Saturday, November 28, 2009

Haircut special - part 3

People who have been reading my blog for a while would know about the great haircut I had back in Mississippi. I had a haircut sometime back here; but that was a typical gentleman crop where the only thing you lose is 15$ and your hair more or less remains the same :D So there was nothing so fancy about it.

But a month and a half later, my hair was back to its terrific form and pretty much resembled a bonsai when uncombed. So, after a loooooooooooong wait (I'd rather call this India special wait as I thought of having this round of haircut back in India during my vacation and in fact, I'd say I've been delaying this more or less like people who grow hair for offering in Tirupati), I finally decided to get my haircut today. Thanks to vadivelu I was smiling while actually laughing my heart out during each phase of the haircut.

Step 1: Explaining what I need

Me: I would like to have a close cut on the sides and back perhaps 2 or 1 and gradually go up to a 3 or 4 or the front, long enough to brush.

Barber (staring as if I said New Delhi is the capital of US): But that will be too short.

Me (mind voice): Idhu adhu la!

Step 2: Barber being courteous

Barber (after trimming my side burns): This is number 3. Is that ok to have it this short?

Me: Doesn't sound that bad! Yeah! (mind voice: avasarappattuttaenao)

Step 3: Mowing

Just before I realized, she shaved off a semicircle from the back of my head.

Me (thinking): Aaahaa! Kelambittaaingayyaa... Kelambittaaingayyaa... I was also reminded of this comedy where vadivelu goes to a hotel and describes how perfectly he wants his ootthappam (for about 5 mins) and the waiter says "Master oru ooooooootthaaaaappam!" in the end.

Step 4: Step cutting

This was the most hilarious phase of the haircut. With all my hair gone more or less like Sethu Vikram, She was trying to trim the hair on the sides with a comb.

Me (thinking): Yeiiiiiiii... Yenna vacchu comedy keemidi pannalayae :D

Step 5: Feedback

Barber: Everything looks ok? (with a broad smile)

Me: Of course! (sarcastic obviously!) (Thinking:) Innum motta adicchu kaadhu kutthiru. Panksan remmmmmba sirappaa nadakkum! :))

So, there I was with a horrible haircut but smiling my a** off; thanks to Vaigai puyal. But one good thing as with all these horror experiences is that I need not think about a haircut for the next couple of months.


What time is it?
3:45 AM

Don't feel sleepy?
Yeah. But not much!

Are you sure?
Kind of... But I feel a bit sleepy too!

Then go on with your sleep!
No... I think I've slept enough. Marinara sauce and vinegar have caused a bit of acid indigestion. Perhaps I should take some Omam and water...

But, you've to brush your teeth!
Is it? Hmm... Let me think... WTF! Let's brush.

Why so yellow?

You look like a mess. Don't you think you need a shave?
It's 4 AM and I should get a shave? Well... why not?

Hmm... Much better. You need a haircut too!
Yeah... But couldn't get one at this hour.

So, what are you going to do now? Write a story perhaps?

But you had a few good themes that you wanted to write on...
Yeah... But I'm in no mood for that!

Why not?
I said... NO!

Ok... Extjs?
Uff... Never!

Call someone in India? Home perhaps?
Yeah... Sounds like an idea.

But you didn't pickup your phone!
I know. Just giving it some time. I'm in a leave me alone mood now.

Go online? Orkut perhaps?
No. I don't want to stare at a computer screen now.

A Movie perhaps?
I said, No Computer!

Then what now?
I got an idea. Don't you think this conversation is worth a blog?

But you said you don't want to go online!
Did I? We can always make exceptions. Let me log into Orkut, skim through OI and VM; and then blog about this conversation.

You there? Did you take a look at this post in OI? Someone is having a problem with his Sambar! Should I become the sambar Samaritan now?

Never mind! Let me start blogging...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Birthdays... :)

I didn't change my Orkut first name, last name for a while and since it reads "Yogaesh blogs regularly", quite often people ask for the quantitative description of "regularly" :) It's indeed been a long break this time; and though I thought of writing about a lot of things - movies I saw, my workload, mood swings, thought process, etc; I never got the time and the yearning to write together. To be more precise, I got both of them a couple of times, but I used those wildcards for continuing with my script which has been on hold for a longer duration than my blog :)

Anyways, today is my birthday and thanks everyone who wished me over mail, phone and Orkut. Unlike the usual b'days where the Indian version would be an early wakeup, sandhyavandhanam, temple visit, semiya paayasam and some sweet words; and the US version would be midnight get together's that last for about an hour or so; this birthday was extremely unique. Only one of my two roomies even knew it was my b'day and I was busy with some project work at midnight. I slept only by 5:45 and that pretty much ruined the rest of my day too. Some of my regular wishers missed my b'day; but I got some pleasant surprises from a few. So it's been a quite unique b'day in a lot of ways. Despite all this, there were a couple of things that this b'day had in common with my other b'days - temple visit and thoughts. The former is nothing new and anyone who know me faintly will be aware of my theistic thoughts; so I'd rather not get into religious philosophies now :)

Coming to the second part, every b'day is a natural alarm that rings in your mind, reminding you about your age and handing over the key to the world of thoughts and retrospection. The alarm has gone off every single year and this b'day was no exception. Career, personal life, relationships, philosophies and a million other things crowd my mind and somehow my mind finds out a way to ponder over every single thought that comes up and give its judgement. My blog would become a trash can if I pour them all out... So let me not do that! :) But this time the processor was quite occupied all through the day; and let's see if these thoughts turn into any positive change :) Fingers crossed in all possible combinations... :D

Monday, July 6, 2009

Across US in two and half days...

When I first came to US, I had a stupid dream or rather a wish that I should cover all 50 states in the nation before I go back to India for good. I always wanted to do a coast to coast road trip for this purpose and time and again, I couldn't do that partly because of laziness and partly because of practical limitations. But this time, it became a necessity and though it's not technically a coast to coast drive, this 2700 miles drive did take me through a many parts of the nation I've not been to, before.

Ironically, as much as I wanted to do this trip before, I didn't really have the mind to drive all the way this time because of several reasons. First of all, I was driving my own car and I didn't want it to break down or get damaged during the long and almost continuous course. Second, unlike a trip with a group of friends (or at least one good looking girl :D) I had to travel all alone and third, I couldn't really enjoy the trip or halt at different places. I just had to rush from end to end and reach the destination by Saturday (Jul 4th) in the worst case, so that I have a day to relax before I get to work. So as much solitude lover as I am, I thought that the trip wouldn't let me enjoy it.

But the trip eventually turned out to be pretty interesting; and I took away a lot of memories from this trip. Usually I drive at very high speeds and my objective would be to cover the distance in the shortest time possible. But this time, I was averaging 80 miles may be because I'm getting older; or because I was too cautious not to add any more direct/indirect expenses because of speeding :)

Before I talk about anything else about the trip, I should definitely appreciate the US government for building such a neat transportation system. I've travelled about 2700 miles which is more than the distance between Kanyakumari and Kashmir; and this I was able to do without any sort of pre-planning. A printout of the route and I'm all set. I sincerely wish Indian roads were as organized. (Fortunately for us, we have the railways and we could really boast of our rail network :))

The drive through the North-Western states was unbelivable and the scenaries were awesome to say the least. Uploading a few photographs that I managed to click on my way... Wish I had more time to spend clicking. :)

Apart from these, a lot of thoughts/ideas were going on and off in my mind; and to recollect them all or write them in a blog would be an impossible task. But sure enough, I'd say this would be one of the most memorable trips I ever made - thanks to my stallion which was smooth as silk throughout the journey, the police department for not noticing my ocassional speeding :D and of course God for well... everything! :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

An interesting cycle...

Generally speaking, I hate being institutionalized (courtesy: The Shawshank Redemption :D). I mean, if I'm asked to do the same thing over and over again, in a fixed cycle; then it wouldn't be long before I get fed up with the system and give it up. I'm into once such cycle now but lo and behold! I find it interesting. :)

Let me try to describe the routine...

09:30 AM - Wakeup with (a complete sleepy head and) the faintest interest to do so; and get ready.

10:00 AM - Come over to office and allow the system to take a deep breath and show me the desktop in about 7 minutes and 23 seconds :D

10:07:xx AM through 11:45 AM (xx denotes variable seconds depending on my system's mood and state of mind on any given day) - Complete pending craps if any. Answer stupid questions that come up in office and once through with the whole process, sit down with gmail and orkut. Mostly, my best friends would be online and time flies away.

11:46 AM - 2:00 PM - Power lunch and if possible power nap. (Indha baadi evlo thaangum nu kanakku vacchukkura vaenaamaa naanu :p)

2:01 - 5:00 PM - Repeat the tasks listed under 10:07:xx AM through 11:45 AM. :)

5:01 PM - 6:00 PM - Short nap before the long workout.

6:01 PM - 7:00 PM - Chat with roomies, ensure schedule and get ready.

7:01 PM - 10:00 PM - Volley ball or tennis depending on whether there is a group or just a few.

10:01 PM - 10:30 PM - Get home, take a shower, complete my prayers and start cooking

10:31 PM - 11:15 PM - Cooking and setting up everything for dinner. Meanwhile, make sure a movie is buffered.

11:16 PM - 11:45 PM - Start watching the movie and eat.

11:46 PM - 12:45 AM - Continue watching the movie and have a discussion on the movie.

12:46 AM - xx:xx AM (again xx denotes variable time) - Wonder if I should sleep and stay awake until I get yes as an answer (from within :D)

Now, I know some of u might be fuming reading this schedule :D Don't worry, this won't be on for long and just like all good things come to an end, this will too and that day is not far off (a week away may be ;) :))

Monday, June 8, 2009

Roger that :)

At last, the champ has managed to conquer clay too... Definitely, he'd be much relieved now and as he said "Now nobody can say he never won French Open" :)

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, Nadal is definitely a lot more sportive than him. But when it comes to the game, I can't think of anyone who impressed me as much as Roger. Let me try to think of the top few reasons for this... :)

Alligator spirit:

No matter how the game progresses, he will be hanging around until he breaks in. That's something that defines a champion.


The variety of shots, strategies and game plans he could put to use is just unbelievable.


Lot of players play the game well, but not everyone gets the style. Even the simplest of his shots will look like the most elegant shot one can play :)

Demoralizing the opponent:

Once he gets his rhythm, I couldn't imagine anyone except Nadal who can handle the pressure. He just blazes through and makes the opponent's life miserable.

Playing full-court:

Unlike many other tennis champions, he can play virtually everywhere in the court with the same level of comfort and dominance. With other players, they remain at the top of their game only in their comfort zone. Nadal for instance, collapsed against Soderling because he was constantly deploying top spins and that was a piece of cake for the opponent given his dimensions.

Painting the line:

The way he hits the ball just along the line (especially with the single handed backhand), pitching just on the baseline is a treat to watch. As simple as it looks, it is an unbelievable shot and one needs enormous control to play that shot. :)

In short, I concur with the statement that he is the greatest tennis player ever! :)

That said, let me a few videos where the champ is at his best... :)

And before moving on to the videos, let me congratulate Leander Paes for winning the doubles cup. Unfortunately, we never publicize that or encourage anyone except cricket players. Let's hope for a positive change just like any other department in the current state of affairs...

I can just keep adding more and more! Let me stop here :D Way to go champ...

Friday, May 29, 2009

A quick catchup...

Memorial weekend, tennis matches and movies succeeded in keeping me away from blogging for a while and I thought I should just sum up whatever I wanted to write over the past few days.

People who read my blog regularly (or atleast once in a while just so the count would increase a wee bit :D) would know about my haircutting experience here. With the first hair 'mowing' effective for 3 months, I had to trim my hair again; and living in a great metro like Clinton, I had no choice but to go to the same shop again (I should get my clippers and try 'suya sevai' once). This time, I made sure I sat on a different chair; and I did succeed in dodging the big mower :D This lady, a typical red neck seemed to understand my description better; and the way she explained it (just blend it all the way to the top, etc, etc) I believed she would do a better job (nammmmmmmmbi okkaandhaen :D). Everything looked fine until the machine almost reached the centre of my head. I was thinking "aaaahaaa... Wanted a vandhu vaangaayittiyaeda" (digging my own grave); but fortunately she wasn't as dumb as the previous mower. As she set a virtual boundary almost at the center of my head and started playing around, I thought I'd end up in the infamous Beckham style; but she had some soft corner for the right side of my head. So ended up having a cap of hair at the center of my head with my left portion completely mowed and the right portion cut as I wanted it to be. Hmmm... At least I was 50% close to what I wanted. :)

A trip to Arkansas:
Long weekend usually means a trip; and memorial day weekend was not an exception. We were out to the nature state on road and pretty much covered all of Arkansas. Needless to say I took a lot of photographs and I'm trying my hand on post processing now. One of the them turned really well... A pic that looked so ordinary appears exceptional now. Let's see how it goes. Highlights of the trip -
1. Met my friend Karthik after a long time, 2. Rode a boat :) Not a hand motor boat; but a pontoon with a steering wheel. That was fun to say the least, 3. Visited some excellent spots. Usually, we would be going in search of such spots. But the whole Ozark area was splendid when it came to the view points and scenaries. In short, enjoyed the trip. :)

Some movies:
Saw quite a few movies over the past few days... New roomie being a gulte, I was catching up with a few Telugu movies too. Of the ones I watched, I liked Sarvam. It's not an exceptional movie or something; but the concept behind the movie (butterfly effect) was awesome; and it's definitely worth a watch. Newtonin moondraam vidhi was also good; but one should forget logical aspects to watch the movie.

That's all we have for now... Stay tuned as we come back with more updates shortly. (Itthudan indha seidhi arikkai niravadaigiradhu :D)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hail Democracy!

Well... I'm not sure how to start this one, to be honest. I just couldn't digest the fact that India has chosen THE WORST party to the nation one more time. 60+ years of independence and the nation has moved from good to bad to worse; completely under the spell of this party; with the heights of its impotence reached on December 26th, 2008. No development whatsoever is possible under (pardon my language here) a bunch of old brats lead by an Italian!

I can keep writing pages and pages about this without any reduction in my irritation; but let me share a few points that are quite interesting and annoying.

1. Election malpractices reached a historic high this time; including rigging, bribing the voters and rejection of electoral rights for lame reasons. For instance, in Madurai (my home town), Tamilnadu; the polling % was 70+ when many of my friends and acquaintances didn't get to vote; and out of that Azhagiri (the corruption king's son) won by a margin of 2 lakh votes (the entire constituency has only 7 lakh voters). Further every home in Madurai was given 500 Rs per vote.

2. The polling % in Mumbai was in the lower 40s. Probable reason - Long weekend; and everyone planned trips to Goa and other nearby spots. In one simple sentence 'Shame on you Mumbaikers'. It's not sufficient to just talk and compose sentimental emails about blasts, insecurity and the loss of lives. What did you actually do to save your butt? Nothing! Even worse, Congress has won all the Mumbai constituencies; while the home minister shrugged his shoulders and told you that he has no idea about the nation's security.

3. I can't think of any improvements in the past 5 years; and in my view this was one of the worst Governments India ever saw. Corruption was at its peak; and in Tamilnadu alone thousands of crores were swallowed by MK and co.

4. Rahul Gandhi, except for his surname has no business whatsoever in Indian politics. IMHO there are a million other deserving youngsters fit to rule India better than him.

5. This is an illustration of how stupid the system of democracy can get. Reminds me of Hitler's lines in Mein Kampf where he says democracy will never allow a great person to raise up to power, purely because of the impedence mismatch between the brilliant few and the masses. This result just testfies every word of that sentence.

In a nutshell, I sincerely hope that the sanity of the Indian masses improves in the future; and that they get out of this silly sentiments of electing a party just because it has been ruling us for a long time. My dad's history book read "India is a developing country" and mine did too; but even if my son's book doesn't read "India is a super power"; let it not read "India is an underdeveloped, poor nation in the clutches of hunger". May God bless Indians and save the country from this destructive path. Jai Hind!

P.S: The ONLY thing I like about this election result is that the commies have got a nasty blow; and they've been castrated this time. At least one news to be happy about. :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Elections - One term that will be lingering in Indian hearts (at least in those of the politically active/responsible citizens) for the past month or so. With the final phase of elections happening today, the fate of the nation for the next few years would be decided in a few more days.

I'm not a political expert per se; and given that I'm in US now (and that the Indian Govt provides no options for people like me to cast their votes), I don't even have my name in the electoral list. But I just wanted to share a few thoughts about the way things are poised; and I'd also like to take this chance to cross verify my ability to analyze political strategies depending on the similarities/differences between my analysis and the actual proceedings.

Congress doesn't have anything to boast of as an achievement save the fact that a puppet PM compelted his term and that they signed the nuclear deal. Whether the deal is good or not in itself is a mystery and a highly debatable topic. That said, the Govt has a lot of negatives against it, primarily lack of internal security and absolutely no development whatsoever. In Tamilnadu, its allies (DMK) have taken corruption to a new level and they are setting role models for how one family can loot thousands of crores of taxpayer's money by controlling and distributing power among its members.

So does that mean the BJP will sweep the polls? Definitely not. Several reasons can be attributed for this fact. 1. Single party majority is almost becoming out of question in the current decade. 2. National parties, though known across the nation, aren't particularly strong in all states. Classic example being Tamilnadu; where the the Dravidian parties take the lead role in controlling politics. 3. The pseudo secular media (almost all the Indian news channels are under this category) and parties have always tried to portray BJP as some Hindu fanatic organization that will gun down everyone from the minority if it comes to power.

Personally I feel (1) is going to be the deciding factor in this election. BJP doesn't have a real strong alliance in the southern parts of India; and almost in all four states save Karnataka (where BJP actually commands some vote bank) BJP is almost deserted. In the north, I feel BJP will do quite well especially in states where it is in power. Even otherwise, there isn't anything that prevents people from voting for BJP; unlike congress that has a bunch of negatives tailing it. So assuming that the BJP does well in the north, all it needs is some solid support from the southern states; and I believe they have a plan in place - the third front. The third front in my view, is more or less like a short term parking place and honestly speaking, it has absolutely no sense in it because the parties cannot contribute to each other in anyway! So the whole point of the third front is to get some MP seats and then trade them on either sides depending on individual interests and profits.

That said, ADMK in TN and TDP in AP are likely to join the NDA; and the notable point there is BJP didn't even contest in many constituencies just to make sure that the anti-congress, anti-DMK vote is not split. With ADMK+ winning a large number of seats in TN; and TDP winning at least 50% seats in AP, added to the fact that BJP itself will get something out of Karnataka, the party doesn't really need to struggle very hard to cross the magic number. If at all my assesssment is right, Advani has taken this political game into a new level of post-election competition, which is kind of new to our setup. The party is seemingly very weak in the south (encouraging the opponents and giving them a relaxed mindset); and down the line when everything is finalized, all the silence might pay off and the lotus might bloom in the center. Let's wait and watch :)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Back to blogging! :)

People who follow my blogs quite regularly will know that breaks in blogging aren't extremely new to me. There have been occasions when I didn't blog for a while and then resumed blogging. This is one of them and the only thing that is different this time, is the reason for this break.

Usually it will be either because I didn't have a peaceful mindset or because I had a lot of work; but this time it was because of a combination of lot of factors. First and the most important of them being a gap/block/impedance/whatever you like to call it, in writing. I'd be flooded with thoughts; but I just didn't have the mood/nerve to put it down in writing. This is not just for blogs and it was also noted with my other works - script writing, poems(?!), short stories, etc. Something wasn't just so right!

Second, I'm having a pretty bad internet connection at home and outages are not rare. If at all I got the mood to write, I wouldn't have the internet connection working; and blogging from office has never been my cup of tea. :)

Third, the topics I wanted to write about were quite complex and I'm sure half of the readers (as though I have a million followers ;)) wouldn't get what I'm trying to say unless I'm really clear about what I'm saying. So it needs some time and concentration to come up with a presentable, comprehensible content.

Put together, there was an inevitable break and now it's kind of over except for the second point! :D I thank all my friends who have been inquiring about the break in my blogging journey (trust me there were quite a few :D) and I hope I'd be making a lot of posts in the recent future! :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

25 Random things about me...

I joined the facebook network (once again?!) recently; and the last time I joined it, I hardly did anything with my profile. This time, I was taking a tour around the site; and landed upon this interesting concept... Writing down 25 random things about oneself. Can be anything... The only rule being there should be 25 different things in there. I gave it a shot and here is what I came up with...

1. I'm a perfect example of a Libran. I have seen quite a lot of differences among my friends who belong to the same sun sign, but nonetheless the Linda Goodman definition of a Libran would be at least 95% accurate in my case.

2. I was named Yogesh and continued to be Yogesh till my high school. Namology changed my name to Yogaesh... If you ask me whether it made a difference or not, I'd say it did... At least my name became unique :D

3. I'm pretty much a mirror when it comes to relationships and people. What you see in me is what you want to see in me.

4. I'm a big fan of movies and I can watch movies non-stop as long as the list is good. Given a choice, I prefer Tamil movies for the simple fact that I grew up with them. But I watch a lot of movies in English, Hindi and Telugu as well. I avoid watching movies in languages that I don't comprehend, purely because I don't want to miss the emotions that the words and the dialog delivery convey.

5. I like superstar a lot and nothing could match the excitement of watching a superstar movie FDFS (First Day First Show) with die-hard fans. You could hardly follow the movie; but the ambiance is just unbeatable.

6. I hate people who talk about the unknowns just for the heck of it. I'd love to learn things that interest me; and I wouldn't mind listening to a well informed person. But talking some crap just to show off; irritates me big time.

7. I can alternate between an extreme introvert and an extreme extrovert; depending completely on the people I am with. I can easily socialize with people whom I can connect to quite easily; and vice versa.

8. I'm a strict vegetarian (lacto-vegetarian; not Vegan) by chance and choice. I'm an ardent fan of South Indian food and rice has to be there in my diet; one way or the other :D

9. Logic and art are the two most interesting things to me; and just as those two topics are miles apart, my interests are also diversified. To put in a short list from the top of my head it would be Movies, Psychology, Writing, Philosophy, Poetry, Politics, Programming, Management, Religion and Photography.

10. I'm not a calculative person when it comes to money; and I have failed being calculative despite conscious efforts. At the same time I'm not a spend-thrift either :D

11. I love a laid back life; but I can put in whatever it takes to work towards my goal if I really believe that's what I need.

12. Loyalty is what matters the most to me - both ways!

13. I cannot say 'No'. That is the worst weakness and the greatest strength in me!

14. I hate hurting others and like-wise I hate people who make sharp comments without bothering about the other person's feelings.

15. I'm extremely frank and except for occasions where truth will hurt the other party, I don't lie.

16. I've never copied in a test at least after my high school. Not that I'm a gem of a person or that I'm Harichandra's reincarnation. But it just felt so pointless. :)

17. I believe in looking at a person as a whole than judging him/her based on one of his/her traits. For the same reason, I love Hitler for his virtues, though I hate him for being inhuman to the jews.

18. I usually smile when I speak; and use :) or :D most of the time when I chat/write something in online forums.

19. I love level-headed people and I'll try my best to be who I am, irrespective of what I am. Infact that's something I love the most in superstar. :)

20. Sports and physical activities have always been a distant relative to me. We hardly meet; and when we do, we get along decently well.

21. I used to follow cricket until the match fixing scandal came up. Ever since then, I gave up even watching cricket and these days I feel it's becoming the biggest business in India rather than a sport.

22. I'm more or less addicted to internet and I could hardly imagine a day completely offline; unless it's an extremely busy day or a day spent traveling. On an average day, I spend at least 10 hours online.

23. I love humor (or humour if I should go by the spelling I learned at school) and that is usually reflected in my speech and interests.

24. I don't change myself as long as I'm convinced that I'm not wrong; no matter what it costs me.

25. Everything is just so elaborate when it comes to my thoughts, dreams and visualizations. I can feel the drizzle if I think of a hill station; and I can describe my dream girl from head to toe! :D This helps me with my story writing stuff; though people would find it hard to accept that my stories even qualify to be called stories, to begin with! :D

People who read my blog posts quite regularly (assuming there are a few) would know at least some of these... But nonetheless, I felt this list just had to be here. :) If you blog too, try giving this list a shot; and I'm sure it'd be a different experience both to you and the reader.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth hour!

One of the most hilarious things about west is the way they come up with these days and hours... No no... I don't mean they 'make' days or hours; but they name them one thing or the other, while completely forgetting the ultimate solution. For instance, they broke the close-knit family system long back and now celebrate mothers day, fathers day, brothers day, sisters day and so on... But not once do they attempt to get back to a close-knit system... They just can't stand it.

Now this earth hour... Oh man... Give me a break! In Tamizh there is a famous saying -- "Padikkiradhu Ramayanam... Idikkiradhu Ramar kovil" which means that the activities and preachings are just the opposites of each other. That'd apply excellently well to the west. You should look at their consumption of power... It'd leave an Indian dumbfounded... When the homes in India remain in darkness because of want of power, empty parking lots here have dozens of flood lights turned on all the time. No no... I'm not this communist conservative who cannot stand anyone living prosperously; but just a neutral onlooker awestruck by the hypocrisy. Below are a couple of snaps from my workplace... I'm not going to mention which city or which company, for that is not my intention! But just imagine the level of stupidity/hypocrisy it reveals...

(This was on a Saturday and I was the only person in the office for some urgent work)

Am I a 'West bashing racist from Asia'? No! I'm not that either.People say that Asia accounts to most of the world's pollution; but isn't that logical given the fact that 1/3rd of the world lives in India and China alone? What I'd like to see is a lot of pollution free vehicles being introduced in India and the subcontinent; and as much as this is happening at a gradual pace these days (pollution free buses, BSIII standards mandated for new vehicles, etc) there is still a lot that India and Asia could do towards establishing a greener environment. But given the greatly functional political system there, there is nothing good that one could ask for. Things will happen when they ought to unless a lot of political activists chip in and change the system for the good.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Recession Effect...

Ah... Sometime to blog after a short break. Time is a required condition to blog; but it's in no way sufficient. I mean you could have a whole day of free time, but you might not feel like writing anything at all. Off late, there have been quite a few instances like these that reduced my blogging frequency and also put our movie script on hold for a while. (Did I tell you about the script? If not, I will... but in another post :))

There used to be days when every Indian street had at least 10 Government officers... These days, there are at least 10 people from every Indian street currently residing in the US and this is true at least in the metros and cities. So quite naturally, news about US easily sells and has a lot of demand too. For those from the previous generation who still feel computers are too tough to cope up with, news papers and magazines combined with TV news makes their breakfast, lunch and supper. The magazine editors have noted this demand perfectly, and they make it a point to publish some news about the trend in US. When there is no news to publish, they make up one! :) Man... These days, the second part of it is getting slightly overboard and as much as it irritates me, it's funny on the other side. Now that clouds of recession are surrounding the US the news that they come up with become all the more interesting and hilarious! A few interesting headlines that I could remember:

"Mortgage industry topples in US... Houses available for 1000$"
(Mind voice: Err... Did you mean dog houses?)

"Despite reducing prices to 500$ none is buying a home"
(M.V: Will you please give me a call when you find one such 'real' house?)

"Obama has planned to ban H1B employment"
(M.V: Are you by any chance the secretary of state? :))

"Giving privilege to citizens and workers is against business ethics."
(M.V: EKSI. Had this been India and there are so many foreigners employed; while millions of Indians are jobless, we would've gone on an indefinite strike! That is democracy but this is Bureaucracy?)

The most interesting part of this is the attitude of 'ponna petthavainga' (parents who have a girl ready to be married). Sometime back I wrote a short story (since this is my blog, I take the liberty to call it a short story :D) on how computer engineers were considered hot cakes in the matrimonial market. Now that there is some level of instability in the US market, the trend has completely reversed. "Software Engineers excuse!", "Prefer Indian groom" and statements on these lines aren't too tough to hear and see. If there's something that pisses me off big time, it is this attitude from the Indian parents. I mean somehow they tend to lose their rationale and end up in this extremely conservative outlook. IT is not the only sector that is affected by recession and not all persons from core departments get work in their respective departments. IT companies have a lot of civil, mechanical, textile and production engineers too... At the same time, if someone is working in some other field it doesn't mean that he is inferior (as they thought before) or superior (as they are thinking now). It's just a question of the individual's potential, aspiration and interest. I sincerely hope that the parents who pressurize their kids, to choose a branch of their choice and always go with the popular beliefs to get a groom for their child realize their mistake and let their children live!

P.S: Recession is indeed threatening a lot of jobs in the US. The Govt is in the process of enforcing the regulations as much as possible; causing a lot of desis (specifically manavaadus) return home. Most of them would've been here under the banner of a non-existent company or a staffing agency in the name of a company. There are many others whose projects came to an end and had no choice but to return to India; but hey... that's the way the system was supposed to work. If a foreign national who came into the US for work, lost his job and couldn't find an alternate job in 2 weeks time he is supposed to go back to where he came from. Till date, these rules were taken lightly and now it's being enforced thoroughly. That's what the difference is!

Friday, March 6, 2009

It's upto our muslim brother to answer - Part II

A few days back, I came across this video in an Orkut forum; and as much as I was thinking not to add this to my blog, I also felt that it'd be better if someone explains the other side of the coin (in case the information given is incomplete)... In case all these are true, I'm speechless...

Video link

Thursday, February 19, 2009

OMG! It's boring...

People who have been working for quite some time will know that being without much work to do for a prolonged period of time can be really boring; unless you have a host of personal activities to do (as in my case :D). Today, I got the opportunity to see my manager getting bored. No offense meant to managers, but though their job profile means much lesser job and much greater pay; today it was the peak of joblessness for my manager. Usually he has something or the other to bug me with and if he runs out of ideas, opens the stupid effing site and comes up with some brilliant 'proactive' thoughts like "Can we place this drop down on the left end because I often tend to miss this one..." and leaves me thinking "Vittaa oru kanna moodittu innoru pakka screen teriyala nu solluvaan pola irukku" (I wouldn't be surprised if he closes one of his eyes and says he is not able to see the other side of the screen). But now that the application has become decently stable, he is literally running out of tasks to give me and hence work!

Today, I could sense that obvious restlessness in him and we had about 5 or 6 meetings today, discussing nothing. He would first go into a meeting room, draw some crap on the board (some time can be spent there) and then he'd come back to us (me and the tester) and start the meeting. There will be virtually nothing to discuss but the tester and my manager would be so seriously discuss about it; while I'd be happily sight seeing through the broad window (how much I wish I had my cam and the 70-300mm VR lens with me :D). Inbetween meetings, he will come to my cubicle and ask me "what's up boss?" and though I'd be dying to say "Server is up, North is up, roof is up, your time is up; I'd control my instincts and the evil grin, and tell him something about what I'm doing with the complete assurance that he won't understand it.

The whole day went in repeated iterations of these activities with an hour and half long 'power-lunch' inbetween. Needless to say I'm enjoying work these days! :D :D

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

First B'day!!! :)

366 days back...

A casual conversation that I was having with my friend on a sunday evening about my interest in writing/maintaining diaries/journals ended up in an interesting question - "why not start blogging?"; and on the Monday that followed, I gave an answer to the question - At that point, I wasn't even sure if I'd continue blogging because I've attempted to write diaries innumerous times; and every time I quit writing for one reason or the other. But this one, on the other hand had been a quite different, pretty continuous and highly cherishable journey for me. After all, 130+ posts on my opinions and experiences is not a bad milestone for a year's time :) I wish I go on blogging with an improving interest and pool together as much thoughts as possible; in the years to come...

Happy B'day 'Agni'... And btw, I thought I wouldn't get a better time to start my Tamizh blog than this. So ladies and gentlemen: presenting - :)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Picchai paatthiram yaendhi vandhen...

A dialog that you often get to listen from ARR fans is "ARR songs will sound very different in the beginning and as you keep listening to it, you'll start liking them". Though I personally feel that this concept is BS (no offense meant Rams;)), I could sense this kind of a growing attachment to the "Picchai paatthiram yaendhi vandhaen" song from the movie "Naan Kadavul". But this time, it's not too much about the tune, but about the meaning, the combination and the feeling as such. The most interesting part is that this is song was penned by IR himself (thanks to Vinu for this info), as opposed to Vali whom I thought was the author of this magical piece.

The music of the other song, Om Sivoham is much more impulsive and IR has literally performed a Rudhra thaandavam (eternal dance) with his music in that song. Further many excrepts are from sanskrit hymns in praise of Lord Shiva, especially Shri Rudram which is known for its vibrations and it is believed that Lord Shiva Himself is excited by chanting Rudhram. In particular, IR/Vali/Bala have been careful enough to choose the most important stanza of Shri Rudhram that ends with - "Namah Shivaaya cha Shivadharaaya cha" which is considered to be an extremely sacred, extremely protected manthra that forms the heart of Vedas. Even in the audio release function, this stanza was used when releasing the CD! :) So that song creating vibrations in us is no big surprise.

But this specific song - Picchai paatthiram, is pretty slow paced and the music pretty much is conventional, except for the strong chords in the background, especially at the start of the song. What is more impacting is the theme of the song, the words used and the suitability of the song to the movie. After "Kurai ondrum illai", I've not seen a song with so much of philosophy and aptness; expressed from the viewpoint of a weak/disabled person. Though the song broadly applies to any human being, applying this to the tormenting handicaps in the movie; and to their conversations about God, this song has so much of a significance in the movie and reality. To call this anything less than a masterpiece from the maestro would be an understatement.

Lyrics for those who can read and understand Tamizh (Best conveys the meaning and the impact):

பிச்சைப்பாத்திரம் ஏந்தி வந்தேன்... அய்யனே என் அய்யனே...
பிண்டம் என்னும், எலும்போடு சதை நரம்புதிரமும் அடங்கிய உடம்பு என்னும் பிச்சைப்பாத்திரம் ஏந்தி வந்தேன்... அய்யனே என் அய்யனே... (Excellent comparison)

அம்மையும் அப்பனும் தந்ததா... இல்லை ஆதியின் வல்வினை சூழ்ந்ததா?இம்மையை நான் அறியாததால் சிறு பொம்மையின் நிலையினில் உண்மையை உணர்ந்திடப்பிச்சைப்பாத்திரம் ஏந்தி வந்தேன் அய்யனே என் அய்யனே... (Helplessness revealed with the best choice of words)

அத்தனை செல்வமும் உன்னிடத்தில் நான் பிச்சைக்கு செல்வது எவ்விடத்தில்?
வெறும் பாத்திரம் உள்ளது என்னிடத்தில் அதன் சூத்திரமோ அது உன்னிடத்தில்... (How true)

ஒரு முறையா... இரு முறையா... பல முறை பல பிறப்பெடுக்க வைத்தாய்...
புது வினையா பழ வினையா கணம் கணம் தினம் என்னை துடிக்க வைத்தாய்...

பொருளுக்கு அலைந்திடும் பொருளற்ற வாழ்க்கையும் துரத்துதே... (My fav line)
உன் அருள் அருள் அருள் என்று அலைகின்ற மனம் இன்று பிதற்றுதே...
அருள் விழியால் நோக்குவாய்... மலர் பதத்தால் தாங்குவாய்...
உன் திருக்கரம் எனை அரவணைத்துனதருள் பெற பிச்சைப்பாத்திரம் ஏந்தி வந்தேன் அய்யனே... என் அய்யனே... (Amazing!)

Lyrics for those who can understand but not read Tamizh:

The meaning:

I came holding the beggar's bowl...
A bowl made of flesh, bones, blood and nerves called the body.
I came holding the beggar's bowl...

Did my mom and dad gift me with this bowl?
Or is it the product of my past misdeeds?
Clueless on the current birth, in I came like a puppet...
Holding the beggar's bowl...

You own all the riches and I know not where to beg...
I just have the bowl and only you know all its secrets.

Not just once, not just twice...
Many a times, in many forms,
You made me take innumerous births

A consequence of my present misdeeds
Or the past...
You made me suffer every moment I lived...

The meaningless life in search of riches is haunting me...
The mind that begs for your grace is now being senseless...

Look at me with the gracious eyes,
Carry me with those velvet feet
To get your care and then your grace...
I came holding the beggar's bowl!

The post has already grown a bit lengthy... So I don't want to expand on the philosophies of it; and the ways it applies to the dialogs in the movie. Just pay close attentions to the perspective of God among the different characters in the movie, especially the beggars... You will get to know how this song conveys the movie's message in a crux!

Naan Kadavul - Aham Brahmasmi

One line comment would be - A must watch.

But as far as this movie goes, this wasn't anything unexpected. The unexpected part was the comment that I got about the movie - "It is an excellent movie; but it is too raw that one can't watch it the second time". Something that you don't often get to hear about a movie.

The movie does leave a deep impact in you; but I wouldn't agree with the statement above. Put in a nutshell, the movie dwells about the concept of God, and the way He manifests Himself in the life of the poor. Bala has handled the concept so technically that you find it really hard to diagnose whether he is a theist or an atheist. The underlying message is that humans sometimes take up the role of (some aspects of) God which makes a difference in the lives of others who cross lines with those humans. It takes the Advaita concept one step further by assuming the responsibilities of God; in this specific movie, the case in point being Ahoris. A group of poor beggars exploited by a goon live in a South Indian town and an Ahori happens to come to their town. What happens beyond that is the realistic portrayal in Nan Kadavul. The scenes where physically handicapped people are tortured just move your heart; and the impact is left in you for one good hour. It takes a Bala to really combine the philosophies of life and death; with the social issues yet leaving the storyline intact.

Ilayaraja's BGM (simply amazing...),
Cast and their dedication. Arya and Pooja have done a great job; and more importantly there are just a part of the movie. Not a typical Tamizh movie hero or heroine who occupies every frame of the movie.
The natural conversation among the beggars is just amazing... They have their share of fun too; but the topics they discuss would be of their levels and understanding. That was so naturally portrayed. (I specifically loved "Aamaa ivaru periya Ambani... Yaarraa adhu? Adhellaam unakku teriyaadhunne... Cell phone vikkiravainga" :))
Vaali's lines in Picchai paatthiram and the way it has been brought into the movie... Simply mindblowing.

Arya's Sanskrit/Tamizh. Sometimes he talks Tamizh like a Northie and some other times he talks it like a native rural speaker.
Very poor graphics.
Some level of commercialization of the subject (come on... it's a Tamizh movie and without this the movie won't even get to B or C centers),
villain is portrayed like a dumbo. A man with that level of network comes all alone to fight Arya as if he has fixed his appointment for death.
I'm not sure if Pooja's voice was dubbed; but irrespective of who did it, I felt it could've been done better. The same holds good to her acting in the scenes she cries... But for a person who can get Laila to act, getting work done from Pooja should be a cakewalk.

Overall, if you love philosophy and the way philosophy, religion mingles with the routine activities specifically on the darker side, Naan kadavul is just the movie your are looking for.

Floating point numbers and mysterious roundups...

I'm sure not many Java programmers would've ended up in this situation... Ever tried inserting a floating point number into a database ending up in arbitrary roundups? If so, you know what I'm talking about...

Let's say we need to get the price of some commodity from an input source and insert it into a table. Assuming that the variable is f and it's value is 44.55 (just an example), wouldn't you be surprised to see 44.6 in the database when the code snippet looks something like this?

PreparedStatement pstmt = con.prepareStatement(query);

The out.println would print exactly what you expect it to: 44.55; but chances are that this number is rounded off to 44.6 in the database... Simple problem but might sound mysterious too.

Java's float and double classes take the mathematical constant e as their base and hence not every decimal (base 10) floating point number can be represented with the same accuracy in float or double. The spec says floating point numbers are for those values that are fundamentally inaccurate to begin with, like readings of an experiment which can't be precise to 2 decimals and even if it is not precise to 2 decimals chances are that the results aren't altered drastically.

Coming back to our original problem, what is the solution?
The solution is NOT to use floating point or double datatypes.

So what datatype should I use?

What on world is that?
That is the decimal that you and I understand - to the base 10.

How to use it?
Pretty straightforward like any other wrapper classes.

PreparedStatement pstmt = con.prepareStatement(query);

This would solve your problem. Remember, BigDecimal has a lot of overloaded constructors and the simplest I could think of is to use new BigDecimal("12.34"); -- don't forget the quotes. :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Kutthunga ejamaan kutthunga... :)

Haircutting in US has always been a hilarious experience (except that I end up getting my top damaged :D); and today I saw the heights of it. The principle behind a haircut has always been the same with me - spend minimal money, get maximum hair cut and look handsome (I know this is a fantasy; but that is what fantasies are about, isn't it :)). Unfortunately, it is always a choice between 1 and 2 (3 being an obvious impractical choice); and today was the best (or should I say the worst) of all my experiences.

Ok... let me narrate it. I went to a barber shop earlier today and it was moderately sized with three members working in it... I believe they all belong to a family. A couple of them were busy with other customers and there was this enormously fat lady who came to us (there was another guy waiting before me) and asked if she could help us. The other guy instantly declined and said that he is waiting for another barber to get done with his current customer. For the briefest of moments I thought "Aahaa... Thelivaa escape aayittaanae... Villangam edhaavadhu irukkumao? (Is this a trap)" and immediately dropped the pessimistic thought considering the fact that my haircut is pretty straightforward and anyone with the least bit of experience would consider it a cake walk. I settled down and told her 1 on the sides and the back; and 3 on the front (the heights of standardizing things... Out here the haricuts are numbered from 1 through 5; where 1 means a cut that reveals your scalp through the diffractions on the left over hair; and 5 means you pay the barber unnecessarily). In my place this style is quite common and people say "Munnaadi mattum vaarra alavukku mudi irukkattumne... Pinnadi side ellaam nallaa close a edutthu 'paa'naa adicchurunga" :D

Then the great show started. The trimming machine started to take weird turns on my scalp and at one point, she was rolling the chair and holding the machine just so it avoids the heavy, time consuming movement of her pillars err legs. I was reminded of the vadivelu comedy in thalainagaram where he says "Rolling a po..." :D Half way through the battle, ceasefire was announced through a phone call; and our cannon ball took 10 full minutes to just note down the name of the person who called... Come on... she has to move, attend the call, come back, pick the register and then note the name on it. The sight of my hair at that moment almost gave me a heart attack. The machine had played kabbadi on my scalp and like an uninhabited, unmaintained valley it was full of crests and troughs of hair. At that point, the damage was already done and there was no way I could ask her to get back the lost hair. So I thought what the heck, let's see what she is upto.

After the 10 minutes ceasefire, the battle resumed and this time scissors formed alliance with the machine and the battle became fierce. I was thinking "Adaengappaa... Anga enna irukku nu ekuipment ellaam maatthi try pannra (what is left over to show your versatility)". The whole thing was crowned by the finishing touch. Remember I said 3 on the front... So she left out a small strand of hair in the front (when I say front, I mean exactly the front - just the narrow streak that falls on your face when you pull down your hair on your face) and I was literally having a 'kudumi' in the front. :D The best part was, she asked me "Is everything fine?" and she honestly thought this is what I wanted. I was reminded of many comedy scenes, the top one being the Koundamani comedy from Gentleman where he says "Pottlam otta sonnaa okkaandhu otta paottu kondu vandhurukkaan paaru... Idhu rejetted" :)) Controlling my laughter and a bit of disappointment, I said "please make it even" and she gave the final touch of cutting down the last few long hairs left. In 20 minutes, I was transformed from first half Sethu to second half Sethu; and I paid 7$ for the quick service and 1$ tip for her attitude to work despite the extreme difficulty in moving her Yokozuna body.

The worst damage came from a couple of my colleagues. One asked me "Did you pay someone for this? Come on I would've given you my clippers" and another stared at me for about 3 minutes with complete shock on his face and then said "Worstu haircut". Before I could even respond, he left the place. :)) The first time I cut my hair in the US, I asked for 'army cut' and it was my fault to have uttered those two words. But today, I was cautious enough to give the instruction that gave me decent haircuts in the past... But as luck would have it, I ended up in a haircut worser than my first haircut and isn't it the right time to say "Kutthunga ejamaan kutthunga... Indha Amerikka kaaraingalae ippidi dhaan..." :))

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Why are people so complex?

Many a times, human behaviors puzzle us big time and sometimes the puzzle can leave you hurt too. Today, I experienced one such puzzle and though I've learnt things like these in the hard way over the past several years, I never expected this one to blow up to this magnitude and come back to me.

When people complicate trivial things, blow things up out of proportions and cause problems out of it, the chain continues and in the end, the persons actually concerned would be happy and smiling again; while the hurt they started would've gone in cycles and hampered a relationship elsewhere. The last thing I want is to be a part of one such cycle; but today's incident came pretty close.

I'm sure that the concerned person reading this would understand what I'm talking about and maappi, though this happened to be out of my control and I hardly expected this to happen, my sincere apologies for embarrassing you!!!

Rafa - You won my heart!

I'm not a tennis expert in anyway and all I've to do with the game is the occasional games we played and the tennis matches I watch. Personally, I like Federer's game much better than any of the contemporary players because of his variety, composition of the shots and the way he makes everything look so easy. But in the presentation session of Aus open 2009, it was Rafa who won my heart all over and I really admired the sportsman in this guy.

Firstly, emotional or not; it's not a good thing to cry when someone else is being rewarded. Wimbledon at least had an excuse... Broken plays, dull ights, rain, etc etc... But this time the last set was pretty much one-sided and Rafa won him straight to get the cup... So I definitely wouldn't like to see a champion who has won 18 grandslams to cry like a kid when Rafa is being given the cup.

The part that surprised me though was Rafa's empathy for Federer. Man... he didn't even smile and there was absolutely no need for him to apologize to Federer. That in my terms is called sportsmanship and humanity. He also mentioned that he is no different from the person he was 5 hrs back and it's important for someone to know who he is. This level of humility from the Spanish youngster is mind-blowing. Though I feel his game is power-packed and not as classic as Federer's is, I'm sure I would cheer for him with a complete heart in the upcoming grandslams...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Copy cat... :)

When it comes to Tamizh music directors, the title 'copy cat' was synonymous to Deva until a few years back. These days, though I hear occasional news about some track being copied, I was under the impression that at least a major portion of the songs were being composed originally. But I was disproved totally today! :) As usual I was spending time on Youtube and on this occasion I was listening to some very old classics like "Ennirandu padhinaaru vayadhu", "Ullatthil nalla ullam" etc; and ended up seeing a related video called 'Copy cat Harris Jeyaraj'. Harris Jeyaraj copying western songs isn't news; but the number of songs he's copied definitely is, at least to me. I mean, almost all his famous songs have been branded as plagiarized. This was disgusting to know and honestly if music composition is only about this, I could become a music director too. I wonder how the producers and directors encourage such things! Below are a few songs I found on Youtube and don't miss the last video that got me ROTFL :)

The point to be noted is that this guy has not even been for a decade in the industry and the list given here would pretty much cover 10% of his songs! All I could say is EKSI!

It's been movies and work all the way!

For the past few days, work has been real tight and personally I have the habit of taking frequent surfing breaks and that way I didn't miss Orkut or Gmail that much. But blogging on the other hand demands some time and thoughts and I haven't been too successful in finding both along with the mood to write, over the past few days. So apart from work, the only thing I've been doing is watching some movies and fortunately, I got to see some great movies. Let me just summarize them...


Amazing movie. A Prakashraj starrer directed by Priyadharshan. A classic example of beautiful art direction and camera. I initially thought it was a Brahmin bashing communist film from its name; but it actually turned out to be a completely different story. A simple story of how an inidividual weaver's life is affected by the exploitation of silk weavers in the last century; this movie is definitely a must watch for anyone who likes simple, well presented films.

The City of God:

More of a masala movie; but still it's definitely worth a watch especially for the stunning screenplay. Connecting n dimensions together to narrate a plot isn't easy and it has been handled very well in this movie. If you are a lover of gangster movies, this one is a must watch; and even otherwise you will enjoy the movie.


This one is actually a Korean movie; but for the first time (or at least the first time I remember) I enjoyed a movie made in an unknown language to this extent. The theme is sick and many might shun away from the taboo concept; but the impact this movie creates is mindblowing. It really takes a completely different plane of thoughts to come up with such a story and narrate it in such a striking way.

The curious case of Benjamin Button:

Again a completely different concept; but IMHO not as good as the above three. It's good, pleasant and different. But nothing in it says it is a must watch. The novel plot and the makeup carries the movie apart from a few exceptional dialogs and scenes.

Squeezing in time for these four movies was an achievement. So pretty much that's how I spent the last week... :)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Poo (tamil movie) - The synonym of unconditional love...

People generally get mad when I write stuff on movies (especially reviews) and pretty soon I'm planning to start a dedicated movie review site where the focus would be to review all the movie I've seen and I see, in a detailed way. But this movie, definitely deserves a post for two things - 1. A village subject in this decade that is really natural and unadulterated and 2. The concept. Personally I'm a big hater of Srikanth for his inability to act and that kept me from watching this movie for a quite long time. But I actually feel that I should've seen this movie a long back.

The movie story in one line - "Unconditional love that Maari has for Thanga Raasu"!

Biggest pluses:

The Concept - A heroine centered emotion driven movie that is a rarity in Tamil cinema, especially if the subject is village based.

Camera - Though the camera man tries to overdo things at some places, becoming predictable/wrong (the scene where she comes around the palm tree is a classic example... The lighting conditions between the tree she stands below and the tree that the camera revolves around differ drastically); the overall camera work in the movie is no less than amazing. Whether it is the shot that begins from inside the Hen's cage or the village landscape shots in vivid colors and that special blue effect or the scenes where multiple emotions are captured in a single frame with a higher depth of field, the cameraman has done a great job.

Perfectly natural screenplay - No extra additions, no exaggerations... Very practical and very good screenplay.

The cuts - From present to a flash back, to another flash back and then suddenly back into present; still remaining crystal clear.

The poetic approach - This is one of the biggest pluses actually. Some of the scenes were simply outstanding in the way the happenings are portrayed. Some examples... the scene where the heroine expresses her mixed emotions to her friend when she is questioned whether she is not sad at all about the happenings, the scenes where the heroine's mother comes in... Amazingly subtle portrayal of her grief. The childish things that the heroine does to impress Srikanth. The way metaphors are used in the scenes to convey emotions, as in the scene where she hugs the goat and says "just because it's sold it doesn't mean we need to forget about it". The "Penakkaarar" character and the self respect he wants to command - the climax dialogs about dreams. The words she pens down to express her love...

Minimal role to Srikanth - Though Srikanth could say he is the hero of the movie, he is used very minimally in the movie and the whole court is given to the heroine. It's good in two ways - we don't need to see Srikanth screwing things up and secondly the story is conveyed in the way it is supposed to be conveyed.

Now the negatives...

Cast - Srikanth is an obvious bad choice especially for a village role. I'm not saying this out of personal hatred; but still the director should've got someone else who can mould into a villager. Perhaps he was the only actor who was ready to act for a few thousands! :D The heroine has performed excellently well in some scenes (especially the scene where she talks to her friend about what she has in her for Srikanth) and so artificially in some others (especially when she is supposed to cry). Other than these two characters, since most of them are actual villagers, I don't really think it was too tough to choose people for the roles. I loved the selection for the heroine's brother and mother.

A few overdone things - For instance, the heroine going out at midnight for stupid reasons. I agree that it's a highly important thing from the heroine's perspective; but still a village girl, that too a timid one, frequently going out at midnight doesn't sync in too well.

Comedy - Not too funny! Period... :)

Some silly mistakes - TN 57 (dindugul registration) number plate on a Sivakasi TVS 50 :), the language that is more Tirunelveli and Nagercoil than Madurai/Sivakasi, the periods (from the heroine's young age to the most recent) aren't handled too well and the mother looks the same in both these sequences, the shots about Srikanth's friend's kid (the reason why he is residing out of the village) look like camcorder shots, the hero's dad wearing gold, white and white when he is actually not very happy, etc.

Overall, I'd say this one is a must watch movie despite its flaws purely for the storyline and the way it is handled. If you believe in unconditional love, Poo will definitely touch your heart like the petals of a freshly bloomed flower...

No idea...

A continuation of the F section memories I should say; and this one was one of the trademarks of the class! :)

Almost everyone who completed college would have an idea on how lecturers reprimand the students when they are not attentive in the class; and the most popular trick is to ask questions on the subject and when the student couldn't answer, they start giving advices that are no longer connected to the subject. Depending on the age of the lecturer, the tone would differ and let me try to give you a few examples...

A lecturer in late twenties through mid thrities - "Don't try to act smart. It'll take you nowhere. All this might sound funny. But you know for a fact that I control your internal marks... So better beware"

A lecturer in forties - "Kids these days hardly have any respect. When you face life, you would know how tough it is and not a day will go by without you repenting for these bad things and lack of attention in your college life"

An even older lecturer/professor - "When you look at life from your perspective it might sound too easy and careless. But when you cross ages and gain experiences you would know how tough it is to survive in the never ending competition. Professors are not your enemies. They are like the light that takes you to the............(continues until the bell rings)"

We had a physics lecturer who was (I believe) in the second category and we had nick-named her "Simran"! Somehow her way of teaching would remind me of my high school physics lessons and I hardly remember a word of what she taught us... Actually we had two physics lecturers and the other person was nick named "Nambiyar" since he always had that villain look on his face and his dialog delivery was typically like that; but he used to escape from our direct insults because he hardly cares about what students think or do during his sessions. Ocassionally he used to say "If you wand to talku, you can get outu"... That's all! So there was a gentleman (?!) agreement between us that neither of us would disturb each other...

Coming back to Miss. (Now Mrs?!) Simran, she was particular in making sure that everyone listened to what she taught and as a result, during the initial days she resorted to the text book approach of questioning the defaulters about some crappy formulae or integral equations. Just like anti-bodies that come up with some defense mechanism for every known attack, we formulated a way of tackling such things - the "No idea" scheme. The basic concept of being an anti-social element is simple. You always need to be united as a group... We all knew that the college wouldn't go too far to debar the whole class considering the scores we had (despite all our misbehaviors our average score was way higher than the averages of other sections) and that the management wasn't too stupid/sensitive to debar a class for these minor misbehaviors. If you are an individual, the situation drastically changes to adversity though! :)

The idea we formulated was simple. If someone is pointed out for mischief and asked to getup to answer a question, the person should say "No idea" even before the question was asked and even better, the next guy will voluntarily wakeup and say the same. This would continue till either the whole class is standing or the lecturer loses patience and either leaves our hall angrily or asks us all to GFO. The first day we implemented this idea, we were all ROTFL ing after the session and Ms. Simran was literally clueless about what was going on! Believe me... As arrogant as it sounds, it is one of the best memories we share and the contagious spirit with which we used to say "No idea" still lingers in my ears. Though we were rebels, the extent of unity we had was unbelievable and I could hardly imagine another class that could've possibly done the same thing. :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

'F' section...

Disclaimer: The 'F' in title is no way connected to the 'F' word... :)

Films and books tend to exaggerate college life way more than what it actually is, but sure enough it's one of the best phases of life. Unlike the kids in US or any other western countries, Indian kids enjoy the most comfortable phase of their life at college (though they never realize it when they were actually in that phase :)) because they are not bullied like the school days or forced to make money like the later stages of life. When I think about my college days looking at an email from a good old friend or holding a cup of coffee during a break, lost in thoughts; I often feel I could've lived it better... I haven't even talked with everyone (especially girls) in my class! :) I got some good friends, gained some exposure and had my share of fun during the later years but the best part of it was definitely the first semester... We were in the 'F' section when the college was adjusting to the expansion and we had weird timings (some days our classes started at 10:30 and went up to 6:30 while some other days, they begin at 8:00 and end at 3:00) that left the management with no choice to move people using the college transportation into one class. During this relocation stuff, it so happened that 'F' section was full of guys because all girls wanted to use the college transportation... It was like a demonstration of how bad a class can be to the lecturers and how good a class can be, for the guys. Among the whistles, claps, 'proxies', hilarious comments and spoofs, if I say, we enjoyed the semester, it would be an understatement...

I couldn't list out all the incidents at a stretch in a single post but let me tell you the most hilarious (most insulting from the lecturer's view point and I personally felt bad about it too) incident that happened towards the end of the semester... We had an English lecturer called Mr. Sadasivam who was a very soft person and his voice reflected it too. Imagine an English class where the lecturer delivers monotonous mumbles! Naturally, the guys enjoyed spoiling the sessions; and most of the guys wouldn't even turn up to the class. On that day, there were just 20 or 25 guys in the class whose full strength is about 70; and as usual our lecturer was mumbling something about English grammar. The guys started off their part - clapping hands for some statements made, laughing too long when the lecturer tried to be humorous, et al. Towards the end of the session, the lecturer made a note of the attendance and with the same person repeating 'Yes sir' and 'Present sir' over 5 or 6 times, the register showed just two absentees when there were about 50 persons absent... I mean, the whole class was blank and the register was brimming with attendance :D

So he said "You people are giving proxies" (clap... clap... clap) "I don't mind that at all." (Clap... clap... clap) "All I'm asking is don't stay in my class and disturb it. I'm not here to tame animals" (Clap... clap... clap). He took a long pause and said "I'm calling you animals indirectly and still you don't understand" and the guys started clapping once again! That's it... He was never seen in our class once again! We heard that he was supposed to handle the second semester English sessions for us; but he declined to teach us again... Though I feel he could've handled the sessions better, I think we overreacted, considering the type of person he is. But still, I couldn't control my laugh everytime I think about the incident.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Childhood memories...

Childhood memories are perhaps the best treasures a man carries across his life; and the moment we start thinking about the good old days, we start feeling young at heart and that feeling is just priceless... I believe this is true with anybody except if your childhood happened to be as horrible as Kaadhal kondaen Dhanush or something... :)

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of my childhood is the 'without' travels. People from Tamilnadu should be understanding what 'without' means but if you are not aware of the term, it means traveling without a ticket in a bus or a train or anything that expects you to have one. :) I've done quite a lot of that during my school days especially the high school days. Ever since my VII or VIII stds, I've been traveling around in my bicycle and towards the end of my schooling till date, bike has been my companion; but even before the days of my bicycle, I used to travel a lot in the PRC buses (the TNSTC buses as they are called now). The tickets from my home to the school used to be One rupee and ten paise back then, and my pocket money was 2 rupees per day... :) The first day of the week my dad gave me 5 rupees and I was supposed to roll over the balances to maintain the 20 paise deficit per day and my favorite way of rolling up better sums was a 'without' travel. Frozen milk coloquially termed '1 roovaa pepsi' (Small traders give a damn about copyrights :D) was extremely popular those days and I used to spend one rupee per day (at least) to get my favorite chocolate flavored 'pepsi' and that means my one way trip is already destined to be a 'without' trip. :) Sometimes the pepsi count may become two which means the next morning's travel was also added to the list of classics...

There was a guy called Sundarrajan who used to stay near my place and we used to run a contest on who does the maximum 'without' travels in a month; and the pride of winning and the taste of 'pepsi' had me going for years in the trade... "I have a pass annaa", "I've already taken the ticket" and a lot of other ready made replies combined with an innocent look (seriously I was looking innocent back then) usually got me out of any troubles even if the conductor asks for a ticket.

This was going on for quite a few days (or should I say years :D) until the D-day came... It was another day in the contest between me and Sundarrajan and the day's credit were shared equally or almost equally until we got down... Just when we were about to get down, the conductor asked "Show me your tickets..." to both of us. As luck would have it, he was already two steps down the stairs and I was just about to get down the stairs... So the moment the conductor asked for the ticket, the guy jumped off and ran like crazy... Obviously I didn't have that luxury and I clearly knew that the conductor was not someone who is going to buy my 'pass' or 'already got the ticket' stuff. So I did the most foolish thing I could've done at the moment... I pulled out 1 rupee and 10 paise from my pocket and I said, "I forgot to buy the ticket. Could you please give me a ticket from SS colony to simmakkal" (there were like 12 stops inbetween... Moreover the bus was more or less empty and on top of it the bus was at the simmakkal stop :D)... The look on the conductor's face and the advice he gave for the next 15 mins can never be forgotten and it sure was an embarrassing moment back then. But whenever I think of the incident, I smile at my 'brilliant' idea and I couldn't resist smiling... :D

P.S: Even after that incident, I was travelling 'without' for a while (naangallaam...). As much as I smile at the 'without' travels, I wish I didn't do so. These days, even if I'm not even obligated to get a ticket, I walk up to the conductor and make sure I pay for it!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Opis komedies...

Title inspired from my friend Srini's series, this was a topic that I wanted to write for a quite long time especially after seeing the regular posts on these lines by Srini... But somehow, office never interested me and to think of office outside work sucked big time! And right now I'm in an office where I work 12 hrs a day and I'm expected to put in more horse power when the others in my team work not a minute more than 8 hrs. Indian, contractor and too many other qualifications got me into this note worthy post... :))

Anyways, this post was intended to be hilarious and so be it! :D To begin with, let me introduce you to the work 'atmosphere' that I have in my office... My project is a truly globalized project because within a small team of 4 members, there is a mix of culture from 4 countries... Yes... All of us are from different countries - India, Pakistan, China and (thankfully at least one from) US. The manager is Pakistani and he is middle aged while the Chinese lady and the American guy are pretty old. My team apart, for every US company listed in the stock market, there will be a Desi (Indian) vendor and there will be a bunch of Indians loitering around in their offices... My office is no exception too and interestingly in a group predominantly comprised of Manavaadus (telugu speaking folks) the guy who sites behind me is a Mallu... The best part is that this state has a lot of black population and I swear to God, "it ain't no simple to follow 'em man"! The guy who sites right across me crowns them all and he has an office that is so crowded with stuff that you wonder how on the world could a 5X5 cubicle be converted into such a deep mess.

Now that you have an idea of the 'atmosphere', I'll tell you some of the very funny thoughts that ran in my mind...

The guy across, eating chips with the pack fitted into his mouth, turning the packet upside down...
Mind voice: Why am I being reminded of an elephant here?

Mallu guy talking to some clients... "The cOmbleet desayn is kOnstrukkkkkktad Offshore andu vee veel be moovingg the fayals tumaarow..." (The complete design is constructed offshore and we will be moving the files tomorrow)
Mind voice: Setthaan edhiri... (Poor Americans!)

The old guy in our project explaining me the logic to copy and archive files...
It ain't gonna do good if the file don't be there. Somthin shoots up and we say no way we lost it all... Send 'em back. So we gonna tell the scheduler Backup... Don't do no delete... Put it up in a folder and gimme a copy. But he's gonna tell you..."

I had a doubt about the way a certain module is built and I was too lazy to go through the code. Since the chinese lady in our project was the only one left, I had to ask her and I had no choice...
Me: Can you tell me if this is written in Java or through an Oracle job?
C.L: Laximan didndnt tall mee iz was phebruary code. Aye checked zhe log paails anzh I thot I didndnt gettu zhe idea... When I go too zhe logs, I see zhe files dare"
M.V: Idhukku code-ae paravaalla (Digging the code sounds much better...)

My manager and I were discussing a small piece of code... He doesn't have much of technical knowledge and Java somehow greatly surprises him...
Me: It's not a good practice to hit the database when the poller actually does nothing until the files arrive. So I've moved the database connectivity inside the if block. I've also eliminated the thread that is causing the memory leak in the scheduler and instead I'm bringing that functionality in here"
Manager nodding all the way...
M.V: Purinjaa maadhiriyae thalaya aattu... (As if you understand...)

:D :D

P.S: Basically all of them are good folks and it's just that at some situations, the mind voice of the Maduraikkaaran invariably crops up... :D

Monday, January 5, 2009

Abhiyum Naanum -- Is Radha Mohan's viewpoint right?

"Everyone is an individual... So just because you are an individual's parent, don't try to control his/her life" -- this is the crux of Abhiyum Naanum and I'm sure this is not a spoiler because Radha Mohan himself has stated this in the press meet. When I saw this movie a couple of days back, the first thing that ran in my mind was to blog about the movie, not in the usual "Wow! Radha Mohan rocks... Hats off to Prakashraj" tone; but to analyze the point he made in the movie.

Well... West believes in this independence of individuals concept and we practically see what is happening with them. I'm not a basher in anyway and with all due respect to their culture and tradition, we see that the western society is just falling apart and a strongly knit family is becoming a rarity here. One simple reason behing that - independence. One of my lecturers at college often uses the sentence "There is a difference between freedom and independence" and when it comes to relationships and family, the latter is diabolic. Mom, dad, brother, sister, husband, wife or any other relationship that man has defined relies on the mutual respect and bond for each other. When the freedom crosses the limit and makes this bond insignificant then there is no point in having that freedom at all. After all, won't a father really understand the needs of his kids? I'm not saying that parents are always right. I'm just saying that they have all the rights on the earth to make sure you are taking the right path. If they are not convinced about your path, either make them understand or don't take that path at all. But I'd never accept the statement that parents are nothing more than two humans who mated and gave birth to somebody; and beyond that point that somebody is a completely different individual. If we are down to that level of practicality in relationships, then we are better off going back to the good old days of nomadic life than being a part of a completely mechanical, loosely knit, baseless society.

Another point made in the movie... Grand weddings alone consume about 2000 crores of money per year in India. If so, then that is the happiest news one can hear because a wedding is not a one man show. Caterers, Maids, Decorators, Photographers, Videographers, Property owners, Car companies, Flower sellers, Fireworks factories, Grocers, Printers, you name it. Almost every segment of the economic society gets benefited in a marriage. What kind of an economic genius (who is close to the PM perhaps because he is a Sardar) will ignore such a huge capital flowing into the society? After all, isn't this consumption driven self-sustained economy the need of the hour?

Third comes the exaggeration part of it. If reality is portrayed as such in a story or a movie, chances are that it doesn't seem too interesting. So friends are turned into lovers, bruises are turned into surgeries and 100s are turned into 100,000s when it comes to movies. That's acceptable. But trying to defend a weak and meek storyline with exaggerations is something I never expected from Radha Mohan. Whether it is the pre-KG interview/admission scene or the 'shouting from the boat at midnight' scene or the scenes where Trisha almost acts like a stranger in her own house, Radha Mohan miserably fails and the worst part comes in the form of Manobala, Thalaivasal Vijay, his wife (I wonder if she has a dialog in the movie) are completely useless in the movie apart from the 'jaalra' scenes where they say the sardarji turned all their lives into beautiful blooming roses.

Except for a very few niche Radha Mohan scenes, Abhiyum Naanum as Srini rightly mentioned could be considered a movie from the director of Ponniyin Selvan and not from the director of Mozhi...

All in all, Abhiyum Naanum was not a bad movie; but it failed to impress me both in terms of the tag line and in terms of a Duet movies -Radha Mohan combo...