Musings ● Ravings ● Qualitative Observings

Reflections {Day 5} : Can We Talk About Jealousy? (& Being Erica mini-review)

To smell the roses. To take a moment to reflect. How oft’ we overlook & forget thee? For the next few days, I’ve decided to take the time to reflect the happenings of the day-to-day life. I cannot promise quality writings, but I give thee my word: to bring about raw tidbits of thoughts, that churn the gears of my brain. Without further adieu: 

I’ve recently ventured into a new TV series (actually circa, 2009, but nevertheless, new to me…. and I’m digressing…) – a Canadian Comedy TV series, actually. Very rarely does one find lush and fulfilling Canadian shows but CBC’s Being Erica finds itself up to par. I recall seeing promos for Being Erica while watching re-runs of Little Mosque on the Prairie, and being quite intrigued by the premise. The premise being, a woman who begins seeing a therapist to deal with regrets in her life, only to discover that the therapist has the ability to send her back in time to actually relive these events and even change them. However, having low expectations from Canadian programming, I never acted upon my curiosity, until one day I came across it on Netlifx.

Needless to say, I am greatly enjoying the show, with due credit to the show’s primary lead, Erica Strange (Erin Karpluk). The characterization of Erica is immaculate: quirky to a tolerable degree, perfect amount of funny/cringe-y, inspiring but never cheesy. Furthermore, the chemistry with her therapist (Michael Riley) is brilliant – together, the two sell the story effortlessly. As far as my internet research shows (which really isn’t that extensive, hope you’ll forgive me), sci-fi critics are not sold on the show’s depiction of time-travel. However, Being Erica does not find itself even close to that category. Instead, Being Erica compels one to delve into their pasts and reflect. Each episode challenges our perspectives and encourages us to make amends with our future, past and present. I definitely encourage you all to take a gander. (For perspective’s sake, Being Erica reminds me of Ugly Betty/Lizzie Bennett Diaries).

Today’s reflection spawns from Being Erica’s 10th episode, “Mi Casa, Su Casa Loma”. Like every episode, this one provided a deliciously rich food for thought. But this one particularly stuck to me. In this episode, Erica time travels to 1993 in efforts to pinpoint why her friendship with Katie Atkins (Sarah Gadon) failed. Much to Erica’s surprise, she discovers that at one point or another, both of them have been jealous of each other, preventing Katie and Erica from holding up their valuable friendship. Dr. Tom, Erica’s therapist suggests that while we always encourage talking about feelings, jealousy seems to be taboo.

Why don’t we talk about jealousy often? Why don’t we address that it’s a prevalent and complex problem? Awareness is crucial in overcoming jealousy. Jumbled with a variety of different emotions – anger, resentfulness, bitterness, irritableness – we often forget about the little green monster of envy. Being aware that one is being overcome with jealousy will allow one to acknowledge it and encourage them to shift their perspective. Do not let jealousy build a wall between you and your always-budding and diverse relationships. I think we should talk about jealousy often; it will remind us to step into other people’s shoes, take a deep breath and remind us to count our multitude of blessings.

Reflections {Day 4} : Send Them Love Letters

5416517397 00985781a9Seize the opportunity to make it known, that they have created a dwelling within your heart.

The world, being unpredictable as it is, assures no one’s presence by the next day. Take the time to phone, to meet, to tweet, to skype.

Let them know that you are grateful for their love and their light.

Reflections {Day 3} : All Lives Matter

I feel so cheap.

The world your department store. And, the people. Priced by the hues of  skin colours.

How did you find yourself  gold. When we all are kin by Adam.

All lives matter. Oh how I wish you’d know.

Reflections {Day 2} : Toxic Friends

My existence has been touched by many, positively radiating, exhilarating, enlightening beings of humanity. Whether it be little moments of acquainting or life-long bonds, I’m glad that my roots have intertwined with these people. Catching on to bits and pieces of their stories, lending them my ears or borrowing theirs, exchanging our insecurities and dreams. Smells like warm tea and good company to me.

I wish today’s reflection would simply serve as an ode to these brilliantly, fascinating and beautifully, empathetic friends of mine (Alhamdullilah. Praises to the  most High  for connecting them with me). But, alas, these were not the thoughts that kept me awake well after suhoor

Today’s reflection is brought to you by toxic ‘friends’ and how they function as a vexation of the spirit. Such a ‘friend’ who seems to be at unease at your  little successes, who insists on putting the limelight on themselves in group settings, who’s sincerity seems to be questionable, who finds it difficult to make time you.

Today’s reflection serves as a reminder: I must learn to let go of things/people that dull my spirit, exhaust my optimism and make my heart heavy. “Sometimes, in life, you have to let people go because they are toxic to you. Let them go because they take and take and leave you empty. Let them go. Because in the ocean of life, when all you’re trying to do is stay afloat, they are the anchor that’s drowning you.”  — Unknown

Reflections {Day 1} : To Smell the Roses

To smell the roses. To take a moment to reflect. How oft’ we overlook & forget thee? For the next few days, I’ve decided to take the time to reflect the happenings of the day-to-day life. I cannot promise quality writings, but I give thee my word: to bring about raw tidbits of thoughts, that churn the gears of my brain. Without further adieu,: 

Today’s reflection found its way through a FaceTime conversation with a dear friend of mine. Prior to our conversation, I had spent the evening making my way through Nayyirah Waheed’s Nejma, trying to catch my breath each time one of her poem’s found me sunken. Needless to say, I was feeling spirited and prolific.

My dear friend, stressed and maddened about midterms and deadlines, announced that she was going back to photography. She expressed her desire to take some time to herself each day to do so, and then returning to her books. I, of course, was surprised by her sudden proclamation, aware that finals and assignments loomed over her head. However, I was more surprised at the revelation of my dear friend’s quiet passion, photography. Over-joyed with my her new action plan, I eagerly encouraged her to start up a blog, to find a niche within the world-wide web, as my writings & I did.

So here’s today’s reflections: In order to be happy, and in order to find success, one must be attuned with their creative side. I have found that despite the chaos of daily life and its demands, one must always find the time to be creative. Whether it be in the form of photography, cooking, painting, cake decorating, interior designing, party planning, doodling or writing. Being creative connects you with yourself, reminds you of goodness and encourages you to have a little fun sometimes. Allowing you to smell the roses. 

“The painter has the Universe in his mind and hands.”
Leonardo da Vinci

An Ode to Dramedies

Woe is me, for I have neglected this of blog of mine yet again. Je suis désolé! Writing should never have to take a backseat, regardless of the demands and bustle of routine, and I did quite the contrary. However, realizing that many posts of mine begin with an apology (oops!), I shall redirect this guilt towards blogging more frequently. *cue happy dance*

Lately, I have been exploring the dramedy genre, which as the name gives away, is the fusion comedy and drama. This genre, although quite prevalent and not at all out of the ordinary, has lately caught my interest. The reason being: a realization and appreciation of the balance created when working with the two genres – which are certainly quite opposite of each other. I’ve taken the understanding that the comedy aspect tends to be more implicit (and if done well, very humorous!), while the drama is more subtle (and not over the top, thankfully!).

I have rounded up two of the my favourites from my summer vacation Netlflix ventures, so without further adieu:

Queen, 2014
An awe-inspiring work of art that has easily made its way into my all-time favourites.  Admittedly, I had endeavored into the story of Queen with low expectations, believing it to be akin to recent Bollywood blunders (names shall not be named, but I’m sure we have all had enough of police-related comedy numbers, amirite!). Needless to say this misconception was quickly cleared up and I truly appreciated the attention to detail and the nuanced story-telling. Directed by Vikass Bahl, the movie encourages its viewers to seek out their own identities, in a humorous and heart-felt way. It maps out the adventures of Rani, a traditional desi girl, lacking majorly in the confidence department. She decides to pursue her honeymoon solo, travelling around Europe, when her fiancé breaks up with her.

Tokens of brilliance:
We are made to fall in love with Rani’s fiancé, Vijay as he charmingly dotes her, making Rani’s heartbreak so close to home. However, even more brilliant is the way director, Vikass Bhal makes us fall out of love with Vijay, as the character begins to gradually show his true, dominating and overbearing personality.
– Lisa Haydon as Vijaylakshmi. Need I say more?
– Drunk Rani and the spillage of all of her woes, when she vents to her new friend. Dying of laughter could definitely be a side-affect for viewers!
– The affirmation that friendship transcends borders,  language, gender, individual problems etc. as Rani makes unlikely, but loyal friendships.
– London Thumakda. Every wedding’s anthem, from now, until eternity.

Celeste and Jesse Forever, 2012
Celeste and Jesse Forever, you had me at Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg! Celeste and Jesse, the film’s leading pair, had been best friends, high-school sweethearts, and eventually pronounced husband and wife. However, the marriage eventually dissolves, but the ex-couple resolve to maintain their friendship. The struggle to maintain this friendship, while pursuing their respective romantic relationships becomes integral to the story-line. In my humble opinion, the movie fares well in its genre, joining the ranks of 500 Days of Summer.

Tokens of brilliance:
The chemistry amid the leading pair, Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg: vraiment magnifique! It is no secret that I am a huge fan of the Parks and Rec/The Office alumni, Jones and the leading man of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Samberg. The two make you believe in friendship, sacrifice and love, again and again.
Of course, we must pay tribute to the stellar extended cast – a quick nod to Chris Messina and Emma Roberts!
– The film achieved such a fine balance between comedy and drama – absolutely immaculate! There were times when the heartbreak almost became too tragic, but Celeste & Jesse’s antics would have you laughing everything away. The movie did not take itself too seriously, but also, resonates well with those who can relate.
– Justin Bieber costumes, you were definitely not overseen!
– Overall, a light and charming indie film, which utilizes its creative license quite justly!

 

Peshawar Attack: All the Mockingbirds We Lost

It’s been incredibly quite in this little corner of the worldwide web. To blame would be the ever-so-maddening demands of university life, and of course, my lack of inspiration. So then, what has compelled me to break through the (metaphorical of course) cobwebs that have settled upon this unkept blog of mine?

16 December 2014
would be my reply.

A date that will forever be synonymous with blackness, equating to the sorrowful image of children in green school uniforms fleeing with fear and terror. Certainly, on this date, we lost a little bit of this world’s innocence, as 132 children lost their lives in resultant of the harrowing Peshawar Attack. On this date, a Pakistan military school was attacked by the Pakistan Taliban, who aimed to execute their revenge upon the Pakistani military by means of such a vicious massacre.

Putting pen to paper, with this torn and grieving heart of mine, I am reminded of a lesson Atticus Finch parted to his daughter, Scout: “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know that you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do,” (Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird). Surely this phrase serves as our protestation cry, allowing us to demand, why do men with guns in their hands have so much power?

Allow To Kill a Mockingbird to remind us to practice kindness and sympathy – regardless of the despair, injustice and inequality we see in the world. Like Scout and Jem, we shall not let such acts of cruelty soil our faith, and our belief that goodness always prevails. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un.

Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us.
That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

The Notables of August

As the 31st day of the month approached, August hurriedly neared its end…And, August, I bid thee an emotional farewell for you were so very kind to me…. Whilst I do recognize that at this point in time we are nearing the middle of September, I’d still like to properly offer my adieu and to do that, it would be only appropriate to round up les notables de August, non? In no order whatsoever and certainly, a mish-mash of randomness (to be politically correct), I shall recount my notables for the month of August:

1. Noteworthy Web Series
Upon watching the finale of Lizzie Bennet Diaries, an Emmy awarding winning web series, I had come to the conclusion that nothing could ever compete… Boy, was I wrong!  Here comes into play (pun unintended!), Nothing Much to DoI have always been charmed by Shakespeare’s play, Much Ado About Nothing. The stark contrast between Don Pedro and his ‘bastard’ brother, Don John, the softness within Beatrice & Hero’s relationship, the witty banter amidst Beatrice and Benedict… oh Shakespeare, how I love thee!

Nothing Much to Do is true to its purpose – a modern, vlog-like adaption of the Elizabethan era play. It ever-so-brilliantly depicts the main motifs within the novel – gossiping, misunderstandings, friendship, love. Certainly, what sets this series apart from others is its sense of naturalness and effortlessness.  Everything about it feels real – and that is the greatest accomplishment in storytelling. Congratulations to the entire team!

2. Noteworthy Book
It is a universally acknowledged truth that mass reading is a summer sport (of mine, at least!).  This summer, I sought to tackle my always growing reading list. A stand out amongst them all was Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It’s of the thriller genre – which, admittedly I am not so well acquainted with. However, this book did wonders for me.

The novel’s principal suspense comes from an uncertainty about the main character, Nick Dunne, and whether he killed his wife, Amy Dunne. In my (most humble) opinion, the brilliance of this novel shines bright due to it’s powerful convincing capabilities. With a multitude of twists and turns, Flynn reminded me that ultimately, it’s the author who has the steering wheel. Furthermore, its vivid imagery and effective use of diction, had me utterly captivated. Needless to say, I highly recommend Gone Girl.

3. Noteworthy TV Show
I have done the deed. Yes, dear readers, I have joined the hashtag-team-Netflix-bandwagon. For so long I have avoided the inevitable because I knew that I would succumb to its addictive binge-watching side-effect. Last summer, ’twas House M.D that had me hooked.  This summer, t’would be Arrested Development – an entirely different genre. I had also watched Scandal quite keenly, but Arrested Development’s laugh-out-loud-worthy comedy stole the show.

To put into the knowing words of Wikipedia: Arrested Development is an American television  sitcom created by Mitchell Hurwitz, which originally aired on Fox for three seasons from November 2, 2003 to February 10, 2006. The show follows the fictitious Bluth family, a formerly wealthy and habitually dysfunctional family, and is presented in a continuous format, incorporating handheld camera work, narration, archival photos, and historical footage.
What has truly makes this show notable are the inside you-had-to-be-there type of jokes. The comedy show truly values its long-time devoted viewers.

4. Noteworthy Words of Wisdom
Through my labyrinthine ventures through Tumblr, I came across a quote that deeply moved and touched me.
Fact: I love words. I love to collect quotations – words that inspire me or simply resonate with me. I also like to share them with others:

The function, the very serious function of racism, is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language, so you spend twenty years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly, so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Someone says you have no art, so you dredge that up. Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up. None of that is necessary. There will always be one more thing. -Toni Morrison, at Portland State University, 1975

How incredibly profound, and, calamitous. In essence, any form of bullying stems from the same concept. Distraction. Those who are succumbed by their own insecurities tend to manifest their negativity upon others, in efforts to lead others astray as well. With such conviction, Morrison reminds us all that submitting to such negativity is completely unnecessary – an obvious, but often forgotten truth.

Readers! You are invited to share your notables in the comment section below – because certainly, “Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste.” ― Charlotte Brontë.

The God of Small Things and the Talkhiyan within it

Being one who has always found solace amid books, I quickly began to recognize that the allure of a memorable book lies not within deceptive and gimmicky plot lines. Rather, such charm and magic will only be found in a story that begs to be understood. The God of Small Things by Arundhathi Roy encompasses that particular charm as it has truly found a niche, deep within my thoughts… Those who know me, will certainly testify to this statement.

…the secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably.

Roy narrates the tale of twins, Estha and Rahel, who are marred by their society’s intolerance for the atypical. Estha and Rahel experience the ultimate tragedy – premature loss of innocence. The twins encounter several tragedies, such as the molestation of Estha and the death of their mother, which are inherently the result of their society’s negligence.

By then Esthappen and Rahel had learned that the world had other ways of breaking men. They were already familiar with the smell. Sicksweet. Like old roses on a breeze. (1.39)

Certainly, the loss of innocence is akin to killing a mockingbird, as an innocent child is exposed to the world’s ways of breaking men. Roy brilliantly depicts this tragedy through striking imagery and profound diction. Needless to say, I wholeheartedly recommend The God of Small Things.

Beyond The God of Small Things, I have been deeply moved by its TV adaption, Talkhiyan.

Mere Maazi Ko Andhere Mein Daba Rahne Do
Mera Maazi Meri Zillat Ke Siwa Kuchh bhi Nahin

Express Entertainment, a Pakistani entertainment channel had been home to the weekly series. Adhering to the essential themes and conflicts, writer, Bee Gul and director, Khalid Ahmed, transformed the novel into a Pakistani oriented, Urdu drama. The entire cast awe-insprisingly brought life into Roy’s characters as they efficaciously alluded to prominent motifs within the book – hypocrisy, bitterness and the loss of innocence.  Indeed, Talkhiyan is very unique to typical, run-of-the-mill Pakistani drama serials, which makes this initiative even more remarkable. I encourage my (very limited, but greatly cherished) readers to indulge in the world of The God of Small Things and allow yourself to sense the talkhiyan (Urdu/noun; bitterness) within it.

Pyaray Afzal Finale Review

It was one of the first agreements that I had made to myself before setting out to create a blog that I can call my own. I shall consistently post content, irregardless of its quality. Indeed, what is more important is to write,  to observe and to share. But alas, the world wide web is witness to my this failing!

As a little peace offering to the ever-so-wonderful followers of In Between Roses, here’s me (embrassingly!) ranting and rambling away:

Oh pyaray, pyaray Afzal of ours! 
To my keen followers of پیارے افضل‎, the Pakistani romantic drama serial that aired on ARY Digital, I feel ya! Afzal’s untimely, but arguably he-had-it-coming-for-him death left me baffled. Of course, it would be unprincipled to impute the not-so happily-ever-after conclusion, wherein we, the viewers were deprived of witnessing the (greatly) anticipated union of Farrah Ibrahim, the khat walli and pyaray Afzal, the cricket khel nay walabut…still I brood. Kids, it comes as a lesson to us all – if thou kills, thou shalt pay a certain amount of due in return.
– Side note: Evidently, whilst the phone conversation between Afzal and Farrah was intended to placate faithful FarZal shippers, it had me quite affronted. Why, oh, why did you not ask for help, Afzal?! If you can hold an entire, poetic conversation with your long time love (despite two brutal gunshots), surely, you could have been treatable. Surely, if you had called for aid, you could have saved yourself! Argh! To be completely honest, the whole scene came off as a bit comical when you analyze the logistics, which, naturally, I cannot help but do. But alas, the hopeless romantic within me forsake practicality to enjoy the sorrow-filled OST which drew the curtains to one of Pakistan’s most beloved serials. The witty dialogues, the enchanting OST, the charming cast, the subtle humor and the equally balanced doses of drama were indeed all elements to relish upon.

Of course, it is not just I who bids farewell to the charming weekly serial – many others have shared their goodbyes and parting thoughts through YouTube’s good ol’ comment section:

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