Saturday, July 30, 2005

“Scandal in Bohemia”

I guess most of us know this story about one of the rare Sherlock Holmes’ failure. The way he was outwitted by Irene Adler in SiB is a classic. Well, this Saturday was pretty much the same to me.

What started out as a trap set for another friend of mine, turned out to be one that blew up in my face. In fact, I had written an entire post on that trap, and decided to finish it once the final scene had been enacted. Well, after how the trap unraveled, that post is never going to see the light of day. “Shift-delete. Yes.” Now, to begin afresh.

I set up a “brilliant” plot to pull a fast one on Kiddo 2. And the main instrument in this was to be the girl (whose name I do not yet have the authority to mention) who was responsible for the “fallen co-God”. Somewhere along the line, I turned out to be the messee, instead of the messer. Of course, the architect for this turn-around was the just-mentioned girl. I have no idea about the details on when exactly I was being steered to the conclusion that she aimed for, but it was a fun ride this week. As I read the last few lines I’ve written, I realize it is possible to do so without a wince, and that I think is definitive proof that it was fun for me as well. Heck, let me becoming the victim of this trap be my birthday gift to her, which incidentally fell on the 28th. :) (Yup. I found another silver lining - no need to waste money. Hehe!)

So, apparently my ex-co-God has captured all my emotions of elation, sympathy, laughter and shock on the camera. I need to see that. Possibly the gamut of emotions would be an appropriate fore-runner for a post I’ve been planning for some time. (and nope eV, it is not Story – 3 I am talking about. Hold your horses. Too many events on Saturday.)

Another event before the “final scene enacting” was showing some of the old photos in my comp to her. Amidst all the laughs at her Kiddo’s hairstyle in 12th, came a few more funny moments, and a somber moment as well. Things that make me realize why I have so much fun with my old friends, and a few things that make me ache. Now when I sit down to ruminate and type this, I realize these “aching” things are the ones that provide substance to my stand of remaining a God. These make me realize that even sorrow can be satisfying. I know, sounds weird. But that is what I felt. To use a Stephen King-esque metaphor, you may have to open a few boxes despite knowing there are monsters inside them. These monsters are going to be there for the rest of the life. You might as well get acquainted and like them. Yup, this is the monster that gives me a reason to stay a God. For life. I long for it.

(Ok, the last paragraph on the photo-viewing event might go over most heads. But the Gang should be able to comprehend.)

Oh btw, the events of the day weren’t over yet. After a coffee with the ex-God-couple, I went to watch Anniyan – with my parents. The second time was even better. My father and I are big fans of Sujatha’s dialogues, and this movie was a treat for us. And yes, Sadha still looks crappy (sorry Pamsy). :))

And that was Saturday. Phew!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Tea in Coffee Shops

After 2 short stories that were given a tremendous reception (yup, I suffer from delusions of grandeur) and God’s music that threatened to usurp my mind, I am back with…not another story. This one of my pet peeves – coffee shops. More specifically, tea in coffee shops.

How is that worse than the coffee in coffee houses, you may ask? Here is the answer: that is not coffee. Nope, not to me. But let that aside, and get to the topic for today.

When I order for tea, the least I expect is a refreshing beverage that I can drink. Giving me milk, a tea bag and sugar cubes isn’t what I want. I am paying good money to drink the tea which these people give, then why the heck do I have to prepare the damn tea myself! I might as well go to the next door Foodworld, buy all the ingredients and sit at home drinking the crappy tea that I prepare. There is a reason we order tea, and it is partly because we are lazy/incapable of preparing it.

You would have noticed that I haven’t even spoken about taste in my expectations. For that I need to go to some other places, you know the numerous Darshinis, Sahyadris, and Sagars that thrive in Bangalore. It hurts me to pay just five rupees and get wonderful “already prepared” steaming tea at these places. I mean, what is preventing these guys as well from charging me 30 bucks!

And the teabags! I do not think there has been a worse invention than this. I try dipping the tea for 15 minutes to squeeze out every ounce of its essence. Once that is done, I realize that the milk is cold. Ok, the next time I dip real quick, squeeze the bag with the forceps and what do I get? – hot milk with a tinge of the tea flavour. If cows chewed on tea leaves, the milk gushing out would have more tea than my concoction.

A few coffee shops have now come up with the idea of straining the tea leaves. Fine idea, but why do I need to be given the strainer and leaves. It sounds like, “Here. We did our best to give you something resembling tea. But we aren’t sure. So go ahead, be my guest and strain some more.” All this is just an easy way for these coffee shops to escape responsibility. It removes the scope for any more “fly-in-tea” jokes.
Or if the jokes do happen, it isn’t funny.

Customer: “Waiter, there is a mosquito in my tea.”
Waiter: “So, didn’t you make it? Be careful the next time”

Customer: “The tea is too milky.”
Waiter: “Are you a moron? Don’t you know the right proportions for preparing tea? Get lost”

Ok, I can foresee two possible lines of defence from the pro-coffee-shoppers.
1) Do not generalize. There are a lot of us who like it the way it is, and we make really good tea.
Fine. But that still doesn’t give the shop any right to expect me to prepare the tea. Why isn’t there a ready made option for us losers who really can’t make a simple thing as tea! After all, if it is that simple, what is hurting them from making it???

2) It is all about customization. The customer is king. You make your tea the way you like it.
Oh I see. Very smart. So, here is a possible situation 5 years down the line.

Coffee Shop Guy: “Good Evening O Lord of the light!”
Me: “So, I would like a cup of tea.”
CSG: “Would that be plastic or clay?”
Me: “clay??? Since when did that become a monetary exchange unit…”
CSG: “Oh no esteemed sir! I was asking you whether you would prefer a clay cup or a plastic cup.”
Me: “Clay cup” (apprehensively)
CSG: “That’s great. Please step into this room sir. There is your seat for the potter’s wheel. The clay is right next to you. Please feel free to mould the kind of cup that suits you. We also let you make it as ornate as possible. Once you are done, the next room has the kiln where the cup would be finally hardened. While you are waiting for this to happen, please take the private jet at the patio to visit our tea estate and pluck the tea leaves that you prefer…

There sir, please enjoy your tea. Everything that has gone behind making this cup of tea is your effort. We believe in utmost customer satisfaction. Have a nice day.
Oh also, would you like to sit on a coir mat or …”

I flee to the end of the world.
Or the nearest Nair tea shop.

By the way, the 5 year prophecy isn’t totally away from the mark. So, people beware!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

A Aa (Anbe Aaruyire) by God (who else!)

A Aa - the first 2 letters of the Tamil alphabet (of for that matter for most languages) - is Rahman's latest release. It stands for Anbe Aaruyire.

Wow! My pick of the album is God's own Anbe Aaruyire. I can wax eloquent on his voice, style, music, genius, etc...but words fail me when I listen to his songs. I need to shut my Winamp or iPod to even think clearly. But do I want to do it? Nope! Never!!

Just listen to the genius at work. Everything in life is just the supporting cast.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Feebler Attempt: Short Story 2


This was a poster that seemed to be following him the entire day. He had seen the first one just as he left home for work. He snickered at the brazen arrogance. His “home” was a cardboard box which seemed to have an identity crisis. The direction that his home wanted to face created a problem whenever it rained. But who was he to change the “THIS SIDE UP”. His mother had always told him that he was a “dimwit” – someone who needs to shut his mouth, and just do as the world orders. She wasn’t there anymore, but her words still were.

Now wasn’t the time to get lost in thought. Heck, he wasn’t even sure what he thought were actually “thoughts”. His mother had been sure on that count as well – no thinking. He bent down to forage the garbage and look for some bottles, paper bags, plastic, anything that would sustain his solitary meal of bread & wine. That was his “work”. He snickered again.

But the poster kept pulling his eyes and thoughts. He read it a few more times and a cheery grin appeared as the obvious irony struck him. How can a blind person read this poster?! Yuck yuck yuck. He doubled up. This laughter was so different from his usual giggling. In fact, he had forgotten to laugh for quite some time. A burn in the forearm was never the price to pay for a fun-filled, hassle-free, full-throated laugh. Oh no. Surely not. Another thing the credit of which goes to his mother. But if only his mother had seen the look on his scarred face now. Maybe, just maybe, she might not have left him in the train. Just maybe.

It always amazed him as to how he could pick up the alphabets so easily, speak so clearly, and still be tagged a retard. Maybe God had something special waiting for him. He believed in that more than anything else. Could this poster be that? Food, a roof, money…what more did he need! He could do any easy job. He had very good hearing. All looked rosy, except for the blind part. Damn! Why couldn’t have God withheld his eyes along with his brain while making him?

He was about to move on to the next bin, when a thought struck him. Talk about lightning striking the same place more than once. What if he could pretend to be blind? Who is to know? Anyway, who would bother about a could-be-blind retard? Also, if they do call his blind man’s bluff, nothing much can happen. So he scrutinized the poster more closely to find out the address. That was just a few streets away. He decided to leave right away, and begin his blind man impersonation.

It was a huge building. Not many people around. The guard at the gate signaled him to stop. He continued walking, oblivious to the check. Damn, I should have got a cane! But it was too late to think about that now. He walked awkwardly to the sound of the now shouting guard, and told him his business. The guard just asked him to walk on to the inner gate, without even as much as a cursory glance. So far so good. Same procedure at the inner gate, and from there he was escorted to a scary looking man.

He shut his eyes completely not wanting to give himself away. The man’s voice was a contrast to his huge frame.
“So, you are here for the job eh?”
“Yessir. I have very good hearing…can hear from 50 feet”.
“Once you accept this job, you will not be allowed to leave this building. But all your comforts would be taken care of. Is that fine?”
“Never mind. Let me show you your lodgi…I am sorry, how insensitive of me! Let me take you to your lodgings, and you decide for yourself”

They walked through a maze of corridors before the scary-looking man stopped in front of a door. He took his hand, and made him feel the number – 270. He then pushed open the door, and led him in.

Frankly, it was indeed a surprise how the scary-looking man did not hear the gasp that escaped his throat. This was like a palace compared to his earlier “home”. He pretended to feel the walls and the bed, and then beamed in delight, which definitely was not pretense. Not by a mile.

“Now, let me take you to your work-station. It is a simple route that we’ve designed to help you reach without any trouble”

True to his word, he led him a few hundred metres and then they reached a dark place which seemed to be filled with a thunderous roar of water. By now, he had shut his eyes completely. The attraction of his possible new home had that effect. He wanted this job badly, and was ready to keep up his pretense till he had sealed the deal.

The scary-looking, but sweet-sounding man seated him on a chair. He then made him touch a panel and a switch next to it. His job was simple. He had these headphones on, through which he had to listen keenly. When he heard some water splattering, he needed to get ready. Once it stopped, he had to just push the switch for 5 seconds and release it. Simple enough. He mastered it in a few tries. Life was going to be peaceful. Thank you god.

A few hours later, the scary-looking man was talking to his boss.
“Sir, any news on the request?”
“Nope. It has been turned down. The government thinks it would be bad PR if we converted all the video cameras to audio sensors now.”
“But sir…that technology hadn’t been tested when we installed the systems. Shouldn’t we…”
“They’ve said No. And that means no. Nothing much can be done.”
“So, any new joinees?”
“Yes sir, one a few hours back.”
“Has he been…”
“I was hoping to delay it…you know…if the audio sensors can be installed…maybe…we don’t have to…”
“That’s out of the question now. I can empathise, but that’s life. And business. Things might have been different if we had managed to acquire discarded microphones, instead of web-cameras. But you got to take what you get. Just cop it.”
“So…do I?”
“We cannot afford to be lax. Not once.”

An hour later, the scary-looking man takes out the screwdriver, gouges both the eyes of the vagabond of 270, cauterizes him, and grants him a week of bed rest. A week later, inmate at 270 is all set to perform his duties at the workstation room.

These were the workstations which controlled all the “automatic” loos across the town.

Author's Note: This is not inspired from any tale. If you think it is so, please tell me. I shall file a lawsuit against them.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Feeble Attempt: Short Story

The man in the blue shirt hesitated a bit. Was there someone calling him? He turned around. Nope. The lady in the blue dress continued to remain engrossed in her book. There wasn’t any one else in the vicinity apart from that mangy dog, but he was pretty sure that the call (if there had been) wasn’t from that source.

The lady felt the slightest bit of wind on her cheek, and as she looked up from the Harry Potter book she was reading to brush the strand of hair attempting to get into her eye, she saw a man in a blue shirt look away. Was he staring at me? Can’t be sure. He did remind her of somebody though – her old neighbour. Or should it be her neighbour of old. Whatever. Thoughts of her neighbour always raised her hackles.

He had seemed like this incredibly nice chap with a happy family. Of course, such a view was hard to persist with after he chain sawed his family one night. Too many things in his mind. It’s obviously hard to remain sane when you know that your best friend had just poisoned your family. A poison that doesn’t even work like normal ones – and that was the tragedy! Surprisingly. No, all this poison did was to remove the last vestiges of humaneness in any human. Living with mechanical people isn’t too much fun. But what warranted the massacre was the fact that these “people” could spread this at will. He was about to get to his friend as well. He had conjured up these images of a gruesome slow death that would make…well…he might as well admit it…make what he went through, as he wiped out his family, as just a walk in the park. Dreams…hmmph! Of course, none of that happened as the cops got there before. His murder cycle began and ended with his family, prematurely if one may add. Couldn’t get to the friend.

Not that his friend could have been murdered. Let’s optimistically rephrase that – only his friend’s body could have been murdered. His conscience had done a good job of expunging his soul. Ironic indeed. It had created a serious conflict of interest. How could one commit suicide in order to live! He didn’t bother himself with such philosophical ruminations. Not after his dastardly acts. The first “killing” was the worst. Oh no…it was a very clean affair – so not “worst” in that sense. Even now, it amazed him to see his ego surfacing to appease his “killer” image. Isn’t it the image that woos the ego? That first “killing” was the worst simply because his human self had put up its best fight. Since then it was pretty much gravity’s way. Humaneness, just like egotism, can never be vanquished completely. He learnt that the hard way when his guilt tortured him no end after the “poisoning” of his best friend’s family. But he couldn’t stand up against the Giant.

The Giant was just a moniker. He stood 7 ft tall. He spoke softly. He spoke endearingly. All that was sweet candy. But what he spoke wasn’t. He was good at convincing people to kill others. He was very fair in his choices. There was never any discrimination regards the person who should die, and who should do the killing. In fact, he prided himself on his objectivity. He would have been a good guy, a well-respected man in society, but for the little thing of him beginning to “kill” since his childhood. As a baby, he had a stunted view of what killing was. God (if there does exist such a person) needs to be thanked for such small favours. As a baby, he had “killed” people – only they seemed so to his mind. Not that he didn’t actually hurt them. Ask the curious visitor who in the process of playfully pointing his finger at the baby’s cheek had the digit bitten to the bone. They all laughed at the baby’s supernatural teeth. Uncomfortably. It had to be uncomfortable laughter. But as he grew, so did his brain, so did his sweet talk and so did his laziness. Now he just needed to sermonize for 10 minutes, and the audience would have made up its mind on the weapon. So simple. So lazy. Of course, you do have the occasional tough nuts to crack. Like the one he just got off the phone. Phone – another piece of invention to encourage laziness and unhinder his depravity. His powers seemed to be growing at an alarming rate. The latest “to-be-killer” was able to get quite a few barks & yips out, before he silenced him with his speech. By the end of the talk, he was pretty sure that if the person at the other end had a tail, it would be wagging vigorously. He had got him so excited about this new “kill”.

He dropped the phone. His small brain managed to grasp most of what the voice at the other end wanted. The victim was a tough target. Unlike most humans, this one actually observed. So he needed to be at his utmost stealth to get the better of him. The victim seemed to have taken a liking for that girl. That was good. Mind wasn’t where it was supposed to be. Very good. And there came the 18 wheeler down the road. Excellent.

The mangy dog made a lunge at the man in blue, who went sprawling onto the hot road. Crap! How hot is this road…was his last thought as the 18-wheeler decided to give him a closer look. The lady in the blue dress didn’t look up until she noticed that her Half Blood Prince book was drenched fully in blood.
Author's Note: The above story writing style is completely inspired from Mark Twain's short story, "The Story of the Old Ram". I couldn't help but try to write one using the same.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Kiddo 2's 25!

What is the molecular structure of benzene-1, 4-dicarboxylic acid?
Is “aldehyde” a chemical compound or is it a dysfunctional literary character?
How do you differentiate between ellipses and Morse code?

Answers to all this and more can be found in most textbooks. If not, there is always Ameya.

Despite being the second youngest in our Gang, and hence nicked Kiddo 2, he possesses a brain, maturity far beyond his age. Eight years ago, he was the “father of the family” figure for our Gang. Now he is considered the “father figure” to our parents! Such is his rapid stride in this field.

I first met Ameya in 11th standard, and I was literally blown away by his escapades. The culture shock was too much for me to handle. He used to be the sole guy in a mass of 3 benches which consisted otherwise of girls – a major Classanova, if that were a word.

Since then he has been trying to undergo a image makeover to fit in with us, and one must say that he has been moderately successful. If I were to say that he could in fact turn out to occupy the position of co-God, I wouldn’t be exaggerating. But lets not talk about that, and get his focus about 180 degrees adrift.
(Note: “180 degrees”, “focus” are words that automatically creep in when talking about him. His deep technical aptitude infuses my words, albeit temporarily)

He is also the poster-boy for Protection of Indian Values, after having survived the agni-pariksha of Sweden. ;-) His control over his temper, emotions, and scientific situations is exemplary – though I might have got the order mixed up.

When most people in our Gang do not have a clear idea on where our careers are heading, he is the only one with a chalked-out plan. Rumours say that the initial draft of this plan was conceptualized in his 4th grade. Not surprising, I may add!

He turns 17…er…25 this day. Here’s wishing him a very happy birthday.
I would also like to add that no one from the Gang, I repeat, NO ONE, has gifted him a sweatshirt. :-)

I would also like to say, “Work pal. Keep working. That’s my advice.”
(Ladies, he detests the usage of the word “pal”, so kindly refrain!)

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Mangal Pandey - The Rising

God's latest offering. A movie on the 1857 revolt. Period movie. Nothing more to say.

Rahman & Historic movies is like...Iyengars and more kuzhambu, Bongs and rosogolla, you get the drift.

Rasiya sung by Richa Sharma and Bonnie Chakraborty is definitely the pick of the album. Can't get the damn song out of my head for the past 15 hours!

How the heck does He do it?? Well, if I had a paisa for every time I thought know how it ends.

Hmm...need to stop thinking and just let it soak in know the rest. I am off this place before I leave every sentence incomplete, and substitute the last few words with "ellipsis abuse".

Oh, forgot to add. Please buy the original CD/cassette. Else, you might have Rules Raman knocking at your doorsteps. :)
(I know where most of my blog-readers live)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Long forgotten book tag!

It seems like it was ages ago when Other book-tagged me. So many things have happened that kept me from completing this tag. Anyway, here I am at work, with a bit of free time, and I shall complete what I had half-begun.

The Other has strictly prohibited me from mentioning any Stephen King books in this list, as he fears that would dominate the list (and rightly so). I shall answer this tag talking about only non-SK books.
(Stephen King books would be a separate post sometime soon)

Ok, now to the tag questions:

Number of books I own
Last count lost count. I had the grand plans of indexing my books when I was a kid, and even began the process – just simple indexing, nothing complicated as the Dewey Decimal – but gave up after reaching 600 books.
Right now it must be somewhere above 2000, with a lot of my old books packed somewhere.

Presently reading
Best Short Works of Mark Twain by Mark Twain
MT is one of the best authors of humour fiction. Obviously not as good as the God – Jerome K Jerome – in terms of concentrated humour, but I guess consistency would push MT much higher than JKJ.
Stories such as “Journalism in Tennessee”, “How I Edited an Agricultural Paper” are gems. American humour should be indebted forever in gratitude to this comic genius.

In the pipeline
Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
Considered as the funniest book by CD. Some critics rate it even better than The Pickwick Papers!

The Blue God by Ramesh Menon
My blog readers would have a good knowledge about my Mahabharatha fixation. The Blue God speaks about Krishna’s life, and in some ways furnishes the missing pieces of the Mahabharatha jigsaw. I have ordered for this book, hope it is delivered soon.

Puddnhead Wilson, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Again, part of a MT purchasing binge.

Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice
Having read the first 5 of the chronicles, I really haven’t had the time to get back to them. Anne Rice’s very own stories on the Mayfair witches diverted me for a few months, before I realized that she must stick to vampires alone.

Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan
Book 11 of the Wheel of Time series – not yet published. I hope he finishes the damn series fast.

Recently Read
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain
Stunning satire on the clash of the new-world and the medieval period.

The Mahabharatha by Ramesh Menon
Enough has been written by me about this here.

The Digital Fortress by Dan Brown
A mistake. A big big mistake! Poor language, poor characterization, flimsy plot, trite writing style – you name it, this book has it all. Passages such as, “Susan began to break her head on the bug. And then recalled in amusement as to how the word ‘bug’ came into existence. In the 1970s, the first computer blah blah blah…” tested my patience to the maximum. Aargh!

Few of my favourites
(now I enter the part of the post where I need to keep my hands away from typing S-T-E-P-H-…)
The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan
Complicated plot. Brilliant characterization. Black. This is a wonderful series with just a few grouses from my side. The incredibly long time RJ is taking to finish the series, and the very hackneyed names of the titles.
Also, after having lived on a steady diet of King, the fact that not a single major character has conclusively died even after 10 books rankles me a bit. The one death of Moiraine isn’t even totally sure, with all the signs of her making/having made a return.

Three Men on the Bummel & Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome
Funniest books ever written. Period. Some of the memorable passages are:
Harris getting lost in the maze
The German railway ticketing system
Uncle Podger searching for the newspaper
“Ride zigzag in case they shoot”

The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice
There can’t be a better de-mystification of the vampire image than the one done by AR. In this second book of the Vampire Chronicles, Lestat attempts to find the origin of the vampires, and AR’s theory is very clever and thought-provoking.

Obviously, The Mahabharatha! :)

Books I Hate
Without getting into the names of any particular author, and as a result, hurting the mentioned author’s fans, I would like to state the attributes in a book that would make me hate it:
No story.
High level of abstraction, pretending to be intellectual (or as Rajjo likes to call it – “pseudo intellectual trash”)
No plot.
Banal language.
(I shall stop)

So, I have fulfilled the tag and would like to pass it on to:
Kaushik (who doesn’t have a blog, and hence would have to comment it)

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Official Gang Roadtrip – 2

After traveling 1500 kms in our previous roadtrip to and around Munnaar, we settled for a shorter distance, longer relaxation trip to Mudumalai this time. The Devil & Pamsy, two guys who missed out the previous roadtrip, made it for this one. Rajjo did make in a few guest appearances. But more on that later.

Participants in the trip:
Akshai aka Kiddo
Pramod aka Pamsy aka David
Kaushik aka Devil aka Shanty
Dhimant aka Chakku
Inder aka Bandhar
Ameya aka Kiddo 2 aka Science
Sridhar aka Chilli aka me
Guest appearance: Rajneesh aka Rajjo aka Cow

The seven of us left Bangalore at 4 AM on Saturday. The Scorpio is split into 3 classes – Front Seat, Middle Class – high AC, 3rd class RAC – no AC. Throughout the duration of the drive everyone had a taste of every class. And this is despite Ameya refusing to occupy any class but that that befits his stature – First!

It had been more than two years since I had driven on the road to Mysore. I remember the excitement I had those days when I saw the construction for the 4-lane highway progressing in full throttle. And this time was no different. I still felt excited as I drove through the 2/4 lane highways, in anticipation of the elusive day when the road would actually be completed.

Note: The following narrative would contain a lot of names & nicknames & tripnames. I advise the reader to keep track assiduously in order to not be left out midway. :)

Pramod had the privilege of being the first to be christened with a new nickname. His Baywatch jacket that served no perceptible purpose, other than prompting a nick out of us, was a constant source of fun whenever he did something with it. And thus was “David Hasselhoff” born. David made good of his promise to get most of the snacks, and especially ragi bread.

Here are a few memorable moments/conversations/jokes/I don’t know what the normal world calls them:
  • Bandhar mentioning his Hiranyakashipu resolution. “not near the trees”, “not inside”. Er…where exactly when???
  • Breakfast at Mysore, right in front of the zoo. We spot a giraffe, and Akshai goes, “When can we see the full animal? This is only gir-half”. :)
  • Loos in Mysore: For some strange reason, all restaurants keep them locked. One needs to go to the cashier, log into a register, take the key, and lock it back and return it once you are done. All this while, the cash box is pretty open to the public.
  • Rajjo’s 1st appearance, and not surprisingly in front of the zoo. :)
  • Dhimant kicking off the next leg of the trip by sporting his “trendy” shades…or so he thought. It just re-affirmed THE LOOK he is trying to run away from.
  • As we neared Mudumalai, Bandhar starting rattling out the right directions. For the uninformed, that is as rare as the Haley’s comet. This lead to our Karz theory. Din di din din…din di din din. (to be hummed in tune)
  • Masinagudi is one of the most cyber-savvy towns. Even the tailor shop is called Dot Com Tailors! The gate to the Dot Com Guest House is an abacus!
  • Chakku’s, “Howard Johnson?”
  • Six hours of absolutely wild, strategy steeped foosball. (Guys, we need to buy a table right away)
  • Chakku’s, “Don’t take offense” every time some one opted to chose the attacking half of the foosball table. He must consider himself very lucky that we didn’t let him rot with the flies. Speaking of which…
  • Flies & Chakku. :D The funniest moment of the trip. The video-clip of this particular incident is available on request, or it could be caught on “World’s most Stupid Acts” in Star World.
  • Akshai’s “battery snub” of Ameya. I think Kiddo 2 is still hurting. :( I was gracious enough to request Chakku to make the battery for Ameya.
  • My Theory on the Job/Operation.
  • Pamsy being berated by Kaushik for giving way to all vehicles, and then Kaushik himself getting forced off the road by a tempo.
  • “Kaushik, what is he doing?!!! Ask him to go. Ask him to go…please!!!”. Chakku to the Devil, when he could no longer stand the mammoth elephant a few feet away.
  • “Arrey saar, flash maar, flash maar”. Shantakumar, the driver of the night-safari jeep, urging Bandhar to provoke the animal.
  • Rajjo throwing his owner out of the cart, and charging to meet us at the Hunsur Road. As a side note, it must be added that the Devil ignored him and continued driving. :(
  • Me: “Something fishy is going on inside. I wouldn’t be totally surprised if either of the two open the door wrapped in a towel.” and ……… doing the exact same thing!
  • Ameya describing how he managed to alter the power transmission circuit in Sweden. I do not remember the details, but it had something to do with a “ground point”.
  • Kiddo, Chakku, Bandhar & the Devil drinking a lot of Sprite, and pretending to get sloshed. ;-)
  • Akshai (when down 0-3): “At 3-3, we shall change our strategy again…” We did, and we won!
  • Gifts that we shall be getting from Chakku by this weekend: 5 Marks & Spencer shirts, 1 Foosball table, 1 Pool table. What say? ;-)
  • Oh, how could I forget this? “pi pi pi piiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii”
That’s all the stuff I could remember off the top of my head, as more come up, I shall continue to update.

It was a great weekend. Superb time spent with the Gang.
(Now, when is that goddamn Rajjo going to get back???)

Friday, July 08, 2005

God is coming down to Bangalore!!

Yippppppeeeeeeeeeeee. Woooohhooooooooooooooo!!! :))

Thanks to lazygeek, I got to know of this news.
A 3D concert of Rahman, the God of music, would happen in Bangalore on Oct 8th.

TELEPHONE NO. + 91 9845657432

Heck, I can't wait for late August, which is when the tickets would be sold.

I only hope for one thing - I do not have to go through the trials & tribulations I went through to attend his Unity of Light concert on Feb 21, 2003 in Chennai. Please, no such "tricky" decisions again! :)

Ok, I need to stop jumping. Stop.

Nope, cannot. :D

Sunday, July 03, 2005


After a lot of hassling and fighting, I finally got my chance to see Shankar’s latest movie – Anniyan. Despite having heard a lot of negatives about movie to the tune of, “It’s a rehash of all his earlier movies”, “He has just copied stunts from Matrix & Kill Bill”, etc I knew one thing for sure – I needed to see the movie for myself to make the decision. Tastes in this world are never one and the same, a good example being Gilli running for 200 odd days while Anbe Sivam struggling to hit the 100-day mark. As I came out of the theatre, there was just one thought in my mind – stunning!

If Indian talks about one man’s fight against corruption, Anniyan takes a slightly different issue. At the outset, they might seem similar, but nope! This is a movie that hits hard at public apathy. The problems that irk the protagonist are day-to-day occurrences, events that flit past our busy lives with not even a passing glance from most of us. What’s even more painful is the treatment meted out to people who do not stop with just a glance, but step down into the slush and get their hands dirty in an effort to clean the system.

Err..system is actually the wrong word here. Anniyan’s message is simple: “It is all well and fine to blame the system (govt, bureaucrats, et al). But the core of the problem lies with us. If all we are going to do is just talk about how bad this country is, how dirty the politicians are, all that your country is going to progress is zilch. We need to be active.” And by public participation, it doesn’t even talk about the noble dreams of the social service enthusiasts. Yes, those people deserve all the praise for their endeavour against the bigger issues of life. But, what Anniyan propounds is doing the small things right; things that do not require any extra-ordinary effort from our side, except the barest minimum of will to overcome the threshold of apathy, and the thickness of a skin to outlast the passing hecklers.

A classic scene in the movie when a guy is dying on the road, and Vikram (as Rules Ramanujam) tries to help him. There is this person who says, “Somebody go get a first-aid kit. Somebody go call the ambulance. Somebody go inform the police.” One question – Mr. Why don’t you do these things? Err…I just remembered that I’ve got to be elsewhere. !#$%#$^

Fine, giving the allowance that you do have a few people who wouldn’t hesitate to get into the so-called bureaucratic mess, what about the following of traffic rules? We Indians are always in a hurry. It doesn’t matter if we aren’t supposed to get onto the wrong side and zip past all the patiently waiting vehicles. It is our birthright. Hmm…no, change that. It is a sign of my incredible smartness and the absolute stupidity of the losers adhering to the traffic signal. Oh another thing…a typical response from any such person, “What’s wrong!! Look at blue-shirt, he is doing the same, look at the black-jeans, he is also doing the same…what’s the big deal if I do the same? I am in a hurry”. !#$%#$^
And what surprises me is this – We are all in such a hurry, but never do we reach any place on time. (???)

Interleaved with these daily annoyances of Rules Ramanajum are his futile attempts to woo Sada. If the former leads to the birth of Anniyan, the latter leads to the emergence of Remo. How one personality gets submerged completely, while the other quelled temporarily is the rest of the story. A compelling tale indeed.

The flaws of the movie begin and end with the choice of the heroine. Sada acts as the perfect dhrishti for the movie. I admire Vairamuthu’s tongue-in-cheek humour when he penned the lyrics “Iyengar veettu azhage…” keeping Sada in mind. :P

The music. Apart from “Sukumari…” and “Andankaakka”, none of the others matches up to the standards of a Shankar movie. But that is to be expected given the vast bridge between Harris Jeyraj and Rahman.

The obvious heroes of the movie are Vikram and Vivek. After lying in the dredges of vulgar humour – atypical to Tamil – Vivek comes up with a great performance. The “Kamal-sir” joke, and his comment on “sappa figures” bring the theatre down.

Vikram continues to impress. There was nothing surprising about his performance, given the high expectations after his Pitamahan performance. His portrayal of Rules Ramanujam is awesome, even to the minor detail of holding the mirror while applying the sreecharnam. Sigh! I only hope my mother doesn’t get ideas on how I am supposed to follow the typical Iyengar lifestyle after seeing the movie. (I do not have any qualms about imitating Anniyan though. :))

I think one important example of public apathy that Shankar missed out is on the issue of movie piracy. Not only does it give him an opportunity to hit the audience hard and make them feel uncomfortable, it is self-serving as well. Pirated VCDs have been the bane of Tamil cinema for quite some time now, and it is my personal opinion that any person who supports this “industry” needs to be asked to shut his mouth on voicing any cribs about the nation. As I told my aunt who used to be an avid VCD watcher, “Do you want the blood of another GV on your hands?” GV, brother of movie maestro Mani Rathnam, was forced to commit suicide because of this very disease – video piracy. When a man as accomplished falls prey to such public negligence, I pity the first-time producers. As S Ve Shekar rightly puts it, “How would you feel if your father works hard for 30 days of the month, and then some unknown guy collected his salary on the 31st?!”

That is exactly what the public is doing. And they do not seem to realize the gravity of the situation. Even as I write this, there would be people around the world who would be watching Anniyan on pirated VCDs. It makes me wonder whether people are justified in saying that the murdering of people, as Anniyan does, was a bit of hyperbolic reaction. Maybe extreme situations do need such extreme measures.

Let me end this review (?) of Anniyan (interspersed with my own thoughts) with this quote by Kamal Hassan that I heard in his interview prior to the release of Mahanadhi.
“Do people think before spitting into a river? No…they just think nothing is going to happen by the acts of a single person. But if a million think the same, the Mahanadhi wouldn’t be a maha-nadhi anymore, it would be a maha-gutter. One person has to think about this implication and swallow his saliva and pull back.”

Very true. Very very true.