Sunday, December 25, 2016

The secret.

‘What makes your marriage tick?’ asked a young bunch of cadets to their senior officer, ‘What is the secret of the longevity of your marriage?’

He paused for a while as if trying to focus his attention on something, and then looked at the young bunch with a calm smile, and said, ‘I told my wife in the early years of our marriage, there might be several reasons why you married me. But now that we are together you will get to know me better and get several more reasons to leave me… Leave me, if you will. Now. I won’t utter a word. But it you change your mind after the birth of our children, for every single reason that you might find to hate me, I’ll find a hundred more to love you and hang on to you. I will not let you give up and go after we have children. Then you will be stuck with me for life. Because I’ll not let our children grow and spend time alternatively with two single parents who use them as tools against each other. You have your chance now. After this, I will not let the hatred grow!’

He then paused, ‘that was my excuse to keep my wife hooked. Before you decide to stay on, together, ask yourself at least once – are you together because you care for the institution of the marriage or for each other. Decide on one of the options and then spent rest of your life finding a reason for what you care. I found mine. You find yours. And have an everlasting innings!’

On Divorce

It’s always good to get a divorce on the day of marriage. That way, you never have to deal with the eerie feeling of having to remember the good times you have had as a happy couple. You can, this way, say good bye to the person you don’t want to spend any moment of your time, ever again. You can, in other words, divorce for good. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

On love and life.

Having grown in a broken home (as in always getting caught in the cross fire of two ever fighting parents) I always wondered (to the point of having no expectations whatsoever from a married partner) may be this is how it should be - we aren’t meant to be happy and peaceful. Just the way they keep repeating in several holy books - we are all sinners. We do not have the right to smile!

Being used to the heavily dominating ‘defense personal’ dad, it took years for both my brother and me to adjust and get ‘normalized’ in the society. And more importantly, take our own decisions - in matters that concern our life or career, especially life. It took me long years’ wisdom – that probably came with age or having faced death first-hand or both – to start loving life.

In 2008, just before I was about to go abroad for my higher studies, I met the most wonderful girl - for the second time. I had met her before (having been colleagues, briefly - but that was couple of years back). This time, I saw her in a completely different light and was surprised as where she was hiding all these years.

Back then, with every condition stacked against us, all we could do was to promise each other to wait till things get normal. And as we waited, she continued with her career here while I struggled with my student life there. Only thread that held us together was the will to stay committed to each other – as if we had something to prove to the world.

Ours was a long distance relationship for most of the period. We would be on phone 24 x 7 (Thank God for ‘Topup Calls’), giving each other every little detail of our respective daily lives. Thinking up of all kinds of ‘stupid-to-the-world-but-special-to-us’ little surprises to keep our relation alive. We also wrote, more importantly. (I don’t understand when people say ‘I can’t write’ when I say ‘write if you can’t talk’ - I mean we are only talking about vomiting your heart out, not to write a literary piece). Writing long letters/mails helped us to understand each other better than talking. And then we fought!

Every little squabble, every little argument, every little quarrel - brought us even closer – every time we stopped fighting and made up. We didn’t have eyes and ears for anything else. The relation to us was our very life.

I wouldn’t say we were alike. I was nothing like what she was. She always talked sense. I never even thought that way. She is smarter at managing finance. I am hopeless when it comes to saving money. She is much more grounded. I get excited easily. That’s an irony - considering the backgrounds we came from. Her household had a laid-back attitude towards everything in life. They mostly lived in the present. While we were brought up like it was a boarding school, and not a home – to us, my brother and me, school time was an escape. In her own thousand little ways, she complemented me the way I never expected would happen to me in my entire life!

Yet we were alike still. She gave importance to those very little things that I had importance for – and probably that’s why we lasted so long. Even without any formal ties.

(Let me add a little wisdom here. Most people don’t realize what they are talking about when they say we are quite alike in our tastes and interests – e.g. I have heard people quite immaturely quoting – we both have similar hobbies. Or, we like the same kind of movies. Or, this one’s epic – our favorite colors are the same! I don’t know if they really matter much - in a relationship. You can very well have different interests and still have a healthy relationship – this way you also get to give something new to your partner that they can’t have for themselves!)

Now friends often ask me about my story - as in how we managed to pull it off. That’s no secret as such but still most people do manage to overlook these thing. It’s just that when together, your (combined) outlook or attitude towards life needs to be alike.  

This is one thing I always tell anyone who care to listen – to have a ‘fight’.

To understand where the equation of your relationship lies, have an argument, lead that to a full-blown fight, sulk for a while, then try making up – what you get as a result is what is left of the relation!

Ideally, there are three kinds of people – in all kinds of relationships – not just husband-wife, but this holds good in all kinds of equations (between lovers/friends/siblings/parents-kids).

First there are people who are never affected by whatever happens to the relation. Today they smile and laugh with you. Tomorrow, they don’t think twice before leaving you and moving on to smile and laugh with someone else, if a quarrel is to occur between the two of you. You will be hurt. But neither do they realise nor are they concerned if you are hurt. To them, life should always be good and chirpy. They just don’t want to fix things. I would say they are good till the first real ‘fight’ you have. After that they are gone for good.

Then there is the second kind. These are equally hurt - just like you are – after a fight - which is good. But to them their ego is much more important than the relationship. Therefore, despite the fact it hurts them equally badly, they sulk into eternity but cut off all ties with you mostly leaving no room for communication - they are ready to sulk till they die. They will readily live with all kinds of toxins the body produces, but aren’t ready to let go and live. The other person has to first find a way to break in. And then, bend their knee and beg. Until then, they really don’t budge. Such people and such relationships are toxic. I would mildly put it – run. For your lives. And for everything else in between.

(You might think, what’s wrong if the one person bends down a little for the other – nothing wrong if both the people involved take turns at it. It might not seem bad in the beginning, but slowly the one getting pressed will start keeping accounts of all such moments, and a moment will soon arrive, when all the pent-up emotions will burst out and all the accounts would be laid bare. That won't be good for either of them – getting it or should I talk more?!)

Then there is the third kind. They put their relationship above everything else. They are hurt. But they hate the toxins so much that they don’t let them develop. They jump at the first opportunity for a compromise. But they take care to have a sensible heart-to-heart conversation, and let the argument have a proper closure - as soon as the tempers stop flaring. They, my friends, are for keeps. Give all you have to keep such people in your lives. You are sure to have a life that’s fulfilling!

Now this is where ‘respect’ comes in. I keep hearing people harping on love and passion and other stuff that attracted them towards each other. I don’t see anything wrong with that. But how long do you think would these last, without respect? I seriously feel respect is the booster that make us, try countless ways to continue falling in love with our own partner. Or, keep ourselves on toes to continually remain attractive for them – to keep the passion alive.

When you have respect, you take care not to hurt each other. And if one gets hurt, its respect that makes you ‘empathize’. Because that’s when you realize the need to kiss and make up - every time you have an issue!

When my wife and I decided to get married in 2012, we had two choices before us - we could either waste our lives waiting endlessly for someone’s indecisiveness or we could build a happy life for ourselves and prove ourselves right.

This could be one of the reasons why we never try to prolong any arguments (We can’t go back crying, having failed, can we?)  All along, during all our little fights, however severe the issue would be, we make it a point - never to take the toxins to bed.

To me, my marriage is definitely a blessing. And after all these years, I have (finally) made up my mind to have a laid back approach to view things. I have become calmer. I have learned to let go. What’s more, we are busy enjoying the new-found parenthood – yet another reason to thank each other countless more times!

Once, while we waited, I asked her why she was taking all these troubles, waiting for me, fighting the world. She said, ‘I am not waiting for you, but living because of you’. No one else had said or done anything like that before – let alone finding me ok enough to love me. Sounds flattering, though I still wonder what she saw in me when she chose to stay with me. May be it’s her kindness.

And when you change, you are usually the last one to know that. Friends who’ve known me from ages, even my brother, sometimes, tell me I have changed, a lot. I don’t feel any change about myself though. Well, if others do find me changed, then maybe I have. But I feel good about myself. That way, the change should be for the good.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

As she turns two...

Since the last two years, life's been beyond my expectations. Wallets have made a habit of staying empty. Clothes remain constantly shabby. Walls are full of crayon marks. Paper bits are everywhere on the floor. Can't find anything where they are supposed to be, especially the scissors. Can't leave the cupboards open. Can't use the toilets with the doors closed. Can't walk around the house without stepping on toys. Can't leave the pipelines open and switchboards unattended. Can't leave for work in the morning without a-kilometre-round-joy-ride. Can't return from work without buying 'special' gifts, even then bags, pockets and purses are checked for anything ‘curious’. Can’t use laptop or phone without being constantly interrupted. 

Like I said, life’s never been more exciting. And I’ve never been happier. My little princess just turned 2, two days back!!

Today, I have no regrets. Past is all forgotten. Future looks extremely hopeful. And my destiny is, thankfully, no longer my own.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

ഓണ്‍ ഹൌ ടു ലിവ് യുവര്‍ ലൈഫ്

ശരിയായ ജീവിതം ഇത്രയൊക്കെ തന്നേ ഉള്ളു.. തുടങ്ങുന്നതിനും മുന്‍പ് അവസാനിക്കും.. അതു കൊണ്ട് തന്നെ സ്വന്തം രീതിയില്‍ മറ്റൊള്ളവരെ ഉപ്ദ്രവികാതെ അന്നാല്‍ വേണ്ടാത്ത താല്പര്യങ്ങള്‍ക്ക് വഴങ്ങാതെ സ്വന്തം സ്വപ്നങ്ങള്‍ക്കയീ ജീവികുക്കാ..

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Thanks for the spark, Chetan!

Sooner or later. Or someday, I had to write. At least begin writing. Almost like my life depended on it. As if I had no other options but to write. And I have to mention Chetan Bhagat. The main reason why I thought I’d give writing a shot. I mean, he is so effortless. When you read him, it looks like even I can write. Some inspiring people.

If I meet him one day (if ever I get an opportunity to meet him, that is) I’ll walk up to him and say, ‘Sir, you are the foremost reason why I finally started writing. I mean I have been contemplating to write since many years. But like they say the immediate reason for the initiation of the First World War was the assassination of the Prince of or Second World War was the attack on Poland, mine was because I happened to read one of your books out of the blue. Suddenly. Just like that.

I am not going to comment on the quality of his writings. No sir. I mean, anyone could be a critic. It’s so easy to sound intelligent at someone else’s expense. To me, he is the man who coxed the writer in me. To draw the chair. Sit. Put the pen to the paper. And write. And thanks to him, I have completed my first movie script. 

Efforts are on. It may or may not make it to the silver screen. But even if it doesn't I’d still be thankful to him.

Next target – to be a published author.

Yes, I have made up my mind to be India’s most loved writer too. May be a little less loved than Chetan Bhagat. But to be loved, still. Thanks Chetan Bhagat. For that little spark you ignited in me.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Life as a married man

(Just found this piece. Although its been almost 3 years, since I've been married, I couldn't resist posting this one here. Prazi and me, are proud parents to a soon-to-be 2-year-old Ammukutty, today. It does seem a little late. But then, who cares. And incidentally, this was written in early January 2012) 

Looking back at the past one and half month as a married man.

Marrying isn’t as scary as I expected it to be, after all. I mean, today, I have a beautiful wife and a cute little place to call our home and a glass bowl with a golden fish (there were four, three died), three little potted plants (Tulsi, Rose & Jasmine), a within-budget life, and a few seem-to-be-happy-with-us-or-so sort of neighbors. And she, my wife, on her part, makes sure I eat every single morsel on my plate every time we sit to eat, even if that means to literally feed me with her hands. Like my mother used to do. Till the very previous day of the accident that took her life away.

It’s almost like certain memories, keep coming back to me. Sometimes, I do get up at night, all of a sudden, just to take a look at her, sleeping peacefully next to me.  There are yet other times, when I draw her arm to place my head, before going back to sleep, hugging her, like I used to with my mother.

Prazi is undoubtedly the best thing that has happened to me in these 32 years. This is the first time I wanted something and I really got it, albeit, with my father’s disapproval. But then when did he ever agree to anything that I wanted to have in my life. I do wish sometimes I had the sternness my brother had whenever he dealt with my father.

Anyways, let’s not get there. Forget it. I never mentioned it (It’d be better if I deleted the last line. But then, let the little unhappy part of my life remain highlighted. Lest all this happiness make me haughty).

I am a dreamer. Period. I have lived all my life (so far) for them, as they are the sole reason that makes me tick (so good). Have they come true? Not yet. Not all of them. But am I nearly there? I’d love to believe so.

But these days, I do get a strange sensation. Like I almost feel things have finally started working for me. Like something very big and beautiful is almost at my doorstep.

Monday, July 21, 2014

A 2-Second Hug

Ammukutty, my daughter's hug lasts for 2 seconds sharp. After which she pulls away to run towards her mother. In my opinion, duration of their hug lasts longer. Not that I get jealous, the point here is, I haven't been to paradise. But I don't think it would be prettier than my Ammoosee's 2-second hug.. :)

Thursday, January 02, 2014

What an average Indian citizen want from its government

As ordinary citizens, all we ask for is 

1. A strong control over inflation
2. Prevention of corruption at all levels
3. Food safety for one and all
4. Highly safe country for all its inhabitants
5. Stricter laws to ensure safety for women, especially anti-rape laws
6. Clean drinking water for all citizens

7. Advanced, affordable and accessible healthcare facilities for all citizens of the country
8. Free and ‘qualitative’ education for all - at least up to high school level
9. Better employment opportunities for the youth by fostering and nurturing entrepreneurship
10. Highly advanced common infrastructure
11. Sound and long-lasting roads

12. Highly sound waste management facilities
13. Well laid-out and maintained drainage systems
14. Uninterrupted power supply
15. Justice for all in its true sense of the word. 

And on our part, as responsible citizens of India, we are ready to 

1. Stay loyal to our country
2. Work harder in the professions of our choice – while staying within the law, being responsible for our actions, and making good money through rightful and fair means (working hard on being innovative and creative)
3. Pay taxes
4. Follow the rules and obey the laws
5. Co-operate with the public officials in the discharge of their duties
6. Stop getting corrupted or influencing others to be corrupted
7. Resist injustice from any quarter responsibly
8. Vote - if necessary (personally, I don’t mind being ruled by a dictator or a king or an elected leader as long as all the needs are taken care of)
9. Contribute to the development of society around us and towards the progress of our country using the individual capabilities of each one of us. 

I seriously and positively hope good things will happen in 2014 and in the years to come. As in, I seriously and positively hope for it to happen!!!

Friday, October 25, 2013

On being a writer.

Off course, I like to write. But a writer is not what I want myself to be known as ultimately.

A film maker, who has beautiful, touching and thought provoking stories to tell, that’s how I want myself to be known as. But God, sometimes work in the queerest way. Whenever I selflessly work towards my goal, braving all the odds, fate (God’s ways) push me towards a completely opposite direction – tempting me offering a glimpse of a quicker route to heaven – almost every time with yet another tempting job offer that requires me to write.

It happened in 2007, when I was about to give up my career in advertising, having stepped into movies, as an assistant director. It’s happened time and again ever since. Bringing me lucrative job offers, both in India and abroad. Almost every time when I was cash strapped.

Writing has always stayed with me. And it is the only thing that has kept me floating. I don’t think I can run away from it anymore. I think I should stop. May be I should plan something really big with writing. That would actually get me known as a writer. A book perhaps. And publish it too.

On temptations.

Temptations are but natural. Be it in any kind of relation, one always encounters it at one point or the other. Just because there is a new means of excitement opens up before you, it doesn’t really mean infidelity is the next logical step.

It is up to us whether to accept signals that may or may not come our way. Or, rather send it to a potential receiver. It’s easy to indulge citing totally humane reasons such as a weak heart, or lack of will power. But is that really very difficult to resist them?

Each one of us has a private space we keep to ourselves, come what may. Keep it there, unknown to rest of the world, known only to perhaps the object of your admiration, feel good about ourselves, once in a while. As a sweet memory. Best way to indulge. Without any complications. Whatsoever.

I am not preaching here. Nor am I trying to prove that I have the will power. But whenever I hear someone talking about what’s wrong with a tiny bit of indulgence, I only think how different could we be then from animals?

Monday, September 23, 2013

On being happy in life.

Sometimes I ask myself, what am I working towards? A great career? Or, an identity of my own? Or, to have a great life ultimately?

In the normal case, it starts with having a job. A dream job actually, where you seriously do not feel that you are really working. It is something that comes to you naturally. And not something that you toil for.

When you have such a job, you obviously are comfortable and happy working. Such work always gives you a great career. In other words, pays you well within its limit. Because you obviously are good at what someone hires you for. So that in turn shows in your performance.

Performing consistently well at your job when you are pleased with the returns, makes it a great career. This in turn creates an identity of your own. Since you come to be known for what you do. It’s something that people start identifying you with.  

So now that you have a great career that brings you all the perks that you wished for in life. All the comforts or relaxation of some kind money can buy. The kind that allows you to start taking life on a slower note while being at the career. Or, take a break in the career and take some rest, doing nothing. Related to work, that is. Or, you have the third option. You work at the same pace till you have a smooth functioning body and soul, then retire when your body and soul can’t take it anymore.

A great happy life is still a long way to go.

It actually means you are able to sit back on an easy chair by the window that overlooks a beautiful flower garden during the day time with a book in your hand, sipping sweet, lukewarm black coffee and a rickety ceiling fan over your head throws in enough air to keep you comfortable. And when someone very dear to you gently comes to whisper in your ears, ‘meal’s ready’, before you can doze off enjoying the cool late-in-the-afternoon breeze. If you are lucky enough to be successful in your younger days to ‘earn and save’ - after meeting all the life’s expenses – then my friend you have what could be a great life.

But then again it brings us back to where we started – how could it be great life, when your youth is all wasted in the pursuit of the so-called happiness in life? You actually missed out on a lot of things that could have kept you happy in your youth while taking the chance to earn and save big.

As I now sit on my heavily cushioned cane recliner, with my 9 months old baby daughter sleeping peacefully in my lap, a book in my hand and cup of sweet and hot cup of black coffee, under the ceiling fan that’s keeping my daughter comfortable enough in the warm weather outside, what more do I need in life. A successful, happy and peaceful retired life seems to me like a stupid old concept, in fact. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

On being old.

When people grow older, they start waking up earlier than before. And then complain about a long tiring day. The fact is they mostly are lonely. And have nothing to do. So they have one more long lonely day ahead of them everyday.

Am I complaining? I don't know.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Survival. Of a household.

It is the same like in every other middle class family, where the parents worked – hard – in order to make both the ends meet, to pay for everything from the monthly bills, to education of the kids, to save for the future to give both themselves, and their kids a better-than-today tomorrow.

And in addition to all these essentials, like any other typical middle class family, they also had to maintain the status of an upper middle class life and show that living-beyond-their means is actually within their means. Thus, taking upon themselves the additional responsibility of upgrading themselves from a two-wheeler to a car, upgrading themselves from their old color TV to the latest LED in the market (wide enough to the cover the entire wall of the living room), washing machine that even dried to reduce the burden on the wife, refrigerator to accommodate as many people as in a marriage party, an air-conditioner to keep the flaring tempers down, sofa set that cost more than the entire household furniture put-together, and more importantly, by-passing all the interests and talents – natural born and developed ones’ (which they nourished in the first place) – of their children, and force-enrolling them into medical colleges or engineering colleges in order to brag before their colleagues’. The expenses of which has to come from bank loans (and that getting an education loan is viewed at par with getting a scholarship is a different story altogether).

As if these were not all, they also have to fulfill their long term goal - to get themselves a home of their own - despite the fact that there is a home awaiting each of the spouse, by means of inheritance, which off course neither ones will be interested in (as it lies in some far-off rural area, away from their place of work).

My parents belonged there. And I - a brand new parent, myself - am on my way. Despite being a rebel all my life trying to prove my parents wrong. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Paranjsothy - Chennai Dairy 6

An IPL Cinemas Production * N. Lakshmanan presents * Paranjsothy * Story, Screenplay, Dialogues, Direction * Gopu Balaji * Producer * N. Lakshmanan, N. Gopalakrishnan, N. Tamilselvan, N. Manikandan * Co-Producers * N. Gopalakrishnan, N. Tamilselvan, N. Manikandan * Co-Directors * M. SheriffP.K. Raja, Selvam * Music * Sabesh-Murali * Cinematography * S. Chandrashekhar, D.F.T * Editing * Sudha * Art Direction * Vinod * Action * Speed Sayed * Costumes * M. Sreenivasalu * Make-Up * L.V. Raja * P.R.O. * Govindraj * Production Manager * A.R. Chandra Mohan * Design Studio * Mithra Media * Cast * Sarathy, Ansiba, Ganja Karuppu, Bose Venkat, Shakeela

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Paranjsothy - Chennai Diary 4

After all the location hiccups, fund blocks, date hassles, the project, 'Paranjyothy' is all set to roll. Shooting to start tentatively by July 15th, 2013. Will be back with more reports. Expecting prayers and blessings from all of you ..

Thursday, June 20, 2013


A blog post dated - 23rd December, 2012. 

At 6.27 p.m., a day earlier, my daughter, Ammu (Aditi Sreejit) was born to Prazi and me. And the purpose of this very life changed. Completely! - A fact quite evident from how long it took me to post what I had written then.

"Thank God. For that first cry.

She had her eyes closed. As the nurse held her out before us. Her little lower lip curled up. And came out the most heart-wrenching cry. I melted down in my shoes.

She was no longer a part of her mother’s body. But a different life altogether. And I never felt so happy and so pained at the same time, as when I listened to her cry for the first time. God, she looked so delicate.

There she was. A heavenly bundle of joy. Gift wrapped. With a promise of hope. And happiness."

Saturday, December 08, 2012

On being sane...

If someone calls me a kid. I don’t get offended any more. To me it only serves a gentle reminder. I am still sane. I am 33. Going on 34. To-be-dad for the first time in my life. A son. A brother. A husband. A human being. And sane. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Paranjsothy - Chennai Diary 3

If you think finding a girl to marry is the most difficult thing, then take it from me, finding the right girl to act in your movie is far more difficult. I’ve had the most tiring experience doing so. Contrary to the popular belief that there are thousands of girls dying to get a chance to act in movies, the actual fact is that not even a single one from this thousand suits ‘all’ the conditions set by your project.

She should look convincing enough for the role, besides being an eye candy. Then in case of a story such as that of ‘Paranjsothy’, the girl not only has to look pretty, but has to have that tenderness, that would make someone want to protect them. A subtle level of sensuousness needs to be there too. Because of the intensity of love in the story.

Now that’s just about how she looks, but that's not all. The girl still has to ‘perform’ in front of the camera. For that the right attitude has to be there. It could be taught. But that would be a highly expensive proposition.

The fee factor - most important of all factors - comes at the very end. Because each artist has to fit into the set budget. Any variation to the set budget could affect the overall equilibrium of the project.

Some of the girls that attended the auditions we conducted were outright funny. Tell them to smile. And they would twist their lips to a neat ‘O’. Tell them to look into the camera. And they would point their chin towards the camera and strain their vision to bypass their nose and finally reach the camera. Ask to them imagine like a girl who has just been proposed to and is expected to give a positive reply. They would pretend having got proposals from at least a thousand young lovelorn young men – given their looks, and finally giving a blank stare at the camera – I also love you. A shake with the head – meaning affirmative – the character she is supposed to speak to, followed by a sheepish grin – to the crew members who are left wondering why they even plan to make a movie in the first place.

Then there are others. The experienced lot – usually one under-production film old - whom we would like to consider for the role as a second option. Second option, because we aren’t getting what we exactly wanted. These girls would audition for the role along with a sales presentation of their talents, and when we call them up to confirm their schedules, they give some of the lamest excuse to back out. The movie requires some intense scenes - I can’t do that. Or, I have committed to another project during the same time – I don’t have the dates available. Or, I don’t know the language – arre! If these were their excuses, why the hell they come to the auditions in the first place? I mean, our very invitation that we mailed to each of them had all the answers to these excuses.

God, help us. Please.