The last alphabet Z is for Zoo in Tossing it out - the last one on the A to Z April 2013 challenge!! I want to taken a moment and think through on what happened in the month of April and how i chance hit on the atoz challenge - while i decided to write about Indian regional movies on the same topic selected by Arlee on his blog, I was unaware of how much of fun and challenge it is to get this done!! Thanks to the team who initiated this challenge and specifically to Arlee!
While there are many movies around animals and some scenes on zoo, this movie called Annai or aalayam is evergreen in my memory. This is a 1979 Tamil regional movie which was a family drama with typical mother sentiments around an orphaned elephant. The little elephant and its naughty actions were a great attraction for me at that time - i remember pestering my parents to go and watch this movie the second time in the movie hall - which in those days is a real luxury. The hero (who is a hunter) ensures that the little elephant is united with its mother at the end of the movie and the entire movie revolves around the little elephant. One specific song sequence where the little elephant equally dances with the hero/heroine is something very interesting.
My first thought is Azhiyadha Kolangal - It is a 1979 movie in Tamil regional language and directed by one of those intelligent directors, Balu Mahendra. It had leading actors in the main roles, though the movie focussed on the life of three teenage boys and their adolescent days - their first love, witnessing a death, emotional excitements, small village..etc.
I still remember the day i forced myself with my father and his friends to watch this movie. It was a rainy afternoon, where we had to take up the strong showers, get wet and still made sure that the movie was watched.
Tossing it Out has used Indians to refer to the micro genre of cowboys and Indian, and I am using it to highlight the freedom struggle India went through with the British monopoly for years together - this is letter “I” for the A to Z April Challenge.
Anyone tracing Indian freedom struggle will also be equally surprised on the number of Indian kings and queens who joined the struggle - as kids, while we learnt more about what our country went through in the past, there are few leaders who stand out - While M.K.Gandhi led the freedom struggle, I am sure at each regional levels there were those unsung heroes across Indian states who played a major role in influencing the people of that area.
Veerapandia Katta Bomman is one such hero from the southern region of Tamilnadu who lived in 18th century - every kid who grew up in the Tamil nadu was influenced by these inspiring stories of him. While the Government of India recognized him (there was even a postal stamp released by them), I felt the regional movie by his name really brought in the impact on many - I still remember the dialogues of this movie Veerapandiya Kattabomman, a movie from 1959 - this movie had Chevalier Sivaji Ganesan playing the lead role. Sivaji did such a great job on this that for me, it is still his face which comes across when I think of Kattabomman. This movie was also notable for being the second Tamil film to be shot in Technicolor and which was printed in London. This movie ran 100 days in 28 theatres in those days, which is a record breaker.
ps-I never knew it was a 1959 movie, this essentially means i have watched this movie almost 20+ years after its release ; and I still continue to think this is one movie which brought in more patriotic feeling into me than the stories of many leaders who worked for Indian freedom struggle! wow!!
Last weekend, I was in Chennai Koyambedu Bus Stop (Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus). It is more than a decade since I travelled long distances in buses - most of the time we end up in trains or air. Obviously I never had the opportunity to see the Koyambedu Bus Stop so far, though I have heard about it many times in the past. It was an unplanned trip to Chennai (to support my relatives in their sudden bereavement) and I was returning to Bangalore and the state transport bus seem to be the most viable option for unplanned travel.
My first impression when I stepped into the Koyambedu bus stop was “WOW, it is huge”. I was even more impressed when I saw a nice central welcome hall which gave lot of space for passengers and public to wait. I was completely sold on the CMBT when I saw the excellent direction boards which clearly listed the platforms and the corresponding places where buses ply. I saw few wandering foreigners who were looking at the direction boards and making notes.
I was thrilled that I got easy directions from sign boards and started walking towards the platform bay where Bangalore buses start. I was so relaxed that I spent good time on the way in a small shop getting magazines and newspapers. When I reached the bay, I was in for a shock - as I saw buses travelling to some Tamilnadu cities were in the bay. I again went and checked on the sign board which clearly said - platform 5, bay 23. I enquired with couple of bus drivers who were standing and chatting - they were very helpful. Here is the conversation
me: sir, where is Bangalore bus?
conductor 1 : Bangalore busa? antha pakkam sutthi ponga (Bangalore bus? go around to the other side)
me (confused!): board said 5th platform…this is 5th platform
conductor 2 (looking at me as though I am from another planet): idatha mathidanga - board appidiye irruku! (changed the place, but the direction board is not changed!).
Now, I just ran around to find the right platform ……..God, you made my happiness short-lived!! And if you think that the story stops here……it continues ………….
Having used to making advance bookings on trains and air using net (especially, I have mastered the Tatkal booking scheme of Indian railways!!), I fell into the prey of booking the bus travel ticket over net (www.tnstc.in). As it was a hurried trip and it was a sunday morning, I did not get a print out assuming that the handheld I carry can display the ticket to the conductor. I also had my ID card listed in the ticket and thought it should suffice.
When I found the right place of Bangalore buses, I was into the second shock. There was no unique number for the bus which I was supposed to go (may be, I am still not very sure if I have missed it). There were three buses waiting to start to Bangalore and all the three had the same route number. Again, I reach out to the conductor standing near one of the buses
me: I have booking for the bus which starts at 10.45. which bus is that?
conductor 3 (looks very vaguely at me – again it is the look of “which planet did you come from?”): “intha busu pathinoru manniku pogum. eeri seatla okkarunga (this bus will go at 11. get in and sit).
me: (puzzled!): I do not have a print out of the ticket, it is in this phone and you can see it in this. is it ok?”
conductor 3 (completely convinced that I am in no way a passenger who can go by bus): “illa illa, print out venum. (no-no, need print out)”
me (not lost confidence yet!): I have my id card - voters card (with too much of a confidence!) also. you can compare it with your list.
conductor 3 (irritated now!): ”print irrunthathan vandilla eeralam (only if you have print out, you can get into the bus)”
me (bit tensed now!): Is there any office where they can print out here?
conductor 3 (totally lost interest): poi keetu paarunga anga - (go and ask in office)
Now, considering I have less time, I run into the office and ask them if they can print the tickets out (as there were no shops inside the entire CMBT bus stop which can print). While there were two computers and two folks operating it, they were least interested to even hear about my problem. I came back to the bus again and this time there was another conductor 4 who felt it was ok to get into the bus. I just got in and sat - yes, I did come to Bangalore.
So, if you are a first timer in CMBT, remember two basic lessons - ensure you validate the platform numbers with conductors and not just go by those direction boards. And avoid net booking and get the tickets directly from the conductors – considering there are so many buses plying it should be ok to just go and get the tickets on a normal day (may be, the reservation may help on some holidays or festival days where the crowd is too high).
Koyambedu - I know how to handle you now!
Couple of days back, I happened to listen to my relative who said that they plan to settle down in Bangalore (that is a ten year plan from now!). As always, I was rambling and listing down the good things about Bangalore - ofcourse, the recent post I did was on top my mind - http://ireach.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/bangalore-the-best/
When I finished my ramblings, I saw my cousin giving me a condescending funny look….I felt it meant ” so, what happened to the morning ramblings about the place you spent your childhood ……..you seem to be liking all places….”….
That made me think…..looks like MY PLACE – whichever corner of the world it is in - IS ALWAYS THE BEST! - It definitely is a wise saying “East or West, Home is Best!”
Here is a list of what all I relished about my place where I spent my initial years of life (If you have lived or visited interior TamilNadu in India, you will nod in agreement!)
1. Early morning aroma of filter coffee with the background of MS Subbulakshmi’s ”Suprapatham” - (Narsus coffee, it was always!!)
2. When you come out , the blasting sounds of Madurai Somu /LR Eshwari’s devotional songs from a neighbourhood temple’s conical speaker - if it is the month of Margazhi, you will hear the audio of movies like “Thiruvilayadal“ - especially Nagesh‘s Dharumi/Nakeeran dialogues
3. “The Hindu” newspaper - If it is Friday, then you wait for “Ananda Vikatan“
4. Saroj narayanaswamy’s news in All India radio (” aal indhiya radio, dhilli vanoli nilayam, cheithigal vasipathu, saroj narayana swamy”)
5. Rajnikanth’s movie posters (“Udal mannuku, Uyir Thalaivanukku”)
6. Milkman milking the cow at the doorstep
7. The ringing bell from the temple (“koil mani osai”)
8. Idly and chutney breakfast
9. Mom’s continuous tracking about being on time (“Time aachu - kilambu, kilambu”)
10. Bicycle’s bell and the loud screaming of classmate calling your name from the road
11. Mom’s consistent advice to be careful on the road and to come back home straight (‘Jaggrathaiya patthu po, school vitta neera inga vaa’ )
12. Had your breakfast?(“Saapaddu aacha?” ) enquiries from neighbours
13. Smells of jasmine and mixed flowers (Malligai, kadambathin manam)
14. Lovely girls with turmeric glitter on their face and the traditional half saree (“Manjal poosiya thavani mugangal”)
15. Climbing the mango tree in neighbours house and eating fresh raw mangoes sitting on the tree (got to keep a watch for elders!!)
16. Cattle on the roads (need to balance the bicycle between them!)
17. Taking the neighbour’s kid in the bicycle doubles (“Supera irrundhu indha cycle roundu’ )
18. Friendly postman who makes a conversation while delivering the post and knows who has sent the letter - ” this letter is from grandmom? how is she?” (letter enna pattiammava? Nalla irukangagala?’)
19. temple diety’s procession on the road and the nice “maakolam” on everyone’s house
20. temple elephant
and many more………………… How does your list look??
The nuances and intricacies of Carnatic music are many, it may need multiple lives to master the art. This tamil month of “Margazhi” (mid December to mid January) in Chennai is a great time for the Carnatic music lovers - people in and around Chennai , people from other states in India and even people from abroad flock Chennai during this time to enjoy the music season – veterans in the field and the budding artists perform in various ‘sabhas’ (theatres) in the city.
While witnessing a live event is the best way to enjoy any performance, viewing the performance telecast in a television has its own advantage - we can continue with our daily schedules and catch up these telecast in our own living room. Jaya TV , a regional TV in Tamilnadu has made it possible for lakhs of viewers across the country to listen and view the performances of many great Carnatic music artists. Every day during this month, they have a telecast of one hour of these concerts titled as a program called “Marghazhi Maha Utsavam”. To make it more interesting, there is a short interview with the performing artists of the day – the questions are pretty much standard - your best moment, worst moment, etc.
Last week (having taken a vacation from work), I was watching the performance of Aruna Sairam. For beginners, Aruna Sairam is one of the greatest Carnatic musician – what makes her unique is that she started her career very late (After she married off her kids and completed her so called “parental duties”) and made it to the top in no time. She was completely involved in her singing which catches up on the viewers also. She looked so cheerful and happy!
Towards the end of the program, there was the short interview session – one of the questions was “What is that one important blessing you have got without asking?” and “What is that one blessing in your life which you are still awaiting to happen to you?”….She did not even wink a moment before she answered – she said “there was this sportsperson who won the highest order of the country and later in his life became bedridden at his young age. One of the reporters asked him “do you feel bad that you have ended up in this situation after all your successes in life?” The sportsperson said “No, I never questioned when I was the best sportsperson and how can i question now?. I can never question now and no rights to complain”. I also feel the same way. I think whatever I have got so far in my life are all blessings – you as the carnatic music fans are the best gift andthere is nothing like which I can ask for more.” - She reinforced that we can only COUNT OUR BLESSINGS!!!
note – this video is in the regional language ‘Tamil’
Though it is a well established fact to celebrate the blessings, it is always nice to hear it again – proved that her smartness reflects in things outside her art also!! God bless!!