Thursday, August 24, 2006

Dr. Ayyappa Panikker

I was upset to hear of the death of Dr. Pannikker(Panikker sir, to us). I saw him only twice after I left the Institute of English (where i did my research) some sixteen years ago. Dr. Pannikker was the Director of the Institute. Even while i was there i had very little to do with him as he was not my guide. Yet, it is difficullt to come to terms with his death. For some reason, i seem to think think people like him dont die!
As a research scholar i had to interact with him occasionally - for administrative reasons mostly, and academic, once in a way. I must say, he was a presence. Nay, not just a presence. But an impact!
I remeber the first time i met him. it was a classic case of fools rushing in where angels fear to tread. Ihad no inkling that he was a temperamental genius with a fiery temper. After my fellowship was confirmed, i thought i'll speak to the celebrated poet-critic-scholar to help me find a topic. He suggested i take up a woman novlelist and explore some feminist angle. Very earnestly i told him that "feminism is not my cup of tea".
All hell broke loose.
What! he exploded with heavy sarcasm. what then is your cup of tea? Who cares for your cup of tea? Two lack worth books on feminsm gathering dust in the university library and you are worried about your cup of tea.
With biting sarcasm he went on about my cup of tea. I was caught totally unawares and literally froze!! was horrified and it must have shown on my face. After he had finished,I quietly got up and politely asked him if i could take my leave. he asked me to wait and called the peon and ordered two cups of tea. Then over a cup of tea he made small conversation with me. Must say i was too shaken to respond coherently . Nevertheless, i appreciated the fact that this cup of tea was his olive branch.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Deliver us from Bacchans, KANK and the media

What is God's name is happening to the electronic media? when the world is burning, chanel after chanel goes on and on and on about KANK. is that movie of some national importance? dont the channels realise that less than o% of the viewers care a ----- about it? granted , there might be some academic interest in how a movie targetting the global indian fares- but day after day, channel after channel--- it's really really too much, too much!!!! true, these are days of channel wars - but does that mean they should throw all sense of propriety to the winds?

And this obsessions with the Bacchans! Really, it's time someone told them to stay at home for sometime. it's a real assault on the eyes! movies, file shots, commercials, hoardings-please. we need a change.

But what surprises me is how a pedestrian stereotyed actor like the papa Bacchan can earn such superlative praises- guess that's the power of the media - it even managed to pull wool over the eyes of Sanjay Bhansali into casting him in that major role in BLack. If not for Bacchan's pathetic performance, am sure the movie would have gone places. Just imagine what it would be if Nasrudin Shah or some one of his ilk played that role!

Wish to God channels(IBM, NDTV, HEADLINES TODAY) would behave in a more level headed manner

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

My daughter's gift

My daughter gave me a wonderful gift. Wonderful ‘cos it changed my life style completely .I have become a fitness freak now. From an indolent creature ever on the lookout for an excuse to avoid the prescribed one hour walk daily, I have become a walkaholic. I now wait for the evenings to come to go to the walkers park which I avoided like plague till I got this wonderful gift. I jump out of the bed at six in the morning ignoring all those aches and pains which I earlier used to seize upon to peg my excuses on., and dash off to the park to walk for an hour and half!
Guessed what the gift is?
To tell you the truth, hi-tech gadgets never fascinated me. In fact they scare me, make me feel inadequate, and sadden me too. I think they symbolize the death of a beautifully romantic manually operated life. Past has always fascinated me - and future? It frightens me. I hate those futuristic movies though I watch them through the corner of my eyes. I know I sound stupid but there are times I wish aeroplanes still remained impossible dreams. That’s me. Guess I had become an anachronism long before I was born !
But ipod! I love it. I can go to the end of the world with that tiny machine. With the earphone in my ears, I can walk long after I can walk no more .
Just imagine, you can carry music with you in the least cumbersome way. Clip it on to your dress, put the earphones in place and you carve out a private space for yourself in a very very public space like a park .And what a space that is!!! It spans time and space while you are go round and round and round on the beaten path with other health freaks who also go round and round and round. But there is a gulf of difference between them and me. While they keep looking at their watches or counting their rounds, I want to go on for ever! How can I not when Stevie Wonders follows his I just called with Part time Lover, or when Lenon provides the most melodious solutions to man’s misery with his Imagine? Nash’s I can see clearly now the rain takes me hurtling across time to my undergraduate days when I struggled to stay myself from swaying to that terrific reggae beat for fear of scandalizing my gentle mom with her extreme orthodox Syrian Catholic views about women. Oh! Then there are ever so many numbers which make me wish I could stretch those moments to eternity!
My worst fear(and my husband’s too)is that I would break out into some wild dance when those unnamed Latino numbers which my daughter has fed into the Ipod start filling my space with that irresistible beat.
I can go on and on and on -- - but am sure I have bored you sufficiently- So shall wind up with ‘Thank God (and my daughter) for the Ipod.’