Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Stories from 24B - Part 1

Dear 24b makkale,

Love you all. Mmmwaaah. Nopes, I am not drunk. I am just getting nostalgic. Its been two days since i came back but am yet to get over the hangover from my overnight stay at 19B....Of course, we've shifted houses within the same floor and this new apartment is more spacious, airy and brighter when compared to 24B but then it doesn't smell quite the same.. After all, there are way too many memories, stories associated with that house.. Been reminscing a lot these last couple of days and thought I'd ink it down somewhere for posterity...But then pen and paper are out dated hence using this virtual space..I know this might mean nothing to everyone else but us but then who cares... Its my blog...Shall write it all in a series with each part dedicated to stories involving two people... I obviously start with Balaji and Kakka...



* those initial days when we were just 4 of us - Chetti, Kakka, Venki (now Funky) and I with Seetha Mama playing visiting guest - and how we heard first time around about the great 'nalla payyan' Balaji who would later join us and turn our world upside down

* when Balaji, after unilaterally assuming head of the house duties, divided responsibility to all of us - Hari and Kakka to buy groceries, Seetha mama and Venki to help in cooking and I to do the dishes

* the chips bought from Nilgiris, the parcels from Balaji Bhavan for Balaji since we ate at Kai-yendhi bhavan and the podis that Balaji used to specially import all the way from Srirangam :-p

* the long Sunday trips Balaji took all the way to Valsaravakkam just to have his haircut done

* those frequent surveys we used to take to see who was Balaji's current favorite in the popularity chart. There used to tremendous churn at the top with Hari, Venki and later on SPV trying their damnedest to get into Balaji's good books as voting day approached whilst poor ol' me always ended up last till Cartoon arrived :-p

* how Balaji used to sleep early at 9:30 every night and then crib about the volume as the rest of us watched TV till midnight

* when Balaji cursed in a fit of rage during yet another of our domestic squablles that i would never get into the IIMs - Purely the IIMs ka loss :-))

* Balaji's awe of Infy and how he used to report every damn news about Narayanmurthy to me religiously considering all he watched in telly was only CNBC (and of course any channel which said something about Suresh Kalpathi)

* Balaji's moralistic comments about the "character" of Tamil heroines but his curiousity to still know the latest gossip in Kollywood. Btw, the last movie Balaji had seen at that point of time (1999) in a theatre had been, wot, Raajathi Raja ? :-p

* the time when Seetha mama brought home some Simran and Jothika CDs and how Balaji stayed up lateeeeeeeee that night..Hahahaha..Seriyaana yogyan po ;-)

* Balaji's famous "kosu appudhu da Ramki" :-)))))))))))))

* the jollu that Kakka used to uttufy on seeing Shriya in SS Music (Alohaaaaa) and how this continued even after his marriage and his moving to the US of A

* the informal competition between Kakka and Chetti on who had the biggest tummy and how proud Kakka used to be when we declared Chetti winner by a long margin

* the crazy plans of Kakka to hook up with either the landlord Ramakrishnan's daughter or our erstwhile 19b neighbour - I forget her name ;-)

I owe you so much esp: for all the weight I gained from 68 to 76.5 kg in those 11 months...Not to worry coz someday when i am rich and famous i shall not forget to mention you in of the CNBC interviews i will give.

TV watching, be it movies or serials, will never be the same without you :-( Kausalya and Chennai miss you lots !

....So many more memories....Next in line Chetti and Seetha Mama....

Monday, November 29, 2004

Good things happen to good people... Always...

Some people spend an entire lifetime looking for love and unfortunately remain unsuccessful till the end :-(((

Some people finally find it but are forced to face the harsh reality that it will never be theirs :-(

........And then, there are the lucky few who do absolutely nothing but love finds them :-)))

Yes, maybe it took time, 29 years as it did with the case of my dear roomie Kerry who just got married yesterday (Its still to sink in...Kerry tamed ?? wowwwwwww) but wasn't the long wait worth it... It was obvious to one and all at the mandap that the couple were truly in love with each other.. My other roomie Pranav who'd flown in from Delhi for the wedding didn't need more than 10 minutes to look at Kerry and his fiance to pronounce them truly "made-for-each-other"... And doesn't he know a lot about "these things" :-) Maybe this whole "arranged marriage" thing is not a bad idea after all ;-) But then trust Kerry to fall in love in the short span between his engagement and wedding.. The best part about this wonderful couple is that, on the face of it, they seem so different from each other... Gayathri manni claims to have very few friends - the whole world knows Kerry, Gayathri manni is a fitness freak - I've never ever known Kerry to exercise or watch what he eats...Its gonna be fun for them in the first few months...All the best...And manni, if you are shocked by the gift we gave you, then i am NOT to be blamed.. You can train your guns on Pranav ;-)

Coming to the other important things that happened in the wedding, yes, the entire Chennai Express turned up...Vadhyar Soso, my bro Venki, Papa bear, the rowdy machinis of the maapillai (Apu and Smi), my Chithi ponnu, Vijaya akka (with her Bengali beau..God, are u hearing??).....they were all there in full attendance.. It was so delightful meeting up again a year after convocation and picking up the threads from just where we had left....As usual, there was "marriage talk" without which people can't seem to live (Papa bear and his incredulous 75:25 theory) but then there was also good news on that front since Amma announced that she was getting engaged on December 7th... Congrats dee...But it was very painful hearing that the rowdies knew of this before "your first friend" :-((

Another high point of the wedding was getting to meet Mr & Mrs TRA... Omigawd....I'm so disappointed I missed his wedding after hearing a detailed first-hand account of TRA's behavior those two days.. It seems the man had worn a sherwani for the reception, specially handpicked by Anitha manni... Ayyo ayyo.. ennapa nadakudhu indha ulagathula... Neways, I've never seen TRA as happy as he was during Kerry's wedding (not even when he was in the company of those voluminous books in SP's library..and doesn't dat say a lot) We chatted up for a long time and I tried my best to recollect as many naughty stories about his SP antics to shock manni but it seems he had forewarned her :-( Shucks, he had even told her about the "I love you pgp-01-065" stunt. Pgp-01-132 was well and truly licked ;-) Here's wishing both of them all the happiness in the world :-)))))))))))))

Hmmm... Aur kya hua shaadi mein....Rahul sang "Purani raat" for us (he's simply awesome), Venki kept taking pot shots at me for ignoring him in Bangalore (he's got a point too), Tusku confirmed the news that he will be joining ICICI Bangalore by December (which is wonderful news), got updated on the movers and shakers of the month (Prags, Momo, Saaksh) and generally chilled out....

Loads more to write about the Chennai trip but i think there's piles of kaam to be done..And my 20 mt break is over...So sad...I just don't feel like working.. Wanna run away from B'lore back to Chennai.. wail wail...

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Welcome to the Shaadi of the Century

The Ramakrishnans of D-16

request the pleasure of your company with family
at the Wedding Reception on the occasion of
the marriage of

Chiranjeevi Ramakrishnan


Sowbhagyavathi Gayathri

on Saturday, the 27th of November, 2004

between 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm


PSK Booshanam Mahal, Velachery, Chennai - 42

Hope to see you all there :-)

Monday, November 22, 2004

Diwali at Bollywood

I am finally done with seeing all the Diwali Hindi releases...Now brace urself for the surprise....None of them impressed.. Not that I am hard to please but simply put, all the 3 biggies were high on hype and low on content.

If being 'different' ensured success, then Ramu would have undoubtedly been the most successful film-maker of the last decade. If there is one common thread between Satya, Rangeela, Daud, Mast, Kaun, Company, Bhoot and Naach then it would have to be Ramu's ability in presenting a very commonplace subject in a refreshingly hatke manner.. But then sometimes it has clicked as with Rangeela, Satya and Bhoot and more often than not failed as with Daud, Mast and Kaun.

In a lot of ways, Naach is Ramu's follow up and tribute to Rangeela..The comparisons are unavoidable and there are more than a few similarities at a script level. I shall not get into the details of the story line for you will find that in most of the reviews on the net..But to give you an idea of what to expect, Naach is different from Rangeela in the sense that its not escapist fare - no fun and frolic, no light humor - the treatment is mature and intense.

Secondly, in a story woven around song and dance, the music in Naach is a big let down. Rangeela was a rage thanks to AR Rahman's zingy score but the music of Naach falls flat. Another problem with Naach is the choice of Antara Mali to play the female lead. Performance wise she is strictly average and she tries too much to do an Urmila.. After all an original is still an original.

What rocks
* the character sketch of Ritesh Deshmukh
* stylistically shot frames capturing Mumbai

What jars
* the pace - imagine the speed of the winner of a slow cycling competition for snails
* the voyeuristic visuals in the songs

Coming from the stables of India's homegrown thriller kings, Aitraaz flatters to deceive. With a track record that boasts of hits like Humraaz, Ajnabee, Baazigar and Baadshah (which i still reckon is one of SRKs more tolerable performances), this is the second turkey within a few months from the talented duo of Abbas-Mustan after that disatrous Tarzan.

As usual, Aitraaz is also inspired by a Hollywood hit (this time its that Demi Moore movie DISCLOSURE). The starcast with the handsome hunk Akshay Kumar romancing the sultry siren Priyanka Chopra and the ethereal Kareena Kapoor (droooooooooool) sounds enticing but believe me, it isn't. The characters are half-baked, the twists in the plot can be seen a mile away and the songs are great excuses to visit the Johnny or have a smoke. The direction appears tired and the dialogues, though aimed at winning over the masses, are plainly ludicrous. (Check out Priyanka's imaginative vocabulary when she explains to the court how Akshay has a 'go' at her...So funny) I shan't waste more words on this movie coz i kinda get the feeling you guys will get the drift.

What rocks
* Some nice skin show :-)
* Hmmm... Hmmm... Thinking...

What jars
* Everything other than what was mentioned above

Okie, I hate SRK and I hate Yash Chopra. And worse still, I reallly really hate them together. Haven't still forgotten DTPH and Maya ... Shivers....

Anyone and everyone who'd seen Veer Zaara before me had had nothing nice to say about it.. and when the reactions are as extreme as this, I usually leave my critical hat back home and jes relax hoping to take away some positives atleast...But sadly, Veer Zaara had very few of them. The biggest flaw IMHO was the absolute lack of soul in the whole story.. Be it the tender romantic moments or the sentimental rona dhona scenes, everything seemed so superficial - my lachrymal glands had absolutely no exercise for 3.5 hours and doesn't that say a lot ? Leaving aside the designer streaked jeans that SRK wears when the story is set in 1982 (thanks to his 'buddy' Karan Johar's costume sense) and New Zealand which we are supposed to believe as Punjab, there are so many other goofups that they inadvertently contribute to some of the funniest cinematic moments in this 3.5 hour epic (??)

What rocks
* All the songs esp Aisa Des Hai Mera (without any doubt the best song for me in the movie)...When Gurdas Mann came in for that small cameo, I so dearly wanted to get up and dance with that plump Sardar kid sitting two rows below me..
* Amitabh Bachchan - YES, YOU ARE SEEING IT RIGHT.. AB actually rocks in this film...
* Excellent camerawork
* The Punju dialogues and i got 'em all thanks to a sweet pal who'd come with me for the movie (LUL ...but for that kick you gave me when I whistled for Manoj Bajpai)

What jars
* Everything else especially SRK - all the jail sequences are examples worthy of emulation for students of the ACTING IS HAMMING school.

In hindsight, maybe I should have just watched Mughal-e-Azam in color.. Sigh....

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Musical Flashback - 2004

2004 is almost over...well..there's still a month left but nothing big usually happens in December...Atleast on the musical front.. Yet another year has passed by and my cassette collection has grown by leaps and bounds. Its been a mixed bag this year with quite a few good albums peppered in between some really disappointing ones. Without getting into a detailed research with the help of the net on the number of movies released, cassette sales and the like, let me try and recollect 10 of the best songs of the year from my top-of-the-mind-recall.

Some of them have excellent rendition, some are genuinely wonderful compositions, a few might have stood out in my memory for the accompanying enchanting visuals in the movie, others for their lyrical briliance and quite a few might have become popular with me for the sheer number of times I've had to hear them...Here they are in strictly alphabestical order:

Aahista Aahista - Udit Narain, Sadhana Sargam - AR Rahman - Swades

I keep saying this to anyone who will lend me an ear.. You dont need a fiery storm to leave behind a place shattered.. even a gentle breeze can do it... N this is something one needs to feel... jes listen to this song...the way Udit starts has me absolutely rooted everytime and then the divine lyrics take over...Minimal music...and then the notes when SS and Udit sing together... this number rockssssssssssssss... a classic in the making...best heard in a dimly lit room...fantabulous number...

Aao Na - Sadhna Sargam, Udit Narain - SEL - Kyuun Ho Gaya Na

Hindi music's loss was Tamil music's gain for the last few years when the extremely talented but under-utilized Sadhna Sargam made waves with AR Rahman. In this delightfully soothing melody, she is almost flawless - wonderfully supported by the competent Udit Narayan. Though the tune reminds me of some other hit number, what works for this song is the minimal instrumentation and obvious dependence on the voices to pull it off. The lyrics are divine and the "sa sa..." humming that drifts in and out of the song is mind-blowing. I keep dreaming of picturising this song in the Swiss Alps/Greenland/Alaska like say, Kismet se Tum from Pukar :-)

Agar Main Kahoon - Alka Yagnik, Udit Narain - Lakshya

The conversational tone of this song - the kinda-cute lyrics - picturesque Delhi University, cool Hritik and Preity's weird hairdo ...all this and something more contribute to making this number one of my real favorites of 2004... There are so many memories associated with this song that I could go on and go but then i shall exercise restraint.. atleast here :-)

Badal Jo - Adnan Sami, Alka Yagnik - AR Rahman - Yuva

If I were asked to sum up this song in as few words as possible, then I would go for subtly seductive . Adnan’s voice oozes sensuality and the simple yet heart warming melody takes the song to dizzy heights. The start with soft beats and the unobtrusive synthesizer with Adnan crooning ’’Socho Zara - Mere yaara’’ is something to really look forward to. However if you thought it would be a full scale melody then you couldn’t be more mistaken coz Rahman fuses in the techno beats pretty soon - Neat juxtaposition this !! The under-rated Alka also does a grand job in this romantic duet but one does wish Asha, in her peak, had sung this song. (sigh) Lyrics are also neat.

Hum Tum - Alka Yagnik, Babul Supriyo - Jatin-Lalit - Hum Tum

At a time when the ARRs and the S-E-Ls are rocking the musical scene with their techno beats and sounds, this song is a timely reminder on why Jatin Lalit used to be my favorite composers not a long time back and why I still look back at that era with fond memories.. Soft and sentimental lyrics tuned to a haunting melody create the perfect setting for romance which is only accentuated by Alka's litling voice (why do i feel this song has a trace of sadness mixed with joy)

Khulke Muskurale - Bombay Jaishree - Bhavathaaraja - Phir Milenge

Bombay Jayshree's seductive husky voice and excellent orchestration is sure to remind one of Zara Zara from RHTDM but if i were to zero in on one reason as to why this song figures in my list, then it has to be the lyrics. At a time when the Sameers are still stuck with their Jaanams and Sanams, Prasoon Joshi shows what it takes to write lyrics for a sensitive number like this.

Utaar Gham Ke Mozey, Zamein Ko Gungunaney De
Kankaron Ko Talwon Main Gudgudee Machaney De

If that isnt poetry, then what is !

Ladki Kyuun - Alka Yagnik, Shaan - Jatin-Lalit - Hum Tum

Ched Chaad songs always work for me...Witty lyrics, cute picturisation and a very hummable tune, c'mon, how can someone not like this song. I am not sure if you feel the same way but somehow the conversations between Rani and Saif are more interesting than the actual lines sung by Shaan and Alka.

Mann Ki Lagan - Rahat Fateh Ali Khan - Ali Azmat, Shahi - Paap

It never ceases to amaze me how Bollywood always throws up surprises where / when we least expect it to... Paap had turkey written all over it thanks to a lacklustre star cast, a seemingly stupid story and an unknown director... But the biggest surpise for me was the music.. Save a few songs tuned by the irrepressible Anu Malik, the rest of them were really classy courtesy the Pakistani duo credited above.. And this number with clear Sufi influnces sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is enchating to say the least...

Tujhe Sang Bandhi Dhor - Sonu Nigam - Aadesh Shrivastav - Dev

Some of my friends think even Sonu does not love his singing as much as I do.. sigh... When will the world be rid of fools who exaggerate this much.. Of course, I am a big Sonu devotee but how can one not be...And this song is proof that his rerpertoire is vast...While lovey dovey duets are his bread and butter, Sonu can do ample justice even to classical music as long as the MD reposes his full faith in the singer...Jes chk out the higher ocatves in this song !!

Yunhi Chala - Kailash Kher, Udit Narain, Hariharan - AR Rahman - Swades

This is the most rollicking track I have heard in a looong loong time.. One song that I would not mind hearing even when I am driving and stuck in a horrible traffic jam (this is when i am at my irritable best).. Foot tapping, funky and absolutely cool, this one has been on my lips ever since i bought this album...might not stand the test of time but its the seasons flavor.. When the world had not even heard of Kailash Kher, I knew he would make it big.. No kidding coz I am probably one of that rare breed of 57 ppl who saw Waisa Bhi - 2 and loved Allah Ke Bandhe even on first hear...

Other honorable mentions...
Dhoom Machale - Dhoom
Bheege Hont - Murder
Main Hoon Na - Main Hoon Na
Wada Raha - Khakee
Huzur-e-Aala - Page 3


Friday, November 19, 2004


Call it the effects of reading Coelho or wotever but I think I've been behaving more like a born-again-man these last few days :-) Prayer is the new mantra. Dunno how long it will last but let me make the most of my new found faith. Besides there's lots of things I need to ask of the Good Lord so what better time than now to do it...

Dear Lord,

My dear friend and ex-roomie Pranav celebrated his B'day day before yesterday. Please give his fiance Vandana strength and courage for all the tough years ahead of her :-)

My greatest love in college, pgp-01-065 aka TRAsh entered into holy matrimony (with a gal thankfully) day before yesterday. Please bless him with patience and understanding, esp when i make that much delayed phone call today to wish him well :-)

The oddest couple I've met - Rads and Dhruv, two dear friends from college again, tied the knot, you guessed right, day before. Please shower on the couple your choicest blessings, though cash is preferred :-)

On a more serious note, Its amazing how years after I've given CAT some friend or the other of mine is still going through the ordeal. Sp please spare 3 hours of your time on Sunday and help BK and Partha come out in flying colours..Remember Chennai is where they are giving their test so maybe you can spare your third eye in that direction.

Jokes apart, though my 14 lpa funda seems to have worked wonders for Iacross, I am sure he would still not mind 14 lpa for both himself and his gal...Summers time it is at IIM-A so please work out some of your miracles for them too...

Like the good boy I have always been, I haven't asked anything for myself. I am sure you know best but then I hope you are aware that Veer Zaara has released at Rex and FF and I are planning to watch it on Sunday... I'll leave the rest unsaid.


Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Deepavali Diary - Part 2

What was in store for me was a long, hard day ...My 83 year old Thatha and 74 year young Jayanthima (she hates ppl calling her Paatti..she prefers to be called Jayanthima {as in - mother of Jayanthi} need to close all brackets now) had to go to Pondicherry and I had volunteered to drop them there, spend a few days and come back. I hate travelling by day buses, esp when its not a video coach, but chaperones don't get to make decisions so we left Bangalore at 9am by KSRTC and reached Pondicherry at around 4pm. The journey itself was uneventful if i can choose to ignore the things that were happening between those two lovebirds from DELL just behind me. I'll leave the rest to your imagination. Tired from the 7 hr journey, I decided Pondicherry darshan could wait for tomorrow and switched on ESPN-STAR to watch EPL... NO NO....I did NOT see India vs Pakistan..Remember i have given up on Indian cricket. Thankfully my decision paid off as i had a chance to watch two of the best footer matches i have ever seen - a North London derby producing some attacking football n plenty of goals and a West London Derby fought with passion and fury. While Chelsea's 4-1 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage had me on Cloud 9, it would have been great if Spurs had won by that odd goal in 9 against the Gunners... Neway the 2 pt lead stays and we march on..


Lesson learnt first thing in the morning - Generation gaps are REAL...And I am not toking of simple things like beliefs and ideologies.. I am talking of some really big GAPS in areas like "acceptable Sunday behavior" - Imagine having to wake up at 7am, brush ur teeth immedietly, finish your morning duties without the newspaper and then have a bath by 7:30...Dammit....Even breakfast was ready but when was the last time I'd had breakfast on a
Sunday...My memory fails me..Neway by 9am I had been fed once and had nothing to do till 11am when lunch would be ready....So tried my hand at THE HINDU Crossword after a month...Results were along expected lines.. Got barely 7-8...Quickly finished lunch and ran away from home :-)

Pondicherry...A town straight out of an old storybook.. someways Dickensian...Quaint houses, polluting FUT FUTs (phonetically named after the sound they produce.. we call them tempos elsewhere), loud but helpful people, cops dressed like they had jumped out of a French history text, cheap alcohol, commercial complexes and Kovils side by side....all this and much more.. How I love this place where I was born.. Now I was out on the roads seeking to re-explore it all again after so many years....No holiday in the past had ever been without me watching atleast half a dozen movies.. Taxes being low, ticket prices used to be atrociously cheap. Things hadn't changed much this time around except that most of the halls now seemed to have joined the DTS bandwagon. Balcony rates were Rs 28 and First class Rs 20. There were tickets for even Rs 10. I was lucky to get hold of my only pal in town Subbu and luckier still to find that he was yet to watch any of the new releases. For someone who used to see 3 movies on Deepavali day itself, he seemed to have changed a lot. We decided to watch THALAI'S ATTAGASAM at Balaji. When we reached the hall and I saw the first cut-out from the Pondicherry Ajit Thalaimai rasigar manram I knew i was in for a ball...


Being a Sunday I was quite apprehensive if we would get tickets and my fears were compounded when 30 mts before the show, black tickets started showing up. I was astounded to see that even those tickets were very affordable since all these touts did was to hike it up by just Rs 5. But Subbu, being a son of the soil, was unperturbed and insisted that he would not buy black. Subbu wanted to so desperately sit in 1st class and be amongst "makkal" but I wasn't gonna let him convince me on this and we easily got balcony tickets. As the lights darked out and Ajit loomed big on the 70mm screen, I let out my loudest whistle.. Seeing this, Subbu joined me and we created a huge scene much to the chagrin of the 'deesunt peepul' :-) The movie was typical masala with 5 fights, 6 songs including a few shot in Romania and after 3 hrs, we thought we had our money's worth. Rounded off the afternoon with snacks at Nehru street where Subbu made my day by commenting that though i had become " a manager" I had not changed much :-))))

Sundays evenings in Pondy can be great fun if u know where the real action is.. And thats MG Road..Its Sunday market time and everything except parents and spouses are available here..One long stretch of 1.5 kms and you get everything from clothes, books, CDs, household articles to stolen electronic goods..The last time I had been to Pondy I'd bought a brand new (pirated though) Catch-22 for Rs 40 and on my previous visit chanced to purchase Bach's The Bridge Across Forever for Rs 10. Deterrmined to raid every single treasure trove, I made my first halt at a hawker who was shouting "Pathu ruba Irubadhu ruba" (10 bucks, 20 bucks)....Bought 5 used books there...Two James Bond novels (Dr No and From Russia With Love), Bach's Illusions, Alvin Toffler's Future Shock and Arthur Hailey's Wheels. Paid a princely sum of Rs 70 for the entire lot. The Alchemist had been anything but impressive but FF had strongly recommended Veronika Decides to Die and By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, so ended up buying both at a slightly up-market (by the general surrounding stds) store. Costly purchases they were since Pondy people seemed to have heard of Coelho and I had to part with Rs 100 for the two. Moving on, I dug out an old copy of MAD and paid Rs 10 to the small time paper merchant cum shopkeeper. The best was however reserved for the last stop. One particularly deserted vendor had loads and loads of Tamil classics strewn all over his corner. Rummaging through his pile, I chanced to see a slightly worn out hardbound copy of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. Pulse racing, I asked him for the price casually since i suspected he knew he was holding a treasure in his hand and would quote really high. When he asked for Rs 70, I had a distinct feeling he didn't really want to sell. I offered him Rs 20 :-) He acted as if he was shocked. By this time he had seen the huge pile of books in my hand and concluded that i was a genuine lover of books. He seemed to get reasonable and was ready to part with it for Rs 50. I stuck to my guns and he relented a little more. This was turning out to be a real battle of wits. In the end, I realised that in actuality he was bargaining with himself - whether he really wanted to sell it or not. I paid up Rs 25, assured him i would take good care of his book and was about to set off when he took the book back, opened his tarpualin sheet and came out with an even better looking copy of the same book. Winking at me, he thrust it into my hands and went off to serve another customer. Needless to say, I was speechless. Lest he change his mind, I quickly made my way with the huge pile of books towards the beach. Along the way I ended up buying a pair of shorts, hawaii slippers and some other needless stuff :-)

It was half past four but the beach was already abuzz with activity - old people walking their dogs, children prancing alongwith their parents, Frenchmen jogging, sundal mamas plying their trade.....A pleasant breeze was blowing too... I chose a neat rock overlooking the lone ship in the horizon, laid down my huge pile, opened Veronika Decides to Die and started reading.. 94 pages and an hour and a half later i took my first break. I looked around me and an entire new crowd had replaced the old one. It had considerably darkened too. I dearly wanted to finish the book at one go but it was so disturbing that i took time to sit back and reflect. 15 minutes later, pondering still on some of the questions raging within me, i walked down to Gandhi statue where I had two packets of the world's best sundal (no exaggeration this...every person whos gone to Pondy will tell u this) from the Iyengar mama in his corner. It was too late to visit the Ashram so trudged down to Mission street, packed some samosas and raskadams from Mithai Mandir and left for home. Slept fitfully that night thanks to Paulo Coelho. The most unforgettable Sunday in a looong loong time.

The last day of my 5 day holiday. It had to happen - woke up feeling low since I'd have to go back to office the next day. Cajoled myself into banishing all such negative thoughts by going out vegetable shopping. I always knew I was bad at such domestic stuff but when the vendaikai i had bought was pronounced 'romba pinju', the kathrikkai 'sothal' and the vazhapzham turned out to be more of a vazhakkai, I knew it was a disaster ...Add this to the fact that I'm not even aware of a certain CATCH brand of salt/pepper that seems to have become popular in the market, I am beginning to believe I might need some serious training..But won't this take atleast 2 years....Mom, can we put that 2006 March deadline a little further back :-p

Neways, intent on making as much use of the time at my disposal, I paid a visit to the Aurobindo Ashram later that afternoon. The calm, the silence, the serenity...there is so much more to this place that I cannot even describe but somehow any visit to Pondy will always be incomplete for me without a trip here.. I meditated for around half an hour, then dropped in at the nearby Manakula Vinayakar Temple and trudged off again towards the beach. If there is one thing I hate about living in Bangalore, then its the absence of a beach. (Mumbai had been great simply because every time i wanted to let off steam I could go to Juhu and walk aimlessly for hours.. Pondy's beach is even better since its cleaner but unfortunately Bangalore does not afford this possibility) Another hour flew by and dunno why but my feet then took me to another cinema hall, one screening DREAMS... Eeeeks.. it was such a pathetic movie that within an hour, I was in dreamland. Woke up half an hour before the climax, able to second guess every damn twist that had happened in the previous 10 reels. It was only 6 pm and my bus was for 9 in the night. Still left with atleast an hour to kill, i wandered through the confusing maze of intersecting streets around MG Road which today looked so deserted...At 7 i left for home, had a quick shower, grabbed a light dinner and set off back to Bangalore. I was unfortunately booked on a KSRTC Diwali special bus (one that looked like a relic straight out of a Govt musuem) where the driver also doubled up as the conductor. And to add to the romanticism, the first thing he did on starting the bus was to ask the passengers if they knew the route. What a sense of humor :-) Luckily I slept most of the journey and woke up at 3:30 today morning to reach Bangalore. Slept till 9, typed part of this story on the lappie, ran to catch the shuttle and got to office on time.. Not much work so got around to completing this post jes now...

....So how was Deepavali ? Definitely a damp squib..

Deepavali Diary - Part 1

Where do I start ? Epics, be it stories or movies or simple posts, need to start dramatically.... So let me say that my Deepavali was a damp squib...I would have loved to wake up late at 7, blow a few thousands worth crackers like the DSMs, wear a sparkling white veshti, pick up my date, see Veer Zaara, eats loads and loads of sweets (and not put on weight), coochy coo (as someone once said in an earlier post's comment) with Bipasha Basu on the beach at around sunset (did i forget to mention that she was my date) and then come home and watch a Rajini movie in TV... But sadly for me, nothing like this...except that last bit...happened...So my Diwali was a damp squib...Now lets get started with the post...Btw, i meant epic as in epic proportions.. this is gonna be one heckuva long post so if u don't have 10 minutes to spare, this is where you stop reading...

Thursday: Deepavali... what does it all mean to me.. the 4Ps...Padam, Pudhu Uduppu, Palagaram and Pattaasu in the same order...With every passing year these PUDHU UDUPPUs have become a pain.. I usually plan to buy one thing and end up buying something else..This year was a rare exception with my decision to go ethnic lasting till the end..So a Sandalwood colored kurta was IN and jeans was OUT..I'd usually buy PATTASUs on the night before Deepavali but if you are in an alien city with no friends around, crackers do not hold any excitment...Besides if yours is the only Tamilian family in the vicinity, waking up the neighbourhood at 4 am with the sound of phatakas guarantees a one way ticket to the local police station..So ended up buying just 'one kattu for saastram'....Mom had prepared a lot of sweets besides buying some specialities from Malleshwaram so PALAGARAM was taken care of..The biggest let down was in the PADAM department...Thanks to these madcap Kannada radicals, my choice was limited to GIRI and MUGHAL-E-AZAM and both of them were promptly vetoed by my only pal in town.

So come Deepavali day, I woke up early at 4:40, had the mandatory Ganga Snanum, gorged down sweets, watched Nithyashree and Unnikrishnan on telly, heard Sri Jayendra Saraswathi's mesage to people (blissfully unaware of the dramatic events that would unfold later in the evening) and transformed myself into a goody-goody family boy...Gramps and Granms (who had thankfully decided to spend Deepavali with us) n Mom and Dad had already planned to go to Vidyaranyapura to visit my chinna thatha and chinna paatti and left with not much of a choice, i joined them...Surprise of all surprises, it turned out to be a delightful get togther where all the oldies chatted up and reminisced about the past.. Thoroughly enjoyed every minute spent there, the "namaskaram and vasool" routine and even the openly unabashed attempts of the ladies to get me snapped alone so that they could "use it".

Since more than a few people had complimented me on my dress since morning, I thought it would be a neat surprise to drop in at RA's place and show off ;-) So Indira Nagar was the next stop.. Unfortunately I seemed to have gatecrashed into a family get together of their own so after having more sweets and some quick farewells, I beat a hasty retreat.. Okie Okie...I confess..I had to leave coz I couldn't stop ogling there.. Everyone was sooooooooo prettily dressed including Ritu that I almost had an inferiority complex :-)) Came back home and switched on telly...There was a Rajini movie in SUN but by sheer bad fortune, it was BABA. I'd resisted checking out this flick for long but 30 mts into the movie, i realised why even the most die hard of all Rajini fans could not tolerate this one.. Neway loved that chant...

B - to - the - A - to - the - B - to - the - A!


ps: Saw bits n pieces of Alaipaayuthey later that night....

That scene when Maddy runs across the platform towards the ladies compartment in Shalini's train and says "...Shakthi, enakku onna pidichirukku'nnu sollala... Nee azhaga irukke'nnu naan ninaikala.. aana idhellam nadandhidumo'nu bayama irukku..."


THALAIVA.........Long Live Mani Ratnam !!!!

Friday: Deepavali 2 - The day the-rest-of-the-world celebrated Deepavali...Woke up at 6 jes to check if nebody at all was bursting crackers at least today.. None...Whats rong with these Kannadigas ? Decided to call up all my North Indian friends to wish 'em Happy Deepavali.. Halfway into my third call got bored.. Gave up... Phones are not for me...Made big plans to watch King Arthur...And then the skies opened up..My partner-in-crime also had some unexpected visitors so our date was postponed for later in the day...(Does that sound like "I GOT STOOD UP") So ended up pulling my laptop along and going to K2 to surf...Chatted with BK, Mithun (he's always online.. Does the sun never set in Ohio?) and Priya...And then got my summons at around 2...It was still drizzling and by now movies had slipped down our priority list... So we ended up lazing around near Majestic, buying CDs from National Market and generally having fun in the rain..Had 12 golgappas from a roadside vendor in Gandhinagar...got so senti thinking of Lokhandwala that I was soon rambling on and on about the great SP days :-)) Rushed back home to see Amelie on Zee Movie Zone....Don't remember much of the rest of the evening... except that.... yeah, RA looked very pretty in her red saree (Now be a sweetheart and return the compliment pls)

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

93135 says....

# 1
Ever wondered what you would do when you got "an opportunity to move up in life" - Read here for inspiration. I love such women.

# 2
Quirks....Idiosyncracies......Eccentricities....Call it by any name but these small yet important things often shed classic insights into the person behind them...True? NOOOO....Not when the object under the microscope is ME.. Definitely not...But when some of my lovely friends started to compile a list of "10 Crazy Things that you do" and even threatened to circulate it around, I thought it would be better to come up with one myself...Even if its a little skewed - says a lot of 'cute' stuff and is pretty far from the truth ;-) So here I go...

* Making blank calls/SMSs to people who leave their mobile phone numbers in their email signatures for no rhyme or reason
* Letting my opponent come back from 8-19 to 19-20 in Table Tennis and then defeating him - oh yeah, i am a sadist :-)
* Making Smart Alec comments with a REPLY ALL to a goody-goody / mushy-mushy forward (Trust me, bugs the hell outta people)
* Smirking.....anytime of the day, anywhere...to express disapproval, sarcasm, cynicism, incredulity, any goddamn reaction...what would the world be without smirks :-p
* Making faces or teasing little kiddies when they are alone in a department store
* Planning a multiplex movie date and then changing the movie when I am near the ticket counter
* Remembering every single roll nomber I've had starting from Class 2 till Post Grad - every single email id from school to my present work place - every single employee number...and boring people by telling them about it... wanna hear ?
* Insisting on dedicating a Govinda song whenever I am with my really close women friend(s) much to their discomfort and the DJ/RJs horror ;-)
* Buying greeting cards, just because they are cute/ mushy/ naughty, without intending to send them to anyone in particular

Much as I thought long and hard, I could find no quirk no: 10...Hmmm...I must be a pretty boring, run-of-the-mill jackass :-)

# 3
A recent survey amongst 90 Odeon cinema managers revealed that the most memorable line in the movies was "You Talkin' to Me?" - the question asked by Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) in Scorcese's epic Taxi Driver. When I asked G his humble opinion on the matter under consideration he said "Frankly, My Dear, I Don't Give a Damn". I beg to disagree. Now let me think....My choice would have to be from Notting Hill.. When Anna Scott tells William Hacker "... I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her. "

I can hear the eeeeeks but what the hell.. It's my choice after all Other honorable mentions

Bond. James Bond.
Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're gonna get.
Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.
My father made him an offer he couldn't refuse.
In Sicily, women are more dangerous than shotguns.

# 4
Okie, nebody whos known me long enough is aware that I am crazy about quotes..actually crazy about crazy quotes.. Hey, does that sound right ? Neway found a minefield yesterday... Will unleash them one at a time in each of my posts. Here's one to sign off today's post

"Right now I'm having amnesia and deja vu at the same time. I think I've forgotten this before." - Stephen Wright

Happy Deepavali children!!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

My love affair with English continues....

Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss

I am at a total loss for words to describe the book so I'll leave you with some promotional statements and media reviews....

"If Lynne Truss were Roman Catholic I'd nominate her for sainthood. " - Frank McCourt, author of Angela's Ashes and Tis

"A wonderful little treatise... Witty and entertaining as well as informative." - Terry Eagleton, Irish Times

"Lovers of good English have thought of ourselves as isolated outposts… Lynne Truss has emerged as our champion." - William Hartston, Daily Express

..And if that did not help you decide to pick this one up, sample some lines

“No matter that you have a PhD and have read all of Henry James twice. If you still persist in writing, ‘Good food at it’s best’, you deserve to be struck by lightning, hacked up on the spot and buried in an unmarked grave.” A little extreme, I feel: boiling in oil would be quite sufficient.

Very, very strongly recommended!!
Four Incredibly Good Reads. One Conclusion.

The key to a successful short story is definitely NOT the proverbial twist in the tale (most often 'forced') or alluring word play (Thesaurus power). These might contribute in their own way but what surely works is the ability to conjure up situations and characters that we can all identify with. And before we realise whats happened, the fine line between fiction and reality has all but disappeared and we are so hopelessly involved that we find ourselves rushing ahead to find out what happens next.

These 4 stories had precisely the aforementioned effect on me. Delightful works ! Ensoii !!

Of Single Girls and ‘Double Degree’ Prospects! by Deepanjali Pandey

I know I am in deep, cranium-level shit when I find myself agreeing to cook, clean, care, lose weight on the ass, gain it on the breasts, earn a five-figure paycheck, tone down the hair, the laugh, the 'attitude', never abuse (i.e. verbal/ tobacco / alcohol), read management tomes, drape my head on hometown visits (his, naturally), act coy in front of his friends, gratified in front of mine, gush 'intellect' to his corporate colleagues, and homely inanities to his sisters, rear well-read children, love his body hair, balls, bedroom, boardroom, bathroom habits… and to the rest of the world… always appear a genial host, generous lover and genteel wife.

for full story, read here

However by G S Ramasubramanian

To be perfectly honest with you, I don't even remember how and when we met. It's not as unbelievable as it sounds. She was my friend's fiancée's friend, and we had gone out together as part of the same group on a number of occasions before we actually said a word to one another. I guess we recognized each other's existence, and weren't exactly averse to talking, but just didn't feel like expending the energy to start a conversation, just to get acquainted.

for full story, read here

"First Night" nightmares by Lykos Magee

“Sambandhi, I hereby spread my dear daughter's legs to accept the gift of your son's member.”
“And it is my pleasure to herewith introduce my son's erect lingam into the moist welcome afforded by your daughter.” My father then holds my organ at its base and ceremoniously forces me to penetrate my newly wedded wife.

for full story, read here

Seduction by Priya Thiagarajan

The house is dark. Somehow that depresses me. I grope for the light switch. The living room comes to light as I turn the switch on. I automatically walk towards the table where the flower vase is. I take the drooping flowers out of it and replace it with the bunch of fresh flowers I have in my hand. Nice, big, yellow chrysanthemums… trying to shed sunlight into my perpetually dark apartment.

for full story, read here

Monday, November 08, 2004

A Deepavali story

"Somberi wake up..Its almost daybreak.. the whole world is up and celebrating...Everyone's taken a bath - Even Ranga Mama has worn his new veshti and is bursting crackers outside...Don't you want to join in?"

Diwali meant nothing to me except for that "one special event" and the chances of it happening this year seemed remote. Under any other cicurmstances, I would not have missed a chance to point this out to Amma..But today was different.. I was tired, so was she and I could sense that she was in no mood to argue.. So i tried a different line

"Ammaa, please ma...I reached Trichy at 11 pm yesterday. Since then I've barely had the time to do my shopping with Rajkumar..In fact I came back at 3 in the morning..I am feeling so woozy..Half an hour more please..."

"..But its Diwali da..You cant be in bed beyond 6 am...Besides Thatha wants to watch TV and Rajeev and Ranjan are waiting for you to take them out" piped in Mani Chithappa.

Damn..The problems of staying in a 2 BHK !! Whenever there were guests, they invariably ended up in my bedroom as a result of which I got displaced to the hall. This time had been no different. My grandparents, a few of my uncles and aunts with their horrid children had abruptly announced their intention of spending this year's Diwali with us a week back..Amma, being the gracious hostess, had welcomed them with open arms. And now they were here.. In MY house..Giving ME orders..

"Mahesh, GET UP. At this rate you will be ready only for next year's Diwali"

I dearly wanted to snuggle back into my sheet but it was impossible to miss the tone in Shiva Mama's voice. I, for one, knew when he meant business. He hadn't changed a wee bit since my childhood. Amma really needed to learn to say NO.

Groggy still from my late night exploits, I sauntered slowly towards the bathroom. Toothpaste was strewn all over the wash basin - clearly the handiwork of my brattish cousins. Someone needed to teach these kids how to conduct themselves. Hadn't they heard stories of how well behaved I had been in my childhood ? Having brushed my teeth, I dropped in at the kitchen to pick up my customary coffee. There was none. Instead I heard Amma calling out for me from the Pooja Room.

"Bring the new dress here da..And then let me apply some oil. After that you can have your bath."

"But Amma, what about my coffee?"

"Nothing till Ganga Snanum is over"

Plainly irritated, I grabbed the clothes i had bought a few hours back and dumped them on the floor in the Pooja Room. Amma opened the bags and looked at my selection.

"You should not have bought black. Latha Mami is sure to say something"

"But ma, you refused to let me buy black for my Birthday.. and also for Geetha Akka's wedding.. or even Thatha's Sadhabhishegum"

"Black is so inauspicious. Anyway, come sit here" she said and went on to apply what I thought was atleast a bottle of oil on my beautiful tresses. Eeeks. The whole room smelled of oil. I knew what was coming next. I ran towards the bathroom hoping to lock myself in before she could beat me to it. But experience had made her anticipate my move - Latha Mami was there waiting. I knew there was no way I could escape this embarassment.

"Just because you are now 22 doesn't mean I am not gonna bathe you today. After all, for me you are still a kid. Don't worry - I shan't upset your fancy hair style" teased Latha Mami. To compound the misery Mala Chithi insisted on drawing Rajeev's attention to my obedience. There I was - being made an example for all the wrong reasons.

Ten minutes later, after Mami had scrubbed me from head to foot atleast thrice and convinced herself that I was spick and span, I was dragged across to the Pooja Room again and presented before Amma. Nodding her approval, Amma forced my mouth open and thrust something in. Gawd. It was that dreadful Deepavali Lehyam. Jaangiris I loved, Padushas I devoured but this Inji stuff that made its customary appearance every Deepavali was one thing I hated. Grumbling aloud, I picked up my dress and slipped into my bedroom. The TV was blaring from the hall and I could clearly hear Sri Jayendra Saraswathi's voice explaining the "mahatv" of Deepavali.. These speeches, did they even change every year? As I slipped into my black cargos with six pockets, Ranjan burst into the room, shoved me aside, picked up more firecrackers from my wardrobe and rushed to join Ranga Mama in the balcony. Rajeev who had tagged alongwith his brother threw one hasty glance at my orange shirt and ran back to his mom to report the news. It was only 6:15 and I realised a long day awaited me. After seeing Rajeev's reaction, I was scared to go out and present myself. I was under no illusions that what awaited me was yet another lecture on my choice of clothes. Grabbing my cell phone, I dialled Rajkumar's number and casually walked out of my bedroom towards the front gate. His cell phone was switched off but I dared not disconnect for fear of my aunts.

"Mahesh, where did you buy all these crackers ? Most of them seem to be cheap sub standard stuff.. You know in 1976 when I was in Ooty..." He droned on and I chose to ignore the rest of his long bhashan. After all, everyone in the family knew of Ranga Mama's trips down memory lane. His stories never seemed to end in the same context as where they started.

"The kids have been dying to go out since morning. Mahesh, will you please take them out? And yes, will you also go and give these sweets to Kichu Uncle down the street. Wish him Happy Deepavali from all of us" cried out Amma from the kitchen.

Chaperone two juveniles as they went about strutting their new clothes to everyone in our street. A glorified escort. My worst fears were coming true. I surveyed the surroundings - Thatha was now watching Mangala Isai in Raj TV, Ranga Mama was complaining about how Veshtis had been of superior quality in Coimbatore in the 1970s, Mani Chithappa was hovering around the kitchen hoping to persuade Mala Chithi to sneak him a few laddoos, Latha Mami was meditating and Shiva Mama was preoccupied reading the newspaper. I calculated my options. It made more sense to run away from this madding crowd. I picked up the box of sweets from the dining table, mumbled a quick bye and ran out. My two cousins followed pestering me all along with stupid questions about the latest jumbo airplane cracker that my neighbour had just set alight. Reaching Kichu Uncle's house, I rang the bell. No one responded. I tried again. I heard some shuffling behind the door and then it opened.

An old man with an unkempt beard smiled and said "Come in Mahesh...Oh, your cousins are here"

Kichu Uncle had been living there for the last 20 years and was the only oldie I genuinely admired in our street. During my school days, when we boys would play cricket in the evenings during the summer holidays, Kichu Uncle would sit near his gate and act as the All Powerful Third Umpire. He would settle all disputes whenever the two teams fought over the regular Umpires' decisions. He would also constantly advice us on how to play the game better. I recalled how he took a particular fancy to me since my hook shot reminded him so much of his own.. I even suspected he deliberately favored me on quite a few of the 50-50 decisions those days. Two years ago he'd lost his wife and ever since Lakshmi Aunty's demise, he'd become a recluse. I handed him the sweet box and did the usual namaskaram. He pushed a 100 Rs note into my hand and winked. My cousins followed suit. They got nothing. I felt high. The cell phone in my pocket rang. Excusing myself, I walked towards the corner of the room and picked the call. It was from Rajkumar.

"Happy Diwali machaan..What are you doing?"


"What happened? Woke up on the wrong side of bed."

"Lousy start to the day da..Told you nuh... Uncles, aunts and cousins are visiting. My house is a circus. I can't wait till 9 pm."

"You returning back today itself?"

"Yeah.. thankfully..Neway why did you call?"

"Come home now.. In 10 minutes..We are going out"

"Its 6:35 da..Amma will be mad at me if I am not home playing host"

"Tell Aunty its me ok.. Bye"

Rajeev and Ranjan had overheard the entire conversation and I could see it in their eyes that they wanted to join me. Thanking Kichu Uncle again for his kindness, I ran back home dashing straight to the kitchen.

"Amma, I am going out."

"Dei, there are so many people here. You cannot leave all of us and make your own plans. Have some sweets - here's some coffee. Sit down and watch TV with Thatha."

"But Amma, Raj wants to see me immedietly. Besides I promised his mom I would drop in at their place on Deepavali"

"Mahesh, you have to learn to be more responsible. We are all going to Uchchi Pillayar at 9 am" ordered Shiva Mama.

"This present generation has no respect for elders. When we were kids, we never used to speak a word against our parents. In 1974...." That was Ranga Mama.

"Mom, Anna is going out to play a cricket match. I heard him say that on the phone" lied that 9 year old pest Rajeev.

By now I had decided to leave. Checking myself one last time in the mirror and pleased with the result, I rushed to the shed and kicked my old Bullet into action. Dashing off to Rajkumar's house, I found him waiting downstairs - he was obviously in a rush. Surprised that we were actually going out so early, I waited for an explanation. He offered none. I got down, surrendered reins of the bike to him and sat behind. The usual. I was getting curioser but preferred to wait and watch. We reached our destination in ten minyes and weren't the least bit surprised to see serpentine lines of people shouting and hooting. Lathi wielding policemen were seen everywhere and the entire area was cordoned off by the omnipresent security. There was hardly any space to manouvre our bike to get anywhere near the parking space. I had known even yesterday that we stood no chance but to see it first hand was even more depressing.
One look at the crowd around us and I realised that the fortunate few were heavily outnumbered by the unfortunate many. Straining to see above the mass of heads, I sensed there was not a chance in a million that we would make it in. Amazingly Rajkumar seemed totaly unfazed. I could take it no longer.

"Maams, why are we even waiting here at 7 am? This is crazy da"

Waving two small blue paper strips at me, he remarked "Can't you keep your cool for another 10 minutes?"

"Don't tell me you have them?"

"You know me better than that."

"How did you get them?"

"Does it really matter? You've come all the way from Mumbai and you thought I'd let you go without our pilgrimage?"

For a moment I was speechless. The truth was yet to sink in. I grabbed the tickets and checked for myself. It was true. I was going to be inside the hall after all. The Rasigar Show. Every fan's dream come true. This had to be one of the greatest Diwalis I had ever had.

Rajkumar was smiling..and singing too...


Sunday, November 07, 2004

I'll be there for you.......

She: Tell me, when is it?
Me: Wots in it for me?
She: Uffff
Me: Why do you have to be so domineering?
She: ..and you so childish
Me: Hold it, I AM NOT
She: Really? Look at the caps ;-)
Me: I don’t like the sarcasm in your tone !!
She: ..Do you atleast like Shrewsbury?
Me: Ur the bestestestest ! Grill …now…
She: So when is Raksha Bandhan?
Me: How can you forget?
She: Dats me…
Me: Day after… now grill pls..
She: Coming :-)

Me: Hi
He: Sollu da
Me: Onnum illa
He: Sollu machi.. wassup
Me: Nothing.. Jes felt like calling
He: U OK?
Me: Yaa
He: Hmmm....free today evening?
Me: Yaa
He: Padam polaama..
Me: Yaa
He: ...and we can tok there...
Me: Seri da

Me: Happy Birthday bunny
She: Cheapo..There are other ways to say the same thing
Me: Like?
She: Heard of gifts?
Me: Want me to bake you a cake ;-)
She: Oh gawd. Noooooo. You can save that for... ;)
Me: Then?
She: I am not telling
Me: Neway here’s wot I got for you..
She: Wowwww…can I open it?
Me: Of course
She: Room Service… Geeee.. thanks…
Me: Now, can I please borrow it for tonight?
She: What!!!!!!!! You are mad!!!!
Me: Is that a yes? ;-)

Good friends are like stars....You don't always see them, but you know they are always there.

ps: Thanks guys for being there for me...sob sob....why am I so emotional ;-)
pps: Now..Am i forgiven for all those fone calls I promised but never made ?

Saturday - A Day to Remember

Blue is the colour, football is the game
We're all together, and winning is our aim
So cheer us on through the sun and rain
'cause Chelsea, Chelsea is our name

We are finally there where we belong. On top.

Chelsea lead the EPL.

Yippeeeee...Dunno why but I feel on top of the world.

Footie is a strange game. It was just a few weeks back, when the Arsenal juggernaut was still running, that I had asked myself serious questions whether the team I supported so passionately would ever land up with silverware during my life time. 15 years is a long time to wait and the old faithfuls have been great to rally behind their team through these difficult years. For someone who's been solidly behind them for the last 4 years, its been very annoying since Chelsea have never lacked the flair to come out trumps - rather they've been guilty of notorious inconsistency. Ever since the hey days of Vialli and then Ranieri, the fans and the Chelsea board have stood loyally behind the team willing them on at every go.

The arrival of the Russian oil tycoon Roman Abramovich, welcomed initially with great scepticism and suspicion, has heralded a radical change in Chelsea's fortunes. Huge money spent in assembling a team of stars with giant-sized egos has never brought instant success - In fact sometimes it hasn't even worked in the long run as it seems to be with Real Madrid at the moment, but Jose Mourinho at the helm has wonderfully moulded a set of hugely talented stars into an effective team that seems to be getting the job done week in week out. While the purists haven't stopped marvelling at the grace and sublime quality of the Gunners, Chelsea have quietly been making the move - eking out tough 1-0 wins against dogged opposition and then turning on the style against lesser fancied teams. The results and records speak for themselves. 9 wins, 2 draws and a single loss in 12 games with just 3 goals conceeded speaks volumes for the disciplined way this team has gone out doing its job.

While die-hard fans like me were a little wary with the rash of summer signings that Mourinho indulged in, time has proved most of his choices right. Its with grudging admiration that I admit that the man seems to know precisely what he wants. Not only is he a shrewd tactician, he has all the makings of an effective man-manager too. While Ranieri's last days were clouded by his random selection policy and absurd tinkering ways, Mourinho has been more practical in his squad rotation. His policy of having two world class players in the squad for every position has created a healthy competition for places and everyone seems to be aware that one bad performance could seal their fate. At the same time, he has also reposed his faith in youth and given time for talent to mature and unleash itself on the oppostion.

Even the harshest critics would agree that Carlo Cudicini was the best GK in England in the 2003 season. But one freak accident in pre-training has left him fighting for his place since Petr Cech, whos filled in his absence, has hadly put a foot wrong so far. The two centre backs, John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho seem to have developed incredible understanding even in their first season together and their positional play and towering presence in the air has had the pundits raving. Robert Huth still in his early 20s and learning the ropes fast can act as cover as can William Gallas. The latter is another example of how effectively Mourinho has fitted everyone into his plans since Gallas has also been successfully tried out as right back. Paulo Ferriera continues to impress as first choice for that position and has a more than suitable Glen Johnson breathing down his neck. Completing the back four, on the left flank, Chelsea have the attack minded Wayne Bridges and the dependable Celestine Babayaro.

Midfield is one area where Chelsea have an abundance of riches. In Alexei Smertin and Claudio Makelele, Chelsea have two really powerful, combative midfielders who can play the holding role with ease. Scott Parker and Geremi are both defensive by nature but can spring a surprise or two going forward. In Arjen Robben and Damien Duff, Chelsea have two of the game's most exciting wingers today. Both of them have tremendous pace, can dribble with ease and even switch flanks and play on both sides. Frank Lampard and Tiago Mendes are both excelllent creative midfielders who seldom refrain from moving forward and taking a shy at goal. Joe Cole, a versatile midfielder who can also play as support striker is a luxury very few clubs in the world can afford.

If there is one weakness in the Chelsea armour then its in their front line. While Didier Drogba seems to have good pace and a powerful strike and Eidur Gudjohnsen continues to deliver the goals, Chelsea seem to be lacking a classic goalscorer or poacher. Mateja Kezman (pronounce: Ma-ke-ya) who arrived from PSV with a tremendous reputation has been dismal so far but then Mourinho's bets have always paid off so maybe its still early days to be judgemental. The race has defintiely hotted up.

Arsenal will dearly want their recent run of bad form to come to an end. They will be hungry for success. Chelsea have a long way to go yet but something tells me, its gonna be Chelsea's year this time.

Carefree where ever you may be
We are the famous CFC
And we don't give a fuck who ever you may be
'cause we are the famous CFC

Friday, November 05, 2004


After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that Love doesn't mean Leaning
And Company doesn't mean security.

And you begin to accept that kisses aren't contracts
and presents aren't promises --
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
And with the grace of an adult, not the grief of a child

And you learn to Build all your Roads on today
Because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain
For your plans.
After awhile you learn that even sunshine
Burns if you get too much.
So plant your own garden and decorate
Your own soul -- instead of waiting for
Someone to bring you flowers.

And you will learn that you really can endure,
That you really are special
And that you really do have worth.
So live to learn and know yourself.
In doing so, you will learn to live

- Veronica A Shoffstall

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The miracle ???

The black diary had just returned to haunt me. Damn. Much as my ego hurt, I realised I was licked. I had always prided myself on this ability to sense potential disaster miles away but today happened to be one of those days when fate seemed intent on asserting who was boss. Poor me. Quickly flipping through the pages, I came to September 8th. It was blank - no entries so far, no lessons learnt. Alas. It was not meant to be. I rummaged through the contents of my attache and dug out my pen. I sat back and pondered. How should i put it ?

1. When it rains in September, it usually pours.
2. When it pours, leave early.
3. When you leave early, choose the aisle.

I relaxed and had a relook. I guess that summed it up well. I stared at the leaky roof once again and saw that the droplets drifting in sideways through the window panes had now become almost a current. Another five minutes and I might need an umbrella to prevent getting drenched. Quite clearly I wasn't the only one suffering as a few seats ahead, the gentleman sitting near the window seemed to be facing a bigger problem. Besides the leaking roof, his window shutter was stuck. Everyone around him seemed to fancy an almighty tug at it but so far no one had come even remotely close to success. And the gentleman didn't seem to be taking it all lightly. He'd been on the phone now for the last 3 minutes trying to call George Thomas..As if that would solve his problems :-)

I wriggled to avoid the wet patch that had already formed in my seat but realised it was fruitless trying to avoid the inevitable. I hastily glanced at my watch. It was ten to ten. Swamy, who'd dozed off no sooner had the bus started, seemed to have woken up thanks to all this fracas. Traffic had almost come to a stand-still and Hosur Road was one big mess. Barring the odd generator powered shop and the gawdy neon billboards, it was pitch dark outside - these power cuts always seemed to have this uncanny knack of happening at the most inopportune times. The driver switched on the lights inside the bus and the 'hot' chick in our aisle seat opened her paperback. Swamy coughed. A silent cough. It was our sign. I raised my eyebrows in question and he responded by drawing my attention to the title of the book our seat-mate was reading.

Mars and Venus in the Bedroom : A Guide to Lasting Romance and Passion

I smiled. Old habits die hard. I checked her fingers and found no ring. There was still hope. I winked at Swamy and silently wished him luck. The look on Swamy's face had "The One" written all over it :-) The steady downpour had just become heavier and the huge Hutch billboard was hardly visible through the hazy window. Swamy trying to grab the 'hot' chick's attention, eyed the open diary and flicked through to the latest entry. Glancing at my observations, he casually commented "Non Sequitur". A little too loudly too. Dammit. These freshers from college seemed to be perenially suffering from the hangover of their GRE preparations. Why can't they speak plain and simple English ?

Reminding myself to look up this new word as soon as I got home, I gazed absent-mindedly at the sidewalk across the road. I noticed that traffic had slowly started moving in the opposite direction and the irritable truck drivers were honking at the two wheelers to move faster. At the far end on the other side, I vaguely perceived an old man with a crutch in his hand desperately trying to cross the road. It was really dark and I couldn't but help wonder why he was out in the rains at this odd hour. And then I saw that he was trying to reach out to a small group of children on the other side of the road, near our side of the divider. Everytime he took a step forward, a car or a bus jerked ahead or cut in abruptly and he was forced to retreat. Refusing to give up, he tried again but with every attempt, I could slowly sense his confidence waning.

I opened the window a little bit and felt the eyes of people in my bus boring on my back. Scared to turn back and explain, I focused on checking to see if the old man was safe. By now the old man seemed to have got desperate and was making rash advances. Suddenly out of nowhere, or so i would like to believe, a scooter screeched to a sliding halt besides him. Abandoning the vehicle and rushing to his help was the rider with the helmet still on. Grabbbing the old man by his left arm and supporting him by the shoulder, the duo moved forward fearlessly. The rain continued to lash heavily and the road was now extremely slippery. Wildly gesticulating to the approaching vehicles to let them pass, the rider carefully guided the old man towards the divider. I was almost on the edge of my seat and could barely contain my anxiety. Just when I was about to thank the Gods for the timely help, I watched in horror as the old man slipped and fell on his back. Perceiving his utter helplessness, the rider dragged him across and safely negotiated the last few yards. Relief was writ all over the old man's face and in a sudden burst of emotion, he kissed the rider on the forehead. Physically drained and overwhelmed by the rapid turn of events, the rider took off the helmet and gave the old man a tired hug. And it was only then that I realised it was a young girl. She could hardly have been a day over 15. Petite with long hair, cherubic face, radiant smile. One of God's special children. I had gooseflesh all over me. Never before had I felt so exhilarated. I wanted to stand up and applaud. It had been nothing but a small act of kindness, but for me it was a giant leap in faith. I realised what it meant for the future of humanity. Quietly confident that Swamy had also been witness to this miracle, I nudged to get his reaction. There was none. He had fallen asleep again.

ps: Iyer, this is closer to the person you knew from Pearl 68. I have a feeling you will agree.