Monday, December 29, 2008

Small eyes and big screen

The only thing that is left for me to see is to have a just born baby taken directly to the theatre. You know how the new borns look all shrivelled up, that is the only stage of baby I haven't seen in the theatre. As of today, I have seen 3 months to five year old kids in Indian theatre.

I don't care if you judge me because I know I love Kids. Every one who knows me knows that. That is probably why I am writing this post. Yes, sometimes sitting in TZP and JA, I have enjoyed the questions some kids have screamed out loud. It is kind of cute when a five year old asks it mom if the kid in TZP is getting punished because he has been a bad boy.

But it is another to have a 2 year old girl standing right next to you and staring at your face right as you are watching a movie for 15 minutes. That is still between me and the parents. But when you bring your 3 year old to vettayadu vilayadu, a movie where a friend commented with all the 19 murders you got 2 murders free in end title and to top it, you let him stand right next to the big screen and he watches as you close your eyes to avoid the gore on the screen, that is the limit.

Another violent movie like Ghajini, you bring your 3 month old baby and sit in the first row. That baby shouldn't even be allowed to watch T.V for God's sake.

Every one I speak to condemn this. The couple of parents I know take extreme pains to avoid this scenario. They even go to the theatre alone so that the other can take care of the kid. Yet, I find parents all the time with kids in the theatre. If you do want a romantic night out(with Vettayadu vilayadu, I mean if that is your kind of romance, who am I to question it), can't you get a baby sitter? Yes, it is money, so is raising the baby. I mean you signed up for raising the baby, didn't you?

As my brother mentioned, it is somewhat understandable when people do this in India. The awareness and understanding is lesser but here you are aware and there are other alternatives why not use them? Who are these parents who in spite of the raging dispute do the same mistake? What makes them do it?

Should I call child services and tell on them next time?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Airtel supersinger

I have been watching Airtel Super singer for a month now. It has become the one TV show I look forward to. Not the office, the hills or desperate housewives who by the way did a retelecast last Sunday. I mean can you believe it, the whole summer they go on vacation show some poochandi shows after that and then start repeating the episodes again, the nerve I tell you. Anyhow back to the Airtel super singer.

I like the show, something to look forward to. The quality of singing is quite good which is what made me sit up and notice the show in the first place I suppose. I have also learnt couple of pointers on singing.(I am not a singer, for that matter, please note, am not a writer, I am not a cooker(!), cleaner in short I am somebody who should not be credited with anything). For example, why I never comprehend shruti easily(it is inherently not there), why I have to sing 10 times before going to the next class and all that good stuff.

The compering is usually done by chinmayee. This week 's comperers were Yogendran, Malaysia Vasudevan's son and his wife making me realize that Chinmayee does a decent job.

Now Chinmayee, her fashion sense reminds you why chennai is never going to host the annual fashion week ever but she is usually in the background and is just a conductor of the show. Yogendran, on the other hand, ventures in with a mike every few minutes. I do not mean this as a rude remark but his singing wouldn't have gotten him through the first round of Airtel super singer.

He probably knows that which is why he grabs this opportunity to sing.

The show has had varied Judges from Mahati, Mathangi(who a famous blogger has a crush onand there by fell some 100 points below in my estimate) to Sriram Parthasarathy, who hugged two contestants, guys ..hugged them for singing well atleast that's what he claimed. I quite like Sriram's singing so I shall not talk about this further.

And then there was Deepan Chakravarthy, who my mom referred to as the stage show singer. During Illayaraja's period of reign, SPB and Chitra ruled the roost, I bet you guys know that. Illayaraja for whatever reason liked him but know he wasn't worth singing movie songs, so this guy got delegated to stage shows. Atleast that's what mom said. He was also a judge during the same hugging session and when Sriram Parthasarathy said that these guys had done a fab job and should definitely sing for movies, he was like, yeah only after correcting themselves and with lot more practice.. you know sour grapes sort of..

Now it is predominantly Srinivas, Sujata and Unnikrishnan. They should be given decent rating, though I refrain from giving Unnikrishnan any sort of rating after last year's Kutcheri debacle for me.

Srinivas, that is a singer who I love, so I will go easy on him. I like the way he says too much.

Sujata, god knows how she ends up singing up and that too does a good job of it because she seems quite out of breadth even while talking in the show. She also suffers from this I will talk Malayalam and since in my head it sounds like tamil, it is tamil. It is quite surprising since she has stayed for quite a fong time in tamil nadu.

Unnikrishnan starts of by commenting on the dress. In one of the episodes, he said I like the color(the contestant was wearing) and the contestant got stunned for a moment. This is his way of lightening up the contestant before passing the judgement, I suppose. It stumps the contestant(females have been the only recepients of this honour so far) more than the judgement itself.

None of the judges have had any startling moment so far. By far, Singer Shylaja,one of the judges last week, has been the only impressive onre. Proper feedbacks provided without much a frill, I liked her style.

On the design of the show itself, except the last week's unplugged round, there hasn't been much of variety but as I said the quality of the singing is quite good which glues you in.

The other aspect is I find old gems which either I had forgotten(ullathil nalla ullam from Karna) or wasn't even aware of (Pon ondru kanden). I didn't quite like the 70's or songs before that era much as a kid. But now I quite like them for their musical depth(? ... whatever that means).

And then there are viewers and then there are their thoughts, reminding you of the word democracy. Does democracy means detoriation of quality, of intelligence, intellectualism? why does a good term like democracy result in such massive detoriation of quality.

They have all been yelling in different forums about how the some of the singers should have never been eliminated. Sometimes, Indian female film songing, I feel is like some sort of olympics for pitch. There is some sort of high jump competition in terms of pitch that is going on. I am bored of this single tonal voices. People who have been eliminated will well fit into this category. I am glad Airtel super singer is not olympics for pitches and I am also glad it doesn't believe in democracy.

Yeah, there are other things one has to be thankful for. The camarderie between the contestants, the lack of drama like calling judges and other contestants names when one gets eliminated, overall, the show kind of tells me the ugly disease called reality drama involving bitching hasn't yet hit the shores of our Madras. So, all's well till then:)

Thursday, December 18, 2008


It makes sense when people question Rama for making Sita walk through fire to prove her chastity and still sending her on exile on the same chastity business. People tend to do with a rigor which is only natural when you find a flaw in a character you have been told to idolise all along.

But why heroize Ravana in the process? I mean didn't the man kidnap Sita and put his country in a war for the sake of his lust for a woman?

Or is it that people can't reverse their opinion on one hero without reversing on the villian.

I think of Ramayana as a part of History that has been coated with the divinity paint. I still chant my hanuman chalisas and vishnu sahsranamams.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pongalo Pongal

Bush... Came the sound and I rushed to the Kitchen. Milk had spilled again for the nth time. Actually, every single time I was told to look after the boiling milk.

Mom would be back from wherever she was soon and then... ?

I called EB2(Elder brother 2) and appraised him of the situation. He understood the gravity of the situation and also understood that the situation is only natural.

Tell me, who could wait for what seems to be two big bang cycles in front of the stove, waiting for the milk to form froth, then for the froth to reach the brim of vessel and turn off the stove at that exact moment.

Hello, You lost me at the waiting part. But Mom depending on the thousand parameters one of which also includes how me, her only daughter,the laziest samarthyam less bum, is going to survive in the world, that seem to dictate her mood will definitely not get it.

So Ann2 asked, how much money do you have?
I replied," Two Rupees".
Ann2," I have five, I will go buy the milk".

But now the question of the kadankaran/Palakaran having the requiste milk arose since this was the pre-arogya and pre-madras days of our life. Luckily,he did.

I poured the milk into the vessel, turned the stove on. Two minutes later, Mom entered the house. " Eppo than katcharaya?". With all the sweat of being outside in the sun and god knows what queues she had to encounter depending on the place, she said, " Seri, enime naa pathukren, poo".

I ran off from the Kitchen with nary a concern for the mom or the spilled milk just with the satisfication of a sucessful coup pulled off.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

In other news....

Rahul & I: I will get married to Rahul Gandhi. He will be the pretty one and me, the intelligent one(relatively, pah!). No more Prime Ministers from Nehru family, I assure you. I won't become one coz I immensely prefer browsing the whole day with background pressure of work to be done. I will also get lasagnas and gnocchi for lunch. :) Win-win situation. No comments on beauty(him) & the beast(who?) are allowed.

*** ALERT: Boys, the following might be out of your comfort zone****
I have been getting them for a long time now. Perfect 24-27 day cycles. Symptoms change, before it was leg pain to stomach pain to what my roommates termed as life threatening pukes. Now it is PMS cry. Once in a month, I will cry for something that most probably occured 15-25 days ago. For like 5 minutes. Logical me will be wondering why am I crying for or even getting upset over this? a day or two later, I will know the answer. Puh..

If you are from India, you would definitely recognize these set of people. The ones who always look south from your face while talking to you. If you are a Girl from India and you haven't met them, the smoke that you are smelling is due to the fire from my stomach! Anyway, couple of years ago, i encountered it at work. From the guy with much acclaimed European skin, blonde hair, brown eyes and yet cutting an ugly picture with that weirdly structured face. For like half an hour he was in my cube. These days it only amuses me anyway. Must be an unmarried loser, I thought. I came to know later that he is married with two kids. Surely he must have seen dozens of them considering his cultural background. So, why? why do they do that?

I am off to watch Wednesday. Does anyone else find Irfan Khan, Naseerudin Shah Hot? Irfan Khan did after watching Maqbool and Naseer did after rice plate in das kahaniyaan. If not and you find this wierd, remember what you read here, stays here.
Ok bye.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Mumbai terror - part 2

I wanted to avoid another post lest I sound like a broken record or pretentious but I react to what I read and Mumbai terror attack still occupies a major portion of that.

1. Every body is calling it India's 9/11. From what I know, we have had one of these bomb blasts quite often starting from 1993 Bombay blasts. We might even have covered all the 365 days if somebody listed them all. What makes this our 9/11 and others not? If you are talking in terms of importance of the place, hello, we have had one in our Parliament 7 years ago, in terms of lives lost or property lost, Bombay blasts would score big time no?
I think people who have this utter fascination with US are the one's who would be calling it India's 9/11. I am not complaining atleast we are reacting strongly for once.

2. US says Pakistan should help India, Pakistan says terrorism is bad and will provide all support to India and then says that there is no proof that all these people are from Pakistan. India keeps saying there will be Military consequences and does nothing. This routine has been going on for 7 days now. I must say I have it all memorized that tomorrow if one of the spokepersons gets sick, I can cover for him.
With Global recession, nobody has any money for war anyway except for the terrorists.

3. I read in Dawn, a Pakistani Newspaper, in their letters to editor section, India must have done this all to herself to avoid the focus shifting to Kashmir. That is too much of intelligence to attribute to my country's RAW. We are RAW not ISI.

4. CNN, I swear I switched it off last Monday as soon as I heard Obama say that every nation has to do what it has to protect its soverignity in response to some reporter's question about doesn't India have the same right to attack Pakistan as US does to combat terrorism, you know ending on a good note.

But before that I heard some intelligent guys* at CNN say that they should solve the current terror problem in US by solving the KAshmir problem. You know like India is a moron and let us help him with the problem. Irritating, especially considering US's track record in solving problems in the recent past, in Iraq and Afghanistan is abysmal. If at all, US and Britain are the top countries that should be prevented from poking their nose into another country's business.
They have already created enough mess, time to pass the chance to other countries.

5. I left a comment at NDTV that they shouldn't cop out by saying there was no guidance from government, people are probably more interested in lives saved than live coverage itself.

That comment wasn't published but comments thanking NDTV for the live coverage were. I left another comment saying people, NDTV is not doing us any favor by doing a live coverage, after all they are doing it for the ad money for which we pay indirectly. Also, nobody is asking them to stop the live coverage just do it wth responsibility. That was also not published.

*Morons, what are the other synonyms of this word? Idiot & stupid have been declared uncool from second standard. Please take your time and provide answer within 7 days, all your comments will be published, unlike you know other places.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


What constitutes beauty, she wanted to know. Is it the eyes, the aquiline nose, the shape of the lips, the high cheekbones? or is it the expression that comes through the eyes - something like the eyes are windows to the soul. beautiful soul, beautiful eyes?
That one moment, when the not so cherubic person makes the cherubic face and says a sorry, did she really have such good thoughts in her mind? Then why does her actions not reflect that?

Not me, she wanted to know.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mumbai attack

There have been bomb blasts in India before. Every single time I have been agitated. I would go restless, plotting mentally an end to these attacks. But this one shook me to the core, not because the elite or few Caucasian people got caught but because this was literally a war against my country.

It was just 10-25 terrorists but without a concern for their life and with sole aim of murdering as many as they can, a situation were there was nothing for them to lose while every single casualty was a loss to us . Every morning, those 3 days, I woke up thinking it would have been all over, it was deeply disturbing.

To top it, I got my news update from CNN. Given the choice between swallowing a Blood pressure tablet & switching off CNN, I had to choose the option of turning off CNN. I haven't even enrolled in flex spending, so there is no question of BP tablet. Every single word out of their mouth was condescending towards India. So, further discussion on CNN anchors will be banned.

With them as the base, every single person they invited on CNN seemed intelligent. Deepak Chopra except for some stupid rhetoric about Pakistan seemed to atleast spoke from the point of view of Indians. Thanks to 9/11, US at least seems to understand what terrorism means, they cannot appear not to. Pakistan, however is their pet child, no, Pakistan is the only entity they are worried about. They were discussing how to prevent the war between India and Pakistan. I could never quite get it, but its ok for U.S to wage a war against Afghanistan and Iraq, which by the way, is not even on the path after 9/11 attacks while India which has lost 7500 lives to terrorists from Pakistan should keep quiet? I haven't figured out under what moronic/perverted logic does that make sense.

People have been sighting Pakistan's Prime Minister statement to claim that Pakistan is not involved which again raises questions in my mind.
1)If Pakistan was indeed the reason, would their PM really come out and say they were involved? So, what kind of moronic evidence is that then.
2) How many people realize that Pakistani army is an independent entity of its own? Pakistan PM, today's or any yester year one's have never had any control on them?

On the other hand, Pakistan PM and others from Pakistan have literally been begging India not to wage a war against them. It almost reminds me of kids who would scream, "Na pannala, na pannala". This with us, their arch rivals! So, seriously sad state of affairs at Pakistan. Also, take a look at the wiki entry for bomb blasts in Pakistan and you will realize they are as troubled as us.

Meanwhile, the backboneless Manmohan Singh, who should have struck to Economics and Sonia Gandhi, who in my opinion should never have to do anything with government have sent proof to US that Pakistanis were behind the attack. Morons, as if US is going to look at the proof and say ok, go ahead launch the attack.

Hello, US has been giving money literally to Pakistan for the past 7 years in the hope they would eliminate Taliban, Al Qaeda which if you notice hasn't done anything either. If the George Bush had concentrated finishing up in Afghanistan instead of waging a war without a reason against Iraq(not Irock, it is Iraq, get that right first), we honestly wouldn't have to face this day.

I don;t know what is really solution in this regard. Pakistan seems quite powerless to handle the terrorist in their own country. India is not going to get access to the terrorist, all it can do is war against the military.

US should and can, but US would puppetize the government in Pakistan, further killing the democracy, honestly quite dangerous to India. Plus a strong presence of US military in our neighbor land can't be good to us.

CNN interviewed Jonathan, a candian Citizen who was staying in Taj during the time of terror attack. One can clearly see he was shaken, I mean I would be too if I had encountered death at such close quarters.
Two things that caught my attention was,
1. He said let us all take the next plane and go to Mumbai to show the terrorists they can't do anything to us. This from Canadian citizen, may be it was just rhetoric, still it means a lot, isn't it, coming from a mouth of a person whose face still echoes the throes of death he had just been in.
2. He and every other caucasian who were interviewed all had good things to say about the Indian Military. Finally, some good acknowledgement esp from a westerner.

Indian NSG have done a good job. But there is no harm in pointing out that there is hardly any security in India compared to rest of world. The security guard thatha at the mumbai airport waved me in looking at my face instead of my boarding pass! As I was standing in line at Chennai airport to get my luggages scanned, there was a simple iron chain barricade between us and the people who had already undergone the scan. Airport staff comes in with a row of trolleys opens the chain. When he puts the chain back, he simply asks the guy who by now is standing in the middle, secuirty check achu? The guy nods and is simply let into the other security cleared line! A terrorist could easily look for loopholes like that.

It simply hurts that a billion of us are not adequately protected. While Jayalalithas, Karunanidhis, sonia gandhi's mother in Italy all get amply protected. We just don't seem to have serious attitude towards security!

Fine, even with all this security as Rajiv Gandhi's security Guard said, " For us everyday is a victory for the terrorist a split second is a victory" but atleast put up a fight.

I just want to point out, LTTE had a free pass in Tamil Nadu before Jayalalitha's regime. She simply abolished their presence. The woman had a iron hand in dealing with LTTE. On the other hand, every time Karunanidhi comes in, few LTTEs escape from Jail. Attitude at the top matters!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What to do this thanksgiving?

Drive drive and drive around.
Because you never know when the shaikhs will raise the price again and when they do, they will get back with vengeance.
So for now drive, drive, drive around.

If you had ever wanted to aimlessly wander on the pretext of finding yourself, do it now. do it using a car.
Go somewhere, go anywhere in your car.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Varanam Aayiram

* We, as in I, like Coming of age/finding yourself stories. Garden state and Razor's edge are my favorites. But I can't recall watching a tamil movie in this genre.

* The movie is set in two places that are close to my heart. The movie is shot extensively in SFO and the place where I grew up. The Light blue shirt, dark blue Pant uniform that Surya sports is from my Alma mater. So, I should know these places and people.

* In spite of the familiar setting and genre being a personal favorite, I still couldn't relate to the movie. The ingredients is what threw me off. Surya's love at first sight, how he finds his life's calling reminds me more of a masala movie than real life. None of them really end up getting any admiration. When Surya's parents ask him to take a trip to find himself, I more look at them as irresponsible parents than as Parents who were confident and mature enough to trust the kid. Surya's character up until that point hasn't displayed anything that felt like he deserved the trust. See that's what the problem with the movie was, couldn't relate esp. in a surrounding so familiar and unjustifiable and also not that well made.

* Sameera's character acts, reacts as expected. She is one of the normal ones.

* Gautham Menon handled the love angle in Kakka Kakka and Vettayadu Vilayadu sensibly, making me wish he would direct a full fledged love story one day. But apparently if he does that it will end up like Minnale. A Minnale with litte less regressive idea of a woman.

* Sameera Reddy could look beautiful, who knew?

* We(as in I) like the songs, but today morning I found Bheema's music intolerable. As this is Harris Jeyaraj, the music might suffer the same fate too. 'Annal melae' and Mundinam parthen are picturized quite surprisingly what one would have imagined.
Oh and they also apparently shot a song in Farah Khan's OSO set.

* Surya has put in quite a bit of work in essaying two roles and it shows. Simran requires just few scenes to shine. In those few scenes, she makes you forget the others including the two Suryas.

* I am never going to forgive Tamil audiences for not lapping up Simran back with open arms after her Child- birth break. You guys so deserve your Jyothikas and Trishas.

* Surya calls his father, daddy in the movie. The Dad Surya calls his son, Kiddo. (!!! no this is not the 70s shows). Surya here belongs to a generation before mine. i.e when Sarang was called Mardigas. So the peterness is out of place. On top of this, Surya's diction doesn't allow the daddies and kiddos to slip by without you noticing it and squirming about it. The more I noticed, I realized Surya has trouble even in saying Azhagu.

*Caught the movie on Saturday. The Original plan to watch on Sunday crashed because DB felt movie might not be worth it after reading the reviews. DB, DR and the other couple dropped out. But just couple of days before that, another friend S had asked me to come along. After reading the reviews I was scared not because I thought it would be sub-par but because I thought it might have more melodrama that I can take.But somehow S convinced me with a gushing email from another friend of hers and I went along. As of today, we both are looking for hired helps or an auto full of goondas to be sent to the author of the gushing email.

Few pieces of info.
1. Sarang of our times was called Mardigas once apparently.
2 Surya shopped in Bath & Body works accompanied by his Sister-in-law and bought tonnes of stuff.
#1 mattered to me and #2 I have to report as per Gossip Raja's rules of data transfer wherein Gossip listened to, however trivial in content will be passed on to another person.
3. Next time when some one wishes to visit SFO and your car refuses to go on what would be its silver jubilee of SFO sight seeing trip, please hand them over the DVD of Adiye kolluthey.

At some point, this random post has to end. So here.

Friday, November 14, 2008


When I was in Grad school, I emailed a random Kashmiri guy* (whose website I had come across accidentally) asking him if he wanted Kashmir to be part of Pakistan or India. He replied, "Neither, we want an Independent Kashmir".

What? Come again.

See, for a long time, all I heard was that Kashmir was part of India, the crown of India and Pakistani militant Infiltration is the sole reason for problems in Kashmir. People of Kashmir of course wanted to be part of India. Those of them who didn't, must have been just brainwashed by Pakistani militants. So, as Arvind Swamy jumps into the fire to protect the burning Indian flag with Tamizha Tamizha playing in the background, I had goosebumps. Gosh, a hero after my own heart(any which way, no?:)).

Now, Faisal of Kashmir was telling me that Pakistan alone was not responsible for the problem.

Then I thought may be the Indian military presence and their inhuman treatment is the cause of resentment. Military people are always like that, taught to act on command and not on reasoning.

Or may be Faisal was one off case.

But What if he is part of majority? If majority of people residing in Kashmir want independence, wouldn't it be oppression on our part to keep them glued to India. I feel Kashmir as part of India and they don't.

They argue that Kashmir as a region has nothing much culturally with the rest of India. So is Tamil, Telugu, Konkani, Bengali. So should India just break into 50 different countries, then? Where does that kind of reasoning end?

That's when I realized just as I was brought up under the tenets that Kashmir to Kanyakumari is India they have grown up with the tenets that Kashmir should be a separate country.

Idea of a nation lies sometimes in just the arbitary lines drawn and the propaganda about the Nation that ensues it. i,e British united the different kingdoms into a place to rule and drew the lines of India when they left. Nehru did a good job of Kashmir to Kanyakumari Propoganda. So, I have India.

Someone out there feels that another set of arbitary lines should be drawn and would call it Independent Kashmir.

I would like to stick with lines that I have grown up with.

I also find the process of deconstructing ideas such as these these easy but it takes a little more time to reflect in my actions or my opinions. In this case, may be I don't want to reflect it on my opinions either.

Feelings for India - Patriotism/ Jingoism, whichever way you refer to it, is one of my stronger identities. This kind of thought process leaves me to question even that basic identity of mine. I don't think I want to lose something that I have identified with all my life.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama Won

Yesterday as I tuned into the TV, I don't really remember caring who is going to win. I am a democrat by default but living in california, one has no clue what other states are feeling. And due to my Indian experiences, I am always suspicious about these sample polls.

But then I saw Obama had a clear lead. After switching between Fox and CNN for an hour, I switched to some DVD. When I switched back after less than an hour, Obama was already declared the president.

That was it, I don't think I will ever be able to describe my job. Went out, disappointed that people were not making any noise on the street. Did a couple of jigs. Treated myself at starbucks(silly, silly me).

After this it has been all night of listening to Obama's speech, revisiting his interviews with Jay Leno, David Letterman, heck even old pops Oreilly's one. He has been a delight in each of these interview filling each reply with humour. This is not a side of him we are going to see him again while he is in office.

Considering my feelings are so overwhelming for Obama today, I can't but smile how I thought Hilary clinton should/would become the next president last year.

Let me just trace from last year to this point, what I felt at each point, lest I forget that I wasn't even supporter obama all the time.
So Hilary this time, is it?
Obama isn't bad, I don't care if either of them becomes president.
why can't clinton just quit?
oh man why can't clinton just quit while Mccain has even started his election.
He is Barack Hussien Obama, so ?
Oh my god, Sarah Palin - will get back right at you.
John Mccain isn't bad.
People have issues with him black?
Obama is winning.
Slight slip.
Obama Won.

Funnily enough, I also don't hate John Mccain like the way I hate George Bush, Sarah Palin. In another time with a lesser opponent he would have won. And if not for Obama's skin tone, with his personality, Charisma and with such anti-incumbent wave against Bush administration, he would have sweeped more.

It was a fair contest and that is always nice after the mockery George bush made of the white house in the apst 8 years.

Not that I am really sure what Obama promises to me. We are really in desparate times. People use the sentence all the time, but this one time nobody can dispute it. Will Obama ensure I will have my job? Will my taxes increase? Will US be able to pull out of Iraq without much of a chaos in 15 months?

I honestly don't know the answers to these. But I know that he was the best of the current lot and probably even across few of the previous elections. People have bet and the historical milestone cannot be ignored. Hope for world's sake he does some miracle.

And yeah, he is hot!

Ps: Prop8..! For those who voted yes on Prop8, I hope you all have kids who turn out to be gays so that one day you will wish you had voted no.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Religious fundamentalism - 3

The post would be incomplete without describing the pseudo-secularism that some people practise. In India, secularism= minority patronizing, in my head secularism= i don't give two hoots about any religion, minority, majority or a non-existent one called scientology or atheism. I won't decide even the personal cases per any damn religion, any kind of religious disputes(though in case of babri masjid or any such religious institution, i personally think, a status quo is best solution, some changes in life are irreversible.. ).

Some people feel the need to talk abt all the past atrocities while condemning bomb blasts owned by a terrorist organization in the name of islam. Any life killed, is a life killed. A life killed without the proper trial of jursidication should not be allowed. You have to condemn it, unequivocally.It is not a question of 10 hindus versus 1 muslim killed or 1 hindu versus 10 muslim killed. May be putting a face instead of just quoting numbers would help. I am not sure a hindu/muslim will die happily because 10 other people of other religion was killed.

People eager to show their secular attitude, always feel a need to add atrocity done in the name of Hinduism when they condemn a bomb attack done in the name of Islam. Like these bombs are bad, so are gujarat riots/babri masjid, you can't honestly go back this way, it is highly possible in the quest of origin of this problem, you might end up all the way upto Abraham and Issac.

Congress started this. Actually Nehru started it but I honestly believe that man did it for good reasons. He assumed naively that only minority will feel insecure and they have to be protected. Over a period of time, the later congress leaders started treating them as vote banks. I am not sure of this fact, but some one told me that congress refusal to arrest terrorist because they are muslims(congress's traditional votebank) is leading to several bomb blasts today. BJP lucked out of this deal by tapping on the insecure Hindu minds. I can't deny the fact, even a lay person like me can see that raise of BJP in every state has resulted in a major riot in that state(orisssa,karnataka?). Minroities resort to bombs, majorities resort to riots.So, I don't need to go on to explain more how this appeasement of one religion over others would not work.

I look around and I don’t see any countries with such high diverse ratio without problems. The usual looking west for solution wouldn’t really work in this case. USA feels it fit to screen everyone who follow a particular religion as a suspected terrorist and openly screens for such names and subjects them to more checks. In this process, I am sure it is creating a few more terrorists. On the slightest sign of diversity,France decided to ban Headgear.

Few other countries which have religious diversities seem to have same amount of people who are ready to start for riots at the slightest sign of provocation. India’s pseudo-secular act made people from majority religion feeling insecure which lead to an eye for an eye and is slowly turning people blind.

As a nation, India should know that intolerance of any kind wouldn’t work. I see religion as a private affair and government should stay away from it. A truly secular society - shouldnt give two hoots about any religion. The section of society which is responsible for implementing this, the politicians and police should know that. Just so that they continue receiving their bribes.

Religious fundamentalism - 2

The thing is, as I read through links from outlook from one of my favorite bloggers, a vague feeling of familiarity stuck. I am not going to come off extremely politically correct in the process. Because what I could visualise was how the dialogue of the hindu extremists would flame most hindus.

As I read the rioter's voice, somebody who has heard those rants before, I can see the trajectory from where they were coming.

See, I went to a school which promoted hinduism, I went there mainly because it was a CBSE school and that was a must for us with parents in transferrable job. Plus dad thought we will learn sanskrit.

Just to tell you how hindu,We had extensive bhajan session every friday. Half a day every week went in just singing Bhajan. Most of other schools were christian in the small city and they had their own dogma, insisting no bindi, no anklet and teaching hymns. So which ever school you went religion was thrust down your throat.

When I was ten years old, I was told to pay a Rupee for a stamp of a temple. It was compulsory and I don't think I knew what Babri Masjid was. But yes I contributed a rupee to that unknowingly. But I remember fighting with Parents and Uncles who had once again voted for congress instead of the raising BJP. I remember feeling enraged when some teacher explained to me that the Masjid was built on a Hindu temple.

Most of us tend to develop an attachment or bonding or loyality to things we are associated with - Religion, family, country, Race and sometimes even actors.It is as simple as that. We might not even know the meaning of things, if you throw any allegation, we could easily come up with an explanation for it.

Logically, a decision follows arguments. Sometimes in cases such as religion, you are already into a religion in full force. And we start collecting pros for something we are already into. Like in my case I used to say how Hinduism is an not an organized religion. Today I think I am a follower of Hinduism, because I was born into it. If I had born into any other religion, I know I would have followed it and equally argued for it.

Still, We develop a bond for that religion. With that bond as a base, each attack against your religion and favoring of other religion angers you.

Like a Shah Bano case or how Babri Masjid is Janma Bhoomi of Ram and the fact that muslims rulers destroyed the temple and built a Mosque there. Or this whole civil code which allows polygamy etc will be used .Keep repeating that how Hinduism is the only religion that politicians attack again and again. In tamilnadu's case, Karunanidhi does that. He is an atheist, but this actions are anti-hindu than anti-religion. Obv. he is after the votes. Politicians are always after votes. Yes, they might have started off due to their loyalities, but a raj thackeray or a karunanidhi know what they are doing today.

I am not going to say that the Hindus are the only Bigots. As a Hindu I can see the trajectory. But as a Muslim/Christain, the very fact that I understand that you are a minority is enough to cause insecurity.
I never got why minorities might be more insecure than majority but I think now I do know. Minority means in terms of crisis or fights with other people of other religion, the person responsible for protecting your rights, might himself be from the majority religion and the impartiality might be effected. Gujarat with its Narendra modi.

Not everything can be blamed on politician. To start with people weren’t politically correct either. People alredy branded each other, Hinduism=casteist, Christainity = conversion*, Islam = meat eating. But people never shied away from going and buying their parle-G’s and hamam soap from Bai Kadais. The way I see it, they co-existed with their prejudices intact.

Since we co-existed for the first 30 years of independence, I am assuming these prejudices doesn't cause riots but rather got fueled by the politicians agenda.

Having said that I still don’t know how they make that transition. How from people with prejudices they turn into people who have blood in their hand, I don’t get it. At the end of the day, it is blood in their hands, how they develop their insensitivity to feel muslims not as humans, I can't quite understand.

I was once told, Mob mentality was the explanation. There is a scene in Hey Ram. In the morning, the mob will try to attack Kamal and his tailor who is part of the mob will save him. The same tailor will be part of the mob that rapes Kamal’s wife that evening. As Kamal seeks his revenge, you will hear the tailor scream, it was all done in a moment, I don't what came over me.
The reason why I mention it here is, the outlook article tells me something very similar. Some rioters know the people they attacked, personally.

An insecure mind flared up. 22000 of them flared up to attack the people they know because they converted.
I hope it explains to some extent how these things happen.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Religious fundamentalism - 1

I have been reading various blog posts on the Orissa riots for sometime now. I am not sure what for. For one, I don't see any of the blogger or blog-reader actually hurting someone in the name of religion for the major part. Two, the people who might do so I am pretty sure don't read blogs. So, i am not really sure why me or someone else is arguing about this. Quite a few of us know how to keep our differences to ourselves and not translate into violence on others, physically or verbally. So..

But I guess these posts do help us become more aware of our own prejudices or may be not. That is if you are one of those types that do live and learn and I do.

At first as I read these posts, I just wanted to repeat my usual rant against the raise of violent intolerant behavior in India. I mean we have been a country for 60 years now and lived relatively with less fight for the first 40 years and suddenly for the past 20 years, we have this huge riots over everything including the colour of ribbon on my hair?

But I think I might be able to add more on to it. As a person who once was more prejudiced.

I am a Hindu, today conversions absolutely don't matter to me. On the other hand, why would it matter to any Hindu? Are they afraid that they will lose their place of worship because god forbid, all the 700 million decide to convert leaving you all alone. 700 million is a large number, its going to take a long time to convert all of them. So, What exactly is their problem? And what exactly gives them a right to attack somebody else over their problem. More importantly, human beings are not going to be perfect. Their thinking/rationalization is going to change over period of time and it is going to be different from some one else. For each of these differences, should we take a gun in hand.

On the other hand, looking back at history, I have often wondered, how hinduism didn't die. World over religion started with worshiping nature, evolved into polytheism and then monotheism and then shunned idol worship. If you look through the different philosophies that existed or originated in India which eventually got clubbed as hinduism, you would find the very same strands(

Also, I also see a wave of conversions to Abrahamic religions across the world in history. Most of the earlier idol/nature worshipping religion seems to have vanished when organized religion was introduced. Hinduism which in its practiced form is very much still an idol worshipping religion has survived. Under aggressive Islamic rulers who destroyed temples, christian missionaires and with an inherent flaw that 70%-80% of its followers ill-treated. I don’t know what is the cause, may be these group of people are simply reluctant to change.

Before I go further, Hindusim as I see it is a term for all the godly pracitces and beliefs that existed before the advent of any other religion. With the advent of other religions(could have been buddhism/Islam), there was a need to coin a term for existing religion, so hinduism. The practices of this religion also seemed to have changed with every influence it faced. So, you see monotheism and monism. This is also probably why it survived. Changing with times is the only way for any religion/language/culture to survive.

None of this is the way my hinduism is. To me, it is simply following the poojas/festivals my mom did, repeating the shlokas I got introduced to. They are my way of approaches to my god. My faith in this might come from probably being introduced at a young age i,e nostlagia.

Also, I am not spiritual. but religious. (I have always wanted to say it from the time I read the opposite of those lines).

So, philosphies of advaita are going to hardly matter to me.

So anyway, when people in the orissa or karnataka are killing/burning in the name of religion, they are obviously not aware of any of the former. They are probably practising hinduism exactly the same way I do.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mother nature, not one for equal rights?

See, I can fight with Men for equal rights.
But how do I deal with this mother nature,
who specifically decided to give woman's reproductive organ an early retirement age while the men's retire only when they die.
who decided that woman will alone have still fresh mark on them while men have none of it.

Amma, Sarah Palin needs you

As a 6/7 year old, after rote-ing up my sanskrit/hindi lessons, I will pester my mother for one final independent questioning.

My mum* used to annoy me by asking questions in all kinds of order except the way I had written them down. Sometimes, she would ask me the sanskrit equivalent of an english word when clearly i had written sanskrit word = english word i,e i should be tested the other way around. Stick to the book, woman, stick to the book.

See, I was a stickler for perfection:) and I couldn't take such changes. Besides, if you are learning by rote why not all the way with the numbers. Weren't the marks coming out fine with my superior learning skills.

For all such nonsenses from me, She would come up with worthless explanations like it is more important for me that you know what you are learning than what you score in the exam.

Anyhow, as you can clearly see Sarah Palin needs my mum in her team, so mum can annoy her as well by changing the order of questions which might prepare Sarah Palin a bit more than what her team has done now.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I choose life.

"Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourselves. Choose your future. Choose life..."
-from the movie, Trainspotting.

I have never seen the movie but came across these lines few years ago. It immediately resonated with me. It neatly surmises our middle class existence. At that time, I remember I scorned at that mundane existence.

Today, couple of years wiser, I see how hard each seemingly mundane step is to achieve . I don't know about rotting away and being an embarrassment to the brats god-willing I will spawn, but apart from it, I am all for stuffing junk food and watching the mind numbing television.

Picking each piece of furniture after fantasizing about it for years, craving for it and when it finally makes an appearance in my life, feel as if I have achieved Nirvana only to crave for the next piece for dream.. that is the cycle of life as I see it. That is all I want out of life.

labels:teenage angst gone, pooye poochu, i am just one among the billion and i am happy being that.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What are you thinking, Mr. Maniratnam?

Dear readers*,
You might not understand my shock if I say Ravi Kishan is acting in a Maniratnam movie, but if I say that that sentence in my head conjures up a Ramarajan acting in a Maniratnam movie, may be you would?

Ravi Kishan has a wikipedia entry and I am linking it up.

*on last count there are six of you:) Such joy.

Monday, October 13, 2008


If lines drawn along caste, language, race, religion, colour are bad why are the lines drawn along a country considered sacred?

Patriotism, Jingoism.

Short story found

I had come across this story sometime in 2005 and lost the link. I accidentally found it again this weekend. A story named "En peyar chitra" that could be described almost as a short story version of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time" set in a tamil lower middle class milieu.

I did read the Tamil version after reading the English one yet the tamil one remains my favorite. Now, how many times have we been able to say so about any book or a movie which has had an earlier work as an influence? May be it was because the mileu was familiar, may be the author was able to really bring in the emotional differences better or may be he was able to do so because it was a shorter version. Whatever, if you can read tamil, please do read it and LET me know what you think of it.

I also have to admit here that in spite of reading these two stories and several other websites, I still don't have a good gasp of what autism is. I have met couple of kids(one a colleague and another occasional passer by), both the kids 5 year of age. May be both these kids were in the far end of spectrum of autism, I am not sure, but I couldn't really spot anything abnormal in these kid's behavior.

This is from someone who has read a wee bit about it. There are people who are not even aware of it. When my friend's niece was diagnosed with autism, another friend told me that this was the first time he had even heard of the term.

I am not sure but may be by knowing about it better, we might be able to help the parents involved and kids when we bump into them.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Time is money, anoosashan* is also money

Long long ago, when all the engineering colleges in madras were affiliated to Madras University, yes that long ago, I went to college. I wrote exams. I studied for a day before the said exams. And the rest of the time was spent in backbenches. nothing related to studies happened there.

Some lecturers took it as a personal offence. One such creature cursed as that we will get cups, she called them arrears(such negative terminology) in the exams one day. We sneered at her for she was not aware of the 'no cause to effect rule' of madras university when it came to said marks. The cups did not come but even if it did, it wouldn't have mattered.

What she should have told us instead is that play all you want puppies but one day you will graduate, there is a big bad world out there which will lure you with all the green bucks but it wouldn't have any backbenches.

* anoosashan - 'indi' pandits shall recognize this word as discipline.

labels:money without work, no place to hide at office,

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My own journey towards understanding... chuck it this is a post without a title

It was one of those camps that the school made us attend as part of managing the teenage years. Part of the two day drama was a sex education session from some org.
We were told that we could drop in any questions anonymously. When the Q&A session started, What caught me by surprise, was 9/10 questions that were discussed in the session were on homosexuality.

I was quite surprised with the volume of questions as it meant that people around me, all in their teens had these questions. I am sure the more evil of the kids would have tracked them. I even remember once in a combined class set up, teacher was scolding two guys and screaming at them, "why don't you sit on his lap? ". The two guys were siting that close. A just turns to me and casually says," Homos, man!". You should have taken a look at those two guys before commenting, that tall skinny guy and the well-built stout guy somehow confirmed to the image that I cultivated out of reading sidney sheldons.

Honestly, in the circles I moved, not including my parents, homosexuality was understood. It was always presented to me as an accepted concept. I never questioned it either. For the most parts it was just part of our jokes. You know the usual, tease each other as gays and tell them it is ok, we will accept you as you are. I had enough knowledge, all thanks to sidney sheldon. Just like we were gossiping about hetrosexual couples, we were also secretly suspecting who was gay.

But couple of years ago, a friend and I were discussing, rather gossiping about this senior colleague(gay)'s possible partner. H was asking if I was ok with it, I said I am ok with it, just that I couldn't relate to it. Just like that I blurted it out.

That got me thinking, you know all along I was just saying I am ok with it. People were saying its not quirky, so I was saying its not quirky thats pretty much it. It was hard to correlate. Honestly speaking, I started thinking, this is what the current research says but it is 'current' research. Research findings can change. This was an extremely accepted common practice in ancient greece. And then later it became unacceptable in the same country. So, these opinions can change you know.

What if its a temporary fad & so on? what if I am just mouthing simply what I am being told, that it is ok for people to be gay because that what was told to me all ways.

Around the same time, I accidentally came across a blog. There were few blog posts, all about crushes on men. So, that got me all excited. Couple of posts later, I find that the blogger is a guy, which was fine(seinfieldesque, very important to add that "I am fine with it" else people would term you homo-phobic). That was the first time I ever came across such a Personal account of a homosexual. Then I realise he is Indian.(!). In my mind I reacted pretty much, just like how jezz did it in Bend it like Beckham, "But he is Indian".

That blog and broom's blog made me understand the whole concept wee bit more. See, I came across the word crush for the first time in 9th standard. (Yeah, that late, but it was a small city, so its ok). But even though I came across the word much later, I was very much familiar with the concept.

Nobody taught me to have crushes. Yet I had already had them. Nobody told me that it has to be on Men/ boys, Yet that was the sex I choose. I remember cousin V and I sharing with each other, how we now actually like to stare at good looking guys/ even men. Cousin V shared this with her Mom and ofcourse, aunt scolded her. (Look at the way, the country treats hetrosexualism, its high hopes for the country to open upto homosexualism).

You know what I mean, it was just natural like that. So, when I read on these blogs, these people's initial attraction itself has been on people of their own sex, at ages when nobody taught you the concept, that kind of got me to understand it lot better. Just your body's alarm went on, on spotting a good looking guy, so does theirs.

Let us just say this, the other day, D and I were standing on near my doorsteps and carrying on the conversation and suddenly this man passes by. And i was just thinking he doesn't look that bad, kind of cute. Right then D, who was in completely different conversation, says that guy looked good. And I am like yeah. Just like that, an instinct feeling for both of us.

Without us realizing, both of us reacted that way. And if for them, it happens on spotting people of their own sex, how could they change that.

Can we really tell them what they feel instinctively wrong? What are they supposed to do? How are they supposed to control their instinctive reaction that way? I don't see it harming me in any particular way. oh yeah, I do feel a loss when some good looking celebrity turns out to be gay. But apart from that minor loss, what exactly can be my problem? How do they harm me in anyway. They are consenting adults and they are in love.

Infact by making it illegal, aren't we just pushing them into hiding themselves under hetrosexual marriages, which might end up affecting their partners?

The reason why I have this rant is, the indian government recently rejected in making a plea filed by an NGO to make it legal. They not only rejected, they completed denied the very existence of homosexuality and addressed it as something that needs to be corrected.

All these while, gay rights activists had been talking about somebody tying the bell and just asking the government to correct the obsolete law which bans homosexualism. Now that the case had gone to court, I guess the political angle has started kicking in.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I watched Hey Baby

Not now, long ago.

Why? But I did.

The movie had Ram, Rahim and Robert being friends in Australia. It had Vidya Balan who reminded me of my own upper arm strength (don't worry Vidya, we shall both catch up with Salman soon, atleast in biceps, ok?). It had a cute baby(cousin says all babies are cute, discounting that fact, this baby is still cute). Beyond this, I think Boman Irani also stars in the film. Now, don't quote me on that.

I did manage to observe something inane. At every given scene,

1. Fardeen, Akshay and Ritesh stood next to each other facing the camera.

2. At every scene the order was changed.

3. And in every scene all three got to mouth equal linesdialogues. Of course, in observing this phenomena, I forgot to notice the dialogues or well, they weren't notice-worthy.

Now, who knew Sajjid Khan had it in him to be an engineer trying to solve a Round Robin implementation problem and all.

Newyork dreams

I see her walking on the newyork pavement, wearing a designer coat, picking up the starbucks coffee on the way, reaching her window office in the skyscraper building. She does some important stuff during the day. She ends the day by coming back to her posh pad with tall glass windows with a view of the well lit city.

A life I dream of.

Next day, she wakes up, goes to office to find out she no longer has the job in a companyof 158 years. The company of 158 years doesn't exist anymore.

I am not sure what to dream of anymore.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Mac Donalds and Starbucks - idea of a date

Apparently for Ranbir and Deepika Padukone. oh, I didn't say it, they did.

I am glad that I am not one of them. On the other hand, I also hear Ranbir Kapoor gets 7 crores a movie, what does he do with all that money?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Diwali - last year

This is a repost from a previous blog I had. I wrote it as soon as I came from a trip to India last year during Diwali. else am I going to make a post a day... my blog .. my rules.., right?
I am still trying to hold on to those lingering feeling of being in India - by not eating out, not watching american tv as much, not visiting places I normally tend to visit and so on. Would this go away hopefully when I have a family of my own? Do I get this feeling because I am missing my parents, or does the place & the country, culture, play a role in this. For now, all I know is, I am still holding to the feeling of being in India.

Diwali, after 6 years in India was unexpectedly fun. Cousin asked me to join the rest of the maternal clan at uncle's house terrace on diwali eve(the previous day of diwali, people).

One cousin's wife asked, if I had come to India for "Ponna pakka".
Random thoughts crossed my head. Why would i go see a girl? just because i haven't gotten married for so long, they consider me a lesbian now? but i am not one.
So I swiftly replied lest my sexuality is in question, "Payyan Pakka". And clan immediately jumped on how these modern girls with female liberation idea and that brigade. If only they had known what was truly going on in my modern girl mind!

Ladies discussed the diwali sweet and general receipes. Aunt, who has been bed-ridden for couple of years and just started walking, wanted to know my salary and savings till date and such. Cousin's wife sighed from behind to ignore it. Aunt went on to talk about why the Mango trees branches which have spread half the motta maddi have not been cut. Niece sulked about how she had to wear salwar(her only dress code seems to jeans, skirts or any other western wear even on diwali day).Meanwhile, uncle remarked he smelt "vengaya pulusu"(onion sambar). Everybody to their own.

Nephews went onto burst one rocket after another( or whatever thing is called these days). They even gave me an opportunity from time to time. These rockets are superb - the changu-chakram, flower pots, all the things that we are used to but in the sky. Its almost as if hundreds of july 4 fireworks at play from every one's terrace. I asked one of my nephews what was the thing called, he replied "Vengaya pulusu".

On our first diwali after moving to Madras, we did the usual thing, got up at 4.00am and burst the first cracker(in our case it is usually the thousand wallah). Unfortunately, the opposite house neighbour got startled, switched on his verandah lights, ensured there were no miscreants and went back to sleep! That was the enthusiasm of the city in contrast to the other town where we lived. As years passed, we got accustomed to the city and also grow older and settled for more time in front of the T.V.

This year as any other respectful tamilian, I duly sat down to watch srikanth and vandana's morning interview, my mom interrupted. She wanted me to skip TV and burst crackers(such blasphemy). My mom used her usual brahmaastram and said, "Sastrutuku". So, my dad and I set out with our candles and bundles of crackers. And boy, what fun it turned out to be.

Pretty much everybody in the flat came down(just 4 families anyway). We burst 6 lakshmi veedis together(& our ear drums along with it), ofcourse thousand wallahs, lighting up the vedi in hand and throwing them before they burst(thalaivar style) and the end of throwing all the left over veedis together and lighting up(which did not burst! bulbits). I saw my dad play with crackers or vedis for the first time in my life leading the next door 8 year old to comment, "Uncle is smart!".

Evening followed another session in our "Motta Madi" where the only rocket I launched went down spiraling under people's sarees esp. my Mom's. My mom thankfully jumped. The dutiful kid I was ran for my dear life and failing to even notice the mother in danger. The two half punjabi, half palghat tamil kids are truly scared for the rest of life and might not touch a cracker. They disappeared instantly after the accident. Rest of us continued bravely to light up the sky and terrace.

The neighbour and I had plans to launch more rackets at midnight if India won the match against Pakistan that day. India successfully lost that match!

Writing skills leave much to be desired

I form several posts in the head, everyday. Sounds so wonderful in head.

Painful when I read the same post in the blog.

Disappointment barges in even as I write the post. to capture the strings of words in head, to sentences in the blog. What does one do? One continues to write.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Research findings from Sachita's world

Whenever I spot an interracial couple, I have a tendency to look at who the kids take after. I seem to have had some prior expectations on this issue. Yep wierd, I know. I had expected the african genes to be the dominant one, as its a long lasting race(remember the out of africa theory?). Like wise Indians too. I don't know if they can be included as a separate race, I always think of Indians as an amalgmation of different races. I did add them to the older races lists and expected their genes to be dominant. Frankly, I surprise myself how I even formed these theories. It wasn't as if I sat and thought through them. I just had formed them somehow.

What I did observe was, the one race which hadn't figured in my thought process, Chinese, seemed to be the dominant one. Chinese-Indian, Chinese-Caucasian - kids always take after their chinese genes. Even the second dominant one surprised me, causcasians. I had always thought of them as a fairly newer race and assumed their genes might not be dominant.

Indians seem to figure last in the list after Africans, rarely do the kids of a mixed marriage look anything like their Indian side.

Ofcourse, the whole observation is based on the samples I have seen and has no purpose except for this blog entry. It is what one calls a moo point.

Entha Vaaram Blogpost vaaram

My plan for the next 7 days is a post a day. Let us see, shall we?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I have often wondered ....

why we pay taxes in India.

People say governmant employees take bribes because the salary is not sufficient.

Any normal upper middle class citizens in India would be paying close to 50%(including sales tax & all other random taxes) of their salary in taxes.
The 40-50% of salary in taxes is true for any country. The taxes we pay, according to me,(feel free to argue here) is for the facilities we are provided with from roads to record keeping of the government. If you are in U.S, you pretty much get facilities/benefits worth your taxes. But if you are in India, on top of the taxes you will have to bribe your way through.

So what I am suggesting is do away with the taxes or the bribes. But the latter is definitely not going to happen, so can we please do away with the taxes? System might at least be transparent.

Instead of paying taxes and hoping and praying that you will one day get to see the roads or any such roundabout exercises, you will pay for services that you will be a direct recipient of.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Earliest memory

It was raining that day. I remember standing on the platform outside my house, dropping the paper boats(made by dad?) in the ditch and watching them as they swayed their way through the ditch flooded by the rain water.** we lived in a small town, so the open ditches**
I remember feeling excited. Paper boats were a cool act, you know.

Suddenly, I heard my uncle and dad scream, " Look, your teacher".
Confident that they are just engaging in on off their usual plays, I carried on, unperturbed.
They screamed again and this time I looked up. What do you know? It was actually my teacher walking with an umbrella.
I felt embarassed, probably even wee bit guilty at my teacher catching me with such an act.

And that seems to be my earliest memory. I must have been 4 that time. I can recall buildings, faces from an earlier time of my life than this incident. But this is the first complete incident. Why this one, I don't know. And as you can see it has no significance.

The 'me' of today can pass judgements at this incident. Like how the incident clearly marks how gullible I am even early on. I mean, playing with paper boats in the rain is a common thing. Why would a 4-year old feel guilty about it, I don't know. At that point of m y life, I probably felt guilty about everything I did.
But for now, I feel happy recalling that day.

Ps: The curious cat that I am, I am going to ping Mitr, Na_an and Laksh of Lakshmusings to what would be their earliest memory.
Hopefully they will answer.
PPS: On the other hand, is this how tags are started? or does someone have to go and register at tagfficial phony website before they start it?:)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Completing my Book tag

Hello, I am a procrastinator! So, if there is no deadline looming at large, I am not going to get to that task anytime soon.

And the book tag from Mitr came without any deadlines:) Can I really be blamed?

I read Maximum city by Suketu mehta a week ago and that got me to this tag now. In my defense, this time procastination alone is not be blamed as I am stealing blog time during a hectic time at both work and personal level. Inspite of the constant chit-chat in real-life, I need this space to have my monologues:)

The tag came from Mitr and I am copying the rules right from her blog.
1. Pick up the nearest book
2. Open to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence
4. Post the next 3 sentences
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge the person who tagged you

I also took a short cut to make my post wee bit more interesting.

From Page 245 of the book Maximum city by Suketu Mehta.
He avers that, contrary to his reputation, he loves India and wants to die for it. " There is no doubt about this. The country in which a man is born, a man does not become a traitor to that land. A man can only give his life for his country. That is a very big medal for him. That is a very big respect. When a man wants to join the military, he doesn't want to go there to play cricket or exercise; he wants to martyr himself."

That was Chota Shakeel who works for Dawood Ibrahim, sitting in Karachi and responsible for probably all the bombings in India, talking about what he feels for India.

I am sure, Mitr isn't going to hunt me down for this minor deviation of mine. If I show her the Page#123 of the book to this page, even she will agree, this was the right choice, baby . And she has tagged all of 2 people I know in blogdom. So there, I can tick that one also from the list.

More on the book in my next post.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


"Synthetic bio-weapons, research and analysis wing, Kulothunga II’s distaste for Vedanta and the Chaos theory!"
That was the line that piqued my interest in the movie. I was kind of worried that the storyline would be OTH and the movie wouldn't run. I even felt sorry for Kamal, a man who has to go through the agony of 10 roles, especially when his last attempt of 4 roles in a fine movie had flopped at the theatres.

Excited about the ride Kamal was going to take us through. He did take us for a ride, alright!

A 15$ cliche-ridden ride.

Every cliche that has ever existed in Tamil movies is in this movie. A Japanese brother cannot really add much novelty in a cliched track of brother revenging for the sister's death track.

Ten masks even if they are worth a total of 70 crores isn't going to make the movie worth it. Especially, when the make up remains just a mask. These thing hinders all the movements from one's face, that only device left on your face to emote is the eyes. To be honest, I have always been irritated by Kamal's over enthusiasm for make-up. A trait unfortunately , the younger lot like Surya and Vikram seem keen on picking up. When Kamal can bring out the nuances of 10 characters why resort to such make-up gimmicks?

Graphics - seriously? Tom and Jerry had way better graphics than this.

I have only myself to blame. I prided myself on how I have been able to watch these over-hyped movies in the first day without much effort(got good friends, you know) before several others. Now, the only person I feel sorry for is myself. Because you know what? Next time around when there is a hype, I would still go there. That is exactly what these geniuses(kamal, shankar) count on - fools like me!

Something about these crores is making tamil movies scriptless(including sivaji!).

Saturday, June 7, 2008


" You are a part time lover & a full time friend
The monkey on you are back is the latest trend
I do not see what anyone can see, in anyone else
But you....."

It happens sometimes. I read a book or watch a movie, dismiss it in the first glance and then I go on to discover more things about the book without even a revisit over a period of few days.

Juno had put me in a similar state. I watched the movie, felt it was a nice movie. But couldn't move away from the question," this got nominated for academy awards?".

I still don't know if it is worth the academy award nomination.* But I have rediscovered the movie in few days. More than the teenage pregnancy , what defines the movie for me is what Juno realizes from Vanessa and Mark and the decision she makes afterward. Sort of coming of age except I know even a decade latter I haven't gained the maturity Juno has in the movie.

In quite a few ways, the ethos of the place where you come from affect you. I did not grow up here and I never quite mingled. So, it is hard for me to understand the quirky way in which the family decides to handle Juno in general and pregnancy in particular. I know how a teenage pregnancy will be dealt in India. I grew up with too many population growth ads that Pro-choice versus pro-life debate just doesn't ring a bell in me.

Music was another thing everyone was gung-hoo about in this movie. I am not familiar with music genres outside Indian sub-continent, so it is hard for me to go wow over Juno's soundtrack. But I like it. Music is different from the usual hollywood stuff.

Wanted: A part-time lover and a full-time friend:)

Ps: * . One expects a lot more depth when an Oscar gets associated with it. And may be content depth of a movie gets defined by the amount of gloominess in a movie in my brain.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ten stories - one movie

Dus Kahaniyan

Have you read those Kumudam and Ananda Vikatan half page stories with a twist? After reading few of them, you can easily guess what the twist would be. Several stories of Dus Kahaniyan fall under this category. It should be interesting to the people who are encountering short stories(albeit in visual medium) for the first time.

Of the ten stories(dus kahaniyan, yaar!), Poorna Manshi and Rice Plate had received the maximum good reviews.

Rice Place stands out due to Shabana Azmi and Naseerudin Shah. I have never seen Naseer in a similar role, with a child like Smirk, he endears you. In general, I don't like Shabana Azmi and always felt if Smitha Patel had been alive, Shabana wouldn't have had the chance to rule the Parallel cinema world like she did. Inspite of the grudge, she stole the show in this Hindu Muslim Behen-Bhai story.

Poorna Manshi never gave me enough time to get into the characters. This was one of the stories that made me realize why this 10-15 minutes stories in a movie format would not work. umhmm.. that is me clearing my throat, what I say next might feel way too much of an analysis but the truth is, I feel(umhm..) it is very important to establish an emotional connect with the characters especially in a story as this. That takes time. Here, before I could empathize with Ma, Beti, the story was over.

'Matrimony', is a well executed story with Mandira Bedi and Sohail Khan would perfectly fit under the typical half-page short story with a twist. So do three more stories, 'Strangers in the night'(conversation between two stone faced people), 'Gubbare'(lovely acting by Nana) and 'Lovedale'(pathetic in all ways).

The Gangster one with Sanjay dutt and Sunil shetty(Sunil/Suniel - they can add all the alphabets they want, but I am going to use only the required alphabets in a name!) was going for something good, yet hadn't crystalised well.

With regard to actors, the already known good ones like Manoj Bajpai, Nana Patekar, Naseeruddin, Shabana stand out. To my surprise, Amrita was good too. Others don't surprise you either. Neha gave me an unintentional laugh. Sanjay dutt and Sunil shetty together kill the last story.

Compared to Scriptless bollywood movies, this is definitely a DVD watch.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Universe is conspiring

Thursday morning, I had it all planned. I would finish my work that is due friday so that I can be done peacefully what with long weekend, vacation and all. Or so I thought.

At some point while doing the work, I needed to discuss a few things couple of my colleagues, they weren't there. When I came back, the comp. started acting up. It would be extremely slow. And I hate rebooting. To re-open all the windows I have open and all that mess.

I couldn't catch hold of the colleagues the whole day and the computer was acting up at different points. I know if I decided to take it to the I.T, it would act all fine. At the end of the day, I finally decided to reboot.

Wierdest thing was, I pressed the up button in the office elevator, got into the door that opened, only to see the door wouldn't close. I got out of the elevator, pressed the up button again, the same elevator would be selected and I would get in, but the door wouldn't just close.

I got out of the elevator, waited for couple of minutes, what do you know, the door would close now!

Atleast now a different elevator could be selected.

I should have taken that as a sign. But I am me, you can through thousand signs and cues on my way, I would lay submerged in my lala land.

After this long day of fatigue and no progress, I decided I needed to treat myself to a movie. Rented out one of the latest releases from blockbuster. The DVD got stuck every 3rd scene.
DVD was released hardly couple of weeks ago.

Yeah, I know I could exchange it but by then I had realized universe is conspiring against me.
It is like one of those bad printing incident days, you could stand there and invoke all gods, but the printer would jam. My mom never taught me the printer dosham nivarna sloka.

So with this profound realization, I went to sleep with a smile.

Work never got done on friday either. I was travelling to LA this weekend to visit my brother.

At the nick of the time, brother called, "Anga weather epdi?".
"It was all 90s last week but this week has been cloudy."
"Oh engayam adpithan".
I was like "Oh, ok", with a tune that suggested, "Fine, whatever dude, I need to finish my last minute packing the last minute and leave."

Flight was wee bit delayed. I was told all the flights were being delayed. Somebody was talking about a storm somewhere. I enjoyed the experience of watching the rain up above the sky. Rain dashing against the aircraft wings was nice to watch.

And then I landed. It was raining in LA. It never rains in LA. My brother says he is not used to driving in the rain, because you know what?, this is LA. And LA is hot, always hot. But don't worry the sun shines right back on tuesday.

In the style of kupra vizhanthalam, meesai la mann otatha, I have decided to sit back and smile.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A music director analyzes the music of Rahman

oh well, I have wanted to provide this link for a long time. I also wanted to write my own story along with it. Let us just say, I decided to spare you guys(4 readers now, wonderful isn't it?) provide the link. for now that is. Story would be written another day hopefully.

Here is a Marathi music director Kaushal Inamdar, writing his own experience and analysis of Rahman's music.

It is interesting on several accounts.
For one, it's a professional analyzing Rahman's work. Instead of me saying I love love Rahman, Rahman's music is special, we get to hear what makes it special.
And this music director is no ordinary one in my head. One who loves music enough to look beyond Professional Jealousy.

I do have to counter on one point though. Kaushal mentions about how Rahman repeatitive phrasing makes his music catchy. This upset me, after all, Himesh 'nasal' Reshmayya does that too. But the difference ofcourse is the melody. That distinction is the key.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Rat race

" If you leave her in a desert with nobody around(no competition around), she wouldn't survive. She wouldn't learn anything."
-S, my roommate on another roommate fews years ago.

I believe it’s just a psychological phenomenon. It doesn’t actually exist. If my potential is going to be judged only with respect to what the next person is capable of, I could be mediocre all my life....."
-T.M Krishna about competition in his interview.

A blogger remarks on reaching 30, how except for the occasional agony moments, one makes peace with their pace in the competition. You realize the compromises others make in order to reach where they are. They are happy making those compromises and you are happy not making them.

Living life, career and learning to ignore the competition.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Restaurant report 4- 3TA

First the good things, we order Somasas, corn fritters and Roti for appetizers. Somasas were of the crispier, triangular variety(my favorite) as opposed to the regular cone ones. The Potato stuffing in somasa so reminded me of the Masala dosa stuffing, Corn Fritters were a novelty and Rotis were good.

On the entree side, we ordered Yellow curry with roasted vegetables and Pad thai. I forgot to taste the Pad thai.

Roasted vegetables - what can I say? It was all JA's fault. JA was busy describing some one he saw on T.V who resembled cheppakizhangu. And my taste buds got triggered with Cheppakizhangu roast. Roast as we all know in Tamil household means deep fried. I am aware of the term in the American context - few charred lines on the vegetables. But with nostalgia triggered, I ordered the roasted. The other option was boiled. It wouldn't have made a difference, you will realize soon.

Now on to the cribs.
Who brushes/pours oil on top of a deep-fried Somasa? If that wasn't the case and the oil was just the remnant one from deep-fry procedure, which good restaurant does that?
I don't know of anyway to find a bad peanut before biting one, so I would forgive the peanut sauce though as just one of case. Same with corn fritters we ordered. I found it wee bit lacking in spices, but C2s(DB,DG) loved it.

DG normally is very Calorie/Fat conscious and prefers the springs rolls made with rice wraps over the deep fried one. Salad is her most definite choice in all the places we go. So imagine my surprise, when she says the oily samosas were fine as the they were tasty. Being a foodie myself, I follow that argument to the T. Key being the food has to be tasty.

We were 5 and this automatically ensured a 18% tip. Is that why the waitress wouldn't fill even our water glasses? She did it when we asked for it though.

What pissed us the most was the serving dish. The curry was served on a plate. A flate plate. Not a bowl. I have thought of it from all angles, it just wouldn't work. There is a reason why rice is served before Sambar/Rasam. Imagine being asked to add rice on to to flat plate of sambar!

Little thought about the fusion word, I would have avoided the place altogether. If I can eat authentic Indian, Thai and have places that offer authentic Indian, Thai and I can eat them, why go for Fusion. Hybrid is for those hi-fi people.

Yodha - A R Rahman

Oh well, I came across this movie while browsing through you tube. what? you dont' do that? you don't spend some of your time reminiscing old songs through you tube? must just be me then.

Anyway, Yodha caught my attention because some one screamed it was the first movie Rahman composed music for. Ofcourse, I went back screaming, Roja, Roja was the first. The screaming back was only in my head though. Then, may be Yodha was the dubbed version of Roja. Nope, that isn't true either. Maybe Maniratnam signed Rahman first? I don't know.
But whatever stars aligned that day to make Maniratnam meet Rahman, I am going to thank them.
Watch/Listen at your own risk.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Story of my life

is that I look for stories.

Reading blogs,
Reading books,
Interest in politics,
Incessant arguing about inconsequential matters,
watching movie,
watching T.V,
listening to gossip,
a look at houses as I pass by(voyeurism, I know)
- all in search of stories. Nothing excites me more!

Friday, April 18, 2008

People talk about Blank Noise all the time but more terms of the past. What does one do if it happens at present?

U.S was a paradise in this aspect, till now.

There is a loosu in the third floor who keeps staring at me as I walk in the parking lot, either to my car or to my house. The first time I noticed it, i did not think too much, second time, i stared back, at which point, he moved from his window but still looking at me, i could still spot him ..

Creeps, Jeez Man, Sore loser, get a life!!!
Today, I thought I will stare at him and make him go away. but ...Disgusting Creep.

God, why would I keep attracting such creeps? World would have number of charming people as well, right? how about sending some of them my way?

Have had more than enough of this craps for 100 more janmams to come.

I mentioned it to D last week, she laughed it off. Today's incident, err.. I am now forced to put my head down and walk. D also reacted similarly when i mentioned the another horrible creep 10 years ago.

Planning to complain about him and at the same time, not let these creeps affect me.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Restaurant report -3

Taverna Bistro

S and I, landed in Sunnyvale downtown with a choice of Thai Basil/Dish-Dash. Dish-dash - yeah, right, as if I am going to get in there without the wait, even if it is only for lunch. For some reason, I remember Thai Basil as a place, I have to save a friend from. Unfortunately, sunnyvale downtown has quite a few of these.

S, then came up with a tried alternative. She had been to Taverna just the previous week. Taverna, serves mediterean food. Not the same kind as dish-dash whose M'shakaleh(how does one pronounce these names, thank god I am just typing) I am never going to get tired of, this is still quite good.

Polite and Fast service, great ambience(on the posh side) - I can't see anyone complaining on these regards.

We ordered Veggie Mousakka and Falafel Plate. These come with Rice, Brown Rice. For the first time in my life, brown rice tasted good. It could be because it was probably ghee rice. Still, Ghee Brown rice should still be healthier than Ghee white rice, right? On the falafels, I have had better(the one in steven creeks?) but this was good. Mousaka was delicious. I relished every layer except for the top, which kind of tasted cheesy, kind of wierd as the description doesn't say cheese. The entrees are usually served with rice, steamed vegetable and can easily serve two.

Overall, If you are ever in a similar situation faced with the alarming wait time at Dish-dash, you can easily take a stop here.

* More than half of my friends have names starting with S!

Restaurant report -2

Vaso Azurro
In the past 4 years, I have never ever gone to a restaurant without a friend's recommendation. Speaks something about my adventurous bent, isn't it?

All that changed last week. I haven't had Italian in months now. Luckily, When I called AS(A&S, from now on AS) , A suggested Italian as well. He wanted to eat Brushetta and Gnochi. Somehow, I ended up volunteering for picking the place.

Normally, when I pick a restaurant or make a choice for anybody apart from me, I am extremely jittery. Here I had some people who are quite vociferous when they don't like a place. I mean its not personal but as H put it, I perennially have a guilt conscious for one thing or the other.

I looked for help at Yelp which screamed Vasa Azurro. Vasa Azurro was on Castro street, much nearer to our houses than Palo Alto. Problem with yelp is, I never can gather much info about the vegetarian side of the menu. Honorable Desi junta, you ought to make your esteemed presence at yelp.

I spoke to a lady with british accent(!) and made reservations. Informed the concerned couples, hopped into the car, reached AS's place and then reality hit. Me being me, I had left the address of the restaurant and my cell phone right in my book shelf. I couldn't even recall the name(read the name again, before judging me people).

"Panic". I was running out of time as well. I parked the car right in the middle of apartment pathway with the hazard light 'on', hoping I could find the info again using AS's comp. I rang their apartment bell. S opens the door.

A: Call me.
Me, standing right inside his apartment: "i don't have my cellphone".
A: Stoopid.

He gets his home phone and dials his own number. That's when I spot his I-Phone(acquired just that day), which plays some not so nice, classicalish light music for . What can I say, that's A for you!

Back to my problem, I figure, since he has an I-Phone, I can make him search for the restaurant in the car. A googles and googles but never gets the restaurant. I turn into Castro Street and suddenly, S screams," Vaso Azzurro?"
Me: Oh, that was the name, how did you find out?
Turns out, we were right in front of it! Bulbeets!

We park which brings me to the question, why are all the arrows in the multi-floored public parking lot in castro, left-hand drive based? Did some one think they were in Britain/India?

We enter the restaurant, the lady asks,"Trubadletooo".
S and me are dazed now, Was that Italian?
A says, yes, yes. She repeats, table for five?

A British accent in an Italian restaurant, nice. We were the only Indians, that's probably why she could figure out that it was us who had made the reservation for 5. Somehow, A was very proud of the fact.

After being seated, a man with apron comes to our table."Hi, How have you been? Nice to see you". No, no, he wasn't exactly my long lost brother. It was mentioned in yelp that it is a family type restaurant and how the owner treats every one like family. Very much like family, I tell you.

All through our time there, we heard loud boisterous laughs. Closest I am going to get to the the Italian feel, I suppose. Encouraged by all these noises, We wanted to scream. I mean I am born with amplifiers the controls of which my cousins have been searching for a long time now. It is set at maximum. But even, I was no match.

The waitress was very polite. Sweet Maami. I saw couple of waitresses eating while we were there which is rather nice. Often, I see the employees eating by themselves in an empty place, looks a wee bit sad. All the tables were occupied yet I don't recall really waiting for anything. Overall, I loved the atmosphere. It was a find.

The menu strangely seemed short. But we got our Vegetarian Items, so not a lot of complaints there. For appetizers, we ordered Bruschetta, Aubergines Au Grill. Bruschetta was a little stale. Made of thinner bread strips and little more crisper than I liked. Aubergines... used some sort of cheese I don't like. C1, C2, if you must know, loved the appetizers, the food in general and the place. Immense relief came!

From the Entree menu, we had Penne Alla Diavola,Ravioli Con Spinaci Di Mascarpone and Gnocchi Di Spinaci Al Gorgonzola.

Penne and Ravioli were very good. Penne was light. Sauteed with the fresh vegetables, one of the best I have had. Ravioli had the right amount of cheese and was served in a delicious, slightly sweet, slightly creamy(mascarpone cheese) marinara sauce. Gnocchi turned out to be too floury and the sauce too creamy. Nobody touched it. Never ever order it. If you have a craving for Gnochhi, come back home, wait for your time at Pizza Antica.

Oh yeah, the bread was great. Great enough to ask for "to go" category.

On the dessert side, Tiramasu was just delicious to my taste buds except for the cream on top. Not at all heavy, just the way I like it.

* I have ex-friend and a friend with whom I was on a break once. I mean that's how the she put it. I guess this is how close I am going to get to the romantic lingo! Though I would like hastily add, I didn't/don't have romantic inclinations to either of them.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Now, I know my roots as well, Mr. Haley

After reading "Roots" by Alex Haley, I was moved by the story. I wanted to know the history of ancestors as well. I asked my dad about it. He said that we had moved from Mysore to some village near pondicherry to teach sanskrit 200 odd years ago. The problem is, my mother tongue is telugu. I described the story to one of my friend V. V was like, so you are saying, somewhere before the 200 years ago, you guys, shifted from somewhere to Mysore, in all probability to teach how to light a fire!

I also found out how some people note down their ancestry names in bible and all.
Me: What's your grandfather's name?
Dad: Krishna Iyer
Me: His father's name?
Dad: Venkata subbu Iyer.
Me: and his?
Dad: Krishna Iyer, before that venkata subbu Iyer - I realized recursive programming was invented long way back. I put the pen down. I was assured by this extrapolation, the names of all the ancestors upto the one's who invented fire.