The Blog Post No: 500

I have been moving towards this milestone, the five hundredth post on this blog for some time – there was a time when I thought that I could get to five hundred posts only while combining all my blogs together, but here I am, as The Tea Cerebration(s) has achieved that figure. I have been thinking about writing about a movie for this special occasion, but then I felt that I should stick to the personal side with this post. I really haven’t watched that special a movie for some time; so lets take this one back through the memories.

Lets talk about the awesome people I have met in the last one year or so. At a time when I was wondering what was next for me, the blogging fraternity has always been there for me – I am thankful to them for the same. I have met a number of my fellow bloggers, all of them at Cochin or Delhi. I have met a lot of people already from online communities, and last one year for so, has been special. I have met some of the most amazing people in these times, and I have been a lot of happy about the same.

At Delhi, there were four other bloggers for the conclave, as the winners of the writing contest on The World Remade; I met Arvind, Shoma, Shreya and Yogita at Taj Palace Hotel, Delhi. It was the best of times – I also met Mayank from India Today there. This one might always be my biggest win ever, and the only time when I have met so many bloggers at the same time. It was also one of the most interesting journeys of all-time, with the chance to see all those celebrities in person, and also to wander around the city as a tourist. I really needed a reason to visit Taj Mahal, and finally, there I was, with the suitable reason.

It is good to have an identity - we don't always get to have one.

I was surely left with the feeling that I missed meeting so many other bloggers at Delhi though, with the chance there – maybe there is another opportunity on another day. Life has the ability to provide you with second chances, as I have felt and proven at many points of my time-line of existence. Well, hope has got wings, right? I am sure that we have read that somewhere in a poem. According to Emily Dickinson, it had feathers, I guess. It should never cease to exist – there were many situations when I thought that I was done with blogging, but here I am, with my existence still being there.

On another day, I managed to meet Anoop, at the Ernakulam South railway station, followed by four cups of tea. It was a meeting which was waiting to happen; I was sure that it was supposed to happen some day, and in the end, it did. At least before Batman was to go and battle Superman, it had to happen 😛 At my break between two movies – Paavada and Monsoon Mangoes, I met Ranjini at the mall – with the tea; that was another meeting which was due for so long, of course; well, we did happen to go to the same school at a point of our life too 😛 Well, a fine day is to be chosen for meeting such wonderful people. I was just lucky enough to find the best time 😀

I later met Deepa at Durbar Hall Art Gallery in Cochin during the exhibition of her paintings last month; feels good to see such awesome creativity at any time. It was just last day that I met Shrinidhi during his visit to Cochin. I am more than happy to meet such amazing people, they have been directly or indirectly a significant part of my life, as not only have they supported me, but their writings have always been a source of inspiration for me. People look at many fields for some motivation, but I have found the same among my friends – the bloggers about whom I have talked about a lot already.

You can avoid and forget many things, but not the lovely tea!

It has taken me 642 days to get to 500 posts on this blog. I have been stuck at the score of 499 for too long after continuously writing for more than a year, and I am glad to have finally got to this milestone. Sometimes, you feel that you need these scores to make you remember, but there are occasions when you understand that it is all about the ideas and the people, and the records and achievements will just follow. I haven’t been able to blog much in the last few months due to work, but I hope to keep this going, as blogging has defined my life more than anything else, and the impact has surely been deeper than I felt earlier.

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310.

TeNy

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Back to the Future’s Past

Vampire Bat had a chance to test the latest invention of the great Vampire Scientist, Doctor Frankenstein, who had risen from the dead again to serve the vampire world. Last time when he was dead and risen, he had invented the teleportation device, and this time, he was on to inventing the time portal which Dracula desperately wanted to possess after the recent werewolf raids and the return of the Lich Queen from the catacombs to raise a never-ending army of the undead. It was the season of trouble for the vampire race, and Dracula was determined to find a solution.

Vampire Bat volunteered to go through the time portal with a special time-travel device on his hands, and reach the past, as he finished at the Old Vampire World. He walked through the nothingness that used to be the vampire world at that time, and came upon the first of the twenty seven vampire elders whose names were recorded on the book of the undead. The whole place seemed to be that of a world after an apocalyptic event. It was not that much of a happy meeting as he had intended either. But he was the one to change the past for the future, and he knew that quite well.

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Vampire Bat: And I have exiled that werewolf from this realm. I have heard that you are the oracle of these times. Please tell me whatever you see about our future.

Vampire Elder: I see that you are part of a great war which will unleash chaos and destruction all around. On the eighty fifth day of that war, you die.

Vampire Bat: What? No! A major war was averted when I prevented the werewolf refugee from entering the realm. There would be no refugees in our realm without him and his extended families, and with the same, I have also prevented the Lich Queen from joining the undead, because it is the werewolf expansion of territory that causes her transformation from the world of the living to the dead, and later the undead.

Vampire Elder: You might be able to stop the minor incidents from happening, but not the final effect of those incidents, because the universe always finds a way to balance things, and as it is you who have altered the time-line, things will be the worst in your case in the case of the new time-line which you have created – in that case, death will only come as relief for you.

Vampire Bat: Seriously? Now I know why the Vampire Owl told me not to meet you. Even in the future, you are talking about similar things only.

Vampire Elder: Well, I can speak only about the truth, and your future has gone from ordinary to bad; if you try to alter more things, it will go to terrible, and you don’t want that.

Vampire Bat: You should understand that what we had planned was for the betterment of not just the vampire community, but the whole realm, as a huge war was to be averted. So, how is this even possible? How is the war going to happen with all no cause, as it has been eliminated by me?

Vampire Elder: The war will be between the Vampires, the Dark Elves, the Goblins, the Dwarves and the Orcs. It will be a five-way disaster, and other races will also be forced to take sides despite their good, evil, neutral, pure good or pure evil allignments and loyalty towards the spheres of magic.

Vampire Bat: But we are allied with the Dark Elves, and there are pacts already made with the Orcs. The Goblins and Dwarves are afraid of us and got only a small territory, and a smaller army in their possession.

Vampire Elder: Well, Dark Elves are not really the Undead, and the power of Dark Magic is something that is far beyond the realm; it influences them and they are driven by the most evil of sorcery. With the Shadow World becoming closer to our realm with more and more portals to oblivion being opened, it is only a matter of time until they change their allignment as well as the sphere of magic. They will be no longer dark grey, but shall change to evil and later to pure evil. And Orcs are too primitive to keep holding on to those pacts.

Vampire Bat: That is certainly believable. But what about the rest?

Vampire Elder: You are not the first one to do time travel, you know. There is a fusion between sorcery and technology happening in the future, and the result of the same was sent to the past by the time-travelers from those days to save themselves from total annihilation. This technology is rather too dangerous, and it had to stay hidden forever; but with you finishing what should have been the lands of the werewolves, it will be taken over by the Dwarves and the Goblins who have always been interested in technology. Not spending their free-time in terrible anger like the werewolves, the Goblins and Dwarves will take over this technology, and modify it enough to go on a never-ending war between themselves after eliminating each and every other race including us.

Vampire Bat: So, I am causing the end of the vampire race by trying to make it better?

Vampire Elder: Exactly, young man. This is why you shouldn’t play with time-line stuff. You leave he space-time continuum alone, and tell that overrated Doctor Frankenstein to stop experimenting on things that he can’t understand.

Vampire Bat: But what will I do now? I can’t let this happen. Can I remove that technology from the future right now?

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Vampire Elder: Well, the technology is not here yet, and you can’t stop the events from the future because you are not equipped to travel that far ahead. What you can do now is to guide the werewolf refugee to another area, a place where this version of you from the future won’t search. You have to make sure that you save that person, which will also mean that the relation between the vampires and werewolves will be slightly better in your time. But at no point of time should the other you who have arrived in this time period be able to see you which will create unnecessary complications, destroying the ability of both of you to travel to your time periods. After he admits his defeat and travel back to the time period which you consider as your present, you can follow him and join through the device of Doctor Frankenstein which will make you the person of that time.

Vampire Bat: I will try my best to make things right.

Vampire Elder: Yes, and please tell everyone to live in their time and not try to change the past. Living in the present is the right thing to do; trust me on this.

[Switches on the device].

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

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

TeNy

Impact of the Fallen One

Vampire Owl: Are you sure that we are at the right place? This seems to be something like an enchanted forest; but too dark a place for even my taste. This is not just dark, but magical dark as if some kind of curse exists here. There should be more than one supernatural force around here. Don’t they call this place the darkest of woods?

Vampire Bat: Yes, it says here and so it is the right place; you can see the map, and you can also see the tree which has been shown on the map. The branches are exactly the same, and the roots are also drawn in the same way. There is also the destroyed space in the middle.

Vampire Owl: Have you ever seen what all the official Vampire Artist draws? Now, the position is filled one of those half-undeads from the village, and he is just terrible. I won’t be surprised if this copy of the map is not even close to being real. It is sad that the original was lost; we should buy a photostat machine in the castle, don’t you think?

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Vampire Bat: No, photostat machines are not allowed in the castle as per current guidelines. And this is the place because there are too many similarities.

Vampire Owl: So, are we calling this one out? Are we ready for this summoning?

Vampire Bat: Yes, we are. Read this passage from the book.

Vampire Owl: Oh great overlord and the former unofficial lord of all the undead under the grave, rise from beneath the roots of this great tree!

Vampire Bat: Wait. Why is your voice so strange? Are you already possessed by the one whom we are going to summon?

Vampire Owl: I am trying to sound like a powerful sorcerer so that he can be summoned easily. See, I am even wearing the special sorcerer’s gloves from the goblin market.

Vampire Bat: Owls don’t do that, and you sound like a partially transformed werewolf. Don’t do that. It won’t make him happy for sure.

Vampire Owl: Actually, do we really need this person? There are others whom we can use, including the Vampire Elders with extra fangs.

Vampire Bat: Yes, we do. We need him to make a great impact in the upcoming battles which wll feature the Lich Queen during her next return from the dead, as he has been the one making grand impacts in all the wars of the long gone past.

Vampire Owl: What about my impact? I have been among the best in the vampire team. I have even managed to have my own fan club.

Vampire Bat: That is surely nothing in comparison to the effect of this particular person. We are talking about an ancient force of pure evil here.

Vampire Owl: You mean, like a demon; from the times when the vampires were first transformed and had no idea what to do with their lives.

Vampire Bat: Yes, exactly. When blood was the only reason and need. He was one of the first, and also among the first to fall – The Great Fallen Vampire.

Vampire Owl: Then the only impact he is going to create might be by devouring us.

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Vampire Bat: Possibly that too. But we really need to unleash him. After being unleashed, he will be here, and this is the border of our part of the realm, you know. Nobody will cross over with him around. We just need to make sure that he stays here only.

Vampire Owl: That will surely be some impact. Thankfully, I have just renewed my immortality clause. I hope that the same applies to you too.

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

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

Malayalam Movies: Fantastico List

Here I am going to write about those Malayalam movies from the last century which are my all-time favourites; in no particular order, but they are my most admired entertainers and they are fantastico!

Nadodikkattu (1987), Pattanapravesham (1988) and Akkare Akkare Akkare (1990)
Directors: Sathyan Anthikkad (1, 2) and Priyadarshan (3)
Cast: Mohanlal, Sreenivasan, Thilakan, Innocent

The best comedy trilogy is here in the form of these three movies which compete which each other to tell us which one has the best lines and provides the most fun. It tells the adventures of Dasan and Vjayan, two jobless people who become CIDs and solves the cases by luck. From the “B.Com First Class” and “Great professional killer Pavanayi” dialogues to the “both having the same kind of voice” and “corpse markings” in the second and later to the big questions about “who is Paul Barber and where is the crown?” along with the “Akira Kurosawa trying to kill mosquitos” in the final movie, this one is a full laugh riot as a trilogy. There is always the need to watch them all, as this is the true fantastico trilogy!


Manichitrathazhu (1993)
Director: Fazil
Cast: Mohanlal, Shobana, Suresh Gopi, Innocent

There is no questioning this movies which has been remade into Hindi (Bhool Bhulaiyaa), Kannada (Apthamitra), Tamil (Chandramukhi) and Bengali (Rajmohol), all versions making fine impact. The Tamil version was also dubbed into Telugu and itt even had a spin-off named Geethanjali, but it couldn’t do that well due to the very high expectations. It is still considered as one of the best psychological horror films around, and it even had some comedy scenes which are remembered a lot. Shobana’s performance won her the National Award as well as the State Award for Best Actress. Well, you should have watched one of the remakes, so you will know the story – and the original is the best!

Dhruvam (1993)
Director: Joshiy
Cast: Mammootty, Suresh Gopi, Vikram, Jayaram

If you see the cast of this movie, you will know the potential without even realizing anything more about it. This is a top thriller which everyone needs to watch. The movies which is loaded with beautiful songs, emotional strength and thrilling moments, has its share of powerful dialogues too. In Vikram’s first Malayalam cinema, this one has the protagonist Narasimhan looking for revenge against a dangerous criminal and wanted terrorist called Haider, but is unable to get to him. What follows are the plans brought forward by the man to have his revenge and how the antagonist tries to keep himself away from justice as well as the revenge-seeking Narasimhan.

Commissioner (1994)
Director: Shaji Kailas
Cast: Suresh Gopi, Ratheesh, Shobana, Vijayaraghavan

Known for its powerful dialogues which became part of every stage program, inspiring another successful sequel named Bharath Chandran I.P.S. eleven years after its release, Commissioner is that movie which brought Suresh Gopi to the role of a righteous police officer, a character which he played in many more movies to come. If I remember it correctly, this is the movie which brought him to the next level of superstar, and in school, a lot of kids were imitating his one particular dialogue in that movie; or rather two of them. This was next big thing for Suresh Gopi – Shaji Kails combination after Ekalavyan.

Yodha (1992)
Director: Sangeeth Sivan
Cast: Mohanlal, Madhoo, Jagathy Sreekumar, Urvashi

The idea to dismiss this one was an entertainer won’t be the smartest of plans, because Yodha is one movie which has a good plot, and its comedy scenes as well as songs are more than just favourites – they are everywhere; they have been so for more than twenty years, and it is the kind of popularity that this movie has managed. I watched this one for the first time as kid, and even now my opinion about the movie remains the same. It is that kind of an impact that this one has made, for people of all generations, and of all ages. With the A.R. Rahman touch in the songs, this one has the Mohanlal-Jagathy comedy combination at its best, and it is great fun to watch.

Ekalavyan (1993)
Director: Shaji Kailas
Cast: Suresh Gopi, Narendra Prasad, Geetha, Maathu

Suresh Gopi has one of his best police roles here, and Narendra Prasad comes in the role of one of the best antagonists played by him. Ekalavyan is often considered as one of the best police roles of Suresh Gopi, and the dialogues here are amazingly good. Suresh Gopi plays Madhavan, who goes on a mission to investigate into some murders and smuggling of narcotics in which a particular godman is involved. There are many things which will be brought to light, that can also deal with many influential businessmen, powerful politicians, and all. So, going through this investigation won’t be something that can be considered as a smooth one.

Spadikam (1995)
Director: Bhadran
Cast: Mohanlal, Thilakan, Urvashi, Spadikam George

Its main villain is known in real life by the name of the movie itself, and so there is no need to think twice about the impact created by this movie. It tells the story of a boy who has problems in Mathematics, but is good in other subjects; but his father who is a Maths teacher as well as the headmaster makes him fail in language exams; with this particular incident and frustrated of being compared to the students who are good in Maths, he leaves home only to return as a rowdy. The movie has the cult status, and I am sure that a lot of youngsters have faced the same problem in their lives, fighting the worst evil of all time, Mathematics. Mohanlal and Thilakan steals the show here.

The rest of the movies include Sandesham, Chamayam, Ramji Rao Speaking, Oru CBI Diary Kurippu, Irupatham Noottandu, Lelam, Rajavinte Makan, Kilukkam, Pathram, Crime File and many others during a golden age; they are all fantastico!

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

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

Special Class: Great Traditions

Vampire Hamster: Greetings, my dear fellow vampire appendicitis, and I welcome all of you here.

Vampire Crocodile: Wait a minute! Did he just call us appendicitis?

Vampire Alligator: On some occasions, that is also true.

Vampire Panda: I would have been surprised if he had managed to get that one correct.

Vampire Bat: It is apprentice, Squire Hamster.

Vampire Hamster: Oh! I apologize! Yes, my dear fellow vampire apprentices, you are welcome to this special class on the “Great Vampire Family Traditions” which will taken by the Vampire Owl and watched over by the Vampire Bat.This will be the final class before the tea party.

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Vampire Owl: Good evening, students. I hope your coffins are all in good condition and you are enjoyed the darkness inside there. I would like to begin with the most important tradition that we follow here, which the humans never know about. It is called respecting each other ass a person, no matter from where and from what background the other person comes from. This has been a part of the great vampire tradition.

Vampire Crow: I know that very well. The humans disrespect crows every day. They don’t even have wings, and still they do this. I often wonder how evil they would have been if they could fly and had my special colour.

Vampire Penguin: They think that I am cute, and that is the most disrespectful thing.

Vampire Owl: Then there is the tradition of drinking tea. The artificial blood chemical mixed into tea makes the drink a usual part of our tradition. It was introduced for us with the second stage of the New Vampire World, but the roots go back to the Old Vampire Isles. This way, we remain mostly vegetarian.

Vampire Crocodile: The tea is my favourite. When we mix this tradition with the crocodile tradition of Lake Placid, it makes clear that the crocodiles need more tea than the others.

Vampire Panda: That makes no sense. We are from the Kungfu Panda tradition. We need more tea for more energy to practice martial arts.

Vampire Bat: Silence! The individual traditions will be dealt with during another class. This one will be on collective vampire traditions only.

Vampire Owl: Well, you know the tradition of not living according to the advice of the society. It is the elders of the realm and some people who call themselves professionals that keeps telling us that we have to do something and nothing else; that we are not capable of anything else. We have worked hard on this, but we haven’t been able to achieve this like our predecessors did. Still, we will keep trying, and soon we will achieve perfection in this.

Vampire Penguin: I have forgotten the happy feet dance completely. I am good at that.

Vampire Panda: And in my case, the noodles making procedure. I don’t even eat noodles these days.

Vampire Bat: That is once again not part of our class and discussion. Kindly listen to the class. There will time provided for asking questions.

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Vampire Owl: The grand tradition is to respect our history which has defined us and made us what we are now. It lives in us and it shall live through us. We have gone through the times of trouble and fought big wars, but all of us have come out of them stronger and with better understanding, having further care for each life and all that defines us, which has been proven to be very important.

Vampire Bat: And that is my personal favourite.

Vampire Owl: And our final and the most important tradition, to live in harmony with nature, not to exploit it, but to do whatever we can for conservation. We shall return to nature the love that it has provided us, at least in parts. This is a tradition which we intend to teach the humans soon because they are the only creatures who have absolutely no plan of respecting nature.

Vampire Bat: That finishes the lecture.

Vampire Hamster: I believe that will be all from the class, and now we are open to questions and some discussion.

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

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

TeNy

On One Old Friend

We come across so many people throughout our lives, and most of them vanish from our memories leaving no trace. A few others come, stay and then go. Then there are others whom we want to stay, but they are never even close to being there. While, it is easy to forget people, there are a few who keep coming to the mind. There was one such friend whom I met again after sixteen years, but here, I am going to talk about someone whom I knew until eight years ago who is #madeofgreat.

I have had a number of such friends whom I met after so many years, but this one is special even though I haven’t met him after he moved from his home and ceased being my neighbour. It has been a long time, but he is going to be chosen here because he is not just #madeofgreat as I would write about it, as he has already proven it. He proved it once, twice and then again for the third time this year. So, no talk about #madeofgreat is complete for me without bringing something about him.

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He was my senior by a few years, and he studied the same course which I started, but never finished. I had to skip my course and choose another one while he completed his own. We used to play a number of computer games together, and he was always interested in finding new ways to solve the puzzles in the games – Prince of Persia and Need For Speed were the games of that time, but the former was the one which I have always seen him playing. He could always find a way through the puzzles then.

It was when I returned from the college in front of his house that I found him, and I was introduced into the game, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. Not only was he good at finding a way, he was always looking to do something different. He had the ideas and he was always there to talk to others about doing things differently and that it was the right way. Most of us never really listened that much, but I knew that there was something in what he said. Even then, I was afraid to be branded different at that time.

One day, when I looked at his place, I found out that he had moved from there. I hadn’t seen him for a few days, and I realized that he had shifted home all of a sudden. Nobody really knew that he had shifted, and none of our mutual friends who were close to me had any idea. But years later, with a movie, I saw his name attached as the director. He had a name which was to be easily noticed, and his computer record was actually with me – so I knew that it was him and nobody else.

I went for the movie with one of our mutual friends who also hadn’t met the person for a very long time. We were actually surprised that he had such skills that we rarely noticed. The movie was a very nice debut for him as a director and it went on to become a hit, and that was only the beginning of his career which was only going to be better. I don’t know many other people who followed their passion and made it so big – he is indeed the person who is suitable for the tag #madeofgreat. I am sure that not a lot of people would have guessed and expected this, but he made his passion work so well.

Now, he is a well-known film director in the Malayalam movie industry, and has big hits under his name. I shall not name him though, as that would make people feel that I am inclined towards giving good opinions about his movies; but that is a wrong idea. I have never rated his movies that high or with prejudice – I have only given them as much as the experience has pushed me to provide and not based on who directed or acted in then. Well, I don’t even know if he will recognize me as of now, after so many years.

And here is a question: “What do you think of Tata Motors association with Lionel Messi?”

For more details about #madeofgreat, visit http://madeofgreat.tatamotors.com/

TeNy

Discovering Greatness

Life is a complex thing; for it has too many people, and we forget most of them. The society will brand some people as undeniably #madeofgreat, but we needn’t always agree. We have our choices because the same person might not make that much of an impact in our lives. The one who is #madeofgreat is the kind of person who will leave the lasting impression on us rather than for everyone else. It is not related to what anyone else thinks, but linked with how we see it.

Greatness is measured by many things, but I am going to consider this one right from the heart. Going back in time, there was one person who has been a long time inspiration for me. The story goes right back to the early days of school, that feeling carrying over to the college and it is still there. We don’t always get along, and the differences are many, but the impression was made early and it stayed. Do not inform my sister about this though, because I intend to keep this secret from her not revealing that she is #madeofgreat.

I have always been trailing throughout my life, trying to catch up with her achievements. She always had more trophies and came up first in school while my rank has varied from one to eight with consistency only in being second in the class, which was the more regular position for me. But my mother was never really surprised about it, and she once told me that my sister achieved this much by working hard while what I have achieved is because I am more intelligent, and I trail because I am lazy one with hard work never being my fortress.

Here is the vision which you should have very often to make life feel better.

I was rather too lazy to climb the mountains. Never really made that effort.

Yes, as I spent my time playing cricket with a little football and wandering around on the bicycle, she worked hard with the studies. Her hard work inspired me a lot, but I was sure that I might work hard, but not that much in the studies. She also participated in dance programs and drama to win prizes while the closest I came in school was to become the fourth swordbearer of a king in a drama, and I worked hard to let everyone know that I was in the school drama.

The twist came when she decided to leave home to become a nun. Nobody really liked that decision, but she was not backing away from it. I wondered when I could make such strong decisions; I actually found it difficult to make the decision to play a slow full-toss on the leg-side or the off-side – my decision making has always been like that. I have never been really sure about things, but this decision taken by her would inspire me to make many strong decisions later, even though there has been nothing this big in my entire life so far.

I used to keep my problems alive until some solution came up; at times, I even celebrated my problems. But she was always someone who found her own solutions to problems and discovered her own path – she was the problem solver of Mathematics while I lived with language and literature; I had declared Mathematics my immortal nemesis and so decided to keep that impression away from my likes. My plans were different, and the ideas get wings whenever the impression made by her grand decision comes to my mind.

The lasting impression of decision making never really ended there, as she became an M.Com graduate, cleared NET, did Phd and works as a lecturer in a reputed government aided college. She went through a clear path, and with the special super power of hard work, made it to the safe side. I delayed it, but did become the post-graduate – her achievements have left the lasting impression, and so maybe I will also get through some of these. My hope has been that delay doesn’t always mean denial, and one day I will also be #madeofgreat.

And here is a question: “What do you think of Tata Motors association with Lionel Messi?”

For more details about #madeofgreat, visit http://madeofgreat.tatamotors.com/

TeNy

The Lasting Impression

As we wander through the happy and sad corners of our mortal lives, there are many people who contribute in one way or the other. The number of such people will be very large, but there will be only a few people whose memories will last forever. It is a rare thing to find someone who is #madeofgreat, because not many people can belong to that category with ease. But some people and the memories about them are forever, and they will always be with us in one way or the other.

There was one such person, and he is also the first person who came to my mind when I first saw the hashtag and idea #madeofgreat. It is about that person who became the earliest brother figure, as he was one person whom I knew right from the earliest times as far as my memories go. Thinking about the elder brotherly figures, I can’t remember many who are not among my relatives, but when he comes to the mind, the strongest of my memories are right there, and they remain as strong as they have ever been.

This is my 400th post on this blog posted on the 493rd day of its existence, and I dedicate this one to that person who has been an inspiration to me for a very long time – Jean Mathew. I have mentioned him on a few of my posts on this blog earlier. He was the most hardworking and the smartest person I have ever known. He used to be my advisor for everything related to technology and I always took his advice whether I wanted to buy a new mobile, laptop, desktop or digital camera; he was an expert in such matters.

One of our earliest photos, scanned from the old collection.

One of our earliest photos together, scanned from the old album collection.

During my Plus Two times with the Science-Computer branch, he was of great help, and he was a genius in matters related to technology. If I know something about computer, and related to the interest that I had in the same, I am always indebted to him. He was there to give the much needed advice during my early childhood entry into the world of computers. He was also my gaming guru, and I have always thought that he was the most intelligent and the one great expertise related to computers.

He was one person who was #madeofgreat, and I never had a doubt related to the same. He did prove the same when all odds were against him. He did fight hard throughout his life. It was while in the United States in 2008, working for IBS, that he was diagnosed with brain tumour. But facing the disease and going through the treatment with a positive outlook which I never had, he survived and managed to get better. His optimistic approach to life and belief in God had a positive influence on me too during those times.

There were some good times, but the disease showed signs of a relapse in 2011, and facing the tumour once again with a positive frame of mind, he left us for the better world on the third of March, 2013. He never complained, and he never lost hope. As he had gone for eternal sleep, I wondered how there will be no other person who was #madeofgreat like he lived his life, working hard, without complaints and always with hope and trust in this world as well as the other. His positive outlook has always made us closer to optimism.

There are stars which twinkle on the sky, and there are people #madeofgreat, like him, who will shine and twinkle in our minds forever. His amazing collection of brilliant photography and Bible Verses, both combined together, brought us hope, and he still comes to the mind and I often check his Facebook profile and blogs for those pictures and quotes. Times change and life moves forward, but a few things remain and a fewer number of people stay in our minds for eternity.

Cropped from his photo collections with inspirational Bible Versions.

Cropped from his photo collections with inspirational Bible verses.

And here is a question: “What do you think of Tata Motors association with Lionel Messi?”

For more details about #madeofgreat, visit http://madeofgreat.tatamotors.com/

TeNy

Lies and Hate: Origins

Vampire Owl: Greetings, my dear vampire apprentices. I know that you hate to come for the classes on the day after a holiday, but you had to arrive today because we are lagging in studies and this syllabus has to be completed before the Pooja holidays with another set ready to be finished before Christmas holidays. I have absolutely no idea how to do it, but I will explain the longest chapter of the book right now; it is about humans and their hate. It has facts about how, why and when they lie and also about the origins of their terrible attitude towards their fellow human beings which puts even the ultimate evil werewolves to shame.

Vampire Crow: Is this more like an origin story which the superheroes get? I have often heard that “hate” is a superpower that the humans have managed to achieve by centuries of hating each other citing different reasons.

Vampire Owl: Yes, it is true. We can call it The Human Lies and Hate: Origins. May be we can even start a television series on it and then the programme can go on and on for a long time because there is so much material on the same.

Vampire Hamster: Excuse me sir, but were they bitten by a radioactive spider or did they escape from another planet before it was destroyed?

Vampire Owl: Absolutely not. They are from this planet only, which is a case of depression and extreme sadness. Mother Earth often complains to us about the same. Once she said that she will even jump into a black hole to get rid of these humans of hate.

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Vampire Raven: We can’t wait to hear the origin story then!

Vampire Owl: Okay. This story starts long ago in a cave with a few cavemen and women. There was this guy who used to sing so well. One day, a girl told the others that she didn’t like the song. A fat man smashed her on the skull with a club screaming that it is an insult to the person and she died instantly. It is the case of the first fan in the world, and this fat guy is the representation of all the fans who exist these days with no concern for the others, only living to hate for the sake of their favourite celebrity. This is the hate which they carried over to many other aspects of life.

Vampire Alligator: So, the celebrity worship already existed at that time and has been the mother of all hate, long before religion.

Vampire Owl: Yes, of course. Often, religion also degrades itself to some celebrity worship instead of developing a personal relationship with God. The only thing that the fans have always worried about is on how to hate everyone for one person whom they haven’t met in real life. The truth has always been that this celebrity will never really meet these fans and neither will be they ask for their services.

Vampire Crow: But still, shouldn’t these celebrities be held responsible for the actions of these fans because if they were better people in control of their admirers in a sensible manner, their fans could have had more sense?

Vampire Owl: I would consider such a thing a lot necessary, especially when fans resort to so much nonsense in their names. If these celebrities had honour, it would have carried on to the fans. It is the celebrity who is often reflected on his or her fans, and it is clear that they like to have people under them who worships and respects. Celebrities mostly don’t believe in equality; otherwise they would have controlled their fans up-to an extent. They look down upon the normal person.

Vampire Raven: I would say that we should get rid of the celebrities in the human world and establish the state of equality there.

Vampire Owl: We are not authorized to do that. We could still put some light into the brains of blind fans, but unfortunately, they are filled with this pure fan trash. The only thing they can do in reply to a review is to keep saying how awesome their favourite stars are. Unfortunately for them, people with brains don’t care. If a character in a movie or television series is talked about, they will instantly say that the celebrity is the greatest performer of all time and so he or she has done very well in this work too. Otherwise, they will come with the cliche statements that “I think he/she has done better than everyone else because she has acted more and has experience” and “I don’t understand why you didn’t like the amazing performance”. A better question would have been about why people have opinions. Their last weapon is abuse which they use when all the brain cells are dead. These mostly arise from the fact that they know that their favourite actor/actress is not really good, and they have to prove it with lies.

Vampire Alligator: Humans hating humans for some strange celebrity who is known at one part of the world and is unknown somewhere else – it is a strange world. I still don’t get why humans have to become fans of other humans when all humans should be equal. I also don’t get why the fans keep trying to impose their opinion on others. I thought human life was in a free world where there was freedom of opinion. These fans can’t even accept a workas what it is, and the actors as characters. The only thing that matters to them are related to what is written about their celebrities about which no person with common sense cares about.

Vampire Owl: Yes, the truth is that for people with intelligence, for what matters is just what is shown on the screen, and not who these actors and actresses are. The human fans are real curse on the universe, and all the wars in the human world were fought by the fans. These miserable fans have killed because of being fans to their race, religion, language, caste and many others. It is because they are the fans of these things and when someone else comes with an opinion which is not close to this, they go for hate and war. All the human problems were always caused by the blind fans.

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Vampire Crow: It is a surprise that they still exist. The celebrity fans are the worst kind. All other fans mostly got some better cause.

Vampire Owl: Yes. Please be careful when going to the human world. There are too many fans who can’t understand the meaning of opinion. Last time I talked to one, he asked me “What is an opinion? We don’t appreciate it. Don’t you know that she is the greatest actress of all time? She will never get an award. But awards are for dummies. That is all which you need to know”. You can note that down.

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

TeNy

Blood of the Fallen

I recently came across Spartacus, the television series which was inspired by the tales and historical accounts of Spartacus, a Thracian fighter and a later gladiator who had started a grand slave uprising against the Roman Republic. I have been looking forward to watching this one since a long time ago, but got the chance only later. The Third Servile War which occurred between 73 and 71 BC, depicted here has the take mostly from the viewpoint of the slaves and has more to do with ideals of Spartacus himself as expected.

I have managed to watch all the three episodes and also the prequel. Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Spartacus: Vengeance and Spartacus: War of the Damned as well as the prepared prequel, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena brings the story of the slave rebellion with interesting changes, and stylish presentation of another page from the history stained with blood and war. There is no shortage of moments which would make the parental guidance advisory list very long with its sex and violence, but Spartacus remains big entertainment.

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The question about Spartacus aim being immediate freedom or ending slavery will forever be doubted, and so will the extended aims behind them. But this television series got us the legendary slave himself, giving life to the historical figure in an interesting way, beginning as the man who is sold to slavery and wishes to free himself and his wife from Rome as he rises in the gladiator ranks eclipsing the champion of the time, Crixus the undefeated Gaul by defeating the man they called “the shadow of death”. But with the death of his wife, and knowledge of treachery, he changes his path.

The first season is actually the best of them all, with interesting gladiator fights and an end which is very much satisfying with the death of the bad people of the time. It also has the one Roman who remains respected throughout the season until death, a feature which is absent otherwise. The battles as well as the opponents are very much catching our attention too. This has Spartacus moving away from the aim of being with his wife and focuses on freeing the other slaves from captivity.

Viva Bianca and Lucy Lawless are the ones who continues the awesomeness of the first season into the second from the Roman side. Replacing Lesley-Ann Brandt with Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Naevia comes as the big mistake of the second season, with Andy Whitfield already being lost to cancer and Liam McIntyre replacing him as Spartacus. Even though that latter replacement does work later, the change of the lady playing Naevia works completely against the series.

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Except for a few battle tactics and some talks about ideas, Spartacus: Vengeance remains the weakest of all seasons. The only hope remains Katrina Law as Mira and Nick E. Tarabay as Ashur along with Viva Bianca and Lucy Lawless in a story which is less thick. The later efforts from Gannicus also bring some relief to this one, and the ending is fair. Even with two of the best Roman female characters dead, the excitement returns to Spartacus: War of the Damned as the ideals as well as the aim becomes clear here.

The last season is the deciding one, as Spartacus understands that justice will never exist in this world and decides to leave beyond the reach of Rome while Crixus decides to march on Rome with his people only to meet his end to the large army of highly trained Legionaries. Gannicus getting his spot is the biggest boon of this movie, and in the end, we know what happens. The prequel deals with how Gannicus had risen to the great hero and the God of the Arena. I would talk about these in detail later, and consider this post as what has come to my mind right after watching all the seasons.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of Spartacus television series.

TeNy

Old Ceylon Photos

I never really got to share most of the photos I had taken during my visit to Sri Lanka long ago. So, I will share a few of the interesting ones among them right here – they are the pictures which I haven’t shared yet, and are not really the perfectly shot photos of the major tourist attractions. I have shared a few pictures already, but I have been looking forward to sharing more with some variations for a long time. Do you have a favourite picture among these? Well I love them all and hope to visit the island nation again some day! 🙂

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***All the images shared in this blog post were taken by me in Sri Lanka.

TeNy

Before Simona: Rewind

Simona the Kitty who has grown up to be Simona the Little Big Cat has had the longest stay here and has remained the longest non-movie inspiration for this blog. But there was a time before Simona when there were other cats who became short time inspirations. I have mentioned a few of them before, but I will talk about them in detail here. This post is actually supported by Simona, and there is no cat jealousy involved here – Simona knows none of the deadly sins and she is very much interested in appreciation of other cats.

Simona’s direct predecessor was Zeezee, the local kitten who went missing. She was of almost Simona’s age as of now when she was gone. She wasn’t really that much of a lover of humans, and never allowed anyone to get at the touching distance, while Simona didn’t mind the hand shakes, leg shakes or even head shakes. She was still a fine hunter of spiders, lizards and cockroaches. She loved Tiger biscuits in milk, and sitting on the Honda Dio was a clear priority. [Hometown: Perumbavoor]

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The Badminton Kitty was a well known figure all around the flat. This one was a lover of Badminton and was always there when a game was happening on the court. Whenever the shuttle sailed away from the humans, this one was ready to pounce and check for the quality. The kitty also made sure to pretend to be the official ball boy by running across between the points – may be this one wanted to have a game, but never really managed to the big cat as a car took its life. [Hometown: Aluva/Alwaye]

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The Great Cat of the Ancestral Lands was not that great, even though it was there whenever I visited the place – until some years ago. This one used to have only one priority, which was food, and sometimes even chased hens for no reason. It is not found any more, and the sad thing is that there has been no replacement even after these many years. May be there is no land for cats there? After all, the dogs are the ones who have most of the fun. Simona should complain to her big cat brothers. [Hometown: Kothamangalam]

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This Black Cat is the kind of cat that everybody should have. I have always preferred the black cats because the vampire team got special love for them. Well, this one was very much loved by the kids of the flat, and as they were sad about the demise of the white kitten of the Badminton earlier, they treated this one with a lot of milk every day. But this one suffered the same fate as the Badminton Kitty and jumped in front of a car to end the last of its nine lives. [Hometown: Aluva/Alwaye]

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The Mall Kitty was one of its kind. We haven’t known it for long, but this one was a real entertainer. We did wonder how long it will last considering the traffic around that junction, but the Mall Kitty was wandering around the Lulu Mall finding the food and also jumping around, as if coming right out of circus. This one followed many people, came back to the original place, thought for a few seconds, put its head inside somewhere and returned to its original position. [Hometown: Edappally]

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Among the cats before Simona, there are two who have been there for more time combined. It is the mother and son team which has been the champions of my cat world for a very long time. They belong to the Muvattupuzha area at the home of my aunty. They have been the first case of entertaining cats for me, and you need to check the eyes of the smaller one – he is a big cat now, but his eyes are special; of different colours. The mother cat is no more, but the son is still there, to be the awesome odd-eyed cat. [Hometown: Muvattupuzha]

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***All photos of cats were taken by me only.

Happy Independence Day! 🙂

TeNy

Photos from the Past

On this day which has me looking at the memories again, I will bring a few photos which reminds of a few things which I really miss these days. Some of them are clearly not going to come back, and the rest also might not return, and so I will post these pictures and keep thinking about it. We are planning to include a Vampire Butterfly for creating a Butterfly Effect and do what happened in the movie with the same name, but until then, we will keep this on the list of nostalgia.

1. The Random Search: There was always this random search as part of the continuous journeys. But it has completely disappeared right now. On the following image, you can see where we reached during one of our journeys with navigation using a printed map. It was the time when I had no internet connection on my mobile phone and there was also no Google Maps. Well, there was such a time, and it is good to remember.

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2. The Legend of Kochi Tuskers Kerala: I will always miss Kochi Tuskers Kerala in the IPL. The games at Cochin were so much fun. I watched three matches of the IPL with seven different people. Out of the three, they only won one and that was against Kolkata Knight Riders. But it was good at that time. Nowadays, thinking about IPL itself gives a shock. Well, the past and the present are not even close in this case.

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3. The Kochi Biennale Memories: There was that time when I visited Biennale four times during one season, and then there was the return of the Kochi Biennale two years which had me not visiting at all. I felt strange about it, but still couldn’t visit the program at all. Well, this is not the end, but for some reason, I doubt if I would visit it again. May be I am just doubting for no reason – may be there is a chance.

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4. The Missing Ceylon Tea: During my visit to Sri Lanka, I bought a lot of packets of Ceylon Tea and distributed them among my friends. Well, what weighed more than the most of the other things during my return were those packets of tea. It is that tea world that I miss a lot! Yes, I have been to other places with a lot of tea after that, but nothing matched the tea at Nuwara Eliya in Sri Lanka.

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5. The Cricket of the Past: I will define my lost love for cricket with just one picture. This was there at the Oberon Mall during the last Cricket World Cup, and despite not caring about cricket much these days, I wanted to think about some cricket. Yes, it was part of nostalgia, and this past will no longer come back. Considering the state of cricket these days, may be it is good to forget them all completely.

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6. The Great Halloween Night: We have always loved those Halloween nights, because it was the time to get those costumes related to horror, get some collection and donate them to the poor. Yes, it was how our youth club used to work – not much during the other festivals or days of significance, but full power for the Halloween. Those were the funnier days, and we are glad that the horror was not contaminated 😛

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***All photos used in this blog post were taken by me only.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

And then the Big Hug

This is father’s day and the need to hug dad is here. So before we go deep into the hug, there is the need to remember those reasons for which the same has to be done. I have come up with my own collection of things. It might not be something which can be related to, for most of my readers, but I am going to stay with this list of six things before the big hug happens on the father’s day.

The Sympathy: It is quite a lot, even though not that much for me. Simona the Kitty knows his sympathy and tries to make a cute fact to take advantage of it, but kitchen and the food was never anywhere near being his department. I have got a little bit of that from him even though mutual sympathy was never in the cards. But a good number of local people did get the selective sympathy effect.

The History: The knowledge of history has been nicely passed on. There has been a lot of talk about history as well as politics, which did define my path for the future, even though some relatives managed to interfere and divert my road to the future. Still, the history which was learned earlier has remained in my mind, and has helped me to make sure that I took my second degree in History only.

The Curiosity: He thinks that I always have problems, and due to the same, he keeps checking. One day, he looked at my grammar sentence which said “I do not sleep at night” as part of my grammar studies, and without checking the rest of the available information on tenses, he decided to take action based on my sleeplessness. That grand curiosity had given me some special attention, even though not that much of a fair one.

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The Self-righteousness: This one has been there all the time, and on display. Well, it has helped me to remain a good person, because I knew that there was no other way to make an impression, because the genius tag of the childhood was fast disappearing and had almost gone by the time I got admission for the Science-Computer group for Plus Two. So, I had to be the good person while the others were to be the achievers. That helped me to not go into the wilderness of evil.

The Disbelief: Yes, I have inherited the same disbelief, even though I haven’t got that ability to trust relatives or old friends who speak sweet. I have been careful with people, and it has helped me not to jump into any pits of hopelessness. As time progressed, I have turned out to be more of a non-believer in people than anyone I know about. I might have been a bigger loser if Ihad believed in people, but I have turned out to be a lesser one with this special skill that I inherited.

The Preferences: His love for the engineers and doctors have meant that I learnt to love those people who were different, and I decided to get rid of all Science and Mathematics because I realized that my right place was not with them. I belonged with the creative thinkers and not those people who worked only on logic. I realized that I should be human first and that matters. Well, most of my relatives don’t think so as they are always after counting the money in job or in marriage – but I understood 😀 #HugYourDad

This father’s day, I am expressing my love towards my dad by participating in the #HugYourDad activity at BlogAdda in association with Vicks.

***The image used in this blog post is from the page of activity itself.

TeNy

Spirituality: Special Ones

***About a few special churches from Kerala and Tamil Nadu, from the City of Kochi to Kanyakumari. The photos were taken on my Sony Cybershot.

St. John’s Cathedral, Tiruvalla, Kerala
Have you travelled around Tiruvalla at some time? Then you might not have missed this one because it is such a beauty on the side of the road. We came across the church while going for Niranam Church, and this happened to be a big find because nobody really told us about this one – may be people at that side might find it too usual a thing and don’t want to make it a big deal, but this is not the kind of church you will see anywhere else. It is a special structure which you need to visit.

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Kappal Matha Church, Uvari, Tamil Nadu
The simple structure might resemble many things including a ship and an airplane, but surely not a church if you look from a distance. The scene of a ship carrying the plane might rather seem strange, but it is another special place to be – I found this one while searching for places around Kanyakumari, and added it to the list of destinations to visit while traveling to the southern most point of the Indian peninsula, and the journey towards this place is also an interesting one. There won’t be many visitors around here.

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St. Mary’s Church, Kuravilangad, Kerala
A very famous Marian pilgrimage destination and with a history which goes back to a time when Christianity hadn’t spread through Europe, and was not yet the grand official religion of the Roman Empire as proclaimed by Emperor Theodosius; this one actually goes even before Constantine the Great had declared the religion legal for the first time. It is also believed that the first Marian Apparition was here, and the church remains a much visited pilgrim centre and a beautiful structure.

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Basilica of Our Lady of Ransom, Vallarpadam, Kerala
This is a major pilgrim centre about which you might know enough already. Nowadays, it is even easier to visit with the better road links, and this church with is locally known to be dedicated to Vallarapadath Amma (Local name for Mother Mary), this was one of the first few churches to be dedicated as basilicas in this part of the world, and as you climb to the top of those towers of the renovated church, the view is just spectacular. This one also has a long history which goes back through Kochi’s past.

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St. George Church, Edathua, Kerala
The Edathua Church is a very well known pilgrimage centre with devotees flocking from all around Kerala as this structure remains a place of peace on the banks of the river Pamba. The feast at Edathua is very famous, and people pray for the saint’s intercession all the time to save them from ailments. Whenever I watch the Malayalam movie – the beautiful romantic satire of visual and musical beauty, which was Amen, this is the church which comes to my mind (movie is to be remade in Bollywood with Ranbir Kapoor playing the lead role).

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Our Lady of Ransom Church, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu
There are many things to catch one’s attention at Kanyakumari, and the list is like an endless one with more and more places added to it. But what caught my attention after the Thiruvalluvar Statue and Vivekananda Rock Memorial was this church which catches the attention from a distance with its tall tower, and also has a special look with the blue sky and the clouds around. This one was actually not part of the places to visit, but just appeared out of nowhere and caught our attention.

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St. Mary’s Church, Thiruvithamcode, Tamil Nadu
This small structure is part of the seven and half churches which are believed to have been established by Saint Thomas the Apostle. We had read about the same, and so had gone searching for this one which was not really easy to find. This is also believed to be the first church in Tamil Nadu (formerly part of the Kingdom of Travancore), established in 63 AD. Located between Thiruvananthapuram and Kanyakumari, this church is a place of serenity, and remains the only church established by the Apostle in Tamil Nadu.

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TeNy

Why Interview with the Vampire?

Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles – you should have heard the name, and there is no reason why you won’t have, because I have been writing something or talking about the same for around eight to ten years now. Based on the work of the same name by Anne Rice, published in 1976, the movie based on the same and starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Christian Slater, Kirsten Dunst and Antonio Banderas released in 1994. This has also been the main pillar for my thesis for MA English Language and Literature.

One thing which is certain about this work is that Anne Rice has never created a better work after this one, and this first book from her remains her best. Created right after the death of her little daughter and bringing up the idea of the child vampire (something of depressing beauty), there are not many surprises about that. It also has Louis de Pointe du Lac, the most humane vampire as its main protagonist, as the creature with so much of conscience and a big amount of philosophy as he denies his own existence as the creature of the night and struggle with himself being “the other”.

The extremity of "the other" - the child vampire Claudia.

The extremity of “the other” – manifestation of the tormented soul of a child vampire.

Anne Rice has successfully used the history from different ages and locations to supplement her story. There is the relation of the characters with the time period of their existence, and for vampires, they belong to more than one age and with the new birth, they are not people one place or even one nation. As they belong to the universe of immortality, history and cultures begins to be part of them, and they would experienced most of it without reading one single book. History remains the background here.

The major incidents of the world do make changes on the vampires, and the human world around them gets affected by the vampires as much as they do in return. The novel itself was written during the time of the hippies, and at the same time period, Anne Rice brings this novel on vampires to the light. Even Louis chooses San Franciso, the centre of all these. The vampires come to us as people who are different and are mostly confused, except for those vampires who have lived through centuries and have a lot of experience to deal with situations. Some of them are already part of many cultures.

Interview with the Vampire - there is more to that talk.

Interview with the Vampire – there is more to that talk, but even more to experience.

We can even see a certain amount of the Cold War between capitalism and communism between the two protagonists of the novel as even though they never really drops the nuke, the tension is high due to the difference in their thought processes and ideologies. The city where the flashback begins is also at New Orleans, home to the cities of the dead. There is so much of the mystery which surrounds that world and happens to be the perfect place to discover a vampire.

Louis’ rebirth into vampirism also occurs in 1791 after the French Revolution begins. The doubt in Louis’ mind only increases, and he moves towards finding his own ideology as the grasp of the religious institutions lessens and morality also goes down. There are some interesting quotes which are made by the characters about the same, like evil being a point of view, God also kills and on goodness being too difficult. It remains a period of doubt for both humans as well as vampires. You see changes with the vampires of Paris and those of other parts of Europe.

The Embrace of the Vampire - This theatre of the vampires is an extension of culture.

Embrace of the Vampire – This theatre of vampires is an extension of the cultural side.

The vampire characters are given not just the human feelings here, and the relation in not just through the emotions, but through a certain shared history which reflects sometimes as the background for the characters and at other times, in relation to the times of the author when she wrote it. This makes the novel more related to humanity rather than adding trivial things like romance as in many other vampire works. It becomes part of the cultures of different parts of the world for centuries. For the movie, the cast takes the whole thing to another level.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Facebook Page of Interview with the Vampire. The ideas presented here are further extended from my reading while working for my Post-graduation thesis, and most of these are also part of the same in another way.

TeNy

The Kingdom of Travancore

There was the news about Kerala State Board Exam results for Tenth having published, and students given free pass marks – unlike the time when I had my tenth and we had to work hard to pass, now there are free passes to the Plus Two in Kerala – only to struggle to pass with degree and PG. So it will surely take the new generation some time to find Kerala on the map, and therefore, I will share two historical battles which happened here related to the Kingdom of Travancore which extended form Central Kerala to Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu. With those IIN advertisements continuing to make no sense, I am sure that the new generation will be searching on Google to study, and may be this blog post will help them a lot 😛

The red flag with silver conch shell

The red flag of the Kingdom of Travancore with silver conch shell at the centre

Battle of Colachel (1741): There are many battles that the Indian subcontinent has had against European powers, but among them, the most significant one is the Battle of Colachel and it is a case of huge and surprise victory. I am shocked that a lot of people don’t know about this which was part of the Travancore–Dutch War. But Battle of Colachel is more than just a battle, as it was decider. It was like the forces from Netherlands never really had the power to come up with another assault after this battle, and became no more threat to India almost completely disappearing from the scene.

The newly formed Kingdom of Travancore under Marthanda Varma defeated a superior Dutch force which had modern fire-arms, bringing the first complete defeat of a European power to an Indian kingdom. This was surely a twist of fate for the colonial powers in India. Eustachius De Lannoy who lead the Dutch, surrendered and served Travancore as “Valiya Kappithaan” and helped the king in later conquests, leading and modernizing the Travancore army. From here, Travancore would go on to become the best known and the most powerful kingdom of Kerala, and covered the half of Kerala along with Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari.

The Dutch surrender to Travancore

The Dutch forces surrender to the Kingdom of Travancore after the Battle of Colachel

Battle of the Nedumkotta (1789): It is interesting for a good number of people to avoid some battles and glorify only a few people of history. The case of Battle of the Nedumkotta is just the same. But nobody from Travancore can forget the great king Dharma Raja who might be one of the most likable king ever, and the man who is credited as “maker of modern Travancore” was that king who provided safety for everyone who fled for their lives during the attack of Tipu. Along with Dharma Raja’s respect for all religions, the efforts of his commanders, Raja Kesavadas and Vaikom Padmanabha Pillai to hold the fort despite being outnumbered by Tipu’s forces was an act of high valour.

Unfortunately, there is no monument for the former who was the minister, and the later who also lead rebellions against the British, and there happens to be no memorial for the valiant defence. It is a shame that we are forgetting our history and Kerala has given too less value for its heroes and its monuments – even the remains of the fort is lost. What happened at Nedumkotta was purely an effort of courage, as they managed to defend the lines and even strike a blow to the stronger and the more advanced opposition. The forces of Mysore were later denied by the monsoons and the river Periyar only to be forced to return without any gain except for spreading terror.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Wikipedia pages of the Battle of Colachel and the Kingdom of Travancore.

About two of the many great kings of the Kingdom of Travancore:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marthanda_Varma
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharma_Raja

The rulers of Travancore were truly committed to their people, which is why they haven’t spent much money for building monuments, tombs or palaces. Building memories for them, their wives, parents, uncles, brothers-in-law, grand-parents and all those family members never became part of the plan. They did what the real kings were supposed to do – they ruled and they did that wisely. This is the reason why people will remember them a lot even after such a long time. They were not just kings of the territory, but kings of the people.

They were more committed to social reforms rather than luxuries. They have left marks on the hearts of the people with love rather than through the huge monuments. Spending state’s resources for personal use never really came to them and their religious and caste-related tolerance has left a mark on Kerala which has left their territories free of hatred towards “the other”. They were true devotees of Padmanabha, and were loved by all religions and castes of people in their kingdom alike.

***The Kings of Travancore give a free lesson to the intolerant new generation politicians and religious/spiritual leaders who find it impossible to live without the luxuries and can’t stop hating others. It is never about the size of a worship place, statue or monument, for it is about how good you are to others!

More on the Kingdom of Travancore: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travancore

TeNy

Guptaji Knows the Best

Vampire Owl: You are asking why should we have food from there? Reason one is that it is free food which should be given respect and the second reason is that the girl is so cute; she looks like Selena Gomez.

Vampire Bat: What? I shall do this alone, thank you.

Vampire Owl: You don’t want my highly intellectual ideas on food?

Vampire Bat: No, because I know that it begins and end with eating.

Vampire Owl: See, this is why I have to bite random people.

Vampire Bat: I shall just write and will let you read it, okay?

Vampire Owl: I shall wait, but you know that I am a busy owl. I need food.

[Stares at the wall].

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Let me come up with a flashback here. Kellog’s Corn Flakes has been my favourite food for quite a long time, and as a child I loved it. Then there was Kellog’s Chocos to join the party, and there were offers like free dinosaur toys with the packets. Everything was so good at that time, as there was nothing much to think other than to eat some Kellog’s and then again eat more of the same.

That was quite a long time ago, and Kellog’s still remains a favourite. Lets take the instance of Guptaji’s house. Everybody wants to have food from that one place which is Guptaji’s house. It might sound strange, but actually it is not that surprising, as long as our nostalgia is alive. There was that time when we friends used to have corn flakes together – that was so long ago, but still has not faded away.

Kellog’s and childhood were best friends, and now I am looking forward to the Sitaphal Cornflakes about which it is written on the Facebook page, and the related details are provided. Custard apple and cornflakes have never been my combination, and the one big truth is that I have never had custard apple except for in the form of ice cream – and walnuts make some nice addition to the same.

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Vampire Owl: What is this one? Apple Cinnamon Cornflakes? I will have that one. You should let Guptaji know. Look at the apples. I need to eat them right now. I haven’t rested on an apple tree for years.

Vampire Bat: You shouldn’t interfere. I shall bring a portion of everything. We are not going together because you are a Vampire Owl of the food.

Vampire Owl: I hope you do realize that the jackfruit tree branch near Guptaji’s house is our owl territory.

Vampire Bat: You should see this one. Cornflake Popcorn Clusters. I have never seen something like this before. See the combination? We can have them while watching one of those vampire movies with happy horror endings as serial killer murders them all. It is bloody new and looks so awesome.

Vampire Owl: Walnut Cornflakes Chocoballs! It is something that I have never seen. We should have this one with horror movies. Popcorn was always old style. Guptaji will have this one at home for sure because it is a special one.

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Vampire Bat: I have no courage to see any more. I am going to Guptaji’s house. There is a nice mango tree on the left side of the dining room. I shall go and hang from there.

Vampire Owl: I shall be around too. Let me know when the smell begins to make the impact, and my presence will be there! Guptaji, here we come!

Vampire Bat: Do have focus though; the aim is to taste, not to finish everything available there!

***All the images used on this blog post are from the Facebook page of Kellog’s (which I have mentioned below) from where you can get some interesting information about working with cornflakes too. With over one hundred recipes, Guptaji and family are ready to work some magic with you! How can we miss this opportunity? Check the following links for more details: https://www.facebook.com/anaajkanashta and https://www.youtube.com/user/kelloggindia

TeNy