I Told Sunset About You

The pride month is about to end in a week and recently I found myself re-watching one of my favourite LGBTQ dramas. Will I pay heavens to make me experience the feeling of watching it for the first time again? Yes absolutely yes!

The drama that I’m talking about is called “I Told Sunset About You”, also known as ITSAY (yes, I couldn’t think of a better title for the blog). If you are a fan of Asian dramas then you have definitely heard of the BL genre. BL (Boys’ Love) shows although depict romantic relationships between men but are targeted towards teenage female audience. The genre has often been accused of wrongly portraying gay relationships.

Coming back to ITSAY, it is a Thai drama released in 2020, though marketed as a BL in the beginning but due to its realistic portrayal of same sex love and not following of conventional BL tropes, ITSAY is considered a LGBTQ coming of age drama. The story follows the lives of two teenage boys Teh and Oh-aew, played by Billkin and PP Krit respectively, who live in Phuket and are chasing their common dream of becoming actors. Teh and Oh-aew used to be childhood friends but had a fallout due to their shared dream forcing them to be competitors.

Finally, in the last year of school while preparing for University entrance exams Teh and Oh-aew meet again at Chinese language tutorial classes where Teh agrees to teach Oh-aew Chinese and their friendship blooms again. Teh is in love with a girl named Tarn who is also his classmate and they both have decided to start dating after entering University. The five episode drama then tells the story of both the boys exploring their identity, realising their love for eachother, chasing their dreams, while dealing with family pressure and teenage angst simultaneously.

As a coming of age drama, ITSAY portrays the complexities of a teenager’s mind really well. The struggle to strike a balance between what the heart wants as opposed to the mind and the constant fear of not being able to conform to the norms of the society makes up for a emotional roller coaster ride. Teh helping Oh-aew learn the Chinese language gives us some of the sweetest and heart fluttering scenes in the drama. The feelings of jealousy, helplessness and longing for eachother when a constant pressure of entering a prestigious University and making good career is lingering above them makes ITSAY relatable to many of us.

I can’t help but talk about a particular scene in the drama where the fear of loosing Oh-aew, the pressure to be up to the mark like his elder brother and several other things piled up together cause Teh to have a mental breakdown in the middle of writing his exam. Another heartbreaking scene is where Teh is struggling to come to terms with his sexuality and thus refrains from getting closer to Oh-aew. This prompts Oh-aew to try on a red bra as he wonders what he is lacking in? Why is he not enough for Teh to love him back?

A still from ITSAY

Talking about ITSAY and not appreciating its soundtrack and cinematography is soon going to be counted in top ten gravest sins one could commit in their life. The soundtrack is as memorable as the show itself, with each score resonating with various human emotions. My personal favourite is “Home Coming”. As for the cinematography, I will just say that ITSAY feels like a trip to Phuket with your two favourite people.

I can keep on writing paragraphs about the brilliance of this drama, it’s storyline, acting, direction, music and everything else but that will make this blog extraordinarily long. So, if you want to fall in love with beaches, sunsets, hibiscus, coconuts, the colors red and blue, and reminisce about your teenage love then please watch ITSAY without wasting another minute.

ITSAY is followed by a 14-minute short film, titled Last Twilight in Phuket and a second season called I Promised You The Moon.

The odd one out

You! yes you
The black among the whites
The lone star of dark nights,
The tortoise in rabbits’ race
Nah! Not the winner
That’s not always the case.

You, who were too big to fit in the box
So they chopped your ‘useless’ wings off,
Now you look more like the other products
To serve uniformity
All of us have sacrificed a little bit of us.

For individuality stokes fear
You did whatever kept you near,
The flock of one’s who look like you
But differences became stark
The closer you drew.

Catching up, keeping up, living up to them
Drained of all glitter, was once a shining gem.
It’s an endless chase with no finish line
It ends with you
Either you decline or you resign.

No matter how much you try to fit in
You have already committed the sin
Of thinking apart, of having doubts.
The road ahead is deserted yet,
Regards, the odd one out.

The pages of a diary

Pic credit: Unsplash

When you filled the first of our days with your ambitions,
I believed it’s going to be a fun trip.
That we will be together for a long time,
With our bond strengthened at every stroke of your pen’s tip.

At times I was scared of how much I know of you;
The crushes you had, the people you loathed the circumstances you feared.
I felt special that only I knew what made you cry,
Before the words were boldened and then smudged by your tears.

It was painful when you tore pieces off me,
Scribbling the most beautiful anger art.
The “dictators of your life” could never find the rebel’s hideout,
I made sure to absorb all the pain in your heart.

It was decided the moment you entrusted me with your beloved’s flower,
That if the world ever puts you on trial I will defend and be your attorney.
I swear I called your name when the “little one” invaded our privacy,
As I meant it when I declared myself a confidant in this journey.

I felt the burden of your heavy heart
when you started filling me with your emptiness,
I still carry the guilt of knowing
the exact moment you gave up on life and liveliness.

The flower has changed its colour
I won’t embrace you with rented fragrance like before,
The pen is as lonely as me in the company of my pages
My dear why don’t you pick us up why don’t you write anymore?

Growing apart together

Pic credit: Google

Feels like yesterday when we were six or seven. What prompted us to be friends is still a mystery to me. But, I don’t remember us being strangers either. We didn’t have checklists back then. No judgements, no rules, for who to be friends with.

It must’ve been your tasty lunch that bound us together or the agreement we signed to help eachother in exams, dripping with innocence but adhered to very sternly. What next? A simple handshake and boom, 15 years have passed.

Lately, I can’t help but think how different we are from eachother. Our field of study to pastime hobbies. Different personalities, different ways of looking at life. I have noticed that what interests me, causes you boredom. Without mentioning, we have started avoiding so many topics for the sake of saving quarrel. What was obscure a few years ago is very obvious now. How you will react in a particular situation, what would be your point of view on a certain matter. Both of us have become aware of our different social backgrounds and thus our unfortunately different positions in the society, which has ultimately decided out political leanings as well; that too different.

I keep wondering, whether I would’ve liked to be friends with you if I met you today? Now, at this age, when I pretty much understand myself, my interests; with the baggage of all my experiences till date, leading to subconscious judgements, would I have approached you? Would you have approached me?

I have distanced myself from so many people saying “our vibes don’t match”, when they very obviously share personalities with you. How did we manage to be so different from eachother when we were together almost all the time. It’s so strangely astonishing how the same soil and water begets different plants and the distinction becomes clearly visible when those plants bear their own flowers.

Still something keeps us together. It’s either the comfort, the memories or the fear of us knowing way too much about eachother. Then there is the gargantuan task of finding someone else like you, which I admit is quite impossible given the fact that I’m very lazy when it comes to striking a conversation. Perhaps if they also bring tasty lunch…..nah, nevermind.

Afterall, we don’t like 100 percent of the people we like, but we are willing to make adjustments for them; or we have already adjusted ourselves according to them without anyone of us knowing. Also, with each day passing we are getting older and busier and the time we spend together is getting shorter. That automatically leads to lesser differences and more efforts to cherish every moment we get to be together.

Point of no return

His love was like a treat
Had me begging for more at each step,
I thought I was climbing up a ladder
It was a clifftop of unfathomable depth.

Do not leave me here in this maze
For I am unaware of these ways.

Yes, I committed the sin of opening up,
But my alibi is your assurance and my trust.

You took me up and up till the ground disappeared into clouds,
Wandering in the sky I felt like a kite.
Between a bird and a kite one is dependent on thread,
And oh dear how did you forget that I am afraid of heights?

My head hangs low admitting it’s a point of no return for me,
We either move together or, if you set me free,
You might not have any regret, not even it’s whiff,
But I will have no other choice but to jump off the cliff.

Womanhood

Pic credit: VectorStock

“A mother, a daughter, a sister”
Today a copy paste for all your tweets.
What about the one born on streets?
With fragile relations and nothing to eat.

The pilot the doctor the sweeper the engineer,
The ‘undignified’ prostitute and the unpaid housewife.
The model on the ramp is as much a women
As the uniform bearer who prefers nation over life.

A pair of breasts, a uterus, a vagina
Now..before you say haww and bow down your heads,
Let me also talk about period blood
Because I know, no will care after Women’s Day ends.

Black, white and all the shades of brown,
The one who was humiliated for her weight.
Reminded of being a “woman” since birth
As if it is a thing to forget.

The beautiful, caring and loving one
A “sacrificial goat”, that toes your line.
Yes we are affectionate by nature,
but who is an ideal woman?
The crowd doesn’t decide, the crowd doesn’t define.

The one who bears a child, the one who cannot,
The one who was born a woman the one who feels like a woman,
The lesbian the straight the bisexual the queer
We don’t settle for the moon, we chase the boundless sky my dear.
And as vast as the sky, that, is womanhood my dear.
That, is womanhood my dear.

For the materialistic love of a “bed”

It was a very ordinary bed I swear. Pic credit: Creazilla

Have you ever been emotionally attached to a pen, a watch, a car, or just a handkerchief? If you are a human being I’m assuming, yes. Degree of attachment may differ from person to person but it’s nearly impossible for me to believe that there is a person in this world who has never been attached to his/her wordly possessions.

I started thinking about this after we bought a new double bed replacing the old one that was on the verge of breaking anytime. When I asked my mother how many years has the older bed been with us , she said, ” it’s as old as your brother”. You see, there, from that one phrase you can decipher the value of that bed. It is associated with the age of a human, the only son of a family. So this bed which has already celebrated its silver jubilee at our home is saying a goodbye now.

In these 25 years things have drastically changed in our lives and this is the thing with these non- living items; they don’t change but they witness change. There was a time when me, my elder brother and sister, and my mother used to sleep on the same bed. Time flew by, we grew, but the bed remained the same, and we kept growing till the bed could accommodate just me and my sister. That bed has changed houses with us after we came to the city. It was one of the few items we had when we shifted to our own home. I remember when me and my brother hid under the bed and as soon as my sister walked in the room my brother suddenly held her leg, scaring her out of her wits. As a kid, laying down under the bed is such a comfortable thing to do. The new one doesn’t have space for anyone to hide, since it has storage boxes. The manufacturers know that with increasing income, space decreases.

I wonder if I would’ve felt all the emotions I am feeling right now if I was still a kid. As we grow older, the sheer happiness and excitement of anything new is replaced by lamentation and reminiscence over the old. The amount of memories with that motion, as well as emotion less piece of wood are immeasurable. All three of us siblings have studied on that bed leaving the study table to eat dust in one corner of the room. A bed is anyways a very dear item as it is associated with rest. The sleep you get at your home in your bed, even the super comfy Five Star hotel beds fail to deliver that. My mother used to call it our ‘nest’.

All of this sounds extremely futile right? Why be sentimental over a damn bed and write paragraphs about it? Every religion, every philosophy of life asks us to not get attached to anything in this world, not even human beings, not even the ones we have blood relation with. The world itself, which includes everything biotic or abiotic is called ‘materialistic’. The reason behind this is to make your departure from this world easier. But if there is one thing that makes us human more than anything else, it’s being helpless with regards to certain things. Nostalgia, is an emotion, in my opinion, reserved only for us. Or maybe animals too feel nostalgic, they just fail to express it.

Surely there is a difference between a moment of attachment and obsession. Attachments might get you in trouble in afterlife but obsession hurts you in this very own life. Now, I have no idea how to end this blog, all I can say is that as long as we live we will get attached to objects or people around us, might even obsess over certain things because more than a sin or stupidity, it is frail humanity.

Unsaid

Pic credit : Google

The crumpled sheet of paper beneath my bed, the message in my drafts the words unsaid.

All of them are so special, the uncertainty they hold, plus endless speculation.

I can’t help but think of your reaction, would you have rejected or reciprocated my affection?

The dots following a sentence are not useless afterall…. words are waiting at the tip of my pen, I’m not letting them fall.

Happy Together (1997): That one scene

A still from Happy Together

I just finished watching Happy Together. It’s a 1997 Hong Kong movie directed by, Wong Kar-wai, one of the most celebrated asian directors of all time. Wong Kar- wai’s movies are characterized by a captivating background score, and a vivid cinematography including bold colour, lightning and framing choices. Such distinct is the cinematography in Wong’s movies that when a character wonders what Hong Kong looks like upside down, he shows an actual shot of Hong Kong upside down. While I don’t deem myself fit for reviewing Wong’s work, I would like to talk about this particular scene from Happy Together, that I really liked.

Happy Together, starring Tony Leung and Leslie Cheung is the story of a gay couple, living away from home, whose already contentious relationship slowly becomes abusive. Lai Yiu-Fai (Tony Leung) and Ho Po-Wing (Leslie Cheung) break up and then reconcile several times. It is a romantic drama, it’s also a story of loneliness, longing for home and family and a lot more.

This one particular scene that grabbed my attention is the scene when Ho and Lai have already broken up but they meet each other again, under not-so favourable circumstances. Ho is broke and needs money. He asks Lai to return the watch he had previously given to Lai. Afterwards Ho asks for cigarette. Lai gives him a pack; but they don’t have lighter. Lai Yiu-Fai, who is already smoking, offers his cigarette to Ho Po-Wing as a lighter. Instead of just taking the cigarette, Ho Po-Wing holds Lai’s hand and lights up his cigarette while looking intently at Lai’s face. The whole scene in black and white gives off a sexually tense aura while still keeping it romantic. The scene ends with Lai Yiu-Fai asking Ho to never look for him again and leaving.

The chemistry between the actors, plus the point of the plot where they are, at which, everything is not over and yet there is uncertainty regarding the emotions that remain. Lai is trying his best to not look at Ho’s face as if he is afraid that he will fall for Ho’s ‘let’s start over’, again for the nth time. Ho’s subtle advance towards their reconciliation and Lai’s restraint makes this scene very memorable. Undoubtedly, smoking has been used in movies as a sensual or glamorous element, but the simplicity of this scene is unique to itself.

Although I have a lot more to say about the movie; from increasing saturation level throughout the movie to dialogues like, “Lonely people are all the same”, it will take another blog to talk about it all. So if you like artistic cinema, it’s never too late to dive into Wong Kar-wai’s work.

A late new year post

This blog is a testimony that I have already broken my new year resolution, which was to post something here on every first and fifteenth of the month. Anyways, it took me some time to realise what actually is the significance of a new year? Why is the changing of a digit in the year column of the date or the replacement of a calendar so important to us? It doesn’t matter if you celebrate New Year or not. You cannot deny the fact that the new years eve has you reflecting on the past year and making plans for the next year.

The sole reason for this is the fallible nature of humans. Every one has failures and everyone commits mistakes. Thus, we are always looking for chances to make a fresh start. A new year gives us that chance or atleast a sense of starting anew. The hope of doing better in the coming year is what makes us celebrate its arrival.

Now, one may ask why don’t we celebrate a new month then? Honestly I don’t know. I am not a philosopher. All I can say is perhaps the burden of mistakes or disappointments not accumulated enough in a month to make us look for something new. Perhaps we still feel like we can handle it and put everything in the right place. But a year is a long time. It is long enough to make you tired and give up. And that is what makes the new year so significant.

Perhaps the tons of messages and greetings we receive on 1st January, comparing it to the rays of the morning sun or new blossom or the first page of a diary, albeit annoying, not wholly wrong. Everyone deserves to choose when they want to start their race against the odds of life. If they deem the start of a new year to be fit, so be it.

That being said, I would try to start my race from now on and probably keep my new year resolution too.