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.