I am not mourning Sridevi, but a Sridevi-fan. My college mate, project mate, last-bench mate. We never had those late night heart-to-hearts, we never got almost-caught for crazy stuff, but he was a friend.

He had Sridevi posters in his room – pre-nose-job posters, he would insist. Such fine distinction was important to the well-coiffured sophisticate that he was. He was a misfit amongst we ruffians, and he knew it.

His handwriting was perfect and his lab notes were works of art. One early morning, when the entire hostel was sleeping, I had just completed copying from his books, and was walking up to his room to return the books – the whole world was silent, the sky was still dark, there was a chill in the air – and I could hear a faint melody from a distant temple, faint but crystal clear, infusing something magical to that cold, dark morning. I stood in that corridor for a long while, trying to listen to that song, feeling wistful and sad for some unknown reason.

I keep thinking about that morning once in a way…

Yesterday, when I heard about Sridevi’s death, I was again in that corridor, trying to listen to that distant tune, mourning a friend who passed away too soon.

Glen Campbell’s Rhinestone Cowboy was the theme song of B Hostel. Anil K Satyan introduced me to the song. Kent Classics Collection. I remember the cassette case with cigarette pack branding. I remember Binu singing the song in B224. I remember weekend trips with the song on loop.

Glenn Campbell passed away last year. Only then did I know about his struggle with dementia, his farewell tour, and movie based on it, I’ll Be Me. The movie is heart-wrenching – the gradual loss of memory, identity, dignity and life – and at times, exploitative. But his half-slurred last studio song hits you in the guts – ‘I’m Not Gonna Miss You’.

Addressed to his wife, the song starts with “I’m still here, but I’m gone” and ends with…

I’m never gonna know what you go through
All the things I say or do
All the hurt and all the pain
One thing selfishly remains
I’m not gonna miss you

My father passed away last year, after a six-year battle with dementia.

I didn’t cry when my wife broke the news to me. I had done my crying six years ago when a wrong medication had reduced Pappa to a vegetable. I was actually relieved – finally, Pappa is free.

On the ambulance ride to Kochi for the funeral, trying to stay awake, trying to ensure the driver stayed awake, I had my songs on shuffle…and somewhere near Salem, when a sudden cloudburst reduced visibility to a few metres, ‘I’m Not Gonna Miss You’ started playing.

And everything that I had tried to forget surged back and I dissolved into the rain.

In my office, the moment I get real close to somebody that person would either get a transfer or quit. I have seen this happen so many times – with Yashwanth, Ravi, Jimmy, Senior, Chaina, Gambhir, Anshul, Shruthi, Sharat, Kajal, Sajeev, Johny, Kumz, Jose, Venky…Last month the curse crossed the road…Srini, a friend who works in an office near mine quit. This post is dedicated to him (and of course, to all the friends listed above).

It was Srini who introduced me to the world of ‘inspired posters’. And posters kept me going, perhaps more than anything else, through 2009. It also took up more time than anything else in 2009 – I became am IMPA addict, downloaded 15 years worth of posters, spent hours peering at thumbnails trying to identify ‘stuff that looks like other stuff’ (that explains the glasses), man, did I have a good time…

One of Srini’s early posts was about art-inspired posters. That sent me scurrying to my art books collection. I did find a few (perhaps farfetched) similarities…


David Brinkley

William Hogarth

I also stumbled upon a painting by Degas, Spartan Girls Provoking Boys. Bingo! Doesnt that look like Goya’s famous massacre painting.

Edgar Degas. Spartan Girls Provoking Boys. c.1860-62

Francisco Goya. The Third of May. 1814. (flipped for comparison)

Googling for Goya brought me to the blind flaneur who had posted on Goya. I left a comment about the apparent similarities in composition, and the flaneur (love him) wrote on his site – “Babu has a discerning eye, and his website documents many resonances in contemporary visual rhetoric”. Wow, that sounds much better than ‘stuff looks like other stuff’.

So here goes…

Jai Shree Ram!
Adios Amigo!!

Stock Clearance Post! Have two more balposh posts in the pipeline…gonna give this a break after that. Promise!

Am not following the Srini Convention here, the order is random.

My son’s summer hols start this Friday. Madhya venal avadiyaayi…now that is a famous ‘70s song. Come end-March, all kids of my generation would be humming that tune, but never me…

One summer, many many years ago, while running around in our backyard, I tripped on something, fell face first on a concrete slab, lost four of my front teeth and conked. After the mad rush to the hospital, extraction, stitches, etc., while I was lay groggy, my mouth full of sugar, the radio blithely started up… Madhya venal avadiyaayi. From that day on whenever I hear the song, I taste blood and sugar in my mouth.

OK, now about the pics. My mom’s brother, Koshy John, a national award-winning photographer (more about him later), used to live with us and we kids were his fav subjects. (The pics appeared in Kudumba Deepam, May 1974)

Last Friday I was in B’lore, whataday – breakfast at Windsor Manor…

an afternoon to remember…

Dinner at Hard Rock Cafe

Midnight, landed in Chennai, no taxis, walked a kilometer for a rik. How Pushpak!

Thanks Chittapps.

Doctor – Vaidyanathan
Dentist – Pallavan
Financier – Dhanasekaran
Cardiologist – Irudhayaraj
Paediatrician – Kuzhandaisamy
Marriage Counsellor – Kalyanasundaram
ENT Specialist – Neelakandan
Diabetes Specialist – Sakkarapani
Nutritionist – Arogyasamy
Magician – Mayandi
Builder – Sengalvarayan
Painter – Chitraguptan
Agriculturist – Pachaiyappan
Horticulturist – Pushpavanam
Landscaper – Bhuminathan
Beggar – Pichai
Bartender – Madhusudhan
Makeup Man – Singaram
Milk Man – Paul Raj
Dairy Farmer – Pasupathi
Dog Groomer – Naayagan
Snake Charmer – Nagamurthi
Mountain Climber – Yezhumalai
Javelin Thrower – Velayudam
Weight Lifter – Balaraman
Sumo Wrestler – Gundu Rao
Bowler – Balaji
Spin Bowler – Thirupathi
Driver – Sarathy
Attentive Driver – Parthasarathy


Blog Stats

  • 88,084 hits
May 2021