Family Business.

By accident, I don’t usually watch movies on television, I watched Family Business, a 1989 movie with two favourite actors, Sean Connery and Dustin Hoffman. And, as a bonus, I discovered another good actor, Mathew Broderick. My daughter in love was watching the television on one of the pay and see channels, and I just happened to catch Sean Connery on the screen. I shelved going off inside to my room and stayed on to watch. I am glad that I did.

I can’t for the world, recollect how I missed seeing it when it was first released. With the two favourite actors like that, I would have normally gone for the fist show on the first day of release. Be that as it may, I was totally zapped seeing this film for the complex relationships that it portrays so ably.

I have known real life stories of grandson / grandfather relationships bypassing son / father relationships and I could immediately see the dynamics that the story and the director were trying to convey. I could also juxtapose to my own relationship with my uncle which annoyed my father no end and understand the equations.

I intend watching it again either on the TV or by getting a DVD.

Traditions.

The inspiration for this topic came from a character in the novel A Peoples’ History Of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian. The character is a professional rangoli artist. In my childhood, I distinctly remember rangoli being drawn every morning outside our homes and the logic for it. The images were always drawn with rice flour and the belief and also the fact was that ants would come to eat the flour. Why feed the ants? So that they did not come inside the homes to look for food and also the traditional belief that we are obliged to feed all creatures big and small in whatever way that we can. That tradition of rangoli disappeared from our lives over the years due to urbanisation and moving into flats / apartments but, feeding creatures continues to be practiced quite widely. In my own home, we had the tradition of feeding crows, doves, sparrows and squirrels till urbanisation took its toll but, my children feed stray dogs and cats in our neighbourhood every day and also during the day time when at least one particular tabby cat comes meowing for food a few times.

Many other traditions have disappeared from families due to the pressures of modern life and one that I miss most is the original use for our festivals for the families to come together for a few days of feasting and fellowship. On the other hand, some traditions like respect for elders and taking their blessings continues to exist though even that seems to be disappearing with replacement with modern Hellos and other forms of greetings.

Most families and other groups have traditions that they follow without having any idea as to how they started or the logic for them and I share below two stories to illustrate such traditions.

1. We visited our newly married daughter, who was preparing her first Thanksgiving dinner. I noticed the turkey thawing in the kitchen sink with a dish drainer inverted over the bird. I asked why a drainer covered the turkey.

Our daughter turned to my wife and said, “Mom, you always did it that way.”

“Yes,” my wife replied, “but you don’t have a cat!”

2. When the spiritual teacher and his disciples began their evening meditation, the cat who lived in the monastery made such noise that it distracted them. So the teacher ordered that the cat be tied up during the evening practice. Years later, when the teacher died, the cat continued to be tied up during the meditation session. And when the cat eventually died, another cat was brought to the monastery and tied up. Centuries later, learned descendants of the spiritual teacher wrote scholarly treatises about the religious significance of tying up a cat for meditation practice.

I came up with the idea for this week’s 2 on 1 Friday blog posts where Shackman and I write on the same subject. Please do go over to his blog to see what he has to say about the topic but, before you do, please enjoy this song,

The Irishman.

My readers have perhaps noticed that I have stopped reviewing movies. I stopped going to movies because of the need to walk long distances in the malls where the multiplexes were located and my COPD came in the way of doing that comfortably. Somehow, despite Netflix, Amazon Prime and what else have you, having been installed at home by the younger generation, I never got around to watch any except the rare one which I happened to see if they were watching earlier than their normal time in the late nights.

I however sat up late last night for three and a half hours and watched The Irishman as, I just could not resist the temptation of seeing De Niro, Pacino and Pesci in a Martin Scorsese directed film. Thanks to its being available in Netflix I did this much to my satisfaction.

For people of my age, the characters in the film, Jimmy Hoffa, the Kennedy brothers, Nixon the mafia dons etc were familiar figures and just having finished reading Ken Follet’s Edge Of Eternity where some of these personalities feature too, it was an orgy of nostalgia for those days of wonder. Once again synchronicity playing a memorable role in my life.

For those of my vintage, this is a must see film. The characterisation, cinematography and direction with period details are simply magnificent. I intend seeing it again after some time to catch up on some dialogues that I think I did not quite catch due to poor reception.

Time For Some Fun.

My fellow Friday 2 on 1 blogger Shackman has suggested this week’s topic as “Time For Some Fun” and gives three topics. Please go over to his blog to see what he has to say about this topic.

Favourite song lyrics.
Most overrated book/series.
Fave movie in the last year.

The first one is very simple for me. It is this poignant song that has been a ear worm for me for decades.

Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the flowers gone?
Girls have picked them every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?
Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the young girls gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the young girls gone?
Taken husbands every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?
Where have all the young men gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the young men gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the young men gone?
Gone for soldiers every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the soldiers gone?
Long time ago.

The next one – Most overrated book/series.

For me, it is a no brainer. It is How To Make Friends And Influence People. . In my not so humble opinion, it is the most superficial way to establish relationships and not for long term ties. The less said the better about this book that made many people snake oil salesmen.

The last one – Fave movie in the last year. For me it was Baahubali 2: The Conclusion.

Rain Drops.

Yesterday was a holiday for Maharashtra, the state I live in for being Maharashtra Day. The downside to such holidays is that the following day, there are no newspapers and that upsets my daily routine of the mornings. So it was that I was sitting for longer than usual at my verandah this morning when some drops of water fell from the skies and I thought that it was pre monsoon showers, what in the West one would call April showers. On investigation I found that it was water falling from the terrace where the occupant was watering his plants on the terrace.

Those drops of water led me to reminisce about this song from the film Manzil which was released when our son Ranjan was all of eight years old in 1979. As perhaps some of my readers may remember, one of his nicknames was Rimjhim, meaning rain drop and so this song became a favourite for Urmeela and me.  And, as it so often happens, a friend of mine posted this song on facebook too and that triggered this post.

This scene shows  Mumbai’s monsoon which was part of our lives for so many years.

rimjhim gire saawan, sulag sulag jaaye man
bheege aaj is mausam me, lagi kaisi ye agan

Spattering rain falling in monsoons
Sets the embers ablaze in the heart
In the wetness of the drizzling rains today
What is this burning flame (inside)

pahle bhi yoon to barse thhe baadal
pahle bhi yoon to bheega tha aanchal
abke baras kyun sajan, sulag sulag jaaye man
bheege aaj is mausam me, lagi kaisi ye agan

The clouds have rained, in the past too
And have wet my clothes, even then
But the rain of this season
Sets the embers ablaze in the heart
In the wetness of the drizzling rains today
What is this burning flame (inside)

is baar saawan dahka hua hai
is baar mausam bahka hua hai
jaane pee ke chali kya pawan, sulag sulag jaaye man
bheege aj is mausam me, lagi kaisi ye agan

The monsoon rains are sizzling hot this year
And the season is so un-sober
The winds are drunk with, I know not what
Setting the embers ablaze in the heart
In the wetness of the drizzling rains today
What is this burning flame (inside)

There is another version of the same song sung by Kishore Kumar with slightly different lyrics but, this version with the monsoon scenes was the one that flashed before me in my nostalgia trip this morning.

Visiting Parents.

In my extended family of siblings and cousins both maternal and paternal, I am one of the rare ones who lives with his offspring. Something that was unthinkable during my parents’s time and well into my adulthood as well. Both my parents stayed with their children during their retirement stage and died while resident with one of the children. Today, if I look at my immediate family, none of my nephews and nieces stay with parents and the parents one of whom is single, live separately.

While this is increasingly getting to be the norm here, there are constant messages on WhatsApp and facebook about the necessity for the grown up children to spend time with their parents. This is one such video showing an adult male going to visit his widowed mother. The language is Malayalam, spoken in our Southern state of Kerala. There are no subtitles but, the story line is easy to follow despite that. Pulls all the right strings! I regret that I am unable to give credit to the maker/s of the film as I am unable to find details.