Back to N.S.S

N.S.S. College, Pandalam

N.S.S. College, Pandalam

NSS College, Pandalam, hosts a lot of my childhood memories. As a four year old, I used to run uncontrollably through the corridors of this great institution, along with two other mates of mine. We were the privileged lot because our fathers taught in the NSS College. I can recall that our adventures ended rather abruptly in one evening when we destroyed a giant whale tooth, placed carefully in front of the Zoology lab. Apparently, it was the pride of that lab, given by some old professor who worked in the Indian Ocean, half of his life, studying the flora and fauna of it.

This institution was set up in 1950 by M. Padmanabhan, the renowned leader of the Nair community in Kerala. I have heard many stories about this great man. Ever since its setting up, someone from my family were either part of the student community or faculty in NSS College. My grandmother still has fond memories of this college where she did her BSc. My father taught in this college for years and my Uncle was a student here and now, a Professor in the same department that my father headed at some point of time. So, in several ways, NSS College has a place in my heart that I cannot give to any other institution, even though I never was a student here. In 2009 and in 2011, I was made to take classes to M.A English students here. I obliged both times because it was impossible to resist the guys who used to pamper me as a child.

So, it was with great pleasure that I accepted my Uncle’s invitation to attend a seminar hosted by the Department of Malayalam. The seminar was on films and literature and was named ‘Kottaka’ (the old Malayalam word for ‘talkies/cinema’) by my Uncle.

Film Director Blessy talking to students.

Film Director Blessy talking to students

He was the co-ordinator of the Seminar and demanded a paper from me. I was busy with my own thesis which is quite unrelated to the topic of the seminar but I jumped at the offer just to be part of something that NSS College was conducting. For me, it was not just going back. It was going back with a bang! I wanted it to be the best ever; an experience that I could keep in a corner of my mind, to be cherished forever. I was not going to let anything come between this seminar and me. I selected the topic ‘Magical Realism in Malayalam ‘New-Generation’ Movies’ and began working on it. After sulking and sweating a lot in the library and in the reading rooms of University of Hyderabad, I came up with a solid 15 page paper. It was not exactly a piece of cake but I wouldn’t pretend that it was difficult. I selected three movies and the objective was to differentiate between ‘Magical Realism’ and ‘Fantasy’. From all the reviews I read of movies from all over the world, I have come to the conclusion that more than 60% of the (re)viewers confuse Magical Realism to Fantasy and vice versa. I wanted to prove through the simplest methods possible that both are different and that ‘Magical Realism’ was NOT a ‘genre’.

Director, Lyricist and Screenplay Writer Mr. Sreekumaran Thampi conversing with the Students and the Faculty.

Director, Lyricist and Screenplay Writer Mr. Sreekumaran Thampi conversing with the Students and the Faculty.

The three day seminar was a delight. It was inaugurated by acclaimed film director Blessy and was blessed with giants like Sreekumaran Thampi and Sunny Joseph, a noted Cinematographer. Notable film critic C.S. Venketeswaran’s class was one of the most amazing classes I have ever attended in any seminars related to this topic.

Notable film critic, Mr. C.S. Venkateswaran's conversation with the students.

Notable film critic, Mr. C.S. Venkateswaran’s conversation with the students.

Cinematographer Sunny Joseph's scintillating talk on the Techniques of Cinematography

Cinematographer Sunny Joseph’s scintillating talk on the Techniques of Cinematography

Another thing that overwhelmed me was the ‘welcome’ I got from the College, the faculty and the student community. I rode the hill up as nobody but I drove down the third day as someone recognized by everyone above that hill. I was given a very warm welcome by my Father’s former colleagues and students and was made comfortable the moment I reached. I was thrust into quite a few bear-hugs when introduced as ‘Kurup Sir’s Son.’ Several old teachers referred to me as ‘the greatest problem-maker that they have ever seen.’ During the process I also unearthed some stories about myself from my kindergarten days; locking the security guard in the water-tower (the poor man stayed there for a whole night!), jumping from a high ground to a car parked below (it was the Premier Padmini of a much dreaded Principal and I dented the top of it) etc.

This is me presenting a paper, while my uncle, Prof. R. Rajesh looks on to see if I am the end of the legacy they all built in a 100 years!

This is me presenting a paper, while my uncle, Prof. R. Rajesh looks on to see if I am the end of the legacy they all built in a 100 years!

My presentation went along well with many other research scholars from other Universities. It was good listening to many papers; ‘Occultism in Movies’, ‘Feminism’, ‘Violence and Sex’ etc. The Department of Malayalam has already started working on bringing out a book containing selected papers. I am looking forward to see my work as a published one.

P.S: It is because of these incidents that I have been away from blogging for a while. I have so many of my favourite bloggers to catch up to. Love you all.

  • ‘a very excited’ Manu


Manu Kurup:

Thought this might be worth reblogging.

Originally posted on Manu Kurup's Blog:

I have had a few journeys, recently. Even though escapism might seem to be the root cause of all the journeys, mine is always an opportunity to take more and more photos. Much to the annoyance of fellow travelers, I sometimes spent an unbelievable amount of time photographing things. Some people express their annoyance by uttering radical theories of self… like they are not satisfied by looking through the viewfinder and the journey is only worth it when you enjoy the beauty of nature through your own eyes… so on and so forth. Not me! I do both… I am not a shutterbug who clicks away things into the memory of my camera. I also do write about them if feel like it later, which requires me to look at things carefully.

Recently, I  find myself much more addicted to Black and white photos than earlier. When I wanted…

View original 483 more words


train (1 of 8)



You are that
little ray of Sunshine
that threads through the
reluctantly open Window
to shoo away the morning birds.

You are the Sunshine
that breaks my Sleepiness
in the most beautiful way, energetic,
enigmatic and Enthusiastic.
I will keep my windows open.


I’m the Monsoon
That terrifies the land
from a distance, Clouds the Sun,
Roars my arrival and cools the Earth.

Yet, Once I let my emotions fall,
I let the Sunshine seep through me
to make rainbows.
I’m the Violent Violin of Gods.


Four Short Poems

Written in an early morning when a neighboring Temple decided to be Cacophonous.
But, early rising is a blessing. Thoughts are clear and paths smooth.
Four poems out of nowhere.
They may be a manifestation of four unclear dreams that played throughout the night.
Meaningless, yet meaningful… providing hints of future.
Or not.
Sleeping with books could be a reason for such dreams, said a part of me.
I was reading (for the umpteenth time) Allen Douglas’ ‘War, Memory and the Politics of Humor’ before falling asleep casually, after a long talk with my girlfriend.

So, here it goes…

  1. Milady de Winter

I can already smell you
Miady de Winter.
Straight out of the Pages
of the Three Musketeers,
You presented yourself to
me in a winter.
Dashing and Mysterious.


  1. Anticipation

In here,
The Wind blows from the Sea
into the Land.
Anticipating wind,
I kept my windows open.
The Wind blew
in the Darkest hour of the Night,
bringing your smell
from over a 100 miles away.

  1. Enthusiasm

I have never felt
when I embarked on Return Journeys.
Now I do.

  1. Achilles’ Heel

When my heel burns,
I imagine the hands that press it,
gently pushing me to Sleep.
I remember  Gary Oldman as
Sirius Black.
‘It’s like falling asleep.’
He said that when asked about
I was unaware that my
Achilles’ heel could be cured.
But then,
Do I want it to be?

Ephemeral Night

You were ephemeral, my child.
Just like a night of
white clouds
that passed silently,
carefully watching the world
lay below.
Today, I wish I had been
born as that bird
sitting on obscure branches,
cooing at strange windows,
sleepless at night.
My wind-flaps could make
someone scared.
My cooing could bring
fearful thoughts.
I’d be powerful even if for
a simple, passing night.
I wish I was powerful enough
to keep you.
My touch was not enough.
My touch isn’t the same.
Not anymore.

When the clouds pass over
and the stars come out,
I will hoot for you.
Because my love for you
isn’t ephemeral.
It is ever-lasting.

A Warship at Anchor


A War Ship at Anchor…
Away from the Divine thunder’s roar
Moving slowly with waves up and down
Feeling the care and love of Poseidon.

Provoke him not, let him sleep
Undisturbed by the Ocean’s deep
a long time work had made him weak
but will soon be as strong as a Teak.

Challenge him not, for he is at peace
a challenge will make him not at ease
Turn thy back, if thy are to try,
Fear him thy will, for his war cry.

Feeling the sweetness of wave’s lullaby
Sleeping, the War Ship, the ocean’s baby
Dreaming about the nautical miles to cross
and the islands and its treasures to pass.

Remembering the number of men and blood
that he had spilled in the Ocean’s cold
The War Ship shook gently in the sleep
on the cries of the ghosts from the deep

Stop! The men said, for he did not hear.
Enough! They said again, he did not fear
to kill the brave men who stood against him
and to paint his mast with blood of eternal grim.

Retired, the War Ship from the waters of War
fell back to the long voyages that take him far
to find the lands and people of the distant
Retired from the cries he could not withstand

“Sail! thy rest is over”, said the new Captain
wearing a white uniform with a yellow stain
“Sail!”, cried the captain, to the crew’s “aye aye”
to the waves, to the women who cried “Good bye.”

Catching the North Wind on its strong mast,
sailed the majestic War Ship stable and fast,
Stood the Captain caressing his golden binnacle,
looking at the Rising Sun and natures’ Miracle.

Breaking the waking sea waves with its Bower
Sailed the War Ship, believing in its power
aiming at the mid-ocean, passing the Cogs
With a Captain intending to “Slain the Gogs”.

“Faster”, roared the captain, “faster”, repeated
the crew and “faster” thought the ship, retired
once from the famous bloody battles of History
to wake up today to find losing His own Story.

“God and Glory”, said the tall iron flag staff carrying
the Ensign, “Gold and Glory”, said the captain caressing
the Crocket which sealed the emblem of the Queen
who stopped the “Armada Invincible” and out seen

“No more Blood” said the War Ship, turning its Cringle
“Thy will fight” said the Captain hurrying to mingle
with the crew to convince them to fight and find
the distant lands and conquer the gold and Mind.

Days passed and so nights, sailed the War Ship
with Men sweating the blood out, men with whip
forcing the Men in rags to sail more Fast
to claim more speed and forget the Past.

“Father”, cried the War Ship, to the God of Ocean,
“Thy son die here”, cried him aloud to the Olympian
“Take back thy son to thine”, plead him with agony,
his prayers mingling with the mermaids’ euphony.

Raged the Mediterranean with a perfect Storm
attaining the divine hands of Poseidon in its form
Embraced the War Ship in to its wide heart
the ship sailed, Captain and crew thrown apart.

The Ocean glittered with sunlight after the Tempest
With no sign of the Great War Ship under the behest
of the Captain and his precious Crew, set out for Gold
God and Glory, in this post-tempestuous cold.

“Father”, cried the Ship, its mast piercing the Bluish
Underwater, sailing past Mermaids and Angelfish
Guiding him to the palace made of Corals and Pearls
were Sea Horses guard and Jelly fishes swirls

“Welcome Son” said Poseidon, raising his divine Trident
“To your Father, my Brave Son”, said the calm ardent
Godly voice, touching the Mast of the War Ship, bruised
with the curses of the Captain and Crew who drowned.

“This is thy Home. Rest here till the end of Time”, said
the God, “Save the innocent from the tempests and raid
Of Pirates”. “Father”, bowed the War Ship with loyalty
and released the Anchor to the coral floor in fealty.

A War Ship at Anchor…
Away from the Divine thunder’s roar…..


P.S: A friend of mine happened to intrude into my privacy when I was considering the deletion of this poem. He is a former-literature student who claims to have performed the greatest of Shakespearean characters. He took a look at this poem and asked me what it was. I replied by saying that I was simply going through the poems of Coleridge. He sat down and read the poem and claimed that he had read it earlier as it was part of his syllabus. I was elated as well as shocked.