Friday, December 29, 2006

aaj ki rot

so many movies, not enough keyboards..don followed dhoom2 down the drain that my head is. don pretends to be modern with a traditional outlook..something we know cannot exist. despite being non-existent, it managed to irritate me to no end. farhan akhtar seems to have tried reversing the roles of the protagonists and managed to confuse my memories of the first movie. while srk makes don feel loopy and eccentric, everyone else in the movie tries to carry off the cool,silent,brooding type and fails. to say that the second half has twists would be misleading. the first half actually had more twists and many of these were by kareena. the "twists" in the second half are more like stop signs on a really bumpy road. at least one of them is utterly unnecessary and you are given so much time while navigating the bumps that you see the others coming from a few scenes away.
considering that i remembered more of dhoom2, don now slips to first place, in the "worst movies i saw during my vacation" ranking

spoiler alert: the movie will spoil your memories of the old don

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

special a 250 peaberry 250

fresh out of the grinder, here is a mix of moments from when i was in madras over the past 2 weeks

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

crazy kiya re

dhoom 2 is an assault on your senses. it is packed with sequences that are visually incredible, emphasis on the incredibility. thanks to mayajaal deciding that ppl paying 200 per ticket should get their full worth, the volume had been cranked up all the way up to "are you mad?". except for that and the lack of a story the movie was quite watchable..and i just lied. it was barely so.

hrithik is an international indian thief, baby b as before is a brooding cop. uday chopra is again a tapori cop and bipasha, who joins the gang, is a model cop, nope not an exemplary cop, she is a cop who also happens to look like a model. the kind of model with a really healthy bmi that is approved by madrid's regional govt. ash is supposed to be the second best thief. she still looks good at 34 but seems to think she is 16, uttering "like" , like, a gazillion times. after hrithik and ash team up, hrithik forgetting his life's ambition - to write really huge A's on the face of the earth with his heists - plays basketball in the rain with ash and on the pretext of training, bungee jumps off cliffs with her. he feeds her burgers+coke, plays russian roulette and finally bites her hard on her lips. to seek revenge she decides to love him and punish him by not turning him over to the bumblng b. how they all get out of it alive and manage to maintain their tanned skintone is explained by songs and action sequences that must've had a subtext that i could not read. because my head was hurting from the visual and aural assault.

uday's sequences were somewhat funny but before a cbse hindi educated tamil boy could fully understand his mumbaiyya ishtyle utterances, abhisheks sporting water scooters between their legs and roller skating hrithiks would burst out of the screen. i'm still puzzled by hrithik's extra thumb and the date based mathematical puzzle that abhishek solves with his left brain, included to confuse the geeks into thinking that there is a hidden puzzle a la da vinci code. here is a real puzzle for you though - who'll be there in dhoom 3? i predict dev anand will return as a jewel thief. any takers?

capital times - 2

the next day of course was the all important day. except for taking up 4 hours of my vacation there was nothing remarkable about it. i got out of the embassy and back into vacation gear visiting a few of my kin. in all this visiting i found that the delhi traffic is run on a system of mutual consent that if existed the world over would promptly make it utopia. of course it will also be a little loud.the horns warn, inform, plead and cajole ceaslessly. collisions like in madras are for the most part avoided (rather narrowly)and when they do happen the drivers and the owners get out, do a quick assessment, ensure limbs are in place and drive away. all cars are dented leading one to think that these dents are probably birthmarks or are part of the car's design.

day 3 found us relaxing at home. except for collecting the stamped passport we barely went outside the house. we lunched at home and then went out for dinner at a somewhat overpriced haldiram's restaurant. day 4 was spent in central market shopping for my sister's clothes, at my mom's friend's place and then some sightseeing. we visited the qutub minar, took a ton of pics and then headed to humayun's tomb which'd closed by the time we got there. from there we took an awesome drive on the DND flyway where my uncle's maruti 800 hit 100 easily. it was quite easily the best road i've been in india, ever. four lanes each way with exits and ramps meant that driving was a pleasure (no i didnt was a stick shift)

btw this is my 100th post or so blogger informs me. so to celebrate, i give u a flickr gallery. ok ok, i'd have forced this thing on you nevertheless.

flick here

Monday, December 04, 2006

capital times - 1

in an effort to retain both my 2 readers, i've decided to appeal to their short attention spans and release my travelogue in bits tiny enough to be assimilated in one sitting (or by ADHD patients). part 2 will be up shortly

on monday we left for the capital to get the blessings of the gatekeepers of the west for my flight back. the chennai domestic airport was very well maintained though the road till there has been dug up in an effort to provide adventure enthusiasts with thrills in the league of bungee jumping or sky diving. the pre-flight rituals were rather easy and the flight itself right on time.

if chennai behaved like home, welcoming me warmly(it was a balmy 33 when i landed), delhi was mysterious and cool. mysterious because half the city was obscured by what i assumed was fog and later found was smog. on day one we went to the akshardam temple - a recent addition to delhi's southside. it is a fantastic architectural achievement though the organization's policy not to allow cameras inside is sure to irritate amateur photgraphers. i managed a few shots from outside and would soundly recommend it to anyone who has a few days to spend in delhi. that evening we went to a mall that was in most respects similar to its western counterpart. it even had a barista coffee shop that was selling different forms of the bean at prices similar to the west. i resisted the rs.60 cappuccino opting instead to have a sooper chai in a nearby gali for rs.4.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

a method to the mad(ras)ness

the first two days in chennai were bliss albeit quite dusty and filled with sounds and sights i'd not experienced in some time. went around town looking for some good footwear and happily got out of the smelly running shoes after locating a pair at kobblerr. the sunday was spent going around to meet friends' friends werent home. those morons were away working their asses off in far away countries.

driving to those places on my trusted kinetic honda proved to be a little harrowing. the traffic was obviously even worse than last time. if the traffic out west is an opera, the roads in chennai play host to a 24 hour circus. with a band made up of angry horns, furious revving engines and a bevy of screeching breaks, the hapless traffic constables play powerless ringmasters, looking on as the beasts perform amazing feats of collision avoidance within the confined pot-holed arena. i did my part, honked without rhythm or reason and whizzed around narrowly escaping the menagerie.

no change in chennai though - at least the parts that i've seen so far, which is mostly south madras. no espn at home. so no cricket yet or MNF.

Friday, November 24, 2006

been there, done that

that mandatory i'm-back-in-india post
sat morning, filter coffee in a stainless steel tumbler..steaming hot but not for long..frantic search for the hindu crossie after finding someone had moved it from the top left corner of the last page. 1 clue solved on paper. yup..i'm back.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Saturday, November 18, 2006

nobody does it better

one after the other we've watched each bond deftly handle anything with wheels , tank treads or long sexy legs in nearly every photogenic city in the world from udaipur to moscow. while each one had his own style, he was still being paid by the queen to cavort around the world enjoying gizmos and girls and to me it seemed like he was not working hard enough for his paycheck. or so i thought. the first few minutes of this movie were enough to justify the salaries of many future bonds.

the bond character begins his nascent journey with a black and white opening montage that shows his first kill. the title song that follows hints that something is different by eschewing the sexy silhouettes and instead opts for some wonderful animation which along with a great song had me mesmerized for a bit. the main movie opens with a spectacular, gritty chase/fight that quickly leads us to another - the pace of the movie and the camera trying really hard to keep up with daniel craig as he races down streets and tarmacs. by the time the camera finally catches up, he has settled down with a martini built to order to play a round of poker. for a good 45 minutes or so you forget that it is bond, as he sits battling wits with his nemesis instead of using a pair of x-ray glasses to look at his cards and his girlfriend's choice of lingerie. this one is certainly a little different. martin campbell,knowing that his US audience has been trained on non-stop tv screenings of world poker championships, deftly swaps bacarrat for texas hold em and it results in an engaging game that everyone vicariously enjoys. i know i did.

the movie then switches to a gear that none of bond's aston martin vanquishes or bmws have ever experienced as he falls headlong in love with the bond girl. eva green does not emerge from the ocean in a bikini. she instead proves to be a bond girl who is aware of bond's nature - a side that other bond girls are happy to ignore. remember though that this tale is of bond's yesteryears. he will change and sadly so will his women. the movie however loses its pace at this juncture. we are forced to wait and watch till he shows up at the end again, utters the most famous line in movie history and monty norman's legendary soundrack fills the theatre for the first time in the movie as the credits start rolling. we now know for sure that bond is back.

Friday, November 17, 2006

change of address

i'll be temporarily relocating to my awesome madras from the 25th of this month till the 11th of the next. anyone who's around there at the same time and sort of knows me pls crawl out of the woodwork and give me a sign ( a mail will do). we can attempt to meet up and agree that nothing has changed one bit in all this time.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

vowel movement

the series of tubes that are the internet are, more so than ever, filled with jobs and money jostling for space with porn while shooting across continents. like the ever mercurial corporation water (no folks i'm not pointing rather slyly to trace amounts of mercury in chennai's water), these tubes lead to taps that pour these jobs in the far eastern (and southeastern) while drying up and spewing just air in others and the money into the coffers of the corporations of the west ( or so i heard) (wow 3 parenthesised sub-sentences within 1..wait now it's 4)..where was i? oh yeah so the internets are filled with these already. i say we add to the traffic and create global equality in yet another dimension.

during a nets basketball game i noticed a player named krstic. the paucity of vowels in the name struck me. here is a 7 foot man whose ancestors probably had no appreciation for the 5 greatest letters of all time and labelled him with a 3cm name. without a lot of research i promptly concluded that entire serbia & montenegro football team probably has lesser vowels than a respectable south indian last name. this imbalance is shocking. on one hand are people who are embarrassed by the shortness of their names while the ananthapadmanabhans of this world relax by drowning in bathtubs of leo coffee, secure in the knowledge that they have a million a's locked up tight.

so i propose a charity that is run not on money but on phonemes - the very letters that make our names. i'm still working it all out in my head, but i suppose that we (ie south indians with long names) will be the largest donators of vowels. from the chinese and the poles we shall take some x's, z's and y's . the russians can give us some v's and from africa's bushmen we'll get some clicks. its time someone made the rules up and led the way to a fair and balanced world where no one will be asked to spell their last names thus saving me about five minutes each time i call customer service. i will gladly give up the 7 vowels in my name. how much will you give to make the world, not only flat, but also a uniformly lengthy place?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Domo arigato, mr.Roboto

conversations that begin with the question "what is name of the chief villain in giant robot" often end up increasing the ranks of sites containing words like jhonny sokko, giant robot and giant robot+monsters. they also often end up hitting the rewind button in the brain with the effectiveness of a two ton hammer.

i belong to the age when the number of channels on tv could be counted using the binary system. we had on and then off. the on state followed a rather strict schedule. monday - vayalum vazhvum, tuesday-some sad stage drama usually featuring a crying anandhi (thats her on the left) , wednesdays - chitrahaar, thursdays - i dont remember, it used to be honi anhoni or some such strange thing and fridays - olium ozhium. it was also the time when a sheet with some weird lines would be shown to indicate that there was nothing being transmitted. yup there were long stretches of time when there was nothing on tv (yikes!!). the national pastime was to wait till the swirling galaxy-like twin swooshes of dd arrived to some ominous (tabla?) music announcing that it was showtime. it was rare to see anything in a language that was not tamil, hindi or one of the million regional languages that usually got the 1.30pm sunday movie slot - the one that'd get turned on if u ever wanted to sleep after a nice sunday meal.

in between this cornucopia of high quality tv entertainment, we were also treated now and then to what can only be described as the best sci-fi series evvvver. we knew it as giant robot while the west knows it as jhonny sokko and the flying robot. it probably made several kids want to be a japanese kid with a flip watch on the wrist to control a giant robot. i was one of them. i could recognize the sounds that the robot made (as it went through some elegant calisthenics before its flight) from the playground and would be in front of a tv in moments. the villainous monsters were equally good (or bad). i dont remember the complete series but i do remember dracolon, the gargoyle gang and - as my friend pointed out the answer to the question - emperor guillotine. the search of course led us straight to you tube and so i have a video to show. i dedicate this one minute video ( though it is not mine) to our old black and white dyanora with its glorious 2 channel twisty knob.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

golt is my other tongue

as the story goes, my first spoken word was "koochu". nope, i wasnt trying to say koochiekoo to myself like adults who use that with babies assuming that something that sounds funny to them is obviously funny to everyone else. it is not. try explaining a joke. neither is it a mangled version of "couture" which if i'd been the offspring of a french designer and a super model might've been perfectly acceptable. koochu translates to "sit" in mana andhra naadu and in most neighborhoods of chennai. despite its obvious meaning it made my mom jump to attention and take notice. my neighbors then who were from the golt land often took care of me and somehow the rarefied golt air that i breathed while there had found its way into my vocabulary. i kind of lost touch after we moved and while hindi and english would torture me to no end, golt became, as the cliche goes, like hebrew and aramaic to me.

sometime in the late cable tv age, like a radio picking up ceylon signals on a rare night, i began picking up on it again. the signal was much stronger though and emanated from the strong transmitters of gemini and eenadu tvs. i spent a large portion of time on these channels in college and realised that despite the language, all djs were born with really strong neck muscles that enabled them to bob that head a million times a minute. and when the sunday cartoons ended after mowgli went swinging away to "cheddi pehen ke phool kila hai", i'd promptly switch over to whatever was on those channels.

so where is all this going. well it ends up in something i need. i'm one of the biggest tamil fans of golt cinema. i see them whenever i can and really like the music but it is kind hard to appreciate the song without understanding the lyrics. what i need is some information from the large golt population that regularly cause my blog to become unavailable (of course i know of none, so if u r there, pls raise your hand) to point to me some place that translates golt songs into somewhat proper english. actually i'm open to a barter...i'll translate any tamil song you like for a golt song.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

take your pic redux

whatever i said before, i recant
today i join the ranks of several people who've made it their aim to record their lives in all its digital glory. i succumbed to a really low price and the added impulse of an upcoming trip and finally bought a digital camera. i'm probably one of the last to join in the fun but as soon as I swiped the plastic (and made sure it was approved) i decided i had to enforce some rules. i've been observing the species of digital photographers for long. like an SUV owner who has just won an Alaskan oil field, they often go on a rampage with their all-seeing friend by the side. i rank sitting through an online gallery of an yellowstone trip only slightly below being forced to watch the wedding video. of course i was also jealous, my bulky 35mm put in an appearance only when ratio of the view i had to the cost of developing that one shot was significantly higher than 1

and hence these basic tenets which i hope may one day be passed into law:

1. i shall never go to yellowstone as an excuse to shoot pictures. actually i've seen enough of it in pictures. lets just say i shall never go to yellowstone..ever. so i'll probably miss seeing yogi bear in person..big deal. oh wait that is jellystone

2. no reflections off the water, off mirrors, pet's eyes or chicago's bean. a reflection photo is like saying something with a hidden meaning/pop culture reference etc. it screams "look at me, aint i clever". that this blog totally subscribes to that view will not be debated now.

3. no grotesque pics of me when i tried to hold the camera at arm's length. this one should be made into a commandment. way too many beautiful people have managed to mangle themselves in this attempt. if u want a photo of yourself please ask someone else to do the clicking. do not attempt shooting at a reflection on a mirror while trying not to have the camera appear in the photo either. see rule 2.

4. the words aperture, focus, polarized, f-stop etc will not be mentioned in association with any of the pics. actually i dont know what these mean. i've heard others refer to these as being not proper, when they dont get the effect they desired in a pic. one word i do reserve the use of is zoom and its correct pronunciation "joom"

5. thats all i could come up with for now. will add rules as and when i find out what a pain it is to take photos and upload them. you will of course be privy to yet another boring online gallery but only if you ask. this blog will forever remain text based

the usual disclaimer : none of the above is guaranteed to be enforced. you cant catch me on the street one day and say - "i had nightmares because of that self-photo you took." and ask me to give me back the money you never paid. people seem to do strange things when possessed by a digital camera. i am,after al,l the people,the mob. off i go then to cash in these many thousands of words i've written and get some pics in return.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

accentually speaking

i recently had an encounter with a south korean individual. he has probably been here only for a few years and a few words have distinctly different pronunciations from the normal. his "z" pronunciation was what fascinated me most. the z was more like a j. so "size" would come out as "sije" and "zoom" came out soundling like "joom". putting two and forty together, i'm hypothesizing that the one and only captain has a south korean gene swimming in his extraordinary gene pool. one gene down from around 25000. i wonder which one gives him the ability to shock electricity. i'll track them all down. if there is one life that is worth cloning, it has to be captain's.

staying on the linguistic vein, can an indian trying to imitate a southern accent construed to be speaking in a south indian accent?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

rashtriya baasha

"are you hindi?" asked the drunk guy standing next to me. i knew exactly what he meant - "you mean hindu". "oops", he said, "sorry. you musht shink i'm obnoxious. so what ish hindi?". and thats when it struck me. what is hindi? am i just a hindu, not a hindi? that statement had just woken up a ghost i thought i'd exorcised a while back. hindi has long been torturing poor tamil souls who would've loved to take math twice instead. of course i was different, i'd have sat through approximately 276 classes of all the other subjects instead of math.hindi wasn't far behind math though

it wasnt all that bad to begin with. at 5, i had the tamil vocabulary of most 5 year olds (except maybe the numbers, see note abt math above) and english at that point was mostly words rhyming with cat. when hindi was introduced, it seemed exotic in comparison and i took to it with mucho gusto. as i stood up to read about my favorite thoyhaar(1) or why vignyan(2) was a bane and not a boon, an audience would gather at the class door. several primary school teachers would stand by the class door admiring the flawless diction and command i had over words like "kyon ki"(3), "nahin"(4) and "isiliyae"(5). none of them knew hindi but like the sole hindi newscast on the only tv channel (it was just DD then and yes i'm from the stone age), I was pretty much the only source of entertainment for many. some predicted pundithood and at least a few were sure that i was prequalified for a Ji at the end of my name. i surfed the gentle waters of primary school hindi on the strengths of really long sentences that confused my really nice hindi teacher

when i switched to a new middle school, i found myself amidst a new set of characters. among them a hindi teacher who not only taught hindi but that supreme ancestor of hindi, sanskrit.i was no super hero but it quickly became apparent that if i'd been one she would've been my arch nemesis. her aims were very clear - total world domination of tamilnadu through the use of hindi grammar. to say i struggled would be like calling hindi a dialect. my fights against sandhi(6) and munshi premchand's tragedies were chronicled in school history as being among the most one-sided. tuition didnt help either and things steadily went downhill till independence was thrust upon us rather suddenly by the arrival of a new teacher. i probably treated the whole class to poppins and eclairs. the new guy was a total pushover and my scores steadily improved.

the brown cover of my course A hindi book slowly started fading a bit. tears appeared all over and the label slowly lost its stickiness till it was hanging by the last molecules of was time. i finally faced the ultimate challenge of the 10th standard board exam. the day our scores came out, i went with my mom to the school. we'd barely entered the school office when the hindi master came rushing out, all beaming and said i'd scored 97. he even thought i might be the national topper. imagine that. a tamil kid topping in hindi, beating all those northies who had supposedly invented the stuff. there was no way out now, i had to take up hindi in college and become a hindi pundit. i shall be a good teacher i thought and an even better speaker. i'll be the one to demolish that stereotype that mehmood had so carefully built in padosan. as these thoughts lit up like fireworks inside the hindi half of my brain, the teacher came around again. this time he was rather subdued. turned out that it was the other arun who'd scored 97. that genius had jumped to french a while back. that exam was the last time i wrote in hindi. i still speak it though and till recently it was always greeted by peals of laughter from my northy roomies.

a prod to my ribs brought me back to the present. obviously the amru unable to disturb my reverie with his belches had resorted to this physical gesture. he still wanted an answer to his question. "hindi", i said, "is the national language of india". "can you teach me some curse words then?"

(1)thyohaar - i think it actually means festival but to me it always meant diwali
(2)vignyan - is not scientology. it is just science and is a boon
(3)kyon ki - see isiliyae
(4)nahin - illa, ledhu, kidayathu, kaadhu, nein, NO
(5)isiliyae - that's why..if in doubt see kyon ki
(6)sandhi - the peculiar set of rules that govern how two words collide to form a new one or how one breaks up to give birth to new ones or the most torturous feature in hindi. no examples, if i'd studied that well, i'd have gotten 97

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

it's a rap, again

i've already commented(ok it's not a comment, but a rather long post) on the influx of hip hop sounds into tamil film music before. i thought it was an innovative thing and lately it seems like yuvan shankar raja has taken it upon himself to feature at least one such song in his albums. here is someone who is trying to shake things up a little bit by adding a new element to the rather stable tfm compound. i liked his version of aasai nooru vagai in kurumbu and boom boom from Raam. Thee pidikka from Arindhum Ariyamalum was one suweet remix. then in kanda naal mudhal there was one line that caught my attention. it goes "i've got the magic stick, i'm the love doctor" . wait a second, doesn't someone else this side of the atlantic (or pacific, actually the world) also own a magic stick. Indeed. Not only does Curtis James Jackson III aka 50 cent aka fiddy own a magic stick, last i heard he also owned a candy shop which has the exact line. then i listened to Vallavan today which has a remix of "kaathal vandiruchu" from Kalyanaraman. again i liked the remix but are the mangled lyrics from 'In da club' really needed in the first few minutes (kudos for slipping in the four letter word in though..must be a first in tamil film music history). i kind of understand the urge to be a rebel and move away from the mainstream and to create new things. but sampling lyrics is not the way to go. that way i think blaaze's lyrics are much better. they are much more relevant to the song and because of that they don't stick out like a sore thumb despite being in a different language.

The blogger formerly known as aNTi says that he is planning a hip-hop album sometime. hope it's more original or one day the G-unit is going to send down a couple of hummers to chennai to investigate and i don't think they'll be there to "party like its your love day" (whatever that is )"

Sunday, July 02, 2006


i found it..the short film that was in thewebsite that i would not pay to watch. thanks to some nice beings that mirrored the website the short film is here :
(thanks to patrykrebisz)

a bit about the movie: it is composed of individual snaps from a digital camera. i've seen a similar ad (for playstation i think) and have no idea which one came first. so i am not commenting on the novelty. unusual way to make a movie but the only anomaly (according to me)was that it had a rather normal background score. should it not have been composed of individual snippets of sound corresponding to each snap?? why didn't capturing sound bytes take off like capturing image bytes ? maybe it is cos writing captures the sound like a picture captures the image. somehow the analogy does not gel.

guess who's back?

pretty much the only difference was that the red in the cape was a little darker. bryan singer tries to walk the thin line between retaining the image of superman as portrayed by Reeve and trying to do something new and radical (and fun) with this amazing toy he has been handed. he just about manages to balance while leaning heavily towards the past serving up a version of superman which looks slightly better but retains the same core.

i don't know any more about superman than most people. i have watched the previous ones but don't remember much except for the one with the solar powered creature in IV(i know, worst superman ever. that being uses its nails to infect superman like some cat). i do remember some scenes with the clumsy, bumbling Reeve and the slightly hysterical lois lane(imdb tells me it was played by Margot Kidder). Bryan Singer in his role as guardian of the superhero temple probably told Brandon Routh to study tapes of Reeve and imitate him as best as he can. Kate Bosworth does look quite beautiful but i missed the wide eyed, surprised expression that Margot Kidder showed when meeting superman. kate makes that fantastic flight over the city seem like a bus ride. i guess it's cos lois has had a ride on superman before. the best character of course is lex luthor. kevin spacey brings extra wit and beautiful sarcasm to a character you know is a little crazy. other than that it is much of the same old, same old. there is a evil masterplan, it involves kryptonite and superman going down before coming back up.

the special effects i guess are really advanced and it was probably really hard work to make superman fly but i doubt that the older audience noticed anything different. it's come to the point where the effect really has to be something special for me to notice it. bryan remembers to showcase each one of superman's abilities just in case the younger crowd have not been taught enough by their parents. watching it in imax 3d however was a slightly different experience. i really liked the sound effects but was not too impressed with the 3d aspect. it maybe because there was no flying ice cream as in "my dear kuttichathan". the only other thing that bothered me was that metropolis seems stuck in the past. apart from the nifty product placements ( samsung, nikon and audi) there is nothing modern about metropolis. i am not a couture expert either but why is everyone dressed up like its the 80s. i bet that there was not a single pair of jeans in the entire movie and any superman worth his salt would've noticed the young lady he rescues from a runaway car is wearing an outfit that would be a better fit at the ascot or kentucky derby than an american city's downtown.

i saw this cool video on the net that showed how they reused marlon brando's face from the first movie. bryan could've as well done the same with the rest of the movie. he returns the toy to the showcase in the same pristine condition it was in before he took it out.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

the random post i've been trying to avoid all these days

i don't claim to be a techie sort of a person..i am not. i like gadgets and technology and on the rare saturday get rather stale ideas about how the virtual life imitates the real one. i tried accessing a website featured on boing boing and it turned out that site host had suspended that account. most tech enthusiasts would of course be familiar with slashdotting and that is precisely what had happened. apart from sympathizing with that poor slashdotted soul, my point ( and there is one somewhere in this post) is that this is really similar to any free event. the moment you say its free and interesting the only ones who really get to see it are the early birds.the rest just lose out like i did. some nice being may have a video camera and record that event and put in on the web for others to watch it (that this may also get slashdotted is an offshoot i wont traverse). but what is the equivalent on the web. some may try to mirror the site on their own servers but how many have the patience to do that. i still think that the number of people online is quite small. what if the number of people online doubles overnight? contrast that with a ticketed event where you actually pay for and get a nice seat and are assured of watching the whole thing without hunting for it on the net.

that begets the question : should the net really be free?

(the actual question is : was that link something i'd pay to see. the answer is no :) )

Saturday, April 22, 2006


so i got a Bose stereo system this weekend.

the packaging it came in was just awesome :

a gorgeous lump of black metal forged into a sleek,aerodynamic shell, with wheels and a v6 heart

Friday, April 21, 2006

textosterone mini

like that of a mosquito's caught in a room full of healthy people. i was describing my attention span. i barely read these days. magazines that have interesting main features on the cover last merely minutes. the first para of each story gets my focus for a bare second before i flip away to the next page. they say it's because of this information overload we face. so i've decided to innovate. change something. it's what bloggers do when they have a dearth of comments..and yeah, i could've just changed the colors and the font and called it a day

a steamin' cuppa time
this has been popping up in my head each time i see my room-mate's collection of shot glasses. apart from the thought that he has visited way too many places than i have that is. what do we have in india that is equivalent to the shot glass. the tea glass of course. many a day has been better spent along NH 45 with a piping hot nair kada tea in one hand and a butter biscuit in another. from the exalted iits to the one building engineering college dotting the backroads of a city, there'd be few students who've not enjoyed chai. the idea is to market the chai glass as a nostalgic souvenir..something that reminds you of the times more than the place... any takers?

really small words
i dont know about other languages, but (madras) tamil is so ingrained (some say adulterated) with english that there are many words that i dont know the tamil equivalent of. so when do bilingual children learn to differentiate between languages? at what point do they learn that they are speaking 2 languages. is it when they learn the word language?

snatch x chick-flick
that x stands for "opposite of" if you've never played those interesting word games in first or second standard. and yup, i just saw this movie in its entirety after several attempts went awry. a diamond, replica guns, people with missing fingers and illegal,underground bare-knuckle boxing. there are multiple plots and they are all connected? precisely what my overloaded brain ordered. each piece stays on screen for just the right amount of time before another great one nudges it out to claim centerstage. as an outsider i felt sort of privileged that i may have been the only one (apart from the director) who knew all the pieces and the connection while the characters themselves did not. very satisfying..why don't magazines adopt this stand, have one story but have several sub-stories? i guess it's cos as strange as it is, fact can only be twisted this much.

Monday, March 27, 2006

adi thadi academy

with age comes wisdom. so what was that stuff they taught us in school and college? pointless question. the wisdom i've gleaned from so many years of movie watching is about to take tangible shape. it is time do something constructive. i'm planning on starting the rather cheekily named International Institute in India for Professional Practice of Movie Material (henceforth referred to as IIIPPMM). the main reason for this decision, is a concentration that is not offered in any university,college or film institute. IIIPPMM shall be the first institute to offer a graduate degree geared towards making violent,angry young men out of mostly vetti young men.

our vetti youth have always relied on tamil movies for their "original" acts in life and the recent trend has moved the focus away from US bound (or returned) youth to inner madras youth who anyway end up getting the lass. taking advantage of this trend, i predict that this program will be a runaway hit though the movies that inspired it haven't really made much. the course will of course cover all aspects of rowdyism and thuggery.

for starters there will be an "introduction to angry flashbacks" in which students will be taught the unique skill of choosing a template and filling in the blanks to get a teary/violent/blood-filled flashback that sufficiently establishes reason for the massive bone breaking that will occur later in life. there will be a final project in this course based on which the students will get to choose a girl from our other program that offers a post graduate degree on "how to love a rowdy". you have to understand that these girls are already literate (and zoom around on a scooty/sunny) unlike our vetti brethren who due to their childhood( see "intro to angry flashbacks" final project) have not had the same education. while this may seem like a swayamvara, it actually serves to irritate the less "bright" students and the prettier the girl is, the harder-to-get she'll play. thus irking all the youth just a bit.

the following semester this irritation will grow into a small rage that will be just right for the next course "solid DEInamics". this is a interactive class where students stand about 3 feet from each other and try to blast the other across the room by just yelling "DEI". other courses will teach valuable skills like choosing a nickname . the rationale is much like that of choosing your starwars name. you start with the vegetable you hated most in your childhood( or fake childhood from flashback 101), cut out the last part and add the name of a street on which your friend lived. this does not always work though.mine is something like "kathri fourth seaward", menacing eh? in between all this of course lies another course where you'll have to sneak off to meet with your life-partner in crime while the professors (real life rowdies of course) chase you all around the campus in a toyota qualis carrying aruvas. there is a bonus for students who totally avoid other students which is of course rather easy. how often have you seen rowdy heroes from five different movies set in the same city around the same time cross paths? it just doesn't happen.

for those that don't clear this stage, we'll be offering a shortened program. a diploma in sidekickonomics - the art of playing second fiddle. your girl will be stripped...wait, wait..i meant stripped from you and given to a more deserving, aspiring rowdy. you'll gravitate towards courses where they teach skills like telling bad jokes, advising your graduate friend and in general how to die in such a way so as to stoke that rage in your pal into a flaming anger.

finally the graduates from the angry youth program will get one year to setup and win a showdown with the graduates from the bad guys school of ultimate badness. at the end we'll call eminent personalities from the city who've all been rowdies to reminisce about their past. we are sure this will inspire our students to follow their chosen career path and beat up at least 20 people before donning white clothes, let loose a few doves and start colleges of their own.

as all ideas go this is all still in my head but i'm hopeful it'll pan out. if not a building, i'll probably create characters like harry paruppu and a magical rowdy school called "roguewarts" on a post-it note and hope that it becomes a best-seller. you'll all buy it right??

disclaimer: IIIPPMM is not affiliated to any other weirdly named official body. it is located on the very little gooey grey matter that helps power my feeble imagination.

Monday, March 13, 2006

the one two punch

by now its common knowledge that i'm a connossieur of fine motion pictures. continuing in the same vein i present to you 'thotti jaya'. a film that redefines words like trite and hackneyed in its own banal style. i was rather curious as to how they'll work the name of the movie into the story and had some glorious theories that evaporated in the very first scene. as a child the eponymous hero works in a restaurant washing dishes using thengai naaru in a 'thotti' full of water. now why they'd choose the thotti and not the thenga naaru as a title is beyond me. the boy quickly discovers that he doesnt really like washing vessels and that fate has more in store for him. fast forward a few years and our thotti has a beard and is now cleaning up enemies for his boss, a rather avuncularly named expected the story is unexpectedly predictable after that. he goes to calcutta to hide from the police where this girl quite literally bumps into him asking him to save her from some drunk goons. he brings her back home, tells her he is not the kind that suffers sitting in a plush chair in a ac cubicle just to play stickcricket(addictive.u've been warned). yet she chooses to love him. later he finds out she is cheena-thaana's daughter, the twist being that she herself did not know. he runs with her and due to some particularly inept project management practices cheena-thaana keeps losing the pair until in the end thotti kills cheena-thaana and then apologises to him. the first half was quick with only 2 songs and even better chimpu does not speak/act much. the second half drags as he gingerly breaks the arms of about 40-50 goons and causes orthopedists everywhere to declare holidays in his name. he also attempts to educate the masses that rowdies have hearts and though they may throw acid and break other's arms they deeply repent doing so. so next time you encounter that friendly neighborhood goon of yours do enquire about his health.

if you thought it difficult to follow such an act, fear not. thotti was rightfully succeeded by a screening of delta force 2. to watch chuck norris single handedly dismantle a whole south american cartel including drug labs, poppy fields, dangerous henchmen and ancient inca artifacts standing in the drug lord's bedroom is like flipping through a set of postcards of the seven wonders of the world. that was a random metaphor. what i meant to say was that it is beyond comprehension or description. i didnt catch much of the story, given that there was none. i could guess it was south america because there was mention of a president alcazar (nope not the one from tintin). because they named it thus there are some 4 or 5 commandoes who, while sweeping through the remains of aforementioned carnage, take care to attach explosives to each of the few strands of grass that survived norris. the ad breaks in between made me a little sleepy but i vaguely remember there was an ad in between for a drug that promised to make one look 20 years younger and i woozily wondered what would happen if a 19 year old took the drug. of course i woke up as soon as the annihilation resumed. between two breaks i counted around 174 roundhouse kicks from his right leg alone. the main villain is again a moron. having never seen delta force 1 , he puts chuck norris in an unbreakable glass cabin and releases nerve gas into it. chuck, never having learned prefixes like 'un-' , 'im-' or 'non-' , ignores the labels on the glass and breaks out of the cabin. after losing their entire economy, the natives lustily cheer chuck norris as the delta force arrives in time to airlift him.

the similarities were remarkable to ignore even at 2.00am. two heroes both wearing all black and sporting beards remorselessly breaking arms and necks of fellow humans to save what they treasure most - one his woman and the other his country. and to top it all both their names start with 'ch'. coincidence? i think not.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

bore yourself some coffee

the setting is quite familiar. one-time avid blogger has been posting rather infrequently due to various reasons. millions of readers grow weary waiting for posts, there is worldwide speculation about the blogger, a meme about the top 10 guesses for the absence of posts is started by the blogger himself. it traverses exactly 0 blogs. blogger dreams up vague topics then trashes them as they are worse than the meme idea. like a caffeine addict who has gone the first half of the day without coffee, a nagging feeling starts taking control. mere facts are hypothesised to have mucho blogging potential. some one-liners start looking like inner cores around which planets and solar systems could be built.

that is for most other avid bloggers. i am too lazy to get that worked up (or so i claim). i just decided to go the gimmicky way. it is fast, easy and i don't have to think. so what does an idea-starved blogger do when he/she is in the caffeine capital in the world (in the united states that is). he decides to blog about coffee. seeing that i've already praised the nectar to heaven i had only one recourse. i decided to rate the baristas of seattle.

any valuable scientific study such as this requires samples and most researchers who undertake such studies have vast armies of research assistants and government backing. i had a road map of seattle's downtown and my trusty piece of plastic. armed thus i started at the somewhat-tall-but-totally-not-worth-$14 space needle. needless to say there was a starbucks on its top. what was surprising that travelling a brief 600 feet vertically had caused the coffee to appreciate in value by about 60 cents. a quick calculation aided by my abysmal math skills revealed that if and when they put a starbucks on a space station (they surely will) one cup will probably cost the same as your arm(your cybernetic arm that is). the extra 70 cents made no difference in taste but a thought popped into my head. i had to rate the baristas so my 'millions of readers' could benefit from my experience.

the next cuppa joe was at another starbucks rather strategically placed near a bus stand at the base of the space needle. the very fact that it was cheaper by 60 cents made it taste better but my study was not one that would be swayed by external factors. the taste and taste alone would matter. it was a different blend. they called it nutty flavored. my sensitive palette however detected no difference. thats when it struck me that i had to use a wasabi equivalent in order to wash my mouth of the previous cup's taste. enter some breath mints. the next cup took awhile. a bus ride up to the south side of the city took me to pioneer place. this quaint side of town had relatively fewer starbucks per sq inch and my next cup was at tully's. i liked this cup a lot. the chalk board above the counter described it as smooth and bold. i thought it smelled good and was not too watery. 3 cups gone and tully's had been the best cup by far.

if u r a coffee drinker you proably also know it is a diuretic which means that it dehydrates the body rather quickly. which means that in studies such as this it is not enough if you find where the next sample will come from, you'll also have to make sure and locate somewhere that the previous sample can be evacuated in a sanitary manner. thankfully the coffee shops provided such outlets. the next stop was at a seattle's best shop. by far the worst cup i'd had that day. it was too light and i found after ingesting half a cup that i hadnt noticed the choice of a darker blend. by now the study was far from scientific and lacked the meticulous journaling that seem to accompany such ventures. nevertheless i pressed on and located this neat little shop called juan valdez. i found later that juan is the colombian guy with the donkey who symbolizes colombian coffee the world over. the coffee was good i taste buds were too tired to even realise that the drink was hot. i'd reached the extremes of coffee intake for a day and so i reluctantly gave up.

so that was that folks.i liked tullys but have thankfully gone back to drinking free coffee at work. then today my friend pointed me to this article on the web. i havent read it yet, will go fetch a cup and sit down to read it at leisure.

Monday, February 27, 2006

it's all black and white

(as usual i'm late, this time by a few weeks. of course it can all be a clever ploy to post about a topic long after everyone else has. of course you know that i am not that clever. as usual, i'm just late )

there are 3 kinds of movies in this world. and the plagiarism stops right there. you can't write about a movie like 'rang de' by lifting lines from it. there are many scenes that make you think and there are whole sequences that hit you where it hurts most (the heart, lads & lasses). the whole movie is as fresh as a review that lacks cliches comparing it to a rainbow of emotions. i don't deny the presence of emotions though since there is a message to deliver.but the message will probably linger much longer thanks to a fantastic group of messengers and a brilliant screenplay. obviously i don't envision hordes of youngsters turning into activists overnight. but i feel that the way message was delivered will appeal to some. it did to me.

i tend to play the music on a loop for about a week after i see any movie. i find that the visuals add a nice sub-dimension. with this soundtrack i was (pleasantly) surprised to find that most of my guesses about the songs' picturisation were wrong. it's an awesome soundtrack and prasoon joshi's lyrics complement the music very well as do the vivid images.

my brightest idea in a long while : deciding to see rang de basanti.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Would you like to update now ?

keeping yourself updated is a pain. especially in this info age, do you really want to keep track of how much was spent on an ad in this year's superbowl or would you rather keep tabs on a friend you swapped stamps with in school? i say go for the former. i'm too lazy to call someone up and talk to them unless i really need something (like my weekly calls to my sis to repeatedly ask her for the same capsicum curry's just easier to call her than write it down..besides if i'd made it edible at least once,i'd have probably written that recipe in stone). my best friends are those that call me to get me upto speed on their life. in the process i trust the info they gain abt me is also spread to other mutual friends thus eliminating the need for me to ever use the phone.

i'd go as far as to say that the rare call to a friend is actually quite has an element of surprise. i hope one day i'll have a conversation that goes like this :
me : so what's up?
frnd : nothing much
me : so how's the carpal tunnel you were suffering from because of your excessive chatting at work?
frnd : gone..i switched jobs
me : where to?
frnd : remember i had a dream of running away and joining the circus
me : ada paavi
frnd : yup i'm now assistant ring master, jumbo circus, hoboken, nj (for now)
me : what? but how the heck did u wind up there with a masters in CS ?
frnd : my job experience da..after a few stories about how adeptly i'd handled my managers, they practically gave me the whip and threw me in the cage
me : wow!!..congrats what's the pay and any perks?
frnd : the pay isn't too great , but i get to put my head in a lion's mouth, one of the trapeze artists said she wants to drop me from the top of the tent and one of these days i'm going to open up a couple of cages and see if we can create ligers at circuses.
me : hmmm...good luck da..hey you know what? maybe i could maintain a blog about your circus
frnd :(rather hurriedly) blogs, we use only pamphlets da.

instead if i'd kept tabs on this guy, i'd have ended up listening to his whole transition from keyboard to whip, his tense interviews with the chimpanzees, the clowns and finally the lions themselves. in the end my surprise would've been minimal, not to mention the number of minutes i'd have lost that i could've spent usefully by updating this such a perfect analogy but you get the picture right.

so here's what all the ppl who know me have to absolutely know about me : i'm still the same. no change.well, i'd like to blog a bit more than i have o'er the past few days.but you never know, someday you might call me and catch me priming the nilagiri express's diesel engine as it leaves jolarpettai junction. the only blogging engine driver in tamilnadu. i wonder if the indian railways has a job profile for that on monster.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


my roomie said i should post more "useful" stuff and even gave me a suggestion. so even though i'm aeons late on the scene with regards to this particular thing, i shall not deny this request. but before that i'll put you through some pain. as someone said, long before this blog came to be, "no rain, no grain".

and as someone else also said, there are two kinds of technophiles in this world. some of you are early adopters. you jump on to the first trends as they slowly sprout from the ground . as the trends rise like magic beanstalks, you sit comfortable on the top and lend a helping hand to those below you, enabling them to get to the top and enjoy the view with you. some others among you lag behind a little. not by much, but you lounge around comfortable with your current settings. a little hesitant to jump arms akimbo onto a bandwagon that still maybe missing a wheel and whose destination is still unknown. you don't want to change unless forced to. given these 2 sets of people any technology that makes the second group adopt it as early as the first is likely to win the race.

enter google video. "old news" you say. yup it's been around for a while. but the content it carries has multiplied like rabbits to reach a mind boggling amount. a brief search yielded telugu wedding videos in 20 parts( i did not watch any of them..ok maybe part of 1), tamil movie scenes, not to mention the tons of sports clips. so many in such an uncategorised mess that even an obsessive compulsive organiser would just give up and start watching some of the videos. despite the megabytes of viewing pleasure, the interface is so simple that anyone can search and view videos. no annoying codecs or waiting for the video to download. and if the uploading is as simple as it seems, i expect the content to grow exponentially thus making everyone happy.

google has trained us well. it has drilled into us that the long textbox is not a mere html construct, but is in fact a genie capable of granting your every online wish. so go forth, command the genie and gently rub the Search button. may all your wishes come true.

p.s oh yeah i even found a video related to a golt movie i wrote about almost a year ago. search for takkari donga at your own risk

Sunday, January 15, 2006

two movies and a birthday

though it follows a group of mossad killers seeking retribution for the munich olympic village attack, munich is not about revenge. it is about people defending their home. told in a way that does not lend credence to either side, it's something like a filter that instead of separating the differences, shows the similarities in most bilateral fights going on in the world. two scenes got stuck in my head. one is when the mossad assassins are holed in a safe house waiting for their quarry to show up. fighters of the PLO who are there to meet the same guy also come to the safe house. for a brief moment there are guns pointing everywhere and after the confusion is resolved the 2 arch rivals share quarters for the night.the other scene follows immediately where the heads of the israeli fighters and the palestinian fighters talk about their struggles and we find it's all about having a place to call home.makes it quite difficult to take sides. i was immediately reminded of another movie that followed a bilateral issue. 'Roja' had an eerily similar scene where pankaj kapur in his broken tamil speaks about aazadi to arvind swamy. i liked munich for (once again) showing the human angle and for not taking sides. there are several cliches though(like an israeli and a palestinian settling for a common radio station) and one long scene towards the end where the protagonist's love making and flashbacks from the munich event intersect each other that just didnt make sense to me. it has a sort of abrupt ending and i think it was deliberately left hanging to indicate that there is no end for this conflict

the magnificent seven is about people defending their home too. a village hires a bunch of gunmen to protect them from the tyranny of a bandit. though i've seen this movie several times before, the thing i noticed anew during last night's viewing is the amazing amount of music in the movie. each scene has this score that is usually played when the camera slowly rises above a canyon's rim to show us a breathtaking view of the valley and then proceeds to focus on the lone horseman in its center. the movie isn't all guns and horses. it shows the human angle too. one of them has nightmares about his past coming back to kill him, another finds love in the village and the others after a life so close to death want to settle down and find home. all is well at the end of this movie though. the bandits are killed as are 4 of the 7.many westerns were inspired from samurai stories and it didnt surprise me at all to find out this story was lifted from a japanese film. it's still quite a fun watch but don't expect the classic western.

and my blog turns one on the 17th. i thought i'll make the anniversary post a gimmicky one. i had ideas of running a 'blast from the past' highlighting some of my posts from the archives but i'm too lazy to dig up those links. besides you are clever enough to find them yourself, right? i also thought i'd thank every one of my readers( all 5 of you :) ) and then type out a long list of my blog friends. this group is special cos i dont know any of them but i bet that if i met any of them in a chat room , i'd be able to identify them by their writing. ok that's a lie. if u want to meet any of them all you have to do is click on the links on the right. anyway thanks for hanging around. unfortunately for you i plan to keep writing. so like the old man says to the fighters who are about to ride off into the sunset:
vaya con dios
(i think it means "may god save you from this blog" though i have no idea why the old man said that)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

escaped artist

art continues to elude me to this day. my sister, like most other elder sisters who set the bar for the younger sibling, had a mini portfolio of her sketches and paintings by the time she was 11 or 12. whereas her art was a deliberate study in designs and colors, mine was more of the modern kind. i painted on cloth and for want of material my shorts and t-shirts would usually serve as canvas. the unidentifiable "dyes" that my play areas abounded in mixed chaotically on my clothes and imbued them with a unique fragrance that my sister's paintings never had. of course as most master painters, i too was much ahead of my time. my unappreciative mom with soap and water would quickly turn masterpiece into blank canvas only for me to start painting again.

as you've probably guessed, i was a school-fearing kid who studiously sat through the entire rigor a christian school imposed on one. i was lucky to be born with the skill to avoid direct eye contact with teachers and like many others experienced euphoria when fate chose to grant us a reprieve of a mere 40 minutes in the form of a sick teacher. drawing class was different. it was usually a riot whether the teacher was sick or not. i had this box of camel oil colors that came in really small tubes with tiny caps that looked like lilliputian toothpaste. most colors came out looking nothing like what the label indicated and the lemon yellow tube had a cap that was sealed to the tube. i discovered it was usable only after i ingeniously opened up the other end and promptly created "little drop of sun on white shirt". they had us draw strange things at that school. once we had to draw an angel fish , which to me was the simplest as it was white and all i had to do was trace an outline of the fish in black. that it turned out to look like the ghost of an octopus was well noted by my teacher who promptly issued a redraw. of course everything paled in comparison to the dreaded S.U.P.W where we were made to create paper roses and plaster of paris wall hangings. yup 8th standard boys making paper roses. have never really found out what was socially useful about that. after those 2 classes any art that was left in me, packed up its easels and moved on to artsier minds.

for some reason i really like architecture. before you jump to the conclusion it might've been rand's tale of roark that caused this turn, i'll step in and clarify that its more of an art vandelay kind of a thing. and by extension i like any art that captures architecture. i was recently touring the web on a search engine when i came upon these 2 guys who toured india a long time ago and captured some beautiful images on canvas. several ancient structures posed as subjects for these fellas and one in particular was to my liking. so here you go, for your patience in reading so far : some free art.

and if you do know of sketches and paintings of the ancient architectural kind, drop me a line will ya ? i'll thank you with all my art :)