Sunday, February 27, 2005

Underneath the mango tree....

Voice 1 talking: Once upon a time, there was a buetiful village.
In that village there was a buetiful gaarden.
In that gaarden, there was a, only one mango tree.
In that tree, there was one branch.
In that branch, there was one and only mango.
It was so sweet.

Voice 2 talking: That maanga.. yaarukku da machan?

And that opens the song Ore oru thoppila from Devadhaiyai Kanden. Till just now, I have never managed to listen past this line. Everytime I hear these lines, I fall down laughing so much that someone has to stop the song to make sure I don't hurt myself.But just now, I started listening to it and this time, I fast forwarded the song till these lines were past.

The song is actually a duet with some pretty suggestive lines with the male voice (the recently married Sabesh Murali) singing Pazham ennaku, kottai onnaku for which the female (Srilekha Parthasarathy) replies with Kaai onnaku, thanni enakku. For those of you, who are unfamiliar with colloquial Thamizh, the first mentioned roughly translates as "I will take the fruit, you take the seed". And while refering to the coconut, the words sung by the lady comes roughly across as "I'll take the liquid and you take the flesh".

Yeah, I know.... (*types with raised eyebrows*). I think I will stick to just those first couple of lines and laugh till I drop. I'd rather be tickled by how that first conversation sounds than turn green from hearing such lines, particularly when I know enough Thamizh to figure out what might be suggested by those lyrics! Btw, the lyricist is someone called Velam C. Manohar (source: The music is by none other than one of my favorites for gaana (the Chennai equivalent of hip hop, if I may say so), Deva.

And 5:21 into the song, the last words....

Voice 1: Last-a, andha maanga yaaruku?

Voice 2:
ehhhnnn.. goyaa vukku...

(P.S - Another song in this OST is much more suggestive, if the first few lines are any indication. I am too embarassed to mention those lines in this U-rated blog.)

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Ushering a new wave

I have always thought that the MJ of pre-95 vintage was the best ever dancer to have graced the stages. And the Prabhudeva of yore also came close to that. And the next entrant to that list, not neccesarily at the bottom, is Usher. And he sings well too, as his Grammy winning duet, My Boo (with Alicia Keys), demonstrates. In short, Usher rocks....

Monday, February 21, 2005

Preity - Sensitive or not?

Jagadish has pointed to Preity Zinta's most recent installment of her column on BBC's South Asian section. Preity talks about her two close encounters with death in the last few months.

First she talks about that ill-fated Colombo concert in December last year, where someone threw a hand grenade into the front rows of the crowd, ostensibly in protest against the timing of the concert which coincided with the death anniversary of a noted Sri Lankan Buddhist monk. Then she found herself in Phuket on Christmas Day. On the morning of 26th, she found that she had slept through the two tsunami's that hit there and when she was woken up, she found water all around the villa where she was staying. She talks about staying on in Thailand for 8 more days. After that she decided to conquer her childhood fear of water, now reinforced by the tsunami, by spending four nights in a yacht off the coast of Burma.

I read the comments that a lot of readers have left and was appalled. A lot of people have bad mouthed Priety there for "not helping with the relief efforts" and for going "on with their (her) luxuries, not displaying any care for the deceased and injured". But Jagadish actually commends her, which second. Why? While she says she spent 8 more days in Thailand, did she say what she did there before she went off shore? Not exactly, but I do give her the benefit of my opinion that, as one of Bollywood's small bunch of level headed performers who you don't see in the news often, I guess she must have done what she could.

However, as India has shown itself to be, time and again, a country that celebrates and lynches its heroes at the slightest hint of a motive, most people who have commented, have lynched Priety. But why can't we, as ordinary people, accept that a celebrity could be capable of doing something without harping on it in public? The same thing was said about the Indian cricket team, with some journalists (like this one) commenting that they needed to do more for the tsunami affected than just auction their some knick-knacks. Why can't we just accept that celebrities have a life of their own away from the media glare? Why can't we accept that IT IS POSSIBLE for a person in the limelight to do something that the media does not get to know about?

It is as simple as this. Even someone like Rajinikanth has said publicly that while he cannot get out of his house in Chennai without being mobbed, he regularly watches movies in theaters in Bangalore, in disguise apparently. He gets to do what he wants with some restrictions of course. So, while not every celebrity may do the work of a Good Samaritan, I think it is definitely possible.

Give Priety and these other celebrities some credit guys. For all you know, she must have done just what you said she should have, i.e. helped people. She just opted not to tell us. If she had done a Vivek Oberoi and said "I spent 8 days in Thailand helping with the relief work", half the people who have berated her would have done so in any case for harping on her deeds, in addition to some of the few who have sympathized with her state of mind in the aftermath. This is obviously one of the pitfalls of being a celebrity I guess, but let not just group Priety with every other attention seeking or insensitive celebrity. Just not yet!

And IMHO, an Indian celebrity would (have) actually hampered relief efforts by personally doing something in Tamilnadu like Vivek Oberoi. I think that Murali’s work in Galle is still a one off case that would not (have) worked in Tamilnadu / India. Murali's celebrity status would probably not affect the relief work because of the extent of the devastation in Sri Lanka where a larger percentage of the populace has been affected. And Murali, being Murali managed to do everything on a low key with Cricinfo’s representative / contributor being the token media presence.

However, a comparable effort in India would have drawn the attention of every single unaffected citizen in the area, not to mention the wide group of well meaning people and the law enforcement personnel and media folk who flocked to the area in the aftermath. And mass hysteria would have come as a non value adding sidekick with such attention! In fact, almost every relief agency and other people who have documented the relief work in Tamil Nadu have vouched for the fact that the visit of a dignitary has actually led to confusion and disarray. Not to mention the fact that most of the dignitaries (a.k.a politicians) made the trip solely for the mileage gained in the media.

So if you care for the relief efforts, would you want someone like Sachin Tendulkar in the midst? I wouldn't. Instead I would actually ask him and the other famous people to quietly contribute some money to the effort. Maybe they did. In fact I am sure they did. And even if they did not, who are we to judge what they should do? Why don't we just do our own bit and agree that the same is possible from other people, celebrity or otherwise...

Update: As, Harish indicated, I think I fell into the same trap as the people I was criticising, by judging the intentions of some of the politicians who visited the affected areas. I apologise. I guess I am one of them too, sometimes...

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Retrospective thoughts at 2

I know I made myself a resolution to make weekly posts, but an event, not so important to me, but nevertheless important in terms of this blog, beckons me today and I would not be doing justice if I did not make a post today. I hate symbolisms usually, but sometimes I guess its fine. And though I wanted to infuse a bit of razzmatazz into the proceedings today, but I decided that this has already been done by a lot of people. So I am keeping it simple, because I am stupid...

So, to mark two years since my first post here, I take a look back at my first two posts (since I had two posts on the same day). There wasn't any "Hello World" post, but I am not exactly a techie, so that should take away anything from this blog. So here I give you, aNTi, circa February 10, 2003, 13:03......

Then, exactly two hours later, I decided to declare to the whole world, the reasons behind my tag line. Through these two years (and as recently as 10 days ago), I have ranted on and on about how people don’t seem to find any need to pronounce my name properly. My second post was along those lines. A friend of mine, S, asked me spell out my whole name and when he saw my last name, he couldn't help bastardizing it. But I have to admit that, to this day, I have perhaps liked his version the best. He started calling me Anti Superman. Okie, before he could realize that he could have called me Bizarro instead, I started humming the opening bars of the theme song from Scrubs, by the group Lazlo Bane, much to the amusement of everyone around. And when this blog morphed out from my inner self, this theme seemed to be the best tagline I could find to encapsulate what is all me, just another egotist living his ordinary boring life on earth...

And so, at 15:03, the same day, I proclaimed I'm No Superman! I also started, with this post, a QOTD (quote of the day) feature that I have since discarded, with what seemed to be quite a fitting quote for a blog. And, of course, this post also featured the proclamation that you could call me "Superman-ian" if you wanted, perhaps the first of the many instances of verbiage that I have passed off as humor in this blog since then....

After that, IMHO, the world was never the same again....

Monday, February 07, 2005

Formula for Karthikeyan' success

Yeah, F1… It’s good news that Narain Karthikeyan is going to be driving a Jordan (or whatever it will be called this year, after a change of management). Coming as it did, when one least expected it, it is creditable that the 28 year old has held on to his dream. In fact it seems that he has had a quiet couple of years, with the younger Karun Chandok doing much of the dare devil driving under the Indian flag. It has been said that Karthikeyan, “on his day”, has beaten the likes of Takuma Sato. But he will need more of “his days” to first avoid the typical first corner pile up at most circuits and even more to finish.

Will this news mean an entry of Jordan replica apparel into the Indian market and a spurt in similar sales here in the US? I would bet my money on such a trend, having seen the extent to which the average desi visitor to the 2003 Indianapolis Grand Prix had adopted the Tifosi colors as his or her own. But I do hope this observation about the desi fans of the regarding the Dark Lord’s progeny will be proved wrong. The presence of an Indian driver should hopefully change this status quo. But I think that the average Indian always places bets on a runaway winner and that too only after having analyzed its prospects to the maximum. So you find a lot of Indians rooting for the Australians, sometimes even going against India in the process. But this Karthikeyan issue is a novelty, much like an Indian presence in the finals of an event in the Olympics and so every Indian eye is going to be positively turned on the Jordan team. So this might actually separate the real Tifosi from the million other pretenders who were in for the free ride. I am rubbing my hands in glee and looking forward to this particular prospect. As for me, my black baseball cap with “West” emblazoned on it is always going to be on, through thick or thin. However I will be keenly following Karthikeyan’s drive and will be rooting for him, albeit as an individual driver.

During a week when F1 has been in the news in India, I caught one of Fox’s NFL commentators touting the “Fastest race in the world, the Daytona 500”. By the way, the Daytona 500 is a 500 lap stock car race, the first race of the year in the NASCARchampionship. With average speeds in Formula 1 is higher by atleast 25 mph (and top speeds going to be separated with much more, because most of the Nascar tracks are ovals), I cannot imagine a statement as short sighted as this from one of the commentators on ESPN STAR. John Dykes, Chris Goodwin and the rest are the best.

Positive thinking for dummies...

Yesterday, I read a letter on Time magazine, where this lady for Oregon said that, in exchange for silently listening to a complete account of a bad day at school on the ride back from school, she wanted them to tell her three positive things that had happened that day at school. Some days, the most positive was as trivial as the fact that the packed lunch had been palatable, but the lady said that the three years during which she had this instruction in place till her children graduated from school, she had seen a positive difference. I think I will do something similar here.

Spring is almost here and I am still almost broke. Also, my facial hair is getting to be too scratchy. The 14thof February is just a week away and I won’t, barring a major social miracle, have an exchange of gifts to mark the day. For the first time in the last few years, I have not watched any of the major Oscar nominated movies. Now that you have heard me crib, here are the positives. Spring’s here and days are getting warmer and brighter steadily. My facial hair is making me looking much more distinguished and pity I will have to take it off sometime soon. I have enjoyed watching almost every one of the animated movies nominated for the Oscar this year. And as far as that stupid day is concerned, haven’t I said enough in the first part of this line? Hmmm… sour grapes or not, I feel better already!