Saturday, December 31, 2005

Random Musing - 1

Too many arbit ideas/thoughts floating around. I think I will start a separate section head for some of these thoughts.

My sis (who is a dentist) was talking to me about my uncle and aunt (both doctors) handling very high number of patients in a day. They even perform a number of surgeries in a day. She says that its very difficult and requires inhuman effort to do something like that. To quote her exact words..

"You have no idea as to how much adrenalin is pumping through your body when you are handling a normal patient. Imagine that much adrenalin being pumped through your body for extended periods of time because of the intensity of the task at hand. Imagine how tired you would get?"

I'd have never realized this fact if my sis hadn't told me. Interesting!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Thavamaai Thavamirundhu

It would be hard to live up to expectations after a movie like "Autograph". So, this movie would probably not be as good as the Cheran's previous one. Or so I thought.

The movie was amazing. I loved every second of it. Even the interval message. The movie was a good 3 hours and 15 minutes. But, I did not feel the strain of such a long movie. And mind it, this compliment comes from a person (me? :-P) who was looking around the theater towards the last part of LOTR 3: The Return of the King. Kudos to Cheran. I had gone into the movie knowing hardly anything about the story itself beforehand, and I was blown away by the screen play and subject.

The first aspect of the movie which struck me straight away was the cast selection. Each person fit their role to a T. Without going in depth into the characters (to keep the movie watching experience fresh), I can definitely say that this movie will have a number of awards this year at the National Film Festival. I thought the jurors were unfair in making Autograph share the award for the Best Movie for 2004 with Veer Zara. However, this year I hope that Thavamaai Thavamirundhu will get the place it deserves. I haven't seen a movie this entire year as good as this one. Rajkiran was brilliant. Many people have told me that he is a good actor. I can vouch for that after this movie. Right now, I still can't say who the hero of the movie was.. Cheran or Rajkiran. Rajkiran and Saranya were amazing as Cheran's parents. I don't think anyone else could've played the roles so beautifully conveying the emotions without much drama. The fact that Cheran took 6 months to perfect the script and another 3 months to finalize the cast & crew clearly shows. Every character from the brother & sister-in-law to the heroine has been very carefully thought about. Padmapriya as the heroine does well. I cannot picturize any girl better looking than her in an Engineering college :-).

I had heard the songs from the movie only once before watching it. Nothing made me listen to the songs once again. However, after watching the movies, I'm addicted to the songs now. Music and background music were scored by the duo Sabesh - Murali. I've heard their names somewhere before. My best guess would be that they were classical artists who were judges in one of the episodes of Saptha Swarangal on SunTV. But that's just a guess. I may be absolutely wrong. The songs for the movie couldn't have been more apt. The variety of instruments used in the songs were very good. The lyrics for "Ore oru oorile" were brilliant, and the picturization in the movie was heart-wrenching. So was "Oru Muraidhaan". The sharp contrast in the music styles for Rajkiran's and Cheran's songs show the versatility of the music directors.

At the end of the movie, everyone around me stood up with a heavy heart. First comment I heard was how naturally it was shot without overdoing the sentiment part of the movie. This is probably the first movie I've seen focusing on the the relationship between a father and his sons. Refreshing! Funny part about the whole movie watching experience was that I'd gone with a couple of good friends and their mothers. At the end of the movie, I was expecting the mothers to be thinking about the movie from a parent's point of view. It surprised me to hear them discuss their parents in detail after the movie and the sacrifices they'd have had to make for them. For a moment, I'd forgotten that these ladies were all someone elses children too. They weren't just parents.

Finally a few questions linger in my head after watching the movie. I have lived in variety of places now. I have visited a number of breath-takingly beautiful places. I have enjoyed myself thorougly on all occasions. Thinking back now, I ask myself, did I enjoy them because of the people I was with? Or did I enjoy it because of the places I was in? Which is more important to me.. people or place? What do I want to compromise on? Am I leading an escapist's life?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Trip to ISB

I flew to Hyderabad last morning and flew out last evening. I was on a short visit to the Indian School of Business to look around the school. I've heard a lot about the campus and its world class facility. But I was pleasantly surprised when I went there. It was truly world class. Very professional and competent staff, granite & marble floors, spic and span walls, awesome ambiance. I should say that it was far better built than the University of Colorado at Boulder. It may not be as big, but well, ISB only caters to 400 students. The library is also supposed to be the biggest in any business school in Asia.

I spent the entire day going around the place, talking to a variety of students. Met a number of students from various majors like Finance, Marketing, IT, and Entrepreneurship and interacted with them. I also met a couple of current students who have lived in the US and gone back for their MBA. They seem very very happy. My small doubts of having to re-adjust myself have been partially erased. I still have a teeny weeny bit hidden away in the corner somewhere. Guess I'll have to deal with it when it really matters.

I was surprised by the accomodations for students. Its 3-star treatment all the way :-). Quite the opposite of what it was for me when I was doing my Masters here in the US. They have staff who come and make the students' bed, while they are away at school. They have maids who clean the floors and dust the entire place once every couple of days. You can also hire an extra maid to help out with the vessels and other miscellaneous chores around the house if you want.

The family housing was also excellent. A single bedroom appartment with a proper kitchen the works. The bachelor's quarters however had 4 rooms in a single house to be shared by four people. All of these were furnished.

I'm very impressed!

P.S. The auto fare was about Rs. 200 one way from the airport to ISB. Probably because I couldn't communicate with the auto driver. Hindi should work perfectly fine.. Ofcourse, I don't know Hindi, and so I was taken for a ride.. quite literally I think. Time to go bug my room-mate to step-up my Hindi education and put it on a fast-track.

Rang De Basanti

Just bought the CD from the Landmark store at Spencers. Deviating a little from the topic of the post.. shopping at Landmark was like shopping at the Macy's just off Broadway in Manhattan. Bustling crowd, awesome ambiance, good music playing in the background. Just a really energetic atmosphere. The presence of so much youth can definitely create the vibes in the air. It's kindof hard to describe.

Coming back to the album, I have to give it an A after the first hear. This is probably the first of A.R.Rahman's albums where I liked all the music on first hear. Like one of my friends animatedly put it, Rahman's music is usually like a parasite. It slowly grows on you. However, I was pleasantly surprised with this song. I didn't want to skip any of the songs. The entire CD played for about 45 minutes and this is probably the first time I listened to an entire album without a break on first hear (if that is a correct term to use :-P)

Commenting on the songs after hearing them for the first time.. Roobaroo sounded a lot like Lucky Ali's Dooba Dooba. I think its probably because of the guitar in the background, and also the fact that Rahman's voice sometimes tends to resemble Lucky Ali's. I also liked the rap number "Paathshala - be a rebel". Well done Rahman!

I would say that with this album, he's definitely got back his touch.. the one that was missing even in albums like Ayutha Ezhuthu (Yuva) and Ah Aah.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Five Point Someone!

Read this awesome book called Five Point Someone.. What NOT to do at IIT by Chetan Bhagat. Terribly funny book. Its about the four years of education at IIT that three misguided guys go through. Extremely down to earth book, describes a lot of what one goes through in college. My sis who was sitting next to me preparing for one of her entrance exams however thinks I've gone nuts. I was laughing out loud at many points when I was reading this book, that she thinks I have a loose screw.

This is the first book in a long time that I have sat and read at a stretch. I couldn't put the book down. Boy.. how much I miss reading. I wonder if its just the lack of books which cater to my taste, or if it's just me these days. In Colorado, I hardly seem to have the time (or is it patience??) to sit down and read a book. Ofcourse, I had my mom hovering around me giving me all sorts of snacks and food when I was intently reading the book. I can't think of getting up and making something for myself when I'm totally into a book. Sigh.. The simple pleasures of living at home!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

When the Bakery Man knocked.

My India trip is always highlighted by many nostalgic moments.

Last evening, however, there was one such moment which moved me to tears.

I was downstairs at my cousins place playing with my nephews, when a very familiar figure walked up to the door of the apartment and rang the bell. Immediately my eyes lit up. It was the bakery man.

For the last 21 years of my life, he has been coming home EVERY DAY. I was a mere 4 year old when first started delivering bakery products home. My favourite was the bun he made. I remember vividly that the single cherry on the bun added to its crowning glory. I grew up eating this bun everyday of my life till I left India to study in the US. I would sub-conciously miss him if I didn't see that familiar old cycle, with the beaten green box tied to his carier by an old tyre. If it was raining, he would still be there in his familiar green raincoat with his warm smile asking if we needed something.

But yesterday, I saw him in a different light. He was the same man. The same warm smile. The same old cycle. The same beaten green box. But this was 21 years later. Here is a man who'd not moved up or down in life. Or atleast to me, it seemed so. I asked him how his bakery was doing, and he told me that he had to vacate the building. He was just working from home now. That green box was his bakery. I asked him how his business was doing. He told me that his main customers were still my family. Except now that it was my 11 year old nephew Sanjay who had taken to his oh-so-delicious buns. He was telling me that people in my appartment now have started buying from him. He also had a couple of people buying from him a few apartments down the street (people who my mother had introduced him to). He told me that he'd been trying to catch me over the last few days since I landed, but I was either sleeping or not at home.
After our short conversation, I bought the customary bun from him.. and one more for my nephew Sanjay who I was playing with.

When I got back inside the house, I couldn't play like I was playing a few minutes back. My dad noticed my look and asked with a small smile if I even knew his name. I realized that I had no clue. In the last 21 years I had always referred to him as Bakery Man. So did everyone else. "Shanmugham" my dad said. He had asked the bakery man about 4 years ago what his name was. I told him about the conversation I had had with the Bakery man a few minutes back. I told him about the closed down bakery. My dad said that a few years back he had offered to help him setup a bakery. But all Shanmugham had said was that he was happy and content where he was. Thinking about it now, he probably makes something between two thousand and three thousand rupees a month. But he sure was happy about it.

So many things I have to learn in life. From the bakery man.. from my dad... How to be content.. from the bakery man. The thought of wanting to help.. from my dad. My dad's business hasn't been doing too well in the last few years either. He has been seeing a lot from his end too. I have felt very bad a number of times that I'm not in a position to help my dad out entirely. It amazes me how it even struck him to offer to help the bakery man. I realize that NOTHING in the world amazes me like people. Not technology. Not natural wonders. Not man made buildings. I don't think any number of words will do justice to the thoughts running through my head now.

Friday, December 09, 2005


I'm in India right now. I will be here for almost a month. Landed last morning at around 12.40am. And by the time I got out of the airport it was a good 2.30am (as usual, my bags were one of the last few to come out on the carousel). For all that is said about customs and the dread of coming to India, I had no problem. For that matter of fact, I don't think I've had a problem ever with the customs the 3 times I've been back home.

Lots of things haven't changed.
The traffic and driving is pretty much the same. I love driving in Chennai. Its always a pleasure and a challenge. Its NOT for the faint hearted. Its for the skilled ONLY. Its amazing how so many things can co-exist on the roads. Cows, goats, stray dogs, cats, stones, construction equipment, cyclists, bikes, cars, vans, trucks, lorries, autos, humans, and ofcourse the occasional crows and other birds. I had the wheel straight from the airport. Initially it was a little uncomfortable, but by the time I reached Adyar from the airport, I was fine and back to my weaving self.

On the other hand lots of things have changed.
My Cingular connection actually works from Chennai. I was pleasantly surprised when my phone picked up signal straight away when I turned it on. Ofcourse, its on International Roaming (another way of saying you can have the cake, but you can't eat it. If you do, we'll fleece you for it) and I restricted my calls to just one where I called up my friend back in Boulder to inform him that I reached safely.

Everything looks a lot smaller initially (just like every time I've come back home). The effect wears away in a couple of days, but its still funny to note down my emotions everytime I feel it. Roads which i thought used to take forever to run across, now are not more than a few steps wide. Cars which seemed huge suddenly look smaller.

And finally.. the shocker. People in Chennai are actually wishing for LESS rain!! Thats the first time I've heard that in 26 years of my life.


I'm back from my blog break. I was contemplating closing down this blog 'cause I just wasn't inspired enough to write. I figured that I will not always want to write stuff.. but sure as hell want a place to vent my thoughts. So, well, here goes nothing.. AGAIN!