Been down for the last

Been down for the last couple of days with a viral fever. It’s not just me but a good number of Chennaites who share this virus along with me[Per doctor, it wasn’t a viral fever. just a fever, whatever]. Also thanks to my nice eating habits in any roadside shop of Chennai. That noble habit is under tight scrutiny at home and I nearly swore on camphor that I would avoid (note- avoid, not stop) eating elsewhere.

For all these years, eating on Saravana/Kaiyendhi Bhavans has made me immune to most of the quick spreading germs. A few months of good home food kicked out the immunity and I am now a welcoming victim for all these germs. Enough. To cut the long story short, if you are at Chennai, the best way to protect yourself is to eat anywhere without looking for any hygiene. Within couple of months, I assure, you are Mr. Immune.

So the whole of the weekend, I’ve been at home. This is the only week I’ve been completely at home. And when you have nothing to do except books and the television it is so cool. Watched television to my glory yesterday. Not just the usual kollywood stuff but some good ones like the Biography of Sidney Sheldon, a documentary on the man behind Bram Stoker‘s Dracula in the History Channel and ofcourse Steve Ballmer‘s visit to India in CNBC. Also did watch one of MGR’s initial hits called Mahadevi and was zapped by the production values and the screenplay.

This morning the fever was again peaking and a very close friend who has come down from Canada was here to invite me for his marriage. A few hours of chatting got us nostalgic and we happily shared those days of filled with a plethora of emotions. Especially biking around Chennai even during the floods, the long evenings which we spent talking all kinds of stuff at the Drive-In Woodlands and even the toughest of events that we just laughed out.

Just after he left, I realized, the fever gone. Poye Pochu !!

To Madurai and back, yet again !!

Was on impromptu trip to Madurai alongwith the rain and the winds. It’s raining cats and dogs in Madurai. You could see only a sample of that here in Chennai. The deepavali hungama in Madurai is already hot. From 50% discounts to Silk Sarees to 75% off on hankies, Madurai is on a high. However, they could improve the standards of the Madurai FM Radio. The afternoons are nothing but mere how-to-make-thakkali-briyani. Too bragging at times.

Actor Rajesh [remember his classic, Antha 7 Naatkal] has a hotel down the Ulunthurpet highway. All KPN buses do lodge there for a refreshment. And so both ways, I did have a chance to smack the food there. Other than the delicious tiffin they supply, the hotel has a nice decor. With wall hangings of the tamil cinema greats, they also feature potraits of hollywod greats like Marlon Brando, Roger Moore and many others. Probably they are some of Rajesh’s personal inspirations. In the middle of that lonely highway, it was a feel good to have dinner with a cinema taste.

During my return from Madurai, on A/C bus of KPN, we were just 6 people on the bus. Surprisingly they operated the bus and landed us on time. More Surprisingly, the A/C was working. I couldn’t have dreamt of such professionalism some years back.

On the way back via Trichy, the best thing happened. Know what, Cauvery has water. On the banks of Srirangam, Cauvery which was earlier a dry barren land, has atleast water that is moving, if not gushing. The sight of Cauvery running around made my day and the glimpse of Srirangam gopuram made it better.

After all this, I personally think, if you plan a impromptu trip(is that an oxymoron?), you are going to enjoy it. Sure.

Looks like Rajini has started shooting Chandramukhi. Interestingly, not a single poster or even an adv has appeared on the dailies. Except for this Chandramukhi official website which has links to exclusive pooja pictures. If only it was Mani Ratnam film, I could comprehend why. This one makes me inquisitive.

Here’s a another bonker bonks for you. Dhanush and Rajinikanth’s daughter Aishwarya are getting married on November 18th. So whats has been a rumour for sometime now, has come true[Thanks, Dhina Thanthi]. The Kadhal Konden guy is the mapillai of Super Star. Super Star a mapillai by himself. Aren’t you getting it ?

The long Navaratri festival

Sir Vidia Naipaul

The long Navaratri festival weekend is here and is already promising to be fun. The Nobel Prize in Literature winner, V.S.Naipaul will be here in Landmark today for a book reading session of his latest book, The Magic Seeds. His visit to Bangalore Landmark store, yesterday, seems to have awed the Bangalore book lovers.

The Magic Seeds is set to be a sequel to his previous bestseller, Half a Life. Willie Chandran (who first appeared in Half a Life) continues his quest for purpose and a place that he can claim as his own.

Having read his path-breaking short story collection, In a Free State, very recently, I was interested to check-out the session. I am still not sure if I can make it. But I am hoping to. And if anyone makes it, do share the wit and images.

7G Rainbow Colony was out last week. Seems like Selvaraghavan has done it again in the box-office. 7GRC has recieved some rave reviews already, in the media. The word is spreading and the theatres are already crowded. Thanks to the curb on video piracy too. The tickets are sky rocketing. Getting tickets over the weekend is going to be tough. But thats the disporting thing in watching tamil movies on the opening weeks. I am going to make it.

Thenmala – Angel's Shangri-la

Close to 10-12 hours of Jugalbandhi, rap singing, yapping, singing, shouting, yelling, antakshari, aimless dancing, corporate games and team building stuff got my vocal chords torn mischievously. I could hardly whisper now. Similar for most others who came alongwith to the Thenmala.

The trip to Thenmala in Kerala, was a magical experience. God’s own country was truly a god’s own country. Having small-time water falls on roadsides, Kerala boasts of more than enough water. A cribbing Chennaite like me would certainly be envious about the water running there. All I could do was to hope that I could carry a train compartment load of water back to Chennai. Some parts of Kerala are still unexplored. Completely wild and untamed. Thenmala is one such destination. One surprising thing, the chaaya you get in every other nair shop there is more or less similar. Great consistency.

The Paallaruvi falls is a nature’s miracle. The water plunging from 80 feet above falls straight on your head with all that speed it gathered on the run and runs down further to end up in the dam. A couple of hours under that could get back your senses. Any time more than that may result in vice-versa. And the steam boat ride with just hills around and water everywhere, transported us to a different world. Not to mention the romatic rain that caught us unaware in the middle of the ride. Imagine, a terrace of a steam boat, hills where clouds hang around upon their peaks, foggy weather in the evening and that rainfall. Shangri-la!.

Thousands of pictures clicked by the entire team. Some ten digital cameras. Couple of camcorders that recorded most of the travel and our silly dance programs. To share them would be difficult. So we finally decided to join all the pictures and the footage and provide a copy of the CD to everyone. Will post some of the good ones in the my photolog.

With two full days of no television, no newspapers, no internet, no blogging and no googling was a moral booster to me. Made me believe that we(especially me) could live even without these things. Something that I wasn’t ready to believe off-handedly. And today morning when I woke up lazily with a berth coffee and the dailies in Chengulpat railway station, it said, Indians had chance of winning against the Aussies. Twenty minutes from then when I landed in Tambaram, I knew we were to be blamed for getting the rain back from Kerala.

This weekend our whole team[a

This weekend our whole team[a huge crowd] at office is off to a ecotourism spot called Thenmala in Kerala near Trivandrum. We are taking the Thirunelveli route to catch a refreshing bath in the Indian Niagara, Kutraalam.

Thenmala, is India’s first planned Ecotourism Destination. The website boasts of this – Thenmala : “Then + Mala” , i.e. in local parlance “Then” means honey and “Mala” means hillock i.e. it mean honey hills. The honey collected from Thenmala forest region is of good quality and of high medicinal value because of the unique floristic composition of the forests. The Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary is the ecotourism resource of Thenmala.

The best part is the adventure zone that they recommend which consists of Mountain Biking and River Crossing. Not the usual River Crossing. Looks like you to hang on a rope to cross the river. Pretty adventurous, huh!!. Check out the adventure zone pics here.

We have booked a whole compartment in the train. The guys are already excited. Not to mention the whole lot of halwa shopping that is going to happen on the way back at Iruttukadai Halwa Shop, Thirunelveli. Looks like its going to be lots of fun.

Unrelated Note – This link on MIO that says Kamal Hassan’s next film is (re)named as Mumbai Express and there is already a conflict running on that. I guess it’s a rumour going around. Thanks to praveen for the pointer.

This current template of my

This current template of my blog is completely consumed. I feel a need for change. I am contemplating for quite sometime about it. No Idea when it would be implemented.

I have been using this template for more than 2 years. This was actually a template in blogger and when I moved to movable type, I tweaked the css to get that same look and feel. It looks stale now to me. Thats pretty much how things are in life. A philosophy thats well understood by experience than being told.

Meanwhile, I’m still mourning over my camera’s sudden paralysis. This Chennai traffic literally bogs me down to move all the way to Blacker’s road and get the camera fixed.

While my yawning like this lazily, do send any suggestions, comments on the present/new template. Would appreciate.

My Digi Darling has gone

My Digi Darling has gone bonkers. I’ve been using this Canon Powershot A60 for quite a while. Last week when I had been to Vailankanni, I had shot extensively with it. Today when I switched it on, the images in the LCD panel looks blurred and distorted badly. I have no idea how it happened.

While I’m looking around to get my digital camera back to shape, any thoughts/places to refer for a good service of canon cameras in chennai are welcome. Would dedicate a blog post to you if your referral works. Deal.

R.K Narayan and Me

RK Narayan
[Pic: thehindu]

That title relating RK Narayan to me is the height of hopes. But seriosuly there is a thin line of connection. Read on.

Last week, I had to meet a childhood friend at Purasawalkam and hence went there. Purasawalkam is at slightly north of Chennai just after Egmore near the Poonamallee High Road. If you can remember Hotel Dasaprakash, you can remember Purasawalkam. It’s my most favourite place on earth. Quite Naturally. I was born and brought up in Vellala Street of Purasawalkam. Until 15, my entire childhood was spent at purasawalkam. Being a born go-rounder, I had literally walked, cycled, biked through every square feet of Purasawalkam. It had some nice temples like the Gangadeshwarar temple and some beautiful parks around. Also crowded with theatres/sabhas, Purasawalkam was probably one of the reasons why I grew a movie/music buff. From Abirami complex to Sangam, Ega and more, we had totally 15 theatres within a 3 KM radius, some of them are either converted to wedding mahals or run porno stuff these days. A lot of sabhas which are now converted to flats played enough carnatic music next to Mylapore. The musical legends like the gods’s own voice, MS Subbulakshmi, DK Pattammal and others had lived at Purasawalkam. At that time Purasawalkam was still striving to become the heart of Chennai. Today it is the shopping paradise of Chennai after Pondy Bazaar in T.Nagar. I no more live there but now when I go the place even after few months, I get a feeling the place, the roads and the buildings are getting smaller. Donno if someone had a similar feel when they visited their childhood place after long time.

Like anybody else, to tell about that place and my childhood, I have enough stories. But back to point. In his Autobiography, My Days, RK Narayan writes the first few chapters of his childhood that was spent in Purasawalkam. His full name being Rasipuram Krishnaswami Ayyar Naranayanaswami. After Swami and his friends, he shortened it as RK Narayan. He was born and brought up at Vellala Street of Purasawalkam. He talks about the corner of the street to where he used to run and see the bullockdrawn carriages moving around. Also RK Narayan recollects about the nice Ponni Amman Koil that he visted with his family. I had read his autobiography a long time back and didn’t give a note to it, truly.

A friend’s dad and also another friend of mine had asked if I knew the exact house where RK Narayan lived. One of them even told the place but I wasn’t grasping it. I wasn’t too sure because the street was a kilometer long and had many sub-lanes and he could have lived anywhere.

Yesterday I was talking with my thatha, my grandpa, who had spent more than 45 years of his life in the same purasawalkam, I remembered this interesting point to clarify. When I asked him “ Thatha!! RK Narayan, namma vellaala theruvula enga irundharunu theriuma? “. Do you know where RK Narayan lived in Vellala Street ?. He smiled and with a natural ease said ” Namma aathukku rendu aam thalli irundhaar. Ethana thadava idha onakku sollirukken, badava”. He said “RK Narayan lived just two blocks away “. Oh ! my gosh. Just two blocks. We were just two blocks away to where the malgudi creator RKN lived and even after my grandpa pointing it out when we lived there, I hadn’t noticed it. Fool, I thought to myself. Though RK Narayan wasn’t even there when I was born, it was a GREAT joy and delight to know that my house was located so close to RKN’s childhood home. That was be sufficient to allow myself, a RKN fan, to feel connected to the genius. Thanks Thatha!!, You made my day.

Further :
The musical memories of Purasawalkam.
Walking with RK Narayan in The Frontline
An interview with RK Narayan’s brother RK. Ramachandran by Randor Guy.

Vasool Raja, a family meet and my weekend laundry list

Apart from the Seemandams, Kai murukku & Therattipaal featuring Nichayatharthams and mega Kalyanams, there aren’t many occasions when we tend to have a family meet. How about a family meet in a movie. Though the family cannot actually talk in length about which athai-payyan got wed locked or which onnu-vitta-chitappa got a golden handshake, the family can actually laugh together. Ok, Ok, I’m trying to agree myself to this with these excuses.

While the beach or a common house maybe the exact location for a family meet, someone has to prepare Pulliyotharai, arrange litres and litres of filter coffee and all this might actual end up in dozens of cribs and complaints. Hence, we planned a family watch of Vasool Raja MBBS. Two common grounds on Vasool Raja. Most Athais and mammis like Kamalhassan. Two, Laughter is something that we long for in this fast fast (!!) food culture. The plan is shaping out. Let’s see.

Who said Chennai isn’t happening? The weekend has more than enough things happening in Chennai.

a) Three movies that I’m interested, Vasool Raja MBBS, Kyun Ho Gaya Na and the Asimov inspired I, Robot are out this week.

b) The Hindu Metro Plus sponsored Life Style show is at the Chennai Trade centre opens today with Shobana featuring on the opening day. Hindu also has a eight page detailed supplement of what’s up on the show and it promises to be much better than the other life style shows in the city.

c) Lalith Kala Academy has a photography exhibition on the architecture of American roadside motels, bars and clubs. A promo on the television yesterday was cool and did interest a lot. These photographs have been taken over the last two decades clearly showing the growth in the ideas and architectural styles.

d) The Landmark quiz, one of the biggest open quiz shows in the country is on the 15th in the Music Academy. If you are someone who hates quiz, here is the program, just for you. And if you are not inspired still, I have no clue.

There goes my laundry list of weekend to-do’s. The target it atleast 70% of them. Movies can be postponed not the shows. Right.