Wednesday, May 26, 2010


The same tag has landed from gils and from R-ambam. Not a tagger, but I make an exception attempt to respond to the tag. And I have tagged 4 others at the end as well.

Original Rule 2 is flaunted. And I'll read my own Miranda rights. Those of you who see English movies that have cops, should know this by heart. :)
Me (reading rights): "You have the right to remain silent. blah blah... Do you understand this clearly?"
Me: Yes, I understan

RULE 1- You can only say Guilty or Innocent.
RULE 2- You are not allowed to explain anything unless someone messages you and asks!
[Waived. You should tell the history or have a comment in either case.]

Asked someone to marry you?
Guilty. vera yaaru, Señora thaan! Asked in a different way though. :)

Ever kissed someone of the same sex?
Guilty. Kids... Is this a trick question? :-O

Danced on a table in a bar?
Innocent. Dance? Yes. Bar? I'll be barred from home if I step into one. :)

Ever told a lie?
Guilty. Lie low when you lie. :)

Had feelings for someone whom you can’t have back?
Guilty. Adhu oru nilaa kaalam! 8-)

Kissed a picture?

Slept in until 5 PM?
Innocent. Depends on how you see it. Do afternoon naps count? If so, guilty.

Fallen asleep at work/school?
Guilty. The eyelids droop low enough for the eyes to close, the sounds fade away, the mouth slightly open, the brain grinds to a halt, I float in a snooze and then the head snaps and jerks and a few moments of blinking and then back to redo the snooze. :-D

Held a snake?
Innocent. Would love to. :-)

Been suspended from school?
Innocent. From the class (by standing out), yes, for some random talking, two or three times, maybe. :D

Worked at a fast food restaurant?
Innocent. I have not worked inside a fast food restaurant like Barista, CCD or Starbucks either. (office work, that is?) :)

Stolen from a store?
Guilty. EppavO EppOdho! ;)

Been fired from a job?
Innocent. Fired at job? yes. :)

Done something you regret?
Guilty. Once in a while, the guilt trips. :-D

Laughed until something you were drinking came out your nose?
Guilty. In younger days.

Caught a snowflake on your tongue?
Guilty. Aama, idhula ennaa guilt? Was in a few snow blizzards and snow went into eyes, ears, nose, mouth and hence tongue as well. But, I dread those Patel photos in snow. Once, almost collapsed with frost-bite when I picked up hardened snow with bare hands and held them for a few seconds for a photo. Took more than 2 hours for the hands to begin to feel something. :) :)

Kissed in the rain?

Sat on a roof top?
Guilty. Not just rooftop sitting, I jump to my neighbouring terrace from mine, even now, to fix cable wiring pulled out by monkeys. :-)

Kissed someone you shouldn’t?
Innocent. Namakkaen vambu?

Sang in the shower?
Innocent. But when the water is cold, have shouted gibberish aloud in the shower to lessen the shock of the cold water splash on skin. :-) brrrr. Ninaiththaaley Nadungum. :D

Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on?
Innocent. Grrr at that thought itself.

Shaved your head?
Guilty, if you consider the tonsures at temples.

Had a boxing membership?
Innocent. Adhellaam edhukku?

Made a girlfriend cry?
Innocent. Thiruppi oru vambu question!

Been in a band?
Innocent. In my earlier company, the employees were divided into bands based on experience and potential(!). If you are asking of that band, yes, I am guilty. :-)

Shot a gun?
Guilty. The guns with 'ball-bearing' balls you see in fairs and the Deepavali ones with roll caps. :) Oh! I have also fired 3 shots from a real rifle (maybe as heavy as me) in a firing range as a cadet at school NCC.

Donated Blood?
Guilty. There is nothing to be guilty about it. Done it a few times.

Eaten alligator meat?
Innocent. I am a PETA guy. :)

Eaten cheesecake?
Guilty. I don't remember the last time, but may have eaten it.

Still love someone you shouldn’t?
Innocent. If I loved someone, I love them forever. Should/shouldn't doesn't matter. :-D :-D

Have/had a tattoo?

Liked someone, but will never tell who?
Guilty. Vambula maati uduradhaey sila paerukku vaelai. :)

Been too honest?
Guilty. Adhu enna too honest? You are either honest or dishonest. That's all. Been there, did there on both sides. :-D

Ruined a surprise?

Ate in a restaurant and got really bloated that you couldn’t walk afterward?
Guilty. Mooku pidikka eat, then come home and sleep. :-)

Erased someone in your friends list?
Innocent. Irukkaradhaey konja nanja friends. idhula erase verayaa? oru vaelai chinna vayasula pakkaththu seatla irundha payyan, ponnu slateai vaenaa erase pannaalum panniyiruppaen. :-) :-)

Dressed in a woman’s clothes (if you’re a guy) or man’s clothes (if you’re a girl)?
Innocent. Female cross-dressers - Widely Accepted, Male cross-dressers - EverybodyThinksYouAreNutsOrGay. :-)

Joined a pageant?
Guilty. In a dictionary, definition of pageant is wider than what you think (damn those who drilled the term "beauty pageant" into our heads). Go, read it. :-)

Been told that you’re handsome or beautiful by someone who totally meant what they said?
Guilty. :D :D :D (by the only woman I know really well, hope so)

Had communication with your ex?
Innocent. No ex, so no communication. Yoi, kudumbaththula kuzhappaththai unduu pannaadheengapa! :D

Got totally drunk on the night before exam?
Innocent. Not even water. :) Naan thanniyum adikka maataen, thanniyum kudikka maataen. :)

Got totally angry that you cried so hard?
Innocent. Mmm. Why would one cry while angry? :O

Forwarding this tag to zeno, chennaigirl, TheUncanny and Anu for further enlightenment of the blogger community.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Short Takes

And here is my take on the movies watched over the past 3 weeks.

Wall Street (1987)
I saw this 1987 movie  for the first time and what a compelling movie it was! 'Greed is good', is the motto of a high flying stock broker, Gordon Gekko (played by Michael Douglas). A young stock-broker Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) gets acquainted with him by trading some inside info and grows up as he gets sucked into the a world of insiders, greed, women and double crosses et al until Gekko shorts Bud by trying to break up the airline company, Bud's father works for. Bud retaliates on Gekko double crossing him with consequences and eventually trapping Gekko. An out-and-out Michael Douglas film, no wonder he got an Oscar for it. There is a sequel to it,  "Wall Street Money Never Sleeps" which is being premiered at the Cannes feastival currently going on.

Pudhiya Vaarpugal (1979)
This 1979 movie launched Bhagyaraj as hero and Rati Agnihotri as heroine. Simple story, typically Bharathirajaesque. Teacher (Bhagyaraj, with his eye glasses as tall and wide like the windshield of a bus, as was the norm those days) comes to a rural school, falls in love with a belle (Rati), a lecherous village head-man and his side-kick (Goundamani excels here), teacher's false implication in a murder of a social worker and banished out of the village, Rati's marriage to Goundamani on a crooked plan by the headman and the headman's murder on the night of the marriage by Rati as he eyes her and Goundamani removing the thaali and asking Rati to run away with Bhagyaraj. There was no exaggeration in the village life portrayed and Ilaiyaraaja lilts with rousing songs. Never felt bored as I watched this movie and its incidents unfold at leisure.

Angaadi Theru (2010)
A unique view of the not-so-lovely life of the people behind the facade of the glamourous multi-storeyed shops in T Nagar, Chennai. No doubt that it was a dig at Saravana Stores, the behemoth there. What struck me from the movie's portrayal of gloom, squalor, the harsh working conditions of the sales people and their helplessness at being run over rough shod, were the strains of optimism that run throughout the movie. Down to earth acting by the actors and a completely different view from the director shod of beautification or sugar coating makes this movie a worth watch.

Iruvar (1997)
First time, I am seeing this movie in its entirety. Wow, Maniratnam had guts to take his view in a mildly camouflaged fashion, of the holy cows of Tamil politics, to celluloid. Anna, MGR, Karunanidhi, Jayalalitha and the subtle power plays between them. Those who do not have a view of the political background in Tamil Nadu cannot appreciate what this saga is all about and the inherent subtlety in the dialogues and casting. It was a movie for those who understand the currents of Tamil politics of yore. Though the standard disclaimer comes up as the first few moments in the movie, it is his take on the folks that ruled Tamilnadu (or have been ruling Tamilnadu). Mohanlal as MGR, Prakash Rai as Karunanidhi, Nasser as Anna, Aishwarya Rai as the first wife of MGR and as Jayalalitha, Gouthami as the second wife of MGR, Revathi and Tabu as the wives of Karunanidhi do justice to their roles, the protagonists more so. I spent my time mapping the screen actors to their real life equivalents. Aish looks the same now as what she was in her first film.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Point, set and game

Read an article, a week or so back, in the Times of India on Martina Navratilova's breast cancer and Leander Paes' 9 PM call (Copy of the TOI article on and its Tamizh translation that was posted on IdlyVadai (a popular satirical blogger). She was one of my favourites when I used to watch tennis on good old Doordarshan. I just liked her for no rhyme or reason.

Here is an one liner each about some of the tennis greats on what I recollect on them. You may not have heard a lot of these names or even be born during the era when these folks were at their peak. :) Ramesh Krishnan and Vijay Amritraj are there here as they were India's warriors in the Davis Cup matches time and again. I am not including the recent crop of players into the list.

Andre Agassi - Colorful shirts and knee length shorts, the tonsured head and cool game
Arantxa Sánchez Vicario - The girlish wide smile, duels with Steffi
Björn Borg - The bandana, Wimbledon games with John McEnroe
Boris Becker - Cat on a court, stalking corners in a flash, his hair
Chris Evert - All I recollect is that she kept losing to Martina
Gabriela Sabatini - Double fisted backhands, pretty face
Hana Mandlikova - The head-band, graceful backhands
Ivan Lendl - Tall, lanky, the never ending French Open rallies
Jennifer Capriati - She came young, she won a few and slowly disappeared
Jim Courier - His cap, wizard in clay and hard courts, persistence
Jimmy Connors - Southpaw whose nemesis was John McEnroe before retirement
John McEnroe - The scowling southpaw, his serve and volleys, the tantrums
Martina Navratilova - The southpaw, her glasses, calm confidence
Mats Wilander - Epic, epic clay court battles, curly red hair
Michael Chang - Another sly cat on the court, boyish charm
Monica Seles - The grunts, the powerful hits
Pat Cash - Bandana, Australia, his Wimbledon win over Ivan Lendl
Pete Sampras - Never say die attitude, and his loser posture when the going went really tough
Petr Korda - Hairs standing on end as if he kept his hand on a van de Graff generator
Ramesh Krishnan - Davis Cup, He played as if the ball could get hurt and his deft placements
Richard Krajicek - Probably the fastest serves and aces I have ever seen
Stefan Edberg - Grace, grace and nothing but grace personified gentleman
Steffi Graf - Serves, energy and the awesome forehand
Vijay Amritraj - Davis Cup, Could leverage a partisan crowd to cheer him to victory

There are a few whom I may have left out, but that is okay. This is a random recollection.

And yours???

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Travelogue - The Switchback Mountain

Now that my vacation plans are toast, I thought I'll pull a travelogue that has been sitting as a draft for a significantly long time (almost 6 months), and publish.

Blessed are the people with a home in the mountains or close to it. It is an experience to be on the hills or close to one. The air, the silence, the sounds, the vistas, the clouds, the mist!!! I could go on and on.

The hills in the distance beckon
How many times while going on journeys, you come across a fork in the road or a board with directions to a place of which you have little or no idea of, but somehow urges you to visit it? Our visit to Kolli Hills (Kolli Malai in Tamizh) in Namakkal district of Tamil Nadu was one such. Used to see markers to it on the Salem-Namakkal highway near Rasipuram on my drives to Thanjavur, and before one such trip, decided to take the fork to Kolli Hills and then continue the journey. This was a rare 'whole family' occasion with my parents and siblings/family joining the trip.

Lonely road to the hills
Trolled about the place on the Web and one of the high points of the place was the approach to the top. I am not sure, but the road from the foothills to the top of the mountain must figure at least in the Limca book of records.

National Highway 7, as smooth as it gets
Bengaluru (mind it, from the outskirts) to Salem, starting in the morning, was an effortless cruise due to the NHAI paving an international grade road for the entire stretch. Detoured into Salem, packed lunch at Adyar Ananda Bhavan (A2B) at Salem and started towards Namakkal. The drive till the Rasipuram diversion was good (the national highway NH7 is being 4 laned all the way to Kanyakumari as a part of the North-South corridor) and then an abrupt slow-down to a crawl as we entered Rasipuram. After enquiries and around half an hour of further driving, we were at the foothills of the mountain range.

Kolli Hills is a part of the Eastern Ghats and is around 1300 metres above mean sea level (MSL). The climb up is heady. 70 hair-pin bends (or switchback turns) till you reach the first village on the top (approx. 20 kms) and from there to other places (villages) around on the hills, there are further more hair-pin bends to negotiate. Either you can enjoy those 180° turns or sit tight with your head reeling and stomach churning (and inhaling a citrus fruit or eat sour candy).
You can see the road starting at the top left corner and snaking its way to the center

Negotiating a curvy hair-pin bend
Green carpet
The beauty with any mountain/hill road is that as you slowly go up the gradient, the forest cover increases and by the time you realize it, there is a valley on one side and you have climbed the hills and a carpet of green soothes you. The hair-pin bends here were not difficult to negotiate with the sparse traffic, having negotiated the steep ghats from Bandipur to Ooty via Masinagudi (36 high gradient hair-pin bends, boy! what a route it is) a few weeks prior to that. It took around an hour to get to the top of the hills from the base, and the journey was worth it.

Approaching the summit
Stopped near a wayside temple with a mountain stream beside it, with a nice flow of water. The water was cold to the touch and refreshing. After standing relaxed in the flowing water for a few minutes in rapt silence with nothing but the sounds of the gurgling water on the rocks and the mini waterfall, unpacked the A2B lunch and gobbled it up, sharing it with two doggies that were roaming around. Surprisingly no monkeys at that point. Especially when you are really hungry, food tastes like 'devaamritha' and A2B's curd rice slips through your tongue to the stomach.

The vista view
There was a vista point at the summit from a government guest house where the valley down below and the plains beyond can be seen. The wind was very strong at this point pushing everything around. There were a few other vista points as well, but we decided to go to a few places and then head down before darkness falls.

Arappaleeswarar Temple
Some places of interest around
This place is famous for its Paari link to Tamil Sangam literature. The anecdote is that king Paari, who on seeing a jasmine (mullai) climber on the roadside without support to climb upon, left his chariot for the creeper to use as a prop. (Mullaikku thaer koduththaan Paari) Nothing much exists of a palace or its associated trappings. There is an ancient Shiva temple (Arappaleeswarar) and a gorgeous waterfall (Aakaasa Gangai) for which you have to go down a 1000 steps. We didn't do it as the skies were darkening, tiredness was setting in, and we had to go another 160+ kms from base of the hills to reach Thanjavur and driving in the dark is treacherous because of the curvy roads till Tiruchi and demonic drivers with their headlights blazing on hi-beam. On the way down, picked up some hill produce (pineapples, oranges etc) and the oranges proved useful to overcome nausea while negotiating those 70 bends down.

The roads were lovely, especially for a road less travelled. The hills are still unspoilt and hopefully remains that way. There is an annual festival on Paari that happens which seems to get crowds there. But it is relatively peaceful and hidden, otherwise. For those who have heard of this place somewhere on TV, yes!, it was featured in a diversionary story in the Tamizh soap of a life-time, the one and only "Kolangal" (gee, I forgot the serial's name suddenly and had to look it up and whoa, I miss that stupid serial in hindsight :-))