100% Perfect Lovers

Lovers

While reading yet another book by Haruki MurakamiThe Elephant Vanishes, a collection of short stories; I stumbled onto a simple yet intriguing story that goes like this:

Once upon a time, there lived a boy and a girl. The boy was eighteen and the girl sixteen. He was not unusually handsome, and she was not especially beautiful. They were just an ordinary lonely boy and an ordinary lonely girl, like all the others. But they believed with their whole hearts that somewhere in the world there lived the 100% perfect boy and a 100% perfect girl for them. Yes, they believed in a miracle. And that miracle actually happened.

One day the two came upon each other on the corner of a street.

“This is amazing,” he said. “I’ve been looking for you all my life. You may not believe this, but you’re the 100% perfect girl for me.

“And you,” she said to him, “are the 100% perfect boy for me, exactly as I’d pictured you in every detail. It’s like a dream.”

They sat on a park bench, held hands, and told each other their stories hour after hour. They were not lonely anymore. They had found and been found by their 100% perfect other. It was a miracle, a cosmic miracle.

As they sat and talked, however, a tiny, tiny sliver of doubt took root in their hearts: was it really alright for one’s dreams to come true so easily?

And so, when there came a momentary lull in their conversation, the boy said to the girl, “Let’s test ourselves – just once. If we really are each other’s 100% perfect lovers, then sometime, somewhere, we will meet again without fail. And when that happens, and we know that we are the 100% perfect ones, we’ll marry then and there. What do you think?”

“Yes,” she said, “that is exactly what we should do.”

And so they parted, she to the east, and he to the west.

The test they had agreed upon, however was utterly unnecessary. They should never have undertaken it, because they really and truly were each other’s 100% perfect lovers, and it was a miracle that they had ever met. But it was impossible for them to know this, young as they were. The cold, indifferent waves of fate proceeded to toss them unmercifully.

One winter, both the boy and the girl came down with the season’s terrible influenza, and after drifting for weeks between life and death, they lost all memory of their earlier years. When they awoke, their heads were as empty as the young D. H. Lawrence’s piggy bank.

They were two bright, determined young people, however, and through their unremitting efforts they were able to acquire once again the knowledge and feeling that qualified them to return as full-fledged members of society. Heaven be praised, they became truly upstanding citizens who knew how to transfer from one subway line to another, who were fully capable of sending a special delivery letter at the post office. Indeed, they even experienced love again, sometimes as much as 75% or even 80% love.

Time passed with shocking swiftness, and soon the boy was thirty-two, the girl thirty.

One beautiful April morning, in search of a cup of coffee to start the day, the boy was walking from west to east, while the girl, intending to send the special delivery letter, was walking from east to west, both along the same narrow street in the Harajuku neighborhood of Tokyo. They passed each other in the very center of the street. The faintest gleam of their lost memories glimmered for the briefest moment in their hearts. Each felt a rumbling in the chest. And they knew:

She is the 100% perfect girl for me.

He is the 100% perfect boy for me.

But the glow of their memories was far too weak, and their thoughts no longer had the clarity of fourteen years earlier. Without a word, they passed each other, disappearing into the crowd. Forever.

Aren’t we all the same? Don’t we all think we don’t deserve good things? We’re forever praying and hoping for a miracle to grace our lives and when it actually does, we can’t believe our luck and try to look for the loopholes. Why is it so bloody difficult for us to accept that we can be happy, that we can actually get what we want, that we can have our cake and eat it too?

This story isn’t just a tell-tale sign of our love lives. It holds equally true for other spheres of our lives.

We reject many things thinking them results of our rose tinted glasses of youth and the naivete that comes along with it; all the while forgetting, we might not get lucky with a second chance.

Maybe we ought to believe in ourselves, have faith in the cosmic power and keep our arms open and embrace the good things that happen to us, no questions asked. THAT, I guess, what happiness is all about.

Don’t you agree?

Kafka On The Shore – Haruki Murakami

Kafka by the hsore

This is the first work I’ve read of Haruki Murakami and I’m certainly impressed if not totally blown away.

Even though the novel talks about outlandish things like fish falling from the sky, talking cats, un-aged soldiers, alternate worlds and taboo topics like mother-son and sister-brother love; it definitely is a gripping read.

Murakami intertwines the lives and stories of the two lead characters wonderfully and never lets you lose interest in the story. But the best part about this 600 page saga is the beauty with which he explains each and every situation and feeling by drawing elegant and totally appropriate analogies with things that you would’ve rendered misfit under normal circumstances. While turning page after page, you’d be able to relate with the characters (no matter how weird), conjure up images of places you’ve never ever been to and even feel the heaviness of silence weighing on the character.

Read it if you haven’t already! I wouldn’t recommend it for a novice reader though.

Here are a few quotes I found noteworthy:

  • “Silence, I discover, is something you can actually hear.”
  • “You can’t look too far ahead. Do that and you’ll lose sight of what you’re doing and stumble.”
  • “But nature is actually unnatural, in a way. And relaxation can be threatening. It takes experience and preparation to really live with those contradictions.”
  • “generally, when someone is trying very hard to get something, they don’t. And when they’re running away from something as hard as they can, it usually catches up with them.”
  • “Happiness is an allegory, unhappiness a story.” – Tolstoy
  • “I happen to like the strange ones. People who look normal and leads normal lives – they’re the ones you have to watch out for.”
  • “Artists are those who can evade the verbose.”
  • “The pure present is an ungraspable advance of the past devouring the future. In truth, all sensation is already memory.”
  • “Far away the crow caws. The earth slowly keeps on turning. But beyond any of those details of the real, there are dreams. And everyone’s living in them.”
  • “Things that are open have to be shut.”
  • “Pointless thinking is worse than no thinking at all.”
  • “Until things happen, they haven’t happened. And often things aren’t what they seem.”
  • “Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.”
  • “Every one of us is losing something precious to us. Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back again. That’s part of what it means to be alive.”

Movie Review – Shuddh Desi Romance (2013)

shuddh-desi-romance-2013

When I saw the trailer of this movie, I thought there was something rustic and peculiarly attractive about it. And since Parineeti Chopra was one of the leads, I hoped it’d be a fun watch.

But as most high hopes do, this too shattered.

Haruki Murakami in his book Kafka by the shore says “Nobody wants to read a book without a conclusion.” And this one line sums up the whole experience of watching this movie. There just isn’t any meaning, reason or conclusion to it. The inclusion of the song “Ati random” is probably totally justified.

We’re greeted by Raghuram (Sushant Singh Rajput) who’s a tourist guide but moonlights as a fake baarati. He mooches off of gullible tourists in the colorful markets of Jaipur and in his spare time, under the patronage of Goyal saab (Rishi Kapoor), he gatecrashes weddings. Life’s all hunky dory till he sets off to his own wedding. Once there, his jittery nerves get the better of him and then begins a roller coaster ride as we encounter his on again off again romances, his utter immaturity and his fear of commitment.

As the movie inches forward, whatever hopes you had of it, slowly start to fizzle. And as soon as the second half begins, even the fizzled out hopes turn in their graves. An illogical, impractical and a confused storyline makes you want to ask the director why exactly did he want to make the movie in the first place.

The only thing that salvages this “don’t-know-what-I’m-doing” saga is Parineeti as Gayatri. Even though she reprises her role of a bindaas babe from her earlier movies, she still has that effervescent charm about her. Sushant as Raghu in SDR hasn’t been able to cast the same spell as Ishaan in Kai Po Che did and his performance can best be described as passable. What sticks out as a sore spot though is Vaani Kapoor as Tara. Her role is unnecessary and her acting is disappointing and borderlines on irritating. She tries really hard to mimic the style of Parineeti Chopra & Anushka Sharma but the “i-don’t-give-a-damn” attitude just doesn’t suit her sophisticated model look.

Well, another movie added to the ‘disappointment’ list of 2013. Watch it only if your girlfriend insists or you have time on your hands that you need to kill.