Saturday, September 19, 2009

Loving Palakkad

So these days I have been in a total nostalgic mood. It kicked off with DD celebrating its 50 years and since I have been always excited with TV and related things all my life, it turned out to be a bigger occasion to remember things in the past. And even the TRIO is back. Me, TS and AKC grew up together and have played all the games that existed at that time for small girls. Inky Pinky Ponky.., Icecream soda ... to playing Amma Achan Kutty.... we've been there, we've done that, we see right through your funky hat. Oooopps.. that just came in a flow. Anyways, AKC is now married and earlier during my college days, her family had shifted to their hometown. Actually I had never seen her after they shifted and wasn't even able to attend her marriage. But now she's back. She has now joined TS's office which is quite near to my CAT coaching classes. Now you won't blame me for being so nostalgic.

Palakkad is famous for its halwa, banana chips, typical Palakkadan wind, the beauty of the places like Neliyampathy, Silent Valley, Malampuzha and Attapaadi, its Railways and finally for its origin, rather its entry to Kerala. Palakkad, it is said that, was originally a part of TamilNadu and it was exchanged to Kerala for Kanyakumari. Apparently, there are people who mourn over the exchange treaty which happened some 50 years back and even after Palakkad became the rice bowl of Kerala. I am sure there are many from other parts of Kerala who believe that Palakkad is full of Tamilians. Sometimes, I too wish if Palakkad were a part of TN atleast we wouldn't have lost the Salem Division from Palakkad Railway Division. I am not a person who admire politicians because they never have been worth it. And to find one uncorrupt politician would be MI. But one thing I admire about the politicians of TN is their "State"smanship. No matter which party rules in the centre or the state, when it comes to a budget (be it the annual union budget or the railway budget) TN always have the biggest share. The MPs see to it that more trains and funds are allocated to the state. Kerala MPs, on the other hand, do an annual ritual going-to-the-centre-with-10-requests. I can assure you that you could find the paper in the dustbin in the next moment itself.

Even in the case of Salem Division, even a layman of Railway Colony had known that the Division is going to divided all the while. But the politicians pretended to have never known it. And when the time of division came, all the parties conducted dharnas and public speeches and demanded for a discussion. The office of the new Division was being built even when the talks were going on. As if they had always known what was going to happen.

And after having lived in Railway Colony for almost 2 decades, even the thought of having to leave this place to move to my hometown is haunting me. I was 3 when I came here. It was after coming here that I got into the Kindergarten. Railway Colony has basically 3 "Big" schools. While I went to KV, TS went to St. Thomas and AKS went to Railway school. The advantage of being in different schools was that we could attend the major events of all the three schools with each others' "pass". And the disadvantage was that I being in KV had odd vacation timings. In April when all others were playing, I had classes and in June when it rained and all others used to go to school, I had my vacation. Even for Onam, we had just 2 days leave and the others never had Pooja holidays when 10 days were rewarded to us. :(

Railway Colony is actually synonymous with Vignesh buses. This Vignesh travels owns as much as 5 to 6 buses and is pretty much the uncrowned prince of the Railway Colony transport. Achan still tease me over "Vignesh" because I used to pronounce it as "Vijnesh". That was long back when I had just started learning English. Anyways, I admire Vignesh bus because 1. it has great looks 2. its fashion sense. Believe me, there are buses in Palakkad which look as if they have landed from one of those fantasy cartoon worlds. Flourescent yellow, flourescent ! As for Vignesh, they have very royal look with colors ranging in between green and blue. And another reason I like it is that their conductors give the 50ps back and which makes my day. (The fare to Palakkad town is 4.50 but most of the time, we don't get the 50 ps back from the conductors if we give them Rs 5). But there is one conductor whom I hate from head to toe not just because he doesnt return the 50ps, but also because he is a mouthlooker. Sometimes you feel like he hasn't seen girls for ages and sometimes you can see the extra effort he's putting in to "shine". Leaving that. I think Railway Colony buses can still claim to be humane buses. Almost all the other buses' conductors won't even allow students to sit even if there are no full-charge-adults at all. Just because they pay Conession ticket? Its cruel.

Anyways, I think its been a long post. Time to wind up. But there are more memories to share. Will do that in later posts.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

50 Glorious Years For Doordarshan

So when was the last time you tuned to DD. Don't remember? Me too. But that's apart from the fact that I always try to catch up with Rangoli every sunday eventhough I really hate the anchor of the show. But when I came to know that it's been 50 long years for DD, I thought I should pay tribute to the network I grew up with.

So, what is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Doordarshan? I did a little sort-of-"survey" on this question among my friends. Interestingly, they came up with things that I hadn't thought of when I was preparing a list of the probable answers from their side. Here goes the result:

1. There is a tie for the No.1 spot between Chitrahaar and News for Hearing Impaired. Eventhough I had expected Chitrahaar, News for Hearing Impaired was a surprise. Even Amma gave the same answers.
2. Next is Surabhi. As Pattar would say, how can you ever forget the beautiful Renuka? But everytime I used to watch Surabhi, I would be so sad because it reminded that the next day you had to go to school.
3. Now, this is interesting. The rainbow colored screensaver when there was any interruption. And also Rangoli. I really didn't expect Rangoli to come down to the third spot.
4. Chandrakanta. Remember that show which was the first of that kind in the television history.
5. I am putting rest of the answers in the fifth spot. Pattar remembers Turning Point with Girish Karnad and Prof Yash Pal. Sree remembers Srikrishna. Musically talented Obamamol remembers the music that comes before the news begins and also Miley Sur Mera Tumhara. Apparently Miley Sur was one of my favorites in the survey. Binu as always had some more interesting answers. Ek Se Badhkar Ek and also Madhumohan serials(?). As for Appimol , it was Sanskrit news and Reporter. Tuttudu also remembers Byomkesh Bakshi while Colonel can't forget the friday night blockbuster movie and the President's address to the nation.

Phew :) One of the famous joke on Madhumohan serials was that the late Veerappan couldn't get a bigger punishment than he being tortured to watch Madhumohan serials continously. I still haven't been able to solve the mystery why all the mummys would watch his serials. But I found one interesting fact about the serials. Madhumohan used to have only 3-4 lungis which he used put in 3 different serials.

It was in 1992 when we got a chance to actually own a TV, a black and white one. I remember the year because it was the Olympics time (Atlanta?) and me, brother, Amma and Achan would lie down on the floor watching Olympics every night. Then DD was the only channel available. I also remember constantly going upto the terrace to adjust the antenna direction so that the "picture becomes clear"( the engineer in me says to write it as "to recieve the signals properly"). So does LJ. Even before we got DD Malayalam, then called as DD4, we used to get the tamil channel along with DD1, the hindi channel. Now you know why I have soft corner for Tamil. Since I never had formal education of both the languages Malayalam and Tamil, I learnt both through TV and newspapers only.

I used to sit through the educational program in the morning, mostly when I'm compelled to do so. Remember Tarang? The program which used to telecasted on our summer vacation. Those puppet shows and the serial of "a very angry girl" and of those 5 friends. I used to eagerly wait for that. Surabhi, Tehkikat, Alif Laila, News and Fri-Sat night movies were a sort of family ritual. If I remember correctly, Doordarshan station used to close down after the 10pm News in English. That tick of ten was my time to sleep. And I could never see the films of Friday and Saturday because of this. The first movie I saw completely was "Love in Tokyo" and the song Sayonara... was a total hit among us. Remember the Vicco Turmeric advertisement? It used to be played during the second break of the films. And when Tezaab was telecasted, it took almost 5 hours to finish. So much was the no. of ads. And how can anyone forget "Roja" which used to be telecasted on every of the Independence and Republic days. I really liked Oshin, particularly when they had the dining scene. I used to be totally amused when they eat rice with chopsticks and also awe at the kimonos they wear. And Discovery of India/ Bharat ek khoj, I never used to understand it. The concert for national integrity which used to be telecasted in the sunday afternoons always put me to sleep. And the panorama movies. Haven't we seen movies of almost all the languages in India, that too without subtitles?

And then there was this era of mythological serials. Srikrishna, Om Namah Sivaya and Jai Hanuman were being played simultaneously. Byomkesh Bakshi and Tehkikaat paved way for Suraag. Shanti was Amma's favorite serial when it was being dubbed in Tamil. I remember how I used to rush from my school just to watch Swaabhimaan. I had the duty of narrating the episodes to my friends who used reach their homes late. And then School Days came. I still remember when I cried for a character in the serial who had a hole in his heart. Some really tried to copycat School Days but hard luck, they didn't fair well. By the end of my 10th grade we had switched over to cable. After that lured by the "satellite channel" programs, we started slowing down on our DD viewership. Still we retained our Rangoli, News and also Kashmirnama in our show-watching-list. So was my journey with Doordarshan which is quite similar to all of you. I was completely transported to my childhood days while writing this. Hope you too have the same feel.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lend your ears to this couch potato...oh I'm sorry your eyes

You can't really blame me for being a couch potato, when I'm, literarly, sitting idle at home. But if you ask Amma, she would probably say that I was born to see TV. So would Achan. In fact, he has his usual dialogue " Her teachers say that CAT aspirants should take rest for atleast 2 hrs after classes and then start studying, but she seems to have taken it more seriously, taking rest till 10 pm by watching TV". And I nod my head in silence. I must say, it's really difficult to reach my father's expectations. Since I know I'm never gonna make it, I really don't care for his accusations. Anyways, I love to watch TV. And I can't live without it. Since the list of shows that I watch seems to be too big for the post, I will restrict myself to those what I call as "Essentials".

The very first category of my fav shows belongs to those shows which if you haven't seen , I have got only one question for you "Why do you have cable?".Watch these to see what you mean by entertainment. Boogie Woogie. Watch it for Ravi, Naved and Javed's sade hue jokes and also to see the zenith platform for dancers and dance groups. Next F.R.I.E.N.D.S.. This sitcom which had stopped telecasting with the season finale some 5 years back, still is being shown in different countries. So much is the popularity, only next to Seinfield. 6 friends, 2 apartments and thats all you need for a big entertainment.

The second set of shows is the one which you wouldn't wanna miss. The Simpsons, Seinfeld, Everybody loves Raymond, Mind Your Language gets included here. Hannah Montana, Wizards of Waverly place and Suite life of Zack and Cody....they say I'm too old for these shows, but who wouldn't like some real humour even if it means to watch kid's shows. Over to Hindi. If you've seen Office Office and Sarabhai vs Sarabhai, you would have seen that humour can be more than just slapstick. Oh yeah, long back it was in ISS forum that I got a friend suggesting me about Comedy Circus. Since then, I have been an ardent viewer of that show. There has been a Darwin's evolution as far the show's name is concerned. From Comedy Circus to Chinchpokli to China and now finally to Dekh India Dekh. Watch it, laughter assured. And then there is The Week That Wasn't with Cyrus Broacha. Watch the show if you can't make sense out of the actual "news". The show is sense made nonsense. By now, you might be thinking if she ever watches shows or serials which are not of the genre comedy. Of course. I like to watch Roadies, which is the biggest of the reality shows of the Indian television and the most sensible one. And also CSI: NY, Numbers.

As far as Malayalam and Tamil are concerned, as you know these channels are reigned by the daily soaps and I hate it more than anything. But Srikandan Nair's Nammal Thammil is an all-time favourite. And in tamil, I like the show Little Masters and Raagamaalika of the Jaya TV and also Kalakka Povathu Yaaru of Vijay TV, which made the phrase "Saroja Samaan Nikaalo" famous.

So if you ever come across these shows, sit back and watch it and you'll know what I mean. After all these, if you ever thought that about me getting time for other things (for ex:- studying), you would realise that what Amma and Achan said was true. ;)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A kalyana sadhya

Tuttu's amd Soumi's marriage was really an awesome affair. God bless them. Besides the obvious reasons that they looked fab and the sadhya (feast) was mouth watery, it was amazing because we got to see those friends whom we hadn't seen in , like, ages. When RM said we never saw each other in Bangalore, I had to sarcastically ask, "where you also in B'lore?". Seems like we were helluva busy in B'lore. As for the classmates, Poo, Colonel, Ayyappan, RM, Prasi and Pandi had come. A bigger bunch had come from our company. Ramettan , Lallu, AC, Dans, Pachalam and so on. Pardon me here for that so on coz I can't handle the pain of nicknaming everyone. (Its high time I undergo a training from Ammini.)

So, when we friends meet, the first thing you will notice is that, there have been hundreds of rumours about you and some of them can be really weird and now that you've met you've to clear them all. My all-time favorite rumour about me is that I had enrolled myself for Mechanical Engineering course! (Totally weird.) That was 6 years and -8 kilos ago and when Mech meant boys (it still means the same). A Mech trivia- the girl in the Mech department is named as MechRani regardless of the colleges we are studying. It's the same everywhere. But this time it was like "I'm going to Dubai". For what??? Man, you really can't take it seriously when someone says I am really desperate for a job even if it means to go to Dubai. And what if I had said Uganda instead of Dubai. Speaking of Dubai, I must mention this. Two of my collegemates are working there and visit their hometowns as much as 4 or 5 times a year quite contrary to the common belief that Gulfites visit their hometown once in so many years.

Marking my attendance at both my collegemates gang and my officemates gang was a tedious task. I was literarly oscillating between both ends. So much so that when I went to the stage, for the photo session, for the second time with my officemates, Tuttu exclaimed "Again?". Both me and Colonel had to give sadhya a miss (actually twice) because we were both busy with the other gang when the first one went for sadhya. So atlast when me, Colonel, Ramettan and AC went for food somebody said that rice has finished. All I could think then was man, I can't stand hunger and that too when everybody is saying that the sadhya was delicious. But thankfully, we did get food. In the banquet hall, AC and Ramettan were sitting on my either sides. When the payasam was being served, I compassionately told them that I don't like payasam, so, one of you could have it. Unlike the usual days, they didn't even fight for my cup of payasam. They took half each. But when the boy serving payasam came again, he saw my cup empty and the guy's cups full. He asked me if I want more. I nodded since I had clear instructions. When this boy came to serve the payasam, he passed on a look which meant "the guys with you dont eat as much you". That was it, I said to myself. I won't ever go to eat with these guys anymore. I have a rep to protect, people!

In the evening reception party also Tuttu and Soumi were looking great. Tuttu with a black suit and Soumi with a curly hairdo.But there was something wrong with me and food that day. Even when everybody were praising the desert, I couldn't have a scoup of the icecream because of my throat problem. God, Why me?? :) Anyways, there is nothing more than getting together with good old friends. And I enjoyed. And it was the first time ever I, not accompanied by my parents, reached home so late. 8 pm to be precise. The only dialogue that is coming to mind now is "Akele ladki khuli hui tijori ki tarah hai". True. Particularly when you're in God's own country and you're among the so-called-cultured people.