Al-Avalathi's Life (Al-Avalathi is the last Mallu to go to the Gelf)
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Posts from — April 2008

Do not toilet please

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This post reminded me of a pic that I clicked some years back in a friend’s room at IIML.
And here is the image. Click on it and have a batter view ;)

Can some one get me this Hindu paper ?

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April 24, 2008   9 Comments

Mein Hoo Na…Mein Hain Na..

Till I joined REC Warangal , I had to mind my ka and ki whenever I tried speaking in Hindi. So in school the best option was to avoid talking in Hindi.

Kintu and parantu sounded so similar to me, in spite of a rigorous Hindi syllabus I was subject to for a decade in school. Thank god, it ended in class ten. And those ten years were not easy.Difficult would be an understatement of the times I had to go through with Hindi.
To top in all it was Course A of CBSE Hindi that I had to suffer. (Some schools had Course B which was as easy as English alphabets!) The misery did not end there. My school, for some godforsaken reason had Social Studies in Hindi. Yes, that makes life all fun filled। When you have all your Geography, History and Civics in Hindi World war was always Vishwa Yuddh for me. Latitude and longitude were akshaansh and rekhaansh deshantar[edit:thanks]. I had to learn about Kark rekha and Makar rekha(that is Tropic of Cancer and capricon) Map was Manchitr. I mere thought that I used to write “tippani” on French Kraanti or Yunan(Greece of the ignorant souls) send shivers down my spine. It all started with learning words like kalam and kamal in class 1 besides learning to abuse everyone in class jaabe saale ullu ke patte having had no clue of the meaning. We kids used to sit and break the phrase into words and left alone every word seemed okay and we decided the cumulative effect would be zilch as well. Five olds actually sat and figured out these meanings those days! Team effort!
That was when I would not have learnt a good abuse in Malayalam ;) Even though the tribulations with Hindi ended a lot with Social Studies migrating to English in class nine,Hindi(the language) haunted me for two more years. We had doha(which was neither dosa nor poha :D ), thanks to someone by name Kabirdas.
Still remember that when they took off the chaadar off when Kabir’s dead body, the body had turned into flowers…May be they thought us this to infuse Hindu Muslim unity. (Kabir’s body was claimed by both these religions. Go read your textbooks, if you didn’t know this).

Meerabai , Tulsidas were other nice people who made my days,weeks and months all together. Devaki Nandan Khatri,Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’,Phanishwar Nath ‘Renu’,Premchand,Harivash Rai Bachan and ____ Shukla are some of the names I can recollect now.

Their literary masterpieces invaded my life and had to figure out the meanings (literary,figurative), the metaphors and other figures or speeches.The killer was kavi parichay which was a brief biography of the poet.For annual exams,there would easily be fifteen of them to cover and was indeed a task that made me a Hindiphile. None of these guys would have the same year of birth,leave anything else. Every poet was so different. The only solace was Harivansh Rai Bachan, who was very farsighted of being nice to students like us and titled his works as Madhushaala, Madhubala and Madhukalash. Plus, one paragraph on Amitabh could possibly be squeezed in his kavi parichay.

Samkshipt Ramayan and Manak Hindi Vyakaran (Yes, that was one Grammar Book which taught me Samaas, the various kinds of it, sandhi, sandhi vicched, the types of Hindi languages like Audhi, Khadi Boli etc!!!)helped me learn the language, the way it had to be . The numerals and numbers also mortified me. The only numeral I could figure out was 0 which thankfully was the same in English as well. Rest of them looked more like nooses ready to hang my future.Lets not start on the numbers. Thirappan, Chappan, Ikyanabbe, phew, it was tough.

Solah and Satrah still make me count ek,do,teen to figure out which one is 16 and which one is 17. Words like gubbare (Balloon) or Kamal have not been used ever after school! May be a dose of Aaj Tak would remind me of those long forgotten words. I would have changed my gender in so many exams thanks to the eternal(?)confusion between ee ki matra or aa ki matra. While writing this piece, Kal kare sau aaj kare, aaj kare sau ab, Pal mein parlay hoyega,tho bahuri karega kab came to my mind. That being the only doha I know. May be the way it was recited I can’t forget,Khoob Ladi Mardani woh tho Jhaansi waali Rani thi, Bundele harbolo ke muh se humne suni kahaani thi.

Eventhough my Hindi has become decent enough compared to an average Southie,I still refrain from using Dhai and Dedh because I am still confused.Better using 1:30 or 2:30,respectively(?). And why did I learn to write letters in Hindi that usually started with Poojy Pithaaji? Only if I knew.

I dedicate this post to all the Hindi teachers I had in school who worked hard,really hard to save me from being a disgrace to the language.

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April 13, 2008   31 Comments

Vishu Aasamsakal

Vishu Aasamsakal(Happy Vishu)

Happy Vishu,Bihu,Baisakhi, Tamil Puthand or however you celebrate :-)

Card courtesy:

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April 13, 2008   1 Comment

My favourite Match

Stamp and Coin collections were out of fashion.The 90s were almost over. Rajiv Gandhi was no longer the Prime Minister.Gulf war was about to begin.

A new hobby was coming in place,and that was collecting match box labels. Though my initial reactions were, “No, nothing great…eekss….match box labels…not dignified..”,it caught up really fast. I stayed an ardent collector of matchbox labels for 2-3 years. It faded away. Nowadays, I rarely mention that I used to be Matchbox label collector.Some feeling of “not so good” on the hobby let it hide somewhere deep inside. And no one ever mentioned that he/she used to be a match box label collector….until GWBE did so recently.

Looking back at those times,it was the only hobby I jointly pursued with my brother and there was NO generation gap involved. We Two, and Chavi formed the brands to start off your hobby with.Those were the most popular brands.The value of these brands were not much because of its availability. The ubiquitous Chavi was a wax based match, probably the only one of its kind.Some of the WIMCO brands like Ship and Home Lites were also common. The market also consisted of hazaar counterfeits/imitations trying to piggy back on an established brand.So, there were Ours Two,Key and Homely Lites etc. I remember the brand Kadhak, which in fact had a Kathakali picture on it, instead of Kadhak, for whatever reason.

And the hobby caught up, caught up so much that every single shop near schools ranging from Petty Kada to Stationary shops started selling freshly printed matchbox labels. Yes, they were not the dirty ones taken off from match boxes lying down, but newly printed by some enterprising soul to help grow this hobby and make some quick bucks. Cup was a brand which was available 100 a Rupee(jus’ a bit of exaggeration).

I am not sure, even now if such a brand ever existed in the market.There were so many brands that was added to my collection thanks to these freshly printed matchbox labels.Everybody could buy these labels from shops. The market was getting competitive. One had to have rare labels. It was a question of existence.I started collecting these labels, literally collecting…from streets,roads sides, waste bins.

I was mad, so much that my mom almost disowned me (more than once)when she found me searching for labels among garbage.Another source was friends, relatives who used to come from other cities.I managed some Cheeta Fights from Bangalore. Dubai was a brand which none of my classmates in Trivandrum could manage.You get that brand only in Payyanur. :-)Many other brands were available there and it became a motivation to go to Payyanur. The freshly printed labels that flooded the market had the address which in most cases said either Kovilpatti or Sivakasi.Many a times I thought Kovilpatti never existed and they were all fake.Come to think of brand names, these companies had exhausted almost every single word that was top of mind. From animal and bird names to fruits…from household articles (knife,key etc) to names of gods and goddesses…from names of people and places to numbers….Why not…. If we can have 501 Soaps and Mango Fashion label!

I left the hobby may be because I thought it was not classy, or it seemed cheap to collect these labels. Or may be I was old to continue with a dirty hobby, literally. I burnt all the labels that I had one fine day…. That was the death of a hobby….

(A search on Google reveals that this hobby is called phillumeny and old matchbox labels are sold on ebay. And the limit is that someone by name Shahid Datawala has written a book on Indian Matchbox labels; Matchbook—Indian Matchbox labels.)

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April 5, 2008   13 Comments