I am not, shall we say, circumspect in love. I fall hard, often, and stupid; and I try mask this with smirks and snark. I doubt I am ever successful. There is, for sure, a romantic bone, for I have all 206 of them. It must be a relief to the victims of my violent affections, thus, that I am only as ardent as I am fickle. But this post isn’t about my love life (I promise), which is booming and joyous, thank you for asking. I was explaining my OCD approach to love only in the service of the broader cause: why, unlike Konkona, I would’ve jumped Ranbir Kapoor approx. 206 times over the course of Wake Up, Sid. Well, if he weren’t such a dope and had a better sense of humour. Assuming, and it isn’t a far stretch, that I’m attracted to slacker types who find their inner genius by avoiding it, I would be incapable of keeping a game face on in the throes of early attraction, and this blog is the last place one need look to acquire some knowledge of shallow feelings. And he certainly wouldn’t clog my space were I not interested. Give me six months and a wet bathroom floor, and I have no problem keeping it in my pants. Which is why the chronology of Wake up, Sid perplexed me rather.
Before I watched the movie, I imagined that they dated somewhere along the way and then sensibly broke up: her moving on to the jazzy editor; him to the eccentric arms of a design intern or, in a fit of rare maturity, the pining friend. Where it lost me was the last mad dash of Epiphany Boy to Tell Drenched Girl. What, you have a Mac and no phone? However, I do have friends who blame the bombay monsoon for dispensing magic spells of romance, and I suppose they distilled a vial for the making of this movie. It isn’t the first time weather has had more agency in a script than both plot and character. Remember Tum Mile? As my friend Niru put it, it was so bad that you wished people would drown so you could leave the movie hall already (but Aisha was worse): well, Sid isn’t that awful, which is an achievement in Bollywood. And maybe a blues lovin’, hard drinkin’ journalist is waiting in the wings for when she gets a bit weary of the adolescent.
More gripes: I wish one of the characters wasn’t a writer, the same way I would want them to avoid lawyers and photographers were I either. Movies often underestimate effort, more so drudgery, but who changes months of work overnight before their big break? The woman abandons a presumably agonising draft to write a love letter! The guy wakes up one morning as an intern at the hippest magazine this side of Monocle! I mean, seriously, love trumps work and all (if you insist) but when did lust take on career and win? Don’t photographers have to, you know, train? In apertures and exposures and, I dunno, the ethics of imagery?
Don’t writers have books in their shoebox flats? Books that might preclude spare space for sullen teenagers to spread out their junk? (Really, who drinks red bull-vodka after the I’ll-do-it-cos-I-can rush of first year college?) In the unlikely event this cola aficionado were to live with me, he would have to squeeze between the fiction shelves, the table, and the kitchen; not to mention negotiating around the dozen piles of assorted bibliographies on the floor without disturbing them at all. Screw around with my reading piles and you can be sure to have trouble. Eviction style trouble.
Final gripe: apparently jazz is only for condescending jerks who don’t appreciate the virtues of easy melody and blather on about “real music”. Someone needs to get these people in the same room with the classic lads and ladies before the odes to the death of jazz. I really did like the movie, the half I watched anyway, despite my stream of sardonic commentary to exasperated friends. And it made me nostalgic about all those brave boys who endured me in years past. So here is a poem and a song for you.
I want to understand the steep thing
that climbs ladders in your throat.
I can’t make sense of you.
Everywhere I look you’re there–
a vast landmark, a volcano
poking its head through the clouds,
Gulliver sprawled across Lilliput.
I climb into your eyes, looking.
The pupils are black painted stage flats.
They can be pulled down like window shades.
I switch on a light in your iris.
Your brain ticks like a bomb.
In your offhand, mocking way
you’ve invited me into your chest.
Inside: the blur that poses as your heart.
I’m supposed to go in with a torch
or maybe hot water bottles
and defrost it by hand
as one defrosts an old refrigerator.
It will shudder and sigh
(the icebox to the insomniac).
Oh there’s nothing like love between us.
You’re the mountain, I am climbing you.
If I fall, you won’t be all to blame,
but you’ll wait years maybe
for the next doomed expedition.