One Year Today…!

Every love story is beautiful but ours is my favorite.

Today is my first wedding anniversary with my husband, and it’s amazing to see how time flies. It’s been an adventurous year for me, but also a really lovely one, and it’s only given a flavour of all the things we want to do over the next few years – we’ve travelled, dined out, laughed at silly movies and eaten plenty of chocolate along the way.

Our wedding day feels like it just happened a few weeks ago, and it’s weird to look back and see ourselves all dressed up like superstars – although if you saw me dressed in my pyjamas now you’d never believe it!

We’ve had a lovely evening dining out so more on this soon, but for now, it’s time to be a lazy couple. laze on the sofa with snacks and watch a comedy or two : )

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Serenity is…

...standing by the the colour blue, looking for fishies, enjoying the salty breeze on your face and looking at ships glowing as they sail by.

I’ve been completely unable to switch on my computer this past week, either because I’ve finished work late, only to rush home and have to do some house chores, or end up shopping for lipsticks and chocolate cake groceries and milk and stuff. Which usually means that I have around an hour before bed and not much time to switch a computer on.

So I’m making the most of a lazy weekend (which consisted a marathon watch of season 1 of Broadchurch, home-made popcorn and some geeky online gaming – that one’s my husband, not me) and making sure I managed to sit down with my computer and catch up on reading, browsing and photos!

Here’s one of my favourites, my husband and I managed to get a free spot on the Galata Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey, where the fishing trade is a popular one, and makes for a beautiful view as well. We tried our hand at it for a few minutes before giving up, but it was worth stopping for just to see the boats sailing by, the smell of freshly-caught-and-cooked fish along the pier, and the amazing stillness when you sit for a while and watch the blue ripples.

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Haider – To Watch or Not to Watch

Haider – a Bollywood remake of the timeless Shakespeare classic Hamlet, set in modern day Kashmir.

I recently watched Bollywood art-film Haider, which interprets Shakespeare’s troubled hero Hamlet into a conflicted younger adult Haider, whose conscience and confusion leads the way through a canvas of Kashmir conflict, troubled relationships and the idea of love in more than one form.

I’m sure it’s no coincidence that there is a Bollywood version of Hamlet – after all, Haider is the third in a series of Shakespeare dramatisations in Bollywood by director Vishal Bhardwaj, after making Omkara which is based on Othello and Maqbool, based on Macbeth. I also recently saw Ram Leela, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s version of Romeo and Juliet, set in the Rajhastan, India, which was a colourful albeit not as serious as the above films. What makes Haider works that it is not just a mere translation of Hamlet – the film takes the story and re-invents it into something much more.

I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of remakes – although there have been a few which have been terrible, and Bollywood on the whole is always churning out films which aren’t always a hundred percent brilliant. Haider-movie-posterIt sounds like a typical re-hashing of a clichéd storyline – boy meets girl, conflict from one or both families, and a macho battle at the end where everything ends well.

Haider take on the storyline is a more contemporary one, touching on the conflict in Kashmir, not only being caught in between India and Pakistan’s tug-of-war, but also the idea of conflict in family, between brothers, spouses, mother and child and even between lovers.

Shahid Kapoor plays the troubled youth, whose father goes missing after a military search of their village for terrorists being hidden. Thus sparks a search for the truth, questioning not only where his father is, but also who was responsible for his capture, who to trust, and the concept of revenge.

The primary thing which I note in this film is the spectacular cinematography, the beautiful scenes and landscapes, and the artistic presentation of Kashmir – this is Kashmir as it has never been shown before. For all that Kashmir is a stark, depressing place it also has a haunting beauty, and Bhardwarj depicts all of that – from snowy mountains, grassy hilltops, weaving trains which illuminate modern homes as well as ruins and castles.

Also layered in the film is music, which is infused with Kashmiri tones – there’s only a two or three songs in the whole movie (which is a relief after generations of films which pound out trance-style music or sexy tunes which have nothing to do with the plot) – but they are real Kashmir folk-style songs. Reknowned actress Tabu, who plays Haider’s mother Ghazala mesmerises on-screen, from her expressive eyes and heart-wrenching emotions, to the haunting folk songs she sings, which unravel through the film as we question her motives, her relationship with her brother-in-law, and her love for her son. She sums it up wonderfully when she describes herself as a a ‘half widow’ – half bride and wife, half a widow, forever searching and not knowing, caught up in her own obssessions and guilt which are never fully revealed.

Adding to this is Haider’s father himself, the missing and presumed dead doctor, weaving in his love of music and ballads which adds poetry to the movie, contrasting Kay Kay Menon as the smooth-talking, slippery Uncle of Haider, whose smooth lies and logical explanations add chaos and confusion to the mystery, making not just Haider but the audience question what the truth is.

Also a big part of this is love – Shradda Kapoor plays a feisty Orphelia who tries to support the hero, although his wall of confusion, search for identity and his growing depression pushes back at this. At the heart of this film is also the suggestion of an Oedipal complex – Haider’s relationship with his mother is wraught with jealousy, confusion, and anger, and at times it is almost uncomfortable to watch their awkward, intense scenes. Similarly, Haider’s memories of his father and his love for his father only serve to confuse more, as we question the reason for revenge and whether it is beign manipulated by militants for their own ends – scenes of Haider searching for his father with missing posters in his backpack, bloody, smuggled bodies in trucks and morgues and cemetries only makes this film more haunting and moving.

The best part of the movie, for me, though, was that even though the film has it’s own style, and captures its own struggles well, it still remains faithful to the essence of Hamlet – the self-doubt, the conflict, the questioning which pervades it. And of course, the director could not resist slipping in the eternal famous line “To be or not to be” (in Hindi, of course!) as well as the famous scene with Hamlet and the skull (which is not a horror scene but an amusing one, as Shakespeare intended!) While Haider is a unique story in itself, it remains faithful to the ideas that Hamlet promotes – a haunting scene, for example his Haider’s reasoning that he would not kill his father’s murderer while he is in prayer, because he does not want a sinner to be absolved and go straight to heaven – this is a scene I vividly remember studying in university and which resonated with me.

For all that this is a sombre film, there are also a lot of  quirky moments as well, surprisingly amusing moments which add to the depth of the film and add another facet to the character of Haider. Haider’s play-madness makes us chuckle, and the song in the cemetery with three old men digging graves reminds me of a quirky Cohen brother’s movie, something cheeky and slightly inappropriate because of the way it makes fun of death. There are plenty of jokes too, one of my favourite being a woman who is unable to understand why her husband stands outside their house for hours and refuses to speak or come in – which is solved by a quick request for ID card and then permission to enter – it’s a reflection of how their daily lives have become, yet handled deftly and lightly.

 

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For me, Haider works because of the many pieces which fit together and blend well – the music, the scenery, the dialogues and the ability of all of the actors to make characters come alive and make us question. The director cleverly re-shapes this storyline in a new context, while still remaining faithful to the essence of Hamlet, which is not an easy thing to do. I don’t often praise Bollywood films but this is a rare gem, it captivates from the first few scenes and carries through to a compelling, bloody and emotional ending. Haider is a film which is more than just a boy’s search for his father and his murderer, it is about identity of himself and his country, his love for his family, and the idea of truth, revenge and what the right thing to do is.

I would strongly recommend this film to most people – it is poetry, war and misplaced patriotism on screen which answers whether to watch or not to watch, although I say, watch it.

Eid Mubarak and Hajj Mubarak!

Eid Mubarak and Hajj Mubarak everyone, I hope this is an amazing Eid for you, regardless of what you are doing (amd on which day!). I’d also like to give a quick reminder for everyone to remember and keep in your prayers all those who aren’t as fortunate in your prayers, such as people of Palestine, Syria, Burma, Iraq, Bangladesh, Rohingya, Afghanistan and all the other innocent people who are being persecuted in today’s time.

Heres a banner made by my eldest sister Happy Muslimah for Eid, her house was colourfully decorated today which set the mood nicely, not to mention all the yummy food and good company we’ve had today! We have another family dinner tomorrow as well which I’m looking forward too, so more more photos coming soon! Please do tell me how your day was as well !

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“Reader, I married him.”

“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” – Wuthering Heights

“Among His signs is that He created for you mates from among yourselves, in order to have tranquility with them and He put love and mercy between your (hearts) : verily in that are signs for those who reflect.” – [Surah Ar-Rum 30:21]

“I love being married. It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life” – Rita Rudner

I’m finally back, my lovely people, to announce that I am officially a Wife, readers, I indeed did marry him and it was a beautiful day.

There were plenty of events, dholki nights at home, a henna party, more than one bridal shower and best of all, a new baby arrival in the midst of it all, which was pretty amazing and also a wonderful time to spend with family. I’m currently tip-tapping away on my keyboard in our new home, in our bedroom still feeling a little shell-shocked but also very happy (and confused about where to start!)

I’m still sorting through hundreds of photographs and waiting for the professional ones from my photographers at the events, but I will be posting details, which I want to post in chronological order, so bear with me! Please do also read my other blog for more colourful details of the wedding and all the functions leading up to it as well : )

I’d also like to thank all of you who left comments in my previous posts with blessings, congratulations and lots of kinds words, they were a pleasure to read and I was happy to read them all.

For now, here’s a picture of what is sitting on our window sill in our new house, our wedding favour boxes which I sneaked away from the wedding day, and my sparkling ring given to me by The Husband.

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Harlequin Oddities Found About Town: No Begging Please, We’re English

It’s the time of the year, the rush for shopping and travelling around on the underground sometimes needs some livening up. Enter the buskers and the underground musicians, and boy do they come in all shapes and sounds. Only yesterday I saw a musician playing on tablas while another one was rolling around on the floor riffing on his keyboard. In the midst of all this, there is some (quality) control required to ensure that people are earning their keep, rather than shamelessly just fleecing people for their money. This is where this sign comes in to politely request any undesirables to flee from the nice, shiny undergrounds, get a job and cut that hair dagnabbit. Okay maybe the last one is just vaguely insinuated rather than told outright. The British Gov’nors have decreed that there shall be no begging. And no begging there was on the underground. Well, until the plaques all fall off from the abuse they get anyway, then it’s a free for all:

“You’ve got to pick-a-pocket or twooooo ….”

nahi begging karo(Part of this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge about Signs)

The Evolution of Batman’s Logo

Thought this was really cool, and something to weep over now that the Batman films have all been done – about thirty of the different iconic Batman logos as they have evolved over the years. And if you can’t be bothered to zoom in, here’s a video of all the different logos. Truthfully, I didn’t even know there were this many logos, some fan I am.

Now, back to the ‘bang-crash-wallop’ episodes, with a camp Robin in a tight outfit. Oh dear.

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