Zindagi kaisi hai paheli..

August 30, 2006 at 9:12 am

Hrishikesh Mukherjee died on 27th August 2006. A void in the film industry that cannot be filled has been created. If I call him one of the all-time best directors, I will not be wrong. Though the movies he made during ‘my’ time were largely innane and thoroughly out-of-sync with sensibilities of today, his earlier movies are some of the best that Indian cinema has ever seen.

Hrishi da, as he was popularly known, started his career as an assistant to the great Bimal Roy in “Do Bigha Zameen” in 1953. His first movie as director was “Musafir” in 1957 which was a multi-starrer of sorts for its time including Dilip Kumar, Kishore Kumar, Suchitra Sen, Nirupa Roy and Nasir Hussain. Hrishi da was also a Story writer and an editor at various points in his career.

Hrishi da’s friendship with Raj Kapoor is stuff that legends are made up of now. Interestingly enough, Hrishi da himself turned into a legend by claiming that “Anand” – arguably, the best Hindi movie – was a depiction of the friendship between Raj Kapoor and him. To strengthen the myth further, ‘babumoshai’ was the name with which Raj kapoor used to call him. In my opinion, “Anand” is the best hindi movie I have ever seen. (The title of a famous song from this movie has been used as the title of this tribute)

Those who were in their schooldays and college days during the 1960’s and 1970’s remember Hrishi da with great reverence. In those days, Rajesh Khanna was the star. To make him wear short and bland-coloured kurtas and play a terminally ill young man is against every conceivable popular formula. But Hrishi da was known to be a director who went by the strength of his story and screenplay.

“Anari”, “Anupama”, “Satyakam”, & “Abhimaan” were few of his early classics that established his worth as a director of rare value. These movies (Abhiman for sure!) have attained cult status after their repeated telecasts on television.

Hrishi da went on to establish that he was the only director who could make and handle movies of any genre. He is considered to be the king of “clean comedies” and that is because of the movies like: “Bawarchi” (this movie was the inspiration behind the David Dhawan-Govinda “Hero No. 1″), “Chupke chupke” (unfortunately, this movie cannot be remade by anyone!), “Golmaal” (they have only used the name in the recent days, the class is incomparable) and “Khubsoorat” (Rekha’s inimitable performance) to name a few.

Hrishi da would handle the most complex relationships with ease and elan. He didn’t require elaborate setting and millions of dollars to make a movie look good and a hit. He relied on basics to make a movie succeed. Basics like good story and better screenplay with the best direction! Music always conveyed the emotions of the character in his movies.

Hrishi da was undoubtedly the master of the medium. He has worked with every star of every age over the past 50 plus years. From Dilip Kumar to Rajesh Khanna to Amitabh Bachchan to Dharmendra to Anil Kapoor. Everyone will vouch for his mastery over the medium. Hrishi da will be missed sorely by movie fans across the globe. Whoever has watched even a single movie of his will feel a tinge of sadness atleast on knowing of his passing away.

Hrishi da will continue to live in our hearts forever through the classics that he has left behind for us. Thanks Hrishi da.


Cricket needs a ‘Hair Cut’

August 28, 2006 at 12:11 pm

Hair is Crazy
I guess this is ample proof that Darrell Hair is crazy! Offering to quit for USD 500,000. Wonder what the Aus PM John Howard, Steve Waugh and Shane Warne will have to say now. They are nowhere to be heard now!

Woolmer is not entirely straight
Woolmer is supposed to have taught his players how to tamper with the ball. Though Woolmer denies it, as he should. The South African team is accused of having tampered with the ball during the 1997 India’s tour of SA. The then match refree Jarman has brought up this issue now saying he changed the ball and didn’t make a big issue out of it. And there is a striking similarity with whatever has happened with Pakistan out here. Also, Pakistan doesn’t exactly boast of a ethical cricketing history!

What’s up with Malcolm Speed?
If I write an email to you, will you go to the press about it? I mean, what’s Mr. Speed upto? He is turning Hair’s moment of weakness into Hair’s personality trait. Now the problem is that Hair isn’t known to have great personality traits. So, we have flaws all around. Mr. Speed has been unethical in exposing personal e-mails to the world.

This is getting messier by the day!

|| ಗೌರಿ ಗಣೇಶ ಹಬ್ಬದ ಶುಭಾಶಯಗಳು ||

August 25, 2006 at 4:04 pm

I am going home for the weekend. To have those wonderful dishes that my mother would have made. Man, I relish those things so much. My mother is the world’s greatest cook! :)

On the menu:

  • ಕಡುಬುಗಳು
  • ಹೋಳಿಗೆಗಳು – ಅದರ ಜೊತೆ ತುಪ್ಪ ಮತ್ತು ಹಾಲು!
  • ಹುರ್ಣದ ಕಟ್ಟು ಸಾರು
  • ಪುಳಿಯೊಗ್ರೆ
  • ಆಂಬೊಡೆಗಳು
  • etc.!! ;)

ಸರಿ ಸರಿ ಹಸಿವು ಶುರು ಆಯಿತು ನನಿಗೆ! ನಾನು ಹೊರಟೆ!

ಪ್ರತಿ ಒಬ್ಬರಿಗು ಗೌರಿ ಗಣೇಶ ಹಬ್ಬದ ಹಾರ್ಧಿಕ ಶುಭಾಶಯಗಳು!
Wish each and everyone a very happy Gowri and Ganesha Festival! May the festival bring in lots of happiness into your lives!

Viky on Mysore

August 24, 2006 at 11:15 am

This was a comment in an article on Mysore by Viky. Everytime I read it, my eyes turn moist. Any true Mysorean will see what I mean.

Thanks Viky and Anu for allowing me to post this here!

Mysore cannot be experienced in holidays or weekends. Like a creeper
growing and encircling the staff, you have to live, and grow with Mysore to
experience it. You have to be with the ajjis who have seen you from the time you were soooo small, where the maid who works in your house is your family maid, your ajji had “recruited” her mother.

When you go on an evening walk, and the poojari of the Ram mandir, stops
and chats with you, and moves on saying there is a pooja at 5 next morning,
that’s Mysore for you. When you walk a little ahead and the librarian says he
has the latest copy of “Kasturi” or “Mayura”, that’s Mysore for you. When the
milkman sees you on a walk, and delivers an extra half litre without being
asked, that’s Mysore for you.

Mysore is when you board a bus at the bus-stand and conductor-uncle gives
you a ticket without asking. Mysore is when you collect little red ‘gulganji’
seeds on your way back home from KukkarahaLLi lake. Mysore is when you come by the Tippu express, and you find someone going in your direction to drop you off.

Mysore is when elephants are marched in from the forests for Dussehra.
Mysore is when you wait for your copy of “Star of Mysore”. Mysore is when the
English movies are only at Rajkamal. Or Sterling. Mysore is when you look for
your KEB uncle to book tickets at Woodlands. Mysore is when there are student body elections in Sarada-Vilas. Mysore is the eternal SJCE-NIE feud. Mysore is when Jayciana is. Mysore is when you got your project report bound at Venkateshwara Binders in Saraswatipuram.

Mysore is having grape juice at RTO circle. Mysore is buying vegetables at
Agrahara. Mysore is buying plantain leaves in NanjumaLige, savoring the aroma of the agarbatti factory behind. Mysore is eating ice-creams at Penguin. Mysore is eating dosa at Mylari Hotel. Mysore is having biriyani early in the morning,
near Philo’s church. Mysore is drinking sugarcane juice near kukkarahaLLI lake.
Mysore is munching corn-on-the-cob in the palace foreground.

Mysore is when I grew up in Mysore. My Mysore.Mysore before GRS, before the
underbridge in front of Saraswatipuram Fire Brigade, before Infosys, before
Ring-Road. Those who grew up in that Mysore, will relate to me more than those who came to Mysore, for a three-month stint in Infy. Than those, who think Mysore is a good place to invest. Than those, who think chilling out in Mysore is just CCD or Pizza Corner. Oh, How they misunderstand my pretty home !!!

Attention please, Gentlemen at play!

August 23, 2006 at 10:48 am

What happened?
In the 56th over of the ball’s life, the ball was replaced and the Pakistan team were penalised 5 runs (those runs were added to England’s score) for suspected ball tampering. Inzamam-Ul-Haq, Pakistan team’s captain, led the team into the pavilion at tea and didn’t return to the ground for twenty minutes post-tea. The tea and snacks were too good I guess! The umpires (Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove) walked upto the Pakistani pavilion and asked Inzy he was going to continue playing or not. Inzy answered the question with a question. “Why did you replace the ball?”. Hair is supposed to have said, “We are not here to answer the question”. The umpires walked back to the field and took the bails off as they do when a test match ends and awarded the test match to England as it was deemed that Pakistan had forfeited the match.

Where is the problem?
Legally, the mistake is entirely Pakistan’s. They didn’t get back to the field within the twenty minutes stipulated in the rule book. The umpires have followed the rule book to the tee. And they cannot be wronged by any authority in cricket going by the book.

Now what?
Pakistan will not play in any game officiated by Darrell Hair. Inzamam might be banned for eight matches under the charges of bringing the game to disrepute. PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) is asking the BCCI (Board for Control of Cricket in India) to support it’s claim when the ICC (International Cricket Council) asks for its opinion. BCCI has chosen to side with the ICC in this regard.

My take
Darrell Hair has been in the news for all wrong reasons. He takes himself too seriously. The rule book is written that way because it has to be complete in every sense. That doesn’t mean you go about implementing everything that it has to say. The game has to be played in a certain spirit and if it is being played so then carry on with it. Don’t bloody interrupt it! Spoilsport!

Inzy, boss, you could have taken it up after the game was won. Come on yar. Jeet rahe the aap. You were winning. By losing the series 2-1 you would have won lot of respect that have lost now. The winning of this test would have resulted in a lot of good things. Yeh aapne theek nahi kiya. You didn’t do the right thing.

Sudhu’s take
I pity those spectators who spent money on the tickets to watch a cricket match. They were given a raw deal by being shown a diplomatic and political match. Even after 2 hours of waiting, there was an announcement saying that it was the end of play. No mention of end of Day’s play or end of the match. There are 4 ICC officials for every match – 2 umpires on field, a 3rd umpire and a Match Referee. But none of them were interested in sorting out this issue. What a pity.

Sudhakar’s take
It’s all about Cricket .. Team A starts batting first and when the Team A is all-out, Team B comes to bat and they wait for Team A players to take the field but none of Team A turns up just becoz their batting was over ..This is precisely the same reason ,why the toss-winning captain prefer batting first . This always happens in my village.

Darrell Hair’s take
“People who know me and the sort of person I am know I would not take action unless I really thought it was necessary,” Hair said. “I stand by what I have done, but if anything comes out at the inquiry that proves me incorrect I would accept that too. The process would have been followed.”

Inzamam’s take
Writing in his column for Jang, a Pakistan-based daily, he also stated that this was the biggest disappointment in his career. “If anything we want the ICC to declare the Oval test result as null and void,” he wrote. “The Pakistan Board is already trying to convince the ICC to do this. I am hugely disappointed and hurt by the slur cast on our team by Hair. I never thought my last test in England would end this way.”

Bob Woolmer’s take
“The ball-tampering charge is the sticking-point,” Woolmer told ITV News. “There’s probably room for reason here. We have no truck at all with the England cricket board and players, but we have been accused of cheating [by the umpires], and that is the worst thing you can do to this Pakistan cricket team.

“If Inzamam is penalised and penalised heavily, which he could well be, then I cannot guarantee that my side will definitely play. I would think the one-day series may well be in serious jeopardy. It would be difficult for the players to play on if we are labelled cheats.”

Steve Waugh’s take
Hair could be “stubborn and a bit hard-nosed” no team could expect to get away with not turning up on the ground, as Pakistan did in protest over a ball-tampering penalty by Hair in the fourth Test at The Oval.

“I definitely agree with that (Pakistan forfeiting) – if they don’t go back on the field the Test is over,” Waugh said.

“That’s quite simple. (India’s) Sunil Gavaskar tried that one on the umpires in Australia (in 1981). No-one is bigger than the game.

“The laws are there for a reason.”

Waugh said it would be interesting to see whether a camera has unearthed proof of the ball tampering but said Hair would not have made such a serious charge without some.

“He is not going to say it for no reason. He would know the storm it would create. He has been through the Murali incident so he knows the ramifications of doing it. He would not have done it lightly.”

Waugh said Hair “tended to do things his way” as an umpire but “he stands by what he believes so you can’t ask for much more from an umpire.”

Shane Warne’s take
I don’t think Darrell Hair is a racist. I think that he tries to do the best job that he can, like any other umpire. He goes by the letter of the law and does what he thinks umpires ought to do. It is unfortunate that he has been involved in a couple of controversies in his time, but labelling him racist is unfair.

If the umpires have a problem, there are clear channels to go through and it looks as though they did it by the book. It seems amazing that the problems could not have been resolved by talking. To end a game with a team refusing to take the field seems bizarre — especially, I’d guess, to spectators.

Imran Khan’s take
His (Darrell Hair’s) conduct always smacks of arrogance, and his tendency to douse fire with gasoline makes him harmful to the game. An umpire is the custodian of the game, but when he only guards the game’s rules and not its spirit, cricket is the greatest sufferer.

Peter Roebuck’s take
He could have tried to find some evidence to support his suspicions. Not a bit of it. Instead, he applied the letter of the law, thereby risking the ruination of a fine match. Just what the world needs right now. Another abrasive Australian.

Nor can Inzamam escape censure. He was responsible for the conduct of his side. It is written in the laws of the game. Captains must rise above the heat of the moment, must take into account the crowd, the match and the requirements of hospitality and sportsmanship. The show must go on. Pakistan had every right to take offence, had every right to make a protest.

Happy 368th Madras Day | My first experience with Chennai

August 22, 2006 at 10:51 am

“T. Nagar, Kotturpuram, Ashok Nagar, KK Nagar”, shouted the driver’s assistant indicating to the passengers of the Madurai-Chennai TN State transport bus about the nearby areas.

I was catching up on a rare nap that had descended upon me after various positions of legs and back and hands were tried. The decibel level of the assistant was quite high and that woke me up with a startle. One of my friends, Karthikeyan, at the university hostel in Madurai, a native of chennai, had told me that T. Nagar is a place where there were plenty of lodges and economy hotels. I was looking at economy hotels because I had a mere Rs. 400/- with me. So, on hearing “T.Nagar” I jumped from my seat, picked up my proud Wildcraft bag perched on the luggage area in the attic of the bus sandwiched between a sack of greens and a Mylapore Coffee Powder cloth bag.

The bus just started moving when I felt the roads of Chennai with my bata leather chappal covered feet. It was supposed to be winter and only those born and brought up in Chennai could feel the cold. For a native Mysorean who took bath in hot water even if it were heat of 36 degree celsius, Chennai was the ultimate challenge. The blue jeans which was last washed during the rains at Madurai was beginning to feel the adverse conditions. It started sticking to my legs and made it an ordeal to walk through. Thankfully my University T-shirt was of the woven cotton material that banians are made of.

Why did I come to Chennai? Why should I have listened to her?

With the college bag hung on the right-side of my shoulder making a wierd clinking metallic sound of coins shuffling around, I walked through the road which was a curious mix of one-way traffic and both-ways traffic after a distance and one-way again after a few metres. Stranger than the road was the looks I got from receptionists at hotels along the road when I asked them for accommodation for a night for below Rs. 400/-. None of the hotels had a single room facility, only double rooms and they were all Rs. 750/- at the minimum. I didn’t want an AC, though I was having second thoughts about that, but there was very little that I could do about it considering my monetary position.

I am going to ask her to reimburse this for me. What does she think of me?

After almost a walk of about one kilometre and almost 5 enquiries, I hit upon what looked like a big old mansion. It was converted into something called “Nathans Lodge”. Though the building looked like it would collapse if there was an earthquake in Indonesia, it was almost fully occupied. The person at the reception looked at me from top to bottom and gauged the situation. “Do you have any rooms available?”
“Yes. Single or double?”

“Yes. AC or Non-AC?”

“What are your tariff rates?”
“AC single room costs Rs. 350/-. Non-AC costs Rs. 250/-”
Wow! Rs. 250/- is within my budget and that also means I save some money for my dinner and breakfast!

“The Non-AC single room is okay with me”
“Good. Pay the advance of Rs. 500/- now”

“What for Rs. 500/-?”
“Sir (with great difficulty he uttered that word) advance is generally paid for the double the number of days one stays here”

“But I don’t have so much money with me. I have only Rs. 400/-”
“”I need Rs. 500/-”

Just then I remembered the Rs. 137/- I had collected from that small orange box in the hostel into which I used to put all the change. And since I didn’t smoke, the change generally grew over time and required something special to be done to clear it off. I was carrying it along with me as emergency fund and this sure was an emergency! The sound of the bag reminded me of it.

“Is it okay if I pay the rest in coins?”
“Yeah”, said the receptionist with a look clearly showing that he thought I was a modern beggar or something!

“Then I will need to check into my room and then pay you. Because it’s all in a plastic cover. I ll ve to count it and pay you. For now, please accept these Rs. 400/- that I have”
“Ok. No problem. But I ll give you the receipt only after you pay me the remaining Rs. 100/-”

Dei thambi!”, the receptionist called out to the helper to guide me to my room.
A puny guy in an all-white uniform and a Nehru cap came up to us and gave me a strange look. He collected the room keys from the receptionist and started walking expecting me to follow his tracks. I did so.

Even though he turned the key open of the Link-brand lock, the door wouldn’t open. The latch was stuck. After some little muscular tiff with it, the puny guy opened the door with a victorious smile. Halfway through reciprocating his hardfought victory, my smile faded as I surveyed the room.

The walls though painted looked like they were washed with water too. The wet stains on the wall meant that the water pipes in the building were leaking since there were never any signs of rain in this part of the country. There was a bed with what-was-once-white bedspread, a table without a chair but with a bottle of water on it, a telephone and a dust bin. The washroom was of Indian style with a 3’x3′ space for bathing with a tap running cold water (Puny told me hot water taps were there only in the AC rooms. Quite sensible I thought. In this weather nobody else would even think of hot water. No! Not even a Mysorean!) accompanied by a bucket, mug and a small medimix soap.

The puny guy had heard the entire conversation with the receptionist, so he didn’t linger around for long in the room. By the time I had finished my survey he had dissappeared. After I closed the door behind him, I changed into my usual pyjamas and settled down on the bed to count the coins in the plastic cover. There were 15 Rs. 5/- coins, 21 Rs. 2/- coins, 13 Re. 1/- coins and 14 50ps coins. I somehow managed to make up Rs. 100/- through coins and gave it to the receptionist. He accepted it without any expression on his face and gave me the receipt. He had not even kept it ready by then. Probably he was unsure if I was going to cough up 100 bucks. Thankfully, there was no one around when I was giving that money.

I made a phone call at 11.30PM and spoke for approximately 45 minutes
in kannada. We were about to do something that the whole world would later see with a different eye.

I was in Chennai unknown to everyone else. I wasn’t supposed to divulge where I was to anyone. If only I knew! I was supposed to be at Egmore the next day morning that was all I knew. After finishing the letter, I slept. The journey had sapped me enough.

Got up early at 6.00AM and bathed and got ready by 7.00AM. Packed my bags, wore the same jeans and t-shirt combination and trudged along to the reception. There was a different person at the reception counter. Seeing the receipt, he returned Rs. 250 in notes. I was very happy that from a beggar I had become a somewhat respectable idiot. And the bag had stopped making those metallic sounds!

I got into the bus from the T.Nagar bus stand and was there at the Marriage Registration Office at 9.15AM. I was hungry but it all dissappeared on seeing her. She was there dressed resplendently in a white silk saree with a beautiful blue border. Her sister was standing next to her with the garlands.

Are we really going to do this? Is this all real or is it a dream? What will her parents say who have known me from childhood? My parents would understand but what about them? We have been schoolmates and neighbours and our parents know each others’ families very well. What will happen after this? Am I doing the right thing? Will the marriage work?

We went into the registration office. The officer was used to such clandestine stuff.

He asked, “Do your parents know?”
She said, “What do you think?”, looking straight into his eyes.
The officer didn’t speak to her again.

I had always admired her for her straightforwardness and practical thinking
ability. She was very practical and knew what is to be done in situations. But
it still surprised me that she would have said yes to something like this
that would hurt her parents the most. Especially her father who had a
heart attack once already.

The officer asked me to sign on the dotted line meant for me. I did.

And they went away married. I hoped and prayed that they lived happily in the future. I loved her still. Is it wrong? Is it right? I didn’t know. I don’t know.

Bangalore | Metblogs.com

August 21, 2006 at 11:30 am

There is a service hosted by a group of professionals called metblogs. It is a service where bloggers belonging to a certain city can get together and begin blogging about anything related to their city.

I checked out if Mysore was on their rolls. Then I realised Mysore was Mysore because it was not on the radar of such things. Next I checked on Hyderabad. Even that was not on. They weren’t accepting applications for blogging on Chennai’s metblogs as there were already enough active bloggers.

Bangalore was my next stop. They were accepting applications to join the team of bloggers already doing their job. And my application was accepted. And here I am with my first post on NRN retiring. Check it out!

Beta service | Blogger.com

August 19, 2006 at 4:40 pm

Just stumbled upon a new service by Blogger.com in beta. Existing blog owners can convert to the beta service provided they satisfy certain conditions. You are anyway free to create a new blog under that beta service. So, go ahead, splash around and have fun!

It is an amazing confluence of Google Pages and Blogger.com. Includes:

  • Tags! Can help us categorize at last!
  • No publishing required! Changes are reflected automatically on your homepage
  • Drag and drop to create a template of your choice
  • Comprehensive dashboard service
  • And many more…

Google’s vision is clear. They want your internet experience to be totally on “Google” services. Hence this amazing merging of their brilliant individual services.

Oh and yeah, my second sentence doesn’t mean that those conditions will last forever. Google is working on them and they will include all of us on the new service by default in a phased manner.

When Google says “New and Improved”, they bloody well mean it!

IMPORTANT UPDATE: (Dated: 21st Aug, 2006) Thanks to Hardu who migrated her blog to the new service recommended by me here by just taking my word for it. It seems she was told that she cannot get back to her old settings anymore. So, please make the move keeping this in mind. All the best Hardu!

Family, ties and I | An introspection

August 19, 2006 at 10:57 am

Sometimes I wonder what a family is all about. The definition keeps changing whenever we look at it.

As a kid, family meant appa, amma and ani – my kid brother. I used to find their restrictions a bit imposing and probably intrusive at times, but then I had no-one else who would feed me! Ani – my kid brother and I used to fight a lot when we were young. I was a deadly, insensitive, insensible, immature and jealous elder brother. I didn’t know why families existed. I thought God had given everyone these individual boxes with 4 people each (because my family had 4 members) into which they went after school and playing cricket. And if by some stroke of luck, they had an element called ‘Amma’ thrown in then every kid goes home and studies!

As I grew up, family meant to be an unit together with which we face the world. Whenever I slap my friend at school, bite a fleshy arm of a well-to-do benchmate or break the wind-shield of an ambassador car, I have someone to shield me from directly getting spanked. Or in some cases, bear the financial implications. A strange definition. But I never thought beyond this. I guess I was very much living life as it came by the moment.

Then when it was the emotional growth point, I turned into this person who rarely exposed his inner self to anyone else. That was because there was not much off inner depth to this person. I always spoke my mind. Was short tempered. So my mind used to get lot of publicity. And as a result drew a lot of flak. And not necessarily everything was sugar-quoted. So, there was a dual personality brewing one who was hurt and another who was inflicting hurt. My family accepted me the way I was. My parents dealt with me the way you need to be dealt with. My brother has his own world, but we still used to fight. I forgot mention that I was extremely immature. Family then meant a place where I get to inflict hurt, because I don’t get them back there. Whereas whenever I did it with the world it came back hundred times bigger.

At such a stage, friends came into my life. Though my equation with them was restricted to sharing the same physical space and interests and all that, unknowingly I had developed a very deep bond with them. Realisation of their value came in when I was leaving school. From then on, I realised that I needed to value my friends when I was with them. Some level of maturity was reached I guess.

Then I left home to pursue my studies. Met friends who are now an extension of my family. And when I was away from home, I learnt a lot of things about Family and I. How selfishly I have lived my life so far. But I was ignorant then. The problem was I was also so arrogant that I never listened to anyone trying to drill some sense into that mind of mine! My arrogance, temper, ignorance and many other undesirable traits came into my circle of awareness. I stopped treating my family like a financial support institution but never broke the ice to take it any further.

Slowly, as I continued to pursue higher studies supported by my family, I began to realise the significant role that they played in helping me be as I am. For whatever I am today if I give the credit to them I dont know if they will take it. But who else can be eligible even for a nomination is anybody’s guess!

I don’t have the habit of emotionally opening up to my family though many people feel that “What else is a family for?”. I would like to say that to each person – ‘family’ has a different meaning. Some people find that if they go back home and speak a lot and spend a lot of time laughing and confiding with their amma or appa they have a very close-knit family. I don’t find reason to believe that. Confiding with my appa can never happen. My amma and I cannot talk for more than 3 minutes without entering into a fight (For eg. “What did you’ve for dinner yesterday?”; “I had Pav Bhaji outside”; “Why do you eat outside so much? Your health doesn’t accept it and you know it”; “I felt like having so I had”; “Do whatever you want!”) And I don’t find the need to be close to them.

But yeah, I don’t know about their side of the story. The way that I have been brought up and I have seen my parents, we are not the typical family. That’s the way we have been. That’s the way my father and his parents (my grandparents) have lived. I don’t know if this is the best way to live life or what. I don’t think there are any “Best Practices” for this. This is the way we are.

On a slight tangent, why do we see family fights? Probably reason #1 is: Property or Money. However you want to call it. What happens to my definition of a family that’s fighting? Where do all this ‘closeness’ factors disappear? What happens to children who are witness to such fights? These fights could be between children only. Seldom do we witness parents fighting between themselves. As brothers and sisters, when something else as poisonous as property, money, etc. takes prominence to the relationship the relationship dies a slow death. And watching it die, can be the most heart-wrenching experience for everyone involved.

I might have fought with my brother over cricket scores while playing in our compound, over dishes that my mom needs to cook, over chocolates that were gifted to him by our uncle, over icecreams, over studies, carrom, chess, etc. whatever. But I vow today that I will not let any of the relationships in my family die because of fights over money. I don’t know why and what made me take this vow, but then I guess it’s a good one to make. And there’s never a bad time to make a good vow.

Sillunu Oru Kadhal | Review

August 18, 2006 at 4:49 pm

Another one from Blogical Conclusion. Thought of writing one myself. But when your mind has been expressed so beautifully by someone else, you don’t need to waste energy writing the whole thing out. So here it is.

The New Sunday Express – August 13, 2006

IF you’ve ever wondered what it would be like if Cole Porter wrote for Tamil movies, here it is – the title track from Sillunu Oru Kadhal, sung by Tanvi. Paravaigal seyyudhe, pattampoochi seyyudhe… kadhal, she goes, and you only have to translate this to get the mood of Birds do it, bees do it, the opening lines of Porter’s Let’s do it (let’s fall in love), which was immortalised by Ella Fitzgerald in her songbook dedicated to the composer. AR Rahman’s arrangements, though, don’t evoke the dreamy languor of that oldie. Instead, he sets these words to spunky, sprightly, bite-sized bebop riffs; the result comes across as a brassier version of his own Vennila (Iruvar) routed through Dizzy Gillespie’s Oh-Sho-Be-Do-Be. How this number will play in Athipatti I do not know, but it’s fantastic to have Rahman back at his playful best – especially in Tamil cinema, especially when it appeared that he was stashing away the good stuff for the biggies of Bollywood.

The experimentation, the refusal to stick to a winning (or safe) formula is evident even in the not-so-great numbers. The steamy Maja Maja – sung by the dependably-wonderful Shreya Ghoshal along with SPB Charan (who sounds remarkably like his father) – kicks off with guttural clicks, and as Ghoshal croons the opening stanza, Charan oh-so-casually joins her for a line and takes leave just as offhandedly. The dance-ready Machakari (Shankar Mahadevan, Vasundhara Das) has the strangest interludes, one with ghostly vocal harmonising and another full of poppish, faux-African chanting. And Maaricham (Carolisa, Mohammad Aslam, Krishna) is Chandralekha (Thiruda Thiruda) updated to the techno-trance era, where someone – for some reason – begins chanting the name Gautam to the accompaniment of Enigma-like, new-agey music. After this, it’s almost a relief to listen to Ammi Mithichachu (Sirgazhi Sivachidambaram, Swarnalatha, Naresh Iyer, Theni Kunjaramma, Vignesh), a conventional – but catchy – folk tune that’s handed down like a baton from one singer to the next as it races to an explosive finish.

The eminently rewind-worthy Munbe Vaa (Shreya Ghoshal, Naresh Iyer) is a heady love duet whose prelude sets off bubbles of synth-sounds and strings that float through the number, playing tag with the voices. And New York Nagaram has got to be one of the most stylish, least sentimental boy-misses-girl ballads ever. Vaali’s evocative lyrics – vaan ingey, neelam angey, he writes, likening a lonelyheart to a sky that’s lost its blueness – are so casually tossed off by Rahman, they made me imagine the composer with his hands dug deep into the pockets of his jeans, ambling around a snowed-in Big Apple with a broken heart. And the sadness is contagious. Things come together with such a satisfying click – from the masterful use of the female backup singers to the soulful sax interludes – you can’t help looking back at Rahman’s recent Tamil soundtracks and feel a twinge that it’s been so long since he crafted for us such a beauty.