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Monday, June 3, 2013

தூங்காதே தம்பி… Thoongathe ; Finnish hotel wants 'professional sleeper'

The Prisoner of Zenda is an adventure novel by Anthony Hope, published in 1894. The king of the fictional country of Ruritania is drugged on the eve of his coronation and thus unable to attend the ceremony. Political forces are such that in order for the king to retain his crown his coronation must go forward. An English gentleman on holiday who fortuitously resembles the monarch, is persuaded to act as his political decoy in an attempt to save the situation. ……………………………looks like a familiar story.

Ratnapuri is a small kingdom besieged by manifold troubles. The King’s only daughter Ratna (B. Saroja Devi) is kidnapped and the King dies without naming any successors. Marthandan (MGR), a member of the royal family is chosen by the majority of the imperial council, including the ministers and the commander-in-chief, to be the new ruler. However, the Rajaguru (P. S. Veerappa) has a different idea. Unknown to anyone, he has the princess Ratna in his custody in an island. Ratna grows up  completely unaware of her ancestry. Meanwhile, the Rajaguru plans to do get rid of Marthandan and put up his stooge Pingalan (M. N. Nambiar) as the King. He then plans to marry Ratna himself, get rid of Pingalan, and declare himself the ruler. ……………

That is the storyline of the famous MGR film “Nadodi Mannan” [literally – the vagabond King]  released in 1958. The film was re-released several times. It was most recently released in 2005 and in 2011 in a fully digitalised form and ran full houses in Tamil Nadu. It is stated that on the title, MGR is said to have confessed that if the movie profited, he would be a King (Mannan); if it flopped, he would be a homeless nomad (Nadodi). The movie was some years in the making. K. Ramnath was appointed to direct this movie, but upon his suddden demise in 1956, MGR took up the direction as well. According to some reports the completed movie ran for around 5 hours; in between, many Editors changed and finally  the film  ran more than 3.5 hours. Music Director N. S. Balakrishnan was appointed to compose music and made three songs. Then S. M. Subbaiah Naidu stepped in and completed the remaining songs and composed the background score as well.

This song of Pattukkottai KalyanaSundaram was a great hit and used to blare in all platforms.  The song titled “தூங்காதே தம்பி… தூங்காதே…” is primarily an advice of not to sleep at wanton places and to be alert.  It says, those who sleep mindlessly will earn the sobriquet of ‘lazy / idle persons’ and lists out what and all those who slept at the decisive hour missed in life….true words of advice indeed.

தூங்காதே தம்பி… தூங்காதே…நீயும் சோம்பேறி என்ற பெயர் வாங்காதே

நல்ல பொழுதையெல்லாம் தூங்கி கெடுத்தவர்கள்;
நாட்டை கெடுத்ததுடன் தானும் கெட்டார் !
சிலர் அல்லும் பகலும் தெரு கல்லாய் இருந்துவிட்டு
அதிர்ஷ்டம் இல்லையென்று அலட்டிக் கொண்டார். 
விழித்துக்கொண்டோர் எல்லாம் பிழைத்துக் கொண்டார்…
உன்போல் குறட்டைவிட்டோர் எல்லாம் கோட்டை விட்டார்

ஓர் படைதனில் தூங்கியவன் வெற்றி இழந்தான்
உயர்பள்ளியில் தூங்கியவன் கல்வி இழந்தான்
கடைதனில் தூங்கியவன் முதல் இழந்தான்
கொண்ட கடமையில் தூங்கியவன் புகழ் இழந்தான்

இன்னும் பொறுப்புள்ள மனிதரின் தூக்கத்தினால்
பல பொன்னான வேலையெல்லாம் தூங்குதப்பா

So when you understand the significance of staying alert and ‘not to fall asleep’ – read this newsitem that appeared in Daily Mail UK  on 28th Mar 2013. It is of an advertisement for a vacancy in a hotel in Helsinki which read :  ‘Wanted... professional sleeper’.  If you wonder whether anybody would select and pay for somebody to sleep at work……. Just read on…

At last! The perfect job for those who just want to get away from it all. A hotel in Finland is advertising for a 'professional sleeper' to spend 35 days testing out the beds and write all about it. Sounds easy enough? Well, there's a catch. You have to be able to speak, read and write fluently and in English and Finnish - and a few words of Russian are a bonus, too.

And expect stiff competition: so far more than 600 would-be professional guests have applied for the cushy post. In an effort to drum up publicity after being closed for lengthy renovations, Hotel Finn is advertising for one blogger to spend a night in each its 35 different rooms this summer. 'This person will share his thoughts, adventures and experiences of living in the best spot of summery Helsinki,' the job spec boasts. Situated on the top floors of a historic building in Helsinki, the Finnish capital, the hotel is just a short walk from the the city's central railway station and bus station, and well located for tourist attractions and parks, theatres and restaurants.

With tourist season prices ranging from £66 to £130 a night, whoever lands the plum job will save a packet while enjoying a lengthy summer break. With tourist season prices ranging from £66 to £130 a night, whoever lands the plum job will save a packet while enjoying a lengthy summer break

Home comforts: British applicants for the 'professional sleeper' role will be pleased to hear that free tea is always available in reception during opening hours. Describing itself as 'the cheapest and the best hotel in the cold and expensive capital of Finland', Hotel Finn prides itself on a 'youthful and regenerating' atmosphere. Walls are decorated with works from young and aspiring photographers - which are available for sale - while the literary minded can visit the hotel's own library to pick up a holiday read. And any British applicants for the 'professional sleeper' role will be pleased to hear that free tea is always available in reception during opening hours. Hotel manager Tio Tikka says he thought up the stunt to help promote the hotel after lengthy renovations.

Mr Tikka said  that they were looking for a 'dynamic person to write a quality blog' about their daily experiences at the basic hotel, which has no bar or restaurant. Unfortunately for most of us, they have set the bar pretty high for potential applicants. Fluent Finnish and English are essential, while Russian is a plus.The job opened May 17 with applications closing end of April, and so far more that 600 would-be hotel sleepers have applied.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

28th May 2013.

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