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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Unputdownable,

Now that is the word, that is the word that describes your feeling when you have read a book that makes you forget time, date, sleep, bath and even a days meal . The book was Life of Pi, the author was Yann Martel and the gifted reader was me. Now it has been a long time since i finished any book. I would get a book, butcher it through the middle, and then life would come calling. The book will go back safe and sleep the shelves. I have a lot of unfinished business with Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie. When I first got this book "life of pi" if was very awry of getting it through, i started it on this journey some weeks back but coming back to Chennai and going through some difficult times it remained shelved. It was yesterday I felt my mood was too somber and i needed to read something to get recharged. I took out from the cluster, and started it again from scratch. For the past two days this guy Yann Martel had cast some mystic spell on me and caught me with his magical wand, i was physically in a dusty room accompanied with an odd number of foul smelling men but in an other sub-conscious level i was living in a boat castaway in the pacific ocean accompanied by a 16 year old Indian boy and a 250 pound royal bengal tiger. Before we get into the book, lemme tell you about my wish. A wish to read all the Booker-prize winning novel within my lifetime and I am not even quarter-way through (6 of 40!!) and i would definitely say that Life of pi is one of the best and importantly the most different of the lot.

The story is simple. To put it in a single line it is the ordeal faced by a teen aged Indian boy who is castaway on a lifeboat with a huge tiger, and to put it in a book it is Life of Pi. Here is the brief. Piscine molitor patel or Pi patel is a young Indian boy from Pondicherry, lives with a happy family and they run a zoo. He is secular, when i mean secular he sporting a cross goes to a temple and prays to Allah, he is always in search of the real essence of god. But In search of better fortune the family plans to shift to Canada with their bunch of wild animals. And then trouble happens, there happens a shipwreck and the sole survivor is the orphaned Pi patel. Not for long, he soon finds a Huge, beastly and carnivorous Bengal tiger accompanying him in the life boat and together they start on the journey for survival. How does he manage to stay alive if not from the dangerous sea but from the man-eater that he has got on board?, How will he escape from the claws of death and those of the wild-tiger, in short how does he survive the extreme travail for 224 days? Read the book. maybe i sounded a bit unliterature-ish in briefing the story, but yann martel has done more than just writing a novel. He has written a survivors saga filled with despair, hope, pain, belief and not just those. That is the difference between a Booker-prize winning author and a typical bestseller. He not only tells the brave story of a young kid but interlaced with it he speaks about religion, culture, animal zoology, human zeal, survival instincts and ocean science. The novel acts in different levels, for a plain read it is just a thriller involving the confront of a kid and a tiger but a deep read might tell you its not just that, it is an intriguing travel into human psyche and its understanding of love, hope, religion, family, and the most of all the belief in god. Magical in every true sense. It is such books that raise the bar of tastes and preferences and I am happy that I got a chance!

I was able to instantly connect with the boy, he resembles any 16 year old Dark-skinned-South-Indian male and it was just six years before i was in those magical numbers. He speaks Tamil at times, speaks about Madurai- my home town,has a lust for the South-Indian shambar, the idli and the masala dosai just as me. He has a beautiful family with a mom, dad, and a energetic elder brother just like mine. So i loved being him throughout. Love you Pi Patel!. Try reading it, I highly recommend it to any literate. I also got to say about the other book which i read some years back, Thaneer desam(Water Kingdom) written by Vairamuthu, oh man.. that still remains one of my personal favorites. It has nearly the same plot, it was the story of four men and a woman stranded on a damaged fishing boat in the middle of Bay-of-Bengal, and their ordeal for survival. Written in a poetic narrative, it was one of the masterpieces of modern tamil writing. Try reading it, i highly recommend it to any Tamil-literate.

And guys there is this huge-buzz around Chetan bhagats new book "3 mistakes of my life". I gotta read it sometime. But i really don’t understand the hype behind. 5. someone was really good even though it lacked depth. One night @ was total crap, i felt really bad wasting time on it. Hope the third is at least a good read, I really don’t expect a masterpiece out of bhagat. Its really sad that a guy like bhagat is our choice for a bestseller, if some outsider reads him he would get very wrong signals about Indian talent and also the literary preferences of Indian people. We have never given the chance for Vikram Seth or Salman Rushdie to be on the bestseller list. But when someone writes a book which is very similar to a bollywood movie loaded with masala, we celebrate him and bestow him with high honors, even worse reading bhagat has become an attitude statement for many, and many have only read bhagat for their entire life. I don’t have any vengeance against him, he writes what he is good at, and it is really not that bad. He is welcome to write, lets still read him, but let’s make our hands wider to embrace more, more of Martel, more of Hosseini, and more of those guys who write real stuff. As now Martel has again brought me back to form i wish i could read more on the coming days, I am desperate to get lost into the web of words. Choices are aplenty.Your suggestions are welcome.

Links:
Life of Pi
Booker-Winning-list


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Scribbled on a sleepless night!

I am getting no sleep.The entire room has just gone to bed and for the second day in a row i am not able to catch some sleep, i think my long night is jus gonna start.Yesterday was awful got up with sleepy eyes, had to walk miles under the scorching sun, was even deprived of good food, now got this headache which is breaking a side of my head. Its kinda annoying and I am totally lost, . I am not sure what am i gonna write but got no options either, have catch up with some writing till i catch some sleep. Hmm...Was reading this article on outlook early today, it was about more and more Indian women becoming regular drinkers. before i speak something about this lemme recall some sights which i got to see,

The first one is that i daily see in an eatery near my place, a gang of women who work for a BPO come out during their break hours, have a few cups of chai, lit some cigarettes, ignore all the pricky eyes, have fun and chat till the last puff - then get back to work, giving no damn to the so called society.

The next one is that i saw in a niche pub during a friends treat, We stags were not allowed to enter the dance floor but were given a chance to watch the "proceedings" from the 1st floor. And then i see this girl, she cames in just like the girl net door, after some amount of hesitation she takes up her drink, drinks, drinks and drinks. Sheds all her inhibitions, dances like an whore, does unimaginable things, finally pukes and collapses in front of all those weary eyes.

I dunno what is the problem with these drinking and smoking women, she is always so obsessed in getting herself in to the man's shoe. She always has this question "When he can do,why not me?" , She wants to prove that when a man can smoke in public so can i, when a man has no problem drinking so do i. She doesn't want to be girly anymore, prefers being a male incarnation. I hope the years have suppression has made her hit back hard. But how does she do it? she is not satisfied with the empowerment that she gets from her work nor the economic freedom that she has attained out of it. She wants to enter into all the ugly dark areas that men have been to, she thereby follows him into the bar, follows him for smoking some grass, thereby following him all the time idolizing his grey acts and again becoming his slave this time even without her knowledge. She is always into this act of proving her poweress to him thereby making him the master to approve it!!. This is not freedom, this is dependency which has disguised itself in the name of freedom.Why are these women so obsessed in imitating men and their counterparts of the west, why don't they be the same empowered and free thinking women with Indian sensibilities? now I had always believed that i hold no rights to advice a woman on what to drink or how to behave but, if i still sound like a male chauvinistic pig then call me one.

Blame it on the media, drinking is no more a taboo for the urban Indian, if u don't drink you are not so "cool", if u don't drink you are a nerd, if u don't drink and party you are a loser!!! You find surrogate ads running for all kinda drinks(IPL- RCB!). If u really wanna have a good time, you can not do it without a mug of beer!!,These is no reason to be alive if you are not in a pub on a Saturday night. All these rules formed by the weaker drinking population is now slowly taking the center stage!! When smoking and drinking is bad even for pigs and donkeys, why do it?(Guys i am no Buddha, i had done these before but not anymore). And for the woman drinkers - i believe a man 's ultimate search ends with finding the motherhood or the woman in him, but the reverse may not hold true!!! Ok guys enough of punch - dialogues. I am equally bored as you are.lemme get some sleep.If you have something to say please use the comment section.
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Added sometime later 7:26pm PS: I read the post again, i think i was very generic and a bit rude, should have used a more subtler tone,but remember i was in no good mood(+headache) and i wrote what i felt. I aint gonna edit the post coz i believe in what i have written. Also be sure that when i use the word 'she' i am not generalizing the woman community as a whole!! Do check the comments there is an interesting discussion underway.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Son's room

Have you ever been to a house that has just lost a teenage son?, the sorrow that you find flowing across the house is infectious, distress caused by the loss would have sucked out life from all the faces ,the eyes of the inmates would have lost the moisture and there will be no more tears to shed, people would be submerged in the memories of the past and reasons for leading a better future become very thin, the dreams and hope that they would have pinned upon the lost child can be found shattered broken on the floors, the inconsolable grief makes your feet to tremble and you start questioning about the philosophies of death and the very existence of god!!! La stanza del figlio (English-the sons room) ,an Italian film by Nanni Moretti speaks about all these psychological effects on a family and their life after the death of a loved one.

The Giovanni's are a happy family of four; the father leads a idyllic life. He has a successful practice as a psycho-therapist, a loving wife, gifted children and spends quality time for running and treating patients who are hysterical and sad. The families led by the caring parents live for each other and stay together in all the good and bad times. It is a perfect family scenario that we find in most houses, but then tragedy strikes. On a day when the family has to cancel a day-out due to a sudden appointment of the father, the teenage son goes for sea-diving with his friends and dies suddenly,un-expectedly. And in the aftermath, the death instead of bringing the family together, splits them apart. The loss incurred has deep psychological effects on the family, the emotional traumas faced by each of them makes the pain intolerable. The father is affected with an obsessive complex disorder, he curses himself for the death of the son, and he thinks if he had taken the family out the other day, the death would have been avoided. The mother becomes very fragile and the sister becomes arrogant there by showing her regret on the world. They are not a happy family any more. They get lost within the loss that has incurred. The loss and the anger has disintegrated and torn apart their lives. But hope comes in the form of Arianna- girlfriend of their son. She on a road trip iterates the necessity to move forward from the loss, and that time will always move forward and life that must go on whatever the circumstances. The film ends with the family finally accepting the loss and trying to find reasons to leap forward in their own ways.

As a film, the son's room makes a profound impact on your thoughts. It takes you through the period of grief that a family goes through after the death of a loved one. The father role played by Nanni Moretti himself is so real and the minute emotions that he shows throughout the film makes you understand the trauma of a sobbing father. The screenplay which has interlaced scenes of father treating his patients helps us to track the psychological changes of the father before and after the death. And the most important of all...the cinematography, the film uses a pale mustard color scheme throughout and all the other colors are subsided thereby reducing the impact of colors and giving a precipitated look. The movie on a whole looks very pale void of all natural colors that we see in everyday life thereby aiding to the films main concept of death, which in a way sucks out life from the beings and makes life very dull and abnormal than usual. Most of the scenes are heavily lit thereby by creating a vacuum, similar to that of the vacuum that occurs in our minds after the death of the loved one. The film was released in 2002 and won Palm D'Or the best film award at the Cannes film festival.

Watching the film you sympathize for all those who suffer from the loss of a loved one. You pray god asking him to shed more love. The film helps you understand the fact that, whatever the race, religion, language, nationality may be the pain caused by death is universal. The eyes from which the tears emerge may differ, but its taste is always saline.

For more info visit
ImdB- the son's room
Nanni Morreti



Sunday, May 18, 2008

Voila I finally had a Hair cut!!! ;-)

Last Monday I went to this crappy old saloon in the outskirts of Coimbatore, it was void of light, air and all other essential elements of survival, I sat there like a scapegoat, there came the middle aged beautician( maybe the Hair-cutter) who looked like he was very much caught up in the wrong job. He was not so friendly, he asked me to remove my glasses (and then I became totally blind), covered me with a cloth (which was wash proof and had a intriguing smell... just like the armpits of Symonds), he then took his kit consisting a comb and pair of scissors (which were actually excavated from mohenjodero), and asked me "what should I do??"

Me- can you do a wake up on me??

The Middle-Aged-Stout-Not-So-Polite-Hair-Dresser- What???

Me- the style which Aamir khan sports in TZP.

TMASNSPHD- You mean Amjad khan in sholay??(In mind voice - !#$%()(**()(!## [read it with whatever obscene words you know in Tamil, Telugu, Spanish or Zoroastrian])

Me- nope...it is done by having a lot of even hair in the front and middle portions of the head which is actually made to look like an elongated pyramid, the sides should be shredded well and overall it should have a proportional look on all the sides, and finally we can give a finishing touch using hair gel.

TMASNSPHD- Oh...You mean Summer-cut??

Me- (in mind voice - !#$%()(**)(!## [read it with whatever obscene words you know in Tamil, Telugu, Spanish or Zoroastrian]) Yes!!!!

There was nothing more that I can do. I sat quietly in that rusty old saloon and the middle-aged-stout-not-so-polite-hair-dresser was about to operate on me. And in the mirror I was looking at my face... to be precise I was looking at my hair. I had grown this hair for nearly eight months, and I had fallen in love with it. The very truth that it’s all going to gone in a few minutes sent chills down my spine. I wanted to kill the guy and run outta the place, but couldn’t. I sat there in the same posture with which Siddhartha sat in front of the bodhi. I closed my eyes. I could feel his scissors touching my hair. I shivered. When all this is over, I felt like I am gonna end up looking like Buddha. I felt goose bumps. I sealed my eyes and my mind travelled backwards through the various seasons of my hair growth.

The Scotching Summer

When I mean summer it doesn’t literally translate to the summer season. It refers to the state of mind which I had during the initial hair-growing-days. Now if you are a guy and if you wish to grow long hair the first few months are the most difficult. You will end up looking like a monster or even precise you will end up looking like a Kannada-film-hero (now that is a racial abuse and I really mean it!!! :) ). You have to undergo this bcoz in order to do a straightening you need hair that is at least of palm length. My days were hell. You cannot comb your hair, maintaining it becomes a nightmare, in whatever ways you try to make it look normal in thousand other ways it cheats you. You have to end up hearing all sorts of comments, "Hey you look like Mansoor-ali-khan", "Hey is your name Einstein by any way?",

And the best was from mom- "You look like the lunatic-beggar who used to roam in my village...please don't come out of the house... it will become difficult to get a bride for your brother" (in all ways she tried to disown me from the family...if someone asked her if this is your second son she would say - no we brought this guy from our native village for doing the menial work)

In my workplace it was worse - once my PL said he has started a welfare fund and asked everyone in the team to contribute Rs.2 towards it, when asked why he said “As vignesh has no money to do a haircut, we will be funding him on the regard thereby ensuring the welfare of children and old-citizens". The worst incident happened when we went to a wild life sanctuary in munnar, when everyone else were taking pictures of the forest-deer a couple from Germany were so keen to take a picture with me, and they did it. Till this date I am not sure why they did it. Maybe they thought I was an Indian-forest tribe who came in search of deer-flesh. May be my picture is doing rounds in Germany with the caption "German Couple with a human-look alike". God alone knows!!!

The Breezy Winter

When I mean winter it doesn’t literally translate to the winter season. Just like the winter which has the power to evade all our worries, I was now on the greener side void all worries. You could have guessed it. Whoa... I had a hair straightening.!!!! Shrek just turned back into the prince, E.T just became human, and there was no more worries, comments, insults. Then I tried all kind of looks the Godfather style, Rajinikanth ishtyle, srk stile, with mush, with goatee, with beard, with cap, with band ,with gel, with oil, with petrol the only style I missed was the African style of braiding the hair. It was my answer to all those curios eyes. Then came compliments from all quarters, people asking for tips and following my footsteps, I was floating...

People come up and say "you look like Surya from the back, tom cruise from the left, Clooney from the left, and ----."(Ahem!!!)
Me- Hey gys c'mon ... don insult me..I don wanna look like some crappy guy... , say I look like vignesh from all the sides..I wish to be myself(Ahem!!! Ahem!!! Ahem!!!)

but then there are always the other kind of people, Including mom who said " The old lunatic beggar looks like you when he is drenched in rain... get lost from my sight"( i knew she would never like it her greatest aim is to cut my hair short, place a big 'naamam' on the fore head, make me wear the pant right near my chest like Mr.Thayirsaatham, make me stand in front of lord krishna and sing for salvation.... Grrrrrrrrrr)

But life changed a lot, suddenly you differ from the crowd, and you get that "unique" feeling. And you develop an identity with which people would associate you. It aided my attitude that was to be lonely, independent and to unbelong :).Anyway I was happy enough.

The Autumn Severity

Now When I mean autumn, I really mean it. It was months after the straightening episode, and now the sad truth started to emerge from the mist. I started to shred. :( The hair started to loose all its moisture, straightening fell flat, coz of low maintenance and some manufacturing defects the unthinkable finally happened.................Hair fall. H-A-I-R F-A-L-L was a real night mare. When I got up in the morning I found strands of hair floating around the room, people who used my pocket comb fell in in-fidelity row with their girlfriends, in office I would end up in fighting with a friend over the stranded hair found on the floor ...if its mine or hers. Then people came up with all sorts of reasons one even said that it was all because of global warming!!! (Actually I am happy.. no one said it was bcoz of - India not signing the nuclear proliferation treaty). I got nightmares in which I ended up looking like a bald T.Rajendar!!!.The sad reality had finally set in and my options were too thin. Either maintain the hair well or do another costly straightening or else CUT THAT SH**. It was when I made this historically important journey to Madurai... and the rest as you all know is history.From the moment I entered into the house mom just said these three words cut-your-hair!!!

Me - Amma there is no salt in the sambhar.
She - cut-your-hair then ill put salt!!!
Me - Amma I cleared my confirmation exam in my company.
She - cut-your-hair then speak bout work!!!
Me - Ok I am in love and I am gonna run away with this girl from nagaland
She - cut-your-hair then runaway with anyone!!!
Me - I am gonna suicide by drinking this toilet-cleansing acid
She - cut-your-hair and then go die!!!

Enuf. After hearing it over for 65,342 times I packed my bags, fled from the house and left to Coimbatore to my grandmas place. But I still made a mistake... I called her!!!
Me (over the phone)- Amma I reached safely by 11am, mama picked me up from station.
She- cut-your-hair then call me again!!!

that was the limit... I started to hear these words Please-cut-your-hair inside my brain all the time, I started to fell mentally ill, I got no sleep or dreams. The only solution was to cut-my-hair. And thats how I am here sitting blindfolded in this crappy old saloon owned by the middle-aged-stout-not-so-polite-hair-dresser


Back to reality.

The process was very quick, maybe I lost some accumulated weight, he shook,bang,pulled and tortured me to all extents. I kept my eyes closed I could feel the huge chunks of hair that kept falling all along, and finally there was a long silence. I avoided the mirror, looked at him - he gave me looks like he had just done a brain transplant to an orangutan.

I handed him the bucks, took my bike and travelled back home. I dint have the nerve to touch my hair nor see it in the rear view mirror. I knew the guy would have done things horribly wrong. I came home and people looked at me with at most concern, some eyes said cho!!cho!!cho!!... some uch!!!uch!! uch!!. I was about to break, I lost the hair which I grew for more than 8 months, I lost the attitude specific to the long hair grower, I lost my identity. Now I am loosing my mind.

Finally I got the guts to face my fate, went into the bathroom and looked reluctantly into the mirror..............WHOA!!!!! The middle-aged-stout-not-so-polite-hair-dresser is a genius. He did it!!!! He has done a wake-up on me and it looks better than that on Aamir. It looks perfect and I cry over with joy. The guy totally reinvented me. I curse my self for not thanking him. My new avatar is far better than my old one and is gonna make people turn heads, Vignesh now has a brand new look and a brand new hairdo. Voila for middle-aged-stout-not-so-polite-hair-dresser, Voila for Vignesh, Voila for the new lease of life!!! :) :) :)


P.S: :-((((( Actually things went horribly wrong. If you had believed what i wrote in the climax portion.... May god bless you!
P.S2: If you had read the whole post in one sitting, please send me your Acc number I will reimburse your internet cost!!:-)))))

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Children of Men

Twenty years from now, imagine the world where woman have become infertile, imagine the world without birth, imagine the world without children, imagine the world where people live with no hope and no future, Imagine the world in a quagmire of hopelessness, insurgencies and brutal violence. The solution to bring back life,peace,smile and hope lies in the birth of a child. And finally will it happen?. Watch Children of men.Before watching the movie i was a bit cynical, i had never seen Alfonso Cuarón movies before and i had little admiration for the cast namely Clive Owen and Julianne Moore, but after watching i was spellbound. I already knew that this movie will remain in my best movies list for a lifetime. Alfonso Cuarón is by profession a Mexican film director, a coterie of men who by far are the best in class. Children of men can be taken as a science-fiction that disguises itself as a road movie, or a road movie that disguises itself as a science fiction.

The synopsis goes like this -It is the year 2027 in London. The world suffers from two decades of global human infertility and the youngest person in the world is eighteen years old. The extinction of human race is just around the corner and Humanity is broke without the reasons to live. Unrest and rebellion has spread throughout the world, all nations and cities have collapsed except London. The world is reduced with three kinds of people, the pessimists who try to capitalize on the rebellion, the optimists who still believe that human race will triumph over the struggle and someday light will replace the gloom, and the indifferent people who wish sit back and count the days.The movie is about how an indifferent guy does the herculean task of saving a young girl from a group of pessimists' and handing her over to the optimists' who run human-project. What is so special about the girl?... she is pregnant. (Guys...the actual plot is very complex and far more interesting what i have written is just like saying "mathematics is all about 1+1=2"...)

The movie takes you through a journey filled with despair, When the protagonist travels with the task of saving the woman you become a co-traveler and share the same emotions and agony to save the mother and the newborn. The entire movie is filled with poignant moments, the place where the mother shows the child to the protagonist is a barn, is an inherent reference to Jesus Christ who was born in the confines of the barn. The shot in which the newborn gets caught in the war front and the reaction of the people after seeing a kid after nearly 20 years are so intense and will stay in your mind for a long time. The climax shot in which a boat named tomorrow emerges from the mist to save the mother and son who are left stranded in the sea, is a poetic end to which gives you glimpse that future will emerge to be hopeful.

Technically it is one of the best films i had ever seen. Rather than making a routine science fiction in which people look like aliens from another world and cars and building look like plastic miniatures of impossible concepts, Cuaron has made a science fiction without artifice gimmicks and it is very real and sensible. It depicts your perception of future on screen. Secondly capturing the coarse beauty of the future London in shades of grey adds to the mood of the film. The usage of single-shot sequence in the war front scene is an epitome to the many technical heights the films has touched. The technical department does the job right to create an ambiance which makes you travel through the streets of London in an epic journey of hope winning over apathy.

A movie-watching doesn't turn into an experience all the time, it happens in Children of men. I agree the movie has negative tones to it, it makes you imagine about life in a different and cruel time-frame, it makes you imagine about the broken human psyche, it makes you imagine about the travails of survival, it makes you imagine about the shabby sufferings and the extinction of our race, it not only makes you imagine the worst, but also assures you that the best is yet to occur.

For more info visit
Official movie site

(P.S: Guys i look lost for the past three days, after cutting the hair that i grew for more than 8 months ;-(... maybe it reflected in the post... try to watch the movie to understand its magnificence...Also i scrapped the palette idea... i knew it was dumb:))

Sunday, May 11, 2008

My Birthday!!

22 years before there was a visitor to the world, it was after his visit that the world became a different place, the Russians won in the cold war, Tibet and Tamil eealem were declared independent,Indian folk dancers would dance in the American rugby matches, Iraq would invade America in search of WMD, Bill gates would declare he was a moron and would get back Vista from sales, Great actors like Vijay would emerge and make Indian films win Oscars(while Hindi films will still suck), the world would find truce with peace . The visitor would be remembered as the brother of all believers and the calendar convention would be changed from 2008AD to 22 A.V. (duh..guys I know I suck)

I don’t celebrate my birthday, at least not in the ways we perceive it. But not celebrating doesn’t mean I forget them,to be precise you cannot forget it even if you wish to. We are all mysteriously addicted to our birthdays.The alarm in you starts ringing when it nears, and rings so loud on d-day. Some wish to keep the noise loud some others wish to play it low. I just prefer to press the snooze button.

My memories of my birthdays are very bleak. When I was a kid I used to be in my grandmas village, as my birthday always comes in the summer hols.My brother was born on may1 so he would the first to host the party,and year after year I would start crying after he cuts his cake, just bcoz I would feel so jealous of him his new dress and all the attention he gets. I would cry to feel good, I would cry to spoil the party. (Arun If ur reading this ... Sorry da!!!:)). And when my turn comes I would get up early, wake up the whole village,bring in all my uncles, aunts, cousins, grandpas&mas(there were a bunch of them), cut a bigger cake and get better chocolates, in a way I would feel so proud all the day that my party was better than my brothers.I hate that selfish-little-monkey now. Like has come a full circle.

I hate birthdays coz we celebrate it without intentions, we wish people on their birthdays as if it were a duty, we eat as much as we can in the treat so as to make sure its a win -win when he comes for your treat, at last we make it a mindless act. I prefer to celebrate the gift of me to the world...myself. Its a time when life asks me what have you been doing all these years.. I would say I am still searching for the answers and life would say "k dude find it.. ill come back after a year". A sweet made my mom and good place to sit back would make my day. As there is still no cure for the common birthday, i would prefer not to get infected.

And for all those who have the "habit" of wishing people on their birthdays, just sit back and think , think how you cherish them, think of the great times you spent together, think of the changes they have made in your life, think of all the good/bad they have done for you and love them more for all their goodness, and when you are really convinced make a call/sms/e-mail and wish them with all your heart.(I hate this preaching tone.. hope you guys are good with it!!!).

Hmmm ... its nearing midnight, people who love me, people who hate me, people who had remainders in their mobiles, people who found it on orkut, people who new by heart,people who just hear it word by mouth, people who will find tomorrow by midnight,and people who prefer to forget , I thank you all for your wishes.

I will make sure that ill not show my inconvenience to you.Happy birthday one and all. :-)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Train Journal

Train journeys are always fascinating,The sight that you get to see through the rusted windows of the of the Indian trains are unparalled.Be it the frenzic ambiance of the city that greets you in the electric train or the rural landscapes that calms you in those distant journeys, trains have something new to offer everytime. Unlike the busses which go through defined roads, the Indian train travels through the middle of nowhere, it takes you into a safari of the real india far away from the hustles of the city.The old farm house atop of the green fields, the rural kid who defecates in the dry land, the grooves of coconut tress, the majestic old man who walks away with his cow, the cattle which gazes it share of grass, the distant village which is getting ready for the night, the sun that adds its mystic yellow to the land, it gives you the same alluring vision of the land with which our forefathers have lived and died with. An unadulterated vision that iterates the fact "you belong here, not to the confined spaces of city". You feel like breaking free and getting lost into the land. But as always there is the rusted window between the dreams and reality.

Travelling in the middle of the day has happened only a very few times. It happened yesterday. I was about to travel to Madurai after a very long time, i was lucky enough to get the window, sans the usual business today and outlook there was another guy who travelled with me "Piscine molitor patel"*!!And then there were the usual co-passengers of all sorts.The lady who i suppose was a Manager in some IT company, She had phone calls all the time and spoke about client meetings and resource allocation and the usual IT stuff. She was too loud and i started to doubt her motives, Then there was the typical business man of TN who has a huge belly and a copy of nakeeran handy, a family of four with a newborn, and the middle aged villager who always tried to maintain a distance from everyone. We were an hour into the journey and people started to to get acquainted, they spoke about politics, growing land rates, and all the general stuff.. No one cared to watch out of the window.I never spoke. I was obsseed with the window this was when i saw all those beautiful imagery's mentioned above.May be i looked stern and "different" to them.But in a way they all looked "indifferent" to me. I am not sure about who was correct!!

It was a journey to remember, the sun joining hands with winds from the fissures of heaven together give that magical touch to the journey, And there was Yann Martel who writes to stop your breath in awe. All these seclude you from the chaos of daily life , and finally you find peace setting in. Adding with this, the best time in the train always comes in the early mornings, when the train travels like a whisper in the dream of the still sleeping landscape. and in the midnight when find find there is another lonely traveller coming all along with you...namely the moon.Not to forget the electric train journey in the sunset from velachery to beach. It is in the high mounted train you explore the beauty of delicate city called Madras from a birds eye view. From the richness and niche buildings of south madras, to the slums and poverty of north madras it takes you through the length and breadth of the city. At the end of which you will discover that madras is not a single city as we suppose it to be. It actually has a number of invisible cities each with its own shades of black white and grey.This is a journey which makes me fall in love with the city all over again.

There is a lot more to speak about trains and journeys but i think i am running out of words now. But the next time you travel in train, be it in rain, or sun, or the gusty wind, try to sit by the rusted window, open up you mind , and start observing things that you have missed all the time and you will find travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living#.

* - Piscine molitor patel is a character in Life of pi by Yann Martel.
# - Inspired by Miriam Beard.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Frequently asked q's

1)Why "Amazwi"?
Amazwi in zulu means a consortium of voices.
.
2)What is this post about?
This is an FAQ for Amazwi, and this is gonna clear most of your doubts(if any!).

3)Why is this necessary?
This is a way of connecting with the reader,only 1 in every 100+ blogs survive the catastrophic effects of the Internet,i definitely want this blog to be in the greener side.

4)Is blogging so difficult?
In a way yes, you should really have the interest, time, topics, language skill, bandwidth,and a love for writing and connecting with people, and In a way no, coz if a dumb ass like me can do it.. so can u!

5)Why do most blogs fail?
Most blogs fail because the author is not able to continue his interest in blogging after a while,the main reason for this is the lack of time and interest,second is the lack of readers, third is the bcoz the author got pissed of with life!!

6)What will Amazwi constitute of?
Amazwi will have these four major sections
About Movies & books - Filled with world cinema and literature , ..serious stuff? Kinda!!
About Life and friends - Living in a room with 10 guys gives you stories for a lifetime, and there are stories from my damn-life too...
About Advertising, Marketing and Economics - Topics on my future career preferences, to educate some morons out there(Of course not you!!!)
This will form the core of the blog and what's in the crust... hmm...My take on the society, its happenings,and all other holy sh**.

7)Is a reader so important for blogging?
This is like asking if a nose job is important for Himesh...Oh god Yes. A blogger writes for the benefit of humanity.So only if people read him his mission succeeds.

8)How can a reader contribute to a blog?
The main contribution will be by reading the blog till the last word, then commenting on it. Comments are the elixir's for any blog, so if u read a blog please feel free to comment on it. Say if its good bad or ugly!!
Contradict, congratulate,curse but make sure that you do comment.

9)How do i know when you post a new topic?
For Amateurs, there is a small box named subscribe to this blog is present on the right side of the screen. Enter your mail ids and click on subscribe. And you would be getting a e-mail whenever i update my blog.RSS feeds are another option.

10)I don't read books or watch movies but i read your previous posts, you look like a big time Moron!!, why is that?
Well, I can read your mind, as we can't have Namitha's photo on an article bout Marxism, you cant expect me to present them in any other way!!It is for serious reading, if my review inspires you, try reading and watching them. Good for you. But don worry we can still have namithas photos separately!!(don start watering your mouth.. i meant we will have posts on a lighter note!!!).

11)Will this blog become obsolete when no one reads it?
Nope, I don't think so. I jus don't write only for my reader, in a way i write for myself, to widen my views and enhance my perceptions, So i will stay whatsoever.:)

12)So what do you say finally?
I say reading a blog improves your digestion power by 15%...wat d F***?...Read 8 and 9 again. So drop in once in a while, and please help Namitha and Carl-Marx to co-exist!!! Thanks in advance. :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Rushdie Factor

You may not have read him,but you definitely should have heard about him. The name is Salman Rushdie. If you ask me I would say he was the guy who re-invented Indian writing in English, a man who inspired a generation of readers and writers, he not only changed the way Indians looked at literature but also altered the world's perception on Indian writing. Tats it?nope.. there's a lot more to Rushdie than writing, the fatwa issued by fundamentalists for his alleged demeaning of Islam("The satanic verses controversy")is still in tact, not to forget his occasional personal-stints with women(5ex-es and still counting... the latest to join the bandwagon would be Riya-sen who is just 35 years younger to him...hmm:-( ).He has been in the news for all the good and bad reasons,whatever the controversies may be he has always remained as the face of the emerging Indian voice.

It was some ten months ago that i found the book "Midnights Children" lying un-dusted in the shelves of a neighborhood book store. I felt my desires of reading Rushdie has finally found its destiny, i bought it,dusted it kissed it, signed on it and finally shelved it!!. For those of you who has read some literature would know that in order to read the genre you have to feel at your best, no distractions, no confusions it has to be you, the book and a read that takes you near tranquility. You cannot just like that read Rushdie . I once tried reading with my mind elsewhere, and after reading some 50+ pages i was totally lost!!Not a single word had entered my mind ... mission failed. the book found its way back to the shelves and I was back to routine.

The book was waiting for me to read it and i was waiting for that state of mind- that helps you read literature. It took a while for both the ends to meet.It takes some time for you to get acquainted with his style of writing but when you are into it, it's just pure magic. Midnights children is written as a narrative of Saleem sinhai who was born at the precise moment of India's independence, he takes you through the unending journey of his past, present and the future. It is a journey through the greatest moments of Indian history told alongside the broken physche of a gifted child. A blend of magical realism and dense writing builds an enigmatic web and catches you as its prey. It is after reading Rushdie you understand his influence on indian writing be it the other booker winners from India, Arundathi Roy(god of small things) or Kiran Desai(inheritance of loss) the influence of Rushdie on their style is clearly evident.No doubt it was chosen for the booker prize in 1981 and the booker of bookers in 1994.Considered one of the best literary works of the world till date, is the epitome of Indian talent.

But i do have my share of doubts(you may even call it as my ignorance) about the Indian English literature, the story always plays a second fiddle to the narration. I never read midnights children in a single sitting or a few days it took me months.Not that i lacked the reading poweress, but the plot was not tempting i was in no hurry in knowing what is next?. I took my time ,i lost track of time in his eloquence but cared little about the plot. It was like i was mystically-handcuffed to his writing.And this contradicts my understanding of a novel, if each author is none but a story teller why is the story taking a back seat to the narration?. There will be an instance in the novel where Rushdie would have briefed the entire content of the previous 100 + pages in just two pages, what does this mean? does it mean an over usage of his writing skill or an author forgetting his main role of a story teller and becoming a master of words?? This was the case in The god of small things(which in many ways was close to my heart and my philosophies than MidnightsChildren) and the Inheritance of loss(which i feel is not worth the credit surrounding it)This was not so prevalent in books of native writers(life of pie, Amsterdam)!! Why is it so? are we so obsessed with proving the world that we can master over our masters language? or this form of writing become our only perception of literature? I need someone to shed some light!!!

Besides all my confusions and contradictions i still believe Rushdie is a phenomenon, reading him did constitute some of my best moments and he will always remain a person and author whom i adore and finally, as i had read some where

"Not to have read an author is completely by choice,
But not to have read Rushdie is .... illiterature"!!!!

For more info refer
Salman Rushdie life and times
Midnights children-wikipedia

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Edge of Heaven

As i realize now, I have been caught in the beautiful paradise of cinema for a while. I never believed that movies could have such an impact on the thought process that you have, and now i would say movies are the second best sources to enlightenment, what is the first then?... Books of course. And when i speak about movies you would have already known that i am not here to speak about the desi movies(I proud to be an Indian, but definitely not when i am watching those so-called-masala movies with with screenplay like sh** and a story like its source.. sorry for the language). leave it lets hang these Indian movies later :). I am here to speak about those meaningful cinemas which break borders, linguistic barriers, cultural differences and rend you with sleepless nights. lets not call it reviews coz i am nobody to criticize the works of legends. lets call it an experience sharing. And what is in store today,....? A movie with a title that very much describes the power of cinema, yes a good movie can really take you to The Edge of Heaven.

By far German movies are becoming the tenets of modern cinema. There was Run lola run, there was Die Fälscher, The lives of others and now there is The Edge of heaven(German: Auf der anderen Seite) by Fatih Akin. A poignant tale on the inter-woven lives of six people of which four are German and two are from Turkey. It was critically acclaimed and won top honours at cannes by winning the Best Screenplay Award.(lets hope someday movies like these will be released in india, and we are relieved from the usual Hollywood-carp with bizarre tamil names like marana adi and Kavasa Veeran).

Coming back to business TEOH is about six people A 'kinky' father and his son from Germany, An old prostitute and her daughter from turkey and finally a comfy, middle-class mother and her college going daughter from Germany. The story is about how their lives are interrupted by each other and how relationships are lost with someone and found with some other. It's in a way a drama about human resonance and reconciliation, which has strong political undertones.I am not here to discuss about the plot coz this ain't a review. But the movie has a lot of about love, rebellion,relationships, politics, hope and definitely- lot of human emotions. the story travels between Germany and turkey and is shown happening in different time frames but stills looks so coherent and intact. No doubt it won the award for best screenplay at Cannes. the writes has a abundant belief in the intelligence of his viewers, and the best part is always left untold for the viewer to perceive it. And its technically so strong that you totally forget that there was a technical team behind the making:).

When it comes to the experience you would fell a lot of optimism during the final sections of the movie. When the protagonists find more reasons to re-connect with life you find your reason for walking through the film for nearly 120 mins. Even though it will not be one of my 'best-movies' list, the Edge of heaven will definitely find a place in my DVD box.

We indians are used to the verdicts at the end of each review, this blog will be no exception, the colour palette(inspired by the tomatometer :-))is not a grading but can be taken as my liking and suggestion quotient.

My palette for The Edge of heaven




Saturday, May 3, 2008

!st anniversary

It has been a year since i broke from my cocoon and fell into the real world, a year so special, a year which broke the monotony, a year which made new friendships, new revelations , new preferences and in a kind was a redux which reinvented life.It has exactly been a year since i reached chennai.

3/5/2007.It all started with a travel in the midnight with two other guys who were so obsessed in speaking with their girlfriends they didn't mind if their destination was chennai/mumbai/newyork/dubai but I being the loner of the lot had no other options but to start dreaming bout chennai.(Btw. i was heading to chennai as i had found my bread and butter there, i was upto join a elite brigade of people who had two horns... the so called S/W engineers)Beileve it or not, being in TN it was the first time i was travelling towards chennai in my life which had spun 21 years then.(When i say this ppl give the you-just-stepped-over-the-dung looks...i dont know why!) As i was dreaming, it had started to rain outside, a rain in the middle of the summer was that a welcome note?.After a journey that lasted for a life time i had finally arrived. The sight that i saw defined me life @ chennai. It was a rainy morning and the time was just nearing six and there was a huge chunk of people standing in the bus stop opp guindy rly.station. A very normal sight for a chennai-vaasi but for a person like me brought up in madurai (A City which prefers to be a village) and educated in coimbatore(A village which tries to evolve into a city) the sight was out of proportions. I felt like i was buffalo which has just took the wrong highway and finally reached the city and still confused if it could shit in the roads.But anyway i loved the sight, sight of people, people and more people- all busy and careless, in a way it was the kinda place i always wanted to be in.(the bigger the crowd the louder the applause!!) I stood at the bus station adoring the city's sight of beautiful school girls , police cars as in hollywood movies, people with energy, live was just spilling out on the street and rain water spilling over the head, just as you see in the movies it was a perfect love-at-first-sight-for me.

But just as in any other love it did not take much time for truth to hit the belly, the auto wala who cheated us for some extrabucks, the crappy office accomodation which was actually built for King Thomas VII in 1873, and at last the may month heat which was a little less than the temperature on the outer core of the sun me(and made me dress like mallika sherawat for the entire month) were very much a part of chennai's DNA. But as i had seen a lot of vikraman movies(who makes romantic movies about a man in pluto and a women in staurn and releases it in earth)i could never imagine hating my love at any cost. So i am here to stay fall in love with the city truly, madly, deeply.

3/5/08. As i am writing this post i still feel the same love that i felt for chennai a year back.There is a lot more chennai to be explored.To be continued..

PS:Sorry guys i forgot to introduce the two guys who travelled with me one was sakthi who would turn out to be the greatest lover of all times and other was deva who would turn out to be the greatest intha-pullaiyum-paal-kudikuma char. of all times.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Amukela

Hi Reader!,

Its raining in my mirage. It has been nearly four years since i wanted to have a web log with my name inscribed all over.But being born indolent it had remained a dream. Anyway every dog will have its day and i think the day has come for me to announce "hello world.. i have just arrived". There was a time when i used to believe that blogs are for those uncles with bonnet glasses who write geeky stuff in greek and latin, and now its time for me to become one of those bonnet clad uncles and write the geeky stuff!!! And i am here to stay and bore you people with all the philosophies i think, movies i watch(of course not all ;-)), books that i read, things that made me wonder, chicks whom i saw, dreams that i had, broccoli's that i ate, people who i met and live that i had just lived!!!!

PS: Right from my sixth grade when i learnt about africa i got hooked to it(maybe its coz of the mam we had :0) . I still hold a crazy idea of having a honeymoon in the tropical forests of south africa . And that made me name the blog in zulu - amazwi meaning voices and Amukela means welcome!...you are welcome to hear my voices and put down yours!)
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