Saturday, December 31, 2005

Monday, December 05, 2005

Vulgarity in Indian Cinema - contd.

I named this post as "Indian" cinema and not just "Tamil" cinema because the situation is more or less pertinent to all movies made in India.

Before I go into the details , let me first clarify my position.

Vulgarity - I define this as expressions of energies in excess, and to a tune which is not pertinent to that which is followed among a majority of people in THAT society.

i.e, when we see a french kiss in a movie from France, it is not so uncommon. The same situation here is bound to raise eyebrows. So such a kiss , I will call as vulgar in Indian Cinema whereas not so in French Cinema. The French audience is quite used to those things whereas India is a country where women did not want to touch heros and used to wear skin dresses

There used to be separate cabaret dancers and heroine's like Padmini, Saroja Devi, Madhubala etc. refused to perform cabaret dances.

I do agree that times change, and we too have to accept change.

All the same, the question I raise is...."If it is old, then is it bad?"

IF something has been followed for ages, then it does not necessarily mean it is bad. We have to be mature enough to also adopt to the modern way of living with the essence of the old imbibed in it.

I am truly amazed at how creative the Lyricists of Indian Cinema are when it comes to writing sex songs. Many are nothing but a piece of "Cr**" ( I only am pointing to songs similair to the one below).

How vulgar can you get?

After all, sex is finally sex. So stop it please!! For the love of God and the sanctitiy of sex , stop writing all the various possible things you can do between a man and woman in the form of a song and call it a Lyric. It is just crap. Nothing else. Makes me want to puke.

That was just that audible part of it.

The visuals are worse.

I remember my dad telling me this when I was like 10-11 years old. I used to watch a lot of movies with him , and during a James Bond movie, he told me..."It is better to watch an English movie than an Indian movie, because there will be a sex scene for about 1 minute in a 2 hour English movie, and I can ask you to turn the other side when it is going to come, whereas in an Indian movie, the whole film is filled with vulgarity...how do I stop you from watching it.?"

I can clearly see the change visibly in front of my eyes, that in the last 10 years, Producers seem to spend very less on costumes. Sad thing is Heroine's dont mind that. The Navel is perhaps a part of the heroine which is comfortably forgotten to be covered.

Perhaps, that way, these things will become so common that it may not seem awkward. Who knows?

The difference in vulgarity levels between an English movie and an Indian movie is this:
An English movie portrays the lifestyle of the hero and the herione AS IS EXISTING in their society. The same is not the case in India.

Vulgarity is not just in sex. Take a 500 million rupee wedding ceremony which is performed in almost every goddamm movie. Where in India does such a HUGE wedding take place where everyone wears a Gucci or a Prada outfit?

A single wedding dance cost could run to millions. Is it not a vulgar display of wealth?
The movies are filled with anything but normal. I do agree that exaggeration is a part of a movie, but exaggerating things to this level is just too horrible to bear.

Though this is a bit off topic , in The Matrix, if Neo is able to dodge bullets, there is a solid reasoning behind his ability to do so and hence it makes sense. But Akshay Kumar dodging the bullets when 30 marksmen fire AK-52's at point-blank range at him in a movie makes absolutely no sense. In the end of it all , I only wish that the Producers and Directors stick to how the people behave and not portray some arbit thoughts in the form of a movie.

Did you know that in Malaysia and Singapore, a lot of our Tamil movies are censored heavily. These movies get an A certification in those countries.

Even in a western movie, the heroine is not unnecesarily displaying her body parts unless the situation demands. She wears a Jeans and a T-Shirt which covers more than what is necessary, whereas in most Indian Cinemas, the heroine wears nothing more than a Short (too short for comfort), and a top which displays almost everything, and this is the attire in EVERY scene.

Just take the movies made in the west from 1955 to 2005. You might not observe a visible change. There will still be french kisses. They stay almost same as far as the cultural behaviour of the actors go. The change might be from Bell Bottom pants and long curly hair cuts with colourful outfits, to less glaring outfits and neatly trimmed hair.

Take an Indian movie from 1955-2005. It starts with a fully covered heroine who stays 6 feet away from the hero in 1955, to a skin dress wearing heroine who might touch the hero in 1965 , to a heroine who occasionally shows different "earlier" covered parts of her body in 1985, to "Rangeela" in 1995 and finally on-screen sex scenes in Salam Namasthe and Bunty Aur Babli in 2005. I wonder how these movies escape an A certification?

This metamorphosis is not possible unless we have an incessant urge to imitate the west.

Sex sells, they tell.

But Sholay ran for 5 years. IF released now, it may run for another 5 years. Where was sex in Sholay?

Tell me the name of a single movie that grossed the earnings of Sholay which had sex as the topic?

Murder/Zeher/Fire???

They did not even run the first 10 days of release.

Directors, please realize that sex alone is not enough. Please donot look to vulgarity to make your movie run. A heroine looks like a Goddess when she wears the wonderful Indian Costume - The Saree and has Jasmine flowers in her head , and a Bhindhi in her forehead with some jewels tasetefully worn . She looks like a whore in a bath dress.

Choose a Goddess for a heroine and not a whore. I donot say that exposure of any kind is bad. All I say is stick to what is culturally feasible in the society where we live in and not show things which donot happen anywhere in the country.

I can show hundreds of Indian movies recently released which donot have excessive vulgarity in them, all the same I can show lakhs of movies which do :(. I hope the situation reverses.

Vulgarity in Indian Cinema

I had wanted to blog about this for a long time...I will also write other articles, but let me start off with a song from a Tamil Cinema. I donot wish to translate it because I feel highly embarassed to even put up that lyrics here in Tamil. Instead of putting forth my opinions on this first, I thought I will show one example first, and then continue.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Egipthu Raani onakku edhukku dhaavani from Narasimha

Egipthu raani, onakku edhukku dhaavani
Enakku nee dhaan irukka edhukku thalagaani
Karuppu singam siricha neruppu pathikum

Irumbu nenjam thorandha kurumbu thothikkum

Hey ganja poondhottam
onna roja poovaasam
adi vaasam paathu mosam ponene
On meesayil ulla mudiadhu ellam yaana mudi

Adhil modharam senju podanum kai mela

.....

En veera, Un pera pacha kuthipen
Engennu nee sonna anga kaamippen
En bhoomi Un vaayil thenaa thithipen

Ennoda mundasa onna suthipen
Rendu dharava dhaaan samanja ponnu naan

Kannaaaal thechaye

Panju mullaye sela katti nee moodi vechaye...
Oru aan yaana dhaan on kayile ullasama oonjal aadum

Egipthu raani, onakku edhukku dhaavani
Enakku nee dhaan irukka edhukku thalagaani

.....

Pooven un mundhanai chinna koodaram
thenoorum un thoppul kutti paadhalam
muththathal seivoma niththam malyudhdham

appoppo vaayoram singa pal kuthum

Roma illadha dheham rendu dhaan meenum neeyum dhaan
Enga engayo enna thottadhu neeyum kaathumdhan
Adi Un naakile En perayum naa ezhudhava muththathaala

Egipthu raani, onakku edhukku dhaavani
Enakku nee dhaan irukka edhukku thalagaani
.....

If I were to sing this song, I would certainly be embarassed. I might perhaps refuse to do so.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

God Does Exist

I read this in a friends blog and thought it ought to be in mine too....(Thanks Ramasubbu for letting me know this story)...

This is one of the best explanations of why God allows pain andsuffering that I have seen. It's an explanation other people willunderstand.

A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. Barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation. They talked about so many things and various subjects.

When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: "I don't believe thatGod exists."

Why do you say that?" asked the customer

"Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn't exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sickpeople? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would beneither suffering nor pain. I can't imagine a loving God who would allow all ofthese things."

The customer thought for a moment, but didn't respond because he didn't want to start an argument. The barber finished his job and the customer left the shop.

Just after he left the barbers shop, he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair & an un trimmed beard. He looked dirty and unkempt.The customer turned back and entered the barbershop again and he said to the barber:

"You know what? Barbers do not exist."

"How can you say that?" asked the surprised barber.

"I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!"

"No!" the customer exclaimed.

"Barbers don't exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards like that man outside."

"Ah, but barbers DO exist! What happens is, people do not come to me."

"Exactly!" affirmed the customer. "That's the point!God, too, DOES exist! What happens, is, people don't go to Him and do not look for Him. That's why there's so much pain and suffering in theWorld."

So much for the power of the Pen

A consolation from the exam on Sunday was that I managed to come in the papers.

http://www.hindu.com/2005/11/21/stories/2005112114430300.htm

I said "This year the paper had a lot less questions compared to last year and also the difficulty level was greater, and therefore the cut offs would be lower."

She understood it as "This year's paper was slightly easier than last year's test," said C. Balasubramaniam, who took CAT for the second time. With over two years' work experience, Balasubramaniam said he hoped to get into a good business school.

Hehe....that too she has mishhpelt my name as Balasubramaniam ....I clearly told her it was C.Balasubramanian.

:(

Now I know what Kushboo feels like.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Are you paid enough?

Well, I took this IQ test in this link:

And according to it, this is my result.

Looks like I should be getting around 56 LPA Indian Rupees for my IQ and I am getting....ahem....better left unsaid :)

It says :

You got 22 questions right out of a possible 25. This gives you a cash/cleverness coefficient of...

17

Wow. Your IQ is as far above the average for your salary level as the scale permits. What are you doing with your life?

No Comments from my side.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Mega Serial Paapengala?

Ever been a victim of Mega Serials? Your mom watches 'Selvi'? Your dad watches 'Kolangal'? Your grandma just cannot stop discussing 'Chitti'? Your grandpa has put on his speaker phones and can't hear what you are trying to tell him?

And does this happen from 7.30 in the evening to 10 PM in the night, and includes 11.30 in the morning to 2PM in the afternoon

Does your mom spend half an hour over the phone discussing all the episodes she missed with your aunt when all it takes for you to gather what has happened thus far in the story is to just watch the next episode.

Welcome to the club.

If you want to be a mega-serial director all you have to do is to follow the Algorithm:

1) Take a Central Character. (Preferably a female who is between 25-40 years of age).

2) The Central Character of your story faces all kinds of hardships, which belong to the following group:

a) A wicked mother in law who wants nothing but money.
b) A dad who has a secret affair and has had more kids than you know of
(And thereby you have more brothers and sisters than you realise)
c) The central character should face difficulty in Business. All kinds!

3) Atleast 3-4 male characters must cheat on their wives of which even though the wives know of this affair they donot tell it out (because then a Mega - Serial ends, and becomes a Mini Serial)

4) Follow the following nature table :

Read : Character is a ; Age Group ; Behaves like:

a) Female ; 0-16 ; A lovable child who is the apple of the eye of the central character.


16-25 Sister/Half sister/Cousin of central character who loves a boy from some other caste/religion/economic status. Preferably from the enemy family.

25-45 Preferable for the Central Character. Also for Villains. Villains in this category are preferably relatives or half-sister/brother or are brothers/sisters of the central characters spouse who want all the "Soththu" (wealth) or are ex-wives or ex-lovers of central character.
Or last but not least, villains who have been affected by some imaginary deed which central characters dad/mom had done some million years ago.

45-65 Hopeless category for females. Invariably all the females except if you happen to
be the central character (believe me you dont want to choose your central character in this age
group), are jack asses. They are either cruel mother in laws or whining mothers or ex'es
of the central characters dad.

65 + Included in the story just so that they may die when an opportune moment occurs.
Most suited to give good advice to everybody in the story.

b) Male 0-16 A guy who sees a lot of violence in the family and either turns into a villain
or the hero later on

16-25 Brother/Half brother/Cousin of central character who loves a girl from some other
caste/religion/economic status. Preferably from the enemy family.

25-45 Invariably cheats on his wife (if he is not the central character) Has a lot of skeletons in his closet which are not dug out until the very last episode (which is not soon) Preferable for the central character. Sometimes useful as the central "female" characters "good friend" who stands by her during all odds, only to be suspected by the central characters jerk of a husband.

45-65 Hopeless category for men as well. You are either a father in law who cannot control his
wife any longer or are a "dhanda soru" in the family. Jalras are also useful in this category.
Nosy people often fall in this category.

65+ Well, you too are included so you may die when needed the most. Mostly a diabetes patient or rheumatic. Loves the grandchildren and purchases an eclairs chocolate for them with whatever little money he has.

5) Once you decide on the nature table you have to do this:

a) Perform 4-5 marriages. That way, you can get atleast 40-50 episodes in easily (2-3 episodes for preparing for the nichyadhartham, 2-3 for purchases for marriage, 2-3 for marriage itself and 2-3 for post marriage fights/bonding/mother in law sentiments etc).

b) Villain Scores: Throw in a dozen episodes for the villain to win over the central
character in business (such as a court case....believe me court case is the best thing you can bring into your story....not only are you guaranteed of 20 odd episodes, but also it grabs the attention of the audience like no other, and believe me, audience knows nothing about the
judiciary...so you can crap all you want here and noone will notice).

c) 3-4 deaths (all 65+ characters were included in the first place for this)

i) This gives you a preparation for death episode - hospital scenes,
wealth fight scenes,sentiment scenes etc....thereby 3-4 episodes per
death

ii) Post Death wealth fights can run for 3-4 episodes or more
depending on if they turn into court cases

d) A Plot. Ok....Its not that difficult as it seems. The plot is nothing but letting people know who cheated their wives, who did not and who planted a bomb in the factory of the central character etc. It does not have to be anything ingenious...it just should not be ingenuous.

e) Sentiments. This is very important. In fact, the more you pour into this area, the more you win. Father-in-law to daughter-in-law sentiments. Thaali sentiments. Brother Sister entiments. Husband and wife sentiments. These are most vital. Make sure this is there in all the families that are portrayed.

f) Slow motion and background music : Utterly essential. Your script writer has not written the next episode and you dont know what to telecast? Make one episode into two by making it run in slow motion. Noone will notice as long as the slow motion has background music attached to it.

Very very useful when Central Character delivers Punch Dialogues and walks away

g) The central character suffers throughout the story. This is central. This
is utterly essential. If the central character is happy then it means the serial is over. This is like cricket. Though India keeps losing in cricket people watch it play in the hope that it will win some day. Finally when it wins, it gathers so much support as it never has before.

6) Catch an ex heroine (one who has been in movies in the past) to act as your central character. Somehow familiarity seems to breed viewership.

"Oh yeah, there is that heroine I used to like when I was an adolescent...good thing now I get to see her again. So what if she is old...I am old too"

7) Lastly, the secret formula for a mega serial. Make it last 250 episodes atleast. The longer it runs the better.But 250 episodes is a bare minimum. IF that is not the case, then you ought to be ashamed of your serial.

P.S : A tip to take the cheapest mega serial. Put cameras in the houses of 10-15 families, and telecast the same. But make sure you add in the masala somewhere as sentiments and other stuff rarely happen in real life.

High-Fives!

Thanks Adi for tagging me.

Here goes my five:

Five movies which I like the most

1) Tha Matrix Trilogy (English)

2) Braveheart (English)

3) Michael Madhana Kama Rajan (Tamil)

4) Basha (Tamil)

5) Black (Hindi)

Five things I can never live without

1) My heart

2) My lungs

3) My kidney

4) My brain

5) My stomach

Five most favourite celebrities (This list changes :) )

1) Sachin Tendulkar (Cricketer)

2) A R Rahman (Musician)

3) Vivek (Tamil Comedian)

4) Swami Vivekananda (Spiritualist)

5) J K rowling :) ( I know it seems childish....but I just love Harry Potter :) )

Five things I miss now

1) Parents and brother(Living in Chennai)

2) My friends gang (all who are not here with me)

3) My keychain (I left it at home during the recent visit)

4) My childhood

5) My college years

Five things I plan to do in near future

1) Go home and sleep

2) Wake up and eat

3) Watch TV

4) Play Computer Game

5) Come to office and work

Last movie I borrowed to watch & still not given back

1) hehehe...I wont give the answer to this one ! Otherwise my friend who reads this will ask me to give it back

Five books I love

1) Ramayana

2) Mahabharata

3) Harry Potters :)

4) The Greatest Miracle In the World

5) The Dancing Wu Li Masters

Five people I pass this HIGH FIVES to

1) Ksri

2) RL

3) Poorna

4) Kumari

5) Pam

Tamil cinema (Il)L(ai)ogic

1) Thaali sentiment : The "thaali" (mangal sutra), is THE most sacred thing to a woman. He who tries to take it away from her shall feel for it. He who ties it shall relax once the job is done.

Do you want to make a good tamil figure your wife? Just put a yellow thread around her neck and she is all yours.

2) Punch dialogue : "Naa anga vandhaa, nee enga pove?" - Sucks doesn't it? I know. I made this one up.

But so does "Sullaaaann sooooodanen,sulukku eduthuduven" or "Iyya paaka dhaan local, aana all over Tamil nadu kalakkal"

3) The Matrix - Part 824

Screw Gravity. Screw physics. Heros in Tamil Cinema don't know they exist.

The Hero does a bicycle kick on the villain and does a triple flip to kick the two guys who come to him from behind and make a perfect landing. This is perfectly valid and don't you dare question it if the hero kicks a guy who travels 10 metres and breaks a brick wall.

4) Dumb ass villains : 'N' lorries full of villains surround our hero. They have the ultimate "Thirupaachi Aruvaals","Cricket Bats", "Cycle Chains" and what not. But I am surprised as to why they dont all attack at once , and watch as one by one everyone gets his butt kicked.

If I were the villain, I would suggest all of them go and jump on top of the hero all at once and see what he does.

Hmm, but Sankar did try that in Anniyan, when about 50-100 Karate Black belts jumped on top of our hero only to be thrown away like the way bowling pins are knocked all over. So I guess, there really is no way you can kick the hero's ass.

Ever heard of a weapon called the "Gun" ? When will they ever use it?

Oh ya! they did try it against our very own Captain vijayakanth in Narasimha. But did not work. Sadly Tamil Cinema heros are faster than bullets, so they cant be hit by them.

5) Sentiment :

"Maattu ponnunna maadu maadhiri pottu adipengalada?"

Wondering who delivered this one? Not me. Our very own T.Rajendhars dialogue in one of the movies.

I say "Maatu ponnunna maadu maadhiri thirumbi odhaikka vendiyadhu dhaane"

That should solve the issue.

6) Dance among the heavens: The hero comes from a local galeej area. The heroine has never set foot outside the agraharam. The two see each other. They fall in love. And out of nowhere 10 stupid ass guys come behind the hero and start dancing. Another 10 dumb ass females who forgot to wear a saree, come and dance behind our heroine
and we find ourselves visiting Switzerland, Austalia and what not?

I wish I find these guys in the streets, but they just dont want to dance with me when I try to start a dance :(

7) Story - Rich Heroine. Poor Hero. Heroines dad/mama = Villain. Heroine is a spoilt brat. Hero is an unblemished ass kicker. Hero teaches heroine that heroine sucks. So heroine loves hero. Gives up her ego. Gives up her wardrobe(which
rarely had any dress that could cover more than 2 feet of body btw). Villain interferes and gets his ass kicked. They all live happily ever after. In between the above 1-6 points take place wherever applicable.

8) Police - Pick up the remains. Once you see the Police, you know that the Climax is over.

9) Villain's dialogues - Why does the villain not just shoot the goddamm hero straightaway and have to give a lecture explaining how and why he did all the things which nobody knew till then.

To top it, he would make the hero stand on a melting ice-cube with a noose around his neck, so that another hero has enough time to come and rescue him, eventually kicking villains ass.

My God, can Villains be any dumber.

My advice to all you Tamil Cinema Villains : You capture the hero? Shoot him. Just f***ing shoot him. Don't talk.

10) Love - Love to Indian Cinema is Kung-Fu to Chinese Cinema. You just can't afford not to have-em.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Ravana - a hero?

Well. I had mentioned in one of my fellow bloggers blog, that I would be writing this one on Ravana.

Let me just say that Rama could not hope for a better opponent to test his mettle than Ravana.

During the Ramayana Period there were three greatest warrior heros. They were, Rama,
Vaali and Ravana. I will write a separate article on Vaali, but for now I rest with Ravana.

Ravana, the "Villain" in the Ramayana epic, was not as is much misunderstood a demon who was just the typical monster in all epics. Ravana was much much more. He was born of brahmin father and a rakshasa (sanskrit for demon) mother. In him were imbibed the knowledge and greatness of a brahmin coupled with the strength and valour of a rakshasa.

Ravana was one of the greatest brahmins of his day. In fact, there is an anecdote which goes like this:

"Once Narada (a saint and a devotee of Sri Narayana, one of the trinities), went to Parvati (consort of Lord Shiva, one of the trinities) and told her that Lakshmi (Sri Narayana's consort), lives in a beautiful palace while you live in a graveyard and that too in the cold Himalayan mountains.

Listening to this Parvati went to Lord Shiva and told him that she wanted to live in the best palace that the world has ever seen. To satisfy his wifes wishes Lord Shiva had Viswakarma build one of the greatest wonders in the world for a palace. It was a Golden Palace which was so splendid in all aspects that Viswakarma had to say "This is by far my best creation".

It is a custom that the first time someone moves into a house we perform a "Griha Pravesha" homam (house entering ceremony). For this she wanted the "Greatest Brahmin" on earth to perform this ceremony for her.

She called upon Ravana to do it.

Ravana performed the ceremony so well, that Parvati was uttrerly pleased and told Ravana to ask for a boon in return for his service. She said "Ask anything and it shall be yours"

Ravana said "I want this palace" :)

Parvati was totally dumbstruck and angry. Since she was bound by the boon she gave up the palace to him. But also cursed him and said that "This palace and all those who live in this land shall always remain in conflict"

And to this day Lanka remains a place which sees conflicts everyday."

Story apart, Ravana was considered the greatest brahmin of his day. It is said that Ravana had all the "Nava Grahas" on the steps on the way to his throne and that since he saw Shani bhagavan everyday, he was accursed with bad luck and hence lost out in the War.

It is said that, so great was Ravanas "Thava Valimai" (aura/energy/power....not finding the exact word for this one :) ), that Lord Brahma (the last of the trinity), used to visit him every morning and pay obeisance to him.

On Ravana's ability as a Veena player, it is said that he could melt a mountain with his Veena skills.

A romantic. Perhaps the greatest. Rajagoplachari has a lot to say about Ravana's romantic aspect. Ravana used to get the woman of his desire and he could go to any length to do so. There are many Gandharva Purushas who had cursed him for his stealing their wives (Narantaka cursed Ravana that his head would burst into three parts the next time he touched a woman without her consent).

But so powerful was Ravana that these curses took no effect on him. Until one day, finally seeing his atrocity, Lord Brahma himself cursed him that his head would be blown a thousand pieces if he touched a woman without her consent.

Ravana could not risk Lord Brahma's curse, but at the same time, he never stopped doing what he did. Just that, he behaved in such a romantic way, that he convinced any woman to consent to whatever he wished for her to do.

This was the reason why Ravana could not force Sita devi to marry him. Unless she consented, he could not molest her for fear of Lord Brahma's curse.

Mandodari, his wife, was considered the most beautiful woman on earth during that time. She was also a very wise counsellor and used to advise Ravana that he should not have kidnapped Sita devi. However, the lust that Ravana had for Sita, was the only thing which differentiated him from Lord Rama.

In all, Ravana was not just a Rakshasa King. He was THE RAKSHASA KING. He was their leader in all aspects. Be it arts, war, romance, influence....you name it and he had it.

To top it all he was one of the Greatest Shiva Bhaktha of his period. With his son Indrajit and his warrior brother Kumbhakarna, it would take nothing less than the forces of Lord Rama, Lakshmana and Hanuman to finish him.

It is also said in one of the puranas, that Ravana did contend to become the husband of Sita. He was the only one other than Lord Rama to have Lifted the famous "Shiv Dhanush". But unfortunately he could not string it, for that was not what Lord Shiva wanted to happen.

Truly a warrior one does not want to oppose unless one is Lord Rama.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

A dirty tale - Part Two

Read Part One below first.

"First I want the toilets done. Next the cup boards. Then I want the floormat cleaned. Then do the gardens. I have some old rugs stored in the attic. I want them dusted as well. If you do a good job I might consider giving you another Coola." said, Mr. Stingix.

It is a Sunday. And I am working.

"What is this shoddy job that you have done you nincompoop.", shouted Mr.Stingix as I was cleaning the cup boards He was referring to the toilets.

"Sir, I did my best. But it is very difficult to make to sparkling clean. I hope you understand"

"This is horrible. Horrible I say. Do we people pay you so that you do a job such as this. ", he hollered.

"I am sorry sir. I will try to do better".

After two hours.

"Oh my God. You really are a nincompoop are you not. Look at this. ", he said pointing to a stain in one of the
sheets.

"Sir, that stain was not coming off no matter how hard I tried. I guess it is permanent"

"Permanent my ass. You need to work harder to remove boy. You are not even half as much worth as I paid you for"

Another two hours pass.

"Look at this. Look at this. The floormat is not aligned properly"

"Sir, I am not yet done with it. I would soon make it alright"

And so it went. At the end of the day,

"I dont know why I paid 5 coolas to get such a shoddy job done boy. Why, I might as well have done it myself"

And that did it.

I could stand it no more.

"Well sir, then why dont you do it yourself. Let me see if you can do any better", I quipped.

For a second I could see no expression on his face. He looked at me as if a bomb just exploded in his ass. He could
not comprehend what was going on.

A cleaner had just replied back to a "Company" member to go take a hike.

It took a full minute before he shouted at the top of his voice "THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS. I SHALL HAVE YOU REMOVED FROM
YOUR JOB RIGHT AWAY."

Although what I just did, would have utterly destroyed what my father held as his principle, this is my life
and I decide to make the rules. He lived by what he thought was best for him. Sadly, I am not such a noble soul
to be so dutifully bound as to stand in front of this jack-ass who knows nothing about cleaning, lecturing me
how to clean his toilets.

"There wont be any need for it. I quit myself", I said, and walked out.

That evening there was a meeting at the Committee, and they put up a job-opening for the Cleaners post.

A week passed.

Two weeks.

There was no member in Googooland who was willing to fill that post.

A month passed.

Googooland started to stink like Goo. With no cleaner, the residents had to do the job themselves.

"Oh My God!!! Cleaning seems to take away my entire time. When the hell will I go and do my work in the office?",
shouted Mr. Nefarix, when his wife wanted him to help her do all the dishes.

2 months.

"Thats it! I can't do this anymore. My back is still aching from last weeks cleaning of the attic", said Mr. Stingix,
when his wife asked him to take care of the clothes.

3 months.

"Why the hell is the committee not recruiting anyone", shouted Mr. Irritablix.

By now, panic ensued, and all the members could stand it no longer. They all held an emergency meet and decided to call
me back.

"Son, We are sorry to have hurt you before. We promise we would not treat you as we did before. Please take back your job"
they all told.

"1200 Goolas a week. Sunday holiday.", was my reply

They all went blank for a moment.

"Son, what you are demanding is too high. What would your father think of you? Did he not teach you that work is worship"

"Yes he did. He taught me that work is worship. And I want you all to pay divine money for my work."

"Son, even those who work for the "Company" earn much less than that"

"I know. That is because they dont work as hard as I do. I deserve more. Take this offer or leave it"

"You can't be so hard on us son. You know that what you demand is too much"

"Is it? Well. If that be the case I am not forcing you all. You can leave anytime you wish."

They left.

A year passed.

Now I have my own TV. My own car. My own cellphone. I have a job that gives me 1200 Goolas a week plus a lot of respect.

I wish my father were there with me now.

A Dirty Tale - Part One


"Clean up that piece of shit you idiot. Who do you think would do that? Your dad?", came the voice from
Mr.Nefarix

"Sure sir. Right away", I said in a sober tone.

Being the only cleaner in Googooland was not an easy job. Dumping shit seemed to be the only things these people ever do in this place.

Well, I am Janitix. 23 years old. Tall, Brown and stocky. I work under the Committe for Cleanliness for Googooland.

"Work is worship Son. All professions are equal. Donot think of any other profession as better or worse than what we do", my father Cleenix, used to say.

Now he is no more. Only his thoughts remain with me. My father is my inspiration. A very disciplined man who liked things clean. He could never stand to see even a speck of dirt in Googooland. He worked hard day and night and was solely responsible for Googooland's beauty.

A highly respected person he was.

Or was he...?

"A chip of the old block aren't you my boy", exclaimed Mr.Admirablix,seeing me cleaning the place up. Mr. Admirablix was one of the few men whom I liked to look upon as a father figure after my fathers departure.

"Oh you praise me a lot sir. I am just doing my duty", I said.

"Hmm, I have a few dirty cupboards which I would like you to help me clean. I will pay you 2 Goolas for it. When can you help me out?", said Mr. Admirablix.

"2 Goolas for cup boards? Sir, that is very generous of you. That is almost the amount I earn for a whole week of cleaning the place"

"I think you deserve it son. Sunday good for you then?"

"Sure sir. Anytime, you want, I would be there"

2 Goolas for cup-boards? I only wish the others were like him...

"Hey you, what the heck are you doing there wasting your time. Come over here you lazy bum", shouted Mr.Stingix

"Coming over sir. Yes. Please tell me what you want cleaned".

"I want you to come over this Sunday and help me clean my house. I have already booked you for this weekend at the Committee and I just wanted to inform you as well"

"But sir, I thought Sunday was a holiday", I said in a note of despair.

I was looking forward to going to Mr. Admirablix house during the weekend.

"WHAAAT!!!", exclaimed Mr.Stingix as if a bee just stung him.

"You good-for-nothing son-of-a-cleaner. Money has gone into your head hasnt it boy.
I payed an arm and leg at the committee to get you to work on Sunday. Be happy my boy,You get 5 Coolas.I think that ought to put things in a better perspective. Better be there."

I would recieve 40 times as much as this guy is offering me if only I went to Mr. Admirablix's house.

But I had no choice.

Or did I?

Well, I dont seem know the answer to this question. My father always used to ask me to go by the committees word and treat it as the word of God. I do respect him for all his wisdom. But what if he was wrong?

"Get out of here you good-for-nothing cleaner", was what Mr.Irritablix said, everytime my dad asked a holiday

"I dont loan money to people who cant repay", was what Mr.Greedix said, when my dad wanted some money

"Have I met you?", was what Mr. Oblivix asked my father , after all these years that my father has been cleaning
his house.

It is as if my father never even existed in this strange land of people. Only I seemed to carry his memory around.

"Son, a person who works in the "Company", is no better or no less than you. It is all the same my son. God intends each man to do his duty for the smooth functioning of a society. Let us do our role well and be proud of it."

I used to listen with awe as my father spoke these words. I watched with an open mouth,the amazing ease with which he was able to digest all the neglect and scorn he receieved from these ungrateful members.

All the members of Googooland who worked in the "Company" used to get a 1000 Goolas every week, while I seemed to get just 1 Goola a week.

I had no say in my salary. None.

My dad is gone and there is no one to give me the advice which can pull me through this misery. When he was around I could stand everything, as he stood as a towering giant of hope. But now,things are not the same.

I stand here in front of Mr.Stingix, a man who has absolutely no sense of respect for the work I do.

I wonder what I should say to him.

"Yes, sir. I would be there on Sunday"

- I once saw a software guy insulting a cleaner in office premises and treat him like Janitix is being treated in this story. I was inspired to write this as a reply to all those who have a "Holier than thou" attitude in life.

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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Pollution Certificate Undha?

Today morning I was learning to ride the bike :) on the way to office. Normally we are stopped en route to office for checking the pollution certificate by the RTA officials. Recently however, the traffic policemen have gathered around the RTA Pollution checkers and stop the vehicles to ask for the pollution certificate.

So, unlucky me, I was stopped by them and we were asked to produce the certificate.

Traffic Police 1: "Pollution Certificate dhikao"

Us : "The bike is new and since it is just 5 months old, we donot have to show one"

TP 1: "TN Registration. Please show us the No Objection Certificate"

Us: (we did not have the NOC ) : "Do we have to get one within 6 months of moving the vehicle here?"

TP 1: "Yes"

Us : "Ok, we donot have one"

TP 1 : "Show me the RC book"

(we were fumbling for the RC book when another TP comes over and says)

TP 2 : "RC book ledhu ante 600 rupees fine" (if you donot have RC book 600 bucks fine)

Us : "We do have the RC book. Hold on"

Then we pulled it out and showed it to him.

TP 2 : "Ok NOC 450 rupees fine"

Us : "Alright but we will need the Challan for the same."

TP 2: "For challan we have to go to the Madhapur Police Station " (which is about 2 kms away from our place)....(I guess he realised we were in a hurry to go to office and said this so that we would feel lazy to go and get the money....)

We however said,

Us : "Thats ok, we would pay the fine. Which of you policemen would come with us to the Police station"

To that the guy said:

TP 2 (muttering under his nose) : "300 rupees dheke chale jaao" (give us 300 bucks and leave)

Us : "We donot have any money with us now. We have to get it from an ATM. We would go and get the same"

TP 2 : "Then leave your Licence with me and get the amount"

Me (to my friend): "I will stay back. You go and get the amount"

After a while my friend came with the money and we said

Us : " Ok let us go to the police station"

TP 1 : "We have to go to the Jubilee hills police station " (which is nearly 6 Kms away)

Us: "What?? You just told us madhapur station and now you are saying Jubilee Hills"

TP 1: "No sir, it is available only there"

Since we were already late for office and were quite pissed off, we decided we would give the money now, but would demand a challan to be given tomorrow..

TP 2 :" Sir, if you pay us once, we would never catch you again in this route. So you donot have to worry about that"

How dare he.

First of all it was wrong of him to ask for a bribe, and on top of that he is insinuating that we let this go.

Us : "Thats ok. We will come here again tomorrow, and you keep the challan ready. We will pay the remaining amount."

And we left.

Anyways, a few lessons learnt:

1) I dont think all of these policemen are genuine. When someone does not have a chellan book nearby to give us the fine, you better dont trust him to be a real policeman and pay the amount he asks for. He may not be authorised to collect money in the first place.

2) A lot of people just give money to get the heck over with, but it is better to be strong in certain cases and insist for original receipt

3) 100 rupees is not much different from 300 rupees , seeing how much we earn these days. Hence, please, please try to take the original receipt and not bribe the policman. Bribe givers breed corruption and not bribe takers. Bribe takers have nowhere to go , if no one is ready to pay the bribe. The 100 rupees that you give, will tempt him to ask for more from others.

Believe me, when we said that we want the chellan, you should see the look on the guys face. The policemen saw us with respect and they started to look down in shame. All they could do after that was just mutter under their noses and speak to us without looking at us on the face.

4) Try to get an NOC :) and try not to break traffic rules.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

How's this?

A lazy saturday evening. My friends are in a dreamy state. I am wondering what to do next.

"How about a movie and then a dinner outside?" , I cried.

The guys were too lazy to say "Yes", and muttered something under their nose.

"Come on Guys, lets go and catch the X-Men Movie, it has been released and is running in Symphony theatre in MG Road.", I said jumping up and down.

Seeing that there is nothing better to do, RL, Ksri, SunD, Pam and Ponp finally agreed to watch the movie.

At the theatre,

"Machi, check it out." , said RL

"Where da?" , I said

"3 o clock, behind SunD. Man , is that guy lucky to be talking to 4 chics.", said RL

The others then make the grave mistake of turning around immediately and taking a look all of a sudden. This prompted those girls to turn and give us a cold stare :(

"Dei looses, can't you all slowly turn so as to not get noticed. Look how embarassing this is", scolded RL as we all sheepishly acted as if we never looked that way.

"Machi, when will our day come da? Look at me, talking to you idiots. How I wish I was that guy talking to 4 cool chics instead of you losers.", I said.

"Aiyya, as if all the chics want to come and talk to you. We guys are more than enough company for you. Shut up and get some pop corn.", said everyone together.

The movie went well. We decided to go to the French Pizza store nearby and this is where the story gets kickstarted.

"Guys, check it out", I said

This time the guys were careful so as to not turn immediately and they all turned casually without causing any embarassment to notice that a couple was smooching their lips off in one corner of the hotel.

Although it was a nice turn on, especially since the gal was should I say "Oooh lala", we guys were a bit frustratedby this public behaviour.

"Machi, they should ban these things in Public places da", said Pam

"Dei, why do you bother what they do da?" said Ponp

"What are you guys talking about da?", asked SunD slowly waking up from his dream world.

"Dei, it is not the question of us bothering about it or not bothering da, just look at them, they are causing so much embarassment to everyone nearby", I said.

"Hopeless fellows", said Ksri.

Then our Pizza came and as we were digging in , the scene in the corner became hotter.
The gal slowly sat on this guys lap and they were now turning the whole place into an oven.

At this RL freaked out and said to me "Machi, this is too much da. There is a small boy having dinner with his parents in that corner da. Why dont we do something about this before that boy sees these two idiots consummating in a public place"

"Let us first tell the hotel owner to do something about it", I said.

"Waiter! can you please ask that couple to find a room and continue whatever they are doing instead of here"

"Sir, pardon me, but that person happens to be a very rich customer and we would lose a lot of business if we irritate him"

The waiter left.

"Machi, I have an idea" said RL and said something to me.

I was game.

We first went up to the couple and said in a polite manner that they are causing a lot of embarassment to the public around and asked them to take it somewhere else.

"Hey man, why dont you mind your own business. This is a free country. I can do as I please. This is my girlfriendand I am kissing her. As long as she does not have any objection to it, it is none of your business. So get outof here."

"Sir, I do agree that it is your girlfriend. However there are people of various ages sitting in this hotel and it is very embarassing for them when you behave this way. Especially when they have small kids or old parents sitting with them"

"I dont know when will India ever improve. These people talk of all this nonsense about culture and stuff. Why dont we grow up. Where is the bloody independence man. Why cant people just mind their own business. I dont mind if you kiss your girlfriend here or anywhere, then why do you disturb me?"

At this we both knew it was time for Plan B.

We both pulled a chair right next to them. Sat there. Put our hands on our chin and started watching them go about their smooching.

At this the couple really got pissed.

"Hey you two, how dare you come and watch what I am doing? Don't you have any decency?"

"You asking us? .... Well.... Frankly!...... No! We rather wanted to watch a good X rated movie tonight anyways. Since we are getting it free, wedon't mind taking the full advantage of it. Please continue. " I said, and motioned my other friends.

Now everyone pulled up a chair and came next to the couple and started watching , hand in their chin. Never had we concentrated this hard , even for our Advanced Calculus class.

"To hell with you idiots. I am getting out of here. Come honey lets go", he said and stormed out!!!!!!!



"Hmm...a nice day guys. Come lets go get that movie we were planning to watch late night"

Monday, October 03, 2005

Women Liberation - Are we taking it too far?

Ok, a very very , very very , very controversial subject. I accept.

I am going to deal with this in a manner that I hope does not hurt any sentiments and is as neutral as possible. Pardon me if unintentionally these views hurt someone.

I am going to discuss this point by point:

1) When women are forced to follow some rule, as was the case in Anna University, when a ban was imposed on Jeans and T-Shirt, a common misconception is that it amounts to "Oppressing Women" . I would not ascribe to such a thought. The reason why a ban is imposed on something is not with the intention of oppressing someone but to bring about an order in something.

Let me be more clear:

When we go to a boardroom meeting wearing a "Lungi" (it is a comfort wear that someone usually wears in their home) and a torn T-Shirt, we may be allowed inside the boardroom that one time. But the very next day there will be a memo on the office notice board that says that everyone should follow only "Formal" dress code in their offices.

There is an unsaid "Rule" that one person is expected to wear something in a place. It is ok if you wear a Lungi in your house but it is not ok to wear the same in a boardroom meeting. It is ok if we wear a sleeveless and shorts in your house but not so in a temple , which is why , appreciably, some religions allow men and women to worship in separate places within the same temple, so as to avoid distraction.

What I am trying to say is that, a "Rule" is not meant to oppress someone but rather to bring about an order in the way of life. If order is not there in life, then we can question just about anything in life and get away with it.

An educational institution is a place where one comes to gain knowledge. At a tennis court it is understandable to wear a shorts, but not so in an educational institution. A gym is a place appropriate to wear a sleeveless tops, but not an educational institution. By saying so is not to oppress women or stop their liberation in any manner. The same rule also applies to men. They are not supposed to wear lungis or shorts to colleges either.

Hence I wish to stress that "Oppression" and "Moral Policing" and "Rule Making" are three different things and should first be separated. They each deserve a different approach to argument. When one mixes the three and puts them under the head of "Oppression" it is a mistake, but when one clearly sees the difference then it is not so bad.

Let me illustrate:

"Donot wear sleeveless anywhere, you are not supposed to wear it because we say so" - Oppression
"A sleeveless top should not be worn by women because it is degrading to our culture." - Moral Policing
"You are not allowed to wear a sleeveless top in an office because a lot of our customers often visit the office premises and we expect to be in formal dress. " and "You are supposed to wear only conservative dresses in college because it is distracting students when otherwise." - Rule Making

Once the distinction is made among the three it becomes easier to really argue on the subject. An institution has every bloody right to impose its own rules and regulations and in case you are so hell bent against it, then it is better you go and join an institute which does not impose such rules.

Do we go and argue in an office as to why we cannot stand in the front of the building and shout at the top of our voice? Simple answer: If you do, you are then chucked out of the organization.

Rules are rules and an institution has a right to demand from its members that which it sees would benefit the organization, and in this case, the demand is not so outrageous as to merit such uprising.

2) Another common fad which is getting popular these days is to call any "Male" member of the society a "Male Chauvunistic Pig, MCP for short", whenever he even tries to correct a woman. I do agree that there are a lot of things that us men have to learn and yes believe us, we are trying. But at the same time I would request that the same effort be taken from the other side to understand that when a man says :
"Women are very good at taking care of children", he means that "Women are very affectionate and far better than men at handling children and it is a natural thing when women fare better at being a parent than a man, i.e a mother is more important than a father"

IT DOES NOT, and I stress, IT DOES NOT MEAN "Sit at home and watch the children, while I would go to work and earn the bread". So please donot jump up and down when someone says that children need to spend more time with their mother.

Child raising is no mean task, and to get a certificate that someone has done a good job at it , is , believe me, far more better than winning the best employee award. You feel more bad when someone says your son/daughter is a thorn in the society than when you donot get the "Outstanding" grade in office.

This does not mean that women should not go to work or does not mean that only they have to take care of household chores at all. IT just means a vast majority of women are better at handling a child than are men because of their natural ability to "care" more. Men at the same time are by a natural evolutionary process, "Physically" stronger than most women.

While I accept men have to come out of this feeling that they are the only bread winners, I would like to stress that women too, play their role correctly. In all the puranas and the Upanishads, women are held so highly as to call them the "Upholders of Society".

Anyways, there are as many opinions as there are heads in this world, and this is just what I think :).

A million typewriters and a million monkeys all over the world. :)

I hope I have not caused any hard feelings by this post. It is just to highlight some distinctions and some ways by which both sides can benefit themselves and move towards a more civilised way of life.

The Thatha from Mylapore - IV

I would suggest you read a bit more than the initial few lines as that is where this story gets better :)

"Thatha, first do you have an internet connection? If not you would have to get one before you can check your emails.", cried Gopal.

"Oh is it. How do I get one?"

"Here, call up this number or go to their office. They will tell you all the procedures"

"Thanks da kanna, I will first get the Internet connection"

Thatha dials the number 24456200.

An automated answer at the other end welcomes thatha : "Welcome to BSNL services. For Broadband services please dial 1. For Dial Up services please dial 2. For customer care please dial 9"

Not sure what he wanted, he pressed 9 to hear a ring at the other end for a few moments.

"Hello sir. A very good day to you. This is Lakshmi speaking. How may I help you?"

"Well, I want to get an Internet connection in my house and I am not really sure how to proceed. Can you please help me out."

"Sir, can you please tell your house address and we would send our customer services representative over to your houseto set up the connection. What kind of a connection would you prefer sir, a broadband or a dial up?"

"Well, I am not really sure what those are. Can you please explain them"

After a few dialogue exchanges about the various price ranges, thatha settles for the Dial Up Connection.

"Well, that is settled now. Let me just relax in my easy chair for sometime"

The thatha takes the Dinamalar and reads the headline story of the day:

"Crackdown on dance shows in city hotel" ( Courtesy : Dinamalar(r) Photos:

http://www.dinamalar.com/2005sep26/impfn.asp

http://www.dinamalar.com/2005sep26/imp7.asp

The Hindu (r) Version :

http://www.hindu.com/2005/09/28/stories/2005092809380100.htm/)

After reading the story all thatha could help thinking was "In those days, we were afraid of talking to women in public places. Surely Kali Yuga is at its peak. What happened to love under closed quarters. Public Display of affection seems to be the order of the day. If we talk about these things to the youngsters then they say that we are not modern enough in our thinking. If we show affection in our own homes and not in Public places, then does that mean that we love our wifes any less than those who display it in public. Animals display their affection without caring for others , but can we be like them? Can we be so oblivious of our surroundings? I dont know where we are headed. Boy, am I glad that the girl in that photograph is not my daughter."

The next story in the list was on :

Actress sparks controversy over Pre-Marital Sex: (The Hindu (r) Version

http://www.hindu.com/2005/09/29/stories/2005092916020300.htm)

"In those days Saroja Devi and Padmini used to wear Skin dress when they were about to be touched by Sivaji or MGR. Look at the women these days, talking about things which would embarass everybody. I only wish such things were better left to be understood rather than brought out in open and discussed.

Anna University Bans Cellphones and Jeans: (Link : http://www.annauniv.edu/vc/cell_banned.htm)

"Padikkara pasangalukku edhukku cell phone (why do studying students need Cell Phones?). It is a good thing that such restrictions are brought into place. Especially since cameras are available in cell phones these days, women will feel a lot safer without perennially fearing their being shot at. Also the children will be able to concentrate better in the classroom with the ban on sleeveless dress and jeans pants. I donot see why we have to imitate so much from the west. These days we are just forcing ourselves into ruin by questioning all the things in life. I am afraid to think what the future would hold if things go the way they are at present.

I would want to ask a simple question to these youngsters. When we ask them why they wear Jeans and T-Shirt, they reply saying that it is comfortable and hence we wear them. Let me ask them back the question, The Dhoti is perhaps the most comfortable of all dresses, and it is so free and is pretty easy to wear and use, but does the west borrow this idea from us? If they are not even thinking of taking something from us and adopting it into their lives, then why do we have to imitate the dress code of a nation who had infact subjected us to slavery for a large part of the last few centuries. The basic underlying nature, the very reason, the for us imitating the west is not because we feel their dress is comfortable. It all boils down to an inherent inferiority complex in us which tempts us to behave like them so that we think we are better of. A sense of pride in oneself and ones own culture would never tempt this kind of a behaviour. Only a man who is dissatisfied with what he IS tries to become what he IS NOT. I do hope we all realize our own greatness and change ourselves so that in a matter of time we see the westerners adopting our way of life rather than vice versa."

After that the thatha read a few articles on the fight between the fight between Ganguly and Chappel and framed his own opinions on the subject and went to sleep on the easy chair.

- The opinions expressed here are those of the Thathas , consistent with what an old man would think in this period, and not of my own. Donot form any interpretations on the same as this is a story. Please donot come back to me and ask why I said so :) . I did not say anything....it is the thatha.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Thatha from Mylapore Part - III

"Paypaaaree , boootiyaareeeee"

"Paypaaaree , boootiyaareeeee"

The loud noise woke up our thatha. It was the Old Newspaper ,Old bottle collector screaming at the top of his voice.

"Hey paper walla", shouted thatha. The newspaper daily Dinamalar had accumulated over the last few months and thatha wanted to cash it in.

"Yes, sir. Coming over..." replied the scrap paper salesman.

"How much do you pay for a kilo of Dinamalar (the local news daily)" asked thatha.

"Sir, 3.5 rupees" he replied.

"What? How come the inflation never affects the rates of the old newspapers. All the pricesseem to increase but you people never pay more than a meagre amount for old newspapers. I will let it go at 5 rupees a kilo and nothing less" said thatha firmly.

"Sir...business has been bad these days. Let us agree to 4 rupees a kilo. Please donot bargainfor the one or two rupee profit I get sir. I am but a poor man" he replied

At this point thatha had to let go as he could not haggle with the poor man who was all tired from screaming at the top of his voice just to pick old newspapers.

"Sir, please check the weights" he said as he started to weigh the newspapers.

Thatha was well aware of all the tricks that these guys pulled such as having an improper weightand pressing one hand on the handle bar to push the weights to one side and the best trick of all wasto use an already weighed paper to weigh more papers and that way you keep gaining incrementallythe more the newspapers. He was not going to be fooled by this man.

Thatha bought a kilo of potatos he had just bought and ensured that the weights were indeed as they specify and he carefully overlooked the entire procedure. Finally he was convinced that the lot he hadweighed 10 kilos. The man paid thatha 40 rupees and left.

Thatha was just finished with the newspaper seller when he heard the neighborhood boy Gopalcome in.

Gopal was a tall bespectacled boy. Face full of freckles from adolescence. Wavy hair.

He had promised that he would help to teach the thatha how to use the computer to check emails.

"Dey Gopal, " shouted thatha, " when are you coming over to teach me about checking emails da. "

"Coming thatha. Let me first change and have my snacks" he retorted.

Thatha then switched on the computer and waited for the flower he drew to come up. But instead, he got some other screen. He was worried and tried to open the same paint brush software he had used thinking that it may be stored there. After half an hour of futile attempts thatha was quite annoyed and started to curse modern inventions just as Gopal came in.

-- to be contd.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Pineapple and the Bee

Chanced upon one more fine poem that ought to have been in our twelfth standard textbooks if you ask me:


THE PINEAPPLE ANDTHE BEE

The pineapples, in triplerow,
Were basking hot, and all in blow.
A bee of most discerning taste
Perceived the fragrance as he pass'd,
On eager wing the spoiler came,
And search'd for crannies in the frame,
Urged his attempt on every side,
To every pane his trunk applied,
But still in vain, the frame was tight.
And only pervious to the light:
Thus having wasted half the day,
He trimm'd his flight another way.

Methinks, I said, in thee I find
The sin and madness of mankind.
To joys forbidden man aspires,
Consumes his soul with vain desires;
Folly the spring of his pursuit,
And disappointment all the fruit.
While Cynthio ogles, as she passes,
The nymph between two chariot glasses,
She is the pineapple, and he
The silly unsuccessful bee.

The maid who views with pensive air
The show-glass fraught with glittering ware,
Sees watches, bracelets, rings and lockets,
But sighs at the thought of empty pockets;
Like thine, her appetite is keen,
But ah, the cruel glass between!
Our dear delights are often such,
Exposed to view, but not to touch;
The sight our foolish heart inflames;
We long for pineapples in frames;
With hopeless wish one looks and lingers,
One breaks the glass, and cuts his fingers;
But they whom Truth and Wisdom lead,
Can gather honey from a weed.

William Cowper

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Even this shall pass away

Read this poem in a book and felt that it MUST be in my blog:

Even This Shall Pass Away

Once in Persia reigned a King
Who upon his signet ring
Graved a maxim true and wise,
Which, if held before the eyes,
Gave him counsel at a glance,
Fit for every change and chance.
Solemn words, and these are they:
"Even this shall pass away."

Trains of camels through the sand
Brought his gems from Samarcand;
Fleets of galleys through the seas
Brought him pearls to match with these.
But he counted not his gain
Treasures of the mine or main;
"What is wealth?" the king would say;
"Even this shall pass away."

In the revels of his court
At the zenith of the sport,
When the palms of all his guests
Burned with clapping at his jests;
He amid his figs and wine,
Cried: "Oh loving friends of mine!"
"Pleasure comes but not to stay;"
"Even this shall pass away."

Fighting on a furious field,
Once a javelin pierced his shield;
Soldiers with a loud lament
Bore him bleeding to his tent;
Groaning from his tortured side,
"Pain is hard to bear," he cried,
"But with patience, day by day,
Even this shall pass away."

Towering in the public square,
Twenty cubits in the air,
Rose his statue, carved in stone,
Then, the king, disguised, unknown,
Stood before his sculptured name
Musing meekly, "What is fame?
Fame is but a slow decay
Even this shall pass away."

Struck with palsy, sere and old,
Waiting at the gates of gold,
Said he with his dying breath;
"Life is done, but what is death?"
Then, in answer to the King,
Fell a sunbeam on his ring,
Showing by a heavenly ray,
"Even this shall pass away."

--- Theodore Tilton

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Back after a wonderful vacation

Me back after a long vacation. Hope to put a lot of articles soon. Read a few great poems...will post them soon.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Significance of a Yagna

This is in reply to one of the comments my friend made in the earlier post....this is a big topic, hence thought of blogging abt. this as well separately.

The belief of Yagna, is manifold...

The central belief of a Yagna, I will try to explain with the help of a story to be more clear:

An uneducated farmer goes to a telegraph office in his village and asks for a money order to be sent to his son who is studying in the city. So he goes to the Telegraph master and gives him a 100 rupee note , and requests it be sent to his son. The telegraph master sends a telegraph order through Morse code to the office at the city and then tells this farmer that the money has been sent.

To this the farmer says "Why are you lying to me, the 100 rupee note is still in your hands".

The farmer does not understand what is meant by a telegraph, and you cannot explain it to him that easily. Just as the telegraph has been sent to the son without the ACTUAL movement of the 100 rupee note, the belief of a Yagna is that anything that is offered in the "Sacrifical Fire" will be sent to the appropriate God.

According to the Gurus of this system of sacrifice, we are the farmers, who are yet to comprehend how this offering reaches the Gods.

Read this : http://www.kamakoti.org/hindudharma/part5/chap16.htm (and keep reading it by pressing the next button for more info)

Now why should we offer sacrifices: http://www.kamakoti.org/hindudharma/part5/chap19.htm

Some of you may kid the analogy that has been mentioned therein, but the fact is that, as we grow older, we feel how childish we were for many things in the past...it just means we are getting wiser. Perhaps, we need to have faith and more belief, and then will slowly come to understand that the analogy is perhaps true.

The reason why analogy is given to humans is because, we fail to comprehend when some things are said to us in the first go. To make life easier and to instill belief analogies are used. When we say every action has an equal and opposite reaction, we donot understand how...but when we give an example such as two balls coming in opposite directions colliding with each other, we seem to understand it better. Hence, in case you are a non-believer of the above system, it is not necessary for you to believe what is said, but you could read it for the sake of knowledge. In case you are a believer, then trust it fully.

Lastly, read this http://www.kamakoti.org/hindudharma/part19/chap3.htm, said by Sri Chandrasekara Saraswati Swamigal, (great words)

"The point to noted is that if you believe in the sastras you must believe in them fully. If you are an atheist you could of course reject all of them. But to make a show of being very clever and twist the sastras as you like, accepting some parts or rejecting or changing some others, is an offence more grave than that of being an atheist. To think that Mother Veda should dance to our tune is also a great offence. Learning the Vedas in such an attitude is tantamount to ridiculing them. "

Monday, April 04, 2005

Mistaken Beliefs

I happened to read one of my friends' blog recently where he has mentioned about the Sankara Mutt being an organization that serves the Brahmin Community and has gone on to insult it and talk of caste discrimination and stuff. It has sort of made me realize how little people are aware of this organization and the true greatness of it as well as some more things on Brahmins. Here is an attempt to clarify certain things about the Sankara Mutt and about Brahmins in general.

1) Before I begin, I start on this axiom : "Every organization has a motto and a set of beliefs. IF you expect an organization to function without a motto or a direction , you could rather not expect it to be existent at all. If having a set of beliefs is wrong, then the whole world be damned for everyone believes in something. Even nihilists believe in not believing in anything".

The Sankara Mutt has its foundations based on the Varnasrama System, which believes that every man should do the duty that his caste specifies and does not infringe on the duty of others, in other words, a software engineer should not drive an auto for a living because that is causing unnecessary competition for the Auto Driver. Whether or not the Varnasrama System is valid or not is another issue altogether. I am not interested in arguing upon that, all I want to say is that, the members of Sankara mutt have some particular belief. They practice what they believe. As long as they are not disturbing the peace and tranquility of other people by practicing their belief, everyone else can shut their **** and keep quiet.

Now, coming to this so called practice that has been so badly accused, torn apart, criticised , exorcised, and insulted in so many places.

What is it that people complain about? I broadly classify them into the following categories:

1) Brahmins are not allowing other caste members to chant the vedas - To be frank, being a brahmin and practicing the duties of a brahmin to the book is not something that you need to envy about. It is not a 5 star hotel stay with your bills paid by your father in law. Here is a partial list of what you are supposed to do and not do if you want to do the duty of a Brahmin as specified by the scriptures:

a) Get up EVERY DAY (no sundays) at 4 AM. Start with your Sandhyavandhanam (a prayer), and then there are a lot of homams(sacrifices, not animal sacrifice, but sacrifice made with Ghee, and oil) which you have to do right from 4 o clock until afternoon 12 o clock. Sitting in front of the fire for such a long time everyday is no mean task.
b) You are not supposed to eat till 12. After 12 you can have lunch, and then you again get on with chanting the Vedas till evening.
c) Evening you again do the Sandhyavandhanam , and listen to some Mahabharata/Ramayana stories recited by your guru etc.. and go to sleep at around 8 PM after your dinner.
d) No Eggs allowed in your diet. No Non vegetarian. No onions. No Garlic. And very staunch Brahmins have even additional restrictions like No Salt. These people have to beg for their food. They cannot cultivate/purchase from others.
e) Coming to the Mantras they chant, these mantras are not for Self but are for the welfare of the society. Just go and read any mantra from the Vedas and the Upanishads and it will have the word "we" in it rather than the word "I". Which means, they are praying for the welfare of you and me and the world. Is that sinful? Even the Gayatri Mantra has "Dhiyo yonaha prachodayat" which means "from me let the this world benefit".


This kind of a ritual which the members of the Sankara Mutt follow does not seem to me like something that anyone would want to do badly in their lives. In fact, the food that they eat is begged from streets.

People who think the Sankara mutt is gladly enjoying the money sent by brahmins all over the world, please rethink. Please go and see for yourself what happens in these mutts. I have seen one subsidiary of the Sankara Mutt here at Hyderabad. There are 6 teachers, and they are so poor that they are literally living like beggars. Their life is not all that glossy as someone would imagine.

2) Secondly to People not being allowed inside temples - This I too strongly object to. This should not take place. And I definitely donot see this happening anywhere now. So no point again and again talking about what probably happened 150 years ago. Even the Britishers suppressed us, do we now go and scorn them? We rather want to go to UK and proudly tell everyone that I went on a foreign trip. (I am not generalising here... so please donot assume I am accusing someone in case you donot fall under this category)

Now, let me atleast try to explain why sometimes some persons are not being allowed, or atleast why this sort of a thing came into practice - When a person performs duties such as cleaning a gutter, or working on dirty places, he is usually dirty. Temples are supposed to be clean places. So if these people are allowed inside without cleaning themselves first, then it just makes the place dirty.

Of course, anyone who enters the temple has to first wash his feet and then enter. If everyone who enters the temple has taken bath/or is clean, then I donot mind even if he were a gutter cleaner or sweeper. But I will object to Anil Ambani entering the temple, if he is dirty.

Are you aware of why a Kumbhabhisekam is performed in a temple? It is performed after you renovate any temple because during any new construction/renovation work, brings a lot of dirt into the temple and the Kumbhabhishekam is for cleansing this dirt. Kumbha - means the topmost point in the temple (its dome). Abhishekam is cleansing by pouring water/milk etc, and chanting mantras.

But yes, it is true that a lot of injustice was happening in the past.

But off late, I get the feeling that Brahmins are the lot that are suffering now. Apart from being scorned by members of different societies, (for the injustice which their great great grandfathers meted out), the brahmins also have the problems of reservation everywhere.

It is like this now : An upper caste gets 90 percentile. A reserved candidate gets 80 percentile. The reserved candidate gets to study in the medical college because his great great grandfather was once not allowed inside the temple by the upper caste members great great grandfather. How stupid can you get?

I personally know a person who lived above my house whose dad is like a millionaire and can afford to spend good money and educate his son. But he was an SC, and his son got a seat in IIT C and did Computer science though he had a much less rank when compared to another counterpart.

I guess I am deviating from the main topic.

But anyways, people who scorn these practices, please realize that the Mutt, and the Brahmins are praying for the welfare of the whole world, and it is not that the Mutt serves only brahmins. IT IS NOT SO.

I would strongly sugest you read "Hindu Dharma" by Chandrasekara Saraswati Swamigal before you again scorn a brahmin/the mutt.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Is something wrong?

Am I alone in this or do I have company? Have pondered over this question many a times...but yet to find a real reason for why I still do the following:

1) Work hundreds of miles away when I want to be with my loved ones back at Chennai
2) Want more money when I am already earning more than about 95% of Indians.
3) Feel something is not right when everything is going smoothly
4) Want to sleep badly between 2-4 in the afternoon after my lunch and then get back to work but I dont
5) Want to achieve something in life, but not exactly sure what
6) Want to find out the meaning of life, just to know if there is light at the end of the tunnel
7) Write Code when I want to be really out there doing something more real, more meaningful
8) Keep complaining that I am not living upto my potential

Perhaps, these questions were never meant to be answered, and we spend our life finding the answers, when they are there right in front of us all the time. "That is life".

Monday, March 21, 2005

A nice morning surprise

Well, had a call with my boss today and here is what he has to say:

Boss : Hi Bala
Me : Hi ...
Boss : Just wanted to speak to you about something
Me : Yes, sure, tell me.
Boss : We are please to inform you that we have decided to promote you. Thanks a lot for the good work.
Me : Thanks a lot. Thats great news.

So, meet Senior Applications Engineer Cb.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Visu's "Arattai Arangam"

I happened to see one more great episode yesterday. It is certainly one of the greatest things that has happened to TamilNadu and to India in general. For people who donot know about this serial, it is actually a Stage show conducted by Visu (Short for Viswanathan, who is a well known Cinema figure in TN...he used to take a lot of family-life oriented moviesearlier). In this show he portrays people from a varied background. You can see an old lady from Dindigul, and a school boy from Rameswaram all talking in the same show.

It is a talk show, where there will be a generic (ya, I am a software developer) topic, and people will voice their views on it. So far I have seen "n" number of disadvantaged people, "n" number of economically downtrodden people, "n" villages and "n" children benefit from this serial.

As I see each and every episode, I gain hope in life and in mankind in general. I have seen a person who is paralysed hip below, but has written a great software program called "Azhagi" which translates english to tamil. I have seen a young girl get awards and medals in almost all fields, and recently was selected to participate in a karate contest in Germany , but was unable to go because of economic problems....had she been to that contest, we would have probably seen another "Sania Mirza" of Karate in her...who knows?

I see a man who speaks of how his lover got killed in a Bus Burning incident in TN, and reformed himself, and decided to set up an orphanage in memory of his killed lover.

In this serial I have seen mountains being moved, rivers being created, and most of all, a smile on a poor mans face.

It is from this serial that I got my signature which says "Society is not destroyed by the action of a few rascals. It is destroyed by the inaction of the remaining good people" - said by Swami Vivekananda.

I would like to pay my salutations to Visu for having done a marvellous job. I am not finding words to praise you and your arattai arangam.

Also, I want to specifically praise the way he carries himself in the talk show. He has never raised a controversy ever ... though this is such a show where controversies can be as easily created as lifting a finger. To me, he seems like a very unbiased and balanced person. Kudos!!!

Great going Visu sir. Keep continuing the good work!!!

Your fan.
cb.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

When QA Pings "Hi"

Just thought up a sample conversation between a QA guy (Villain, because I am not in QA) and a Software Developer (Hero, because I am a developer). For all the ignoramuses, QA is the short for "Quality Assurance" team, which is incharge of testing the code that a developer writes.

This happens in the Chat window:

QA (pings the developer in the morning) : Hi
Developer (Oh Shit!!! My day is gone :( ...don't know what is wrong this time) : Hi
QA: Good morning
Developer (You say Good morning and spoil my whole day, you....) : Good morning
QA: Could you help me with something...I am not sure how to open this window
Developer (Phew!!! I thought he was gonna log some bug) : Ya sure... what is it...tell me...

And the developer spends 20 minutes explaining how to do something

After 2 hrs.

QA : Hi
Developer (Here he goes again :(...hope it is not a bug) : Hi
QA : Are we having any holidays next week?
Developer (Phew once again!!!) : No, I dont think so. Maybe we might be called to work on saturday and sunday as well :(
QA : :(

After lunch

QA : Hi
Developer (eh?) : Hi
QA : I am not sure if this is working the way it is supposed to...
Developer (Oh no!!!! he has spoken the forbidden words :( ... now what do I do) : What happened?
QA : Well, you see ....(and he goes on to explain the issue)
Developer (Oops, my day is screwed) : eh....you know like....basically I think it might not be an issue, let me take a look at it.
Developer (shit why did I miss that test case out :(....., and sits down to fix the issue)

After 1 hour

QA : Hi
Developer (Not again) : Hi
QA : Just had another doubt....I am not sure if this is working the way it is supposed to...
Developer (what???? you just gave me an issue, why dont you let me finish it ? ) : What is it?

And one more issue on our heros head....

After 1 hour

QA : Hi
Developer (exhausted with the earlier work): hi
QA : Could you please take a look at this bug : 1201010, I just logged it
Developer : Ya sure.


After several such conversations, at 7 PM in the evening our QA sends a bug report:

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Report of bugs found today :

Bug 1201001 : blah blah blah is not working - Priority Low
Bug 1201002 : this is not working - Priorty Medium
Bug 1201004 : that is not working - Priority Medium
Bug 1201010 : nothing is working - Priority Very high

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

At 11 PM our hero crawls back home. His wife greets him

Wife : Hi
Developer : NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, not a Hi, say anything but a Hi.........I hate Hi. Hi is the beginning of all misery ... it all starts with a simple Hi.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Work Work Work!!!

My teammates have quit!!!
My teammates have quit!!!
My teammates have quit!!!

My bug queue is now twice the size of what it was!!!

Do I panic?

Naah!!!

It is fun man. Great fun if you have to do a lot of work. It gives you a chance to learn so many things you. In fact, in one day I learned how to apply HR Global patch, and that the Saudi Localisation does not ship any Address details in an LDT (Huh!? what is that supposed to be?, well....you have to be in my company to know what that means)

Anyways, looking forward for a lot of enjoyable time with loads of work , and less blogging :(.
I have so far logged a bug, fixed 3 bugs and helped to QA to get on with the QA since morning!!!

A great thing is my friend mumu has been promoted!!!!!
What about me? Don't ask. :) I dont know myself. All I know is he deserved it.

Friday, March 11, 2005

The Thaatha from Mylapore - Part II

"Dey Gopal, can you please come here?", cried thaatha. Gopal was the next door neighbour's son. He was in his 2nd year of college.

"Coming, thaatha. What happened?", replied Gopal.

"Can you please help me with this computer that my son has sent me. I am not sure how to use it. It seems he had sent me an email last week. I am not able to understand how to use it. Can you please teach me how to use this"

"Thaatha I am busy right now, can I come later?", said Gopal grumbling.

"Ok Gopal. What time will you be free. I just want to learn how to use this computer so that I dont have to disturb you everytime to see my emails"

"I will come in the evening and teach you thaatha", said Gopal and quickly bolted

"Hmm...what do I do now...let me try to find out how to use it myself. Andha kaalathula naa paakadhadhaa? (I have done so may things in life, this should not be tough)", said thaatha, and started to switch on his computer.

"Click on Start to begin"

Thatha slowly and apprehensively keeps the mouse pointer right at the center of the "Start" button on the bottom left corner.

"Click"
"Programs"
"Favourites"
"Documents"
"Settings"
"Search"
"Help"
"Run"
"Log off Chidambaram"
"Shut Down"

"Now which one do I select for checking email? Our thaatha slowly moves his mouse pointer to the programs, after a couple of unsuccessful attempts when he dragged his mouse too much to right and clicking only to make that menu disappear.

"Hmm...let me try Accessories... what is there in that....HAH!!! I got it, "Communications", I guess that is the thing I have to click to see email"

"Huh,? what is this, there is no email in communications...I wonder where I will find it"

Next our thaatha tries to type "EMAIL" in his keyboard and sees if anything happens.

After a dozen such attempts, two dozen wrong menus, and three dozen error messages, thaatha finally finds himself drawing the picture of a flower using paint brush after having given up the idea of reading an email.

Unfortunately he could not save the flower after drawing it for he did not know where to click and what to do. So our thatha switches off the computer thinking that he will find the flower where he left it the next time he switches it on. Thaathas Flower

He had a great first day with the computer of his. Now he is sound asleep, waiting for the evening to come....

Thursday, March 10, 2005

All in a name

Coming to think of it, why do people have such big names? I wouldn't mind a smaller name at all :)

I am being called "Bala" by most of the people, which is sort of wrong. It is just an adjective, "Bala" just means "Young". Once u attach it to "Subramanian" only then it gets a meaning which means "Balasubramanian", i.e "Young Subramanian".

I am atleast better off than my friend Lakshminarainan. Yes, it is "Lakshminarainan" with the shpelling msitaek. Some nomenclature, his parents tell him. I pity thee woodworm.

All along I thought I was the only one who was suffering from this trouble, until I met my friend dear Venkarasubramanian Ramachandran, whose name is so long it had to be truncated while forming his official email id. Oops....sorry about that.

Some of my friends were lucky enough to be called Kumaresan or Vasant or Hariprasad...

The trouble starts when you are asked to enter your email login, your tarantella login, your windows login, your online files login, your official support login etc etc, when you have to type balasubramanian.chandrasekaran@mycompany.com every time :(

Hence I have decided that I am not calling my son/daughter with a name more than 8 characters long :)

I remember an email chain I read sometime back, where there was a guy who was called Parthasarathy, and there went his chances with girls. How do you expect to increase the list of your friends who are girls ;) , if you have a name like that? They will probably send you an invite to perform in the next Carnatic Music Festival that is held in Mylapore.

"Baaolar" is how my friend from US calls me :(. If such a simple 4 lettered "Bala" is so tough to pronounce for the people abroad, how the hell can I make him pronounce "Subramanian" :(

He will probably end up calling me "Baaolarshobromoiniyan".... noooooooooooooooooooooo

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The Thaatha (Grandpa) from Mylapore

Mylapore, the name rings a bell to anyone who has been to the December Carnatic Music orchestras in Chennai ("kutcheries", they are called in Tamil). Our hero has been living here for the last 70 years now. He celebrated his 70th birthday a couple of days ago on November 14th. Alone. His partner for life, had broken her pact last year.

"Hello Chidambaram sir, how are you doing today?", called the pan shop owner."Yes, I am doing as usual. The chill is a bit on the high today isn't it? Guess the rain yesterday must have caused it. So how are your Deepavalli purchases coming along", said thaatha.

"This year hasn't been as good as last year sir. Sales have been low. So we just settled for a new set of dresses and crackers for our children. We just got ourselves a new towel for the sake of the festival."

Children. Coming to think of it, our Chidambaram thaatha had done the same thing that this pan shop owner had done almost every year when he was working in Indian Bank as a clerk. 2 sons and 2 daughters are not easy to bring up with the pay of a bank clerk. His wife Kanthamani had been a loving and caring mother. Though uneducated, she was very good in managing the household accounts and helped him keep a good bank balance in case of emergencies.

"Do you know that Ramu has sent me a beautiful watch as gift for this Deepavalli. It is some swatch or something. But it is not working, somehow he forgot to put the battery and I can't find a shop which sells that battery", said thaatha, displaying the watch in his hand proudly. Sadly it did not show the time that it is supposed to show.

Ramakrishnan was his eldest son. He was a quiet yet brilliant boy. The usual shy types. Oily hair. Specs right from the third standard. He scored good marks to secure a seat in an engineering college. Our hero would not mind spending his savings for the education of his first son. So off his son went to the engineering college. Now he works in a firm in the US of A.

"So what happened to Raghu? Did he send you something as well?", asked the pan shop owner.

Raghu, his second son, was no less intelligent than his first son. However, he was more interested in management. He took up Charted Accountancy, and later did MBA.Now he works in London. A very shrewd boy. Very shrewd indeed.

"Of course he did. My dear kuttan has sent me a parker pen. So thoughtful of him. He knows that I have started writing short stories these days", said thaatha.

The pension that he received from Indian Bank was not sufficient for taking care of his monthly expenses. 3000 rupees a month is very less given the rising rates of inflation. So he had to resort to writing short stories to Aananda Vikadan, a magazine in Tamil. This earned him another 1000 more rupees on an average, depending upon his story getting published.

"So how is Raaji, she just gave birth to her second child right? Is it a boy or girl", asked the pan shop owner.

"Raaji is doing great. I have one more grandson to add to my list of grandchildren. They have decided to name him Rahul. God knows what names they give to children these days. Rahul...what does that mean? In my days we used to give such good names as Rajagopalachari, Parthasarathy, Balasubramanian , Lakshminarayanan etc. Look at the names they give to the children these days, not more than 10 characters long, and don't know which God they name them after. She spoke to me day before from Australia to wish me on my birthday. It seems her husband is looking for a new job as he got bored of some software company."

"And how is your youngest daughter? is she doing well? Heard her husband just moved to Dubai"

"Aamam(yes). His recent project is with a client there. So they shifted there. I heard she is also expecting a child now. I hope it is a girl, that will make it 3 grandsons and 3 granddaughters in all", exlaimed thaatha.

"You are so lucky sir, all your children are well settled in life. And they remember to send you gifts whenever there is an occassion. What more can you ask for", said the pan shop owner.

A pause. A vague silence. Our thaatha seems to think about something.

"Yes, you are right. How lucky I am...... How lucky I am.....", said thaatha

"Seri, give me 1/2 kowalai (a kowalai is 12 beetel leaves). I have to get ready soon. Have a pooja to perform", said thaatha.

Perhaps...., the pooja was intended for the welfare of his children.

-- this is the first in the set of stories I intend to write on my hero Chidambaram...hope I Find time to write more about my hero.