Saturday, October 25, 2008
And I chanced upon this ad of Aegan, playing at Arora. It's been ages since I went to Arora and a Thala movie sounded very promising... given the last few of his movies, including varalaru etc...
My immediate reaction was to call Kums, given that he's a walking movie encyclopedia and also big time Ajith fan. He was thrilled to pieces and agreed to come over with Krishna who was equally thrilled, despite the innumerable threats and conditions of not abusing us half way through the movie.
So off we went to Matunga, after gobbling up lunch. Now Arora is a one of its kind-remnant, a standalone theater, in this age of ultra-luxe suits and super clear surround sound multiplexes. A wave of nostalgia overcame me... with the smell of burnt cigarette butts and cutting tea around. I was transported to another time, some 6-8 years back... watching Speed, on the first row,with Shank in the stall, in PerinbaVilas theater in Tirunelveli. Those were the days of 10 rupee tickets, special queues for women, black tickets...
Well the movie turned out to be alright... not as bad as I expected it to be... It's a remake of Main Hoon Na.. but given my hatred for SRK and the Yashraj types in general, I didn't watch that one. So this one was pretty ok. But it carried the same thread of arbitrariness that was seen in Pachai Kili... and in Dasavatharam (to a very a large extent..) I'm kinda tired of parallel story lines now.
Well as for the movie itself, a bad villain, the heroine, 9-star, who just keeps jumping out of one bikini top- chiffon saree combo, some good actors wasted in bad roles (Suhasini, Jayaram, Haneef) all typical potboiler stuff... what I was really thirsting for actually. Ajit doesn't overact thankfully, but the two other characters (Navdeep and some hazel-eyed noodle haired guy) do very badly. Nayan is very good eye candy, better than Vallavan even, and no I'm not complaining. The music though jarring, is interesting. It's got a coupla RnB beats, a jazz song (thats the flavour for the season btw, ever since Sillenru Oru Kaadhal), a rock one (with Thala trying to do a Michael Jackson...and failing). Yuvan proves again, that he can consistently surprise us with his variety.
The direction is third rate, dialogues are bad too... and the villain is downright irritating (too much over-acting actually). Thankfully, the end is super crisp like a Dharani movie... one fight and thats the end. No preachy stuff etc...
The best part of the movie is when everyone keeps teasing Thala as a student... and he retorts... adhaan thoppai irukkunnu otthunden la... aala vidungalen
By the way, I was stunned to see a huge group of Ajit fans wearing a Red T-shirt (a reference to his movie 'Red') and hooting for every punch dialog. Well there were actually pretty few :(
I enjoyed the hooting though.. and I joined those guys some times... felt like being back in movie-mad TN again.
Apparently Aegan means unique and is another name of Lord Shiva. The movie doesn't suggest either of that in any way though.
I came back home feeling satisfied that I didn't waste a 200 buck on some brain-hurting movie.
Amen to that.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Here comes their WTF moment!!
And if you don't find them sexist enough, read this, this and this.
the news was sent by an IITan friend no less ;)
So all those who wanna learn Kili Josiyam from the best parrot brains in the country, you know whom to marry (thanks, but no thanks). In the process, you might become sampoorna as well, for it says, while your better half "chooses to inspire, innovate and transform, here is an exclusive track designed to keep Spouses and Families completely informed and entertained". Consider this one of the million small mercies the IITians continue throwing down upon us.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Will the ongoing Wall St. crisis be a precursor for another baby boom? And if there is one, will the children born in this boom send the average IQ levels of America shooting?
Historically, a baby boom has followed every documented state of general national distress... yeah, we've never bothered to check it in India since the common man in urban India here leads nothing short of a war-like existence on a daily basis, but in the US of A, be it a World War-II, the Viet or even the recent 9/11 strikes, they have always managed to overcome the realities through their enhanced productivity. Talk of more bang for the buck! That's possibly their way of handling stress (why should our's be any different? Possibly there is no reason, but since our fledgling National Statistic Commission has far more important lists to manage (see Inflation, CPI, WPI, GDP, OBC population, creamy layer, the works), I shall restrict myself to verifiable sources of information.)
Hence, given that jobless claims are at an all time high, and Wall Street is now underwater, there should be another spike in the US and UK census statistic. At the surface of it though, it seems highly irrational that when people don't know the whereabouts of their next few months' meals, they would want to bring in another mouth to feed.
Assuming rational investor behaviour then, (pun intended) the latex companies should be looking to ramp up scale and ad-spends, which would be a stroke of sunshine in an otherwise gloomy economy.Yeah, literally making out in the hay while the sun shines!! Would this crisis give a fillip to the prostitution and adult porn industry? Hey, but when did that industry go out of business anyway? Isn't Hugh Hefner the one who's been holding the US out along with Berkshire Hathaway and Henry Paulson?
Anyways, the ramblings gave rise to two questions... the answers to which I don't have a clue about.
1) Why do crises lead to increased sexual activity in a nation? This is what the researchers in the US have to say.
Is it because of the pervading sense of insecurity which the bedsheets cover up pretty well? Or is it because sex is possibly the cheapest (at the face of it at least, if you are willing to consider the begging / pleading costs sunk) and most assured form of entertainment for the public at large?
2) Will the average IQ of the populace increase, given that the people afflicted most are investor bankers and the allied financial types who are typically a Wharton, a MIT-Sloan, a Kellogg or an IIT-IIM, or will the law of averages hold good here as well?
And while pondering, pray about our placements as well!
overheard in the pantry when LB failed...
N: thank god! I didn' t join them despite their offering me XYZ
A: and thanks again! they didn't take me despite my most desperate efforts!
Talk of black swans ; one man's incompetence could be another man's doom!
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Shadow of the wind
The alchemy of desire
Joker in the pack (uggh... uggh...)
The hitchiker's guide to the galaxy (and the three other books that follow)
Sea of Poppies
Vernon God Little
(books in the pipeline... a brave new world, 1984 (reread), Choke, the curious incident of the dog in the night time)
I am thirsting for a good book which is not dark, sinister, nihilistic, fatalistic, slap-stick, chick/cock-lit, preachy (please not the paulo coelho / robin sharma types) etc...
can i have a simple and light book (an equivalent of 'Little miss sunshine') which is not trash??
Saturday, September 13, 2008
I've been through the motions of the infamous placement procedure in an Indian B-School, for the internship - which is a farce in more than 90% of the cases. Most companies come to campuses to either trap prospective employees by giving them a PPO etc. and a few come to outsource work which they deem unworthy of their employees (a case in point: one of the world’s largest software companies). Anyway, yours truly had a fairly unmemorable internship placement routine what with no companies wanting to shortlist a mechanical engineer who hasn’t taken Investment Banking as an elective and I took up the first one which came my way. But that opened the gates to another psychologically draining experience called tanking.
1. a large receptacle, container, or structure for holding a liquid or gas: tanks for storing oil.
2. Military. an armored, self-propelled combat vehicle, armed with cannon and machine guns and moving on a caterpillar tread
3. go in the tank, Boxing Slang. to go through the motions of a match but deliberately lose because of an illicit prearrangement or fix; throw a fight.
In the interest of all those who had not been placed, the others were to go in to an interview and convince the panel that the best candidates were the others. Early morning, on the D-Day, the first company was an Ing-Bank, a rarity nowadays, given the way Lehmann is sinking and threatening to take Merrill along. The fact that I am the first candidate makes the work doubly troublesome, as I can’t fuck up badly, which would damage the whole process. So in I go, and speak for half an hour, weaving stories about my life, the city of Mumbai, the Indian Power Sector, NTPC: the guy is visibly impressed till I drop the bomb: Sir, I want to work in a ‘proper’ company, learn the ropes in corporate finance and then join an I- Bank. The guy’s face shrank a few inches... But he was cordial and all and wished me well (I was sure he must be cursing my intelligence or the lack of it thereof under his breath)… but nevertheless
Next in line was a young consulting company, who wanted to meet me, despite the fact that my name was not in the shortlist. And in there I met one of the most enlightened souls, who knew about my previous work experience and he grilled me on the whole thing… actually which was a piece of cake. And then the same stuff about Mumbai and what you’ve been doing (heavens! If I knew that, what would I be doing in this muck?)… till it was time to drop the bomb… The guy asks me: so where would you like to join us? (gawd… did I really speak that long?) and then I go into a drawl… why I would like to join a bank and learn finance before joining consulting blah blah and more blah…
There were a few more over the course of the day, and then came the GD, in a world famous indemnity company. There was me, Amu and ambiga seated next to one other, and a few more guys: to push 4 out of 12 into the interview. The topic was “will twenty-20 replace one day cricket?” ; another reason for hating the shorter format of the game. In the end, it was the most focused GD that could be seen on earth, with each one of us (the tankers) avoiding eye contact with the rest of the world, speaking the same thing time and again, and overacting, (remember the scene in Munnabhai when Sunil Dutt comes visiting his son in the hospital?).
Opening Statement: One day cricket didn’t replace Test cricket and same will be the case with T20. I repeat the same three more times in the GD. The panelist asked me to summarize: Kerry Packer couldn’t end Test cricket and neither will Lalit Modi. It’s a different issue that I don’t care a hair what happens to Modi or his sycophantic tranche.
So drained I was by the whole thing that I refused to participate the next day, for two more I banks who wanted to see me… to hell with them, there’s only so much I can lie.
(This writer’s block is racking my nerves for a few months now and hence the dullness)
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
He laid still, hair aflutter
The only sign of life, his eyes aglow;
The fear of death, dark and bitter
Was a veil that shrouded his morose face
Many a pebble had rolled down the slopes
Of the very mountains he had once furrowed
The same flowers, the familiar faces,
All had passed; flown around
Circumventing him and what was theirs
The haze was clearing, the mists tearing
And there they stood out in the clearing
All of them, all that he had ever cared for
Hark away! She was shouting, all of eighty one
Run! they’re all dead and you are the one
‘If they ever meant anything
Revenge shall be thine’, he dreamt that night
And thus started the journey
Of a million war and fight
The first kill is the most difficult they say,
For it’s the psychosis, the belief in virtue
That stops the trigger
Beyond which it’s only a matter of time
Today, as he lay numb,
For, the amphetamines were working
All the murders, the killings started seeping
Mutilation, rape, maiming perdition,
The horrors of his crimes had come a full circle
Streaming snapshots of life
All the women he had widowed, girl, mother, wife
And a few good men too…
Damnation had arrived, a marksman who seldom missed,
Like father, like son, hell
‘Twas the same stolen gun
Monday, June 09, 2008
I have never been fussy about food. Be it at home or outside, I have always managed my culinary problems admirably, so much so that mom always used to comment that I could survive anywhere in the world, as far as food is concerned. It is a different issue that I have never lived outside home (my parent’s home that is,) for more than a month at a stretch, in all the 23 years of my existence. Both my engineering college (VJTI) and my first job at Uhde India Ltd. were based entirely out of Mumbai and thus I easily lost the chance of migrating from Mumbai, and from home. When the rules at SP stipulated that you had to stay on campus all through, I was happy, in a quiet way that finally, I would stay away from home. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s just one of those ‘I have grown up and want to prove my independence’ thing that makes teens in the US with barely visible moustaches move out of their parent’s homes. It is a different issue altogether, that nowadays parents in the US throw them out of their homes forcing them to become independent.
But it didn’t take me more than a week to come crashing down back to the earth. Initially it was the mess food, which recycled the same gravy through various channels into your system, and then the food at Vrindi near the college. End of week one, I was back at home on Wednesday evening, hungry for amma’s tried and tested drumstick sambar and rasam. It was not just me, but everyone was dying for the familiar sights and sounds of home food. Initially, I was the home food provider to the guys, ferrying large boxes of pongal, idli, thayir sadham and sambar to the boy’s hostel. Then the guys themselves discovered Matunga and Mani Iyer’s mess. If there is one hotel in Mumbai which can match a Tam home feast, it has to be Mani Iyer’s mess. So every Thursday was spent travelling all the way from Andheri to Matunga, spending hours in and around Arora theatre and Anand Bhavan. Over time, I found a way, (rather, it was Amu who started it), out of this entire mess, through the famed Mumbai dabbawallah network, applauded by supply chain giants and celebrities such as Prince Charles etc. The dabbawala network is more important to Mumbai than the BMC or the suburban train network and keeps its gastric juices flowing, at more than six sigma efficiency. The biggest reason why fancy new restaurants in Mumbai continue doing good business is because the dabbawala network keeps its tummy safe during the week days. Anyway, as I was saying before, I thus didn’t miss home food even after coming to the hostel. Of course, I eventually did come to miss mom’s kai pakkuvam and that too in a short period of one month when I went to the hills of Tehri Garhwal for the internship project. In fact I missed it so much that we started cooking there itself. But that is the subject of another post.
Bottom line is that the Mumbai dabbawala network does yeoman service in ensuring that the city doesn’t trip on gastro-enteritis and hepatitis regularly, and is so much a part of the life of the average Mumbaikar, that many don’t even realise it. Jai Maharashtra!
this post was written in a bored-to-death presentation session in a derivatives class (that too the fifth class of the day) and hence may be just as boring! but what the heck, it is possibly the truest ;)!
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
No one and I dare say, no one would ever dispute the fact that school was when we lived and our existence changed for the worse when we crossed the courtyard of class 10.
School was also the time when were impressed upon the virtues of self righteousness and the importance of being earnest. A phase, where the whole world revolved around home works, sports, and as time went by, on gossip about whose hormones were trying to impress whom. Well, this post is not an ode to Cheran’s Autograph or some such and was inspired by Krish Ashok’s post on book cricket; in reminiscence of another game that was played out in all its glory in
Well, even before we had seen Fight Club, we had framed the commandments of the PFC. Somehow, David Fincher hadn’t heard about this game of ours, for why would some one want to get beaten up to the bone marrow, when a simple pen could do the same? And no one could quite kill the concept of brands and celebrity as we did, for the pen is mightier than the Knight R(a)iders’ sword. (By the way, why are they called the Knight Riders and not the Night Raiders? I mean why on earth would a team bristling with testosterone, Akhtar and SRK’s Looney tunes want to ride medieval knights? Or is SRK sending a message to the Queen, demanding his Knighthood, a la Sir Sean Connery? Or is it out of respect for polity and humanity that they decide to do all the riding at night? Anyway, I am digressing too much…it never made any sense.)
That the PFC was an underground movement was a foregone conclusion the day it was formed, being banned by all the teachers and the class prefect as well (self righteousness, get it), for as per Hindu mythology, Goddess Saraswathi resides in every pen, pencil, rubber, scrap of paper, sharpener and the myriad things that have anything to do with literacy and so she would poke your eyes out if you used her instruments of knowledge for such destructive past times (Ummachhi kannai kutthum… get the groove). And in a way, it was a great leveller as well, for no one had much previous experience or any special skills for the game.
There was no such thing as brand consciousness, for the design of the pen or its robustness was not half as important as one’s ability to hit the sweet spot of the opponent, though, I vaguely remember Raveena Tandon becoming a superstar with her Rotomac brand of pens, (yeah, the likhte likhte love ho jaaye one) for they were supposed to have an excellent grip on the wooden bench were the combats were played out. But as I said before, the game outlasted Raveena in popularity, with new pens such as the Cello Gripper, with rubberised grips, negating the home advantage that the pens gave (that Raveena’s love moved on to Akshay and other things is another story altogether).
Initially, all the matches were one to one combats, played during the classes, when Anita teacher would be waxing eloquent about Tanaji Malusare’s Houdini Act at the Sinhagad fort or when Mini teacher (Minnie would have been more apt a name) would be shouting her head over Pythagoras’ infallible treatise on right triangles. Soon the game became a rage, with every one and his one-dropped younger paternal uncle jumping onto the bandwagon. Individual combats gave way to tournaments, and soon became a weekly event that filled the lunch break, the time between two classes, and for some even the time in their tuition classes. So much so that the neighbouring Swagat stationers started making enquiries about the weekly fixtures and the pens that were performing well, so that he could stock them up as per demand.
Over time, the usual Reynolds, Montexes and Rotomacs gave way to pens which were four times the normal size, and were made of wood, steel and some pancha dhatus. One chap called Rohan made his debut with his dad’s super sleek steel Cross fountain pen and to everyone’s surprise won that day’s lunch time super bowl and the admiration of almost half the padips girls in the class. His happiness though was short lived, for immediately after the class we had Anita Miss’ test on moundaens, pladuus and plains (yeah, a sing-along Mallu accent) and as luck would have it, when he opened his Excalibur, it had a split tip and was bubbling with royal blood, which spoilt both his and his bench mate Rahul’s white and white PT uniform. Soon after some blackmailing by the teacher, the self righteous prefect came out with the truth behind the Excalibur’s twisted nib and for the first time the whole class witnessed Anita Teacher going hyper. In fifteen minutes we were all kneeling outside the Head Mistress’ cabin, we the champions of the inaugural pan – Dombivli Pen Fight tournament, and the bald PT master, Murali, caned us so hard, that the very padips girls who had air-kissed Rohan on his maiden triumph were half wet with fear. Those were the days when caning a wayward student was perfectly normal, and when bald PT masters were sadistic, especially when it came to punishing boys in front of whimpering nubile girls.
That moment, was our moment of truth, and from there our PFC went on to become a major underground tournament, with even local rowdies settling their fights over a cup of cutting chai and a pen fight game on the banks of the Reti Bunder. Like all good things, the PFC was decimated slowly by its more rugged counterparts such as gully cricket, UNO cards, WWF etc… and the introduction of the Lexi 5 at Rs. 5/- was the death blow, for it was the worst pen one could play a pen fight with and hope to win. The parents of the kids, to their credit, hastened PFC’s death by buying the Lexi 5 in dozens for the hapless kids.
Many attempts to reintroduce the game at High School,
In case you are wondering what role yours truly played in all this, well, it is a little known fact that I was a part of the first pen fight combat to be ever played, and ended up as a winner. A pity, though, that the girl I had a crush on, refused to believe this and the opponent who was white washed, refused to acknowledge his defeat. To that I blame my bachelorhood…
Oh and talking of plagiarism, does the Dombivli Leaders’ Forum sponsored Indian Pen-Fight League sound vaguely familiar? Well, it seems Lalit Modi’s son was the college mate of the Brutus faced class prefect of class VI-A.
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Sure indications that you have been away from home for too long!
- Your society watchman asks you for the house number you are visiting.
- The dog that’s been lolling in your building compound since birth starts barking at you
- You bump into one hell of a chick at and have no idea about her whereabouts
- You find it difficult sitting cross legged on the floor and having dinner
- You are informed that your cousin’s Seemantham (the Tamizh equivalent of a baby shower) is due early next month.
- Every third person you meet on the street comments on your having lost a lot of weight (while you can swear that it’s the opposite that’s true)
- You have stopped asking Amma whats for lunch / dinner / breakfast... you just wolf down wotever's on the platter
- The songs 'Sweet home Alabama' and 'Mama, I'm coming home' start taking an altogetherly different perspective
Sunday, February 10, 2008
January 28th 2008 was indeed a black day (kari-naal) for civilization.
The extract from Outlook
The Bill was about changing the Tamizh New Year from the first day of Chithirai to Thai Maasa Pirappu or Pongal. This is apparently a victory for the pro-Dravidian junta, a departure from the traditional Sanskrit (read Aryan) calendar. Forget the fact that people in the
How does it matter you ask? Well it probably doesn’t… not to the scores of Tams all over the world (Mylapore, Mambalam,
Unsurprisingly, except for the VHP and Tughlaq owner and political satirist Cho Ramaswami, no one has come out opposing this move. A few years ago, the DMK and ADMK used to play with Chennai bus routes (JJ vs KK), then came their leaders arresting themselves, and invoking new schemes to promote their popularity such as 2 rupees rice and color TV for all. The latest medium for proving their one-upmanship is the Tamizh culture which has been flourishing despite and not because of such antics inflicted upon it.
Yeah, really, the powers that be believe that this change has brought justice to the down-trodden brethren of the state for whom Dravidian culture is more important than two square meals a day. More so, the architect believes that this soul saving benediction of his can absolve him of a century of misgivings and will promote rationalism amongst his bloodied blood (pun intended). And what’s the rationale behind all this? Thiruvalluvar, the patron Tamizh saint, was born in this month and hence it is the most logical choice for this auspicious occasion. However, how certain are we that it is indeed so, when the saint is supposed to have lived some 2000 odd years ago, without any written records for the same? It is indeed a matter of shame that most Tamizh scholars endorse this view.
This is no doubt a kind of sadism, one that makes me cringe. Who on earth gave governments the power to change calendars? Well Caesar did do that on an ego trip and made himself immortal. But he was a person who respected his people’s wishes and did not make Romans flee their nation and settle in droves in the
I can clearly see someone desperately trying to play Zeus here, but in the long run people’s beliefs are stronger than governments. To put things in perspective, there is actually no harm in this change of dates, for no government can ever change people’s emotions and beliefs through legislation as long as they don't serve as hindrances to peaceful human existence and the more atrocious the government behavior, the harsher the backlash, and the farther the alienation . The autocratic behavior of the architect only insulates him further from the so called Tamizh culture of which he believes he’s the supreme commander and protector. Legacies and heritages are things that outrun Emperors and Empires – the British Government will vouch this for sure. Emperor Ashoka learnt it the hard way in Kalinga. Perhaps the only place this blunder will make a difference is in government records, and the poor (!!) government servants will enjoy one holiday less.