Tuesday, March 09, 2010

All about an (ab)normal day

The silence of the closing in evening was nothing new. The occasional tadattuts of keyboards from the nearby cubicles always gives the working feel. For a roller-coaster ride going on for the past four days, today was an unusually slow day. Lack of sleep or the "feel-good" factor of a fruitless task, I was not sure, it was about lazing through the rest of the day until I have to board the train to Cbe. I prioritized my tasks in such a way that I contributed to the tadattuts once in a while, to reassure the surroundings and myself that I'm awake.

The floor I work, situated on the seventh floor of a nine floor building, is huge enough to accommodate around 120 people. It is a square area distributed with cubicles, with a lean pathway on one corner of the floor, leading to two conference rooms and ending in the back exit. Within the floor, right adjacent to the lean pathway is the restroom and next to it, the pantry. Perpendicular to the pantry are a couple of cubicles that end in the corner diagonally opposite to the lean pathway, and on either side, is fenced with cabins of "Periya Thalais" of the BU. This finally leads to the front exit of the building.

Looking up and around every other minute, I kept telling myself that I have to concentrate. It was like a buzzing in my brain that I so didn't want to accommodate. I figured I'd work on an Einstein Riddle my friend had sent, to get into rhythm. Trust me, there is nothing more effective to come out of boredom - solving solid math/logic problems. As I was about to scan through the list of mails, my teammate came in for some support and the buzzing was back. Unfortunately, duty first (no other go) and I got it done for him.

As he left, my hands reached the headset that lay on top of the CPU and immediately, I let go; It crashed on my desk-phone with a bang. For such a silent environment, the sound was definitely distracting, but to my surprise, no one seemed to have noticed it. The reason was that an even louder wailing sound like a factory siren had masked the headphone crashing. A drilling machine piercing a nearby wall was the first image in my mind to map with that sound. Simultaneously overtook the thought of imagining it (brain buzzing). I did not bother to stand up and look around. My mind was pretty blank, except that I wanted that noise to stop and that too right away.

I'm not able to explain how it happened but out of nowhere, I could reads the words "Carlton Towers" in my head. In a split second, the wailing seemed to make sense.

I did not need second opinion that it was a fire alarm. I could see lots of things happening in the next few seconds. My reflexes began to overtake my presence of mind. I stood up and saw half a dozen score of pale, terrified faces looking towards the lean pathway. None of them had started to react though. It does take some time to take in something out of the way in an issue filled IT day. The ERT (Emergency Response Team) plunged into quick action. I saw a couple of them pull out their ERT caps from their desks and put it on. One of them rushed towards the restrooms and pantry while the other went into cabin after cabin. The evacuation process had started.

I locked my system immediately and started towards the front exit. I walked quick without acknowledging any known colleague I met on the way. I could see people rushing towards and away from me. A couple of them were heading to the exits with their laptops. I reached the exit pretty soon. No one dared to use the lift, I noted. I turned back into the floor to check on any familiar people. A force of guilt rushed. I hadn't bothered to check on anyone. As I peeped into the floor again, I saw that it was pretty much empty already.

I turned again and started down the stairs. After a couple of failed attempts, I slowed down. The rush of people made it difficult to be fast. It was surprising that I saw no panic amongst the people around me. In fact, I heard one guy inquire with another if he had a D-Link Modem reserved for use. Few guys were cracking jokes and laughing their way down. Well, can't blame them, for, one joke was so damn funny and my lips twitched close to smiling. Floor by floor down, the number of people increased and finally, I was down in the ground floor. I quickly walked down the flight of stairs to the road and looked up at the building. I saw it.

It was a tinge of orange-red and a mix of black. None of the windows were open. The bright sun of the late afternoon added to the refraction effect. It was of no use. I was helpless. Lots and lots of people were still walking out of the exit. Few were talking on their mobiles, few keeping a look behind and few holding their laptops dearly. Once they were out of the exit, they turned right, walked into the lawn and turned right again, to go to the open space down the other exit of the building, probably, instructions from the ERT, I thought. For sometime, I alternated between glancing up and looking at the exit. I knew there was nothing I could do. I looked up at the building once again, enjoyed the beauty of the red-orange and black colored window panes that were arranged neatly. The sun's rays always added to the class of the building and I love that sight. After taking it in completely, I joined the queue of people to see what the fire-drill was all about. :P

-Dated, Friday, 5th March 2010

View of my office building! :)

Monday, March 08, 2010

Confusingly clear contestants

Jam packed weekend would be an under statement. The Palakkad heat is in its peak and literally the sun was putting a straw straight into our head and drinking out of it (dinggggggg!!!! an ad striking???) Thanks to the so many maamis who offered us nannari sharbath, we were able to cover up to 50 houses on saturday. Well, I'm dedicating a separate post to that (I hope so) because it was a too good experience listening to the childhood experiences of our parents from their friends. Well, listening to good things is always great.

On Sunday, after all the invitation distribution, my dad and me dropped off Srinath for his bus and returned home. My train was at 22:20 and I had booked a cab to reach the station. I had about half an hour to kill and I spent half of it lying down idly. The rest, I thought I'd dedicate to some last minute TV watching. I turned it on and a gorgeous Trisha was talking with pride (too much pride for one good film) in Coffee with Anu. I hate ads for a reason and BAM they came up. I went to the next channel and saw Kushboo in Jackpot*.

I remember the last time I saw this show. It was back in June 2006. I was in Chennai (my then home) for my semester holidays. After a heavy Sunday dinner, we were just switching channels uninterestedly, when my classmate sent me a message saying, "See Jaya TV". I told my sister to turn it on and to my surprise, saw 4 of my classmates participating. As I was explaining to my sister, who each of them is and stuff, my mobile sounded once again. The SMS from one of batchmates read, "Ellarum olunga football match paarunga da" (Everybody better see the football match).

Well, coming back to yesterday.

Kushboo (to Team 1): Nadigar Vikam, thaan thayaarikkum padathukku yaarai iyakkunaraaga niyamithullar?
Translation: Which director has Actor Vikram appointed for the movie he is producing?
I immediately said, "Sasikumar", to my dad.
Team1 Captain: (Thinks for a while and says with little confidence) Shankar!
I was like, "Oopsy! Well, do you think Vikram has that much money to crap?"
Kushboo: BOAAard?
And there was papaaaan sound. (Wrong Answer)
Kushboo: Chennai team? Unga Badhil?
Translation: Chennai Team? Your answer?
Chennai Team Captain: (Pauses, hesitates and says) Sasikumar.
I was like, "Cool!"
Kushboo: BOAAard?
And there was a kilikilikin sound. (Correct Answer).
Claps and other announcement of what gift hampers they won followed.
Kushboo: Team 1, Aduthu vara rendu kelvigalukkum neenga correct answer solliyae aaganum, Jackpot round valayadarukku.
Translation: Team 1, You have to get the next two questions right, in order to play the Jackpot round.
For a team thats almost losing, the captain seemed very cool and confident. I thought, "She's gonna nail it. Probably, she's a nerd who doesn't know much about movies, especially, tamil movies. Not a mistake."
Kushboo: Padhaviyil irukkum podhe maranam adaindha Indiya Janathipadhi yaar?
Translation: Which India PRESIDENT died when he/she was in power?
She smiled and I thought she got it. With confidence and spontaneity, she spoke.
Team 1 Captain: Indira Gandhi!
There was heavy laughter. I was dumbstruck. So was Kushboo.
Kushboo: Indira Gandhi was assassinated!!!!! And she was the prime minister.
Team 1 Captain: Answer maathamudiyaatha?
Translation: Can't the answer be changed then?
Kushboo: Maatha mudiyaadhu! Board?
Translation: No, It cannot be!
Papaaaan was the sound and she turned to Chennai team. For a moment, the camera showed a few faces in the audience and they were all in roaring laughter.
Kushboo: Neenga Jackpot round velayaada poreenga!! Unga answer?
Translation: You are gonna play the Jackpot round. What's your answer?
Now, I din know the right answer too. So, I never expected Chennai team to give the answer, but I hoped they'll name a president. She was also very quick.
Chennai Team Captain: Nehru?
The crowd again went for a roar of laughter.
Chennai Team (all 4 together giggling): Chumma oru guess thaane!
Translation: We just went for a guess!
I was like $$!%$#%!@%#$!#@%$#!%@

These ladies I believe, are part of the 33% crap thing. So, they just chose to learn only 33% of everything and Indira Gandhi happened to fall on the 67% side of the history they learnt. Can we blame them?

1) I even went through the list of Prime ministers and Presidents of India in order to reassure that people (not the illiterate, at least the ones who come to participate in game shows for money) are still unaware of who was president and who was prime minister. Well, you don't have to know the entire list. But, at least about Nehru and Indira Gandhi.
2) Jackpot is a game show that has two teams of four ladies each. You have to play 3 rounds and only one team goes to the jackpot round where you can win lot of money.
3) Is it ironic that I'm writing this on Women's day??? :P
4) Well, No! Though I know a few of them dumb to the core, most of the women/girls I know are smart!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Vinnai Thandi Varuvaya - Suffering from Love

Karthik, a mechanical engineer, aspiring to become a filmmaker. Jesse, a mallu Christian, has a strict but lovable Dad, a ferocious brother and a big family. Karthik and his family rent Jesse's father's house, which leads to living upstairs and downstairs. Karthik sees Jesse in a sexy blue saree and falls in love (oops.. gets hit by her love) at first sight. He tries to woo her and she definitely notices it; he confides his love one day and she leaves to her native without any answer. He goes there and pretends that he has come to apologize. They decide to take it from there, as friends, but Karthik is pretty sure about what he wants. They are on-off and on-off, on-off and do they live happily ever after, is what Vinnai Thandi Varuvaya (VTV) is all about.

Romance in its traditional form. It is a very simple story. All love stories begin and end in almost the same way. So, what's the difference between a normal love story and VTV?

Well, the answer is Gowtham Menon and A.R.Rahman.

If one says that Gowtham directs Tamil movies with the half the dialogues in English, well, he acknowledges and accepts it with a line in the movie. He depicts a classy house, exotic locations, rich photography and a slow pace as usual. Thiss time, Rahman has added his grandeur to the scintillating music.

For a change, Simbhu and Trisha have actually performed. Applauses for that. Jesse's characterization is fantastic. Its not difficult to understand her, because, Karthiks and Jesses live amongst us. The emphasis is on the grim reality. It is about practical psychology (that is biology driven) , about how a boy and girl fall for one another and how they handle it. One actually suffers from Love. To make it work or to get over it lies in the hands of the sufferer. In the end, the boy and the girl may differ in what they want but they are equally strong about it. This is the gist of what I saw in the movie.

The sidekicks have little scope to perform and have done a good job. The guy who is Karthik's confidant does the tickling part. Gowtham has proven that he doesn't need a Santhanam or Vivek or Vadivel to sell his movie. The lone action sequence is realistic. Apt dialogues with a mix of English that adds to the slang of youth today. K.S.Ravikumar has come in at the right times and played himself, and that is a plus point. Chinmayi, who has dubbed for Trisha has emoted, as if she is the actress.

Rahman has simply created magic with his swaying background score. Right from the titles (that are beautifully put up), till the credits, it was goosebumps all the way. Hosanna, Mannipaaya and Aaromale can't have better timings in the screenplay. Hosanna was an electrifying experience and I was definitely on floatation when Mannipaaya was playing. Aaromale was my pick of the album, right from the day I listened to the songs. It is placed in a situation which has either been so very well explained or absolutely top notch imagination. Thamarai's lyrics go along very well. Great job. I sincerely pray that this Rahman-Gowtham combo should continue and keep going. I can't imagine seeing another Gowtham's movie without Rahman's music.

To sum up, Gowtham has proven that he has class. If at least in a small corner of your heart, exists traces of love, VTV is a must watch.

If you are in a relationship, please go and see it with your partner. If you are trying to woo someone, well, PLEASE take her with you (even if you have to do it at gun-point) and watch it together. :P Music fans, well, you'll enjoy the most. Catch it fast.

However, I should give you a warning. "Patience must"

@Chennai people: The Devi Screen of Devi Cineplex is simply mind blowing. Try to book your seats in the center group of seats. Really worth it!!