When does it change?

Suddenly, one fine evening, I realised how far I had drifted apart from my family. I had missed a couple of festivals the previous year and had instructed my office folks to not bother me with calls from my parents. And then, it hit me. Like a meteor strike. My world, crashing down, leaving me with an unexplainable urge to burst out crying. I was an independent woman and was not supposed to cry. I left everything as such and went to my parents’ place. The moment I saw mom, I hugged her with all I had. The ache was subsiding slowly. So were the wounds healing. 

This is not a slice of my life. Not yet, at least.

Watching one of my favourite romcoms made me ponder over the idea of healing. We go through different stages in life, where people come and go. It is as if our life is an open university and people can barge in and out anytime they want to. But there remains only one constant in that entire equation- family.

Thanks to Oedipus, girls are always daddy’s lil princesses. Since when does the bond between a mother and a daughter come to the forefront? Is it when the daughter hits puberty? Or is it when she starts working that the mother sees a younger version of herself in her offspring? Does marriage bring the two closer? Or is it just the physical absence that makes hearts grow fonder?

I remember trusting both my parents to the T growing up. So much that I never knew when I was full. I said I was full when my mother told me I was full and can’t stuff my face with any more food. I am told that I trusted appa so much that I went with him to Hosur without amma when I was around a year and half old.

But the earliest memories of amma and I chatting up would be from nine years back. I think the saga began then and has not shortened. Our conversations have only gotten longer and weirder. Would this change once I get married and go off somewhere to make my own family? Only time will tell. The freedom to visit home whenever I want to or to stay for months there would be curtailed then. But would the substance of our conversations change? I wonder.

Would I feel stifled when I am deprived of my own mom-time? I think so. How does one cope up with such drastic changes? I guess that is a part of the whole ‘being ready’ thing. You grow up, see how things are with mom and dad and wistfully wish the same for yourself.

The news of Sridevi’s death came as a rude shocker to me. Honestly, I haven’t grown up watching her movies since I rarely watched movies growing up. But, whatever I had watched recently and struck a chord with me, she reminded me of my own mother (English Vinglish, for further references). Heck, in that movie, even her name was that of my mother 😀

What ached me was the thoughts about Khushi and Jhanvi, Sridevi’s daughters. I am sure some part of those two girls died on February 24, 2018.

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Mindless thoughts after a movie

Three love stories. Two had a ‘happily ever after’ ending.

A fiery-filmy one, a slow and uncertain one and a mature one. It is confusing, isn’t it? I was just speed-watching the movie Kandukondein Kandukondein and couldn’t help but notice the contrasts in the storylines.

I am not sure if the director meant the audience to notice this. Did he imply that the fiery, too-good-to-be-true affair to fizzle out eventually and the ones that withstand the odds to survive at the end? I really don’t know.

A tiny note about this movie- Amazing songs, beautiful cinematography (worth remembering for a long time) and star cast. 

I am not qualified to talk about love or relationships. Heck, my reputation till recently was of ‘breaking up relationships’. No, before you conclude, let me explain why.

If someone asks me for a ‘relationship advice’ (dressed up term for ranting about the significant other), I listen. I listen with all the patience I can possibly muster. I realise at the 23rd minute of the rant that this person is just a party to an abusive relationship and is being taken for a ride by that other person. So, as a good Samaritan, what do I do? I express my expert opinion on that subject.

It is not as if one aims to split people up. Often I find people getting swept away by the glitz and glamour of a relationship. The honeymoon phase, you know. It is after it wears off that one gets to the evaluation mode. So yes. I advise. Free of cost and only when solicited.

So post that phone call, these people wake up from their self-imposed slumber and see what I said. They understand the nitty-gritty of my opinion and the rest is history.

So back to this movie, I was wondering what would I have done, if it was my friend, who fell for Bharathiyar poems? ( I would totally fall for the poems, for the record, and not the guy who recites it. Okay, maybe for the guy who sings it just like Hariharan did in Suttum Vizhi Sudar thaan) Would I have stepped in, suo motu and given her/him a piece of my mind? Probably no.

Over the years, the one thing that I learnt the hard way was to not give my opinion on something unless asked for it. Expert opinion is not meant to be given free of cost, right? I just smile and move on. Whatever has to happen, will happen.

I also was surprised that the director chose to make the underrated love stories in that movie, a success. I was talking about this to my mom. We often discuss these issues. She says that a relationship must be tested as much as possible before it becomes anything significant, culturally ( you know the socio-cultural ceremonies and recognition). She says that it must witness quarrels, distance, possessiveness, helplessness and a whole range of concepts before one can safely trust it.

I am not sure I agree with this fully. To an extent, yes. It makes sense. I would go for the practical aspects of any relationship to its theoretical version. To carry my SO in my pocket and roam around is just impossible. Even if we decide to take the plunge, it is not as if we are gonna sync our office timings to the T and spend amaaaazing weekends together. C’mon! I have seen my parents, and hell no! They don’t do that. And theirs is the perfect marriage I have ever known.

So is love a compromise? A decision? or an impulsive feeling? Did Meenakshi settle to marry Bala because he was the most accessible and available person then? Did Mano come back to marry his love because he knew she would remain unmarried for the rest of her life, given her so-called bad luck?

I must not be allowed to watch movies. Hence proved.

Picture Prompt- Week#1- The Wait

Patience is power.
Patience is not an absence of action;
rather it is “timing”
it waits on the right time to act,
for the right principles
and in the right way.

-Fulton J. Sheen

Waiting with patience is underestimated.

Every phase of our life invariably involves the waiting game. It is probably the most excruciating feeling. I don’t know what will happen or when, but all I can do is to wait and sit back. Sit back and watch for the time and the opportunity to knock my door, to light my life up.

It happens even to the best of people. We give our best. Yet, results are tales that only time would tell. I run in the park everyday. That is how I channelise my thoughts to make my day lovely. They say a positive mind is a key to a positive life. I don’t believe in it. yet I do have some beliefs myself.

So as I run in the park, there comes a moment when I just want to give up. I stop short of breath and gather myself up and look for the nearest empty bench and drop myself on it, with exhaustion. I see a couple of others walking and running past me. They all look focused and hopeful. It is as if they are raring to go, to grab the chances that crowd their doors and windows. I look at them, trying to give each of them a background. A story of their lives. May be they are in a worse state of mind than I am. Or may be they are blissful about their lives. Each of them seem to have a story.

I watch in silence as they move past me. I realise I am waiting for my time to come. I am waiting for that one opportunity to walk past me, just like these people. A future waits for me, just like the rising Sun in the horizon. The day looks promising, and so is my spirit. It gradually lifts up as the distant sky is colored with hues of rich orange and golden streaks. I feel the warmth of a new day. It feels good. Waiting feels good. It is my time to sit back and observe, may be. It feels good.

 

The GST Experts’ day out

By an odd coincidence, the CA day and the GST rollout falls today. We are probably the only country that celebrated the rollout of a new Tax law with so much enthusiasm. I am so proud of us. Twitter has been on fire since morning with people tweeting the same damn bill from Murugan Idli Shop (Shobha De, I am talking about you!) after having ghee pongal and tweeting that idlis have become unaffordable.

twi

This is the bill that people shared claiming that they paid extra due to GST. The same bill used by at least ten different people. 😀 I still don’t see why people would come out of this shop without having their podi dosa and jigarthanda though!

Now, I just happened to observe in silence, the nation’s reaction to GST and the surrounding confusion. I am amazed to realise that all this while, we have been surrounded by scores and scores of economists! Thumping good ones at that. People who had been ignorant so far as to what all taxes they have been paying, have all become GST experts overnight. Don’t even get me started on the GST commentary and bashing that is going on in almost all the media.

GST, as far as I observed, has an effect of reducing the cost for the manufacturer in the long run. So when the cost price reduces, logically, keeping the other price variables same ( including Profit) the selling price also should be lower. That is the logic. This is because now the manufacturer will be able to take credit for every input he uses without the usual border troubles owing to different states and different taxes.

But trust me, that is not gonna happen. The manufacturers will be profit hungry and so will retailers. Even if the sourcing rate comes down, they are going to keep increasing the price at least a little because, hey! GST. Bashing the government for this is not fair.

Secondly, the loud noise that says the implementation is confusing and not in order. My dearest people, name one damn law of this magnitude that was implemented as smooth as a hot knife driven through a chunk of butter. I bet you can’t. Ever heard of the Companies Act? It was revamped big time in 2013 and rolled out. Any idea about the confusion it created?? I suppose not. Believe me when I say that there are still clarifications pending for a lot of issues regarding the Companies Act 2013.

So don’t even think GST will be a cake walk. It will not be and rightly so.

Hi-speed internet has actually given us a lot to be thankful for. We boast day in and day out about how information is just a click away and how we are all connected 24*7. It would be equally great if such information is verified before outraging on.

It would not be wrong if I say that arm-chair activism has reached a whole new level with the advent of such super instant messaging platforms.

Before hyperventilating on something, study, for God’s sake. Study the concept thoroughly. Study the intention behind such action. Study the implications. Study the time that would be required for such an effect to materialise.

Remember one cannot become an expert without studying. But hey! We have WhatsApp and Facebook so even I can become an expert in anything.

How Fitness Works

Fitness is the new in-thing if you know what I mean. Being fit, fitness freak, fitster and a gazillion other terms have been coined for people who are craaaazy about being fit. So much that fitness and its related products and services industry are worth a *insert a huge number with a bunch of zeroes trailing it* billion dollars. Gyms cropping up in every street corner, fitness apparels, new styles of routines and YouTubers yelling and pushing us, we have seen it all.

Yesterday being Yoga day, I thought I might as well address the fit animal inside the studio. I have had my own run-ins with gyms and studios trying to sell plans and offers to me. Apparently, you can only offer an offer and not sell it, because well, it is an ‘offer’ for treadmill’s sake! Oh, I digress.

Days and nights spent on ‘liking’ and ‘subscribing’ to some of the renowned gyms and fitness centers within a rideable distance from our place- Check.

Doing a row-wise and a column-wise analysis with all the plans that they offered and zeroing in on three plans in ascending order- Check.

Calling them up and enquiring when you can drop in to visit or asking if they have a free session for trial- Check. 

Rethinking if we will be punctual and sincere enough to move our lazy ass from the bed and do the entire paisa vasool thingy? – Check.

Appearing for the earlier planned visit or the free session and spending the entire remaining day with a sore body- Check.

Considering the option of using the road tax that we pay to full use by running on the road instead- Check.

Concluding that the above is not an option since roads are not air conditioned and hence aborts the mission- Check.

Finally enrolling for an envious plan in a prominent gym and flaunting it on Instagram- Check.

Realising that we do not have the appropriate clothes to wear to the gym and go shopping with a decent budget- Check.

Finding solace in wearing new clothes to the gym the next day and taking pictures there with scandalising captions- Check

Poses- Check

Inspiring quote wallpapers (courtesy- Nike) – Check

Salad menu insta pic- Check

All these come to a crashing end soon and the cycle resumes from step one after a while.

Trust me, we have all been there and done that. I pride in being a potato who can metamorphose if I wanted to.

 

Growing up

A Facebook post made me think. One of my Facebook friends had updated about how she had attended a conference about mental wellness of teenagers and how we end up scaring them and in fact, scarring them about the future.

To be honest, not all of us think about that. All we do is crib. Crib about misfortunes of growing up and complain about how life is not treating us well. Suddenly all that we want to do is to go back to childhood. Pages and pages will be written about nostalgia and what it was, to be a 90’s kid.

She had written that the words that we speak to our juniors and younger siblings, about life, love and career have a serious effect on them. This was not something that was new to me. Having a younger sibling, has its own pluses. I grew up in a household, where each word of mine, which I spoke in front of my baby sibling was watched with microscopic eyes (or ears, should I say?) . My parents always told me that the child’s mind is a tape recorder. It will record each and every little thing it can and would take those to be the governing laws of human relationships and life. Consequentially, old habits would die hard and then things would be too late to recover from.

So when I read this post of my friend, my 24 years of existence fleeted past as a hazy memory. I am afraid, I have been guilty of doing the exact same thing to my juniors. We would say that growing up is such a pain in the neck and that life was better when we were at school or college etc. I swear I never thought of the repercussions of my words at that moment.

We all would be familiar with this scenario, growing up,”Finish your school, life would get better”, “Finish college and get a job, life would be set” from our parents. These were not empty words, now coming to think of it. They were, in fact, preparing us for life. They were kindling our curiosity about life and about growing up. And what are we doing? We are propagating negativities, in the garb of being brutally honest. We are scaring people, by being blunt about the ground realities.

I do agree, a hundred percent, about the ground reality bit, but what is the cost of being a little mellow? What is the problem in being diplomatic? Why can’t we be mysterious about the future to our younger generation, in such a way that they are eager to get there? What are we doing to them, by scaring them?

We are actually sowing seeds of fear and cowardliness in them. We are weakening them by disarming them. Is it worth it? Definitely not.

This is something to think about, or should I say it made me think about my actions and may be resolve to get better?? Time will only tell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh the Patriarchy! Bless my soul.

Today I happened to read an answer by a very popular guy on Quora. The question was this- “If separating a man from his parents is cruelty, what about when married women have to leave their parents after marriage? “

The answer begins like this –

“That’s the way Indian society is set up. Married women leave their house, go to their in laws house and little by little take over the responsibility of most of the things so that in laws, who are growing old, can retire and be free from major responsibilities.

This isn’t cruelty. This is how the institution of marriage is designed for India.”…. and goes on for about 580 other similar words of justification.

Let me identify the basic flaw here. The justification of that is how the society is, does not really fare well with me.  Let me tell you why. Society is made up of people like us. You and me. People who make the society what it is today, may or may not be alive tomorrow and definitely not in a hundred years time. What we witness today in the name of societal norms is just what our previous generation has been forced to follow by their parents. Have we changed at all from the set pattern? May be a little, but we would agree that there is definitely a long way to go.

This answer actually goes on to justify the separation of the girl after marriage as something very normal and acceptable while the same, if done to the son, is unacceptable. The author also goes on to say that if at all the girl is a single child, then she shall very well take care of her parents and yada yada. Well, the patriarchy is giving us permission, you see.

Taking care of ones parents is the duty of every son and daughter. They could be the only child or one in a dozen. Every child has the responsibility to take care of their parents irrespective of ones own marital status. I don’t think one would require the permission of anybody else to do this. Be it the husband or the in-laws.

To adopt a family as ones own immediately after marriage and to abandon ones parents because one is married is just abominable and to ask the bride/groom to do it is pathetic. More than power or authority, this move reflects ones insecurities and rather crass upbringing/growing up.

Many things which were once accepted in the society as a norm, have been driven away successfully. People fail to see this transition and go on to bestow the mankind with their pearls of wisdom.

It is shocking to see that even in my generation there are people who take the name of culture/society to justify something stupid and could actually get away with it. Yes, the girl who offered her unflinching support by highlighting the concession given to single girl child, I am looking at you.

Quora is becoming a recipient for such butt wads and I don’t have an idea why.

stock-vector-isolated-illustrations-of-male-and-female-gender-symbols-108503651

Image credits- Google

A “Quote-worthy” journey

It is almost the end of a glorious year. 2016 is ending. I say ‘glorious’ not because it was fantastically awesome for me, but because it made me rediscover reading. A long lost hobby and craziness of mine,which had slipped into a coma the moment I had given my allegiance to the world redefining rat race that the mankind is proudly a part of.

This post is a collection of my favorite quotes which I had stumbled upon during these 12 months, along with a snippet of explanation to it.

“That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.”
Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake   

This quote by Jhumpa Lahiri is simple yet profound. She is one of my favorite authors, whose style of narration, I find, is gripping and beautiful. It is not too much yet not too little. It is just the perfect amount that would need to relive the scene in the exact same way she had hoped for.

These lines, coming from her, made a lot of sense. I still remember reading one of her works, Lowland, and visualising each and every scene in it. The riot filled parts of Bengal, the romance between the protagonists, the love, the despair etc that filled the pages and the story. That was one effective piece of writing that took me to Bengal and made me be a part of the plot.

“human memory is short, and history always repeats itself.”
Devdutt Pattanaik, Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata

These lines are by Devdutt Pattanaik, who I respect for his opinions and take on age old topic of Mythology. I loved the way he retold something as massive as the Mahabharata and the Ramayana without having to pepper it with spice that sells.

The above lines convey a blunt truth, no matter how much we continue to deny it. We, as human beings, have exhibited this trait time and again and this is what is being seen in our political, economical and social scenario these days.

“Don’t take life too seriously. Punch it in the face when it needs a good hit. Laugh at it.”
Colleen Hoover, Slammed

Now, I have no idea who this author is or what her works are, but this quote from her will definitely stay on for long with me.

I love the way this quote is aired. It has an air of nonchalance and casualness with it which gives us that rare confidence- you know,the one which we get, with a smile on our face?? That type. It is not too preachy. It does not have a false, blingy coat of sugar/honey in it to give us that fake confidence and assurance that all is well with the world. I love it for its plainness.

Well, I can go on, but let me restrict myself to these three for now, lest it gets too long for a quick read.

There will always be a few lines, which will stay on with us, long after we are done with the book. I wish I am able to write at least one such line during my lifetime, then will I consider myself to be successful.

 

Open Letter to the Jon Snows

What a fortnight it has been. From clocking enviable hours at work, to being subject to the verbose torture of unidentifiable “Jon Snows” in the name of writing, I have seen them all. I must acknowledge, I am not really happy with it.

This post is basically a rant. A rant in which I am going to type down my angst at being a witness for the downfall of something which was once precious for me.

TO ALL THOSE “JON SNOWS”,

jon

Most of you might know the feeling of seeing your most prized possession being thrown away from your cupboard, just because there wasn’t enough space to accommodate the newcomers. That pain and that misery is at times unbearable that we might have had to take a break from our work to actually get over it. This feels similar, if not same. 

What was once a place where I went to binge read something interesting, has become a pile of garbage. Yeah, that’s right. Utter rubbish. The place where I had gotten answers and sometimes new ideas long back, gives me nothing these days. If at all,it gives me anger and makes me seethe in rage. People who actually had stuff inside them are nowhere to be seen. People who had the “talent” to spin stories and do the job of script-writing are living a glorious life. In short, true knowledge has no takers. Period. 

Another problem that I witnessed in this process of downfall was the presence of “cartels”. For  the uninitiated, cartels means a group of individuals, who form a close knit social circle, to indulge in incessant backscratching and promotion of mediocre content. This is a very serious issue when compared to the former canker, because this promotes mediocre content and provides the creator of such content with undeserving fame and leaves the unsuspecting readers with headache and nausea.

Now as a person who has seen that baby from its early childhood to now (which might as well be perceived as adolescence), I must say that the child had a lot of potential. Only that it got trapped in the ominous web of idiocy and is slowly losing hope and succumbing to it.

I have a few pointers though, for you all. Please do not promote mediocre content. Writing is an art and there is a place for everything. And Oh! You know something? Nobody cares about how many breakups you have had or what struck your pea-brain this morning when you were having chai at the corner shop. If you say that your content helps in genuinely helping people out of their problems, then I might have to take the liberty of breaking your bubble, it doesn’t. If anything, it aggravates it. It gives them a friggin complex that you are better than them and they would want to try out what you say, all this while being blissfully oblivious of the entire scenario of what-is-whats.  If you think talking to a Just Dial executive for an hour and still not falling in love with her is a reasonable answer to the question “A girl talks to me for almost an hour everyday on the phone. Is she in love with me?” , then I have nothing to say to you. This expression of becoming speechless is not to show my appreciation at your effort at making a genuine attempt to answer the question sincerely, but it is solely at your stupidity to have made a comparison to both the scenarios. Kudos for that!

Personally, I had doubts when people told me that silence is golden.Now I get it though. To be silent is much better than to open your mouth and create hindrance. Thanks for reiterating that to me though.

From all those people who had once loved that bubbly chattery baby, I so wish you stop ruining my child. The baby was better off without you. 

And oh! Please for God’s sake stop calling yourself a Harry Potter or a Jon  Snow. It isn’t cool. For all that you know, you are ruining the childhood memories of millions out there. So please do us all a favour and stop.

– From a contributor who is sick of you all.

implore

This is the collective feeling of people who once enjoyed something and is now missing the awesomeness of it because of the irrelevant and useless stuff that is being added to it. It gives all of us great solace that the people behind this are being slowly removed, but still the danger looms, like a dagger over the head. I personally thank the people behind this Swacch Bharat act and would love to share my list with them, so that they can get working on it 😛 

Image credits- Google Ji _/\_

Padayappa and The Women

“En vazhi, thani vazhi”

How much have we clapped and swooned for this line? Uttered in repetition by our own Thalaiva, Padayappa is a movie that we would watch time and again, to just enjoy. My earliest memory of this movie is going to the theatre with Appa and Amma and watching the movie unfold in the big screen, in all its glory. I was all of 6 or 7 years of age then. This was infact the first and last movie that I watched with family in theatre.

Padayappa is a typical Rajinikanth+ K.S Ravikumar movie. A “Good wins over the Evil” type of storyline with a nothing less than God Hero, a coy and shy heroine, the usual masala sentiments and motions running high amidst family feud over wealth. Now what this post isn’t is a movie review or a technical analysis. No. That is not my thing to do. This post is something else.

After watching the movie a couple of times after I grew up, I understood that more than the style of Thalaivar and the usual jingoisms and cliches of the Director, the thing that makes me want to go back is the quality of the female characters in the story. Who could forget the oomph of our own Neelambari or the typical ideal coy bride that was Vasundhara?

Let me try and give what those characters in the story meant to me.

Anitha- Padayappa’s daughter

This woman is born out of a wedlock that was filled with nothing but love and moral values. She is sent out of town for her studies and comes back, educationally qualified and in love with a young las, who typically hails from a forbidden family ( Movies guys!!). Now she hides the affair from her parents obeying somebody else who claims to be her well-wisher and causes insult to her father in front of a whole lot of people. Now, after all the ususal drama that goes on for this, when Padayappa asks her about the affair, she stands her ground and affirms that she loves the guy and she is not going to be betrayed into falsities in the name of love.

This, I think, was such a moment when the confidence of Anitha comes out. She stands for her love and is confident about her decision. Power to her!

Padayappa’s Sister- Played by Sithara

sitara

She is cheated by her fiance who runs of to marry another girl, from her own extended family, because of wealth and fame. She stews in her misery and is speechless as to her future. Gradually in the gap of one song, she finds her ground and comes back stronger to become a teacher and also marry another man, who is a better human being. She loves her groom to bits and is unapologetic in having done so. She has not one bit of regret and she doesn’t get wasted in the name of love, like many other contemporary women who have been portrayed to do. Setting aside the stupidity of the song, I admired the way she gathered herself up. That is what we call guts and courage.

Padayappa’s mother- Played by Lakshmi

lakshmi

Losing her husband might have shook her world , but she was not the one to be pushed over. She stood by her children till the end and made sure that they remain happy. She had many, many opportunities to succumb to the pressure of being a single parent and dance to the tune of others around, but she chose to live by the legacy of her family that she has raised and by the principles that she had set for herself.  Women who put their devastating past behind and look forward are the ones who end up ruling the world and the hearts of many out there!

Neelambari

mins

Ah! Where do I even begin? A woman who is born into a rich family, pampered to bits by the family, comes back into town and falls for the most eligible bachelor there. The bachelor, like anybody who watched Rajinikanth movies would expect, shuns her saying all the possible misogynistic reasons ( Remember? “Nan oru pombalaya kalyanam panniknum nu aasa padren” and the various criteria that he doles out for a woman ranging from “nidhaanam” to “not being a bajaari”). She tries to get to the guy by hook or crook only to be outwitted by him at every juncture. All is fair in Love and War, you see? The guy goes on to marry his “ideal” woman and lives happily ever after. She ends up becoming the most loser version of a psycho and locks herself up in a room. Story ends. Or does it?

neel

Nope. This is where it actually begins.

She comes out after a self imposed exile of 18 years, in a more ravishing appearance and style. (She steals the thunder totally after this and Whattey friggin screen presence man!) She schemes and plots the downfall of the guy whom she had the hots for and still ends up being outwitted. She refuses to succumb. She shoots herself in the end, thus dying a death that boosts up her ego bigtime and gives her the eternal satisfaction of having won over the guy.

What I observed meanwhile was that she ended up alone. She didn’t marry anybody else because she wanted him and only him. In an era of “Beep songs” and “Pombalainga kaadhala thaan nambi vidadhey” this was refreshing for me. She totally ruled the space and I am sure that nobody else could have done this any better! Total surender to the woman who lived as Neelambari.

The equality of women was also mentioned here and there in the movie. Those mild gestures interspersed with the storyline are such a treat to watch and I have no regrets at all in being a complete fan of this movie. Gives me a fresh perspective, every single time.