Of Endearing Debuts

Few movies begin on a touching note and remain so till the final credits. Malayalam Cinema, given the talent it houses, is known for some classic makes which includes the Fazil directed Nokathaa Dhoorathu Kannum Nattu.

Gifted artists produce masterpieces, and the veteran director deserves enormous credit for its success. Like every Fazil movie, it had a lullaby that endeared to all hearts.

The movie was spearheaded by the then debutant Nadia Moidu, the credit for whose casting must be attributed to Fazil. This wasn’t the only time he managed to cast a new face, though. It was Mohanlal in Manjil Virinja Pookal, Kunchacko Boban and Shalini in Aniyathipravu, Baby Shalini in Ende Mamattikkuttiyammakku, and Nadia Moidu here. And the actress took to her role with a chirpiness and innocence that startled the masses back then. She was the naughty girl next door, a fascinating proposition for any Indian youth.

Besides her, the movie was ably supported by the artistry of some renowned names of the famed fraternity, which included Mohanlal, Thillakan, Nadi Mudi Venu, Parvati (who played the vital role of Nadia’s grandmother), Maniyanpilla Raju, Sukumari Amma, KP Kumar, and Fazil himself.

The musical scores of Jerry Amaldev, combined with the lyrical support of Bichu Thiruvalla and the vocals of K.J.Yesudas and K.S.Chitra, emerged as one of the best in the illustrious realms of Malayalam Cinema.

This is surely among the list of Malayalam makes of the yesteryear that has hit a chord with viewers, so much so that many are eagerly waiting for its second coming, 35 years after its release.


The Kite Runner – a Soul-Stirring Read

“For you, a thousand times over.”

Some books are a Symphony to the lips, while some are to the soul. The Kite Runner undoubtedly falls among the latter. This is the first ever time I wished to restart a book after finishing only 3/4th of it, so that I could I could recapture its beauty. It belongs to an entirely different league that other works of fiction could do well to emulate. The words weave magic even while the events border on absurdity. It is one of the poignant tales of Brotherhood you’ll ever get to read.

The Kite Runner is a story of two friends in Kabul, and their days of togetherness and separation amidst the vagaries of life. Life managed to tear them apart for a while, but eternal separation was not their fate; not even death managed to achieve that feat. In the author’s own profound words, “there was a brotherhood between people who had fed from the same breast, a kinship that not even time could break.”

The book testifies the fact that, sometimes the love, warmth and the need of a person in your life is only felt in the instance of a separation. Sad, but true! And these circumstances always involve the undeserved display of loyalty by one over the other, where the latter fail to recognize or reciprocate it. However, our most delicate of emotions rarely gives up, as it eventually goes on to transform the latter. On this note, I’ve always felt (barring a few exceptions), that loyalty and unconditional love are traits of a poor man.

This remarkable piece of Literature doesn’t come with a prescribed code, nor does it portray a world that is unrealistically glamorous and artificial. It rather dwells on the very essence of the human spirit, and the varying emotions that decorate it.

Those Nostalgic Days

“Memories and thoughts age, just as people do. But certain thoughts can never age, and certain memories can never fade.”
― Haruki Murakami

We have different phases in our life, out of which some are absolutely non-eventful, some resolute, some fine yet not-so-remarkable, and some life-changing. My first ever writing venture began on a fine winter when I had determinedly decided on a career change after a string of successive failures in my formal career choice – sales aka customer development. Little did I know, or anticipate, the forthcoming months to be filled with experiences that weren’t merely productive but cherishable for life. 

It all started with a poise that was quite fitting for any new endeavour, though a little unreal. My work environment, the first of its kind, was conducive enough to boost my passionate pursuit and take it to the next level, and this happened through a series of experiences – some memorable and some tear-jerky and downright detestable. And it gave me buddies with whom I could trade my life with. 

No ride in my life has been better than this, so much so that it prompts me to me look up to the heavens and bow down in gratitude for those days, for the best and the not-so-best… If I knew that this was the way it would pan out, I might not have laughed at it but wouldn’t have yet comprehended the beauty of it all.

A note to fans, well-wishers and critics alike, a platform of such kind was paved as a result of some good days, wherein the Providence helped me to be adept at my craft and the tasks entrusted to me. I was somehow able to take to my work and its responsibilities right from the very beginning and win the acclaim of my boss. He was a saviour to me back then, someone who trusted and took my work to the next level, and I defended him staunchly when negative voices of him were swirling around. The flow of events was a little startling, especially after almost five years of a tattered career. This is life sometimes, things happen fast, be it the good or the bad. 

My scope of work took an uplift in due course of time, as I was assigned with roles that I had never otherwise dreamt of, at least not in such a short span of time. Three months into a new role, and you get a hike in position, added with the tag of a specialist while still being a toddler. It all charted the course for a lift in morale and a series of learnings, of which I am indebted to.

I started this journey alone and almost thought that it would end up that way. But life had more riveting plans in store, as my days here were later graced with people – of whom some were mere passing clouds; some entered my life as friends who are now inseparable despite our differences; we were/are sometimes the best of friends and at other times the worst of enemies – our fights were so mean that you could well compare it to the ragtag manner of fights which kids are generally involved in. Somehow all of these come together to render a sense of joy and fine memories that spirals into a special bond. And yes, I had/have people who added colours to my life in ways unanticipated – and with them, I exchanged notes – of conversations that included gossips and fights. These chirpy ones made a mark in my life that cannot be disparaged by the tides of time. With them around, I was on the receiving end of trust, loyalty and endearing friendship, and sometimes anger. Relationships of these descriptions would definitely stand the test of time, and wouldn’t be tossed around due to the vagaries of life. It will be there to stay, long after our own distinct marriages, accomplishments and old age, and perhaps even death.

The Journey was not only paved with never-say-die relationships but of takeaways aplenty. It has been a journey of opportunities grabbed and missed; of lessons learnt; it was as already stated – a ride that was the best in this life till now.

Just William

Fiction requires imagination, but humour needs more than just that. Just William, by Richmal Crompton, is a series of short stories based on a cranky little boy named William who could drive you nuts, albeit not on purpose and at times with good intentions. The book has the potential to grab the attention of kids and avid readers who wouldn’t mind taking a detour to their childhood.

Try silencing a guy like William, and the little kid will bewilder you. Perhaps it is deserved, in a world where craziness is a misnomer, and where people with a sense of quirkiness is pounced upon by the so-called matured elite.

The boy is, as you can imagine, messy in appearance. He sometimes succeeds in pleasing people by his crazy demeanour, and sometimes not despite the best of his efforts; he follows his own rules for conduct and grammar; explanations to him go void; and here’s a warning – if you wish to entrust any responsibilities to him, do so at your own peril. He has his share of moments too where he attracted love and tenderness, despite being on the receiving end of severe and never-ending chastisement. It’s not all gloom for people of such kind. There’s no contesting that William needs some expert handling, but he is endowed with aspects to be cherished, and all you need to do is to have a closer look.

The book is supposedly for children. I’m betting that your kid will love this (be careful or he’ll end up emulating it), but classics like this one, the Harry Potter series, Cinderella, the Little Match Girl, and a few more that I haven’t experienced or fail to recollect at this moment, are meant for people of all ages.

Malgudi Days – Tales of a Fictional Town

The very name of this book has kindled my reading interest in those tender days, though Literature didn’t rank high on my agenda back then. Life in a small town is nostalgic indeed, as was this book.

R.K. Narayan’s masterpiece was penned in the days of yore, back when in India the best of doctors were earning Rs. 25 for a checkup, and when a salary of Rs.15,000 was considered unattainable except by someone who could manage to manipulate the records. The story takes the reader through the facets of the fictional town of Malgudi, where astrologers make their living with ease; a postman becomes an inseparable part of a family by being overwhelmingly generous – something that could make the reader believe in humanity, in a world that is otherwise greedy and self-centred; doctors lie for the better; a dog remains loyal to its cruel master; an old man goes in search of memories; a stranger renders more care to a child than its parent does; and where the greed of people exceed borders. Through these and many other stories, it educates the reader, unbeknownst to him/her.

Narayanan’s way of writing may not be as lyrical as some other Indian writers, but it renders a sense of warmth, inducing a smile or tear in the reader. As stated so profoundly by Jhumpa Lahiri in her forward, the book doesn’t merely deal with stories, but of people and events surrounding us. That’s the power of fiction, isn’t it? It portrays the truth through stories that are not quite true.

Circumstances bring out the best in people. These stories were penned by the writer under deadlines, within word limits and column length for the Hindu. The Hindu those days was a weekly newspaper, and Narayanan had a contract for weekly submission beginning in 1939. His path to a full-fledged writer was paved with difficulties and uncertainties, so much so that he almost gave up on publishing his first novel, Swami and Friends, that he asked his friend to discard the drafted work in the Thames. Destiny sometimes acts in favour of a few, and thankfully Narayanan belongs to that list.

The Chosen Path

If this blog is read by someone who is at crossroads in his/her career, this is for you.

I finished my graduation in the most unglamorous of fashion, so much so that I was fortunate to be granted a degree for that record. It couldn’t have been any other way around, as my life those days were spent in an easy-going manner. I had nothing to adore, cherish, fight and cry for unlike today, which made my days amateurish without any cares or worries. I lacked the much-required maturity quotient, be it with respect to identifying my career path astutely, taking initiatives or for that matter being organized. I was entrusted with roles, for which my performance wasn’t on the mark or even acceptable. I was still very good at certain creative tasks, for which I was acclaimed for. Those were but remnants of success from an otherwise uneventful past.

The aforementioned days were lackadaisical by all means, and it continued in the same vein for years to come. I was a dropout in two Business Schools for reasons of my past record. Such an experience might have been harrowing for people with a different perspective, but not for me. I had an unflinching belief which pervaded all common sense (I don’t regret that though). I so happened to lap onto a job offer proposed by my dad; I found it to be reasonable as I was idle anyway, and why wouldn’t you when an opportunity to be a part of a major FMCG network knocks your door? It all began with my pursuit of gaining a customer development position there. It was a determined start, but the flow of events kept on signalling something else, and my self-esteem gave away in due course of time as I was evidently not taking strides towards the bigger picture, not that I didn’t try for it though. People’s praises were soothing to the ears, but I knew deep inside my heart that whatever I’ve achieved to receive that was probably a fluke, which it was.

Nevertheless, I forced my mind to believe on the contrary, as that’s what people at the beginning of their careers do in the name of optimism. My prospects turned brighter, but my affairs didn’t. Yes, I achieved my dream of stepping foot into this Fortune 500 company. But I continued to doubt myself every breath of it. Thoughts of voluntary resignation used to often linger in my mind as I felt that I’m way off the requirements. A few months into the dream and I was ejected from it, unceremoniously; two and a half years into it and that’s how it ended. This gave way to my entry into a company which is a leading furniture manufacturer, where I started my endeavours with hope and promise of renewed beginnings, but again, it was not meant to be. Things were hitting rock bottom. I suffered both personally and professionally, lost more money than I gained, and was thankfully given the exit order in a few months. I’m sure I would have lost a part of myself being there. It was an experience that was morale threatening.

Calling, or vocation, is hardly encountered in ways that you expect or imagine. While I was considering a career shift, after almost accepting and began working for another sales job, after meeting my cousin at a restaurant and receiving amused glances from him for announcing my new temporary occupation, I discovered that I should stop fooling myself around. Credits to him for introducing me to the world of Writing and Communication, and I could hardly conceive how it all worked together to result in where I am now. Life seems to be a lot better. While I still scratch my head and wake up in the middle of the night with tears at times, I’m now in a place where possibilities abound, and where happiness, joy and bliss form part and parcel of my existence. I now have reasons to justify my doings, something which I didn’t have for almost four years in my career. Things seem more natural, apart from the occasional and obvious mistakes and tumults. The road is paved. It all resulted from a calling, and for taking some decisions which would have made my parents furious if they knew the entirety of it.

Of People, Places and Plans

People and places are a part and parcel of our existence, except if you are living in an alien world inhabited by Zombies. Despite our individuality, the people around us have a lot to do to influence us to greater heights, as well as to the lowest depths. They propel, make or break us. A child needs a good parent to help it walk the appropriate terrain, a good teacher for nourishment, and good friends to borrow traits from; a worker needs a good boss to at least allow him/her to learn and grow, if not mean anything good; life is boring and unimaginable without friends, but it begs the question if your circle, choosen by you, is pushing you ahead or pulling you down.

We need voices, voices that are clear and right, in order to make the right choices in life. God is willing to link us with the right places and people. In fact, he connects with us through them. These relationships hold the key for both progress and peace. On the other hand, we have people of the wrong kind who can crush our hopes forever. So how do you choose between them?
The right kind of people give you hope, rejuvenate you, and try carrying you forward or guiding you to the next potential phase in life. The other kind drain you, with them around you can’t help but feel that you are being brainwashed, and yet we cling to them at times, either out of will, lack of courage or bad choice. I reckon people befriending the latter lack any buddies who could lend them their shoulders, or they ignore the ones they do have at the cost of the latter. Can good and bad relationships be a part of someone’s life? I doubt it as ignorance pushes people away, notwithstanding any exceptions.
God may send you people in the form of anyone, maybe even from someone you didn’t expect. But when you are looking for people to look up to, look for those who are in a higher lane, as they have a better idea of a life with progress and what it takes to get there.

When we allow people into our lives, they bring with them their attitude, their unique facets, and a spirit with them. It’s our choice to decide if they are the right ones. Sometimes people who are closest may be wrong.

Some people will feed us fear when we are already down and discouraged, while others will help us in rejoicing and shifting our perspective, or at least stand with us when the going gets tough. It must be understood that when people expose their weaknesses, they do it out of trust, to break the shell that’s confining them, to let it out; and to judge and criminalize them at these junctures is akin to murder, and I wish it was legally punishable. Why not? You don’t kill the body but an already weak spirit. There’s always a way out, though, if people affected by such instances manage to break that cursed commitment. The likes of them will do well to remember that life is sometimes tough with people of the wrong kind, and it could exactly be the reverse with the right kind. Speaking your heart out to the right person could considerably heal our sores. The right person could be an answer to our tumults or confusion. Look back into your life now, who were there with you when the chips were down, who added fuel to the fire, and who didn’t care?

Apart from people, the place we are determines the potential for heavenly showers. And our plans? It needs to be surrendered to someone higher, who determines our steps. We don’t have all things within our grasp, do we?

Life spent without the right ingredients, such as the ones described above, will either keep you in the same place or out of misfortune, push you down.