‘Every year world-wide, there are over 26 million arranged marriages. Over 53% of all marriages in the world are arranged. Globally, over 11 million women are forced to marry before the age of 18’.
A startling, accurate statement at the bitter end of British Indie Film ‘The Forbidden Note’ which struck more than a familiar tune with me I can tell you. Tissues and a cup of strong tea at hand, I was prepared, prepared for the sting of tears which usually surface after a love story doesn’t go the way I hoped it would and the lump in my throat to be comforted by my hot brew; calming my romantic soul. However, the emotion that I didn’t possess a coping mechanism for whilst watching ‘The Forbidden Note’ on amazon.co.uk Amazon Prime was pure rage.
Whilst this film essentially highlights the desperate plight of millions of young women and girls being forced to marry against their will, it also touches on the harrowing act of grooming innocent young children who are lured into worlds that take them away from the dreamland they are desperately trying to reach.
Orphan Cosmo, played by Reese Scholtz, is banished from a boarding school by a less than God like nun after his mother passed away. Just a boy, he is thrust into Yardie territory and the brutish arms of its leader Benzart played by Fredi ‘Kruga’ Nwaka to be made a soldier; a child soldier. Sakeena, played by Reena Anjali is a Muslim girl promised to a fellow Muslim who is so vile and inadequate in every way possible, that you would question any parent or family member, regardless of culture or religious conviction, for believing a life of misery with ‘that’ is a life worth living for their daughter. These are very real stories, stories of a savage existence, experienced behind every dark corner and continent.
Supressed by the criminal underworld and ignorant, undisguised restrictions, Cosmo teaches himself to play the piano and Sakeena is a ballerina tip toeing through life on a secret stage. Both find solace and freedom of expression through music and dance which inevitably leads them to one another. Those of you who are open-minded, with a live and let live attitude will think this a perfect combination but the course of true love never did run smooth…so they say.
‘The Forbidden Note’ has my full attention thanks to writer and director Callum Andrew Johnston who has thoughtfully created a telling piece. He wrote this emotive story with two highly sensitive topics in his mind, arranged marriages and radicalization but he skilfully managed to incorporate so much more. Scripted and acted with feeling and depth, this film has left me emotionally invested for an eternity unless history is made!
It’s not a life I would go back to, growing up as a Greek Cypriot teenager, but I would go there one last time just to look at the magazine cuttings of George Michael on my bedroom wall. My life back then was a stifling existence without any clear window to the freedom I craved or to open so I could escape.
For many of the girls in my strict situation, there were pop stars and those pop stars meant we could escape in our minds when our feet were too paralyzed with fear to move. In fact, the only defiant and rebellious thing I ever did was to leave marks on my very on trend at the time pink and grey wallpaper after re-applying sticky tape which would lose its grip eventually and cause George to fall and hide behind my bed post!
I just wish I could have gone to the Wham! Farewell Concert, which of course, I wasn’t allowed to go to, but, I followed my gut instinct and with endeavour I can now listen to him whenever I want and wherever I want. I unbolted that double glazed window, installed cheaply by the council to find my FAITH, FREEDOM and I am in no doubt that George ‘The Singing Greek’ found his heaven.
Researching for clients and friends is one of my favorite things to do. It allows me to understand who they are on a deeper level and what makes them tick. These searches are usually positive and help me expand my knowledge of topics I know very little about and introduce me to unfamiliar worlds. However, there have been times when finding the unexpected turns my brain cells into emotional mush instead of mindful magic.
You are crazy if you think you can hide everything on the internet and deluded if your ego persuades you that nothing will ever be found. The power behind someones finger tips as they write their story or profile can breathe life into you or knock it out like a heavy-weight punch! What is inevitably unearthed can make or break you (if you allow it) and not for the first time, the universe and stars that twinkle from it, grouped together with a celestial lesson for me to learn; this time in the form of a phenomenal woman who reached 102 years of age, just a year older than my Grandmother who passed at the age of 101.
When I reach a grand old age (I believe that I will) will I look back on my life with a smile on my face? A wonderful life that I would want to re-live again and tap my feet to its beautiful music? And, the question that is unshakable in my mind;