From Russia, with love
Gowriamma had some questions to ask about present-day Russia.
THEY DON'T know Malayalam and she understands no Russian. They are ballet dancers, while she had done her tightrope-walking in politics. When she began her political career, they weren't even born.
But when Tatyana Popov and Nadia Valieva presented bouquets of flowers to veteran politician, K. R. Gowriamma, and the `mother of Malayalam filmdom, Aranmula Ponnamma, on Women's Day today, all barriers of language and age were broken.
Without any fanfare, it was the coming together of women of different generations, the present honouring the past.
The event was arranged by the Russian Cultural Centre. The idea was to depart from the usual schedule of seminars and discussions that mark such days and to do something that was simple, yet meaningful.
The two Russian girls were coming to town and it was Women's Day. The centre officials did the rest. In fact, Gowriamma had no idea what the event was going to be. She was under the impression that there was going to be a dance performance by the Russian girls.
Seeing the duo set Gowriamma off on a trip down memory lane. She said she had never gone to the erstwhile USSR even though she loved and admired Stalin a lot. During the ceremony, she turned to the girls and told them that the erstwhile Soviet Union had been a friend of India's and had helped India like no other nation had. Next, she wanted to know whether old people were still respected in Russia as they were in former times.
The barriers of language were broken.
Aranmula Ponnamma too gave the small audience, in capsule form, her film career. Though the girls could follow almost nothing of what was being spoken, they later said they could pick out one or two words. This was because both of them are studying Bharatanatyam at Kalakshetra at Chennai. They can pick up Tamil `Koncham Koncham' and Malayalam even less `Koncham'.
From the deference shown by the centre director, Ratheesh Nair, and those gathered to both Gowriamma and Aranmula Ponnamma, the girls could make out that they were two important people who must have done something good and great in life. Much as they would have loved to say `Swesmim Martoom' (Happy Women's Day') to the two guests, they couldn't summon up the courage to do so.
While Nadia- who is from the Kazan province of Russia- is in India for the first time, Tatyana-who is from Kazhakstan- has been to Thrissur and Kochi before. Nadia says she has fallen in love with India and adds that she would love to remain here for the rest of her life.
By G. Mahadevan
Photos: S. Gopakumar
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