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The poor have the right to watch films!

June 8, 2010

One of the best things about my college was that we (just like other colleges) were a major supplier of manpower for any strike that happened around town, thanks to our association with a major “respectable” political party.

Our students have participated in many “useless” strikes, for many “laudable” causes like the “Stopping the Afghan War” and “Protest against Bush’s visit to India”, “Better working conditions for the toddy workers” etc (the list is actually endless).

It also had a few advantages for us poor students!

Suppose a superstar’s film (lalettan and mamookka) was not doing good business, then we would get free tickets courtesy the fan club to just go to the theater and fill it up, especially the noon show. Nope, we never complained about this and we were not that heartless to disappoint the fans of the superstars. The film had to run for atleast 100 days.

At that time (maybe even now), the pride of Trivandrum was a theater called “New” situated very close to the Trivandrum Railway Station. Every trivandrum-ite was proud of it. Watching a film in that theater was, according to them “a must do” experience in their list of “The Travancore Experience”.


They would have actually worshipped it blindly but for a single fact. The management sold their tickets for 31 Rs instead of the usual 30 Rs (which was the norm of most other theaters).  

And that really irritated our comrades.

What do they hope to achieve by charging us that extra single rupee?” most people asked but like good citizens, we gladly paid that extra rupee since the theater was the very best.

One fine day in college, we got the news that the theater had done the unthinkable!!!!! They had hiked their rate from 31 Rs to 33 Rs and we also got news that our “admirable” party was going to put its weight behind the “peaceful protest” that was organized in front of the theater later that day.

We had a couple of options that day:

  1. Sit in class and suffer “education”.
  2. Spend time doing nothing in our favorite tea stall “Sallap” (what we normally did).
  3. Do something useful by going for the strike and hope to see some “live kalippu”.

A few guys in our gang wanted to sit in class and suffer “education”. Their admirable resolve stemmed from the fact that their attendance percentage was very low.

On the other hand, Mr. Paul’s sound argument was that, we knew more about the subject “New Energy Technologies” than the professor who taught us and hence, their idea was vetoed.

So after a good lunch, we headed out to the theater to watch the proceedings. By the time we reached the place after parking our bikes, a safe distance away at the railway station, the strike was in full flow.

The speaker; some student leader, was in top notch form. He spoke with passion and explained to all that this 2 rupee increase signified something more than just 200 paisa. He said that if we let this go ignored, it would be a moral victory for the treacherous forces of capitalism in our state. He also went on talking for some more time about how the proletariat has the right to see cinema and about how, this would be a “peaceful protest”!!!!

The crowd cheered on wildly and followed that up with slogans like “Inquilab Zindabad” and other standard ones and this went on for sometime.

In due time, this “peaceful protest” (just like most other peaceful protests in our state) started turning violent. When the management refused to come out, the “peaceful public” started throwing stones and bottles that they had specifically brought with them.  

And the fickle police did what they knew best; a mini-lathi charge. Over the years that I have seen Kerala Police operate, their policy which runs very close to the words by a great poet can be summed up as:

Theirs not to reason or think why,Theirs but to do and and wonly do;

Standing in front of the “lathi charging” Kerala Police claiming that you were not a part of the riot is very similar to standing in front of a raging bull and claiming that you are not a matador but just a harmless spectator.

Well, they both don’t listen to you! And are only interested in the body count!

Since we were half expecting this behavior from the upholders of our Indian constitution, we also did what we knew best; we started running as fast as we could away from the scene of the “peaceful protest”.

Thankfully, since all of us were smart, we escaped easily without a single scratch and made our way to the “Kovalam Beach” and spent a uneventful evening there.

The management soon realized their folly (after assessing the damage) and brought their rate back down to the original 31 Rs and the comrades were happy that, they had won an epic battle against the evil bourgeois forces.

As our saying went back then, “All that does not end well; ends really fast” and there was everlasting peace after that, in our little precinct ………………….

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. June 8, 2010 3:14 am

    You can’t seem to get over your college days…Maybe, you should go back…
    OG: yeah, looks like it 😛 need to go there atleast for a vacation…………
    I too think my college days were the best days of my life…
    OG: GREAT!

  2. Happy Kitten permalink
    June 8, 2010 9:21 am

    Was under the impression that at least TVM Eng College kept out of those strikes..
    OG: haha 😛 we were neck deep in it 😛
    but never knew that students are given free tickets by fans association to keep a bad movie going! wonder why none mentioned this to Sukumar Azhikode 🙂
    OG: it is the norm in Kerala…………….. 😛 I suppose it is funded by the stars themselves……………

  3. June 8, 2010 3:19 pm

    ohh aliya those were the days 🙂
    OG: 😛 😛 😛 satyam aliya!

  4. June 8, 2010 8:15 pm

    Hee hee hee!! Kudos to freedom fighters like you and your comrades!!! Loved this post… delectable :-)))
    OG: haha 😛 thanks pal!!!!!!!

  5. June 9, 2010 5:43 am

    Machi… At times you make me feel bad about my college life… This is one such post… Wat great adventures… Completely loved it… 🙂
    I think if i do a post graduation i should do it in kerala 🙂 🙂
    OG: ROFL!!!!!!!!!!! u need to pick the correct college then 😛

  6. June 9, 2010 10:09 am

    Inquilab zindabad!!!haha… Did they ever let u inside the theater after tht?
    OG: certainly!!! 😛

  7. Incognito permalink
    June 9, 2010 2:16 pm

    reminiscences are your companions …?
    OG: you hit the nail on the head!!!!!!!! very true……………………….

  8. June 9, 2010 2:54 pm

    LOL….one thing I’ve noticed college days for the girls was sooo boring compared to the boys….lucky fellas 😀
    OG: 😛 😛 😛 😛 the gals in our college were not bad either…………. they had their share of fun as well 😛

  9. June 10, 2010 8:29 am

    One thing is certain – you had tremendous fun in college !!! And I just love all these college episodes, which you are dragging out from the back of your mind.
    OG: 😛 😛 😛 yup. kinda writing them down for future reference 😛

  10. June 12, 2010 6:14 pm

    “All that does not end well; ends really fast”

    So you are getting married?

  11. June 13, 2010 1:53 pm

    ‘Live kallipu’ hehehe. Whoever has studied in TVM will have memories of those magnificent flying objects and fire works which normally ends with ‘singarimelam’ from our very own police chettanmar!

  12. June 15, 2010 5:54 pm

    “do and WONLY do”!! 😀 😀 hahah…good old days! 😛 onnukoodi poetic aayittu paranjal… orikkalum marakaatha ormakal 🙄 😉

  13. Rajani permalink
    September 27, 2011 1:31 pm

    Each and every time I read your college experiences…. I go back to my college life… yes I agree with most of wat everyone mentioned here… those where the best time… thanks for bringing back my memories through yours… 🙂
    OG: haha! thanks!

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