Write & Watch

Salesh Dipak Fernando

Category: REFLECTIONS (Page 1 of 14)

BLOOD CHUTNEY – IS THIS REALLY COMEDY ?

 

Before I start off with my views on Blood Chutney I have one question for all the Tamil Readers out there. How many of you have seen Idharkuthane Asaipatai Balakumara?  If your answer is yes I have seen it I will elaborate on this later.

I watched Blood Chutney twice just to make my reaction when I saw it first wasn’t just another exaggerated outburst at a plausible attempt. But the second attempt was even more tedious than the first. The first problem I had was this. Karthik Kumar contradicts his own premise at various points in the show. He compares actress Nalini to a cow. And then there’s the Nayanthara and comparison between the big superstar and the little superstar. These statements aren’t even below the belt they are disgusting. I wouldn’t even call them a joke.

And then there’s the statement about G.V Prakash pretending to be a music director. As far as I know, he was a very fine music director.  I almost thought out loud “Karthik Kumar it is you who have been pretending to be a comedian on stage throughout the show”. But you know what pissed me off the most. It was the statement on Kalaignar’s breathing problem. I will never forgive him for that. Have some shame Karthik you don’t mock the sickness of a fragile old man and call it a joke. You called him a ventilator. I am a disabled person myself. Any joke on the sick, the elderly or the disabled earns my wrath and you mock his personal choices as well. If you want to mock at something. Mock at the stereotypes which have been plaguing our society.

There are so many good jokes you can make on the political situation of our country. But Karthik wants none of these he wants to troll them on their ill health. How ridiculous is that? And then there’s that Tambrahm cliche of being deprived. How long will you keep repeating the same lie? I have absolutely no problem with Karthik catering to a particular crowd for everyone has their own target audience. But when such a show comes on Amazon it nullifies the good attempts by so many great upcoming comedians in the stand-up scene which is why I am angry.

He is supposedly one of the pioneers of stand up comedy in Chennai. But when he gets away with such mediocre content it pulls everybody down. In fact, people who don’t have access to live shows end up thinking that is the quality of stand up scene in Chennai.  As someone who has been a regular to the live shows let me tell you the content in Amazon is below par when compared to live shows. There are so many good talents out there and I personally vouch for them.

You may ask me why I haven’t commented on the good points he made during the show.  A person doesn’t shame every personality out there to tell people that shaming is wrong.  It contradicts their own motive however well-intentioned they may be.

Let’s take the movie Idharkuthane Asaipatai Balakumara. What do we remember about the movie?  Do we remember the drunken stupor of Vijay Sethupathy and his gang or do we remember the Say No to Drinks message at the end? What is the dialogue that we often repeat ” Friend feel aiytapla oru half sapta cool airuvapla“. That should give you the answer. 

PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE ME – ASHWANI MOHANLAL

Ashwani  Mohanlal  – My Sarah. I still pinch myself when it comes to Ashwani . At first, I thought she was some famous ultra rich model. Don’t blame me blame the second part of her name on FB. We weren’t supposed to be part of each other’s life even in an alternate universe. But life often stuns you with strange surprises. For starters, I never knew she was an admirer of my words until I saw her joyous reply to one of my comments to her posts.  It was a song which had caught my attention out of nowhere and the comment was more of a spontaneous reaction.  What followed was my usual “Is this really happening “? We were no longer strangers.  But personal connect wasn’t on the cards.  The fact that she could relate to what I wrote and find a way to connect with me baffled me.  There was no beating around the bush. There were just strong, effortless random conversations on art and words alone. There was nothing more nothing less. We didn’t have to wait for each other’s text messages, calls or messenger pings. Just random catch ups once in a blue moon.

And then the meet up happened. We often have moments that define our existence. For me, our meet up was the defining moment of my personal transition. I was just warming up to meeting people and getting to know them. But when I met Ashwani and as the conversation progressed I realized something had changed within. From stammering in the crowd to actually being part of a good conversation I had actually come a long way. Barriers broken, norms shattered and limitations nullified. I felt different. The limp didn’t matter anymore. I can look at myself in the mirror and not feel ashamed of my shabby outer self. My inner strength was all that mattered. I was a superhero. I felt like one when I sat opposite that lovely woman. I sat back and listened as she narrated anecdotes from her life. I walked in with a sense of insecurity and walked out like a Superstar. The veil had quietly lifted as I realized people loved me for who I was.

There’s a reason why I call her my Sarah. Remember Arjun from Banglore Days. He rushes to see Sarah after hearing her voice. But what he finds is something different. He finds himself amidst all the chaos surrounding him. That is exactly what happened that eventful afternoon. I found myself after 30 long years. No demands, no expectations, and no regular conversations. We still work around the once in a blue moon catch up. But that is enough. We know we are there as part of each other’s existence. And she’s given me so much without asking by just being there. For that, I will always be quietly grateful.

 

CELEBRATING JEANNETTE

For way too long we have held on to the virtuous woman as an ideal representation of how a woman should be.  Why not take a diversion and celebrate a flawed woman instead. To me, the play didn’t begin until Jeannette came on stage, a woman who is so unabashedly herself despite the constant turmoil surrounding her life.

I know Jeannette for I have been love with Jeannette for a long time without giving her a face and a name. I know Jeannette, a woman who refused to be stripped of her desires. I know Jeannette, a woman who refused to let go of the scars that trouble her. She embraces her flaws in the form of a wedding gown.  Her only ray of rope questions her and demands answers. But she’s relentless and determined to hold on to her flawed persona.

She seeks doom as her only gateway to redemption and embraces the end with open arms. For once she’s not alone there’s someone willing to hold her hand before she closes her hand for one final time. “Save her” her loved ones scream but it is too late for her troubled soul seeks an answer in the alternate world.

We all do that mistake, don’t we? We judge, make choices on her behalf and demand what we deem to be an appropriate behaviour.  Why not leave the choice to her and cherish her presence as she lives her life to the fullest. It’s ok if she messes up; it’s ok if she makes wrong choices. The choice of how to live belongs to her alone. Let her be what she is. Let’s celebrate her free spirit.  Maybe it’s not too say I love you Jeannette before she takes that final step of embracing doom.

 

THE TEACHER

 

I was in 7h grade when she first stormed into my life unannounced. Until her arrival I was happy being invisible.  I was happy being the average student. But she saw me differently. My mediocre scores didn’t make sense to her at all.  “I don’t want memorized essays. I want the same sequence of events in your own words. I repeat in your own words”.

I was angry and confused. Why was she being so adamant about my progress?  Why the extra push?  For someone who embraced mediocrity after the extraordinary flourish of my early years the demands of my teacher was unreasonable.

But I was left without a choice and surprisingly the words began to flow.  1 page essays gave me a perfect score. A perfect score in any language paper is an impossible dream but the perfect scores never stopped as my peers gazed at me dumbfounded. “We write pages and yet you walk away with all the honors. What does she see in your answers?  Frankly I had no answers. But I enjoyed the adulation. Perhaps all those early years of being confined to a room with books had finally paid off. 

For the first time I thanked the Almighty for being a specially abled kid. What if I had played around with kids instead of reading? The script would have been different and the love that I had words would never have been discovered. I wasn’t ready for the role transition. I became the go to person for doubts in English.  I was an automatic choice for essay writing competitions. For someone who has never touched Wren and Martin or learnt sentence structure from Grammar text books the whole experience was surreal. I loved being the centre of attraction.  

All it took was a teacher who believed that she could transform the reluctant student into a star. Her parting shot still echoes in my ears. “You are destined for great things”.

My journey should I started then and there but I was stupid enough to let go all my strengths just to fit in and be one among the crowd. It is often said time and tide waits for no man. I was forced to play catch up until my health gave me a rude wake up call for me. I am left with no other choice but to pick up the pen. The flesh is weak but the spirit is yearning for one last shot at redemption. I begin a new journey towards re-discovering hope

I want to hug my teacher and tell her that I am taking the first step towards fulfilling the aspirations she had for me. I want to hear that familiar tone wishing me good luck. Maybe when I my turn comes to take my place in the podium she will be there in the audience clapping for me.

 

 

LET’S TALK LIFE – A JOURNEY OF HOPE

Let’s Talk Life is special to me in more ways than one.  Every phase of life gifts you something helps you re-discover yourself as a person. Let’s Talk Life is that precious gift I hold on to whenever life hits me hard or whenever I feel low. I love the push that it gives me to rise up and shine again. Maybe that’s why I am too biased to the two main protagonists of this journey.

The transformation from a caterpillar to a butterfly should have been an easy one considering I was the star kid and a very good orator at school. But what if the butterfly retreated to become a caterpillar again?  That’s exactly what happened in my case. The voice that could hold the attention of the entire audience for the entire duration was nowhere to be found as I lost myself in a maze filled with teenage desires. In hindsight, there was nothing wrong with my choices at that time.  It was just the hormones working overtime.

But you can never ignore destiny’s call for too long. Let’s Talk Life was one of those sweetest accidents waiting to happen. But I wasn’t prepared at all. Fortunately, it had two very good souls who had the guts to give a rare stage to a work in progress. Without their push, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I am still a work in progress and will always be.  I am not a good speaker or a writer as yet but I do know how to get my point across. From that very special day till today it’s been a journey to remember. I might be good on some days or might mess up. But it’s always a win for the ones who chose to embrace me as one of their own.

There’s one permanent impression from Let’s Talk Life that I will hold on to for the rest of my life. “Never be afraid to give people that rare chance of sharing the limelight with you.  It’s ok if they fail you or grow beyond your own aspirations. It’s ok if they don’t acknowledge your presence after they fulfill their dreams. Irrespective of the outcome or the consequences the joy of being a stepping stone to all those who are struggling to fulfill their dreams is still unmatched.  Despite the slip-ups there will always be people who are eternally grateful that you gave them a chance when everyone else walked away”.

 

KOKO – A PANTOMIME IN TAMIL

Stage plays were very much a part of my early childhood. Of course I could never grasp the amount of work that goes behind the scenes. I could never grasp the aura of the stage.  It should have ideally been an on-going affair but slowly the love for the big screen took over and plays became a cherished childhood memory.

And then Koko happened. It felt surreal and nostalgic to renew my relationship with the stage through a pantomime.  I had absolutely no idea what I had signed up for when I agreed to be a part of the audience for Koko. The premise of the play itself was like a nostalgic trip down the memory lane. We have all experienced parental pressures when we were growing up.   It is inevitable especially with regards to education and career choices.  KOKO scratches the surface of this burning issue.

The first thing that stood out for me with regards to the play was the way the creators have experimented within a simple premise.  The production value and those lovely songs filled with soul-stirring lyrics made me go WOW. At various points during the second half I saw myself in KOKO and I guess most of the audience would have felt the same way.

On the downside beyond the initial flourish, I couldn’t connect with the humour in the first half of  the play. The humour felt silly at times but I guess it was a deliberate ploy to get through to the little ones in the audience. If you are an adult the first half could test your patience a bit. But it’s a minor blemish for a play which has it’s heart in the right place. The second half is engaging and makes you sit up and reflect.

Koko doesn’t play the blame game for there are no winners or losers in a parent-child relationship. It should be a win – win for both the parent and the kid which is possible only if they empathize with each other and that’s what Koko puts forth too.

The creators have said that Koko is going to schools and rightly so. It’s a heart-warming reflection of life and the inherent tussle in a parent-child relationship which is the need of the hour.  Go for it with your parents and if you are a parent take your kids with you if the play is being staged  closer to your home town.

Kudos to the entire team for a wonderful effort.  

AMMA

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I wish we knew the real YOU while you were alive
But now the entire state mourns your demise
The questions linger
Who were you?
An Enigma
An Isolated Soul
Or
A leader of the masses.

Perhaps you needed that veil of arrogance
To fight and survive in a man’s world.
The sheer audacity of returning as the leader
To the very place which stripped and humiliated you
Is a timeless tale of determination and grit.

Perhaps your lonely heart needed that pedestal
To seek refuge in the hearts of the masses
The throne is empty as the tigress breathes her last.

History will have a different story to tell
The pages will script a tainted leader
But we know for sure that
Amongst us a walked a Woman
Who showed us all
The Art of being unapologetic for life’s choices
Despite being in a Man’s World

DEAR PARENTS

 

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Dear parents,

 We love you and we will always be grateful for the way you moulded us till we could spread our wings. But why look at this bond as some sort of payback obligation. Why drive us to a point where we have to hide our fears and insecurities from you? Why do we have to seek solace in the embrace of strangers?

In an ideal world a parent should be the first go to person for a son or a daughter. But we are forced to wear a mask that you like.  We understand your concerns but beyond a certain point the same concern can suffocate and break us.

The burden of a society which overwhelms us with questions is already a little too much to bear.  The thought of constant ridicule for a perfectly sane choice almost drives us to the point of despair. We come home to relish in the comfort of your warm embrace. But our home too seems to be a mirror image of the plastic society.

We don’t blame you. There’s no blame game here but do learn when to let go and when to hold.  It’s alright if we fall while moving forward. Atleast the choice that led to the fall will be ours. When your hold tightens the frustration within leads to emotional scars that never heal.

We are unique individuals with our own choices and preferences. Don’t expect us to be replicas of someone else’s son or daughter.  We are not clones. Be there for us when we need you. No matter how hard you try to make for the years in isolation those stolen moments of happiness which we desperately yearn for will never come back.

With loads of love,

Your Son/Daughter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE ME – GAYATHRI

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Dear Gayathri,

I find it very difficult to pen the right words. It’s been that kind of a night. I would have dozed off happily in my cozy bed after a magical evening. But I have been drowning myself in an ocean of tears ever since you took the stage.

Your narration moved me. It made me realize that some scars never heal.  Re-living those moments which has transformed you into what you are isn’t an easy task. But you did it my girl. The scars have actually moulded you and it’s absolutely alright to move forward the scars.

Did I hear you say that the people around you called you a drama queen? It’s alright. Be the best drama queen ever.  Be unapologetic.  Be selfish in surrounding yourself with people who can make your life beautiful. A little bit of selfishness never hurt anybody.

The next time you feel that the people and the circumstances have caged you break free and fly away. Be shameless in going for what you want for you deserve the best. Stand up to the negative forces that ill treat you even if it comes from the people who love you. You deserve to fly high.  I won’t ask you to stay strong for there is an inherent strength within that you fail to see. You are destined for greatness.  You have the power to inspire people.

Keep fighting! We are with you. Thank you letting us have a glimpse of your life. It takes a lot of guts to do what you did yesterday. Keep doing it again and again for there’s a whole crowd out there waiting to be inspired by your story.

With loads of love,

Salesh.

MY JOURNEY

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The journey started with the loss of a loved one as I was searching for an escape route to console myself. I always knew I was good at writing. But I wasn’t sure where it would take me for I had never been a winner. My sole identity to the outside world was the fact that I was differently abled.

The first pat on the back from a long lost college mate who re-discovered me through my blog. “You have a gift. Please never stop writing”. For almost a year my blogging was without any direction or visibility. I wrote mostly for myself without a target audience. But my soul was filled with happiness.

The next year I discovered Indiblogger and Blogadda . The smaller recognitions like picks of the week or a comment from an unknown reader made me get past the mediocrity of my daily routine.

Getting to know Sakshi Nanda through Indiblogger was like unlocking a hidden treasure. I learnt the nuances of writing from her.   For almost a year we worked together as team in Project 365 and what a year it was. The entire team was so organized that I had force myself to write on a regular basis.

The Chennai Bloggers Club was an accident. I never knew there was a passionate blogging community in Chennai. Don’t blame me. Blogging events rarely happened in Chennai so I was completely ignorant. It felt good to read Blog Posts written by people who are connected to Namma Chennai. CBC helped me re-discover friendship, love and benevolence. The good souls from CBC led me to my first published work. If CBC had not happened I wouldn’t be making public appearances today. The poetry recital and the first narration of my personal story were unexpected surprises that happened along the way.

Blogchatter was like a hard-hitting once in a lifetime lesson.  A reluctant blogger suddenly dreams of a long term vision. The 5th Year had been a year of fulfillment 

Blogging has helped me evolve as a person. I am no longer invisible, insecure or doubtful of what I can do. A big fat thank you to all my readers for consistently backing me. Please do the same I move forward. Let’s make a difference together.

This post was written for a contest held by #Sweek in collaboration with #ChennaiBloggersClub

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