August 31, 2007


Last evening, was at Music Academy for a Jugalbandhi concert by Bombay Jayashree and Subha Mudgal. What an evening!

Bombay Jayashree's strong carnatic notes seamlessly blended with the smooth hindustani flow of Subha Mudgal. Was cut off from the Mad Mad world outside for over 2 hours. Music just has be experienced!

August 30, 2007

Joke-O-Joke - 3

"Caste based politics is wrong and caste only creates divisions amongst people. It should never be part of politics," says SarathKumar, the actor politician from Tamilnadu.

Joke-O-Joke 1

Joke-O-Joke 2

August 27, 2007

Madras Musings & Murders

"Two Famous Murders" is hardly a topic you would associate with Madras Day Celebrations. As part of lecture series to celebrate the spirit of Madras/chennai - Randor Guy (a renowned writer, journalist, lawyer, historian...) gave a very eloquent talk in Taj, on the two most famous murders that rocked Madras. My Grandfather used to entertain us with the stories of his time and this time, I wanted to hear it from a more analytical source too.

1944 - M.K.Thyagaraja Bhagavathar - the original super star, a distinguished musician & N.S.Krishnan, now popularly known as Kalaivaanar were arrested for having conspired to murder one Lakshmikanthan, that guy who wrote gossip columns about all famous people (Randor Guy noted that most of them were true!) and incurred wrath from many high places. But the arrest sent shock waves among people.

Just a pointer to MKT's popularity - He stayed in Tirchy and he travelled by train to chennai for his singing & acting assignments. People used to gather at the stations and clap with utmost glee when the first class apartment passed by!! His movie- Haridas (which had the famous - "Manmadha leelai-ai vendrar undo" had seen three deepavali's continuously!!).

But the irony of the case was, MKT & NSK were wrongly implicated and were released from prison after two years (they had to move to the apex court that was in London - mind you this was before the independence). By then, Everything was Lost. MKT used to say "Yennai pol vaazhdhavanum kidaiyaadhu ..yennai pol thaazhdhavanum kidaiyaadhu!"

Worst, the mystery is yet to be untangled. Randor Guy had wanted to write a series abt this in Anandha Vikatan but he was threatened to stop it.

The other case was Alavandhar Kolai vazhakku. That man was murdered for an illicit affair. There was some high funda detective work from Madras police and they solved the case successfully. This case was also made as a serial in DD (infact the first ever tamil serial). It had created quite an interest among the public.

Randor guy simply amazed me with his memory, he could just reel off names, dates, street names and all the trivia associated, effortlessly. Last year, had gone to his lecture on Old Madras in Movies - Good Fun!

August 20, 2007

Early Imprints of Madras

Well..its that time of the year again - Madras Day celebrations have begun. Yesterday, had the chance to listen to Mr. G. Sundar, director, Roja Muthiah Research Library. He gave a presentation on -Early Imprints of Madras. Missed the first half..was in time to catch the booklets that were published during the late 1800s & early 1900s. Few interesting ones - song book on the toddy shops, song book describing the architecture of Madras Highcourt, etc., Then he moved on to magazines & newspapers. JaganMohini was the first magazine to be run by a lady - Mrs. Kodhai Naayakai ammal. Saw glimpses of SwadesaMithran (was started by G. Subramaniya Aiyar in 1882 who interestingly is the Founder-Editor of The Hindu). Towards the end we saw the early copies of Kalki, AnandaVikatan, etc.,

Overall, a good presentation. It would be really nice, if the organizers could upload such presentations for the benefit of people who couldn't make it.

August 18, 2007


"The Left should bite instead of barking" - Senior BJP leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra

TamilNadu Engg Colleges - A Royal Mess

If there is anything that is more messy than the marriage - honeymoon - divorce - focus shift statements from the Left, then it has to be the way Engg eduction happens in Tamil Nadu.

First, the supply is more than the demand and the quality suffers in that proportion. If you have got the minimum qualification (45%?) to apply for engg education, you are sure to get a seat. Then the confusion starts as to whether entrance exam needs to be held or not?, What happens to improvement students?, what happens to the various quotas?, etc., All these are cleared only after umpteen court cases. Then, you are all set to attend the counselling. [if there is one system that works properly, then it is the counselling - admission system]. After numerous suggestions on what course to take or what college to join - the student & the parents decide on it during the counselling.

The problems don't end there. The fees structure is so customizable [to the benefit of the college mgmt] that all software products would love to have that logic in their webclient. You see one amount in the paper, you pay another. No questions asked - the well-oiled machinery just runs..

The gullible student enters the college [ after a 15km journey - which was earlier promised as very near to the Main Road junction] to see eternally under- construction buildings. Most of the colleges don't have the required infrastructure - be it the classrooms, labs, computers, teachers [ most of them fresh recruits - would have finished engg a year or two before - didn't get a good job], library, hostel facilities [ the less said - the better]. The city colleges fare a shade better in this regard.

The syllabus & exams don't expect you to work hard on becoming a creative, thoughtful, innovative engineer. So, getting a pass is guaranteed if you can get hold of a good guide, old question paper booklets - sometimes the actual question paper too [ My batch had to rewrite three exams when it was found that question papers had leaked].

Last year there was a commotion on Deemed University status - the degree might just have become a paper. But there is no dearth of admission to the same, this year. The future is safe as long as the software companies are hell bent on increasing their head count.

This year, the commotion is about the raids on Engg colleges who are collecting more than the required fees. The raids have a political colour too (the engg. colleges are very good revenue generators for erst-while politicians). The latest - The TamilNadu government has recommended to the All India Council For Technical Education to close 34 engineering colleges.

Now, What happens to the students???

August 16, 2007

Independence day special - Roja

Million Dollar Question:
When will the TV channels stop telecasting the movie Roja as Independence day special??????

Roja was actually much better than the other movies / programmes that were telecasted on Independence day.

August 14, 2007

America's Fallen Homes

Much has been written about the American Real Estate crisis. But this one - Insider Trading at American Home? - Business Week brings out another prespective.
The shares of one of the biggest mortgage lenders in US -American Home Mortgage Investment had slipped from a high of $36.40 last December to $10.47 by late July as the housing crisis deepened. On July 31, things got decidedly worse. After the Melville (N.Y.) company announced that it would delay its dividend amid growing cash woes, panicked investors fled, sending the shares tumbling $1.04 by the end of the day. Six days later, American Home Mortgage filed for bankruptcy.
On Aug. 1, with the stock trading at $1.17, CEO Michael Strauss sold 2.97 million shares worth $3.5 million, according to filings with the Securities & Exchange Commission.
Another Enron in the making?

August 07, 2007

Click! Click!

Photography-in-tamil has announced a portrait photo contest.
My shot at it!!
Two entries..

My other fav

August 06, 2007

Pathetic School education

Was quite shocked to see the headlines - There isn't a single student in 32000 (3%) schools in India [Karnataka has the dubious distinction of being the highest-almost 8,000 schools]. The report was aired on NDTV. [This is according to Elementary Education in India 2005-06, a report prepared by the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA]

Did a quick followup on the NDTV report. Good things first
1. Surveys like this do happen in India. [whether action would be taken or not is a different matter!]
2. U actually get to read the entire report on the net.
3. There is a site, that houses many such reports.

The Analytical report was based on parameters such as Schools with blackboard, Availability of drinking water facility, Toilet facility, Playgrounds etc., There are other parameters like boundary wall, Book-bank, Residential schools etc., which I thought were very superficial.

It was really heartening to note that Tamilnadu was doing very good in most of the parameters. And the unfortunate part - as expected the North Eastern states are the laggards in all the parameters. Ughh..speak abt inclusive growth!

Raj Patel Debuts in Archies

Archie Comics has also succumbed to the great Indian Saga! They have introduced a new Indian character Raj Patel in "Out-Raj-ous Behavior” featured in Tales From Riverdale Digest #21.

Some Harry Potter connections?? Parvathi Patel - Padma Patel!!

August 03, 2007

Human Nature - Freakonomics clone

Ten Politically Incorrect Truths About Human Nature
Men like blond bombshells (and women want to look like them)
Humans are naturally polygamous
Most women benefit from polygyny, while most men benefit from monogamy
Having sons reduces the likelihood of divorce
Beautiful people have more daughters

and five other such things..
Few are reasonable, Few are down right silly..Anyway makes an interesting read!