And the Award goes to …

… the pride of Kerala, the Super Star …

It was in my Class 3 that I first won a prize for a competition. It was first prize for Malayalam elocution as part of the school’s annual cultural festival. The speech was about how reading habits will help us grow as a better individual. My Father had taken his train commute time to write the contents for me. If my memory is correct, it was my Grand Parents who listened to my rehearsal sessions and commented on my performance. Those days, society wasn’t obsessed with the performance of their kids. So, it was not a big deal at home about me performing in the competition.

Winning the competition did make an impact in my life. Today, if I am a passionate public speaker, this brass trophy was the starting point. I am thankful to the judges who made me the winner of the competition. So, if a small prize could make a shimmering spark in my childhood and gave me the confidence to grow as a mature speaker, I believe that prizes/awards are important for budding talents.

The Malayalam film awards have been disappointing me for quite a few years. The recent award function by a TV channel was never different from the past years. Malayalam industry can always boast about the immense talent pool which it possesses; also, the new talents too. But, the new talents are rarely recognized expect in the viral Facebook posts. The award functions make sure that the big giants of the industry get an award irrespective of their performance in the previous year. Yes, of course, I admit their past glory but how lame it is to award someone who had only duds last year. I am wondering how the stars feel in front of others when they are called upon for awards by belittling the upcoming talents and going blind on other brilliant performances. This is like giving away Best Cricketer Award every year to Sachin Tendulkar as he was the greatest batsman of the millennium.

How come Perariyathavar was ignored when Suraj Venjaramoodu won a National Award for his performance in the movie? There could have been a mention of the different treatment and style shown by the Aadu team. Aadu bombed at the box office and went on to become a torrent hit. Not recognizing the talents of Anend C Chandran, the 24-year old cinematographer of Premam movie is a sin. His brilliant frames have a huge part in the envious success of the movie. Premam enthusiasts can go back and check the bokeh effects Anend had done for the scenes of George and Malar; they are heart-shaped bokeh. The comedy timing and performance of Biju Menon in various movies are making those movies huge hits. Already, Malayalam cinema has the burden of the guilt of not honoring Jagathy Sreekumar when he ruled the lighter moments of Malayalam cinema. Oraalpokkam and Ain were not even mentioned. It was a shock that they ignored Pathemari for any awards despite brilliant performances by almost everyone in the movie.

If we continue watering the grown up trees ignoring the tender ones, awards might lose the purpose. Last year’s Malayalam Movie State Awards was an embarrassing slap on the audience’s faces. When rest of the World looks upon Malayalam movie industry for its talent, creativity and making, it is high time we should rethink about our awards.

Once upon a time in my life

I started noticing and disliking guests after my brother was born. So many people come home, make my Mother cook, burp and go away. Every time guests come home, they would have a typical question to ask me, the four-year old then. Though I don’t know why they ask me such a question but somehow their questions were always answered. In the beginning my parents or grandparents would tell me the answer and I would repeat them. Then as I grew up I started answering the questions but my answers didn’t impress the guests.

The very often asked question was what I want to become when I grow up.

In Kerala, during early 90s, kids went to school in auto rickshaws and jeeps. jeepThe concept of school bus was implemented only in Kendra Vidyalaya. After going to school in auto rickshaw for three years, during my rest  of three years in Tirur I went to school in a jeep. The name of the driver name is Rashid and the name of the cleaner boy who closes the back door of the jeep and sits on the edge of the door isn’t in my memory. As I was the last one to get into the jeep, I get to sit next to the driver. It was a fun ride to make Rashid Ikka* race the jeep and get ahead of rest of the vehicles. We would shout “faster”, “faster” to encourage him. So the biggest dream was to become a jeep driver like Rashid Ikka. I promised my brother that I will take him to school when I become a jeep driver. The guests who came to my house weren’t impressed when I excitedly told them my ambition.Instead,they made fun of me telling that there aren’t any girl drivers who drove jeeps. I hated them even more. One day morning, when I got inside the jeep, the driver wasn’t Rashid Ikka. He told me to sit with the other girls behind the jeep. And I was disheartened and lost interest in becoming a jeep driver.Otherwise,who knows I would have come to your houses early morning in a jeep to pick up your kids.

12948435-astronaut-girl-over-sun-and-stars-backgroundSunday walks with my Father were an unbroken habit of my life until he got really busy and I got too bored of his talks. Every Sunday, the Father-daughter time that we had is worth making into a book. Unlike my Mother, my Father is a bad story-teller. But one day he told me an interesting story and that went on to become a noose for himself. He told me the story of Neil Armstong. Then I flooded him with doubts. How did Armstrong stand on the moon because the moon is in crescent shape? Did he fall from the moon because the moon is so thin? I liked Armstrong’s moon travel costume. One day I declared to my parents that I am going to Moon soon. As they were very kind to me, they appreciated my decision. As a 6 year old girl, I was proud of myself. My Father bought me posters of Moon and some books which explained Armstrong’s journey to the Moon. Like the Gru of the movie Despicable Me, I also dreamt about wearing a space costume and landing on the moon though the concept of oxygen and gravitational force didn’t make sense to me at all then. Later, I asked the doubt of the year which went like this. I’m flying from Earth to Moon in a spaceship. Earth and Moon are standing in the air. The concept of vacuüm wasn’t discovered in my life, so the Earth and the Moon stood in the air. Do you know what is below the Earth? I asked my Mother. She explained me about Space and planets and told me that below Earth, it is the Space. So if my spaceship falls off, then I will fall. Then where will I fall and land? You will not land on any surface but you will be floating, she replied. She did her best to teach me gravitational force and its concept but I was so adamant to find where I will land once I fall from the spaceship. My Parents gave upon me and I also gave up on my adventurous trip to the Moon. If only I had taken going to the Moon seriously, I would have become the first Indian (the first Mallu too) woman to land on the Moon. The history indeed lost a chance to keep my name on its leaflets.

We built our house, I mean my Parents built our house in 1996 and there was a discussion happening at home to choose a name for the house. Though a 5th STD girl’s opinion is not a big deal, but my Parents did ask my brother and I to tell us our choice of names.”Sachin!!” I screamed.”Sourav!!” my brother screamed. Then both of us started beating each other and rolling on the carpet. We kept shouting Sachin and Sourav the midst of the fight. For both of us, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly were not mere cricket players. They were more important people than our family and friends. We prayed for Indian cricket team more than we prayed for ourselves. We knew every other information about Sachin and Sourav.girl_playing_cricket_CoolClips_vc038236

The 1996 cricket World Cup happened after we moved into our newly built house. If Indian team is not playing well, my brother and I would run to the Puja room. We cried badly when the Indian team lost matches. Whomever asked me about my biggest dream in life, the answer was very confident and clear – to be a Cricketer. I nagged my Mother to enroll me in the Calicut Sports Academy. Once I even went to fast as a protest for not enrolling me for cricket. The 1996 world cup semi-final was a great blow to me. Those days, though I read about bribe in the Newspapers, I really didn’t understand the meaning of it. Day and night the only thought was to take revenge against Sri Lanka as they were the ones who beat us in the semi-fnals. There was a recurrent dream which I will never forget. The semi-final match is going on. The Sri Lankan team challenged India that if one randomly chosen person could score so and so runs in an over, then India will win. The floodlight fell on me and the camera shot me closely. Sachin poured his blessings over me and I played for an over and made India win the semi-final. Today when I look back I can’t believe that I truly had such a dream.

The dreams and ambitions changed a lot more times in the course of the time.But, one thing makes me sad. Those days, when somebody asks me what I want to become in life, at every phase I had a clear answer. Today if somebody asks me the same question, then I have to think hard for an answer. Damn, we all grew up.

 

*Ikka – as Tirur is a Muslim populated area, the word Ikka is suffixed with the men’s name to address him as elder brother

 

 

To Riyaz Sir,With love

I eagerly stared at the door of the classroom that morning. It was a very cold morning as the Kerala rains have never failed to arrive exactly on the day school reopens after the summer vacation. The newly stitched school uniform has already got wet and the classroom became the podium for the monsoon sneezes and coughs.

I heard about him through my senior friends who had studied in the new school which I joined for my 11th and 12th standard. On the first day of my 11th standard class, I felt as if I was eagerly waiting to watch a movie for which I heard rave reviews. Students talked about him with so much love and respect and he was the only reason to join a new school after my 10th standard. I knew his name but I wasn’t sure whether he would be my class teacher.

The first thing which I did after reaching the school was to enquire to the peons who my class teacher was. I checked the list pasted on every class room door of the first floor of the school.Finally,I saw the list on which I saw his name next to the column Class Teacher – Riyaz.K.I immediately searched for my name in the students list and my joy saw no boundaries.

I kept on staring at the door and a short man, in a checked shirt, walked into the classroom with a smile. After his first class, I agreed with my friends who talked about him. He taught us computer science transpicuously that I realized my innate liking towards algorithms and programming.

Though his beard gave him a serious look, it was just a camouflage to make students feel him as a strict teacher. If I, along with so many other students, ever had the urge to explore algorithms and programming, he was the reason behind such a craving.

It took only minutes to become his pampered kid which I still consider as a personal pride. But my heart did miss a beat when the list of students for his 12th standard class was announced. I listened sharply to the names of the students he was reading out and I didn’t hear my name. I looked at him and he threw back a smiling wink and read out my name in the end and I sighed.

He taught us only for two years as we had to move on with our lives after 12th standard. It has been ten years after stepping out of the school but his love and care for the students never ceased.

Toast to the man who taught me algorithms and programming,

to the man who taught me what simplicity is,

to the man who stood down to earth even being rich in knowledge,

to the man who stood beside me like a Father during my downtimes,

to the man who joined me like a Friend for every prank I did,

to the man who gave me all the freedom and support in school, 

to the man who gave me the support and encouragement to grow up in life,

to the man who has spread knowledge and happiness in the lives of numerous students.

Happy Teachers Day, Riyaz Sir!!

No more in your class but I will be always your student.

With lots of love,

Yet another student of yours

School Days – 3

I held the edge of the bench out of fear when I saw my first teacher of my life walking into the class.For the first time I realized that even hands and legs could sweat.The student maids told us to stand up and wish her a good morning.But only some of us stood up while majority of the kids sat on their seats wondering what to do.

She kept the books on the table and then talked to us.Her name is Shobana and we were suppose to call her Shobana Madam.She talked to us for more than five minutes but I could understand only those two matters.

It was snacks time and Mom came to me and fed me with milk and biscuit.I felt like heaven when she hugged me.One hour inside the classroom was terrible for me.After the snacks break,even the parents sat in the class.Madam explained the parents what all they need to check and take care while sending us to school.A long bell rang and I understood that if a bell is rung,then we can go home.

By the time I reached home I was tired,so I had an early lunch and slept.When I woke up in the evening,I heard my Mom telling to my Grandparents about my school.When I went up to the dining table,I understood that they are discussing about who will drop me and pick me up from the school.Anyway that is their headache,so I took my tumbler of milk and went to the bedroom.I kept the hot tumbler on my brother’s thigh to wake him up and then he started crying.When Mom came into the bedroom,she understood that he is crying because I have done some prank on him.She went away taking him in her hands giving me a serious look.I frowned at her and shouted that I don’t like him at all and I don’t want a brother too.Phew!!after that guy coming into the family,everybody is behind him.But I will not allow him to sit on my father’s lap at any cost;that’s my place;only my place.I didn’t drink the milk protesting for that serious look of my Mom.Later I made my Mom accept the deal of giving me ten kisses to drink the milk.

After dinner,though Mom told me to make my school bag ready I didn’t heed to her.Instead I went for sleep as I had my own plans.When I covered myself in the blanket on that pouring night of June,I was thinking how I can miss the next day’s class.But inside my tiny head,not even tiny ideas were originating and I slept off.

Next day morning started with fights and my crying on top of my voice.I wrapped myself in the blanket and didn’t allow my Mom to unwrap me.When she tried too hard,I bit her hard on her wrists and she pulled her hands out of pain.But when Dad came and kissed me I stopped crying.He promised me that if I go to school today,next day he will drop me at school.I was too young to know that all the promises made by the elders are often not kept.So I got ready for the school and my auto rickshaw had come with a couple of kids looking like me.Everybody except my brother came till the gate to put me inside the rickshaw and they told me to smile and they waved hands at me.I sat at the middle of two boys whose names were Abdul Aziz and Abdul Razak which I came to know during the attendance calling session in the class.

That day when teacher told us to write the alphabets,only myself and two other boys wrote it correctly and I got a dairy milk chocolate as an accolade.I felt like top of the world.This is the second time I am getting a dairy milk chocolate as a present.First time was when I was in play school,the teacher told us to sit quietly after lunch till the class ended.She promised us that the winner will get a chocolate.I even controlled my pee as we need to ask for permission to go to the toilet.If I ask permission then,I may lose the competition.So till the bell rang,I kept my mouth shut and didn’t even move from my place.At last when the bell rang,she declared me as the winner and gave me the chocolate..

I kept the chocolate till the long bell rang and once I got inside the rickshaw,I shared it with Aziz and Razak.The rickshaw first went to their house as they were cousin brothers and stayed in the same house.I waved my hands to tell them bye.Next day morning,when the rickshaw came,everybody wished me a good morning and I wished them back.That became a habit for us as our driver taught us to do so.For next two days I didn’t see Aziz and only Razak came to school.Upon enquiring,Razak told that Aziz lied to his mom that he is sick.Then I asked him how to lie and he explained me what all I am supposed to tell.

Next day morning I tried telling whatever Razak had told me and I tried to enact the behavior too which he had showed me from the class.As Mom was on leave due to my brother’s fever,she told me not to go to school.Alas!!I lied.I was happy that the trick worked.

That was the first time I lied in my life.When was the first time you lied in your life?Let me know.

Tagging

Raji , Z , Nidaa , Debo , Free Spirit , Bikram

School Days – 2

While walking to the kitchen I peeped into grandparents’ room. Those two fought round the clock ;even while sleeping. Grand dad is a calm and quiet man but Grand mom is a beautiful and talkative queen. My relatives who visit us often comment that I am the replica of my Grand mom but not in looks. I saw Grand dad sleeping peacefully as the pitch of his snoring was high. Lying next to him Grand mom was flipping herself indicating that she is not liking the tone of snoring. I giggled and walked away.

“Ah ha, here comes my school girl!!”

Thank God!!At least there is one person who is concerned about my first day in school. She hugged me tight but when she felt wet while holding my bum, she gave me a serious look and then smiled. I grinned at her and ran out of the kitchen door to take my toothbrush.

Within one hour my house fell into a celebration mood. Mom took a half day off to take me to the school. Though I took bath by myself, she again took me to the bathroom for a bath. My grandparents were waiting eagerly to see me dressed in the school uniform. Grand dad sat on his wooden push back chair and Grand mom sat on the floor stretching her legs and patting them. My Dad is her favorite kid so like a commentary; she was explaining my Dad’s first day in school and the bundle of accolades that followed him later in his academic life.

I was extremely happy as nobody was caring about my baby brother. He cried to his top of the voice but nobody looked at him except that Mom went to him and told him some sweet words. I felt like the world is celebrating my first day in school. I gave a devilish grin to my brother and laughed at him. He again cried but as it was my day, God couldn’t help him. So finally I was dressed up to go to school.

I wore a white shirt and a grey frock over it. A tiny tie around my neck made me uncomfortable but when I looked at myself in the mirror, I felt great. I couldn’t count how many kisses I got on that day. I had a short hair like the boys so my Mom made me wear a white hair band matching with the uniform. I was promoted to small from tiny after getting inside my socks and shoes.

Wow!!I said to myself.

My first day to the play school was the worst day in my life. Actually I didn’t attend the first day in my play school. Unfortunately (fortunately for me), my parents took my Grandparents too on the first day to my play school. As both my parents are working, it will be my grandparents who will be dropping me to and picking me up from the play school. I have never stayed away from my Mom for a long time. Even when she goes for work, she will come home for lunch. But the thought of staying in the play school for full day without seeing her made me shattered. I made such a bad scene by crying that both Grand Dad and Grand Mom cried with me. They scolded my parents for making me go to play school at such a small age. Though my parents argued with them to make me stay in the school, they dragged me out of it and took me home.

I went to my brother and lay down next to him. I leaned to kiss him and look like he was also happy for me. He smiled at me and made sounds unknown to me. But I knew that he was happy so I kissed him once more.

I waved to Grandparents while getting out of the house.Dad, Mom and I walked to the school.

Even 1 km before reaching the school, I saw a crowd moving to the direction of school. All the kids looked alike. We also followed the crowd.

School was crowded with parents and kids. It had a not so big playground with see-saw and merry-go-around. The building didn’t look that great. Till the new building’s construction is over, classes will be conducted here it seems. I was proud when I saw a lot them crying without any shame. Dad left for work and Mom took me to a class and made me sit there. When she gave me my school bag having a design of some flowers, I felt that I fell into some unknown world. By the time I came back from my thoughts, she had already left the classroom. I didn’t even hear what she told me before leaving me in this noisy junkyard.

I looked around me. All I could do was to cry because whoever cried, their parents were called inside the classroom.

When my Mom came back, tears were rolling down from her eyes. At least I stopped crying upon seeing her but she just couldn’t control her tears.

The bell rang!!

The maids to help out the students told all the parents to leave the room. I am sure even the cruelest man will cry if he saw us crying on that day. My Mom left the classroom with the other parents. Within 10minutes all of us stopped crying. We understood that even if we cry, they are not going to let our parents in.

The maids announced that our class teacher is on her way. They comforted us saying our dearest teacher is coming and to keep silent. As I was sitting in the corner of the first bench next to the door, I was the first one to see the teacher.

I saw her coming towards my class.

To be continued…

School Days – 1

Suddenly I felt cold as if somebody sprinkled water on me.But when I moved the thick black blanket from my face I realized that it is the early morning drizzling of rain.I checked my hands and legs to see the goose bumps making my tiny body full of tiny thorns.Like my Mom had taught me I rubbed on my hands and legs to get rid of the shivering body.I touched my bum to see whether I have peed while sleeping.Unfortunately my night pants was wet.I rubbed my hands against the suit and removed the blanket completely and sat down.

Usually I get up before everyone but my mom.Then I will go straight to kitchen and my mom will pat on my bum once when she notices that it is wet.I will jump to reach the knob of the kitchen door to open it.Once I give up,Mom will open it for me.My toothbrush is kept in a sky blue plastic holder hung on the outer wall of the kitchen.After taking my toothbrush and Close-up toothpaste,I will peep into the kitchen to see whether Mom is watching me.After making sure that she is busy I will squeeze the toothpaste to the toothbrush.I will keep the tooth-brush on the grinding stone and I will again squeeze some toothpaste into my hands.Once again I will check my Mom to make sure she is busy.Then I will slowly lick my palm and I will smile once the toothpaste dissolves in my saliva.Before I could lick for the second time,I heard her shouting.It is my grand mom;Dad’s Mom.

“Phew!!!what can we do with this kid?Today you ate the  toothpaste,who knows whether you won’t eat soap tomorrow!!”

I struggled to take out my hands as she was holding it tight.I cried making my face look really bad.Tears flowed down through my cheeks like a waterfall.I kept wiping my nose with her wrists.As she is very particular about cleanliness,she shooed me away leaving me free.I jumped the two steps to reach the courtyard and looked back to see her.I mocked at her and again licked inside my palm and ran to the bathroom which was outside our house.

Grand mom waved her hands as if she wants to beat me hard but I had already reached the bathroom steps.Mom stood at the kitchen door and smiled.

“you are making her naughty.It’s a girl.Better remember that”,Grand mom told this and went back to her room.

“She is just four!!”,Mom replied and looked back to see my Dad sitting at the dining table.

He waved me through the window next to the dining table and I called out for him.But the toothpaste foam fell out from my mouth making funny stains on my night-clothes.

Dad!!!!

I called out for him and ran from the bathroom but I slipped hitting a brick.Bricks are kept in the courtyard for the ease of walking to the bathroom when rain fills our backyard.Since it was my mistake I didn’t cry.When Dad and Mom ran to pick me up from the slippery courtyard,I was happy to see their concern towards me.I imagined how much jealous my brother would have been if he was not 6 months old.But when Mom kept a cotton dipped in Dettol,I really cried.Dad kissed me on my head and carried me to the bed.

I lay next to my baby brother and gave Dad a sad face.He left the room without acknowledging me.I went back to sleep and woke up only at 9 am when my brother cried after peeing.

Till yesterday my life was this way,but from today onwards it is going change.

Last week Mom and I went to the newly built school at Thazhepalam.It was the school inauguration ceremony.I met two of my nursery school friends who came with their parents.Though our parents talked to each other,I talked only with Shameena.I never liked Shihab as he is elder to both of us and he always gave me killing looks.While we were in nursery school,once he pinched me leaving his dirty nail marks on my hands.I held Shameena’s hands tight out of fear.I think she held my hand more tight.There was a fair,tall and beautiful teacher in the school.I wished she be my teacher.She smiled at me twice.Once when she was giving me sweets and then when Mom was filling up the admission form.But upon reaching home,Mom told a stout and dark teacher who passed serious commands to rest of teachers will be my teacher.

Today is my first day in school.I kept thinking sitting on the bed what to do.My brother and Dad were still asleep.I can hear some noises from the kitchen.Grand dad is having sound sleep as he is snoring.Why does nobody have a tension that I am going to school today?

Two weeks back Dad had bought Siyaram’s Grey color and white color cloth for stitching my uniform.Mom has already pressed that last night and it is kept in the second shelf of the almirah.I was happy when I tried out the uniform three days back.But today when I think of going to school wearing the uniform,I have butterflies inside my stomach.

I looked at my brother once more and got out of the bed.

“Will that stout woman be teacher?God please help me.I don;t want her as my teacher”.

I prayed while I was walking to the kitchen.

To be continued…

Some moments

Moments of my happiness,disappointment,guilty and embarrassment 😉

Happiness

==>You are broke at the month end..You and your friends crib about just having 100 bucks in their own accounts..

You don’t even have cash to have a pizza..

Unknowingly you check your jeans pocket to see a neatly washed and wrinkled 100 bucks 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

 

==>At school,teacher is asking questions..you don’t know the answer..your neighbour also has no clue about the answer..

In another 1 minute,according to rotation you have to answer..

you are sweating..

your neighbor cooked up something about the answer..

In another 5 seconds you will have to stand up to answer..

Trrrrrrrrrrrrrrr..Bell Rang!!! (Escaped :P)

  

 

Disappointment

==>You are happy and excited since two weeks..you get ready for the most awaited outing..you run around the house doing packing..

Seconds before getting inside the car,Dad gets a call for an emergency meeting..and you weep 😦  😦

==>You get out of the office early..You see the train reaching the station..You run through sub-way to reach station by pushing and telling sorry to a 101 people..The moment you finish running the stair case,you see a moving train..(Grrr..I want to kill somebody!!!:-| )

Guilty

==>You see a woman and a baby girl begging in the train..You feel bad about the kid..When they both reach your seat you feel like giving them some coins,but the feeling inside you that those coins are not going to help the baby will make you do nothing..

==>You and friends are having lots of fun teasing and making fun of each other.. You become a little more “caring” about a friend and tease her more..End of the day you see her SAD 😦 😦

Embarrassment

==>Somebody will tell you that you are wrong..You pick up a fight with her and argue that you are not wrong..After a tiring session of arguments,you come to know that she was RIGHT..

==>You talk too much about a person..of course not good things..You explain her with situations and in the end…

you come to know that he is her BOY FRIEND 😐 (Escape!!!!!!!!!!!)