much rush there will be at the metro this weekend, etc. Gah, I had completely forgotten it was memorial day weekend – meaning a long weekend. This is one thing about being unemployed – long weekend, short weekend,  it doesn’t matter to me. So, back to the news story. The newscaster was asking  questions to a World War II veteran. At the end of the interview, the veteran said he is disappointed that these days holidays such as memorial day are becoming more of a marketing pitch than what it actually was instituted for. And it hit me like a sharp ice all of a sudden. Here is this man who put his life on line to fight in the war and he probably has witnessed and experienced things that we can’t even imagine in our darkest nightmares. And instead of us thanking him, he is having to remind us what memorial day stands for. Memorial day is a day instituted to remember all those soldiers who have given up their lives in a war, those soldiers who are still fight in a war, those soldiers who got injured in a war, those soldiers who leave behind everything to protect their country and those family who are brave enough to let their loved ones fight in war. And most importantly, I think it is a day for all of us to feel human. No matter how much we differentiate ourselves racially, culturally or geographically, the way we feel pain and happiness is the same.

I want to thank all the veterans for dedicating their lives to protect their country. I want to thank all the soldiers who are currently posted all around the world. I hope and pray that this war ends soon and all of you return home healthy and safely.

“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” ~ Albert Pike

Remembering our own fallen one……

Lance Corporal Tenzin Choeku Dengkhim

7/18/1985 – 4/02/2005

We lived in the same community, same neighbourhood and even went to the same high school, but we never really communicated with each other. I regret that. I wish I had talked to him and get to know him a little better. But I can say that he was a good son to a good mother. Most importantly, he was a good human being. His memory will remain with us forever.

“To the memory  of the Man, first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.” ~ Henry Lee

Gym – delicious foods = thin & miserable?

What I did yesterday officially proves me as another moronic being influenced by social pressure. Yesterday, I joined the gym. I had thought a lot about joining the gym, I mean burning those fats and calories in an exclusive facility comes at a cost – a heavy cost. Plus, I have been unemployed for the past year so that made it a wee bit complicated for me to join a gym. But at the end, it was no match for my desire to look good = becoming thin and staying that way. It makes me grin a little when I think about it. Back in the country where I grew up, being thin was not a result of working out or maintaining yourself, it was an unfortunate outcome of struggle, hardship or poorness. Being big and healthy was considered a true sign of happiness and prosperity.

It is definitely different here in America or similar developed nations. Every aspect of your daily life fuels you to gain weight – travel by car to everywhere (even the shortest distance which you could have easily walked), ready-made packaged food (those food that taste great but is filled with unhealthy ingredients which not only makes you gain weight,but also is your leeway toward fatal diseases such as diabetes and stroke), snacks, fast-food chains, sitting on the couch all day watching TV (guilty!), etc. All these things lead us to gain weight and truthfully, gaining weight is inevitable. There are grocery stores, fast-food chains, restaurants everywhere. And on top of all this, there is always the social and media pressure to stay thing in order to be considered attractive and beautiful. We live in a shallow society. Beauty and personality are both important but personality is more for the long run. These days beauty can get you into a posh club faster, beauty can get you a special discount at a store, beauty can land you in a Hollywood gig and make you an overnight celeb, heck beauty can land you in a job which you are under qualified for. Sadly, our strive to achieve physical perfection has made us a hot commodity. The reality is each and every one of us is a social animal, and no matter how shallow our society is, we want to be a part of it and we want to be accepted in the society even if  it means altering ourselves.

This is exactly what I am talking about. It is convenient, yet utterly ridiculous. Sign of our time.

Drive-Thru Nation