October 29, 2009

Harris Jayaraj - Haunting Melodies

Harris Jayaraj = Consistent Performer

The latest song that has possessed me is Vaaraaiyo Vaaraaiyo kaadhal kolla excellently rendered by Unnikrishnan & Chinmayee from Aadhavan.

Just reflecting back, it struck me that Harris has an almost enviable 100% track record in tamil films. Starting from Minnale - to the latest Aadhavan - his albums come under the 'most of the songs are really good'. Top of my mind blockbuster albums - Minnale, kaakha kaakha, chellame, anniyan, ghajini, vettaiyaadu vilayaadu, pachaikili muthucharam, unnale unnale, vaaranam aayiram, ayan. Even in a dud like bheema , mudhal mazhai was a block buster..may be satyam was one of his rare flops (even in that En Anbe was hummable)..May be the negatives will include a certain repetitive thread that runs along his songs.

I'm no expert in music..so from a layman perspective - I think his forte is simple - rhythmic - most importantly 'any body-can-sing-along' tunes - no complicated stuff.

October 23, 2009

Velachery's Uncle Mess

With Mami's mess cornering all the glory in the food world, can Uncle's mess be far behind? For long, Uncle's mess has been famous in velachery - catering to the ever burgeoning bachelor population. They were previously operating out of Dhaneshwaram and the current place is behind ICICI bank, Vijay Nagar bus terminus. We went around 12. 45 p.m, there were few people around. But by 1 pm, the mess became very crowded. Guess.. North Indian culinary has an the upper hand. Soft chappathis with two very tasty subjis, sambar vada, poriyal, mor kozhambu, rasam, curd completed the simple menu. I would have preferred a sambar, extra poriyal/kootu. Anyways, the food had the home-made feel and a certain freshness associated with it. Overall Rs.45/- well spent. The 'Uncle' sits with the curd cups and appalams. He seems to be very shrewd, he could spot me as a new customer and in the course of our meal, he kind-a of urged me to come in the evening to taste aloo paratha (which uncle's mess is famous for).

October 20, 2009


Couldn't resist from posting - From Luckylookonline.com-CM's State Film Award for Uliyin Osai.. The debate has slowed down because of another award - Obama's nobel peace prize.

October 12, 2009

Kalapirar - Tamil History

களப்பிரர் - Kalabhras come into Tamil history around 3rd century. They ruled over the tamil heartland for over three centuries. Later from the 7th century onwards, we get to see the dominance of Pallavas, Pandyas and cholas. Unfortunately, there is very little "popular" historic details about this clan. Very easily the historians have skipped three hundred years and termed it as an interregnum - இருண்ட காலம். The joke is, the most famous tamil literature - Thirukural is from this period. Other classics are Naaladiyar, Inna Narpathu, Iniyavai Narpathu..and many such works..so much for being இருண்ட காலம்!

Jeyamohan, in one of his recent blogs - களப்பிரர் has undermined the importance of researching about this period and why the three hundred years of history has been showcased as a virtual black hole. Interesting read for history enthusiasts.

October 07, 2009

Velachery's Chocolate Room

Chocolate is Good for you!
The above said board welcomes you to the newly opened The Chocolate Room at velachery[100 feet road - opp to spencers/foodworld]

Yummy! For all those choco addicts and for those not so fond of chocolates too, The Chocolate Room offers quite a handful. Very impressive decor. The menu itself was interesting, the detailed history behind the breads, drinks etc was neatly laid out. We tried out assorted stuff like Greek Salad (dressing was great ++, too much onions --ve), vegetable stuffings [all had fancy names], Hot chocolate with pancake, chocolate with icecream, mocktail..everything was simply great. Diet flew out of the window and we ransacked the entire 'room'.

A welcome addition to the ever widening foodline in velachery.

October 05, 2009

Cholas & Deepankudi

Deepankudi is a little hamlet in Thiruvarur dist, Tamilnadu. A new inscription belonging to the later cholas, 11th century has been found there.

The inscription belonging to the period of Rajendra II, is found in a pillar of six ft height in the temple premises which is under renovation. Inscription is engraved in all the four sides of the pillar. It starts with the praising of the King. It registers about donations offered to the presiding deity, Kailasanatha of Siva temple by Arulmozhinangai, sister of Rajendra II and the daughter of Rajendra I. On her behalf, it was inscribed by Aramabanandi, a Jain who belonged to Deepankudi temple. The inscription also records about the donations for offering rice, vegetables and curd rice daily for the presiding deity. The Jain temple of Deepankudi is in worship now.

An inscription found in Sttambur near Chenji in Tamil Nadu speaks about a Jain known as Aramanandi.

Way back in 2005, similar pillars with inscriptions have been found.

Well, another titbit - Deepankudi is the place where Jayamkondar, the author of "Kalingathu Parani" - a massive collection of war poems, was born.

October 03, 2009

Dan Brown - The Lost Symbol

Announcing a competition in this blog... How many times would have Dan Brown used the words- Mystery, Secret in his latest thriller novel - The Lost Symbol.... Dan Brown has definitely got a knack to narrate a simple sequence in a loaded mystic manner.
Immediate thoughts after finishing the novel [not going to reveal anything abt the plot]
  • Nice hard bound book - sleek looking . Comfortable font
  • The story is within the 24 hrs limit. Same pattern of events
  • Dan Brown tries hard to fit in the GenX - iPhone, Twitter...Hmm..
  • Robert Langdon looks almost like an atheist - questioning every possible theory proposed. But guess Dan Brown has become more religious - 'scientifically' accepting faith healing was the limit.
  • Langdon actually solves very little of the mystery.. Less action..He actually admits that he did nothing much.
  • Other characters tutor Langdon on the next course of action, he is almost like the vodafone puppy.
  • Masons - would be the next wikipedia search that everybody would do after reading Lost symbol
  • The villain is powerful, pitiable and likeable (!)
  • Dan Brown has read abt India & Hindus, so touches upon Hindu mythology - U might smile knowingly when u read the references to Krishna, Bhagavad Gita, Ganesh, Vedas, Bindhi in the forehead and Kubera Kolam of all things!!!!!!.
  • Dan Brown is painting a bigger canvas - u can see the movie in the making
  • EQ is very low
  • The mystery is gripping...I had every mind to turn to the penultimate chapter to know how the events met its logical end
  • I had figured out the villain's identity earlier itself, so was more interested in knowing how he would steer the story.
  • Science and Religion make a heady potent mix
  • The 'truth' is very simple
  • Washington DC would get another tour - the lost symbol route
  • Somehow, the destination is very subdued when compared to the thrilling journey - I felt the same in Da Vinci Code too...the climax is a downer.
  • The joke was not on 'myth' but on 'science' - Faith healing, power of mind to move physical bodies, collective mind power and the likes. Experiments are conducted to analyse the human soul..fine..but the eurekha moment is when the human soul is weighed. YUCK....[I couldn't resist this plot stuff]
  • All in all, not an earth shattering book. But nevertheless, an interesting read.

October 01, 2009

Goonj - Old Clothes have Diginity

Over the past two weeks, I came across 'Goonj' through various links. [Unfortunately, I think, their website was under virus attack, but now seems to have recovered]
Goonj is an NGO which channels our old clothes to the poorest of the poor in remote villages across India. Its easy to type this sentence, but the logistics behind this effort is mind blowing. GoodNewsIndia has a very insightful writeup on Anshu, Meenakshi and Goonj
Till three years ago, the collection used to arrive in Gupta's small house, where volunteers and paid staff processed the clothes. [Goonj has a separate office and work place now]. Intimate wear is rejected. Torn clothes are set aside for conversion into usable products. Good but dirty clothes are removed for washing. Then, requisitions from organisations are taken up. These contain requirement by gender, age and size. These are selected and packed in used sacks. Sacks are numbered and the numbers recorded in a database. And finally they are on their way to close to 200 destinations around the country. No cloth is ever wasted. They are converted to school bags, tote bags, quilts, and mats. A great quantity is converted into narrow tapes to be used as drawstrings for petticoats. The ultimate, unusable waste is chopped up and stuffed into pillows and quilts. Perhaps, the most poignant of all products that Goonj makes are sanitary napkins of its own design.
Now, you know whom to call for giving away your old clothes. There might be pride in giving, but we should not forget that there is dignity in receiving too.