‘Grandpa is too sick. We don’t know if he would make it’.

This was the phone call that woke me up. Not how I planned my Saturday week off. I checked the time and it said 6.13 am. I don’t even know how I reached the bus station. Before I knew I was on a bus to my grandpa’s. A seven hour journey would have been exhausting otherwise. But today it didn’t bother me a bit. My mind was occupied with the thoughts of my grandpa. ‘Lilly’, he would say, ‘you should not listen to what these folks have to say, you should be slim if you want to , you can be fat if you want to , you shave your head if you feel to, it’s up to you dear, because that is how Lilly used to live’.

Now the second Lilly he is referring to is my late grandma whom I have never met. Though my actual name is Susan, grandpa always calls me Lilly. He is my best friend, motivator and personal guide.

I called my mom in between to know how grandpa is doing now and her voice was a bit unsteady. Not because of sadness but because she was confused. ‘He is fine now, you know. I mean I guess he is alright now’, she said. ‘Which is a good thing, right?’ I asked, not sure what to feel exactly. ‘Well, he was too sick today earlier and then he fell asleep, for like two long hours. We called all our relatives and then he woke up from his sleep and now he … he looks fine. Really better actually. Like it wasn’t even him who was all sick earlier’. I suddenly felt a lump in my throat. ‘Okay, but mom you do know what they say about such sudden wellness’. She cut me off. ‘Yes, yes I know I know, don’t say that. But this is not that. It’s like he is five years younger all of sudden. He was sitting up on bed earlier. Then he said he wanted to come out and sit in the drawing room. So we helped him. Then he recognized every single person in the room who he failed to remember before. He even asked about the cat they had about 5 years ago’.

The more she was speaking, the more I was worried. Remembering everyone and everything suddenly is never a good sign. I don’t want mom or myself to have false hope. She was still talking when I came back from my thoughts. ‘Isn’t that right Susan, don’t you also think so?’ I didn’t know what she was asking about but I decided to agree with her because the cheer in her voice sounded too innocent to spoil. ‘I will call you once I get off the bus. I am happy and relieved that Grandpa is fine now. Then again I hope you people had called grandpa’s doctor as well’. I said. ‘Of course yes. He is on his way.’ She said a little annoyed and hung up. And I started to worry about her.

When I reached Uncle Philip’s house I could see more people than I anticipated. It was more like a family get together than visiting your sick grandfather. People were eating, drinking and talking normally. Grandpa was nowhere to be seen. When I asked mom she said, he wanted to take a stroll with Philip in the backyard. ‘Really? I asked. ‘Yeah but..’ Before she could finish she was called by my dad. I went to the backyard looking for Grandpa and Uncle Philip. Grandpa has been living with Uncle Philip for the past 30 years. He couldn’t live in the same house as his and grandma’s after her death. So he moved in with his eldest son. Grandma died in sleep. She was having her usual afternoon nap on the bed beside the window and he was listening to his usual radio program on the front yard. She never woke up from the nap. Everyone believed she died peacefully because there was no sign of pain on her beautiful face. No sign of her bed sheet curling or twisting. No one would believe she was dead because she looked as if she is in a deep sleep with beautiful dreams. But grandpa believed she called for him while she was in pain and failed to hear because he was listening to the radio. From that day onwards he stopped listening to radio.

Philip uncle remember everything vividly. He was the one who lived near grandpa’s house. Grandpa yelled at him to come quickly because grandma was not waking up. Every story or memories related to grandma ended with this incident. Because that’s where everyone’s story ends.
Grandpa’s house and Uncle Philip’s house were in like 20 meters distance. When I found them Philip uncle had a pained expression and grandpa was a few feet ahead of him. ‘He said he wanted to walk alone. I said I would hold his hands but he said he won’t want any help. Said he started walking before I was even born. ’. Uncle answered the question I had in my mind. ‘Well there is no argument on that point‘. I said with a smile. ‘Oh how I wish if dad could walk like….’ He was talking when our little chat got Grandpa’s attention and he turned to see me. ‘Ah, Lilly, there you are!’ He exclaimed and I froze for a second. Mom was right. He did sound and look like he was five years young.

‘Come here, I wanted to talk to you’. He said and I half ran to him. He was standing beside his old house closely looking at the cobwebs and big fat lizards. ‘You see, this wasn’t like this always. It was a clean and proud house. Now the roofing is broken. Most of the walls are now torn down. I never came back here after Lilly was gone. I couldn’t bring myself to be here…where my Lilly left this world.’ He started talking and I realized this was the first time he has ever spoken to me about grandma’s death. In 25 years, he told me almost everything from how brave and bold grandma was to how cool and progressive her attitude was towards her children. He proved his points with the help of a thousand of anecdotes from their life. But he never said anything regarding her death or how he felt about it. I never asked him because my mom and her six siblings have narrated each of their own versions to us kids. And for the first time in my entire life he was talking about his wife’s death. I turned back to see Uncle Philip and saw that he was going back into his house with my uncle leaving grandpa in my care. ‘I was in this same house when it happened. Right there on a chair listening to the radio. I should have been by her side, don’t you think? I should have helped her. I know I disappointed her.’

I know I am not wise or old enough to handle such situation. Yet I tried to comfort him. ‘Everyone knows it is not your fault, grandpa. There are many situation and things in life that we can’t control.’ I said wishing Uncle Philip or someone else to come back. ‘Every moment in life is precious; we never know which is our last. We never know if we are going to see our dear ones the next day, or next hour or even next minute. All we could do is spend every possible moment with our people. Love them, tell them you love them. Make them happy. Doing this tap tap on the phone all day won’t do that for you’. I was waiting for a moment to lighten the seriousness of the talk and I took it. I said, ‘you can’t say that grandpa, I can tell people that I love them by doing this tap tap on the phone you know. Also Celine aunty called us every…’ ‘I used to see Lilly in my dreams after she was gone…’ he cut me off and continued talking ignoring the fact that I was talking to him. I was embarrassed because my attempts to lighten the mood was failed, I couldn’t respond in a way that grandpa expected from me and I was cut off in midsentence before I could prove my argument. ‘For years, I saw her in my dreams. Sometimes the dreams were so real that I believed she never left. I woke up and search for a second before realizing that she is actually no more. Then my heart sank. Every time I was reminded that she is gone I lost piece of myself too. I started my mornings in tears. Every morning, I was shattered and was forced to pick up the pieces only to be shattered again the next day. God knows how I lived my days. I was struggling to keep myself up. To be the strong person everyone wanted me to be…’ all this was news to me because never in my life had I seen my grandpa sad. He always seemed strong, funny and pampering to me. I also noticed that his mannerisms and sound has become the one he had twenty years ago when he used to tell me the tales from his and my mom’s childhood. As he went on talking, I felt that he was getting younger by mind. ‘Then one day the dreams stopped. At first I thought it was for good. I could pull myself together. But no. Having no dream of her was also devastating. I realized that having my Lilly at least in dreams was worth living for. I used to see her standing in the front porch even after she died. I know I was imagining it. I used to sit in Philip’s yard and imagine her in this house. After a while I lost that ability too. For a long time I thought I was going to die too … but then you were born. The first girl child after Lilly’s death’. He paused for a second as if to relive those moments. And I thought ‘so that’s why he calls me Lilly’.

It was evening and getting darker minute by minute. I knew he was a sweet and pampering grandpa. But never thought of him as such a vulnerable poor thing. I almost forgot that he was on death bed earlier today and almost everyone believed that he wouldn’t pass an hour, let alone a whole day. He was looking more closely at the house. We were standing in front of the window which had an old utterly damaged cot on the other side. I felt unease when I remembered that it was the window beside which grandma died. As child I never dared to go near the window. I always kept a distance from the house when my uncles and aunts came in for their monthly cleaning. It was Grandpa who told us kids about spirits. ‘Dead people never really leaves their dear ones . They always try to keep their loved ones safe and happy’. Grandpa used to say. As I got older I decided myself that it was childish to have curiosity for a home. As years people stopped cleaning and taking care of the house. Soon enough it started to decay. And as an adult I conveniently forgot the existence of an almost haunted looking house where an old lady with my name died. Now that I think of it, he is the one who made me superstitious.

Feeling concerned for his health and my own mental state, I urged him to get back into the house. ‘Let’s go back to the house, shall we, everybody must be waiting for you. It’s getting darker also’ I said and before I could finish he started again. ‘Lilly is back on my dreams again you know, for the past I saw her every day in my dreams. But this time it was different. In every ream she was wearing the same outfit. The one she wore on the day of her…’ he trailed off. ‘And I could imagine her also. But you know, I don’t think I am imagining her this time. I could actually feel her presence. The smell of her cuticura talcum powder. I saw her last night in my room. She was reading The Bible, although I don’t remember which part’ my uneasiness grew stronger. ‘Now you are scaring me Grandpa, shall we please go inside? It’s getting colder, let’s go’. I begged him and I know he will get back to the house because I told him that I was scared. But he didn’t move. Instead he mumbled something. ‘What did you say grandpa?’ I asked. But he didn’t respond. Then he mumbled some more. I decided to call Uncle Philip to get grandpa into the house. But before I do so Grandpa exclaimed again. ‘Ah! There you are Lilly.’ And this time he was not looking at me. He was looking through the window at the bed. Grandpa looked delighted and much younger than his actual age. He looked …. He looked my mom’s age. I felt nauseated and I turned to look for mom or dad or Uncle Philip or anyone for help. I saw someone frantically waving and calling me back inside. I was relieved and motioned whoever that was to come and take us both. But they just stood there and kept on calling me. I said Grandpa that someone was calling for us. I turned gain with a sudden rage that no one bothered to come out and take this old man back to his house even at this late hour. ‘Let’s go, grandpa’ I said. But he stood there mumbling things to the window. I was losing my patience and grabbed Grandpa’s left hand. A shiver ran through my body. His hands were as cold as ice. ‘Grandpa….’ I called. He turned and smiled at me. He looked his age. The 89 year old man, who was so sick, who could barely talk for ten minutes without wheezing, the man who people believed won’t make it or pass not even an hour. ‘Grandpa…’ I called again.

Someone pulled me suddenly that I almost lost my balance. It was my cousin Grace. ‘What are you doing here alone?’ she asked. ‘What ….? I …… No… Grandpa’ I tried to say but her watery eyes and red face stopped me. ‘What’s wrong?’ I asked.
‘Grandpa is struggling. He is leaving us. Your mom sent me to find you’ she said. I was confused. ‘No he is not. He is fine and right…’ I turned to grandpa and froze when I saw no one there. I was standing alone right in front of the window of that old house.

Grace held my hand and ran as fast as she can to the house. I reached there and saw everybody weeping and praying. I couldn’t understand what is happening nor could I recognize my own relatives. ‘Grandpa said he wanted to go for a walk, but we didn’t let him. How could we, he was so sick again in the evening that he could barely stand on his feet’. I heard someone say it. Before I could say anything Grace pulled me into Grandpa’s room where all his kids and grandkids stood. I entered the room and someone pushed me to the front saying ‘he was saying your name’. I heard that and I couldn’t move further. My mom saw me and pulled me to the front where grandpa can see me. ‘Call him. Say his name. Say you are here’ someone whispered to me. I kept silent. My mom tried to wake him up. She said. ‘Dad, your Lilly is here’. He slowly opened his eyes and looked at me. Then closed his eyes again. ‘I think he doesn’t recognize her’. Someone said. I doubted it. Ofcourse he recognized me. It’s just he is not expecting this Lilly now. Suddenly he smiled and opened his eyes. ‘Oh he does recognize her. He is looking right at her’. Said aunt Celine. Grandpa said mumbled something. ‘What is it, dad?’ Aunt Celine asked. Only I heard what he said. ‘He is saying something to her’, Uncle Philip pointed at me. He mumbled again, this time bit louder. ‘Ah! There you are Lilly’ and then he died. Only I knew he was not looking at me.

Keep Your Belongings Safe

Such a stupid bus journey today. I know there are posters and securities saying loud and clear everyone to “Keep your belongings safe”. But if your time is bad and/or if your attention wanders off for even a second, I believe the worst can happen. I think I lost my self confidence and happiness on the bus. Because I had it on me when I  got on the bus. But when I got off I couldn’t find it. I searched my backpack many times with no luck. As I was searching my pockets for the lost happiness, I found a crumpled piece of my confidence. Ooh ooh, I also found some trust issues too. But I have no idea how it got there because I never knew I had that in my possession. I still couldn’t find my happiness and self confidence. Where did it go?

Well, I guess now I’ll have to work twice as hard to regain my lost things.

You be careful with your belongings, anyway.

Mirror Mirror…

Beginning with a simple question. Who are parents? If we go after the basic Wikipedia definition it will go like…

“A parent is a caregiver of the offspring in their own species. In humans, a parent is the caretaker of a child”.

But it’s so much more than that. The parents not just care for the kid but guides them through the stages of life. The confidence and the pride the parents show to their children are the key ingredients to their success. The parents become mirror to the children where the children can see themselves and feel proud or better themselves . The children also acts as mirrors reflecting their parents. How the parents treat the child is obvious in the child themselves. The support, the appreciation, the input a parent provides is reflected in the kids. Like a mirror. It reflects everything.

Just recently I saw a post on Instagram asking people to cheer not only for those who came out of toxic love relationships, but also for those who overcame a toxic parenting. That’s when I first heard about a thing called Toxic Parenting. I looked it up and found such an informative piece. ( God bless the internet ). This is what I found on the website of Healthline. 

When people discuss toxic parents they are typically describing parents who consistently behave in ways that cause guilt, fear, or obligation in their children. Their actions aren’t isolated events, but patterns of behaviour that negatively shape their child’s life.”

Whenever we talk about the things our parents do, there comes an additional clause saying ‘Parents are human being, and as human beings they make mistakes’. That’s where the problem begins. Not when they make a mistake, but when they fail to own it. When the parents make mistakes and hurt our emotions and cause us invisible damages, we expect them to admit their mistake and apologize for it. And if possible rectify it. But they never apologize nor do they admit their mistake. They are entitled by their Parenthood. They put all their wong doings in a big glass jar proudly and label it “For the Greater Good of My Kid”. Here I would like to add a clause and change it like this. “For the Greater Good of My Kid, I will Make Her Incompetent, Under Confident and Emotionally Unstable”

Toxic Parenting is not a scientifically defined term. It’s a feeling. And let’s just put it that way for the time being. Now the real question is how many of us are familiar with this toxic parenting. I believe even though we might not be well informed about, we would be familiar with the feeling. I am 100% sure that not all parents are Toxic. There are millions of examples of good parenting around us. But that doesn’t mean that Toxic Parenting is not a thing. It also doesn’t mean that what many of the kids feel isn’t real. Or that what they went through or are still going through is a result of their overthinking. Because for a long time, I justified my own parents saying it was for my own good. I believed them and I dreamed about myself as a capable and confident adult. I spend my days longing to hear a praise from them complimenting me on who I am. On the achievements I made. The waiting is still continued.

All through my life I was always controlled. Not by me. But by my Toxic Parent (let’s short it as TP). I was always told what to do and what not to do. And I obeyed. Because that’s what a child do to her parents. She obeys them. I was told to study. I studied. I was told to read books provided by them. I did. When I became a teenager ‘unfortunately’ I started writing journal. You have no idea how much I enjoyed writing it. It invigorated me. I wrote about everything that came to mind. Years later I learnt I was exercising the theory of stream of consciousness for the first time, that too,without realising it.

Good things don’t last much I guess. TP found out my diaries and God, that was a hell of a day. I was criticized for wasting time on doing silly things and not using that for studying. I tried to stop writing journal but couldn’t since I couldn’t get over the thrill I felt while writing it. So I started using a simple plain notebook instead of a proper journal. I was hoping I could hide it among my notebooks and TP would never find out. I succeeded in it.

Two more years later, I tried writing poems and short stories. I was scared to show it to my parents, so I hid it among my not-so-important file category. First it was two poems, then it became four, eight, and then even more. I was in boarding school for a few years. There I participated in competitions and won prizes. I was happy with it because I knew TP would never know about me participating. I can easily hide certificates because as long as they are certificates TP would never check what was it for.

Then I came back home and went to school as a day scholar. And I stopped participating in competitions just like that. But soon enough TP found my not-so-important file and found the papers. I was shaking with fear. Thankfully TP didn’t shout at me or even beat me. Instead she took the papers, crushed and put it in the dustbin and calmly said with a smile on her face “you shouldn’t be doing this now. This is your age for studying. Focus only on that. This poetry, stories all will make you a silly romantic and you will fall in love with someone. Is that what you want in your life?”  I shook my head and said No. Because obviously that’s the answer TP was looking for.
I stopped hiding them in my files. I always carried them with me. I started writing a teenage novel when I was fifteen, it was definitely a childish one but still I gave my friends to read it. They were so excited about it because that’s the first time one of their friends attempt in writing a novel. They supported me like no other ever did. As soon as I finished writing I shared it with my friends. And as soon as they finished reading, I burnt it into ashes.

Never leave any traces.

Portrait of a Froggy as a Cutie

So those who have read my previous posts would know that I talked about a small cartoon frog I used to draw. Those who haven’t read the post and don’t have a clue what I am talking about , can read the post here. Today I am uploading a drawing of the frog which I did very recently. Two reasons. One a lady asked to see the Frog. Second, Ms. Frog also could use some exposure. So behold..

Ms. Frog pondering about her life by a pond.

I am dedicating this picture to the beautiful lady who wished to see the frog. Anne Marie, dear, I hope my drawing met your expectations..

Am I weird?

People usually have a tendency to look for a familiar face in the crowd. Or they used to. I don’t know because nowadays all I see on social media is ‘I avoid people’ or ‘I hate people’ themed memes. To be honest I could relate to many of them too. But yet again I am comforted by a familiar face. Why I said this as a preface is that I am going to tell you about my weird or not so weird habit. May be many of you also already have it. If there is a book stack in the movie or the series I am watching, I’ll just pause it and look carefully at the titles to see if there is anything familiar. When I find one I’ll be all glad like unexpectedly running into an old but dear friend. “Oh my god, is that you dear..”

And sometimes if I find books that are on my whether to read it or not list, I’ll definitely read it. Because somehow I am convinced that the book is worth giving a shot since the production people decided to put it up among the others. I conveniently avoids the possibility that the director might have said ‘just bring in some books to fill these shelves to make the character look like a reader’. Instead I create an imaginary scenario where the director give those specific titles to the assistant, to bring in because they are some fine works and he/she want their viewers to know how tasteful the character’s choices are.

See, I told you it is a weird habit. Or not. I don’t know. You tell me. What is you weird habit. And what is your take on books shown in movies? Tell us in the comments..
Ciao Buddies …

What Happens When You Try One More Time ?

Do we try enough? I am just wondering. You know, we want or need something and we try for it. Sometimes we get it, sometimes we don’t. Did we try enough to earn or learn it? I am not blaming anyone or accusing or anything. I am just thinking. See, all I am asking is what if we tried a little more.

I’ll tell you my story. I was a terrible artist. All I knew to draw was a cartoon frog with bellybutton and two small dots as dimple. Not that I was embarrassed or anything. It was kind of cute and I was proud of it. Whenever we had a program in our class to decorate the blackboard we used to draw pictures on it. And as my contribution I would draw a happy little frog on the corner of the board. But that’s where my art began and ended. Well the frog wasn’t the only thing I knew to draw. I knew the common things like a butterfly, a simple five petaled flower etc. But that was so common and anyone could draw that. But the frog thing was my master piece. I waited for my artist classmates to draw pictures on my notebooks. I waited for them to draw on birthday cards for my best friend. Because let’s face it, I cannot always put a frog on everything because obviously it will start to look creepy.

So years passed and I still sticked on to my dimpled frog. And then the Corona happened. Everything was shut down, schools colleges, hang out places everything. Thankfully I had just finished my post graduation also so it was like recess time for me. One year and not much to worry about. I learned cooking and I ate them all. I read books, I watched movies and then I got bored. That’s when I decided to learn a new skill. First I drew random and simple pictures. Then I tried to draw some Madhubani drawings. To my surprise I did not so bad actually. I made a decision to watch YouTube tutorials on drawing pictures and follow their instructions. And I was good enough.  In short, I was so glad and proud of myself that I tried it. I wanted to have a new skill when I come out of this pandemic, now I have it. Though the pandemic is not over yet.

Also it’s not so nice to use ‘in short’ when I have already poured out such a long paragraph. All I was trying to say is that we need to think if we try enough. May be we do. I don’t know. But I wasn’t trying enough before and I was happy with my froggy and settled for it. Then I decided to set a goal and tried and tried to achieve it. Now I have it, in me. Don’t think I am a polished or an accomplished artist. I am still an amateur. Till now I didn’t have it. Now I have a bit of it. A little bit of something is better than nothing.

So I am telling you this, if you have planned on trying ten times or have already tried a ten times, make it a eleven . Try one more time. Just try.

Ciao Buddies….

Love & Marriage

I was 21 when my mother came to know about my second relationship . As usual she didn’t receive it well and cried for 3-4 days. She didn’t stop until I promised to break up with the guy. I had to lie to her, you know. It hurts.
Not to blame her, the culture of Kerala and India generally is the villain here.

Here in Kerala,  a love relationship before marriage is mostly shameful. You are not allowed to love anyone before marriage. That doesn’t mean people don’t love, it means it is looked down upon. Majority of the parents become hysterical when they hear about their daughter’s relationship. They verbally abuse the daughter and sometimes beat her up too. Most of the parents do emotional blackmailing and threaten to committ suicide. (I am not kidding). Love before and outside wedlock is unacceptable. That’s why people use the word ‘affair’ more while talking about a love relationship. And FYI living together and casual dating is out of question. You date to marry, if you don’t marry the person you are dating you are a bad girl. Obviously this norm isn’t applicable to boys.

When it comes to marriages, parents choose their children’s partners most of the time. Parents dream about their child’s wedding. It includes finding their partners also. Love marriages are whole heartedly welcomed if
1. You are a man
2. the groom you found is higher in social and financial status.
Or if your parents are liberal minded.
My mother couldn’t accept the fact that I found my own life partner. So she didn’t talk to me and when she did it was to cry and talk me out of it.

Then again my parents weren’t that bad. Because they didn’t abuse me nor did they threaten me. My father didn’t bother to comment on it and all my mother did was cry. Which is bearable when compared to many other people’s situation.

The system and procedure of marriage is also interesting here. In Christian families, first the parents  collects all the details from the other family. I mean if Sam is looking for a woman to marry, then Sam’s family will collect all the details about the woman’s side of family. If details  seems just fine, then comes the official customs. The first is ‘pennu kaanal’ which means bride seeing. The prospective groom along with a bunch of relatives comes to meet the girl. The two families get to know each other a bit and the P. G (Prospective Groom) and P. B (Prospective Bride) are allowed to talk to each other for like 10 minutes max, may be? If everything is perfect and no obvious faults are found, soon the P.B’s family visits the house of P.G. If the house is good  enough and his relatives are fine too, then the marriage is fixed. After that an official ceremony is conducted at the church where the engagement takes place.  And then comes the wedding.

After the wedding the bride moves in with her husband to his house. If it is the elder son of the family then he builds a new house and lives there with his wife and kids.
The system of marriage here is actually funny. A few days ago I saw cartoon on Instagram. That sums up a woman’s married life. Let me show you that.

From Official Eyes Wide Shut, Instagram

Nowadays movies are made on the life of married woman in a middle class kerala household. I think that’s a wonderful initiative. With that many people have started to notice things that were otherwise ignored or normalized. The Great Indian Kitchen is ranked number one on the list of such movies. If you want to know more about the movie click here.

Do you know there are thousands of Indian movies on love? Not just love, these movies  are  mostly about the couples who fight the whole world  to defend their love and have a happy life. The movies aren’t lying. A huge number of people have to fight for their love. They have to convince family, relatives and sometimes even distance relatives too.
Heard of Honour killing? It is a fast  growing issue in India. This is an evidence of such struggles. “Honour killing  or shame killing, is the murder of a member of a family, due to the perpetrators’ belief that the victim has brought shame or dishonor upon the family, or has violated the principles of a community or a religion with an honour culture”.(Wikipedia) If or when a person marries someone who isn’t the same caste/class/religion as his/her the relatives kill the both of them in the name of honour. Sometimes a whole village gangs up against the couple and brutally murders them.
This system is mostly seen in uncivilised villages in India. There are movies on the same topic too. There is this one amazing  movie named Zairat in which you  can watch the plight of two young teens who went against the society. Now that I think about it I am so gonna write a blog  on that movie for sure.
What I planned to write about and what I wrote seems so different now. Sorry people.

So my parents didn’t approve my relationship earlier and I had to hide it for like 4 years.  Now my marriage is fixed with the same guy and all the above said customs are awaiting. I am so excited. Hurrey…

Ciao Buddies…

A pinch of insight

You know who can give us the best motivation, we ourselves. Talking to yourself either out loud or in mind as an internal conversation can do wonders. I have learned that. I will give you an instance.

I was learning to drive and three of the instructors were standing and watching me. There are poles which were put up to mark border and we are supposed pass beside it and not touch or hit it. And I in a panic hit two iron poles. Dang! Luckily the instructors didn’t say anything. But I myself was ashamed. Nevertheless I started my soliloquy and it went somewhat like this. “It’s okay. It happens, you are here to learn, just like everybody else. But our aim should be to cover an eight (In India we are asked to drive through an ‘8’ to get the two wheeler license) without the foot touching ground and not hitting a pole. All you have to do is focus more and preplan your movements. You will be fine “

Believe me, I was totally fine after that. And for the rest of the day I didn’t hit any pole, nor did I touch the ground with feet. That’s when I realized that I can help myself. I can motivate and support myself just like any other person could do. When I thought about it I felt like to sharing with my people. So here I am sharing my little home remedy.

How do you comfort yourself in situations of stress or crisis. Do tell us. We would love to know. Ciao Buddies…

Revisiting Malayalam Movies

#1 Hitler (1996)

Today I want to talk about a Malayalam movie. Not a review, not a synopsis. It’s just a revisit. Let’s go, shall we?

Hitler is one of the biggest hit in the career of megastar Mammootty. He is considered to be the epitome of masculinity among Malayali audience. In this movie as well he represents the men of Kerala.The title Hitler refers to the character played by Mammootty. He is locally known as Hitler due to his rough and tough character. He has a dominating personality with a rage towards the youngsters of the area for eve teasing and stalking his 5 younger sisters. Madhavankutty is the guardian of his sisters. He has already confirmed that women needs to be protected. Madhavankutty leading his sisters on the road is a symbol. Man who have the power, walks in front and submissive women obediently follows him. This representation of social reality was well received by the all time audience.

The ability to take one’s own decision is the strength of independence and basis of feminism. In this movie Madhavankutty never allows his sisters to express their opinions. He had been looking after the family since the death of their mother. Their father  is married again with two daughters and his children from the first marriage do not even speak to him. 

Throughout the movie we see Madhavankutty telling his sister what to do and what not to do. In the beginning, he even raises his voice and scolds his sisters for confessing that she ‘knows’ a boy. He accompanies or rather leads his sisters to and from their college. When he is busy with his work, he appoints a body guard for his sisters to do the same. He is an over possessive and over protective brother. All the more they are not allowed to go or stand outside of the gate without him.
Madhavankutty is portrayed as a rough man to others but for his sisters he is a dotting brother who provides everything for his sisters. Madhavankutty brings lots of clothes for his sisters.  Madhavankutty is the one who go shopping and brings clothes. The girls wear whatever they are given. Clearly the brother chooses for his sisters.

Madhavankutty is the protective patriarchal brother who can’t  understand that these girls know better to take care of themselves. He has taken it on his shoulders to marry off his sisters and he is adamant that he will find partners for them. As he leaves the home to find a suitable guy for the eldest of his sisters, the girls are seen way too much excited indicating how frustrated or subdued they felt . They literally fist pump and jump. They sneak out with their cousin Gouri and go outing. (A song of happiness is followed, obviously)

In the absence of Madhavankutty Balachandran gets into his house to be with Ammu his prospected bride, and gets caught. This results in the hostility between the two families and Madhavankutty opposes any of the decided marriages to happen between families. Balachandran on the other hand wants to make them happen.

Things change when the eldest sister Seetha goes through an unfortunate incident where her unmarried professor under the influence sexually abuse her. Coming back to senses, the professor confesses his act to Madhavankutty. At first he becomes angry and beats him. But then professor says that he was drunk and Seetha didn’t try to protest either. Devastated on hearing this and how this incident could affect the lives of his sisters he goes with the solution that to marry off Seetha to the Professor. The confession of Professor who exploited his sister is well received by Madhavankutty. He later says that he will blame neither Professor nor Seetha. But he was upset that his sister lost something that made her herself. For him she was not the same anymore. He in order to escape from the possible ‘defamation’ for his sister was raped, he marries off her to the old Professor who is somewhat thirty years older than her. He didn’t bother to listens to what his sister has to say. He confronts Seetha and tells her that whether she likes it or not she has to marry the same professor. Because marrying someone else will be cheating in the brother’s opinion. Also he tells her that consider it as her destiny. (A destiny chosen by the brother ).
The sisters become shocked to know that their elder sister is being married off to an older professor and they questions their brother. Their bodyguard Sathyapalan brings clothes for the wedding. Ammu becomes furious and throws away the clothes Madhavankutty has brought for them. She asks whether the groom hunting was a drama. She further says that the sisters wont let him to marry off  their elder sister to an old man. Madhavankutty answered her question by slapping Ammu hard across her face and shouts that if he wills, he will marry off everyone as he wishes and no one will be able to stop him. (God, I hate that character)

This is Hitler. He doesn’t think of himself as answerable to anyone. Second, he silences everyone with violence. He overpower his sisters with the masculine authority that society and he himself bestowed upon him.
Ammu who couldn’t agree with her brother’s decision, leaves the house and marries Balachandran. This infuriates Madhavankutty and breaks every ties with her too. His sister disobeying him was unacceptable to him. Also Ammu choosing Balachandran over Madhavankutty makes him despise Balan as well. Soon Madhavankutty’s father is killed by an enemy family leaving his two daughters orphan. Madhavankutty brings the two step sisters under his roof. But his other sisters are against this and they leave the house to stay with Balachandran and Ammu in the nearby house. He goes till the gate, apologizes for whatever he has done and asks his sisters to come out. Ammu comes out alone and tells that the sisters don’t want to live with him anymore. Madhavankutty become aggressive and shouts at Ammu that who is she to say that his sisters don’t want to come with him. She coolly replies that she is their elder sister who has the same rights and responsibility to sisters as much as he has. He shuts her up and ask how dare she could speak of her right over the girls. Madhavankutty is raged to hear that Ammu too have right over the sisters and they are not his ‘property’ only. His ego is hurt and authority is questioned. He believes his authority and rights over his sisters are limitless and unquestionable. The mere fact that the elder sister is speaking for the younger ones infuriates the brother. He becomes angry when he feels that Ammu is making decision for the sisters. The irony is, this is exactly what he has been doing all these time. He has been taking decisions for and over protecting them. But when Ammu started to do the same or he thought she was doing so he couldn’t handle it nor he could accept it.
Madhavankutty keeps on shouting and raising voice at Ammu while the other people in the scene are talking rather peacefully and matter of factly.

Yelling is one of the most reprehensible acts of abuse. It is demeaning hostile and threatening with the intend of chastising. He yelled because his sisters denied to go with him and Ammu stood by them as a sister. He was disobeyed and his authority was questioned.

Gouri is portrayed as an extremely impulsive and opinionated woman. She enjoys her life and freedom unlike Madhavakutty’s sisters. She loves Madhavankutty who never shows love or affection to her. He even hates it when she comes to his home and talks to his sisters. He believes she is a bad influence on them. Madhavankutty behaves like a master or leader always. He carries himself as a saviour of women. First of his own sisters and then of his step sisters. It resembles the White knight syndrome. It is a personality characteristic found in most males that lead them to ;
1. Rush to the aid of any female they see who appears in any form of distress.
2. Become attracted to said ‘damsel in distress’
3. Follow the dying code of chivalry and generally act like a nice guy.
Men affected by the White Knight Syndrome are men who feel the need to protect, provide attention and affection, be viewed as ‘heroic’, boost their ego and generally feel good about themselves. (Not my words)

In this movie Madhavankutty chases Hrudhayabhanu, his regular victim, and beats him furiously because he saw him gesturing and talking to his sisters. The fact that his sister Thulasi likes him back and enjoys his presence doesn’t matter to him. Believing that she needs help Madhavankutty abuses Hrudhayabhanu.
When Madhavankutty confirms that he won’t marry Gouri she tries to persuade him through a song sequence. He ignores her throughout but at the end he runs towards her thinking that she has fallen from some height. But that was a prank and she says she will wait for him to marry her. He who wants to protect his good boy image warns the workers who saw everything, not to tell any of what happened, otherwise he will beat them too. He gives them some money too. (What an unusual way of charity, right?🤪)
Gouri surprisingly enjoys the verbal abuse her supposed to be fiancé gives her. According to Madhavankutty, she is a spoiled girl who he fears might spoil his sisters too. Gouri go to Madhavankutty’s house only in his absence. If she happens to be seen by him, he scolds her and insults her for not being a ‘good girl’. Obviously she doesn’t meet the criteria of a good girl made by him. Being bold and having opinions is bad in his book. Hence she is insulted, scolded and humiliated whenever they are face to face. Surprisingly or not so surprisingly Gouri enjoys this and considers this as a gesture of love. She is head over heels for a guy who never shows at least a glimpse of love for her.

His sisters also loves him so much even after so much tyranny and domination. The sisters can’t think of a life without their brother. Stockholm syndrome is a psychological condition in which a hostage emotionally bonds to his/her captor. The sisters are so used to be in under control of their brother that a life where they should take a decision by themselves must be terrifying for them. They are so familiar with Madhavankutty’s violence towards people. Hence when they here Balachandran has been beaten up by their brother, they immediately believe it. All through their life they have seen Madhavankutty chasing people, verbally abusing and beating them severely. This is the reason why people call him Hitler and the sisters believed that he could beat his Brother- in law also.

At the end when  Madhavankutty leaves everyone and decides to wander places to understand the meaning of life Gouri and the sisters stand outside the gate and Gouri wolf whistles at a boy who was passing by them. He stops the bycycles and whistles back. Seeing this, Madhavankutty who with his anti Romeo attitude shouts at the boy and takes a u turn towards them. The movie ends where girls jump in delight to see their brother back. On the screen it is written that he can neither change his habits nor can he leave everything and go. Evidently everyone accepts the fact that he is never going to change his dominating and controlling personality.

The movie used a number of comic elements and a few comic characters to evoke laughter among audience. This movie focused mainly on brother sister relationship and few other things surrounded to it.  The funniest thing is this film is considered as an epitome of a brother’s love for his sister(s).

Hey there, if you liked this article, please like and/or comment. Your feedback means a lot to me. Also if you want me to revisit any other Malayalam/Hindi/English movie, do tell me.. Ciao buddies….


Flawed is one of the perfect books Cecelia Ahern has ever written. It’s her first YA (Young Adult ) . Those who don’t know what YA stands for no need to worry. Young Adult is genre of fiction for readers from 12-18. It mainly deals with  friendship, first love, relationships, and identity.  And Flawed is a combination of all the four. First of all I  would like to appreciate Cecelia Ahern for getting out of her comfort  zone.

I am a girl of definitions, of logic, of black and white. Remember this.

That is all the first chapter says. The novel goes through the perspective of Celestine North and the lines said earlier is by her. That’s enough to deduce her character. She is a model daughter and model student. Her life is picture perfect. She is dating Art Crevan, the son of Judge Crevan. Bosco Crevan is the head judge of a committee named the Guild. Now let me explain you the system of guild. It is a system to inquire and punish people who are accused of being Flawed. The flawed are common citizens who have made moral or ethical mistakes. It’s like a different version of common judicial system. The crimes are different and so are the punishments.

Wanna feel chills on your spine, listen to this.
On the first day of trial which is called the naming day, the judges decide whether the accused is flawed or not. If yes, the crimes he/she did is named in public and a brand F is seared on one of the five parts of the person’s body. The branding location depends on the crime.

1. Bad decision – The temple
2. Lying – The tongue
3.  Stealing – The right palm
4.  Disloyalty towards the Guild – The chest over the heart
5. Stepping  out of line with society – The sole of their right foot.

They sear this brand to the body of the people.
Don’t think the punishment ends here. Nope. It’s just the beginning. The branding is how it begins. Lives of the flawed people are restricted, controlled and strictly monitored. They lose all their privileges. Whistleblowers are police like figures of Guild, who arrest and control the flawed people. They are authoritarian. Some people are appointed like supervisors to the flawed to do surprise visits and inspection. They make sure the flawed are not wearing their favourite clothes or not eating tasty food. Or they are not outside of the house past curfew time. Basically those monitors make sure that the flawed are not leading a normal or happy life.

Remember Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Just like that in here the flawed are asked to wear an arm band with a red letter F on their sleeve so as to identify them in a crowd. No more than two flawed can stand, sit or talk together. They are not allowed to eat what they like or wear their favourite colours. They are not allowed to stay out of the house after 10 pm.

Our girl, Celestine is in full favour of this system, because she believes it is necessary for a flawless future generation. Her mother is a model in high demand and her father is the head of a news channel. She has one younger sister and brother. The perfect family. Her life takes a turn for the worse when she helps an old flawed man on a bus. After that all of a sudden she is the centre of attraction. ‘Judge Crevan’s son’s girlfriend is on trial for a flaw’. The flaw being aiding a flawed person. That’s right, she is on trial for helping an old sick man who happened to be a flawed.  She hasn’t done a crime. So she won’t be going to prison. She is just ethically flawed and hence official police and judiciary have nothing to do with her. Here begins the trial of Celestine North and her own conscience. I will narrate the story till this only. Now you should read the book to know what is the punishment for helping a flawed person.

What happens with Celestine changes the life of not just her or her family. But the whole of the flawed community. The peace and order the society had till then is starts break down. Celestine was a person who always followed logic and what happend in her life was illogical to her. (To us, also ). The plot takes place in an unmentioned dystopian society where being flawless is the ultimate goal. The girl who lived her whole life according to definitions is suddenly put in the opposite side of the society.

The thing about this novel is that the language is simple and plain with no embellishments. Such a page turner it is that you can finish it within two days. Also the story is with lots of cliffhanger and exciting events that you’ll find it hard to put down. It begins like any other Cecelia’s novels. But when we meet the Guild, it becomes difficult to not acknowledge the author’s brilliance in coming up with such ideas.
Though it is Young adult for teens, I can promise you that adults also will love it. I really feel like telling you what happens next but that’ll be unfair to you. The struggle Celestine faces is the rest of the story. Not just struggles but also threats. It’s kind of obvious what will happen to the guild system. Too many cooks spoil the broth, right?

There is an incident that made me feel anger pulsating through my veins. The woman incharge of Celestine goes through the her diary without her permission. Because apparently a flawed is not allowed to have privacy. Again they are less than humans. God I wanted to punch that sneaky bi***.

(Nope.. Nope.. No violence.. Breath in Breath out…) The one thing I hate to the core is reading someone else’s personal diary. It’s one of the most heinous non-crime crime.
Celestine’s life doesn’t end there. Yes her life is changed. She is thrown far away from being perfect. (Read it) There is a limit for her family in helping her. Art (boyfriend) or Juniper (sister) can’t do much. But there are people who can help her. The Flawed.

The novel ends in middle of a crucial situation. The novel became a huge hit within a few days because the plot is such gripping. It’s one of the books which I want to see as a movie. It would be amazing. Let me draw a picture for you. The trailer begins with Celestine celebrating earth day with her family and Judge Crevan. Art and her holding hands and sneaking a kiss. Suddenly sirens and whistleblowers in the background. They drag a woman out of her house infront of everyone. Celestine and family become worried and scared. Art tries to hold her hand to comfort, but she rids the hand and hugs herself nervously. Next scene should be the old man on the bus coughing and collapsing, Celestine carries and supports him. A serious looking Judge Bosco Crevan is zoomed in. People booing and protesting against Celestine, close up of the branding tool. A scared Celestine is looking around. A reporter animatedly talking infront of a crowd. Close up of her family crying, She is running frantically through the jungle, the back shot of a boy talking to Celestine. Again so much running and finally a puzzled Celestine is in the middle of the road at night, with a car stopped right infront of her, the lights blinding her vision and an outline of a woman can be seen.

Alright. may be my version of trailer is so cliche. But then again I am 100% sure this novel would make a superb movie. I could feel what she was going through. I could empathize with her. The book has a sequel titled Perfect which was again such an eventful one. To know the story completely you need to read both. I liked Cecelia even before I read Flawed. But after reading it and Perfect, I am head over heels for her. Read it guys. It’s a simple and plain YA thriller.

If you have read these novels, comment your opinions and reviews. If you liked my review please follow my page. I am just beginner so your feedback will be so much appreciated. Ciao buddies…