Tamil Nadu

Insurance !

There could be a corolla parked in the drive way or maybe its just a ramshackle of a Jugaad butting the head out of the front gate. But if the eyes that look at a place someplace in the deep south, the chances for a chap like this on the exterior wall of the house, is more than likely !

For ages, this chap has guarded the household against ‘Evil Eye’ ! So has it been told in the household that feeds this blog.

The Evil Eye. Yeah yeah ! The negative energy that is generated by ‘neighbours envy’ (not necessarily restricted to the neighbour) of seeing another do well !

The potency of the negative energy that the ‘evil eye’ of the neighbour, runs thick and deep !

Big eyes. Think eye lashes. Eyebrows as large as a forehead. A handlebar moustache that would make any Harley or its owner shift feet in awe. Canine teeth that drive fear into a tiger. Sharp white horns that can excite a matador in Spain. A scorpion in the tongue http://premier-pharmacy.com/product-category/antiviral/ that a tattoo artist would be proud of !

Well laid out sparkling array of colours. Blue neck. Red face. Yellow forehead. Green ear lobes !

These chaps are supposed to be absorbers of the mall effects of bad thought. They sure look that part. And for sure look pretty impressive too.

So, the next time you are in the South or at a Southerner’s place and you see this man on the wall, you would do well to remember the following.

a. This is not a representative image of the man of the house . Atleast not physically. Though you may have reasons to imagine him so.

b. You can let those big gasps of jealousy into the air. Looking at the chap’s ramshackle Jugaad or his designer underpants.

He for sure thinks he is insured. By a big man with big eyes. Think eye lashes. Eyebrows as large as a forehead. And a handlebar moustache that would make any Harley or the owner shift feet in awe.

Anyone for coffee ?

We are brewing. Really. New brew ! We have officially established South Indian rule in our home ! Yes. We We too drink Filter Coffee !! I mean, we too make it at home. Right here! And yes. We too have arrived ! (Wikipedia has all the details for you here !)

Amongst the many that i talk to, any discussions around my origins invariably lead to a discussion around Filter Coffee. The sharp eyed would have spotted my squirm and a shuffle of feet. Or atleast a shuffle of fingers of the feet, inside the shoe.

For in the family, ‘filter coffee’ was confined to the borders of Tamil territory. In our family tree. But we broke it all.

During this trip back home, coffee powder was picked up. ” ‘PB’ standing for ‘Peaberry’ ” we were told. The coffee filter was picked up, right here in Mumbai. And voila there is a decoction and the strong aroma of coffee that waffles through the morning air are now common place.

To the uninitiated, this may not be big deal. Neither was Filter coffee a big deal to us, until we moved here. North of the deep south !! Here, good old Filter Coffee is seen as an integral part of a Tamil existence. That connection seems to rule common mind space. Like a cross to Christ !!! Very rightly so !

Sample this. We would have guests at home. The best of good food would be served, nay, attempted. And promptly showered with wonderful critical acclaim that’s generous. And then a few thinly veiled questions would surface about filter coffee. You know, something like, ” the food was tastier than the ones that we get in Matunga, but over there you get filter coffee also’ !

And we would grin and mouth our ‘thank yous’. Pretending that their statements didn’t go beyond the comma. Now, the guests who did comment were a small minority. But you know, we feared the worst. Even when nothing was said !!!

But now, hey, we too have filter coffee !

And as the coffee sinks in, leaving a strong aftertaste in the mouth and in the air around too, we glance at slogans like “coffee drinkers are better thinkers” with a new slant !

But you know something, the coffee is something. Really something. Today, i wondered why there is so much of connection to the drink. I wonder if its because it helps me connect with home, with every sip? I haven’t been a great fan of coffee. Until now.

I don’t know.

But that’s not whats important. Whats important is this : The guest list is being refurbished. With some confidence ! Aha !

Now, anyone for coffee ?

Tamil Times !

This ad launched The Times Of India’s Chennai edition. A brilliant portrayal. With a ‘background beat’ that typifies Tamil Nadu, and a catchy ‘dance tune’ ( they said), i kept getting questions about the ‘meaning’ of the song from non-Tamil colleagues and friends !

Many of my friends and colleagues were impressed with the portrayal & capturing of life in Chennai as they could see ! Upon their goading, here is my attempt at translation !

Nakku Mukka is a ‘mascot‘ to whom the song is sung to. ( I think so). However, the song itself is about Cinema ( & its heroes’) hold out Tamil Nadu !

This is how it goes. Vaguely !!

“In Choolaimedu, Teynampet, Royapettah, T.Nagar etc ( all indelible parts of Chennai ) and across all roads of Chennai, cinema lives and rocks too !!

And here is a hero who has grown, donning many a ‘heroic’ role, asking people to have massive cut-outs for himself, and offerings of milk, dance, drums, garlands in his name !!

He aspired for power, started a casteist political party, called it ‘Rice Party’, contested the elections, and won it too !!

Only to become a minister and switch allegiance to the ruling party ! Dissolving the ‘Rice Party’ that he started.

And when this news spread to the country, his hometown turned violent !

After that he lost his reputation and was shamed.

Now he stands as a scare-crow, after losing it all !!”

Subtle sarcastic undertones to the story, creative portrayal of the state of affairs, leave me impressed ! So, does the filming. I particularly like the way in which our film hero segues from film star to minister !

So does calling the party ‘Rice Party’ the dissolution of which leads him to become a ‘scare crow’. Poetic justice, so to speak !!

The ad is but a realistic & sad commentary on the daily life of Tamil Nadu. Living a celluloid life, Tamil politics has filmdom woven into it. Face paint, stunts, dialogues, music and comedy rule the film world. So does it rule the politics there.

The ad though, has a polyannish ending. With the film star being reduced to a scare crow. In Tamil politics, such stars, shine ! And new ones continue to emerge !

A good friend told me, ‘Forget all of this ! Just enjoy the music’. Yeah right. I said. And forced an apathetic smile reside within.

Sure. Enjoy the music ! But catch the meaning too.