Music Mix: What will be will be…

Steve’s Music Mix is back with a new name ‘Cosmic Musicology Test’ and this week’s title is ‘What will be will be‘.

Here are this week’s questions and my answers.

It’s been..?   Boom Clap – Charlie XCX : The Fault in Our Stars

I don’t know what this song is telling me. Any one wanna help ?

It’s going to be..? Wherever you are  – 5 Seconds of Summer

It is going to be very difficult if I ever had to leave you guys and go far away, “But I just can’t stop thinking of you , Wherever you are“, dear nephew and nieces.

It will always be..? Magic – Coldplay

It will always be a wonderful magical journey, this ‘Life’.

The Fault in Our Stars – Movie

If you had read my view on the book ‘The Fault in Our Stars‘, you would know that I absolutely loved that book so much so that I had a post on its after effects too. So here I was sitting on a Sunday afternoon with the sinus blocking my breathing and was thinking if I should be going to this movie alone or wait and plan it with friends. Then me thinks, watching this movie will probably lead to shedding some tears and that might be of some help to my sinus blocked nose today right ? and I wouldn’t have to be embarrassed about it in front of my friends (who would take that chance to mock me for life). So I went ahead to the nearby mall and there were enough tickets available for the afternoon show.

The first thing that I saw in that theater was, the majority of the audience were girls, young and vibrant and full of life talking non stop about the book and with giggles. I was like ‘was this a wise decision after all?’ It wasn’t full, which is a sad thing, but whatever was filled was mostly by youngsters (not including me) and a few couples, who I saw were getting the tickets because there weren’t any available for their movie of choice so they chose this. I don’t know how this movie is for someone who hasn’t read the book, but for someone who has, I just loved the screenplay. It was crisp and had all the important ingredients, except may be the dialogue about ‘the fault in our stars’. As soon as a young girl sat beside me she turned to her friend (another young girl) and said ‘I am so not going to cry for this movie, you see’. There is no point going over the story here because it is already there in the book or from my other post (if you are not inclined to read the book) but that girl Hazel performed by Shailene Woodley, wow, she has a great screen presence and it was difficult to look at others when she is there. She was just too good and brings the Hazel from the book perfectly onto the screen. Gus performed by Ansel Elgort, was a tad too innocent and young from that of my imaginative Gus, but was a perfect complement to the Hazel of this movie. A very lovely pair and beautiful acting too. But hands down, the movie belongs to Shailene Woodley no doubt. She is an amazing performer.

The book and the movie has scenes where the dialogues are humorous, which means you feel the lines and they bring out a smile in you and you don’t necessarily will feel like laughing out loud or worse giggle. That was my biggest problem in the theater. The girls were giggling for those lines. They weren’t essentially comical to bring out that much giggle. Or have I become too much of a grown up to not giggle for the humor. I don’t know. And there was this a-hole sitting just below me who was talking on the phone interrupting us. I felt like giving a kick to the seat. It was so irritating. Such bad manners for a grown up. And thankfully he left after the interval. And no points for guessing if the girl next to me cried at the end or not. Obviously she cried. The last 10 mins were so intense that I heard lot of sniffling around me (and including me… I had to blink so much and so hard to not allow the tears to fall and my sinus decided to unblock at that time , which indeed was my intention, and had some running nose by the end which at the end led to everyone else thinking that I have been crying…well, that is life) As far as the adaptation goes, it was done very well and stayed true to the original story. But just like the story, the movie doesn’t leave you feeling sad, it leaves you feeling hopeful. 


After effect of the Fault

FYI: This post is due to the after effects of the book, ‘The Fault in Our Stars‘, so it might be a little emotional and sort of a rant even.

OK, the other post about the book was mostly about the story and the beautiful and lovely quotes from the book. And I couldn’t add my personal effects of it in it for very obvious reasons, yes, the post was already too long even before I completed with it.

I had written this following text in my diary when I was in college or before which sort of aligns with the story. Again I have no clue of its source.

Nothing can make up for the absence of someone whom we love, and it would be wrong to try to find a substitute; we must simply hold out and see it through. That sounds very hard at first, but at the same time, it is a great consolation for the gap, as long as it remains unfilled, preserves the bonds between us. It is nonsense to say that God fills the gap he does not fill it, but on the contrary, he keeps it empty and so helps us to keep alive our former communion with each other, even at the cost of pain.

My friend’s family have lost a few people to cancer, both on her side and her in-laws side. Recently she told me how her sister in law is diagnosed with ovarian cancer and she is in treatment. When I fell sick, she was in her third chemo. I am not sure what happened and how she is now. We went to a book store one day and she wanted to buy something for her sis in law to encourage her because she (sis in law) was totally depressed and has sort of shut down and is having a tough time to explain it to her two girl children (one is much elder and is very scared for her mother and the other very young to understand the seriousness). She asked me for some suggestions on book which might give her courage. Wrong person to ask actually. Because even though I haven’t had any one, god forbid, close to me suffer any terminal illness, I know one thing. Every single person handles the illness in a different way. There simply cannot be a standard way of approaching their depression. And definitely no stranger, i.e myself, can help in any regards. If I know her well enough, I would know what to do about it. We got one book, because my friend wanted to do something. I don’t know how to handle people with such illness. I have once dealt with a person who had depression and some borderline personality issues. But I knew that person for almost a decade and so was able to handle him to some extent. I fear to go to funerals. Because I usually don’t know what to say, unless I know that person well enough. And I really hate the pretentious people there. I experienced it first hand in my uncle (father’s brother’s) death. It is difficult to lose someone, very painful too. So if people pretend that it to be more than it actually is, it gets me in a wrong way. I understand pain, really I do, but I detest faking it to gain sympathy or attention.

So now you know why this book affected me a lot. Because again, God forbid, if I am stuck with some terminal illness, I don’t want people BSing around me. I have had a decent life, fraught with mistakes , regrets , love , hatred everything. I would like to live like Hazel or Gus. I would want to live life like there is no tomorrow (I do that even now). I don’t want any perks. And I know that people cannot know my pain because each pain is unique to its own person. And I would want people to treat me no different, just like I don’t want to be given any special perks for being a woman. I can handle my own along with my family and close friends.

This book also deals with the families of such people and how they have to walk on eggshells to not offend them and yet support them in their own way. I know how difficult it is because again of my friend. My friend keeps talking to the girls to give them her support and to be there for them, when their mother is in treatment in a different city. But not all of them in the family understand the need for empathy. They would rather sympathize, which may not be the right approach always. Since my friend has already lost two people in her family to cancer, she knows how to handle them. She knows what to talk to them. I am glad that she is able to be an anchor to those kids. Not all of them are that lucky.

Even though this book was written in a very encouraging way, nothing too sentimental, nothing too cheesy, no grave jokes, it still got me teary eyed for quite some time after I read it. I don’t cry for fictional books much unless I am too much affected with some similar real life incidents like this. I am so not going to read John Green or any book similar to this for sometime. I think I will stick with some HEA stories and live in an Utopian world for a while, where all is rosy and nice.

The Fault in Our Stars – Wow!

OK, I am on a roll today. May be because I am going to get back to my back bending (pun intended) work from Monday, I am trying to make the most of this week and the weekend. And I sure did choose some good movie and a good novel to complete today. Even though it left me teary eyed and emotionally muddled up.

The Fault in Our Stars: Another brilliant young adult fiction by John Green. I liked his ‘Looking for Alaska‘ earlier. And I have heard good reviews of this book. So I picked it up after the successful HEA based romantic series. Let us say I was hooked right from the start and I don’t know how long this post will be, so I will tell you upfront, this is a must read.

Spoiler Alert (will contain quotes till the last chapter from the book).

This story is about Hazel Grace, who is suffering from cancer and is on a test medicine and has an oxygen tube attached to her all the time. She visits this Support Group where she is friends with Issac, who is going to get operated for his cancer in the eyes which will render him blind. One day she finds a hot guy, who is Issac’s friend, Augustus Waters or Gus, who was a cancer patient himself, but currently there is no recurrence and has only one leg and is a former basket ball player who is full of life and energy. The day Hazel meets Augustus, lot of things change for both of them. Hazel is smart. You know why, because this is what she says in the first chapter and then there is whole dialog about fear of oblivion with Gus.

“But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying. (Cancer is also a side effect of dying. Almost everything is, really.)”

She also has this quote where she refers to the book title.

“Shakespeare more wrong than when he had Cassius note, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.” Easy enough to say when you’re a Roman nobleman (or Shakespeare!), but there is no shortage of fault to be found amid our stars.”

or when she is writing an ad to sell the swing set which makes her very sad only looking at it, because she can never be healthy enough to play in it as she had done it earlier with her dad when she was young.

“Make memories with your kid or kids so that someday he or she or they will look into the backyard and feel the ache of sentimentality as desperately as I did this afternoon. It’s all fragile and fleeting, dear reader, but with this swing set, your child(ren) will be introduced to the ups and downs of human life gently and safely, and may also learn the most important lesson of all: No matter how hard you kick, no matter how high you get, you can’t go all the way around.”

She has a clear understanding of what life is for her as a person whose life is limited in years or with a small set of infinite’s as she says. She sure would have liked to have a bigger infinite and she knows that some infinite’s are greater but she accepts what is and braves it through.

She has this craze about a book called ‘An Imperial Affliction’ written by Peter van Houten, which is about a girl battling a cancer and the books ends abruptly in a mid sentence, like like Anna, the girl’s life. She writes to the author too many times to find out what happened next, but doesn’t get any replies. Her friendship with Gus grows slowly and steadily. She doesn’t want to be a grenade in Gus’s life and leave him hanging just like his previous girlfriend who also died battling cancer. So she is skeptical about taking their relationship to the next level, even though he confesses his love for her and even though she likes him a lot, like a real lot. One day Gus tells her that he got a reply from van Houten’s assistant about his whereabouts (the author is currently in Netherlands and is MIA) and that he has written a reply to his email through her. This gets Hazel excited and she also tries to contact him and he does reply and says that he will be able to explain the after events only in person because he fears piracy or that someone will eavesdrop and write a sequel to his novel. She so wants to visit Netherlands after hearing this, but her parents couldn’t afford it and she had already used her wish with the Genie foundation to a visit to Disneyland. So Gus, who had saved his wish is ready to use it for them, for which Hazel is grateful and worried. But even before they could get the plan into action, she is admitted in hospital due to pneumonia and refuses to see Gus for a week when she is in her worse form. But he confirms that nothing she does will make him love her less.

After she recovers, they take the trip to Netherlands with Gus and her mom. They have a wonderful first day in Amsterdam where only Gus and Hazel go for a already paid dinner in an exclusive restaurant and enjoy the beauty of the city from it.

“Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin.”

This is what they say about the city after observing it and getting a lot closer than they thought, even in spite of her tube and his prosthetic leg. The next day they meet the author who is an alcoholic and is outright harsh with them. Gus and Hazel are surprised by his behavior and he outright refuses to indulge in anything and is totally annoyed that Hazel is trying to imitate Anna. The assistant apologizes and tells them that she thought that their visit will help him understand how much the book meant to others and there by try to make him write again. They then visit the Anne Frank’s museum and that is where Hazel shows her love for him by kissing him before everyone. They spend the night together and she declares her love for him too.

During the last day, Gus confesses that his cancer has come back and that he knew it when she was in hospital due to pneumonia and both their parents were aware of that. He apologizes for not letting her know which in turn might have spoiled the trip for her. He tells her that he doesn’t have much longer to live. So when Hazel is trying to not be a grenade and blow up his life, the wheels turn around and it is now Gus who becomes the grenade. She is struck by it and offers him her support to spend the life for as long as they have. But things go downward for Gus even when Hazel fights her own pain. This is what she says about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

“According to Maslow, I was stuck on the second level of the pyramid, unable to feel secure in my health and therefore unable to reach for love and respect and art and whatever else, which is, of course, utter horseshit: The urge to make art or contemplate philosophy does not go away when you are sick. Those urges just become transfigured by illness.”

She wishes that she had more time with Gus but as she says the world is not a wish granting factory. One day, Gus asks her and Issac to eulogize his funeral, which he wanted to attend even before his death and within a few days Gus leaves her to handle the scar of his existence, his love for her, which he tried to resist but couldn’t avoid it. She misses him very much and understand this about dreams coming true.

“….and it occurred to me that the voracious ambition of humans is never sated by dreams coming true, because there is always the thought that everything might be done better and again.”

In his funeral, she sees Peter van Houten, because he had mailed her to attend his funeral as a show of being a better human being and let Hazel know of the sequel to the events. But Hazel doesn’t want any of that. And then realizes that he acted that way because he had lost someone to cancer. Peter confesses that he lost his daughter at a very young age and since then he hasn’t been himself. She in turn is no longer interested to know what happened next in the book. Later Issac tells her one day that Gus had been writing something for her. So she goes and searches his room, the place where they read his eulogy but nothing to be found. Then she realizes that he might have sent it to Peter van Houten. So she emails Liz (his assistant) and she gets 4 pages of the letter that he wrote to Peter, requesting him to write an eulogy for Hazel with his words, because , according to him, even though he (Gus) was a good person he was a shitty writer and that Peter was a good writer and a shitty person. In his final words he says,

“You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.”

She does. She is happy to be hurt by him. As are we.