December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

Wishes to all of U!!

Have a great 2008 filled with loads of fun ;-))

May ur life have the smile of the roses and be as fresh as the dew drops

Sudha Raghunathan Concert

Last evening, had been to Sudha Raghunathan Kutcheri in Naradha Gana Sabha. One word description- Amazing! What vocal prowess she has!!..years of dedicated practice is clearly seen. Even though, I didn't know head or tail of carnatic music, I could enjoy the show. Kurai Ondrum Illai left a lasting impact on me.
As usual the canteen also did not disappoint ;-)) A sunday well spent!

December 26, 2007

Kurudhi Punal - Indira Parthasarathy

A powerful Tamil Novel. Kuruthi Punal is based on the dalit struggle against upper caste, culminating in a climax that depicts the burning of dalits in kezhvenmani, an obscure village in Thanjavur ( a tragic real incident).

I particularly liked the satire style. Politics & politicians are ripped apart even though they don't play a big part in the novel. It was panned by many for not highlighting the true nature of the struggle (In the novel - it paints personal vendetta as against social upheaval) The author, Indira Parthasarathy justifies that is a novel based on the incident & it does not have to follow the original. Whatever, only very few mainstream novels dare to take sides on a very tragic gruesome incident. Kudos for that.

Wiki link to the kezhvenmani massacre. Incidentally, yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the atrocity. From Hindu

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Kilvenmani atrocity, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) will open a training school for agricultural workers and a new memorial hall at the village.

On December 25, 1968, 44 Dalit agricultural workers, including women and some children, were burnt alive by local landlords and their hirelings in reprisal against the agitation led by the All India Kisan Sahba demanding higher wages

Must read!

December 19, 2007

Vijay TV's Hatrick

Vijay TV seems to have hit the jackpot. Three serials - Three different genres.
Kana Kaanum Kaalangal - a school based story
Madurai - rustic rural romantic story - many native characters
Kaadhalika neram illai - singapore based love story - 4 principal characters alone

I don't get to watch them regularly. But heard they have hit bigtime. It is a welcome change from the ever sobbing mega-serials filled with women centric themes. Whatever - the three title songs are damn good. Better than the trash belted out in movies now-a-days.

Stupid Article in Outlook

Chicken A La South - a huge blunder of an article in Outlook.

The point that this article makes is very a "profound discovery" - It says the traditional Idli-Sambar diet of 'South Indians /Tamilnadu' has changed to non-veg. Now more veg people are turning to non-veg.

Some 80 per cent of South Indians are non-vegetarian, as opposed to 44 per cent of North Indians, according to the Indian Food Intake Survey 2007, carried out by Protein Foods and Nutrition Development Association of India and market
research agency Pathfinders: India.

So whats the great deal here? For eons Tamilnadu has been traditionally Non-veg with a very small minority of the population only eating veg. What a discovery now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So would South Indians, who, apart from battling the generic label of 'madrasi' they are all put under, are also assumed by their brethren in the north to be strict herbivores getting by on platefuls of idli-dosa-sambar. In reality,though, vegetarianism is a preserve of the Brahmin, others in the South have always had a thriving meats-rich cuisine.

Who are they trying to sell this point to? It looks like as though you came across an alien species and you needed to write an article about their corrected food habits you presumed as otherwise.

The Nadar down the street may well say 'I told you so' to that. He has for long griped that "ever since Brahmins starting eating eggs, the prices have gone up".

Ha..Ha..Good Joke...I'm saying good becos some extremely good jokes are coming later.

Abitha Sathish Kumar, head of academics at the Indian Institute of Fashion Design in Chennai, thinks the only reason so many biriyani shops have proliferated in her neighbourhood, Triplicane, one of the traditionally Brahmin-dominated areas of Chennai, is because many Chennai Brahmins have turned non-vegetarian.

I'm not blaming Abitha, man..the author, editor incharge should have some great sense of humour to let this get printed. Triplicane is also a muslim dominated area. Any chennai-ite would know triplicane is the place where any non-IT bachelor would get a room - there are soooo many mansions to cater to their needs. No wonder you have biriyani shops..

I think I will end up quoting the entire article ;-))

..It just shows the mindset of people from elsewhere - Tamilnadu has been associated with veg eating people only while the absolute majority (see it is not even a 60% - 40% weightage - If I can be liberal - it would be 90%-10% weightage) has been ignored completely. It shows years of bias. Sometime earlier, even CNN IBN carried a report of how traditional chennai (read veg) is now changing to Non-veg! I guess these people just now woke up to the fact that Tamilnadu is different from what they thought it was. Talk about prejudice!!

December 13, 2007

Children vaccinations recalled

Toys were recalled..fine..
Nokia batteries were recalled...fine
Laptops were recalled..fine

Now, this is tooooo dangerous ...
"Merck and Co is recalling about a million doses of a childhood vaccine, after testing showed a sterilisation problem in a Pennsylvania factory....The company is not aware of any harm to children who received the vaccine, known as Hib, which prevents meningitis and pneumonia. The recall involves 10 lots of Hib vaccine and two lots of a combination vaccine for both Hib and Hepatitis B, a Merck spokeswoman said. She said the company did not find contamination in the vaccine itself, but in the plant where the vaccine is produced in West Point, Pennsylvania.Merck is one of the few drug makers that produces a significant number of vaccines."

More info here

Already the role of vaccination is being questioned in perpetuating autism. Vaccines are something we blindly trust & take it seriously. Hope this incident is a one time happening and never reoccurs!

December 11, 2007

Remix Songs

The latest trend in Tamil Filmdom is to remix old popular songs. But only very few click. Take the case of the songs that were released recently.

Ye Aatha Aaathorom-a: [Malaikottai] is strictly OK.

Engaiyum Eppothum: [Polladhavan] is below average for the simple reason, the original is still a big hit. It is not a joke to tamper with a cult classic.

Ponmagal vandhal: [Aghaghiya Tamil Magan] is easy on the ears. They have stuck to the original tune for the best part of the song with some rap interludes thrown here & there. Foot Tapping number. Watch Vijay imitating Sivaji in a black & white scene. Cool.

My Name is Billa: [Bila 2007] Disaster. I could just hear the sound only. Infact the entire Billa album lacks soul. Except for seval kodi, I didn't like any of the songs. Hope atleast the picturization of the songs save the day.

December 04, 2007

Vapi? Sukinda?

Rings a bell? Nope!

Well, these two places are very much in India. Their claim to limelight? - they find their way into the World's 10 most polluted places list collated by Forbes magazine.

Admist enjoying the cosy comforts of AC, cushioned chair, steaming hot coffee, AR Rahman song in the headphone, it was quite a jolt to read the article..
"In some towns, life expectancy approaches medieval rates, and birth defects are the norm, not the exception," Forbes says, quoting the Blacksmith Institute, based on a study this fall. "In others, children's asthma rates are measured above 90 per cent and mental retardation is endemic," said the study, done by researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in New Delhi, among others.

"Sukinda is home to 97 per cent of India's chromite ore deposits and one of the largest open-cast chromite ore mines in the world," says the magazine. "Seventy per cent of the area's surface water and 60 per cent of the drinking water contain covalent chromium at more than double national and international standards," it adds. While the main types of pollutants are covalent chromium and other metals, the potentially affected people number 2.6 million.

Vapi, on the other hand, has pollutants because of the production of dyes, petrochemicals, pesticides, pharma, textiles, fertilizers, leather products, paint, chlor-alkali and mercury, Forbes says. "Vapi's groundwater is reported to be polluted 96 times higher than the World Health Organization's health standards ," says Forbes.

"In addition, local produce can contain up to 60 times more heavy metals - copper, chromium, cadmium, zinc, nickel, lead, iron - than non-contaminated produce in control groups."

Gosh! We seem to be separated by lightyears of development ;-(

New Arrivals - Departures


December 03, 2007

Divorce - Global Warming?

Hmm..there seems to be some connection!!

Increasing number of divorces are contributing to global warming, says a new study that suggests people should save their marriages to save the environment. After divorce a woman moves out and forms a new household, the study by researchers at the Michigan State University found that this leads to less efficient use of natural resources, more demand for land for housing, and higher expenditure on utilities, reported the online edition of News Australia.

They found that households where couples divorced registered a 61 per cent increase in the number of rooms per person, compared with a six per cent increase in households where couples remained married. Due to higher consumption per person, an individual in a divorced household might also generate more waste. These factors contribute to global environmental changes such as climate change and biodiversity loss, the study said.

November 28, 2007

Saree for just 40 Lakhs

I am not sure if it would be wearable - with all the diamonds, rubies.. Chennai Silks has come out with this - most expensive saree in the world. The toughest battle in chennai right now is being fought in T.Nagar. All the big names in the field - RMKv, Kumaran Silks, Pothys, Chennai Silks have to come out with something innovative to make the right noise. RMKv introduced the story - in - pallu concept, longest saree, embossed silk etc. All of them are out to capture the mind share of the very finicky saree customer. Here, people spend more than 20K for a saree that could be worn only once - for their wedding alone. I wonder how you could spend soooo much for a stuff that has no repeat value!!

November 27, 2007

Tracing the Chola's Sea Route

Cheers! Finally some attempt to revive the glorious past ;-))

INS Tarangini, India's only Sail Training Ship, will embark on a three-month journey in January next to re-create the voyage of seventh century Chola kings to South East Asia. More

November 26, 2007

Mehendi - torch bearer for secularism!

Jyotsna Kamat brings us an insight into the custom of Mehendi - Henna
Indian Muslims have the same sacred feeling towards Mehendi as Hindus have towards Kumkum and turmeric. During exchange of gifts between bride and bride groom's families, Henna box has special place. Even the bridegroom gets affectionate application of Mehendi from his close relatives. Mehendi indicates love, sanctity and auspiciousness.

But the fact that it has entered the conservative south India is a new experience. Popularity of Hindi Cinema and Hindi Serials has contributed a good deal for wide spread use of Mehendi. It appears in all wedding scenes with exquisite designs.

November 21, 2007

Chennai's moral policing

The Clandestine Lovers’ Guide to Chennai - rocking blog
The real irony is that the puritanical maamas and maamis of yore are slowly getting used to the fact that there exists this sane middle ground between the extremes of Satyabhama University boy-girl rules on the one hand and teenage pregnancies on the other. But with almost every engineering college doing practically everything short of neutering male students before admission, Chennai is entering this new weird era where young boys have no clue how to talk to a girl, let alone ask her out.

November 12, 2007

Supreme Court & Holidays

Came across this news: As per the Supreme Court's calendar for 2007, out of the 365 days a year, the Supreme Court has only 176 working days. The remaining 189 days - more than half the year - are holidays. They include roughly 104 Saturdays and Sundays, nearly two-and-a-half months of summer vacation, a fortnight of winter vacation besides several other offs, ranging from a day to a week.

ChakeDe India!

November 09, 2007

Saawariya - Iyarkai

Saawariya is finally out..What a hype..! but poor Bhansali seems to have lost it this time..But something that struck me was the story line. Our very own Tamil Movie Iyarkai, (what an irony! - Saawariya is pounded for being super-artificial - whereas Iyarkai means Natural) released 4 years ago also had a similar plot line. Bhansali says Saawariya is adapted from White Nights, a short story. The heroine is the girl in waiting, a certain good-looking Mr.Helpful lands on her doors, promises to help her reach her lover- falls in love in the process but just when the heroine decides to be prudent & thinks that 'the bird' in hand is worth 'two' ( lost bird) in the bush, the original lover returns & Mr.Helpful is left behind to play martyr.
But whatever, I liked Sonam & Ranbir ;-)

November 06, 2007

J. Krishnamurti

Nice Quote!
"A school is a place where one learns both the importance of knowledge and its irrelevance"

November 01, 2007

Bizarre Insurance Claims

Times Online lists 25 bizarre insurance claims.. have a dekho!
A holidaymaker who arrived in a ski resort only to find that there was not enough snow, claimed for the cost of the brand new skis she had bought before leaving the UK. Unsurprisingly, the insurer rejected her claim.

A traveller who lost his bag on holiday claimed only for its contents: a bottle of water, a newspaper and a packet of mints. With an excess on his insurance policy of £50, his claim was rejected.
Meanwhile Direct Line received a claim for two lost coconuts from a couple who returned home from a holiday in Mauritius. As a coconut costs just 69p (from your local Tesco), the claim was rejected. The couple’s excess on their policy meant they would have paid for the first £50 of the cost of any claim.
Finally, according to one long-serving insurance underwriter, there have been more Rolex Oyster watches, worth upwards of £1,000, recorded as lost in the Costa Del Sol in the Spain than have ever been manufactured.

October 30, 2007

Letters to a Soul mate is one site that never ceases to surprise me. Info abt how they could manage to build such a website is equally impressive.
The long-distance family life of Kamats meant frequent letter writing among them and decades later, these carefully preserved letters formed the basis of the Timeless Theater Archive. Much of the Kamat's Potpourri website's content is culled from these letters.

Some selected letters written by Krishnanand to wife Jyotsna were first published in Kannada (the original language the letters are written), as Letters to a Soul mate (Preyasige Patragalu - cover) and were very well received.
Jyotsna Kamat in her foreword to the book writes
There is no shortage of writers and poets who have glorified and immortalized love. However, there are but a few, who decades after decade have found a lover in a wife to write letters on a daily basis. I hope that readers will enjoy reading them at least a fraction of as much as I have, because you will discover a true passion for life in them.
Man..they sure had a rocking life!

October 29, 2007

Karwa Chauth

My first brush with Karwa Chauth came with DDLJ. Then on, almost every mushy-mushy hindi movie had a karwa chauth just got grander with every movie...
Rediff educates me saying that Wives observe a 24-hour long fast for the long life and wellbeing of their husbands.
Once the moon-worshipping is done, the wives look at the moon through a sieve and then immediately turn to look at their husbands -- it is said that a woman should look at no-one but her husband straight after she has seen the moon through the sieve.
After the moon-worshipping, women receive their first bite of food from their husbands. The fast begins the night before in the presence of both the moon and the husband and ends only after the woman sees her husband and the moon together the following evening. touching!!...Wonder whats the equivalent fast for the husbands?

October 25, 2007


"If these people feel so threatened they should not come out in public places."

CNN-IBN - This comes in the order abt security for politicians - the Delhi High Court observed that politicians were not a "national asset" that should be protected.

Wonder what Madras High court will say in Jaya's security case???

Mafia - Biggest Business

Organised crime is Italy's biggest "business". Extortion, loan-sharking, drugs and prostitution have a total annual turnover of $140 billion , a report reveals. This is seven per cent of the country's economy and makes it almost twice the size of Italy's corporate giant Fiat.

More from Herald Sun

October 24, 2007

Sticky Ad

Today's Hindu has a little yellow paper sticking out...they have introduced a new kind-of Ad - Sticker Ad. Definitely attention grabbing..wonder whats the cost?

CAT & Mouse Game

Finally the 'premier' most exam in India catches up with technology! There is a definite proposal to conduct CAT exams online & more good news.. you can take the test when you are ready...the exam is scheduled multiple times in an year.
ET - Your mouse could bell the CAT

Name Change

We can expect more from Paghutharivu Paasarai (would roughly translate to rationalist group)..esp after the saibaba-ring episode at Karunanidhi's house.

An article in Kumudam reporter exposes the so- called followers of periyar - Paeyarai maatriya periyar seedarkal. Central MinisterT.R. Balu has now become T.R.Baalu and State Minister Arcot. Veerasamy has become Veeraswamy. Name change for numerological belief!

Story from IdlyVadai

Data is god, Google is pujari ;-)

From Business Week
Google will pay Nielsen an undisclosed amount to obtain detailed information about the kinds of people who watch specific TV shows.

Google's access to the information is significant because it gives the Mountain View-based company more tools to draw upon as it tries to target television ads as effectively as it has done on the Internet

Since May, Google has been delivering television ads for about 14 million subscribers to EchoStar Communication Corp.'s Dish network and Astound Broadband cable service.The set-top boxes used by EchoStar and Astound enabled Google to track when commercials were watched and for how long. By drawing on Nielsen's data, Google will now have information on what kinds of viewers are watching the commercial.

"This was a missing piece of puzzle for us," said Keval Desai, Google's director of product management for TV ads.

October 22, 2007

ChakDe India

A very nice movie. It had almost everything you would root plays on the underdog syndrome beautifully. You have to give it to the director, Shimit Amin for having the guts to take a Sports movie..that too a Hockey movie & that too women's hockey movie devoid of all heroism, romance, glamour, item songs, punch dialogues (the dialogues had the necessary punch..u get the difference ) The only ace he had was the towering presence of Sharukh Khan in an image-breaking role as Kabir Khan..a sincere & power packed performance.

The girls who portrayed the hockey team are all new comers..they have done a commendable fav. being the punjabi bully- balbir kaur. The movie has its share of cliché a cricketer fiancé who gives a damn to hockey, eve-teasers getting their due from the girls, a men vs. women hockey match to decide on the sponsors, sharukh signaling the goal keeper to defend straight in the all important final penalty goal..etc. But as long as I like seeing whats happening on the screen, there are no complaints. It was almost like watching a nail biting hockey match live. (technically superlative film too)

Language is not a barrier to enjoy this movie. Go ahead ..give it a shot!

October 17, 2007

TN Buildings

The Tamil Nadu government has introduced a Bill to protect the owners of buildings in the city who had violated building rules and regulations from enforcement action for one more year.
What happens after one year?

October 15, 2007

Sensex Soars

Its deepavali damaka at the markets. Today, it has crossed the 19K levels - a record highest. Majors boosters are Reliance Energy, ONGC, Tata Steel. With just 4 trading sessions, the sensex has zoomed from 18k to 19k. (fastest 1000 points!). FIIs have clearly pumped in massive amounts of money. But a sense of caution is advised for retail investors - the heights are quite dizzy. To join the game, just have to wait for the next big fall to buy fundamentally strong stocks or take the MF route.

October 11, 2007

what's in the hand bag?

I get really pissed off, if anyone dares to touch my handbag..Imagine a book being written about the contents inside the handbag..Wonder what the Queen would be thinking??

EconomicTimes: "Since she doesn't need to carry cash, cheques, credit cards or car keys, royal watchers have for decades been intrigued about just what Queen Elizabeth II carries in the sizable bags that she is rarely seen without. As it turns out - a lot."

If you want to know - go ahead & buy the book - 'What's In The Queen's Handbag: And Other Royal Secrets' authored by Phil Dampier and Ashley Walton will be published on October 15 in the UK.

October 10, 2007

i-pill - Emergency Contraceptive Pill Ads

i-pill - Cipla's emergency contraceptive morning pill Ads are quite eye-catchy..Kudos to the graphics team that's behind the swrils & twirls of the i-pill logo. It would have been very easy to make a crass ad with this concept but hats off to the content contributors..they chose quite a subtle way to bring the message across - three kinds of ads run - show people from different age groups. Cool execution.. High production value!

You can get to see the ads here. [to have the print ads & TV ads in ur website is another thoughtful idea!]
The glitch is.. the ad doesn't emphasize it as a single usage drug (only for emergency) and it is not an alternative to the regular contraception pills.

The print ad was in news earlier when the Director Of Drugs Control sent a notice to Ananda Vikatan, a popular tamil weekly for having an i-pill ad in their magazine. It seems the the Drugs and Magical Remedies Act of 1954 states that drugs which cause contraception in women must not be advertised. But Cipla says they have not violated any law. The moral angle is highly irritating - N Selvaraju,Director Of Drugs Control says "The advertising of this drug will mean that women will think 'I can do anything and there's an easy way not to get pregnant'. We can't allow such an attitude. We are not against women's rights, but this is a moral concern." WTF! More in this CNN-IBN report.

October 09, 2007

Blore - the week before

Had back to back holidays for two weeks - had been to Bangalore & then to Kodaikanal.

Missed all the political drama over the Bandh / Fast in chennai...but karnataka politics kept me entertained ;-)

Some snaps from Blore (my SIL's garden) the roses bloom to size of a cabbage!

September 28, 2007

Ice Rain in Chennai

At around 3 PM yesterday, got an excited call from my Mom. She gave a live commentary abt Ice rain in royapettah, chennai - a never seen before phenomenon. Harsh sunlight was all that I got when I opened the blinds at my office in velachery. Missed the cool happening. But wonder whatz the cause? Nature just showing off its power?

September 25, 2007


That was one hell of a match yesterday! A treat to cricket lovers..

BTW, ESPN has just added a cool 200 crore to its kitty. The Ad spots for India-Pakistan final Twenty20 match was at an all-time high of Rs 7.5-10 lakh per 10 seconds - a record highest for Indian TV. They will sure try to maximise their profit, afterall they had bidded $1.1-billion and won the ICC rights for the next eight years. Big Business!!

EconomicTimes reports the numbers.


That was one hell of a match yesterday! A treat to cricket lovers..

BTW, ESPN has just added a cool 200 crore to its kitty. The Ad spots for India-Pakistan final Twenty20 match was at an all-time high of Rs 7.5-10 lakh per 10 seconds - a record highest for Indian TV. They will sure try to maximise their profit, afterall they had bidded $1.1-billion and won the ICC rights for the next eight years. Big Business!!

EconomicTimes reports the numbers.

September 21, 2007


Lets give a break to Ramar. has a very insighful writeup on Pillayar/Ganesha history in TamilNadu. Good Read!

September 17, 2007

Satham Podathey

Satham Podathey Tamil Movie: A Psycho crime thriller falls flat on its face. Thumbs down from my side..;-((
saving grace : Padmapriya, Nithin Satya

Caste Judgement

"The Supreme Court on Monday said schools in the country cannot compel students to disclose their caste status at the time of admission. Any such disclosure shall be optional, or in other words, it should be left to the discretion of the student to divulge his/her caste identity, a bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said."
Rediff Report
Hmm..But I can't remember the last time I filled a 'Religion' column in any form..So things are much better after growing up..I guess..

September 13, 2007

Government Backtracks

Union Law Minister Hans Raj Bhardwaj has said the government will withdraw the offending remarks from the Ram sethu affidavit and file a fresh one. Also added that Lord Ram cannot be made subject to a debate.

Just like I said in my previous blog - oh my god! yesterday.
"A round of applause..please.. to the brave souls who went ahead & spoke the truth. [popular votebank will defintely get angry over this..I'm sure the govt will now try to balance the theist & the pious lot! by issuing appeasing statements....]"

Long Live the Truth!!

September 12, 2007 god!

My eyes really popped out..reading this..

The central government today told the Supreme Court that there was no historical evidence to establish the existence of Lord Rama or the other characters in Ramayana.In an affidavit filed before the apex court, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) rejected the claim of the existence of the Ramsethu bridge in the area where the project was under construction.

All this is happening in a country which witnessed riots & killings after Ayodhya's Babri Masjid demolition in the name of rama's birthplace. This affidavit requires great amount of guts...I thought, they would just submit a report saying there is no man-made structure under the sea and be controversy free. But issuing a statement like this..A round of applause..please.. to the brave souls who went ahead spoke the truth. [popular votebank will defintely get angry over this..I'm sure the govt will now try to balance the theist & the pious lot! by issuing appeasing statements....]

This is really going to be debated like never before..Already the BJP has called it sheer blasphemy. "It's an insult to Hindu faith. We also wonder why Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi have been going for the Dussehra festival if their government does not believe in Lord Rama's existence,"

I'm starting to enjoy this ;-))

September 11, 2007

Sinagara Chennai - Toondoo


A never ending source of god-names: Try looking at the windshield of the vehicles in TamilNadu (not sure if this is the case across India)..It really amazes me that we have soooooo many gods looking after us! - popular ones would be popular gods - Murugan Thunai [murugan is my protector/supporter], there are these scores of local gods - they come with the location too..kottaipuram bhagavathi thunai , Senkaadu Ellaiamman thunai etc., ..As I said, the list is endless..

But today, it was a refreshing change to see a car that had 'En Thai Thunai' meaning - My Mother is my protector. Hope the gods don't get angry!!!!

September 06, 2007

Forbes Asia Fabulous 50

The list is out. India leads the tally with 12 companies. The usual suspects are there: Bharat Heavy Electricals, Bharti Airtel, Grasim Industries, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Infosys Technologies, Larsen & Toubro, Reliance Industries, Satyam Computer Services, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Steel and Wipro.

But what caught my eye was that Taiwan comes second with 10 compaines. That by itself speaks volumes of good work being done there. If such a small Asian country can pull its act together, India needs to go a long way. Economic times says "Most of the firms represented are from the island's low-profile tech industry and include Hon Hai Precision Industry, which churns out iPhones, PCs and PlayStations. "

September 03, 2007

General Alert?

"The Tamil Nadu government has been alerted by Central intelligence agencies about a possible terror strike in Chennai prompting authorities to beef up security in markets and all crowded places. "

OK..We understand.

Then comes a statement.."the Intelligence Bureau (IB) had issued a general alert not only for Chennai but for all states about 'certain designs by certain terrorist elements based abroad trying to do some kind of an action that they can take up in India."

Come..on...What does a 'General Alert' to 'all states' achieve in particular? You call this special intelligence?

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!

July 30, 2007

Five Point Someone

Finally caught up with the Five Point Someone. Cool book. No wonder it is a best seller for 3 years now. Hats off to chetan Bhagat. Now, I have set my sights on 'One night@ a call center'. Actually, feels nice to read contemporary Indian authors, there is a connect at some level. And surprise, the book is available for 95Rs only.

Buried Heritage

K.T. Gandhirajan, specialist in art history has been trying to trace the history of a beautiful Jain sculpture half buried in a small mound at Pasumpon village in Tamil Nadu’s Ramanathapuram district. [The Hindu]

An interesting aspect was that Muthuramalinga Thevar, Forward Bloc leader, used to lead the villagers in offering worship to the image on Tamil new year day in April every year. The sculpture used to be anointed with oil and bathed with water. The practice stopped after Thevar died in 1963.

Specialists in the study of Jainism and Buddhism including D. Ravikumar, Dalit Panthers of India legislator, and Mr. Gandhirajan said scores of sculptures of the Buddha, Adinatha and Mahavira were lying on fields in different parts of Tamil Nadu and they wanted the Government to protect them.

July 27, 2007

Poem Time

Priyan's Kavidhai


Would quite often criss cross TTK Road, Alwarpet. off late.. I was inquisitive about a good-looking store that had opened its doors next to Sankara Hall (near Naradha Gana Sabha). The Lladró store had a certain elite-ness to it, they offer some amazing Doll stuff (the ones on the display were simply breathtaking!). Was wondering how they manage to run a doll shop in a prime locality..

Landed on their website only to be floored by it's surprises. Lladró makes Porcelain sculptures. Very Simple. Today it sells its exquisite, handcrafted porcelain figurines in over 120 countries, and has become an internationally recognized luxury brand.

Brief look @ their origins

"In 1953 Juan, José and Vicente Lladró make their first creations inspired by an experimental vocation in a Moorish furnace built in their own home in Almàssera (Valencia), Spain. The brothers introduce innovations not only in the design and style of the figurines but also in the firing techniques, reducing the three-layer firing to a one-layer process. One-firing is an innovative method which creates the crystalline finish and the pastel tonalities typical of Lladró works. In 1967 work begins on building the City of Porcelain, an area which combines factory and office buildings with leisure and sport facilities for the workers. This innovative complex is opened on October 13, 1969. "

Their growth is simply amazing. The way they have traced their history in their website is also nice -

A 2003 article in Business Line says
"Prices in India start at Rs 3,000 and go on to Rs 16.5 lakh, but the items in the Rs 6,000-10,000 bracket are slowly replacing the traditional silver gifts. Pointing to a porcelain Ganesh encased at the entrance, O'Brien says that is an investor's item. One of the limited editions it put out a few years ago, it cost Rs 69,000 then, but now it's been sold back to Lladro as its price has appreciated to Rs 3 lakh. Lladro buys back limited edition pieces as they have the potential to appreciate and be sold over and over"

A 2005 article says
"The expected turnover in 2005 is expected to be driven by sales of the recently-introduced, India special limited edition of Radha & Krishna and the open edition of Kanhaiya and cow. The limited edition of Radha & Krishna has been priced at Rs 2,35,000 per piece.

Breathe Easy;-))

July 26, 2007

Lenovo cools @ Himachal Pradesh

Not everyday U hear about any major IT or for that matter any renowned company setting up its shop in Himachal Pradesh. Lenovo the global PC maker has announced its decision to open a new manufacturing plant in Baddi. (Hmm..not even Sikkim).

Cool Move!!

July 25, 2007

Spin doctors, Phrases, President

Endeavour, rate of economic growth, socially inclusive, threshold of a new era of progress [Wonder long we will be standing at the threshold itself?], weak and the disadvantaged, equal partners, beneficiaries of the development process, empowerment of women, banish malnutrition, social evils, infant mortality , female foeticide, full commitment to the protection of child rights, relentless campaign against poverty,ignorance and disease for a better future of the children,committed to the cause of education, would like to see every person to be touched by the light of modern education [Kavitha!..Kavitha!], science and technology, better governance, faster development, life of peace and security, stand united, fight against such divisive and destructive tendencies as communalism, casteism, extremism and terrorism..

Play with these phrases, rearrange them.. Voila! U have got a public speech ready for any occasion.
[the phrases were taken from Pratibha Patil's speech soon after taking oath as President]

Retirement Tantrums

Our current vice-president & soon to be former-vice-president Bhairon Singh Shekhawat apparently does not like the official Bungalow offered to him. The Union Urban Development Ministry is now scouting for a new Bungalow.

Vice-president post by itself is a dubakur post (I have strong reservations on continuing with President post itself!).Imagine sponsoring their living even after they have been ousted from that post. On top of this, these people have their own whims & fancies. How abt spending from their own pocket and getting a roof over their head like any other common man?

July 23, 2007

Pillar Stories

Visited an old Jain temple in Alagramam, near Tindivanam. The pillars at the temple were telling a story of their own..caught a few with my cam ;-))

** was surprised to see a commoner -the pious looking man with folded hands, among the statues - later came to know that he had given away lots as endowment to the temple.

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows

Appa!..Still reeling under the Harry Potter magic!!... Finished the seventh & final edition of Harry Potter series after a marathon reading session.

WOW! J.K.Rowling knows exactly how to capture her audience. Harry Potter survives - has a Tamil Masala Movie type ending. [Ooshh..19 varudangkaluku piraghu..//After 19 years..]..OK no more spoilers...

Go get your copy.

Joke-O-Joke - 2

If DMK scored earlier , AIADMK entertained the Great Indian Public with a same side goal.
AIADMK MPs voted for Shekhawat in the presidential elections (acting against the decision of UNPA to abstain from voting) . J.Jayalalithaa says the MPs themselves decided to vote and she didn't have a clue on their behaviour. She blamed it on the Election Commission's notice on issuing whip to party MPs.

July 19, 2007

Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix

Enjoyed Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix to the hilt. INOX made it more enjoyable..
Everytime, I see Harry Potter, I'm amazed at the casting. Here too, they have scored a six with Dolores Umbridge, the new Defence against Dark Arts teacher. Imelda Staunton fires life into this character. Luna Lovegood looks her dreamy self.

It is quite difficult to visualize a movie from a book, but kudos the director, he has come out unscathed. So u see.. lots from the book have been modified or cut out..but then it doesn't stop you from experiencing the magic of Harry Potter.
The scenes that stand out are
1. Ministry of Magic introduction
2. Dolores Umbridge bringing in new rules
3. The secret DA sessions that Harry takes
4. The showdown at the ministry of magic
5. The gripping climax
and people will curse me, if I dont include the much touted kiss between Harry Potter & Cho Chang. Well...not bad ;-))
..but we were heartily laughing when they zoomed out to blooming white flowers.

Don't expect any critical review of the film: from an unabashed Harry Potter fan.

July 16, 2007

Costly Turnaround

Guess ..Entrance exams spell trouble everywhere..

In Karnataka, for the first time, an entrance test for post-graduation courses was planned in July. But due to protests from all quarters, the test was cancelled. The matter didn't end there.

The Universities had to refund the fee which means they have to return 28,000 demand drafts of Rs.400 each - sending them by speed post / registered mail will cost them Rs.840,000. (Rs. 30 per demand draft) [MSN - Link]

Unnecessary financial & admin overload.

July 12, 2007

Ahhh..Dedicate ..

The most abused word in media today would be 'Dedicate'...The Radio FMs , TV channels are all filled with this Dedicate-mania

Try this..the default format for most programmes

"Hello ...Hello
..Whatz Ur Name?Where are u calling from?
....My name is Mannakati..I'm calling from Thiruour
..How Are U doing?
.... I'm fine..How are U doing ?
..I'm very fine..What song shall I play for U..
....Please Play Thee pidika Thee pidika Mutham kodu da song..
..Oh sure..nice song..Whom do u want to Dedicate this to?
....Hmm My Periyanna, Akka, my Brother-In-law, Paapu, friends, my parents..and for U too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
..Oh soo chweet..Thankyou..


July 11, 2007

IT Bellwether takes a Beating

Infosys report card is out and as widely guessed - their net profit (Rs 1,028 crore) for this quarter is down 8.5% from Rs 1,124 crore in the last quarter.

V Balakrishnan, CFO, Infosys: “The sharp appreciation of the rupee against all major currencies impacted our operating margins during the quarter. He adds "However, our robust and flexible operating and financial model enabled us to maintain our net margins while absorbing the impact of appreciating currency, higher wages and visa costs.”

Thanks to the technology stocks, the market has come down from its 15K peak.

Full report in Economic Times.

July 10, 2007

Tamilnadu's Political Drama

U have to give it to PMK's Ramdoss for pepping up the political scenario in TamilNadu..Not that there are any dull moments...

From last week or so, there has been some significant movements in the political contours...It all started with the Engg. & Medical Admissions (which by itself is a Mystery-blockbuster every year..with a new twist & turn in every corner..err..court case)

Ramdoss took on DMK's Higher Education Minister K.Ponmudi for his inactiveness in controlling the private Engg & Medical college fees.

Karunanidhi stepped up the gas & went public with his grievance that intra-alliance issues should not be discussed in press releases.

Ramdoss didnt miss a beat and struck the blow saying that the DMK alliance was only for the election & it is the party's duty to act as a True opposition party.

The AIADMK could obviously smell the bad blood & now Jayalalitha has sent out an open invitation to PMK - "If PMK founder Ramadoss chooses to come to our front, he will be welcomed affectionately.He will be given due respect and will be treated honourably,"

The game continues...

July 09, 2007

Fed-Ex rolls on @ Wimbledon

Amazing display of power & technique. At the end of the day, Roger Federer's serve made the difference. 24 aces zoomed past Rafael Nadal. (I wishfully thought of Goran Ivanisevic who had mastered the art of bullying his way thro matches with his aces). Nadal will no longer be a clay court-only specialist. He almost toppled the Lord in his own backyard.

Venus & Bartoli's match was also interesting in the sense, no one guessed that these two players would be playing in the center court. Venus clearly dominated bartoli is all departments. She rightly deserved to win.. but somehow the thrill of a Steffi Vs. Seles kind of match was missing.

Dakshin Chitra - Cultural Hub

Dakshin Chitra is simply amazing. Feels good to see the effort put in to conserve our heritage ..esp South Indian culture. It is run by Madras Craft Foundation, an NGO.

To start with, it props up on the East Coast Road - it is a pleasure to drive down the ECR. The first impression of Dakshin Chitra is that of a well kept majestic cultural center - not one of those run-down-please-look-at-me-kind-of place.

The entry fee was 50 per head. It was worth it & more.

U basically get a feel of traditional living in all southern states - Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka & Andhra Pradesh.

Beautiful thematic houses have been reproduced in full glory - utensils - clothes, et all. Some interesting themes - Chettinad House , Brahmin House, Tanjore Agriculturer's house, Potter house, Cloth Weaver house, Basket weaver house etc.,

We were regaled by a karagattam kind of dance. Some great footwork & balance by the artists. Puppet show, documentaries were also in the list. Artisans carry on with their work & sell their products in specially erected stalls. The place also has a good restaurant.

A must visit place.

July 04, 2007

Anuradha SenGupta - IBN Blog - Sivaji

Sivaji, The Boss. Of Crap - The title was explosive enough..the content was even more explosive. The result - 972 comments on the blog.

Anuradha SenGupta's CNN IBN's Features Editor did the right thing to increase the popularity of the blog. Go against the tide - comments will flow in.

I would like to support her on the front that it is her personal opinion and she has every right to blog it. But she is grossly mistaken on her opinion. I have the right to say that.

Sivaji did not pretend to be a path-breaking-greatest-of-all-movies. It was promoted as an out and out Rajini film with Shankar at the helm of affairs.Shankar has delivered what was expected and Rajini was simply awesome. You are glad that u spent the 100Rs. on the ticket. And that is what a movie should be all abt.

July 03, 2007


5 years ago in a magazine cover. The devotees are a blessed lot, if the lady spits milk on them. Yuck!