Perspective: Ego’s Last Meal As A Critic

The title may have led you to believe that it is a profound phrase with layers of meaning to unravel.

I would like to clarify that it isn’t.

It is in all actuality a profound phrase with layers of meaning to unravel that is also a pun. (Few words can explain my love for puns – but let’s save that for another post, shall we?)

If you’ve watched the movie Ratatouille before, go ahead and read the title again. I’ll wait. See if you can spot what I’m alluding to.

If you haven’t, here’s a short recap: Anton Ego, the feared critic in Paris, is to critique Gusteau’s, the restaurant which lost a star previously owing to his harsh review.

At the restaurant, he requests to be served ‘perspective’. He is served ratatouille, and following an encounter with the chef, publishes a glowing review in the papers the next morning, despite the dish having been cooked by a rat. Here is where Ego says that he finally understood what Gusteau had meant by ‘Anyone can cook!’ – not that everyone has the talent to become a chef, but a true chef can come from anywhere.

Looks like he got served some perspective after all! But wait! Do we have a happy ending here? No. The rats are then discovered, and he loses his job as a critic. (But he’s happy as a small-time investor, so yes, happy ending. 😀 Ego’s happy, we’re happy.)

So in a way. Ego’s last meal as a critic was perspective.

I probably should have stopped thinking about it there. But no, I read between all the lines and connected one thing to another and came up with this theory:

Anton Ego represents our Ego. (His personality sure explains it.) Ratatouille, or the dish that he last ate as a critic, represents perspective. (Remember the flashback?) And if Ego’s last meal as a critic was perspective in the movie, who’s to say it can’t be so in real life?

This right here is an amazing quote 🙂

Admit it. We all have an Anton Ego lurking inside of us, whether or not he turns against the outside or yourself. That one voice inside our heads telling us we’re doing it all wrong, and that everyone else can do it better than you. Or that one voice telling everyone else they’re doing it all wrong and that they have no idea what they’re doing, ergo you could probably do it better than them.

The former is too little of Ego and the latter, too much. Two extremes on a scale. However, if you do manage to get a dash of perspective, it changes the way you (and in succession, Ego) look at things just enough for you to have some peace and sanity in order to actually accomplish things without worrying about anything else. In other words, Ego stops being a critic. Perhaps you might even get a boost when Ego stops analysing everything passing through your mind.

Now, the question remains – where do you get perspective from?

It depends on you. Perspective comes in a myriad of forms, and every person on this planet can discern only a few of these, for everyone thinks, and feels differently. If it helps, start with looking at the situation – or even life – in another light. For lack of a better literary metaphor, switch the point-of-view of your novel to another character’s.

In Gusteau’s words, your limit is your soul.

I leave you with this wonderful GIF that highlights the importance of watching the movie that is Ratatouille. 😀 

Catch you later!

Niru 🙂

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8 Things Not To Say/Ask: Inside the Writer’s Head.

I love writing.

Every writer does. It gives me an outlet and a chance to express my emotions in the form of creations sprung from my own imagination – it’s more than just a hobby, it’s a passion. 

What I dread is the Q and A session after someone else figures out that I write. It usually starts out like this (And by ‘it’, I mean the nightmare).

Them: Oh my god, you write?! I had no idea! That is just so awesome, I mean, way too cool – *continues telling me how amazing it is*

Me:

By then, I know what I’m in for, and I prepare myself for biting down on my tongue and giving the acceptable cliché answers. Although there’s a whole different story running through my mind.

So here are the top 10 things I’m told as a writer, the answers I give, and the answers I actually want to give, termed as Acceptable Writer’s Answer.

I’m going to finally say it.

1. How are you so creative? (or) How do you write so well? 

This is the first question everyone – and I mean everyone – asks me. It is also the one with which I have a lot of trouble answering. It’s like they want a step-by-step guide to my writing process. I don’t know how I am creative! I write when I’m inspired. I can’t explain that, even when they expect me to. The moments just happen.

Acceptable Answer: I’m not sure. I just get inspired sometimes and add a little bit of imagination.

Acceptable Writer’s Answer: Oh. I don’t know. I ate paste as a child. Tasted quite good too. XD

2. Can you put me in your book?

This is the runner-up for most annoying question asked. I don’t create characters the way I want them to be – I just write down how they develop in my head. You can start off a character by basing it on someone, but in the end, they’ll have evolved into a whole new persona. Besides, do you know how much emotional and physical trauma a character undergoes? Are you actually insane, given that you want your character to experience that? 

Acceptable Answer: Sure! I have the perfect situation to introduce you into the story!

Acceptable Writer’s Answer: Sure! You sure you don’t mind if I kill your character off in a brutal murder?

3. You’re still working on that book? But it’s been forever!

Here we go again.

I’m not even going to acknowledge this with an explanation because it ought to be clear that writing a book is not easy. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows and buttercups, do you understand? It’s more like tears, and sleepless nights, and madness and innumerable cups of coffee. Or hot chocolate. So, if you think eight months is forever – you might want to rethink your concept of the space-time continuum.

Acceptable Answer: Yes, unfortunately, it’s taking a bit of time.

Acceptable Writer’s Answer: You’re still asking me that question? But it’s been forever!

4. Why don’t you publish your novel? 

This one is just annoying. It depends on the author’s preferences. If I want to publish it, I will. If I’m not published yet, it’s because – guess what? – getting published isn’t easy. It’s a lengthy, difficult process. I want to be sure of myself before I put it out there for people to dice and poke through my story to critique it. Sometimes the stories I write aren’t for public eyes to scan.

Acceptable Answer: I’ll do it when I feel the time’s right.

Acceptable Writer’s Answer: Why don’t you turn around and walk away? We can pretend this never happened.

5. Writing’s interesting, but easy. I could write a great book too, I just never find the time! 

This is the winner for Most Offending Statement.

Just to clarify, as I have said before, writing is not easy. At least, writing a good book is not easy. I’m not saying that you can’t be a writer, I’m just saying that writing a few pieces of fan-fiction or spare snippets of stories doesn’t make you a writer. You’ll have to spend time on your work. That’s the pre-requisite for a true writer. Hence, I will not even dignify that statement with a response.

Acceptable Answer: That’s wonderful. I hope you find the time soon.

Acceptable Writer’s Answer: *turn around and walk away*

6. I’ve got a brilliant idea. Maybe you could write the book and we can share the profits!

Okay, so here’s the deal. That proposition is just plain unfair. I’m not going to slave away day and night if you aren’t going to make much contribution. Unless the sharing works out to be me getting all the profits.

You have no idea how many times this has happened to me.

Acceptable Answer: Perhaps. We’ll see if we can later, alright?

Acceptable Writer’s Answer: 

7. Oh, nice to meet you! I’m a writer too! Wrote a story once.

Now, if this line came from another writer, I would be ecstatic. The problem is, most often it’s from people who’ve dipped their pinky finger into the pool of writing. Probably one short story, or the first paragraph of their ‘magnum opus’, as they call it. Here’s who a writer is according to me: Someone who writes for the love of writing, and uses it as a way to express themselves or convey a message.

Acceptable Answer: Pleasure to meet you!

Acceptable Writer’s Answer: Oh, I’m a dancer too! I danced once when I was in sixth grade! (I’m not very good at dancing XD )

And the winner….

8. Oh, you write fiction novels too, I presume?

There is nothing so irritating as hearing the words ‘fiction’ and ‘novel’ together.

Believe it or not, this has actually happened to me. Once. I hope I shall never have to hear it again.

Definition of a novel: A fictitious prose narrative of book length, typically representing character and action with some degree of realism.

I would like to draw your attention to the word fictitious. Do you know what that means? It means that saying ‘fiction novel’ is like saying a six-year old girl is six years old.

Acceptable Answer: Well, yes, I do write novels, which are indeed works of fiction.

Acceptable Writer’s Answer: No, I’m working on your biography, actually. I’m sure it’ll be a best-seller, considering its elaborate details of your murder. *smiles sweetly*

It’s alright to ask writers things, or to carry a conversation with them. Just phrase them in such a way that it doesn’t offend or put down our work or opinion. Anything else goes. Even the above questions can be rephrased to a more acceptable form. 🙂

So, how about you? Have you ever faced any of the above situations? How did you react? What other questions have you been asked that got on your nerves?

Comment below! I’d love to hear from you! 😀

Catch you later!

Niru <3′

Memories: Or Perhaps I Should Say, Threads

Memories. 

The word in itself, no matter in what context it is uttered, is dramatic.

It holds within its realm of three syllables a myriad of emotions – happy, sad, excitement, anxiety – so much more that what I can put down to words. Emotions stick with you; they are the reason memories are what they are. They are the mind’s equivalent of photographs and videos. They are saved, later retrieved upon the release of a particular trigger.

What sometimes happens is that this trigger rusts. Life gets busy. You have to think so much of the present and force yourself to think too much of the future, that you think not enough of the past.

What is it that they say? “Past is in the past; look to the future”? Something like that, anyway. Let me just say, I don’t believe in it. The past is what made me who I am today. Maybe I shouldn’t let it get to me and hinder me from moving into the present – but it does not mean that I should forget about it. It will always be a part of the story that is your life, and nothing  you or I can do will ever be enough to change it.

Accept your past. Do not forget it.

But never, ever let it overwhelm you to such an extent that you are stuck in the past, unable to live in the present.

Yes, the past can hurt…

…or learn from it.

Okay. Rant over. 😀 (Lion King is the one the best movies, though. I have to say that. 🙂 )

So, as I was saying, the trigger rusts – but sometime or the other, something is bound to pull it. And when that happens, you will be greeted by an avalanche of memories – a landslide of emotions. You will feel anger, sadness, bliss, and carefree all at once.

And it will leave you a confused mess of thoughts.

You have no idea.

I’ve often spent times going over a timeline of memories in my head. Believe me, it’s like the Internet Superhighway, the way a laugh changes into a sob and then into a shout. XD That is to say, they’re all special. They’re all different.

The thing is, these moving pictures that we call memories are, in my view, threads that will connect us to particular points in the past. They are light, and seldom do we feel their weight, unless we pull on them. They help us reel thoughts of the past into the present, and never fall short when we are in need of them. Spun of thoughts by the hippocampus, there are millions of these threads that exist.

Then why do we cut them?

Often people choose to erase a memory because they ‘don’t want to think of it’. It’s understandable and it depends on the person. It is in times like those that they really wish that the Neuralyzer has already been invented.

But is the complete loss of the memory and all the emotion connected with it worth it? Is a detachment from that part of your life going to help you? Perhaps. Is that the right way to go about it? You tell me.

Besides, I’m sure we’ll also be able to find a Deneuralyzer to recover lost memories. 🙂

What do you mean Deneuralyzers don’t exist yet? Clearly you don’t have top-level security clearance.

Memories.

The word in itself, no matter in what context it is uttered, is dramatic. You know why?

They are dreams we once lived. 

Dreams we have the power to relive. 

Catch you later!

Niru <3′

Tears + Panic = ?

I come bearing exciting news! 🙂 Everybody say hello to the newest member of my family!

There he is!

There he is!

The first time my eyes locked with his deep blue-grey ones, I fell for him, for he is one of the sweetest kittens I have ever had the pleasure of loving. We spent quite a bit of time looking into each other’s eyes before he raised one of his little paws and attempted to climb out of the basket he was kept in. I watched him, in absolute silence, as he explored his surroundings, nudging the furniture with his small, wet nose as he passed by them.

My family and I were to adopt a kitten, and it was thus that he found his way into our home (and our melted hearts, I might add. :D). Once we brought him home, we had to think of a name for him, of course, and it certainly had to be a very special one.

His mother’s name is Lola. His father’s? Leo. It was then decided that it was only fitting that he be called by a name that began with L as well, and so we began on the search for the perfect name. After a bit of pondering, and quite a bit of bickering, we knew what he would be called.

Lyle.

Lyle, short for Lylan. It had something endearing to it, and it felt right when we called him. Already he has begun to respond to that name.

Lyle is a very feisty cat when he wants to be. Other times, he is a very quiet and reserved kitten who enjoys curling up in a corner and going to sleep. He’s unpredictable sometimes, and I love that about him. He sleeps all day and crawls under my bed late at night to meow and ask me to play, and I love it. (That also explains my half sleep-deprived state 😛 ).

He likes to chew on things too. More than often, it happens to be the edge of my skirts, or a spare pair of ribbons I leave around the house. I’m just glad he hasn’t learnt to get into the laundry basket as of yet! (Then again, ripped jeans are very ‘in style’ today 😉 😀 ) Apart from that, he loves this blue jump rope of mine, and constantly plays with it, running behind it when someone pulls it away, or jumping up to catch it again if anyone lifts it into the air.

The blue jump rope. :)

The blue jump rope. 🙂

Over the three days we’ve had him, we all had our hearts stolen by the cuddly ball of fur that fits in the palms of both my hands put together. We showered affection and love on him every second we spent with him.

Today, I petted him after he woke from a deep slumber while lying down on me, and let him go find his blue jump rope. I changed the water in his bowl and filled the other with his food. He was still with me then, gnawing away at the edge of my skirt. I then had to turn away for five minutes, and when I returned, Lyle was nowhere in sight.

My reaction.

A frantic search ensued. A quick superficial one revealed no kitten, and served only to dampen my hopes, for we discovered that the door had been left slightly ajar, opening up the possibility that he could have gone on an adventure, which caused me to panic. I then proceeded to lift my spirits, convinced myself that he was only sleeping, and went on an hour-long search for Lyle in all the nooks and crannies of my house. When even that didn’t turn up any results, I let the tears I’d been holding back flow.

Lyle was my kitten, and I loved him. I simply couldn’t stand the thought of never seeing him again, even though everyone else was very sure that he was only sleeping, curled up somewhere we hadn’t looked yet. I was convinced that I never should have taken my eyes off him for even those five minutes. I pulled his favourite jump rope close to me and began to silently let streams of warm, salty tears trickle down my cheek for a couple of minutes.

“He’s here!” I heard a shout, and for a second, I snapped out of my trance. I dashed to the source of the sound, the tiny flicker of hope in me burning brighter than ever.

There he was. My sweet, cute, little Lylan. Sleeping peacefully, tucked in the dark corner of an unused cupboard. He hadn’t bothered to even meow and let us know he was there, despite all our audible shouting and terrible meowing, but it was a relief.

Little Lyle. :)

Little Lyle. 🙂

I started crying again, but this time it was tears of happiness. Lyle was safe. He was sleeping. I gurgled a small laugh, and it was the best I had felt the whole day.

And yet, the emotions that raged inside me during that hour and a half will never be forgotten.

I have felt tears. I have felt panic. But I have never felt them both together, and it feels a thousand times stronger. It does not have a name, for no name can fully encompass the extent of that feeling I had to endure for those terrifying moments. It is signified, thus, by the symbol of a question mark.

Anyone who has their own solution to this equation? I, for one, cannot solve it.

Tears + Panic = ? 

Catch you later!

Niru <3′

(Images on this page were taken by me, and are copyrighted.) 

The Answer To Life, The Universe And Everything.

42.

A seemingly ordinary and plausible integer that has two digits, is positive, and is divisible by 2, 3, 6 and 7.

It is also “The Answer To Life, The Universe and Everything.” (If you haven’t read the Hitchhiker’s series, find out more here.)

Even Google says so – what other proof do you need?

Or is it?

Sometimes, we all get a tad bit philosophical. Admit it. There’s no point in denying it. We all find that spare time to contemplate life and wonder what on earth we did was ever so wrong to begin with. Then we contemplate what on earth is ever so wrong with the world around us and wonder why everything is wrong with the world in the first place. Then we contemplate…okay, you get the point – we end up contemplating. And wondering.

Sherlock wonders too.

We spend all our time looking for answers. At any given point in time, I can assure you that somewhere, someone is looking for an answer. I do not know what the question is, nor will anyone, but there is always an ongoing search for an answer.

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are pretty simple. Sometimes the questions are simple and answers are so very complicated (case in point, examinations :D). Sometimes we convince ourselves that we have to find an answer to the question we haven’t even found yet.

You see, there are tons of unanswered questions around you, and you can’t attempt all of them at the same time, because if you do, it’s likely that you don’t know the question properly. If that’s the case, you probably won’t find the right answer either.

In the book (Hitchhiker’s), Deep Thought, a supercomputer, pronounces 42 as The Answer To Life, The Universe And Everything. It was a moment of joy. There it was, the answer they’d struggled so hard to get. It was right there in front of them! The code of the universe had been cracked!

Then Deep Thought, living up to his name, points out that 42 seems rather meaningless because they didn’t know the question, and that he was not capable of giving them the question, but he could design another computer that could. The mice, who didn’t want to spend another 10 million years waiting for the results, settle upon the question, “How many roads must a man walk down?”

I have always found this to be a play on what humans today actually do. They spend every ounce of their energy in pursuit of the answers they so diligently seek, and when they receive them, they don’t have an inkling of what to do with them. It’s because they never understood the questions, and so they simply settle on ones that seem ‘right’ to them. Then they complain that the answer was wrong.

So, I’d like to put forth this statement – chances are, when you find your question, you’ll soon find your answer.

Yes, we have questions. We need answers. Why? Because that’s a big part of life, finding questions, finding answers. Finding Nemo. 😀 (Okay, scratch that last one, but it is a splendid movie, you know.)

Finding them gives, perhaps, a sense of purpose to life. A meaning. This meaning changes for everyone, because everyone is different. They have their own ways of understanding things, of looking at the world.

That is why this quote I once read has stayed with me.

The meaning of life is to give it a meaning.

And so, as Deep Thought would say,

To travel the world, do what our heart tells us to, and always carry our brains with us.

And to give our lives the meaning we know it needs.

Catch you later!

Niru <3′