Epiphany in Goa

 

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Was at Goa, so thought of completing the trip by indulging in a clichéd jog-cum-breakfast gig to Miramar,a revered beach there. Did a few stretches, ogled at a few goan chicks busy before stepping  into the water with my playlist playing  Jingunamani, a Tamil dance number that didn’t belong there, like me.

I stepped into the water and put my feet at a point where the boisterous waves were up to knee level. A few damp moments later, my subconscious self had taken over the reigns to my sensory organs before I had lost track of myself, gazing at the sky. Around this time, there was blurry sight of an incoming ferry, teasing on my viewing perimeter.

Accentuated by waves, the water  suddenly seemed to develop a personality of its own. What with regular objects and happenings turning into ponderous  metaphors and transferred epithets. Meanwhile my playlist started displaying artificial empathy of its own, playing Maula Maula from Delhi-6 next, in sync with my state of bewilderment. It was a weird morning, with about everything inanimate instigating some level of soul-searching.

That moment I felt like a blind man who was stationed outside a palace all his life, to only get his vision back on his first step into it. The things that happened were commonplace, but their impact was transcendtal.

Suddenly water that had hitherto satiated my thirst, whose temperature I’d regulated in trivial pursuits and used at the deliverable end of my nature’s call, felt like the Creator’s silk touch.

The cyclic waves caressed my feet that were buried firmly in the mud beneath bringing along -shells,snails, conchs,coins- with every iteration reminding me of the temporariness of everything in life- every facet and relationship in a constant flux, bookended by a memory oscillating back and forth.

The initial fracas caused by the rumbling waves, lead to the virgin territory of the conscience, flattered commonly as “call of the soul”.

I was enveloped in the warmth of the Sun’s untiring patronage.The rays that stung initially, soon started to pamper like hickeys. I could visualize minute golden particles descend from the sky,  dissolving into every pore of my body like from the palm end of Midas, to his touched.

Maybe it wasn’t the Sun I was squinting at after all, but the powerful eye of the Creator himself. Wait, am I flattering the creator from the shores of the most materialistic of places. Well, irony just died twice.So long to being an agnostic in About me of social media profiles.Goa after all has got the reputation of making you do things that you wouldn’t dream of otherwise.

Meanwhile, the once scantly visible ferry grew in size as it approached the shore.(Probably metaphorical of the realization that had found its shore in my mind.

Overwhelmed, I found myself weeping profusely inundated by gratitude and self-ridicule as the eight minute something song came to an end, ending my epiphany along with it. The air started to smell saline again. The sight of young children scampering like headless chicken, felt like a pet peeve again.The puppeteer had let go of the strings. The waves,sky and the Sun turned lifeless again.

My Guardian Angel

 

 

 

People generally wake up to the ruckus of an alarm clock, but my grandma used to wake up the alarm clock instead.Grandma it seems,who am I,Prince Charles?!

Pushpa Patti sounds personal, my edifice of love.

She was my preschool before my kindergarten who taught me beyond the building blocks and alphabets. She hooted with excitment every time I attended my nature’s call with clothes on when the average adult would be peeved. She made me feel special about the birthmark beneath my rear neck as if it connected me to Cleopatra’s lineage.

She was the third parent who doubled as a satellite around me apart from orchestrating the domestic chores with marked passion. She was an illiterate who felt proud about signing her name in broken cursive letters. The two things she was possessive were the jurisdiction of the kitchen and my company.

Being a surrogate mother wasn’t new to her,born as the seventh of sixteen children she was forced to take up to raising toddlers when her mother’s life was torn between spreading legs in the bed and the maternity ward. The rhythm of her childhood was lost in the chaos of domestic colonization. From the frying pan to fire, she got married to my Grandpa(an excuse for inhalation) to make the predicaments of her childhood look like summer vacation.

Maybe she was vicariously living her childhood through me. I was the flagship product of her medicated patience through decades of poverty,hunger and Grandpa.

Pushpa Patti was a natural giver. I’ve seen a lot of lives touched by her rudimentary acts of altruism from an impressionable age, that I attained my compassion before puberty. Now that she had a cement roof above her,this was her way of showing gratitude to all those unrelated good Samaritans who helped her make both ends meet back then.

I remember that period of financial crunch we underwent where my sister and I had an appetite bigger than our bank balance. Pushpa Patti’s meticulous savings used to be our Santa every time we had a craving for empty calories. She funded my first multiplex movie ticket with provision for conveyance.

She had a sweet tooth,but sugar was eating her instead. Her blood sugar levels had gone beyond commonplace mark. That phase marked the start of her second childhood. She used to get caught surreptitiously attempting to nibble a sweet late in the night in a not so subtle fashion,every night.

Age was catching up with her,bartering agility for longevity.By then I had turned into a young man itching towards adult acceptance, who had outgrown the vestigial patronage of his favourite Pushpa Patti.I still feel guilty for my convenient ingratitude towards her during this phase when she needed me the most.

From a hyperactive plump woman with chubby arms, she had started to wane into a puny weak one who couldn’t regulate her bladder. I will never be able to forget the look of helplessness on her face when she was in her death bed,every time she realised she had urinated before a crowd that consisted largely of grown-ups who’s first ever urination happened at her behest.

I was praying that the suffering ended sooner than later as I couldn’t see her decompose before my eyes with painful consistency.One morning the inevitable happened as my fighter of a  Pushpa Patti had succumbed to one last battle for her own good, her lifeless mortal remain lying collateral to that

Paranormal activity

 

 

 

I was midway into a R rated activity on my plush bed, when I got this call asking me to come out of my house. What’s it with bachelors and their wee hour woes. These two friends of my mine were parked outside my flat’s gate threatening to step in, on the slightest hint of protest to their madness. I tiptoed my way out to the car and off the night took off!

These collaterals from unprotected sex dating a quarter century back were driving me to De Monte Colony at quarter to 3.00. For the uninitiated, De Monte Colony is one of the most haunted places in Chennai and 3.00 AM is regarded as time of devil widely. This is the thing with men,they would want to go on a date individually. But these types of activities seldom happen without bonhomie.

“What are we going to do incase the rendezvous with the spirit happened? And I don’t think  disturbed spirits are that gregarious, to have a pep talk about the other side with us. We don’t have a fucking back up plan dudes”,I screamed.

“Chill dude,just go with the flow”, the reply comes in chorus.

We were there before the red flagged house of De Monte colony. This one had turned from a residential structure to a monument of fear,looking down at us through the veil of wild vegetation with an air of mockery at our misplaced chivalry.

We jumped into the property, with the nervousness of a fish to its bait. It was a collage of horror movie tropes with broken doors, creeking windows, cobwebs, wooden flooring reverberating footsteps across the house.

Idle mind is devil’s workshop, but here we were at the devil’s workshop with idle minds. Talk about taking figurative to a whole new literal level!

We were moving together as a group to every nook and corner, as we were pretty aware about the fate of wanderers from ghost movies. After scurrying up the stairs and opening a few shelves, I managed to convince the guys about the impotency of the place. And they came to a compromise with a selfie by the doorway.Yes, the sore thumb of narcissism sticks its head out at the most uncanny places.

I was relieved that I was returning in a piece, when these two miscreants startled me with our itinerary.A cemetery in the vicinity was the next stop. I was so tired to even reason with them, that I decided to embark on this virtuous quest meekly snuggled in the back seat.

Funny how civilized men derive adrenalin gush out of annoying dead people rolling peacefully in their earmarked graves,lusting to turn into a valuable mineral some day to adorn a successor’s neck as jewellery.

Blame it on James Wan for making Conjuring, that suddenly made paranormal look accessible and ghost hunting cool..

Fortune favours the brave they said. They couldn’t be more right. We couldn’t get inside the cemetery as its perimeters were adorned by beats cops.I was relieved that we weren’t going to take inventory of dead people.Also, by then dawn was about to break and we were worn out,but redemption was around the corner.

South Indians have this fallacy, that most of the bad things which happens to a man like bankruptcy,balding and break-up happen because of an empty stomach.So we went to Ratna Cafe,one among the prominent restaurants founded strongly on this fallacy as the Sun woke up a little earlier than usual.

But have to agree that nothing cheers a South Indian like a mug of piping hot sambar scathing through the tender fabric of freshly baked idlis does.Given our relentless tryst a while back, it could be called-“baptism by idlis”

The morning was tantalising with saffron clad sky,boisterous birds chirping symphonies and dew drop clad virgin leaves But sometimes all isn’t well that ends well. As just when we were about to leave,these two imbeciles came to a conclusion that every time we took this paranormal pilgrimage,it must end with a breakfast at Ratna Cafe.Phew!

Tirupathi Musing

 

 

There was a personal thing which I was hoping against hope to not happen and vowed a trip to Tirupathi in barter for its inoccurrence. As rational as we portray ourselves, when there are situations which manifest out of nowhere to catch you off-guard and the vulnerability comes from the uncontrollable realm, it is only fair to seek means to mitigate from the same panorama.

As cool as I felt proclaiming myself to be an atheist and then an agnost for a while then, I could realise the crops of faith growing resiliently on the field of my indifference. It is humbling to accept the wisdom of self realisation to emerge out of the pretentious molar of false ego Meanwhile,my wish was granted and it was my turn to embellish my promise with honour of action.
I could have have gone to the safe confines of reason & karma over the arduous trip,once the miracle happened. The motion to honour a commitment from a position of strength in the future is a virtue that adds the dimension of gratitude, which serves as a beacon of reassurance on the face of an avalanche of uncertainity.

Superstition I could call this. To some touching the nose tip before switching on the PC every time at work, to some adjusting the abdomen guard while the bowler’s in his run up and to others a trip to a temple. So what’s the big deal?
Superstition is after all a speck of sentiment that snowballed under the impetus of emotions into its existence. It isn’t fair to belittle sentiment in the quest for utopian approval, for the heart derives the very fabric of empathy from there to turn the otherwise collage of organs to what is generically called, being human.

Few years back I swore to never return to this cash cow of a temple peeved by the impersonal vice of commercialism. This time around the place was as cold as last time with fog & commerce, tonsured adults sweating it up to make a fortnightly bather like me feel secure about his hygiene. But this trip wasn’t about ego satiation or ideal massage,this was for the favour of miracle bestowed upon in a timely manner-a thanksgiving of sorts.

The person didn’t change, so did the adamant place. But what changed was the perspective. For perspective has made the holocaust of an entire race humane,consumption of fish vegetarian to some and fasting religious to others.
From seeing a stone in a deity , I had come to see hope & gratitude instead.

In Tirupathi, you witness this paradox of free men encaging themselves for hours together with the enthusiasm of a draught struck farmer to the first drop of rain. Call it subservience emulating out of the chastity of generations of unquestioned faith, but the meditated air of euphoria in the most challenging human circumstances for those few fleeting seconds before the deity kilometres away is contagious.

The almighty is a good place to invest gratitude, provided the awareness isn’t overtly naive for it isn’t desirable to relish indulgence in a way of life, overlooking the reason that led to it.
Every trip when embarked on with purpose kindles a hidden facet from within. This Tirupathi trip made a calmer person out of me who learnt to embrace things which he couldn’t understand, without feeling insulted

The Year that was-2014 via 2015

 

 

The 31st day of December every year is a point to review the turn of events of the soon to be erstwhile year put in a clerical manner or the brink of the tesseract employed to transport us from present continuous panorama to the enigmatic pastures of future,put in a little over imaginative manner.Like people hell bent on decorating the statue of a philosopher with scant regard for his teachings, we barely have a genuine moment to take stock of the year ticking away to its finale. Instead we are so preoccupied in the New year parties in those pristine havens pied piped by DJs with fancy pseudonyms
This blog is my way of keeping up with the tradition of fondly reminiscing.about a person after his time to flatter myself to be among those very few “against the tide” pieces God created.

Ego is a whip with a burning tip.With every superfluous swing at someone, there’s a good possibility of a backlash.That said,it’s a luxury only the very honest can deal with to tower among the herd. This year I learnt to leverage it to earn respect, to display resilience at times and to make hate a few times too.
In the domain of love,this year could be called a mixed bag. There was an identity crisis in my system after my break up as to whether love was a flattery of mutual dependence or the second comforting warmth that adorns promiscuity of two adults. But like conjuring of life in the form of wild flowers on the surface of a cemetery,my cynicism paved way for an open mind. For it is only very natural for life after death.
I learned to be more adventurous in my pursuits unlike last time, conditionally blind to a few pursuits and complacently wait for telepathy to weave its magic once. Also there was this butterfly span of a unconventional instance of unrequited love which was very special.

As far as travelling was concerned this year was pretty upbeat. There were two road trips,one to Goa and another to Hyderabad.There’s something about the streaks of meadows,the inundating mountains, the golden carpets of dry grass combed by the winds, the occasional windmills that I encountered whilst the travel that left a indelible therapeutic effect on my personality.The trips woke me up to the insignificance of my existence in the larger scheme of things, the passing mile stones kept reminding me of the permanence of change making me a lot calmer person than last year.

There were a few cases of premature deaths this year which mocked at the concept of life memberships. They were reality checks that taught me to passionately live by making mistakes that I could claim ownership today, than to exist in a risk devoid realm of today guarded by the vulnerable walls of a secure tomorrow
I met with two major accidents, one was on road and the other a break-up. Both took some part of me on barter for new found wisdom.The wisdom to sieve formalities in friendships and friendships in courtesy. Also I learnt to acknowledge the predictability in human emoting that allowed me to humour the stench of the other man’s vices.
Habits that we learn to control turn into routines and the ones that control us turn into vices. Picked up a few good habits and succumbed to a few at times. This year was about purposive self control that added a new dimension to my character.
Every year is like a chapter in a book. There’s no significance to a chapter independent of the book’s context.2014 was an eventful 26th entry to my book. Looking forward the surprises 2015 has in store

A romantic evening

 

She was observantly looking at him approach her perched on a couch that was built to flatter the back. She was taking inventory of a few things like the blue checks complimenting the underlying red of his muscle fit shirt. the perfection of the stubble’s length along with the envious jawline it was accentuating, his gait which was pretentiously out a “Bhai” flick,

“Ogling at me”,he quipped
“No was imagining the crowd mopping across the mall as a flashmob dancing to my tunes!”,she retorted sarcastically
“Good to know that you ain’t myopic,baby!”,he giggled
“Not amused at all. Btw, why haven’t u got ur haircut yet?”
“It’s been ages since my rear-neck has been cuddled by my punk….and I don’t look all that bad either!”,he defended
“Hey bhagwan”,she exclaimed

This rhetorical exercise of trading sarcasm went on till the cold coffees arrived in the eternal company of club-sandwiches.Atleast there was something tangible to munch on now. Peace ensued over the table not because their romance had taken over the reigns from indifference, but this beverages induced equilibrium was an all too familiar spot they would find themselves after the first round of nuclear tests.

Next they indulged in the most celebrated cliche’ of cupid struck ones -that of watching a movie in a scantly populated theatre’s wall corner that epitomised the “talk less, work more” ideology. Wouldn’t know if it was the enticing darkness or the security of the strategic position assumed, the sinful union brought them the closest for the evening,literally and figuratively. Ironically, the couple manicured under the utopian knife of literature,poetry,ayn-rand philosophies, katherine heigl rom-coms had to resort to primal ways from adam & eve era, to salvage their relationship rooted in multiplex culture.

Candles were invented to luminate through the depths of dungeons and caves, but their paradoxical presence on a table of a dimly-lit uptown restaurant would make the inventor roll in his grave. Next on their itinerary of indulgence was candlelight dinner.
“This place is so beautiful”,she blushed
“It only reflects yours”,he flattered
They discussed various topics ranging from movies,politics,marriage,priority names for expected offsprings over aristocratic bland food with fancy names. It was a warm conversation characterised by sweet taciturns & over zealous servers.

Then the trip back home to drop her in which they were auditing the ertswhile events with suggestions and scope for improvement.The turning that led to her independent house at a dead end was the inevitable full stop at the end of their “happy-nothings” everytime they caught up.
She got down from his bike to plant a wet kiss on his forehead.
“Happy 1st Anniversary,Baby”,he gushed and left.

My Vishwaroopam story

This isn’t about Kamal Hasan’s acting prowess, this isn’t about his legion of hardcore fans including me nor is it a factual dissection of the controversy over the ban on the film-Vishwaroopam. This is a memoir of the travails I undertook to make sure I watched the movie at any cost and the myriad experiences that ran across the mind asserting my relation with my matinee idol over the years as the miles in the journey kept multiplying with my bank balance and luck dwindling at a disturbing rate.

My dad had recommended a book called “The Secret” which talks about how the entire universe conspires to make you get what you desire, If you desire it from the bottom of your heart. I got to understand this concept explained in the book through this trip, though not pretty sure about how proud my dad would be about where I applied the same.

The Beginning:
Bookings for the movie set to release on the 25th starts as early as 18th night and before I could get a hold of myself, adrenaline gets the better of me and I end up booking for all five shows for the First Day(ironically I’m not a patron of the concept of overtime in work front).

As the release day nears the guilt of abysmal showing in my recently concluded exams gets dwarfed by Thalaivar hysteria from within and outside. That’s when the ban on the movie happens, as a micro mini section of anti-social elements get offended by their fantasy of the yet to be released movie being anti-them. Suddenly I’m a victim of animosity towards anyone from that community. Maybe that’s how a seasoned rationalist turns into a extremist in a jiffy for a strong personal reason, reasons my inner voice. All the lessons on democracy during the economics period from school time suddenly seem like an exercise on redundancy in a country filled with “touch-me nots” who have their individual remote controls to obstruct democracy.

It does always help to have wise friends with dated sense of humour at times of crisis, the inferno within cools down paving way for logical alternatives to tackle the ape of a mind from misbehaving. So I thought of the following course of actions to take:

Alternate #1 : Go on social networking sites, indulge in some finger pointing, get into some nasty arguments , express views, quote situational lyrics from the movie’s title track and feel self gratified like participating in WWE through play stations.

Alternate #2: For a person, who I look upto as my ideological Godfather would spitting into a common pool to show solidarity suffice or should I do something more worthwhile to show my love & respect. The Mission Telugu land is born!

MISSION TELUGU LAND- CHENNAI→VIJAYAWADA→HYDERABAD→NELLORE→ DISAPPOINTMENT→BACK HOME→PROUDER FAN

Along with my fellow kamalians- Naresh & Gautham, I embark on an overnight trip to Hyderabad where the movie is set to release. The air of mutual ridicule for this insanely mad decision makes way for typical hitting below the belt- guys banter with least regard to a senior citizen’s presence in the opposite berth in our lush sleeper coach heading to Vijayawada.
The news of the movie not releasing in Hyderabad reaches Vijayawada before our bus does. Over breakfast we brainstorm in unison to arrive at a decision to leave to Nellore from there to watch the movie after checking the schedules there.(god bless the visionary who made the cellphone smart with “apps” galore.)
Crusaders-I wouldn’t flatter ourselves, madmen- we almost were there….but diehards-we totally fitted the bill! Why else would this logistical/economical nightmare be vetoed by adults trained to advise other people on how to plan their finance?!
Thus we were enroute Nellore on a bus, which could best be described as one with moderate locomotive abilities on two and a half wheels. Trusting our karma more than the greenhorn driver who was parallelly evolving into a full fledged driver with every passing Kilometre all of us took a power nap.
My subconscious mind gets questioned in my sleep by my brain’s logical side as to whether this pointless madness is worth it?! Offended, my subconscious mind takes me down my memory lane to my first year in the world-Where am I??….I’m in a dark theatre playing some movie disturbing audience rightfully like every newborn does by crying. Crying stops suddenly when a face appears on the large screen- It is Kamal Hasan & that’s where the eternal connection began ,at Aboorva Sagotharargal in Kasi Theatre.

Bent on proving the brain’s conclusion erroneous, my subconscious mind takes me to my first few years as a kid & what did I do as toddler- chose a video cassette of “Singaravelan” over Funskool products unlike my fellow toddlers of that era. During my formative years, that movie was my alarm clock,routine, break from routine, my bribe for having healthy average tasting food and my lullaby.Had I watched “Thuruvilaiyadal” that many times instead,I might have had a limited edition pass to Mt Kailash to rendezvous with Lord Shiva.
I wake up as proud Kamalian after revelations from the ‘brain vs sub-conscious mind’ showdown in my memory lane.

We reach Nellore with the contingency looming large over the movie’s release yet again. Still we make it to the theatre expecting the nature to conspire some miracle out of the blue in honour of our persistence, but like acquaintances of a sinking patient outside the ICU we were getting prepared for the bad news.As expected the movie’s released got stalled & we had to return back to Chennai, heavier than when we left with bundles of disappointment.
Just when everyone around us thought the madness has settled down, the news of the movie releasing in Bangalore on Sunday come as whiff of fresh air to a panting sprinter. We wanted to go as the same group again, but Naresh had an “official” reason to back out of our road trip on Sunday. So this time around the wolf pack consisted of just Gautham and me & thus was born Mission Bengaluru!!

MISSION BENGALURU-
CHENNAI→BENGALURU→VISHROOPA DARISANAM→BACK HOME→MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

Our road trip begins in the nocturnal hours of Sunday, with Gautham driving his Girl friend equivalent i20 to the tunes of Vishwaroopam songs playing in endless loops. “God(Krishna) I pray to you that to give strength to my Thalaivar at these testing times and make sure the movie releases this time for sure in Bengaluru”.

Wait a sec…God!…thinking about God my mind slips into another purposeful trip down the memory lane as I fall asleep with Vishwaroopam songs being replaced by a pretentious tamil rap song with notorious lyrics likening girlfriends to various home appliances.

Where am I this time and what am I upto??….I’m with my uncle amidst a group of saffron kurta clad “sadhus” and septuagenarians on a seemingly endless pilgrimage(that I was arm twisted to attend in return for a fancy gear cycle), hopping from one holy place to another in pursuit of God within, paradoxically! This was our modus operandi in every place-The Guruji discusses the pastimes of the regional version of God in each respective Dham(religious place). This was followed by a graphical account of unfortunate demises of the Demons at the Lord’s hand and the metaphor of Demon used to describe normal civilians indulged in materialistic activities (such as going to office, driving a car, loving one’s family, eating onion and garlic, watching movies) and the dire consequences they had to face for their blasphemy in hell after life. The motto of the pilgrimage was to regard loving God as the highest purpose of our lives.

Then the event that would change my opinion on God forever happens- “Anbe Sivam” releases. The question I was looking for an answer throughout the entire duration of the pilgrimage gets a strong answer-“Love is God!”The ideals of the protagonist deeply get embedded in me forever. The religious accessories and rigmarole become redundant to me forever. Post that movie-I still love God….but I learn to see him in acts of love and stopped seeing harmless onions and cars as apostles of Satan.

I wake up to the revelations about my retrieved reformation from a God fearing person to a God loving one as we breeze into the beautiful city of Bengaluru.
We reach a multiplex with a not so subtle name called “Rockline Cinemas” and yes,the schedules are very much on-the forbidden fruit is available on platter and we succeed finally-Vishwaroopam it is!

The movie begins to play as we are unable to handle the over dosage of excitement flowing in our nerves, Thalaivar manifests on screen and our primal alter ego takes over and we jump and scream like how a marooned man would at the sight of a ship as the cosmetic layer of civilisation detaches paving way for the organic alter ego!!

Then the epic action sequence that gave me my sore throat happened in which Thalaivar performs high voltage stunts in a set piece which alone was worth the ticket price ….I gave my loudest cheer ever and lost my voice temporarily.
Then we returned back home, heavier than when we left….but this time with bundles of contentment notwithstanding the hoarse timber of my voice and my amateur attempts at dumb charades.

Under normal circumstances the trips we embark on usually take us to destination from where the places and people remain etched in our memory, but there are those rare trips where our mind takes a nostalgic road trip across various phases of our lives, blurring out every material manifestation we came across in that trip. This trip would always belong to the latter category, a prized memento in my memory trove reminding me of a time where I made inferences listening to my inner self.

I have experienced sore throat a million times in my life as a result of excessive indulgence in menial cold things like ice creams and cold drinks, but this sore throat took was memorable and would remain a cornerstone event of the year 2013 in my life forever, thanks to Thalaivar for the events that culminated to it.