Archive for August, 2012

So in my second year of university we’re studying Russian literature – Dostoyevsky, Turgenev and the likes (nothing short of amazing), and a lot of European poetry – 16th century poetry, from the era of ye ol Will S. (no, not Smith).

You know, here I was, thinking all that chivalry and those dramatic declarations of undying love you read in English poetry exists only in pure fiction, in Shakespearean plays — but apparently, in the Elizabethan Court, men in court would literally, according to historical records, write sonnets for the women they were after in that exact fashion. It was the real thing. Of course the women they wrote for were usually of a higher rank, so critics say most of these lovelorn sonneteers were just kissing ass to get extra privileges and money from them in Court. Nevertheless! You should read some of the stuff they’ve written for these women, pretty damn convincing.

In the Petrarchan love sonnet convention of the Court — the woman to whom the sonnet is being written is talked about by the poet as someone who is superior to him, morally, spiritually, intellectually, whose love he is unworthy of, and the woman typically never responds to his advances, ’cause she’s all like, whadeva I’m 2cool4u. The sonnets involve his musings about the woman’s qualities, without any base sexual references, focusing more on her ways and the spiritual high he feels. There’s a lot of wit involved, not just ‘omgz i luv u bby’ so that’s refreshing to read. But basically the guy is pining like an emo and keeps fluctuating between the extreme ups and downs of being in love. It’s all very Beverly Hills 90210. Someone in class piped up during this lesson and declared this man a dumbass, while I asked the lecturer if they smoked recreational drugs in Court back then.

But deep down I think it’s kind of adorable – a bit sad, but adorable – the whole devotional, lovelorn man thing. There is something commendable about a man who can completely disregard his male ego and go out on a limb for someone like that, especially with no expectations of getting laid. Do those types exist anymore? It’s some form of chivalry I think. Someone said chivalry is dead, ever since the feminist movement came along. Why is that? Women have equal rights, therefore opening the door for her or pulling the chair out for her is unnecessary? I still think chivalry in its minor forms shows consideration, is very cute and will definitely earn you brownie points with your ladyfriend.

People of 16th century Europe, however, were expected to behave in a certain way, so there’s an element of being forced. Men were expected to be macho, brave, well versed in several languages and literary skills, be master horsemen and swordsmen and so on, and women were expected to be ‘pure’, chaste, soft-spoken and despite all this superior-woman stuff in sonnets – submissive to the men in their families. Clear gender roles were expected in the Court and those who failed to fit them were shunned as madmen or whores. So maybe bygones are bygones for a reason.

Still, who writes sonnets for women anymore? Who expresses feelings through wit and impressive literary skills? I hang out with some guy friends today and for sure they’re going to be talking about some girl in terms of DAT ASS! and Damn she fiiiine. And it’s all so base and sexual. On the other hand, some girls I know go DAT ASS! and Damn he fiiine too. Is romanticism a primitive concept? You hear some of it on the radio, though, and in some stupid romcoms – both categories of which are fictitious again and consequently incredible, pretentious and kinda annoying. Do Shakespearean lovers fit into today’s world anymore? Perhaps the problem is that the educated and original romantic is extinct, it’s only the nauseating clichés that are left – the ones who get flowers and candy because they saw it in a movie, or Bruno Mars, who wants to catch a grenade for me. He just makes me want to throw a grenade at him and see if he’s bluffing.

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I talked to my mum a month ago about the time I almost lost my leg and realized that surprisingly, I hadn’t talked to her about it before! She narrated to me the whole story and I thought it was a cool one to share around the water-cooler. And it was pretty unnerving to come face to face with the fact that I was extremely close to being in a wheelchair forever — makes you really reassess your life.

So once upon a time, I was 3 years old. My aunt was lightly holding my pudgy little hand in hers and we, and the rest of my cousins and such, were strolling down the lane towards my house. I remember the day in vivid clarity even though it was nineteen years ago. Sunny, warm, trees, family walking beside me, I was wearing a frock.

Suddenly my brother and cousin, both older than me, decided to run across the road. They were laughing and flailing, it looked like so much fun. According to my aunty, I looked up at her at this point and said rhetorically ‘Do you know how old I am?’ and she indulged me and asked me how old, and I said ‘Threeeee!’ with a wide grin that revealed my missing front tooth. Then I let go of her hand and ran across the road too for the fun of it, flailing like a little fool.

A motorbike was speeding down the lane at the time and it was probably my fault of way, but anyway it hit me, and I ricocheted off it and fell into a wide drain on the side of the road. I remember looking up from inside the drain and everything going black.

Obviously there was total bedlam. The drain is the one right next to the gate of my house. The man on the motorbike had fled the scene. Lots of screaming and panicking and I was carried into the house; there wasn’t much blood, but my mother completely broke down – when she looked at my right leg and realized it seemed to be hanging loose. It was broken at the thigh. Dad was at work and didn’t know yet. So she pulled herself together and with my aunts and uncles I was transported to the hospital.

While I was in surgery, the doctors told my parents that there was a very good chance I would never walk again. The hit-and-run motorbike guy apparently had his guilty conscience get the better of him and visited us at the hospital, and apologized to my dad, but everyone was too distraught to care and just asked him to leave (I wonder where he is right now and if the memory keeps him up some nights). Call it luck or whatever, the surgery was extremely successful and my fracture was made right. My leg was all wrapped up in cast and bandage and hanging from a sling as I lay in a hospital bed for some weeks. I was back to running around in three months. I don’t remember much about the recuperation period — my mum says I was oblivious, and would just sit up in bed and cheerfully sing songs for people who visited.

Hearing the story at this age made me shudder to imagine — wow, a life in a wheelchair. What if the surgeon was sleepy or pissed off that day and didn’t work as hard as he usually does, and as predicted by the odds I woke up from that bed not being able to feel my right leg? I wrote an article for a newspaper once about how our society is not wheelchair-friendly, or friendly towards physical disabilities in general. I mean you get the ramps at the entrance of the mall and at the supermarket – but what about someone who wants to go to the theater for a movie? Or wants to go to the top floor of Queen’s and play foosball? Or get on the bus for that matter? And I’m not even going to start about all the staring and gawking.

How many people in wheelchairs have you seen in restaurants? How many friends in wheelchairs do you have? I for one have seen barely three or four out in public, and when I think about it I’ve personally just seen most cooped up in certain ‘homes’ made for the elderly or the handicapped. This is stupid and backward, I think, and someone needs to put up some sort of program to make our public services and places more accessible and enjoyable for people in wheelchairs too. I mean to think with just a little bit of bad luck in the surgeon’s room, my entire life would have taken a totally irreversibly different course? All that’s left of my accident is a little scar on my right thigh. I look at it and wonder, if it had been on a leg that didn’t work, would I have still hopped on a plane to Delhi to study film and literature? Maybe. I guess we’ll never know.

Is anybody out there?

Posted: August 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

Ever wonder if we’re being watched?
By some superior intelligence?
What if God is just an alien?
And destiny or karma or fate or coincidence or those times you think someone with a twisted sense of humour is controlling your life – are electromagnetic forces emitted by an instrument in the hand of an alien creature whose microscope slide our universe is sitting on?
And then you die and enter an alternate dimension?

Yeah.

Speaking of if anyone is out there, I’ve been considering shutting down my blog for a while now, because well let’s face it, I’ve been extremely lackadaisical about blogging this past year, I barely read other blogs in the Kottusphere, and sometimes I feel like I’m talking to myself because my posts don’t get commented on. But what’s kept it going is the heated insistence of a handful of close friends and mostly my WordPress statistics — which keep telling me at least 120 people still read this blog every day. The top three countries from which my readers hail from are the United States, Sri Lanka and Argentina.

Who ARE you people? o_O

How come you never leave a comment?

It’s so mysterious I tell you. Say hi or something here so I know you’re actually there.

Sigh. Janith, is that just you visiting my blog from 120 different computers? 😛