Friday, December 31, 2004

2004: A Personal Balance Sheet

@ Lost the freedom and privacy of living alone - gained pillars of support in the form of family ( top the great food)

@ Gained a couple of hikes at work - lost the guts to give it all up and follow the heart

@ Lost all hope of learning anything remotely associated to marketing @ work - gained valuable lessons in leadership, crisis handling and people management thanks to an amazing boss

@ Gained a lot more ideas for 'our first movie' - lost most of my free time watching all kinds of films and documentaries in order to 'learn the trade' and understand 'what works'

@ Lost the ability to learn to appreciate "the smaller things in life" thanks to reading some horrible non-fiction - gained an healthy appetite towards reading trashy fiction

@ Gained plaudits for an article written on Why sports talent is dying in our country - lost all touch in actively playing games like cricket and TT (Such hypocrisy !!)

@ Lost my brand new walkman and a few cassettes - gained sympathy, some GVs and knowledge of which of my dear pals are real suckers :-)

@ Gained a lot of weight - lost my agility and sense of humor in the bargain

@ Lost my heart - gained the strength to make light of it and move on

@ Gained silent but strong support from a few meaningful relationships - lost my erstwhile vanity in keeping my problems to myself

@ Lost a very dear friend and peace of mind for a couple of weeks - gained nothing but bitterness

@ Gained a few nicknames - lost my absurd "safe guy" image finally..Ufff ;-)

@ Lost quite a few of my close friends to holy matrimony - gained some amazing bhabhis :-)

Some other losses, some other gains.. When they all add up, probably more of the latter than the former.. Well, not as bad a year as 2003 but could have been better..No sweat ! There is 2005 to look forward to :-)

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Birthday time

"Hey, what are you thinking about ?"
"As usual huh"
"Yaa (An embarassed grin)"

There is something about C that simply makes me go * smile * - dunno why but this is one person who never ceases to amaze me. Well, for starters, there are very few people who 'listen' better than me and she is DEFINITELY one of them. Trust her to use a word where people would use sentences and still make a real impact.

How many people do I know who possess the patience to sit through 2 hrs of a Spanish movie on VCD (sans English subtitles) without imploring me to Fast Forward or simply stop the damn thing?

Dunno if it was all in a dream but did the petite, 'stinky jeans' wearing brunette-with-an-attitude living perpetually on a dinner menu of pop-corn and maggi (kya combo hai ma'am) actually cook those yummy aloo parathas yesterday for me ? Doff my hat - they were the best I've ever had (I swear tis no exaggeration) and I can't but help feeling J about that lucky 'someone' :-) Thanks fair lady.


And since I have said the forbidden word once [;-)] I might as well thank you for everything else - the 80 kmph bike rides on Outer Ring Road when you tried so desperately to kill me, the endless supply of Wrigley's in your house esp my favorite white wrapper wala, that stupid smelly perfume you forced me to buy (and I paid 700 for it...wail..wail..), those huge books on Jung and his philosphy you forced down my throat......ok ok.. I shall stop.. I can actually hear you sniggering "What rubbish" :-)

8 months.. Whew, its been really fast, hasn't it ? I was always a sucker for B'day requests so the present is on its way. But the answer to that question you've always fired at me - nah - we'll reserve it for another occasion :-p

Happy Birthday buddy gal !!

ps: Happy Birthday also to Thomas who turns 72, sorry, 27 today....Belated Birthday wishes to Amit Gheesh and advance Birthday wishes to Dhruv.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Winding up 2004

10 Best Sporting Images
You might have chanced to see these amazing set of snaps at Rediff but in case you missed it, here are 10 of my favorite ones capturing live sporting action from 2004. Enjoy them here.

10 Best Sporting Moments
# Maj Rajvardhan Rathore winning a silver in the double trap shooting event at Athens

# Micheal Phelps' amazing run at the pool yielding a rich 8 medal (6 gold and 2 bronze) haul at Athens. Finally a Yankee I rooted for :-p

# Hicham El Guerrouj's magical 1500m race at Athens which finally fetched him gold - which left only Sergei Bubka as my only favorite never to win gold in an Olympics.

# The Indian cricket team's first series win in Pakistan against the old enemy

# Arsenal winning the EPL without losing a single game the whole of last season

# Bernhard Langer's Europe giving a lesson in golf to Hal Sutton's America in the Ryder Cup

# Lance Armstrong's 6th consecutive Tour De France victory

# Ronnie "The Rocket" O'Sullivan lifting the World Snooker crown at The Crucible for the second time in his career

# Roger "King" Federer winning Wimbledon after playing two weeks of brilliant tennis, often bordering on the sublime

# Micheal Schumacher's second place finish at Monza after spinning early and clawing back from last to complete yet another Ferrari 1-2.

I know I promised some people offline a few weeks back that I would come up with a books/movies/documentaries reco list that you could use to spend your Christmas and New Year vacation. I realise this is long overdue and here is a quick update. As they say, better late than never. I will try and limit myself to stuff I have read in the last two to three months since I have mentioned about the rest of the good reads in a post earlier this year.

Book corner:
Avenger - 4.75/5
Veronika Decides to Die - 4.5/5
Casino Royale - 4/5
Eats Shoots and Leaves - 4/5
Living for Cricket (Clive Lloyd) - 4/5
By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept - 3.5/5
Illusions - 3/5
The Color of Money - 3/5 (Work In Progress)
Future Shock - 2/5 (gave up reading)
Tuesdays with Morrie - 2/5

Movies/documentaries time:
Maria Full of Grace - 4.5/5
Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer - 4/5
The Incredibles - 4/5
Wicker Park - 4/5
Ocean's 12 - 3.5/5
Polar Express - 3.5/5
Fahrenheit 9/11 - 3/5
Finding Neverland - 3/5
National Treasure - 2/5
Alexander - 1.5/5

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

2004: The Best and the Worst of Indian Movies

Well, I guess the title is kinda misleading since I am covering only Tamil and Hindi flicks here. Quite frankly, though Malayalam cinema is not part of this post, havta admit that it does come up with more than a few noteworthy efforts during the course of every year.

Disclaimer: I have seen most of the movies that needed to be seen save Morning Raga in Hindi and Kaadhal in Tamil but in case I have missed out on some noteworthy performances, would appreciate mentions in the comments section.

Bollywood round up:

The awards IMHO should go as follows:

Movie of the year - Swades
Best actor - Shah Rukh Khan (Swades)
Best actress - Shilpa Shetty (Phir Milenge)
Best supporting actor - Om Puri (Dev)
Best supporting actress - Rani Mukherjee (Yuva)
Best director - Ashutosh Gowariker (Swades)
Best music director - AR Rahman (Swades, Yuva)
Best lyricist - Javed Akhtar (Swades)
Best male singer - Udit Narain (Agar Main, Yeh Tara, Aisa Des Hai)
Best female singer - Alka Yagnik (Badal Jo, Agar Main, Hum Tum)
Best cinematographer - Mahesh Aney (Swades)

Critics award

Best actor - Abhishek Bachchan (Yuva, Phir Milenge)
Best actress - Gayatri Joshi (Swades)
Best director - Revathy (Phir Milenge)

Just a few more personally sponsored awards:

Torture of the year: God Only Knows

Bare-Dare act of the year: Payal Rastogi in Tauba Tauba

Whats-in-a-name movie of the year: Popcorn Khao Mast Ho Jao.. which reminds me of last years winner...Ssshhh..and an interesting story (Now imagine this scene - I go to the theatre and say " Can you give me tickets to..Ssshhh...?" The ticketwala is puzzled and says "But I didnt make any noise" I say " No sir...Sssshhh.." He says " Boss, dont sshhhh me" I am hopping mad now and indicate towards the poster. He looks and says "I am not deaf.. But why are u Sshhing me" I say "wot the *&^% I want to see that movie" He says "Are you serious ?")

"So-we-are-supposed-to-actually-act?" couple of the year: Vivek Oberoi in Yuva and Aishwarya Rai in Bride and Prejudice and both of them in Kyuun...

Movies to watch out in 2005

# Black - Besides the fact that I expect it to be Rani's best film to date, whether it will be Sanjay Leela Bhansali's ticket to the Oscars is the big question.
# Sarkar - RGV's tribute to The Godfather starring the Bachchans
# John Mathew Mathan's untitled next starring Shahid - will he able to recreate the magic of Sarfarosh ?
# Munnabhai meets Mahatma - will the sequel be as good as the original ?
# The Rising - Aamir Khan's long-in-the-making epic

Kollywood round up

The awards IMHO should go as follows:

Movie of the year - Autograph
Best actor - Kamal Hassan (Virumandi)
Best actress - Abhirami (Virumandi) ;-)
Best supporting actor - Pasupathy (Virumandi)
Best supporting actress - Mallika (Autograph)
Best director - Cheran (Autograph)
Best music director - AR Rahman (Aayitha Ezhuthu, Kangalal.., New)
Best lyricist - Na Muthukumar (7G Rainbow Colony)
Best male singer - KK (Appdi podu, Kaadhalikkum aasai, Kaadhal Valarthen)
Best female singer - Shreya Ghoshal (Unna Vida, Ninaithu Ninaithu, Pathukulle Number)
Best cinematographer - Ravi K Chandran (Aayitha Ezhuthu)

Critics award

Best actor - Parthipan (Kudaikul Mazhai)
Best actress - Sonia Agarwal (7G Rainbow Colony)
Best director - Ratha Mohan (Azhagiya Theeye)

Just a few more personally sponsored awards:

Torture of the year: Jai

Bare-Dare act of the year: Vindhya in Vayasu Pasanga

Whats-in-a-name movie of the year: M Kumaran S/o Mahalakshmi (why not go down 4 more generations?)

"So-we-are-supposed-to-actually-act?" couple of the year: Vaseegaran and Priyamani in Kangalal Kaidhu Sei

Movies to watch out in 2005

# Chandramukhi starring THE ONE AND ONLY SUPER STAR
# Mani Ratnam's next with 5 new stars
# Ajit's still untitled movie with Bala
# Mumbai Express starring the versatile Kamal Hassan and my old flame Manisha
# Shankar's Anniyan starring Kenny

PS: Whatever I do, this tsunami thing just won't go away. Neway one of my friend's mom is stuck in the Andamans where she had gone for a holiday. Plssss plssss pray for her well being and safe return.

Monday, December 27, 2004

December 26th, 2004 will go down in history as one H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E day for our nation. People died - thousands of them. A life is a life and the casualty figure makes no difference to me personally - I find it painful to digest such sudden death whether it is 5 or 50000. But yesterday was different - simply because the 'general consensus' amongst a lot of people I had the (mis)fortune of talking/listening to was that this wasn't a railway accident (where its invariably a human being at fault) or a war...This was supposedly a "natural disaster", one that could never be averted. There were even people who dared to say that it was the fury of the Gods and we had to accept it. Now, I have a problem with this kind of ridiculous reasoning. BIG PROBLEM. The first mistake I made was to lash out at them questioning the kinda Gods they were talking about who caused innocent people so much suffering and pain. Clearly this was exactly the line of discussion they had hoped to lead me into and I realised it a little too late.

Leaving that asinine bunch alone, my first thoughts went towards a few of my friends in Chennai and Pondicherry. Quickly confirming that they were safe, I also got a first hand update on the rescue work that was happening at these places. Two of my good friends, BK and Partha with whom I had been fortunate to work with in Rotaract, had sensibly rushed towards the Marina to see if there was any way they could help but it seems the area had already been cordoned off by the Police to prevent curious onlookers from creating more confusion. Unable to convince the cops that they were actually there to help, BK and Partha were forced to watch with frustration as the disorganised Police seemed totally lost with no concrete plans to mount a rescue operation. However to their credit, after the first hour of chaos, the Government and its agencies responded with lightning efficiency and by evening the situation had improved considerably.

Nothing stirs up this nation's sentiments like a disater does.. And I say this with a lot of bitterness..All day long, I know of people and families who were glued to their TV sets switching between 8 channels just to see if the casualty figure had gone up by 1. I know of people who, having heard of tsunami for the first time, channelised all their energies into learning every bit of science about this. I know of mad maniacs who called this God's way of paying back people for the tirade against Sri Jayendra Saraswathi and Hinduism (If it were legal to kill, I'd have happily finished off that man yesterday) There was even one person who had the gall to say that yesterday was a bad day for India since we had both the tsunami and the cricketing loss to Bangladesh. As if this wasn't enough, the media (save the BBC which kept underplaying it with all honest intentions of "Lets not get alarmist") went berserk - interviewed experts sitting in the warm climes of a heated room in Delhi, deferentially asked the politicos what aid they were planning to release and heartlessly thrust mikes and cameras in front of grieving people cajoling them to narrate their horror stories - each channel vying with the other in presenting exclusives and specials inserted with more than the usual dose of commercial breaks. In their own crazy way, I assume all these people meant good but what hurts is that in a week's time, December 26th 2004 would be banished in the memory of all these people to a blur and life would be back to normal.

I don't know if I am being very sanctimonious in looking down on everyone else. After all, what did I do ? I was no better. I did nothing. Like all people, I definitely wanted to be down there where I could actually lift a finger and help. Not possible. I could send money/food/clothes/first aid but what difference would it make to that 70 yr old woman in Velankanni who had come with her whole family and lost them all. My Mom was shell shocked since afternoon and I know she must have prayed a lot. For what ? For the souls of the deceased to rest in peace ? For giving the survivors strength to bear their losses ? Would that undo the damage already done ? And they say that this is all a test of faith. *&^@ .

I know I am sounding defeated and cynical and what-not but there are moments when you realise that this world is such a screwed up place and you are totally helpless. What rankles is that you don't know how to set it right and worse still, there are people who say it can't be set right. It is supposed to be just the way it is. Goddamn. Maybe I should just follow the words of a 'wise' friend of mine - Surrender to destiny, act as if nothing happened and move on. Shucks, what a way to approach a New Year !!

Friday, December 24, 2004

Crossy and Quiz buffs, here you go..

An interesting crossword to try and solve !! Ensoii !!
Time limit: 30 mts



1. Provoke deep understanding, say (6)
4. A quote in wrong mathematical formulation (8)
9. Framework is an almost true vessel (5)
10. Looking for church burning outside (9)
11. Good old currency (4)
12. Portion of the flipped strap (4)
13. A bird has an account unstated(5)
15. Lack of abstinence without metal (7)
16. Animals caught in a cosmic explosion (4)
19. Else back of covering (4)
20. Captive? Oh, backstage(7)
23. Follow English precisely to file a case (5)
24. Fasten and stroke (4)
25. Endless perfect notion (4)
27. Money-minded engineer moves my crane with his ends (9)
28. Ability to glide with two students (5)
29. Propose no minimum at beginning of end (8)
30. Famous person belonging to the female gender (6)


1. Essential sum? (8)
3. Becomes complete as the Cricket match progresses (4)
5. Scientific proposition about ATM try with honourable endless queue (7,6)
6. Type of acid, I hear, is my initial simple way of life (10)
7. Foolishness I dreamt in office cabin yesterday at first. (6)
8. Nullify the activity of English agent. (6)
10. Current condition of the painting (5,2,3,3)
14. Misplaced fun with ore is observed but is unexpected (10)
17. It is explosive to disembark on an excavation area (4-4)
18. Thorough end in action (8)
21. Say, look at the bloke, sailor! (6)
22. Maharshi without greeting, moves here (6)
26 Australia, for example, is in this league (4)

%&^$*&# - I hate flickr..It never lets me post pictures of the size I like. Kindly click on the foto, save the pic, take a p/o and try the crossy.. Do whatever it takes if the above didn't work but don't curse me :-(

For all ye quizzers, here is something to jog your grey cells
Time limit: 15 mts

1. The NRI Author of "The Interpreter Of Maladies" is ---
2. Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison are the three members of the Beatles group. Who is the Fourth one? ---
3. The US president who was involved in the WaterGate scandal is ---
4. In Internet Lingo, what does "SWL" mean? ---
5. According to the British Standards, One Pound has 20 shillings. How many shillings does One Guinea has? ---
6. Arachnophobia is the fear of ---
7. The highest commissioned Rank of the Army is "General". What is the highest commissioned Rank of the Air Force? ---
8. When is the Hiroshima Day celebrated? ---
9.Which famous Hollywood personality's real name is Norma Jean Baker? ---
10.Which TinTin characters makes a guest appearance in an Asterix book, "Asterix in Belgium"? ---
11. The Austrian Biologist who is called the Father of Genetics. He also formulated the Rules Of Heredity. ---
12. The inventors of Microprocessor are ---
13. The capital of Uttaranchal is ---
14. Hollywood model Carmen Electra's married this NBA star. ---
15. Chetan Sharma's One day hatrick came against which country in Nagpur in 1987? ---
16. The mughal emperor who was born in 1618 A.D. He was the son of Emperor Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. ---
17. The UN Secretary General from 1992 to 1997 is ---
18. The shrine of black stone in the central mosque at mecca is called ---
19. In which 2004 Grand Prix did Michael Schumacher was forced to retire from after crashing in the tunnel? ---
20. Miss World 2004 title is won by Miss Peru Julia Montilla Garcia. Now, Miss World 2003 belongs to which country?? ---
21. CEO of intel who visited india recently is ---
22. The Most densely populated country in the world is ----
23. The chemical symbol of Lead is ---
24. Which greek epic tells the story of Trojan War? ---
25. The leaf of which tree is depicted on the canadian national Flag? ---
26. In chess, which piece does black first move in the Alekhine Defence?? ---
27. According to NBA rules, which is the only part of an NBA players attire where he can sport a commercial logo? ---
28. In Mahabharata, who taught the pandavas and kauravas military skills before Dronacharya was appointed their tutor ---
29. The famous asian singer who gave his voice in "Dead Man Walking" is ---
30. Who potrayed tulsi's character in "Saans bhi kabhi bahu thi"? ---

ps: No comments will be entertained on the standard of the questions :-)

JLT - 2

Treat time:

:-))) Just did it.
Cold coffee on a comfortable sofa and 15 minutes (though it felt like jes 3 mts) of idle banter. Don't ask how, jes take my word for it. Time for some loudmouths to pay. For starters, reimburse the bill and you can also add a movie at Sathyam and the popcorn with it. Its party time ma'am.

Travel Time:

Andy's off to Goa today evening. PC is celebrating her 1st anniversary holidaying in the North East. Anton has gone home for Christmas and New Year. Boss is on a 2 week vacation to his hometown near Kannur or somewhere in Kerala. Mithun and Divs (below in this photo) are having a real ball - the porukki has come home all the way from Ohio to be with his family (and I-know-whu) and Divs is backpacking to the Grand Canyon, New York, Disneyland and what-not.

Divs and Mithun maaps

For the first time, I feel alone.. even lonely :-( Thinking of it, I jes realise that I haven't had one loooong vacation after SP ended and I joined here. Of course there was that terribly-planned-and-thankfully-aborted plan to go to Kerala in November but other than that nothing, absolutely nothing, has happened. Even my trekking gang has become totally inactive. Am counting on the Delhi-Rajasthan-UP trip near Pranav's wedding to make up for these 2 yrs of abject boredom. Of course, Rags and I are still on for Malaysian GP...Fingers crossed :-))

Jingle Jingle - Wedding Bells are around the corner:

We were 4 of us who went through almost all the 14 years together - Velakku, Dhadiyan, Naay and Thair.. Though we were bloody close at one point of time, the years and distance have come between us quite a bit and its almost been 5 years now since we last met up at Besant Nagar beach for that photo session. However we continue to be updated on what's happening in each other's lives and as I type this, Naay aka Thomas is getting engaged. Surprise of all surprises, its a love match and the gal's a Palghat Brahmin..Arre Thomachaan, tu vaaki chuppa rustom nikla bey :-)

Neway dude, Congrats on getting engaged and best wishes for a long and happy married life :-)

Theory for the day:

I finally accept I am not exactly NORMAL. (Do I see the multitude standing on its feet and clapping ?) Got a zany link this morning (again dunno why they send it to me specifically) and thought maybe there was something in it for me. It was a post on someone's blog which had a very alluring header screaming for attention - and obviously on a topic that is very close to a lot of people's hearts. Quite predictably, I wasn't the least interested so as usual I focused my energies on following other links in the page (I do it all the time - read everything but what I'm meant to - are there others like me?)

The links/stories on the sidelines are a little bold/explicit so conservatives and prudes stay off. I'd personally recommend the 10 Commandments of Simon. Coming to the actual article itself, much as I appreciate Miller's systematic and logical approach towards the solution, I differ strongly on his viewpoint on 'morality'. Obviously the bugger has not heard of my famous "Goalkeeper theory"...which by the way is the rage at IIMA thanks to 1across shamelessly propounding it as his own. You can have all the fame but atleast acknowledge my contribution bugger... Grrrrr....

As a parting shot towards Miller and the scores of people out there who are like him, here's a friendly tip from a member who just graduated out of this club. The easiest way out of your predicament is to go easy on Rule no: 1. ;-)

Now that I have hyped this link pretty well, here it is

Thursday, December 23, 2004


Attitude for the day: (Courtesy: Satya)
"Sir, I am sorry to say but we're surrounded!"
"Excellent. Now we can attack in any direction!"

Point to ponder: (Courtesy: Ram)
I think everyone is stupid. That's it. Doesn't matter who you are. You are all products of some place or time believing in some more stupid crap. Let me tell you a small sentimental anecdote from my class:

"There are three ways how a kid is taught to open the door. In one case the Mother puts the kid up on her shoulder and teaches it open the door by holding its hands. The kid learns to respect guidance.
In another case, she puts the kid on her shoulder and asks it to open the door by itself and with a few trials it learns to open it. The kid becomes self confident.
In another case, she just ignores the kid who figures out how to open the door by himself. The kid learns discovery"

What you should understand is when "you make a toy" you find out what kind of Mothers are in the country for Profit.

Smile please: (Courtesy The best jokes from Readers Digest)
Men who treat women as helpless and charming playthings deserve women who treat men as delightful and generous bank accounts.

Viewpoint corner: (Courtesy: Me and Me only)
...So Avnish Bajaj got arrested. Whats the big deal ? Does NRN need to have an opinion on anything and everything under the sun ? Grrrr.. Okie, I am probably the man's biggest baiter but it was nice knowing on the bus journey to office today that Andy also feels the same way. Somewhere along the line, I think the media has made a demigod of this "simple man". Infy sure has some really efficient spin doctors. I have digressed. The point I actually wanted to make was that this whole MMS scandal has only reinforced my strong opinion that camera phones are a pain. So I think I shall start to float a petition to ban them. Wotsay publik ? Do I have your support ?

Keeping track of "THE STATISTIC":
Its into double digits now..Yippeeee :-)

Just another crib:
(Song from the movie WOH humming in the background)

Uparwale yeh kya hua
Mere siva tu sab ka hua....

Dear God,
The crossword was loads of fun and I am really glad you helped us get into the finals...But couldn't you have been a little extra kind and also got that godddamnnnnnn cute kid and her team mate also through..Okie, maybe you were busy then but you could have surely made up for that by helping me get through the quiz also..Atleast then there would have been some hope of getting to know her better (she's the Quizmaster who asked those silly Qs I mentioned in that previous post.....wait.. does that have to be Quizmistress? Someone helppppp) Neway the results of the quiz have left me really down - the last team that qualified got 18.5 and we got 18. We really seemed to have missed the bus by that proverbial whisker.. and I blame it all on this goddamn MBA degree. There were atleast 2 questions where we could have got that elusive 0.5 pts.

1. Name the inventors of the microprocessor ? I had this gut feeling that the bugger Moore had to be involved but then did not trust my instinct and relied more on logic. Wanting to be risk averse, filled the answer as "founders of Intel" :-p

2. According to NBA rules, which is the only part of an NBA players attire where he can sport a commercial logo? I thought this was a sitter and wrote sneakers. Then my paranoid partner started getting "vibes" that it was a trick question and forced me to change it to headband. No prizes for guessing the right answer. Why can't we MBA let things remain uncomplicated ? :O

As if all that were not bad enough, did I have to know that she is a Priya N Iyer :-p

C'mon, its the Christmas season and I've been a god boy this year (a la Calvin) - do something for me, you bugger. *sigh*

Socha bhala na kabhi mera
Aisa kya bigaada maine tera :-(

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Pearl-68 on Pearl-77 (Hope I got it right)

The day dawned with nothing much planned in my schedule. There was still that one report I had promised to deliver to Sanjay by last Friday but then we both knew deadlines were there only to be broken. As usual I had decided what to write in the report and had been googling the whole of last week in search of facts to validate my judgement. Today the mood was more like "I'm feeling lucky" and Google seemed to respond kindly. The task at hand accomplished, in the absence of anything useful to do I resolved to clean up my crowded inbox. Quickly deleted most of the newsletters and subscriptions and replied to a few old friends when my eyes chanced on a huge pile of mails from Chemi99. Now this yahoogroup which had been totally inactive for a couple of years after we had graduated had suddenly got a new lease of life in the last 4 months. Thanks to this tremendous spurt of mails, I had finally managed to catch up with the lives of some of my really good friends most notably Iyer. (Or should I call you Ram now considering thats hows you sign yourself dude ? :-))

Now, Iyer was one of the really bright lads in the whole batch of 1995-99 at RECT. At 5'3" with curly, unkempt hair, care-a-damn attitude (Mayira pochuu was his favorite mantra) and crumpled clothes that hadn't been washed for months, Iyer did not have what many would call a 'striking personality'. But as they say, there's more to it than what meets the eye. Behind that vagabond exterior was a razor sharp brain that took RECT and more specifically, Chemical Department by storm. Academically, there was nothing that Iyer didn't conquer - he was so good that even when he downed 2 pegs of whisky 20 mts before appearing for a test, he would still beat us all - and by a wide margin too. Unfortunately for the rest of us though, Iyer wanted to be the best in everything. So he spent long hours in the TT room trying to become Jan 'Ove Waldner only to get thrashed by all and sundry. However, defeat after defeat would stil not deter Iyer from trying his hand at every game from cricket to volleyball to football. To his credit, Iyer was also smart at identifying people from whom he could learn something and so we forged an enduring parternship that helped us team up and win many a crossword and quiz competition in our 4 years :-) There was also that one paper presentation we did together in 3 rd year at Annamalai where we came first and Iyer promptly blew all the prize money away by drinking and puking at the hostel there. I could go on and on anout his exploits but it would be best to sum it all up by saying that Iyer was one helluva all-rounder, someone we all expected and knew would go places. However time had its own way of dictating terms to its travellers and Iyer, who joined Wipro (where he came to office drunk and still set right bugs in 20 mts what his peers did in 3 days) from college, soon got bored of work and decided that Management might be the place for him. After a few unsuccessful (by my stds - for anything less than IIMA would have to classify as failure) at CAT, he decided to pursue his Doctorate in Management from the United States and left last August. Its been a year and a half now and I have read stories of his (mis)adventures with alternating fear, amusement, concern and bewilderment. There are days when he mails us all in a very cheerful mood and its a delight reading his musings and reflecting on how much his thought process has changed over the years. And then there are days when he scares the shit outta me with his moodiness and melancholy.

Some say he is a flawed genius. Some of them call him misguided. There are a few who call him a-talent-gone-wasted. And there are others who think he's gone mad and have just given up on him. I can't stand such judgemental people. Why can't they just let him be what he is ? Why is it that we always need to live upto the burden to meeting other's expectations ? Why do we always have to bear the cross of what others define as success ? So does that mean unless you win a Nobel or an Olympic Gold, you don't know to write or run. Think about it.

Iyer, I just hope you are reading this. I've read every mail you've sent these last few months and I know a lot of people are replying back to you and I am not one of them. Since you are one of the very few people I like(d), admire(d) AND respect(ed), here's one bit of unsolicited advice - Shut off what the rest of the world says and thinks: just follow your heart, you will do great !! (the world is full of hypocrites who will blindly do the 'politicaly right" thing - any non conformist is branded MAD - screw them - And I strongly, strongly reccommend you to read Paulo Coelho's Veronika Decides to Die)

The next time you come to India, do drop in here at Bangalore. Maybe we will have a drink or two together and even go down to RECT and show the middle finger to PSSH and VVR. Till then keep mailing machaan !

ps: If IMDB quotes fascinate you so much, read up some from Good Will Hunting. Matt Damon reminds me soooo much of you ;-)

The story of my customer visits --- leading to --- My New Year Resolutions

You can get everything right - arranging for your customers to be picked up promptly at the airport, putting them up at the hotel where they'd prefer to stay, transporting them to your office on time comfortably, welcoming them with a smile, making them feel at home by accomodating every single quirk of theirs (22 degrees A/C and warm Diet Coke), putting your best engineers to explain your approach towards the proposal, showcasing an experienced team lead who can give them confidence that their work will get done and finally even demonstrate that you have been-there-done-it-all-before - but still not win a deal in the Engineering Space. Ask me for I would know better than anyone. The only slide which seems to matters is PROJECT COST. Its all about money, honey. And invariably, the feedback I am beginning to hear is that we are "too costly", "premium players", "inflexible in price" and tonnes of such crap....To quote Kaushik, customers expect the power of a Ferrari and the styling of a Merc at the cost of a Maruti.

Yesterday was no different.

In the past such visits used to leave me frustrated. Nowadays I am much wiser (Thanks to a brilliant boss). In fact, we go ahead and suggest the names of our competition who work at a price 30% below us. Needless to say customers start business with them, screw up a small project big-time, learn from their mistakes and come running to us in 6 months.. And yes, that time we add another 10% premium just for all the trouble they created last time around ;-)

... and this story leads to my New Year resolution 1

1. Play any game for the long run - Don't chase smaller, easier-to-get victories, go for the REAL THING. And learn to wait till the customer's chickens come home to roost.

Other resolutions I think I shall make are...

2. Do not use elevators or escalators till you weigh down to 75 kg

3. Learn to play a really new sport this year, say golf. (Note: sport and game not to be used interchangeably - 'games' like baccarat don't qualify)

4. Cease making new friends instead focus on cementing ties with existing ones.

5. (Try to) Forgive but definitely NOT forget those who hurt you.

Well.. If I had filled up my GnOs this way, my boss would have screamed foul and say it was hardly "stretch"... So here I go with two really difficult resolutions that I genuinely wanted to implement this year but have not been able to...

6. Call up close friends more often just to say Hi and How are you doing?

7. To quote a wellwisher, Stay away from birds: the non-feathered kind.

Seven.. I like that number. So let me stop here. A week and it will be implementation time.
* sigh *


8. Never again participate in a quiz at this workplace of mine esp ones where they still ask stuff like "Who is Shah Jahan's son?", "When is Hiroshima Day?" and "What is the chemical symbol for lead?" - Hopefully the crossword later in the afternoon is better !!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Happy Birthday Chi Chi

Happy Birthday Chi Chi, originally uploaded by Jupieee.

You rock dude !!!!!!!!!!

My love affair with T7.....continues....

Getting off my mobile fone, I checked the wristwatch frantically for the 14th time in the last 60 seconds...Trust these cab drivers to be big fans of Murphy. Yesterday almost everything had gone off like clockwork only for the cab to be stuck in traffic. As a result, the customers (Lets call them A and J) arrived a good hour and a half late, tired and irritable. Today things seemed to be a total mess. For starters, the meeting was in BANYAN, a conference room in T7 which was not "home ground" for me. So when I came in to check if all was fine at 8:45 am, a good 15 minutes before the scheduled arrival, I was totally unprepared for the sight that met my eyes. I took out my well documented list and carefully ran a check through all the items

1. The projector - not working (called Admin and shouted - volume: level 3)
2. Coffee and Tea - not set up yet (called Admin and shouted - volume: level 4)
3. Water - I can see a big jar full of water but there are only 3 glasses and not 5 as we had requested (called Admin and pleaded)
4. Screen and markers - Dirty and only 2 fading markers were there

The mobile rang again. The sweet voice (need to check who it belongs to) at the other end said " Sir, your customers are here. Could you please come to Gate 6 to pick them up ?" It was only 8:50 and the damn buggers were early. Damn. Ooops, sorry - After all, Customer is King. Requesting her to hold fort for sometime, I went about setting the house in order.

5. Lighting - the room was dark and I was sure nothing productive could emerge out of a meeting in this dingy place. I tugged at the strings that controlled the first set of blinds and they opened. I tried to open the second set but they were jammed. I gave up. (called Admin and shouted - volume: level 8)

By now the admin person Manoj had rushed over in response to my SMS (Save My Soul). After fidgeting with the projector for a good 2 minutes (longest 120 seconds of my life) finally there was an image on screen. Unfortunately for me, it was in a horribly dull yellow color and the text was all blown out of proportion. Manoj asked me for 15 minutes to replace it with a new projector but I knew we did not have that much time. I could sense that we were facing a potential disaster. It was then that I hatched a devious plot in my mind. I smirked. A nice quiet smirk. I gave some last minute instructions to Manoj and rushed to the gate to receive my customers.

Only when I reached the reception and checked myself out in the glasses did I realise that I was not exactly dressed up for the occasion. Nike sneakers, a loud checked shirt, informal trousers and a two day Anil Kapoor stubble..Well.. It could have been worse.. As expected A and J were dressed in business suits. They gave me a quick lookover and it might have been my imagination too but I thought I saw a pair of disapproving eyes. Hastily escorting them back to BANYAN, I noticed that the Coffee and Tea had arrived and the screen had been wiped clean and new markers had been put in place. Winking at Manoj who held the door open as we entered, I seated the customers opposite the blinds. It was clearly a little dark and I asked them if we could open the blinds to let in more light. They agreed and J got up to help me out. I moved in swiftly, reached out for the blinds that worked and effortlessly pulled them up. J, meanwhile, tried to open the other set but was unsuccessful. After a few attempts, he was clearly embarassed and gave one almighty tug at it. The blinds did open but unfortunately the string snapped (just as I had hoped and prayed) and all the beads dropped down to the floor. J was clearly rattled and I put him out of his predicament by dismissing it as not his fault. A, meanwhile had connected his laptop to the projector but on seeing the yellow image, was worried if there was some problem with his laptop (I had known beforehand that his laptop had crashed yesterday). Everything was falling into place and I knew I could now buy time. I asked A and J if they would mind having some hot tea whilst Manoj cleaned up the room and we got someone from our IMG team to see if we could fix the problem in A's laptop. They happily consented and as we walked out towards the open space, I winked again at Manoj. The IMG person who had been waiting outside with the spare projector quickly ran in, feigned as if he was looking at A's laptop and smartly fixed our own projector, walking out pronoucing everything was fine in 10 miutes flat. Manoj meanwhile cleaned up whilst we were sipping some 'really piping hot' tea. Its now been an hour since the second round of technical discussions started and I've thankfully managed to skip out again.

All is well that ends well.. But then sometimes I worry.. What would this company do without me ? And then....To quote our CSO Sudip, I thnk I have 4 roles (Marketing, Sales, Executive Assistant and Hospitality Manager), 2 bosses (the customer and the real one) and just 1 salary. Maybe I need to talk to the higher ups about this !!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Home rocks..but I want it always this way....

10.2 hrs per day - Thats my last month's attendance record at work.. The average, of course...Rubbed my eyes a few times, pinched myself again and peered at the hazy numbers staring out of my slightly bluish monitor (Reminder 3: Raise a call to replace it)..The initial disbelief has since given way to thoughtful contemplation..I realise it must be true..After all, numbers don't lie. Its official now.

Work sucks. I am bored. Time to move on ?

Typical knee jerk reaction of mine..There it is.. yet another case of me arriving at the wrong conclusion from the right set of data.. Maybe I've suddenly started finding home a lot more interesting....Hmmm...

The first few months after my folks moved in with me were very rough at office and I used to work myself to death, leaving really late. Coming home drained, I would hardly get the time to talk to them and check if they had settled down fine. With time I found that Dad, who had lived almost all his life in Trichy, surprisingly settled down easily to a life of watching cricket on telly, taking walks and reading books (picking up even Grisham and Bach along the way) but strangely it was Mom who seemed to be struggling to fit in. Not content with just catching up with her tonnes and tonnes of cousins and reading and updating me with just what I "needed to know" in the Eco Times, my mom was probably hoping that she could connect back with the son she knew from 1999 :-) Needless to say, while it had always been amazing fun chatting up endlessly during those short 2 day breaks when I used to visit home, I found it beyond my capacity to do that on a day-to-day basis especially since we were now living together. As pressure at office eased off, I found myself staying back late for no perceptible reason, just to avoid getting back home early - afraid to know if I had ruint their peaceful life in Trichy by getting them to move in with me - afraid that I might be unsuccessful in hiding my increasingly unsatisfying work life. The last thing I wanted was to put my folks also through the misery of knowing that even after an MBA, I did not quite know what I wanted. It was during these times that the wise words of Zee and Priya drilled some sense in my meaningless daily routine. I started spending quality time at home and talking a lot to my Mom only to realise that though we remained stuck in our own worlds - shopping malls vs. kirana shops, non-arranged mariages vs. arranged marriages, watching Video CDs vs. Physical activity - we were still communicating and this made me definitely feel a little less guilty.

And then came winter.. and it was that time of the year when my adorable grandparents usually shifted from my uncle's place in cold Mathura to the warmer climes of Pondicherry. This year however, thanks to my tantrums and threats, I managed to convince them to spend atleast a month in my sleepy little city and even sleepier suburb. Even before they arrived, we had to make a lot of changes at home. Most importantly, books had to be provided for Grandma was a voracious reader who did nothing but read anything and everything that she could lay her hands on. Oxygen be damned, the only thing that mattered to her were books and information. So Tuglak, Ananda Vikatan, Aval Vikatan, Kalki, Kumudham, Mangayar Malar and The Hindu (page to page) became her staple diet. And I wasn't the least bit surprised when she told me that she had even finished the first two books in the Harry Potter series which I'd sent for my kid cousin Abhishek. As if that wasn't enough, she happened to read a news article in The Hindu about blogs and wanted to know every damn thing about them. Patience is not one of my strengths but when it comes to dealing with my Grandma I am blessed with 10 times more than wot I usually have for others simply because I am in total awe of her thirst for knowledge at her age.. Did I forget to mention that she is 73 and obviously not a graduate ? After hearing me out on blogs, she even cajoled me into take p/o's of a few of my posts to see how my blog was. (believe me, she is such a critic that it took me 20 mts to decide on which posts to take home) Then it was the turn of mobile fones. Having watched a TV program which ended with a competition where viewers could SMS their answers, she wanted to know all about fones :-) Today as things stand, I've been ordered to send all the funny jokes I seem to be cracking all the time at home via SMS to Kumudham.. It seems they pay Rs 75 per joke.. Trust Grandma to never leave a penny on the table..Now if Grandma sounds unbelievable, then Gramps isn't far behind...At 82, if he isn't watching horrible serials on Sun TV and then furiously debating a character's actions, then he is commenting on how Man U will is the best team in the EPL..Then there is also the fact that he religiously follows Indian cricket even when we play minnows like Bangaldesh not to forget how he likes any song that praises mothers (He gets moved everytime he hears those two songs - one from Mannan and this new one in New) And when he is tired of all this, he is either exhorting me to get married or exercise more often to get rid of my tummy - pls Thatha, two points - 1. if you so want to see a grandson married, how about Abhishek (all of 9 yrs) and 2. I dont have a thoppai :-(((((

I could say so much more but suddenly I am feeling really low. The month is almost up and I just can't believe how fast time has flown. I cannot imagine that in another week, Grandma and Gramps will be gone to Pondicherry and Mom and Dad are also away to Trichy for 2 weeks and I will be going back to a home where there won't be neone waiting near the gate asking me why I am late/early. :-((((((((

Home rocks.. but how do I make it stay this same way....

Saturday, December 18, 2004

We, the people


(3 minutes later)


A few deep breaths...Nopes... not done. Someone's got to put that idiot in place. Let me first send that mail across to Taran Adarsh about his so called pretending-to-be-a-review on Swades.

(A minute later)

:-)) That was easy.. Just went to Thesaurus and found out 5 choice expletives, peppered them across the contents of the mail and pressed the SEND button.


So do I hear you asking "How was SWADES?" ? Loved the movie. Wait. That doesn't quite say it the way I want it to. LOVED THE MOVIE.

On Jan 20 1961, a wise man who went by the name of John F Kennedy in his address to the people of America said "Ask not what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for the country". 33 years have passed and those stirring lines still hold relevance in our lives, whichever country we belong to. Remember the last time we cribbed about paying taxes without seeing any change in the quality of life. Remember the numerous occasions when we have blamed the "system" for the total lack of development. Remember the innumerable times we have laid the blame on everyone's doors but ours for the lack of progress around us. Why is it that we prefer to be arm chair critics who have given up without even trying to make a difference ? Why is it that we remain content to fall back on our celebrated past, our long standing values and our glorious traditions when the need of the hour is to focus on the future.

Swades: We, the people tackles all these questions through the issues of development at the grass roots and is a lesson on how small efforts at a micro level can bring about change and help us achieve the great heights that we are surely capable of.

Some myths dispelled:

* Swades is not a story about NRIs and the awakening of their conscience - On the contrary its a story about the need for every Indian to rise up and do his bit.

* Swades is not arty fare - it cannot and should not be slotted so simply because it is not the usual "meet cutes + song & dance + fight routine" - IMHO, there can only be two categories: Good movies & Bad movies - Swades, quite clearly, belongs to the former.

* Swades is not a drag - at 3 hrs and 20 mts it might be longer than most of the Hindi movies we've seen but every character sketch has been properly crafted and every sequence carefully constructed that it would not do the film and its weighty theme any justice by arbitrarily trimming it to suit commercial interests. In fact, any such measure would only be at the cost of detail and drama whcih would be very cruel indeed.

* Lastly but most importantly, Swades does not pale in comparison to Lagaan - Infact, I would even stick my neck out and swear that its a follow-up Ashutosh can be proud of. Comparisons, though odious, are inevitable but let me take particular pain to emphasise that both movies are based on a strong story line that can stir up genuine emotions. (nothing psuedo like the love that lasts 22 years in a Pakistani prison.. Gimme a breakkkkk) At the heart of both the stories is the theme of the human spirit triumphing over everything else - In Lagaan it was about a team of underdogs fighting for their village against their oppressive colonial rulers (so conveniently we had villains), in Swades it is about a village divided by caste and steeped in past glory realising the need to unite and work for their common good (here the demons are in their mind and attitudes)

So here are my 7 reasons on why Swades is a MUST-WATCH

* Cinematography - The montage of visuals in some of the songs, especially Yeh Jo Des and Saawariya is brilliant to say the least. Wait. Before you get me wrong, let me clarify that its not sheer candy floss, rich shots - the camera of Mahesh Aney goes beyond all this and captures the soul of the rural milleu.

* Costume design (and its influence on our eyes) - The astonishingly simple n beautiful salwars / cotton sarees of Gayatri Joshi, the endearingly earthy dresses of the supporting cast and the starkly contrasting Levi designer jeans and Gucci shoes of SRK show the meticulous attention to detail given by the costuming department.

* Music (and the way it pulls the story along) - Well, the music was already a rage and I can only say that after watching the movies, I am of the firm opinion that this has to rank as one of ARR's top 3 efforts in Hindi (Now dont ask me wot are the other two - Taal and Dil se ? Yeah.. Not even Lagaan). Even a situational number like Pal Pal has come out wonderfully well. The BGM with deft usage of percussion and shehnai is mindblowing in certain scenes.

* Lyrics (and the mood they seem to so easily fit in) - I could say so much about Javed Akhtar's awesome lyrics and still it would not be enough praise. Purely from a screenplay stand point, the point at which Yeh Tara Woh Tara comes is without any doubt is the lyrical high point of the movie.

Boond-Boond Milne Se Banta Ek Dariya Hai
Boond-Boond Sagar Hai Varna Yeh Sagar Kya Hai
Samjho Is Paheli Ko, Boond Ho Akeli To
Ek Boond Jaise Kuch Bhi Nahin

* Screenplay, Dialogues and Characterisation - In a theme as heart-rending as this, what's amazing is that there is no excessive melodrama, no long and boring rhetoric and almost very little sermonising. Each single character - minor or lead - is utterly believable be it the cynical Panchayat elder, the firebrand heroine, the Indian friend of the hero at NASA - they all behave and react exactly like how we would if we were put in that position and that, believe me, is a very difficult thing to successfully get across. Full marks to Ashutosh G, M G Satya and the team.

* The casting and the performances (minus SRK) - The best part of Swades is the fact that most of the cast except the hero are faces that are relatively unknown to the vast cinema going public. As a result it becomes much more easy to identify them as characters rather than as stars. Dayashankar Pandey as Mela Ram, the village cook with phoren ambitions and Rajesh Vivek as the local postmaster Nivaran are such wonderful scene stealers that its a delight watching them everytime they light up the screen. Kishori Billal as Kaveriamma is amazingly restrained in the emotional sequences and makes one yearn for such realistic "mothers" in Hindi cinema. Gayatri Joshi as Gita looks a dream and delivers a performance that would easily do a 100 film veteran proud.

* SRK - The only reason I did not include him in the previous point was that he deserved to be mentioned separately. Without any doubt, he is the real surprise packet of the film. Though its well chronicled that SRK was not first choice for this role, I have to admit that I personally feel Aamir would not have done as good a job as SRK has. To be honest, there are a few occasions when the star in him surfaced but in a 24 reel movie, I would gladly settle for jes a few of those blips.

Watch out for him in two immemorable sequences: scenes that have left an impact on me even a day after watching the film.

- his reaction as he watches a small kid sell water in a mutka at Ajite Railway station during the return train journey back to his village
- his infectious enthusiasm in the song Yeh Tara Woh Tara (one scene where Aamir would not have been able to pull it off)

You can take a bow, Mr Khan. You have my vote for this year's best acting honors (and that's ahead of Aby baby in Yuva)

* The Captain of the Ship (and his astute touch) - What's the secret formula for a successful movie ? If you can marry drama, emotions, humour, music in the right proportion, pack it with the right punch and deliver it with decent production values, your chances of success are very high... But at the end of the day, its those small, simple touches that give a movie its soul..And this, Swades has in ample measure. Full credit to Ashutosh Gowariker for working the Lagaan magic again.

It needs a lot of guts to stand by one's conviction of telling a meaningful story with a strong social message through this fickle medium called cinema. It takes even more guts to put your money where your foot is and produce such an ambitious venture. Three cheers to Ashutosh G, Ronnie Screwala, Deven Khote and Zarina Mehta.

I've deliberately refrained from writnig a complete movie review simply because before I started this one, I chanced to read one of the most balanced view points on Swades on the net. This review by Mayank in the Mid-Day, in fact, mentions most of what I wanted to say so have purposefuly refrained from repeating it instead focussing on aspects like why i liked Swades.

Wowwww... dat was one loooooong, passionate rant..Neway watch the movie asap and let me know your views on the film peepul ;-)

Friday, December 17, 2004

5 Reasons to watch "The Story of Mohan Bhargav"

5. In a career spanning almost 13 years now (it sure feels like 30 years..sigh..), Shah Rukh "Chimpanzee" Khan has probably played a part in almost 50 films... Note: I didn't say ACTED...but how many movies has he really tried to get into the skin of the character and play the part rather than just be himself.. Hardly half a dozen by my count..Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, DDLJ, Baadshah are the only ones that come to my mind at this moment...Now Ashutosh has been quite open in all his interiews that his first choice for Mohan Bhargav was Aamir and that he got tired of waiting and finally signed up SRK..But he's also been vehemently emphasising that we will not get to see SRK, the star but Mohan the scientist.. Well, that would call for a lot of optimism..But still if this is not his golden chance to prove his detractors wrong, then there never will be another...So watch out for the King Khan.

4. The storyline and the inspiration behind it.. A sensitive and thought-provoking theme of an Indian who leaves his country for greener pastures abroad, achieves everything he's ever dreamed of only to rediscover his roots and return with all honest intentions of contributing to India realising its tremendous potential...The inspiration behind the movie is supposed to be the efforts of one Ramesh Ramanathan and his NGO Janagraha...Now this is a topic which is very, very close to my heart and hence I can't wait to see how strongly the message comes across.

3. The packaging...Ashutosh has promised his audience that there will be no silly song choreography, no dishum dishum and no unidimensional characters. Coming from someone who made Baazi, yone would be tempted to turn a deaf ear to this but then Lagaan was, in its own way, a trend-setter and I am more than willing to give Ash the benefit of doubt on this occasion. Fingers crossed.

2. The teaser campaigns shown in television / print media and the camera shots of a just-returned Mohan Bhargav soaking in the 'Indian experiece' are some of the best publicity material I have seen in Indian cinema for a looong looong time.

1. The name's Joshi.. Gayatri Joshi.... Droooooooooooooool... Divine, ethereal, gorgeous....errrrrr...(tongue-tied) Mark my words, this tall lassie blessed with Maharashtrian good looks and a certain endearing South Indian girl-next-door image will go places.

Have booked tickets for the evening show today... yesssss.. which means, I need to leave office early.. So back to work :-))

ps: First review is out.. and its not very flattering.. Check it out here

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Count Your Blessings :-)

Have I been cribbing too much offlate ? Maybe life ain't that bad after all..Especially when I'm so fortunate to have friends like Zee.. Dude, you were simply wonderful today - the way you listened patiently to all my polambals, the way you said everything that I jes didn't wanna hear (Having the guts to face the truth in certain touchy issues continues to elude me), the way you judged me exactly for wot I was (which obviously comes from the fact that you've had to tolerate me for donkeys years now - 15??)..Much as I still dispute your last bit of advice, I promise to sleep over it tonight..Thanks again dude..

N yes, in case I never told you this before "You are the best!!"

Can I leave this B-L-A-N-K ?

Hell !! Life sure is very unpredictable.. Day before was awesome, yesterday was horrible.. Bloody messy fight..A bloodbath would be the most apt word.. Called each other names, raked up the past, hit where it hurt the most, took it out really hard..Usually I avoid such slug-fests preferring to stay silent.. But dunno wot gotta unto me..Neway, isn't it a wonder that something that was built with care and nurtured over two years can all crash down like a castle made of playing cards in jes a moment.. Not that the warning signs weren't there but still when it actually happened, everything seemed so unfair..

In a crazy sorta way, this Tee shirt kinda sums it all up...

multi talented, originally uploaded by Jupieee.

Well.. Bygones should be bygones.. Jes bak from a commendation ceremony.. Ganesh K completed 15 yrs at this workplace on Friday.. A very patient man I must say.. It was nice hearing his thoughts on his long innings and even nicer to be able to say some nice things about him. Wishing him all the best for the future..

And here are some really nice cartoons, the only other bright spot in my day so far..Ensoiii !

Monday, December 13, 2004


To a genius who went by the name of Subramanya Bharathi.

Suttum vizhichchudardhaan - Kannammaa
Sooriya chandhiraroa ?
Vattak kariyavizhi - Kannammaa
Vaanak karumai kolloa ?
Pattuk karuneelap pudavai
Padhiththa nal vayiram
Nattanadu nisaiyil theriyum
Natchaththirangalladi !

Soalai malaroliyoa - unadhu
Sundharap punnagaidhaan ?
Neelak kadalalaiyae - unadhu
Nenjin alaigaladi !
Koalak kuyiloasai - unadhu
Kuralin inimaiyadi !
Vaalaik kumariyadi - Kannammaa
Maruvak kaadhal kondaen !

Saaththiram paesugiraay - Kannammaa
Saaththiram yaedhukkadi ?
Aaththiram kondavarkkae - Kannammaa
Saaththiram undoadi !
Mooththavar sammadhiyil - vadhuvai
Muraigal pinbu seyvoam
Kaaththiruppaenoadi ! - idhu paar
Kannaththu muththam onru

Doff my hat !!

ps: Thanks to Rajeev Menon and Sun TV for reminding me that a tribute to this great man was long pending...Thanks also to TFMPAGE, my parachute in case of any movie emergency and P*****k from RECT

pps: If you didn't get the meaning of the lyrics, plssss plssss set aside a good 15 minutes, find out a Tam friend and ask for a translation - believe me the trouble will be well worth it !!

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Happy B'day post - AND - Ocean's 12: A movie review

Okie, maybe the Happy B'day message in this post is just one line but then its for a very, very special person hence the mention in the title :-p

SUPER STARu yaarunnu kaetta chinna kozhandhayum sollum...Thalaiva, Happy Birthday...

I would have so loved to koluthufy soodam and burst crackers and distribute sweets to everyone in my street but then I know u don't like adambarum...Hence jes this special mention.. And pls Soundarya kalyaanum nenappu varumbodhu ellam ennai nyabagum vechikongo :-p

Lets tok business now..

A sequel better than the original.. Unbelievable yet true !! Ocean's 12 rocks.. and how !! For all my women readers esp someone in Andheri whos waiting with bated breath, George Clooney has been completely overshadowed...but wait, here's the good Brad Pitt.. Before I jump the gun and spill some more beans, let me try and approach this whole thing logically :-)

"When style can do the job, why bother with substance" seems to have been the guiding mantra for Soderbergh as he embarked on the unenviable task of filming a sequel to his 2001 hit Ocean's 11. Ocean's 12 is a worthy follow-up since it retains most of the ingredients that contributed to the success of its illustrious prequel - racy plot, enchating locations, technical wizardry, slick action sequences, rollicking sound track, witty oneliners, delightful characters and some really surprising twists.

The movie takes off precisely from where its prequel ends. Its been 3 years since the heist at the Bellagio but Terry Benedict despite being compensated by the insurance companies can't wait to have his revenge. When he gets a tip that Ocean and his men were the people who puilled it off, he rounds them up and delivers an ultimatum - Cough up the 160m$ with interest or D-I-E. Danny Ocean and his team, now enjoying the bliss of retirement and a 'straight' life have 15 days to get 'one last job' done to pull themselves out of the mess. The scene shifts to Amsterdam and then Rome as they realise that there is just one prize that is worth their pursuit. However they are hounded by Isabel, a cop with a past now working for Europol and a mystery thief Night Fox who seems to be itching to go one up on Ocean's 11. What happens next forms the rest of the story.

A good heist caper is only as good as its lead players and its in this department that Ocean's 12 scores heavily. If you thought Danny Ocean (Clooney), Rusty Ryan (Pitt), Linus Caldwell(Damon), Saul Bloom (Reiner), Basher (Cheadle), Yen (Qin) and co rocked, the sequel has Tess Ocean (Julia Roberts) playing the pivotal 12th partner and to add more glitz and glamour is the ravishing but mysterious Isabel Lahiri (Catherine Zeta Jones). As if that wasn't good enough, the sequel's biggest strength lies in its principal negative characters..While the wronged Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) is still around, the real scene stealers are the cold and deceptive Francois Toulour (Vincent Cassel) aka Night Fox and the mysterious LeMarc (Albert Finney).

On the acting front, the honors clearly belong to Pitt, Cassel and Ms Jones in the same order. The dialogues are sharp, incisive and really witty at times - special mention of the scene when Mr Diez recollects a past experience of a hold-up at a vault ;-) and the scene when Pitt, Clooney and Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid for HP fans) make a fool of Damon. For the nitpicky, there are more holes in the screenplay than a full golf course but Soderbergh's adept direction, with special metion of those two wonderfully clever cameos, more than compensates for the minor inconcisstencies.The camerawork is mesmerising and the editing is rapier sharp. Technically there can be no doubts that Ocean's 12 is on a very sound wicket.

If you're the kinda person who refuses to ride high on the suspension of disbelief curve, the you'll probably have a tough time having a ball watching this flick. But if you are someone who can sit back and go with the flow, be rest assured that this is one heckuva ride.

Can't wait for Ocean's 13 !!

Friday, December 10, 2004

Yo Yo - OR - How long is a day ?

Its 10:30 am now and I've just reached office...A new day ..A new start...Thank Heavens yesterday is finally over..Yeah, for me a day starts and ends with me leaving for office...So it naturally follows that some days are not as long as others...and yesterday was one of them...though I am sure those 22 hours felt almost like a week :-(

Since top management was away in Goa for their annual Strategy Planning Session, I'd decided to wake up late yesterday morning and take the 10 am shuttle. But then when man proposes, maid servants dispose. Was woken up at six am sharp and had to fight to stay awake as jhadu and pocha happened....(MOOD: annoyed) Flopped back into my bed only to be disturbed again by the stupid newspaper vendor who wanted to know if he could deliver TOI on Wednesdays (I only get The Hindu and ET door delivered while I buy TOI on Wednesdays as I leave for work) Under normal circumstances I would have appreciated his "attention to detail" and "customer responsiveness" but not at 6:50 when I was so tired...(MOOD: angry) Cursing my bad luck and wondering how the rest of the day would shape up, I switched on TV to catch up with the Champions League results of the last night. Real and Bayern were through and Man U had lost. The first good news of the day(MOOD: cheerful). Cut an apple for myself, made some tea and left for office all charged have a nice vela day at work. As expected, the mailbox was empty except for my usual subscription from NY Times, Hollywood info and the lot..(MOOD: happy)

11:30 and still no one interesting had signed into YM.. The ennui was slowly getting to me (MOOD: bored) and left with nothing better to do, decided I would blog... But for the life of me could not decide on what to blog. Then remembered about the F.R.I.E.N.D.S episode of the previous night and decided to write some crap on it. 20 minutes later I surveyed the post. A job well done. (MOOD: accomplished) Twas time for lunch. Signed into MSN and rounded up junta to meet at T8. Had a loooong looong lunch where we bitched and shared anecdotes and traded secrets - so reminscent of college days. (MOOD: nostalgic)

Returned to my seat to find no mails in my inbox.. Was heartbroken....Nobody cared...People were so mathlubi...(MOOD: aggravated) Closing my inbox and resolving not to open it till 4 pm, pondered on how to while away time. Decided to revisit my usual blog list to see if people had made any updates in the last few hours. No luck. Ambled down to the library to check my GMAIL account. This was a sure sign that I was really getting desperate coz only 3-4 people even knew that I had one. And I was pretty sure there would be no mail from them since these were mostly pals I was in very regular touch with. Suprise of all suprises. There was a mail and fantabulous news in it. I'm soon to become a Godfather (not the mafia kinds but the Godfather as in Godson kinds) - was on top of the world (MOOD: Ecstatic) Read some mags like Frontline, Sportstar, HBR, TIME and flipped through Deccan Herald, Indian Express and returned back to my seat an hour later.. 2 more hours to kill...Was suddenly starting to feel a little woozy.. It was very cold for a December afternoon and I got the sinking feeling I was running a temperature.. (MOOD: sick) Maybe I could use the next few hours to clean up my inbox and organise the folder structure in my desktop.

6 pm... Finally time to leave for home...Damn...Horrible traffic jam on Hosur Road.. Reached home pretty late at round quarter past 7...(MOOD: depressed) Ordered food in but realised I had lost my appetite thanks to the sickness. My palms were sweating, my feet were numb and the entire house was so chilly..It was only 8 but I didn't think I could wait till 10 to watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S and then go to bed.. Tried dozing off but jes cudn't sleep..By then I'd come to the conclusion that I'd never felt so horrible in my life.. Maybe I was dying..(MOOD: pensive) Sat down with pen and paper to write my last will and testament.. The obvious things were settled first...I bequeathed all my VCDs and most of my cassettes to G...The children's books, comics and paper back novels went to Abhishek my nephew...Serious fiction would be safe in the hands of FF and Non fiction was more 1across' cuppa tea so did the needful.. All my savings (wotever precious little I had), of course, went to Udhavum Karangal.. My clothes could go to Annai Ashram though I wasn't sure they'd kinda like my tastes..

SA NI DHA PA..Phone call...

Damn.. I hate my ring tone.. Actually i hate my mobile phone.. Correction: I hate all mobile phones..(MOOD: irate) It was one of my good friends from Chennai.. Sensing that I was very troubled (since my contribution to the first 3 mts of conversation was a series of OH, HMM, K) he probed as to what was bugging me. When he heard about my will, without bothering to offer some comfort or sympathy, he requested for my TT racquet...Talk about friends... (MOOD: gloomy) Another 10 minutes and the exercise of even dividing my fortune amongst friends & family seemed so cumbersome that I gave up.. Popped a few pills and lay down unsure whether I would live to see another sunrise..(MOOD: blank)

Zzzzz..Zzzzzz...My mobile buzzed on vibrator mode..I woke up startled..Goddddddddd...I'd survived... It was a miracle...(MOOD: relieved) Switched on the geyser, plugged the power cord of my music system on and played the Megh Malhar series...Pt Jasraj's mellifluous voice wafted through the entire house.. It was so soothing.. Opened the door and picked up the newspaper.. Flipped it straight to the Crossword page.. Not bad.. 7 right to show for my efforts in yesterday evening's bus ride....An improvement (MOOD: relaxed).. A quick bath and a shave...Ooops... It was getting late.. 7:35 already and if I didn't leave now I'd miss EC9A and my buswaali ... Run Jupe Run...

A new day.. A new start....

Thursday, December 09, 2004

I ramble on.... - OR - More on F.R.I.E.N.D.S

The Strand Festival is on at Dickenson road...Was there last Sunday evening browsing through the heaps and heaps of books, trying in vain to locate the Wisden Cricket Alamanac for 2003 and a certain coffee table book on Amitabh Bachchan...Didn't get both but cudn't resist from buying a trivia book on F.R.I.E.N.D.S (Now i can understand how Unplanned Expenditures are always on the rise in our Union Budget) Though originally intended as a B'day gift for a dear friend, curiosity has got the better of me and I've opened the gift-wrapping and started flipping through the quizzes dealing with the first few seasons... The foreword by Gunther is so chweet and the episode summary brings back so many memories that I'm hooked onto it for the past 3 days... On the downside, the book now looks so dog-eared that my pal is not gonna believe its a new one :-( Neway tis ok !!

Talking of F.R.I.E.N.D.S (u might think I'm mad but i insist on calling it so rather than jes FRIENDS) , chanced to see one of the early episodes in Season 2 y'day nite in Zee English - The one where Chandler's third nipple secret comes out. (check here for script) I've always been a die-hard Monica fan but there was something about Rachel in yesterday's episode - her vulnerability, her jealousy, her frustration in getting Ross to understand how she feels...Mebbe I should switch allegiance..And yeah, she does look mighty cute in Season 2 :-) By the way, before I forget, for fans of this popular sitcom who keep screaming that the show lost its fizz towards the last few seasons and should have ended somewhere in Season 5 or 6, watch Krishna Cottage on Vijay TV...Its our own desi version of Friends in Tamil and needless to say, its H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E.

Ending it with one of the more humorous incidents from Season 1 - dedicated to "The Guru" who doesn't want me to "wither away" :-p

Monica: What you guys don't understand is, for us, kissing is as important as any part of it.
Joey: Yeah, right!... Y'serious?
Phoebe: Oh, yeah!
Rachel: Everything you need to know is in that first kiss.
Monica: Absolutely.
Chandler: Yeah, I think for us, kissing is pretty much like an opening act, y'know? I mean it's like the stand-up comedian you have to sit through before Pink Floyd comes out.
Ross: Yeah, and-and it's not that we don't like the comedian, it's that-that... that's not why we bought the ticket.
Chandler: The problem is, though, after the concert's over, no matter how great the show was, you girls are always looking for the comedian again, y'know? I mean, we're in the car, we're fighting traffic... basically just trying to stay awake.
Rachel: Yeah, well, word of advice: Bring back the comedian. Otherwise next time you're gonna find yourself sitting at home, listening to that album alone.
Joey: [pause] ... Are we still talking about sex?


Current Mood: Chatty
Current song: Hum Tum (Instrumental)

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


For those of you who are unfamiliar with my distinctly unique style of reviewing movies that have been adapted from epics / classics, check my last one on TROY before you decide whether you wanna read further. (OK OK that was a shameless attempt at publicity for one of my old works but then hey, its my blog) Neway now that you have come this far, you might as well hear my verdict on ALEXANDER.

Imagine having a one-eyed drunk for a father, an incestuous sultry siren for a mother and a lot of fat, creepy snakes for your friends... What a rotten childhood it must have been to be constantly in the company of the aforementioned obnoxious characters...No wonder Alexander grows up wanting to run away from Greece and conquer the whole world - from Persia to India to Egypt..No wonder Alexander is happy when he is at war and gay in the company of his bosom buddy Hephaestion :-p

I am no great expert on Greek history but Alexander, according to Oliver Stone, was a dithering and weak leader - leaving aside the fact that this is highly disputable, what also works against the movie is the terrible casting - Colin Farrell with his cockney (or is it Irish) accent and total lack of screen presence is as wrong as a choice could get for the lead role.. Anjelina Jolie as Olympias. (Alexander's ma) would have done wonders for the movie if only she had shed that phony Russian accent (and her clothes) whilst Val Kilmer is ineffective as Philip (Alexanders pa). The camera is brooding and boring, the voice over by Anthony Hopkins playing Ptolemy is tiresome, the battle sequences aren't half as grand as Troy and in short, the movie is a painful 3 hr exercise.

Striktly avoidable !!

Monday, December 06, 2004

How Was I To Know?

I only followed my heart, the dart
of Cupid, that sparked a fire,
the flaming awakening of desire,
so long dead in this foundering
union, with Menelaus, my spouse,
who never could arouse
my love.

Not long before
I knew adoration,
the fascination of our nation,
of men who saw in me
a beauty I could never feel.
Inside, a wild Aphrodite
cried to live with passion,
to be real.

How was I to know
that I'd be captive -
mother, wife, compelled
to give, to live for others,
receiving wealth
from kings and princes,
but losing myself?

How was I to know that
yearning for life,
that touching my lips
to Paris's lips
would launch the ships,
would cause such burning,
death, loss, strife?
How was I to know
that if I fled, to soar
the sky, breathe Aphrodite's air,
and fly on Cupid's wings,
that men would die?

How was I to know
that I'd be wooed,
pursued, acclaimed,
then later booed?
That waking to Paris,
to mutual gain,
would bring such pain?

That what I lost
when I left Greece
would cost such a price,
would brand me a whore,
would cause such a war?
How was I to know?
How was I to know
that to surrender to caring
would render me victim
to years of despairing,
that to shun the ways
of Spartan wives
would mean that men
would lose their lives?

How was I to know
I would feel such shame,
receive such blame,
and forever regret
that I ever met
young Paris of Troy?

How was I to know?

Oh Damn - OR - The Story of my ankles

I know thats such a stupid title for a post but can't seem to help it.. Its not that I'm in a foul mood or something ..I am simply tired..My bones ache.. My feet hurt.. Even my fingers refuse to obey my orders...My whole body is in rebel mode..But I so desperately wanna finish this off before Monday blues sets in and work starts piling up :(

Saturday morning 7 am:
Wake up early to do a few push ups and pull ups..Mom can't believe the sight in front of her eyes but is silently relieved that her son is finally doing something on the weight-loss front..Of course she's got it wrong...I am trim and fit and don't need the regular exercise.. My 5 minute warm up session is for the cricket match I am to play in another half an hour..

Saturday morning 11:33 am:
Damn... Damn...We didn't lose, we were mauled..47 runs is an obscene margin of defeat in a 16 over match...Of course I think i gave a fair account of myself.. Top scored with 23 runs in 16 balls, took two catches and was +3 on the field...But why was i puffing and panting for even the second run ? I do hope my ankles are not seriously hurt...Ouchieee.. My left hand aalkatti viral is so swollen....Must also remember never again to play team sports...or maybe play only for winning teams ;-)

Saturday evening 4:55 pm:
FF wanted to go house hunting and since I've been thinking of investing in a house myself, thought I'd accompany her to get a feel of the real estate market in Bangalore. There were some really nice 2BHKs for sale @ Raheja and Prestige but I personally felt the broker was quoting too high .. 33-35 lacs is way beyond my budget though the fully furnished Prestige house seemed really fancy. After wasting a good part of an half and a half, my ankles couldn't take it anymore and we settled down to have kaapi at CCD. I lapped in all the TLC that came my way and FF was so concerned that she even got me a big box of Ferrero Rocher chocs ;-) I am feeling so guilty now...

Sunday morning 1:20 am
Jes back from the B'day party.. Whew....I am sure i have done serious damage to my ankles..Could not get a damn rick from Sony World and had to walk down a good 2 kms to home.. At this unearthly hour in the freezing cold..The party itself was okie dokie - Chinu was rockin', my bro was unintentionally funny especially in his attempts to impress the hottttttttttt Shumana (she laffs so much like Janice in F.R.I.E.N.D.S) and I was peacefully sipping away at the Mountain Dew listening to Luke's slot on MTV. More on the party elsewhere.

Sunday morning 10 am
Family says I am never at home. My school mates opine that I've been ignoring them for centuries. My UG pals have given up on me. My SP buddies accuse me of aloofness. The "women-in-my-life" accuse me of not spending quality time with them. Surely they all can't be right... Or are they ? If so, what do i do during weekends ? Determined to prove alteast some of them wrong, I decide to call up a long-forgotten pal and cajole him into a movie..After 10 minutes of heated phone conversation where i go on and on about why we should see Manmadhan at PVR, he tells me he's leaving for Sabarimala next week and he is a "saamy".. Wrong timing - the story of my life.

Sunday morning 12 noon
Vladimir Putin is in Bangalore and the traffic in the roads is chaotic. I wait outside PVR for my bro. How nice of him to give up an Australia vs New Zealand match on TV to be with me and watch an English movie...We reach Symphony 5 minutes late, pick up tickets to see Vanity Fair and enter the hall to see a total of 30 ppl inside..I thought it was a pretty decent movie considering i didn't particularly like Monsoon Wedding. British stories always hold a special place in my heart and though purists claim the movie is a let down compared to Thackeray's original novel, I am quite inclined to overlook this criticism... Special mention must be made of Jonathan Rhys-Meyers who looks dashing as the callow George Osborne, the delightful Eileen Atkins playing the tongue-in-cheek Aunt Matilda and of course my favorite Rhy Ifans as the man-in-waiting Captain Dobbins. (Bro, remember he GOT the gal in the end..whihc makes the wait well worth it)

Sunday evening 6:16 pm:
A delectable movie, some casual book shopping, a really serious discussion over Cold Sparkle and Paneer Samosa on how not to "wither away" in life, a nice bike ride....A magical evening to sum up except for that recurring pain in my ankles.. Bro, we should do this more often...

Sunday evening 6:46 pm
Beep Beep.. SMS says "Popcorn + Sweets from Mishti + Nice CD + Sweet friend -> Rush home"...Women and the way they message... sigh....

Sunday evening 9:16 pm
STOP ! Now, why on earth did this movie not run ? I am not even sure if it had promos running on TV pre-release...Nice and simple story about 4 friends who are housemates and the problems in their life and how they bail each other out during times of crisis.. My kinda theme..Okie, mebbe it didn't have a huge star cast, mebbe the music was purely functional but what definitely worked was the honesty in the story telling..The situations were very identifiable, the bonding between the lead players seemed so natural.. goddamnit.. I loved this movie...And of course that cameo by India's finest actor Om Puri.. To be or not to be is the question...

Sunday evening 9:46 pm
"Ma, i am back"
"I am so tired.. My ankles hurt..."
"Ufffffffff... not again"

Friday, December 03, 2004


My song... or rather ..our song.. and "the lines" that say it best

* sigh *

Oh once in your life you find someone
Who will turn your world around
Bring you up when you're feeling down
Yeah nothing can change what you mean to me
There's a lot that I could say but just hold me now
Cause our love will light the way

And baby you're all that I want
When you're lying here in my arms
I'm finding it hard to believe
We're in Heaven

And love is all that I need
And I found it there in your heart
It isn't too hard to see
We're in Heaven

I've been waiting for so long
For something to arrive
For love to come along

Now our dreams are coming true
Through the good times and the bad
I'll be standing there by you