Friday, September 23, 2005

Journey - Part 1

Ravi got on the train and found his way to his compartment. He tucked his suitcase under his seat, settled down with the newspaper. He hoped it wouldn't be too crowded.

All he needed was some quite time. There was the usual noise from outside the train and from groups of people trying to find their seats inside the train. His mind was not in the paper. His memories haunted him.

In a little while, others trickled in to his compartment. One middle-aged lady who should probably have booked 2 tickets instead of her one, to cover her ample posterior.

A young couple, looking scared; they were probably eloping, Ravi thought. A middle aged man, bespectacled, his shoulders seemed to be carrying half the world's weight on them. Worry lines ran criss-cross on his forhead. A young woman, ears plugged to some kind of bouncy music, shoved her bag above and sat down across from him. A young man, talking and laughing loudly on his cell phone, sat on the other side. Ravi looked at him with a frown. He was hoping the journey would be quiet. He seemed
to be a college kid, in his tattered jeans and mussed up hair.

The young man seemed to be afflicted with some kind of nervous disorder. He couldn't sit still. What is wrong with these kids these days, he thought. The young man caught sight of the young girl and gave a supposedly winning smile and quieted down. Well, thank God for that, Ravi thought. The young woman was looking out of the window, not bothered with her co-passengers. These young girls have grown gutsy nowadays, they have no problem travelling alone, Ravi sat musing.

The guard waved the green, and the train with a small hoot, started on its long journey. The older lady, who had been chewing her paan , leaned across him to spit it out, raising the heckles out of a bunch of people waiting on the platform to send off their friends and families. She sat down jarringly, a bit too close for comfort.

"Thambi", she called to him, "Could you get me that bag up there?"

There, it's started, he thought. He stood up to reach for her bag and handed it to her.

"Thanks, You are going to Delhi too?", she pestered him.

"Yes". And he turned to look outside.

"Thambi", this time it was the older man.

He turned. "If you are done with that paper, do you mind if I borrow it?"

"Sure". He hoped that would be the end of it.

"How depressing! All the news nowadays is so violent. This one killed a few. That one committed suicide. War in one country. I don't know why we bother reading all this."

Ravi just looked sympathetically and turned to the window.

"I am Rangabhashyam. I am on my way to Delhi too. Business, you see."

Ravi kept quiet.

"What is your name, thambi?"


"Do you live in Delhi?"


"Official visit?"


"Going to see family?"


Finally, Mr. Rangabhashyam got the hint and hid his face behind the paper, muttering something like "young men these days... hmph".

The coffee guy came by. Ravi bought one. The older lady got one. The young couple got one after deliberating quite a bit. They shared it. The lady slurped hers noisily. She complained it was not hot enough. The poor man promised to bring her straight off the stove next time. Another guy came by to see if anyone needed dinner. The lady ordered pronto. The young couple ordered just one, again. Ravi ordered one. The older lady started off a (loud on her side) conversation with Mr. Rangabhashyam.

Her name was Komalavalli and she was going to visit her son in Delhi. He was a big officer there. She stayed in Chennai with her other son and husband. She asked about
him. He said that he was going for official reasons. Then she took a bag of spicy mixture, and continued her conversation, crunching loudly in between. She next turned to the young couple.

"Newly married?"

"Y y yes."

"Eloping?" Her face brightened with an unholy gleam.

"N n n no", the girl this time.

"The younger generation is too bold, I say. They do whatever they want, dress as they like, no fear or respect, I say. What do you think, Komalavalli madam?" This from Mr. Rangabhashyam.

"Yes, yes. Take my daughter-in-law. No respect towards elders. Always arguing about everything. Those days we never opened our mouth unless spoken to."

Ravi thought, you are compensating quite nicely now.

"My neighbor's brother's daughter ran away with a Christian boy, you know. And then he abandoned her when her father and brother went to seek her. Spineless fellow, you know. All these movies and western culture, you know, spoiling our kids. Very bad."

"Mr. Rangabhashyam, I agree sir, it is this new culture. They watch MTV at home all the time. It is hard to switch to my favorite shows nowadays. I have to fight to watch the good programs. Why can't they watch these serials with us? They are so good, very real, things that happen in our houses. But they want to watch all these foreign channels, so they can ape them."

The young man who had been silently eyeing the young girl, seemed to be annoyed at this and walked towards the door. Mrs. Komalavalli finished her packet of goodies, took out a bottle of water, drank some and burped loudly. The young couple smiled at each other. The meals started arriving. Mr. Rangabhashyam opened his home-made packet of curd rice and pickle and ate that with his bottle of water. The young couple put the plate between them and ate it together, smiling and talking among themselves. Ravi opened the lid off his plate and tried to swallow the barely edible fare provided. Mrs. Komalavalli, ate hers with relish and when she was done, opened a tiffin box from her bag and literally swallowed 2 huge laddoos. A few burps followed. The young man took out a bar of chocolate and chewed on it. The young girl seemed to have dozed off.

Soon everyone got ready to climb into their berths. Ravi went up to the top one. The young man stretched out on his seat. The young couple had the upper and middle berths. The young lady had the middle, right under Ravi. Ravi guessed that they must have switched berths among themselves. The older couple occupied the lower births. They were both snoring, each to his or her own rhythm and tempo. The young man next to Ravi kept checking on his girl below. Soon things quietened down except for the snores.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Cine muni - 4

Vettaiyadu Vilayadu seems to jinxed. The movie again came to a standstill due to lack of funds. Now Oscar Ravichandran has bought it (on Kamal's reco) and plans to reinvent it, meaning rename it. At least it is following the current trend - renaming :-)

Chimp is looking for English tongues to dub his manmathan for Hollywood. Anyone game? :-)

June R hero is again Biju Menon. What is Surya's cameo then?
Update: Acc. to my latest kumudam/AV mag, Surya is R in June R.

Anbey vaa is coming back. Supposed to be a rib-tickler with a message. Now wait for the MGR fan group to raise their voice against the name

Amitabh and Jaya Pradha in Police with Prashant, supposedly a bilingual in Tamil and Telugu. She looked good in salangai oli. And then she moved to hindi and starting acting in mystery movies. She used a whole box of pancake makeup everytime that it was a mystery how anyone identified her.

Thalavattam (Mohanlal in one of his best) in its hindi avatar, kyon ki (shirtless star) is ready for release.

Something to snatch your sleep away: village king is back as hero of Madurai Thangam.

ungal vote-u...

TN politics is undergoing (hope it is) a major change. Assuming no kootanis are formed (big assumption), who would you vote for?

1. oor sothu en sothu
2. oozhal samrajyam
3. gab-tonne
4. peraa maathu, cinema hitler.
5. Other - Specify

Hope keeps the world going!!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Dancing the years away

I love to dance. Classical, folk, movie, latin, all kinds fascinate me. I am still a student when it comes to bharathanatyam. Of course, I would probably have been better learning it at 13 instead of 30 :-) But age has nothing to do with learning a skill/art. It is all in the mindset. But when it comes to performing, I prefer to be in the company of similars. Imagine dancing with kids half my age. Which is what I did this weekend. Should I be embarrassed about it? It has not bothered me really. But don't mistake it for a wanna-be symptom. It is just that, when my feet are moving and my heart is singing, I care very little about the rest. Quite a few people came up and asked me how it felt to dance with the teenagers and then added that I didn't look too bad with them ;-) I don't know whether to take that as a backhanded compliment.

I have always been interested in learning to dance, but never got around to it until recently. So it is fun to dance alongside my daughter :-) What really motivated me was this 50plus lady coming down to Chennai for her arangetram. Even Rukmani Devi Arundale didn't start until she was in her mid 20s.

Agreed, it is not easy. It took me sometime before I could sit in araimandi continuously for 5 minutes. It took me much much longer to perform my first classical piece, but I did do it. But in a way, it has helped me spiritually. I feel closer to my faith, when I do something on Ganesha or Krishna, than I ever did going to the temple.

My mind is faster at grasping the nuances of an item faster than my body does which is good and bad. By the time I master the piece, I know exactly what I am doing. But the time taken to reach that point is, let us say, proportional to my age.

And added to all this, I am planning to learn to tap :-) What fun!

Cini Muni - 3

Kamal is in the news a lot lately. His next one, Dasavatharam helmed by K.S.Ravikumar sounds promising. 5 heroines for 5 Kamals, the other 5 Kamals will be single. Asin and Vidya Balan (Parineeta) are confirmed. Search is on for the other 3. Since the trend is to rename all movies, this should probably be renamed to 10 Kamals and 5 heroines.

Talking about films being renamed, Jayaram and Pandiyarajan are doing one together, pillayarpettaiyum kandu vattiyum, initially named pillayarpattiyum kandu vattiyum. Another one that might be renamed is thiruvilayadal starring the going-nowhere-tho-I-am_Super's-SIL Dhanush. Whatever happened to democracy and free country?

Heavyweight N. threatens that she has lost a few inches.Does it make a difference?

So for the next elections, Rajini is supporting Gab-tonne's DMDK?

Never-say-die hero Ajith's Paramasivam has never-say-die heroine, Laila.

JuneR Jo's new film, has Surya as the hero, but it is just a one-act show.

Meena too joins the small screen brigade with a quiz show on Jaya TV. And Devayani won a best actress award for Kolangal.

Seems like Kanda naal muthal is one to watch out for. And one of the guys in that, Karthik Kumar ( he ponn parthufies Shalini in Alaipayuthe) is Radio Mirchi's Ms.S's fiance.

SJS should title his next movie ulley veliye and base it in a prison ;-)

Friday, September 16, 2005

A dubious honor?

Suresh Joachim of NY, originally from SriLanka has won another guiness record. That of watching TV for the longest time. Check this cnn link.

Rules for the couch potato honor, as stipulated by Guinness, allow for a 5-minute break every hour and a 15-minute break every 8 hours. The viewer must otherwise be constantly looking at the screen.

Imagine, just watching 1 channel, ABC, no surfing allowed. But all for a good cause, he says. Now, if we could switch channels, I am sure a lot of us could beat that ;-)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Cine Muni - 2

Big news in recent times is Rajini's Sivaji, the latest being Ayesha Takia is doing the female lead. What happened to Rani then?

While on Rajini, he attended Paramasivan's poojai, starring Ajith helmed by P.Vasu. Since PV is R's current best friend, the spontaneous visit was quite welcomed. And he has advised son-in-law to open a restaurant. Smart move!

Thotti Jaya has been reviewed as a must-see!

Nila of Ah aah, is touted as the next Simran. Anyone noticed her muzhu-nila-like thoppai. How can she be so skinny and yet have a well rounded middle? And someone needs to make sure that SJS has his hands tied securely when he talks! He waves it much faster than Rajini ever did :-)

Gab-tonne is everywhere. vellaiyum solliyuma, announcing no drunkards can enter his maanaadu. So how does his eyes get so red-rimmed?

Maniratnam is on his way to Hollywood!

Surya in Jo's home production! Should we read between the lines?

For classical dance enthusiasts, a movie to look out for is Shringaram. It is based on devadasis of old times.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Fictional favorites

Books have been an important part of life. Some of my favorite fictional characters, who have influenced/inspired/invigorated me to a great deal have been listed below. I have gotten so involved in their lives while reading the books that I have forgotten my own.

Scarlett O'Hara - A definition for optimism. The never say die woman, not perfect, but possessing a lot of strength.

Tracy Whitney - Another one for strength, courage and smarts.

Howard Roark - Believed in his convictions.

Wooster and Bingo Little - funny dudes

Dumbledore - basically, the likeable old guy. The grandfather figure.

Samwise Gamgee - loyal like Hanuman :-)

Elizabeth Bennett - No pretense in the land of pretensions

Atticus Finch - Good samaritan and a good father

Sirius Black - the underdog, unlucky fella, true friend

Hercule Poirot - for his grey cells

You got favorites?