Jun 24, 2011

The Same Mistake!

I couldn't believe when I woke up that it was a dream. Because I was so sure that it was real!!
As soon as I jumped out of my bed, it came onto me that this was going to haunt me all my life........

It grew on me like an infection and now it has become that tiny splinter at the back of my head that pricks me in the most unguarded moments, driving me mad............ And I wrench my teeth in pain.

Then theres my stupid mind that is still  holding onto those wild dreams, like its life depended on it. In a desperate attempt to stay aboard, it threatens reason with questions that would hurt my ego.

And I hated it ….. the very thought of having to put them on the scales to see which was lighter?
For I knew what I want is too heavy to carry. 

So should I bend?, so that I dont break??

I felt like Neo in Matrix . I was having nightmares of losing Trinity. I could see her falling............only falling, but. And I cannot see beyond. Only if I knew what I could do about it......
And James Blunt sings in the background
Give me reason, but dont give me choice. 'Cause I just might make the same mistake again.”

Jun 20, 2011

The Complete Man....!

I had always wondered what makes a man complete.

If one has to go by the Raymonds ad, then the complete man would walk in with an appointment order of a high profile job in Singapore and then later on would surprise his mother by bringing out two air tickets instead of one and eventually celebrate the whole episode by dancing with her, twirling her in happiness.

Or he can also be the unpredictable romantic, who plays an old 80's hindi song and grabs his bashful wife and sweeps her feet off as they break into a tango, at a gathering bringing laughter to everyone around as well. The picture becomes perfect and complete as a cute boy runs to the couple and our man picks him up playing the most affectionate Dad.

Raymonds has always been successful in painting pictures of such complete men -- The complete son, the complete husband....... I love those ads, but it always got me pondering why these men never did anything different. I havent seen Raymonds' complete men, cooking, or cleaning or fixing broken things?

My complete man is a super human being at times.

An amazing cook, with a commendable palate. A skilled photographer whose favourite subjects were his beautiful wife's long luscious hair and his two lil babies' drooling and gaping faces. A self taught flautist, keyboard player, and tablist. A man with green fingers who is very proud of his produce. Someone who does not believe that cleaning and washing is meant for women alone; Who doesn't wait for any plumber if the sink is broken, or if the tank needs cleaning. Who can do a decent job than any other carpenter in the town, and takes the patience to actually make cute devices for his wife, like the water-tank alarm, so that she wont forget to turn off the switch when the tank is full!!. This man, who would not want to let off the chance to stitch a saree blouse for his wife, or alter a skirt for his daughter. Someone who had adorned the whole house with his hand-made curtains and cushions. The same love and skill which made me that pillow, which I slept peacefully on all those years in hostel. The same man, who turns into Florence Nightingale, when his wife or daughter falls ill.

This man, who loved to iron his girls' uniforms, and get them ready for school. This man, who had carried me on his shoulder as a baby so that I could see the whole world in a higher perspective, who had carried me every morning from the bed to the bathroom and washed my face for me as a little girl, so that I don't get late for school. This man who would wait for me yet again, to gulp down that last mouthful of porridge, so that I don't get late for college. ( See? not my fault, one doesn't grow up when one has such a super-daddy)

This is the man who tied my hair almost everyday till I turned10. This is the man, who would do anything to get home from another country , for he had not missed a single birthday of his li'l girl.
This is the man , whose eyes would well up with tears, for one day it suddenly dawns upon him that his child has grown up.

Here is a man, who can so be the romantic husband in the ad and break into a jig with his wife anytime.......
Here is a man who can play both the father and the mother even when the situation doesn't demand it...
Here is what I call a complete man......
And here I confess without a pinch of shame for crying hopelessly every time I watched Father of the Bride. 

 Oh yes, My Dad is a carbon copy of Steve Martin!!
Dearest Dada,
# Blame me not for being the incurably ambitious child who aims for the stars. You know you played a good role in inflicting those dreams onto me.
# Blame me not for being the argument addict at times, you know I inherit that from you :P
# Blame me not for being your weakness and strength, you know its your effort and love which grew me into such an adorable daughter ;)
# And finally, Blame me for not being able to make up my mind on all those suitors you brought me.
You have set such a high benchmark, that I would be happy, only if someone could be as half a man as you are.

Happy Father's day!!
Your proud Daughter :)

P.S : Blame me not for posting just one side of  the versatile whiz-dad that you are.:P  You see? I ran out of words. Its like how those fancy cards say " I know, you're good at so many things, but its my fervid conviction that the thing you're best is at being my DAD"

Jun 15, 2011

Lost Moments ....!!

I wish I had a camera for a fifth limb. Yeah, an inseparable entity of my body; it can just hang there around my neck and click all those moments which I want to savor for a lifetime.
How I wish I had pictures of some moments which would take me back in time.!!
I had a friend who would always gesture a click whenever he thought a moment was worth capturing, just like Kirsten Dunst in the movie Elizabethtown. Its actually a pretty lame yet cute thing for a guy to be doing , but that was not the point.  The point is : No documentation of my journey whatsoever. What a shame !! and  how pathetic can it get?
I wouldn't have anything to show my kids and brag about.
I would have nothing to share with the media, one day when I get famous! ( Now, why did you smile  when I said that)

Here are a few such moments:
  • A picture with my favourite brother, at any of those wonderful places we had been to together( More about him and why he tops the list in another post)
  • The first prestigious award I ever received. The All India Radio National singing competition. I received the award from the Carnatic Maestro Dr. Balamuralikrishna.
  • My first solo classical concert . I cant remember why no one cared to take a picture :(.All those other concerts I did back home, with Gayathri, either singing or playing the Thanpura.
  • From the time I can remember, I was with the All India Radio- first as a child artist, then as a graded artist. Can you all imagine me from the control room, standing and singing in the studio with those huge squarish microphones and headphones. No? Well, dont you think a picture would have helped??
  • Then there is that one of a kind documentary I made with my team . A project which has to go to every student film festival without working stills. ( I wanna cry my guts out over here)
  • I was compere for the first ever short film & documentary festival of Thrissur ( VIBGYOR). I was also compere for the first ever International Theatre festival of Kerala ( Itfok). And I dunno how to find that Beijing Theatre group now, who were the only ones who bothered to click some pictures with me.
  • I won the Kerala State Youth festival for Ashtapadi. But not a single pic of the winner holding that cute Chengila. Not even the next day's newspapers had one. They got a passport size photo of mine from the school to publish. :(
  • The All Round Achiever Award which was bestowed on me for being the most crazy person in college. Well, my kid would want to know how it came to me, right?? She/he would want to see all those popular legendary characters I had played from Shaw's Eliza Doolittle, Dickens' Ebenezer Scrooge and Swami Chinmayananda, to the drunk landlord, the nagging housewife, the dumb servant and even a convicted rapist! ( I wish I knew how I looked in my final Ms. Doolittle outfit)
  • Not a single pic from my college tour to Coorg and Mysore.This time I had my fifth limb, but I lost the whole film at the Tibetan Colony, see? Im telling you it's Murphy's law.

What more to say?? Does anyone feel like buying me a camera ?? Atleast a point and shoot to start with.??

P.S : I have to thank a dear friend of mine here, HRC, for being the spur of this post.

Jun 2, 2011

Elegy to a lovely silk saree and Ode to a Horseload of Embarassment

Now all this of happened, when I was in my hometown on a performance tour with my company. My team left for Bangalore, but I had to stay back for a wedding. ( I cannot help but give a bit of background of this wedding, though I realise it might stretch this post. But i also believe it might be interesting to know why this wedding was so important , that i stayed back , in spite of being so thoroughly unprepared for it)
And how could you not go for this wedding?? She is your neighbour and friend. You grew up together. She taught you to climb trees and jump over the walls . You invoked dead spirits with her using that stupid Ohjo board, glass, coin and candle ? You petted her cats; she fed your dog. You were her partner in crime as you both went around, stealing flowers from everybody's garden during Onam. You have celebrated, Pooram, Vishu and even your first menstrual trauma with her and now how can you think of not going to her wedding. So I stay back.!!

I never got the chance to play the good friendly neighbour. I am not there for the wedding eve festivities. I am not there to take her to the temple, to the parlour, to iron her wedding saree or to arrange her jewellery. Because I am at work.!!All I had in my puny lil head was, per diems, venue deposits, train tickets, show tickets, bills, receipts, files, press releases, MC script and what not.
But I spent the night before the wedding with her. Squeezed mehendi out into her palms and feet with all my effort and patience, in every creative way possible . My arms, wrists, eyes, back, butt and every other bloody body part hurt; but I dint complain. For this was my only chance to make it up to her.
The mehendi ritual lasted till the elders came in and asked the bride to shut her eyes, so that she does not wake up looking drowsy and sleep deprived on her D day. ( She wasnt gonna get any sleep, I knew that. I wonder if any bride has slept well , the night before her wedding)

But I couldn't sleep either;and last time I checked, I wasn't the bride..........wonder why? I had nothing to wear for the wedding, how could I sleep. I kept rummaging the cupboard for clothes, and started pulling out my sister's and mom's sarees. May be I can get one of their sarees to match with a blouse I had. But such things never turn out to be easy, do they?. No wonder why some women plan what they have to wear so much in advance. It would take them a week's vagabondage in the city to decide on their clothes and it would take another week or two to finalise the accessories and footwear. Them?? I am one of them, ain’t I?
And yet, here I am......... fallen, way behind all of that and feeling terribly confused,when my mom walked in and gives me this nasty look.
"What the hell do you think you are doing with MY sarees, young lady? Put em' all back , NOW!!" ( Oh yes, I forget she's one among them too. Very .... I mean VERY possessive about her cute collection of sarees. Plead.....thats the only way out , I told myself).
My tired frustrated face suddenly switches  in a reflex to the sweet-lost-puppy- face. ( I can get myself to do that all the time :P)

Next morning, I go to the wedding in my Mom's most favourite magenta silk saree.
I was high on compliments-- " oooooh, who's this junior Shobhana??" " Ahhh !So, you've decided to enter the matrimonial market, eh?", all of which I accepted with much poise and grace.
After lunch , we nudge each other to leave for our homes . We meet the key people and give those usual excuses to squeeze ourselves out of there-- "The dog needs to be fed.", says my Grandma. " This girl is technically still at work and needs to go and settle the bills of last night's show.", says my Mom slyly, dumping all the blame on me. And we all step out to catch an auto, with our caretaker Sarasechi.
Now this where the story actually begins.!
We find one auto and rush towards it.  And in no time, our three fat ladies stuff themselves inside the auto, the last one to enter being Sarasechi and lo!, now where do I sit??. I tell my mom , that Im gonna take a bus, when my granny pokes her head out and says " you don't go all by yourself now, sit on my lap". Sarasechi volunteers to take a bus instead, when my mom becomes all generous and says " no need for all that, we can all go together"
"It will cost extra!" adds in, the auto-driver.
And so I sit on Sarasechi's lap . She's nearing 60 , so I made sure to hold my weight. The problem was with my head though, the auto wasn't high enough . So I slouched forward and rested my hands, crossed, for support behind the auto guy's seat.
Our ladies, had started discussing the wedding already, bride's make up, jewellery, boy's height, moustache and what not.....
We'd reached half way, when I felt something pulling near my shoulder. I straighten up quickly and to my biggest horror I find that the Meter-box of the auto, has eaten up all of my saree's pallu!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! .........and is still eating... swallowing my saree slowly like how a snake would swallow its prey.
I shook myself into senses somehow finding it hard to breathe and then cried STOOOOOOOP, and slapped the auto-driver on his shoulder frantically!! He stopped immediately, and turned to see what had happened.
We often hear of my pallus and duppattas getting caught on the wheels and engines, and im always careful to not leave it unattended, so it was neatly there..... on my lap.
But what on earth was this??? The pretty thread hangings on the end of my pallu got lured into the cable-wire somehow, which was running from the Auto Meter down into the engine. And this wire uncovered by an insulation cable, kept rotating as the auto ran. So the pallu also circled along with it, tightening itself on the cable-wire.
"This has never ever to happened in all these years that i drove this auto", says the driver uncle.

We all end up in a mess not knowing what to do. The auto uncle tries his best, but the end of the pallu is way inside. Sarasechi gets out and contributes to his effort. They all try but in vain and says that the only way would be to get the other end of the saree and take it around the cable-wire and pull it out. So where's the other end.??
Im wearing it, Goddammit!!. Its tucked down into my underskirt, thats where it is!.
People from nearby houses started peeping out from their windows. And there I was----the damsel in distress, no knight coming for her rescue, to cut the pallu off with his sharp sword and to ride off elegantly. My mom tried to play the part by taking out a small razor blade--- a tiny blade! from her hand bag ready to cut the pallu.
But everyone else, including the auto uncle decided against it. Point #1 : The pallu is anyways too thick to cut with a blade, as it had wound itself into a really fat bundle! Point #2: Its such a beautiful silk saree!.
So what does he advise? " I'll pull down the rain curtains for you and step aside, in the mean time you can remove the saree , get the other end , take it around the cable, and pull it out."
I was like ,"What??? " No seriously ..... .....WHAT????, unless you all have gone whacko!
But we had almost spent half an hour on the road by then, trying to save me and my saree. So it was either gonna be this way, or we are stuck here forever.!

So I...( I say this with a lot of embarrassment that Im trying to grind in between my teeth)....I strip !! Strip inside an autorickshaw, parked right on the Shornur highway road. !!
Sarasechi quickly takes the saree around the cable-wire and gets almost all of the pallu, but still has to cut open the last bit.!! While I sit covered in my granny's saree pallu, watching all this completely stupefied!!
We get the saree out. Im exhausted and I still cant believe what just happened!!! Granny started on her yakkity-yak as usual, " Being a girl, you should've been careful , or else such mishaps are very easy to occur" Mom's gone mum!( thank god for that). And Sarasechi said , she will walk it from there. The auto uncle comes back and sighs ( phew!) , 'atleast noone got hurt'!, and I look down at my Mom's torn favourite silk saree.

We reach home. My mom gets down first and opens the gate wide open!
All the noise wakes my dad up and he comes out ( why, this is very unlikely, autos usually drop us outside the gate)and looks amused to find the auto driving in straight to the porch.

Now, just imagine what my dad's reaction would have been when he saw me dashing into the house wearing just the blouse and underskirt, and that too, covered in a TORN saree.!!

You know what? If anyone asked me " which was the most embarrassing moment of your life"?, I wouldn't have to guess at all. And Im gonna leave it at that!