Write & Watch

Salesh Dipak Fernando

Category: SPOTLIGHT (Page 1 of 6)

PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE ME – ISWARYA RAJAGOPAL

 

Iswarya  – I had no idea that she would turn out to be one of the constants in my life when we started out.  In fact, I underestimated her presence until I got to know her better. I met this beautiful soul when I was going through one of the worst phases of my life. I was so fragile that a small hiccup would tear me apart. My life seemed like one big bundle of pessimism. I couldn’t even muster the courage to greet new people I met. I hid behind the comfort zone of old relationships and past memories.

And throughout the whole nightmare, this girl made me a part of her daily existence. She would listen to my nonsense every day reassuring me that things would get better.  It was tough but she held on without letting go. Other people would just hear and forget but this girl chose to listen until I got rid of my scars.

It requires a lot of courage to hold on to a person when they are at their worst but she did that as if it was an everyday habit.  The ease at which she understood my turbulence surprised me initially but as I got to know her better I understood why she held on to me firmly. We both thrive on the same emotion – Love.  Love has this remarkable ability to forge unexpected bonds and heals scars and that’s exactly what happened between us.

In a world, everybody is rushing to be part of the race Iswarya reminds me of a beautiful pause button.  She’s someone who can savour life for what is without worrying too much about what lies ahead. No big aspirations or ambition just a life filled with love. There’s an inherent simplicity in the way she approaches life which is very beautiful. I wish there were more people like her around we wouldn’t have to worry about success-failure, winning or losing.

And to date, she remains the only person outside of my family who calls me by the favourite part in my name.  There’s a certain joy in seeing a person do that.

Best wishes Iswarya.  Cherish the love and hold on to your way of life. Good things await you.  

PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE ME – RAVI KIRAN

I am indebted to this guy for a lot of things, for the number of times he’s saved me from a bad movie, for the number of times he’s literally pushed me to watch the good ones but more than that I am grateful for the sanity he brings to the movie reviewing space. Social media these days has literally turned into a space for one upmanship where people literally scream out the supposed flaws in a movie review if they don’t agree with a review. Ravi remains a rare exception. He knows his space and allows space for other reviewers without being too rude while contradicting a review or a movie opinion. It is a basic social media etiquette but not many follow it. That is my biggest take away from him. He is one of those rare souls who understand my passion for movies

Beyond that, there’s the number of delightful books he highlights on his timeline which almost makes me jealous of his collection. And then there’s that small life-changing event of NotionPress workshop. I say life changing because it gave me a few friends who are permanent impressions in my life. I have always admired them from a distance and it was quite fascinating to watch them in action from close quarters.

Ravi, I love the fact that you are taking your time for your first published work. Let me know when it’s done let’s celebrate together. I love the fact that you remind me of Po’s unassuming charm. I love how you remain so calm despite juggling with so many things. There’s no noise, no scream, just the silence of a person who is sure of his space and gets things done. I wish you well for all that is to come and I can assure you that I will be applauding for you when you get to where you want to be. We haven’t watched a movie together. Now that I have time on my hands we will plan a proper movie outing.

PS : Someday I am going to make you watch all the bad movies that you have missed so far.

 

 

 

PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE ME – SINDUJA RAGHUNATHAN

 

It all started with a Kovai Sarala Voice over. Almost a perfect match. It got me curious and excited all at once. Cinema is often unforgiving to the personalities behind the scenes. While we celebrate the heroes and heroines who enthral us with their screen presence the voices that lend certain to the personalities we adore are forgotten. I don’t blame the audience. It is one of the few perils of celebrating a visual medium.

“What do you aspire to be?” I asked her one fine evening. The reply was immediate ” A voice over artist”.  “I hope you understand the perils of being a voice over artist ?”.  I probe further but she didn’t flinch even for a second. The reply was resolute and firm. “This is what I want to do “. 

I have an affinity towards people with passion. Their journey is fascinating.  The ebb and flow often inspires so many people along the way. And we don’t often credit these relentless souls for the number of lives they touch as they move forward. The drive is infectious.

I wasn’t too surprised by the way we connected. The fact that our conversations were always centred on our passion was a win- win for both us.  It kept me on my toes and helped me re-evaluate my own self every time we had a conversation.

I am a late bloomer so seeing someone start early gives me profound happiness and the fact that the passion is something which will always remain invisible irrespective of the hard work that goes into it makes it all the more inspiring.

I hope this journey gets you to your eventual destination Sinduja. Keep inspiring and best wishes for the journey ahead.

PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE ME – SRUTHAKEERTHI

Sruthakeerthi’s presence in my life is almost pans out like a movie where the two of us had to join hands on an unlikely mission – To remind a common presence that she’s awesome. Trust me that was the toughest task assigned to both of us. Whenever the common presence faltered I had to literally scream “Srutha” which eventually became Sru

But we got used to each other beyond the common factor. What surprised me often was her clarity regarding what she wanted in life. I guess by the time she reaches my age she would have fulfilled all her dreams. At her age I didn’t even know what living your dreams meant.  

Her sanity was one of the few redeeming factors when I had an unnecessary slip up.  All seemed lost and I was preparing myself for a trip towards darkness. But she kept my spirits up with constant small reminders of all the good things in my life. Imagine handling two oscillating minds at the same time. It’s a nearly improbable task for a youngster but she did as I found myself again. She’s the first person who volunteered to sing my favorite song – An underrated Illayaraja number. My joy knew no bounds. Finally there was someone paying heed to my request.

I sometimes wonder how today’s youngsters hold it together when life tests them. Even as adversity tests them they keep marching forward with a rare confidence. But Srutha constantly reminds me things are not easy as they seem. The vulnerability of an aspiring youngster is still intact especially when she shoots those beautiful questions on Love. But as far as choices go I can be happily jealous of all her accomplishments so far and give her a warm applause.

Srutha I am guessing we will have to stick together until the drama queen grows up. So be there even if I falter and never ever doubt your space in my life. You have a special place in my life along with the other lovely souls in my life.

PS : My tryst with MOP never seems to end.  I am looking forward to meeting your older version soon. The meet up is long overdue.

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.

 

 

PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE ME – MALVIKA IYER

Milestones are always very special. They are life’s way of reminding that you have achieved something significant. It also helps you set a new target for yourself. If somebody had told me that I would be completing 400 posts 5 years ago I would have laughed at them and I would have laughed at myself. But yes I am here.  At exactly the same time last year, I completed 300. A hundred blog posts a year is a good I guess.  

There are certain people in my life who keep the fan boy in me alive.  I am their fan first. The role of a friend comes much later. Most of you know I shared space with Malvika in Deccan Chronicle earlier this year. But we go back a long way. The connect happened even before I had my first interaction with her. It was my brother who first introduced Malvika to me. “Read this before you sulk again”. It was her first impression in the online space filled with a compelling story.

 It was my first tryst with an outsider. We usually look up to global icons who have gone through the same trauma and survived. But for the first time, I came across someone who could be a wonderful mirror of you, me or anyone else and it was very refreshing for I had finally found someone I could relate to.  Of course, she’s a global icon today but back in those days, she was just Malvika.

Her story became an obsession and before I knew it my house was filled with wallpapers of her quotes.  The fan boy in me was alive again and my outlook towards life took a beautiful diversion. The future didn’t look bleak anymore and the question changed from Why Me to Why Not. This small change has made a lot of difference.

 But the most interesting part in this whole story was the urge to meet her for before I could grasp her influence in my life she had transformed into a global icon. There was no way to reach out to her but I wasn’t going to give up. Just 5 minutes with Malvika would do just to tell her what her presence meant to me and get her autograph. That was all I ever wanted

But destiny had other ideas and Deccan Chronicle happened. The star that I admired from a distance had a new role in my life. I found a new friend and a mentor.

And yes someday when she returns home, coffee with Malvika will happen but until then I will happily cherish the bond we share and look forward to a future filled with hope.

Thank you Malvika for being the beacon of hope, thank you for the space that you have given me and for all the love that you have showered on me so far. Wishing you the best for the journey ahead.

 

PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE ME – PAVITHRA BALAKRISHNAN

Where do I begin Pavithra’s story?  Do I begin with that moment of magic which happened a couple of years ago or do I begin with the third eye – Our only common connection. I have often been a fan of a person’s personality traits. But very few people pull me with their grace and poise in front on the camera.  A particular click pulled me in and I became a fan then and there.   I wanted to know more but there was no way a fan could gain access to one of his favorite stars.  Even if met there was every chance of me messing up for I was a fashion novice. I still am.

And then the third eye happened. Perhaps it was destiny. She embraced me for what I was without any questions as we begin to discuss common interests and style statements.  It was a lot easier than what I feared because of a precious common connect. Even if I stutter the third eye would be my comfort zone.

For the first time, I had two people constantly shadowing me as I began to consciously make an effort towards a definite style statement for public events.

And then the meet up happened.  All the fears that had constantly troubled me vanished in the blink of an eye, what was supposed to be a one-off star-fan meet up turned into one of the most memorable coffee conversations ever as I saw through the wonderful person that lies within my star. The star disappeared and I discovered a friend.  We discussed everything under the sun.  By the time the moon greeted us we became long lost friends.

It takes a lot of grit to empathize, embrace and offer the much-needed space to a complete novice. Thank you for everything. Thank you for helping me learn and unlearn. Wishing you the best for the journey ahead.

PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE ME – YAMINI

This is a sequel to yesterday’s post. I never do sequels but I guess exceptions do happen.  especially when the person in question is a fellow hatter. Yamini is everyone’s favourite person almost like that kid in school who is every teacher’s pet.

It took me a while to figure out why she’s a sweet exception. The first glimpse at Luz House didn’t give me any clue of the events that were to follow. I was almost dismissive of the way she sang that day. “Yet another singer. What’s so new?” Don’t blame me when an event presents you with an assortment of beautiful talents you tend to overlook some of them.

But the sequence of events after Luz House left me stunned. After a long time I saw a soul resembling my own, a soul brimming with love and appreciation. She made me realize the depth of my own actions. Every note of appreciation did actually make a difference to lives around me. It was re-assuring to see a mirror image from the other side. It gave me hope.

 Maybe it’s not all gloom and doom in this big bad world. Every time we meet there’s a rare connect. I guess that’s what happens when two like-minded individuals meet. She reminds me Venelope from Wreck it Ralph that charming lost glitch who re-discovers herself as the princess of Sugar Rush. That’s what Yamini is – the princess of happiness and joy. A lovely reminder of why this life can be a celebration beyond the chaos.

And the various modulations she does with her voice often leave me speechless. First impressions can be deceptive. Right now I am a humble fan of this infectious bundle of talent.

Yamini – Stay as you are! The world needs you.

PS: This is probably the first and the last of my sequels.

PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE ME – AVINASH RAMACHANDRAN

Avinash – The Hatman . I seldom highlight men on my blog for very few of them leave a lasting impression as much as my father did. Those are tough shoes to fill. But Avinash is a different story altogether. I owe him a big fat thank you for giving me my style statement. Those awesome film T.Shirts that you see during events are inspired by his hat.

He was one of life’s cutest surprises. There was a time I looked at him in awe for the many hats that he dons. I put him on a pedestal and admired him from a distance until Thirsty Pens happened. That was when I really got to know the warm person that he really was. I wasn’t ready but I guess he was to embrace me as a part of his life.

From his love for Hari movies, food, music, poetry and songs we share a lot of common interests but one thing that really stood out was the courage to stand by a choice.  Having acquired the same trait just recently I can really empathize with his dreams and aspirations.

For the first time the hat fits me and I really love it   I don’t know if I can ever write songs or poetry like him but I am trying. But there’s one concept that I stole from him. 14 days of love and the 100 days of love series which I am about to start were one of his many ideas. Maybe he will do 500 days of love. But I will never let him take away what is rightfully mine. I own all the copyrights for love posts don’t you dare touch it.

There are two things on my bucket list right now lunch and a vijay sethupathi movie with the hatman and write a song which finds a space in the HATMAN page.

For now Thank you for everything. I love you man.

You do know who is the next person

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.

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