Wednesday, 24 September 2014

On Questions of Capability and a beautiful movie

The film society is my most favourite society as of now. Hopefully the journal society will meet my expectations. [Full disclosure: I have vested interest in the latter society].

The film society screened 'Life is Beautiful' (1997). Since I am writing this not five minutes after watching the movie, there is a strong after glow of that beautiful movie. Two visuals that stay with me, without giving anything away, are the sight of the train engine, a steam engine, entering the concentration camp and that of the protagonist goose-step marching near the end of the movie. While the first half of the movie is an absolute joy to watch, the second half gives one goosebumps. This time I managed to leave the auditorium with only moist eyes and it is a vast improvement over the past. Yes, men's lachrymal glands get activated too when one watches such movies. 

In fact, this movie, 'Life is Beautiful' (1997) and 'Grave of the Fireflies'(1988) are the two movies that turned me against any movie that depicts even an iota of sadness. The thought goes, that the life is anyway filled with sorrow and tears and to watch the same in the make believe world of movies seems superfluous. The terrible thing is that the two aforementioned movies are incredibly beautiful movies. And I can not bear to watch them. And I end up watching them. Sad, sad, sad.

After watching the movie it seems petty to even complain of the many insignificant slights and irritations of the day. After all, life is beautiful.

The social, experiential experiment is on and our hypothesis has been validated. We shall share the silly experiment and the silly results at a later time.

The beauty of the 89th FC batch is that one gets to, no, runs into, interesting people all the time. There are siblings of friends and batch mates from under graduation and graduation times, OTs whose relatives hail from the same small, obscure village as one's ancestors do and so on. In fact, given my diverse geographical base over the past 15 years and the education and work experience in various nodal institutes and organizations, I may yet have the most number of common acquaintances and friends and connections with most of the OTs. This thought gives me a feeling of centrality, a puffed up feeling of self-importance and feel goodness that takes an unceremonious beating once in a while.

Like it did today. There I was, standing alone and preening myself over being quite the network man in an era of networking etc when out of the blue (unhonee, in Hindi :)) a beautiful lady OT who I did not know existed in this batch, comes straight at me and pops this question: "Are you capable?" Chump that I am, I was stumped for an answer as nobody ever questioned my capability in so direct a fashion nor did an occasion arise for anyone, especially ladies, to question my capability, be it in any field. I mean any field. While I was thinking of appropriate replies, inoffensive, officer-like, blah blah blah, the moment passed and the concerned OT clarified that she meant if I were capable of managing things. I felt equal parts offended and relieved. Relieved that the capability in question was related (only) to some managerial activity and nothing else. Offended that a face in the crowd who did not even have the courtesy to enquire of my name or somehow acquaint with myself would call in to question my capabilities. Over the rest of the day, the question rankled me till I got lost in the silver screen.

Now that I have had time to calm down and the irritation has subsided, I wonder if I am developing a thin skin, if I am over sensitive to perceived slights, to imagine slights to begin with. Or if it were a simple case of miscommunication- a case of an OT who did not care to choose one's words carefully. As I had mentioned elsewhere in this blog, I am no one to judge anyone. So, I will rest this matter here.

There was a debate organized today with a topic on democracy. There was this strange scene of demagoguery and even more bizarre was the response to it from the audience. The topic was democracy and its relevance to India, the mode of communication was debate. Therefore, one wonders why dramatics and demagoguery got mixed up in this. To each his own then. The debate saw few brilliant insights being made regarding the topic and few excelled in the rhetoric, the essence of a debate. Kudos then to the deserving candidates, both to those who won and those who did not but whose performance was no less.

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