Sunday, August 19, 2007

Tam Video

I think this video was circulated about an year ago... Just saw it today in youtube when I was looking for old lollu sabha episodes.

For those of you who like L-S, you click here, here and here.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

சீ...சீ... இந்த பழம் புளிக்கும்

Rahul Dravid has been, in my opinion, one of the weakest captains ever to lead India - He might be the steely nerved colossus when he is at the striker's end, but as a captain, Dravid is hardly a patch on Saurav Ganguly with the lead from the front attitude, who never minced words when it came to voicing his opinion. Ganguly was honest when he said he was paying back Steve Waugh with his own coin, when he made Waugh wait at the Chennai match for half an hour before the toss. Purists might frown, but Ganguly did successfully ward off Waugh's quest for the Last Frontier. Dravid, in a nutshell, lacks the toughness and aggression that is required of an international cricket captain.

Dravid in this interview with CNN-IBN has said that India has an obsession with the World Cup. Isn't this funny? If you are a competitor and don't strive for the pinnacle, people will call you a L-O-S-E-R. India might win the test series in England or even a test series down-under, but unless they win the WC, they can never be called World Champions. And as a team, if they don't have that veri to be World Champions, sorry, India and Mr. Dravid, you simply aren't up there with the Waughs, Jayasuriyas, Akrams, Pontings or even the Gangulys. Perhaps the next-gen of cricketers like Yuvraj, Karthik pick up the gauntlet and bring the trophy to India.

Friday, August 10, 2007

2 Years in USA

Wanted to put this down on the 9th, marking the completion of two years of living alone. For a guy who hasn't stayed even a day without both my mother and father around, I have come a long way. And I think I can safely say that though my decision to come here to the US has cost me a lot in terms of familial ties and obviously, money, the amount of change (for good) I've undergone in this two years has been tremendous.

Some good changes in me:

1. Value of Money - The result of being a "chella" payyan for my parents resulted in me growing up with no respect for money. I still remember how I used to stow money in a crumpled condition into my wallet when I was in chennai. I think I would soiled and torn at least 2 - 3 notes by my negligence. This stay in the US, where for the first time in my life I lived on my own earnings taught me to respect and treat money with deference. I remember my dad saying "Unnaku paisa oda arumaie theriyale da" when I was in chennai and I used to think my dad was kinda repetitive and used to loathe him when he was in this kind of advise mode, but now I know that I was stupid then.

2. Value of Family: I always used to take my parents and sister for granted - I still remember how once when my mother and sister had to travel alone on stormy night and they had some travel problems and I had the gumption to sleep in chennai with the AC on full blast. If I even think about this now, I so very ashamed. (this happened when I was 15 years old - So no age consideration too). But I have realized how important family is and I call them almost once in two days.

3. Change of Character: I was always a reserved person in Chennai with strangers - I never used to like talking to people - I was very funny at home - It was like a PJ Mazhai at home from me and I was the exact opposite outside home - I used to be the silent kinds. Now the situation is the total opposite - I'm broody and laconic at home (US veetile), but velila vandha PETER-o-PETER!

4. Being Independent: One good thing for me has been that I have no close relative living in the US now has made me really like my stint here for these 2 years.. I've literally done things the way want it to be done. I really like the freedom. But with plans of going back to India by 2012 - 2015, this freedom might not be too long lived. I grew my hair, change my beard style everyday, sleep over in my friends' place, see movies at times I want (I was not allowed to go for night shows when I was in India ) . I love this kinda life. But in the same vein, I have not had the guts to perhaps try out things like smoking or boozing - Yeah, I'm one Pazham only!

5. Cooking: Knowing perhaps to "make" thayir and venner when I was in Chennai, it has certainly been a quantum jump for me in terms of cooking talents. Dishes which I have tried and succeeded in are: Sambar and Rasam (yeah, I struggled with even these when I started), Pulao, Fried rice, Paal Payasam, 'More' Kuzhambu, Vetha Kuzhambu, Chow-Chow Kootu, Pasta, Pulikachal, Aviyal, all 'currys' ( beans, potato, cauliflower and other cow food types), Kalandha sadham types (tomato, coconut, lemon), Dosai with chutney, Chappathi-subzi kinds. And the good thing is I have come to love cooking so much that I even cooked when I had gone to Madras in April.

6. Vegetarianism and Food Habits: When I left for the US, people did tell me that I will become a meat eater soon. But somehow, I have hung on to be a veggie. I'm proud to say that I'm a vegetarian by choice. And since many American restaurants don't have much variety for veggies, I have ceased to have a choice in food. I can eat anything vegetarian - with salt, without salt, properly cooked, uncooked, undercooked, HOT food, bland food, cow food (those elai-thazhai kinds), OATS and cereals (I can eat oats/cereals 3 times a day without any trouble) - anything is okay as long as they fill me. This did have a flip side though - when I went to India, I had a tough time convincing my mother not to make special foods for me. If I wanted to eat cereals for dinner, my mother started crying thinking I was used to it because of my penury in the US!

7. Religion and Spirituality: I had my upanayanam when I was in sixth standard and to be brutally honest, I never performed sandhyavandhanam on days other than Avani Avittam - Gayathri Japam. But when I saw muslims and christians pursuing their religion with such fervor, I was tempted to get back to doing sandhyavandhanam regularly and I have tried to know more about Indian history from the vedic ages, vedas themselves and about Sanathana Dharma in general. I see this as one of the unbelievable changes in me as I was an agnostic/atheist not long ago (2001).

It wouldn't be fair if I said the good things only. I have had some bad habits/characteristics I've developed in the USA:

1. Internet Addiction: For people who talk to me in Gtalk, you will perhaps know that I stay online 24X7. This has given me long sight and I'm still not able to kick the habit.

2. Sleep: My sleep habits are totally screwed up. While I had regular sleep hours in India (10pm - 4.30am), I've not seen 4.30 am any day in the US except on those days when I start sleeping at 6am. Pathetic!

3. Moody: While I was a smile always person in India, being alone most of the time has made me hugely moody. I talk to people when I want to and lots of times, I just refuse to take calls on my mobile simply because I'm not in a mood to talk.

So that's that. I know this one of those sentimental posts, but couldn't help it!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Of Orkut and Kadalais

The craze of Orkut is on a high for sometime and for some old timers like me in Orkut, its getting increasingly a sickening place. You have people who are like 40 plus (obviously males) who try to strike up inane and puerile conversation with some college going girl. They have some pretext or the other - some claim that they are on Vada poda terms with some guy who is the teeny bopper sensation at that point of time (now it is Surya - for good measure they somehow make sure they have photo with Madhavan or Surya); some others claim they are music aficionados - and this takes a fork here - some of these 'sabalist' uncles claim themselves to be 'Rahmaniacs' (gaining instant rights to write those 'asattu', 'achu pichu' comments on the scrapbooks of those girls who say 'Isn't Rahman choooo cuuuuute' kinds) while a few others claim the musical high ground - carnatic music (this gives them unlimited access to those wannabe goody two-shoes girls' scrapbooks).

Once they claim this entry into the friends list of these girls, what follows is pure, unadulterated flirting. If the things said by the 'chweeeeet' uncle was repeated by any other guy who was younger, then, there would be a huge crib-fest from that girl to all similar minded girls in her friends circle and a mass chain mail will come out, calling that poor guy (after all, flirting happens to be natural at his age) everything from a sick guy to a pervert, psycho kinds.

What I can't understand is how come an innocuous "hi! Your photos look cool!" from a 20 year old (stranger) guy is worser than a 45 plus uncle (whom the girl knows for say 3 days on orkut) saying to a girl - "You are welcome to my house anytime" at - no less - 3am! Believe me, this happens. And the funny thing is that these uncles use some bombastic GRE High Frequency word list words (sample: I wish you visualize a sweet multi sequential form of idiosyncrasy occuring benevolently in the meritorious piece of cerebral brain... - this is to say sweet dreams! And these girls immediately write a testimonial - "Uncle has awesum english knowledge and its a pleasure to have him as my friend" - My (size no 13 left) foot!

These Uncles further start some communities which anybody in their right senses won't even consider clicking on. Samples of these communities are, "Surya in Munbe Vaa Song Fans community", "Asin in 3rd scene in Ghajini fans club" {and on the other hand will start seemingly intellectual communities like "Know your english", "What Krishna means in Bhagavad Geetha", where there is mass kadalai roasting. They have equally nonsensical polls in those communities - Do you consider Jo to be the right match for Surya (poor guy, I'm having to pick up Surya's name so often!) - Uncles start these polls fully knowing that all the girls will crib about Surya marrying Jo and continue from there into scrapbooks going long and deep into a flirt-fest.

These 'Sabalaist' uncles also put some photos in their orkut album with their wives, so that anyone visiting their profile should think that they are devoted husbands - will any half-way decent husband, go to orkut, right from the moment he comes home? Won't he be expected to spend some time with his wife/family? If you venture to ask these, you will be termed a pervert by these modern magaranis (ARR/SURYA likers) or the samathu singaris (the carnatic music liker kinds).

Well, I think as long as there are misguided people around, sabalists will flirt on the scrap, every scrap.

My only comment to all this nonsense is: (quoting Premji from Chennai 600028) "Enna Kodumai saaar idhu?"

Disclaimer: This article is my opinion and not directed against any particular person. The communities mention in the post are entirely fictitious to the best of my knowledge and if there is some such community in reality, then it wasn't intentional. And for the record, I don't try to scrap/message people whom I don't know and generally won't respond to scraps from unknown people.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Shooter - Review

Got to see this movie from Blockbuster over the weekend - was more or less like a Vijayakanth movie - but with some sophistication.

The Plotline:

Mr. Wahlberg is a retired sniper who is a sort of a legend in sniping out victims. He was 'wronged' by the CIA in an covert operation in Ethiopia, which ended up with his best friend dying (Sounds familiar?). So Mr. Sniper (he is called Robert Lee Swagger) decides to quit and takes up a god forsaken cabin in the equally god forsaken state of Wyoming with his pet dog. Suddenly CIA decides that Mr. Sniper is needed to plan an assassination attempt on Mr. American President so that they can get an idea as to how a possible attempt on the president could be made (by some terrorists, who have somehow gotten the secret codes used by the President). So Mr. Sniper goes and in a matter of a few cut shots, he comes up with a plan which COULD kill the president. Next scene shows Mr. President and some Peace Keeper from Ethiopia and now is where the director decides to put in a corny twist and now Mr. Sniper is on the run from the law - the charge? He tried to assassinate Mr. Prez. Mr. Sniper somehow gets a rundown van to work and drives all the way from Philly to some obscure place in Kentucky where the girl friend of the best friend who died at the start lives. Mr. Sniper manages to recuperate there (oh! If you thought Captain giving 'shock' to 'current' in Narasimha to be bad, here Mr. Sniper gives himself an IV using a radiator hose and some powdered sugar from the local grocery shop and drives a car for some 700 miles with two bullets lodged in him). Rest of the movie about how Mr. Sniper learns the 'truth' (with lots of avenge the hapless souls funda) and gets back at those who framed him.

1. Never expected Wahlberg to star in this! I really liked him in The Departed for which he was nominated for the Oscar.
2. The action sequences involve only one thing - Rain or shine, Mr. Sniper snipes everybody from 2 miles afar. So nobody really has a chance to get at Mr. Sniper.
3. Surprisingly devoid of any romance at all - the only place where the director keeps us guessing - we wait for Mr. Sniper and Ms. Dead Friend's girl friend to smooch, but that never happens.

Last Say:
Watch this if you really are bored and can't sleep. Even unintentional comedies (of the Vijayakanth stopping bullet with archanai thattu kinds) can't save this one.

One more reason for being happy!

Click here for the news item and video. (Somehow CNN-IBN videos no longer work if embedded. Anyone of you have the same problem?)

Among people I know, Ambi, Subbudu write in Tamizh and going by the number of comments they receive, they could well be in the 4000!

Three cheers to Ambi and Subbudu!!

I'm Happy!!

Today I got to do what I really wanted to do from August 10th, 2005 (my first day in US) - to go for a jog early in the morning - I did get some extraneous help though!


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sunset Photography

I really like photographs taken in sunset twilight. I have posted a few of my pictures (with and without me in them).

Clearwater Sunset Pics
I like this photo a lot, for once I have a good smile in a photo, but thanks to my complexion, I appear as like a commando soldier with war paint all over.

I know the second one looks funny - I was looking at the sun only!

These pictures are courtesy Srinath, who uses a Canon Powershot SD400.

San Diego Sunset Pics:

This picture and the one below were taken at Sunset Cliff, San Diego (I thin that's what I remember it as). The sunset here was gorgeous except for the fact that for a guy who is Floridian, it gets cold suddenly near twilight.

Taken using my Camera, Canon Powershot SD600. All the pictures which follow are also taken using the same camera.

Sunset under the Golden Gate Bridge, SFO

The ferry service around the bridge and the Alcatraz prison is a treat for any traveller going to SFO Bay Area. The Sun creates awesome patterns when viewed from certain positions with the bridge in between as it is evident in the pic above.

The sun sets on SFO (arguably, the last of the populated city to have a sunset, excluding places like Hawaii and Alaska). Again this was shot from the ferry ride.

Sunset at Hollywood

This is the mountain with the letters H-O-L-L-Y-W-O-O-D and nobody knows the significance. Thanks to a local desi travel guide we got to the most closest point near this sign.

This photo is the scene on the side opposite to the HOLLYWOOD sign. The color play is absolutely stunning.

Sunset in Tampa:

The place which is the closest in terms of weather to Chennai, Tampa is perennially hot.

A picture snapped near a construction site - the sight in reality was really breathtaking.

Sun on my face, this photo isn't a favorite but just to complete this blogpost with a photo with me in it! ;-)

Disclaimer: I know my photography skills are very limited. This post was to share a few sunsets which I really enjoyed and wanted you guys to know it too - my stills might have captured only 10% of the actual sight. So if you are a fellow Sunset-viewer, put Clearwater,FL/SFO/LA/SD on your travel plans! :)

Friday, August 03, 2007

That was a good one

I feel that carnatic music is fast becoming a fading art form and the primary reason for that has been the inability of carnatic music to appeal to the common man. To appreciate a carnatic music concert, you necessarily need to know a few basic things, which makes it less appealing to many. It is for this reason that I like A.R. Rahman and Ilayaraja, who have popularized Raagas and they have, on multiple occasions, acknowledged the versatility of carnatic music.

Popular carnatic raagams in cinema music are kalyani, mohanam, reethigowlai and perhaps a few hundred others. Very good adaptations which have bowled over the common people are:

1. Reethigowlai Raagam - Azhagaana Ratchasiye from Mudhalvan, Kadhal Neruppu from Veyyil, Sudum Nilavu from Thambi and Chinna Kannan Azhaikiran from Kavikuyil ( a really old movie)

2. Abheri - Kannodu Kanbathellam from jeans.

3. Sahana -Azhage Sugama from Parthale Paravasam

4. Sri Raagam - Theendai from En Swasa Katre ( a very tough raaga adapted brilliantly)

5. Revathi - Kaaka song from Naan Avan Illai (Thanks to a knowledgable friend of mine who told me this)

6. Yaman Kalyani - Varaagha Nadhikarai Oram from Sangamam

7. Mohanam - Paakadhey Paakadhey in Gentleman

8. Naatakurinji - Kannampoochi yenada from Kandukondein Kandukondein (it has some traces of Sahana in some places in between)

9. Ananda Bairavi - Mettu Podu from Duet

10. Sindu Bharaivi - Enge Enadhu Kavidhai from Kandukondein Kandukondein.

This list is just an arbitrary one. If you want to know more, click here. (Thanks to Hawkeye)

Now coming to my main theme, I always felt that carnatic music singers themselves did not do much to make it appealing to the common man. For all the carnatically-challenged souls like me, the raaga alapanais and other such intricacies are lost in the quest for Vadai and badam halwa being served outside.

In this scenario, I heard the Maadu Meikkum Kanne song in Youtube and was really felt that songs like these will definitely go a long way in helping common people get attracted to carnatic music. For all those who want to give it a try, I have added the esnips link (courtesy: Blogeswari).

Madu Meikum Aruna ...

If you really want to know how it could change the atmosphere in a concert, look at this video and the violin vidwan's bit too!

I loved this song and incidentally when I spoke to my carnatically - challenging sister, she told that this song was written for the younger lot - especially the 5 - 7 year olds who are learning music. Perhaps I have one strong claim to being young! :p

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Hits the nail right on its head

I saw this article in This article is seriously one of the better articles in the usually-nonsensical Rediff.

Click here to read.

After 'Abhiwarya', this might well be the most irritating media covered event/incident this year.

Good excerpts from the original:

Sanjay Dutt was born in 1959. That means he was well into his thirty-fourth year when he was arrested in 1993. A man that hasn't gained a modicum of common sense by that age is certainly not a man that can be trusted with any kind of firearms, leave alone an AK-56.


Even imprisonment does not seem to have shoved a modicum of common sense into Sanjay Dutt's skull. In November 2000 the police allegedly taped him talking to the notorious Chhota Shakeel. The release of those tapes' transcripts proved too much even for Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray (who had stood by him when his father's Congress colleagues were dropping out of sight in 1993).

This conversation reputedly came within days of Sanjay Dutt receiving exemption from appearing in the special court for two months; at such a time he had no business talking to any suspect acquaintance, even if the conversation were confined to inanities about the weather.

The actor was subsequently asked to confirm whether he had indeed spoken to Chhota Shakeel on the night of November 14, 2000 as the tapes indicated. Sanjay Dutt then told Judge A P Bhangale that he could not remember anything much from that evening because of all the liquor that he had consumed. Full points for honesty perhaps, but after all this it is utter nonsense to claim that this man is any kind of a role model for youth.


Actors are fond of flaunting their credentials as social activists. Perhaps the greatest social service that Sanjay Dutt could perform in his troubled life would be in ramming home the twin messages that actions have consequences and that nobody is above the law.