Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I can't think of an apt title

These days, what with women's lib and everything, the old adage, "Behind every successful man is a woman" is slowly taking on a new avatar: "Behind every successful woman is a man". Still, I found this bio-profile of the Consul General of India in San Francisco, Susmita Thomas, totally hilarious.

Slightly self-trumpety as it sounds, I have no issues whatsoever with the first three paragraphs. But what on earth are the last three paragraphs doing in the Consul-General's profile? The description about her husband Ravi's achievements is even longer than her own! This chap is in no way related to the Indian Embassy other than being the Consul General's husband. How is what he did, is doing and going to do even relevant in this context? Perhaps this is how Susmita is supposed to show her loyalty to her husband - don't know! Aaaargh!

This brings me to another question: am I the only one who finds the practice of women doctors in India identifying themselves Dr. (Mrs.) Female DoctorName on name-boards odd? How many male doctors are there who have the compulsive need to identify themselves as married by saying something like this: Dr. Male DoctorName (married) on their name-boards?

Monday, March 29, 2010

New look

Finally, I tried out the new Blogger template designer. It is so much easier to change the various elements of the blogger page. Thus, in about 15 minutes of picking and choosing, my blog has got a new look. Sweet! Though I usually avoid it in interest of speedy loading, this time round I could not resist picking a background picture.

Do hop on over and let me know what you think. For the lazy ones, here is a screenshot of "The New Look":

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Vidathu Karuppu

Last week S discovered all the episodes of the Vidathu Karuppu television series on some website online. If you recall, Vidathu Karuppu (VK) is part two of the thrilling Marma Desam stories penned by Indra Soundarajan. VK was telecast on Sun TV more than a dozen years ago. It was one of the very few TV series that I watched regularly. I still remember waiting eagerly every Thursday night 9.00pm for the next episode of VK.

So when S asked if I was interested in re-watching it, it took very little thinking on my part to say yes. Other than remembering the climax, I recalled nothing whatsover of the series. So we started watching it. And I realized all over again as to why I was so attracted towards the series.

Each episode is divided into scenes from the past and the present - both these parts are rivetingly done and more often than not, end in an event which leaves you with burning curiosity as to what happened next.

Needless to say, S and me were completely hooked. The main advantage we had was that we just had to click on the next button to see the next episode instead of having to wait a whole week to know what happened (man, it must have been excruciating back then to wait for a entire week - and even more exasperating to see a a few minutes of recap every week when that time could have been used to move the story further). The downside was that we were completely addicted.

On Sunday we finally finished watching the series (ya in one week we watched all 84 episodes of it and yup while working full time and everything). The series was as satisfying as ever. We are still discussing the nuances and we kinda miss the characters now - addiction withdrawal symptoms I guess. I wonder how come such thrilling serials no longer get made in Tamil these days. Instead we have these sob-fests called mega serials which go on for years together. Ugh.

Another thing I liked while watching VK was seeing how naturally the various characters were dressed. But I wondered at the protaganist Reena's clothes. She mostly wore extremely loose tops and jeans/skirts or tent-like salwar kameezes. She was supposed to be a modern young woman from Chennai - so why was she wearing such ill-fitting clothes? Then I realized with a pang - that's exactly how most "normal" Chennai girls used to dress back then. Including me. *blush*. Oh well, you live and you learn, no?

If you know Tamil, Vidathu Karuppu is a must watch series. It has aged well with time and is as gripping now as it was more than a dozen years ago.

p.s. do you know if DVDs of good Tamil serials are available for sale?

Thursday, March 18, 2010


While driving to work this morning, I was hearing NPRs broadcast about the latest series of allegations of child abuse against priests in the catholic church. These priests are supposed to be people in God's service and they behaved worse than animals! Even more disgusting is the fact that their higher ups actually tried to protect the predators instead of stripping them of their titles and kicking them right out of their community. How will people continue to have faith in a religious institution if they know that even the most vulnerable and innocent members of it have no safety?

Not long ago, another of those Hindu Con men, sorry God-men, in India got exposed for what he was - a greedy, lustful charlatan. This is not the first time this is happening. Religious and spiritual figureheads being caught doing immoral, illegal and criminal activities is something which happens in India with even greater regularity than the coming of summer. In fact, the more I read such news, the more I wonder every time I hear about a new God-man or spiritual guru, as to when exactly that person will be found to be a fraud as well.

Given that such news has become a fact of daily life, I have never been able to look up to a religious or spiritual figurehead. Since childhood, I have always strongly felt that my religious faith and my spiritual inclination is something intensely personal between me and the supernatural force that I believe guides the universe. I do not need a "broker" to talk to God or a spiritual guru (the very term spiritual guru sets my fraud alarm bells ringing) to guide me onto the path of truth or whatever, thank you very much. Really, I cannot see what makes someone else, who is just as human as I am, closer to a higher power or more blessed or more divine because they claim that is so.

However, there are plenty of people, not necessarily illiterate or uneducated who totally believe in their gurus no matter what anyone else says. I was seeing a rather disgusting interview on the internet the other day where the fraudster Swami was giving some cock and bull story as to why he was inculpable and the interviewer was actually looking at him like he believed every word was true! Whoever came up with the phrase "blinded by faith" knew what they were talking about.

I guess for every hundred fraudster gurus out there, there might be a genuine guru. But if you were so enlightened and free of the materialistic world, why would you encourage people idolizing you and worshiping you as God? Isn't renunciation of all worldly wants the first step towards a "pure" life?

However, as I said, faith is something which is intensely personal and I have no interest in questioning other people's choices and beliefs especially since I get annoyed when people question mine. Live and let live without causing any harm to anyone is my motto.

Still, it does not stop me from feeling anger at the gullibility, naivete and faith of people which enables the fraudsters, every time such an expose happens.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Blogger gets a template designer!

Oooooh this sounds promising! Can't wait to try it out.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Bullet points

- The key to enjoying restaurant food is to never look up its nutritional information. Recently we ate at PF Changs and when we got home I looked up the calories in the sesame chicken bowl I had. Turns out it was 525 calories per serving and apparently the plate had *two* servings in it. So I had had a whopping 1050 calories for lunch and this was not even counting the appetizer and the soup. Gaaaaah! I am so not going to look up restaurant calorie information henceforth.

- Watched Vinnaithaandi Varuvaya. I liked the low keyed tone of the movie and the very down-to-earth, real-life dialogs, settings and clothes. Even the clothes in the dream song-sequences was something which "normal" people could wear. I enjoyed the movie though I thought the second half dragged a bit and I was not totally satisfied with the turn of events. Another outcome of watching this movie was me actually being able to stand (and maybe even *like*) the hitherto extremely annoying Simbu. Also, though I had not heard the entire soundtrack of the movie before (really) I thought the songs, though forcibly inserted in some places, sounded good on screen and have now downloaded them to hear them through.

- Is Karthik the most happening name for movie-heroes? Off the top of my head, I remember that the heroes in Alaipayuthey, Mozhi and now, Vinnaithandi Varuvaya were called Karthik. Or is it because Karthik is a very common Tam name? I had three classmates named Karthik in undergrad and have three cousins named Karthik. Don't know. I can only be happy that Babu/Bharani or some such name did not catch the fancy of movie-makers.*

- I have become a big fan of guacamole. I found this recipe which is so easy to make and yummy as well. Avocado being made of plenty of good stuff, it is a total win-win situation I say!

* I have nothing against people named Babu or Bharani. Just that I hate those names for no reason.