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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pillayar Theru Kadaisi Veedu: Review

 “There are movies that you’ll forget the moment you step out of the movie hall. There are movies that you’ll forget after two-three hours or two-three days. But there are a few movies that’ll make you forget yourself. Pillayar theru Kadaisi Veedu is one such movie. You’ll leave the cinema hall with a heavy heart and tears in your eyes. Jithan Ramesh has come up with an award winning performance. This movie will be his big ticket to fame.”

Golden words by director Thirumalai Kishore, the new face of Tamil cinema.

And what are you guys searching for? A review? I have promised my mom that I will enforce a blanket ban on profanity and unparliamentary or abusive language.



Monday, June 27, 2011

The 10 “Oh my god” moments

I have always been a big fan of the small things in life. The big things don’t appeal to me: the big things that dad talks to me about. Career, academics, money, settling in life and the like. He often says “Don’t sacrifice the bigger things in life in pursuit of the smaller things”. The smaller things are street cricket, watching a D/N encounter on the day before the exam blah blah. These small things add a lot of colour to one’s life but there are “other” seemingly small things that irritate a person to the hilt. Things that make one go “oh my god, not again”.

1.       You get into a nice comfortable position on the sofa and start watching an epic encounter unfold between two of your favourite teams as your dad joins you and starts a conversation about the “big” things in life.

2.       You go to a marriage ceremony hoping not to run into a specific group of garrulous old ladies and it turns out that they are the first ones that you get to see as soon as you enter the hall. They start talking about how much you have lost weight and looked much healthier the last time they saw you. ( Ennada kanna, ippadi elashta? Hostel la sappadu nalla illaya? Konjam osanthurka polarkey?)

3.       I haven’t personally experienced the following OMG moment (because I’m not old enough just as yet) but I have heard about it from a lot of people. The amazingly vetti, good-for-nothing chatterboxes (mostly a gang of old ladies who keep complaining about a certain Ranganathan who married out of caste) that turn up for every single marriage that happens in town are the culprits again. The moment they spot a guy or girl of “marriageable” age, they waste no time in telling them that “Next nee than (you are up next)” in front of a group of teenagers lazing around with nothing to do.

4.       As the jobless teens burst out laughing and as you twitch and turn in embarrassment, the unforgiving descendants of Satan come up with another killer comment: “Aiyyo, vekkatha paaru (Ah, look at the shy look on his/her face)” The day these loquacious pests learn that it’s an expression of embarrassment and not shyness, the world would come to an end. But I came across this beautiful sms the other day, the perfect counter for all those evil ladies: just repeat the “next nee than” dialogue to them at funerals. That should shut them up once and for all.

5.       You visit a hotel with a bunch of middle-aged relatives. After a sumptuous banquet, you exorbitantly praise the hotel and the cook. The Maama(uncle) sitting right across your table says, “Enna irunthaalum veetu saapadu pola varaathu (nothing can come close to home-made food any day)”.

6.       You travel with your grandfather on a boring afternoon and plug in your earphones to listen to A.R.R’s latest. As you get mesmerised by the lilting music, your lips accidently start muttering the song. Your grandpa suddenly gets up and says “enna irunthaalum MSV, Bhagavathar paatu mathiri varathu (no musician can ever come close to MSV or Bhagavathar)”

7.       You go to a movie with your girl-friend and specifically ask for the corner seat at the counter. Just for the sake of re-assurance, you get it clarified with the guy at the counter three or four times. The saintly person on the other end gives you a warm smile and the tickets. As you enter the theatre, you find the allotted seats to be right at the centre of the hall, with a group of college boys hooting and whistling around the allotted seats.

8.       You head to Sathyam cinemas to watch your favourite movie on the first day after telling your parents that you want to get some doubts in heat and mass transfer clarified from your friend, only to find your uncle at the theatre. He coolly calls up your dad and tells him “Hey guess what, I’m watching my favourite film with your son.”

9.       You prepare for your exams according to the blueprint prescribed by your teacher and wisely omit a certain portion owing to lack of time. The sly guy comes up with a question paper with majority of the marks allotted to the portion that you omitted.

10.   You sing praises of the almighty for finding yourself opposite to a lovely lass in a reserved compartment. Just as you start Peter uttufying and kadala pottufying, a long lost friend turns up from nowhere and asks for a seat exchange with the girl.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

180: An ode to randomness

Take a bowl, fill it with wheat flour, add some water and make a paste out of it. Then add a handful of sugar to it. Then take some chilli powder and spice it up. Now add a teaspoon of salt and top it up with finely cut bitter gourd. Now transfer this to your mixer and grind it well. Finally add some tomato sauce, mix well and taste it. How would it taste? Bad and RANDOM? That’s precisely the kind of taste 180 leaves in your mouth after you’re done tasting one half of it.

The first half is an assimilation of half-baked, beautifully captured scenes carrying well-defined characters speaking horribly childish dialogues. The movie’s got some beautiful music by debutant Sharreth, agreed: but does the director have to slip into romantic melody mode every now and then to keep reminding us of the composer’s prowess? Yes, the crew has been gifted with a brilliant cameraman but does the director have to resort to ultra slow mo gimmicks every seventh second to remind us about the overabundance of latest gizmos and gadgets in his camp, especially after the overkill in the IPL? The scene where Nithya Menen goes about clicking pics of the newspaper kids is the height of gimmickry! Priya Anand is hot and a hot heroine is a rare commodity these days. Why didn’t they capitalize on it, especially with so many songs in the movie? Instead we see her crying throughout the movie, the lesser said about her acting the better: what a disgrace!
What was Nithya Menen doing in the movie? Siddarth himself was a big disappointment: the usual flamboyance and the opulence of on-screen energy was definitely missing. His acting too, was surprisingly below par. The movie had a decent storyline going for it but it’s the atrocious screenplay that ruined it.

I loved certain small things about the movie though (spoilers alert): the girl proposing for a change. I am tired of watching men propose. Secondly, Sid’s symbolic re-birth in Varanasi. But one major thing about the movie kept bugging me: fear of death is constant and independent of geographical location. The American Yamadharmaraja (funny fellow, unintended humour) stops haunting Sid as soon as he shifts base to India. Initially, Sid is shown as a person completely flabbergasted, thanks to the medical reports that predict a premature death. There is no emotional angle to it at first; his wife doesn’t come into the frame. It’s just an image of a man unhappy with the supposedly unfair end awaiting him that we get to see: which implies that his premonitions regarding death shouldn’t cease to occur even if he moves to another location because it’s an inner devil that’s haunting him. The inner devil functions independently, with third-party emotions, people and place of existence having no-bearing on it whatsoever. But Sid becomes a different beast once he shifts to India: the happy-go-lucky, live for the moment person with no emotional hindrances, with absolutely no memories about the love of his life.

The purpose of Nithya Menen’s character was bamboozling and if the director intended to make us feel sad for the character at the end of it all, sorry boss: big failure. And I wonder if the box-office result is going to be any different!

Friday, June 24, 2011


My city Chennai rawks. You know why? Because we founded 2 important languages other than tamil: they are Tanglish which is tamil and engleesh kalanthufied and one more is madras basha, which is called that even though we’re Chennai(super kings). We often kalanthufy both to kalaichify those Peter anculs who always gaandethify us.

We also want to ushaar white gals like aadukalam Dhanush and ishtukunu run with her. We also want to ushaar getthu figures like his maamu baasha rajini who speed ah auto drives and corrects nagma. You don know maamu? Kamal telling in vasoolraja, u not see: raja calling raju, maamanar calling maamu. You kamal don’t know, then you’re dubakoor maamu.

 But these mokka peters come, speaking englees, vittufy gapsa, ushaar figures, do gujjals, gaja gaja and then kazhundufy. We are not like they. We are degent pellows, we don’t dabaichify and valchikinu run away without parent’s permit and license.
We rare drink quarter, penathify and pethify to them and finally become tight and matta. Why? To make them peel our peelings. they’re odachifying our idhayams, for them nogala? What they seeing in peter not in me? he is thairsatham, his face same to same as maida maavu. If i become gaandu i’ll take steel palupu and adichi moonji keenjilam keechiruven. Or acid take and throw on his mogarakatta. But why i not doing? Because me degent and serious love my figure.

If she want i coming talking to her naina, my maamu. I asked her ready-aa, ok-vaa? But she no. Semma bejaar pa that figure. Ok i not beetiful, no thuddu, live in gudsae she can ajjust no? So many things ajjusting in lype no?  my love serious annathey. See my hand. blade aala keeshtaen and write her name. She see and mersalaidichu, light-ah gaandaichu.

Yechusme i karichi kotting my peelings and you why no reaksen? I telling rightu no? You understand why she not understand? In cinema, getthu figure like tirisa and all kalyanam kattufying vijay no? She not see cinema i thinking, my petta pasanga also same thinking. In next janmam, i want to be born peteru ba, i’ll pray my kulasaamy. I will be mokka, poota case and drink milk, no quarter. But matter what means i getting my figure.

Seri wait kaindukaatha, i will stop mokka. why putting sceenu, you that big appatucker become ah? Seri machi lateaachu, oru quarter soltu appeat aavu. Taa taa..

Friday, June 17, 2011

BALA DISAPPOINTS! ( an open letter to my idol)

Dear Bala,

Why Bala, why? Why did you make this film? What were you thinking? What were your motives? Every time I witnessed those words “a film by Bala” on screen before today at the end of every movie of yours, I used to be immersed in a sea of sadness and contemplation. But today as I walked out of Rakki cinemas, like I did two years before (spellbound after watching the first show of your Naan Kadavul on the first day), all I could sense was an air of disappointment surrounding me! When all those Mani Ratnam and Gautam Menon fans used to intimidate me and try to convert me to their religion, I used to stand there with all the pride in the world, defending my idol, my hero. But today, here I am, battered and bruised, hapless and helpless. Simply because, the one thing that has been a consistent ingredient in your arsenal was found missing: the storyline!

I still have to give you credit for leaving us petrified and tongue-tied in the last half an hour. I still have to give you credit for taking us back into your dark dens of depression. I still can’t write you off because you can make us gape at the screen in surprise and pleasure as you introduce your hero in the most bizarre way. But I can’t tolerate my favourite director making his protagonist ask his love, “un pant la zip irukka illaya? Zip irukka, appo Ethukku?” I can’t stand a pointless first half which lazes around with not an iota of relevance to the main story, though a normal director can get away citing entertainment value as the reason for providing meaningless comic relief. I can’t stand an array of mostly crass jokes besieging me, though a considerable part of the cinema hall was laughing it out. I must admit that there were a few funny exchanges and rib-ticklers here and there, but I’d definitely and most obviously expect more than inconsistent humour from a man of your stature.

Does this film need romantic interludes? Did the story warrant a guest appearance from a big star? Does “THE” Bala sir need to employ a gimmicky scene to bring out the acting prowess in an actor even though Vishal and Yuvan exploited the opportunity to the hilt? How barefaced can it get? Why did you have to wait for a sizeable 100 minutes before you started narrating your story? Why do you have to look at alternate avenues when you can keep us greedy and asking for more everytime you belt out a movie very much in your comfort zone? Why do you have to deliberately attempt a forced brand of humour when you can effectively intersperse comedy in your mainstream narration. When all the characters who were assumed to be comedians and sidekicks exhibited astounding dimensions and impacted the storyline in a subtle yet substantial way in your earlier ventures, why the indifference and unfair bias in your latest avatar? Why did you have to get the best out of Na.Muthukumar only to leave him high and dry without visual support?

Many people may still find your latest venture appealing, thanks to inspiring performances from Arya and Vishal(surprise, surprise: another actor is born out of the Bala camp.terrfic effort) whose fans may find this a treat. But you have let one of your biggest fans down. I have already started anticipating your next movie because I know you’re only going to come back stronger. I know the wait is going to be a long, as it has always been but I know you’d treat us to a refreshingly vivid spring once the drought is over.
Yours truly,

A Bala fanatic (forever)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Qutub Minar: A few clicks and observations

I recently visited the national capital Delhi. Just like any other tourist, i visited the Qutub Minar . I made some interesting observations. I also made a few comparisons to the other monuments I had visited during my childhood. I discovered a few things, clicked a few pictures and returned home a happy man, my heart filled with nostalgic thoughts and memories. The monument and the structures around it are an ode to the slave dynasty: Qutubuddin Aibak, its first ruler, constructed the Qutub Minar. The enclosure also contains Iltutmish's tomb, the iron pillar which has remained corrosion free for the last few centuries and tombs of Iltutmish and Alauddin Khilji, other rulers of the same dynasty.
P.S: I'm not an expert on architecture. Just an inquisitive traveller who loves comparisons and constructs his own beliefs based on personal observations.

The big one: the full view.

Typical Muslim architecture: Urdu all over the place, beautifully textured walls and wonderfully improvised use of basic geometric figures to create splendid boundaries.

What can  I say? Dumbfounded, Spell-bound! Absolute beauty! Classy: Delicious texture.


One very interesting discovery was the pillar design. In Hindu temples, all the pillars have a very uniform design i.e all pillars look the same, at least the ones in the same corridor. but this was quite startling. Every pillar in this photo has a distinct design.

This one was a little queer. The Muslims are not known to be idol worshippers but this one reminded me of the usual stone carvings one is likely to find on the walls of any Hindu temple. The arch like enclosure and a deity inside the same is a very common sight in a Hindu temple. this may still be something else ( I'm no expert on architecture) but I have never come across Muslim architecture that depicts idols and human-like figures. They're known for their extensive use of basic geometry to create intricate designs and the omnipresence of Urdu inscriptions.  This one was quite a surprise.

This inscription, brought back memories of something I had read about the ASI in pertinence to the Muslims and the ASI's attitude towards the Muslims after partition. All muslims, regardless of their class or position were subjected to severe scrutiny by the ASI as every Muslim in India was thought to be a Pakistani agent. Hence every Pakistani was asked for details about his family and was told to bring back relatives residing in Pakistan to India. Sardar Vallabhai Patel was supposedly a key element in this movement. The Muslims in India, who were already feeling insecure, were made to feel even more insecure, thanks to such activities by the government.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Azhagarsamiyin Guthirai: Whiff of fresh air

There is one big problem with all these filmmakers who set out to make movies with a plot bearing any minor pertinence to social issues of any kind: they can be exceedingly loud in terms of presentation. So much so that, the plot takes a backseat after a point and the director’s urge to communicate his opinion leads to alliteration-laden lengthy monologues. This problem has ruined many regional films that could have been quite a few notches higher on the quality ladder had the treatment been spruced up with a little more innovation.
One such movie was “Katrathu Tamizh”. The debutant director had a very innovative and relevant theme that translated into a loquacious narrative complete with value education lectures towards the end. In an effort to pictorially present an alternate take on the economic reforms that shook India in 1992, the director gifted us a half hour lecture on globalization. Though the theme appealed to me, I personally felt that the director tried too hard to make a different flick: one that tried to be different for the heck of it!  I personally feel cinema being the visual media that it is, messages are best conveyed and appreciated through pictures. Dialogues play a very vital role but being a little stingy and conservative on that count can only enhance the charm. I’d prefer a graphic representation, visual depiction to a lengthy lecture any day.
That’s exactly why Azhagarsamiyin Guthirai is a gem. It’s a light hearted take on the various superstitions and the social evils that plague remote villages in Tamil Nadu. The problems due to these unscientific practices are part of the storyline i.e. they don’t appear as sidetracks thus making multi-Para monologues unnecessary. Yes, the movie features controversial issues like inter-caste marriages, satirical digs on meaningless rituals, fortune-telling and black magic, superstitions and the like. But at no point does the audience or the director feel the need to tag along a scene in which the protagonist transforms the village with his oratory skills. On the contrary, one of the central characters in the movie, an iconoclast in love with a female of another caste, is shown to be a person who openly sneers at tradition but doesn’t feel the need advocate his views to change the world around him simply because he doesn’t see a point and lacks the belief that things are going to change. He prefers to whisper wisecracks to his friends who echo his thoughts or mouth a one-liner to a police inspector who appears to be bewildered by the omnipresence of ignorance around him. These verbal tickles and the smile that they bring on your lips are definitely more effective than those verbosely sermons.
Satire is another interesting feature in ASK. Be it the director projecting his hilarious intent through the scenes mocking at fortune-tellers, the villagers performing shockingly funny rituals and investing in thoroughly unscientific beliefs in the name of god as the iconoclasts have fun watching them or the sarpanch and his sidekicks getting embarrassed in the process of hunting for funds, the sarcasm is of the highest order. The dialogues are crisp and explosive. Sample this: “dai ithu saami guthirai. ithu un guthirai than nu sollarthukku unkitta enna Saatchi iruku?”
“ithu saami guthira than nu solrathukku unga kitta enna Saatchi irukku?”
The best part about ASK is that it’s not preachy. Total abstinence from fanaticism is an astounding feature: nobody is deemed perfect; at no point does the director point fingers at a person and tell us that this is how you got to lead your life. He examines the beauty of various characters, marvels at the splendour of diversity and depicts the pleasurable chaos that reigns as a result. The movie seems to be glorifying pragmatism and rationalism at certain junctures, the group of suspecting, sceptical youth start becoming a little larger-than-life and heroic: but just when you start feeling that way, the director comes up with a comical scene in which a kiddo makes a fool of these ostensibly smart men, indicating that no one or nothing is foolproof.
Another interesting aspect that’s been highlighted is the plight of rationalists in the society. Just because they speak against the conventional motion, they’re dubbed as real life villains. (I know people who hate Kamal Haasan and Karunanidhi because they are atheists!) Rationalists rarely care about the indifference they are subjected to, but this movie makes a conscious effort to underline the fact that people with alternate ideologies can be humanitarians too. Though I have come across many militant atheists who speak passionately about atheism and are fanatic about it and make it a religion like cliché in the process, I also know of people who are open to arguments and know to respect an alternate faith at the same time as long as it’s not imposed on them. The climax is a beautiful exhibition, an honour crowned upon the people of the second kind.
But the most enjoyable character in the movie was definitely appukutty dude! I find him cute in his own way and he’s a pretty good actor too: I loved his introduction scene where he runs at the sight of his horse as Ilayaraja gives us goosebumps with his background score. The tinge of innocence and a conscious effort to not hurt others in spite of overt love for his horse has been gracefully portrayed. The emotions in the scenes involving appukutty have worked wonderfully.
Ilayaraja is a different beast in this movie: we see a contemporary version of the maestro. The lengthy orchestrations are replaced by brief strumming and strategically placed fill-ins though he does dig out scenes to exhibit his traditional genius. The songs are a little below par but they are a treat when you watch it on-screen with a little visual help. The cheeky interludes still evoke that occasional smile on your lips.
To sum it up, the film’s a breezy piece of visual poetry that’s sure to invigorate you!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Aaranya Kaandam review: Weird yet striking!

Aaranya kandam is a very tough movie to rate, review or define. The movie is weird and the treatment is “Tarantino”ish. The splash of yellow with the occasional sprinkle of red or black aptly characterizes the movie throughout and effectively amplifies the impact. Two things set Aaranya kandam apart: the movie scores a big zero as far as the entertainment quotient is concerned. The movie doesn’t have songs, leave alone item numbers: something I personally found refreshing but I’m not sure if everyone’s going to like it that way.
 Secondly, the director takes his own sweet time to sketch his characters and elucidate their demeanours and their ideals. The elaborate detailing adds to the final impact but if you are one of those guys who wants to go to the movie hall, sit back and have some fun, the movie is going to be a little rough on you: the experience is a challenge and calls for unbridled attention. Certain essential scenes can be dead boring but if the viewer doesn’t twitch and turn and stays focussed, he will find the director to magnanimous in terms of deliverance of cinematic ecstasy.
The movie flies high on the back of some terrific on-screen renditions from unexpected quarters, haunting BGM and sound effects, fireworks in the form of hilarious dialogues and a screenplay that’s reminiscent and fascinating as dark poetry. The intertwining of the dialogues and the screenplay, the process of the two getting together and making love on-screen as the story is unravelled is one significant feature that makes the film-lover in you jump in joy. The wise-cracks and the one-liners glitter with belligerence, sample these: “anney, yaar kooda ney pesiturnthinga? Anniyaa?” “illa, un *unni”
dai unga appa va naan kapatharaen da, yaen naa unga appava kadathinavanga thaan yaen pondatti ah yum kadathirkaanga”
“katna pondattiya vey ozhunga vachchikka thuppu illa, ithula nee enga appava kaapathaporiyaa?”
The BGM is another aspect that elevates the experience: the theme music that plays at various junctures when the emotions run high, the radio that keeps playing in the backdrop (ilayaraja’s best as usual: it’s becoming a trend to play his stuff in all movies) and the sound effects spice up proceedings wonderfully. The casting is kickass: Jackie Shroff as the menacing, repulsive bad ass, Vijay as the satirical thug, the smart kid who mouths memorable dialogues, his good-for-nothing dad, Sampath as the roughie with a heart, Ravikrishna as sappa, the girl who plays Jackie’s concubine and all the others who play small-yet-significant roles (gajendran and gajapathy, the fortune-teller etc.) have seemingly had a field day donning their respective vivid hats. I was particularly impressed with the lone female in the movie.
But the biggest winner at the end of it all is the storyline: what a beauty! The setting, the build-up, the evolution of characters and the climax: every single aspect is brought out poetically with detailing at its graceful best! The basic theme itself is refreshing, the director intelligently not refraining to proverbial endings. It’s a beautiful take on mankind: it takes guts to point out that everything is secondary to desires and that survival is mankind’s most basic instinct. There’s nothing right or wrong about any deed or activity and it all comes down to perception.  It’s a gangster flick that doesn’t feature fat goons exploding at 140 decibels, a story in which the baddies don’t thirunthify towards the end. More than everything else, it re-defines “different”. It’s a lesson for all those film-makers who claim to have made different cinema after burdening their works with cliches. Ambition reaches dizzy heights, thanks to Thyagarajan Kumararaja and S.P.charan! It’s time for you to honour them by watching it at the nearest theatre.   

Monday, June 6, 2011


Trains have been and will always be an integral part of my life. I wonder what life without trains would have been for me. My dad’s job is of transferable nature, so mom and I have had to travel a lot to meet my dad. Then came the time for me to join a school. I live in a village, so I had to travel about 17 kilometers per day to reach my school< a good school used to be a rarity back then>then I shifted base to the city to study in another school, so I had to travel back by train to enjoy my weekends at my hometown. I’m in the final year of college now and trains have been my tickets to freedom over the past three years. When it comes to freaking out with friends in the city or travelling to destinations across the city, I have not had the misfortune of looking beyond the eternal love of my life. I also embark on trips to various places of interest across the Indian Diaspora every year and the train journeys have made these extra special.

There is something magical about trains. The rhythmic and harmonious sound that’s churned out as a result of the propulsion is music to my ears. The quantum of activity that one gets to witness in a train is unbelievable. The cry babies, the garrulous old men, the irritating girls ceaselessly talking about lipsticks and make-up, the maamas and maamis discussing family problems, the loud businessmen shouting at employees over their phones, the taciturn dude enjoying the evening breeze and music on his I-pod, brainy middle-agers discussing business, politics and cinema, the locallu boys smoking beside the door and discussing something in hushed voices, female vendors spitting paan in between the pointing finger and the middle finger: well a train is definitely not short of characters.

The moment I step inside a train, I make it a point to get myself a seat and observe these characters (any other discerning observer mistakes me to be the taciturn dude type). After I am done with the fun, I get into the groove for some action. I mostly end up joining the brainy uncles discussing economics (banks, fiscal policies, economic reforms, recession etc.), a subject that’ll never cease to fascinate me. I put my hand up for the occasional dumb doubt or giggle at a pun-filled remark. I don’t listen to music when I’m travelling because I’d miss out on fun; I make an exception to the general rule when I travel with my family though.

The aforementioned characters are usually encountered in electric trains in Chennai or when travelling by a reserved compartment in an express train. It’s a different story altogether when I travel by a general unreserved compartment. I prefer travelling by an unreserved compartment any day and I’ve been doing it quite regularly. My friends keep interrogating me about it. Well one main reason is that it’s cheap. And I love the air of unexpectedness that surrounds an unplanned trip. That fizz motivates me! One doesn’t get to see such a variety of characters in a general compartment. In fact, there are only two kinds: the innocent, stupefied person, a common man in the real sense, not the common men the media goes gaga about: his eye sports the glint, the twinkle that you would notice in the eye of a 10-year old when you take him to a planetarium. Not a hint of self-consciousness is noticeable. Next, there is the arrogant transgressor who thinks smoking or drinking in public is cool; a brash youth with coloured hair that doesn’t suit him one bit: the type of guy who plays a petty thief in movies.

I love talking to strangers because it’s a way of making friends and I’d like to slap people who condemn conversations with strangers: every friend of yours was once a stranger idiot! Try striking a conversation with the first kind: its bliss of the highest order. They don’t understand recession, they care a damn about the political scenario, they don’t have to worry about corruption and its consequences, and they mistake you to be abusing them if you mention Anna Hazare or Baba Ramdev. But I have to admit that these people are generally conscious about their religion and caste. They are in love with their place of origin and their surroundings. Love for nature is instinctive. They can give you INTERESTING ten hour lectures (that sets them apart from our lecturers in college) about their kovil thiruvizhas (temple gatherings), oor sandhais(er, temporary malls in villages, not multi-storeyed though  ), riots, relatives, marriages, food and children. They also come up with the occasional wisecrack about cities, culture and this generation. Trust me, these conversations are much more interesting than the “student politics, I’m gonna change the world” discussions. And when it’s time for you to get down, they paint their words with emotion, genuine ones at that!

I usually resort to sleeping when in a reserved compartment during night trips, unless it’s a youngster on the other side, preferably girls. The topic of discussion I’d prefer when I embark on a night time journey with girls is obvious, so I don’t have to fuss about it. With guys, its different, I usually let the other person dictate the course of the conversation; I make it a point to be a good listener and get to know about things I don’t know. Gossip stories in other colleges make for interesting listening as well and it’s preferable to hear it from a girl’s mouth. Girls are good at spicing things up: in kitchens and otherwise.

I recently made my first proper long distance trip in an AC compartment. I hated every bit of it till I got a seat alongside an old fellow on his way to some meeting in Kerala. Apparently, he hasn’t had much education but **maaley! He spoke about everything that makes up the complex cycle of life! By mistake, obviously ignorant about the sea of questions that were to besiege me, I told him that I was pursuing mechanical engineering. And that was it! I am ashamed of the fact that I’m going to be in possession of a degree in a year’s time!

The writer of this post is also in awe of the MRTS in Chennai and the metro in Delhi. The speed, the grand structures and the network: they’ll never cease to amaze me. He is also eagerly awaiting the arrival of Chennai metro (there is a possibility of monorail making its debut too). But there’s one disturbing thought amidst the ocean of fond memories. I don’t mind the railways treating the AC compartment commuters to spicy food, newspapers, magazines and other privileges. Excusable discrimination. But I think the commuter in the general compartment deserves better sanitation facilities. A parryware toilet in the ac compartments and rusted mugs and soiled toilets for others is definitely unacceptable!

Sunday, June 5, 2011


1st “Power” play: Baba threatens the UPA by expressing his desire to go on a hunger strike against corruption. Expects a capacity crowd of ten million people!

Strategic time out1: UPA high command gets into a huddle and UPA’s man for all seasons, their own version of Subramaniam Badrinath, Kapil Sibal is sent in to silence the storm.

Middle overs: Team Orange’s domination is evident but home team UPA manages to strike a few important blows. Uses decision review to protect a few of its important players like the PM!

“Citi” moment of success: There is no stopping the Baba! He storms out of the conference hall, raises his hand in triumph as an imaginary crowd goes berserk in front of him. The fast will go on as scheduled!

“Karbonn” Kamaal catch: RSS and BJP cheerleaders clad in orange are found waiting outside. They lure the Baba with their orange jerseys and a few black suitcases. CNN-IBN reports a 140 decibel roar heard from inside the Shiv Sena’s office. One sainik tells reporters that they have caught the big fish! Bewildered by the statement’s contradiction to the RSS’s pro-vegetarian stance, the reporter walks back!

Innings break: Singh Digvijaya, AICC’s glamorous host gets candid with the Baba. Baba talks about his modern thoughts and chronologically relevant ideologies like imposing a ban on coffee, tea and cola, directing homosexuals to asylums, ban on 500 and 1000 rupee notes etc. He stresses on the importance of bringing back black money stashed in tax havens. At this juncture, he gets a beep from the “left” hand side of the playground, a certain “Karat” who’s got nothing to do with gold jewellery, elucidating details about his “peace” island in Scotland. Baba puts his phone on silent and replies with a “ ttyl :x “!

2nd “power” play: Sadhvi Rithambhara, a renowned secularist according to the people on the right hand side who has made innumerable anti-Muslim speeches and was an integral part of a movement of supreme national importance (read babri masjid demolition), joins the bandwagon thus making it a perfectly non-communal movement! Home team launches a counter-attack: police forces swoop down on Ramdev and co.

Strategic time out: Baba sneaks out by wearing a salwar.

Off-field gossip: actor Vadivelu spotted in the crowd. Wait, he’s on the big screen too! Vijaykant’s number engaged!

Middle overs: Rebuilding phase for the Baba! Meanwhile a m(o)ody(i) guy from Gujarat refers to police action as an act of barbarism and ravanlila at ramlila!

Slog overs: Baba dares the police to arrest him. The orange gang arrives in huge numbers to condemn the barbaric act!

Result: it’s a tie!! Bring on the super over. Ramdev suggests a venue change: Haridwar!

Elsewhere in Chennai, a boy named Soupy: Machaan, if the communists and the BJP get together during the next elections, they’ll have two things in common with the gayle-dilshan combo. What?

Me: don’t know.

Soupy: both of them are potentially explosive and they’re a left-right combination too!