Thursday, November 29, 2012

Night to remember

First Thanksgiving in US. Everyone were going crazy a week before the day over what to shop, when and where and which is the best option to buy - online or in store. Every detail was discussed and dissected and plans were framed like military attack operation. Teams were formed and stores were assigned to each of them. Everyone were asked to be on touch over phone and any surprise sudden deals were to be announced immediately. All credit cards were fully recharged and were prepared for a good night full of bashing. The day finally came and the whole day was spent lazing around waiting for the sun to set. It was the proverbial calm before storm. As the clock crept towards 6 PM everyone started pouring out of their houses onto their cars and within the next half hour the entire complex was empty. And even that turned out to be late. For shops that were set to open at midnight, the parking lots were already full by 7PM. Electronic appliances stores had queues stretching for miles. As usual like any person from India we were "marveling" at the discipline with which they were standing in queue, despite the chill weather. As the clock crept towards midnight the people in queue were becoming restless. Suddenly there was a shriek and all hell broke loose. Everyone were rushing towards the boxes under wraps and it was dog fight every where. Seems the best deals were restricted to only those pieces under the wraps and it was limited in numbers. It was creepy and funny at the same time. The games CD's and the play stations and Xboxes were the most sought after and were sold out within minutes. We started around 7PM and were Mall hopping till around 5AM in the morning. It was the sheer excitement and the thrill of seeing so much crowd going crazy over the deals, that kept us on feet. Even the food courts were full at so early in the morning. We sleep walked towards our vehicles and started back home. No wonder the theme for the day was "Shop till you drop". We were already dead tired and eyelids were growing in weight with each passing second.

Everyone were happily discussing the things they had bought and were wondering over the amount saved happily forgetting the amount spent!! Me and two more people started early as we were done with our shopping. There is a peculiar thing about the roads here. Absolutely no street lights. Whatever lights one could make use of would be only from the passing cars. We were cribbing about the very same thing when all of a sudden my friend spotted a deer. It was as huge as a cow. He slowed the car thinking that the deer would swerve away. But the opposite happened. For some strange reason the deer started rushing towards our car and before he could apply brakes it got banged and like movie hero who skids on bike it went screeching on the road. We didnt realise the impact of the hit and thought it might still have survived the hit and might walk away. But suddenly my friend noticed the bulge on the bonnet and wanted to check the damage. We pulled the car over to the right and went out. The car that was following us pulled ahead of us and the couple who were driving the car came out to check on us. When we inspected the car on the light then only we realised the impact of the hit. The entire front portion wore a crumpled look and it looked as if we had drove through a brick wall. The couple who had witnessed the accident thought we were injured and  were rushing to us. When they realised we were all safe, they were surprised and relieved. Surprised for the fact that, usually the deer hits of such impacts are fatal to both the parties it seems. The accident still hadnt fully sunk in. We saw the deer raise its head and all of a sudden a tractor trailer came rushing and it ran over the deer. The driver hardly seemed to notice it. Soon there was a motorcade of vehicles each either hitting and rolling over the now very dead deer or swerving with barely any control missing it. Each time there was a crunching sound we were close to throwing up. The legs were shaking so much and it was not just due to the bone chilling cold weather. The couple helped us to give details to the 911 people and my friend called the insurance people. Unlike what they show in movies it took a full 40 minutes for the police to come and they towed away the vehicle. By this time, the rest of our group also joined us and it took a further hour to get everything sorted out. While the police and the couple were cool about the entire incident and even joked that we can take the deer home and cook it, rest of us were shivering.

Whenever i used to read incidents of road accidents of students i used to think of brash kids unable to take control of their new found freedom. But after driving here only i realise how different it is. Night time driving is something that is unavoidable here and these kind of incidents/accidents are almost common place it seems. When i googled for insurance claims for deer hit cases, then only realised how lucky we were to survive the hit. In most of the cases, the deer gets smashed on the windscreen due to the high speed impact and in majority of the cases the passengers had suffered serious injuries and in some cases fatal. Every time i think about the incident i could hear the cracking sounds and screeching vehicles trying to avoid the deer. Badly shaken, yet it was an unforgettable learning experience. It taught us what we need to do in such situations and touch wood, there shouldnt be another incident like this to put our new found knowledge to use!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hyperbola Gils :)

In my previous post, while mentioning about the quirks of Monk and how they make up majority of the episodes was wondering is it really possible to be so...hmm...confirming. Ipdilaam kooda yaarachum irupaangalanu yosichapo it reminded me of some quirks of my own :)

School padikarapolaam if a paper...any paper(!!) happens to touch my leg, udanay thottu kannula othindruven :D My sister used to be a playful (read normal) soul and will step on anything despite my mom's warning that stepping on school bag means no padippu yerings in ur mandai. I took those warnings literally :) and till date none of my bags go anywhere near the toes :D aana padippu thaan yerina maathiri therila :D During school days, I used to wear my right socks and shoe first. Thappi thavari left socks potukittenna adutha arai mani neram kaalula etho weight katti vitta mathiri oru feeling irukkum. Will forcefully try to divert my mind into something else and worst case, when possible, will wear the shoe again. And notebooksla centerla thaan label oattanum. Cornerla oattina antha subject kashtama irukumnu oru "abaaara" nambikkai. All notebooks should be covered with golden brown color wrapper sheets. Athu semma thicka irukkum and in entire class mine would be the only one in that color wrapper. Oru mathiri orangish colorla, almost paperlike feeling wrapper, was the common one then and athu poattalum subject saria padikka varaathunu adutha "abaara" nambikkai. Ella bookslayum first pagela, exact middlela oru pullyaar suzhi kandipaaga irukkum :D and will always right my name with initials in front followed. Once when i saw my friend writing his name first followed by initials, it took me a while to digest that people can write in that format!!!
Ethaachum chapter padichitenna antha page would be marked with dog ears :) the more the folds more happy i would be that i know the contents of that page. Pinnadi intha pazhakkam apdiye ulta aaidichi. Ippolaam novels padikarachay, i hardly fold the pages. Either i would finish them in one sitting or would exactly remember where i left. Keeping a book in exactly the same condition as i got it is the latest fetish :D

Athey mathiri if something touches my hand or leg, like a screen cloth or paper floating on air, it has to touch both the limbs. Dont ask me why..i've no reason :D And if i take anything from a shelf or draw, i will keep it back each time even if i have to take it out a hundred times. If its from the draw, it HAS to go back to the draw. If i dont keep it back, avlo thaan. Once i took out scissors to cut a cover and pesikittay didnt notice where i kept it. When i needed it again it was so frustrating to note that it was not in its usual place. Ithula enna matterngareengala..well, to avoid a repeat of the situation i bought half a dozen scissors. Now i've so many that i've simply lost track of the number of scissors in our room :) Same goes for pen. I hate to borrow from people simply for the reason that if i ask and don't get it will feel very bad. Ithukaagavay will have a dozen of them in my bag. Athula evlo ezhuthumnulaam theriaathu..for i hardly write nowadays..but they should be there :) Ippo yosichi paatha ithelaam naama thaan pannomaanu nambavay mudia maatenguthu :D

ok...kathai mudikara timelayaachum title pathi solanumla. Mathematically speaking, one of the constraints for a hyperbola is that its eccentricity should be greater than 1 (less than 1 parabola and exactly 1 ellipse nenakren...not sure). Ennoda list of eccentricities kandipa greater than 1 thaana :D athaan antha title..hehehe :D

Hey..y dont you folks list down your quirks :D may the quirkiest win :D

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Monk - America's most favourite detective

Adrian Monk - America's answer to Sherlock Holmes. And my latest addi(c)tion to tv series.

Its a detective series, where the lead character is the most eccentric of all detectives you would've ever seen. He is like "Thenali" Kamal with 312 phobias (as of season 6 episode 3) and is quirky at his wonderful best. An ex-cop, who lost his wife to a car bomb and part of his sanity, blessed with photographic memory and over the top analytical mind, the series revlove around not just how he solves each case but how he over comes each of his fear in the process. The way in which the stories are structured, in most of the cases, the "who" and in some cases the "why" also will be known before hand. Its always the "how" which would be the best part and would never be easily guessable. Well, thats the essence of a good mystery right. Monk episodes are testimony to it.

The best part about the series is the subtle humour in each of the episodes. Kudos to the story writing department for their amazing imagination in figuring out one perfect murder after another for around 125 plus episodes. In a running span of 40 odd minutes, they have to throw in one perfect, or near perfect to be precise, murder mystery mostly associated with Monk's quirks and humour thrown in at the same time, is like juggling six balls while cycling on one wheel on a tight rope!! But they almost manage to pull it off with every single episode. There will be emotions, humour, thrill, mystery and even the irritating fears of Monk grows on you after a while. At times, feels like slapping him into submission, but, well, this is an American series right and people are "sensitive" !! Konjam overaavay sensitivea irupaangalonu thonum at times. Monk's annoyingly perfect nature like keeping things straight, always rounding things, making food with square edges, touching every standing pole near him, fear of getting infected with germs the list goes on and on and requires immense patience if you are really living with a person with such kinds of eccentric behaviour. His assistants,Sharona - in first few seasons and Natalie - for majority of the 8 seasons, avanga rendu perukum kovil katti kumbidanum, if they are that much patient in real life!! Especially Natalie, she suffers so much in silence but always is shown as an amazingly understanding character. Avlo porumailaam nejamavay irukuma!!! And she is so cute with a beautiful smile to top it.

Wherever Monk goes, murders will follow. And one episode is based on his class reunion, is my favorite one of the lot. More than the murder mystery, its one episode where i felt really sad for that character. He revisits his college mates only to find that no one remembers him. He marries his college mate, the only girl ever to have shown true interest in him, who gets killed in the car bomb. He always mentions her in almost all the episodes but rarely she makes a screen appearance. While, everyone in the college remembers her, Monk is hardly recognised. Infact they remember him as captain cool for his fetish to clean the canteen refrigerator. That one episode showed how sad it would've been to grow up with so many phobias and the reason why Monk is adamantly addicted to his phobias. For they were his "friends" growing up and had kept him away from general public. It was a heartwarming episode and made me realise my case is no less different from Monk, if i had to attend my high school reunion!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ada aaapeecerungala!!

Vara vara officela makkal thara kedupudiya vida government thara imsainaalaye makkal elaam vela paaka aarambichiduvaanga pola!! Facebook la yaar enna panraangannu inimay HR,network teamlaam monitoray panna venam. Antha antha ooru state governmentay ithelaam nalla paathukaranga. Mumbaila etho oru ponnu ipo recenta mandaiya poatta (Avvvvvvvv....pera type panna kooda bayama iruku!!) oru thaanai thalaivarukaaga ethuku bandh pannanumnu oru one line status poatathuku antha ponna pudichi ulla vachitaangalam mumbai kaaval thurai. Ithula uchha katta kodumai was..antha status ku like poatta innoru ponnaiyum ulla vachitaangalam!!! enna koduma saravanaa ithu!! Ipdilam restrict panni kadisila vela paaka vachiruvaanga polarukkay!!!  (On a serious note i guess it could have been preventive arrest to avoid any flare up and possibly for the girl's own protection..nallathay nenaippom!!)

Inthe freedom of expression itha pathilaam elaarum medai poattu koovarapolaam realise pannathilla. But when it hits closer appo thaan theriuthu ithu evlo peria matternu. Saatharanama oru opinion, athuvum thannoda personal spacela solla kooda mudiaama oru situation varapo thana freedomoda arumai theriyuthu. And ithey ratela pona we are all set for a major "change" soon. Infact, antha ponnu entha status message poatucho, athey pheelings thaan enakkum. But since lot of my friends are marathi people and most of them are so sensitive to the topic, atha pathi post pannala. Ithana naala summa irunthitu ipo thideernu elaarum pongi ezhunthu protest panrapo thaan prachanaiye varuthu. Extremist..facist athu ithunu ippo brand panra makkal ithana naala enna pannitrunthaanga? Well. They were raising the same noise, but from a safe distance. Aal illaingarapo everyone wants their share of limelight and moments in the sun. It only irks the already strained sentiments of the supporters and the stage gets all set for anarchy. Sedition charges are something which is a multi edged sword. Enga handle enga sharp sidenu vidhyasam kandupudika mudiatha oru weapon. Its very easy to use it on an individual and the kind of power it gives to the government is quite scary, to imagine the extent to which it can be used. Aana athey samayam, it would make instant martyr out of an otherwise unknown individual. Its as good as blowing up a small, otherwise harmless spark into a powerkeg. Each time when an ultra national raises his head, the government, irrespective of the country, follows the same approach. They allow the person to thrive and when it becomes too close for comfort they either use brute force (in case of military regimes) or side with them (in case of democrazies). The latter is the case many itmes over in the short 6 decade old post independent Indian history.

The rise of zealots raises a fundamental question. When there is a government, supposedly elected by the vast majority, why do people still go to these extremist for solutions? Why dont they have the trust on their own elected representatives or the institutions (police and judiciary) that they blindly accept? People cry over the rising cost of education and everything in this country. Wonder if has anyone ever tracked the cost of judiciary? If you've to wage a court case, what would be the minimum amount an individual is expected to spend and how much it has increased over the ages??!! Especially with the turnaround time for cases running into decades, this would make an interesting observation i guess. The only way, i feel, to counter these mob uprisings, is to strengthen the judiciary and the legal system. It could be the only unifying common thread, to hold this great country full of diversity. Till the time people have faith that everyone is equal in front of law, there is still hope that, they wouldnt rush to the extremists for any short cut solutions. And there wouldnt be legends or lores praising their so called "heroes".

 This entire situation reminds of a comedy scene involving Vadivelu and Maddy in RENDU movie. "Aniyaayatha kanda ponganum" nu maddy will advice vadivelu and what happens next is exactly how our arasiyal thalaivars behaves :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Unda Mayakkam

Diwali @ foriegn desam apdina intha potluck, games, familya settle aagiruntha snacks and sweet distribution to all apartment veedu and bachelorsna oc saapaadu for couple of days. Guess this is the norm in most of the places. For this diwali, it was for the very first time, spent it with such a huge gumbal. Ithuvaraikkum entha oorla irunthaalum will get back to Chennai for festivals. This time that wasnt possible. But this experience was very nice too. Here they had arranged for potluck with some 20 plus families, with each one preparing a dish. Around 40 people had been invited. And i was made incharge for the most important and critical and essential and mandatory item, without which potluck wouldnt have been possible. Vera entha dish sample panna kedaikutho illayo ennoda item ilaama ethuvumay not possible and each one had to have one of it alteast. Avlo criticalana mukkiyamaana antha matter ennagareengala..athaanga Plate. Aairam thaan vagai vagaiya saapaadu pannalum..plate illama sapda mudiyuma. Itha sonna udhaika varaanga. Enna kodumai ithu :((
The family at whose apartment we all gathered had arranged for kutti games also. Etho mini kalyana saapadu mathiri irunthichi. Avlo variety. Nalla kattu kattunu kattitu ellarum kelambinaprum kadisia kelambrathula innoru vasathi irukku. Especially if you are single. Micham meethi ellam pack panni parcel kuduthiruvanga. Here also, chamatha enga roomkaga oru peria packet was ready. Pora kuraikku oru anbu ullam, wheat halwa senju, enakaga speciala oru packet kuduthu vittanga. Avvvvvvvvv...avanga anbu alwava vida sweet. Apruma diwaliku release aana THUPPAKI padam paaka motha gumbalum went. Paathi theater enga gumbal thaan. It was neither a typical Vijay movie, with no punch dialogues or mass kuthu songs, nor a Murugadoss movie, with hardly any of his signature touches, nor was Kajal Agarwal good looking in that, semmaya weight potu pannikutty mathiri iruntha and comedy was pathetic and songs marana mokka except for Google Google. Choregraphyum padu sumaar. Only saving grace being the mind game sequences between hero and villain. Konjam logica and thrillinga irunthichi. Padam poora oray whistle and comments and cat calls. When we had went for SKYFALL, the vellakaara ammani who was sitting next to some of the ladies in the group, sushed them and scolded them for making non stop comments about James Bond. Intha vaati no such prachanai. Highlight was, in the movie there is a scene when Kajal Agarwal tries to kiss Vijay. One of my colleagues kid, hardly 5 years old was sitting at the edge of his seat watching the scene with rapt attention. We all were watching the keenness with which the kid was following the scene with so much "involvement". My colleague sighed and said ," Ivana inimay padam paaka kootikitu vantha Thavani kanavugal Bagyaraj mathiri chillarai kaasu kaila eduthu vachuka vendi thaan". Those who've seen the movie, will know which scene he was referring too :D Semma fun it was.

Ivvaaraaga diwali celebrations mudinji adutha naal officeku kelambara mathiri kodumai irukay :( romba kushtam. Previous day panna comedies pathi arattai adichay paathi naal odi poachu. Mokka potukitu irukkum boathu suddenly one reminder popped up. There was a training scheduled for 12.30 PM and it was about to being in 5 minutes. Adichi pudichi login pannaparum thaan realised, athu naan present panna vendia session!! Enna topicnay maranthu poachu :D One by One makkal started joining the call. Enna panrathu theriama oruthar oruthar kittayum Happy diwali and how their day went, ithay kaettay oru pathu nimisham thallitu, antha gapla brushed up what i needed to talk about :D pakkathula ukkanthiruntha colleagueslam semma ragalai. Call mutela poatutu galatta pannitrunthaanga. Funny thing was, session mudinjathum, itha mathiri oru session en vaazhkkaila attend pannathilla..enga arivu kanna thoranthiteengannu oray aaravaara comments. Oru payalum sessiona gavanikkalainu nanna purinjuthu :))

Avlo thaan kathai surukkam :)) ippothaikku apeetu appalikka repeetu..varta :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Happy Diwali folks

There used to be a time when inbox would be filled with forward messages and pictures of lamps and crackers and godess Lakshmi and fundoo exe's. They were the fore runners for "mail storm"s i guess, where in each people marked on the mail dutifully either replied all or forwarded the mail to everyone else on their address books. When i was a fresher, we used to have a "competition" in our gang as to who gets/sends the most creative of forwards. My seniors used to complain that they have been seeing the same content as forwards for several years and some even went to the extent of creating rules to spam our mails :) We used to tease them as the dinosaurs of IT and our excuse always was that, though the content might be years old, that would've been the very first time we were seeing them. There was one akka in my team who would pass on her "critical review" for our mails and she always used to tell me that soon we would all get over it and there would come a time when there would be no forward mails on your inbox. That time , she said, you will remember what i am telling you now. Well, mail varathillangarathukaaga naama mail anupaama vitruvoma enna :) So here is me spamming the blogspot :))

Iniya Deepavali nalvaazhthukkal makkalay :) May god shower your life with prosperity and joy and happiness and may each day be as bright as the festival of lights.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sky Fall - Bond is back

After a long long time, a James Bond movie with a decent script. Decent compared to the standards of those from the past 2 decades. Unlike the Harry Potter series, arguably the highest grossing franchise movie series ever, or any comic superhero series, which had solid backing of blockbuster story lines, James Bond series, are never really well known for their stories. Its neither on the adrenaline pumping category of a Jason Bourne series or the mind blowing situations of the Mission Impossible series. Every one knows that the character is a spy and come what may, he will kill the villain in the end, flirting and seducing every single female in the process. Yet, the franchise has survived 50 years and is still going strong. The titular role, is one of the most prestigious roles ever created in the movie industry and instant fame is assured in case of Box office success and so is instant doom of failure in case of a flop. I really wonder if anyone had actually read Ian Fleming's novels, but over the period of the past 5 decades and with instant trivia sites dime a dozen, the character of James Bond is so detailed to the minutest that it is bored to perfection. In fact, even a slight deviation, like the way he takes his drinks - always shaken and never stirred, is considered sacrilege and raises hue and cry from the die hard fan following.

With only so much left for leeway and with hardly any degree of suspense possible, MGM has rolled out movie after movie and most of them being blockbusters, the real credit goes to the actors who have played the role. My all time favourite is Sean Connery. With a slightly large forehead (some might say bald) and a dimple, dueling with SRK's, he was the quintessential spy. Especially with cold war at its peak, every punch he threw were cheered to knock out commies and all his victories were hailed as their own by the West. He was so very well set in the role that, for long no one believed anyone else could fit in that role. Then came Roger Moore, who with his wit and suave body language got a series named after his own. If Sean brought in the the grey side of espionage in his act Roger added the flavor of Bond being the ultimate ladies man. Pierce Brosnan had both the charm and the looks, but unfortunately was let down by horrible story lines and people were beginning to loose interest in the franchise. Along came Daniel Craig. With beefed up body line and almost Putin look a like in appearance, he was under immense pressure right from his first tryst in being Bond, to resurrect a losing empire of fan following. Casino Royale, supposedly based on thee first Bond novel(?), didnt do his reputation no harm. The unbelievable stunts set the tone for the action movie genre. But the character of Bond took a huge step away from the usual stereotype. The major attraction of Bond movies, being the punch lines or the one liners, which glittered with wit and sarcasm, were lost on Craig. He could be all macho and strong but can never hold a candle to a Roger Moore or Sean Connery when it comes to pulling those atrociously witty lines with a deadpan face.

After watching Quantum of Solace, I had lost all hope in the series and Sky fall's trailer also didnt inspire much confidence. But after watching the movie, i feel the franchise is alive and kicking as it completes half a century in the movie world. The movie begins with the famed Bond chase sequence. He runs and drives and flies everywhere and the stunt sequence on train top is AMAZING in one word. Bond is shot by his own people, by mistake and falls off the train. There is a pattern in which the names of the crew are displayed for any Bond movie. There would be a song with graphical representation of the story in bits and pieces with usually chart buster songs accompanying in background. Ditto for this one too. After that there is the usual illlogical sequences the indestructible, but beaten badly and ageing fast Bond, makes an appearance at MI6 HQ after its bombed. Though he fails to clear the fitness tests, his boss madame M, assigns him the task of finding the villain, who doesnt make appearance till almost the halfway mark into the movie. An ex agent himself, bent on taking revenge on M, the villain does a Joker act, from Batman 2- Dark knight. He gets himself arrested by Bond only to be taken to the new HQ of MI6, breaks into their firewall security and uses their own system to let loose hell on the subway system of London. All for the purpose of revenge. Bond manages to save M and takes her to his estate, Sky Fall - oru vazhia titlea justify panitaangappa!!. The villain group traces the duo to the Bond estate and whether the villain killed M and what happens to Bond in the end makes the climax. Unlike the previous Bond installments, there is hardly any humour and worse, there is no fancy gadgets. To make matters worse for the fans, even the famed Bond car, which is one of the added attractions in any Bond movie, goes missing in this. But this one happens to be one of the best of the lot, for the simple fact that, it gives a human face to Bond.

Gils verdict - Kandippa worthy to be called a Bond movie.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

ARR @ his best

FB has been filled with status updates of videos from MTV Unplugged 2. Especially from the yet to be released Mani Ratnam movie song "Nenjukkullae". More than that song, which sounds like a remix of "Enna ithu" from Nala Damayanthi..this one is my favorite of the lot. Loved the original version from Swades. Ennamo NRI's ellariyum ARR koovi koovi India vanthirunu koopdra mathiri oru super feel irukum. But this remixed version is simply awesome. Wait till 3:58 in video when he switches over to tamil. Goosebumps guaranteed. Awesome awesome rendition and amazing clarity. Bless you Rahman for these masterpieces.