Faces from Vietnam and some tiny tales…


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One of the greatest casualties of the war in Vietnam is the Great Society… shot down on the battlefield of Vietnam.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

I see the eyes that still have the courage to dream, I see the tired smile that still hopes for a better tomorrow….


‘She’, Cai Be Island, Mekong

Tiny tales from Vietnam #1: While the World was busy making gun powder, she was trying to make rice wafers for the widows of martyrs who will consume the bullets!


Cai Be Island, Mekong

The object of my relationship with Vietnam has been to heal the wounds that exist, particularly among our veterans, and to move forward with a positive relationship,… Apparently some in the Vietnamese government don’t want to do that and that’s their decision.
-Ho Chi Minh


On the way to Tian Giang

Tiny tales from Vietnam #2: When hunger begged mercy, friends promised fruits for foes…


Mobile fruit seller, Cai Be Island, Mekong

I was proud of the youths who opposed the war in Vietnam because they were my babies.
– Benjamin Spock


Gondolas, Ho Chi Minh City canal

Tiny tales from Vietnam #3:  He will rather buy a guitar and not a gun for his son…


Father and son, Cai Be Island, Mekong

Now we have a problem in making our power credible, and Vietnam is the place.
– John F. Kennedy, 1961


6 Strings and 1 string, Cai Be Island, Mekong

Tiny tales from Vietnam #4: When they decided to sit and smile with love, peace threatened war! At the Walking street of Ho Chi Minh City.


Late night lovers, Ho Chi Minh City

I see light at the end of the tunnel.
– Walt W. Rostow, National Security Adviser, Dec. 1967


The boss and her staff – Tian Giang

Tiny tales from Vietnam #5: A fruit seller of the floating market on the Mekong River; coconut water is free if you buy a dozen of bananas from her!


Floating market, Mekong River

We believe that peace is at hand.
– Henry Kissinger, Oct. 1972


Postcards please. $1 – Cai Be Island, Mekong

Tiny tales from Vietnam #6: She knew the value of education, she comes to teach the kids in the Cai Be Island (Mekong Delta) all the way from Ho Chi Minh City; everyday…


The Teacher, Cai Be Island, Mekong

I think Operation Smile is in more than 22 countries, mostly Third World. It just happened that my schedule opened up at the time they were heading to Vietnam.
– Roma Downey


Coconut Roof makers of Cai Be Island, Mekong

Tiny tales from Vietnam #7: She played to the audience, she didn’t listen to their remarks, she played to music lovers – just now she opens her eyes…


A musician in Ho Chi Minh City

Television brought the brutality of war into the comfort of the living room. Vietnam was lost in the living rooms of America–not on the battlefields of Vietnam.
– Marshall McLuhan, 1975


Frank, the Guide in Cai Be Island, Mekong

Tiny tales from Vietnam #8: They want to touch the sky as well; like your son and daughters do. They demand a better living!


Siblings from the Cai Be Island, Mekong

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
– IF, Rudyard Kipling


Two sisters, Ho Chi Minh City

Tiny tales from Vietnam #9: His wife asked him to paint for food, he asked his wife to be the model for love!


A street painter at Ho Chi Minh City…

Vietnam was what we had instead of happy childhoods.
– Michael Herr, 1977


Poppy rice and honey tea joint, Cai Be Island, Mekong

Tiny tales from Vietnam #10: When the world slept, she would pack chocolates for living and read Tintin comics; the only thing that makes her laugh in solitude!


Chocolate seller, Cai Be Island, Mekong

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

– The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost


A local house in Cai Be Island, Mekong

Tiny tales from Vietnam #11: He said, “Red means so much more than blood and communism…”


Cai Be Island, Mekong

A humble attempt to capture some of the faces from Vietnam while I spent a week in Ho Chi Minh City and travelled to the Tian Giang and the Cai Be Island of the Mekong Delta! There are stories behind all those faces and the stories gave me a simultaneous rush of hope and depression… Sharing a few with fellow bloggers and readers!

Signing off from the desk of mymotionpicture, bidding a fond adieu to this mystic land of ‘endless charm’…

Sacred Trust


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Unless you are too carried away by the social relevance of same-sex marriage getting an accreditation in the U.S., you will recognize the pain in their eyes… Child Labour as seen from the lens of Steve McCurry…

Originally posted on Steve McCurry's Blog:

There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children.
There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected,
that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want
and that they can grow up in peace.
– Kofi Annan

SAM_2957; Rajasthan, India; 05/2008, INDIA-11398. Girl carrying stone.  retouched_Ekaterina Savtsova 03/19/2015India


DSC_8662, Philippines, 01/2014, PHILIPPINES-10139NF4. A boy pushes a cart with wood. Retouched_Ekaterina Savtsova 2/9/2014Philippines

Hazaras, Kabul, Afghanistan, 2006, AFGHN-13034NF. A father helps his son make candy. MM7424_061007_11017 Confectionary factory, Kabul, Afghanistan, 2006. Pg 234. Untold: The Stories Behind the Photographs. retouched_Sonny Fabbri 11/14/2012Afghanistan

Child labor and poverty are inevitably bound together,
and if you continue to use the labor of children as the
treatment for the social disease of poverty,

you will have both poverty and child labor to the end of time.
 –  Grace Abbott

01844_12, Lavazza, Honduras, 2005, HONDURAS-10044NF3. A boy carrying sticks.  retouched_Ekaterina Savtsova 09/05/2014Honduras

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies is, 
in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are
cold and are not clothed.  This world in arms is not spending money alone.
It is spending the sweat of its…

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Asha Jaoar Majhe inspires the ‘Labour of Love’ for good cinema


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Labour of Love – If that is the English title of the film Asha Jaoar Majhe, it is equally justified. I have lived almost another 24 hours since I saw her walking past those mystic by-lanes of Calcutta, the film was getting over, but my longing to see them meet for another cup of tea is very intense still now!  I can’t imagine anyone ignore the deep-rooted melancholy hidden behind those stoic faces longing for a moment of sublime togetherness. No wonder why the film had so much of international recognition! The film celebrated love in the simplest of forms yet reaching out to an emotional level which will always flirt with the definition of happiness in the most contemporary outlook! Splendidly portrayed and magnificently executed, Aditya Vikram Sengupta deserves all the accolades bestowed on him! Here is my humble take on the film, Asha Jaoar Majhe…


7 reasons why you should watch ‘Asha Jaoar Majhe’

Screenplay: Apart from the very intricately written text, I can imagine a number of sketches. The story was effortless yet intriguing. It explored the incessant struggle of a dyed-in-the-wool couple fighting for survival during the recession days in a metropolitan city. The effortless disposition of pain (read labour) to spend a few moments of heavenly togetherness came from the essence of the screenplay. Very distinctive with the likes of the Iranian cinema of the recent past, the script of Asha Jaoar Majhe tried to conserve its Bengali flavour quite specifically. The film has no dialogue the characters don’t even have a name making it all the more fascinating for any inquisitive film buff. In a nut-shell, a very out of the box effort given the scenario of ambitious films released every week!

Asha Jaoar Majhe bagged Best Original Screenplay award from New York Indian Film Festival.


Sound Design: Labour of Love was uniformly shaped with a very delicate and apposite sound designing. Only a person with a keen ear can listen to the deep-rooted sounds of an everyday life and bring them so naturally on the celluloid. From the monotony of an old ceiling fan to the spirituality of a Bengali evening, from the disturbances of an untimely water pump to the amateurish efforts of a child singer in the neighbourhood – every scene tried to tell a story of its own. The world is not quite quiet even for the loneliest soul; the film illustrates that rather uniquely. The film demands patience, but once you are in the groove it will not test your patience. Rather the sound sequences coupled with the grey frames of a seldom seen Calcutta will take you to a different time. For me the tram bells will ring, the revolution against joblessness will continue, the yearning for being together will again express itself through a radio from a distant land and the sound of unspoiled love will echo in my ears for quite sometime.

Asha Jaoar Majhe bagged Best Audiography award from the 62nd National Film Awards (India)


Cinematography: Initially, Mahendra J. Shetty was doing the camera for Labour of Love and then when he became unavailable, the director took the camera himself. It is quite obvious, that the long shots, the subtle time-lapses, the unusual positioning of camera was well planned; however, the scenes never let the soul of the film go haywire. Every frame depicted an honest minimalism in terms of its composition. Be it the evaporating footprints on the floor, the dawdling sunset or the hurried paddling of the bicycle, every scene portrayed a very integral part of the story. The feat was really amazing and again I have to congratulate the captain of the ship.


Acting: Ritwick Chakraborty is now probably the most favourite actor for niche film makers. He adds a flavour to all the films he has been a part of. Be it Shobdo by Kaushik Ganguli or Bakita Byaktigato by Pradipta Bhattacharyya, he has made it a habit of winning a national award for his director. His mannerism as a longing husband and his well-timed subtle expressions added a very unique hue to the entire film. He made me curious with very simple actions and the culminating scene of the film demands a special mention! On the other hand, playing the better half of Ritwick, Basabdatta Chatterjee played the character epitomising affection and endurance amid a lot of unsaid challenges. She looked very elegant and poised in every scene of the film and reciprocated her partner beautifully. Credit should go to the Executive Producer for choosing the acting couple so prudently. I congratulate Basabdatta for her efforts and wish her all the luck in the near future.


Editing: The editing process took almost a year for Aditya as per an interview published in a reputed daily. Quite responsibly, Sengupta made it sure that the entire effort of production does not go for a toss when he sat for the post production. The way Aditya composed the film, I must thank the clear mind he had and the sincere and candid language he tried to follow. Not a single frame in the film looked forced or incongruent to the flow of the story. Thus the editing made the entire film look even more humble yet appealing to the global audience. All those brain storming hours spent with all those raw rush footage now reaping true dividends.


Direction: I would say Asha Jaoar Majhe is completely a director’s film. The way he used unusual long shots to describe every small detail of a couple’s unworldly existence was truly not very uncommon for global film viewers. However, the present trend of quick entertainment has snatched away the valour from directors of our so-called industry. But the brilliance of the director of this film was his execution. He created a cosy, silent and slow illusion with a brilliant audio-visual chemistry. It is very obvious that his demands were much higher as far as the final product is concerned but to say the least, the dream or the vision for a film like this should be hailed with a standing ovation. I am sure, Aditya will not be concerned with the box office outcome after so much has been said and achieved. Dear friend, you have instilled hope in the hearts of many a directors in the country who wants their coffee and films their way! Cheers to the current success with the hope to see more effortless films like Labour of Love.

Asha Jaoar Majhe bagged awards for its direction from:

  • Indira Gandhi Award for Best First Film – 62nd National Film Awards (India)
  • Best Director – New York Indian Film Festival
  • Best Director of a Debut Film – 71st Venice International Film Festival (Venice Days)
  • Best Director – Marrakech International Film Festival


The seventh reason that I would impose on you as an audience who crave for good cinema is that Asha Jaoar Majhe is a kind of film that you will not get to see very often in India. Unless we take time and be more vocal in the support of films like Masan, Killa or Labour of Love in India, film making will stay behind as an industry that will keep producing films like grocery or toiletries. Asha Jaoar Majhe demands an attention by virtue of its cinematic brilliance and not by means of flashy hoardings, greedy stars or costly advertisements.

Asha Jaoar Majhe also bagged accolades such as:

  • Abu Dhabi Film Festival – Jury Special Mention
  • BFI London Film Festival – Honorable Mention
  • Bangalore International Film Festival – NETPAC Award for Best Asian Film
  • Jaipur International Film Festival – Best Feature Film


Signing off from the desk of mymotionpicture until my city soaks in the labour of love for good cinema…

“Playwright” vs. “Playwrite”


Hell ya, I’m a playwright…

Thoroughly enjoyed the piece…

I wanted to post a blog tonight… Wrote a lot of things, but could think of nothing as interesting a read as this piece… I am sure, my readers and fellow bloggers will like the piece as well…

Originally posted on It's Kind of a Long Story:

(This is a revised version of a post that was first published in October 2009.  I went back and changed some stuff so it sounded better.)

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Playwright.“play”, from the Saxon “plega“, meaning “recreation”; and “wright,” from the Old English “wryhta“, meaning “worker.”  First recorded use of word: 1687.

I am a compulsive word-use-corrector, a ruthless proofreader, a highly-critical grammar snob.  Anyone who has ever made the mistake of asking me to edit a paper for them can verify that this is true.  I love my red proofreading pen with an unhealthy passion.  While it’s partly because I’m a judgmental pain in the ass, it’s also because I’m a giant etymology geek.  I love words (certainly I use a lot of them) and I find them really interesting.  Which is why the word “playwright” fascinates me.  It drives me bonkers when…

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Do you know there is a latent ‘Partho De’ in you and me?


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Robinson Street, Kolkata: To be disreputably honest and true to what I witness in my everyday life, I presume there is a mentally ill Partho De in all of us. “No one can be good for long if goodness is not in demand”, as Brecht said… There is a front page article on The Telegraph today (Sunday, 14 June 2015) by Mita Mukherjee, where she described Partho’s academic career in such a regular succession of admiring information that it might even beat Partho’s best cover letters written during the tenure of his professional career. However, what Partho did or what his intentions suggest is still something that is utterly vague. The print media, satellite media and online media of Bengal got a story to munch on for at least a week – is not the picture that I personally have. I have followed the story from day one and I strongly believe that he was not happy with the demands of this world and thus tried to create a small parallel world where his goodness is in demand.

#selfTALK: Don’t we? I am sure we all are cool, alive and pretending to be happy people with a smart motive in life (even if we don’t have a goal)! However, occasionally or frequently we speak to ourselves. I don’t know if everyone has a tendency of arguing but I am sure you all speak to yourself. Who is the second person you are talking to? Or do you want to be the other person talking to you? This is quite amazing but that’s okay, you don’t have to get cautious while you talk to yourself from now on. I am just taking a guess which is not very wild when I am saying that there is a Partho De in every one of us. I back this up with a comprehensive introspection of human behaviour. Read further, you will soon figure it out…


3 Robinson Street, Partho’s residence…

Partho’s sister reportedly died out of starvation. She used to read a lot, but she was superstitiously dependent on some guru. “Hungry man, reach for the book: it is a weapon.” Brecht exclaimed to instil a sense of faith among the poor. But Partho and her learned sister were from a pretty well to do family. Like most of us, Partho and Debjani must have crossed those tricky years when their passion and abilities had a regular duel. After his mother’s death, Partho gradually became a loner, a person who sought respite in books, music and non-materialistic research. He was drawn to a particular subject that enticed him to experiment and rediscover himself. Well the subject could well be exorcism! This decision probably had a connection with his career where he chose an IT job over a golden opportunity to earn a doctorate degree and pursue advanced research. Amid all emotional disturbances he was hungry, hungry to invent.

#unhappyCAREER: I am not talking to the lucky ones! But three in every five urban soul is not happy with their career. They wish they could be in a different role doing something else even if that is harsh on their wallet. And then again they succumb to the rules of the universal rate race and start concentrating on their ties and formal shirts. However, the urge to be different and the evident ardour of an individual never fizzes out completely. The erudite brain demands food for stomach and mind. The hungry minds reading this post will understand why Partho went back to books or something that will air the fire within him to invent. If you, my reader haven’t had a single revolt against your plastic-sophisticated life, the Partho within you is still sleeping or busy with something else.

“In the dark times,

Will there also be singing?

Yes, there will also be singing

About the dark times.”

Yes this is by Brecht again and I am deliberately using his quotes because he saw a piece of art as a hammer to shape the reality and not as a mirror to see the reflection of the real society. Creativity and the love for art can be traced in both Partho and his sister Debjani. However, the unpleasant and uncanny outcome hardly speaks anything about the hope that the brother and sister found when they were in laps of music. People are busy calling it an incest relationship defying the thought that they might have developed a paramount depression out of some materialistic or spiritual loss that kept on haunting them. It could be the death of their mother or the deviant sexual orientation of the family. It could be the indecisive nature of their ancestral property or it could again be the hunger for being someone different, someone unique. If one delves into the kind of music (sermons by Joyce Meyer who is famous for his lessons on practical Bible) that Partho used to listen, he will automatically figure out an unnatural taste. He was going through dark times, he resolved to music that sang about dark times.

#sadSONGS: A survey found the share of sad songs over jolly peppy tunes on the iPods of a thousand random people and it came out to be 4 out of 10. However, each one of them said that the sad ones are few but they love them as they help them to recuperate their grief in a better way. For all of us who witnessed the internet gradually becoming the immense thing that it is now, we know how we have an access to a million different form of music and we chose our own style. Some of us parade a versatile choice while some of us resolve to a particular genre or form of musical expression. A few nurse the scars while others would like to keep them afresh. Don’t you indulge in a particular list of songs when things are not so bright?


What they found was humble yet shocking!

The meaninglessly nostalgic culture of the so-called learned Bengalis, the disgust of mediocrity growing like unwanted creepers, the desperation to prove a point that voices an alter philosophy, the hypocrisy of spiritual promises, the morbid competition, the demise of joint-families, the celebration of selfishly attained success, the fading strength of cooperation, the increasing tendency of sexual indistinctness, inflation, pollution, dishonesty, insecurities, indiscipline and a future based on false dreams and real defeats make us stand on the same podium where Partho is standing right now! He wanted to be with his sister, probably  the only person he had a connection in this world. At least he tried to figure out a solution which is indigenously his effort to revolt against all these negativities that constitute our life.

“Alas, we who wanted kindness, could not be kind ourselves.” – Brecht.

Yes you are right, living with a skeleton is not a form of expression that suggest contemporary taste for art or creativity to say the least, but aren’t we all trying to preserve some moments of our otherwise boring life like they are still flesh and blood? Consciously or unconsciously we are gradually becoming obsessed with the success, love, recognition or attention conferred on us, once upon a time. How will you deny this behavioural similarity with Partho De? Is it suggestive of the fact that human nature yearns to conserve the proper as well as the abstract nouns of life in the form of tangible collectives. We too believe in a reality which is comfortable for us to believe. To sum up, I feel Partho and his skeletal mania is just an intense chapter that can be found in the books of numerous eccentric souls walking up and down the streets of this crowded city called Kolkata.

We are failing to cope up with the fact that we are lonely but we are not alone… As Brecht would exhale a cloud of smoke and sigh, “Sometimes it’s more important to be human, than to have good taste.”

Between Darkness and Light


Light and Shadows, as seen from the eyes of Steve…
I wish I could capture shadows like he had in these candid photographs…

Originally posted on Steve McCurry's Blog:

Find beauty not only in the thing itself but in the pattern of the shadows,
the light and dark which that thing provides.
– Junichiro Tanizak, In Praise of Shadows

SOUTH_AFRICA-10069 (1) South Africa

The shadow is that place between darkness and light.


 We find beauty not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows,
the light and the darkness, that one thing against another creates…
Were it not for shadows, there would be no beauty.
–  Junichiro Tanizaki

00937_ 07,Angkor Wat, Cambodia, 1998Cambodia

The lovliest things in life are but shadows, and they come and go, and
change and fade away…”
– Charles Dickens 

00056_04, Angkor Wat,  Angkor, Cambodia, 1998, CAMBODIA-10111. A little girl looks at the carvings. Magnum Photos, NYC8848, MCS1998012 K041. Sanctuary: Temples of Angkor_Book Retouched_Ekaterina Savtsova 11/7/2013Cambodia

_DSC8410, Mandalay, Burma/Myanmar, 02/2013, BURMA-10573. A monk reads in a classroom. retouched _Sonny Fabbri 5/21/2014Burma

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow.
– T. S. Eliot

_2SM5416; Rocca Paolina; Perugia, Umbria, Italy; 07/2012, ITALY-10405. Two saxophonists play during a jazz festival. retouched_Sonny FabbriItaly

“… there are shadows because there are hills. “
–  E.M.Forster, Room with a View

VIETNAM-10097 (1)Vietnam

A shadow on the wall
boughs stirred by the…

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Balancing the number of Rotten Tomatoes!


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For those who think independent cinema is almost like inviting cannons firing rotten tomatoes, our sacks are full! We are dreamers and we dream about making people perceive art differently. We like forcing a different thought. Why?

How many films that you have watched helped you in expanding your thought, opinions or empathy for fellow human beings? Aren’t we compulsively happy about the kind of art that is sold in the name of entertainment in the present times? Well, it will be an understatement to say that Hollywood, Bollywood or our regional cinema fails to produce film that are equally thought-provoking. However, the acceptance of such works is yet to see the broad light of the day. Thus it’s better to consume rotten tomatoes than sponsor sugar-coated reviews on national dailies.


Independent filmmakers are often accused of making something that fails to generate enough buzz in the market. Very true! I don’t feel they have a reason to make a buzz out of a star controversy or a billion dollar pay check. We do it because we simply want to share a story – we take risks. We don’t owe anything to anyone other than the handful of audience we have.


The Cemetery is not made to capture sugar-coated reviews and attract Facebook likes. I would rather appeal for sincere and frank perception. I’ll have no regrets discussing the faults in the film and neither do I expect an ‘all-so-good’ review. I am more concerned about how viewers react to an emotionally dry scheme of visual sequences. I am concerned about how viewers feel about the open-ended climax and I am really looking forward to some real criticism from all those who have resolved to dedicate 20 precious minutes of your life.


Independent Cinema will not flaunt big banners but will knock your doors and urge you to think differently. As an indie filmmaker, I tried the same in my debut project. An attempt that might seem feeble to a few but I can promise that the passion for something indigenous will reflect in the entire work. Be it the narrative, the music, the locales or the acting, The Cemetery will be a different span of film-watching for any quintessential film lover!


Determination and passion will drive us forward, in the hope that a few more stories that lurk around our not so dramatic lives will find their destination someday! Expecting support and honest feedback… Join the Facebook event and watch The Cemetery as it releases online on June 1.

Nirbaak – a true reflection of honest artistic conscience…


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I couldn’t connect with Nirbaak. I didn’t go all “claps and praises” for the film. I didn’t understand why Srijit made a film like Nirbaak.

No, Nirbaak is definitely not the right movie choice for a Sunday afternoon with your beau. A few left before the show ended and even fewer applauded. Yet I couldn’t ravel what I saw.

Okay, so going frame by frame, it’s the story of a narcissist, inter-species love and necrophilia, punctuated with some metaphysical sequences. Is that it? So Nirbaak is a “slow, pseudo-intellectual, claiming-to-be art house movie gravitated by Sushmita Sen”.


The post-watch adda of the film was not so speechless. While some considered it a complete fiasco, others called it an innuendo of what today’s Bengali film industry can look up to as an exemplary creation.

Contrivance, mixed with the right amount of quandary can give rise to a masterpiece and Nirbaak is one such example, undoubtedly. This acerbic movie is not for everyone. And why should it be? After all, not many of us listen to the wind or understand our pet’s parable or relate to the tryst between the morgue-man and corpse.



Thanks to the team who could think of such an incendiary plot and pass it through the red-eyed censor and make it to the theatres.

Keeping the entire buzz aside, do yourself a favour. Go and watch the movie. After all, the fulcrum of the movie is all about loving yourself and everything else would fall in place.


The relentless shenanigans of the Bengali film industry didn’t create any sense of sordid amongst the tireless (read sick) remake movie-makers. It takes a lot of guts to pull up all the good factors in a single movie and challenge the moviegoers ‘universal mindset and passing the test with aplomb. Nirbaak answers, or rather questions the base of the modern film industry with all its pedagogic skills what an “experimental” film would be like. How you perceive Dali or what Van Gogh permeates in you is absolutely individual aesthetic coaching. What essentially this movie makes you feel is the surreal world which probably doesn’t get through our membrane too often. The ubiquitous sense of surrealism is not always felt but you cannot but subscribe to this hypnagogic element of life.



I watched the recent Bengali film Nirbaak last evening. It is still with me and I’m still very profoundly with the characters of the film. A number of fellow audiences in the theatre thought the film was insane and tried to bully their partners indicating the time that they are wasting while watching an old narcissist bathing or a tree having an orgasm or a fetish love of a bitch for her master or even a morgue-man’s first found love in a corpse.

Well, to be honest Nirbaak is a film that is not made very often in India and in terms of commercial cinema, this is a rare species. Thanks to the portfolio of the director, a substantial number of movie-goers managed to make it to the theatres. Some were forced by their mates and some were probably hoping to experience another urban-romantic pot-boiler. Nirbaak disappointed them!

A film dedicated to Salvador Dali, the director Srijit Mukherjee draws inspiration from one of his abstract and surrealistic paintings while conceiving the concept of Nirbaak- very evident and very aesthetically done! Ambitious as a commercial project and revolutionary as an alternate cinema, Nirbaak emerges as a soliloquy of human psych depicting the not-so-happy minds of our society and their unconscious connections with voiceless sources of happiness (read respite). Hats off to the concept, attempt and the effort!


I don’t prefer writing reviews narrating the story or the good and bad moments of the film, I fancy investigating the mind space of the creative personalities involved in a project. While Srijit’s earlier films promised something for every soap-watching audience, this film condescendingly disobeyed his own style and he challenged himself with a form of cinema that is not visited very often. This is either ways not a review but a vote of thanks and a heart-felt congratulation to the entire team. Nirbaak, very organically creates a space and a scope for the otherwise abstract ideas resonating art and the truth of being an artist.



Wrapping up, I would like to assert the significance of art being a medium that can foresee truth. Art should disclose truth, truth of the present hour, truth from the untold stories and truth of being differently happy from varied perspectives. Nirbaak as a piece of art achieves them gracefully!

John F. Kennedy in a speech to bid farewell to the immortal poet Robert Frost said, “If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him. We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.”

Nirbaak arrogantly defied to be a form of propaganda and evolved as an artistically poised truth!

Signing off from the desk of mymotionpicture, thanking a fellow writer & friend for contributing in this excerpt and keeping the indispensable arguments alive.

Exploring the incredible Single-Shot look of Birdman!


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The creativity involved in film making in the recent times often fall under microscopic inspection as film enthusiasts try and decipher the techniques to create the visual illusion. It is quite obvious that a film attracts such mass attention if and only if it excels in some global film podium. Birdman by Alejandro González Iñárritu is one of those rare instances when a film grabbed attention for creating a visual illusion – as if the entire film was a single shot!


When discussed over coffee the technique was appreciated by a number of film enthusiasts, however, when discussed over whiskey Birdman’s single shot illusion is often regarded as one of the great cinematic magic tricks of all time. If you have not watched the film (you must be very busy), come back after watching it and read the rest of this write-up. Some of you might find it absurd and some of you might wonder about the impossible sense of geography – I am still an explorer!

[For film buffs and intense followers of international cinema – this is not the only one take film that I have watched. There is Ana Arabia by Amos Gitai and there are various instances when a particular part of a film is shot in a long take. However, Birdman is an exception – an exception for all good reasons]


Birdman delves into the life of a former movie-star, Riggan Thompson (Michael Keaton) portraying his mind and psychosis in an attempt to regain his lost fame. It is a first person account of the actor who is preparing for a Broadway production depicted in a style that appears seamlessly one-shot. Although the film looks like a 119 minute continuous shot, it is obviously not. The idea behind this blog is to congratulate the team (sometimes I feel I am a part of it) that made it possible and explore the blueprint of such a miraculous technique.

In an article published in Hollywood Reporter in December 2014, the Oscar winning cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki described the entire process of filming as a ‘ballet’.

Describing how difficult the lighting of the sets and maintaining the continuity were, Lubezki said, “That is because, for instance, the light that is lighting Michael at his makeup mirror will create a shadow a minute later if we move around the room. So we had to time all of the lighting changes, making sure you don’t see shadows. We were moving lights; we were moving diffusions. There were grips moving with me. Every time you see a shot, there were eight people moving with me. It was like a ballet — that’s what made it truly exciting.”

According to me, the entire movement of lights along with the camera that provided no clue to crack the single shot illusion gave Michael Keaton the much acclaimed dramatic look. The director, cinematographer and editor along with a team of highly creative people followed the panning of camera and the movement of color to stitch those otherwise long takes (usually in the 10 minute range). A tricky editing and a subtle VFX followed in the master copy.


Well, theoretically the end result seems quite achievable. However, in reality the cinematography of Lubezki is nothing less than incredible – such flawless movement that it never looked disjointed. I am curious to find out how the entire team decided on this goal. The journey must have been fascinating to say the least. Cinematography is something that I am stating quite profusely in this article. However, it is aided by a pool of creatively genius people who contributed in editing, color grading, writing and most importantly directing the thought which probably seemed like a dream!

One of the striking features of Birdman, the film is probably the confusing and bold use of space. The film was mostly filmed on a mazelike set and the use of space, color of lights and the camera movements were purely out of artistic desire as I understand. And I completely believe that Riggan’s inner state of mind was perfectly described in this process. Whether that was intentional or not, I hold no version of my own. But, to be honest, every time I have seen the film, it excited me; I felt an utmost rush of desire in me that transported me to the sets of Birdman where Iñárritu and Lubezki would probably shoot the next scene planning the perfect transition!

119 minutes of visual illusion – One shot – quite an incredible feat!


Two – a short film by Satyajit Ray that you might have missed


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Short films can really be an engaging medium for film makers and film lovers. Especially for story lovers, short films have always made a mark. Satyajit Ray, one of the pioneers of Indian cinema was entrusted with a project commissioned by the US Public Television under the banner of Esso World Theater in 1965. The project had a guideline which made it mandatory for the director to make an English film in a Bengali setup. He made a silent film paying a tribute the genre. It seemed Ray was really not happy with proposal, but the result was mesmerizing.

‘Two’ is a silent film with a very surreal treatment that depicts the encounter of two kids from two different segments of our society. A rich kid with all kinds of amusement materials at his disposal and a slum boy with limited resources but with a very poignant approach towards happiness are protagonists of this short film.


A still from sets of ‘Two’

The kid from the well-to-do family watches a slum boy playing around from his window and tries to conquer his small world of happiness with all his efforts. As they both display their collection of toys, every time the rich kid out-plays him with his set of options. Loud trumpets as an answer to a humble flute, a cowboy look with a gun as an answer to a home-made mask and a spear. And when defeated by all means, the slum boy tries to fly a simple kite, the rich kid shoots it down with his air rifle. Overpowered and humbled, the slum boy gives up while proud of his victory the rich kid comes back to his lavish room filled with toys and amusement materials.


The “Ray” of hope for Indian Cinema!

However, the suggestive victory of the rich kid did not last long enough.  The film ends with flute music played by the slum boy which encapsulates the silent aura of the film while the rich boy observes his toy robot breaking down. He still did not surrender, but the slum boy made him realize the thin line between winning and losing. A must watch!

Cast: Ravi Kiran and a random street child

Producer: Esso World Theater

Screenplay & Direction: Satyajit Ray

Cinematography: Soumendu Roy

Editing: Dulal Dutta

Art Direction: Bansi Chandragupta

Sound: Sujit Sarkar

Music: Satyajit Ray



I have never seen more candid images than these… Steve you made my day…

Originally posted on Steve McCurry's Blog:

Highland of highlands
Where all history ends
Where all rainbows meet…
Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin
Poet Laureate of Ethiopia
1936 – 2006

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I knew that the English regarded themselves as civilized, 
 but it seemed to me that in many ways Ethiopia was a far more civilized place.
Catherine Hamlin, M.D. in The Hospital by the River : A Story Of Hope
Founder with her husband of Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital

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 Ethiopia confounds every expectation
You arrive expecting a vast featureless desert and instead find yourself
overwhelmed by majestic landscapes and climatic abundance.
Ethiopia is a true revelation.
It is the most welcoming, enjoyable and
uplifting country I have ever visited.
– Philip Briggs, Ethiopa 


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Ethiopia has always held a special place in my own imagination.
I felt I would be visiting my own genesis,
unearthing the roots of what made me an African.
– Nelson Mandela

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Over the…

View original 227 more words

Chatushkone – resonating hope in the mute tunnel of recent Bengali cinema


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To begin with, please don’t consider it as a review of the film. It is not even a critical analysis. You can read it as an expression of gratitude for the man who brought a spring of hope in the Bengali film industry and is doing wonders for the last five years. It is a humble attempt to assert the fact that Bengali films are still intellectually superior in a country where senseless films are celebrated as commercial cinema!

It is very different here in Bengal. We tend to celebrate art in various forms and when it comes to films we have a natural tendency of becoming a little more critical. After the golden era of the seventies, there was a lull in Bengali cinema. I was lucky enough to experience the rise of Bengali cinema during the earlier years of this millennium. I would definitely credit a few film makers who compelled the Bengali audience towards theatres. Rituporno Ghosh, Aparna Sen, Anjan Dutt, Kaushik Ganguly and definitely Srijit Mukherjee are the leading names in this context.


The subject of this write-up happens to be the latest film by the last name in the aforementioned list, “Chatushkone”. The film is undoubtedly the biggest blockbuster in 2014 as far as Bengali cinema is concerned. It proved that the Bengali audience is still very particular about the art of cinema. It is not the mindless films (read commercial films) but intelligent and substantially superior films that attract audiences to cinema halls. Srijit’s films have been proving the point from his debut film to say the least! Autograph, Baishey Shrabon, Hemlock Society, Mishawr Roshshyo, Jaatishwar and then came Chatushkone.


Being a film buff and a keen student of film making, I am a part of the stories that float around the industry for the last seven-eight years now. Chatushkone happens to be Srijit’s one of the oldest scripts that witnessed a number of adversities. If a film is perceived as the brain child of the film maker, perhaps this child of survived the most difficult conditions. Challenging the conditions like actor walk-outs to loss of inspiration (the sad demise of Rituparno), Chatushkone was perhaps the most adamant project of the director that turned out to be his best film till date. Analysis of the film is done in various scales and the success story has been written, discussed and celebrated through various means. I still wanted to point out some of the weak links of the film when I went to the theatre for the second time to watch the film. I considered taking notes! I couldn’t, I was converted to a keen audience.

chotuskone_goutam-ghoseThere are a number of films that are made with the concept of film within a film. Srijit challenged the form – he made a film with four films in it, treating them very uniquely. With different time lines, different colour codes, different taste and a very subtle approach all the four films had a statement of its own. The quadrilateral chemistry between the four directors illustrated in the film was entwined in a soothing yet a very compelling thriller story. The director has a unique signature in terms of his sarcastic and invigorating dialogue writing; Chatushkone was no different.


The plate was full for the audiences to grab their desired tastes. The likes of Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Goutam Ghose, Aparna Sen and Chiranjit played the major characters along with wonderful cameos from Kaushik Ganguly, Barun Chanda, Neel Mukherjee, Indrashish Roy, Paayel Sarkar, Arpita Chaterjee and Koneenica Banerjee doing justice to the script. Chiranjit (Dipak Chakroborty) probably collected the most number of congratulatory messages for Chatushkone, his comeback film. As far as the music was concerned, the songs penned by Anupam Roy were lyrical and soothing as usual. Although, I personally feel that the film had two songs too many, given the genre or the subject of the film is concerned.  Editing, Cinematography, set design and the execution couldn’t have been better.


chotuskone_parambrataAs a concluding note, I would definitely like to congratulate Srijit Mukherjee for restoring the hope of audience in Bengal. Dear comrade, keep inspiring us with your efforts that can and will nullify the efforts of some shallow trade-analysts who define films on the basis of box-office collection! I wish him all the success for his future projects and hope his films cross international boundaries bringing more glories for Bengali cinema.


Signing off from the desk of mymotionpicture seeking light on the other end of the mute tunnel called, Bengali Cinema!

The girl I stalked at Park Street Metro!


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“Did you believe me, when I said I am fine last night? You hung up after saying a quick goodnight. You prove me everyday how insensitive you are!” She was screaming at the top of her voice while the crowd in front of the metro station at Park Street made way for this lady in black. She was quite tall, she was wearing a black top with folded sleeves with a black jeans. Her phone seemed to be a costly gadget; white and red. She stood at the gate and before disconnecting, she fumed, “Just wait and watch you scoundrel, see what happens today!”


I followed the woman as my smoking spree took the back seat for some time. I thought I had a story around that outrageous woman. Although, these relationships nowadays are growing ever so more impatient and couples are happily breaking up! I heard some friends of my friends throwing break-up parties to celebrate their liberation. I wonder why on the earth they tried to make something work that eventually resulted in foul-mouthing.  As I walked down the steps I spotted her a few steps ahead. She walked in haste as if she had a mission. I could hear an announcement, I didn’t care!


I know I am a complete mess and I am tired of hiding it, however, when it comes to beautiful women and their grief, I somehow get involved. She was angry when our eyes met and she looked stunning as her glance and gestures probably came from a classic dance drama depicting arrogant love. I saw her punching the ticket and walking in. She went down the tunnel to the other side of the station. She will go north. Then I saw her coming up again. So, will she go south? I went to the counter and bought the ticket that will take me to the terminal stations both north and south. Now I don’t see her anymore.


I went in and I searched the length of the platform for her. So I went down the tunnel to search for her on the other side of the platform. “All that spirits desire, spirits attain.” – Khalil Gibran described in his words how so co-incidental and how relevant this meeting will be. I saw her sitting at the end of the platform. It was pretty crowded. I looked at the display to find out when the next train will arrive. She didn’t notice me until I went right in front of him and said, “Excuse me, may I speak to you for a while, in private. I am obviously not stalking you but it is really something very personal.” She looked at me with mixed emotions. Anger got the better as she stood up and left the seat to move somewhere else. I felt terribly insulted and awkward as I thought people staring at me might take things otherwise.


I stood there for a while keeping a close watch on her movements. I developed a notion that she might have considered doing something extremely insane. She walked down the platform and kept looking at her watch in regular intervals. I walked up to her and this time she spoke to me. “Listen, I don’t know you and neither I am interested, will you please excuse me?” Her voice was cold and the disgust was very evident.


“I don’t earn my bread disturbing women at metro stations my lady. I thought you can be a menace to number of people who will choose the metro for travelling today. Are you considering a suicide?” She was taken aback and tried to look say something. I knew this was the only chance and I kept on saying, “I know Bibhash very well, he is my friend and I have watched both of you in his facebook profile.” Before I could finish, she went ahead to see whether the next metro is arriving. She bent in front to dodge other men and women trying to find the same. She looked back and came close to me. She smelt like the red soil drenched in the first rain. I started regretting!


I wish I could tell her that when the razors, pills, knives start whispering her name, there is a voice screaming at the top of its lung’s capacity saying that I knew you are not fine. You can never be fine with me, unless I am not me!


I believe I looked different but she recognized my voice. “I know you, who are you and how do you know that I came here for end my life? I really don’t want to live. I have to end this suffering! You tell me, who are you?” I smiled, I tried to tell her that it hurts being on the other side of the world. I tried to tell her that she looks astonishingly beautiful and it is not worth giving up her life for some trivial relationship discord. She was growing restless and I spoke to her for another 49 seconds. I told her that she is the most beautiful woman that I came across and I was really dumb that I couldn’t mention that ever so more frequently. I was happy that I could surprise her for the one last time!


miss-meThe metro rail officials in Calcutta have a hard time with this idiosyncratic young generation. Some irritated sad soul started announcing again, “Due to a probable suicide in the Rabindra Sadan Metro station, all metros heading towards north are temporarily suspended. Inconvenience regretted!”

I am trying hard but she cannot see me anymore!

An evening at Princep Ghat…


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He was new in the team and Anusua used to notice his movements very carefully. He looked like a complete bewildered soul in first few days of work. In a world that sought for gold and fame he was probably the one who was least interested in materialistic amity. He tried to stay aloof but he was the most dedicated, talented and creative photographer in the team. The director praised Sam in front of everyone as the recent Mutual fund campaign took our clients by surprise and a complete awe. Anusua tried some friendly gestures to attract his attention; he nodded with a gentle smile and preferred staying aloof. Just before the Christmas arrived, one afternoon as the entire team was enjoying their lunch; Sam removed his shades and quietly sat beside Anusua. His voice sent a shiver down her spinal cord, “Do you have any important work this evening?”


After pack-up, Anusua and Sam walked down the length of a busy road barely speaking to each other. Some of the street hawkers mobbed them with various proposals but they were quite engrossed in something that was far more deep-seated. Anusua broke the silence with her whimsical tone as she demanded a photo shoot on the streets. “I think, you’re very greedy, do you think you are the most talented photographer in the city? Now that your work is praised every now and then; let me see how good you are imagining me as your subject?” She laughed at her own words. Sam looked at her unperturbed. He raised his hand to call a cab, Anusua responded quickly to attract one of the cab drivers who looked promising. “Princep Ghat, Bhaiya.

1233128_10151970063987228_1656528350_oThe cab was already filled with some nostalgic numbers from the late 70s as they drove past the busy city traffic. Anusua was visibly excited. She initiated the conversation again. “So, who all are there in your family; you are from Calcutta, aren’t you? Although you don’t look like…” Sam was staring outside the window. He turned towards her as she noticed his beguiling eyes looking straight into her soul. Her hair was occasionally getting ruffled by the December wind. She was feeling an obvious conflict in her mind and heart. She waited eagerly for him to speak.


“I am alone in this city, I came from Siliguri. My parents and my younger sister stay there along with my old granny”, he said after a short pause. Anusua felt the urge to know more and asked about his local residence. She tried to know if he had a girlfriend or if something is bothering him all this while. “Are you like this from the beginning? I mean, I don’t know if I can call you an introvert, but you are certainly a stranger among the known faces in this city.” Sam smiled at times and sometimes looked at her through his lenses. He clicked a few snaps in the cab as Anusua tried hard to manage her hair. He prevented her. “Let them be, your disturbed hair personifies freedom and as far as my answers are concerned; they are blowing in the wind”, he said.

1278950_10151970061677228_2792940_o“Madam, Princep Ghat”, the cab driver intruded in the subtle romance that Anusua was longing for so long. She probably wanted the journey for a little longer. He insisted to pay the bills but the cab driver kept on staring at her. She settled the dues.

She hated taking work back at home and in her position as the copy chief of the ad agency, she had but very little options to avoid it. Her mobile was ringing for a while. She was ignoring the call while she was in the cab. It was the director. She answered the call as she noticed Sam go ahead searching his own mystery. “Yes Sir, I left the file on your table along with the flash drive with all the documents.” She stayed quiet for a while as the voice from the other end shared some more information. She continued, “I am not quite sure but I certainly believe that there is a misunderstanding, I know him.”

They were seating by the Ganges for the last half an hour. She broke the silence again, “Sam, do you know that our mutual fund campaign is leaked?”

“No, is that so? How did that happen?”, he said in cold voice.

1271357_10151970060967228_401995517_oAnusua smiled and stood up. She pulled his hands and took him near the water. She sat very close to the last step of the ghat and said, “Will you capture me like no one did before?” She was adjusting her hair, her red and white muffler was hanging as a knot from his side bag. He went up to her and stood very near to her where she they both could feel their existence. He took out the muffler and put it across her neck and asked her to undo her hair. He went back!

“Should I look a little more left?” She was feeling very special as he continued to instruct her positions, smile, wardrobe and gestures. She didn’t know if it was an illusion. She took out a bottle of vodka from her bag. She took a sip and invited him to take a sip. He obliged. In the next half an hour the bottle was sailing alone in the waters and Anusua realized she too had wings.

She wanted to kiss him but a sudden harsh sound broke the harmonious and romantic space that was growing friendlier between them. There was white flash of light that disturbed her vision. Her hands tried to find Sam. In the next few moments the things that happened with her changed her romantic getaway into an unbelievable and horrible incident that she cannot describe in words.

It was 6 a.m. in the morning. Her eyes were swollen and the wintry weather solidified her tears preventing her from opening them comfortably. She slowly understood that a group of inquisitive people were staring at her as she was lying on one of the muddy steps by the river. A policeman approached as she was trying to reason herself.

Cop: What happened to you madam?

Anusua: Where is Sam?

Cop: Who is he? You came here with a friend?

Anusua: Yes, I was with Sam.

Cop: Your parents are waiting at the police station. Please come with me.

In the course of these events, she made a number of calls; to her director, to her colleagues and Sam. No one knew who Sam was. She kept on checking her camera on her way back home…

A chair in Darkness…


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I am planning to go out with my best friend’s mother, Tarun said to himself. He kept on murmuring for the next five minutes before a sudden light searched his room like a lighthouse scans the ocean. The darkness in his room was restored and he started his due conversation with his lover. She was sitting in front of him on a chair that was visible a while before. Darkness still prevails in Tarun’s small yet cosy apartment somewhere in central Calcutta.

Tarun tried to reason her cold expressions and came up with something that he thought was probably the best joke he can imagine in centuries. He remarked in a heroic accent, “Honey, there are certainly two kinds of coveted men on earth- the ones, with whom the girls desire to be with and the ones who are coveted by the fathers of unmarried girls”. He laughed alone! A late night traffic cacophony continued to fill the room with unwanted disputes. She tried to re-adjust her on the chair as he tried to explain the joke. “See, you didn’t get the funny part of the joke, you look bewildered”, he added.  She kept quiet.

“Alright, I am going to talk to her about her verdict. After all she is the mother of my best friend. She cannot do this to me. See, even in this much-loved darkness you look so enlightening. Don’t you believe me that we are made for each other?” Tarun kept on saying without skipping a breath. She remained stoic for a while. He thought she would come closer and embrace him as another stream of light sliced the darkness of the room in two halves. A glass of cheap liquor succumbed to gravity and his frustrations aggravated. He hated light. His expressions grew wilder!

She answered in her soft and gentle voice, “Why do you want to be with me? Your best friend is probably the best match I will ever have; and you should understand this!”  Tarun could not control his voice and shouted like a demon. His words were incomprehensible; however, his actions as seen from a distant window seemed like a perplexed animal trying to break free. He poured another glass of high spirits and mixed it with some coke to calm his nerves. He looked at her as she was trying hard to conceal her fear. His lips were dry and he tried to drink the glass full of spirits at once, his body denied the quantum of excitement; he puked!

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She thought she would reason him before the dawn and kept on maintaining a calm disposition. He grew restless every minute. He wanted to put on the lights and see the face that used to be the reason for his peaceful slumber. But he knew, the lights might unsettle her and he might lose her forever. He captured her on that chair after a long persuasion.

Tarun started walking around the chair describing how he thought he will influence his best friend’s mother to change the fate of three lives. Two of them were his best pals and he himself cannot contain his own emotions in the dearth of this hour that brings in a testimony of his gallant love. He knows where this abduction will lead to, or probably he is afraid of something. But he knows that the desire to be with her is compelling enough to go on a riot against this world. He poured another drink as silence and darkness reconciled in the room for a while.

Tarun kept his eyes fixed on her as if he was gauging her beauty and adolescence for the last time in his life. She looked uncomfortable but she knew it will be morning very soon. Tarun was probably drunk by then as he tried to reach the chair to fix a strip of her hair that was unsettled by the wind. She did not protest but he felt that she did not like it. She knew her hands were fastened tightly and if he wanted he has all the options of discovering her desires. But, he wanted to make it work and he whispered in her years, “I will go out with my best friend’s mother tomorrow. Please hang on till then!”

The first light of the sun could not disturb a sleeping Tarun as she watched him closely for the first time. She knew she was not a reality, but she knew his emotions were real. She waited freely chained on the chair before he would get up for another fighting day in the city of so-called joy. She knew he had no one except a shadow in the darkness to talk about his loveless life! She kissed his forehead! He smiled in his dream!

They exchanged a partial farewell glance in between what you read and what I wrote…


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