Friday, July 18, 2008

In the Muduga Land

Last weekend I was at a place called Attappadi in Kerala to shoot a documentary film on the Muduga Tribe for a very close friend, Rayson. If you had seen my short film, Two Ways Together, I’m sure I don’t need to introduce him to you. Added to that, he is a good friend from my college days, a very determined person who is doing his PhD on the music of the Muduga lot for past 5 years- also a good writer, singer and musician. Acting was a new talent I forced on him without any mercy and the result is of course all those nice remarks I received from many of you guys.

It was an awesome experience in my life at one of the paradises on earth with the most affectionate people around. Thanks to my new friends from Attappadi, Santosh and Manoj for identifying me as one of their family members. Can’t ever forget the nice home food and fun I shared with them. Without their support the shoot wouldn’t have ever happened.

Rayson already had some excellent video footage and interviews that includes a Muduga funeral function and couple of other events, taken a year back. So we already had a rough frame of the film and a fresh checklist for all that is to be shot from the spot. It took us a tiresome 13 hours from the heat of Chennai to reach the heart of Attappadi. Something which I wanted to shoot yet missed in this whole trip was the painful way which birds were downloaded and transported from the top of a bus at Coimbatore Bus Depot. They even had two closed sacks full of live little ones.

As soon as reaching Attappadi, we charged our energies as well as the batteries at Santhosh’s place. By this time he and Manoj were ready with their bikes and we started our first day’s journey to the forest land. An interesting thing our beloved friend did was to offer a big ‘Hi’ to the forest guard who stopped us on the way. In the confusion of identifying his unexpected friend, we were politely permitted to travel into the restricted area. I could take some beautiful visuals of the forest and the river with huge and humongous population of tadpoles. Santhosh, Manoj and Rayson did their best to get some leaches to perform a nice bloodsucking demo for my cam, but they seemed to be so shy. And for our surprise, back at home I discovered a bright blood stain on my Jeans, right above my left leg stocking. That night was good fun sharing chicken as well as cheap jokes of all kind.

On Sunday morning we quickly got ready to try our luck on the most wanted visuals with a Muduga tribal named Ayyappan. With the help of him we took all the interesting shots that showed how they lived a life close to nature. They took honey, but never killed a bee…they found food on the roots of a creeper, but planted a new bud before leaving the place…they collected tender bamboo buds for food but always left a few to grow for future. Ayyappan Maman, in spite of his old age and a curved hunch-back climbed the cliffs like a young enthusiastic monkey. I had to struggle with the cam to reach his speed and style. And Rayson had a real bad time with his fat belly when he had to scroll into a cave on top the cliff where we interviewed Maman on the music of Muduga hunt.

After the shoot we met one of Rayson’s Guru-like figure Mani Achan who is leading a very peaceful life in his farm house at the hillside preaching and practicing a new social life and philosophy. I identified him as a priest who left that PROFESSION to become the real preacher of being in nature’s way of a natural life. At the time of leaving he invited me to spend a vacation at his Eden Garden. I told this in mind, wait I'll be back as soon as I find my Eve.

Now back at the room in front of my comp, while editing the film, I’m regaining the thrill of those moments I shot as well as all those happy hidden moments that I preferred not to shoot.


Rayson said...

True my friend...those days in attappady with you will always remain in my heart...Reading this was another journey to attappady...lets make it great AB

Rayson K. Alex said...

wow thats good writing....that was another journey to attappady....sure, our effort wont go vein....lets make it big AB

Allison said...

You know your really lucky to have had a chance to experience a whole new world. I can't wait to see the documentary. So far your blog as caught my attention and I'm sure by now even being back in the "techi world" your secretly longing to go back to the peace and calm you felt on your trip.

Cockroach said...


Thanks bro. I'll try my best.

Cockroach said...

Yea Alli, i feel so blessed whenever I visit places and meet new people. And u r right dear, I always long for a new adventure all the time, which I miss in my "Techi world." Again what is life with out an