Dec 22, 2009

Mysterious Affair at Thina Island

When sighted the rustic arch shaped bridge that connects the infamous Thina Island with the outer world, I stopped my bike for a few seconds hesitated. My comfortable travel ends here, I thought. Now I have to travel through the forest like terrains of the isolated Thina Island.

The Island was encircled with foul smelling dirty waters of the nearby backwater. The only connection between the Thina and outer world is the aforementioned bridge and it swayed in a dangerous way making some horrible echoing sounds as my bike climbed through the slippery surface of it.

A small cut road opened before me as I passed the bridge and with an agitated heart I turned the accelerator to ride my bike over the ups and downs of the broken path.

With my staring eyes I found myself inside a forest and the calmness of which was broken by the chirping of crickets in equal intervals. Three things my senses caught as queer were:

- A smell of blood mixed with the stinking odour of decayed dead body, which I took as coming from the centuries old huge dark trees

- The feeling of the presence of some unnatural things, though I had no clue on where this feeling was coming from

- The feeling that I had been keenly observed by some one, but I had no evidence to prove it

I drove further through the broken path of the isolated island searching for my hermit like friend. A writer himself, my friend had told me the way to reach his settling place and he had showed me a drawn map of the island. As he had told me, the Island is inhabited only by a strange race of fishermen, who have very different physical figures with dark complexion and powerful limbs and absolutely huge stature.

Following his hand drawn map, I reached a seemingly endless curve at the road. I saw something white moving at the end of the road in front. Within the next moment, it vanished. I stopped my bike. With some made up courage, I carefully drove my bike slowly and as I turned the curve of the road, I saw what scared me. It was a white goat with long beard. Surprised by the sound of the bike engine, it stopped grazing and stared at my eyes with no fear. With a relief I moved forward looking for my friend. ‘What thing on earth makes him to choose such a queer place for living?’ I asked myself.

Finally, a tiled old fashioned house was sighted at a distance. I was amazed seeing no other houses in the neighborhood. The house was in an absolute decayed condition. I stopped my bike in front of the small door of the surrounding outer wall of the house, which too was decayed and degenerated. As I stepped inside the compound of the house by pushing open the door of the outer wall, at the exact moment, my friend too appeared in front of the house by opening a cave like ancient door. He greeted me with glittering eyes and his usual cheerful manners.

We entered his room and I noticed him carefully locking the door. We talked about his new stories, and the films that he saw in recent times. Our conversation went on with no particular aim and I was not conscious about the passing time. When I felt that it was too late, I made up my mind to go. As a claustrophobic, I became suspicious about the locked door. I sensed something strange creeping inside the room and I frequently felt the presence of some unnatural things there.

“Am I being suffocated by something alien?” I asked in my mind.

I asked him, “You are staying here alone. Have you ever been encountered with the things that we call in stories with the name ghosts or superhuman?”

Hearing an unexpected question, he slowly raised his head and changing his look to the floor he said in a careless manner, “ha… something, sometimes, not frequently”.

“What?” I startled.

He cleared, “I usually feel something beats me while I am sleeping or writing my stories”.

I was mum and was staggering with no words. I noticed that he was not looking at me.

Suddenly, I heard some sharp thudding sound from the closed window at the left side of the room. I stared at the window and there was nothing. I looked at him and it was clear from his unchanged looks that he was unaware of such a sound. But, as far as I was concerned, not hearing such a sound inside that room was impossible.

While I was looking for a possible reason to prove this sound phenomenon, my friend raised his head and looking at me with twinkling eyes he said, “Have you seen an old mango tree there in front of the house? It was happened there!”

“What happened there?” I asked without a breath.

“The murder of that beautiful pregnant girl. It was nothing, happened a few years ago!” he said.

I startled. I saw a strange and queer smile at my friend’s face. With no further explanation I said, “I have to go, it is very late now”

“Want to go now? Spend a little bit more time,” he said.

“No! It is already late now,” I said trying to conceal my trembling sound.

“Okey!” he stood up and I hurried to open the bolts of the locked door with my shaky hands.

He helped me to open the door and after collecting my cap I stepped outside. When I turned back to say him goodbye expecting his usual twinkling eyes, I saw his eyes were covered then with a pair of glowing specks.

With no word, I ran through the open courtyard of the house. There was raining outside till a few minutes ago, I thought as I felt wetness on the ground. I jumped outside of the surrounding wall opening the locked small door. I was relieved seeing my sincere bike outside. I hurried to unlock the handle and my tension was not lessened till I started the engine by kicking the starter several times.

After driving a few meters away, I stopped my bike and looked back to see some eerie air escaping through the opened chimney of the house in the backdrop of an intense light.

NB: 1. The post is roughly based on a real life incident
2. I believe that the reported encounters with ghosts and inhuman things are manipulated by the human emotion called ‘fear’.

3. You can read the verse form of this same incident here in my Little Lyrics blog. I think the lyrics version is more
interesting.

Dec 3, 2009

The Adventure of Alva and Jagan Jugg

It was the festival time. To contribute to the charm of the festive spirit, she decided to do something creative, and what looked the most appealing to her was the idea of staging a play. Next day, I found her with full enthusiasm saying me, “brother, so this is the matter. Last night I got the theme of a drama. If we stage it, people would definitely receive us with full applauds.”


“What is it?” I asked.

“This is the story of two friends. One is called Alva and the other one is his close mate Jagan Jugg. The story deals with some adventures that the twosome had involved,” she explained.

“Ok, liked the theme, but tell me this, who is Alva and who dons Jagan Jugg?” I inquired.

“Oh…what is in it...It is as simple as that. I will do the role of Alva and you will be Jagan Jugg,” she didn’t give me her face while allotting the roles.

I felt what she offered me was the smallest pie. So I said an excuse, “What people will think? You are a girl, and how can you do the role of a male character and that of Alva?”

“Just think this; people know that we are kids, so there is nothing if I do the role of a male character. No one is even going to identify the fact that I am a girl,” she was very practical.

I had no answer and she added, “but we have to start the rehearsal now itself;  the most important thing is that both the characters of Alva and Jagan Jugg are very much complicated and complex in nature. So to stage the characters, both of us have to involve fully in the rehearsal. In my opinion, from now onwards, both of us have to act, behave and speak to everyone as if we are in reality the respective characters of our play until we stage it in the next week.”

Now I had no option, and it was done. I called her Alva and she called me Jagan Jugg and we wore only the attires of the characters. In those costumes and specifically designed behavioral patterns, even ourselves could not have identified each other. It was a total transformation.

With full liveliness and zeal, Alva went on with the other matters required for the staging of the play like costumes, other artistes, time schedule, properties and PRO works. Being a person, who was worried with a good quantity of stage fright, Jagan Jugg was becoming more and more nervous as the days passed and the staging day getting closer. To escape from such a mentally disturbing situation, Jagan Jugg decided to run away from the location and to come back only after the scheduled date.

Though at first he didn’t notice the absence of Jagan Jugg, Alva soon identified that his close mate was missing. Holding all the preparations, Alva started an operation to trap his friend who went missing.

Alva went to so many places like, beaches, religious places, streets, parks, hotels, and any other spots where, Jagan Jugg could have hidden himself. At last, Alva reached a Gamblers’ Den where a group of people were smoking and playing cards. Standing at the doorstep, Alva loudly asked,

“Is there anyone called Jagan Jugg among you people?”

No one replied.

Alva put one more step ahead to found him inside the den. He again called out the same question,

“Is there anyone named Jagan Jugg in your group?”
This time, Alva noticed a stir in the gang. Somebody said loudly,

“Escape Jagan Jugg… run!”

A person from the group suddenly stood up and hurried towards the door in an attempt to escape. Alva thought once, ‘if some one responds to the name ‘Jagan Jugg’, he could only be the owner of the name’. Alva didn’t make any delay to catch the running man with both his hands. This time, Alva was sure about the capture of Jagan Jugg. Meanwhile, the trapped Jagan Jugg was thinking about the incredible incognitos that both of them had been practicing.

The whole incident was my sister’s dream. When I saw her in one of the fine mornings of our childhood days, she was struggling with her memory to recollect the names of each characters of her dream. Though she found the names successfully, she had failed to see whether they had staged the drama during that weekend to enrich the festival season.

Nov 21, 2009

The Young Hypnotist

Do you possess the commanding power upon your friends that you wish to have? Have you often felt your opinions being neglected when they are the most essential? Have you ever disturbed with stage fright? Are you shy? Do you have unfulfilled wishes? Have you ever failed to make friendship with any particular girl that you wished to do?...To all of my sage-like friend’s questions, I kept on answering YES…and absolutely I was feeling very much embarrassed for my answers being only positive.

You people don’t feel worried thinking that these are the questions I faced yesterday or the last fortnight. This is a part of an incident, which is a contemporary to the ‘Tale of the Popy boy’, ‘My first love’ and ‘Letter to Jonnie Walker’, happened when I was doing my initial years of my college days.

When my friend completed his questionnaire, he looked at my eyes deeply and said, ‘If you want solutions to all these problems, I can help you’. I asked ‘how’ and he answered,

“Look at my eyes, and say what you see there, can you see a special grace there?” I looked and looked and found that I was becoming smaller in front of my friend’s infinitesimally big corneas. He informed me that I too can become the owner of such powerful eyes only if I rent the hypnotism learning texts from him, which he purchased from a local publisher by post after seeing a classified at the unnoticed corner of a newspaper.

It was such a time that I had not much control over money; however I decided to follow his instructions and manage the small amount, which was big then, and to leap towards becoming a complete man. I got from him the first three texts when I paid him the first installment. I carefully read the first few pages, which suggested me to think positive and to be a listener rather than a speaker. It also suggested to keep our eyelids a little wider while talking or being confronted by another one so that you will look more attractive and dominant. There were some more initial tips, but as these two struck my mind, thinking about my arrogant friends and the girl in My First love I decided to follow them at once.

I had to wake up in the early morning to practice the lessons, I had to do some breathing exercises to increase the mental capacity and I had to constantly look on a fixed point for a long time to increase the eye power. Seeing me waking up at ‘my’ irregular times in the morning, my parents wondered about the miraculous changes happened to me. When I moved to another place for practicing the breathing exercises, my father confronted me with questioning mode and at him I could not have used my hypnotic powers.

I purchased the second two texts by giving my friend another installment. Though, it listed only a few more things apart from the repetition of tips in the first lessons, the new texts had expressed its confidence in me for attaining the goal of becoming a complete man. With weariness, I decided to follow these instructions as well. In my class room I planned to check the hypnotic power first at my lady lecturer, who shared the same family name of mine though we were not relatives. While she took her lessons I looked at her with a wider eyes, but unconsciously my mouth too was a little bit open. When she happened too see me looking at her with opened mouth and wider eyes just like a kid, she could not control laughing. Her laugh was enough to turn the entire class room into uncontrollable laughter, though no one could understand the reason.

On another occasion, claiming that I could hypnotise him, I said my class mate to look at my eyes. ‘You are going to sleep without hassles, sleep, sleep, sleep’, I gave him hypnotic suggestions hopefully. He blinked his eyes thrice just like the way our former actresses had done during the black and white times. ‘Close your eyes, you are going to sleep,’ I said. Gazing at my eyes, he said with a mocking smile, ‘yes I have slept, and now tell me?’ Despite of my constant practices and sleepless early mornings, I had been feeling that I failed completely in becoming a successful hypnotist.

Next time when my sage-like friend saw me, he asked about my improvements. Watching my pathetic face expression, he asked me to look at his eyes carefully. I obeyed and after gazing at my eyes some time, he changed his looks and said without facing me as a clear hint of fraudulence,

“I can’t look at your eyes, they are so powerful, so graceful’, after testing my eyes two more times, he reported the same thing.

I feel that he was silently begging me for the last installment of payment. But what I could read from my sage-like friend’s deceitful eyes was another thing, “what happened to me happened to you also”.

Nov 11, 2009

Left, Right...Left, Right!


The Memorable Birthday Wish time.

A student of visual journalism sharing the class space with seven others to make a total of eight. Since we were visual journalism students, we had a special subject to study, the history of cinema. We got a superb teacher, Louis Mathew, who in every aspect was an appropriate one to take classes on cinema. The historic film persons like Orson Welles of the Citizen Kane, whom he introduced to us through his memorable lectures and charming film slides were truly inspiring.
One day on a class time, he hurled towards us a seemingly aimless question after telling a parable. The parable and question somehow went like this:
“Look, here is a man traveling on a cycle and on the opposite side there is another one travelling on a car. They collide each other but nothing happens except that both of them find themselves with a broken tooth each... “
What a situation, we wondered.
“…Look, so this is the situation. Both of the accident-victims have the same loss. There is no difference in that. But here is a variation in the situation. Let me make all of you a part of this story. You are the judge and you have a thousand rupees exactly to share between both of the victims,” he explained the story.
Glancing over a row of opened mouths, Louis continued, “I want an answer from you all; how will you share the money between the cyclist and the one with the car. Will you share it fifty-fifty or will you give someone a little more than what you give the other one?” he looked at everyone of us over the specs one by one inquiringly.
I had no doubt, and at once I said, “Why doubt? It is fifty-fifty, it does not look like big problem, because justice cannot be biased.” I cleared my view point.
But to my amazement, every other one of the class unanimously opined that they would give more money to the cyclist.
“Why?” I wondered.
To my embarrassment, Louis said, “If I was the judge, I would have given more money to the cycle rider.”
I felt isolated and glanced at every one to find at least one supporter among them.
Louis consoled me, “don’t worry friend, you are not wrong, but you are right”.
Dear blogger friends, I insist each of you to make your view point before reading henceforth.
I asked him, “Sir what you mean?”
He explained, “I mean what I said, when you answered that you would share the money fifty-fifty, it was not a wrong answer. You said your opinion from your view point and motivated by your own thinking, that’s why I said, you were not wrong, but you were RIGHT. You are politically biased to the right wing.”
Pin drop silence.
“In such a situation, I will give more money to the cyclist. Because I know that a five hundred rupee note is not equivalent to both the poor cyclist and the car owner. A person who knows this difference is LEFT and I am LEFT’, Louis explained.
“This does not mean that you are wrong. Both of us are right. The only difference is that you are RIGHT and I am LEFT.”
Now I understood, and was deeply consoled by his explanation. I know that my ideology is at some points slanting towards the right wing policies. Not in politics, but in every aspect of social life, that is my view point, I am a believer of the right wing ideology.
But, what was your answer?

Nov 4, 2009

Riding at 9 PM

This is for the first time that I am finding myself staring on a white blank word document without knowing what to write for my web log. I am so sure that, this time I have no college stories, no school time adventures and not even any dreams to display for my blogger friends. Though there may be some travel adventures, like the one in which I found myself on a cycle rickshaw in Amritsar or the train journey that I made with two beautiful girls or meeting with a world famous musician like Dyana Dafova, right now, I have no comedy strips which will make my blogger friends laughing or make them curious at the least.

On a night time, after 9 pm at a rough guess, I was riding my sincere bike with my friend at my back through the royal paths; in the last year. We were heading to his settlement so that I could drop him there and another short stretch would have taken me to my room.

“This shadow trees are the contributions of the pre-independent royal reign”, he said pointing to the huge trees those were standing on both sides of the road.

“I know, I have heard it, and many more of their contributions are still surviving despite of the passing of time,’ I said approvingly.

“But today’s democracy concentrated only on destroying what the previous ruling system had achieved”, he said in a pathetic tone.

“Not only that, but as you know…...” my talk was broken abruptly due to some hard ear-piercing sound and “hey what’s that buddy?” was the only exclamation delivered from my opened mouth.

We saw not less than three racer bikes overtaking us in a typhoon-like speed making our 40 per hour a mere pedestrian walk. I could only see like a lightning a boy with lengthy straightened hair who rode his bike on the back of the row. After darting like aimless arrows from a bow, the racers took a U-turn from a point at a few metres in front of us and we saw the whole herd of these wild beings driving opposite us through the second lane of the road. As I had to pay attention to the road in front of me and the clutch, brakes and the gears were the most important for me while driving; I could not see what these fellows were doing. But my friend was watching them all the time as he was free while sitting on the back and he was preparing to yell an ‘Ayyo’ (Gosh!) at any time by putting both his hands on his head. And it happened, what I heard was a sharp thudding sound in a queue just like some steel plates arranged one by one on top tumbling down at a tap. These all happened within a few seconds.

My friend, who was portrayed in the Mystery Girl in my Lyrics blog, persuaded me to turn back and go to see what happened. I took the same U-turn and reached the accident spot. On reaching there, we saw the bike on the road in a collapsed manner and the boy with long hair lying down on the centre of the road with some blood drops around him. His friend was standing near him as if nothing has happened, who asked him to stand up to check whether any serious injuries are there. With opened and blinkless eyes stared at me, this boy attempted to obey his friend’s command, but in vain. I just stood where I stopped my bike in a helpless way, but my friend hurried towards him and offered his hand along with the other boy. Suddenly a car came, possibly of the racers’ team leader and they asked the other boy to take him into the car. My friend and the other racer boy with the help of a few more racers who had just returned took the victim into the car. The car left aiming the hospital.

On return, my friend said in a sympathetic tone, “it seems that he is stuck internally, even though no external injuries are seen”. I was speechless.

A few weeks later, when I was narrating the whole incident to one of my friends, he informed me that there was the news in the dailies that a boy was killed at this spot a few weeks before during a racing accident.

“What had put the yesterday’s big undivided families into bitter grief hardly lets even a drop of tear in the today’s nuclear family”, was what my friend who witnessed the accident said hearing the news.

Oct 24, 2009

The Tale of the Poppy Boy

To escape from the embarrassment happened to me by the two consecutive love posts – Ancient Love Affair and My first Love – I think I have to go back to my childhood days to check out some interesting incidents there. But, while the searching process was going on, what suddenly struck my mind was a funny incident happened during my college days. To tell the truth, this too was a contemporary to My First Love and Letter to Jonnie Walker and having a close relation with my mindset portrayed in these two.
I won’t say that I was an attention box; but definitely was one craving for attention from all sides as a freaky teenager. I was of the habit of thinking every day, regarding what to do something weird or what will make me noticed. I did some experiments with my poor hair and a ruthless me had attempted several hair styles, but none of them was really worth making someone to look. One day I went to my hair stylist and asked him to make my hair so short that only half an inch (exactly) of each hair would remain. This fellow didn’t do that, though he made it shorter than the usual. But according to my conservative parents what I did was ‘undisciplined and more than what needed.’
I was sure that the barber would be of any use in satisfying me as his regular customer. I took the final decision and on a fine evening I began to make my hair short myself, not with scissors, but with razor. It was easy first, what we need to do is to just shave the hair softly so that only the tips of the hair would be removed. After doing this process for a little time I raised my face to look at the mirror to see the success of my experiments. But, what I saw in the mirror was strangely enough to give thunderbolts and lightning in my heart along with a nervous shock. I first thought that I was fainting and I pinched myself to make me believe that the sight on the mirror was a dream. After earning virtually some courage I looked up at the mirror again and what I saw was a fairly big white area of round shape on my head, where it was a few moments ago black with the presence of hair.
First I got disheartened, but soon regained my conscious and I picked a gum pot and applied a little of it on my head where it lacks hair. Then I collected some hair from the floor and put it carefully on the ‘white space’. You won’t believe, I went to the college more than two days with my fake hair without anyone in my college as well as in home noticing it. But on the third or fourth day, when I was really confident to manage with it for a few more days, at the cricket ground while fielding along with my play mates, everything fell into trouble when my young little cousin brother saw me and expressed his affection towards me.
As I understood that I was not able to suffer the weight of gum and broken hair, I opened up my problem to two of my friends. They too shocked seeing my state and urged me to adjust with my false hair a few more days till the hair grows. But one of them suggested me to go total hairless and I accepted that idea. Only then my weight on the heart got loosened and the difficult part of getting permission from my parents was managed with my tactics.
I went to see my hair stylist and simply said him to shave all of my hair. With a hesitation he did it and I went college wearing a brown cap and that was the greatest hair style, which I could ever imagine. The first day, my English teacher, (remember the one in Letter to Jonnie Walker) who was my uncle, hurried towards me seeing my ‘piteous state’ and asked ‘what happened’. Wearing a crying expression on my face, my explanation went like this:
“I was studying last night, suddenly power went, I lit a candle stick and tried to by-heart the poem that you taught me, I don’t know when I slept. But the candle stick tumbled down and it caught my hair. Though I soon woke up I had lost a big part of my hair,” with no delay he explained the whole things to the girls at the other end.
The following weeks saw the golden days of my college days. It won’t be a much hyped lie if I say that during those days I got a maximum number of admirers among the girl sector. The pet name that they gave me was the ‘Poppy boy’ following two famous icons of a popular umbrella brand in Kerala.
A week later the same story was published on the newspaper on campus column as if it had happened to someone else. Then I understood how the newspapers make stories and news.
Oh God, I feel that I have written yet another embarrassing post this time also. This may end me up to renaming the ‘Vanity Moments’ blog into ‘Embarrassing Moments’.

Oct 15, 2009

My First Love

When talking about the first love, I know, how much excited are all in describing their teenage love affairs or in claiming that the experiences they had were the most unique and interesting ones. Though I have an impression among my friend circle as one who looks at every human affair in a quiet objective and unbiased way, I too have the same opinion regarding my first love. Those who disagree may go through the following scribbles on my first love experience and decide yourself if my claim is true or not.

My first love was love at first sight happened on the first day of my college. Among several faces of girls in my batch, the only face that imposed a lasting image in my mind was hers and I think it was because she had a slight resemblance with my favorite actress of that time.
What I found as the most attractive in her appearance were her face that reminded me of some Bible characters and her smile that embellished her glittering teeth and rosy lips.

Since I was a shy guy, I found that there was no chance for me to have even a casual encounter with her, but I felt each accidental meeting we had as signs that God had a plan to joint both of us together. During those stages of my infatuation, I experienced powerful thunderbolts in my heart those are usual when a young man’s eyes meet those of a young woman.

Though I was afraid of meeting her, I never missed a single chance to face her. I attended my tuition classes regularly on the morning since it was the time she crossed my way to attend her tuition classes. We passed everyday without a single nod or smile, but with some shy and affectionate glances. She usually was accompanied by her hostel mates, while I used to be alone.

During one of such wayside meets, one day she courageously stepped ahead and presented me with a beautiful smile. A heart-failed me just went mum and inadvertently stared at her gleaming eyes like the one who forgot how to smile back. I suspect that a shy grin had escaped from my mouth.

Days had passed with no improvement in my innocent love towards her, but only with my growing innate passion. The nights were rich with plenty of dreams with her smiling pretty face as the major element.

One day accidentally I happened to know from one of our common friends that she was one year elder to me. If a girl was at least one month elder to you, you must give her respect; that was the findings of my conservative mindset. I wonder now, how delicate was my heart during those days, I wept at my home in the nights just like a forsaken lover who was left by his girlfriend. The universal example of Sachin Tendulkar’s marriage with a six year older Anjali didn’t comfort me. Nowadays it seems to me that the sorrow that I experienced at that time was similar to that of a lost lover’s.

The number of her friends and admirers were progressing, quiet reverse to mine. I had to struggle to conceal my love towards a ‘becoming popular’ girl from my friends. I turned my face away from my friends whenever this girl became a subject of their talks so that they wouldn’t catch the slight coloration on my face. And a few of my friends who knew my secret love were keen on taking special care in not hurting me.

This girl failed to find out my feelings, and whenever we met, she stared at me thinking what kind of a boy I was.

On our last day of that college, nothing happened, through a window hidden in the shadows, I just watched her walking away to an uncertain end with another girl. I was alone, and I felt the strength of the thickening loneliness once again inside. I immensely wanted to cry out my heart, but not a single sob didn't escape from me. That was the end.

After a few years, shedding the last piece of my love towards her, I wonder how I can say that I had a love affair at that age. But I still say, yeah I was in love during those days.

Oct 5, 2009

The Story of an Ancient Love Affair

Thinking about a new post, I feel that I had to think twice before giving a title like 'Vanity Moments’ to my blog as the incident which is going to be narrated here is not of such a nature, instead, it was an incident with moments of pity, sorrow and lost friendship. This incident is a contemporary to the previous 'Ma, Please Don’t Tell this to Papa’, occurred during my study times at Mahatma Gandhi University.


We have got a class mate, who was the eldest of all students and I became the friendliest one with him. I still remember the train journey that I made with him on a weekend to his countrysides during the season of festivals in the temple of his neighborhood. It was then I drank liquor with his friends and understood that his nature after drinking was quite converse to mine – he was the silent one after drinking and I am the noisiest. I still remember the tune of the song that he used to sing, which was written by one of today’s well known film song lyricist, Anil Panachooran, who was then a comparably unknown lyricist. A rough translation of that song goes like this,
My village passionately waits everyday
To hear my return to the countrysides,

My friends in Kerala might have understood the song by this time. Yes, this is the same poem starting with ‘thirike njaan varumenna vaartha kelkkaanaay graamam kothikkaarundennum’ in the film 'Arabikkatha' (An Arabian Tale). I knew this song even before the makers started thinking about the conception of such a film, but only in a different tune.
But, the real story of our study time starts only when he fell in love with the most beautiful girl in our class. Despite of their different religions and different family backgrounds, both became very intimate - mentally and physically (?) and I heard several legends including the one, which told that both of them went to Thiruvananthapuram and spent a night together in a hotel room.
Anyway, this incident had caused much fuss in our class, and somebody rang at our heroine’s house in that morning to inform them about the pleasure trip that the both had been making then. Though we initially tried to find the owner of that anonymous call with the hints provided by our heroine’s family such as the caller could likely be a female with some sort of masculine voice, our investigations were dropped in midway. Though, I was his close heart mate, about things like these, I was the most unaware of, since as I was the youngest one in the class, he used to tell me his private affairs only in a censored mode. But, everyone in the class blamed me for my company with him and only then I felt my importance in this love story, which was on the edges of breakup.
On return to the campus he was welcomed as a hero and I watched enviously all the girls looking at him with admiration. The girl did not come to the class to attend the rest of portion and to write the final examinations she was escorted by her furious mother. Our last days of the campus ended in a cold manner, but I felt that my friend was very much disappointed about his broken love.
After the course, I went to home and in my native place I met with some problems those were evolved out of the residents’ conservative nature. I actually almost had forgot about my friend and he used to phone me and whenever I attend the phone he used to greet me with the most abusive vulgar language for the number of calls from me to him was actually zero. As we were that much close both of us had a liberty to call each other anything.

Later, I came to know that he was admitted to Regional Cancer Centre in Thiruvananthapuram due to his continuous headache and problems with nose. The thing that he mistook for sinus was actually a version of cancer. As I was looking forward to get an admission in University of Kerala in Thiruvananthapuram, I went there and visited my friend at the RCC. I saw him with his usual enthusiastic smile, but without his hair and mustache, those were removed as a result of radiation therapy. His cheerful nature made me happy and I returned home as if nothing had happened. But I remember the name of his cancer version, it was something like abdomayo sarcoma.
I again forgot my friend even though I was in Thiruvananthapuram and his phone calls with abusive words and name calling still had continued with seemingly no end. Then one day calls from him suddenly stopped, and for a long time, I received nothing from him. I found nothing unusual in it as I had been busy with my own professional as well as academic affairs. Only some months later one of our class mate informed me that he bid farewell to the world and had flown away spreading the wings searching for another world where religious and caste wise distinctions have no existence. Then only I realised the serious error that I committed in treating my friend.
The girl might be living in somewhere in the world happily looking after her husband and kids, possibly with a job. My friend could not see his favourite song writer and song becoming a much-loved and critically acclaimed one in the film world. And the third character of the story is myself, who was a simpleton then, who became aware of the serious mistake that he made in maintaining good friendships only later.

Aug 29, 2009

The Online Detective

Rrrrnneeemm…my phone rang.
I saw on my mobile display a blinking ‘Ronnie Raj calling’. It is him. The upcoming music composer.
“Hello...” I said.
“Hi, buddy, it’s me, didn’t you understand me?”
“Yes, Ronnie, tell me...what’s the matter? I was just hearing your last composition. It’s an enigmatic kind of music. In some places, I doubt whether it reflects some Salil Chowdhury elements. But in overall appearance, it’s grand…and it’s…”
“Oh...stop it yar...”, I was interrupted. He continued, “…I called you not to talk these matters. Music…that’s my profession and passion as well. But now music is just a trivial thing as I am disturbed with some personal matters…”
“What kind of disturbances you face now…mental or physical?” I asked. Because, I did not get the seriousness of the problem that shakes him.
He said, “It is not physically. It’s mentally. I am so confused”
“Tell me in detail”, I demanded.
“Nothing yar…I think you remember the girl that I told you about. The one I met on Orkut”
“Which one? That college going engineering graduate? What happened to her? Is that the girl with whom you supposedly sharing some intimate personal bond? Did you open your heart at her?”
“Yeah, it’s the same girl. But, it has nothing to do with my heart opening or not opening. We already have revealed each other what was in other’s mind. But, I always was a little bit doubtful about her character. You know? I have a certain kind of intuition power. I mean the kind of revelation that I get through my dreams. In many dreams, what I saw were later happened in real life. I asked this girl about her friends and relationships. She was all the time having a kind of reserved nature at me. She never seemed as if having a pack of wild friends or as if having any extra-curricular activities. A simple girl concentrated only on her studies, just going college and returns home on time. That was the image she always had in my mind. But I was not convinced in her behavior, just because I knew the nature of the young generation. I doubt if I can find a single young one without at least a little of promiscuity either in behavior or in mind set. I am sure, I can’t find such a one, but you know? How much traditional and conservative is me in my mind. I think you know how much adherence I have towards the moral things and personal values….”
“I hope I know it” I replied.
“Now I am going to tell you about my dream. It happened in the same room of our friend Max, where all of us three spent time during the composition of my last score. Like we actually did in that occasion, in my dream we were sitting in his room discussing about our personal matters. Suddenly it was you, who warned me to be cautious about the character of this girl. You know? I always trust you and value your words even if it is in my dreams.”
“I think so far I kept your trust in me,” I said being apologetic and at the same time little bit proud.
“Well, let it be whatever. But after I woke up I decided to ask her about her character personally. I asked her in our next meeting, “Leena, I don’t blame you even if you presently have or had in the past any other relationships besides me. But I have to know, just want to know everything. I think that’s my right.” But whatever I asked or how many times I pressured, she replied only in the negative. She said, “No honey, I have no such relationships apart from you. I am just a girl interested only in my studies”. But I didn’t trust her. What made me so much dubious about her character was her reserved nature, which is usually uncommon as far as a rich Engineering college girl is concerned.”
Though I have some objective in his this opinion, I continued listening him.
“I doubted her reserved nature as a fine pretension in my presence only. I wanted to find its real hidden thing. And do you know, to find her actual nature what did I do?”
“What did you do?”
“Well, I just attempted to crack her E-mail. I already know her email ID as she was in my Orkut account and you know what I did to crack her password?”
“Tell me what you did?”
“Well…a common thing I observed among girls is that if they are having an affair, they usually put their lover’s name as the pass word in their mail accounts”
“Is that so?” I couldn’t believe what I heard.
“Yes, usually it is so”, he confirmed. “And in this case, I just typed ‘ronnieraj’ as her password. Though initially it didn’t work, a small variation of my name did the magic. And there was it, the magic box of all her personal secrets opened wide in front of my eyes.”
I was mute as words didn’t come out of my mouth; instead it produced a large gulping sound.
“And what did you read?” I asked him in panic.
“What I saw in her chat history was the sex chats she made with a boy. It was really heart breaking buddy. I can’t suffer it any more”
“And what did you do?’ I was interrogative.
He said, “And after this, I asked her again about her personal friends, she again repeated her old answer. Then I said her everything happened between me and her Email account. She became terrified. It was a startle, buddy, I watched her long coloration on her face. She then confessed that it was happened only once. A boy was keeping on asking her such explicit questions without any shame”
I asked him, “Tell me what exactly did you read in her chats?”
“It was so personal things; the boy was asking her very intimate questions, all regarding her personal body parts and so on”, he said.
“Wait...wait...did you say the boy was asking, not the girl was asking? And what was her reply?”
“She just kept silent all the time and was not at all talking anything”
“Well, it shows that her character is not so bad. How much time did they talk?” I asked.
“Hardly one minute”
“Oh k, then it might have happened accidentally. Only once they talked right? Whether there were any other such chats?’
“No…I could find only one”
“Perhaps, she might have deleted other chats with such promiscuous nature”
“I don’t think so”, he said, “and she apologized at me that she actually was not remembering a chat like this, when I asked her about her friends. The boy was asking her about her studies and things like that and it was so sudden, this boy changed the subject into a loose style. When she noticed that his questions were with such ignoble intentions, she suddenly stopped the conversation and even she cut him from her friend list. Then I too apologized for cracking her Email ID without her permission.”
“Ok…so what if any other boys will approach her via Orkut?” I asked him.
“There is little chance for it”
“Why?” I puzzled.
I heard my friends sigh over the phone, and with a change in his sound, he said, “Buddy, she already has deleted her Orkut account.”

(Disclaimer: This is an imaginary incident. The names are fake and if the characters bear any resemblence with any living or dead person, it is purely coincidental)
Photo Courtesy: Corbis

Aug 25, 2009

5 Proven Tips to Quit Smoking Cigarettes

A few posts ago I narrated a funny incident happened in my smoking life. I hope that you already are familiar with that moments of embarrassment and those who started reading my blog late can read it simply by scrawling down the page till your eyes get stuck on the bold letters with ‘Ma…Please Don’t Tell this to Papa’ is written or clicking on this hyper linked phrase here itself. Well…all over my pretty long smoking days I had used to dream about a single day without cigarettes and smoke. What gave me relief during those moments of desperation was only an old song taught by my aunt in my childhood days denoting hope and expectation starting with ‘we shall overcome someday’.

In this post I am going to give you a few tips on how to stop the habit of smoking. I believe whatever tips one may get; only one’s own determination rescues him/her. First of all everyone should take a deep-felt pledge in mind about stopping the dreaded habit. Then you may follow some of the tips those are given below.

Avoid the company of group of smokers
Well, I won’t say that you have to avoid all of your smoker friends. Avoiding your smoker friends doesn’t do you good; instead, it may become harmful to you. The friends whom you have to avoid are those who join together for the only purpose of smoking and are boastful about their smoking and drinking adventures. I had a friend, who still is my good old friend. After seeing me smoking, he too started to smoke and so soon had fell into the habit. I heard him cursing me several times blaming my bad influence upon him. Only after we became separated due to his job shift, he could escape from smoking. I won’t forget, it was him who gave me lessons on using alcoholic drinks in a courtly manner amidst the people of repute, though his drinking habit could impose little influence upon me.

Try to be close friends with non-smokers
I think, I don’t need to explain this tip as I have already given details in the first tip that are useful for this part also. Usually, it will be your heart mates directing you to smoking experiences. Likewise, the vice versa is also true.

Among a set of new friends create the image as a non-smoker
This will definitely help you in your fight against smoking. I tried this tip once when shifted to a new place where I was quite a stranger among the dwellers. I am sure if any of my roommates there read this blog would definitely cry at me asking, “really…do you smokeeee?"

Don’t dream to quit smoking completely from the next morning. Quit it gradually
I heard many boasting that even though they do smoke they are not addicted. I met a few who could quit the long-time-petted habit forever from a single day, though their claims are not verified by me. Well...if you are such a person with fantastic abilities, just ignore my tips. The best way to quit smoking is, I think, stopping it gradually. In my case, I decided to smoke this week one cigarette lesser than the number of cigarettes I smoked the last week. And in the next change (not necessarily in the next week), I cut down one more cigarette from my total number. Continuing in this way, I made it as only one in a day. And I did not impose any rules in my mind such as I wouldn’t smoke more than one, because I knew all those kinds of promises would not work. I was all the time free to smoke whatever I wanted and how many I liked (now too). Later I made it once in a week and quiet soon became an occasional smoker. The final journey from an occasional smoker to a non-smoker was an easy one.

Make a habit of attending some fitness centers regularly
It will definitely shift your focus from smoking towards something else, like getting a good body shape, getting more capacity to run, earning a beautiful six-pack, and things like that. I will attribute my successful prevention of smoking to daily gymnasium visits, though the goal of a six-pack remains still a mystery.

There are lot more guidelines that would help one in getting rid of such miserable habits. But these are my tips and I think majority of them are suggested for the first time by me. Anyway, my heartfelt thanks go to my friend who helped me to escape from smoking. Whenever we were together, she used to permit me to smoke once. When I lit up my cigarette and just about to take the first puff, she would scream, “look…there comes your sir.” Hurried, when I try to turn back and try to conceal my cigarette, the girl would snatch it from my hand and would make it a piece of paper covered in mud under her stamping foot. I used to stand speechless by her sudden actions and she would be facing me daringly with twinkling eyes and with a hidden smile on her lips indicating a ‘how is it?’ expression.

Photo Courtesy: Corbis

Aug 22, 2009

My Pedicab Practices

What fancied me most from the moment I stepped on the streets of New Delhi was the Cycle Rickshaws. As a person from Kerala, were auto-rickshaws are the most prominent taxi services; a man-ridden three-wheeler with pedals and a comfortable place for utmost three travellers at a time to sit was an alien thing to me. Let me say, it was my sort-of-ambition to travel on cycle rickshaw (pedicab) at least once before leaving North India.
As we both were traveling the whole Delhi on a car along with our driver, it was almost difficult for me to travel around on rickshaws. I said my fellow traveller - the camera man - to capture some shots of the cycle rickshaws, so that on return we would be able to compile the visuals into a single short video and thus to circulate it through our website. Well…that was our purpose of North India visit too. To collect camera visuals of North Indian monuments and destinations and to prepare detailed notes of what we shoot. It was my suggestion to shoot the cycle rickshaws, but I don’t know how much seriousness the cameraman gave it.
But after leaving Delhi, Agra and Abhaneri Kund in the order, we reached Jaipur and this time I made my long-desired wish a reality. While others were resting in the hotel room, I made a jaunt on a hired cycle rickshaw through the historic royal tracks of the city on the way back after browsing the Internet at a nearby café.
But my interesting experiences connected with cycle-rickshaws were yet to had came. After reaching Amritsar, we went to Jallianwala Bagh on foot, as it was only a walk away from our hotel. When stepped out to the pathways with a hurrying traffic, after collecting visuals of the famous spot of Indian freedom struggle martyrdom, we decided to hire a cycle rickshaw to our room. It was a turbaned and bearded Sardarji who responded to our call. Clad in a loose fitting dirty shirt and pants, he was an old man speaking only in Punjabi fluently.
I sat on the seat and the Sardarji looked at me with familiarity in his eyes. We smiled at each other and he just asked me a question in Punjabi. I think all of you know that Punjabi and Hindi are two different, yet look-alike languages. Though both are very much mutually intelligible, Punjabi is not a dialect of Hindi, it is a separate language. But, even in case of Hindi, I am a very poor person and I did not get what this Sardarji was talking about. I explained him in my poor Hindi about the train journey that I made from Kerala to reach Delhi as an answer to his some other question. I asked his name. He said something like ‘Diganthar Singh’. When I asked him his name again to confirm what I heard was correct; he just nodded approvingly, though I could catch something disapproving at his face. Anyway, I didn't attempt any further clarification. I handed my camera to our driver friend and gave him a signal to take the photograph of Sardarji with me on the cycle rickshaw. Sardarji was speaking eloquently about something and I showed my teeth in a colorful smiling manner pretending that I understand him very well. Then our driver clicked the camera and what I got was my all-time favorite photograph, which is given below. (Note that I am the handsome man sitting in the left and not the other one (:D)). One memorable comment i got for this photograph was from a Brazilian Orkut friend. She said this photograph has a typical 'Indianness' and reflects the true cultural spirit of India.


He pedaled with us heading to our hotel. When the cycle reached at an upward slope he just dismounted from the cycle and began to push it against the inclination. All of us three got out of the cycle and began to help him in the process of rescuing the cycle from that slight inclination by smiling at each other. When he dropped us comfortably at our hotel we bid farewell to him and to his cycle rickshaw. I was very happy when my fellow traveller gave the Sardarji more than what he asked.

Aug 15, 2009

The Michael Jackson Effect

Skinhead, dead head
Everybody gone bad
Situation, aggravation
Everybody allegation
In the suite, on the news
Everybody dog food
Bang bang! shot dead
Everybody's gone mad

All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us!

When I heard this song being sung for the first time by a sort-of-brother, initially I was stuck by the zigzag rhythm pattern it follows. I went through the lyrics downloaded from the net, and I understood its social and historic significance. The liberty-craving minds of the blacks in the States and in the world across are well portrayed in this song. I also watched the video of a fair longhaired man inspiring the slum people of Rio de Janeiro by singing this song, stamping on the ground, making wild noises, wishing the wild gathering and stepping according to the beats. Though I had heard about him a lot, actually it was the exact moment I began to admire him, the King of Pop, Michael Jackson!

*************************************************************************************
June 25, 2009 – It was the day when the Law of Nature put a sparkling black curtain along a fifty years long life. Newspapers and channels broadcasted the news of Jackson’s death with huge prominence and I came to know the news only in the next morning. I was in the house where I stay along with some guys as paying guest. I heard everyone discussing about Michael Jackson and his living style, and everybody felt as if some thing big has lost to the music world. When I sat in the sit-out reading the Jackson news and hearing the people’s comments, I suddenly thought about the old song taught by my brother. I sang it without any introduction though my oral muscles are toned in quiet another way making it almost impossible for me to spell out the words in the Englishman’s style. But hearing me singing the ‘they don’t care about us’ song, my friends asked me to sing it again. Though embarrassed, I sang it again and when I added some of a few childhood-learned steps along with the flickering beats in addition to some ‘Jacksonian’ hand gestures and finger movements, my friends felt my version of his songs too has a little appeal.
The next day saw a huge rush in my room and everybody wanted me to repeat the song and they asked me to teach them the song. When some of them felt ‘they don’t care about us’ as a little bit difficult for them, I introduced the ‘Dangerous’ lyrics – that too copied from the net. In addition to teaching them the lyrics, I think, for not less than two to three weeks I also became the choreographer to them. Even that next-room-dweller, that idiotic blabbermouth guy, too has started to wish me with his husky version of ‘Dangerous’ in the mornings. In every room, in leisure times, in office cabins and in classrooms, Michael Jackson and his songs took reincarnation. His steps were imitated, his thrilling cap holding style too was tried successfully. That is the Michael Jackson magic! The Jackson Effect!
In his personal life, Michael Jackson might have sinned as per the religious notions, especially according to the Christian views. But I believe that his sins all were pardoned during his suffering times, especially after 2001. He was such a lonely man even amidst the huge fanfare. He suffered from several body ailments, from humiliation by the court and public and from his tormented childhood days. No worry, I believe definitely Michael Jackson will go heaven.

Photo: Michael Jackson in Bad Concert
Courtesy: Corbis

Aug 10, 2009

Mid-day Romance

“I miss this city now very much as it was where most of my dreams were cherished”, said my friend with a sigh.
I said, “No, but you left this city for your studies that you are pursuing now?”
“Yeah, it was for my better future, but still my heart is here”, he is nostalgic.
“What is so much peculiar about this city?” I darted a question.
He again sighed, and I got it as a signal that my friend has been making himself ready for an eloquent speech about his strong emotional ties with this city. He was here for some time when I just landed for my studies in this historic place and we met in accordance with some divine plan. But he moved to another place for studies and occasionally visits here as if drawn by some magnetic forces.
“I miss everything, the people, the friends, the movies, the places, the beachsides, the royal paths, the poet’s meetings, and above all, I terribly miss this beautiful park where we spent many of our magnificent evenings”. He paused for a breath. He has been talking facing me looking over my shoulder towards infinity.
He again started, “besides, one more thing, which is the most appealing for me is…”, he put his sentence to an abrupt end.
I watched something in his eyes that has been fixed on some objects located at a distance at my back. Suddenly his eyeballs formed a much bigger round shape, which were flashing like flames of passion and out of excitement he cried gripping tightly on my shoulder, “Look…! Look there!!”
His cry startled me. Because of bigger excitement and hoping for a surprise I turned back and saw what made my friend so much agitated.
It was a beautiful woman! Or more specifically, “not a girl, not yet a woman”. Here the courtesy goes to Britney Spears, ‘the Princess of Pop’, as I don’t like to be charged by her. We both, holding the fences of the park watched her walking through the parallel parkway without a single blink.
Clad in an oily cyan colored salwar-kameez, this girl’s walk has brought to my mind the contrasting appearance of the Dilliwali girl on the train of “Time Kya Ho Raha Hein?”. This girl is modest and at the same time proud. Haughty and timid. Well mannered and educated as the vanity bag on her shoulder reflected. The small kumkum on her forehead revealed her traditional approach. But, in contrast her high-heel footwear displayed how modern is she in her mindset. That was she. The girl of the day.
When she approached close to us, we both have been looking her. While moving forward in a rhythm she just glanced us and a sudden flash of shy smile disappeared at her parted red lips. We both hallucinated, the effect of which was more on my friend. She just stopped there and we presumed, that she has been looking to the queue for the zoo. Both of our eyes were clung at her fair spotless glaring face. She was tall and her structure was well shaped.
While she stood there turning back to us, we attempted an ungentle analysis of her posture and shape. I became impatient when no further responses were coming from the girl. Out of my desperation I climbed upon the stout tree with full of branches to exhibit my smartness. Hanging upside down on the branch with my legs locked and clutching on a branch with my hands, I called my friend for help. With his help I found a comfortable position on the tree. I glanced at her and saw her talking to somebody on the phone. But nobody seems giving attention to me, not even the kids of the park. When I tried to jump from one branch to another, my friend called me ‘monkey’. So, there ends my unsuccessful attempts to get attention from her.
We saw a sudden smile at the face of this girl, who has been looking at the crowd in front of the zoo. I climbed down from the tree. A handsome man wearing a black tee and jeans from the crowd waved at her. With a new light on her face, this girl hastened towards him. It was their rendezvous, a date.
A sharp thudding sound came from my heart followed by a clinking sound. It was my heart broken. My friend suddenly looked at me. Without much late, I heard another sound of thudding. It was his heart. This time it was a very much bigger sound than mine.

Photo: Britney Spears
Courtesy: www.gobritney.com

Aug 7, 2009

Letter to Jonnie Walker

When I was a teeny-weeny under-graduate guy, I was noted for my idiotic buffoon-like behavior among my fellow students. I was an above average student in terms of studies and had not tried my skill publicly in extra-curricular activities. I was in my first year and it was the time when the University just had made some ameliorative changes in the syllabus. Our English lessons had changed from mere literature books towards a more liberal method giving the students a lot of practical comprehension opportunities. The new method seemed simpler and more effective than the previous method of committing the short answers and essays to memory and barfing the exact phrases given in the text books to the answer sheets. Similarly in all subjects, the University introduced individual seminars and assignments for the students. I still recall, the seminars were the most glamorous item of the university’s innovative changes.
Our English classes were taken for a combined class of Mathematics and Physics students. Majority of the students were girls who occupied the two rows of benches of the total three and we boys satisfied with a single row. Anyway, some notable and famous boys of the college like Mahesh, Tony, Georgekutty and Iqbal were the centre of attraction of the class and I already was a close friend of them as I was a Mathematics boy just like them as well. I believe that my crackbrained nature and the teenage-common insanity too had made me a close friend of these guys.
Well, on this day we were being lectured by our English lecture, who was actually my father’s first cousin. He took a passage, which was aimed to train the students on how to write formal as well as informal letters on occasions. We were asked to write an imaginary letter to our friends – real or invented – who might have studied with us or might have met in some occasions or whatever. Everybody started writing and I too have started by addressing with ‘Dear…’ Then I stopped as I had not fixed my mind concerning to whom my letter ought to be addressed. You should remember that I was in an age, which is regarded as ‘the period of stress and strain, storm and strife’ and ‘the period of temporary insanity’. (Please forgive me for my Plagiarism, for I don’t remember who actually had coined these beautiful definitions of teenage).
I glanced Mahesh’s book and I found that he was addressing his letter to his childhood friend Ani. Georgekutty’s friend was one of his relative and Tony wrote his letter to Mahesh himself. When I tried to look at Iqbal’s book he challenged me with a sharp look and covered the writings with his hand. Anyway I peeped through the clefts of his fist and found that his letter was addressed to the most famous girl of the college, who had got all boys of that college as her secret admirers (except me! :D).
But I thought again, and no names of my childhood friends were satisfactory to be displayed on my letter. Suddenly I stuck with a name. The name was Jonnie Walker. I knew this name as the name of a character, which was successfully enacted by the Malayalam actor Mammootty. The name of the film too was the same, Jonnie Walker. Only later, I came to know that Jonnie Walker as a best brand of liquors. Anyway I fixed Jonnie Walker as my best friend and I addressed my letter to him, though the name is not a common name in Kerala, and above all if someone name there children with the word ‘Walker’, it could be looked upon as ‘queer’.
Well, after finishing the letter (the content of the letter too was funny and I will tell you it in another story) our lecturer collected our books for evaluation. After spending some time on a few of letters, he began to return the books to us back by calling each student’s name. Suddenly he asked,
“Who is Tom?”
I stood up and looked at my lecturer pretending that I was afraid of him. Everybody’s attention fell on me.
“Sir, I am”
“Is your friend’s name is Jonnie Walker?”
The entire class turned into a loud roaring of laughter. I just smiled and looked every one in the class in a majestic manner as if they were my subjects and I was the King. Because, I felt that I had done a heroic blunder, which was impossible for the majority of the class.
The uproar of the class irritated my teacher. He said,
“Ok, you can be smart. But don’t try to be comic beyond a limit”
Everybody stopped laughing. The smile on my face changed and an embarrassed grin came into its place. I really hoped, if there was a chasm on the ground below my feet, I could go to the depths to escape from the humiliation. Watching the slight coloration on my face, my teacher did not disturb me more. He permitted me to sit.

So, that’s the history of my letter to Jonnie Walker.

Photo: Actor Mammootty in a function
Courtesy: Mammootty.com

Aug 3, 2009

“Ma…Please Don’t Tell This to Papa”

I quitted last year my habit of smoking, which I had continued for a period spanning some three years. I don’t know actually how much nicotine had I consumed and what percentage of my lungs is tar coated. But for sure, I still am a smoker, for in every friend group that I happened to be a part, a major number of people are habitual smokers and I am damn sure that you learned readers are aware of the two types of smoking, viz, active and passive.
This incident occurred during my study time at MG University campus. For easy reach, we friends hired a house close to the campus, which was about one hour away from my home, by vehicle. Miraculously, I was the only smoker among my roommates and I still remember the friendly faces of the owners of our house, though much of the incidents occurred at that time have gone beyond the clouds of forgetfulness now.
On weekends I used to travel back to my home by bus and for two days, viz., Saturday and Sunday every week I had to control my addiction for smoking as my family did not know about the wretched habit. On this particular Friday evening, it was drizzling slightly, which is, you smokers know, a very tempting occasion for lighting a cigar. After reaching the bus station near my home I purchased one cigarette and kept it in my bag. Only my mother was there when I reached home and after exchanging a few words I went to my room. After closing the door, (note that I did not lock it), I took out the cigarette from my pocket and found out a matchbox from somewhere. It was raining heavily outside, and through the windows, chilly mist and water drops together had been entering inside. I hesitated a little, though I could not deny my blood’s strengthening addiction for consuming the deadly tobacco. My intention thickened and I lit the cigarette. After a few hesitant intakes of smoke I just left my inhibitions and with no more confusion I began to smoke walking in a majestic way pretending as if I am Amitabh Bachchan himself.
Suddenly I heard a crackling voice at the door. With no notice, my mother rushed in to take something from my room. I just hid the cigarette at my back. My mother caught the smell of smoke and she asked, as if she was innocent,
“What is this smell? Is something burning? Do you smoke?”
Though I was sure that I was caught with red hand, I said, “No!”
“Show me you hands,” my mother asked.
I understood that there were no means of escape left and I showed my hands. A partially finished cigarette had been still burning in between my fingers.
My mother became desperate, she asked, “Oh! When did you start this habit? Don’t you know this is hazardous?”
I smelt a danger. I couldn’t predict what would happen if my father came to know this. So I pleaded her showing my two palms at her in a way to protect me from this piteous state,
“Ma, please my father shouldn’t know this…please don’t tell him.”
I remember, my voice was so pathetic and piteous at that time. She promised that she wouldn’t tell it to my father.
Two weeks later, my elder sister came home. As it was a holiday, I too was in the home. I was sitting in the front and reading something. Then I suddenly heard somebody speaking a familiar phrase in a familiar voice. I identified it was my sister, who had been imitating my own voice. When I looked at her, she said hilariously after glancing at me,
“Ma, please my father shouldn’t know this, please don’t tell him”.
After a pause, she again repeated the same words several times, each time giving stress, pitch and intonation to different words, so that she gets the complete satisfaction in imitating me and terrifying me. My father was somewhere over there and was about to make an appearance towards the middle of us.
My mother had kept her promise. She hadn’t told it to my FATHER. Instead, she had said it to my sister. Not only that I smoked, but also how piteous was my state when I was caught red-handedly. Everybody knows, if my mother reveals something about ME to my sister, no minutes are left to reach it at my father’s ears.

(Image: Amitabh Bachchan in Don, Courtesy: www.goamitabh.com)

May 23, 2009

After Traveling Twenty Thousand Kilometers

It all happened on a day as a daydream when the rain was drizzling slightly. With the wind’s to and fro, the showering mizzles were stroking the shades of shops, open umbrellas and the speeding vehicles alike. I was driving slowly as I was waiting for one exiting thing to happen. Let us say that, I have been keeping myself ready to watch this incident, which is about to happen at any time, as I had a regret in my heart due to my failure to witness an almost similar incident, which occurred exactly 10000 kms back on my driving path. So, this time, I was all set to watch this special event. And, if I miss this incident this time also, I have to wait for yet another thousand kilometers (years and more) to witness it next time.
People, you don’t misunderstand me! I am not talking about any Olympics like incident, or an election or any such sorts of thing. I am talking about witnessing the most important thing in my ‘sincere bike’s’ life. Exactly thousand kilometers back, it recorded the meter reading as 10000. Yes! The digit one followed by four zeros. After traveling thousand kilometers more, now it is going to show 20000, that means, 2 followed by four consecutive zeros.
I again watched my meter gauge, it is now 19999 kilo meters and 4 meters, which was just two meters back when I started from my room after finishing my lunch a few seconds ago on the way back to my office. By this time I have just passed the byroad to enter another one. After driving through the second byroad for a few more seconds, I reached a main road. I know the route from my room to office by heart, as it is the route of my routine travel. I was in the second gear and I glanced at my meter gauge again to see that now it reads 19999 and 7. After driving a few more meters in the second gear, I took a rightward turn to reach another byroad, which leads to my office. Now I saw with my thieving left eye that the meter shows 19999 and 9. I was in my third gear and I shifted it to second to watch the incident clearly.
With my bumping heart I was watching the whole occurrence so clearly. When the 9 went upward and a zero came in place, I watched a 20000 slowly entering the view panel of my meter gauge by pushing the 19999 out, just like a newborn chicken breaks it eggshell to enter the outer world. It was a delightful sight to watch.



Jan 15, 2009

Meeting Dyana Dafova, Bulgaria’s Musical Charisma

I was actually disinterested, when my boss asked me to go Manaltheeram Ayurvedic Resort at Kovalam the next day for meeting some foreign tourists who came to a halt there, for enjoying some Ayurvedic holidays. My boss might have mentioned it unintentionally in between his usual talks, I thought and I had a little hope that the next day he might not be remembering it at all.
But the next day – it was 11th of December 2008 – when I reached my office (Tourism India Publications) at the routine time, he informed me that some materials regarding the person whom I am going to meet are kept on the desktop of my system, and he asked me to have a quick look at the information. Again with not much interest, I checked the details, but it could really put me into utter amazement when I learned about the person whom I am going to meet.
‘An unforgettable experience with Dyana Dafova, the International European Star,’ one of the information materials read. It was an article-like thing telling something about the person I am going to meet, Dyana Dafova, a singer, lyricist, composer and dancer of Bulgarian origin and her mother country had described her as the ‘Spiritual Voice of Bulgaria’. Her last album ‘Charisma: One World in Songs’ was a thrilling hit in the United States. Her stage shows are described as really spectacular and magical, as they contain some fusion of music combining different cultures and even languages across the whole world.
“His Holiness will remember you in his prayers. He invokes upon you God’s abundant blessings,” so once John Paul II, the late Pope had blessed her. Besides, many international personalities, like Hilary Clinton, the former first lady of the US, among several others are ardent admirers of this musical personality. When Shuttle Columbia took off from NASA for a space expedition, years before, it carried none other than Dyana’s music too. The song was ‘Ahadyah’, which consisted of archaic words from Sanskrit too.
After knowing these things from the news and from her website, http://www.dyana-dafova.com/, I immediately prepared a list of questions to ask her. At that moment, our photographer Shyam reached the office, half hour late as usual as he is a normal latecomer (he has to come from a very distant place via train). I surprised him with a mimic ambuscade and explained the whole things in a single breath’s laps of time. I uttered him with a leaping heart that, ‘buddy, we are going to interview an artiste’, for it is a rare chance for a journalist in tourism media to meet celebrated and blessed artistes. Thanks to my boss, Mr. Ravi Sankar!
Without much delay, I got Shyam with his camera on the rear seat of my ‘sincere bike’ and darted through the ‘beeping’ heart of the Thiruvananthapuram city to Kovalam, the renowned international beach destination, located some 20 kms away from our office. It was already 10.30 am, and our appointment time was fixed at 11.00 am.
When we reached the Resort, it was already 11.10 am, and we had to meet Mr. Michael Butterfield, Dyana’s husband and Executive Producer of her concerts. He was actually waiting for us in the reception. He lead us to a table at an open space in the patio of the resort, sitting where we could see the sea at a distance through the coconut trees and leaves. Mr. Butterfield left and we waited there in patience. I was actually a little nervous and opened my questionnaire to try to commit the questions to memory. Shyam was involved in taking some snaps of the premises (including me) and finding better locations.
We heard Mr. Butterfield’s call from back to invoke our attention and I looked back turning my head. I saw with him, the beauty personified, the international musical diva clad in a gorgeous dress walking towards us with a quite familiar open smile at her face. She greeted us with her innate enthusiasm shaking hands with me and accepted the seat next to me. Mr. Butterfield too sat on my opposite side. I felt that she is so familiar to me, must be familiar to every one, quite like her music as well, which is familiar to all people residing in all parts of the world. It is said that in every part of the world, every continent, country and corner, wherever, when people listen to her music or watching her stage shows feel the song as constructed on the very basis of their own existence, woven with the tune and charm of their own culture, tradition and history, myths and even the language. That may the reason why people took Dyana and her music to their own hearts. And, the same may be the reason, why I felt this international musical personality at the first sight as so familiar to me. And obviously she is so familiar to everyone, whoever sees her, for the first or second time.


I actually forgot about my prepared list of questions containing some routine inquiries. In spite of that we entered into a casual talk without much apprehensions. Shyam busily clicked several snaps of her and (mine also). Thanks to him, for that I got a bunch of some remarkable pictures for a lifetime.
Dyana spoke in a very clear voice, as if the voice was coming straight away from her heart, a soulful voice! She appreciated me before answering the first question telling that it was an intelligent question. She talked about her music, the way she writes songs, her achievements, the languages in which she sings, and obviously the tourism in Kerala and the terror attacks in Mumbai.
She said about her compositions, “my music is contemporary music, but combines different genres of the world. I blend traditional intonations in instruments. I have classical elements in my song, at the same time very modern like Jazz, Hip-hop, Pop, etc. It is the mixture of different types of music composed in a contemporary way with respect to the tradition, if I can explain it in this way.” She posed with smile several occasions for the camera while she talks.



About the recent Mumbai terror attacks and the consequent tourist booking cancellations, she said, “we have told our friends that it is not the time to cancel their trip; we have to support India, because we love India. To fight the terrorists, we just have to go and show them that we are not scared”, a superb attitude and an open support to India!
Dyana’s music has the message for positive way of thinking and peace. According to her, because of living a long time without the ‘right calculations’, the world has fell in to the present financial crisis. The solution is that through calm and positive way of thinking; go ahead with better attitude after learning the lesson.
I had heard that Madonna, the pop singer used certain Sanskrit terms (Ohm Shantih – the very similar words that Eliot once used in Waste Land) in her works. So I asked Dyana, whether she also is using it in the same way. Dyana replied that she goes much deeper into the meaning of the terms unlike Madonna, who used it in a very commercial way.
Dyana sings in more than fourteen languages, including, Sanskrit, Celtic, Latin, Japanese, Italian, Bulgarian, English, North American Indian, and even Indonesian. In her stage shows, the dancers wear the traditional costumes of the respective country and use traditional drum and wind instruments. She was planning to do a song together with the Indian music maestro, A. R. Rahman. Though the time is a big constraint, she hoped that it would happen, “If it’s the God’s will, it will happen,” she added with a hearty laugh.
Dyana is a special envoy of UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) to spread the word of peace in several hotspot countries of the world like Kosovo and Afghanistan. She believes that the beauty of being an artiste is that being able to connect people through art. I asked her about her citizenship, though she shares her time between Bulgaria and US, she always prefers to be a ‘Citizen of the World!’
Mr. Butterfield too has participated in the conversation, giving us quiet interesting information, about Dyana, about her songs, and even about the history of India. He spoke to me in Hindi revealing his ties with India. He was born in India, when India was a British colony. It was him who convinced us that India and Bulgaria are connected through the tribes. “The trail of tribes from India goes through Asia Minor to Europe and then to Bulgaria. Also mountains like Himalaya and the houses in India are very similar to those in Bulgaria,” he said.
“There are similarities in words too. We too use the word ‘chai’ for ‘tea’ in Bulgarian language”, added Dyana.

She gave us three photographs signing her autograph, one for me, one for Shyam and one for my boss. After our conversation we took some more photographs, in which she and her husband posed with us. She gave Shyam an appreciation that he takes really wonderful pictures, which made him blush. We bid farewell to her and before leaving I said her that I must be very much lucky, for I could meet and have a talk with such a wonderful celebrated personality.
30th January, 2009

PS: Here you can hear some of the songs by Dyana. Follow the links one by one and enjoy:
1. Taliesin
2. Forever's Forever
3. Shin-Koto
4. Charisma
One more thing, I wrote an article for our magazine based on the interview, and as she had requested, I sent a pdf copy of the pages in which her interview was featured, after the magazine was published. One day, when I checked her website, I could see that she has up linked the article in it. You can read the article here if you wish…Click Here

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