Monday, December 19, 2005

Journey - Part 2

Sorry for the long delay, folks.

(Part 1)

Ravi was soon fast asleep, his last thought was about the rain drumming on top.

Ravi found himself jerked awake, the pain in his neck sharp. He opened his eyes to find himself almost upside down in an awkward position, wrapped around the chain holding his berth. There was barely any light. He heard lots of screams. He tried to straighten up, holding on to his neck. Something was on his foot. Someone's lighter flickered. As he slowly got accustomed to the semi-darkness, he could see a shape crumpled at his foot. He tried to free himself, but that person didn't budge. He felt something sticky running from his head. His mind slowly opened up to the shouts and screams around him. He sat there unable to do anything for some time. He could hear people moving about. After what seemed like hours, light seeped in slowly. He found out why he couldn't move. A couple of suitcases had fallen on top of the person who was lying on his foot. He slowly moved them out of the way and tried to move the other person. It was the young man who had sat across from them. He seemed to be in a bad shape. Ravi shook him gently after checking if he was breathing. The guy stirred slowly and immediately screamed in pain. He was clutching his leg, which was in an unnatural position. Ravi turned around to see if he could do something. The young girl was sitting up beside him with a stunned look. The young couple huddled together on the other side of the young man. The guy was bleeding in quite a few places, his short dirty and torn. The girl had an ugly gash on her forehead and another on her forearm. They were trying to clean up each other. Mr. Rangabhashyam seemed a little dazed as he helped the bawling Komalavalli madam. Ravi touched the girl on her shoulder.

"Are you okay?"

She nodded mutely, with a faraway look. She seemed to be in shock.

The crowd was fighting to get to the door. Ravi decided to wait rather than fight the crowd. Someone said a bomb had exploded, someone else said the tracks had been missing. No one knew for sure. The crowd thinned out slowly. He helped Mr. Rangabhashyam who was trying to give a hand to Mrs. Komalavalli. He turned towards the girl and tried to get her to move. She did so in a trance. The young couple helped each other and they started moving out. He tried to help the young man stand up on his good leg. It was hard.

"Can someone help here? This young man seems to have broken a leg."

Some kept moving, a few stopped to look, some gave a look of pity, but no one stopped. Finally, another young man came to help him. Between them, they managed to pull him to the door. Someone had dropped a sari from the door above and a few good souls were helping people get out. The train was cleared in another hour. Groups of people huddled near their respective compartments. Some were badly hurt, some had a few nicks and cuts and some were amazingly unscathed. Some men decided to pull all the luggage out of the compartments. Soon the able ones gathered together and unloaded the bags.

Ravi walked around, trying to find out what had happened. There seemed to have been some problem with the tracks, causing the train to run off them. All the compartments were damaged. The news had been conveyed to Vijayawada, a rescue team would reach them soon. They seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. Water stagnated here and there from the rains, a few trees gave some shade from the morning sun.

He sat on top of his bag, waiting it out. He looked around, Mr. Rangabhashyam sat under a tree, leaning against the trunk, dazed and lost in thought. Mrs. Komalavalli seemed to have calmed down a bit, but every now and then, she let out a few wails, wiping her nose on the edge of her sari. The young couple sat hugging each other under another tree. The young man, who seemed to have a broken leg, was being looked after by an elderly woman. She had tied a cloth around his leg and cleaned up his scratches. The young girl sat alone, an island among the numerous groups of people. Ravi went to her and tried to make sure she was okay. He kneeled before her and shook her shoulder slightly. She jerked as if she had been dozing and looked at him.

"Are you all right, Miss?"

"I think so".

"You need to clean up your wounds. Your forehead is bleeding again".

She touched her kerchief to her forehead. Ravi saw that it was already blood-stained and dirty.

"Here, use this". He pulled out a hand towel from his bad and helped her.

"Thanks, Mr..."

"Ravi. And you are?"


"I am going to check on the others. May be you should move to the shade".

Archana got up and moved her bags next to the young couple. Ravi went to Mr. Rangabhashyam and sat down next to him.

"Sir, are you okay?"

Mr. Rangabhashyam turned to him slowly. "Yes. I am okay. A few scratches. Do you have a cell phone?"

"Yes. But the battery is dead."

"I left my family".

"I am sure we can let them know as soon as the rescue team gets here."

"No. I left them for good yesterday. My wife and two kids. I was a coward. I am a coward. I lost my job sometime back and couldn't find another. My wife nagged me constantly. My kids were going hungry. I didn't know what to do. I couldn't take it anymore. So I ran away. I didn't tell them. They don't know."

Ravi listened silently, not knowing what to say. Mr. Rangabhashyam closed his very wet eyes and leaned back against the tree.

Archana looked at the young couple. They seemed to be in a bad shape.

"Are you two okay?"

"Uh, yes, yes." The young man replied. The girl just looked, she seemed to be on the verge of tears.

"I heard the rescue team should be here soon. You can get back home soon."

That seemed to agitate them even further.

"When will they get here?"

"Soon. May be in an hour or so."

Archana looked around. There was confusion everywhere. As far as she could see, there was nothing else except the train wreck with the passengers milling around like ants. Her stomach rumbled a little. She was hungry. She hadn't eaten since the previous day's lunch. All she had was a half-eaten bar of chocolate. That would have to do for now. The girl next to her was sobbing. She could hear the young man trying to console her. Jenny, her name was. He kept repeating her name.

"What are we going to do, Rajesh?"

"Don't worry Jenny, we will figure out something."

"What if they find out?"

"They don't know where we are. They are probably thinking that we are still in Chennai."

Rajesh and Jenny, Archana thought. Wonder if they eloped. It certainly looked that way. She sympathized with them. They were in the same boat, well not exactly. Her thoughts flew back to the previous day, to her mother.

"Archana, do you really have to go away from us?" Her mom had cried pitifully.

"Mom, if I stay here any longer, all of you will drown my ambitions. You don't understand what I want in life. I don't want to marry Kumar and settle down. I won't get this opportunity again. Please try to understand, amma. And Delhi is not so far. You can visit me anytime you feel like."

Her dad had not talked to her and she hadn't bothered to reason with him. Their feud had started when she had graduated and had escalated to a point where talking was useless. She had left home a heavy heart, knowing that she could possibly not come back to the only home she had ever known.

The loud shouts brought her back to the present.

(to be continued)

what, not right? good!

One of the countless email forwards that I enjoyed:

"Who's calling?" was the answer to the telephone.
"What is your name, please?"
"Watt's my name."
"That's what I asked you. What's your name?"
"That's what I told you. Watt's my name."
A long pause, and then from Watt, "Is this James Brown?"
"No, this is Knott."
"Please tell me your name."
"Will Knott."


"Why not?"
"Hunhh? What do you mean why not?"
"Yeah! Why won't you tell me your name?"
"But I told you my name!"
"Didn't you say you will not?"
"Not not, knott, Will Knott!"
"That's what I mean."
"So you know my name."
"Of course not!"
"Good. So now, what is yours?"
"Watt. Yours?"
"Your name!"
"Watt's my name."
"How the hell do I know? I am asking you!"
"Look I have been very patient and I have told you my name and you
have not even told me yours yet.."
"You have been patient, what about me?"
"I have told you my name so many times and it is u who have not told
me yours yet."
"Of course not!"
"See, you even know my name!"
"Of course not!"
"Then why do you keep saying of course Knott?"
"Because I don't."


"What is your name?"
"See, you know my name!"
"Of course not!"
"Then why do you keep saying Watt is your name"
"To find out your name!"
"But you already know it!"
"See, and you know mine!"
"Of course not!"


"Listen, listen, wait; if I asked you what your name is, what will be
your answer?"
"Watt's my name."
"No, no, give me only one word."
"Your name!"
[Pause before it hits him]

"Oh, Wright!"
"So why didn't you say it before?"
"I told you so many times!"
"You never said Wright before"
"Of course I did."
"Ok I won't argue any more. Do you know my name?"
"I do not."
"Well, there you go, now we know each other's name."
"I do not!"

[Pause before it hits him]

"Oh, Guud!"
"No wonder, it took me so long, is that Dutch?"
"No, it's Knott!"
"Oh, okay. At least the names are clear now Guud."
"Yes Wright.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

We start 'em young

I am busy loading the dishwasher. The kids are getting ready for bed with dad to help. My older one comes and tells me that the younger brat has raided the makeup box. I hurry upstairs. The sight that greets me, do I laugh or yell? I give up to laughter. She seems to have a fair idea how to do it. Mascara used to cover half her forehead, a nice bindi to top it. Lipstick on her lips, and just to make sure she used enough, some on her nose as well. Clips in her hair. Not much on the white carpet. And then, "I am a big girl, I can put clips in my 'air !" Oh, Well! At least it made for a good memory!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Drowned in the tank

Ever since I saw the little ape doing the little super star (little upstar-t?) jig on Doordarshan, I had resolved not to watch anything featuring the ape or the ape junior. For some weird reason, there was a minor ab(h)erration to this recently. Why, o why? And I watched the tankman yesterday. That bugger cannot act. And over that, he looks scary when he tries to emote. Intha azhagula bayangara thenaavettu vera! That tank is fit to be drowned!!! punai peryarukku onnum koraichal illai! Wish Englishkaran hadn't been rented out. The old wannabe is much preferable to the young wannabe!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Triwizards, music and Kamal

Friday, I reached home early and boy, was I lucky? Caught the last half hour of thillu mullu on tv. I didn't remember this movie much, so had a good laugh and a nice surprise was Kamal in the last scene. Nice.

Got to play my veena and it was not a bad effort, being the first.

And then the highlight of the week, THE movie. yep, watched an older Potter, brawnier Ron and less frizzy Hermione. Director Mike Newell has done a wonderful job adapting it to fit the film length. I sorely missed Richard Harris. Dumbledore played by Michael Gambon, was a bit of a letdown. The cool and collected Albus was missing. Cho Chang! What can I say, I was thinking they would have someone like this, breathtakingly beautiful, but no, very ordinary! The Patil sisters, didn't seem to look like each other, even a tad bit, and also, ordinary. Of course, Diggory and Krum are quite the thing. Not bad there. Karkaroff seems ok and also the Barty Crouches. The kids are looking a bit grown up, hope to get to finish the rest quickly. Since most of the focus was the triwizard championship, the usual cast didn't get much screen time. Malfoys didn't show up much. Is it just me, or is Emma Watson's facial expressions a bit overdone? The world cup didn't take too much time either. The special effects need special mention. Great work there. In the scene where they first introduce the world cup venue, I thought I saw the Indian flag. It was too fleeting. Watch out for that one and do let me know.

All in all, crisp adaptation. To me, the only down thing about this movie was some of the casting. Must watch on the big screen.

Friday, November 18, 2005

A quote and opinions invited

Was reading Robin Paige's Death in Rotterdean, and came across this quote.

A woman's guess is much more accurate than a man's certainty. (Kipling)

Now, to me, this looks very accurate and logical.

But this was written by a man, so I guess for him, this was a certainty. Or was it?

What do you say? If you are a man, your comment is automatically devalued ;-) (I am not saying that, just an extension of the above statement).

Seriously, something related to a woman's intuition?

new word for the day: chi chi - ostentatiously stylish. Is that why Govinda is called so?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Seeing Red, etc

Seen on the road this morn - a pickup truck that has seen better days, flannel shirt, baseball cap, smoke stick in one hand, cell phone in the other, back to back traffic. Oh, and also a steaming cup of coffee balanced on the dash.
No, I didn't notice the color of his neck. I assume.

Note to self: I am not going to run on the treadmill again. Ennui!

Less than a week for the Goblet, reviews are too good!

McConaughey chosen by People. Definitely concur! Right, Aparna? :-D Here is the full list. I can't agree with the full list though. No.2 looks a little peaked, a bit of green on the corners. 3, 4, 11 (o, yeah) are fine with me, rest thumbs down. Well, it is all subjective, isn't it?

Sneha to get married, may be not, may be so. And Meera to marry Prithviraj, this one doesn't seem to die! Back to the rumor mill, is the sunshine pair, wedding bells on the ready. Super son-in-law is thinking along hospitality lines, now that his movies are bombing in a predictable pattern. If you haven't caught a glimpse of Kamal's junior junior, do so, pretty that one. And wants to follow parents, careerwise. Jo looking for a new jaaga, I thought she was co-building one!

oh, no! They think SRK can do an Amitabh in the new Don!

Memento and Bewitched, 2 good movies to watch.

Some interesting blogs rolled in!

Friday, November 11, 2005


During my yoga sessions, the instructor tells us to imagine our favorite peaceful place during shavasana. For me, it is usually rolling green meadows and clear blue skies, with the sound of the distant ocean beating against the cliffs, similar to Irish landscapes I have seen.

Yesterday, after a long break, I got back on the track, jogging leisurely in the evening sun. May be it is my imagination or it is the effect of this weird weather, the colors are glorious. I see trees of such beautiful colors, ranging from light green to the deepest reds to golden yellows. And the not-so-distant mountains, looking festive in green and red. Fall is no doubt, my favorite season, the colors vivid. How I wish I could capture them on canvas! I didn't take my mp3 player, instead concentrating on nature, and I was grateful for that.

Some of my favorite holiday memories have to do with fall colors. There was this halloween weekend that we took off to Smokey's and as luck would have it, stayed at a B&B (probably Little Greenbrier) right on the edge of the cliff, overlooking (I think) Cades Cove. We visited in the thick of Fall, the colors at their most brilliant. The balcony off our bedroom, overlooked this huge valley, we were right at the edge.

Then there was this small state park near Paducah, Ky (Lake Barkley I think), where we had a room overlooking the waters. It was drizzling and a bit cold, but the colors were magnificient. We even saw a few deers in the woods.

Fall is, to me, the best time for jogging outdoors. Once you warm up, you don't feel the chill and then you forget your exhaustion when your eyes are filled with such vivid landscapes.

I think I am going to add a bit of color to my shavasana imagery, and make those trees really variegated.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Verbose. or not

Diwali was so unlike one this year. I usually spend a few days making sweets to send off to friends. This time, we got some boxes of sweets from India, but they are sitting in the fridge. Somehow, this year seems to be a low key affair for celebrations. Wonder why! Ennui, perhaps?

Talking about diwali sweets, this is something I read recently. I like looking up etymologies. Surprised that sugar and candy are from the great subcontinent. Shakkar was dried and preserved around 300AD or so. The Persians, Arabs and then the Crusaders spread it around the world. Until then honey was the universal (well, western) sweetener. And another sweet note, Candy originates from Tamil. Now, who would have guessed that!

Email is 34 years old and so is someone else! Someone well known personalities born today - Laura Bush, Walter Cronkite, Will Rogers, Tabu and Markie Post (of Nightcourt fame). Hmm!

Monday, October 31, 2005


Shalu heard her husband moving about. She opened her eyes in the semi-darkness. It was 6:00 AM. She closed her eyes. Ashok shook her awake at 7:00 AM.

"Aren't you going to work today?"

"I don't think so. Can you tell them I am sick?"

"What is the matter with you? It has been more than five months. You need to get hold of yourself and try to move on. You think it is easy for me?"

"It is different. You didn't go through those nine months. I did. I nurtured that tiny life within me, you didn't."

Ashok knew the futility of arguing with her and left for work.

Shalu tried to go back to sleep. Back to oblivion, wanting to forget. She felt like crying, but her tears had dried up along with her milk. Her little son, Sumanth, stillborn, had sundered her heart in two. She had been in therapy for three months before she returned to some sense of normalcy. Yesterday, her cousin had called to announce the birth of his new son. She was happy for them, but it brought back all the heartache and longing. Years of fertility treatment, mental agony and dashed hopes had left her mind quite vulnerable. She was angry against fate for causing her so much pain.

Ashok seemed to be taking it better. He was deeply affected when they lost Sumanth. But while the therapy had been good for him, it was a temporary measure in her case. It was a disease now. She ached to hold a baby in her arms. Sumanth, not any baby. Her Sumanth, whom God had snatched from her, like the sadist He was.

She moved around in her nightgown, unkempt hair and unwashed face, barely eating anything. The TV was on, but her eyes had a faraway look. The phone rang. She let it ring. It stopped and rang again. Then it stopped.

An hour later the doorbell rang. It kept ringing. She finally moved from the sofa and opened the door. Her mom. Always looking poised. Why was she not like that! Mom came in, and hugged her silently, not offering trite words of comfort.

She made her sit, cleaned her face and brushed her hair. She made some food for her. Shalu ate in silence. Just having her mom next to her gave her a lot of comfort. She hugged her and the silent tears flowed in two pairs of eyes.

"Shalu, there is something I need to tell you. I probably should have told this a long time back. May be I could have saved you a lot of trouble."

Shalu looked at her mom, curious to know what she was going to say.

"Your dad was stationed in Delhi then. I was four months pregnant."

"Pregnant with me?"

"No. It was before you. One evening, on our way from a party, some drunk driver rammed into our car, your dad lost control and we hit a tree. I lost the baby."

"Oh, mom. I didn't know. I am so sorry."

"I was in bed for 6 months after that. We tried for another baby for years. Nothing worked. Later, I found out that my uterus had been damaged and I couldn't bear any more babies. I was heartbroken. Just like you."

"Then how...?"

"One of my friends look me to this place for orphaned kids. I started working there. I grew quite attached to the kids. Then your dad got a transfer back to Chennai. I threw a fit, I didn't want to go. Finally, your dad convinced me that we could adopt a child from the place. I agreed to that. You had been left there a month back. You were barely 3 months old then. I had been looking after you for sometime. We decided that you would be better off thinking that you were our own blood."

Shalu sat stunned. All these years, she had had no clue.

"Who were my real parents?"

Mom winced at that. "Does it matter?"

Shalu stared at her for sometime. "No, not really. You are my mother."

Tears of gratitude in her mom's eyes. "I could not see you killing yourself slowly like this. This is not the end of the world."

Shalu wiped her eyes. "Yes, mother." A slight smile appeared like a rainbow.

aaaaabbbbbbbbd ddddbbbbeaaa abbbd aabdd

If you are wondering about that title - long time no c :-) lifted from a PJ forward.

Sprained my back sometime recently. All I could do was lie and watch movies or read books. Very sad, I know. Recos - do not bother with I heart huckabees and power of women. Why did Hariharan do that, eh? A couple of songs were good. Parineeta, Sarkar are in the must see list. Reading recos - if you like victorian mysteries, I stumbled on the gaslight mystery series, set in early 1900s in NYC. Robin Paige is good too. Then there is David Baldacci's Camel Club and Sue Monk Kidd's secret life of bees waiting to get their turn. 5 people you meet in heaven is one of THE most awesome books I have read. Why? don't ask, just read it.

Then there was all that personal drama. hubby almost caught in the chennai flood chaos, water entering home, alone with kids and temporarily handicapped. Felt like I was in a sun tv MS. How do people ( actors and the audience) take this load every day? BTW, should we now have a new word "vidience" for the visual medium? One good thing, loads of diwali sweets from back home. Didn't have to break my back making them at home.

And for the few awaiting the next part of the journey, gotta wait some more time. There is a lot of distance between the mind and my fingers.

Monday, October 03, 2005


Only word to describe a concert performance by (Guitar) Prasanna and band. Didn't know someone who was so comfortable with a musical instrument. His fusion of east and west is beautiful. He calls his latest album, Be the Change. True to that, he is heralding a new style to Indian Classical, fusing it with other forms, making it appealing to the younger generation. Who wouldn't love Bilahari and Hamsadhwani, the way he does it! His drummer(Jordan) almost matched him, and it was a pleasure to watch them. His Ragabop (kapi) was awesome! I wish I had the whole concert taped!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Journey - Part 1

Ravi got on the train and found his way to his compartment. He tucked his suitcase under his seat, settled down with the newspaper. He hoped it wouldn't be too crowded.

All he needed was some quite time. There was the usual noise from outside the train and from groups of people trying to find their seats inside the train. His mind was not in the paper. His memories haunted him.

In a little while, others trickled in to his compartment. One middle-aged lady who should probably have booked 2 tickets instead of her one, to cover her ample posterior.

A young couple, looking scared; they were probably eloping, Ravi thought. A middle aged man, bespectacled, his shoulders seemed to be carrying half the world's weight on them. Worry lines ran criss-cross on his forhead. A young woman, ears plugged to some kind of bouncy music, shoved her bag above and sat down across from him. A young man, talking and laughing loudly on his cell phone, sat on the other side. Ravi looked at him with a frown. He was hoping the journey would be quiet. He seemed
to be a college kid, in his tattered jeans and mussed up hair.

The young man seemed to be afflicted with some kind of nervous disorder. He couldn't sit still. What is wrong with these kids these days, he thought. The young man caught sight of the young girl and gave a supposedly winning smile and quieted down. Well, thank God for that, Ravi thought. The young woman was looking out of the window, not bothered with her co-passengers. These young girls have grown gutsy nowadays, they have no problem travelling alone, Ravi sat musing.

The guard waved the green, and the train with a small hoot, started on its long journey. The older lady, who had been chewing her paan , leaned across him to spit it out, raising the heckles out of a bunch of people waiting on the platform to send off their friends and families. She sat down jarringly, a bit too close for comfort.

"Thambi", she called to him, "Could you get me that bag up there?"

There, it's started, he thought. He stood up to reach for her bag and handed it to her.

"Thanks, You are going to Delhi too?", she pestered him.

"Yes". And he turned to look outside.

"Thambi", this time it was the older man.

He turned. "If you are done with that paper, do you mind if I borrow it?"

"Sure". He hoped that would be the end of it.

"How depressing! All the news nowadays is so violent. This one killed a few. That one committed suicide. War in one country. I don't know why we bother reading all this."

Ravi just looked sympathetically and turned to the window.

"I am Rangabhashyam. I am on my way to Delhi too. Business, you see."

Ravi kept quiet.

"What is your name, thambi?"


"Do you live in Delhi?"


"Official visit?"


"Going to see family?"


Finally, Mr. Rangabhashyam got the hint and hid his face behind the paper, muttering something like "young men these days... hmph".

The coffee guy came by. Ravi bought one. The older lady got one. The young couple got one after deliberating quite a bit. They shared it. The lady slurped hers noisily. She complained it was not hot enough. The poor man promised to bring her straight off the stove next time. Another guy came by to see if anyone needed dinner. The lady ordered pronto. The young couple ordered just one, again. Ravi ordered one. The older lady started off a (loud on her side) conversation with Mr. Rangabhashyam.

Her name was Komalavalli and she was going to visit her son in Delhi. He was a big officer there. She stayed in Chennai with her other son and husband. She asked about
him. He said that he was going for official reasons. Then she took a bag of spicy mixture, and continued her conversation, crunching loudly in between. She next turned to the young couple.

"Newly married?"

"Y y yes."

"Eloping?" Her face brightened with an unholy gleam.

"N n n no", the girl this time.

"The younger generation is too bold, I say. They do whatever they want, dress as they like, no fear or respect, I say. What do you think, Komalavalli madam?" This from Mr. Rangabhashyam.

"Yes, yes. Take my daughter-in-law. No respect towards elders. Always arguing about everything. Those days we never opened our mouth unless spoken to."

Ravi thought, you are compensating quite nicely now.

"My neighbor's brother's daughter ran away with a Christian boy, you know. And then he abandoned her when her father and brother went to seek her. Spineless fellow, you know. All these movies and western culture, you know, spoiling our kids. Very bad."

"Mr. Rangabhashyam, I agree sir, it is this new culture. They watch MTV at home all the time. It is hard to switch to my favorite shows nowadays. I have to fight to watch the good programs. Why can't they watch these serials with us? They are so good, very real, things that happen in our houses. But they want to watch all these foreign channels, so they can ape them."

The young man who had been silently eyeing the young girl, seemed to be annoyed at this and walked towards the door. Mrs. Komalavalli finished her packet of goodies, took out a bottle of water, drank some and burped loudly. The young couple smiled at each other. The meals started arriving. Mr. Rangabhashyam opened his home-made packet of curd rice and pickle and ate that with his bottle of water. The young couple put the plate between them and ate it together, smiling and talking among themselves. Ravi opened the lid off his plate and tried to swallow the barely edible fare provided. Mrs. Komalavalli, ate hers with relish and when she was done, opened a tiffin box from her bag and literally swallowed 2 huge laddoos. A few burps followed. The young man took out a bar of chocolate and chewed on it. The young girl seemed to have dozed off.

Soon everyone got ready to climb into their berths. Ravi went up to the top one. The young man stretched out on his seat. The young couple had the upper and middle berths. The young lady had the middle, right under Ravi. Ravi guessed that they must have switched berths among themselves. The older couple occupied the lower births. They were both snoring, each to his or her own rhythm and tempo. The young man next to Ravi kept checking on his girl below. Soon things quietened down except for the snores.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Cine muni - 4

Vettaiyadu Vilayadu seems to jinxed. The movie again came to a standstill due to lack of funds. Now Oscar Ravichandran has bought it (on Kamal's reco) and plans to reinvent it, meaning rename it. At least it is following the current trend - renaming :-)

Chimp is looking for English tongues to dub his manmathan for Hollywood. Anyone game? :-)

June R hero is again Biju Menon. What is Surya's cameo then?
Update: Acc. to my latest kumudam/AV mag, Surya is R in June R.

Anbey vaa is coming back. Supposed to be a rib-tickler with a message. Now wait for the MGR fan group to raise their voice against the name

Amitabh and Jaya Pradha in Police with Prashant, supposedly a bilingual in Tamil and Telugu. She looked good in salangai oli. And then she moved to hindi and starting acting in mystery movies. She used a whole box of pancake makeup everytime that it was a mystery how anyone identified her.

Thalavattam (Mohanlal in one of his best) in its hindi avatar, kyon ki (shirtless star) is ready for release.

Something to snatch your sleep away: village king is back as hero of Madurai Thangam.

ungal vote-u...

TN politics is undergoing (hope it is) a major change. Assuming no kootanis are formed (big assumption), who would you vote for?

1. oor sothu en sothu
2. oozhal samrajyam
3. gab-tonne
4. peraa maathu, cinema hitler.
5. Other - Specify

Hope keeps the world going!!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Dancing the years away

I love to dance. Classical, folk, movie, latin, all kinds fascinate me. I am still a student when it comes to bharathanatyam. Of course, I would probably have been better learning it at 13 instead of 30 :-) But age has nothing to do with learning a skill/art. It is all in the mindset. But when it comes to performing, I prefer to be in the company of similars. Imagine dancing with kids half my age. Which is what I did this weekend. Should I be embarrassed about it? It has not bothered me really. But don't mistake it for a wanna-be symptom. It is just that, when my feet are moving and my heart is singing, I care very little about the rest. Quite a few people came up and asked me how it felt to dance with the teenagers and then added that I didn't look too bad with them ;-) I don't know whether to take that as a backhanded compliment.

I have always been interested in learning to dance, but never got around to it until recently. So it is fun to dance alongside my daughter :-) What really motivated me was this 50plus lady coming down to Chennai for her arangetram. Even Rukmani Devi Arundale didn't start until she was in her mid 20s.

Agreed, it is not easy. It took me sometime before I could sit in araimandi continuously for 5 minutes. It took me much much longer to perform my first classical piece, but I did do it. But in a way, it has helped me spiritually. I feel closer to my faith, when I do something on Ganesha or Krishna, than I ever did going to the temple.

My mind is faster at grasping the nuances of an item faster than my body does which is good and bad. By the time I master the piece, I know exactly what I am doing. But the time taken to reach that point is, let us say, proportional to my age.

And added to all this, I am planning to learn to tap :-) What fun!

Cini Muni - 3

Kamal is in the news a lot lately. His next one, Dasavatharam helmed by K.S.Ravikumar sounds promising. 5 heroines for 5 Kamals, the other 5 Kamals will be single. Asin and Vidya Balan (Parineeta) are confirmed. Search is on for the other 3. Since the trend is to rename all movies, this should probably be renamed to 10 Kamals and 5 heroines.

Talking about films being renamed, Jayaram and Pandiyarajan are doing one together, pillayarpettaiyum kandu vattiyum, initially named pillayarpattiyum kandu vattiyum. Another one that might be renamed is thiruvilayadal starring the going-nowhere-tho-I-am_Super's-SIL Dhanush. Whatever happened to democracy and free country?

Heavyweight N. threatens that she has lost a few inches.Does it make a difference?

So for the next elections, Rajini is supporting Gab-tonne's DMDK?

Never-say-die hero Ajith's Paramasivam has never-say-die heroine, Laila.

JuneR Jo's new film, has Surya as the hero, but it is just a one-act show.

Meena too joins the small screen brigade with a quiz show on Jaya TV. And Devayani won a best actress award for Kolangal.

Seems like Kanda naal muthal is one to watch out for. And one of the guys in that, Karthik Kumar ( he ponn parthufies Shalini in Alaipayuthe) is Radio Mirchi's Ms.S's fiance.

SJS should title his next movie ulley veliye and base it in a prison ;-)

Friday, September 16, 2005

A dubious honor?

Suresh Joachim of NY, originally from SriLanka has won another guiness record. That of watching TV for the longest time. Check this cnn link.

Rules for the couch potato honor, as stipulated by Guinness, allow for a 5-minute break every hour and a 15-minute break every 8 hours. The viewer must otherwise be constantly looking at the screen.

Imagine, just watching 1 channel, ABC, no surfing allowed. But all for a good cause, he says. Now, if we could switch channels, I am sure a lot of us could beat that ;-)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Cine Muni - 2

Big news in recent times is Rajini's Sivaji, the latest being Ayesha Takia is doing the female lead. What happened to Rani then?

While on Rajini, he attended Paramasivan's poojai, starring Ajith helmed by P.Vasu. Since PV is R's current best friend, the spontaneous visit was quite welcomed. And he has advised son-in-law to open a restaurant. Smart move!

Thotti Jaya has been reviewed as a must-see!

Nila of Ah aah, is touted as the next Simran. Anyone noticed her muzhu-nila-like thoppai. How can she be so skinny and yet have a well rounded middle? And someone needs to make sure that SJS has his hands tied securely when he talks! He waves it much faster than Rajini ever did :-)

Gab-tonne is everywhere. vellaiyum solliyuma, announcing no drunkards can enter his maanaadu. So how does his eyes get so red-rimmed?

Maniratnam is on his way to Hollywood!

Surya in Jo's home production! Should we read between the lines?

For classical dance enthusiasts, a movie to look out for is Shringaram. It is based on devadasis of old times.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Fictional favorites

Books have been an important part of life. Some of my favorite fictional characters, who have influenced/inspired/invigorated me to a great deal have been listed below. I have gotten so involved in their lives while reading the books that I have forgotten my own.

Scarlett O'Hara - A definition for optimism. The never say die woman, not perfect, but possessing a lot of strength.

Tracy Whitney - Another one for strength, courage and smarts.

Howard Roark - Believed in his convictions.

Wooster and Bingo Little - funny dudes

Dumbledore - basically, the likeable old guy. The grandfather figure.

Samwise Gamgee - loyal like Hanuman :-)

Elizabeth Bennett - No pretense in the land of pretensions

Atticus Finch - Good samaritan and a good father

Sirius Black - the underdog, unlucky fella, true friend

Hercule Poirot - for his grey cells

You got favorites?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

varnanai varalaru - II

The question came up in a previous blog regarding descriptive songs of the male variety. Agreed, not too many. Some that I could remember. Some direct and some not so.

style-u style-u thaan super style-u thaan

thekku maram udalai thanthathu in the song maan allavo nadayai thanthathu

karuppu thaan enakku pidicha

vaan poley vannam kondu vandhaay gopalane

antha vaanath pola

mathurai veeran thaane (paravai muniamma) and koduva meesai

I am sure there are more Rajini/Vijaykanth/Kamal songs that I can't think of now.

Monday, August 29, 2005

cine muni followup

last postil siriya pizhai - kandu pidiyungal please

latest news: Abi B doing Veeru's role in the new Sholay. Father pitted against son!

Cine Muni

Prashant the evergreen bachelor, is finally tying to knot, under the auspices of the hon. CM of TN. Ash is supposed to attend.

Rajini's Shivaji apparently has a role for a son-in-law. Wonder if real-life s-i-l will get a chance? He apparently reco'd kannada flick Jogi to s-i-l. The movie seems to be creating all kinds of rumors as usual. Shrikant was rumored to be in. Ash might be in it. ARR is definitely in it.

Thankar Bachan, finally removed the foot from his mouth, wonder who is next? Strike success

Namitha plans to really "hog" the screen next. Double roles with Arjun in Markandeya. Scary!

Saadha with Ajit in AVM's production.

Big B might finally do a tamil flick. His khakee is being remade in Tamil with Prashant.

The latest entrant in singing for tamil films is Surya. He plans to do one for his Chennayil oru mazhail kaalam. Aside, that title evokes wonderful nostalgia.

Oru Naal oru kanavu bombs, though the rumor floating around is a sure award for soon-to-be-married Bhava for her rendition of Katril varum geethame...

Gab-tonne is planning to produce his own movies. (Vera vazhi?) It is going to be used to spread his political thoughts. Well, at least no more of his movies on Sun TV :-) But he is really going to be a Gab-tonne, That is a scary prospect. And if he (God forbid) becomes the CM, watching those movies might become a necessary condition to live in TN! :-P

Thursday, August 25, 2005

munthiri thoppu (aka grapevine)

Looks like a baby boom is going on in kollywood. Maddy had a son recently. Now Devayani is expecting (which means kolangal is being wrapped up). There was another murmur about Rajini's eldest born. Ajit and Shalini are left out of the loop here? :-D

Sneha is supposedly getting married to a gult hero (probably one she is currently working with?). Surya and Jo not getting married soon, so they say. Ms. Muzhi's market has climbed up a little now. She is doing Shock in telugu.

SJS is fast attaining notoriety in Chennai. :-) Foot in mouth disease going around kbakkam. One good example, ThankarBachan. Meera Jasmine is being rumored to be cuddly with (oh-so-cute) Prithiviraj. What happened to Lohita dahling? And Chimp is worried about having no girlfriend ;-) I am sure the girls are sighing with relief :-P

Naane kadavul is on hold for now. Ajith is probably still trying to figure out what struck his boat. :-)

And there is a kozhayadi chandai going on for the prime role of Sivaji's heroine. Trisha amidst that.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Can you identify this fruit?

UPDATE: This was a red seedless grape, or should I say, a few redless grapes. Lack of growing space did this to them. Imagine overpopulated India in a few decades. Scary!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Relatively speaking ;-)

Inspired by Sathya, if you can call it inspiration ;-P


pennai parthaargal
perazhagai potrinaargal
paada sonnaargal
naaL kurikka sonnaargal
orumanam aakkavillai
mugathil theriyumo
agathin azhagu?

An older one here

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Melvin Durai

I have been reading this guy's columns for a few years now. And he has produced some really funny ones. Check out his website here. Some of the ones I have enjoyed recently:


language barriers - had me literally ROTFL!

Couch potato. or not!

Varnanai varalaaru

Today morning I woke up with a song on my mind. Kattodu kuzhal aada aada, what a beautiful melodious song. That started me thinking on songs that describe a girl/woman and how things have progressed(?) over the decades. These were some of the songs that came to my mind.

kattodu kuzhal aada aada
kann endra meen aada aada

azhage azhagu devathai
aayiram paavalar ezhuthum oviyam

vaadi en kappa kizhange

maanin iru kangal konda maanae maanae
thaenin suvaik kannam konda thaenae thaenae

Ooa PARTY nalla PARTYdhaan
oa BEAUTYyinnaa BEAUTYdhaan
pinnazhagaik kaattich chinnap paiyangalai vaatti
minnalidai aatti varum manjal nilaa nenjaik killaadhoa

Telephone mani pol siripaval ivala

inthaadi kappa kizhange

And in kannum kannum nokia - there are weird metaphors and similes. koLLai koLLum mafia, capuccino coffee, apple laptop penney.

What next?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

meendum oru kaathal kathai

kathiravanukku kaathali mel kobam
bhoomi pen, vaadi nirkiraal
megangaL adiyaatkaL
kaathulukku thadai vithikkinranar
kaathalan anullaai kothikkiraan
naatkal sella, kobamum
megangaLai virattugiraaN
oduginranar, mutti mothi
bhoomi kulirgiraaL,
anantha mazhaiyil nanaigiraaL
adutha sandai varummattum

Monday, August 15, 2005

'Air Apparent

Most Indians are blessed with luxuriant black hair. At least the ones who have hair ;-) So what is this new fascination with dyeing them a weird washed-out shade of brown, I don't understand! Right from movie peeps to kids on the street, they are sporting brown highlights in their hair. Being mod and up-to-date seems to have taken a whole new meaning. People look better in what suits them, than what suits someone else. Brown hair does not suit brown people. It makes them look mousy, dowdy and washed out. I am not even going to talk about blonde looks.

It not only makes them look shabby, it spoils their hair too. These chemicals are quite harsh for the hair and over long term use, can make it really dry and coarse. Rediscover the magic of black, glossy hair.

Growing up, we were always subjected to 1 bottle of coconut oil every day. The oil not only fried your hair in the unforgiving chennai sun, it also helped add some color to your pillows and walls and sofas. People got out of that only to get here!

Most people do not use a good conditioner after a shampoo. Unless you have really, really oily hair, a mild to good conditioner is a must. And the shampoo leaves a cruddy deposit that robs the shine out of the locks. It is always good to use 2 different shampoos, one preferably to remove such deposits. A weekly deep conditioning treatment is beneficial. The best treatment can be found at home. Eggs, yogurt, black mehndi (dries up hair if used by itself, mix with an egg), coconut or gingelly oil are all good weekly treatments.

Shampoo should not be used directly on the scalp, mix it thoroughly with some warm water and apply the suds to the scalp. Leaves less deposit. Hair dryers and curlers and iron should be used as little as possible.

In case you are wondering about the title, my little one has a slight cockney in her tongue. She asks me for 'elp to brush her 'air.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

meendum oor vambu

Latest news circulating is that Surya and Jo are getting married next month ( Puli varuthu, puli varuthu kathai thaan po! And that was his sister next to him during FF awards function. So chances are she might not act with Kamal in VV. Could go to Nayanthara. Incidentally, she is doing an "item" number for Vijay's Sivakasi.

Saw Velli Nakshathiram(Mal) yesterday. Good (Horror!?) movie with pathetic special effects :-) Funny rather than scary! But Prithviraj is definitely drool worthy. He dances quite well. The little girl is cho chweet!

The chimp with the beard looks scary, too much like dad.

Postage stamps on MSS and Gemini are set to be released soon!

Bombay Dreams will be touring this year, plan to catch it!

Can someone tell me why Anniyan is the number 1 movie right now?!!!! And that Sun TV comperer said Sadaa and azhagu in the same sentence :-D

Ajith is a never say never die man! He has signed AVM's next venture!

Friday, August 05, 2005


It has been more than a year that I have regularly been practising yoga. I have been exposed to it on and off all through my life. But only recently, have I started doing it in earnest. Towards the end of the day, it helps me unwind. It builds flexibility and posture.

It has become the latest fad to do this as an exercise. This article on yahoo lists some benefits.

This last month or so, I haven't been at it as regularly as I want to and this is when I really felt the advantages of doing it. My joints tell the tale. I could jump, run and climb and do my araimandi with no problems while practising my asanas regularly.

My favorite kind is the power yoga - intense, advanced asanas, which is a low-impact aerobic activity. Builds flexibility and stability. Needless to say, shavasana is my favorite ;-), but I do like my animal and bird asanas.

I know this yoga guru who is a centenarian, fit as a 40 year old, active and still teaching the art. A proof of the benefits of life-long yogasanas. This is one exercise, good for the body and mind, with no age restrictions or fitness levels. If at first, you can't reach down even to your knee level, keep at it with patience, eventually you will be able to place your palms on the ground, and the journey would have done you a whole lot of good!

I tried teaching yoga at a kids camp recently and it was fun. The children enjoyed trying out various poses, the breathing and relaxing. In fact, it is a good habit to cultivate from childhood. My 2+ year old also loves to do it with me :-)

So if you haven't ventured there yet, go for a spin(al twist).

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Translation help needed

Tamil pulavars and pandits, please help. Sometime back I learnt Varanam aayiram as a dance. But I am not satisfied with the way it is being depicted. I found this site which gave an approximate translation. But this is not enough for choreo purposes. I need help with certain words. Any help is highly appreciated.

I love this dance. I feel it needs to be fully understood before one can express what it conveys.

vAraNam Ayiram SUzha valam Seidu
accompanied by elephants in a procession

nAraNan nambi naDakkinRAn enRedir
The lord walks towards/in front of me

pUraNa poRkuDam vaittup
They carry brimming porkudam

puRam e~ngum tOraNam nATTak kanAk kaNDEN tOzhi nAn
toranams being put up all around - I dreamt thus, my friend

nALai vaduvai maNam enRu nAL iTTu
What exactly is vaduvai? - marriage? or girl/groom?

pALai kamugu pariSuDaip pandaR kIzh
under a paakku mara panthal
paalai ?
parisudai ?

kOLari mAdhavan gOvindan enbAn Or
majestic as a lion - kolari

kALai pugudak kanAk kaNDEn tOzhi! nAn
kalai ? - young man?

indiran uLLiTTa dEvar kuzhAm ellAm
indira and devars

vandu irundu ennai magaL pESi mandirittu
magal? as in daughter?

mandirak kODi uDutti maNa mAlai
what does mandira kodi mean? newly blessed costume or something?

antari SUTTak kanAk kaNDEn tOzhi! nAn
durga places the garland on me

kadiroLi dIpam kalaSam uDan Endi
bright lamps and kalasam bearing

SaDiriLa ma~ngaiyar tAm vandu edir koLLa
dancing maids welcome me

mathuraiyAr mannan aDi nilai toTTu e~ngum
adi nilai tottu is explained as not removing his sandals?

adirap pugudak kanAk kaNDEn tozhi! nAn
earth quakes as he walks in

ku~nkumam appi kuLir Sandam maTTittu
why kunkumam appi? do they rub kunkumam all over and not just on the forehead?

ma~ngala vIdi valam Seidu maNa nIr

a~ngu avanODum uDan SenRu a~ngu Anai mEl

ma~njanam ATTak kanAk kaNDEn tOzhi! nAn
manjanam aatta? spraying scented water or something?

kodambakkam pakkam has an article on Sruti Kamalhassan getting into modeling. She sure looks tall enough for that. Soundarya Rajinikanth is into special effects (Chandramuzhi was her work). Talking about Chandramuzhi's s.e., I think they went a bit far when they did kungfu style wired fight sequences. And Prabhu's wig was almost natural looking. I guess a lot of that movie's budget must have gone to making the main men look young ;-)

Now look at these 2 (super) daughters. Soundarya looks very pretty (lakshanam as we say), Sruti though cute, isn't a beauty. has a review of Sathayaraj's Englishkaran. That man is the undisputed master of lolluvism. Should be a good entertainer.

Daas is apparently a hit in the making. Remake Ravi is going to renamed Raasiyaana Ravi ;-)

Kiran's thoppai seems to have jumped (koodu vittu koodu). Namitha sports it these days.

And looks like Surya is sporting a wig these days, not a bad one. I heard he had to shave his head for a recent movie.

Seems to be mottai season in Kollywood, with Sarath giving company.

oor vambu - vera enna, adds masala to the morning cuppa.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

English as she is spoke

I was reading Narayanan sir's blog on Spoken English. And that started me off on this subject.

First of all, I am not an expert. But I am willing to learn. I have always been fascinated by the written word. Provided, they make sense. Majority of the people who speak English (that includes me) make very common mistakes when they do so. My problem is that I think faster than I speak and end up stuttering and tripping up. I can control better when I write. We can always check and re-check what we have written and correct ourselves.

English, we don't realize this, has many dialects. There is Americanese (within which we have Bostonese, hickish, Texan, etc), Hinglish, Thanglish/Tamlish, and countless others. This language has withstood the ravages of time because of its ability to adapt. How many of us know that English evolved from old German! The dictionaries are constantly being updated with new and borrowed words. That by itself makes this language a great one.

When writing, certain gaffes seem to be native to the country it belongs to. How many Tamilians use "can" and "able" in the same sentence? I don't think I have heard this from any other community. Most Hinglish speakers, add that ubiquitous "no" to turn a statement into a question. And they also add a rhyme to words, like chai-wai, etc. I knew a Punjabi girl who visited my house, saw the big stuffed toy lion in the corner, and said, wow, what a big loin, yaar!

To truly globalize what you write, it is important to get rid of such regional errors. The best way to do that, is to read, read and some more. The more widely read we are, the better we are able to write. I look at what I wrote a few years back and can plainly see that if I had to rewrite that now, I probably can do a better job. My problem is, I don't like to rewrite - too lazy :-)

Call me a snob, but I cannot read something if it is poorly formed. I am always picking on technical docs that I have to read. I can't help it, they call out to me ;-) But I have learnt to not be too vocal about them though.

So, if you find a bug in this blog, do let me know ;-)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

HP - What to expect now?

Now that we have 3 years for the next and final book, the best thing to do is to chew on what we know so far and lay forth possibilities and assumptions. If you have not read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood prince and plan on doing so, stop right here. If not, continue reading.

The chapter on Spinner's End is of special significance. That is the reason for what happens in the last few chapters. Was Snape caught in the snare by Narcissa (name is a clue?) and Bellatrix? Or did he really know what it was all about? Or was he using legilimency to go along with them? And why was wormtail living with him? Assuming he went along with the flow and promised to help Malfoy, did he then recount the whole deal to Dumby? That makes sense coz Dumby believed in him strongly. And it doesn't make sense that he would trust someone so much only to be let down.

And when Hagrid says he overheard Snape and Dumby, it was probably Dumby wanting Snape to go through with it and Snape not wanting to do it. So chances are Dumby really died, fully knowing what was going on, or he pretended to die.

We don't know what he drank in the cave. When he came back, he wanted to see Snape. May be he knew what was going on. And when Snape used the unforgivable curse on him, did he really mean it. Because, remember in The Order..., Bellatrix tells Harry that the curse can work only if you mean it. So, what if Snape didn't mean it. He still did his share for the Unbreakable Vow, but Dumby somehow acted dead (remember the draught of the living death) and why would he do that weird acrobatics before falling down. And how come Fawkes didn't come to save him?

Fawkes' lament is supposed to heal, so who does it work on? What happened to Fenrir Greyback at the end? When Dumby is laid out, and the body catches fire, Harry thinks he saw a phoenix shape fly away. Significant, may be?

But Dumby's picture is on the wall. Does that mean he is dead? or he is no longer the principal?

RAB is probably Regulus Black, if so then the locket at Grimmault Place is the real one? Remember when they cleaned the place, they found a locket that they could not open.

The DADA post is cursed by Voldemort. What is the significance? Could Hogwarts be the place for the final climax? Harry is heading back to Godric's Hollow? Could there be a horcrux there? Some say Harry might have a horcrux in his scar. Which makes a bit of sense, the connection between the two being a side-effect.

Too many questions. We are going to have hundreds of theories, all worth reading.
So, time for a second reading and then back to square one, just to make sure I haven't missed any clues.

Puthumai Penn

She was always on the forefront of the groups that fought for women's liberation. She was very vocal about wanting women to be frontliners. She helped bring women forward, be it a ration queue or bus queue or even a cinema queue. The day came when she found a life mate. Now she dances to the whims and fancies of her husband and mother-in-law, always a step behind them.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Nambikkai - Hope springs eternal

kangalil vetru paarvai
azhavillai, thalai sutri vizhavillai
aadaamal asaiyaamal salanamatra kanavanai
aadaamal asaiyaamal veritha kannil salanamillai

ini vaazhvathil arthamillai
pinju viralgal kannathai varudiyathu
Nambikkai piranthathu
koodave kanneerum.

oruvarai oruvar
paarthu purinthu piriya pattu
petrorgalidum pesi
kai sera munainthaargal - paavam
petrorgalo pillaigalai nambavillai
munpin theriyaatha jothidarai nambinaargal

A response to this

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Love painting

Long long ago, before the advent of cable tv, we stuck criss-cross metal rods to house terraces to go through a very important ritual every Sunday. TV-less people flocked to TV-ed houses (recognized by the metal rods overhead) to watch the phenomenon called Doordarshan.

Every Sunday, life came to a standstill while watching whatever flavor was dished out. Like Bertie Bott's Every flavor beans, we could end up with something as yucky as vomit or Booger, but occasionally we got a lemon drop or Bubble gum flavor. Well, not candies, I am talking metaphorically about the highly-important-not-to-be-missed sunday evening movies.

I have lumbered through Haridas era movies and enjoyed 80s fast-paced ones. One very painful Sunday, we got to watch this movie about a beggar and a dancer. The movie by itself, was unsahikkable and unporukkable. But beggars cannot be choosers (no pun intended here, or may be yes). One very highly redeeming feature of this movie, and I mean the only one, was the music was scored by the great maestro himself. Now, why he chose to do that, is up for debate. But he did and we are kind of glad he did. Coz those songs are gems.

I recently got hold of them and they still sound great. Timeclass classics indeed! I have always been partial towards classical-based songs and these are some good reasons.
My favorites -

Sangeetha jaathi mullai by SPB. He excelled here. I happened to listen to him live and he said he had rarely attempted to sing this on stage. It was awesome. love that part where he does a kind of rap and then goes from there to vizhi illai enum pothu...

Deepan Chakravarthy doing poojaikkaaga vazhum poovai . A pity that this guy didn't get what he deserved.

Poovil vandu mothum - SPB- Need I say more?

Naatham en jeevane - SJ. Starts with a small piece of poovil vandum mothum. Melodious!

Velli salangaigal - SPB - he does the jathis superbly

kuyile kuyile - SPB/SJ. One of the best combos for duet, imho.

One unfortunate thing for me is, everytime I think about these songs, I get this mental picture of kannan as the pitchaikaaran, with that intense look on his face. If you know what I mean, you know what I go through :-D

Listen here on

Back-note (Pin-kurippu): Incidentally, SPB's daughter and I were born in the same hospital, next to each other. Who knows, may be we were switched at birth ;-P Wishful thinking, I know :-D

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Post Potter Depression

Finished reading book 6 on Sunday. The wait starts again. And it is worse. 2 more years before we know what really happened!

My theories will follow in another blog, because that would be a major spoiler!

I am in awe of this lady, she has managed to create a wonderful new world, all within her brain. And there is so much she has drawn from classics, myths and what-not. Amazing! And the fact that it appeals to young and old alike, is no mean feat! Inspite of all the hype and hoopla, these are genuinely good books. And they have done more for literacy than any left-behind-right-before-policies. So if you haven't, now is a good time to start.

Found some interesting things regarding HP

Guardian UK had a contest on Potter endings written in the style of famous writers. Nice read. Spoiler alert (not really)! Check out Dan Brown and Enid Blyton.

A quiz on Book 6 here, courtesy BBC . Go at it if you are done with the book.

And an interesting quiz...

You scored as Padfoot (Sirius Black). You are Padfoot- aka Sirius Black! You are an extremely loyal person who will risk anything for your friends. You tend to be a bit of a rebel, and don't place much importance in family. But your friends mean the world to you. And they always will.

Padfoot (Sirius Black)


Moony (Remus Lupin)


Prongs (James Potter)


Wormtail (Peter Pettigrew)


Harry Potter Marauders Quiz
created with

Friday, July 15, 2005


He refused to believe in God. He considered people who did complete fools. How could anyone believe something that didn't exist! He laughed at people who went to temples religiously and went on fasts every other day.

But every morning, when his neighbor played the Suprabhatham, he was undeniably touched. Little did he know, at that instant, his God was very real.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Off to Hogwart's

Not too long now. I have pre-ordered the book for Saturday. But I get this email from amazon today saying it might be anytime on Saturday up to 7PM. That is one whole day without Harry. I think I might just go early in the morning to WalMart (am not a night owl) and grab the book off their shelf.

Aakka porathavalukku aara porukkalai!

So here's something to help with the wait. A very easy quiz on encarta!

So any predictions on who is going to die and who is going to be the half-blood?
I have full hopes of seeing Sirius back (some way).

UPDATE (July 15): At 7:20PM EST today, will have an audio of JKR reading from book 6.

JKR's answer to a Q:
So how DO the members of the Order of the Phoenix communicate with each other?
I was surprised that this particular question won the poll, because the answer (as I've already said) can be found in an already-published book (Goblet of Fire), whereas the other two questions related to book six. But perhaps I was influenced by the fact that I knew the other two questions had interesting answers – and, of course, you will shortly know the answers to those questions anyway!

Members of the Order use their Patronuses to communicate with each other. They are the only wizards who know how to use their spirit guardians in this way and they have been taught to do so by Dumbledore (he invented this method of communication). The Patronus is an immensely efficient messenger for several reasons: it is an anti-Dark Arts device, which makes it highly resilient to interference from Dark wizards; it is not hindered by physical barriers; each Patronus is unique and distinctive, so that there is never any doubt which Order member has sent it; nobody else can conjure another person's Patronus, so there is no danger of false messages being passed between Order members; nothing conspicuous needs to be carried by the Order member to create a Patronus.

And, as many of you have deduced, Dumbledore's Patronus is indeed a phoenix.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Over the hill

This blog has crossed the century mark. Does that make me a centurion? Hope not ;-) If you are clueless, you need to read this.

I am a centenarian!!!

How Normal are you?

I found this site that has some interesting(?) quizzes that you can take.
I am kind of disappointed to realize that I am more normal than I thought I would be :-(

You Are 55% Normal

(Somewhat Normal)

While some of your behavior is quite normal...

Other things you do are downright strange

You've got a little of your freak going on

But you mostly keep your weirdness to yourself

Treasured words

Imagine you were stranded in an island. What would you miss the most, not counting people? I thought about this and the first thing that came to my mind was my reading habit. I have to read everyday. I need books. Does not really matter what I read as long as I can read at least a page or two everyday.

As far back as I can remember, books were my primary source of entertainment. I remember sitting on my father's lap while he read Amar Chitra Katha stories for me. I remember my first Enid Blyton, a Secret Seven mystery. Being an only child, books have been my constant companion.

I love visiting bookstores. In Chennai, it was Higginbothams first, now Landmark. Here it is Books-A-Million or Barnes and Noble, and not to forget, amazon online. Quick reads are my favorite kind, short stories especially. Nowadays, reading a novel takes a few weeks. It is frustrating for someone who finished Gone with the Wind in a day and half. I cannot put down a book halfway.

When I was in my 6th std., we had one class where there was no teacher for sometime. So a group of us decided to put that hour to good use. We pooled all our ACKs and started our own library. Teachers were often surprised to find our class the quietest one in the whole floor.

Tending to 2 young 'uns gives me little time for such pleasures now. But, I do manage to find a few hours now and then to read a good book, or at least half of it. I am now glad to have given this legacy to my kids too. (Well, part of it is also my husband's genes). My older one started reading when she was barely 5, and ever since, she has enjoyed being immersed in a book. (I have too, a quiet kid is a rare gift). I must say, though, I do miss our Seussions together.

My younger one, I am hoping will be reading on her own in a year or 2. She has the attention span of a fruit fly, for anything except puzzles and songs. But she does love to hear me reading to her, albeit for short sessions. She gets attached to one book at a time, and then, she puts me in a read cycle until she is exhausted, which of course is not that easy. I am eager to start her on Hooked on phonics, for my sake.

I am currently reading Michael Connelly's Closers and D. Baldacci's Split Second. I finished Hour game last week, and then realized that I never read Split Second. It has been sitting on my nightstand for a year now, and I had been thinking that I finished reading it. All three are fast paced thrillers.

I borrowed O. Henry and Jane Austen from the library, though I may not be able to read them in the next week or so. No need to ask why. Half-blood Prince takes precedence over everything else. I don't dare start a new one, in case I can't finish it before Saturday.

Not too long a wait now! Hurry up, Harry!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Arulappa Chettiyaar - Chapter 3

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

When Meenakshi and her husband moved to Chennai, Chettiyaar became more lonely. He would have died before admitting it, but it was true that except for the tirades and advices he forced on people he met, there was no one he could talk to. His wife was there, but they never talked like companions. His world narrowed; Meenakshi had always kept him updated on the town happenings, and now he no longer knew what was happening with Kothandam on the next street or Chandran and his wife at the other end of the town.

He became even more crabby, found more faults with everyone and had a perpetually disgruntled look on his face. It was during this time that tragedy struck. Chettiyaar amma was rammed by an angry bull when she was out gathering flowers for her daily prayer. She was knocked unconscious and rushed to the hospital. Her hipbone was broken and she became bedridden. She was laid on the cot near the central atrium and her days were spent watching the world from that spot. A local woman came to help her with daily activities and Chettiyaar, inspite of his sister's offer to help, took upon himself the duty of cooking. He enjoyed the activity actually.

After staying away for a few days, the neighborhood kids came to see ammaiyar. Chettiyaar would have none of it. He shooed them away saying that his wife needed her rest. Little did he know. For Malarvizhi ammaiyar, the kids filled the void left by her barren state. She came alive when she was with them. Being denied that pleasure affected her health adversely. Her appetite, already poor because of her bedridden state, got even worse. Chettiyaar scolded her, wanting her to get better. Although he was spouting invectives, eventually he realized what was bothering her. He told her that she could have them over, but he wouldn't have anything to do with it.

At first, none of the kids showed up, their fear of Chettiyaar was greater than their love for ammaiyaar. But she repeatedly sent her maid to invite them over and they finally relented. They came in meekly, like cats, watching the Chettiyaar out of the corner of their eyes. Chettiyaar grumbled a lot, but didn't budge out of his chair. The kids crowded around ammaiyar, taking care not to face Chettiyaar. They were subdued, not making any noise and listened as ammaiyar talked to them.

Encouraged, the kids starting turning up every afternoon. Chettiyaar, initially, ignored them completely. After a few days, his curiosity won over and he started to listen to their conversations. No mean task, since the kids barely whispered when he was around. One day, ammaiyar was telling the kids a mythological story from Shiva purana. Chettiyaar was listening, without seeming to, At one point, ammaiyar said something that irked Chettiyaar terribly. Before he realized it, he started giving his input, telling her she was doing it all wrong. Then, in his usual style, he proceeded to tell them his version of the puranas. The argument between the husband and wife brought an end to the day's story session.

The next day, before ammaiyar could start her story, Chettiyaar declared that he would do the honors, since ammaiyar had no clue about what she was talking and the kids needed to know the truth, and not half-baked ideas from a pseudo literate woman. The kids slowly got fascinated with the story, forgot their fears and crowded around Chettiyaar to hear the story better. The news spread through the town like wild fire. People refused to believe this. And then it happened. The kids were talking to ammaiyar after their story session with Chettiyaar, when an argument broke out between 2 boys. One of them called the other a coward and dared him to show otherwise. The challenge was to bestow a smacking kiss on the sleeping Chettiyaar's cheek.

A hushed silence fell as the kid took up the dare. He tiptoed to the Chettiyaar, smacked his cheek loudly and ran out of the house, as fast as he could, without waiting to see Chettiyaar's reaction. The neighbors heard the rumble and came running to see the cause. What they saw gave them the shock of their lives. The noise came from Chettiyaar's house. As his wife looked at him completely befuddled, Chettiyaar's face took an a new expression that no one had seen before. His lips widened, a twinkle in his eye, a rumble in his chest and then he threw his head back and started laughing uproariously.


Sholay remake?

Rediff carries this article about RGV talking about remaking Sholay. And the big Q is, who would fit the roles today?

For me, no doubts or questions, Aby baby for dad's role. For Dharam, I am not as sure. Someone with a good sense of humor - Uday Chopra may be, but not much of a personality. Govinda (too old) or Sallu or Saif.

And no, not Esha for Basanti. No way! Aishu could do it may be. Gracie Singh could too. (Where is she?) May Rani M too.

For Jaya B's role, Vidya Balan or Bhumika might do.
Ajay Devgan wouldn't be too bad for Sanjeev Kumar's role. Jackie Shroff too.

For Gabbar, Shivaji Shinde probably.

Other choices?

Friday, July 08, 2005

Arulappa Chettiyaar - Chapter 2

Read Chapter 1 first.

Malarvizhi ammaiyar had a younger brother, Rajendran, who had lost all his farming lands due to mismanagement and unhealthy living. He would sometimes visit them in the hopes of free abode. As soon as Chettiyaar caught sight of him coming towards their house, he would start rumbling. The sight of Rajendran, in his dirty veshti, faded shirt, plastic slippers and the yellow cloth bag under his arm, not surprisingly, incensed the Chettiyaar to great heights. He had a voice like a cannon, even a whisper carried over several feet. So there was no way Rajendran could not hear the tirade. Chettiyaar amma was used to his rambling ways and ignored it completely. Rajendran would suffer through it for a few days and leave in a huff, only to return after a few months and the cycle would repeat. Everytime he left, the old couple would get into a fight, with ammaiyaar getting angry over his behavior and Chettiyaar being glad about the good riddance. And this was not just with his wife's relations. He did that even with his own people. His second cousin, once visited him in the hopes of sponging off a loan for his daughter's marriage. He had barely opened his mouth to ask when he was routed out by Chettiyaar's endless tirade against him. It was another matter that Chettiyaar did send over some money for the wedding. It was his nature. Very few people knew his soft core. He definitely hid it well under his crabby exterior.

He had this habit of putting down people without even making an effort to do so. If someone informed him that they had built a house, he would find faults with its location or construction or something else. His attitude extended to one and all without bias. Once, Saroja, who was ammaiyaar's friend, came looking for her. Chettiyaar was extremely upset at having his siesta disturbed. Fully knowing who he was talking to, told her that ammaiyaar had gone in search of that crazy old crone Saroja, That poor lady left hurriedly, with tears in her eyes.

He didn't leave the local vendors alone. He would go to the market to buy groceries, pick what he needed, give the vendor half of the cost and walk away, ignoring all the protests from the shopkeeper. Mobile vendors, selling bananas or vegetables avoided his house like the plague, if they caught sight of him on the verandah. If they were caught unawares, they invariably lost to the old man, who never bargained. He would take what he wanted and give them what he felt like.

What was surprising, was the people around him tolerated all this. They would always say, that is his nature, what can we do. There was one person, other than his wife, whom he never yelled at. That was his sister's daughter, Meenakshi, who lived on the next street. She had special privileges with her uncle and lots of times, people used her as a go-between, when they wanted things done by him. She had helped the mill workers who needed an urgent loan, the temple's annual festival, public facilities and so on. She visited him every evening on her way from the temple. She would give him the temple prasadam and sometimes sit next to him and chat until her mother came looking for her around dinner time.

Meenakshi was a naive young small town girl. When she was 17, she fell in love. Unfortunately, she was gullible enough to fall for a good-for-nothing fellow from the neighboring town. When her parents heard of it, there was a big showdown. They literally put her under house arrest. Chettiyaar came to know of all this when he didn'tsee Meenakshi for 2 days in a row. He went to her house, and berated her parents for acting so harsh. To everyone's disbelief, he was all for the two getting married and he eventually got his way. Fortunately for Meenakshi, the young man she married, was genuinely in love with her and took it upon himself to lead a more productive life. The whole town talked about this surprising act by Chettiyaar for years afterwards.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Mun janmam

Blogsurfing brought me to Sudish Kamath's site. Found an interesting link to finding one's previous life. Here is what I was told:

Your past life diagnosis:
I don't know how you feel about it, but you were male in your last earthly incarnation.
You were born somewhere in the territory of modern South of Latin America around the year 950.
Your profession was that of a entertainer, musician, poet or temple-dancer.
Your brief psychological profile in your past life:
You always liked to travel and to investigate. You could have been a detective or a spy.
The lesson that your last past life brought to your present incarnation:
You should develop your talent for love, happiness and enthusiasm and you should distribute these feelings to all people.
Do you remember now?

No I don't! So there were temple-dancers in South America? :-) I didn't know I had a talent for love, happiness and enthusiasm :-D

Arulappa Chettiyaar - Chapter 1

Chettiyaar, as he was known in neighborhood, was a crusty old man. His arrogance knew no bounds. Young children wet their pants on hearing his voice. Even the men who knew of him, would quickly cross to the other side of the road, if they happened to spot him standing outside his house. People who were new in town, initially assumed that this was probably because Chettiyar was a big don or had a lot of political clout. In fact, Chettiyaar was one of the most honest men in that town. May be that was probably why many feared him; for he was not only honest, but forthrightly and bluntly so.

Chettiyaar amma, as his wife was popularly known, was his exact opposite in personality. She was well-liked by everyone for her helpful and giving nature, her humility, her peaceful countenance and most of all, for her guts. She was a brave woman. She would have to be, having been married to Chettiyaar for these many years and not having cowed down. One would assume that such a man would have a mouse of a wife, meek and subdued, not venturing out of her domain - the kitchen. But Chettiyaar amma broke such conceptions. She was a strong person, had no problems facing down Chettiyaar if he objected to her ideas and wishes. In fact, she was the only one he was close to being afraid of. She had the run of the house and also of the neighborhood.

Chettiyaar and his wife lived alone in an old chettinaad style house - red floors, red shingles on the roof, white walls, a nice huge thinnai out front, and an open atrium in the center of their house. Chettiyaar's popular spot was a creaky old lounging chair in this central courtyard. He would sit there, reading his books or the days' paper, with the front and back doors which lined up, providing good ventilation. His wife spent most of her time helping out the neighborhood kids, giving them sweets or snacks, playing games with them or telling them stories filled with Gods, Goddesses and demons. They would sit in the backyard under the neem tree or on the front thinnai surrounding her.

Chettiyaar's daily routine never varied. He would get up early morning, go for a walk to the river, then visit his farms and mills, take a bath and have his brunch. After that, he would sit with his papers and books and mostly ended up snoring within an hour or so. This was the time the children ventured to the house to be entertained by C. amma. At around 4 in the afternoon, he would wake up which resulted in the kids scampering away like frightened birds. He would putter around his garden after a strong cup of coffee. Then he would sit on the thinnai and start his daily chants. Every person who happened to cross his vision was subject to these chants. He would ask them all kinds of personal questions, scolding them whenever he was displeased, and giving them advice on how to do things. He considered himself an expert on all matters and took it upon himself to educate his community.

Most of his arrogance came from the fact that he was a self-made man. When he was 16, he fought with his father over a trivial matter and ran away from his house. He was irascible even then. He joined the British army in Madras and since he knew to read and write, he moved on to a desk job soonafter. Luckily for him, he stuck to that job and moved around the subcontinent along with his senior officer. After independence, he started working for a big company in Madras. When he was 35, his family traced him and got him to come back to an ailing mother and was promptly married off to Malarvizhi. He settled down in his hometown, Thirukeniyur in his ancestral home, minding the family's rice mills and farms.

Kitchen corner

Among other things, I love to cook and bake. But my newfound health consciousness doesn't let me cook the traditional recipes. So, I have learnt to make compromises, though I prefer to call em renovations.

So please do check them out, my Recipe Renovations and let me know what you think.

My baking interests started with wanting to decorate my own cakes. I have done a few. Time consuming, but lovely results. I have made it my own tradition to do them for my kids' birthdays. I will upload pictures soon. I have moved to using whole wheat flour and oatmeal more than plain flour and now, having to use plain flour makes me feel like I am doing something bad ;-)

So, if you are like me, wanting better choices, but the same traditional food and lesser cooking time, check these recipes out.

Sun, Sand and Salty water

A brief hiatus, and I am back. What happened, you ask? After a looong time, got to vacation on the beach. Blue and white, a beautiful sight. Indeed. Anyone not been to the gulf coast yet? Find your next vacation, quick. Sand was white, white, white. The water was warm, salty and choppy. Great, huh? Best was staying right on the beach, a condo that was small but comfortable, though disappointingly, couldn't find one with a gulf view. Shark attacks not withstanding, people were plopping on the waves, but not venturing out far. Early morning walks on the sand, lapping up the waves, a short nap and again walks on the sand. Awesome. But short.

I am planning to start a new thread on my recipe renovations. Things I have discovered that help me eat well, but still lets me stick to my roots. Ever tried oatmeal adai? You won't know the difference. And for my husband, a die-hard fan of adai, it tasted better :-)

Heard about JJ's massive contraband? :-) What else would you call 10,500 sarees, 91 wristwatches, 28 kg jewellery, 41 air conditioners and a high tech bus and nearly 100 pairs of footwear. What did she do with 41 ACs?

Another story is in the making, not sure how long it is going to be. Will post the first part soon.

Thursday, June 30, 2005


Highly intrigued by SRK's moustached mug and since it was Amol Palekar at the helm, went to watch Paheli yesterday.

Based on a folk story in Rajasthan, it is colorfully depicted and includes some Shankar-style-special effects. For once (actually twice if you consider Swades), SRK doesn't irritate you with his affected acting. The settings, the pagdis and the narrating puppets bring out the essence of Rajasthan. It feels good to experience the richness visually. BTW, the puppets (Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah) are a nice touch.

Rani Mukherjee looks simple and good, acts well, no surprises there. But inspite of depicting a village woman, she has no problems showcasing her cleavage and more. I liked SRK in this one, reminded me of his pre-star days. Juhi Chawla, o my G, is so pretty, looks younger than Rani in some places. She could have easily done the lead. Suneil Shetty shows up in 1 or 2 scenes, and you end up thinking, what was the point?

There is a subtle humor, quite enjoyable. The settings were awesome. Especially the walls which were painted with typical folk art. Elephants on the stairs was a nice touch.

Amitabh was the acme, stole the show in his one act appearance. The ending was tame, abrupt, too pat and filmy. Until then, it was a great movie. Compared to the run of the mill they churn nowadays, this is good stuff.

I have to say again though. SRK needs a quick course on how to grow a good moush :-)

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Cosmic Clues

As mentioned earlier, I am in the middle of this book called Cosmic Clues, a detective fiction by Manjiri Prabhu. It is based in Pune and is a good read. The narrative sometimes is artificial, using words not found in common practice. But then, we Indians tend to use such words, probably we are the only country that still does it may be :-)

Anyway, if you ignore those things, the book is enjoyable. If you are a whodunnit fan, then do read it. The detective (a female ) combines her knowledge of criminal psychology and vedic astrology. Interesting to say the least and doesn't seem too improbable for its locale.

Talking about astrology, I came across this sani peyarchi predictions blog today. If you can read tamil, do check it out. Very useful ;-)

My mom had been talking about this for sometime, something about my nalla kaalam porakirathu because of this. I am not fully taken by all this, but it is nice to think that good times are upon us. I guess I tend to believe the positive tales ;-)

My husband is interested in such stuff, but it is hard to find someone who can give accurate predictions. Having watched chidambara rahasiyam avidly, he tried to check one out, just out of curiosity. The guy he went to was a quack for sure.

I know of one person who has been on the mark quite a few times. He predicted girls for me during both my pregnancies, and he prophesied that we were going to have a baby, barely a week after we found out.

So I am not completely ready to disbelieve what the stars foretell. And as Firenze would say, it is not that easy to predict the future.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Herbie - Fully Loaded

We were supposed to have a girl's night out to see the Smiths on Friday which didn't materialize. Instead we took the kids to see Herbie Saturday.

First of all, it ofcourse lacked the vintage charm of the old Herbie. But by itself it is a good enjoyable movie. It was good to see Michael Keaton; I don't think I have watched anything of his since Multiplicity. Justin Long reminded me a bit of David Schwimmer of Friends fame. Lindsey Lohan is mostly cute.

But considering that it is a race movie, there is not too much adrenalin going on. The NASCAR scenes lacked that energy you would expect on the tracks. I guess it was tamed down to earn a "G".

Herbie makes you laugh quite a bit and it is good to see a movie that your little kids thoroughly enjoy. My older one enjoyed watching it. My little one, who has connected movies to popcorn, watched a bit of the races, but mostly sat and ate the popcorn. A little towards the end, she started singing. (She sings all the time, I mean ALL the time) I had to get her back to her popcorn. Otherwise, she was very well behaved, considering her personality. Then she comes out and says she loved the movie :-)

The hall we watched was one of the older ones; we had gone to a friend's neighborhood to watch it, in the middle of hickland. They had the old style seating and that was a different kind of experience. A movie for the child in you.

Friday, June 24, 2005

A long overdue book tag - including fines

I love books. My idea of heaven is a good book, a cuppa of strong tea and a slice of chocolate pecan or almond cake with fudge frosting :-)

Balaji had tagged me sometime back and I never got around to doing this.

Total Number of books I own: About 200 + (collectively with my husband, that is. If I include my kids, it might be another 100)

Last books I bought: The Closers by Michael Connelly (for my husband on father's day) and Black Rose by Nora Roberts

Last book I read: To Kill a Mockingbird

Books that mean a lot to me: (more than 5, coz books, just by definition, they mean a lot to me, I like to read everyday.)

Fountainhead: Since this was the first Ayn Rand book I read and I feel she shaped me to an extent.

Bharathiyar Kavithaigal: My pocket sized book has seen better days, but it is with me and that gives me a lot of reassurance. My love for tamil is partly owed to this.

Kannadasanin paadalgal: OK, I came across this book as a kid, Ever since then I have been trying to buy this. It is a big bound volume of all his movie songs. If anyone knows what I am talking about, plis to leave a comment.

All PGWodehouse, but especially his Jeeves/Wooster ones and Leave it to Psmith.

Enid Blyton: The ones I liked best were the fairy tales with gnomes and elves and fairies. The adventure ones were next. I love reading them to my kids now, especially the wishing chair books.

If tomorrow comes: Light and very fast reading for me. I read it so many times. I liked her character - strong and resourceful.

Gone with the Wind: The same reason as above.

The Winner: same reason as above (Also, Saving Faith by Baldacci)

Jane Eyre: Had it in school and it was a starting point for me towards Bronte and Austen.

Treasure Island: It was a defining moment (series of) for me to realize I could write. We had detailed essays on this book and mine were favorites of my English teacher that he read it out aloud in class.

Harry Potter and the half-blood prince: Well, right now it means a lot to me :-) I can't wait to get my hands on this one.

Meenakshi ammal's Samaithu paar: I guess most tam-brams are familiar with this one. It was a savior in my kathu-kutti days.

Dr. Suess (esp Fox in socks): I would read them to my older girl and it gave me an appreciation for the nonsensical. I was suessical for a brief period in my life then, trying to ape that style. And no, I am not calling myself a monkey here.

Code Complete: Probably the only tech book I read cover to cover.

And any book I may be currently reading. I can't put down a book without finishing it. I seem to be drawn into it and cannot get back to reality quick enough. One of the reasons I cannot read some of the more engrossing books during the week.

Books lined up for immediate reading:
Cosmic clues by Manjiri Prabhu - I saw the author's name and picked it from my library. Don't have any clue what it is about except that it was in the mystery section.

Hour game by Baldacci - I got to read all his books.

Eragon - the size intimidates me :-)

I am planning to get the highly touted one about birds and bees and also Sedaris's talking pretty soon.

Men and their fungal fuzz

Now don't get me wrong, a lot of men look good sprouting some hair below their nose. I have threatened my husband that on no condition he may shave off his. I have a picture from his pre-me years, it is scary to say the least. To me, Kamal looks best in his pre-nayagan days than in his clean-shaven northie-wannabe look. There are some who better not show their face without it. Then there are some, who better not forget to shave everyday, may be even twice a day.

Look at Vijay, Arjun or Prashant, they look like they need a healthy dose of Miracle-Gro. And then there is old man Sharath, who looks good either way. There are still people around who sport a naam-ke-vaaste one, a la yesteryear romantic lead Gemini. Don't you feel like taking a razor to them while they are sleeping? And for some time, there were men sporting a small caterpillar just under their lips. What was that, for G's sake? Either you want one or you don't. These are the wishy-washy neither-here-nor-there undecided types.

You are wondering what brought this up? The new look that SRK is sporting for Paheli. Most northies don't look good with a moush and most southies without. Wonder why! Admitted, it is necessary for him to grow one, in going with his Rajasthani character. But couldn't he have done a better job with it? I guess these people are not used to one and cannot figure how to look good with it and end up being awkward. There are of course exceptions. I liked Aamir in his hirsuite avatar for The Rising.

(Pics: Rediff)

Tom Selleck and his moush are synonymous. Kevin Kline looks better with it. But only people with dark hair seem to hit it off in their relation with facial fuzz. Either that or the Santa Claus look. Only extremes help the fair folks.

I think they need to have a course in growing a suitable moush. May be the Coimbatore Goundar or the Tirunelveli Pillai or the Tiruchur Nair can teach it!

What I am trying to say is, all ye men, if you can't handle it, then don't grow those handles. I think SRK needs to brush up(pun unintended) on his reading, especially Jeeves, as in Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit.

Continuing the unfinished busy-ness...

Arvind has written a commendable part 2 of my unfinished busyness.

Now, who is willing to take up part 3? This could be an interesting chain.

Know what? Let's play tag with this. I am going to tag someone else to write the continuation. They could either finish it or write one part and tag someone else.

Balaji is it. Please continue the story :-)

Note: The writer can set the size of his segment to his discretion. Just make sure it keeps continuity and also is not too short.