Tuesday, July 18, 2017

It takes bravery...

There are brave people and there are brave people.It takes a particular kind of bravery to be called truly brave.

It takes one kind of bravery to eve tease, rape, kill, plunder, lynch and destroy because one is in the company of many other similar brave persons

It takes one kind of bravery to come into public life and hide from the same public behind several layers of security men

It takes one kind of bravery to deprive the right of others because of the family background and positions held

It takes one kind of bravery to do what is wrong because of the web of deceit and lies that has been spun by some for their ulterior motives

It takes one kind of bravery to trample on those below oneself because of the person’s baggage of unearned but inherited privileges

It takes one kind of bravery to turn a blind eye to all the wrongs that go on in one’s presence

It takes one kind of bravery to stand up for what is right despite the world disagreeing

It takes one kind of bravery to look in the eyes of the other person and own up for a mistake that was done

It takes one kind of bravery to do acts of reparation for those who have been wronged

It takes one kind of bravery to stand for those who have been wronged even if means that the person will become an outcast

It takes one kind of bravery to follow the hard, long and right way when others laughingly take the short cut

It takes one kind of bravery to walk that extra mile for another despite knowing the personal costs

It takes one kind of bravery to listen to one’s conscience

It takes one kind of bravery to be true to oneself

It takes one kind of bravery to be a good human being

It takes bravery, the kind is up to you. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Po poi velaya paaru...

Silly Hindians, not knowing & not using are 2 different things. You don't know that many here know Hindi, you only know that we choose not to use Hindi, because it's our choice. Frankly it’s none of your business, what we wear or eat or speak.

There is a lot of Hindi everywhere in Tamilnadu and often many are forced to use Hindi to communicate to the staff. If you observe closely there are many non native workers in Tamilnadu in the service industry. While many other states may have a welcoming attitude to people from other states who take up local jobs Tamilnadu has always welcomed them. Chennai or Madras has always been vaazha vaikkum Chennai, meaning it gives room for people to earn their bread in their chosen field. We still have Chinese dentists (the last few sadly) who don’t speak Mandarin here but Tamil to their patients in their clinics near Flower bazaar, Chennai. The supervisors of many service industries from shops, security service to hotels give instructions in Hindi to save them learning hundred other languages (yes we do have so many languages in our country, not everyone speaks Hindi).

The infamous auto man speaks Hindi when he wants a ride, the flower seller speaks Hindi when she wants to make a sale. They may have learnt it from TV or conversations, some even go to Hindi Prachar Sabha for the famed classes but it is a matter of choice. You “educated” outsider have no business asking people to change their choices because you are linguistically challenged and restricted to one language. If you came here on tourism, follow the local language and culture, take Google translate, get an interpreter but stop your whining. If you are here on work, learn Tamil quickly and earn your bread. Remember you are en economic immigrant who has come to a land of plenty from a land of none, if your land was better than stay put there. We are happy without you.

What annoys us most is the ignorance you exhibit by doing silly things as calling an official language as a national language, walking out of a music show by a Tamilian composer because he played some Tamil songs. When we hear the Bollywood version of some of the special songs by the Mozart of Madras we have a knowing smile; because we know how much better they sound in the original where the words spoke to our hearts.

With the highest number of tourists in the country who come primarily to soak in the art, architecture, history and culture of our land we have something worth holding on to. We do not care for your silly ideas and idiotic justification which equates knowing a language to patriotism. Yes there is a big difference between patriotism and what you think is patriotism. We are Tamil and Indian. Yes we are a part of this nation and Tamils existed long before our nation too birth 70 years ago. We will forgive this lack of knowledge on your part too. Our simple advice to you is:

Po, poi velaya paaru.

(Look up Google translate, I am not interested in translating it for you)

Images courtesy: Tamil memes / Google Images

Monday, July 10, 2017

I came, I saw and I wrote

Romeo & Juliet, the classic tragedy by Shakespeare, reimagined and adapted to the music of AR Rahman, presented by a Dance Company. The show was produced by an actress / dancer with a film back ground that should ensure good production values in addition to good media coverage. The sum of it all seemed to be a Sunday evening well spent when I bought the tickets for yesterday’s performance.

The show started half an hour late which was a good thing considering the parking challenges and the traffic, the sparse crowd in the balcony also gave us a choice of seats in the free seating Music Academy.  The opening credits started with the National Award winning “Chinna Chinna Aasai” that made me feel warm inside and look forward to the evening ahead.

The stage had very basic props with one gazebo hardly being used and seemed to be taking up unnecessary space, the famous Juliet’s Balcony however on the other end of the stage was used more and despite the lack of height it served its purpose. The backdrop as with many other plays these days was a screen with digital images and some were quite beautiful to see. At that moment you will be amazed at the skills of the stage designers of old who manually painted and built backdrops that had to be changed by hand instead of a simple click of a button. The screen itself had a minor issue there was a protrusion that made the images disjointed and was a little disconcerting at the start.

The musical / dance / drama started with me on a high and then it started unraveling bit by bit. The positives of great music and some good dances were slowly getting obscured by what happened in between. The language used was an odd mix of Tamil, a little Malayalam, Hindi, English and some Shakespearean English. Now it if fairly obvious that this is a deadly mix if not handled well and can back fire badly as it did last night. The fictional town of Alamara I am guessing has been set in Kanyakumari or nearby by the use of Tamil and Malayalam however the mix did not work well as it may have been conceived. The sound, especially the mikes of some of the performers were weak and I lost quite a few lines because somehow there was no improvement in the same despite a good sound team on the spot.

The dances while good in insolation somehow stood out as stand-alone set pieces rather than part of a congruent whole (remembered Shankar movies). The same dances also served as a distraction with the few side acts that happened at different parts of the stage during the dances where small touches were easily missed. (The brilliant AR Rahman songs after awhile seemed to have been inadequately used as while brilliant as individual songs to aid the narrative could have been better used by mixing up / mashing up medleys which would have also conveyed the messages better but that is my personal opinion.)

The costumes were good and despite the short changeover times the performers managed to go about the scene changes quickly. The acting was passable at best except for one or two performers. (Yohan Chacko stood out with his voice modulation; however his character sketching made me scratch my head, since he seemed to have a different character every time he came on stage.) Since many of the cast were dancers it was not entirely unexpected and can be overlooked.

The writing deserves special mention, how can you take a classic and yet get challenged? Two lines stood out, I am reproducing the gist of both:
“You came, you saw, I spat!” (made me cringe, despite its origins)
“It is a church despite being within 500 metres of a state highway” (made the audience crack up)
The latter line alone served to show how much this performance could have been memorable had the writing being better.   The writing was poor and quite a disservice to the classic despite the good intentions. No matter how noble it may seem Tanglish to the Bard’s English cannot seamlessly flow unless a lot of work is done to make the transition smooth. Towards the climax a few including me could not wait for Romeo to kill himself. Unfortunately I did not stay back for the final credits after the cast and crew took their bows as it was a late night but I left with a longing for what could have been, if only the writers had stretched themselves out of their comfort zones.

I looked for a Shakespeare meets Crazy Mohan but ended up with Loose Mohan.