Finding Graphic Novels…

The thing about graphic novels is, they are one of the awkward hit and miss things we have. I mean I have seen people who can do research with the amount of knowledge they have and I have seen people who are ashamed to even add it to their reading lists because somehow that makes them less serious readers. Which is strange really, seeing that graphic novels might contain some of the deepest stuff I have read in recent times.

I mean, I think everyone I met loves “Persepolis” for one reason or the other. the book is honest, it is the portrayal of a society that is widely discriminated against, coming straight from the horse’s mouth. Plus, it has this beautiful way of telling the story that makes you shudder and think about everything the poor girl went through.

And oh God, I can talk about “Maus” for months I guess. I have had that phase too, when i obsessed about it every single day, trying to find a way to get out these feelings I had.

The thing is, when we get right down to it, we would have all kinds of comic books. I hated the New 52 Batman with a vengeance because of the character, “The Dark Knight Returns” for all its popularity and uniqueness was a terrible thing to re-read. However, that is true for every genre under the sun innit?

Are they literature?

They sure are.

I think they are more though. There is a certain old world charm in these comic books, something that reaches out to the young and the old. We all began by seeing pictures after all.

So, finding them…

Just find something you like and not something that has been recommended you know?
Dig deeper and find something you would really love at the end of the day. Give the graphic novels a fighting chance.

I did not give that to them for a long while, and I regret it every day.


Of Writing and Borrowing

I always wonder about borrowingwhen I am writing. Unconsciously or consciously we’re all borrowers, we borrow from writings of past that we have written and read, we borrow from people we have seen or met, we borrow from what we were ages ago. Writing for me is never about creating something new, I am always retelling someone’s story through my own words, twisting it perhaps to make the end a little happier.

Lets take the example of my last years novel, an untitled work which dealt with gay romance. Throughout, I knew that I was putting all the love I had for a person I met into the novel. I was putting someone in the place of the wife, I was putting someone in the place of the villains, and the worst part was, I had met all of them. Sure, I never meet my characters as whole people, they are the amalgam of many people I have seen or met. Often, while writing about a bus, I envision a woman with visible collar bones looking outside. There is a smile on her thin lips and her eyes look outwards while she listens to music using her headphones. Over the years she has started mouthing the lyrics, in some stories she has danced to them. However, I have met her only once, in an Auto Line while she argued with her boyfriend over the phone.
Then there is this little kid, sometimes the kid is a boy sometimes the kid is a girl. The gender is moving but, the features stay the same. The inquisitiveness, the anger, the happiness.. I never admit it, but, truly he seems to be a part of myself, someone I have left behind years ago.

The borrowing increases ever so much over the years. The names are stolen without a word said. You fear that if you end up telling them, they would object.
And they would, for no one sees the goodness in the villain as you do.

Then again, cest la vie, my stories end in Kokata not because they have to, but, because if they didn’t I would be lying to myself. And I live in the streets through those writings too.

Then again, when does the borrowing stop?

Right now, when my male character welcomes me with a phrase that chills my bones and makes me wish to write a thousand words or more; is it him speaking or are they the scores of people that go towards making him? And when I write of the women, are they invariably the women and men I have met in my travels?
Or are they mine?
I do not know…

However, when I put them through sorrow and they invariably cry, it seems that I cry too

Writing a new novel

I have decided to write a novel about male rapes.

It has been haunting me for long enough to give this a substance. This would be scary though, scary enough to make me wallow in sorrow for days. But, it is necessary all the same. It is necessary because at the end of the day I would have to do this anyway, because this story needs to be told, and I would rather do it myself.

So, here’s a drink to you all, a drink to everyone out there who has suffered through the ordeal and made it through. I hope I can capture what you went through, I hope I can be remembered that way.

With love,


Male Rapes and Thoughts

We don’t accept male rapes by women in India. In fact, I doubt we see male rapes at all. Sexual assaults maybe, but, rapes? Honey, men don’t get raped. And even when they are tied to a corner and forced to do something they hate, that’s something he should enjoy. The stigma associated with male rapes is probably greater than female rapes, but, that isn’t a competition after all. Abuse isn’t some competition where the degree of violence decides how much you are going to be affected throughout your life.
However, the lack of a rape law for men concerns me. There is this try to ignore the fact that rape is basically power play, a way to make someone submit to the tormentor’s wills. Women can beat a man into submission as easily as a man can. And a man would suffer just as a woman does after rape.

Makes me wonder…

When will this change?

“Dum Laga ke Haisa” and finding yourself in loneliness

There is a time in the film when the camera goes out and films the light of a scooter moving through a large bridge. The song “Moh moh ke dhaage” plays in the background. This is a moment that would make you fall in love with the film itself, the simplicity of it, the whole deal that surrounds it. The best films give off an aroma that lingers with you even after you have watched it. With this there comes an aroma of old romantic books and indian food, and it permeates the senses.
“Dum Laga ke Haisa” is more a statement than a story that needs to be told. Looking back, this is not a story to win hearts but, the outcome is so earnest, so well made that you cannot help falling for it again and again. The soulful music tracks and the two beautiful human beings at the centre of the film just enhance the story.
The most wonderful part of this story is perhaps the simplicity, the normality of it all. We all desire for that fit person to be beside us. Someone who conforms to the society’s norms of what is hot. That is no crime. But, when the heroine looks at her husband and says “You never gave me the chance to show my love or tell about it”, you feel the pain of a person who is not there. The person who is not hot, who is fat is often the subject of ridicule but, here they make it into a statement and what a heroine that makes. The dialogues ring true, the ferocity, the anger rings true and you are left with a heartfelt romance.
Both people in a relationship are flawed, the man suffers from being ridiculed for the lack of education, the wife is well-educated and yet, her weight is criticized by her husband. The differences grow in levels and lead to nowhere at all, but, then it starts working. This is the second arranged marriage film that I am watching after “Tanu weds Manu”, that film is different, it makes fun of the situations and grows love from there, here love is never there but, the situations, the pains lead to them.
You see the characters, and they are not made of wax, these are people who bleed and are stronger than anyone else. It makes the story.
And you cheer them on at the last moment when the entire movie comes to a climax because you want them to end up together. You want them to make it because that proves love exists. And a movie that makes you care about its characters is perhaps better than a hundred other movies that don’t.
Watch this, and sit with a bit of tissues if you cry at romance.
And listen to the tracks again when the night falls.
For now the threads are again in the sky, falling leisurely at nowhere and romance is going to be found at the strangest corners.