Sunday, August 12, 2007

Baaki Itihaas: Juxtaposing the absurdities of life

The absurd philosophy of the 20th century has given literature and theatre a new dimension to pursue human life in a better prospect, exploring the intricacies and mysteries of birth and death. The awkward predicaments suffered by humans in the post world war scenario has been explored and dealt with great amount of details. The principles of psychoanalysis formulated by Freud has provided various playwrights with an insight into the complexity of human life and relationship. Conceptualised on the principles freudian psychoanalysis, Badal Sarkar's 'Baaki Itihaas' makes a prompt attempt in delivering answers to certain questions that have been shrouded in the darkness of human history.
Staged by Rangasiri, a city based theatre group, the Kannada version of Baadal Sarkar's much acclaimed 'Baaki Itihaas' seem to be well conceptualised play after Evam Indrajeet of the same author. Even though the translation sees lose ends at some point, eventually wins at the end through powerful dialogues. The course of the play, taking cue from a newspaper headline, escalates into a serious literary debate among the litterateur couple. What seem to be a noetic action initially, soon becomes a verisimilitude commentary on individual's dark and harrowing thoughts which never been addressed by any writers in detail.
The main story revolving around a couple dwells into the life story of another family and finding answers to the death of its chieftain in their own way. Sharad, a college lecturer and his writer wife Vasanti ponder over the reasons for Sitanath's suicide whom they had met sometime back. Colouring the event with their own imagination capabilities, Sharad comes out with a splendid story that eventually puts him into a kind of conflict that Sitanath had undergone while committing suicide.
The play directed by H K Ramamurthy, interlaces three stories of different background into one. Coincidentally Sitanath's and Sharad's thoughts have the same tonal intensity as same as Kanaka and Vasanthi's thoughts. Going by the playwright's account both the families tries to push the defined boundaries of the society in their own way. Further, the play also gives suitable answers to the raging debate about the unanswered fate of human kind. Not all the powerful dialogues of the original has found a place in this translation as it becomes monotonous at some point of time and the neutral articulation of dialogues by the actors without pumping in the required amount of tonal variation. However the logic of arguments exchanged by Sharad and Sitanat's ghost at the last lights up the pessimistic play with resplendent colours.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Urgency does not take us anywhere!

Globalisation might have changed our lifestyles, ranging from daily grocery to uplevel swanky malls of the neighbourhood. But it has certainly inflicted all of us with greater insecurity about the life and animosity over others. No matter whether at work or at home, we try either to dominate or impose others with our ideas. Caught up in the race to prove our supremacy over others, we keep running all the time. But the question is, does this urgency take us to any level? Well, My cousin Sushma B from Intel sent a mail about the importance of putting an end to the urgency created by LPG!!!

It's been 18 years since I joined Volvo, a Swedish company. Working for them has proven to be an interesting experience. Any project here takes 2 years to be finalized, even if the idea is simple and brilliant. It's a rule. Globalized processes have caused in us (all over the world) a general sense of searching for immediate results. Therefore, we have come to posses a need to see immediate results. This contrasts greatly with the slow movements of the Swedish. They, on the other hand, debate, debate, debate, hold x number of meetings and work with a slowdown scheme. At the end, this always yields better results.
Said in other words:
1. Sweden is about the size of San Pablo, a state in Brazil.

2. Sweden has 2 million inhabitants.
3. Stockholm, has 500,000 people.
4. Volvo, Escania, Ericsson, Electrolux, Nokia are some of her renowned companies. Volvo supplies products to NASA.

The first time I was in Sweden, one of my colleagues picked me up at the hotel every morning. It was September, bit cold and snowy. We would arrive early at the company and he would park far away from the entrance (2000 employees drive their car to work). The first day, I didn't say anything, either the second or third. One morning I asked, "Do you have a fixed parking space? I've noticed we park far from the entrance even when there are no other cars in the lot." To which he replied, "Since we're here early we'll have time to walk, and whoever gets in late will be late and need a place closer to the door. Don't you think? Imagine my face.
Nowadays, there's a movement in Europe named Slow Food. This movement establishes that people should eat and drink slowly, with enough time to taste their food, spend time with the family, friends, without rushing. Slow Food is against its counterpart: the spirit of Fast Food and what it stands for as a lifestyle. Slow Food is the basis for a bigger movement called Slow Europe, as mentioned by Business Week. Basically, the movement questions the sense of "hurry" and "craziness" generated by globalization, fueled by the desire of "having in quantity" (life status) versus "having with quality", "life quality" or the "quality of being". French people, even though they work 35 hours per week, are more productive than Americans or British. Germans have established 28.8 hour workweeks and have seen their productivity been driven up by 20%. This slow attitude has brought forth the US's attention, pupils of the fast and the "do it now!".
This no-rush attitude doesn't represent doing less or having a lower productivity. It means working and doing things with greater quality, productivity, perfection, with attention to detail and less stress. It means re-establishing family values, friends, free and leisure time. Taking the "now", present and concrete, versus the "global", undefined and anonymous. It means taking humans' essential values, the simplicity of living. It stands for a less coercive work environment, more happy, lighter and more productive where humans enjoy doing what they know best how to do. It's time to stop and think on how companies need to develop serious quality with no-rush that will increase productivity and the quality of products and services, without losing the essence of spirit.
In the movie, Scent of a Woman, there's a scene where Al Pacino asks a girl to dance and she replies, "I can't, my boyfriend will be here any minute now". To which Al responds, "A life is lived in an instant". Then they dance to a tango. Many of us live our lives running behind time, but we only reach it when we die of a heart attack or in a car accident rushing to be on time. Others are so anxious of living the future that they forget to live the present, which is the only time that truly exists. We all have equal time. No one has more or less. The difference lies in how each one of us does with our time.
As John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."!!!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Who is a Malayali?

My friend Ningileri Thayilath Balanarayan Nambiar suggests these methods to identify a malayali if you can't get them easily!!!

* If you can fit four passengers in the front seat of an Ambassador taxi, while in the back there are eight passengers and two children with their heads stuck out of the window, chances are, you are a Mallu going to attend your cousin's wedding.
* If you can run, ride a 100 cc motorbike without wearing a helmet, and playfootball , all while wearing a lungi tied halfmast, Malayali status!
* If you have more than 5 relatives working in Dufaiii, Big Time Malayali.
* If you have the words "Chinchu Mol + Jinchu Mol" written on the rear window of your Omni car, Yes, You ARE a Malaayli.
* If you refer to your husband as kettiyon; ithiyan, pillerude appan, guess what? You're a Central Travancore Syrian Christian Malayali.
* If you have a tamilian parked in front of your house every Sunday, ironing your clothes , chances are a you are a Middle Class Malayali.
* If you have more than three employee trade unions at your place of work then ask no further, you are indeed a Malayali.
* If you have voted into power a Chief Minister who has not passed the 4th grade then ask no further, YOU ARE A MALAYALI.
* If you have at least two relatives working in the US in the health industry(Nursing!!!) , Yes! Malayali!
* If you religiously buy a lottery ticket every week, then You're in the Malayali Zone!
* If you describe a woman as "charrakku/ Piece " Yep! Malayali.!
* If you constantly refer to banana as "benana" or pizza as "pissa" you're a Malayali.
* If you use coconut oil instead of refined vegetable oil and can't figure out why people in your family have congenital heart problems, you might be a Malayali.
* If you are going out to see a movie at the local theater with your wifey wearing all the gold jewellery gifted to her by her parents, you are a newly married Malayali..
* If you and your wife and three children dress up in your Sunday best and go out to have Malabar biriyani at Kayikka's on a 100 cc

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


This poem was written by a Zimbabwean father in memory of his 10-months-old ailing daughter. When emotions and sentiments are losing their trait owing to changing lifestyle, this comes as an eloquent testimony to love and affection between a father and a daughter.


Just for this morning, I am going to
smile when I see your face and laugh
when I feel like crying.
Just for this morning, I will let you
choose what you want to wear,
and smile and say how perfect it is.
Just for this morning, I am going to step
over the laundry and pick you up and take you to
the park to play.
Just for this morning, I will leave the
dishes in the sink, and let you teach me how to put
that puzzle of yours together.

Just for this afternoon, I will unplug
the telephone and keep the computer off, and sit with
you in the backyard and blow bubbles.
Just for this afternoon, I will not yell
once, not even a tiny grumble when you scream and
whine for the ice cream truck, and I will buy you one
if he comes by.
Just for this afternoon, I won't worry
about what you are going to be when you grow up, or
second guess every decision I have made where you are
concern ed.
Just for this afternoon, I will let you
help me bake cookies, and I won't stand over you
trying to fix them.
Just for this afternoon, I will take us
to McDonald's and buy us both a Happy Meal so you can
have both toys.
Just for this evening, I will hold you in
my arms and tell you a story about how you were
born and how much I love you.
Just for this evening, I will let you
splash in the tub and not get angry.
Just for this evening, I will let you
stay up late while we sit on the porch and count all the stars.
Just for this evening, I will snuggle
beside you for hours, and miss my favourite TV shows.
Just for this evening when I run my
finger through your hair as you pray, I will simply be
grateful that God has given me the greatest gift ever given.
I will think about the mothers and
fathers who are searching for their missing children, the
mothers and fathers who are visiting their children's
graves instead of their bedrooms. The mothers
and fathers who are in hospital rooms
watching their children suffer senselessly and screaming
inside that little body
And when I kiss you goodnight I will hold
you a little tighter, a little longer. It is then,
that I will thank God for you, and ask him for
nothing, except one more day............. !