14. Another Mall Day

@Vyttila, Kerala, India.

The significance of being at Vyttila should be more about being in one of those malls of Cochin rather than being at the busiest junction in Kerala and being caught in a heavy traffic problem. This intersection which they call the Vyttila Junction has only got busier as time progressed and the new malls were located all around the area with the biggest one still coming up a few kilometres from there at Edappally. Lulu Shopping Mall might take away the traffic problem to the next busiest junction around and make it too busy for common man to go to Ernakulam or any areas of Kochi on that side. But that might save a little of Vyttila. But my theory was never to go to Vyttila during the peak time; never to be there especiallt in the evening when everything is usually so messed up. Even when on a motorbike, it has bothered me just as going to the city of Cochin; the buses might be crowded, but with the low floor buses being more and more frequent to Vyttila as well as to further Cochin, I would always take that risk rather than the bike which seems to be a risk or may be rather a future risk which might bring that doom which is inevitable.

Vyttila and it’s surrounding may be one of the most visited places by me in the last two years so; even more than the ancestral lands of Kothamangalam, the spiritual comfort of Vallarpadam, my gateway to the relatives’ places Muvattupuzha and the place of frequent visit that is Kuravilangad. The frequency only increased in the last one year as Oberon Mall ceased being the only mall around. Gold Souk Mall blessed Vyttila by being closer to it while Abad Nucleus Mall appeared on the other side of the Vyttila Junction. This made Oberon further away from Vyttila in status and this place now being surrounded by three of the biggest malls in the city, happens to be the centre of attraction for the youth. It could soon be termed the city of malls, but for now it is the region of three malls. The section from Oberon to Nucleus, with Gold Souk in the middle would be a regular area for youngsters; it is developing faster than the imaginations grow on itself. It is as if all the action has shifted from the city centre as well as the IT hub of Kakkanad; it has boosted Vyttila so much; it is as if malls are the most powerful weapons of development which decide where the city is.

Another thing I noticed is that Vyttila is surrounded by churches too; it is not the kind of place you want to spare for spirituality though; as it is crowded and fast; there is no real peace around there and to find a calm and quiet place, you will have to get into one of those multiplexes around and find an empty screen and then wait for the interval in the movie. May be it is going the way Carl Sandburg mentioned in his ‘Chicago’; but as Vyttila goes that way, it is also Kochi’s way. Kochi will never remain the same; it will keep changing as it is already now. As long as Vyttila is concerned, these malls are still on their growth stage and other than Oberon Mall, the others are still lacking those shops on most of the floors. When it changes, when everything is full, the situation is going to be heavy; the mall culture has slowly risen up from nowhere and with the support of the IT industry of Kakkanad and a new generation who would find malls the right option to spend time and money, there will be more people in this area than many other favourite areas of Cochin; the classic old areas will be less crowded, with only a few faithful ones staying there.

It was the day, the time for another trip to those malls; there was not much to do shopping for me, but those movies were to be watched in those multiplexes; as they would not come to the common single screen theatres. They are the English movies, the movies of Hollywood; they rarely come to the towns and their old theatres; they stay with the malls and their multiplexes which also come up with a more flexible schedule and their advertisement with movie time table in the news paper as well the internet. It is only their higher rates that keep the single screen theatres running; I always wondered what would happen if the rates were a little closer to each other. My journey to Oberon Mall on motorbike was affected by the rain as usual. The rain has a sixty five percent success rate in catching me on bike while going to Oberon, which is a First Class attempt by it. I really don’t appreciate this nonsense from rain, but unfortunately it is my fate and bad luck to get wet before I am in an AC theatre which would freeze me up. This unruly behaviour of rain also lead to too many tea drinking sessions.

Ususally, I never go to the malls the expected way; I go there through Kakkanad from the seaport-airport road or sometimes I take a turn at CUSAT or at the Edappally toll which would keep me away from the Edappally Junction traffic block. But it didn’t save me from the rain at all, as it kept following me all the time. After so much pain from rain, Oberon was reached and the bike was parked. There was the legend who lived in three districts of Kerala at the same a time; they called him RTK. We were going to watch a Hollywood movie; the attempt was for Cowboys & Aliens, the Daniel Craig movie with Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde. But being at Cinemax started being a pain soon. We were just seven people for the show and they needed eight to start it. The show was just cancelled without any warning and us waiting didn’t seem to have any meaning for them. Some of them were fighting over it, but we had to go look for the next option which certainly wasn’t the same place. The next choice would surely be Q Cinemas at Gold Souk Mall and as the rain went for a nap, we went to the nex big place. But it was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows which was to be running there next, but it didn’t really matter and the tickets were taken. With the desire for a movie increasing every second, it was nearly impossible to stop at that moment even if it was the wrong movie.

Not being a fan of the kid with glasses who looked too old to be a kid, I wasn’t excited about it, but the movie was still good; still got to say that the series was better when they were really cute kids. Actually Potter wasn’t enough and we decided to watch The Smurfs which was a hundred percent better movie, soon to be the best thing of the day. After that 3D experience, and after having Krushers at the KFC, we realised that Cowboys & Aliens was our mission and it is still the top priority; a game can be won only by achieving the primary objective and the secondary missions will give only the bonus points. So the tickets for Cowboys & Aliens was also taken and the movie was conquered even as it paled before The Smurfs. The hype was not justified, but still there was enough action and adventure. This procedure was to be repeated at the same location with The Final Destination 5 and Captain America, but never came a ‘three movie’ theatre day again which made that day legendary. The significance of that day is that it marked the beginning of the end of Cinemax Days for us. I had only watched ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’, ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ and ‘The Season of the Witch’ there before, while so many movies were watched in Oberon. From that day onwards, the movie watching procedure came to be shared between Oberon and Gold Souk with the latter getting more of it. This day, as well as KFC and cheaper tea also had quite big roles to play in this process.

Diving out —>

TeNy