Spirit of Chennai- in flood & blood

Torrential rains to us till now have meant a motley set of dissimilar things depending on our stake- no drying clothes on terrace, no light pants on roads, no school or no open air events. The ‘us’ here refers largely to chennaites, though could interchangeably be used to describe the hoi polloi of most Indian cities in general. The farthest we’ve gone to despise rains has been when it’s disrupted an ongoing cricket match at a home venue, the single sacrilegious act an average Indian can’t tolerate.

‘Rain enough to flood or dry enough to famish, but never rain to dry a chance of a home venue match’, goes the popular indian sentiment.

As far as Chennai goes, it’s never rained on our parade. At least, not on the ones that really matter. Even on those fleeting occasions, the showers have only had prowess enough to fell elderly trees or make translucent white shirts obscene. If anything at all, the monsoon has evaded this part of the country year after year snobbishly.

She’s been this city, who’s always had a dispassionate third person account to an aftermath of a calamity or an insurgency in other cities, through news channels. Even when the tsunami had sprung a surprise at her on a generic Sunday morning a decade back, her fortress remained largely impermeable. Who knew good old red tapism with some clerical errors and a 50 cm downpour for a couple of days would bring her down like never before.

Call it providence or nepotism to north India; but both the forces of nature and fringe elements have hitherto been rather kind or should I say, indifferent to her, notwithstanding the opulence of her endowments or the diversity of her populace.

National attention has always come to her in rationed quantity as a scavenged leftover, taking a multi crore scam or a Kamal Hasan movie’s ban to scream into the national media’s ears for acknowledgement of her existence.

Blame it on phonetics or the font, colour or the culture; the north-south relation has always been a plummeting affair. Over the years, the tepidity has been subtly vented out through unsuspecting populist processes like caricaturing, stereotyping, ridiculing and mispronouncing with ersatz entitlement.

To an average north indian, anything south of the Vindhyas is Madras and every living being, Madrasi. This is one intriguing conundrum, that most North Indians marginalise a South Indian as a Madrasi (after the erstwhile name of Chennai) despite there being many other attention worthy South Indian cities than Chennai. Chennai to its credit has been behaving like an adolescent coming to terms with the extent of his faculties.

The spirit of Chennai has been a largely jingoistic concept founded on infantile credentials like CSK, Marina, Saravana Bhavan and Satyam. It’s always pitched itself as a middle-ground between cultural conservatism and cosmopolitan trappings.

Chennai has been this lackadaisical metro, content with its runner up status behind Delhi and Mumbai, disgruntled but surreptitiously so. It has all along taken respite in one-upmanship battles between Sambar vada and Vada Pav or  Bessy and Juhu, to keep its glory afloat, flimsily albeit.

It takes a heartbreak to make a man out of a boy. And it takes a disaster to consolidate the spirit of a land.

The rise of Japan after Hiroshima or Gujarat after earthquake being case in point.

The city for the first time succumbed to nature’s fury and tumbled to a standstill. Mobile towers short of fuel, floating cars, flooded roads, islanded houses, perennial power shut downs, vestigial electrical appliances  were apostles to nature’s cryptic mockery at human pursuit at building a utopian civilization, all of which came down in a tumbling manner like a deck of cards.

A natural calamity devours through the veil of urbanization; turning lands to naked strips reeking with primal ambitions of food, survival and shelter, in the process reducing concepts like GDP, gold prices, interest rates, loss of pay, year ends, audit, fitness, politics to redundancy of gibberish extent.

When pushed to a corner, the nemesis that doesn’t break us makes us stronger by its impetus.

Which is exactly what happened with the floods.

It brought together the residents to dovetail their aspirations to a common purpose of helping the city rise up on its feet again, giving it a personality of its own for the first time since its conjuring. They vicariously lived through the turmoil- limping, recovering and rising along with it; behaving similar to individually insignificant parts of a behemoth machinery, on their road to recovery.

By the time the national media arrived gratuitously like cops in the climax of an eighties movie , the nature’s fury had receded paving way for the city to pick itself up on its own without reaching out for help. This self sufficiency after one of its most cruel rendezvous with nature, was Chennai’s way of reiterating its autonomous jurisdiction to the national media which was content on making saleable vanity projects of sensitive news from rest of India.

The floods helped in forging the spirit of Chennai beyond a cliché, helping it come of age from a boisterous city content on flaunting and finger pointing to a self sufficient one with empathetic inhabitants, who would individually fall to make it infallible.

A city in general is defined by its characteristic infrastructural traits, the political ecosystem, sporting franchises representing it, flagship landmarks and primary goods that it produces. But it always takes a single occasion of unanimous display of ownership by its indigenous population, to come into its own; truly and tangibly.

In the coming days we might go back to signal hopping like apes in traffic, queue up outside liquor shops, curse the sun’s tyranny on humid days and wear yellow jerseys to CSK matches as a display of pseudo solidarity.

But we would never forget those dark days when we were there for each other with dogged resilience to see the light at the end of the tunnel together. Those dark days when we realised that Chennai meant more to us than just an address, an indelible identity to relish.



Kabali and Uttama Villain- the similarities that we overlooked

Cinema at a surface level is an ostensibly exciting medium that promises to manipulate your imagination for the price of a ticket and the duration of the movie. While most movies leave our minds as we peel away from the seats once the lights come on, few remain to intrigue. Sometimes some of such attempts are made of the fabric that wove another special attempt. Some might be surreptitious spin-offs with gratuitous level alterations to appear unique, while some might be loud-announced inspirations at the outset.

Dissimilar looking things with a little more deconstruction might turn out chalk and chalk, while things appearing identical at the surface level might actually be chalk and cheese beyond the initial deception.

Last week saw the release of the Rajinikanth starrer Kabali amidst much fanfare. But it was surprisingly not a typical Rajini escapist fare, which instead resulted in a lot of debates and observations of subtexts and symbolisms that were overlooked; something that usually happens after the release of every Kamal movie.In introspection, I couldn’t help but notice some similarities between Kabali and Kamal Haasan’s Uttama Villain that released last year. This piece is my attempt at deconstructing the similarities between both the films.


The Imprisonment-Metaphor and Literal

If Kamal’s Manoranjan was imprisoned in his fame, Rajini’s Kabali is in a facility. Uttama Villain starts with a star who is trapped in a prison of his popularity, too comfortable to notice the mediocre that it has turned him into. Kabali opens with an elderly gangster who has been framed into imprisonment for 25 years now, who in the evening of his life doesn’t have anything to look forward to, beyond the walls of the prison.
It takes the knowledge of a life ending cancer to shake up Manoranjan out of his self imposed imprisonment, while it takes a joint motion of compassion by a bunch of Malaysian diplomats to end Kabali’s term.

The Surprise daughter and the Foster father

In UV, a doctor walks into the life of the protagonist to shine light on a blind spot from a plaintive chapter of his life, an unrequited romance. Mano gets to know about his biological daughter through him, a love child he had hoped to have in the past. With the knowledge of his imminent death comes another surprise of as much gravitas, a relation to yearn for with the little time left.
Kabali sets on a manhunt to take down the men behind the murder of his beloved wife, who was pregnant.  As he narrows in on another suspected scumbag running a brothel to take down, neither does he expect him to be a foster parent;  leave alone to his own daughter,  who he had assumed to have perished along with his pregnant wife years ago. Moments later in a crossfire, the revelation of his life stands personified in his daughter spraying bullets all over the room to save his ass.

The Artifice-Theyyam and Meta movie & Gangster plot and Malaysian Tamil rhetoric

Knowing that his days are numbered,Manoranjan wants to make a memorable movie, that would embalm him in the minds of the people long after his time. He chooses to make an existentialist comedy of errors about an “immortal” theyyam artist who manages to prevail over death, ironical to his reality.
Kabali takes it upon himself to be the voice and at times, fist of the marginalised tamil demography of Malaysia. He swears to bring down the empire of his ideological opponents in a gang that goes by the name of “43”(in dragon font), while running a rehabilitation facility for tamil people in the front end.
UV had a solid core in the self discovery of its dying protagonist and how he unites with his estranged family, that was diluted by the parallel narrative involving the meta movie that was neither funny nor poignant enough to be taken seriously.
Likewise Kabali too has a wonderful premise in the emotional journey of an old gangster who brings back his scattered family together, the impact of which was watered down by the montages of Tamil revolution and the excessive caste rhetorics that neither caused a stir nor organically gelled with the narrative.

The Reunion, Redemption and Departure

By the time UV draws to its end, Manoranjan manages to win his estranged daughter’s love, reconcile with his indifferent family and most importantly finds peace within, at the sight of all his close ones coming together in one warm embrace. He eventually dies , but only after redeeming himself with the completion of his last movie, that he leaves behind to last forever.
Close on the heels of his union with his daughter, Kabali wakes up to another pleasant shock about his wife being alive in India. Soon, all the three unite in one teary-eyed occasion, that wells up their eyes with relief, than joy. Fate continues to be a solicitous hope changer in his life with every incongruous surprise it hurls at him.
He comes back to Malaysia, to single handedly annihilate his arch nemesis-the 43 gang, to only be confronted by irony, in the form of a bullet that left the pistol of an unassuming youngster from his own camp.

When Uttama Villain released last year, it dichotomised the audience by the bipolar reception it met with- into ones who swore by its mastery in their elaborate deconstruction articles to be a timeless classic with a myriad metaphors beneath or simply trashed it to be a preposterous movie that failed to hold their attention. The movie finally ended up as a failure at the box office.
Encore of the same seems to be happening with Kabali, with the movie turning to be  fodder for a lot of debate; atypical of the  vanilla euphoria around a Rajni starrer. For now, we’ll  have to wait and watch as to where it lands from here.


Kabali- A “what-went-wrong” deconstruction

Now that Kabali is out in the theatres and the fracas around it has settled down, people have started talking beyond the gargantuan hype surrounding the movie; and the feeling seems to largely be mixed- bordering from bafflement to disappointment. And a handful of the die-hard fans of Rajni seem to crying out foul, at the not-so-flattering air inundating the movie.
A marketing blitzkrieg carved out of planes plastered with Rajni’s face and silver coins forged with his impressions, can only go as far as kindling the curiosity of the hoi polloi, to check out the movie over its opening weekend. What transpires in the dark of the theatre, as the movie starts to interact with its audience is far removed from the hype held in the painted plane; that handheld them into the theatre in a frantic spell. The final taste that the chocolate leaves in the mouth is completely independent of the celebrity in the advertisement and the expensive foil wrapping it.

Honest marketing campaigns as they come, achieve the middle ground between preserving the true core of a product, while attempting to augment its reach. When the product rolls out, they manage to create a positive synergy to firm up its equity. This is probably where Kabali seems to have slipped.

Marketing is not an elaborate artifice, but a propaganda with a fiduciary angle to ensure an honest positioning of an underlying product. Hollywood employs this to great effect. Take for instance the case of Robert Downey Jr, easily the biggest star of this generation. The marketing campaign for a simple little movie starring him called, The Judge was diametrically different from the scale and tone of his Avengers movie. It was positioned as an emotional- court drama with a personal conflict at its heart. When it released the audience  didn’t feel deceived, as it catered to the niche it was made for who exactly knew what to expect from it. Imagine their plight had they gone in expecting an Ironman kind of a movie, to only find a vulnerable Downey Jr( sans his Tony Stark quirks) reconcile with a grumpy father in the backdrop of a lackadaisical small town.
Coming back to Kabali, going by the two teasers that went viral  to the numerous promotional initiatives creating the endless halo around the movie, one thing was clear. They were loudly reiterating the movie to be a quintessential Rajni fare with celebratory accoutrement on the lines of a Basha or a Annamalai. There was not an inkling about it being otherwise, as the color and scope fashioning the imagination of the prospective ticket buyer were far removed from an experimental movie that was not run of the mill.

About the countless memes doing rounds about feeling let down by Rajni not playing his larger than life self, that firmed his stratospheric stature. We go to a circus that touts the jumping through the flaming hoops by its exotic tiger as its flagship act. Suddenly the tiger wants to juggle like the monkey, much to the crowd’s bafflement. The attempt as noble as it is, wouldn’t sugarcoat the collective disappointment of the audience that had paid to watch the tiger’s deft defiance through the rings of danger.

Evaluation of a movie from the standpoint of the income and expenses of its producer isn’t an organic assessment of the taste it leaves, lingering in the minds of the audience as they step out of the theatre. For movie making is an art form that thrives beyond the jurisdiction of commerce, the flourish of which doesn’t depend on the coffer of the investors alone.
Kabali to me is an overpriced cola without its fizz, the fizz people were conned into paying for in hordes. I would anytime suggest a helping of Annamalai over the trivia of a painted plane carrying wealthy people masquerading as Thalaivar fans to an uninitiated person; to understand the aura of the phenomenon called Rajinikanth.



From a distant place called Childhood

I had just come from yet another humid day that Chennai churned up callously. All along,she’s been an equal counterpart and at times has even managed to tip over her Kannada speaking neighbour,Bangalore, thanks to the lopsided coastal advantage held in her beaches when it came to popular city conundrums. I wouldn’t know if it is the balding ozone layer over her or the endless metro construction work that has been going on for eternity now, shrinking roads to half their breadth to spike up the traffic; but of late she’s been a little off colour.
I turned on the television to unwind for a while, legs stretched on a chair before. I was halfheartedly browsing through the myriad channels arranged thoughtfully on the basis of language and genre, as my heart sunk into a reverie far away in time.

My school life to me was an elaborate exercise on convenience with curriculum. Unlike now everything about it was predictably systematic like my TV’s set-top box. My grandma would wake me up just before I could steal another minute of sleep. She was this person who went off before the alarm could. My mother sweated it out in the kitchen to manufacture my lunch with a lot of love and homogeneity, in sync with my fluorescent yellow uniform.

Cycling to school and back from there in a unhurried buffalo hurdle of buddies, was too much fun to be just incidental. Cycling back was in particular a lot more fun for the indefinite pit stop that we made at a bakery, that went by the name of “Choice”. The name was a little ironical given the fact that there was not much of a choice to make in the barren route back from school. This was a simple little road-facing property that was often crowded with flies hovering over the carefully covered consumables when school kids like us weren’t making a beeline. It was an ambitious place where learning was a two way street. We learnt about the existence of stuff like mousses, quiches and pizzas from their watered down Indian versions and the bakery guys in turn learnt to make them right with each iteration by having us for guinea pigs for their baking experiments. But coming to think of it in hindsight as an adult, Choice bakery continues to be a special place, notwithstanding the quasi cakes and confectionaries that violated our taste buds, as what we were savoured there was far more consequential- the last left drops of our childhood.

Coming back from school, surfing through the TV channels leg stretched, as grandma would feed me patiently was easily where the day hit its sweet spot. Pampering me to a guilt giving extent came like second nature to my doting Grandma. Since my parents travelled extensively through this phase, I was used to her taking charge of the house. Unlike my mom who was a little strict back then, she was a person in whom I found an audience for my shenanigans. She was my Santa in a nine yard sari, who felt hurt if I didn’t ask her for pocket money while going out.
Later during the day, talking to friends from the opposite gender surreptitiously about “assignments” from the landline was a tight rope walk without a net beneath; all the more because there was a parallel connection in my parent’s bedroom.Unlike now, sleep came a lot more fluently like the milkman at daybreak, with the cue of a light going off.Probably because the heart was naiver with lot less to carry and process. Or probably because I wasn’t adult enough to nocturnally defy the silk embrace of sleep back then.

The unruly ring of my phone hijacked my thought train, to shake me back to the present where my coffee had turned cold over my extended epiphany. This was an important call from a professional acquaintance that I had to take; important enough to break the bubble of nostalgia, as peace giving as it was.
This is probably the contradictory pastiche I’ve become to be over the years- an adult by appearance and responsibility; a child at heart and aspiration who would blindly choose prosperity over peace every time, while continuing to skip a heartbeat over a watershed anecdote from his distant childhood.



Sultan-An actor is born out of a superstar

With his back facing us, he struts out of the dark alley to the ring like a celestial being, little streaks of sunlight pouring from the shafts above in quantity just enough to fashion the contours of his silhouette with gold dust as the chant in the background goes-“Khoon mein tere Mitti, Mitti mein tera Khoon; Upar Allah, Neeche Dharti; Beech mein tera Junoon“.
The crowds in the movie become delirious as Sultan makes a grand entrance,as the crowd in the theatre goes berserk at the first sight of Salman. Salman’s playing his favourite alter ego- that of a man child with a magnetic charm for the infinite time to the same effect; this time he’s called Sultan.

A quintessential Bhai movie is nothing but an elaborate vanity exercise comprising of-catchy numbers, quirky signature steps and fourth wall breaking sequences with iconic lines when Bhai is done breaking some bones. Sultan does all this and much more. It gives us a protagonist who is not saddled with the task of catering to the legion of fans of the star alone.  He is a fallible person, who crumbles under the impact of defeat. He is an illiterate who knows to handle the rejection of a woman with dignity. He is a desi wrestler who’s Ko move is punctuated with an obeisance.Sultan manages the hitherto  unmanageable feat of trespassing beyond the “Salman” persona to an unchartered territory called acting, that Bajrangi Bhaijaan almost managed to do.

The road to redemption is staged onscreen in an invigorating fashion through the subtle deployment of a few processes as metaphorical devices . Insulted by the woman he loves for the dearth of purpose in his life, he embarks on a journey of self discovery .He starts off with a clear-face shakily,tilling a field singlehandedly to chasing beside a local train. The train zooms past him and there’s a lot left to plow in the field.
As he makes progress; he’s grown a thick stubble now. He almost manages to match the train and the field has significantly been cleared; his limits stretched.
By the end of his metamorphosis- the stubble has turned a marked moustache; he races past the train with the field burning ready for cultivation. A new man is born.

There is this point in the movie where a worn out Sultan, past his prime is trying to stage a comeback. He takes his shirt off before the mirror.What he sees is an image of a man who is not just out of shape, but buried beneath the debris of despair and defeat. He implodes with anguish as even his shirt wouldn’t peacefully let him sneak in to it. It is one of the rare occasions where our hearts go out in unison for this man, overlooking the star portraying him.
Sedentary at soul, he is this lackadaisical individual who wakes up to his potential after instigation. For success has often been his retaliation to instigation- a recurring motif in his life. If Aarfa instigated him with her insult to turn him into a world renown wrestler earlier, a coach now calls him a dead person from the ringside while he gets beaten to pulp, trying to resurrect his carrier in a new form after a sabbatical.
Phat comes the killer move – as if in response – as he lays still his opponent.He springs out of the ring defiantly to tell this man, verbally now that he might have quit wrestling, but never stopped fighting.

The romance isn’t a gratuitous embellishment to ratify song sequences. It constitutes the very heart and soul of the movie.It gives us his love interest Aarfa, an ambitious-strong woman, an Adrian to his Rocky(just that she’s is a wrestler much before he wanted to be one.) She just isn’t there as his prosaic arm candy, but insinuates the necessary friction in his life from time to time.
There’s a beautiful trait she exhibits every time when Sultan makes progress towards something great; she turns away from the happening solicitously. She doesn’t want to spectate, but rather participate vicariously in his travails moment by moment. She does this when he enrols as a green horn wrestler to take part in a state level championship. She does this while coaching kids with her back facing the TV playing his MMA matches.

These finer aspects go on to enhance the relatability of the larger than life proceedings, the stuff that we seldom expect out of a Salman starrer. There is this scene where he watches his wedding night’s video after dinner in isolation. As the shot segues from the video to his room, he’s  fallen asleep watching himself fall asleep in the video. We get to know that the nostalgia held in the video is his lullaby.
For once the sight of Bhai is not just the excuse to wolf whistle alone, but a calming influence.







On frequencies and forgiveness

All of us are a collage of organs functioning together in sync under the umbrella of a personality-which we so passionately raise brick by brick to be a edifice-to house this entity which we vaguely try to fit under many nomenclatures; primary amongst them being soul.
This thing is sometimes the god within till the last breathe; ghost beyond the last breathe. It is the one that remains awake when one is asleep, also the one that crowds the room when alone. The one that we pamper with music and wisdom unknowingly.The one that mirrors exhibit, that pictures don’t.The one that communicates with us through our epiphanies, dreams and parallel thoughts.

This entity is the lense that colours our vision. Our world and the people in it are fashioned to its whims and fancies. Our happiness, sadness, preferences and disappointments are nothing, but external manifestations of this entity.
We call friends from acquaintances by the frequency at which we tune in. This frequency is created by similar interests, ideologies, trust and mutual respect. Contrary for the frequency with people we tend to dislike that is built on prejudices, predispositions and lack of respect. The former is a congenial space, that we feel positive about. The latter  accrues indifference; animosity at times.

Take the case of a close friend that we meet after a long time. We tend to pick from where we left last. This is possible only because of the frequencies we have been tuned together.So what nostalgia does is, it rekindles the frequencies back.
Now imagine a person, an erstwhile friend who had hurt you by his action or words leaving an unshakeable wedge between the two of you. Everytime him or his thoughts come across, we pick up where we left, courtesy the frequencies that tuned us apart.

To forgive someone or not is one’s prerogative.Forgiving doesn’t bring with it peace or spiritual enrichment like the monks would endorse.For, it is nothing but an overrated franchise of understanding.
Understanding dawns upon a person who bends at the threshold of reasonability and objectivity. It gives him the ability to sieve cause from effect dispassionately. Forgiveness or the lack of it, happens as an after thought much later.

Coming back to this entity I was flattering to cause frequencies that we fraternised in. When let down or hurt by a closed one, the pain from the aftermath causes this entity to spin in a frequency different than the previous one ; causing thus a rift. This is essentially what outbursts and heartbreaks are at a grassroot level.
This is where  understanding kicks in to mend the frequencies. It embraces the facts beneath, bereft of emotional scaffoldings. It processes the issue clinically and throws out various course of actions to clear the entity of this issue- one among them being forgiveness.
This overhaul allows the entity to function in nimbus fashion, which eventually translates into peace of mind.

Forgiveness is an act of choice, while understanding is a virtue.

We live in a time that this entity within us is prone to be taken for a ride by a clique of self appointed life coaches and spiritual gurus who act like our collective conscience, insightfully telling us a thousand ways to lead an utopian life,they deem fit. It becomes all the more sensible for us to know to deconstruct an act to be a choice or a virtue  The act of choices goes to feed our external personality, while the virtues enrich the entity within.

Lootera and the last leaf epilogue

Climaxes are more often than not an end to a story’s flow; also few times a lead up to a sophomore movie. The protagonists go on with their lives much after the screen goes blank; probably a little differently happier,sadder or alive than we saw them last. After all we were the disconnected spectators who had paid a price to eavesdrop into their lives, while they were just unassuming people leading a life little aware about the spectacle that they had become, in the name of a movie.

I’ve always revered a well written drama bookended by its prologue and epilogue for the gravitas they bring in; especially the epilogue- for it creates the last impact that lingers with me long after the running time- constituting thus a lasting impression.

It is in this context that Lootera is a special movie with an exemplary song fashioning its epilogue.Make no mistake about the fact that it is an invigorating piece of cinema by itself-a gift which never stops giving-the epilogue only serving as a grand wrap around it.

A man scuttles through the torrid snowfall towards a bald elder tree, which effectively is laden barren with naked branches pointed skywards as in a plea to the heavens. A solitary leaf exhibiting dogged resilience much to the nature’s surprise seems to be the only form of life in it. Its last hope; probably someone else’s too.
We see an identical leaf peeping from his jacket, with painted veins and a piece of twine annexed.Immediately we get a cue to how the lone leaf’s resilience was doctored.

As he climbs to the top of the tree to replace the leaf with the one in his pocket, the song begins- it talks about a man’s plea to providence to be let alone and just alive. His tryst to the top of the tree seems to be the only animation for miles around in the avalanche struck valley.
He bleeds with every progress from one branch to another, reeling in pain he still goes about resolutely. It’s only when he replaces the previous day’s leaf with the one in his pocket, does he lets go off; figuratively and literally.
His headward fall doesn’t incite panic, but inhabits a serene embrace in his face. Even as blood smudges beneath his head forming a red halo, he continues to look at his leaf snubbing the storm above with contentment. For it’s an edifice for a loved one he once connived.

She was royalty, conned of everything that made her that- left to take refuge in a modest mansion in a snow hit ghost town-by the very same man who was now staking his life for her’s. Saddled with loneliness and an incurable disease feeding on her life stream, she had picked an unlikely soulmate in a tree outside. A tree which was lonely,blizzard hit and hopeless-much like her,dying with every leaf withering away. Withering in tandem to which she had numbered her days.

Little did she know about the part irony was to assume in her life. That it had appointed the man who had robbed her to where she was to be her antidote; who would eventually go on lay himself in the altar of her prosperity.

He gathers himself up rather shabbily from the impetus of the fall- punctured and bleeding- he stumbles like a headless chicken besotted in fulfilment. Fulfilment from the fact that his leaf artifice had after all managed to bail her from an impending death. Now with his ticket to redemption made, he embraces death like a blanket of warmth for there’s nothing else to look up to in his life.