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Monday, February 13, 2017

State of Cinema

Tamilnadu had always been a state with high passions .
 cinema was a part of its fabric .
With Madras being the center of south Indian cinema  five decades back cinema produced not only  heroes on its screens but also off the screen .
It was never restricted to actors but involved script writers , musicians ,lyricists ,story tellers and so on .
Cinema and politics were a combo with great alchemy.

Starting from the patriarch saint and founder of Dravidianism Sri Annadurai who rose to become a chief minister ,his proteges one the  highly intelligent poet script writer par excellence dark glassed guttural voiced Karunanidhi the founder of the quintessential image of the Tamil politician and the other his total opposite the good looking rosy skinned rippling muscled dashing hero M.G.Ramachandran .

MGR had enough intellect to checkmate karunanidhi to start a new party on Annadurais demise to wear his mantle of the emperor of Tamil passions and the chief minister of Tamilnadu .

He had droves of women who followed him like a pied piper  and one of them was a lissome nubile beauty and a Tamil heroine ,intelligent and articulate in convent educated English .

She  managed to conquer his heart in spite of a wife at home and so like prof Higgins in my fair lady he went on to train the much younger Jayalalitha to groom her to be his successor .

 Drama swept the state again on the demise of the great MGR who once even withstood a bullet fired by a reel villain M.R.Radha and lived to tell the tale .

Jayalalitha had to face ignominy and  insults on her mentors disappearance as her enemies the estranged first wife and her cronies managed to push her out of the funeral cortege on live TV .

These lasting images of a woman tarnished of her honor brought her into limelight in the next election where the drab first wife was summarily rejected by the populace to seat Jaya  as the chief minister.
Cinema again !!

It was during these heady days a mousy looking middle aged video cassette seller women by name Sasikala was introduced to Jaya who by now had the mantle of a mother or Amma to her party men and was slowly turning into a one women power point in the state with her party men prostrating ,crawling and creeping on her feet .

This abject sycophancy was encouraged in the party
Sasikala quickly wormed her way into Jayas inner circles meta morphing from a live n maid of an unmarried lonely leader of the masses to a dear Friend and  confidant and finally became even  a sister who wore similar dresses and jewelry like her mistress did !!

This was the era of extravagance in Jayas rule with crores spent on a wedding of an adopted son who was incidentally the nephew of the maid turned sister whose tentacles of power were slowly entwining the state .
All this angered her voters who kicked her out of poor in next election .
Wilderness to a politician used to power is a misery specially when dark glassed villains with grudge occupied the CM gaddi .

And one day in the august assembly the fair maid Jaya was humiliated by sari pulling by an opposition MLA a sort of modern day Draupadi act and Jaya vowed to get back at dark glasses and company .

During these bad times when a lonely Jaya licked her wounds maid friend sister Sasikala was at hand to give the salve thus earning eternal gratitude of Jaya ..

The bounce back of Jaya in next election got dark glasses in real trouble as Jaya ordered a vengeful midnight arrest of a panic stricken howling frightened karunanidhi  cried out
they are killing me ayyo in live TV
Cinema again !!

Once her vengeance was satiated Jaya turned into administration while Sasikala and coterie slowly started amassing wealth .

Many were the stories whispered
People with lovely houses and prime land were called to Poes garden house of Jaya in the guise of they being called by a busy CM and in her absence threatened by covert threats to sign away their properties .
In the Government the maids husband was on a spree of minting money by any means and stocking it in the vast Mannargudi family coffers who all become the sudden rich .

Jaya wary of another defeat dismissed Sasikala who was smart enough to worm her way back into Jayas good books promising to distance herself from her husband and his caucus .

But in the background she kept appointing people known to her on several positions thus preparing herself for future positions .

And then its all a grey zone .

Jaya admitted in Apollo hospital under scrutiny of a Sasikala who never allowed anyone to see her even the Governor the caretaker CM and several VIP s

Health bulletins told her anxious supporters that she was ventilated and was being monitored
In two months Jaya was declared dead and quickly buried by the side of her mentor and lover MGR
There were expressions of suspicions as people noticed small holes in neck used in embalming bodies
Did Jaya die or was she killed as whispers told
Did they just do an act to buy time
Strangely the center armed with intelligence systems in place maintained zen equanimity with the PM even patting a demure Sasikala as an act of condolence !

So in a huge live funeral the body of Jaya was slowly lowered into the sands of the marina with all neck holes intact .
In days Sasikala her maid moved into Jayas house and her mafia family moved around like a pack of stray dogs in the state .

Now comes one more character by name OPS the humble tea shop owner loyal AIADMK party man trusted confidante of Jaya who was appointed as CM while maid Sasikala became party chief .

Within days OPS with his humility and hard work image was called to the Mannargudi den .

He came out as a resigned CM and announced that Sasikala would wear the CM crown from then on .
But drama and climax starting now
The next day OPS went to Jayas burial place and did a zen Buddhist bout of meditation at the end of which he went into an orgy of confession and informed the populace on how the Mannargudi mafia akin to Sicilian mafias had threatened him to resign and to leave the CM chair to her .

He also touched on how fishy Jayas death was though ignoring his silence till date of this vital matter .
The female don Sasikala flocked her MLA hens to a luxury resort near Chennai where they were kept happy in an orgy of liquor food and the rest so that she could exhibit the worthies to the Governor as her passport to power.
The Governor went into suspended animation probably part of Chanakyan manifestations from center and OPS smiled at this turn of events
The rest will be written as the story unfolds .

Miracle cures

The miracle cures
This beliw video is a  practice session of a faith healer to fool public .

When the preacher shows his hand the supposedly sick in the audience fall down and get cured !

These are paid actors who rehearse before they fool the public .
Seeing this more people will believe hes doing miracles .
In a tamil movie kamalahassan does an excellent impersonation of a cerebral palsy person stumbling , falling ,somersaulting , drooling , his way  to the faith healer who in front of a huge crowd utters mumbo jumbo and touches him
kamal falls down with a thud to wakes up cured

The next scene he is shown arguing with the faith healer about money paid for his excellent acting .

Its a clear case of cheating and conning stupid gullible people , with a law that ignores such activities .
The sad thing in india people fall for such rubbish .
Of course its not restricted to one religion
There are several fake swamis swaminis and charltans from all religions doing this .

The media which benifits richly by sponsored shows and advertisements help in  spreading the message .
With money flowing in from abroad to that one country in the world which is an ideal one for such activities these con men have deep pockets .
some even own their own TV Channels .

Theres no restrictions or monitoring by the state on such falsehoods .

By donating liberally to politicians and parties they are safe under the  law .

Its the poor the needy the sick mentally unstable those under stress and a lot of normal people who fall into traps by these cheats .

These powerful preachers and swamis have goondah and thugs to frighten anyone trying to bring out truth .

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Our House

Places we stay are memories
This house in Cochin built by us in late eighties has a story behind it like all our houses do .
For one its conception planning and building was all by one persons hard work and ingenuity
My father in law late sri Balakrishnan
Uncle as i called him was an architect in Military engineering service and was a honed and experienced professional .
The site too was facing the highway to Trivandrum from Ernakulam as those days the Ernakulam bye pass was yet to be made
Later it became a PWD high road .
It was quite busy all the time and a bit narrow too
Most KSRTC buses slowed down in front of our house due to traffic and i remember getting down or getting into them for some long distance trips right in front of my house like a VIP .
The disadvantage was most passengers sitting facing the house would look at house as it had an appealing elevation with a huge arch born out of the  creativity of uncle my FIL .
Of course our clinic was on right side with a smaller gate partitoned from house by a fence .
The clinic board the patients waiting in chairs watching TV the receptionist in front room with computer all this attracted the passrngers for whom it was an excellent time pass
We too could see them from clinic through our slotted windows .
FIL was very particular with elevation as he knew house was located in a place where all attention would be on it .
It was huge with a really big hall dining kitchen and a back verandah converted into a big room there were more than four bedrooms and master bedroom was huge with a colour matched big bathroom
Of course many houses have all this but iam talking of this three decades back .
The garden with a lawn had coconut trees mango tree a  jackfruit tree ornamental fern trees in front tall and majestic and teak trees more than five or six.
I remember our friend coleague and neighbour Dr Varkey coming home with the teak saplings
Varkey and usha varkey were well known doctors in the area and were our good friends
He hailed from Paala and was at heart a great farmer
He told me Hari grow this teak in no time it will grow as tall as your children
I reminded him of this recently of how his golden words had came so true .
Our children grew up in this house .
Of course our Shilpa left us from here too .
Both our mothers my FIL all left us when we were there .
Both Sruthi and Shyam were born when we were here and lived there till they left Cochin for studies .
The Choice school bus would come right on our door front to pick them up and drop them .
Iam sure they have fond memories of this house named Sruthishilpam .
The car porch was later converted into a lovely bhajan hall where thursday Sai bhajans were held and on sundays children had Bal vikas classes
 when shilpa special school was started it was in this porch etc till school got its own building .

Now its sold to a doctor couple who are continuing to practice there too like we did and we  moved to our apartment in Thripunithura.

Above all this house is a testimony to the creativity and the dedication of my FIL
He not only gave me his daughter but also built me an excellent house too .

Mattancherry Bridge

The iconic Mattancherry Harbour Bridge was built in 1940 by British engineer, Sir Robert Charles Bristow. This bridge connects Wellington Island with Fort Kochi across the Vembanad Lake. The bridge was built in 16 spans with steel and wood and the center span is designed in such a way that it can be raised using a spring mechanism. #DidYouKnow #Kochi

Many are my memories of this bridge
We moved into Kochi in late eighties
At that time this bridge was the only link to Wellingdon island enroute to Ernakulam .
during peak hours the bridge would be jammed with traffic
As the  middle portion was a drawbridge of wood it would shake a bit there
Very rarely had the draw opened to let in a huge ship on way to Cochin port .
On one side lay Wellingdon island partially man made with its huge cranes the port and the Malabar hotel at edge on the other lay Cochin west the fishing harbour teeming with people boats crooners mattancherry fort cochin palluruthy and edacochin
They are full of rich history and folklore
Those days i used to cross this bridge in my yezdi bike with premila holding shilpa gingerly it was only by the time sruthi was born we got our first  car .
Walking over this bridge gave lovely views but it  was dangerous as traffic could hit one
Even though the new bridge has been built this is still in use today showing ingenuity of British built bridges

Our first car

Genesis of driving
Our first car was a standard herald owned by a neurologist friend in Cochin .
It was a great moment for us as it was the first car for us .
Though we both had our driving licences we werent very confident of driving it on our own .
There was specially one place we were scary of on way to Fort cochin a small bridge with a steep incline .
Somehow we both had visions of disaster in that place
We were afraid of our capability in handling the clutch throttle brake combo on steep surfaces and imagined a slide down in such places .
So we hit upon a plan to hire a chauffeur and drive under his supervision .
One of the first respondents was a burly ex lorry driver recommended by someone
He assured us on his vast experience and he was duly appointed .
The next morning we got in with him me in front and premila in back .
Our man got in banging the door with great force
Used to lorries our man was a tough honcho but we wondered if our flimsy herald would bear it .
He then held the clutch and pushed it with great force and we shot off like a bullet .
The car careened its way several times dangerously close to pedestrians .
Those days there were no seat belts and we were thrown around in the car .
We told him to slow down and one of us wouls ride under his expert guidance but he wasnt very happy he just prodded on
So it was a total failure
We told him off
The next day one of us had to dare the drive and my wife took the lead and in days both of us were heralding all over Kochi

Image only for illustration ..this wasnt our car

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