Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Year Without Greetings

Around 5 years before, these were the days I used to wait for post-man who comes with a handful of New Year cards. In schools, friends will directly hand over the greeting cards on the last day of Christmas exams. Cousins, relatives and other well wishers too used to mail me colorful greetings.

I’d a habit of collecting cards which I’d left only a few years back. The main contributor to my collection was my grand father who used to get an average of 200 cards a year. I and my cousin will part it into two without any fights.

From my school, I got many cards. In those, I still remember a very tiny greeting given by the twin brothers of my class, then cards of a girl who had a fine handwriting and a guy who never miss to give a card to all the girls of that class. Also the gifts from New Year friend… I would peep into shops to choose cards by this time. It was fun; to choose, to write cute wishes and to mail!

Now the scene has changed. Everyone goes for economical means. SMS and e-cards have replaced lovely little paper greetings. We can’t blame people too. To buy a good card, the price tag starts from Rs. 30. Stamp charges are also too high.

There is no use waiting for post-man today. He only brings telephone bills. I can’t see any rush in fancy shops to get the best cards. Like all other sweet memories, greeting cards have become a part of nostalgia… For next generation, it may be an antique to collect!

My mobile is vibrating. Oh! A New Year message,


Monday, December 27, 2010

F 4 FACE and B 4 BOOK

Tough language and complex words make that magazine hard to read. But an issue of the weekly made me to sit and read. The cover story is about Facebook (FB). Then I thought why I can’t go for it as my new blog post. Some may call it as plagiarism; but usually whatever I write in my blog, next day I could see it’s another version in another blog. Anyway I don’t intend to do a copy-paste.

I began my social networking life in Orkut. Later I tried my hand in many sites. But nothing gave me satisfaction. Two of my friends, Vidya and Laxmi asked me to start an account in FB. In the beginning, I couldn’t grab the applications in the site. Also in Facebook, all our status is public and so anyone who is in our friend’s list could comment on that. This made me uneasy. I kept a distance in the earlier stage. When I complaint the ‘openness’ to those who dragged me into the network, they advised me to sign in every day.

Slowly I too could pick up the pace and now I’m one of the active members in FB. I made an account only a few months back. Today I’ve more than 660 friends. I got a few celebrity friends who make me updated about their movements. I’m a part of five groups in which I own two. One is for my school batch mates and the other is Chandni, a group of those who admired my grandfather’s house (that home is no more owned by us). Again slowly I enjoyed commenting and pressing ‘like’ for my friends’ status and photos. Games and other apps are very interesting in it. It gave me some shocks too especially when it chose the same person as my killer, my friend for next year and who likes me most. The predictions in ‘phrases’ is amazing though many of those cannot be published publicly. And above all, I could sense my friends and relatives around me when I get into that site.

It is the virtual reality at its best that makes FB on the top list. When it is treated as a country in terms of population or members, it is just behind India and China. According to FB survey, the members have an average of 130 friends. It provides space for private communication through messages and public as well with status quotes. Facebook allows online chatting which is never stored in chat history.

There are accusations that FB will take away time as its users spend majority of their day and night commenting and playing games. Complainants never care to check the positive sides where hot discussions on serious issues are held and charity programs are carried out through this site.

For me, I’m deeply, truly and madly addicted to Facebook…

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Silent Tears

Its my life you are laughing at!
Its my heart you are playing with!
I did no harm to you,
I smiled at your words...
I act I enjoy
I cried inside silently!
Sweet for you,
Tasted bitter for me...
Lively dreams
Lifeless now!
You never know my pain.
I'd never let you know too...

(dedicated to all my advisers
and others who are taking
away all my dreams)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I'm In Love

I know I’ve lot many options around me and still I stick on him. Once you feel affection for a person he’ll be the best. Regarding this person, he is the most charming person I’d ever known. His naughty smile can drag the hearts of females. He is very much concerned about his dear ones. Birthday of him is celebrated in a very grand manner in India. I love to celebrate the festival just because it is his day of birth.

At times I do get angry too when he doesn’t mind me and will be busy smiling at other ladies. And also quiet often he doesn’t care my wishes. He acts as if he can’t understand my feelings, happiness and sorrows. But it happens only rarely. Except then, I’d share even the deepest secret of mine with him.

Loneliness in Amrita made me close to him. I’ve a picture of him with me. I used to tell all my worries and anxieties to him. However that idiot only smiles at me and never utters a word. Still I’m sure he listens to me. Again his smile assures me, he’ll be there with me through out my life. Whatever people call him let it be flirt, liar or irresponsible; I don’t care all that. I’m committed to him for all what I’ve and I can do now.

Yet I can’t call him my sweetie… I’m forced to address him as Lord Krishna-the invisible and powerful Almighty!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gudiya ki Behan

There are some relations that are thicker than blood. I’ve a few ones whom I can address more affectionately than my blood-relations. From Amrita, I got a brother and sister. I don’t intend to talk about brother as I’m not sure whether he remembers me so. Definitely I know I’ll be in my sister’s heart forever…

Well, her name is Ashwathi, my PG senior. Chechi (translation: elder sis) is a chatterbox and never keeps her mouth shut. I started noticing this female from my hostel’s reading room. A girl who reads only The Hindu’s editorial and continuously speaks to hostel mates sitting around in her Thrissur slang Malayalam. Those encounters in newspaper room made us close.

One day, she told my face and actions remind her of younger sister. After that, she calls me by her sister’s pet name, Ammukutty. I love her calling me so. She has so many problems in her household, but her face or body language gives no hint of that. Whenever I’m depressed, I’ll start whimpering and she’ll pat on my shoulders and say, “potte ammu” (don’t worry Ammu)… Sometimes I simply make reason just to hear such words from her. I could say anything from a simple assignment to very serious issues.

While being with her, I never felt I don’t have a sister. Once she left the college, I started feeling a huge emptiness. I didn’t go to reading room for many days and I started using the computer in her class in which she worked. If she was there with me, I won’t have slipped off from my focus!!! It was then I realized I love her so much. Her advices made me to go on.

When someone asks where she is now, I have no answer. The only thing I make out about her is that she is working in a company based in Bangalore. Also I’m sure, every year both of us will call on each other’s birth date to wish.

Wherever Chechi is, I know she’ll go through this. With a smile she’ll whisper, “I too miss you Ammu!”

Conductor Sir

When my cousin told she was shocked to find her Maths teacher in the role of a bus conductor, that statement made me a little puzzled. That Sir must have left the teaching job because the pay scale in an English medium school is very low. The salary provided there will not be ample for a middle class person to carry out his daily needs. But the status that our society gives for a teacher is much higher than a conductor. According to her, “It was hard to absorb a scene where a person who had once taught us very tough formulas, now collecting tickets and opening the door for passengers.”

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Sweet Angels

I have 13 angels around me whom I once loved more than my life. My strength, my weakness, my pride, my power, my soul…. They were everything for me. I lived for them. I thought they’ll be there with me in every walk of life. I tried to hold them as one; made them close to one another. When they said they will stay as one and gave me the credit for my efforts, I found it the biggest appreciation I’d ever received. I helped everyone to solve their problems and little clashes between them.

These angels are my cousins and I once called them my best friends. We are 14 including me and 10 are of same age. There are singers, comedians, artists, chatter boxes and a few silent ones too in this group. Everyone outside were jealous of our unity which we enjoyed. Messages, calls and meeting them made me feel like heaven. I thanked God many times for blessing me with these cousins.

One day everything turned upside down. A heavy storm took away our umbrella and we had to run away in different directions. I made an effort to re-unite. One of my cousins stopped me saying they should not be called as friends and should not be tied up as one; they are simply my brothers and sisters. Then only I realized they had marked a clear border line between cousinship and friendship. I too have to live like that!

We did not have any get-together later. Even when some cousins come to my grand ma’s house, I never joined. I’m not doing it purposefully. Now my days are different. They had disappeared from my prayers and to say the truth, I feel a little uneasy while talking to some of them.

It doesn’t mean I hate them. They were my first friends who made my childhood days so colorful. I’ll be there for them again if they need any help because though cousins can’t be friends; a friend can never be a cousin. Love you all my sweet angels!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Yo! Ssup?? OMG… tz a relif 2 ryt in dis lang; free frm ol rstrictns. T hs nw bcom a universl skript. 1st wn u strt wth, u may feel awkwrd. Bt as u kp goin, u’l fynd dis tchniq vry intrstng. D main principl b’hynd des msg txts z dat t avoids max lettrs. Wn u can undstnd d esenz avoidn unecesary wrds n lettrs, der z actualy no need 2 waste space.

Dis styl z mainly usd in chatin, sms n social syts. Here no 8 can dnot bth d fig n ‘ate’. Also 2 can mean to, too n two. Gm, g af, gd evng or gn r vshes!! Tc stnds 4 take care. Bf z eithr bst frnd or boy frnd n gf 4 gal frnd. Tz d ecines of typin dat maks d trend so popular.

Oldis n wel vshers of so cald d gr8 univrsl lang ENGLISH z cryn ol around blamin dis styl. Dey think tz gona kil d beauty of Eng. Dnt knw hoos argumnt z corct. 1 thing z clear, short version hs gaind a mas esp d youth 2 suport n fyt 4 it simply cz dey luv li’l frases wth tiny wrds which dey can read, type n 4wd soon 2 deir budies!

Lolz…. Microsft Wrd sayz ol d wrds dat r typd til nw r bulshits n need 2 b corctd to make t perfct Eng zntnzs!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Jobless Creature

You still didn’t get a job!!! Why are you sitting simply… go for some work, don’t sit idle at home. Lazy girl, if you try hard you’ll get one!

This is what I’ve been hearing from day to night; the so called valuable advices from my beloved friends and known ones. I wonder whether these people don’t have any other matter to ponder.

There are many in my chat list who daily enquires the same giving a bundle of advice. Earlier I used to be invisible while I’m online. Later I found a better way. I blocked those who irritated me too much. The action gave me great satisfaction.

Another section asks me to wear the costume of a teacher. It’ll be the worst profession that fits to my character though I do respect the profession. Again if I wanted to work as a lecturer, I won’t have made the effort to do masters in mass communication.

Experts in the field too say the take off has a good significance. A start in a good company will give you the best carrier. Whenever a job slips out of my hand, I think the best one is yet to come!!!

And many times I put an end to my friends’ blabbering by asking them to start a media company to remove my change my status of being jobless…

(I didn’t intend to hurt anyone. This is simply an expression of my frustrations.)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bloggy Trend

MA Communication 2008-2010, the notorious batch of School of Communication (my class!!!) had some active trends always. Trends are not supposed to stay long; and so we keep shifting from one to another. Started with Orkut, then Style fm, buzz and the latest being hyper active in Facebook.

In between, there was a trend of creating blogs and talking high about blogging. For that we don’t have a long history to boast upon. Majority began writing blogs just one year before. May be, it will be a record that such many number of blogs came out from a single classroom within a week. Whenever I start talking on this topic, Anees used to say he credits for setting such a trend among us. Whatever it is, he began blogging long before. He requested us to read as soon as he posts something new in his blog. We also did the same when we entered the world of blogspot. There were some friends who laughed at us on this ‘stupid activity’ and later became active bloggers.

When I went through all those blogs, I thought of writing a few words on each. Usually I mention about me only in the last lines. This time let me begin with mine. I started blogging to post my unedited version of the reports done for campus journals. Later I tried a hand in poems and scribbling some funny stuff. Residing in a rural area, I found no better name than Voice of a Village Girl (… Most commented post is ‘Crazy Classmates of Communication’, again about these guys only.

My Work is My Style is the blog that has maximum followers from our batch ( Blogger’s name is Anees. He is a creative genius (my usual comment) who had done nice ads. He has posted some of his works (SAVE TIGER CAMPAIGN). His sense of humor is clearly seen in his Malayalam post, Where ever you go.... He has also written a few articles on sports. The blog has a good pleasant layout.

Random Thoughts…Life Revolves Around, the title itself is very interesting ( A princess of words, Vidya is its owner. The blog has a colorful layout and vibrant topics. There are funny ('Mess'y fooooood !), emotional (Loneliness !) and serious articles (Fair sex, unfair ride) in it.

The first thing you’ll notice while checking out Love is a magic...but magic is sometimes just an illusion... is its title image ( The picture compliments the title so well. Nimisha has added her favorite print ads, a poem (I wish if I could...), a nostalgic note (D countdown begins.....) and some serious features (Commercialisation of Dance ).

Renjith V P: passion to exist for a fresh tomorrow, contains everything in its name itself. To describe further, it has a subtitle “A blog created to share news and info about my works, a place to share my thoughts, my ecstasies and eccentricities” (! There are many gadgets used in this blog. The posts include some pictures taken by Renjith, reviews of short films he had done and other works. In his blog, I like Faces of Life the most. It is a collection of his photos in various styles.

Then comes Lyf is a spark from womb to tomb, Shahista’s blog ( Her opening words truly depict her personality, “It's not the possession of good things that bring happiness. It is the ability to enjoy what comes. Happiness is an attitude. This is what I believe in”… Though she loves fun a lot, she prefers writing serious matters (Keep yourself away from Alzheimers, Locked up in wedlock). However there are one or two soft stories too (Enjoy Rain to the Fullest). She is an active blogger. If she takes care of the background theme and gadgets a little more seriously, I think it can come out as a great one.

Sreelakshmi has two blogs; Dont Stop Dreaming ( and Exclusive and Controversial ( First one doesn’t have any posts in it and the second has two poems. She is a good poet. I don’t know when she’ll open up her blogs and start writing again. Waiting for that day!!!

Denny opened a blog; I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest ( I love its title and snaps in it. It contains reviews of short films he had acted in last two years. Meenakshi’s blog Innocent Heart Speaks has a cute profile picture and a philosophical intro. It contains one hard story, a soft story and a poem ( In love with life in this crazy world!!! is Varsha’s blog. It contains two posts (

Many couldn’t write for so long as they don’t get time after their hectic works. Still hope they’ll scribble a few words once in a while!

From Ashes

The most brilliant student of English department, a record mark scorer in many papers and a leader in doing all crazy things… This is a one sentence description about me in my graduation days. Teachers and my friends trusted and loved me a lot. Then to my post graduation days; it was same scene there in first year. My wishes started to bloom like the flowers in spring. I thought I’m the luckiest girl in this universe. Slowly everything dried up. I started loosing my grip. All my reporting, projects and other works were done for namesake. I couldn’t perform well in the placement tests. Naturally everything went against me. No one recognized that I’d gone gloomy inside because I addressed everyone with my usual smile. I couldn’t apply properly even to local media. I completed my course and left quietly.

I moved away from strangers; kept a distance from known-faces. The fire in my words vanished. The only thing I’d write were poems about sadness and loneliness. Words of feminism which once I cherished never came in my thoughts. Whenever I go online, I preferred to be invisible. The group of fourteen I gathered got dispersed. I’d a cold war with my ‘rocking cousins’ and went away from them too. I created a world of darkness around me. All my ‘so thought’ dear ones did not stay with me. Then I understood the real meaning of the old Malayalam song which says ’you’ll have 1000s around you when you smile; but you’ll have only your shadow when you cry’… Even in those times, I’d a few people who supported me.

My mindset affected my health and I was thrown into bed for one month. Blood started disappearing from my veins making me anemic. It was a time for self-realization. I was like a king who had lost everything in a war. Now I know, whatever I’d lost cannot be gained again. So at present I’ve nothing with me. I’m a beginner. Bad memories of past should not affect my thoughts. But the glory I’d in my hand should be remembered to move on further.

From ashes, I’ve to rise like a phoenix. Expect me soon in such a state!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Colours of VIBGYOR

Weekend journeys to home, hang outs with my classmates, treats and celebrations, singing, dancing and bunking classes (even my uncle’s lecture)… I enjoyed my UG days to the fullest. Those days also made me know the essence of student politics, both positive and negative sides. My course also had many exciting things to do as practical. As a part of the curriculum I translated a short story, poem and drama, interviewed two eminent personalities and took two hours class in a high school. Functional English, my course program demanded us to go out and work rather than sitting inside classes. We also did a short film BLACKBOARD.

However the best moments in my BA was participating in VIBGYOR International Film Festival ‘08 conducted by Chetana Media Institute, Thrissur. Sreekrishna College was undertook its media department. Rupesh sir was our head. He made me the chief editor and chief reporter. I was assigned to meet all the eminent personalities, write reports of important films exhibited there and correct other’s news stories. It was a four day program. There were three venues for the fest; Chetana Institute, Sahitya Academy Hall and Town Hall. We ran from one to another.

A tent was given in Town Hall for us to assemble and carry out our works. Accommodation was provided in KTDC Yatrinivas from where we had to move at 7.30 am and will be back only by 11pm after a day’s hectic work. I, Remya, Sulthana and Sherhana were in one room. Though job was tiresome, we’d lots of fun and entertainment. The studio for our short film was Chetana. So I knew most of the people there. Cameramen Rijo and Kiran started teasing me saying I look like a drunkard Bengali Director who attended the fest.

Rupesh Sir asked me to attend an award winning short film. It was about the misuse and wastage of water around the world. When he said there is no one better then me to report that picture, I could sense his confidence in me. I couldn’t believe, the next day, my report came in almost all Malayalam dailies. I had to withdraw after three days because of dehydration and heavy fever. Later Sir told I’d a wonderful opportunity to interview many big-heads in which I remember only director Shyamaprasad’s name. He also added he didn’t send anyone else as he was not ready to take a chance.

That was indeed a very huge honor for a silent village girl like me…!!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hang out @ ASCOM

The editing room of ASCOM is where many activities take place at a time. The room has a TV which will be switched on by ASCOMERS to watch their favorite shows. It turns to BBC or CNN as soon as a faculty enters the room. Animation and web classes are also conducted in that small room. There are ten computers bearing separate passwords. All the equipments like camera, tripod and so many bags are kept there.

The room is also the workplace of Binoy Sir, a rare character whom you won’t find elsewhere. He does wonders with still camera He will be always busy shouting or arguing with fellow students for not folding and holding the wires properly. Sreelakshmi used to be his much loved prey. Else it will be Arya. Don’t know who have replaced them now!!!

A computer placed on the extreme end of the room near the window is a common system. Enjoying the cool breeze and the sight of green hills, browsing from there is a different experience altogether.

Editing room is a favorite hang out place for Ascomers. Friends used to chill out here cracking jokes and passing comments at juniors. Ascom couples also prefer that room to save themselves from the ‘security forces’ waiting outside. There will be another set of Ascomers doing page-lay out for their newspaper playing hide and seek from other faculties. Once in a blue moon, there will be Vinod Sir in that room taking classes for his beloved students.

During the last days of semesters, the computers for editing will be fully occupied by the ambitious students of the department to meet Rakesh Sir’s deadline. That’s the only time they do work; hard work!

In short, editing room is the entertainment room of the department except in the final days of a semester...

(I know it is not the same now with studio coming to the scene. But I love to remember all those in present tense tone.)

Look Out of Barkha

The house of media has emerged as a powerful institution in the country. Commoners believe media than rulers. It is visible from the news reports that leaders especially in the field of politics never try to harass media. Because they are sure of its result; a big collapse in ballot votes! Though it is a matter of argument, the election results are to a great extend decided by the approach of media. They have a lion’s share to divert the voice of mass for or against a party or a politician.

Big firms launch a channel or journal as a side business simply for fame. The key intention of these houses will be to grab maximum profit. This pave way for what is called paid journalism. A rewarded story is against the media ethics of being impartial. Once it is caught, the faith of public in Fourth Estate that is getting tangled. And the trust which is knocked down is not built within a single day; it was the effort and struggle of lakhs of true journalist for many years!

Nation is blaming the whole media fraternity because some big heads have been accused of being involved in 2G spectrum case. It is not just a Barkha Dutt or Vir Sanghvi who represent the entire journalist community. Also one should remember, the media persons carried out this issue. If every individual in the field goes behind money, then the issue will not come to limelight. Except a few rotten eggs, majority of the workers in publishing and broadcasting field are committed to the real rulers of democracy-the general public of India.

No Distance on 200

It was a rare day of hectic schedules in editing to meet Rakesh Sir’s deadline. I and Meenakshi were busy giving subtitles to the Coimbatore water scarcity news story. Despite of the fact that we both weren’t fluent in Tamil, we managed to translate the sound bytes to English.

When we were almost done with the editing, Anees came and switched on the TV. There was a one-day match between India and South Africa. I’m very crazy about cricket. I don’t have the patience to sit and watch five-day match. One-days and T20 are more exciting than Test series. Big-hitters like Virendar Sehwag and Shahid Afridi are my favorites.

Guys started gathering around the television. Sehwag couldn’t move to a double digit that day. Almost all the guys of my class knew my ‘love’ for Viru. When his wicket was gone, everyone began laughing at me. Ho! Poor guy… He doesn’t know how much I’d to bear that day.

Then came out master blaster Sachin Tendulkar! Similar to all other Indians, all the guys there were die-hard fans of Sachin. Meenakshi left; I decided to stay back as we can’t expect those ‘great wardens’ of Amrita’s Gargi Bhavan to allow girls watch a one-day cricket match.

I could see Rakesh Sir entering the room. He checked the score, gave a smile at me and left. Thank God... he loves cricket. Else he might come to me and with a naughty smile, he would advice, “Roopa, you are so lazy now a days. You are supposed to submit a news bulletin this week. You haven’t finished at least one story. This time I’m gona be very strict. Your internals for this month is zero. Tell your group members too. And that Sreelakshmi hasn’t even discussed her script with me. I don’t know what she is going to do!”… But we all know he is very kind to his students; that’s a different case.

I logged into my mailbox and saw a few friends online. Chatting with them can relieve me from the comments of ASCOM audience watching the match. Whenever Sachin gets a run, they hauled at me. Renjith said Sachin had a chance to score a double hundred. No one had made 200 runs in one-day.

My online friends started vanishing slowly to have tea and relax. The last person signed out when I informed Sachin is on 180. So that means I’ve to sit, watch and bear all the remarks of audience. There were around 20 guys along with me; both BAs and MAs.

Finally that moment came! SACHIN SCORED A DOUBLE CENTURY…. Wow, he is the greatest cricketer in earth though Sehwag is my favorite. Moments of joy and cheers… Balu Sir also joined the party. Truly, it was something to cherish!

I climbed down the stairs. I really enjoyed watching a match with a group of boys. To say in other words, a girl enjoyed yelling along with a group of guys till ‘late night’ without keeping Amrita Distance inside a department of AVV. (Amrita Distance is the distance you have to keep in Amrita institutions while mingling with others if they don’t belong to your gender!!!)

Day to Dance and Devote

Now it’s mandalakalam, else the Sabarimala season. Getting Lord Ayyapa’s darshan at this time climbing the hills of Sabarimala will give all the prosperities in life; that’s the belief. Entry to the temple is restricted for women in the age group of 13-50. There is no cultural or religious bar in Sabarimala. Lakhs of people go as pilgrims to pay homage making it one of the richest temples.

There is a program in the temples of Malabar region known as Aghanadanamayagnam at this time. Devotees wearing black dance together chanting Lord Ayyapa’s mantra,

“Bhoothanatha Sadananda

Sarva Bhoothadayapara

Raksha Raksha Mahabaho

Sasthedhubyam Namo Nama”

The event starts on a day morning and will wind up next morning. The devotee groups take turns in singing and dancing. The partakers of Aghanadanamam are then taken to Sabarimala when the program is over.

In order to take part in the ritual, a devotee has to undergo 41 days of fasting leaving non-vegetarian food. He has to wear black and control all his temptations during this course. This is done to make an individual know the sweetness that devotion provides and how momentary are the luxuries. He has to purify his mind and body before he gets darshan. And thus he is groomed into a perfect human. It’s not only to participate in Aghanadanamam, but anyone who wishes to go to Sabarimala has to practice.

In the case of Aghanadanamam, the event is a gathering of people from all divisions to help their friends to have a fine pilgrimage. It is almost like a temple fest with balloonwalas and other vendors capturing the streets near the venue. Aghanadanamam is hence a day of dancing and enjoying themselves being a devotee of the Lord of commoners!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Crime Beat Story

15 MARCH 2010:

It was a day of excitement when our teacher made us to go out, choose our beat and look for news stories from there. All the eleven students somehow managed to get gate passes though wardens started blaming us and our department being so irresponsible for asking shamelessly the exit-pass at the last moment. We got into the train which surprisingly came on time.

As soon as the train boarded Coimbatore, we hurried up to Collectorate from where we had to make our choice of beat. The district head quarters were filled with fellow citizens who had came to collect grievances. From there we met a journalist of a regional daily. He told it was hard to meet any one on these grievance days. In between, a photographer of a famous Tamil newspaper took a few snaps of my friends for a news story on summer heat waves.

Realizing that staying there is a waste of time, we decided to split into groups. I along with three others took crime beat. We went to District Police Office which is nearby Collectorate office. All the officers behaved so well especially a Sub-Inspector Girija. Even in her official dress, she looked pretty and bold at the same time. I wonder why the lady police in Tamilnadu look so fearless compared to Kerala. May be it is the culture that allows one to be courageous and other to act as sub-ordinates to their male colleagues with some unwanted humbleness.

Girija told us the hierarchy of the police system. It is basically divided into two grades. Grade One includes Sub-Inspector, Inspector, Deputy Superintendent (DSP), Assistant Deputy Superintendent (ADSP), Superintendent (SP), Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Inspector General (IG), Assistant Director General (ADGP) and Director General (DGP). In Grade Two come constables and head constables. I knew all these names; but the hierarchy was unknown.

Our next target was Commissioner’s Office, again near the Collectorate. Expectations to meet Commissioner were on high spirits. But the Personal Assistant of Commissioner told us we can’t meet him without prior permission. Still he told us how a case is filed and executed. Any case is primarily registered as First Information Report (FIR). As soon as an FIR is filed, investigation is done and charge sheet is prepared against accused.

Getting out from the Commissioner’s Office, we were satisfied at least we could do something in our first attempt. We rushed into KR Bakes to have a grand lunch. Having food after completing all the works is a different thing altogether. When I finished my last sip of apple juice, my mobile started vibrating. It was a thanks message from my classmate Laxmi for my birthday wishes.

After finishing our food, we rushed to railway station. There was a long queue as usual to get the tickets. We finally got tickets after standing in the line for about 15 minutes. As soon as the train started I fell off to sleep with dreams of colors dancing around me.

Village Vandi

Time is around 9am when I and my parents reached our local railway station, Vaniyambalam. Station is painted with a glowing yellow and green color. One luxury car and two or three autos are waiting in front of the station. A few people are standing in the queue infront of the ticket counter. We already got our tickets from the stationary shop nearby.

Here there is no announcements, no advertisements; everything is quiet except the murmuring of the crowd waiting. Six trains run through this track though the starting point is always Nilambur and finishing point is Shornur. It is a typical village station where you can see people talking to almost everyone they meet.

Oh! Train is coming. Roaring, waving apart all the branches of trees and bushes that stood in its way, the giant vehicle entered in a royal manner. We got seats and I could hear someone screaming at others, “Why do you’ve to simply rush like this? Just like a bus, driver of this train will make sure that no one is left in the platform before starting the train. He even gets down sometimes in some stations to have a stretch and relax”.

Ha-ha! That makes this train service unique.

Hmm… train is moving now! Another specialty of the route is there is no city coming in between. It flows through villages and woodlands. As the train reached next station, I found a single window seat empty. With my cell phone playing my favorite music collections, I settled there. The guy sitting next to me is busy sleeping. And the family sitting adjacent to my seat is busy discussing about their daughter’s marriage with a moulavi.

Paddy fields, teak forests, small houses, rivers… Train is moving as if it is bored of seeing same scenes again and again! Even for me, it’s nothing new… I’d traveled many times in this train in last two years.

Pardesi… pardesi… Jana nahi”, a lady holding her kid is seeking alms from the fellow travelers. Another person is selling local home-made snacks. “Randennam 10, moonennam 10…Aadayakaramaya vayanakku… (Two things for Rs.10, Three things for Rs.10! For a profit read)”, a guy moves through the compartment with a bundle of old magazines. Each train will have characters like these who make it alive. Kids waving hands at the train, villagers washing their buffalos, cattle grazing in the paddy fields and vehicles waiting impatiently near railway gates; all scenes passing like a flash…

Train stopped in Angadipuram station. This station was beautifully captured in the movie Krishnagudiyil oru Pranayakalath. It has a small break here until its counterpart reaches from Shornur. There is no level cross in this track and so the train that comes first has to wait for the other. And so my train slept until its friend vanished. When the other one left, my train woke up and started moving.

Train is heading towards Shornur station, the biggest of the state where you can see trains moving in all directions like worms. As usual, it ended its journey in the second platform. We rushed towards sixth platform and got into Parasuram Express.

“Train No. 2341, Shornur-Nilambur Road passenger is on platform no. 2”… I heard it several times. There are express trains like Sabari and Parasuram resting unnoticed. Remembering my TTR friend Sandeep’s words, “Whatever it is, the announcement is done the most for the Nilambur train”…

Parasuram got up from its catnap and slowly moved on. I could hear announcements in full swing along with ad jingles informing people about the train in second platform. The village passenger is getting ready for another ride with another set of rural folks….

Royal slips

Three years ago, an award-winning director stepped into their house atop a hill in Pazhassi in North Kerala’s Kannur district. It wasn’t a surprise; for the past 70 years, they have had visitors—scholars, historians, researchers—who came knocking for the story of their granduncle, the legendary Pazhassi Raja Kerala Varma. It was all the attention they got; mainland Kerala otherwise hardly knew of them. They led a mute life sans the aristocracy of the times when the freedom fighter ruffled many a feather on the British crown.

When Hariharan, the director, came to Syamakrishna Vihar asking Shankara Varma, the present head of the family, for details on Pazhassi Raja, the local media went to town with it. The Pazhassi family is centuries old, and is an offshoot of the Kottayam Kovilakam, the royal clan of a hamlet in Kannur. Varma, a renowned Carnatic musician and disciple of Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar, was one who performed the rites for Pazhassi Raja, when an astrological enquiry showed ‘his soul is yet to be liberated from wordly ties and attain moksha’. Hariharan’s visit coincided with Pazhassi Raja’s slow patronisation by cultural outfits in Kerala, a la Shivaji in Maharashtra. Many expected a big flick and the news that one was to be made didn’t come as a surprise.

Thus, even before the movie hit theatres, it had made headlines. It flaunted a glittery star cast, whizkids like Illayaraja and Oscar-awardee Rasul Pookutty behind the scenes and trends that Malayalam cinema has only longed for. It had its share of controversies, too, with the truck carrying horses for the shoot meeting with an accident and the movie’s maker going on a short court stint. The Pazhassi family’s accusation is right on time; the movie could help itself with a bit of controversy to buoy its fortunes. Hariharan, however, feels he and the movie would do a lot better without such controversies. “I am not interested in them (the controversies). I referred eight or nine books before getting into this project. So I do not think the movie is full blunder,” the director says.

Varma’s discontent with the movie does not just lie with the structure of the plot. He also feels the film has less of Kannur, Wayanad and Pazhassi in it, the places which were part of parcel of Pazhassi Raja’s valour. Also, places like Ezhimala, where war strategies were laid out against the British, and Pazhassi Madam temple, the warrior’s family shrine to which he was attached, do not appear in the movie at all. “The climax, too, doesn’t go with history,” Varma says. Pazhassi Raja dies after being shot at in the movie, when the way he died is still a mystery. The movie is also significantly oblivious of the road constructed through the middle of Pazhassi palace by the British after his death.

Historically, too, there are discrepancies, says Varma. “There is even a scene in the movie where Pazhassi Raja enjoys a Krishnattam performance,” he notes. Krishnattam can be performed only in Guruvayur temple or in the Zamorin’s palace. The movie crew incurred huge losses to shoot the scene. It was postponed thrice and locations shifted for each time. “If I had known about the scene, I’d have told them and so all these things may not happen.” Varma thinks such mishaps took place as the art form was taken out of its home premises.

Shankara Varma recollects narrating to Hariharan, the story he has literally grown up with for all of his 90 years. But the director was not very keen about the detailing; he, afterall, just wanted a movie with all the spices of a commercial hit. “May be the original didn’t have the flavour for a popular movie,” says Varma. The award-winning director left the story there, and promised to be back soon. The Pazhassi household still awaits his return.

(This article came in THE HINDU. Check out:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Article 19 (1) (a) Applied in a Class Room

It was just another chilly Saturday morning in August. Alarm started ringing. Oh! Time is 7.30… I felt like kicking that idiot for making me awake. Sorry, it’s not my dear cell. I’m speaking about that guy. Who knew, whether that’s a guy or an uncle!!! Cursing the man who invented attendance, I hurried up to take bath.

How can she be so stunning! Yes, mother earth is the prettiest lady I’d ever met. Especially here in Ettimadai, she looks awesome. There are a few days in the calendar where you’ll feel all the beauty of this lady is confined to this place only.

The green hills covered with fog and sometimes snowy white or else hard black clouds playing hide and seek! Trees, green lawns and flowers covered with dew drops! Cool breeze making you feel so light like a feather! All these appeal us to go back to sleep. A hot water bath helped me to escape from all these pressures.

Next task was to have breakfast. The long walk from hostel to mess, with all the accessories of dress code, was like hell. Entering the large gate of mess, as usual, it’s the foul smell from the kitchen that welcomed me. I had never experienced such a smell from any kitchen in my whole life. “You’ll need two more people with you to cut those idlis”, Nimisha’s comment while we climbed the stairs. Hmm... It’s hard to break.

After breakfast, I moved to department. Some fellow was going to teach us Indian Polity and Constitution. He is free only on these off days. So we were forced to sacrifice our week ends. On Sunday, he would deal with Media Laws.

It was really a crowded class. BA students were also attending the lecture with us. Actually, in that institution, the syllabus of graduates is more advanced than post graduates. In short, BAs learn more than MAs there. Our administrator entered the class and left with a smile. Oh! He came to take attendance. Then came the History Madam. She gave a small lecture about the lawyer who is going to ‘entertain’ us all the weekends of our first semester. It seems he is a leading advocate in Madras High Court. She also asked us to listen and behave politely in his class.

A man who resembles chittappa characters in Tamil movies entered the class. Wearing a black frame glass, white shirt, black pants and well polished black shoes, I felt he directly came out from the court. He also carried a few thick books with him, may be to refer our doubts. When listening to his class, I cursed Ambedkar for writing such a book. Else we wouldn’t have suffered a lecture like this.

However, one thing we all liked in common was he never cared what’s going on inside the class. He would go on like a non-stop train until our doubt-master Pappu comes up with some crazy questions. Chits moved from one corner to another like high speed courier services. Mobile networks crashed as SMS flowed heavily from everyone’s cell. Earphones appeared in the afternoon sessions. Many were busy enjoying FM and their music collections. A few laid down on the desk and flew in their dream world. Others were busy checking why the needles of their watch are moving so slow!

Finally, the session was over. BAs were happy. Their class was over for that week. But we have to go through the same routine next day. Met history ma’m on the way. She is not attending Media Laws class. I saw in her eyes how tired is she listening one day.

The lawyer gave us an assignment after a few classes. To avoid plagiarism, he asked us to give written copies. We lavishly copied from internet. He gave us almost full marks.

And to tell the truth, I haven’t opened the Constitution book even before exam. I studied from my ninth standard Civics text book. It doesn’t contain the numbers of the articles and laws of Constitution. But it explains in simple words, what the constitution is all about.

One thing I respect him. He allowed his students to copy the assignments and sleep and enjoy the class in our own way. After all, that’s what Article 19 (1) a, of Indian Constitution offers to its citizen, Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression!!!

Do not Worship, Just Accept

Hinduism, similar to other counterparts, is against female independence and gender equality. Starting with Manu’s quote, “na sthree swathanthramarhathi” or a lady doesn’t deserve freedom; it further explains woman should be protected by father, husband and son in three different stages of life. In all stories, women who obey man’s order without any deviation, is proclaimed as ideal ones.

Seetha is always shown as the best woman with all the essential traits. Is there any other quality she had, other than always being succumbed to Rama’s order even if she actually hates to follow! To add on, her patience was also praised. A female needs the best care during her delivery time. Think about this lady who was left in a dense forest and had to bring up her two kids with the help of a Valmiki! She went through agnipariksha where she walked through the fire to prove she is still ‘pure’ and faithful to her husband.

Krishna left Radha when he went to Mathura. She never hated him for deceiving her. No woman will actually adore such a person when she knows she is no more in his picture. Having too many wives is permitted for kshatriyas, under the law. For that matter, Rama should be admired for not marrying more than one. And it’s just the opposite for Krishna who had 1608 wives.

Taking the case of Draupathi, she was the common wife of Panchapandavas, the five so called great heroes of Mahabharata. She loved Arjuna, but was forced to marry other four ones too.

In Hindu mythologies, Goddess is secondary to God; Deva is every time given the first position and Devi comes only next. The duty of Lakshmi is to serve Lord Vishnu, Paravathi is scared of her husband and even the most powerful Kali won’t go against Shiva.

The texts of Hinduism also say woman should be respected and worshipped. And only those kingdoms and households where ladies are treated as Goddess will be blessed by Lord with all prosperities. From a woman’s side, she never wishes to be treated as a Goddess. She needs the society to accept her as an individual with all rights and freedom. An atmosphere in which her opinions are not rejected in the name of religion, tradition or culture is what makes her the happiest.

Speaking Sin of Utopia

I was shocked when I got an SMS from my friend, “Hei, check our website. They had put your name in the list of those who are placed”. I immediately typed the website id. Yup! My name is there: JOINED CJ, A GROUP OF ACV. (Sorry. I’m not interested in expanding those abbreviations.)

The fact is I’d attended the interview in a journal. I told this to some faculties there. Under some circumstances, I couldn’t go for that job. They concluded it as I joined and even now they haven’t corrected. Along with my name, I saw a few other names of my friends who tried hard from their own side and got one themselves.

According to the site, everything my classmates achieved is just because of the effort from the placement section. But the real fact is the placement cell started functioning for us only in the midst of our last semester. They made us go through some placement tests. These companies either bear the same brand name of our institution or had some sort of tie-ups with the university. Only a very small number of my classmates opted to work in these companies.

I would say my deemed university is simply ‘great’. It will take all credits as its own even if it hasn’t contributed any. But mind it, only credits! Whatever it is, they say all belong to one family. Once you get a seat there, you are a member; though as soon as you finish your last exam, you are a stranger in that campus. So whatever they attain will naturally be the achievement of that institution which is known for its value based education.

Now when other people encourage me saying I’ll soon get a job as I belong to ‘that’ family, I simply leave that place answering nothing. To describe what is going on in that family is simply a waste of time and energy. Even if I try, they say I know nothing and to blabber all these lies itself is a sin. Ok! Let them believe it’s a Utopia full of angels and life was heaven there…

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tusker and Heritage

The majestic Asian elephant is no more a private property. Since the elephant has been declared a National Heritage Animal, there can no more be private ownership of elephants for the simple reason that a National property cannot be owned by individuals alone. These huge creatures have always been an icon of India. It has attracted huge mass of tourists from around the globe.

Elephants have suffered a reduction of over 50% in last 50 years. According to present records, there are only about 25,000 tuskers in India. Their decline is largely due to habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation, as well as resulting conflict with humans and poaching.

The declaration of the elephant as the National Heritage Animal of India is welcomed whole heartedly by animal lovers. This decision has special significance in Kerala as it has the highest number of ‘domestic’ elephants in the country.

Keralites cannot imagine a temple festival without these giants. As the public exhibitions of elephants are banned under the new rule, all major fests including the famous Thrissur Pooram are now questioned. Government plans to consult the officials of Guruvayur temple which owns 65 tuskers. After these discussions only, the chance of remissions in the rules can be expected.

Man is sharing a part of the earth along with other creatures. So every animal has equal right in this world. We are no one to restrict other’s movements. Its cruel to chain or so called domesticate any creature.

When elephants are taken in processions carrying the idols of God, do you think He is happy? Almighty won’t be so cruel to enjoy one of his creation torturing another. If He finds pleasure in that, He can no longer be addressed as God…

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hunger Hunt

Most of the characters in my stories will be my cousins. This time too I’m going to tell a crazy thing that I and my cousin did. After all, I love to go in a different way which others might name as madness. Luckily I got a dozen cousins who are ready to accompany me.

Well! To talk about my cousin Alaka, we both are of same age. From the day, I came to this world, we are always together. In fact, almost like a synonym, the name Alaka is never spelt without Roopa in my dad’s family. When we were kids, we used to wear same kind of dresses and ornaments. In short, our family almost treated us like twins.

As time moved on, we couldn’t meet each other. But while we get together, we always have fun in our own way. The best one among it is how we went for a food hunt on the eve of my house warming.

Seven years back, in the mid-night before my house warming, I and Alaka were busy with our own talks. Also we scared our little cousins with ghost stories and tress-passers by howling and screaming. As time passed, hunger started to bother us.

Hunger is something you can’t control. The place was so silent. We could see all other guests and cousins sleeping around. I gave the plan of searching for some eatables in the kitchen. I was sure that there will be a few varieties of chips for next day’s sadya or feast. We moved to kitchen. We were so careful not to wake any one as our food hunt was in an odd time.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any chips or snacks. There was nothing except a few raw food stuffs. But hunger was at its peak. Alaka managed to pick a packet of milk powder. And I saw some raw mangos. Whatever it is, our only aim was to fill our stomach. As my cousin opened the packet, someone screamed at us, “What the hell is going on there!”

Oh my God! It’s one of our servants. Alaka somehow managed to convince him that we came to drink water. He went back to sleep. We lavishly had Amulya and mangos. Then we actually felt thirsty. There was no drinking water. Even tap water is sweet when you won’t find another drop to drink. So we happily drank direct tap water.

When we went to our room, dad’s sister was sitting there. As she is a cool aunt, we managed to narrate our food hunt without fear. We made her to promise not to tell any one else.

Next day, we couldn’t wake up early. When we opened our eyes, we saw every one getting ready for the function. Another aunt came near us and asked with a smile, “Oh! You are so early today. We never thought you’d get up so early after yesterday’s hunt.”

For the first time, I saw my talkative cousin searching for words…