Monday, March 05, 2007

The Dream the story and the climax..

This post is a mile long...


‘I stepped outside my car and my goodness the portico was swarming with goddamn beautiful girls. They were screaming and yelling out my name. Some had placards in their hands. My security had a tough time controlling the crowd. But that’s why they are paid for. I thought the Versace matched with my looks and stood out in the brilliant French sun. Although I expected the press to come, today it seemed that all the media had come down to report the premiere of my new movie. As usual kept posing for snaps with my buds from Los Angeles to satisfy the creeps. Hanks is a good friend of mine. He never winked when I told him to attend the premiere. The girls were shouting and getting louder. I just ignored them and kept them waiting.

These days am tired of posing for the papers. Last time for the Globes, Bellucci was complaining the same. She kept nagging me for a trip to a secret resort in the Caribbean to escape the paparazzi. But sadly it happens that I have to take care of the millions they have invested in my movies and my secretary says am packed up for the next three years. Sometimes I feel like Tony Montana and then maybe just start shooting em all…

Back outside after the dinner at Hilton I expected the crowd to go home. But they were still there. I just waved them goodbye and blew a few flying kisses to beauties out there.. ‘


I was waving them when suddenly I got a kick from Vishnu and he woke me up from my deep slumber on the bus ride back home..We had reached trivandrum.

Reality…humid summer of kerala..Three of us were driving back from Kollam to Trivandrum..Just four hours ago we were enthralling the crowds. We were the stage. We were the actors who gave life to characters. And now it was all over. I was catching sleep in the journey back home .

11th May 2003..11.00am..Sallap tea stall Near CET Trivandrum…..the dots are the blinking ones okay!! ;-P

Four buddies who had all the time in the world wanted to do something different. Each one was afraid what the other guy would think about his own urge to doing something out of the box. But then finally we decided to do something that was as outrageous as asking Bush to tap dance in front of that Iranian Prez..In a gang of friends where it is a taboo to indulge in artistic endeavors or where you can earn more respect if you can come drunk to college, we decided to represent the college for the University skit competiton..The very mention about such an idea or the audacity to nurture such a ambition was in itself a bombshell. And now you must be thinking ,whether the college was that pathetically deprived of talent that it give nobodies like us to spoil the reputation built over years..

Circumstances proved helpful for us..

Being final year students meant that any junior aspirers were clinically discouraged. It was like –‘Hey C’mon give the elders one last shot at fame.’ And then a few exams around the corner meant that the more studiously inclined waved goodbye ..And finally a skit is a team event and involves quite a lot of money…When like minded jobless duds meet together , ideas are born and we grouped ourselves into a team. I guess our team leader gave false names while nominating the team fearing that we might be rejected outright for the clean slate reputation we had in dramas..skits..etc..

But we were a confident lot. With years of experience behind us we knew we could pull off. The most experienced among us had once been to stage once when he was in kindergarten ..that too for a fancy dress competition. The crowd wasn’t huge either ..a few dozen bored kids who were forced to come that day. But neways that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t count. when you consider the experience others possessed were Zilch..

Our skit training had to be a closely kept secret.. Influential people in Arts club could jeopardize our chances of representing the college if they came to know our true identity. Although confidence was in the air we heard tales about numerous incidents were artists were thrown eggs ,chairs and expletives generously on stage or even manhandled stripped and paraded. Those eerie thoughts were quickly brushed aside…or was it..

20th May 2003 Kannakakunnu Palace .Trivandrum

We had arranged for a wannabe dramatist who would provide all training and impart acting skills to us. After bargaining with him for the fees of the entire training cum costumes to the last paisa we decided to launch the training on that particular day. We were initially taken aback by the absence of media to cover us.. Nevertheless we were in a place were lot of public janata came by… lot of tourist dropped by to see the palace..

Now a little bit about the drama. It was a folklore drama called ‘Uchadanam’(translated as ‘to drive away evil spirits’)..More or less looking like a kathakali performance than a real drama. Characters in the play were a King..3 soldiers… one starving beggar.. and the queen(yeah..it was me ;-P)..The story is of no importance because here I am talking about the actors in it..

After narrating the script our guru asked us to sing aloud the songs which were in the skit and few of us had to do some kind of folk dance in rhythm with the songs.. We were all sitting in a circular courtyard in the palace grounds where many tourists drop by and relax.. The courtyard was some place were musicians..dancers ..enthralled the royalty in the old times. And now imagine 3 –4 guys who had no past experience in singing or dancing, guys whose voice are more trained to musical expletives..guys whose voice are as a good as scratching a coconut shell on a rock.. guys who doesn’t know the nuances of a graceful dance.. guys who believed that Rajanikant is the dancer of the century..my goodness…it send a chill down our spines…That very moment we might have said quits..

But then years of studying in CET gives people amazing tholli(translated to skin)..In more civilized language guts… We sang..

‘theyyakkam theyyakkam thaaro..
theyekkam theyyakkam thaaro..’


we danced..

not salsa ..not cha cha… but really hardcore folkdance

and then there was silence. The silence of the eerie kind..

I saw that the weekend crowd had withered away quite fast. Few American tourists were watching us in amusement thinking that we were some exponents of ancient Kerala mythical music and fine arts.. Our teacher was both stirred and shaken that too without the good old martini.. We expected a roaring applause.. But then our teacher told us that we will have our further training in some remote uninhabited place henceforth to escape the wrath of the public.. So we decided to shift our training to a place in the outskirts of the city..

Then it was rigorous training for 3 weeks..1 hour of acting with 15 minutes break after every five minutes and 3 hours of bathing in the nearby puzha(river)..2 hours of drinking chayya(tea) and nibbling banana fries at nearby tea stall. .emotionally draining it was..
I watched lot of female centric movies to understand the nuances of feminine mannerism coz I was playing the queen in the drama. .lot of dancing and squirming was involved..

By the time we finished our training we were already running short of funds.. We had already sacrificed our monthly quota of movies. heavy dinners. and bird watching.

3rd June 2003

Finally the D day arrived…We did one final rehearsal at the same palace stage. On of our batch mates dropped in to watch our performance. His comments were least encouraging as he kept advising us not to take the trip to Kollam ..He told us that it was a far off place and our friends may not be able to come there in time in case we are subject to physical torture after the show. .He also collected our home numbers in case of any unfortunate eventualities. That was graceful of him. The confidence he had in our performance was amazing..

On the bus drive to Kollam we saw posters of Mohanlal(If you don’t know him I have least respect for you.. ;-P) and Mammootty on the walls along the road…..the movies…that slogans..’Superstar Lalettan veendum verunnu’(Superstar Mohanlal coming near you once more)..For a few fleeting moments we saw our faces in the posters instead of Mohanlal’s..

*Ninagalude priyaaputhran ‘Bharatchandran’(screen name you know) in and as IPS/IAS/Collector/Anti-hero/(character name) !!!!!!!!!!!!’*


3rd June 2003 Kollam SN college

We had a look at our costumes bought by our guru(we decided to call him like that till the drama was over) for the first time on reaching the location. I was decorated in assorted varieties of skirts..jewellery..lipsticks..and god knows what..Neways when it was over I looked like a yesteryear queen from ‘Alif Laila’…The three soldiers were given costumes which looked like Kathakali outfits.. the skirt kinda thing is fitted in such a way that it looked like a umbrella from waist down.. In a few hours all of us except for my bud who was to act as the beggar were dressed up. …So he asked Guru the costumes for his role.. But the ultimate shocker for all came when we were told that there wasn’t any costume for him. Moments later we saw Vinod wearing just a boxer..decorated with some leaves around his waist ..and his entire torso coated with charcoal. He was so real. I mean he looked a real beggar in that..

We were ROTFL looking at his appearance .I couldn’t imagine myself coming to stage wearing that.. Amazing tholli(if you still haven’t got it..it means guts) he had!!!

There were around 20 colleges participating in the skit event. Most of them were private colleges , the teams heavily funded by the college management and cash rich kids. And the skits were mostly satire or humor based which means it could easily attract applause from the crowds.. Whereas ours were a folklore drama..more driven by costumes and over-acting..Seeing that most skits were cheap humor and slapstick based itself gave a relief for us.. After all we were different.. We were going to show the world what real acting is.. what real skill is.. the judges would definitely give points to the real talent..

Our skit was a brilliant display of Methodist acting ..The music captured the crowd.. The final shriek from Vinod as the pichakaran(beggar) was enthralling…When the skit was over it was pin drop silence..We thought the crowd was so much relating with the characters and they were unable to come out of the groove.. Stunned beyond expression!!!!.
On the way began to changing room we looked up at faces in the audience so that we could acknowledge them when they congratulated us.. But we never saw any expressions in the faces.

I understood why it was…I felt like saying..

‘Hey C’mon guys it was only a skit.. See touch me.. am still alive…’


After changing our dress to more civilized ones we waited for the result announcements..

Third place goes to All Saints….

*Applause from the crowd…and we too joined the applause..*

Thoughts:-‘Uh !! how such a third rate satire could win a prize’

Second place goes to..Mar Ivanios..

Hurrah…….Woooow.. that means we are the first….Finally we bring glory to our college..

My mind was preparing words to acknowledge when the first prize would be announced. We moved little closer to the crowd for the benefit of fans.. for the benefit of the media who might be covering the event..

First place goes to.. Sree..§$!*$@§


It all came shattering down very fast…err. was it a mistake by the announcer..Whom should we ask.. Till then we had decided for ourselves that the first prize was ours.. There wasn’t even anyone to comfort us.. Most of us hadn’t done anything this passionately in our life…We hadn’t even given this kind of attention for our university exams..
Broken and Penniless we pondered on our travel back home.. The final nail in the coffin was when we came to know that we didn’t have enough bucks for the travel back. .And after requesting guys from another college who were gracious enough to send their college bus for the event we piggy rode back home…The exhilaration we felt about the whole thing was too high…You could see how much sad Vinu was after the whole thing. The last time I have seen him this sorry was when Schumacher crashed out in a race.

And I then fell asleep..to the dream…

‘I stepped outside the car……………’

The best part is when we went to college next day. There wasn’t any shock that we couldn’t manage a place in the awards. Who will in their normal sense expect us...!!!!Ah that was so relieving. When there aren’t any great expectations it is so easy to fall..

18th June Sallap tea stall Near CET

We sat again analyzing where we went wrong..Hey are you kidding that we gonna accept that we went wrong. We just say the world missed the brilliance we displayed that day. The world will miss the terrific actors in us. Only a few fortunate souls in SN college on that fateful err blessed day saw the masters at work. We didn’t have any photographs taken that day. Not because we couldn’t afford the photographer who came there. Because we didn’t want the moment to be frozen in a silly paper. It was a experience to live through..

It will be part of the famed Kerala folklore.. Poets will sing hymns about those brilliant young actors who set the stage on fire.. Kids will learns about them in schools …Many will feel guilty of not being able to watch their performance…

Overheard ‘another CETian who witnessed the play talking to a fellow CETian..’

“Hey ..You saw the “§$%&%& skit shown by our guys.. The audience were confused in the end whether to butcher our guys or send the chaps to rehab…The judges suffered trauma after the skit and had to give a ORS:.. The Kollam guys were irate and threatened to beat the guys to pulp…But I think finally they felt pity for those guys and left them unharmed..”



P.S. The actors have gone different places..

Vinu the soldier is thinking MBA will give him the launch pad to start milk export
Vishnu the soldier is still battling the extreme heat of Hyderabad savoring on good old past.
Moiself still believes that world has lost 4 great actors who would have given All those Jack’s and Nicholson’s a run for their money.
Vinod the beggar(sorry it is unintentional bud) got married and is imparting acting skills to his wife.

40 comments:

silverine said...

Cant stop laughing...!!!! Hilarious! :)) Reminded me of Jiby's college reminiscenses!!!

Alexis said...

That was typical CET stuff. Really proud of you :-) Still ROFL. Took me back to my days at the college...

priya said...

Boy wat a dream with flash of light, paparazzi and girls around you.. Damn thaz hot isn't it.

Loved reading it and enjoyed it Mat and just had fun.

mathew said...

@Anjali

yeah..old college stories bring back lot of fond memories..I badly miss college when i read the posts written by Alexis..Jiby and Anand..

@Alexis

I know a CETian would definitely empathise with the post..would love to read more stories of urs..we are angels compared to yesteryear cetians !!;-P

@Priya

oh yeah..the dream was over abruptly!!;-P

nice to know that you enjoyed the heavily mallu flavoured post..

b v n said...

Awesome post dude ! Great !! thattu polippan should say....was like walking down to Sallap for me, again :-))
I've lost count of the number of stages we set on fire while we were in CET and got raped big time after the "performance"
skit, mime, admad,moviespoof...all those crazy events CETians took part and the general disbelief when the results come (we lose).
Once we had kalabhavan Naushad train us for mime and we lost miserably :))....that was kollam SN....then during one Movie spoof at Thrissur Rhapsody, the audience came on stage and begged us to stop the performance...that skit was completely conceived in Sallap...and true to Sallap's spirit was named "kaho Na mone Dinesha"...hehe...

again the flow was too good....those practice sessions, breaks in between...cetian's unique skin depth.....and Sallap all in all...its like most of the dreams I still carry smells of sallap :-)....nice one...neatly done !

pinne are you sure it was may '03...because youth festival was in Jan'03 in SN and I was there in kollam with other teams from CET...did they have a separate university drama competition in May ?...neways great post for a monday !!

Jiby said...

mathew, i think i am done looking back at college life but this post brought back a surge of nostalgia. all of it, the thrill of participating, the fun in being part of a wonderful gang, and the disappointment...i was also part of a set of friends who wanted to do it all in college...and those years will always remain the best in life.

i am envious that you guys bucked the trend and took up such a challenging subject for your skit...even i felt disappointed u guys didnt win...but atleast u have such a beautiful memory to take away. we did a comic skit for au-fait on 9/11 and it ended up an obscene farce that all our seniors begged with us never to insult their senses and they wud even give us money to stay away...infact we were active members of the college sfi unit...otherwise they wud have even beaten us up!

the way u started and then the plot the post took was real funny...cool cool writeup!

Star said...

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Nariyal Chutney said...

:) , Hey Mathew , The actual joy comes not from winning but in writing posts like this 4 years down the line about nostalgic memories :P . What say ? You have given me some inspiration to write posts about all those engg college and B School events where our team thought actually we will win the prize but somebody else did :) . Will write the posts with credits to you . Nice Post :) , reminds me of the engineering days and all those festivals like Dhwani , Talent time etc among Kerala colleges :)

alakananda said...

that was very interesting really, took me back to good old days at the Kerala University. a bunch of us from the hostel used to go to the museaum grounds everyday too, our evening walk you see.
but u know what? i am sorry, but i simply cannot sympathise with u not getting a prize. i had seen too many prizes going to the CET guys. it was maddening i tell u. (ok that's an underhand compliment) but what took the cake was that once when we english PG students participated in a Literature quiz at women's college, the team from CET managed to beat us( by a narrow margin of course). we could forgive them for everything else, but that was too much. c'mon u guys weren't supposed to be well versed with the likes of shakespeare and keats and the crowd... grrrrr. still rankles, after all these years.

Srijith Unni said...

Hi Mathew,

That was a long mile, but I must say a mighty enjoyable one at that..! College is fun, especially when you have an equally fun loving group of friends..! Losing also can be fun @ times.. you post explains how, and it does hilariously..!

Have Fun, take care and god bless!

With best Regards,
Srijith.

Keshi said...

Matty u made me sit n read such a library-long post but it was well worth it man. ROTFL!!!! College fun is always the BEST. :):)


Keshi.

Neihal said...

hahahahhaha
I had serious doubts about ever reaching to the end of this post :P...am glad I did... :)

Rose said...

HAHAHHAHHAAAAAAA!!!

I still cnt stop thinking about you dancing to a folk tune in ur umbrella skirt!!!!

;))))))))))

..Me

mathew said...

@bvn
wow..never knew u were a CETian too..neways high fives!!! :-P
U got kalabhavan Naushad..we got the guy who acted in some creepy serial..!But I think even if get Martin Socerese to teach us how to act..it is almost as good as impossible!!
Hey maybe it was in Jan.. I just put a random date coz I couldn’t remember the exact dates…nevertheless who counts the days in CET!!

Like you said skits conceived in Sallap were amazingly creative..

We used to say CET was the college but Sallap was the temple!! ;-P

@Jiby

Lol!!and you definitely know that we guys don’t get beaten up easily.. We were really good at scooting!!! ;-P

Btw if you remember the skits during mexx nights in CET were a perfect natural for a CETian.. A PG rating wouldn’t do justice to the shows we put up..
But the skit we did at SN is considered still more outrageous coz we did something that was against a natural CET Mexxian’s instinct…

@NC
exactly you said it..
When we look back know things couldn’t be funnier than that..
Would be interesting to read your stories..

@Alakananda

hehehe..that sure does give a surge of pride for a CETian..and it is absolutely true that the our college is no where near like a bunch of geeks ..Most of em are engineeringly chal-lenged and inclined to other nice things in life..

And we don’t need any sympathy..we still believe that the judging was skewed…It still re-mains a loss for the aam janata that they missed our brilliance..!!! Cant help but say this again and again… ;-D

mathew said...

@Srijith

yeah..we wouldn’t have much to crib about had we won it..but now we have the pleasure of blaming someone for it.. :-P

@Keshi

yeah..those were really amazing days..each day was memorable..

@Neihal

Thanks a lot..I didn’t guess many would read the entire post..thanx u did it..This was a heav-ily CET mallu flavoured post!!

@Rose

dont under estimate us!! ;-P
We were a terrific hit that day!!

V N said...

Hw have u been, Matt??
Missd ya all..
And thx or all those Where-have-u-beens???

They did make a difference!!
:)

starry nights said...

Enjoyed reading this looooong post but college stories is always a lot of fun.thanks for making me remember my college fun.

Mishmash ! said...

When u said this post is a mile long I had serious second thoughts about continuing, but let me tell u , that 1 mile was worth a read :)The dream was a ROFL material and umbrella skirt, ohh myyy , i really dont have word to describe that, perhaps u can, as u re soooo good at narrating such a funny thing. This 1 mile post did bring lot of smiles on a dull afternoon :)And "..The audience were confused in the end whether to butcher our guys or send the chaps to rehab" Did he really say that, seriously ? :)

Can I blogroll u , if u dont mind?
Shn

b v n said...

"natural CET Mexxian’s instinct" LOL !!

silverine said...

We want pictures of a certain lovely lady called 'lolita' in an umbrella skirt!!!

SilenceKilled said...

Great post.....
College days and skit....
That can be real fun..I have one such experience...

mathew said...

@Velu

nice to see u after ur long hiatus..hope you start blogging in full rigour again.

@starry nights

yeah..college stories bring back lot of fond memories...

@Mishmash

Lol..no one talks abt a senior like that!! ;-P
and by the way getting blogrolled is always a honour!!

@bvn

;-P

@Anjali
lol!!!

hey no one in their senses would have wasted a film to take our snap that day..though am ready to pay a price if anyone has got it!! ;-P

@silencekilled

thanks..like to hear stories from your side too..

Cuckoo said...

Ha Ha Ha Ha....

Very hilarious post. Can't imagine you in a girl's skirt though. ;)

Good one!

Tohou Lidia said...

Hahhaa...great post! Really informative! But i ahve one question...where was the videocamera so you could have posted the video to YouTube?? I want to see it now :)

Haha..that Vinod sounds like a character!! You gotta love method actors :)
-Amy

Shakhi said...

HA-HA-HA!!!
That's all I can say!!!

silverine said...

What??? We dont get to see the 'lovely lolita' ????

*snifffff* :((

Umesh said...

A mile long post and a mile long comments list. Kudos. I took three days to finish reading your post in between my design process. But it was worth.

I think most of the nostalgic young NRMs (non resident mallus) could relate to it and thats why the mile long comments.

Your story took me back to my college days and to our "one act plays" Kaattu Maakkaan and Kaduva and some hillarious moments we had at the rehearsals. But we were pretty serious about them and we have also bagged prizes.

Like NC said, your post inspired me to write about those days. Lemme marinate an "one act play" incident and see if it has the potential to go in as a post on NBS. Thanks Mathew.

Scribbles said...

hey did u mean the kerala university youth/ arts festival that was held at kollam 6 (or so) years back..was there to cheer my college team for a simalar event.. their fate was the same too... in fact we were afraid that the audience wud react coz we cheered em :)

mathew said...

@Cuckoo

oh..i was a damsel that day!! ;-P

@tohou lidia

not even a snap bud..btw Vinod is one helluva character..!!

@Shakhi

nice to see you after a long time..

@Anjali

grr!! ;-P

@Umesh

would defintely love to hear those stories..it will defintely bring back lot of memories!!

@scribbles

yeah it was KU festival..but guess it was in 03' or 04'...we were never afraid of the crowds..we loved to see the vaired hues of emotions building up in the audience.. ;-P

thanks for dropping by..

Di said...

Tcha Tcha! A photo wud have made teh post complete!!! Wat a loss to the world!

Neers said...

WHOA!!!!!! and a double WHOA!!!

flaashgordon said...

hehehe machaa
too good !!!Till the end i really thot u'd have won :-))

All that effort for nothing , eh?
My acting experience has been limited to playing Jesus whn i was 7 yrs old (ah..thats a long story)
and providing voice overs to various admad events in college

Cuckoo said...

OK,,,
SO the damsel with lovely moustaches !!!

You are tagged by me. Would you mind doing it ? Check my blog. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

wonderful writing...

And really appreciate your "Tolikatty":-)

-ex CETian...

mathew said...

@di

lol!!a photo would have resulted in anyone who was there recognising me and start sending hate mails!!

thanks for dropping by.


@Neers

:-)

@flaash

hehehe...Jesus!! :-O
mm..a bit hard to believe!! ;-P
would love to see that story!!

@Cuckoo

thanks for the tag..i ll take up soon!!

@anon
nice to a ex-cetian around..which batch??
thanks for dropping by.

silverine said...

Herr Mathew,

Wann ist dein neuer Pfosten?

:p

Jac said...

You should have become a politician.
No offence meant to politicians !

Natasha said...

ROTFL..Simply hilarious :D

mathew said...

@ Damen Anjali

Alles Spiel und keine Arbeit Blätter Jack penniless!! ; - P

wow...thanx to google language tool!!

@Jac

Lol!!politician and me..I ll try out!!

@Natasha

thanks a lot for dropping by..
Nice to see that you took the pain of reading many of my entries at a stretch. ;-P

Aswin... said...

wow.. good.....i realy lyk it dude....i reaty felt lyk being a actr in ur story..........great