Thursday, June 26

Ishkool Matters

Lots of fun filled memories would come to everybody’s mind at the mention of the word “School”. But to me…I wouldn’t say it was bad...i would rather say it as the worst part of my life. Not that I detest the learning part considering it was the only reason I actually went to the school. I just hate the rest of it. Now, let me begin with a light introduction of what my school is…d intro mainly due to the fact that it was no normal school.

Yr 1998: A group of weirdly dressed girls with long ponytails and huge books were boarding the train during one of my monthly trips to T.Nagar for shopping. I asked my sister, “Akka, yaarukka ivalellam?? En red colorla ellarum half-sari potruka?? Naan poi izhuthutu varatta?”(Sis! Who are these red color clad half-sari girls?? Shall I go pull them??). “You better not!” my sister advised, “These girls are a part of train bandits! Haven’t you heard about them??” I got scared with this reply and continued ogling at them from a distance. I promised my sister that I would never leave her side and be a good girl. My sister smiled smugly.

Yr.2000: I was in my 10th class when this topic came up. Dad and sister were debating on which group I should be taking up for my higher secondary. Not that they didn’t listen to my pleas of studying something related to fashion, my dad wanted me to attend the best school there is and get better marks than anyone in my family. Well…what a long lost hope! Here was I, struggling to get past my phobia for subjects and my dad has started to look in for the best! When I tried to point out this to my dad, all he said was to listen to him and work hard. Well, I did work hard, more in terms of watching movies and enjoying my school life. By the end of the year, my dad told me that he had had me shifted to another school in the locality. I didn’t bother much about and continued to e-ottify my life. Little did I know that life had a different plan!

Yr 2001: Results were out and I surprised myself by passing all the subjects excluding a slight dent in my Hindi numbers. Since, the main subjects were cleared with decent scores, my family celebrated with much gusto. After all the merriment got over, my sister called me over separately to our room. I presumed it had to be something about me spilling ink over her books and hence, went grudgingly. I automatically started jabbering an apology when she plainly held her hand and asked me 2 shut my mouth. I was a little taken aback as she would never miss such a golden opportunity to get bashings from my mum. Though a bit relieved, I never expected that she would start on to tell me that I would be shifting schools to complete my higher studies.

I know its not a big deal..shifting to SAMOHSS. But it would be a big deal when you go to a school with a cropped hair and wearing a half sari(don’t forget the specs).. Sniff Sniff!! I was the center of all the stupid jokes. The younger kids in the school used to come and gape at me as if I was some animal in a zoo.. Boo Hoo.. Sigh! This school is situated in T.Nagar and is famous for its students getting the top ranks in the final exams. I used to travel in the suburban train as C.Pettai was quite far away from it. All the students in the school were big time paDipps and I hated it from the start. All these guys could chat was only about Chemistry formulae and Physics theories. Guys (had to wear VeshTis) were not allowed to interact with girls which itself was very annoying, considering half my friends in the earlier school were only guys! Teachers used to teach in Tamil, even though it was English Medium School. Half my knowledge of swear words in Tamil were learnt from the teachers themselves. It became usual for the teachers to say “Pannada! Paradesi! Ecchakala Naaye!! Anga enatha pudingitruka!!!”(Swear words on Tamil that I do not wish to translate). Classrooms were typically a dungeon. No fan (doesn’t work even if it is there!), no light, the only ventilation used to come from the so called windows (no windows either, just paraphet walls with grills). It wouldn’t have been that difficult if not for the fact that almost 150 students were dumped in one single classroom which can hold only 75 in the first place!! Girls who didn’t wear Bindis were given punishments. All Fridays, we were supposed to sit and listen to Upanyasams. When a Jeeyer (Did I not mention it was an Iyengar School??) ever comes to Chennai, they would undoubtedly make a visit to the school without fail. Everyday evening after 4PM, all the girls would be sent off to learn Divya Prabhandams, and the guys would be sent off to learn Vedas. This doesn’t matter if you are interested or not. It was school rule. The teachers themselves came in VeshTis and Panjakajams. Sanskrit was a compulsory subject to be taken up. Even the Shlokas had to be deciphered and explained in Sanskrit. The Sanskrit teacher used to come to the class with her kids. The Blackboards actually were the wall on it was painted black. And wait, the most bizarre part is that the school fee was 700 rs!!!!

All said and done, this school had something that I couldn’t understand. No matter what, it could make even the dumbest of the kids (read me) to score really good marks. This certainly was surprising to me, just because of the fact that I had never put efforts to study; nor did the other kids who were like me. I also am grateful to the school for having taught me Prabhandams and Shlokas. But the reason why I hate the school was for the reason that it made me lose my confidence to socialize with people. I could not bring up the courage to speak to guys after I left the school. And I had started swearing a lot. When I started thinking about, I realized that the whole environment had been so narrow-minded about life, and things around it. I don’t even have to explain how it would have been when I told them about Instituto Scenology! Well…Life has its own way to explain itself. I guess I should be happy of the way it has shaped me in the process. SAMOHSS and IS…whattaa combination…!!!

Saturday, June 14

The Dog's Umbrella

The plan was set. The time decided. The venue was some newly opened restaurant in T-Nagar. The gang was the usual- my best friends which included the sardonic TJA and the goofy LAS. The more we hung out together, the more we found out our potential to hog. We took an oath to try out all the restaurants that has ever been printed on the daily supplement of The Hindu, “Metroplus”. Food in whatever form or shape, when presented in front of us had the tendency to disappear within seconds. Even though maami was a strict veggie, she used to join the rest of the gang without hesitation.

Till her higher secondary, maami never used to go near non-aacharam foods; for that matter, not even a veg-non-veg combined restaurant. Enter TJA and LAS…not only did they introduce me to the delicacies of the world, they introduced me to the world’s yummiest food item…the Mushroom. Now, the entry scene of the exotic mushroom in my life is much earlier. It was around circa 1996, if I remember right. My dad had just come back from one of his tour trips and was bugging my mom to try out some new food item (of course!!) he had had earlier. Though mom was a bit hesitant, she finally agreed onto it. So, one glorious day, he bought a whole packet of button mushrooms and kept it in the fridge. A whole 5 minutes had passed when I heard a blood curling scream from the kitchen. I and my sister ran to the source, to find my paati heaving about the new weird bulb-like that had been kept in the fridge. Our explanations were to no avail and my paati had already decided on its penalty. Thus, by the next day morning, it was sent off with the garbage. The whole episode was kept quiet from dad so that he wouldn’t get upset.

More mosquito coils…soin soin soin…..circa 1990. As grandpa’s place had a huge garden attached to it, this turned out to be the ideal place for mushrooms to grow during rainy seasons and that’s where I had my first class on the subject when I accidentally plucked one.

Lesson 1: Mushrooms are not be touched; they are supposedly toxic!

Lesson 2: it’s a non-veg food item

Lesson 3: Its called “Naai kodai” (translated as Dog’s Umbrella)

Well, of all the above lessons, the last chapter intrigued me. My paati being my venerable tutor, I asked what that term meant. She frowned at me for even asking about that. Then, she told me a tale which gave a gist of something that would make me not go near that thing- that it’s a plant which grows when dogs pee on it!!!!! And this is the same reason she gives me even to date.

After a couple of months of joining college, I used to cringe at the thought of my friends having it as a delicacy. Not because, I didn’t know what it was, but from the thought of my paati’s explanation would make me feel sick. I tasted it first when I had my first pizza- and fell in love with it!!! Have become a great drooling fan of mushrooms and always make it a point to order at least something with it. I still do not clearly understand why my paati had to give such an explanation for it, but I do respect her (and her weird theories) and don’t mention about the food items I had had with Naai kodais!!! As to how we spent our hard earned money at that ridiculously expensive restaurant in T-Nagar- that would become a separate post altogether. Till then…d goodbyes……

Saturday, June 7

Satyavaan V/s Daya

Atlast I got to catch up “Anjaade” in DVD last week. I had been waiting to watch it ever since I heard “Kathaazha Kannala” on radio mirchi and by chance, in sun music. And oh! While we are at it, what is it with those so called dressing sense of those nasal voiced veejays. Am I the one who finds it really stupid and made up??!! Anyways.. back to the topic… the song, I would say was kinda alluring. It wasn’t yet another item number, and the sari that lady wore made a sexy, yet simple statement. The reviews of the movie were raving and I wanted to find out the magic of Mysskin- the director.

Well..the best part of the movie was the cinematography and the lighting. I fell in love with the fact that trailer tracks were used in most of the scenes and yet, made the camera angles look so cool. Apparently an action movie, but I never got disgusted with any gore or violence. The fight scenes were dealt in such intricate camera work, mind you, this was a low budget movie. And not in one scene did I feel so!

Next, comes the story line. The plot was neither old nor too new. It was just right. Circumstances were life like and any common man might face those. Though I did not get to become a great fan of Narain( as Satya), I did fall on for the guy who played “kiruba”. Prasanna( as Daya) was cool and his eyes spoke everything. It would have been even more perfect if he had actually grown his hair for the part, the wig was quite hideous. I wouldn’t do justice if I did not mention the memorable role played by Ponvannan as the cop. The supporting casts were refreshing and meaningful. Dialogues, short and crisp. One couldn’t really predict the way the movie was going. One refreshing police-based movie after a long time. Glad that the movie had only a few songs and did not hamper the tension it created. When the plot gets crude, the director chooses wisely to not show off but to subtly put it off as a dialogue.

The background score was enticing and moving, and was an apt contrast. Though, I am yet to research on the name of the music director, I would make sure I shall update the same here. The movie had violins and pianos crafting those scenes where you would normally expect a “dandanakka” noise in the background. The percussions helped in maintaining the seriousness of the scenes and made your heart heavy at the right times

Well, I would watch the movie again and again just for it camera nuances, lighting and the cinematography. It teaches you that the old school of cinema hasn’t died, but has re- modeled itself to perfection. Waiting for the next movie by Mysskin….

PS: Planning to watch Dasavatharam. Though a crazy fan of Kamal, I keep feeling that its gonna bomb big time… wish it doesn’t.. till then..tataas from the PM…