I'm a Goan woman, working in Mumbai as the founder of a studio called Totem Creative. I try to make the world happier, safer and more meaningful. I believe education, knowledge and awareness, art, writing and creating Social Impact are my means to achieve that end.

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Secret World of Arietty (I'm mindblown)

22nd Nov 2012

I am overwhelmed. If I could ask an elder to bless me when I touch their feet, I would ask for them to bless me to get a job offer from Studio Ghibli. I can't believe I hadn't seen it earlier. The first thing that came to my mind when it started: Thumbelina. Later, I find a classic story about being brave, and fighting for the things you believe in; although truly, a love story. Maybe it's a Japanese thing, but their romance seems so beautiful and meaningful. Most of them end with the characters being separated in the end because one has to go away. But the feelings told and expressed in Ghibli movies are so true to life, and genuine, you can hear them in the voices of the characters and feel for them so deeply. The boys are so nerdy and emotionally deep. Poetic, almost. And the girls are adventurous, brave, something quite opposite of what we see in western films like all the princess stories.

The worlds they create are so real and fantastic, like heaven (but real). The Secret world of Arietty has backgrounds mostly in a bug's perspective of a country house and it's surrounding garden and forest. I was resisting from pausing the movie to oggle at the water colored backgrounds. I found the story very similar to Whisper of the heart; they have  similar characters. There was even the cat - the guide that connected the protagonists. But they're both set in completely different worlds. I can't wait to see the rest of the Ghibli films. Somehow I save the ones I haven't seen for special days - because I know they come out after years. It totally makes my day.

If you spot me giving a flying kiss to my laptop screen during the credit roll, it means it was something really special, and that the film makers are the few people in my life I aspire to meet and congratulate on sharing such a beautiful story with the world. The Secret World of Arietty was one of them.

Here's some of the artwork from the films that I could find available online:

If you're satisfied with this, you'll be in another world if you watch the film!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Balanced World

Once upon a time in the kingdom of Heaven , God was missing for six days. Eventually, Michael the archangel found him, resting on the seventh day.
He inquired of God. "Where have you been?"
God took a deep sigh of satisfaction and proudly pointed downwards through the clouds, "Look, Michael. Look what I've made!"

Archangel Michael looked puzzled and said, "What is it?" "It's a planet," replied God, "and I've put Life on it. I'm going to call it Earth and it's going to be a great place of balance."
"Balance?" inquired Michael, still confused.
God explained, pointing to different parts of earth.

"For example, northern Europe will be a place of great opportunity and wealth while southern Europe is going to be poor. Over there I've placed a continent of white people and over there is a continent of black people,"
God continued pointing to different countries. "This one will be extremely hot, while this one will be very cold and covered in ice."

The Archangel , impressed by God's work, then pointed to a triangular land mass and said, "What's that one?" "AAAAH," said God. "That's India, the most glorious place on earth. There are beautiful beaches, mountains,
streams, hills, waterfalls and vineyards. The people from India are going to be very beautiful, handsome, modest, intelligent and humorous and they are going to be found traveling the world holding good jobs..... They will be extremely sociable, hardworking and high-achieving, and they will be known throughout the world as diplomats and carriers of peace, play cricket and win world test matches. Even their Knowledge and wisdom will be appreciated and exported to far places."

Michael gasped in wonder and admiration, but then proclaimed, "What about balance, God? You said there would be balance!"

God replied wisely, "Wait until you see the clowns that will run their government."

Sunday, November 4, 2012

New friends

4th Nov 2012

Wow, it's been a really long time since I wrote. But a lot has happened today. Firstly Pris started talkin to me again. An old friend who I thought had suddenly decided to not have anything to do with me for no reason. :| And then I went to meet Rhutu in the evening. Spent an hour alone on the beach, happily talking to myself, splashing water in the sea, drawing on the wet sand. It was getting darker. Rhutu came an hour later, with his brother and his friend. (Another joke happened. I had earlier been introduced to his brother as 'Upaashi', which in Marathi/Konkani means - Hungry/Starved. Rhutu and his funny psychological experiments. I should try some too!)

I remember the first time I actually spoke to Rhutu. I saw him when Shivani was talking to him in NID, during the first Chitrakatha. I didn't pay much attention to him, because I was too busy soaking in the environment. There's so much energy in NID, it was overwhelming. I had a wonderful experience. I think it was only on the train home, that we spoke. I was all dark and twisty then, I guess. A closed book. I had made life very complicated for myself, and I was making a lot of choices. Choices are my weakness - I'm indecisive, and overanalytical. But I had to do it. I would write heart-wrenching plots in my journal. I needed to write a lot, draw a lot. Rhutu came with us to Pune on the train. Train journey's are really wonderful, especially with friends. With a lot of friends too, coz then you can sit alone to yourself and noone will notice. Sometimes when I think of the person I was, I miss that person, but life's much easier being transparent. Today I am brave. I allow myself to be hurt, to feel pain, because I feel strong. I feel brave to handle truck loads of drama, because I know it's just drama, and it won't last, and "This too, shall pass." Life has a series of many many downs, but you go over them and get back up. It's like a stubborn horse.

I sat at the window, writing, seeing the imagery flash before my eyes. Train journey's make me look at the larger picture - I get philosophical. The wind blowing on my face. Even Pooja didn't know me back then. It was later that we became roommates. Pooja and Rhutu were having some conversation, and they ended up moving and sitting next to me. I didn't say much. I was wandering, but they got me talking. I'm not very friendly with new people - I take time to know people, and let them know me. I am a huge book with full pages, and very few people like reading. I think Rhutu likes to read, but we still didn't talk much, besides animation. Animation. Animation has been my life so far. It runs through the blood in my heart. It makes me the person I am. Animators are assumed to be fun loving, entertaining, and humourous, also a little crazy. I'm like that with people I know. A hard nut to crack, one would say. But mysterious people are dramatic people. And I'm different now.

Rhutu came to MIT a few times in between, and we showed him around, but I didn't know him, still. Now he's down in Goa, and I hung out with him a couple of times. We walked, which means talking. Laughing. Joking. Percieving. When you're in a comfort zone (people you know), suddenly, meeting someone new feels strange. You don't know what they like, what they're like, and you're uneasy if there's silence. I try not to show this through my body language, but I think I was meant to be transparent - my face and body show what I'm feeling, if my tongue doesn't say it. It's wonderful to meet new people, and get a fresh perspective on life. It's like poetry, it's like a new feeling that is strange and uneasy, but gives you a sense of adventure. You can smell it around you, you can find it and go for it, if you're brave.

Rhutu's like those many people you come across in your life, who you didn't know you could talk to, or get along with. I still don't know him. He's a new friend. But it's nice to gain new perspective and talk to a fellow warrior. I remember once when I lost all hopes on my film, I had his email on my card. And it said, "If you even lose faith in Animation, just mail me". I didn't know him, but at the time there was noone I wanted to talk to. And Alok had his own problems to deal with. So I sent him a mail, and all the load lifted, knowing that he was going through the same troubles.

You generally know that you're alone when you are making the hardest decisions. You doubt people, and wonder if you can trust anyone again. Before, I wouldn't have even tried to know someone new. On the way, you will find and know yourself - a part of you you couldn't define before. I am rambling a lot! But this is the only way I can express myself.

As Stella Adler said, "Life beats down and crushes the soul, and art reminds you that you have one."