Reviewing The Short Film: ALIVE, by Jimmy Olsson.

Victoria watches as Ida (her carer) opens up a Tinder profile for her (clip from the film)

A movie that puts under-represented groups in the forefront is hard to come by, but Swedish Writer and Director, Jimmy Olsson brings an emotional (but not melodramatic) tale of the little human needs that exist in us all through the eyes of his lead, Victoria, who is in a wheelchair, in his short film Alive. In the same breadth, we get the perspective of her caretaker, Ida, who as an able-bodied woman, has assumptions about her own about the disabled. I had the pleasure of experiencing this film and finding myself enthralled by these two female characters and their relationship that continuously play-off each other in the story.

(Warning – Spoilers Ahead)

In Alive, we are introduced to Ida taking care of Victoria with every day tasks. It’s not until Victoria meets Ida’s boyfriend that she starts to crave affection herself. When she confines her desires with Ida, the latter opens a Tinder profile for her. Ida wants the best for Victoria, but she doesn’t believe she will have luck getting a match due to her disability. It isn’t until Victoria mentions she has found someone through the dating app that Ida gets curious, concerned, and rather, protective.

Ida and Victoria have a session (clip from the film)

This was a great and impactful film overall, centering the conversation between two different women and a perception that those outside of the disabled community often take for granted. I found myself wondering how Victoria’s needs would be fulfilled throughout, and how Ida’s assumptions would impact her relationship with her caree. The suspense with Victoria’s mysterious Tinder suitor and whether he was real or her own ruse kept me on edge. The ending served as a surprise, but for the sake of not spoiling the end, I will just leave it at that.

Visual-wise, the scenes were tasteful, using the benefit of close-ups and perspective shots to paint each of their inner desires and communication very well. There is a great juxtaposition scene that I thought was brilliant. The two actresses – Eva Johansson (Victoria) and Madeleine Martin (Ida) – captured their individual character’s spirits and emotion perfectly. In the end, those like Ida are forced to reevaluate what they deems as a sensitive topic — That the disabled are no different in wanting love and closeness just like any neurotypical. In these social-distancing times, we can all collectively agree how it’s like when access to intimacy is temporarily taken away from us. Olsson brilliantly captured the heart of a well-delivered story under 30 minutes.

Alive was set to premiere in the Cleveland International Film Festival this year, but due to the Covid-19 crisis, it will be screened online.

Somewhere Up Above The Stars – a fanfic one-shot

Category: Voltron Legendary Defender (animated series)  
Genre: Sci-fantasy / romance / speculative / angst
Focused Ship: Shiro x Allura 
Written: 2019

Summary: It had been a long time since Shiro disappeared from his flight-vessel and Allura wants to do everything in her power to find him in the grand expanse of space.

When Shiro had once asked her if she could recall a near-death experience, she had simply shrugged. It was a moment out of all their other moments together, her eagerly joining him on small ventures in-between their missions to share what made them distinctively different in their race and origins. This time he had posed his question ever so casually, a hint of a boyish demeanor cast under the last few strokes of light of a setting star on the solitary planet they had visited. 

 “Near death…” she had mouthed. It was an abrupt leeway into a topic that she felt he was using to seek something out of her, and when she thought she had had an answer ready for him, she didn’t. Continue reading

First and Last – fanfic one-shot

Category: Voltron Legendary Defender (animated series)  
Genre: Sci-fantasy / romance / speculative
Focused Ship: (bisexual) Shiro x Allura
Written: 2019

Summary: As the final war for earth looms near, Shiro and Allura talk about their past, present, and future one night overlooking the memorial wall. 
– A reflective piece on lost loved ones, war-time thoughts and trauma.

Shiro remembered those short nights at the Garrison, when the facility would be astir with activity even in the deadest of hours. The hums and drumming of echoing chambers, the low shrill of machinery, and the patter of feet as officers and engineers walked about in their array of responsibilities were like a lullaby back then.

The nights were short because sleep used to be an afterthought, three hours of it before duty called again and he was back in high gear. It was a way of life for everyone at the base. The explorer in him, however, always yearned for more, pushed further and higher even when his body said it was enough, even when his failing health had tried hard to pull him down. The Kerberos mission had changed everything. No, his destiny had changed everything. Continue reading

Bridge – a fanfic one-shot

Category: (Crossover Fic) Star Wars: The Force Awakens x Pacific Rim
Genre: Sci-fantasy
Focused Ship: Finn x Rey in a Pacific Rim universe
Written: 2016

Summary: Finn and Rey prepare for their final test in the Shatterdome to see if they are truly drift compatible. 

Finn and Rey hug from The Force Awakens – From giphy.com

-(|)-

Rey was not prepared. 

If there was one thing about training to become a co-pilot of a monstrous Jaegar, it was to be ready for the compatibility test, to ‘enter the drift’ as they said. It was the last and probably the hardest stage to determine if the two pilots who would risk each other’s life in battle were fit to overcome a kaiju’s wrath. Continue reading

Horizon – a fanfic oneshot

Category: Voltron: Legendary Defender (the animated series)
Genre: Scifi / Romance / Drama
Focused Ship: Shiro x Allura
Written: 2019

Note – Italicized dialogue are communication via sign language.

Summary:  As a refugee on Earth after escaping her dying planet, Allura couldn’t have known that meeting Shiro on her first day at the space exploration school would change her world forever.

– (I)-

When Allura first joined the Garrison, she had memorized the first thing she knew humans did to exchange a greeting – the handshake. It was a gesture she had practiced before arriving, first doing it with her own hand and then with that of her uncle, Coran. It felt a bit silly, and if she had been back in Altea, she knew it would have been improper to just demand someone’s limb so freely without knowing where it had been.

But it wasn’t about how she felt, nor did she think it was wise to make opinions in a school that was predominantly for humans. She had come long and far as the only Altean there, and to be among them meant it was imperative to get the greeting down before anything else. First impressions, after all, went a long way, and in her case, it needed to work ten times more. That’s why it was probably for the better, she thought, that their greeting involved some form of touch. Maybe it was all it took for someone like her to get her message across without words.

But that wasn’t quite the case when her hand made contact with him for the first time. When the Garrison student, Takashi Shirogane, had gripped her palm and followed it with words—a simple question in fact—she had remained frozen. It was not enough that it was her first attempt at a proper handshake, but the spark that went through her fingers at his touch was wholly unfamiliar. She couldn’t seem to look at his eyes without feeling heat from an unnamed source rise to her face. She wondered if this was normal, or whether it was a sign of danger.

Allura had quickly pulled her hand away, noticing his expression fall a little. It was only then when his mentor who had accompanied him decided to bring her situation to light.

“Sorry, Shiro, I should have mentioned this to you earlier. Allura is different than other Alteans. She is deaf.”

Allura caught the movement in his lips and understood clearly. It was only a matter of time, she figured, that they found out. But it irritated her that he would deem her as something ‘different’ than her own kind. Deaf or not, she was still Altean. She was here to fulfill an objective, and she hoped that at least the first handshake would establish alone that she was willing to assimilate, to appear normal like them. But her first mode of contact had already gone awry. She would have died of shame if the man known as Shiro in front of her did not return a warm smile and instead bring up his fingers.

Sorry for my ignorance. Let’s try again: Welcome to the Garrison. I’m Shiro. Can I show you where you need to go?” He repeated what he had asked earlier, but Allura was more shocked to see him relay it in sign language. But not the one practiced on Earth, it was the Altean version she knew so well.

Allura felt herself choke; her mother tongue alone was already ancient and starting to disappear from memory, but this was the last thing she expected to see in a human military academic facility in the middle of nowhere. It was the last thing she expected to be used by a human stranger. Allura welled up with tears, and she bent down and cried into her hands. Continue reading

Full-Length Novel Coming Soon…

Name: GENERA

Genre: Science fantasy, science-fiction, adventure, comedy, romance etc.

Synopsis 1: 
X-Men meets Stranger Things meets Avatar: Airbender
In a future earth, a group of people resisting the workings of a powerful government and kids on the brink of developing special abilities find themselves uncovering a conspiracy. 

Synopsis 2:
In a world where evolutionary humans called Variants rise to power after forcing once-assimilated alien races into exile, a group of characters band together to navigate through the tides of political and social unrest. Powerful Variants seek to weed out young Variants with special abilities for a greater cause. A normal human mother tries to escape her past and provide a new life for her Variant daughter with an unstable power, and a Variant boy with a mysterious ability uncovers something big with an unlikely team. In the meantime, a rebel alien group gains traction, and a prophecy becomes a center of interest.

My Hindu Deity With A Modern Twist Collection

When we think about getting in touch with religion, it’s not always about reimagining our relationship with the deity (or deities) we serve.  The great thing about being a Hindu is that our relationship with our gods stems from mythologies and stories, which is pretty awesome considering that you get to pray to a Goddess of Birth and Destruction once a year. The somewhat-unfortunate thing is that nowadays, Hindu kids in the U.S, or even outside of India, don’t really get exposed to these myths and tales of the divine.

I will continuously point out that most school curriculums (In the Western world) teach way too much Greek and Roman mythologies, and not enough about Asian or other lesser-known pagan ones. Of course, there is nothing wrong with Ancient Greek and Roman epics (heck, I was a big fan of those and Egyptian mythologies in particular. Still kind of am), but leaving out one of the oldest and still vastly-practiced polytheistic religions from a social studies textbook is a big fat shame.

So I decide to start at phase one, asking myself the question: How can I make some of the gods I know more familiar (and fun) to not only those kids, but anyone who wants to learn about them? Continue reading

Sunset Mania

Image

Unity through technology is a fascinating thing.

I don’t mean the way people come together in the digital landscape to represent a cause or fascination, but how people get the same, unified, idea to capture a moment – a sort of herd mentality – through the digital tools they are bestowed with in hand. As a result, we get something like the above, different smart-phones taking the same picture of the same phenomenon.

It’s something wholly contemporary and representative of our era in a nutshell. Some might say that’s a bad thing, you know, using a smartphone for everything. But it also has it’s strengths — the innate ability to follow patterns. Before I even thought about clicking this picture on top of the One World Observatory in New York, there was a scrambling of hands and voices trying to find the best way to record the sunset. Naturally the experience alone is not enough when there’s something to help you remember it later on. So then a young man asked to have his phone set against the glass. And his two friends asked the same. Then my three friends. After I placed them neatly in a row, we all began to laugh. It wasn’t because it was ridiculous that all of us were jumping on the chance to record a sunset at once, but that our method of madness looked pretty awesome. It showed that we can get creative, that we can recognize smart ideas. When one person notices that the view is better against the glass, the others follow suit. New incentives are born, different people end up having a different pixelated version of the same sunset on their phones (depending on the model of course), and a row of devices on an arbitrary corner on the highest level of a famous tower look aesthetically pleasing.

Human beings are quite something, and this is one example of that for sure. 

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