The Next Chapter


Light showers, lovely breeze, twilight as the sun sets in. As I breathe in the fresh air, the mood is set to reflect. 24 hours ago, the news came in. 2 years had passed by. The journey was tough, depressing, disappointing and marred with failures; something I was unaccustomed to.

I was not the average kid. Being born left handed, the added burden of ‘left handed people are “smart” ‘ has persisted all throughout my last 25 years [here to stay!]. The ability to toy with arithmetic was in the lineage and no surprise Math turned out to be my favorite subject. Being ‘good at studies’ meant taking Science and Math in XI and XII; which is effectively the license to write both Medical and Engineering Entrance exams.

My III std. answer to my Class Teacher’s query: “What would you like to become Varun?” was “Pilot”. The irony though was I am shit scared of heights and could never sit through take off and landing without squeezing the hell out of the arm rests and calling all the Hindu Gods I could name!

Things changed as I hit XI and XII. Probably all the hoo haa of being in the top 10 in school plus the lack of any particular ambition in life lead to the usual thought process “There is no reason to not like either Medicine or Engg; Let’s write both and take whichever that happens!

My incidental admission to Manipal for Medicine was a boon in many ways. The place did a lot to let me develop as a person and the profession is tailor made for anyone who is glad to help someone out. The addition of “Dr.” in front of the name was a moment of great honor and pride. But the realization that this was just the beginning of a journey of a lifetime tends to hit you hard.

Immediately after graduation, the next short term target is Post Graduation. In the case of girls, of course, marriage tends to come more often than not in the way or ahead of it.

I have hardly ever failed in any exam of significance. But success was something that was agonizingly difficult to taste when it came to qualifying for post graduation entrance exams. The equation is simple -> Just too many people competing for a handful of seats.. aka the terrible rat race rerun in difficulty mode!

The last 12 months have been terrible, to say the least. I did not celebrate when I turned 25; there was no reason to for a year that went totally unregistered. But here I am now, a week away from restoring order to life, eager to move on, eager to brush away all the failures and disappointments. It’s time to smell success, cherish the moment a thankful patient smiles and do my part.

P.S: All my friends whom I have not contacted for a while, my heartfelt apologies. At times, it just felt right to shut myself out 🙂

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MOVIE REVIEW: TRAFFIC [Malayalam]


First movie after a 3 month break and what a WAY to start 2011. Listening to a random Good morning Kerala Interview couple of days back on Indiavision,  wherein one of the casts of the film was being interviewed, just left me a little curious on what this movie is all about.

This movie centres around a sequence of events, occurring at a Traffic Island in the heart of Ernakulam, over a span of 12 hours on a September 16. Raihan [Vineeth Srinivasan] has jus gotten into a new job as a journalist at IndiaVision and is about to do his first interview – of the Movie superstar Siddharth [Rahman].  Dr. Abel [Kunchako Boban] has just purchased a new Swift to surprise his wife Shwetha [Remya Nambeeshan] on their 1st wedding anniversary. Sudevan [Sreenivasan] is a clean police constable who recently got suspended for accepting a bribe and is finding ways to clear his name and reputation.

The chain of events kick off with Raihan’s interview with Siddharth being preponed, so he decides to hitch a ride with his friend Rajeev [Asif Ali] to get to the news station ASAP. All it took is a random speeding vehicle which whizzed past at a red signal to knock them off their bike and leaving Raihan fatally injured. His imminent death is interwoven with the chronic illness [heart disease] of Siddharth’s daughter whose life could be saved if an immediate heart transplant is done.

The movie thrives on the impossible mission of trying to get Raihan’s heart from Lakeshore hospital in Ernakulam to Ahalya hospital in Palakkad, a journey of 150 km, to be completed within 2hours! The background score has a more lasting impression merely due to the wonderful script where we eagerly wait to see the mission completed. The movie bluntly deals with the inadequacies of our roads and the bribery of our Indian system, how politicians and men in power misuse the Govt. services to their use and yet they are not willing to help out the common man.

On a parallel track runs 2 stories – Dr. Abel finding out about his wife cheating with his best friend and the anger and the anguish he feels when he finds out about the infidelity. Medical ethics are also prodded and probed a bit on where exactly do we define – Saving a life or Ending one.

It’s a brilliant work by the writers Bobby and Sanjay. A very realistic approach, makes you feel at home with Rajesh Pillai’s direction, so much so that when you leave the theatre, you will feel a little more responsible next time you hit the road.  Coincidence or not that his movie has released just after we Celebrated Road Safety Week.

The ensemble of cast in this movie is brilliant. Considering almost all spend an equal amount of screen time, its clearly evident how strong some of the actors are.  My most riveting moment was Raihan’s mom reflecting over his interview on her mobile and where she sits beside him in the ICU. So subtle with emotions and yet one could feel a mother’s love.

The future of Malayalam industry is bright, if and only if we grow out of the shadows of the “Superstars” where stories aren’t made to suit them rather actors tune themselves into a good script!

I will not go on and on with spoilers, cause this movie is worth every penny.

FINAL VERDICT – 8.5 *

  • Asif Ali, Sai Kumar, Kunchako Boban and Anoop Menon are the strong performers in addition to Sreenivasan and Rahman.
  • Go and watch this movie. At a time when posters are often misleading [on a first look, it seems like a college goers movie]. It has got it all. A perfect mix of emotions and guaranteed you will find yourself applauding at some of the most electrifying moments in the 2 hours.