Friday, April 28, 2017

Zubeida

For a series that I started with ARR, co-incidentally, ending with his album, Z la vera topic thedrathuku somberithanam apart. Somehow I felt, this is one album of ARR that never got its due. I don’t find people singing this movie songs on any reality show or even mentioning it in their favorites. May be because its not his best or may be not technically upto their mark, that I will never know. But I love all the songs in this movie. “Dheeme Dheeme” song might have been slightly lucky as compared to other songs from the movie as it got mentioned on top ten songs for a while. My favorite are “Meheki Meheki raahen” where Udit Narayan would’ve oodu katti adichified and “Dhoor kahin aam ki bagiyaan” which will literally lull you to sleep. Another chirpy song would be “Mehndi hai rachnewali” with Alka yagnik at her peak. I remember one FilmFare award when all five songs under nomination catergory where hers. “Sogaye hain dil ki afsaane” is all sad and melancholy while “Mein albeli” is what ARR churns up closer to folk song. The movie as such was an utter disaster with literally nothing working between Karishma and Manoj Bajpai. Story wise it was fantastic on paper and I loved the ending where the grandmother sheds tears watching Karishma on screen, reminiscing on how well her life could’ve been had she been allowed to take her decisions. It’s a brilliant script which in all honesty should be reworked and probably reproduced with maybe same songs and definitely a different star cast. Deepika padukone reprising Karishma, Ranveer singh playing her first husband, Rekha will anyway outlive everyone and hence will retain her love, Ranbir Kapoor for Manoj Bajpai and rest of the cast anyway doesn’t matter.

P.S: shabbaaaadiiii…Ithoda intha AtoZ challenge for the month, where I’ve to write one post with a title starting alphabetically per alphabet is complete. Mudikrathukulla nora thallidichi saami that too with a theme of writing something from my memories!!! Usually I put 5 post per month on average. Trying 21 more in same time span was literally trying!! Adutha sila maadhathirku kadai vidumurai!!

You’ve got mail

I am a big time Tom Hanks fan. I used to treasure a 7 DVD set of his top movies and would’ve watched all those movies till the CD’s being to glow in rainbow colors. It had Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve got mail, Castaway, Terminal, Saving Private Ryan, Catch me if you can and of course, Forrest Gump. I often compare how certain Hollywood actors resemble Indian actors. To me Tom Hanks and Aamir Khan, Cameron Diaz and Trisha, Drew Barrymore and Jothika (who I felt aped Meg Ryan a lot for her mannerisms) are dead ringers of each other. Coming back to the movie, the hit combo of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks would’ve spelled their charm in every single scene in the movie. Especially Meg with her cute mannerisms, jumping around like a kid in her pajamas, with her wrinkly cutish smile and boy cut, rolling her eyes at everything, sneaking away to check her mail.. you can wrap her on a cone and eat her yum. Even the name of Meg’s bookstore is cute “Shop around the corner”. Enter Tom Hanks as Mr.Fox and his wholesale bookstore which also shares the name “Round the corner”. Tom Hanks on the other end is all sophistication and perfection. The scene where he recites Godfather movie dialogues to spur Meg into action against his real self is classic – “It’s not personal but business”. At the same time, in real world he argues with her over her accusation that he stole her shop’s name that “around the corner” is a common phrase and admonishes her that she doesn’t own it. I learnt the words garnishment, when she scolds him for taking a selected portion of the food on buffet and piazza from the movie J Towards the end, when he finally wins over her heart and agrees to meet her as his online avatar in the park, her yearning on how she wants the online person, whom she never knows as Tom, to be Tom and her reaction after seeing Tom’s dog running in front of him towards her, one word to describe all would be magic. I don’t know whose performance I loved the most in the movie, but their chemistry call it whatever was sheer magic on screen.

X and X0

What is the difference between X and X0.

Well, it could very well decide how many marks you will get for a 10 mark question on a theorem. The famed letter “X”. Without this letter, I guess Algebra wouldn’t be half as fun or even exist for that matter. There could be every single alphabet that can be used as an alternate variable representation. But none has that “X” factor as ..well x itself. Any polynomial equation of any degree, feels inadequate or incomplete without X in it. I for one is a socialist when it comes to literally anything. I often used to replace variables as per my whims and fancy and after a while would lose track of which is used for what and would end up scratching every line off and restarting from the top. It so happened during my UG days that on a complex analysis paper, my professor had put kozhi muttai for a theorem I had written. I was pretty much sure and over confident to say the least that mine was correct verbatim as published in original form from the book. I still double checked it to make sure there are no silly errors and marched to my doom, unknown then of course. He simply looked at me, standing in front of him, with all the smugness of the student who had caught his teacher wrong, had another look at my answer sheet and politely threw it on my face and requested me to get lost. I was perplexed and confused. I took it to the class topper guy and asked him to see what the mistake in that answer was. He laughed at my answer and said that I had got all the constants and variables intermixed, meaning – variables in the place of constants and vice versa. I was confused that why he was saying so for I had even verified the same from the book. He pointed out that as per general notation the alphabets with a numeric suffix are usually denoted as constants and ones without any numeric suffix are plain variables. I was the one who was laughing this time as I joked that who made this rule. Why can’t I choose my own form of variable as long as the theorem is correct? He simply answered that when I write my own original theorem I am welcome to try that approach, but the world goes by this notation only. The professor who was listening to all this silently from behind caught me by my ear. Yes. I was in 3rd year UG and yes. He did caught my ear. He admonished me for not respecting the universal notation and clarified that just like how we call “A” as “A” and follow certain standards, we have to respect the same in maths world as well. He re-read the answer I had written and found that I had exactly mapped the variables and constants in notation but the content was correct. He not only refused to give marks for that answer and reduced five more for my “logic”.
Mark kekka poitu kaadhula mark vangitu vanthathu thaan micham L

William Shakespeare

Many things might come to mind for people. But to me his name would always be the name I missed. The very first time I heard about mister shake, was during that game I was playing with my cousin sister and her friend. I don’t exactly recollect the full rules but it was about naming personalities, places, animals or things starting with specific alphabet that was given to each. But I do recall that friend’s name for it was as unique as this Shake guy’s name that I wasn’t even sure if it was a name or my sister was making it up. Her name was Mathangi which I heard as Mullangi and that settled the deal for her to be permanently rechristened as Raddish. As for the game, I got stuck at W (curious similarity with this contest as well) and my sister helped me out with this name. First I thought she was pulling my leg as I was wondering how can someone be named like this – shakespear (aatu eeti in tamil). My sister was shocked and embarrassed at the same time that not only I didn’t knew about mister Shake but I refuse to acknowledge him as a person at all in front of her friend. She decided it was high time some one taught me English and began to share her library books with me. My first ever English novel was “Master of the game” by Sidney Sheldon. “You can very well..go to hell..David Blackwell” says kutty ponnu Kate as she stomps out of her meeting with David for refusing to marry her. The story of McGregor’s and Blackwell, how they stole diamonds from Nabi(?) desert and became a conglomerate (first ever time I read the word) and how Kate goes on to manipulate everyone around her, it’s something I am not going to forget in a hurry. The scene where Kate helps to save the African guy by hiding him on her train and how she coerces her son without his knowledge to win an oil empire as dowry, she must’ve been the best ever heroine cum villi character of the novel world ever. I did give Shake’s works a try and “Tempest” and “Merchant of Venice” where probably the easiest to follow even as abridged non-detail version. Romeo and Juliet, Julius Ceaser or the famed Hamlet, couldn’t quite follow the English, as most of the words were bouncers. At some point, I even wondered what the big deal about this guy is and why people are going so ga-ga over his books which I couldn’t quite understand. End of the day, he would always be that name, I never knew for answering in that game. Not that it mattered to anyone else, but I feel he is overy hyped.

Very special person

“Write about the person who is very special to you” gave our English teacher, the assignment for that day. I wrote about Napoleon Bonaparte, for some reason I idolized him like anything once upon a time. Maybe because I read some war story where he defeated the British, who were my least favorites. I ranted my head off on how brave he was and about some battle and his courage, valor. It was more of a historical anecdote than a personal post. Some of my friends had written about Sachin, one guy wrote about Superman. But there was this guy, who made us all feel bad about ourselves by writing about his dad. “Adada..ithu namakku thonamaa poachay” was our honest feeling. “Ithulaam sellathu..of course, every parent would be special for everyone..you cheated” were the cries from other folks who felt bad for not thinking of their own while submitting their entry. This guy who wrote about his dad, was probably the shrewdest person I ever knew for his age. Even as a school kid, he was probably the most logical and practical person and with razor sharp wit. He carried an attitude about himself and his actions justified his deeds as well. He is now a visiting professor in half a dozen American universities and excels in his field of study. But the point behind the post was on the thought process of selecting that “special person”. Right from our childhood we’ve been thrown this question in one form or other – whose pet are you? Who is your favorite teacher/friend/parent/hero/heroine and what not!! Usually the top of the mind answers are accepted as the one from our heart as it is considered that the honest answer might be the first thing that comes to mind. I for one is stumped for any question that involves yes or no as answer and especially when it comes to choosing someone as special. There are few people like your family and friends who by default gets tagged as the answer. But should such feeling towards them, always be chronologically ranked? Does any relation ever stays the same? Wouldn’t it be boring even if at all it’s possible? Does happily ever after or all things forgiven kind of concept as shown in movies is even practically possible in real life? You may still have your very special person, your kid, your parent, someone who went out of way and helped you, someone who adores you for nothing and be available for you always. But do we ever be that special someone for anyone? Do we’ve the abilities or trait to be that person whom we want others for us to be? Does one ever think in that aspect? Wonder what would be the honest answer from top of the mind for this question.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Unknown

Fear of unknown – Possibly the most common and strongest of all phobias to conquer. It might be the single biggest factor for rising suicide rates, psychiatric centers raking money big time, depression being the most used word of the decade and potentially linked to many other terminal illness as well. All for what? That the victim may never know. It’s probably the single most severest reason, cutting across all eras and generations, that the eagerness or curiosity to know the future, that has set the case for soothsayers and prophecies to survive for so long. Even today there are so many lives sacrificed on special days based on some magician’s forecast that such a kill might earn them power or benefits. So many students who take rash decisions before even their exam results are confirmed. And god knows how many lives are lost for love. The unifying thread for all these have always been one single thing – fear of the unknown. Had people been positive enough to think of a good scenario, many a fear could’ve been nipped in the bud. But the stark reality of the real world, doesn’t present such a rosy picture and anything bordering on negative have a much stronger pull into doom.
I, for one, have always stressed myself silly, right from my school days, over how things would turn out and would even have a mini scene enactment on mind on what would be my response for any by the other person and often thought of the worst case scenario to prepare myself or rather iron myself into the belief that if you can expect something bad, even it happens, the impact would be less. Mind would always be like Kashmir, red alert situation even on peace times. This kind of situation became such a routine that, my hair started greying out pretty fast, much to the worry of my parents. And I always carried this forever lost in thought kind of a look and even when I tried a joke, people used to think I am dead serious. My fashion sense or the lack of it, didn’t help either. I was least bothered by my looks and wore dresses that were clumsy fit (as described by peers) and with my soda butti specs, often passed for a person much older than my real age. It never bothered me that I always bothered about everything, but in the process I had forgotten how to celebrate. When I won some award from my CEO for some project, it was published on internal newsletters. Usually people delete any mail which carries color background as junk but somehow the news caught attention of one of my friends who told me about someone carrying same name as mine had won that award. When I told it was me, she refused to believe and when I showed her the mail, she was shell shocked. “Had it been me in this situation I would’ve been jumping with joy, what is wrong with you and whey the hell are you so nonchalant always?” she shouted at me and dragged me to food court, alerting all our friends and to my recollection that was the first ever treat I enjoyed participating. Vasool Raja MBBS la oru dialogue varum. After being hugged by his mom, Kamal will say “I don’t know if I am courageous now but the fear has gone”. It might be a simple reaction and a very common response by my friend. But not every apple that falls leads to gravity. Somehow, something changed a bit inside and I realized that, as much as fearing the unknown, I had totally shunned the present and anything positive in life. Even now nothing major has changed, but at least the degree of pessimism has reduced a bit I guess. I’ve stopped looking forward to the next day or ten years down the line. In fact as a buffer I even resist thinking about anything other than the present. Like, I don’t know what is going to be the post for “V” in this AtoZ series and even though it wouldn’t depress me not to know it, I am not bothered by it. It may not be the cure, but I hope, those who are in similar boat as mine, find that friend of theirs quicker than me or as quick, so that they can get to realize their present and even enjoy it, if possible.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The one that got away

Guest post by Raji who blogs at Arakatrika . To describe her would be very simple if you are a follower of the “minion” cartoons. Especially the double braided one :D A very sweet little friend blogger who pitches in regularly in this space. Thank u Buroos.

Nope. This is not a tribute to the famous Katy Perry song of the same title. Although it is of similar thought process. We all would have had this huge crush during school or college times. Depending upon what sort of school/college you studied in.
It greatly shapes up your perspective towards romance at a later stage.
Almost like how Premam unfolds. That movie was such a huge success because it did not make the hero a drunkard or anything after his failure (somehting most movies does) He just goes on with his life, exactly what all of us do.
I had one huge school crush. So much so that while the teachers restricted students from getting into relationships there were a couple of them who would even tease me about it, while I was still a student there. My crush was pretty popular. It was even a joke I think. I had butterflies when I saw him enter the school gates. Tried to get his attention a lot and failed miserably. Even went to the extent of giving him a greeting card where I confessed my feelings for him. Although he rejected me and broke my heart, I am glad that he did. I am glad he gave me a few good memories from school.
I am still in touch with him. A few school friends tease me even now saying "It would be a comical movie story if you guys ever got together" But this crush of mine taught me one thing. Compatibility. Although I was blinded by my feelings for him, now that I think about it - it would have never worked between us. We both are very different. May be that is why he rejected me back then. I am happy he did it. Some things do happen for a reason. His rejection made me understand that I have someone better out there for me. And I could be happy with just me.
But then the school crush and such stories are always a warm/pleasant memory for everyone!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Some regrets live forever

How it would be to have a life of no regrets is something I may never ever experience. Having strongly rooted to my past there are many things that I miss experiencing while they just..happen.  The biggest single regret of my life would ever be those simple things that I could’ve done for my dad. He had a passion for trying new things and had enrolled himself to learn Tally software, even few months before he passed away. He was super fond of computers and wanted to explore them as much as he can. I didn’t had the maturity then to understand his passions, nor was I around that time to make it happen for him. For a person, who always put my interests over everything else, he never expressed his desire to me about these and I never bothered to push him to get a system at home or help him out with his aspirations either. I never really understood him till very late in life and he had passed away by, then to correct my mistakes on him. To me, however clichéd or easy-an-excuse it may sound, kids don’t teach parents what they need to do and its always the other way round. Maybe it’s the laziest of all excuses, but I sincerely believed that. How I wish I could take him on a flight journey, show him the usages of a Tab, install software’s for him to use in laptop. Might sound trivial and materialistic to many, but I never saw him experience any of these. I did manage these with my mom, with every single time, both of us remembering how much he would’ve enjoyed and be thrilled by them. Life’s cruelest irony is that maturity comes packaged with hindsight. There are so many things, smaller and simpler and meaningless even, that could’ve meant a world of difference to him. The fact that he may not even have bothered over these things terming them silly, hurts even more to have not done any of them. Probably a note for me to revisit this post down the line when I fail to understand my son. I may or may not be that mature then, at least a written reference from me to myself might help to set things on correct light.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Reminiscing Anbe Sivam

For a blog predominantly running on reviews, surprised to note that till date haven’t posted about Anbe sivam, one of my all-time favorites. There was a time when Kamal’s movies were fun to watch and of the lot Anbe Sivam was his crown jewel. Though director’s credit shows Sundar.C, not even he would believe it to be his movie. Though story and screenplay are the only items credited to Kamal, its widely known to be ghost directed by him. Dialogues are by Cartoonist Madhan of Aanandha Vikatan fame. They are not just witty but razor sharp and intellectually stimulating. Couldn’t miss out Kamal’s impression on this area as well. Most of the dialogues sound custom made or probably assisted by him for him. Its regarded as one of his best ever movies critically but his worst failure at box office as well. For a movie released almost a decade and half back, it has a score of 97% in rotten tomatoes. Have never seen such high a score for any tamil movie. Ever.
Though its Kamal everywhere and everything in the movie, the other characters shine as bright if not more. Madhavan, who technically is the second lead, has performed his career best as that of an up class rich guy, spoilt for choices and prejudices but having innocence of a child. His role makes you love him, hate him, feel sorry for him and root for him. A very difficult role which he made it look neat. Nasser, the usual partner in crime on most of Kamal’s movies has a strong character in this one as well. With his portrayal of cunning hypocrite of a capitalist who would go to any extent to exploit his employees plus typical villain dad must have been a cake walk of a performance for him. Yet the strong negative vibes are pretty easily identifiable with his character even when smiling or silent. Kiran rathod, the heroine, despite her obvious lack of exposure to such kind of roles and probably must’ve been pretty new to the industry in itself, does as best a justice she can for her character. Next stand out performer for me is Yugi Sedhu. He comes for just ten minutes, but the essence of his role ties up Madhavan’s view point about Kamal from start and makes an interesting co-relation. The way Sedhu confronts his victims from whom he had stolen and dares them to take to police shows the stark reality of today. The other stand out performer is the music director. When I heard the album for the very first time, a friend of mine heard the “Gnnaaaa ugnaaaa ugannaaa” portion of “Naatukoru sedhi” song and passed his verdict on the movie, which turned out to be pretty accurate. I was actually super impressed by the lyrics and rest of the songs as well and was under the impression that it was another Ilayaraja master piece. When I got to know that it was Vidyasagar who tuned those songs I became a big time fan of him ever since. Though there are few albums of him I could recollect, Run, Mozhi, Ponniyin Selvan, Karna have some really hummable numbers. Lastly, Kamal. Be it injecting the concept of communism, scene after scene, songs and dialogues and picturisation, it’s a master class of many levels by him. The famed “Kadavul illainu naan enga sonnen” sequence is one for the “dialogues wall of fame”. Madhan being the dialogue writer, his comic timing was top notch throughout the movie. Be it the scenes involving disfigured Kamal and Maddy, Maddy on phone, his escapades during the travel, the train sequence, even in break heart sad situations, some or other wit shines throughout the movie. The final crowning moment is the way Kamal takes leaves from the person who is assigned to kill him, allowing/permitting rather, his killer to escape and laughingly making his way, is probably one of the best ever climaxes in Tamil cinema. Another un-missable thread that runs throughout the movie is the concept of Love. True to its name, its Love and its emphasis across every single frame. An wonderful movie, which is a must watch for any movie fan.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Que sera sera

Do you ever wonder
What would’ve been
had it been the other choice

Do you ever feel
If the choice you opted
is the right one

Do you ever realize
What you’ve was never yours
for such a long time in past
And would become such again
In a short while soon

Do you ever think
that you do it because
you committed but
not committed to do

Do you ever dream
how different things
might have been
had it been the other way round

Do you ever smile
think of the silliness
called life

Do you ever cry
realizing the reality
called life


Que Sera sera – Whatever will be will be.

Problem's (favorite) child

From Time immemorial, from the times when giants ruled earth, when titans waged war with gods, when pangaea was world map, when stone formed and sand was yet to (kal thondri mann thondraa time u see )gils and kodumais have an ongoing tussle, across generations, rebirths and locations. Especially with the concept of transport and any mode associated with it. My chronicles of kodumai at airports across the globe has been polambified and documented to the extent possible in this space. Recent addition is road transport.
Akin to the relation between transfer and honest IAS officers, I get shunted to all buildings across Chennai to Pondicherry in the name of Project ODC’s. This time it’s the turn of Perumbakkam which is right in the middle of all long traffic signals and bottleneck junction capital of the world. Since I am pretty much new to any place outside of my doorstep, I took googlaandavar’s advice and boarded the bus, which was one of the many I need to take, in the break journey suggested, as the quickest, of all the 2 routes. The very first day I managed to board the right bus at the first attempt itself, which in itself called for a kedavetti pongal keeping level of celebration. There were about a hundred bus stops, each having literally no remarkable landmark associated and every single one of them had their name board plastered with some veena pona political parties poster, that too half torn, strategically hiding the first part of the location name. If the place is karapakkam, you would only see the “pakkam” portion and kara would be as clearly hidden as Supergirl in her reporter routine. For a place which is never near any place worth living or going, surprisingly every single one of the stops/places have been named as “pakkam”!!! Pakkam for pakkathu oor may be, but definitely long thoooram for guileless gullible gils. After crossing countably finite number of such bus stops I was kind of confused whether my stopping has crossed or yet to come. Asked one saga passenger who was wearing name tag of my company. He gave me that “yaamirukka bayamen” pose and asked me to get down along with him as he is also going to same company. Thanking my lucky star (angeye yosichiruka venaam..bulbu nu..hmmm) I got down and asked him
“neenga epolenthu ELCOT la working?”
“Naan ELCOT enga working Torapakkam boss”
“ada pakki appo ithu ELCOT stopping ilia”
“Illa boss..neenga angayaa ponum? Naan intha office nenachen”
“Un nenapula theeya vaika..innum evlo thooram ponum?”
“Don’t worry..the bus from which u got down is lot frequent..wait for same one..its just another 4 to 5 stops away”
“Four a Five a?”
“Five nenakren..ketukonga”
Oru vazhia managed to reach office, exactly 1.5 hrs later. Namma neram..seekram kelambinaalum ipdi aaguthay nu, next day was pretty convinced and took the second route which was from my place direct to my destination. Was hyper alert like gabtun chasing baakistan theeviravathi and was watching the route all along with google maps turned on. Just in case the bus had break down or probably more to see if driver knew the route. It went via VGP, MGM and only place I didn’t see was kishkinta and maayajaal. Finally he reached shozhinganallur where the guy who got ticket for ELCOT suddenly got down from the bus in the turning and asked me as well. He said there was no proper bus stop for that place and we both got down in signal. He started walking in what I felt was opposite direction and asked him
“ELCOT back entrance routea ithu? Differenta irukkay intha road”
“neenga angaya ponum?”
“adapaavi..apo idhu entha area?”
“Naan en company aalu neenga nenachen..enga office perum elcot thaan..ingenthu ELCOT 2.5 km aachay epdi poveenga?”
“ada naadhari payalay..naan paatuka sivanay nu thaanada vanthen..eraki vittutu ipo kelvi veraya” nu manasaara vazhthittu again podi nadaiya nadai kattified.
Naaliku enna aagapogutho. Ipovay kanna katutthay. Onnu uruthi..entha oor entha jilla ku ponaalum..intha kodumai nammala vidaatha karuppa thodaruthu..avvvvvvvv.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

One single word 😜

Technically this is a report abuse post. More like reporting about abuse literally rather anything else. If one translates the title in tamil or refer to Vivek comedy in “Roja Koottam” movie involving seth ji, you would know what is being referred here. Somehow this single word has taken role multiplier access and forms the default delimiter or conversation initiator or even the occasional cuss form, the original intended purpose. It has become so casual and common that even school kids these days address each other with the “singularly single” cuss word. It’s no longer a cool quotient to swear in public but has become the way of addressing. When it was depicted exactly in the same manner in the movie “Maanagaram” it felt insulting as it generalized Chennai tongue of tamil as inseparable from this cuss word. But on any given day, I find more people using this swear word more and more and those who don’t the minority. Though it does raise an occasional chuckle to hear those guys pronounce hindi words and screw up the whole meaning of them. But considering the long term impact and the already fast degrading sense of sacrilege in our society, this may be something that requires to be addressed on as high a priority as possible.

In my school days, I’ve been a staunch believer/ brainwashed in other terms, that, if you use swear words, you wouldn’t be able to study and wouldn’t remember whatever one studied as well. Whenever I was about to break that ruse, would bit back any words of anger and swallow it along with my ego. Something I practice till date and not unduly ashamed of it either. But off late, there is a growing perception that those who swear out loud are supposedly open and honest and those who keep to themselves are seen not being so. There are even surveys and opinion polls, however childish and irrelevant their purpose be on this very topic, but these are the things that end up setting the norm for the society down the line. I for one would feel and already is, traumatized by the kind of environment and society I am leaving for my kid. I don’t want him to be as naïve as me in taking things as bible as told by parents. At the same time, these are kind of things, I would want him to take as granted by us. This is a really tricky as to identify which are those things that we need him to blindly take our word and which he needs to think through on his own. Whatever the case may be, this one single word is something I feel tamil can do without, but apparently looks like not such case for those who use it. Wonder if they would even be able to start a conversation if there is a blanket bank on this “one single” word.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Nostalgia

Whenever I walk by the street of my old school, “Ship of Theseus” paradox only comes to mind. With almost every single brick of the old one being replaced, right from the name board to the color and design of uniform, except for the location, nothing else is same. The place or whatever little area inside the campus that was our playground has been used for ramping up the building count. The small garden kind of a place with its plantain trees dotted by mushrooms is probably buried deep under the basement of the new building. That red oxide painted sarukku maram has been long demolished to make way for extending the KG classes. That thatched roof hut, where the aaya stayed with her daughter, the cross poles, minus the swing, where she had tied her dogs, has been replaced with canteen block. The toilet, how can I not remember them!! There were just two..no actually there were three. But one of them was always dumped with some rubbish or other. Of the two Indian style toilets, with classes only till 5th, it was common for both boys and girls. I don’t remember seeing any sections for any of those classes. So literally its one class per section till 5th. Not much crowd as compared to present day standards. Still, just two toilets for the whole bunch. Now that I think of it, wonder where the teachers and staff went!! I couldn’t quite present how traumatic an experience it was and when I shifted school, it was a huge surprise for me to see so many toilets across so many blocks. Another thing about the school that has been replaced much to my chagrin is the school bell. It was an iron rod kind of thing, hanging from ceiling , which the aaya would ring with another iron rod. Hardly audible sound beyond few classes inside the premises. Yet would be watching out for the sound to rush out. There was this small shed which was our cafeteria/eating area where we seat on cement floor and had lunch, served hot from home by mom. Most of the kids stayed in nearby streets and our mom would bring lunch for us. Will dump everything as quickly as possible and would try to play in remaining time during lunch. Extending our play hours as much as we can, much to the irritation of my mom, for she would’ve walked all the way in hot sun to bring me lunch and the ingrateful me wouldn’t even bother two hoots about her, more interested to chase around with my class mates.

Some memories are hard to forget, impossible to erase and would be forever fresh. This is one such set that I never want to not remember.

Friday, April 14, 2017

900. Milestone post

11 years and counting!!! 900th post.

Sathiyama namba mudiala. When I started to blog, never thought it would survive more than a month max. Slowly it became a routine and with luck has been continuing across places and proxies. There was a time when I wanted to treat this like a magazine with a post every 5th or 6th day. I would even schedule some in succession based on available time. Most interesting part of this whole blogging experience is, in many stories and posts, I've included real life happenings with altered names of the individuals, decipherable only to me. But so much water has flown through that I've forgotten most of the stories themselves that are posted here. Would randomly click on some month and when I read those posts, I've no recollection of ever writing them, only to be disproved by the comment section.

Most of the stories were near perfect replica of real life incidents and with such a colorful bunch of characters, with whom I got to spend time with, there was never a dearth for stories. To an extent I could gauge the kind of company I had, going by the tone of the posts. Any remotely funny segments on any of those posts, were solely attributed to those gangs at that time. Another interesting thing was the transformation on the writing. There were lot many bloggers who wrote then than now and each had their own unique style with tanglish being pretty prominent. It caught my fancy and probably I've abused it to the extent possible. There were lot many stories floating around and many of them had dedicated followers and subscribers. Some of them even switched from their IT jobs into full time writing. Another point was on the network formed via blogging. At one stage we had more that one blog friend in each of the 50 states of USA and across all the major nations of the world. People used to joke around that "ulagathula enga ponalum soru sure". As they stopped writing and blogging, gradually we all lost contact as well. May be because we were all like minded or may be the fact that we all started at the same time, there was an easy frequency match within the bloggers and whenever we met in person, never felt like strangers at all.

Two people I want to single out. This post might still be 100 short of a thousand, but they will always be Aayirathil oruvar. One is mister Bragz, a fellow blogger, fast rising writer who will one day rival other authors commercially and content wise as well, an uncle of my kid with whom he shares a scare and get scared relationship plus my dear friend/brother/all other relations possible and applicable and  who incidentally shares his birthday with Tamil new year. He is born into a new year every year, literally and figuratively. He owes major credit for almost all the book reviews I post for being a chum and sharing those books. Wishing him all happiness as always in this year and coming years as well. Other is Thala Ramesh. Possibly, the one person who never misses out to comment on every single post of mine and one thing I always look forward to after publishing the post.

Innum ethane naaliku kadai odum therila. But would love to make it a round 1000. Thank you all for your support.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Lessons for life

There are people who always give advice. Yet only a very few stick on and stay for a really long time, if not forever. In my recollections, there were few that were really mindset altering.

 First one, about which I had mentioned it previously as well, was the comment of my manager. It was such a slap on the face - shake you out of reverie - top of the mountain sermon kind of a scene that makes me pause for a quick breath. I am not sure, if he ever realized the impact it had on me, but that again was never the point. Probably it was one of the few times that I actually listened rather than just hear maybe.  Ivlo buildup kuduthutu apdi ennathaanya sonnaru nu kekaravaganlukaaga, "Had you been on the other side of the table, would you've tolerated this?". The scene was my interview with an account manager and my manager had accompanied me. I had worn a V-neck full hand tee shirt and dirty white cargoes. The moment my manager saw me, he was giving bad words by his looks itself. During the interview I was at my casual best while answering questions and literally it never felt like an interview. I was super confident that it went well, only for the bashing to begin right after we stepped out. I was confused why he was upset for I was pretty sure I had aced it. He simply said the above mentioned statement. What I had unconsciously did in the garb of being casual had been to meddle with my phone, when the conversation was not involving me, rocking back and forth on my chair like see-saw and the attire, above all. He made his point in just one sentence, would I've selected myself had I been sitting on the other side, for my attitude would've looked haughty and arrogant at best, even though that wasn't the intention. Even if I had been to any other interview, I would've been like how I attended this session and would've never realized my mistake, for I never thought it was one. But the point that hit hard was, how I would've perceived someone with similar approach. Whether right or wrong, it was an honest answer that I could never convince myself with. From that day onwards, the very way I sit on chair itself underwent a transition. And I started noticing for these cues on those sessions that I conduct to validate his point every single time. It also begin to self apply itself on many other life situations where the question of "how it would've felt from other side" became omnipresent and whenever the answer was not self satisfactory, I started making efforts to correct myself.

Next one was a post on Facebook. A simple statement nevertheless that said, "the issue that screwed your whole day might've just been few minutes in time". Meaning, of the entire 24 hours, we allowed a few minutes blip to mess up the remaining time. Might sound so simple. But when one applies it to situations, it really takes a whole load of stress off your neck and enables to look forward to rest of the day. The final one was a story that I had read a long time back. A student asks his guru why people shout at each other when angry. "Ennada ithu kena paya pola kekkara" nu kattaiyaala naalu saathama, that guru replied that, when angry, people can't hear their inner voices speak. That's why they raise their voice above the noise of ego. And at same time when in love, they don't even have to speak while mere looks convey all the needful. Again, way too simple a statement. But I've witnessed and realized this on many occasions. Probably if it touched the same way for any of you reading this, you can share your experience as well :)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Kind worth killing - book review- part 1

How easy is it to kill someone and get off. If you are a fan of DEXTER drama series, you would know the intricacies of the above sentence. In that series, the lead character is a serial killer, who goes after repeat offenders who escape the strong arm of law through various loop holes. He sedates them, prepares the kill room fully covered in plastic sheets, strips the victim and binds them to the kill bed/slab/table, once they are awake he shows them photos, evidences of those who have been wronged by the now captive offender and goes on to butcher them into pieces. He then neatly ties the pieces onto plastic carry bags and dumps them into the bay. It even earns him the monicker, Bay area Butcher but despite so many close calls and some identifying him as the killer, he manages to escape. Though it appears to be so gory on words, once you start watching the series, you would get hooked to it, despite the fact that no episode goes without a killing. After a while watching that series, I was questioning my own taste and saneness but felt rest at ease knowing that it was a fan favorite with almost all of my friends group!! Same kuttai same mattai gave me confidence that if at all its insane, I probably have good lot of company. Ditto goes for the book.

The book is split in three parts and I haven't proceeded beyond the first one, yet to come out of the shock ending. The story begins as a conversation between two strangers, a successful IT guy and an attractive girl, who meet at an airport and the subsequent chapters are flashbacks of each of them and their backstories culminating on their meeting and from that point onwards, the story goes in forward mode towards the mother of all twists I've ever read in any novels. The guy, probably in drunken stupor or to win over the lady, opens about his adulterous wife and surprisingly the lady suggests killing his wife as the right punishment and justice for him and even goes on to offer suggestions on how he should go about it. The story of the lady character starts with her troubled childhood and for a story which is pretty dark and intense, the effortless ease with which the incidents are mentioned in such a matter of fact tone eases the flow of narration. On the other hand the guy's story is kind of dragging at places but the reason for the same all ties back into a fantastic twist in tale.

With the first part ending in such a humdinger, eagerly awaiting to let loose myself on the second part of the same book. I've already read the review for finale portion which had spoilers and kind of know what to expect. But despite that the book is still intriguing. Kola panrathu ivlo easya nu yosika vachiruvanga pola!!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Jealousy

The moment junior wakes up, even with half opened eyes, so full of sleep, the first word he utters would be "Ma". I would be there right next to him, same half sleep, of course (who wakes up at 8 in the morning..so early!!) and would be trying to pat him to sleep (with a selfless intention to be on bed on that pretext for some more time). He would still be calling out for his mom. The first thing he would do, after being helped down from bed would be to run across the rooms and kitchen to check for her. Had she already left for office, he would feel sad and have a dejected almost cry like look on his face, that would break any heart. He would then see that there is another living being that was right next to him and recognize it as me and would come running to me to lift him. He would refuse to let me go and would be sticking like a glue, till he see his mom after which I again go invisible.

 Logically and for all practical purposes, even if one can make out the bond kids share with mom, konjam lighta nallavay poraamaiya irukka thaan seiyuthu. Practically, logically and for all emotional purposes, mommy dearest wins hands down in all aspects of raising junior, be it buying toys and things for him, feeding him, taking care of him at odd hours with almost no contribution from my end. However cringe worthy it may be, I have absolutely no shame in competing for his attention, despite not having much to show on the contribution front. Almost every single night, its his mom who puts him to sleep and on those very rare occasions when I manage to, it feels like the biggest achievement for that day. I would be all beaming and gloating when she would already be half way into dreamland, probably happy for the few extra winks of sleep.

There are days when he would wake up half asleep and would sleep walk into me. Had I been lying down, he would use me as his bed and sleep on me. Probably one thing that which is hereditary, catching up to him, from me, for, I always loved to sleep on my dad during my preschool days. My dad would sneeze playfully and I would slide sideways laughing, only to climb back on him again. Considering that I had always been a momma's boy, couldn't help but wonder if my dad also had similar feelings of jealousy seeing my interactions with mom.

Probably,  certain things are better left to come naturally and shouldn't force it I guess, with love being the foremost of them all.

Ignorance is bliss

March being the month of appraisals and ratings and hikes and bonuses, its always a tense month with each day carrying electrifying atmosphere ala Ravi shastri quote. Again, the month varies as per the cycle of each org but since majority follow March as THE month to release THE information, I've taken that as example.

There used to be a time, when postman was delivering class results and it was not even in an INLAND letter, but open post card (pakki school management) that if left unnoticed, one may end being be the talk of the apartment for any negative results. More than the exams, however confident one may be while submitting the answer sheet, as the day of results approach, it always sent a tingle down the spine. And depending on how far or close you are from school, your friends may end up receiving their letter and any call from them on the same would up the anxiety quotient. What if, despite our best efforts, the results came negative? Or delivered wrongly by mistake? the stigma, the tension were all unbearable. Ditto for ratings as well.

There would be a standard HR policy in all companies not to reveal or discuss the ratings. Probably the only policy which actually benefits the employee, though its set solely to protect the managers and their credibility. Despite the fact that, anyway people discuss their ratings, I personally abhor that practice. If one is rated to his satisfaction, knowing some other guy, who on their opinion are low performers, sharing the same rating might make them feel cheated. If they are rated more, that would be even worse a case and if they are rated lesser, read through the previous two statements from their perspective.

End of the day, the point is, we are only ourselves to blame for our predicament and fact of the matter is, unless in case for a promotion, the other guy's rating hardly matters to anyone else but him. It might be an easy thing to say, but most difficult to practice as, even if one reaches higher posts, there is always this curiosity to pamper our ego, in the hope that we are better than others. If your goal is to win the race, you better start running, rather than watching others run and crib about it.

Monday, April 10, 2017

How not to review Kaatru veliyidai movie

Hope the title of the post is sufficient heads up on what not to expect from this post, if at all there were any, to start with. Off late any opinion on public forum is decried, defended, denounced, demolished and lot many other "d" words that I am unaware of. Probably the MSM has been right in labeling us all as intolerant. Gone are the days, when you can trash a movie and give no two hoots about it or praise one for that matter. Whatever the position one takes, its trashed to the extent possible and often finds support gangs for their view point as well. Probably, we are all segregating fast into online equivalent of "varna" with like minded people ganging up over the opposite view gangs. If you had a chance to go through any of the 100 plus reviews that are posted in this space, my view point has always been black and white. My tastes are pretty simple and I don't invest too much time to think through shades and levels of any movie character like any dissection process in anatomy lessons. To me either they entertain or doesn't. And Katru veliyidai falls in latter category. Its a good looking movie at best, with barely any story. A head strong, narcissist falls in love with many girls and finally gets hooked with a good looking doctor girl. She gets pregnant before wedding and unable to decide if he would be able to own up on the responsibility, they separate and separate a bit further due to ongoing kargil war. Yup. Our hero Karthi is a fighter pilot and Aditi Rao, the heroine is the doctor, deeply in love with him. Hero gets trapped by Paki's and he escapes from their prison a reformed man and reunites with the doctor, who by that time has given birth to their daughter. Storywise, ashtey matteru.

Effortwise, its as difficult as bringing poetry in motion. To a major extent, Aditi aces her role. She looks whiter than the snow abound the screen and also the background hilltops and is thinner than a thin crust pizza. Her vampire white complexion and frail figure adds additional vulnerability to her character and performance. But her Maan karate Siva karthikeyan like pose every now and then is slightly off putting. She emotes very well, considering Maniratnam movies has only single word dialogues and with so many close up scenes, she looks pretty comfortable and easy on the eye. Karthi, on other hand, slighta ondra adiching and feels at odd with the role that requires him to be macho and bully and not irritated looking, as he has portrayed. Obviously, his role was the toughest of the two and he barely manages, which causes the movie to slip badly, as the entire story revolves around him, his self centered and arrogant personality and his transformation, which comes on screen half cooked. Its unfair to blame him as the characterization is pretty complex even for seasoned veterans, but could've been career defining had he managed to pull it off. Somehow I felt, an younger actor like Siddarth would've been better fit or even Madhavan, with his appetite for chocolate boy roles and expressive eyes. RJ Balaji, seems to be the toast of tamil cinema at the moment and every movie has his blessing. He has a 2 minute role aka Vivek in Alaipayuthey.

Probably mani doesn't believe in comedy or comedians in his movies. Wondering which was the last movie in which he had full length comedy track. Mouna Ragam maybe, with Revathi managing some in her bad words teaching tamil teacher portions, the world famous "en pondaatti ooruku poitta" portion from Agni natchathiram is the only other example I could think of. Before that "Idhaya kovil" maybe, unable to withstand Gounder mania at that time. Anyway in more than one interview, mani has washed his hands off that movie. Couldn't think of any other track worth remembering in his movies. Wondering what was his peeve against comedy anyway. Other point that has been a disturbing yet growing trend in his movies,is his singular aim of, pulling the concept of marriage down from its pedestal. If Mouna Ragam had divorce seeking wife, who still reunites with husband, Agni Natchathiram had a father character with two wives, Alai Paayuthey becoming trendsetter for wearing Thali as just another jewel, OK Kanmani certifying Live-in relationship as THE thing and with the latest movie, premarital pregnancy. Even side character in the latest movie, the heroes brother is shown to be marrying his pregnant girlfriend and has a song picturized for  that occasion!! (Ennoda panguku oru controversy thooki poatachu).

In the movie, the location being Srinagar, cameraman has had a avalanche of a time. Like Raavan, this movie might again lack a solid script, but more of a one line haikoo poem of a story, which falls flat on performances. But the visuals are damn attractive. You can actually make postcards from screenshots of both the movies. ARR has his best for Mani's movies and going against the popular opinion, Allai Allai was nollai nollai even picturisation wise. Azhagiye song is somewhat salvaged by the cuteness of the situation it comes in. Rukamani, the dancer who comes as doctor in the movie, gets to showcase her dance skills more than her doctorate. Had stethoscope and lab coat be not part of her costume, wouldn't even have guessed her role, other than the fact that she comes as two wheeler driver for the heroine.

Gils verdict - To put it simply, despite all its shades or lack of it, its a boring movie. Just because it has the Mani ratnam stamp, it doesn't make it any good. In fact, the expectation is slowly killing his story telling and its evident with every flop he has been churning out. High time, he broke this lovey dovey scripts and tried something different. Does he have time or stamina for that? That would be a message to outer space (kaatru veliyidai in other words).

Friday, April 07, 2017

God's own ooru

Bharathiyar quoted "Yaam arintha mozhigalile tamizh pola inithu engum kaanum". Major Sundarrajan stylela solanumna "Of all the languages I know, tamil is the sweetest" (imagine doing attention pose like body jerk, with both legs firmly on ground to complete the scene). Of course, anyone can alter the quote to suit their tongue, but what makes Bharathiyar's one special is the fact that he was well versed in so many languages. After going through the rigors of each of them, he made that quote as a fact statement and not a hyperbole. Even though my level of knowledge is nowhere in the same league as him nor have I travelled to that many cities and places, considering utmost prejudice and bias that I carry, I would safely say that "Yaam arintha (ariyatha) anaithu oorgalilum Mylapore pola sirappanathu engum kaanom". If Kerala is God's own country, Mylapore would very well be his most favorite ooru, for HE himself would be spoilt for choices here.

If your first query, as a feminist/mannist/humanist is on "why HE and why not SHE" this question is out of syllabus for this post and would be dealt with later. Secondly, on what basis would "HE" select nu religion wise keteenganna, though it doesn't deserve merit, yet for argument sake, HE can be of any religion or any form. Athana form will have a temple in Mylapore. Its probably one aspect about this place, that deserves much more attention and publication. Probably Incredible India folks, when they herd those bus full of tourists would do well to showcase this aspect as well. Though forever in fight from sanga kaalam till date, we've both Iyengars and Iyers co-exist in same locality along with their gods. Kesava perumal and Srinivasar are at koopidu thooram from Velleswarar and Kabali, whose compound is a stones throw away from Jain theerthangara's abode, which squares up against the Mosque on kutchery road in line with the several Churches across all Christian sects leading to Santhome. My favorite of this list is ofcourse Kabali, who to me is the king of Mylapore. Religious sentiments apart, you just have to witness the yearly "Panguni peruvizha" which is currently ongoing, while hearing me out.

I have special place in my heart for this "Ther festival" right from my school days, for it always funded cricket balls for me. Enniki kedaikumo illio for "Ther" there would definitely be money given for buying stuff, which would straight away be spent on buying rubber balls from road side shop in front of Rasi silks and at times if the budget allowed fake tennis balls. Problem being, tennis balls were quite costly and if it went for six, crossing into some apartment compound, invariably it never returned back.

Next special thing about the festival would be "Rishaba vahanam". Mylapore, in all of my 3 decades here, winds up pretty early and 8 PM usually would see as many people on road as Lok Sabha on normal days (minus the sleeping of course). But on the day , rather midnight was the time the festival usually happened, of Rishabam, it would be several times the crowd you would witness on Ranganathan street during Aadi offer period. You simply wouldn't find moving space and god knows from where so many turn up at such odd hours. The moment Kabali makes his appearance, taking a left from inside the praharam and turns into the main entrance, the crowd goes into a trance and frenzily ecstatic at the same time, with chants of "Kabali" on everyone's tongue. Then begins the dance routine, where the bearers would sway in rhythmic steps, giving an illusion as if the God is dancing his way out. No language has enough words and vocabulary to describe it. Note that, even the wooden rods on which the whole setup is based would weigh about a ton, on top of which you've people who perform puja, the vahana on which the deity is placed, plus the decoration, plus few other crew who would monitor any overhead street wires from touching the umbrella and setup. There would be about 30 to 40 people who are needed to even lift this whole setup, after which they have to sway to beats every now and then and above all, need to carry the lord across all madaveethis and bring him back home to the temple. It takes about a good 5 to 6 hours for the whole function to get over and would surely be early morning before it completes. If we are in city during this festival, never once do we miss watching Rishabam. There is an additional incentive to this being that you can avoid becoming a cat in your next birth if you watch Rishabam.

For those who live here, there is literally no need for owning a vehicle, though every house has about so many wheelers that, the vehicles outnumber the inhabitants and spill over on to the streets, which double up as parking. There are 2 dozen decent to petty good schools across all boards, Arts and science colleges, vegetable and meat markets, malls, jewelry and textile bazaars, commutation of every possible mode and above all THE BEACH. Its a village with a smart city infrastructure. Of course the all prevailing traffic, encroachments on roads and other negative stuff apart, if India can be considered as a good sample set for analyzing the world, Mylapore would very well be the sample set for analyzing India. When I was in Disneyland during Christmas time, all those carols and "once upon a Christmas time" mickey parade and everything about the place was so charming and enchanting. You don't need missionaries with money to spread Christianity if they could sponsor a ticket to Disney for the target audience. They would fall in love with that culture. Ditto for Mylapore. You can be an atheist or whatever "ist" you belong to. Once you stay here, you settle and cannot move anywhere else, for its God's own ooru.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Fantastic stories and where to find them

For someone who grew on steady diet of comics and storybooks, I never quite had any imagination for how those mythical palaces and kingdoms and their inhabitants would look like, for I was pretty sure about them!! The limited sketches on Ambulimama were enough for me to convince on the curvature of the swords carried by the princes, there cut-shoes topped with upward pointing arcs, their mini frock like dress which every character wore which weird yet consistent across all stories, their looks more or less same with milky white complexioned princess and prince and dark dreadful looking villains, be it witch/wizard or the cunning mantri's. Their quests/challenges were always befuddling as to why would anyone travel across so many seas and oceans and mountain just to save a king or princess in distress. Most of the time either they would hit a curse or some situation where in, as luck would have it, they would be saved just in the nick of time by some dwarf or bird or some weird animal, which again would be their counterpart in curse, awaiting for such sonagiri prince to undertake that useless quest. The most important point is the curse and the curser (not the one following the typed word on the monitor..shabba..kambooter padikka aarambichapa idhu puriyaama ethana naal paadu!!!) . If not for the curse there is no story and no opportunity for the hero to showcase his heroism.

The saamiyaars who give the curse were generally pretty clever. The vimochanams they give were always simple - just have to wait till some guy comes and steps on the accursed being or touch them, beat them whatever. But the location would be something that no one bothers to travel. As for the saamiyars, their looks again would be consistently same. Someone quite some time back has decided that anyone drawing a saamiyar should always make sure that they are seen sporting "bodysoda" hair bun and long flowing thaadi, with a small kamandalam and one y shaped thandam. Without any of which their attire is incomplete. This has become such an unshakable norm that, till date, there has been no alternative identified. Ditto for the arakkan/rakshashan getup. Either they would be shiny bald with weird looking tuft or would be sporting hairstyle like Malinga/MSD mix. Uniformly, across all stories, they would be pot bellied and several feet tall and physically super powerful. The bigger they are in size, easier would be our heroes effort in slaying them.

The accessories that help our hero in the quest are another intriguing thing that sets sail the story, for the curse in itself would hold the story only for so long. Everyone who assist our hero would know where those flying horses, invisible cloaks, never rusting swords, magic shoes and what not are located. But no one would disturb them from their place and they would await the arrival of our sonagiri hero. As for the princess in distress are concerned, nothing would be more confusing as to how they managed to survive all those while inside the demon's lair. Infact, per the picturization on the stories, they would all look hale and healthy and well fed as well. Apdi well settled aana edathulenthu why would they want to escape with our sonagiri hero was an unanswered question for me, considering that they do fall for the beast over beauty if the heart is pure. Probably they value their freedom more than those luxuries? Didn't think so.

The worst of the lot would be the ilichayavaai king and if anyone is even worse it would be the queen. She never gets any story space and is always found towards the "Mangalam" portion to throw atchathai on the princess wedding. The king fares slightly better as he gets to announce the bounty for whoever saves the princess or his nation from evil's clutches. And finally, along with the queen, he would appreciate the prince and give his daughter in wedding. Thondru thottu across all raja rani story this has been their role or the lack of it. Sontha ponnu kaapatharatha vida vera enna velai irukum Raajakku? After declaring the bounty, usually the king falls sick and in some cases, the quest itself would be to find a medicine for him, on time, so that kind of settles his characterization. Never have in any of those stories that I read, there was even an inkling of humour, unlike those tracks forced in movies, where despite all those hulla-bulla, there would a Nagesh or Chandra Babu or NS Krishnan, to tickle the audience and at times prove valuable side kick for the hero.

When I read those stories, I always wondered what those princes would eat and where would they sleep and take bath and kaalai kadan matter and all, for they would always be on horse back, rushing towards a destination about which they would've no clue. Maybe, if read the same now, I might question a lot more and even criticize them for not being politically correct. I wish my kid doesn't get straightjacketed in his opinion on such stories, if at all he gets to read them and hope he enjoys reading those stories as much as I did.


Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Eccentricity > 1

If people want to stop superstitions, they would do well to start at school level. I have witnessed and practiced some really weird eccentric things, which felt like norm then. I would never arrange my books in standing order, with the spine showing the name, like how they keep in libraries and they would always be on stack mode with one on top of other. How much ever difficult it was to pull the book at the base and be it may crumble the book tower while pulling it out, the format stayed for a really long while, for the belief was that, if they were arranged in any other way, I performed badly in studies that year. Pretty soon my marks proved that apart from arranging, it requires reading and understanding the books as well. After a while, with varying sizes of books, the format went for a toss anyway and it all became a cluster taking dynamic shape, depending on the volume of scolding from mom. Similarly, the label on the book should always be at the exact center and not on right top corner. This later "evolved" into, one format of label sticking across all books. It can never be one book carrying center label and other deviating from the norm. Unable to cope up with the continuity, beyond a stage, I stopped getting wrapper for books.

Like some other kids, I also had this fetish to kannula othify, if inadvertently stepped on any paper, for Saraswathi ummachi resides on them. Its one thing I even practice till date, more towards avoiding stepping on any books. But a friend of mine took it to deiva level. He would mimic something like udukkai adichifying pose whenever he stepped on any paper and there was no restriction on the kind of paper or the place. Even while walking on road, if something hits by his leg, he would perform his act a good ten times. We used to gang up on him, throwing paper at his feet, to make him do his act, but would still secretly kannula othify ourselves to appease the god. It was unputdownable a practice for him and his mom had to intervene to put a stop to it when the practice of udukkai adiching continued even without any paper being involved. He now heads LATAM division in an IT company. Hopefully the uduakkai should've tuned to samba beats by now.

When we switched to writing with pen from pencil/chalk/balpam, it was a tremendous change for us. The font size with which we wrote underwent several changes and having been forced to adopt to unruled notes from ruled ones, the sentences were as straight in lines as our traffic. To avoid getting scolded, I reduced the size of my writing to microscopic levels. It got full blown publicity courtesy my English teacher, who had given me only 1 mark for a five mark answer. When enquired she said I had written only 4 lines for a 250 word answer and asked me to be more elaborate. I counted the words from my answer sheet in front of her and it came to over 650!!! She was stunned and just for fun sake asked for a recount to confirm. Instead of the usual 16 word per line norm, I had crammed 60 plus in a sentence. The exercise ended in me losing even that one mark and an earful for improving my handwriting. She should've seen that coming as I had completed the entire question set within the second page of the main sheet itself. Nowadays only pharmacists and ECG lab techies can make out my writing.

There are some more that would find a mention to this elite list, which also have a backstory. So reserved for some other post. Till then..tatttta byee.

Domesticated wilderness

Name 5 wild animals and 5 domestic animals is the default question that I remember from in my preschool entrance exam time which has survived into the second millennium. S.Ve Sekar comedies of "Anju singam Anju Naai" apart, it was from an era when I know answers for questions only at end of the chapter and anything else in exam was considered as incorrect question. The end of chapter questions would be segregated into two sections - one set straight forward questions for which I would put open bracket and close bracket on matching sentences from the lesson as answer and dabba adichify and second set would be those questions which begin with "discuss" and "justify" which were usually omitted. I remember asking this to my teacher in one of the exams that she had "incorrectly" included a "justify" question on the paper. She was perplexed as to what was wrong with the question and sushed me saying everything was correct. I again asked her the meaning for "justify" as till that time I was under the impression that those questions can be ignored and didn't even knew what the word meant. She tried her best to give an answer but the look on her face told me my mark for that paper.

It was standard practice in my previous school that questions would be from the end of lesson list, especially for language subjects. The fact that lessons were called as "chapters" itself was kind of off-putting when I switched school. Even more odd was teachers being called as "madam" which the "D" section kids shortened to "Mam". We "C" section kids used to mock them for bleating like goats but were shepherded into the terminology anyway. Even though it took a while, i finally got accustomed to questions which are on the topic and even stopped looking at the chapter end questions. Come the board exams, by which time I had again switched school, it was a throw back to question bank mode. Every one of us scrounged for previous several decades of question papers. I took it as a hobby to collect the question papers and probably would've scored more had the hobby also included searching for answers as well.

One good thing in college was that it was a bit of both. While the first two years year end exams were major repeats from previous 5 years of questions, I had fallen in love with Maths by that time to even bother. I devoured question bank across colleges and had adrenaline rush every time I would tick all those questions that were completed. Probably the only phase in my entire academic period where I liked to study rather than being forced to. Few days back my friend had shared photos of all those study materials from our college days that he still maintains in mint condition. Fact that we had scribbled answers all over those papers and by mint I meant as-is-where-is as of those days. Honestly I couldn't recollect a single thing from those papers and wasn't even sure if it was a prank to pull my leg. People do say that If​ you understand something you can never forget. I was pretty sure I understood all those differential equations, Laplace transformations, Fourier series, inter/extrapolations, Runge-Kutta theorems,  during my student days. Probably way too much junk information has eaten up on those wonderful memories. But one thing that refuses to simmer down is the pronunciation of Euler. Is it "Oyler" or "Yuler" would be a question for the ages.


Monday, April 03, 2017

Celebrating ARR-Ratnam magic

I am a big fan of partnerships. Be it whichever field - sports, politics or movies for that matter, would always root for my favorites. Ratnam/Raja musicals would be on everyone's play list as their combination resulted in some of the best melodies ever, cutting across all languages. With Roja, Ratnam did the music world a big favor in unearthing the raw talent that went on to win Oscars. Of all their albums, Roja is always my firm favorite. The very first time I heard that jing-chuk tingle sound at the start of "chinna chinna aasai" song, i was reminded of the ad jingles where that instrument was pretty prominent that time. No point for guessing who composed those jingles. ARR always has a soft spot for that tiny jing-chuk instrument which is used as substance abuse to target people who bend over backwards to please others. The otherwise casual and small instrument becomes a magic wand in ARR's composition. That initial chime at the beginning of the song, has become the signature of it and even with that single chime, the song becomes immediately recognizable. It sounds fresh every time we hear it and probably the reason why temples have gongs and bells which produce similar resonance.

In one of the hundred interviews on the movie, Ratnam had mentioned that he wanted ARR to create music that would've the feel of winter as ROJA was set in Kashmir. I never knew this when I heard the song for the first time, but "pudu vellai mazhai" does send a chill and soothing cool feeling all over, every single time one hears it. And if one doesn't get goosebumps after hearing "Tamizha tamizha" you are probably what people who doesn't agree with ruling parties are nowadays called as - desh drogi.

Of their other albums, I had special mention for Bombay about which I posted previously. Next in list is Thiruda Thiruda. If ever one can have a crush on a song that would be "Kannum Kannum Kollaiadithal" for me and it started the long list of my favorite songs that were screwed by choreographers. Ditto for "Veerapandi koataiyile". I've few songs that I go back to everytime when I redo my playlist and "Putham pudu boomi" will always figure in that. If you hear the song in full blown version, the effect would be awe inspiring and i realized it while watching the flying mountains in AVATAR movie. Somehow it felt as a link. My cousin had bought surround sound home theater for their house and had a CD of Thiruda Thiruda movie and Kadhalan. It was a huge thing to own an audio CD plus a home theater to play it. Me and my sister had a dream of setting up our own speaker system in our own house and even had designs for where to keep the speakers. That it never materialized is a different story. But when I first heard "Chandraleka" in speaker, it was love at first errr..hear (!!??) Michael Jackson "influence" was unmistakable. Yet somehow, that first time feel was never felt replicated how many ever times I hear it on different devices and renditions. Something always feel missing.

There could be so many other songs but the next one to leave a lasting impression was "Pachhai Niramay". The song had music even when on mute as such was the level of picturization. I have a fetish for white shirts which started with this song and till date i'vent been able to find that white which Maddy wears for the "white portion" of the song. "Snehithane" was my mom's favorite the moment she heard it which Kovai Sarala screwed it up for me. I will never be able to pronounce the word but as "Snaygithanaiii". After a really long while I heard "Yaaro oruvan" song and was surprised how come I missed it for so long. "Endrendum punnagai" was the very first ringtone of my "sengal" Nokia phone like tonnes of others. Then came "Ayutha ezhuthu". I was in Bangalore when the movie was released and was on one of the many weekend hiking trips we did across Karnataka when I first heard "Hey goodbye Nanba". When the high pitch portion comes you can feel yourself on top of a wave about to crash and surprisingly the picturization was exactly that. My colleague who was a kannadiga but can speak fluent tamil heard "Yakkai thiri" for first time and dumped the song as non-tamil for none of the words were familiar to her. We laughed our hearts out when we heard it after her exclaim that ARR has composed a non-tamil song in that movie for the lyrics were so chaste in tamil.  She mugged up that song as a bet and till date can recite it by heart.

"Kannathil muthamital" was never my favorite and for long had avoided the movie thinking it was all cry and melodrama. Many songs from that movie crept into my playlist without even knowing about the movie. One fine day I saw the movie on KTv and was stumped at the sequence of the "Sattena vizhunthathu nenjam" song. For most it would be "Deivam thantha poove". But to me "Sattena" song was not just impressive by its tune but the suddenness with which it comes on screen. Truly "suttena" it came, on screen and on my mind as well. After a long while it was "Nenjukkulle" unplugged from KADAL on MTV that recreated the magic for me. Watching it on a 60 inch screen with full sound was surreal and we all were mesmerized for the whole running duration of the song. We played it again on repeat mode from You Tube several other times. But it was "Moongil Thoattam" that stole the heart. A friend of mine managed to Ushaar pannufy one hindi girl while doing his MS in US of A. As his birthday gift that girl had written the song lyrics in tamil on her own with so many typos that made it even more cuter and shared it with their photos and some paintings on charts which she self decorated in his room when he was away as a surprise gift. Needless to say he was stumped and for a change the girl proposed and he accepted!! I had two pizza treats, one each from them so it was memorable for me as well :D The word you are looking for was pakki and yeah that was me.

Last in the list is the latest entry "Azhagiye" from their recent album for "Kaatru veliyidai". Going by the picturization shown on trailers, I guess the list of songs screwed by bad choreo just went up by one. For such a peppy song it definitely deserved better. Here's to wishing the combo more and more hits. May they continue to pleasure us all.

Bombay and lot many memories

With ARR-Ratnam combo celebrating their 25th year of partnership being the flavor of the season, thought will pitch in with my memories linked with their creative outputs.

Though Roja was their first and possibly the best ever wholesome album in their combination, it was Bombay that I could recollect more about. Most vivid of the lot being, the Friday edition of newspapers carrying the first poster/look of Bombay a month prior to its release. It was that of Manisha Koirala wearing a white veil/head scarf/duappatta(!!??) with her back posing for the pic, her head tilted to look at the camera, with only one half of her alabaster white face being visible from whatever precious little gap allowed by the cloth over her head. We used to buy HINDU paper and on that day it was Indian Express that carried this picture. The petty shop which was right at the door step of our house had kept the newspapers on our verandah to dry as it was pouring heavily that day. I had an insatiable appetite for reading then and had a dealing with that potti kadai uncle, that I would read the magazines and comics without messing the stapler or leave any dog ears, for free, with strong recommendation from my mom. I used to finish the books in half hour flat and the cost of managing my reading was eating into our budget. The newspaper had all been drenched in rain and the Friday supplements, barely managed to remain dry, having been secured inside the main paper. The movie was followed by so much hype and tension around the riots that were raging that time and made it all the more interesting to follow.

The other reason to remember the movie was that, it was the year we brought home our first two-in-one, a BPL-SANYO set of radio and recorder. There was an audio cassette offered free along with every set, the options were Baasha and Bombay. Prior to the day of purchase I heard the "Hulla-Gulla" song and mind was haunted with it playing non-stop. But sadly I wasn't aware it was from BOMBAY. I didn't knew ARR was the music director as well. The store guy tested Baasha cassette by playing it on the set and the song was "Thangamagan". We took Baasha with the set and came home to find Hulla-Gulla playing in our neighbour's house, much to my dismay. When the trailer was released, it was on a special show where they showed some beach with "Arabi kadaloram" song playing in background. Just one glimpse of a golden sand covered beach with dark violet sea brimming with tides. For a moment I thought Arabian sea was elsewhere in middle east as I couldn't believe such a beautiful beach existed in India. I got all the songs recorded in a local music shop and as my famous luck would have it, he screwed up my favorite hulla-gulla song for want of space and cut it right at the middle of last stanza. After hearing that tape till every single magnetic bit of it came off, mind automatically finishes the song even today at the exact place where it ended on tape, even while watching it on video.

Thank you for the music and the memories.

A movie within movie - Kavan

There was one intriguing thought that ran throughout while watching Kavan - first release of 2017 for Vijay Sethupathi, that, which TV channel has bought its telecast rights. Considering the extent of media bashing and the level to which behind scene activities of famous reality shows have been revealed, wonder would the channels consider it as a self goal to show this movie. But nevertheless a topic and theme that I could relate to and is pretty close to heart - credibility of mainstream media, especially television and news channels.

The movie has a running time of over 150 minutes and is literally a non-stop run to finish. Right from the time the name credits role, there are already scenes happening in background when the name scrolls, till the end credits, where there are scenes happening again, the movie is a non-stop express from start to finish. Like all KV Anand movies, the climax portion is super rushed up where a supposedly half an hour of screen time is cramped into minutes with everything happening in parallel.

The theme of the movie, as mentioned before, is quite current - reliability of media houses. It literally washes their dirty linen in public on how social media, mainstream and all other formats are hand in synch in projecting or damaging the images of any public personality, from politician to movie star to common folks. Vijay Sethupathi for once is miscast in a role that requires more suave and chocolate boy. He looks even odder sporting "ondipuli senthil" inspired wigs. His English diction lets him down and with his feeble voice it makes dubbing all the more worse. This is one role where his acting chops doesn't come to his rescue as in his previous movies. Madonna Sebastian looks like "Kadhal" Sandhya clone and has precious little to do. She replicates the "Ko" heroine role to the T and plays the role of a "sporting" side kick. The famed TR entry and his characterization falls flat within few minutes of his intro. This could've been a grand re-entry for him and for no fault of him, it fizzles out, courtesy the director. Rest of the cast play their part and are almost unnoticeable in the break neck screenplay. Songs- sutham. BGM - suthamo sutham.

Gils verdict - Remove those scenes involving reality shows and those involving media mismanaging public opinion, KAVAN is bland at best. Its super fast screenplay saves it to an extent but this is one catapult that surely misses the target. Hope the TV rights aren't hit considering the damage they've done for their shows :)