Monday, October 31, 2011

Chennaiyil Oru Mazhaikkaalam

Deepavali day (Wed, 26-Oct-11), around 2:00 pm at the Marina beach
[Click to view at a better size]
Panorama stitch using Microsoft Image Composite Editor of 5 individual photos taken in sequence

Nice horizon contrast with the northern side being bright and blue and the southern side growling dark with grey.

But, where were the crowds?

Maybe the plethora of TV movies kept them glued, or the new film releases kept them screened, or the intermittent rains reined them in, or the festival hogging kept them in sloth!

The beach looked fine from afar, but where the waves lapped, it was definitely yuck. Junk and garbage throughout, including an animal carcass. Less of plastic though, but lots of other junk. Maybe we (the people) will learn its value only after we lose it.

Spent around 45 minutes at the beach and as we returned back home, it poured for an hour or so. Guess we were plain lucky that day!

Note: The picture resolution and hence quality is reduced as to not tax the Indian Internet. :-)

Friday, July 01, 2011

Short (not so) Takes

Image Courtesy: Wikipedia
Pixar and animation generally go well. I liked their earlier animated ones (Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Finding Nemo, WALL-E, Up) and also 'Cars' in-spite of all the panning it got from critics. The story line was simple about a racing car that loses its way to go into a 'forlorn sleepy place' off a highway, the friendships it builds with the folks there and some racing excitement. Thought it was fairly balanced on style, sentiment, action, mystery and fun. Kids liked it and the adults too, to be fair. It does grow slowly on you.

And then comes 'Cars 2', a sequel based on most of the characters in the first one and added a few more. My verdict is that they over-engineered it. Difficult storyline to follow with espionage, alternate fuel, mafia and racing intertwined. There is lots of 007esque stunts, gadgetry and action too, but there is only so much you can bear. Worth a mention in the movie are the landscapes. It jumps right out at you, whether it is Tokyo, Paris, London or the Italian Riviera. Looks lovely, especially the Riviera. Few moments of laughter, via Mater, the buck-toothed bumbling tow truck, some smiles with characterizing based on the Brits and lots of action with zipping and stunt cars and being stuck in the gears of the Big Ben.

Could have been a lot better! And to see it in 3D at the Royal Meenakshi Mall's Cinépolis along with outrageously priced pop-corn tubs and nachos, sigh! The sound system at the theatre was thumping awesome. But that cannot redeem a weak movie, can it? And now I wait, for the last of the Harry Potter movies to come to town.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cycles of time

This blog post comes out of the result of some useless "slanted-head" day-dreaming mixed with nostalgia.

Today's generation has it all easy when it comes to bicycles. The cycles come in all sizes and shapes and there is no dearth of options and learning is more or less straightforward. Pick the cycle of the right size, get on it and pedal away with someone running behind you to assist in balance.

When I learnt bicycling, the options were just one. Learn it on my father's bicycle, a big one (Raleigh) at that and usually the hard way. And there were stages in the learning. This assumes that you wanted to learn cycling when your height was just taller than that of the bicycle.

The monkey pedal phase (maybe the most difficult one) was the one you started with since it was apt for your height. The start position was by putting your right leg through the mid triangle section of the cycle to the right side's pedal, the right hand crutching over the seat and the wrist clamping the middle horizontal bar and the left hand holding the handle-bar. All these body-gymnastics may have helped this position earn the moniker of monkey pedal. The cycle was moved forward by standing on the right hand side pedal through the middle bars and pushing the cycle with the left leg and then lift the left leg while coasting and then try to put it on the left pedal to move forward. The pedaling never was mastered easily and there would be the usual falls from the cycle and its bruises, both to the rider and to the cycle and in a few cases to others' property. The balancing was acquired by trial and error. Of course, you could say, the learning might have been easier with a ladies' bicycle where there was no horizontal bar in the middle, but for boys, it was not an option to be an object of ridicule. :-) What a sight it was, of seeing a youngster pedal the big bicycle like a gymnast, steering with one hand and body moving up and down in sync with the pedal. After quite a practice, and once the cycle was in motion, you could come out of the crouch posture and use the right hand to grab the right side of the handle bar, while continuing to monkey pedal. Boy!, you needed more concentration than what sage Narada had to, when he had to carry a bowl full to the brim with oil, on his head as ordered by Lord Vishnu as a story goes.

And then it was time to graduate to the next level, the 'bar'. Though not as difficult as the monkey pedal, this one had its own issues. You had to be either tall enough to put your legs over the middle horizontal bar to reach the pedal at the other side or you have to know how to balance the cycle in motion and do the maneuver. The start was usually by keeping the left leg on the left pedal and by holding the handle bar with both the hands and pushing the cycle forward with the right leg and when sufficient speed has been reached, lift the right leg off and do another gymnastic routine of lifting it over the middle horizontal bar to the other side from the front of the cycle and sit on the bar with legs dangling on both sides to co-ordinate with the pedals. There was more risk of falling down here and in most cases the fall happened inevitably. Once mastered, you are almost an adult in cycling.

The next phase was the 'seat' in which once the 'bar' maneuver is complete, you hoist yourself slightly up to the seat. This is like top of the world to announce that you have arrived on the cycling world. More often than not, the legs wouldn't be tall enough to maintain contact with the pedals all time as they go up and down. You would do the push of the pedal and wait for it on the other side to come up and then push it again to propel. Not too difficult and once in a while the pedal may refuse to rotate up and you'll go to the bar position to set it right.

The last position is an extension of the previous one, the 'carrier'. This demonstrated that you have mastered the art of cycling 60%. Here you drop down to the carrier at the back of the cycle from the seat and continue to pedal. Or you could start with the freewheeling position before the bar and put your right leg over the carrier from the back and then sit into it. Though the handle-bars may be slightly away, you bend over the seat to reach, hold and continue to pedal.

Once you have mastered 'singles' riding, come the 'doubles' and 'triples' and even quadruples (which we used to call '4-bles'). Doubles could be with a co-passenger at the horizontal bar (useful as a romancing prop for the leads in today's movies) or could be one sitting behind you. Triples is obvious. Sometimes you would do the double shunt where both the main 'driver' and the 'co-driver' on the carrier, who will seat himself with legs on either side and assist the cycling with both of them having their legs on the pedals. Typically useful for pedaling on inclined roads.

Of course there have been mishaps by just braking on the front wheel only or skids for harsh braking on the rear wheel on muddy roads. Of course there were a few other stunts which are mastered later, like cycling with no hands on the handle bars (cycling with one hand on the handle bar had already been mastered with the monkey pedal). I never managed to learn wheeling, not that it mattered much, but could have been useful, maybe to impress some lass at that time. :-)

And the joy at mastering each stage, priceless!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

What was that?

In the age of children or in the aggressiveness of youth, under an argument or a fight, the following statements are typically uttered.

Saami (or Amma) saththiyama sollu nee idhai pannalai?  [Promise on God (or Mother) (or colloquially, God promise), you never did it?]
Veliya vaadaa, naan gavanichchukkaraen [Come outside bugger, you'll be taken care of (as a dare)]
Dhairiyam irundhaa, irundhu sandai poduraa [If you have the guts, stand and fight] 

I did a double take and ROTFL when I saw the following ad in the newspaper yesterday. Either the CM of Karnataka is naive to wage war with the wily ex-CM in the name of God or his IQ has inched negatively as he aged. Looks like this tête-à-tête is lined for June 27. Oh boy! Who said politics here is drab? With folks like these, it is hilarity at its best. India rocks. :-) :-).

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Midsummer Morning's Dream

The pictures speak for themselves for contrast. Last Wednesday (25-May-11), woke up in the morning to see a blanket fog that had engulfed the whole place.

Couldn't believe it was mid-summer and I am seeing fog with a mild drizzle with a wind-chill making you feel as if you are at some hill station in winter.   :-)

Bangalore does have its Wow! surprises ...

Granted that I live at the fringes of Bengaluru to savour these for whatever time it lasts.

With due apologies to William Shakespeare for punning his title

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Aasai Mugam Marandhu Pochchae - ஆசை முகம் மறந்து போச்சே

And here comes another translation after a long lull from 'Kannan Paattu' from Bharathi.

The inspiration for this translation was a brilliant amalgam of fact and fiction on Bharathi by Suchi in the post "The forgotten face of the beloved" with a poignant background that Bharathi may have based this poem in despair on being not able to find a picture of his mother who had long passed on.

There is a pointer to a rendition of this poem at the aforementioned link by Sikkil Gurucharan.

கண்ணன் பாட்டு - பாரதியார்
கண்ணன்-என் காதலன்


ஆசை முகமறந்து போச்சே-இதை
ஆரிடம் சொல்வேனடி தோழி?
நேச மறக்கவில்லை நெஞ்சம்-எனில்
நினைவு முகமறக்க லாமோ?

கண்ணில் தெரியுதொரு தோற்றம்-அதில்
கண்ண னழகுமுழு தில்லை;
நண்ணு முகவடிவு காணில்-அந்த
நல்ல மலர்ச்சிரிப்பைக் காணோம்

ஓய்வு மொழிதலுமில்லாமல்-அவன்
உறவை நினைத்திருக்கும் உள்ளம்
வாயு முரைப்பதுண்டு கண்டாய்-அந்த
மாயன் புகழினையெய் போதும்.

கண்ணன் புரிந்துவிட்ட பாவம்-உயிர்க்
கண்ண னுருமறக்க லாச்சு;
பெண்க ளினத்திலிது போல-ஒரு
பேதையை முன்புகண்ட துண்டோ?

தேனை மறந்திருக்கும் வண்டும்-ஒளிச்
சிறப்பை மறந்துவிட்ட பூவும்
வானை மறந்திருக்கும் பயிரும்-இந்த
வைய முழுதுமில்லை தோழி!

கண்ணன் முகமறந்து போனால்-இந்தக்
கண்க ளிருந்துபய னுண்டோ?
வண்ணப் படமுமில்லை கண்டாய்-இனி
வாழும் வழியென்னடி தோழி?

And with the usual disclaimer that the translation may not hold a candle to the original, but here is the translation.

Separation Angst

Thy face beloved, envisions not my mind,
Lament this, dearest, to whom should I?
The heart forgets not the love, yet
Recalls not your visage and why?

The eyes behold a form, where
The beauty of Kanna effuses not
Looking hard at the face close
To find the blossom smile naught

Without a respite, expressed
Remembers the heart, of the connect
And see the lips utter ever
Praises of the charmer, direct

Sins of yours Kanna, hath
Made me forget thy lively form
Womanhood, virtuous they are
Seen ye, with their impeccant charm?

Nectar drunk not by bees,
Blooms that know not of glorious light,
Crops that look not to the sky,
Exist not in this world, dear!

The face of Kanna having faded out,
 Do they have a use of - these eyes?
Have not a portrait to behold,
To live on, dear, how do I?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gifted, she is

I watch the Airtel Super Singer 3 irregularly on Vijay TV. Yesterday and the day before, there was a guest performance by last year's Super Singer Junior winner, Alka Ajith. What a voice! Could blow the current Airtel Super Singer 3 competitors away, by a mile. She is maybe around 15 years of age and already a playback singer in Malayalam and hear her sing 'Chiragengu' from the yet to be released movie 'The Train'. Lovely and gooseflesh inducing rendition! She sang that song day before on the show and 'Thohda Thohda Malarndhadhenna' from the movie 'Indira' and a snippet of 'Udhaya Udhaya Virumbugiraen' from the movie 'Udhaya' yesterday. Mindblowingly silken voice!

God (or Nature) gifts some with extraordinary capability and Alka is one such gifted person. It is so soothing to hear her and the clarity and range in her voice are astounding.

May she be blessed always and this child is one who will definitely scale heights. Thanks Alka for those moments of divinity on hearing you sing.


People are dumb (Disclaimer: I don't claim to be an intellectual of any kind.). How else can you explain this? Was having blogger posting problems and was looking if it was reported by others and came across the following.

A box at the top says some status information about maintenance, which people generally don't read and which is excusable.

But how on earth can one find a cryptic answer like "bX-d7hq04" be helpful to anyone and which is actually an error code thrown by the Webpage to be shared in the forums to see if someone has a similar issue and potentially a solution. Maybe people thought it was similar to the 'Like' button of FaceBook / Google Reader and then clicked on it.

Speak about 'click conditioning'! Hmmph!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The world's costliest curd rice

Rs.10000 for 5 spoons of curd rice. Yes, it is true!

The parents like their curds/buttermilk and their offspring vanish at the sight of it. The milk derivative is scorned at, if it is present at the dining table. It is not as if that the kids haven't tasted them. It was not condemned when they were younger, but one fine day they developed a dis-taste to it all of a sudden and then stopped abruptly. No amount of pleadings, inducements, coercion and threats could make their children ingest curd in any fashion.

This continued for a few years and the parents persisted in their attempts to induce the habit into their children. One day, they struck a deal with their son of giving him Rs.10000 in cold cash, if he takes a few spoonfuls of curd rice. Eyes bright at the prospect of a quick buck, the son accepted the challenge and the parents thought it was all verbal daredevilry. Their daughter was made of sterner stuff. She flatly refused in spite of promising what she considers her ultimate gift, a pet cat.

The next day, around noon, the father was called up at his office by his wife with the news that their son ate five spoonfuls of curd rice, whilst making contorted faces. And he liked it. :)

A promise is a promise and to be honorable, the parents have decided to keep their word.

Now it is up to you to decide if it was the costliest curd rice ever. Maybe! And the quest would continue with the daughter. And you know who the cast in this anecdote are. :-D

Friday, May 06, 2011

Unworded - Gubbachchi

Bangalore's Paradise lost - As happy as a lark - Rare visitor at home - Wake up to chirps

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Agni Nakshathram

No, it is not a review on the sibling confrontation movie from Maniratnam that came more than two decades back.

Visited Madras (aka Chennai) over the last weekend and here is some unsolicited advice for those headed to Madras from Bangalore (aka Bengaluru), this month. Of course, this doesn't apply to those who live there. They are demi-gods and hence super-natural. They can tolerate even Fukushima. :-D
  • Never under-estimate the weather at Madras even if you have snow or hail falling at you on the way. We were greeted by blinding rain at Krishnagiri which we hoped would extend all the way to the coast. Alas!, 10 kms out of Krishnagiri and the clouds wore out to beat us blue and whack.
  • Madras has only 3 swings of temperature across the day/night - warmish hot, sweaty hot, 'sap the hell out of you and blow your head' gory hot. Any other weather is God's gift.
  • Of course, the night is hot, unless you catch a short warm draft of the sea-breeze close to the shore. You can wake up in the morning at 6:30 am to see your sweatfest begin.
  • God forbid if the power goes off (which seems to be the case routinely there) and you are out of inverter power (you'll be roasted to die without power in Madras). Of course, the 220V voltage dips down to 180V and so a fan at speed-5 is the same as a fan at speed-1.
  • This is one city where the bathrooms need to have fans (not just exhaust, but inlet and ceiling ones) and the minute you are out of the bath, you would have taken a bath of sweat unless the room you go into is air-conditioned.
  • Venture into T-Nagar, only to go into the air-conditioned showrooms that do not have the swarming crowds (find out if there are really any!)
  • Of course, there are good things that you can do over the week/weekends to escape the heat. Loiter around in huge centrally air-conditioned newbie malls like Express Avenue. Going by the crowd that seems to be there on weekends, you can scramble into a theater near you. The tickets are less than half the price that of the ones that the Bangalorean multiplexes rip you of. Of course, we got ripped off at the 'Polar Express' at Express Avenue mall like a doofus to go to what was nothing but shredded ice sprayed as snow in an enclosure with a few ice sculptures. Boy!, there was a crowd there too to try to beat the heat, no wonder.
  • Marina is potentially a no-no. In the evenings, there is a tsunami of floating population out there waiting for the poor-man's cooler, the sea. 
  • There are confusing fly-overs and watch out for the spoils of war of your vehicle (dents and scratches) with the Chennai roads.
  • Traffic is sparsely better than in Bangalore in most parts. Madras is building a metro and its effects can be seen in the Anna Nagar area in the evenings where the Bangalorean crawl seemed like a jackrabbit sprint. But nothing to beat us in this department.
  • In the hum of a spinning fan, dream that a foggy mist awaits you in the morning, and dream only (It is really true that in Bangalore, especially the fringes, have fog and mist in the mornings this time of the year too :-D) Ask your host to get an Almonard industrial strength fan which could propel one standing before it to fly. :-)
Or, look at the benefits; foodie places like Sangeetha's, Saravana Bhavan, Murugan Idly Shop, Adyar Grand Sweets etc for an eat-out binge (which are typically more expensive than a movie ticket), no dearth of shopping haunts and bazaars, hear a new dialect of Tamizh - the Madras Baashai, be in a natural sauna to get rid of your fat via sweat. Move to Madras, condition yourself for a month or two and then declare to one and all proudly that you can survive Al'Aziziyah!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Eatopia - Maiya's

Pedigree does show, especially with Maiya's. This is a vegetarian restaurant in 4th block of Jayanagar, Bengaluru, opposite to the police station and has a nice foodie aspect to it. This restaurant is from the MTR family and I have been here a few times for lunch/dinner and their Bisi-Bélé Bhath and Rava Idlis are stand-outs. They come with a very small cup of ghee (The metal cup is only as large as a small cap on your thumb, so chūntaani, to say). Spread over 4 floors, with the ground floor being a sweets and savouries section, the first for South Indian meals/tiffin and the floors above for special cuisine (Gujarati / North Indian)

South Indian meals are heavy there, and I am already tired of it. Starts with an appetizer (usually a juice or some digestive) in a silver tumbler (Señora disagrees that they are indeed silver), then comes a soup, vegetable curries, poori-saagu, bisi-bélé bhath, vadaam/sandigé, appalam, rice, dhal, sambar, kozhambu, rasam and curd, payasam/sweet and fruit-salad with ice-cream that reminds me of Crocin syrup with its taste and smell. The meal is Rs 110. The plates remind me of the cafeteria of my previous company. :) :)

Have not gone to the North Indian or Gujarati restaurants as of now; probably may not.

The restaurant is clean and large, the ambience decent. The only hiccup is that it is always crowded. You have to wait outside (cramped seating area) before being seated. The entrance to the dining floors is like a shanty fair and the passage is narrow.

Whenever you are in the Jayanagar 4th block area and feel like having a decent meal/evening snacks, drop by at Maiya's. It is worth an eat there. I was surprised that on my last visit, the person who took my order took it on an iPod Touch. Aha!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Unworded - Flower Beautiful

Hanging Flowers - Clicked at Munnar

Monday, April 18, 2011

Versatile, they thought and so be it!!!

Ambulisamma has honored this blog with an award (gasp!) for its versatile content (okay, okay, I am flattered!) and so, here go the thanks and the customaries.


1. Thank the person who awarded you & link back to them in your post
2. Tell 7 random facts about yourself
3. Pass the award

Thanks Ambulisamma (AA, in short) for the award and hope I am indeed versatile. When you sign AA in your comments, I recollect only Alcoholics Anonymous and not American Airlines, hic!, :-) :-).

  1. I remember most of my classmates' names from my 10th standard than my 12th or my grad classes, given that it is eons since passing out of SSLC. Some nostalgia, that! I have never ever done full nighters before exams at any time. The only instance I remember studying past midnight was till 1:00 pm for a Chemistry exam in my undergrad class. I have been known to take it easy and played street cricket on the days of my SSLC final exams (even before heading for the exams) that my father was asked later if I passed. It is another matter that I passed with a very decent score that even I didn't expect. :-)
  2. I loved to read newspapers end to end including classifieds at one point in time while my ears shut off from the rest of the world. It has reduced to just quick eye scans these days, but I usually need something to look at during my morn coffee or during meal times, even if it is a flyer for something useless (As Vivek, the comedian, quips in some movie about folks in a tea-shop reading about the Indira Gandhi assassination in the newspaper kept there). In fact, my cousins and aunt used to tease me stating that my future wife would insert ads in the newspapers to make me to get groceries et al or do chores. :-) Of course, Señora doesn't do that, I get an eyeful and an earful (unmuteable, unpre-emptible and unblockable) these days if I don't do the requested things. :-) :-)
  3. I have always been intrigued at all the Page 3 folks in the newspapers (my paper is Times of India, ToI) as to what they do in real life other than cling on to each other and grin ear to ear all year long, have parties or pose with wine glasses and having interesting names with numerological twists. I even remember a few regulars on those pages. Those who know ToI know what a 'masala' paper it is. Señora now knows more about the Hollywoodies/Bollywoodies than me though she scarcely skims those pages. I used to nag her with questions on 'general knowledge' as to who is the current husband of whom, the past wife of whom, who is this/that, yada yada and these days she can identify almost all those 'icons' with their past and present and ex-es. :-D :-D
  4. I used to lie (of course, not on serious topics) straight-faced as a practical joke on parents/Señora (examples being I am transferred to Delhi or I have to leave abroad over the weekend, I am going to quit my job etc). In earlier times, it was believed to the fullest and I would keep up the act for a long time. How long can one keep up with 'huli banththu, huli banththu' (puli varudhu, puli varudhu)? These days, one look at me and Señora sniffs it out as bluff though very rarely she errs. Fun, it is (was)!
  5. Would like tiffin/snacks rather than a meal. I used to hate veggies, but now I eat almost everything (used to hate ladies-finger (okra) the worst, but now it is okay) with the singular exception of capsicum which I can only ingest as 'bajji'. Similar case with North Indian foods/masala. I only tolerate aloo-parota with pickles/curd. :-) You now know how to make me run a mile away!
  6. I love the smell of rains and the weather just after it has rained. However standing in the rain or getting drenched is a strict no-no. I seem to have an skin reaction with respect to cold weather and dampness. So, no Holi for me folks!
  7. Habits die hard, laziness rules and it does, really! I do not believe why one would need to go to the railway station and stand in the platform a full hour or two before the train ambles in. I believe in being kept on the toes. :) I have missed a train once to Bengaluru from Chennai and saw the last coach vanish slowly to a dot as I ran into the platform. Have been warned by Señora to leave home early especially if we are dropping her parents at the railway station. I ran out of petrol in the car once while doing the drop to the station and blood pressure shot through the roof for all folks in the car. Even now, I drive the car with the 'Fuel-low' lights on for a fair distance before I go to re-fuel. You should see the reaction of those in the car these days when I state that I see the fuel light has come on in the console. Ha Ha Ha :-) :-) Don't I need folks to push the car? 
  • Zeno, the philosopher, who was my inspiration to blog :-D
  • RS, mysterious and dignified. :-)
  • chennaigirl, P's mother and an interesting blogger :-)

Well, I have rambled on and on and on to make it 'random stories' and so here it stops. :-) :-)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Unworded - Color contrasts

Tamizh New Year Greetings & Wishes!

Lavender amongst shades of green - Jacaranda blooms

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Powers of Persuasion

A few days back, on a Friday, I had to work out of home because of back-to-back early morning teleconferences and as driving into Bengaluru is a nightmare after 8:30 am. El Niño was having a holiday and the first thing he said after waking up was 'Thum aaj office nahin jaayaengaey'. We wonder as to how he manages to 'think' and talk in Hindi fluently when no Hindi is used at home except for watching what the characters mouth in Doraemon, Perman, Ninja Hattori, Shin-chan, Beyblade, Oggy and the cockroaches etc etc. :)

After fueling up and realizing that I was still at home and on my laptop, El Niño persuaded me to come and play at 9:00 am in the morning. Barked back saying that I had work to do and hence no play. For around half-an-hour there was no sign of him and then whoosh!, there was a paper rocket flying over my head. I ignored it and continued. A few minutes later, another paper missile landed with a dire missive. "Do not speak to me. Until you say sorry I wont talk to you".

And then I go, to find him behind a fortified barricade of pillows, sheets and blankets, drawn from all the rooms. A few sorrys and cajoling did not get him out of his frown. And then the magic words, "Shall we go and play TT and squash?", did the trick. And off we went out for an hour or so, burning a few calories with sweat, tears (me being accused of cheating in TT) and toil, while the work waited.

A similar scene two days back on Sunday. We had played tennis for around an hour in the baking morning sun on a concrete basketball court and came home to cool down when there was trouble again in the form of the swimming pool. Looked out toward the pool and not a soul in sight with only the shimmer of heat waves floating. Tried to wriggle out saying it is hot and I do not have swim trunks. And he went in, dug into my 'junk collection' and pulled out two big rubber-bands, strapped them to my knee length shorts and said, 'your swim shorts are ready. lets go'. Not to disappoint, drove down with him for around 6 kms to a sports shop, bought swim trunks and headed back home for lunch.

The negotiation started as to when we enter the pool.
"4:30 pm, when the sun is lower", I said.
"No, 2:30 pm", he refrained, "I'll finish food by 1:30 pm and then one hour to digest".
"It will be too hot even then. Look at you, all tanned. Okay, We'll go at 4:00 pm", I persist.

After a few minutes of back and forth of watching puppy-faced at the clock and at me, I had to melt (is there a choice?) and move the time up to 3:00 pm as the pool rendezvous. Slipped into an afternoon siesta after lunch with the drone of some toon TV channel in the background when a loud noise startled me. The TV was still on and the time was 3 minutes to 3:00 pm and there he was, before me, ready with his swim-wear accessories, towel et al and asking me to get mine to go to the pool.

And off we trudged to the pool, after dabbing some sunblock, with the sun beating down, for my 2 hours of flotation and attempted breath control in the water. I know only one water manoeuvre, the back float. (Need to learn swimming, but the thought of water going inside my nose freaks me out to panic)

Don't know where El Niño gets his energy from; his usual day now has an hour of swimming classes, an hour and a half of tennis thrice a week, then the local cricket and swimming sessions and at times, playing badminton and TT, hide-and-seek games with the kids around, Wii gaming as a side-kick to La Niña and then watching the toon channels. And for La Niña, except for the swim classes, and thrice a week music, the days are spent at immense leisure, watching TV/toon episodes on, playing Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii and arranging and re-arranging her junk collection (like father, like daughter :-)) and maybe an hour or so of playing with her motley group of friends.

And for Señora, I have to thank her for all the mercies! Her day remains almost the same. She did mumble, 'Hmmm I should have the persuasive powers of El Niño. You seem to obey what he asks and he can twist you on his little finger.'

Ah! the joys of the school summer vacation, Still 50+ days to go for us to cope. Looks like El Niño asked Señora yesterday as to why I do not have a summer/Dussehra vacation like what he has. I am so overwhelmed with that gesture. Hope I had that luxury. :-) :-)

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Unworded - Self Portrait

Clicking Self
(with due credits to Ilaiyaraaja's 'Singing Self' from 'Nothing but Wind')

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


It was a very busy week with everyone in my team struggling to cope. Was in a team meeting where some action items were being discussed and disbursed. There was one line item which had no takers. Our manager called out to one who was logged in on the conference bridge. "Rob, looks like it is in your area. Do you want to take it?" Rob, after a few moments of silence, replied. "Ok, I'll take it. Does it really matter that with my work and the other actions, I am already under water. It doesn't matter if it is an inch or a foot. Pile it on.". And we burst out laughing.

Reminded me of a Tamizh saying (or movie song) தலைக்கு மேலே வெள்ளம் போனால் சான் என்ன முழம் என்ன (When the flood flows above your head; matters not the measure, a cubit or a wrist!)

Some adages (sayings) are indeed universal!!! :-)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Voids not filled

I knew Vaidhyanathan Sir (Sir, as we called him or Vaitthaa maama for the kids) from the time of my marriage. Señora knew him maybe from her school/college times. He was an LIC agent, down to earth, going around with a bag of folders/documents on his TVS-50 in Thanjavur and minding his business. I do not know his age, maybe around 50+, looked a bit older than his age, with some broken teeth and a quirky laugh. He was a bachelor, lived in a simple tenement in some bylane of Thanjavur, and didn't have much of an extended family from his side. He was a pillar to Señora's parents and considered a member of the family. Any occasion/emergency in the home, he was there, either helping out on something or just there with his presence lending moral support and in case we wanted any helping hands or some quick errands to run, He never expected anything in return. Whenever Señora's parents visited us in Bangalore for long visits, he would be requested to take charge of the house, which he did.

At Thanjavur, we would meet at Señora's place, discuss state, local, colony and LIC office politics or some trivia, with him seated in a foldable metal chair in the hall near to the entrance. We would force him to have tiffin/coffee or lunch at our home in spite of his protestations and he used to drop in regularly at our home with a caveat that we don't force him to eat/drink. We used to pull him in on any of our visits to places around Thanjavur, if he was available, so that he gets a break out of his day-to-day routine. He was always a busy man, being in Thanjavur one day, the evening in Tiruchi, the next day in Bangalore and maybe the next day in Madras or Mayavaram or sometimes Bombay. He had a rickety old Nokia cell phone and refused to buy a new one saying that was more than enough for him. He knew maybe half the people of Thanjavur, maybe an exaggeration, but he knew lots of people.

He used to visit us and my parents at Bangalore. He would call up and tell that he would visit us, or drop by just like that, waiting for us to return if we were out. He would at times book a hotel and we would protest that he could always come in to any of our homes at Bangalore and of late he did stay with us on his known visits to Bangalore. In any of the functions that we hosted, he was usually there, though he didn't need to be. He was a man of very simple needs and we were always in doubt as to what to gift him other than shirts or pants, even of which his tastes were very down to earth.

Two weeks back, he was in an accident when a two-wheeler hit him and suffered serious injuries on his head. Some good samaritans who knew him rushed him to hospital. He had surgery on his skull/brain and was in coma for around a week and on a respirator and passed away without any sign of recovery middle of last week.

Señora is distraught and her parents are in shock. It is painful for one who was close and known to you to be no more, all of a sudden. We do not know what his plans were for the future (or if he really planned something), any encumberances that he was addressing, things he promised for others or for that matter if he thought of anything beyond the present. He probably did not even get a chance to even think of his day ahead, leave alone a future plan or a post life plan or for that matter anything to convey to anyone as his life was cut short. For us, we do not have one who was trusted and was someone to lean on. We hoped that he might come out of coma, but he was sinking slowly and it was distressing that he was alone as he passed away in the ICU with no one nearby.

I hope time is a healer. Sometimes, voids never can be filled or forgotten. Everytime now if we see the iron foldable chair at our house where he used to sit, everytime we hear a TVS-50 rumbling down the road, everytime we see a rectangular black bag of documents, we'd be remembering him.

May Vaidhyanathan Sir's soul, wherever it is, rest in peace.

[I am using this post as a personal vent to what I feel and hence disabled comments]

Monday, February 21, 2011

Une potion de légumes

Ever tried doing a sambar with the following medley of veggies; broccoli, baby corn, onions, peas, bamboo shoots, carrots, red peppers etc? Hee Hee Hee, I did one and I liked it, courtesy the MTR sambar mix which sambarizes the veggies from their tasteless individual avatars into an encompassing aroma and nose-watering pungency of the sambar.

It is said that certain types of wines enhance the flavor of certain types of food and vice versa. Wonder what would be the right pairing for southie meals. Water!!! Being starved of certain food makes you crave more for it maybe.

Anyway, hail MTR and its cousins...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Short Takes

Trying not to hibernate on the blog. :-) Here are a few movies watched over the past few weeks at random intervals. I think the next post may also be of movies. :-]

The original 'Ghajini' movie from Christopher Nolan. A man with a short term memory loss caused by an assault on him and his wife, avenges his wife's death, and how! The screenplay is imaginative with a forward narrative of the present and a flash back narrative in a reverse timeline that alternate and merge. You must have seen the first scene amongst the initial credit sequences to tie up the narratives. Murugadoss must be congratulated for adding masala to Ghajini and adapting it to Indian sensibilities with Asin (the original has no definition of this character other than that she gets killed) and Nayantara (there is a decent characterization of her role in the original) along with the protagonist Surya. The back and forth narration would have definitely not cut ice with the Indian audience as it confuses the flow. A memorable movie for the 'whoa!' narrative.

2001 - A Space Odyssey
One of the earliest 'interpret it as you want to' type of movies and made before my generation. Directed by Stanley Kubrick on a Arthur C Clarke science fiction novel. No dialogues at all for the first 20 and the last 20 minutes. It kind of gets to you, sometimes nothing but silence and darkness fills the screen and you wonder if the projector has failed. Most of the special effects (no computer graphics at that time and the effects were done with real scale models and very clever camera sequences) are spell-binding. Blue Danube of Strauss is used for the space station docking sequences, and is just soaring and induces goose-bumps. The highlight is the HAL 9000 computer which turns against the astronauts. It is very slow moving with minimal dialogues and supposedly a cult movie as per the current generation sci-fi stalwarts (Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, ...). Watch it, but be warned that you may lose patience and get edgy and fidgety at what Kubrick is conveying.

Shawshank Redemption
I don't know how many times I have seen this movie and how many times I will. Story (adapted from a Stephen King short story) of a person's saga at the Shawshank prison into which he is jailed for life for murdering his wife and her lover, a crime which he has not committed. Tim Robbins (as the new convict) and Morgan Freeman (who has been in jail for 20 years before Tim) are stellar, as prisoners who develop a bond. The story builds up slowly to a crescendo where Tim outwits the jail warden for his freedom and for the innovative use of Raquel Welch, Marilyn Monroe and Rita Hayworth as a facade. Worth a watch, anytime!

Friday, January 21, 2011


If this isn't bliss, what else is?
Have a peaceful weekend
[Picture courtesy: An image on, modified with Gimp] 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Some times, kids have you stumped, literally and figuratively. Their observation is immaculately tuned.

Here is a short dialogue between self and El Niño last Sunday.

El Niño was busy with TV on the eve of his Monday morning test at school. He was inattentive to us, generally and sunk in cartoon world. It was a frustrating exercise for Señora in prodding La Niña to finish her lessons (La Niña seems to have my genes in day-dreaming with books! :-)), but for El Niño, he is cocky on his capability, kind of a go-getter. His money-math is awesome. No way can he be cheated hoodwinked by us when it comes to money and asks never-ending questions on it. :)

Me: I will give five lakhs to you if you get a state rank and to your Amma if 'La Niña' gets it.
El Niño (all attentive now): Five lakhs! What is state rank?
Me: When you get within the top 10 or top 50 ranks in the entire state? They'll put your name in the newspapers.
El Niño: How will you give me?
Me: In 1000 and 500 rupee notes, cash, from the bank.
El Niño: Okay. Will you give me 5 lakhs if I get first in Monday tests?
Me: No, that is for your 10th standard. Not now.
El Niño: Okay! But you have to give me the money then, but not by taking a loan. (and back to watching TV)
Me/Señora: @#$%^&*

Similar question to La Niña.

Me: Will you be a topper in your tenth? I'll give you 5 lakhs.
La Niña: Mmmm, Grrr, Hee Hee Hee, Whaaaat?, Go away! 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Travelogue - A car, a waterfall and a beach

This is a backlog post of another of my trips and a long one at that. It is more than 2 months since the visit, and I referred to it in my last travelogue at the end. This trip was worth remembering for all the trauma it caused us. :-) Back to the topic, this time, the quickfire target of a trip was to head to Jog Falls (a.k.a. Gersoppa Falls) and then maybe drive on to Karwar. In a space of around 2 weeks or so, we were getting to see two of India's tallest straight drop waterfalls, the earlier one being at Kodaikanal. And so, it was. I had fixed a tyre puncture earlier in the day by myself. (Señora gets into a fit whenever I do anything with the car, the tyres especially. I have a tubeless tyre puncture kit and portable compressor and so I can pretty much fix a flat tyre (tubeless, that is) after taking the wheel out. You see, I am a hands-on person. :) :) :)) Headed out from Bengaluru on a Saturday afternoon along with parents, and planned to halt at Shimoga for the night and then head further north to Jog in the morning. Boy!, I underestimated the amount of circus that needed to be done inside Bengaluru to get to the outskirts. I had been complaining of digging for the Metro on the road that I take to home and this was far worse. Chock-a-block traffic, dug out roads, unopened fly-overs waiting for some politico to open, bad drivers and by the time we hit the outskirts of Bengaluru, it was 4:00 PM and we were sapped.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Nothing but wind

The perpetually nippy weather these days at Bengaluru has floored me down with its manifestations. The first day of work this year has been tagged as a sick leave. I am like what Revathi tells Kamalhassan in 'Thevar Magan', "வெறும் காத்துதாங்க வருது" (only air is coming out) when he asks her to sing a song. Coupled with a nagging bad cold, a severe throat infection has ensured that I can only hiss (gosh! why am I reminded of Mallika Sherawat when I use this word?) or whisper what I want to convey. Any attempt to raise my voice leads to a spurt of coughing and broken words making it unintelligible as the sound of a coconut being rolled in a closed drum.

Avoiding a visit to the doc to resist antibiotics,  Let's see how long I survive this self imposed hibernation.

And the title was just an inspiration from Ilaiyaraaja's old musical album with flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia performing the lovely symphony of wind and the bamboo in the midst of some beautiful orchestration.

Whatever it might be, it is not a nice experience losing your voice, albeit for a short time. :-)

Saturday, January 01, 2011

I wish I wish ...

More than anything, everyone to be in their pink of health and a permeating happiness of contentedness.

Wishing all a wonderful year ahead.