Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Blessing in Disguise...

A chance request heralded in a refreshing change in life. My uncle needed a malayalam translation of an interview he gave for his forthcoming novel. I hesitantly embarked on it, scared of not being able to do justice to something that would be appearing in the papers, 10 years after i last wrote something seriously in malayalam, the 10th ICSE exams and barely escaped from disaster. But the words flooded in, the beauty of the malayalam language manifested itself in me, something that never happened in 10 years of cramming malayalam at school. Oh! I have rediscovered a lost love. All the years of wondering whether I squandered a legacy in the mother tongue has lingered like a permanent scar, several times in life i have rued my overt fascination for the english literature at the cost of malayalam, but this time I am determined to make a new beginning.

And so a new beginning, i think i am making...a friend who has come into life like a whiff of fresh air, a person who has begun to make me think in new dimensions, look at human relationships from new perspectives and introduced me to paradigms in philosophy and psychology i had not cared to observe...handed me a collection of 6 scripts of M.T.Vasudevan Nair. I took it up pessimistically, with a valid reason too...none of the 6 films, Kuttiyettathi, Murapennu, Olavum Theeravum, Nirmalyam, Iruttinte Athmave and Kanyakumari...I had not had the priviledge of watching. I wondered how I could relate with it, but what an experience it has been, scripts as a branch of literature have come to stay!! MT's character have so much life and feeling in them, he invests his simple stories with such multi-dimensional relationships and the beauty of his language just leaves you captivated. As I write this, i am a fortunate reader transported to the banks of Bharathapuzha, wondering if characters and families like this still live, whether time has eroded the values, stigmas and burdens these people carried and so much more.

Its been ages since that romantic feeling coursed through my veins, I never thought it possible again...somehow i have become charged and inspired to pick up my pen and start scribbling in malayalam my thoughts, and the also resume an old habit that i thought had died in me...of writing little stories. Its such a painful, tiring be laboring with the language thats my mother tongue, my diary which had for so long been eclipsed by this blog is coming alive again...i know its now or never. Its like the next few months are all I have been given to do all I want, before I sacrifice myself at the altar of what's still a maddening world to me...of careers, consumerism and monotony. When MT talks of silent, sometimes unrequited love i gush at how convincing and universal his characters still are, i wonder if it will remain so for eternity. I once read of how all of MT's male characters are weak, vacilliating, defeated creatures and how somebody wrote a peice called Shantante Amarsham(An Impotent Man's Rage) deriding him...but i now think no amount of criticism can take this man's genius away from him.

Anyways I just cant wait to head back home, walk into DC Books and come out with a shelf-load of modern malayalam literature. All those years in college of fretting at long, boring homilies at Sunday mass where I was more impressed by the command of the priests over the malayalam language rather than the message they strived hard to impart, and the online reading of Manorama, Deepika and Kaumudi must have struck root in me somewhere. Else I wonder how I achieved my little feat of doing the translation...i was about to give up even before i looked at it, but my dad, my most earnest motivator urged me to look at it as an opportunity...tonite as i pen this post down in my diary to take to the cafe and key it down, i wish you readers could feel my euphoria, my excitement and happiness at discovering a lost love. When life gets too boring and that accursed question mark hovers about you...a blessing comes in disguise.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Getting Personal...

Been tagged by Silverine...and i just love to take up tags...nothing better to lighten the mood at this dreary blog of mine.

My Accent - I believe its neutral but I think I have a little South-Indian tinge to it...but not the mallu version of it.

Booze - Was initially a hard-core drunkard. Restricted myself to beer in later college life. Took to Chabillis and Merlot first and then Scotch with a vengeance in the US. Nowadays its beer once a month. If I didnt keep running into old friends still, would have given it up for good.

Chore I Hate - Cooking! I'd rather be washing dishes or sweeping the floor than cooking. Was the source of several tiffs with my roomies and then my sis!

Dog or Cat - Neither. Infact I am scared of all animals!

Essential Electronics - Nothing these days. I am learning to keep life simple these days...wud have given up my fone if not for parents and friends.

Perfume - lol...not the rite question for me...caught in the sweat and toil of natural body odour most of the time...but if ur already letting out a yuckkk...I take 3 baths a day to compensate!!

Gold or Silver - I hate mom makes me wear a gold chain...i comfort myself that it'll be the first thing i pawn when i get into financial trouble!!! But speaking of others, gals certainly look good with a lil gold on them...thats the old-fashioned mallu in me talking!!!

Home - At Pattom in Trivandrum...the place has been my home forever. Its exactly 4 years and one day since i left the cool comforts of my home to make my life...these days i feel like a guest there if not for my sis has left and taken my mom along and dad is always bedroom is twice as big as the rooms i have lived in over the last 4 years and i just cant get used to it!!!

Insomnia - I can stay up all night at will and go to sleep too with the same ease if i choose. But insomnia scares the shit out of wud be really dreadful to be afflicted.

Job Title - IAS "Aspirant" ...hehe

Living Arrangements - Now...dont make me cry!

Most Admirable Traits - I love kids and am always a big hit with them...yeah I am really proud of that fact...nowadays i wonder if thats my only talent!!! And I make sincere efforts to keep my friends in touch with each other...wherever I am. This website and many of the posts in my blog are dedicated to the fond memories they have given me over the years.

Number of Sexual Partners - I am a "loser" in that department. Blame it on years of male bonding and lovable rogues who have orbitted my life thats ensured i never felt discontented and incomplete.

Number of Times in Hospital - Quite a few times. Once for a bike accident and the rest for fevers.

Phobias - Vertigo!!!

Quote - Kittiyaal Ooty Allengil Chatti

Religion - Catholic

Siblings - One Sister...she is stupid but she's still the BEST!(u reading this jish?...hehe...cudnt resist choriyufying)

Time I Wake Up - 10:30am - 12:30 am now that i dont have to work.

Unusual Talent or Skill - Flatter to Decieve!

Vegetable I Love - Cabbage(Thorran)...Infact I am beginning to like all vegetables except abt getting older!!!

Worst Habit - I am too restless...i think it reflects in everything i do.

X-Rays - Once!

Yummy Food I Make - Though I hate to cook, I make excellent Chicken Curry/Fry. And in university, I once made a sizzling Chilli Gobi by accident, this inspired my friends who joined in to cook their specialities and finally we all had a surprise feast, one night...good days come unplanned!

Zodiac Sign - Virgo/Libra Cusp

People I Tag - Reji, Thanu, Geo, Sarah, Anand.K and all my blogpals if u guys are interested.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Wanderlust Uncorked...

Just back from another typical adventure...typical coz of all the bottlenecks along the way. The opportunity to break free arrived sooner than classes...i announced my decision to travel...3 pals joined in...the places shortlisted were Nainital, Badarinath and Yamunotri...we decided on Nainital and Mukteshwar. Huffed and puffed our way to catch the last bus leaving for Nainital that night on crammed backseats that screwed our plans to get a decent nap.

Saturday: The morning brought us 4 tired folks to the main junction by the lakeside in Nainital and welcoming us was a steady shower and over-priced hotel rooms. Despondently we looked at our options aka wallets and left for Bhawali, a village-town 12kms away in the hope of finding accomodation. We wandered abt till lady-luck took us to an Uttaranchal Govt Tourist resthouse where they had a dormitory available. This was the beginning of an odd experience as we found ourselves in a room with no matresses on the bed, a hotel without enuf buckets for their bathrooms, hopelessy incapable staff and to make it worse taps that wud spit out only air and my thoughts went to the cash-laden KTDC. My pals were getting angry by the second and my efforts at cooling them down succeeded but not before they had given an earful to the hapless manager. We decided to give the lake, the waterfall, zoo, suicide point, etc which were tame affairs meant for family folks and had become cliched sights at hill-stations, as we knew the only outing that could satiisfy us was a grinding trek and so we headed to China Peak, 10kms away from Nainital on a taxi followed by a 4km trek up a jungle trail.

100 mts up the hill, the 4 of us, threw ourselves at the forest floor, breathing heavily, listening to our pounding heartbeats, staring at each other as we wondered who would be the first to get a cardiac arrest. We decided to carry on, and fortunately for us, were soon distracted from from the physical exhaustion by amazing views of the Nainital Valley, steep gorges on both our sides and the flush forest cover. At the end of it all China Peak lay conqured, it was a supremely solitary spot, far away from the madding crowd, very few of them would be able to make it up here thankfully, and we sat there like in a trance for almost 2 hours and to finally top it all a canteen at the peak, provided us with a much-needed refreshing tea and cream-biscuits. The 4 km trek up had taken us almost 1.5-2 hours but with dusk approaching we virtually jogged our way down unmindful of the slippery rocks or the steep fall on either side. At base-camp, we found to our disgust the last taxi had left and we began a tired walk to the nearest point in civilization...5kms away, the High Court where to our disappintment we learnt that the Mall Road was closed for pedestrian traffic and after another 2kms and our whole body crying out for a much-deserved repreive after a 15km exercise i slept like i had been knockedout!!!

Sunday: The next morning brought abt a dilemma of another kind. One of us wanted to head back to Delhi while I was intent on staying another day. The 2 fence-sitters decided to stay on and coz of our bone-crunching adenture yesterday we rented a cab and visited the same "tame" places we had derided yesterday like the waterfall, suicide point, etc and what a sham all these places turned out to be and what a miss for the 98% tourist crowd here who would never be able to trek their way up China Peak

Monday: By afternoon we left for Mukteshwar which we found to our surprise to be just a sleepy village with a few expensive resorts and a Shiva Temple with an enchanting suicide point with rocks jutting out into mid-air being the only sights here much to our disappointment. By 3 we came down, waited for a jeep until we finally got one at 4:30 to anther junction Bhattalia, 7 kms away where we were alarmed to find no jeep/bus going to Bhawali until next morning and we had a bus to catch at 7:00pm. We decided to bail out of this gudham and took a jeep to Dhanachuly, an even more remote village tucked away in the hills. The people here were real poor and just when we figured our luck had runout and were gettiung desperate a taxi came by at 6pm willing to take us to Nainital. He raced thru the hills like a madman almost going over a few gorges until a road-tarring derailed the cliffhanger ride and our effort to catch the bus.

At Nainital we heard of a bus leaving for Delhi from Ramwani, a town 35kms downhill at 10:30pm and a Tata Sumo was willing to take us and 3 other families there and so we all crowded inside and I found a little girl too on my lap. I was cold to her and treated her like a nuisance and she responded by a vomiting spree when the hairpins started but luckily she was a smart cookie and thrust her head outside and saved me a lot of trouble!!! Soon she fell asleep on my lap with her head resting on my arm and it felt real beautiful. The silly anger I felt earlier had dissolved...until then we were cracking wry jokes abt our misfortunes, money wasted in unneccessary taxi rides, our ill-planning, the difference between optimism and our idiotic optimism and that even if "aakasham idinje thalayil veenaalum we wud find a way to shake it off and keep living", etc, etc but this child bought such a peaceful change to my heart and spirits, i felt a magic i had never experienced earlier, in this stranger feeling so secure and cosy next to me. At Ramwani we parted from the child and her jovial family, and raced to the bus-stand were the bus was revving to leave.

Tuesday: Another difficult trip was over, many factors were beyond our control, it was impossible to plan considering our ignorance abt the scarcity of transport and like, but in the end we made a good trip out of it, by our cool and steady heads, good-natured acceptance of every adverse situation, the trademark indefatigable mallu sense of humour and an unanimous agreement that we had learnt more about our country, our people and their struggles to survive even at the expense of others and how to deal with that. It was saddening to see how places like Nainital were the last-surviving relics of natural beauty in an earth we ravish incessantly. The souring moment of the trip was at Delhi near Kashmiri Gate ...3 ragpicker girls running away without paying money for tea to a helplessly cursing poor tea-stall owner. There is no escaping the realities of India - whether at a hill-station or a metro-station!

**fotos on the way**

Monday, June 12, 2006

A Defeat, And Its Aftermath...

Tears welled up, threatening to roll down, as I tallied my right answers in the History paper with the sinking feeling building up every second from somewhere deep inside. I couldnt even count on my fingers the last time I cried over a poor exam. My above-par performance in the GS paper had come to zilch. I furtively looked up at my sir, expectantly looking on to see which of his students would raise their hands in success, while I buried mine in my face to choke the liquefied remnants of the 7-month long hardest-fought battle of my life. The moment passed, the tears receded somewhere back into my eyes...the disappointment lingered for a few more days...all that is left now is to log it down in this blog of mine...and get it out of my system totally...hopefully. Exactly two years since I walked out of university, brimming with optimism, 4 jobs that didnt work out, a migration, a gut-wrenching life-sapping effort for a job with a three-letter tag attached to your name...all to be rewound and begun again...its been a string of galling failures to make my education, jobs, inheritances, experiences and hard work all count.

I looked at the man seated opposite me, who I had hoped to avoid for a few months. The plush suite I found myself in, was in "stark" contrast to my Rs.1300 room in a rundown colony in North Delhi populated by a few struggling CS aspirants like me, hundreds of unskilled workers from kerala amidst decadent partition-era refugee Punjabi families still mourning their fall from riches. For a second I dreaded the thought of him suggesting a visit to my new place and searched for a suitable excuse. Like always he made suggestions for my future. Unlike always, this time I had no answer, no comment, to pass back. I could sense the disappointment my dad tried to hide despite his unconditional support for all my efforts. And the excuses he must be offering others, for my failure. Oh God, was I becoming an embarassment? The impasse that kept developing in my life in America and which I hoped to skirt through coming back to India had somehow inevitably arrived. Maybe it was inherent in my restless nature or overt idealism...maybe there will be a turnaround in my fortunes, or maybe not. I have chronicled the heroics of friends who utilized failures to achieve greater things in life, somehow I wonder if I am capable of replicating their efforts.

My blog took birth almost 2 years ago in my frustration but somehow every word that came out here looked to the sunny side of life. In every defeat, I saw positives and so spun them around here to boost myself and keep me going. This perhaps is the first time ever, a post appeared here tinged in negativity. What more can I write when the year holds nothing for me except studying more of the same sir says I am a sureshot for next year's attempt...but I am not so sure. I am tired...maybe when classes get over next month, I'll travel from Kashmir to Comorin, maybe like other plans even this wont materialise. This is me at this point in life...the journey continues...maybe I will come back some day and laugh at myself for writing this post...or I'll laugh at the astrologer who predicted in my jathakam that I would "prabhuthulyanaayi vaazhum".