Finale Beckons @ Lords! Monday, Jul 25 2011 

The 2000th test is heading to a riveting final days play. The people at the crease have done it on numerous occasions, yet this would test their mental strength at the twilight of their careers with India up there in the test rankings.

I thought of writing this small note after seeing the reactions on social networking websites and other modes of communication to the rest of the world. About one fourth of this world watches the game of cricket. That number would significantly decrease when the love for the game is restricted to the oldest form the game, test cricket. The latter that follow test cricket are of different types.

1. “I don’t have the time, I read Cricinfo, but I am still an avid follower of test cricket” – notorious college goers who do not read anything else on the web.

2. The thatha (grandfather) who sleeps 8 hours during the day, comes out to see test cricket on the TV and gives his expert opinion – “Dei, what are you watching I say? Ellam match fixing da (It’s all fixed), and this Dravid cannot play the ball outside the crease. Chumma lottu vekardhu paathu time waste pannadha (Don’t waste your time watching these people defend the ball). Not even one fielder sweats in this game even if they play it over 5 days.

3. The most popular fan – confused Indian youth who always expects the team to win. This has been happening for the past 22 years. For eg: They tweeted praises about Ishant Sharma when he rattled the Windies, but became his biggest critic after watching his first innings spell. He again became his hero during the first hour of play on day 4 and by the end they had a mouthful of things to say when England dominated the rest of the two sessions.

4. Lastly, an Indian, non supporter of the team. “Anyday Australia wouldn’t have thrown away the game. Zaheer, Sachin injured or resting are just excuses.” That would be their status, buzz, comment or their plus? To be precise, they have a list of requirements that India should have satisfied in order to support their ranking. Things like, not starting with Ishant after lunch 65/5, the 162 run stand for 7th wicket and talk about injury, they would find a way to bring IPL in and blame it all on the Indian cricket board. They would end the conversation with, “India is a good team, not the champ team, champion teams like Australia find a way.”

Frankly, I have started to love test cricket over the last decade but for the above mentioned pests. Legends retired, but new heroes are born in every test match. What is more pleasing than the Wall draining out the opposition, our wounded soldier VVS make batting look as simple as a child cutting a cake or dear Sach dominating proceedings in the first innings?

India does present a valid case to be termed the number one test side in the world. If we were to have Sehwag and Gambhir opening any innings in a test match, you sure would experience what I saw in Chennai 2008. I am not sure if there any other opening combination currently that can create the same magic which these guys present us with. For Sehwag, what matters is to make sure he gets into every bowlers nightmare. The more time spent analyzing Sehwag and his game, the more he stays at the crease to demolish the opposition out of the game. With minimal footwork but maximum intent, there is nothing much one can argue about a guy who has a strike rate of 82 overall and has scored almost 8000 runs in test cricket. Gambhir on the other hand, is a very talented test opener and plays within his limitations and the best opener to support Sehwag during any of the latter’s onslaught. Gambhir has proved to be the rock in the most difficult conditions. On most occasions, he finds himself against a bunch of fast bowlers twice his height trying to break his jaw but he is never short of words when they stare at him after the follow through. He has grown with maturity and is surely a match winner for the future.

Then walk in the TriGods-Lord Brahma (the creator), Lord Vishnu (the preserver) and Lord Shiva (the destroyer). Note: The Gods do not walk in the same order as stated and the analogy is very relative to the reader’s discretion. There are more articles about these three on the web than about any trending topic. I do not have anything to add on to what has been told.

The India team will struggle for atleast a period of five years when these three decide to hang up their boots. That would be a tough phase, like it has been for every other international team which hands over the baton to the next set of players.

The number 6 spot has always been a spot of bother for the Indian Team. I think Raina is an amazing find and it is a matter of time he settles in and understands the way it works. Sometimes, players do get carried away. Playing your first test at Lords is not always easy, even the legends have struggled here. Probably the only Indian who has found it like home was Dilip Vengsarkar, may be every batsmen might want to pick his brain before the second test.

And walks our superhuman Dhoni. Cometh the hour cometh the man. Will it be his day, like it did in his first tour to England? Can he save the Lords test again? From what we know, he surely is missing the next test because of the slow over rate. There ends our famed batting line up.

Can the tail wag a bit with our wounded soldier yet again? Is Sachin coming at 7 and Gambhir at 6 a blessing in disguise? I read somewhere that when the doors of the temple are closed, even the Gods are behind “The wall”. Can the Englishmen get past Rahul Dravid?

The last chapter in their respective careers. Can they do it, yet again?

Malai da.. Annamalai! Wednesday, Oct 6 2010 

The actor who would play Cyrano must have panache. Cyrano de Bergerac was a French dramatist and duelist known for his flamboyant style of acting. Admiration for Superstar Rajnikanth runs over three generations. A consummate showman, he displays childlike wonder at his own feats. The movie Enthiran, just reiterates that the word Rajniac must be added to the English dictionary as a synonym for the words passion, arrogance, style and may be even to summarize the phrase,

I cannot explain what I just saw.

A Kamal Hassan fan and the biggest critique of the stereotype that Rajni has created over the past two decades, has not had any influence on my opinion about Enthiran, the ROBOT.  As R2 enters Dr. Vaseegaran’s research lab, what one would see is a bearded Rajni and his educated alla-kais trying to bring Chitti to life. Where is the standard Rajni smile or a vannakam and the SPB song? Chitti, the robot, interpreting its commands literally is a laugh riot. Though a logical person like most of us would recognize the mokkai jokes, we were cheering and whistling when Chitti gives the IP address or when he turns his head. Ash (Sana, Dr.Vase’s irritating and annoying girlfriend) looks better than in any other movie in which she has acted in the past decade. I wonder if any other heroine could have matched the grandeur which Chitti 2.0 brings to the movie and his role. Her introductory scenes are followed up with a few unromantic romance scenes which were appreciated by a few.

Danny Dengzongpa (Dr. Bohra), head of the AIRD evaluation committee is invited to attend a robotic conference where Vase introduces Chitti to the world. The subtle answers given by Chitti to the people who quiz him are laudably well written. The plot is thrown at the audience when Danny wants to know the neural schema on which Chitti works on. Shanker takes the cue to show the audience the powers of Chitti when Sana gets Vaseegaran’s approval for taking Chitti with her for two days. May be the best fight among all were the shots in the train, but I would vote for the scene that depicts the demi-god status of the superstar. “Who is this Chellatha?” Innocense on-screen was Chitti’s biggest success. I am sure; every girl would have wanted to kiss those cheeks after the zigbee-e-adicha-copy scene.

Bohra puts an end to Vaseegaran’s dream doubting the robustness of Chitti’s neural schema. His decision is proven right when Chitti saves a girl from fire; but is not able to understand the humiliation she faces when brought nude in front of the media. The science behind Chitti gaining human emotions after the lightning hits him is cushioning. Chitti proves that he is a complete robot when he orchestrates a complex natural delivery for one of Sana’s friend. I must tell you; this was way more exciting than the scene in the movie, 3 idiots!

Chitti falls in love with Sana and confesses the same during her birthday party which comes after an enthralling dance choreographed by Raju Sundaram. Deeply obsessed with Sana, Chitti fails the army trial on purpose where he strings lines about Sana’s beauty when asked to bomb one of the fake targets. Vaseegaran gets really angry and decides to destroy Chitti since his objective of bringing him to the world failed. Shanker decides to have a song and hence a few scenes with Kalabhavan Mani. I guess he knows when people need a dum-break too.

One man’s loss is another man’s gain. Chitti falls in the hands of Bohra, who decides to give an entirely new look to him and also inserts the ‘red chip’ needed to make sure what his clients demanded for. What we get is a local version of the Joker made of steel and more intelligent with amazing looks, yet one of the best villains seen in Tamil Cinema. Version 2.0 is just unstoppable. He kidnaps Sana from the wedding dias just before Vaseegaran is about to tie the knot. The not-so-matrix kind of car chasing fight is amazing, yet, Chitti shooting the shit out of the mamas with a smirk on his face and saying, ‘Happy Diwali Folks’ , gives me nightmares till date. That was an ‘asta-la-vista-baby’ moment. Wish I knew how to whistle. When the world blames Vaseegaran, he contacts Chitti 2.0 remotely. If you did not catch the animosity in that laughter when he says ‘No one can destroy me’, you might prefer watching a few TR movies. I meant, stop watching cinema.

Chitti 2.0 treats Sana like a queen. Scenes with Sana in their bedroom just reminds you of the brilliant protagonist roles which Rajni has performed when he was a villain in Tamil cinema. Vaseegaran’s extreme-pwnage plan of infiltrating Chitti’s camp fails miserably when he finds blood inside. He decides to put an end to Vase whom he believes to be a barrier in between his relationship with Sana. Next five minutes in the movie must be sent to dummies learning to act like a villain. <One entire paragraph about Chitti 2.0 has been removed because it is extremely Rajniac> The visuals shown in the last 15 minutes are just unmatched in the history of Indian Cinema. All of Chitti’s creations form the shape of a sphere, Eiffel tower, a giant etc all to combat the huge military gathered to decimate him. One can say that the visual and logical flaws were way lesser when compared to the greatness. The climax is brilliant when Vaseegaran removes the red chip to get back his Chitti and when the court orders him to dismantle his creation.

Can I help you professor? Dismantle yourself Chitti.

I can’t imagine any other ending since one cannot kill Rajni, even if it is a movie. I found a vast difference in the CG between the last 30 minutes and the rest of the movie. May be it was because of limited amount of funding, though 160 crores seems big enough. Rahman has lost it. May be his interns are composing these tunes, but the sounds in Enthiran are definitely not what I would carry with me forever. It still made me dance, I must say. Karunas was completely wasted. ‘Illayathalapathy’ Vijay could have done a better job, might have made a lot of money too. Length of the movie is also questionable, but, most of it seems to be there for a reason. The ‘Rangusky’ mosquito scene, for example, was added to honor Sujatha.

One cannot expect an agonizingly complicated sci-fi story/script like The Matrix. The movie is mainly aimed at the Tamil population around the world who appreciate a certain bit of masala.  They do not want to put much of their brain to use, but also do not want to sleep. Overall, it is an event that has to be experienced.

The Inner Hedonist Thursday, Dec 24 2009 

Rajeev had made his last call to Rhea. “Invite me for your marriage, I…I love you”, he said, and hung up on Rhea.

Rhea’s voice sunk as she narrated the phone conversation to Yash.  He lay beside her, emotionless, in a familiar place. His face grew grave, and Rhea became melancholic. Tears loomed in his eyes as he tried to look away from her. Still air and the sound of silence was all that remained in that place. “Don’t you want to tell me anything?” she asked him. She had spoken to him for nearly two hours, not one drop of tear fell; all she wanted then was to listen to his deep voice say, “It’s alright”, brush her hair and kiss her on the forehead. He left one cigarette behind in his car and smoked the rest and as he blew the last few rings away, he spoke his first few words after three years since he last met her.

Life looking through smoke rings, circles of friends gone and gone. All I can do now is, give you my shoulder.

As he heard her breathe heavily, he raised himself on his elbows and flicked the cigarette away with his middle finger. The gesture was all that Rhea needed; it was as if she had stored all the emotion inside her for this very moment. She rose, and wept. Her hands slid across his shoulders. She wept further; as he brushed her hair a few times, turned her face towards him and caressed her cheeks. Despite being agnostic, Yash looked up to the heavens seeking an answer.

If you are really up there, can’t you even show us a picture of the puzzle we are trying to solve? Why do you do this?

He never rode on his past, but Yash couldn’t prevent himself from thinking about the first time he had met Rhea.  The penultimate year in his university needed him to cross a lot of hurdles. Yet another batch of freshers brought about a lot of talk. He loved everything about Rhea, her curly hair, her ego and her smile which magnified her dimples. A proposal was always on the cards. It happened, but the minute Yash knew that she wasn’t interested in him; he used the term friendship to create another chance for himself.

Six months into her university life, Rhea found the right person. It was Rajeev, the laughing stock among the freshman. They fell in love. They claimed to have. A few things happen exponentially. It took six months for the first kiss, but, in a few days, smell of the skin took priority over lectures. But they never made love to each other. Was it fear? guilt? I am not sure. Another six months flew by and on a romantic Tuesday, the stage was all set for the point of culmination. Rajeev snored after a long night when Rhea took time to cut her hands using sharp kitchen paraphernalia for  reasons known only to her.

Rajeev and Rhea spoke twice a day ever since and eventually their conversations ended up in silence.

Why did you do this?

I dont know.

Do you want to talk?

I dont know.

Do you still love me?

I dont know.

Rajeev felt there was a need to talk, but Rhea never gave the chance. But for their immature opinion on love and lust, their relationship would have grown. He ended up cuddling her after she slept and woke up and left before she got up. It was his way of searching for an answer. And a month later he got a reply for the perfunctory message which he left her every day. “You said, it was just lust and you don’t see a future in our relationship”, she had replied. The alchemy of desire was rather unknown to the teens.

A month was too long. Yash, who had proposed to Rhea a year ago, was having lunch with her after hearing about the traumatic break up. Yash saw her spoon making more noise than his for once. He realized there was something wrong. Multitasking regularly, being in his finaly year, Yash  made sure he caught up with Rhea in the evening to discuss about her lackadaisical behavior during lunch.

It’s not about you, Rajeev and me, we.. eh.. , I mean.. u know.. but I swear, we dint do it.

There was indeed a lot to talk. Yash and Rhea walked to the end of a pathway, climbed over the roof and stood in the same place where they lay now. Ambidextrous, like he always was when it came to smoking, Yash waited for Rhea to open up. An hour went by; the sound of the second’s needle on his watch reminded him that he had work to complete. He was never interested in listening about Rajeev and her. She started speaking about how she felt about the entire episode as if she had memorized it a couple of times. As they looked at each other, he said, “I am still in love with you”.

They could never classify their relationship. Yash never realized that he was indirectly contributing to her daily expenses and entertainment? He never got a thing in return, not even a kiss. A year went by; he was used as the emotional friend, a stress ball and was also labeled as her cook. It was a great time to stay at the university hostels for the rumor mongers. The wait killed him but the day never ended without a rendezvous. Coquettish as she always was, a few text messages and a romantic Friday evening made him think that she was still interested; after all why wouldn’t a guy think that way if a major part of their fine dining conversations were filled with talk about their marriage.

A few emails between Rajeev and Rhea and an upcoming career in front of Yash was all that Rhea needed to get her relationship with Rajeev rolling again. Yash was cheated, but he knew the truth. He had cut all his ties with the couple, but with respect to the relationship he had shared with Rhea, he knew the term friendship was abused profoundly. How can a boy and girl be just friends? A couple of years passed and their relationship grew stronger after they had debriefed about the entire fiasco which happened and since Rajeev started working in the US, a few phone conversations and sex once in six months made them happy.

They decided to get married; after all, the girl was turning 24 soon. Their engagement was a clandestine affair. Sometimes, some things just have to go wrong. The sun rose above New York City. Hugging the pillow like he usually does, Rajeev turned on the snooze button a few times. He opened his left eye slowly to find a romantic message from Rhea. It all fell under the schedule. He rubbed his palms together and kept it on his eyelids and slowly he tried opening both his eyes. His right eye wouldn’t open. Well, he thought it was lack-of-sleep induced. A few minutes later, he forced his right eye open to find that he had no vision in it. Nothing made a difference, splash of water, sun rays right into the lens. Nothing. He didn’t show up for work, but made sure he got enough rest, still contemplating the fact that he couldn’t have gone blind.

Phone calls were missed. He felt nervous; he couldn’t say it to her. He left her a message from his friend’s phone that he had surrendered the line and will call her soon. A month went by, consulting various ophthalmologists who ended up with a conclusion that his nerves just malfunctioned. He was blind on one eye.

What happened?

I am blind Rhea. I can’t see on my right eye.

What? Don’t play with me, I aint giving you a free kiss if you were to tell me its a joke. Raj… Raj are u there? Tell me its a joke please.

And they cried over the phone. It was a good enough reason for the unconvinced parents to put an end to a marriage that was never supposed to happen. It was hard to see Rhea’s face then. Phone calls weren’t answered and there were no replies to her text messages. Little did she know about Rajeev trying to create a better life for her by disconnecting himself from her and his social circle. It was then she realized that while shuffling between Rajeev and Yash, she had lost all her friends. After her university life, her world was Rajeev. Waking him up, going to bed and then going to work and exchanging text message in between. It was three years since Yash had graduated, but,she had no other person but for Yash to talk to her at this hour.

Clarity in thought was always Yash’s strength. It didn’t seem so when the girl got back to him after three years, yet again. Yash wiped the tears off her eyes and started walking from the place where he proposed to her when they were studying. She clung to his arms as he walked to his car. She was looking for a support. He opened his car to light his last cigarette.  He shrugged his tears and all he could see is how she had used him. He couldn’t control himself from coming but for the love he had for her. He sat inside his car when it started pouring heavily. Her tears were lost in the rain, it was sign that he had to move on with his life as well. Yash started pulling up the window when she tried to get a glimpse of him. “I always loved you but I can never live with you. I am sorry”, and drove away into the twilight.

Cest la vie.

Bells and Bullshit Monday, Jun 8 2009 

Warning: ‘PG 13’ Rated. Contains brief references to nudity and sex. 

Hell yeah, I am immured inside this village. My attempts to elope from this grain on the world map have failed. Inhibition tells me, I might have just lost the opportunity to remove the hefty thing over my head. Being optimistic hasn’t worked for 4 years, I have slowly started digesting the fact that it grew along with me and took 17 years to show symptoms of its strength. It had shown the blood lines of a paladin, not an immature teenager. I have come to terms with the fact that I haven’t been alone, it was a unanimous emotion among many and it was not chauvinistic.

No, I still haven’t contemplated suicide. I have given myself 5-6 years before I get married to a person of the opposite sex. My recent conversations with a few girlfriends gave me the key to the Pandora’s Box. After listening to them and giving it quite a thought, I told myself, if marriage is so metamorphosing for the female kind I won’t mind getting married to one. But when is the question? Well in the ocean of blogs on the internet, it can be difficult to find one focused on marriage that is not trying to play the role of being a matchmaker, aka MAMA. This post can be quite irritating if you have work to do or you were looking for hot profiles. If that’s the case you might want to check out on what we lived on, two years ago, Tamil Helmets.

10 PM, June 7th 2009, I am listening to this guy who is speculated to be born to an elephant and whose teeth resemble Nancy Kerrigan. Not to mention, his IQ is less than his shoe size, he talks about how he might get married to his love affair when he completes his masters. He is 19. Fuck my life (FML). When my cousin used to tell me that his colleagues/friends of his were getting married, I was like chalega yaar, 26 is not so bad. It is highly traumatizing nowadays after having seen five wedding invitations arrive at my inbox in a span of 30 days and to hear such morons talk about wedding bells and bullshit. Damn these, astrologers and the Tamil calendar. Well, I thought that the Child Marriage Restraint act was passed in 1929, it isn’t the case, women are getting married by 21-22. Men, thinking about getting married by 23 (average age when they complete their masters) probably are to be thala mughugified. They are para helmets who haven’t had sexual titillations for 23 long years and decide to embarrass themselves by plunging into tying the triple knot. 

Suggested Solution:  Bajari – In strict terms lady in high street offering body rental service. (courtesy:  tamilslang)

One can only blame the horrible tamil movies topping the BO. Phrases such asKalyanam pannikalama? or Evalo kozhandai pethukalam? have become mere pick up lines among the so called youth. This is what I noticed in the past 24 hours. I found a guy possessing a copy of the Kamasutra in his room. Being curious, I asked him if he used it as an asset in jerking off before the day’s work. He said, he made a guy three years younger to him, buy it, all to check out pictures and learn from it. There was complete silence for a minute. Sitting less than 2 meters away is the 19 year old brat who is reading a pdf article on How to kiss a woman? On questioning, I get to understand that he has to kiss his girl friend at least this time when get backs to a village in India.  It’s been two years since they got together. FHL. I am just trying to understand what is wrong with these youth heroes from India. Like in every statement, there can be exceptions; don’t be intelligent enough to drop me a comment as to how SUPREME your maturity levels are. I have also carefully analyzed the guilt aspect among these kids. This is a killer, especially among the Brahmin youths in India. 

Once upon a time, there lived a girl and a guy named Eve and Adam respectively. They were nearly at the ends of the globe. Adam pursued what he liked in his university. Eve, as an exchange student flew down and caught with Adam. A few months later Adam and Eve start to have a fling over each other. They speculate their relationship and date the last month before Eve left home. For some damn reason, Adam asked Eve if he could kiss her during a motion picture. Eve replied saying, probably this one time, do not let my boy friend know about this. It so happens on other days as well till she departs. I am not going to give you a packet of cigarettes for guessing the climax, like any Tamil movie, Eve and Adam went to bed the night before she left and they stopped before he made love to her. He stated reasons that he realized the mistake and wanted to get back to the original relationship he was sharing with her. 

I can actually quote at least a dozen more real life stories to make my argument more strong about how immature people can be when it comes to love, marriage, affairs etc. etc. The facts lie on the table. Marriages which are arranged might actually work in favor of most helmets giving them the opportunity to press the RESET button and start all over again, except in this case, if it doesn’t work, you might want to write into Times of India relationships head, weekend edition. On the other hand, love marriages can get boring. As they say, how long can you see the same bitch? From 17 to 70? You at least save 10 years in the former case. But if it does work, you can call it the answer to all the karma you have ever done. We must understand the one bitter fact as suggested by my friend Sneha, girls are pleasure centric. On the other hand, guys are logic centric. A direct consequence is the ratio of the amount of girls who break up with guys and vice versa. To summarize, I quote one of the blogs suggested by hawkeyeview. Marriage, not only brings together just two individuals of different opinions and attitudes, but two lives and choices which are unique and complex, but such mergers and amalgamations have more impact on women than on men. Women find an internal and organizational takeover while men find external and financial takeover. Consequently, change is inevitable, but it is strongly influenced by beliefs, values and priorities. If you are able to relate to the statement completely, then it probably means you are ready to search for your life partner.

 

 

V-Day Syndrome Thursday, Mar 5 2009 

I have not understood why people fantasize the Valentines day? I think all helmets are of the opinion that if they propose to a girl on that very day (Feb 14th – it will remain the same, unless Dr.K feels he must change it to April 14th), the girl would say a ‘yes’.  But I might be hypocritical in this view,  I have always fantasized the V-Day.

Why? Well when I was schooling, it was the very day when these sms’s would start pouring in even without realizing that all the money-minded cellular service providers have levied each sms with a tax of 50p just because of the fact that they feel people will be sending in a lot of “I trulllly maadly loouv u ya”. But in a way the service providers in Chennai did make a marginal profit.

Yes, they were surprised. All these boys and girls started sending pixelated Titanic’s with a message at the end saying, hope you find a date.

Poor helmets like me used to look at the only sms we recieved that day and call our friends (other helmets) to meet up at hot spots like the Ispahani Centre (6 yrs ago, now, no one cares a rat’s ass about it). Girls from MOP Vaishnav College used to flock along the Nungambakkam high road.

One set, would wait in the bus stop, take out their lip gloss and cueetee mirror (all in pink mind you) trying to attract the attention of helmets traveling in buses and share autos. If people do look at them by any chance, well their V Day is deemed to have been successful. They would sms all their friends  (the next day mind you, we girls are Kanjam Pisnari, we keep exactly 1.50 rupees to make missed calls and text msging has always been free of cost) saying a guy asked them out and proposed right in the middle of the road, but they rejected it.

The second set, a notch above the first, would actually go out on a date. No offense, but hell yeah, after their 5 hour coffee at CCD (its the cool way of saying Cafe Coffee Day) they would jump into Paasha (a discotheque) which is right down the road. Oh yeah, did I mention, guys in Chennai are usually the sitting ducks. Be it valentines day or not, the guy has to pay for the girl (unless he tags along with some friend who is a girl at the entrance alone). Stag entries are strictly not allowed. So after the party, the guy drops her back without realizing that he would be seeing her for the last time. It so turns out that be becomes a Helmet the next day. Any kind of evidence that the girl has been out with the guy is removed. She becomes a clean (Brahmin) girl.

The third set, you might have never heard of it. They form the Helmet community among girls. They say,

Two lives, two hearts joined together in friendship, united forever in LOVE.

They call each other as their respective valentine. They form a group. They partaay inside the house till they create MAYHEM (for parents). They take photos which very much look lesbian to the original helmets. They upload it on Orkut. Their Valentines day is made.

This was the kind of life which helmets like me went through 6 years ago. Well we used to have a hearty laugh seeing all this happen live right in front of the extreme gethu hangout, take one picture which would turn out ugly because, well we do look ugly. Our mirrors do tell us that.

Two years later it was different, my first valentines day at NUS.  I made half boiled Pongal. My second year, I made Maggi Goreng with vegetables. My third year, I was busy arguing with Vicky Vichu on why I dint want to dance in Tarang and ate what Charanya had made for dinner (OC). My fourth valentines day, after having coming to NUS was pretty cool in certain aspects. No, there is no Cafe Coffee Day in Singapore. Where Ram Sena did go wrong was that they had plans of stopping V-Day from happening.  This lead to the Loouuvv inside the youths to come out with a message.

The YOUTH speaking to IBNlive:

  1. This incident which has happened in Blore, its a threat to us, but its Valentine Day, thats the day we should enjoy.
  2. I am not scared at all, neither do I think any youngster of my age would be scared of it. Its a tradition. People have celebrating this since years and there will be no change as such, you know with regard to 2009 Valentines Day. It ll be just the same.
  3. We are a democratic country and all this happening here, I dont know what to say. If this is the way they are progressing, I dont know where we head too.

1. (Helmet) “This is the only day I can get to see  as many girls as possible at the same place, being a working day.” (Saturday is a jolly day is a holiday. Well TR was wrong, It is a working day in schools and most colleges, so do not comment on this thinking you are intellectually superior in this sense)

2. (Set 3 Helmet (G))“Whatever happens, all our parties are inside the house. Its a tradition, no one wants to even look at us and it will be the same with regards to 2009 Vday as well. Check out facebook tomorrow for the album, Sexxaaay time at Manjusss yaay!

3. (Set 2 Helmet (G)) “You just asked the wrong person. I have 17 arrear papers to clear and I am more worried about who is going to pay for my drinks tonight and drop me back home. Yaar, I have to tell my mom that I am going for sleepover, now who will agree to this lie? Stupid. Idiot. Naansense.”

What exactly happened in Singapore? All the hype about the Pink Chaddi campaign was  Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V ‘ed in google talk and facebook. Well, being a helmet, I did not know that ordering a bocquet of flowers for a girl in India is the same, whether you do it on the 13th Feb or on Jan 31st :|.  India being India, the florists switched off their mobile numbers and put a note on their website saying, all Items will be delivered but the status would change only after two days.  Obvious question? What did I do next? Nothing I waited from morning till midnight (15 Feb hai) only to recieve a call from her saying she got it. It did happen, well she sounded as if the florist woke her up while she was sleeping. Not even 5 min over the phone, I was starring at myself on the phone screen (End Call). What a self kalaai my V-Day has become.

Wonder how it would have gone for my friends. Thala might have played cricket alone at the SRC Nets. Nagu might have tried hunting for an SEP chick near the DBS Atm in YIH with whom he can talk about how he was born in Chicago and brought up in Adelaide. Bobby might have probably bought a huge pink teddy bear which he can also hug along with his girl friend. Pasu, I have no doubts, he was the one who tore all the V-Day posters across the campus. Ask him he would say he was highly inspired by senior Ghaleej.   USA, well he would have written a poem for his Tamil teacher. LP, might have probably written I love you on his basketball and smooched it. Madhu (cousin) would have probably enjoyed trying new recipies. Which one this time, MozhKozhambu? Rushi, probably was posing to an artist in Little India sketching him on a piece of cardboard. Anoj would have added a random figure on facebook, its not new, but well ..

Life just moves on for randumb people like us.

P.S. I am not a chauvinist.

Religious Fanaticism Tuesday, Feb 10 2009 

Beyond the Obvious- Religion, an Anti-Human force

Love has been an ecumenical symbol spread across by every Religion in the demesne thus remaining. The ethic of reciprocity says, “What thou avoidest suffering thyself seek not to impose on others”. Void, since the meaning of love has reached a stage of ethical/moral bankruptcy. Rather, vendetta is the political source which circles the wagons around the term Religion. The fact that nearly all the charges laid against one religion by followers of another, apply in one way or another to every religion and religious activities is seldom recognized by those who point an accusing finger at practitioners of another religion.

Today, religion is being consciously transformed into an evil narcotic substance that would intoxicate and enslave people and make man hate man. Religious fanaticism, not considering factions within a religion was thus created with the sole purpose of persuasion and elimination of other lithographical beliefs. When Yugoslavia was dismembered, religious faith was rather an entasis ersatz to the concavity among the population which existed. A genocidal war against each other is what prevailed between a Muslim and two Christian communities which had a lot in common.

Kingdom of Hindutva

A more extreme form of fundamentalism is what fanaticism is all about. Hinduism holds that the Brahmins are high born and the others, low born. Hindutva is not a ploy that that was created by the BJP for mere electoral advantage. Religion proved to be a powerful tool in devising Brahminist domination. The few percent of the population comprising the elite Brahmin class were to forever lord themselves over the rest of the society. Hindutva needed the Hindu-Muslim conflict in order to divert the attention of the oppressed people to prevent them from uniting as landless peasants, workers or people deprived of their basic rights.

An attempt to get independence from the British Colonial rule led to the INC under the leadership of M.K Gandhi sought to Hindu-Muslim unity. It was because the roots of Hindutva ran through the Congress establishment that the Congress, especially since the agnostic Nehru, readily yielded to the politics of religion. The need to please the majority in parliamentary politics made such compromises essential.

Once a political party makes a deal with religious or nationalistic fanaticism, the forces of fanaticism begin to dominate. In various parts of India, these forces or activists have wreaked havoc to different degrees in Indian Politics. The list of major acts of violence resulting from caste conflicts, disputes based on language and nationality, and communal violence in the name of religion is long and ever growing.

The Ram Sena

A recent attempt has been made once again to talibanize India. A handful of hooligans, namely the Shri Ram Sena, barged into a bar in Mangalore, all to molest and misbehave with the young women present, and we have the political party trying to score brownie points. Around 20 to 25 activists belonging to Sri Ram Sena organization were responsible for this event, the cause being that the girls were behaving in an obscene manner and going against the Indian culture and tradition.

Rashtriya Hindu Sena president Pramod Muthalik, which is the parent body of Sri Rama Sena, was arrested in Belgaum. The arrest, however, was for an old case of inciting communal disharmony in Davangere (District in Central Karnataka). After having let off on a conditional bail, the self proclaiming, Indianized Obama, feels there is a need for a change in the country. He goes public with his plans of disrupting Valentines day in Bangalore and other cities in Karnataka. Well as you would have realised, its not indian culture. Lest did he realise that people from his own country which includes all the big names in Bollywood and popular actors from the south, including Golden Star Ganesh shot to fame by a debatable word called Love. I guess he felt they earnt enough using the term, probably he thought he deserves a chance and has gone against it. Has he forgotten that Rama and Sita are the protagonists in one of the most famous love stories of all time? Their organisation carries the name of “Rama” in them. How ironic? Dollars to Doughnuts, his grandmom taught him a different version of Ramayana.

I can only imagine if Ram Sena has planned something like an Agni ParikshaFire Exam ) for every Ram’s Sita in the cities of Karanataka. Now you are in for a bad day, if you are caught in the net of Muthalik and his men. At the end of the day, Rama would remain as Sita’s toady even though there have been threats by the Ram Sena, the BARmy Army.

Stumbled! Friday, Sep 19 2008 

FEUDALISM: You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.

PURE SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. You have to take care of all of the cows. The government gives you as much milk as you need.

BUREAUCRATIC SOCIALISM: You have two cows. The government takes them and put them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. They are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and eggs as the regulations say you need.

FASCISM: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them and sells you the milk.

PURE COMMUNISM: You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.

RUSSIAN COMMUNISM: You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk.

CAMBODIAN COMMUNISM: You have two cows. The government takes both of them and shoots you.

DICTATORSHIP: You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you.

PURE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk.

REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY: You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.

BUREAUCRACY: You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. Then it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows.

PURE ANARCHY: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors try to take the cows and kill you.

LIBERTARIAN/ANARCHO-CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.

SURREALISM: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons

Dasavatharam: Movie Review Wednesday, Jul 2 2008 

Preface

I have been wanting to publish this post the day I watched it, 2nd day, night-show in Singapore. I apologize to the people I have been promising that I would post this way before. The reason is that I am still unsure of certain facts in the movie (especially the avatars linked to Vishnu Puranam) and hence I wanted to watch it again which also never happened even though I did purchase a ticket again. It is as if I can see Kamal only when he wants me too see him (pun intended). I have read atleast a thousand blogs about the magnum opus entertainer, I wouldn’t call ‘the proud owner of each of those blogs’ as a schadenfreude, since they fail to realize that they haven’t realized it yet which has been the case for many years now with respect to Kamalji’s movies.

I quote the creator himself,

Unfortunately you will not get to see it or probably you will not realize it.”

I will try my best to explain why this certain parts of the movie are not up to the mark as well. The movie has been talked about ever since it was announced. The film, made with a budget of USD 35 million, was released on June 13, 2008.

Review

The screenplay in this particular Tamil cinema is sublime and the pace at which it is being portrayed is mind blowing. An example, all 10 characters played by Dr.Kamal are shown on screen within the first 20 minutes of the movie. Inane questions on whether Kamal is trying to show off his ego by acting in 10 roles and trying to put another of his grandstand plays in an attempt designed to make a strong impression is a ridiculous critic which has been framed by so called fans of commercial entertainers.

It certainly is not a masterpiece of Dr.Kamalhaasan, though the robustness of the script is freshly brewed for tamil cinema. A major reason why the movie is a big hit than any other Indian movies is because of one man, Asscar Ravi. He is also the reason why people are being made to understand this movie by making changes in the script by roping unwanted characters such as Aandal and Jasmine and packaging this in an unaesthetically commercial way unlike other RajKamal movies which turned out to have hollywood’ian’ scripts yet could not even get back the money which the producers invested. I hope that can fit in as an excuse for the acerbating Asin and mesmerising Mallika. Keeping all this in mind, my opinion is that it takes real talent to pen down a screenplay which fits chaos theory, bio warfare, ten roles and keeping the audience entertained all through the movie by fitting commercial nonsense. If anyone in the Tamil industry can do it, it can only be Kamal. All the roles are very well characterized, none being unfitting or totally out of scope for the movie. The versatility of Kamal can be seen in the ten different roles that he plays.

The story starts with a monologue on chaos theory, moves on to 12th century where Nambi tied to  the Govindaraja statue is thrown into the sea marking the authorita of Shaivites, then to biowarfare in the US. The protagonist, Govind, tries to stop the bad guys from misusing a bio weapon, which was developed as a consequence of the September 11th attack on the twin towers. Due to certain sequences, the chase for the virus reaches Tamilnadu. Each character of kamal appears with a reason helping the story till the end, rather helping the cause for the apocalypse, Govind. The virus is exposed as Fletcher consumes it in the climax and when it looks like the full stop for all life forms, a tsunami strikes destroying the virus and the Vishnu statue is seen lying on the shore.

Why tsunami?

  • 1. To destroy the Vial (Virus). It saves millions by killing thousands (NaCl concept).

Inference: An act of GOD?

  • 2. Drowning the idol of Govindaraja seems to cause a tectonic disturbance, which results in a tsunami after 800 yrs. So, the story ends with the idol coming out of the sea.

Inference: Humans drive the destiny of this world; God is just a figment of the human imagination.

  • 3. None of the above. The last part of the movie can be interpreted like any other commercial entertainer, the bad guys had to die!

If the whole story is thought with the chaos theory in mind, then the screenplay and the happenings will make you appreciate the effort and the talent, which has gone into the movie. Kamal has managed to provide an on-screen narrative which can be easily interpreted on a vedantic or rationalistic basis depending on one’s persuasion.

One of the blogs read,

Seen from a karmic/vedantic perspective, Rangaraja Nambi and Andal can be seen in Govindarajan and Kothai. Lord Govindaraja whose moola-vigraham was involved in their separation in an earlier birth brings them together. Although this interpretation can be discarded for an atheistic one which looks at how apparently random events bring about changes in so many parts of the world. Also, Fletcher trying to make away with the idol and dying of a horrible viral disease seems to imply that he is the reincarnation of ‘Kirumi kanda Chozhan’. Hence his involvement in Govind’s life and his death near Govindaraja Perumal whose moolavarhe threw into the sea! This resonates eerily with Rangaraja Nambi’s warning in the first sequence. Also the scene where an elephant wearing the saiva markings on its forehead flings the Utsava-vigraham of Govindraja Perumal is a beautiful play on the word ‘matham’ and an ironic replay of the 12th century act. Govind’s arrival on the scene is to prevent Perumal from hitting the ground/falling into the wrong hands. It is Kamal’s touch and not silly heroics. Even the punishment meted out to Nambi has a very Christian flavour to it (being hooked and hung). As the film ends we are shown the moola-vigraham of Lord Govindaraja, on whom Govind and Aandal rest their arms before ‘coming together’ in a conscious meaningful sense, which again leads to two interpretations.

When I thought the movie is over and started analyzing it, the last song, Ulaganayagane, where kamal dances in each of his roles is flashed on the screen with credits being displayed on the frame to the right. It looked really pathetic to see Fletcher dancing to that lousy number. Probably it was made compulsory by KS Ravikumar, having a commercial director is like having an extra hand to choke yourself when you have two other hands, one to eat and the other to, you know what. If this had been directed by Kamal, the movie would have ended with the scene where Asin wants Kamal to believe that God exists and Kamal says “Naan kadavul illanu sollala, irundha nala irukum nu solren”.

I started to ponder, how well this story could have been narrated but I couldn’t find an answer. Kamal had a restriction of commercial success to get the producer pump the money for him. If written as a novel, a lot of details can be added to make people understand what he has in his mind. I have to pity Kamal who’s thoughts are beyond what is understandable by our audience. We are kind of people who will praise the movie ‘Matrix’ though we don’t understand them but neglect good Indian cinema. Kamal was brilliant this time to sell his idea with the intelligent director who knows how to give hit movies compromising and convincing Kamal on certain things.

Other than Kamal, Asin has done a good job in her first role during the 12th century. Jayapradha looks voluptuous for her age during the dance number, well she s the KAM(al)-girl in this movie, something like the bond girl concept. M S Bhaskar is excellent as the translator; Mallika is stunning but could have better off as a heroine in a Himesh Reshimiya starrer. I dint like the Japanese girl tamil dialect, quite painful and embarrassing to even sit inside the theare in Singapore. I would rather give the songs composed by the cap man a 2/5.

I read in one of the blogs which reads,

It breaks all barriers of religion – a Hindu giving blood to a Muslim, a Christian trying to save a Hindu family and the humanitarian Govind trying to save great destruction.

I can now imagine why it is also a commercial success among the B&C crowd. Overall the movie was perfect, a good way to earn money for the bigger bait, Marudhanayagam. I am sure even Marmayogi is one of the money making movies, well I kind of guessed when Sriya has been roped for the same project. Another commercial film with a great script, all to gain a 150 Million USD for the big fish.

Critics

Q: Why bother showing a Tsunami sequence if you can’t completely do justice to it – especially when it has been done in films like Deep Impact (10 years ago) – and flood sequences (like Titanic – 11 years ago)! Those films had huge budgets but relatively speaking, so did this film! Many scenes in Titanic were filmed in a tank!?

Ans: By any chance, are you from a different part of the universe which does not know the conversion between the american dollar and indian rupee? Titanic had a budget of 250 million USD, and Dasa has around 150 Crores. For your information, Superman (1978), released 30 years ago had a budget of 165 million USD and Dasavatharam is the costliest Indian cinema released as of date.  All that CG experts have been doing in india is trying to learn how the software used in Matrix works and copy the same stunts and it becomes a moderate hit after 10 years. Why? Ask Brian Jennings, he says they were unprepared. I quote Jennings,

I would say it was difficult but was not impossible. I only wish I had more time. That was the only problem I faced because the studios were slower. The talent is the same but they are not experienced enough to do such effects. So, it all depends on how you use the talent. Most of the visual effects of Dasavathaaram is done by the Indian crew in ten Chennai studios.

The CG in this film is actually one of the best KOLLYWOOD has witnessed and this film will be a benchmark towards getting us excellence in this field. So I would rate it ‘Good’. With so many of Kamal’s avathars in one frame, one will never find the difference between CG and reality. Especially in the hospital scene where we have 4 kamals in one scene, or the Car Chase or the climax fight, well I can just go on and on!!

Q: Make up?

Ans: Make up was very good and could have been better in a few places. I am probably guessing those scenes were shot last as the time in hand was pretty less. But credit has to be given to Kamal because recently I read that each character make up took around 6 hours and he had to fit into the role and change himself. I bow.

Q: Bullet cures Cancer? How?

Ans: I heard lots of people complaining about the illogical bullet removing the cancer, if that’s the only thing one could find fault in a three hour movie – then I think the movie is good in all standards. May be that could have been a slip in the script, could have been better explained if there was a funda behind it. But kamal comes up with an answer that he was inspired from what happened to MGR, a bullet striking MGR’s throat actually made him get a better voice and speak very well. Why not buy that? I would like to ask these pessimists what is a good movie according to their standards? If they think that heavy concepts like chaos theory and bio warfare should be handled only by the Steven Spielbergs of the world, I beg to tell them that only we can  encourage good tamil cinema, charity should begin at home.

Q: No Story? Kamal not upto the mark?

Ans: I’d like to point out a few things in defense of Mr. Kamal Haasan. First of all, I’d like to state that I’m not a ‘stupid’ fan that doesn’t possess any sort of cinematic knowledge. I’m an educated fan of Kamal and I take pride in the fact that I’m the harshest critic of Kamal Haasan, as I expect him to deliver the ‘best’ performance every single time. Hence the enormous hype for the film and inviting Jackie Chan for the audio release, etc. Personally, I think Kamal wouldn’t have enjoyed the idea of having Jackie Chan for the audio release for three reasons.

  • It’s not needed. At least, in Tamilnadu it’s not needed because a film sells for Kamal’s name alone.
  • Jackie Chan was reportedly paid around 5 crores, which is on par with the salary that Kamal got for the entire film. It’s utterly rubbish.
  • The launch of audio CD was delayed only because Jackie Chan was not able to get a visa. Otherwise, they could have released it earlier and released the film earlier, like Kamal expected.

So, right from scratch, Kamal had to cope up with two big heads – KS Ravikumar and Asscar Ravi. In this case, you can’t expect Kamal to do a Mahanadhi, Hey Ram, Guna, or Virumaandi. Moreover, Kamal never publicized this movie as a classy one. At the end of the day, if the film goes on to become a huge box office success, it would justify everything. After all, that’s the output that is expected of a film like this. Not awards. For award winning performances and gripping storyline, we’ll have to wait for another movie which Kamal decides to direct himself.

(Source:AllthingsaboutKamalinfo Blog)

I have still not figured out the avatars linked with the Vishnu Puranam. I hope to watch the movie again soon and update the post.

Education in Singapore – An article for Times of India Thursday, Jun 5 2008 

1. Why did you choose to study in Singapore?

A promethean way of thinking is how I started to look at things from the age of fifteen. Choosing to study in Singapore was also one of my decisions, which was arguably the best option at my fingertips after I completed my 12th grade at the DAV Matric Hr.Sec. School, Chennai.

I was never fascinated about studying in one of the 239 colleges in Tamilnadu (July 2005), work for a year with IT giants and fly to the USA to complete my masters. I just hope it is an obsolete expression regarding education at present. The reason why one should pursue a bachelor’s degree, for e.g., an Electrical Engineering degree or why he should choose a bachelor of sciences in Physics is in oblivion. Being sentient about scoring well in examinations, a political apparat and personal ambitions lead me to fax my mark sheets late to the National University of Singapore. Now when I think about, what was my situation, a quote from the movie Matrix seems apt – “I do not see coincidence in any of the events, I see providence, I see purpose.”

Ergo, I am in Singapore, having successfully completed three years of my B.E. Electrical Engineering at the National University of Singapore and starting my final year in August.

2. What do you think are the major advantages / disadvantages?

A diversified conglomerate cosmopolitan, Singapore is an amalgam of the learning infrastructure existing in both worlds together with a feeling of at-homeness and a strong sense of community.

Being a vignette for education, healthy competition in academics between Chinese, Indians, Malaysians and students from other nationalities, easier student visa rules, better student hostels and several bursaries and scholarship opportunities are some of the major advantages of studying in Singapore. Also, major institutions around the world are to set up campuses or chapters in their South-East Asian mega-polis.

Government-funded institutions make it mandatory for foreign students to stay and work in Singapore for three/six years after graduation, a provision which denies he/she from pursuing a higher degree course in different parts of the world immediately after undergraduate studies even though he might have a degree plus job experience in hand after three/six years. Continuous fee hike, be it tuition fee or hostel fee or travel expenses within Singapore is another major disadvantage for students aspiring to study in Singapore. Recently, there is a hike in food prices too, due to the discontinuation of rice export from India.

I personally feel it is difficult for most of the middle or lower class Indian families to afford the education rates with the increase in Singapore Dollar rates from INR 25 to INR 32 within the span of three years and is increasing further. But, there is always a positive way of looking at things, most of these disadvantages can be made to work completely in your favour, all you need to do is make a choice.

3. How did you pick the university you’re studying in now?

Being in the best helps, it surely did in my case. DAV spoon fed ( pun intended ) its students by providing an opportunity for all to meet with the Admissions officer linked to the National University of Singapore, the place I study in. In a place which is critiqued about possesing the cream of the student population in Chennai (DAV), one would expect students to have stubborn ambitions. Interaction between classmates also lead me to know about other universities one could apply to. Basically getting to know stuff is quite a networking thing.

4. Overall …..?

Choice. The problem is choice. Once I made it I never thought of altering it but I am trying to justify as to why I made it. I hope when the dust settles, more number of students would aspire to study in Singapore!