Fun-filled, traumatic, joyous, troublesome, boring, cruel, pleasing, satisfying, challenging, tempting, misleading - yes Life is full of 'em - that is why life is so very SPECIAL - and yet the thrill is in "living" life! And all the accompanying ordeals are the frills attached with the thrills.

Monday, February 19, 2007

DD News then

Remember the old days when Doordarshan News was the only TV news available?No breaking news flashes, no news tickers, no "paraparappu" seidhi, no over made up news readers. But thinking back about them now, the news then, with much less antics and hype, was lot better than what we see on hundreds of channels today.

In the local channel, that is DD-1 then, we had the "Seidhi Surukkam" (news in brief) at 7 and then the detail news at 8.40. Infact the first versions had this typical blarring music and a hand written, no-graphics note (at home, we used to envy the lovely caligraphy and wondered who was the man behind it). Then the graphics version underwent lots of changes before finally settling on the current one (quite impressive at that).

The first time when DD-1 became colour, it was the Seidhi surukkam which got the honours. H.Ramakrishnan (who also featured in "Vaanamae Ellai" and later became News correspondent in DD) was in all smiles when he was shown in colour.

Among the news readers, Shobana Ravi was the darling of the viewers. Those days, the talk doing the rounds was that she never featured in the same saree more than once on TV. And ofcourse, our women folk wondered the number of sarees she would have amassed (a worthy doubt indeed!!). Then came Fathima (I used to read her name as "Ahh.. Fathima" - the way its written in Tamil starting with the Ayudha ezhuthu "Ahh"). She became an instant hit with her diction, style and that soft smile while reading. She was even considered a rival to Shobana Ravi. Infact she was one of the first Muslim readers (women from Muslim community still hadn't ventured so publicly). I used to feel, a pottu was all that was missing on her cheerful face and used to place a sticker pottu on the TV to see how Fathima looked with the pottu.

Sandhya Rajagopal, Koperundhevi and a few others who also donned the show. The now popular Nirmala Periyasamy (her characterisitc "Vanakkkkkam" was not known then) was a TV announcer in DD then.

Among the men it was Arasu, Tamilzhanban (more known for his pencil meesai (he also used to figure in pattimandrams, also read recently that hewas a Sahita Academy award winner) and a few others. One thing common amongst all of them was their flawless diction.

The ones at the National level (English news) were popular at "All-India" level. My personal favourite was the soft spoken Nithi Ravindran who had this stylish grey hair and simple dressing. Among the men it was Tejeshwar Singh who had this deep manly voice. I also liked Rini Khanna, Sukanya Balakrishnan, Mini, Sunit Tandon (the frail looking bearded guy), Bhaskar Bhattacharji (with his thick brush musch and military haircut), Sangita (who was one of the youngest then and very cute looking) and the manly Shivendra Kundra. The names of Geetanjali Ayyar and Sukanya Balakrishnan suggested that they were from the south but the way they pronounced the names of places in Tamilnadu... urrgh... definitely puts a Tamilian to shame. We used to wonder, initially how to pronounce the last name of Usha Albuquerque. Komal G B singh, another famous reader, who always read with a smile, went on to become an official announcer in government functions like the National Awards.

Even in those days (late 80s), the readers were paid about Rs.2500 per sitting, which even today, is quite impressive.

Without much media attention in those days, its amazing to note the kind of adolation and fans the news readers gained in those days.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Birthday bashes in hostel

I always felt that atleast one year, everyone in his/her college days should be away from home - preferably in a hostel.

Being in a hostel makes you learn so many things. The foremost thing is to be indepent and next is you learn being accomodative. You might have room mates who have dress sense, hygiene level, etiquettes exactly in contrast to yours. There might be people who would use your combs, your shirts, your bathroom slippers - but the real challenge is to live cordially with them all.

I had great time when I spent 3 years in hostel during my post graduation days. We definitely had lows too but they were all part of hostel life. The worst ordeal, according to me, was when we run out of water in the toilets. Not taking bath is no big deal, but imagine not having water to... (hope you get the picture?).

The most exciting times were the birthday bashes. Actually we had improvised on the strategy each time. The speciality was the "solution". We used to make this solution with... hold your breath - ink, shoe polish, blue, soap, shaving creams, perfume, powdered incense sticks (this is to counter the awful odour), shampoo and any other harmless elements which is available. We even once used cowdung powder (which is readily available in stores there).

We would separate the solutions into three. First stage is dragging out the birthday boy and smashing with eggs. This, at times, is very painful especially when the egg hits with full force on your bare skin. And then we would cover our hands with plastic covers and smear the "solution". Then drag him to the bathroom and lift him aloft and drop him into the water tank (which is in every bathroom and is know for its "cleanliness").

Then we allow him to take bath and as he walks back on the corridor to the room, the second round awaits him. And then the third...

The first time we tried this "strategy" on our friend, his face and whole body was covered with bluish black stains (because of the solution). The next day he had to face our class girls to get their wishes and so it was important (to him ofcourse, why would we bother!) that he looked good and so as he was busy scrubbing his face (he thought he could cover his body with clothes anyway and so was just concerned about his face). He even had to use a scrubber to get the stains off. After rigorous scrubbing, he opened the bathroom door and showed me his face "Has it gone Ravi?". Before I could even reply, I burst laughing because inspite of all his efforts, I could only see his white teeth when he peeked out!

And all this would be followed with inquiries from our warden the next day for all the mess created in the corridor. The eggs give a very awful stench. Though we haven't tried this, we were told (by the other "experts" that eggs buried in sand for a day, turns rotten and would give a even worse smell which is supposed to stick on to the birthday boy for days!!!