she lives on in my dreams

My heart cracked and ached as my grandfather hobbled out till the gate and applied vermilion paste and rice grains to our foreheads for good luck before we departed.
What would it feel like to live with someone for a few years shy of fifty?
To lose that someone?

He stepped in to fulfill the role of a mother and a father to my mother, as she learned to live without my naani.

Being the eldest of four siblings, mum shared everything with her.
I cannot gauge the loss of a parent; I saw my mother fall apart as my grandmother was cremated.

I felt nothing. It was too unreal. Even after I was home, I’d expect the door bell to ring and there she would be, chuckling that we did think she’d gone away.
She was a fighter. Her face was softened by kindness and grace. Resilience too; she dealt with the most unfavorable of cards dealt to her in the spirit of the game and suddenly, she went away.

That she was mortal never really occurred to me. She was my naani, she loved hanging out with us and she loved being happy.
She’s always been around. She will always be around.

I was in the tenth grade when my father called. My last pre board examination had ended; I reached home, packed what I could find and left for the nursing home she was admitted to.

My grandmother’s siblings were there too. Chatting, assuring each other that it would be fine. Their eldest sister would be back in shape in no time.
Tubes and wires snaked in and out of her: that’s the best my memory has to offer.
I did not even enter her room because I knew she’d come back. She was strong.

She didn’t.

I wish I hadn’t been so sure. I wish Continue reading

Dear Kishimoto Sensei: What happens next to Naruto?

Masashi Kishimoto has been spinning Naruto’s story for 15 years now. I cannot possibly imagine what reserve of fantastic imagination he has drawn upon all this while, but of late, his touch seems to be lost.

The last few chapters have been little better than fillers; fillers can at least be identified from a mile away, but predictability at the cusp of climax can be soul-killing. ( I’ve watched every single episode since Naruto, when the orange-haired protagonist was a kid: I watched all the fillers too.)

Unfortunately, once Uchiha Madara caught hold of Naruto’s share of Kurama’s chakra, my interest has waned and it seems I am not alone.
After Uchiha Itachi, Sasuke, Pain, Danzou and the story of how Konohagakure came to be (aka the rivalry between Senjū and Uchiha clans) , Obito’s reasons for joining forces with Madara were anything but a surprise to me.

We’re all stubborn shades of grey but I think Kishimoto risks mundaneness by following the formula: a goody two shoes with a flaw in character, or a weakness of some sort is eventually led to choose the path of darkness, having lost courage to dare to hope again.

Pain’s trigger was watching Yahiko die and Akatsuki fall apart; Danzou always wanted to be the Hokage but failed to acknowledge his faults, Madara allowed petty clan politics to rip his precious friendship with Hashirama apart.
Finally, Obito failed to see Rin sacrifice her life: all his eyes could see was Kakashi’s failure to keep his promise to Obito and Rin’s murder.

Their stories are undoubtedly unique, but the pattern eventually kills any anticipation that might breed.

In Bleach, or even One Piece, some villains are just that: stubborn villains. They might’ve been born angels but eventually they chose to be the bad guys and are pretty happy with being playing the part.

Can we, for once, have a villain who relishes his villainy in Naruto? Continue reading