Vada Chennai- A fable of Karma,destiny, cause and effect

My face was gleaming with that radiance as I was walking out of Vada Chennai, which usually comes at the end of an overwhelming piece of cinema. It was delicious. I hadn’t felt this content in a while at the cinemas. On the way back, as the high had subsided, I was musing on the myriad blood dripping episodes, over and over again. There was just one underlying thread, one direction all the chaos condensed towards; an overarching motif- Karma. Suddenly the tea bag I had appropriated from the office pantry seemed like a bad idea.

To me, Karma has always been this Utopian watchdog fantasy propogated by a bunch of altruists to keep anarchy at bay. Do good, you’ll be done good. Fuck up, Karma will chase you like a rabied dog to bite you back. This LHS equals RHS— sooner or later —symetry of dividend accruing over deeds seemed too mythological for my vision, that’s been trained in the commonplace of “nows” and “hows”. But Vada Chennai got me pondering, what with the history repeating with the unhurried fuss of shifting tectonic plates. Every event not only has a cause and effect, but with time goes on to cause and effect something or someone else. Like a grand betrayal of a bunch of cohortst that ebbs into a gory murder. None of them, aware enough about what they’ve set to motion. All of them do go on to graze greener pastures at the other end of this severe moral compromise, but not at the price they had set aside. Each of them gets earmarked, sized up from the moment they betrayed; swung their knives. The backstabber begets a backstabber, both literally and figuratively. A casual stabber casually gets stabbed back in time. The once underdog opposers of the establishment eventually go on to become one, to only find themselves opposed, again by an underdog. Every happening in the present, seems to be an echo from the past. Even the seemingly insignificant domestic designs- like the timid younger brother of a numero uno or the self reference to an anchor at the end of a tussle with a cop. The stray events that seem so, at least when they occur, go on to form meticulous cogs in an unforgetting wheel. Seen in retrospect, after the storm settles, it all seems like a part of an elaborate, dense design put together by destiny ever so slowly, that we don’t really know the sea bed these sediments were coming together for.

Who knew I would end up walking out with a new found reverence for Karma after a gangster flick. But that’s what god cinema does, it surprises you in ways you can’t imagine. It lends fresh perspective to predispositions. It becomes cathartic. And what better way to learn life, than as a mute witness to the life of others.  Thank you Vetrimaaran for sharing this epic tale of love, betrayal, revenge and self discovery, Karma feels like a fathomable poetic justice, not the alien eastern promise it used to be.

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Epiphany in the woods

This piece is a deconstruction of a scene close to my heart. It shadows a rejected photographer, camping in a forest on the lookout for a trophy picture to amp up his portfolio. We travel with him until his eyes find an exotic bird, considered a phantom by the high priests of the fraternity operating the door to his entry. They widen with excitement as he captures the perched bird through his frame; when something happens that catches him unaware. It tweaks the full stop  into a comma at the end of his quest, that seemed like a means to his acceptance till then.

And just like that the bird that was pecking on the bark, spreads across its wings in a superfluous gesture to make for a breathtaking sight that overwhelms him. It shouts out to the sky- probably a prayer – as he slides against the tree behind, eyes welled up from confrontation with the nature’s glory. He walked into the forest in search of a bird, but found himself instead. His identity dissolves along with the last left traces of his ego, as he bares his soul naked in vogue with the ways of the wild.What seemed like a mere trophy object, feels like the manifestation of mother nature in all her glory.

The bird pushes a leaf down like in acknowledgement –  that spirals and waltz in the air -grieving separation while defying gravity on its descent. Chin up, his face moves in anticipation to the dispatched leaf, as its gentle passage comes to an end on his face. Eyes closed, he soaks in the moment as an avalanche of epiphanies hit shore, culminating in a state of infinite peace.The leaf is not so much a leaf as a badge of honour it has become to him.