Friday, August 27, 2010

Place of Worship Near Ground Zero

Why are desi liberals suddenly saying that building a Ram Temple near the place where Babri Masjid once stood - actually supports freedom of religion? 5 years ago it was characterized as fundamentalism by the these liberals.

Place of worship near ground zero is a good thing. Babar, Akbar, Aurangazeb, Osama, Obama, Advani, Vajpayee all are on the same page with me on that point.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"Va Quarter Cutting"

Finally Gayathri-Pushkar follow-up their ultra awesome movie 'Oram Po' with their latest "Va Quarter Cutting"

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

P != NP

For a simple guy from Madras University, a course on Advanced Data Structures was just too much to handle. After couple of weeks into the quarter, a few of us developed severe stomach upset and sudden affinity towards our IIT classmates. Frankly, I could never wrap my head around turing machines and the P/NP problems. I always asked a JEE #29 to tranlate all this into either Thamizh or at least Thamizh Nadu English. Reason for bringing this subject up is that twitter, Facebook and emails are all abuzz over this. Apparently a major breakthrough has been made that I am hoping will cause all students who have been given a 'B' grade in this course to get a better grade :-)

Even now reading the gory details of the problem, its proof and its rebuttal makes my stomach woosy and heart beat really fast. Really - the day before the exam, the stomach-upset thing got so big among us retards that we told and retold the 'N-P Hard" (which is a class of problems) and 'uN-P Soft' (which is a case of exam fear) joke and laughed out silly. We needed the joke because we'd been shitting bricks otherwise. I hope the guys who 'get' this kind of stuff not further the research anymore in the interest of poor students who have to write exams on it in the future.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

On Marriage Invitations

You would imagine that inviting someone for an event would be a matter of inviting someone for that event. And that the person being invited is attending the event because they genuinely like you and all that they are looking for from the invitation is the date, location and time of the event. This kind of expectation is limited to only those people, who have been with you during the most key moments of your life. Such people probably supported you without question in some crisis or other. You might even call them one of the most important people in your life. Then comes the other 99% of the people, you call 'Dhoorathu sondham' - who S. Ve. Sekhar in '1000 Udhai vaangiya aboorva sigamani' very subtly refers to as 'OOOho Kazhutharappaa'. This category makes you realize that there is inviting and then there is innnnnnviiittting. How do you show someone that they are very very special (in fact more special than Laxman) and that you badly badly want them to come to your occasion. Much more importantly, how do you satisfy people who think they are very very special and deserve something more than just an invite.

Exit the sane idea of a simple phone call to tell the invitee about date & time of the event. Enter the multi-layered invitation process. The parent of the bride calls this person over the phone and lets them know their daughter is getting married and that an invitation is on the way. Then the actual invitation is sent "cordially inviting" this person. But a bland invitation won't do. So a post-it note is stuck inside asking the person to consider this "as a personal invitation" and attend. 1 week after the invite is sent , a confirmation phone call is done to ask if the invitation was received and reminding them that they should certainly attend. Then there is this whole category of "personal invite" which is more personal than the "personal invite" post-it stuck on what was already a personal invitation. This is to show that the invited person is not just very very very special. But very very very very very special. So armed with a blouse piece, shirt-bit and teeny-weeny sized pot of kungumam, the parents of the bride rent a call-taxi and go on an inviting spree to meet the invitees directly and plead them to come and attend. This extreme personal invite is to guard against people who give statements like "but it was the postman who invited me and I don't know him well enough"

The invitation process reminds one of what happens in the actual marriage. No, I am not referring to the 2-day silk-saree, gold jewellery and padmanabhan samayal extravaganza. This is the one where the bride and groom really do the work of saying the vedic mantras to actually get married. The priest - if he is from a non-vaikanasa agama school - asks the groom to prefix every mantra - that ends with 'swaaha' and ghee being poured into fire - with "idhanna muh-ma". It means "I am not doing this for my sake" (but for your sake! god). Most grooms who did not fall into the conveniently lazy 'maadern' concept of "I yam spiritual but not religious" would have to actually say this phrase N-1000 times in 2 days. They have to say it so many times that the words replay in your dreams for at least a week. At some point the ritual, priest and the groom get so paranoid that the groom is saying "in case you had any doubt god.. this is not for me". to be followed up with "in case you had doubts after the last time i suspected you of having doubts.. please understand that I am not doing this for me" and a few thousand times later says "if after the 6000 times of saying so - in case you had any doubts - this is not for me".

The bride's father is very similar to the groom here. After inviting people so many times, he has to continue inviting them even after they have actually arrived at the wedding. The saaraya baattil groom may have claimed to be "modern" or "progressive" or "broad minded but spiritual" and would claim that he is "not interested in the archaic rituals and superstitions of the religion". They may even say that "as long as the mind is sincere and honest" everything is just awesome. The groom's family are so modern that they may cut budget by reducing 5 priests to just 1 and 10 rituals to just 2. But that does not mean the bride's family should stop inviting people after the marriage has begun. The people who come for Jaanvasam need to be invited again with "vaango! vaango" and when they leave they need to be given a verbal evite-reminder of "please come for muhurtham and reception also".

Like S. Ve. Sekhar prophesizeed before "thalaivar spelling mistake panna kooda thanakku rs 10,000 laabam vara madhiri dhaan pannuvar". The groom's family may be modern enough to let saaraya bottil have a bachelor pary in a bar near the mandapam but they aren't about to forget the age-old ritual of sixty thousand invitations to the same three people, Rs 10,000 for "reception dress" and 50 pounds of gold hanging on the bride's body. You can't cut any of this and file it under the "spiritual but not religious" account by saying "I have a sincere thought in my mind to give you 50 pounds of gold as dowry but I can give only Rs 3" . Doing so would make the groom's family barbaric.

So the same set up of people are invited by the hosts over and over again for the next 2 days. The are invited to the actual wedding hall, to the kitchen, dining room, beeda stall, ice cream stall, thengai room, maangai room, seer varusai room, bathroom, electrical room, until they have been given the vetthalai paaku and sent out. Because these very very special people are the 'kavari maan'. They get offended at the slightest hint of invite-packet drop. They are sure to call and remind next day that "one coffee was not given" or "that man forgot to invite me for the 60th time". The host's family have only one opportunity to get back. That is when an invited person does not show up and does not even do a "vijaarikarthukku" phone call. Then it is payback time.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Wow :-)

Inception Sourced to Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge

Still doesn't take much away from my opinion of the movie. Most things can be sourced to a comic strip. But I am impressed with DOnald Duck now more than ever.