Thursday, December 22, 2005


Thanmatra, the Blessy movie is all about forgetfulness. In his directorial debut Kazhcha, we saw Pavan (Yash Malavya) deprived from his parents. Here, Ramesan (Mohanlal) is deprived of his memories.
He is a Government employee, happily married, father of two children and the holder of the dreams of any middle-class family man. His father (Nedumudi Venu) wanted him to join IAS, but he couldn’t. So he wants to fulfill his dream through his son.

Everything goes on fine until Ramesan becomes increasingly forgetful. He finds his office file in his refrigerator and forgets the way to his office. Painfully we realise that he has Alzheimer’s disease, a disorder in which one loses his memories, "from latest to first," as the protagonist puts in.

Though a bit dramatic, the attempt to portray Alzheimer’s, and that too using Mohanlal, is praiseworthy. It was good to see his talents being tested to a considerable extend. Other important characters are Ramesan’s wife (Meera Vasudev), son Manu (Arjun Lal) and colleague Joseph (Jagathy Sreekumar).

If a good movie is one that leaves you brooding, puts you in a kind of hangover that you like, Thanmatra definitely fits the bill.

Songs are composed by Mohan Sithara, Kaithapuram has written the lyrics. Cinematography by newcomers Sethu Sreeram is impressive. It is for the first time that 535- B camera with Moviecam lens- an advanced camera is being used to shoot a Malayalam film.

An impressive movie, good work by the cast and crew. Director Blessy surely lived up to the anticipation generated after Kazhcha.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Long long journey...

Today, the spectator tried a variety of modes of transport. He boarded a motor boat, then a KSRTC and a private bus, a ferry, train and last but not least, a walk of nearly 10km!

Motor boat
It’s fun to be a spectator. This time, the view was the mighty Vembanad lake. I was on a boat to Alappey from Kottayam.

Last night, Sreeni suddenly came up with the idea of visiting the tsunami-struck coastline of Alappuzha. We woke up at 6 today (the earliest since we came here!), got ready and went.
The guys were on bikes, Sreeni and I walked towards the Kodimatha boat jetty.
Misty morning, water lilies and rice fields; the scenery was impressive. Saw Kuttanad almost the completely. The last visit was ten years ago.

You shouldn’t go there alone, because you’ll surely be tempted to tell someone what you feel. You shouldn’t go there with a brigade of your friends, because chit-chat will take away the time to enjoy the scenery. The ideal company would be either your camera or the person you love!

Reached Alappuzha by 9:15 and caught a bus towards Harippad. On reaching there, we made a sudden change of plan. We decided to go to Karunagappally, towards Amritanandamayi’s ashram. There, we boarded a Karunagappally bus.

On foot
On the way, Sreeni pointed a board showing direction of Amritapuri. We alighted a stop after that, and had to walk all the way back and then another 5km towards Valikkavu, where the ashram is situated. I was walking in my district, my home was just 20km away…

There, we had to catch a ferry. We could see the fifteen-storey building from Vallikkavu junction one kilometer away. The ashram was quite big. Sreeni was bowled over! "Macha, I thought this would be one dokku ashram with 10 or 15 sanyasis," he said. There were many foreigners, students, devotees, security and media personnel.

Then we ventured out to find the actual tsunami victims. We found many. I had to as one who knew the tsunami only from the TV. They narrated in simple words what they had gone through. By 3:30, we left Amritapuri, took the ferry and then a bus to Karunagappally.

After reaching Karunagappally, we walked 2km towards the railway station. We reached there by 4:15, only to know that the train will come only at 6. Helpless, we slept in the platform bench.

I continued the session of sleep in the Kollam-Kottayam passenger, while Sreeni jotted down the story. The long, tiresome trip concluded with a 2km walk from the railway station to MASCOM.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

From participant to spectator

He was scribbling a dash here and a speck there. At the end there was a caricature on the board. I was jotting down those specks and dashes, and finally drawn a caricature for the first time in many years. We were at the Kerala Press Club, Kochi, attending a seminar on media and disability. The man was a cartoonist.

I was drawn back to my days at Madhava’s. I drew my first cartoon there; a caricature of Karunakaran.
My first drawing attempt was on the unpainted walls of my then home. I used to get the left-over chalks of the literacy mission campaign. (Unni maman was an active member of the "Saksharata mission."). I still remember Thambi kochachan scolding me for scribbling on the walls.

Then I got my first set of colour pencils. Note books became my canvas. I drew up many pictures, good and bad. But after beginning to use water colours, I started collecting and keeping the pictures. I recall I had more than 100. I used to display them in pride whenever a relative or a guest came.

I learned the actual techniques of drawing in Madhava’s. I tried my hand in cartoons, with good results.

As always, my father was a silent admirer of the pictures. He considered (and still considers) it inappropriate to appreciate his son directly. Instead, he became my patron. I got my first box of imported water colours.

I began participating in drawing competitions. The first prize was actually the first prize of that competition. I drew a peacock. I got fifty bucks. I became the star of my class in the convent.

Many competitions, many prizes. But somewhere I lost my interest to experiment and later, my drive to draw. That was when I joined St Aloysius’. I took part in my last competition there. Those three years turned the participant in me to the complete spectator that I am now.

I forgot the lessons I learnt. My skill lost the lustre of experience. But I still treasure that unused range of Chinese brushes and the made-in-Italy colour box. I still hope to give a try sometime; to brush up.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

INS Venduruthy

I was in my room.
I was in the Manorama van.
I was in a war ship.

We were in INS Venduruthy, the home of the Southern Naval Command; the ship was INS Sujatha, a surveillance vessel.
We listened in rapt attention as Commander Nambiar explained about the machines, terms and jargons in the naval parlance. It was really an awesome experience. It was my first experience. I was interacting with persons guarding the deep-blue frontiers of our nation.
A visit to a ship is interesting; even more so when it is a war ship. One of the things that will catch your attention, even perplex you, will be the peculiar terms used in the ships.

"She performs the surveillance operations," said Commander Nambiar. No, "she" is not his colleague, but a ship. This is what we should call a ship; the reason is pretty philosophical.

The ship, in its hull, holds provision enough for the sailors to last for months. The vessel protects and feeds the "inmates" like a mother. That’s why she is addressed as "She." And every "she" has the initials INS. It means Indian Naval Ship.

The interesting terms do not end there. The front of the ship is called forecastle. So the back should be hind-castle, right? No, it is called quarter deck.

Cabin is a room in a ship, but the room from which the Captain controls the ship is not a Master Cabin. It is called Bridge. "It is the brain of the ship," said Lieutenant Viswanathan. A "bridge" in deep waters!

Speaking of waters, the speed of the ship is measured in "knots." A knot means nautical mile per hour. And the "log" tells the inclination of the ship as she "rolls." Don’t go by the word, log in the ship is quite like a pendulum and to roll means to turn.

When you feel hungry, you go to the kitchen. In the ship, there is a "galley." Don’t be puzzled if someone tells you the food is in "mess"; it also means kitchen. The regular meals for the officers will be served in the "wardroom," that is dining hall for us.