‘Mookajjia Kanasugalu – My Impressions

I had read (rather, gone through) this novel when I was in college and couldn’t make much of it. Now, after thirty odd years, I mustered enough courage to read this novel again. Perhaps, due to what life teaches us over such long years and some maturity which those years bring, I was able to better appreciate the ideas conveyed by the author. And I must say that I am impressed.

‘Mookajjia Kanasugalu’, which received the most coveted ‘Jnaanapeeta’ award for best novel in the year 1977, is a novel written by Late Shri Kota Shivarama Karantha in Kannada.

Kota Shivarama Karantha was a multi-faceted personality – an author, playwright, Yakshagaana  exponent and also an ecological conservationist. He was conferred the national award ‘Padma Bhushan’ which he returned in protest against imposition of ’emergency’ in India.

The title of the book can be translated as ‘Mookajji’s Dreams’ or ‘Grand Nanny’s Dreams’.

‘Foreword’ written by the author aptly describes the content of the novel. I would recommend going through the ‘Foreword’ before and also after completing the novel.

Here, I would like to translate just two sentences from the ‘Foreword’, which bring out the essence of the book: ‘Mookajji’s endeavor is to slowly melt traditional feudalistic beliefs prevalent in our society. If one doubts about the existence of such a granny, please assume that she is none but the manifestation of our misgivings and doubts about traditional feudalistic beliefs (Translation is mine, so pardon any mistakes)’

This book is just about 272 pages. Quality of the writing and the plot of the novel are epic. This novel narrates the interaction between Mookajji and her grandson Subraaya which revolves around various subjects and situations. Mookajji is of some 80+ years and is endowed with a unique prowess – she can visualize the past (as if it is happening in front of her eyes) and also things that may happen in the near future.

Subraaya poses various questions to his grandmother and through her response; the author tries to convey his ideas about the various topics in an easy and understandable way. Author’s thoughts about the various subjects like God, Culture and other aspects are very elegant.

Mookajji has her own interpretation on subjects like morality, religion and the existence of God. Perhaps, the best is her take on Bhagavad Gita (pages 268 and 269) – on timing and duration of Krishna’s  preaching to Arjuna (18 chapters, 700+ verses which might have, perhaps taken 3 days to deliver – said to have happened just before commencement of Mahabharatha war, after the armies have come face to face) and also some contradictions in Krishna’s preaching.

My take-away from the book is contained in page 210 – the essence of our lives is to lead a life in a way which is cordial to people and environment around us. If we do not have the capabilities to do good to others, lead a life without harming others (people and environment).

Overall, going by the content and quality of the book and the simple way it was presented, I would highly recommend ‘Mookajjia Kanasugalu’

Reality Shows and Their Judges!

Reality shows, these days, are omnipresent. Take a look at any TV channel, at any time, in any language and in any country, you are sure to come across some form of a reality show in there.

Reality shows are more popular than news programs and serials! Yes, they have more viewers than popular serials. You can judge this by simply looking at the on-going rates for advertising during these reality shows. Even senior citizens, earlier known as ‘serial’ citizens, are now switching over to view reality shows!

One can see reality shows in any conceivable format and form. We have comedy reality shows (which sometimes makes you cry!), singing reality shows (contestants often cry remembering their mother, father, siblings or pets), dance reality shows (every episode will have some sob story of a contestant) and adventure reality shows (where contestants cry when they do not succeed and also when they succeed!). They cry even in reality shows testing one’s general awareness.

So what’s the main qualification to be a judge of a reality show? Yes! You guessed it right! One should be an expert in listening to sob stories and then shed tears at the appropriate time! While this is the main one, there are some additional requirements too!

One’s name should have wide recognition, either she should be famous or notorious. It is not necessary that she knows what’s going on in the show. A famous author, who never shook his feet for dancing in his whole life, was a judge in a dance reality show of a well-known channel. Whenever he opened his mouth to give comments, it used to either irrelevant or confusing. But it was great fun watching him commenting on finer aspects of dancing, without knowing a thing!

Then these judges should have their brand of gimmicks! It may be use of a particular phrase or asking for a ladder to climb while applauding or gesturing in a peculiar way! This ‘unique’ differentiator is a must to extend one’s longevity as a judge.

There are huge positives in judging reality shows. The first one is that your neck is never on the line. It’s always the neck of the contestant which is on the line. Contestants who provide the content of the reality shows are never sure whether they will be featuring in the next episode. But a judge is there in every episode!

Second huge attraction is that you make big money as a judge! While the winner may take certain amount in prize money after toiling hard for many episodes, judges take multiples of this prize money for judging just one episode! Entire show with multiple episodes makes judges really rich and famous too! Just ‘Google’ and you will be wonderstruck by the amount paid to some of the reality show judges.

As a judge, you have more camera presence than the best of the contestants! This makes those failing artists and forgotten actors to bounce back into reckoning! We know how a failing superstar of Bollywood was resurrected by a general knowledge reality show!

Winning contestants rarely make a name in their field after the show is over. There are only a handful of them who made it big (after the show was finished) and most of them are forgotten before long! But judges make it to their seats every season!

Is it difficult to judge a reality show? My better-half, a keen follower of reality shows, knows more about judging than those judges themselves. She can easily come out with a list of positives and negatives, the moment a contestant’s performance over. And her analysis, many a time, is much more accurate than that of judges!

It is true that her analytical skill is rubbing off on me too and you must have observed this while I get opportunity to evaluate speeches in our Club!

(This write-up was prepared for the House Magazine of Doha Toastmasters Club)