Good deeds are always rewarded!

(This post is dedicated to my maternal granduncle and his wife, Madhavan Ammama and Ammayi. These are the two people who always have been a beacon of light for us. Even my husband loves to just sit in their company and listen to their stories. No matter how sad or upset we are in our lives the moment we meet you guys, we get a new ray of hope, we see things in a different light, we get the confidence of ‘Yes we can!’. We hope to have your blessing always with us)

A couple of weeks back we went to my maternal family temple as it was our first anniversary and we wanted Devi’s blessing. (yes, we completed one year of marriage. Yay to us :).. Anyways, am not some orthodox devout, but there are certain things and certain places that bring that calm and peace of mind, that we often need in the rustle bustle of our lives. One such place is that temple. But its not only the divinity of the temple that helps us in times of distress, but the aura that emanates from the surroundings. Its the only place I know in Ernakulam, where you cant hear the traffic, or any other typical city noise, but instead, chirping birds, crickets, and all other  sounds of the nature that would take you a different place. A place where you feel connected to your self. A place where you feel connected to the nature. A place where you get a feeling that “everything is going to be fine” just by being there.

Just to give you a picture of it, this place is my mother’s ancestral home and is around 600 years old. My mothers ancestors used to own the entire neighborhood land, which is like a small island. They were highly religious people and the Devi temple there is believed to be very powerful. People still flock around there just to get her blessings. With a system of joint families that time, there were around 100 odd people staying in that house at a time. Everyday was a Sadhya there, as there would be someone’s birthday or remembrance day. The house was divided the three blocks all these were strewn across a vast area of land. There was the main block where the elders resided and where the kitchen was located. This block still remains, and is shut off, in order to protect it from further weathering. The Second block was a Naalukettu and the third block was a Ettukettu, all traditional Kerala Architecture. My mother’s maternal uncle and aunt still reside in that house, and they always have lots of stories to tell us. He recalls that during his childhood, everyday at 11AM, food was served for all who came at the door steps, all needy strangers were welcome there. Also there was a guesthouse which was open for anyone who was stuck in the locality for the night to stay over, they could use the bedding kept there and use the small pond near the guest house for their needs.

He has kept the tradition alive. He believes the land that he lives on is blessed and the blessing is to be shared with everyone around.  Apart from maintaining the temple and its related rituals, he has also built a new guest house for people to stay in. He believes that he needs only 30% of the produces from his land and the rest is for the neighboring families and the fauna.

He believes we are really blessed because for the nobility and kindness of our ancestors. And I second that. I dont boast of having a big aristocratic family (which, apparently they were) but I truly believe the good deeds done by them are the blessing we have even now.

If you come to think of it, it seems true. Whatever goes around comes around.

We, me and my sisters, have a habit of helping people we meet in anyway we can, be it helping an elderly couple in train, or a woman with child in a market,  we try to do whatever we can to help them get on with their work easily. The whole idea behind it is something our parents have always taught us, all your good deeds will be rewarded, if not to us then to someone who means a lot to us. And its true, my mother usually travels alone, and although she’s in good health (touch wood!), she always happens to be in a company of very congenial people during her travel, who have helped her in the journey.

I guess in a way we are our own guardian angels. If you are surrounded with people who ooze with positivity and optimism, then life in all of its hardship would not seem so bad after all. Nobody has a perfect life, but with the right attitude nothing can break you down.

I truly believe in what my elders have taught us. They may have nurtured the said values based on their religious beliefs. But religious or not benevolence and humility is virtue everyone should develop.

(more details about the temple can be found on http://puthiyakavu.com/amma/index.html )

The Bridges of Madison County <3

Okay now, some may like it some may not, but I, I just love it!

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Yes some say its full of cliches, the silent dinner table, the caring but inexpressive husband, the teenage kids involved in their own lives, a middle aged women who still cherishes the dreams she had as a teenager, a stranger with engrossing looks and masculine but gentle personality. All this aside, I still love the movie.

Clint Eastwood ( I just love him <3) , as Robert Kincaid, a Nat-Geo photographer, a globetrotter, with oh so manly yet quiet persona. He is one of the most creative directors in Hollywood and by casting himself as Robert in this movie he had a huge task on his hands, as most people would always associate him with his cowboy and cop roles. This movie portrayed a different side of Clint for me. He was in his matter, the very manly, adventurous and free spirited, yet very gentle, and sensuous. He was sweet, smiling, gentle, and a man who knows how to treat a women. He’s the most gorgeous lead you can see at the age of 60!!

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Meryl Streep, another of my favorites, had portrayed Francesca better than any other would have. She played an Italian women who moved to America with her husband, When stranger asks for direction to a bridge she simply accompanies him there, not knowing that they would fall passionately in love with each other. She may not have the best of Italian accent but her expressions were immaculate. That’s what lifted the character so high. Oh! the scene when she drives away from Robert, I cry every single time

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Well, I may be biased, being a big fan of Clint Eastwood, but there is no denying that not only he acted really well he also directed the movie with elan.  He and his team has done an exceptional job with the lighting in the film. The scenes involving Robert (Clint) and Francesca (Meryl) have had beautiful play of light and shadow.

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What makes them stand out in my memory is not the big gestures, the kissing or the frolic, but it is the many subtle moments. How her kind of music is not enjoyed by others. How there is no conversation on the dinner table. How she almost smiles to herself, feeling happy, when Robert walks to his truck to grab beer. How his hand just brushes against her while washing, the first touch. Their, casual even banal conversation, full of desire. How she leaves her hand on his shoulder after adjusting his collar, while talking on the phone. How in the diner another women on the town is boycotted because she had an affair with a married man, showing the societal aspect of that era.

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Call me a romantic, but these little nuances are what makes this movie so memorable for me. No matter how much you scrutinize this movie at the end romance is the only thing that lingers in your memory.

My favorite part (apart from every other scene with Clint in it. Wait. That’s almost the entire movie 😛 ), would be the one, where Robert stands in rain with a devastated look on his face while Francesca drives away evidently shaken and in tears. That is the most passionate scene of the movie, knowing that both are meant for each other and yet choosing a life without each other. Its not like young love that is reckless, but its mature love that comes with self awareness.

I do not remember much about the part with her kids, maybe because it all seemed too artificial.

I have cried every single I’ve watched this movie, and can’t seem to forget the face of Clint Eastwood at the end. weep weep 😥

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I love the movie and every time I watch it, the nuances take me for a ride 🙂

I’ll quote another article here:

“The Bridges of Madison County” is about two people who find the promise of perfect personal happiness, and understand, with sadness and acceptance, that the most important things in life are not always about making yourself happy.