I am from Tamilnadu, the state where people would never speak Hindi. But, nowadays, we have started learning it. Thanks to the new education system, people’s interest, and the presence of Katrina Kaif in bollywood.
In my childhood, many people from my hometown were not even aware of the existence of the language called Hindi. They thought that a female from Hindu religion was called Hindi. But my father was not one of them. Thanks to the presence of Hema Malini at that time.
My father was working as a film supervisor in one of the 6 movie theaters in our hometown, Karaikudi. Because of this job, we could watch any movie for free in all 6 theaters. Still, my father would allow us to watch movies only in 5 theaters. He didn’t quite like the idea of us watching movies in that 6th theater (Nataraja theater). When asked for the reason, he said, “This theater is very old, quite far from our home, and moreover, there will be no dialogues in any of the movies there.”
Our second favorite pastime in our childhood was watching movies. We could go to any theater, any show, free of cost. Our first favorite pastime was watching every movie three times, back to back shows. When I was 7, my younger brother Ganesh was 5 and my elder brother VJ was 11. My sister Abi was 8. At that time, my father would allow me and VJ to watch movies, but not Ganesh.
So, when VJ and I went to watch movies, we had to come up with some innovative excuses to get away from Ganesh. One of the best excuses that we came up with was ‘Hindi Classes’.
Ganesh: Dei, where are you both going?
VJ: We are going for Hindi classes.
Ganesh: Who is your Hindi teacher?
VJ: Mmmm… Mmmm… Mama Helini.
Ganesh: Is teaching Hindi your teacher’s main profession or is it a side job?
VJ: Clerk-cum-Hindi teacher. (Looking at the wall clock for leaving quickly).
Ganesh: Your teacher teaches in a house or a class room?
VJ: House-cum-class room. (Looking at the wall clock for leaving quickly)
Ganesh: Your teacher is male or female?
VJ: Male-cum-female… er, we’ll explain later once we come back, ok?
Ganesh: When will you come back?
VJ: Two-cum-three o’clock. Bye.
After we were gone, Ganesh would keep on asking questions to our father.
1. “Dad, it’s already 3 hours since they were gone. Why aren’t they back yet?”
2. “Dad, why do they have to learn Hindi, when we already know Tamil?”
3. “Dad, why can’t we watch movies in Nataraja theater?”
At that time, we went to watch the movie ‘Gentleman’ (which was later remade in Hindi as ‘The Gentleman’). That was the greatest movie that we ever watched. We were watching the movie very closely to see if any of the actors were telling any Hindi dialogues, so that we could repeat that to Ganesh. During the interval, we promised the guys who were selling popcorn that we would buy 2 packs if they told us the Hindi name of it. We had to prepare ourselves to make up a story once we got back home. After all, Ganesh was not too young to believe, “Baba black sheep” is Hindi.
When we got back home, Ganesh started asking questions.
Ganesh: Dei, why are you so late?
VJ: I am not able to understand you. Talk to us in Hindi.
Ganesh: This is too much. What did you learn today?
Me: Baba black sheep.
*VJ silenced me and started making up a story*
VJ: Baba ka bi laka shabba hai.
Ganesh: Ok, where is your book?
VJ: It was free only; we didn’t book a ticket. *then realizes the mistake he made*
VJ: We have given the book for binding.
Ganesh: What is…
Before he started asking his next question, we closed his mouth, and said “Open this only when you have to take your next meal, ok? Now go and nag dad.”
After a while, Ganesh started nagging our dad. “Dad, can you also send me to Hindi classes? I also want to learn baba ka bi laka shabba hai.” Dad said, “I’m not able to understand you. Talk to me in Tamil.”
This is how we used Hindi classes as excuse with Ganesh for watching movies in our childhood. Later, when we were adults, we could have used the same excuse with our parents to watch movies in Nataraja theater. But damn, we weren’t clever enough in our adulthood.
Now that we are grown up, we watched couple of movies in Nataraja theater along with the whole family members. Only that the theater is now renewed and decent movies get released.