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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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.

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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 😀

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

TeNy