Before Endgame

So I’ve been reading Ecclesiastes lately. The verses for this week’s sermon was also coincidentally on Ecclesiastes.  The whole book on Ecclesiastes is basically this: Everything is meaningless.

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
    says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
    Everything is meaningless.”

What do people gain from all their labors
    at which they toil under the sun?
Generations come and generations go,
    but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises and the sun sets,
    and hurries back to where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
    and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
    ever returning on its course.
All streams flow into the sea,
    yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
    there they return again.
All things are wearisome,
    more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
    nor the ear its fill of hearing.
What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one can say,
    “Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
    it was here before our time.
11 No one remembers the former generations,
    and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
    by those who follow them.

Ecclesiastes 1:2-11

It goes on about how wisdom and folly is meaningless, and pleasure and pain is meaningless etc. etc. You get the picture.

I used to like Ecclesiastes for a childish reason. It came across as encouraging when I had a bad day at school or when I failed something. It takes out all my angst. “Everything is meaningless!” I’d declare mock-heroically/wisely and gravely. And then I’ll get over myself and try to do better.

I still like Ecclesiastes because it feels as if everything is being put into perspective. It balances out everything and contemplates about the unfairness of life, why bad things happen and all that. It’s kind of like Job. While Job did question God, the author in Ecclesiastes accepts that in the end, some things can’t be explained or understood and it’s all just part of life. To be fair though, I suppose Job was more emotional about it because he was losing everything in life left and right and it was personal whereas the author in Ecclesiastes was just pondering about life in general.

Continue reading “Before Endgame”


Runaway Thought

It is very difficult to need to study a text that talks about the meaninglessness of life when there’s so much meaning and purpose in your own to sympathise with the author.

Guess who has to study Samuel Beckett’s Endgame for her final exams~ Lucky me.

The most…non-drab version of Endgame I could find. At least it’s in colour. The others were mostly in B&W to portray the bleakness of everything and nothing.

Endgame… is basically about nothing, the nothingness in life, the end of it that hasn’t completely ended yet…I think. I can’t tell. I’m probably too shallow for this stuff. Because I’m too busy living life which I find has meaning and purpose, y’know.

I don’t know if I should try to put myself in Beckett’s shoes to better study for this. And if I decide I must, it will be a very very sad process. Truly depressing.

I don’t want to empathise with his view on how meaningless the world is. I don’t think it’s meaningless and I don’t want to make it out to be meaningless. Good grief. This is the guy who said he didn’t want to have children because life itself is sad and he doesn’t want to put anyone through it.

-.- look at my face, Beckett.

The only two characters I like (out of the four there are) are Nell and Nagg, the old parents who live in trash bins (yes, you read that right). I just find them kinda cute. In a morbid-ish sense of things.

Nell and Nagg in their bins

I liked this dialogue. I thought it was funny and that Nagg and Nell were the most…not crazy. Their conversation about nothing goes on and on though. It’s kind of mind-numbing.

(Nagg knocks on the lid of the other bin. Pause. He knocks harder. The lid lifts and the hands of Nell appear, gripping the rim. Then her head emerges. Lace cap. Very white face.)

NELL:What is it, my pet?(Pause.)Time for love?

NAGG:Were you asleep?

NELL:Oh no!

NAGG:Kiss me.

NELL:We can’t.

NAGG:Try.(Their heads strain towards each other, fail to meet, fall apart again.)

NELL:Why this farce, day after day?(Pause.)

NAGG:I’ve lost me tooth.


NAGG:I had it yesterday.

Hahaha. Two sad cute old people.

“Why this farce, day after day?” is the only quote that sticks to me. It’s another one of those quotes I use in real life, say, for homework. Ironically, for studying Beckett now. Hohoho.

Ok I shall stop procrastinating.

Go live a life and love it ok.


Write on my Heart

I draw you around me with the strokes of my pen
I ink you……………………into being
Or maybe I’m just inking
what has already been impressed
Upon the pages of my heart, of my life
The existence that was, is,
before I even knew a pen
And now I’m just
filling out
The parts of you I like
To see your impressions more clearly
To let others see them more clearly
I know you’d want me to show
More of you
than what I liked,
Even though I couldn’t know
All of you enough to define
(But really, is there something about you I don’t?
You can be
to me
But that’s only because
You’re True
and Just
and Right
and I’m not.)
So no, I don’t not like you.
I just need time
to learn to be on your side
as you are on mine.
Sometimes I deviate from you, the perfect pattern on the page
Sometimes I think the streaks would look better
beyond the ridges you have made.
The nib glides more easily
across the smooth surface,
Better than the valleys you’d rather me run
Until I look back to see
What a mess I’d made
And try to find the path
I ought to have tread instead
But no matter where I mark
I realise that the imprints I’d formed
apart from yours
Were never really beyond you
after all
I see a second mark that draws alongside mine
It patterns and swirls and buffets my line
And I see that the doodle of two colours
Dance a lovely picture across the white
It makes even my errors contritely beautiful
It guides me along my path, your plan
And I think that you must have known
The ways of my straying lines before they were marked
Else how could you have made such a picture as this
My line, so straight and simple,
You make into art
Along the way I see other colours
Ribboning across the pages with me
They ink in new and different ways
They paint brightly
and illumine darkly
But they are all lovely
because they are from you
I realize that the ridges run off the page, my page
And crosses the spaces of other books
Where what you gave me,
my colour and my style,
becomes unique.
These, you use
to beautify and guide
the other brother’s hand.
And this I consider
a divine honour.
Even there I see your marks unchanging
Across the pages and the books,
Your signature motif, so sure and true,
remains, remains the same
At last when I reach the final page
And the ink has run dry at last
You hold up the pages
And show me how each page,
bearing a nonsense squiggle of colours,
Run together to form
The perfect world you saw in us
before we did or ever could,
The beautiful children
you made us to be
in your flawless countenance
The picture I had tried to draw from the beginning
On a single page
You had me draw parts
throughout the book of my life,
the pages were impressed
when you gave it to me
And while I drew I could not know,
And if I knew I could not see.
But because you gave this book, this pen
And you accompany me in your evergreen hue
I draw without knowing, without seeing,
I draw both believing and unceasing.
Some parts are messy, the tangle at your feet
When I first pressed the pen to the page
And insisted on only coloring the easy parts
Or not coloring where the ridges did bade me
Along the girth of your waist I see blotches
When I first made those I thought
I had certainly spoilt the picture
Now I see that they were but details
The shadows which breathes life into the portrait
Throughout the painting the patches of whites
and jumble of shades
and dark black blotches
never completely went away
But your mark which never parted mine
guided me to form
this precious precious picture.
It made everything look exactly as if
I knew what I was doing
You turn and display my work
As if I were the great artist who painted this
And you lavished me more than abundantly
Because this work you had beautified
You also credited to me
And as I watch you frame up the work,
As if it were so precious,
I see how it fits with the other pages of my brothers
I see it all so suddenly
I see how you gave me
More than a book, more than a pen
You gave me a hope, a future,
You gave me an eternity
You gave me tools, knowing and hoping,
knowing and hoping I wouldn’t stop
And you had a frame prepared for the completed piece
before I had even started
To think that all the time
I thought I held the pen
I thought I wielded power
To pen down my life, mine
To even ink You into being
I forgot who it was that gave me the ink,
the pen, the pages,
the hands
to write with.
How laughable, how foolish it is!
When I see the beginning from the end.
I see how I’m so small
Next to your grand scheme of everything
And that I could not do what you would not me to
That you helped me gain what I could not on my own
There is so much more in life, this life
which was not fully mine to begin with
I am a part of something greater
because in Your greatness,
You allowed me
to be a part of you
you are mine,
and I am
You have given me life
With it I ask you
to take up the pen
and write
Write on my Heart

Continue reading “Write on my Heart”

The Fine Print in Freedom

I saw this dude on the train the other day wearing a white top with a single word printed on it: Freedom. And that basically sparked off this post.

I turned the word “Freedom” over in my head for a bit and got a lot of responses from the far corners of my mind.

What does ‘freedom’ even mean? Why does everyone want freedom? Can we ever really get true and complete, no-strings freedom?

Google “Freedom” and almost every picture you get is like this: person with arms raised and outstretched, sometimes jumping, sometimes winged, set in a beautiful nature landscape. They don’t show you the boundaries in them, no oh~

I guess it’s a pretty no-brainer why everyone wants freedom. “Because then we can do whatever we want!!!”

That was admittedly the first idea of freedom I had: the ability to do whatever it is we want. By that, we would probably have to be let off from the rules that keep as bogged down and grounded on earth, the laws of society and nature that we are constrained to.

Is it possible to get that kind of freedom, to do whatever it is we want? Hmm. I went through a long train of thought that hits quite close to home in my life to say: One, this kind of freedom doesn’t exist. So, two, no it is not possible.

Such a pessimist, you may say. Ok well, here are my thoughts on it anyways.

So when I was little, I had a dream (as all little kids do). Say, for convenience sake, I wanted to be a musician. If freedom were to play in this, I suppose I could set my heart on it and claim the freedom to be a musician. Go for classes, practice, perform. While I’m practising, free to be the musician I wanted to be (since I have lessons and my parents have no objections), I was giving up the other forms of freedom I had. As a kid, maybe, giving up the freedom to play, to watch TV and chill 24/7. But those are kid stuff that I honestly didn’t mind giving up. Still, what if I live in this freedom of being a musician and end up poor and homeless, unable to support myself and my family? I would have traded my freedom of having financial security to gain my freedom of being a musician. What if I pursued this dream but found out I can hardly earn enough to feed myself? The laws of nature dictated that my body required food, sustenance. The freedom to live without food isn’t one I can (or want) to claim.

Or another example. Just going by “the freedom to do whatever I want”, as a kid, I probably wouldn’t go to school as much (or at all) than if I were made to. Sure, I would have the freedom to play all day, but then when I grow up and want a new freedom, the “freedom to own pretty expensive things and live like a princess”, I wouldn’t have the money to do that, because I probably wouldn’t be earning a lot of money being the unschooled employer without a degree and stuff. I wouldn’t be able to claim this freedom because of the other.

I hope you can see where I’m going with this. I think that freedom is kind of a relative term, and there isn’t ‘absolute’ freedom to attain, just freedom in different aspects of life. There isn’t absolute freedom because somehow, somewhere, there will always be boundaries and lines. Once you are freed from one set of boundaries, you inadvertently find yourself already within the constraints of another set of boundaries. Just by crossing the lines to get out of something, you cross the line to get into another.

Continue reading “The Fine Print in Freedom”

Thoughts on Kuch Kuch Hota Hai/Something Happens

I watched this Indian movie in film class this week called Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) directed by Karan Johar starring Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and Rani Mukerji. It’s basically what my lecturer calls “the Indian version of Grease” and I absolutely agree with what little knowledge I have about Grease.

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is about a college stud, Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan), falling in love with the new student, Tina (Rani Mukerji) and inadvertently hurting his best friend, Anjali (Kajol) in the process because they’ve been best buds for years and Anjali has just realised that she is in love with him. When she sees that Rahul loves Tina, she moves away and Rahul and Tina live happily ever after for a while until Tina dies during childbirth. She gives birth to a daughter whom she names Anjali and writes her daughter letters so that little Anjali might grow up and reunite Rahul with Anjali. So that’s what little Anjali does 8 years later when Anjali is just about to get married to a long-time suitor, Aman (Salman Khan).

Shah Rukh Khan as Rahul, the college stud…
…falls in love with Tina, the new girl, played by Rani Mukerji…

…breaking his BFF Anjali’s heart played by Kajol
They were such BFFS. I could see the love cliche coming miles away although Tina as Rahul’s love interest was never a doubt. To be honest, I doubted the Rahul/Anjali idea more.
So little Anjali, played by Sana Saeed, comes to the rescue!
At last at last, Rahul sees Anjali in a new light (long hair does wonders)…
…and they finally fall in love and live happily ever after.

I liked how it was a realistic love triangle. By that I mean, Rahul picked one girl, Tina, and Tina loved him right back and allowed Anjali to leave even though she knew Anjali liked him. And she did it in a not-mean way. She wanted to back out of their friendship but she didn’t, for herself. And I liked how Anjali didn’t go all “you ‘other woman’!” because she saw that Rahul didn’t think of her romantically then.

And I loved the ‘oh no, someone’s going to get hurt’ overhanging feeling of dread during the theme song which really means “something, something has happened (in my heart)” even though it’s so happy and everyone’s spinning in their own world of bliss. (Here, watch this. I INSIST YOU WATCH THIS THEME SONG OF BLISS) Besides, Rani is so pretty here ❤

I liked Anjali the tomboy in the first part of the movie. It’s a character I can relate to and it’s so sad when she tried to dress up like Tina and failed miserably. She got more lady-like later on which allowed Rahul to see her in a new light (it must be the long hair) but I liked her tomboyed. I also liked Rahul more in the first half. He kind of got wimpy towards the end. I mean, he didn’t even stop Anjali’s wedding! It had to be Aman to see the love and tears in Anjali and Rahul’s eyes (although they weren’t saying anything) and be the big one to let Anjali out of their marriage. And all this happened not because Rahul stopped the wedding and confessed his feelings for Anjali. It happened because Aman did it based on his insightful interpretation of tears. Kudos, Aman.

Continue reading “Thoughts on Kuch Kuch Hota Hai/Something Happens”