Thursday, July 31, 2008

I Don't Care For The Umps

I do not watch cricket for the human errors that these umpires make. I do not see any romance or beauty in them. In fact its ugly and spoils the game for me. It will not be a great loss to cricket if these Umps become mere coat hangers. They do not bring any charm at all to the game. Its utter nonsense to think of incompetent umpires as a virtue. I find people who think so to be stupid, slow and very retarded.

The players make the game charming. Umps mostly come in the way of the players from charming us. If it takes TV and referral system to stop the Umps from coming in the way then by all means the system should go for it.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

On Insults

Me: I am not fit for this 9-5 week day job. I should really join the movie business and then enter Tamil Nadu politics.

Grandma: Po.. Y.G. Mahendrana Po! (Translated as "Go and become a Y.G. Mahendran")

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Spielberg To Direct Tintin Movie

Peter Jackson and Spielberg will direct one movie each in the Tintin Trilogy. Teenage actor Thomas Sangster plays Tintin and Andy Serkis (Gollum/King Kong) plays Haddock.
A few days ago, I had gone to this boring place called Atlanta to participate in a conference, where people from offices all over the world attended. The seating arrangement led to me getting seated next to a Belgian guy at dinner. I don't, well I never discuss Tintin with anybody. There is a fear that all the years of Tintin obsession might channel into that conversation and I'd appear maudlin. However, this fellow was the first Belgian I ever met. The prospect of a Tintin conversation loomed large. I'd be investigated for a criminal misconduct if I didn't bring up the subject. Not surprisingly, he happened to be a huge Tintin fan. He was completely surprised Indians knew Tintin. The next half-hour we discussed Tintin like the way two teenagers would discuss Britney. The rest of the people in the dinner table had no clue about Tintin. 30 minutes well spent.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Husband & Child ?

Coming back home after a week-long business trip, she was surprised to find the garage empty. She unlocked the door and felt strange walking into an empty house. It was almost midnight. The mental tricks that such deathly silence usually played, began to frighten her.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Here we go again: Kuselan

The Rajinikanth fever begins again. (Trailer below)

Kuchelan is a character described in the Bhagavatha Puranam, the story of Lord Krishna. This Puarana has a segment on the childhood friendship between Lord Krishna and Sudhama. Sudhama was also called Kuchela. Kuchelan is the antonym for Kuberan. Kuchelan means a person who is very poor, a beggar wearing dirty torn clothes. Krishna and Sudhama were close childhood friends in Sandhipani. While Sudhama came from a really poor Brahmin family, Krishna went on to become Royalty. Sri Krishna moves to Dwaraka to become a king (and then the entire Mahabharatha follows), Sudhama gets separated from Krishna for several years. He continues to remain poor. However, his devotion to Krishna is undiminshed. Kuchelan has a rather large family and continues to become more and more poor.

Sudhama's wife, kshushama, gets increasingly tired of her husband's poverty. She urges Sudhama to go and ask Krishna for financial help and use his friendship with Krishna to find a way out of their poverty. Kuchelan does not want to meet his friend empty handed. So asks his wife to make something for Krishna. His wife makes 'aval' ( Poha - a form of beaten up rice) and gives it to him. On his way to meet Krishna, Kuchelan has doubts on whether Krishna would even remember him, since it has been quite a while since they last met. Krishna of course remembers him very well and is elated to see him. Krishna fondly asks Kuchela if he had brought something for him. Kuchelan is embarassed to show the aval that has been wrapped inside a dirty torn cloth. Krishna does not mind it and gleefully eats a handful of that Aval. Krishna becomes so happy on eating this that Rukmini, Krishna's wife stops him from eating further (because she is afraid that Krishna in his generosity might ask her, Mahalakhmi, to donate all their wealth to Kuchela).

Sudhama cannot bring himself to ask Krishna any sort of financial favors. He spends time with Krishna and begins his homeward journey in the happiness that he has a dear friend in Krishna. As he nears home, he braces himself for returning back to his poverty stricken life. However, when he finally reaches home, he finds to his astonishment that Rukmini has already showered him magnanimously with wealth (At the time Kuchelan handed the 'aval' to Krishna - every morsel of aval Krishna ate had resulted in a manifold increase of Kuchelan's wealth). Kuchelan actually passes his own house because it has been transformed into something unrecognizable. His wife comes out of that rich house and calls him back. This story is in complete contrast to the Drupada-Drona story. In that story, King Drupada promises his childhood friend Drona (who is also terribly poverty stricken), half of his kingdom. Later, when Drupada is a King and Drona is still a poor Brahmin fighting for survival, he pleads to Drupada for a way out of poverty. Drupada, forgets their past, insults him and sends him back.

Sudhama, it is said, did not choose to enjoy the wealth that was gifted to him. The incident elevates his devotion from adherence to rituals -> a deeper understanding of god and the transient nature of wealth. He continued to lead an ascetic life while his family and people around him drank all of that wealth. In short Katha Parayumbol, Kuchelan, Kathanayakudu, Billo Barber all are rip-offs from Bhagavatha Puraanam.

Post Script:

1. Music is bad.
2. The frame showing the title name is good. Soundarya.R @ work maybe.
3. What the hell is Prabhu doing in every Rajini movie. He looks funny though.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Learning & Experiencing - I

Some people like to be wished on the Birthdays and Wedding days. They like to be King/Queen for a day. Feel special. When people are growing-up they realize that such expectation usually leads to angst. Unless one is an actor who celebrates 5 birthdays/year or a politician, one doesn't get wished by tons of people. So they either stop expecting wishes or try and solve the problem.

The people who try and solve the problem, solve it by going on a wishing spree. They wish all their friends, relatives, and host of unknown people on wedding/birth day kind of occasions. These are the people who diligently collect wedding/birth day information from all arbit people they meet and wish them promptly. They are best at remembering occasions of "other people". This category of people get disappointed and hurt the most when all of the population they so diligently wish every year, don't ever wish back.

What they don't realize is that - in reality - when they call and wish this arbit person, the arbit person does not feel grateful and does not immediately make it a point to do the return-wish next year onwards. The arbitrary person, who is still young and unaware of the ways of life, usually gets filled up with disproportionate sense of self-importance. Arbit person feels that he is being wished because he is important and special and that his birthday wisher is not important and not special. As a result, the Arbit person does not see a need in doing the return-wish routine for some one lower in the hierarchy. That is until Arbit person suddenly realizes that his wishing population has dramatically dwindled. The arbit person then dons the role of the manical wisher and wishes tons of people to try and regain his wishing population until he feels disproportionately self-important again. And the cycle continues.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Kabali Times News Flash: Manmohan Singh Gets An Award

File Photo of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a Jovial Mood.

It has been reliably learnt by bribing sources, who refused to be identified for such meagre bribe amounts Kabali Reuters presented them with, that Manmohan singh was presented an award by the Narasimha Rao foundation. The foundation awards people who look constipated and never laugh for an incredible lengths of time. Manmohan Singh the latest recipient of the award apparently laughed last on June 2nd 1977 when he heard the Moraji Desai joke for the first time. Announcing the award at the Delhi Humorless Club, ex-award winner Mr. Sharad Pawar claimed to be a big fan of Manmohan's scowl and pointed out 2 defining moments - Mr. Singh did not laugh when Laloo broke the wind and attributed the noise to cell phone interference on the mike. The foundation also noted gravely that when Mayavati bent down to pick up some papers, Manmohan was among the few present who noticed the "I love Mulayam" tattooed on her posterior. He did not laugh.

Manmohan singh is elated after hearing about the award.

Manmohan poses with previous award winner Vajpayee.

Anbumani Ramadoss, Sowcar Janaki and cricketer Rohit Sharma were reportedly upset at not getting this award this year and threatened to smile in the next two years if they were continually ignored. Vajpaye made jaw-motions that indicated that he might say something. As per the last update, reporters were continuing their wait in front of him until early hours of today morning. They reported that the sound of his first words have not yet emanated. It has been reliable learnt that he may say his first word by the end of this month and may complete a full sentence this calendar year.

Note: Kabali times wishes to inform readers that people who have watched any Y.G. Mahendra drama will automatically become ineligible for this award as that gives them an unfair advantage.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Movie Review: The Dark Knight

There is a fascinating exchange that takes place between Joker and Batman in a prison cell. Joker tries to tell Batman the difference between them and the others. Joker tries to tell Batman that they would make choices that the other people couldn't. They are sort of liberated that way. Batman completes him, he says. Without Batman the others would continue to make decisions that would make The Joker's life boring. That is the essense of this movie. It is about a few people who are built in a certain way. Although this movie never talks about Batman's childhood again, the superlative nature of Batman Begins does not make us forget his childhood. We instantly connect at certain points during Joker's dialog that these people might share a common thread. And this is fascinating because if Joker has gone through the same thought process that Bruce Wayne did with Ra' Al Gul and decided after all that to be this, well - The Joker. He must be quite a formidable enemy.

He is. Unlike any other Batman villain, the Joker eerily tests the values of the movie's central characters. He implicitly or explicitly gives his victims some amount of choice to resist the vices. Batman is always put in situations where he would hate the outcomes of all his decisions. The Joker is a tragic-comic, sort of. The movie opens with a surprising series of sequences. There are multiple Jokers and multiple Batmans that make this movie's start surreal. The Joker impersonators are common men. Easily attracted by money and they make choices that the Joker find pedestrian. This movie's Joker is not about world domination, money and any of the usual things. Its about a man who does not want all these things. When Alfred, the butler, narrates an old Burma story you get the metaphor. What if Batman is confronted by a man who is not after the diamonds but just wants chaos? Enter Joker. And beneath that bloodied smile, dialogs that hint about his terrible past, his sinister laugh and the poor make-up, he is a wounded monster waiting to inflict incredible pain.

The movie revolves around separating the people in Gotham city, who can rise above the normal greed. The Joker's evil designs (he says he does not scheme but he does) are fascinating in the way it searches for people who can make an ethical choice during a key situation. Batman, Gordon and Harvey Dent are not your average common people. And the strength of their characters is tested repeatedly. This movie almost resembles a Shakespearean tragedy where a person's ethical choices almost always leads them to doom. The are aware of it and they still do the best they can. Batman is not a hero in Gotham. People call him a vigilante. They don't like him all that much and he does leave more bloodied police officers than ever before. In this movie the aura of Batman is brought down in a humiliating fashion by the Joker. He exposes the Super Hero's weakness and at a point Batman accepts the fact that his game is over.

This is a dark movie. Batman burns in angst, thinks, ponders and suffers like never before. If a movie with characters called Batman, 2-face, the Joker can make you empathize with it then this movie comes closer than any other movie. My grouse against the first movie's psychological babble stands corrected. Nolan has planned for a larger vision. The incredible thing about Nolan is that in a short space of time he (and his brother) create so much detail around a particular incident that the complexity of the situation increases exponentially. There are so many layers that one begins to wonder at. I have begun to literally worship Nolan for the way he brings out the drama in the story. He slaps the show-pony'ness of people like Joel Schumacher in the face. The stunning technological sequences in this movie simply aid the movie to become better. The technology gimmicks do not and cannot dominate the movie. It is not the reason why a movie can work with the audience. I love a director who understands that and places the story, the theme, the basic human emotion above everything else.

Among characters, Christian Bale is a character who continues to impress. His is a tragic tragic character who continues to battle on despite the various setbacks. Bale lives and breathes this complex role. Ledger's character will obviously be talked about (But I do find the repeated mention of an Oscar possibility annoying, unnecessary and premature). The character of Joker, previously played by Jack Nicholson, has endless possibilities. It is a rich character. If Nolan can make Bruce Wayne such a complex and rich character then there is no doubt that he'd make Joker fantastic. Nolan has to commended for the way he has prepped his actors. The profile he gives them transcends a Batman movie. This could be any life & struggle movie in any mafia world. Joker underplays the mannerisms and carves out a character that is deeply disturbing and a the same time endearing. This is the best comic book movie/series I have seen. I seem to be saying this a lot nowadays, but that just means Hollywood is getting better with comic book movies. This could even be one of the best mafia movies out of the Hollywood stable. The movie did drag a tad bit towards the end. It tries to handle too many situations/complications/developments that the last 20 minutes sort of make you think "don't live long enough to watch yourself become the villain. Die soon as a heroic movie. End it anytime now."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

HSB - Atlanta

Its genuine, the trademark "HSB" is there in the menu card, all the branches are listed in the menu card, and Georgia is listed there on the HSB web page. So to conclude - the Saravana Bhavan in Decatur (Atlanta), Georgia is original. It’s an official branch of Hotel Saravana Bhavan. It’s the big cahuna, the king of all restaurants, the supreme nattamai of sambhar vadai, lord of the 14 idlis, maker of 7 uthappams, the big caraboo of filter coffee, the maanagaram of masala dosai.

Saravana Bhavan is saravan bhavan because of its sambhar. Everything else in HSB takes a back seat. I had Sambhar Vadai and Masala Dosai here in Atlanta and I can assure you Ladies and Gendilman, the sambhar had the HSB stamp on it. The only perplexing thing in this HSB was that the owner, waiter and everybody else spoke (only) in Hindi. The menu had North Indian spellings for Vadai and Dosai (they were calling it Vada and Dosa). Completely Un-Saravana Bhavan like. Maybe they thought the thamizhs would come to a HSB regardless. Apart from these minor cosmetic blemishes everything else was up to normal HSB standards.

HSB was introduced to me by my chitthapa with great enthusiasm many many years ago. He wouldn't stop raving about their coffees. HSB quickly began to take Madras by storm with their Aqua Guard water, clean environment, uniformed waiters and that Manager guy. There was a time when a group of friends and I had Saravana Bhavan kshethradams. We visited every HSB in Madras on a serial basis and compared items. I had my weird preferences on HSB items. Some examples were; I always felt the mixed-chat paratha was better in Radhakrishnan Salai branch. Vadapazhani branch had fantastic Dahi Puris. Something HSB is not known for - but one's got to give credit when it’s due. After eating in every HSB in Madras, the horizons expanded to Kanchipuram and Connought place, Delhi (it’s freaking expensive). Nowadays HSB is a far cry from the 'maleevu vilai unavagam' (cheap & best) it was in the 90s. Nowadays, the operations folks in HSB have found ways to make more money. The size of dishes (and side-dishes) has drastically shrunk and the prices have doubled. I don't blame them. People still flock both the Saravanas and the 2 floors of HSB A/c located 10 yards next each other in Ashok Pillar. There is still a 40 minute wait to get a parcel in T.Nagar HSB on a Wednesday afternoon.

The kshethradam continued in the US. After eating in Lexington Ave NYC ( called Saravanas, since the one called "Saravana Bhavan" was the fake-one and we struggled before getting the correct one ), the bay area and now Atlanta. They have changed the side-dish for Barotta in the US. Instead of the standard issue Korma, they serve anything from a funny mushroom curry to Kidney-beans/Rajma thing. This has completely killed the Barotta dish and made it pretty ordinary. However, their sambhar, masala dosai, and vadai continue to excel and cause orgasm among the taste buds. When people are asked what they like most in Saravana Bhavan, the answer is many times some esoteric dish. Adai Aviyal as a favorite dish always annoys me. Their sambhar vadai and Masala Dosai is pretty much their best dish by a huge margin. Their consistency and quality has always amazed me. Be it Shanthi theater HSB or Central station HSB - the homogenous taste is just awesome. I hope there is a case study created on HSB somewhere.

Side-note1: the Mixed Chat Paratha now popularly sold in HSB was made in a restaurant called Nandhinis. Nandhini is located near T.Nagar bus stand. It’s a sweet shop with a small chat restaurant in the top-floor. Nandhinis also made a pizza variant (full of ghee) that was just fantastic. I used to order parcel of mixed-veggie-paratha and pizza from them. HSB started selling Mixed Chat Paratha long after Nandhini did. But I would recommend this to anybody. This is a fantastic dish. One has to order extra-Raitha and just savor the dish.

Side note2: Some people will say that things have changed today. Yes, there have been some regressions in quality. It is not the same anymore. Nothing ever is. There might also be other restaurants that are just as good or even better, HSB always has had an emotional presence in the minds of thamizh folks.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Week In Atlanta

I am staying at the Marriot Marquet Atlanta. This is a fabulous lush plush kind of hotel. Bang at the center of downtown. The sight from the room is awesome. The only downside is I have to share it with an unknown person.
I am here to attend a week long annual sales conference ritual that usually happens either in Florida or Atlanta. Tons of people from all over the world attend it. Unfortunately, this year the venue-choice went to Atlanta. Guess my luck must've had something to do with the dice not rolling the Florida way. I always saw Atlanta as an insignificant part of the US. Not known for anything special other than a rumor of there being a Saravana Bhavan here and having a world renowned Aquarium. Speaking of which, I have to find out if the former is true.
Since tons of people from my company are flying out to Atlanta today, it was funny to be in a plane full of people who work for the same company. Felt like being on a school bus.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Jr Dhalapathy

I like Lollu Sabha. A few of their episodes are genuinely hilarious. Their 'aruvai' jokes are hilarious too. They have a talented cast who can imitate not just voices but movements, moods and habits of the actors in the original movie pretty decently. They observe things that normally people would miss. Lollu sabha parodies popular and unpopular movies and have complete fun while doing it. Parody/spoof was an important chapter in the Intellectual Property course I took. And throughout the course I got to see various hilarious videos of spoofs on some popular works. after a while there is a pattern to most parodies and I found some repetitive. I wish the course admins would add Lollu Sabha to the list even if the sabha members aren't facing an IP case. They are right up there. Instead of an IP case they got a bomb case, literally. The members of the cast were sent parcel bombs by some strange person. Imagine the insult delivered to that strange person. That he had to go to the extent of collecting the addresses of the cast members, make the bombs and post it to them. Quite an onerous task.

If at all some should be bombed, actor Vijay should bomb himself. Really. In the interest of public he should consider quitting altogether. Lollu Sabha's best work so far would be their parody of Pokkiri (they called the parody - Bakery). It literally tore into Vijay (and his so-called "image") so much that the actor demanded an apology from them. They then parodied that apology too. Vijay must have been severely insulted after seeing this hilarious parody. Vijay shouldn't have demanded an apology after this, he should have just quit. Watch Bakery. It is really hilarious. Nobody could have insulted Vijay any better.

Bakery (Pokkiri Spoof)

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Apology To Vijay Fans Video

Friday, July 11, 2008

Moral Of Some Story

I haven't seen a single IPL/ICL game. Sometimes, I struggle to remember/distinguish the rebel league from the legit league. Anywho - this post is not about professing puristic pursuits in sport

Watching Sri Lankan players argue with their board about postponing an England Test tour so that they can play in the IPL reminds me of a story that is either old fable or an Amar Chitra Katha story that end with " the moral of the story is...". You know, the series of stories where the man kicks a pot of flour, the father and son carry a donkey on their head etc. There was a story in that series, which described a situation that would fit the Twenty20 madness like a glove. I am unable to recollect it and I 've been trying to remember it for a while.

That was a good story that brought out short-sightedness, idiocy, a crass prioritization of short-term gain over longer term gains. This story is very similar to the one where that man's cuts the goose that laid golden eggs. And, I just can't seem to remember that. BCCI, Lalit Modi & Co, on the surface, seem so similar to the pompous lead character of the story who'd confidently do all the bad things. I wouldn't be surprised if IPL becomes a case-study for other sports management folks on what not to do.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

On Classic Rivalries At The Wimbledon

With all due regard to the subjective nature of sport appreciation, the 2008 finals was not the best finals that I've ever witnessed. That honor should go to the Ivanisevic-Rafter final of 2001. On the topic of great Wimbledon rivalries, commentators often highlighted Borg-McEnroe and more recently Nadal-Federer as an example of a long-standing intense rivalry. Possibly because the commentators are US-based, Becker-Edberg rivalry gets fleeting mention. When reminded about their rivalry, these people say 'ah those were the times' and move on. Another possible reason for this great neglect coud be that both Becker and Edberg didn't have a great record outside of Wimbledon and neither of them were #1 ranked players for a record period of time (Becker was #1 for a handful of weeks though Edberg was #1 for much longer).

Federer and Nadal have met in the finals for the past three years much similar to the way Becker and Edberg clashed between 88-90. This weekend's finals in someways reminded me of the 1990 Becker-Edberg finals. Both finals were considered classics in retrospective - because of the way the scores eventually turned out. However for the first two sets in both finals, Becker and Federer respectively sucked. The level of unforced errors and erratic play was surprising. I haven't seen Federer squander so many gifts from the opponent. He had so many chances in the first two sets and he literally threw them away by the way of unforced errors. You wouldn't associate Federer with this sort of trait. Both Becker and Federer in their respective years weren't this erratic up until the finals and I thought facing an old rival made them play badly.

They might look as different as chalk and cheese. However, when he threw away break-point after break-point after break-point that was handed to him as gifts, I thought I saw traces of Becker in Federer. He squandered all the opportunities and pushed himself into a corner and then dug his way out with booming serves. Similar to the way it did for Becker, the serves alarmingly clicked at times when it was needed the most. The only difference was you didn't see an angry Federer throwing his racquet around and cursing in anger. Federer also went for those toe high volleys, which was very perplexing. Edberg was a specialist in lunging forward and converting a high percentage regular forehand to a low-percentage half-volley/volley. Almost every time Federer played it he was put into a defensive position, which is usually the case when one tries to convert regular forehands into low volleys just because this is Wimbledon.

Moving on further down the memory lane, Becker pioneered the art of pushing the self-destruct button much before Ivanisevic (Quoted as saying: "The trouble with me is that every match I play against five opponents: umpire, crowd, ball boys, court, and myself.") mastered it. Its interesting how the surface symptoms are closely correlated with self-destruction. On the surface, people saw both Becker & Ivanisevic literally break-down (with their on-court mannerisms). But where they really self-destructed was in their poor shot selection and missed opportunities. One expects a 'Rolex' Federer to be well-mannered and hit those winners with laser-sharp perfection. One is confused and surprised when he doesn't deliver the latter. That Becker (and Ivanisevic) were far more flawed probably made them more entertaining. Becker surprised people when he stopped yelling and throwing his racquet around in the late 90s. But his faults remained and never went away. He ceased to be entertaining when he self-destructed silently. The eccentric characters of yesteryears are cerainly being missed today.

Here are some vignettes from the 88-90 series of Edberg-Becker finals. Edberg, the graceful and elegant Swede, lost many Indian fans by refusing to come to India claiming that he didn't want to "catch some unknown disease". However, the way he arched like a bow during his serve was sight to watch. His serve wasn't that fast and he'd mostly work on getting the angles right. Becker probably had the worst 'return of serves' in the men's circuit. He'd just block it back and Edberg capitalized on that. At that time I (and every youngster I knew) was a massive Becker fan. As far as I can remember most of the 'kazha-bolts' (old people) were Edberg fans. As a sidenote, I am yet to meet a person who calls himself a Lendl fan. I have even met a Jim Courier fan but never a Lendl fan.
Becker, with his stylish/ritualistic/trademark front-back tapping of the ball while walking towards the baseline before his serve, usually made his fans suffer and become complete 'nutcases' by the end of the match. His constant switch between excellence and self-destruction was too much for the blood pressure. It was hard being a Becker fan. The prolonged pre-serve ritual of Becker during key points compelled one to walk to the nearby temple and do a quick "archanai" on his behalf ( Thank god Nadal has toned down his pre-serve rituals of kumbuddufying to all the saamis in the world). The 1989 final was the only exception where Becker spared some agony for his fans. My friend Ozdude (and he might not even remember this today) and I spent a good part of that day, before the match, discussing if we would ever see a 6-0 in a Wimbledon final. Doordarshan tried its best to spoil it for us by cutting the match off for news midway. However, Becker compensated for that and gave his fans a treat that day by completely dominating Edberg.

The 1988 Final

This was played over three days.

The 1989 Final

The 1990 Final

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Baap Ka Beta: Ek gaun mein Ek Kisaan...

My Grandmother thinks I am the best thing that happened since the Indian Independence, electric grinder and 'Maavu' Machine. When I was sent to study in Madras, I lived with my grandparents. She thought I was Sri Ramachandra Moorthy and Gokula Kannan all rolled into one. She wouldn't even give me 'kalakki vitta' rasam (the daal, corriander, tomato parts of the rasam which reside at the bottom of the rasam as settled debris). She would pour clean clear 'thelivaana' rasam every morning and evening. Since my health was a matter of national security, the food was never too spicy and a slight headache meant I could bunk school. Thats why Grandmas are so loved. They are strong willed, fight for their Grandson's rights and will never give up. They are so awesome that God gave every boy at least two grandmas.

After being kicked around like a dog in Palayamkottai, this was an upgrade for my economy class life to First Class luxury suite comforts. I took advantage of the situation like it was nobody's business. Two years later my mom (and a decade later my wife) discovered to their respective horrors that I was permenantly rendered incapable of doing any useful chore around the house. My grandmother was very quick to explain to her daughter that it was 'their' duty to take care of me. The situation was fantastic. I thanked my forefathers up until Manu for thinking so far ahead and making life comfortable for men like me. Nowadays, of course its never "their" duty. So It is not uncommon to find garden variety men do household chores. It has been so long since I enjoyed that kind of pampering that I forgot how it felt like.

Enter Grandma

My grandma is here for a while. That means I have gulped down kesaris, rava laddus , thattais and thengozhals in sizeable proportions. My previous post on Adhirsam has sent down the right signals. My amnesia is getting cured. My grandma has clear principles, is very succinct and simple. If she decides to say something, she says it economically, quickly and clearly. She is obviously shocked that I do work (well I do some). And she completely disapproves of it. At regular intervals, she sends out pithy 2-liners to my mom and wife on the "Dharmic Shastras" surrounding 'who works the dishwasher'. A stand tall and deliver routine that no one has done since Krishna delivered the Geethai to Arjuna. She is what I call, the pronoun watcher. When my wife uses pronouns like avan, ivan, nee, and non-pronouns like vaa, poo, kadaa, looseu, beaku - my grandma waits patiently and asks my wife as to which person the pronoun indirection is pointing to. The consequent awkward silence is golden. Often there are discussions on roles and responsibilities around the house and my grandma sits as the chairman of the board of R & R assignment. She assigns me nothing. I am thrilled at the new found, albeit temporary, relief from work. As hilarious as it is, I continue to take advantage of the situation.

America is a boring place. There is no intrusion from neighbors and no gossip from the relatives circle. Days are long and time stands still. Sometimes on Saturday afternoons there is a lull around the house and conversation ceases to exist. We all sit sleepily in the couches. Bored. I try and enliven the situation by asking an innocent question. The questions is richly loaded with MCP content. All in jest of course. But one needs talent to say MCP stuff with surgical precision. If you trip a word here and mess up a phrase there the whole moment is lost. A question like "should women play tennis when they should be cooking?" means that ensuing discussion will be very interesting. My entertainment is done. After my wife's valiant feminist attempt at educating my grandma on the great empowerment of women has met with complete disaster, I nod off to sleep. Feminism withers in the face of powerful grandma proverbs that have been perfected for several centuries. All this reminded me of something. That the equation between my grandma and I is not much different from what is depicted here in the video below. This is one of the most classical comedy scenes of Thamizh cinema. A piece will probably have a permanent place in the Thamizh Movie Hall Of Fame. I won't mention the equivalent of the Hindi Vaadhiyar, though...

On a separate Note: RIP John Amrithraj - the Indhi Pundit