Write & Watch

Salesh Dipak Fernando

Category: REFLECTIONS (Page 1 of 14)

CELEBRATING JEANNETTE

For way too long we have held on to the virtuous woman as an ideal representation of how a woman should be.  Why not take a diversion and celebrate a flawed woman instead. To me, the play didn’t begin until Jeannette came on stage, a woman who is so unabashedly herself despite the constant turmoil surrounding her life.

I know Jeannette for I have been love with Jeannette for a long time without giving her a face and a name. I know Jeannette, a woman who refused to be stripped of her desires. I know Jeannette, a woman who refused to let go of the scars that trouble her. She embraces her flaws in the form of a wedding gown.  Her only ray of rope questions her and demands answers. But she’s relentless and determined to hold on to her flawed persona.

She seeks doom as her only gateway to redemption and embraces the end with open arms. For once she’s not alone there’s someone willing to hold her hand before she closes her hand for one final time. “Save her” her loved ones scream but it is too late for her troubled soul seeks an answer in the alternate world.

We all do that mistake, don’t we? We judge, make choices on her behalf and demand what we deem to be an appropriate behaviour.  Why not leave the choice to her and cherish her presence as she lives her life to the fullest. It’s ok if she messes up; it’s ok if she makes wrong choices. The choice of how to live belongs to her alone. Let her be what she is. Let’s celebrate her free spirit.  Maybe it’s not too say I love you Jeannette before she takes that final step of embracing doom.

 

THE TEACHER

 

I was in 7h grade when she first stormed into my life unannounced. Until her arrival I was happy being invisible.  I was happy being the average student. But she saw me differently. My mediocre scores didn’t make sense to her at all.  “I don’t want memorized essays. I want the same sequence of events in your own words. I repeat in your own words”.

I was angry and confused. Why was she being so adamant about my progress?  Why the extra push?  For someone who embraced mediocrity after the extraordinary flourish of my early years the demands of my teacher was unreasonable.

But I was left without a choice and surprisingly the words began to flow.  1 page essays gave me a perfect score. A perfect score in any language paper is an impossible dream but the perfect scores never stopped as my peers gazed at me dumbfounded. “We write pages and yet you walk away with all the honors. What does she see in your answers?  Frankly I had no answers. But I enjoyed the adulation. Perhaps all those early years of being confined to a room with books had finally paid off. 

For the first time I thanked the Almighty for being a specially abled kid. What if I had played around with kids instead of reading? The script would have been different and the love that I had words would never have been discovered. I wasn’t ready for the role transition. I became the go to person for doubts in English.  I was an automatic choice for essay writing competitions. For someone who has never touched Wren and Martin or learnt sentence structure from Grammar text books the whole experience was surreal. I loved being the centre of attraction.  

All it took was a teacher who believed that she could transform the reluctant student into a star. Her parting shot still echoes in my ears. “You are destined for great things”.

My journey should I started then and there but I was stupid enough to let go all my strengths just to fit in and be one among the crowd. It is often said time and tide waits for no man. I was forced to play catch up until my health gave me a rude wake up call for me. I am left with no other choice but to pick up the pen. The flesh is weak but the spirit is yearning for one last shot at redemption. I begin a new journey towards re-discovering hope

I want to hug my teacher and tell her that I am taking the first step towards fulfilling the aspirations she had for me. I want to hear that familiar tone wishing me good luck. Maybe when I my turn comes to take my place in the podium she will be there in the audience clapping for me.

 

 

LET’S TALK LIFE – A JOURNEY OF HOPE

Let’s Talk Life is special to me in more ways than one.  Every phase of life gifts you something helps you re-discover yourself as a person. Let’s Talk Life is that precious gift I hold on to whenever life hits me hard or whenever I feel low. I love the push that it gives me to rise up and shine again. Maybe that’s why I am too biased to the two main protagonists of this journey.

The transformation from a caterpillar to a butterfly should have been an easy one considering I was the star kid and a very good orator at school. But what if the butterfly retreated to become a caterpillar again?  That’s exactly what happened in my case. The voice that could hold the attention of the entire audience for the entire duration was nowhere to be found as I lost myself in a maze filled with teenage desires. In hindsight, there was nothing wrong with my choices at that time.  It was just the hormones working overtime.

But you can never ignore destiny’s call for too long. Let’s Talk Life was one of those sweetest accidents waiting to happen. But I wasn’t prepared at all. Fortunately, it had two very good souls who had the guts to give a rare stage to a work in progress. Without their push, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I am still a work in progress and will always be.  I am not a good speaker or a writer as yet but I do know how to get my point across. From that very special day till today it’s been a journey to remember. I might be good on some days or might mess up. But it’s always a win for the ones who chose to embrace me as one of their own.

There’s one permanent impression from Let’s Talk Life that I will hold on to for the rest of my life. “Never be afraid to give people that rare chance of sharing the limelight with you.  It’s ok if they fail you or grow beyond your own aspirations. It’s ok if they don’t acknowledge your presence after they fulfill their dreams. Irrespective of the outcome or the consequences the joy of being a stepping stone to all those who are struggling to fulfill their dreams is still unmatched.  Despite the slip-ups there will always be people who are eternally grateful that you gave them a chance when everyone else walked away”.

 

KOKO – A PANTOMIME IN TAMIL

Stage plays were very much a part of my early childhood. Of course I could never grasp the amount of work that goes behind the scenes. I could never grasp the aura of the stage.  It should have ideally been an on-going affair but slowly the love for the big screen took over and plays became a cherished childhood memory.

And then Koko happened. It felt surreal and nostalgic to renew my relationship with the stage through a pantomime.  I had absolutely no idea what I had signed up for when I agreed to be a part of the audience for Koko. The premise of the play itself was like a nostalgic trip down the memory lane. We have all experienced parental pressures when we were growing up.   It is inevitable especially with regards to education and career choices.  KOKO scratches the surface of this burning issue.

The first thing that stood out for me with regards to the play was the way the creators have experimented within a simple premise.  The production value and those lovely songs filled with soul-stirring lyrics made me go WOW. At various points during the second half I saw myself in KOKO and I guess most of the audience would have felt the same way.

On the downside beyond the initial flourish, I couldn’t connect with the humour in the first half of  the play. The humour felt silly at times but I guess it was a deliberate ploy to get through to the little ones in the audience. If you are an adult the first half could test your patience a bit. But it’s a minor blemish for a play which has it’s heart in the right place. The second half is engaging and makes you sit up and reflect.

Koko doesn’t play the blame game for there are no winners or losers in a parent-child relationship. It should be a win – win for both the parent and the kid which is possible only if they empathize with each other and that’s what Koko puts forth too.

The creators have said that Koko is going to schools and rightly so. It’s a heart-warming reflection of life and the inherent tussle in a parent-child relationship which is the need of the hour.  Go for it with your parents and if you are a parent take your kids with you if the play is being staged  closer to your home town.

Kudos to the entire team for a wonderful effort.  

AMMA

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I wish we knew the real YOU while you were alive
But now the entire state mourns your demise
The questions linger
Who were you?
An Enigma
An Isolated Soul
Or
A leader of the masses.

Perhaps you needed that veil of arrogance
To fight and survive in a man’s world.
The sheer audacity of returning as the leader
To the very place which stripped and humiliated you
Is a timeless tale of determination and grit.

Perhaps your lonely heart needed that pedestal
To seek refuge in the hearts of the masses
The throne is empty as the tigress breathes her last.

History will have a different story to tell
The pages will script a tainted leader
But we know for sure that
Amongst us a walked a Woman
Who showed us all
The Art of being unapologetic for life’s choices
Despite being in a Man’s World

DEAR PARENTS

 

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Dear parents,

 We love you and we will always be grateful for the way you moulded us till we could spread our wings. But why look at this bond as some sort of payback obligation. Why drive us to a point where we have to hide our fears and insecurities from you? Why do we have to seek solace in the embrace of strangers?

In an ideal world a parent should be the first go to person for a son or a daughter. But we are forced to wear a mask that you like.  We understand your concerns but beyond a certain point the same concern can suffocate and break us.

The burden of a society which overwhelms us with questions is already a little too much to bear.  The thought of constant ridicule for a perfectly sane choice almost drives us to the point of despair. We come home to relish in the comfort of your warm embrace. But our home too seems to be a mirror image of the plastic society.

We don’t blame you. There’s no blame game here but do learn when to let go and when to hold.  It’s alright if we fall while moving forward. Atleast the choice that led to the fall will be ours. When your hold tightens the frustration within leads to emotional scars that never heal.

We are unique individuals with our own choices and preferences. Don’t expect us to be replicas of someone else’s son or daughter.  We are not clones. Be there for us when we need you. No matter how hard you try to make for the years in isolation those stolen moments of happiness which we desperately yearn for will never come back.

With loads of love,

Your Son/Daughter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE ME – GAYATHRI

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Dear Gayathri,

I find it very difficult to pen the right words. It’s been that kind of a night. I would have dozed off happily in my cozy bed after a magical evening. But I have been drowning myself in an ocean of tears ever since you took the stage.

Your narration moved me. It made me realize that some scars never heal.  Re-living those moments which has transformed you into what you are isn’t an easy task. But you did it my girl. The scars have actually moulded you and it’s absolutely alright to move forward the scars.

Did I hear you say that the people around you called you a drama queen? It’s alright. Be the best drama queen ever.  Be unapologetic.  Be selfish in surrounding yourself with people who can make your life beautiful. A little bit of selfishness never hurt anybody.

The next time you feel that the people and the circumstances have caged you break free and fly away. Be shameless in going for what you want for you deserve the best. Stand up to the negative forces that ill treat you even if it comes from the people who love you. You deserve to fly high.  I won’t ask you to stay strong for there is an inherent strength within that you fail to see. You are destined for greatness.  You have the power to inspire people.

Keep fighting! We are with you. Thank you letting us have a glimpse of your life. It takes a lot of guts to do what you did yesterday. Keep doing it again and again for there’s a whole crowd out there waiting to be inspired by your story.

With loads of love,

Salesh.

MY JOURNEY

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The journey started with the loss of a loved one as I was searching for an escape route to console myself. I always knew I was good at writing. But I wasn’t sure where it would take me for I had never been a winner. My sole identity to the outside world was the fact that I was differently abled.

The first pat on the back from a long lost college mate who re-discovered me through my blog. “You have a gift. Please never stop writing”. For almost a year my blogging was without any direction or visibility. I wrote mostly for myself without a target audience. But my soul was filled with happiness.

The next year I discovered Indiblogger and Blogadda . The smaller recognitions like picks of the week or a comment from an unknown reader made me get past the mediocrity of my daily routine.

Getting to know Sakshi Nanda through Indiblogger was like unlocking a hidden treasure. I learnt the nuances of writing from her.   For almost a year we worked together as team in Project 365 and what a year it was. The entire team was so organized that I had force myself to write on a regular basis.

The Chennai Bloggers Club was an accident. I never knew there was a passionate blogging community in Chennai. Don’t blame me. Blogging events rarely happened in Chennai so I was completely ignorant. It felt good to read Blog Posts written by people who are connected to Namma Chennai. CBC helped me re-discover friendship, love and benevolence. The good souls from CBC led me to my first published work. If CBC had not happened I wouldn’t be making public appearances today. The poetry recital and the first narration of my personal story were unexpected surprises that happened along the way.

Blogchatter was like a hard-hitting once in a lifetime lesson.  A reluctant blogger suddenly dreams of a long term vision. The 5th Year had been a year of fulfillment 

Blogging has helped me evolve as a person. I am no longer invisible, insecure or doubtful of what I can do. A big fat thank you to all my readers for consistently backing me. Please do the same I move forward. Let’s make a difference together.

This post was written for a contest held by #Sweek in collaboration with #ChennaiBloggersClub

THE FIRST LETTER – THANK YOU

 

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Dear Friend,

I wish you knew how special your letter was. Those lovely words left me in a daze. Perhaps we all need to embrace pain to express ourselves to the fullest. You showed us a glimpse of your own little world filled with happiness and love.

Pain and love have always been at the opposite end of the spectrum in my life. But your letter helped put things in perspective.  Pain can pave the way for love.  Life can surprise you with an unlikely union between two extreme emotions.

The trick is to know when to let go and when to embrace the emotions that govern us.  We are all in an internal muddle because we do not see things the way they deserve to be seen.  Things have changed since that eventful day. I have a new sequence of emotions governing my life and it’s pain, love and hope in the right order.

I wish I had right words to explain this weird order. But for now I seek solace in how it all ends.  Ending with hope isn’t a bad thing after all. For when you plant the seed of hope. It is not an end. It’s a new beginning.

Thank you for the letter.  In this day and age when an e-mail seems to be the norm.  A hand written letter made me go back to the good old days .

With loads of love.

Salesh

 

PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE ME – ABILASHA

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Most of the good things in my life are sweet accidents. Destiny has always been kind to me despite the occasional glimpses of chaos. But Abilasha’s story was different. It all started with the sentence below. I dream of a day when disability would no longer be considered a curse, and the people who are differently abled would be given a chance to have a normal shot at life, just like the others.

After a long time I saw someone speaking my own language.  We live in a world where people are constantly obsessed with perfection. Is it possible for the special ones to co-exist ? Frankly I don’t know the answer but in Abilasha I saw a spirit filled with conviction and hope. A  spirit with a never say die attitude. It was time to merge two story lines into one single plot for ours was a common dream but first I had to connect the dots and that meant meeting her in person.

But the big question was how?  Luckily destiny intervened again and VOICES OF THE UNHEARD happened.  And I am glad it did for I realized she wasn’t alone and neither was I. There were many out there who shared the same passion.  We were all in this together.

There are times in life when you need a hand to show you the way to your destination. Luckily it was the hand of a young prodigy. A mere thank you won’t suffice for the way she’s touched my life. But I guess for now that will do. There’s a long way to go and let’s make a difference together one step at a time. 

PS : Our first meet was almost a freeze frame moment. “You are Chetna’s friend Sir ? She queries. I almost blurt out the truth. I want to say “Oh yes I am. But you are the reason I am here. An autograph please”. But a simple Yes was the answer that came out. Perhaps that’s what happens when a fan meets his Superstar. 

 

 

 

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