Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Bridges of West Kochi

I’d first heard about The Bridges of Madison County from Barry Norman who used to review movies for BBC TV. Those days I’d just begun self-education about Hollywood films so I hardly knew who Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep were, but, I remembered the title as I felt it was important by the way Barry spoke about it and time and again mentioned the lead players (though I don’t remember what his opinion of this film was). Robert James Waller novel (from which the film is adapted) is one of the first e-books I read after getting a PC at home in early 2000s and saw the movie after learning to use the torrents and downloading films.

The film has stayed with me ever since. But, the real significance of it came to the fore when I got a camera and started thinking of projects to do with the new gadget. That was the time I started thinking about the bridges on this side of the town (obviously not the oft clicked and filmed Thoppumpady bridge). I talked about the project with my dad, auto wallah and cabbie friends, but it didn’t materialise and they all seemed to say unison “these places have filth flowing under them and the stench will be unbearable.”

Yet my dream of being like Robert Kincaid (the nomadic National Geographic photographer played by Eastwood in the film) did not go away. At last I told about the project to my ‘ever ready to help’ friend Raju, he too warned me about the stench factor, still he was game for the adventure. It was decided that we will cover the Kalvathy area in the first leg. “And, no need for an auto, we’ll reach there in 15-20 minutes walking and you can start clicking pictures on the way itself”, Raju’s wise words.

The fun part happened when we thought we’d covered 90% of the distance, we realised that we were heading towards Cherlai Kadavu instead of Kalvathy. “I’ve seen a bridge ahead and thought it was the same,” Raju said.

“I meant the one near the State Bank.”

“I think that is the other end and I don’t think that we can reach there walking.”

This in a way proved to blessing for us as we discovered an unexplored and virgin part of the town and it proved to be exotic in every sense of the term with bridges to be found at every few steps and life lulling around on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

A petty shop as we approach the bridge

From the centre

This is where the friends bond
Those friends put me on the footpath
A mansion across the bridge
They aren't amused
A place to worship across the bridge
Ranjith etta bless me
The sight on my Right side
What would the world be without The Mother?
And, of course Raju - My Friend. A 1000 Danks.

Wannabe Robert Kincaid telling bye until he visits another Bridge.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Vanishing Vocations

This is Mahesh doing something that is rarely seen these days. What is surprising is that I found him very close to my home and that too on a Sunday. I don't remember noticing him before and he said that he has been there for the last 18 years. And, when I asked him why he was working on a holiday he answered with a counter question to my friend Raju "Do you take him out like this regularly or is this a special occasion?" then realised very soon that it wasn't a good question to ask and sheepishly replied "I've promised to deliver this chair soon so I'm working today."

I feel I was lucky as  a child to see this equipment operated, kids loved the sound this machine made and used to love seeing the sparks fly when it worked. So, everything worth sharpening was brought out when the call Kathi murcha aakaan undo? was heard. This fellow refused to pause when I called chetta from behind gestured him to stop. So, no frontal pose. :(

Monday, September 07, 2015

I don’t know why I wrote this

Existing in a vacuum

devoid of love

wrenching the heart

desire at least a touch

that can sooth the soul.

Don’t know why or how I wrote this. I feared that such things have stopped coming to me. So, when the first line struck me in the early hours a couple of days back, I tried to keep it in focus until rest of the lines came up. Without thinking about mistakes, rhyming and such things I typed it directly in FB with forward slash between the lines and posted it. I even copy pasted it in twitter (surprisingly it is much less than 144 characters).

Hope it is all was worthwhile.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Colgate's about turn or is it turnaround?

I came across this Colgate Charcoal toothpaste ad yesterday or the day before… As I am an ads freak numerous thoughts crossed my mind in the 30 seconds while this ad was going on…

A new variant to fool people.

Next butt of joke like 'Kya aapke toothpaste mein namak hai?'

I remembered a couple of people who used to brush their teeth with a black tooth powder or real charcoal. Maybe they have launched this to capture that traditional market.

Charcoal face scrubs that the likes of Kohli, John Abraham and Saif Ali Khan sell.

But in the back of my mind something kept nagging, these are not the things, there is another connection. And, the creative visualisation of charcoal powder stayed with me.

Then Colgate tooth powder came in: charcoal is rough and can harm your teeth. So, switch to the white and smooth Colgate tooth powder with the Ring of Confidence.

I couldn't locate the video of that ad… But could find the transcript of the Ad from here.

Colgate Tooth Powder: Two versions of the tooth powder ad.

Version one: muscular country bumpkin is out in the yard, with his weights, in front of a couple of buffalo.

Bumpkin: Arrey Bhabhi, zara mera doodh-badaam aur koyla dena to! 

Bhabhi: Arrey wah, devarji, badan ke doodh-badaam, aur daaton ke liye koyla?! [Scene change, shows graphic of gums and teeth up close]

Voice-over: Khurdare padaarth daaton ki parakh kharaab kar sakte hain.... [Use Colgate Tooth Powder, blah blah blah]
This Ad was telecast nearly 25-30 years back on DD and Colgate may have forgotten about it or have they suddenly woken up to the quality of charcoal?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Strange Place Other Than Earlobes

No, no... This isn’t a post about my fetish for earlobes (one of the softest and smoothest part of the body). In fact it is the title of anthology of corporeal poems by five contemporary poets that includes my good friend Binu Karunakaran. The book was formally launched on the 19th of this month at a function in the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2014.

Here are a few pictures that I could click of the function:

Leena Manimekalai - the Chief Guest, a few moments spent together before the function
Dr. Sreelatha - one of the five poets featured in the book, giving a brief introduction of the book
Riyas Komu - initiating the proceedings
It takes mammoth effort to unravel a book
Ra Sh & Binu seem to be wondering if they will get a chance to speak
Meditating Riyas
Star of the Biennale & a fan
His moment did come
A sign of Arrival - Amol Palekar asking you to sign his copy of your book
You don't get Amol Palekar seated next to you everyday. So, just freeze the moment

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Broken Lives

It does sound like the title of a typical South Asian novel where a kid or kids growing up in poor or middle class surroundings and their family migrates to the West to improve their living conditions. But, this is not my story or to put it more clearly the story I intend to write, I wish to write a story about the people who drift away, disappear or just vanish from your life leaving you to languish in the pain of separation.

Ah! This is turning out to be some kind of meta fiction where the author or the storyteller is a part of the story yet it is not an autobiographical tale. I even posted what I thought would be the first line of the story on my FB wall to an encouraging response of likes, comments and shares. But, as it happens with me every time the vague plot did not take a solid mould.

I feel that you need a totally vacant, painfully vacant mind for a story to take root and I don’t believe in the theory that you go on typing and the story would automatically happen.

PS: I tried to write this to see if the blur picture in my head getting any clearer and, more importantly I did not want this title to evaporate into oblivion from my head. 

Monday, February 02, 2015

A clichéd love story

A clichéd love story

Throbbing in my head

Though they didn't walk into the sunset

Hand in hand

And, carried the pain in their hearts

Throughout their lives

Need a writer with calibre

To make it sound

Unique and fresh.