Usthad Hotel

Usthad Hotel


Usthad hotel is definitely one of the best Malayalam movies I have seen in a while. For the benefit of those who don’t understand Malayalam, here is an attempt to transcript one of the iconic scenes in the movie, the scene where Karimikka (the grandfather) and Faizi (the grandson) talk about love.

Karimikka and Faizi are sitting by the beach, and Karimikka is brewing Sulaimani, as they discuss about the bank loan. Faizi attempts to convince Karimikka to let the bank put up the hotel for auction, in order to repay the loan. Karimikka hints that if Faizi stays, they could turn things around with the hotel. Faizi points out that no one else would have the committment that Karimikka has towards Usthad Hotel, and that maybe it is better that Karimikka himself ends, what he had started.

“Fate is an undeniable truth of life, Faizi. Let us see what happens.”

Faizi moves closer to Karimikka, “Aren’t we the masters of our own fate? I have to decide what should happen in my life. No one else can decide it to for me”.

“If that was true, would you have been here now? Wouldn’t you have been settled happily in London, instead of being stuck here listening to an old man’s problems?”, responds Karimikka with a smile.

Smiling, Faizi rests his head on Karimikka’s shoulders. Karimikka says, “It’s all fate, my child”. 

“Sometimes I feel its pointless dreaming about London”, muses Faizi.

“Here”, Karimikka hands a glass of steaming Sulaimani to Faizi.

As they silently sip the Sulaimani, Faizi’s eyebrows go up in surprise. He asks, “There is something different about this. Did you add cardamom? Or is it some other spice?”. Karimikka laughs. “I’ll tell you the ingredients that I’ve used, but what was more important, was that thought in your mind, that there’s something special in it”.

As they walk towards the ocean, Karimikka continues, “Every Sulaimani must be made with a little bit of love added to it. When you drink it, the whole world must come to a standstill, at your feet. Like this…”, gesturing to the calm ocean in front of them.

They stand there, their eyes closed, sipping the Sulaimani. Faizi’s mind flashes back to that night when he and Shahana had escaped the truck drivers, running hand-in-hand, laughing. He could still feel the touch of her hand, still see her beautiful, laughing face. As he tries to push the memories away, he opens his eyes, and is amused to find Karimikka too standing with his eyes closed, a half-smile on his face.

He waits for Karimikka to come out of his reverie. “Grandpa, tell me about your love affair”. Karimikka looks at him shrewdly. “Why are you so sure that I had a love affair?”. Faizi replies, “Only someone who’s had Sulaimani, knows how it tastes”, and they both laugh.

Karimikka takes slow steps, his eyes taking on a dreamy quality as he recounts the great love affair of his life. “I was eighteen then, apprenticing under my master. We had gone to prepare biriyani for the Maulavi’s daughter’s wedding. As I sat there, stirring the biriyani, smoke got into my eyes and I turned away. At that moment, I saw a beauty sitting at the window, looking sad, like a bird in a cage. As her gaze fell on me, she noticed and gave me a smile. Something started thrashing inside my chest. Our eyes remain locked. It was like my whole life had lead me to that moment.”

With a mischevious grin, Faizi nudges Karimikka and asks, “Who was that beauty?”

Karimikka smiles and says, “The Maulavi’s daughter. It was for her wedding that I had come to prepare biriyani”. Faizi bursts out laughing. “What happened then?”. Karimikka responds with a smirk, “What do you think happened?”. Faizi continues laughing, “Obviously, she got married, had your biriyani and left. What else could have happened?”. Karimikka smiles. “What about you Faizi? Do you love someone?”. Faizi’s face immediately darkens. “Love! I don’t feel that towards anyone”. Karimikka gives a disbelieving smile, turns and starts walking towards their house. As Faizi watches Karimikka walk back towards the house, a half-smile on his face, Faizi realizes that Karimikka is still lost in his memories.

That night, as Faizi prepares to go to sleep, he calls out to Karimikka, “One thing is certain, grandpa. You still haven’t forgotten that beauty, have you?”.

Karimikka replies, “Faizi, do you know who that beauty is? It is your grandmother!”.

“WHAT?!“, Faizi sits up astonished. He gets up and goes to the living room, where Karimikka’s wedding photo rested on the wall, and true enough, there was young Karim and the Maulavi’s daughter, in their wedding attire.

With a broad grin, Faizi continues looking at them, still unable to let go of his amazement. When he goes to Karimikka’s room, he’s already asleep, a smile on his face.




Apologies for not having done justice to this awesome scene. It would take a far superior skill than mine to capture such beautiful cinema in words.

quiet power

Just to get the ball rolling, I thought I’d share some of my favourite lines from some of my favourite books. Btw, spoiler alert!


Foundation and Empire

Toran said harshly and with finality, “It’s impossible. Look at the miserable creature. He the Mule? He doesn’t even hear what we’re saying.

But when his eyes followed his pointing finger, Magnifico was erect and alert, his eyes sharp and darkly bright. His voice was without a trace of an accent, “I hear her, my friend. It is merely that I have been sitting here and brooding on the fact that with all my cleverness and forethought I could make a mistake, and lose so much.

Toran stumbled backward as if afraid the clown might touch him or that his breath might contaminate him.

Magnifico nodded, and answered the unspoken question. “I am the Mule.


 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

At that moment, Harry fully understood for the first time why people said Dumbledore was the only wizard Voldemort had ever feared. The look upon Dumbledore’s face as he stared down at the unconscious form of Mad-Eye Moody was more terrible than Harry could have ever imagined. There was no benign smile upon Dumbledore’s face, no twinkle in the eyes behind the spectacles. There was cold fury in every line of the ancient face; a sense of power radiated from Dumbledore as though he were giving off burning heat.


He rises…

“deshi”.. “deshi”..

“basara”.. “basara”..







“deshi deshi basara basara”

“deshi deshi basara basara”

“deshi deshi basara basara”

“deshi deshi basara basara”

“deshi deshi basara basara”

“deshi deshi basara basara”


I picked up an Android tablet recently – the Archos 101 Internet tablet, running Android 2.2. This being my first Android device, had a lot to play around. However, I am starting to reach the limits of my interest in the OS. Waiting for Ubuntu or MeeGo to be “enabled” (since Archos already provides an Angstrom distro to demonstrate how you can put other Linux distros on the tablet).

Cool things:

  • Excellent e-book reader. Quite light and fairly huge display.
  • Comic reader! I have always wanted to read comics this way.
  • Bed/sofa browsing. Relishing the lightweight tablet in lieu of the laptop.

Uncool things:

  • Battery seems a bit weak (fell to 50% after 3-4 hours of use). Good for a laptop. Not good for a tablet/handheld. Will wait and watch how the 2nd, 3rd charges affect the battery life.
  • Android. Lot of good apps and widgets, but can’t help feel that a proper Linux distro with GNOME or LXD, would rock better. Or mabye Ubuntu Netbook Edition, with Unity! Waiting for someone to “Enable” it.


When I was small, I thought a psychopath was someone who was insane (obviously I confused it with psychotic). I still find many people making the same mistake – referring to someone as a ‘psychopath’ when they mean ‘psychotic’. However, psychopaths are not easy to identify, precisely because they are typically endowed with above average intelligence and they ability to make themselves appear normal.

“The Silence of the Lambs” movie introduced me to the true meaning of the term psychopath. I still get chills down my spine whenever I remember those eyes, those piercing eyes that make me want to run far away and hide. Perhaps, the reason psychopaths scare me more than the insane, is that we know that the insane are, well, insane. They are not thinking straight. However, not only is a psychopath thinking straight, he is quite intelligent too. He is hiding. He is hiding behind a facade of feigned politness and emotions. Where the insane is not thinking straight, the psychopath is cunning and manipulative, pretending to be normal, biding his time.

I still remember my heart skipping a beat and a slow panic build up, when Valerie’s expression changes and she admits she’s a psychopath (in Remorse, an episode of House). The scariest villains are not the raving lunatics, who scream at you, threatening to pull your entrails out and wrap it around your neck. The scariest villains are the ones we don’t even perceive as villains, the ones who manipulate us into thinking they are the good guys, while framing others for their crimes.

Movies/books/shows I need to check out (having read about psychopathy):

  • American Psycho
  • Se7en
  • Dexter
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • The Kite Runner

adventure park

Adventure park. One of my favourite places to go, when I was a kid. Though designed more like a training course at a boot camp, the place still fascinated and enthrilled me, my brother and my cousins. Later, it fell into disrepute and ill-use. Yesterday, I visited it again, after almost 15 or 20 years. Glad to see that the place is maintained decently (more or less). Have taken some pics. Posting them below (click on the images for the bigger version).

Trivia: The climax of the movie “Manu Uncle” was shot here.

The entrance to Adventure Park
The skating rink!
The tunnels! We used to have races through these.
The rope wall (or its remains, to be accurate)
The jumper (:P) . There was a rope ladder behind this to climb up and then jump down to each level.
The mangroves that border the park
Sigh.. Adventure Park..