диета рисовая

Sharing files between gnu/linux and Windows using samba

Install Samba package

# apt-get install samba

Samba configuration file is /etc/samba/smb.conf

You can add directories for sharing at the end like this

comment = Debian Cache
read only = yes
locking = no
path = /mirrors/debian
guest ok = yes

If you want to be able to share directories from nautilus file manager install nautilus-share and add your user to sambashare group

# apt-get install nautilus-share
# gpasswd -a <user> sambashare

Log out and login back for group change to take effect.

For mounting a samba share you have to install cifs-utils

# apt-get install cifs-utils

To mount a samba share now run

# mount -t cifs -o guest //<server>/<share> /<mount point>
# mount -t cifs -o guest // /mnt

Setting up a local package repository with apt-move

apt-move can be used to create a repository layout from /var/cache/apt/archives (which contains all packages downloaded by apt).

1. Install apt-move:

# apt-get install apt-move

2. Setup apt-move:

# apt-move get

3. Create repository layout:

# apt-move move

4. Generate packages list:

# apt-move packages

5. Setup apache2:

apt-move will create repository in /mirrors/debian by default (this can be changed in /etc/apt-move.conf)

5.1 Install apache web server:

# apt-get install apache2

5.2 Create a virtual host:
copy ‘default” in /etc/apache2/sites-available to “repo”

# cd /etc/apache2/sites-available
# cp default repo

Edit repo and change DocumentRoot from /var/www to /mirrors/debian
Also change to

Enable the new site.

# a2ensite repo

# /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

This will give you a repository in your machine.

If you have more than one site in your server you can configure NameVirtualHost.

Add “NameVirtualHost *:80″ in /etc/apache2/ports.conf

and add ServerName for each virtual hosts in sites-available/<site>

If you just want to test your setup without a proper dns server you can edit /etc/hosts file to point your desired domains to repository’s ip address.

If you want to sign your repository follow these steps

1. Create a gpg key:

# gpg --gen-key

(choose RSA RSA, no expiration) or follow these more detailed steps

2: Sign the Release file (apt-move has an option to sign automatically, but it seems to be broken)

# gpg -o /mirrors/debian/dists/stable/Release.gpg -a -b -s /mirrors/debian/dists/stable/Release

3. Export your public key

# gpg --export --armour <key id or pattern> > repo.key.sc
# cp repo.key.asc /mirrors/debian

In client systems download the key with wget and run

# apt-key add repo.key.asc

Everyday rape

I took a while to mark a first reaction to the gang rape of 23 year old paramedical student in Delhi. I watched people screaming for death penalty and the sudden indignation and outrage people felt. First post I shared was Akshi Singh’s post in Sify titled “We are all part of the rape culture“. What amused me is how easily people jump up to taste blood of someone without realising their part in creating and sustaining the rape culture.

Everyday people are exploited, humiliated and violated and they had to wait till they saw the height of this rape culture to wake up. It would have been okay for many if it weren’t this brutal and right in the middle of the city. If you are outraged at least now of the injustice happening around us and want to see this culture end, I have a suggestion and that is not blood of these animals as sacrifice to quench the thirst of revenge, but it included every one, including you and me. Repeat after me.

If you are a male, “I will treat every women with respect and I will not let them be treated like an object or anything less than how I want to be treated”

If you are female, “I will not accept any one treating me anything less than equal and I will fight till every woman can live in respect”.

Take this pledge with me and take this to everyone you know. It is not an easy solution as it means we have to change our ways and not just scream for blood, but it is the only lasting solution I see.

Now this is not a short cut, but an intent of where we should go, ie, not a blood thirsty society but a civilized one.

Another interesting post series was by Vivek Kaul in First Post “Why women would continue to be raped in India” part 1 and part 2.


To write or to riot?

Sajan Venniyoor wrote in an email discussion list yesterday,

Times of India (21 Nov) lists the charges levelled by Palghar police against those who vandalized Dr. Dhada’s hospital:

IPC 143: Unlawful assembly – imprisonment up to six months, or fine, or both.
IPC 147: Rioting – imprisonment up to two years, or fine, or both.
IPC 336: Act endangering life or personal safety of others – imprisonment up to three months, or with fine up to Rs 250, or both.
IPC 427: Mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs 50 – imprisonment up to two years, or fine, or both.
IPC 451: House-trespass to commit any offence punishable with imprisonment – imprisonment for 2 years and fine.

66A of the IT Act (“causing annoyance”) could get us jailed up to three years with fine. Couldn’t we just assemble unlawfully, riot, break into people’s homes and endanger the life and personal safety of others? It seems so much safer.

I think it is a very important comparison on the quantum of punishment. It also reveals the fear of the people in power – what they fear the most. And it won’t be a surprise if most people would agree to it – we are an intolerant country and we are more worried about how other people say and live than our own situation. And this trend is only increasing. We need more efforts to fight intolerance and also teach people to value freedom over getting offended on their believes.

Another important thing for the netizens to do is reach out to the people who are not on the internet and teach them the virtues of it, tell them that they now have a voice that can reach anyone on the world with a fraction of the cost of any traditional media out there.

Some ideas: Help more people write blogs, teach them about tools of anonymity like tor, understand their fears – I think most of it is the fear of technology itself. We have to make posters, cartoons, videos and use any opportunity to debunk the myths of internet if we want to make a broad movement to protect the internet.

And here is the update about PIL in Madras High Court challenging 66A

Mr. Justice Basha told the petitioner’s counsel A. Rajini “You must remember that even you would not be able to invoke the provision in case you are genuinely aggrieved against some communication made by another individual,” the judge said before ordering notices.

I think this is the common response from anyone who is not using the internet already to speak up. How can we protect ourselves? This is a much tougher struggle to win, something we need a cultural campaign for.

There are many ways your can join the campaign today and make a difference.

One idea we are currently working on in the campaign is a survey on the Internet – how people use internet, how they perceive it, what are their fears etc

Share your thoughts and ideas here or on the campaign page.

Collecting people, some thoughts and ideas

I would like to share some ideas and thoughts about collecting people for social change based on my recent experiences in setting up a computing center in Pandav Nagar Pune. You can see details of each step here.

  1. Don’t restrict yourself to what you currently can. Aim bigger and then you’d see it natural to ask people for help because you can’t do it alone.
  2. Have a minimal backup plan which you can do if you don’t get much help. Things you cannot do should not stop you from doing things you can.
  3. These two may look conflicting ideas at first but they are not. You might already know about the high jump analogy people say – set your bars higher. Sometimes you won’t be able to cross it if its too high, but unless you don’t set it high, you’ll never reach new heights.

  4. Don’t be afraid of the challenges. There will be many, but if you don’t even try, you’ll never overcome those.
  5. When your actions affect others, be open to them. If you’re genuine they would understand.
  6. In this particular initiative there was always a risk that I won’t be able to find enough people to help me. So my backup plan was, I would teach alone if I don’t find people. I actually reached that stage once when no one was ready to commit after many talks. But I was pleasently surpriced and overjoyed when I saw a surge of interest from the Free Software community it Pune. It was really heart warming when you had a new person telling me they are interested every day for almost 2 weeks! We have about 14 people in the team and last Saturday 7 of us went to Hutatma Rajaguru school for our first class and installation session.

  7. You have to ask for help. If you don’t ask people won’t know they can help. Many of the times if you can ask for a specific help, it more likely that it would be done. Make it easier for people to understand and break down the big tasks.
  8. So when I was talking about a computing center people have many things in their minds and they may not understand what it is. But when I broke it down to “GNU/Linux installation in a school”, many people felt they could do it and said they want to help.

I will keep updating this blog as I learn more or get more ideas. Share your thoughts in comments. I would like to hear what you think and your experiences doing similar activities.

Defend your rights NOW!

Aseem Trivedi is in jail fighting for our rights. It is now our responsibility to stand up for him and join this fight to defend our freedoms. He is being silneced because he spoke against the government for the people, for you and me. Our people have fought hard for years to secure our freedoms from British. Now the same freedoms are being taken away from us, by a few of our own people in power. It is now on us how we respond to this. Are you ready to join this fight to protect our freedoms?

I was fortunate to be with him when he was arrested and I met him when he was in police custody. I’m moved by his courage and don’t want to let his personal sacrifice for us, for you and me, to go waste. I need your help, comment here if you can help out any way. Its even better if you organize yourself. I’m sharing Aseem’s note here, which I was fortunate to have personally witnessed. His friend Alok Dixit, Mayank Gandhi from IAC and his lawyer Vijay Hiremat were also present.

This is the letter written by Aseem when he was in the police lock-up at Bandra Police Station in Mumbai.

साथियो, मैं इस देश का एक सच्‍चा नागरिक हूं। कोई देशद्रोही नहीं हूं।

साथियो, अगर सच बोलना देशद्रोह है तो मैं देशद्रोही हूं। हां, मैं देशद्रोही हूं अगर देशप्रेम और देशद्रोह की परिभाषाएं बदल चुकी हैं। मैं भी देशद्रोही हूं अगर गांधी, भगत सिंह और आजाद देशद्रोही थे। दोस्‍तो, मेरा मकसद देश का एक छोटा बच्‍चा भी समझ सकता है। मैं अपने देश के नागरिकों और संविधान के अपमान का विरोध करता हूं और अपने कार्टूनों के माध्‍यम से मैं देश के प्रतीकों और संविधान के अपमान का विरोध करता आया हूं। दोस्‍तो, कला और साहित्‍य समाज का दर्पण है और मैंने अपने कार्टून्‍स में वही दिखाया है, जो अपने चारों ओर देखा है।

दोस्‍तो, भारत माता कोई और नहीं बल्कि हम और आप जैसे भारत के 125 करोड़ नागरिक ही हैं। और हमारा अपमान भारत मां का अपमान है।

मेरी पूर्ण आस्‍था भारतीय संविधान और संविधान निर्माता डॉ अंबेडकर के साथ है। इसलिए संविधान का अपमान होता देख मुझे कष्‍ट होता है। और मैं अपने कार्टून्‍स के जरिये इसे रोकना चाहता हूं।

मैं गांधी के रास्‍ते पर चल रहा हूं और स्‍वयं को कष्‍ट देकर देश की सेवा करना चाहता हूं। मेरे जेल में होने से परेशान न हों। अन्‍ना जी कहते हैं कि देश के लिए जेल जाना तो हमारा भूषण है। इसलिए मैं जमानत नहीं मांग रहा। क्‍योंकि मैंने जो किया, उस पर मुझे गर्व है और मैं बार-बार करूंगा। मैं कोई अपराधी नहीं हूं कि पैसे जमा कर के जमानत लूं। जब तक देशद्रोह जैसा तानाशाही और ब्रिटिश राज का ये कानून नहीं हटाया जाएगा, मैं जेल में रह कर ही 124 (A) और सेंसरशिप के खिलाफ लड़ाई लड़ता रहूंगा।

असीम त्रिवेदी
बांद्रा पुलिस लॉक अप, 2:10 PM, 10.09.2012

This is the text of a statement issued by ASEEM TRIVEDI from inside a jail in Mumbai. Trivedi has been remanded to judicial custody till 24 September for displaying and publishing cartoons that are allegedly seditious, insult national honour and, under the IT Act, are “grossly offensive” and of “menacing character”.

Translation by Shivam Vij


I am a faithful citizen of this country, not someone who has committed sedition.

If speaking the truth is sedition, then I have indeed committed sedition. If raising one’s voice against injustice is sedition, then I have committed sedition. If nationalism and the definition of nationalism have changed, then you could say I have committed sedition. If Gandhi, Bhagat Singh and Azad were seditious so am I.

Even a small child of this country can understand my motive. I oppose the insulting of the people and the Constitution of India. I have been opposing the insulting of the people and the Constitution of India through my cartoons.

Art and literature are a mirror to society. I have only depicted in my cartoons what I have seen all around me. Mother India is nobody but 1.25 billion citizens of India, people like you and me. When we the people are insulted, India is insulted.

I have nothing but respect for the Constitution of India and its key drafter, Dr Ambedkar. I am pained when I see the Constitution insulted. Through my cartoons I seek to prevent exactly such affront.

I am walking in the footsteps of Gandhi and I want to serve the nation through my own suffering. Do not be disturbed by my going to jail. Anna Hazare ji says that going to jail for the country is like wearing a jewel. That is why I am not asking for bail. I am proud of what I have done. I will say this again and again. I am not a criminal that I will deposit some money to get bail. Until such time as sedition, an authoritarian British Raj law, is not repealed, I shall remain in jail. I will fight against Indian Penal Code Section 124A (sedition) and against censorship from within jail.


Aseem Trivedi
Bandra Police Lock-up,
10 September 2012, 2:12 PM

GNUs found grazing at Palakkad Fort

I was supposed to be taking shell scripting session yesterday, but we couldn’t get a hall arranged and we had to cancel it. So I tought of meeting some students if they were interested. Three students from NSS Palakkad – Ashik, Manoosh and Lal Krishna, turned up 4 O’clock as announced. I could reach only at 4.30. We sat down inside Fort above the temple. We started discussing about problems they faced with Free Software. Ashik mentioned about mp3 not working with totem player on Debian Squeeze and codec install option not popping up. I’m not sure what is missing here. As per my information mp3 coded should be installed by default and totem should ask for codec installation. I told him to try wheezy, anyway they are computer science students and they should be the ones fixing these issues.

Ashik asked the often asked question of being rewarded for one’s hard work and being able to support oneself by selling software. I compared it to knowledge and asked them if Newton was asking money for using his third law (every action has an equal and opposite reaction) when launching rockets? Another example I gave was example of custom software, where some one will have to maintain it (like software for a bank). Free Software would not take away jobs in service industry.

Then they said to contribute to Free Software one should have another job. I asked them why someone go to a lawyer when they can argue their case themselves? They said its for expertise. I told them its the same way Free Software service work. Another example was how teachers help when students can read the text book themselves.

Then I asked them what do they know about Free Software. They had some confusion about how Open Source is different from Free Software. I gave up insisting people use Free Software instead of Open Source sometime back itself. I tell them to understand the difference and choose what they feel comfortable associating themselves with. I also told them to look online for the difference and understand it. Let’s see if they come back with more questions.

At 6 they were closing the inside gate to the Fort. The security guy lost a bit of cool and asked us what did we think when he was visling whether he was calling us for food :) We clearly were at fault as we knew they would close at 6, so I didn’t argue and smiled at his words.

Adhil joined us by then and we continued our discussion about difference between Open Source and Free Software. Some one told them Open Source means some part is hidden and Free Software means everything is free!

For explaining the difference I had to ask them about copyrights. We discussed origin of copyrights and how it is different from a patent. Copyright prohibits copying same code (it doesn’t apply when same thing is created independantly) where as patents prohibit implementing same ideas by different people without license from patent holder.

Then we discussed what licenses are and compared it with a driving license. There are certain conditions for a driving license like you have to follow traffic rules. I told them every license has conditions attached to it. Free Software Foundation and Open Source Initiative both maintain a list of licenses which match their definitions of Free Software and Open Source. Except for one rarely used license every other license on both lists match and practically all Open Source Software are also Free Software. The difference is in their philosohies. When people say Open Source they are interested in the practical aspects only and they don’t want to talk about Freedom.

We also discussed about a program on Septermber 29th in memory of first anniversery of losing our dear friend Jinesh to Lukemia. We will publish a book of his writings and also organize an SMC get together. I also told them we would like the new folks to take initiative and conduct this program. They have offered to take session on introducing Free Software and Malayalam computing. They have also offered to promote this event in their college. I have suggested them to use slidify and latex/beamer to make their presentations.

Ashik and Adhil opened their fast and we joined them for lime juice and samosa. We ended the meeting there. Hoping to see more involvement from them. I hope they will contact me when they get stuck somewhere.

Update 1: Added link to Lal Krishna’s blog.

Update 2: Lal Krishna’s post on the meeting

Update 3: Ashik’s post on the meeting

An idea for revolution

I wrote this as I was traveling to MES Kuttippuram, Kerala for Debian Utsavam. I read it out before I strted my session.

“I start with an idea today. I will tell you and you tell me what do you think about it.

I would like all of you to write about this two day event – how did you hear about it, what was good, what was bad, how to mke it better next time, what you learned, how you are going to use what you learned, how you are going to teach others…

If you have a blog, post about it, if you wish to start a blog, start now, ask people who already post about how it is. Or if you don’t want a blog, just write an email to any mailing list, smc, debian, mes fsug, or even add it directly in the wiki, read what others have written and comment on it, add all links to wiki, create a press release as a team. These are possible, it all depends on our will, today lets make a small history make this two days memorable for ever, not just for you, but a wonder and inspiration for so many. It is possible, and much more is possible, challenge ourselves not limit. I would be happy if some of you start maintaining packages, very happy if all of you do it, I would happy if you teach other to package and teach them to teach others :) this is how we write history, this is what revolution is, when people realize how much they are capable of and start acting like they believe in themselves and shed all their fears, just see how Tahrir Square changed history or Egypt. You believe you are part of something great and you belive you are making a difference and you tell others what you believe and what you do and you will see the difference. And we achieve something it will energize us to do even more. You might know the story of birds trapped in a net, there is a song in Vietnam Colony how they escape. This is our inspiration to change things together and build a new world based on collaboration. You can decide it today.”  

Debian Utsavam at MES Kuttippuram, Kerala


I was thinking about another Kerala trip as my friend and NIT Calicut classmate Pramod invited me for his marriage on 1st May. Since it is a long trip of more than 24 hours from Pune to Kerala by bus, I thought I should plan some Free Software talk so that I have more motivation for such a hard trip. I was very happy to see great enthusiasm for gnome release party on my last visit.

debian folks

Group Photo of Debian Utsavam participants

I asked a few people if it would be possible to organize something on such a short notice. I was happy to get a positive response and we fixed the event for 28th and 29th at MES college of Engineering, Kuttippuram. But I can reach there only on Sunday if I leave Pune on Friday and take one day transit in Bangalore (I take this option because I get to meet my friends during day and I have to travel only at night). I asked around if someone can volunteer to take some basics session on Saturday so that particiants will be ready for the packaging session on the next day.

Nakul readily volunteered to take command line and shell scripting sessions. Since Ershad was coming, he agreed to take Free Software introduction. I have to mention his great grassroots Free Software promotion work here. Though he doesn’t post much about it on smc or plus lists I came to know about it from people who attended the sessions. (A request to Ershad to blog and talk about it on mailing lists). Since Labeeb was also there in Kerala he agreed to introduce Debian.

Haris volunteered to take a session on building from source. He is very enthusiastic and he writes beautiful blogs. Read his account of the two days here.

Since I was not present on day 1 you can read about it from Haris’ blog. Raju sir told me I could stay with him and I went to his place directly on Sunday morning. I reached Mannuthi at 3.45 am and he picked me up. I slept a bit and after breakfast we came to MES. One thing I really liked there was the fluroscent moon and star (I guess there were planets too) stickers on the wall! You feel like you are watching the sky at night!

We reached MES by 10.20 and they had already started discussing about personal privacy and tracking on the internet. I started with reading a note I wrote the previous night in the bus.

Read the full note here.

I asked them about what they learned on the previous day and I asked them a few questions like why we need to package software, who creates packages etc. I started discussing basic ideas around a package’s lifecycle from upstream tarball to a stable release. A few points I covered include “how and when a package first enters debian. Concepts of RFP, package maintainer, team maintained packages etc were covered.”


There are many Free Software projects out there and role of a distribution like Debian is to provide a collection of these software in an easy to distribute and manage format. Distributions like debian make sure the software is in good condition and pass it through thorough testing before it is given out as a supported software. Since there are many distributions out there with different policies and packaging formats (deb, rpm, ebuilds etc). Also each of this distributions may be including different versions of its dependencies. So people specialising in packaging makes the job of upstream developers easier by making an easy to install version of the software available. Distributions include many Free Software but every day more Free Software is released. So who creates these debian packages? How does a person ready to create a package know there is a new software? What do one do when a software they need is not available as a package? How can one install such a software if it is not packaged?

Package life cycle in Debian

Life cycle of a Software in Debian

Most Free Software projects release their work as a tarballs – a compressed file of all the source code with instructions to compile them. Many times people read about new software from news sites and some of them savvy enough start building it from source. If you are already familiar with development tools it may not be difficult to do. Some of those users may create a debian package. Sometimes people just request a software to be packaged. It is done by submitting a wishlist bug against ‘wnpp’ pseudo package. wnpp stands for Work Needing and Prosective Packages. Such requests for packages are commonly referred as RFPs. So there are two ways a package enters debian.

1. Some one who know about debian packaging creates a debian package from a source tarball provided by upstream developers.

2. Someone files an RFP in debian bug tracking system and people come to know about it via wnpp and then creates a package.

For small packages a single person may create a debian package alone and maintains it by providing newer packages when some bug is fixed or a new version is released. Sometimes there are many applications created by one project (eg GNOME, KDE) or packages are similar (for example packages written in one particular language like perl, python, ruby) or they are used in one particular area (for example software useful for medical doctors or useful in schools), in these situations a team maintains these packages.

I really like this team maintenance idea because you can help updating any package when you have time and other team members take care of it when you are busy. With teams distributed around the world most of the time there is someone available usually to take care of the packages. But more hands to help is always welcomed by the teams as it helps spread the load to more people and reduces work for each person.

“when does a package move to testing. Package priority and condition of release critical bugs were explained.”

All packages are normally uploaded to unstable branch. When a package is uploaded, their maintainer tells how important this upload is. For normal uploads a priority of ‘low’ is set and for critical fixes ‘medium’ and for security fixes ‘high’ priorities are used. Packages are kept for review in unstable branch for 10 days for low priority packages, 5 days for medium priority packages and 2 days for high priority packages.

Many people including this author use unstable distribution as their main operating system every day. When they encounter bugs they report them. I have to clarify what unstable means here, it means always changing and each software itself is stable (either the upstream developers or debian developers decide it is stable enough for every day use). For software which not stable for every day use experimental branch is used.

After 10, 5 or 2 days depending on package’s priority their status is checked (this is done by a software called britney) to see if they can be moved to testing branch. First condition it checks is if there is any release critical bug reported against this package. Second condition is its dependencies are already in testing. If both these conditions are met it will be moved to testing. So new packages keep coming to unstable and testing all the time except when testing is frozen for next release. So we can call both unstable and testing branches as rolling releases.

Every time a stable version is released goals for next stable release is set by the project after discussions with different teams. Each team may want a particular version of their software in the next release or project as a whole may decide on a new feature. These release goals are collected by release team and published early in the release cycle. When testing is very close to achieving these release goals release team declares testing is frozen.

At this point britney keeps all packages in unstable and only bug fixes are allowed into testing. Sometimes release team allows a few exceptions, but usually freeze time is spent on fixing bugs by all developers. When all release critical bugs are fixed in testing a copy of testing is released as stable. At this time normal movement of packages from unstable to testing is resumed and preparation for next stable release starts. Stable release is officially supported by the project and recieves security updates only, no new versions are uploaded into stable.

“when does it goes to stable. I told them about release goals and freeze. I told them we release when we are ready and that means zero release critical bugs.”

This time I did not take my favorite package lekhonee-gnome and instead I chose to introduce gem2deb tool. We took mixlib-log gem and easily created a deb file with just one command gem2deb mixlib-log. But there was a catch, they were running squeeze and gem2deb was not present in the normal repositories.

I just told them to install gem2deb, some people tried to install it from sid repo but failed matching correct dependencies (most of systems had a messed up sources.list file, presumably from yesterday’s apt session). Some figured they can install it from source and they downloaded gem2deb tarball from github and followed instructions in README file to build it. First application of what they learned yesterday. And dpkg-buildpackage -us -uc command given there came in very handy when they had to rebuild mixlib-log package.

Every one created a deb package with one easy command ‘gem2deb mixlib-log’. On some systems proxy was not set correctly so gem2deb could not download the gem file using ‘gem fetch mixlib-log’. So gem file was downloaded from rubygems.org and them gem2deb was run against this file.

Every one used lintian to check what is missing in packaging as per policy and they used help of New Maintainer’s Guide to fix those errors and warnings.

[TODO] chosing a new gem file to package or update to gem2deb based packaging.

(Posting it as incomplete, I may add more points and few more details later)


  1. Wiki page of the event
  2. Photos
  3. Debian Handbook – a complete book on Debian


30/04/2012: First draft, outline

01/05/2012: Expanded on debian development stages

02/05/2012: added link to Haris’ blog, editing changes, splitted big paragraphs to small paragraphs.

03/05/2012: Link to the note I wrote added.

10/05/2012: Diagram from Debian Handbook describing the release process added.

PS: I think, I better make a book out of it because its going to be a big post otherwise :)

Note: I was just trying to dump my thoughts as I wrote this and I was in a hurry on the way to a friend’s wedding, plus it was typed in my almost-dead ‘first android phone’ my phone. So excuse if you see anything not in place. Thanks to Shirish for some corrections.

Little bit playful!

Rishma Damodar

Hearing about the life of Kani, daughter of social activist Maithreyan and Dr AK Jayashri is wonderful…

Kani Kusruthi‘I call my dad Maithreyan only. And my mother Jayashrichechi (chechi is elder sister in Malayalam). They are not legally married. Rather, I call Jayashri chechi’s father and mother as dad and mom. I lived with them till I was 15. In a very conservative atmosphere. Maithrayen and chechi lived two houses far.” Kani remembers it with a smile in her small house.

This daughter is also in a different path as her parents. Started acting in plays since 15. Kani acted in movies when she felt it was not enough to live.

”There is only one thing Maithreyan and Chechi told me, don’t respond if you are asked about caste or religion. None of the school certificates have my caste or religion.”

Your father and mother seems different?…

Certainly. They have given me all the freedoms. In our country when a girl has to ask so many people for permissions even when choosing a frock. I’m not saying that is bad. But, there won’t be a place for that girls wishes.

But, it is not like that in my case. Even if I feel like smoking a cigarette, I don’t have to ask anyone. That doesn’t mean I believe smoking cigarette is a bad thing. But even that wishes I don’t have to let go.

Maithreyan and Chechi will tell about its bad effects. but, they never push their decisions on me. I’m not saying there is no difference of opinions. We criticize each other and get angry. But, only for a small time. If I feel like doing something, they only say ‘do it if you like’. But, suppose I do something on my own. If there is a problem in that, they won’t move aside saying, ‘you decided it, you deal with it’. They will be with me.

Are you also opposed to marriage like them?

I have not decided anything now. My dad and mom won’t say ‘you are this old, why don’t you get married’. They will say live with anyone you like. It is my choice.

How did you get into acting in plays?

I used to participate in Sanskrit festival in school. I used to act Kavalam Narayanappaniker’s plays.

Even before that, feminist movement in Thiruvananthapuram ‘Sakhi’ organized many street plays. When mom and dad goes for that, I used to go with them. I was studying in 5th then. I did not have any reluctance to act like this, then.

I learned about requirement of a girl actor in ‘Abhinaya’ theater research center of Thiruvananthapuram when I was in 10th.

By then I had a feeling that play is good. Then, as I grew up, I became very body conscious. I was not in a state to decide anything. After seeing my state, Jayashri Chechi said, ‘you just go and check there. Don’t act if you don’t like. I started liking plays when I reached ‘Abhinaya’. I thought I can make a it my profession.

At last, I went to study in Thrissur school of drama. I acted in one or two plays. it was then that play director Abhilash Pillai came to take ‘Khasakinte Ithihasam’ (History of Khasak). He told me about ‘International school of Jacques Lecoq‘. So I joined a one year course.

Kani Kusruthi with familyI learned more about acting when I went to France. Perspective about life also changed a lot. I only wanted everyone to talk good about me. I even moved aside even small things I wanted to do. But life in France changed all that.

Here we do even things we like secretly saying it is against culture. A small example. I go to a public space. Boys can drink there openly. But if any girls drink at all? It will be a big problem. Earlier I used to give up even if I wished to do it.

But, after that I occasionally drank as part of socializing. But, I don’t drink now. I don’t like its taste, that’s the reason. I don’t think there is anything bad in drinking.

In short you became a rebel after coming back from France?

I don’t think living as one wish is rebelling.

There was a letter from Maithreyan, recently. It read like this, ‘you also have a right to smoke and drink like anyone. Smoking cigarette is comparatively bad. Because, it affects others too. There is nothing wrong in drinking socially. But please don’t drink like it is bad in secret.

I don’t compromise on things I like. I am careful to create a space for that always. Suppose when I travel at night and someone try to grab me. I will try not to provoke him by saying ‘I don’t like anyone touching me’. There were many experiences like that. When traveling at night, one or two men come to me and ask ‘where are you going this night?’. I say something like ‘Aiyyo, sorry brother, I came here by mistake’ and leave.

When you decided to try a hand at movies?

When I was back from France, Shankar Ramakrishnan asked me to act in Island Express in ‘Kerala Cafe’. After that I did ‘Cocktail’. It was the role of a prostitute. Then, Naxal girl in ‘Shikar’ (Prey), then small roles in ‘Karmayogi’ and ‘Urumi’.

Do anyone come with you in film-play sites?

I go alone wherever it is. I didn’t feel girls are not safe be it in play or films. So, if someone likes me physically. When I say I’m not interested, I have seen only people who say ‘ok’ and leave, in both fields. Nobody behaved badly with me.

Name also seems different like the person?

Maithreyan and Chechi named me Kani. When I was enrolled in school, Principal asked, ‘What is her initials?’, so Chechi added an initial just like that, ‘Kani K’. When I reached 10th, teacher asked me, ‘I need expansion of your name.’ When I came home and narrated this, Maithreyan and Chechi told me ‘you pick anything you like.’ So I chose ‘Kani Kusruthi’. (Kusruthi means playful in Malayalam). My passport and all has that name.

Future endeavors?

There is a famous theatre group. Footsbarn. I’m with footsbarn for 2 years. Go inside and outside India with play acting. That is my plan.

Originally appeared in Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi