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Posts Tagged ‘Rudyard Kipling’

kidstvHow did one survive growing up in the 90’s? Definitely not by sitting glued in front of television sets. I am continuously amazed at the amount of time my nephew and our neighbouring toddler, can put in just surfing TV channels. The two usually have major fights as to the merits of Pogo vs Nickelodeon or Chutti TV vs Disney, while all the adults try to act as peacemakers and make sneaky attempts to grab the remote.

When my precocious seven-year-old nephew started singing songs like KalyaNamdhan kattikittu Odi polaama?
illa Odi poyee kalyaNamdhaan kattikalaama?

thaaliyathaan kattikittu pethukalama?
illa pulla kutti pethukittu kattikalama
? I was stunned. (For those not conversant with Tamil, the song lyrics go something like: “Should we elope and get married or get married and elope? Should we get married and have kids or have kids and then get married?”)

Then he started singing, “Dey Kaiya vachittu summa iruda (The song goes on to baser levels, with people asking how it will be if someone touches them here, kisses them there…Shucks!)

Now he seems to know everything about the birds and bees, if one gauges his knowledge by the songs he sings. ramayana

I remember my TV watching episodes as a kid were quite innocent in comparison. The worst crime, me and my parents committed, according to my grandparents, was sitting at home on a Sunday morning, watching “Mahabarata and Ramayana” instead of going to church.

I once got a nice, tight slap from my mom for singing “Choli Ke Peechey Kya He, Chumri Ke Neeche Kya He” in front of a few guests. I got to know the meaning of the words only much later.

For me, I remember Simran best as the compere for Superhit Muquabla and Preity Zinta as the bubbly teen in Liril and Perk ads. On a rainy day, I would even settle down to watch “Vaiyalum vazhvum.”

I am a prime example of the media-bullet theory of influence. As a kid, my favourite treat was Maggie 2-minute noodles, because of the Maggie ads on Doordarshan. I would imagine I was Cuthbert Calculus when DD’s Turning Point came on air.

When the TV was not switched on, I would be reliving the adventures of Tintin & Snowy and Asterix & Obelix. Strange to think, that I have achieved my very first ambition – that of being a reporter, though my job profile doesn’t even remotely resemble the Tintin escapades. Influenced by writers like Kenneth Anderson, Gerald Durrell, Jim Corbett, Rudyard Kipling and James Herriot, my jungle-bookambitions vacillated between being a zoo warden, an animal trainer, a forest range officer, a veterinary doctor, a zoologist and a wildlife photographer. Currently, I have to satisfy myself with being a journalist and a pet owner.

Chitrahar, Chitramala, Oliyum Oliyum and the Sunday feature film was a must watch for the family.

Coming from a very orthodox and strict Pentecostal family, I would watch with a sense of guilt, but still thoroughly enjoy it all the same. Doordarshan introduced me to the world of Satayajit Ray, Charlie Chaplin, Malgudi Days, Sinbad the Sailor, The Jungle Book, etc. For me the transition from comics to novels, happened because of TV or the lack of it. I remember seeing the serial adaptation of Swiss Family Robinson and because I couldn’t wait till the next week to know what happened, I started reading the abridged version.

From there it was a short step to Robinson Crusoe and Children of the New Forest. Then Oliver Twist, Malgudi Days and Jungle Book was aired; inspiring me to read the original books.

Soon, I was hooked to books and started ignoring DD. I preferred reading Dennis the Menace to watching the movies, preferred reading Wizard of Oz to seeing the VCD, and preferred readingwizard-of-oz-dvdcover Gerald Durrell to watching Turning Point. Even now books hold a stronger lure; I prefer Harry Potter books to the movies and Edith Wharton’s original The Age of Innocence to Martin Scorsese’s adaptation.

Junoon was a sore point for my grandma. Being a Pentecostal, she found it hard to reconcile her liking for the melodrama. But some of my more canny Pentecostal friends have got around the bans imposed by pastors. Since pastors exhort them not to go to “theatres and watch cinemas,” many Christian families can be seen renting DVDs and watching them at home. I don’t how watching the same movie at home is a holier pastime than watching it with a crowd in a theatre.

Even though there would be regular interruptions on Doordarshan, people never switched off their television sets. I remember seeing my aunt once sitting in front of an empty screen, cutting vegetables and waiting for the broadcast to resume; her logic being she didn’t want to miss a second of Junoon.

Doordarshan often used the national integrity song “Mile Sur Mera Tumhara” as space fillers. I remember getting goosebumps everytime I watched the song; used to make me feel so “patrotic and Indian.” Surabhi, was one of those programmes, I could watch without PG (Parental Guidance). After Kamal Hassan’s sensual song “Sivarathiri thookam yethu” was aired on Oliyum Oliyum, I couldn’t watch any filmy stuff on TV in the absence of my parents.

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If you can

One of my favourite poems that I keep repeating to hopefully keep me level-headed in office:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

– Rudyard Kipling

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