Monday, March 5, 2012

Persepolis, Panahi and Power

I’m deeply disturbed by the progress Iran has made in nuclear empowerment. Not because I fear world security. No, they are not uncultured to attack the world. But because a scavenger like America could feed on Iran’s riches if a war breaks out. Like Babylonia, another land of great culture, history and other soft variables could be erased or impoverished by a new world nation like the US or a recent development like Israel. In all probability, these two nations that lack a long history could or will join hands to put an end to old Persia. Along with it, will go its beautiful pastures, cherry trees, saffron, oil and cinema. These riches will become another chapter of its long undisputed history. Iran once ruled the world. And today the world is ruled by lands unknown in the past and later filled in it by barbarians of dungeons from faraway lands.

And India will keep mum like its prime minister. We will continue to be shameless. We will continue to bend our rubber backbone. And our ancestors unlike Iran’s will look down upon us.

With greater powers of the world imposing economic sanctions on Iran, it is a great reminder of the proverbial saying about how men without both arms mock at those with at least one.

(Written on Feb 16, 2012)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Trysts with Divinity

Rarely. Only rarely does a place give me a divine calm.

I find it at the Chavassery mosque when it rains and am seated next to the open door/window sill. The traditional architecture allows multiple doors that brings in the breeze and keeps the place peaceful. There are 4 doors on either side of the mosque and these are usually open. One side faces the kulam and the other the graves of a bygone era. People are not buried within the mosque complex anymore. Unlike Christian cemeteries, a Muslim graveyard is more with nature. Only a white piece of cloth separates the body from the mud and its creatures.

Back to Fridays, my favourite place is the 3rd window/door that faces the graves. From that window, an arm's reach away is my grandfather.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Cinema of Adoor G

Adoor's films are as boring as himself. Grim, tight faced, expressionless and above all lifeless. Though I haven't seen much of this man's cinema, from the three I have it seems the man is lost in a periodic arrest. His movies like Mukhamukham and Mathilukal suggest an interesting synopsis that any avid cinema lover would flock to see. I am yet to see these. But haven't Kathapurushan and Nizhalkuthu promised the same holy land? I remember rushing to a film fest to see one of his documentaries. It was boring. The documentary was on Kalamandalam Gopi (if am not wrong) and seemed to suggest it was made for students of the academy.

To me, Adoor lacks inventive ideas. Though lost in a time trap, one could still be inventive (really want to see Mathilukal). Aravindan's Oridathu being a classic example. Set in the late 50s or 60s, is the story of electrification of a village and how villagers tend to believe is the cause of all bad things.

Inventive or not, Adoor's films don't touch one anywhere. It doesn't have the satire of Sandhesham, humor of Vadakkunokkiyanthram, intensity of Kireedom, subtle yet heavy gravity of Sadhayam, the comedy of Godfather, the scriptural perfectness of Thanmatra or the simplicity of Kaiyoppu.

Adoor's statement on him not considering Aravindan a film maker is perhaps a pointer to the lack of soul in his own cinema. One will definitely agree that there is technical perfection in his work. But this soul, which is the essence, is what you take home.

Adoor's cinema is an academic subject. It will surely go to the museums. The question is will it stay in people's hearts?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Home Work

What is the need for homework?

Why the extension of school to home?

Why can’t home be home and school be school? Just like work is work and home is home. Don’t tell me that the reason is that schooling is an inclusive and continuous.
Yes, learning need not be restricted to just schools. Learning is continuous.

Why can’t text books be kept at schools?

Why can’t children be children at home? Why should they be school kids at home?

Why the needs to only learn and compete for exams?

Won’t stopping home works help children be better equipped for life and humanity?
Agreed a mild level of homework is good. But where do you draw the line?

Why? Why? Why?

Why can’t students be asked to learn something new from their parents and share the same with the class?

Don’t you think this is better possible especially when parents are “well qualified”? I think such a set up will also remind parents that they need to devote time to their “contribution to population”. Also in turn would make the world a better place to live as people will be less busy, offices would close earlier, and lights at commercial establishments will go off early lessening pollution /global warming. More and more people would be confined to their house. Lesser people would be on the road on week days, hence lesser crimes and lesser pollution. The world would be a much more beautiful place to live and humans a more interesting race.

Oh! What a Utopian dream?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Appreciating the Ceremonial Tea (and Snacks too).

Mostly the guys have a say on whether they want to go ahead or not in the Pennu Kaanal ceremony. Traditionally, the pennu kaanal is held at the girl's house. In the urban areas of the Kannur district, a new kind of pennu kannal arrangement is into practice. The girl & a relative (or two) would meet the guy & a relative (mostly a woman so that the prospective girl is at ease) at a neutral venue like a cafe or a shopping mall.

In practice, this is how it is done. At the cafe, the guy and the relative would be seated at an adjacent table to the girl's. If she has passed the visual test, the guy & co. moves to the girl's table. They chit chat for a few minutes. If she has passed this round too, a box of chocolates/sweets are gifted (if in doubt, it is scheduled for later). This gifting is an approval or go ahead signal. Well, if she hasn't scored enough brownie points in either of the rounds, the girl's relative is called to a corner and informed politely.

This kind of arrangement actually works out well for both the parties as the embarrassment of saying NO is not there. Whereas, in an arranged marriage the embarrassment of declining is heavy, especially after consuming the specially prepared tea and snacks. These snacks are an effort of a battalion of women in the family coming together the previous night for this auspicious event. So if the classic case of "To be or not to be" props up, it is mostly influenced by the disturbing and lingering thought "How can I say NO after filling up my stomach?". So a YES here would be more a gratitude or answering this burdening thought after the burp.

As they rightly say, the way to a man's heart is through the stomach.

PS – This is confined to the Muslim community in the Kannur region largely. I am not sure if this is practiced outside the district too.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


നാട്ടിലെ ബസ്സ്‌ സ്റ്റോപ്പിലെ ഒരു പതിവ്‌ രംഗം...

പരിചയകാരന്‍: "ഇപ്പോള്‍ പഠിത്തം എവിടെവരെയായി?"

ഞാന്‍: "പഠിപ്പ്‌ കഴിഞ്ഞു 2 വര്‍ഷമായി."

"അപ്പോള്‍, ഇപ്പോഴെന്താ പരിപാടി?"

"ഞാന്‍ ഒരു agency-യിലാണു."


"eh അല്ല. ഒരു പരസ്യ കംബനിയിലാണു."

സമിപത്ത്‌ കാണുന്ന ഹോര്‍ഡിംഗ്‌ ചൂണ്ടി, "അപ്പോള്‍ ഇതൊക്കെ നീയാണൊ വരക്കുന്നത്ത്‌?"

"അല്ല. ഇതൊക്കെ ചെയ്യിക്കലാണു എന്റെ പണി."


അല്ല എന്നു ഞാന്‍ തലയാട്ടുന്നു.

"ഇത്രൊക്കെ പഠിച്ചിട്ടും, അതിനൊത്ത പണി കിട്ടിയില്ല അല്ലെ?"

"ചേട്ടാ, ബസ്സ്‌ വരുന്നു." ഞാന്‍ ഓടുന്നു.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Advertising. Cigarettes. Alcohol. Women?

“Do you smoke?”


“Do you drink?”

“Errr. No.”

“Then why the fuck are you in advertising?”

I looked at KSD with a guilt feeling that I don’t smoke nor drink and I am earning my daily bread through this noble profession (they say advertising is truth well told). And also feeling a bit lucky that he stopped at that. I am frequented by these questions at parties (guessing what I am doing there? Finishing the touchings and pulp juices), discussions at Koshy’s and Volga, and like.

What people are all the more confused is that I am a Malayalee advertising professional who doesn’t smoke nor drink. They say I am an original piece and should be kept in glass at the museum.

My room-mate Mustaq thinks that advertising people are addicted to grass. Sreesha thinks I will not take the road walked by a smoker. Fami is confused whether I am showing off or not. Suresh constantly keeps poking to me get an obvious answer as to why I don’t drink. And back to Mustaq, he doesn’t understand my occasional puffs and at the same time, lengthy speeches and advices, that I give to Ravi aka Gaddar on quitting the habit. Then there is Rafeeq, another non-smoker, who comes to me and quitely asks,

“Hey! How about a smoke?”

I grin. My looks confuse him and I ask

“When was the last time we did that?”