Monday, February 26, 2007

Hawaiian Experience - I: Ornithologists are Sex Starved?

Kabali Times News Flash:

(click picture to see a larger image)

An undercover Kabali Times reporter uncovers stunning new evidence about the psyche of ornithologists eclipsing James Cameron's documentary and Anna-Nicole Smith, who is in more ways than one (hint: two) connected to this news flash, story.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Blog Ula - I

Guess what! I am in Hawaii. 1 week in Hawaii. Nothing much to do but sleep, walk around beaches, snorkel, lie down walk around the beach, eat. Very busy schedule indeed. There is a rumor of 'Goyyakka' (guava) here. The 'peru' (hindi word not the country), I talked about earlier. I am going to have to inspect this personally. Meanwhile here is what is happening in some other parts of the blog world, while I am working hard in Hawaii.

Murungakkai (Drumstick) is my favorite vegetable. It has vitamins A,B,C, & D. All my friends. relatives and 'pakkathu veetu' naikutti (neighbor's dog) knows that this is my favorite vegetable. If you are inviting me for food please put this awesome vegetable in sambar. But I digress, This murungakkai here makes me think what Bhagyaraj said about it in 'Mundhane Mudichu' is true. he talks about philosophical differences between love marriage and arranged marriage, while he has 'vennai' in hand. But he is a nice guy. Among his profound political beliefs are (a) compulsory Hindi education for every Indian, (b) 'antakshari' be declared our national sport. As you can see, he wants to join Shiv Sena, start anti-tamil movement and pull people's lungis in Bombay.

There is only one educated person in the entire blogosphere. That 'edkated parti' is Sowmya. Please don't ask if above mentioned 'I' is 'echakalai party'. No he is not. He is a good guy. This girl talks about pregnancy, more pregnancy, and personal care Vs Household cleaners. Very informative.

Then there is this Anti, who thinks that all the girls in KHS (I know! I know!), Thanjavur, were behind in him. He does not like Pachai Kili. Why? Why so many negative reviews? Mandai Vedikithu. I just think Anti just does not like Gautham Menon. Moving on. Chennaikaran, one of the better humor writers in avar blogosphere, and one who writes excellent prose, gets serious. Why? Where are those RKN, PGW-like blogs? bring em' on. What will happen if there is a conflict between secondary cache and primary cache, leading to an overflow in the Translation Lookaside buffer, indigestion in the buffer cache, and a disorder in the snooping protocol? It leads to the birth of a person inside-the-ram, who will start seeing math in Dhoom-2. Romba Henesse & Patterson padicha ellame appadithaan theriyum.

Then this anu says all the right things. Kyon ithna kovam? Did you read maanga's marathon article in Indian Express about the union budget? Read it. You will become calm (because it takes forever to read it - you'll forget why you were angry in the first place). btw - a really well written article that, ya? While on the topic, I am planning to do a penance in the Hills of Hawaii to protest against certain unscrupulous elements of society calling - India's only superhero (whose life's story was released as a movie played by Hrithik), the idol of ISKrON, the god, the bhagavan - as the joke/laughing stock of the Indian blogosphere. I hate people telling the truth in such a subtle fashion.

The teenagers these days are "very busy pa". Talented makkal have no time to blog. However, the younger generation does a lot of ensoy maadi nowadays. I am especially jealous of him. Anubavi Raja Anubhavi.

This week only some of the usual suspects were covered. Next week. Blog Ula, will cover a wider range of blog offenders from all ovar the waarld.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Not Releasing?

Pachaikili Muthu Charam (the one where a parrot mishandles a string of pearls) is not releasing in Detroit. This sux. I hate Detroit. Fungus. I said it before, Detroit is the fungus of America. Horrible, horrible, place.
Yet another final exam week begins in my life. I think fatigue has struck. After a point, I think the concept of exams get boring. I don't think people care anymore about courses, grades, consequences and stuff. Exams have become a form of superflous police work that needs to be weeded out.
Inside Info: Selvaraghavan's next movie with Paruthiveeran Karthi is called: "Ithu malai nerathu mayakkam"

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Kabali Times: Introducing Athimber Day

Kabali Times formally announces a new 'celebration' day called World Athimber Day. This day will celebrate 'that special relationship' between a boy/girl and his/her Athimber. This day will be celebrated on May 21, the day in which the world's first Athimber was born.
Although this day seems to have severe casteist connotations, it is really an equally opportunity day. Anybody regardless of caste, creed, nationality, religion or sexual orientation can participate in this day. However, 'athimber' by virtue of being an 'Athimber' has to be a man. The only qualification required is that this man should be either an akka's (elder sister) husband or athai's (father's sister) husband. Any other husband is not allowed to participate in this function. Due to extreme demand and frequent misrepresentations, Athai & akka's ex-husbands are strictly not allowed to participate. Unless they have been remarried into a new athai/akka. This rule is non-negotiable.
On this day the boy or a girl who wishes to send his/her special love to their 'athimber' shall make 1 pot of rasam. The (incumbent) athimber shall prepare Coconut Thogaiyal in return. Landmark/Archie's card will release special 'Athimber day' cards for this day. The two parties can meet in pubs, clubs, Spencer's Plaza, coffee shops, muniyandi vilas, vel military and Woodlands drive-in to exchange these gifts. Requests for 'murai' ponnu/paiyan shall not be entertained. Giving Yellow veshti (dhoti) to Athimber means you need his advise on matrimonial matters, Red veshti indicates that you want some kai-vasam money. 'Pazhuppu' (dirty) veshti indicates that you need him to provide gaanja, cigarette and Vodka. Kabali Times cauught up with an Athimber on road with dirty dhoti, and this is what he had to say "we athimber's sell some serious dope maan! don't mess with us maaaan! (sniff) (sniff). rock on dude". Thirunavakarasu athimber, popularly known as 'arasu' athimber is the popular ruling party athimber, who initiated a motion for such a day in the Assembly. When contacted on phone on the controversial issue of 'men-only-for-athimber', he said "ek maar do tukda - ek athimber dho athai - dho athimber day - ha ha ha ha". As lalitha madam says in her surf advertisement 'samajdhari athimber'.
RMKV, Pothys, Nalli and Kumaran's have special designs for such veshtis. Different Koyembedu markets have special variety of coconuts for Athimbers. Reliance is stocking special coconut thogaiyal for Athimber's day. All Athimbers and children are flocking to koyembedu markets and cloth shops respectively.
P.S: Kabali Times would also like to announce the following release dates - Pachai Kili (Feb 16) - Paruthiveeran (feb 23).

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Stereotypes & Sweeping Generlizations

By virtue of being born as this strange little species called human beings, we are blessed with certain attributes. A pair of eyes and ears, a heart, some organs (and then some organs), hypocrisy, our penchant for stereotyping, and generalizing. I sincerely believe all human beings are hypocrites. Its just that their level of awareness about it differs from person to person. The less-aware people are so righteous and indignant about other hypocrites and while doing so provide the more-aware much mirth. But why do we do it? I have always been curious about the stimulus that makes each and every one of us stereotype, criticize the stereotype - within few minutes - recursively stereotype people who stereotype (like this blog post) and then criticize the person who stereotypes others (and therefore instantly become one of them). If I haven't lost my layman reader by now let me try a little bit more by proceeding further with my theorizing.

It is my theory that people stereotype and do all of the above to increase their sense of selfworth. Human beings are afflicted with the self-esteem problem. They want to feel good about themselves and they would like to, more often than not, reassure themselves that they are doing much better than their peers. It could be any peer. Someone in Antartica is as good a comparison as the guy next door. This is why Indians who migrate to western countries look down upon Indians who stayed back, Indians who stayback suddenly use patriotism to look down upon Indians who migrate, Kamal fans think Rajini fans have no class, Rajini fans think Kamal fans are pseudo intellects, both these fans put-together think Bollywood is trash, north Indians think all south Indians are dark people who eat curd rice while it flows down their left elbow, south Indians completely believe all north Indians are uneducated, etc etc. And then comes stereotypes like this Vulturo declaring that all Madrasis are dark and ugly. To be frank, I am not mad at him and am disinclined to argue with him. The Maanga doesn't seem to argue with him either, but instead realizes the recursive nature of stereotyping and just plays his own game back to him. I suspect the word 'Madrasi' here encompasses AP, Karnataka, Kerala and ofcourse Tamil Nadu. After all gora-aadmi/vellaikaaran encompasses Greeks, French, Americans, Canadians, Brazilians, Russians and Australians. Our indhi-karan covers every Indian above the Vindhyas. So no! I don't think Vulturo is in anyway wrong. Neither do I think this is going to be the desi-blogsphere's biggest flame war. But I am tempted enough to comment that he is after all human and is not much different from my 'Madrasi' friends. Should I talk about my Tamil friends who called me retarded because I happened to watch a Hindi movie (I watched one movie) or about this 'madrasi' friend who completely believes that all love marriages are much better than arranged marriages? Let me choose the latter.

So she had loved and married and so she wanted to reassure herself that she had done better than everybody else."I would never do an arranged marriage" - she would declare emphatically every once in a while, just to make sure her accomplishment reverberated to every corner of the room. She can feel her sense of self-worth increase as the Doppler effect on her statement decreases. She actually wants to say "the arranged marriage folks suck, they are lower life-forms" but chooses to put a plastic cover on it and present it the way she actually did. Every time, I complimented some woman for her independence, career success or progressive behavior - she would be quick to link it to a possibility that the woman might be part of the elite love-marriage-society and every ounce of her success would be sourced to the single act of her marriage. After-all what was her self-worth when a woman who does not belong to her clan was more successful.

I know of another person who left his native village and migrated to Bombay. To him - the native place, his relatives, and the people who lived there - all represented a bad time in his life. He wanted to believe he had progressed in life. So over the years he developed a sense of superiority over every single person from that place. It was inconceivable for him to accept anybody from that place was good because that would mean he hadn't progressed in his life. While he made sure his children learned to hate the place as much as he did, he was quick to point out the emigrated-to-America people were traitors who taught those ABCD kids to hate his beloved country. He spent hours extolling patriotism to those traitors and their ABCD kids minutes after criticizing his old-relatives for being close-minded and cocooned.

This is just a sample of some of the popular stereotypes that we know. Ofcourse there are certain outliers who would knock the B'jesus out of you. It is self-worth ladies and gentlemen. The inalienable weakness of human beings to crave for self-worth. A primitive want - to feel that they are better than somebody else. The somebody-else could be anybody. You needn't have met them. It could be black people, white people, people who don't dress very well, telegu heroes who wear yellow shirts, H1B parties, people who do arranged-marriages, Bengalis, north Indians who do not speak English very well, south Indians who don't speak Hindi very well, cigarette smokers, people who are religious, atheists, suspect atheists, people who live in joint families - anybody. You are so desperate to find that one stereotype who will make you feel better than what you actually are.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Pachai Kili Muthu Charam: Moojic: A-one

I am Maha-Impressed with the music.

And I am very excited about the I-make-coolest-slickestest-movies Gautham. Come to think of it - I simply love this incredible suggestion-of-violence/violence in his last two movies. He uses profanity so very well. Just sample the violin-fusion bit in this trailer (Reminds me of an Ilayaraja-Balu Mahendra movie).

So its the Gautham-Harris time of the year again. Within 6 months of Vettaiyadu - Gautham is coming out with "Pachai Kili Muthu Charam" (originally callled 'Silandhi'). This story is based on a novel called 'Derailed' by James Siegel. Hollywood made a bad movie out of 'Derailed' (Beware: the link has mega spoilers and will ruin the Tamil movie for you) a while ago. In an interview Gautham mentioned something about crediting James Siegel for the story, but also mentioned (bluntly) that it might not be cost effective to do so. From the trailers, it appears that Jo plays Lucinda's role, Milind Soman (to satisfy Gautham's penchant for long-haired heroes) plays LaRoche and this new face-girl plays Sarath Kumar's wife. Arvind Krishna moves from Selvaraghavan camp to become Gautham's 3rd cinematographer (R.D. Rajasekhar, Ravivarman worked with him previously) in as many movies. But Gautham's traditional favorites Harris Jeyaraj and Anthony stay.

If I watch this movie (I am hoping it releases in Detroit) - I will be watching a Sarath Kumar movie after not Pulan-Visaranai (released in 1990?) but Dasarathan (1992/93 - Manirathnam (Screenplay) had already dragged me into a Sarath Kumar movie after all). Sarath Kumar missed the chance of his lifetime by refusing to act in a movie directed by this unknown assistant of Pavithran (Pavithran - Director of 'Suriyan'). The unknown assitant was called Shankar and he went on to make this small movie called 'Gentleman' with Arjun :-). Sarathkumar has reached his 100th movie without doing even a single decent movie (folks who thought 'Suriyan', 'suriyan-chandran', and Aiyya were good - stay out of this blog) Gautham might force a lot of people to walk in to a Sarath Kumar movie, much similar to the way Manirathnam forced us to walk into a Prashanth movie. I hope the results don't turn out the same way. While, this kind of a movie may appear new to Tamil audiences - I have a feeling a movie with similar theme (extra-marital-affair/thriller) has been made 20 years ago with Prabhu, Revathi, Amala & V.K.Ramasami in the lead. I just cant remember that movie. Amala did this instantly after Agni Nakshathiram.

The music is good. Harris Jeyaraj really works up some magic. The 'Unakkul Naane' by Bombay Jeyashri is simply awesome carnatic-western fusion. The (slightly) remixed version of that, sung by Madhushree, is even better. It just brings in that feel-good nostralgia emotion. Karu Karu sung by this awesome awesome Karthick is my second favorite song. Simple excellent choice of instruments. This is a fast raccy song, which I think I will keep hearing 20 times a day. Un Siripinil is those Ballad'ish slow song. I usually don't like slow songs, but this has enough pace to impress. It is so similar to the 'Malargale' song (sung by Bombay Jeyashri) in the movie 'Pudukottaiyilirinthu Saravanan'. But it is good. I hate to put an excellent song like 'Kaadhal Konjam' (sung by Naresh Iyer) as 5th in the list but thats how good this album is. This is a semi-fast song. Very peppy.

Folks you gotta buy this album.

P.S Will respond to comments in the previous blog posts in a bit

Thursday, February 01, 2007

India & Liberalization

Its been a long time since I wrote something serious in this blog. So I apologize if I sound rusty or worse - naive. I just want to learn from people who know better rather than claim the following to be my opinion. I am taking a course called Global Competition and one of the chapters in the course syllabus covers foreign exchange, valuation/devaluation, inflation, pegging against other currency and gold. It also takes through the various currency crises that happened in the last 30 years. It also talks about increases in Real Exchange Rates, influence of nominal exchange rates, current account balances, interest rates etc.

At some point during the lecture, a student, an Indian, got up and asked the professor a question. The question was roughly "during the gulf war crisis, India pledged its gold to the IMF to secure money. What is you opinion on that". The professor's answer surprised me. Did I learn something new in that class? He said and I approximate "during the gulf war, most countries went into a fuel crisis and India could not afford to pay the gulf countries money to get the fuel required for her people. It approached the IMF for loan. The IMF said 'your economy is poor, your policies are poor, we can't give you a loan unless you open up your economy and liberalize'. The guy who is the Indian prime minister now, was finance minister then. He was pro-liberalization but his party wasn't - so he used this situation to pass the liberalization bill through parliament. The gold was used to merely secure the loan." The import essentially was - that liberalization came out of a necessity rather than a calculated strategy. This is a professor I respect so much and one whom I consider to be very knowledgable about India.

I didn't really think about - why we liberalized. But just assumed that it was Manmohan Singh's brain-child (even if it was to counter a balance-of-payment crisis). I was torn between India's traditional political habit of exagerration/brain-washing and the possibility of this IMF pressure, being a coincidence. I just went hmmm.

I would be interested in listening to non-jingoistic objective facts on this issue that aren't adultrated by patriotism.