I am starting this blog to be able to write to my heart's content. I dont want to advertise this blog but I would want people to chance on it and give their comments. This is the first of many contradictions that will make up this blog

Location: India

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Movies...that sing

Ram has started to blog with frightening regularity. He writes on movies and you can find his blog here. For me, books are where I can lose myself completely. But movies come in a close second. I haven't watched too many English movies but Malayalam, Hindi and a smattering of Tamil, I am right in there.

Seeing Ram's blog, I thought I will put in my bit about the movies I have seen and admired and lost myself in. I am socially outcast because of the number of times I forcibly bring in Mohanlal in conversations. People (All Indians except Mallus, a few Tamilians and a minority of North Indians who have somehow liked Mohanlal in 'Company') just cannot understand, leave alone appreciate, how a roly-poly, obese actor is allowed to star in movies and how someone can possibly like him. His name of course, does him no favours either.

But I admire him. The way he never overplays a character. The way he becomes the character. If he plays a kathakali dancer, it seems like he has learnt kathakali all his life. If he plays a football player, it would seem that he used to play with Maradona in Napoli. The versatality of Mohanlal (Comedy, action, pathos..you name it) is unmatched in India. For me, he is definitely the best actor in India. Period. He has grown portly and he hasnt taken care of his physique. But the 80s and a major part of the 90s saw Mohanlal at his peak. There are still occasional flashes of brilliance. Udayanaanu thaaram (Udayan is the star) and Thanmathra (Molecule) are those sporadic flashes. The only thing that Mohanlal has done wrong is to be born in Kerala because no one outside this small state watches Mallu movies.

Carrying on with Mallu movies, I have to talk about Padmarajan, my favourite director. He died in the early 90s. He hasnt made too many movies. Out of them, the ones I have seen are

Mohanlal & Padmarajan

Koodevide (In search of a nest)
Namukku paarkan mundhiri thoppukal (The vineyards are our home)
Thoovanathumbikal (The dragonflies of the spring)
Innale (Yesterday/The Past)
Desadanakili karayaarilla (The migratory bird does not cry)
Moonampakkam (On the third day)

Anybody who can think up such names is a poet. It is no coincidence that his movies sing to you.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Excerpt 2

Here is another excerpt from the book I will hopefully complete writing one day. Do put in your comments about it

Excerpt 2 (Refer Excerpt 1 from a previous post)

The foursome walked along the mudroad leading from the river to the paved road which led towards home. The paddy fields, on both sides of the road, a lively green in colour swayed in time to the wind tune. The omnipresent coconut trees all around gave a spectacular scenic beauty to the setting that was totally lost on the children. They never noticed the God-like beauty spread around them. They had never seen anything yet to compare their surroundings with. It was everyday life; it was home.

Satyan, his thick-glassed spectacles constantly in danger of falling from the perch on his nose walked with confidence. He stopped whenever something caught his fancy; a dragonfly, a squirrel. He never asked the others to stop or wait for him but they invariably did. The other children had never ever seen him ask permission to do something he wanted to do. His brain hadn’t been programmed to think that there might even be a need for something like that.. Satyan was not good-looking. He was dark, thin and wore ghastly, thick glasses but the confidence that pervaded every part of Satyan’s personality was inborn. At home and in school he had a following that was unexplainable. His classmates in school followed him blindly. He had an aura about him, a fearlessness, a halo that made him a leader without comparison.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

About booing

Its been some time since I have come this way. Thought I will make a visit and see how things are.

Sachin was roundly booed at Wankhede in the first innings of the final test and the whole cricketing fraternity consisting of the Mumbaikars including the Wadekars, the Vengsarkars and the Rajputs cried themselves hoarse. It was pointed out to every one of the quote-hungry media hordes that great players should not be treated this way.

I agree. The joy I have derived watching Sachin play is unparalleled. I have watched all those matches where Sachin was India and you had to beg everyone else in the house not to shift to the serials just because Sachin was out (even though secretly you knew that serials wouldnt be as bad as watching the rest of the Indian lineup embarassing themselves). His knocks at Sharjah where he pummelled the Aussies, not once but on two consecutive days, is in the top drawer of my mind. I adore Sachin and think myself previledged to have watched his batting.

But thats where my agreement stops. Nobody grudges Sachin his success. He has made crores because of the way he plays. He even succeeded in getting the duty waived off his Ferrari and the Indian public watched and nooded in agreement. After ll, Sachin was a hero. He was decimating oppositions, he was being called the best batsman in cricket and you and I were proud to be Indians.

But that does not mean that I am not allowed to criticize Sachin or that I cannot boo him if he doesnt perform. If you are looking at equilibrium, there should be a law against putting him atop a pedestal too. If no such law exists and we are free to adore Sachin when he performs, we are free to boo him when he doesnt.

I think Sachin would agree. He doesnt need former cricketers to shield him. We dont need former cricketers to tell us how to behave. And we dont need the media to carve out descriptions like 'the worst behaved crowd in Mumbai'. Emotion is spontaneous. You cannot shape it. Nobody watches cricket logically. If they did, they wouldnt watch it. So dont tell me what to do and what not to do. When my heart decides, I go along. Thats what sport is meant to do. So Mr Vengsarkar, Mr Wadekar and Mr Rajput ......Quiet!!!


Thursday, March 09, 2006

True reasons

Talking to like-minded people widens horizons. The key word being 'Like minded'. I am hopelessly impractical but am still not comfortable being so. My ideal talk companion is comfortable being impractical, thinks about life on more than a day-to-day plane, thinks about the good movies he/she has seen and reads. I can spend hours listening to such a person.

Yesterday, I listened to Elango. I talked but mostly listened. I am good at that. He has interesting ideas and the conversation was to my liking. If he writes down his ideas, I intend to post it on this blog. Yesterday's conversation made me think of my motives about doing stuff. The real motives I mean. Not the ones that can be freely shared (and is made entirely of cliches) but the innermost ones. As I have said before, I am writing something. I have frequently thought what is making me do it. I realise that its the hope that what I write will be popular. That people will know me. That I will be famous. And that I will get a big, fat advance and royalties for life which I believe will make me happy.

I have a cousin who is a budding cartoonist and 'like-minded'. I have never told him the reasons why I am writing. But he seemed to know exactly. He told me once that the best creations(books, musics, paintings, movies) are the ones the creator passionately believes in. The reason for their being is because the creator could not keep it within him any longer. He had to share it, otherwise he would burst. I agree with him. That must be the reason why the first movies, the first albums and the first books of most people are usually their best works. And that must be the reason why Harper Lee wrote only 'To kill a mocking bird' and nothing else all her life. Because thats enough. I can re-read that book till all the words in it are memorised and still not feel bored. Because the book has a story, a setting, real characters and a glow to it that can never be duplicated artificially. I believe she never wrote another book all her life because she was spent after this one. I think she must have started writing other books but would have realised that the same passion did not exist. That she would be cheating her readers by trying to write something that she genuinely wasnt passionate about.

I will have to rejig my priorities about my own writing. There is no end to the lure of money and fame. Aspiring for it is to deviate from my true self.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

29th birthday

Yesterday, I had a surprise party at home...The surprise was all mine.
Ram, Shweta, Neeraja and Meril dropped in at night with a beautiful black forrest birthday cake. It was more than tasty. It was yummy.They also brought a big, round balloon filled with confetti.
I blew the candle on the cake, heard the balloon burst, felt the confetti raining down on me and celebrated my 29th birthday.I was watching 'Raapakal' when they came and finished watching half of it.It is the normal, sentimental, big family drama. I like normal, sentimental, big family dramas but this is one too many.Mammooty is good in the movie. Not great, good and Nayantara is suitably deglamourised for Malayalee family audiences.I will watch the rest of it today to see how the rest of the movie pans out.

I dont think I have had any surprise birthday parties in my life. So, yesterday was new and nice.I never knew a blog would serve the purpose of thanking somebody. But thanks Ram (there are too many things to thank you for...this is just a start), Shweta, Neeraja and Meril.You guys made my day and made me feel special.


Friday, March 03, 2006

Cricket in the neibhourhood

I went as usual with the paper in hand to the balcony. I was just settling down to enjoy the morning weather and Wasim Jaffer's heroics on the second day when I heard a greeting.
I was too startled to respond as I looked around. The morning grogginess didnt make it easier.It was the old lady from the house in front ( Refer post 'The house in front)
'Goodmorning', I replied.
She smiled and entered her house.I went back to the papers and it struck me that I had forgotten to ask my creamish-white labrador friend's name.
Maybe tomorrow.

On my way to the sea, I heard the unmistakable sounds of a neibhourhood cricket match in progress. I followed the sounds through a narrow mud path. The stench of shit from both sides told me the primary use of the path. I walked along and reached a burial ground. Maybe it doesnt really matter where one lies after death. The path opened up into a cricket ground. The burial ground gate opened into it.

I stood next to the guy who were maintaining the score. It was a 12 over match and the side batting first had scored 70 runs. The reply was in progress and the second team still needed 39 runs with 6.5 overs remaining and five wickets in hand.

The scorer next to me was shouting out instructions to the batsmen. After every ball, he would tell the batsman what mistake he had made in the previous stroke and how he should have actually played it.The meekness with which all the batsmen took his advice suggested that he was either extremely influential in the team or that he owned the bat.

This continued until another wicket fell and a long haired batsman came to the crease.The first ball he faced, he tried to tuck it down the legside only for the ball to miss everything and go to the keeper.
The scorer looked at him and said "You should have played that with your bat to the leg side and tried for a single"
The long haired guy retorted " And you thought that I was trying to hit a six with that shot?"
The batsman went on to play a long innings but I never heard another word from the scorer about his batting style.

You will never find a statue in a critic's honour. Naggers irritate !!!


Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Neem Lane

Water bodies fascinate me in a way few other things do. Ponds, rivers, lakes; they all call me. I have lived a considerable part of my life so far in Kerala in close proximity to water. I have learnt swimming in a river and tested it out in ponds. There is a freshness to swimming in natural water that no swimming pool in the world can duplicate.But I havent been as lucky with the sea. Until now, that is.

Here in Chennai, I have the sea; massive and beautiful, streaked with boat shaped and ship shaped dots whenever I see it. I go to it in the mornings on the pretext of enjoying a morning walk. I sit at the shore, enjoy the sight of the waves and let the salt of the sea wind settle on my face. Then I walk back.

Today, on the way back, I noticed a lane to the left side of the main road. It is paved and lined with trees on both sides. There are houses on both sides, only impressive because of their size and the money that might have been spent on them. Otherwise, they are monstrosities. The lane, however is a delight. The dry leaves from the neem trees are strewn all over. Either they pile up faster than they can be cleaned or nobody bothers. There are 4 fully grown trees in the short lane. They bathe the road in delicious shade. The neem tree is my favourite. I have decided to plant it all around the house I will eventually stay in. It transports me back to my childhood. But that is the subject of another post.

For now, I have a diversion to take every morning on the way back from the sea.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The house in front

Every morning, I make it a point to stand on my balcony to look at the house in front. Its a big, rambling house, painted white. The frontage is imposing with 4 white pillars propping up the building. The beautiful house is surrounded by overgrown shrubs and fruit trees of various hues. There is a shack at the corner of the compound occupied by the mali cum domestic help cum playmate for the children of the household.

Seeing the man of the house I get a feeling that its ancestral property passed down to the present residents. The man doesn't look enterprising enough to have made that house on his own. But maybe I am wrong. Maybe he wrote a novel which was a best seller and he built the house from the royalties.

The man lives with his wife and an old lady who must be his mother (though she is good looking). A small girl and her younger brother make up the happy family picture. But the star of the house is another happy soul. He plays with a ball in the mornings with anybody who has the time to spare. He runs towards the mali, circles him once and runs away, always looking behind to see whether the mali is following. He makes everyone happy for the few moments that they can spare for him. I dont play with him but I feel just as happy watching him running around. He is creamish-white coloured and he is a gorgeous labrador. God has been kind to him. He lives in a house with enough space to invent his own games and enjoy himself.

I dont care what everyone else is named in their house but I will try to find out this guy's name. I want to call out to him when no one else is looking. He brings sunshine into my mornings.


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