Thursday, January 18, 2018

AT THE CHENNAI BOOK FAIR WITH MY SHORT STORY BOOK : A PEARL FROM EVERY OYSTER

It was a great evening with family at the Chennai Book Fair. I had the opportunity to see my short story book 'A Pearl From Every Oyster' being perused and bought by readers. We took some photographs that day. I came back again with my office friends for a second visit the next day. Though we all feel that the reading habit has generally come down, the book fair still had a huge response.

I have been to the fair earlier, but this is the first time as an author and it's a different feel.

Standing for a long time was tiring but once we see a good book, we feel the energy flowing into us again.

The fair closes on 22-Jan-18. Chennai friends can pick it up there for a good price.


The book is also available online.


Please visit the link below to see more details:

For print paperbacks:
INDIA

USA

UK

For Kindle eBooks:
USA

UK


AUSTRALIA


CANADA

Please feel free to share and forward to as many friends you can and help me reach more readers.
Happy Reading friends !!!



Monday, January 8, 2018

RELEASE OF MY SECOND BOOK: A PEARL FROM EVERY OYSTER

BOOK RELEASE:
BOOK YOUR PRINT PAPERBACK AND eBOOK COPIES ONLINE OR PICK THEM UP AT THE CHENNAI FAIR. 
FAIR CLOSES TOMORROW.
Hello,
Happy to share with you the release of my second book 'A Pearl from Every Oyster'.
Motivation:
This is a collection of 22 stories drawn from the lives of people I connected with.

Audience:
This book will cover a wide age RANGE from age 12 or 13 to the serious readers in their 60s and in particular will help individuals to reflect and see things in life in depth. These are stories that inspire and recharge your life batteries.


Please visit the link below to see more details:

For print paperbacks:
INDIA

USA

UK

For Kindle eBooks:
USA

UK


AUSTRALIA


CANADA

Please feel free to share and forward to as many friends you can and help me reach more readers.
Happy Reading friends !!!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

DANCING FOR MY FRIEND SOUMITRA

In the year 1978, I was on my way along with Dad to attend the Good Friday mass at a church at Broadway, Chennai. Our bus was making its way and stopped somewhere close to Sowcarpet. The conductor announced that it had broken down. We got down and had to walk a little distance to get to the next bus stop. As we made our way through the busy road, I noticed that a portion of the road had been festooned high up with coloured flags and flowers. There was some function coming up and preparations were on in full swing. A group of young boys, younger than me, were dancing passionately while the popular song ‘Oh Kaike Paan Banaras Wala’ from the Hindi blockbuster Don, was being played through loud speakers. Dad in front was walking at a steady pace looking out for the next bus while my pace slowed down every time my eyes looked at the footwork of the boys dancing. At one point in the song after the interlude, the song stops fully while the playback singer takes off with the next paragraph. It was so beautiful to see the boys stop and gesture exactly like Amitabhji and take off with the dance again.

Realizing the distance that had grown between me and Dad, I hurried a little and caught up with him while my mind was still fully into the dancing. I really wanted to dance with abandon but I knew that it would be something that Dad would never approve. And so, I kept walking, went past the dancing scene and still moved on looking back while heading for the bus stop.

There came up another situation years later, while I was at college,. Our batch was returning to Chennai after a day long trip to Neyveyli. After dusk set in, there was singing and revelry inside the bus. A few of my batchmates, mostly friends from the North, started dancing to the tune of a Rajinikanth Tamil song. My feet kept tapping to the tune of the songs that followed and the temptation that grew inside me was so big that I could not sit quietly. Towards the end of the trip, to the surprise of all my batchmates, I was there up and dancing. Once we got down from the bus, a few commented saying “Hey man, I cannot believe that this guy danced”. Their expression made me feel as though I had done something I should not have done.



Many years rolled by and I had got into a job with my first employer in Chennai. My colleagues and I were at a marriage reception in Chennai. We had got in there pretty early and were waiting for the bride and the groom to arrive. The guests were slowly coming in and I could see the seats getting filled up. My friend Soumitra from Kolkata sat beside me. In a flash he was up and dancing to the tune of the popular song ‘Ek Dho Teen Chaar Panche Saath’. The crowd seated there were mostly South Indians and almost all of them were surprised seeing this young man dance in the middle of a silent crowd. Soumitra was in full flow initially and then soon realized that not one in the crowd were clapping or supporting his dance. His energy drained and as I was sitting close to where he was performing, I could see the embarrassment that was slowly dressing his face. He was almost on the verge of giving up and some kind of gloom dressed his face. Soon my Divisional General Manager, who was from Mumbai, got up and clapped for him. At that moment, I got up and joined him and danced along with him. I could see the relief on Soumitra’s face. We continued and danced for two more songs and then went back to our seats. He shook hands with me and gave a sigh of relief. I could see it on his face that day.  Thereafter, I got a few chances to dance with him on other occasions. I wouldn’t say that I performed without any embarrassment during these times. I was certainly conscious about the crowd around not being in approval of the same.

I still love dancing and spend a lot of time watching some of the dance numbers from the Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu and Tamil numbers. The three numbers of Amitabhji from the films Don. Amar Akbar Anthony and Kaalia still stand out for it’s naturality and grace. It’s not always the technical correctness that some actors bring in that matters but the casualness in the dance with which a commoner can connect and try out dancing that makes a few dance numbers so very good.

Dad never knew about my dancing nor does anyone at home know about this either :)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

MUSICAL FRAMES OF MAGIC - 2 - SONGS ON SEA MOTHER, FISHERFOLK AND FISHES

This post is the second in the series on well made movie songs.

You can read through the first at Musical Frames of Magic-1
In this post, I have picked up three boat songs considering the music, the camera work, the lyrics of the song and the expressions of the actors. Another factor is that the focus on the actors is less and it's more on the theme of the song or the environment of the song as a whole. It's that way that art gets more prominence and it really does not matter who are the players in that piece of art.

The coming together of great artists always brings out great work. The movie Chemmeen which is very popular among South Indians was the first movie from South India to garner the President's gold medal. It not only won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film but also the Certificate of Merit at the Chicago International Film Festival and a Gold Medal at the Cannes Film Festival for Best Cinematography. I have not picked up the very popular songs ‘Kadalinakkara Ponore’ or ‘Manasa Maile Varoo” as songs for my writing as in these the focus is more on the actors than on the song as a whole. Besides this, the songs do not delve into the fisherman's daily life on the sea.

Although Shri.Thakazhi Sivashankarapillai's story had an absorbing script, the movie would not have attained its cult status, but for the music of Shri. Salil Chowdhury, the direction of Shri. Ramu Kariat, the cinematography of Shri Marcus  Bartley, the lyrics of Shri.Vyalar Ramavarma, the voices of Shri.K.J.Yesudas, Shri P. Leela and the choral singers and the stunning performance of the actors. Marcus had already made waves with his work in Maya Bazaar. But for the British presence in India, Chemmeen would not have had the magic touch of Marcus. Very much like I mentioned in my previous post on songs, here also the focus on the hero or the heroine is reduced to a miniscule level and the overall natural environment gets the focus.



I request you to search for the song “Puthenvalakkare”. In this song the focus is on the Chaakara season where fishes come in abundance. 'Chaakara' is a natural phenomenon that happens in the sea along Kerala's coastline. A natural wall is formed by the sand at a distance away in the sea. Fishes that are trapped on the wrong side of the 'wall' are doomed to end up in the nets.  For the fisherfolk, 'Chaakara' is a much awaited event! And it is a time of relative wealth too. They don't have to go very far into the sea. This song describes this season and the different fishes the community wants Sea Mother to gift them.

Watch from timestamp range 0.22 – 0.31 and the aerial shot between 0.47 -0.49. Watch 1.21 – 2.05 in one go and you will see how beautifully the song fuses with the picture. The activities of the fishing community and their emotions, the rustic body language of Shri Satyan and Shri Kottarakara Sreenivasan Nair, two of the best actors in the Malayalam Film Industry then, while on their pursuit of fishes, the beauty of the sea, the waves and the clouds and the melody of the song. The beauty of the song lies in the way they merge the fishing activity shots with the interlude as it plays after each line of the song goes by. It’s pure magic. Most of these shots are like paintings. Listen to how the paragraph begins with ‘Chaakara’ and how it closes with “Onamayeee”. This is pure divine touch. God has been in there with the crew.

The second paragraph also follows the same pattern. Watch from where it begins with "Chaakara" again and till the finishing shot when the song plays “Eelayaaa” at the very end. Such a beautiful way to close the song and then it slowly fuses into the murmur of real seashore life.

Each time "Chaakara" plays I get goosebumps. 



The next song that deserves our attention is 'Pennale Pennale'. Please select the YouTube post where the song begins with seagulls in flight and there is almost no music but just beats becoming progressively louder with music joining in. In specific, I request you to view the frames between 0.00 – 0.26 where the song makes such a beautiful beginning. Freeze it when fishermen get onto their boats and you will see a marvelous painting. I have no words on the beauty of the opening shot. Then comes 1.20- 2.11 where the paragraph begins with "Manathu parakkena...", 2.47– 3.12 and 3.43 – end to see the magical work of the camera. When I pause the YouTube at points in this range, I get a feel as though am seeing several oil paintings. And when we switch on the music in this range we can feel how much the music is in sync with this divine painting. The beauty of the music lies in its fast dribble of strings and the flute. Watch the close shot between 2.56– 3.03 which gets you much closer to the water and the boat. 

All these shots are coupled with a very deep poetry where the morality of the wife is brought in vis a vis the way the sea mother treats her husband who is out in the sea fishing. There is one story of a pure wife who kept prayers and how her fisherman husband, even when caught in the storm, was saved by the Sea Mother.  The next paragraph is on the story of a wife who went immoral in her ways while her husband was out fishing. There came a storm and Sea Mother took him into it and took his life. The beat of the song is superb as it involves as mentioned earlier, the fast dribbling of stringed instruments and quick flashes with flutes. You get that feel that you are on the boat and dominating the waves whenever that dribbles comes in. One should listen to all Salil Chowdhury songs to understand the genius in him.

The third song is “Kadaloram Kadaloram” from the movie “Anandha Raagam”. Such an excellent score by Shri.Ilayaraja  where he also sings with Shri.K.J.Yesudas. The song is too melodious with lyrics penned by Shri Panju Arunachalam. The song opens beautifully with crimson and golden hues. The entire song is about the assurance Sea Mother gives. The timestamp range 0.00 – 0.28 is beautifully shot by cinematographer Shri.V. Prabhakar and merges well with the shenai and drums being played. Listen to how Shri.KJY belts out his lowest base voice at places. Shri.Ilayaraja joins very well in tandem with him and that gives us a song that we would want to listen to again and again. The great piece of work comes with the camera shots almost at the level of the water. But the paragraphs of the song always seem to have the same scene with the two actors rowing the boat and with the sea all around. There could have been some variety here as this brings in visual monotony. 

The interludes however, come in as a refresher between these. I repeatedly watch actor Shri. Sivakumar’s expression when he shouts ‘Heyyyy’ twice at the end of the two paragraphs. It’s very good and suits the character. There is something about his body language that goes well with pastoral roles.The strong winds that brush against the towel turban on his head matches with those shouts and arms stretched out in faith. Shri Sivachandran supports the scene very well. Don’t miss the end from 3.30 to the finish. It’s superb with fast paced drum beats, fishermen joining the boats in a pattern and the sun shedding out its crimson to dark red hue. It's a divine painting.



Enjoy these songs when you have some real time. Am sure it will be a very satisfying experience.

My next post will be on songs based on the sea with focus on the actors.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

WHEN QUOTES WERE BEAUTIFUL GIFTS

It was an evening in September 1993 and I had just returned home from Bangalore after a work assignment. It had been just a few months since I got married and there will still a few well wishers and relatives who could not make it for the marriage, visiting us to wish us a good life as we took the road ahead. As I entered my room, I saw a quotation, beautifully framed and hanging on the wall opposite to the window. “Ours maths teacher was here yesterday and he gifted this. He was sad that he could not meet you”, said my wife. I was still looking at it really absorbed in the intensity of the words while she continued, “It will be good if we could meet him at school sometime”. Both I and my wife were students from the same school, she being just a year junior to me. The quote read “A strong marriage requires two people who choose to love each other even on those days when they struggle to like each other” – Dave Willis. From that day, every time I went into my room, my eyes encountered these words.  When marriage took me through a range of emotions, these words hit me with varying intensities and found their way into my intense thinking, creating ripples of different dimensions. With the break of dawn, through noon leading through to twilight and then into the night, I saw these words in varying shades of light and varying moods of mine. Each time I read, I felt them sinking into me deeper. It has been years now and still these words prove to be the foundation on which our marriage is riding the waves in an ocean, sometimes like a royal ship and sometimes like a flotsam sans directions. But the ride is still on. There are several corollaries that I draw from these lines and each has a different interpretation depending on the situation.



In 1994, I gifted my mother-in law, a framed quotation that read “A mother understands what a child does not say” – Jewish Proverb. That wall hang is still there adorning the wall at her home. A quote as a gift was considered respectable and many in those times gifted these for marriages and other important days. In the years between 1977, when I had grown enough to understand such quotes, till the late 90s when the internet started slowly weaving its labyrinth, I had just seen a handful of quotations including the wall hangs that my eyes had spotted in other homes. A few of these had an impact on me and had got written into my mind permanently. Of course, we did read the Bible everyday and most of the verses there, were to be memorized as part of the Sunday School exercises and competitions. But this way, we encountered each verse probably only once or twice a year when competitions came in. I am not including them in the scope of this list although some homes had wall hangings that displayed Biblical quotes too.

We have traveled forward through another twenty years and we have seen the internet invasion and the mobile invasion. Every day quotations find their way into my phone and my mail box, like a swarm of bees. By the time I read and assimilate one, the next one is here banging on the doors of my mind. Liking a quote on Whats App is the fastest disposal method most of us adopt. It satisfies the sender and also gives us the relief to go ahead and remove it from our device. But as a result, these don’t sink into our mind sufficiently for implementation. Some really fantastic words come and go and I wish I read these over and over and slept with them to make them a part of my life. But before I hug them, another bunch is knocking my doors to let them in. We no more gift quotations to our dear ones or friends as these quotations are now all around us like the air we breathe and have become very ordinary entities. We have been flooded with quotations that we almost gasp for a breath of fresh air.

May be, we should take a few and hang it on our walls again. May be it's just fine to browse through just a handful of quotations and go really deep into them so as to implement them, rather taking in a truck full and sending them into the drain with no action.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

IN LOVE WITH WATER - PYKARA LAKE

I create the biggest fuss when it comes to stepping into water rides. It's a kind of paranoia. 



My family is very cool about these rides. So they push me into it and once we are on our way, I start enjoying the water body.




Sunday, September 24, 2017

GREEN TREAT -LALBAGH

It's a pity that we were hard pressed for time and so we just rushed through this green stretch, clicking snaps. We did not sit and relish the beauty and serenity here.









LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails