When a child breaks out of the “Room” to the ‘World’

Jack is a cute 5 year old kid from “Room”, a movie based on the novel “Room”. He has been isolated with his mother in a room since his birth. And one day, suddenly, he gets out in the open, the ‘World’. You can read some of the interesting conversations in the movie here. The movie has beautifully expressed a child’s emotional rollercoaster while viewing the ‘World’, through Jack’s monologues. Most of them and directed to his mother. I am compiling them here because I want everyone to read them and be ‘awww’ed…

“Once upon a time, before I came, you cried and cried and watched TV all day, untill you were a zombie; but then I zoomed down from heaven through Skylight into Room. And I was kicking you from the inside. And then I shot onto Rug with my eyes wide open, and you cut the cord and said “Hello Jack..!”

Egg snake is our longest friend and fanciest. Meltedy spoon’s the best to eat with because he’s more blobbier. Labrynth is twistiest. And she hides things so I don’t know where they are. Toilet’s the best at disappearing poo. Lamp’s the brightest, except when the power is out. You (ma) are the best at reading, and songs, and lots, except if you’re having a ‘gone day’. I am the best at drawing, jumping, growing, and nearly everything!

I’ve been in the World for 37 hours. I’ve seen and cakes and stairs and birds and windows and hundreds of cars and clouds and police and doctors and grandma and grandpa… But ma says they don’t live together in the hammock house anymore. Grandma lives there with her friend Leo now and grandpa lives far away.

I have seen persons with different faces and bigness and smells, talking all together. The world is like all TV planets on at the same time (TV planets – TV channels). So I don’t know which way to look and listen. There is doors and more doors. and behind all the doors there is another inside and another outside and things happen, happening. It never stops..

Plus, the world is always changing brightness and hotness. And there is invisible James floating everywhere. When I was small I only knew small things. But now I am five, I know everything.

There is so much of place in the world. There is less time, because the time has to be spread extra thin over all the places, like butter. So all the persons say, “hurry up, let’s get going..”, “pick up the pace finish up now..” Ma was in a hurry to go boing up to heaven. But she forgot me, dumbo ma! So the aliens through her back down. And broke her.

when I was four, I didn’t even know about the world. And now me and ma are going to live in it forever and ever, until we are dead. This is a street in a city in a country called America. And Earth, that’s a blue and green planet, always spinning, so I don’t know why we don’t fall off. When there is outer space. And nobody knows where is heaven.

Ma and I have decided that because we don’t know what we like, we get to try everything. There are so many things out there. And sometimes it’s scary, but that’s ok, because it’s still just you and me..”

Interesting conversations from “Room”

‘Room’ is a movie based on a novel ‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue. This beautiful movie has a cute 5 year old kid named Jack who had been isolated with his mom in ‘Room’, and one day they break out of that to the ‘World’ – watch the movie (available on Netflix and YouTube) trailer here. This blog is a compilation of the conversations in the movie.

Inside the Room

“Where do we go when we are asleep?”
Right here in Room.
“But dreams.. do we go to, into TV for dreaming?”
We are never anywhere but here..

“Jack, do you remember the mouse? Do you know where he is? He is on the other side of this wall..”
What other side?
“Jack, there’s two sides to everything”
But not at octagon.. octagon has 8 sides..
“Yeah, but.. a wall.. a wall like this, we’re on the inside and the mouse is on the outside”
You mean, in the outer space?
“No.. in the world. It’s much closer than the outer space”
I can’t see the outside-side..
“Where do you think old Nick gets our food?”
From TV, by magic!
“There is no magic. What you see on TV, those are pictures of real things, of real people. It’s real stuff..”
So… Dora is real for real?
“No, that’s a drawing. Dora is a drawing. But other people, they have faces like us. Those are pictures of real things and all the other stuff that you see on TV that’s real too.. that’s real ocean, real trees, reat cats, dogs..”
No way! Where do they all fit!
“They just do. They just fit out in the World.”

Though the skylight

“There’s a leaf. Do you see that?”
Dumb Ma! That’s not a leaf. Leaves are green..
“Yeah, but on trees. But then they fall and they rot, like salad in the fridge.”
Where’s all the stuff you said? Trees and dogs, cats and grass..
“We can’t see it from here because skylight looks upwards instead of sideways.”
You’re just tricking me.. Liar, liar, pants on fire!
“Jack! I couldn’t explain it before because you were too small.. You were too small to understand, so I had to make up a story, but now I’m doing the opposite. I’m doing the opposite of lying, I’m un-lying, because you’re five now. You’re old enough to understand what the World is. You have to understand. We can’t keep living like this.”
I want to be four again..

“Do you remember how Alice wasn’t always in Wonderland?”
She fell down. Deep in a hole.
“I wasn’t always in the Room. I’m like Alice. I was a girl named Joy. And I lived in a house with my mom and dad.”
What house?
“A house. It’s in the World”
A TV house?
“No, a real house. Not TV. Are you even Listening to me?”
I want a different story. THIS STORY IS BORING..!
“NO! This is the story that you get… I’ve been locked here in Room for 7 years, do you understand? Jack, the World is so big, it’s so big, you won’t even belive it… And Room is just, one stinky part of it.”
Room is not stinky! Only when you do a fart. I don’t believe in your stinky world.

“No, you’re not sorry! You have no idea what’s going on in my head. You don’t need me, you’ve been doing just fine without me.”
How can you say that? Do you think you’re the only one whose life was destroyed?
“Actually, that’s exactly how I feel.”
Really? How would you feel of somebody took Jack away from you? Look at him! You should be thinking about him..
“Don’t you tell me how to look after my son. I’m sorry that I’m not ‘nice’ anymore. But you know what? Maybe if your voice saying BE NICE hadn’t been in my head, I wouldn’t have helped the guy with the f****** sick dog!”

One of the most notable scenes:

Ancestors • पूर्वज

Location: Kanheri caves

मेरे पुरखों की विरासत का भरम रहने दे
तू हवेली को खुला देख के अंदर मत जा
.
A verse from the Ghazal by Qaisar-Ul Zafri (Book: Agar Darya Mila Hota). Read the whole ghazal here.
.

Translation:

Let the legacy of ancestors stay in illusions at least,
Don’t invade their mansion seeing the open doors
.

This verse is apt for the relationship between humans and other creatures. Nature does not discriminate against any species, whatever it has, is there for everyone. Yet, humans have exploited and hoarded Nature since the very beginning..

I interpret this verse as following –

Nature and all of its inter-dependent elements are dying fast; their legacy is now almost as good as an illusion because of us Humans. So the poet says ‘पुरखों की विरासत का भरम रहने दे’ – let it exist in illusions at least.

Just because nature is there for all, just because nature’s doors are always open to all, ‘तू हवेली को खुला देख के अंदर मत जा’ – don’t take it as an open invitation to exploit it.

Location: Kanheri caves

Sea • समुंदर

Location: Vashi bridge

एक दिन मैं तुम्हें बताऊँगा
समुंदर वहाँ से शुरू होता है
जहाँ से ख़ुश्की नज़र आनी ख़त्म हो जाए
फिर हम जब चाहेंगे
नज़्मों की किताब से
एक वरक़ फाड़ कर कश्ती बना लेंगे
और
दूसरा वरक़ फाड़ कर
समुंदर
.
ख़ुश्की – ज़मीन – Dryland
वरक़ – पन्ना – Page
कश्ती – नाव – Boat
नज़्म – मुक्त छंद कविता – Unrhymed poem
.
(अफ़ज़ल अहमद सय्यद की नज़्म ‘हम किसी से पूछे बग़ैर ज़िंदा रहते हैं‘)

.

Translation:

One day, I’ll tell you,
The ocean begins
where the sight of parched land ends
Then, whenever we please,
From the book of poems
We can tear one page
to make a boat
and
Another page
to draw an ocean..

..and then I laugh

Oh, how I dreamt in school
When heard speeches of Kalam..

Thought I really had wings..

Thought I’ll make us
THE Superpower,
Thought I’ll help make
Development sustainable,
Thought I’ll help people
See through all the bullshit,
Thought I’ll make
Education accessible,
Thought I’ll give everyone
Every opportunity,

To make new discoveries,
To make ideas come true,
To venture the world, the universe,
To find the purpose-the real one,
To choose,
To love,
To dislike,
To befriend,
To never be left behind..

Today I see
Vilest of the vile people
Doing stupidest of the stupid things,
And taking pride, smaller than nothing,

Now when someone plays that
iPhone-made short film,
With Kalam’s voice in the back
And kids repeating after him,
“I am born with wings”,
I cringe and then
I laugh.

© Mudita Sonawane

American Horror Story Season 9-‘1984’, afterthoughts..

Poster
Honestly, this was the only sane looking poster I could find..

 

If one has watched all the previous eight seasons of American Horror Story, the latest season 9-1984, seems a little offbeat.

This season is kind of a ‘tribute’ to Hollywood’s slasher genre, it revolves around the camp Redwood that has been renovated and reopened by the ‘sole survivor’ (Margaret) of Mr. Jingles’ previous attack in the 60’s on the same camp. A group of youngsters go for volunteering at the camp to spend their summer away from the horrors of Los Angeles, because they believe that the serial killers get more active in summers. But later they realize that the camp is even bigger a mess than the city.

The story has some shockers (should I give the spoilers?), it has several places where the story smashes your assumed designations for victims and villains. So when we take Margaret for an overly religious Christian who keeps insisting that ‘God’s light helped her survive the attacks, and think of Mr. Jingles as an evil psycho who cannot be tamed, Donna-the enthusiastic psychologist-comes as hope for Mr. Jingles to find a cure, and changes everything. Similar to the earlier seasons, we get various shades of human nature. We get confused with the motives of each character but it later gets cleared to some extent.

It also leaves us with some bizarre plot-issues/holes.

Firstly, it’s very short, it makes one wonder if the story is even complete. Surely they have established a plot-line, but it leaves a lot of loose ends left for the viewers to wonder about. The short duration of the season limits the story to a very small and shallow ground. They introduce every character but leave their stories incomplete. Unlike earlier seasons, where every character has a past and is linked with every other character, 1984 fails to connect and tell stories of people in it.

Apart form one black character, the story is a little less inclusive, especially of the gender roles. We see a fluid sexual representation in all other seasons, while in 1984, we only see glimpses of Xavier’s struggle for identity-that too is shown as a desperate attempt for sustaining his acting career. Despite having 2 major male serial killers, the depiction of toxic masculinity was done through the male volunteers, destroying the alienation of the concept (showing you don’t have to be a psycho to exhibit toxic masculinity, it’s everywhere!)

If this were a usual AHS season, every character’s story would have grabbed our attention and we’d have swirled in the loops and connections all over the season. It doesn’t fit in as American Horror Story, because it doesn’t care about the details of plot lines other than that of the two serial killers (Benjamin Richter aka Mr. Jingles and Richard Ramirez aka The Night Stalker.) everyone else is almost a nobody.

Entering two serial killers in the same camp (Mr. Jingles and the Night-stalker) becomes very confusing especially when the real purpose behind Jingles’ first return gets revealed. Though the story propagates through Jingles’s gaze, the Night-stalker steals the limelight. And oh, all that blood(!)

Ramirez
Richard Ramirez aka the Nightstalker. Looks nice though..!

Which brings to the question, what might be the need of a parallel plot for the Night stalker? Ramirez (who existed in real life) is shown to have a troubled childhood and an early exposure to crime, and that’s a fine depiction. But he is also shown to have some deal with the Satan (how convenient it is to blame the horrors done by humans on a virtual entity, isn’t it!); but the why, when and how, are unknown. Satan doesn’t even have a purpose in this season, unlike Apocalypse (season 8), in which he had a full-fledged plan and tried to execute it through Michael Langdon (and later through another Satan-baby in the epilogue). But in 1984, Satan is just, high. He, through Richard, revives any random dead-fellow that shows up (or dies down). It’s almost as if Richard acts as the HR for the Satan enterprises (!)

I won’t talk about Mr. Jingles, because that will give away everything, he’s literally the only prota/anta/whatever-gonist. Everyone else is either almost a nobody or revolves around him. But the mystery behind the blood curse in camp Redwood-though they have shown the history of it, linking it with Mr. Jingles’ childhood-remains a mystery, it doesn’t clear why it traps the souls inside the camp for the eternity and how to get out of it. I am unable to grasp how they got away with leaving it unanswered.

S9E1_Margaret_2
Margaret instructing the volunteers

The curse points out another big mistake. The souls in the camp decide to trap Ramirez inside and keep killing him (because he keeps getting resurrected by Satan for no reason) to restrain him from catching Jingles’ son, who was safe in the outer world. So we see that Ramirez (or/and his soul) is inside the camp till 2019 (at least). Here we can see they’ve improvised, because the real life Richard Ramirez was immediately caught within a year, he was in jail from 1985-2013 and died of blood cancer while in custody. Going back to Season 5 (Hotel), we’ve already seen Ramirez’s soul attending the annual Devil’s night arranged by James Patrick March (in 2015). There he tells the Detective Lowe the real story. Since all the AHS seasons have a linear timeline, this information does not fit (how he managed to breakout the vigilance in the camp to visit the hotel, how he came back inside etc..), it changes everything because AHS shows strong links between seasons.

Also, the short role of Bruce (played by Dylan McDermott) who’s just another sadist who has set a target of killing x number of people, was annoying. He was not even needed in the story.. It was evident that he was in it just because he has been a major part of Murder House and Asylum (S1 and S2).

Then comes the 80’s nostalgia. It’s very clear from the name of the season that it’s mainly based in the 80’s and the season does capture the audience by quite a loud display of the iconic American capitalism and consumerism with multiple tools from that era like aerobics studios, camping site with all the slasher-gore, making everyone look extremely sex-deprived(!) and the Synth title track (it’s bad, lacks all the intensity) and rock music all over the season. But it becomes repetitive after a point and the whole season gets trapped in ‘the 80’s will never die’ narrative. It non-inclusively  assumes that the viewer is all too familiar with the cultural dynamics, which doesn’t help a lot of them to connect with it. But I must say, it’s sick; or should I say the society itself is, if they really considered it glorious..(?)

ED1ivSXWkAU-r_l
Beautiful scenery of the camp

But that’s not the only factor to blame. Another reason why it seems alien is that it’s too outdoor-ish. The very essence of American Horror Story is to present the ‘internal’ crisis and conflicts of Americans (or humans in general) using ghosts/supernatural tools. It uses all kinds and forms of external interventions, folklore, ghosts and whichever species one can imagine, to tell a story-a story of people, their emotions, struggles, bindings and interaction-to bring everyone’s internal horrors and pain alive in an actual form, and to show how trapped everyone is in their own personal hell (AHS S3-coven-has literally shown ‘personal hell’s of the characters). This doesn’t need the overly outdoor settee that has been used in 1984, it just leads to distraction.

AHS-1984-donna570
Donna the psychologist.

 

Despite this, the female characters stand out in their individual performances and make a significant impact on the story. Donna, is an ambitious woman who almost directly triggered the 1984’s violence in camp Redwood. Initial perception of Donna is, a ruthless academician who doesn’t care about the human price to get her work done ‘in the name of science’. Why she was so obsessed with serial killers, gets clear after a peek into her past. Her story looks complete, but later we see a surprising switch in her character which changes the course of the story.

Brooke
Brooke: before and after

The relationship between Donna and Brooke’s also shows a drastic switch. Though Brooke is initially shown to be a submissive, shy girl, her experiences and alliance with Donna turn her into a ‘badass’.

Jingles
Benjamin Richter aka Mr. Jingles: while in asylum vs after fleeing the camp with Ramirez-then philosophical awakening-then getting Ramirez to police-then-normal life with wife and a kid (hush)

But she wins us best in the season finale, where it’s revealed how she moved on and started a better life by seeing light from Mr. Jingles’s story, proving that inspiration can come from anywhere..

We don’t get to know much about Montana’s history, apart from the fact that she was probably fat-shamed in childhood and was seeking revenge for her brother’s murder (she held Brooke accountable). Initially she seems like a messed up individual; but her philosophy makes one wonder about social conventions of good and bad. She gives a very important insight when Trevor admits his love for her and tells her that he wanted to die there and spend the eternity trapped inside camp Redwood with her.

She says “It’s stupid. You don’t even know me, I’m not someone you can love. I’m not someone to die for, I’m a monster.” And when he asks her how she could say that, she tells him “My ex-boyfriend was Richard Ramirez.”

He gives a horrified expression to that and then she snaps, “Wow! I can’t believe you! I see how you look at me now; like I’m disgusting..

montana-duke-dress
Montana

“Men do heinous shit all the time, (gives the triggering details), and you know what, they are treated as Rock-stars..! Fan-mails, movies, books, and research papers, articles.. And somehow, it’s always the mommy’s fault for not loving them.. Or the wife who couldn’t satisfy him.. Or the pretty girl who rejected him.. Why are we (women) always the scapegoats for sick men to blame their bullshit on? I didn’t make Richard evil, he was already messed up when I met him. F*** you all..” and she goes on with her monologue that’s relevant to the scene. Shows how twisted and biased the whole world has always been with women, may it be economy, entertainment or even scientific research & psychology!

This season also makes us wonder if the Americans were really that sick during that period, feeding on the horrors faced by others to thrive the economy. How else can we explain the way Margaret became a millionaire turning horrible experiences into tourist attractions? Or the way people worshiped the psychopaths and held ambitions to become killers like them? Or the way even after so many murders, all the musicians and fans were desperate to arrive at the camp for the program in the same week? Not to forget the extreme creativity in ideas of violence..

The only takeaway message would be- – -no there’s no takeaway message. Bye bye.