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A few days ago, Gaddam, an REC junior dropped in to my office. He runs a software company in B’lore and was in Chennai on business.

He used to stay in Anand Apartments when Chacko, Puthu and the two Bijus shared a flat there. I was in Anna hostel then, but was a near-permanent fixture at Anand. Yet, when I reconnected with Gaddam on FB, my mind was embarrassingly blank about a lot of things that he excitedly recounted.

But when I saw him, it all came back to me…

At Anand the credo was Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Anandam (that is, Happiness, not the neighbour’s VK). ‘Getting wasted and acting like an idiot’ was the main thing, and soon the news reached our landlord. He landed up to investigate on a sell-bottles-buy-beer Sunday, made some weak joke about the 100 bottles in the living room, informed us that his sister is moving in to Chennai, and asked us to vacate (Call it a coincidence, any house I stay for 6 months, the landlord’s sister would get a transfer to Chennai).

Alumni: TK stayed in Anand during his first month in Chennai and Samy, during his last month (in Chennai, that is).

OK, back to Gaddam. We had a rollicking bull session, which Gaddam, with an acute sense of history, summed up as NON-POLitically Correct.

RK Salai

Thanx Chittapps.

On Club House Road, the tired, the hungry, the bored and the huddled masses yearning to breathe free head for Rajendran’s tea kada.

A few years ago, after we became regulars, we decided that the place needed a more handy handle; everybody was getting tired of…“coming to Rajendran’s tea kada?”, “he’s at Rajendran’s tea kada” and “why do you spend so much time at Rajendran’s tea kada?”.  BN suggested RT, Brahmaji modified it to GRT, yours truly provided the expansion, ‘G Rajendran’s Tea kada’ and the rest is…all over the papers.


Bonus track. Brahmaji had this habit of punctuating his speech with mane (ma-ney), the bong equivalent of, you know, like. Once when Brahmaji, Sajeev, Balaji and I were in Bangalore, Brahmaji noticed that the word ‘halli’ appeared very frequently on signboards – Devanahalli, Jalahalli, Uttarahalli…He asked Balaji the meaning of the word ‘halli’ and the long-suffering Balaji deadpanned, “It is the Kannada for mane”.

Now check out Halli Mane, a rural restaurant in Malleswaram…Brahmaji’s revenge?



Thursday, 27 November , 2008, 12:36   
Chennai: Cyclone ‘Nisha’, with wind speed of 75 km, moved slightly northwards and crossed the Tamil Nadu coast close to north of Karaikal between 5.30 am and 6.30 am on Thursday. It now lies centred close to North West off Karaikal. The system is likely to move in a North Westerly direction and will weaken gradually, the meterological office said. Under its influence, very heavy rainfall would occur in almost all places in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the next 24 hours, starting from 8.30 am on Thursday.

The condition of the sea would be rough and signal number 3 has been hoisted at Chennai, Ennore, Puducherry, Cuddalore and Nagapattinam, it said. Fishermen have been advised not to venture to sea.
Chennai recorded 14 cm of rainfall in the last 24 hours, accompanied by wind with speed of 45-55 km, while Vedaranyam recorded 33 cm, they said. In Chennai, the Corporation has evacuated people in low-lying areas, while a similar exercise was carried out in Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Tiruvarur districts.

Thanks Sify

Ferreting out the ‘inspiration’ behind popular B-K-T-Mollywood movies and songs is a thriving cottage industry. While Wiki is still the best source for info about movies (Saroja: Judgement Night, Dasdivaniya: My Life Without Me/ Bucket List) not many sites can beat (I-two FS, Inspirations in Indian Film Songs) when it comes to giving Anu Malik-types sleepless nights.


But what ’bout balposh? (Sangham-speak for wall posters).


I remember the time when brick-effect-on-Vijaykanth’s-face was very cutting-edge for Tamil movie poster art. Today, the writing (pasting? sticking?) on the wall is very clear. Tamil movie posters have distanced themselves from the Dravidian political poster funda (check out the Krish Ashok’s take), and discovered cool – innovative layouts, unusual colour combinations, unreadable typography.


But the 35 bucks DVD to 35mm formula seems to have impacted poster design also (I had blogged about Siva Mansula Sakthu and Satyam posters, didn’t want to blog about Billa and Eagen titles, Lost inspired layouts, the connection between SaSi and SS Music…)


Then last month I saw something in Landmark that can only happen in the world of cut-and-paste – Ranbir Kapoor kissing Evan Rachel Wood. The blues and the greens were exactly the same, the actors positioned at exactly the same angle, I couldn’t make out where Saawariya ended and where Across the Universe began.


Jai guru deva…Saawariya Saawariya…


The Parikrama – Strings concert in Chennai took me back to the REC days…the cops wading into the crowd, the large-scale scuffles…

We reached the venue at 5.30, sober and clean, everyone had agreed that it was a little too early to be otherwise (Big mistake). For a rock concert, there was a surprisingly large ‘family’ crowd, and outside the venue, a teenager plugging Ford Fiesta kept them engaged with a quiz on acceleration, warranties, etc. – “Kai thattunge Chennai, kai thattunge”.


The show started two hours late, but nobody complained as the dialogue between the band and the sound engineers, blasting from the speakers, was semma kamedy…“turn the bass up a notch”, “cut the reverb”, “where is my guitar”, “what was that?”, “are you really so dumb or are you doing this just to annoy me”…


I had never had so much fun before a concert.




Parikrama started with a screechy rendition of Ay-ron Maiden. They played Yellow for the girls and the other songs for nobody in particular. The finale was Highway to Hell, with Sherpa in Angus Young shorts – you won’t believe this – strumming an acoustic guitar.


During the break local fast-man Jibran came onstage to announce the Fiesta quiz winners, dropping four-letter words trying fcuking hard to be cool. When the commissioner of police joined Jibran to hand over the prizes, the kids started chanting ‘commissioner, commissioner…’. I knew then that the evening wasn’t going to be a complete waste.


Finally Strings…age appropriate music…and the guys who were with me dozed off.



Suddenly the action started, two groups of IIPM vadakkans going at each other in true Braveheart ishtyle. The cops, not wanting to miss out on all the fun, joined in and the crowd had a great time. Strings played on through all this, I am sure they would have seen bigger stuff at home.



Abrupt end.
Read a real review here

Kumz is getting married this Sunday, and I am not able to sleep. Am not able to sleep not because Kumz is getting married, but because I feel high, frisky, perky, full of beans, as if I had had a gallon of jet fuel. Let me explain. Last month my office folks rose up in revolt and overthrew our canteen contractor (a lot of his stuff was actually revolting) – an incident known in our area as the October Revolution – and…ta da…got a coffee machine. Animal Farm meets The Matrix. Unhygienic tormentors replaced by uncaring automatons that…slurp. And the coffee is, as Knopfler would have slurred, ‘heavy heavy fuel’ and I feel high, frisky, perky…you get what I mean…


I thought a shower would help, didn’t. Thought I will lie on my bed and induce a dream that will carry me off to some place nice, like, you know…Vepery YWCA. But at 43, even the girls in your dreams are not interested in you.


I tried Nuovo Cinema Paradiso without sub-titles (hilarious), Autograph with sub-titles (hilarious, do not try this at home), finally settled for Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Full Monty treatment to King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and God, the Bible, the Athanasian Creed


Check out Scene 27


A Reading from the Book of Armaments, Chapter 4, Verses 16 to 20:


Then did he raise on high the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, saying, “Bless this, O Lord, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy.” And the people did rejoice and did feast upon the lambs and toads and tree-sloths and fruit-bats and orangutans and breakfast cereals … Now did the Lord say, “First thou pullest the Holy Pin. Then thou must count to three. Three shall be the number of the counting and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither shalt thou count two, excepting that thou then proceedeth to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the number of the counting, be reached, then lobbest thou the Holy Hand Grenade in the direction of thine foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it.”


Exhibit 2


MAYNARD: It reads, [reading] “Here may be found the last words of Joseph of Arimathea. ‘He who is valiant and pure of spirit may find the Holy Grail in the Castle of Auuggggggh.’”


MAYNARD: [reading] “The Castle of Auuggggggh.”

BEDEVERE: What is that?

MAYNARD: He must have died while carving it.

LAUNCELOT: Oh, come on!

MAYNARD: [To LAUNCELOT] Well, that’s what it says.

ARTHUR: [To MAYNARD] Look, if he was dying, he wouldn’t bother to carve ‘auuggggh’. He’d just say it!

MAYNARD: [To ARTHUR] Well, that’s what’s carved in the rock!

GALLAHAD: Perhaps he was dictating.


The DVD has some great features. “On-screen Screenplay: Read the screenplay as you watch the film”. If you click on the “Special Feature for the Hard of Hearing” button, the menu is read out for you in a really loud voice…    


To cut a long story short, I watched three movies, downloaded Holy Grail script, read the wiki, checked out rottentomatoes (94/92), and am still not feeling sleepy. OK, that brings us to the beginning of the story…Kumz. I figured Kumz would still be up, chatting and stuff, with the wedding just a few days away…well, he hasn’t replied to my message, guess he is still chatting and stuff. Now this is something you miss once you get married, chatting and stuff…you know, you don’t want your wife to catch you.


Kumz is marrying Mayura on 23 Novemeber 2008. Here is wishing them a very happy married life.


Kumz & I in happier times. Monster House. Apr08

Thanks for being around…

A few months ago, at Spencer junction, I witnessed an amazing sight – an accidental collage created by a tree, spotlit by sunshine, its rain-cleansed leaves glowing green, and the image of a man on the Jet Airways hoarding in the background, the guy staring up, ecstatic, as if enthralled by the beauty of the tree. I tried to capture the scene on my N72, but then the signal turned green and I had to get going.

Few minutes later…ping, the irony-meter redlined, this was so Ogden Nash…

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Perhaps, unless the billboards fall,
I’ll never see a tree at all.


Gotta get that pic for the blog, Gotta…Day 2. I managed to stop the car at just the right place, grabbed my phone, but before I could get the shot, I noticed the girl in the car ahead leaning across to the boy driving the car. Wow! Valentine’s Day…the tree can wait. The girl pulled out her dupatta from underneath her, returned to vertical position and got busy patting out the wrinkles, and the signal turned green.


Day 3. I finally managed a shot, but the camera position, shot composition and lighting were all wrong. I guess you can’t recreate a kaleidoscope pattern… 


Day 4. Jet Airways had a new hoarding at the site.


Then last week, the billboards fell. The trees emerged from the shadows, and reclaimed their territory. Kind of like the end of The Mansion of Gods…

By nightfall, the forest has taken over once again. Only a few Roman remains show that the Mansion of Gods
ever stood there…


…which reminds me of the first business venture I was a part of: The Four Star Lending Library, started by Biju, Keeshan, Sridharan and I, when we were in high school. The business plan was Biju’s – enter the market with Keeshan’s Kottayam Pushpanath novels and Sridharan’s Indrajal Comics, buy Tintin/Asterix comics using the revenue, plough back profits to buy more comics…The Mansion of Gods was the first book we bought. We had a great run and build a huge collection of Tintin/Asterix comics till John Sir busted us. Those were the days…


Vaal Kashnam: Too bad our underground library experience didn’t inspire a multi-million dollar enterprise. Snigger, snigger.

Chittappan, my friend and a great supporter of this blog, shared with me a poem he penned on his mother’s death anniversary (His mother, widowed when Chittapps was very young, succumbed to a deathly disease 15 years ago)  

It’s 15 years since Destiny had it’s way and Amma passed away.

I am thankful to Destiny that…
…she had the courage to face life after her intense personal loss
…she had the wits around her to smile even while grieving
…she had the will to face up for the sake of us
…in her own ways she showered her love on me
…she stood by me during my dark days
…she never expected anything great from me
…she did understand the love I had for her
…she is not around to see the mayhem

And I miss her all the more as days and years go by!


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