Doctors are a strange lot. I should know, being a sibling to one. Most of us spend our education and subsequently, our lives, chasing elusive rainbows. Our formative years are spent willing the clock to move faster and for classes to get over. Medical students spend their formative years cutting open human bodies (the dead ones) and one fine day, graduate to cutting open live ones. It was this strange fortune of having my elder sister choose medicine as a career that introduced me to Ronnie.
As a part of their learning, medical students are supposed to go to a designated store near their college and buy a very unique set. This very unique set consists of a skull and a few bones. They then sit in class, hold the skull in their hands, and listen to their lecturer explain to them about the neurocranium and the viscerocranium. Cutting cadavers, it may be presumed, is slightly more complicated and cannot be delved into with the same hilarity.
Coming back to the point, when my sister was done and dusted with the skull, she wanted to carefully hand it over to a junior in the same red bag she used to carry the skull to college every day. In one of the rare moments in life where a good idea struck me, I asked her to pass on the skull to me instead. With much trepidation, she handed it over to me. And the skull found a home atop my table.
In the early days, the skull was anonymous. The first question people asked when they set eyes on it was if it was real. Its awe inspiring qualities seemed puzzling at first, until it finally dawned on me that only a fortunate few grow up around doctors and the paranapheila that accompany them. At some point, I christened him Ronnie. It sounded right, the inspiration for which came from a metallica song of the same name. This stanza from the song seemed to describe him the best -
'I always said something wrong
With little strange Ronnie Long
Never laughed, never smiled
Talked alone for miles and miles and miles’
Ronnie entered my life and a very precarious time - when I was 14. Many hours were spent marvelling at how unaffected he seemed by the trauma being inflicted upon me by trigonometry and physics. In fact, I tried to black mail him into writing one of my math papers, but he would have none of it. The moral science lecture that ensued haunts me even to this day. When I fell asleep on my practical book (a daily occurrence) and woke up with a jolt, the first thing I was met by was Ronnie's unwavering gaze. I exacted revenge on him by using him as a pen stand for a while.
Time and again, Ronnie is prone to giving me unsolicited advice. When I was discussing a girl I found attractive, Ronnie said philosophically 'love is for numbskulls.' It would be safe to presume that only he found any semblance of humour in that utterance. When Zidane head butted Materazzi in the 2006 Fifa World Cup final, I was mourning for the inglorious end to such a glorious career. But Ronnie could be heard chuckling. When India crashed out of the ICC cricket world cup in 2007, we both cried. When India won the 2011 world cup, we both cried tears of joy.
It has been more than a decade since Ronnie perched himself on my table. He’s seen the years go by with the nonchalance of a bartender. Not too long ago, Ronnie suddenly spoke after a long hiatus. He expressed a desire to pen a column. On prodding him a little further, he said he saw so many things and wanted to write about them. A chill ran through my spine. ‘What do you see’ I asked him, the scene from sixth sense playing in my head. ‘Movies, books, food and drink, travel, all that stuff that makes up a life’ he said. It was the longest sigh of relief I let out in all of my 27 years.
So as per Ronnie’s request, I hereby introduce you to ‘I know what Ronnie did’, where Ronnie offers his expert views on all that he has seen and experienced. Ronnie has no sense of time and place. He reads what he feels like and sees what he feels like and eat where he feels like. He doesn’t claim to offer you an opinion on the latest blockbuster book or novel.He writes what he feels like writing.
As Ronnie would like to have you believe, seeing is believing.
I know what Ronnie did – edition one
VAZHAKU ENN 18/9 (tamil) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MosWIdXHUSA&feature=fvst
Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna
First half was fairly gripping. The story only goes downhill from there, much like the slopes in Coorg.
Ronnie’s rating: 1.5 / 5
Da Capo Best music writing 2004 (various) http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51747.Da_Capo_Best_Music_Writing_2005
Though the year is 2005, I had to wait till 2011 to get it for 200 bucks at a landmark sale. Some fantastic writing with the feature on the last days of Ray Charles standing out.
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STq7kIDv6R4
In 1993, Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. and Jason Baldwin were convicted of first degree murder of three 8 year old boys. Over a span of three documentaries, Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, Paradise Lost 2: Revelations, and Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, by acclaimed directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, their story was told. Paradise Lost 3 is the one with the happy ending where after 18 years of being wrongly imprisoned, the 3 boys accept an Alford plea http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alford_plea in order to seek their release. Fascinating, touching, enraging.
Crazy, stupid, love (English)
Why do people make such movies? Couple’s marriage is falling apart. Wife is banging co-worker. Husband retaliates by banging half the womenfolk in town. Boy is love with babysitter. Babysitter is in love with boy’s father. Why do people watch such movies? Why? Why?
Ronnie’s rating: 1.5/ 5
Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi (tamil) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-iooq6NvWY
Nice, feel good movie about the roller coaster ride that falling in love takes you on. Amala Paul and Siddharth add a sense of freshness and with no overt song and dance sequences, it’s worth your while.
Ronnie’s rating: 4/5
Oru Kal, Oru Kannadi (tamil)
Maybe my tastes are different. Not my kinda movie but the reviews say it was a hit. Stopped half way. Watch at your own peril.
Ronnie’s rating: 0.5/5
Depicts how far people that have money and power can go. And how far beneficiaries of that power and money can go. Fantastic. Please watch.
Ronnie’s rating : 4.5/5
Beru (the root) (kannada)
Lovely off beat cinema that traces the travails of a taluk level officer and the corruption that is entrenched in our society.
Ronnie’s rating: 5/5
Once on that street
A nice play on the tough choices we are confronted with and society’s reaction to dilemmas.
Ronnie’s rating: 3.5/5
Funny in parts. Tells the story of Benare and the carefully laid out plot to trap her.
Ronnie’s rating: 3.5/5
Laughed till my skull fell out of my head. As the descriptor goes ‘A hilarious take on the men's obsession with fallacies and phalluses’. Enough said. Go watch it the next time it hits town.
Ronnie’s rating : 4/5