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Friday, December 31, 2010

From 2010 to 2011 - The final day

As we enter the final day of 2010, the curtain of a year's drama slowly comes down and we have to get going. Even as you are reading this, expectations are building everywhere - what you expect and what others expect of you - pressure. Resolutions - the worst of all crap man has come up with. Not only do you put yourself through something just for the sake of it, you also take guilt for not keeping up - pressure. The race you are in or getting ready for needs this, that and everything else that you get so self indulged with yourselves and friends/relatives/girlfriends get mad - pressure. Life is not a bloody pressure cooker.

Now stop.

Why the hell am I blurting out dialogs from 3 Idiots????

I believe that each and everyone knows what they want already or would figure that out somewhere down the lane and thus decide what they have to deal with. So, my only say is , "Live your Life". Rest unsaid. I'm getting to how 2010 turned out for me. People who are uninterested can change the channel anytime. :) Those who are rushing out now, "Happy New Year. May 2011 unearth all that you had/need for you".

My 2010
Considering no one really close to me died, I should say 2010 was an awesome year for me. Well, this might be a tacky statement. If you knew the 2009 my family lived through, I already know that you are smiling. :)

Best moments include
1) Double weddings in the family (April 6th - April 11th) - Totally disconnected from the outside world. Probably the longest duration I've not checked my mail, since 2005.
2) Quality time with family and my cousin Srinath (Jan - April) - We travelled to Coimbatore every single weekend during this time. We made a video of our family. It came out fantastic and I'll cherish that forever.
3) Went back to the childhood days with my oldest friend Arvind (Oct/Nov), when we were working on something together, which came out successful (well, not the best, but it did).
4) Dad celebrated his 60th B'day. There is not a single day where we don't have an argument, but the man is right about almost everything. Phew! 60 years. I'd be happy if I develop half as patience and responsibility as him.
5) Colonial Cousins Live - I heard the songs I have loved since I didn't even know to operate my car's stereo, live. Man! I loved Nov 19th for this.
6) I have worked really hard this year. First half of the year for personal reasons and the second half for official reasons. Got my salary credited today and knowing that every penny counts is invaluable.
7) When I held my cousin's six month old daughter for the first time. The feel of being one generation older was something. Can't wait to be an official uncle, which is going to happen soon.

Worst moments include... well, why talk about it when you know its gonna do no good.

Other Tidbits
Movies I loved - Vinnaithandi Varuvaaya, Raavanan, Endhiran, Jhoota Hi Sahi, Madrasapattinam.
Movies I hated - Kites, Suraa.
Favourite Cricketing Moments - Sachin's double century, Sachin's 50th test ton, Laxman's match saving innings with Australia.
A new place I Visited - None.
Longest bike ride - Nov 19th - Murphy chose me that day.
Epic Fail - Gym, CAT, Buying a keyboard.
Best meal I ate - Dad had made an ultra super Morukootan (moru kolambu) last month.
Best meal I cooked - Chappathi, Bindi Fry (last weekend) :P
Best thing I learnt from a mistake - Don't take it for granted that even the "closest" of people are what you think they are. You have no idea. Either wise.

Well, I just wrote all those that came up to my mind now. :) In short, 2010 was awesome. I just wish 2011 has something similar in store. I'm sure it would.

Wish you all a happy and prosperous new year. Have fun!
Chiju
31st December 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Joke is on you

Me: There are mistakes that you dare commit while giving unnecessary information to a group that is drinking tea.
Myself: And those would be?
Me: Don't look at a Cathay Pacific that is flying over the building in front of which you are having tea. If you have looked, don't mind anyone who read out loud "Cathay Pacific".
Myself: If you did?
Me: Don't add anything to it.
Myself: If you can't keep your mouth shut?
Me: Well, at least don't tell them that you have traveled by Cathay Pacific.
Myself: What if someone asks, "To Kuwait?"
Me: Don't correct them, or else just correct them and leave it there.
Myself: Why?
Me: Maybe because some guy might ask you what is the uniform of the air hostess, for which you might have to say, "Dude. I traveled when I was in first grade. How would I remember?".
Myself: Yeah. So, whats the problem.
Me: Now the guy who asked you would respond. "Maybe because you traveled at an age you did not bother" and shut up, but can you?
Myself: If No?
Me: Then, at least don't say that when you were getting off the flight, they gave you two nice dolls. Everyone (or someone) might starting laughing loudly.
Myself: Oh the idea of a guy liking dolls? That you were very small then? Doesn't that count?
Me: You wish.
Myself: No recovery then?
Me: No no. You can recover from that.
Myself: Then whats the problem?
Me: They might not be laughing for the whole doll thing?
Myself: What else?
Me: Well, You never know. You might realize it late.
Myself: Late?
Me: Yeah. Maybe, when you can't recover anymore.
Myself: How does that work? Why would they laugh then?
Me: Because you made an impression of holding two invisible dolls, one in each hand.
Myself: Now, why is that funny?
Me: It is funny when you hold them pretty close to each other, with considerably open palms and at a certain height from the ground level. :(
Myself: Ooooooooooh!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Murphy strikes. Music saves the day.

November 19th 2010. I selected this date from the calendar box of my online CAT application, after consulting my official calendar, to be sure about taking off for a couple of days around this date. This was back in the second week of September. Right from then, I knew it was going to be an important day in my life. For what I should have either developed the habit of being a genius from my childhood or focused for the past couple of months, two days off from work is no solution. I comfortably put the blame on work and "no-time" and was aware that all my hopes lay on channelizing my focus during the mind-boggling 135 minutes on the big day. So, the two day leave was all about keeping my cool and going with a clear mind. I was partially successful in doing that and since it was me, that's a BIG achievement. Kudos to me. But, wait. Little did I know that Murphy had his plans for my big day, clearly charted out.

I should have guessed when, a couple of weeks ago, I saw that Colonial Cousins were performing on the same day in Chennai. My exam was scheduled till 6:30 PM in Sriperambadur and I would have to drive down 40 kilometers to the concert in Chetpet close to 30 kilometers through the thick of Friday Chennai traffic. Now, why on earth is a concert so important, one may ask. To know the importance, you have gotta be me. :) Though I was almost about to give up on the concert (which is a freakishly generous sacrifice), I just couldn't resist it. So, amidst little anxiety about the exam and total excitement about the concert, finally, 19th November 2010 dawned.

We had to be at the venue by 1:30 PM. The pain-in-the-a** planner in me started by 11:30 AM and I picked up a colleague who was also taking the test. Twenty minutes into the drive, fortunately or no, when we were still within the city limits, first strike of the day - puncture. We found a shop that was named, "Punjar kadai" (Puncture shop), close by. It was a small shop with a neighboring welding shop and a two-wheeler mechanic garage. I called out for the guy and a balding, more than middle-aged man came out to tell me that he can mend it, but would be doing it patiently. I had no much choice and with my approval, he started work. Murphy just opened up the showers from His sky.

We never knew that patience meant completely unaware of what is called mending puncture. He knocked the tyre off the bike with a hammer after unscrewing some nuts and bolts. We never knew doing it slowly meant fighting with the tyre to get the tube out, as if he was delivering a baby. After half an hour of "war" with the tyre, he pulled the tube out and examined it for 5 minutes. He neither filled air nor immersed it into water to find out if there was a puncture, but he knew for sure that we needed a new tube. I wanted to yell right away, but with tyre-less bike and the idea of this "skillful" soldier mending the puncture, I preferred to put a new tube and get the hell out.

He went into the shop and brought a new tube. After breaking open the cover, he checked if it was the right tube and I was not going to let him decide. While I made sure that its the right one, he was checking the tyre for any nails or whatever and that being the only work he seemed to know, he repeated it for so long and after I raised my voice telling him to stop checking, he started the war all over. This time it was to get the air nozzle into the tyre's hole. He'd push it out and pull his hand out of the tyre, when the nozzle goes back in. This went on for about 10 minutes when I lost patience and took charge to put it out myself and initiated the tube fitting process for him, which took him another 15 odd minutes. Finally, we reached the stage of fitting the tyre back in its place - in the bike.

With me helping him to hold the bike, push the rod that held the tyre, and after trying to fit it the other way round once, he wasted more time than was left to reach the venue. I felt it was time to request the worker in the mechanic shop for help and he came to the rescue. The rest of the fitting process was done in 2 minutes. I paid the "labor charges" and for the tube and started. It was already 1:20 PM and we had to travel another 20 kms. My Hunk made up for the mishap and I sped at 100 kms/hr (once again my personal best), without even constantly checking it my colleague was still sitting behind or had flown off. We reached the venue close to five minutes past the scheduled time, and I was all touched up with grease and dirt. However, all thoughts about the test I was going to take up had been lost along with the air that went off the tyre.

The next two hours involved formalities for half of it. A security check that involved someone feeling us up. My colleague had a better anecdote to share after her check which I am cutting out here. Our finger prints were recorded, identities were triple checked, our belongings were seized and sealed up in covers, which left us with one and half hours of silence in front of the allocated system. My family would have loved to see me sitting there with nothing to do and still keep quiet. But, I had fun, as an even more restless colleague was sitting next to me and my entire office would have actually paid to see him sit silent for one and half hours. He was sitting and virtual typing on the keyboard (only he knows what it was) - TOTAL FUN. :P

Sharp at 3:30PM the exam commenced and I did the mistake of taking up a tutorial that taught us how to use the mouse, click and double-click with it. I sped past through it and clicked on start exam. It took 5 minutes and some anxiety to finally look at that first question. The next 135 minutes passed like in movies where they show two shots of the clock. It was 6 PM and was much earlier than I thought. So, good news was that we needn't miss the start of the concert. Me and the colleague I picked up that morning left as fast as possible. Oh! I forgot. The exam went okay I should say. I don't think it would help me get an admission in any of the colleges I have in my mind (including but not confined to the IIMs). Other comments reserved till Jan 2011.

Then followed a 40 kilometer odd drive. I was not sure about the route to take (there were many and I had no clue which is the shortest). Somehow or the other, I ended up taking the correct route and as we approached the venue (close to 7 PM), we realized we were so hungry and took a quick frankie bite from Nilgiris, Chetpet and refreshed with Limca (you know how refreshing that drink is???). I guessed that the concert would anyways start at least 15 minutes late and so we took our time to eat and at 7:30 PM, we set upon the last five minutes of our journey before we stepped into heaven, or so we thought. :(

We got stuck in the signal just close to the concert hall and had to take a U - turn in a never ending stretch and when we got to the U turn, we had to wait for four cycles of the signal, to get out of it. We reached the hall by 8:05 PM and exchanged the online receipt for the tickets and rushed to the balcony. When I handed the passes to the guy at the door, he said, "Sorry sir! There are no seats. People are sitting on the steps". "What the hell!", was my exact response. After arguing for few seconds, I realized we had no more time and with our backs completely gone, our seats pricking badly from the long ride, a completely bad opinion about the hall and a banal concert in our minds, we stepped in.

"Deemtha Dheemtha Dhirana..." (Indian Rain), the music magician's voice echoed around the most wonderful concert hall I have seen till date. We sat down on the clean steps between the neatly arranged seating system on both sides. There were no one in front of us, which helped adjust our posture every two minutes. I couldn't feel my torso because of the pinching back ache and was a bit restless at the start. They announced that the next song was the one they had always hidden because the record companies did not like it at all. I was dumbstruck when Hariharan started with, "Vakrathunda Mahakaaya...". Which bloody record company did not like that song? Till date, I have not met anyone who doesn't. I made a mental note to call up my cousin Srinath as soon as I got home. We had performed that song once on stage; and that's what you call timing, when my mobile rang and it was Srinath calling to ask me how I did my exam.

Hariharan said "I hate this list man. Right after SaNiDhaPa, I have to sing Teri Meri Ankhon Mein", and the audience went "WOoooooooooooooo". After that, Hari took a break and Lesley commented, "He is much older than I am". He took up the stage for a while during which time, a blessed seated couple decided to leave and the good man signaled to me that their seats could be taken. I thanked him for the gesture and we rushed to the seats. Its one of those thanks where you really mean it. "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh", I sighed loud as my back hit the rest of the chair and my colleague gave a little laugh. Lesley performed few of his compositions (out of Colonial Cousins) including 'Pal' (from the first Indian Idol), a funky (as he called it) version of 'Kannum Kannum Nokia' (Anniyan) and the song he composed for the maiden album of KayKay. All of them were good, but the crowd loved Hari more and when someone shouted, "Hareeeeeeeeeeee please take over", Hariharan came in again.

What followed was one of the best moments of my life, when he sang his ghazal 'Ye ayine se' (Kaash) in a Blues format (Aaromale style), which was top notch. After many people shouted for 'Tu Hi Re', he sang the Tamil version 'Uyirae'. I don't know why they ask him for it. He always kills the song on stage, which he did again, but the flute saved the day by playing a beautiful interlude in between. Then followed the exquisite 'Feel Alright' for which percussion was amazing and the beautiful rendition of a ghazal of Ghulam Nabi Azad and few more of their tracks. The concert ended with 'Krishna Nee Begane' (with an awesome Tabla thani avardhanam at the last interlude before Govinda Bholo Hare) and 'Khal Zhala' (which I was hearing for the first time). Almost everyone were sad that it had ended but did not hesitate to give a standing ovation to the duo that had swept us off our feet and kept us in the air for a while. I came back to senses. Except for the information about the song I passed on to my colleague when the song started, I was totally imagining an empty hall with only me in it. I loved it.

It was 10:00 PM and we walked up to the bike, our hearts filled with I-don't-know-what. Well, you just read about the electrifying day we had. As I dropped my colleague off and drove home, my mind went about all that happened and I knew I had something huge to write about. What a day! :)

PS: When I said you have got to be me to realize the importance of the concert, I did not mean that, if I had missed it, I'd have cribbed about it all my life. :)

Friday, November 05, 2010

For old times

Yesterday
It wasn't a normal day at work. Laughter echoed out of the number of empty cubicles. Half of them who had come to work seemed overjoyed and work couldn't have been more banal even to the most enthusiastic lot. It was a pretty different day for me too, because, we had ordered lunch from Subway. As we were sitting in the cafeteria and munching the delicious Corn & Peas sandwich, we heard the sound. It was loud, rhythmic, went on for sometime and gradually muted down. The until completely unaware mind, that was only thinking about packet processing, Ethernet frames, housing loan interest rates, RBI directed amendments and confirmation of my return ticket from CBE realized something. The last time I celebrated Diwali was in 2001.

Typical Diwali Month
I was brought up in a house where every festival from a low profile Aadi Friday to a high profile Diwali mattered a lot. Every single occasion was celebrated the typical, traditional way. So, the hype and hoopla around Diwali needs no mention. Almost as soon as the excitement of Navaratri (and all the sundal) started to fade, the Diwali rush would begin. Almost three weeks prior to Diwali, the neighbors would have started complaining about hearing gun shots from our house. Srinath and me would have started our Diwali celebration with cape guns, the first of our Diwali purchases. This would go on till the week before Diwali or until probably my mom gains resistance to my pleas of, "Amma, just one more gun. I'll not break it this time".

As for the new dress, I don't remember caring to ask for one. My mom knew our tastes really well and all I knew was that on the morning of Diwali, I'd have a new dress to wear. So, the important factor - Crackers. Swathi and myself would sit together to put up a list of crackers. Dad was not a big fan and Mom would seldom suggest more than few of her colorful favorites. She loved the beauty of the colorful ones though. Once the crackers reached home, we'd sit and assort them in two cartons, one for Swathi and the other for me. No crossing territories. We were sure that, upstairs, with the same kind of a division Srinath would be coming up with one such box as well.

The next excitement would be the TV programmes. Unlike today's torrent world, the only way to catch our favorite movies, after in the theatre, would be for festivals like Diwali/Pongal when each television channel would compete with each other for movie and time slots. This set up our itinerary on Diwali day (temple going, relative visiting etc). So, with a check on crackers, new dress and TV schedules, what next?

Diwali Eve - School
Most of the Diwali eves, except if Diwali fell on a Sunday/Monday, it would be a working day. Studying in Lisieux was the best thing that happened to me till date. When Fr. Xavier took charge as principal, he started celebrating every festival (religion bar) with grandeur. So, Diwali eve meant lots of bunking classes, the previous day, for choir practice. A pretty decent function with usual readings from all sacred texts (Bhagavad Gita, Quran and The Bible), addressing and the choir singing the good old 'Jothi Dho' bhajan. Eventually, we ourselves had gotten so bored of singing the same song, so we changed the trend and sung 'Krishna Nee Begane' (Colonial Cousins) and 'Eshwar Allah' (Earth) once.

After the morning assembly celebrations, we'd retire to our classrooms where they'd distribute a packet of mixture and a packet with a sweet. The best artists in the class would have decorated the board with their depiction of Diwali - an excuse that we would use later, so that, no teacher touched the board, except for an occasional mean staff who would heartlessly erase it and resume classes. When its almost 2:30 PM, the crackers buzz would start when the watchmen (Rangasamy anna and Balu anna) would be setting up the grand 10,000 LAR in the basketball court. As soon as the bursting starts, I'm sure each and everyone around me felt that same pumping excitement kick off. I'd cycle home with extra speed where lovely aroma of sweets/savories would be awaiting me at the gates, with a grand welcome.

Diwali Eve - @ Home
As I entered the house, I'd already be guessing around I-don't-know how many items. Almost all the sweets would be in their finishing stages and the kitchen would be the heaven for people who love food. Typical sweets would be chocolate/cashew/badam cake and on the salty side, pokada/murukku/muthuswaram etc. The routine son-touching-the-sweets and mom-slapping-the-hand telling him to wash his hands would follow. The biggest wonder to me would be how could she have possibly pulled off all this in the matter of few hours. I'd soon get ready and raid the upstairs kitchen to taste Periyammai's snacks as well. After all the tasting and helping to pack sweets that would have to go out that evening, we would bring out our cartons as darkness falls on Alagesan Road, Coimbatore.

Lighting up the candles, seeing that first spark of the first sparkler (kambithiri) only to see it burn till the end and that confusion of where to start marks the beginning of the crackers session. Once it started, there would be no looking back. We'd burst through the limit for the night and keep the rest for the morning - small counts of Flowerpots, Changu Chakram, Red Forts, Rockets and a 1000 LAR. Compared to the families opposite house, ours would be a very minimal share and would be over in no time.

Once we are done, we'd go and lock the houses tight and assemble in the balcony to witness the moment of the Diwali Eve. The big shot of the locality would lay down sacks and sacks of 'Ola Pattasu' that he imports from Trissur every year. It would run through most of our street, for kilometers long. Traffic through the streets would come to a halt for sometime and so much hoopla would surround the start of the fireworks. Trust me, it used to be a such a treat to watch. Man! He had taste. They used to light it up from both ends. The crackers would have burnt out in some time, unlike the buzzing sound in our ears that would take sometime to cease. And no matter, how much caution we'd taken, a ventilator pane or the balcony tiles or the TV or something would have been damaged. It happened for years together, but I don't think anyone complained because we knew we enjoyed it more than he did.

And the Diwali eve is not over yet. Some of the years our aunt (Dad's sister) in Palakkad would surprise us by coming over. The usual brother's excitement of seeing his sister would bubble up which means we all get to go for a ride with Dad, in and around Coimbatore and we would halt to grab whatever crackers is left in the last of the closing stores. By the time we reached home, we'd be exhausted and would hit the bed only to await the alarm at 3 AM.

The Diwali Day
Considering the enjoyment mentioned till now, one would guess that Diwali would be a fun-filled day, but the best part is definitely over. On Diwali, it used to be pretty much the same stuff. Oil bath, bursting of crackers, going to the Vinayagar Temple nearby, distributing sweets around the locality, Idlis for breakfast (upstairs or downstairs) and by around 10 AM we would have settled in front of the TV to spend the rest of the day there, except for a quick jumping out during the news break to exhaust the leftover crackers. Sometimes, we used to retain the stock for upcoming Kaarthigai. The evening would slowly come about and one more exciting Diwali would have come to a close, as the last of the movies for the day puts up credits. The only excitement left would be to wear the new dress to school one the first day after holidays.

Today
Here I sit, listening to the occasional tudat-padat-zurrr-ziyumm sounding outside my window. Dad has tried to keep the aroma living with the super hot molagootal that is getting ready in the kitchen. I know its Diwali. I got calls from those friends who knew why they should talk to me today. I have more than many awesome reasons to call this Diwali a good one, but that's just there. So, I took my time out to relive the amazing life we lived in Coimbatore. After all, going over the past helps you shape the future. Cheers!

 
WISHING ALL MY READERS A HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS DIWALI.
MAY THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS MAKE YOUR LIVES BRIGHT.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

If only

Like any other software affected engineer, he would have been coding and testing, complaining loudly about the stupid process that many of us follow, just for the sake or to blindfold the process audit team. If I listen carefully, I can hear the very words he would have been telling about all that did not make any sense. I never pictured him sitting in front of a computer for a job, but he was definitely more than capable to excel in it. Who knows? Maybe he would have ended up in a core company (mechanical engineering based). Yeah. He would have been perfect in one of those heavy-weight industries working on huge machines, not worrying about what attire he wore or how to for-the-sake impress his supervisor, but sincerely concentrate on what was his duty.

If he was in Chennai, which is typical him (can't imagine him anywhere else), Santosh and me would not only be picking the other up for the regular night shows, instead we'd be on two bikes with him as the pillion rider with one of us. We would have been laughing at his gimmicks and unbiased criticism about the over made scenes in a bad movie. In fact I can for sure say that he'd have been Santosh's roommate and it would have been fun going over to their place and listen to them pull each other's legs. How different it would have been for so many people? It pains that I could only write about this an it would never ever happen. Rajeesh succumbed to blood cancer, the same day, five years ago.

I knew him only like any other classmate. He used to wear a big streak of sandal on his forehead everyday. He was this typical mallu boy, which was marked clearly in his Tamil accent. We were all just a set of nine-year olds who knew nothing much, other than to fight for silly reasons and not even remember any of it the next moment. I have fought with him so many times (actually I've fought with everyone as part of being the jerk of jerks), but there was no much connection with him, at least not any that comes to my mind. We used to go to the same Hindi Tuition in 6th standard and we used to play cricket at his house if we could squeeze in time before/after the tuition. I used to really scared to enter his house because of his dog.

Towards the later half of our 10th standard a set of our classmates used to play cricket everyday in a ground near his house. It used to be fun teasing him and have him tease me back for not being able to catch the ball even if it was thrown straight at me (the Chennai 28 Premji Amaran type). Thats when I got to know the proper him. To say that he was God-fearing is an understatement. Anyone who has spent little time with him would have noticed him praying then and there. I don't think he has even hurt a mosquito in his life. We were getting along really well and as fate had it, he was denied admission in our school for eleventh grade. A stupid mistake made by some office staff lost him his admission even though he had gotten enough marks to get in. The worst part is that the school staff blamed him of submitting the application late, which was a bloody lie. He had to go to another school and we lost touch again.

We are meant to cross paths with some people no matter what. I was so happy to hear that he got into Amrita, but he was in mechanical department. He was not the regular college student type. He was different and everyone knew it. People including me used to tease him in and out for each and everything but he was such a sport. Well, he knew me well enough to hit back at me and shut my mouth. A year passed by and we had so much fun with visits to ARC Pani Puri Stall after getting down from the college bus, couple of movies and the hilarious best of all, the combined studies. He used to teach me Engineering Mechanics without which I'd have flunked in the first semester only. But, it took one more semester to bring out the true potential in me. I flunked Electrical Engineering. It was horrible. No complaints. I did not learn crap. However, the 3 Idiots formula of "If your friend fails you feel bad, but if he passes you feel worse", worked well with me. All those I thought would fail with me had gotten through and a shattered me went home. I was waiting for my dad to go out so that I could burst into tears and cry and thats when I got his call.

"Sollu da. Evalo GPA?", I asked him. ("Tell me. Whats your GPA?")
He burst into laughter and said, "Maths and Electrical pochu da". (Flunked in Maths and Electrical).

My happiness knew no bounds. For a second, my dad thought someone had called me and said that I hadn't failed the paper. I hung up and went straight to meet him. The next month was actually the best of all times I got to spend with him. We learnt together and cleared the backlogs in the supplementary exams. Third semester classes began and on the third day we got the results of the supplementary and I went to the mechanical block and celebrated with him that evening.

Little did both of us know that it was his last day in college. He fell sick that weekend and got admitted to the hospital one week later. The next I saw him at his house, it was the Rajeesh I knew wouldn't laugh aloud or tease me for he lay motionless totally not bothered about the people crying beside him. That is the first time since I have known him that he did not empathize the people crying around him. Its been five years now, which does not matter because his memories would never fade, for anyone who have known him.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Stupid Sam - Not so SOFTware learnings!


PS: Stupid Sam is an imaginary character. I'll come up with the character description when I like it.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Idho Yen Endhiran (Review)

It was 10:40 pm on Monday and commotion burst out at Devi Cineplex, in front of the two-wheeler parking lot. The noise of the bikes honking spread everywhere in and around the theater complex. The security guards were running haywire to make the people understand that the parking lot was still full from the previous show, but in vain. The honking continued till the parking lot was finally opened up, couple of minutes before the 10:45 pm show. If it was a group of bikers belonging to the late teenage or the mid-twenties, you would probably not guess the movie they were waiting for. But when every single person from the youngsters to the ladies to the grey haired folks join together in the act, you are looking at a crowd waiting to see a movie of none other than the SUPERSTAR.

Back in late 2007, when Endhiran started doing rounds as Shankar's Robot with Shahrukh, the excitement crawled in. But, that was a different time, when I was in college and movies mattered more. I have come through many stages since then, carrying along the Endhiran excitement all along and its been three years. Phew! The superstar magic speaks for itself, doesn't it? Well, for me, its more about the combo! Shankar has been my all time favourite and A.R.Rahman, I don't even have to give it a mention. All the favoritism and the 3 year long wait is more than enough for me to say, "I loved the movie". Not enough? Then, go on.

I have seen the movie twice already, but the first time didn't count because I've been waiting for this for so long that I was just present at the theater cheering and yelling along, my eyes and ears open but senses completely shut in shock. When I came out of the theater, it was like having woken up from a dream, which attributes to the last 25 minutes of the movie. I sat down to write a review, but I could not think about anything. I had missed something, actually everything. I needed a second watch and it happened soon enough. :)

The Rajini Factor
Calling Endhiran a complete Rajini phenomenon is totally unjust. Rajini does not have a power-packed entry or an introduction song or he doesn't get rich in one song or doesn't deliver punch lines. To add to all this, Rajini runs for his life from Kalabhavan Mani (baddie) in a scene. I got to see the performer in Rajini, the actor in him that I've been longing to see. Does that mean the superstar fan in me was disappointed? A big NO. None other than him could have pulled off such a mighty responsibility with ease and grace. Be it the innocent Chiti that has no feelings or the 'red-chip' installed baddie, he has scored big bucks as an actor. The scientist is impressive too. Towards the end, all I saw in the screen was Rajini because amidst the thousand odd Rajinis, no one else were given a chance. What more do you want? Hail the superstar. He can redo Muthu/Padayappa/Baasha a thousand times and I'm sure I wouldn't like them as much as Endhiran.

Beyond the Sky is the limit?
The news channels came up with "The Magnum Opus of Shankar" propaganda just before the release of Shivaji. No wonder I never saw the phrase this time. If Shivaji is a magnum opus, Endhiran demands the coining of a whole new term. Thinking about what would have been running in Shankar's mind while penning those scenes with thousands of robots, I guess, he'd have wanted to make use of the budget factor to the fullest. I don't think even he could come up with such ideas for a long time in the future. He has set the benchmarks high and dry for every filmmaker in Kollywood. When and how did he shoot in the Kathipaara flyover? Or was it a set? Both ways, only Shankar could have pulled it off. The man has run behind his dreams and caught up with every ounce of most of it. He scores in terms of story, screenplay, dialogues and direction. What was different in terms of screenplay one may ask. Very True. If you are keen observer, you'd notice that he has NOT moved an inch in terms of his formula of organizing the scenes. I wish to see a romantic-comedy without much grandeur from Shankar. He has set my expectations in terms of grandeur too high.

The crew
The final product always depends on how the crew have understood and perceived what is expected out of each of them. Endhiran's crew fall nowhere short of what was expected out of them. Sabu Cyril (Art), Peter Hein (Stunts) and Antony (Editing) are not new to Shankar and they have delivered as usual. The new entry to this team, Rathnavel a.k.a Randy (cinematography) has lived up to the hype of such a big project. The problem is that with these levels of grandeur the audience fail to notice the little things that are done exorbitantly. For instance, the Kadhal Anukkal song has been pictured really well, but the effects added there simply flies overhead. Though Shankar and Kaarki Vairamuthu have added to the dialogues that Sujatha left them, the veteran has been definitely missed. He could have created a whole new effect.

The Rahman advantage
The songs of the movie are definitely ordinary going by Rahman's standards, but then, after seeing the movie, I don't think he could have done better, given the setup. Imagining what a Robot with feelings would sing is not an easy task. The song that swayed me off my feet was Irumbile Oru Idhayam. The people sitting around me listened to two voices of all the songs, one that was playing on the screen and the one that I was yelling off my throat. Talking about Background Score, I can throw a challenge at anybody else in Kollywood who could have even imagined a better orchestration. The Rahman signature is all over the place when Chitti comes back with the Red Chip. One scene that I need to mention here is the sudden transition from techno-synthesized music to a smooth-breezy tabla and a sweet little hum; the scene where Chitti tells Ash about the two good things mankind has ever created. The candles, the lighting, the picturesque and the music blends so well. It was such a melting experience for me. I just can't admire the man enough! Rahman!

Summing up
I felt that if one Indian movie that would find its place in the list of inspirations of a budding animator, it would be Endhiran. One of my friends who is interested in the field sent me an SMS that read, "Feel so jealous about Shankar". The man has worked on the script for 10 years. He has put his heart and soul in to it looking for a good producer who could offer him the scope for risk. Well, the bet has been safely placed when you cast the Superstar, isn't it? The movie is an experience. I loved it and I'm definitely watching it once more to look at what all I could have missed. Whether you like the movie or not, you'd feel that the money for the ticket is well spent. The critics are always there. Looking from a strict critic's point of view, I noticed two things. One, the sequence before the Kilimaanjaro song and the song itself was unnecessary and could have been cut off mercilessly. The stunt sequence after dragging Ash out of the wedding could have been tweaked, probably with lesser number of people. Otherwise I give an 8.0/10 for the movie.

Almost everybody I know have watched the movie already. For the rest, please watch it, at least once. Don't try to look for the hype you imagined. See what's there and I assure you'll enjoy.

The animation and CG couldn't impress me more. The climax takes the movie to an entirely new level. Loved it. However, there was a pinch of disappointment when I couldn't find one Indian name among the technicians who have worked on the Visual Effects. Maybe. Some day. Dot!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Marked with shame

A minor portion of today's population has only lived during the days of freedom struggle. Most of this generation know about British ruled India as excerpts from the history classes they managed to stay awake and still listen, or from movies in which the depiction of the then India hit the right chords. A film like Indian where the hero and heroine celebrate their love for the nation by singing "Kappal eri poyaache" (Boarded the ship and left) portrays their patriotism, or so we may think. Yes, the patriotic feeling is definitely there as straight-forward and dedicated characters of that movie.

Thinking about it, how many thousands of couples, families, friends and most importantly Indians would have celebrated their love for each other that midnight, August 15th 1947. How many of those thousands do you think would have thought about the nation as a whole?

Everyone?

No, I wouldn't count on that. Though thats the big picture, don't you think a mother would have been thankful that her children would not have to go through what their forefathers suffered? Don't you think a father would have been thankful that his children, unlike him did not have to think twice about feeling at home in their own nation? Don't you think a teacher would have been happy that he could finally impart knowledge about the diverse and wonderful heritage of the nation without fear of being watched?

Obviously, it would have been a long long night, don't you think, partying and enjoying (in the 1947 style). But, when the nation went to sleep, there would have been the satisfaction of waking up to a free country, something that they had been dreaming for a long time.

The truth is that the satisfaction lasted only for a very short span, in some cases, only that night. I know you are nodding your head if you have woken up today, to the 30th September 2010. Well, what can I say? I'm just quoting "The common man" from The Wednesday (Unnai Pol Oruvan).

What did I do? What did you do? Why should I leave office at 2 PM today, when I have been working hard for the past 3 months? Why should you work from home today, when you've not hesitated to come to work even on weekends? Even if you had a severe head-ache you think twice, you think about the deadlines, you think about losing the job and most of all, your conscience tells you go on with a rub of Vicks on your forehead. True or not? I'm badly in need of that Vicks which will help me get rid of this disease that affected me because I have no choice.

Don't we all have so much in our kitty already? I have a colleague who comes to office leaving her one year old daughter at home. Everyday, she calls up home to check if her baby has eaten, slept, has any problems and so on. She is not working to live like a queen. She has her own ends that should meet. Yes, her salary is way better than the average salary of an Indian, yet it doesn't come to her for free. She sacrifices a lot, definitely more than the loss that came to a "spiritual" person (person is a common noun - any individual ANY INDIVIDUAL) who din have an "official" place to pray.

Whatever be the outcome of today, what is going to be built on a place that, in the name of God, but actually fanaticism, claimed the peace and happiness of an entire nation, according to me does not pass as a place where I can find God (again GOD is a common noun - ANY GOD)! I'm no atheist, yet I think God is someone who gives me shelter. Don't you think this is the other way around?

Every time I see a mail or a mention about why I should be "extra" careful today, it pains me. I feel like my life is taking a big, deep dive into the ocean of shame. I feel like I've not lived here for 23 years. One may wonder why I'm making a big fuss about it. Can't I be a bit alert for one day? I can. If there's a tsunami alert, I'm not going to complain that I'd not be able to spend an evening with my girlfriend at the Marina Beach. Its not that I have a girlfriend, but I'd like to have the options. If there's a cyclone formation alert, I'm not going to crib that I need to carry an umbrella/rain-coat. Well, I'd be happy if the Home Ministry is as good as the MET department. When the MET says its going to rain heavily, it most often doesn't. I always feel that a natural disaster such as an earthquake is nature's way of telling mankind to slow down. Maybe, its trying to convey that nature has evolved patiently over thousands of years to attain this degree of strength and beauty.

Today, we did not wake up fearing a natural disaster. The disaster that we all have been warned, the precautions that we have been advised to follow tells us in simple words to hang-down our heads in shame. And 99.9% of us have willingly come forward to do it. The irony is that some people including me are more worried that if everything did not go our way, we might not be able to catch Endhiran on October 1st, 2nd or 3rd. :(

I know that like me, there are millions of people who claim "If I have 10 people with me, I can bravely fight those elements that is trying to shut me in my home for political and economic benefits". But, there is the issue that has not been fixed till date - "But, who will bell the cat?" I've not written this long post to draw that this is the way things are going to be and that the cat is waiting to pounce anytime now, so its time run for our lives. What difference are we going to make? What can we do about this? I say ignore the cat. Yes, the cat will come after a mouse at a time. If there are 10 rats and only 1 cat? If there are 50 rats, 500 rats, 5000 rats or say 5 million rats and still a considerably less number of cats, its still doesn't matter.

The only thing that counts, no matter how many of us there, is how united we stay. How we interfere to help another, how that every one of us matter to every other person and how each of us try to look upon the other as his friend.

I can't change anything.
You can't change anything.
We can. My point.

Easily said, impossible when attempted is a very valid argument here. How can someone who can't love/forgive another person going to attempt this voluminous change? How can someone claim to be spiritual by fighting for a place to pray and cause harm to a fellow being? We say that the CWG situation brought us shame, where people from other country are worried about the living conditions in the CWG Village. What is happening today? Aren't we ourselves worried about the living situation here? Which is the bigger shame?

Its 3AM already and I'm going to bed, my heart pounding with anxiety and echoing with shame, with a dream, which our forefathers thought came true on 15th August 1947. The words are mine. The voice is on behalf of a billion. Be Safe today! Jai Hind!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Murder of the soul - Part I

The list was down to two and the committee was equally split on whom to vote for. Both the candidates had scored the same in all the categories and now it was up to the chairman of the jury to cast his vote. "And then I did something that is not normally done. I used a criterion that is never used. I decided to vote in favour of Rahman simply because he was a newcomer. I know what a national award means to a newcomer.", quoted Balu Mahendra, noted Cinematographer, Filmmaker and the chairman of the 1993 National Awards jury. As a result, it was Ilayaraja who missed out on a national award for Devar Magan. Balu Mahendra says that Ilayaraja totally backed his decision when he confessed later.

The national award meant that Dileep now known as A.R.Rahman, had arrived with a bang. The young chap who used to play keyboards for all of them including the likes of Mr. Karadi (TR) had not only composed an album that broke all existing chart buster records, but also had won the biggest honour of the nation for his debut film. Since then, there has been no looking back for the Mozart of Madras. He has been winning successively, statewide, region-wide, nationwide and after Feb 22nd 2009, worldwide. Throughout this stupendous journey, he has been this silent person who has not boasted of his work or talked ill about others' works, and has been very generous and truthful when it came to dividing the monetary benefits of his works among his musicians and more.

A certain so-called "management" guru wrote extensively that Rahman had sinned by scoring the music of Slumdog Millionaire (SM), which turned the spotlights towards India's downtrodden side. Well, all that made me wonder was that we are living in an era where cheap stakes who confer awards on themselves are given the chance to make crap talk. Yes, SM did throw light on the other side of India, but can anyone claim that it was a false depiction? Say what, SM was a positive movie that talked about choosing the right path and still emerge successful. When a section of people in Tamilnadu never missed out a chance to complain that Rahman doesn't care about Tamil as a language, he did not miss out on a chance to make the entire world listen to Tamil, when it mattered. "Ella Pugazhum Iravanukke!".

Earlier this year, when the audio of Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya (VTV) was launched, the first track that caught my attention was Aaromale. I was amazed right away because I have lived through the genius' journey and I understood that its going to hit the chords right there. That night, I was on a voice-chat with my sister and I excitedly claimed, "Aaromale is my pick of the album". My cousin, who was in the next room shouted in response, "How the hell do you like that yucky song?" He thought I never heard it. Its just that I chose not to retaliate. Two weeks later, I came back from work and I noticed that he was playing Aaromale in his player. I freshened up and understood that he is repeating it again. After a couple of hours, it was still Aaromale and throughout the night. VTV received only lukewarm response soon after its release. One month later, wherever I went, it was Omana Penne and Hosanna all the way.

The same scene repeated for Raavanan. The most foolish review I read about Raavanan's songs was that they were not as good as Guru or Alaipayuthey. If only a tribe living in a deep, interior village could sing "Pachai Nirame" to express his love, I'm sure it would have been a cake-walk for any composer. The challenge lay in bringing out emotions that are difficult to understand, which was faced pretty well, maybe not the best. I couldn't stop wondering about how healthy the communication between the director and composer should be, in order to get the minute details right.

One big disappointment was the theme composed for the Common Wealth Games (CWG). It did not even take a second hearing for me to fall in love with the track. The song sends positive energy, sportsman spirit and commitment, what more would one expect from a theme for a sporting event. Yet, it was degraded extensively.

I'm not at all claiming that my little (very little) knowledge of music helped me appreciate the beauty of his songs. Its pretty ordinary to figure out this stuff. Yet, it goes unnoticed because of one evil feel that is created without sense, one that props up because of the greed to claim appreciation using another person's work. The word is hype. The best example was to have publicized the CWG theme song as one that is going to break the records of Waka Waka.

Taking a deeper dive into the subject, has any movie before 2009 had any of the following titles for Rahman?
1) Music by: 4-time National Award Winner A.R.Rahman
2) Music by: 10-time Filmfare Award Winner A.R.Rahman

Post Feb 22nd 2009, its only been Music by: "Oscar award winner" A.R.Rahman. A banner/hoarding that is placed outside India having this title makes sense. Its a good marketing strategy. But do we Indians identify him as an Oscar award winner? The answer is no. The icon is just being used as a selling point. Of course, there are sensible people like Gautam Menon who launched the audio in London, where the phrase Oscar winner is a worthy selling point. He did not waste time marketing the music here, only because he knew it would sell without force.

What we don't understand is that amidst all the hype created around Rahman and his releases, murder is happening. Murder of the underlying soul. Murder of the music.

From Roja to Jhoota Hi Sahi, I've listened to all the tracks that Rahman has composed. Calling him my favourite musician is an understatement. As a die-hard fan of Rahman, rather a sincere lover of music, I hope he turns down offers that expect out of him the hype more than music. Jai Ho!

A thought put into action in a postive way, is a blessed thought - A.R.Rahman

PS:
1) I wanted to write lot more things as well. But, the post is way too long already. I will write it some other day. That explains the part number marked in the title.
2) Some people who read the title would have thought that I'm back to my emotional best. :) Sorry for the disappointment.
3) Big relief. I came out the 55-word fiction fever. When I looked at my blog and said, "No. This is not a 55-word fiction", it looked back at me with gratitude.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Random Memories - Part I

Driest of Days

After a long time, I happened to listen to the tracks of Slumdog Millionaire today. I don't listen to those tracks often because they remind me of the driest of days - The days in Madurai. February-March 2009. Yuck! I wish I could just delete them from my life. Monday, Feb 23rd 2009, when the world woke up to the news of the double Oscars, I woke up too, at 4 AM to catch a glimpse of Rahman walking down the red carpet. Few of my colleagues (I should say co-trainees) dropped in as early as 6 AM to see if he made it. But, in vain. They left to work by 9 AM, when his turn hadn't come yet. I wasn't going to miss this to go to a place and copy, paste code from one workspace to another, all day.

"And the award goes to A.R.Rahman", was all I heard and I was running in and out of the hall, celebrating the joy, taking calls and making calls. And then came the performance and one more. My joy knew no bounds. And it lasted for about 15 minutes, after which it sunk in that I had to go to work. Dad wasn't home. My roommate who was back from Cbe that morning had left to work too. Alone was the word. I wanted to shout aloud, "God! Sling me away! Far from this place". The worst was, that day I was to be seated amongst employees, who pocketed a nice, fat pay-cheque and did not have to worry about being sent home soon enough. The rest were being shifted to another location and I was arranged a temp machine to work with. Two more days and I had to go to my college to attend the interview for the job of a lecturer, which went well, but a department merger ruined any chances of getting in. Even if I could, it was not until June/July.

Family issues were at a peaking rate. Almost everyday, an argument with dad leading to one of us yelling at the other and me storming out of the apartment to a colleague's place, so that I could be amongst people who really understood what it meant to be me. Signing out of yahoo hurriedly to avoid a fight with my sister or a friend. All of them were really supportive, but the mind needed a tad more than that. The problem was I din know what that was. Soon enough, calling a friend/classmate needed double thinking because even a birthday wish ended in discussion about recession and job hunt.

The hurried weekend trips to Coimbatore came as a big breather. The toughest of my uncles had begun to say, "Can't help it. Be patient!". It was good to meet friends who never said the usual stuff like "You'll find your way out", but laughed along for the dumb jokes of being "almost" unemployed. When I board the bus, the heart would sink again. During one of those trips, I lost my mobile, which definitely was one of my priced possessions. Like a madman, I drove my bike for around 20-30 kilometers looking for it, at 4:30 in the morning.

The worst part was when some of them started to leave. I remember looking at the screen of a friend greedily, as he filled in the resignation form. The many calls from people who wanted to help, but couldn't offer more than a startup company, some even without a fixed pay until they won a project. The two other offer letters I had (from campus interview) were just a set of printed papers now. The world had never seemed so secretive; Nil response for the 60 odd job related query mails sent out. Attaching a resume to a mail had become as much as a habit as not expecting a reply. And finally, the day came. Around 10 of us had applied for a development job at a company in Bangalore. When the first person got a mail to attend the interview the following day, the rest of awaited ours. At least for a few hours, I thought that my day had come. But, it hadn't. 2 of the 10 of us saw the rest of them off at the bus stand. All we could do was wish them luck. It wasn't their fault.

I went home dejected. Argument again. Yelling again. I did not have anywhere to storm out. The rest were on their way to Bangalore. I cried that night. Like a little child. Like a pressure cooker that seems like it is going to burst open, I opened my mind to the air in my room, well I should say, to the heat filled room. With reddened eyes I reached office the next day. All hopes shattered. The little enthusiasm left, flushed down the drain. And there it came. The same company had called the two of us for a testing vacancy. It was April 1st and I thought some idiot was playing a prank on us. That night on the way to Bangalore, we heard that we had another interview the day after that, in Chennai. In the end, I was unemployed on one Thursday and was considering the pros and cons of two offers, the next.

A couple of days later, it was my turn. I checked if I had missed out any fields before I clicked the Submit button of the resignation form. The promise was made. Three weeks later, I was on that side of the bus, where the people on the other side still hoped, "Our day is on its way". As I prayed for them, I also remembered to wish myself.

Happy Independence Day!

Lets promise to take care of ourselves.
Lets not spread trouble, if unable to spread happiness
Lets not punish others for small mistakes that we don't like to punished for.
Lets not honk at the vehicle in the front; some people still wait for the Green signal.
Lets not drink and drive; Lets give others the fair chance to live.
Lets shed uncalled for judgement.
Lets invest trust to profit out of it.
Lets forget false beliefs.
Lets be determined to go forward.
We are the nation; The nation will move forward with us.
Jai Ho! Jai Hind!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

23

So, this is how it feels to turn 23??

Being a Leo
 
I'm a proud Leo. I feel so strongly about it because I see this great mindset match with people who are Leos too. I'm not a fan of astrology and don't care about the negatives of the same. But, it is always great to believe in positive thoughts and good ideals. I fit into most of the categories of a Leo. Dominant, organized, attention-craving, naughty and the list goes on.

So, Whats up?
Looking back is a tricky thing to do. Who doesn't have regrets when he is 23? I shouldn't have chosen this course; what was I thinking? It shouldn't have discarded my passion at its learning peak. Should I have told her earlier; Would that have made any difference? The whole attitude change I went through, I don't think it was worth it. Why am I working on something that I don't care about? A few of them at this age. But, its not only about the regrets. Well, at least not today. Its about hope. Its about commitment. Its about reality. Its about passion. I usually promise myself a lot of things this day, every year. Except last year, I've never kept any of those promises.

I've gotten bored of this promise deal. In the practical world, not all promises can be kept. I want to be practical. Aren't we missing out on the thrills of life? So, no promises (at least not aloud) this year. No hopes. No dreams. Lets get into some live action and see how things unwind. For a change, I'm going to practice "happy-with-what-I-have".

About today

To that note, when the clock strikes midnight, I'm wishing myself a very "Happy Birthday". I had planned to get myself an important gift yesterday, but, decided to postpone it. Certain things are more important than getting a gift at the right time. :) Its a good thing, also because I can dedicate an entire post as to why I wanted to get that and what I'm going to do with it.

Last afternoon, one of my friends asked me to suggest 10 of my favorite songs for some compilation he was working on. I gave him 5o songs in 5 mins. So, that kindled some real want to go back to my good old music. Spent three hours listening to marvels of our Indian musicians. And an episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. What more can I ask for????

Sweet Memories

Back to the looking back thing, thanks to technology and my uncle, I was lucky to see how my family celebrated my first birthday. Nothing like the feeling of someone wishing you from the beyond. Please note that I'm not SREERAJ and it was a spelling mistake made by I-don-know-who.

video
22 years ago..

I loved this clip. Hope you enjoyed it too. Its really good that people don't know what you'd grow into, else they'd be careful on what they invest on you.

Thanks to everybody who've been with me all these years. The little good I've done till now wouldn't have been possible without you people. I have no specific names. There are so many of them. I'd want each and everyone of you with me till the very end.

Chiju
August 10th 2010

PS: Having regrets when you are 23 is not a big deal. What's important is to revert each one of them down the line.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Music - Technical & Blunt

Disclaimer
My thoughts and me are absolutely harmless. Suing would be absolutely unfair.

Warning
Keep away any fragile items. If you love your hair, I'd not recommend this one.

These days there is technology in everything. Especially, music and technology are intertwined is an understatement. Instances follow.

Human-Computer Interaction

If humans understood zeroes and ones (binary digits), there would be no need for programming languages (like C, C++) to interact with the computer. Binary digits are the nature of how a computer works.

Movie - Mozhi

Song

"Iyarkayin mozhigal purindhuvidil,
Manidharin mozhigal thevai illai."

Translation
If the language of nature is understood,
There is no need for human languages.

Common Admission Test

For the newbies, its called the CAT - something you write right, to get into the top B Schools in India. Once you get a clean shave in that, you are entitled to steal the best mermaids enlisted in Matrimonial websites.

Movie - Kandasamy

Song
"Meow Meow Poona, Meesai Illa Poona,
Thirudi Thinga paakiraiyae Dhimsu Katta Meena"

Translation
Oh Mewing Cat, Clean shaven Cat,
You are trying to steal a beautiful fish.

Redundancy (The best of all)

The concept is simple. Basically, it is an active and standby mechanism. One link is active. If it goes down, a redundant link takes up.

Movie - VTV

Song

"En idhayam udaithaai, nee norungavae,
En maru idhayam tharuven nee odaikkave"

Translation
You broke my heart into pieces.
I'll give you my other heart to break.

I waited for quite long, but couldn't find a fourth song yet. I'll try to keep adding to it. :P

PS: Just when you thought this was all. :) I've labelled this post as "Bluntest". It is derive from mokkai (PJ), in Tamil, meaning blunt.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

That day!

Far into the future,
When success is a crony,
The doleful past behind you;
A sanguine curve on your lips.
That day!

Every step in your way,
With courage, you overcame.
The bloody foot-prints left behind,
Only to look back with pride.
That day!

Every passer-by you pick up,
Discloses a tale or two.
The simulacrum makes you wonder;
All the tales you saved to share.
That day!

Long after the banal phase,
With many dreams destroyed.
The ones that matter - you rebuilt;
All traces of the pain long lost.
That day!

Far into the future,
When you travel back here,
Lessons for the ones you made.
Win the smile you were promised.
That day!

PS: All that shattered was once built from scratch. All it takes, is the will to look back and smile with pride.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Celebration of Life




Please click the arrow mark on the right of the strip to move to the next scene.

If life is all about drinking, so be it.
Don't suck others' lives into it.
Don't Drink and Drive!
Drive Safe!
Live and Let Live.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Football Fever


Sam was too excited. He could not recollect since when he wished Spain should pick up FIFA 2010. And finally they were just two steps from achieving that. Even the Octopus had predicted in favor of his team. July 7th 2010 arrived, when the Raging Spainiards were going to fight the Firing Germans. From the moment he woke up, he couldn't wait for midnight to come. He kept tweeting about it; his facebook updates were all in support for Spain and he also had comment arguments with his friends.

While at work, however hard he tried to concentrate, the match kept coming back to him and nothing but it were persistent. As soon as the clock struck 6, he jumped out of his seat and rushed home. But, he wondered why it seemed like so fast. He was just driving in that morning and he is already heading home. He hoped that the next six hours would pass in the same manner.

And it did. He setup his mat in front of the TV. He went through all that he needed to settle down. Water Bottle (1 + 1) - Check! Remote - Check! Mobile - Check! Bluetooth Headset - Check! So, he settled down and the whistle was blown.

The game was being technically taken forward by both the teams, considering how much was at stake. Everything was well, until he saw Yuvraj Singh running down the ground. It was really funny. What was Yuvi doing in the ground during the semi-final of a FIFA cup? "What shit security!", he thought. Once Yuvi reached the center of the ground, he turned and smiled at Sam. And without second thought, Yuvi ran towards Sam, broke out of the tv and jumped into Sam's house.

Amidst all the shock, Sam was happy that Yuvi dropped in. He immediately asked, "Who do you think will win today?".

"I'm not gonna tell you", replied Yuvi. "She will", he continued and pointed behind himself, as he stepped aside giving room for Sam to see her. There stood a girl who looked familiar. Sam started googling his brain as to who it was. And it struck him. It was Sakshi Singh Rawat, Dhoni's newly wed. His head throbbed with anger.

He jumped at Yuvi shouting, "Its been only 2 days since Mahi married her and you have brought her here! You Rascal!"

"You talk bad about Yuvi and I will kill you", he heard Sakshi say in a devilish voice. He looked towards her. Shock rushed up through his veins as he saw she had grown long teeth, protruding out, on both sides of her mouth. All of a sudden horns propped up on the top of her head like a bull. He started yelling out of terror. Giving him no time to run, she jumped upon him and both of them crashed on the floor, breaking it and going down, far beneath the house and into the earth.

As you'd have already guessed, Sam woke up with a start. He was trembling. Sweat trickled down his face. He could feel the heat. The match was still on, but he couldn't read the scores as his brains were out of order from the sudden jerk. He felt sick. He could feel the increased body temperature. "Shit!", he exclaimed as he felt his forehead with the back of his palm!

And Sam kept up with his football "FEVER" even though he fell asleep during his most awaited match.

PS:
1) Sorry for missing out the warning (in the beginning) about a mokkai (PJ) coming up.
2) The past few posts have been really intense and the mokkai factor of Chiju Speaks had taken a back seat (as some of my readers felt). So, here I go. Broken the ice, have I?

3) Stupid Sam is this character (imaginary) I've created for Chiju Speaks. Sam and his stupidity will continue.
4) Football fans: Enjoy the real football fever.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Eight years and counting...

The boy got down from the car, opened the back door and pulled out his bag. As he swung the bag on to his shoulders, he started complaining all over again. He wanted to press the facts and strike the right chords. "He called me naayae amma" (Mom, He called me a Dog), he said. He looked up at his mother, who was walking beside him, holding his hand, giving little attention to his whining. He had repeated the whole tiffin-box-pushing incident over and over since last evening.

As they walked into the school, he said, "You should scold him nicely. He shouldn't fight with me anymore." His mom did not respond. "Naan baatukku chaaptindu irundhen, avan gudhichaan3rd row lendhu" (I was minding my business and eating my lunch, he jumped from the third row), he repeated, "fulla kottiduthu" (It spilled completely). He went over the details once more as to how the other boy was being mean to shout back after spilling his food. He kept on grumbling about it, alternating the modulation between angry and sad, until they reached the chapel.

They came to a halt in front of the chapel. She let go off his hand and said "Avana ingakootinduvaa" (Bring the boy here). In no time he was running as fast as he could to II-A (2ndGrade - A section). His happiness knew no bounds. He couldn't believe that it was happening. He sprinted into his classroom and threw his bag haphazardly on a desk. He walked up to another boy, who was sitting in the middle of a group and said, "Stallone, My amma has come".

"Come, Come", he added victoriously, "Chapel la irukaanga. Nethu en tiffin boxa thalli vitta illa" (She is in the chapel. You pushed my tiffin box down yesterday right). Stallone looked petrified already. He did not know what to say. He looked around and the other boys looked bowled out too. He stood up trembling about what was going to happen. Left with no choice, the two started, while one looked comforted the other contorted.

There was no conversation throughout the walk to the chapel. As soon as they reached, Stallone started, "Aunty, he only first scolded me". "Amma, but he jumped and pushed my tiffin box", the boy shouted, his face throbbing with anger that Stallone complained on him. The boys kept telling on each other referring to the tiffin-box-pushing and recalling other instances from the past. Though it was a child's play, the enmity behind it was evident.

After listening to the nuances of the two boys, she finally spoke. She started by shushing her son. Then, she looked down at Stallone who was almost about cry out of fear and anger. She did not say a word. She smiled at him first, patted on his head and opened her handbag. She pulled out a couple of snickers and handed it to Stallone. Both the boys were taken by surprise. One was happy and the other was furious that his enemy was getting two of the few left over snickers his dad had got him. He didn't dare say a thing though.

"Both of you are good boys right?", she asked. Stallone nodded with a smile while the other boy was still staring at his mom for her betrayal. "Stallone", she said, "if you are his friend, you'd give him one chocolate". With no second thought, Stallone, still smiling, offered a chocolate to his new friend. "You", she nudged the boy, "if you are his friend, you'll take it". The boy wasn't quick enough, but he knew what would be the post-school consequences of denial. He accepted it with no change in mind or expression.

"Shake hands?" she prompted. Stallone gave his hand in acknowledgement, but her boy was still stubborn until he caught the expression on her face. She wasn't staring at him. She did not look angry. It was the smile*. The smile to convince him to finish his homework, to sit through music class, to not shout while she conducted tuition, to wash his hands before he ate, to go back to sleep after he had woken up from a bad dream, to pack his bags according to time-table every morning and more. He gave in. He shook Stallone's hands. "Go to class now and be friends", she said as the two boys, prepared to leave with one's arm around the other's shoulder.

That day, she taught her son, why it was important to be friends, to let go small things and how anger masked all the long lasting love that was buried beneath. He was too young to understand the implication then. But, he caught up later. Stallone and Sriraj (aka Chiju) were great friends till they passed out of school.

We're not in touch now, but I really wish he reads this.

Eight years have gone by.
Doesn't seem long, I wonder why.
For all that I do, see and breath,
Has you in it, is the truth.

Dedicated to my Mom who left to some other world, eight years back, the same day! (July 2nd2002). Today is my Mother's day! Miss you ma!

*The smile - The last chance for me to realize that I'm being unreasonable. Its more of the final convincing mechanism. Past the smile, trust me, which has happened many times, is really a nightmare. :) I don't feel bad about it today because I used to be such a brat. :P

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sounds of Silence

All the world's gone dark,
You could bring the lost light.
All the sky has gone grey,
You could spray it blue bright.

Beneath all the exhumed truth,
Lies an obfuscated proximity.
Behind all the promising faith,
Pricks a familiar uncertainty.

I wish you can see it -
A subterfuge to be broken.
I know you can change it -
To a world so ebullient.

Is it an inviolable sin to ask,
A mind to share the joy.
Is it an arrant mistake to wish,
A hand to wipe the tears dry.

To look back is dreadful,
A messy scurried past.
To look forward lies with us,
A future that is not yet lost.

I wait here for the benison,
It may be today, or never.
I stand here as the sentinel,
It could be impermeable forever.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

DA VINCIT CODE

Every other day,
A smile you never knew why.
The tears you failed to try.

Every other day,
Success that came your way.
Failures that caused dismay.

Every other day,
Acceptance that made you fly.
Rejection that made you cry.

Every other day,
Just wanted to have your say.
Were you suspected to outplay?

Every other day,
Love that swept you away.
Hate that led you affray.

Every other day,
For something or the other you pray.
Will all that you wished, stay?

Success, failure, confusion, fear, appreciation, shame, disappointment, celebration, praise, luck, love or hate: all that was out of your control has a meaning that you did not attempt to look-up.

Life is always beautiful. Patience is the key. I learnt this today! Your day is on its way! Keep smiling! Cheers!

*Vincit means "to conquer" in Latin

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Irritato Sarcastico

Warning
I started this post back in Feb 2010; post might have lost the little charm intended.
Go ahead at your risk.

Had J.K.Rowling given a bit of extra thought for a spell to cause irritation, I needn't have coined one. Some people have this trait, or talent should I call it; they can just make you want to pull your hair hard, jump from the terrace of Bhurj Dubai or pack your bags and move to Shawshank. You can't talk back. You can't return the nose cut. You just can't say anything. I'm sure you pretty much got the picture. I compared it to a spell due to the dense simulacrum in the working. Like Newton's third law, the irritato spell is cast and irritation kicks off.

Irritato can alter your moods in unimaginable degrees with ease. I had mastered that spell as a kid. When I look back, I can't but feel grateful that my family did not disown me. My batchmates from Lisieux would definitely agree with me when I say "I was an unbearable jerk". However, after a while, being a jerk got so boring. So, this is just a Knowledge Sharing Session of different ways to make the Irritato spell work.

NB: This is not about unintentional irritating, its planned execution.

From someone who has been at both ends of the Irritato at some point of time.

1) If your name rhymes close to some linguistic crap word, make a tune, and sing the name and the word alternately. (Dedicated to my cousin Srinath)
Solution: Well, change your name.
2) You are listening to this hilarious story. In between the laughs, you add a statement you think will make it even funnier and the other person stops laughing the moment you say it and force a plain look. (Again, to my cousin Srinath)
Solution: Well, you should have done that first.
3) Someone is focussed and working on something unaware about what and who is around. You walk slowly, casually behind the person, take your hands close to the ears and clap them together nice and loud.
Prep Measure: Well, be prepared to escape a chase or listen to a couple of curses!
4) You prepare noodles because your brother was hungry. You make enough for both of you, but your brother divides it in such a way that you get very little share. You offer him your share as well to kindle some guilt and he shamelessly accepts the offer and eats it completely. (Sorry Swathi! :P)
Solution: Sometimes, sacrifice sucks. Don't do it!

Traditional methods aside, a lovely way to irritate people is Sarcasm. It is a term that my friend Vivek introduced to me. Well, at that time I never used to get his jokes, leave alone the meaning of the word 'sarcasm'. Now I wonder how much I would have chased him around, had I been able to get him all the time. He claimed his flavor of sarcasm to be derived from Calvin and Hobbes (if I remember right). However, it was a lost concept on me until I got used to Chandler Bing's jokes and thats being sarcastic, the Irritato way! The enhanced spell now becomes 'Irritato Sarcastico'.

Janith and Me setup the TT table at the cafeteria. It was past 7 PM and most of the lights were switched off. After unsuccessful attempts to find the switchboard, we decided that we'd have to adjust without lights. We started playing and Ananth walked in.
"Hey guys! We need some light. Where's the switchboard?", he said as soon as he noticed the lack of lighting.
"Oh! We thought TT must be played in a dark room", I said.

There are times when people come and ask for it. You are planning a trek trip for the weekend with your colleagues. One of them cannot make it but is really willing to come if the trip is postponed to the next weekend. So, she comes up with the dialog, "If you want me to come, plan it for next weekend". And Ananth said, "Well, Sorry you cannot make it to the trek trip. Bye then".

Come to think of it, without the tinge of sarcasm and teasing jokes, there's very little fun in life. I regret that I used to be a spoil sport during my childhood. If only I had laughed through the jokes about me, I could have been on a roll getting back. The moment we start overlooking the irritating part, we would understand that sensitive retaliation will lead to nothing but lack of interest on us.

Add spice to lives. Tease, irritate and be sarcastic. Cheers!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Time to move on

Time and tide waits for none

Its been a while since I wrote something here. Twitter has been taking care of my venting needs and not being active @ work has slowed down the traffic to the association areas of my brain. Once in a while, a momentary rush of guilt helps me use some of the time productively.

Last weekend I was in Coimbatore for my Periyappa's (Dad's elder brother) first anniversary. It was a five day process involving lots of rituals, gradually getting tailored by the generation. On Friday, I visited college with Vibushan and it was a nostalgic experience. From the time we parked the car and stepped in, until the time we came out and picked a bone with our animus security staff, it was trademark college. However, the usual excitement and thrill of being in Coimbatore or visiting college was obsolete .

Saturday and Sunday were completely booked for family except the little time spent at music class. Yeah, that was a great experience. Every July, my music school celebrates a two day annual event where all the disciples render songs as a tribute to the Sangeetha Moomoorthigal*. When I went for practice on Saturday, a batch was singing thillana for the chorus. It took me back to the childhood days where I was one among the 15 or 20 singing the same thillana. This is my 12th annual day there and I asked my teacher if I could be a part of the chorus this time.

Saturday night, it was again family time, when me, my cousins Srinath, Srikanth, my athai (Dad's sister) and Srikanth's wife Priya sat around chatting. It was more like a jamming session because we were singing all our favourite numbers like Cham Cham, Khwaja, Anjali and so on. Priya was making me sing number after number and I was so reminded of my Periyappa who used to do the same. Whenever he had visitors, if I was there, it would be singing time for me. He used to call it Sadhagam (practice) time. I couldn't believe that he is not there among us enjoying all the music and fun.

Sunday saw the last of the rituals for his anniversary. I felt time should actually be moving slower. It just seemed like I got down from the bus on Friday and it was already time to leave. I had this discussion about how I had always wanted time to move slower except during my college days. And that, even during college there was one reason why I wanted things to move slow and so on. In the end, the weekend was all about memories and missing stuff.

Well, not only the weekend, its been like that for a while. It has been making me wonder if I'm making this a big deal and if its worth it. The reason is that I look around and the people who are supposedly part of the memories have stopped to care, or at least seem so. Probably, they are bored of the whole good-times system. The funny part is that those who blame me of having made new "friends"(as one would fixate on the quotes for the word) and not care anymore seem to have forgotten where I live. A whole other perspective makes me understand that we can't blame anybody just because we are still the same and stubborn to accept change and move on.

I sat through the return journey coming up with a whole new "its-time-to-move-on" plan. Its a simple to-do list towards a productive life rather than blabbing nostalgia forever.

Its time to move on, for memories accrue, time doesn't.

"Time is the Healer.
Time Moves on,
Time don't wait for anyone.
You tell me you'll be back,
But that'll take sometime.
I'm waiting... "

I've always been amazed by the above lines. Simple but so true. :)

*Sangeetha Mumoorthigal - the musical big shots Thyagaraja Swamigal, Sri Muthuswamy Dixithar and Sri Shyama Shastri.