Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Exam Fever

A University,which was in news for breeding a rare species of termites,with a nutritious diet of Under graduate answer papers,suddenly decided to mend it's ways.The axe fell on a batch of unsuspecting PG students enjoying the final semester in college.The prescribed 90 days for a semester,cut short to 75 and the dates announced for the final exams.A certain group of dreamy-eyed arts students who did their "Doctor Zhivago" in movie form,watched "Throne of Blood" with Chinese subtitles for Film Studies,slept through "Pedagogy of The Oppressed",and listened to"Chicken Soup with Barley" with a growling stomach(because the professor droned on past the lunch bell),found themselves with hardly three weeks for a recap.Then began a flurry of xerox copy sessions. Notes,prints,scraps,manuscripts,anything that came their way,now lie in neat piles on study tables,hot from the xerox machine.Some got carried away in the frenzy and ended up with two copies of the same text !
The study leave kicks off with the ceremonial preparation of the Time Table which makes things look like a piece of cake.Since most of the day goes by in deciding what to study,most of the action takes place at night.They soon realize that Kafka needs atleast two days to sink in.The time table already in disarray.Their sleep haunted by nightmares varying from turning up late without the hall ticket to mixing up the serial numbers.
Ahead are days of umpteen swigs of black coffee,frantic phone calls,and litanies of "Lord of the Lazy bones,Study (atleast) for us!" if you are caught lazing around(harmless but unsettling).

Hark ! I hear one!

In view of the decisive exams it's restricted creative activities(except, in the answer sheets) this month.Catch up with all of you soon!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"Seven, eight, lay them straight..."

It was at a personality development workshop that we were first asked to write down our weak points.The task was over in a jiffy.Next we were asked to jot down our fortes.It dragged on for minutes.
Some tags are like that.

Rules for this tag
1. Each player starts with 8 random facts about themselves.
2. People who are tagged, write a blog post about their own 8 random things, and post these rules.
3. At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and include their names.

Here I go...

1. I am a dog lover who never really owned one.My favorite nursery rhyme "How much is that doggy in the window?"

2. Used to think bonsais were cute,not any more.Bonsais and tiny fish bowls seem like torture to me.

3. I tend to think I'm the tallest among women in the bus.Guess tall women don't use buses these days ;).

4. The sight railway tracks fill me with an urge to travel.Love the rattle of rails and journeys by train.

5.I like reading about Kerala in English.Anita Nair's anthology "WHERE THE RAIN IS BORN"on my books-to-own list.

6. The question paper always makes me feel guilty of having ignored that one little chapter.And that happens all the time...!

7. Feel choked wearing a helmet so usually don't use one.But my helmet-shirking days are over with the traffic police planning to fix hidden cameras at junctions :(

8. I don't think heavy metal rock is music or that bawdy stuff are jokes.

I tag Merin.

Silverine, do pass me that tube of Moov too! Merci beaucoup!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Queen's Meet

March 7, 2007 : the world's largest luxury liner Queen Mary 2 visits the Queen of the Arabian Sea.
One of the first luxury liners to touch the shores of Kochi,it's sheer size and magnificence made it the talk of the town in no time.The 2000 odd passengers on board were received warmly by the Cochin Port Trust and the Kerala Tourism department with the customary thalapoli, garland and tikka.However their joys were short lived.The one day they had on shore turned out to be a full fledged hartal in the State.The tourists who decided to stay back and shop instead of going to Kumarakom and other tourists places found themselves on a sparsely populated street with shops shuttered tight.

Dad and I, always on the look out for an adventure, decided to go watch the ship as it set sail .Dad decided the island of Vypin would give us a vantage point.Though it was almost a year of my stay at Ernakulam I had never been to this part of the city.So we glided through the traffic-free Goshree bridges enjoying the breeze and the breathtaking view of the Port and Marine Drive.

The Vypin island and Mattanchery town form the two banks of the estuary that opens into the Arabian Sea.Both shores are dotted with Chinese fishing nets and fishing boats.There is a boat jetty that caters to a bustling ferry service.

Reaching Vypin,we were greeted by a teeming crowd of enthusiasts who had come there for exactly the same purpose.The platform on the banks were overflowing with men,women and children of all ages.It was the mood of a fair or a palliperunnal.Everyone in gay holiday(hartal holiday)mood and bubbling with excitement.We found ourselves a place with a little difficulty.
The scheduled time as said in the newspaper was 1pm.The clock inched towards 1 and all eyes scanned the horizon for signs of the ship.

From where we stood we could not see the ship but dad said we might see the smoke when it set sail.Time moved on,still no sign of the ship.The crowd kept themselves busy by discussing the ship from what they read in the newspapers.Most of them had mobile cameras ready to capture the sight.A few channel men and photographers were also spotted.A group of adventurous boys distracted us by climbing on to the nearest Chinese fishing net.A school of dolphins breaching the water kept us all enthralled.A couple of smart peddlers decided it was the best hartal ever, brought out their wares and found many customers.We could see a brimming crowd on the opposite bank of Mattanchery.It seemed to grow every minute.

It was nearly 2 ,the Queen was trying our patience now.But everyone hung on with remarkable calm.A pilot boat cut across the waters in the direction of the sea to warn the little fishing boats.A resounding horn rent the air.Queen Mary 2 heaved to life and we could see a whiff of smoke at a distance.She glided into view with majestic grace.Everyone gazed with awestruck wonder as she sallied down the estuary towards us.The 13 decker giant of a ship was the most stupendous sights ever.

On her black hull gleamed "QUEEN MARY 2 CUNARD".On the deck stood a huge red chimney,and on the side,a row of life boats .I'm sure everyone watching would have been reminded of the Titanic atleast once.The passengers(probably the richest people in the world) who stood waving at the deck and windows seemed so puny. They flourished their shawls and hats.Cameras clicked ceaselessly.Some even tried getting themselves snapped with the ship for a backdrop.And as if to thank the denizens of the host Queen,the ship let out another blast of the horn.John Williams' music for a background and it would have been just perfect for the elation it created.A loud cheer rose from the crowd in return as the Queen weaved her way into the horizon.

Picture Courtesy:From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Seasons in the Sun

The other day I was hurrying along to catch Remadevi in time for college,when I noticed a knot of kids on the pavement.All of them engaged in animated discussion,carefree and gay.I was wondering where they were headed to,when one of them did a pirouette on a lamppost and the entire group burst into joyful laughter.The very embodiment of pure joy.I passed a church,while on the bus,and saw yet another bunch of children gamboling in the front yard.I was wistfully sent back to the summers of yesteryears,of school days which seem so long ago,when I was very much a child drinking the summer joys to the lees.

Summer vacations of early childhood were invariably spent at native places.We'd wait for Neil to arrive from school,(my school usually closed early),bags packed and the rickshaw waiting,and speed off to the railway station to catch the Venad Express.A week at Ernakulam and another at Kothamangalam and then back to Trivandrum.
It was in those days before the Sunday school started having Intensive courses during summer that we spent the holidays at the Jawahar Bal Bhavan.
Set in a sprawling campus,adjacent to the magnificent Kanakakunnu Place, the Bal Bhavan catered to shaping the budding artists,dancers,actors,and singers of the city.For a modest fee of Rs 15,one could enroll for courses of their choice.Neil and I signed up for Clay modeling,Drawing,and Drama.I also took up Dancing lessons.
There was a course called Aero-modeling which caught our fancy but unfortunately it had an age bar and was expensive.

The day started with Dancing lessons.The first step involved an akimbo pose and a rhythmic stamping of the feet which seemed to go on for ever.I hated those lessons because I was no dancing doll.However the stage at Bal Bhavan became the first stage I danced on,at the tender age of 5.I did a couple of dances later(in school) and called it a day.

The Drama classes were more fun.There was a large crowd of drama enthusiasts and an articulate director.Most of the stories were from the Panchatantra and had animal characters.This was a huge disadvantage because you wore fox-shaped or lion shaped masks which did not give scope for facial expressions.Due to the large number of wannabes the dramas to be enacted always had a group of children as characters.This was an effective method to slyly avoid bad actors as well as to appease the budding Big Bs.I belonged to this group and thought it beneath my acting prowess to be just a face in the crowd.One fine day, the director chose me for a different role.I was asked to stand on a stool and move my arms, up and down,in slow and graceful motions.I was immensely pleased at the promotion and plunged into the role with my heart and soul.The director applauded my perfect movements and pointed it out to the other kids.Proud of myself, I went on,till I realized the Butterfly was only a minor character and all it had to do with the story is flap its wings! My talent affronted, I quit the stage;the director heaved a sigh of relief.Good riddance! I am a pathetic actor till date.

In the Drawing class,we were given large sheets of paper and a tray of crayons.We could use the floor for an easel and pour out our imaginations through colours.Neil showed me how to draw a house and I copied it.We drew umpteen number of houses with a triangular roof,square windows and rectangular doors.Neil was not one for perfection and moved on while I added domestic touches like the chimney,the curtains and fountains to my house.The last picture we drew together was a helicopter which looked like a battered dragon fly.How proud we were!

The Clay modeling class was the place where we had the best of times.We were provided a slab of cool,soft clay and left to ourselves to mould different shapes.Our creations were exhibited on a shelf,by the window where we left them to dry.The first few days we rolled out little balls,on a plate of flattened clay.The instructor soon got tired of the pairs of 'a plate of laddus' on the display shelf and taught us to make snake-boats and the oarsmen.We were thrilled at the new lesson but however hard we tried the boatman refused to stay put on the stern.So we spent the rest of the days adding pairs of snake-boats to the display shelf.We were really interested in the art that we got mum to buy a huge slab of clay so we could practice at home.It was only when we started sitting down to meals with dirty nails that mum pulled the plug.Thus went a pair future Picassos down the drain!

We did not realize our artistic dreams at the Bal Bhavan;Neil and I found our skills in totally different fields But those days certainly proved to be a happy playground of the unadulterated joys of childhood.

"In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means, "

- 'Fern Hill ', Dylan Thomas