Of More Love or Half of It

The sixth novel from Chetan Bhagat has its movie adaptation all set to release on 19th of May 2017, and the social media has been talking about it all the time. What it has done to our world is to provide the idea of a “half girlfriend”, or “half relationship”, which is expected to become an even more common term with the release of the movie starring Arjun Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor. Even though the term feels new, the basic idea of being more than friends, but not a girlfriend is not something new in an Indian scenario with the lack of clarity over the relationships between boys and girls.

It is even possible with the love stories that stand the test of time, as the same begins as something insignificant, becomes a relationship which can’t be named, and then goes on to become something more interesting. It is during this phase during which it becomes something that can’t be named, that we have the case of a half relationship, and it was always there with no name attributed to it. I remember more than one case with such a situation, related to friends, cousins, neighbours and from parts of those tales from schools and colleges which are told by someone we know.

Long ago, there were these two people, this boy and girl who competed for the first rank in the class. These two have been so strong with the evil subjects like Mathematics that one case of full marks in it pushed me directly to the third. I had always found them united in Mathematics, a quality which they had carried over to the higher classes. For me, Mathematics was a dangerous thing, and being united in it felt strange; there was no Romeo and Juliet in Mathematics, I had thought. But the way in which they competed and helped each other in the subject meant that they were so good in the subject and complimented one another.

I wished that I could score better in the languages, but the highest one could score for English was about five marks less than hundred, and a higher level of marks was not yet invented for Malayalam – my Hindi was only at the developing stage with new Bollywood movies being watched; so they held the top two positions for very long. By the time we were about to leave the school, all the students in the class were certain that there was something between them, a force which couldn’t be named, as the term “half relationship” was not invented yet – but the news just spread across the school, and everyone seemed to be confident that they were more than just friends.

Both of them found it quite easy to deny the same, and the girl could actually deny such an allegation with more ease – maybe the boy would have accepted it as truth if forced to, but the exams were approaching quickly and people went on with it. The two possible half lovers were not seen together much after that though, and some other girl who had half love for Physics and Chemistry had topped the class. There was not much heard about the Mathematics couple after that, and they finished further down in the ranks; most people blamed it on the tough Mathematics paper and the rest on a half relationship which was rumoured to be there.

Then, many years later, one day, while having Vegetable Puffs and Blackcurrant Shake at Navya Bakers which has been my favourite bakers for quite some time, someone called me by my name. The stranger told me that I hadn’t changed a bit from school, and I said to him that it is because I had shaved, and otherwise he would have to search for my face inside the beard. I also told him that whoever he is, has really changed, and I won’t be recognizing him without help. He introduced himself with a Mathematics problem, and even though I wanted to run away with the evil subject beginning to attacking me again, recognized him easily.

He was talking a lot about balancing the equation, and when the girl with him joined the conversation, I understood the fact – the Mathematical couple was together again; what was a half a relationship had become full in marriage. Well, that would solve their life’s equations with ease, I thought. They had found each other again while doing MTech again, and with her repeating for engineering twice, he had two extra years to get settled in life and ask for her and in marriage; the community and religion being the same, and the half equation had become full. I ordered one pista shake as his treat and wished them best of luck, and hoped that all which were half, would become full again – half girlfriend to full girlfriend, half lover to full lover, and all things finally complete with marriage. Even now, when I see the equations of Mathematics, I remember two special equations which went on to solve the problem themselves.

I am sharing a Half relationship story at BlogAdda in association with #HalfGirlfriend.

TeNy

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Half and Quarter Relationships

The college days have so many things happening out there. Well, it is the nature of the campus to keep something or the other happening all the time, ensuring that there is no dull moment. There are so many stories that the classrooms, the trees and even the library and the canteen will have to tell. Some people try hard to create something, and sometimes these stories just take birth out of nowhere. By the end of your time at the college, you think that you have heard and witnessed them all, but that is neither end or the beginning of the end, as the tales shall continue.

The stories of girls who elope with someone working at the canteen, the driver of the auto-rickshaw bringing vegetables to the canteen, or the security guard might come quite natural, but that would make the tale that of full girlfriends and wives. There are also so many love stories that learning about the love stories in just one department will need a lot of energy and concentration. A very few get married later, and the rest will have love disappearing. Then there are those half relationships – they should considered a separate section, and could be part of a deeper study, and even between them, there are so many sub-sections.

Among all the half girlfriends, let us focus on one, which can be termed as a quarter relationship at times, but it more half, if we join the two quarters together. It never really reached the three quarters, and so we can take it as the half relationship. It was those times when I considered myself too good to fall in love, and it was a reputation that I wanted to maintain, being on good terms with everyone, with the students, teachers, books, and even those trees which gave some nice shades to sit under them. There were quiz programmes, seminars and the rest, but for some others, there were more to do which included not much of these mentioned.

There were my juniors whom I had met due to a seminar being conducted under our department – otherwise, I was not that much into meeting new people unless they were characters part of the curriculum. They were the kind of people whom you would see everywhere, and they were also the type that you would only see together. They were people transformed into siamese twins by whatever was termed as love by every common student that was witness to this togetherness. The list of places which they were only seen with each other and nobody else was getting longer.

I also met them together, on the steps, and so not inside the building or outside it. I had already seen them multiple times in the canteen, but as I had dedicated that time to my special cup of tea, it never counted. As I approached to meet them, they increased the distance between them by a few centimeters, and they introduced each other as random classmates working together for the seminar. In a seminar with Shakespeare related topics including Romeo and Juliet, they were going to procrastinate things like in Hamlet, and seemed to be in the half relationship in a state of “to be or not to be”.

I think that they were pretty much confident about where this was heading, and they always had the backup plan, to deny that this was ever going to proceed further than a half relationship. It was more like taking the safe way out, as even though they were united with one religion, they were divided by community. They were caught in between, and being at the safe zone meant being in the half relationship. The half girlfriend proved to be the right choice for him with only a few days to go before the classes ended, project and exams followed, and they went separate ways.

Years have passed now, and maybe they have realized that having a half girlfriend or half boyfriend was not the way to go, just in the name of satisfying society. Maybe they are just happy that this half relationship is gone, and parents and relatives know better. We can’t be sure about that, as only time and fate and tell these stories better than us. We just play along, and hope that all things happen for the best reasons. I couldn’t find either of the two in Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and I wish that they found the best partners, and none of them was another half or quarter relationship after marriage. I am pretty sure that these two are not going to miss Half Girlfriend when it releases.

I am sharing a Half relationship story at BlogAdda in association with #HalfGirlfriend

TeNy

All that I Have Needed

There is more than one thing that has been part of my world as an Indian, which has made my life different and special. I have grown up in a rather traditional environment, even though there was no real strictness regarding the same. It was a world which was influenced by more than one religion, and more than one language – there was the influence of more than one community, and more than one style of living here. We had more than one culture, but there was that unity in diversity, which helped us to follow what has been our way of living for a long time, that is for sure.

Among all those things, there is the skill to drive anywhere, and it is something that has been achieved by driving for so long on our roads, going on from the time when I was eighteen, to now our fourth car which is the first diesel car I have possessed. There is so much skill that you see on the road, that you feel prepared for any roads, anywhere. So many things happen on the roads, and there is also a certain amount of forgiveness that happen regarding the traffic on the roads. As long as you obey the traffic rules, you can use the skill that you have gained in this traffic as use it anywhere else, as we are not new to any kind of road.

Surviving with just gravy has been another skill which I have managed to possess in the last few decades. Who needs a side dish or curry when there is gravy, or maybe we can have food with just a little sugar. The simplicity in food has been something which this new generation which is looking for only taste, needs to understand. We just need the food to survive and live through our existence, and we do not live to eat. Wasting food has been considered a quality by many who has too much to spend, but for a developing country like India, food is precious, just like water which has been becoming scarce.

We have also been closer to tea than coffee which is rather the drink of the privileged. Going for the drink of the common man, there has been a better understanding of how to keep it close to the common man rather than to go for the elite class. Tea has always had that quality, which is why India had taken the decision to make it our national drink. We have always loved the drink too, and the tea shops have been the places where the common people gathered, from the towns to the villages, talking about various things, and understanding each other as well as the problems. I have had days surviving just on tea!

There is also this feeling that we have, that never goes. There seems to be some problem with this in the recent days with some people in a few places with low education, but otherwise we have found it easy to have more and more cultures and traditions here. I have always wished for more religions and communities around me despite the fact that we have three of the world’s major religions around. It is the culture of the other that is so fascinating for us, and unless everyone starts to feel nothing other than pure hate for the other, which seems to be a growing tendency, we are all proud of that unity in diversity, and the real Indians are only looking for more of such beautiful diversity.

The great kings from our past has been always in support of such diversity, which should be why there were so many settlements of people from far away. We have always been welcome to new things, and something to add to our already colourful culture – there was nothing against accepting new knowledge and improving our world. I am sure that some events might make people doubt the same – but that is not the case with India as a whole. The essence of this culture hasn’t been lost yet, and those who claim to protect it aren’t the ones who are the real Indians, for it is about those who live according to the same, and let others live too.

There is this mutual respect that has been practiced in the Indian culture from a long time ago, that has been part of our blood too. It is the one thing that will raise our status among the nations, along with that strong spiritual side. This spiritual capabilities has been misused, but in its true essence will go on to become stronger than ever, as hate and abuse has no real existence in our culture. We have always wished for happiness and peace all over the world, and it is where we shall return to. It is for the same that we keep trying, praying and hoping during these days.

Witness the celebration of India’s growing global influence with Lufthansa’s TVC; for it is certainly #MoreIndianThanYouThink.

TeNy

Questions on a Sunny Day

It was on a sunny day that the ninety seventh human was allowed to get into the castle, something which was allowed only that many times through the history of the new and the old vampire worlds. Usually, the people allowed were someone who was good at one field or the other, this time, it was someone else, who had forced his way into this place, and so, none of the vampires happened to be happy about it. Still, they managed to deal with this person in the usual manner without exposing them to the sunlight directly.

Evil Human: Hi, inferior creatures, I am here, and I am going to praise my nation right now. So, listen to me as I go through it.

Vampire Bat: Why do you want to do that now?

Evil Human: It is what I do to make you understand my superiority in front of you lesser beings. I am going to sing our national anthem, and you have to stand up in respect for our culture and traditions which are the greatest in all world; otherwise, I will thrown you out of this castle like the useless dead people that you are.

Uncle Dracula: Enough of this. Tie him up.

[Vampires team up and tie up the man.]

Evil Human: This is an action against the greatest civilization, and the one true great nation of all time, which I condemn with the power that I possess due to our superiority over all those weak, pathetic…

Vampire Owl: This is rather unexpected. I have never even heard the Lich Queen or Mr. Werewolf Anger say this aloud in another territory.

Vampire Bat: One has to wonder how things happened to be like this. There should be some kind of control.

Uncle Dracula: This is quite natural, my friends. When a nation has so much of a great history, and the values that transcend what a common man can see, along with great development over the last few decades, uneducated fools like these will emerge.

Vampire Bat: It should be so depressing for a great nation to have people like this guy singing nonsense.

Uncle Dracula: Well, India has come so far into the modern world while maintaining its own powerful ideologies, values and culture which have contributed to the success of so many great people from the nation. It is the same reason why there is unity in diversity like nowhere else.

Vampire Owl: I was going to feed this guy to my zombie minions, but I am afraid that his extreme right-wing nonsense will poison their brains or what is left of them. They are all good people eating brain biriyani and having some graveyard fun, you know.

Uncle Dracula: It is only due to him not taking the essence of being an Indian, not taking the best of the great civilization right into him, and he seems to have been brainwashed into hating others rather than supporting his own nation and people. I have heard that uneducated humans fall into this too easily, and here we see the same proven with ease.

Vampire Bat: It is a case of shame that nothing can be done about it.

Vampire Owl: I am sure that politicians are also contributing to this. Such beliefs are what cause world wars.

Uncle Dracula: There is enough in Indian culture to be righteous and still gain success, but some people are just going on abusing others or choosing the wrong path to achieve success, and some dumb people think that it is all about religion, but the truth is that it is about politics – if there is no religion, there will always be caste, language, race and even celebrity worship among the others causing trouble. The only way out is to embrace the true essence of Indian culture, which has been all about truth, love, peace and non-violence.

Vampire Bat: May the essence get to be more powerful than the existence of people like him.

Vampire Owl: May righteousness prevail now, and towards the eternity that we look forward to.

Vampire Bat: My vampire friends, the human world has too many nations which consider themselves and their culture superior to the others. Only when the superiority is proven by their own actions of kindness and love rather than the rest of the things, that their world can be a better place. It is not by wealth and certainly not by fame, as there is that ancient Indian way of thinking that includes “Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu”, calling for happiness and peace not just to oneself, but to the whole world. When the world becomes a better place, happiness automatically comes back to you.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of the movie, Hotel Transylvania.

Witness the celebration of India’s growing global influence in Lufthansa’s TVC; for it is #MoreIndianThanYouThink.

TeNy

And There was the Need

I have had quite some time as break between passing my MA English exams and getting my first job, and this time period was spent the best by traveling around the town of Aluva or otherwise known as Alwaye as the people going through the railway station would know. Even before it was popularized by what became the second highest grossing Malayalam movie at that time, Premam, we knew that possibilities are endless, and I had a lot of time to undertake a random journey from one part of the town to the other. It never mattered if the journey was alone or with someone.

Watching movies could also happen with the same, and I often took some special time to travel in the KSRTC (Kerala State Transport Corporation) buses, as it has been on these government transportation that most of my life has been depending on – from our house to our flat, and also to our ancestral lands and to our current home, all were connected the best through the KSRTC service; even my schools, colleges and the work place were best reached by the KSRTC, or I preferred them before the private buses. The AluvaPerumbavoor bus route has been my most traveled bus route ever.

Such journeys were needed, because there was not much about keeping on sitting at home all the time. A possible attack from a relative was always there to bring the danger and the terror, and it was capable of destroying a day or maybe even a week with the power, making these journeys the way to making the day better. It was during one of these journeys that I came across this person from another state, standing on the same bus stop as I was, seemingly not sure about which bus to choose from a long queue of transport.

As I was not someone in a hurry, I waited in my usual style, for a bus with empty seats to arrive, and that took some time. It was during that time that he asked about the bus to Angamaly, the other town which has bee popularized by a recently released movie, Angamaly Diaries. We usually expect such a person to ask about how to go to Perumbavoor, but this time, it was Angamaly. That was not that much of a difficult question for me, but him getting there was going to be more difficult. What he needed was an ordinary bus, and that was only possible from the KSRTC bus stand.

So, this was the time to remember “Atithi Devo Bhava”, and I had become the righteous host for the town of Aluva, the place where I was spending most of my youth. Prescribed in the ancient texts and also becoming the tag line of India’s Ministry of Tourism’s campaign, this was to become more and more significant in the wake of racist and nationalist attacks all over the world – at least us, who are part of a civilization with deep roots, and are determined to hold on to keep our values and culture strong, had to make sure that the slogan about “the guest being equal to God” was to stay alive.

Therefore, I decided to travel with him to the KSRTC bus station, and make sure that he got down there to get into the Angamaly bus, that too the ordinary service as he had wanted. When he came out of the bus after getting in, I thought that my understanding of languages was once again bad, but he had come to thank me, and then he returned to the bus to travel to the destination. Well, there can be many success stories, but nothing like being successful in helping others in need – it is part of our culture, and it should be on the top of the list of values that we would be passing on.

Yes, the idea of culture is more than just about behaviour, but how we behave with others does deserve to have the priority. Being Indian is more about how good a person you are, and not about how you force others to say that you and your country are so awesome. It is by how you treat others than others will be seeing you. Abusing people on the Facebook page or App page of an android application is not how one earns respect, and it should be the culture and values from our past, and not what has been developed by a modernised new generation, that should guide our lives.

Witness the celebration of India’s growing global influence in Lufthansa’s TVC; for it is #MoreIndianThanYouThink.

TeNy

Of Values and Culture

I wouldn’t consider myself among those who are termed as the highly acclaimed, successful people on the planet, or even in my extended family. But I have held on, against all things vain, and I have done that without losing hope. I have never been after titles, and never did I try to get a position better in comparison to someone else. I have been told that being good, and being fair to others is what matters the most. The same has been part of our culture, and success is something that will come to you sooner or later, as long as you keep the goodness factor alive, along with working hard. It is from the good deeds, that we make ourselves, and our nation proud.

There will always be the cousins, the distant relatives who have done so much with their lives, that people will always talk about how much they earn. It something that you will always have the ears to hear, and these people are certain to make sure that you are going to listen to the same. By any means necessary, more salary is required, and so is a wonderful married life which includes a partner with lots of money, and his or her family with more wealth. This is more of a deviation from what our culture has been. We are affected so much by the modern world that we have forgotten that our culture was not based on wealth, and it was all about the quality of an individual.

One would wonder if the problem is with the individual who keeps looking forward to only being successful in one way or the other, or with the society that keeps asking for the same. Growing in a family which has been so close to the Indian values, did make me wonder about where these qualities are going, during my youth. Maybe, the current situation has too many easy paths – but I would say no to them, and will work of my own to reach where I need to be; this has been my decision. There is a lot to do in this world and a lot to achieve, I agree to that – but I would also say that it has to be done in the right way rather than choosing a path which has all wrong letters written on the sign boards.

I am also not denying that the decision has been something that did prove effective for me in the long run. There were so many opportunities for me to go the wrong way, as the chances to lie and cheat one’s way through for money is quite natural in a world which has its people closer to each other with the social media and the internet. What the society has been asking was success, and beyond our culture, there is a new generation who are forced to take the easy way out, and some of them are really happy about the same. But I would not believe that everything is fair in love and war – it is just not the kind of saying that we can believe in, when we look from our culture and values.

Boasting has also never been part of our culture, which is why, the great figures further into the Indian history have been known less in the past, but have come to the picture now. We have always wished to live a simpler life, trying only to live fair and set a good example for a future generation. It is the same reason why, we have kings in our history who have sacrificed so much for their people, and it is on this sacrifice that our values are based on, even though there are still a lot of people who find it convenient to forget the same, and become the greedy, vain human being that has no part in our culture.

I would consider holding on to my values to be more important than stealing success, and showing off with my income and lifestyle. It was the same thing that I thought about when I attended one of those very few interviews which I came across during those early days after finishing my post graduation. I was asked about how good I was, and I replied that I am only that good as the resume says. I said that I would not go on to create magic all of a sudden, and I can only give my best, which was reflected on my qualifications and experience. That might be the only reason why I managed to get the job.

This might be the right place for me, or maybe it is not. I was never sure how long I was to go about with the job. But there was one thing that I was confident about, and it was that my life had to go on the right way, with the Indian values and culture, and not some fake ideology which has been brought on us just like on the other nations due to globalization, and the rest of the things that came as part of modernization. We are what we are, and we have our roots; it tells us to be true to ourselves and to the others; to lead a simple life, and to value humanity over wealth. It is how the hermits have earned so much respect in our history; we are a civilization that are beyond accumulation of wealth. It is how the trust is built, and a better world is constructed.

The same is reflected in Lufthansa’s TVC that is #MoreIndianThanYouThink.

TeNy

Best of First Quarter: 2017

People will say that it is just too early to choose the best of movies. But it is never really early or late to choose your favourites, as I am choosing the best six Malayalam movies of this year from those which I have watched – I did go for almost all of them, except for some movies which instantly give that impression that we shouldn’t watch them; there are still moments when I had decided to go for them too. The last year had movies like Pulimurugan, which became the first ever 100 and 150 crore grosser in Malayalam movie industry, doubling the collections of the previous gross topper, Drishyam and its quick followers Premam and Oppam. So, what can this year bring for the industry? Lets begin with the big six movies, and the names can already be guessed by my friends on Facebook who should have seen my writings and preferences already.

1. Take Off :: I am pretty sure that most people will agree to this choice, as long as they are not the extreme case of fans. This one is Malayalam movie industry’s answer to Airlift, but takes the time to get more out of the emotional side with a first half which establishes the main characters and the situation of the protagonist really well. Taking a page out of a real incident and adding the needed creativity, Take Off becomes the movie that is not easy to find fault with. There is Parvathy as the protagonist doing an excellent job, and there is Fahadh Faasil who gets things to be more intense in the second half. Kunchacko Boban remains serene with his act. The positive opinions received are all deserving.
Read review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/03/26/take-off/

2. C/O Saira Banu :: This one is an interesting movie which moves from family drama to its twists after the half time. It deals with some interesting incidents which have happened in our society, and also leaves with a message along with an ending which comes as a pleasant surprise with a nice turn of events. It questions not only a past, but also the present and the future in a prejudiced society that we live in. Manju Warrier and Amala Akkineni are the ones who shine in this movie which will work for not just one category of viewers. Along with Rani Padmini and How Old Are You?, this one will be on the list of the best works of Manju Warrier after her grand return. She is indeed the lady star who can hold a whole movie on her shoulders in the absence of any big male star.
Read review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/03/18/co-saira-banu/

3. Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol :: Following Jomonte Suvisheshangal, and becoming only the second movie to release after that long lasting theatre strike, Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol is a very well made family movie which is sure to appeal to the audience, and along with Mohanlal being at his best, there is also a strong supporting cast which includes Alencier Ley, Anoop Menon and Kalabhavan Shajohn who bring the fun element into the movie. Aima Rosmy Sebastian of Jacobinte Swargarajyam fame has a charming presence, and gets to do more this time. The movie’s message is strong, and cent percent applicable to the present world. Yes, family means everything, and with a superior second half, this movie successfully reiterate the same without melodrama. The family audience will love the grapes.
Read review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/01/22/munthirivallikal-thalirkkumbol/

4. Aby :: Aby is an interesting new addition to that list of movies which proves to be inspirational for an upcoming generation with big dreams. Look out for Vineeth Sreenivasan, Aju Varghese, Mareena Michael Kurisingal and the supporting cast who make a simple story work really well in a way that it touches your dreams to make them wish to fly higher. How the story ends makes sure that we leave with a smile in the end. We do realise that we will not fly high as the protagonist does, but we can appreciate the fact that we could have and someone will. What is it with Malayalam movies and inspiration? We are having so many of them, and may this one also leave a nice impression. More and more of inspiration will be interesting thing, that is for sure.
Read review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/02/24/aby/

5. Ezra :: Ezra does limit its scares, which is rather surprising – but while doing the same, it does take a divergent path, and undoubtedly scores with its visuals and sound effects, but one wonders why it hasn’t used all the arms and ammunition in its arsenal to create a huge scary experience that will keep you unsettled for a very long time. Even though it is a nicely done movie with an interesting narrative, I wouldn’t say that it will make you remember any of its scary moments. Ezra is worth watching for being different, and it buys and sells no white sari like the usual Malayalam horror movies have been doing beyond centuries. Prithviraj Sukumaran has chosen the right horror movie for sure.
Read review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/02/12/ezra/

6. Alamara :: Alamara brings some simple, feel-good fun with its usual tale of a married couple having problems due to their families going against their relationship; with a big almirah in the middle of all these as silent witness to this mess of a family life. There are some really funny moments in this flick which also leaves one with a message. Aditi Ravi looks really beautiful here, and makes her presence felt in this one, and it is Manikandan R Achari as the protagonist’s favourite mama who leads the way in the comic department, supported well as usual by Aju Varghese and others making this one a cute watch. Just like Ann Maria Kalippilaanu from the same director, this one also deserved more attention than it receieved.
Read review at: http://moviesofthesoul.com/2017/03/19/alamara/

***The images used in this blog post are from the official Facebook Pages of the movies as well as the leading actors and actresses mentioned here.

This week’s movies are The Great Father and Georgettan’s Pooram. Do they deserve to be somewhere in this list, or maybe in one which is a little bit longer? If you are looking forward to a Hollywood 2017, read this!

TeNy