Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Aftermath of a protest

What was heartening to see, turned out into the very thing, that people were worried about right at the beginning. Probably this was one protest where people willingly participated and more than being a war zone bubbling with emotion, it had also a festive mood to it. People from as far as tamabram and chrompet visited Marina beach with cartons of biscuit and food items to support the protestors and to be a part of it. The protest had rekindled that long lost fire that lay dormant on each of them and the tamil spirit was at its glorious display for all of those days when the students where at the war front.

With their clear decision on not to allow any political parties anywhere near the protest zone, which was one of the sole reason for so many people joining them and also the dignified way in which they conducted themselves, cleaning up the place, taking care of each other, protecting the kids and womenfolk, the students won the hearts of all. Yaar kann patutho. The events of the last 2 days became nasty to say the least. Anti social elements entered silently into the crowd and started creating mischief. It turned out into a full fledged war between Police and the "protestors" and the video garbs show both parties in not so great light.

Why the people refused to budge even after the news came on the ordinance?
Well..for one reason the protest was against the very people who didn't act till push came to shove and they didn't trust the politicians at the helm

Why they stayed back even after the bill was passed?
Of the lakhs of people who turned up, not everyone had a single point agenda. Many had their own reasons to join the protest and the bill against the ban wasn't their only cry for concern.

What initially was looked at in amazement turned out to be the downside as well. With no designated leader to gather the crowd, yet so many turning up every single day, people were left wondering do we really even need a leader going forward. But the aftermath proved them wrong. A rod, however long it may be, is only as strong as its spear head. With no one to push them for a single cause, they didn't know how to end the protest. And there was distrust amongst the crowd themselves that there may not be another one of this much in magnitude and hence wanted to push for every point of concern.

While watching some of the videos taken during the protest on social media was getting goosebumps looking at the josh with which girls were shouting slogans and how they were several steps ahead of guys in belting them out. Was worried on one side that they might get targeted post the protests and something of similar nature has taken shape now. The most famous of the lot, that girl has been identified as the daughter of the opposition party member, the mom of whom has even kept a huge billboard in honour of her daughter. What was an apolitical event got painted and tainted leaving a bitter taste.

Whatever said and done, its an event that made the entire nation take a look at the people down south in awe and even the entire world for the manner in which our students conducted themselves. This would and definitely should be the template for any future civilian  participation in voicing out their concerns. Proud of you folks.

Saviour of parents

Konjam over thinking panrathu, kooda porantha gunam aaitathaala, this doesn’t sound weird from any angle. Even though I don’t exactly remember any of them being told to me as a child, but I always had this fear of what I would tell my kid as story or rhymes, when he comes to that stage. Where would I go for rhymes, especially tamizh ones for I barely remember anything!! With the educational institutes waging an all out war on our tradition and culture and with urban lifestyle almost already taking care of eradicating whatever else remaining from how we grew up and the kind of stories that one got to read and hear about, was having this nagging thought at all corners of mind.

While searching for tamil rhymes in youtube stumbled  upon this treasure trove of videos - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaNodvDZksY&t=299s​ called Kanmani papa padalgal with various volumes of them. Right from the dosaiyamma dosai to all those famous tamil rhymes like "nila nila" and anything and everything you can think of, its right there in video format. The graphics for the cartoon are also pretty impressive and are way ahead of league when compared to some of the CG work done on movies. Especially the wide eyed kanmani and the kutty dog pappu. Love their expressions and their laughs and especially the voices dubbed for kanmani. Very very sweet. No wonder kids latch on to these and not just them. Offlate have been hearing these songs wherever I go or probably have been realising it only off late.

While searching on similar themes stumbled upon rhymes for games which my mom and her generation used to play in schools. She was stunned to hear those songs which mom herself had forgotten and those cute videos brought back so much happy memories for her. Kutty paiyan relishes these videos and has his own favorite picks. I am amazed at his taste to say the least. In a video running an hour long, he would pick the best. I am not saying his preference or like, but whichever one he picks would definitely be something anyone would live for. Watch out for the section from 7:09 till 8:29. Off all the songs in this video, he would smile and at times laugh by himself only for this rhymes.

Whoever has made these vidoes, be it the Infobell team or the Chu Chu tv team..kudos guys. Awesome job.

Vector-book review

I used to be a big fan of Robin Cook’s novels. In fact his were the first books of medical thriller genre that I got introduced to and guess wouldn’t be far from wrong to quote he was the front runner in this genre of novels. He never compromised on usage of medical terminologies and tests and processes and somehow, with the characters being strongly established and having connected with the readers, could go with the context for almost all of those terminologies without even bothering to refer google-aandavar or dictionary. When I began reading Arthur Hailey, whose novels are more like Ph.D thesis on each topic, the cookie begun to crumble and with introduction of Michael Crichton, Cook lost his captaincy J Especially with Michael Crichton’s style almost in synch with the flow and form of Cook. One major difference between the two was that, while both had interesting beginnings portions, Cook lost the knack over a period of time. Almost all his later books had a stale start and ending was never his strength with his lead pair eking out an easy escape. With his almost overlapping story lines, beyond a few books, the sense of familiarity made it feel as if I’ve already read the book, even though I wouldn’t have.

Took up Vector as I was pretty sure I hadn’t read it. Plot wise its pretty straight forward with a Disgruntled Russian Bio scientist, working as a cab driver in NY, two ex service men who are racists and thirst for white supremacy. They come together to unleash bio attack on NY. The Russian prepares home made Anthrax and does sample testing on one appavi, who dies without knowing what hit him. His body ends up at the Medical Examiner’s office where the hero Jack comes into picture and the story evolves from there till how the plot boomerangs on the perpetrators. To my knowledge Cook doesn’t categorize any of his novels as Jack Stapleton series, even though the lead character, his female counterpart and their police friend plus the romantic triangle between them forms a running sequence across his books, which doesn’t much interfere with the original premise and is a mere side note. Could’ve been a better selling point in my opinion. Typical to his other novels, the ending is pretty simple and sudden as like most of his other villains, in this novel also, the negative leads are mostly brain dead. Would’ve been all the more interesting had they also been from similar background as the protagonists.

Gils verdict – Vector is much better when compared to mokkais like CURE by the same author but definitely not in the same league as Coma, Brain or mind bend. Acceptible risk by him has always been my firm favorite. Much better than Matthew Reilley though J

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Four legendary kingdoms - book review

I’ve often quoted in this space that Matthew Reilley is one of my go to authors for leisure reading. His novels, those which I follow, are of 2 series. One having a hero called “Scarecrow” Shane Schofield and his adventures/escapades ala Mission Impossible Tom cruise style (with lot more gore and unimaginable action sequences and super villains). The other one is the Jack West Jr. series, with the namesake being the hero of the series. This one is my personal favorite for the only reason that, be it the first of the lot, 7 ancient wonders which was followed by 6 sacred stones or the previous edition five great warriors, the premises and the historical events that he mix up to make a fantastic potpourri of a story, is simply way too fast to put down once picked. The story moves at break neck pace and the single unifying thread amongst all the three novels is how earth faces destruction and with long lost ancient knowledge of the aliens, held secret all the while, is “unearthed” by Jack and crew and how they go on to keep the world ticking with each segment of the novel.

The first one of the series, deals with Tartarus rotation and how Jack West saves the world by placing the golden capstone on top of Ghiza pyramid, which saves the world from major catastrophes due to the sun spot that occurs once in several thousand years, the search for which takes him across all the ancient wonders. Being the first of the lot, this was by far his best in the series. The second one – Six sacred stones – involves Jack rebuilding a long lost machine to prevent annihilation of earth by “Dark sun”, another natural phenomenon. This again involved so many famous locations spread globally which are famous tourist attractions, yet given a super twist to fit into the theme. Third one – Five great warriors – which is actually a continuation of the previous one ends with Jack being identified as the fifth warrior alongside, Moses,Jesus,Ghenghis khan and Napolean!!!

The latest of the lot, 4 legendary kingdoms, again deal with a catastrophe that is about to befall earth, which can only be avoided, by the winner of a tournament, which traces its roots back to the 12 tasks of Hercules. Here again, the author takes way too much creative liberty to twist and turn any fact or myth on its head to suit his storyline. Unlike the other three novels, which has a global spread and worldwide hunt, this one takes place almost entirely in an underground area, called as underworld literally and figuratively. The major surprise being, the entire setting happens in Alag village of Gujarat. Yes. India finds more than a mention and so is Pakistan. Story wise its pretty straight forward. Jack surmounts every odd like a tamil movie hero and comes up trump. There is a lead to the next part of the series, which could be titled “Three wise men” is my guess, going by the naming convention and more than subtle hints strewn across the story. There is a prophecy which is denied by Jack to anyone, who is fine to search all over the world for the very answer that would save the world!! Eduku ivlo kashtapadanum when the answer would’ve been straight away revealed to you? Innum moonu part izhukkava? There is the famed fight to death between his most famous heroes, Jack vs Scarecrow, where Jack actually kills Scarecrow. Oops spoiler alert. But Scarecrow survives and is resurrected back to life. Illati antha innoru series ennagarthu. Oops again.

Gils verdict – He has already written few books, outside of his famous hero series, about tournaments and contests involving aliens and other dimensional habitants. Sounds more like aracha maavu in this version as well as this might well be the 4th such story of same theme. Mathabadi its nothing other than usual masala action, more like high octane Hollywood flicks which boasts of good locales and super duper budgets. Awaiting the next of the lot as it promises to bring the storyline back to its usual track set forth in motion by the first book of the series.

Idhu vellum padai

Inspired by the events on marina beach

மின்விளக்கினை  அணைத்தால்  சில்வண்டு  ஆயின் சிதறிடும்
ஆனால் சேர்ந்திருந்தது  சிங்கங்களன்றோ
வீம்பு  செய்தோரிடம்  கையால்  பேசாமல்
கைபேசி  கொண்டு  விண்மீன்  ஒலியொத்த வெளிச்சம்  கண்ட தோழர்களே
உம்மை  எண்ணி
விம்மி  புடைக்குது  நெஞ்சம்

ஆர்ப்பரிக்கும்  கடலும்  அடங்கி  போனது
போர்  களம் “காணும்  பொங்கலாய்”  பொங்கி
நின்ற  உம்மை  பார்த்து

வெள்ளத்தனையது  மலர்  நீட்டம்
வெள்ளம்  வென்று   தொடங்கியுள்ளது
எமது  வீர  சிறார்களின்  சீற்றம்

அக்னி  குஞ்சாய்  உள்ள  இக்  கடமை
கனலை  காட்டு  பொந்தில்  வைத்திட
கானகம்  இன்றில்லை
ஆழ்  மனது  போதும்
பாழ்  நினைத்து  பணம்  பண்ண  முயல்வது
Petavo எந்த  நாடவோ  இருந்தாலும்
சிங்கங்களின்  காவலில்  காளைகள்
செழிப்பதை  காணுவீர்  விரைவில்

ஏர்  தழுவிய  உழவா  ஏறு  தழுவி
உன்  வாழ்வு  துளிர்  விட்டு  தவழ
கிளம்பி  இருப்பது  கூலி  படையன்று
செரிமானத்துக்கு  சோறு  தந்திடும்  படைக்கும்  கடவுளான  உமது
பாதுகாவலாய்  களம்  கண்டிருக்கும்  உமது  பிள்ளைகள்  இவர்கள்
வயிற்றில்  பசியும்  வாழ்த்தும்  மனமும்  உள்ளவரை  உமது  குடிக்கு  அழிவே இல்லை

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Gilsbert vs the elevator

There is nothing unusual about anything that happens as usual, as long what’s deemed unusual that which is always the usual for some specimens, namely Gilsbert.
(Ppppaaahh..intha vaasagatha tee shirtlayum autolayum quotationavay podlam polarukkay!!! Note pannikaren)
Getting bulb is nothing new for Gilsbert and its been pretty well documented in this blog space about all those great adventures which resulted in bulb award ceremony. This time was no exception except that the bulb was mutually and unknowingly shared by an unknown appracenti.

It was yet another typical day when Gilsbert, forever and always lost in thought, entered a lift in office to go to 4th floor to meet his friend.
Liftla porathu varathu ithelam china kozhandhai kooda thannala pannumay.. Ithula enna bulb vaanga mudiyum apdinu kelvi kekarvanga please proceed to rest of the section. Kekkathavangalum padikalam. Baadhagamillai.

In the lift, he saw one appracenti with “V” tag, displaying the black and white photo taken at the entrance. Intha IT kambenilaam pudusa vara jeeva janthu’s till the time they get their photo embossed ID cards are given visitor tags with their photo taken and printed out on a format which would give Government issued ID card photos a run for their “no-resemblance” money. Considering the pride with which that appracenti was displaying his tag, it was pretty evident that he must’ve been a new joinee.

“Senjotru kadan theerkavo ennavo..seraatha idam sernthutiyeda kanna” nu mindvoicela antha pakkiya pathi yosichinday Gilsbert tried to press 4 on the number panel inside lift.

To his surpise, the light didn’t glow and despite repeatedly pressing, it didn’t glow either. Usually, while waiting for any lift, if you keep pressing the up/down arrow, it would make the lift come faster to you is the universal concept right? Even by that principal the 4th floor indicating button on the lift, refused to budge to that belief.

Since the display was already at 5th floor, Gilsbert tried selecting third floor so that he can walk up one floor. The button didn’t glow for that floor either. Wondering out loud, have all the bulb inside the buttons have gone fuse, he tried to press the second floor button and surprisingly that didn’t glow either.

Seeing that the lift is not stopping anywhere, the appracenti tried his luck and pressed all the buttons from 5th till 1st once again and to his panic, it didn’t accept the magic in his attempts either. He started slightly panicking and was wondering out loud, what was wrong with the lift!! He was desperate to get out of it and by the time it reached ground floor reception, he bolted out of the lift like guy who goes by that verb as his surname and races in Olympics and was waiting for Gilsbert to follow suit. To his shock and surprise, he saw the lift doors close with Gilsbert still standing inside.

Inga thaan kathaila oru twistu, if at all anyone hasn’t guessed the reason.

Operation research concept padi, for optimum utilization and proper crowd handling, majority of the high rises have split the number of floors that are serviced by elevators. All of them stop at ground floor and rest of the floors are split like a set will go all the way till first few floors and other set will cover the remaining floors, depending on which one you took.

Having realized this near the end of the lift journey, Gilsbert decided to take the same lift back to his floor apdingarathu oru endinga vachukalam. Or to avoid asingapattan autokaran moment in front of new joinee he stayed back in lift num vachukalam. Epdio..Dhoni kitenthu captaincy Kohliku pona mathiri, bulb vaanga oru saga poatiyalan ready :D

Dum Spiro spero


Had been resisting to post on this topic for long. Didn’t want it to be just another post or a knee jerk reaction to something that is THE hot topic of the present. But considering the spontaneous outpouring and growing public outcry, felt if at all a topic is worth posting, this would be it.

On the way to office, I saw a group of twenty something’s (Yup. We sad thirty somethings…why god why..avvvvvvvv) chatting out aloud on bus. By default, my mind blocked them out as yet another bunch of hooligans who show off and cause nuisance. The notion didn’t last a whole second when I noticed the charts and posters they were carrying. Needless to say, they were carrying slogans protesting against the ban on Jallikattu. Usually fellow passengers and conductors give cold shoulder to these youths. But today could witness something totally different. They were looked upon with pride and even those who were no way related to them, appreciated them and even urged to protest hard. The conductor dropped them at the very place where they wanted to get down which was not even a regular bus stop and not a soul complained. There were many who waved them good luck and for a few more stops they were the topic of discussion. Come office, there were already talks of people forming protest chain and slogan shouting late evening and were calling for volunteers. There were few obvious “enthu pattanis” and to my surprise, as the timeline neared, the crowd simply grew exponentially. What was initially planned as a small walk, required few vans to be arranged to commute the foot soldiers till the campus entrance and the to and fro ferrying went several times. One of my team mate told that, her elder sister went to marina yesterday night at 10 PM with her kid and came back home around 3 in the morning.

One can question what did she achieve or what these slogan shouting crowd managed by protesting for something about which I am more than sure they don’t have much of an idea. Except for the hyperboles that are shared as facts and circulated in social media, majority didn’t even knew what they are actually protesting for as each had their own definition and derivation of the issue. But in their mind, they had already picked a point which they felt was unjust and call it mob mentality or whatever, they wanted to show their displeasure. It could’ve been for a variety of reasons long lying dormant and for want of a vent. But whatever said and done, there are thousands of people on the street, protesting. Irrespective of political affiliations and for most its not even an issue that has immediate impact, though having disastrous consequences in the long term, they are out in the street. With a topic, so sensitive, its been handled the most insensitive way by either of the governments. When students join a stir, however trivial the cause maybe, it inadvertently bring their families into fray and in one shot the crowd grows manifold. With social media playing a major role in crowd sourcing for these events, anyone with a camera phone playing news anchor role, this issue is only going to snowball into an avalanche pretty soon, if not already.

What is heartening to see amidst all these are scenes of so many school kids, college students and women taking part. These are not people you see in every protest. These are not fence sitters who sway parties into pyower for food and money. These are not people who are segregated based on any criteria, be it caste, creed or cash. And make no mistake they are no emotional fools either. If this group is out on the streets, protesting something, whatever be the issue is, its high time the people on power take a good hard look at it and take steps to resolve. This may not be a generation that might’ve taken part in independence movement or witnessed the famous emergency of the 70’s. This is the very group that gets brickbats for their bus day celebrations and rash activities on new year’s eve’s. They may not have major earth shattering events to show case their civic worth. But seeing a notable few cleaning up the beach alongside protestors of rubbish was a literal goose bump moment for me.

Sloganeering beckons. More power to Makkals.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

New year..New post

By the time I could think of a topic, already this year is 3 weekend old!! Considering that whatever were simmering at year end last year are in full blown mode now, 2016 is not much missed in that aspect. Had started the year, as per my ritual of watching a movie on Dec 31’st night. So the next few posts could well be all reviews J

Pongal release movielenthu will start – what else than Thalapathi’s Bairavaa.

The tag line has become semma famous. The guy who made “Neruppuda” of Kabali famous with his gruff voice, has lent his skill to sing the “Varlaam vaa Bairava” song which appears whenever Vijay is there on screen fighting villains, which takes almost half the running time. With each movie, whether his market share increases or not, the number of gym boys who fly around in fight scenes at his mere punch seem to increase exponentially. Even rubber balls can’t bounce as much as the ease with which he trounces the henchmen. Stunt master ku Jai ho. Either  Keerthi Suresh looks way too young or Vijay has finally grown jaded, but the pair looks as odd as Virat Kohli running between wickets with Ashwin as partner in a 350 run chase. Settay aagala. Songs uhumm. Romba sumar. Comedy is non existent. The director realized this and found a way to forcefully make some of the characters laugh by making them smell laughing gas. Guess adutha padathulalaam sirikalaina audience kum oru loatta ready paniruvanunga nenakren. As an extension of this, sentimental scenes la azha glycerine, stunt scenesla sound vida whistle, intro scenela kolutha karpooram thooki poda kuppa paper, ipdi elam supply panna uthamamama irukkum.

Story actuala oru nalla theme. Incomplete medical collegesla nadakara atrocities and how students suffer. Had this been given more scope, this movie could’ve been salvaged to an extent. But its been savaged for the sake of hero worship and has been made a mockery. Innum ethane naaliku thaan ipdi adicha parakara gym boys, artham illatha punch dialogues, kannu nollai aakara costumes and emaantha sonagiri of fan pattalams mandaila molaga arachi boost panra ticket sales nambittu padam eduka poraanga?!!!

Gils verdict – Replace Vijay and the movie title with any mass masala movie, its all the same. Naalu padam hit kuduthu, fan club base build panni, naalu public issuela confusing ural vitutu lighta politics vanthu kaasu paaka try panra kootam thaan neria aagitay poguthu. Just like how India cricket team identifies one good batsman after other, this list grows in pair right from MGR-Sivaji era. Hope we are at the end of this vicious cycle and adutha ten yearsla we get to witness good movies. Till then, you can’t say bye to Bairava like movies.