Thursday, November 29, 2007


This is one post that has been languishing in the drafts for a looong time. Something that hit me in the face back home, Something that left a feeling of utter helplessness..Feelings that had, in hindsight, touched a raw nerve. A sore that I mistakenly felt had healed in the rush to make a life.

Ever since the travel bug hit me, the day I first grabbed that pricely copy of outlook traveller at the Aluva railway station, "travel" has been the operative word in my life. Travels that have created some wonderful memories, Nature in all its splendour, People vibrant. Faces that made sparkling conversation. Faces that had wizened from years of toil, toil that was possibly the only story of their lives.

It was the sight of one such old lady, on a desolate railway platform, that caused my thinking to go haywire. A hunched, greyed bag of bones who wouldn't have merited a second glance on a quicker day. Not a beggar, yet. With nothing much else to do, out of equal measures of curiosity, revulsion and sympathy, I stared at her a few times. And sensing a chink in my armour, she approached me - arms stretched. I tossed a coin reluctantly. She did not go away. Arms still stretched, emotionless, blank face.I tossed in a currency note and she quickly left. I felt as though I had been taken for a ride. Why in the world would anyone in their right mind, give alms to anyone? Let alone to a lady who was borderline between a beggar and a cheat. I felt bad.

I boarded the train later and after sometime was ruminating on this again. But from an entirely different perspective. Something that came on after observing an apparently happy elderly family in the same coach.

I began wondering. Did she have a family? Of course yes. Where were they then? How must her life with the family have been? What would have prompted her children to abandon her? Was it that her family was so poor, that one less mouth to feed, made a whole lot of difference to them? These were questions that began to pop up regularly every time I saw someone who looked destitute.

What I saw shook me up. India, where we pride ourselves on our family values, seems to be filled with people like her. And I am not even considering the people who were born poor, or as the government likes to call "under the poverty line". The old waiter at the Sangeetha in Adyar, who has to bear the blunt of high-flying IT "professionals" and still manage to smile. No tip anyways. The security guard at many of the apartments, making do with a single pair of uniforms. Spending sleepless nights guarding the Indian upper middle class, which cares only about development and India shining.

Soon it became apparent that it was not just the poor elderly who suffered. As India moves from its villages to towns and cities, it leaves behind an India that has been sucked dry by the current generation. Working mostly as clerks for the whole of their lives, people who squirreled away whatever savings they had to the family. Now well off, with money sent in regularly, long distance telephone calls and for the lucky few, a video conference on yahoo. But yet I am sure most of them have quite a few regrets. Maybe that movie they missed. A festival that came and went without the least bit of self-indulgence. That pair of glasses which needed to be changed. The wrist watch that needed to be changed, not repaired.

I do agree everyone needs to venture out to seek their lives. But then are we so busy making a living that we can't manage to find that odd day or two for the elderly in our lives? Better still make a life that involves them more than the annual visits? Not even stopping to wait for the old lady to cross the road? I really don't know. It really feels as though an old unwritten cycle of life is being broken today. Take a visit to an old age home to realise what I am talking about. For people in Chennai, Vishranthi on the ECR is an old age home that is doing a decent job. Look it up sometime. There are a lot more who can use all the help they can get.

And why this post, a whole 3 months after I left India? Well, what I see here looks like a natural extension for India in the next 50 years. Elderly, who are fierecely independent. Going about their routine. But still look as though they are on a long wait. A wait for someone ...... something rather?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mango mood again

Somethings jump up from the store shelves and bring some great memories...On one such routine visit to the Desi grocery store, hidden away was this packet of 50 pieces of absolute bliss - MangoBite..mmmmmm

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Go See it...

This is one for everyone - the cynic, the eternal believer, the sceptic, the wagabond, the achiever, the slacker..GO SEE IT theatres preferably

Saturday, September 29, 2007


I have been fantasizing a lot lately (not that kind you dirty mind). These are fantasies that too much of TV(think JD think scrubs) , movies (think matrix , think vadivelu) and Calvin and hobbes (the only ones)... can do to a mind that has too much time on its hands..

Work has been lean, I am not complaining, not yet...was pretty much the same in India. It is just that, here, people work and thats pretty much it....Imagine this for fun at work...a huge hall with cubicles spread out as far as the eye can see, people trotting in at 9.00 and leaving at 4.00, dead silence broken by the occasional phone ring...Yeah people , think matrix.And the fact that Keanu Reaves is as good looking as me, helps me ease into his shoes a lot more easily. Only difference was that Neo tries to hide/crouch and evade talk on the phone..

In my case i crouch/cover over my laptop, always adjusting the screen to achieve that perfect angle that makes it black for everyone else but then doesnt glare my eyes.....all for those elusive few minutes on Gtalk...ears straining for footsteps on my end of the carpeted floor, looking for a reflection on the glass partition..they are out to get me I tell you.

On those rare days when I have to work all morning, I end up doing pranayama to balance my senses - sit absolutely still and slowly relax my breathing, with my eyes closed of course. These are days when i can hear the air rushing in through my nose, bristling my nostrils, through the nasal passage, the esophagus , the alveoli and beyond....This intense level of concentration sometimes cause the mind to drift, the pupils to dilate - a state sanyasis call -paramanandham. Lesser mortals sometimes belittle it by calling it sleep.

Hectic work days like these, coupled with the gastronomic delights that set in an hour after large portions of fries go in for lunch.... mean that I am forced to do some serious introspection in the afternoons...It was during one of those sessions when i sat staring at the mirror at the other end of the longish room,breaking the silence with a distinctly undistinguishable whistle that realisation dawned .... Split personalities...think spaceman spiff, think JD....

As I sat about dissectin the different layers of my personalities, I found out how much TV had influenced an innocent mind like mine....a bit of Ed from stuckey ville, JD from scrubs, of course clint eastwood and vadivelu....part calvin.. futher brain racking and i realised this is something that everyone must be having..That is perhaps the most feasible theory that can explain anyone's random actions, words and thoughts. As for me, all that i have to do is find a name that fits my alter ego..for now the supreme being....But rest assured, you will definitely find him making more frequent appearances here..

For those disbelievers and sceptics, who would rebuff my story above by pointing out the fact that I am not yet fired, my final retort is this. When you become one with the supreme being, coding gets done automatically. The rest will be taken care of by QA.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Writer's block

Of late, life has been very restless. I have been testing my limits for non-stop travelling. Hate to admit it, but however much i would like to consider myself an itinerant traveller, always ready for the rough and the tumble of the road, the truth couldnt be far from it. True that I have been covering distances here, distances that back in India would qualify me to be right there among the top 1% of the "Thendis". But the truth is I couldnt have been farther away from the "Rough and tumble" of the road.

I have been keeping count, 6 weekends since I landed here, and the last 5 of those were on the road, with plans for the foreseaable future as well . But all the 5, were boring journeys, Boring being the understatement. It is not that the destinations were boring, I had a gala time, with friends and family alike. But this throws the proven slogan that people like me hold so dear "It is the journey that matters, not the destination". It was like somebody took a piece of paper, wrote the slogan down and ran it right through the shredder. SIGH.

Compared to the rickety KSRTC buses, toyota corollas, Indicabs, and the ever lovable but tiring indian railways, the rides have been luxurious. Wonderfully plush buses, quick hopper flights, chrysler 300 a hyundai tiburon and of course the corolla as well. These coupled with the boringly smooth roads and interstates should have ensured a journey in absolute comfort. Sadly, though that was the case my already softening "software" demeanour found the going a little tough. At the end of each trip, the lethargy that sets in is incredible. And now I am stuck.

This has been the case with me for the past few days. I have been observing all the goings on in the world in the US - with my ever "Sharp" and "observant" eyes. Thinking up lines that will make the post readable. I come home, the hotel rather and then quickly key down a few lines and the inevitable happens - Writer's block.

I always thought that writer's block, was a state of mind that was widely publicised to display the true intellectual or the pseudo that you are. So in a way that makes me proud. I am in hallowed company - Hemingway, Shakespeare and others. The prospective articles have been languishing in my drafts folder for long - an insightful article on the american dream, an unbiased critique of the new york times, Inside the cubicle - claustrophobic , A tale of 3 cities and many many more. Articles that in due course will get the 2 comments (excluding mine) that they deserve. But right now are crippled by lack of creative inputs.

Well, I quit, I can't go on any longer... This post was a desperate attempt to get myself going again..a swift kick in the balls sort of..A compilation of the best hyperbole, euphemisms and shameless self promotion. Inspired by none other than Sachin, Ganguly and the gang. People who never say die. Despite their poor form never giving up their spots. Coming out all guns blazing and scorng 30 runs from 50 balls. And finally striking it big against bangladesh. Persistence pays people - look at sachin. It is only a matter of time before Dada and then yours truly make it big. Thanks for your support

P.S - If you have managed to labour on till this point, Please be sure to leave a comment that will win you a free autographed copy of my book( that I am going to write soon)..

Thursday, August 16, 2007

My First impression

I have been in the US only 2 weeks now but my first words to myself are still echoing in my head. Words that get reinforced, every passing day. "Boy!! everything is so big around here." Right from the moment, I stepped into the cab at the airport, there has been that feeling of "Shock and awe". There I was - a slender 5' 11, lean and mean, being smothered by the cushion around, with barely my neck sticking out of the seat straining to catch the scenery.

The hotel rooms were thankfully small (normal size by indian standards), but there ends the exceptions. The size was what caught my eyes everywhere, and in some cases caused overloads at the business end of my digestive system as well.

Jumping from "3 Idlis-one limited meals with curd - samosaa/cutlet - and a relaxing dinner of rasam/thayir saatham" to "3 eggs,potatoes and pancakes - 2 eggs,toast and fries - cappucino - and a relaxing dinner of belgian waffles/foot long subs"........I guess this was what people were refering to as "Jet-Lag"(It is not that i had choice when it came to choosing the meals, these were the ideal choices considering the "Investment vs Return" tradeoff). It took me over a week to "settle" things down...whew!!

Not ones to take things lying down, we decided to get things moving along by cooking our own food - Target Walmart. Result Disorientation. An hour and a half later all we could select was one packet of bread. And as we stood before the unending rack of vegetables, me and my roomie, exclaimed almost at the same time - "Even the peas are so big....SIGH!!".

Considering the amount of food that goes into an average american, generations over generations, the girth is only natural. And on a boring day waiting for a bus, as one LARGE human being walked past , I was tempted to go "entha kadayile nee pizza vaangare"...

Well you can call that desperation at the effortlessness with which all the fat tends to get concentrated around a few waists, while the rest move along at a Hindu rate of growth. A classic case of the fat getting fatter and the poor getting poorer. hmmmmm...

As the days went past, the shrinking feeling inside me kept growing. But it was Liberty mami who came to my rescue. A sign board quoting the designer and architect who staked his claim to the liberty - "Everything is so big in America - even the peas". hmm, Wise people do think alike. What say people?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Amerikyan Visheshams

The last post below reads May 30, 2007 and the silence out here has been deafening thereafter..atleast that is what people tell me. It was not that there was nothing worthwhile to pen fact there were tomes to write home about. The past couple of months have been a period in which my life turned upside down and then turned back up again - all in a month or so.Made a wonderful journey to wayanad.And to shake me out of the stupor, a torrid week personally almost immediately. And from the nadir it turned quickly with the end result being - me washing ashore(forgive the hyperbole as "landing ashore" doesnt gel with an epic event) the US of A.

It has been 2 weeks to date now, since D-Day. A day when I checked-in at the quality(questionable???)-Inn at Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. A quaint little town that is just like any other dotting the american interstates. Prominent landmarks being a gas station, a high school and a main street (every town seems to have one, just like the M.G.Roads back home).This being the case, it became pretty evident early on that the standard indian manual for settling down in the US will have to be thrown right out of the window. And thus the odyssey began.

With my scheming brain and my friend and roomie Rajavel's caution and lack of tendency to screw-up, I was expecting it to be smooth sailing. But contrary to expectations, our common tendencies to run to the Indian Stretchable Time zone meant the we were pulled up by the account manager(manager Ka manager ka manager). We had signalled our arrival in style. A week went by and we were rapidly settling down to the rhythm of beer guzzling, truck and Harley driving, easy going, friendly and sadly punctual Amerikya - rural amerikya. A barely perceptible public transport system, nothing remotely close to anything Indian, people who are courteous to the point of causing pain, and no drinking water. To those of you who are reading this and are intending to move to the US, (I know of atleast one) don't worry, this is just the cynic in me getting the better of the travel junkie.

To be fair to stroudsburg, it also has a walmart and other such small shops that stock everything except human beings. An idyllic tourist town smack in the middle of a forest on a mountain, rolling meadows, sudden refreshing down pours, picture perfect cottages, architecture that hanks back to the 50s (or was it the 20s..I cant exactly compare), streams running through the town (under the roads unlike chennai). To cut a long story short - the whole shebang that reminds me of a rain drenched team outing to Coorg. The only spoiler in the works being - WORK. An unavoidable irritant that pops up every now and then.

Considering all the hype given back home about the "promised" land, I was expecting to hurt my jaw as it fell to the floor in open-mouthed whatever. The early signs were promising as the BA flight circled around Newark on a clear evening - Liberty mami ot the left, the famed skyline on the horizon and a huge sheet of metal that was gleaming in the evening sun. A sheet of metal hat turned out to be rows and rows and rows of cars arranged neatly. But that was pretty much the anti-climax as we took a taxi through scenery that was beautiful but repetitive and became mundane soon enough.

And this being the case, a weekend tends to become a dreaded part of the week.And it was an unanimous conclusion that one weekend was all that we could stand. Friday and we were off. Hopping on to a bus that headed to NYC. A comfortable ride and 2 hours later, I hurt my jaw. I generally hate touristy people, the kind who strain their necks to the windows and marvel at the lights and sounds around. NYC made me one. And I needed to brag about it.

The road till Newark was slightly more interesting this time around, but the stretch past Newark and into the sight of the manhattan skyline opening up is a once in a lifetime experience. Familiar from ever so many pictures, nothing prepares you for the actual view the first time around. The 2 days from then on has been something straight out of my college days. Friday night at times square, liberty, the empire state - and a whole new bunch of wonderful friends whom i never ever met before.And of course about 300 images on my camera. Life was good.

The experiences have been thick and fast..and my head is write now a melting pot of all these thoughts. And i am going to sleep over it. Running my thoughts over the promises that i made to visit this place over and over again. The sights and the sounds of NYC. At the risk of sounding like a cliche' - I love NYC.

P.S- I am pretty sure that the cynic in me will rise again and I will start sounding normal again. But, If over the following blogs you sense a change and I start sounding like an American Desi, please gimme a swift kick in the balls and that I hope will set things write.So, as I wont around here - "Have a good one" :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Life has been good to me these past few days. No work still. Chennai cooling down. Tonnes of movies to watch. A few that surprised me..I mean you dont expect kollywood to surprise you. Mozhi being the first one. A very sensitive movie, a sensible movie and a wonderful background score.
And then there is paruththiveeran. Well at the outset it may seem to like one of those crass B grade movies that kodambakkam churns out, but once the initial 10 minutes pass, the movie grips you in a vicious kind of way. Have to warn you, the language is very difficult to latch on to, atleast initially- a very heavily loaded madhurai accent. The landscape and the colour tones are rugged and stunning. The music from yuvan, as fas as i am concerned, his best work ever. The "Ayyayyo" song rocketing to one of my all time favourites. Heard people comment that the dialogues are way too in your face, obscene or to put it in tamil "Pachcha pachhaya irukku". Well, for the uninformed, the people who are being characterised on screen, tend to speak that way in real life. And the ending seems to have put of a lot as well. Well, not going to spoil it for you, just in case, u have not heard of it and are planning to go watch it. The ending was the highlight for me. There was no more convincing way it could have ended. Any other way and it would have been just another movie. On the whole an in your face roller coaster, tinged with some original native humour. Not to be missed.

And now to the other wood that is famous - Bollywood. two movies which were made outside the standard circuit. Kabul express and Black friday. Well , yes i am still playing catch up as far as the releases go. Kabul express is a commendable effort. atleast for the way the team has tried to approach the subject. Black Friday -mmm, almost silent background for the entire movie. A chapter wise narrative and KK Menon repeating a "Hazaaron kwahishen aisi". Planned to watch it in two sittings as we started off around 1 in the night. Couldnt bring myself to touch the remote for the next 2 hours. Riveting. Period.

And of course have been gorging on hollywood fare. And the one that caught my eye was Little miss sunshine. Tired of watching movies that picture families as ideal islands of joy, here was a dysfunctional family that was trying desperately to make it onto the band wagon. The highlight being a beauty contest for 10 year olds. A road trip across the US of A and the pretences begin to fall apart. And how it all comes togethor in the end. Lampooning a lot of the things that is not correct in the US way of life. A few that i fear are making their way to the indian society as well. Full of poignant moments and humor that is different from the staple hollywood fare. Again, should have won an oscar instead of departed. But, best screenplay, well ok can make do.

Well, have to catch up on a lot more and as the prospects of me getting work anytime soon are lesser, you can expect a lot more reviews. Right now, leaving for the day. Whew! it has been a long hard day at work i should say.

Friday, May 25, 2007

I had a chance and I blew it

Life doesnt give second chances. And the lone chance that it does give, are ones that disappear before you can even spot them. And thus the day began...I got up early at 8.30 and to my surprise it was pleasant outside. The morning routine and then get to work by 10.30. Not having much of work these days and so was lazing around office. Only to see a friend pop up on GTalk. Well, just what the doctor ordered. A good friend for as long as i can remember. You know - the kind you know are good, though you dont talk much and even when you talk it is just the occasional chit chat. We got chatting and then chatting and it was soon 4.00 PM. Tea break for Yours truly. And in the past couple of weeks one of those rare days when i didnt doze off in my chair.Back from break and the session resumes in a tone and tenor markedly different from the normal. About friends relationships and the occasional gossip. And then the inevitable, you single question. I jump in and answer that, prompt to flaunt my single status. And she says ..."mmmmmm". "What mmm?" I ask.."Well am taken now?""Whoa!!!".. though i saw that coming it was a whammy when it did come. A sensible and gud looking gal, One of the very few that i know. And then the diggin for details begins.. I have all the time in the world and she is the master craftswoman when it comes to guys. I dig and i dig, only to come up empty handed .And out of the blue I say "You know I had a thing for you, back then". And now the "whoa" came from the other side. "When", "What", "Where" "why didn't you tell me" and out come the details. And the astonishment continues. I get a tonne of advice - " you know you are such an idiot , u call urself my friend and dont tell me this. Y da. " And all i could come up with was, well i thought u were taken.And that brought the next round on " did i tell u that and so on and on?"... A stunned silence for a while. Now the doubt deepens in me. By some freaking miracle of nature, was she giving me hints?I continued the guessing game. And the pointer narrowed down to Chennai. I freak out and sign off. It was 07.30 in the evening. Time flies to 10.30 and i was sure i couldn't sleep in that frame of mind. Should I call her? And finally I do. And we talk, all the while she just laughs, all the while deepening my mysery. And finally she has pity on me and out come the details. Let us leave the details aside cause they are not the focus anymore (Confidentiality sake, and the risk of getting murdered). Suffice to say, It was like that "ONE TIGHT SLAP" thing on MTV. A hit on the cheek that sends all the clutter from your head flying out the other ear.And then it strikes me, how all these years have been about me only that I did not notice the people around me, close to me. And she makes a few more stunning observations and I just crack. And the final nail was to be a passing shot, something which conveyed a very poignant statement "for years i haev given u hints and u never saw any, and now...and now....". Well I had a chance that lasted half a life time and I blew it. Well, to put it in mallu speak"Sankaran is again on the cocunut tree".And thus the day ended.....

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bret "The Hitman" Hart

An ad caught my eye while riding yesterday. Something, that made memories rush from the past and instantly brought a smile to my face and sent the adrenalin rushing up my brains. They are gonna be telecasting WWF (World wrestling federation) fights on Jetix. May praise be on the lord. A generation will be grateful to you. For people who are wondering, yes i am 24 and I do like wrestling. For people who missed the boat, this is something that you will never appreciate. An entire generation of boys, who grew up with a heightened sense of machoism and aggression and are better off due to that.
The Ad naturally came up for discussion during the elaborate lunch at work and people were immediately transported to their happy places. Names came tumbling down - the undertaker, hulk hogan, yokozuna and of course my all time favourite - The hitman. Someone suggested that wrestling was not for him and was quickly silenced with furtive glances and the discussion went on.
And as the discussion raged on, I was winding back to my school days. When RAW used to air at 4.00 PM on thursday Evenings and gully cricket stopped for that one hour. All kids in the neighbourhood indoors, much to my mom's irritation. Result, cable TV was cut in a month. Not giving up, we were soon meeting at an Old lady's house in the neighbourhood. Too much noise and complaints. Cable TV reconnected.
Gully cricket tends to be hard on the pocket. Especially when played with cheap rubber balls which tend to pop easily. And being the captian the onus of the sponsorship fell on me, which in turn fell on my mom. This also happened to be a period where the balls were breaking with alarming regularity and my mom refused to pay up.
It was "King of the Ring/ Royal rumble / Summer slam" I guess. A gud 3 hours at the end of which we saw "SABLE" make and appearance and take her clothes off...Almost. Mom saw that and we never had any trouble funding our cricket team after that. A special hitman glass, again from the latest duty paid shop was thrown in for gud measure :-) I still wonder y this sudden change came about in her.
The statutory warnings were always for small boys and we knew what we were doing and so had tournaments. On mats made of palm and coconut leaves, in the backyard, of our house. A broken nose put an end to all that. Or was it a broken head?? beats me.
Of course, we never gave up on wrestling. For the rainy day, we had stashed away a nice pair of triumph cards, imported all the way from bombay. Yours truly courtesy of being owner, being allowed an upper hand most of the time. Well those were the days, sigh!
And as I rejoined the conversation, it was thankfully still on wrestling and how my friend Aravind and his Bros had a photo taken with King Mable and Steve "The Rattlesnake" Austin when they came down to India. AND FYI the pic finds the pride of place in his room - STILL. I am proud of u my friend.

P.S - Readers will well be advised to catch up on jetix. Last heard, Undertaker is into his 8th life and hulk hogan had turned 67. And they are all set to clash for the title in a casket match. WOW

P.S.S - "The hitman" rules and will return.

Monday, May 14, 2007


I am penning this post at the risk of readers tracing a pattern to these updates. (Please detect the hidden message in the previous line intending to convey the increasing readership for the special crap that I dish out)

- It is official now. I am a bench warmer. For people who thought bench warmers were only associated to sports, take a break. This is a relatively new phenomenon that has been developed in software services firms, which have the propensity to recruit in terms of colleges (not heads) and then try and locate work for this very enthu crowd. Always for projects in the "PIPELINE".
Speaking of which, IT seems to be full of jargon like this. On second thoughts, let me not get into the jargon part of it.
The bench has been this "utopia" for me ever since i joined this company. This mysteriously wonderful thing that people talk about. No work, Late to office, leavy early to compensate for that. Ill-fated that i have been, in a company with very few long term projects, I got stuck into one that has been going on for the past 6 years...SIX years and from day 1 it was one word "SLOG". Have seen people around me enjoy this period. Heck, my roomie was on the bench for one whole year and then he moved onto IIM. Speak of luck.
And now that i am here at this wonderful place, in a gap between 2 projects, i don't want to leave. But I wil have to leave and the thought of working again makes my head spin. I will think of crossing the bridge when i come to it. SIGH!

- Chennai finally got to me. This summer has been horrible. Chennai temperature usually hovers around 38 and peaks at 41. this year it has been hovering around 42 and yesterday peaked at 43. And my luck, I was riding around in bike all day. 8 to 10 in the morning, 2 to 4 in the noon and 6 to 8 in the night. Sweating like a sponge when squeezed, I was dehydrated beyond description. surviving on tender cocunuts and water. and sleeping all the while in between. I would have set a record of sorts by sleeping 8 hrs during the day time. The end result being i was unable to digest any solid food in the evening. And my sister, like an angel boils me some rice. Add water, Add salt, My grandma's pickle and that was the best damn food that i had tasted in a Looooong time. My sister is definitely a good cook...PERIOD.

And i guess that is enough ramblings for a night. So adios. As i go hit the bed.. Lot of sleep to catch up on.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The end of the road

It was just one of those days. Not much work. Warming my seat. attending the odd meetings and then head back home at the stroke of 6. Chennai was scorching at 43 and so stayed around in the a/c till 7. Said bye to all the friends at work. Even a junior in the project who had joined a couple of months back.
A comfortable ride in a little bit of rain and a refreshing bath later; i looked at my mobile to see tonnes of missed calls. Called back one of them, my partner in crime at work and he broke it to me. The Junior that i had bid goodbye had died in a road accident 15 minutes back. The suddenness of it was too hard to fathom. I was listening to music on my comp and it continued playing. The fact that he was no more was incomprehensible to me. By God's grace, I have not had to face the fact of people close to me dying and so never had to think about it. But there it was. His smile was still flashing across my eyes every once in a while.
I just sat there, for i dont know how long and then somehow collected myself. Made a few calls and others who were closer had reached the hospital and saw him lying there.. people there told me.."It is sad how people in the medical field treat the mortal remains. He was an accident victim. No visible injury except to the head. and he lay there on a stretcher next to the reception."
Surrounded by friends and strangers. Friends, all in their 20s, all trying hard to come to grips. Someone asked me to come there and i made excuses. I knew that i didnt have it in me to see him like that and then drive back home.
Sleep was hard to come by. Dawn and the daze had still not left me. Rode to the GH were the post mortem was happening. And saw what i feared the most. He lay there on the stretcher as though in sleep. And the sight was even more difficult to fathom. My stomach was churning - the heat the stench and above all the tears of all those around. In a few hours time all that would remain will be ashes. But imagining his seat in office as empty - there an hour ago, but now no more, still beats me.
Last May saw another accident that was cruel in every way. And this one so close to me, shook me beyond belief. Exposing a fragile side of my mind, that i am very uncomfortable with. And for all my bravado, something rung home "Death" scares me.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

A small tribute to an unbeatable legend

Brian Charles Lara - A Legend signs off

A lot of people say a lot of things about Lara...but for me he is what cricket is all about..passion..come what may..and there are comparisons with lesser people back home but the statistics (by Wisden Almanac) below say it all...

Top 10 test innings

1 DG Bradman 270 Australia England Melbourne 1936-37 262.4
2 BC Lara 153* West Indies Australia Bridgetown 1998-99 255.2
3 GA Gooch 154* England West Indies Headingley 1991 252.0
4 IT Botham 149* England Australia Headingley 1981 240.8
5 DG Bradman 299* Australia South Africa Adelaide 1931-32 236.8
6 VVS Laxman 281 India Australia Calcutta 2000-01 234.8
7 C Hill 188 Australia England Melbourne 1897-98 234.2
8 Azhar Mahmood 132 Pakistan South Africa Durban 1997-98 232.6
9 KJ Hughes 100* Australia West Indies Melbourne 1981-82 229.7
10 BC Lara 375 West Indies England St John's 1993-94 228.1

Top 10 One day innings

1 Richards I.V.A 189* (170) 1984 WI won by 104 runs Old Trafford
2 Richards I.V.A 138* (157) 1979 WI won by 92 runs Lord's
3 Jayasuriya S.T 189 (161) 2000 Sri Lanka won by 245 runs Sharjah
4 Kapil Dev N 175 (150) 1983 India won by 31 runs Nevill Ground,Turnbridge Wells
5 Saeed Anwar 194 (146) 1997 Pakistan won by 35 runs M.A Chidambaram
6 Gower D I 158 (118) 1983 England won by 54 runs Woolloongabba
7 Lara B.C 169 (129) 1995 WI won by 4 runs 120*
8 De Silva P.A 107* (124) 1996 Lanka won by 17 runs Gaddafi Stadium
9 Lloyd C.H 102 (85) 1975 WI won by 17 runs Lord's
10 Lara B.C 153 (143) 1993 WI won by 6 wickets Sharjah

P.S - I know this is a bit too late...but was offline for a pleej adjust

Friday, April 20, 2007


It was well into the night and my dinner was done. The window was open and a nice cool breeze was bristling through my hair. The lights were dim and I could only see the silhouette about an arm's length from where i lay. The occassional flicker of the tubelight near by revealed that magical golden skin tone, in a teasing-tantalising kind of way. Exactly as described in the tales of yore. In fact even better. The look on my face would have given me away, but the shadyness of the setting saved the day, rather the night. The pod was playing

"Chandan sa badhan"
Chanchal chithu van
dheere se thera ye muskaana...
and I could hold it no more.

I slowly moved my arms and for the first time felt how perfection felt. Full and plump, and a tad juicy, I couldn't but thank god for his creation. And more importantly, for putting me in the right place at the right time. With all the time in the world on my side, I began ruminating on the happenings of that eventful night leading up to that perfect moment.

I was travelling from Chennai to Kerala on a day train. A tiring journey in the hot indian summer, inside a tin can, that doesn't allow the liberty of sleep. The monotonity of it all got to me an hour or so into the journey and I am sure a little delirium set in too. It was Katpadi I guess, where I got down to stretch my legs and grab a cuppa, only to lay eyes on that beautiful little thing. The delirium was gone, giving way to a yearning hugely unbearable. The hours passed and the yearning only grew. My dinner was done but i was staring out of the window, waiting for people nearby to fall asleep and dim the lights. The occasional lone light streaking across the window as the train sped through the dry landscape, only adding to my agony. But the fear of people catching me in the act restrained me, though the proximity was all the more tempting.

Time flew by and pretty much the whole compartment was asleep. But now the freedom to let myself go brought with it the ultimate conundrum. I could do this only once and once I was through nothing would be left of it. So how do I do justice to the beauty. Do I wait for the journey to complete, all the while admiring the interplay with the lights? Or do I dive right in and give my senses the treat of a lifetime?

As I lay contemplating, the soft texture of the skin against my fingers made me take it in my palms...and I slowly sat up. leaning my back against the sil and watching the glow. How do I do justice to thi wonderful creation. And i smelt that sweet scent one last time, as I bit in to the seasons first - Alphonso. And the next 5 minutes was bliss. And all that was left were the fibres struck between my teeth and a licked clean seed which soon found its way out of the window.

Being from a "corporate environment" and a well disciplined family, I have often been instructed that fruits are to be eaten with forks after they are cut. But I chose to ignore all that. Today there was nothing between us - No knife, no peeling, no slicing. My teeth doing the work as tastebuds that were long comatose, sprang forth with life.

I owed that much to god didn't I?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Vishu aashamsakal

Samridhdhiyum, Santhoshavum niranja
oru nava varsham nerunnu.
Happy Vishu

P.S - The iceman and the ferrari are on their way to Pondy for this Vishu. Updates next week. Adios

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Rants and Raves..and a few musings too

Over the past couple of months, I have had this tendency to consider myself as perpetually "Busy", thereby convincing myself that i don't have time for the less important things in life of them being this blog. I have also been noting that most of the times more than many tomes of advice, often, it is an innocous off the cuff remark that sets things in perspective. Sometimes painfully so.
And thus, as the truth rung home and broke my little bubble, it dawned on me that my being "Busy" was a big haze that hid my growing tendency to procrastinate and my inability to "manage" work and life. And to restore that balance, I have finally stopped contemplating and started acting. No more work for me. A lot of loose ends to tie up in Singara Chennai before I set out on that great Indian dream..across the seas, to the land of oppurtunities..the U.S of A. My Visa is all but done and the possibility that i might soon find myself on that 00.30 AM Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt and then onward is very real and here. And as I drew up my to do list (for the unitiated, planning by writing on paper is a good way to beat procrastination), a growing sense of panic set in as the list just went on and on and on.....
Started off by dusting my camera and setting off on a whim to my grandparents' place, a quaint little malabari village in kerala. Of course with a few basic amneties - a couple of multispeciality hospitals, a few imported corollas, an odd landcruiser, gold souks and the neighbourhood vegetable shop run by "Idrose"...things that a little money from the gulf brings in.
The pooram was on at the temple, nothing that I hadnt seen in these 23 years, but this time i wanted to see how it looked from behind the viewfinder. And boy, was it good. In a period when the peaceful temples in kerala are being taken over by the "Boards", the "members" and their security shenanigans, it was good to see that people still gave respect where it belonged....Me..
(u didnt see that coming did you;-) ??? ). Jokes apart, the humongous dSLR hanging around my neck meant that i was given a free hand to run amok. And to the, odd enquirer who wanted to know in which edition of Manorama his picture was going to come, I would casually reply "freelancer"..with an air that conveyed a little irritation at being disturbed. End result..over 300 pics with the best of them to be put up at Flickr...(i will do it soon and share the path here..I will). And if you are into photography, You will be blown away, by the sheer richness of colours in Indian festivals and the way they lend themsleves to photography.

A visit to kerala a couple of weeks later and the sense of almost everything being right in this world was quickly wiped off... with one that was sinister and reeked of human excesses..more on that later...Going now, as early to bed and early to rise makes Kiran healthy welathy and Wise..adios

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Saraswathi shabatham - Eastman colour

Long journeys by bus is something that i really love, but a few experiences of late have made me rethink. The first was a long trip to chennai from kerala in a not so comfy bus.And a movie Devathaiye kandein starring dhanush plying on the telly. For the uninitiated, Dhanush happens to be Rajinikanth's S-I-L and that is pretty much all that is about him. On a given day, out in the streets of chennai, u wouldnt be wrong, if u mistook him for an autodriver. And a heroine, with negative emoting skills, and cornier dialogues and crassier comedians, it was one of the most claustrophobic experiences of my life. My Ipod was on full blast but it couldnt drain out the "Din-chak, Dak-chak, dan-da-naka, da-daka-daka", that so characterises tamil music these days. Add to that the sight of a scrawny hero, thrusting his pelvis and gyrating in the name of the dance, the expreience rather the torture was complete. So it was with a little trepidation when during my trip to the sabarimala, the TV screen flickered to life. It read "Saraswathi Shapatham", Eastman colour..

The movie startedoff with a long monologue by the producers, who it seems had made the movie to arrest the crass materialism in society and to lay to rest the debate on wealth Vs knowledge Vs Authority/power..Well atleast they said so themselves in a lengthy monologue at the beginning and with the gods in technicolour filling the screen, the atmosphere was set for the story to unfold. Shivaji as Narada...and a whole whos who of the 60s tamil filmdom was on show...fully decked up...The next 3 hrs were sort of an eye opener for me.....a glimpse into what Edison had in mind when he invented cinema in the first place....religious propaganda.....maybe

The next 3 hrs was one long riot of colours, the whole pantheon of hindu gods, song and dance and over-the-top emoting ending in a technicolor SHUBHAM. But the piece de resistance was CHEVALIER SHIVAJI GANESAN

He owned the screen from the moment he entered as narada. His slender gait, gait that would put a beauty queen to shame...the hips shaking as though doing a catwalk. And emoting that would give a complex to a kathakali artiste...millions of facial muscles twitching, twirling to bring togethor that perfect expression taht would last only a fleeting moment to be replaced by the next perfect one. and when coupled with the dancing eyebrows, it shows what acting is all about...or is it what it is not about...never mind....but that sure did cure me of my phobia for long bus journeys

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Religion and a pilgrimage - Part 2

Sabarimala, the shrine surrounded by verdant green all around. A dip in the crystal waters of the river Pampa, a mere jungle stream at Pampa. and a refreshing trek through lush evergreen shola. If this is the image that u had of the temple shrine, I pity you my friend. If you are looking for an example for how man cannot make a habit of coexisting with nature, look no further..
With the uncontrolled influx of devotees from the southern states except kerala, the ham handed development activities at Pampa, the tonnes of garbage, filth, and byproducts human and otherwise, flooding the stream making it a big pile of slush. The travancore Devasvom board makes it a point to bring in water tankers to pump water into the river to dilute it. Filth everywhere and devotees camping on top of it. We were among the lucky lot as we managed to get a roof over our head, a room barely the size of a classroom, with a makeshift kitchen at one end. The heat was initially a comfort but the smoke soon took over. But with me having had an inkling of things earlier, i was not going to complain about mere smoke singing my eyes. And the icing on the cake was the location of the room - right behind the pampa govt hospital letting its innards out in full glory, first thing in the morning. The bath in the Pampa is a part of the ritual and is meant to cleanse away all the sins. With daylight hardly and hour away, I decided to take a dip in the darkness, as waiting for day light would have meant that i might have given the dip in the river a miss. Freezing cold and icier water, meant a dip was a big ask. In and out in a flash, I made a beeline for the start of the trek, the Pampa Ganapathy.
Stepping the few steps upto the temple, brought forth a sight that i could never have imagined, a sea of humanity sleeping on the ground, and a small line snaking its way through to the trekking path. A few sleepy policemen guiding us through. The first couplf kilometers was a very steep climb, over sharp paved concrete and railings for support. My Softened software-feet were screaming full throat, but the fear of getting caught in the crowd coming behind meant that we, (oh yeah i got a fellow devotee for company), pushed ahead without a stop. The climb done, i was looking forward to the rest of the walk. only to see a huge queue on the mountain side all the way the eye could see. A good 8 hours later we made it to the sannidhanam, an ever bigger pile of filth, spoiling the experience. With the lower half of my body, numb by then, i had stop bothering. time was 3. With the Rava uppuma that i had for breakfast long digested, the grumbling was only acute as we waited for the jyothy which was still a good 3 hrs later. Managing to get a vantage point courtesy of my new friend, I stood there and dozed off. Though with nothing to hold on for support, I did not have to worry as it was too jam packed for me to fall. I still wonder whether it was sleep or a momentary lapse in conciousness...whatever it was i got up only at 5... slightly refreshed, but stinking all over, with sweat, mine as well as the bare chested kannadiga's, who i think supported me. with me standing at an elevated point, the sight was one to behold, a hill top with every possible inch crawling with people. The tension was palpable as people began to get excited and stir about in the maddening crowd. Well past 6.30 and no jyothy yet, the cries of the throng had gotten to a dearening roar. And when the jyoty appeared as 3 brief flashes, it was an experience that will last my life time. Electrifying yet hysterical. It was a culmination of all that suffering in something good. Hope that kept the drive to walk alive. And with a deep throated "swamiye" that reverberated around the hills, a call to the heavens, the collective throes of a mankind for release from the mudane rigours of life. It opened my eyes to what religion is all about- HOPE. Hope that reflected in the tears streaming down the now smliing bare chested Kannadiga.
And as the adage goes "Zindagi mein ek baar sadari yaathra chalo chalo"

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Religion and a pilgrimage

For a guy born and brought up in a typical agraharam, being religious is supposed to be a default setting. And the default setting remained that way for 17 golden years and then college happened and a period of self discovery :- 4 years of freedom. And with freedom came the natural side effects - indiscipline and irreverence. Not that i hated it, but still..
Out of college and 2 years into the job, things hadn't changed much. I was hating the job and was at a crossroads with the prepping for the CAT. It was the auspicious Mandalam and as the D-Day got nearer, my belief in myself was begining to wax and wane. And a day before the exam, got out of home looking to lay the waxing and waning to rest and ended up, maybe inevitably, at a temple. It was the proverbial lightning striking twice that day. In the half an hour that i sat in the Ayyappa temple, my thoughts were going haywire. Only to be reigned in by the thoughts of my first visit to sabarimala. All of 12, my grandparents taking me in tow. All that i remember being the sight of the golden deity electrifying my half asleep brain and body. A lot of water has flown under the bridge since that day. But the experience has remained. There had been 3 later visits, all in a lot more comfort, but none matched the intensity of the first. And so, at that very moment decided to make one more trip to see the lord, on the day of the Makaravilakku. 41 days of clean living and austerities.
It was a challenge for me and a chance too, to piece myself togethor again and feel what discipline feels like. And it did feel nice, the first few days i mean and then the craving kicked in. A lil more while in the bed, a coffee before the bath, a bed rather than a mat on the floor....But i outdid myself and found myself at the end of the 40th day on a bus, part of a conducted trip to the mala. Attired in black, the mala around my neck and the transformation i felt was evident. A sense of standing on the verge of something big. And we were off..
Six hours in the bus went of quickly. But a loose window ensured that i remained sleepless in the chill. And to keep me company, all that i had was "Saraswathi Shabatham" running on the telly. (That is an entirely new story which can form a later blog maybe.). Enroute, we passed the Thiruvabharanam being carried on foot and that signalled that we were nearing Pampa, in pretty good time. Only for all such hopes to be dashed by the Kerala police. We were asked to alight a good 35 kilometres from Pampa (Base camp for the uninitiated) and then start walking.
There we were, a bunch of over 50 people, in pitch black, shivering in the winter, smack in the middle of a reserve forest, and only the full moon to guide us. Someone in the group had the foresight to pack a torch and he led the way. With the group being made of a lot of age groups, we soon scattered. Me somewhere in the middle, with no light immediately, not even knowing the person walking next to me, retorting with the odd "Ayyappa" to the "swamiye" from somewhere up front.
A good hour would have passed, maybe more and the sound of a bus behind us cheered the group that had by now fallen silent. That was a scene that i welcomed with a special enthusiasm, as the jagged tar road had by then begun taking its toll on my foot. It was a bus alright, and in its headlight I saw a sight that sent a slight lump down my throat. The entire road was full of devotees on foot, the numbers belied by the silence of it all. and the Bus went on its way, without as much as slowing down even. And the walk continued. and from the milestones and the occasional police outposts, the distance that i had covered surprised even me. A good 12 kilometres. But then the lord didnt want anything more from me. Atleast not at that moment i thought, as i managed to get onto a bus that strangely was not crowded and stopped right before our motley group of around 10. And sitting on the steps, I managed to catch a few good winks before we reached Pampa. It was hardly 5 and the cold was biting down to the bone. And that was a moment when i had a moment of introspection, rather cursing myself for having decided to do the pilgrimage on that particular day. Moments that were littered thru the course of the 3 days....

Friday, January 26, 2007

Babel VS Crash

Just saw BABEL today...first impression is a gud movie...second thoughts...yes....definitely not worth a rewatch..Hollywood has this tendency, if a movie makes it big at the oscars, they will shamelessly "be inspired" from the movie and make thousands in the genre. Not unlike the numerous "woods" that we have in India. The inevitable comparisons with Crash kept popping up through out the length of the movie.
Both movies deal with the concept of intertwined lives in a global village. What Crash tries to depict within LA, Babel tries and takes it global. Set in a dry and harsh yet beautiful Morroco for the most part, the landscape sets the tone for the movie...sombre unlike crash which is a pot pourri of emotions.
True, there are scenes of excellence, scenes that will move you. The actors fit their roles to a T. especially one Mr.Brad Pitt. Ladies who go to his movies to ogle might well be advised to stay away. As a forlorn, middle aged American tourist, Brad lends dignity to the role. The unknown morrocan lady, who dopes his wife to relieve her of her pain... the 2 arab boys standing atop a mountain trying to take off against the wind...piece de excellence
But then as there are scenes like those above, so are there ones that will create a sense of deja vu with crash. As it is a movie worth a watch, i am not revealing the story line here as has been done in previous reviews.
To sum it up, you can definitely go and give it a shot, a lot of good things going for the movie, technically. Also an American movie that does not show Muslims in bad light again a first.
As for me i made the mistake of reading a review that set the expectations way tooo high. I went there looking for a movie "that in its profoundess communicates the innate randomness of life and so on and so forth ad nauseum". If you are gonna watch it after reading this review, something tells me u will like it

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Tom yum goong!!!

Was down and out one of these particular of those days when u feel totally depressed ..ust like that...and my DVD collection came to the rescue...a 3 cd collection -
"Aung bak"...."Tom yum Goong" and one more thai movie...but that is not the point...
"Tom yum Goong" was totally blown that is what u call a movie....It starts of with a lovely intro about a man and his elephant...his kid and another baby elephant...The baddies kidnap the elephants...look at the originality in the script and all this is over in 15 mins...
from then on for the next 1 hr and 30 mins...the guy sets out to rescue the elephants...spell binding martial arts...thai style...called "Muai Thai"...and the beauty of it is you dont realise that the movie does not have a story until 3 days after the adrenaline rush drains away
and this movie kindo puts in perspective y tarantino went ahead and made "Kill Bill"...
but at the end of the 2 hrs i was fresh ...with adrenaline pumping in my head .....was ready to go out and pick a fight with the first person that i met...was such a nice feeling...
I am thinking of patenting this therapy ...looking for a name and other supporting facts :-)
do lemme know if any of u had similar experiences