Saturday, March 31, 2007





Waking up from the realities of the working class, one free day without the yokes of the employed youth is freedom injected right up your nostril. Immediate high. I had decided not to wake up earlier than eleven in the morning. But it's always Murphy's love, i woke up at seven. Groggy and sullen at the unfair kicks of the world.
A day in Calicut - lazy and aaraam se. Says who? I did! Well the first thing i did was go out for a walk at S.M Street. The hub of human activities in Calicut. A street of rainbows gone mad. S.M street has its line of famous people and shops. Shankar Stores, the paradise of hobbyists and artworkers. The Hanuman Temple inside the street, that gives out the red oily prasada ensured to give you pimples all over your forehead the next day on... The old Coffee shops sending out a waves and waves of strong coffee aroma. The army of men outside each shop, practically pulling each of you into the shop with promises of new salwars/ shirts/ underwear/ pardha/ maftha/saree/maxi/slippers/bedsheets/bra. I walk on and at the Witco Junction that leads to Palayam I see the man, who stands on in the crowd and has been a voice in the Street for years "The Laxman Rekha"guy with his raspy voice methodically repeating, "Oru Vara Varachaamathi" (Just draw a Line). I tend never to forget him, because during my college days I heard him drawling on and I told him (very sweetly of course) "Why don't you draw two?" He was pretty nasty about it. Period.
The man seen in and around S.M Street with muscular spasms. He walks by you very normally and then when you are close to him he suddenly goes into these startling actions. My heart pops right into my mouth and I'm already half the town across in a wild run to get away from him.
The man with a thousand pen all over him. The famous "Pen manushyan" at manachira square. I bought pens off him, just out of curiosity to see if he smelt like ballpoint ink and plastic tubes. Every town has its share of strange men, famous- not because they are filmstars, writers, activists or the like. Sometimes, being very human makes you very famous too.
School days for Josephites would revolve around raju Sir, The famous Maths sir with a very feminine nature. And his watchgirl , Devi- the mad woman who sat in the lane to his house screaming abuse at us and doing Jayantimala dance with her tattered skirt. The flasher famous to the girls in the lanes with his dirty beard and sperm smelling self showing us his dirty self and satisfying his self. Chethth Ice Koya and Vijayettan, whose served us thousands of glasses with ice chips topped with the briny water and salted gooseberries and mangoes. They have passed away. Naseer, the guy who sold us poor man's Champagne- Salted Gooseberry water and Soda :) Masala soda and Masala Vellam....
The small man at Crown theatre, you hardly see him coming and then suddenly, when you are in the queue, there is this movement at your knee and there he is with his straigh little face knudging you to move to the front of the queue. The Rajanikanth at the theatres, the guy who walks talks and dresses like Rajani Annan. The street circus troupe at the theatres with the kid who has a rubber physiques. They actually tie him in a cloth and send his rolling down the ramp. Sort of scary and paranoid...
Calicut lives on, made of its small men and big thoughts. Calicut carries with it the smell of warm coconut and the heat of the spices she traded.
Nawaab Rajendran, the scary looking huge man who owned a newspaper. I hear he passed away last year. You could see him walking down the road, in his uncomfortably large body and large face smiling to himself safe in his secret with his large jubba and cloth bag.
P.S: Those photos above were pinched by the clever me from http://freebird.in and tried to pass it off as mine. I have a case pending against me now :)

2 comments:

clash said...

Now that i have been living on and off there; in Calicut for a while. I can recall all these characters!

For a more generic view point : http://tushizap.wordpress.com/2006/12/13/kozhikkode-not-much-but/

Reshma said...

all these people, all these places!
remember that 'mad' lady called Pathumma? cropped hair, loud voice. she used to wear gaudy skirts and dance in the middle of the road,and was seen mostly near pattalapalli and kidson corner. haven't seen her for a long time now.