UCC: All that is Fantastico

I have watched many movies which are based on campus life, including Classmates, Niram, Doctor Love, Nammal and more, but never did I thought that my post graduation time will be the best years of my life. Yes, there has been problems here are there, but all of them have only contributed to making me a better person, and there was the chance to go through all the literature, which is why I consider the two years as among the best of life, and remain as my strongest memories; UCC is the fantastico of my education.

This memory is all about UC College or Union Christian College. The history of UC College’s history goes back to 1921, when it came to existence as a result of co-operation between four major church denominations in Kerala, the Church of South India, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, the Mar Thoma Syrian Church, and the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church. Earlier affiliated to The Travancore University and now affiliated to the Mahatma Gandhi University at Kottayam, UC is a very much reputed college.

Photo0163

UC College has been one of the few things which continues to represent the town of Aluva, along with the Marthanda Varma Bridge, the Federal Bank HO, the Shivarathri Manappuram, the Advaita Ashram and Mangalapuzha Seminary. Located about four to five kilometres from the main town area, UC College is one the best known education institutions in Kerala, and among the colleges in Ernakulam district close enough to Cochin, it has been traditionally the most popular.

The college was also like three and half kilometres from my home at that time, a distance which I could reduce by a few metres if I had chosen to walk by taking a few shortcuts through a world without traffic. So, UC College was always going to be the right choice for me to go for MA English. So, the fact that I could get admission there on merit itself was more than just another happy moment for me. But I wasn’t sure about my future even then, and I could never be clear about what was to happen there, being the big cynic.

Photo0137

But the college which you have seen in the movie Premam was not just another educational institution for me. UC College has been the source of nostalgia, something that still stays, unlike the rest of the insitutions – in the case of all the others, the memories have clearly disappeared. From the canteen to the library, and through each building there, stretching around the green campus which has so many trees and old structures, each corner of the college is still alive in my mind. It feels so good to reach the campus early morning, and walk through this green universe. There is the need to arrive early and leave late considering how refreshing the campus is.

The days were fantastic, even though I understood that they were so when it was coming to a finish. I didn’t feel that it was going to be this good when I began, but things only got better. As the second year started, life had become so much closer to literature, and Film Studies was also a paper waiting to come to light. The whole department had become even more friendly, and even getting permission to go to the canteen and have a cup of tea was so easy. I could never study at an institution which had friendly teachers earlier, but UC College was an exception. Most of the school teachers have been demons for me as I remember.

Photo0178

The advantage of having friendly teachers is that you will have a better interest in the subjects which they are teaching, and you never hesitate to ask the questions. Throughout my studies, until joining UC College, I had only one or two of such friendly teachers, but thankfully that changed with the MA English adventure. I remember the opportunities to attend the seminars at different colleges and the chance to be part of many quiz programmes in Central Kerala along with winning a few! One of those wins are still shown there on the official website of the college, and that still feels happy and extra fantastico! 😀 You can see it here

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me during my MA English course there.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

TeNy

Advertisements

River Through Camera II

I had posted a few photos of Periyar’s “Aluva puzha” side which you had witnessed in a better way in the blockbuster Premam with all its beauty from the movie makers. Here are a few more photos to go with it. All these were taken by me on my camera and mobile. These will show the beautiful side of the river which blesses the town of Aluva or Alwaye once again. I hope that these will make you fall in love with the beauty of nature again.

100320113876

DSC00030

DSC00031

DSC00060

DSC00367

DSC00408

DSC00416

DSC06925

Photo0101

But there were occasions when the river was not that kind; this one happened in the year 2013. The truth is that we are never prepared for situations like floods.

DSC06293

TeNy

A River: Through Camera


There has been a good number of songs which have featured Periyar going through the town of Aluva, the most popular ones having the name itself in the songs including “Aluva Puzhayude” in the recent blockbuster Premam and “Aayiram Padasarangal Kilungi” from the 1969 movie Nadhi. Here are a few shots of the very popular river which has flown through inside a good number of Malayalam movies. All these shots were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310 Camera.

DSC00526

DSC00441

DSC00422

DSC03768

DSC00418

DSC03770

DSC00385

DSC00055

DSC00071

DSC00039

***Keep calm and spend some time near the Aluvaite part of Periyar or “Aluva puzha” 😀 Delighted to have lived so long on the banks of this river 🙂

TeNy

Full Defence of Premam

Premam is still running in the theatres now, and it has gone on to become a special movie in Malayalam movie industry; it was the second highest grossing movie in Malayalam, the last time I read about it. Meanwhile, I have been hearing and reading a lot that Premam has been misleading the youth, and that the movie was rather not needed. I will not say that movies don’t have the ability to send the young men and women the wrong way, but this accusation about this particular movie is nothing but a strange thing. There are many reasons why I can say with clarity that the misleading has been minimal or never really happened.

1. The youth has never been perfect: So, this late defence starts with the ultimate realization of truth. The youth has never been perfect, and never came close in the eyes of the older generation. The situation will only get worse as time passes, and a newer generation can come up with things which were not expected by a much older generation. It is usually not a positive thing, but it is how it works. There are things which are waiting to happen, and there is no stopping them as the world gets immersed in more and more modernity and less values of the old times. Premam doesn’t contribute to that directly because it was always going to happen.

premam (2)

2. Premam brings nothing new at all: As the director Alphonse Puthren himself has suggested, Premam is the second movie from him and the very next movie after his own Neram which brings nothing new at all. Where the film succeeds is in the presentation of something which has been around for a very long time. It is the success of the movie, and not bringing something huge out of nowhere. Premam‘s magic wand comes much later. So, the argument that Premam has made that kind of a change doesn’t stand because it can’t bring something which already existed. Premam is just another stylish take on what you have seen already.

3. Premam is just a reflection of the truth: Premam is a realistic portrayal of the incidents. Most of the things which are shown in the movie have already happened here or there. People who have studied in colleges will know that the new generation is already like this only; not all of them, but a good number of them. The quality of the teachers as well as the students will continue to come down as long as the National Eligibility Test is done on the basis of an objective test with no negative marks. Instead, it should be done to test the quality, goodness and creativity of the teachers; students will be never better than the teachers and the parents.

premam (3)

4. There is a message right in the soul of this movie: You can say that some other movies have messages and all, but Premam is the one which has left us with a better message. There are movies like Bangalore Days, Neelakasam Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi and 1983 which pretends to have messages, but the only thing that they all show is the pathetic state of youth in a fake way – they are all protagonists worthy of detest. Meanwhile, Premam shows how a protagonist finally becomes the good person and then he gets the girl – it has the traits of a morality tale when justice is served for the good guy, not for the person who had no clue of being good earlier. He finds his love when he becomes the better person, after leaving the third-rate life he had during the college life, learning to be a good person; it is the message!

5. The examples used are all wrong: I am really surprised that people have used so many ridiculous examples related to this movie. A lot of movies have shown the incidents in this movie in one way or the other, already. A good number of movies had terrible protagonists, compared to which our hero of Premam is nothing. It is to be noted that a lot of heroes of the past have been just criminals who beat up people. There have been smugglers, underworld dons, murderers, thieves and many others, and our protagonist in Premam is none of them. May be some people prefer Honey Bee and Kili Poyi as the great “righteous” movies. Or are they movies like Praja, Chattambinadu, Ustaad, Pokkiriraja and all with the right examples?

6. Misunderstanding is never the fault of a movie: You can have your own misunderstanding, but you just can’t blame a movie for the same, because you can’t understand what a movie can do in your life – you have to take the good things and leave the bad things behind. If you are not able to understand that, it is a serious mistake on your part. These days, people end up taking what they like and what they are comfortable with; if they had taken the good things instead, world would have been a better place. But if they try to take all the wrong things into their life, the director and the writer are not to responsible for the same. Movies don’t make things terrible unless you choose, but problems are there when some people choose the evil, but that applies in the case of every movie!

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

TeNy

What Needs to be Remade

How much do we help of a person in need? Ranjith Sankar’s directorial debut talks about the same in the form the 2009 movie Passenger. He has brought the genre of social thrillers to full power into cinema, and he continued the same into the less efficient Arjunan Sakshi starring Prithviraj Sukumaran and Ann Augustine. Even though that movie also brought a picture of the society and criticized the system from the government to the police and the other people in charge, and reiterated the common man’s need to take the responsibility for the society, it was nothing like Passenger.

He had also shown the problems faced by someone who wanted to start a new business venture in Kerala with Punyalan Agarbattis and a different perspective in Molly Aunty Rocks!. But each and every time we watch Passenger, we realize that none of them can be a match to this debut movie from the same director. It was there on television on the day before yesterday too, and one has to wonder how it manages to be so fresh even after being watched so many times. I have watched it more than twenty times myself, and it was the big reason why I watched Arjunan Sakshi on the first day itself.

In the life of modernity, what is it that we can do for the society?

In the life of modernity and tall concrete, what is it that we can do for the society?

The story has Sathyanathan (Sreenivasan), a common man who works in a private company as the major protagonist. He is one of those simple people who goes to work in the city and comes back to his place in the regular passenger train. He finds happiness in the simple things like the local temple festivals, talking about news with the friends and having a few cups of tea. There is nothing special going on in his uncomplicated, predictable life which goes on and on, as he follows the machanical procedure. But as he is the last among his friends to get to down, one day, he falls asleep and misses the station near his place.

On the day on which he falls asleep, he wakes up to find that he was sleeping for so long, and asks another person Nandan Menon (Dileep) about the present situation. After a few moments of humorous conversations, they get down at the Guruvayur railway station and separates. But as Nandan is suddenly kidnapped by a group of goons in a car, Sathyanathan wishes to help, but is caught in a situation in which he can do nothing. He decides to travel to the man’s place inform his people about the same. But it is about more than what meets the eye, as he is a lawyer fighting a case against the home minister, and his wife is a leading journalist looking into the same case.

The journey of life continues, but at the end, what do we earn?

The journey of life continues, but as we reach that end, what do we earn?

There are no songs in this movie, and there are no stereotypes either. But life of the common man caught in a strange situation is brought to light here in a realistic manner. There is nothing spectacular done by the protagonist, but simple acts, as he goes on to make a difference without trying to be the superhero. There is a certain amount of simplicity in the portrayal of the character by Sreenivasan as he perfectly fits the role of a common man, something which might not have been the case with a superstar added. It is the kind of role which suits him without anything special added to it.

Dileep also plays a role which has no heroism, despite the character consistently trying to bring a change in the society while fighting the powerful politicians and businessmen in a legal way. Meanwhile, Mamta Mohandas has played the role of a determined journalist hoping to bring change in the society, with a lot of strength. Jagathy Sreekumar plays the man who wants to hold on to the political power in any manner possible, and Nedumudi Venu plays the character who is a reluctant helper and he turns the man who realizes his duty as the story gets tougher and things get to the next level. I would love to have Irrfan Khan or Naseeruddin Shah in the lead.

Passenger is a movie which should have been remade in many other languages, and not something like Bodyguard. With its situations, Passenger asks a question to the common audience about why one should help a fellow human being when there is a chance. It asks the common man to understand that one simple help might mean many things, and may be this helping hand can bring a big change in the society. May be someone will think that he or she is not capable of that change, but it is the sincere attempt that makes all the difference in the end because none of us know what results it can bring despite we being the weaker ones. It needs go further like the original Drishyam to be remade like Drishyam in Bollywood.

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me at Aluva (Alwaye) on my Sony Cybershot Camera.

TeNy

Tale of Five Towns

I have traveled a lot in a particular area more than any other, from the time I can recollect anything about the same. Just because I had nothing else to do, one day, I looked at the Google Maps and checked for those five towns to which I have traveled the most, and made a connection between them. I found out that the connection that I made looked like a mask; and for me, it felt like the mask of Zorro, Robin, the Green Hornet, the Spirit, the Phantom, the Green Lantern and the Lone Ranger – well, in simple words, it looked like a domino mask.

These five towns are part of the Ernakulam district of Kerala, not that far away from the city of Cochin. They are Aluva, Angamaly, Perumbavoor, Muvattupuzha and Kothamangalam. All of these towns were visited by me for watching movies, and all of them had the presence of Indian Coffee House at some point of time. There are also interesting tourist places close enough to them, mostly related to natural beauty and the same can be said about places of religious and spiritual significance. They are all well-developed, and have some interesting restaurants and bakeries for the food lovers.

5towns

1. Perumbavoor: The town lies in the centre of the other four towns, with less than twenty kilometres to each of them, the closest being Angamaly. Aluva-Munnar as well as the Main Central Road joins here to create one of the most prominent junctions without a National Highway passing through. The closest places of natural beauty are Kodanad which is famous for the elephant rescue/training centre and Paniyeli-Poru which is known for its serene beauty. With no railway connection, Perumbavoor along with Aluva and Angamaly becomes the three big towns near the Cochin International Airport. There is famous temple at Iringole Kavu near Perumbavoor, and other interesting places of worship also exists for all the three major religions.

20140904_145915

2. Angamaly: Even though Kalady, the birthplace of Adi Sankaracharya, and Malayattoor, where Saint Thomas had prayed remain close to both Angamaly and Perumbavoor, it is this town which has the railway station which serves these two places of spirituality. National Highway 47 connecting Kanyakumari to Salem goes through the town, and it has one of the largest churches in India, and the town has a long history of Christian spirituality. It also has one of the best-looking Kerala State Transport Bus Stations, and one of the earliest modern style multiplexes in the area in the form of Carnival Cinemas. The only double-decker bus service in the district starts from here. This also serves as the border town of Ernakulam district with Thrissur district close to it.

020920091522

3. Aluva: Often stylized with the older name of Alwaye, its most well-known part is the Sivarathri Manappuram and the Siva Temple there. Aluva Sivarathri is very famous, and the Advaita Ashram here was founded in 1913 by Sree Narayana Guru. St. Joseph Pontifical Seminary is also one of the oldest in the state. Aluva stays on the National Highway 47 connecting Kanyakumari to Salem, and Aluva-Munnar road is a common route taken by tourists. Aluva is where the city service to Cochin starts, and also the point from where the Kochi Metro begins, thus making it the unofficial finish-line of the city. Surrounded by the river Periyar, Aluva is also home to the Federal Bank Head Office. The Marthanda Varma Bridge is a significant landmark and the railway station is a busy one. Union Christian College (UCC) is the oldest college, and Premam movie shows a lot of the town and the college.

DSC00084

4. Muvattupuzha: On the Main Central Road, Muvattupuzha lies as a border of Ernakulam district towards the higher grounds. Connected to Perumbavoor with a perfect road and also well connected to Kothamangalam, it also has the districts of Kottayam and Idukki close enough to it, making the place more like an entrance to the the lower lands. It easy to go to both the smaller Areekal falls and the larger Thommankuthu falls from here, passing through Thodupuzha. You can also travel to Ilaveezhapoinjira, Vagamon and other places of natural beauty from here.
Muvattupuzha, despite the absence of a railway station and being further away from the airport, has undergone very good development, including becoming the only town outside the Kochi city limits to have a mall with multiplex.

DSC00238

5. Kothamangalam: Located closer to Muvattupuzha than any other town and also well connected to Perumbavoor, Kothamangalam is more like a gateway to the natural beauty of Kerala’s hilly areas. With no Latin influence, the town is known for its ancient Syrian Christian churches. It is a major pilgrimage area for the Jacobite Syrian Church, and the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church also has a strong presence there. The Thrikkariyoor Temple nearby dates a long way back. Interesting places of natural beauty like Bhoothathankettu, Thattekkad, Urulanthanni, Pooyamkutty etc are nearby, and this is the path which you follow to Munnar and all the beautiful places related to that destination despite being further away from air travel and railways.

DSC00894

***I have shared one photo of natural beauty from each of these towns along with the Google Map screenshot. All the photos were taken on my camera or mobile in the last five or six years. The most traveled cities are in the order – Aluva, Perumbavoor, Kothamangalam, Muvattupuzha and Angamaly.

TeNy

UCC: Random Thoughts

It has been two years. Time has moved fast, and I still remain where I was by the end of July 2013. I was going through the final stages of my project on vampire as a cultural construct at that time, and after two years, the vampires remain, or rather the ghosts of the vampires, and the new ones have also joined my imaginations. After two years, nothing really has happened with my life except for the fact that the distance has increased considerably; distance not just to one thing, but to many.

I am away from my college, the students and teachers, further than ever. We have moved from Aluva to the present location, which means myself and the college no longer shares the same town. Even after leaving Union Christian College, I used to wander around the place, having tea at the nearby restaurants and bakeries. I was close enough, and I had a few visits after I left officially. There were a few friends visited and the teachers were also there. The distance from my home to college remained three kilometres at that time.

Photo0137

Now, it has all changed though. With the distance, the world itself has broken away into two, one from the past and the other of the present which is a void. My only hope remains that my former classmates will call me for their weddings. I do suspect that some of the girls might be already married and I never knew. I hope that the food at those functions was not that good; otherwise I will be very disappointed. Well, I guess that I was pretty much expendable and the time had arrived to use that particular characteristic – I feel that now.

Everyone has evolved into something else, and there are no assignments, seminars or projects to talk about or to be of help. So, there is more chance of my mobile number being scrapped, and someone can always say that it was the mobile which was lost or changed. They are more practical and I am a wanderer in the thoughts which won’t have any significance for a normal person these days. May be I can use that “former intellectual” tag and use it on my name plate, hanging it on the gate of my house as a memory.

Photo0163

UC College has surely made me a better person, and I have talked about it on my earlier post. But the depressing thing was that it was too short a period of time for me. There were also enough strikes to make it even shorter. I feel it even more after watching the college in the movie Premam. But I would still not doubt the fact that it was the right time for me to study there. I did feel that the forces present there at that time were custom made for me, including the students and the faculty.

When you feel that a place has made you a better person, and now you have no connection with the same, it should feel terrible, or at least for me, it does. I know that as we consider the expected model of the college days, mine wouldn’t count as interesting. It is not worthy of being an entertaining collection of two years for humanity. I haven’t had a huge friend circle, and without those quiz programs, I would have been mostly unknown in my department too. But I was glad with what I had, and the books.

Photo0178

I enjoyed watching the rain which made the college which is close to nature even more beautiful, joining my favourite lecturers for a cup of tea or having onion vada with one of those faces which I knew. I loved to go to the library and collect those vampire-related works, and I loved where I parked my car. I won’t say that it was about having fun, and for the same reason, it was closer to my heart. I have enjoyed loneliness with a book under the tree and keeping on ordering for more tea at the canteen while working on my vampire thesis. And now there is no connection. My previous post, The College Days at UCC which was a contest winner, had a more optimistic side, but it has been some time!

***The photos were taken by me at UC College; there are no surprises there.

TeNy

Five Colours of UCC

This is the time of Holi and it has brought us the season of colours again. India has won the fourth match in a row in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, defeating West Indies chasing an easy target. Even the Undertaker seems to be making a return to the WWE. Therefore, it is time to bring back the colours of life too, and in my case, it is clear that they are part of my time in Union Christian College at Aluva.

1. White: The first colour easily visible at UCC is white, which is part of almost every building there, and also visible through the first rays of the sun which was often witnessed by me who reached there as one of the first students of the day, very early morning. I would like to remember my friend and classmate Vysakhi who gave some competition on reaching the college first, but no, I was there first to witness the white light, except for the cats and dogs which wandered around at times.

The rays of the sun welcomed me almost everyday.

The rays of the sun welcomed me almost everyday, and there was a good start.

2. Brown: Not really the exact colour for everything, but this symbolizes the time of study; it is not only the colour of the desks and chair, but also of tea and the beautiful lands of UC College after the rain. UCC is too beautiful to describe on a beautiful rainy day of the lovely monsoon, and this is when you look outside from the college canteen with a glass of tea with cutlet or onion vada. Tea, classes and the land during the rain makes the second colour, or what made this universe so colourful.

The classroom itself has the special charm that we all need.

The classroom itself has the special charm that we all need – no modernity needed.

3. Green: Here is the colour of the campus which is more green than anything else with its trees and all the blessed greenery of nature just adds to our need to study at the college. It is indeed a green campus – once I had the photo of my car parked around the college as the desktop wallpaper, and one of my friend asked me if I park the car in a forest or wildlife sanctuary. I take that as a compliment, and unlike some of those concrete college worlds, each and every campus should be like the UC College campus.

It is easy to work with green here. You can understand the reason easily.

It is easy to work with green here. You can understand the reason easily from this photo.

4. Blue: This one comes later. Even though it does show me being rather clueless with a few film theories and big critical theories in the final year and looking at the blue sky, there is more to this side. Phonetics and Linguistics had disappeared and I had the opportunity to do the seminars with the aid of PowerPoint presentations. Blue was the usual colour of the wallpapers of my Netbook, and my favourite background colour for slides. It felt good to bring the vampiric ideas out there.

Vampires have been mostly associated with blood red, but not this time.

Vampires have been mostly associated with some bloody red, but not this time.

5. Silver: The great silver lining follows the darkest of clouds, and by the end of the college, the happy ending was that I could finally submit this thesis on “Vampire as a Cultural Construct”. This didn’t really work out that well with the viva, but I got caught up with that silver lining and realized that the scores don’t define me, and I still did good. The cover of the thesis work was chosen by me to be silver despite most of the others preferring the golden cover.

And everything finishes with the silver lining of the great vampire thesis.

And everything finishes with the silver lining of the great vampire thesis.

I am glad to have had colours in my college life, even though it has never been like what many people would define an eventful life of college. It was different and it was surely serene. The colours of that part of life were not those which were visible to everyone. They were mine, and there were five. May be there could have been subdivisions, but I am contented with these which have come to my mind. After all, life needs its colour, and nostalgia is a good provider of the same even after the best of times move away. Happy Holi!

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

***The photos used in this blog post are from my time at Union Christian College, taken on my Sony camera and Samsung mobile phone.

Click here for Airtel Recharge!
Click here for any Mobile Recharge at Paytm!
Click here for Flipkart!
Click here for Snapdeal!

TeNy

The Spiritual Variety

As I have been thinking about variety, there are a number of churches which come to mind – those which would seem like small structures, but manages to catch our attention with a certain amount of difference with their looks, as they are combined with beauty and spirituality in the right manner. Here are a few of those smaller, but beautiful structures which I wish to share here – all of them from Kerala, and to be more exact – from the Ernakulam district except for the first one in the special mention.

1. St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Muvattupuzha: On the way to Muvattupuzha from Perumbavoor, the dome of this beautiful structure catches our attention from a distance. The photo was taken before the church work for the rebuilding was complete and so it looks even better now. Unlike the other churches around here with a dome, this one has onion domes of different sizes. It reminds me of Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, and whenever I dream of traveling to Russia with all the churches with similar domes, I look at this cathedral and be happy, telling myself that I shall see more of it 😀

DSC04297

2. St. Joseph Church, Karayamparambu (Angamaly): I have waited very long for this church to complete its renovation or rather rebuilding. After the process, this surely looks like a structure that you can’t miss while traveling from Cochin to Trichur on the National Highway 47 connecting Salem and Kanyakumari, just after Angamaly, on the way to Chalakudi. It has a very beautiful altar and you have to look under that beautiful dome right after you enter. There is a lot of nice imagery surrounding the dove as the Holy Spirit. A small structure here, but still so Herculean in its beauty.

DSC08765

3. St. Xavier’s Church, Aluva: This rebuilt church at Alwaye has been my favourite church to attend a Holy Mass for quite a long time. They have the English Mass too, and what catches one’s attention more than anything else are those glass paintings which are around the altar and beyond. The saints are there, and so is the representation of the scriptures. The crucifix image is also different and catching our attention – there is a lot of spiritual feeling with the evening programs as the lights enter through the glasses. It is the major reason why I go for the evening mass too.

DSC04373

4. St. Thomas Church, Chowara (Aluva): Unlike what people think, Aluva surely has some of the most beautiful churches, scattered around the town and its outskirts, mostly Syro-Malabar and Latin in rite. It has a mixed design, and inside, part of the old altar is preserved. The floor has wood as well as tiles, and the option of AC is also there. The imagery is nice and so are the surroundings. You can see the top of the church building from quite a distance and is located just before the town when coming from Aluva on the route to Sreemoolanagaram/Kanjoor.

DSC03710

5. St. Thomas Church, Karumalloor (Paravur): With all the lights inside switched on at night and shining in the darkness around, I have found this one a very special structure. You can easily notice the beauty if you have travelled through the route at night. With some very effective lighting, the church has some simpler and yet effective imagery inside. The lighting as well as the borders and colour combinations make the images more beautiful. There are also some nice work on the glasses, even as they are lesser in number. This is on the right side while you travel from Aluva to Paravur.

DSC05808

Older churches: Special Mention:
St. Thomas Church, Palayur: This church founded by Saint Thomas the Apostle in 52 AD is believed to be the first Church and thus the oldest standing Christian worship place in India. Connected to many ancient trading centres through rivers and lakes, and with the existence of ancient Jewish settlements, this had become a perfect place to find the church, and this structure maintains the ancient Kerala architecture even with a lot of additions being made to it. It has a Saint Thomas Monument and a museum too.

DSC02371

St. Francis Church, Fort Kochi: Here is the oldest European church in India, and its antiquity is actually easily visible from a distance. Vasco da Gama died in Kochi in the year 1524 and was buried in this church before his remains were moved to Lisbon, Portugal. The structure has a great historical significance, as it was a witness to the colonial battles for supremacy and a long lasting symbol of India’s colonial past. There are a few things of interest inside the church, but as photography is not allowed inside, I have no pictures.

DSC05671

***All the images used in this blog post are from my camera (Sony Cybershot DSC W-310).

TeNy

Antiquity, Beauty and Beliefs

Here are ten of my favourite Catholic churches in Kerala. Yes, I have traveled to a lot of them, and have taken photos of most of them. I have been pretty much interested in the spiritual affairs for some time now; some of these also got the value of antiquity and the rest has the strength of beauty, powered by legends and beliefs.

10. Basilica of Our Lady of Snows, Pallippuram: Saved from Tipu Sultan’s attack during the Mysorean Invasion of Travancore, this one managed not only to be spared from destruction but thrive, and is a smaller but beautiful structure located close to the oldest existing European fort in India.

plliprm

9. St. Joseph’s Church, Aluva: Part of the St. Joseph Pontifical Institute Of Theology Philosophy, which is one of the biggest of its kind in the area, this is one structure that you might wish to see for all its beauty in architecture as well as nature.

alva

8. Basilica of Our Lady of Ransom, Vallarpadam: Built after the tradition of Vallarpadath Amma who is believed to have saved her devotees multiple times from the forces of nature, this structure also has a tower which you can enter and see the area from a big height.

vllrpdm

7. Santa Cruz Basilica, Fort Cochin: Originally built by Portuguese, and later rebuilt after being demolished by the British, this church is a beautiful building of Gothic and colonial architecture, becoming a symbol of Fort Cochin itself.

frtkchi

6. St. Andrew’s Basilica, Arthunkal: Known for St. Sebastian’s feast, this church is also known for being a big pilgrimage centre. Its tradition traces its origins back to a mythical tale that links the Arthunkal Veluthachan of the church with the Sabarimala Ayyappan.

arthnkl

5. St. George Church, Kothamangalam: The Catholic Church at Kothamangalam is often less noticed compared to the other churches there, but the beauty and the architectural style are something that will surely catch your attention.

kmgm

4. St. Mary’s Church, Kuravilangad: Believed to have witnessed the Marian apparition, and having a long history before the Europe even got close to being Christian, this church is another wonderful structure.

kvlgd

3. St. Thomas Church, Malayattoor: At a pilgrim centre which has more churches, this newly built version of the older church is a mesmerizing beauty, and you just need to have a look at its altar to believe in Keats’ version of beauty.

mlytr

2. St. George Basilica, Angamaly: Often considered the largest church in India, or sometimes corrected as the biggest in South India, this one has some of the most beautiful painted glasses around, and the light reflected through the same is a thing of extreme beauty.

angmly

1. Our Lady Of Dolours Basilica, Trichur: The tallest church in India and one of the tallest in Asia, this Gothic structure also has a big tower which can be entered to see the whole town, as this is also the tallest building in the town.

tcr

All photos were taken on my camera and my previous mobile (Sony Cybershot DSC-W310/Samsung Star Duos). Which one is your favourite? 😉
TeNy

The College Days at UCC

This post is my entry for ‘My College Diary’ contest held by travel blog My Yatra Diary in collaboration with Collegedunia.com

There are not many memories that give me a better feeling than my days at Union Christian College, Aluva – where I attended for my MA English. I have been to other educational institutions for a longer period of time, but there was nothing like being in this college which had the most interesting days of my life. It was like each and every day was special, and had something new for me. I have always been a lazy person who hesitated to go for the classes, but everything changed and I came out of there as a different person.

I was always there to witness the first rays of the sun.

I was always there to witness the beautiful rays of the sun, very early.

There is something about learning English Literature in one of the oldest and the most reputed colleges in Kerala. With a green campus full of trees and having a number of old buildings of antique value which takes us to world beyond the busy traffic right outside the gate, being at UC College is a privilege that I never thought I would have, and for the same, I would like to thank God as I could get the admission by merit itself without any trouble, and that is one miracle that stays on my list forever.

UCC on a rainy day while reading romantic poetry!

UCC on a rainy day while reading romantic poetry! Nostalgia strikes!

We had our classes right on the block on the back side of the oldest building around, surrounded by trees and having a shortcut to the canteen. The first thing we notice there being the lines from Shelley’s Ode to the West Wind, “If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?”, I entered the classroom with doubts about what was next in my life. I was quite late for post-graduation, as I had changed my graduation to Literature after having my way with Computer Application.

Now you know where I parked my car :D

Now you know where I parked my car 😀 Loved parking it – was more like hiding it 😉

1. The Strangers’ Paradise: I entered this place, which was the paradise of strangers, a world which had students who had taken graduation from different colleges. There were eighteen including two of us boys, a number which decreased to thirteen by the final year. Most of them didn’t know each other, and what made me feel better was that nobody knew me at all. Being a stranger among strangers was fair, the right point to make an introduction. I could make the right impression, but still I ended up being just me, and thinking about it, that was the best thing that I did there – being myself.

That visual from our first year classroom and nearby.

That visual from our first year classroom and nearby; almost made me jump at times.

2. The Strength of Tea: The first thing I asked after getting there was about the canteen. Yes, the toilet and the library are significant, but there was the need for tea. Ever since finding the place, I was a regular visitor there, even meeting the teachers further there. It is the place which tells us that our teachers are awesome, over a cup of tea. We know our friends better at the canteen with the tea, and meet a lot more people there. We might still not know them directly, but it is a certainty that if we see them somewhere outside the college or on Facebook, we know who they are. I used to jump out of the classroom for the same reason, having a cup of tea between the hours.

Those steps under the chapel: a usual place.

Those steps under the chapel: a usual place, no matter what the time.

3. The Literary Power: The power of the library was clear right from the beginning, and I was clear about it before joining the college. We were blessed with a very old library which had a very good collection of literary works, but nothing new though. I used to make some frequent visits to library in the beginning, a habit which I somewhat abandoned as I could get the e-books in an easier way. But then, there was the idea of helping others to get the book – with canteen so close to the library, how could I not choose to go to the library? Cutlet and tea with books – a fair choice.

Those library cards on the final day of college.

Those library cards on the final day of college – one last look as I left.

4. Seminars of the World: A habit which soon developed was to go for literature based seminars at different colleges. Even as there were some of us going in the beginning, soon there was the practice of going together or staying at home so that there would be no class. But soon, some of the studious girls would develop the practice of going to the college to listen to the lectures based on syllabus, and I had to go alone or in smaller groups. But we got the attendance, and the classes rarely mattered to me as I had enough material to go through. The journeys on a Chevrolet Beat also started with these, making my car a regular visitor to the college.

A little more of the natural beauty to make you miss the place more.

A little more of the natural beauty to make you miss the place more.

5. Change of Perspective: The first few months had us taking down lecture notes as well as those which are provided to us. Then the situation changes to just writing down some random things, pretending to write and finally ends up not writing anything at all. Yes, there are the studious girls who got to write them, but we are people of the last bench. We know that it is not by what is taught in the classes that we are redeemed when the examinations arrive. We know that we have to read, and not accepting whatever is taught in a class; that is about having one’s own perspective.

Another beautiful, rainy day on the campus inspiring poetry.

Another beautiful, rainy day on the campus inspiring poetry.

6. The Quiz Surprise: Even as the things were going okay, nothing really made an impact like this surprise. There was the inter-college quiz competition for which I was told to go, just because there was the shortage of willing people; that was a nice journey, with two teams of us participating in the same, and myself and my partner winning the second prize. That was quite a turning point, with myself going to more of the competitions, with different partners – that was the beginning of the next phase which came only in the final year. I admired the department for the support here, and those who accompanied me for the competitions.

A screenshot from the college website at that time.

A screenshot from the UC college website at that time.

7. Political Extravaganza: Politics was banned for the first year I joined there as there were some bad incidents. But it came back with full power in the next year, with the Communist students wing SFI gaining most of the seats and the other Communist wing AISF coming so close. Congress’ KSU came right down and BJP’s ABVP managed one seat. It was not the result that caught my attention though, because it was the campaigning which has the beauty about it. There were thos nice artworks to support the parties as well as some cultural stuff. Who can forget those strikes which gave us more freedom?

A photo from the day before the election.

A photo from the day before the election.

8. Before Final Destination: Then came the season of trouble; the time for the final exams followed by the time dedicated for the thesis. There were lot of turbulence out there, especially concerning the studious girls, worried about the marks as well as how their thesis will look for others; but the rest of us were pretty sure that they will score high as usual and were just making a scene to bother us – that ended well. Among this maddening crowd, the thesis progressed fine,, and I am glad to say that I enjoyed working on my topic, and the support from the English Department was splendid.

Those final days of thesis; had to be the techie again.

Those final days of thesis; had to be the techie again and be the helping hand.

If I have the opportunity to go through all these, I would be glad to – it is that kind of a feeling that this college has left me with. It is not that I have never thought about it, and taking another post graduation in History would have been a perfect choice. But considering the fact that the syllabus has changed and so has the new generation, I would just end up being an outdated man, not old enough and yet not working well with the younger generation. So, I shall happily hold on to these memories which remain special for me.

A few things the elections brought for the college.

A few things the elections brought for the college; the area near the canteen.

Five bloggers I tag here are NamrataManiparna, KokilaRohit  and Nishi. I wish them best of luck 🙂
I also thank Sagarika for the tag 🙂 and My Yatra Diary for this opportunity.
*All the photos used here were taken on my former phone – Samsung Star Duos.

TeNy

Escape from a Lost Planet

There is something about not being an Aluvaite. There is not much about leaving from a land plagued by potholes and disturbed by the Metro construction. It just adds to that harthal which devastates the state from where there is no escape. But forgetting all the troubles which are not really the part of Aluva alone, and missing being part of the same place is another thing. Forgetting having no more friends in the lands and no more of anyone to talk is rather the product of that engineering experiment to which our students have agreed, the result being more engineers than coconuts and all of them exported to Bangalore or Chennai.

The river Periyar which covers most of the town (taken on my DSC-W310)

The river Periyar which covers most of the town (taken on my DSC-W310)

The first part of not being an Aluvaite is not being UCean, talked about here : (https://theteacerebration.wordpress.com/2014/08/29/uc-as-in-you-see-and-mgu/). Not being part of the college had already happened earlier, but being not at Aluva adds more distance. Union Christian College, Alwaye comes as part of the town and it has been defined as one of the few things that define the muncipality, along with the Federal Bank, Sivarathri Manappuram and the Marthanda Varma Bridge. Therefore, UC College is the first thing to missed while leaving Aluva. For Sivarathri, we can always come here, and not travelling through the bridge is actually a boon considering the potholes – for Federal Bank, I am still a customer 😀

St. Joseph Pontifical Seminary & the church (DSC-W180)

St. Joseph Pontifical Seminary & the church (DSC-W180)

The Aluvaite effect is kind of lessened when you are living in a flat – the feeling of living in a house being taken away for about fourteen years, and never in between those years getting that opportunity to feel really at a house except for may be at some of those tourst destinations. When you live somewhere with rules against playing cricket and football, plus the need to stop any kind of entertainment at 9PM, it gives the feeling of being in a totalitarian state which stretches its arms towards further control. There might be celebrations for Onam and New Year, but who cares anymore?

Siva Temple & Aluva Manappuram (DSC-W310)

Siva Temple & Aluva Manappuram (DSC-W310)

Everyone wanted to play cricket and football and the replacement is badminton. But would the kids want to play that? No. Are there any old people who wish to play it? No. Can we ask any of the working people to come and play before 9PM? No, they won’t even reach home at that time. What is this other than an intelligent plot to stop people from having fun along with some exercise? Is it because the fascists can’t do that, the kids shouldn’t also do that? Should they just play the computer games and study during the rest of the time? Yes, create a video game playing, internet addicted future generation.

St. Xavier's Church in the centre of the town (DSC-W310)

St. Xavier’s Church in the centre of the town (DSC-W310)

Now, what were these games for us? Were they just about doing something because we had lots of time? No, it was a place for socializing; for they were not just games. I have met more people while indulging in sports rather than being in a boring meeting talking about why we are so awesome and planning for some boring fake celebrations which are conducted. Nobody really cares about this dumb repetition every year, and some people just act as if they do. There is no real effort put into it, and we have a new generation not caring about the same, because it is what some people want, and youth wants no part of it.

UCC. The wonder that is a college (GT-B7722)

UCC. The wonder that is a college (GT-B7722)

It is clear that most of the people don’t know anybody, even their own neighbours. We all know that person who gets out of the nearby door and comes back in. But who on the Earth are these people? Did they drop right out of hell last day with the expression that says “move out of the way or I will deliver you a clothesline”. So many families; we know a lot of them when we are a small group, but as the gang increases in number and diversifies, we ends up knowing none. There was only one cat that cared, but it got run over by a car.

Marthanda Varma Bridge. Defining Aluva (DSC-W310)

Marthanda Varma Bridge. Defining Aluva (DSC-W310)

Can we be confident about the fact that it will be any better at a new place? No and it can be even worse, but we will live in a house, and when we are bored, we can always take care of a garden, and there won’t be the need to listen to that grilling which happens every day at some random rich guy’s flat who does that too often. What are you building? A Taj Mahal – Victoria Memorial hybrid? Who cares about this bloody bourgeoisie who thinks that money can get them anything; but no, not respect, unless you live like you deserve it. I see that most of the good people have moved or are going to move from our neighborhood – I will miss many good things about Aluva and my best friends were indeed from here, but add me to the list.

Chowara St. Mary's Church; a beauty (DSC-W310)

Chowara St. Mary’s Church; a beauty (DSC-W310)

TeNy

UC as in You See and MGU

One year has passed after completing that voyage from a student to a former student at Union Christian College, Alwaye (UCC). It was rather an expedition for the cause of being an UCean which started with the Mahatma Gandhi University’s Centralized Allotment Process, something which made sure that I would get the admission, something which would have not been possible with a normal procedure and without Divine intervention. There haven’t been many of my friends who admire MG University and its way of operations, but I do; for even as I admit that I did suffer with its Off Campus Department working with that Distance Education, the rest has actually worked so well for me. I might need to complain about my total percentage like everyone else, but I am mostly a pessimist and a cynic who lacks focus, so no complaints about it from my side.

The first rays of a UC morning (taken on my GT-B7722)

The first rays of a UC morning (taken on my GT-B7722)

MGU’s CAP procedure made sure that I had the admission through a straight path, and there was something else about it, and it is about the out of syllabus questions that it comes up with. Yes, it once came up with the question who is Mrs Norris; the answer being the pet cat of Argus Filch, the caretaker of Hogwarts – I love when they come up with such questions, which I can proudly answer just because of a random reading or movie watching habit instead of studying those books which are forced on us. I didn’t remember the owner’s name, but the other details including its petrification in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets were clear in the mind. I have always hoped for them to ask some purely Gothic horror question out of syllabus, they never did though.

Whatever is closest to the tree of life :D (GT-B7722)

Whatever is closest to the tree of life 😀 (GT-B7722)

MGU, you are an intellectual beauty, and what you did with a lot of out of syllabus questions was to make the students think and read more literature making the library of some use. I know that a lot of students might despise the same, but I don’t. I admire what came up there even as nobody there might have really wanted that to happen. What English Literature students need are those out of syllabus questions, because you can’t restrict the post graduation in Literature to a few books, for it is a vast subject and questions has to come in such a way that the best readers get the better score instead of those who just memorize for the examinations. It would have even prepared us better for the NET exams. I shall choose to be a pariah rather than not support an out of syllabus question paper for MA English. I would say “add a little more history to it too”.

We are now not unlike this tree (GT-B7722)

We are now not unlike this tree (GT-B7722)

Being a UCean is a prestige, and it might not be something that one realizes when he or she is already studying there. We take our wonderful situation as granted, and a few months later, we realize that we should have considered it with that reverence that it actually deserved. But we are lost within such trivial matters that are so inconsequential that the fact rarely come up in our minds. We are lost not in the fog, but the haar of the coast, being caught in the imaginary British Literary Isles. But out reminiscences of our days at the college come up later, and that happens with such strength that it is impossible to resist, and with that strength comes unbelievable durability of the memories. We were all the riders to the sea, and now we are the fallens angels of that lost paradise, except for those who had chosen to turn Faustus and sell their souls to Mephistopheles.

Nature is happiness, it has always been (GT-B7722)

Nature is happiness, it has always been (GT-B7722)

When the life turns rather nugatory, that black hole which has been created in this busy world of chaos, turns on you and make you realize about its supernatural ability of preventing escape, and the first thing that it reminds you about, is that beautiful free world that you left behind, an year ago – the end of them all came in August 2013, even as the results came in December last year. There is no longer a free world, as the constraints stretch its arms towards you and works as dementors, feeding off the happiness and bringing out that mighty despair which converts itself to the mighy gladiator which has finally found a worthy amphitheatre. At that moment, UCC comes back to you, and the need to be a student again becomes stronger than ever. It was not just good being a student, it was awesome.

And then you give that building one last look (GT-B7722)

And then you give that building one last look (GT-B7722)

There is the morning light that you see at the college as you become one of the first students to set your foot on the college land every single day, and the meaning of the light becomes poetry when you are no longer that student. There is the evening sun which shines with its strange light going through the branches covered by green, reflecting on my Chevrolet Beat, a vision that inspires immortality. Then there is the tree under which you sit and read some random novel you take from the reading room or the library becomes the history book that you lost in the war that was to follow, randomly collecting the daily battles which are never won by any side. All the tea that you had from that canteen between the class hours is that memory which asks to be awakened – but you can’t go for tea from the class room if there is no class any more, right? How can one have the opportunity to be absent when there is no class? My absence is of no value any more, and makes me doubt my own existence.

Finally, the sun sets on thee and thy car (GT-B7722)

Finally, the sun sets on thee and thy car (GT-B7722)

UCC was the perfect place for me to be. It was always supposed to be so. But what does it take to realize the same? Not just some wrong decisions, but also two years of being there along with a few more months of pondering over it. But the question remains if it would have been any better if this worked more like school and I could just fail to stay in the same class for longer, for I would like to think that the time period between 2011 and 2013 was almost perfect for my existence there, and a few years early or just a little bit later might have taken the beauty out of it. Some things come late, and there is certainly a time for everything – some of them working well and the others working terrible, but all of them should come to an end, that ragnorak which happened and I never gave it the significane it deserved – damned be those pettifogging things which intervened.

I miss the tea at the canteen, parking the Chevrolet Beat under that huge tree, the quiz competitions and the English Department plus all the bloody green trees and even the grass. Above all, I miss literature in all its glory, and I lack inspiration with all its opulence, for I can no longer visualize Valhalla or Avalon 😦

TeNy