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

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June 23rd, 2018
06:42 pm

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Swathandryam Ardharathriyil
Watched Malayalam thriller film Swathandryam Ardharathriyil, directed by Tinu Pappachan.

The film tells the story of a bunch of convicts escaping from jail, building a tunnel from their cell. The theme as such is nothing new, and we have seen several such films before, especially from Hollywood (classics like The Shawshank Redemption and The Great Escape come to my mind first). However, Swathandryam Ardharathriyil still makes a very engaging and thrilling watch for its fresh treatment (at least for a Malayalam film) involving brilliant background music, visual presentation, editing and excellent performances.

Slow-motion photography is predominantly used in Indian films for scenes involving "glorification" of heroes, but in Swathandryam Ardharathriyil we see how it is effectively used along with brilliant choreography and editing to build some very engaging sequences (like the scene showing the protagonist's entry into the jail, and his attempts to abort the escape attempt by another prisoner).

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June 17th, 2018
08:04 pm

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Then and Now
A typical schedule of my weekends 15+ years back looked like below:
  • Get up a bit late and then head straight to Brindavan restaurant for breakfast, changing a couple of BMTC buses - for one of the best masala dosas and vadas I have ever tasted.
  • A stroll through MG Road, visiting bookshops like Higginbothams, Gangarams and Premier Bookstore to browse through books and buy a few.
  • A noon show or matinée show at Sangeeth theater for a Malayalam film, feeling depressed at the sad state of films and the poor quality of the projector in the theater. A lunch at Brindavan would follow or precede. Possibly buy some Malayalam magazines from some shops in Shivaji Nagar on the way back.
  • Opt for the luxury of an auto-rickshaw and after interviews with multiple rickshaw drivers, get selected for one and be back home late in the afternoon.
  • Spend the evening sitting on the balcony of the house, going through the magazines or some books. Based on mood, go to the office building closeby to check emails at the desktop there, and to browse Internet for some time.
  • Have an early dinner at Krishna Sagar restaurant - some rubbery naan or rotis, mixed vegetable curry and probably some tomato soup.
  • Watch television for some time, switching between Malayalam channels showing "blockbuster" films (most likely Narasimham, Aaram Thampuran, Praja, Valyettan etc.), and some Tamil or Hindi channels playing film songs non-stop.


And the schedule for a weekend these days looks like below:

  • Get up early in the morning and switch on the Internet connection and laptop. Go through various email accounts. Go through various WhatsApp groups, browsing through the forwarded jokes and "Good Morning" and "Good Night" messages.
  • Miscellaneous cleanup work at home, disposal of rats and cockroaches, examination of plants in the garden. A quick breakfast in between these activities. It is close to noon by then, and it is time for weekly grocery purchase.
  • Go around in craft shops, looking for things like crushed chart paper, yellow color carbon paper, cylindrical thermocol pieces, etc.
  • Spend some time going through various gossips in online news portals. Then go on to view some YouTube videos referred by them. YouTube will takeover the control then, suggesting a chain of related videos which would be interesting.
  • Feeling depressed in the evening thinking how fast the weekend got over.

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June 16th, 2018
09:25 pm

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Vegetable Hunt
Went to a newly opened organic store in HSR layout today, to buy a packet of milk. There was no space to stand in the shop as it was full of customers waiting with their plastic baskets. No one was picking anything from the shelves and were just standing there browsing their cell phones, so I went and asked the guy sitting near the counter if the shop was not yet open or something. Apparently, he was not an employee of the shop and was just another customer. Visibly upset because of being interrupted from his WhatsApp session, he pointed me to others and said they were all in the queue and waiting, and returned back to his phone.

As I stood there wondering for what everyone was waiting, there arrived a mini truck, and a few baskets filled with miscellaneous "fresh organic vegetables" were unloaded from it and brought to the store. The people who were "patiently waiting" in the queue gave a break to all their etiquettes, and jumped upon those baskets demonstrating a "polite fight" for grabbing some of those drumsticks, beans, tomatoes and coriander leaves which looked a bit faded. The vegetables are priced 2-3 times the average cost of "non-organic"(!) vegetables sold in market, but people are fighting for them as if they are given for free! It is no wonder that there are so many organic stores mushrooming in the city these days.

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June 10th, 2018
09:39 pm

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19 Canal Road
Read the book 19 Canal Road, a collection of memoirs by Sreebala K Menon, which had received Kerala Sahitya Akademi award for Humour in 2005.

In this book, the author recounts her days when she was living as a paying guest in Chennai. We get to meet various interesting characters here, and the author's writing style is indeed very humorous.

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June 9th, 2018
09:07 pm

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Thermocol for Craft Work
Last week, My son's school celebrated "Environment Week" which included various activities, field trips, etc. to create awareness among children. And yesterday came a list of materials to be brought to school for this year's "craft activities" - The list includes things like Thermocol pieces, glitter foam sheets, plastic straws, etc.!!

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June 6th, 2018
08:39 pm

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Ezhuthippoyath
Ezhuthippoyath is a collection of articles written by Satheeshkumar Thanissery, which he had published earlier on his Facebook page. Satheeshkumar writes about a wide variety of topics in this book - social issues, observations on contemporary matters, etc. but what I liked most were his nostalgic articles on his childhood days.

With vivid details, Satheeshkumar brings out some of the aspects of Life in 1970s and 80s in Kerala villages. I could feel many of the objects from my own memories popping up in my mind while reading those articles, which I might not have thought about in last 25 years - An "ice fruit" with semiya embedded in it which was never eaten but only seen, walks to school through calm village roads, plants like mashikkaya, neeroli and theeppori, having a hair-cut at the old barber shop at Irinjalakuda, my old aluminium school box, and so on. The book makes a brilliant reading.

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June 2nd, 2018
06:51 pm

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Parava
Watched Malayalam film Parava, debut directorial venture by actor Soubin Shahir.

The film starts in a very promising way - from the very first visuals showing titles that are written using chalks on walls and windows of various colorful places in Mattanchery. Then it goes on to show the life of two young boys who are obsessed with keeping pigeons as pets, aiming to participate in racing competitions. There is a sort of freshness in the narrative, music and the visual language and cuts used, and the performances of the boys were brilliant. I was later disappointed to see the movie reducing to a very typical drama on friendship, revenge etc., but still I think Soubin Shahir shows promise as a director.

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May 31st, 2018
06:48 pm

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Coffee House
Read the Malayalam detective novel Coffee House, written by Lajo Jose.

The story revolves around "Coffee House Murder case", in which five people got murdered inside a coffee house in Kottayam city. Based on circumstantial evidence, a person named Benjamin is caught and is condemned to death after trials. Six years down the line, Benjamin has exhausted all options of appeals in higher courts, and his final hope of mercy petition is also gets rejected. Just two weeks remaining in his life, he wishes to meet Esther, a journalist. He tells her that he is innocent, and hopes that she would help to prove that. He doesn't have much hopes that his sentence could be reversed at this stage, but he wishes that at least someone tries to clear the stamp of a murderer from his life. But Ironically, Esther was the leader of some mass movements years back that had forced the authorities to accelerate the investigation and trials of Benjamin. Rest of the story shows Esther's confusions and dilemma, along with her investigations to find out the truth.

This is the debut novel from author Lajo Jose, and it is quite an easy read that can be finished in one sitting. I could make a guess regarding the identity of the "real" murderer very early in the story, and was wondering why he was never suspected during the investigation or re-analysis until the climax. However, that did not diminish my interest in the narrative.

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May 27th, 2018
07:20 pm

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Back to the Future
Watched the Back to the Future trilogy, and enjoyed the imaginative twists and turns in the narrative of time travel. Even my son enjoyed these films greatly.

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May 26th, 2018
07:26 pm

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Aana Doctor
It was a great experience reading the short novel called Aana Doctor, Malayalam version of the Tamil story Yaanai Doctor written by Jeyamohan. This is one of such books reading which we could get a feeling of becoming a better human being. In today's world where materialism, hypocrisy and meaningless competitions for Power and Wealth are the key elements that drive most of us, Aana Doctor introduces the life of veteran conservationist Dr V Krishnamurthy, popularly known as "Elephant Doctor", who dedicated his life for forests.

Jeyamohan's book is written based on his conversations with Basheer, who probably(?) was a colleague of Dr Krishnamurthy for some time, and the novel is narrated from the perspective of an unnamed forest officer, who at first finds the Elephant Doctor as somewhat an intriguing personality, and later becomes an admirer and disciple of the great man.

Jeyamohan's descriptive narrative style makes us visualize the settings of the forest as well as understand the inner thoughts of its narrator - His first meeting with the Doctor, when he is in the middle of doing postmortem of an elephant, and the after-effects of the "repulsive" sight on the narrator, are described in such a vivid way that we would get a feeling that we have gone through the same experience ourselves. The various discussions between the narrator and the Doctor, through which we get glimpses of the thoughts and philosophy of Dr Krishnamurthy, are written in a very concise but effective way. Some of the incidents described in the novel, like the Doctor's "interactions" with wolves, his travel to Mudumalai to perform surgery on a tusker whose foot was injured and infected because of a liquor bottle, and an elephant herd bringing a baby elephant to the Doctor's camp for treatment, etc. would make us wonder if they are fictitious events or not, but at the same time they make very touching reading, and would point us once again regarding how humans are posing as the ultimate threat for forests and its habitants.

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