This #napowrimo poem was inspired by a fable I read as a child called Ant and the Grasshopper, about a grasshopper who procrastinates.
This is my interpretation of it, I deeply relate to the grasshopper haha
The picture in question is a coloured print of La Fontaine’s version of the fable by Jean-Baptiste Oudry (courtesy Wikipedia, very fancy)
Ant and grasshopper co-inhabitants in springs
In a world where soru was pay for writers code
Ant wrote and wrote titbits saved for grubless winter
Hopper strummed, synergized on the virtual realm
Glanced at his calendar swallowing pills of unease
Supplies were running low as was motivation
Motivation is random, winter is predation
Loose noose tightens, Hopper leaps to narrow lost seize
Setae falls, monocle over compound eyes helm
Ant refuses victuals, tough love is tinder
Hopper whets and sweats and scrapes through incommode
Sighs at snow, lesson learnt pro tempore- time tings.
Mirrors are highly polished surfaces that reflect the sight of its viewer. A mirror shows what it sees; it cannot show beyond that or create something that doesn’t exist in its view-focus. This is the limitation that exists in the mirror. When one stands in front of it to see themselves, a mirror not only reflects what one sees but also one’s perception of oneself. This part is a trick played by the mind. The reflection is a reflection of one’s self assertion.
There has been a history of fascination with these shiny surfaces; people hoping to know more than what the mirror reveals. A popular Indian superstition believes that a mirror must not be broken. If it is, one faces bad luck. Consider the hypothesis that a mirror reflects what we think and breaking that is the equivalent of breaking away from what we know to embrace the world of possibilities. This comes in the wake of uncertainty, unreliability and breaking away from the norm. We are free to choose what we wish to believe. The superstition is making light of this, telling us that we should conform to the ideas that were conditioned into us by society rather than embrace a life freed from the shackles of convention. Consider Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs where the mirror is a metaphor for the Queen’s inferiority complex that she masks with pseudo superiority. In these tales, mirrors are cautionary- to be consulted not indulged in. It makes one wonder if they stood for something more- like the limitations we set ourselves without our own knowledge.
Folklore has been one of the most advanced tools of communicating wisdom by word of mouth. There is a popular story about Buddha during his time as Prince Siddhartha. His palace had a large polished window that was covered with a curtain on the outside- an effort by his father to never let his son see the real world. This window acted as a mirror, reflecting the opulence and grandeur of his home; an extension of his luxurious life. One stormy afternoon, the curtain fluttered widely, revealing a frame of what the outside world looked like. Astounded, the Prince stood in front of the mirror, waiting for the curtain to flicker again. He demanded the curtains to be pulled down after the storm and was shocked by the view that was in store for him. It took a storm for him to realize that there was a world outside his own. He was amazed by reality, the muddy city beneath him in all its greatness and grime. The storm turned a mirror into a window.I wager that the storm is a metaphor for a learning experience, an education. The word education takes its roots in the latin word ēdūcō which means ‘I raise, I lead’. Its roots are entrenched in the meaning of self-betterment; something that makes us take charge. And to this day, that meaning holds true. Any experience that broadens our worldview is an education; an understanding that instills humanity in us is an education.
A window is a way to see the world from where we stand. It is crystallized sand that stands between us and what we observe. But a window, unlike a mirror goes on and on. It shows as far as the eyes can see. The more you crane your neck, the more you see. And what you see is what you get; the window is a view into the world, our immediate surroundings. When one draws open the curtains and sees what the window has in store, they are never sure of what they see, because the window presents the reality. And reality is unpredictable. In all these ways, the window behaves in all manners that fairy tale writers wanted a mirror to act and believers of superstition wanted a mirror to not- as a means to go beyond what we know and into the realm of possibilities.
Education is like the wave of the magicians wand that takes the shimmer off the looking glass and turns it into a glass that looks upon the world. When we stand between two mirrors we see an infinite number of reflections of ourselves. Similarly, when we are caught up in our own lives, we are stuck in an infinite loop of our own limitations. We can take a dash of reality and humility as tools that impart education about life. Using that to scrub away the polish on the mirror, we are left with two windows that show us the two realities of our world. On one side are abundance, joy and light. The other side is pain, suffering, and darkness. And our own position is in the middle of them both, sometimes drawing in the light and sometimes enveloped in darkness.
This essay was written as a commentary on the quote
“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.”
For all the nominees for this award, here are the rules, if you choose to accept(Please do):
Write a post to show your award.
Give a brief story of how your blog started.
Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
Thank whoever nominated you, and provide a link to their blog.
Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to.
Writing for me comes from a need to share what I know, what I think of what I know, and what I feel of what I know. Or don’t know. It started out as a way to impress my family. When I was six years old I wrote a story about a family of owls that teach the owlet to fly. I was the owlet. And everyone spoke about it for days to come, so I began to write to be the object of conversation. And when I got older I wrote because I could communicate better and wider this way.
And that is what writing as always been to me, a means to an end, the bridge to the other side, if you will.
I began this blog as the Film Essayist, because my focus was on analysis of cinema and television. But this proved to be limiting because I was preoccupied with other things that I also wanted to talk about. So I changed the name to Brewing Preoccupations, which was more fitting as it tipped its invisible hat to coffee, my other love.
I am pretty amateur myself, navigating through the maze that is the world of blogging. But if I have to give any advice at all, it would be –
If you want to start blogging, just start. The perfect name, template, themes will all fall in place eventually. The platform is so fluid you can change all those things without jeopardising your content.
Other than that I would say, use this as a platform to hone your writing. You have opportunity for feedback and more importantly, an audience who think differently than you do. So use that.
Thank you Jajwalya for nominating me to this award. Jajwalya has been my friend from the days of reading high fantasy in middle school to being one of my chief encourage-rs up to this day. I love it when you write from your heart and give an opportunity to view the world through the goggles of your thought process.
To end this ramble, I would like to nominate the following blogs for the same:–
Mustang and The Virgin Suicides are really two very different movies. The setting is different. Mustang is set in a village in Turkey while The Virgin Suicides is suburbia of Michigan. The view focus is different. Mustang is seen from the POV of the sisters with a view focus on their lives. TVS is seen from the POV of the neighbourhood boys where the view focus is their interpretation of the girls’ lives.
As the movies unfurl, we see how different the stories are as well.
TVS plays into the ‘bored white girl’ trope, at times making a parody of it – like when the boys try to decipher the meaningless scrawls of their diary and theorize what it could imply (the line, “what we have here is a dreamer” is a consequence of that). The movie is deep rooted in the western sensibilities which play as a background throughout the movie. It dwells heavily on the mystery that the girls are shrouded in. We see this as emptiness from the girls’ lives and as fascination from the boys. They internalize this house arrest they are placed under, only wishing to see the outside world rather than be in it. It feels like they have accepted their situation and rather than rebel against it have found ways to live with it.
Mustang is the opposite; the girls rebel at every chance they get, like they alone will have the final say in their lives. It deals with themes of identity and freedom. The movie is about what happens to each of their lives and aims to shed light in the various ways women’s lives are policed.
When I watched the trailer of Mustang, it reminded me of TVS. And even after I watched it, I could not shake off that feeling. And now that I have set tone to why they are different, I want to talk about representation- Starkly similar scenes that play out in the two movies while their end purpose is different.
The manner in which certain shots are represented were very insightful. Though their presence in the movie had different motives, and different outcomes, in isolation these shots were interchangeable. Some of these shots are
When the girls are under house arrest (happens in both movies, duh).
TVS aims to show the desolation in isolation. Mustang aims to show the urge for freedom from the entrapment.
Both movies have one sister die (in TVS all of them do, but Cecilia, the youngest one commits suicide first) by committing suicide. While TVS uses this to exacerbate the clandestine thoughts of the sisters, Mustang uses it as a definitive. We have cause (her uncle sexually molests her and she is about to get married against her will) and action (her sudden promiscuity and deliberate insinuations to irritate her uncle which precede her death) for the girl’s death and consequences (her younger sister is to marry the man she was ‘promised’ to). While Cecilia’s death and attempts of death are shot in a manner that feels delicate and tragic, like a flower crushed under a heel; Ece’s (from Mustang) is not even in the frame. We feel the consequence of it, which is what the director wants us to focus on.
Both movies have one sister acting out sexually, but again Lexi from TVS is portrayed as uninhibited which accentuates under the stifiling circumstances where as Ece from Mustang is trying to push her luck out of spite after being sexually abused by her uncle and she ultimately kills herself.
And finally, there is the house arrest itself. In TVS a conservative family sends their daughters to prom and when one of them breaks curfew because she sleeps with her high-school prom date and falls asleep on the football field- they stop letting their daughters go to school altogether.
In Mustang, the girls play in the beach with their classmates and when their uncle and grandmother hear of it, they place the girls on house arrest after performing a virginity test on them.
The emotional chord struck by these representations are the same, despite their unique circumstances. And this is because, underneath the void and the fight, the house arrest bred melancholy. And the orthodox branch of the Western and Middle Eastern worlds share their need to moral police their girls. In the end, it is the humanity, both good and ugly which is the commonality in the movies’ representations.
On a separate note, please listen to this song from the soundtrack of The Virgin Suicides. It will change your life. Also watch the two movies if you have not and let me know what you think.
Moments make a human; we are the culmination of all the moments of our lives. A moment could be fleeting, barely lasting in our memories. Or it could hold on forever, shaping the way we see the world. I think observing art is a moment capable of making a person. About ten years ago, I was gifted a DVD of Al Gore’s campaign on Global Warming. It was called ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and spoke at length about the ways our planet is getting closer to being unlivable.
What stuck with me is a comment someone made while watching it- “We’re not destroying the planet, we’re destroying our opportunity to live in it. Soon we will be no more, but the planet will continue to change and exist.”
There is so much truth to that. We are not saving the world by being environmentally conscious, we’re saving ourselves, our future.
That moment shaped me made me more environmentally conscious, care more about animal welfare. It was in this pursuit that I volunteered at the NGO that goes by the name BHUMI. I belong to their Catalyze Project, which aims to spread public awareness about Environmental issues, Animal Welfare, Sexual Harassment etc. and create a more empathetic and informed community.
As a part of the celebrations for Ten years of the NGO, a series of events were scheduled to take place over the coming weekends. The first was the Tree Plantation Drive, which was on the Independence Day of India- August 15th.
We planted about forty trees in the outskirts of Bangalore, in a place called Devashettahalli. We planted the trees in the Government Primary School, where we had the opportunity to interact with the kids who had come to take part in the school flag hoisting ceremony. We also had the opportunity to interact with the locals who were extremely helpful (they pointed out plots where planting the tree would be most viable, an invaluable insight) and really, really good cooks (the lunch- tomato bath and kesaribath were probably the best I have ever had).
It was a great learning experience and I got to understand the amount of work that goes into planning a tree plantation drive. I am leaving a series of useful links below, for those of you interested in taking on plantation drives, or just wish to make your community/home greener and cleaner (Karnataka only).