Monday, August 31, 2009

Drugs can kill but..

Both Michael Jackson and Raghuvaran died at 50. News of Raghuvaran's drug problems were always floating around. The less said about Michael Jackson the better. A total freak show.
And they made it to half century. I mean can we walk up to a 20 year old and say beta, look at what happened to Michael Jackson and Raghuvaran, so dont use drugs. I mean, hello, 30 years filled with drugs?

In both the above news, I was surprised to find they lived as long as they did. Dont curse me, I actually like Raghuvaran and mourned his death. Yet the surprise at the fact they lived as long as they did in spite of their lifestyle was always there.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Second movie dialogue quiz

Four out of these dialogues I recall often with a smile. Fifth just breaks people's heart.

1." Latha Mangeshkar parupu podi araichi tharuvala..". Not sure if Latha Mangeshkar knows what Parupu podi is, but otherwise if you use more Parupu it becomes Parapu podi, more chilli, it becomes milagu podi. like that. simple.

2. "Enthiruda, Pathindu varathu..", if you dont know this movie thoroughly, i really pity your funny bone.

3. " Nenga pora route la ponga ammani, na vanthu join panikuren.." - the dialogue writer is my favorite and actually saw him upclose once in Bay area Parking lot in vella veshi vella shirt.

4. " Kelvi kekaratha romba sulabam maama, Pathil solli parungo... "

5. " Yenpa, enaku poi thangichiya porunthu eruku, vera yaar vitalayavathu porunthu erukalama ella, kila vitla porunthu erukalam ellana ethir vetla porunthu erukalam..." where did the girl go after this?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cost of a Plate of Idli,Vada

I always knew Bay area was expensive. But like everything else in my life, it strikes me a bit late now.

Some one who lives in Austin would probably buy a decent 5 Bedroom for 1/5th of the Price it costs in Bay area. They can afford to send their kid to Private School inspite of the mortgage. Here, after paying 750k, you wont be able to get a 3BR house in a good school district. Double income families, once into the mortgage mess, cant even afford to eat out. Heck, for the rent I paid for my studio apartment, you can rent a Posh double bedroom in Austin. No state tax in Texas while CA's governator is increasing taxes.

In terms of compensation, Salary, if you are lucky enough, you probably get 10% higher in CA which cant even cover rent. Competition at work is crazy. Weather is cool but I hear austin isnt bad either. Austin is just an example, I am sure there are equally good cities across.

It beats me why any one would choose to live in Bay area. Is this for the plate of Idli, Vada, dosa?

Label: has to go under moo point as I dont plan to buy a house in USA in the near future nor do I have a kid(unless immaculate conception is an option) or have found a father for that kid so most of the above points are irrelevant to me.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Democracy isn't foolproof rather fool-friendly but a fair one at that.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

This is your goverment.

I did write too soon on 'Shahrukh security check' issue. News reports later have shown this wasnt a routine religious profile harrasment case as I had quickly assumed. His baggage didnt arrive in the same plane so he was made to go through secondary check. Makes sense. Shahrukh has complained how he has was asked to state a contact person. The question is routine procedure which makes sense to me.

What doesnt make sense is every one from Ambika to Chidambram from the Indian government expressing their anger against the perceived harrasment of Shahrukh.

I know I sound like a broken record touching the same issue repeatedly. I realize the futility of my anger, this post. I am old enough to realize that. But is it hard to see what I can see? Today a shahrukh is too special for security, then a minister, then a minister's relative who is most likely a goonda. Security check isnt an insult. If it is too hard try not stepping on their soil.

This is the same government which was caught clueless as the business capital went under siege by 25 terrorists less than a year ago. They have the nerve to speak against the security check of a country that has successfully protected its citizens for past 8 years(yeah i know they have their own issues but you have to admit the clean record post 9/11). The internal affairs minister of India, a country which has witnessed multitude of bomb blasts ever year for the past two decades has the nerve to complain about the security check.

May be the elegant looking man should shut up and learn a thing or two from US. That never happens, does it?

Broken record update: it feels nice pretty much most of the indians are raising the questions, atleast from the online world. When even Rajdeep Sardesai seems to makes sense, you know shahrukh's ego mania has gone too far.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Zabaan sambhal ke

Some months ago I was describing the savouries mom had made. I mentioned "Chakkilam".
JA and his wife(both tamil) gave me a puzzled look.

Surely they must know chakkilam? Every Marriage thamboolam includes it. We order it during Diwali from Grand sweets, those ones just melt in your mouth once you crack it with your teeth. We make it for Krishna Jayanthi. How could they not know it? I tell them it is a kind of Muruku , describe its twisty marks a little more. Oh,kai muruku? yeah, Chakkilam. JA says he doesn't know a Chakkilam. It is Kai muruku. In all these years, I never knew Chakkilam is a Telugu word.(I still have my doubts!)

For the first two years and nine months of my life, Telugu was the only language I knew. A Telugu that had evolved with 200 and some odd years of living in TamilNadu. There was a higher chance of a Tamilian understanding what I spoke than some one from Andhra.

On entering School, English got added as the medium of instruction. Hindi got added as the second language as dad worked for a bank and transfers could take us anywhere. School made i t compulsory to learn Tamil and sanskrit as second languages i.e with the same emphasis as hindi. Sanskrit, I dont remember much of it. We probably had only 3 classes per week. I couldnt escape hindi. I learnt it for ten years of my life. The national TV with its Circus, Fauji and Surabhi. Then there was also Aamir Khan and Shahrukh Khan. Sometimes Shashi kapoor, well quite a bit of good looking heroes. If you are staring at them on screen, you are bound to pick up the language at some point. I picked up Hindi more from these movies than from School.

Today, I can understand malayalam a little. I think I can pick up the basic words required for most of the Indian langauges. Two weeks in Bangalore I picked up a very basic Kannada.

But I am not sure I can call a language my own. Tamil, probably(Telugu doesnt stand a chance,though there was a point I thought that language sounded sweet). But inspite of 8 years of learning Tamil, I can read well but was pretty happy when I didnt have to write it anymore. I am not sure if I can write a blog in tamil(isnt going to reach the standards of this blog which isnt saying much).

After all this, does it sound bizarre that I end up thinking in few different languages. The other day as I was swirling in S's computer chair, I tell her, "I think R is lambi race ka goda". S asks," What?". oh may be it is Godi? I wonder. Till then we have been conversing in Tamil. Why the hell would I think of Hindi Phrase esp. when I am not sure of what ling to put? That's how the phrases come about in my mind. Some in hindi, Tamil and English.

I speak Hindi regularly at work with the friend from Delhi. Even though my first instinct is tell every one I dont know the language,, I can speak. Though I dont know when and why I switched to Hindi with her. It cant be secrecy, because that has to be English. Atleast then there is a chance that few Chinese and Spanish people might not understand. But we do converse in Hindi!

On the other hand, sometimes it is irrelevant the language I choose. Every one in my family speaks at a rate that is twice the speed of the general population. Our tongue is the concorde to your Boeing! My manager repeats what I say after I have uttered the exact same sentence.

After couple of our Initial meetings, P, my friend mentioned that he cannot follow what I just said. S butts in," Athu mudala apdi than da erukum, aprum poga poga seri poidum". (translation: Thats how you would feel initially but down the lane you would start understanding her). I am speaking in Tamil. They are tamilians. What the hell is there to pick up?

Couple of years ago, P mentioned, "eppo la nee solrathu ellam puriyathu,man. Munnadi puriyeve puriyathu, man". I should probably award him a graduation certificate. (P ends every sentence with man, I do it right back to him:))

Ofcourse I am not the reticent kind either. I have to speak and I will. Typically, an Indian is exposed to atleast two languages and sometimes three. I am sure I am a little odd but not the odd one out.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Some first

"Do you have radio at home?"
"Tape recorder"
" I have a fridge at home. Do you?"
" Godrej, yours?"
"We have BPL TV, you?"
" that is no good"

Come back home, check with Dad who says it is the most reliable brand, BPL is just more looks. Why do my parents do this always? Go for boring looking brands in the name of longevity!

Next day again,
" Do you have generator?"

Oh my god, defeat. that was the end of the world. I spoke to my dad about it, when are you going to get generator? Why do we need one? Vijay has one. That mus be for their fields, is his Dad a farmer? Next day in school, confirmed with him his father was a farmer. Your dad, he questioned. He is a Bank officer. Suffice to say that sealed the argument. (in truth, his father was likely to be more rich).

During 4th or 5th, towards the end of the academic year, class teacher had come up with a novel idea. Put a good student in charge of two bad students(academically speaking). Seat them together. Somehow, this arrangement resulted in a girl seated with a boy on either side. Vijay and Karthik. Vijay was the one with whom I had the earlier conversation.

In general, I was quite meek. But give me power, it would raise to my head and to another ten floors above it. So there the two boys had hell. Not that they didnt return back. At least Vijay was sweet and was just victim of my harshness. Karthik and me just didnt see eye to eye.

Pinch, hit - quite a violent bunch. I would struggle between my nice tag going away, to my desire to absolutely control and the irritation with guys simply not listening to me. I doubt they improved even a wee bit in their academics.

In the midst of all this, I will feel a tap on my shoulder. Jay from behind. Jay was one of the unusally good boy student which resulted in him being seated between two boys. Jay with Pearly white teeth, shiny black skin(regardless of colour rarely do skins shine like that), silky hair. He had just moved that year. Consistently scored second rank or something like that.

He would tell me some nice jokes. That was his speciality. Unlike the boys I was made to handle, the boys he was handling always laughed. they seemed a happy bunch.

I dont remember his jokes. But remember laughing a lot and looking forward to them.

One day while coming to school in the school bus, I saw him walking towards School with his little sister. I was about to scream his name across because that is what you do as a child on spotting any classmate. Suddenly, something in me held back.

The realization people might tease me.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I am king Khan, above security checks

So Shahrukh Khan was detained at the US airport for couple of hours for secondary immigration check.

This in his own words has apparently made him feel bad, angry.

There are two angles to the story, you know.

One, the whole Indian mentality of someone who is a celebrity/powerful/rich is above the law. There is no reason why a Shahrukh Khan or any politician from the country should not be subjected to a secondary security check on a principal level. Someone's celebrity status doesnt gurantee his non-criminal inclinations. Past examples indicate even otherwise, considering some actors and actresses from Hindi film industry have hobnobbed with gangsters who have turned terrorists. Same with Politicians. There is a strong Politician to criminal nexus in our country. There is no proof that just because some one is loved for their on screen performance is good in real life. From hollywood to bollywood, there are only reports that says otherwise that stars are as untrustable as the common man.

So, if Indian government and all others make a big fuss out of this when you havent really stood for other Indians in a similar manner, it is bullshit. There are people dying in Australia due to racism, compared to that Shahrukh getting gruelled for two hours isnt a big deal. Shame on media/ Politicians and celebrities who think otherwise.

On the other hand, I am against religious profiling. What US does today to Muslims is in principle the same as what jews were handed out by europeans for centuries. The intensities are obviously different but simply suspecting some one as terrorist because of a name, a muslim name is the same.

Inspite of a much higher number of bomb attacks, this sort of religious profiling in such a brazen manner cannot happen in India, simply because Muslims form a significant part of the part in elections.

In case of US, their population isn't significant. On the other hand, the population which would feel safe by such measures is significant enough in terms of election votes. No wonder, US government has been able to carry this on.

Hollywood has released what 100s of holocaust movies? Each one of them winning an award, yet we will never learn from them. Again I repeat, the intensities might not be same. But the idea is the same. And if people dont oppose this, we all know the famous poem, isnt it? "First they came for .."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Going all the way back to 5th grade

As I step out of the elevator, S quickly says, "My Manager is prettier than your manager."

Yes, today we work in this mothership company in a completely different corner of the world. But that moment made me smile bringing back our 5th standard silly moments.

S is a friend I have known from 5th standard. Known her for much longer than I have not known her. It is probably written. Because we somehow managed to land up in the same places inspite of our father's transferable jobs, us moving to states for higher education to different states and more importantly us. We don't even get along in paper.

Between, my manager is the pretty one. Got her to agree later on.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Show must go on

I cant quit blogging. Having quit everything else in life, frog jump at first standard after coming second in a competition, bharatanatayam at 3rd standard after few months of learning, Pattu at several stages of my life and so many other things.

Just to avoid the quitter tag, I shall blog on. Even though I might not even achieve the tag of a mediocre blogger(yep, that's all i aim for). Besides, blogging is also good for health:)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Boring... is the word

For the first two decades of my life, I tried to live according to other's likes. Now, this decade, I am feeding my inner self. Latter is turning out to be as boring as the former.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Cochin to Mumbai - ek film ki kahani

Before "Muthu", thalaivar's movie, there was thenmavin kombathu. Shot around a farm house, everything looked scaled down from Muthu. When the story travelled to Madras for Thalaivar, it was shot in a Palace. Atleast the story was still set in a village. The same story if it had dared to travel north west to Mumbai would have been set in London and shot in Buckingham Palace.

That's all I am saying.

And also the fact that in a way this reflects these three film industries.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Summer, some years ago

recyling from the old blog because recycling is good.

"Happy birth day", said S.
"Many more happy returns of the day", said P.
The watch showed 12.00 and moon was very much in sight. We were crossing the road, me with a laundry basket in hand.
That's how I greeted my 22nd birthday, on the roads of the grad school town with a laundry basket in tow.

Events leading to that particular incident had been truly amusing.

In the mountain-side university town, getting an accomodation especially with the building rules that the city had was expensive. Apparently, you can't build more than one floor else the view of the mountains will be blocked. For the whole of first year, we had to live in a well-maintained but beyond our means apartment. Rent was a whooping $1600(imagine grad. school ) for 4 people in 2 BR, a handerkerchief sized kitchen-cum hall apartment. Come summer, M kept reminding us that we had to look for an apartment. Ofcourse, We would have loved to move into the one building which was apparently every desi's address. I think engineering department didn't need to look for the address of a desi student. If the secretary spotted a desi sounding name, she just had to send the letter to the crack-side apartment. Even if the student did not live in that apartment they would still receive the mail. But the apartment manager wasnt sure of availability.

During casual walk, an encounter with 'I' gave us the ideal solution. 'I', one of the enterprising gals I had ever met, had suggested a 2 BR apartment, 3 mins away from the engineering building that too for a paltry sum of 1050$. The words sounded like god's own words. She also sooped it up by saying khoola khoola place. I had mentally imagined an 'alaipayuthey style' building with no walls(didn't she say khula khula!).

In the euphoria of this new found wonderland, we signed the lease. Ofcourse, facts like our current lease ended 20 days before the new lease looked too trivial to be considered. In true desi style, we asked(M and me would be the culprits) the current japanese resident of the house if she could put up with our stuff for 20 days which she agreed.

This was also the season when you receive random emails asking for accommodation, There would be emails asking if milk was available in US(if the answer was no, would you bring it?), Teaching assistants would be addressed as Faculty and would be asked about funding and so on M and me started receiving emails asking for accommodation.

Now, I have to tell you, things were not the same in the land of lilliputans.
From days of food festival with food from all across india(Marathi, Konakani, tamil and north indian was the mix) we had come to days of top-ramen noodle boxes.
Days of pillow fights went through the door and the days of in-fighting had arrived.
Somedays the dishes were abundant, some days the sink was abundant with the dishes.
Cooking turn had become a joke.
Days of groceries trip by the 4 promptly followed by M's splitting of bills were folklores.
The bill book from pune lay on the dining table gathering dust.

With the kargil scenario at home, I thought a new addition would bring the much needed relief to the scene. So, when Thalaivar(the name is a big story) asked us if we could accomodate a girl I had with all foresight of the pea-brain said yes. He had driven us all the way to utah in the midst of snow-storm gave us one of the best trips we had till date. The four seniors guys had been our saviours in several regards and indebtedness came into picture.

M had also agreed to accomodate another girl whose brother had called up from CA to ensure his kid sister's smooth arrival.

So, 6 girls.
12 India trip suitcases.
Enough vessels to make up for golt kalayanam.
And no place to stay in the midst of the scorching summer!

What happens next? Did we really end up living khulla khulla on the street.
Stay tuned....