Sunday, 19 November 2017

Weekend notes

It turns out our DSTV subscription expired Saturday night. I got up at around 5 AM this morning. For the first time in my life, I have started to experience sleeplessness. I remember my parents and other adults complaining about not being able to sleep or not being to sleep for a stretch. I never appreciated that this age-related calamity could ever strike me, too. So, too frequently, I find I can't fall asleep or I get up in the middle or early morning, having to take a leak and then not being able to fall asleep. I sometimes read or sometimes become a couch potato. 


This morning, I was not only unable to sleep but was also suffering my a hang over. Last night we were at our dear friends Justin and Jyoti's for a Thanksgiving dinner (complete with a slow roasted turkey and typical American side dishes like sweet potato pie and cranberry sauce). We were literally the last guests to leave and I was throwing back wine like I have not done in a long, long time. Inevitably, I came home and threw up. I felt like crap for a while but it was also nice to be tipsy for a while and enjoy the buzz. 

So anyway, I woke up at 5 AM this morning and pottered around the apartment. I first went to check the voltage and, saw that it was still quite low. For a few weeks, now, since the dry season has arrived, LEC voltage is too low in 2 phases and, so we can't sleep with the AC on in our bedroom. We've been running the generator at night. 

I put on the TV and saw that our subscription at expired. I was only able to watch CCTV. It was quite amazing because I learned about China's 'Oprah Winfrey' (Jin Xing) and a Hanggai, a Chinese band who hail from inner Mongolia. The band Hanggai was in Vancouver and were recording an album, being produced a famous producer. 


Anyway, after that I turned off the generator, switched to LEC and went back to sleep in the bedroom. Of course, too soon, it was too hot to sleep in the bedroom and Kavita and I shifted to the living room sofa where I turned the AC on because the phase it's on is still receiving enough voltage (it hovers between 177 or 180 or 190 and sometimes 200). We slept until 1 PM. Haresh appeared to be annoyed we slept so long but I think he had a good time because he played online chess all morning. 

We quickly got dress and took our staff Farman for a farewell lunch as he's going home to Pakistan for a month. We went for lunch at the funky new café next to the New Era Supermarket. What a nice funky café and what's more the food was actually good. The staff was well dressed and courteous. We had Liberian and Filipino staff waiting on us, who even changed $ 700 'dirty' American bills into clean ones. 

We watched people as they came to shop. It's so funny how small Monrovia is and how many familiar faces one can see in this town. We even met folks we know and made some small chit chat. 

We dove back to town, dropped off sometime at our friend Rukshan's. He had come down to pick it up with little Mateo in his arms. When we handed back Mateo to his father, Kavita complained we should have driven away as she's patiently waiting for a younger sibling. 

Farman handed over work and machines to Haresh and bid farewell to him. He was very emotional and too happy to be going home after what I think is 1 1/2 or 2 years. Haresh told me he told him that 10 folks were going to be at Islamabad Airport to receive him. He will definitely have an emotional family reunion and, he is elated he's going home. He said he didn't have the words to thank us for arranging his home trip and, I also can't imagine the struggles, longing and, emotions migrant workers go through. 

The rest of the afternoon was pure laziness. We dozed and watched movies on our DVD player. First I played Ratatouille for Kavita: an animated movie that really only gets better and better each time you watch it.


After this, Kavita wanted to watch another animated movie but I convinced her I needed to watch a movie. I agreed it would be something children could also watch. So, I popped into Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland which I have never actually watched from start to finish. I finally realised today why I never bothered to watch all of it. Sure, it features some stunning technical special effects and famous actors and voices but it's too depressing and drab. This sounds contradictory because Tim Burton is famous for celebrating the macabre but twisting such a famous story into a frightening landscape did not evoke any love in me. I suppose the animated Disney film of 1951 has a very special place in my childhood and, I love it because of its sweetness. Sure, the characters are crazy but there is such a wonder and magic to the film. What happened to the wackiness of the Cheshire Cat in Tim Burton's version? The Mad Hatter is not mad at all but dazed and limp. Really, what was the point? I think only the Red Queen retained some of the wackiness. Everything else seemed to be post - apocalyptic world. That's not Wonderland. And insult on injury, in the end when Alice returns to her world, she turns into a pioneer of the criminal East India Company, suggesting her father in law and her go into business together. This is after she dumps her fiancé. So much for not only destroying the sweetness and childishness of Alice and Wonderland but also turning Alice into a bloody colonialist. Oh but maybe Tim Burton had a subversive idea to actually lift the veil off Victorian England which was living an idyllic life, getting richer and fatter, spinning fairy tales for its children, while England looting, pillaging rest of the world. 

After this, I popped in Into the Wild. I picked up this DVD from Videocon, the local DVD shop in F-10 Market, close to my house in Islamabad. I don't know why I picked this film up in my previous trip because this is a 2007 movie and the English titles are the latest ones I pick up from this store. I didn't realise this is a 10-year old movie. I hadn't even heard of it so it was nice to watch it with a completely fresh mind. The film is pure poetry, meditation, joy and wonder. Haresh also watched the film from beginning to end, and, we keenly followed the story. 

Among all the various thoughts and reactions that the movie invoked in me, I really enjoyed realising and guessing how much the wilderness, the vastness and sheer beauty of the United States has defined its literature, films, and music. I remember reading My Side of the Mountain in 5th or 6th grade. Who can forget the Little House on the Prairie books? The main character runs away to live in the Catskill Mountains. What a great book for kids and for imagining the American countryside. I remember reading about the American transcendalists  such as Thoreau and Emerson in 9th grade and how they spoke about the beauty of the environment. In so many countless American films, the sheer grandeur of the American mountains, rivers, lakes, deserts, fields, and ocean line is celebrated. It's almost a character in itself: refuge, challenge, terrifying, indomitable, beautiful, etc.

The main character's quest to reject his expected path of job-seeking and further education; to get away from the anguish of his parents' deception; and to find himself is remarkable. That a  young man could so firmly cast aside material wealth and status and be so determined to experience a simple living is astounding. He believes humans are made from experiences and joy can be had from  solitary experiences. He wants to seek out his true self. It's an admirable journey. That he died in the end is tragic and depressing. But Haresh commented, "He did exactly what he wanted to do."

One line I really enjoyed from the line was that money makes you cautious and, it rang so true!

I once had a conversation with my brother in December 2004 in Edinburgh. We had gone for New Year's and I remember asking him, who are we really? Nationality? No. Religion. No. Personal traits? No. I kept saying no to all his answers. Even to Male or Female. I didn't have the answer then and, still think about what makes our Self unique to us. Is it our experiences, desires, and actions? And, if we are led to believe certain frameworks, ideas, concepts and ideologies from so early on  - almost indoctrinated - than, are we really ourselves? Are we defined by these inherited beliefs and the resulting actions, even if we didn't come up with them ourselves? And, how many of us question anything we are taught? Who is who? 

The film is utterly beautiful, even with its non-linear structure, it's sense of intimacy with the main character, the stunning shots of natural world, and the voice of the hero's sister. And what a soundtrack. 

It was only at the end I realised this was a true story!

Friday, 17 November 2017

Pretentious and elitist schooling

I'm quite frustrated with Kavita's new school as time has passed and, I do acknowledge most of my reactions are aimed at the way things are done now. I'm hopelessly ill-informed about how teeny-bopper education works and, haven't really thought things through. 

For a couple of months I have just reacted: mental meltdowns, expressed shock and sarcasm and, frustration. I feel as if this 'school business' is a gimmick and really, just a business. 

I already explained how much higher the school fees are and, what a small fortune we are dishing out every month. 

When the founder of the school (and known to us as a photographer, host/organiser/founder of the summer camp for kids) convinced me to give the school a try after the first couple of days, I tried my best to be positive. 

That didn't last too long because hardly a couple of weeks later, we were invited to a Meet and Greet and then a Parent-Teacher conference. I rolled my eyes at both events, incredulous that I would actually participate in all this formality for a 4-year old child. What was the purpose of these events, exchanges? Is Kavita really in proper school now? Is it me who cannot believe that Kavita is now so old that her teachers/school will give me feedback on her strengths, weaknesses, and how she is coping with school? 

The Meet and Greet (on 30 September) was quite well organised and, parents got to mingle, see the classrooms, and eat a few snacks. It started off by with all the parents in the Circle and the teachers and Shoana took us through the ABCs, songs, meditation/yoga, and Pre-School TV. 

The Pre-School TV was dominated by Kavita for the first few weeks. She sounded cute while explaining what the kids were doing for the week. But it got tiring watching it after after a while. As much as I like seeing Kavita in action, I wasn't really interested in seeing other children in action per se. In fact, when I saw the other children hosting the Pre-School TV, I couldn't muster any enthusiasm and interest. Honestly, what's the point of this gimmick? Isn't it just a gimmick? And possibly worse, it's free marketing for the school?

During the Parent - Teacher conference we were told very nice things about Kavita. We were even told she is "gifted." This conference took place with the school principal (Wilmona) and founder/director (Shoana) and, hardly 2 or 3 weeks after school started. Haresh responded sarcastically by saying that back in India she would just be average. It was such an absurd conversation. I thought the school's praises were extremely insincere and, hollow. What was Kavita exactly gifted in? And, if she was so gifted, what could this school offer her to allow her gifts to thrive and grow?

During this Parent - Teacher conference, I said I was happy with the atmosphere and how they were exposing children to "music", "art", "science," "yoga,", etc but I think I said all that to be polite. I don't know how qualified the teachers are, what degrees they have or how they have even come to make these evaluations. I think the music teacher knows music and has taught music at the Cachelle Summer Camp but don't first hand his experience in teaching such young kids. I know Kavita's class teacher has most of her couple of years of experience only at Cachelle and, doubt she has a reputable degree in education or child psychology or any related subject. What are they basing these evaluations on?

I noticed though the class teacher wasn't even ensuring Kavita was eating the food we were packing for her every day! I told her several times to help Kavita finish her food, time after time, Kavita would bring everything back. I politely told her a few times. Even told Kavita in front of her teacher to listen to her teacher and, finish her food. When I complained for the 3rd or 4th time, the teacher dodged the whole thing to say, "Kavita says the food is too spicy." I lost it and went to the school principal.

These are the dialogues I performed for the principal:

  • For almost $ 400 a month and with hardly 5 children in class, the teacher couldn't even make sure the kids ate their food? 
  • I don't feel the school teacher has more competence than my own Nanny who has often started to blame the whole thing on Kavita, as if Kavita is her boss. 
  • Do we order pizza for our children if they don't like the food or, do we teach them to eat what we give them and when we give it to them? 
  • I'm not into child worship and hoped discipline and manners were being stressed at the school. 

The Principal seemed to understand me (or at least that is the impression I got) but as I was leaving she handed me the phone and Shoana wanted to speak to me. We were on camera so she watched the whole thing and then wanted to speak to me. I got so annoyed and, said I didn't want to have another conversation about it.

Afterwards I received a long e-mail from Shoana apologising for having listened in (wish I had been told earlier that we were all on camera). She said they were trying their best but I seemed to prefer the previous school Kavita was in. She said she never forced her children to eat food and she wouldn't allow any child to be force fed at her school. She said  Reggio Emilia schools encourage children. She even went on to say that my complaints had brought a 'tear' to Kavita's teacher's eye! In the end, I was told that if I wasn't happy with the school, they would understand.  It was a very long insincere e-mail.

Did I tell you they refer to the children as 'Artists' and the teachers as 'Mentors'?

I replied back to Shoana saying I would write her a longer e-mail but could she tell me whether her teachers had teaching licenses. I haven't got a rely yet.

Kavita is still at the same school. She eagerly attends her school every morning and, only needs a few words of encouragement from Haresh to wake up. She comes back with stories and excitement.

I carry on with my own routine with her where we draw, write, read books, converse, watch movies and cartoons, and so on. I've distanced myself from the school, trying to disinvest my emotional energy and, do some thinking in how things actually work.

Creative Arts Early Learning Center is definitely a pretentious little school and for now, they have more style than substance. It's their first year and they hardly have 20 kids for their 2 classes. It's housed in the same place that is currently used for evening dance classes, spa, yoga, guesthouse, etc. It's a business within several other businesses.



Monday, 13 November 2017

Epic Monday evening walk

Today, Haresh and I went on an epic long walk this evening. Kavita had just woken up from her after-school nap and was quite cranky. Her routine these days is to play, draw and watch cartoons at the office with us until she falls asleep. We try to make sure she sleeps for at least 2 hours every day after school because I don't think she gets enough sleep at night. She usually is up until 10 or 11 PM and then has to be up by 7:30 AM. She loves school so much that Haresh has no trouble waking her up in the morning. Almost every morning, she says she wants to sleep for "5 more minutes" and then gets up with gentle nudging. 

So, anyway, after she woke up up after her nap, she refused to go along on the walk so Haresh and I decided to go ourselves. We packed Kavita off with Musu to the house where Musu was going to allow Kavita to watch cartoons. 

I can't remember the last time Haresh and I walked together, only the 2 of us. Kavita loves walking with us usually so it was strange but also nice for the original 2 members of this family to be together.  Oh, I forgot, Bijli was also with us. 

You know what I have realised about Bijli? She's quite a well-behaved dog. She never, ever barks at any dog (or back at any dog) during our walks. In fact, she's quite timid. She only barks and hollers at passerby's, cars, trucks, etc from the comfort of the balcony. 

During one of my previous walks past the old US Embassy, I noticed that an American (I presume she's American) lady's 2 little dogs barked like crazy at Bijli who didn't even yelp in return. So, next time I saw, them, I joked across the street to the dogs that they didn't own the street. 

We walked from Randall Street up UN Drive and then turned right for South Beach where we connected back to the Executive Mansion and then continued to Capitol Bye Pass. 

On South Beach, this fellow asked for a selfie picture and I asked for one, too. 😉

About 3/4 into our hectic long walk, I asked Haresh, "Are you tired?" "He said, no, I can walk to Zwedru."

We ended our walk with fresh coconut water. Coconuts are now all over Monrovia, being sold in wheelbarrows with a woman or man offering it for 30, 40 or 50 LD, depending on the size. 






















Monday, 30 October 2017

Talking movies

Rosemary's Baby


Film posts from Google Images.
Kavita seems to have the stomach for watching horror movies. Usually, I have to hide behind something during a particularly scary scene but she insists she wants to watch the scene. I told Kavita we should watch a scary movie for fun and, so the three of us watched "Rosemary's Baby" yesterday evening. I had the DVD, purchased during my last visit to Islamabad, from the famous Illusions in Jinnah Supermarket (heaven of pirated music and films). My brother Tariq had told me it was one of the scariest movies, not because of what it shows but what it hints at. Somehow, I missed this film and, have always looked forward to finally watching it. 

I told Kavita it would be good to get a blanket to hide under in case we needed to. So she got one of the 'khais' we have at home. She said we should have some popcorn to go along with the movie. I found some in our store with an expiry date of June 2017. I asked Haresh whether it would still be OK. He nodded however it didn't pop. 

The film is truly a classic. Mia Farrow was fetching in her youth. She plays the character  of Rosemary with great skill. Rosemary moves from naiveté, vulnerability, frustration, crippling fear, pain to finally surrender. Even though she is so frail, she quickly grasps that something is going on and, even her own husband seems to be in on it. She firmly goes with her gut instincts and signals. 

The neighbour, Mrs. Castavet, I recognised from Harold and Maude. What a great actress and great performance. It was all over the place: misleading, friendly, motherly but oh so sinister at the end. 

The film has great atmosphere, texture and moods. The suspense is maddening. There's something going on and, but our frail but determined heroine is alone and, trying her best to figure it out, to escape. 

Needless to say, the power of this film lies in the near lack of gore and obvious horror. Except for the girl who has crashed to her death in the beginning of the film and the first nightmare, the horror is psychological and based on a suspense. The look and feel of the film is layered, textured, and intimate. Most of the action takes place in the apartment. Some of the strange episodes happen in dream sequences with a great use of the soundtrack. 

Guy defects to the Dark Side almost in the very beginning, when they go to their neighbours for a dinner invitation. You can see he has changed in the subtle hints thereafter. 

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero


Image from here.

The other night I watched Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero after Kavita and Haresh went to sleep. It was on Sony Max, Channel 457 on DSTV. 

It was a very good biopic type of film. Firstly, ashamedly, I don't know much about Bose so I learned something new about the struggle for independence, even if it came through a film. 

I liked the format of the film as it was linear. I am tired of watching jumpy/random/fictionalised bio-epics. If you don't know much about the personality to begin with, a non-linear and semi-fictionalised account of the famous figure from history is not useful. I'm saying this because I saw Miles Ahead on DSTV and, I did not really enjoy it. I looked it up afterwards and, understood that it was an imagined evening in the life of Miles Davis. Learning this, really annoyed me because I didn't learn anything about one of the greatest jazz musicians. The film showed him as a washed up figure with flashbacks to the regrets in his life. It basically showed him as a deeply flawed figure.  

Not that historical figures are not flawed but I would appreciate a linear format. Indeed, if the screen writer wants to focus more on the flaws, then it better be a compelling film, even if it bends the truth or chooses to show the flaws more than the genius or heroism or struggle. 

I'm quite sure I would like to learn about the making of the genius of Miles Davis and, why he is one of the greats. I would like the film to educate me and even inspire me to go and listen to his music and, be even more interested in jazz. 

If filmmakers are interested in reinterpreting history and in fact, showing great heroes for who they were, so that the public can learn a counter narrative, then that is truly revolutionary. Otherwise, we can create thousands of imagined/fictionalised scenarios to make a B-grade film. And, no one is any smarter. 

If one has to compare bio-epics about legendary American musicians, then I prefer the Jamie Foxx's Ray on the life of Ray Charles. It was not strictly linear but at least one could get a breadth of Ray Charles' life. One could understand how the music industry worked. One even saw Ray's treatment of women and his problem with drugs. It had much more depth in it. And, of course, Jamie Foxx's performance was very powerful. 

Coming back to Chandra Bose, what blew me away by this film was learning about a freedom fighter who actually went to Britain's enemies in the middle of the second World War to seek help fighting the British Empire. I didn't know about about this slice of history - the struggle for independence is dominated by the Muslim fight for a separate country led by Jinnah and, then Gandhi's peaceful/non-violent protests. These are some of the narratives that one learns about. That Bose split from Gandhi's path of non-violent resistance and, crossed the seas to put together a revolutionary force is an entirely new part of history for me. Not only that, he first tried to get help from the Soviets in Afghanistan but they gave him the run around. Then, the Italians introduced him to the Nazis and from where he went to Japan.  

That the Axis powers helped an Indian freedom fighter against British Imperialism makes one revisit one's sense of history. What does it say about World War 2 - the greatest war ever fought? A war which they are still so eager to paint in terms of Good and Evil, 2 clear sides. Almost every popular, academic, journalistic and lay account of the War - for the most part - is without a mention of the brutal white colonial empires and their crimes. Not only that, the greatest white war heroes are shown without their racist tinges. Take for example, the racist pig, Winston Churchill, who the average British thinks was the greatest Brit who ever lived.  Even now, Dunkirk was heavily criticised for its whitewashed history and not showing any colonial soldier! 

Learning about this facet of history makes me finally want to give the title of the Great War to World 2. It was complex so much so that the so called Axis played a part in India's freedom struggle. 

The Western world presents World War 2 as the great and most noble war. They still can't stop making films about their own heroism and defeating the Nazis. And out of this great war, the cause of the Jews was also born, their need for a homeland and, to defend against Anti-Semitism. 

On the world stage, the struggles of the colonial peoples fighting European Empire or the black people fighting slavery and racism has a very small space. Black and brown peoples' wars and struggles are hardly visible. In this sense, this film is a great contribution to portraying the full breadth and complexity of the Indian struggle for independence. I don't know much about Bose's life but look forward to reading more about him.

It was good to see this film while the Brits are still making films and TV series about their monarchs such as Victoria without any critical look at Empire, Colonialism, Racism, etc. What's more there's been a movie made earlier this year - Victoria and Abdul: it looks like it's about the ageing monarch and her Indian manservant and the friendship that blossomed between them. How sweet. 

Miles Ahead 


Image from here.

See above. 

Mashaal 



Images from Google Images.
I remember having seen Mashaal many, many years ago. It was probably at home on a video cassette. 

I caught the film on DSTV one evening after Kavita and Haresh had gone to sleep.  

This is one of Dilip Kumar's finest performances in a film which tackles corruption, violence, cycles of violence, leadership and, journalism.

The scene where he screams for help for his ailing wife, played by Waheeda Rahman, in the middle of the night, on deserted streets, is one of the most haunting, heart-wrenching and moving cinematic scenes. I watched it with tears streaming down my face. He begs the few passing cars, the passengers of these cars, for help but no one comes to his help. He cradles his dying wife in his arms until she finally passes. He is found by people the next morning, shocked and mute and numb. He relates her death and curses himself for his role in his wife's death, who suffered needlessly just because she was an honest and stubborn writer/journalist's wife. The night scene is truly one of the most moving and unforgettable scenes from Indian cinema.

The relationship between Anil Kapoor and Dilip Kumar is so endearing and moving. At the beginning, they both are at the opposite ends, with no clue about each other's lives. Dilip Kumar moves into a 'basti' to set up a printing press for his new paper and learns about the peoples' problems with alcohol, poverty, crime, etc. Eventually, the noble journalist, Dilip Kumar, befriends the 'nali ka keera', Anil Kapoor, a bum, a thug, who spends his days inebriated or stealing with his friends.

Their friendship grows into a teacher/mentor relationship. Anil Kapoor's character comes to deeply respect Dilip Kumar and his wife. He even risks his own life to take Waheeda Rahman to a hospital in the middle of terrible city riots.  When he goofs up, though, by robbing a place after being insulted, he goes mad and steals a music system and gifts it to the principled Dilip Kumar who quickly figures out that he stole it. He throws out Anil Kapoor, calling him a 'naali ka keera'. They meet again, at Anil Kapoor's hovel, and Anil Kapoor gives a tearful speech about his impoverished parents who worked until they died, never having stolen anything. He says his mother cleaned peoples' plates and pots but she couldn't touch anything.

Dilip Kumar's character is shown to be of such high principles, morals, full of social consciousness and inequality but he is extremely stubborn. He is stubborn and tough when it comes to understanding Anil Kapoor's character. He doesn't bend to anyone, even the big crime boss, Amrish Puri, who eventually breaks him down by burning his printing press, having him kicked out of his home, and then he loses his wife because he neither has money to take her to the hospital nor a car. The suffering and death of his wife breaks down Dilip Kumar and, he decides to turn to crime.

The scene where Amrish Puri and Dilip Kumar first meet is quite a lesson in mastery of direction. Amrish Puri has come to Dilip Kumar's printing press, to extend a hand of friendship which is of course rejected by Dilip Kumar. Amrish Puri makes a formidable villain, all smiles and politeness, while our hero is angry and self righteous. The camera circles the two, facing each other across a desk, the whole time.

All this happens while Anil Kapoor has been sent away by Dilip Kumar to study and learn to be a journalist, something Anil Kapoor wants to do, looking up to his mentor.

It's quite a fantastic character transformation. While Anil Kapoor is away studying hard and changing into a learned man, training and hoping to follow in his mentor's footsteps, Dilip Kumar changes into a crime boss, avenging his wife's death. It's a self destructive spiral downwards but one that seems to be so calculated, so knowing.

The ending of course was quite melodramatic but all in all, it's an amazing film. 

Coolie



Film posters from Google Images.
What a run down memory lane. Was it everyone or was it just my brother Tariq and I who were mad about Amitabh Bachan films? 

I don't think I have watched Coolie against since my childhood so it was a treat to watch it and recognise some of the scenes that that seem to have been preserved in my mind. 

The film really embodies the essence of Bollywood of that era when it was ruled by Amitabh Bachan, story lines full of fated tragedies and strokes of luck, spectacular dialogues and, the focus on the 'common man.' 

Somehow it feels Bollywood of that time was almost socialist: the working class man and woman were the heroes while the rich folks were always bad. 

The camaraderie between the coolies, their red uniforms, their badges, their passionate struggle for justice, the fiery speeches of their leader speaking on their behalf - even the famous Sari Duniya Ka Bhoj Hum Uthate Hain song - are the symbolisms of a film where the good guys are the labourers who break their backs every day in order to survive. They literally lift our loads. 

Did such socially conscious films really belong to that era only? Some would argue that hard-hitting mainstream films are still made but they have a different flavour altogether. Do they show the class and social divide so clearly? 

Amitabh Bachan is ever so dashing and heroic! 

Coolie is quite an amazing film, almost perfect, except for its sexist and mysognist treatment of the heroine by the hero. He kidnaps her to teach her a lesson! He keeps threatening to teach her a lesson and of course, she falls for it. This portrayal of violence in a romantic relationship is outdated and, rather disgusting to watch as an adult.