Monday, September 23, 2013

Review of Vidiyum Munn

Vidiyum Munn is an interesting musical adventure not only for its music but also its lyrics. As a follow up to "Vanakkam Vazha Vaikkum Chennai" I think the music director Girishh has presented a musical score which is worthy of his musical expertise and exposure to different forms of music.

The female version of Theeradha Mounam is hauntingly beautiful creating a melancholic mood. In contrast, the male track is brisk and strives to spring hope. Both the songs, require a few listens before you fall in love with them but soon the lyrics get tangled in your head. The stirring background music and the wonderful voice of Tanvi and Girishh is a true treat.

Another song that I particularly loved was Vidyadha Iravu by Girishh. I felt that the song was refreshing, with the composer featuring a lively solo. I confess, the track demands some patience from the listener but rewards you with wonderful music. Penne by Susheela Raman on the hand actually presents a spell of eeriness. I look forward to see the movie to understand the context of the song. I expect that the composer has used the song to express some very powerful emotions. In short, Vidiyum Munn is a breath of fresh air in today's musical world with a truly amazing lyrical platform.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Broken Smile

Life is a prison,
Oh God let me out.
No one to listen,
To hear when you shout.

Climb the walls of insanity,
Ride the waves of despair.
If you fall it don't matter,
There's no one to care.

Strong is good, weak is bad.
Be it false, be it true.
Your mind makes the choice,
And enforces it too.

Cell walls built by society,
With rules to adhere.
If you breach the acceptable,
You had better beware.

Hide the pain, carry on,
Routine is the key.
Don't let on that you're not,
What you're pretending to be.

Lock it all up inside you,
How badly that bodes.
Look out for that one day,
When it all just explodes.

Leaving naught but a shell,
Base functionality too.
But killing all else,
That was uniquely you.

So how do you grow,
With a timebomb inside?
Or how to defuse it,
Without destroying its ride?

Nope am not suicidal :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

First Love - II

This year i promise to write more,that is my resolution. at least one post a month minimum.. Senthil pointed out i should complete this story. It is a little abrupt my previous attempt. So i tried to write. But this story cannot end in two chapters.. But here is the next part. So let me know if it is too cinematic.


Why do I like her so much?" he wondered.. He shuddered as it occurred to him that it really didn‟t seem like just friendship anymore. It was more, more passionate, more emotional, more energizing, more draining… at that moment, he wasn‟t sure it had ever been just friendship between them.

He caught sight of her surrounded by screaming kids, strapping a helmet on her niece teaching her to ride a bicycle. He smiled fondly. She was so methodical with some things. She wore his helmet religiously and nagged him about his when they went out because he hated wearing the helmet. He shook his head but didn't look away. She was a study in contrasts, and the puzzle-like appeal of it was impossible for him to resist. He knew that she could throw a ball, shoot pool, curse or pick a fight as well as any guys he knew. At the same time she could be a kind, caring no nonsense girl who shrieks so loudly at the sight of a tiny cockroach that she often goes supersonic.

As he got closer to her, she looked up, her eyes almost immediately settling on him.
He felt his heart beat hard a couple of times, and he had to draw a breath, because for a second, he was short on air. Then she smiled that half smile of hers, the laugh lines at her eyes and mouth appearing, before she gave a quick wink. She then ducked her head turning her back and continued playing with the kids.

He swallowed hard. That wink had been for him. Crystal-clear revelation struck him like a bolt of summer lightning sizzling through the chill December air. He wanted her with him, wanted her badly. Needed her as a partner, and not just at an intellectual level but at an emotional level. Craved her as as companion more than he'd ever jonesed over getting tendulkar's autograph or that first taste of beer. Connected with her in so many ways that he couldn't see a way to untangle himself and didn't even want to try.

She loved him. He believed it. He had also believed he didn't have it in himself to love her like she deserved. It wasn't her fault. There was so much pain connecting him to the past, a tenuous lingering link to past tragedies, that he had skipped right over the obvious signs. He'd been too busy grappling with letting go of what was gone and wondering if he has any right to grab hold of what was in front of him.

But he wanted to feel that inside him so badly he could barely stay still. It was like this more and more often, feeling like he just couldn‟t breathe without her. But could he just let himself fall freely.. be sure that she would catch him? Did he have it in him to take the risk?.. He needed to think, examine and critically analyse.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Lessons learned

I’ve often been told that I was born with a book under my nose. I learned to speak when i was one and learned to read when I was five. Books to me were a miracle. Pages to look forward to, new worlds to meet and new friends to make. I relish my books partly because these friends I make rarely judge me.

When I was fourteen I learned that I was fat. A family member pointed out in a family vacation, said I should lose weight as the world was unkind to fat women. With all the naivety of a fourteen year old I declared, no there would be people who respect me for who I am and not what I look like. I learned to diet, I learned to exercise. Of course I learned to cheat too. I also was a victim of maladies which only resulted in me putting on a lot more weight.

Once I turned eighteen, there I was out into the world away from the protected school and home environment, where I learned how miserable people can make you because of how you look. That family member was right; the world is unkind almost to the point of being cruel to fat women.

I’ve learned over the years to cringe away from mirrors in the dressing rooms, glances from men, learned to tense myself be on the defense for the insult coming from the "popular" girl's mouth. I’ve learned to live with comments like "you hardly eat" how do you put on weight? And the concern of well meaning professors who ask if I have thought of aerobics. I learned ways to keep myself invisible. A doer by nature, it is not an easy task. I was the go to girl. If you wanted to run for student council id be your campaign manager. If you want to organize a debate I was the stage manager, if you wanted a last minute write up in the college paper to fill the blanks I was your girl. I always worked behind the scenes trying to keep the spot light away.

I learned how to slip to the back row of a group photograph, how to dress in shades of gray, black and brown. I’ve learned to not let it bother when guys treat me like their bud and most importantly learned how to not let it bother me when people rarely complemented me on how I look.

There are a hundred words which could describe me - smart, talkative, kind, frank etc. But the word a lot of people picked for me was fat. When I turned twenty two I went out into the world, wearing invisible armour fully expecting an array of barbed comments. However I was pleasantly surprised. I got a good job. I was and am respected by my colleagues for my intellect and my ethics. As I listen to problems of abusive mother in laws, workaholic husbands, burden of debts I soon learned that there are worse things than not liking how you look. I learned that there are more terrifying things like losing your mom, your dad, your husband or god forbid your child.

Ultimately I realized the truth - the truth that I'm all right the way I am. I was all right , all along. I will never be thin, but I know I will be happy. I will love myself and my body for what it can do - because it is strong enough to lift, walk, read and most importantly helps another person. All of us look for Prince Charming, but if he never shows up or worse yet comes along takes an appraising glance at me and passes on I will learn to live with that. Because I am worth more than that.

Remember that the next time you think your life has ended because of an unkind word, a breakup or the disregard of people you thought were your friends.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I am...

Amongst ppl who know and love me I am the "Mami". While the nickname stuck because of my innate nature to be the adult amongst the group of 20 something “adolescents” who I often am forced to "mother” it may also be because I am someone who staunchly believes in Hinduism and openly declares that I am not a secular person. That does not mean I go around building up a Hindutva movement, or declaring other religions are evil.

When discussing other beliefs and practices, I do it with respect. I never put down another’s beliefs, as wrong as I may find it is. At least not in front of them. When I have children I would make sure they understand the similarities and the differences of different religions without getting into big discussions.

As long as I learn to respect the feelings of others and dignify them with their right to follow whatever they believe in, why should I project myself as someone who is tolerant of everything everyone does? I am proud to call myself a Hindu, a part of a way of life which wholeheartedly accepted other religions to co-exist, a concept of which is embraced by every sixth person in the world.

My religion does not condemn you to hell for every wrong doing you do. It does not indicate that one cannot escape hell by being good; as everybody is bad. It does not promote the idea that no matter how hard you strive to live a virtuous life, if you lack certain beliefs, you go to hell like certain other religions do.

For something to be eternal it must have always existed, and must continue to exist in the future. Any religion that has a founder cannot claim to have always existed. There was no Christianity before Jesus and no Islam before Muhammad. Sikhism did not exist before Guru Nanak, nor Confucianism before Confucius.

I have been thinking about fundamentalists’ claims that everyone apart from “true followers of the religion” will go to hell and be eternally tortured. They often try to reconcile this with a good, merciful and loving God by saying “it is written, it is the Law, and God cannot disobey the Law”. Unlike these religions Hinduism does not have a definitive book. There are the Vedas of course, but these are more works of praise to God than Law or rules, and these are supplemented by agamas from each school. It seems to me that if God writes a definitive book that he must follow from that point until eternity then this is limiting his omnipotence. Metaphorically speaking God has created a rock so heavy that he can’t lift it.

I’ve seen people claiming to be atheists, people who are highly skeptical about anything supernatural. My issue with this line of thought is if one has no religious account of how the world functions as a cohesive unit, how is it even remotely possible to satisfy one's need for depth, engagement and serenity in life? As for agnostics I don’t get their philosophy. Seems like the biggest cop out in life. Scientifically speaking they may argue that it’s pretty darn difficult for the "supreme being" to listen to every one of our problems and answer all our prayers. If proof is what you require why don’t you look around you or within you? I am a science person myself. The way a simple cell in your body operates maybe a result of evolution, but most processes require external moderation, a power which ensures that the process proceeds smoothly. To propose the idea that human beings are smart enough to know the workings of the entire universe seems like a huge leap. Just because one cannot understand God does not necessarily mean he isn’t there.

Through the years people try to destroy my faith by promoting our beliefs to be superstitious and non secular. The recent debate on why certain temples ban women from entering their premises is a case in point. Do you question why women are not allowed EVER into mosques? Muslims are allowed to by law practice their prayers in their workplace but we cannot celebrate the time honoured ayutha pooja?

I don’t celebrate Christmas, and I don’t intend to start once I have kids just because I want them to be secular. I’d rather celebrate navarathri and deepavali . If that is being non secular then I don’t really care. It is just ironic that the country adopts the concept that being secular is actually being "anti Hindu", while truly putting down the most accepting faith in the world.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The "Anna" Mania

I'm sick of the innumerable emails and text messages asking me to join the war against corruption. The reason I’m presented with is "growing awareness". Not so long ago my six year old neighbor asked me if I "paid" off a traffic policeman. That’s the level of awareness that’s already present in this country. While we are all for ending corruption, the stir caused by Anna and gang seems to be unnecessary and makes one wonder if this is a plot for fame and publicity.

The central idea which many ppl don’t see is,

What makes the Lokpal version of Anna and gang the best version?

Yes we all want corruption and the mayhem driving this country to be brought to focus. Why not take suggestions from the NCPRI version? The government version of the bill has some amazing issues highlighted. What is happening here is not an expression of freedom of expression, its a demand for ransom. The existence of overwhelming corruption in India is due to the increasing complexities of the bureaucracy. There are way too many rules, complexities and ambiguities. Addition of another layer which is to be extremely powerful is only making the maze more complex. The more complex the process the more the incentive for corruption.

Are people aware of constitutional bodies like the CVC, CBI, CAG which already exist to identify the problems in the system. How is Lokpal going to be any different from these? If they were all undermined by politicians and corrupt bureaucrats how is it possible for Lokpal to remain above the clutches of this level of corruption.

Lets look at this logically. Is it even possible for a "Civil body" to be independent and hire thousands of "honest" people to fight the war against corruption? People in India suffer more from grass root level corruption than worrying about the inclusion of the Prime Minister under the Lokpal.

Where is the compromise? The government maybe going at it all wrong to meet the demands of the people, but still they are the elected government body. We need to remember that, there is a sense of order established for a reason. Reports of people pouring in and joining the protest maybe good for the TRP, but tell me this how many of you bothered to read the highlights of the different versions of the Lokpal.

What Anna and gang propose may have started as a stepping stone towards bettering the corrupt system, but personally they have a deep sense of arrogance to say " I have the exclusive right towards fighting corruption and my way is the only way."

Before you join the Anna bandwagon, consider and examine the different proposal, the alternatives and then answer this question for me,

In a war to bring integrity and honesty into the system don’t you think fighting with the blackmail of eminent death a road to anarchy?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Yeah.. am a peter.. so what?

Let’s start this post by stating I am somewhat of a snob. I frown upon roadside food, prefer English movies, shop at metro for my shoes, talk to the majority of my friends in English, loathe tamizh soap operas and absolutely detest it when someone talks bad English. This makes me a "peter" or should I say "mary". I admit it makes my life a lot frustrating specially when am with some friends and family who insist on making fun of the same. Although what they don’t understand is that there are levels of "peter".

You have the absolute peters. The ones who hate everything Indian made. The ones who say i only shop at Gucci, drink only lattes and say " oh what a lame language Taamil is", pretend to have not heard of Thiruvalluvar. I have quite a few friends in this category.

The you have the total opposites. The ones who detest “Peters”. The ones who are the cynics. The ones who "try" hard to be one with the mass. The ones, who insist on travelling by bus when it’s easier to take an auto, contend that you carry out a conversation in tamizh, refuse to pay the auto man another five bucks and insist on buying a ten rupee movie ticket when clearly we can clearly afford something more. I wonder if we can give the folks in this category a name. What is the opposite of Peter? “Tamizhselvan?”.

And then there are the intermediate "peters" like me. Yes we like a certain standard of things, we cannot stand 10 rupee tickets, rarely converse in tamizh except to immediate family. But we love shopping on the platform , while at the same time enjoy a good kuthu paatu.

But you know what? We have the best of both worlds. I am much better at articulating myself in English rather than Tamizh. So it stands to reason i talk to some of my best friends or sometimes even my family in a language I am comfortable in. This in no way means I don’t know Tamizh or dislike it or my city. I love Madras. There is this conflict here between the invasions of the modern society and those steeped in the traditions of the place.

In the whole circle of people who accuse me of being a "Peter", I wonder if anyone has even read a single Tamizh novel. For the record I enjoy a good story, language hardly matters. We earn good money why not let those who cannot afford to use the Rs 10 tickets.
As for the friends on the other end of the spectrum, trust me nothing beats the Nair Kada Tea. You enjoy way more than what you would with your Rs. 80 Capuccino.

Let’s not put labels guys. Live together die alone right :).. You can still end up being friends even if you’re on opposite ends.