Somebody once told me
To Write Well,
Write What You Know.
This is what I know......

Monday, 5 August 2013

The Girl With An Umbrella

All this umbrella issue started when I was in STD I. Now you may ask why I didn’t have an umbrella when in kindergarten.
When I was in LKG my dad dropped and picked me up at school every day. He is someone who carries and uses umbrella all the year round. Mostly he carried me in his arms, under his black umbrella. I studied UKG in a different city where rain was scarce. Also, I travelled to and from the school in an auto rickshaw that was fully packed with a dozen other students, their huge bags and lunch kits. There was no room for an extra umbrella. So we go back to where we started.
All this umbrella issue started when I was in STD I. I was back in my old city and was very excited to go back to my old school.  It was a chore to buy new school bag, pencil box, a pack of Nataraj pencils (with free sharpener and eraser along with the pack), water bottle, Tiffin box, lunch kit etc. along with new books, brown covering paper, name slip etc. for the new academic year. This time, along with the basic amenities, I also got a new Umbrella. A stick umbrella for kids, in bright rainbow colours, covering almost 3/4th of my height, with a yellow whistle (that makes sharp noise) attached to the red handle and a yellow knob at the other end. How I used to love that umbrella! It was just an ordinary umbrella to me until one particular day.
Before explaining that, I should give you an introduction. I lived in the top floor of an apartment quarters back then. The apartment building was a few hundred metres further away from the road. Two of my neighbours (siblings) and I studied in the same school and travelled in the same van to and from school every day. One of them, Abitha, was my classmate and best friend then. Her sister, Aswathi, was four years elder to us and we looked up to her. She was our senior in school, always had the best of gossips, she was the walking encyclopaedia of all the latest film songs/stories and her little tricks never failed to amaze us. The driver dropped us near the gate and we walked back to our respective homes (That’s a lie. In most of the cases, we directly went to either their home or mine so as to not break the continuity of our gossip sessions or games we were playing from inside the van).
Anyway, it was just another day when everyone and everything around was soaked in the monsoon rain. Abitha and I were about to unwrap a chocolate we got on our classmate’s birthday. That’s when Aswathi told us she would show something unbelievable and amazing if we gave her our chocolate. Didn’t I tell you before that she was our hero and role model? So we reluctantly gave her the chocolate, hoping to learn a new trick that day. After slowly unwrapping the chocolate and savouring its taste (this seemed like an eternity to me) she made us hold her school bag and lunch kit, and asked us to stand a little farther from her. The rain was still dripping. She held her umbrella tightly horizontally and whirled it with all her might...and… SWOOOOOSH and BAAAMMM!!!!!!

 The top of the umbrella went upside down! That did amaze us a lot. Maybe because we were too small, or maybe because we didn’t get the knack, Abitha and I couldn’t get our umbrellas upside down. Abitha tried so hard till she finally stumbled and fell on the gravel. After much begging and pleading Aswathi agreed to teach us the trick if and only if we carried her school bag and lunch kit across the flight of stairs for a week. (I know, she’s such an opportunist. She could make a great boss or politician one day). With Aswathi’s expertise and our constant practice, we finally mastered the talent of tumbling an umbrella top and harvesting rain water in it. After weeks of continuous inverting, the umbrellas automatically got inverted in the slightest wind even without making any efforts! Let’s say...those umbrellas had a shorter lifespan than monsoon! RIP. But I still have the remnants of my rainbow coloured umbrella, at home.
My second umbrella happened when I was in STD II. A bright red one with floral patterns on it and a red whistle attached to it. (I never really understood the whistle part. Back then, all kids’ umbrellas had whistle with them. Is it the same pattern even now?) This umbrella was gifted to me by grandma’s youngest sister for being a good girl and not burning her house down while I stayed with them during summer vacation (and also because she got free umbrella from office). Anyway, I loved this umbrella a lot too. Even before the school reopened, I used to flaunt and show off this umbrella in front of Abitha and Aswathi during our playtime. As you know, the school mostly reopens with the monsoon rain. So for the first week I had to use umbrella on almost every day. Then there wasn’t rain for a few days. Again the rain started pouring heavily and that’s when I started looking for my lovely red umbrella with floral patterns and whistle attached to it. I couldn’t find it at home or in school. I tried hiding this from my parents, but obviously, they found out within a few days.
That was the end of it all. I never had another umbrella on my own since then. Of course my parents forced me to take another umbrella but I was afraid of losing it again. Now you may ask why I didn’t have this problem when I was in STD I. That’s because, our van driver during that time was a wonderful man. He always made sure we had our bags, kits and umbrellas with us before leaving school. Next year, the driver changed and so did the fate of my umbrella. But thanks to my wonderful, liberal, helping friends, I always had a place under their umbrellas.
Did I not have any other umbrella in my life other than these two? Yes, I did. I got an umbrella as prize for winning a contest conducted by a leading newspaper in Malayalam. A three-fold black umbrella with silver coating inside for UV protection. That happened when I was in STD VII, perhaps. Mom was already furious at me for not using umbrella. So she ordered me to use this umbrella and she placed it inside my bag. After some 4 months, mom was shocked to see that umbrella in my bag, still unused, and full of tiny holes formed on them. That’s when we realized, umbrellas with silver coating form holes when unopened for a long time! With an umbrella in bag, I still scrooched under other people’s umbrellas.
Even though I haven’t had an umbrella on my own, I’ve lost a couple of other umbrellas too. One I left it in the seat of an auto rickshaw, another one in the train. At least, that’s all I remember, even though my family claims I’ve lost more.
A couple of years back I saw the advertisement of a famous umbrella mart. They guaranteed the umbrella won’t get inverted even in the strongest winds. I felt sorry for the present day kids. With such wind-resistant umbrellas in market, they would never be able to enjoy and have fun with inverting umbrellas, collecting water on top of it and splashing it on their friends…
Last week I was sharing my umbrella story with a friend and she too shared her dreadful experience with umbrellas. It’s happy to know I’m not the only one who never used umbrellas.

The title of this post is in a very literal sense. The girl with AN umbrella.
An umbrella that was once bright and rainbow coloured, now the colours faded and hardly recognizable, covering almost 1/4th of my current height, with a yellow whistle (that doesn’t make noise anymore) attached to its red handle, and the yellow knob on the other end is missing. This is very contrary to my dad who has an umbrella in his bag all the time, or some of my relatives who keeps umbrella as a safety measure (to shoo away stray dogs or to hit burglars on head, just a precaution).
So… What’s your umbrella story? :D

Monday, 13 May 2013

Wedding Daze

Dedicated to my four sweethearts.

The day had almost ended and I was soaked in nostalgia…all because of a wedding that my parents attended today morning.
For a few years my family had stayed in a government quarters at Kozhikode.
The bride of this wedding was a wonderful lady whom we used to call Chakki (that was her nickname. I don’t know her real name), whose family had stayed in the quarters during the same period as we did.
This wedding was like a reunion for all those who stayed in the quarters during that time and later moved to different places. Chakki chechi’s parents had asked my parents to bring me to the wedding, but I was too lazy to go. Well… not ‘lazy’ exactly. The real reason why I didn’t want to go will be discussed later. Anyway, I stayed home, of course, wasting my time facebooking and tweeting ;)
After returning home, my parents were talking all about the wedding and the old friends/neighbours they met there. That’s when they told about meeting two of my ex-boyfriends, Sreeram and Jeevan.
Both of them are happily married and have kids now!
Sreeram and his family, and Jeevan and his family, were also living in the same block of the quarters as we were. And there were 2 more people, the siblings Karthik and Ashok (who didn’t attend the wedding today and who also happen to be musician Dakshinaamoorthy’s grand kids)
My four boyfriends who have seen me naked…
I was very close to all of them. But then… circumstances changed…
 All the four of them were very dear to me. They were very fond of me too :)
They used to carry me in their arms and shoulders, let me play with their hair (especially Ashok ettan, whose hairstyle was like that of SRK’s in early ‘90s, as I recall), listen patiently to all my made-up stories, fly kite for me, collect and count the manjaadikkuru that falls from the tree in our courtyard (yeah.. I know it is a very difficult task and requires lots of patience. If they did that for me then they must have loved me so much :’) )
But as I said before, circumstances changed. Some of the families built/bought new home. Some of them got transfer and left the place. And slowly we drifted apart.
I really don’t remember much about them. Not even their faces. All I remember was that I was like 2-4 years old and used to think of them as big people (maybe they were in their early teens during that time. But as a kid, I used to consider them as grown-ups).
I also remember some of the evergreen stories relating them and yours truly ;)
It’s hard to forget the stories. Every time I meet someone who had stayed in the quarters, they bring up some of my adventurous childhood stories.
One of them was, falling down and breaking my head and a tooth while playing with them and how one of my neighbours had to carry me and run all the way to the nearest hospital.
There is a story of how my neighbour (then my role model) Chandni chechi and I decided to make my pregnant goldfish fairer and put a can of talcum powder (Cuticura, to be precise) into the aquarium. May the goldfish’s soul rest in peace.
Another one is how I invaded and sat on the lap of Dakshinaamoorthy while he was singing, and tried singing along with him the song (still one of my favourite classical songs) Swami Natha Paripaalayaashumaam. Apparently he said that I have a great inborn talent in music ;) Poor old man.
But the most appreciated story is about me walking, or rather, running (naked in some versions of the story and wearing a chaddi in some other versions; still disputed) behind Sreeram ettan calling out loud “Sheeyaametta… Sheeyaametta…” :D
I’m not sure how much of these stories are true, especially the last one (Nooo, I would never do something like that).
So… today at the reunion, all these people, including my parents and 2 childhood sweethearts, dissected and laughed over these stories. If I had gone, then I should have stood there embarrassed in front of all those people! (Now you know why I didn’t want to go for the wedding.)
But, thinking of it now, I could have gone for the wedding, just to meet Jeevan chetan and Sreeram ettan, to meet them after 2 decades, meet their wives and kids… just to… you know… :) :) :)
I also wonder where Karthik ettan and Ashok ettan are… if they still remember me… what they are doing now… you know… :) :) :)
I also miss my other friends there. Chakki chechi, Neethu chechi, Ashif ikka, Chandni chechi, Aswathi chechi, Abitha……
Maybe I could search them on Facebook. But I don’t know their last names :( Maybe I’ll meet them during another wedding… Maybe……
With a bunch of sweet memories, ending the post with what I started

Dedicated to my four sweethearts.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

When Music Was Made In India Part 2

The continuation of When Music Was Made In India Part 1

Asha Bhosle became a widely accepted singer among the teens by releasing remix albums of her old super hit Hindi film songs. The new videos were entirely different from the originals. They carefully marketed old book in new attractive cover and it really worked!

The original song was sung by Asha and Kishore Kumar in the film Jawani Diwani, starring Randhir Kapoor and Jaya Bhaduri. This video stars Ayesha Takiya and Keith Sequeria. Ayesha Takiya, like Shahid Kapoor, got an introduction to Hindi film industry through Indipop. Her hip-shaking step in this song was superb and a total hit! The guy, Keith, is a wonderful anchor and model. He has done a beautiful advertisement for Raymond! And I had, and still has a biiig crush on him ;) Doesn’t Virat Kohli look somewhere like him? Awww… He’s such a caring boyfriend :* I specially love the parts where she draws a Laxman Rekha with her lipstick and lights match stick with a bottle of alcohol in her other hand :D

This eccentric lady, who looked very much like a bloke, had countless hits to her credit. (I just visited Wiki to make sure she is really a SHE). Falguni is the Indipop artist that perhaps has the largest fan base! There was a time when you couldn’t avoid her songs if you ON the TV! Not only did she sing well, but also these videos had some of the cutest, silliest but best love themes. A few of her hits include
YAAD PIYA KI AANE LAGI (2000) (Starring Riya Sen, Richa Pallod etc.) 

MAINE PAYAL HAI CHANKAI (2007) (one of my friends at school once kicked and dragged 
me into dancing to this song with her)

MERI CHUNAR UDD UDD JAAYE (2001) (Starring Ayesha Takiya and Tamil actress Trisha. There’s this famous step they play wearing shoes in their hand… This song portrays Falguni and Ayesha more like a lesbian couple) :P

INDHANA WINVA (2000) (love this song, but the casting is horrible)

O PIYA (2001) (Another one of my personal favourites. A lot of things happen during that song. We normally don’t notice them. And the Moon yawning, sneezing and singing along is awesome!)

SAAWAN MEIN (2001) (A sweet competition between the boys and girls)


Kumar Sanu had a great voice. But I wasn’t a fan of his videos due to various reasons. Either there is no good story or the music doesn’t suit the song or the cast is stupid.

During a discussion about the Indipop songs, one of my friends brought up the song Tera Mera Pyar. We didn’t know the name, lyrics or tune. All we could remember was the heroine’s friends throwing popcorn at them in a movie theatre. My friends and I had to search a lot to find the song we had in mind. That video is cool actually. All the giggling, teasing and poking stuff between the heroine and her friends happens even when we go out with our girl friends. After watching that song, every time at a movie theatre I check out if the stranger guy sitting next to me is hot and handsome ;)

Another hit of Kumar Sanu is Kehna To Hai, Kaise Kahoon (2000) starring Shahid Kapoor and Nauheed Cyrusi.


Shubha Mudgal is extraordinary and one of my favourite singers ever. Her voice is different and I like that difference. But the best thing is that most of her songs are for some good causes.

AB KE SAWAN (1999)

Ab Ke Sawan is my favourite 'rain song'. We can feel the rhythm, shiver and excitement of the first rain in this song. Hundreds of things happen in between the song… most of them are subtle and often left unnoticed. And the ‘Chotti’ from “Kabhi Aana Tu Meri Gully’” is also there in this song :)

Mann Ke Manjire has a great theme. It is inspired from the true life story of a lady named Shameem Pathan, who had to flee from her home to save herself and her daughter from the beatings of alcoholic husband. She then learned to drive truck and made a living out of it, setting a wonderful example to other suppressed women who longed for liberation. The heroine Mita Vashisht has done complete justice to that role, I’d say!

Other hit songs of Shubha Mudgal include
ALI MORE ANGANA (1996) (This was one of the first Indipop songs)
MUJHE PANKH DE DO (2012) (female rights)
(with SWARATHMA) PYAASI (2010) (water scarcity)
MAATI (2006) (starring Mandira Bedi and Samir Soni, for the cause of AIDS awareness)

Three of the best female singers in India have sung with Ustad to create some super hits.

(with SUNIDHI CHAUHAN) More Piya (video unavailable)

The first song, Piya Basanthi Re, used to be my favourite. K S Chithra is amazing! :* But if you want to get the whole story, you should see the second song too. So I'm sharing the video of the whole story. This music video was actress Nauheed Cyrusi's breakthrough in her career. So many people have told me then that I used to look like very much like her. And that was true! But I think the actor Donovan Wodehouse is pathetic. Didn't get a youtube video. So here's a link to Metacafe video:

The touching story of a bar dancer along with the melting voice of Shreya Ghoshal... Heaven!!! I love the concept of this video. It's different. Especially the part where they draw pictures on the billboard of the bus stop is awesome!!! <3 Cast: Nina Sarkar and Varun Toorkey. I love the way Nina dances :)

This must be the oldest Indipop hit. It's about a teenage girl who had a hue crush on her teacher. After the hit of the song, she was affectionately called as the "Paree of the Masses".

Used to love this song. But I guess this was their only hit.


Sonu nigam is one of the most successful singers in Indian film and pop industry. He has a great voice and is very talented too. One of his hits is given below.

Shaan is another singer who found huge success in both Bollywood and Indipop. Loveology isone of his hits. This one, Tanha Dil Kehte hai Kya, is also good.

Colonial Cousins was formed by the duo Hariharan (singer) and Leslie Lewis (singer, composer). Their first album hit platinum sales in India alone. They are the pioneers of fusion music in India. Two of their most famous songs are given below. Both are from their debut album COLONIAL COUSINS (1996)
This particular song, Krishna, is a remix version of the popular Karnatic classical song of the Krishna Nee Begane Baaroe. This song gives me goosebumps! The theme is terrorism and how it affects families.

SA NI DHA PA (1996)
I've heard this song like thousand times on TV...

OMG OMG OMG I miss Indipop a lot...
The golden era of Indian music................