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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Remembering old M S V Songs: ‘Naan Kavingyanum Illai.’

Remembering old M S V Songs: ‘Naan Kavingyanum Illai.’

I was having a lonely walk around the park in Chandler, Arizona. My MP3 player gave me company as usual. People had always needed companions. Many here in America ought to be lonely. That answers for their number of pets - dogs, cats and birds. Probably the only companions they have. A relative of mine wrote an interesting blog on how she had the unenviable job of having to take care of a scorpion, a pet for one of her friends’ son, when they went on a short vacation to India. A scorpion as a companion! The poor boy, couldn’t probably find a better companion.

Relationships are very important to all of us. Without that we lose our companions. At times our relationships are even with inanimate objects for lack of better human relationships. They don’t complain, at least. But somehow, we find it very tough to maintain our relationship with people. May be we are very selfish wanting only our part of our agreement in any relationship to be fulfilled.

While these thoughts were grinding me, my MP3 player played the good old song ‘Naan kavingyanum illai’ (meaning ‘I am not even a poet’) from Tamil film: ‘Padiththaal Mattum Podhuma?’ (meaning ‘Is a mere education alone enough for someone?’)

My memories immediately ‘youtube’d the particular song scene from this film where Sivaji Ganesan, acting as Gopal, the illiterate simpleton and hunter, was virtually begging with his highly educated wife Meena (acted by Raja Sulochana) for her acceptance. Raju, his elder brother and highly educated had played foul with his marriage. Gopal adores his brother Raju. Under an unusual arrangement between them, Raju goes to meet Seetha (acted by Savithri), an illiterate village beauty fixed for his brother Gopal and Gopal goes to meet the educated city girl Meena fixed for Raju. But Raju was charmed by the uneducated but simple girl Seetha and falls for her. He wants to marry her. He plays foul with the families of the two girls. Thus the educated Raju (actor Balaji) marries the uneducated Seetha (actress Savithri) and the uneducated and the school dropout Gopal (actor Sivaji Ganesan) marries the educated Meena (actress Raja Sulochana). While the homely uneducated Seetha is very pleased and comfortable with the educated Raju, Meena, the educated city girl fumes at being duped about the illiterate Gopal. Though a ruffian by his look and idiosyncrasies, Gopal (Sivaji Ganesan) is very soft in his heart and never suspects his brother’s villainy in the marriage affairs. So, he is in trouble and frustrated at his wife not accepting him.

As the story of the movie and the song scene went through my head I wondered what a gracious acting by Sivaji Ganesan in the film! What a great characterization! He is longing for a relationship from his wife, virtually begging and completely rejected.  He tries to woo her, cajole her, express his frustration, hopelessness, helplessness, his confusion about what he can do to satisfy her and begs with her for acceptance. ‘You are an uneducated beast!’ His wife scornfully rejects him. She fails to see his good nature and harps only on his lack of education. She accuses him that she got cheated by him. How many marriages get broken because we fail to see the good in our partner?

Having failed finally, Gopal feels very frustrated, takes to alcohol, loses his cool and whips his wife in rage. Again, he had done something irreparable that completely breaks up the relationship with his wife. Realization dawns on him later. He feels very guilty, apologizes and is willing to do anything to make amends. But no use!

Padithaal Mattum Pothuma?’ is a great movie and ‘Naan kavingyanum illai’ from the film is a great song. Great lyrics! Every line of the song is thought provoking! And a superb acting by Sivaji Ganesan! And a passionate theme: Relationship! Someone is longing for a relationship. Rejected! And he is frustrated!

Many of us are not in a different boat. We all crave for relationship, right from childhood. For we look for security and comfort in our relationship. We have had rejected relationships, some petty and some serious. Rejection in relationship is a terrible dampener.

I felt very melancholic as the song ended. As though it wasn’t sufficient, the next song I had in my MP3 player deepened my melancholic mood further. It looked at another dimension to relationship. I was about to cry.
I will write about the next song in my next blog, hopefully.

The song scene is available on ‘Youtube’ under the link:

Water and Space can be as frightening as they are thrilling, exciting and stimulating

Water and Space can be as frightening as they are thrilling, exciting and stimulating.  

Des Plaines River in Illinois is a kind of sleepy river I had been seeing year after year. A quiet-walk or a cycle ride along the concreted pavement on the sides of the river always had a mood enhancing effect on me.

Continuous showers welcomed me as I landed in Chicago on 16th April 2013. It looked as though I brought spring to Chicago. I was stuck at home for two days due to the inclement weather outside and I couldn’t have my usual walk through a number of shadowy boulevards and avenues.

In the evening when the rains stopped briefly I looked outside standing on the patio of our fifth floor apartment that stood on the banks of Des Plaines River. To my consternation, I saw most of the cars that were parked in the basement garages in several buildings were out in the open as water from the nearby river had surrounded and inundated the entire area.  I couldn’t hold my curiosity anymore.  I put on a sweat shirt and quickly ran out of our apartment to the road.

 Like me several others too seemed to be on the road to look at the havoc and take pictures.  The concreted sidewalk along the river had disappeared. The stairs from the bridge to the sidewalk and the tunneled passage underneath the railway line were under 8 feet deep water. A bystander whose car was parked on the other side looked on helplessly. The South River Road across the railway line was in knee deep water and at some places I couldn’t distinguish between the river bank and the road. At a distance, I saw someone wading through waters in a small float. A nearby apartment complex for retired people had been vacated, I was told.  Many roads were closed and traffic diverted. At one extreme corner I saw water being pumped out into the river.

What was to be appreciated was the people’s attitude towards such natural calamities. They went about their job staying calm without getting panicked. The cops and rescue vehicles were rendering excellent service by helping out everyone. Curious onlookers quietly enjoyed the nature’s play though it was devastating.  

 A week before, I and my daughter went out in the early morning hours to capture Squaw peak Mountain in Arizona on our foot. This small mountain trek was 1.2 miles long. The near 1500 feet elevation was steep, rough and rugged. On an earlier attempt I had withdrawn half way not feeling very confident of completing my trek. But this time, I took it easy by taking a one-minute break every now and then, but trekked successfully to the top which was just a small plateau with several sharp protruding edges. The last stretch was really testing my knee, but I made it. I felt like a small child shouting, ‘I made it.’ I felt like experiencing the top of the world. The view was exhilarating. The whole city was before me I looked at the sky into its space for a minute and its vastness frightened me.