Dec 31, 2005

This is 'that' time of the year...

to look back and digest all the events of the year that will soon be only in grey cells. Well, looking ahead, all I can hope and wish are...

a) Jan to March: NO Earthquake, terrorist attack and Series loss to Pakistan.

b) April to June: LESS temperature, draught, temper and JJ.

c) July to Sept: MINIMAL sun, rain, hurricanes and war.

d) Oct to Dec: FULL happiness, harvest, festivals, holidays and satisfaction.

Wish you all a very happy, fun-filled and memorable New Year 2006!!

Biggest hope is that, 2006 is better than 2005 in terms of everything of life- personal, professional, family, health, entertainment and experience.

PS: Ind vs SL test series poll results: Of the 16 votes, 6 had predicted 1:0 victory and only one (that was me) had predicted 2:0.. As the third test progressed, that option got more support and ended up with a second best 5 votes. One 'ardent Indian cricket fan' voted for 3:0, after the second test !! Cool..

Now, time for the next poll.. A much tougher test ahead and waiting in Pakistan. Please vote after listening more to brain and less to heart.. :-)

Off to Disney World to spend our New Year.. See u all on Sunday..

Dec 29, 2005

Year-end Tag

Upon Vatsan's recommendation, Vishnu tagged me. U know how I love to get tagged.. When no idea for a post comes to my mind immediately, it helps to have a pending tag.. :-)

1. What time did you get up this morning? 9 AM
2. Diamonds or pearls? (If ur a guy - what can u afford for 'her'!) Pearls are of course cheap; but I prefer Diamonds over boring pearls.
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
4. What is your favourite TV show? I dont watch TV any more.. In India, I liked ESPN Sports Quiz and KBC.
5. What did you have for breakfast?
Orange juice, half sesame bread, half banana and milk.
6. What is your middle name? No middle name.
7. What is your favourite cuisine? Always Indian
8. What foods do you dislike? Continental
9. What is your favourite crisp? Honey-roasted cashews
10. What is your favourite CD at the moment? Pudhupettai
11. What kind of car do you drive? Honda Accord
12. Favourite sandwich? Grilled veggie sandwich
13. What characteristic do you despise? Moody and short-tempered
14. Favourite items of clothing? Fit-n-tight ones.
15. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you? Europe
16. What colour is your bathroom? Cream
17. Favourite brand of clothing? van Heusen
18. Where would you retire to? A busy city full of life
19. Favourite time of the day? Dawn
20.What was you most memorable Birthday you ever had? 22nd
21. Where were you born? Madurai
22. Favourite sport to watch? Cricket
23. Who do you least expect to send this back to you? Vishnu!!
24. Person you expect to send it back first? Vatsan
25. What fabric detergent do you use? Tide
26. Coke or Pepsi? Pepsi
27. Are you a morning person or a night owl? A few years ago, nocturnal; now, morning guy.
28. What is your shoe size? 11
29. Do you have any pets? Nope
30. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with your family & friends? In a few days, a new ---- is gonna be born (it starts with y and ends with r) ;-)
31. What did you want to be when you were little? Engineer
32. What were you doing today? Came to work after a long break; did some useful work before deciding to write this post.
33. Name a movie you've seen recently that you're sure many have not and its worth watching. 'Sometimes you see him; sometimes you dont'. An old Walt Disney movie (starring a very young and cute Kurt Russell).. A laugh riot.. Saw yesterday.

PS: Saw the shocking news that terrorists have attacked at IISc, Bangalore, killing a professor on-visit from IITD. Terrible and highly condemnable act. High time India develops a proper and major Anti-terrorism department, and make it an autonomous body like the CBI, police, military and commandos. My deepest condolences to the family of Prof. Puri and to the injured. Shame on u, terrorists.

Dec 27, 2005

Sea World visit - 2

I loved Sea world so much when I visited, that I decided to visit second time, to make use of the 5-day ticket that I got. Selected fotos from the last-Wednesday tour form this post.

This guy looks exactly like a piece of ginger.. onto which green leaves are stuck.. Amazing.. He is called 'Sea Dragon'. Rightly so.

Now, a featherless Sea-dragon.

Shamu, the killer whale, was the main attraction this time. Shamu's show was awesome..

These shiny fishes, in a blue backdrop looked very good.

A Sleeping polar bear.

A local rainbow.. :-)

In addition, I went for a water-ride, which was the first ride for me in over 16 years. The interesting part of the ride was that, when we go through the steep slope, our fotograph is taken at the point of ascent.. I had a hearty laugh looking at the way I was keeping the face..

Saw sharks, walrus, some exotic fishes and sea lions. An unforgettable experience.

Dec 24, 2005

About a 'new' movie

You are in a mood to watch a movie.. you visit an Indian grocery store/DVD rental shop to browse for any new movie. You find a movie starring Madhavan and Jothika.. Seems to have an interesting supporting cast including ex Miss-India Dia Mirza, Shobhana and Nasser. Music? Wow.. Harris Jayaraj? You wonder how come you never heard of this movie. You decide to rent it... before that, STOP..

The movie I am talking about, titled 'Lovers' is one of the weirdest movies I have ever seen. The first and second halves of the movie are 'totally different', in the sense you dont see any character of the first half (except Madhavan) in the second. It looks to me as if the producer had only just sufficient money to make a half of the movie. For the other half? They have conveniently lifted scenes from 'Rehna hai terre Dil mein', which is nothing but the Hindi version of 'Minnale'. Sick-totally..

So, you get a 'normal' tamil movie in the first half, with all tamil actors and matching lip-movement.. In the second, since being dubbed and full of Hindi actors, the lip-movement mismatch is irritating. What made me amazed was that, they have even managed to 'twist' the songs of RHTDM (including Zara zara..i.e., 'Vaseekara') to fit to some new tunes.

Moral of the post: Stay away from this movie.. unless you want to get the 'unique' movie-watching experience.

Happy Holidays, everyone !!!

Dec 21, 2005

Sea World visit - 1

Last Friday afternoon, I suddenly decided to visit Orlando and Seaworld was decided as the destination this time. A few hours later, I invited a couple to join us, and since they had a kid, we decided to drive in their car and me the driver.

Seaworld was better than Epcot. We enjoyed a lot more here, despite covering little over half of it. The ticket is valid for 5 days, so we are planning to visit again in a few hours today. Here are some fotos.

This was probably the 'whitest' bird I have ever seen..

A major highlight was the Dolphins' show at 'Blue Horizons'. It was mesmerizing, to say the least. A difficult shot at a descending Dolphin and a standing one.

Managed to catch the fella horizontally in the air. Reminds me of Jonty Rhodes. :-)
This was the best shot in the trip by me..

Was excited to see the Penguins in a warm land. Contrary to my expectations, they were short!!! Each was about 2 feet tall.. could catch them walking, standing, swimming, floating and jumping.. Cool folks really... ;-)

A real tall X'mas tree beautifully lit and decorated..

There was this musical fountain show after dusk. The colors were good.. On synchronization with music, it was OK.. We felt the 'dancing fountain' on Sankey Road, Bangalore was better.

Anyway, there were several firsts for us: Dolphins, Penguins, Killer Whales, Lagoons, and Manatees. I even managed to touch a dolphin in 'Dolphin cove'... sooo soft.

Will come up with more fotos after today's trip.

Chemistry and people

As far as chemistry as the subject is concerned, I have come up largely with two sections of people: Those who love chemistry and those who hate it. This holds especially true with organic chemistry.. :-)

Dec 19, 2005

Hare Krishna !!

(Pic adopted from ediblebrain [!?!?])
One interesting encounter with an 'nspired' bhajan. :-)
this is an audio post - click to play

Dec 17, 2005

Ig-Nobel Prize 2005

Ig-Nobel prizes are given every year to those who conduct such experiments which make people laugh first and then think.. :-)
I had a good laugh at this year's prize-winners:
Let me being this with my subject, chemistry..

Chem: The researchers at Minnesota were interested to find an answer to the 'very important, long-standing scientific question'..

(Pic created using data from Wiley)

That would have been an unforgettable swim session.. ;-)

Physics: A slightly-long experiment to show that even hard solids do behave as fluids over a long period of time. The researchers put a block of tar in a funnel and waited the tar to fall a drop and fall.. And, it did.. albeit slowly - 1 drop for almost 9 years !! :-) The irony is that noone has seen the drop actually falling.. it has been seen as a drop at the bottom of the funnel once a while.. When did the experiment begin? Only as recently as 1927 !!

(Pic adopted from Univ. Queensland, Australia)

Literature: This one is well-known to, I am sure, all of us.. We got those mails from the President of Nigeria and other African nations, saying that there is a huge money waiting for us to have and we need to pay a small amount to get it.. Yes, the guys who created the mail have got the prize... I thought they deserved punishment for this unique cyber-crime..

Economics: We should be proud of this.. yeah, an Indian has won this !! Ms. Gauri Nanda, from MIT, created an Alarm clock which would alarm, run away and hide repeatedly so you have no choice but getting up.. What does this have to do with Economics? Well, those who get up early can, in principle, can go to work early and add more workhours to a day... makes sense?

Last, in nutrition: A Japanese scientist has been keeping up his food-diary for analyzing every meal he has consumed during a period of only 34 years (and still counting).. Sheesh...

There are more too, which include some funny bio experiments such as "Pressures produced when Penguins pooh", "Artificial replaement testicles for dogs (available in 3 sizes) [LOL]", "A survey of Frog odorous secretions", etc.

Compared to all these, the research I am doing is far better.. :-)

Have a good weekend, folks!!

Dec 16, 2005

Now, 'THE' question

(Pic adopted from NASA)

mm.. this is turning out to be a week of religious discussions.. let me cap it with the last part of trilogy with the question that every one would have asked some point in their lives: Does God exist or not?

For 'yes': It is an easy way to answer. The universe is too complicated enough to have originated by its own; so someone supreme created it. Look at the beautiful flowers, birds and other exotic components of mother nature. They are too beautiful to have evolved themselves. Now, listen to music; listen to the talk of the nature.. Too wonderful to be nothing but wind. Big bang theory or whatever, what was there before the big bang?

For 'no': The most important question that keeps creeping up the mind in the counter-argument is, similar to the last line, if God exists, there must be a time when he/she originated.. what was there the second before the God appeared? Who/what created him? Astrophysicists with the most powerful of tools havent unearthed any evidence for anything or anyone 'upstairs'.

I am not an aethist.. I just belong to the 'confused' category.

The post on Sandyavandanam
The post on being religious

Dec 14, 2005

The perennial confusion

In case you were wondering why I wrote the post on Sandyavandanam, here is why: A little flashback..

Mid-eighties: I watched the movie 'Yaar' starring Arjun, Nalini, Jayashankar, Jaichitra, Senthil, et al. It was about a satanic child being born when 7 planets are aligned and how good defeats evil in the end.. It made me think (yes, when I was in class 6) about the existence of God. I told my mom that, with scientific awareness increasing among the populace, thanks to education, people would slowly give up several religious rites, and in 30 years (one generation), there would be more atheists than theists.

That was the time I started questioning about God. In mid-90, one incident happened which made me believe God for sometime but after sometime I was again confused (and continuing to remain so). A few days ago, I read somewhere in the internet that the present generation of young and educated are quite religious and so on. I wanted to verify a part of that by asking the question in the aforementioned post. I have a few beliefs about where we stand now:

IMHO, on an average,

* Ladies are more religious than gents.

* The previous generation and kids (age<10) are more religious than the present generation of adults/teens.

* People in villages/towns are more religious than those living in metros/other big cities.

* NRIs are more religious than those in India (added, after some brain-storming within and Deepak's comment).

Dec 13, 2005

One question (Only for guys)

One curious question.. How often do you Brahmin guys do Sandyavandanam? A related question if it is sporadic is, when was the last time you did?

Dec 11, 2005

Best of 2005

While we are approaching the end of the year, it is time to have a look at the Tamil movies released in 2005. Though over 100 movies were released, only a handful went on to make it big in the box office; and very few were worth mentioning in terms of quality. I have created pollboxes for various 'bests'. Of course it is highly subjective and the options were made from my point of view. With less than 20 days to go, and no more decent movie on the verge of release, the poll, IMHO, covers pretty much the best of what happened in tamil cinema this year.

I would appreciate any type of comment on this; I will try to keep this as the second post from the top after the next post is made. So, plz. take your time, you can vote anytime from now till new-year eve. The voting starts NOW:

Best actor
Jeeva (Ram)
Surya (Ghajini)
Vikram (Anniyan)

Best actress
Asin (Ghajini)
Jothika (Chandramukhi)
Laila (Ullam Ketkume, Kanda Naal Muthal)
Padmapriya (Thavamai Thavamirundhu)

Best movie
Thavamai Thavamirundhu

Best director
Ameer (Raam)
Cheran (Thavamai Thavamirundhu)
Murugadoss (Ghajini)
Shankar (Anniyan)
P. Vasu (Chandramukhi)

Best music director
Yuvan (Raam, Arindhum ariyamalum, Kanda naal mudhal)
Harris (Anniyan, Ullam Ketkume, Ghajini)
AR Rahman (Ah Aah)
Vidyasagar (Chandramukhi, Kanaa Kanden, Majaa)

Dec 9, 2005

India-Srilanka test jinx (And a non-cricket P.S.)

Let me start with a trivia..

Q: Which two teams have been playing against each other every year for the longest stretch of time in one-dayers?

A: India and Srilanka - For 21 years (1984-..)

Makes sense, right? It is no wonder that two neighboring nations meet every year this frequently.. You would expect a good frequency in tests too.. but, no.. Srilanka is playing tests in India after 8 long years.. After 1997 when they toured last, Aus has managed to visit us THRICE, far-away nations like NewZealand, Zimbabwe and our 'supposedly-least-friendly' neighbor Pakistan twice; that, despite having fought in Kargil and after the volatile situation post-9/11. And our cricket board hasnt found time to accomodate a tour by Srilankans, despite the ICC's 4-year cycle announcement in 2001.

Take a look at this tour: The first test was alloted to Chennai during the worst time for cricket and was sincerely washed off by rain. The third host had to be relocated to some other venue, after a dispute between the board and the state organization on the stadium. The second test is going to begin tomorrow in a stadium in which construction is still going on; there is rubbles everywhere. If the Delhi crowd decides to go volatile, they have enough 'weapons' provided by the ground itself to attack the Srilankans. Moreover, the fire-safety measures are woefully short and out-of-order.

If someone had filed a common petition in the Delhi court/Supreme court on the risk attached to holding the match in such an 'unsafe' venue, I wonder what the court would have ordered. I hope the match goes on smoothly and manages to produce a result, the fog and mist in Delhi not-withstanding.

P.S.: Ever since I removed the 'Word verification' option for the comments nearly a month ago, I havent received a single 'junk' or spam comment. I guess the spam guys have given up intruding into comments. Blogger has gone crazy for the past week or so, and a few days back, I couldnt post comment on several blog friends' posts, with the 'word verifn.' word being the same for all the sites and not accepting what I type. So, I strongly recommend/request you to disable the 'word verification' option in ur blogs to make life a little easier.. Thanks !! :-)

Have a good weekend, all of you!!

Dec 8, 2005

It's Story time (#3)

(Pic adopted from Egge)

Keladi Kanmani

This is also a blogger-based story. Konjam poruthukkonga.. :-)

His marriage life was in soup.. He thought it would be better if he marries a girl in the same profession; so he chose a software person. With both working in Chennai, it was hard for him to accept that he has to change quite a lot after marriage and doing things like helping her in household jobs like cooking, cleaning, etc. He would get irritated and the irritation passed on to her too. They would quarrel for all petty matters; in short, it was a compromise living together.

Then, he learnt about blogging. He took it as a hobby and soon earned some friends. As it happened, he was attracted to some bloggers of the opposite sex who had good writing skills, and they had all he would like his wife to be. He was more attracted towards one such friend and her's was the first blog he would check in the morning. Soon, he started getting the 'first comment' for his posts from her. Blogging gave him some relief from the stiff environment at home; and he started enjoying his life in his office completely; it was as if the home was the place to eat, sleep and argue.

He would sing 'Keladi kanmani' while taking bath, imagining his friend to be his 'Sithara'. He didnt know where that relationship would lead to.. but he was happy nevertheless; thats what mattered to him most. After a while, he decided to meet her. After some cajoling, she agreed and said the next day she would meet him in a 'Coffee day'. For identification, they exchanged which dress they would be wearing.

He was so excited, he got up very early in the morning and wore the dark blue shirt and black pant and left to office. He was anxiously waiting in the evening and left earlier than usual and was waiting in Coffee day 10 minutes before the decided time. Each minute passed as it is a day.. Then, he saw her in the parrot green dress opening the door. She saw him too and stood by the door side shocked. She was his good old 'incompatible' wife.

Then? u guys shoot..

Tag of fives

Vatsan tagged me after I tagged him last time with the '10 to 1' post; IMHO, tagging is cool.. enna, surprise-a irukka? Think about it, you dont have to squeeze ur brain much.. since the qns. are already there and they arent tough either.. it is easier than writing an all-new post by one's own ideas. Enna solreenga? But, I may not like the 'story tag' kinda thing. Any interesting tag, I will do it one tag a month.. Thats my tagging policy.. :-)

5 movies which I like some yet to be released

1)Vettaiyadu Vilaiyadu: The fotos look sleek.. the leaking news is exciting..cant wait to watch thalaivar as Police officer after 10 long years.

2) Sivaji : For Shankar. ;-)

3) The Da Vinci code: For Tom Hanks and the interest from the book.

4) Spiderman – 3: For Tobey and Kirsten. ;-)

5) A movie in which I may appear in the (long) future. ;-p

seri now movies that have released

As I said in Balaji’s ‘Best Kanna’ post,

1) Anjali

2) Roja

3) Nayakan

4) Thevar Magan

5) Batsha

5 things I cant live without

1) Fooood

2) Water

3) Oxygen

4) Sunlight

5) Computer ;-)

Five cinema characters I have a crush on

1) Amala in ‘Sathya’

2) Asin in u-know-what.

3) Sridevi in ‘Vaazhve Mayam

4) Aish in ‘Kandukonden Kandukonden’

5) Priya Gill in ‘Tere Mere Sapne’

5 things I want to do in the near future

1) A Europe Tour (esp.Alpine region)

2) Move to Cali

3) Settle in life

4) Run marathon distance

5) See some snowfall.

Last movie I saw in theatre

Star Wars (Harry Potter is waiting..)

BTW, how come this qn. Came in a tag of 5’s?

Last movie I borrowed and haven’t returned

The Butterfly Effect

5 books that I love

I rarely read.. So let me put Ponniyin Selvan and Da Vinci code

Five ppl I wish to tag

Whoever wants to get tagged, send a mail to rajublog-at-gmail-dot-com. I will be more than happy to fulfill ur wish. ;-)

I am glad to tag Paurna and Vishnu, who seems to be a rare species belonging to 'no-mind-to-get-tagged' type. :-)

Dec 7, 2005


(Pic adopted from indiainfo)

This movie is a great competitor to the teleserials - both in terms of the story and the 'hanki requirement' part. The way the movie moves and the pop-up 'funda' songs laced by some ordinary background music reminds us so much of the good-old Visu's movies of 1980's and the 'weep as u please' b/w movies of 1970's.

A=Anand (Shaam); B=Bharathi (Nandana); C=Chandra (Sneha); and D=Divya (Aparna). B, C and D have many things in common: they love A; they belong to lower middle-class; they see a lot of hardships in the world minus A. After 'Hanuman', ABCD was a humbling movie-watching experience for me.. The whole movie moves so slowly, as if the director shot it entirely in slow-motion; ABC and D talk slowly; move slowly; cry (a lot) slowly. If you watch the movie (which in itself would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience) in a DVD, it is better to watch it in 1.5 X or even 2X mode with voice on.. it would look like a 'normal' albeit a short movie..

Sharavana Subbiah, the director, appears as C's ex-husband and tortures C (and us as well) physically and emotionally; A is an MBA, but the way he hunts for a job suggests that either he was a just-pass MBA or, after passing MA, he thought it is MBA (since he would have got BA first). C has acted very well... her face and eyes speak a lot at times. Best performance from her so far. B, as the 'bread-winning elder girl with two sisters and one brother' and D as an orphan longing for love and care, are OK..

The biggest drawback of the movie is that all the characters talk a lot.. that too the cliche dialogues long forgotten. Shaam has tried to be 'different' by showing a poker-face for anything happens around him and sleep-talking.. Vadivelu's comedy brings the few lighter moments. The old man who acts as C's father is downright irritating.. He has scaled new heights in acting.. Worst father character in a long time.. (the father in Iyer IPS is comparatively far more bearable). Less said about music the better.

A Boring & Crying Drama.

Dec 5, 2005

Bad water

Unprecedently, Tamilnadu, esp. Chennai was hit by a fourth cyclone in two months. The most recent one was on the weekend and the cyclone Baaz took a real heavy toll on the daily routine of Chennaiites. I called up home on the weekend and realized that, as a result of water having entered the house knee-high, they had to move out to my uncle's house 2 kms away. By y'day (Sunday night in India) the water had drained off, thanks to the stop in the downpour.

(Pics adopted from Dinamalar)

Important parts of Chennai, such as Saidapet was under water; All the rivers like Adayar and Koovam are running full. The fotos on tamil magazines show pathetic scenes. Moreover, the government doesnt seem to have learnt anything from Oct-Nov rains; politicial games are also being played with this situation; the ruling party is using this as a chance to 'feed' its party cadres.

The last 12 months, beginning the Dec 26 Tsunami, have seen some 'bad water', with Mumbai rain and Chennai rains during Oct-Dec. Fire mishaps, albeit due to human error played havoc a few years ago in Srirangam and Kumbakonam; earthquakes was a severe calamity in Gujarat, Kashmir and recently in Indonesia resulting in the Tsunami. Probably we are doing something terribly wrong to earn the wrath of the 'panchaboothams'. This reminds me of the 'butterfly effect' and the related theory of chaos. We are doing far bigger damage over a much longer period of time that the earth has never experienced until the last century.

I sincerely hope and wish that the last 2 months serve as a huge learning experience for the government and the officials to be better prepared for the next year.

Dec 3, 2005

Female melodies

There are several solo melodies by female singers which is very good to listen even after years, many times a day. A few are 'rare' singers, but with just a single or handful of songs, they have managed to occupy a unique place in our hearts. Its no coincidence that most of the songs are based on a carnatic raaga.

1) Deiveega raagam (Jency) from Ullasa Paravaigal: I heard this song when I was a kid and then it was gone. Never thought about for over 12 years, then suddenly saw the song on Sun TV in 1993. I got goosebumps when I listened to it after a longtime. It brought back my childhood memories, and ever since, this is among my top solo songs. Jency-Raja combo is just magical in this song. Her voice and the sound effects give the required 'haunted' effect.

2) Yamunai aatriley (Mithali) from Thalapathi: If any girl was asked to sing a song in early 90's, this was the choice for most of them. Very well sung by her. Soothing music. Based on raaga 'Yamunakalyani'.

3) Ennulley (Swarnalatha) from Valli: Beginning with a classic dance score, it slowly shifts to some fine guitar music and then Swarnalatha takes over.. Very good voice modulations and emotions.

4) Kanda naal mudhalai (Subhiksha) from Kanda naal mudhal: mm. I know she has a husky voice but I like that very much. While listening, I get the satisfaction of hearing a 'carnatic-cinematic' two-in-one song.

5) Poo pookkum Osai (Sujatha) Minsara Kanavu: Lovely voice, great lyrics, awesome music and wonderful picturization.. a near-perfect song.. Timeless classic.

6) Manam virumbuthey (Harini) from Nerukku Ner: Composed in Nalinakanthi, this is one rare carnatic classical song of Deva. This is one song which I liked the very first time I listened to. Listed in my all-time favorite top 10 too.

7) Chinna Thayaval (Janaki) from Dhalapathi: A short but very sweet song.. Janaki's voice is very emotive. Ironically begins with a lullaby for a child whom she has left.

8) Paadariyen (Chitra) from Sindhu Bhairavi: Another from my all-time favorite list.

9) Ethetho ennam (Chitra) from Punnagai mannan: Very simple song but with terrific lyrics. This is among the songs I would prefer during bed-time. Guaranteed to get sleep before the end of the song. Soulful song from Chitra.

10) Vaseegara (Bombay Jayashree) from Minnale: Her husky voice, blended with Thamarai's lyrics were top-class. Probably the most listened songs by me in 2001.

11) Oru deivam thantha (Chinmayi) from Kannathil Muthamittal: This Tamil singer came as a pleasant surprise to an industry largely dominated from outside the state. Her voice was unique, and she did full justice to the faith imposed by ARR and Maniratnam.

12) Kanaa kaanum (Madhumitha) from 7G Rainbow Colony: Among the best numbers of Yuvan till date. The song required quite a bit of variations and an expressive voice, which Madhumitha fulfilled very well. 'Haunting' music by Yuvan was well supported by her melody.

13) Konjam Konjam (Maheeva) from Arindhum Ariyamalum: I dont know whether we will hear more of her, but the very first time I heard the song, which starts with her humming, she caught my attention. She sang this number very stylishly and made it stand unique in an album filled with memorable songs.

14) Yengirindhu vandhaayada (Sadhana Bala) from Five star: Already praised enough about this song in one of my earlier posts.

Only 14 songs can be burnt in a CD.. so I will stop now. Other lovely songs like 'Chinna chinna aasai', 'Kannamoochi enada', 'Paartha gnabagam', 'Pulveli', 'Ninnukkori', 'Ezhu swarangalukkul', 'Idhayam poguthey', etc. will come next.

Shock adikkudhu Sona

(Pic adopted from wikipedia)

I am referring to the doors (or rather, door knobs) I am encountering here. Thanks to the cold and dry weather, I get 'shocks' when I touch the door knobs often. Static charges build up over a period of time in our body through the dry air and on the skin. Through the metal on the door knob, it gets discharged. It is a not-so-funny and a unique phenomenon. Never heard of it in India.. The effect is more when
a) when one is wearing shiny jacket, such as the ones made of rexin
b) when one gets lotsa friction with a fabric
c) the room has some high-voltage electrical or electromagnetic equipment
d) when the temp (less than 5 C) and the humidity (less than 30%) are low

It reached a peak when I saw a tiny spark while touching my car window.. Serious.. I must have been fully charged up... Cellphone explosions due to the static discharge has been somewhat prevalent.

Some tips on minimizig/avoiding the shocks:
i) Try to grab the knobs or any metal thing with the palm, rather than delicately touching through the fingers.. More the surface area for discharge, less will be the current density.
ii) Usually the doors have a glass window knitted with metal wires. Running your fingertips on the glass for about half-a-feet would smoothly discharge it through the glass.
iii) If you already have a leather jacket, use it; I am not recommending buying a new one (my previous post would say why).
iv) After wearing/removing any other jacket, walk up to the door, discharge in the glass window and come back to ur place. You can get shock from any metal object you touch.
v) Try not to use a cellphone near a gas station.

Have a good (shock-free) weekend, friends!!! :-)

Dec 1, 2005


(Pic adopted from Rediff)

Hanuman is an interesting cartoon movie (they call it India's first 2-D animation movie), surely worth owning as a DVD. It is not a typical epic story conveyed in the old-fashioned style of 'pure' language and lotsa songs. It is short, cute, pacy and informative. If you have children at home, instead of immersing them with Harry Potter mania, you can show Hanuman and you would have done what your grandma did to you when you were young. Yes, story telling, in its unique way.

For the Pixar fans, this is not to be compared with any of their works.. In fact, IMHO, this work is inferior even to good-old 'Bambi' in terms of showing the subtle body language changes in animation. You can see a 'shaking effect' when the characters are in brisk motion.. but once you set your eyes into the narration, the finer things are rightly forgotten and one is completely engrossed in the movie.

To tell what a Ramanand Sagar or B.R. Chopra would have made as a year-long teleserial into a less than 100 minute venture is by itself an applauding one. The screenplay would have made a Dharani or Hari proud, since the director never releases his foot from the gas. There are some minor quirks in the story that some of us can pick up, but for kids it is certainly a full-time spiritual entertainment. Mukesh Khanna's voice fits very well for Hanuman. Overall, it is what can be called a 'milestone' in Indian animation movies. I couldnt stop thinking how it would be if Pixar picks up our epics and mythology for a faithful story-telling.

I strongly recommend this movie for both real kids and the kids in all of us.. :-)

Nov 30, 2005

A bloody encounter

As a Brahmin, I was obviously told from the childhood about why we dont and should not eat non-veg.. but, an incident that happened in my mid-teen forever buried any second opinion about it. It is a gory incident, those who are faint-hearted need not please go to the last paragraph.

On a sunday afternoon, I had to wait for the 'Aavin milk' in a booth, opposite of which there was a non-veg restaurant. The cook came out with a hen (chicken is smaller version of hen, right? So, I call the big hen a hen). He held its neck and then came a 'cluck' sound.. He broke the neck of the hen and twisted it nearly 180 degree. Paavam, andha kozhi 'viluk viluk' nu udambai vettikkitte oru 5 minutes tharaiyile kidandhadhu.. appuram asaivey ilai.. I thought she died.. then, he beheaded the hen with his bare hands and the hen's fits restarted.. blood came gushing out, a few drops spilled on his vest too.. He collected all the blood in a vessel and after a few minutes, the kozhi was really dead.

He took a knife and peeled the skin off.. rathamum sadhaiyuma andha kozhi red-a therinjudhu.. ulley cut panni adhoda ovvoru uruppa eduthu sutham pannann.. kidney-yai cut panni ange irundha excreta- ellam eduthu veliye erinju clean pannan.. A lively, cute hen became a few pounds of meat in a small vessel within minutes.. Adhai parthadhum I really felt giddy. I sat down on a bench to steady myself and vowed to never ever think about eating any sort of meat.

That particular incident made me feel that man is a merciless animal.. I dont know how many of non-veg eaters would have seen their eventual meal being taken life away like the above incident, but I am pretty sure more than half would have. Eppadi oru uyirai kolla manasu varudhu ungalukku? Eppadi oru uyir poradhai parthu adhaiye samaichu saappida mudiyudhu ungalukku? Afterall, taste-kkaagava? Taste-kkaga enna venalum seiveengala? Proteins? Vegetarian dishes-le, milk-le evvalo proteins irukkey.. Ennadhaan vai kiliya humanity, human rights pathi pesunalum unless you stop eating non-veg, I would laugh at someone who talks of such things.

Nov 29, 2005

Watching cricket with Prem Panicker (A small update as P.S.)

Prem Panicker, arguably India's best cricket-writer, started his own blog a week after I started mine.. Ever since, I have been following his blog; he has a unique style of writing and is helped by his having played cricket and working as a cricket journalist for Rediff. During the Pakistan's tour of India earlier this year, he wrote ball-by-ball commentary and his insights into the game, which made it a wonderful experience.

His blog is extremely famous, as you can see from the site meter.. half-a-million hits in six months.. He first covered the Natwest series in England and the Ashes; he would get up at wee hours in the morning to follow most of the matches played in England (he stays in NY). Then started India's season with the one-day tournament in Srilanka.. He would stay all night, writing posts and replying to the comments and questions.. The first match of the tournament - Irfan Pathan, who was off color the previous series vs Pakistan comes to bowl.. Within a couple of deliveries, Prem was quick to note that his bowling action was different this time and he is likely to bowl as good as he did when he debuted. And, it did happen and continues to be true..

Unfortunately, that was one tournament where India's performance was pretty bad; so, many guys who followed the game from ball one, got irritated and started fighting in the blog, swearing at one other, the players and even Prem.. Then, he resorted to 'Bloggers only' for commenting and some sanctity was restored, because everyone as a registered blogger is trackable and hence be complained to google in case of abuse.

Then, a spammer attacked him; Prem was disabled from commenting from his own blog.. After trying a few IM'ings with the loyal bloggers, he decided that whenever he is 'blocked', he would just write the highlights as separate posts.. Since most of the matches took place off the working hours of PST, his friends in google couldnt track who the spammer is and where he is from. A few weeks ago, the spammer came out calling himself 'achinb'.. He would block Prem, and openly leave comments that he has done his job.. Prem, and all of us, could only watch.

In the meanwhile, he added more contributors to his blog, such as Verma (Worma), Ruchir Joshi and Toney who were regular followers/cricket enthusiasts/good writers. Whenever any significant cricket news props up, one of them would put a post, thus making Prem's blog as a one-stop site for all things cricket. They still run the blog whenever Prem is away/sick/busy.

The exploitation of the bug in blogger, which allows anyone to post on anyone's name happened there too.. (Tamil bloggers would remember what happened in Chinmayi's and Narayanan Venkitu's blogs a few weeks ago). Despite the 'bloggers only can comment' option, many guys faked Prem's name and started commenting as him.. Luckily, they could not do anything about 'posts'..

Recently, the Saurav Ganguly spat hit his blog too.. Like the rest of Indians, the bloggers were also discreetly polarized as Pro- or Anti-Ganguly.. There was huge hue and cry when he was dropped from the squad.. but, things were OK as long as India was winning. The series win against Srilanka shut the mouths of Pro-Ganguly guys and they were literally waiting for an opportunity.. Still, they would whine whenever Sachin, Sehwag or Dravid (who are potential 'competitors' to Ganguly) failed.

India lost a couple of matches to South Africa.. esp. the Kolkata game was pretty bad. As most of you know, there were widespread agitations (which included politicians and some Bong cine stars); the Indian team was given such security, which made one wonder whether they are playing in India or in Pakistan.. There was constant jeering/booing at the Indian cricketers even inside the stadium.. Those fielding near the boundary were constantly abused.. The pitch was uncharacteristically green, which was the Cricket Association of Bengal's unique way of protesting Ganguly's exclusion and India lost the match badly.. Eden Gardens reclaimed its notorious infamous reputation of the 'Worst, over-aggressive and volatile crowd'..

In Prem's blog too, tempers were flying high.. people started abusing one other and almost everyone was angry.. Pro-Ganguly guys were happy that India is losing but still angry for what happened to Ganguly, and Anti-Ganguly guys were angry that India is losing unjustifiably, due to the politics and emotions related to one man. The bloggers' families were brought into discussion (u know what I mean) and Prem was soo sick of all those that he wrote a post that he would delete his blog in 24 hours.. After the requests and suggestions from his loyal fans, he decided to disable 'comments' options for his posts..

During today's game, he just wrote the posts based on his views for every 10-over period and anything that he felt interesting.. But, I missed the 'comments' part, which would happen during the game.. Hard to believe.. but there would be 10 guys commenting at the same moment.. The comments would run into thousands.. the positive commentary was soo good, I never enjoyed cricket more.. Now, due to some crooks, who despite being educated behaved like rowdies, the fun of watching cricket is reduced.. Hope the advances in blogging help revive the comments thing with some 'censoring' method...

P.S.: For the first time, I had put up a vote machine in my blog and some of you voted in it.. I was obviously the first to vote in it, predicting a 4-1 win for India.. 5 out of 9 voted for India's winning 3:2 while 2, for SA's 3:2 win.. that is a good 7 out of 9.. Anything could have happened in Chennai, so most of you were correct.. :-) Plz. vote in the next poll too..

Nov 27, 2005

Kumudam Cine Digest

This week's issue of Kumudam online was almost full of cinema stuff.. What is happening to it??? I read a few articles/interviews which made some 'interesting' news:

Ravi K. Chandran

The interviewer obviously goes overboard saying that the big bollywood Khans get his dates first before asking the story.. When asked whether the Indian cinematography has become in par with International standards, he says a disappointing NO.. the reason? We have to use bright lightings; hardly use natural lighting.. Reason for that? Bad movie halls, having poor projection facilities.

IMHO, except in multiplexes and in a countable movie halls in metros, most of the movie halls are poor in this aspect. The situation in B and C centers is even worse.. I am talking about stray light which dulls the picture and reduces the brightness and contrast. His suggestion is, the big heroes should declare that they would not allow their movies to be screened at such sub-par movie halls. I dont think that will ever happen.

Another thing he touches upon is the cinematographers-turning to-directors. Ram had a post on this a few months ago. Ravi says that, many directors, especially freshers, tend to be a lot dependent on their cinematographers, virtually making them accidental ghost-directors. So, the cinematographers think "Why not direct a movie ourselves?". Ravi uses the word 'Kuruttu dhairiyam' for them.

This bit was surprising and interesting. Especially since quite a lot of such conversions have taken place in the recent times. He also mentions that directors like Maniratnam, Shankar and Bala would take total care of direction, leaving a well defined role for the cinematographers.

SJ Suryah
mm.. He has been writing quite a lot in Kumudam nowadays.. According to him, 'Ah Aah' was pretty much what happened in his personal life.. So, we have another of director's own story, after Selvaraghavan's '7G..'. Interesting thing is, he says that his girlfriend was a film personality. mmm.. now I know. She is that famous Punjabi cutie... damn!! He reveals that, one scene in the movie, in which he leaves a long-awaited candle-lit dinner after a call from his boss indeed happened. When I saw that scene, I thought only a total-idiot can goof up like that.. no wonder.

The interviewer asks him "For the song 'ovvoru pookkalumey' that you have composed, the singer Chitra and the lyricist Pa.Vijay won the awards but not u.. why?" (What a dumb question...) Bharadwaj's answer is even more shocking.. He says "What did u find great in Chitra's voice? Isnt it not the same thing you are hearing for 20 years? If you read Pa.Vijay's lyrics without music, would u get any feeling? After planning so much and serving the song in the 'Sindhubhairavi' raaga, it is indeed very sad that they didnt give the award to me but to Vijay and Chitra. Both of them know that I created that song."

I can understand his feelings.. but this was not something I expected from him. IMHO, this is total arrogance. After the Cheran-Bharadwaj fallout despite Autographs's success, I read news citing Bharadwaj as the main reason for that. When Unni Krishnan, Swarnalatha and Vairamuthu won the awards for the songs in Kadhalan and Pavithra, composed by AR Rahman in 1994, he didnt mention anything remotely close to what Bharadwaj is whining now. And, in this interview, he is putting himself along the same lines of Ilayaraja and AR Rahman.. One big-headed guy, he seems to me..

And then director Perarasu proudly claims to be behind the thawing of the relation between Vijay and Ajit.

And, CM Jayalalitha kaiyale thaali koduthu Sivakumar's daughter (Surya's sis) kazhuthule maappillai thaali kattinaaram.. yaar yaarellam thaali eduthu kodukkuradhunnu vivasthaiye illaiya..

Vere velaiilley.. pongayya... neengalum unga cinema-vum..

Nov 26, 2005

Thanksgiving shopping

Has been a hectic day.. Got up at 6, instead of the planned 5. Saw Indian team struggling against SA.. Went for early morning shopping.. nothing much to buy this time... Bought Sony Home Theater (online). Will drive now to Ocala to pick it up.

Then, a 512 MB MP3 player for Geeta

and a 512 MB USB drive, both in good deal.


Bose Home theater


a 32" LCD HDTV.