The evening of our wedding. I was sitting alone. All else were busy around. Mother in law was busy packing off the biriyani pothikal (biriyani packets) to the relatives and neighbors, some women relatives busy helping her, father in law was busy with the panthal panikkar, brother-in-laws and my husband are with their friends outside, kids are running around fighting for the flowers and decorations…. I stood there alone with no one to talk to, when my co-sister, who is a non-Malayalee (Her mother tongue is Marathi) came to me asking, "Ottakkirunnittu boradikkunnundo? (getting bored?)" Wow! she spoke good malayalam by then, though their wedding was just three months before…she gelled with the family so well. I felt comfortable with her as we have been communicating through emails before.
Let's talk to ammachi, she said. Ammachi is my MIL's mother. Dressed in pristine white, in her late 80s, not a single grey hair, pretty grandmother of my husband. We sat on her either sides and began talking to her. As we both were new to that family, we asked her about the family, her sons and daughters. All she said about her sons and daughters matched with what our husbands told us, but then she said she has a younger son who did "chayappodi kachodam (tea dust sales)" then. She was so fond of this son, that whatever we talked, she ended up with this son. Then came the shocking news… she said this son had to go to jail … "athu pinne avan Shekharante kai vettiyille.. athukonda jailil povandi vannathu!! (He is in jail, because he attacked Shekharan!)" I was shocked!.. after my translation to my co-siz, she was also shocked! We are into such a family?? Our husbands were hiding this fact to us? We chose their younger brother to get the truth. But he began to laugh loudly after hearing it. "chechi, aa makante perenthannu chodikkoo (ask her that son's name)"… before we could ask her, she said …. "Neelakantan!" and my BIL completed the name… "Mangalasseri Neelakantan!!!" (For those who still did not understand, it is a well known character done by Mohan Lal in movie Devasuram)
Oh My God! Now I could relate… so the chayappodi kachodam she said is the Kannan Devan's advertisement!! BIL continued.. "Ammachi remembers everything… she recognizes everyone of us.. all her memory works just fine, but this Neelakantan somehow got into her brain cells. ITs all because of our Maman who is an ardent fan of Lalettan and so he stocks all movie tapes of Mohan Lal. She might have watched this movie N number of times." This BIL, being a hardcore Mohan Lal fan, always entertained her by updating her with Mohan Lal news. Not just him, all his cousins and friends. On one day, he and his friends approached this co-siz to design a wedding invitation for his cousin. The groom was also present. To start the design with the God's line on top, she asked him who is his God of choice. Mohan Lal, immediately came the reply. After a roaring laughter there, she cleared. See, the God you worship. He again replied, "Yes, I worship him." Controlling her laughter, she asked again, "see I am asking the God's name so that I can start the card design with the blessing line of that particular God. For example, Shri Ganapataye Nama for Lord Ganapati, Nama Sivaya for Lord Shiva." He nodded his head as if he got the point. "Oh punch line!!! You write this.." He gave her a choice.. either "Nee poda mone Dinesha" or "Savari giri giri"… I don’t remember if she could design a card on that day.
Last May, we were returning from Kerala after summer vacation and our compartment was filled with some nursing students who were visiting Pondicherry Institute of Medical Science for some seminar. Ranju was upset that this time he got no kids to play with him. He always used to get at least one kid to play in our journey. After some time, the girls too were getting bored that they pulled Ranju to them and began talking to him. After many questions, one of them asked him.. "Oh so you study in
and speak Tamil well?... so tell me who is your favorite movie actor? Rajnikanth or Vijay?" Pondicherry
They are good, but I like Naran.
Oh Naraine?.. ente khalbile vennilavu nee… a few of them began singing.
NO!... Naran! "Oooo njanoru naran.. puthu janmam nediya naran.." he replied in a song too!
Suddenly, the girls split into two groups.. one team began to kiss him and shake his hands and one from the other team asked him, "Mammotty uncle ne ishtallya? (You don't like Mammootty uncle?"
I like but Naranu nalla muscle aanu.. he said showing off his own muscles!
I said to my husband, "Its all in his genes. The fourth generation with the same genes!"
PS: I join thousands of Mohan Lal fans today wishing him on the Honorary DLitt conferred on him by the Sree Sankaracharya University.