Friday, April 10, 2009

Ormayil oru shishiram…

When we were kids the most joyous day of our lives would be a visit to the native place or a trip to the movies…Unlike now when I could catch any movie in CD or DVD or watch in countless channels or browse through YouTube, watching a movie wasn’t that easy those years... It was an event...a big celebration in itself…

A visit to the Kalpana Theater for the matinee followed by dinner at Chinnu’s restaurant…that was definition of a great day those days... The theater was demolished last year and a mall stands there now… The place would be spoofed at by current standards, but then it was as exciting as the moon might have been for Neil Armstrong… I vaguely remember several earthen pots stuck to the roof at the theater entrance to create a weird retro feel and I used to gaze at it as if in a trance during the long wait in the queue …As a kid, this theater defined a lot of memorable movies too …In harihar Nagar (when cousins came to town)…Bombay (on my birthday)...Mohra (first rebellious secret solo theater visit)…….and the list goes on…Infact the place was memorable even for parents and it’s a legend in family circle’s, the movie they had gone for their wedding anniversary (15th I think)…..”Panchapaandavanmaaru”...;-D

Those days in the early 90’s most kids of my generation would wait in excitement for the Sunday movie in Doordarshan... We would immaculately plan and finish our homework’s or any endangering tasks assigned by parents which could result in a veto vote over our “right” to watch the movie…Though it may sound silly now, it used to be indeed a tense day for us because there were lot of stakeholders involved …

Usually on Sunday morning, me and bro would eagerly look forward to the newspaper that would be lying on the verandah when were back from the church...And we in our excitement would just throw ourselves out of the scooter before it even ceased to halt and go for the critical page in the paper…”TV and Radio”.

Well unlike now, where before deciding on a movie we analyze and over analyze a movie, the director…actor…actress…genre...and whether we have seen it already, such thoughts never mattered to us…All we needed to know was the name of the movie!!…and that was enough to build up the anticipation... And after that the next few hours would be allowing ourselves to float in imagination about the heroics we might be able to glimpse during that wonderful three hours…After a hurried breakfast and as we cycle to the church for Sunday class our thoughts are still pre occupied with it... A stream of thoughts that wonders what Mohanlal or Mammootty has in store for us...and a nagging fear of whether in the evening we would actually be able to ‘do it’!!

Once we are back home…we are usually extra nice on Sunday afternoons…The homeworks have been finished on Saturday evening itself…there are no house keeping activities which we have forgotten to do…And we make sure that we don’t come up with any topic which might give a fleeting indication that exams were around the corner at school..(Though they were teachers in the same school never crossed our mind)…

And then at approx 4:50 pm, either one of us would make the first move…In flashback we would be sitting at our study tables since 3:00 pm to build the illusion that “we have been studying for so long and now we need the break”….And tenaciously we would walk to the door near the sit-out. With one leg in the drawing room (where the TV is) and the other leg and head leaning forward to the sit out (where dad is usually reading the newspaper) and though the whole scene is not exactly same as a regular pennukaanal chadangu (where the bride timidly looks at the groom) and yet somewhat, one of us will say..

Appa…cinema thodangaaru aayi*”

There is palpable tension in the face of who is standing just behind the person asking Dad…And then it’s a pause…a long long pause in anticipation of the most beautiful words we dream at that point of time….

But we have to wait for that...

“hmm….homework ellaam theerthoo**”

“cheythu…”

“Babyooo?”

“avanum theerthu”

You could see a vehement YES!! written all over the face every time the negotiations seem to move forward…

“hmm…”

Now the time is 4:55 pm

Appa still looks unconvinced and uninterested…. I look at the clock in desperation which seems to move faster than ever before…and I give a mild cough to release the tension in air and to bring focus to the crisis we were facing.

“hmm…Amma epazhum adukkalayil aano***”

“athe…pakshe avude ella panniyum kazhinju”


I knew that was coming…I had to convince that practically there was no job left in the whole world and the only thing we could possibly to do in rest our lives was to catch that movie at 5:00 pm..

“hmmm…”

4:58 pm…

You could hear from the distance that Doordarshan theme promo running at televisions in the neighborhood…Oh my God!! Time is running out…So far into the talks and yet so little progressed. And even if the deal went through there was ofcoz threats of natural disasters like the power failure…guests dropping by…or the DD engineer dozing off resulting in that perpetual beep sound with an amazing array of rectangular blocks for viewers to amuse themselves with!!

“Appa….cinema thondaangaar aayi”

And finally………

“hmm…ammanyum vilikku….” (call mom too...)

And a silent hurrah from me and bro, we would switch on the TV, squat at our favourite viewing spots…Amma brings in the tea and Milk Bikis biscuits which we gorge on as the credits of the movie is shown….Dad is finally done with reading the same newspaper 10 times and keeps it away to come and sit with us…And the only thing that would possibly distract me or bro in the next three hours was if we had to ever run to the loo…and ofcoz that would be controlled and synchronized to the ad breaks…


Listening to Ormayil Oru Shishiram


*"Dad..Movie is about to begin"
**"Done with your homework"
***"Is mom still in the kitchen"

35 comments:

Karthik Sivaramakrishnan said...

Awesome narration! I could live the day's excitement and tension as you narrated it! :) Good fun man. Unfortunately, I lived my childhood between breaks in playing cricket. So I've watched a lot of mallu movies in parts by coming in at a random time when parents are watching and then running off again when someone calls for cricket. So I've watched and vaguely know the story of MANY mallu movies but I can't recall the name of even one of them :|

~==[[[ Abhi ]]]==~ said...

Kiddilam descriptions. I could just go through those scenes playback from my childhood. The theatre visits, the pains to get dad/mom to agree to watch the movie, the quarrels in the home while going for a movie as mom gets late and so on and on...

Great post Mathacha! Serikum ishtaai

thomman said...

Who could empathize more with this post. Ditto for me too. I used to watch the fri night hindi movies too and chitrahaar too. And I believe mahabaratha was on sun morn just after we came from sunday school. And there was muqala muqabla on sun night. Yeah, DD was the main diet for me.

Big Bazaar is in place of Kalpana and Chinnus is renovated; I see it everyday :) I stay 2 bus stops from your place assuming you're in Pattom. :)

avanibala said...

a very nice post...been following ur blogs since last year...never left a comment even though I loved most of the posts (my excuse being plain laziness)...now this post really brought back similar memories...we (me,my bro and sis) used to do pretty much the same antics to watch the sunday movie...raavile muthal achane soap ittu vekkum...to see the eve movie...i miss those days when small things like this brought so much happiness...now there arent any such things...(sigh!!!)...

-avani

mathew said...

@Karthik
thanks buddy..
I was never a big fan of cricket as a kid and was just a fantic cricket viewer...my fav sport used to football..which though i was not exceptionally good either..;-D

I must say I recollect lot of malayalam movies of those times..now most of em are passable..

@Abhi
thank you..
glad to know that this little personal memory was interesting..

@Thomman
haha..I very well recollect them too..but the interesting part on my side was it was a challenge at the same time to get to watch it too.. ;-D

yeah..i saw them when i was in tvm last december..the whole place has changed a lot..Chinnu's used to be a hut place before..

@avanibala
thanks a lot..and for commenting..glad to hear from silent readers too..:)

what you said is so true..such simple joys are hard to come by these days..we are spoilt now..I think folks who had decently strict parents can identify with me..

Sakshi said...

Getting depressed reading ur memories..my son hardly asks us before switching on the TV and I have to resort to the Fuhrer act to wrench out the remote from his little hands and he is just four years old. Soon he will out power me and kadavalle what will I do then???

Loved your description. Those where the days when we had to calculate and plan to watch just one movie in a week..haa am talking like an old gal and I am just 18!!!

Varsha Vipins said...

That was such a cute post Matts..am all nostalgic now..:(..I even ozhappified my music lessons n eventually ended it up for Sunday movies..Gosh..n see Molly,kolly n all other woods lost a fine singer..:D
..n see how this post made 50 yr old ppl all mushy to spill out their wish..18 yr old..duh!!!..:D:D

Amal Bose said...

you remind me of my childhood..well it was almost similar to what you have described here.. but now it has all changed.
back then dooradarshan was the only channel.. but now i cant even remember the last time Ive seen a movie in that channel..

kochuthresiamma p .j said...

great piece, mathew. so recognizable!
human beings/situations are the same everywhere.
happy easter to you and yours!
hope u'll blog about your easter spread:-) will be looking out for it.

jj said...

Another nostalgic post :). nice one.
We were die hard Kalpana loyals. For us a good movie was a long running one and if it was a long running one, it would definitely be shown in Kalpana :P. People used to make fun of us saying, if they have to watch a movie, they have to wait till it reaches Kalpana. Kalpana was our 'home' theater.
I've seen the max number of movies in Tvm in this theater. And the embarrassment when familiar faces ( read teachers and families, schoolmates etc) showed up :P
The DD cinema story is the same at our place too. Sunday evenings and Friday nights before second Saturdays(I hated the fact we had Saturday as working days) I'd be in full swing with the same antics of permission, persuasion, pestering and pleading ;).

ursjina said...

aah..those were the days..I even remember sunday school timings shifted when Mahabharata began and no kids were coming to church...
Wonder whats with the nostalgia wave!!

Btw if aaru is brook then what is aruvi??

...nIShAntH... said...

Oru rakshayum illa mashe.
you brought back those memories,...esp of the sunday evening movie.The post did the same as the names of old soaps which used to come in DD national would do.Chithrahar,Tehkikaat,Reporter - the whole begging for tv time continued throughout the week as the serials aired were too precious to be missed.Not to forget those heated discussions that followed.Thanks for lighting the bulb ;) and excellent narration btw.

Philip said...

Kalpana was the theatre for my family. We used to stay walking distance from there, in fact the landmark when we directed people to our house.Some of the happiest memories of my life are linked to Kesavadasapuram. Nostalgia^n.

Dhanya said...

Nostalgic post.. It's the same in every house.. And I used to think reading the same paper 10 times is a characteristic of only my dad. Now it looks like it's the same with all dad's. Wondering what's the addictive thing there for them!!

Devil Incarnate... said...

U r tooo gud in writing..u brought back to those nostalgic memories of childhood days... i use to do many of the things u said along with my brother... those were awesome days..

Sandhu said...

Nostalgic to the hilt! Thanks for rekindling those wonderful memories. Now i look back and cannot help laughing at my idiosyncrasies. May be this is my much needed inspiration to restart blogging.

saphire said...

my knowledge of remotely poetic mal words is real bad....so...wat does shishiram mean? :)

Bindhu Unny said...

Waiting for Sunday movie! I too remember that. But since "I've had a few more Onam feasts than you", I remember waiting for the once-in-a-blue-moon Malayalam movie relayed by Delhi Doordarshan. :-)

mathew said...

@Sakshi
hahaha...i might have done the same when i was really young too..;-D
18 LOL!!!;-D

@Varsha
hehe..yeah angane paranju aashvesikaam...:-P


@Amal
oh..yeah...thats just a fading memory for me too..

@kochuthresiamma
thank you..:-)
Easter spread was courtesy a malayalee family in Germany..am already having a wonderful time:-)

@jj said...
"Kalpana was our 'home' theater."
same here..we hardly used to visit the movie houses in city..though it changed after sometime..

nice to see someone had gone through similar tales..

@Jina
haha..yeah true...and also during the time when Bible was shown on TV and the classes changed the timings..

yeah..i think was wrong..aruvi might be the brook...:-(

@Nishanth
I remember reading a post where someone had summed about all those TV shows..will give you the link if i come across...yeah those were the times..

@Philip
In the early 90's we used to stay at pattom..so two stops away from the theater...its was usually four of hanging on to the scooter and reaching for the show!:-)

@Dhanya
haha..i must confess that as I gre older I was doing more or less the same...used to be fanatic newspaper reader myself..

@Devil Incarnate
thanks a lot...and glad to know that it rekindled lot of memories..

@Sandhu
hehehe..yeah..i think those days the complete school of our thoughts are so different from now as adults..

@saphire
It means autumn...though there is no autumn in Kerala...'memories of autumn' that song is a fav of mine..

@Bindhu
"I've had a few more Onam feasts than you" LOL!! kinda funny to read it in english..
yeah..they were a time apart..

freespirit said...

awesome narration indeed!

Vinod Narayan said...

Well Narrated!!! Even when it is a movie we have seen, it was a thrill to watch them sitting in our living rooms :)

hammy said...

You're an amazing storyteller. And I could relate to a lot of what you write.

We had a run down theater near our place... called Devi theater. My family was kinda movie heavy as long as I've known them. We typically used to watch movies in the main theaters (back in the glory days of Malayalam cinema)

But whenever we missed one there... or whenever we needed to revisit one of the better movies, we'd camp out at Devi theater. It was cheap. 15 bucks for the balcony seat, the balcony seat being raised by about half a meter from the rest of the crowd.

Dad used to tell me stories of Devi theater back in his days, when it was an ola-ppura theater... how kids would sneak peeks by pushing aside some of the coconut tree leaves that served as walls... how management had active guards on duty with the sole responsibility of chasing away the peek sneakers.

I do believe it's shut down now. I am not really sure. I haven't been in that area in years. I don't know if I want to.

Somehow, I don't like to update my memory of the place. Right now, when I close my eyes, I can still see the run down building, the shuttered projection room, the dirty ticket counter, and the bunch of impatient movie audience.. all ready to whistle and shout at the slightest error...the slightest audio mismatch, the tiniest video roll, the occasional blackouts... I don't want those images to be replaced by an empty, lifeless building with cobwebs, ready to be demolished.

It has a magic of its own. If you've seen Robert Rodriguez' 'Planet Terror', you'd realize, with some surprise, that it's an universal feeling.
:D

Jackfruit said...

I was outside kerala as a kid, and Malayalam movies shown on TV were on Sunday afternoon and in the regional movie slot.
It was not every week that a Mallu movie played on a Sunday :D:P but it was a celebration not lesser than a new movie release.

shikha said...

Truly enjoyed this post :).

I esp. loved the dialogue delivery during those crucial moments... ridden with palpable anxiety, and desperate hopes...hehe.

It took so little for our lives to get lit with happiness those days.... I'm not sure I can say the same for the kids these days.

Priya said...

Beautiful narration which happens in everyday homes during those days. Well written.

Ann said...

jus add tom & Jerry,chitrahaar,friday hindi stuff...ditto here too..
and the local theatre remnisences,god,same here too..we had two theaters nearby and could hear all the dialogues clear sitting at home..By the time,the movie say goodbye from the village,all of them will be by heart..
had a sweet time reading you..

usha said...

ah! you're reminding me of all those days.. the power cut threat was a huge one, i remember.. for us, we used to start this drama half an hour earlier i guess.. we dint want to miss 'the giant robot' either! :P

kalpana's gone? :( sad.
me too went to see 'in harihar nagar' there.

crumbs said...

seems to be a season of reminiscing
:)

aradhana said...

does bring bacl childhood memories.... yes this was almost exactly what use to go on ... and today i see my own kids repeatinf these mannerisms .. when it is time for their fsvorite tom and jerry or MAD show .....
nanditha

mathew said...

@freespirit
thank you..:-)

@Vinod
yeah...i dont remember the last time we actually saw a movie like that...;-P

@hammy
hehe..that was a delightfully long comment..thanks dude..

I have seen a movie only once in a olapura theater..when i was in my native place...4 cousins..all of 12-14 year olds and 2 aunts...and the movie..Mimics action 500...you can imagine the mayhem..;-D

havent seen Robert Rodriguez' 'Planet Terror'yet..let me try if i can get my hand on it...
thanks..;-D

@Jackfruit
haha..i can imagine how more exciting it would have been in that case..;-)

@shikha
thanks buddy..:-)

"It took so little for our lives to get lit with happiness those days...."
hmm...so true...

@Priya
thank you..;-)

@Ann
hahah...appo ossinnu movie kandu alle...;-D
thanks..;-)

@usha
oh yeah...i completely forgot that..that year the whole drama began before giant robot..;-D

@crumbs
:-)

@aradhana
yeah..talking of the circle repeating itself..;-)
thanks for dropping by...

Sreejith Kumar said...

Lovely post!

PS: Visit to Kalpana theatre and food from Chinnus! I pay visits there no;, to Big Bazaar (old Kalpana) and Chinnus. :-)

Make the Impossible...Possible said...

Well written. Brought back some sweet memories in my mind...Waiting for Chitrahaar and oliyum oliyum on friday 8 0'clock. We, as family , used to flock the bhelec theater to see all the movies screened by them on friday or saturday evening...standing in the line..me at the female line and my brother at men's...so whichever comes first...grab the ticket....ha...those days!!! nalla kocchu ormakal ....

Ashwadhy said...

Aha brought back memories. The details, the feel, the narration... enjoyed it.

mathew said...

@Sreejith
thanks..and yeah the landscape their has changed so much now..

@Make the Impossible...Possible hehe..we used to often reach for the show early enough that we were often first in the queue.. ;-)

@Ashwadhy
thank you...and thanks for dropping by..enjoyed reading your blog too..:-)

Leena said...

Adipoli Narration! It was like as I was watching a movie....you write very well