The unconventional has always attracted me. I like experimenting...part of a reason why I am a scientist, professionally. I liked most of the Onir's films. WIth some people you know that they are different and they are there to make a difference. In present days world, with internet all around and much information overload, all kinds of boundaries have disappeared. So everyone knows everything or at least has access to it. But there are always people who look at the same things differently and never mind trying their best anyway.
It was not too long back that I sent a friend request to Onir on facebook, as a part of one of my mission to get in touch with inspiring and creative people throught the world. Soon I got to know about his latest project series I AM. Or may be it was the other way round but I felt welcomed as he added me on his facebook. It was great to be in touch with him and even better if in some way I could have been involved with one of his films. I do have hobbies of writing and documentary film making, but mostly for fun, never thought of making them my profession for myriads of reason. I thought at least this is a great opportunity to be a part of a creative project and a person's endeavors with experimentation for a cause. I was ready to be involved in any of them because I personally liked all of them.
Talking specifically about Megha, I feel it is a great subject in present day's situation. I could not get time initially to visit the Kashmir valley and later on couldn't get a chance to visit the place that has been so much disturbed for so many years. A few months back I watched a documentary by Sarah Singh "The Sky Below", that she had made by visiting and interviewing common people and officials in India, Pak and Kashmir. This movie was screened at Cornell and Sarah had come down for the panel discussions. I admired the way she presented the people's story. It was amazing to see the love in their hearts, the agony that they had been through and all they want now is peace. No one wants millitants or millitary. They just want to get back to the normal life. This part of the story you could never get from the news channels, politicians or the army officials. The part that she showed in her one and a half hour documentary showed how the lives of people are interconnected yet it is such a helpless state to be in.
In Onir's words : " We cannot forget. As long as we keep pushing these under the carpet, being silent and fending for ourselves and our mundane lives, we will not evolve. The fractured society that is will continue to divide us."
It is so true. The matter is too close to my heart even when I have never visited the land and I regret not visiting it after the situation went bad as much as I regret not visiting it before the situation went bad.
MEGHA points to the situation that none amongst us would like to be in, yet we keep mum. Now is the time to make difference in ways we can. I guess movies even when they cannot bring out social revolution, can certainly affect the mindset of the common people who still have movies and television as one of the most and may be only way of entertainment in India.
This was a piece of my thinking with disclaimer that it is not intended to hurt anyone's philosophies, ideas or agenda.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Thanks a lot Lalit for believing in us and coming forward to show support.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I came to know about the project from face book. The wonderful promo attracted attention of many supporting the project financially and I could not stop myself expressing my feelings and being an artiste I penned down a poem that I recorded also for your group I M. MY best wishes are with you and we will be eagerly waiting for the sucess of the project of you all.
Monday, September 14, 2009
One of those Café Coffee Day afternoons, catching up with Onir. As usual, he is oscillating between being gung-ho about his films and depressed about life. He mentions that maybe it is high time I do one of the stories for the "I AM" series. Yes, well, sure, why not? What do you want me write?
For many days, we discuss various settings and come up with nothing. I am happy. Have you ever met a writer excited about writing? Then he drops a bombshell, actually make it two. The proposed date for shooting and hmmm… write a story about two women. I stare at him in complete disbelief.
I don't remember when we started talking about Kashmiri Pandits. I am an educated urban Indian woman and like most of my ilk, I know precious little about what happened to them. I know a lot more about what is happening in Kashmir right now-have read the Human Watch issue about Kashmir. But Pandits? I am not too sure if I want to get into it. I do not want to point fingers at any other community but mine. I don't want to seem biased.
The best thing about writing fiction is, it frees me from taking sides. I get to write only about people caught in the crossfire, people like me… for whom most of the time, the world makes no sense at all.
I discuss the basic idea. There isn't much to discuss. Of course, Onir wants it to be about two women. So one becomes a Kashmiri Pandit visiting her house after years of living in exile and the other one a Kashmiri Muslim who has stayed back to witness the mayhem.
I have always wondered about departures, forced or voluntary. We all have experienced them sometimes in life. I have never been sure if departures are bad. I mean, it is only when you leave you have a chance of arriving somewhere, of making something of yourself, of starting afresh, creating a new you. What scares me the most is never having a chance to leave…
Megha just wrote itself. I handed over the script to Onir and forgot all about it. Responses started pouring in to the AV on Facebook. They shook me up. There were too many Meghas and Rubinas out in the world and they were watching us, expecting to break the long silence inflicted on them. I was particularly moved by a piece titled 'My Mother's 22 rooms'.
After that came the trip to Kashmir and Megha became a person of flesh and blood. She stared accusingly at me from the nameplates of crumbling houses. When people leave homes, houses die. Kashmir is littered with their carcasses.
The paradise is lost- lost to those who have left and lost to those who stayed behind.
Sanjay is with us. He is stoic- checking for permissions for shootings, arranging accomodations… yet, memories keep flooding him and I begin to see Srinagar through his eyes. It was nothing like what it is now, wrapped in barbed wire twice over. Sanjay does not let on much. He doesn't speak of what happened unless asked a direct question… I am afraid to ask. I do not want to know. Do not tell me how you ran away leaving everything that you ever had to save your lives. It is unfair I keep saying to myself…too unfair.
Onir and I spend sleepless nights discussing the reasons for this silence; the absence of 24/7 news channels to make it a breaking news, power struggle between the Center and State, ego hassles between the governor and the chief minister, lack of international support… Are we making a list of reasons or excuses?
The only conclusion we reach is that someone benefited from this silence. Who?
I do not want to be an activist- do not want to belong to a camp lest you label me and not want to hear what I have to say. We always do that. Listen to Megha and Rubina's story and be not afraid to tell yours.
My only hope right now is that Megha breaks this silence. After all what is truth unless, you speak it aloud.