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Graduate in Maths, Postgraduate in English literature. Worked as a medical transcriptionist, also as a teacher.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Sindhu and Bhairavi

Hi friends,
                 This is my alternate take on the age old, (more than 30 years!) all-timer, musical hit of K. Balachander, SindhuBhairavi. I have watched it many times over not just for the sheer musical versatility which it offered, but for the intellectual discussions on music between Shivakumar(JKB) and Suhasini(Sindhu), the inimitable chemistry between them which I felt every time I watched, the other characters like the mridanga vidwan (Delhi Ganesh), Gajapathi who plays tamburu, the judge, the pure and innocent Bharavi (Sulakshana), Prathap Pothan silently in love with Suhasini who all make the film wholesome, lively and never boring even for a minute. The directorial genius of K. Balachander was visible throughout the film. It is surprising that he was not awarded the best film director at the national level. I have not watched Shri Sivakumar's (Surya's father) films much, and even today I remember him only in the role of the  carnatic musician JKB. The two main protagonists of the film JKB and Sindhu are shown to be good people who had no control over their emotions, more so with JKB, which led to the downfall in the career of JKB. It needed Sindhu(Suhasini) to come back to the scene to bring him to the front stage. The songs like 'Paadariye Padippariye', 'Naan oru Sindhu' are frequently sung not only by the contestants in reality shows, but by the playback singers in live stage shows.
Image result for Sindhu bhairavi movie images
                                            Why should there be another view for this evergreen film? Why should I not have? Just as our epics like Ramayana and Mahabharatha are interpreted in zillion ways, and where Utthama Purushan (perfect man) like Rama is judged as having flaws, I am looking at this from a different eye. JKB has been married to Bhairavi for some years and suffering from childlessness.In addition to that, JKB was increasingly getting frustrated that his wife is totally ignorant in carnatic music and is not able to have any sort of discussion with her in the music.    Then enters the music teacher, Sindhu who challenges that if the music needs to reach ordinary people, it should be sung in the language they can understand and she went to prove it by singing 'Paadariye' and linking it to a classical song and was overwhelmingly appreciated by the audience. After initially feeling put down or insulted, he not only went on to accept her views and change the course of his musical journey, but also started deeply loving her and a child would be born out of their union which 'solved the problem of childlessness.' Everybody leaves the theater happy and contented. For a child to be born out of a wedlock (without any fertility treatments), it is important that a man should not have low sperm count or any fertility issue.Our film world over the past (I don't know about the present) has conveniently used this point to work out to benefit the hero, and heroines' of course, compromise! It is unofficially ok for a man to have affairs and children out of wedlock. If JKB(Shri Shiva Kumar) had fertility problem, how will the script be written? Can his wife Bhairavi(Sulakshana) have an affair with somebody and have that elusive child? Will the public look at her the same way? She would be labelled as a whore! Would the film have run packed houses? Had it been written today, she could have had a child through surrogacy with somebody's sperm from the sperm bank.When it comes to films, especially Indian films, it is 'very important' that everything works out benefiting the hero of the film. All the existing realities can be thrown out of windows. In this film, the exact reason was not given regarding the inability of Bhairavi to bear children. So Sindhu(Suhasini), who was about to abort the child , overhears the conversation, backs out from her decision and does the 'good thing' by bearing 'JKB's child' and 'donates' the child to JKB and his wife who wholeheartedly accepts him/her.
                                                        In reality, it is men all over the world who have more fertility issues than women, but our hypocritical society conveniently puts the burden and blame of childlessness on the woman. In the silver screens, the main protagonist or the hero does not/should not have these 'minor issues.' That should be left to a woman!  If a woman is not able to bear child, she should bear the guilt, isn't it? After the initial opposition, Sulakshana goes ahead to arrange second marriage for her husband to Suhasini to prevent him from a complete breakdown. Of course, affairs and children out of wedlock can be accepted, but second marriages? So, with the help of Suhasini, JKB's singing career is brought back on tracks, a child is gifted and she(Suhasini) leaves the scene to go to an unknown place. The hero is 'flaw fully' perfect in the end!
                                                 Anyway, I came to know about this beautiful raaga 'SindhuBhairavi' only after the release of this film.


P.S.  The next article already on the way!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Hampi, finally!!!

Dear friends,
                     Yep, finally we made to the city of empirical ruins, i.e Hampi. This was in our bucket list for a long time, and each time, when we planned to go, it got 'ruined' due to 'political', 'personal' reasons. But, this time, there were no reasons to stop us except the scorching summer heat and we did not allow it to 'ruin' our plans. Summer is an off-season to visit this place, as the temperatures hover around 40 to 43 degrees during the daytime. Still, it is better to book rooms well in advance, so that you get a decent and comfortable accommodation for good deals.
                                                So, off we headed to the northern part of Karnataka for the first time, and it was different and exciting as we usually travel South from Bangalore to visit places like Mysore, Belur, Halibeed, Bandipur, Wayanad. As it was about 360 km from our place, we started off early in the morning by 6:30, so that we could reach the destination for lunch. We started from Nice road to head to Tumkur. Most part of the highway is quite good, except for some distance after Chitradurga. As northern Karnataka is more dry, plateau region, many areas were rocky. We enjoyed seeing rocks and boulders of various shapes arranged artistically by nature on both sides. Any long distance drive is incomplete without listening to one's favourite songs. Once we hit Hospet, we had lunch at Shanthi Sagar. After that, we checked into the hotel Mayura Bhuvaneshwari strategically located near the famous tourist spots. The hotel is managed by KSTDC and is good enough for a decent stay, though the food was not that great.
                             After freshening up, we drove to explore the ruins around. Ruins of emperor Krishna Deva Raya's  Darbar hall, inner enclosure, step bath, octagonal bath, Saraswathi temple, Hazar Rama temple, Mahanavami Dibba were all enclosed in few acres of land and would have been the heart of the Vijayanagara empire. Vijayanagara empire spanned over 3 centuries under various dyanasties.  The empire was reduced to ruins by Muslim invaders like Firuz Bahmani of Bahmani Sultanate. As we went around, the most well-known king of the empire, Krishna Deva Raya who belonged to Tuluva dynasty came alive before us. The king, who was known more for efficient administration, patron of arts and literature and of course, those like me who have read the stories of wit and wisdom of his court jester, Tenali Rama were very much in front of us. Perhaps, the magnitude of the ruins excavated recently, i.e about 50 to 60 years back and many still waiting to be excavated made UNESCO declare it as a World Heritage Site. Temples like Hazar Rama were not damaged much and looked good enough for daily puja. What I found common in many of the ruins is that, while the base of a monument remained intact in many places, the towers were partly or heavily damaged, exposing the concrete structure out of red bricks, suggesting that bricks were used centuries back. The Octagonal bath, the step bath, Mahanavami Dibba were marvels in architecture. We spent quite a lot of time there before heading to Virupaksha temple or temple of Lord Shiva. The huge, imposing chariot made out of wood, with intricately carved figurines, stationed in front of the temple made us awe struck.  The chariot is well and alive and is used for festivals. We went inside the temple, but could not see fully the beauty of the temple architecture, as it had grown dark.
                                       The early morning trek on Mathanga hills, which was about 6 kms from our place was worth every step to witness the glorious sun rise, enjoy the strong breeze and the view of the place from the top. Those who accompanied us were some foreign tourists and malayalees. To add the spice to our trek, a boy brought steaming hot tea. This was, undoubtedly, the best part of our trip. The rest of the day went off in exploring more attractions like Queen's bath,  the monolithic structures like Badavalinga, Narasimha statue, Ganesha statue, a hall on the foot of Mathanga hill where cultural performances would have taken place. We could not brave the scorching heat and so we forced ourselves into the archaeological museum which was full of unearthed statues, coins, metal objects belonging to that era. We had to wait for the sun to head west before climbing the 520 steps of Anjaneya (Hanuman) temple. Apart from visiting the temple, we waited to watch the sun set which was described as 'world's most famous sun set!!'. We could not explore the daily life in Hampi in a short span of time, but the folks around were simple and I believe the place, as of today needs to develop much more. If ruins, rocks, boulders, hills were attractions, there were lot of paddy fields adding to the greenery, thanks to the presence of Thungabhadra river nearby.
                                           Before hitting the highway the next day, we visited the most famous Vithala temple which had the imposing chariot structure, musical pillars, the carvings on pillars which stood out from the rest, This is a must visit for any tourist visiting Hampi. Of course, we consider lucky enough that our paths crossed with our PM's brother Prahlad Modi. We first saw him with his retinue at the hotel where we stayed, and also at Vithala temple. We felt too shy to introduce ourselves to him though!
                                      My long-pending visit to Hampi was fulfilled this time with beautiful, 'ruin-ed' memories, and tales to be told to our folks. The Thungabhadra dam in Hospete is not the one to be missed. The gardens, river, huge dam through which water is shared with the state of Telengana is much more than just a passing mention. A travelogue is incomplete without the pictures of the place. So, here I sign off with some beautiful pictures.
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                                         Hazar Rama temple

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                                       The sunrise at Mathanga Hills. Picture courtesy : Vaibhav Krishna

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                                    Vithala temple.


                            Thungabhadra dam.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Are you ready to break up?

Hi folks,
    Don't hit me, don't get me wrong!! I am not asking you to break up with your spouses, lovers or significant others. If some of you have watched the recent ads shown in the TV, then I am sure you would not have missed the one on OLX app, which is a site to find the buyers and sellers near your area. This one with the crisp portrayal of group of youngsters swapping the goods in style and with catchy phrases looked good enough to catch my attention. The two ladies bowing in a Japanese fashion and exchanging the headphones, selling sunglasses in a stylish way, exchanging a leather bag while skating, the smile of a happy buyer of 'bean bag or rocking chair?' are to name a few. More creative OLX ads which were not aired much in TV, can be found in Youtube. It does look sleek and innovative, but we know that when we get down to facts it is actually not so!
                             But more than all these, the recent one captured my imagination in a way that it can be taken seriously for the betterment. The ad goes like this:
                           " Aaj kal uss se dektha bhi nahin!!" (You are not even seeing nowadays)
                           "It is 6 months! There is no interaction."
                           "Six months is a lot."
                            "Let it go to someone who is more deserving."
                            "It's time to break up".

               https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvFUP6NXy40  (link of 30 sec OLX Ad)

   Take the OLX 6-month break up challenge. If you have not used a thing for more than 6 months, it is time to break up. Post in the OLX, and sell near you. This one aptly captures on our 'refusing to let go' mentality. Majority of us keep old items stacked inside the cupboards and lofts either out of sentimental value or with the thought that we will use it 'some day' which never arrives. Then there will be dresses, attires, accessories, electronic items which we may buy at the spur of the moment when going for shopping with relatives or friends. Later on, most of them might have been used once or twice and forgotten for good. I have some relatives who are unwilling to sell off the old newspapers! Kitchen utensils which are as old as your grandparents, your clothes, your children's clothes from the age of the toddler, piles of books, toys or items which are past their age, tape recorders, 2-in-1s, bags and bags of plastic covers stashed away in the corner of the utility area conveniently for roaches to thrive and breed, old wine-whiskey bottles, tons of plastic bottles and of course years and years of various bills, bank statements, frequent letters or correspondence from companies with which one is associated. Isn't it high time to let go of all these unused stuffs? Sometimes the clearing up happens, when we rummage the shelves or cupboards to look for a long lost thing. Recently I asked a relative of mine why they have rented a big apartment when there were only two members. Pat came the reply that they needed lot of cupboards and lofts to store their heavy utensils (which were never used and given at the time of their wedding!), and many items which they don't want to let go! I thought of this ad and told them it is still never too late, but I am sure it will hardly register in their minds! I keep telling my family members to dispose their old clothes which have not been used for more than 6 years, 16 years but it falls on deaf ears. When I clear or dispose the unused and unwanted items, the feeling that is experienced by me is inexplicable freshness.
                                      Frequent disposal of old items clears the clutter of our minds! So, wake up friends, take the challenge for your own good!! I am sure, it will lighten up our minds!!  Best of luck!


P.S. - Next article in the vicinity. So watch out!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Chennai political events and......

Hello everybody,
                                                                 Feb 13, 2017
                       Happy spring season or 'Basant Panchami'. Like Arab spring which happened about 4 years ago, the spring movement is going on in Tamil Nadu. For the past one year, Tamil Nadu, especially Chennai, has been one of the most happening places 'nature-lly' and politically. Nature has not been very kind to the people of Tamil Nadu, especially Chennai-ites, in the last 2 Decembers. The incessant rains during December 2015 drowned Chennai and it was brought back to its feet by the goodwill of the ordinary citizens who rose up to become extraordinary to save Chennai. Politicians were frowned upon for not coming forward, the ordinary man became hero!

                                                                  Feb 24, 2017

                   I started this article when Chennai was politically burning and the events which would beat even the best movie scripts all over the world. But some commitments kept me away from this space and I could not complete this during that time. Now that it looks passe, it makes less sense to write about it. It is like cold coffee. But when we look back, the drama started to unfold rapidly towards the end of January when Sasikala, Jayalalitha's longtime friend and confidante, announced her decision to take over the reins of the state by pushing the interim Chief minister O. Panneerselvam down. The dramatic move of Panneerselvam, who decided to come out of Sasikala's hold, after meditating in front of Amma's memorial took the whole of Tamil Nadu by storm. Panneerslevam, on whom endless jokes and trolls were circulated in the social media, became a hero overnight. Sasikala is seen as a schemer, bad woman, worse than a witch, the lady who 'killed' amma, is everybody's nightmare. She belongs to the Thevar community and brought in her family members to control the reins of existing/non-existing business firms and pull the strings of the party. Panneerselvam, who fought with the center to bring the Jallikkattu back, was seen as the most favoured man. Though Sasikala tried all the theatrics which included packing off the MLAs to a resort, she could not become the Chief Minister, as the case of disproportionate assets verdict went against her. Panneerselvam's hopes were dashed when the MLAs decided to stick to Sasikala's camp. Though she is in Bangalore jail, she remote controls the State through E Palaniswami, much to the chagrin of the general public. I was expecting a general uprising and protests similar to the Jallikattu movement, but nothing much seems to be on the move. Are the people just tired or resigned to the fate hanging over their heads? Where is the passion, anger, unity that was visible a few days back? There was even the talk of amending the constitution, when the crisis like this shows up! And then, nothing happened. Panneerselvam is left with nothing, though he won the hearts of Tamilians. And then there is Deepa Jayakumar, whose appearance very much resembles her departed aunt, but has to prove her mettle to go up the political ladder. What will happen in the next four years of EPS's rule/Sasikala's rule? Will the fire which is burning inside the hearts of Tamilians come out again? We are all forced to wait and watch.
                                                  On the personal front, I finished 11 KM in Bangalore Runners Unity Run (BRUR). My husband is a marathon runner, and it was only a 'long matter of time' that I got into the groove. I did not compete with anybody, but with myself. There were no medals, certificates, but that did not matter. It was a personal up gradation for me. Something which looked mightily impossible to me a week before the run, now looks possible. If I can finish 11K, then why not half marathon or 21K. That is next on my bucket list. I feel more confident, a renewed self , possibility of exploring new horizons. Many things are possible if one has determination. And with this renewed confidence and determination, I sign off for now.


Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New year with 'Parker pen'!!!!

Hello everybody,
                          Did not think myself I will be back this soon. Wish you all a very happy and a prosperous new year. And why this strange title 'Happy New Year with Parker pen'? Did I go to a gift store to buy a set of greeting cards and then write in them the new year messages personally? Sounds so outdated right? In this era of FB, whatsapp, twitter, Snapchat when we still don't have the patience of sending the New Year 'GIF' photos or slides to thousands of 'friends' across the globe, who still goes and buys those set of attractive New Year greeting cards? But if you have grown up during 80s and 90s, I am sure many of us would have done that. I remember that I used to wait for each New Year to arrive to feel the fresh smell and the beauty of the new cards. Actually, we were spoilt for choices when it was about buying cards. Later on, my sister used to make greeting cards painstakingly, and I was good more with words. It was just an awesome combination which our grandparents used to wait to receive from us. This would be followed by my grandpa's letter praising my sis' greeting cards and my hand-written letters. The arrival of the internet revolution and smart phones have made the paper greeting cards totally redundant.
                                                 Now I am coming to this bizarre title. On the New Year's eve, we had a party in our apartment complex and there was prize distribution for the winners of the annual Sports' Day event. My husband and his friends were awarded Parker Pens for winning in the Lawn tennis games. When you own a Parker pen, you feel you own something which has royal value attached to it. We never bought or owned one, and my husband was naturally thrilled when he saw it. The pens look sleek and they are more expensive than the other brands. But, these pens did set me thinking. How many times and how much will my husband or his friends really use those pens? The practice of writing on hard paper is long gone after we left the school/college. Except to put signatures, note down phone numbers hurriedly, write the names on gifts wrapped, or to note down certain things while attending workshops when one works in an organization, this practice has reduced a lot. This has to do with the advent of internet, computers, smart phones where everything is as simple as copy/paste. And, how many of us will give Parker pens to our school-going kids? We will fear that they will be careless and lose them easily! My husband said that the chances that he will use it is less than 2%.
                                        I used to write so much when during my school/college days not just in English, but also in Malayalam and Hindi. I was fond of writing letters and essays. But that has reduced a lot over a period of time, and as I have passed typing exams, I find typing on the keyboard easier than sitting and writing. I also keep editing my own articles repeatedly and with lot of ease. When I try to actually write in paper, my hand trembles and is inhibitive, more so when it comes to writing in Malayalam. My dad, father-in-law,   96-year-old grandpa who are less acquainted with computers, still find writing in paper/books more comfortable. Their handwriting is still crisp and neat which does indicate the sharpness of their minds, touch wood! When I type on a keyboard, I feel my fingers are more mechanical. Writing on paper always has benefits. When we write, the whole of the mind and the body is focused at a particular point, and it helps us to keep our mental faculties alert and sharp and also help to some extent in warding off memory-related ailments as we age. Which is why I find good reasons to use that expensive pen, rather than watch it gathering dust. I teach and learn music and it requires writing of lot of lessons to understand more and I have decided to use it for a good purpose. Now, does that sound like a resolution? I would like to sign off this article by writing 'Happy New Year' with the new pen.

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