Once Again

Woke up early to finish writing calibration notes for my awesome team. It’s my last time writing these notes for them. Last time representing their achievements and their strengths to the  larger team. It’s the first team that I sort of wove together. I know there will be more. But they will always be special. As I write about them I feel like I am writing my own performance review. Did I give them the wings to fly? Did I coach them on areas I wanted to them to work on? Did I make sure I was there to catch them when they fell? I may no longer be the one representing their achievements, after this cycle, but I will be rooting for them from the side. My first A team. On to building more 🙂

So I did not end up writing the notes, I am a little distracted this morning. I am still awestruck by a beautiful movie I watched last night – ‘Once Again’, on Netflix. Movies like this make me so proud of how far Indian cinema has come. I won’t even tag these movies as Bollywood. They belong to a whole new genre. They satiate the need for a whole different type of cinema. A more real one. One that I relate to. One that I can get lost in and find it hard to come out of. It’s been more than 14 hours since I watched the movie, and yet the characters, their dialogues, the soundtrack are all circling my sub conscious.

There are two competing perspectives that make this movie complete. One, that in loving someone else, you find yourself. And the second that, only if you accept yourself and know yourself, can you love someone. These dialogues were embedded deep in the middle of the movie. And they have stuck with me. As conflicting as they sound, I cannot argue against either of these perspectives.

Back in college when I was in Nagpur and Agam and my family were in Delhi, it was my relationship with Agam that became an anchor for me. It was tough – those four years. It was hard to accept what I had given into. And what I had given up. And despite the strands of depression that hit me from time to time, instead of sinking in regret, I bounced back up and went back to doing debates, and student council activities and found hope. And the reason I was able to do that, was that my anchor was there back in Delhi. And as hard that relationship was, it was a reason enough to keep digging deeper to find my comfort zones, and use them as crutches to keep moving forward. Hard to explain in words how I felt at the time.

You understand your deepest fears, you learn to embrace them, and you find your own identity, by simply being in love. The protection and safety that a relationship can provide you, allows you to be comfortable with digging deeper into yourself. Despite what you may find within, you can always surface back up and feel the embrace of a warm relationship. It gives you the roof you can always return to.

But it is also true, that if you don’t know yourself, and don’t connect with your true identity, you will never be able to connect with another human. And hence it can be hard to love, trust, and share, if you are not at peace and ease with yourself. So from that perspective, first know yourself, love yourself, and then find a partner with whom you can explore different dimensions of yourself, and also your relationship.

I also feel that as a woman it is easier for me to connect with myself, whereas it must be hard to do that as a man. Perhaps – I wouldn’t know. I am more accepting of my follies. Not most men I know are. It just takes them a little longer. I think I have seen Agam go through this phase of understanding himself and his needs and it definitely had an impact on our relationship.

In the end, we all have our own way of reaching the goal. Relationships are complex, twisted, and exhausting. But they are worth every bit of pain.

I give a lot of kudos to the director for depicting these two parallel tracks of the protagonists’ self exploration and learning really well in the movie. There is a third protagonist – Mumbai. A city I love to hate. It’s messy, noisy and too big for my taste. The city has its own role to play in this movie, and I am sure the director is a hard core Mumbai fan.

Shefali Shah’s character suits her. In fact I cannot imagine another actress doing this role. Her big and expressive eyes are enough to keep you hooked to the movie. And of course Neeraj Kabi’s salt and pepper hair and his excellent performance are a treat. The music in the movie is a highlight to mention. I am a sucker for soul touching background scores. I’ve searched plenty, and my only hack at the moment is replaying the last 6min of the movie. Here, enjoy this. Start at 1:35:20s 🙂

Back to the movie, it is a mature love story. It reminded me a lot of Cairo Time. The subtle romance that occasionally finds its extreme in just a few dialogues, smiles, expressive eyes, and sometimes just background score. I am a fan of both the actors, and hence it ws a treat to watch them share such a beautiful chemistry on screen. Shefali’s saris are as simple and as beautiful as Tara’s soul in the movie. And Neeraj’s subtle facial expressions are a delight to watch. Here are the two dialogues that stole the show for me –

“kisi aur ko paa kar khud ko dhoonda ja asakta hai”

“khud ko hi dhoond ke kisi ko paya ja sakta hai”

Back to writing calibration notes.

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