A Millennial Girl In Search Of Her Roots!

It was 31st December 2020. That time of the year when the whole world would let go of old thoughts and welcome new thoughts. But I met a person who was so closely connected to her roots [old thoughts as one might say], that it was hard to ignore her.

I was heading to a friend’s house after a new year party at a public place. All COVID protocols followed btw. I had no idea back then that I was going to get content for this new blog back then (I know its 6 months past now btw).

So I reach this place and I meet people whom I have never met before. However there was this one person who I instantly connect to because she tells me she is from a place called Mithila in BIhar.

Now, whoever knows Indian history/ mythology knows Mithila as the birth place of Goddess Sita, the wife of Lord Rama.

I ask her the same just to reconfirm the same fact. She obliges! You know how it is on a new year eve, ha!

What happens next is a joy ride of information exchange between the both of us. Imagine, on new year’s eve we both are sitting and exchanging information about Ramayana which happened many thousands of years ago!

OK! So how many of us know there is a language called Mithila? Even if we know, how many of us know its actually published on the back side of a 100 /- Rupee note (Indian Currency) ? I was shocked to know this. In fact, I pride myself of knowing Hindi, Punjabi [to small extent] and all four south Indian languages but when I was faced with this situation on the back side of a 100/- rupee note I was ashamed of myself that I missed a big part of India’s History and its culture and languages of course!

So Mithila is in present day Bihar and it is the birth place of Sita Maata. King Janaka ruled the kingdom of Mithila. Sita Maata was King Janaka’s daughter. In fact, Mithila is the kingdom where Lord Rama himself visits for the Swayamvar [to marry Sita Maata]. Lord Rama ultimately breaks the Shiva Dhanush and marries Sita Maata. Just FYI, the King of Sri Lanka [Raavanasura] also tries his hand at the Swayamvar but fails ultimately.

King Janaka has a special mention in Advaita Vedanta (Vedas) too, for reasons beyond Ramayana!

Now you might be wondering why I am talking about all this. And more so why I am showing you the picture of the back side of a 100/- Rupee note?

The reason is simple. I want to dedicate this blog to that girl who informed me of the mother tongue of Sita Maata (Mithila). This person tells me she was also born in the same place as Sita Maata and that Mithila is one of the official languages of India. But its slowly dying. Not many are aware of this language.

Voila! This blog is a crude attempt to make all Indians aware of their official languages at least. God knows how many more languages we are not aware of yet. But thats not the point of this blog. There’s more!!

This blog is also dedicated to this Millennial girl from Mithila who says although she is working for a start-up in Delhi-NCR, her true passion is in archeology! [Earth, my friends!]

This is where I was truly taken aback! This Millennial girl from Mithila wanted to research on earth (of all the things)! Why? Because its evolutionary (in my opinion). Just a few thousand years ago, the Princess of Mithila [Sita Maata] was born from the earth [Bhu-maata] and she got married to Lord Rama, lived her life in van-vaas (forests) and in Lanka (during her abduction by Raavanasura) and back in Ayodhya, gave birth to Luva-Kusha (in a forest) and finally went back to her mother [Bhu-maata] the earth herself!

What a co-incidence!

My 2021 new year was eventful, hope yours was as eventful and enriching as mine! Let me know. If not, there’s always 2022 ok?!

–Varun Gowtham Mannava

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Tittliaan song review : Of New Age Toxic Relationships & How To Handle Them!

I can’t believe I am writing a song review. A first in my 10 years of blogging. But this song has some unknown affinity that I wanted to dwell deep.

Firstly, I dont know Punjabi! But who cares. I want to document my emotions whenever I hear this song.

So I started with a basic research on why this song became so popular.

First things first. The voice of the singer here. It depicts pain, emotional pain. Afsana Khan has done a great job here, I am sure everyone would agree.

Secondly, the lyrics are most relevant to current times when relationships are like walking on thin ice. The lyrics depict the discovery of a woman in the relationship about the person she loved so much but he turns out to be a “butterfly who sits on one flower some times and another flower sometimes and altogether another flower sometimes later. He used to be ashamed and would do it secretly before but now he has grown the balls to do it right in front of her and that too he makes eye contact with the women he is loving other than her. A lot of her friends have tried to tell her about his wandering ways but she was still loving him. Finally she says those who don’t know you, they don’t know you but those who know you they don’t respect you anymore!”

Obviously, this means a lot in a relationship. The woman is in pain knowing her man is wandering like a butterfly and looking for different flowers even though he knows that a beautiful flower loves him too much. Loyalty comes first!

There is only one way out of this.

The woman should rightly dump him and get out of this toxic relationship which she does at the end of the song (in the video).

The Third and most important strength in this song is the music, which rarely exists and its all natural instruments. Its such a big relief from all those techno noises in a regular viral song. This song uses Sitar (I am guessing), Tabla, Harmonium, Flute. This is so Amazing!

With minimal techno noise, the painful voice of the singer, the impactful lyrics, minimal and natural musical instruments, this song is a delight to the listeners and music lovers! Especially in pubs!

–Varun Gowtham Mannava

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Six words on resolving relationship conflicts!

All the world’s a stage, rehearse!

  • – Varun Gowtham Mannava
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Six words on ideal socializing skills!

World without strangers, tread with caution!

-Varun Gowtham Mannava

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Six words on an Ideal Date!

Stop deriving meaning whenever you date!

– Varun Gowtham Mannava

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Love Aaj Kal [Love These Days]

So, you might have heard of all the fairy tales on Love stories. Do listen to this story too! Because this is no story nor is it a fairy tale!

Now, I know you would protest that love is made in Heaven and that subsequently marriages are made in Heaven too. Yes, if you go and ask my parents or your parents they would approve of this fact. But then a lot happened. What happened and how? If you want to know, read on!

2020 October, Place : Gurugram – Manhattan Brewery.

I enter an enclosed area where I can hear what everyone is speaking aloud. So I dig into what a specific couple is actually talking about. I realize they are talking about their relationship.

Comic relief : A ship that will never sink is FriendShip! Ok? You must have heard Mustafa Mustafa song by AR Rahman? No? Fine, listen to it now ok?

Ok, lets get to the point now, Love Aaj Kal!

I saw that the couple were quite into each other. Literally! There was PDA definitely. For those who are wondering what PDA is – Public Display of Affection. To be more clear, they were actually making out in public view.

Now comes the interesting part. The girl starts talking. What she says will leave you in astonishment. Same as me. I had never heard such a proposal in my whole life.

Ok, so the boy kept on repeating like a parrot that we are still testing waters with our relationship and that we still need time to take it to next level.

You would have already guessed that the guy started speaking like this because the girl started asking him to commit to their relationship. Then the girl went on to say something more that caught my attention.

So, here’s how the conversation progressed.

Girl : “Ok, see let me know if you want to take this forward, lets commit to this.”

Boy : “I need some time to actually see where we are going with this. I really don’t want to commit to this unless you and I actually realize we are suitable for this. Let’s not hurry.”

He kept saying “Lets take this slow” repeatedly. “Lets not rush into this, lets see how our compatibility goes.”

To this, the girl went one step ahead and said this —

Girl : “My best friends they are married and both of them have a partner outside their marriage!!!!!!!!!!! So we can have similar arrangement. I am not rushing you into this relationship. Just that I am saying I am open to this kind of an arrangement.”

Boy : “Yes that sounds practical, but I still need time to commit to you.”

I was flabbergasted! I wanted to approach both of them saying I am a Dating Coach and that I wanted to speak to them separately on why they need to reconsider their conversation.

But by then the waiter came up to me asking me to pay the bill. So I went with the flow.

I just wanted to share this story because I felt it was too displaced and shook the very pillars of a relationship. But if that is how the future generation feels, then who are we to put a blockade. Maybe we need to learn from them? I don’t know.

Let couples find happiness and make babies after marriages or babies before marriages. Let them fix a partner outside marriage or within marriage too!

This is latest Love Aaj Kal. I hope Imtiyaz Ali is reading this!

–Varun Gowtham Mannava!

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Love Love Love!!! (soon to be a Romantic Fiction book/ web series)

How Akash, an introvert from Chennai becomes an extrovert, makes his way through a lot of friends and establishes himself as a Love Guru in Delhi. He meets his first true love Shruti in a Speed Dating event and they connect on that very night. Shruti is from Bengaluru.

For the next 4 months Akash and Shruti have a ball realizing how special their first meeting was and how their first meeting was filled with such serendipity. They move in together (live in) for almost 2 months now. The first fight starts off on a stupid insecurity issue (from Shruti’s side). But slowly these insecurities harden and they quickly realize its because of their mindset. They have opposite personalities.

One year passes in ‘live in’ and things don’t improve. The fights didn’t end. They try to give deeper commitment a chance. They get engaged thinking this will reduce their insecurities and liken their mindsets. But it only makes things worse. The fights get more nasty, physical (from Shruti’s side) and more frequent.

They sit down on a Sunday morning and talk their hearts out. They decide to break the engagement and move on.

Then on Tuesday, Akash meets Neha, a girl from Delhi, casually at a bar. He engages her wittily in a conversation and they get to know more about each other. Akash learns that Neha recently got engaged. He tells her that his engagement got broken 2 days ago. Neha tells Akash that they both meeting that night could be a sign (of the universe) since she’s already contemplating breaking her engagement too.

Few days later Neha breaks her engagement with her fiancé Amit and starts dating Akash.

Now Amit tries to trace Shruti and befriends her and tries to make Shruti fall for him. Shruti also tries to break things between Akash and Neha!

And so the cruel love-games kick off. Who will emerge victorious and how.

“2 couples. 3 love stories. Highly twisted. Highly romantic. Highly contemporary love stories of modern Indian couples.

–Varun Gowtham Mannava

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Food Preferences in a Mumbai Family

When you (Varun Mannava) are from a strict vegetarian family and your partner (Shraddha) is from a strictly Non vegetarian family (from Mumbai) and that too with three siblings – one younger brother, one elder sister and one elder brother, you would want to appreciate and remember what their choices are. There is so much diversity and preferences in just one family. And when your partner keeps mentioning this every once in a while, its better to document it in a blog and share it.

This also acts as a reference whenever my partner quizzes me if I know what cuisine / dishes she likes. Now that she has started eating vegetarian more than ever for the last two years, it makes even more sense for me to document this for her future reference, just in case she forgets all the non vegetarian delicacies she used to like. What say? Ha!

Below are the preferences of my Partner’s Family! (in the words of my Partner)

Egg preferences :

Sunny side up – Shraddha, mother, younger brother,

Both sides fried – elder sister

Omelette – father

Any variety – elder brother

Dosa preferences :

Crispy dosa – mother

Soft dosa – father and Shraddha

Cheese dosa – younger brother (no tomat0)

Masala dosa – elder sister

Just dosa – elder brother

Sandwich preferences :

Cheese chilly toast (vegetables crushed) – father

Vegetable sandwich – mom (without cheese) ; Shraddha (with cheese)

Chutney masala sandwich – elder sister

No cheese sandwich – father

Sweets / Desserts preferences :

Bombay Halwa / Jalebi (soft)/ Motichur Laddu – father

Jalebi with Rabdi – younger brother

Crispy Jalebi – mother

Bengali sweets – Shraddha

All time sweet – Khalakand, Modak, Puran Poli

Fish Preferences:

Surmai – mother

Bangda – father, elder sister

Bombil – Shraddha, younger brother

Prwans – elder brother

Meat Preferences :

White meat – elder brother, father

Red meat (Mutton) – younger brother, Shraddha

Chicken Lollipop – all time favorite of Shraddha

Roti Preferences :

Plain Roti – father

Butter Roti – Shraddha

Garlic Naan – mother and elder brother

Any Roti – elder sister

Vegetables Preferences :

Bhindi / Brinjal. Last preference for everyone. Shraddha never tasted Paneer till got engaged with Varun Mannava. And no Rice ever for Shraddha.

And in My Family, the only preference is that my father doesn’t like Paneer. That’s all. My elder brother, mother and I eat anything and everything vegetarian. Obviously no Non Veg!

— Varun Mannava

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Dil Bechara : An emotional farewell to Sushant Singh Rajput!

With all that’s been happening in bollywood industry since the passing away of the 34 year old actor, Dil Bechara movie feels actually like a Crystal Ball prediction for 1 hour 40 minutes. The film is definitely a fitting and a well deserved farewell movie for Sushant Singh Rajput who was always treated like a guest in the industry and never allowed to settle down. Its hard to watch this movie without thinking of the elephant in the room, which is the sudden demise of this promising actor. In a way, it glorifies his struggle and in the end it fades away leaving a permanent impression on our hearts.

The premise is quite bold. In a world of feel good romance movies, crime thrillers and mindless comedies, Dil Bechara talks about the realistic challenges that we are facing these days. Health (physical and mental)! The director Mukesh Chabbra starts this movie just like any teen college flick. Usually the girl in such movies has heart aches or butterflies in the stomach but here Kizzie Basu (Debutante : Sanjana Sanghi) has a tumor in her Thyroid gland. She hardly comes across as a debutante and portrays a variety of emotions and expressions with great ease.

The setting is fixed : a middle class home, Jamshepur town, Tata Main hospital, College and a lakeside junkyard (with a view). This is where most of the movie revolves for most of the 100 minutes duration with the exception of Paris for 10 minutes. However there is never a dull moment in the movie all thanks to Manny (Sushant Singh Rajput) who not only brings cheer and life into Kizzie’s lifeless mind & body but also in the audiences mind. He plays a 23 year old ‘happy go lucky’ boy who is also arrogant and has a way of getting his wishes implemented. He fits the role perfectly. His partner in crime JP (Sahil Vaid) definitely evokes a laugh or two and fits easily into the character. JP wants to make a movie of his own, especially with Bhojpuri tastes in mind. Manny is a Rajnikanth Fan! Kizzie is a music lover. All three of them are united and engaged through art and they exploit this inclination to pull each other up whenever one of them is down with the burden of life. Literally.

A R Rahman is back with beautiful tracks. I am still waiting for them to grow on me but I love the track “Khulke Jeene Ka”. Its sad to hear how the two academy award winning music director is a victim of favoritism and misunderstanding in the hands of a talentless gang in the bollywood. I honestly did not know A R Rahman was the music director until two weeks ago when the trailer was launched.

True to its title, its the heart that always suffers. However it is a personal choice. We cannot make others suffer for us but if they want to suffer for us we must not stop them either.

Who would have thought people would act funny or misbehave in a funeral setting and if they do then try going one level deeper and understand they only do it because they don’t want to waste their short span of life attending funerals! It makes complete sense in a deeply philosophical point of view.

And who says life is normal for those who have a fairly healthy body. The artist who Kizzie adores and worships is definitely a sight to watch even though he makes his presence felt only for 2 minutes. Those 2 minutes felt like a lifetime thanks to his unpredictable mental condition.

Watch the trailer, then watch the movie. Otherwise you may not be ready for the deep roller coaster emotional ride that this movie promises to deliver.

–Varun Gowtham Mannava.

 

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Lockdown Gyan: Why moving to Chennai was the best decision my Father ever made!

My Father Srinivas Gowtham Mannava was born in Baapatla and studied in Guntur (near Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh). He was into stage acting during his childhood and had moved around all of Andhra Pradesh in his capacity as a stage actor. This did not affect his schooling or college.

He got into Mechanical Engineering in a college in Mysore. This was Karnataka. So now he knew Kannada other than Telugu which was his mother tongue. He was quite hardworking because he was not naturally gifted. He had to work hard to clear all exams. He had a knack for engineering drawing.

So I was wondering why he did not choose Bengaluru as his destination to apply for a job post his Engineering degree, or why he did not return to Hyderabad/ Vijayawada to take his career forward. He chose CHENNAI! And that changed everything. At least for me and my brother!

My brother and I were born in Visakhapatnam. That’s because my mom’s parents were put up in Visakhapatnam. That’s all.

Imagine if my brother and I were raised in Visakhapatnam we would be clumsy telugu youth (no offense to Telugu youth, I mean such bad dressing sense and such gaudy home paints?). Probably my brother would have started a hero fan club(which he still can, I have no idea why he hasn’t), given his inclination to movies and I would have settled down for a job at Vizag steel plant or some nationalized bank. Both our brothers would be married with two sons/ daughers and thinking about which junior college to seek admission.

Thankfully, my father chose to move to Chennai. Maybe because he got a job there! Also maybe because my father got mugged while he was in college in Mysore. He explains how he got scared of the muggers in great detail and that how he handed over all his money to them. This may have had an impression on him about Kannadigas. I am not blaming all Kannadigas here, I loved Lucia, K.G.F and cursed myself why I didn’t know Kannada. I guess we are digressing from the point here. The point is CHENNAI!

Chennai / Madras is an amazing place to raise a family (Anyone can live in Chennai, with 5 rupees or 5 lakhs). My parents, both Telugu all their life, learnt Tamil so soon. For instance, if anyone breaks traffic rules, my father used to abuse him in Tamil (Madaiyaa) .. means Idiot!

Now focussing on the header of this blog! Why moving to Chennai was the best decision my Father ever made!

I mean come on! Illayaraja! Need I say more? Ok if you want me to elaborate I shall.

Illayaraja is the God of Indian music! Mozart and Beethoven (if alive) would have thanked him for making such memorable film songs. There is an Illayaraja song for every emotion, every function, every aspect of everyone’s life.

Imagine, if my Father had chosen to stay back in Visakhapatnam, starting from Thalapathi and Guna, my brother and I had to listen to all mind-blowing songs and movie dialogues in dubbing telugu! “En Deva ve koonutiye daa!!” .. “Nanban naa enna nu theriyuma unnaku, Suriya na enna nu theriyuama unnaku?” … “Abhiraami Abhiraami … ” . All the way from legendary 90’s movies and dialogues and songs down to Vaigai Puyal Vadivelu jokes! Most of my Telugu and Kannada brothers and sisters have no idea who Vadivelu is and how his humour makes you laugh over every situation in life, including mugging, losing a job or getting thrashed by your wife. Trust me, I know hindi, I have watched major Bollywood movies too.. no comedian can beat him.

And the whole world knows about A.R.Rahman. All his tamil classics were worthy enough to be enjoyed in their natural language and not dubbed language. Mani Ratnam tried his hands in other language but was not as successful too. That does not mean he was any lesser genius than some of the Hollywood filmmakers!

Kamal Hassan and Rajinikanth! No more words to explain. Some of my work colleagues in Gurugram used to and still call me THALAIVA! All thanks to my one decision my Father made during his 20s! Had he, for one second thought he didn’t like the language or the culture, my brother and I would never proudly told our cousins that we knew TAMIL!

Tamil is such an addictive language and culture that even when you are commuting to school, you would read Thiruvalluvar in the buses! 2 lines like Kabir doha. Its just 2 lines but those 2 lines had a deep meaning. Those 2 lines make you a responsible human being all your life. The least expected from you is to understand Tamil scripture and understand what Thiruvalluvar is trying to say.

Tamil politicians are the last thing anyone wants to discuss. But, Amma canteen is a model for the whole country when it comes to filling poor man’s stomach! One plate idli in Gurugram costs 75 bucks, whereas in Amma Canteen it costs 2 rupees! See that’s what I am talking about.

My father may have made a lot of mistakes like a lot of fathers, but moving to CHENNAI was one thing he did right!

And last but not the least! I made amazing friends here in Gurugram just because I was from Chennai. Can you beat that! At first Sanjay (a Sindhi from Chennai) asked me where I was from in Soi7 (a popular pub in Gurugram during 2015-2017). When I told him I was from Chennai, he was so happy. No literally, he was so happy as if he found moksha! I am not kidding. Then I met Binoy who was from Kerala but brought up in Thiruvanmayur, Chennai! That’s all, my gang in Gurugram was set! We used to speak in a Language (Tamil) which no one understood in Gurugram. What else would one ask during a pub outing?

Chennai also has Marina Beach! (no more words)

–Varun Gowtham Mannava

 

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