Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Mystic Force

You may call it whatever you want. Fate, God, Nature, Destiny !!! But I call it as mystic force.

There are many things that I can do. I know I am capable of doing. And I am not someone who is too worried about consequences. And I define my own morality. I keep professing everyone and myself that being good at any point of time is what is more important and that is what defines morality even.

What is right for you could be wrong for someone else and there is what you call as Swadharma if you are smart and karma if you are a fatalist. So I don’t bother too much about rights and wrongs, because practically I define them. And I don’t do any wrong.

But there are times, I want to do certain things and my mind doesn’t object it too much. Rather doesn’t object at all and on the contrary it encourages.So, as per my conscience what I want to do is no wrong at all.

But I still don’t do it. And I have never known why so far?!

There could be this absolutely innocuous stuff that I would want to do and still don’t do. I credit that to what I call as Mystic Force. Somehow, there is something that stops me from doing it. A force that can override my desire!! In a conscious state I would never listen to anyone or any such stuff.

But I do!!! I don’t know why I stop doing what I want. At different points in time the logical explanations could give a reason about why I resisted from doing it. According to me, even that realization or hunch is because of some mystic force.

Need to understand that, and then I suppose life will be in control. Of mine!!!!!!!

Monday, February 26, 2007


Have always been in love. All my life!! On one thing or other. Or one person or other or many!

In my life, there had never been measures. Or defined extremes! I set them, rather I don set them. I don’t like setting them. They sometimes, because of others get set.

You love something and how do you draw a line to it? You cant! Can you?? As long as love for certain thing or person survives, do you think you can say it’s enough? Something like, ‘OK, my limit for love allows only this much, so please please brain, will you listen to me’??

I love music and I can’t stop collecting them. I love books and I can’t stop buying more. I love movies and I can’t stop seeing them. I love a few people and I can’t stop showing it.

Unlike the other inanimate stuff, my love for people gets shown in many ways. Sometimes just by accepting them, accepting what they do, accepting their anger on me, accepting their distance and accepting my own inability to show love and accepting their inability and compulsion about not to show love! Or by overdoing things, Or by buying stuff for them just to see the pupils dilate. I told you before, I don’t have extremes defined.

I sometimes, just sometimes think that people should show love to me also. But never been patient to wait for that or understand the many different ways they show it. It’s funny that people whom I thought are out of love with me; spring a surprise one day by just surfacing.

In many ways, as much as others I feel that I also take love for granted. And I expect it to stay, shown irrespective of what I do or mean.

I still don’t know whether I am lovesick or sick of love!!!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sound of Silence

There is this ethereal beauty about Silence. I happened to see a good movie with a deaf-mute in the lead and a musician falling in love with her. I can keep raving about the movie on and on, that’s not the idea here.

I started wondering about ‘expressions’ after that. Whenever we say ‘expressions’, we don’t attach any deeper meaning to it and is generally thought and said as what words can do. Written, Spoken or sung. They just form a minor part of our expressions to think of. Many of our words get more meaning only when they are accompanied with gestures.

Or many words that are unsaid but you wanted to say gets told, by being something or by doing something. It could even be with people who you interact often or had been interacting.

In a cacophonous world, silence becomes the best music.

I have tried to translate a song that comes in the move that talks about the expressions. This is how it goes

Is it Sound or Music, that is
The expression of wind
Is it fragrance or color, that is
The expression of flower

Is it Waves or Froth, that is
The expression of Ocean
Is it lips or eyes, that is
The expression of love

If the expression of nature is understood,
There is no place for words
If the expression of heart is understood,
There is no need for words

When the wind blows,
There is no direction
When love speaks,
There are no words

Like spoken words,
Silence is not understood
The words of eyes though
Is not understood even by God

Can’t give a shape
To the flowing breeze
Can’t give a form
For the words of heart

If the expression of nature is understood,
There is no place for words
If the expression of heart is understood,
There is no need for words

Words of sky
Comes as drizzle
Words of a rainbow
Comes as color

When the heart is mute
Tears becomes the words
When the day becomes dark
Stars becomes the words
In a heart with desire
Even a wink becomes words.

If the expression of nature is understood,
There is no place for words
If the expression of heart is understood,
There is no need for words

Sometimes, I feel it is better not to say anything at all and show all the love only by actions whenever you get a chance. And I am convinced am right.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Iyengars & their lexicon

This is inspired by a similar Bong Alphabet list I received, which was satirical though. So decided to compile this list of Iyengar vocabulary.

Before that a small brief about the community itself: As someone said, the Iyengars would either be cooks or in the US. If there is one Iyengar family that doesn’t have a relative in US, then there is something seriously wrong. Should really check their ancestry. : ))

One of the most fanatical community, they are an island amongst Brahmins. They believe only Vishnu is God and serious Iyengars like my mom don’t even go to worship Siva in Meenakshi Amman temple. Meenakshi is ok; She is Iyengar by birth!!

Everyone would be called as Srinivasan is what my guess is. In my mom’s house, the great grandfather, grandfather, father, son & great grandson all were called so. Like the King Edwards!!

Never name anyone Ganesh, Karthik or any Iyer sounding names. The community is a curious combination of strict orthodoxy and lenience. They don’t touch anything non-iyengar even with a 10-foot pole, but has so much lenience built in. Myth says that, once Mahavishnu forgot that, it was a Ekadasi, a fasting day and he had a sumptuous meal and grandly finished with a paan. When someone saw Him and was shocked at his impropriety, He nonchalantly said, Ekadasi is only tomorrow. Since then all Iyengar celebrations has always been in the next day.

Funnily & truly no one else subscribe to their idea of superiority.

Now to the vocab!!!!

Aam, which means home. This has given way to words like Aathukaarar, Aathukaari, meaning husband & wife respectively. Etymology: variant of Aham, standing for self or home

Bitley, this stands for a special dish mostly made out of Bitter Gourd. Etymology: unknown.

Chathumathu, a staple-diet for Iyengars! All Iyengar children are brought up only in the diet of Paruppu & chathumathu. Etymology: variance of Saadham (that is rice) and Amudhu (that is again a variant of Amrut)

Chanian refers to actually Saturn or Sani that is supposed to do bad for people. But Iyengars use it as a swear word. Kids learn to use the word just after they learn Appa, Amma..

Dertham stands for water Etymology: Variant of Theertham, a Sanskrit word for water.

Dedhyonam stands for curd rice. Etymology: Unknown

Ecchapiratal stands for ‘cleaning the place where you have food. Etymology: Ecchal meaning ‘leftover’ and Piratal meaning ‘gathering’

Garudazhvaar, the vehicle of Mahavishnu. This gave him a name as Azhvaar which a demi-god status. True to Iyengar idiosyncrasy, they look up for an Eagle type bird and pray.

Jeer, is the Iyengar equivalent of Sankaracharya. Head of the mutt different sects of Iyengars belong. Iyengars have the peculiar belief that only in their tradition, God visits a bhakta at his home, apart from the Baktha visiting him at his abode. The Jeer is responsible for bringing God home. But mind you, Vishnu is very costly. The Jeer visting your house will be akin to a Tsunami devastated one. And the entourage is super madi. Use only well water for cooking and when they serve food, they practically throw it at you.

Kariamudhu stands for Subzi. Etymology: Kari, which is a Tamil word for vegetables and amudhu again for amrut.

Kadangaran originally means somehow who has borrowed. But all errant kids / people are referred as Kadangaran. Female Gender variant also is used. It is a favourite swear word with another interesting word that comes up next.

Kattelova, pronounced as I have written, this is actually a variant of ‘Kattale Poravane’ once again meaning one who goes in the funeral palanquin. What is the idea of using this as a swear word I don’t know. Afterall, all of us will be so once.

Madi means clean. Actually super clean!! One can achieve madi status, by taking bath head to toe, wear clothes washed separately and dried. If anything from a crow to a kid even touches a half-dried cloth, then wearing that would disqualify for madi status. Sometimes even a particular distance could be a madi deterrent Etymology: Unknown

Naalayira Divya Prabandham is referred as Tamil Veda, a collection of 4000 hymns made in praise of God. Wonderful literature and almost a definitive guide to Vaishnava psyche.

Naarmadi, a symbol of backwardness and Brahmin cruelty in general. A sari in a dirty colour worn by Iyengar widows, irrespective of the fact they would be only in their twenties.

Oppiliappan refers to God at Kumbakonam also referred as Chinna Tirupathi. Iyengars can make their offerings to this God, which originally was supposed to be done at Tirupathi. Etymology: Oppu means parallel in Tamil, and the word stands for ‘One without any parallel’

Puliyodharai, can be called as Iyengar’s USP. Stands for Tamarind Rice, the community is known to be specialists in making this dish! Etymology: Puli is Tamil means Tamarind.

Paandal, a variant of theetu. Maybe a scheduled caste amongst the theetu!!

Saligramam, a stone that is collected at the Himalayan Ranges where the God is supposed to reside. Can’t think of an Iyengar house without that. Stored in a rice container sometimes, this being a fast-food world, to ensure that God doesn’t go hungry. Etymology: Unknown

Sudarsana Homam, a ritual that is performed for general well being. Iyengars don’t do Ganapathy Homam.

Sahasranamam refers to the 1000 words of Mahavishnu, the supreme Iyengar god. Actually it is Vishnu Sahasranamam, but only referred in general.

Thirumapararathu stands for adding ingredients like Mustard & Ghee mainly in chathumathu. Etymology: Unknown

Theetu, means untouchable. All Iyengars except old grandmothers are always in a state of theetu.

Thumbikai Azhvaar, a perfect example of Iyengar fanaticism. It is a God that looks like Ganesha (the elephant-headed one). Since Iyengars cant worship Ganesha but he being all powerful, an Iyengar substitute was badly needed and hence this God

Thenkalai, one sect of Iyengars. They believe that there are like cats. As the mother cat always carries the kitten, they believe that God will carry them everywhere. Don’t think they respect Vadakalai’s too much.

Vadakalai, one sect of Iyengars. They believe that there are like monkeys. As the monkey babies grab their mom and travel with them, they need to grab God and travel with him. They obviously think low of Thenkalai’s.

Vishnu, the prime deity. For Iyengars, life starts and ends with Vishnu. No other God matters.

There could be more words, but right now can think only this much. Will try and build the vocabulary.

Till then, a toast to all Iyengars!!!!

Friday, February 23, 2007

CA(ugh)T in the Act

I once picked up a stray dog when I was 10 yrs. Forgot its name. My folks never approved it and the worst was that, it was never recognized to be a living thing. I dug a pit for that and coated with cement to make a water bowl. And robbed a few pints of milk to keep the creature alive. It hadn’t even opened its eyes when I brought it in. It grew pretty well and even responded to my calls. And one day it vanished. My strongest suspicion was on the housemaid. I recognized that dog in all the dogs, that I saw. And hoped for long that it would find me back. It never did.

My passion then turned to cats. My cousin’s house was just opposite had plenty of them. That old grandmother, old servant maid and cats were permanent fixtures in that house.

My first two attempts to bring the kitten home was a disaster. Once I got bitten even before I could lay my hands on it. Second was a bit more successful. Brought it home and the place it chose to settle was the toilet and into the closet that too. And straight it walked into the kitchen from there. The fact I am alive writing this today after that incident just tells me that there is a greater purpose of my living in this earth. God would not have saved me that day, unless He had some definite plans for me, am sure.

Third one was the most hilarious. My uncle was at home and I enlisted his help for ‘Project Kitten’. He should have been catching cats all his life I suppose, as he easily picked the smallest and put it in a bag. And for the house just opposite, we had to take a circuitous route. He never forgot to tell me that kittens are smarter than us and they would find the way home. So, we had that infamous trek.

Midway, his dhoti got loose and he asked me to hold the kitten bag, which I promptly refused after the experience of the first bite. He had no other choice but to leave the bag down. Smart kitten move, inside or outside the bag!! And we had a moving bag right on the street, much to the chagrin of my uncle. He was fairly pissed about my ‘cat catching’ qualities. I never excused myself for that. It pained to think that I wasn’t good enough to even catch a cat. Such a demotivating thing it was.

Anyway, after that I neither tried nor manage to catch anything.


There had been a lot of casualties with the advent of technology. And it has always been there. Like it comes in the song ‘Video killed the Radiostar’! Every time when something new comes, the old should die and make way. Some of them reinvent themselves, once again like the radio. But, the one I don’t anticipate to be reborn and mourn about is the letters. Written ones delivered by the Postal & Telegraphs.

Written letters always had a charm. They were somehow more personal than any of the communication tools that we have today. Including talking I mean. That’s because when you talk you cant take them back, but when you write, you can read it again and maybe then it strikes you odd that you have written something you should not have. This is true for even today’s written communications. Mails, Chats or SMS.But even in them, there is an issue, there is an easy ‘send’ button and you send it just like that.

Letters were not like that. Firstly, it was handwritten most times. So, however silly it may appear, as it comes in the old Tamil Movies, you can see the face in the middle of the letter in watermark. There was always surely that great feeling.Then you could always carry a letter with you. Maybe in the pocket and keep reading them again and again.

And the greatest about them was the time lag. From writing to reading! And the anticipation of receiving them! You always somehow knew that letter was going to be there that day. Maybe your hunch or a definite past frequency would give that feeling.

Whenever I see these war movies, in which soldiers in the front, taking out a badgered letter again and again I used to feel so melancholic.

My father used to write to us. He had a peculiar handwriting. The words were placed close to each other and cursive. He was always to the point and there weren’t many expressions of what he really felt in those letters. But somehow for us, we could see him, his care and his face in those letters. There was a formal opening we had for him (Thendam samarpivitha vignabanam). And again always to the point just trading information!

One of his friends in the bank he worked also happened to become friends with my two elder brothers. And he was such a nice man, that he will use 3 different Inland letters separately addressed to the 3 of them, but write the letter with a carbon copy. : ))

My association with the post offices were also very many. First was when I had a friend in the college who was from a different town. So, all the holidays, it was writing each other for us. Almost with clockwork precision there will be letters every alternate day. On some occasions, a reply being written, right there at the post office.

Then the next was when I was hunting for a job. Applications sent everyday and replies expected. I used to walk across to the main post office where they sort the letters, because the restless was so high to find a job.

And then when the job was as a Medical Rep, with reports to be sent everyday (I didn’t send them so was a different story), but more importantly the salary and expenses cheques were sent by post and that was always a chase, with money running atleast 7 days before its next due.

And the most famous letters of my life, 3 of them precisely from me and one as a reply from her!! Even after we started courting, I somehow never let the habit of writing to her, and there will be plenty of them that I would not only write but also deliver myself as a postman. : ))

I still have them all with me. As a big bunch saved for 18 years now, but honestly some of them are very embarrassing to read now. : )) Maybe when we have a fight, we should pick them up and read.

After that, the age of letters was dead. Never had the opportunity to write or receive them. Surely atleast the postal ones were dead. Some were still delivered by couriers. But they were mostly commercial ones, at office and gradually it became only credit card statements and other bills, which anyway I didn’t want to receive.

I don’t know whether it is part of aging that I am getting nostalgic about stuff like letters; why don’t know, I am sure it is. But not aging of the person, aging of the technology!!

You always look forward for improvements in what you have, but later start to ruminate about what we had in the past. Only when things go off use or your hand, you start missing them.

Haste, Haste, Haste !!!

Have you seen this situation before? I am sure you would have. The aircraft just touches down and stabilizes a bit, one gentleman will stand up immediately and fiddle with the overhead luggage compartment, as if he is going to jump out of the aircraft and rush to Mars or Venus immediately. Or, plenty others who will stand up, bending their neck uncomfortably when the plane stops and doors are yet to open. It will be a pitiful sight, gentleman with nice looking suits, with neck bent like chicken before the final moments. Or, a swarm of people rushing to the gate when the aircraft is announced and also attempting to jump the queue.

I would want to scream at that time, ‘Buddies, your seats are numbered, you have boarded, all of us are led in the same bus to the plane and for God sake, after checking in, the plane never leaves without you and however hard you try, you can never reach the destination earlier than the 300 others who are traveling with you’.

Or to the guy who stands up immediately, that we had been attempting this Mars sojourns for a couple of decades and are unsuccessful, so a few more minutes delay would not matter to either us the earthlings, or you the Superman.

I have never been able to understand this haste. Everybody, everywhere seems to be in haste. Totally lacking social skills, sneaking before you in a queue, jostling for plates in a buffet, honking at car stuck in signal!! All, with absolute nonchalance, with fleeting glances whether others notice this great act of heroism or shame.

Why and where are they rushing? To death? Or, are they trying squeeze out every living moment of their lives? Or that they are Bill Gates making billions of dollars every second?? Speed; haste everywhere, people driving like maniacs and pizza delivery boys. I am somehow very certain that they all rush to a destination and sit idle for a long period of time. Maybe they are rushing to catch up some rest!!!

Like it comes in Mahabaratha, if the Yaksha asks me what is the strangest thing in the world, it will be a no-brainer. The strangest thing in the world is the fact that these jokers stayed in their mother’s womb for 9 full months.

I am sure that they would have stood up and knocked at the door a million times trying to rush out by saying ‘ Hi there, I am in a state of urgency, can you please let me out, never mind it is only 6 months and am half-developed.

Next time, I meet such a person, I am going to walk up and encourage him. ‘Please do it, I know that you have very little time left in the world’.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

It wasn't me!!

We have always found it easy to blame others. Whatever difficulty we face, mistake we would have done, it is because someone was the reason.

I keep teasing my wife that for her in life ‘it is all because of me’. Even if it is some tap leaking at home and it suddenly decides to turn into a fountain. And I would be at some distant place like Mumbai or Delhi at that time. But you guessed, it would have been because of me. By an extremely ingenious piece of creativity like, the tap starting leaking because, I close it strong and in the process would have screwed it up and not only that, in a passing remark I would have been asked to call my Man Friday to fix that and I got busy chasing a few lakhs of revenue forgetting the leaky tap.

Ok, ok, it is not that bad, it was a futile attempt at exaggeration. But I will tell you; things can be pretty close to that, completely defying logic. And for me, it is all because of her. As I too make many such passing remark that is supposed to be an instruction and obviously you have a fall guy (in my case, a fall gal) when it does not happen.

On a serious note, I was thinking one day on why our attitude is made like this. Very rarely we accept mistakes, unless we know that we can never escape the blame. It all starts from how they rear us from our childhood. We are trained to blame others.

Just look at this. Our toddler would be attempting to do some Superman stuff and in the process would bang against a wall and get hurt. The first thing we as parents say to the baby is, ‘Acho, we will beat this wall nicely’. Awesome, a poor inanimate wall gets blamed because this stupid kid can’t understand its limitations.

That’s how it all starts. From inanimate stuff to the boy the next door who is the always the bad one, we first are on the clear. Why are they otherwise there?

Now you understand, how deeply this affects me? It is all because of her.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


The attempt to build the Tower of Babel is said to have angered God and cursed that people will talk different languages. I am not getting into how that can be micro-analyzed, whether it meant lack of understanding about what we talk to each other or plainly languages.

I am talking about the latest movie ‘Babel’, which has some parallels; don’t know whether the director’s primary intention was that.

Firstly, it will anger the viewers, for most of the times it is some meaningless rambling going on in the movie. Seemingly connected to each other, the 4 different storylines have very little in common. There is a very thin connection of a rifle of a Japanese guy, used by a Moroccan kid in a desert, which accidentally injures an American tourist and a side story of the kids of that tourist going to Mexico. That’s all the connection is. Nothing more.

I don’t know what’s the real idea of the director. Will 4 different story lines with such a thin connection make a full-fledged movie? I am surely tempted to think about the movies ‘Amores Perros’ ‘Yuva’ and also the likes of ‘Rashomon’. The first two had a clear link between the main protagonists. An accident that involves multiple people and how their lives get intertwined after that! And in Rashomon, the same incident is seen through 4 different pair of eyes. Now that’s a movie.

And on top of it, nice acting talents wasted completely. Gael Garcia Bernal according to me is a great talent. His performance as a mean dog owner in ‘Amores Perros’, sex crazed adolescent in ‘Yu Tu Mama Tambien’, as a newly ordained priest in ‘Crimen del padre Amaro, El’ are all outstanding. Such a guy being wasted in a stupid role irritates me. Atleast Brad Pitt had something to do in the movie thankfully.

And I don’t understand why if a helicopter if shown as flying should be shown till it lands, taking a whole minute or two. These parallel cinemas have this affliction. In some Mallu movies, if a fellow starts eating, they will show him complete the meal fully, or if potatoes are peeled, the entire container gets peeled and you see it patiently.

If this is realism, then I have an issue. I might as well walk into a kitchen and watch potato peeling. Maybe, I am a frontbencher who looks for plain good entertainment for 2 plus hours, without taxing my brain to find a story and invent meanings and have my personal interpretations blah blah. Just see a movie and mull over how it was a few times and get it done with. If it’s too good, keep seeing it again and again.

One good thing the movie did to me was that it gave me confidence. Maybe one day, I will make a movie, a good one at that. Or worse come worse a completely cranky movie like this and still get a release and for all you know, might pick up an award or two also

Roving Eyes - Part II

Let us get into the other side of the Roving eyes now. Honestly, I feel men’s eye will rove, whatever you may say.

Their brain is made that way. For millions of years, men had been preoccupied about procreation and have always been looking at opportunities to pass on his genes. With his responsibility being gathering food in an unfriendly environment, he always stood a chance of dying anytime and hence there was both urgency and lack of monogamous relationships. Unfortunately, unlike other species, Homo sapiens take 270 days for bringing another being to life, hence the urgency.

Now things are different surely, but habits die hard. Even today, after years of domestication, dogs hide their food. So if it is man’s eye, it will rove. I am not making any justification here, but this is just how brain works for a man. And today in a civilized environment, it stops with ogling and doesn’t go any further.

And it does not matter to him, how most appealing the other one is. So, the argument of why he looks at other women and how one should model herself is absolute crap. More than many times, the ones ogled have lesser good looks.

So, just chill. Ogling for men is a dirty habit of million years with no apparent meaning or gratification. And most importantly it has no bearing on how women look at all.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Roving Eyes & Heartaches

My wife’s roving eye caught this article in ‘Woman’s Era’ and she asked me read it out.

First things first, this is not any candid admission of any sort. She just asked me to read it, that’s all. Don’t read more meaning into this, or let your imagination run wild and think that it applies to me. It may or may not be. That’s definitely not the point of discussion here.

Let me not get into the reasons cited by the author as what are the likely reasons for a husband having a roving eye. That will become psychoanalysis then. Let me tell you what the author poses as questions & prescribes as solution to the all the wife’s.

X Have you started taking your husband for granted?
X If you have, try to look sexier & attractive.
X Try and rekindle the romance in your married life.
X Dress well.
X Try to look pretty.
X Give exclusive time to your partner.
X Speak softly & in a loving manner.
X Don’t nag.
X If he ogles at particular kind of women, take note of it and emulate her good points.

Now, has this author ever been married? Does she even understand what she suggests? Mates, this doesn’t happen in marriage. This can only be a fairy tale.

Marriage is real stuff, not a script. Can you imagine spouses talking to each other softly & in a loving manner? That too when you are pre-occupied with jobs, mortgages, children, model exams, unnecessary commitments??

And is someone even bothered about this trivia? These woman’s magazines should be the first to be banned if we want to reach anywhere closer to emancipation and equality for women. This is real sick stuff, advising women about how to look attractive. Try & emulate good points of the ones being ogled I believe. My foot. There can be nothing more demeaning to a wife.

I will tell you what, if he ogles at other women, you just ogle at other men. Maybe the husband of the one that is being ogled!

Then a man’s magazine can write about how men should try & look attractive and emulate good points. Haha.

I am even more pissed about the fact this damn author also starts the article with a name of a guy that is mine. :-X

Mr Know-it-all

Lately I had been professing opinions about anything and everything. I have become a ‘Karuthu Kandasami’. Starting from self-analysis to voodoo stuff and giving copious advice like an Agony Aunt.

In fact, even now when I started to think, whether am I talking too much, that again sucked me in a whirlpool of thought and it has once again metamorphosised as another blog.

Guess it is the availability of a medium for expression. When you have a place to say something without the fear of being stoned, and not having to pay for publication, it helps a lot.

And the freedom of not having to contain oneself to specific subjects or thoughts! Just rattle out whatever that strikes you and write it down. And the absence of any compulsion to write anything at all is also good.

Initially, when I really wanted to blog, consciously thinking about what to blog, it was a big pressure and it appeared that I had nothing to say. Or sometimes felt there was too much to say. Cramp everything you read, saw; know into blogs and eventually it turned out that was either too banal or scholarly.

Now that I released myself of that pressure, it comes so very naturally to keep dishing out stuff. Or is it the fact that am not being critical of what I write and stopped worrying about banality or scholarship??

It has become some kind of a joke at home, my daughter saying that ‘ aanalum nee konjam jaasthi ezhuthara’ or me threatening them to submission by saying ‘ if you don’t stop doing what you are doing, I will write now’ : ))

In fact this title should be copyrighted to Somerset Maugham. A wonderful short story with the same title that ends so very classically as all his stories do!!!

Anyway, it seems so good to blog and let it be so now!!


We are this family of ‘Black’ fanatics. For me, only black is colour. And only dark skinned girls appeal to me. Keep buying black color clothes as if it is going out of fashion that day. Sometimes, I take it too far by getting turned off by a few fair skinned one’s.

I believe that Black is the natural color and God made people black who faded both in color and character as days went by. And all of us at home have similar opinion.And grew with adages like 'Only Black is beautiful, only burnt is tasty'

So, it’s no wonder that my younger one, all of 5 years also has picked our tastes in color. She happens to be dark like her mom, while me and my first one are less fortunate and in lighter shade.

Lately, my daughter has picked this up as a riposte when I keep calling her Blackie for fun. She says, ‘Me & Mom are black, Daddy & Akka are yuwak’ and the genuinity with which she says yuwak is simply unbelievable. :)) More about black later!!

No time,so pls read now!!

Lot many people complain to me that they don’t have time to do most of the things they would like to do. The chief culprit always seems to be work. ‘Where do I have time to do it’ is a constant refrain from all of them. Somehow I am unable to take that in face value.

Well, I am not a time management expert or anything. The only thing that qualifies me to talk about time & the availability of it is the fact that I waste a great deal of it. So, I know.

I don’t understand the hype about such a simple and standard stuff. Statements like ‘If you don’t have time, you should manufacture it’ only adds more mysticism to it. And any conscious attempt to get ‘management of time’ better, only increases the load and thus the guilt of incapability.

I told that I waste a great deal of time. At the risk of sounding conceited, I want to run a quick list of what all I do (not necessarily in a particular day, not all days are always same).

· In the past 4 years, I would have averaged at least 150 movies every year.
· I finish at least 5 books a month on an average.
· I take Holidays twice a year. Fairly long ones.
· I have recently been writing plenty (if you can call blogging as writing :P)
· I spend a fair amount of quality time with my kids.
· Never failed to lose an opportunity to party and I can think of getting together for long sessions with guys at least twice a month.
· Travel heavily on work.
· Recently experimenting with cooking.
· My phone doesn’t seem to stop and I know by the call timers that I spend an average of 1 Hr & 15 minutes each day on phone.
· On weekends, my wife and me hit the discs.
· Sleep happily in the afternoons if it is a holiday, for a minimum of 3 hours.
· Park in front of TV if its cricket time.
· Few more activities that cant be recorded : ))
· And I also have a job that pays me enough to suck the blood out me, one pint for each paisa paid.

There is also many more that I do. Well, on top of this, I still feel that I waste a lot of time because most of the time, I laze around. This is not any attempt to say how much I do and still have time. It is just that, I happen to do all this and also be fairly relaxed without rushing to meet deadlines.

I may have a lot of help to get these luxuries happening to me. I was seriously thinking about why then people complain and how do I manage to get so much time for myself.

I never set timetables or organize myself, though am a creature of habit and ordinary chores takes a pre-defined time and gets done by itself.

Mostly it is because I guess I don’t pause to think before doing anything. If I want to read and a book is in front of me, I just pick it up and start reading. If I am sitting in the front of the TV and want to see a movie, I just switch it on. Many such stuff, if I want to do, I just do.

And also, many of these things happen simultaneously. For example, I said I travel a lot, but this piece is being done in an Airport Lounge. It would have otherwise been spent reading. And the travel is because of work.

Guess that’s the key. Somehow, keep doing whatever you want to do, whenever you feel like, if you really want to do. It is possible if as I said you really want to do it.

Bye for now, I need to get myself a haircut. No time to do it for a month now!! : ))

Monday, February 19, 2007

Tamil Voodoo

Something really funny happened last week at my home. Before getting into that, I need to give a prologue. This is not exactly about Voodoo stuff, but the superstitions we carry even in this century, when Sunita Williams is having a stroll in Space.

I had been living in midst of them almost all my life. Starting from Rahu Kaalam to not eating during eclipse, I suffered many. Some of them have scientific explanations and when I get the logic, I don’t mind following them. But this one caps it all.

My wife made coffee one day and I felt it was OK. But,when she had it,felt it was not good and that was endorsed by my daughter also. They went through a very logical fact-finding mission. First she thought that the milk could be bad, and boiled a fresh pot and made another coffee. She still felt it was bad. Then coffee powder became the accused and a fresh brew from a different coffee powder was made, but the result was the same.

This was continuing well into the second day and she was so very perturbed. Having run out of logic, she was lamenting about this illuck to her mom and there was a solution found. My mother-in-law suggested that she takes a handful of salt and rotate it around the milk. Apparently there was a bad eye on the milk. With nothing to lose, my wife went through it. And the next coffee was out of advertisements. Fresh, aromatic and tasty!!

Now I don’t know what to make of this. Can someone really cast a bad eye on an inanimate thing like milk? And how come salt is a bad eye doctor? Stretching logic, I can even understand bad eye on the cow, but surely not on the milk.

Anyway, one thing I learnt from this episode is the power of salt. The Mahatma used it chase the British out of the country, and this for Salt should have been child’s play.

Sher Shah Suri, Siraj-ud-Dowla & So What ??

I love reading about Indian history. Don’t remember being so fascinated about the subject while I was at school. Though I can recall reading out from my sister’s history books when she was at college.

It was a couple of books at a later date that generated more interest in Indian History. One was ‘Freedom at midnight’ by Larry Collins and Dominique Lappiere and another even later ‘Vanthaarkal Vendraarkal’ by Madhan. Then graduated to Kushwant Singh’s ‘India’ and John Keay’s ‘India:A History’. And every time I read one such book my interest only goes up.

But this piece was prompted seeing my daughter’s struggle for her model exam. She is just in 7th standard, nothing to really bother about exams. What I see in her books is a dampener though. It is just a series of unpronounceable names doing the same thing like killing siblings to get to the throne, do 10 stupid things against one really good reform. How come what Sher Shah Suri did to Humayun matter now? And that too, when it really doesn’t change much like missing an episode in a mega serial? The poor thing is really struggling with the names and the spellings.

I can’t really prescribe a solution to this. History is so interesting and also important for one to know. But, NCERT manages to kill that interest in people by making it syllabus. Is this information even going to stay in their minds? Is it relevant for passing a board exam? Why cant these subjects be an elective, with no exams to take? Not surprising that an eminent personality like RK Narayan calls exams as a 'culmination of all sadistic impulses :)

At the end of the day, right from the 09th standard annual vacation, students get into coaching classes for JEE and strive to become an engineer and get into the modern temples like IIT, IIM. No one wants to become a historian and even if they do, most parents and friends will treat them as outcastes.

In a terrible situation like this, why would someone force feed history I don’t know? And in the process kill a very fascinating read.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

What am I ??

It is said that Hinduism thrives and gets stronger as a religion / tradition by passing on a simple question ‘Who am I?’ from generation to generation. A quest for finding an answer to it is what makes people think and do more and realize the greater potential of the religion.

My question is not all that tough. I keep asking myself ‘What am I?’ Like it comes in the movie ‘Nayagan’, the question ‘Neenga Nallavara, kettavara?, pops up every now & then in my mind.

What makes me? Is it my habits that could be simply abhorable sometimes when seen from outside, or about what I do which also spans a fairly broad spectrum of emotional upheavals?

I act a bitter critic and cynic when it comes to people hobnobbing with God to get things they want, while I myself remain very pious in my mind. I am extremely friendly with the kids and have raucous fun at home, but scream my head off about their indiscipline. Guys who work with me sometimes revere me, but I have sacked my best friend from work. I have constant arguments with my spouse, but can’t wear proper socks if she is not around. I talk non-stop sometimes, but sit completely idle & silent when am with a group sometimes. Speak with friends sometimes as if world comes to end that day, but disappear sometimes from the face of earth according to them. I spend money without a care about tomorrow, but get extremely upset if I see something is wasted at home. I display extreme kindness to people sometimes, celebrate B’Day by spending for the kids at foster homes, but get very rude with waiters in restaurants. I am very humorous by nature and have the crowd in splits, but most times go serious in this ‘road to discovery’. I care a damn about rules and insist things happen my way always, but I don’t jump a red signal and contemplate carrying a fake gun to threaten motorists who do that.

I have many such anomalies in my behaviour. And that makes me think what am I!! Can I be defined in a pattern? Are my actions predictable? What do people make out of me at the end? Why do people pamper & indulge me? Am I what I am as a person or am I just the role I play at times that comes with some inherent powers?

Honestly I brush off these questions when they pop up. Not worth finding an answer to them according to me. If I did, I may become very conscious and screw up the very charm of what life is. Which is nothing but following the heart all the way.

Date with God

I suddenly woke up and decided to go to Sabari Mala. Been talking about doing it for long though.

So on a non-seasonal period, hopped into a flight, hired a cab, drove towards the shrine, in the thick of the night. Reached Pamba around 2.00 in the morning and started walking up the hill. It was such a wonderful experience to be doing that, even apart from enjoying the force that drove me taking this arduous climb. The night was chill, just a few people around, sounds of the small animals was making me think it was a joy trek, not withstanding the fact that climb is very very tough and I was panting and puffing very 10 minutes.

Reached at the right time at the top and had a very fulfilling darshan. And felt a sense of great relief and happiness. I have never understood about what makes a man like me do this. I have always been a bit cynical about the way people torture God with prayers, feel miserable for not making to a temple on the appointed day etc. But something drives me to take this strain every time.

The first time I went, I was cursing God almost and vowed never to go back, a decision I changed in a split-second while I was in front of Him. Almost nonchalantly I told Him ‘Seeya, we will meet again’. And kinda realized it later, that I was already contemplating in my mind about coming back.

I do it time & again, almost like an invisible hand drives me. Of course it is so. It is almost like you having a date with God and he chooses the time for you to do it. And what a date it turns about to be!!

My wife was asking me later, how was my conversation with God? It didn’t turn out to be a dialogue after all. Just stood there for a minute maximum, didn’t feel like asking anything, just thanked and walked off. But felt as if something great has been accomplished.

In my everyday life, I shamelessly drop names, pull strings and am very pushy to get what I want. Displaying and achieving power is a chase that I embark upon. If I have to do a small thing, there are at least 10 other people who should help or follow up for me, as if nothing else should matter to them. But still, there seems to be a great pleasure in submitting to power. A power like His!!

My Dream

Every now & then I pause to think what is my dream. What I want to be doing in life?

When I read about these movie stars going to exotic places like Pattaya to have story discussions, I wish I had that luxury in my life. To do something that you like at a place you like, without any compulsions of meeting a deadline!!!

Left to me, I would probably be a small time Zamindar. Live in a beautiful countryside at a distance of an hour from a metro. Should have a powerful pickup truck. Should have at least 4 dogs in varying shapes and sizes. Should have fields to tend to. Should have a collection of books, movies and music that I indulge on at any time I like. Should earn enough from agriculture to be self-sufficient to meet these needs alone. Come into the city once in a while, so as not to miss anything. Have my fill of theatres, restaurants, and friends and go back.

The issue with all dreams is that you wake up in the end!! But there is a lesson there, you need to anyway wake up if you want to realize your dream and come to think of it, mine is not very difficult to get to. :)

God & Graphics

This graphics stuff in the movies has made God more popular. Since man can do magic through software, God in It’s screen avatar is now capable of performing better feats. Or rather, there is more authenticity now on the gizmo’s He carries, than it was earlier.

I have always pondered about the fact why God goes through this inextricable web of designs to eliminate the bad guys. After all, He is supposed to be all-powerful and he should have been simply killing them by wish rather than a long drawn battle. If an argument is put forth that God was restricting Himself with the limitations of the avatar, then also I have an issue. Even within that, there was unbelievable stuff done by Him.

I don’t know why these story-weavers of Him have to do this character build up. Apparently even God needs advertisement to be believed. Whichever God it maybe, there should have been something miraculous done by them to be accepted. Now, I don’t know why we complain about Saibaba, when he materializes chains and rings to gain more credibility. Baba himself has told that these miracles are nothing but his visiting cards. And Gods then was probably forced to carry a few Themselves!!

It was Kamal Haasan who told that, the main reason of atheism growing in Tamil Nadu is the mythological movies. How very true?! In these movies, though He triumphs at the end, first He is made laughing stock by some stupid, good for nothing villains getting the better of Him for a major part of the movie. And in the end, do some really unbelievable stunts to come out winner.

Now, I am afraid that the graphics thing is going to help atheism flourish better. With TV right at your drawing room, Gods are now unleashing a barrage of arrows that does almost everything else but killing.

I only wish that we grew up faster & sooner and understand the real greatness of God and how we can realize Him ourselves without the aid of graphics. And, He is there everywhere, just everywhere.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy B'Day Babies

Happy Birthday babies.... have a blast. for what you are, there is nothing but greatest happiness that awaits you all in life. :)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

February 14th

February 14th is a big day for me. Not because it’s Valentine’s Day (not withstanding the fact that I am a die-hard romantic). It’s big because, I know at least 5 persons who celebrate a birthday on that day. And by sheer coincidence, they are all very special people to me.

It is a big day at home firstly, because my wife and 2nd daughter are amongst that 5 people I talked about. Maybe, it all started with my wife, a Feb 14th girl getting into my life. Come to think of it, she has shared almost all my adult life. I knew her when I was all of 19 years and I can confidently say that, I should have been an adult only about 2 years by then. So, when I am 41, it appears to me that she has been around all my life practically. We kinda grew up together. All our tastes, knowledge, foolishness, interests, desires, anger, disappointments, recoveries,have been always the same. We most of the times have a World War repeat at home, only to call each other in the next minute to say sorry and laugh at our own craziness. There could be a lot of people in your life, many of them could have wished you well, but sometimes go very angry with you that they just don’t care what happens to you and just ignore you out of sheer compulsion or what it warrants then. There are only a few who would always mean well and think only about your good.In mine I can only tell there are two. One is she and another is a friend of mine named Raja, true to his name, with a King’s heart.

Next in the list of the B’ Day babies is my daughter. In fact she is my life’s meaning in a way. She made me a theist, she made me kinder, she makes me proud every moment, she is what all I am today in a way, because she gave me the biggest scope in life. To show love, and understand that it is never about what you do but what you get. I have never been hesitant to talk about her being an adopted kid. Not because I wanted people to know what we have done, but more because it gives me the greatest opportunity in life to propagate the message of love. About the fact that love is a great multiplier and when you just think you gave, you always receive in exponential proportions. I probably would never stop talking about her ever, and since they say your life story is always the last you write, I should stop now. As these two girls with my first one, make what my life is and what it is about.

The third in the list is a dearest friend of mine who could have well been my daughter in another life. She is younger to me by 14 years and I could never see her though at any time. Either she was 12 years like my elder one, or an equal with whom I can share my deepest thoughts. Would have never shown more anger and love at someone apart from my wife!! She was always a solace, either as a punching bag or as this statesman belying her age. She would stay as a source of strength always in my life irrespective of how often or how rarely we communicate to each other. And the fact that she remains a daughter in this life too..

Fourth is an amazing lady. The sweetest I have ever seen with a definite poise about her. She was a wife of my friend(was because he is no more). I have never seen a loveliest pair and sweeter sound than his ‘hah kutta, hah honey’ when he picks her call. They weren’t destined to be together for long. And the way she handled him while he was there and handles herself while he isn’t there is a lesson in life for anyone. It was her dad who saidthat, 'this is the time you want to curse God for being so cruel but this is the test He keeps for you to know how strong you are'. I have never forgiven God for this cruelty whatever test He may have designed. It was just not on. But she, a marvel of a person and someone who can keep coming back in your mind to remind that all is not yet lost, when it seems to be so.

The last is my cousin, a brave girl on her own right. At 27, with pretty old parents, first staying 3000 miles away from home to work on empowering rural women and now at the States doing her doctorate, with a single minded devotion about what she does.

If I need to draw a parallel to all these girls, I see a common denominator it is their self-confidence. Why else, they are going to have me as husband, dad, brother and friend!!!! :))

Monday, February 12, 2007

Turtle Walks

These Turtle walks have become a huge rage now, at least in coastal cities. During the nesting period of Oliver Ridley’s, the group goes on a late-night hunt and takes the turtle eggs from the beach to avoid poaching.

I was prompted to think about the attention these exercises get and the people who spend time chasing these eggs. Let me clarify first. I am not a cynic. I am also not against these kinds of exercises. But the hype that surrounds this and the coverage it gets makes me think louder about.

Firstly, an average turtle lives for 160 years plus and they lay some 50 plus eggs every time. Just imagine for a moment about what will happen if all these eggs hatch and each goes on to live for 160 plus years. The world will be full of turtles and we would be sitting on them practically, if at all they don’t get power and start ruling the mammals.

Jokes apart, I feel there is an ecological balance that is maintained by nature and it is not a wise thing to meddle with it. But, these environmentalists have surely done their study and they know that they wont meddle with the balance. So, what bugs me really?!

It is this that bugs me. We all are too consumed about the welfare of turtles and we do late-night vigil and walks to protect them. Definitely a noble thought & act. But

1. Are we all not aware about female infanticide in this country?
2. Don’t we know that there are plenty of orphanages in this country with children waiting to be adopted?
3. Do we know that, about 90% of the children in these homes are girls who are discarded by their own parents just because they are in the wrong gender according to them, or because they cant afford to have them.
4. Are we aware that the chances of them getting adopted reduces drastically as they grow older and there is a race against time always?
5. Are we aware that children get trafficked for sex-trade?

Now, are these turtle walks really that important & noble? If there was a condition that all the eggs that are saved should be taken home by them and hatched and maintained will they do this? It is all about convenience. As long as you have an interesting moonlight walk in a beach, find some eggs and hand it over to the some agency, its cool. Anything beyond is a challenge. We all wear blinkers and look only at what we want to look. And feel so very great about the mundane achievements we make as individuals and society.

Everything needs hype & attention. The really well meaning people who run foster homes also have to resort to support from celebrities to get some dough to keep the hearth burning and for every successful and self-sufficient center, there are 100 that are not. No one cares about them, because we are busy saving turtles. We will go down in the History of Evolution, as the only species that was more concerned about the others than its own. I don’t think that the Dinosaurs were worried about the mammals, millions of year ago.

Maybe we will wake up only if there is a threat of extinction. That too, the whole species, not females alone!!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

My Daughter

If you ask me what is the greatest pleasure in life, I would say without hesitating for a moment that, it is watching your daughter grow. Or for that matter having a daughter by itself.

I can still recall that little bundle of joy being shown first to me at an unearthly hour 12 years back. The first reaction that hits, is about the familiarity that strikes. She looked like as if I had known her for a long time and it was not like I am seeing her for the first time.

The poor thing had a struggle coming out and in the process picked up fever. She had to immediately go on an IV and that meant she was quarantined in a nursery. The next 24 hours was an eager wait for the visiting hours to the nursery, where they bring out the bundle again. She was looking like a Sumo wrestler, with her weight, chubby pink cheeks and as an added measure, an IV catheter propped with cardboard support in her arms. I stayed in the hospital almost all the time for the next 3 days looking at the baby.

Then it was another long wait of 3 months, before they both came back home. By which time, she had grown even bigger and pinker. Somehow our love permeated beyond spoken words and gestures that our pet Gaby could realize that this little one is someone special. And mind you she was the first one at our home and enjoyed being the only kid for almost 7 months, before my daughter arrived. And she completely accepted the new arrival and was even watching her over, till the little one started moving and troubling her.

I was buying toys and stuff which were ever atleast 3 years earlier than it can be used and in a way, I guess I was reliving my own childhood or living a childhood that I wanted but was never there. Pinky grew into such an adorable kid, that in the 8th month when she was taken to a cricket ground, a peanut vendor asked me ‘ Please give her, I will see and return’. Everyone who saw her fell in love immediately.

I always fancied myself as someone who is unemotional when it comes to relationships and didn’t for a minute thought that I would be bowled over by such a small one. And with no outwardly visible action from me, I don’t know how she picked up confidence on me that I could baby-sit her in her 8th month. And that was a surprise to my folks too.

And then it was a joy ride in life. Every single moment we had to spend for her, was great and every single achievement of her was something so very original despite we would have done the same ourselves. I adorned her with all the possible outfits and shot snaps as if world are coming to an end that day. Bought all the toys I could see and reveled in the vocabulary she created.

That special twinkle in her eyes for me was speaking volumes by itself. And even after so many years I cant see her as something else but a kid, with a proud dad’s smile fixated in my face.

She is now 12 and a big girl. So big that she chats in the Net with her friends!! There is a boy is another class who sneaks in every 45 minutes to speak with her in the school and religiously hangs around during the closing hours to see her to the car. They go back and immediately start chatting. Though I haven’t seen him, I can visualize the adoration in his eyes and mind and he is so full of sorry’s for all her tease. My daughter tells me he looks like Harry Potter, and I have named his as Sorry Potter.

And I can see her pride in all this and I also suddenly realize that she has grown. Grown too big for daddy and young enough for friends!!


I have this morbid fascination of reading Obituaries in the newspaper everyday. Not that I am keen about knowing which of my fellow human beings left for their heavenly abode that day.( this phrase is copyrighted to Kushwant Singh, let the sardar pardon me ) Just a curiosity to know to read that, that’s all !!!

I don’t know what I see in that in general. But I look at the date of birth & death and calculate how soon someone died. A writer once said that, if they are older, he feels happy that nothing is amiss yet, and if they are younger, once again happy that he is still around in wretched unjust world. Me, I don’t think of any such stuff, though when I see youngsters dying it creates a pang of pain.

I keep thinking though about what the family would be feeling at that time, if life has been cut short by cruel fate. They should be cursing really, and many of them would have this guilt of being around still, as if there was a trade possible in the first place. But I can understand, its really painful.

Epicurus said, ‘Death is nothing to us, since as long as we exist death does not exist and when death comes we don’t’. Profound!! But the pain about death is not your own, but others, whom you loved and whose absence would be a sudden void in your life.

I could not cry when my father died and I saw him lying in state. Not even during the many rituals that are harsh reminders about him not being there. I even went back to work with my newfound male pride masking the sorrow. But when I went back home and saw his bed empty I cried. It is more about what you had and understand it sometime that you don’t have it anymore.

Coming back to obituaries, I sometimes even feel happy when I see these really old Methuselah’s conk off. It should be a big relief, for them and people around them. It may even be a reunion of the family of some sorts. But, their spouses should be hurting, hurting real bad. Worst thing about death is leaving your spouse, with whom you shared every minute of your adult life. Alternate is also not that pleasing. You are not willing to go around empty too. Are you ??!!!

There is really nothing to even think about now. Some hardcore physicists still don’t accept that time exists. Because, if someone asks you, what’s the time now and you tell them, that second has already passed. So, there is never a real past, present & future.

No sweat honestly. Let it happen when it does.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hair & the idea of you!

I used to have 3 different hairstyles when I was young, between one visit to the saloon and the other.

First is when, the folks drag you to the barber and ensure that justice is done to the money paid. You come out almost like a criminal whose head is shaved completely. Second could be the normal hairstyle, where hair grows to the right extent and the third depends on your luck. About how much you can dodge the people and postpone the visit for a hair-cut.

The first decision I ever took when I started earning was that, I will cut my hair right in frequent intervals and keep having the same style. Alas, the job ensured that. A stint in a carbon-infested rubber factory meant that I quit the job with very little hair in head. So, no big hassles about three different styles. It was one all the way. Bald!!

To think of it, somehow hairstyles have been a symbol of rebelliousness always. Anyone who is non-conforming will grow hair. The Hippies & Beats! Long Hair symbolized a rejection of ‘straight’ culture and the wearer in a very easy way demonstrated the allegiance of alternative culture.

I wonder why in India also it is seen the same way. There are a few cultures which have not scoffed down upon long hairs. The Rastafarians and I would add Indian also to that list. All your sages & gurus were long haired. The doctrines of Christianity in Western Cultures give us a partial explanation. St. Paul wasn’t approving at all!!!

Now also, in a relatively open generation, whenever we see a male wearing long hair, we tend to think he is a non-conformist. Mostly an ad agency guy!! All creative guys assume this posture.

Come to think of it, this is a painless way of showing some rebelliousness. Wish I could do it. With me, the mind wills the hair rebels. It would not grow!!!!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Power Puff Girls

All along my life I had lived surrounded by women.Now, don’t let your imagination run riot. I was mentioning about family.

Early days, it was 5 sisters, mother and aunt and sisters-in-law for good measure. All of them elder to me, hence I was under constant doting. But, the flip side of it was, all of them nice & dainty, and me this spoilt brat. I never had an iota of an inclination to study, and all of them are post graduates. And an overdose of gyan sometimes!!

And now, it is wife & 2 daughters. There was a time when there were 2 dogs that were females (never had the heart to call them bitches). And a cook cum babysitter Mami!! Once again, house full of females. These guys are too much. If someone tells me that the world has only women, I would accept without any question.

And added to this are my friends! My wife can never fathom why I keep getting gifts for my B Day only from girls and no males (Guys, please please get me gifts next time).

I am a strong supporter of the theory that male & female brains work differently and only a guy can understand another guy better. But, somehow in my life surrounded by women, have received more empathy from them than guys. Kinda contradictory to my belief!!

If someone gives me a choice to select another life, I will never change this one bit. Would ask for the same set of people; These are the ones who make my life very very special.

Aloo, Rice & Beer

These dietician’s nightmare items are my most favorite. I eat rice thrice a day, eat Aloo every second day and beer, well, this is not a confession OK? My wife gets a heart attack every time I jump at these things unabashedly. In a constant worry about how much of carbohydrate I add into my system.

These good treadmills are a disaster really, you run for 30 min at a decent speed and end up burning 100 calories max and these machines mercilessly tells so too. No respect, loyalty to the guy who paid so much to buy them. No attempt to please even one day by saying we burnt 1000 calories.

Coming back to my wife’s discomfiture on this, I am afraid that I would keep doing this and make her too worried and thus her health. But my logic is that, there will be a call one day to quit all of these items, what with generations of diabetes history.Someday I would have no choice but to stop. So, why worry from now itself?

Let the oats and wheat wait till then.

Do you wanna fight???

Do you really want to marry the one whom you love?? Then listen to me. I had been putting all my thoughts and experience into this, so bloody well listen to me.

The people I hated the most are the ones who came and advised me to take it easy when I wanted to marry my wife. And these were guys who in their time fought a pitched battle to marry the one whom they wanted. My anger was all about that, they either don’t approve of me or her, and not the marriage per se. And in my eyes, they all had successful marriages and was flustered no end about their double standards.

And I later played the same role to 2 of my nephews, despite the same pitched battle and successful marriage with my wife. Now, let me clarify. I am not against love; I think that’s the best that can happen to human beings. And marriage also is something that can happen to human beings, albeit to the bit less fortunate.

My contention is that, is it worth a fight?? Are you going to proud about that fight the rest of your life?? Is it worth 4 years of hibernation from your parents? I had always fancied that marriage is a gamble and love marriage is something you gamble seeing the opponent’s cards to an extent and hence the gamble that less risky.

For the ones who still don’t follow me, here is a checklist. Get a scorecard on this list and then bingo; you are ready to take a call

* Have you ever imagined how the other one will look & breathe after waking up?
* Do you want your bathroom floor dry?
* Do you want your newspaper to be folded properly?
* Are you the one who expects things when taken should be replaced?
* Do you think you own the blanket and your space in the bed?
* Do you think that either an ‘One dayer’ or a B Day is important to sacrifice for each other?
* Are you aware that the animal kingdom is not monogamous?
* After a few years, it will still be you cooking and not him?
* It is always your career to sacrifice and not his?
* Your mother in law will own your house telephone time?
* Do you think Jeans will be washed?
* Are you aware the Sunday’s are ‘no bathing’ days?
* Your children can possibly be like your spouse?

Well, these are just a few. The list can go on and on. If you have some clear answers for these questions, let me anticipate the decision. ‘Welcome to bachelorhood/spinsterhood’

If all these don’t discourage you, one parting shot. Just look at your in-laws. Your wife or husband is most likely to become one of them in the next 10 years.

You still want to fight?????


Lately I had been pondering about Relationships and the futility of maintaining them or trying to. To just step back and think how many relationships I would have nurtured and where they stand now makes me think it is all futile.

Let me think …. As I had been growing there had been different people who had held sway at me at different times. First it was my sister and I maybe thought my life starts and ends with her. It was a time before friendships were formed with anyone. That died when she got married. She has been around still, living a couple of km away from me, but it has never been the same.

Then it was those guys at the colony we lived. Spent hours and hours together with them, prompting my father to ask what we were talking all the time (can’t really tell him, can I ??) For many of them, I have done the unthinkable. Surrogated as a brother in colleges, as lover in phones, as guides to someone, as villains to many, but there was a relationship going on and at that point of time, it was the most important thing in life. To an extent that I could lend a best shirt of me to a friend and after he tore it, I still didn’t kill him. I don’t know where these guys are now.

Then came the girls. One at an age, when I wasn’t even very sure about what I wanted with them!! To cultivate such relationships, have done the silliest of stuff like buying a second-hand book from one. To think of it now, it’s downright humorous. And to ask that book, how many days of preparation and standing in street corners to gather the courage. Wish there was something called SMS then, to just say what you want. At some point of time, one became a wife of my friend and another’s brother became a close friend of mine. I can bet my estate that I haven’t known for 20 years where all these guys are. The friends, sisters and wives!!!

Then was this other girl who told me that she was in love with someone else, the day I proposed to her. And I spent 2 full years of college at the cost of my grades trying a relationship. It happens, sometimes even faster than what you think. But, that brings another variable into play. In your mind, you predetermine what kind of relationship you want. So, while you prima facie accept the first one, constantly work on improving it. From friend to lover, lover to wife, and then wife to friend again!!!! And after 20 full years, I found her and I am lazy to even to reply to her mails now.

I almost grew up together with my cousin and I had huge pride in being a big brother for him( I am just 6 months older to him) We have been together as partners in all small crimes, from chasing a duck to killing butterflies. He went to BITS and that was it. I still call him on new years’ eve to catch up on the next day, but then after that it is one whole year till the eve again.

I always believed that relationships with men last longer and later realized that it dies when they get married. I don’t know how many I killed that way myself. Guys who stood steadfast at times of troubles, fed you when you were without a job, left their room at 7 in the morning to allow you to meet your girlfriend, all these guys are somewhere there now. I atleast hold their numbers now. Maybe a really drunken moment would still rekindle it and I will call.

There are many such acquaintances that matter too much to you at some point of time and later vanishes. There are however a few exceptions to it though. Depending on how it metamorphises during the course of the relationship. As you grow and the need changes, how the other one matches it, is what the success all about.

With some, you are stuck in a time warp, with some you are angry that they are stuck in a time warp. With some, you want to be talking always, with some you want them to stop calling (you suddenly get too tied up in work :)). With some, you start in a way and later realize that you after all wanted a different relationship and try too hard to mend it. With some, you want to be the only relationship; with some you wish they had someone else too. With some you want to be sharing every single second of what you do, with some you try in vain to hide those very seconds.

I guess there is absolutely no permanency in any relationship. Even in the ones in those you think you did well. Because their interests change!! My daughter is now keener in chatting with friends (mind you they are boys who will blog 20 years later), my wife’s best companion is Solitaire (this is the most ironical sentence I have ever written, worth a blog unto itself. Solitaire companion is a good oxymoron). My second daughter who is all of 4 yrs, with her TV! And I for them, with my blog, music, book, movies and TV…

Prompts me to think, which of those relationships I have kept for majority of the times. The names that come out are like Beatles, Sujatha, Ilayaraaja and a writing board. Sad that none of them ever speaks or can speak with me.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Madurai is a funny place. I was born & brought up there. No one from Madurai ever misses a chance to talk about the great civilization we once had in that place. Mind you, they never tell you after that civilization never flourished there.

Have you ever seen a city with huge population having the cover of a plastic bucket serving as a traffic signal? Well that’s Madurai for you. A traffic constable stands in a dais turning this huge mechanical device to instruct people whether they can drive ahead or not. Not that they will ever listen to him. He has a job to do and he will do. People have a job to do and they will drive on.

Awesome people the city has. In fact I call it as an over-grown village and never a city. That brings up the point. People in their hearts are villagers, and that includes me. For all minus points you can give for villagers, there is this earthly charm about being one. In Madurai it’s ‘Everybody Counts & Nobody Counts’.

You will have the whole population of the city knowing what you are up to. Everyone is known in that place or even away from it. One sentence in Tamil, you spot them wherever you see them. So, there is virtually no privacy there. Kind of primitive. What you do is known for the world and mind you, even a kid would profess an opinion about that. And that’s Everybody Counts.

And for ‘Nobody Counts’, the city goes around killing their own relatives. In the name of honour! Sounds like an Arab Village, huh??? Well that’s what you got there.I had a couple of friends of which one guy’s brother-in-law killed another’s uncle.

People are so tightly knit that there is camaraderie all over. They never change their habits. Eat at the same place.(will flock to a Madurai restaurant in a new city). Never give up their town and passion about that town.

The idiosyncrasies of the place are enormous, ones you will never get to see elsewhere in the world. The huge pride is refusing to grow up, the pride in getting a broad gauge train after so many years, the nonchalance of being 20 years backward, their great quality of food, the temple, the fact that your neighbour is someone big, the pride in being a Maduraite and so on ….

Used to wonder what drives them on. Have always wanted to go back and settle down, but even a week’s holiday is too much for me.

But I should admit that I have smiles all over my face when I am there, all through the week.

Did I leave India ???

Did I leave India?? Apt would be, did India leave me..

This is inspired by Mukund Padmanaban’s article about Pattaya in last Sunday’s Hindu. He was lamenting about the fact that his Pattaya trip, particularly the one to Coral island was a disaster.

While at Pattaya, I remembered one of the very funny statements I have ever heard. This statement was made by a girl whom we know. She is from Madurai. Mind you, that’s a place which is about a few thousand years backward (charms of Madurai in the next piece when I write, so let me not have my brothers up in arms). She got married to an IIM and promptly moved over to US. When she was back, she had this statement to make about Jersey City. ‘Too many Indians’ ... Hahaha… :))

Well, that’s precisely I also felt while I was in this trip to Coral Island. When you are some 4000 miles away from home, you draw comfort from the distance and try to be what you want rather than what you are forced to while in India. Maybe, that was the best chance for my wife to dress unconservatively, not worry about who is looking at you and visit places that you won’t dare to at home.

If you have that in mind, please for God sake don’t go to Thailand, more importantly to Coral Island. This trip to the island is like a reunion of Indians. You may belong to any package tour, but all these agents come together for this alone and ensure that you are made uncomfortable.

First you go and wait in the beach front at the appointed time. Mind you, the time is appointed for you, the other Indians as is their wont can reach anytime. So you hang around. Then a speedboat comes to pick you up. And there you see Indian-ness in all its glory. Everyone rushes to get a seat there, as if, if you don’t they will leave you behind. Murphy’s Law comes to play and your speedboat is the last to arrive anyway.

And then the boat starts. 10 minutes into the ride it stops for Parasailing. And there you see all the guys who rushed to catch a seat in the first boat. Thoong Thing (our guide whose name means Subhiksha) is very enterprising. She will make you feel that you will hang upside down in hell if you don’t parasail. That’s 400 Bahts gone for you.

We met this group of three Bangalore guys who were having a whale of a time laughing. I was scared to parasail and one guy was extolling the virtues of it while warning me that he has seen a guy falling down in the sea. Well he made his point; I wasn’t really keen to meet a watery grave so soon. Not at least when a package costing a Lac was in its first day. And bingo, out of the 25 people who parasailed he was the one who never took off and got dragged all the way in the sea. :))

Then the next stop for deep sea walking. No one dared. But not before jumping into speedboats getting a window seat for another 10 min ride. Then we all reached the island.

I had been asking my wife to get herself a good swimsuit before we packed. We live by the sea; can drive to zillions of beach resorts, opposite to our club that has a pool & all, but in India, even in swimming pools you can only dive with complete churidhar kurta and just don’t dare to even get into a single piece. So I suggested to her, that this maybe the best chance to enjoy the sea, spending so much money. But, we are closeted with 25 Indians. We had our sun beds & stuff, but who do you think will dare to change to swimming costume when all the people around are still jumping in with their churidhars.

And these 3 guys were still fun. We got to talking and told them what I do for a living. We traded some common names that we know. And when I asked him his name, he said now that I know you, I would rather not tell it. I am here without people knowing about it. Am sure, he can cursingly write a blog about me being there as a part of ‘too many Indians’.

Back to the mainland, we were herded to an Indian Buffet with people jostling for plates jumping the queue.

There are too many of them really. The place is teeming with half of India. Whether it is a Go-Go Bar, Walking Street, the numerous shopping malls, the massage parlors, they are there everywhere. I once heard a Sardar, telling his masseuse how he boom-boomed 4 Thai girls that day, while I was in the next partition.

Honestly, I felt I never left India, but for the fact that we don’t have Go-Go bars here and at Chennai , not even a Bar, leave the Go-Go…..

Time for a change

My blogs are getting increasingly morose these days. Even I don’t like that fact. If a rank outsider reads the last few, he might be tempted to think that there is a sociopath in the lurking and quite possibly I can start getting calls from soliciting shrinks.

Well, it’s not that bad as I make it out to be. Sometimes in life you go through a phase and start telling stuff that sounds alien to your own self later on. But then, blogging is all about that.

You just rattle things out in the pretext of anonymity, hoping that there is a million plus readers waiting to know what you have in mind. Actually it’s pretty funny. I don’t think apart from the writers themselves, not many read others’ blogs. I read somewhere that blogging is nothing but voyeuristic publishing. You write, you publish and bingo you read all what you have written.

If what I said is true, then there is a lot of merit in putting down the darker thoughts of your mind into a blog. After all you need a vent for them. And no one anyway reads :)

But, guess I am going to sneak in a few humorous pieces before getting into dark stuff again.


Been wondering lately about what I chase in life!!! Am not sure whether I chase anything at all. But am pretty busy thinking that I am up to something. Unbiasedly audited, I should confess that I have enough interests and work to keep me occupied for a lifetime.

My library should have at least 300 plus books as of now, ranging from Robert Prisig to Michael Connelly, of course not to miss out the Penthouse Letters. Some of them as fresh as they are bought. Good number of Tamil books too if not equal. But there are times that I keep staring at them and not pick anything. On the contrary, finished 12 novels of Michael Connelly in the last 2 months.

Then the collection of music, enough and more songs, once again ranging from Tamil Folk songs to the Ballads. I get mad listening to them for a period and enjoy silence equally when I am alone.

Have around 400 movies, to the extent of not remembering when I saw what. And keep trying to improve the viewing pleasure with plasma’s and home theatres. Once again, give them a big miss sometimes even risking Clint Eastwood calling me about why I haven’t been seen for so long.

Travel whimsically most of the times. Decided on a Bangkok trip 2 days in advance and confirmed 6 hours before departure. Keep thinking constantly now about this summer’s holiday trip. But am talking about doing a trail of Vanthiya Thevan in Ponniyin Selvan.

Have more work in hand now than the past 20 years, but am sitting at home without any inclination to think in that direction.

Have countless number of friends, but I don’t call one of them, even in the loneliest of times. And when they call speak as if there was a gun on my head. I don’t remember the last time I spoke with my folks, but am excited when they come down and we laugh at trivial things.

Lived as an atheist for a major part of my life, turned theist and I remember God and visit Him once in 2 years.

Lately its cooking and the poor kids suffer in silence. Don’t know when I will get bored of that.

Started writing about the houses I lived so far. Stuck in the 3rd one, with 10 more to go. And seriously telling everyone that I want to make a movie, without even calling the friends in the industry.

Honestly, don’t think I have great plans of what to do in future. Life is fairly full, but somewhere there is a very small piece missing to complete the puzzle.

And the chase I guess is about finding that piece.