The Meridien, Cochin, Kerala February 7, 2010 Sun 10 : 27 PM
Valorie … a belated birthday wish to you .. may you remain healthy and wise and poetic as ever !
As I watch the ‘mohiniattam’ being performed on stage by a large group of dancers performing in honour of the evening to felicitate Resul Pookutty, Oscar Award winner for his sound design in Slumdog Millionaire, I cannot but be mesmerized by the kathakali dance form from these regions. The eyes and their expressive movement, the hands moving in lyrical grace, enveloping inviting and so utterly spell binding. The use of the most minimal body movement, yet enough to express what needs to be expressed. It is this brevity of movement that is so attractive. It is the brevity of expression that has sunk into the psyche of the inhabitants of this region. Their reserve and restraint is well known in their culture and language. Their literacy quotient being the highest in the country, could be another.
Kerala, God’s own country, has not earned this name without meaning. There is an air about it that justifies its warm and affectionate existence. But as always, just when you begin to enjoy and sink into the land, a departure takes place and we are soon away from it all. Perhaps a little too soon.
Resul, not gloating in the air of importance and recognition, has decided to give back to society, to his people and has started a Foundation for the needy. A medical care center with an established hospital, for those among us that are under privileged and poor. Noble and kind of heart. I contribute to it too, in kind, in a small ceremony that takes place a little earlier in the afternoon on arrival.
Keeping in tune with the phrase ‘do in Rome as the Romans do’, I order some extraordinary crafted dhotiand sari to be worn at the evening formal function. The sari of course for the ladies in the house. Typical Kerala designed motifs on them through gold and silver threads. Such richness of craft in every part of our beautiful country and such a shame that we are so unaware of it and its existence. Well I certainly. How wonderful it would be if I could drop everything around me and just visit every corner of India to imbibe, learn and experience my own land and people. How wonderful to learn and be acquainted with their customs and culture and language. To live with them, be one with them, breathe the same air, discover our countrymen in different hues and in turn hope that we can discover ourselves too !!
So, I wear the dhoti or munda as it is more colloquially known for the evening and I think there is an appreciation of it. The ceremony is short and sweet and over in an hour. Which is in sharp contrast to the pomp and grandeur and expanse of last night’s in Chennai. I meet up with the two greats of Malayalam cinema - Mohanlal and Mamooty. Their work is testimony to their greatness. Effortless, easy and so completely natural that it belies all that you may have conceived about how acting needs to be done. Mohanlal comes up to the room later and narrates a script for which he wishes me to do a days’ guest appearance. I am inclined on principle but will read the script and revert.
There was a post before the one that was there before that .. I think … which had ended with ‘to those that understand and those that do not understand’. Whereas there were many that did understand, there were some that did not. Were I to explain to them, it would rob me the reason for writing it the way I did. Explaining it would in a way diminish the effect of the content. So I would rather not. But if there are some enterprising young men or women that would wish to elaborate to those that desired elaboration, I would not stop them from doing so. In fact it would be a wonderful exercise in assuaging from them whether they were close to the thought or not.
The ‘dhoti’ in all its pristine glamour, tied up around the waist by shear will power and some dextrous use of the stomach muscle, else it slips down and opens up !! It is just a piece of cloth, no buttons, no belts, no clips nothing. Simple elegant convenient and with its own characteristic charm and above all - air conditioned at all times !! The fall of the main design as a strip down the front to be positioned on the right hip and just around the right knee. Rules of culture.
During my several interviews that went down today with Manorama News, the TV channel that is number 1 in the region, I was asked for a few minutes to talk to their radio station Radio Mango, and the lady that pushed the radio mike across my nose made an observation. She said my sign off ‘love line’ on the blog is always different. Different ways of saying ‘i love you’ every day !!
Strange I had never noticed that, and now that she has told me I am more conscious of it. Wonder if I shall sign off with a difference today. Lets see -
Love you … ‘munda’ and all …