Sunday, February 27, 2011

Voids not filled

I knew Vaidhyanathan Sir (Sir, as we called him or Vaitthaa maama for the kids) from the time of my marriage. Señora knew him maybe from her school/college times. He was an LIC agent, down to earth, going around with a bag of folders/documents on his TVS-50 in Thanjavur and minding his business. I do not know his age, maybe around 50+, looked a bit older than his age, with some broken teeth and a quirky laugh. He was a bachelor, lived in a simple tenement in some bylane of Thanjavur, and didn't have much of an extended family from his side. He was a pillar to Señora's parents and considered a member of the family. Any occasion/emergency in the home, he was there, either helping out on something or just there with his presence lending moral support and in case we wanted any helping hands or some quick errands to run, He never expected anything in return. Whenever Señora's parents visited us in Bangalore for long visits, he would be requested to take charge of the house, which he did.

At Thanjavur, we would meet at Señora's place, discuss state, local, colony and LIC office politics or some trivia, with him seated in a foldable metal chair in the hall near to the entrance. We would force him to have tiffin/coffee or lunch at our home in spite of his protestations and he used to drop in regularly at our home with a caveat that we don't force him to eat/drink. We used to pull him in on any of our visits to places around Thanjavur, if he was available, so that he gets a break out of his day-to-day routine. He was always a busy man, being in Thanjavur one day, the evening in Tiruchi, the next day in Bangalore and maybe the next day in Madras or Mayavaram or sometimes Bombay. He had a rickety old Nokia cell phone and refused to buy a new one saying that was more than enough for him. He knew maybe half the people of Thanjavur, maybe an exaggeration, but he knew lots of people.

He used to visit us and my parents at Bangalore. He would call up and tell that he would visit us, or drop by just like that, waiting for us to return if we were out. He would at times book a hotel and we would protest that he could always come in to any of our homes at Bangalore and of late he did stay with us on his known visits to Bangalore. In any of the functions that we hosted, he was usually there, though he didn't need to be. He was a man of very simple needs and we were always in doubt as to what to gift him other than shirts or pants, even of which his tastes were very down to earth.

Two weeks back, he was in an accident when a two-wheeler hit him and suffered serious injuries on his head. Some good samaritans who knew him rushed him to hospital. He had surgery on his skull/brain and was in coma for around a week and on a respirator and passed away without any sign of recovery middle of last week.

Señora is distraught and her parents are in shock. It is painful for one who was close and known to you to be no more, all of a sudden. We do not know what his plans were for the future (or if he really planned something), any encumberances that he was addressing, things he promised for others or for that matter if he thought of anything beyond the present. He probably did not even get a chance to even think of his day ahead, leave alone a future plan or a post life plan or for that matter anything to convey to anyone as his life was cut short. For us, we do not have one who was trusted and was someone to lean on. We hoped that he might come out of coma, but he was sinking slowly and it was distressing that he was alone as he passed away in the ICU with no one nearby.

I hope time is a healer. Sometimes, voids never can be filled or forgotten. Everytime now if we see the iron foldable chair at our house where he used to sit, everytime we hear a TVS-50 rumbling down the road, everytime we see a rectangular black bag of documents, we'd be remembering him.

May Vaidhyanathan Sir's soul, wherever it is, rest in peace.

[I am using this post as a personal vent to what I feel and hence disabled comments]

Monday, February 21, 2011

Une potion de légumes

Ever tried doing a sambar with the following medley of veggies; broccoli, baby corn, onions, peas, bamboo shoots, carrots, red peppers etc? Hee Hee Hee, I did one and I liked it, courtesy the MTR sambar mix which sambarizes the veggies from their tasteless individual avatars into an encompassing aroma and nose-watering pungency of the sambar.

It is said that certain types of wines enhance the flavor of certain types of food and vice versa. Wonder what would be the right pairing for southie meals. Water!!! Being starved of certain food makes you crave more for it maybe.

Anyway, hail MTR and its cousins...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Short Takes

Trying not to hibernate on the blog. :-) Here are a few movies watched over the past few weeks at random intervals. I think the next post may also be of movies. :-]

The original 'Ghajini' movie from Christopher Nolan. A man with a short term memory loss caused by an assault on him and his wife, avenges his wife's death, and how! The screenplay is imaginative with a forward narrative of the present and a flash back narrative in a reverse timeline that alternate and merge. You must have seen the first scene amongst the initial credit sequences to tie up the narratives. Murugadoss must be congratulated for adding masala to Ghajini and adapting it to Indian sensibilities with Asin (the original has no definition of this character other than that she gets killed) and Nayantara (there is a decent characterization of her role in the original) along with the protagonist Surya. The back and forth narration would have definitely not cut ice with the Indian audience as it confuses the flow. A memorable movie for the 'whoa!' narrative.

2001 - A Space Odyssey
One of the earliest 'interpret it as you want to' type of movies and made before my generation. Directed by Stanley Kubrick on a Arthur C Clarke science fiction novel. No dialogues at all for the first 20 and the last 20 minutes. It kind of gets to you, sometimes nothing but silence and darkness fills the screen and you wonder if the projector has failed. Most of the special effects (no computer graphics at that time and the effects were done with real scale models and very clever camera sequences) are spell-binding. Blue Danube of Strauss is used for the space station docking sequences, and is just soaring and induces goose-bumps. The highlight is the HAL 9000 computer which turns against the astronauts. It is very slow moving with minimal dialogues and supposedly a cult movie as per the current generation sci-fi stalwarts (Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, ...). Watch it, but be warned that you may lose patience and get edgy and fidgety at what Kubrick is conveying.

Shawshank Redemption
I don't know how many times I have seen this movie and how many times I will. Story (adapted from a Stephen King short story) of a person's saga at the Shawshank prison into which he is jailed for life for murdering his wife and her lover, a crime which he has not committed. Tim Robbins (as the new convict) and Morgan Freeman (who has been in jail for 20 years before Tim) are stellar, as prisoners who develop a bond. The story builds up slowly to a crescendo where Tim outwits the jail warden for his freedom and for the innovative use of Raquel Welch, Marilyn Monroe and Rita Hayworth as a facade. Worth a watch, anytime!