The movie Kanni Raasi was Pandiarajan's first movie as a director. He was an intelligent director and picked up his mentor Bhagyaraj's (for hindi folks - woh saat din, aakree raastha etc) subtleties very well. This movie starred among other insignificant people, India's greatest philosopher of the modern era Shri Gownda Mani (aka Kounda Mani, Kavundan, Goundan). It was a time when Gownda Mani was at the peak of his powers and was doing what he was great at, making sarcastic remarks at the ways of the society and mocking the public, for leading pathetic drab lives. This author of this blog, owes lot of his wisdom, maturity, education, ambition and perspective to this great philosopher and has been deeply ifluenced by some of Gaundan's theories and postulates. Gounda Mani was an expert in many fields, he disproved one of maxwell's equation, corrected chebyshev's filter bias, discovered several statistical modelling techniques and at the same time was India's biggest anthropologist, social commentator and philosopher par excellence.
Look at me.
'Kanni Raasi' is a movie where Gownda Mani is a married man with a teenage daughter (Revathi Menon). His wife is from the village (played by the atrociously sexy Sumithra). Anyway that was not the point of the post at all. Gownda Mani, in the course of the movie, passes comments on family, society, role of women, role of a wife, and life in general. Early on in the movie, things get to a point, where he fights with his wife (she refuses to cook him a tasty meal, get up early, and generally play to his whims). Frustrated at the loss of control over his own family, he puts a garland to his own photo, thereby signifying his death. All this is told in a very funny style - mind you.
Exactly at this juncture - In comes Prabhu, who plays Sumithra's brother, from the village to stay with her family for a while and search for a job in the big city of Madras. The developments in Gownda Mani's household become extremely interesting as a result of his arrival. Sumithra gets up early in the morning, starts cooking stuff that Gownda Mani has never heard of. She prepares "soup" (a 'term' or 'concept' which Gownda Mani has never heard of or seen before). In a classic scene where you will die of laughter, she serves food atop a Banana Leaf(which tradionally is used a plate for a grand dinner) and asks Gownda Mani to sit and eat from a particular banana leaf. He insists on sitting and eating from a different leaf, stating that it is his house and he has the right to eat from any leaf he wants to. He sits on the leaf reserved for Prabhu and begins to eat. In what is a classic movie moment - As soon as he begins eating, he observes that 8 very good large eggs (supreeyor qualti) have been hidden under the rice for Prabhu's consumption (a moment accentuated by a sudden blast of music from the harmonium). He then proceedes to check the rice on the leaf that was reserved for him. Naught. He then makes a long monologue about women's partiality to their brothers and the reasons behind their complete neglect of their husbands. Apart of tearing your stomach with laughter, the monologue has been recorded and archived in the National Treasury by the then Indian Government.
So that the 'varungaala santhathigal' (future generations) will learn from it.
Now you may ask - what is the point of this post? Guess what?
My brother-in-law is in town.
My wife has never, I mean never, woken up before 10 AM. Have you heard of pumpkin sambhar? I have never heard of Pumpkin Sambhar. It has been almost year and a half since she made Rasam and Sambhar on the same day (incidentally we have been married for a year and a half). She got up at 4:00 AM for past two days. 4:00 AM ladies and gentleman. She got up, cooked Pumkin Sambhar, Rasam, and Okra for her brother who was leaving for work at 6:15 AM. Today it was vadai, fried appalam, kalantha soru (cocunut rice, tamirind rice, bagela bath, cocunut payasam). Chicago is now really hot. The summer heat of May in Madras looks like a harshly cold Alaskan winter compared to this heat in Chicago. Its that bad. She asked me to move to a non-AC room so that her brother can sleep in the AC room. Today I lose my bed to him. For the last 2 months when I leave for work at 7:45AM, I will hear a voice from somewhere, buried underneath the comforter, "can you eat Cereal and buy Taco Bell for lunch?"
O' Gownda Mani! What gratitude do I owe you? What does the world owe you?