Veda and dice?

The general impression is that Veda hymns, teeming with praise for the divine, contain power within them to invoke any God they may so will. May as well be. Once in every while, though, one stumbles upon something different. For example, a poemthe that contains the shreds of oscillating conscience shorn off an addict in a rehab.

Oh, don’t jump out of your chairs – yet. I do not claim that they had rehabilitation centers matching the ones existing today. However, once you let go of initial disbelief, you will see the glimpses of all: the awareness of a gambler that the morbid attraction to gambling is a fruit of his hunger to get high on the sight of rolling dice, his knowledge that he has abandoned his unblemished  wife (no blame game here), his awareness of all the ensuing evils – strangers fondling his wife, social ostracization, his guilt, envy, and finally, his utterly hopeless submission to the dices, taking a vow that he (the gambler) will never covet wealth. That is a signature consciousness of a decision that he commits to the vice knowingly, in full awareness of consequences.

You see no hand of the unconscious, though Psychological insight, clear as daylight is written all over it.

In the end, the gambler also resolves that he will give up gambling, and take up farming – from consciousness to consciousness, just the hemisphere changes.

And changes how. Another story suggests that the seer of this sukta was himself this addict he talks about (explains the clear narration of a gambler’s perspective). He was ‘taken away’ – incarcerated? You can taste his pain of rejection when you read his words – it is his own people who are asking that the gambler be taken away. If he stops gambling, his friends go away. See the oscillation and ‘stuckness’??

However, it is this person who was accepted as a Rishi, and he also became a Purohita of a king. Now piece the jig-saw. The missing pieces are not really missing. One may infer (debatably?) that a fallen person got accepted and promoted to the apex of a social pyramid.

Psychotherapy and psychology may not include poetry. But poetry is potent enough to remain a moving poetry while containing guilt, anguish, insight, reflection, observation, and knowledge of the truth. Cut and dry it as psychology, psychotherapy or more, as you like it – or, as you can chew it.

See the Mandala 10, Sukta 34 of Rigveda. It contains 14 verses. This Sukta or a poem, also known as the “gambler’s lament”, is by Kavaṣa Ailūṣa.

The brief translation of the verses is as follows:

The wobbling [dice] born on tall trees in windy places, rolling on the dice-board, give intoxicating pleasure to my heart. The dice from the Vibhīdaka tree, the one that keeps [gamblers] awake, delights me, like the drink of soma from the Mujavat mountain. (1)

She [my wife] neither got angry nor felt ashamed of me [on the contrary], she was cordial towards my friends and towards me. For the sake of addiction to dice, I have abandoned my devoted wife! (2)

The mother-in-law hates [the gambler], the wife keeps him away, and the destitute does not find a comforting friend. I do not find any happiness for a gambler, like the value of an old and worn-out horse. (3)

Others fondle the wife of the one whose wealth the powerful dice has coveted. The father, mother, and brothers say of him, “We don’t know him, bind him and take him away!” (4)

When I resolve that I will not play with these (dice), then I am abandoned by my departing friends. And the tawny (dice) that are thrown down (on the board) make a rattling sound, I go towards the place where they are thrown, like a paramour (drawn to the meeting place with her lover). (5)

His body glowing, the gambler enquiring (about the gambling den), goes to it, thinking “I will win”. On the casting of the moves by his adversary, the dice stoke his desire. (6)

Dice are indeed goads that torment and destroy, and cause remorse and agony. For the winning gambler, they are like sons who keep sucking wealth (from a wealthy father), and for the loser, they, covered with honey destroy him again. (i.e. his wealth and his reputation). (7)

Their group of fifty-three cavort (on the board), like the god Savitṛ, true to his word. They do not bow down even to the anger of the infuriated, even the king bows down to them! (8)

They roll downwards and spring upwards, without hands they overpower the one with hands! Though being cold to touch, cast on the board, they are glowing charcoals that burn the heart! (9)

The abandoned wife of the aimlessly wandering gambler is tormented and so is the mother. Indebted and fearful, desiring wealth (by any means), he approaches the homes of others by night (to steal). (10)

The gambler burns with envy on seeing a woman, another’s wife and his well-established dwelling. He yokes the tawny horses in the morning and the sinner sinks down (exhausted) when the fire dies out. (11)

(O dice)! Whoever is the commander-in-chief of your hordes, the king, the foremost of your tribe, I bow to him with ten fingers (i.e. joined palms) facing east, and I will not covet wealth – this I say truthfully. (12)

O gambler! Do not play with dice, engage in farming, enjoy the wealth gained thereby, considering it to be sufficient! There (in farming) are the cattle, there is your wife (i.e. you will find happiness in them), that is what the Lord Savitṛ has told me. (12)

(O dice!) Make us your friend, soothe us, do not deal with us using unbearable ferocity! May your fury rest in our enemy and may another (i.e our enemy) fall into the grip of the tawny (dice). (14)

Translation: Vedavedanga

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Do you smell a flower? Or …

What happens when you smell a flower? 

You say it smells sweet (or something like that), right?

When you put a drop of honey in your mouth, you say that honey is sweet, right?


What if it was not right?

Today I was browsing Kaushitaki Brahmana (कौषीतकि ब्राह्मण) and came across some text – interesting piece even if slightly turned around in meaning.
न वाचं विजिज्ञासीत वक्तारं विद्यात् न गन्धं विजिज्ञासीत घ्रातारं विद्यान्न रूपं विजिज्ञासीत दृष्टारं विद्यात् ….न कर्मं विजिज्ञासीत कर्तारं विद्यात् न सुखदुखे विजिज्ञासीत सुखदुखयोर्विज्ञातारं विद्यात् … न मनो विजिज्ञासीत मन्तारं विद्यात् …।
For the uninitiated: we all know there are four Vedas, right? Right. Each of the Vedas have four – let’s say, subsystems, or modules. Samhita, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads.
The Sanskrit text above translates thus:
Let’s not try to find out what speech is, let’s know the speaker. Let’s not try to find out what smell is, let’s know the one who smells. Let’s not try to find out what form is, let’s know the seer… Let’s not try to find out what action is, let’s know the doer. Let’s not try to find out what pleasure and pain are, let’s know the one who knows pleasure and pain… Let’s not try to find out what mind is, let’s know the one who possesses the mind.
Yet, the way our senses and our understanding of sensory signals work, we do precisely the opposite. We smell the smell (perfume) of the flower and we claim to have smelled the flower. We taste the sweetness of honey and we say we tasted honey. We experience (some/few/one or two) qualities of a person and we say we know a person. We have experienced a bit of life and we say we have known the life. How accurate is that?
Sometimes (much more than ‘some’ times) we fall prey to stereotypes and generalizations. we seek the sweet middling tendencies, universally applicable ‘truths’ and deny the other person any deviation from that ‘normality’. Although the passage above is about knowing the Brahman, I read it in a more worldly fashion. Think about the empathy and sensitivity to the uniqueness in the other it implies.
We think that ‘scientific’ approach is superior, but that is also miserable. In the name of science and ‘systematic’ approach to creating knowledge, we get tempted to take abstractions at such higher levels that they no longer apply to the chunk of reality we have in our hands. There is nothing wrong with grand theories, but in the name of grand theories, we misplace the actual point of interaction between ourselves and what we experience. And all the while, we think that we have a universal, objective truth. We think that ‘the reality’ is objective, and one for all. We establish standards and ‘cut-off’ s of ‘normality’ and brand the deviations.
It might be fine at times, and necessary at some others. But a habit of making a conclusion at a level higher than where the experience occurs is a gross error. While we do smell the smell, we do not smell the flower. Saying that we smell a flower is a gross denial of all the parts of a flower that either do not smell or have a smell that human nose cannot register. Think of what it means when applied to our interpersonal ties with others.
Does this paragraph not knock on the doors of dynamics of leadership and interpersonal relations?? What do you say?
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Pickles, identity, and more

Fifty-three years passed by before I shopped for Gujarati pickles – the Saurashtra variety.

Studies at first, then kids, work, more ‘important’ tasks… the excuses were many. I had the resourceful mom, masi, masi-sasu and friend; there were ATHANA (Gujarati word for pickles)-enthusiasts at home and my mother-in-law loved to make them — so I simply enjoyed them. My mother-in-law never even half-jokingly alluded to that fact that I had not learned how to make them myself. Add to that the notion that it was better to eat fresh vegetables and fruit. In short, yours truly was a big zero when it came to the ability to make Athana.

Yet, on some days when Khichadi was made, I’d longingly remember the kind of Gundaa (glueberries) my mom’s grandmother used to make. Passing from her hands, they had come to my mom’s mother, and to my mother. Sometimes the thought of Dala-Garmar (the roots of Coleus Forskholli are “Garmar” and “Dala” are their stems) would flash through my mind like the sparks of memory flashing amid amnesia. But that was about it – nothing more.

This vacation, my work involves the reading of Vedic literature. Energized by reading those amazing texts in the morning, I feel ready to greet my household to pull out of it one of those several tasks that remained neglected, avoided, and buried deep at the bottom of my list of priorities – just like one of those divers who pull out the water chestnuts from some lake. What could be a better way to structure that part of the day than to liberate one entry from the to-do list?

It was in that connection that I went to buy fresh vegetables. It is not my usual job. As soon as I entered the shop, I saw the fresh, green gundaa and got hooked to them. So, I bought raw mangoes to go with them. Next to those were Garmar. The bunch of them looked like a grieving widower without Dala, so I rescued them as well. On way back, I also swooped some mustard oil, and dry chilis – a combination of Kashmiri and Reshampatto, to balance color and taste.

My MIL looked aghast with shock when I got back home. I had to reassure her that there was nothing to worry about. But MIL was her name! She also braced up and strode into the kitchen. I had already had the recipe from mom (although it was one AM her time, she outputted the whole thing without so much of a pause), and plugged some FAQs with the help of Masi and my Dilojaan friend.

Swiftly applying PERT-CPM, I initiated the project on two- or three parallel paths and began to clean Garmar, when my husband came for his tea.

“What’s this?”


“What’s that?”

“For pickle”

“Ohh, the kind that Punjabis make?”

“The kind that Nagars make.”

It was just the mention of the word Nagar – my community, but much in a way that a mere scratch on a ragtag wall draws the whole lot of rubble, the word brought forth with force, the memories of my childhood, days and nights of summer vacation, grandparents, great-grandparents, mother,  and much more – the way a sprout bursts out of the loose coupling of a tap with the pipe. Tears welled up in my eyes. Husband knew that sound of heavy breathing meant to pull the snot up. He pressed a silent punch on my sleeve in his bro-spirit.

I prefer to keep myself to myself. Within a moment the world outside got muted, and I began to match pace with my inner self. Preparation for pickles turned into some ancient meditation and connected me to my loved ones. Tears dried up and the smell of memories of cherished ones and cherished times began to fill my soul up.

Cutting the raw mangoes with care, arranging each piece in a matrix on a spread of cloth, making sure that no piece had the residue of the hard case of mango seed … such tiny details tuned me up with the women of my family and the qualities they had: attention to detail, finesse, and diligence began to get sprinkled over me. That I think, was the Samskara. Piercing the ears, shaving the head off, taking steps around the sacred fire are mere rituals. Things that we don’t do naturally, things that someone has to teach us, and teach us in a way that we begin to perform them without boredom and do them well – that, is Samskara, I felt. My elders must have sawn some into me,  and a few of those began to sprout. In my childhood, my mother would have asked me to do many things, and I would have simply run away without ever doing them. Today, those tasks that I never learned began to pay some of the debt. The heritage of making Athana stirred from slumber.

I told my MIL, “You are not going to do anything. Just sit here, tell me ‘Do this / Don’t do this’, and supervise.” She also agreed. And we had some idle debates on which jaggery was superior and such. She said she had got the chili powder for pickles, and I said I was going to grind my own. I can be stubborn at times, so everyone ran for cover and came back to the kitchen with gingerly steps only when convinced that there was no chili discharge in the air. I also showed my appreciation by filling up the jars just as told.

Thus I was initiated today as I wet my feet in one of those many many streams of way of living in which the women of my family have become buffed to a spotless shine.

Bahubali2: why it gets under your skin

It irks people or pleases them. I guess why. But my guesses are hazardous: so, instead of sending them as a letter to the editor of a newspaper, I am writing a Blog.
When you say you “like” something, o when it “irritates” you, you are evaluating. That comes from your thinking part. Way before thinking though, and a much more unconscious level, we feel. The movie (esp. BB2) hooks you because it has multiple appeals to your feeling and the arational part, and therefore it has something for everyone: to love or hate. So it is so successful. Here’s about its appeal:
1. Rasa, the cream rising atop the churning of emotions: विभावानुभावव्यभिचारिसंयोगाद्ररस निष्पत्ति:।
The foremost principle of Natyashastra says that the play we watch produces an emotional equivalent of essence or nectar, which comes from the churning of emotions.
The dormant rasa resides in the hearts of all the viewers who have suitable predispositions. (Those who have not, get irritated because their emotional profile doesn’t match with what the play has to offer.)
When we see the movie, our dormant emotional profile gets stirred mainly by the acting of the Hero.
Strike-1: Bahubali (especially BB2) invokes one major emotion: Veer rasa conveying valor and enthusiasm. It has merged into another Rasa, which is Shringar. It is a mix of attraction, romance, chivalry and dedication. See how BB1 differs from BB2 here. BB1 simply shows the crude, erotic expressions and moves, like taking away the clothes of an unknown girl. BB2 has better to offer. And the second minor Rasa is Adbhuta, full of surprises. BB2 does that with sumptuous visual feasts. Whether we find them acceptable or not is a matter of thinking part, remember. The churning happens because these rasas compete with each other for our attentions, merge into each other at some time while replacing each other at some other. Therefore, you have a constant experience of churning emotions and emergence of Rasa.
Strike-2: The emotional profile of a viewer is tingled by the hero’s stage presence and acting. Must say, he is charming, tall, well-built, and intense. Who wouldn’t love a man who jumps into the water to let you walk on his shoulders to get to the boat? And there’s more of that. This hero is a lover, son, the crown prince, and more. He fills these roles within roles with smooth presence and acting.
Strike-3: The hero’s acting is given meaning by his other for every Rasa. Who wouldn’t love Devasena’s youthful character? She charms and surprises us because she beats the stereotype of a Barbie-doll princess (read dumb and good-for-nothing except when sitting pretty). And the way they mix romance and valor – like the scene where the two fight in dance-like moves in total synchronization (Did I not say, don’t judge, yet? – we are not talking about whether it is realistic or not. We are saying why people find it difficult to remain apathetic to this movie).
There’s more to Rasa, but this much will do for now.
2. Individual and social identity-ideals:
I am not talking about the unreal, the excessive or simply the unconvincing elements of the movie. The movie hooks that spot of our unconscious where we hoard the parts of the ideal identities that we wish our self or our society to be.
BB’s strength, and all that apart, the senior BB and Devasena stand up for their convictions. The queen may have lapsed in judgment, but they stand up for their values. They pay the price. And what a price…
We come out to sit in our drawing-room and blame the society, the system, or whatever. Because it doesn’t support people who take a stand. We know that taking a stand means giving up the rest of your life – or giving up the life – and fighting just for one thing, whether you will get it in your lifetime or not.
When we face unfairness, we wish we had support. From someone, anyone – but we don’t, so we evaluate that ‘flexibility is better, ideals are stupid’. But we know that that kind of society is no good. We wish we had that kind of society, but that remains as an unrealized ideal.
Anthony Giddens said (something roughly like:) that man creates the society, then society creates the man. So, in an unfair society, we reduce, dilute, restrain ourselves even when it is unfair to us to do so, and wish we could be what we could have been.
Strike-4: This is where BB2 hits at an underground level. You know that Bhallal won by treachery, yet BB kept his trust. Bhallal aNi company called him a dog, yet Kattappa kept his dedication. Or, Devasena took insults and what not for 25 years. Devasena’s parents wed their daughter to the prince of an empire, but the empire burnt them down. We will be wiser than all of these, put together, but we know that we should have not been so.
It is stirring that we are too conscious and too self-conscious to pay attention to, and therefore we just laugh at it. Or we love it.
When we laugh at the broken laws of physics [in the movie], we actually subdue the noise of broken code of fairness.
… But why to make so much of a mere movie?

While I await the result of my BA Final… at the age of 52 7⁄12

“Make haste slowly. When you think you have arrived, press on and don’t sit down”*

Well, it was not all fun. Especially because it came in a package. To study 10 papers in Sanskrit, I studied 4 in Psychology, 2 in Gujarati, 3 in English, and 6 as Soft Skills and Foundation courses. 10:15 is not very efficient. But then, there are other considerations. Like, many of these may be complementary. And they make sense if you love the 10 part.
As far back as I remember my high school days, I had wanted to study Sanskrit. I was good as languages, and that is how I wanted to study, if at all – because I was not at all ambitious about studying. I would have been happy as a child bride, to admit it candidly. But those are perhaps crazy non-notions that you have about yourself. I guess if someone did take me in, I would have been reading and writing all day I imagine. I loved biology, but Physics and Math were not for me.
I found myself marching forth, through Commerce, into Management, and so on. Oft and again, I would remember my dream. One day, post-50, I enrolled for the Bachelor’s in Arts. While these sentiments are fresh, I note them as the lessons to myself:
Cycle (or spiral, and not a circle) and not a line: My model for the life must have been a straight line, because I sometimes regretted studying what I did and wished I had studied language. I perhaps assumed that if you come away from something, you can never go back to it. But now I think that my love for language has proven itself, I have not done so bad for myself, and now that I also studied language once again, it seemed that I could have done it before as well. So, you don’t have to move away. You come back, but at a different height.
Complementing, not competing: In fact, my previous learning made me a better vessel for absorbing the richness and beauty of Sanskrit in all of its profoundness.
Beginning, not the end: I actually think that this bachelor’s has only opened the doors of a promising future of further discovery, exploration and amazement.
Choice, not blame: It could have been easy to blame someone for why I did not study Sanskrit earlier. The reality is, my love proved itself undying, curiosity intact, and now I showed to myself that you can respect others’ wishes as well as satisfy your own will.
Doing what you love – a perfect upset: I worked for a Ph.D. later than expected, but just when I thought I had a book to my name, a doctoral degree, and the usual academic work going on, going back to a Bachelor’s was a perfect indentation to what would have otherwise been a waking slumber.
Reason, not accidents: Finally, I believe everything happens for a reason. I was meant to go to commerce college, I was meant to get an MBA, and I am glad I did. At the same time, I was meant to study my language of love, and finally I have just begun!
All, and not one: I might be thinking that I am the one studying, but it is all because the social side take a back step, mind has a new absorption, and schedule has a tendency to get rigid. Some people give way, and some hold hands. No one does nothing all by themselves.
Studies, not degrees: Lastly, this one is true for all the times. I would do something if I love it. In this case, the unfulfilled wish to study Sanskrit – degree is what fallows. I won’t say I don’t care, but that’s not the reason: I know you know it.
* Modified from Goldfrab, J. A., The Journey of a Humbled Heart: A Life Guide for the 21st Century, p.85.

Mesmerising Mandu

Do monuments tell stories? Or is it simply that people who have stories buried deep down their souls can hear them like a symphony when they are in the presence of these monuments?

Jahaz Mahal (c)margieparikh

Jahaz Mahal (c)margieparikh

Whatever be the case, one must agree that not all the monuments echo the same story.

If Mandu has one, it is of sanguine love that had enough time and space to find a life of its own. Love that was realized. Love that could mature and find its manifestation.

Remains of complexes near Jahaz Mahal (c)margieparikh

Remains of complexes near Jahaz Mahal (c)margieparikh

And it has all the necessary ingredients: heights of mountains, mirrors of lakes, glory of vast structures, beauty of architecture, eternity of love story, common thread of music, and the historical lineage running several centuries back.

Viewing balconies made for Roopmati: viewed from Baz Bahadur's palace, Mandu (c)margieparikh

Viewing balconies made for Roopmati: viewed from Baz Bahadur’s palace, Mandu (c)margieparikh

They say that Baz Bahadur was an ardent hunter. Once when he was on his hunting trip, he heard captivating music sung by a woman in the middle of vast wilderness – and that is how he found Roopmati, singing the praise of her revered river Narmada.

It took me right back into the times of Kadambari, the first Sanskrit novel by Banabhatt. In the novel, beautiful Mahashweta was found just like that by Chandrapeed who was out hunting. Kadambari spans three life-times of its characters.

I decide to contemplate before- and after-life later and begin to savor the symbols of love in one life of Roopmati-Baz Bahadur. For those short of time, the trip doesn’t permit leisurely roaming the town and randomly picking the sites. the first one to see is Reva Kund, made at the orders of Baz Bahadur, get water from Narmada. Roopmati was a great devotee of Narmada and she didn’t eat until she had first offered her prayers and done the Darshan of the river each day. She agreed to come to Mandu at the condition that her ritual continue unbroken, and Baz Bahadur delivered it.

Reva Kund at Mandu (c) margieparikh

Reva Kund at Mandu (c) margieparikh

Gentle slope takes one up the hill at the foot of which stands the palace of Baz Bahadur. For a moment you might lead yourself to believe that you were on your walk in Rome, because of the broad line-up of steps, the arches and the sharp angles of the walls that still stand. What will bring you back to Mandu are the Mughal shapes of Spade-like upper points of the arches. And you join Baz Bahadur once again.

Steps to palace of Baz Bahadur (c) margieparikh

Steps to palace of Baz Bahadur (c) margieparikh

Why does one seek out the era bygone? Why does one allow the charm of music to work like witchcraft? Why would a glance at ruins actually convey to one’s mind the image ‘as-if’ the ruin was in its prime time? I have no idea.

Water filter at Jahaz Mahal, Mandu (c)margieparikh

Water filter at Jahaz Mahal, Mandu (c)margieparikh

One oddity of Mandu is its multitude of Baobab trees. I didn’t see any once I left Mandu, and our guide attributed it to one of the rulers of Mandu who introduced the tree there. According to him, Baobab is known as ‘Khorasani Imli” [lit. Tamarind from Khorasan].

One of the many Baobabs at Mandu (c) margieparikh

One of the many Baobabs at Mandu (c) margieparikh

But the trees look young compared to some of their African cousins. So I am not sure. I get distracted by its fruit, and chew on the powdery white, tangy flesh around the seeds.

One more element that Mandu is in love with is water. Palaces have numerous ponds and pools inside. These green gardens, enchanting Chhatris, and the water inside the palaces… this must have been the Mughals’ inspiration as they shaped Delhi.

Palace of BAz Bahadur at Mandu (c)margieparikh

Palace of BAz Bahadur at Mandu (c)margieparikh

… and then, here is the place where the mid-wives lived, with a hospital nearby. Messengers of high-placed people came on horses and shouted from this point. The call would be echoed, and there was no way the Dai could miss it. The story has it that the messenger would shout the address and the Dai would reach there – to deliver the bundle of joy.

Echo point, the Dai's hospital at Mandu (c)margieparikh

Echo point, the Dai’s hospital at Mandu (c)margieparikh

The place has enchanting arches lined up in a constantly unfolding arches. One would lose the count of such series..

Roopmati's palace at Mandu (c)margieparikh

Roopmati’s palace at Mandu (c)margieparikh

And there is sombre Nageshwar temple. You have to climb down the slope to come to the shrine. The Shiv-ling is located at a basement-level depth and a small spring sprinkles water all around it. I had no heart to take pictures there. You just feel at peace and chant whatever shlokas you remember. A tiny blade of tulsi comes up in a bed lined by stone.

Blade of Tulsi at Nageshwar temple, Mandu (c)margieparikh

Blade of Tulsi at Nageshwar temple, Mandu (c)margieparikh

Before I realise it, it is late afternoon, and there is so much to savor. I forget photography and just drink all of it in. I promise myself one more visit – may be two days net.. and hurry back.

Sunset on way back from Mandu

Sunset on way back from Mandu



Real Tears in the La La Land

*Spoiler Alert*


If you have ever chosen, if you have ever forgone, if you have loved and ever been set free, all of it might flash before you in one fraction of a moment while watching La La Land.

La La Land may have been made into a movie, it might have been fashioned as an ode to the musicals and to Jazz. It may be all of that and a reminder that love has its own longevity and its own progression of time, that love is greater than living life together. That all it needs is one glance across a hall and time in the world of love ticks as if it was just the previous moment when you had met the love of your life.

And that love takes dreams under its wings even when that dream seems to stand on its very grave.

La La Land portrays a boy’s  love although it is a love story.

Love shows up in its its own intricacy of his behaviors: loud, non-stop honking at the girl’s door, cooking after surprise visit back home, and telling the girl on face the true feelings even when they are ugly — like telling her that she was interested in seeing him low down so that she could feel better about herself.

Those searing words go in the same cocktail as his refusal to accept her resignation from her dream, setting about on a long drive to deliver the message about her audition, and pushing her to go realise her dream. The cocktail is in the movie. Shaken and stirred are your emotions.

Because somewhere it touches the ‘been there’ all around you. For example, you don’t chase your dream because you have no money. You do something else instead, because it gives you fame or success. You can’t chase what you really care for, because you are busy raising resources. But in the end, those non-dream projects fund the dreams. And you learn to wait.

Love doesn’t work that way though, says La La Land. There is never an ‘either-or’. You love someone with your soul, you meet them after years, you say, ‘welcome to Seb’s’ and play your favourite tune. The whole life in-between comes in and the ends join seamlessly.

“Had I done this….” scenarios play and rewind. Permutations unfold.

You choose for yourself: two people, two dreams, loving life spent together, one dream realised and one dream buried for the other; OR, two dreams, separate lives lived, two dreams achieved, and lives lived separately.

But no, the OR is really not the case. Once you love, you share eternity. Not sharing a few years doesn’t matter. You listen to the tune, get up, leave to go back to your life. And before exiting the door, you smile and nod in approval of a job well done. One glance – brings strangers together and parts soulmates for life. Glance to glance is the full circle of love and in-between, there is life.

‘La La Land’ can’t get closer to reality. It is real already. Like the tears it brings.