Ruminating ‘Raazi’

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It is rare for a film that begins with dramatic, patriotic dialogue to end on a realistic note that truly questions war instead of glorifying it. Raazi accomplishes not just this commendable feat but also chooses to do so by portraying raw, personal turmoil instead of gruesome, action-packed violence. The focus, which initially appears to be on an individual’s duty to his/her country and the honour embedded in this duty, slowly and gradually shifts to the ethical dilemma of the conflict of war: Is the fight for peace really worth it when the very process to achieve it causes the complete opposite; when, to protect the majority, a few individuals are subjected to the very worst of trauma and suffering?

Yuval Noah Harari, in his book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, explains the concept of imagined realities as ‘common myths that exist only in people’s collective imagination’ allowing them to cooperate and work towards a mutual goal. A ‘nation’ is an imagined reality – a notion based on invisible, manmade borders – and so is ‘family’ – nothing more than an alliance or cooperative unit of humans who share some DNA and consequently, some resources. It’s a gross oversimplication without the emotional context, isn’t it? Emotions is where things start to get complicated and that is exactly what Raazi expertly uses to paint a picture of the conflict between nation and family – a conflict of imagined realities. To whom does Sehmat truly owes her loyalty – her motherland or her husband’s family? Her father’s legacy of honour or her own conscience? A terrible moral dilemma, all in the name of patriotism, transforms a young, innocent girl into committing murders and becoming an agent in the death of her own husband who, albeit hand-in-hand with the enemy, is a good-natured and respectable man also committed to his duty to his own nation. His character is a screaming testimony of the harshest truth: every person is a victim in war. The enemy is not a monster – just someone with a different viewpoint who suffers equally. There is no real winner. Misery is omnipresent.

Raazi‘s message is the irony of war – that the very structures that are supposed to provide us with peace, security and efficiency tear apart our lives to ensure their own survival. Sehmat’s screams of anguish are the voice of every war victim’s question: What was it really worth?

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Growing Up

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I want to be five years old again. Back when colours were just colours and not reminders of people I once used to know. When happiness came in tiny, brightly-coloured packets of shiny candy and wasn’t accompanied with bitter memories that turned my tongue sour. When love was the toys I shared with my friends and not an elusive firefly I could never catch, glowing dimmer and dimmer the closer I got to it.

I want to be eight years old again. Back when games were just games, innocent fun to pass a lazy summer day and this deadly hide-and-seek life now plays with me was still in the future, far away. When my fingers were still learning to grip my pen with ease and not ripping apart notebooks filled with words from a past me. When songs were sung in high, exulted notes and not a voice near breaking for the fifth time today.

I want to be fifteen years old again. Back when breathing was something I did without a thought and didn’t have to think twice about laughing too hard. When a door was just a door with exciting adventures behind it and not a door with monsters lurking in the corners beside it. When life was a road I was yearning to walk, my eyes blissfully oblivious of the weeds that grew further down the path.

I don’t want to be twenty years old yet. I still have to call the people I think of when my eyes catch a certain shade of yellow. I still have to thank everyone who bought me candy when I was eleven. I still need to chase that firefly and seek the future. I still have to tape together the ripped notebooks, still need to try singing that song again because I’m positive, this time I can do it. I still need to catch my breath just so I can laugh some more. Still have to try the knob of every door. And when I’m done with all of that, I’m gonna put on a new pair of shoes and dance my way through all those weeds that lurk down the paths I choose.

Threat

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It’s a vicious cycle. This endless cycle of disappointment.

You say words I never expected you to, words that sting like a mother. Then I defy you in those open acts of rebellion that are the shining feature of my personality. Stubborn. Irrational. Self-destructive.

It makes you glare at me, my defiance. I can feel the heat of your anger rolling off your skin. Your compulsive need to tame me making your hands itch. I can see your fingers twitching. I can feel the red spots in your vision.

And that is when your hand rises. The end of the power struggle. Your victory over me. Brute strength always wins this battle. Especially when I am right.

You are in control. And you leave no opportunity to remind me of that.

But that is not where the story ends. Because the wounds you inflict on me are the signs of your real failure. Your failure as a man. They are the evidence of how wrong you are.

One day, I shall parade them. One day, when you’ve ruined me enough for nakedness to not bother me anymore, I will parade them. One day, you’ll feel my shame. One day, you’ll see disappointment and hate in their eyes too, like I saw in yours.

My bruises might be hidden for now, protecting you awhile, but one day, the bloody gashes inside my head will give me the ink to write out your doom.

 

 

Image Credit: https://agnes-cecile.deviantart.com/art/are-scars-on-body-217843735

Worm

 

It slithers

Inside my brain –

Creeping around,

Inside out,

Making it’s way

Between all

The dead,

All the decay.

It crawls

Through the labyrinth,

Suckling on

The dirt,

Feasting on all

The grime,

The dust

Of my sins.

It slinks

Amongst the ruins,

Trailing around

My pain,

Goading me on,

Mocking me

For my filthy,

Uncouth offence.

~Diksha

Darling, I Wish…

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Darling, I wish

I could go back in time –

Wipe your tears away,

Hold your hand in mine.

Darling, I wish

I could watch you while you sleep

When you’re at your most vulnerable –

See everything you’ve buried deep.

Darling, I wish

I could keep you with me forever –

Spend my entire life with you,

Be parted from you, never.

Darling, I wish

I could love you a little less

Or maybe gather enough courage

To look you in the eye and finally confess.

~Diksha

Tit-for-tat

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The fire

In my soul

Refuses to subside;

My need

To murder – I can

No longer hide.

The day

You touched me

A part of me died;

And a bit more

When I saw

How you’d lied.

Now sit back

And enjoy

The bloody ride,

For now

It’s my turn

To break your pride.

~Diksha

The Devil’s Plaything

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Breathless, I strain

Against the pull of the puppet string –

Trapped, encaged

In the confines of the circus ring.

Like a demonic sadist,

You torture me like a mere plaything.

From one crazy height

To another of insanity you swing.

Flirting with madness,

You revel in your lunatic fling;

Forcing me on the tightrope,

You laugh at how I struggle to cling.

You pull at me harder

Just to relish in how my screams sing,

For I am your puppet

And you, insanity’s best circus king.

~Diksha

 

Image source: https://in.pinterest.com/pin/485262928576155289/

The Erring (Wo)Man

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Each of man’s quarrels –

The woman’s fault:

An ageless blame game

That he would not halt.

Battle and bloodshed –

The woman’s fault;

At every turn of the road,

Her honour suffers assault.

Man’s fall from grace –

The woman’s fault;

Of his own superiority

Must fickle man always exalt?

~Diksha

A Long Day

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Like clockwork,

I wake at four each night

And lay there, gasping,

Waiting

For that first ray of sunlight.

 

Tired, fatigued,

I slowly rise

To look in the mirror

And tell myself,

It’s going to be all right.

 

I labour through

Another day;

Try harder

And harder still,

Determined, obstinate,

Full of spite,

Refusing to give up

Without a fight.

 

As the evening

Grows darker

And my limbs

Grow weaker

And my heart drowns again

Under waves of fright,

The chances

Grow slimmer

Of even a brief respite.

 

For the day is drawing

To another close

And the moon is rising

To another height

And my hopes of escaping

The darkness in my soul

Are slowly becoming

More and more slight.

 

Now, once again,

I must return to my bed;

Now, once again,

I must face my nightmares;

Now, once again,

I must hope that I win

And be freed

From this eternal plight.

~Diksha

About You

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One thousand,

Three hundred and

Eighty six times

She thinks of you

In a single day.

Tapping her foot,

Chin in hand, biting the end

Of her favourite pen,

She wonders and wonders

And wonders about you.

From hate to love, exasperation

To adoration, every turn

Of her heart dances –

Dances and dances and dances –

Entangled and caught up in you.

And yet

When it comes to words –

Words to explain…

To confess, to profess –

Words it is that fail her.

For how to string together

Sentences, how to choose symphonies

Sweet enough to confess,

To express, to address

That which she cannot say?

Which poem, which letter,

Which book can she write;

Which lyric, which ballad,

Which song can she sing

In which words does her love’s truth lay?

And her pen that spewed letters –

Millions and millions and millions of letters –

Can recreate anything,

Anything but

How she feels for you.

And damn you,

You oblivious, silly little human

For failing to hear that

Which was never spoken,

Never hinted, never expected.

Damn you

For never suspecting that

Which was always expertly

Concealed, always veiled,

Always disguised and always hidden.

Perhaps, one day

She’ll write you a song,

A poem, a ballad,

A letter

Or a sonnet.

But until then she’ll sit,

Tapping her foot,

Chin in hand,

Wondering and wondering

And wondering about you.

~Diksha