Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Yaunfen : " Is Sachin Out?"

by Raghuram.R

April 05, 2011

It happened so when I was a kid. My grandfather, an old school principal and a respected person in the society decided to watch the cricket match with me.

Even though I was not more than 10 years old I had some kind of idea about cricket. My grandpa slept off in his old reclining chair with his favorite turkey towel on his shoulder while watching the match. I was chanting scores and counting balls to go. What I clearly recall is a question that my grandpa asked me.“Is Sachin out?” I said, “Yes, Dravid is playing.” My grandpa got up and slowly walked away to his bedroom for the afternoon nap.

After a decade, my grandfather is long dead.

India won the Cricket world cup on 2nd April 2011. On the day of the match I was not in front of the T.V screen( working hazards of a budding journalist ). But when I got to know Sachin got out by Mallinga, somehow I was repeating the same question my grandfather had asked more than a decade ago, “Is Sachin out?”

My interest in cricket has always been the same. For me it is just another sport that I would like to watch if given, nothing else is on my plate. But some of my friends who take cricket as seriously as soccer in England, used to gather around and recall all that happened in the cricket history, ball to ball, score to score. In this process I learned a couple of things. Like Sachin Tendulkar does not have a century in Lords. Nor has he lifted the Cricket World Cup in his entire career. Or, there is a tree in a international cricket ground in South Africa. These are the few non-Greek and Latin that I grasped in my desperate attempts to catch up with what my folks were saying.After this World Cup I know that one thing has changed from the previous night of the world cup. Sachin has kissed the world cup.

Again, something I understood from the cheering I heard was “This is history in making.” I did witness the last moments of the game and the celebration. Live telecast from Mumbai to I don’t know how many people who cried and laughed, celebrated with crackers and fireworks. Who shaved their heads and painted them with three colors (some of them had wall paints on their head, weather proof).

What I learned from the whole fiasco of the world cup and the agriculture minister of India presenting the awards was this, it isn’t just a game.

It never was and never will be.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Nothing changes the old river

Back here in Kerala nothing has changed in six months. I know it is a very short period of time. It is not even a year. But there are things that amuse me. Which I look for every time I come here in my hometown Chalakudy. Things that I wished changed. People who I know act as they are opposite pole of change. Sights that pain me have not changed.
The invalid who lives by the drain canal has not changed. He made a beautiful Christmas tree and a miniature crib by his dingy house. I would be happy if the drain water does not take away the crib with it. I know he would be sad. The drunkard by the shopping complex has not changed his position by an inch. He still sits on the mounted rubber tyres by the shopping complex. He smokes beedi. Bloodshot eyes. He still wears his old check shirts. The funny cashier in the shopping complex has not changed. She stills cracks boring jokes with customers. I always used to wonder if she had a little problem handling money. She gives me more or less money every time. My friend is still working on the same play which he was working on before I left for Bangalore. He says he didn’t get time to work on it. Another of my friend still visits temples by night for the celebration. He says he knows the name of all the elephants in Kerala. I know that he has not changed a bit. The medical shop guy whom I befriended in course of time buying medicines has moved on into another shop. He still hides the fact he is a gay. He lives a normal life. He eyes the crotch of some teenage boy once in a while. He offers them beer. My grandmother still chants prayer when I watch English movies on Star Movies. She chants louder when women come in short and scarce dress. I know she is a dedicated devotee. Esther, the girl I love has not changed he mind. She is still confused and trying her best to avoid me. My little brother still shouts out secrets into my ear. He still does not understand the concept of secret. My mother still asks me to shave. She has not changed a bit. Nor has her television soap serials. I still understand the story, even though six months have passed since I last saw them. My father is the last person I had wished to have undergone any change. He still doesn’t talk to me.
The half built flyovers have not changed for me. It still looks like half built even though they say it is almost finished. The white lilies on the road side have not changed. They still bloom and spread fragrance in the night. My neighbours still burn plastic and gather around while it’s burning. I still hate them for doing that. The Communist Party building has not changed. They have flex board against globalization. The hoardings have not changed. They still show the face of actress for gold ornaments. The magazines have not changed. They still write about how hero came out of the blue and rescued the heroine and salvage her from the hands of the ruthless lustful villain. What more even the stories in soft porn magazines have not changed their trend. They still write about the landlord molesting the maids in the house. The dhoti pattern has not changed. They still are wearing the white or ochre or dark blue ones. I was wondering what Andy Warhol would have made of the dhoti. The electric pole paintings of Che Guvera have not changed a bit. He still wears the cap with a star on it. A black and white painting. The habit of changing cars has not changed, or building new house. Big ones. I know Laurie Baker would have died once again if he heard the cost of the house. The government offices have not changed the still do not look into your eyes if you talk to them. The banks have still the old counting with saliva system. Some use water and some other the machine. I would also add, I love the coin they give me to hold when I am waiting for my withdrawal amount. Those have not changed.
The river in which I learned to swim has not changed. It still is murky green in colour. The smell of the water is still the same. Empty beer bottles float in water, as if they are in for a grand voyage. Men still go and watch the womenfolk taking bath in the river. The women leave huge bars of soap by the river bank. Children come and feed the soap bar to the fish. I watch the fish die.
Everything is the same. Even the silence in my bedroom after eleven in the night is same. If you ask me, how do I feel about it, I would say, “You would never know.”

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Musings about another world.

There are many things that I like to remember. Other than date or month or year. I even lose count of them once in a while. What I do remember are characters. From movies, books ,comics. Even authors some time become the prey of my somewhat weird working memory. I started to understand how I do keep in pace with the characters eventually. What I do is relate the character to me. By that way I gradually make them a part of my life. I have this world of mine where all these characters are important. Where they speak about their world. Their genuine emotions. They empathize with me. They grant me their words. I try to imitate their actions. By default they live with me.
No Strings attached.
Characters from movies have influenced me the most. I still remember how Mohanlal in the movie Aaram Thamburan sits on the chair and asks his friend Nandakumar to buy him back his ancestral home. He also adds with a wise smile not to register the home in his name. When his friend asks why the character Jagan(played by Mohanlal) does not want the house to be registered in his name, Jagan says “ I would love to live this life as guest in the world. I want no strings attached to me. I must end like that.” Do not ask me why, but I would not forget this sentence. It happens at times Jagan appears whenever I make a commitment. Whenever I wish I had something of my own. I must be because I too want to be a guest in this world.
It happens so, whenever somebody poses me with the heavy question ‘Do you believe in God?’ that scene in the movie Country Teacher creeps up in my mind. There is a scene where the woman in the village asks the newly arrived teacher ‘Do you believe in God?’ The country teacher looks at the distant church seen in the backdrop a beautiful sky and answers ‘I want to believe in god. But I do not know how to.’ Wonder it seems I answer the same every time somebody asks me the question.
Drive Safe
Fictional characters in books are more kind than the movie heroes. They just linger around. They pass me their habits, looks, attitude. Their fear, agony, depression. Their love, compassion. Like the hero in the novel ‘The New Life’ by Orhan Pamukh. The hero in the book travels a lot. He travels a lot by bus in Turkey. He gradually acquires this fascination for accidents while travelling. He finds it very amusing. He even says that after an accident happens for a temporary period of time a gateway opens. In the dust that raises after the accident a gateway opens to the other world. I found this very fascinating. From then on that character passed on its fascination for road accidents to me. Every time I travel by bus these days I carry with me the same unexplainable and intense feeling.
I always wanted to visit the places that I have read about. May it be Mojave desert or Bombay. Haridwar is one of those places. I read about Haridwar, in the book ‘’ Haridwaril Manikal Muzhangunu’’ ( The Bells That Toll in Haridwar). In that book the character Ravi talks about a minster that he encounters in the streets of Haridwar. He depicts a cow as the monster. He says that the cow that has been garlanded and coloured red is a monste. Carrying the sins of all the humans, who wash it away in the Ganges. Ravi is not afraid not happy in meeting this cow. I had visited Haridwar recently. I was alone. I walked all around Haridwar in search of that sin bearing monster. I loved my journey even though I knew there is no such cow nor is there Ravi.
Remembering Neruda.
Preserve characters. Odd dialogues, emotional outrages, undesired fears. Everything you can carry with you about them, please do carry. They would come before you. As Neruda said ‘ as dew comes onto leaves’.

About Hope: - The Worst of all Evils.

Friedrich Nietzsche wrote “Hope is worst of all evils, because it prolongs mans torments”. Even though the topic of relevance, in this context is Love, I choose to start with Hope. In a few words the German writer has streamlined all the aspects of a profound word. On first reading it may seem as the most grotesque and uncanny way to explain the key and end of all philosophies and theories. But on further reading and contemplating about this particular sense of Hope, we find it hard to digest just because it is the ultimate truth said in plain words.
Hope is something that will linger around in the mind of mankind at all times. Like the hope for a better tomorrow, better life. Hope for a world with order against chaos. For no revolts, revolutionaries, terrorists, insurgency and war. The need for a content society. With no minority, interest groups, pressure groups. Apartheid will lose meaning. What a world would it be. Like Moore’s Utopia, or the New Atlantis. The creative mind of human has written many a great works on that world. Moreover the Indian philosophy of Vasudheava Kudumbakam is based on that Hope. The important question to be raised at this juncture is the possibility of such a world. If it could have happened, why hasn’t it? When will it? Mankind has no definite answer for that rhetorical question.
That is where the poet wins his thought, that Hope is just another weapon in the armory of man to fight his aggression, despair, greed. A potent way of escapism. The excruciating happiness which this hope gives mankind is so believable and intoxicating that humans subdue to them. And find or propagate that Hope is the logical exposition of a lot of problems. We all tend to forget the innate need of man for having more and more. There hasn’t been a time when man has ceased to crave for more. This mad race for the so called progress is what, that creates the need for more order. Which eventually perpetrates chaos. And chaos, hope.

I'm Explaining a Few Things

You are going to ask: and where are the lilacs?
and the poppy-petalled metaphysics?
and the rain repeatedly spattering
its words and drilling them full
of apertures and birds?
I'll tell you all the news.

I lived in a suburb,
a suburb of Madrid, with bells,
and clocks, and trees.

From there you could look out
over Castille's dry face:
a leather ocean.
My house was called
the house of flowers, because in every cranny
geraniums burst: it was
a good-looking house
with its dogs and children.
Remember, Raul?
Eh, Rafel? Federico, do you remember
from under the ground
my balconies on which
the light of June drowned flowers in your mouth?
Brother, my brother!
loud with big voices, the salt of merchandises,
pile-ups of palpitating bread,
the stalls of my suburb of Arguelles with its statue
like a drained inkwell in a swirl of hake:
oil flowed into spoons,
a deep baying
of feet and hands swelled in the streets,
metres, litres, the sharp
measure of life,
stacked-up fish,
the texture of roofs with a cold sun in which
the weather vane falters,
the fine, frenzied ivory of potatoes,
wave on wave of tomatoes rolling down the sea.

And one morning all that was burning,
one morning the bonfires
leapt out of the earth
devouring human beings --
and from then on fire,
gunpowder from then on,
and from then on blood.
Bandits with planes and Moors,
bandits with finger-rings and duchesses,
bandits with black friars spattering blessings
came through the sky to kill children
and the blood of children ran through the streets
without fuss, like children's blood.

Jackals that the jackals would despise,
stones that the dry thistle would bite on and spit out,
vipers that the vipers would abominate!

Face to face with you I have seen the blood
of Spain tower like a tide
to drown you in one wave
of pride and knives!

see my dead house,
look at broken Spain :
from every house burning metal flows
instead of flowers,
from every socket of Spain
Spain emerges
and from every dead child a rifle with eyes,
and from every crime bullets are born
which will one day find
the bull's eye of your hearts.

And you'll ask: why doesn't his poetry
speak of dreams and leaves
and the great volcanoes of his native land?

Come and see the blood in the streets.
Come and see
The blood in the streets.
Come and see the blood
In the streets!

Pablo Neruda