The last time it happened, I was a final-year University student. It was during exams - the time I needed her the most. But I lost her. She slipped out somehow. I felt handicapped in her absence. Maybe she was fed up with me. Probably pissed off with my incessant requests and favours. I dunno. I was looking for her everywhere like Moondram Pirai Kamal searching for the mentally-challenged Sridevi. Remember that scene? Balu Mahendra was a legend. Like that scene in Moondram Pirai, my search for her had a happy ending. I got her back when I heard the librarian read out her name over the PA system asking her to be collected. The librarian added in her usual grumpy tone that her owner has kept THE most annoying ringtone she has ever heard. My cell-phone. My darling. I got her back then.
Fast forward 3 years...
This time I left her in the cab. I perhaps didn't search for her like Moondram Pirai Kamal...but it was more like Nagarjuna in Idhayathai Thirudathey. I hopped from one place (read: cab office) to another in a Jeep till late in the night searching for my 97-gram chellam. The only thing that lifted my spirits after going through buckets of ownerless phones was the realisation that I wasn't the only idiot to leave a mobile phone in a taxi. There are bucket loads of us!
The next day I decided to punish myself by not rushing out and buying another handset. Suddenly phoneless I wondered how I'd cope. I felt uneasy to step out of the house. It felt like going out without any pants on. Still, I ventured out. Every now and then, I'd tap my pant pocket to check for the non-existing phone. oh yes. no phone. yea, fantastic!
The following day, I felt slightly liberated. I slowly found out why. Firstly, I didn't have to worry about answering calls when I was in the Mens room. I strongly I believe I share a toilepathic connection with most people who have my mobile number. The blimming thing, yes my mobile, would stay quiet for hours on my desk and ring the moment I step into echo chamber that is the office loo. "Hi! yes. I am good thanks. Hey, listen, umm...can I call you right back? I may sound as if I am speaking sitting inside a big empty drum or something, but I'm actually in the toilet". The caller would pause momentarily, then mumble an apology while my mind will go into overdrive imagining the caller rushing off to wash their hands. Ahh..personal hygiene. I likey!
The urge to check for txts and missed calls every 3.12 minutes remained, but with no mobile, it was slowly but surely fading.
While travelling to work next day, I couldn't help but to observe the mobile in everyone. I saw people in the streets, in the train, with their hands clasped to their ears. I experienced a feeling of disconnection. It felt like I was living in a bubble. A strange sense of freedom enveloped me. I floated like a butterfly basking in this glorious isolation. It was a curiously gratifying sensation!
On a serious note, I got my mobile back the next day. Thanks to the gentleman who returned it. Mate, you are a gem!
After linking the clip from Moondram Pirai in the first para, I watched the whole movie again. I am glad I did. Watta masterpiece by Balu Mahendra. I heard Kamal Hassan won a National award for it but Sridevi didn't. Even the Kamal fan in me reckons Sridevi deserved the award more than Kamal. She was simply brilliant as Viji. Perhaps people were bowled over by Kamal's performance in the climax scene. Honestly, I cant think of any current Indian actress who could match or better Sridevi's performance. Ms Mukharjee? or Mrs Saravanan? Hmm...I doubt it.
Like every blue-blooded Kannadasan fan, I love Kanne Kalaimaaney song for its lyrics. However, I like Poongatru Pudhidhanadhu song better both for its music & visuals. It does not have profound lyrics like Kanne Kalaimaane. But there is something about this song - is it Ilaiyaraja's music or Yesudas's voice or Balu Mahendra's photography or cute moments like where Sridevi tries to listen to the train sound from thandavaalam (railway track) through Kamal's ears...I dont know. The whole package...it's just beautiful.