Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Govinda aala re aala - Arrival in aamchi Mumbai

I am walking through the streets, where the smell of puri bhaaji, vada paav, samosas, bhel puri, chaat, Pani Puri, dhokla, gulab jamun, cachori, sev; all seems familiar. The place that has changed the life of many and that has made people learn the importance of shelter, food and money. Yes I was at Mumbai, aamchi Mumbai where destiny took me again after my last visit 2 years ago. I landed at thane and saw many people who came to welcome me, a crowd uncountable and moving that appeared murmuring; “Govinda aala re aala”. Mumbai and people in Mumbai do not have much change except the advancement of lifestyle. High class Showoff’s and middle class concealing is still prevailing in Mumbai, however the active and energetic lifestyle switch the negatives to positive.

I thought to refresh old memories by travelling in Mumbai’s auto rickshaw. I asked my colleague to wait at Powai who was supposed to receive us at the railway station. We took an auto and travelled all the way to Powai from Thane chatting with the driver, exchanging marathi conversations. He started narrating stories of Thakre and Shahrukh khan, the changes in Mumbai, climate, his family and this went long until we reached Powai police station. I asked my colleague to bring the car.

I and Jinu decided to have tea and bhajiya from a nearby “tapri” (thelas that serve food and tea). Tea was poured in a small plastic cup and bhajiyas in a thali along with home made tomato ketchup. My taste buds have a direct link with the brain and they detected the lost taste.

The next day started with the aim to travel and see maximum places possible. We travelled by car crossing the Bandra-worli sea link. The bridge was a 1600 crore project and depicts the marvelous engineering miracle. This bridge is said to have reduced the travelling time from an hour to 7 minutes. The buildings across the sea make me remember the tall and short elevations in America. The bridge adds value to the sea like an ornament in its collection.

Travelling by car was boring and we left its use at Anne basant Marg. We took a bus and continued until we feel tired. In Mumbai you never feel life is boring. Bangalore, Hyderabad or any city in India cannot be compared to Mumbai. We were dropped near the Atria shopping mall where we waited in the shelter of the bus platform making ourselves comfortable and rest for the journey.

At the bus station, Jinu saw a couple kissing each other in public. He moved my face like a small child to catch my attention and see them. It is his first time in Mumbai and things like this appear shocking. Mumbai or people in Mumbai do not worry about the public but they always try to live the way they feel comfortable; at least the majority try.

I can notice the craze for brands in Mumbai with respect to clothes and consumables. Girls appear the same everywhere with similar hairstyle and way of dressing that is not different from their fellow travelers. They lack the originality and the “wow” feeling. This is not a comment from the majority but something I feel personally.

We entered Atria mall for a small shopping. Jinu bought some clothes for his nephew and I purchased some for me. We moved from one shop to another searching the best we could purchase. The top floor was meant for food and the 2 Pm alarm gave the indications, “empty stomach, please refill”. We went and ordered fast food, but it came late due to the unending requirements from the crowd gathered in the floor. The eatables and even water were for double the rates we could get from outside. We took a bus and reached the flat in Royal palms. We waited there for evening and finally moved towards Goregaon to see the market.

We crossed the bridge connecting Goregaon east and west that ended in a market selling consumables and non-consumables with priority to the customer’s choice. In Mumbai you can even bargain for a BMW at your proposed rates. I used the skills that I acquired during my lifetime in North India. I bargained for a trouser worth 650 rupees and purchased at 200 rupees. This impressed Jinu and he started asking the shopkeeper for gold coins in exchange for copper coins. Though not successful but he was able to learn the range for bargaining.

This marks the end of the day. I always hate the wordings that appear with cartoons in the newspapers. But this time I am forced to say… “will continue…”

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Awakening the sleeping corporate minds through a train journey

This time I was in Netravati express from Trivandrum to Lokmanya tilak, sitting on the seat, adjusting my body to fit the space available, after a family of five members occupied the adjacent space. The journey will be two days long, boring and worthless; that was what we thought, when we saw the power outlet far from our seats. In a two days journey you have to depend on laptop and movies to attract people and passing time.

There were four ladies including an old grandmother and a man, who said he was working for Kerala tourism. Ladies were discussing about the space in the train and their love to occupy a complete compartment where they are free birds and has no external intrusion. People always need privacy even if they are in train but I was sure this thought will change once I start mingling with them. : )

We started the laptop Alias theatre, spreading the sound of the movie everywhere. Laptop was set to its top volume and all passengers started moving around to see the miracle. The people in AC compartments, though human try to imitate the second class gentleman and their ego never permits them to mingle with others or intrude into others life. But human beings have similar characteristics and that cannot be changed, no matter how hard they try to show-off.

Gujarati couples were the starters who asked the permission to join the movie. After this move, many people started joining the group and I felt like a theatre owner who runs his business without selling any tickets. We did not feel anyone disturbing us but it was all sharing happiness and joy. One of the Gujarati women laughed loudly at a comic scene and then people started commenting and blowing whistles. Here comes the real man/ woman who were trying to hide him behind the Suits.

Our compartment had a cute child that was mischievous and lovely. She used to come near me and touch the screen of the laptop and run back to her mother with a sweet smile. She would repeat this often to catch my attention from the crowd.
This reminds me about my sister when she was small and her mischiefs. She always tried to make me angry so I would start concentrating on her.

I repeated one movie after the other until we reached Mumbai. The mechanic in the train always would ask the question whether we are not fed up of watching many movies continuously but he was also interested in watching them to pass his time. He said that he was afraid of the PRESS who will write the story featuring “a mechanic seen in train watching movies compromising his duty”.

The journey to Mumbai was filled with fun and enjoyment. I hope people enjoyed my company and would never complain any intrusion or pray for privacy. Train journeys can further be enjoyed with group chats, debates on common topics, jokes, small games etc. But to enjoy the journey we all should forget the corporate or the First class gentleman or woman we are outside.

I was in Mumbai for 1 week and the time period of my absence from online world seems long. Next continues the story from AAMCHI MUMBAI…

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A day as a celebrity through AMMA film association and Abad Plaza, Ernakulam

The reverse gears were loaded and the vehicle started moving backwards towards the exit. Ashok has fitted several controls in his vehicle that includes protection systems and camera to view the blocking objects when the movement of the car is reversed; a miniature prototype of a James bond vehicle. The vehicle started moving through the parking of Abad plaza in MG road Cochin surpassing several other vehicles and pillars that came in between. The parking area was completely busy due to the meeting of “AMMA”(Association of Malayalam Movie Artists), the film association of Kerala that came to discuss on its issues with the actor Tilakan. This visit to Abad Plaza was unexpected and made us small celebrities.

We left kakkanad and thought to have dinner prior to reaching home. Ashok said that he has no special theory regarding his selection of food and he would like to be the part of team. Dileep suggested having it from the nearby hotel in kakkanad, Cochin. While we were entering the hotel, the security guard stopped us and said to park the vehicle at a different location as the parking lot is full. We decided not to stay and moved to MG road, Ernakulam. Dileep mentioned that Abad Plaza is one of the best hotels in Cochin that serves food, tasty and delicious.

We entered Abad plaza and it took us some time to find a space in the parking lot. We saw the vehicles of Manorama and other news channels, making a queue in the hotel premises. We moved inside and asked the waiter for the exact location of the buffet.

There were two doors adjacent to each other named Kadaloram and regency. Kadaloram served Kerala food and we moved inside. We started with the soup and finished with desserts. It took three rounds to complete my eating. Ashok was the slow among the three to complete the consumption. I could see heavy crowd outside the hotel. I understood that it was for the celebrities, Mohanlal and others that we saw outside.

We finished eating process, took the vehicle and moved towards the exit. The moment the vehicle reached the gate, people surrounded it and started peeping inside the window glass to figure their favorite celebrities. I was really surprised to see their eagerness. I went close to the window and waved my hands outside making gestures like real celebrities. This was a moment when I could experience myself moving away from the red carpet.

I noticed several funny faces when I revealed myself to the public. Some were astonished, some were surprised to figure out the new celebrity they haven’t seen before but it was for few minutes until we could make our way out.

I have seen news channels featuring celebrity shows and figures moving from the red carpet into their vehicles, people surrounding them, but this was a really exciting experience. At least I am thankful to Abad plaza and AMMA association that made us real celebrities for a day.

Though our photos were not displayed in the newspapers but the walk towards the parking lot and the exit was an unforgettable incident. I think the day is not far when I will be featured in the newspapers. At least let me imagine yaar. : )

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Introduction to addicted maniacs from grandmother's Diary - Attack of television serials

She looked around to find a way out of the dark house using a torch. Sirens unexpectedly erupted, ringing throughout the giant house and the grounds, as a light started revolving through the window. She saw a bang on the door and… “che poyaloda”(oh it is gone) screamed my grandmother after receiving an interruption in the climax of her regular TV serial. She started cursing the electricity board for their improper service in the locality. She added that it has happened twice and at a time when some of her favorite serials are in the verge of disclosing some mysteries. My grandmother is a TV serial maniac who starts watching TV from 7 PM until 10 PM. We have dinner in between but her eyes are stuck on the TV screen and the dialogues from the characters.

(Most of my posts mention about my amma. The right hand side is mother and left is grandmother)

I visit my grandmother’s house once in a week. She calls me in advance to confirm my arrival and prepares all the delicious dishes that I love to eat. I reach there by 8PM and get the privilege to witness her non-stop TV serials.

Once I was having my dinner and she said that Vishnu is a very cute and nice boy and she loves him a lot. I asked her the whereabouts of Vishnu and she said that he is a little boy who sings song in “junior star singer”, a TV reality show on Asianet channel. I was surprised to hear her reply. My grandfather always teases my grandmother for watching TV serials and taking them seriously. He said that he is not interested in them and watches them just for passing his time.

There was a party and I was with my grandfather listening to his friends who were discussing some issues related with a property connected to a temple. In the middle of the discussion, my grandfather turned at me and pointed to a person saying “see he looks like Ananthan”. I was wondering who this Ananthan is and asked him in anxiety. He replied that he is a comedy character in a serial that started 4-5 months ago. Later the family members discussed this and laughed at the grandfather who was always there to protest the serials and tease my grandmother.

My grand mother gave me a list of some popular serials that included idea star singer, devi mahatmyam, parayi petta panthirikulam etc. and advised me to see them daily. I agreed with a gentle smile nodding my head, signaling the acceptance. I am not used to serials and don’t get the time to watch them. I even got the chance to see some of the ladies in the neighborhood crying while watching a mega serial. :)

Six weeks ago my grandmother called me and asked whether it is possible for me to reach home. She said that the Television is not working properly and she is not able to see her favorite serials since one week. She said that she asked some technician to repair it but still of no use. I reached home and she was waiting for me in the front of the house. The moment I entered the house and she insisted me to see whether I could repair the television. I tried the level best but was not successful with it. Her face was dull and appeared like she did not have any food for a week. I could not bear her silence and took my vehicle to the nearest store and purchased a big TV. The moment I installed the television, her face was lit like a lamp and a sweet smile appeared on her face. I was satisfied with my purchase.

Grandmother's television dish

We had a big dish in the home though which most of the Malayalam channels were viewable. I searched the internet and tuned several channels for my grandmother. Some weeks later she called me and said that she took a cable connection as the channel featuring her favorite serial is not available in the dish. The photo shown above is of the old dish that is now a house for birds and plants.

I brought the new mobile and decided to take some pictures from the locality. While I was at the back side of the house, I could see the dish receiver placed naked on a drum with plants surrounding it. It was avoided from the day my grandmother received the cable connection.

Grandma's old receiver

If you could closely monitor the old people watching television then you will be able to find the depth of their viewership. My grandfather’s sister moves her head along with the actions of the TV characters and sometimes starts searching for them when they are out of focus. :)

I read an article recently that says, reading books can increase mental work whereas watching movies and television on a regular manner affects mental behavior and thinking capability. I would suggest that parents should take care for their children who watch televisions or play games continuously. They should teach them to use it as a means for time pass restricted to few hours a day.

In olden days people used to spend time with their family, discussing funny incidents, sharing knowledge but today TV serials have robbed their valuable moments leaving them in from of the television. In my childhood only Doordarshan channel was available that had limited movies and serials and children used to play quiz and outdoor games. Today children have shifted to Dora, ben-10, Tom and Jerry and action packed-movies making them engaged in front of the television. Watching television is fine but becomes a problem when it affects relationships.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Effects of Youth dreams and eating disorders

Escaping sleep is a big mission and I cannot achieve it. I spoke with the client to fix a contract and the meeting went until 3 AM in the morning. Streets were dark and there was neither the watchman nor the dog visible in the house. I went inside the room and fell on the bed like a dead piece of paper. Daily I wake-up at 8 am and miss the gym, so I decided to set an alarm and go to the gym no matter how it affects my physical/ mental state.

I got up at 6 AM with the alarm and decided not to sleep. I changed the dress and went to the gym (forgot to mention that I brushed my teeth). I was half sleeping but the exercises made me active and the whole day passed without feeling tired. I understand that physical exercise is an important part of life and I will try to continue this even if I sleep late.

Youths are trying to maintain a slim body that attracts audience. I could see my sister dieting to make her look like Aishwarya rai or priyanka chopra. I witnessed some girls vomiting and being unconscious due to irregular diet. People do not understand that dieting or no-eating is not the solution to attain a slim body or a perfect posture. Proper exercises and balanced diet is the vital solution to achieve the aim.

Ghajini star Suriya with Six pack abs, brought a tremendous revolution in the youths. Everyone is dreaming for a 6 pack muscle on his abdomen without being aware about how difficult it is to achieve. You have to maintain a strict diet with daily exercises.

I am not concerned about my six pack abs neither the diet schedules. I would like to discuss the cause that made me a continuous visitor of gymnasium. I went home last year and my mother gave me loads of tasty food and all of them were my favorites. After I reached Cochin, I could find a tummy out and cheeks blown like balloons. Jk has a affordable tummy that he is maintaining for years and I did not care much about myself. We were walking on the streets and I heard a comment from a friend asking where the two fat cows are going? I was not able to understand in the beginning but later noticed that it was also on me. This insult resulted in joining a gym and reducing the weight by 11 kgs. I decided to maintain the so called abdomen for long and preserve my physical presence.

The reason for writing the post is to introduce the importance of exercise in life, sleeping disorders and youth desires. Most of us might be working in offices sitting on a chair passing orders to the subordinates without doing any physical exercise. This affects the body on a longer run and makes one sick and lazy. We can walk from one floor to another or one cabin to the next to provide a physical exercise to our body. This makes me remember the dialogue “walk and talk”.

Yesterday, I read about neurons and their importance in brain. The article mentions that a research conducted by a group of scientists found walking very useful for the proper functioning of brains and helps it develop better. I and my colleague decided to have the lunch from a hotel and I insisted to walk. The atmosphere was hot and sun was shooting its rays towards us. I decided to walk and see my brain develop but when I returned back I could find my head paining. It is therefore necessary to know the best place and time for exercise. You can choose a morning session or an evening time depending on your working hours. I hope you all might have experienced the above mentioned problems.

So let’s promote exercise and denominate dieting.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Porridge athava Payasam mega festival at home - Amma's swantham prepration

Today the lunch was from a hotel in Cochin. As a change I ordered rice (the big one called as boiled rice) and he brought some vessels with curries and kuttan(sabji). The usual curries namely moar, sambaar, mooru curry, rasam etc. I was upset and thought it is a practice to have lunch and I should satisfy my stomach with whatever I get. I could see one more vessel, a small “kutti” one and to my surprise it was the payasam (kheer or porridge). Now I was really happy to see my favorite in the eatables.

I completed my lunch and had the porridge so that the taste remains in the taste buds and I could enjoy it for a couple of hours. Sorry, forgot to mention that I washed my mouth very well. : ) when I mention about payasam and my love for it I should not forget to mention the weekly payasam festival we used to have at the home. Now when the festival comes into picture, I should also mention about the taste of my family members.

My Father and sister are fond of the dishes that are too spicy whereas I and my mother like sweet items. I hope you would have guessed who could be the visitors of this festival. Yes, it was my mother and me. My mother says that when I was a child I never eat things without insistence of my mother or shouts from my father. She says that I always would eat porridge from my childhood without any issues and would always ask for another plate of it soon. She never prepared any professional porridge for me in the childhood, rather she will pour some milk in rice, with jaggery finely chopped and coconut grates, however I liked it very much.

Later when I grew up, we started making porridge every week and after the introduction of daal and bulk sugar scheme, it raised to 4-5 times every week. I understand you would think what this sugar and daal has to do with this Payasam. In my house it was decided to purchase sugar and the grains in bulk to save money and avoid frequent visit to shops. My neighbor had a daal mill and we purchased daal in sacks of 50 and 100 kg’s that will last for a year.

The preparation schedule was really funny where I would look at my mother and give indication about my father leaving the house after his daily lunch. She would then wave her hand and we will start the works for the porridge preparation with me doing the initial works like grating coconut and cutting balls of jaggery into small pieces. We would use sugar most of the times and each time it would be a different payasam. I am sure if my mother would be blogging then we would have a lot of pyasam recipes. We have almost tried all sorts of payasam.

After a couple of months my father realized the shortage of sugar and other household items and he thought to find the cause. With the help of the detective of the house(My sister Anjali) and his skills of intuition he came to the conclusion that I and my mother are the roots of the problem. He ordered to reduce the habit of making porridge and we did it for some weeks.

We later resumed it but I miss my mother a lot and the nice days we had at home. Amma!!! Mm… I love the tasty food made from her hands. Do you miss the same?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Introducing Hindi in Mrs. Phillips and a Loving teacher

Today was not a great day for me. As usual I wake up at 8 in the morning, went to the office, came back, had food and was about to sleep when I thought why not to be online on my Google talk and find some friends. To my surprise I could see Anupama from “sincerely yours…” and then we chatted for long until she said “veendum kanam” (We will meet later). I accidentaly used some hindi words and she replied to them back in Hindi. I asked whether she knows hindi and her reply was that she stands first in all three languages. It was really nice speaking to her and that made me remember my hindi teacher Mrs. Anitha Phillips and I thought to write something about her.

Anitha Phillips madam is a kind hearted teacher who was nice in looks and sweet in words. She was my class teacher in fifth standard and always supported me in my studies and sports. She taught us hindi in such a way that each class appeared interesting. I still remember when she asked me to stand in front of the class and praised me for my hindi speaking skills. She said, “See Abhilash; he is from south India and speaks so fluent Hindi”. I was at the top of the class and in front of the children with a single praise. Thank god! the fan was not kept rotating. : ) My friend did not like all such praises and said “batau kya re! tu north India me pala bada tha”(should I say that you were born and brought up in north India?). After promising him a pepsi(it was a plastic tube filled with ice water) that we used to get at 50 paisa, I was able to escape from his harassment.

I can remember the way Mrs. Phillips explained each poem in Hindi and the poet’s intention of writing such lovely poems. She could always find two to three meanings in every sentence and the way of expressing them was like Amitabh bacchan narrating dialogues. My mother liked her very much and used to get good remarks regarding me. My mother is a very knowledgeable person, not at all like me. She reads a lot, solves puzzles, watches cricket and does all creative things. A really active woman I have ever seen.

When said about Mrs. Phillips I should not forget mentioning about the day when she made me the Class monitor. I used to look after the boys and girls who will talk and always write their names. There was always a boy and a girl as volunteers. I enjoyed my tenure for 1 year while a number of girls changed as monitors and some resigned during my rule. I really don’t know why? :)

I was like a ruler who was always in the good books of all the teachers and all of them knew my mother. My mother would come in all the parents teachers meetings and teachers would never praise me rather they will praise her for the efforts she took to teach me. Really I also praise my mother for how she made such a dumb boy like me study well.

We have a tradition called chor oonu(where children are given rice for the first time and father writes on the tongue of the child with gold ring dipped in honey) and I was given that at the Guruvayoor temple in Kerala. My mother says that a Brahmin saint saw me that day and said that he resembles Lord Krishna and would become a bright boy. My mother always used to tell me. Abhi Lord Krishna is fine but I never want you to be mischievous like him. I said at least not in the case of Radha’s.

I liked Hindi class not because it was my favorite subject but because it was thought by my favorite teacher. I met her last after my tenth exams and she had tears in her eyes and blessed me with both her hands on my head. I felt like I have achieved everything in Life. It’s said in Sanskrit that “Mata, pita, guru, deva”. After the position of Mother and father next is The Guru(the teacher). Guruve namah! Really I feel like crying when I think about the incident of my teacher blessing me for my bright future. I caught both of her legs and asked her for the blessings that could lead me to the great heights of moksha. Its also said that guru ke pairon ke neeche jannat hain(Its heven in the feet of your Teacher ).

It is really nice thinking about those childhood days which could not be captured in a single article like this. Mrs. Phillips always used to say that time may pass and you will reach a stage where you will be able to get everything in life and buy everything under the sky but never can get your childhood back again. So true she said. I wish I could be the same small boy who always used to be close to his mother and friends.
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