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My maiden movie adventure

Kavassery, my mother’s birth place, is a small village in the outskirts of Palakkad. I happened to spend a few days there, as a boy during holidays. My cousin of my age asked me to sleep on the thinnai ( a raised platform in front of the Brahmin houses, roofed but front opened), to escape from the humidity inside and when I protested, fearing the pitch darkness surrounding the area, he tempted me to show a Yakshi, who, he said, used to visit the close-by tank and sing on its bank, spreading wide her hair. Yakshi in our folklore, is the female of Yaksha, with beautiful appearance, wearing snow -white clothes capable of treading earth without her legs touching the ground. When angry, the malevolent one is capable of killing men and drink blood. There are many stories of Yakshies, which mothers used to narrate for the speedy eating of their kids. There is a huge Yakshi statue in the Malampuzha Garden near Palakkad, created by my bachelor room- mate and former college, artist late Dharmadathan
Anxious to have a glimpse of such an abnormal character, though from a distance as I lacked the courage to go nearby, I agreed to cousin’s suggestion and slept outside. After an hour or so, he woke me up and asked me to follow him, revealing his real plan. It was to take me to a movie in the Swathy theater, more than a mile away. Though I was disappointed that I would not be able to meet a Yakshi, was happy to some extend that I would be watching a movie. At Olavakkode, where I grew, a theater was available close by and admission was free for us, as the owner and manager were my father’s Customers. The problem was my father would never allow us to watch movies, though during his younger days, as per his own account, he used to go for theater plays and even used to narrate some scenes too, during his leisure hours. His favorite actor was ‘Nawab’ Rajamanickam and singer Kittappa.
Crossing many marshy paddy fields, in utter fear owing to various sounds created by frogs, owls and other night birds, fearing bites from snakes and crabs, in pitch dark, we reached the Cinema theater. The journey was a child’s play for my cousin, born and brought up in the village and a horror for me, a child from a town adjacent to a busy railway junction, where the lights never used to be switched off at night due to the thriving business from the floating population.
It was a lousy picture but I enjoyed my maiden movie adventure, seated on the rough concrete floor, whistling and clapping along with the others, mostly farmers, who had come there seeking small merriment. The apex of joy was when an uncle, suddenly raised from his seat, raised both hands above, joined the palms and screamed,’ Rama chandra!”, when the Rama character appeared on the screen. When I mentioned about this to my father on my return home, he said casually, ‘that fellow would have boozed’.
Near the exit gate, a strong arm held my wrist and when I turned towards my cousin he too was struggling to escape from the clutches of another strong arm. Yes, my uncle, cousin’s father had followed us silently, without our knowledge and took us back home, ‘to treat us properly’, to use his words.
I have since then, watched several movies in India and abroad, in posh theaters. But, the excitement, anxiety and joy of my maiden movie experience were unique.
That night, I had a dream and it was not a beautiful woman with widely spread black hairs, treading an inch above the ground, but my bald headed uncle, who came as a Yakshi to suck my blood. Only consolation was like the legendary damsel, he too wore snow-white clothing and the major difference was his teeth were small and separated unlike the big, sharp, threatening tooth rows of Yakshi.
Always I look for a silver lining in any dark, black cloud settings and invariably I get it.

3 thoughts on “My maiden movie adventure

  1. Nice…..

  2. Lovely one dad! You should write more on such anecdotes from childhood!

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