Doctor G – Movie review

Anubhuti Kashyap’s Doctor G is an amazing movie to watch. It is full of funny moments, points to ponder. There are no cliches to a greater extent. The Male Gynaecologist with his heart rooted in Orthopedics is taken to task by world of Female doctors.

They peel our prejudices, patriarchy with a gentle scalpel of wit and sense. There is hope and introspection in the movie. The defeated hearts ache for joy. The betrayed souls find redemption. There are no grand moments.

The Story luckily doesn’t revolve only around the hero. It has well crafted characters who have prominent screen space and they all add up to the drama that unravels in interesting ways. But, this movie is more about Men and Women rather than about Gynaecology or Medical field.

Yet, it is a moving and heart touching short story. The movie doesn’t wait for a moving ending. It is built in parts through various points and those emotive sparks fill our heart. Do watch it.

Death to Womb: Portrait Tales – Book Review

Anirudh Shreenath has penned a book of Portrait Tales titled, ‘Death to Womb’. The Author draws inspiration from paintings, sketches, photographs and works of aesthetic nature that have unravelled passionate perspectives in his mind. Every story starts with work of an art. Even before you imbibe the image, soak yourself into it, the portrait tales boggle you. What makes this maiden attempt a fascinating read? The unpredictable flow of the wave of narration combined with the deep musings told with rawness through voices of the characters. The choice of names of characters like Maali, Kaali, Nidhra makes us wonder what awaits us. The collection starts with graveyard and ends in womb. There is deep dive on identity, divides, multitudes of imagination, questions of honour, ethics, sexuality are expressed through calming as well as raging motion of emotions. 

The splash of red with devouring flames of kerosene ignites one tale.From Mountain to Forest to Plains, the journey is a whirlwind tour and you ask for more. There is a shivering urgency to tell the tales with intense words and burning questions. The dreams remind us of ancestral tales dotted with visions of future or looming darkness. The last paragraph of the story,  ‘Meera’ is sheer display of magic of ecstasy, emotional turbulence and unrelenting bhakthi. There are stories of symbolisms which wonder whether universal brotherhood is a mirage and mocks the complicated borders that have been created. Aadupaambe, is an intimate portrayal of identity crisis and simmering pursuit of acceptance of the longing for being herself through imagery of snakes. There are not only portrait tales, but, poems of fine taste that invite you into unexplored caves of unseen humans. The unimaginable range of characters whose tales are told is delightful and enthralling. 

The characters of the stories come from different landscapes, they are suddenly introduced and bombard us with unexpected thoughts and emotions. The fleshing out of characters in the narration in a deeper manner could have added to the connect to the stories which is missing in most of the tales. But, ‘The Speech’ – easily the best of the tales  fills the above lacuna. It in many ways, announces the arrival of the master story-teller. Some tales sound like the author is interviewing the the lead and they are speaking out their mind. Events, complex interplay of relations, incremental conversations could have explained them better. The story ‘Arrival of Birds’ is the perfect blend all the above and it just illustrates how an excellent story can evoke finest emotions and make us brimming with tears or joy. This shining debut that will leave you wanting for more. Cheers Anirudh. You have arrived and what an unforgettable debut this is! 

For buying the book contact author in instagram at : anirudh_shreenath

K. Kolanchiammal: A dedicated teacher’s journey

K. Kolanchiammal (in front)

I hail from Ponpathi, a remote village near Gingee in the northern part of Tamil Nadu, and I have a short story to share about K. Kolanchiammal, my amma. On October 22, amma completed 26 years of service as a government teacher. Her journey is more important than my connection with her. She was the first graduate of her generation and had earned two master’s degrees.

K. Kolanchiammal was born in a sleepy village called Somanathapuram in the undivided Viluppuram district. Even before her arrival on earth, her father had died by suicide due to unattended mental health issues. A small piece of land the family owned and that was due to her, was also appropriated.

Amma’s mother and my aaya, R. K. Saroja, was unlettered. So were all the strong women who had raised her. They went to faraway places, such as Mangalore, to find work. They bent their backs by doing whatever jobs that came their way. My amma grew up with little care and had a turbulent childhood. The mid-day meal scheme in school offered her some succour.

When she was fifteen and about to write her SSLC examinations, tuberculosis and jaundice struck her. She failed in her exams and suggestions of child marriage were mooted by the villagers. She refused to quit. Despite the fact that there was literally no one to take care of her or to guide her in the family, she still scored well in her next attempt.

She wanted to be a doctor. Due to poverty and lack of guidance, she ended up in a teacher training course. She fought her way there. Old book shops and unvisited college libraries became her abodes. She learnt whatever was denied to her for years. 

An incident from her college life had entered our bedtime stories. Amma was a physically frail woman and used to look like a schoolgirl. There was a district-level competition. College guys were teasing her as she rose to speak. But she won the hearts and minds with her oration. Amma went on to conquer as many stages as she could. Till date, whenever she goes on a stage, her speeches enchant the audience as well as students.

At the age of 23, she married my appa. Next five years, they struggled a lot. Under a thatched roof harboured by snakes and seeping rains, they dreamed of greater things and aimed for peaks. Amma enrolled herself in a Bachelor of Literature course at the Annamalai University in Chidambaram.

Appa ensured all household chores were taken due care so she could study. The scene of appa sweeping the home and decorating the front yard (vaasal) with kolam is one of our evergreen memories. Amma kept on reading and striving hard. She was appointed as second grade teacher by the Tamil Nadu government on October 22, 1996. Since then it has been a different journey altogether.

Her brief stints as a teacher in Maruvoor and Palapattu earned her name and fame. Villagers protested before government offices when she opted for a transfer for personal reasons. Teaching had never been a salary earning endeavour for her. It was her mission and she immersed herself into it with dedication.

In the process, amma shook many societal disadvantages in a gentle way. Many Dalit students enrolled in the government school during her tenure in my village. Further, students from other religions found it comfortable to study under her tutelage.

She had to bear the wrath of village strongmen many a time. A number of cases and witch hunting followed. They wanted her to tender an apology as they felt she had voted for a non-dominant caste candidate in her postal ballot. She refused to oblige. After a long battle, the cases were quashed. She came out unscathed. The parents of students who had benefited by her faithful discharge of her duties were her comrades in the fight.

Amma spent most of her earnings on her students. She held them close to her heart as if they were her family members. Marks weren’t the ultimate destination for her. My small home was always filled with students preparing for stage plays, sports events, debates, quizzes and artistic performances.

In this 26 years of journey, health issues have weakened her body. Still, her soul has been unrelenting. Teaching and being with students still gives her energy and inspiration. If there is one thing that defines her, it is the fearlessness that she taught us. ‘Criticise something after you have read about it’ is her message that echoes forever. Happy work anniversary, amma! For the greater times and finer moments to come