Sunday, 30 November 2014

This is Not a Book Review: Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye

Toni Morrison
The Bluest Eye

People often ask 'what is the difference in women's writing?'. The same question can be asked about any kind of subaltern literature. In fact it arises only in that case. This is because there is a norm which is white/upper caste and male. When other voices rise the question does too. 'What is the difference? It is the same story!'

To begin with, these are all voices from the fringes and important for that fact alone. A people who have been pushed to the sides are being given representation and their stories are being told and documented. In the act of doing so patterns and motifs are deduced. In early women's writing it was common that the authors took a pen name which sounded like that of a male's. (Eg. George Eliot). Be it a mad woman in the attic (Jane Eyre) or a book dedicated entirely to a character in another woman author's work, like in Wide Saragasso Sea, or even the choice of words, the very vocabulary employed for expression, shots and its angles in case of cinema, the significance of the language of the suppressed is indisputable.

I am particularly fascinated by the way female sexuality is depicted in art by women authors. Even in my modest journey through books i have noticed at least two trends. One is that of cunnilingus being given more importance or being described at all unlike in male works as opposed to descriptions of penetration, thereby placing the clitoris as a point if not the centre of pleasure than the vagina. The second is that of descriptions of unsatisfactory sex, where at the time of lovemaking the male seems to attain an orgasm and the female doesn't. 

Starting with Toni Morrison's Bluest Eye which i recently re-read, i will be trying to substantiate these and more trends as and when they make its presence known. Toni Morrison's is black women's writing and therefore also documents how a text can be a medium to protest against racism and sexism at the same time.

Female sexuality

The first time Mrs Breedlove's and Cholly's sexual life is described it is through the thoughts of Pecola. This is a brilliant tool that the author has deployed to achieve the goal of making it sound as genuine as possible. Children are known for describing unpleasant truths.

'Into her eyes came the picture of Cholly and Mrs. Breedlove in bed. he making sounds as though he were in pain, as though something had him by the throat and wouldn't let go. Terrible as his noises were, they were not nearly as bad as the no noise at all from her mother. It was as though she was not even there. May be that was love. Choking sounds and silence'
[Italics by self]

It is with Geraldine who represents someone from the community who abandons blackness that the second description occurs. She can be described as somewhat frigid.

'While he moves inside her, she will wonder why they didn't put the necessary but private parts of the body in some more convenient place-like the armpit, for example, or the palm of the hand. Someplace one could get to easily, and quickly, without undressing. She stiffens when she feels one of her paper curlers coming undone from the activity of love; imprints in her mind which one it is that is coming loose so she can quickly secure it once he is through. She hopes he will not sweat-the damp may get into her hair; and that she will remain dry between her legs-she hates the glucking sound they make when she is moist. When she senses some spasm about to grip him, she will make rapid movements with her hips, press her fingernails into his back, suck in her breath, and pretend she is having an orgasm. She might wonder again, for the six hundredth time, what it would be like to have that feeling while her husband's penis is inside her. The closest thing to it was the time she was walking down the street and her napkin slipped free of her sanitary belt. It moved gently between her legs as she walked. Gently, ever so gently. And then a slight and distinctly delicious sensation collected in her crotch. As the delight grew, she had to stop in the street, hold her thighs together to contain it. That must be what it is like, she thinks, but it never happens while he is inside her. When he withdraws, she pulls her nightgown down, slips out of the bed and into the bathroom with relief'
Here we see that the absence of a vaginal orgasm is described explicitly at the same time describing the pleasure she had got from clitoris. There is not a possibility that the sanitary pad had penetrated her, besides carefully chosen words like gentle with 'gently, ever so gently' makes it clear that it was anything but penetration.

Later Mrs Breedlove speaks for herself. She describes in detail her experience in bed. A woman speaking about her own sexuality. This is during the earlier days of their marriage and we come to know that she holds on to this feeling even after it is destroyed. Again, this description is in absolute contrast with Geraldine's experience thus along with a female voice it becomes a female voice which differs from another such. Female sexuality is as diverse as women. Women are diverse because people are diverse. Yes, women are people. The point is clear, sex is different to different people, it is not like in porn where all women attain an orgasm the same way or most descriptions from a female point of view written by men treat sex as if it's a collective feeling. It is possible to have a collective feeling about anything, even about sex. But it would be preposterous if it evolved out of male narratives and fantasies and is regarded as true.
Mrs Breedlove attains an orgasm (vaginal) and likes having sex with Cholly.

...Then he lift his head, turn over, and put his hand on my waist. If I don't move, he'll move his hand over to pull and knead my stomach. Soft and slow-like. I still don't move, because I don't want him to stop. I want to pretend sleep and have him keep on rubbing my stomach. Then he will lean his head down and bite my tit. Then I don't want him to rub my stomach anymore. I want him to put his hand between my legs. I want him to open them for me. He does, and I be soft and wet where his fingers are strong and hard. I be softer than I ever been before. All my strength in his hand. My brain curls up like wilted leaves. A funny, empty feeling is in my hands. I want to grab holt of something, so I hold his head. His mouth is under my chin. Then I don't want his hand between my legs no more, because I think I am softening away. I stretch my legs open, and he is on top of me. In me. In me. I wrap my feet around his back so he can't get away. His face is next to mine. The bed springs sounds like them crickets used to back home. He puts his fingers in mine, and we stretches our arms outwide like Jesus on the cross. I hold on tight. My fingers and my feet hold on tight, because everything else is going, going. I know he wants me to come first. But I can't. Not until he does. Not until I feel him loving me. Just me. Sinking into me. Not until I know that my flesh is all that be on his mind. That he couldn't stop if he had to. That he would die rather than take his thing out of me. Of me. Not until he has let go of all he has, and give it to me. To me. To me. When he does, I feel a power. I be strong, I be pretty, I be young. And then I wait. He shivers and tosses his head. Now I be strong enough, pretty enough, and young enough to let him make me come. I take my fingers out of his and put my hands on his behind. My legs drop onto the bed. i don't make no noise, because the chil'ren might hear. I begin to feel those little bits of color floating up into me-deep in me. that streak of green from the june-bug light, the purple from the berries trickling along my thighs, Mama's lemonade yellow runs sweet in me. Then I feel like I'm laughing between my legs, and the laughing gets all mixed up with the colours, and I', afraid I'll come, and afraid I won't. But I know I will. And I do. And it be rainbow all inside. And it lasts and lasts and lasts. I want to thank him, but don't know how, so I pat him like you do a baby. He asks me if I'm all right. I say yes. He gets off me and lies down to sleep. I want to say something, but I don't. i don't want to take my mind offen the rainbow. I should get up and go to the toilet, but I don't. Besides, Cholly is asleep with his legs throwed over me. i can't move and don't want to.
Later she says, referring to the experience above,

'"But it ain't like that anymore. Most times he's thrashing away inside me before I'm woke, and through when I am...'

 White Beauty
'Thrown, in this way, into the binding conviction that only a miracle could relieve her, [eyes turning blue] she would never know her beauty. She would see only what there was to see: the eyes of other people.'
'To eat the candy is somehow to eat the eyes, eat Mary Jane. Love Mary Jane. Be Mary Jane.'
Thus thinks Pecola. The book owes its title to this obsession of Pecola and ends with her believing she has indeed got the bluest eye. 
Obsession with 'whiteness' is all pervasive. This is what prompts people like Geraldine to disown their blackness and try to make themselves as white as possible. White beauty does not pertain to the physical appearance of a person alone. You start wishing for whiteness in every aspect of living.

'She had explained to him the difference between coloured people and niggers. They were easily identifiable. Coloured people were neat and quiet; niggers were dirty and loud. He belonged to the former group; he wore white shirts and blue trousers; his hair was cut as close to his scalp as possible to avoid any suggestion of wool, the part was etched into his hair by the barber. In winter his mother put Jergens Lotion on his face to keep the skin from becoming ashen. Even though he was light-skinned, it was possible to ash. The line between coloured and nigger was not always clear; subtle and telltale signs threatened to erode it, and watch had to be constant.'
With Mrs Breedlove Morrison also explains how popular culture and the predominantly white world around them cultivate hatred for their own identity and people. The birth of the concept of white beauty in people is described in vivid details. When her marriage was failing Mrs Breedlove turns to movies for comfort. There, Morrison says,

'...Along with the idea of romantic love, she was introduced to another-physical beauty. Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought. Both originated in envy, thrived in insecurity, and ended in disillusion. In equating physical beauty with virtue she stripped her mind, bound it, and collected self contempt by the heap....
'...She was never able, after her education in the movies, to look at a face and not assign it some category in the scale of absolute beauty, and the scale was one she absorbed in full from the silver screen.'
Self loathing and contempt for her own kind began thus in Mrs Breedlove's words. [Talking about the movies]

'White men taking such good care of they women, and they all dressed up in big clean houses with the bathtubs right in the same room with the toilet. Them pictures gave me a lot of pleasure, but it made coming home hard, and looking at Cholly (her husband) hard'
The disillusionment which arises out of this only sublimates to further hatred for the way she and her people are. Black. This is what happens when she tries to do her hair just like Jean Harlow and loses a tooth right after. That incident makes her realise how futile the entire effort is and she says

'Everything went then. Look like I just didn't care no more after that, I let my hair go back, plaited it up, and settled down to just being ugly.'
There is further description of this hatred towards one's own kind in case of Cholly after he is caught having sex with his friend, Darlene. He blames her for the humiliation both of them had to face.

'...he cultivated his hatred for Darlene, Never did he once consider directing his hatred toward the hunters. Such an emotion would have destroyed him. They were big, white, armed men. He was small, black, helpless...hating them would have consumed him, burned him up like a piece of soft coal, leaving only flakes of ash and a question mark of smoke.' 


On usual gossip sessions, she writes,

'Their conversation is like a gently wicked dance: sound meets sound, curtsies, shimmies, and retires. Another sound enters but is upstaged by still another: the two circle each other and stop. Sometimes their words move in lofty spirals; other times they take strident leaps, and all of it is punctuated with warm-pulsed laughter—like the throb of a heart made of jelly. The edge, the curl, the thrust of their emotions is always clear to Frieda and me. We do not, cannot, know the meanings of all their words, for we are nine and ten years old. So we watch their faces, their hands, their feet, and listen for truth in timbre.'
Later about the three prostitutes, China, Poland and Miss Mary who live above Pecola's house,

'All three of them laughed...From deep inside, her laughter came like the sound of many rivers, freely, deeply, muddily, heading for the room of an open sea.'

Their ways of housekeeping and reasons behind it. She explains how and why property becomes important in the lives of blacks for the fear of being thrown 'outdoors'. Outdoors was death or worse than that. A slow death. 

'Knowing that there was such a thing as outdoors bred in us a hunger for property, for ownership. The firm possession of a yard, a porch, a grape arbor. Propertied black people spent all their energies, all their love, on their nests. Like frenzied, desperate birds, they overdecorated everything, fussed and fidgeted over their hard-won hoes; canned, jellied, and preserved all summer to fill the cupboards and shelves; they painted, picked, and poked at every corner of their houses. And these houses loomed like hothouse sunflowers among the rows and weeds that were the rented houses. Renting blacks cast furtive glances at these owned yards and porches, and made firmer commitments to buy themselves "some nice little old place." In the meantime, they saved, and scratched, and piled away what they could in the rented hovels, looking forward to the day of property'

I would like to add that this is similar to the Indian middle class. Property is perhaps the biggest dream they start off with. The difference is that it is not driven by a fear of having to die. People are attached to land because it is primarily an agrarian society. This love for land permeates across occupations like a precious heirloom passed on from the great great grandparents, who in case of 'upper' caste people, would be land owners. However, in india, caste is as important as class. Dalits have to have land because it is time the ownership is reclaimed. Those who tilled the land have to own it. Over generations, this fight that was explicit becomes discreet. A flat which does not rent its rooms to beef eaters or muslims is a space to be conquered and gives impetus to land to be owned. At the same time the Adivasis are fighting for the land which is rightfully theirs. Property is not just a need, it is a way to assert one's existence. To rob a people of land is to rob them of their proof on earth in some parts. It becomes as if they never lived. 

When a racist shopkeeper insults Pecola the author makes it clear to the readers that he was behaving like anybody would to a little black girl in those times. The feeling is explained with 

'She looks up at him and sees... .The total absence of human recognition-the glazed separateness'

Here the author is documenting what a race had gone through, giving voice to the thoughts in their head. She continues about Pecola's thoughts

'Anger stirs and wakes in her; it opens its mouth, and like a hot-mouthed puppy, laps up the dredges of her shame.'

'Anger is better. There is a sense of being in anger. A reality and presence. An awareness of worth. It is a lovely surging.'
There has always been an argument that anger is unproductive. Attempts to dismiss voices as just angry, without purpose. The purpose in black/dalit anger is aptly described by Morrison. Like she says it is 'an awareness of worth'. It is what makes people in the fringes believe they are alive.

While talking about Maureen Peal the author points out how people behaved differently with her because she wasn't like the 'other' black kids. She was rich and it showed. By describing the difference in behaviour we also get to know how black children were usually treated.

Black boys didn't trip her in the halls; white boys didn't stone her, white girls didn't suck their teeth when she was assigned to be their work partners...
This is an apt example of how all voices need to be heard. We come to know that black boys were mean towards black girls. We come to know that white boys stoned black girls and boys.

Further describing the insult Pecola was facing from her black classmates she tells us the reason why blacks themselves were racist.
'It was their contempt for their own blackness that gave the first insult [calling Pecola 'black e mo'] their teeth.'
Mrs Breedlove's delivery of Pecola in a hospital is where atrocious discrimination is described. The character speaks thus

'When he [a doctor] got to me he said now these here women you don't have any trouble with. They deliver right away and with no pain. Just like horses...They never said nothing to me. Only one looked at me. Looked at my face, i mean. I looked right back at him. He dropped his eyes and turned red. He knowed, I reckon, that maybe I weren't no horse foaling. But them other. They didn't know. They went on. I seed them talking to them white women: 'How you feel? Gonna have twins?' Just shucking them, of course, but nice talk. Nice friendly talk. I got edgy, and when them pains got harder, I was glad. Glad to have something else to think about, I moaned something awful. The pains wasn't as bad as I let on, but I had to let them people know having a baby was more than a bowel movement. i hurt just like them white women. Just 'cause I wasn't hooping and hollering before didn't mean I wasn't feeling pain. What'd they think? That just 'cause I knowed how to have a baby with no fuss that my behind wasn't pulling and aching like theirs?'
 About the past which is as important as the present, Cholly's friend, Blue reminds us.

'...Blue used to tell him old-timey stories about how it was when the Emancipation Proclamation came. How the black people hollered, cried, and sang...They talked...,about how he talked his way out of getting lynched once, and how others hadn't.'
Again, voice of black women is heard when Morrison speaks about Aunt Jimmy and her friends.

'Everybody in the world was in a position to give them orders. White women said, "Do this." White children said, "Give me that." White men said, "Do this." Black men said, "Lay down." The only people they need not take orders from were black children and each other. But they took all of that and re-created it in their own image. They ran houses of white people, and knew it. When white men beat their men, they cleaned up the blood and went home to receive abuse from the victim. They beat their children with one hand and stole for them with the other. the hands that felled trees also cut umbilical cords; the hands that wrung the necks of chickens and butchered hogs also nudged African violets into bloom; the arms that loaded sheaves, bales, and sacks rocked babies into sleep. They patted biscuits into flaky ovals of innocence-and shrouded the dead. They plowed all day and came home to nestle like plums under the limbs of their men. the legs that straddled a mule's back were the same ones that straddled their men's hips. And the difference was all the difference there was.' 


We can see how the colour white becomes a symbol of the unattainable. The book itself speaks of the yearning that sprouts and branches out in the minds of the 'othered' for the ideal, which in this case is white. This later transforms into hatred and violence to their own kind. Post colonialist studies also examine this transferred hatred from the coloniser to the colonised. I remember instances of this in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Purple Hibiscus. Will update with excerpts during re-reading.

'We stepped into the kitchen, a large spacious room. Mrs. Breedlove's skin glowed like taffeta in the reflection of white porcelain, white woodwork, polished cabinets, and brilliant copperware.' 

Later she disappears behind a 'white swinging door'

The colour black is also assigned some properties. Pecola finds comfort in the black cat when Junior harasses her.

'The cat rubbed up against her knee. He was black all over, deep silky black, and his eyes, pointing down towards his nose were bluish green. the light made them shine like blue ice. Pecola rubbed the cat's head; he whined, his tongue flicking with pleasure. The blue eyes in the black face held her.'
Later when she yells at the children for having spilt blueberries on the floor it is described thus

'...her words were hotter and darker than the smoking berries and we backed away in dread.'
At the same time when she tries to calm the white child who calls her 'Polly', because she is petrified by the black intruders who are only her own child and her friends, Morrison describes the words in this manner
'"Hush don't worry none," she whispered, and the honey in her words complemented the sundown spilling on the lake.' 
Thus dark/black is used against blacks by blacks, and white, shiney, honey coloured is what is to emulated. The yearning is to be white and turn away from black in some.  
'With a confidence born of a conviction of superiority, they performed well at schools.'
She writes about Soaphead Church, a 'A cinnamon-eyed West Indian with lightly browned skin' right after she explains the reason for the conviction of superiority thus
'They transferred this Anglophilia to their six children and sixteen grandchildren. Except for an occasional and unaccountable insurgent who chose a restive black, they married "up." lightening the family complexion and thinning out the family features.'
 In Morrison's own words 'My choices of language (speakerly, aural, colloquial), my reliance for full comprehension on codes embedded in black culture, my effort to effect immediate co-conspiracy and intimacy )without any distancing, explanatory fabric), as well as my attempt to shape a silence while breaking it are attempts to transfigure the complexity and wealth of Black-American culture into a language worthy of the culture.'

Some notes for possible intertextuality which will not make any sense now.
Page 93
We stared up and automatically reached for the others' hand.
(God of Small Things)
Page 143
While straining in this way, focusing every erg of energy on his eyes, his bowels suddenly opened up, and before he could realise what he knew, liquid stools were running down his legs. At the mouth of the alley where his father was, on an orange crate in the sun, on a street full of grown men and women, he had soiled himself like a baby.
Page 160 
Soaphead Church also writes to 'God'.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Short Film Trajectory #6 Sound

After edit which seemed to take forever because we just couldn't muster enough courage to let it go, to make a final cut, Aalayalam, my editor half heartedly decided to let it be. We moved on to post production work in sound, popularly known as post or sound. NN, my sound designer and i sat with the final cut deciding on the tracks we were going to use, the design we would try and work out etc.

NN during the sound mix

It was important that we got the ambience of North Kolkata right. So she recorded actual ambience. We needed azan from a mosque in Kolkata. We went to Tipu Sultan Mosque, found a building next to it and entered it without permission and stationed ourselves there from 2 p.m because we wanted to record the one at 2.38. Nothing happened at 2.38. We were on a scooty that a junior kindly lent us so we roamed around the place till 3 pm when someone told us that there was going to be one at around that time. It was really confusing because the timing given online was quite different from what was being practised there. Finally we got what we wanted at 5.15 pm. Here it is. I like this sound a lot in itself because it is very evocative. Anything which evokes anything ends up being on a filmmaker's hitlist of sounds or visuals. Well, i am not a filmmaker yet, but technically i make films too. So evocative is good.
Here is the recording.

During sound, we also shot our titles. One of the earliest lessons i learnt after joining a film school is that a movie is from title to title. I wanted the titles to be in malayalam and bangla script. The bangla part didn't happen. So i settled for malayalam alone. We had already exceeded the time limit of ten minutes set by the institute. So we hardly managed to have the main titles. I used my favourite font Meera, to make the title cards in Gimp. We shot the cards in a classroom in the department of MPP (Motion Picture Photography).

Aalayam, editor, takes a look at Meera (font) before D Jeet shoots the titles

Godard famously said 'Every edit is a lie'. I totally agree. Every cut is a lie. Every shot is stolen. All stories are told. I am a nasty thief. From every movie i watch and like i make a list of things i would later like to rob. My favourite among that list is a director's POV turning to character's POV and vice versa. Another is cutting on the look and beginning an OTS. A sentence that one of my professors said, 'Don't let things fall' is one i marked for later use. It sounds stupid but the idea is that once you show the beginning of a fall of a thing or a person unless there is someone catching it, it is understood that it hit the ground. So a shot of it hitting the ground is redundant. I implemented that in the cut at 00:43 in the 'Waiting without showing the clock' exercise that we had to do in our second semester. Here

But that was not enough for me. During edit i asked Aalayam to implement that again in the montage. Later i learnt that Suresh Pai remarked it was good. I felt on top of the world for a day. Even now, for some reason it remains to be the only place in the film that i am genuinely happy about. Stealing is good. :)
The ghungroo falling here

Sound work got over over a span of ten and many more secret mixing days. The next step is to make a married print. The only place which does the process in the country is Mumbai. We are planning to visit the lab to watch the process. It is something which is facing extinction.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Moral Policing

It struck me as a little ironic that the Kiss of Love protest in Kolkata against moral policing had got over just a couple of weeks ago when i got moral policed for the first time in Kolkata. Kiss of Love protests which has its origin in an incident which happened in my hometown, Calicut, first happened in Kochi, Kerala and soon spread to other cities. I had written about it here. A post about various reactions on this movement can be read in English here. I am happy we are living in a time when scores of people across the country are unapologetic and up against all forms of moral policing.

I had been in similar situations many a time back home. The most recent one was when my male friend and i were asked to state the nature of our relationship including details of when we had met etc by city traffic police in Calicut, Kerala. It had never happened in Kolkata and i was in fact surprised about it in the beginning. Later i almost forgot that such a thing existed. I could roam around the place at ungodly hours and not be questioned by anybody. I could be with anybody i wanted to and not be asked what my business was at any place.

I got a whiff of it at Santiniketan. Had gone there on last new year's alone and was stopped by two men who weren't even police.

D Jeet, S Kar and i had decided to walk to S Kar's place a few kilometres from the institute. We had no purpose. It was a lazy early winter afternoon and we just felt like going some place. We walked for a couple of hours taking unnecessary detours and reached a vast expanse of land beside a huge pond. It looked beautiful and we rested for some time there. When we were on our way back two men on a motorbike stopped us and asked us what we were doing there and who we were. They were speaking in Bangla. S Kar and D Jeet said that we were film students and were there on a location recce. They were not impressed. S Kar's talk with them resulted in one of the men pushing him by the collar. They were rude and intimidating. They were arguing that the place wasn't safe at that hour (around 6 pm) and that we had no business to be there. D Jeet was trying to be polite and agree with everything they were saying just so that they would let us go. After a point i couldn't take their tone and the numerous accusations they were showering on us without any valid reason. I asked one of the men to show their id proof. Please keep in mind that this is the first thing that one should do if one was to be in such a situation. Most of the time they wouldn't be police, like the men who questioned me at Santiniketan. These people however, were police. I asked them what was wrong in us being there that being public property. They kept on saying that the place wasn't safe. One of them called their superiors and asked us to wait till they arrived.

The id card that one of the men produced when i asked for it showed his designation as 'sepoy'. I am not sure what it was of the superiors he called upon. They arrived in a jeep. They too were rude. They shouted at us for being there. 'Bhadro mohila', one of them said about me, suggesting it wasn't right for a 'decent', seemingly 'educated' woman like me to be there at that hour. Decency is supposed to be a good virtue. What is considered decent also matters when it comes to morality. Clearly for those men a girl being with two men at an isolated place with apparently nothing to do was indecent. This is why we need to be cautious about being called 'decent'. If indecent is the tag line one has to bear for just being oneself, then yes, everyone has to claim their right to be indecent. If it were just two men there and they were questioned it probably wouldn't have been about the decency but just about the audacity. To none of my male friends who were questioned in similar instances of moral policing was the question of 'decency' raised. Gender changes the aspects of morality and the accusations. Class matters too, so does the colour of your skin which translates to caste in India. Frankly i was quite surprised when they said that even with my dark complexion. It had to be the clothes which showed that i was quintessentially middle class.  

The new bunch of police people continued harassing us for several minutes. S was trying to explain how we were only going to check some scenery out for a shoot that was soon going to happen. He was trying to tell them how he had been to the same place earlier and had even shot there (this part was true. A lot of students from my own batch including S had been to the same place for a shoot as a part of a workshop that happened before our mise-en-scene exercise). D was again peacefully trying to agree and get us all out of the place. The men however came up with a new demand that we went to the police station with them. This was after we had all shown them our id cards. S had even given his address which was some three kilometres away from the place.

I asked them if they spoke English. I questioned the man who was speaking the most and asked him why we were being asked to do that, what prevented us from entering that place at any hour of the day and why we were being held that way. I asked them to arrest us on proper charges if at all they wanted to take some action on three people being at a place in the evening. Then when he started replying in bangla asking D to explain what he was saying to me i repeated the same in hindi.
After much beating around the bush and more harassment and exchange of words they tentatively uttered the words 'you may now go'.

I wasn't relieved or happy. Was enraged and felt violated. I will, however have to admit that if the same incident were to happen in Kerala, all three of us would have ended up in jail. They wouldn't have hesitated to even beat us up or molest us. So this is the plight we need to be ashamed of. One has to be happy that it didn't happen in a place worse hit by moral policing when it is a common practice. One is left with no choice but to compare and feel relieved. If there is some consolation it is in the fact that more and more people are openly protesting against it.

After some time all three of us started laughing and cracking jokes on the incident. We had some great ghugni, buttered bread and tea on our way to S's place. I thought about it for some time after reaching the institute too. I have decided if i happen to be in a similar situation with somebody hereafter i will just smooch the people with me in protest. Just kiss.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Some Days are Like That

and then she was taken for a ride

I remember stealing a fork from a bar. I was bored. My kitchen was a fork short anyway.
I remember living on just tea for days in a row when in college.

Dealing with a Disorder

Friday, 31 October 2014

Dealing with a Disorder

Recently i saw some amazing paintings by artist Lee Price. Every one of them made me think of myself when i was going through a terrible phase, dealing with an eating disorder which is perhaps the most common among adults. Price's paintings were all about women and food. I thought about my own relationship with food and thought of sketching some thoughts.

My problems became acute in the past couple of years. It is now under control but i know that like anybody who has ever gone through something like this i am susceptible to a relapse, any time.

There are a lot of reasons for Binge Eating Disorder. In my case i figure it was humiliation i faced as a child and teenager regarding my weight. I was not fat, not even overweight. But people somehow thought i needed to be size zero. In my late teens, i grew out of all of that and learnt that the obsession about weight was only a construct, a norm that existed only to be broken. From the age of seventeen i was never conscious of my body or anything about it. I was happy the way i looked and couldn't care less about what people thought of me. Even now i don't get happy if called beautiful or sad if called ugly. At the same time i make a point to tell people not to comment on my body when they do so. It is a practice that needs to be stopped. It has effects, i now know.

The harsh and cruel words that were hurled upon me as a child did have an effect. It did result in bizarre eating habits. Mind works in strange and mysterious ways, i realized. Food became a preoccupation and a nightmare. I stopped eating with people. Even now when things are under control i mostly eat when nobody is around. I get conscious when in a group and eating. I observe people when they are having food. I make people talk about food. I cook and feed others and not eat myself. Then i would have a private little secret eating spree, till i feel sick, pukish, unable to move. I would sometimes have purging sessions, sometimes take laxatives. I talk like a foodie, act like a foodie and even believe i am a foodie. May be i am one, but an erratic, despicable, unfaithful foodie who hates and loves food at the same time.

Rapid weight loss and gain cycle resulted in stretch marks. After i realized that my eating disorder was not my fault and that i had a genuine problem i flaunt them as a mark of my strength and ability to survive. They tell me, 'You have come past all this, you have come a long way'.

I hope to sketch more on this. It makes me happy.

2. Some Days Are Like That

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Short Film Trajectory #5 Of Hope

 Joel Coen said 'I can almost set my watch by how I’m going to feel at different stages of the process. It’s always identical, whether the movie ends up working or not. I think when you watch the dailies, the film that you shoot every day, you’re very excited by it and very optimistic about how it’s going to work. And when you see it the first time you put the film together, the roughest cut, is when you want to go home and open up your veins and get in a warm tub and just go away. And then it gradually, maybe, works its way back, somewhere toward that spot you were at before'.

I felt exactly the same. When i watched the first cut in my editor Aalayam's room, i felt like giving up the course and going back home. I felt all that i had learnt were all that i hadn't learnt. After seeking the opinion of professors i was suicidal. I really was. Things weren't rosy in the personal front either. Aalayam and i somehow emerged out of that together. We sought the opinion of a lot of people. I showed some of the cuts to some on line friends and asked what they thought. We kept on making changes and that just kept us going. In the end you could end up with a good film or a bad one but never the one you wanted to make.

During the edit

In fact this is a common mishap. That after principal photography (shoot) everything else that is done becomes an exercise only to save the original idea not to actually make it happen. That way more than being creative you are being a trouble shooter, salvaging the most passengers out of a sinking ship.
The same had happened during the making of my other short films. I thought things would be different now that i had become more serious and methodical in my approach to cinema. This was the project i had worked the most for. In the end it seemed as if it only made the disappointment greater. However it is out of thisdisappointment that a fresh urge for perfection sprouts in mind. You want to know how you can make cinema 'behave'.  How to get it right the next time and the very thought of a 'next time' is exhilerating.

It feels different now to look at the cuts and make decisions. For me it is now a passing phase. Make it the best in all ways possible and move on to the next disappointment spree. It will be better the next time because you will be making new mistakes.

Like Coen brothers added 'just keep repeating, it gets better'.

Short Film Trajectory #1 
Short Film Trajectory #2
Short Film Trajectory #3
Short Film Trajectory #4

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Toddy Drinking in Manpur, Gaya.

We were on our way back from a temple in Manpur. We were wondering looking at the palm trees if they were tapping it. That's when we saw two villagers carrying a container full of toddy.  We asked if they could give us some. There was no container or mug to drink it in. So one of them kindly made us dishes out of palm leaves. The toddy tasted absolutely great. :) 

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Poached Egg in Bihar

In Gaya, Bihar I came across a common street food there called poached egg/egg poach. A quick googling and some social media discussion made me realize that it is a common english breakfast. The indian version or the Bihari one, rather, uses oil in place of water. The ladle used for this purpose is called 'dabbu'. The inside is often left undercooked and the raw egg oozes out when pierced.

In Kolkata fried eggs [also known as bullseye/ sunny side up] are often called poached eggs. 

Sunday, 14 September 2014

A 'Titli' Flying High

12.9.2014, Friday

For students in a film school especially for those in direction and cinematography, nothing provides more inspiration than pass outs who made it big. On friday the institute hosted a special screening of 'Titli' directed by Kanu Behl who is an alumnus. Titli had already made news by being the entrant in the Un Certain Regard section of Cannes film festival. Both Kanu Behl and his cinematographer Siddhardh Diwan were present during the screening and after it for a Q and A session.

Titli is about oppression in families. The story telling is so powerful, it hits you bang in the head from the screen. In most families oppression continues as a cycle. It passes from one generation to another till the cycle is broken by someone. Everyone in Tili's family is a ruffian, an abuser. They make a living out of stealing cars. Titli is trying to break out of this cycle by buying a parking lot but it seems like it is the hardest thing to do. The film apart from a brilliant script has extra ordinary acting, some of them by non actors.

Titli is also awe inspiring because of the way it was made. It gives young filmmakers hope. 'Titli' was produced under the banner of Yash Raj Films one of the biggest production houses in the country. Kanu Behl had assisted Dibaker Banerjee in two of his projects 'Love Sex aur Dhoka' and 'Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!' before starting work on Titli's script. When YRF approached DBP in their usual way of making a director sign a contract of three films one of it went to Kanu which became Titli. By the time the movie was in the last stages of post production it was already selected for Cannes which was a remarkable thing to have happened to a debutant director.
Kanu said that 'in a way which sounds emotionally charged' he made Titli like it was his final project. He explained in detail the trajectory of the script. During two of the three major drafts one of the characters appeared carboard like which he tried to rectify, he said. The seed of the story was obtained from a newspaper report on a hit and run case. The person arrested was from a family of three brothers. That was pretty much all that stayed out of the real incident, Kanu added.
The reahearsal workshops were intense and were intended to make the actors get the emotion behind the characters. He was trying to make them relate with the charecters with the actors' personal experiences.

Siddharth Diwan, the cinematographer when asked about the choice of shooting on 16mm explained how it was a joint decision. Kanu wanted everything to look as if it was from ten years ago and based on the tests that were done before the shoot they decided that 16mm was what was best suited for this. He also explained how he tried to achieve the filmmaker's concept that Titli's house was the only one in the area which was left like how it was, tiny among a lot of tall structures hovering high above it. He said he tried to make it look as if almost no direct sunlight entered the house and all that one saw was lit by light which was seeping in through a lot of structures which stood tall around the small house. All the locations were real, he said. Titli's house, however was modified a bit. Initially one could see the road outside from the rooms inside. This was changed into an L shape from which no view of the outside world was possible, thereby giving the feeling of being trapped.

Kanu said that the most of the discussion with Siddarth during the prep days was about shared interests in arts, literature, music etc. While talking about the edit, (the editor is again a pass out from the institute, Namrata Rao. Sound was done by another alumnus, Pritam Das) Kanu said that the basic idea was that of making people aware that they were watching someone being watched. That was the primary thought on which she worked and may be due to this reason you see a lot of dialogues happening when you are watching the person listening to it rather than the person saying those dialogues. Pritam, the sound designer has done a remarkable job in both the location recording and the design itself. Kanu strongly opposed the customary noise cleaning procedure all the tracks in the industry underwent to avoid the polished sound.

The cut we watched was one which is going to Cannes. When asked what was different in the cut for theatres Kanu quipped 'Pay for the ticket, go the theatres and watch'.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Short Film Trajectory #4

Publishing the script. This was the 12th draft. Minor changes were made in the final two weeks before shoot and even during it. The first draft had 33 scenes. This one has 20. It was P Mahmood, my professor who mentored the script mostly. She took me through at least 4 drafts. I spoke to two more professors about it. The lack of a story was a big problem for some. The dialogues in hindi were just for reference and were actually in bangla. The major problems which happened during shoot were that two of my actors let me down even after rigorous rehearsal sessions which were held before shoot and that i had to hurry up a couple of shots due to lack of footage and time. Currently indifferent about it all. Let's see what happens during edit.

What i liked best about writing the script was simply watching how a lot of experiences i had made a note of thinking it would be of use sometime actually form parts of it. I finally realized why it is important to keep a journal. For example, Anupama finding a photograph in the room was based on an experience i had when i moved in to my room here. I had found an envelope in which there were some photos taken in Kerala. The post boxes wall was an experience i had already had and which i even had written about here. The old woman's character was based on a woman i had actually seen at a post office. I had written a script for one of our exercises in the previous semester based on it and decided to take a portion of it and paste it here. So on and so forth. In short even though it might be a little tiresome to actually jot down everything which interests you it has to be done, painstakingly. You will always have to have a notebook/sketchpad or even a phone with some similar option ready at hand. They are sure to feature in your thought process therafter.

Scene 1
Anupama (28) is carrying a lot many things such as bags, scrolls of paper, canvas, art material, shoes etc and hazardously climbing the stairs lined by post boxes. She goes past a door, reaches another one, takes a key and opens the door, enters the house and shuts it with her leg. There is a carton outside the house. Papers strewn beside it. A worn out shoe.


Scene 2
She now comes out with some more old things, has an old carpet which she is holding at a distance from her body, and some more papers with her now. She dumps all of them above the carton outside. Her eyes fix on something on the floor. She picks it up.

Scene 2A
She pulls out the photograph inside the envelope, looks at it and goes in.

She is breaking open a packet of Maggi noodles with her teeth. We can see a patch of light in the kitchen.
She eats Maggi with some pickle with malayalam name. While she starts gobbling the food down which is rather hot, she sees something on the loft. She climbs up the platform and pulls it out. It falls and it is a christmas tree. Plastic. Old and dusty.

Scene 4
The christmas tree is dragged and erected in the drawing room. Just as she heaves a sigh of exasperation there is a knock on the door. She walks on her knees to the door to get it. A woman of about 50 comes in before she even says anything. As Anupama watches in bewilderment she says

Woman: Mein unse keh hi rahi thi ki yahaan koi aayaa hein. Aapka koi furniture nahin hein?

Anupama: Aap-

Woman: Mein bagal wale ghar mein rahti hoon. Aapke woh kaam par gaye honge?

Anupama gives her a stolid look

Woman: Akeli?!

The woman is all the more curious now and sits down beside Anupama and says

Woman: Meri baat ka bura mat maanna par akeli? Aapke ghar waale rishta nahin dhoond rahe hein?

Anupama: [taken aback and ignoring] Joh pahle yahaan rahte the kya aap unhe jaanti ho?

Woman: Woh to ek lambi kahani hein. Do jawaan ladke the yahaan. Woh to bolte the ki woh college mein saath padhte hein. Par sabko pata tha ki...donom...saath...aap samaj gayi na?
unme se ek madrasi tha. Jagah ka naam...kya farakh padta hein. Goa ke neeche to sab madras hi hein na? [laughs]

Anupama laughs along and says

Woman: Oh aap kahaan se ho?

Anupama: Goa ke neeche kahin.

The drawing room is now set with a computer table. Her modest collection of books is on the floor though neatly stacked on sheets of newspaper. On the table is a laptop, speakers, some CDs. DVDs, and the envelope that she found earlier. An old photo juts out from it. We see the face of a young girl. On the floor is a mattress with a pillow. You can see scrolls of paper, canvas boards and some half unpacked bags around. She reads some news and checks her facebook. In the news are a lot of upsetting current affairs. Her facebook shows some baby photos, wedding photos etc of friends and she is turned off. Shuts her eyes and rubs them. The phone rings and she looks at the caller and doesn't answer. There is a patch of light on the wall now. She takes a board and places it on her lap. There is a mug with water in it, paint, brushes in a cup/a holder and paper. She takes the palette and is about to mix some paint when she hears voices from outside. A lot of girls. She sighs and leans back on to the wall.

Her phone rings
reluctantly she picks it up. She is silent for some time. Then
Anupama: ആദി നിന്നെ ആശ്വസിപ്പിക്കാന്‍ അവിടെ വേണമെന്നൊക്കെ എനിക്കും ആഗ്രഹണ്ട്. പക്ഷെ എനിക്ക് പറ്റില്ല. ഇത് കോളെജില് അവളുമായിട്ട് അടി കൂടി എന്നെ വിളിച്ച് കരയണ പോലെയല്ല. ചേച്ചി പോയി. ഇനി ഇല്ല. I will try to finish her assignments. But that is not going to bring her back. Yeah right, we have the same genes, so we will paint the same?! For god's sake, Aadi, she is dead. Yeah now I think I know why it's called a dead-line. Okay FINE! Tell me when it is.

She rummages through one of the bags, digs out a calender from its depth, flips the pages to reach June and circles 26th. Drops the brush onto the calender.

She turns against the wall, presses her face on it and observes the light.
The clanking of wood starts and the dance practice starts. She gives up painting and gets up.

Pallabi collides against Anupama who is standing in front of the letter boxes and checking mail.

Pallabi: [Bangla] late again

Anupama smiles. The girl rushes to the door.

In the corridor a bag carrying newspaper and milk is being drawn up by the dance teacher. The cat sits smugly on the parapet. To her left we see an old woman laboriously watering the plants in her balcony, bougenvillas. We can hear Anupama talking in malayalam to someone in the background.

Anupama: അമ്മ ഇതെത്ര പ്രാവശ്യാ പറയണ്ടേ. അമ്മ ഇവടെ വന്ന് നിന്നാല് എന്റെ പ്രശ്നം മുഴുവന്‍ തീരോ? ഇല്ലല്ലോ. അമ്മേടെ പ്രശ്നം തീരോ? ചേച്ചി പോയീന്ന് വെച്ച്...മരിച്ചവരല്ല പ്രശ്നം. മരിച്ചവരെ മറക്കണതാണ്. (ശബ്ദമിടറുന്നു) ഇല്ല. എനിക്ക് വരാന്‍ പറ്റില്ല. അവള്‍ടെ കല്യാണത്തിനുംകൂടി വരാത്ത കൊറെ കുടുംബക്കാരന്ന്യല്ലേ ചടങ്ങിനും വരാന്‍ പോണെ.

While saying this she looks up and sees the old woman who is watering the plants. The old woman is looking at her now gestures her to get off the parapet.
Anupama gets off it saying to her mother: ആ ഇല്ലമ്മാ സേഫ്റ്റിക്കൊരു കൊറവൂല്യ. ഞാന്‍ ചെറിയ കുട്ട്യൊന്നല്ലല്ലോ .പൈസൊക്കേണ്ട് കൈയ്യില്. അമ്മാ ആദി വിളിക്കിണിണ്ടേ. ഇല്ല, ആ എക്സിബിഷന്റെ കാര്യത്തിനാണ്. ശരി. റ്റാ റ്റ.

She picks up the new call and says Hello and goes in.

It's raining heavily. Thunder, lightning. The dance girls come out and promptly take out umbrellas from their bags. Anupama comes up soaked. She sees the girl who was late earlier and says with an exasperated smile

Anupama: poocho mat.

Now there are patterns on the wall from the light in the corridor coming in through the ventilator.
The calender is up on the wall with 26th July circled. The usual source of light in the room is not used for some reason and the christmas tree is lit.
She is masturbating, is unable to, pulls her right arm from beneath her pants and just lies there.
The dance girls approach Anupama. They all have umbrellas. She opens her eyes and the girl who was late takes an umbrella out, smiles and asks:

Pallabi: Forgot your umbrella?

Anupama wakes up with a start and the knock on the door which was faint in the dream is now quite audible. She gets up and sees the patch of light on the wall and is dismayed that she overslept. She opens the door and finds a young man of about 27 at the door. She squints at him.

Senthil: Hello, I am Senthil. Err... I used to live here earlier.

He is thinking of what next to say when she quickly understands and says

Anupama: Oh!

She makes way for him to come inside.

Senthil: I...wanted to click some photos. We never did when we were living here.

His eyes land on the calender. He is surprised and asks:

Senthil: ഓ മലയാളിയാണല്ലേ?
Anupama nods.
Senthil: എനിക്ക് മലയാളം കുറച്ച് കുറച്ച് അറിയും. അമ്മ പാലക്കാട്ട്ന്നാണ്.
Anupama: എനിക്കും തമിഴ് കൊഞ്ചം കൊഞ്ചം തെരിയും.
They laugh.

Scene 11
They are sharing maggi. Senthil is on the floor, next to the christmas tree. Anupama is on the platform in her usual place. Senthil's camera is beside her. Senthil is probing the pickle bottle with his index finger. It is almost over. He looks at the christmas tree.

Anupama is looking at the photos on the LCD of the camera.

Anupama: ഞാനിങ്ങനെ എടയ്ക്ക് വിചാരിക്കും ഇതൊക്കെ വിട്ടട്ട് നാട്ടീപ്പോയി നിന്നാലോന്ന്. അമ്മേം നിര്‍ബന്ധിക്കിണ്ട്. എല്ലാ ദിവസോം വിളിയാണ്. പക്ഷെ പിന്നവടപ്പോയിട്ടും എന്താ കാര്യംന്നാലോചിക്കും.
Senthil: മ്. സ്ഥലല്ലേ മാറാന്‍ പറ്റുള്ളൂ. ആള്‍ക്കാരെ വെച്ച് മാറാന്‍ പറ്റില്ലല്ലോ. ഈ ഫോട്ടോലൊക്കെ മനുഷ്യരെ കേറ്റാന്‍ പറ്റണ വല്ല വിദ്യേം വേണായിരുന്നു.
Anupama smiles.
Anupama: ആ അതിനെയാണ് മനുഷ്യര് സിനിമാന്ന് വിളിക്കണേന്ന് തോന്നുണു. laughs. Do you want it back? ഞാനിതിങ്ങനെ ബള്‍ബ് ഫ്യൂസാവണേനനുസരിച്ച് സ്ഥലം മാറ്റലാണ്. (pointing at the tree)

He smiles and says.
Senthil: ഹഹ. ഞങ്ങളും അതിനന്ന്യാണ് കാര്യായിട്ട് ഉപയോഗിച്ചിരുന്നത്. ഇത് അരുണ്‍ വാങ്ങിയതാണ്. ഞങ്ങളിപ്പൊ...സംസാരിക്കാറില്ല. നിങ്ങളന്നെ വെച്ചോളൂ. ബള്‍ബുകളിനീം ഫ്യൂസാവും. എനിക്ക് വേണ്ടതൊക്കെ ഇതിലുണ്ട്.

She is on the phone as she is climbing the stairs.

God there are two more days left, Aadi! I said I will. You think I will forget with you calling me 24*7?
നീ ശരിക്കും എന്തിനാ എന്നെ വിളിക്കണത്? പെയിന്റിങ്ങിന് വേണ്ടിയല്ലല്ലോ. Actually, I can't find my key. That is the bloody problem. (Almost yelling, but looking around and muffling the sound) YES! I KNOW THE DATE, MONTH AND YEAR!

She reaches the door irritated and sees a cat outside it. She is curious and sees that she has left the key on the latch. She opens the door.

The cat first enters and then she does. Pallabi and a boy are making out on her bed. She is startled and fumbles and says

Anupama: Sorry.

She quickly moves out.

Scene 13A
Anupama shuts the door behind her and says

Anupama: Fuck Fuck Fuck!

The dance girls from the other flat are all coming out now.
The neighbour comes out and asks if someone forgot their umbrella holding one up. She looks at both the sides and sees Anupama and asks

Neighbour: [bangla] What happened?

Anupama now pretends to be looking for the key and says

Anupama: kuch nahin. Chaabi dhoond rahi thi.

The door is about to open and she holds it back firmly now so that they don't come out.
The lady goes back in, intrigued.
Anupama goes in.

Scene 14
The boy is now holding the cat and the girl is thoroughly upset.

The Boy: I am sorry. We are sorry. Extremely sorry. Isne kaha ki aap saade teen ke baad hi aaogi aur darwaaza khula tha. I mean she had seen that you hadn't locked it and we didn't think it would take so long. Mera matlab isne dekha ki chaabi taale par hi thi aur hame laga ki zyaada der bhi nahin lagegi. Sorry. Mein oopar rahta hoon. Aur hamaare paas aur koi jagah nahin hein. You know, to do it. Please kisi aur ko mat bataana. Please.
Anupama is smiling.
Anupama: naam kya hein?

The boy: Debdatta.

Anupama: (laughing) Tumhara nahin. Billi ka naam kya hein?

Debdatta: (sheepishly) nahi pata.

Scene 15
She is trying to draw something. There is news playing. From the computer. More disturbing current affairs. She is working the colours and just draws circles and makes a mess of the paper.

She dials someone on the phone and says

Anupama: You know what? I am actually glad that she died. Because it makes YOU suffer. No. you listen to me. എനിക്ക് പറ്റില്ല. നിന്റെ വെഷമം നീ തന്നെ തിന്ന് തീര്‍ക്കണം ആദി. റിസ്പെക്റ്റ് ചെയ്യാന്‍ പഠിക്ക്. എനിക്ക് ഈ വേദന വേണം. ഒറ്റയ്ക്ക്. അമ്മേനേം കൂടെ ഒറ്റയ്ക്കാക്കീട്ടാണ് ഞാന്‍- The living cannot replace the dead, Aadi. And I am very much alive. Pauses. മൈരേ നീ പോയ് ചാവ്.

Scene 16
Anupama frantically drags all her canvases out of the room, dumps it on the corridor and kicks and stamps on them.

Scene 16A
The dance teacher peeps out of her house and watches anupama kick and stamp in the corridor. She retreats after some time.

Scene 17
Anupama storms out into the corridor. On the stairs she stumbles and falls. She makes a whining sound [അമ്മേ] and gets up. She takes two steps upstairs, then breaks down and startes crying, weeping. The old woman comes in and sits by her side. In an instant she hugs the old woman and weeps more. The woman puts a reassuring arm around her shoulder.

Sc 21A
The cat in a basket, trying to get out
Sc 21B
Debdatta: We don't have a place to do it, you know.
Sc 21C
Anupama is standing near the post boxes with a huge brush in her hand
Sc 21D
Dance teacher: where is your furniture?
Sc 21E The old woman next door breaks a pot in the parapet. A bougenvilla.

Scene 18
Anupama opens an umbrella and checks for leaks.
She turns the page of the calender to July from June. Leaves the room with a determined look and hastily.

Scene 19
She leaves the room, Locks the door. The dance girls are coming out. They are all crowding around the post boxes and murmering to each other. She waits for some time and calls the girl who was late. She comes with an embarrassed smile.
Anupama gives her the key to her room.

Anupama: Mein kaafi der tak waapas nahin aaoongi.

The girl is astonished at first. Then she says:

The Girl: Thankyou!

Anupama leaves without acknowledging it.
Scene 19A
Pallabi hurries up the stairs. Anupama leaves. We see that all the post boxes have been painted black and a huge drawing has been made on it in white paint.

Scene 20
The girl and the boy make out in the room. The christmas tree is in the room. On the wall is an enlarged photo. Two young girls, seemingly sisters. The patch of light is occasionally on their arms which are ever entwining and relaxing.
The cat lay sleepily on Anupama's chair.

The naked lovers are on the bed, but it is night now and amidst the shadows cast by the light outside.