Friday, February 20, 2009

A dysfunctional family, and a wedding

"Rachel Getting Married" is a contemporary drama with an aggressive sense of humor about the return of an estranged daughter to the family home for her sister's wedding. Kym's reemergence throws a wrench into the family dynamics, forcing long-simmering tensions to surface in ways both hilarious and heartbreaking. It paints a colorful, nuanced family portrait and is filled with the rich characters.

Net net, the movie is a cacophony.

It could be cheaply disparaged as a film about rich people's annoying problems, but the acting has a weight and complexity that drags you in, even against your will.

A genuine revelation, Kym's pained wastrel is cutting and articulate – I loved Kym going off to "register as a general biohazard" – but also needy, damaged and more vulnerable than she likes to show.

Rachel matches her with a combination of gracefulness and snippy backbiting. Playing their parents, we get brilliant sketches from the great Bill Irwin, as their floundering peacekeeper dad, and their mother who has divorced herself from intimacy with her own girls.

It is dysfunctional family drama on a combination of grainy, handheld 35mm and consumer video – without rehearsal, with a huge ensemble cast made up of actors and musicians

The script is, perhaps, the best thing about Rachel Getting Married; many things are left unsaid, many things are unexplained, and many things are said and explained through the natural ebb and flow of the conversation. When Kym steps into "her" room at the family's house; it's preserved as if in amber, still and airless and perfect and dead. It also captures the jumbled, joyous chaos of a mixed-race wedding - the weird mix of territorial squabbles over everything from seating charts to roles in the bridal party and warm, loving, celebration. And as we go from rehearsal to reception, difficulty to disaster, we learn how much Kym truly has to atone for. The characters bring to life someone who has, through her own fault, earned a crushing sorrow that she will feel every day of her life: Kym notes, of her gravest error, how "I can live with it, but I can't forgive myself ..."; Hathaway makes us believe it. At the same time, Rachel Getting Married is very funny - from quick-cut gags to smart character-driven asides to a character's explosion of annoyance late in the film that may echo the audience's feelings about one of the film's devices.

Movie is meant for those who're not afraid to open themselves up to it.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The other day I was driving along in a bad mood (mainly due to the traffic and some meeting I was getting late for). Noticing a red light up ahead, I changed lanes to get on the wrong side, and given my mood, I expected to have a hard time getting across. But no, the car that was coming up on my left immediately slowed down and let me pass. As I exchanged a smile with the driver, my mood immediately lifted.

What this simple act of kindness made me realize is that often it doesn't take much to make someone else's day. Or even your own day. So here's what I think:

1. Ping. Time is NEVER an issue.
2. Compliment. Everybody loves to receive a sincere compliment.
3. Remember a birthday / anniversary. Everyone loves it.
4. Stand up for someone. Nothing like it.
5. Listen. Sometimes people just need to vent.
6. Listen to music.
7. Tell a joke. As Cummings once said, "the most wasted of all days is one without laughter." So tell a joke, even if it is just to your car.
8. Say thank you. Saying "thank you" is perhaps the easiest way to show someone you appreciate.
9. Have lunch with friends. If you haven't seen a friend for awhile, taking them out to lunch is a great way to catch up.
10. Give chocolate. Even if you don’t eat it.
11. Donate to a charity. You may not see the person you help, but that's not really the point, is it?
12. Believe. In yourself. In friends.
13. Show you care.
14. Share a happy memory. Have some photos from a recent outing - send a quick email to your friend so that they can relive the memory.
15. Cook.
16. Read. Keep reading.
17. Buy gifts. This shows that you think about the person you buy the gift for.
18. Play with babies.
19. Smile. Period!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Many-a-times, it happens that you yearn for something that you would want to look forward to. Some of the days, it's a cuppa for me! A book along proves an icing.

However hectic or consuming day has been, come a cup of tea, and there’s hope again. The spirit of tea is one of poise. It’s serene. Tea being prepared, favorite conversations galore - my dear friend, there’s always time for you.

Last few months, every evening I make it a point to meet this friend of mine outside office – and we go to this place that serves awesome tea. It’s heaven. With a cup in hand, we talk about endless endless things, worrying about nothing, forgetting about all the meetings. About emails. About office politics.

And now this friend is shifting to another city. Wonder what’ll keep me serene from next week on!

Rightly put - The whole point of civilization is to provide one with someone to drink tea with at the end of an evening.

Monday, February 09, 2009


Truth is stranger than fiction, but this is because fiction is obliged to stick to probability; truth is not.

Sometimes, when we lose ourselves in fear and despair, in routine and constancy, in hopelessness and tragedy, we can thank God for what we have. And, fortunately, when there aren't many things to thank for, we can still find reassurance in a familiar hand on our skin, or a kind and loving gesture, or subtle encouragement, or a loving embrace, or an offer of comfort, not to mention soft-spoken secrets, and maybe the occasional piece of fiction. And we must remember that all these things, the nuances, the anomalies, the subtleties, which we assume only accessorize our days, are effective for a much larger and nobler cause. They are here to save our lives. I know the idea seems strange, but I also know that it just so happens to be true.