Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's time for a renewal... :)

December 31... A day that has got the specialty that no other day (arguably) has - it is considered the moment we prepare ourselves for a renewal, a change, a new beginning... We make resolutions (that we most often break in the meantime ;)) and give serious thoughts about ourselves and what we expect out of the upcoming year. So this day definitely deserves a special note and when I just close my eyes and try to think what I expect from 2009, a few general and a lot of personal wishes haunted my mind and I'll try to summarize the wishes that I could share with everyone...


Man has come far from this. But I at least wish the year has no terrorist attacks and that no human life is lost for the sake of establishing one's supremacy over the other.

A positive change in the Indian politics:

Elections are fast approaching... Let me hope that this year marks the beginning of the journey towards good; and let me pray and hope that the situation changes positively in my country.

Minimal hurt:

I wish I don't end up hurting anyone in anyway in 2009.

To be of help:

I hope I could be of help to as many as possible in any possible way - financial, emotional, personal and otherwise...

To focus more on my interests:

I hope I could spend some more time on my interests and shape up my skills for a better tomorrow.

To catch up with people:

I hope I can get back in touch with all the good souls I ever knew... Due to my inherent nature, I'm content with the feeling of someone being there for me; and at times, the other person might mistake this for indifference. Let me try to patch up these differences as much as I can.

To maintain a journal:

Writing a diary has always been my interest. But I never got into the habit... Perhaps I can do something about it this year...

Balance of work and personal life:

Of late, I'm improving on this one but let me hope I could bring in the clear demarcation this year...

Fitness and good health:

I'm no way close to a fitness freak and I still don't believe in looking at the calorie chart behind every food item. But in general, I feel I should bring my body to the right shape and I hope I could do something about it this year.

Enjoy my (possibly) last year of bachelorhood:

Even though there is absolutely nothing going on at this moment about my marriage, 2009 perhaps might be the last year of my life as a bachelor. 27 might be the magic number and if it is, then 2009 would be my last buddy! :D Whatever it is, why take chances? Let's enjoy 2009 and rock the place! :)

Wish you all a splendid New Year! :)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Traffic jam!

I'd been going around places over the past few days and too many things caught my attention, resulting in a complete traffic jam on my top floor. Let me try to throw some light on the top 3 topics so that it gets freed up a bit.

Poverty in US:

I'd once blogged about how old people run shops in Florida to win their bread and I've seen drunkards sitting by the roadside with some cardboard that says they need help/they are homeless, etc; but for the first time I saw a kind of poverty that really reminded me of Diwali times in India. Anyone who grew up in India, specifically in Tamilnadu would know how poor families struggle to put up smiling faces on the festive day. When some guys get crackers for about 10 grands, this poor father will be taking his son to the busiest street in the city/town with a few hundred bucks in his pocket and a few tons of heaviness in his heart; and he'll fake a smile and get him loads of cheap stuff that would create an illusion of excess to the kid. I saw the Americanized version of that poverty yesterday when I was renting a car. The African American guy had three daughters and he would be in his middle ages, perhaps 40 if my guess is right; and he had come over with his family for the holidays. He was trying hard to put up a smile but duplicate seals could be seen all over it. The girls were constantly complaining about something and he was telling the rental car agent about the nasty trip they had just to save some money. I was almost done with my paper work and just when I was about to start with the GPS that I had rented along with the car, he rested his glowing eyes on it and asked the agent "Is that a GPS?". The agent promptly tried to make business out of it and asked "Yes. Would you like to get one too?". With a dejected smile, yearning heart and a mind fighting to conceal his emotions, he said "No thanks! We know where we are going" in a shaky voice; and at that moment he almost caught me in tears.

Seven pounds:

After a really long time, a movie that I watched in a theater made me feel happy to have chosen it. Seven pounds is an amazingly simple, yet touching story that really creates an impact in us. Except for the never changing reaction of Will Smith, everything about the movie was awesome; and I'd say it's a must watch movie. The scenes where an old lady explains her sufferings to Will and the scenes where Will uncontrollably falls in love; were simply beautiful. A special mention has to be given to the cameraman who has done an excellent job in composing the shots. The irony is that me and my friend went to the night show around 10 PM and it was funny and interesting to see the restlessness in my friend when trying hard not to sleep :)

It's pay time:

2 months of vacation and almost 2 months of pay-lessness... At last I'm back into a job and I hope and pray this one goes well.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The lengthiest movie I ever watched

I started watching the movie "Aitraaz" (Hindi) sometime in the afternoon yesterday and as with the other movies I watched this week, the source was the DVD collection that I landed upon. But then, as with almost all the DVDs this one hung too; and I had no choice but to continue the movie online. Megavideo has a dvd print of this movie but it has also brought in a stupid rule that one can watch only 72 mins of video consecutively and after that you need to wait 1 full hour (!!!!) to continue watching the rest. So I thought I'd resort to a torrent, download the DVD and then continue... But after trying 7 pages of google results (trust me I tried almost every site) and spending like a few hours on this one, I was almost about to give up when one link said the movie is available online; and guess what? The links given were Youtube links!!!! The print too is pretty decent since the movie is not too new... So effectively, I watched the movie in so many installments over a period of about 12 hrs when I could've just streamed with Youtube. EKSI...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mixed opinions!

Inspired by a couple of real life incidents (not in mine), I decided to write a story a couple of days back; and being a Sujatha fan who loved the "Amudham" story that he wrote for Kannathil Mutthamittal, I thought I should be writing such a short, one page story that has a comparatively similar writing style. This is what I came up with...

மூடிய கதவு

மறையத்தொடங்கிய ஆதவனின் பொன்னிறக்கதிர்கள் முயன்றும் நுழைய முடியா இருட்டறையில் இருண்ட நெஞ்சமொன்றும் இருப்பதன் அறிகுறியாய் ஓர் அழுகைக்குரல். மூடிய கதவும், இருள் சூழும் இருளும், முட்டித்தெறித்த கதறலும் அப்பாவையின் வலி உயிர் வரை ஆழ்ந்திருப்பதை உணர்த்தின. முப்பது வயது தாண்டியும், முடிகளில் சில வெள்ளிகள் முளைத்தும் மனைவியாகி முழுமை பெறாத முதிர்கன்னியின் மனச்சுமையை சமுதாயம் ஏனோ புறக்கணித்தே விடுகிறது. காதலித்தவனை காரணங்கண்டு பிரிய வைத்து, காரணத்தின் காரணமாகி, நம்பிக்கையை இழக்க வைத்து, ஆயிரம் பேர் சுற்றத்திலும் தனிமைச்சிறையில் அடைய வைத்து கை கொட்டிச்சிரிப்பதும் ஏனோ அதன் பண்பாடும் ஆகிப்போனது. ஆண் போல் இருப்பதாய், அழகிற்குறைவதாய் ஆயிரமாயிரம் காரணம் கேட்டு தன்னையே வெறுத்தவளின், வெறுப்பவளின் வேதனை பொங்கும் வாழ்கையை வார்த்தைகளால் விவரித்து விட முடியாது.

இருளும் இன்னலும் மட்டுமே நிறைந்த அத்தருணத்தை இரவிற்பூத்த மின்னல் கொடியாய்க்கலைத்தது சிணுங்கிய அவள் கைத்தொலைபேசி. கண்ணீர்த்துளி வழியே அழைப்பவன் பெயர் மங்கித்தெரிய மனதை இறுக்கி மூடி வாய் திறந்தாள். இதயத்தரையில் இருந்து அவன் மேல் ஈர்ப்பிருந்தும் இன்முகம் காட்ட ஏனோ இயலவில்லை அவளுக்கு. பயம் - தன்னையே நம்ப மறுக்கும், வாழ்க்கையில் தடுமாறித்தோற்ற, தனிமைப்பட்ட, தனித்து விடப்பட்ட ஒரு தாரகைக்கே உண்டான பயம். பல முறை உடைக்கப்பட்டு ஒட்டப்பெற்ற நெஞ்சம், மற்றுமோர் விரிசல் தாங்காதெனும் கலவரம். தனித்தும் தோற்க்கக்கூடாதெனும் அவள் வைராக்கியம் ஏனோ சில நிமிடங்கள் கூட நிலைக்கவில்லை. அன்பை வார்த்தைகளாக்கி, அரவணைப்பை வாக்கியங்களாக்கி, தாய்ப்பாலின் நேர்மையுடன் "எனை மணந்து கொள்வாயா?" என ஏக்கமாய்க்கேட்ட அவன் குரல் திறந்தது மூடிய அவள் அறைக்கதவை மட்டுமல்ல, மூடப்பட்ட அவள் மனக்கதவையும் தான்.

As my own critic, I actually liked this story a lot especially considering the target I had in my mind. I thought I played with the right words to create the impact in the reader; and I forwarded this to a few of my friends for review and comments. To my surprise, this one got the credit that none of my previous works got - the opinion was greatly mixed up ranging from "I got goose pimples reading the last few lines... Awesome would be an understatement" to "Is this what you call a story? It's just a maze of complex, round about words". I was seriously baffled by the variations in taste and somehow I found it hard to digest such a level of diversity within a very small sample that I chose.

Some amount of thought behind the comments just made me realize one undeniable fact - "Tamizhini mellacchaagum". Almost all of the recepients of this story are Tamizhians - born and brought-up in Tamilnadu. But still, almost 85-90% of them were not able to follow the content fully; because their Tamizh was not up to the mark. I don't blame the readers and I completely understand how infrequently we use written Tamizh these days. But even after I understand the reason behind it, it's hard to believe that the number of people who can fluently read and write good Tamizh (need not be the puranaanooru style Tamizh... just a proper Tamizh prose) is reducing drastically. In the next generations, this is even sparse considering the ratio of parents who put their kids into French and Hindi classes right from elementary school. I don't know if the so-called Tamizh protectors have something to do about this!!

The second part of it is the Tamizh that we cultivate. I'm not against the Pudhu kavidhai form of Tamizh poems and I do agree that the reader should understand what the poet is trying to say. But ever since the emergence of Pudhu Kavidhai in which only the concept matters, prose has become poetry and corrupted Tamizh has become prose. In other words, if I write one proper sentence in Tamizh and break it into three lines, it is considered a poetry these days. No wonder many of them told me "This is so poetic for a short story". If that is the case with poetry, prose has worsened into absolute colloquial language which is much simpler to understand but almost completely different from the actual Tamizh. Take any Tamizh magazines... the stories published would be of this sort... characters speak slang and the rest of the sentences are made too simple. Unfortunately, this has made readers shun away from well written Tamizh and when there is a story written using some expressive words, it becomes legacy, untouched and taboo. In one simple sentence, readers don't expect anything more than spoken Tamizh in the written form. Taking my own work as an example, I'm sure it isn't 'bad' but I did get comments that called it complete pointless crap and that understanding this level of Tamizh is an overhead to the reader. I'm not a Kalki or Kambar or Bharathi to use the mightiest and the most perfect Tamizh word to be used in a context; but even with my level of Tamizh (the last time I actually studied Tamizh was in my seventh grade), people say it's too much for the reader to take. Will this situation change for the better? GOK!

P.S: I feel it's hightime to start my Tamizh blog and I believe I'd be starting it pretty soon... :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008


People who are from Tamilnadu and chat/Orkut quite often would definitely know the expansion of EKSI - "Enna Koduma Saravanan Idhu?" ("What a cruelty this is" to translate literally :D :D), a dialogue that became so popular after the movie Chandramukhi and I'm sure even the director of the movie wouldn't have known that this dialogue would be such a massive hit when he actually directed the scene! The usage context of this phrase is well demonstrated by the video below :))

You know why I wanted to say EKSI? As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm working on finishing off all the hindi movies in the dvd collection that I discovered (?!) and in the past two days I've watched about 6 movies. But to my surprise, almost every DVD stuck in between or at the end and I had to go online to watch the remaining movie. Trust me even Pardes didn't run fully... Even if I watch the full movie online, I've always got crystal clear prints and uninterrupted streaming for free, especially if the movie is a bit old like the ones I saw yesterday and today. So technically, the guy who spent quite a lot of money in collecting these DVDs couldn't watch the movie one more time (assuming he watched them at least once in that DVD)! EKSI...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I've been in the company guest house over a month now and only yesterday did I find that someone has left a collection of about 50 Hindi DVDs... Readily available DVDs mean lesser search time, need not worry about the quality of print online (I know Vinayak would be furious to hear this ;) :)), limited options to choose from and quick turn around times :D :D

Fortunately, I'm not a big Hindi movie freak and I'm one of those doubly-refined Madurai products, who never learned Hindi, never had too many Hindi speaking friends and who hardly sees any Hindi movies. These days, I've started watching Hindi movies in equal numbers; but my yet-to-be-seen list includes some of the most famous movies like Hum Aap Ki Hein Kaun; and as a result, out of the 50+ DVDs, there aren't too many previously watched movies. Actually, the week started with latest Hindi movies like Das Vidhaniya, Dostana and A Wednesday; and with this new DVD pack, I believe the 'Zee TV Vaaram' would continue for the next few weeks.

The best part about the whole thing are the subtitles. Given my ghindhi prowess, I always turn on subtitles just so I don't get lost when the characters start using uncommon words to make us believe that they are emotionally affected. Some of these subtitles really get me ROTFL. An example that hit my eyes from "Chori Chori Chupke Chupke" that I watched today...

(In the interest of people who know Hindi, I'll present the conversations in English :D)
Rani Muk: You can think of me as your sister. I'll tell my family about the whole thing and you can stay here.
Preethi: I'm happy to get a sister. But I don't want to share my sister's husband and make my sister feel bad. (Exact words used Behen and Soutan)

Subtitle: I don't want to be your co-wife :D :D

Monday, December 8, 2008

The complex way! :)

Usually, I don't prefer putting up something in Tamizh here; just to respect the non-Tamil people who read my blog (assuming there are a few :D) But this time, I couldn't resist. To give a bit of background, it snowed for the first time in my place a couple of days back; and though I've been in the US for about a couple of years now, I lived in the Southern states and this was the first time I saw snow... So I felt like writing an ode to welcome the snow and initially, I wrote a 'Venbaa' (a classical Tamizh poetry that follows certain norms) to serve that purpose.

ஈராண்டுகள் கழிந்தும் காணக்கிடைக்கா பொக்கிஷமே
நீராலுடல் பூண்ட தேவதையே -- வெண்பனியே
கௌரத்தின் இலக்கணமே இமந்தாங்கும் சீதளமே
மௌனத்தின் வடிவேயென் வந்தனங்கள்!

வெள்ளைப்போர்வையதில் வடக்கே வெப்பம் விழிசாய்க்க
கொள்ளைச்சூரியக்கதிர்களில் நானும் கூதற்காய - தெற்கே
காணாத உனை நான் தேடினும்
மாளாத குளிரிலாததால் மகிழ்ந்தேன்.

குலையாத அழகு நீ வெள்ளையோவியம் நீ
குலையவைக்குங்குளிரும் மந்தமும் நீ - இறைவனின்
ஆக்கத்திலென்றும் விருப்பும் வெறுப்பும் சமபங்கோ
தாக்குங்குளிரும் பாவையுன் வழியுரைப்பதுமதுதானோ?

The crux of the poem (?!) is to welcome the snow and wonder about the mix up of good and bad in everything in this world. Snow for one, is so beautiful but people who live in snowy areas in winter will tell you horror stories about it! This version uses words that are bit complex and to play by the rules is always a bit harder. But to my surprise, almost nobody appreciated it and all I heard from a few of my friends who read this was that it was good but they hardly got anything!! :D

Since the audience included some of my very close friends too, I decided to reword this into the norm-free 'pudhu kavidhai' style... Personally, I always feel that it doesn't take too much of a poetic inner-flow to come up with these ones, because most often I find that a sentence (urai nadai or prose form) is just written in three or four lines by people and they call it a poem as there are no limitations or restrictions in the free-flow form. You can write anything virtually and call it a pudhu kavidhai... I do scribble something of this category when I attempt something simplistic but I always try to make it sound like a poem than a piece of prose. But again, it looks like that's the version most people understand; and I heard quite a few people say it's too good! :))

தூய்மையின் இலக்கணமே தூய வெண்பனித்துளியே
சில்லிடும் சித்திரமே சிலிர்க்கும் நீரோவியமே
மௌனமாய் பொழிபவளே மென்மையின் மறுபெயரே
ஆண்டிரண்டு காக்கவைத்து அரவணைத்த அதிசயமே

உன்னிடத்தில் நானும் என்னிடத்தில் நீயும்
உணர்வில் குளிர்ச்சி உடம்பிலோ குளிர்
நீயிருக்கும் இடமறிந்தும் மெய்வருடும் நொடியறிந்தும்
உனை நாட மனமில்லை நடுங்குமெனுடலுக்கு

வெள்ளிச்சிதறலே வெப்பமறுத்துக்கொல்பவளே
மனதிற்கினியவளே மந்தம் புகுப்பவளே
மாயக்கண்ணனவன் மனதிலென்ன கொண்டானோ
மதுரமும் விஷமும் எதிலும் உண்டென்றானோ?

In the end, the moral is that people always prefer simple way of expression and no matter how much effort goes behind the perfect, complex version; it's not going to work out unless people understand it! :)

P.S: Simplicity somehow always wins over perfection... :D :D

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Appearances are deceptive!

Wednesday, Dec 3rd 2008 5:30 PM

I was in a milk white Pontiac V8 on the way to New Jersey, for an interview. The stallion was too good with a lot of 'oomph' in it; but I was in no mood to use it! After all, I didn't want to end up getting a ticket for 400$ at this pay-less (disambiguation: pay as in salary ;)) hour and consequentially increase my insurance premium. Like a hero in the mid 80s-90s movies, who lives a real slutty life in the first half, deciding to play the game right after the interval; I told myself "Had this been sometime last year, I would've reached NJ in 3 hrs". On top of it, I really forgot that the entire DC metro area buzzes with cars around this time and the drive to I95 was really testing my patience. On top of this, one of the toll plazas had no assistant in a full service lane and I was forced to violate toll because I had no nickels with me!! Not sure if I'd be fined for that... GOK! After spending over 5 hrs and 20$ for toll, I reached the hotel at NJ about 11:30 PM; and the only good thing about the whole trip was that I found a couple of good repeat rap tracks by T.I(Videos below)and these songs just rocked specially because of the Woofers in the car.

(Loved the lady voice in the song and the chorus)

(Liked the Samuel L Jackson part... I'd would've repeated the Wazzup MF portion of this at least 20 times :D)

If you are confused at this point about the title and its relevance to this post, you got it right... I'm not into the topic yet though I know that Srini could find out some relevance given the content so far! JFF ;) :)

Thursday, December 4 2008 12:10 PM

I was driving through the deserted area to find the place I was supposed to go to and finally ended up finding a real huge building hidden into the woods as depicted in some horror movies. I usually hate wearing typical formals like blue and blue or cream and brown; but since the instructions clearly said Business Formals and that I didn't want my dress to add to the resume misfit I had; I was in a light blue shirt and a dark blue pant, wondering why on earth would people want the candidates to be dressed in monotonous colors. But the moment I entered the lobby of the research lab, I saw about twenty people seated all across the visitors area; and I was the only one without a blazer and I would bet my fortune on my assumption that I was the youngest person there! Chinese and Indians dominated the place reminding me that I was in US and everyone had a huge executive bag with them from which they were picking up some papers every now and then, cross verifying it as if they were some SOP or recommendation letters! I had a bag with me too, but it had a couple of packs of cereal bars since the email said 'Feel free to bring your food and beverages'. "Perhaps there was some other point about certificates too" I thought to myself, realizing that it was too late to even worry about anything.

After 15-20 mins of wait, the test paper was given and we were supposed to complete the test by an hour and fifteen minutes. I wasn't prepared at all and it wasn't hard to find it out when attending the test. Java was the only comfort zone for me and the rest were like completely alien nations though I wouldn't call them the toughest of questions! In the end, we all were seated back in the visitor's area and I was almost sure that I'd be out! To my surprise, I was still in though more than 50% of the candidates were out after the test. There were quite a few chosen for the first round of interview and yet again, I was surrounded middle aged folks wearing shining blazers and brimming with confidence, thinning my hopes every time I saw them. After the first round of interview, almost all the 'probables' I had in my mind were out of the picture. "We aren't that bad" I thought to myself and I eventually ended up being one of the last 4. The results weren't clearly announced that day and right now it's a completely unclear picture; but at least I have hopes left on contrary to my first couple of hours at the interview venue. :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

World Aids Day - Let's spread the awareness

Thanks to the media, the education system and the efforts put forth by various non-profit organizations, AIDS is not an unknown term anymore; and almost 80-90% of the population, I believe, is aware of the deadly disease and its implications. But a recent news that I came to know, dumbfounded me. "More than 250,000 are estimated to be HIV positive and not know it" says a survey and the primary reason stated for this is the failure to undergo HIV tests.

Further, even people who are completely aware of AIDS are not in a position to think when they are 'high' and drug abuse leading to the usage of unhygienic needles or unprotected sex is considered to be the greatest channel for this dangerous disease. The worst part or rather the nightmare is that if these people who are ignorant about HIV in their blood, get married to someone else and give birth to a child; then it triples the number of AIDS patients in a short span. From an Indian's perspective, I feel that medical reports should be examined as carefully as the horoscopes during a marriage and that would be of great help in identifying these ignorant folks and prevent the dissemination of the disease - two birds in one shot. Let's all unite to make the world HIV free.