Joker – A Joaquin Phoenix Masterpiece

Simply Brilliant!

itsa2amgrunge

joker-joaquin-phoenix-movie-image-1-1570015496 “Is it just me, or is it getting a little crazier out there?” – Joker (2019)

I don’t think I’ve seen a movie like this in the DC universe, or perhaps even movies in general in a very long time. There’s a good movie, and then there’s an absolute masterpiece, and this is definitely an absolute masterpiece. It’s funny that Todd Phillips, who generally makes films in the Comedy genre, could come with a brilliant 2hrs of comic book/drama in the most perfect way possible. And even funnier that Todd claimed that the movie has nothing to do with the DC universe, where in fact it had so many ties to the Batman mythology. I mean come on, it’s Gotham, there’s an Arkham Asylum and even the Waynes in the movie..

You watch the movie, and you’re astonished and left thinking, and that is a trait that only a few movies in…

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The Alarm

4:59 A.M

The knife slashed through air, its motion fluid and visceral. It’s handle shaped like a strong arm, muscular and sinewy. The knife found its mark on the chest just as the shrill ringing of the alarm pierced through layers of sleep waking him up. “Fuck Fuck” Raman muttered as he tried to find the alarm clock on the table and struggling to open his eyes at the same time. His wild arm movements caused the clock to fall from the bedside table, still ringing. In the back ground a baby started crying. Raman’s flailing arms finally managed to locate the clock from under his bed and he shut it off. The baby’s cries had now reached the crescendo as if to compensate the silence created by the now mute alarm clock. His wife Devi woke up and muttered angrily – “Could you please go out of the room ? People have to sleep sometimes”. “OK , OK take it easy” he panted slipping out the of the blankets and moving out the room. He noticed his night clothes were all drenched in sweat as if somehow he ran half a marathon in his sleep.

He took his tooth brush and went into the bathroom, “The same dream fifth time this week” he thought to himself as he splashed ice cold water on his face, “and it always stops at the same instant when the knife pierces the heart and the alarm goes off”.

What does it mean ? His train of thought continued. He had tried analyzing the dream a couple times but had given up on the lack of specifics, Was he stabbing someone ? Was some one stabbing him ? Was he watching somebody being stabbed ? He couldn’t make neither head or tail of it. He put his questions on the back burner as the routine kicked in and he began to get ready for his busy day ahead.

5:30 A.M

Twenty minutes later he was ready in a crisp blue shirt and trousers eating bread toast and drinking his cup of morning tea, reading the newspaper. Today was going to be an important day, the project that he had been working on the last 2 years was finished and he was finally going to demo his work to the clients. He had submitted the reports to his supervisor and his manager two days back and they were highly impressed – not to mention a bit jealous. Well if they are not impressed then i’m going to have to know why ? Raman thought to himself, lighting the first cigarette of his daily two packs. The last two years had been a grind. Wake up at 5:00 get ready, catch the 5:45 bus to office , clock in at 6:30, work till 11:30 come back and go to sleep. This was pretty much what he did ever since he was put on the Artemius project. His manager had hinted promotion two years back if he successfully delivered the project, and the client had also promised a fat bonus. Calling the project successful would be an understatement now he mused to himself.

He had succeeded against all odds he thought to himself. Office politics and the usual back biting he was familiar with, but what rankled him  was the lack of support he had gotten from his family and his wife. They just couldn’t understand that whatever he was doing was for their benefit as well. His wife didn’t miss out even a single chance to rub it in that how she was bringing up their child all alone as if the kid did not have a father, even though Raman was paying all the bills for the household. and his family also sided up to her – Ungrateful wretches. Well bad father, bad husband, bad son he could live with,  he was not going to be a bad employee. Any ways they would all the see the error in their ways once he mentions the fat bonus in the offing. Or maybe he would just buy a seven seater Scorpio and take them on a long road trip and then break the news of his promotion. That should silence them all and make them realize who was having the last laugh. He put out the cigarette, picked up his bag and walked out of his flat, quietly shutting the door behind him.

5:45 A.M

Winters in Delhi is a bitch. Biting cold with Fog, Smog and zero visibility. But today there was a warm glow inside him which refused to be put out. Even a -40 temperature was not going to douse his spirits. The bus came up slowly, its dim lights piercing through the fog, and its horn cutting through layers of icy wind. It stopped around 20 meters before the bus stop. Raman and the few others who were waiting for the bus, broke in to a run – a sudden race unplanned to all participants underway to find out who will get the seats on the bus. They all seemed to be good runners Raman thought to himself as he saw them going past him and get in the bus. Huffing and puffing he finally clambered on to the bus and he couldn’t believe it!! there was still a seat empty , its my lucky day after all he thought to himself. And then he saw his adversary – A well built turbaned Sardarjee covered in a shawl who got into the bus from the back door and was now eyeing his precious seat with unabated lust. They both made the move at the same time, but Raman got his foot in – in the nick of time, the Sardarjee could do nothing but glare as he slid the rest of himself in to the seat gracefully and settled in for the next 45 minutes. He returned the stare to the Sardarjee as if mocking him and saying “Sorry Sud , today’s my day”.

6:30 A.M

He woke up with a start and realized that the bus is not moving. “I must have dozed off” Raman thought to himself, as he craned his neck to look outside to figure out where they are. It was dark outside and he could see huge trees on both sides of the road. “Bhai Sahab , where are we ?” he asked the old timer sitting next to him. “Keep quite , don’t get into trouble” the old man muttered back. “Trouble ? what trouble ? Why are we not moving ? Where exactly are we ? I want to get down right away” Raman stood up, the old man grabbed his hand and pulled him back to his seat – “Arrey!! what is your problem, i told you to keep it down. The bus has been hijacked, there are 3 or 4 people. One of them has a gun, sit quietly or you’ll get us all killed” the old man seemed afraid for both of them. “Oh fuck, please tell me this cannot be happening, today of all the day , please please” Raman thought frantically. His thoughts were interrupted as he saw 3 people climb back into the bus. One of them was the Sardarjee who was trying to get the seat from him earlier. He was looking at Raman’s direction. Raman stood up again – “Sir please , i want to get down now, today i have an important meeting, please sir , please please” he whimpered looking at the Sardarjee. “Sit down, i won’t ask you again” Sardarjee said. “Sir please i’m begging you sir, i have a conference sir, my presentation sir, i have to buy the scorpio sir, please let me get down” Raman continued. “If you do not sit down right now, you are not getting down , you are going down – Understand ?” Sardarjee roared back.

“Please sir, my presentation sir, family road trip jayega sir” Raman started to come out of his seat. With a roar Sardarjee threw away his Shawl and in two strides was next to Raman, he caught him by the collar and lifted him up. “Don’t you understand you fool ? I told you to sit down” He raised his right hand, and Raman looked up. The Sardarjee was holding a Knife in his hand – which looked strangely familiar.

The knife slashed through air, its motion fluid and visceral. It’s handle was shaped like a strong arm, muscular and sinewy. It found its mark on his chest, piercing down straight to his heart. Blood spilling forth, with torrents of pain. Raman fell down from the grips of his assailant on to the bus floor, writhing in pain. “No please god no, not like this, please not like this” he was crying now. He could hear somebody in the background screaming – “Gaadi Roko!!, Stop the bus Stop the bus”, He saw the Sardar picking him and putting him on his shoulder and getting of the bus. “Leave me alone , let me go you brute” Raman was saying , but his voice was not coming out of his mouth, it looked like a lot of strain to just keep his eyes open. He slowly closed his eyes, the last thing he remembered was his child crying. Blackness….

 

12:00 p.m

“But he was so young , Doctor” Devi said, her eyes brimming with tears. Its was around 9 in the morning when she got the call from the hospital that her husband Raman was serious and admitted into the hospital. She and Raman’s father rushed to hospital immediately. “Well his heart certainly wasn’t young, plus he seemed to be a chain smoker” the Doctor spoke kindly,”Such things happen sometimes, young people these days take so much stress and don’t maintain a healthy lifestyle, You have to be strong now for your child”, “But who brought him to the hospital” Devi continued still coming to grips with the fact that her husband was no more. “Oh, a couple fellow passengers who were with him in the bus, an old man and a Sardarjee, they said they saw him dozing off in the bus, suddenly he clutched his chest, fell down and started crying in pain”, The Sardarjee picked him up on his shoulders and ran to the hospital. The old man followed with Raman’s bag, it was too late by that time”. “Did he say anything in his last moments” Devi asked again trying to continue the conversation. “Well it was too late by the time they reached the hospital, but i did hear Sardarjee giving his statement to the police – he said Raman was mumbling something about the alarm clock not going off , they couldn’t make any sense of it, if it makes sense to you please tell police”, “Sure, thank you Doctor for all your help” Devi said wiping her tears.

For all my rage, i’m still a rat in the cage

One of the biggest misconception that has been propagated by the modern civilization is that the life has to be perfect, that life can be perfect or one must strive for perfection in life at all stages. In a consumption obsessed lifestyle where we are simply hunting for the next fad which will help us in achieving perfection we are constantly bombarded with this view over and over again ,be it through Movies, Music, Advertisements, Social Media – everywhere everyone is just living one fucking fantastic life. Being force fed such an illusion it is no wonder that we all have such high expectations from a phenomenon which is hardly of any consequence.
As Carl Sagan explains it beautifully our planet is not even the size of a speck of dust in the grand scheme of Cosmos, on that speck dust in some continent, in some country, in some state , in some city, in some district, in some locality , in some apartment i’m living under the illusion that I matter somehow and my life should just be perfect. I get angry when things don’t happen according to plan, i get upset when somebody cuts me off in traffic, i get mad when Swiggy screws up my order, i get sad when my children don’t listen to me, i get worked up when i watch news about people following a particular idea of perfection killed some other group of people who didn’t follow the same idea of perfection.
To put this in perspective i’ll use an example :
Let’s say i have a bowl of Yogurt kept in front of me, which is swarming with Lactobacillus (the bacteria in milk products) , and i have a microscope with which i can observe the bowl of Yogurt. On observing i see – the bacteria are forming factions, warring against each other for areas inside the bowl, they are creating weapons of mass annihilation to destroy their enemies, they are sending spy bacteria to sabotage the missions of their enemies – all this is happening inside the bowl of Yogurt. Now i’m feeling hungry – do i give a damn about what is going on in the bowl of Yogurt? All i know is if i keep the Yogurt in the open it will become spoiled and i cannot eat it any more. I just take a spoon start putting mouthfuls of yogurt in my mouth. In short i don’t give a fuck about the civilization of bacteria or their quest for perfection in side the bowl. That is pretty much how it is with the Universe also. The Universe simply doesn’t care whether you live or die. Whether you achieve your dreams and attain perfection. It simply goes on regardless of all the giant problems that you are facing.
Life is not perfect, it never was , it never will be. Things will go wrong. There would be times when you get screwed for no fault of yours. There would be times when you would get lucky and benefit from things which again you had nothing to do with. Just accept all of them and move along. There is no right or wrong – it just is. It is you who assign the label of right or wrong based on your very limited view of the universe and get upset about it. If i wore red colored goggles and looked at the world then everything would be tinted with red color. Instead of seeing what you want to see, try seeing things for what they are. It would not make you happy all the time, and over a period of time it would stop making you angry, sad, depressed. Eventually you start being the one with the universe – simply carrying on forward regardless of the chaos around yourself and leaving things better than the way you found them. And that is pretty much what you can make out of this phenomenon called life and the process of living.

In the End, it doesn’t even matter…

The year was 2000 or 20001, new found freedom in my college life and with it came the quest for finding new music. I don’t recall the exact moment when i brought the Hybrid Theory album, those days the tapes cost Rs 125/- , a lot of money for a college kid and if i spent that on music it better be good.
This was more than good, this was a beginning , this was being immersed in a new experience, it was like being born again and carving out a new self. For a kid who grew up hating the pelvic gyrations and crass mind numbing bollywood music , this was a natural progression from the dying/nascent Indie scene (BTW when is the Indie scene not dying or in nascent stages in India) ? to Nu Metal.
Screaming Vocals, Crisp Rapping, Distorted Guitars, An all encompassing bass, cutting edge sampling, and despair laden goth themed lyrics – A highly potent combination for the youth of any decade and this was my decade. I fell for it like nearly every young Indian who started listening to Linkin Park during those times.
Rock listeners in India can be classified into a pre Linkin Park era and Post Linkin Park era. Majority of the people who developed a taste Rock/Metal Grunge music followed the path of Linkin Park, Evanescence, Limp Bizkit, Nirvana and give or take a couple of more names in the post linkin park era.
New friends and enemies made on mere opinions about Linkin park, heated debates and fights – sometimes defending my band, sometimes trashing yours – it was all happening. ReAnimation and Meteora only helped consolidate the faith in the new founded religion. For me headphones, Sony Walk man and those tapes were the only constant in a life of ever changing experiences that only a college life can provide.
Eventually one does grow up and takes things in bigger perspective , one realizes that there are bands who are maybe better technically and talent wise, that Linkin Park isn’t the final destination but just a stop in a journey, After a few years some of us wean away quietly to other bands and some of us classify it as juvenile immaturity of “Oh i was only 18 years old at that time – what do you expect ?” and then there are some of us who still cling on in hopes of reliving our youth.
Sometimes the Band also evolves and change their sound – they make new fans and lose old ones – its all part of finding / identifying your self. Showing the middle finger to the conformity and being proud of the fact that i don’t belong to the mainstream (while listening to Somewhere i belong)
But a death always leaves more questions behind than it tries to answer, for the ones who are left behind at least. Why,how,when are all questions no matter how inconsequential they become after the death but they still hang around in your mind like old friends from your college days familiar then and unfamiliar now.
Stars are strange people, sometimes rich beyond imagination, worshiped by millions, pampered by record companies and fans, Idolized, envied, Hounded, back stabbed, Loved all at the same time . But what happens when at the end of the day they switch off lights and go to sleep ? Do they have have the same fears and nightmares like the rest of us ? And do they let their fears get the better of them sometimes like the rest of us ?
Like i said before more questions than answers.
Rest In Peace Chester Bennington , you are irreplaceable.

This is how it ends….

Sometimes i just wish i could run away man, Just leave it all behind and hit the road, preferably driving. In life if you don’t enjoy what you do, or are in a family that doesn’t appreciate you then you are well and truly fucked. All you can then do is compensate your lack of enthusiasm with drudgery and pray your boss/parents don’t notice.
Some people call it manning up or growing some balls, But it comes down to the same thing you are doing something that you don’t like regardless of how much of a man you become in the process.

Society fucks you up in more ways than you can ever imagine. In fact most likely the sole purpose of the invention of society is to fuck the individual at every turn.

Grow up, Get educated, Get a job, Get a house, Get a car

Get a girl , Get a couple of kids, 

Live in a facade of dignity and then die with regret clawing at your heart

This is what society has to offer to all of us. I just feel sad for my son. I’ll protect him as long as i can. But society will screw him eventually.

Everybody is really a whore for money, they don’t just realize it. Or maybe they do – but they don’t care. From childhood we are just programmed to be a part of this collective organism that just feeds on our misery. I think we all are just cells of a huge organism which lives on this planet. Of course we can create illusions we are a species , and our lives matter but what if the only purpose for our existence is to keep this Monster called humanity alive ? The last 200,000 years only the “Humanity” has evolved and survived, you and me die after 60 70 years – if we are lucky that is.

An individual consciousness almost always does less damage than a collective consciousness. For e.g  your thoughts, your actions, your reactions all stem from your individual consciousness. Religion, Government, Corporation etc all are manifestations of collective consciousness. It is quite evident who is doing who.

Everybody judges everybody in the world and misery is the natural state for humanity to exist, when we grow tired of it we might venture into sporadic bursts of happiness but that is always temporary, all of us eventually return to our miserable state and continue so on discontented with our lives, but pretending nothing bad is happening.

Living in fear has become the norm, a scared man is easy to control. Scare the shit out of people and you have them by their balls. They breath when you tell them to breath and they will live when you tell them to live. Religion, Government, Corporation, Banks, Hospitals, Media all know this, in fact we all know this yet this crime against all of us continues unabated. Children are grown in adults by teaching them fear, the education system is complicit in the crime and so is the society.

A man without fear is an aberration and must to be removed from the society as soon as possible. a man without fear is an insult to the institution of humanity, sad as it is, fear teaches us to obey. It is no wonder that so many of the spiritual leaders, politicians are convicted of criminal activities. They commit crime because they are criminals, and they are leading us because as a society we have chosen them to lead us. A criminal today has great chance of becoming a god man or a politician than an engineer or a doctor. Criminals rule us because that is exactly what is required to make us obey – F.E.A.R nothing less nothing more.