Wednesday, November 23, 2016

850. Thank you

Whenever he wakes up, the first person he looks out for is his mom. How much ever me and my mom pamper him, junior will always look out for his mom as the first choice and we are all a joint distant second. For all the effort that she takes to make sure he is fed on time, even during odd hours and for having a parallel processing running on mind about him 24/7, despite the fact that he spends very less of his waking hours with her, his reactions when he sees her back from office, the liberty with which he tries out all his antics first with her and then using us for replicating, it all has a clear hall mark of a sense of gratitude hard written on it. You may term it mother love, genetics, 9 months advance acquaintance etc. But it all boils down to three people who live with you, of which two are not to be seen during majority of your day time, yet you choose one of them as your play mate. Even for voicing out his gibberish, learning new things like an ink over blotting paper, his first choice is always his mom. All those mushy syrupy honey dipped quotes and phrases on motherly love have an underlying sense of gratification and thanks if not anything else, for when you are at  your vulnerable best, depending on others to feed you at odd hours when you feel hungry, without even being able to express your hunger and crying out loud being the only source of signaling, despite having put in long hours, with sleepy tired face, if a being caters to your need and thinks only about your need sacrificing what little of sleeping time available, it makes being gratitude the least of all one can be.
Even, the most non-controversial content which is universally applicable and accepted book of all times, Thirukkural quotes that, there is redemption for any sin but for being ungratefulness. As he learns with every passing day, junior never fails to impart his out worldly  wisdom with his simple activities. With Thanksgiving waiting to dawn upon, probably would take this post as an opportunity to thank all those wonderful people, who take time to share their thoughts and have in turn helped in shaping mine. Good luck with rest of the year. Hang on tighter 😃

Friday, November 18, 2016

Week that wasn't

Whenever I post a movie review, I often mention how a good looking couple with crackling chemistry on screen, make even normal and monotonous screen play look magical in a movie. Vijay Anthony, time and again proves that with a good script, looks doesn’t matter at all. Right from his first movie, Naan, which literally was the trendsetter movie of music directors donning the lead actor role, his follow-up movie Salim which was a sequel, he has showed his acumen in picking the right script that suits his limitations as an actor at the same time keeps the audience hooked. His last movie, released few months back, raised quite a few eyebrows with its title as Pichaikaaran. In the superstition abound cine industry, any negative title or one with negative connotation are always a strict NO. To rub it in he has went on to register more such “unlucky” titles for his upcoming movies as well. Pichaikaran turned out to be the biggest hit of his career and probably one of the highest grosser of the year. Recently it was shown on TV. I’ve watched his movies only when they are released on television and never on theaters. Probably will buck the trend for his next release “Saithaan”, which going by the promos looks a mystery thriller in making. Watching his Pichaikaaran, brought back fond memories of Sunday evening movie watch on good old Doordarshan days. After a really long while was watching a movie on a Sunday evening and that too a good one. To rub the point in, my mom watched the movie in all interest. For someone who never watches any movie for more than few minutes, this was an achievement in itself. The script was a perfect blend of commercial elements, good humor, fights, mother sentiments in heavy doses and with one good song. Heroine was not a distracting beauty but was the best fit, possibly , into the story. Overall, it was a decent entertainer and not surprisingly a hit across languages in which it was dubbed.

Life does throw really tickling situations at the most unexpected of places. With the ongoing currency crisis, causing serpentine queues and, for a change, irritated customers yelling at bank staff, I was in one such queue when an old lady who stood few people before me, kept on counting her 1000 rupee notes every now and then. Was wondering either she must have been doing that out of boredom in the queue or probably was suffering from OCD!! When her turn came in, she promptly deposited the ten notes she had counted by heart a thousand times and got 2000 rupee notes in exchange. When she counted the new currency she suddenly grew all agitated and started shouting at the cashier. “Naan 10 notes kuduthen..nee 5 thaan kuduthurkka..baaki 5 kudu” nu oray shouting she was. The cashier after her first attempt to pacify the lady blew her lid off. “En maa…10,000 ku ethana 2000 note tharuvaanga…idhu kuda theriama edhuku neengalam change maatha vareenga..poitu veetlenthu yaraachum kootitu vaanga” nu she started shouting, muttering about her plight. The entire queue was laughing for the way in which that old lady demanded 10 notes, when all the while she had just counted the notes and not the amount she had brought in!!!

Second situation was even funnier. There was this old man who was standing few people behind me and took the role of self appointed queue maintainer. He ordered every one to maintain discipline and was doing a really good job with his booming voice, unmatched to his wiry frame. When his turn came, he sauntered to the counter and promptly produced the form and asked for his quote of 4000 in fresh notes of new currency. The poor cashier was again at the receiving end. She thought that the man had given her old notes and is asking for new notes which she has missed. She took a few minutes to compose herself and asked him where are the old notes. He promptly replied “old notes? Apdina…arasaangam elarukum 4000 kaasu pudu notela kudukuthunnu news la sonnangalay…adha kuduma…neramaaguthu” Despite the pressure situation, the cashier also joined the laughter this time. Was reminded of a Goundamani comedy where he goes in a queue asking for patta of free land for freedom fighters who have been to jail, mistaking it to be for everyone who have been to jail.

Aduthavan bulb vaangarathula enna oru aanantham!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Right,Righter,Rightest

Thurmugi seems to be the year of the right. Both from a political standpoint and also from a literal sense. We see the rise of right across the globe, with some even managing to win the coveted House post on the far side of the planet. Never before has the world nations been so united in being discorded for similar reasons. Nationalism and Patriotism are tested and verified as many times, if not more than, blood sugar and cholesterol and this is a common phenomenon world over. Powers to be and incumbent power centers, both drive their people away from their home in the game of one-uppance and civil wars, on who is more right in catering to their scattering masses. Insane statements by people in power are taken at face value and in deeper sense and are fought against and for on the streets. Right has never been so wrong and right at the same time. Opinions are never debated but are fought over and aren't at rest till the opposition is grounded to dust. There are more character assassinations that take place on social media on a daily basis, than all the politically motivated cold war and world wars put together. People don't think twice before idolizing or demonizing any one or anything. What was considered as viral for one or two stray incidents have become everyday occurrences, thanks to the tightly bind of the world wide web. No one is willing to concede on any point for its the concept of "my right is more right than your right" if at all if its right!!!

India, like Trantor of Foundation series, has always been the country which can be considered as the best sample set to represent world nations across all categories, as any change or event that happens in India has resonance and possible replications world over. And its not just because of its size and population, its also due to the innate nature of our politicos to ape everything under the western sun. Some posts back, I had rambled about, how we should be a presidential form of govt and what I would do if I became the president. With the current PM, who makes sure his imprint is there on every single major decision, be it internal or external affairs, seems like we are already onto the presidential mode of governance ala USA. Every single opposition labels this govt as Modi’s govt and rarely by the party in rule. Every single criticism is directed at the PM at a personal level and not at the government. For a person, who has the pulse of the nation at his fingertips in Twitter, he has reaped the rewards of a 5 year term and has managed to secure hordes of followers who defend his decisions as their own. Ditto for Trump. Both Modi and Trump have viewpoints that are 360 degree different than their opponents. While Modi’s has found favor with voice of reason and hope of a better future supporting it, Trump might still have to win over with his actions and their consequences once he takes office. Between the two of them, they’ve the biggest and probably the youngest populace of supporters, who trust their destiny on their decisions. Both of them have a Schrodinger-ish approach towards their policies which are neither here nor there and cannot be written off or considered successful. If at all the phrase “re-writing history“ applies to anybody these two would be the chosen ones or should I say chosen two’s??!!

Their path to success and their supporters goes on to show what happens when politics apes movie dom. We’ve seen the rise of actors donning the white cap and encash their popularity into votes. What we are witnessing now is the reverse trend with politicos tapping in on their inner actors and fan base into securing their parliament seats. Ditto for anyone who shoots for their claim to fame. Be it a budding author to sportsperson to media personality, anyone who wishes to carve a space in public domain, never had it so easy. The more controversial and blatant they are, the quicker is their claim to fame. With fan bases quickly turning into battle ready battalions, arguments have taken over meaningful debates with mockery and cynicism replacing constructive alternate viewpoints, which are condescending at best.

Are these good signs? May be yes and may not be so as well. On one hand we feel its an overkill of expression with the rise of keyboard warriors, while on the other hand the power-to-be ‘s  have one more medium to monitor and crush any “dissent”. We are moving more and more towards a feudal mode of a system and governance and implicitly monarchy has been accepted as the way political systems behave, with every party having its own dynasties vying for the iron throne. There is a popular saying that a war doesn’t determine who is right but who is left. Will that be the fallacy of our lifetime with the rightest of rights determine what is the right right? As Enya croons, “Only time” will tell.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

SWEEK memories

As a part of the entry for SWEEK, where n you’ve to reminiscence how blogging changed your life, i thought of blogging a post. The flashbacks were sporadic and random and to streamline the thought process and recollections wanted to trace back to my very first post. Since I post at a random frequency had kind of forgotten from when it all started.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious was the very first word on my blog. Should it be called a word or a sentence begs a debate of its own. The back story behind the post says that it all started 10 years and 9 months ago to this date when I was impressed and intrigued curious word that I stumbled upon on a quiz show where one of the teams were named the same. Per my own volition, I had googled for the word and what originally started as a mean to record anything that interests me and is intriguing is continuing in the same way in one form or other across 846 posts.

As I glance across the posts, they are nothing short of a chronological archive of all those events in the past decade and over, that have left their mark on me and have found a way into the blog in word form. From an almost Morse code form of expressing my thoughts with all those dots, moving on to longer sentences without any para breaks, rivalling RL Stevenson, to thanglish form, one which I am most comfortable in, where I don’t have to think  in Tamil and translate for an equivalent word in English and continue to ramble on transliterating the same in Tamil, testing the patience of whichever little crowd that visits this blog.

The world of bloggers that I entered in had gone through so many changes that its hardly recognizable from what it was before. I made so many friends, some for life, with blog posts and the camaraderie easily transformed from the word form to person behind the post whenever we met in person. There was an obvious and unmistakable link between what was written and the person who wrote, even though the contents were more of a result out of hobby and nothing professional. We formed clubs, teased fellow bloggers, had frequent meets, attended personal events and as randomly and rapidly as they evolved, the moment people left the blog space, the links also dissolved. Writing was the one thread that held us all together and as each of us became busy with our own life, the hobby that united us all took back seat.

More than being seen as a personal space to vent, rant and record, blog space has become all the more serious and critical where every point has to be defended and every comment from being offensive. Other interesting aspect being the commercialization elements that have taken shape. If you can make money out of something you do happily, what else could be a better win-win situation.
Would be interesting to see how it takes shape further, in times where Social Media is something which is re-designing the way even businesses operate. Now, that could safely be called as mixing business with pleasure, for sure.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

The one Indian girl - review

After my previous post on CB, I am stumped for a start for this post. Right from the title, there is a formulaic approach. This guy has some fetish for numbers in title – 5 point someone, 1 night at call center, 3 mistakes of my life, 2 states, revolution 2020 and 1 Indian girl. And yes he deals in fractions as well with “half girlfriend” !!! Either he has a fetish for Maths or was  a Maths buff, but the titles are more like buffoonery. There is this other guy, Matt Reilly, who gives similar titles to his books – 7 ancient wonders, 6 sacred stones, 5 great warriors. At least he sticks to Natural numbers and with any mercy the series might stop after one. Shudders at the thought that they might get an extension as a whole number or integer series.

Coming back to CB, thann muyarchiyil satrum Manam thalaratha vikra’mad’hithiya gils finished his latest book as well. Not sure if it had got to do with the previous post or the typical mindset to desperately try to support the underdog, I kind of like the book. Oops. There I have said that I’ve liked a CB novel !!! Hope the society doesn’t shun me, if not already. After ranting several hundred words on how template-ish his stories are and how predictably boring his plots or the lack of it and considering that he hasn’t changed his theme much on his latest book as well, what is so likeable about the book may be a question incoming.
Is it in conversational tone throughout with mind voice being the prominent speaker – Yes (I for one find it easy to follow and consider this as a plus in his books. Rather than deciphering metaphors its simple and plain and expressed literally!!)
Does the lead character (female in this one) get into live-in/physical/ relationships before marriage – multiple times yes.
Does the book involve depiction of matter scenes – much more than all his previous books put together and much more detailed. Trying to catch up to international audience our guy is.
Does any of the characters deal with love failure(s) –almost all of them

Idhu oru booku ..athuku ivlo bitta nu yosikka vaikuthula. True that feeling. Plot wise, it’s something that has always been simmering for ages – career oriented women vs home makers. Wanted to type working women vs house wife. But the politically correct me kicked the keyboard away till I corrected it. Anyway, story wise, it’s about an about-to-be runaway bride, who has lot of questions about her impending marriage with a guy fixed via online matrimony site by her parents. A sudden text from her ex, Debu, makes her go in flashback mode about her affair with him and how he dumped her the moment he got to know that she earns thrice as much as her. Considering that she works for a top bank and he earns his peanuts slogging in an up and coming ad company, either he prolonged his decision because he was dumb and Dumbu would’ve made a better name for him than Debu or he stayed till CB couldn’t think of anymore matter scenes for him with the heroine. Nevertheless, she metamorphic-ally dumps him along with her costly iPhone on Hudson bay and moves on to a new location. There she has an affair with her boss. All throughout the book, there are random and several mentions of how smart the heroine is in her work in dealing with difficult deals. This second guy is married and has two kids and is twice her age. All this kicks in for the heroine, only when he mentions that he thought of her as a career woman and not someone interested in having a “named” relationship. And off she goes to another place. Kitta thatta Vadivelu comedy mathiri before I could think “velakaaranumaa” she selects/gets selected an online spouse for would-be, to please her pestering mom. To make the flashbacks possible for her to recollect, each of her ex’s make a visit to her wedding venue to facilitate all those titillating scenes. With both her ex’s trying to woo her back in their life, promising to stop the marriage impending in the most halal manner possible, the heroine finds time to accommodate the foreign mappillai, literally, in little shenanigans like smoking weed and getting arrested by police, punch drunk. Intha ranagalathulayum oru koothugalam solvaangalay athu pola, she escapes in between functions and listens to both her ex’s bidding higher and higher for her return. Kadisila she calls all three of them, including the American mappillai, to literally put inky-pinky-ponky and select who would be her better half. Considering the amount of liquor she dunks in the book, she must’ve been quite full!!! Kodumai of kodumai is that she actually dumps all three. Oops spoiler alert (intha bookla edhu spoiling and ethukaga alert pannennu kekapdaathu). Like all the typical America maapillai’s he too gets his chance back in the end which is left for the audience to finish, wondering if they lived happily ever after or got married.

Ipdi kazhuvi oothitu, if I am permitted to say that there were few intriguing sections which were pretty realistic, kochindu adikka varapdaathu. Working women, especially successful ones and even more specifically those who earn the mega bucks, I guess would be falling under the ‘very difficult to get married off” category. Before the judging knives are out for my blood, let me make one more damning statement that, of all the lot, the cribbing mother of the heroine, who worries along the lines mentioned above, sounded the only practical and sane character. If we shed the fake feminist garb for a sec and think about it, how many of us, me including, would settle for a girl who earns tonnes of money more than us. Male ego has been around since forever and head of the family is always the guy for he is expected and supposed to earn more. With changing times and women competing with men on equal footing across all disciplines, be it sports, religion or politics and their rising demands for equal pay be it sports, religion or politics, the situations described in the book are bound to be more common place in few years’ time. In fact, with every relation that the heroine gets into and her inner conversations with herself, it never sounded girlish, to put it as crudely as possible, but the voice of the male “CB”. When a guy rejects a women for earning more than him, it sounds natural, for he is trying to protect his ego from any bruising down the line. But when a girl rejects someone because he earns less than her, its both acceptable and despised. She is blamed as cherry picker who wouldn’t want to settle for anything less and is greedy and money minded. The first guy who dumps her stating that she wanted her to be a home maker and take care of his kids and not a money making machine, isn’t far off from your normal guy in any group. When the second guy questions her commitment to long term relationship, having seen her slog in office, he isn’t far off from current reality either. But, as men, are we even ready to consider the possibility of being a stay at home dad? Personally, I bet a full year paycheck that, its every guy’s dream. But will they consider it as an option along with the chores it brings in? Can paternal care be an alternative for maternal care, even when the option is available? Will guys be ready to let their women be the proverbial head of the family and take care of the bills? All along, there is this mild concept of “settling down” which the author playfully rubs it in as if we are sediments to settle down by getting married. In one shot, he takes a huge dig at the biggest concept ever since time immemorial of male ego and an increasingly effective pot-shot on the institution of marriage.

Gils verdict – For every Narayana Murthy who offered to sacrifice his dream to save his wife’s, there are a billion guys who wouldn’t bate an eyelid to think otherwise. My neighbor, whose was a love marriage, is a printer by profession and his wife, an extremely well paid IT head of some company. Their quarrels on any topic would always end up on the money aspect and no wall was strong enough to contain their voices. Despite the misgivings, they’ve been still married as this post sees the light of the day and are blessed with 2 super cute kids. How many such couples manage to sustain their relation? How many such men would even be willing to play the second fiddle? With changing times and widening gender ratio, we are all set for interesting times ahead. As for the book, well, ivlo peria post padichum if you didn’t got it, you got it.