Wednesday, March 29, 2006

What have I been doing all these days? Not even one decent post to my credit..Okay!! I have to either:generate a storm of interest by my creative abilities or call it quits!! I am not a quitter. So what am I? As I dont have the answer to it as of now::and I dont bother whether I have any readers at all :(; Let's continue with more important topics..

Travelling..
The joy of my life. The apple of my eyes..and the all too familiar sore pain at the bottom of my back..

I have travelled a lot..Really a lot. The very idea of a trip puts everything else in the "backseat". I have been to London, Paris, Madagascar, Johansburg, Pretoria, Sydney, Shanghai, Singapore, Ladakh, Tibet, Bakgkok, Denmark, Belgium,all the states in the USA,Greenland, and more recently on a Odyssey now :ANTARCTICA. The next trip is going to be:: a secret(Misison to 'Melocrante' in plant WhoknowswhereitisXX999)

Are you what asking what I do for a living? Simple: I eke out my humble means working infront of a dumb computer monitor working on codes that run server systems to a simple security breaker: apart from developing a genetic algorithm for my kid sister. who doesnt these days??? Any tom,dick or harry now is a "Code writer, Programmer" whatever he has done in his previous janma as a mechanical engineer.:)

All those places:did I take a vacation? Of course not: with a H1B in America? Where do you have the time other than to fill your coffers??Will greed allow you to take even a day off? Of course not..
Then the answer?


scroll down:)



Further:)



This post is all about....



My ramblings over the face of the globe...




on the train called.....



internet!!

Wait: dont Quit..I have more to say

I dont think I can see the sense in wishing you were here!I was there and all that nonsense..
Why do we keeping talking about the places we cant ever visit when we can sit in an arm chair and comfortably roam over 1000 cities in the world? why batter your head with a travelling salesman problem for working out ur trip to make for a meagre budget? Here I am assuming you r not one of those loaded,care a damn good for nothings::Jealousy?? of course not(Just 2 horns and a tail):).

I have visited Paris, London, Madagascar, San salvador, Mexico City, even the ruins of Carthage and Harappa..I have been to Pakistan thrice and escaped literally by the skin of teeth...

If it is in your blood to travel, It must be in your mind to dream and in your eyes to visualise. Thats all it take to know a place. Sitting in a chair @ my office,I can suggest you a restaurant in Philadelphia..That is only becos of the love I have got for travel. The need to know..and the pride of knowing:

wait: did you even think for A moment I would do all this for remaining quiet, silent and all knowing?? Bull shit to the proverb "Nirai kudam Thazumbathu"..I flaunt my knowledge as Midas his golden touch..as a crow his singing prowess(he does not have to listen to it u see..)

When I feel inadequate:often i do: I think about the luck I have to be infront of the monitor that takes me places. I thank God for having given me the power to appreciate beauty where ever it it and the avid interests to seek it out from its hiding place..

To know, to seek, to understand: Not even the Universe is closed when the desire is open..
Travel my readers..through your mind.. Understand the heavens from your brain..You cant verify it:who cares..Dream of being there.Maybe one day you will be rocketting thru Milky Way to Andromeda...

Now get the rocket seat under you. Mouse ready for push off. Down levers..start countdown...

ZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Lets detour from our trip around Thiruvillikeni to address an appalling issue. Remember "Prophet Mohammed and the cartoons" ?? Here is something equally condemnable, if not more.



A disco bar in Athens, Greece has earned the wrath of the Hindu Community in Europe by displaying posters of the Goddess promoting a whiskey brand. Here are a few excerpts from the article.

"The Indian community in Athens has been trying for the last three months to have the posters removed but in vain."

"Letters have been sent to the American manufacturer of Southern Comfort Whiskey in Tennessee, America, to withdraw the poster but they are all being soundly ignored."

"They are also offended that a Greek company has been using Lord Ram's image on a tissue paper box. Despite protests, the tissues bearing Lord Ram's image have been in circulation for over a year because their German manufacturer has refused to cease production," said Das.

Read more of this article here.

Where is the world going to??? Since when have gods become the vehicles of commercials?

Monday, February 13, 2006

ENNA NADAKARTHU ENGAAAA??/

alaratha koraiya "mama, ethu unga veedu thana? ella enna impress panna try panni vera ethavathu edathuku kootindu vanthutela?" appdinu kobama keeten.
"ellada ambi!!ethu nambathan. ulla va" nu kaiya pudichu kuttindu ponar!!

kaiya pudika than vendi erunthuthu enna anga namma madhavan, sada,ellarum koodi ninnu komalam aduchindu eruntha!! azagana Iyengar athu ponna namma kanniga!! aha!! manasu padinde !! "Thiru Thirudi....!!"

What would you have done in such a situation? probably whipped out a autograph book, given it to them and had it signed? No I did not think so!! we are bit better classed than that!! Masters and PHds from america and autograph hunting!!!

Aha!! verandah thookam than pochu, atleast oru filter kappiyavathu kedaikuma nu ulla nozhanchen!! Aha veedu na ethu allavo veedu!!! super, excellent. marvellous...adikinde pogalam!! Naduvula Thazva oru super mutham(central spot in a Brahmin house). open to sunlight of course.
centre a arrange panni eruntha Thulasi madam. Madras terrace: kolu kolu nu superb. Kattu kattu a adukinde pora antha "brahmin" house architecture. Pin kattu varaikum ore parvala pakara mathiri..Madi padi suthi mela motta madi.. Mela madiku vantha: backdrop namba sarathy kovil..aha!!! ennanunu solluven..
eppidi enna mathiriye asanthu poithan "ethiri" pada location masterum vetta pudichu erukaru.!!!

enna nanna ulla kotinudu poi, ukkara vehu, mami kaiyala supera oru filter coffee. aha etha etha than na ethirparthen!!! palla patta veshamnu nanna oru muzham thooki kudichen.. Mama full impress...

Konjam neran pesindu erunthom..Nalla experience. THE HINDU RLT mathiri oru anubhavam..later we moved outside to watch the movie's picturisation..
Art directoroda pechu koduthathula theriya vanthuthu eppo ellam brahmin setting la erukara ponna than heroine a poda directors virumbaranga..appuram thiruvallikeni ke oriya antha "lived in look" vera engaiyum eppo madras la dupe panna mudiyarthu ella. enna erunthalum "oldest nook of madras" ellaya?

adakam odukama, dhawani katindu srirangam, thiruvallikeni nu erukara ponnungala than pasangalukku pudichu eruku. apdinu reasons sollinde ponar. manasu othu poi yosika arambichen...

I wanted to escape from the chaos on the sets. so total escape agi marupadiyum 4:30 manikku mamavudam kovilluku poiten. Anga mama alangaram pannanum, setha ukkanthundu eru nu sollitu poitar.
Thirumba oru pradhakshanam. Now I went to each and every sannithi. After listening to so much about their avatharam,was able to appreciate the beauty of each..Lord Parthasarathy took my breath away. Pattum pithambaramum theva ella, ethu potalum na than king nu..aha..
Thiru kanden, Thirumeni kanden nu amma solra pasuram...kathula ulichuthu..
Nindra thirukolathula,azaghu.. Perumala sevichutu konja nazhi "THIRUVAI MOZHI" mandapathula Dwajasthambam munnala ukkanthen!!

Konjam nazhikellam " OTHA KOTU" .perumal porapadu kana ariguri...The umbrellas were carried inside majestically. ten guys of ages from 18 to 23, nethila srichuram yetindu, readya ninna. Thera therantha!! Aha!! Parthasarathy utsavar!!
Pasuram solli, katiyam agi,
Perumal porapadu..
Nalu vetthiyum kolam pottu, thoranam katti!! each day is a festival here nu purinjuden..

Friday, February 10, 2006

Sari, sari, matterku varen.. I had gone a long way before I realised I was supposed to have been at the temple. Oru above turn a pottu, left adichu, niruthinen Koviloda parking lotla...eppo...Peiyar karanathoda arambikalam...

Thiru+ alli+keni = term of respect+ lily+well. Quite literally means a place of such felicity that lilies grew in the wells of houses. All I think about is that, the wells were so shallow and had so much mud that apart from moss and lichens:::Lilies took over. Again maybe the recent storms have affected the routine..

The temple itself is charming. Not so huge and intimidating as Srirangam or Kanchipuram. A lane's length and 1/4 of a lane's width forms this beautiful temple of the Thondai Mandala Rajas. Believed to have been built by their vassals from the revenue to the King. All grant to the temple was recorded and still is within the grasp of Lord Venkatakrishnan.A professor of mine, Dr.B.S.Murthy who lives in Parthasarathypuram(Nungambakkam) has a title deed that his land was sold to him by Lord Sarathy..cool right?

Coming back to the temple, Lord Parthsarathy reigns in supreme glory flanked by His family. There are separate shrines for Lord Narasimha, Rama, Ranganatha and Shri Varadaraja. As for me,a circumlocution of the temple gives me more peace than the santum themselves. If you happen visit on a monday morning after the morning buzzle has died down, the experience is soothing.The Lord, majestic in his white dothi, welcomes with a pacifying smile. Prasadam distributed at 9:00 would fill a hundred stomachs with a mouthful. Sitting on the steps of Shri Vedavalli Thayar sannithi, I ponder gently on the Supreme being. My reverie is broken by the sound of the pigeons crowing lustily in the Temple courtyard. Delicious smells from the Thirumada palli waft through the air!!Forbidden pleasure. I force myself to think away from the Sakkarapongal being prepared for the Lord.(growl growllll) (am already thinking of waiting till 11 to see if there are any more distributions!!!!!!Hoping to Heaven.).

The Batter looks enquiringly at me! He is also sitting on the steps and waiting for the prasadam to be taken inside the santorum. I move closer and enquire him of the temple.. "Entha kovila pathi..."Americala erukela? ennoda mama paiyanum anga than erukan. Pittsburgh kovila...

"Aha!!!Mama varthaila konjam "wistfullness" theriyartho nu side trackla kathai pogartha thaduthu niruthi::: Chinna kovil thane? !!!!!!!ANDAVA!!!ETHU ENNA VAMBU!!!It was as though I had compared it to a road side Pillaiyar kovil!!! Glorious start to a taciturn morning....I am just reproducing some facts he shared with me...chumma soodu vecha auto meter kanakka mama::::adikikitte ponar::: "enna sollitel pongo"!!!

A FEW RECOLLECTIONS:

Entha kshetram Sevicha 5 ksetram sevicha palan.. Rendu Perumallku kodi maram nattu vishashama Brahmotsavam nadakara ooru nu romba pugaznthar. Romba beautifula 10 Pasuram Thirugmangai Alwarum, 1 pasuram Thirumazhisai Alwarum, 1 pasuram Peiyalwarum padirkartha sonnar.It seems that the idol of Sarathy utsavar was sculpted around five times. To the utter consternation of the sculptor, the face got cut by the 'ulli' all again and again. Then it was decided that Lord Sarathy wanted to remain so to remind his devotees that He will forever carry their burden.... for them.

Enga erukara Narasimhar Yogathula erukarthunala, sannathila mani adicha, Meditation kalanjudum nu manikku nake kadayathu!!! Entha kovil yanai "Nammazhwar nu, athu namma Bharathiyara Thoothi vesiduthu!!adutha nale athuvum poi sernthuduthu!! Appuram kovillukku yanaiye kedaiyathu!!!"(onnu vangi tharatuma???)

It seems that the yogic aura emanating from the sanctum santorum is so strong as to influence the people coming for prayer that their confusions are put to rest and leave with the feeling that God knows and He will take care..."Thelliya singam agiya Devai" - One who clears the mists of confusion...Also this power after accumulating from the years gone by was so great that animals going by had their minds at the mercy of the Lord who took no notice!!Elephants would go mad if herded by that side..So appo eruntha kovil periyava (thalai) ellarum sernthu Perumaloda yoga sakthiya oru kumbha thula avahanam panni, Kairavini la seal pannita apdinar..

Feeling as though I was a part of "VELAN"(courtesy sun tv), "yaru Kairavini nu etten!!!!"
mama: " yaru ella. athu than entha kovil thepa kolanu potar!!!"
me: "wow!!thepakulam ellam eruka??"nu ketten.thirumbhi athe mora!!!sorry manichukongo!!"

Ethara vishayangal, Perumal nagai+nattu, various donations, Hindu(press) support, TVS magnanimity nu neriya pesindu erunthar..Pozhuthu porthe theriyala.

I had told him that I had to go to Adyar. Orukku poganum nu sonnen. That day happenend to be Ekadesi and Perumal porapadu romba visheshama nadakkum nu sonnar..Avathula erunthu coffee 'saptutu', konjam nazhi 'verandah'la paduthuntu polame!!Emperumanaiyum sevichutu pogalam..appidinu oru invitation pottar!!!Nanno ella vattam, adyar poi elliots beachla 11 manikku poralratha vida, enga mama vittla oru filter coffee adikalame nu ammaku oru phona pottutu..poi sernthen.. anga pona !!!!!!

AHA MAKKALE ENGA ENNA NADAKUTHU???!!!!to be continued.....thodarum thadumatrangal..

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Pillaiyara Pola Vazhum Bachelorsku Thiruvallikeni...Triplicane...

This song from "Kaadal" exactly portrays the small hamlet in the busy throbs of Chennai. Bharathi, Avvai, Gandhi, Netaji, once even Kannagi used to stare upon the weary traveller on the stands of the Marina. Their frown is really terrifying. Almost minatory. Somehow the pigeons dont seem to be cowered down much. So much for maintenance.

I had gone home before I defended my PH.d proposal. Amma kaila proposals! Jathaga tholai!!. appa escape nu na odivanthuthu yarukku puriyaporthu!!sorry wrong track..

Kathala paperkum kaiyuma appa!!! nee yen thiruvallikeni poi antha Perumala pathutu vara kodathu...aga!! vanthu rendu naal than arthu..Manushan torture!!! ennakku kalyanam agala nalum sanyasi ella!! planning to go to Spencer's sorry!!! amma: sari ma moraikatha..poren. POREN!!!!
appdiye oru kaka kuliyala potu, en Honda dio(en thangaiyoda kobathukku alanalum!!: thangaigal oziga) va kick start panni kelambinen. sari porthu than porom beach pakkama poi oru look vittutu polam nu 6B routa follow pannen..
Gandhi la arambichu Kannagi!!!aiyo, kannagi sela enga??tension agi thedina appuram than antha controversy gnabagam vanthu thrumbinen. Pycrofts road kulla.

College days...Radha Krishnan salaila erunthu en friendoda adikadi vantha ninaivugal...
Thirumbi antha beach..evalavvu ananthama ninaivugal..We never used to see a time for being there. Early mornings, late evenings.. Oru impulsela vandiya niruthi, rendu nimisham apdiye..staring at the horizon..gnabagangal...


Actually the Beach so lovingly called "Marina"by Queen Elizabeth looks a lot cleaner now. Since the JJ governement has radically cleaned out the mess and the Tsunami for its part cleaned it at the source: PEOPLE.. Musing seriously, Marina is said to be a lot safer than it was before, say around 3 years back. Also add the distinction of being the second largest beach in the world!!!!

eppo than arambika poguthu: ARMCHAIR TRAVELOGUE..get ready to travel to triplicane with me....

As you move into the outskirts of Triplicane itself, The Presidency college, the Queen Mary's College, Victoria Hostel, Lady Willington schools: all these seem to set the background for a lovely colonial period. You are not disappointed. The buildings are as beautiful as authentic and provide a lovely backdrop for an architectural buff. You can see such colonial buildings in the Mount road aka Anna salai and in Kamarajar salai aka Beach road(triplicane).

The MAC stadium. where no match ever seems to be scheduled. I had dinner once in the MCC club inside with a friend. First and last time I went to the place. Not that it was bad. It is a great ground. Dubbed "Batman's paradise"; Sachin's favorite ground. Best sportsmanship in the world. It holds a world record: Saeed Anwar hit 195 here. But still got a standing ovation!!!Imagine Eden Gardens at that stage!!!!

Further drawn in by the serene beauty of the Victorian era, my guess is that you will stop short. Thats where the beauty ends. You have come home now to the Indigeneous Indian Triplicane. Open Sewages, Puliamarathadi Bus stop, Old book stalls where you can get priceless books for throwaway rates, Publishing houses and New book stalls: hundreds of them as crowded as pigoen holes in a temple. Road side eateries providing to the demand of the thousands of Bachelors who live in countless mansions dotting the banks of the Big street that flows like the Buckingham canal. Almost as smelly.

Dotted with innumerable stalls owned by mulla capped Begums and Sahibs and patroned by all and sundry(Kovil Pattar atha mami utpada) selling bangles of various hues(I am not sarojini Naidu) , trinkets, shoes and glittering costumes for Nikkas and bookstands for placing the Holy Kuran. What not? Name it and they have it....

Moving further inside, you see Mosques. Literally tens of them. Entha kurukku santhellam nanum en friend sarangum,eppidi ellam suthi erukom nu nyabagam!!! We used to order pizza from Domino's at sarangs house. Sure that he will lose his way and will be later than 1/2 an hour..pizza free nu!!!!! Enga.. engalukku mela erukan avan..pona varam beachla cricket adina paiyan ellam ennikku pizza hut delivery..delivery ennamo super than. beachulaiyum!!!!

sorry:::back to track....

Further down the famous "Ratna Cafe". If you are planning a trip to Chennai, go here once than to any other eatery and have Idly Sambhar. Ultimate!!!Ice house, more mosques, and the beach again. Voila! we have circumlocuted(wrong direction though) over triplicane.

Santum Sanctorum in next.....kudos.

Monday, January 30, 2006

KANGALAL KAIDUSEI
God's gift to man is vision. The power to see. To see is to know. Touch arouses passion, Speech the mind, but sight: it reaches the soul. We hear about hundred accidents each day and remain unaffected. But to see one is enough: The power of visual impact.
Thinking of the last few words, I also recall a pair of eyes which caused a man to become a slave to them forever. It actually turned out to be a lady who was the culprit. He was constantly behind her. Seeking her out in a crowd, parasol handed, running after her to protect from the elements to washing her clothes ::everything that a man might otherwise feel ignominious about. Though ridiculed and fun mongered by everybody around him, he did not swerve in his purpose a bit. To see his lady's eyes was his sole thought.
I think you feel caught in the middle of the story. Let me explain the background. Our man was a villager from Tamilnadu and His Lady, a devadasi hailing from the same town. This strange devotion reached the ears of Swami Ramanuja who was on his pilgrimage to this town. He called the fellow to Him and enquired of his obsession with the girl. The fellow explained that carnal desire was not the reason but in fact he was bewitched by her eyes and was devoted only to them. After all, he argued,"Didnt she have the most beautiful eyes in the world?"
Swami Ramanuja smiled and asked of him whether he would forget the maiden if he showed a pair of more beautiful eyes. He was testing the constancy of the man's thought and whether the eyes were the only claim as he put it. He replied without hesitation that he would be a slave to them for ever. For his part, Ramaunuja promised to show him the most beautiful eyes in all worlds.
When on his next pilgrimage to Srirangam, the most sacred of all kshetras for Sri Vaishnavas, He took along the young fellow. He went upto Namperumal Sannithi and called out to the idol "Aranga ".What happened could not ever ever be described by mortal words. The idol: a stone one:openedits eyes from the Bhoga Nitra Lord Ranganathar is supposed to be in. He was now looking at the two before Him with infinite grace and love that are forever His Kalyana Gunangal.

The man fell on his knees and prayed to the Lord never to close His eyes and always show them to him. All thoughts of the Devadasi had vanished from his mind and it was now totally filled with the pure love for Sri Ranganathar.

The eyes that bestow all the prosperity, remove all sins and fill the heart with peace. I will go ahead to just give a hint of how they have been praised by great Alwars and others so that in their words we may try to catch a glimpse of them.

In Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam, பத்ம பதர விசாலாக்ஷ பத்மநாப (Padma Padra Vishalaksha Padma Nabha)... by Arjuna..

In Tirupavai by Sri Andal in Pasuram 22,
கிங்கிணி வாய்செய்த தாமரைப் பூப்போலே
செங்கண் சிறுசிறுதே எம்மேல் விழியாவோ
திங்களும் ஆதியனும் எழுந்தார்ப் போலே
அங்கண்ணி ரண்டும் கொண்டு எங்கள்மேல் நோக்குதியேல்
எங்கள்மேல் சாபம் எழுந்தேலொ ரெம்பாவாய்
(Kinkini Vai Seitha Thamarai Poo Pole, Senkan siru siruthey emmel Vizhiyavo, Thingalum Adithyanum ezuntharpole Ankannerendum kondu engal mel Nookuthiyel, Engal mel sabam ezinthelor empavai ) :: Destroyer of Pavas with mere sight!!!

பச்சை மா மலை போல் மேனி, பவழ வாய் கமலச் செங்கண்(Pachai Maa malai pol meni, Pavazha vaai Kamalachenkan!!!) by Thondaradipodi alwar in Praise of Sri Ranganathar. "Lotus eyed fellow"

Various other references can be quoted. I limit myself to these which have explicit notations.

truly, "இச்சுவை தவிர யான் போய், இந்திர லோகம் ஆளும், அச்சுவை பெரினும் வேண்டேன் அரங்கமா நகருள்ளானே!! (Ecchuvai Thavira Yan Poi, Indira Logam Aalum, Achuvai Perinum venden Arangamanagarullane!!!!!!)"

more to come. stay tuned...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

ThilakaashtaMahishaBandhanam

Endharo Mahaanubhavulu, andhariki vandhanamulu.

This is the song not on my lips, but my mind and soul... day after day after day. Since a lot of bloggers I pay a regular visit to seem to have a song of the day, I decided to start with a song of the year/era/eon.

Time to justify title? Here it goes...

Centuries ago, in the court of KrishnaDevaRaya was the great Thenali Rama - the clever, witty and nutty court jester, pride of the kingdom next only to the king himself. One fine day, a well learned pundit by name Rama Sastry pays a visit to KrishnaDevaRaya's court and challenges the court's creme de la creme to a war of words and wisdom which is only too gladly accepted by Thenali Rama. The next day, Thenali Rama brings to the court a small bundle of cloth and announces that the bundle is "ThilakaashtaMahishaBandhanam", the book of standards by which the duel would be judged. Having never heard of the book or the existence of such standards, Rama Sastry fears the ignominy and the reputation that would be marred eternally on being defeated by Thenali Rama based on the book. He flees the court and the kingdom on the pretext of excusing himself to get the books of his standards. Krishnadeva Raya eagerly seeks to hear about the book and Thenali Rama opens the bundle to reveal its contents much to the amazement and amusement of the courtiers - A stack of Sesame plants bundled by the reign rope of a buffalo and explains thus

Thilakaashtam - Sesame plant
MahishaBandhanam - rope to tie a Buffalo

In all, the bundle contained Sesame plants and a rope to tie a buffalo, which together makes "ThilakaashtaMahishaBandhanam". The poor pundit was scared and confused and decided it was better to abscond than be humbled by a plant and a rope. Needless to say, he was the hero of the court and the kingdom. The story has been compressed much for brevity. Those who wish to read the whole, could visit here.

Thus is the bottomline of the story and of the blog and there, I have untied the title as well. I am no Thenali Rama to present a collection potent enough to humble the scholarly in my blogs. This is an attempt at assembling ideas - ordinary and omnipresent, dire and dearth, wierd and wired.

Wish me luck.