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.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

How we constantly judge everyone, including ourselves

It's been a while since I wrote something. I went through some old journal entries to instrospect on the kind of person I was back then. Here's one from 26th July 2014.

. . . . .

We’ve been in a long on-going period of flat hunting. Now that that’s finally done, we’re all working towards getting a tenant for the current house that the guys lived in. I wonder how long it’s gonna take India to move on and let people live their lives. Basic human rights that people have are not given here. One’s right to have animals in the house; right to live with whomever you want. Right to love someone of the same sex openly, and the right to choose who to be with. Sometimes I look back at myself when I judge someone, and wonder where it’s all coming from. Was it my upbringing? The society? Was it me? There are things I still feel I need to change about my thinking and approach towards other humans.

Today evening, I went to buy groceries in Hypercity; we were so out of food. I was on my period. During my period I am especially low on energy, and sometimes I get unbearable stomach cramps. Today I had only the former, and as usual, when I am at my weakest, I tend to challenge myself physically and emotionally. So I decided to shop alone. I waited in the queue for billing. There was a young lady wearing some neon clothes. Her hair was almost orange, and absolutely poker straight, and her nails were coloured a neon pink. She was in the ‘items under 10’ section in front of me, and the rest of us waited behind her while she kept producing different credit cards to pay. I noticed she had only two notebooks to bill – it must’ve been 40-50 bucks. ‘Maybe she doesn’t have change’ I thought. But then everyone in the queue including myself started to get really restless. None of her cards seemed to be working. Finally after 10 minutes, she produced a 100 rupee note. My mouth flung open, and I immediately shut it. I had already judged her to be some blonde rich daddy girl who came to this huge mall to buy 2 notebooks.

While walking back I was so annoyed with myself. Who was I to judge her by how she decided to pay, or what she was buying or wearing? I passed the pani puri guy who smiled at me. It reminded me of the chai wala uncle in Nashik who Akshay and I would buy tea from. I smiled back, and said ‘hello bhaiya’ as I passed. I’m not the kind of person who keeps in touch, or does things spontaneously, but I immediately dialled Akshay’s number. We had a nice conversation till I got home about what he’s upto. I remember how important he felt to me while I was in Nashik, and how I hadn’t bothered to constantly stay in touch. Neither had he, but then he probably wasn’t as close to me as I was to him. I like it when people don’t get too attached to me. Off late I seem a little too selfish to myself; or it’s probably cynical introspection.

When I watch a good film these days, I feel so warm and fuzzy. Even if that’s not what I’m experiencing at the moment, it takes me to a beautiful time when I was there. The other day, Lux, Arvind, En and I watched ‘The Lunchbox’. It was the second time I’d seen it and I felt that intense love for the film all over again. I had such a huge urge to squeeze these 3 people sitting around me. It felt like family, but I controlled myself. I feel like I understand myself so well – I will fall in love, and I will give and drown in them, but they might just get severely creeped out. But then maybe I don’t know myself after all. Maybe I’m just afraid of getting attached – but I’ve never been afraid. I probably don’t know anymore, but that’s ok.

I hope I never become that kind of person who lies to themselves to avoid their real problems; that would be everything against what I stand for. Sometimes I feel like a child, and sometimes I feel the weight of everyone’s despair in my hands. Onward sail.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Inside Out, Terminator Genesis, Jurassic World, Minions, Black Mirror Reviews

Quick review of films watched last 2 weeks!

Inside out: Absolutely beautiful! The design wasn't extremely unique, but the thought behind it and the storytelling was lovely! It didn't follow the usual pixar story structure with one character and his/her arc (which is also awesome), but was great nevertheless.

Terminator: Genysis: I didn't have extremely high hopes for this film, but it was really below whatever expectations I had. The action was good, but they took some of the iconic shots from the originals. The storyline was haphazard and the time-travelling was so overused. The characters really needed to be fleshed out better and Khaleesi was terrible casting for Sarah Connor. She looked chubby and cute instead of badass, and trust me, I love Emilia Clarke. But no. The rest were pansies, besides Schwarzenegger of course. He never ceases to be awesome as the terminator (a.k.a: Pops)

Jurassic World: I really regret not seeing this in the theatre. Lakshmi totally gave it a rotten rating, so we downloaded a decent print and gave it a shot. I absolutely LOVED it. I LOVED the action, LOVED the Chris Pratt, and LOVED the dinosaurs! I felt like going home and reading all my books on dinosaurs again. The VFX was stunning, and the animation of all the dinos was top notch. Give it a watch in 3D if you guys can.

Minions: I was gonna go for a film Ishan suggested - Killa. But we got late by 15 mins and I didn't want to watch it like that, so I went for Minions with Akshay Arvind. The three of us laughed so much throughout and it was super fun! I'm not a despicable me fan, but the minions and the main villian - 'Scarlet' were hilarious. I noticed the amazing character design and boarding, hats off to them for making us come out laughing like that! Absolute fun.

Black Mirror: Lastly on a more serious note, this TV series is the most thought provoking and intellectually stimulating series I've ever seen. It really deserves a special mention, and I have been meaning to write so much about it, but I get speechless (literally) by the end of each episode. This series COULD NOT be more Unrrated. Thanks Ishan was the passed on recommendation.

Hope you guys can share what you all thought of these films and Black Mirror, and we can discuss it wherever! ;) Cheers! Over and out.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sebastião Salgado - TED Talk on The silent drama of photography

This isn't related to art, but it's so important that I had to share it on as many platforms possible.
What an absolutely insightful, thought-provoking and inspiring story. I hope this spreads like wildfire and touches people the way it touched me. Humanity has gone at all lengths to destroy itself. I really hope for once, we reconstruct to restore balance.

Please send this to as many people as you can to create awareness, and hopefully it would reach governments and important officials who can help us plant more trees and kill fewer animals.

Economics PhD Sebastião Salgado only took up photography in his 30s, but the discipline became an obsession. His years-long projects beautifully capture the human side of a global story that all too often involves death, destruction or decay. Here, he tells a deeply personal story of the craft that nearly killed him, and shows breathtaking images from his latest work, Genesis, which documents the world's forgotten people and places.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Mad Max - Fury Road Review

17th May 2015 Mad Max – Fury Road

Mad Max is the 4th film in the Mad Max series directed, produced and written by George Miller. We went to see the film in Inox Screen 1 with Dolby ATMOS sound. I couldn’t be more lucky to have seen it there.  This is evidently the BEST action film I’ve seen in all of time. The film is based in a post-apocalyptic world where humans have now become a wild inhumane race. In a stark desert landscape, the story is about journey of two rebels, Mad Max – a blood bank for the War Boys, and Imperator Furiosa on a wild ride to escape from the Citadel with their ruler (Immortan Joe)’s child brides in desperate hope for a better home. 

The film’s characters are so well rounded and their goals are so evident. The film is thrilling with some glorious visual effects. But what I was absolutely floored by was the fully rounded world that was created in the film. Everything seemed to have been so well thought out, from the vehicle rigs, the characters, tribes, landscapes, costumes - right till the colloquium. Sayings like ‘Witness me’ used by the War Boys was used so dramatically and timely.

The camera work, staging, and colour palettes were absolutely cinematic. I couldn’t stress on how important it is that audiences should watch this in a good theatre with a great screen and sound. George Miller has done such a fantastic job directing that you are always with the characters, jumping with them, feeling vengeful with them and feeling despair with them.

Lastly I’d like to mention the sound. The score is absolutely thrilling and jolting and keeps you at the edge of your seat. The sound design is just spot on, and watching it in a Dolby ATMOS theatre really made it a complete compelling experience.

After a little fishing I found out that George Miller has directed 3 more before this and now I’m definitely going to watch the remaining three. I really think the world designed is comparable to Avatar or the Star Wars Franchises. I’m giving this film a 10/10 on IMDB. I may change that opinion after my 2nd watch but for now, I’m so awed!!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Gift - Adopt Wisely

7th May 2015

I had to share this.

It's been a long time since I saw some genuinely moving and effective film. This one's close to me because it's got to do with animal welfare.
For the past few months I have been considering doing social work fulltime when there are no animation projects going on. I'm still in the process of figuring out how to contribute. Hopefully Ill be making films like these.
In creative fields we never know whether our work affects people or changes the way we look at things. I hope someday I can do that through my work, even if it's over the course of a year or a lifetime.

Please watch and share to spread the message.

Friday, March 27, 2015

About Grandfather

26th March 2015
Bad drawing. But drawing nonetheless.

My grandfather, 'Deddy' was a very good man. I used to think in his old age that I barely know him. In my growing up years he was already bed ridden. Deddy was the only doctor in our family, n he was a great one. He was an orthopedic surgeon. It was sometime in 2000, that he had fully lost function of the right side of his body and was suddenly paralysed.

The deddy I saw after that was a short tempered crabby demanding person, who only seemed to live for his love of food. He would need help to sit up on the bed, bathe and eat. He was like this for 12 years until I was in my 1st year of college and got the call. I wouldn't say I was very close to him, but he did talk to me a lot about his younger days of apprentice, his travels to Britain and his violin. He was very proud of me because I loved sports and he thought I was intelligent because I aced biology. But the reason I loved him was because I had flashes of memory of him loving me as a child. Carrying me around everywhere, playing with me. I distinctly remember this one day in my Margao ancestral house when he came home from the market and got me 'moorin'. It's now a rare local fruit that grows inside a coconut. After squealing with joy and running to hug him, Raina and I started fighting for the moorins. He stopped us and told raina, "darling, these are for nikhi. I've got you your favourite fish." And Raina was happy too.

This morning, 7 years after his death, I had a dream of him. It was in my house, I was walking up to my room. When I opened the door a man was trying to get off the bed with the support of his hands. He was a tall big man, but alone. I recognised him and shut the door. I looked through the keyhole of the room. This time the man stood upright facing me, a woman by his side. It was ajju and deddy. I burst open the door and flew into his arms, tears pouring through my eyes. My arms only reached his waist. He was grinning widely and ajju with him. He was standing again and this time we were going to have a better start.

When I woke up from the dream, sobbing, I realised I never got to love him or mourn him fully. And worst of all, I never got to say goodbye. I guess this is the only eulogy I can write.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Characters of Bombay

27 July 2014
Image not owned by me
Santa Cruz station. I passed by this station on a fast train, and recognized it even in the small flashes on train. The station pretty big, connected by pink skywalks and bridges. Baby pink. It's been 3 years since I interned here, and I don't know how many more it will take for them to change the colour. The colour is probably not as horrid as I see it. The horrid part must be the time I associate the color with. Agla station, 'saanta crooze' - said the machine voice. My friend would call it santra juice (orange juice).

After an eyesore like that, the next stop Bandra is an absolute pleasure. White walls, arched platforms and passages, and a wooden British station which has withstood time. Outside the stations yellow lights twinkle - crowds eat, laugh and fight. Stories unravel. The pavement is more cobbled and a bit cleaner. This is clearly one of my favourite and most charming spots, but I've heard that south Bombay beats Bandra ruthlessly.

Today I am visiting this south Bombay that people talk about so much. Lower Parel. Marine Lines. Churchgate, I wonder how different it is from the rest of this large city. All said and done, regardless of where u live in Bombay, or where you're going, one has got to admit that each area here has character. And character and story is all I need to be content with my journey.

Fellow Traveller

August '14

She looked at me now and again. I didnt know she was goan. She was checking on me see if I was okay. She was probably well over 60, thin, dark toned with deep set eyes. She never saw a girl of my age travelling in a long distance train alone.She had never travelled out of goa herself. Her son had taken her to visit his work in Mumbai.

She had lost all her teeth but one. There was one long tooth in her lower mandible. When I asked her a question in Konkani she wore a look of surprise. Most of the goans I've met outside goa wear that look. I guess I don't look goan enough. She beamed, and told me about her journey, and her son.

"Bombay is not for me. It's so crowded, so dirty. Still people go there. I got sick there."

Yet she went. And now she will love goa more. We passed the open fields and crossed broad clean rivers with coconut palms on both sides. We knew we've touched down goan soil. She smiled at me - "I think we've reached."