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December 22, 2007

Cinema Days

The movie started half an hour ago. Kunjuraman Kutty is reluctantly munching pop-corn from the same pack and taking unenthusiastic sips of ‘marinda’ from the same bottle, as did the beautiful lady sitting beside him. This beautiful young lady was named Ponnamma by her parents upon her grand papa’s insistence. (Ponnamma has done her BA. She had also done typewriting course from Ayyappan typewriting & Short-hand Institute, closer to her ancestral house). Kunjuraman is about 29 years old. Ponnamma about 23 years.

One sip of marinda by Kunjuraman, next sip by Ponnamma. Ponnamma seemed very happy. She was happy infact. But Kunjuraman seemed to be soaked in agony.

They are here to watch Spiderman-3 in Kalpana talkies. Kunjuraman doesn’t seem happy at all. But, Ponnamma, his newly-wed wife is very happy. She is thoroughly enjoying the movie. She is clapping. She is beating Kunjuraman on his thigh occasionally and stomping on his foot whenever Toby executes a thrilling stunt on the screen. Neither irritated nor excited, the disappointed Kunjaraman seemed cheerless.

Sitting beside Ponnamma, Kunjuraman Kutty is deeply recollecting those cinema days with his friends Suraj, Imran, Ramana and Lallu.

Kunjuraman and his friends never bothered about the class of co-viewers to the hall. Never worried about comfort in the seats. Nor the quality of the sound. The seats might have been bug-rich and the antique ceiling fans would have been whirring from sides, they were just happy they were having fun atlast. They never even had to bother about the stench of urinals sneaking through the hall-door right into their noses. Nor worry about the filthy gutkha-intensive mouth from behind shooting in litres of gutkha-rich saliva under their seat. Often, aggressive-Suraj starts delivering expletives against the gutkha spitter. The other three joining the expletive-chain in chorus. But Kunjuraman Kutty is now a family man. Ponnamma is his wife. So, decent theatres are a must. Besides decent theatres, “decent” films are mandatory (quotes intentional). Any shortfall would trigger telecommunicative flash news into the inquisitive ears of in-laws and relatives.

Ramana taught him whistling and Kunjuraman became a good whistler after unsuccessful trials. Those days, good scenes were always acknowledged through an appreciative whistle escaping from hundreds of lips in the hall. Now, Kunjuraman Kutty is a family man. Similar other Kunjaramans and Ponnammas are around. Hence, he can’t whistle. Infact, he shouldn’t whistle. His whistling instincts are still alive, although pathetically irrepressible. Its high time Kunjuraman has chosen between ‘dignity-before-Ponnamma-and-fellow-kunjuramans-and-ponnammas’ and his ‘Whistling instincts’. Ofcourse, he has chosen ‘dignity’.

Those were days, when they had the greatest degree of consensus when it came to choosing a movie. They had the same ‘tastes’, same ‘fondness and same kind of ‘desires’ – all youth inspired. Kunjuraman is a family man now. He has to take Ponnamma to ‘family’ movies, only.

Long queues while waiting for tickets, the gossips and comments about girls passing by, the irani tea in the nearby hotel before the movie begins. Kunjuraman is missing these badly. He is now a family man. He has to book the tickets in advance for himself and Ponnamma. He has not choice. Buying tickets in black is cheap.

Kunjuraman is fond of little onion samosas, especially the ones sold in movie theatres. His friends like them too. A mere 5-rupee would fetch him handful of them. His friend Laalan used to say “Onion samosas are the Official Interval Snack for most of the bachelors ha ha ha”. But now Kunjuraman is a family man. He has to buy only ‘class’ edibles for himself and Ponnamma. He can’t even drool over those onion samosas, lest Ponnamma gives him a disgusting look.

Spiderman-3 is over. And titles scrolling up. Kunjuraman is still thinking about his good old cinema days……
(This write-up was also published in a youth magazine called JAMmag)

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