Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Jaya Lakshmi Talkies

Before the advent of the multiplexes, which seem to be budding everywhere now, a town could brag at length if it had possessed three cinema theaters. Every town is not Kakinada which is known for its Cinema Road with myriad number of theaters that too back in 90's itself. Though Multiplexes bring a good ambiance and ease of booking I miss the ceremonial way the movie experience used to be back then.  
My town, a modest one had three theaters, Jaya Lakshmi Talkies being the best then.   
Going to movie was always a ceremony mainly because there weren't so many movies & a movie used to be played in a theater for so long a time. Going to movie on a first day was so unorthodox and unthinkable and was only for the yo-yo youth but never a family thing until so and so happens to offer tickets to whole family for the first day (This usually happens only for those Socio-Fantasy movies which as a rule of thumb were always hit among the orthodox ‘class’ people and were avoided by these yo-yo youth as they feel that the news that one watched these movies will disgrace their machismo).   
The elaborate ceremony begins with a promise from father who always insisted on going only to first show @6 pm (Morning show-11:00 am, Matinee-2:30 pm, 2nd show - 9:30 pm) which meant that we all are eagerly waiting and totally dependent on his timely arrival. By the time he comes we are already fully dressed and waiting while my mother checks if I've put the correct clothes suitable to our social status, and in case the shirt was not ironed or I was wearing pants which I like but which she thinks are cheap means that I should do the ramp walk with other clothes till she was satisfied with my appearance. So when finally when father arrives he washes his face and has a quick tea (and Bournvita for kids though I always begged for a tea) and then we set off for the theater the Jaya Lakshmi Talkies.  
While most of the times it's the same fellow giving the tickets and from years of acquaintance he immediately gives 4 balcony tickets, the highest fare, with a big smile on his face. When I asked my mother once why can’t we try a chair this time I was mildly chided for talking very improperly. Balcony, Chair and Bench are descending order in theaters (once when I went to a movie with friends and opted for a chair to get some black money, somehow news got leaked and my movie rights were revoked).   
Being well known has its disadvantages as someone surely accosts and starts palavering. Although I was always wondered how many people my dad knows I secretly worried movie may start and we might miss starting scenes (It happened good number of times). I try to convey the same to my mother by making some eye gestures. And 'he' suddenly rubs my hair and asks, “Hey little one do you remember me?” for which I say without further ado, “Of course uncle”, though it's not true most of the times.  
You know you are in the theater when you notice the overwhelming aroma of fried groundnuts while you can see their shells in many corners. First thing to do after entering search for a suitable place; suitable = directly below a fan, as theaters were not equipped with AC in those days. Latest movie songs are played in the background (other than the movie that’s going to be played) before the movie starts and suddenly the screen lights up there comes the first ad: Chandana Brothers.   
All my childhood I lived seeing that ad and wondering why it’s always the same bride and bridegroom. They had an add specially for theaters which was not played in TVs, which had soothing music and used to fill us with anticipation for the movie. There were never any ads on Men's apparel but always on silks and jewelry of women. This is followed by the famous Margadarsi ad, with the tag line I too joined Margadarsi and bought a scooter. Then the Theater proudly displays that its equipped with Digital DTS Dolby sounds.   
Some people are so curious that its very detrimental sitting beside them while watching movies. If they already know the story they will tell u everything beforehand and spoil the experience or if they don’t know they keep asking or rather pestering you questions related to the movie knowing fully that these questions will be eventually answered in the movie. Nothing has changed much regarding these, and only solution: Don’t sit next to them.  
Movie means father will be little extra friendly and we are free to make any wishes for the junk we are craving for, but the criterion of patriarchy families require you that you present your requests to your mother who will pass it on to his highness. 
We should all personally thank the fella who discovered the experience of movie + popcorn combo. We owe him/her. Once the interval begins One will continually hear a clang, the sound made by steel being hit on a series of glass soft drink bottles.   
Movie theaters and Railway stations have these peculiar species of Samosas which are made of onion curry instead potato’s which smell and taste ridiculously awesome but are always considered unhygienic and low quality and thus are generally off limits. I always hard time convincing my parents that these Samosas are not bad by any standards, but who will listen to a kid in shorts. I've never mentioned about restroom, no if you are the orthodox upper middle class family don’t even think about using the restrooms at theater, you should be well aware of this fact and should take care before you come to the theater.  
The movies always got over with the last scene freezing coupled with the text ‘Shubham’ on it and we be off as there was never any post credits scene in the regional movies since there weren't any sequels. And we follow the untold custom of going to a Restaurant after movie after all any ceremony should end with a pompous supper. 
On the return journey my father always used to tell us his experiences of movies in his childhood and how it was always his brother who took charge of battalion of siblings, which he said to us like a million times but we hear uncomplainingly.  
We comeback home mother brings a fistful of rock-salt with red chilies and revolves it around me and my brother’s head asking us to spit on it, to ward off the effects of evil eyes (disti in Telugu, kannupatturichi in Tamil), i.e., the jealous stares of people, which is said to bring misery. And when asked about it she says, “You're such a good boy and wearing wonderful dress which doubles the threat of covetous looks, beware everyone seem innocuous but we don't know what their intentions are.” I always thought of asking why bother trouble of choosing good clothes and the pain of this ritual again, but thought better of it.  
An unsaid pact requires us the children to go to bed immediately while father watched the news headlines which I never liked as a child. Then I go to sleep looking forward for my next movie which most probably would not be in the same month.    

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Extraordinarily Ordinary

Many a times the simplest of the things bring a broad smile to our face.

In a hostel after having lighted incense to God, finding a crevice in the wall to stick it gives an immense pleasure of discovery, giving a gentle and proud smile. The pleasant feeling of contentment one gets by lighting Diyas on an auspicious day has no equal.

A goldfish in the aquarium continually opening and closing its mouth looking at us makes one feel as if it's trying to talk to us; When you offer a banana peel to a cow and when it comes forward and takes it of your hand, giving a slight ticklish sensation to the hand, bringing a very happy smile to the face is majestic making us feel happy and God-like who can be understood by all the living things

Seeing the early morning dew drops on the leaf of a plant brings a cute smile to us, and when we try to feel it with our forefinger and manage to get the drop carefully onto the finger intact gives the joy of achieving a very demanding task.
That moment when the early morning koel bird sings after you and responds to you, it's an awesome feeling.

When you are called into the kitchen and asked to give your opinion on how good the fresh sweet tastes and when you offer your views giving instructions on what component should be tweaked gives us a proud sense of significance.

When your wait-listed train ticket gets confirmed getting you a window seat, a side lower in particular, it gives a joy that's incomparable. When you are sitting at the window seat on a cool evening and have novel with you and coffee completing the picture-perfect moment, gives an ultimate pleasure. We will be luckiest if it rains slightly and we can feel it in our hands through the window. Standing on the entrance and feeling the gusty wind, looking at the country side green patches and talking with crush on phone is amazing. While the ultimate pleasure of standing at the entrance of the train while it crosses a mighty river and letting ourselves loose in the tranquility is divine.

Watching a sunset near a beach or any water body pumps in a lot of positive energy and brings us closer to nature.
It's a pleasant emotion when your roll number is some way connected to your crush's number giving us a notion of divine interference and destiny.

The lengthy walk after the hearty treat by a friend with the informal chit chat and gossip where everyone targets that one scapegoat all the way, and ending the celebrations by sleeping with a happy note recollecting the memories, giving a sense of completion is flawless.

While getting books of your favorite author as gifts for your B'Day is such an unparalleled and ecstatic sentiment.

The after dinner walks with profound philosophical talks, which generally end up without any conclusion yet giving an immense satisfaction for having spent quality time with friends talking about the ramifications of so and so decisions of nations and politics; about religion, about helping humanity and how we can contribute to human upliftment in various directions. Though some (many) times these talks foray into cricket or movie news, it’s still wonderful and indomitable feeling.
Those moments in mess when you make up a story and a friend buys it, believing completely and while the other friends beside you strengthen it by adding their own comments and the final moment after meals when you reveal the true story and laugh your hearts out, is beautiful.

Watching a movie with parents with a big popcorn in the hands; last minute entry into a movie theater along with friends; laughing madly at a comedy scene; dancing like no one is watching, quoting dialogues from movies that fit into the situation and thus laughing again insanely; the usual hot fuming evening coffee, all these bring with them their own reasons for us to be happy.

The happiness we need is in the extraordinarily ordinary things, we just need to feel the moment....

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