Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fall is here

Its a very cold autumn, almost a winter now.
We went to the White Mountains in New Hampshire last weekend and it was worth all the trudging in the marsh in the bitter cold, completely working the pink paded snow coat (with matching gloves & hat), all the panting and the puffing because the group got to be together for what could quite possibly be the last time.

Yes readers, we have a couple of weddings coming up...we have moved from single friends to friends and their significant others(who also became our friends) to finally become diseparate units of married couples and those that remain behind(mayor - yours truely).

Having landed in NH a week after peak fall season ended, the single tree in front of our rented cottage with the leaves in tact had maximum photo op. We cooked breakfast and dinner, ate together and drove around.
Now its done and done.

Future is left to look forward to,

Monday, October 13, 2008

Marma Desam - Land of the mysteries

October season here is the time for thrills and chill, Halloween will be here soon.
Our trip to Six Flags last weekend marked the first of the Ghouls Parade with the central fountain in the color of blood.
Relevantly enough, I discovered Rajshri site which let me view the one serial which I wanted to see desperately, when I was a school kid in chennai, but never actually managed to (until now)- "Vidathu Karuppu".

The opening/ending credits with the graphics of the fiery white horse galloping in the darkness remained in my memory so vividly that it literally transported me to the age of pigtails, brown paper covered notebooks and ink stained fingertips for a few minutes.

In a span of one week, I saw all 80 episodes and really marveled at almost all facets of this serial, be it the gripping screenplay, the mesmerizing direction of dangling scenes from past and present in every episode sprinkling it generously with red herrings to tie it neatly in the end, the vivid and wonderful cinematography or the very well etched out characters and acting.

It was a delicious melange of a story- An ancient crone, many years after meeting a gory end at the hands of a protective village deity that has since had a strong influence on the lives of the people of the village, still haunts her house and the minds of the many people who search for the jewels and the land contracts that she hid away.
A young doctor, Reena, comes into the village initially to help two of her friends get together but gets entangled in the layers of mystery in the village and wishes to disprove all the superstitious beliefs, whether it be unveiling vigilante Karuppu himself who metes out justice dispassionately from professed godhood or unraveling the clues left behind by the evil genius, Bulaku Pechi Aatha.
Also added to the chaos is her Chief Dr Nanda, who discovers that he has been chosen to come to Thottakaramangalam by the ancients for a specific role connected to an expected Avatar.

The cherry on top is the extremely accurate portrayal of the village life from the eyes of a child, the easter egg being each episode featured the young Rasu (protagonist) playing a different game or toy, most of which children now a days would not even recognize.

I would recommend this most vociferously to anyone who understands Tamil. This is NOT TO BE MISSED as its one really cool freebie :)

The reason this serial has stayed in mind, prompting me to atleast watch it decade after it was originally telecast, probably has to do with a coincidental back story.
We had only then discovered that our family deity was a Karuppana Swamy in the edge of a still undeveloped part of Orathanad in Thanjavur. I have only visited the temple once so far and still remember the dilapidated temple complex, the massive banyan trees growing amidst the crumbling bricks of a once vibrant and well maintained protective deity who had secured the vast agricultural lands that bordered, which once belonged to our family many many generations ago.

The image of the extremely large and powerful man, an epitome of unprejudiced justice, protection of the faithful aboard a flawlessly white horse, holding an intimidating Aruval is extremely fascinating in the most primeval way.
The Karuppu is human like in his love of liquor, hand rolled smokes and goat meat.

My maternal grandmother has told me of the time that her mother had, while walking back all alone in the night of a threatening, unlit and isolated brush path had prayed to the Ayyanar for his protection from all the dangers (natural and otherwise) in her path and had been heartened to hear the footfall sounds of a heavyset man wearing the salangai (loudly tinkling anklets) all the way to the entrance of her village. She also distinctly remembers her mother mentioning the strong smell of surutu(hand rolled tobacco cigars)which had accompanied the sound of the steps completely vanishing once she was near home and help. Sadly though, my great grandmother, never felt the need to turn around once to see her escort. Although he was a protector, apparently Ayyanar/Karupanna Swamy wasn't known to be a benevolent and loving deity.

My mother mentions either a friend of hers or his brother (I am vague as to exactly who) having encountered something very possibly like the Karuppu in the early daybreak in the village borders. He was apparently a giant of a man, casting off all doubt of his being human, who seemed to be calmly enjoying his suruttu and sarayam (country brewed liquor). When this person spoke out, the being noticing that there was company, just disappeared into the mists with eerie grace.

These anecdotes can probably be described either as illusions from a sleepy brain or a frightened mind eased by imagination; maybe even outright lies...nevertheless they excite and enthrall.

I am completely smitten by Naga's Marma Desam projects (hats off to him)and have started "Swarna Reygai" (Golden line of the palm). If it is as good as 'Vidathu...' then you will probably get to know about it from me soon.