Saturday, November 08, 2014

Aspiration, Ambition and Asthma

As far as I can remember, I always had Asthma.

What is Asthma? In layperson's term, it means difficulty in breathing caused by some shit stuck in your passageway (no, not that Indiana Jones one, you know, the boulder running down the conveniently dug semi-tunnel; and no, we are talking about the goddam biological tubes inside you from your nose all the way down your ass).

The shit is usually phlegm...or mucus....or the thing you sneeze out into your handkerchief and the ones you secretly scrutinise to make sure it is not red (sometimes it is, unless you are colour blind like me...eh gad, this is a site to be read with parental guidance).

Did I get it from my parents? Sure I did. But who caused it? Me.

Apparently my mother was hale and healthy (what is hale, by the way? Did someone created that word to rhyme with pale, whale or Christian Bale?). When I was born, I immediately triggered the Asthmatic button in my beloved mother's biological circuitry board. She started wheezing big. Little baby Rakesh wheezing little. We were two person concerto.

Poor dad. First year into his marriage, suddenly he got two Asthmatic patients in his hand. No wonder he went back to religion.

Asthma has proven to be a bane and boon. No, not Bane as in Batman's bad guy or Boon....err....isn't that the guy in early US who killed the shit out of raccoon and wore 'em as hat?

Anyway, boon is this: I took it easy. I never went outdoor much, not much of games or sports or fun and laughter. Hah, who wants that. I sat indoors and read and read and read and watched TV (where and when permissible) and read and read.

Bane is not much. I wanted to goddam go out and playyyy!!!! Arrrggghhhh.....Like kids that time and even now, I wanted to play football (soccer, soccer you Americans). Since I can't run from one end of the field to the other (it always look nearer on TV but why they insist on expanding it 1000 times in real life?) means... after 25 metres, my lung gets happy and starts to play the violin, or cello depending its mood. And I am on the ground. Whining ala Beethoven.

Later, those who were understanding and were seriously understanding my gut-wrenching instinct that I make a great striker while knowing well that Mackerel will never make a water fall hopping upwards ala salmon, relegated me to become a defender (our lingo, we simply call this poor schmucks 'back'). “Stay near the goalie (goalkeeper), back,” they would say, “and just kick the ball out from whoever is coming. Err...which means our opponent, get it?”

Or, “hey you....what's your name...back...back.....” I turn back and there goes the ball over me into the goal post.

I get it, you funsucker.

There goes my football career. Both of my brothers had some sort of success representing school, and later forming, with neighbouring friends, their own football team (named after the housing estate in Kluang or something), but I was out, voluntarily because I know my weakness (I was busy discussing Tamil literature my my newfound brother Chitambaram)

So, it is not beause they didn't want me. But I knew that I am going to screw the team up with my biological deficiency. They understood. I was glad. They kept winning. Crikey, I was proud of them.

But I tell you what! The blood inherited from one Shankaran Nair (that is my father's father and there are, apart from us brothers, cousins like Navin [dad's third elder sister's son], Devanan [dad's sister's son, late, I have written about this awesome bloke and his adventures, and ….okay no more parenthesis and Shubash, my younger brother] were all there. It was supposed to be a family business.

What actually made this team awesome was....as the parentheshit...okay I know you don't give a crap...is Shubash, our younger brother, and Anan (the awesome adventurous bloke I wrote about way before)...is that both of them are goddam lefties.

In retrospetive mode now, since I have indulged in flue/cough remedy: I didn't know then that I would be surrounded by these goddam lefties. My younger brother, Shubash is a leftie, my favourite late cousin Anan is a leftie, and....and....tadaaa.....my wife turned out to be a leftie!.

And what need to be told is about my immediate brother, Balan. He is awesome. Striker, he is like a cobra. Right wing? Sure, he flies like eagle. Left wing? Oh heck, he can be communist (do your poitical maths)....and when he strikes....he strikes like Thunderball........(queue soundtrack from the James Bond flick, by Tom Jones, called...oh hell...Thunderball.....google it blokes and gals).

Did I play a part?

Hah! They should thank me for that. If not, they would not have won most of the friendly games with various teams in the district and out. And this was the year end school holiday. The next school season started and they had to hang up their boots momentarily. Seriously, if they had me, there would have been a requirement made in friendly games to have, not only water, painkilling spray or stretcher nearby, but also a Ventolin Inhaler.

They were winning because I was not there.

I didn't know the terrible consequnces of Asthma till at one time, when our beloved neighbour, and I hate to point out the race thing because I want to highlight that as Malaysians we are goddam peacefully living with each other no matter what colour creed, whateverfucknots.

She is a beautiful Malay lady, wife to my dad's colleague, their house neighbouring ours (estate quarters, by the way). On that fateful day, her Asthma kicked out the worst possible predicament, and at that time, dad had a car that was borrowed from one of our relatives.

He took both husbad and wife in...and mind you, the plantation we lived in was about, I believe, 40 kilometres away from the main hospital. And not even halfway, she breathed her last.

Let us not even imagine how her husband felt.

It was a tragedy that we mere mortals can not help, let alone assist. My dad did all he could. Her husband spend his married life which is like his entire life to make her a wonderful partner. All ended....there.

Dad was on in his mid-thirties. It was too much for him.

I think the incident still haunts him.


Oh crap....I forgot the point of what I wanted to write. Dad wanted to become a great footballer, and he is a great goalkeeper. I know, I still feel the pain when he kicked the goddam ball and got me catching it only to have my palm in fire...inferno.

I saw him in a friendly game within some plantation organisation where he jumped like, 9 feets, to catch the ball, roll over the ground, holding the ball like a little infant.

I can never be like that. My brothers are over that, they got kids to worry about. But then....the juniors.....

Blog posts supposed to have points so that it is remembered. Those who read this, don't worry. The point: Life is short, unless you are acting as Ewoks in George Lucas Movie
Life is shit: Because you have to leave the unwanted behind.
Life is awesome: Because there's Rajini DVD my son keep insisting on watching every goddam night.
Life is life: When it is over.


Over and out. Aijamalakkadigiri.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Happy Deepavali...And We Are Only Getting Older.

The memory of the celebration called Deepavali festival, as it is called in Malaysia (some call it Diwali or festival of light or "let's think about threadmill walk later program") to me is not that all memorable as I enter middle age. In retrospect. I still have a little bit of future left. So, I better let it all out here, except the part where we were chased by angry geese during one of those open house visits.

Sure, as kids we had fun. We had blasts, literally, though I have no knowledge of anyone blowing off their thumb through fiery explosive malfunction, or lose their tooth due to certain multi-concentrated ball of grain (called kal-urundai, roughly translated as rounded stone).)

But as a kid, following the rituals of the so-called religion and practices, I must admit that I truly enjoyed the event, alongside my two brothers (later, another bloke, my best friend, joined as blood brother because, well, it must be a cosmic reason).

Our very early days of Deepavali, apart from some good food (we were very poor, we can afford only some good dishes and stuff on occasions like this) was to get to know our relatives, most of whom were as strange as Klingon to Captain James T. Kirk.

We used to visit our relatives on these occasions, rather than celebrate it ourselves. We have gracious ones, (my late uncle Ramasamy @Viswanathan, a demi-god) and some others, some great, some okay, some low-life blokes who appear right out of being dunk in a vat of cheap alcohol.

Early morning all of us would go to temple praying to god that I don't believe in, than come to to great breakfast I believe in. Alas, I have faith in great Indian-styled breakfast. Period. Even that, I indulge very rarely. I prefer Nasi Lemak or Mee Hoon Goreng with sambal on the side.

Then, there would be TV specials, many locally produced piss-pots mainly to exploit the given budget, and, possibly, by male producers, onto the female artistes. We were not interested. There were good old Tamil films that will always and still do get my attention. I am not ashamed of it, even if it has MGR (google that initials) in it.

To me, the best part of the whole festival actually takes place the night before Deepavali (like the night before Christmas, Mr. Tim Burton). All of the family members would gather in the prayer to the late family members of the family, especially my grandfather, one Mr. Shankaran Nair, whose name I adapted for my son.

There would be an offering of rice, chicken curry, vegetables, etc on banana leaf. In the years gone by, there would be a bottle of Guiness Stout (apparently, my grandpa's favourite drink), but due to political correctness, it has since been replaced with plain water (poor grandpa).

What follows is the usual prayer ritual (don't want to bore you on that, you can call me to find out more but you have to give me your Credit Card number), and then WHAMMO!

Sorry grandpa, but fun starts thereof. Dad would mix the whole rice, chicken pieces, vege, whatever curry, anything, into balls and give each of us one. It's what, I think, they serve in HEAVEN!

My Deepavali ends there. The next day is just visit to the temple in early morning, breakfast, expecting visitors, sneaking time to take a nap, watch more useless TV programs, nap again, and then thinking about when to go back (to wherever you think you belong to).

There you go. A very bad David Finch-esque ending for you. But what the heck, Happy Deepavali Everyone. After all, it only happens once in a year and we are ONLY getting older. Ta-daaa.....

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rakesh, STFU.
I am going to be 41 soon, which means I am a lot older. I had issues with health…some involving a taboo-istic issue like alcoholism (Mom: kids stay away from that man…he is an alcoholic) and less pedestrian issue like being a Filmaholic (Very few will understand that).. And so be it. I may be a burden to some folks but I ain’t no murderer or a pick pocket, but my blog posts in the past can assure what I am addicted to movie flicks (Clue: it involves Celluloid).

What prompted me to write this is exactly the issue that I wanted all moms to warn about their kids: Alcoholism.

Is it bad? Is it terrible? Does it kill you like it did to Jim Morrison, Jimmi Hendrix, or any other uncles or aunties that succumbed to that evil, devilish concoction invented so that you stay away from day to day incoming evil dredges, week to week conformities; perhaps confronted by  monthly fears of looking at authorities sanctioned bills?

Who knows.

The recent passing away of Robin Williams still haunts me. The man was a great entertainer (I had to use the word “was”, sorry).. He was energy…someone should have tapped him just for that physics study alone…I mentioned this before, but please do a youtube on him…he is unstoppable. For those who are new to him recently, check out the Alladin cartoon, or ….goddamit anything else….he is everywhere.

But why does the man who chose to entertain everyone decided to put a goddam fullstop one day. Perplexing. Indubitably, missing the point to those who are not familiar with the lives of comics who makes others laugh while they cry (I know, Lenny Bruce always comes to your learned mind).

But anyway, nobody is reading this...And all these posts are for my son..again…in case I am moving to the other side

Son…be patient, be understanding…if you can’t handle it…buy Iced Lemon Tea….it worked when Accha was dating Amma.

Your girlfriends will be talking about issues…this and that….mother said this….father said that….You just take it easy. Sip the juice slowly, and do your best Marlon Brando impression (including scratching your chin) and say, “Aawllll will be fine,”

There is so much in this blog posts. All for you, from the time when I was courting your mom to the time where we are now.

Remember this junior (again, in Sean Connery voice ala Indiana Jones 3)….If it ish not for you mothersh family and my family, thish wouldn’t have happened. The greateshsht trrreassshure is not unity…..it ishhhh undershhhhtanding…)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Robin Williams – You Still Keep Us Entertained.

For those who were born in the 1970’s and earlier, Robin Williams crept into our consciousness through this little sitcom called Mork and Mindy. It used to be a staple for us family way back then. Dad and mom used to laugh at his antics and we used to wonder why. Mork, by the way, is played by Williams – as an alien. His keyword or whatever, was, “Nanoo Nanoo!”.

And then he slowly moved into the film world, most notably, though the film was not quite recognised though it was directed by ace director Robert Altman, Popeye. Yes, the same Popeye the Sailor Man. It was not much of a success…but Williams moved on.

It is hard to pinpoint what made Williams a great actor or comedian. There are various sides to him.

The TV introduced a sitcom actor. The film introduced us a comedian. The stage, most importantly, and this is where most goddam stars, superstars fail, introduced us one of the greatest improvising stand-up comedians ever.

Yes, Williams comes in the same lineage of the greats of the past, such as my beloved Groucho Marx, and the others including ….I don’t know who. Groucho’s speed with wit, lividness and ability to attack you and at the same time can only be matched by Williams. And the latter is not an “insult” comic, mind you, He mimics us on our clumsiest days, worst scenarios, terrible behaviour and most foul moments that we don’t ever want to remember…but with laughs.

Forget the movies, check out his skits through the youtube videos. He is better than the movies when he is on stage, drinking one mineral bottle after another unleashing one wisecrack after another, deadpan lines following a previous sharper one, as well as smacking your face with verbal insult and make you laugh at the same time.

If you are too lazy, try the award ceremony presentations or when he actually accepts awards…you will remember it forever.

As they say, comedy is a mask worn by sad people who don’t want to share their pathos side simply because they are not selfish. Robin Williams, like many great entertainers, held behind his dark side, because he is a selfless entertainer. He drowns his dark side in alcohol for a long time (or drugs, but I don’t want to elaborate on that). Some of these traits, many won’t understand.

To live for others is to die a little everyday. Robin Williams didn’t. He was simply called to entertain a whole bunch of other souls up there, or below, or in the middle, or anywhere…simply because of the legacy he left behind.


Never forgotten. We all love you Mr. Williams. Be in peace, but don’t rest. You are still entertaining us through your work.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

 He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother. Happy Birthday Clinton Fernandez.


I am not quite sure that how old he is, but all I know is this: he is a hell of a singer and great keyboard (synthesizer) player. That makes him ageless. In my calculation, all fantastic singers are ageless. I still sing S.P. Bala song to my son...and apparently the man is over three quarter of a century old and I refuse to believe it. You can check that with my psychiatrist. (My personal ambition is to sing the same songs I sing to my son to Clinton’s audience, but that is a tall...fictional tale unfilmed).

When courting my wife, Linda Marina Fernandez, I had the opportunity to get to know him. I don’t know how to regard him. He was three....maybe four times bigger than Linda, and therefore, do I say my big-big brother in-law? Oh well, I am twice as big as my wife, so I believe he won’t be offended...unless which he can throw his synthesiser at me (after which I can repair and make it my own).
I, then, during weekends, brought my fiancée (yes, we progressed) to watch his performance.

And Holy Ravioli, this man got the voice of something that most Malaysians have never heard of. A brilliant mix of bluesy gruff, rock’n’roll fun, rhythm and blues cheesiness, leaning slightly on Metal (he doesn’t like Metal/Heavy Metal as I understand), preening, crooning, doodling, looking at the audience while he fingers (not in naughty way, you naughty buggers you) his keyboard the only way Bill Gates probably did in the 70s pre-Windows days.

He da man. During my wedding reception way back then (Flinstone’s were already started screening, I believe), this man took on the task of accompanying his father, Mr. Herbert Fernandez, tackling the 50s era crooning (as a writer I am not supposed to use the same word “crooning” twice in the same article, we are supposed to be creative in coming up with synonyms...let me try again. Oh hell ___ with it).

Truth is, he he rocks and this is not current youth talk, we were already doing this in the 80s. During my wedding reception way back then, this man took on the task of accompanying his father, the amiable Mr.Herbert  Fernandez in the task of supplementing musical background to the latter’s crooning (again, crooning, dey Rakesh can you stop using the same goddam word again and again).

But it was a memorable occasion. Where one grandson of Shankaran Nair, marrying a Catholic girl, is privileged to have both brother-in-law to play music and father-in-law singing beautiful song in his own Yodelling style (do Wikipedia, for those who are not in the know). What else can you ask for?

They made our day. Especially Clinton who shares the same name of my cinematic hero Clint Eastwood (Yeah, real name is Clinton Eastwood). My beloved brother-in-law. This is for you. Happy birthday from yours truly, Linda and one small bloke by the name of Nevin Shankaran Kumar who, thanks to the goddamn genes, going to become a singer. Have a healthy long life brother.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Of moustache, machismo, masculinity and follicle overbearing-ness....

The title may baffle you, but I can assure you of this: when I thought of it, I felt that it should represent the best of what I had always loved about being masculine…often which I end up lying down on the floor whimpering why do blokes need that fat caterpillar-istic growth below their nose and above lips to look, err...manly.

I am reminded of this constant nagging sense, why a moustache (re:Why-a-duck…viaduct in an early Marx bros movie…oh, just Google will ya?)?. Why are men compelled to grow moustache and yet, diligently shave away any other follicles that sprout in the regions that does not concern the head, armpit, hands, legs…oh well, you get the picture…I don’t have to detail you everything else.

But a recent posting by a cousin of mine, Vimuna (my dad’s sister’s daughter) which showcased her parents, which was totally overshadowed by my uncle Balakrishan (her dad, of course) and his staggeringly imposing moustache that threatened to jump out and strangle you till you willingly give away few DVDs featuring actor Kamal Haasan who himself is known for his many roles that feature varieties of shapes and sizes of follicular achievements (in one film he just quit and bald himself).

The history of moustache started long time ago when the whole evolution process decided that living beings need a bunch of thread-like woolly thing covering the upper region of their lips for reasons only known to the creator or whoever it is that did the original PowerPoint slide presentation after dinosaurs kicked the bucket.

It was a big mystery to us kids. Both my brothers have had enough of watching our dad carefully shaving and snipping away excessive growth to make sure that what was there looked like a goddam slug resting peacefully after a hard day's work of sucking blood. They (my brothers, not the slugs) are now both clean shaven and leading a happy healthy life. In fact, I heard that once Accha (dad) had shaved the whole thing off and even a close friend didn’t recognise him. Since then, the tache became dad’s barcode (probably give him easy access in airports).

Worst part is, most of our uncles are equally, if not as threatening, in possession of hairy explosion you can’t remove your eyesights from when addressing them. Quite a number of them are bald or balding, but the brutal bristles are as imposing as an atomic mushroom explosion that you just want to keep an eye on so that you can jump overboard if it suddenly protrudes further and poke your eyeballs.

But, apart from these snide remarks, I have long harboured the feeling to have one of those facial brutality myself. Yes, I wanted a Frank Zappa moustache, or Kamal Haasan (70s) or U2’s The Edge (Pop album) downward pointing but fiery growth that makes others think that they shouldn’t trifle with you unless they have a shaving blade handy.

Oh yes, I have experimented dear readers, any styles of moustache…except the Charlie Chaplin one where it may not be appropriate as it might remind you of a brutal dictator...with a comical broad-stroke brush below the nose. Unfortunately, after I got married with all those experimentation, all I got from my wife was an “ewww!!!” as if I had stuck a shell-less snail above my lips. Since then, I always kept it at Bob De Niro’s mild spurt ala Heat, one of my favourite 90s flick. (note that the co-star, Pacino is always exploding furiously…which I believe came from the instruction for him not to have any such growth…).


Anyway, November is supposedly the month for all blokes to grow moustache even if they look like midget cousin of Fu Manchu (something to do with testicular cancer awareness, I believe…but shouldn’t the growth be…oh…never mind). Can’t wait, because I want to do this!!!! Take that wifey!!!! 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Two Popular Superstition Explained and Analysed.

(This might be turned into sequels if the article is successful in generating fantastic results in the worldwide box-office. Or at least RM3.00 to buy me two boxes of raisins which I live on these days).

Superstition has been part and parcel of our lives, or in most cases, those with pathetic miserable lives because we tend to cling on these beliefs like the stubborn phlegm reaching out for our upper lips even after we had just blown our nose. Especially picturesque if you have it draped on thick porn-star moustache. You are welcome.

But I have always had fascination towards the origin of these superstitious beliefs because, let’s face it, no matter how forward thinking you are, you still tend to be irrational when indulging certain actions.

For example, how many of us are preconditioned to stab the lift button repeatedly like Norman Bates in the seminal study on complex human behaviour titled Psycho even if we had already initiated it (the stabbing, not watching the movie) and the goddam lift is already coming down. Does multiple finger-poking (Kung Fu ala Three Stooges) of the incredulous button forcefully motivate the moving metal box to rush to our aid, while ignoring users from other floors who are probably indulging in severe act of intimacy with the lift button themselves even using non-human extensions like hammer or a tiny feline?

Anyway, let us examine some of the popular superstitions and I shall give the actual reason for their existence, and re-evaluate them. For example:
1.     
 Throwing pinch of salt over the shoulder.

Why?

It is for good luck they say. For a simple symbolic reason of talking away the sour part of life and retain the more savoury part. It is like taking away all the computer graphic imagery scenes off the movie Avatar and…oh wait….

The real reason

Here it is: you are cooking for the first time for someone, and your girl friend, boy friend, spouse, neighbour, colleagues, in-laws or political candidate on his or her rounds begging for vote approach you from behind to appraise your superior culinary expertise which mostly consist of dropping instant noodle onto a boiling pot.
In order to even out the situation so that you can be alone with your pots and utensils without unfavourable intrusion, you need to have a jar or a bottle of salt on standby. I shall reveal how.
As soon as an irrelevant personage who fancies himself or herself a vastly knowledgeable person makes an unwelcomed entry into the kitchen the following scene should ensue, as I imagined it:

Visitor: So, you are cooking eh?
You: Yes, I am. I wanted to butcher an African bison, but I misplaced the cleaver.
Visitor: Misplaced your cleavage eh? Hmm…err…what are you cooking now?
You: Stuff.
Visitor: Aha, I spot a sachet of curry flavoured powder there. You see_
You: (toss salt over the shoulder)
Visitor: (runs away, palms over the eyes) Aieeee…me eyes…me eyes…how am I going to, henceforth, watch the English Premier League sponsored by Tiger beer or is it Carlsberg? The horror, the horror, the horror…Brando, Coppola, Apocalypse Now, 1978.
So, you know why now. Of course, these sort of precautions should be taken with…err a pinch of salt. It might be me behind you.

Note:

In the movie Donnie Brasco, Al “hoohah!” Pacino teaches Johnny  “the pirate named after a bird” Depp to cook. And in the beginning of the session, Pacino throws not a pinch, but a “punch” of salt. It was beguiling to Depp and us the audience as he repeatedly asked whether it was a “pinch” to which Al “YELLS for no reason” Pacino corrects and affirms that it is a “punch”. Maybe Pacino did that subconsciously to excise the ghost of Marlon Brando, not the swelt “Stella!” Brando, but the latter day Marlon “Jabba the Hut” Brando. (Any writing with the mention of Brando more than once is worth the writer’s salt…okay, no more “salt”)

2.     Don’t let a black cat cross you.

I love cat and I find this superstition infuriating. Get it? In-Fur-riating. Haha. Well…er-hum…
Coming back to the superstition, apparently black cat brings you bad luck, no thanks to its association with witches and a fantastically eerie short story by early 19th century gothic/horror/alcoholic/possible murderer writer Edgar Allan Poe, which was titled, though the reason is unclear due to the unabashed subtlety, The Black Cat.

Apparently, if a goddam black cat crosses you, you are in for a bad luck. Like finding out that you girl-friend has been cheating on you, telling you that she is out to get a manicure more than once a day when she is actually a superhero saving the world. That backstabbing dung beetle. I mean, we blokes are smart enough to know that women get their manicure once a day five times a week right? Right?

The real reason
Actually it is so simple that I slapped myself silly for not even realising it in the first place. But of course, it also made me realise this, my self-inflicted full-palmed facial encounter can be inconsolably agonising.
There is a perfect good reason why a cat would want to face risk of being splattered by your poorly maintained sneakers, simply because there is a vermin around – a rat. Perhaps you brought the goddam rodent with you no thanks to your own possession of certain bodily odour that invites the snivelling creatures which has a pair of arse bigger than its head. And as the cat rushes to save you from the buck-toothed plague carrying terror, you are unable to see the former due to its natural blend with shadow during moments of poor lighting (when the world is lighted by either cinematographers Gordon Willis or the budget version, P.C. Sriram) only to have you crush the feline’s back.

Note:

We all know how black cats are indubitably associated with witches (played by Susan Sarandon and the delectable Michelle Pfeifer [dear, she was into me before I met you, but I dumped her after she played Catwoman, I have enough cats in my life]). It will earn the wicked member of the fair sex’s ire if you were to step on their cats. They want the cat to be perfect condition before it is lowered into a boiling cauldron.

Yikes, the end…
Well, I have to stop for now because this piece has hit over thousand words and that is a no-no in blogs where most folks lose interest right after they read the first word because in another tab of the browser someone has posted something in the Facebook walls about a lost cat with crushed back.

I shall be back with more superstitions explained, and you may even want me to do research on other popular pantang as we say it here in Malaysia. You can mail a US$1 trillion check to me as it can be used to do my research as well as balance the world budget from a secret lair I am intending to establish in the moon where there will be no salt or black cats, or salted black cats. 

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