Thursday, July 31, 2003

Got back yesterday after a three day sojourn in Columbus. It was a rough three days, but it was nice to take a break off from the life at Athens. The occasion was GT/CM 2003, a conference that brought together the brightest minds of the cellular manufacturing world. My advisor was organizing the whole thing and we were in strength to give him support. An additional duty was to give a presentation of my work towards my thesis, which is also in cellular manufacturing. That went on well, but there were hiccups elsewhere, which fortunately did not really affect anything for the worse.

On Monday, which was the first day, I spent close to three quarters of an hour trying to get the LCD projector and a laptop hooked together. Did all sorts of things including the “Fn-F8” method, which usually accomplishes just what I wanted in a jiffy. But that was not to happen. Then this jerk comes in and changes the situation and leaves with a “that is why you need a expert” look on his face”. Zip it buddy. From then on, it was smooth sailing, only that the jerk kept popping in with his “smart ass” comments and threatened to change my demeanor. However I managed to keep my pleasant profile throughout those three days. Well, not exactly, but by the time I lost a bit of it, the conference was already over and we were due to check out of the hotel. Tuesday night was a good time. We had dinner at the Annapoorna, which is this small restaurant at this mall on the Dublin-Granville Road in Columbus. Nice place, which more or less compensates for its lack of atmosphere with this awesome chat buffet. Dr.Masel warmed our hearts by making it there to Annapurna and having one single pani puri and a gulab jamun (having had a full dinner with the other brains at the Marriot). Awww... we dont have any pics together with Dr.Masel. We were back home by Wednesday afternoon.

But the highlight of the whole trip was my meeting the god himself – Dr.J.T.Black. For all those of you who have a degree in Mechanical Engineering coupled with interest in cellular manufacturing and concepts like JIT will identify the man as the guru that he is in these concepts. Spent a couple of minutes interacting with him and came back enriched. I missed his tutorial though, due to organizational duties that kept me confined to one hall and also due to the fact that my presentation was also scheduled almost at the same time. Also met a couple of other people who I have just heard spoken about with respect – Dr.Wemmerlov, Dr.Dagli, Dr.Askin and Dr.Suresh. These are experiences I will cherish. I also met Dr.G.Srinivasan from the IIT in Chennai (which happens to be my hometown). He was visibly pleased to meet someone who spoke the same tongue as him, though I have to apologize for having been the cause (though not by myself, alone) of him having to miss part of the concluding panel discussion (see pic here).

As for my presentation, it went on really well. The session started with very few people in the audience. A couple of friends made it there to give me support and also to ask a few questions (or so they threatened). But by the time I made it to the podium, the hall was more than half full with some people whom I really feared taking their seats. My advisor was there too. I was not too worried about the how I did, but was dreading the questions that might follow. There was just one question and it came just from the man whom I did not even notice – Dr.Dagli who was one of my advisor’s gurus. I fumbled a bit, but then he got his answer and a smile came to his lips. Then I knew I was ok. He had some good words too and that made my day. The session chair had a couple of suggestions that might change the course of my thesis. I am on a “wait and watch” mode now.

As for other things, the OUCC lost their match against Lexington. But we came out with our heads held high. The two Hammads made half centuries but the OUCC gave Lexington their best fight so far. The winning margin was just 15 runs, which is exemplary considering the fact that Lexington had made 285. This was the closest margin of victory for Lexington. Their other victories had all been a matter of more than 75 runs. Hats off to all the batsmen and Sriram (lol) too for his six Lexington wickets. A home game against UKCC beckons this weekend, but a blaze of injury problems threaten our prospects. But if a team is strong enough that someone of my caliber sits out, then the team is in good hands. Like I have said many a time, my ego drives me ;)

Verse of the Day

A professor named Black in his prime
Worked in manufacturing systems design
On cells, he was keen,
In factories quite lean,
Where all the parts came Just In Time.

(Dr. J. T. Black, And The World Came To See: New Manufacturing Systems Design and Industrial Revolutions.)

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Bheem boy Bheem boy!

Bheem boy Bheem boy, andha locker lendhu aaru latchathai eduthu indha Avinashi naayin moonjiyil vitteri…”! “I mean what I mean, but they can’t be so mean” - Words that will leave me in clutching my stomach in splits for a long time to come. Credit goes to a dialogue writer whose dialogues (not to mention his stage plays and TV series) are as “Crazy” as his name (or I should I say, title). Crazy Mohan has long been a source of clean entertainers in the stage scene in Chennai and the rest of the Tamil speaking world and his efforts in the big stage have not been off the mark. His dialogues right away strike the mark in Michael Madana Kamarajan where the opening lines of this post play quite a role in the proceedings. An ensemble cast of seasoned actors, all of which have excelled in comic roles both before and after this movie, play stellar roles in this comic classic, which released in 1991.

Kamal Hasan plays a set of identical quadruplets who are separated right after their birth and find their way into completely different strata of society. Fortunately Singeetham Srinivasa Rao is not from the "Manmohan Desai school of filmmaking" and hence the whole “different religion” bit is not a part of this rib tickling offering which seems to ooze comic sense in every frame. But if you had seen his immediately preceding offering – Apoorva Sagodharargal (a.k.a Appu Raja, for the Bollywood audience), you would have had a sense of deja vu in the opening frames of the movie. Like most other movies starring Kamal Hasan, this movie packs quite a bit of the story into the credit sequences. The quadruplets separate during the credit sequence during which the director makes a guest appearance as a street performer with a “bioscope” (which a small movie camera like apparatus through which you can view small pictures which are on slides). In fact the whole of this movie is seen through the eyes of a small kid who comes to see through the bioscope. The boys.. Wait. Did I mention all of them are boys? In fact with Kamal around and with his other movies both before and after this one, this fact needs to be mentioned. Well, the boys each grow up to be a counterfeiter, a fireman (who grows up in a orphanage which is only hinted), a rich kid and a cook.

The last mentioned character, named Kameshwaran, would be remembered by Tamil movie fans for eons to come. He grows up at the home of a Tamil Iyer from Palakkad (which, for your information, is a district in Kerala, bordering Tamil Nadu) who ekes out a living as the head cook at weddings and other events. “Delhi” Ganesh who has been a staple in almost every Kamal movie plays the foster father’s role to perfection. The exchanges between foster father, Mani Iyer and son, Kameshwaran, at a Brahmin wedding where a fish finds its way into the saambhar (from Kamal’s shirt pocket) is classic comedy, which sets alight the audience. Both Kamal and “Delhi” Ganesh use the nuances of the Tamil language as it is spoken by “Palakkad Iyers” to make the audience laugh at exactly the right places. Kameshwaran’s character is similar to a multitude of others played by Mehmood in Hindi movies like Padosan and more recently Mithun Chakroborty in Agneepath. I use the word “similar” here, because of the possibility of the character dissolving into a caricature of a Tamil Brahmin (who oozes out stupidity) as seen in the previously mentioned Bollywood movies. But Kamal adroitly goes around this fault and gives the audience something to identify with. There is nothing “out of the world” in this character and still he brings out the simpleton in Kameshwaran. The dialect spoken by Kameshwaran is the best part. I think that being an Iyer from Palakkad myself, probably made the lines hit the bulls eye with me, because I could identify with the language as it is spoken by my own family (and me, of course, when I am around relatives). But judging by the reactions of others sitting around me whenever I watch this movie, the lines hit bull’s eye with them too. There is nothing derogatory about this character and that is what makes the director and Kamal's treatment stand out.

One of the aspects of this movie which has me still shaking my head in surprise, is the apparent link in every scene of the movie, even between different threads. Imagine, 4 brothers who don’t really meet each other at all till half way through the movie. Even in a movie like Amar Akbar Anthony (read a review here), which incidentally was aired on TCM in June, the brothers lead separate lives and each one’s actions do not really play a role in the other’s life. But not in this movie. In fact barring just a couple of breaks, the whole movie can be really considered one long sequence of events each of which affect the next one in line. For example, at the start of the movie, Michael (one of the brothers who is a counterfeiter) and his foster father (who seems to be drunk, throughout the movie, la Keshto Mukerjee) run from the police who land up at their door. At the end of this chase, Michael who is driving the car, inexplicably rams against electricity supply main which short circuits causing a fire, which threatens to destroy Shalini’s (played by Khusbhu) paintings.

Raju (again Kamal), a fireman arrives with a team and saves Shalini. A dream song sequence follows this incident and ends with Raju and a Pathani money lender locked in embrace. Raju owes the Pathan money and as a result wants to get out of this sticky situation. A plate with fish gets knocked off Raju’s hands (in the door of his room) and one of the fish finds its way into Kameshwaran’s shirt pocket when he’s shopping in the market right outside Raju’s room (which is on the first floor of the house). He does not realize this and after a hurried threat to the Pathani who’s still standing shell-shocked looking at him (because he looks just like Raju, minus a moustache), leaves for the wedding where he and his father are cooking. This fish finally falls into the saambhar and causes some really funny exchanges between Kameshwaran and Mani Iyer, Kameshwaran’s apparent ignorance of the English language also adding to the humor.

This is where the film starts showing some faults. Once the baton is passed from one thread to another (like the end of the Michael’s chase to Raju’s fire), nothing is mentioned of the previous thread until much later. For example after the accident that causes the short circuit, nothing ever is mentioned of Michael or whether he successfully escaped from the police who were in his heels, well sorry, his tires. It is that abrupt. But Kamal’s genius and Crazy Mohan’s dialogues actually make us forget what transpired earlier and keep us occupied with the present. The fact that Kamal plays all the major roles in each of the threads plays no small part in this successful effort. But its disconcerting none the less, if u are realist who can’t stomach illogical movies, to see the truant fish in the saambhar, which could cause a huge loss of revenue for a Brahmin cook, ignored for the rest of the movie. But I am not that realist and so I was not complaining.

The fourth brother, Madan, grows up in the household of his biological father (who in true Indian movie fashion, does not know this fact) and comes back to India from London (with a MBA degree) after his father’s supposed death to reclaim the family business from his cousin and uncle who are on the verge of usurping it. He throws them out and they are out soon plotting his downfall with the help of the secretary, Avinashi (played by another veteran, Nagesh), who himself has misappropriated Rs.50 lakh from his father. Praveen Kumar (a.k.a Bheema from B.R.Chopra’s Mahabharath) plays Madan’s bodyguard, Bheem, a kid in every sense else other than his huge physique. The guy watches cartoons all the time and jumps out of windows whenever Madan tells him to (??) and even climbs up to the same room through a pipe when Madan asks him to come up after he had jumped down.

Urvashi, who’s another comic genius in her own right plays Tirupurasundari (fondly called Tiruppu) who, when not drawing Rangoli at weddings for a living, spends her time trying to replace the stuff that her grandmother (played by veteran actress S.N.Lakshmi), a compulsive kleptomaniac, steals from people attending the same weddings. After the above mentioned “fish sequence”, she meets Kameshwaran and after some comical (unintended) courting due to the kleptomanical S.N. Lakshmi, gets married to him.

Madan and Raju meet and Madan pays Raju to impersonate him. The villains recruit Michael through a middleman to kill Madan and when Michael sees Raju and Madan talking, he decides to impersonate Madan too, to get some easy money. Meanwhile Avinashi chances upon Kameshwaran and recruits him through Urvashi’s crooked grandmother (played by veteran Tamil actress, S.N. Lakshmi) to impersonate Madan. All that Kameshwaran has to do is mouth the line – “Bheem boy, Bheem boy, andha locker lendhu aaru latchatha eduthu Avinashi naayin moonjila vittu eri” (Bheem boy, take six lakhs out of that locker and throw it on the face of this dog, Avinashi). Kameshwaran’s heavily accented English is the highlight of this movie and he keeps repeating his "line" to everyone in sight much to Avinashi’s consternation, as is Raju’s attempts to ape Madan’s mannerisms and language, particularly the Madan’s use of the phrase “Catch my point?”.

Hence 3 brothers set out to impersonate the fourth leading to hilarious sequences that end at a hill top bungalow which seems be nothing more than a rickety single room apartment waiting to fall down anytime from the top of the hill. The movie finally ends with the “alls well that ends well” formula, after some hilarious sequences like a madisaar clad S.N.Lakshmi showing some karate moves and finally getting her haunches on fire.. It is a highly illogical affair, but we have seen so many like these from the likes of Charles Chaplin and others, where the only intention is to generate some laughs and nothing else.

This movie probably was the second successive attempt by Kamal (the first being Apoorva Saghdharargal) to play multiple roles. A string of serious attempts at parallel roles followed, like Guna etc., which has continued till the present day to Hey Ram and Abhay, barring a handful of ordinary attempts in between. Still his losses from his attempts to kick-start his dream venture (Marudhanayagam) have to be recouped and hence he has started to play to the front benchers again after a long time. Well, these attempts have not been successful. Will someone tell him that he just needs to look at what he did in movies like Michael Madana Kamarajan to strike the right chord? Clean humor always works, and his recent attempts have not really been clean.

I have always preferred Thalaivar Rajinikant to Kamal. But Michael Madana Kamarajan shall remain one of my favorite movies, more so for the humor in the movie than for the actor in Kamal.

QOTD: "Nyanum Rowdy-aakum.. keattela!" (I am a rowdy too!) - Kameshwaran's riposte to "Thiruttu Paati" (Michael Madan Kamarajan, 1991)

Thursday, July 24, 2003

The "chinna veedu" of cricket on the Internet!!!!

I was thinking of what my blog provides for my regular readers and what it does not. And I found that it gives them nothing! I looked around stuff and thought about ways to provide original or second hand content. The main stuff that I did not provide was real time cricket scores (among a lot of other things). Then I found this desktop java score card and thought that it would be good idea if i put it on the blog. But the only link i got from Cricinfo was for a whole html page and when that came into a "iframe" that u see on the bottom right of the page, it turns into b.s. But I will not rest till I get done with this endeavor to provide cricket scores to each and every reader of my blog and turn this into the "chinna veedu" of cricket on the Internet! The search continues and till I get another alternative, that frame shall stay like that down there.

Btw, if you knew Tamil, you will understand the word play behind the words "chinna veedu" and their usage here.
Am I a trendsetter?

Sometime ago, I saw American History X and did a post on how the issues dealt with in the movie and how they are similar to issues hampering the progress of the Indian society these days. Reproduced here are the last two passages from that post.

“So all this leads us to what has been irking a lot of people in India, the move to unveil a Uniform Civil Code and bring everyone under one set of laws as it prevails in most other countries. In fact even in the countries that strictly follow the Shariat, there are no existing laws specifically of people from other religions. So a Uniform Civil Code is the key. But this has been opposed by the different groups of people who have long grown used to easier ways of getting past the law of the land. I don’t know anything about the specifics of such a code. However since a lot of people have been seen to propose compromise initiatives, I am sure a lot of acceptable compromises can be arrived at while framing such a code. But will the judiciary be given a free hand?

From the above harangue, all of you who have seen Edward Norton’s outburst against the INS in American History X, will identify me as the same fool that I have described earlier. Believe me when I say that I am fighting against it. And since nothing we have done has improved our life, why don’t we do something different and change the laws of the land?”

And a week after this post, comes the news that, on July 23, a Supreme Court bench noted that “A common civil code will help the cause of national integration by removing the contradictions based on ideologies." This comes virtually out of the blue, though the undercurrent has been going strong over the last decade or so, ever since the Shah Bano case kicked this issue into the open.

However, my ego tells me that Chief Justice V N Khare, Justice S B Sinha and Justice Dr A R Lakshmanan, who comprise the above-mentioned bench, read my blog regularly. What say guys?

QOTD: "The Supreme Court has no right to interfere in the matter and it is 'inappropriate' on its part to advise the Parliament." - Samajwadi Party MP Shahid Siddiqui, commenting on the SC's views on the Uniform Civil Code.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003


Very disappointed with service from Enetation who used to provide my commenting service. Not many people really posted comments on my page, with the Zonkboard taking the bulk of the load (actually all the load). All my readers use the Zonkboard for their comments on my posts, but I still wanted to keep a "comments" link on this blog, more for reasons stemming up from my own ego. All through the last couple of days, Enetation has been giving problems. I also found that there is no way I can reset all/some of the comments (if at all they flood my page in the future). So started looking for another service.

I then found that Haloscan, have restarted their subscription service (they had stopped taking new subscriptions for quite sometime and that was one reason i opted for Enetation in the first place). Signed up today for Haloscan's service. It seems to work well. Looking for more comments from you guys.... Enjoy.. Peace...

QOTD: "It is a matter of regret that Article 44 of the Constitution has not been given effect to. Parliament is still to step in and frame a common civil code in the country. A common civil code will help the cause of national integration by removing the contradictions based on ideologies." - Supreme Court of India Bench, comprising Chief Justice V N Khare, Justice S B Sinha and Justice Dr A R Lakshmanan, while hearing a petition challenging section 118 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925, which prevents Christians from bequeathing property for religious and charitable purposes. (July 23, 2003)

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

A Happening Week Goes Past

I did not know how to title this post. But when i realised all that I was going to post were just events of the last week, I realised I should stick to something that was basic. So there is this headline. I know it doesnt make much sense, but neither do I. Hence I guess its okie. Now on for the main issues...

First, I would like to inform all you regular readers that one of my previous posts (Indian History X) was featured in the 21st edition of the Bharateeya Blog Mela, hosted by Gaurav Sabnis. I was not gonna send that link to anyone because I thought a lot of people would be offended, but I guess most people sent the same way and I haven't really got any Howlers so far. I have a faint idea that the post about the Captain, took most people's attention from American History X. So read the peice (if you haven't so far) and tell me what do you think.

Another report of mine, this one analysing the performances of different teams in the Midwest Cricket Tournament will appear shortly on the second edition of the Midwest Tournament E-zine. I will include the link (to the article) as and when it is up on the tournament website.

Fridays are usually considered movie days, but this week we did not go on Friday. Hence, we made it to Nelsonville and watched Pirates of the Caribbean - The curse of the Black Pearl, starring Johnny Depp. Impressed with Johhny Depp's performance, a complete change from movies like From Hell and The Ninth Gate which were utterly serious movies. Depp plays a maverick pirate, Capn. Jack Sparrow, who's completely larger than life, atleast according to himself. Good watch, if you don't expect anything like his other movies (atleast the couple I have seen).

The outcome of one of our matches, against Charleston Cricket Club, was sub-judice under the tournament organizing commitee. This morning, we heard from the organizers that we had been awarded the match and with it two points. But it came only as a mixed feeling because one of the members of the OUCC's thinktank was handed a one match suspension as was Charleston's opening batsman. This award means that Siddesh's half century in his last match ever for the OUCC (not to mention Tariq's cameo) should be up and counted in the statistics. Only loser in this whole incident could be Tariq. Don't worry yaar, we are all looking out for u ;)

QOTD: "Me? I'm dishonest, and a dishonest man you can trust to be dishonest... Honestly. It's the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you can never predict when they're going to do something incredibly stupid." - Captain Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean - Curse of the Black Pearl, 2003)

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Midway Through The Midwest!!!

After 2 months of cricket in the Midwest it is just about time to figure out who stands where in this war, that is the Midwest Tournament. The presence of three groups, each of which has 11 teams, has made this tournament huge, not only stature, but also in size. This being the halfway stage (well just past it), its time now to identify the hitters and the missers in each group and try to forecast accurately the outcome of this years edition. Believe me when I say, this has been one tough job, with the missing scorecard and the rain abandonment playing no small part and hence no amount of help from tarot readers and the palm readers is going to help us with these predictions. So, all I can do is bullshit and hope everything falls into place. It actually does not matter, because as Morpheus would attest, reality is just the electrical impulses that my brain senses. So I am going to believe all that I am writing down below as gospel. You do that too and address all comments to As u might notice, that is not a valid email id. So.. sit tight.

Group A

This has been the group that has been worst affected by these un-seasonal rains. As much as 4 matches abandoned, with MVCC having two. It’s interesting, therefore, to see MVCC among the top 3 in this group at the halfway stage. Since this analyst cannot really predict what would have transpired if those rain affected matches had progressed to completion, he is inclined to give MVCC the benefit of doubt and assume that they would have won one of those matches and hence still be at 6 points (having gained 2 points from a forfeit by FWCC). With OSUII and Columbus (IN) snapping close at their heels with 5 points each. Now Columbus (IN) have just 3 matches completed one of which was abandoned. So it is certain (knowing fairly their strengths, having played against them last year) that they would go farther in this tournament than they have so far. With Bouncer, Buckeye and OSUII also having one each of their matches abandoned, they could possibly make a jump too. But, as far as I am concerned, the teams to watch out for in the next stage would be surely Columbus (IN) and then the second place would be a close contest between Bouncer11 and MVCC and Purdue (who topped their group last year). The last mentioned have won both their matches so far and have a good chance of upstaging the others incase it comes down to the NRR. Hence Purdue is my bet for the second place. The last two places are going to be a tough choice and hence I do not want to call them. It has to be however noted that these predictions are solely my point of view. And while my views are usually correct, I will recant my statements if you are from another galaxy. But only after ensuring that the rail gun and the light saber on your belt are not from the shelves of ToysRus.

Predictions for the next stage: Columbus (IN), Purdue, and two other teams from between OSUII, MVCC and Bouncer

Players to watch out for: Mohammed Mazhar Khan (Columbus (IN)) with 89 runs and 4 catches (2 matches) and Amit Patel (Bouncer11) with 90 runs, 5 wickets and 2 catches and Pankaj Chipalkatti (Purdue) with 79 runs, 3 wickets and 2 dismissals.

Notable Performances: Purdue opener Pradeep Parerra's 70 runs and 2 wickets against FWCC. FWCC’s bowler Kamran Hafeez's 6 wickets in the same match.

Group B

This group has been perhaps the most evenly matched. CCC occupies a lonely spot at the top at this stage with 9 points. Three different teams - WVU, OSU, Cleveland, are at 6 points with Cleveland technically second having played one fewer match than the other two. Interestingly, last year, CCC and Cleveland were in different groups and finished in the lower half of each group with almost identical records. These teams in my eyes are the most improved, at least going by their records so far this year. If trends continue unchecked, the above-mentioned teams will be in the next stage. But the fact is that there are three teams with 5 points each (Akron, ECC and YCC), all of which have been unfortunate victims of the rain havoc. Hence this group promises to be the nail-chewer of the lot. We will have to wait and watch before making any predictions.

Predictions for the next stage: Any four teams from the top seven

Players to watch out for: Sohail Choudary (WVU) 195 runs (with 2 fifties), 13 wickets and 3 dismissals (from 5 matches), Bharat Jataprolu (CCC) with 169 runs (highest score of 126), 8 wickets.

Notable Performances: Bharat Jataprolu's 126 against Cleveland2, Sohail Chowdry's 6 for 32 against Cleveland2.

Group C

This group seems to have been a Lexington show so far. Three centuries (not to mention another that was missed by a whisker) by Hammad Malik and Hammad Bokhari and steady bowling by their bowlers have helped Lexington thrash all their opponents so far - UC by 120 runs, Cincinnati2 by 60 runs and COBCA by 121 runs. That they have made light of their two abandoned matches makes this record much more spectacular. They certainly will top the group at the end of the preliminary stage. They have four more home games scheduled and the presence of good batting conditions, a short offside boundaries and good clean hitters means that they will win most of their remaining home games. The rest of the field seems to be balanced enough with Nationwide, OUCC and London forming the top half of the table so far. OUCC seems to be the most improved team this year, with 2 victories already after having to win just one last year. Their bowlers have managed to perfect the end game this year. Moreover one of their games is sub-judice (under the TOC) which means that OUCC could be a strong contender this year. Nationwide2 also seems be a certainty for the next stage of this tournament. As for the other teams, the analyst wishes to add that several of the jokes that COBCA players made during the course of the match against OUCC were well appreciated. The “thong” joke still makes me go “rotfl”. We enjoyed the match, guys.

Predictions for the next stage: Lexington and Nationwide2 then two out the next three teams (OUCC, London, UK)

Players to watch out for: The two Hammads from Lexington, Malik and Bokhari (who top the overall batting this year with aggregates of 244 and 234 runs respectively)

Notable Performances: Big knocks from Hammad Malik and Hammad Bokhari and the 6 for 21 by Shahid Iqbal for Lexington against COBCA.

QOTD: "Who do you think you are ? Steve Waugh?" - Question posed to Anshuman by an opposing opening batsman wearing a RED BASEBALL HELMET during the course of some well directed sledging by Anshuman (7/13/2003, OUCC Cricket Ground, West State Street, Athens, Ohio)

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Updates on the Captain's meeting!

After some searching, I found that this article about Lara and Vijaykanth meeting together appeared in the Tamil section of Indiainfo. Check this link. Features the whole story, albeit in Tamil. For all you interested non-Tamils, I have provided here a translation for the piece.

"Prominent West Indian cricket star Brian Lara who was practicing (?) in Chennai, went to meet Vijaykanth suddenly(?) at his shooting spot. The shooting for Thennavan, a Vijaykanth - Kiran starrer was progressing in Chennai's Prasad Studios. Suddenly Lara walked in there. Vijaykanth welcomed him and took him around the set enlightening him about the various aspects of filmmaking. Then Vijaykanth got back to his shooting with Lara watching him. Upon seeing Vijaykanth performing his own stunts, Lara congratulated him profusely.

Vijaykanth stars as a IAS officer in this movie. He is an election officer and has modeled his role after TN Seshan. It is felt that this movie will not be short of thrills with Vijaykanth's character going loggerheads against casteist politicians. This movie is due for release by Independence Day, this year."

I am waiting to see the announcement regarding Vijaykanth's next movie. I won't be surprised if Vijaykanth takes the role of a whistle blowing Indian cricket captain ;)

QOTD: "Cricket is basically baseball on valium." - Robin Williams, American actor

One Captain meets another?

The man rumored to have caused a electric shock to electricity itself (in one of his movies, of course) met the man who has electrified audiences in cricket grounds all over the world. Don’t really know if this picture is morphed, but apparently, our own Captain Vijaykanth and the man known as Brian Charles Lara met a couple of days ago in a Chennai movie studio where both of them were shooting on adjacent floors for a movie and a advertisement respectively. The picture is supposedly from an (as yet) unnamed Tamil newspaper and was forwarded to me by a friend. One friend swears it’s a morphed picture, but why Captain and Lara. I can understand Captain and Mumtaz or actually Mumtaz and Lara. But Captain and Lara is slightly off the scale. Someone clarify.

Lara and Vijaykanth

It is yet not known what these two “titans” talked about, but it can safely be said that a collaborative effort is definitely not on the offing. Such a effort would certainly be the height of colloboration. What shall it be next? Captain pursuing match fixers with Lara helping him? So who will play the villain? Ashish Vidyarthi? And the heroine? Could be Trisha, going by the Captain’s penchant for young heroines!

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Indian History X

After a zillion rave reviews from a number of friends, I borrowed a tape of American History X from the college’s library. And spent the last couple of hours thinking about the movie’s theme and how the issues portrayed thereon parallel Indian History over the last 50 years or so. And I could help noticing coincidences here. I borrowed the tape a couple of days ago and then suddenly the whole of the Indian media is ablaze with stories of the Kanchi Acharya’s letter to the All India Muslim Personal Law Board chairman Maulana Rabe Hasan Nadvi. The events of the last few days and today, the movie, have raised so many questions in my mind. But the movie also gives us what should be the most important question we have ever asked or rather haven’t asked ourselves ever in our life. And that’s just what we, as Indian citizens, regardless of religious membership should ask ourselves too. “Has anything you've done made your life better?“ Once we get an answer to this question, I think all our souls can rest in peace. And the answer to the question, according to me is a resounding “NO”.

Some of us burnt people alive and some of us went out with a sword to take revenge and all this because some of us broke down an ancient building, which served purpose to no one except a student of history, an ilk whose members form a very small percentage of our populace. Whether this was planned or it was an impulsive act from a couple of fools is yet sub-judice, but then it is intended that this contest will not leave the gates of the Supreme Court (or which ever court it is being tried now) in a hurry.

Humans are foolish and by the way, on the account of the fact that I am human, I am a fool too. We allow us to be manipulated by anyone who has figured out that we are a fool. And in this case, these manipulators are the religious leaders. That these religious leaders are also part our political landscape is perhaps the greatest collective blunder that our populace is guilty of, apart from all the procreation that has filled the country with more of the kind. The doctors advise against marriage among close relations, but will there arise a point in time where marriage among the citizens of same country would be frowned upon? Maybe that’s the only cure for this kind of demented behavior that has plagued our country right from its re-birth. We are seeing a reversal that will or may have already lead us to a situation parallel to that existing in medieval Europe.

I am a member of the so-called majority in India, the Hindus, who call themselves so pure and so soft that they don’t kill defenseless animals like the cow. But it is the same people who completely went against the teachings of their own “holy books” and turned aggressors to break down a place of worship. So did we set into motion a cataclysmic sequence of events that has torn asunder most of the country’s populace, one way or the other? Maybe we did, maybe we did not, but the effects of that razing continue to hound us even after a dozen years.

The main reason for this – the so-called religious leaders and the political parties who have yet not learnt to leave their religious affiliations at home when they come to their office. And another reason being – The religious leaders who think they know how to rule this country. The ruling party has not been able to shake off its militant roots and its members tend to make statements that contradict both themselves and the party’s “official stand” on many an issue. Hence it is sometimes difficult to understand the government course of action along certain lines.

Then come the religious leaders. These leaders have, in the last decade decided to take a number of initiatives, the latest of which has been the Kanchi Shankaracharya’s meeting and letter to the All India Muslim Personal Law Board chairman Maulana Rabe Hasan Nadvi. Now going through the contents of this letter, it is obvious where the whole initiative is going wrong. Read this - “Your board, on our request, may consider giving a no objection statement regarding construct of mandir upon the undisputed/acquired area”. That line is the first step of the proposed initiative to arrive at a “compromise solution” (??). Correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding of the English language (in which this letter was originally written) leads me to believe that “compromise” means a half solution that each warring party might accept on the light of concessions from both sides. To ask for a temple on the disputed site after having illegally demolished the existing mosque reeks of a demented mind. This is not an attack on anybody associated with the initiative, but it is an attack on the initiative, on the whole idea behind the initiative, on the fact that people still think religion can be a substitute for law and that too in a secular country like India.

I am not an atheist. I certainly believe that the ONE exists above us and sometimes looks after us in ways that we cannot understand. However I do understand that still there are a lot of things that can be solved using scientific logic and not just by walking on water. We have to remind ourselves that we are in the 21st century now and not in a time where a Crusade or two can help restore dominance of a religion. Which means that the laws of the land are supreme and these laws cannot be religious in nature if the people intend to be secular. Hence the model followed by the Middle East cannot be used in India.

So all this leads us to what has been irking a lot of people in India, the move to unveil a Uniform Civil Code and bring everyone under one set of laws as it prevails in most other countries. In fact even in the countries that strictly follow the Shariat, there are no existing laws specifically of people from other religions. So a Uniform Civil Code is the key. But this has been opposed by the different groups of people who have long grown used to easier ways of getting past the law of the land. I don’t know anything about the specifics of such a code. However since a lot of people have been seen to propose compromise initiatives, I am sure a lot of acceptable compromises can be arrived at while framing such a code. But will the judiciary be given a free hand?

From the above harangue, all of you who have seen Edward Norton’s outburst against the INS in American History X, will identify me as the same fool that I have described earlier. Believe me when I say that I am fighting against it. And since nothing we have done has improved our life, why don’t we do something different and change the laws of the land?

QOTD: "I'm the most dangerous man in this prison. You know why? 'Cause I control the underwear." - Fellow inmate to Derek Vinyard (American History X , 1998)

Thursday, July 03, 2003


Checking whether BlogThis! works...
Chat in Columbus!

Almost a week since I posted. Lot of things happened between then and now. I moved houses back to good old Carriage Hill Drive. Level one now. So I am avoiding the big climb. Just setting up stuff now and the house is still a mess. My phone numbers changed too. Shall be mailing all u guys with the number soon.

Yesterday, finally I got a chance to eat at Annapoorna, this great eatery up in Columbus. Nice place with major specialty being their chat buffet. Wow. After a long time, I got a chance to sample tasty Bhelpuri, Pani Puri, Dahi Vadas, Kachoris washed down with some Kesar Lassi. I am still full :D

And last week, just after my last post, I got this call from Sunil and we got around discussing possible scenarios that could unfold in Matrix Revolutions. His comments were interesting and thought provoking. But after that discussion, later that night, I got another bit from the movie that I almost missed. At one point in the movie, this kid who idolizes Neo (much to his obvious and visible discomfiture) gives him a spoon and tells him that one of the kids from the Oracle’s house gave it to him (the kid from the 1st part?) and told him to pass it to Neo. What I don’t remember as yet was whether the spoon was itself bent! If the spoon had been bent, then it would mean that Neo is still in the Matrix, because Neo meets the Oracle inside the Matrix. However this kid gives him the spoon in Zion, which means that Zion is also in the Matrix! This concurs with what Sunil felt too, that Zion was the lowest (in terms of geographical altitude) level of the Matrix. What say Sunil? This means that Neo probably realized that Zion was in the Matrix and that prompted him to try stop those Sentinels in the last scene. Most of us, as lesser mortals (at least with respect to Larry and Andy) did not see this coming at all, until much later!

QOTD: "There are truths which are not for all men, nor for all times." - Voltaire