Sunday, 18 September 2016

episode 65 khatti meethi

"toffee se meethi hai...
chooran se khatti hai
khatti meethi hai teri kahani
anjali di hai sabse sayani"

you're 14. your parents lie dead before your eyes. on the day your only sibling, your elder sister was supposed to get married. i wonder what happens to your mind then. how do you survive? what makes sense after that? and for anything to make sense, what do you reach out for? especially when in the midst of the madness comes betrayal from those you trust.

possibly a place in his mind shut down permanently after the event. the gentler, softer, vulnerable, emotion rich place. in its stead he turned to his anger, his sheer refusal to succumb. he would take on this world and talk to it in the language it understood, the language of money, of authority, of hard material success. in this lay power... taqat. a taqat he needed to just get through this pain and reality breaching horror. "himmat dikhai maine." he was young but showed courage and braved the odds.

yet, for a nature as deep as his, there had to be more. to give meaning to this endeavour. to stay sane. to feel human. di was where he anchored all his emotions and without her his world would simply fall apart. no amount of money, power, nothing would keep it standing. it was around her he recreated his link with this unforgiving real life.

he took away from himself any need for personal happiness. watching her being happy was all he needed. at least that's what he told himself in his hour of need... and that's how he survived. and perhaps that's why shyam could fool the heck out of him... he kept di happy.

and now di couldn't be found.

imagine his state of mind.

when he ran up the stairs and his eyes caught sight of her... that pause as he got his balance, himself, back; his eyes just taking her in, disbelief, relief, love, fear, joy, everything in them... one of the best moments i've seen on screen. barun sobti's asr was stunning throughout the next few moments. understated, but deep, moving emotion. a brother, who never put any limits on his love for his only surviving immediate family; now all his outer self kept aside, only his most emotional, dependent side out, yet asr all the way.

daljeet bhanot was flawless in her rendition of anjali, now the peeved and hurt elder sister, and then suddenly, understanding his need, his remorse, the absolute loving and giving elder sister.

a pivotal scene where khushi realised exactly how central anjali was to her younger brother's happiness, joy, life. in these minutes khushi internalised in a flash, what keeps asr going. that this love for his sister is his only link to the essential space of human emotion. without it he won't feel complete.

gentle tender music. he comes and kneels before her. she sees him but doesn't acknowledge...

khushi walks up with umbrella.

he looks at his di with the gentlest eyes, a hint of smile,

"toffee se meethi hai... chooran se khatti hai..." sweeter than toffee... more sour than chooran...

anjali looks at him.

"khatti meethi hai teri kahani... anjali di hai sabse sayani," sweet and sour is your story... anjali di is very clever.

a little poem from childhood, in which memories are kept safe, away from this harsh world. his voice carries the most heartbreaking notes of tears, breaks here and there. his remorse is just as complete as his anger.

this is the clean man with a conscience,  an innocence... khushi watches amazed.

"di, aapki bari hai." di, your turn now.

but di looks away. "hum bhool gaye hain," i've forgotten... she is not mollified, not yet.

"papad ka tukda...," piece of papad (aww crisp crackly salty spicy, do i know you?). tired voice with break in it reminds her...  khsuhi eyes' widen... is this rakshas?

anjali relents, perhaps she heard that weary note, he is emotionally drained...
"papad ka tukda hai/jab dekho ukhda hai/deta hai apne di ko/aansoo mote mote..." piece of papad is he/always angry is he/gives his di/tear drops so huge...

he looks at her in that pause, so much love and dependence and more in that gaze, the swallowed tears you can almost feel.

"woh hai gussewala... hamara chhote," he is the angry one, my chhotey.


finally anjali looks at him and smiles... that giving smile of hers.

he swallows... the tears come... the ocean is calming.

"galati ho gayi, di... maaf kar do." made a mistake, di, forgive me. i am getting goosbumps at that delivery.

turns cheek for a slap. she goes to slap, but cups his face instead. says it's ok. but he refutes:

"nahi di... theek nahin hai... duniya ke liye... aapke liye nahin..." my anger is ok for others... but never for you.
and the key issue comes tumbling out... i have nothing to do with this world... my real world is but you. "mujhe is duniya se koi matlab nahin hai (tragic)... meri asli duniya toh aap ho." stress on "aap" superb acting, quiet, felt, real, eyes concentrating each emotion.

going deeper into his ultimate fear. di, never get lost again... please. he is exhausted, can't bear this again. from childhood i've seen, those who get lost, they never return. "bachpan se dekh raha hoon, jo kho jaate hain na (tears stung the back of my eyes at his tone, the scared boy in it, i've been there)... wapas nahin aate..."

perhaps anjali is beginning to gauge his state of mind, the terror in him... "agar aap ka dil kare na toh aap mujhe daant lena... maar maar ke meri jaan le le lena, di, par..." whimpering, sobbing, anjali is shaking her head wanting to reassure him, " ki tarah mujhe kabhi chhorkar mat jaana, di."

if you want, scold me, hit me, kill me... but don't ever leave me and go away like ma did.

maaa. a nightmare recurs. a little boy in a house of mirrors, mirrors shattering. big bad arrogant asr, within his fragile tender heart, he places trustingly only in his di's care.

finally the music releases toward a higher tempo, till now quiet and as sad as him. she hugs him. watch barun, that is asr... not just any loving brother. even in pain, in fear, in terror, in his saddest memory, barun is always asr,

"achha yeh batao... tumne bhi vrat rakkha hai na." tell me asks his centre of universe trying to take things to even keel, you too have kept a fast, haven't you?

the quiet believer within the perceived atheist, he has fasted on the day of raksha for his dearest one. thsi is to me admirable, sign of a real believer... beyond practice, to the heart of faith.

"acchha tumhe kaise pata chala ki hum tumhe yahan milenge?" how did you know i was here?

he remembers, his eyes say so. anjali turns and catches sight of khushi.

"khushi?!!!" anjali beams.

really? maybe i should do this again and again... anjali pulls his leg... restoration of calm... music lilts ma ga re sa... happy, no longer plaintive.

"di aapko yeh sab mazak lag raha hai?" di, this looks like a joke to you? he's still not completely out of it.


"khushi ghar wapas aa gayi hai" khushi's come back home.

"chale?" shall we go? cute nod.

"aap yehi chahti thi na?" this is what you wanted, isn't it?

"papad ka tukda hai
jab dekho ukhda hai
deta hai apne di ko
aansoo mote mote
woh hai gussewala...
hamara chhotey"

if i'm ever feeling a bit down, all i need to do is come and take a look at these scenes, and inevitably i start feeling better. i am not the go awww at sweet bro sis relationship sort. in fact, quite the opposite. if even slightly badly handled, one wrong note or nuance, i'd have gone gah and rushed off to the hot scenes. but they got it so right, so just so, i had to just give in and just love the whole thing. i could have sworn he was pouting in that last cap. ok, i am officially faintiya.

and so you came, as i knew you would, but what made me know it though?

i stand at your door, last night was it you at mine?
why do you come, why do i?

why do you matter? why do i feel i have that right over you as none other?

it was a few minutes together, yet it was teeming with things unsaid, feelings uninvited that were determined to stay. gold digger... rakshas, the insults flew... the intense dislike. yet below the surface, two human beings were seeing each other, feeling each other... a boy called arnav and a girl called khushi. "she lived on the morning side of the mountain... and he lived on the twilight side of the hill," but unlike in the song, these two did meet.

he's driving madly, desperately looking for di. khushi sits terrified, jolted around, 

what if he can't find her... what if she's... g forbid. hey dm, this speed, what if the car spins out of control... what if... no. two childhood fears side by side.

he notices her state, grimly "apni seat belt lagao," put on your seat belt.

she fumbles. he stops the car... reaches across, so so close, pulls seat belt over, puts it on. rabba vey notes. so full of "huq," right  over her. night before just walked into her house. and now this concern for the "tum jaisi ladki."

eyes helplessly locked on hey hey...

"ho sakta hai... anjali..." she pipes up. one glacial stare is the most logical asr response. right to be rude too.

in his mind he thinks: "kahan dhoondoon di aap ko... kahan chali gayi hain aap?" where shall i look for you, di, where have you gone?

she replies on cue: "aap chinta mat kijiye... anjali ji mil jaayngi," don't worry, she'll be found.

he stops the car again... to fight. it's a custom now, practically. a pretty sacred one at that.

this is all because of you... if you hadn't come home, we wouldn't have fought. again voice rising, finger pointing, "sab tumhari vajah se hua hai." it's all your fault. the bristling awareness between them unsettles both. especially him. and there's only one way to handle it, turn attraction into war.
khushi knows he doesn't mean any of all this, he is just worried sick, and spewing nonsense as a result. she is thinking on her feet, wondering where anjali could be.

and it clicks.

"devi maiyya... aaj toh shukravaar hai aaj toh dm ke bade mandir mein aarti hoti hai." today's friday... there's a big aarti at the devi maiyya temple. that's all she has to say, and he gets it.

he turns the car around.

(a special thanks to the writers. that toffee chooran rhyme is a classic, and has a wonderful insight into love between two people growing up together. music, direction, utterly brilliant on the two scenes i fell for.)


e.p.i.s.o.d.e.s of dil
episode rambles

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