Tribute to K.Balachander

Yuvi and I were watching “Kalaivaniye” from “Sindhu Bhairavi” on youtube yesterday. I then alt-tabbed to my Facebook page and scrolled down through profile picture updates and Christmas sugar cookies and stopped dead. K.Balachander has passed away! To me and to millions of his fans he is the finest, greatest Indian director ever. I had to write this. Long ago when I was still in school, when I knew nothing about K.Balachander, when I had no great preference in cinema, a black and white movie “Nizhal Nijam Aagiradhu” was playing on Raj TV. I thought I’d watch a few scenes and then go to sleep. The first few scenes drew me in.  I didn’t move from my seat. I watched the entire movie. This was no thriller. This was the story of wonderfully real characters beautifully played out in a genius screenplay – Thilakam (Shobha), the simple day dreaming servant girl who falls for Challam, the very proper Challam (Sarath Babu) who nobody’ll doubt, the brash talking Sanjeevi (Kamal Hassan) who is easy to doubt, the stubborn men-hating Indu (Sumithra) who loves Sanjeevi but will not admit to even herself, deaf Kasi (Hanumanthu) who loves Thilakam in his own simple way and the local nosy mama (Mouli) who rues that nobody suspects him as the father of Thilakam’s child. Classic!!  I can watch the movie any number of times and still smile at Shobha’s innocence or be wooed by Kamal. I was a K.Balachander fan from that day on. I love his films. I adore them. if I were to chance on the Kavithalaya (earlier Kala Kendra) Thiruvalluvar statue (that marks the beginning of his films) anytime anywhere, I’d stop, sit and gape at the TV unmindful of exams next day, of meal time or filter coffee time at home, that we’re in a hotel room on vacation and we’re supposed to be sightseeing, that I’d just pulled out all the clothes from my bero to sort them out and the kids have fashioned it into a garment swimming pool and are jumping around in it. I am oblivious to everything around me. His movies are my metaphors in life. I am so much like the Sowar Janaki in his “Ethir Neechal”. I am also a little like the idealistic Kamal in “Varumai Niram Sigappu”. Balachander’s movies have shaped the way I think, they’ve been my frame of reference. Movies...

Jayanthi Who? Why?

An absentminded, recipe-jotting, over-ambitious, slightly creative, totally unorganized, working mom of 2 wild things, I love to cook. I am Jayanthi. When cooking for family (especially my joint-family –  don’t get me started on this one), there is always at-least one person who doesn’t like the dish, one who doesn’t like it the way I’ve done it and another who’s just not in the mood for eating (usually my son).  So the food better be good (I had to somehow work in the title somewhere)! It’s a wonder that I even muster the courage to cook every morning in this hostile territory. I envy all those other bloggers whose families always finish off their cakes and then they’d make a second one. It’s like those cutesy Karan Johar movies.  It’s never that way at our house. My family is too honest, bigoted and picky or I just don’t cook that great or both. But for readers who think this blog is a “cooking gone wrong/worst dishes ever” kind of thing, I’ll have to tell you this. I am not a great cook, but I am good and I am learning every day. This blog is my OrdinaryHomes journal that will chronicle my kitchen exploits, home-organizing efforts and joint-family life. I work full-time although I do doze off sometimes and what with my little ones, I do not get to cook as often or as much as I’d like to. When I do cook, it’s amidst a riot, my 1 year old son sitting atop the counter and cooking his own special curry and my 3 year old daughter emptying the salt packet on the floor. My husband works from home most days and is well, mostly working. He does help with the kids (I have to say this or he wouldn’t call out for me when they’re acting up!). I live with my husband, kids and in-laws in Chennai.  I enjoy shopping for our kitchen (not my kitchen, joint family remember) more than for my wardrobe. I like to make lists, plan menus and parties, buy gifts, decorate the house and all the other cool Martha Stewarty things. I can’t finish a sentence without a Tamil cinema reference, a bit like Sowkar Janaki in “Yethir Neechal”. This is how we talk among friends and we’ve got so used to it that it’s tough to talk any other way, which may...
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