Ratheesh KrishnaVadhyar's Journal Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Ratheesh KrishnaVadhyar" journal:

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July 14th, 2014
11:14 am

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A Brief Hour of Beauty
Read Ammu Nair's A Brief Hour of Beauty, which is a sad and deeply touching life story of Edmund Thomas Clint, the child prodigy who made more than 25000 paintings during his short life of seven years. Apart from anecdotes from Clint's life, the book also includes a lot of his drawings and paintings, and overall it is a great tribute to the artist.

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June 30th, 2014
09:43 am

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Yet another Home Shift..
Updating this blog is becoming like a once-in-a-month activity these days.

After living in Shanthi Nagar for 13+ years, we shifted to HSR layout this month. I got too busy with the house shift activities that I could not even stay in touch with daily news for a couple of weeks. This was accompanied with a new schedule of daily chores, a change of cube (or rather, a loss of cube) at workplace, etc.

I watched two popular Malayalam films last week - Bangalore Days and Manju Warrier's How Old are You - both mediocre films that are watchable for once. Also could spend some time reading Ravi Subramanian's pulp novel Devil in Pinstripes (this was his fourth thriller related to Banking that I read), which offers some time-pass like his earlier novels.

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May 20th, 2014
02:16 pm

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A few New Movies
Watched a few Malayalam films during my vacation last week - Ring Master, a typical Dileep Comedy(!), Gods Own Country, and Manja.

These days there are too many Malayalam films with "multi-linear narratives" that show the happenings of a single day with two or three parallel story tracks, etc. It appears as if this is just a gimmick to hide lack of good story ideas. Gods Own Country has two main story threads - one follows the path of a stolen money-bag (which was the main topic in some other multi-linear Malayalam film in recent past) while the other thread follows the efforts of an advocate to reach the court on time along with a key witness, with an army of conspirators trying to block their way or eliminate them by any means. Though there are numerous unbelievable coincidences in the film, Gods Own Country still can be watched for once without getting too bored, thanks to some good editing and decent performances.

Was pleasantly surprised (as I hadn't heard of this movie before) to see Manja to be an entertaining satire about the life of a film-crazy guy who aspires to become an actor. Niyas Bakker, who plays the main role of Jackson, is excellent and so were many of the supporting actors who played small roles in the film. The scenes showing Jackson's film-making adventures were hilarious, and I liked the way many of the scenes were laced with humor in a subtle way - For example, when Jackson becomes very emotional in one scene watching a news on TV and madly runs out of the house, the camera focuses on the reaction of his mother (Kulappulli Leela), who casually watches him with no empathy at all, and then continues her work of peeling tapioca!

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May 4th, 2014
08:59 pm

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KTN Kotoor - Ezhuthum Jeevithavum
Finished reading TP Rajeevan's novel KTN Kotoor - Ezhuthum Jeevithavum, which tells a socio-political story like his earlier novel, Paleri Manikyam. The novel is written in the form of a biography of a fictional(?) writer named Narayanan, who wrote under the name "KTN Kotoor".

Born in a rich feudal family of Malabar during 1919 or 1920 (the author says details regarding Kotoor's date of birth are not clear, and so are the details about his death, as no one has been able to track his whereabouts after 1947), Kotoor's loses his mother early during his childhood, after which he is looked after by his aunt. His father had participated in freedom fights, and his influence was present in Kotoor's thought process in the initial days. After his father's death, Kotoor goes to Vadakara for his high school studies, and soon finds himself getting more and more interested in the social and political scenes of the state, and he starts writing articles in magazines. Kotoor's Socialist views and activities in organizing farmer's unions are initially criticized and he is "accused" of being a Communist, and sent to jail for two years. However, Kotoor has his own views and opinions about everything and when he expresses them openly, he is considered as an "outcast" even by the Communist party. The novel continues narrating the life of the writer, as he moves around in life "like a kite that is left loose".

The author makes the character of Kotoor look as real as possible, with references to his interactions with well-known people of that period like AKG, P Krishna Pillai and M Govindan, extracts from Kotoor's works and from papers and studies by critics and analysts who tried to infer meanings from them. While some of these sections make the book appear like a non-fiction work, they help in developing the enigma around the talented and eccentric character of Kotoor, who writes about widely varying subjects like History of Madras, Optics, Modern Art, and many such things. His interests keep on changing and his attention span is too low to create a work of large scale, but he leaves a mark of brilliance even in his incomplete and short articles - one critic says. While the social and political views of Kotoor create a background for the story, the most significant piece of the novel is still his personal life, and his relationships with the different women of his life, which reminded me of P Kunjiraman Nair's writings.

While Paleri Manikyam told an intriguing and eventful story and that had a thread of a suspense thriller, KTN Kotoor - Ezhuthum Jeevithavum goes to the level of a masterpiece by the author. It is certainly one of the finest Malayalam books that I read recently.

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April 23rd, 2014
09:40 am

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Kozhikode - Orormappusthakam
I have never been to Kozhikode town, except while passing through it during some of my bus journeys from Bangalore to Thrissur through that route a long time ago. So, I don't have any nostalgia associated with Kozhikode; but I have read a lot about the long association of writers and artists with the town, in several articles reminiscing about the "writers circles" and friendly gatherings in the town. Basheer, Sanjayan, SK Pottekkatt, Uroob, Thikkodiyan, MT, NP Mohammed, NV Krishna Warrier, NN Kakkad, UA Khader, Valsala, Akbar Kattattil, TV Kochubava, Raghunath Paleri, Baburaj, Kozhikode Abdul Kader - the list is very long, and they represent at least three generations of Malayalam writers and artists who lived in Kozhikode.

The book Kozhikode - Orormappusthakam edited by P Zakir Hussain brings together a collection of such articles about Kozhikode. While some of the articles are extracts from books written by authors, many of the articles seem like specifically written for this "ormappusthakam" (Book of Memories). There are a few illustrations by Sunil Ashokapuram, and a few photographs of Kozhikode accompanying the articles (though I felt that a larger collection of old photographs of the town and its people would have enhanced the nostalgic appeal of the book) . The book can certainly be enjoyed by even people like me who have never lived in Kozhikode, and it made me wish for having a similar book of memoirs about Irinjalakuda, or Thrissur.

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April 17th, 2014
04:27 pm

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Rio 2
Watched Rio 2, mainly for son, who had liked the first part. Nothing much to talk about it other than the good quality animation works. Anyways, it didn't bore me, so it was fine.

Also went to cast my vote for the Lok Sabha elections in the afternoon :)

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April 16th, 2014
09:55 pm

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I am Malala
Read I am Malala, memoirs by 16 year old Malala Yousafzai, the girl who was shot by the Taliban in 2012 because she stood up for education for girls.

Malala starts with the story of her parents and her father's persistent efforts to start schools in the Swat valley, fighting against oppositions and roadblocks from different fronts, from the bureaucracy as well as from the fundamentalists. In parallel, she gives a brief history of the Swat region from the British times onwards, the dissolution of the princely state and the emergence of Taliban. Malala then narrates the life of her family moving around as "internally displaced persons", their return to home after the military operations by Pakistani army in the area, and her increasing participation in social activism which eventually resulted in the assassination attempt by Taliban. Rest of her memoirs talk about her treatment and recovery.

Written in simple and clear language, Malala's memoirs give a first-hand account of the affairs in Pakistan, specifically in the Swat valley which was (or still is) mostly under the control of the Taliban.

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March 30th, 2014
07:36 pm

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Rambo Circus
Watched a Circus after a long time - probably after 20 years or so? (I remember going to watch a Circus near Thrissur Shakthan Thampuran bus stand, during my college days).

The show of "Rambo" Circus was at Kengeri. Apparently, it was the last day of their camp at Bangalore. Many of the performances were really amazing - especially the "Wheel of Death" by two South American artists, and a few acrobatics by female artists. Thankfully, the engagement of animals was minimal, and there was only a single elephant and a few dogs in the show.

It was very very hot inside the tarpaulin tents, and the person selling plastic fan for twenty rupees was getting good business. We also went to the Kadambam restaurant in the Kengeri bus stand complex for lunch, where they served horrible neer dosas that were dripping with oil - I could not eat more than a small piece out of it.

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March 16th, 2014
08:34 pm

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Queen
Watched Hindi film Queen today. A watchable and pleasant film with a very good performance by Kangana Ranaut. The best thing I liked about Queen was the soundtrack and songs by Amit Trivedi, which give a nice feel to the film.

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March 15th, 2014
10:05 pm

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Hockey Stadium
Though I have been living near Shanthi Nagar Hockey Stadium for close to 13 years now and have been using it as a landmark for giving directions to my home for guests, I got an opportunity to enter the stadium only today.

I noticed that the floodlights were on in the evening, and there were hydrogen balloons floating around above the stadium which attracted my son who looked very much interested to see what is going on, so we went ahead to watch an exhibition match that was being conducted there. There was no entry fee, and there were hardly anyone to watch the match, but the sponsors of the match seem to have spent a good amount of money and there were a lot of fireworks etc. accompanying the match and presentation ceremony. My son had a good time, and he enjoyed watching the powerful hoses watering the turf, too.

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