Summers with Cousins!

One thing from my childhood that I wish to preserve and pass on to my son is the experience of those long lazy summery holidays at that beautiful family street with all those heterogeneous cousins. [I call it a family street because it houses about 5 closely related families.]  And here is why.


I attribute a lot of what I am today to those lovely holidays with those 20 odd cousins of ours. It is funny to recollect that we tried to do everything together to the extent of picking same hobby classes so as to maximize the common play time. I remember us being in a hurry to finish off our daily chores so as to assemble and start off our play routine.

We played, played and we improved our tenacity. We played so much that the rats in our stomachs’ escaped somewhere and we never felt hungry, so much that our eye lids forgot blinking let alone sleeping. We had to be reminded, pleaded and threatened to fill our stomachs and to catch that essential sleep. I think those long hours of uninterrupted engagement did help me while I slogged at the B-school J

We played, played and we innovated. Yes, we played cards so much and we innovated many variants. We learned to work around the limitations as we played paint ball with curry leaf seeds. We adapted to the circumstances – if it rained, we had paper boat competitions, if it was sunny we played shadow games, if there was a power cut we played hide-and-seek.

We played, played and we learnt group dynamics. Quite a bit of heterogeneous group we had which included kids of both the genders, across age groups from different geographical regions. While pitching our favorite game we learned to negotiate. We experienced all about team players, doers, leaders, extraverts, introverts and of course free-riders and even better we learned tactics to deal with each. We even learned to play by our strengths (choosing the artist / actor wisely) when we played games like Pictionary / Dumb-charades.

We played, played and we became tolerant. We had our share of differences, fights – both physical and emotional. We tried to deal with them through all possible mechanisms. I remember one incident where we even appointed a couple of aunts to act as arbitrators to settle our disputes. The important point here being we amicably settled our disputes and moved forward. Till date this experience comes in handy while dealing with people professionally and personally (read with husband ;)).

Today all of us did so well in our lives that our success has carried us farther away and the only place we meet now-a-days is on Watsapp. Today as one more of our cousins gave birth to a lovely baby girl I am reminded of our childhood fantasies that we would stick together when we grow up and admit our kids in the same school. Ironically, thanks to our busy schedules, my son has hardly met a quarter of my cousin’s kids leave alone growing up together.

So if I had one wish to be granted for my son, I wish he had those wonderfully fulfilling summer holidays with cousins / friends instead of those gadgets / television sets. Thank you guys for being part of my life!

This blog post is written for the #BachpanWithFlinto blogger contest.

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A rejoinder to a business standard article on Bahubali!

A northie friend of mine shared this article asking for opinions from her telugu friends. Having watched the movie, though not on the first day and having followed all the uproar against the weakling in the characterization of the female lead Avantika I felt intrigued to read through the article. Especially the title echoed with my feelings.  The discourse of this magnitude sounded un-necessary for me too. But as I read through, I have lost it completely.  Does the author really mean the discourse is unnecessary because tollywood movies are anyways hopeless, because the director is used to dumbifing the female lead roles, because the female oriented movies are not successful, or because the director is a disciple of another Director who is used to objectifying the female lead! His arguments are something beyond my comprehension.

First let me rebuke on his degrading statement against Tollywood. Sir, your statement regarding telugu movies has really hurt a genuine telugu movie buff’s sentiments. Please be reminded we do have many female-lead movies in Tollywood. Missamma, Mayabazaar, Karthavyam, Arundati,  and the latest Rudrammadevi are just few examples of successful (read box office hits) and powerful female-lead movies which I could recollect immediately. I am sure there will be many more which will surface on a simple google search (let me know if you need help there). They may not match in numbers with male-lead movies but they definitely don’t fall short of matching up in ratio with other woods (Holly, Bolly, Kolly etc).

Non-telugu guys I promise to write a separate post to give you a non-biased view of tollywood and link it up here.

Secondly on the movie, when I watched the movie, I got damn bored in the first half at the over insistence to establish the physical power of Shivudu and ofcourse I didnt like him making advances towards Avantika but I enjoyed the picturization nevertheless      (And please don’t get me started on laws of physics etc… lot of so called international standard hollywood movies don’t comply as well). As the story built up I got glued to the narrative and the screen play. The second half completely compensated for the glitches in the first half. Sivagami- Ramya krishna, Kattappa – Sathyaraj , Ballaladeva – Nazar, Bijjaladeva – Rana, Snr Bahubali – Prabas! What a lovely casting,  characterization and performance. And of course it will be a crime on my part not to mention the war scene. By the end of it I forgot about all the shortfalls of first half and left the theater making a mental note to watch it again on the big screen.

I still agree with a lot of my feminist friends on why Shivudu-Avantika relationship portrayal is a cause of concern given the current Indian scenario. I could have appreciated if the Director handled it better. The fact that he used colloquial language even for a movie which is framed in medieval  times did impress me. Obviously he could have found a smarter way to handle the delicate romance between the two  powerful lead characters.

The Queen!

The Queen!

BUT for a minute forget Avantika and look at the characterization of Sivagami. Look at the respect she commands, the ethics she caries and look at the whole kingdom that obeys to her orders (including the crocked husband). And please be reminded this character has also been brought alive by pretty much the same Director. It clarifies the point that the Director might have just been carried away in Avantika’s case but had no intentions of an anti-feministic message  through his multi-million block buster movie.

Let us come to the audience. There is an age old saying “What you seek is what you get”. So I can only request the audience to use their discretion while trying to emulate the movie. You wont obviously attempt to climb up the water fall trying to dupe Sivudu right? In the same way please don’t go by the movie blindly and assume that you can continue to make advances with women even when they show resentment / when they don’t give you their consent. In short sit back and enjoy the reel for entertainment, come back to real life and behave yourselves!

I rest my case!