December 27, 2005

Yahoo "Dot" ID

Yahoomail has come with a secondary email address feature. You can create a new Yahoo Id (with a dot if you want) and use this in place of the existing one. But both these IDs will have same account. Read more here and create the ID here. Does this has anything to do with the new version?

December 24, 2005

Done with Half-Life! Almost...

Today on twenty fourth December, Yours Truly, the owner of this blog is twenty four years old! Assuming an average life expectancy, I have already spent almost half of my life on planet earth. The past had been good and future looks promising provided I put some hard work.

But at this very moment, I must admit I really do not know why I have been doing what I have been doing and what I want to do in life. I have started thinking now-a-days what life is all about and why is I alive here.

I do not want to write anything further but would like to quote from a passage I came across titled Being Twenty-Something, It's Really Hard, the source of which I actually do not know. I think it sums up the dilemma to an extent.

They call it the Quarter-Life Crisis. It is when you stop going along with the crowd and start realizing that there are many things about yourself that you didn't know and may not like. You start feeling insecure and wonder where you will be in a year or two, but then get scared because you barely know where you are now.

You look at your job, and it is not even close to what you thought you would be doing. Or you realize that you are going to have to start at the bottom of hierarchy, and that really scares you. You see what others are doing and find yourself judging more than usual because suddenly you realize that you have certain boundaries in your life and are constantly adding things to your list of what is acceptable and what isn't. One minute, you are insecure and then the next, secure.

You laugh and cry with the greatest force of your life. You feel alone and scared and confused. Suddenly, change is the enemy and you try and cling on to the past with dear life, but soon realize that the past is drifting further and further away, and there is nothing to do but stay where you are or move forward. You get your heart broken easily and wonder how someone you loved so much could do such damage to you. Or you lie in bed and wonder why you can't meet anyone decent enough that you want to get to know better. You question your existence, you're beliefs and all that you thought was right. You go through the same emotions and questions over and over, and talk with your friends about the same topics because you cannot seem to make a decision. You worry about loans, money, and the future and making a life for yourself...and while winning the race would be great, right now you'd just like to be a contender!

December 23, 2005


Thanks a lot to my friend who forwarded this link to me.

This has the preview of songs from the latest album Kavyageethikal, which are poems by famous Malayalam poets sung by G Venugopal. His first album in this genre Kavyaragam had good reviews, but I was not lucky to hear the songs.

I have heard some of these poems (eg. Saphalami Yathra) a hundred times during the recitation competitions in my school, so much so that hearing it again gives so many triggers along the memory lane and makes my mind lighter and nostalgic.

There are no copyright issues involved in downloading these, because it is provided by the distributors Manorama Music itself for promotion.

Once again, a hundred thanks to my friend!

Yahoo Search My Web 2.0

At last I am lucky to find a user friendly book marking tool for web pages.

My Web 2.0 feature of Yahoo Search is a new service from Yahoo, where you can bookmark and tag web pages, as you find them through search. I have been using Yahoo Bookmarks and was not happy with it, copy-pasting the link was a tedious job. It was easy shifting service, because of the import feature through which I could transfer all my links from Yahoo Bookmarks to My Web. And to add to that there is the option to share these links with my community, which is promptly integrated with Yahoo 360. Good Enough!

December 15, 2005

Google Reader

I was finding it difficult to browse through blogs to check if they have been updated, finally decided to subscribe to Bloglines one week back.

It seems Google Labs' latest offering is a similar feed aggregator named Google Reader.

Bloglines is better as of now, but Google Reader is still in its Beta infancy!

December 09, 2005

Ennum Nanmakal!

I adore Sathyan Anthikkad, the Film Director.

I adore Sreenivasan, the Script and Dialogue Writer.

But, I adore the combination of the duo more!

I thought I had seen almost all the movies from the duo! But Surya TV telecasted another one yesterday night; Ennum Nanmakal which I had not seen yet and is one of their best.

There must be lots of Mallus who like Sathyan-Sreeni movies, for a various reasons. I tried to find out why I do, and the reasons listed here should be similar with most of those Mallus out there.

I have always been ambitious in life, everybody is. At various stages of my life I had planned my future and all this plans to be affluent had one single aim; to live a in a small beautiful village in Kerala where people do not care much about internet or politics. This dream village had wonderful and innocent people to live with and endless stretches of paddy fields, a small river, lots of coconut and mango trees etc.

The milieu of Sathyan-Sreeni films have been a similar village. I have heard Sathyan speaking passionately about how he would like to spend his leisure time in Anthikkad, his native village and how the place has encouraged him to make films about village life. And more than capturing the natural beauty of the villages, he has been successful in portraying the innocent people of these villages and their lives with at most reality. I think I like these films because while watching them I get the pleasure of living my dream life, at least for three hours.

It is not mandatory that the Sathyan-Sreeni film should have a villain. Even if there are villains, these characters are never mafia dons or suicidal maniacs. They are all normal people, innocent people from villages, who do some bad things in certain situations of life. The story plays all these conventional character mannerisms of heroism and villainous, and the characters just blend into it; and this gives the proximity of the film to real life drama. I specifically liked the characters for I wish and believe that all people are basically good at heart. At the end of the film you love them all, be it villain or hero and wish if you could be there with them in the on-screen village. And there lies the beauty of duo’s films.

My mom's house is in a village near to the borders of Trichur district where it meets Ernakulam district. From there, Ernakulam town is one hour travel where as Trichur is almost three hours. My own house is in Ernakulam, and due to the proximity to the city of Cochin these places are more developed. But the Trichur area being far away from Trichur town has been neglected by the district officials and is less developed. The border line between the districts is a river which you will have to cross by boat. So whenever we crossed the river to travel to my Mom’s house, we used to tease Mom telling this. Because you need to wait by the river side for a minimum of one hour to get a bus, we used to get a lot of time for this teasing. (We would get buses in every five minutes at the Ernakulam side)

In spite of this, I have always liked my Mom’s village better than my own. I have stayed there for two years with my Grand Parents when I was less than five years old. The people there were very friendly and innocent. I specifically remember one old friend of my Grand Father, Kasukka whom I was very scared of and times when I went to festivals like Kodungallur Pooram and Vaakkadappuram with my Grand Father; these experiences have left permanent marks in my mind. The characters in Sathyan-Sreeni films always had the mannerisms of some of the innocent people whom I have seen in there, and the scenes make me nostalgic.

Apart from these, the humor sense of Sreenivasan has greatly contributed to the popularity of all the films. He has never bothered about acting as a dumb character in his own creations. As a script writer, he always handled the subject with maturity and the scenes always had the real life touch to them. From Ennum Nanmakal, I specifically liked the scene in which Sreenivasan proposes to Santhikrishna. That was very original and classy and involved no drama that is usually seen on films in similar situations.

I would just list some of the films here, because each one of them can inspire me to write so much as to create a new blog entry altogether. There best of these films are T.P. Baalagopalan M.A, Sanmanasullavarkku Samaadhaanam, Sreedharante Onaam Thirumurivu, Ponmuttayidunna Thaaraavu, Varavelppu, Mazhavilkkaavady, Thalayanamanthram, Ennum nanmakal, Sandhesham, Golaanthara Vaartha, Veendum chila veettu kaaryangal, Narendran Makan Jayakaanthan Vaka and Manassinakkare. Some of these films are not from the duo, but still they are the best.

December 02, 2005

Thought for The DAY

Ella Nayinte Monum Oru Divasam Undu!

Yesterday was world Aids day. I have always wondered who decides that so-and-so date can be celebrated as so-and-so day, that today will be X's day and tomorrow will be Y's day. Every day is different and unique for every individual, you celebrate your birthday, birthdays of your relatives and close friends, marriage day etc and mourn the death days of your loved ones. Apart from that, people of a state, nation or religion or locality collectively celebrate special days, which would usually have a well-known history for the day being celebrated as so-and-so day. As a school child, I have come across many Children's Days and Gandhi Jayantis which were holidays. I was taught that these were birth or death dates of some of the famous national leaders. I could assimilate the logic then, for I knew that those people were really great to be honored like that. (As primary school child I was not taught history then, but only knew the name of these leaders).

But as I grew up, I came across so many other days for which I could not find out the reason behind the celebration. As youngster I came to know about Valentine's Day, Lover's Day, Father's Day, Mother's Day etc. I could not understand why one would love one's mother more on a day of the year if everybody else is doing so, I do not think people who were brought up in traditional Indian culture can assimilate the idea. But there are always people who are benefited and would like to promote the event, the media and Card companies being some. Extremist mindset towards these celebrations has lead to violent protests where people celebrating Valentine's Day have been harassed. I find many of these days stupid enough to ignore, but I cannot agree to these violent protests for it is one's wish if he/she would like to celebrate a day or not and no body else has a say in it unless it creates some disruption to their daily life.

I still find Mallus the most orthodox community among Indians. But even in Kerala, media houses like Malayala Manorama and Asianet have been trying to inculcate this habit of celebrating the days. They have been widely trying to market these days particularly among youth, through various varieties of promotions. And this has resulted in the present generation being more interested in this celebration culture, though they may not know why this day is selected for a particular celebration. I also belong to this group.

Apart from these two, there is a third type of day celebration that is becoming popular, which is generally aimed to create awareness among people about anything be it about Aids or environmental hazards. The World Aids Day belongs to this type. Whole world celebrated the World Aids Day, but I doubt how many know why December 1st was selected for the same. I wonder how many would be interested in finding this out (I for one, would not like to). But there was huge celebrations going on everywhere, every channel modified their icons to add that twisted red tag to them and competed in bringing home the best movie based on Aids to home. Music channels competed in telecasting the best music concerts held world wide, to create awareness about Aids prevention. I was watching one of these shows, where all the celebrations were happening in typical Bollywood style with men and women were performing on stage with barely any dress worn. I could not really get how this was going to increase the awareness about Aids, but I found this more as a promotion to the culture which spreads Aids. Nobody can be blamed, because there is no hard and fast rule on how to celebrate Aids day, and no one knows why this day is selected Aids Day!

Meanwhile my own state Kerala is celebrating an anti-ragging day, to create awareness against ragging among student community. Keralites are lucky that they are able to celebrate a day on everything, good or bad, happening world wide, often accompanied by a hartal. You will find Keralites celebrating in protest of capitalist policies of American Government, Central government policy against rebels and naxalites of Nepal etc. By the vigour with which media is promoting the second type of days (e.g.: Valentine's Day and Lover's Day) and the political parties promoting the third type (e.g.: Anti-ragging day), it is not far when people will spent whole 365 days of a year on the day-celebrations rather than doing anything else.

The proverb (the first sentence) will be more true then, Every Dog Has a Day!

October 17, 2005

Over a plate of curry...

Yesterday, I had traditional Kerala chicken curry for dinner, Lucky Me! Not only that it has become several months since I last tasted it, this was prepared my classmate in school who has come down to Hyderabad on a job hunting visit. He (yes, he) has become a great cook if not anything else, and the taste of the curry prompted me to offer him an immediate full-time job, as a "guest" cook in our house. ;-)

Being overtly fat (as per our school standards then), this guy was called "thadiyan" in school. Mine was a residential school run by central government; it was always celebration time for us during the weekends when his parents visited thadiyan in school. Actually this parental visit was allowed only once in a month, but some of the parents visited their wards quite often and thadiyan's parents were among them. When they came, they brought packets of eatables good enough to start a new bakery, a major portion of which was shared by his classmates (including myself). I still do not understand if this surplus quantity attributed to their fear of thadiyan being starved once this sharing happens, or to their desire to make him more fattish. Whatever it was, we had a nice time during most of the weekends, for otherwise we usually starved due to the poor quality of food being served in the school mess.

After four years since I left the school, I came to know that the mess-in-charge who had been administering the food supply for students was caught for cheating and was transferred to some other remote place. At present the school has appointed a student committee for running the mess and the students they are getting a very sumptuous food. This guy, the mess-in-charge looked very "pavam" in his behavior and mannerisms, so I considered him one of the very few harmless individuals in school then. Now when I know that he has made us starve (or prevent us from getting better food) for seven years, he seems to be my first example for "looks being deceptive".

And yes, after eating the delicious chicken curry prepared my friend, I have started rethinking about my decision to marry a girl who is good and interested in cooking. After all, who knows my tastes better than me? ;-)

September 30, 2005

Oil, Oil, We Say...

It was a year before when my manager told me, during my appraisal meeting, that I have to improve my oral communication skills. And yesterday my new manager in my new company gave the first positive feedback as "you have got good written and oral communication skills". If you are wondering what I have done within one year to improve my English, I would have to admit that I have not done anything except that I was more conscious about my Mallu accent. In the appraisal meeting with my first manager in my first company, though there were many things that I had disagreed regarding his feedback, some of them which ultimately lead to me quitting the company later, this one about my bad oral communication was one I whole heartedly agreed. (Even he had opined that I was good in written, so no issues there)

Till I left Kerala for my first job in Chennai, my notion was that Mallus had the best accent in the world. The widespread belief in Kerala that Malayalam is the most difficult language to speak when compared to other languages and thus Mallus can easily speak any language in the world made me proud for being a Mallu and for knowing Malayalam. In fact I still find this statement true, but with an exception, Mallus can speak any language easily but with a Mallu accent.

My pride for being both a Mallu and a linguist was shattered soon after I came to Chennai. My training batch in my new company consisted of three Mallus, all from my college, and others from Tamil Nadu. We were trained on many subjects, being from non-computer background and these classes were handled by different people. A self introduction was a usual routine in these classes. I realised that there is something wrong with how we Mallus introduced that we are from College of Engineering Trivandrum, because our fellow Tamilians started repeating this as if we were singing some song or something. But I could not really make out what is wrong? Many of our seniors had joined this company earlier, and once we did the intro, some of these trainers would say "Ya, I guessed it by the time you said "College"!" What??

The real problem became clear when we had our Personal Development Training towards end of our whole training schedule. This was handled by a lady who was a consultant and had much experience in the field. Part of the training class was about accent, and she began to discuss about typical Indian accents starting from north India. I did agree with her and did laugh with others when she told how people in north won't say "Z" in zero and all that. Atlast, when she came to Mallus I must admit I was surprised, more so when other students were laughing as if this was the funniest of them all. When she told Mallus pronounce "O" as "Oo", I really did not get it! Then she told about a previous incident when she was teaching the same stuff for the managers of a reputed company in Chennai. And when she said Mallus pronounce "O" in Oil etc wrong, one fellow Mallu in the audience asked angrily "What Madam, we say Ooil, Ooil...What is the problem?” I was pacified when she admitted that Chennaites are worse as they pronounce it as aail.

I have been trying for the past one year to get rid of my Mallu accent for English, which I think has become successful. But I must admit, after two years of living outside Kerala and after getting all these positive feedbacks about my communication in English being good, I am still afraid when I pronounce "O". Am I saying it right?

September 26, 2005


Brilliant! That is the word I would like to use to describe the film Black directed by Sanjay Leela Bansali. I hadn’t seen the film yet until its TV premier in Star Gold yesterday. I do regret now that I did not see the film in theatre. Black is definitely a bold attempt from the director, it challenges all the conventions of a contemporary Indian film be it art or commercial. I have seen only one Bollywood film that made watching a film a treat to all my senses, and that is Sholay, but these two films are of extremely different categories. I do not think this as a reason that makes Black special?

The uniqueness of the film lies in the fact that it is difficult to classify the film as commercial or art, based on the conventions we usually use for the purpose. I have always liked the art films by internationally acclaimed directors like Adoor Gopalakrishnan. But these films are always made within low budgets, and usually are made for film festival audiences. At times you have to wait for these films to be shown on TV, the producers know that this film will not be appealing to masses and they refrain from spending money in releasing these films in theatres. The net result is that these films are devoid of the modern filming techniques which combined with the mood of the film, makes it dull for watching. But in Black, Bansali has made the settings look like those of a big budget commercial Bollywood film (or even better than that), and created an aura that you would feel watching a classic academy award winning English movie. Also the characters use English as lavishly as Hindi.

The director has made the best out of his actors, all of whom have performed well. The story is about a girl Michelle McNally who is blind, deaf and dumb, and her teacher Debraj Sahai who tries to give her a normal life. The roles are played by Rani Mukherjee and Amitabh Bachan respectively. The little girl Ayesha Kapoor who enacted the childhood of Michelle McNally did a great job. I liked many scenes in the film, the one in which the little Michelle says her first word "water", the one in which the teacher looses his memory due to Alzheimer’s disease while he was at an ice cream shop and the last scene in which he realises that his student has graduated, are some of them.

J. P Sippy has quit film making, so I cannot expect another Sholay. But I am eager to watch next film by Bansali, and am sure it will be on a theatre screen!

September 22, 2005

War of the Worlds: Internet Version

Bill Gates must be a bewildered man!

I am sure he is very busy now-a-days pondering on how to crack down Google! Not only because MSN search has not become popular, also because his company Microsoft is losing employees who are leaving to join Google.

Meanwhile Google has launched two new products within the last one month. Google talk is a messaging service similar to MSN or Yahoo messengers. But its edge is in the VoIP integration and the simple interface. I have not used it, but those who used the voice messaging told the clarity is very good. Meanwhile, Yahoo has released version 7.0 of its messenger which is voice enabled. Buzz is that Microsoft is trying to buy some VoIP or P2P company; meanwhile eBay has bought Skype, the premier company in this segment.

Blogsearch is an add-on to Google's search service, which is dedicated only for searching blogs. It is anticipated that the tool will make blogs more popular, as it will be easier to find blogs of an individual’s interest.

Meanwhile Yahoo is trying to popularize Yahoo360, its blogging and networking service, through Yahoo messenger. It is also trying to integrate Flickr with rest of its services by enabling login with a yahoo id. Flickr, which was bought recently by Yahoo, is a photo sharing service. User can add friends or family as contacts and set privileges for the photos to decide who should see them and who should not. There is a provision to create groups similar to yahoogroups, but only to share photos. I think it should be integrated with yahoogroups so that all the existing members can use it without registering again to the groups in Flickr, I believe they have plans to do this. Most of these services are also provided by Orkut, similar service from Google, which has recently started integrating it with Gmail login. But Orkut site has always some problem or the other. Yes, it’s still in "beta" version, like most other services from Google, but then beta is not an excuse which can be used for years.

As end users, all we need is some patience and the curiosity to try out these new products. By the time all this predictions of popularity and success in between the product wars of these companies consolidate, we shall have a better cyber world. Till then we shall wait keeping our fingers crossed.

September 19, 2005

Sensor the sensual surveys.

Yuk! That’s what I felt while going through this week's edition of Outlook and India Today. It’s quite sometime since these journals have endorsed the art of surveying to increase their circulation. And the subjects selected had been as sensational as they could make it, those related to sex and city being the most preferred. But this week's editions are the most vulgar of them all. India today has created some survey questions while Outlook has printed pictures akin to those which would be seen on a porn magazine.

I do not believe in the conclusions of any of these surveys, I doubt if too many people take it seriously. But the magazines have made it a habit to conduct surveys on subjects varying from sexology to technology and print them with large pictorial illustrations on maximum pages of an issue, leaving not many pages for news and articles. No body except these magazines can vouch for the authenticity of these surveys, though the results give an impression that these are largely conducted in metros. But then, they need some unorthodox opinions to make it interesting for the readers, opinions which may not always be obtained by actually conducting the survey. So you can't guess what is actually happening behind the scenes.

One thing is for sure, whether you as a person like it or not, these magazines are going to roll-out too many issues on related subjects in the past also, because “they do not running a charity organization” to ignore the increase in circulation by to these surveys and the related content they print. We need to have some sort of censoring mechanism to decide what can and cannot be printed on these journals. Introducing a rating mechanism for these magazines based on their content can also be considered, like how we do for the films currently. Otherwise it would not be long, when these so called journals would roll-out with surveys on subjects you wouldn't have dreamt in your wildest imaginations with contents that would give a stiff competition to porn magazines, I doubt if that is already happening. Also in place should be an authority to check and validate the methodology of conducting these surveys and conclusion of the final results.

August 23, 2005

TWTWTW - Hyderabad Tour

That Was The Week That Was. Last week was the most happening, busy and enjoyable week I ever had in Hyderabad. My family was here for five days on a visit to Hyderabad. We toured the whole city and covered almost all the famous tourist destinations. I was having fever which would have become a show-stopper but I managed to carry on so that they made maximum of their available time here. The itinerary is below.

Day1. 18th AUG.

I had already decided to avail the standard tour packages from any of the travels for City Tour and Ramoji Film City tour. So today I decided to go the places which would not be covered by this tour i.e. Snow World and IMAX theatre. It was 12'O clock in the afternoon by the time we started from Madhapur. We first went for a visit to Hyderabad Central in Panjagutta, which is big shopping mall owned by the Pantaloon group. After that we went to Mangatrai Pearls and Jewels, again in Panjagutta junction. Mangatrais are the famous vendors of the Hyderabad pearls and also give a huge discount for corporate employees. My mother purchased some pearls and they gave us a 30% discount on the final price! The next planned destination was Snow world, but by this time I was feeling the grip of fever more, so we decided to drop the plan and went to IMAX instead. Prasads IMAX is the biggest multiplex theatre complex here in Hyderabad with five screens. After taking some snaps, we went for a walk to Necklace road near Hussain Sagar. An exhibition of agricultural products were happening there, which my parents found interesting. We returned to the room by 6'O clock in the evening.


I had gone to this place 4 days before, on 15th of August with my friends and had found the place boring. So the expectations were low and that may be the reason it was better this time. The place which is just a cluster of shooting locations has been converted to a tourist spot with few rides and all that. There is not much that you would find entertaining for a whole day. If you go by a tour package, the buses would start only after the closing ceremony at 5.30 pm. So you will have to find something or other to spent the day. We took photographs from all the possible places we could, especially the ones which we had seen in films like Darling Darling and Udayananu tharam. They have two tours inside the campus in the red buses you see in the film Udayananu Tharam. First one will take you through some of the shooting places like Taj Mahal, Golden Temple etc. I found the second tour more stupid. It will take you to a cave called "Kripalu". I doubt if the entire structure was carved out, though they claim it was found during some excavation work. Anyway they have done and are doing some sculpturing using cement and uses video projector to show a dancing sculpture, in which century do they think the tourists are from?. We started from the place at 5.30pm, after the closing ceremony. I think the visit would be more interesting if you plan it for half a day.

Day3. 20th AUG. CITY TOUR.

A day's tip through the famous tourist spots in the city. The Southern Travels bus for the tour picked us from Madhapur, but the tour was officially started from Birla Mandir at 9 O'clock. Then we went to Golconda Fort, there are about 300 steps to be climbed to reach the top of the fort from where you can see almost whole of the city. The Quli Qutub Shahi tombs also can be seen from there. Then we went to Salarjung Museum, from there the Mecca Masjid and Charminar which are ride-through, Sudha Car Museum and then to Nehru Zoological Park which was the last destination. Only one hour each was allowed at Golconda, Salarjung Museum and Zoo park due to which we could only have a glance of things. The time duration was obviously not enough but this helped to cover all these places in a single day.


My father was not happy that he could not see the Charminar and Masjid in detail, since both were ride through in the city tour package. He was also interested in shopping at the place. You have lots of jewelers and ladies item shops near Charminar. So after visiting my office at Hitec Sity we went to Charminar. I should say that we made a wise decision. The view of the Masjid was magnificent. The Charminar was an experience, the view from its top refreshing. Mecca Masjid was built using the sand from Mecca, I am not sure it is the story since my guide on previous day did not explain it well. We also bought some chains and all that from hawkers. Then we left to Secunderabad railway station where my brother was to catch the Chennai Express by 4.15.

My parents left the next day, on Monday. In all, the trip was memorable and I am happy that I can now leave this place without any regrets, at any time.

August 03, 2005

Water Water Everywhere But...

It was raining continuously for the last one week, here in Hyderabad. All the lakes, that are existing (including Durgam Cheruvu lake in Hitech City) or has become non existent by encroachments were full, unable to contain any more water. Newspapers carried photographs of submerged houses, and there was fear that the situation will get worse. But then the rains stopped and water began to recede.

The same however did not happen in Mumbai, India's industrial capital. Rains poured 94cms of water within 24 hours, beating the earlier high of 82cm in Chirapunji. The city choked, came to a complete halt with no power supply and dead telephones. People spent whole night in their offices or railway stations or even double-decker buses. I could read about the "spirit of Mumbaikars" in newspapers, which I came to know from friends working there.

It is raining heavily in Kerala for the last two days, flooding many of the places from Kotayam to Kannur including places in Palakkad which was drought hit one month ago. I do not know yet what is the situation today, and am wondering which place is the next target of monsoons?

The most astonishing fact had been the performance of Indian stock markets. It seems they have become resistant to all this, both NSE and BSE have been rising constantly for the last two weeks finding new all time peaks even though BSE stopped trading for a whole day due to the floods! As of today, this trend looks eternal!

July 29, 2005

9/11, 7/11, 7/22...!?

The 'War on Terrorism' is paying off. But who is benefited?

United States of America has always tried its acts of global policing at anywhere it gets a foothold. At the pretext of global peace, they have helped militant groups across the globe to implement their selfish interests as a nation. Consider any of the world’s problematic places, Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan or elsewhere, Americans were there either to create the problem, or to worsen it by helping one of the clashing groups which they think will give them some benefit. But eventually, all of these issues have blown out of control, and that is when they finally try to act as peace makers!. Its like, create an issue and then find ( or pretend like trying ) a solution to it! This can be largely attributed to the lack-of-enough-problems-to-solve within the country itself! They had to pay the price for this when the 9/11 attacks on World Trade Centers happened. Ordinary American citizens, who have only heard about the people getting killed elsewhere, probably by the American marines, should have had a real shock experiencing the same. President Bush declared it as attack on world peace and launched "the war on terror"!So far so good! Then the biggest mistake happened, not by US or 'terrorists", but by the nations which decided to join the war on terror.

What really happened was a change in the battlefield, and not a new war as such! The so called terrorists, who were once trained by America for their own advantage (read Osama bin Laden), decided to take the war to the land of US from elsewhere. But US succeeded in making the rest of the world believe otherwise, that it is a war to be fought by all of them. They could also get other nations' troops to Afghanistan and Iraq, even when the United Nations was against all this! And then follows 07/07 and 07/22 series of blasts in London, the capital city of the major ally of US in the war on terror.

The response to the incident has been variant, the British government, as expected, denied that war on terror has anything to do with it. But I, like most of the people with common sense, would like to strongly disagree. Particularly after knowing the whereabouts of the suicide bombers. The bombers, obviously Muslims, were not from any Arabic country but were immigrants whose parents settled in Britain several years ago. So these youth were born and brought up in Britain, studied in institutions of that country and were "nice-to-live-with" guys to their neighbours. Why do they decided to kill themselves, and take many others along with them? Does they do not have any love for the nation or the people who gave them shelter? And how did they, having educated from the best institutions in the world, become prey of islamic extremism? Or how did the so called terrorists manage to persuade these young and well educated people to become suicide bombers?

I think the war on terror made it happen, it made the job of terrorists easier on convincing people. The very cause in this case being the joining of British army in Iraq for "restoring peace". I read in yesterday's newspaper that the death toll of Iraqis has gone up to 24860, which is far bigger than the numbers 4000 at WTC or 100 in London. Then there is the abusing of prisoners, abuse of Koran, and so many other stories that can be used to "motivate" these guys to challenge "their" nation. Had Britain had not joined the war on terror, it would have been difficult though not impossible. It would have been difficult to create a justifiable picture so as to persuade these well educated youths to do this brutal act. Because the Koran or prophet condemns suicide and on jihad, When a man asked "What kind of jihad is better?" the Prophet had replied "A word of truth spoken in front of an oppressive ruler."

Now, as I write this, there is widespread fear among the Asian-looking community in Britain about alienation and racism due to these attacks. And the British government is worried that this can create further disturbances!

So finally who have won, and is the war on terror a success?. Answer depends on who answers it, whether the nation which launched it or the "terrorists" whom it targeted!

P.S: The answer also depends on what is the actual intention of US is, for which it is using war on terror, and which me, the poor chap, does not know at this moment. I think like me, all the "poor" chaps will have to wait and watch! Then, there is this saying by Martin Niemoller which makes me afraid, especially when my mother country is the new found ally of United States of America.
"First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me"

July 23, 2005

Payarum Arippayum Pinne....

What do they tell "Payar" in Hindi or in English? We did not know till yesterday, until we decided to cook Payar curry.

I, Jose and Ben decided to cook dinner. But the "Payar" which I had bought from Foodworld had finished. So we had to buy it, and had no time to go to the Foodworld outlet at Jubilee hills. I suggested buying an "arippa" also, a device which is used to remove water from cooked rice. Now, none of us knew what they tell for "payar" or "arippa" in Hindi, English or Telugu. But now that we had decided to cook, we had to buy! So we started off. We went to the local stationary store at Madhapur from where we usually buy utensils. I explained to him in Hindi that we wanted "the device" to remove water from cooked rice. Luckily the guy understood, but he did not have "the device" in his shop. He advised us to go to a near by bigger shop. So in order to make the discussion that was going to happen at the new shop simpler, I asked him what they call this device. And he replied in Hindi, "Chaval se pani nikalne ka barthan!" Utensil to remove water from cooked rice!

In the new shop however everything was on-display, so we could handpick the "arippa" and buy it without much problem. Next one was "payar". Unlike arippa we could not explain what payar is! We checked two shops from outside but there were no payar packets visible. Losing all hopes, Jos decided to try his luck. He went to one of the shops and started making some actions with both hands and explaining in Malayalam that he meant "payar". Ben and I started laughing and obviously the shopwala did not understand anything. We were about to leave the shop when somebody asked from behind in Malayalam "Payarano vangendathu?" Do u want to buy Payar?

The guy who was standing beside us was a Mallu, and knew what they call Payar in Hindi. Finally we could get payar for our dinner! And by the way Payar in Hindi is Moong!

July 21, 2005

To code or not to...

I am confused and little frustrated. The guy at onshore does not think my design will work. He wants it another way, in a much simpler way actually. He cannot be blamed either. The problem is, I like to write code that is confusing at first sight! :-) (Its just COBOL, so confusing code here refers to a set of nested IFs and PERFORMs and no hard-to-crack coding concepts)

My requirement is to include a provision in the existing code, to check for two new possible values of an existing field. I knew that there are two options to do that. Either I could add some more IFs to the existing set of loops or I could replicate the existing code and use the new values of the field in place of old ones. The first option would make the code a little more confusing but need only few changes and second one would require replicating all the junk in four existing paragraphs. I preferred the first one, but my onshore reviewer tells me that other one is better. I do not want to do it, and do not agree with his comment that my code will not work. (I am sure he got confused by the code! ha..ha...ha...)

I have been sitting idle from morning, thinking whether to make the changes or wait till night to talk to this guy and make him understand my code.

I have had a similar experience in my previous company, where I made some similar "beautiful" coding which the reviewer, a guy with 20 years of experience on the system did not understand (which made me proud of my coding skills), but agreed to proceed with. But the code had a small bug, which became evident on the first day of production run, when the program crashed!

This previous experience and the lack of interest to sit here till night persuades me to think otherwise. I will do what my reviewer says!!

July 06, 2005

News and Views

After leaving Kerala to pursue my career outside the state, the key link between me and the state have been the Malayalam TV channels. Operators in Hyderabad and Chennai broadcast Asianet, Surya and Kairali, though Kairali is not available with all the networks here in Hyderabad. My cable operator has stopped giving Kairali TV for last one month or so, a great disappoint for me who is not interested in the soap serials broadcasted by Asianet and Surya. So nowadays, the only program that make me glued to TV during the evenings are the news telecasts. And I try not to miss the five minute tele-strip Munshi, which discusses current affairs in a humorous way.

Yesterday's news reports were very disturbing to watch. The headlines were the Ayodhya temple attack by militants, the DYFI/SFI strike and the associated mishaps in Kerala and the resigning of 9 MLAs from state assembly who have become part of the new Indira Congress Party formed by Karunakaran and his son. All these incidents have no or little precedence but can make deep impacts on political India/Kerala.

Another strike.

The DYFI/SFI strike was rated by Munshi as the "best" which Kerala has seen to date, "better" than what they themselves had presented in the past. The news reporters must have had an experience akin to war correspondence, for the clash between police and strikers involved lots of teargas shells, water pouring tanks and petrol bombs. As usual the strikers managed to set fire or damage many Government vehicles, the notable difference this time being that police made a counter attack on AKG centre using grenades, as if they were attacking a fort of an enemy, and managed to damage some of the vehicles of communist comrades parked inside the compound.

I could never and do not think can in the future, agree to this "art" of destructive strikes (irrespective of the name they call it-Bandh or Hartal). Not that I am a follower of Gandhi model satyagraha or something, but that there are definitely better ways to express your discontent. The Communist parties always used this kind of methods to invigorate their cadres, especially youth wings such as SFI and DYFI, when they are in the opposition thuis having less opportunities to lure them on lucrative posts in government bodies. I have lost interest in finding out the very cause of these turmoil, after watching and experiencing them for years and finding that there may not be a solid reason to create these chaos other than uniting the cadres confused on intra party problems. I have got used to the vsuals of these wars shown in TV channels, the fight between police and strikers using teargas grenades and petrol bombs, the burning government vehicles, the broken glasses of vehicles parked and the buildings by the roadside and lately people being thrown away by the water sprayed by water tanks. This time so many girls were seen at the forefront of the marches, and getting injured in the clashes.

I had a hint that this strike was against the high fees charged by private professional institutions in state. The strike was called off after a meeting between state educational minister and Leftist Students Unions. The resolution based on which it was called off was stated as "decision to charge lesser fees in the government controlled co-operative colleges". I doubt if some body told "private colleges", and the entire drama reiterated the rumour that the strike was "organised" to avert the attention of masses from the intra-party clashes in CPM, popularly known as vettinirathal.

Ayodhya on fire.

The attack in Ayodhya by militants was successfully foiled by the CRPF. For me, this gave new information, that there is a make-shift temple that is being protected by a dedicated police station and a battalion of CRPF. But the true drama was yet to begin when the BJP demanded the resignation of PM and Home Minister for the mishap and declared that they are going for countrywide strikes on the issue. Narendra Modi compared it to 9/11 and BJP made it "an attack on Hindus". The Prime Minister later issued a statement such events could hamper the India-Pakistan peace talks. I am doubtful now, have the militants become successful finally? Two days after, BJP has decided to stop talking about the issue, which was an alter attempt to unite the conflicting party cadre, which has finally turned out to be a boomerang with very less people responding to the call for a hartal.

Indira Congress gets 9 ex-MLAs

At this moment, I believe majority of Keralites, like me, do not know what will be the future of Indira Congress would be? And there is not much waiting period to know, as the panchayat elections are on the cards. The same holds true for the future of nine MLAs who resigned their post and quit the Congress to join Indira Congress. Let us wait and see, and meanwhile pray for the people in the ten constituencies that do not have an MLA at present (including Cherthala from where Antony resigned to graduate to MP).

We see all the parties, irrespective of the color of their flags, taking due advantage on any incident that happens, when they are supposed to unite and condemn such threats on national security. They try to make life a hell for the people of their country when they are supposed to make them better. They play petty politics and resign their posts when they are supposed to serve the people who elected them for their good for the next five years. As I write this, Kerala is going through another strike called by all the trade unions together, one of the many hartals and strikes they ought to see this year. No, do not ask me what for this one is, for I really do not know, and as said before, am not interested in finding out! But I seriously doubt if this is what politics in democracy is?

Godspeed my polity, may God save You from these politicos!

June 26, 2005

Monsoons Again!

After almost three weeks after the first showers in Kerala, monsoons have finally reached Hyderabad. The change in climate is quick and beautiful. But I am missing monsoons in Kerala, second time in my life!!

Monsoon for me was, like any child in lower primary school, raincoat-clad trips to school carrying heavy school bags, desperately trying to save it from getting soaked in the rain. That was till my 5th standard, after which I got admission to the residential system of schooling in Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya Neriamangalam. For those who do not know, Neriamnagalam is the Chirapunji of Kerala, the most raining place in the state. I think the long seven years of stay at this place made me a lover of monsoons!

Neriamangalam is a very beatiful place, right at the border of Ernakulam and Idukki districts, on the way to Munnar from Kochi. My school was situated between two parallel hills (mountains is what we called them then), and they somehow created a feeling that the campus was surrounded by mountains on all four sides, creating the best scenery you can think of, with two water falls visible throughout the year. The place looked most beautiful when it rained, the rains were so heavy that you would see countless water falls all over these mountains in minutes. And suddenly the whole campus will be full of so much water that the unusually big drainages in the school campus would seemed too less to accomodate the water. And I have never found more fun than playing in the big football ground when it is water soaked and when there are no body around scolding you to come out of rains ;-) I can write non-stop on my school and life there, but may be on a separate post!

Rains in Hyderabad are also beautiful. This place being a hilly terrain, it almost makes me remeber Neriamangalam. I miss my school days!

June 06, 2005

American Elections and Kerala Rallies

I have a new colleague who joined my company recently. He was working for a world famous US firm for the last nine years before moving back to India. He is a Muslim, a very religious man, one who can be made a role model in that aspect. I was talking to him about the life and people in America, with the general curiosity of a software engineer who hasn't got an onsite chance yet. He was talking about how people in US react to presidential elections and how important it is to present himself as an "interesting and not boring" fellow for a future American president. I have read in news columns about the importance of television campaigning in US, what he told confirmed all my perceptions to be correct. He summarized people in America in general "They eat a lot of junk food, watch a lot of TV and movies and have sex. They talk most of the time either about movies, TV shows or sex." I am sure there can be disagreements with this argument, but considering the exposure this guy has had to the culture, I think this must be a true generalization!

Now, Kerala is considered to be akin to US in living standards, I thought how people in Kerala behave compared to this. Naturally, it is understood that the above said behavior of Americans come from the fact that they live in an affluent country, where there is nothing much to worry about, other than the life of movie characters. But for Keralites, the idea of open sex talk and junk food are still alien as of now, though the latter is picking up very fast. I can easily say that Keralites are the most conservative community among Indians.

My observations when I went to Kerala last time included so many things. People are building up huge and posh houses and are spending money on making the old ones bigger. They are very much interested in getting best of the furniture and household items so that their house looks no-less or better compared to neighbors'. (This transformation is happening to my Sweet Home also). In most cases, this has been an impact of foreign money flow into the state from early 1990s. The gulf dirhams that come to any Muslim household in northern Malabar or the dollars that get transferred to NRI account of any Christian household in southern parts of the state, include this. This flow of money from outside has created many people in state who does not need a job to survive. In fact this has also changed the attitude of people so much so that they have become spendthrift. It is difficult now a days to identify the financial situation of an individual, especially youth, just by looking to his outfits. This is a far cry from the situation when you had customized dressing styles for a community depending on their occupation.

This mass of people who are unemployed, or who does not need a permanent job for survival, has been utilized extensively by political parties in the state. Politics in the state has become a gimmick on TV screen. The better actor you are, the better you will survive in politics. The 101 channels that try to establish themselves in the state give so much publicity for any XYZ leader of ABC party that it has become easier to be popular. It is not ethics or morals that matters, but how do you manage your screen presence. And the latest popular technique to this effect is RALLY. Every party and religious organization conduct rallies in the state in order to SHOW their strength. And almost all of them have made their rallies successful, a factor determined based on the length of the rally, the time it took to pass a certain point and the time duration for which the rally managed to block the traffic in the city. The rallies are usually organized in the major cities in the state viz Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode so that the latter of the above factors makes a bigger impact in the success of the rally. Coming back to the original subject, how these rallies are useful for the unemployed youth? As and when the number of rallies increases and when the rallies are conducted almost daily, people get tired and are no more interested in going for any of these. There comes the role of agents who recruit people for these rallies. Agents will offer these unemployed youths a sum of 250 to 500 rupees and a bottle of alcohol for participating in a rally. At the end of it, the organizers are happy because the rally was a huge success, the youth is happy because he got made some good money in two hours and the agent made some money for amassing some stupid people. The one who losses is common public, who is made to see all this drama through the channels and whose life is made difficult by blocking roads and the state which looses the working hours and the name "not fit to start an industry".

And people like me, who is migrating from state to state for a better job, because their is no job available in the state even if you are ready to compromise on your compensations, find the whole scenario as disheartening! There was a time when I felt proud when I heard a common mallu joke, that Neil Armstrong found a Malayalee Tea Shop when he went to Moon. Now, when I understand why so many Keralites have left the state to find a job elsewhere, and with the homesickness now I feel, it no more seems to be a joke to me!

May 14, 2005

Hyderabad is Hot!

They call Hyderabad as "the hot and happening city of India". Now literally it is hot, with the temperature soring high above 40 degrees and the counter for people dying of sun stroke becoming greater than zero. This week the temperature has been increasing at the rate of one degrees day by day. And the forecasts for monsoon says, it will be delayed by one week. Do not know how I will survive till mid June, that is when monsoon is expected to start.

May 13, 2005

Posting from my Inbox

My company has blocked internet access on desktop, so the delay in posting.....But this made me to test the blog via email feature of blogger and I find the results satisfying...So thinking of posting from my mailbox....Till then adieus.....

April 15, 2005

In Top 8...

My statistics tracking website for this page, YTrack rates this blog as the 8th best site in its internet ranking category.

Wondering how they rate the sites, because this page has got only 10 hits as per YTrack! I have also received a mail from YTrack, asking me to pay for their services. Since I am not that rich and since the same services are available free elsewhere, I will have to stop using Ytrack. Thanks YTrack and Goodbye!!

April 14, 2005


I was doubtful about the need of a disclaimer on this page. But, not after reading this news about an employee of Google being sacked for writing about his job and the company in his personal blog!

Mark Jen, formerly employed with Microsoft, was terminated after 11 days of employment with Google, reason being his blog named Ninetyninezeros. There are other people too who were terminated from employment because of their blogs. And the idea of blog censorship is gaining support in United States.

True! All this is happening in United States. But being employed in the Indian subsidiary of a software company which has strong ethics and policies related to the use of web, and to be on the safer side, I have decided to add a Disclaimer on this blog.

April 13, 2005


Students of India are having a tough time!

  • The Class 10th SSLC examinations of Kerala State have been rescheduled due to a question paper leak. The first incident of its kind in the history of this examination conducted by State Education Board of Kerala. The new dates announced are almost one month after the original dates for the exam. Students and parents are worried that the long gap in the dates will reduce their interest to study and are apprehensive about another leak.
  • Counseling centers have been opened in Andhra Pradesh, to help students who are under stress due to exams, i.e. clinics to shun examphobia!! There are also reports of students committing suicide over exam results. I have seen this type incidents happening in Kerala also.

Indian system of education which stresses too much on exams need a change. And it is the school education system that needs a big makeover. Current system, adopted from British system of education which creates degree holders, was more suitable when we had a job market which consisted mostly of government jobs and which valued the job seekers based on their degrees, irrespective of their skills to do the particular job.

Now with India becoming a job surplus market and most jobs being concentrated on sectors like IT and ITES, Biotech, BPO etc, its time we concentrate more on creating skills for these sectors. At the same time we need to reduce the stress on students by changing the examination system. I believe Kerala Government is doing something towards this, with implementation of new education approaches like DPEP and changing exam patterns with more questions to assess the child's creativity and analytical skills rather than the ability to "reproduce" the text. It may be true that there are some flaws in the initial stages, but this should be tolerated to create a refined and better system of education for future.

My education up to graduate level was done in the old system itself. I have always been in the first five positions of my class and have tried hard for this with my target always being the exams. But now, after getting employed in software industry, I find that I have been made to study loads of junk data to pass these exams. Also, I have always felt that it is important to get high marks in exams and considered this as the ultimate parameter to get a job. My government employed parents have always stressed this!

But this is not always true! At least in the present India where every graduate gets a job. One of the main struggles is to get the best ranks in professional entrance examinations so that you get admission in one of the best colleges (with the assumption that this colleges would fetch you the best jobs through campus placements). But now, every decent college in the state has a long queue of employers for campus placements, and students are "booked" one or two years prior to their completion of course! I have also seen people who have struggled a lot during their graduation, with so many "Supplis" getting better jobs than mine. So at the end of all this, it is not always the marks in your examination, but your luck that matters more! I do not mean to say that students need not study, but that they need not strain themselves much.

In this aspect, our graduation courses also need a change. We need to have more elective subjects based on new technology areas and more practicals in these courses rather than routine subjects which are boring for students as well as teacher community and just make another subject to score in exams. There is also a need to update the syllabus to include recent technology related content in these courses. I believe institutions like IITs and NITs have a course structure like this, but this need to be implemented countrywide.

It is high time that Indians become more realistic about their education system! We have to improvise this system to reduce the unnecessary stress that the students and parents go through when they hear the word "Exam"!!

April 10, 2005


When Yahoo! and Google are competing each other, somebody has come up with an integration of their search services. This site, named Yagoohoo!gle is gaining popularity as per the owner's blog.

Meanwhile, Google has come up with a new product! Google says, it is a drink "designed to maximize your surfing efficiency by making you more intelligent, and less thirsty" and has named it Google Gulp. From searching to blogging to e-mailing to fooding!! What's next?

Yahoo! has launched the beta version of their new product called Yahoo! 360°. Just like a Gmail account, invitations are required to get an account. I got hold of one and had big expectations while logging in! But this one seems like a Yahoo! integration of Orkut and Blogger, both owned by Google.

April 03, 2005

The God of Small Things

I completed the Booker prize winning novel "The God of Small Things" by Arundhati Roy. Finally, the second attempt became successful!

It is a very simple story told very cleverly with a great climax. No, I am not that stupid to review the book in this blog. Or is it, I am not that wise? Anyways, the best review about the book which I liked is the one which says that "the book finds a language for itself".

"Die-able viable age" and "Orangedrink Lemondrink Man" are not forgettable!! Then there are those repeated words: repeatedly repeated repeats for Roy! Nothing more to describe, you must read it!

March 21, 2005

Sania Mania!!

Suddenly everybody is behind her, praising, idolizing and making her a brand-ambassador or an iconoclast. Media, businessmen, sportsmen, politicians, and rest of the countrymen who identify themselves as tennis-fans are following her 24*7. Marketing managers of brands from jewellery to sports wear were on queue to make her promote their brand. Well acclaimed print media were behind her to get good snaps (obvious!) and to roll-out special Sania-edited sports supplements (ridiculous!!). There were much celebrated interviews on every TV channel, before and after matches were being played! All after the jump she could afford, within two weeks, in the world tennis rankings list. Else if you had asked these people about Sania Mirza, answer would have been an obvious "Sania, who?".

I agree, we Indians do not have enough sports icons, at least not as much to satisfy the whole of world's second largest population, who have not diversified their sports arena, other than concentrating largely on Cricket and Hockey. For sure, Sania is doing a great job, but the hype that is given to this act of confident performances are surely out of bounds. And up to what percentage can we consider this as love for the country or for the sports event?

India have had sports(wo)men who had excelled in various events of sports. We had Leander Paes and Karnam Malleshwari who won Olympics medals for the country, and Anju Boby George who raised our hopes of another one! We have grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand who has always palyed great chess for the country! Recently we got Narain Karthikeyan as India's first Formula One driver. But publicity that Sania gets is more, though her contributions are not more than any of these achievements, at least as of now. So why is that she adored by all the media and publicity managers? Marketing their brand should be the ultimate aim!

Most of this hype, in this era when consumer is "king" in this "liberalised" country, has been to find new ways of marketing through this girl who did her hard work to reach this position when nobody was around to cheer her. And rest of these new found tennis-fans, who does not own a company of their own, admire Sania not for her strong forehand shots but for her individual glamour! It is the skimpy clothes that she wears that attracts them and the media and that is the same reason why photographers queue up to get her "best" snap. If not, why is that Malleshwari or Anju or Paes or Anand do not get this wide media coverage? Why is that this many brands do not compete to make them ambassadors? It is because, when they won their laurels, they were not in "good shape" to be marketed as a youth icon or a "sex symbol" and had less fanfare.

Let us hope that Sania has the ability to distinguish milk and water! I am sure she does, at least when she told that she want to become a youth icon than a sex symbol!

Lastly, I had read a blog of Rashmi Bansal which actually made me write this one!

I think that it is the culture in which one is brought up that individual's culture. And it is relative from individual to individual! Even the definition of "fundamentalism" and "terrorism" are relative in that sense!! I doubt how much it is true when one goes on to say that the best cultured women are the least dressed!!

And there are more questions that this blog makes me ask....

  • How much worse is the situation (ability to dream big) of Muslim women in India when compared to others?
  • Is Sania the first India Muslim women who appear in public with so less clothing? What about those innumerous Muslim women who appeared and still appear onscreen in more "modern" outfits?
  • Is Indian Muslim community so much fundamental and arrogant that they made a fuss about any Muslim women's dressing habits? And are we in a situation where rest of the world think that Muslims in India belong to the breed of so-called "terrorists" ?
  • On a broader stretch, when will people stop thinking that whole of Muslim community are fundamentalists, for the acts of a minority of them?

Yeah..I can go on asking questions...But it is the answers that are important!!

February 09, 2005

Chevathar and Blue Mangoes

I just read The House of Blue Mangoes by David Davidar.

The story, starting in a period long before independence (1899) and ending when independent India was born, narrates the life of three generations of Dorai family. It has been told as three sections viz, Chevathar, Doraipuram and Pulimedu.

The first part set in Chevathar, an imaginary village which would fall in the present Tamil Nadu state, takes you through the era when British just came to India, and people began to convert to Christianity to escape caste system and for other economic advantages. The family of the landlord or thalaivar of the village, the Dorais, are among these converted christians. How the change of religion failed to change the mindset of the people is depicted through the thoughts and caste-based customs followed by Solomon Dorai, the baptised thalaivar. The part ends with the death of Solomon Dorai and Father Ashworth - the priest, in a caste war.

The second section is primarily for next generation Dorais Daniel and Aron, by the end of which Daniel becomes a famous Sidha doctor and Aron dies the death of an infamous criminal - for becoming part of an extremist organisation for the cause of independence. The third part is for Kannan aka Thirumoolar, the son of Daniel who becomes (un?)successful by the end of his life!

The first part is pretty much interesting and author has done a nice job in describing Chevathar. Other characters like Charity Dorai-the wife of Solomon, Younger brother of Solomon, Ashworth-the father of village church, vakeel Perumal- a rich man in the village have naturality and their part to play in the story. It would have been better if author had finished the novel with first part, instead of describing next and next generations in the subsequent sections, when there is nothing much innovative in the story line. Instead the story loses the natural touch and becomes more dramatical with instances like Charity Dorai becoming mad, Daniel's effort to take her to some Ashram of occult cure, Daniels India expedition for Mango research, and finally the Will of Daniel which describes how to make gold from his body(?). The third part also is dull except that it is set in Pulimed, a place in the present Kerala state. Again pages have been wasted for (another) story about (stupid?) Kannan hunting a man-eating tiger!

I feel the story could have been told in three books instead of three sections, which would have enabled the author to do more justice to every part and the readers to enjoy it more. Anyways the book is a good read (or good to read), especially(only?) the first part!!

January 31, 2005

When I started writing my blog on Chennai, I never thought that I would be writing the finishing lines from Hyderabad. With the fast pace the things are turning out and considering the time I take to complete a blog, it is possible that I finish this blog from somewhere else. Since I do not want that to happen and since I am new to Hyderabad, I would give my first impressions about this place.

Hyderabad is a great place, but for the climate. The climate was expected to be like this, and I should admit that it is much better than the forecasts I had. But then, the real picture comes only during summer, so let me wait and see..

The place has a clear "Naidu" effect all over, with well laid roads and the software companies' buildings each being an architectural marvel. The most common name used here is "Sai" staring from educational establishments to wine shops, clearly indicating the influence of famous Saibaba temple here in Panchagutta. Then there are share-autos on which its written "4 in All" but carry as many as 8 passengers, quite annoying for me who disliked the chennai autos carrying as many as 6 people in a ride.

There are many other things that I dislike. But then whether you like it or not, "The Show Must Go On" and it does......