Thursday, August 27, 2009


Madhu was dejected, more than dejected…nearly suicidal. Parents…why did god make them?? Specifically, why did he make them so one dimensional…so orthodox?? The young graduate sat on the lawn turf recounting the horrendous incident that happened in their house that morning.

Earlier that morning:

“Where is madhu?”Asked Mr. Krishnan, as he took a cursory glance at the newspaper.

“Still in bed. Is anything wrong? Its Sunday after all”, countered Meera, Krishnan’s wife.

“Nothing. Except that your precious child’s cell phone has been beeping every ten minutes since 7 Am.”, replied the irritated father. “Must be some useless friend trying to find company for spending parents money in malls or multiplexes.”

Meera ignored her husband and continued her kitchen chores. Hardly 5 minutes passed when the beep of the mobile again interrupted the tranquility in the house.

“One should keep one’s mobile phone in their own room”, kvetched Krishnan.

“It is usually there only. Madhu must have forgotten to take it back from the hall yesterday”, Meera replied, coming to the aid of her only child.

There was perfect balance in the family when it came to Madhu. Meera was the loving, affectionate one who never hesitated to fulfill any of her kid’s wishes. She had argued with her husband when he refused to send madhu to live in hostel and study. “When will children learn to be independent?” she had stated then. His concerns about falling into bad company were pooh pooed by her reasoning that it would never happen to someone as level-headed and matured as their child.

Krishnan, on the other hand, was the sort of father who could be intimidating, over protective and demanding, all at the same time. Naturally madhu sided and confided with mother while father was the feared one.

One more beep and Krishnan had had enough. He traipsed his way to the sofa and picked up the guilty instrument. From browsing the inbox he got to know that all the messages were from Shashank, one of Madhu’s friends. Curiosity got the better of him as he wanted to know what was so urgent. As he flipped through the messages, his mind burst into a thousand queries…the truth that was revealed to him shook him tumultuously.

He went straight to Madhu’s bedroom and shook its resident awake.

“For how many days has this been going on?” cried an enraged Krishnan.

“What happened? What’s been going on?” queried a sleepy Madhu.

Krishnan pointed to his hand showing the mobile phone. Immediately Madhu knew that the cat was out of the bag.

“It’s all your fault. You were the one to support your child’s whim to study living in hostel. Now look where it has landed our dignity”, bellowed a ballistic looking Krishnan at his wife.

Meera didn’t understand the cause of this sudden anger in her husband. “Its love…and its something that has never happened in our family. I don’t know what mistakes I made as a father to get such a cruel punishment”, cried a hysterical Krishnan.

Meera had never seen him lose his temper like this before. What was so unpardonable about love? Theirs was a love marriage after all. So it never crossed Meera’s mind that her husband would so vehemently oppose their own child’s big step in life.

“Why is it wrong to fall in love? Have you forgotten the way you used to run behind me in our college days?” she called after his retreating back, but he seemed to have not heard it as he furiously made his way upstairs.

Not even a moment passed when she heard a blood curdling scream from her room upstairs. She hurtled her way 2 stairs at a time and came to a dead stop before her room. Her husband lay there flat on his back, a kitchen knife protruding from his belly…blood slowly staining the white mosaic of the floor.

Krishnan was rushed to the nearby hospital where they admitted him, not before Meera had signed a stack of ‘admission’ papers. As she stood waiting near the window overlooking the entrance she could see a white faced madhu staring blankly at their car. Meera felt sorry for the poor kid. Adolescent love was somewhat questionable, but going to suicidal extremes was taking it too far. How could Krishnan come to such a cowardly decision when he himself treaded the same path a few decades ago? He should have sat down and talked reason even if he didn’t approve of it. She decided to console the poor child.

“Its just that Appa is over protective of you. I am sure once he sees reason he will approve of your decision”, Meera said soothingly.

There was no reply. “Who is it by the way? Is it someone we know?” Meera went on.

“It is Shashank”, came the reply.

Meera’s head started to spin. Of all the curses…this?? What had happened to the level headed, sane Madhu that she knew? What was happening to the children of India?? Where had the good old values disappeared?? Questions were making haphazard entries in her mind. She could have given her consent to anyone…but Shashank?? It was indigestible…What will people think?? What will her family think?? She will have to make Madhu see reason…She will have to talk her SON out of it…

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Warning: Vikram Fans please don’t read.

A 9 minute trailer 2 years before the movie’s release date…continuous hype all through the shoot…hi-fi audio release and huge promos…simultaneous releases in multiple languages…and what do we get?? “Kandhasamy…idha paatha un kadha kandhal samy!!!”

After the 3 hour ordeal of watching the “horror” movie the first thought that came to my mind was ‘does Vikram have a mental disorder?’ This notion might be ridiculed by many fans of his but on close introspection it is quite evident that Vikram is a real weakling when it comes to choosing his scripts. Take Saamy for example. The film was a mass masala movie portraying a different vikram. And what did the actor come up with on its heels? A damp squib called “Arul” which was essentially the quickest ever remake of an older movie…it was Saamy all over again without the police get up. Even his “Gemini” was a lackluster affair but for the villain’s antics and the ‘o podu’ effect. Still the film was a grosser and Vikram once again spoiled his name with a closely followed atrocity called “Kaadhal sadugudu”. Anniyan was a thoroughly professional and stupendously glitzy work with Shankar at the helm and a fighting fit Vikram donning the greasepaint for 3 separate but composite roles. “Majaa” was a sordid affair outlining Vikram’s lack in ability for comic portrayal. “Bheema” was another disaster, but Vikram can be excused as it was no fault of his. But “Kandhasamy”?? Vikram must have either been out of his mind while listening to this script or the director(Susi Ganesan) must have hypnotized him. What makes it even more unpardonable on Vikram’s part is the amount of hype he gave to the movie and his role. Being an Ardent and, at times, a mindless Rajini Kanth fan I can still frankly accept that even if Superstar had acted for this script it would have bombed.

The movie can be summed up in a sentence: Take the age old Shankar film formulae, mix the student networking concept of Captain’s “Ramanaa” and add a generous dash of the screenplay of Vijay’s “Villu”…Voila!!! you have Kandhasamy!!!

I feel guilty for having wasted the hard earned money of my parents on this humongous pile of human shit. Having already witnessed Susi Ganesan’s unmanageable torture called “Thiruttu Payalae” I should have learnt a lesson. Sadly I didn’t…and neither did he.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Indian movies which reach your heart are few and far between. From my personal experience so far, movies like Anbae Sivam, Taare Zameen par and Iruvar to name a few were real thought provokers. The share of entertainers is always there with our very own super star ruling the roost. What can you say about a film, not in the genre of classy thought provoking flicks, not in the entertainment band wagon as well but still leaves you with Goosebumps and emotion when you leave the theatre? I am talking about a film called Nadodigal, a tamil film that I saw recently. It doesn’t have the beautifully interwoven storyline of Anbae Sivam or the handling of a complex theme with astounding simplicity as was the case with TZP. Nadodigal’s USP is simple…Friendship. Very few films revolving around friendship leave you with such strong emotion. The film does not have the usual tear jerking sequences or flashy dialogues which epitomize friendship. It is simplistic, rustic, brazen and above all thoroughly enjoyable. Staggeringly brilliant acting by each and every character in the film leaves you overlooking the flaws in the screenplay. Crisp editing makes the movie all the more racier and characterization is par excellence. When the song Sambo Siva Sambo starts just before the interval with a gripping sequence of events your heart simply goes out to those friends and to friendship in general. There will be very few songs which have suited the situation in such a hand in glove way as this one. When the same song reappears with different lyrics towards the climax you have no choice but to take your hats off to the director for sheer brilliance.

I will not go to extent of saying that it is one of the best ever tamil movies made or a sure shot award winner and stuff like that. But one thing is sure…it is one of the most memorable movies I have seen. This maybe because I am missing all my friends; not even one of them is at a ‘dropping by’ distance to me. Whenever my heart was tugged by the strong emotion of friendship during the movie, I sat thinking about my friends, all of whom are too far away for comfort. Another thing is also sure… each and every person in this world who values friendship and friends should see the movie…and see it with their friends. I can assure them that it will be one occasion to remember and cherish forever. A joy ride with your friends need not be confined to the excitement in VGP or Queensland. Sitting and Watching Nadodigal with a group of friends will be better. I hope I get to see the movie with my friends…even if it means seeing it years later on a DVD.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I am a 45 year old unemployed man. Sounds pathetic doesn’t it? It shouldn’t if you are an Indian resident. But in my case it is pathetic. I had all the facilities necessary to shine in any field I wanted to; a good father with, more importantly, a flourishing business, a doting mother and luckily no siblings as well. But I lacked the main ingredient: interest. I simply could not garner enough interest in any field of study. I ended up completing a bachelor’s degree in engineering (it was quite a prestige in those days, unlike the candy sale business it has become now) and after failing to sustain onto any decent job, I decided to pursue the only lining I could call silver in my clouded life, Cricket. I had always aspired to become a cricket writer having followed the game with fanatic craze because of one individual, Kapil Dev. But just as I plodded my feet into the journalistic muck, he announced his retirement. Well, the cricket fan in me died that day. I started living a life of total seclusion from outside world, inhibited by my own world of dreams where I was a famous sports critic interviewing the great Kapil Dev now and then, ridiculing the cricket body of India and even having my own radio show. More than 15 years passed in haze when I wasted my father’s money and my mother’s love. One sudden day Father decided that he had had enough with his good for nothing lad and sent me to help my uncle who ran a resort in Manali. That was when an unforgettable incident took place.

As I started my usual morning stroll through the resort lawn, I noticed a guy playing cricket with his 2 small sons at a quiet corner. He looked to be about 10 years younger than me, average height, balding and a little chubby. My curious looks towards their activity prompted an invitation from him to join them. After an enjoyable game of cricket where the 2 little devils didn’t allow either of the elders to bat we parted ways not before he had invited me to his suite for dinner that night.

He was watching a game of cricket on TV when I entered his suite. “So, even you are a cricket fan?” I asked as I took a seat.

“Yes, you could say that”, was his reply.

I decided to throw a few pointers at him to exemplify my person as a famous cricket writer as I felt it would do my battered ego some good.

“I was a cricket writer you know. And a famous one at that”, I stated emphatically.

“Oh really!! Then it is surely my pleasure to be acquainted with a great journalist”, he exclaimed.

“Actually I stopped writing about and following cricket after Kapil Dev retired. Must have been 20 years ago I guess”, my egomaniacal self went on. “There has been no other player worth following or even watching, though that young lad Tendulkar came close enough, he must be a great star today I guess.”

“Yes. He is bigger than Kapil in fact,” came the reply.

I shifted my gaze to the television screen. India was batting and a left handed batsman was playing.

“All these new players seem very amateur you know. That’s another reason I have stopped watching cricket”, I quipped quite enthusiastically.

“This match actually happened 10 years back”, he replied, his eyes fixed on the TV.

“Oh! But still they don’t seem very gifted. You see, though I don’t know anybody in the line up shown there on the TV, after watching them for such a short span I can easily come to the conclusion that they are simply influenced entrants into the big stage”, I said with a rather extravagant flourish.

I didn’t get any reply from my new friend so I continued to watch the game with him. That left hander seemed to have gone to the nineties…he was on 99 to be exact. I couldn’t hold my ego any more and started another rant.

“Now, for example take this lefty you are seeing. Does he have any footwork? Why, even Bishan Bedi moved his feet better, and he batted number 11 for India. The fact that this guy is opening for India shows the sorry state of affairs in Indian cricket. And the fact that he has got 99 shows the even sorrier state of the opponents”, I finished with a self supporting little chuckle. I waited for him to chuckle as well, but all I got was a non-committal smile.

The lefty then got his all important single to reach triple figures. He was quite pumped and I heard the commentator say that it was his debut as well. As he acknowledged the crowd with his bat, his one hand went on to remove his helmet. I let out a terrified gasp as I got a clearer look at the left handed opener. I then turned to look at my new friend who had a knowing smile on his face. Both were the same person!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Whichever side you turn, it is improbable to hear any positive news with respect to life in India nowadays. Draught has well and truly set its foot on the parched Indian fields and barren farmer lives, leading some of them to suicidal extremes. The prices of essential house hold goods have skyrocketed; there wouldn’t have been even a semblance of thought in anyone’s mind that they would reach a stage when a kilogram of Dal would cost them a day’s earnings. 100 rupees for a kg of lentils must be something more than serious for the middle class population, but it spells disaster for the poverty stricken population which is, sadly, India’s majority. Even rice which is an absolute necessity is priced at 40 to 50 a kg, hardly a range affordable by an average autorickshaw driver earning just about double that price per day. What are our political supremos doing in these troubled times? Well, two of them seem to be busy exchanging statues of leaders of their respective states to resolve a water issue. Another one seems intent on building some of her own statues. That’s India for you…take the wrong decisions exactly at the right time. Why wouldn’t a bright youngster flee the country at a given academic chance in alien land? Of course, youngsters have to take the mantle in their hands and do something rather than voice their opinions from a non committal corner. But where is the opportunity for them? Which party will allow such young talent to flourish without any bounds? Majority of the country fleeing graduates are also partly to be blamed though one can understand their predicament. Everything in India is high…the population, the competition, the corruption, unemployment, prices and now swine flu cases as well. The reward our country gets in return to sending its brightest talents to foreign use is some deadly virus sent back as a thanksgiving present. As if this virus is not enough, the mass of religious cheaters in the name of swamijis and the even bigger mass of blind followers of such cheaters form a far more dangerous virus which is devoid of any vaccine. When will they ever learn?

Having released a part of my pent up fury so far, I should admit that I have no rights to comment on all this. What am I doing after all? Simply witnessing the pathetic situation in the country and feeling frustrated at not having a job or an income. What steps have I taken, at least on my individual part, to help the country to recoup from this situation? Nothing. Maybe if and when I get a job, I too, like my fellow countrymen, will mind my own business, take care of my own bank account, look after my own family and live a blind life.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Super "Stinker" is indeed "Junior"!!!

And the tagline goes…”Search for the Dear sweet voice of tamil nadu!! (thamizhagatthin Chella kuralukkaana thaedal!!) “ Long lines of little children yet to even shed their mischievous mask get ready to face their first ever competition in life. What is it that makes this sort of “reality” show a craze amongst children and their parents alike? The craving for media recognition; the desire to showcase your talents to the whole world and many similar reasons.

Many people are simply awed by this “novel” attempt bringing the talents hidden in every nook and corner of Tamil Nadu to the limelight. There are a few clarifications I would like to make to these fans. Firstly, Airtel Super Singer is not a novel attempt. The concept is simply lifted from Asianet’s “Idea Star Singer”, the leader of the present bandwagon of reality singing shows. It is about a decade old now and still going strong. Another misconception among the innocent viewers is the fact that the tension, the adrenaline and the seeming realness of the show are all transparent to the naked eye. Though there might be some amount of truth in this, there can be no doubt about the number of cuts, edits, pastes, shoots, takes and retakes involved in making this stunt.

Coming to the show itself, I have been watching the current season of super singer junior in a somewhat routine manner. The most annoying aspect of the show till date has been the comments passed by the judges, to be more specific, a particular ravishing female judge (of course, you are right!!!). One of the most atrocious ones go like this: “ oooh!! What a cute dress you are wearing!!” (this, after the candidate just finished singing… not after giving a fancy dress performance!!!). Then the more common quip: “waah!! The little sangadhis are perfectly falling in your voice.” First of all, will a 6 year old tot who might still be wetting his pants know the finer nuances of carnatic music such as “sangadhis”? Wont it be appropriate to give simple advice which enables the singer to improve his singing? Most of the viewers of the show will be laymen in the field of carnatic music or even music in general, so there is no point in giving these appraisals in front of the camera (unless of course, personal flaunt is the real reason behind it). Of course she is also the first person to stop a candidate in the middle of the song and correct it…whats more is that she sings the incorrect part herself so that the candidate might get the drift. Things will be easier and more relaxed for a participant if he is allowed to sing his portion completely and then getting his mistakes pointed out. But of course, being such a talented singer that she is, she simply can’t stand mistakes being committed on stage. She makes the legend of a singer like unni menon a completely silent lamb rather than handing over the reins to him. There is no way that she will discontinue judging or made to discontinue because she has that rare blend that very few singers possess…a good voice and stunning looks. Well what can you say other than… “oooh you look so beautiful!!! (of course comments on your singing are reserved….)