Posts by Mahesh

Communication Specialist, Digital Marketing Strategist, Editor, Instructional Designer, Poet, Cook, Photographer, Kick-Boxer, Bibliophile, Dog-lover, Curd-rice Fanatic, Piscean - You get the drift right? Jack of all trades - master of none!

The Value of Friendship

pexels-photo-298297

How do I define,
The bond that I share with you?
Admiration, friendship, a protective,
Shield that I use to shelter you?
When others mocked,
I stood for you.
In your darkest hours,
I was there for you.
Just as a passive listener,
Who would absorb all your insecurities,
And still hold your hands,
And wish you the best.

Would you know,
The number of times,
That I have prayed for you?
The candles that I lit for you,
The sacred offerings that I made for you,
Praying that the mental and physical demons,
That plagued you would go away.

You will never know,
All these things,
As new friends and BFFs, and besties,
And God knows what other term is being bandied,
Surround you with fake smiles and gifts,
And praise you to the sky, moon, and stars.
You will never know, what is it that runs in their minds.

You know – what hurts the most?
This blatant arrogance and veil,
That you choose to cover yourself,
In judging me to be a no-good loser,
Based on what someone told you,
The no-good parasites that just cause havoc,
The calculating, conniving, cunning, minds,
That wear a smile with ease,
And get their priorities sorted out,
And use you to their convenience.

You will learn in hindsight,
When they stab you,
And then you will realize,
What the value of friendship truly is?
If you are reading this,
And somewhere in your conscience,
If there’s a gentle prick,
Then fear not,
It is meant for you only.

I really hope,
Only good things,
Come your way.
May each successful peak,
That you surmount,
Be another gem in your crown.
So long and farewell,
The door remains open,
When self-realization happens,
You will be back.

 

Image Courtesy – Pexels

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Varathan – The Revenge of the Outsider

Movie Title – Varathan

Language – Malayalam

Year of Release – 2018

Principal Star Cast – Fahadh Faasil, Aishwarya Lekshmy, Dileesh Pothan, Sharaf U Dheen.

Genre – Thriller

Director – Amal Neerad

Script – Sarfu and Suhas

Music – Sushin Shyam

Cinematography – Littil Swayamp

Revenge tales have been a staple of Malayalam cinema. From gems like Thazhvaram and Season, somewhere Malayalam cinema began to ape Tamizh and Telugu cinema and at a point the differences were negligible. Stars and fans associations made merry as directors and script-writers added bombastic dialogues, with ample moustache twirling, loud music scores, and unbelievable stunts to draw loud applause from the masses.

Fahadh has been the poster boy of a new wave of Malayalam cinema that commenced with ‘Chappa Kurishu’ that was pretty much a copy of a Korean hit. Movie after movie he has carefully chosen scripts that play to his strengths. With each movie Fahadh has proven himself as a true chameleon who can play any role with ease. Aishwarya Lekshmi is just a few movies old, but boy oh boy, she seems to fill the screen with her magnetic presence and I really hope she gets roles of value.

Amal Neerad has crafted movies that are heavy on style, cinematography, synchronized stunts, and engrossing musical scores. In ‘Varathan’ translates to ‘The Outsider’ – he sets up an engrossing closed house thriller akin to Sam Peckinpah’s ‘Straw Dogs’, which was violent, brutal, and left audiences disturbed when it came out in the 70s.

Aby and Priya are a young couple in Dubai and the recession leads to Aby and Priya returning to India after Priya’s pregnancy is terminated as the gynaec says there’s no heartbeat in the foetus. Aby decides to focus on setting up a design startup in India while Priya utilizes the work from home option.

They move to an idylic cottage at the 18th mile stop – a hilly terrain in Kerala. It’s essentially an old-village that’s pre-dominantly Christian with its church and a close-knit community of rich plantation owners and commoners.

The ‘peeping tom’ nature of the frustrated, sexed-up Indian male is brought out in the characters that torment Priya, essentially a group of folks who were her classmates at school. There’s a creepy chap who runs away with Priya’s inner-wear and there’s a truly disturbing moment wherein he caresses the brassiere and pantyhose that for some pathetic reason generated whistles in the jam-packed theatre where I saw the movie. Goes to show where we are headed as a larger collective 😦

There’s another sequence where another man and woman are heckled and booed away by the villagers as they were not husband and wife. It sets up the tone for the movie along with a cockroach that Priya stomps away to death earlier in the movie.

A sub-plot of a budding friendship between a young boy from a poor family and the local contractor’s daughter has a significant impact in the third act of the movie. Before that the trio of Johnny, Jithin, and Josey continue to torture Priya. They peep at her in the bathroom, they look at her in her bedroom when she is asleep, they set up a mobile phone to shoot videos of her in the bathroom.

A flash point arises when Aby heads to Kottayam for a day and Priay decides to work from the library at the convent. The evil trio run her over by striking her Kinetic Honda. She tumbles over and is hurt and dazed. The three take her in the jeep and leave her in the hospital. We later learn the three have molested her in the moving jeep when she speaks in anguish with Aby later. She says she no longer feels safe and this infuriates Aby, who is possessed by castrated rage as he keeps saying – “we will report this to the police”.

The young boy and his mother seek shelter at Aby and Priya’s abode as they are chased by the contractor’s family. Then starts the final fireworks as a group of about seven to eight men seek to flush out the occupants of the house. How Aby fights the villains is to be seen to be believed and is truly intelligent film-making, though one wonders why he does not take out the barreled rifle and uses it.

The only blemish that one may cite is Priya’s pain and torture at the hands of the villains seems to have lost its focus and Aby seems to be too convincingly transition into a commando cum special-ops warrior in one extended sequence of explosions, knife stabs, blows to all parts of the body delivered with saucepans and shootouts.

A key advantage for the movie is its brief running time and intelligent structuring of the incidents that culminate in the violent showdown akin to a shootout in the Westerns of an era gone by. Two songs that play in the movie are good to hear and view – but honestly once you are out of the hall they do not actually stick in the mind.

The true revelation for the audience is undoubtedly Sharaf. This is the chap who plays the wealthy flirt in ‘Premam’. His turn as the villain is sue to fetch him some ‘Negative Actor/Villain Awards’.

A full paisa-vasool entertainer that’s been made intelligently. Go for it, you won’t be disappointed.

A Letter to Our Unborn Child

I love reading poetry and have had the good fortune to attend ‘spoken word poetry sessions’ as well. A common trait that I have noticed among some remarkable women who recite brilliant verse is the topic of ‘Abortion’. It is always the man who is painted the villain, it could be a lover, an abusive husband, or the off-shoot of a dalliance that was ‘un-protected’ and now abortion is the only choice. It set me thinking. Can there not be a poem from the man’s perspective? Not as a rapist, an abusive husband, or an irresponsible lover, but as a genuinely caring husband or lover or partner.

 

Dearest child,

The seed of our love,

You will never read this,

You will never see us,

You will never know us.

We had so many plans,

Your mother and I,

If you were a baby boy,

We would have named you Moksh.

If you were a baby girl,

We would have named you Neha.

But it was not meant to be.

The gynaecologist was clear,

The reports were not conducive,

There was no assurance of a safe delivery,

And I was not prepared to lose,

Both you and your mother.

 

We spoke to each other,

Consoling each other,

The gynaec said,

It was not safe,

To attempt another delivery again.

We wondered why??

Why we had been chosen to undergo this trauma?

Neither of us had harmed anyone?

We had been true to each other.

Placed our faith in the Gods we chose to worship.

But it was not meant to be.

That fateful day when decided to set you free,

Both your mother and I,

Were in tears, but we had to set you free.

Somewhere in another dimension,

We are a happy family.

Our dear little unborn child,

I want you to know,

That both your Amma and Appa,

We love you!

Bathing Amma

Her skin is brown,
Scars and marks,
The surgeon’s stitches,
Leaving a gentle trace,
Memories of a Caesarean delivery,
That allow me to type,
And share this today.

The water is hot, scalding hot.
I start by pouring a bit,
On her feet, she says – “It’s hot”.
I mix tap-water and then ask her,
To touch and feel the water,
She says it is just right!
We start slowly.

She sits patiently on the stool,
Like a priest in a temple,
Who bathes the stone idol,
Of the merciful and all powerful Goddess,
I pour the water slowly,
The fragrance of Hamam soap,
Permeates each pore.

Memories of a childhood,
Of happier times,
Of a life, when worries,
Had not begun to erode,
This body and mind,
Of oil that would be applied to the head,
And we would be given the customary Saturday bath.

How time changes everything?
I see her crumbling,
Bit by bit in body and soul.
But we have to remain strong.
She has fought enough battles all her life,
This is a battle that the two of us,
Are fighting together.

I am sure she shall come out victorious.

Thoughts on a Death

We moved to a new apartment within city-limits away from the village that has been home for a long time. The shift was because of Amma’s frequent hospitalizations. The new apartment cuts down travel time and in an emergency I can reach the hospital in under 30 minutes.

Yesterday evening my sister who has been with us for over a month now said that there has been a death in the opposite flat. It was an elderly gentleman about 70 years of age. I had seen him in the morning as well when leaving to office and smiled at him. A man of few words he always sat in the front room looking at all the happenings in the corridor. As soon as I reached home I went to their flat. He had been laid to rest in the ice box and the ceremonial lamp had been lit. The elderly ladies in the family said – “He was fine, eating snacks in the evening watching TV, he went to the bathroom, collapsed and died instantaneously.” Deaths are a strange thing to handle, one does not know what to say and console the bereaved. One offers prayers and support and says – “Please let me know if I can be of any help.”

They are still waiting for his extended family to arrive. They are spread across the state, anytime during the evening the body will go on its final journey.

As I move in from hospital to home and hospital with my mother, I am scared. I know I have to let go. But this incident once again shows how weak I am and am thoroughly unprepared to handle the inevitable. We follow the doctor’s advice, medicines that seem to make her weaker and weaker are being pumped in – the renal functions being weak do not let us do the angiogram. The risk of dialysis is forcing the cardiologist to keep delaying the procedure. We don’t know what the future holds. Every day starts with a prayer, every night ends with another. My sister leaves tomorrow. How long we will continue to remain like this? When will the next hospitalization ensue? Will Amma get healed? This continuous cycle of endless medication, rushing to the hospital in the cab. Repetition of all the tests and the inconclusive reports, nephrologist and cardiologist at loggerheads about the angiogram.

The tunnel never seems to end…..

‘Shunya’ by Sri M – A Book Review

Over the years, there have been very few books of fiction that have left a profound impact on me. The blog has been lying dormant for a fair while for the want of something concrete to write. Do I write about my recurring visits to the hospital with my mother vacillating between critical and extremely critical or about the failure of finding purpose in life! No one cares about reading dull verse masquerading as poetry of the soul. Political commentary and sports analysis has its own perils. So what does one do? Write about a good book. No further boring you my dear readers. Let’s head into the book right away.

‘Shunya’ is the first work of fiction by Sri M. Sri M is someone whom I was not aware of and when I signed up for the book review program from the good folks of Westland India, I did up a fair bit of reading on him and was quite intrigued.

Blurb of the book:

He appears out of nowhere in a sleepy little neighbourhood in suburban Kerala. He calls himself Shunya, the zero. Who is he? A lunatic? A dark magician? A fraud? Or an avadhuta, an enlightened soul?

Saami—as they call him—settles into a small cottage in the backyard of the local toddy shop. Here he spins parables, blesses, curses, drinks endless glasses of black tea and lives in total freedom. On rare occasions, he plays soul-stirring melodies on his old, bamboo-reed flute.

Then, just as mysteriously as he arrived, Shunya vanishes, setting the path for a new avadhuta, a new era.

This first novel by Sri M is a meditation on the void which collapses the wall between reality and make-believe, the limited and the infinite. With its spare storytelling and profound wisdom, it leads us into the realm of ‘shunya’, the nothingness of profound and lasting peace, the beginning and end of all things.

Set in a village near Trivandrum in Kerala. The book chronicles the tale of an enlightened soul Shunya who lands up in the village unannounced. We meet interesting characters like a toddy-shop owner who is scared out of his wits at their first meeting. The shop-owner offers him a place to stay and then numerous changes happen in the village. We are introduced to different characters in the village and how Shunya Swami’s arrival has a lasting impact on the lives of the villagers. We also have visitors like Kumar who becomes the Swami’s protege, Diana, Bob, the politician who is skeptical at the beginning, the Namboodiri, the young lovers from two different communities, the corrupt church-conversion tout. The list of characters goes on.

This book has a fair bit of philosophy woven into it and works quite well for those looking for an introduction to a ‘path’ or wisdom. The ending seems rushed and was the only weak point for me in the whole book.

I would recommend this book for lovers of fiction and spirituality. Go for the book, you won’t be disappointed.

Buy from Amazon

Happy reading and till we meet again – May you find what you seek 🙂

 

 

 

 

B for Bharat Matrimony

From a free profile to a paid profile managed by my aunt – Bharat Matrimony is a term/product/brand that most unmarried guys and girls would be familiar with in India. The brainchild of Murugavel Janakiraman – BM is one of the most successful brands in India and is the original matrimony portal that spawned other success stories like Jeevansathi and Shaadi.com.

Now coming to my comic relationship with BM. The profiles that get matched on my free profile, magically disappear when I search for them on my paid profile. Now this is a mystery that needs to be solved. Is BM pushing unsuspecting customers to become a paid-profile member by delivering randomly mixed photographs and dummy profiles. How is it that a number of these ‘interested profiles’ lack a photo and have random descriptions. I have had several friends stating how the algorithm that powers the portal does strange stuff. In all due probability it is a set of people playing around with names and dummy profiles to just ensure that there’s one more bakra/bakri signing up for a paid profile.

Poor parents creating profiles for their children in the hope that an American maapilai or London maatuponnu materialises from BM. The umpteen email reminders that keep coming in to the inbox despite unsubscribing, profiles that have chosen to reject you, again appearing in matches list; the comedy of errors never seems to end.

As I sit wondering what next after a long meeting at the bank for some corrections and complications in an existing loan account, I ruminate on the absolute hopelessness of everything. The novel – the magnum opus, the masterpiece, will never get written, the dull monotony of daily existence and ticking of boxes to meet the standards set by society and family will never change. This pointless ranting and writing on a free blog continues unabated. Other than having generous oodles of fat adding layers on to my already drunken boxer physique, the hair on the head is having a surprising outpouring of silver streaks, the stooping scarecrow like posture stoops further as I turn into a veritable hunchback from some old B-grade horror flick. No way is this A to Z challenge going to finish on time.

Till we meet again – yaedadhu ponnu irundha paathu sollunga ba!!