Thursday, April 7, 2016

The best award ever ...

It was another lonely weekend for Kannan. As everyday his day started at 4 am. The alarm was waiting to be touched by him and silenced with a pat on its head. But as usual the alarm was late and Kannan was awake. The alarm went off with the touch and a lazy weekend for all was an active day for Kannan. 

Making coffee, making toast and eggs for breakfast, checking mails, his canvas, the colors .... with or without anyone around him, Kannan was busy till noon. Age was not a factor which kept him from trying anything new. At the age of 40, he would look 60 and be active as 20. The loneliness never made him think about what would happen tomorrow, but always found inspiration from the past. He was flipping the newspaper in the hot summer afternoon and Dubai summers burnt the skin of those who ventured out. He was going through the cinema page and saw the list of new movies.... one grabbed his attention

"Happy as can be ..." what a title, Kannan thought. He had the passion for movies since childhood. He got dressed finishing his lunch and grabbed the car keys from the table. The parking was scorched with heat, but his smile was warm as a spring morning. He whirred the engine and drove off to the nearby mall. 

Single Cinemas gave way to Multiplexes, Multiplexes to home cinema and satellite on demand movies to the cinema on the wrist with gadgets improving day by day. But the ways of expressing thought in movies remained with a handful of film makers, who made it a point to entertain the audience. Kannan parked his car and rushed to the cinemas, glancing at his watch from time to time for messages and time. He walked up to the counter greeted by the smiling Philippina, who punched the tickets out after confirming the seat. 

He walked towards the hall looking at the posters and cut outs for all the movies being played there. The smell of freshly popping pop corn, the air freshener in the walkway, the smell of chestnuts, corn and the cotton candy... it’s a real pleasure being at the cinemas. He checked his ticket and saw the Cinema:7 doors welcoming him for a treat... "Happiness as can be ..." As he entered the Cinema greeted by the freshness of the aerosols sprayed in the hall, he was reminded of the pleasure of cinemas all through from the past. 

Thoughts of Venki, his uncle a movie buff and his love for cinemas, watching "Beautiful People", the movie from the front rows with school mates, watching "Enakkul Oruvan", another Kamal Hassan movie with Venki, watching "Vandanam", the movie with just Appa in the stand alone Ajantha Cinema, when Amma and Akka got angry that the balcony tickets were sold out and those available were only First Class. Kannan smiled at that thought. His journey back in time had some more time left, as there was more time for the movie to start. He thought about watching "The Mask", when he had to walk out after a fight with Priya in the theatre, Introducing the Disney Movie "Finding Nemo" in 2003, to watching his own movies in the cinemas a few years back. 

It was during one such movie night out that Kannan understood the unsaid love between him and Appa. Kannan's craze for movies and media had always worried Appa. From a conservative and orthodox family, cinema was considered a taboo indeed. Though he liked movies, the thought that his son's life might be spoilt with the vices of the industry worried him more. 

"You are an engineering graduate and you know what to do ... up to you" Appa's words echoed in Kannan's mind when he thought about those days, when he wanted to be in media and movies like any other youngster. 

Appa always remained silent on all major issues pertaining to Kannan's life, but kept his fears and worries in his heart. But one issue he spoke once to Kannan was in a few words

"Why media ... you can do much better otherwise"

Every look after that statement for years mentioned his concern to Kannan. Years passed and Kannan had been doing well with a TV station with his Interview shows and morning breakfast shows. 

Years later, Appa had visited him for a few days on the way to his visit to US, to be with Akka and her kids. And it was just another weekend movie night out with Appa. As they were waiting for the hall to be vacated by those who were at the previous show and old man came running to Kannan. He was tall, spotting a grey beard, the strings from his spectacles went down and behind his neck. He seemed to be a seasoned professional from the striped blue shirt with the white cuffs, those which you wear as the inner for a suit, his tweed trousers and shining black shoes. 

"Sir... I am Raghav are Kannan Iyer" asked him with curious eyes and an excited yet soft voice. 
He was all excited to meet Kannan in person. His excitement could be felt standing next to him and did not notice Appa standing next to them. 
Appa was looking at both of them as if he were the line referee at the Wimbledon left to right and right to left.
"Yes sir... I am" replied Kannan. "Pleasure meeting you"
" Sir... I saw your interview last week" He continued with smiles and adjusting his slipping glasses from time to time.
"Thanks..." replied Kannan with a smile and a sense of satisfaction "hope you liked it" 
"Oh ... I can't explain... the questions... the way you handled it... the ... the ..." he kept searching for words to express his hearts feelings like a school boy searching for the next words of the answer he was asked for by the teacher.
"Thank you sir... Thank You... All by Gods grace" Kannan cut him short as he saw people had started entering the cinema.
Pointing to the cinema hall Kannan continued
"Well I think it’s time for the movie to start and my dad is here with me" Kannan carefully gestured with his right hand towards Appa.
He turned and looked at Appa with awe, paused for a moment, took a deep breath and quickly took Appa's hands in his.
"You are Kannan's father!!" asked Raghav still shaking Appa's hands. He had claspped Appa's hand snuggly with both his hands.
Appa just smiled and nodded. "Yes.... Kannan is my son"
For a moment Kannan saw a glitter in the moist old eyes, which he had never seen before. Kannan looked at Appa and the old man for a second. The time froze that moment and Kannan's mind swirled in that moment like a butterfly. The feeling which he had then, could never be put in words. coming back to the moment Kannan quickly wished good night to the old man, who was still smiling, to have met Kannan. He walked away, and kept looking at Kannan and Appa as he was walking out of the cinema area. Kannan saw Appa also looking at him with a smile in his eyes.

"Shall we go..." asked Kannan

Appa was silent as usual, but his silence had a sigh of approval in between. He kept his hand on the back of Kannan as if he was taking Kannan forward and 

Kannan heard his heart say "I am proud of you my son..." 

That day Kannan did not see the movie on the screen but his mind kept playing the moment when Appa's eyes were shining and smiling. Kannan thought about the cinema intermissions back in his childhood days when appa would pat his back, keep his hand on the small Kannan's back, take him to the cafeteria and share his coffee on the saucer. The times were different, but Kannan still wanted to share the cup of coffee from Appa who would pour a little from his cup to the white saucer and hand it carefully to him. And when looking at the vapours from the coffee, Appa would take the saucer full of coffee and blow it cold enough for Kannan to sip and smile.

Those moments at the cinema were the best ever in Kannan's life. Since then Appa never asked him "Why media ..." The smile on his face was worth more than any awards in the whole wide world for the little he could achieve. 

"Happy as can be ..." the movie title appeared on the screen and Kannan thought to himself..."Does life have subtitles for thoughts which appear on movie screens...

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