Friday, September 23, 2011

Ucha Kirukku (ഉച്ച കിറുക്ക്‌)

Madhavan Nair is relaxing in his 'chaarukasera' at his ancestral house in palakkad. The scorching heat outside is sending out a wave of hot breeze into the verandah. It doesnt seem to bother him much as he seems to enjoy the beetel nuts in his mouth and gazing at the towering mango tree in his frontyard. Back of his mind he was thinking about this tree that has witnessed all the events in his family. Starting from his father & mother's death, his marriage, little suman and arya playing in mud, onam vacations every year. He remembers it all like yesterday and cant believe its been 10 years since he is retired now. Weaker bones that make funny crackling noise every now and then. And he is no mood complaining about the past. God has blessed him with a wonderful and understanding wife Sunanda or Sunu as he calls her, his kids have grown up healthy and successful. For each instances he had thanked god for this wonderful gift called Life. Now things have changed a lot. Like his sisters are not a stones throw away these days. They decided to move in with their kids living in America or Australia. Some of his friends are far and some still try to keep in touch with him. Sadly Bharathan Maashu is at an old age home in Thrissur. On afternoon's like these he misses them , and those good old days when they play cards. Every other day he remembers losing the game and ending up hanging 'machinga' stuck with 'eerkillis' in his ears. A way to depict the loser as they always do.
Some times they had a joker card kept on his ears too. He is missing the call 'MadhuEtta' from his dear friends. And even sad that he is not in touch with Jayu, Wilson, Sasi or to say most of them will not be an understatement. Hope they are happy with whatever they are doing 'Guruvayoorappan Katholum' is all he can pray now. Sakhavu Divakaran's widow Ammu stays nearby and visits him and Sunu once a while. Most of the time she holds Sunu's hand and cries for a while and leaves. Party Martyr's wife and family have a 'RED' bus stand in their dear husband's name and thats the end of it. Saying about party he misses those evening discussions over beedi and chai from kuttan's shop. Divakaran's vociferous rival Councillor Raghu is an Alzheimers patient now and little by little is deteriorating him inside out. Meanwhile Kuttan's son Kanaran has returned from Dubai and constructed a mall where the old tea shop stood. Kanaran calls himself a 'real estate broker' these days. Some times its ironic how life has changed around the small village.

Meanwhile Sunu can see her husband sitting and smiling all alone lost in his thoughts. She prefers not to disturb him and prefers to continue with her daily afternoon knitting. In between she checks the calendar and calculates with her fingers. Another 38 days for Suman & his wife Sheetal to visit them. And another 16 more days for Arya, her husband Unni & little Anakha to come.The very thought about all of them coming has made her excited. As she starts thinking about all the dishes she has to prepare. 'Maanga Pachadi' is Arya's favourite and Suman like his father will eat anything. She needs to inform Ammu's Son Sunil early enough to get the mangoes plucked from the tree. Poor boy had to stop his studies after his fathers death and has been doing mediocre jobs in the locality to make ends meet. Thank god Sunil too is not foolishingly following his fathers steps. Sometimes she feels sad for Sunil and whether to call him for such silly jobs, and him being ammu's son never takes a paisa from herself or Madhuettan. But what to do there is no one else available near by to pluck a mango or coconut. Its late afternoon now and its 'madhuettans tea time' after a small nap. She peeps and takes a look at her husband still awake and stationary. For a moment her mind started to read the wrong lines and she hurries to her husband. Noises made by her footsteps seems not to bother him and this worries her more and more. She kept her cold palm on his forehead and suddenly he looks at her in slight anguish.

'aa sukham kalanjallo Sunu!!' obvisouly he was a bit offset with Sunu as she corrupted his reminiscent mood. With slight relief she took her hand and said
'chaaya veno madhuetta? Samayam 3:30 aayi'. In disbelief he checks the old pendulum clock in the wall and tells her all time he was thinking about this Mango Tree.
'Eee maavu nammude koode thanne aayittu ippo ethra aayi?' She amusingly looks at her husband and couldn't relate what he is upto Entha????. He continued
'Palarum nammude jeevithathil varunnu pokunnu, ivan ippolum eppolum nammude koode' 'Ivanu ente pengammare pole swatho swarnamo venda, ninte aangalaye pole idakke idakke kaashu venda. Ninakku thonnunnille?'

Years back the same simple and humble minded guy had won her heart. And for no reason she shook her head and said
'athum sheri aanu njan ithu vare angane orthittilla'
Encouraged by his wife's response he continues
'Suman, Arya avarude kudumbam kollathil orikkal ivide varumbo namukku enthoru santhosham aanu' 'Allenkil Nammalodu pinangi poyavaraum, nammale vittu doore poyavarum avare kurichu orthu vishamikkane namukku neramullu'
'Ivan ennum nammude koode irunnum, nammude aduthundaayittum nammal shradhikkaare illa'
Now she started to get little confused
'Athinu?? ithu oru maram alle?' Holding her hand he continued
'Nammude aduthum nammude koode ullavareyum nammal orrkkaare illa, manushyan ennum nashtapettathu orthu maathrame chinthikkarullu. Muttathe mullakku manamilla ennokke parayille?? Athu polokke thanne..ivide oru maavu aanenne ullu' Till now she couldn't make any meaning out of it, more than that she didnt want to decode her husbands mystifying psychologies. She nodded her head sarcastically and said
'Uvvu Uvvu!! Ithu Ucha Kirukku thanne, njan poi chaaya idaam. Ningalkku vere joli illa Madhuetta!!'.
As Sunu walked towards kitchen, Madhavan Nair stood up stretched his back and walked towards the tree. Some kinda strange feeling is going through his head right now a feeling he felt when he went for 'pennukaanal' of Sunu. Like he was tensed to say something or was too aware of the surroundings, ahh he doesnt know. More than anything he felt safe and loving after a very long time, he didnt feel lonely anymore and it was like Suman is standing next to him or as little Anakha gave him a big tight hug and says 'love you Achachaa'. He caressed the tree with his hand as if it is a little elephant and almost hugged the giant. Meanwhile he could hear Sunu saying aloud 'Madhuetta chaaya ready'. He turns back and slowly makes a walk inside his house and back to the sane synchronous world.
NOTE : Most of the speeches in this story is in Malayalam written in English, my bad malayalam literature couldnt keep up with the writing in English. And a mix of Malayalam and English hybrid version doesnt sound cool either. So i have kept it plain and simple in English. Anyone feels they can write this whole story in Malayalam 'Please be my Guest'.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

La Tomatina, hypocrisy at its best

A facebook status of my friend read something like this 'Ban La Tomatina'. And the reason to ban he backs is those millions of malnourished children in India who cant make their ends meet. Well thats a good dimension to look into world matters. In a country like ours its a crime to waste food, and to waste food in such magnitude. But then half the facebook crowd is from IT industry in India. They must have seen or very well aware of the humongous amount of food that is being wasted in our cafeterias. The bangalore office where I worked had a chart maintained by the respective department depicting the amount of food that is being wasted on a daily basis. Some numbers in it could break Sachin Tendulkar's batting records. If banning 'La Tomatina' is a starter, well we should get into the main course as well. Implement ideas or plans to cut down the wastage of food or to make use of this food in any better way.

Then if we are so concerned about the malnourished kids in the society, did the unused tomatoes from 'La Tomatino' ever reach those kids. 'Who the fuck cares??' isn't it? Once in a blue moon a person(me, you & many others) visits an Anathaashram or opens his wallet for a 'charity' sort of event. And thats it!!! Our inidividual need for social service and thirst for 'giving back to the society' ends there. If any one of these fb'ian thinks he\she has achieved a feat by banning such festivals. Well then 'I am stunned' to say the least. Thats the best example of our hypocrytic best, the moment a hazy picture of malnourishment, poverty and many such cliched statements occur in media or a social network. We pour our emotions and opinions but when action is called for its still firing blanks.

Food wastage of any magnitude is a crime and we can make a difference starting with us. From tomorrow you make a resolution to cook what is necessary, order what is necessary and eat whatever is on your plate. A big percentage of our problems like food shortage and inflating prices of food can be eradicated. Dont you think?? I am no saint or harbinger to lead you the right path but if there is ever a question of personal satisfaction then well my writeup can add some fuel to it. Each of you are brilliant enough to find a way out of this misery. So Go figure and kill the food wastage however you can!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Springtime for Malayalam Industry

My friend once told me you Mallu guys make movies which no one understands. One dark evening you place your camera in front of the sea and call it an Art movie. Yes thats what many in India think about our movies. All dark and stuck in a time machine sort of. These days I happen to see quite a change in malayalam movies. Youngsters have started to pitch in and pitch in for real. These are the days when our so called Superstars are lost and groping in darkness. Mammootty prefers to be a mimicry star trying his luck on all the local slangs spoken in kerala. Where as Mohanlal prefers to essay the role given to him without any thought or effort on script and his million fans. Then there are a few late bloomers and occassional hits from other noticeable actors but most of them based on some situational comedies or sarcastic and dry lookups. Audiences preferred Tamil or a dubbed telugu movie atleast for the sake of spending time in a theatre once a while.

But seems like things have changed and i hope I wont jinx it in any way. A few movies like 'Urumi,'Salt N Pepper', 'Chaappa Kurissu', 'City of God', 'Traffic', 'Cocktail' have been a revelation to say the least. Its not only the new themes that have started to appear, but the quality of picturization and narration have improved simultaneously. Gone are the days when an actor narrates a paragraphic dialogue to the villain or side-heroes just to dance in the movie (as the hero prefers to sit and watch them). Though there is a budgeting restraint to our movies, the multiplexes, channels and malls have opened a plethora of funding attraction to the producers. Its really a spring time and may this blossom to bring out more such movies to us fans. If you haven't watched the above movies i have mentioned, make sure you add them to your bucket list. :)