Tuesday, April 25, 2006

These Last Days....

As I write, I see my life ending, the only life I have known till now. The life of a student, one where I did not study much but still got through exams pretty easily (Lady Luck seems to like me!), a life where life was easy and cool.

I did not write for long. In the meanwhile, I finished my dissertation, I finished my internal tests today, I will finish the main exams in less than two weeks and I will finish being a student forever. The process of learning will go on but never again will I yawn through class, sleep through lectures, laugh at stupid jokes and laugh away boredom, sit in class, bunk class, worry about attendance, write exams....

Life moves on, like it should. In a few months from now, I will be living on my own in a big city, working at something I enjoy the most, writing, living my dream. This brings to mind a line from the movie 'The Motorcycle Diaries'. 'Che' Guevara and Alberto Granada are on their trip and as they near the border of Peru, one of them says, I paraphrase here, every moment is split into two, on one hand you feel sad at what is passing by and on the other hand there is this excitement at what lies ahead. True. I am looking forward to what is to come. But at the same time, I am going to miss this carefree life. Life will be...different.

20/04/2006 That was my very last day of class. No more classes!:-) No more classes! :-(

I just realised something. Few months from now, I will have to change my profile on this blog. When life changes.....

Thursday, April 13, 2006

A Legend Fades Away...

Dr Raj Kumar, icon of Kannada cinema passed away yesterday. I got the news through an SMS from a journalist friend of mine. The marvel of technology was such that within minutes, everyone in the university came to know.
Dr Raj was an amazing actor. Some of the roles he played are legendary. He has won all the awards there is in India., including the very prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke award. And the songs from his films...wow. We have all sung his songs on a daily basis. Most are unforgettable for a Kannadiga.
Kannada Prabha, a Kannada newspaper of the Express Group, had a beautiful front page where he was shown walking into the sunset with the headline 'Hutti Baa...Mathe' (Take birth...again). He was a revered God for many.
May his soul rest in peace.

Memories of Madras - 2

I think I was on the topic of palm sugar chocolates. Just off Parry's Corner there was this little, almost dingy shop run by some co-operative. It sold the most amazing palm sugar chocolates. The very name makes my mouth water.

Any city you live in creates a lot of memories. I remember the yoga classes I used to take once, the teacher gave me sheets of pencil sketches of yoga postures. There was a house my best friend and I would walk past everyday on the way to school. It had a long flight of stairs leading up to the front door, ivy up its walls... ever since I have dreamt of building my home in the same manner.

The people who ran the school I studied in were closely associated with the Kannada film industry. For the annual school day, we would have film stars as guests. One year Bharathi had come down and we had all marveled at how beautiful she was. The son of the school principal had sung some Kannada songs and we had all missed home.
School was great fun with Sandra miss, Mythri miss and the rest. It was here that they decided I was intelligent for my age and gave me a double promotion. I never studied fourth standard! We had gone on this picnic I remember where we were shown the Bay of Bengal. I had marveled at how the edge of the land looked, just like in the maps we saw.
This school had a number of Sri Lankan refugee kids studying here. I met my best friend, a Sri Lankan here and made friends with the rest of them.

And then there was this one time when my parents and I got stuck in a cyclone. It was December 04, 1992 and we had this very important appointment we had to make it to in Vellore. We were totally unprepared for the rain, neither did we know what a cyclone would be like. We ended up wet, cold and irritated. I was supposed to get a little trophy in school for some competition I had won that day. I ended up not being able to collect that either.

Memories are like a Pandora's box. You open it up and out falls more memories than you thought you had. That is how it is for me. Madras has some lovely memories for me. The roads on which my friend told me of the horrors of the war and the terror of Sri Lanka, the walks down the beach, Marina and Elliots, the little church by the sea, the then posh Sea Rock restaurant near Elliots, my first taste of a piece of chicken, the uttappams, shopping in T Nagar, the majestic Mount Road, the calm and sophisticated Besant Nagar, the filthy and congested Parry's Corner.... Then there was this blind person who ran a telephone booth whom I used to help out, two girls who would wear just one dress everyday but whose mothers had tons of jewellery (!), the little pleasures of life.... Hmmm....I take a deep breath here, a long sigh at how long ago all this was. Those were the years when I was going through a lot, but I also had interesting times.

Memories are many, one leads to another, one more special than the previous one. Madras will always be a part of my special memories. I cannot wait to go back and eat some palm sugar chocolates, say hello to the beach and pick up something new at Fashion Folks after eating uttappams at Veena's Fast Food!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Memories of Madras

The last time I said Madras, my best friend chided me for not moving with the times. It is today Chennai but like The Bard said, 'What is in a name?' It will always remain Madras to me, the place where I lived between 1992-'94, the place where I met my best friend, where I fell in love with the beaches, met some amazing people and where I made my experiences become some very special memories today.

I was plucked from my beautiful Madikeri and put into the chaos of the city as a kid, for reasons that I shall not write about here. My first memories of the city are of moving into a mosquito infected apartment in Shakti Nagar next to Adyar. We were out of there in two weeks to a nice place in Besant Nagar where my neighbours were a Telugu doctor couple and a family with three kids my age.

Ma and I lived there for nearly two years. I was admitted to Vidya Vinaya Vinoda School which was run by R N Jayagopal, a Kannada lyricist and his wife. The reason I went there was because they offered Kannada as an optional second language. I met my best friend on the way to school and discovered that we were in fact neighbours. I remember going on her bicycle. She had promised to teach me how to ride but never did.

Ma and I would go to the beach every evening. The one behind Kalakshethra was normally out of bounds as it was not considered very safe. Our favourite was Elliots Beach. We would often buy halwa from Maharaja Supermarket just round the corner, sometimes popcorn and walk back to the house. A special treat when we had company was a stop at Veena Fast Food where you could get the best noodles and uttappam. A luxury was going to 'Golden Smile' to buy toys. I had a gardening set bought from here for many years.

Do these places exist? I wonder often. I do know Fashion Folks still exists. Back then the owner, I never got to ask his name, would put up a little sale every few months. His collection of clothes were always trendy. The last time I was in Madras, I found that he had put up a swanky store next to the beach. He even recognised us after all those years which felt good.

Its been many years now since I went to Madras. Elliots Beach had already changes beyond recognition the last time. I cant wait to go back.

Palm sugar chocolates, Mylapore, a cyclone...all coming up! Read my next post! :-)

Sunday, April 09, 2006


First things first. My dissertation is in its final stages. Stress levels are at an all-time high, mine and everyone else's around me. Five minutes do not go by without someone shouting at someone else. A few weeks earlier all of us were dreaming about the day uni would end. Today, we dont, not because we dont want to, but for the lack of time. I have been dreaming of numbers for many days now, statistics from my dissertation. We are too busy during the day and too tired at night to do anything even remotely creative. That said, I blog today to get some normalcy back to my sleeping senses.

There is exactly one month left before I finish uni. We will all go different parts of the state, my classmates and I, my friends from the hostel, people who have been part of my life for two years now. I shall not see most of them ever again. That brings me to a movie that is making waves these days, a movie I watched the last time I was in Madikeri.

Cherian, a Tamil director, brought out this movie called Autograph. It was adopted into Kannada by Sudeep who called it My Autograph. Both movies have become immensely popular. I watched the Tamil one, I hear the Kannada version is good too.
It is the story of this one guy who revisits his village to invite his old friends and teachers to his wedding. He begins to think of old stories and his loves. This movie makes you think of your own past, the good part mostly. You begin to remember all that had, till now, been pushed away into a corner of the mind, almost forgotten. The tree that you first climbed, the long walks, the shops, the people, the antics, your friends, people who were friends once, school....the whole deal. Great movie, I would say, though I did have a few objections about him concentrating a lot on his love life.

Anyway, the movie was special because I watched it on the threshold of a different life, one that is just a month or two away. All that we are doing today in class and hostel will become memories in a few days. We will now be expected to behave differently, we will be expected to 'act' out more roles than we do today. And as I write this, a large lump builds up deep down my throat, one that has been building up for a few weeks now....

Despite the stress, my friends and I in the hostel desperately try to stretch time, to try and put in an extra day, an extra hour, even an extra minute before The Moment arrives. The moment when it will all end. It is futile, we know. It must end, we know that too. But all of cling on, in the hope of creating just one more special memory that we shall carry on with us.

I have changes schools and colleges a few times. Each time, I knew I would not see most of my classmates again. But its different this time. I end not only my association with a few people, but I also end my life as a student. I am being flooded with books to write autographs. Each time I open a page and put in a few words, I know this is the last time I shall be telling these people something.

The movie Autograph made me think of my old friends too. I ended up calling many of them. With some I revisited my school days, some had moved beyond such memories. The point here, I have had fun at uni. More fun than I thought I would have. I have made many friends, each different, crazy and lovable in their own ways. Best of all, I have created something very beautiful for myself. I have created special memories.