Monday, September 29, 2014

Motorcycle Diaries - 1

I was not very fond of riding bikes (motorcycles!), I should confess that I was extremely scared because I had an accident in my school days. This accident put me in an immovable state for 15 days, no bones were broken, but severe wounds (perunggayam). I tried to overcome the fear while in college, but it got worst, I went on to hit the railway track, fortunately no train was passing at that time otherwise the train would have experienced severe damages.

After coming to Chennai, there was no opportunity to have a bike, actually and factually- I didn't create the opportunity, whichever office I went cabs were given and when I want to roam around the city I used to take the public transport. Years went by peacefully, but then it became a necessity to have a bike. (Kudumbam Peruthudichi). I couldn't escape the crowd, I had to yield for it. I had to go for a gear-less. I went for Wego, which was new to the market then and a unique choice of white color. 

I was scared of driving in the city roads, as I’m experienced in seeing/feeling how the cab drivers maneuver their cars. In few days, after few kilometers of practicing, I felt the fellow drivers were very kind, may be everyone knew that I was new. The only secret I didn't know then was if the driver (bike) turns his\her head to right, it means s\he is going to turn right, no indicator or hand signal is needed. If you want to turn right, then turn your head right. If you want to turn left, turn your head left. So Simple. But, the biggest hurdle was yet to come. Licence.

To be continued..

PS: Later, this post writer became the first man to ride the Wego for 258.4 Kms in 5 Hours and 24 mins.

Photo Credit: IVaR

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Devils ?

One thing which made me feel bad in the recent Delhi zoo incident or should we call it as an accident is the way in which people behaved by filming the event. If I was in that situation, I wouldn't have taken a video of it. Many videos are floating in the internet of that incident, I haven't purposefully seen it and I wish not to see it, because it was purposefully filmed, which is of no use.

At this age of selfies, when two or more people meet they invariably end up in taking pictures, of course these are moments to be cherished, but not when someone is battling for his life.

Most of us have good mobiles, with a decent clarity which can shoot pictures and videos, but this does not give license to shoot everything. We have seen videos of accident happening on the road, those are not intentionally taken, just “accidentally shot”. I would like to pose a cliched question, “Will they take a video, when their near-dear ones are trapped like that guy ?”.

What is the purpose of shooting the video, are they going to watch it on a Sunday evening with their family\friends or share it in Social Media and troll on it. And, there is this mob mentality in social media, which shares the video by the tag line “Be aware of the tiger”, as if we don't know what a tiger can do. Pathetic.

This reminded me of the film, Untraceable. The story is to catch a serial killer. He streams the killing in a website, the more hits\visitors the website receives the sooner the victims are killed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Chennai Bloggers Club Meet

When the event was created in Facebook, I decided to go after thinking for 4.43 Seconds. But, when the day arrived, I was not in a mood (iduku eduku mood!), due to lack of sleep after a hard night work in the office! and mixed with a severe headache.

The meet was to start at 3 PM, so I followed Indian Standard Time- I got up at 3 PM. Left home at 3:30 PM. I knew I had to travel a straight road after catching 100ft road in Vadapalani. The meet was at house, which was in Kanchipuram District, so it was Chennai Bloggers Club meet in Kanchipuram. 

Saturday evening with the light traffic I was able to reach the area in 45 mins, but I couldn't find the street. I asked the neighborhood annachi store guy, he gave me a look. The look told me 1000 meanings- ethanai peru kelambi irukenga!!. I guess prior to me some of the fellow blogger would have asked him the same street address. Done. I made it to his house.

Entering the house, it was a shocker for me. 20 odd people were sitting on the floor, for a moment I thought I had entered into a sappadu panthi (Marriage dining hall!). I introduced myself like a WWE star. With my latest hairstyle, I thought most of them couldn't have recognized me. As I shook my hands with all, I was able to identify everyone except,, and Sundar (Unga blog enna ji). At last, I extended my hand to, with his iron grip he broke two of my five finger bones!. The other three was broken in the end (finishing touch).

I really don't know what was in the store, but I knew there were good snacks. Rava Ladoo by was good, brownie cake was good attempt, some poor soul had bought butter biscuits- cool idea two thumbs-up.

After the introduction session, things went really serious- coffee table book, blog commenting, blogging…

Somewhere, talked about his experience in purposefully spending a night in a local railway station. It should have been a different experience, but I forgot to ask why did they do it? was capturing the moments in his camera. sang a song (one or two!). sang a song. He was a terrific host and also organised a group activity. The outcome of the activity was two drawings- One, which had a Picasso mixed with Rembrandt touch and the other was a Salvador Dali mixed with Raja RaviVarma.

Then, open the bottle (non-alcho), we were given a TASMAC kind of a plastic tumbler with two drops of Appy juice from an ink-filler.

Finally, we paid our respects to Don Lingu Bhai and dispersed for the day.

I had a good time to meet so many like-minded (blogging) people, some experienced writers, professionals in other fields who has passion to blog\write. I look forward to their company.

As of now Chennai Bloggers Club can be found at -, we don't have any branches.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Samskara (India, 1970)

Back story of how I found this film-

In August this year when I called home, my mother attended the call and said they were watching the funeral rites of Anantha Murthy. I vaguely knew about him, the one who took on Modi by saying that he’ll leave India if Modi becomes Prime Minister. I asked her, is he that famous personality to live telecast his funeral rites, she said yes and said “Go and search in your! Google and find him”. But, I didn't proceed further. After a week, she came to visit us, that morning there was an article about Anantha Murthy. She said she’ll take this to share it with my grandmother. After all these incidents, I kept Anantha Murthy in a corner of my mind and whenever I had a chance I would read about him.

To know more about him- Check this Wikipedia link.

Surprise, I saw that some of his writings were made into movies. Samskara was his first story which was made into a film, starring Girish Karnad.

It’s a coincidence that I came to know about Anantha Moorthy during his samskara. Samskara means Funeral Rites.


The story is set in a small village, populated by Brahmins, especially Madhwas (Vaishnavites). The film starts with the morning rituals of Pranesh Acharya (Girish Karnad). On his way from the river, a passerby women hides herself and tries to make sure she doesn’t get into the way of Pranesh Acharya. How better could the film start, we tend to know what’s in the store! A bomb shell of course. 

Pranesh Acharya is the head priest in the village and he is living with his ailing wife, who is bed ridden for some years. The plot folds with the death of Narayanappa, he doesn't have children and is survived by his wife. It is afternoon when this death news is passed into every house and all had to skip their meal as there is a death! The villagers gather to decide on whom to do the funeral rites, by their talk we come to know that Narayanappa is a Brahmin, but married to another caste girl, eats non-veg, drinks liquor, smokes, works in theater (drama) and an outcast among them who always questions their way of living.

The villagers want the priest Pranesh Acharya to come into a decision on what to do? At first, the relatives of Narayanappa are not forthcoming to perform the funeral. Chandri- the wife of Narayanappa gives them her jewels, so that Narayanappa can be given the last rites. On seeing the gold, the two relatives who denied doing the rites earlier wanted to perform it now. Pranesh, who is living by the scriptures is in a dilemma and want to consult the scriptures on whom to do the last rites. That night the Madhwa Brahmins sleep without food. The events on following day’s turns into a chaos. Did Pranesh Acharya come to a decision and who did the last rites for Narayanappa is the rest of the story. 

Anantha Murthy goes a little deep. He doesn't stop himself to write about the divide between Brahmins and the other caste; he also talks about the divide between the Madwas (Vaishnvites) and Smarthas (Sivaties). The film revolves around two personalities, one- Pranesh Acharya with his morals & guilt and other Narayanappa with his outcast kind of thinking & its after-effects.

The film is directed by a Telugu director, Pattabirama Reddy, assisted by Sangetham Srinivasa Rao ( Apoorva Sagodarargal & MMKR fame). The film must be inspired by the style of Satyajit Ray. The music and the making of the film closely relate to Pather Panjali. Samskara can be seen for its content than for its visual treatment. This film won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film (India) in 1970. I don’t have qualms about the content; it’s rational and should be debated. But is this film worth for its cinematic language.

The full film is available in Youtube. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Shevri ( India, 2006)

This can be called as a much sought-after story in the offbeat Indian films. Yes, when you take a look in to the non-mainstream Indian films, most of them are taken with the backdrop of a social issues- be it a caste discrimination, exploitation of poor (slum), crime against women… I haven't explored much of the non-mainstream films, but with the few I have seen, those mentioned above issues were the plot. But, having said that, I don't like to hold myself to talk or introduce one such off beat film Shevri, a Marathi film.

Vidya (Neena Kulkarni) an introvert kind of middle aged divorcee in Mumbai is sharing an apartment with an very outspoken and extrovert Maya (Mita Vashisht). During weekends Vidya travel to Nasik to visit her teenage son, who is taken care by her mother (we know all this through a series of flashbacks). 

The film starts in a evening, Vidya is just roaming the streets of Mumbai. As we enter into the night we know that Maya is busy with her boyfriend in their apartment and Vidya is just passing the time and waiting for them to finish what they had to finish.

As she travels through the deserted night, she encounters few strangers, from when she recollects her past- Her boss trying to take advantage of her, a misunderstood colleague, who actually helps her, her relationship with her mother, her struggle to win back her son who is inclined to his father and the events on how her marriage was broken. As said earlier, the story is told as a series of flashback.

The ending is very simple. At the break of the dawn, when a cycle tea vendor says that he doesn't have tea (which she’ll ask for) and he got only coffee, she realize that life is full of options and the happiness depends on which one she chooses. She calls a taxi to go back to her apartment by asking the driver to turn on the music in the car.

The connecting points of the events happening during that night and the flashbacks were well woven. I had to content with the crude subtitling (I saw it in DD Bharathi), some English words never made sense and it was too literally translated.

If you had a chance, please watch it and let me know your thoughts.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Year 1989 - Revisiting Tamil Cinema

Rewinding to the year 1989, which is kind of special for me, because as cinema is concerned this year is my earliest remembrance of watching many films in movie theaters. This was also the year which made me to turn from Rajinikanth to Kamal. The reason is Apoorva Sagotharargal.

Apoorva Sagotharargal is celebrating its 25th anniversary year now (2014). Even though there are many memorable films released that year, I kind of always go with Apoorva Sagotharargal as the best in terms of entertainment value. 

The story is a old template. Two brothers getting separated after their father is killed by the villains. One brother taking the revenge in the climax. Kamal as Appu, the dwarf was awesome (not sure if its the right word). The circus is not a new setting in the Tamil Cinema, MGR had done a circus based film before, but this film was something new for this (that) generation. Especially the dwarf role- sometimes folding his leg, sometimes the tricky camera angle, sometimes just standing on the dolly which is set underground. This was an out-of-the-box thinking for an entertainer. I wonder how the thought process should have worked between Kamal- SS Rao-PC Sriram-Thota Tharani

One standout scene is the “Registrar office scene”. Willingly or unwillingly in Kamal films there will be a scene in which he will cry due to someone close getting lost, I assume this started in Nayagan and this continued even till Virumandi\Hey Ram. My mom would say this is typecast for Kamal. But in this registrar office scene, he will make a subtle sob, of course he can't cry like Nayagan. With tears in his eyes, little smile on his face, Illayaraja background music adding to the pathos and PC Sreeram playing with lights- this should be the best scene in the history of Tamil Cinema!.

Trivia- Kamal came as a dwarf on the stage to collect the best actor award given by Tamil Nadu Govt.

The next best in this year was Puthiya Pathai and Karakattakaran.

After 25 years, it is good to see Parthiban of Puthiiya Pathai refound his pathai in Kathai Thiraikathai Vasanam Iyakkam (2014).

Karagattakaran is a cult, I mean it has a following even now. It ran in theaters for more than an year then. Ramarajan call sheet was booked till the year 2000!. It’ll be a sin if I didn't mention Goundamani\Senthil comedy. The comedy track was by Veerappan (if I’m correct). This film fell inline with three best musical\dance scores in Tamil Cinema. These three films were based on specific music directors era- KV Mahadevan, Illayaraja and AR Rahman. The other two films were Thillana Moganambal (KVM) and Sangamam (AR Rahman).

Other notable mentions are Puthu Puthu Arthangal, Sandya Ragam- I remember seeing it many times in DD, but not in theaters. On a different genre Nalaya Manidan.

Monday, September 8, 2014

11 Ways to break the routine!

Warning- This is not a gyan or advice arumugam or karuthu kandasamy post.

We are stuck into our routines- travel to office-home, work, spend time with family, go to restaurants\malls\temples\11 o'clock shows. I’m listing few things to break the routine, which I think can add little pep into the life. Remember, somethings are really hazardous, so stay away from few things, if you are an orthodox (acharamana) person.
  1. While travelling to office or back to home try an alternative route, this depends on time\money, so plan it. Once I took an alternate route without realizing that there is not enough fuel to reach my destination.
  2. If you can, try travelling in public transport once in a while. Once in a week will be fine.
  3. Call a friend\relative from your contact list with whom you haven't contacted for a long time. Just say a hi and speak a minute or two. You can also send them a good little email.
  4. Make your own story and tell it to kids with actions. Side effect- They’ll always be behind you and pester you to tell stories.
  5. While watching TV try to watch DD National or DD Bharathi or DD Podhigai once in a while. You’ll know how much our brains are programmed in watching reality shows.
  6. Listen to All India Radio. There is more information than National Geography.
  7. Write about something using pen-paper, at least one page a week. PS- If you are right-handed try writing using your left hand.
  8. Try to avoid your regular newspaper and buy something else for a day. If you are the regular reader of The Hindu, try to read Indian Express one day.
  9. Pick a random magazine from the book stand. Tinkle has more useful information than TOI.
  10. Start to read a short story or a novel(fiction) from half way and imagine how the story would have started. You can do the same exercise by finishing the story by yourselves after read the first part of the story.
  11. Watch a movie which you don't understand the language without subtitles. 
On readers request more unique (kodurammana!) and innovative ways of breaking the routine can be shared in part 2.

PS- After writing this post, I just googled to find is there a list available in the net. Yes, there are more, but I see this as the Indian'sed version.

***Above image by the blogger. He actually spilled some cola on it to get the effect.