Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Night at The Movies

Most people who have gone through college life would relate to this. One of the reasons why that period was so awesome is that you could be in front of the TV at 9:45PM on any given weekday night. Staring at it idly or lusting wretchedly at a mango or a guava. My parents had barely and grudgingly come to terms with the fact that the fee for engineering college did not really lead to academic pursuits. The phone rang. If it was 9:45, it was usually my friend. The same oz-dude who has been calling me since 7th standard. The voice would say "movie?" and I replied "which theater". My mom would later translate the question as "ellu" and my answer as "ennai". The next transaction would be "Sathyam ok'va". Okay.

9:57 PM.

The corridor leading to the parking space was and still is very narrow. I'd be shouting at people in front of me to find parking space in Sathyam, while the friend would be buying black tickets. When I returned after parking the vehicle, he would tell me the name of the movie we'd be seeing. The good thing about watching night show is that - on the return journey, we could race through a near empty Mt. Road. That is probably the only time you can truly see the width of Prakasam road. Panagal park would finally be empty. The combined volcano of Pothys RMKV, Nalli, Kumaran and GRT would have stopped emitting their lava of people. Driving in such empty roads is an experience in itself. It helps that Madras sleeps early. However, the essence of those years was that you really had to ask no one. Parent's approval for a unwanted, unplanned night shows seemed more like president's approval after the Lok Sabha has passed the bill. What is more important for you and shocking for them is that - there was nothing important you had to get up for, the next day. Life has changed much since then. The burden of janma-samsara-bandha-nath weighs heavily on a person as time goes by :-). I had given up hope of doing something similar again. But I was in for a surprise. Now after all these years, I was sitting in front of a mango. The phone rings and unexpectedly the movie-whichTheater-Sathyam was re-enacted. I was taken back in time. Back to those good old days. However, the Kazha-bolt process that is slowly and surely taking me towards the vicinity of the dreaded 30s has been real and irreversible. That does funny things to you. So I ask.
Ouch! Reality check. The illusion that had developed for the past 30 seconds is cruelly shattered. The (un)subtle question inquiring if his wife was accompanying him, which would in-turn help me plan for my side makes its - now customary - appearance. Wife is an interesting relationship. Serves several purposes, if you ask me (gulp). You need someone reliable who would accompany you to any movie. The expectation that wife should accompany a husband for any crappy movie is fundamental and should be considered as mandatory dowry. Since the wife replaces the loyal friend who accompanies you to every movie, it may be considered as unfair in certain quarters if you ditch the wife, when the old friend comes back into the scene. But life is unfair. The answer comes "free'a vidu". So I ditch the bhariyal. Change into something presentable and leave the house while she asks "naan. naan" (like the way that girl Anu/Shruthi in Anjali asks Tharun as he slips out in the night for some "Iruvu Nilavu" with Bhanupriya's sister Nishanthi). It is crucial that you feign anger (on something, anything) and slip out of the door within moments. If you linger pause or hesitate, your mom would jump in as her re-enforcement and the battle of wits is suddenly ON. The key is to never enter an argument.
The pride of Madras. Sathyam has changed the parking repeatedly in the last few years. Now there is no temp place for wait-I'll-see-if-I-can-get-ticket parking. I park and come back to learn that he has brought tickets to this movie called "TaraRumpum". I guess that made this my 5th Hindi movie for this decade (approx) and second one for this year. Life has indeed changed. I shoot an accusing glance at him. "no tickets for any other movie" he pleads guilt. We badly wanted to watch 'Naan avan illai'. But the bhariyals wanted to see it also. "It is difficult to sit through the movie for the second time when you take your wife" - we say in unison. Agreeing that although lying that we have'nt seen the movie is acceptable, going to the same movie with the wife and sitting through it again is not. The closest I have gone to seeing a Hindi movie with oz-dude is a Thamizh movie called 'GolMaal' starring some Telugu actors in Casino theater. We exchanged a comment about ditching our respective bhariyals. "Was she angry?" asked oz-dude. In an attempt to repair the damage (and for those who are yet to get married, you never really know if damage has been caused. you never really know) we did the same impromptu routine the next day to watch Unnale Unnale at Inox theater located in City Center Mall.
It gives a person a lot of happiness to re-enact the rituals of the past again. Sometimes these things are just sweet memories, which you think of when some fragrance or person reminds you of it. It comes to you suddenly in a flash. An unexpected intersection of my vacation with a friend's vacation provided an opportunity to relive those moments. The conversation about significant other only brought home the truth that you never truly get back the past. You do return to the scene of the nostalgia. But you return with your own worries, trials, triumphs and attachments. College life in Madras is truly a once in a lifetime shot.


anantha said...

Aaaga.. moonu masam vetti nu kelvi patten? Nalla irrunga!

c2c said...

Tell me about it... You might think that my wife not knowing Tamil might be a good thing. On the one hand, I could go to Tamil movies on my own with my friends! On the other hand, tamil movie-watching has come to an absolute standstill, while we end up watching every other Hindi movie that comes to AMC 30. Yeah, even the painful "Tara rum pum" :-( I feel your pain...

Nilu said...


Deepa said...

Idhaney vennadradhu. RMKV and Pothys weren't there during your college days.

Anonymous said...

A very nice post. takes me back memory lane..namma ooru namma ooru thaan. :)

Hawkeye said...


all 3 months :-)


i feel for you brother! Go to tamil movies with the 'baguth' gang.


amaam! amaam!


i lived a beetle-nut spit away from pothys. enakke alwaa?

Ram said...

well said hawk.. although each one of us loves to relive events from the past, it is never the same, even if your significant other, or pothys, etc did not come in the way. You change, things around you change, hell the parking ticket changes, the ambience changes..

If you've watched Spidey-3, an analogy is even if you don the same costume at 2 different times, the person inside can be drastically different.

Ace of Space said...

Ada paavi... if you had listened to your wife/mom, you would have been spared from the pain called Tararumpum... That is what I was telling oz-dude ;-)
Btw, interesting blogs. Going through each of them!