1. A bittersweet longing for things, persons, or situations of the past.
2. The condition of being homesick; homesickness.
a sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past.“I was overcome with acute nostalgia for my days at university”
something done or presented in order to evoke feelings of nostalgia.“an evening of TV nostalgia”
The colorful festivals, various types of dances, martial arts, wildlife sanctuaries, Coconuts and houseboats, a tourist’s description about Kerala, the southernmost state of India, may begin and end on these descriptions. But for a Malayali( Someone from Kerala) living abroad, none of these collate in the great nostalgic feeling about the land they left behind.
A couple of weeks before, a walk around in Youtube , I unexpectedly stumbled on 1980’s Malayalam movie ‘ Mela’ . The story was of a dwarf circus clown, ‘Raghu’, who returns home, thirteen years after leaving home. The movie begins with the arrival of a Telegram to Raghu’s mother. It looked more or less like a leaf from the past. That was the Kerala I left behind and not the house boats, martial arts, wild life sanctuaries and the various types of dances. On those days ‘Telegrams’ were the most dreaded thing . Telegrams always came with the news of the death of a dear and near relative. The very name ‘Telegram’ sent shockwaves through the spines of any Keralite, as in the movie. In this case, it turned out to be a good news, the arrival of a long lost son. Raghu the Clown arrives home in style , with a transistor in hand. Almost like a Malayali returning home from Gulf, for the typical one month vacation.
The once insignificant little guy becomes the talk of the village . A circus employee , among the mostly unemployed youths in the village, eventually becomes the most eligible bachelor . The care and love displayed by Raghu’s mother in the movie reminded me of the faces that were fading from my childhood memories. The typical mother of the eightees. In every inch , I experienced the innocence of the eightees India . The enthusiasm of a generation of middle class Indians to achieve financial security, while leaving the destiny to take charge, contenting on what the fate brings in. The lack of aggreesiveness, and an aloof attitude towards life and the silent flow of life in a highly interconnected society.
The Clown returns to Cirus with his new wife, who was more or less attracted to the music from the transistor, than the crown . The tragedy of living in India, where people will muster their strength on the weak and the physically challenged. The society denies him, his try on life and his right to live an ordinary life. The movie ends, as the clown disappears in the sea. But definitely leaves a lingering sadness of painful truths of life. The India I left behind, where power and prominence are gained only by undermining the weak. An India where the disabled and physically challenged are not treated like humans. The India which is proud of the ancient civilisation, yet remains as one of the most uncivilised societies in the world. Those bitter truths dont create a nostalgic feeling but somewhere in my mind I felt completely lost in a sea of sadness , like the clown in the movie.
Here is the movie from youtube, but without english subtitles. Take your ride through the nostalgia.
Mela Malayalam movie Part 1